Target 26.2 - First Timer Steve's Journey to Paris

Long runs, speed sessions... and a pair of rather tight leggings.

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26/03/2013 at 15:28

Hi Steve,

Everyone is wondering if your pain has gone. No I'm still here !!!  I'm going to bother you all the way.  Only pulling your leg !  Hope you are feeling better.  I'm surprised it was you knee that swelled and not your head after your result Dorney. Perhaps the weight of your head buckled your knee.  Or probably due to too many knees up in Southend.  I think Sam gave you a Garmin so she can track you but it appears that you've disappeared off the radar.

Joking aside, I hope all is well and that you'll be at the starting line.  Take is easy, enjoy the race, perhaps set a PB for the final 10k.

I signed up for the Green pen +4h, I was going to change at the Expo as I was feeling cocky the other week but I'm seeing a little bit more sense now.  I hope that the Greens will slow me down, so I don't get carried away for the first 5k.  I plan to have a constant pace from 5k-32k. For the final 10k I hope to have more people to overtake than if I started in the purple pen, motivating me to the finish.  That's the plan.  Easy !

All the best

27/03/2013 at 09:38

Hi everyone,

Well... the big update is that there isn't much of an update! Unfortunately the knee doesn't really seem to be improving much, if at all... I know I've been neglecting the thread a little so apologies for that - I have been reading all of your amazing comments but it's quite hard to respond and sound chirpy and positive when I'm feeling a bit despondent and dispirited...

Sam, I do have access to a cross-trainer so I have been hitting that a bit - it is a lot, lot lower impact so it does affect the knee a lot less which is great. It doesn't tend to be sore during exercise on the cross-trainer, more later on in the day, so at least that allows me to get a bit of a session in! So I'm not doing anywhere near as much as I would like... but at least I am doing something.

The cross-trainer is nowhere near as much fun as getting out there on the streets, though! It's like the treadmill, only a bit more unfamiliar and a bit tougher to get into a proper rhythm. On the plus side (and I always will find a positive!) at least it's indoors, what with all this snow and ice!

One of my reasons for despondency was the realisation the other day that I haven't run further than 5.5 miles in nearly a month! Not exactly ideal training for a 26.2 mile race... I've done a mega-taper... I just hope it has left me with enough of a base to make a half-decent attempt at finishing the race in Paris. It is so frustrating, given that everything was going so well...

But there isn't really much I can do about it so I guess we'll just have to make the best of it...! I have done a 17 mile run during training and that felt good cardio-vascular-wise (although that was the day the knee pain first flared up) so I know I had the fitness... Hopefully it is still there!!

One thing I am certain of is that I don't regret entering the competition one little bit - I have had an amazing experience and learnt more than I ever thought I would or could. I've met some amazing people and found a much more intense passion for running than I ever had before and actually discovered a bit more of a talent for running than I thought I had as well! So, all in all, good times.

I may be frustrated, but I'm still smiling and I'll do my best to smash it in Paris (the race that is, not the knee). Whatever happens, Kin Kong will fix it.

As for the bionic man, Kands, I think what with NHS cutbacks it may be more of a case of this:

Thanks again for all your amazing support everyone - you really have kept me smiling through what has been a surprisingly tough time!

27/03/2013 at 09:51

Hi Ruth,

I have some questions about nutrition if that's ok?

I'm a little lost as to what I should/should not be eating. Obviously I know I need to be eating healthily (doing my best on that front!) and have been trying to eat fresh/decent foods wherever possible... but my training levels have suddenly dropped pretty dramatically and I don't want to over-eat. Likewise, I don't want to under-eat and leave myself short come the marathong where I'll (hopefully!) be running a hell of a long way all of a sudden.

So what sort of amounts should I be looking at eating?


27/03/2013 at 10:56

Steve - I'm so sorry to hear that things haven't improved. You had been going such great guns in your training and to get injured in such an innocuous way must be incredibly frustrating.

If I were you I would perhaps be asking myself a really difficult question...........should I be running in Paris? Obviously you don't need to make the decision yet, but if it wasn't for the competition would you even be considering starting the race?

