West Quay Shopping Experience

I realise this is a neglected running/triathlon blog and I’ll try to do better so my 27 followers don’t start wondering what I’m up to!

We had an interesting day at West Quay Southampton. Very busy as expected for a Saturday.

I got my Swatch polished, chips removed and chrono reset for free. I bought it back in 2005(?) in France and they said that Swatch offer this great service and I didn’t really believe it! I am interested in getting another of their watches as value for money I don’t think they can be faulted especially the new System 51 which is a perpetual style watch with only 51 moving parts (that’s good) and only just over £100 (very good). With so many designs they have something for everyone.


Another chuck up for John Lewis helping us source a discontinued lampshade that DS smashed. We have the suppliers and codes we need so fingers crossed.

Bad day for Pizza Express in the food court. It’s so busy although we arrived before the hoards (1230). A massive slow queue formed very soon after and it became apparent that their sole aim was footfall to get you out ASAP rather than spend more. Poor. You can’t make a 3yo eat quicker! Whether this was because we were using Tesco vouchers I’m not sure but I know why it’s been a long time since I’ve been to a Pizza Express.

The mushroom risotto was swimming in oil (from the pesto we were told).


Not all bad the Rosa Marre Pizza was pretty awesome. I really enjoyed it. Broccoli, spinach, prawns and some heat. Top marks for that one.


Finally, the Ikea crèche is also fantastic and a great example of an in touch company knowing how to get people to relax and spend money, other stores could learn a lot.

Berlin Marathon race report

Split time of day time diff min/km km/h
5 km 09:05:10 00:19:36 19:36 03:56 15.31
10 km 09:24:29 00:38:56 19:20 03:52 15.52
15 km 09:43:39 00:58:06 19:10 03:50 15.65
20 km 10:03:05 01:17:32 19:26 03:54 15.45
Halb 10:07:21 01:21:48 04:16 03:54 15.42
25 km 10:22:34 01:37:01 19:29 03:55 15.38
30 km 10:41:56 01:56:23 19:22 03:53 15.49
35 km 11:01:44 02:16:11 19:48 03:58 15.15
40 km 11:22:39 02:37:05 20:54 04:11 14.35
Finish 11:32:23 02:46:50 09:45 04:27 13.53

I used some of Matt Fitzgerald’s Marathon nutrition and tried some new things with possible success (they certainly didn’t make me worse).  Caffeine abstinence 1 week out.  Maxifuel Viper Active VO2 max phosphate load that I have done previously.  Massage on Wed.  2 x normal beet-it shots on race morning 2-3 hours out.  I have bonked before so was keen to keep gel intake up.  Pasta at expo day before, Vietnam noodles and rice at 6PM night before.  Breakfast was a porridge pot (Oats so simple) and a banana.

I left the hotel at 0700 and got to start at about 0730.  45 min toilet queue, dumped bag and jog to start 5 min to go.  Took SiS gel.

Plan was as per the Marco plan I posted.  Having the HR values really helped rein me in and feel confident when HR was lower than expected. 3:59 until 3k, 3:56 to 14k, 3:54 to 28k and 3:51 to finish.  So I was aiming for 20:00 to 19:30 per 5k and was fairly well controlled.  4:00 was my first k so it started well.  Even when i was fast my HR was lower than expected so was happy to carry on.

I was a little faster than expected but my HR safety net was removed at 10k when my HRM started losing beats.  It was funny because it was the long downhill to the roundabout so I was watching it decrease and feeling pleased I was jogging along with a low HR and then it went well below my recovery HR and then below 100 and I knew it was wrong.  This was just by the water station so i negotiated that and tried jiggling it before taking it off and putting it in my pouch.  I believe it is due to the vaseline I put under my arms ‘melting’ down as I had previously use vaseline to lube the strap when it rubbed my navel during training and again that stopped it working.  I put vaseline underarms as I had a sore experience in last training run.

I felt good and was in the 2:45 group but I think I may have got a little excited and pulled away from them a bit but my splits weren’t really poorly paced.  I started to get some tightening in right hamstring (back of quad or glute area) and it is still tight now.  I have a biomechanical issue I think with poor right knee lift and maybe hip rotation.

