Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Virgin London Marathon 2015 - RACE REPORT

This year's Virgin London Marathon (VLM) was the realisation of a long held dream to run the world's largest marathon which has seen me unsuccessfully gain a place through the ballot for the last 4 years.  After reading about the fantastic work of Hospice UK and their support of hospices throughout the UK I decided that I would apply for a coveted golden bond charity place, with a £2000 fundraising target. After 4 months of dedicated training, covering 400+ miles, I felt fitter than I had ever been during my 4 previous marathons.  This weekend was what it was all about, that sub 3hrs15mins target that I had set as my goal for the last 2 years.

After heading down to London on the Saturday my first stop was the VLM Expo at the Excel centre.  The main reason for attending was to pick up my race pack which included my number, timing chip and final instructions for race day.  The Expo had been open since Wednesday but the Saturday was always their busiest day, with over half of the 40,000 runners expected.  Despite the big crowds everything was really well organised and I joined a relatively small queue and received my pack within a few minutes.

As I moved into the main hall I could really feel the buzz and excitement of the other runners, as well as plenty of nervous and anxious ones.  The main hall itself was very busy and it was a bit of a squash moving through the endless trade stands of running paraphernalia, from  running shoe brands through to physio tape, wireless earphones, GPS devices and any other conceivable running gadget.  I made my way to the Virgin Money lounge as I new there was some keynote speakers there who would be giving advice about race day.  As I listened to an entertaining presentation which showed runners what to expect at each part of race day and the course itself it all began to seem very real, with a mixture of nerves and excitement churning up in my stomach.  The obligatory picture next to the VLM logo after the presentation and then it was off to find the Hospice UK stand.

The charity itself had over 100 runners entered into the marathon, each with a story and their own special reason for running.  It was great to see Nicola and Sarah-Jane from the charity, after meeting them the previous month of the Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon.  Another obligatory photo call next to the charity's logo and it was time to leave the expo and head to the hotel.

In order to avoid battling public transport on race day, I chose a hotel which was close to the start. The Greenwich Hotel were ready for the runners with a special evening menu and an early breakfast.  A sneaky pint in the bar after dinner set me up for a great night's sleep, waking on race day morning fresh and ready for what lay ahead. 

Pre Race Breakfast & Photo call
The 2015 miles comrades
meet at last!
 At 7:30am I joined the other Hospice UK runners hosted by the charity at the Spanish Galleon pub, Greenwich.  This was an opportunity to meet the rest of the 'team', particularly those who had been so active on our Facebook group - I particularly relished the opportunity to meet the legendary Simon Singleton - marathoner extraordinaire!  A quick coffee, banana and final kit check and there was just time for a team photo before heading off together to the race start.

Pre Race Breakfast
Team Hospice UK 2015

The Race!
After a 10 minute walk to Greenwich Park the group naturally split up and most went their separate ways to drop off  kit bags onto the lorries and join the BIG queues for the infamous portaloos!  I soon found starting pen 2 and got myself ready for the start of the race. I was much closer to the Red start than I expected and realised I would hopefully get going pretty soon after the official start time of 10:10am.

As the hooter sounded I gradually began edging my way towards the startling, first a few steps, then a steady walk and eventually I was running through the start line and was off on my 26.2 mile adventure.  I'd been prepared to run the first mile slower than target pace of 7:20 -7:25 per mile if necessary as I expected to be crammed in with other runners. Surprisingly this wasn't the case and I found there was plenty of room to run at the pace I wanted, passing the Mile 1 marker in 7:24.  I'd read so much about the London crowds and they didn't disappoint with 1000s of spectators lining the streets as I made my way towards Woolwich where the 3 different start groups would join up in, what looked from a distance like, a never ending river of runners stretching as far as the eye could see. I went through 5k in 22:54 (12 seconds up on target pace) feeling good and trying to take in as much of the experience as possible.  By 10k I was 15 seconds up on my target pace and heading towards one of the busiest parts of the course, The Cutty Sark. Here I ran past the first Hospice UK cheer station which gave me such a buzz and a massive surge of energy to send me on my way. 

Hospice UK Supporters @ The Cutty Sark - Leading Mens Group (I'm 'just' behind!)