The main reason i felt i should say this is because you have clearly shown that with a good level of commitment you have some talent for this sport - your Half PB is testiment to this. I know from experience that whenever I've tried to run through an injury I haven't made it better!!!!! In fact on occasions I have done myself serious damage.

Please don't feel you would be letting anyone down if you didn't make the start line. Your long term ability to run is far more important. I would love to see you make the start line on 7 April but 26.2 miles is a very long way with a painful knee and you certainly won't do yourself justice if you start in pain.

Everyone on here who has been following will know you have given it everything, and most will understand that sometimes things happen in a marathon campaign that make starting on the big day not possible.

I know you have good people in your corner Sam/Sarah and they will help you make the right decision for you.

I really hope you start - and if I'm honest I probably would have if it was my first - but if you do and the pain gets unbearable think about your running future and don't be a martyr.

Good luck Steve. I will be interested to see what others think.




27/03/2013 at 11:00

You've had some very bad luck Steve.  I hope between you and Sam that you make the right decision about race day, by taking a good honest look at what training has been done and will be done.

Best wishes.

27/03/2013 at 11:05

Steve aime le lard - great to hear from you. I think you're allowed to be more than a little frustrated given what you're going through. I'm just mighty impressed at how positive you have managed to be. I would be pulling my hair out - or at least carefully shaving it off (I don't handle pain well). 

Good to hear you're getting some exercise in even if it isn't in your preferred form. You have done a good deal of training and although you have had to put the brakes on at least you know you won't be tired come race day.

I'm sure you'll enjoy yourself whatever happens and looking to the future I know you have some very impressive performances to come. 

Great vid by the way

27/03/2013 at 11:11

Must have posted as Ten and DS2 were writing. I didn't even think about the fact that it might be too bad to race at all. Obviously if that's the case then I agree with the above. I know you'll want to do it whatever happens but please, please don't do it because you feel you have to.

DS2 is spot on - you have so many more good races in you! 

27/03/2013 at 12:54

Hi Steve,

Pleased to hear from you although not really the news we wanted to hear.  Reiterating the above, and probably what you have thought yourself, perhaps deferring until next year.  The Judges Sam & Sarah will decide your fate.

I still hope to see you at the starting line, perhaps have a metro ticket with you just in case, even I will have one on me as you never know.  If you get the green light to run then you could have a strategy to enjoy the race, carry a camera, refuel at a bar...

Malcs could run in your place, no-one needs to know and you'll get a good time, perhaps better than Shady's !  I would offer but your t-shirt will be a bit too tight on me.

Good Luck.

27/03/2013 at 18:03

Good to see you back on your thread Steve! Thank you for being so honest about the injury and your feelings. It's not a decision any runner wants to make, but I totally echo everything the guys above have said.

Think long term.

27/03/2013 at 18:15

Steve, some very good advice up there. The question to ask is will I be able to enjoy the experience running in pain? Everyone know's you are committed so have a good think about your options. Keep up the cross training as will really help with your ability to get round if you decide to go for it!!

27/03/2013 at 20:43
Steve loves bacon wrote (see)
As for the bionic man, Kands, I think what with NHS cutbacks it may be more of a case of this:


It may not be the prettiest  run but his posture was pretty good!

I'm gutted for you, I've really enoyed reading your updates and regardless of the injury you have made brilliant progress on your journey.

If you decide to run and make it round Paris I'd argue that the triumph of spirit and will over adversity would be at least equal to (if not greater) than seeing all the  training pay of with a great time.

And there's always these if all else fails!,d.d2k&psig=AFQjCNE4D6o1mfa_HtatgjWw3D4K_Wz76A&ust=1364503357250619


Edited: 27/03/2013 at 20:44
28/03/2013 at 09:57

Thanks for all the great advice everyone - what a decision to have to make!

I am really and truly in two minds about this... So, for what it’s worth, here is what I am thinking right now (think James Joyce “stream of consciousness” - apologies in advance if I ramble!)

