Thursday, 30 August 2007

15 clockwork miles

I was hoping to run 15 miles on Saturday, but the other events of the week don't make that very convenient. So it was today, or not at all.

I decided to see if I could run 15 miles at 8 minutes per mile - the pace at which I did 12.1 on Tuesday. This would be a good test to see if I could maintain the same pace at a slightly increased distance, and to see if my legs had the endurance to do so only 2 days later. This may be about the pace I aim for on the marathon itself so it would help me know how feasible that was. Plus it would take about 2 hours, which is the minimum you need to run if having a training run to increase endurance (or so saith the Internet, anyway).

I've only run a distance of exactly 15 miles once before, 6 weeks ago today. That was the first time I'd ever run further than 12.1 miles. Then, I did 3 laps of the hilly circuit, but I'd like to be able to move my knee joints again before mid-September - so that didn't seem like a good option. Instead, I ran 5 miles up the A6, then back, and then did a lap of the hills. Happily someone's removed the rotting adult badger from the back road - the stink was getting so bad it was getting difficult to avoid heaving!

As far as the timings went, it was almost clockwork. I was within a few seconds of the overall pace throughout the first 11 miles, and then there was a very slight acceleration to get home in 1:58:58. The first 5 miles were done in 39:38, the second in 40:21, and the third in 38:59. This time was 13 and a half minutes faster than when I did this distance 6 weeks ago - over 50 seconds per mile. From about half way, I could feel in my legs those 12.1 miles I did on Tuesday, and the last 4 miles felt very tough; I got a stitch, my hips started whinging, and the big hills called me nasty names as I ran up them (I think). My knees felt pretty good though, and the watch kept telling me that the pace was being maintained. All in all, today's run was a real confidence booster. 9 and a half weeks to go!

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Wednesday, 29 August 2007

A little bit about West Pokot

The remoteness of West Pokot is well illustrated by the shortness of its Wikipedia page. There is, though, within the 6 sentences of that epic read (one of which is the glorious revelation "Pokot people inhabit the area.") a hint at something significant: "Tegla Loroupe, one of the most famous Kenyan female runners is from West Pokot."

A typical sight in West Pokot

In fact, Pokot is part of the north-west Rift Valley quadrant of Kenya which is responsible for about as many of the world's top ten marathon runners in the last decade as... the rest of the world put together. Did you notice that a Kenyan won the marathon at the world championships a few days ago? He was raised in Eldoret, in the Rift Valley. The world marathon world record holder? Paul Tergat, from the Rift Valley. If I ran a single mile 90 seconds slower than he can reel off 26, I'd likely vomit up my breakfast. Tegla Loroupe, mentioned above, holds the world records at 20, 25 and 30 kilometres and is a former ladies' marathon record holder.

Pokot: A very beautiful place.

So, it's somewhat ironic to be running a marathon on behalf of Pokot! They are part of the world's hotspot for producing talented marathoners. What they don't have, but we do have, though, is the opportunity for a good education for our children. We have the opportunity to give them that opportunity. A little money will go a long way in Pokot. Read about the cause and make secure donations here.


Tuesday, 28 August 2007

12.1 miles at a reasonable (for me) pace

Today I set out for 12.1 miles. It's satisfying to look back to 6 and a half weeks ago when I did this for the first time - then it was not long after coming back after gastoenteritis and it was my first attempt at such a distance for a decade (and then it was only once!); I staggered through the last couple of miles and truly felt dead-beat afterwards.

Several weeks of training later, though, I can consider this distance as just a medium challenge and not something to get too worked up about. The course is two laps of my 5 mile route (with 3 climbs) and then 2.1 miles (flat) to the next village and back.

Last time I did it (4 weeks ago) I took about 41 minutes for each of the first 2 laps, then 17 minutes to finish off. Today I was aiming to take a minute off each of those 3 stages.

The outcome was 40:28 after 5 miles and 79:58 after 10; followed by another 16:12 to finish it off; average 7:57 per mile in all. A few muscles felt like something was up in the last couple of miles and I had to hop a few paces, so I didn't push it for a swifter finish. I want to train again this week! Hence a total time of 96:12 which was 2:36 quicker than last time, so progress has been made. My left knee felt like pretty sore most of the way round; it'd probably be wise to rest it tomorrow.

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Monday, 27 August 2007

Little trot

I got out of bed this morning and trotted through 5 miles. I had a head-cold from Saturday evening so was feeling a bit weak. (I felt exhausted after preaching on Sunday morning).

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Saturday, 25 August 2007

Introduction; 5 miles today.

(My full marathon website:

The Dublin marathon, should I make it, will be my first. I did a bit of running when training for another sport 10 years ago. Once I ran a 12-miler (or so - wasn't measured) as part of that. This April I was sitting at my desk, listening some invigorating music, when I decided to go for it. Beware of invigorating music.

As I'm a Christian, I won't take part in Sunday sports. (To understand this, you really need to see the scene in "Chariots of Fire" where Eric Liddell gives a magnificent delivery of these words to the Prince of Wales. The future king of England was pressuring him to run in the Olympics on a Sunday for his king and country (link):

Eric Liddell: "God made countries, God makes kings, and the rules by which they govern. And those rules say that the Sabbath is His. And I for one intend to keep it that way").

That severely restricts the options for which marathon to run! I only found one other this year - the "Seven Sisters" marathon near Eastbourne. The website for that says that it's hilly and will take you half an hour longer than a road marathon... so that was an easy decision!

So far I've clocked up just about 336 miles. Time to get some new trainers before they fall apart the week before the big day!

Today and yesterday have been pretty hot. But I haven't run any fast runs this week, so today I felt I had to go for one. 5 miles in 35:57, which is my new record. There's a 5-mile circuit from my house which includes 3 good hills. After 2 miles I felt I'd definitely set out way too fast; but after the biggest hill there's a nice sheltered downhill run for about half a mile, and I felt better after that. Everything feels like it's in working order still.

Read about the cause and make secure donations here.

Welcome! Here's the cause...

Hello! I should have set this blog up a while ago. The purpose is as follows: I hope that some of my visitors will be moved to donate to the cause!

The Dublin marathon, if I get there, will be my first marathon. Its cause is to raise money to fund teachers and schools in a very under-developed part of Kenya (no electricity or water, terrible roads). A little money in that particular place will go a long way. Investing in children's education is one of the most effective to help people in places like these. Can you help?

I'm digging for water. I'd rather go to school!

I have a website up with more information (including dozens of photos), and can take debit/credit card donations securely, and re-claim gift-aid to boost the value of UK gifts by 28%. Please consider donating what you can, and passing on this link to anyone and everyone you know who has an interest in Kenya, development and/or education. Link me from your blog, pass it on to e-mail lists, mention it on your website, print it out - whatever you can.

All the details, lots of photos, here:

Please educate us! Go here!

David Anderson