Marcothon 2014

I had originally seen an Advent running challenge where there was a requirement to run a minimum of either 3 miles or 30 minutes (whichever came first) on every day during Advent and I thought that sounded like a good motivation through that part of December.  Then I researched Marcothon after James Dunmore had mentioned it to me, and that took things up another notch.

Marcothon 2014

Marcothon 2014

This blog will detail all of my qualifying runs for Marcothon 2014 and you can find them all on my Strava.

Monday 01 December 2014

I did a bergen run to get home from my personal training session, carrying 25lbs plus 2 litres of water in a rucksack on my back.  The run was slow and somewhat laboured because I was definitely tired after my PT session, which was good from one point of view because in turn meant that it qualified under Marcothon.

  1. Bergen Run (St Albans) – 2.3 miles – 31 minutes 03 seconds (25lbs + 2L)

Tuesday 02 December 2014

I was in the office today and decided to do a run from the Para Fitness course I am following. It was bitterly cold and windy outside and I felt slow, which showed in the final performance. I was doing a run with sprint intervals included in it, which meant I would be running for 15 minutes, then doing 10 repetitions of 30 seconds pushing hard and 30 seconds recovery, before finishing off with 10 more minutes of running. In that time I managed to cover 3.7 miles. I know I can do better than that.

  1. Para Fitness (work) – 3.7 miles – 35 minutes

Wednesday 03 December 2014

I was in the office and although meetings got in the way of a lunchtime run, I did still head out into the cold a little later on. It was not as windy as yesterday and I decided to run a straight 5k both to meet my Marcothon requirement and to see if I could achieve another PB. I wanted to run each mile at 8 minutes and 30 seconds pace, and was pleased to see the first mile come in at minutes and seconds, which gave me a slither of breathing room, but then the second mile was minutes and seconds and my advantage had been blown. I was also now running uphill for a long stretch so I just got my head down and pushed to see where I could get to. When the third mile came in at 7 minutes and 47 seconds I was shocked and had absolutely no idea where that had come from, but it spurred me to drive on to the end, and I did get my PB, although Strava will not acknowledge it, for some reason. I will just have to keep trying to better it week on week and get it recorded peoperly. Strava did give me a PB for 400 metres of 1 minute and 10 seconds.

  1. Run (work) – 3.1 miles – 25 minutes 24 seconds

Thursday 04 December 2014

I ran down to Verulamium Park to do my Para Fitness running session, and once I was at the path along the top from the lake I did 8 x 200 metres @ 70% with 200 metres recovery and 8 x 100 metres @ 70% with 100 metres recovery, measuring the distances by running alongside the football pitches, and when running back home I came further up Holywell Hill than I wanted to go because I could not get across through the traffic, so that turned into a nice little hill climb to finish off the session.

  1. Para Fitness – 6.4 miles – 1 hour 2 minutes 42 seconds

Friday 05 December 2014

I had plans for today. Not for the first time this year, work got in the way of those plans. I did have two things that simply had to happen, so I decided to combine them by taking a 3 mile route to run over to Waitrose to pick up a delivery from John Lewis. It was cold out and dark, and while my legs felt a little tight and heavy I did not think it was as slow a run as the timings showed it to be, with it creeping over 10 minutes per mile.

  1. Run (St Albans) – 3 miles – 30 minutes 37 seconds

Saturday 06 December 2014

I could still feel the excellent workout I had just been through with Joseph Brigham when I arrived at Dunstable Downs for a tabbing session. Tabbing is running with weight while wearing boots, for those of you who do not know. It was very cold, frosty and icy up there and I had the disadvantage of having to change out of my workout kit and into my tabbing kit. This was especially so when it came to changing my footwear and getting into my socks and boots. Even with two pairs of socks I could barely feel my feet and toes. I put on a fleece and gloves, and still felt cold so I got going. I felt slow and it was definitely heavy going, even when I had warmed up, but I pushed on to complete one circuit, which was all I had time for today. I will have to do a lot more tabbing through December.

  1. Tabbing (Dunstable Downs) – 5.4 miles – 1 hour 25 minutes 03 seconds (25lbs + 2L)

Sunday 07 December 2014

I had the children this weekend and we were indoors making a gingerbread house and watching cartoon movies. If it had not been for the Marcothon I would never have dragged myself outside for a run.

  1. Run (home) – 3.2 miles – 30 minutes 19 seconds

Monday 08 December 2014

Monday was not a good day for personal reasons. I eventually got out for a run at gone 2100, and it was very cold outside. If it had not been for the fact that I am doing Marcothon through December I would not have bothered. Even so, I got a PR on the Holywell Hill Climb segment on Strava, which is always pleasing.

  1. Run (St Albans) – 3.5 miles – 32 minutes 43 seconds

Tuesday 09 December 2014

Work got in the way of things this time and so I found myself going for a run at just before 2300. Once again it was very cold out there. I did get a PR on the Sandridge Road Climb segment on Strava, but I had only run it once before.