I may get it looked at.

I took my gels at 8k and 16k and took the powerbar gel and took a swig of every cup pretty much although I had only trained with a 100ml bottle in my pouch on long runs with 1 SiS gel.  I didn’t mind the Powerbar gel but not as good as the SiS ones.

10k to go and the marathon ‘started’.  I think mentally I had tried to prepare for this but was shuffling and this is obvious in the videos.  I tried to spring along but couldn’t go for more than 10 seconds before settling into the shuffle.  I lost 3 minutes over the last 7k.  I had enough time at 10k to do 4:00m/m but as I have seen previously when the pace goes it goes the good points of this race was that I was only slow from 5k to go and lost very little compared to other marathons (1:22/1:24 Berlin, 1:23/1:32 Washington & VLM 2013).

On the home straight I knew I wasn’t sub 2:45 which was only the stretch goal anyway and I knew it’d be tight off my 35 min 10k calculation.  I played up to the crowds and really enjoyed myself.  Heel flick at the end was enjoyed by all (I had thought about doing it a few days earlier as I wanted to enjoy this marathon).  I did enjoy it.  352nd. 9 Min PB.  29 min off my VLM 2014 time!!!

I was slightly more spritely thank PP but I also perhaps hadn’t tried as hard.  I’d already seen his time which was amazing.  It was great to meet another forumite in person.  I had a flight to catch so went off to grab a sausage and beer.  I got a train back to the zoo and a taxi to the hotel.  On arrival I got a beer before chasing down my Mum which I’m glad I did.  There wasn’t time for me to get to the finish so chasing her was the only option really!  I met her at a bar by the river with my kit for a pint before heading to the airport.  Picked up some 47.5% Tanqueray Gin for 15 euros. I got home to Portsmouth at 2230 and slept terribly with my sore muscles resting on each IMG_5622 IMG_5665 IMG_5691other.  It reminded me of my post Ironman body.  Back to work on Monday.

So in summary I’m delighted with progress and Berlin is a stunningly fast “downhill corkscrew” I’d recommend to all.  I should have got my place back on the race team and hope to see you all at London where with some training and focus I hope to knock a bit more time off this.  Thanks!

Berlin Marathon 2014

Berlin Marathon (28.09.2014)

The Berlin Marathon – A great event for any athlete!

IMG_5622 IMG_5665 IMG_5691

The Berlin Marathon is a great event for athletes of all abilities. We asked Olly, a regular marathon runner and drinker of ERDINGER Alkoholfrei, to review the race for us.

“I was very excited to be travelling abroad to run a marathon. Once work finished on the Friday evening I started the journey and relaxed with some music and a book. The other travelling runners were easy to spot. They were already dressed in trainers and sports gear and you try to avoid eye contact before enquiring about times, hopes and dreams for the next few days.

On Saturday morning my trip to the ‘Expo’ was the first big event of the weekend to collect my number, chip and security wristband. Security is tight at major marathons after Boston. There was a small queue but it was very simple. I was in Berlin with my Mum (Julie Nokes) who was aiming to become a 2-time marathoner having also completed the London marathon this year as her first marathon in just over 5 hours. In need of refreshment we stopped off for an Erdinger Alkoholfrei and to buy the event pint glass, before heading back to the hotel to relax.

An uneventful afternoon of eating, reading and sleeping was perfect preparation for race day. We laid out our kit and tried to sleep.

Berlin starts at 0845, much earlier than London and so we had to be up early. I had a porridge pot, a banana and some beetroot juice before heading down to the start dressed in tights and a hooded CSI style top and gloves; it was about 8 degrees, perfect for marathoning!

Arriving at the start at 0745, I joined a toilet queue which was a good plan as I only reached the front at 0830! I knew the start was close and had no worries about being late. The kit drop was simple and I jogged the 1k to start pen B to hear “5 minutes to go” being called. Perfect timing. A few more light stretches and a shoelace check and I was ready to go. I remembered to take my first gel just before the off and then we surged forward. I was restrained and concentrated on keeping my breathing relaxed, not chasing the faster runners ahead and staying on pace and on the blue line which marks the shortest route whilst trying not to get tripped up in the throng which soon dispersed.