On the one hand, I am desperate to race. I've been working so, so hard towards this: I've dragged myself out in the cold and wet (and actually enjoying dragging myself out in the cold and wet); I have gone for a run through a hail storm on Christmas morning; I have sacrificed nights out with friends; I've changed my diet and habits beyond recognition; and I've generally chucked everything I have got at this competition and this opportunity. I have seen amazing results and massive improvements come out of it and have actually had the added sense that I still had more to come. For example, Dorney Lake - I absolutely smashed my half marathon PB and did that whilst running a very steady and easy first few miles, running the race in an absolutely monstrous negative split, finishing it feeling pretty fresh and taking nearly a minute off of my new, much faster 5k PB at the end of it... I think it's fairly obvious when you put it like that that I have the potential (whether I actually will or not) to run a half marathon even faster than I did on the day. My 5k PB has been dropping by almost a minute a time every time I have run one. I have generally felt fitter and healthier than I ever have. So with all that hard work and achievement, and in such a short space of time, I would be absolutely gutted to "throw it all away" by not standing there on the start line next weekend.

But, on the other hand, there is a little voice in the back of my head urging a note of caution… Whether or not I have torn the cartilage in my knee, and there is no way to know for sure until after the marathon, I have certainly done something to it. In that respect, the exact nature of the injury is irrelevant and, frankly, I couldn’t give a toss what is wrong with it beyond the fact that I am absolutely gutted that there is something wrong with it. The plain facts are that it hurts or is, at the very, very best, uncomfortable every single day and it flares up every single time I exercise, whether that be during the session or in the hours following the session. In some ways, then, I think: “if it will just flare up after the marathon then I won’t care and I’ll be well into my third or fourth glass of celebratory wine by then…” but the truth is that I’m fairly certain (and by “fairly” I mean 99% certain) that running 26.2 miles is going to be extremely tough and painful. I’m not one to shy away from tough and painful and I’ve had my fair share of crap over the years that I have, on the whole, tended to face head on. For example (another half marathon!), I ran my first ever half marathon weeks after abdominal surgery to remove a cancerous tumour because I wanted to raise money for Cancer Research. That was seriously tough! So the fact that it will hurt is a bit daunting but, ultimately, just one of those things. It’s more that I’m worried about what longer-term damage I may do to it and whether it is worth risking more serious injury for the sake of a single run which, when you take away all the extras and frills, this is. I’m also pulling my calf muscle and tweaking various things every time I run because I am, unconsciously, definitely favouring the knee and trying to protect it. So am I leaving myself open to further injuries by trying to run it?

I do, unfortunately, have a further issue that may be a problem and that is that I have not yet got my medical certificate signed to allow me to race – I had the fall before I had th

28/03/2013 at 09:57


the chance to get that done and have been holding on to it ever since in the vain hope that things would improve… Having now run out of time with no real improvement and still being mid-referral for the MRI, I have had to book the appointment (at an eye-watering £100) for Tuesday with my GP to assess me as fit to run the marathon or not and, hopefully, sign and stamp my medical form. Basically, I am going to have to lie to him and say that the symptoms have disappeared and I am now running pain-free. Otherwise no GP in the world would sign me off as fit to run! But with that particular problem will be what it will be – there’s not much I can do about it so I’m not worrying about it.

I think the big question, and one that DS2 has got spot on (thanks DS2), is: would I be running it if it wasn’t for the competition? The honest answer is: No way, I wouldn’t be. That’s a big factor and something I can’t help but have in the forefront of my mind but it doesn’t automatically mean that I shouldn’t run the race or that I would be wrong to give it a go. All the “frills and extras” as I rather flippantly put it earlier are hugely important and have turned this from a single race into a months-long journey and an absolutely amazing opportunity. That is a huge, huge motivator and asks a slightly different question: am I going to finish the marathon if I start it? Without this competition: Honestly, no, I wouldn’t get round I don’t think. With this competition and all the extra motivation it brings, the advice and knowledge on offer and the amazing support: Honestly, maybe.

It could be that “maybe” is enough to give it my best shot and see where I fall (in a manner of speaking!).

