Runners World x ViFit #missionmarathon Selection Day

You may or may not have seen me post this on Instagram the other week.

My #missionmarathon and #transformationtuesday . • Why do I want to run the London Marathon? There’s so many reasons, I want to run in my city, I want to experience the crowds of support handing out Jaffa cakes and jelly babies, I want to inspire the next generation of runners who think they can’t do it… • But I want to do it for this man. The London Marathon has been a huge part of my life since my Dad first ran it when I was only 4, I was sat glued to the tv for hours. • The first time I ever came to London was to support my Dad and I fell in love with the city and the race and vowed one day I’d do it too. • Every year I’d say the same thing, next year I’m going to do it – I never did enter the ballot until this year and 30stone me wouldn’t have had a great time either. • Now I feel is the time, I know I can do & I want to do it for my Dad, all those that support me and those who think as I did “I’ll never run a marathon” #finishliners @runnersworlduk #ukrunchat

A post shared by Carl | ASICSFrontRunnerUK 🇬🇧 (@bigcarlrunning) on

The only reason I like my old pics is because they serve as good transformation Tuesday pics, otherwise they disturb me a little.

The pic on the left is me and my dad at the Donna Louise Charity Fun Run – a 5k/10k around the lake at Trentham Gardens.

The pic on the right is from this year’s London 10,000 – one of my favourite 10k’s.

This wasn’t just my Transformation Tuesday post though, it was my blurb/application for the Runners World Mission Marathon Competition.

If you hadn’t seen it, Runners World were looking for three people to run the London Marathon in April 2018.

They had three groups #speeddemons (sub 3hr), #Breaking4 (sub-4hr) and #FinishLiners (people aiming just to finish, one person from each group would receive a place – I was in the Finish Liners group.

https://www.runnersworld.co.uk/training/join-the-runners-world-vifit-mission-marathon-teams

Instagram posted, and a week later I get a very exciting email asking me to attend a selection day at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre where the 20 would be reduced to the three who’d recieve the places.

Initially, I was very excited, but then I got nervous and started to doubt whether I should even go – even out of the Finish Liners I was saying to myself, oh I’ll probably the slowest, they won’t choose me, etc. etc. But I told myself to put my big boy pants on (well compression shorts) turn up and give it my best shot – my mental ability when it comes to running often lets me down.

So, day booked off from work and a quick look round on Twitter and Instagram to see who else had been selected – such a bad idea, I found myself going oooh he/she looks fit, I bet they’re quick, and then the delight in realising they wouldn’t be in my group anyway but then stumbling on the odd Finish Liner.

Friday morning was a very chilly journey to the Lee Valley Athletics Centre in Edmonton which is super cool and a playground for runners / athletes.

First was a short briefing and introduction to the team while we all mulled around chatting nervously between each other asking about previous races, where and how we submitted our applications and eyeing up the competition at the same time.

I squeezed myself into a Large tee (actually wasn’t too bad) and off to get my headshot done – as always being told to smile and lift my head up while doing my familiar power pose.

Next we braved the cold outside with Joe from RW and Jane, we trotted round for two laps as Jane watched our form and I chatted with Joe – well tried at least between broken breaths.

Then we did some drills led by Jane, I did well to stay on two feet for some of it. Then it was a mile round the track, with the aim of keeping a steady but consistent pace and thinking about the tips that Jane had given us after our initial laps.

I got lapped, by most actually, but gave everyone a word of encouragement as they came flying past. I forgot to click the lap button on my Garmin so just aimed at keeping my pace roughly the same.

Given I had no idea how they were judging us I tried to keep my pace constant each lap and try not to burn out. I actually ended up running a mile PB – on a track though so a bit of extra bounciness I’m sure helped.

Next was back inside for a talk on the Marathon, training and preparation. To be honest I found this the hardest part, I didn’t really have any genuine questions given, I know how far I went in my first marathon, I know what point it begins to hurt and how important recovery is during training.

I chipped in with some questions that I thought would be useful and enjoyed getting to know everyone a bit better and not feel as though we were competing against each other like on the track.

The final part of the day was to head to the indoor track (really wanted to go run around, it looked so cool). But we didn’t, we were there to meet Andy from Third Space who would introduce us to some stretching and foam rolling techniques.

It was outstanding once you got the foam rolling just right and you found that sweet spot, it was painful, but good pain…. It was also quite weird walking afterwards too, it felt like you were floating around.

We tried some stretches where you have your toes bent upwards against a surface and bend your knee into it. My inability to bend my knee (right side) really showed during this stretch and we discussed strengthening techniques which I am yet to start but working with my PT is definitely helping with this.

I resisted the urge to run round the track and headed straight inside for a really delicious lunch and chat/networking. I made sure I got involved with as much conversation as possible and tried to do the odd IG Story here and there.

It was nice to catch up with Ben from RunThrough as we rarely have chance at the races as he is normally flying past me or taking pics.

It was then for the long trip home taking in bus, underground, overground,(wombling free, you were thinking it!), National Rail and another bus – slightly disappointed I didn’t manage to get a river boat in there somewhere.

And then it was the looooong wait. We were initially told we would find out within two weeks, but before those two weeks were up another email popped up saying it would be another week at least.

Well, last Monday we found out whether our dreams of running the London Marathon would come true or not.

For me, it was a no, and I am not surprised. I’ve already completed a marathon and I was pleased to see the place to go someone who has never run a marathon before – and what a marathon to do it at. I’ve also been tremendously lucky to feature in Runners World twice in the last two months and I’m not sure the world is ready for three in three.

I am really happy for the three people they chose (Paul and Jo, not sure who the sub-3 runner was). Anyone on the day could’ve been lucky. But it’s been nice to follow everyone still on insta and even catch up in person like seeing Leanna after Chase the Moon in Shake Shack – typical runner hideout!

They did offer us a place at Manchester Marathon and still be part of the team, but it’s not really a race I want to do at the moment, I think there’s a few other marathons around the same time I’d rather do.

So that’s it, no London Marathon…..well, not quite. I still had one hope in my Club Ballot and I have a slight confession here. I found out the result of the ballot as I was queuing up at check-in for my flight back from Cyprus, conveniently I was all alone and did a celebratory fist-pump. I made my excuses and left my beer to go and call my parents – I had to tell someone. But obviously I didn’t want to ruin my chances of doing the marathon with Runners World and with a superb team of coaches, nutritionists and odd appearance in Big Carl monthly….I mean Runners World.

So London 2018 is on, I am so stupidly excited, even at lunch today with Sophie we chatted exclusively London Marathon and how awesome it’s going to be.

I know some of you will say, “there are other marathons”, and yes, hence why I did Berlin as my first. But as per my insta post, the London Marathon has been a part of my life since I was 4 (a long time ago) when my dad first came to London to run it and I was glued to the tv for hours trying to spot him. The marathon was the reason I first came to London the year after – it was all so big and amazing and well  as a country boy, see 20-30 trying to cross the road at the same time horrified me and I hated it – for all of about 10minutes and then fell in love with it, especially standing opposite Big Ben peering through the fence to spot my Dad about to finish, this time it’ll be the opposite way around.

Training plan starts on Christmas Day with 10k, whether that’ll happen or not we’ll see but I am looking forward to what next year has to bring, London is definitely my A-race, but with Chicago on my birthday, a few demons to beat on mid-year races and a few surprises along the way I can say I am definitely excited to see what is to come.

What’s the one race you want to do?

Have you decided on you’re A-race to 2018