  1. Run (St Albans) – 3.3 miles – 33 minutes 08 seconds

Wednesday 10 December 2014

It is really getting stupid now. I got out for my run just before 2330 because that was the first opportunity I got to go. I got a PR on the Prospect Road segment on Strava.

  1. Run (St Albans) – 3.2 miles – 27 minutes 03 seconds

Thursday 11 December 2014

I was in Salford overnight so that I was ready for a business meeting in the morning, so I took my run around the Salford Quays, which was fun. I was happy with the pace of the run.

  1. Run (Salford) – 3.6 miles – 32 minutes 03 seconds

Friday 12 December 2014

I had not managed to get in a morning run in Salford, so had to go out for one when I got home in the evening. I got a PR on the Holywell Hill Climb segment on Strava and a 2nd fastest time on the Prospect Road segment.

  1. Run (St Albans) – 3.1 miles – 28 minutes 27 seconds

Saturday 13 December 2014

We went to a new parkrun location for us at Panshanger, near Hertford, and it was an entirely off-road course. It looked stunning in the morning frost and as it will be excellent training for the OCRs I run, we will go there more often.

  1. parkrun (Panshanger) – 3.1 miles – 31 minutes 36 seconds

Sunday 14 December 2014

I ran down to the gym with Debbie and while she went inside for a spin class I carried on for some hill repeats, doing three of them and putting in a PR and a third fastest time with two of them on the Verulamium Path Climb segment on Strava, which I was very happy with. I think that shows the progress I have made with my running.

  1. Run (St Albans) – 5.1 miles – 57 minutes 37 seconds

Monday 15 December 2014

I was in Northampton for a series of meetings but with no time to go for a run up there, so I went out when I got back home in the evening.  I should have gone out as soon as I got home, but I delayed and in the end got out after 2130.  It was not too cold, and I did manage to post another PR on the Holywell Hill climb segment of Strava, although it must be pointed out that this is a ‘climb’ which crosses Holywell Hill (at the pedestrian crossing which is by the leisure centre) rather than one which actually goes up Holywell Hill.  I also got a second fastest time on the Prospect Road segment.

  1. Run (St Albans) – 3.0 miles – 27 minutes 26 seconds

Tuesday 16 December 2014

I had a meeting in Edinburgh in the day and then another meeting in Milton Keynes in the evening, so I decided that I had to go for my run very early in the morning to ensure I got it in.  I did not want to fail Marcothon half way through the month.  I chose to repeat a run which kept me close to the house so that as soon as I hit 3 miles I could get back home and off to the airport.  I was tired and did think twice about going out, but once I was out there at 0540 it was fine, if a little cold.  I managed a PR on the Lancaster To Boundary segment on Strava, and a second fastest time on the Sandridge Road climb segment.

  1. Run (St Albans) – 3.2 miles – 30 minutes 11 seconds

Wednesday 17 December 2014

I had stayed overnight in Little Horwood, a village near to Milton Keynes, and decided to go for my run in the morning, if only to get a different location on to Strava.  It was very dark when I woke up and even though I delayed going out for a while it was still very dark when I did set off after 0700, which made things a little risky out on the country roads.  I got back to the hotel for a breakfast of porridge and strawberry jam.

  1. Run (Little Horwood) – 3.2 miles – 30 minutes 15 seconds

Thursday 18 December 2014

I was tired when I got home and I ate too close to setting off for my run, so it felt heavy and laboured from the beginning, and I also seemed to meet traffic at every road junction I arrived it, which meant it came as no surprise when this run came in as a slow one.  I did still manage a third fastest time on the Lancaster To Boundary segment on Strava.  This was my third time running it.

  1. Run (St Albans) – 3.2 miles – 32 minutes 09 seconds

Friday 19 December 2014

We were travelling up to Derby today and I did not have time for an early morning run to get it done, so I waited until the evening.  I seem to have picked up something which is causing some pain over my left ribs, but I just have to push on through that.  I set off running a route I used to do when I first got into running two years ago, and not only did it feel so much easier, but it also felt so much shorter, which presented me with a problem because I needed to do at least 3 miles !  The wind was blowing a gale out there but it was not too cold and I ran round the local streets until I got past my 3 mile distance, which took me over 120km for December so far.

  1. Run (Derby) – 3.1 miles – 29 minutes 00 seconds

Saturday 20 December 2014

We travelled from Derby up to the Lake District, and that was going to open up a whole different world of training opportunities for the next week.  I started things off with a run from the place we were staying in, first of all going round the field next to the house, which was much easier said than done because the ground underfoot was swampy at best, and from there I set off down the road away from the house and kept on until I got to Spark Bridge, very much aware of how far downhill I had come and what would, therefore, face me on the way back.  I had left late in the afternoon and now it was dark so I was being very careful on the roads, stopping at one point when a bus was coming towards me and I could hear a car coming up behind me, until I got back to the steep road which would lead me back to where we were staying and I managed to run past that driveway, carrying on up the slope quite some way before I knew something must have gone wrong.  It was not as if I needed any more elevation added in as I was doing 699ft anyway.  I came back down, found the driveway, and my intended 3 mile run had ended up being 4.8 miles in the rain.

