Monday, 29 September 2008
Looking back it was a great experience. The weather was perfect, sunny but not too warm and the crowds were out in force cheering us on which helped no end making for a special atmosphere befitting of one of the worlds greatest marathon races. With over 40,000 runners taking part it was the largest turn out yet in the events history. To top it off Haile Gebrselassie broke his own world record, set in the same race last year, by winning in a time of 2:03:59.
"I am so, so happy, everything was perfect, the weather was perfect, the spectators were perfect, everything - I am so happy," said Gebrselassie.
It's amazing to think that the great Gebrselassie finished just under 2 hours quicker than me. A stunning time, incredible!
In hindsight I realise there's a good chance I could have finished in under 4 hours if I hadn't tapered as long as I did. My taper lasted 5 weeks (the time between my longest training run and the actual race. See posting 'Marathon Training Schedules for detail'). In fact my taper should have been no longer than 3 weeks in order for me to be in top form. I've learnt an important lesson the hard way and will make sure that if I run another marathon in the future I won't make the same mistake.
What a mistake it was, with 12km to go I hit 'the wall'. All the good work Dave (my running partner) and I had done, it terms of keeping a 5 minute cushion, started slipping away kilometre by kilometre. Those last kilometres were the hardest run of my life. As I write this a day later I am still hobbling around like an old man and can hardly get up and down stairs, its quite pathetic really.
(me as I struggle through the last 300 metres to the finish line)
One thing both Dave and I can be sure of is that we gave 100%, were had nothing left to give.
I have to give a big thanks to Dave for his support throughout the run, my sister Amy for her great support and my love Betty not only for her support and patience but also for the great photo's you see in this posting.
Thursday, 25 September 2008
I seriously doubt that Alberto Contador, current leader of Team Astana, will stick around to play second fiddle to Lance and who could blame him having won both the Giro and Vuelta this year and the Tour last year, he's the strongest man in the peloton right now. He was recently quoted as saying:
"It would be quite complicated. I think I've earned the right to be the leader of a team without having to fight for it," he said in the interview published Tuesday. "And with Armstrong, there could be difficult situations in which the team would put him first and that would harm me."
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
I've decided to post my training schedule here for your perusal. I've actually posted 2 schedules, version 1 and 2. Version 1 is the training plan I created for myself after researching a couple of other plans I found on the internet. Version 2 is the plan as it developed in reality. For example, I had to change a number of my training days to other days due to time conflicts. This is an important point, I would recommend anyone training for an endurance event put together a training plan. However, you have to be flexible enough to be able to adjust the plan from time to time to be able to fit in other aspects of life. This doesn't mean missing sessions but rather re-scheduling where necessary.
The plan I used lasted 16 weeks with 4 runs per week. 16 week plans are fairly usual and are designed to enable you to train to the level required then taper with enough time to be in peak condition for the event. I'm sure there are some longer plans and maybe some shorter but 16 weeks sounded like it would suit me, not too long but long enough to bring myself to the right condition. Its important to remember that prior to embarking on such a plan it is necessary to be running base mileage for at least a couple of months so that once you start the plan you are already running 20 - 30 miles per week. Attempting to start a specific plan prior to running base mileage will, most probably, result in injury so beware.
Most plans will have 5 runs per week scheduled, I decided on 4 because I cycle at least 4/5 days per week to and from work. Thats between 80 and 100 miles. Also I occasionally head out with my cycling buddies at weekends for a 35/40 miler so I figured I'd keep the runs down to 4 days per week in order to not burn myself out.
As I mentioned in my first posting although I am fairly experienced as a runner this is my first marathon and I'm no training expert. What I write here is only my opinion based on actual training that I have done, it seems to have suited me well. (I'll know for sure when I've finished the run and see my time). If you're going to train for your first marathon you'd be well advised to get a check up with your doctor before embarking on any kind of training plan.
Friday, 12 September 2008
Armstrong cites raising awareness of the global cancer burden as his reason for returning to professional cycling. That in itself is a noble reason and if his return to cycling means it will help the millions of cancer sufferers around the world then I wish him all the best. However, I'm not so convinced that this is the only reason for his return. It's well documented that, although unproven, there are many who believe some of his victories may not have been won by natural ability alone. In short, alot of people out there think he doped. I would suggest an equally big motivator for Lance's return is to show to the world that he can win the worlds greatest cycle race clean and therefore in someway mute the detractors negative views of him.
I remember laying in bed one Saturday morning back in 2001 reading Lance's first book 'It's not about the bike'. I was about half way through it when I decided I just had to go out and buy myself a road bike and start putting in some miles that very day. I'd been debating about buying a road bike for many months. Lance's story was such a huge inspiration to me, reading his book gave me the final push to go out and no only buy the road bike I'd been dreaming of but also get more and more into cycling. In fact, during the early part of this decade I'll admit that Lance was my number 1 sporting hero, there is nobody that could touch him with everything he'd been through. However, as the years have passed I, along with many, have grown to view Lance's superhuman comeback with cynicism believing there is a strong possibility he used EPO.
My story won't be unique. Those of us that are fans of pro cycling are used to the 'hero to villain' scenario, there are unfortunately too many of these examples to mention. The difference with Lance compared to his contemporaries is his legacy. It will be far more positive than negative. He has placed the spotlight firmly on the battle against Cancer helping to raise hundreds of millions of Dollars in the process. No matter how he went about winning bike races nobody can ever take away the fact that he will have helped to save peoples lives. All the cynics out there, including myself, need to remind ourselves of this from time to time. Livestrong!
(See Vanity Fair's exclusive on Lance Armstrong http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2008/09/armstrong200809)
Thursday, 4 September 2008
The aim of this blog is to comment on anything to do with cycling, running and endurance sport in general as well as the occasional foray into the world of nutrition. I must stress however that I am only an enthusiast and hold no formal qualifications related to the subject matter. Anything you read here is only my opinion although I will endeavour to keep it as factual as possible when talking about any kind of health tips.
A bit about me, I'm a 37 year old guy working and living in London. I commute across London by bike every day (lots to write about there!) as well as getting together with my cycling buddies some weekends for a ride. I'm also in training for the upcoming Berlin Marathon on Sunday 28 September 2008. Although I have run my fair share of half marathons over the years this will be the first time I've attempted to run a full marathon. I'll probably tell you more about my preparation for the event in later blog. More importantly, by running this marathon I'm trying to raise as much money as possible for Cancer Research UK. If you'd like to donate please click this link http://www.justgiving.com/jasonbhandari. I'll be really happy if I finish in 3h 45mins, under 4 hours and I'll be satisfied. Fingers crossed between now and the race I don't get ill.