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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04/04/2013 at 14:19

Hey Steve,

If it's not too much pressure, would you consider starting a Steve's 2nd journey ... style-post when you enter your next marathon? I would love to follow your journey for your 2nd 1st marathon!

However, may be forced to trip you if you start looking too likely to beat my marathon time too easily in your first ...

04/04/2013 at 15:26

Steve, you're a gent. I will be glued to the computer on Sunday. 

05/04/2013 at 00:00

Steve - I'm doing the rounds just to wish everyone luck and in no way did I want to leave you out. In some ways I think you need more good luck wishes than everyone else. To go there and not race is harder than going and racing in my opinion.

I really hope you enjoy the trip. I think you have every reason to. Try to focus on all the many positive things that have happened through this process and you'll have plenty to smile about.

I don't think our paths crossed at boot camp but through the voting madness that followed I feel I got to know you quite well. 

It has been a pleasure following your progress. I've had a blast reading your amusing comments and I look forward to doing that again once you're back up and running.

All the bery best. 

05/04/2013 at 08:01

Don't get too drunk, Steve   Have a great trip.

05/04/2013 at 20:26
Sound like you will have a busy weekend with the updates! I really hope you have a great weekend.
07/04/2013 at 18:45
Really hope you enjoyed today too.
07/04/2013 at 20:37
Hi Steve,

Hope you were alright today, must have been difficult to have watched the race but it was the only decision.

I said that my 'dodgy' form had tighten my muscles, the physio sorted out my thigh but said all my muscles were tight. I have more appointments booked. Anyway I got to 20k and had to stop and stretch. Then I started walking! I wasn't in pain but discomfort. Stupid thing was my thigh was the only muscle not hurting. It's not fun walking, I felt very lonely. My Garmin was showing a pace I could normally do whilst hopping and I watched the time tick away. It's disappointing knowing that I could do better. I finished in 4h44. At least it's a PB waiting to be smashed.

You have to dig down deep for a marathon, you've shown that you have this quality, when you are mended it won't be easy but you should do well.

I enjoyed the start, I high fived loads of kids and the crowds were fantastic. I had my name printed on my T-shirt, loads of people cheered me on. The downside was when I was walking, it was easier to read so the crowd were telling me to move it. After a last 5k of 50 min (a record) I managed to run the last k. The crowds at the finish were packed and very enthusiastic, they were shouting my name. I felt like a cheat because I had walked most of the race. Unfortunately I didn't see any of the famous 5 but meet loads from the Paris forum.

I take away a great experience, especially the training and the forums.

I presume that you participated in the celebrations. You all merited it.
08/04/2013 at 23:01

Hi PC91,

So sorry to hear how the race turned out but you should be as proud as hell of yourself that you finished the course and went the distance - there will be plenty more races in future that will go the way you want them to and, like you say, that PB is going to be massive next time round

Thanks for the support and the smiles

08/04/2013 at 23:02

Thanks for all the kind comments guys - I could write post after post about the weekend, which was tough in one or two places but ultimately a huge, huge pleasure to be involved in... Here's one post to be going on with:

08/04/2013 at 23:03

So after my promise to give a blow by blow account of Paris... my phone decided not to work at all as soon as we emerged from the Channel Tunnel!

I’ve had loads to tell and we’ve all had a fantastic weekend... and I’ve had to sit there on it in silence...

First of all, I just want to say a massive, massive congratulations to my teammates who all ran fantastic races and did themselves so proud – they all hit their targets and they all executed fantastic races that truly merited the weeks and weeks of preparation they had put in.

For Mel to beat her goal of going sub 4:30 by nine minutes so soon after losing Martin yet to be smiling every single time I saw her and for her to be such a positive influence and make everyone else smile almost as much as her was a pleasure to witness. Mel is an amazingly strong person and, even if she doesn’t realise it, she really did help me through what, in the grand scheme of things, is just a blip but what I have found pretty tough so I was so pleased to see her cross the line (still smiling) and be able to walk with her to collect her medal.

For Ady to achieve his goal of going sub 3:30 and run a PB of I think 13 or 14 minutes was an amazing run – seeing the smile on his face afterwards was fantastic and I think I have made a real friend. He is such a level-headed guy and very determined. Not only did he hit his target but he also lost nearly a stone in weight (!) and he has impressed me so much with his dedication. I also happen to know that his previous best spilt was a thirteen minute positive split for a marathon – he got round Paris in only a two minute positive split... What a fantastic improvement!

Sarah, RunnyRunRun, absolutely smoked it! Whether it was the thought of tucking into all those crème eggs she has stockpiled in the freezer, I don’t know but... wow! She ran a 20 minute PB!! Sarah and I have chatted loads and loads since the beginning of this whole experience and we had such a great time during the initial voting process, messing around with silly ways to get votes and annoy everyone we know with talking about nothing else... To see her achieve her Boston Qualifier and much more besides was fantastic and I’m so pleased for her to have made such a massive leap forward in performance.