By 15k, and after 250ml of isotonic drink,  my pace had settled a little, going through in 1:09:13 (9 seconds up on target pace).  The next land mark I was looking forward to was Tower Bridge, just after mile 12.  I caught the eye of the runner next to me and could see the excitement on his face as we both simultaneously let out a cheer of 'here we go!'. The sound of the crowd was almost deafening with seemly every charity having its biggest cheer station at this point.  I wasn't sure where the Hospice UK supporters would be and, as I neared the end of the bridge, thought I'd missed them.  I then caught a glimpse of their bright yellow banners  and managed to raise an arm and a sort of smile as I went past - again the cheer station gave me a well need burst of adrenaline.   I went through the half way point in 1:37:15 which was 35 seconds faster than expected.  It was at this point I became concerned that I had gone off a little too fast and could easily pay for this in the final miles.  Although I was still feeling good I tried to relax my pace, taking on another 250ml of isotonic so it would be fully in my system for miles 16-19, where the wheels so brutally came of at the 2013 Yorkshire Marathon when I was also attempting to break 3hrs15min.  As I headed through the quieter docklands area I realised my pace hadn't actually reduced and I was still running relatively comfortably at this pace, going through 30k in 2:18:09 - now 29 seconds up on target pace.  As I ticked off the mile markers 20, 21, 22 I still felt great, although my final 250ml isotonic was a bit of a struggle to palate.  I passed mile 23 feeling strong and decided that I had enough left to push on at this point, hoping the wheels would stay on and the ever threatening 'wall' would not come and get me.  I ran 35-40k in 22:36 (my fastest 5k of the race) bringing me another 30 seconds up on my target time.  As I reached the embankment with Big Ben in the distance my legs began to feel it and began thinking of all those who had supported me in my fundraising efforts and the real reason I was running this race.  The final Hospice UK cheer station gave me the final boost as I headed through Parliament Square and 
up towards Buckingham Palace.  
As the distance markers began counting down t (rather than up), '800 meters to go', '600 meters to go' I could feel the emotions beginning to stir in me as I held back the tears and feeling of elation - I wasn't their yet.  I passed the '385 yards to go' sign and looked over to see Buckingham Palace, knowing just one more corner to go.  As I turned and entered The Mall I pushed as hard as I could and attempted some kind of sprint to the finish line.  With arms raised I crossed the finish line in 3:13:31, meaning I had run 1:29 faster than expected and had achieved a new personal best by over 11 minutes.

Post Race Reception

After collecting my medal, goodie bag and being reunited with my kid bag I was met by a charity volunteer who escorted me up to the post race reception at the QEII centre, just a few minutes walk from the finish.  As soon as I arrived I was offered a massage to bring my legs back to life and reunite me with my calf muscles!  I also took advantage of the hot food laid on, hoping to get my body in recovery mode as quickly as possible.  A final photo next to the Hospice UK marathon banner and that was that, London had been 'done' and it was back off to sunny Yorkshire.

Looking back now on the race I can truly say it was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life.  It was an honour to run for such a wonderful charity and can't thank all the Hospice UK staff and volunteers enough for all their hard work during the weekend and making all of their runners so comfortable.  I would also like to thank every single person who has supported my in raising the £2050, I couldn't have done any of this without you.


Sunday, 19 April 2015

Miles 408.22 - 418.22 Sponsored by The Lanes

I steady and controlled 10 miles at target marathon pace (7:15 7:20min/mile) on a fairly warm, sunny Sunday afternoon.  I felt pretty comfortable throughout and am confident I will be able to maintain this pace to mile 18 or 19 - what happens after that is anyone's guess!

Thanks to Lane family for their kind sponsorship of these miles.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

318.76 - 323.76 Sponsored by Bev & Scott

Early morning 5 miler testing out the leg. Still not right but managing to run at a very steady pace.

Thanks to Bev & Scott for their generous support of these miles for Hospice UK.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

313.68 - 318.76 Sponsored by Bev & Scott

A blustery 5 miles along the coast of Hunstanton.