My restraint was rewarded as I hit my first splits as expected. My race plan had been based on a mix of heart rate and pace knowing that if I was running too fast but my HR remained lower than expected I could continue at that pace without burning any matches. At 10k (38:56) this was thrown into disarray as my HR monitor stopped giving me a sensible feed. I had no time to wonder why. I took it off and carried on running. I felt good and was in a good group so pressed on. I still felt good at half way (1:21:48) and was into my routine of gels and water. The water and energy drink is in cups which is a challenge if you haven’t practised drinking from one at nearly 10mph (the key is to pinch it to make a ‘V’, apparently).

Berlin feels fast. The long, wide strasse reminded me of an infinite ladder optical illusion where we seemed to always be running downhill yet arrived at the same place. It is so fast I pushed on a bit hard without the safety net of my heart rate monitor and got lost in the moment. It wasn’t until 35K that my hamstrings started to tighten and I knew I would lose some time. I kept trying to spring into my stride but would settle back into what seemed like a shuffle. The last 2 km twisted and turned but I knew the end was near. There is probably still a whole kilometre to go when you see the Brandenburg gate and it seems to take an age to reach. I passed through and knew 2:45 had been and gone but I was not disappointed and made sure the crowd saw I was having fun. I had my arms in the air, doing aeroplanes and as I crossed the line in 2:46:50 I jumped up clicking my heels together which suggests I perhaps had too much energy and could have run faster!

A great medal, an Erdinger Alkoholfrei to replenish carbohydrates and essential vitamins before meeting up with some new friends.

That should be the end of my tale but as I arrived at my hotel and started to enjoy another Erdinger I checked the Berlin Marathon App and saw that my Mum had just passed a timing mat a block away, 5 minutes ago. I acted on impulse. I downed the drink and left my kit at reception running towards the course. There were no barriers but I had to work out if she’d already passed by. I decided to press on my aching legs screaming at me as I overtook these hardly souls who I have so much respect for as they are out on the course far longer than me. Then I saw her in the distance. I caught her and took a photo of her before telling her how great she was to have got this far after not being able to run further than half way in training. She finished in 5:11 and is very proud of her achievement and so am I.

Writing this as the aches die away; the t-shirt, the medal, glass and trinkets remind me of this great day which will be remembered for many reasons but it is a day that reminds me why we do the long runs and hard track sessions in all weathers and sacrifice other commitments.”

Well done Olly on completing the Berlin Marathon in a PB of 2:46:50, the same day as a new World Record by Dennis Kimetto.

Berlin Marathon Taper

IMG_5486The training is over, i’ll struggle to lose more weight this time (73kg).  Average mileage has been around 45 miles per week and I have broadly followed the P&D Advanced Marathoning plan which has kept me injury free.  I had a couple of scares but a bit of rest sorted me out.  Now it’s time to rest, recover and hope for the best.  I feel in good shape, low heart rate and good recent performance at a 10k (35:23 PB).  It’s a big race so the key will be to keep calm.  I am abstaining from caffeine this week hoping to gain every advantage possible.  I’m secretly looking forward to putting it behind me and looking ahead to the winter training and getting my 10k time down.

Berlin Marathon Training – Week 1

With 12 weeks to go I am starting the P&D up to 55 mile plan (modified) to prepare for the Berlin Marathon.  I chose P&D as I have struggled in the final stages with speed endurance and I think the long M pace runs will help me solve this issue.  The Hanson plan would make me nervous as the lack of mileage may not suit me.  This week has been fairly light overall although I have run more miles than in previous weeks they have been at a fairly easy pace with the exception of the long run which was tough.  I also ran a 5000m championship race finishing 6th of 6 in 17:38 where the winner did 15:04!  The first K was a little quick (3:17) as I tried to stay with the tail but struggled to keep this pace but still finished 3 sec off my season’s best.



Mon – Rest Post Swashbuckler Middle distance – race report to follow

Tue – PM General Aerobic 7.8 miles (7:03m/m)

Wed – 5000m 17:38 (5:41m/m)

Thu – PM General Aerobic 9 miles (6:54m/m)

Fri – Rest

Sat – 4 Miles Recovery 31:56 (7:41m/m)

Sun – 14 w/ 8 @ ‘M’ Pace 1:35:45 (6:50m/m ave) Windy (6:31 m/m ave M pace).

