...being the blog of steve kirkendall egomaniac-about-town


London Marathon training week twelve = 20 miles of grey

Another week of good running, folks. No mean feat (no pun intended) as this was the week with the biggest milestone so far, my first twenty mile run. After dispatching two grey sky six a.m. seven milers on Tuesday and Wednesday, Friday found me standing nervously outside my house, armed to the teeth with running gels, wondering if I was going to be able to complete a 20 mile run without disappearing into a cloud of steam.

Unfortunately, I had a disastrous start as I had to return home after a mile to pick up my forgotten running watch that I use to time my gel consumption. Turning the corner into the drive I noticed that the gale force wind I had just become acquainted with had blown over our recycling bin and decorated our Close with two weeks worth of cereal packets, newspapers and toilet rolls. So as the recycling lorry pulled up behind me, my lycra clad self had to run around and pick up all of the debris and pop it back in the bin before handing over to our bemused environmental operatives. “You don’t need to run now, you’ve had your exercise, hur hur” quipped the green bin man. Resisting the temptation to say “Thank you for your input, Oscar Wilde, but I have another 19 miles yet”, I just smiled wanly, and set off again into the wind under the ever present grey sky. The wind was against me for greater distances than it was for last week’s 18 miler, but luckily, it was behind me for the last four miles (or the zombie straight as I like to call it). And apart from flagging a bit near the Cathedral, I felt OK. And I didn’t feel like death warmed up when I finally got home, even managing to stretch properly instead of sitting down at the kitchen table, wheezing wildly. I never thought in my wildest dreams I’d ever run that distance and I feel more confident about running the marathon although I’m under no illusions what hard work it will be.

My sponsorship running total now stands at £1,011.31 (£1,261.64 with Gift Aid). Thanks to my latest sponsors, Dale, Jo, Mark, Karen and Jon, Jonny and Darragh (my Belfast-based Path buddies), Rob (the fastest man in Virgin Money), Rachel, Chris and the Blacklocks. If you are thinkng of donating this week on my Virgin Money Giving fund raising page please do so this Friday. Virgin Money Giving aim to make Good Friday great, by doubling any donation made that day via Paypal. It’s first come first served, so you’ll need to be quick!

Tags: running, virginlondonmarathon


London Marathon training week eleven = the early bird catches the morn

This was a good week for running. The light mornings now mean I can leave the house at 6.30am, have my run, a half hour sweatathon with breakfast, then leave for work knowing I havn’t got to fit all of that in at lunchtime. On the rare occasion that I’m not running under a grey sky, running that early is such a beautiful experience. Hearing the birdsong as the sun peers over the trees, seeing the low lying mist on the fields and feeling the reassuring wobble of my stomach – what Wordsworth would’ve made of such scenes if only he had a pair of trainers, eh?

OK, down to the nitty gritty. My runs this week went very well – only three this week as family commitments meant I couldn’t manage a run with my daughter on Sunday, so her boyfriend accompanied her instead. I had two good early runs, a gloomy Tuesday six miler and the sunny five miles on Thursday. And amazingly, my big run of 18 miles on Saturday went much better than expected. Run under the usual grey sky, the rain that was forecast never materialised and although it was really windy, for some inexplicable reason the wind was pretty much with me for the entire time. I kept it slow and steady, my body sang with the usual chorus of aches and pains towards the end, but I did it. It took me three hours and 20 minutes, but I did it. I was really tired at the end as you’d expect, but my chain gel-drinking habit ensured I wasn’t the shuffling husk that I have been on other long runs. Hopefully, my 20 miler next week will go just as well. Fingers crossed!

My sponsorship is still going well, the running total now stands at £864.30 (£1,080.38 with Gift Aid). I thank all of my lovely sponsors so far and remember, it’s easy to donate. Just visit my Virgin Money Giving fund raising page to make a donation. Remember, donating through the Virgin Money Giving site ensures more money goes to the charities I’m running for, Cancer Research UK and Asthma UK. Thanks!

Tags: running, virginlondonmarathon


London Marathon training week ten = another empty chair

Last week was a tough week, both mentally and physically. It was the week that my Uncle Brian finally succumbed to leukaemia. He told me he had been diagnosed with it last summer (a double whammy then as we were already coping with my Mother-in-law Pat’s terminal illness) and two weeks ago he rang and said that his Doctor had given him just weeks to live. My last visit with him a few days later was a good one, he was in good spirits and incredibly matter of fact about his condition. It was hard to believe at that moment he was dying. He lost consciousness last Wednesday afternoon and died peacefully later that evening. So now I have another reason to run for Cancer Research UK.

As for my training this week, it went well as my swollen ankle didn’t hurt to run on and I dealt with any further swelling with ice and Nurofen. The swelling had disappeared by last weekend, so I was able to make my big run of 16 miles on Saturday (switched from Sunday because of Mother’s Day). I still felt tired at the end, and my toes really hurt, but I didn’t feel as washed out as I did on my 15 miler a couple of weeks ago. I put this down to not running the day before and also seeing Mrs K while running across the ring road at mile ten which really lifted my spirits. And they needed lifting after running for three hours in the relentless rain.

On Mothers Day I ran with my daughter on her two mile training run as she’s running this years Race For Life in Norwich for her Grandma Pat. We’re really proud of her for doing this and I want to help her in any way I can. More news next week.

Tags: running, virginlondonmarathon


London Marathon training week nine = the moan from ankle

Steve Kirkendall's swollen feet

After a big 12 mile Sunday run, my training nose-dived last week due to injury. And, in keeping with my reputation as the World’s Clumsiest Man™, I actually managed to injure my self while walking. Yep, that’s right, just walking. It happened Monday lunchtime on my way to Sainsburys to buy more running gels and energy bars (so I can still claim it was running related). Five minutes into my journey, my right ankle just gave way and my foot folded underneath me. It hurt – oh, how it hurt – but as I was being watched by a gang of builders, I proved to them how butch I am by just grimacing and hobbling on, before walking around the corner and sobbing uncontrollably. I carried on the rest of the day as normal, but in the morning discovered that my right ankle had swollen to Jabba the Hutt-like proportions (see photo above). I couldn’t move it very well, but luckily, I wasn’t in pain. And I certainly didn’t want to run on it either, as I wanted to recover as fast as possible.

Luckily for me, the army of runners at Virgin Money gave me plenty of advice on how to get road worthy again, ranging from “Keep your ankle raised higher than your heart”, “Put plenty of ice on it” and “It will be alright, don’t be such a poof”. So using the newly learned RICE technique (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) and support socks bought by Mrs K (who called me a poof) I managed to reduce the swelling. After resting it all week, yesterday I went out for a really strong five and a half mile run, each mile being faster than the last. Now next week will be a return to my normal training schedule and all I have to do is not walk to Sainsburys.

PS. My sponsorship went through the roof this week, thanks to a little Facebook campaign I’ve started. This week, my Virgin Money Giving fund raising page went from a running total of £56.20 to a whopping £769.30! Many thanks to all the lovely, generous people who’ve donated so far. And remember if you haven’t already donated, it’s not too late!

Tags: running, virginlondonmarathon