  1. Run (Spark Bridge) – 4.8 miles – 59 minutes 40 seconds

Sunday 21 December 2014

In the morning we braved the rain and drove over to Coniston to climb The Old Man Of Coniston.  I doubted that the hike would count towards Marcothon 2014 so I went for a run in the evening as well, just to make sure.  I did not want to drop out of Marcothon with only 10 days left to go.

  1. Run (Lake District) – 3 miles – 33 minutes 36 seconds

Monday 22 December 2014

I went for a tabbing session in the Lake District, which you can read about here.

Beacon Tarn

Beacon Tarn

  1. Tabbing (Blawith Common) – 4.9 miles – 1 hour 59 minutes 58 seconds (35lbs + 2L)

Tuesday 23 December 2014

I followed the same running route as last week for an early evening run, coming away from where we were staying and going uphill for around 1.6 miles before turning around and coming back, taking in over 400ft of elevation.  This time I went at a faster pace than my previous run on this course.  It was dry and not too cold.

  1. Run (Lake District) – 3.1 miles – 33 minutes 56 seconds

Wednesday 24 December 2014

We went for a hike to the top of Holme Fell, but even though we had been to the top of a mountain, I still had to do my run for Marcothon 2014, and stuck with the same route as the day before, again going out in the evening and again posting a faster pace.

  1. Run (Lake District) – 3.1 miles – 32 minutes 44 seconds

Thursday 25 December 2014

It was Christmas Day and I decided to get my run done in the morning so that I was free to enjoy the rest of the day.  I followed the same route again, and posted a faster pace again.  It was not too cold outside, and it was a lovely Christmas morning.

  1. Run (Lake District) – 3.1 miles – 31 minutes 16 seconds

Friday 26 December 2014

We had saved our Christmas hike for Boxing Day and walked through the increasingly heavy rain to the top of Black Crag (which is also known as Black Fell, but I think Black Crag sounds better).  Once again, I still had to do my run for Marcothon 2014, and stuck with the same route I had been doing this week.  This time it was different because it was very wet underfoot and towards the top of the hill there was a deep puddle across the road.  I did not see the puddle until too late on my way out, so ended up running through it, and on my way back I did not see any point in doing anything differently, so just ran through it again.  My pace was just slower than the day before, which I partly put down to the change in the ground conditions and partly to this run being in the dark.

  1. Run (Lake District) – 3.1 miles – 31 minutes 26 seconds

Saturday 27 December 2014

It took us over 6 hours to drive from the Lake District to down near Derby, and when we got there we found snow on the ground.  If it had not been for Marcothon 2014 I would not have gone out for a run, but as it was I found myself out there in the frozen, snowy and icy conditions, running round the local roads.  The run itself felt pretty easy and my Merrell All Out Rush coped very well with the conditions, and I definitely got the impression that my hill runs in the Lake District will have done me a lot of good.

  1. Run (Derby) – 3.6 miles – 36 minutes 36 seconds

Sunday 28 December 2014

I went out for an afternoon run with Debbie, and as she wanted to do 3 miles, which matched my Marcothon 2014 requirement, I was happy.

  1. Run (Derby) 3 miles – 34 minutes 47 seconds

Monday 29 December 2014

I decided to run the same route as the day before and managed PRs in the Bridge To Entrance, Elvaston Stone Path and The Stone Path Sprint ! segments on Strava.  It is nice to find some segments in the area and I will try to run them again.

  1. Run (Derby) – 3.3 miles – 30 minutes 35 seconds

Tuesday 30 December 2014

I meant to get out earlier but in the end went for my run in the dark in the evening, running the route around the local roads.  I managed to run faster than I had done the last time on this route, and I got a PR on the Elvaston Lane segment on Strava.  I do like these Strava segment PRs even though they mean very little when I have only run the route a few times

  1. Run (Derby) – 3.6 miles – 33 minutes 01 seconds

Wednesday 31 December 2014

I went for my run in the evening again, and followed the same route as the night before.  It had clearly been raining since we had been out for a walk along a local canal at lunchtime, which was good in places because it had cleared the last remnants of the recent snow, but not so good in other places because the rain had simply added another layer of ice.  I managed to beat the PR on the Elvaston Lane segment on Strava I had set the previous evening and brought in the whole run in a faster time, which was a nice way to complete Marcothon 2014.

  1. Run (Derby) – 3.6 miles – 32 minutes 47 seconds

And that was it.  An Advent running challenge which had turned into something for the whole of December, and I had managed to put in the necessary run on every day.  I had covered 109.9 miles.  I would certainly not do this every month, but I suspect I will be back again next December to take on Marcothon 2015.

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