Not a bad week especially starting a little tired after the triathlon.  The marathon pace wasn’t easy with my HR a little high in the wind and sun.  I am happy with 6:31 pace at the moment (2:50 pace) and hope that I will get fitter and the pace will improve.  A 40 mile week and my legs feel quite good considering.  Only 11 weeks to go!  Which is actually only 9 as 2 weeks are taper weeks so not much time to train.

I started the week at 76kg and weighed 75kg on Sun AM.  Ideally i’d like to be close to 70kg for Berlin so this is a good rate of weight loss achieved through healthy snacking and eating lots of avocado (basically every breakfast on toast)!

Nuun Hydration Tabs – Product Review



I tried these during the Swashbuckler Middle Distance triathlon. I sweated a lot and these really help with cramp. I find it easy to get bloated or feel too “full” drinking energy drink that can be too “gloopy” at times. With Nuun tabs there was none of that.  They also have caffeine which you need when you have been up since 0315 to be in the water at 0600 and the effects of the home made bean to cup cappuccino have long since worn off.  They were refreshing and the Ironman inspired “Kona Cola” flavour was really tasty.

Why do we get that flat coke craving? Anyway, no cramp and great taste. A little expensive compared to other products but I got them on offer half price so can’t complain. Why not give them a go? Remember to trial them before using on race day first and don’t have them for an afternoon session or you won’t sleep!

Adidas Supernova Glide Boost 6 – Shoe Review

The best pair of trainers I’ve ever owned are now on sale st Sweatshop:

If you subscribe to Runner’s World there’s a further 15% off so £51 for a trainer so soft you can forget you’re wearing them and just run.

The boost return is greater than the Adidas Sonic Boosts and come with more heel padding. The Sonics were quite flat and the Energy Boosts have a big heel/toe drop. This is a quality shoe that I have worn whilst returning from injury. I would recommend them and will be getting a second pair before they sell out.

(Not so) Secret weight loss tips!

March 2011 – Stafford Half 1:40:xx
June 2014 – Portsmouth 5000m 17:35


Bit of #nipslip going on with my moobs but looking like a real runner now! I just need the times to match.

Summer is here?

It’s time to get out on the bike and ride. I’ve been squeezing some good sessions into a tight work programme and looking forward to the Swashbuckler which I will be completing without pressure (for fun) on 6 July.

The XT has made me stronger and fitter overall. Maybe using the big muscles on the bike is helping my running. Core strength is helping too. My idea of having the arm power of a T-Rex was flawed and contributed to injuries.

I can’t seem to lose weight at the moment so next week when Berlin Marathon P&D training starts I will have to start eating (and drinking) healthily.

My new work is quite restrictive so I can’t be as flexible with my sessions and as I am no longer my own boss I’d better be prepared to put the hours in when I can if I’m going to go sub 3 again. That said my Beats/Mile is dropping all the time and this is whilst being 3kg overweight so I am expecting big changes.

I have also run 3 sub 18 5k races, winning my first ever race (5000m in 17:35) which was amazing.

Dealing with failure – run happy

I don’t like failing so my performance at this year’s London Marathon was a gut-wrenching blow.  In January I ran a 35:xx 10k and by the last 10k of London I was barely going under 10m/m.  

It has taken me a little while to come to terms with the situation and re-assess my plans.  One of the first things I have started doing is enjoying my running, rather than just think I need to do this in 6:00m/m but i’m a little tired i’ll just run and deal with the stats later.  It will get better results and make me happier.

My goal for the Autumn is Berlin and I am not going to tie myself to a time until I see how training is going.  First though I have the Swashbuckler half Ironman in July so I am working on my all round endurance/fitness and I could do with losing some weight.  I have no goal and look forward to a bit of a challenge and enjoying the New Forest.

My training and fitness is still better than last year I just need to stay injury free and build specific fitness which for me is a lack of endurance.  I ran 17:51 for 5k last week so the engine is in similar shape to last July.  It’s going to be emotional (unlike the World Cup – early exit I can safely predict)!