Thursday 20 January 2011

The first step is always the hardest

Okay. I've done it. I have started a blog. I now join the other luminaries of the blogosphere, such as the entire universe. But anyway, last to the party I may be, but I am no means the least. Luckily the bar seems to have been set nice and low for me. Let's hope this isn't a limbo contest - I'm not sure my knees could take the strain.

Anyway, terrible metaphors aside, why am I writing this blog? Well to be honest, it's mostly for myself, to give me somewhere to jot down various bits and pieces relating to my running exploits. I think my other half is getting sick of hearing about them so I need a different outlet. Plus it gives me something to do of an evening, getting out the thoughts for the day.

As the title of the blog may have indicated to you, it's about running mainly. I love running. Quite a lot. I've been running seriously for a couple of years now. I ran my first half marathon in September 2009 with my Dad, and we both crossed the line together in 2:12:02. It was a hell of a lot of fun and gave us both a fantastic feeling, particularly as we raised several hundred pounds for Cancer Research UK. I proceeded to smash this time two weeks later in Peterborough with a time of 1:39:33, and have been addicted ever since.

I'm a bit competitive. Those of you who know me may see this as an understatement. In fact I would go so far as to say it's the most understated comment anybody has ever made. Okay, sorry, that's the competitiveness again. In races I will often give myself little challenges, like "catch up to that guy before the finish line" or "sprint the last half mile". But generally I am competitive with myself. I like to see how far I can push things. As they say, "How do you know where the line is if you're not willing to go over it?". I think Machiavelli said that. Or maybe it was from the TV program Fringe... Anyway, it's true, and I'm always on the lookout for my limit.

And that's why I have decided to run the London marathon on April 17th 2011 - then run home again. That's a 26.2 mile race, followed by a 70+ mile jaunt home again. I expect the entire trip to be over 100 miles in total. It started out with just the marathon, trying to raise money for the National Society for Epilepsy. I have epilepsy myself, but it's well controlled through medication. Many people, however, are not as lucky, and epilepsy can take a terrible toll. If you look at the statistics, they're actually quite frightening - one in every 131 people in the UK has epilepsy, and 1 in every 20 people will suffer a one off epileptic seizure at least once in their life. There seems to be a social stigma with epilepsy. Despite this, epilepsy remains one of the most complex diseases and we still don't really know much about it. Part of this is due to the fact that they do not get the funding that some of the more "well known" diseases get. Some people simply do not talk about epilepsy because they either have it and feel that people may look at them differently (epileptics used to be burned as witches y'know), or simply do not know anything about it. Greg Grunberg, star of Heroes and Alias, has started a fantastic initiative in America, which encourages people to talk about the problem. Being famous himself, he has managed to rope in all of his showbiz friends, which has managed to get epilepsy out into the mainstream populous. All epilepsy needed was a decent PR rep, obviously!

Anyway, I have decided to do what I can to help. My reasons for the whole "extra 70 mile" thing is; a) to get the "wow" factor to make people more likely to be interested and hence to give their time and money, and b) to see if I can. So the question is, "can I do it?". Well, despite the fact that I have never officially run a marathon, I do often run marathon distances and beyond. My training is pretty intensive at the minute, with two runs of 20+ miles each at the weekend and running the 17 miles to work (with 15-20kg backpack) a couple of times a week, interpersed with cycling home from work most days, a couple of smaller speed runs, and now climbing as well. I'll do a post on my training another time, but it all seems to be absolutely fine so far. So I think I can do it. Scratch that, I know I can do it. I can't afford to think otherwise.

And if you want to help make a difference, please sponsor me!

So after all that, this brings me to the real reason for this blog. Basically, I wanted to set something up to let people track me on the day to see how I am doing. A blog, together with some GPS wizardry from Google Latitude, seemed the ideal way. So for the time being I will bore you and myself with my thoughts (no feelings though... eeww) - if I can be bothered!

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