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.
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
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:
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