Friday 15th January – Thursday 21st January
Distance to date – 75.57 miles
So, my first proper week with ‘serious mileage’ is done – I’ve managed 32 mile this week, which is well in excess of what I’ve ever done before and I’ve not keeled owa yet, so maybe I’m a bit fitter than I thought – either that, or I’ve actually been an elite athlete since the age of 15 but have managed to suppress my ‘talents’ through drink and tabs – the classic ‘I could have been a great footballer if I’d applied myself. Well, and the fact I was actually shite’ syndrome!
I’d started the week with my first run on a treadmill for years due to the icy conditions outside and it’s nowt like running in the fresh air – I managed 5 mile but it felt like I’d run 50 by the time I staggered off. Everyone has a perception of running as being a cheap sport aswell – just a pair of shoes and off you go, but in reality it’s not – I’ll probably get through three pairs of running shoes at a hundred quid a pop over the course of the year, a run in the gym is £7, entry into even the smaller races is generally £20 a go and so on and so forth. Anyway, I digress.
I had my first ‘proper’ run of the year down in York on Sunday morning and it was a beauty. I’d heard good things about the Brass Monkey half marathon down there, starting at the racecourse and winding round some bonny villages around York on a really flat course and it didn’t disappoint. Weather was perfect, felt great all the way round and finished with a PB from all of six half marathons I’ve done now of 1:56:32. It’s pathetic, I mean in the grand scheme of things, I came 1076th out of 1515 runners but in a lifetime of, if I’m honest, limited sporting achievement, I was buzzing!
The runs after that have been the test really. I felt a bit grotty on Tuesday and dragged myself out for four and a half mile that was like running through treacle but I followed it up with another four the night after and rounded the week off with another six mile on the treadmill on Thursday. Folk keep asking me if I feel any better for the running and stopping off the drink/tabs etc..but it’s hard to say. I’ve never run this far before so I don’t know how much I’m actually supposed to be aching. The biggest test to date comes this weekend when I’ve got to go for longer than I have before – 14.5 mile on Saturday, again to get myself back in time to watch the Watford match on the dicky telly – I’ll not use this as motivation mind, incase we’re as shit down there as we were a fortnight ago.
I was chuffed to bits this week when one of my mates asked me to be his best man in July. There is a running theme to this because his stag do is the end of May in Amsterdam and Berlin, so although I’m ahead of where I need to be in terms of mileage now, I need to factor in entire weeks when I’m incapable of running a mile, never mind 30 – this being a prime example. Who knows, maybe the mushies will convince me that I’m actually a Kenyan distance runner and I’ll chalk up a bonus twenty mile jog around the canals but in all likelihood, that’s one week out of 52 to do me 1,000 mile. At least!
Anyway, cheers for reading this rambling toss if you’ve managed to get to this point. And if you do want to contribute the price of a pint or slice of cake in a Dutch coffeeshop, then fittingly everything I raise is going to Mind, the mental health charity. You can find my Justgiving page here www.justgiving.com/Haz1000 and without wanting to sound like a cheesy bastard, any donations give me a massive boost when it’s hard going and ramp up the guilt level of not achieving my goal to a level where failure isn’t an option!
Friday 22nd January – Thursday 28th January
Distance to Date – 101.53 miles
Well, I’ve got through the first hundred mile and passed another milestone in running further than I’ve ever managed before – clocking up a 14.51 mile run on Saturday before getting home to listen/watch the Watford match. I’ll not dwell on that too much but fucking hell man, three defeats in a season to Watford – I suppose that sounds arrogant, I mean what right have we got to beat Watford this season – they’re better managed than us, have more of a system than us and play better football than us but howay man! Anyway, the ‘long run’ of the week on Saturday was nowhere near as much of a killer as I thought it would be. I ran right along the coast from Cleadon, down to Roker, along through Seaburn and Whitburn and into Shields before heading home from there.
I took a bit of a detour off the sea front to run through the little estate where Roker Park used to stand. I never saw NUFC lose there, was lucky enough to be at the ‘Liam O’ game but I had a chuckle to myself when I ran past the very spot where my fatha had parked his auld Vauxhall Nova before one of the derbies – I think it must have been the one before the promotion season because I remember being just old enough (and certainly looking old enough) to have been given a hiding by opposing fans. I started going to aways with my dad in 82/83 and saw loads of bother but obviously was only a little bairn. Anyone who has followed their team away and certainly through that era will know that the age of 14/15 is a funny one because you’re no longer a bairn and certainly not hard enough to put up any sort of a fight so for want of a better word, you’re vulnerable. Anyway, the reason I mention this is that after that derby, I distinctly remember me and my dad walking back to the car and patently being the only Mags anywhere to be seen.
We didn’t have any colours or anything on, but you know the feeling, you just stand out. I was shitting myself to be completely honest and delighted to get into the car with my dad. Until he went to start the ignition and the fucking thing wouldn’t start. There were more and more of them coming down the street when all of a sudden there was a pitched battle kicked off at the top of the street. By this point, I was attempting in vain to push the car and not budging it an inch when a lad ran up and said in the broadest Mackem accent ‘Here, if I get it gannin’ will yeese give us a lift’. I just nodded blankly and between us we managed to bump start it and he hopped in. I still remember exactly where we dropped him off, in Shields aswell and I also ran past that towards the end of my run – he was canny actually and was laughing his back off at the two Mags that were giving him a lift home on the day. So anyway, aye, the 14 and a half mile was mainly spent reminiscing about NUFC back in the day – it was so much better back then in every way.
My other runs of the week were comprised of a five mile struggle on the Tuesday night when my legs felt like lead and a six and a half mile breeze up through Westoe and Harton when I could barely drag myself off the couch to get myself out on Thursday after work. Funny thing running as a plodder – sometimes you feel great when you get out and it’s an absolute slog and sometimes you feel like death and absolutely sail around.
The long runs are getting longer but so far everything is holding up and I’m really enjoying it. Long way to go yet mind! If you want to sponsor me, that would be brilliant – my Justgiving page is www.justgiving.com/Haz1000 and it’s all for a great cause. Here’s to the next 900!
GARETH HARRISON – FOLLOW GARETH ON @truefaith1892