Thanks to Bev & Scott for their kind sponsorship of this run.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

303.51 - 308.51 miles sponsored by Mike T and Bev & Scott

5 steady miles on the muddy trails tonight. Enjoyed exploring new paths and just going with the flow (including getting wet with numerous crossings of streams and flooded paths).  Legs seem fully recovered from the weekend's race, although there is still some residual shin splint pain on my left leg.

The last of my Dad's miles and the start of my journey with Bev & Scott! Thank you to everyone who has sponsored my so far and helped me raise £1233 for Hospice UK.

Can I run a mile in your honour?  Each mile you sponsor will be another £1 Hospice UK will be able to use to support end of life care in Hospices throughout the UK.  You can sponsor me via my fundraising page at www.virginmoneygiving.com/stevetrotter

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

298.51 - 303.51 miles Sponsored by Mike Trotter

300+ MILES!

An early morning recovery run to assess the damage of the weekend's race.  Left shin was sore but not as bad a expected.  More sprucing was tight quadriceps on both legs - must have worked them hard on Sunday.  A few more days of recovery runs before I can start to up the intensity.

Thanks to my Dad for his kind sponsorship of this run in support of Hospice UK.

My fundraising total has risen to £1218, thank you so much to all those who have given their support.

If you are able to help me raise the remaining £797 please show your support at www.virginmoneygiving.com/stevetrotter

Saturday, 14 March 2015

281.25 - 285.25 miles sponsored by Mike Trotter

An easy 4 miles along the trails of Orgreave and Hail Mary Wood, Treeton.  A short jaunt to stretch out the legs and mentally prepare for tomorows's Half Marathon.  Still a dull ache on my left leg but hopefully nothing that is going to stop me from giving a sub 1hr30 time my best shot. 

Thanks again to Dad for his generous support of this run for Hospice UK.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

272.6 - 281.25 miles sponsored by Mike Trotter

A run to let off steam and get away from the stress and strains of the rat race.  I had a vague idea of route but was happy just to go exploring new trails within Hail Mary Wood in Treeton. Ended popping up somewhere in the next village of Aughton and followed the road back home.  Sometimes the least planned runs are the best! I'm still not worrying too much about pace but trying to find soft surfaces to run on to prevent the shin splints worsening.  My first longer run in a while and all felt pretty good.

Thanks to my Dad for his sponsorship of these miles for Hospice UK.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

267.6 - 272.6 miles sponsored by Mike Trotter

A late night steady run and starting to ease back into regular training.  Keeping the mileage low and the intensity down but still hopefully benefitting form the training.

Thanks to my Dad for his kind sponsorship of these miles in support of Hospice UK.

Monday, 9 March 2015

265.1 - 267.6 miles sponsored by Mike Trotter

Another experiment to see if the shin splint have left me enough to resume training. Although not entirely pain free, the run felt so much better than the one last weekend.  With just a week until the Silverstone Half Marathon, I'm going to attempt to run a few more steady miles this week in the hope that the injury will continue to heal.

Thanks again to my Dad for his kind sponsorship of these miles in support of Hospice UK.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

262 - 265.1 miles sponsored by Mike Trotter

A tentative 5k this evening to see how the shins splint on my left leg are holding out. Unfotunately the news is not good and I am still in a fair but of pain when running, despite sticking to the soft grass verges.  Another week of no running and RICE therapy will hopefully do it.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Injury Woes!

So a self imposed running ban this week as I'm sadly injured. After running 38 miles in three days, with a 8m high intensity tempo run two days later, I could feel I may have pushed it a little too much. Sadly my next steady run confirmed this and It became clear that I had developed shin splints in my left leg.

Nearly a week on and my leg is no longer painful to the touch but is still very achey in the morning.  I'm hoping that after another couple of days rest I will be able to get out for some steady 4-5 mile runs next week. Although I find myself now 69 miles behind in my 2015, I'm pleased I've has the discipline to stop running and recover, and have hopefully stopped any longer term injury from occurring.

Fundraising has continued to grow with my current total now standing at £1139.80 in support of Hospice UK.