When it’s all said and done I think it really boils down to head versus heart and I’m going to do some serious pondering over the weekend. Please do keep letting me know your thoughts and advice everyone – it really does help to put it all into context and will be a huge help in my making the eventual decision. Apologies for taking you on a ramble through my thought processes but it has helped to get it all down and consider it properly!

28/03/2013 at 10:11

My first thought is... don't lie about the symptoms.  You can lie to the doctors, but the marathon will find you out.  A medical certificate may well cover the race organisers, but it doesn't cover you for the consequences.  Get a proper diagnosis.  You might be surprised by the result, then at least you can have more confidence in any decision.

28/03/2013 at 10:16

Steve - if you are honest with the GP he will make your decision for you.

Then later in life, with a bit of perspective you can tell your kids that you wanted to run Paris 2013 but the doctor wouldn't let you....that is much easier to take and you won't make Dr Kin Kong's task more difficult.

None of us want's to read about you being in bits in Paris trying to run on one leg, so I would go over as bottle carrier in chief for your mates, soak up the atmosphere and then get yourself fixed for the next one.

You are still a runner, a good runner just at the moment an injured runner and a victim of the really tough winter we have all trained through.......

Good luck, whichever way you decide to go, you know we will be (almost) as disappointed as you if you don't make it but you have entertained us "right royally" and there will be some on here who will run a better race having followed your insights.

That could be your ultimate prize....

28/03/2013 at 11:04


I think your head has already answered the question but your heart is refusing to listen.  All credit to you and it's this determination which has helped you achieve your results and there will be more to come once the knee is sorted out.

Defer to next year.  I won't be running Paris 2014 but I'll be supporting my new found friends from the forum.  I can't promise you the RW treatement, especially as I can't compare to the Lovely Kate, but I know a cheap hotel (Sorry bacon free) and the taxi will take you to the Expo, Race and Bar.

All the best

28/03/2013 at 13:54

Hi Steve, I'm glad others have commented because I felt really bad writing my piece yesterday but wanted to make sure everything is thought through to a correct conclusion. Reading your reply made me really feel for you mate, but as others have said your head has made the decison although your heart is, quite naturally, fighting it.

I, also, think you should be open with the Doctors...

In our eyes you've behaved like a winner all the way through this. As much as it will hurt, emotionally, to go to Paris but not start I really think that may be the best option. Whatever you do though make sure you go and soak up the atmosphere. You deserve that much, at least.

If you turn up and on the day it feels much better and you can run at an easy pace maybe you can see how it feels, but I suppose the certificate issue may put paid to that anyhow.

Good luck.

28/03/2013 at 15:29

Hi Steve

I can only echo what everyone else has said. The crucial thing I have learned through this whole marathon training process is how important it is to listen to our bodies...even when we really don't want to. Your results in training have been a real inspiration to me and I'm sure to the others on the forum as well. I just want you to do yourself justice when you do run a marathon as opposed to potentially harming yourself long-term when you could have many more running years ahead of you.

Keep your head up, you've got support from everyone no matter what conclusion you come to.



28/03/2013 at 21:14

Steveo - kudos for being so honest and open. Unfortunately I can't offer any wise words of advice. The others have already provided some brilliant pearls of wisdom. 

What I can do is provide some not so sensible advice because if it were me, I think I'd probably forget about choosing the right option and just freakin' go for it  

I would add the caveat that if it starts to hurt beyond a tolerable level then I'd definitely bin out.   I certainly agree that it isn't worth risking more extensive damage. I am of course making the assumption that if there's not much pain it's not doing much harm which may be completely wrong. 

Basicaly if the leg feels ok enough and I didn't at least try I think I'd be always wondering what would have happened.

Best of luck to you and as the other guys have said, no matter what happens you've already made this campaign a massive success.

29/03/2013 at 00:33

Steve, gutted for you having to make this decision after such dedicated training and amazing results since mid December.

Whether you run Paris or not, you have still gained so much, and the advice from the fabulous Asics team over the past few months will stand you in good stead for years to come.

GOOD LUCK with your decision, and for the many races to come!

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