As for Alex... wow, what a runner! He wanted to go sub 3:00 yet run a stellar 2:53 – and, from what I saw on Ady’s thread, actually did that with a toilet break thrown in for good measure! Talking to Alex over the weekend really gave me a boost and motivation to improve my own running. He really considers and thinks about what he is doing and does what needs to be done to improve his performance and the results are there to see. I can only dream of running times like he does but he does show you what hard work and applying yourself can achieve. When he told us he ran his first marathon a few years back in 4 hours 30mins odd we almost fell off our chairs – this guy has worked and worked and shown such huge improvements that it almost doesn’t bear thinking about... there’s hope for the rest of us yet! He came about 530ith out of the whole field of not far off 40,000 – hope you are feeling very proud of yourself, mate.

Secondly, I want to say a huge thanks to the all the guys who made this competition possible – the guys and girls from Asics and Runner’s World not only work really hard but they’re also a great bunch and us runners had nothing but fun all weekend. I won’t mention them all by name and embarrass them but it was a genuine pleasure to meet them all and I’m so grateful that they took me to Paris to finish the experience that the five of us started together.

And how can I forget the experts who have been respon

08/04/2013 at 23:03


responsible for such amazing runs by the Target 26.2 guys and who allowed me to blow my own expectations out of the water.

I’ve read Sam’s articles in Runner’s World for a long time and I remember having a rather embarrassingly star-struck conversation with Sarah about how she had her book and how excited we were to have met her. Sad but true! To have her as my coach was an honour and a pleasure and, Sam, you’ve changed my running beyond all recognition. Without wishing to give her too big an ego, she is also a genuinely nice person who so obviously loves what she does and her knowledge and enthusiasm make her a pleasure to be around.

Ruth has led me to make wholesale changes to my diet. Even if I never, ever ran again, I’m now so much healthier. Actually, only if you discount this weekend! I’ve carb-loaded with the guys like a good’un! Ruth, if you’re reading this, I’m very sorry. I probably should have stopped after the third kilo of pasta... :/

As for physio Sarah, I’m just so, so grateful to have had her around after everything that has happened – I’ve had friends saying things to the effect that maybe this competition was not much more than an advertising stunt or whatever but people like Sarah show how untrue that is. Yes, there is of course a commercial element but it is so much more than that and there is a massive, massive human element. Sarah has taken so much time out to talk me through things, to reassure me, to treat me and offer her expertise. She has sat on the phone to me for a long time whilst on holiday, she basically gave up most of training day two to looking after and assessing me and has pretty much made me promise to keep her very much in the loop with what happens with my knee going forward. Much love.

I’ve got a few photos and a lot of Paris stories to tell and I do have a day off work tomorrow so I’ll leave this mini-essay here and pick it up tomorrow. There have been pick-pocketings, cheese jokes, smiles, a hell of a lot of food, potato-free gnocchi, a VIP area that rivalled a Formula 1 paddock, a secret that will go with me to the grave and a celebratory drink or two...

It was a great weekend and such a pleasure to be able to share it with four great people who did themselves proud.

09/04/2013 at 00:17

Steve, thanks for the update - great stuff as always. Really glad you managed to enjoy the weekend. Looking forward to more stories. You can start with

"a secret that will go with me to the grave"  !!!

Edited: 09/04/2013 at 00:19
09/04/2013 at 06:35
Malcs wrote (see)

"a secret that will go with me to the grave"  !!!

Perhaps he doesn't like bacon at all!!!!

09/04/2013 at 07:23
Your grave could arrive sooner if you don't tell us.
09/04/2013 at 08:44

Well done Steve.  it was a bittersweet time for you, but I'm sure your own story is not yet over  

Good luck with your future training and racing.

09/04/2013 at 09:07
Kandinsky wrote (see)
Malcs wrote (see)

"a secret that will go with me to the grave"  !!!

Perhaps he doesn't like bacon at all!!!!

Ha That would be a shocker! 

Steve you better spill the beans or the speculation will only get worse...

Ruth eats at Burger King 6 times a week but not on Sunday where she switches to KFC?

Sarah is in fact an escaped lunatic living under an assumed identity and was arrested at the border on your return? (we all know she's a lunatic, just a question of whether she was in protective care)

Finally my biggest fear, you're not really a lawyer - you're a traffic warden?! 

09/04/2013 at 09:13

Special K ?


09/04/2013 at 14:03
Malcs- how did you know? You must have your scottish spies!!!
Look forward to the photos! Perhaps they can help us extract this secret otherwise
Steve we know where you live.......
09/04/2013 at 18:05

Ruth - damn I thought I'd got it then So the mystery continues. I'm willing to offer the remainder of a Buzz Light Year easter egg to anyone who comes forward with information.

10/04/2013 at 21:08

Steve, thank you for your very kind words. It's been an absolute pleasure to work with you and I am so sorry that you weren't able to make the start line on this occasion. However, I have every faith that it won't be long before you do run your first marathon and that it will be in a time that many first timers will find awe inpsiring

But first, you've got the hurdle of the operation and rehab to get over so lets not rush things. As I said in Paris, I think a triathlon would be a great aim for this summer - it gives your cross training a focus, it gives you a goal and it allows you to exercise your competitive streak ALL without overdoing the running too soon. Triathlon is a trusty friend to running 

Wishing you all the best for a speedy and complete return to running post-op. Keep me posted and let me know if I can help in any way.

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