You can help me reach my £2015 target by sponsoring me at www.virginmoneygiving.com/stevetrotter

Thursday, 19 February 2015

250-254 miles sponsored by Mary W

A very steady miles tonight as I'm becoming increasingly worried about the pain in my left leg.  Think I need to stop any kind of intensive work until I see an improvement.

Thanks to Mary for her support of this run for Hospice UK.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

242 - 250 miles Sponsored by Mary W


That's the equivalent of running from Sheffield to Dover (next stop France!)

Really please to have hit the 250 mark with an 8 mile tempo run.  I used the 1st and final miles as a warm-up and cool-down, with the 6 in the middle run at target half marathon pace (6:50/mi).  I felt really strong throughout the 6 miles, the fastest paced run so far this year, and am hoping that this speed will stand me in good stead as I aim for a new 5k PB at Rother Valley ParkRun this Saturday.

Thanks to Mary W for her kind sponsorship of this run, in support of Hospice UK.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

224 - 242 (Sponsored by Les & Rachel, April and Mary W)

My longest run since last summer; 18 miles which was mostly laps of the flat Rother Valley Country Park Lake.  Another outing for the head torch with me feeling like James Bond as I darted in the pitch black through the woods on my way home!  Although tired, my legs felt strong the whole way round and am really pleased to be running this kind of distance so far out from the marathon.

Thanks to Les & Rachel, April and Mary W for their kind sponsorship of this run for Hospice UK.

If you would like to see you name on the Mile Sponsors' Roll of Honour go to www.virginmoneygiving.com/stevetrotter

Saturday, 14 February 2015

214 - 224 miles (Sponsored by Les & Rachel)

Another steady 10 miles today, a few little twinges but seemed to ease the further into the run I got.

Thanks to Les & Rachel for their generous sponsorship of this run in aid of Hospice UK.

Can I run a mile in your honour? Sponsor me at www.virginmoneygiving.com/stevetrotter

Friday, 13 February 2015

204 - 214 miles (Sponsored by Matt L and Les & Rachel

A really busy week which has meant that my first run hasn't been until Friday, leaving me 38 miles to cover in 3 days!  Kept things steady for this early morning (5:30am) 10 miler. All good and it's more mile in the bag.

Thanks to Matt and Les & Rachel for their kind sponsorship of these miles.

On the fundraising front I was thrilled to learning that the raffle and refreshments money from my school show raised a massive £326 and have moved me over £1000 for Hospice UK.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

187 - 204 miles Sponsored by Matt L

An early start this morning for a 17 miles long run. Really please to have passed the 200 miles mark for the year; although I'm still technically 11 miles short of my target.

Thanks to Matt for kindly sponsoring this run in support of Hospice UK

Saturday, 7 February 2015

182.2 - 187 miles Sponsored by Matt L

A slow and steady 4.8 miles recovery run tonight, trying to shake off a few little niggles before my long 17 miler in the morning.

Thanks to Matt L for his kind sponsorship of this run in support of Hospice UK.

Friday, 6 February 2015

174.2 - 182.2 miles Sponsored by the Barrios Family and Matt L

A pre school show, 8 mile steady run along Sheffield's canal paths; perfect running - no hills!

Thanks to the Barrios family and Matt L for sponsoring this run in support of Hospice UK.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

168.7 - 174.2 miles Sponsored by The Barrios Family

A 5.5 miles tempo run this morning with 5 miles 30 seconds (ish!) faster than marathon pace. Hard work but another one that I felt my fitness improving.

Thanks to the Barrios family for the generous sponsorship of this run in aid of Hospice UK.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

158.7 - 168.7 miles Sponsored by The Statons and Maradona Barrios!

10 miles tonight with the middle 8 miles at my target marathon pace of 7:30/mile. Although it is by no means easy at this pace, it is certainly easier than a few weeks ago. Although I'm not wearing a heart rate monitor for my runs at the moment, my breathing and heart rate remained fairly relaxed throughout the run and has got me starting to think that a 3hr15min might just be acheivable.

Thanks to the amazing Statons and Maradona (AKA The Barrios family) for their kind sponsorship of this run in aid of Hospice UK.

Fundraising has now reached £721.80, and particular thanks goes to the members of Bramley Brass who's members were so generous at the weekend.

