Friday, 8 June 2012

A thank you email from Mencap

To all those of you that sponsored me for running in the Marathon des Sables 2012, here is the thank you email that I received from Mencap.  Whilst it is addressed to me, it is in fact to all of you as sponsors too.  If anyone wants to donate but hasn't yet, my fundraising page is still open for 2 weeks more

Dear Paul,

Thank you so much for running this year’s Marathon des Sables for Mencap. We fully appreciate how much effort and commitment went into both your training and fundraising and we are extremely grateful for your support.

Please follow this link for a special thank you from Josie, one of my colleagues with a learning disability.

You have raised a fantastic sum of £9,858.20 which will go towards making sure that more children and adults with a learning disability can live their lives to their full potential.

Once again, well done and a huge thank you. 

Best wishes,


Wednesday, 6 June 2012

100km training week, kettlebell swings and weighted sled pulls

Weighted sled pull
Ryan (another MDS 2012 finisher) doing a weighted sled pull
Saturday and Sunday last week were rest days as I decided that this week was going to be my first 100km training week since the MDS (preparing for the Ticino Trail in 2 months time).  42.68km down, and 57.32km left to go so far this week.

I have been running to work each day since the 1st June (last Friday), as June is the Bike to Work month in Switzerland (which I signed up for as part of a team), and one team member is allowed to use other human powered means of transport to get to work, so I am the runner of "The Saddle Sores" UBS team.  In addition to this I ran Monday lunchtime, did yoga Tuesday lunchtime, ran on Tuesday night and last but not least did the group coached running session tonight with Jeff Grant.

When I saw all the equipment that Jeff had brought with him, I knew we were in for a tough but interesting session.  He had brought weighted sleds, a tyre with a rope attached (for tyre pulls), kettlebells and bungee cords.  In addition to being a running coach, Jeff is also a CrossFit instructor, so he uses this equipment on a daily basis.  After a couple of minutes of warming up we started with a technique drill.  We did some drills to show us the importance of leaning forward whilst running to increase speed, but doing it from the hips rather than from the head (which causes us to break at the hips and for our weight to shift backwards).

Now it was time for 20 minutes of seriously intense exercise to begin.  We had to run around a loop as fast as we could, and then when we arrived back at the start point we had to pick up a kettlebell and do 10 kettlebell swings, followed by one small loop either pushing/pulling a weighted sled or dragging a tyre behind us.  Then we had to start all over again, and keep doing this until 20 minutes was up.  The hardest part for me was not the weighted sled or tyre pulls or kettlebell swings, but the running in between the sets.  My running pace slowed down significantly between the first set and the final set.

To round the session off, Jeff made us split into 2 teams.  One member of each team had to use a rope to pull a weighted sled towards them until it reached their feet, then another member had to put on a harness attached to the weighted sled by a seriously strong bungee cord and do 4 bear crawls out as far as they could against the resistance of the cord and then back.  It was rather funny to watch, as some people got to the end of the cord and then were catapulted back at warp speed towards the sled.  Luckily no one was hurt though.  The whole exercise was repeated until all team members had done both parts (pulling the sled towards them and bear crawls) and covered a set distance on the ground.

It will be interesting to see how I feel tomorrow, as I can imagine that there will be quite a few aches and pains after tonight's killer session.  Whatever happens I will still be running to work in the morning and then either running at lunchtime or running back home from work.  Then to get to 100km I will have to do a half marathon on the weekend.  6 days of running and 1 rest day is the plan.

Tonight's session was being filmed by someone who is helping to promote Inov-8 shoes in Switzerland.  So don't be too surprised if you see me popping up somewhere on YouTube or Facebook over the next couple of days.