A reminder that you can sponsor a mile and have your name on the Mile Sponsor's Roll of Honour by donating at www.virginmoneygiving.com/stevetrotter

Sunday, 1 February 2015

142.7 - 158.7 miles Sponsored by The Statons

An early start this morning after a long week of Panto and lots of late nights.  A 16 mile round trip to Sheffield and back and a test of two possible routes for me to run into work at some point this week.  I managed to keep the running fairly relaxed and at my planned steady pace.  Did feel too bad at all by the end of the run, definitely feeling the benefit of the increased distance of the challenge.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

132.2 - 142.7 miles Sponsored by The Longdens and The Statons

A bit of an adventure run this afternoon. With my school closing due to snow I took advantage of the conditions and got myself out on the trails for 10.5 miles of cold, wet, sludgy fun! Not sure my legs appreciated the snow though as they quickly became quite heavy, but my knees certainly enjoyed the extra cushioning from the snow which my trail shoes lack.

Thanks to The Statons and The Longdens for their kind sponsorship of this run in aid of Hospice UK. I've reach £545.45 in sponsorship so far and hoping I can reach the £600 mark by the end of January.

If you would like to sponsor mile please pledge your support at www.virginmoneygiving.com/stevetrotter

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

123.2 - 132.2 miles - Sponsored by The Longdens

A 5:30am get up this morning and out the door for 5:50am for a 9 mile pyramid session. This involved gradually increasing my pace between miles 1 and 4, then gradual easing down from miles 5 to 9.  Although It was a tough run, particularly at that time of the morning, I managed to dig in and stayed within my target paces.

Thanks again to the Longdens who have kindly sponsored this run in support of Hospice UK

Can I run a mile for you? For each £1 that is pledged I will run a mile in your honour (check out the Mile Sponsors' Roll of Honour and pledge your support here. www.virginmoneygiving.com/stevetrotter

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Miles 108.2 - 123.2 Sponsored by Ivor H, The Follands, The Longdens

An early start this morning for my longest run since August last year. 15 steady miles which felt comfortable and controlled throughout at a pace of 8:30min/mile.  Due to my lack of head torch (I put it down somewhere!) I discarded my planned route and pounded my usual road route of  Treeton - Europa link - Meadowhall loop. Not the most inspiring scenery but, with Talk Ultra Podcast for company, the time drifted by fairly quickly.

Thanks to Ivor, The Follands and The Longdens for their kind sponsorship of this run.

So that's 41 miles for the week and 123.2 miles so far, still technically 13 miles behind schedule but certainly not worrying to much at this stage.

Fundraising has gone well again this week and I have now raised £425.45 of my £2015 target for Hospice UK. Thanks to the kind generosity of so many good friends.

If you would like to support the challenge and sponsor one or more of the 2015 miles please see my fundraising page at www.virginmoneygiving.com/stevetrotter. I also have paper sponsor forms if that is easier; just message me the amount you would like to pledge or ask me next time we see each other.

Roll on week 5!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Miles 100.2 - 108.2 Sponsored by Ivor H

A medium paced 8 miles tonight which felt pretty good throughout. I decided to push the pace a little, yet still keeping the running relaxed and as easy as possible. As my fitness has improved over the last few weeks my steady run pace has also started to increase. I'm still 20 seconds from my target 3hr15mins marathon pace in this steady state but there's plenty of time for this pace to come down as my fitness improves further still.

Thanks to Ivor for his kind sponsorship of this run in support of Hospice UK.

Can I run a mile for you?  See where your miles will take me.
Show you support at www.virginmoneygiving.com/stevetrotter

On another, more geeky note, I thought my trusty Garmin Forerunner 305 had given up the ghost after tonight's run as it failed to load when plugged into the cradle. After a bit of Googling I tried the soft reset (holding mode and lap down for 10 seconds) and low and behold it started up as normal - even keeping tonight's run on it and allowing me up upload to Garmin!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

91.2 - 100.2 miles - Sponsored by Mark & Patrycja

Day 22

Here we are then...100 miles!

Slightly behind schedule but really pleased to have reached the three figure mark still in one piece. A steady 9 mile evening run tonight which felt great throughout.

The final run for Mark & Patrycja, thanks so much for your generous support. Ivor, your miles are up next!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

82.2 - 91.2 miles - Sponsored by Mark & Patrycja

DAY 20
An enjoyable 9 miles tonight with 4 miles in the middle getting close to target marathon pace. Podcast stopped half way but the discipline of running without earphones (as is the case when I race) won't have done me any harm.
My fitness is returning, slowly but surely!

Saturday, 17 January 2015

69.1 - 82.2 Sponsored by Mark & Patrycja

After a busy week and missing a couple of runs it was great to finally get out of the door and on my way for a long run. A steady 8:30/mile pace felt pretty comfortable, perhaps the legs were a little fresher. Many thanks to the Mecure hotel for helping me out with my unschedules stop at around mile 9. I won't go into detail but lets just say I 'nearly' learnt to empathise fully with Paula Radcliffe!

Thanks once again to Mark & Patrycja for their kind sponsorship of this run.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

61.1 - 69.1 miles Sponsored by Mark & Patrycja

One of those runs where I just wanted to let off some steam after a particularly stressful day. Donning my new head torch I set off into the darkness to find some trails. Lots of mud, closed footpaths meaning a detour through a boggy field, and plenty of mixed paced bursts made for a much more chilled Steve by the end.

Thanks again to Mark & Patrycja for their kind sponsorship for this run.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

45.6 - 50.6 miles - Sponsored by Mark & Patrycja

5 miles at a slightly faster pace tonight, although still not fit enough for any serious marathon pace runs. Still pretty windy, but not as bad as yesterday's run.

Friday, 9 January 2015

35.6 - 45.6 miles - Sponsored by Mark & Patrycja

My 1st early run of the year and naturally struggled to get out of bed when my alarm went off at 5:00am.  Glad I did though and managed to get out by 5:30am.  Very windy conditions; a head wind for the first 5 miles.  The final 5 miles though I had the wind behind me which felt great.

Thanks again to Mark & Patrycja who have sponsored these miles in aid of Hospice UK.

Can I run a mile for you? For each £1 that is pledged I will run a mile in your honour (check out the Mile Sponsors' Roll of Honour and pledge your support here. www.virginmoneygiving.com/stevetrotter

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

28.6 - 35.6 miles Sponsored by Mark and Patrycja

7 miles tonight with a pitiful attempt at covering the middle 5 miles at somewhere near 3hr15min marathon pace (Should be 7.26/mile). Clearly a lot of fitness to gain before the big day but plenty of miles left to run.

My fundraising total is starting to rise (£205.30) - a big thank you to those of you who have already sponsored me in support of Hospice UK.

Another run sponsored by Mark and Patrycja, only 64.4 more miles left for them!

Can I run a mile for you? For each £1 that is pledged I will run a mile in your honour (check out the Mile Sponsors' Roll of Honour and pledge your support here.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Miles 15.5 - 28.6 Sponsored by Mark and Patrycja

A half marathon long run, the longest I've run since September. Kept the pace quite steady and felt pretty good throughout, although think I may suffer a little in the morning.

Thanks again  Mark and Patrycja who have sponsored  the miles in this run in support of Hospice UK.

Can I run a mile for you? For each £1 that is pledged I will run a mile in your honour (check out the Mile Sponsors' Roll of Honour and pledge your support here.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Miles 11-15.5 Sponsored by Mark & Patrycja

Faster paced tempo run tonight making it 15.5 miles for the week.

A massive thank you to Mark and Patrycja who have sponsored me the miles in this run in support of Hospice UK.

Can I run a mile for you? For each £1 that is pledged I will run a mile in your honour (check out the Mile Sponsors' Roll of Honour and pledge your support here.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Miles 0 - 10 Sponsored by Mark & Patrycja

Very excited to have got my first run of 2015 under my belt. A steady 10 miles which saw me take my new head torch for spin and mixed it up between road running and trails.

A massive thank you to Mark and Patrycja who have sponsored me the miles in this run in support of Hospice UK.

Can I run a mile for you? For each £1 that is pledged I will run a mile in your honour (check out the Mile Sponsors' Roll of Honour and pledge your support here.