Do not read this if you don't like blood... or feet

After the debacle of Sunday, it was with not a small amount of trepidation that I laced up the trainers tonight.

I was down for a 6 miler, but wanted to up the mileage after losing a few with my leg so went for a 7 and a half.

Was all going swimmingly until I got up by the rowing club (I live in Surrey dah-ling!).

As I approached, shadows kept flitting through the dim light cast by the lonely streetlamp (that sounded nice didn't it? It goes downhill again on the next bit, don't worry).

At first my mind naturally turned to velociraptors (see!), but as I plodded closer it turned out to be people.

Young people.

Healthy young people.

Running along the same route as me.


They were coming out in staged starts and they were flying along. Not literally, but they were running really really fast!

I was hoping they'd only be going a little way then turning round to go back to the boat house and do whatever pagan initiation ceremonies rowing people take part in, but no, they were doing my route. And I was stuck in the middle of them.

Now at first it was pretty bad as the healthy active ones naturally had an advantage over me. But after a while a few of them slowed and I, much like the eponymous hero of the hare and the tortoise, actually overtook some people who were significantly healthier than me!

I'm surprised my head got through the door.

I got to my halfway mark and headed for home, but the little buggers (though most were bigger than me) were taking up all the footpath, and in their hatred of such a fine long distance runner (me. Honest!) they wouldn't get out of the way so I had to do the old sidestep a few times.

Anyway, kept plodding back and got home in a very respectful time for me, warmed down and went to get ready for a shower. At this point I noticed my trainer, to paraphrase Mr Simon Pegg, "had red on it".

Now normally they don't.

At least not on that bit. Normally they look like the second pic.

This didn't look promising, so I did what any man would do in my situation. I took a series of pictures over time.

Now, given the number of people who have whinged about gory pics before, it's only fair to warn you, you might find this a bit grim.

Don't blame me if you have nightmares.

But, given that the purpose of this blog is to enlighten you, and share my suffering, it would be a breach of my promise to you to be anything other than completely honest.

So, like some sad uncle with a slide projector (kids - think of Powerpoint on a carousel) lets see the next picture. This is what it looked like when I took my trainer off.

I'm not saying I'm bleeding to death, but I would say, for a foot, there appears to be a significant amount of blood on the outside. As opposed to inside my foot where it belongs.

So, who wants to see what happened when i took the sock off?

No, well go look at a different site then, because here is the result of my run.

Now admittedly the pictures crap - the only fault I can find on my otherwise lovely Sony W910i is the lack of camera flash. But, it is quite red.

I personally don't think it's that bad, but given the reaction I've had before, some of you might disagree.

If you're interested, all the blood is actually coming from the right hand side of my second biggest toe where the perfectly trimmed nail of my middle toe has gouged a hole. This is mainly because the middle toenail has become dislodged from the actual toe.

The way I realised it was a hole was when I got in the shower and was washing it, I pulled a large lump of my own flesh from beneath the loos middle nail.

Now I'm cool with that - shit happens, it's all gravy though.

Some might be more alarmed. For these people, rest assured I cleaned it up properly, and have dressed it beautifully. I'm more than used to performing minor surgey on myself, so it's cool.

In future, the toes will be strapped (I'm sure I've said that before...), vaseline rubbed around the area, and a small goat sacrificed to the god of foot digits.

Now, for those still reading, here's a picture of a blister, inside a blister, inside a blister!


This is why exercise is a bad idea...

Got up nice and early this morning to get ready for my 14 miler. Drank energy drinks beforehand to ensure I was hydrated. Slapped the Vaseline on the nips. Had a good stretch and got on my way just before 8am.

As I was making my way up past Thorpe Park, I had a weird twinge in my left leg. It passed so thought no more of it.

About a mile later, my right calf started screaming at me like a baby with a soiled nappy. And it was hungry. And teething.

Stopped straight away and walked around on it then tried getting going again.

It wasn't comfortable, but at an easy jog it was bearable.

I decided to head nearer home so that if it went I wouldn't have to trudge a million miles home.

It kept twinging (not sure that's a real word, but that's what it did!) as I went on, so when it did I'd walk a bit, then get jogging again.

I got to Chertsey town centre and thought about just keeping going, back up to the river and up to Laleham to get a good distance in, but halfway along the main road it exploded again.

Thankfully it was only metaphorical - it's not like I stood on a landmine or anything.

However, with only seven weeks to go until the marathon, I didn't fancy making it worse so I headed for home - feeling like a t**t.

Was a bit hacked off with myself for not having got the distance up as I need to, but after a while of wallowing in self-loathing, I'm trying to see the bright side.

The run was otherwise all gravy - feet good, enough energy there (so the carb loading works) so the preparation is getting there.

I'm still unable to drink properly when I'm running - it's not that I forget, I just have issues taking tops off bottles and physically getting it into my gob!

It must look like watching a drunk trying to get the last dregs out of a can of Special Brew whilst on a trampoline.

Anyway, gonna up my midweek runs to keep the overall mileage up, and poss try a short one tomorrow if it's feeling ok.

In the meantime, I'm taking it easy, getting ready to watch Chelsea get the ass whupping they so richly deserve!

Saturday night...

Not that this training malarkey has taken over my life or anything, but here I am, at coming up to 9pm on a Saturday night, and I've just spent a good chunk of time planning my route for tomorrow's 14 miler.

It looks a beastie...

I've eaten as much pasta as is safe to put inside a Yorkshireman, and am drinking warm blackcurrant, rather than beer/tea/something nice so I can get a good sleep.

What has happened to my life....?

That was horrible...

This morning was possibly the worst run of my life.

Not that I've done much running prior to this little jape, but still, it was not pleasant and I'm struggling to see how anyone can even pretend to do this for pleasure!

This morning was a 14 mile lesson in how not to do it.

I'd forgotten to charge my phone, so couldn't listen to any bangin' tunes or DJ sets, or dirty dancefloors...

Also, turns out you need more than 500ml of energy drink thingy to keep you going that long.

And as for the state of my stomach, you really don't want to know!

Anyway, I've learned some things, forgotten some things, and generally had a bit of a crap one.

Now I'm off to Wales tomorrow where I need to do a 6 and 8 miler. Can't imagine it being too hilly in the Berwyn Mountains!

Catch up

Sorry I've been lame updating this last week or so - work's gone mad!

Main news is I've at last, after much more effort than you'd have thought necessary, been able to find a high street sports shop that sells high viz tops.

After several weeks of struggling with the lack of footpaths on local roads, and nearly being run over by all manner of vehicles (including a mobility buggy - I kid you not!), I decided I would become one of those people who run in ridiculous fluorescent gear.

Having taken this brave first step, my next issue was buying one.

Fortunately, I've never been someone with friends who frequent high street sports shops, so I was quite confident no-one would see me going into my local high street sports retailer.

The only problem was, when I visited JD Sports, they don't actually sell much sporting stuff. A lot of clothes, but none I'd wear, and not a lot suitable for running.

After searching all the sports shops in Kingston, Hounslow, Uxbridge and other random places, it was with heavy heart that I trudged into JJB's in Staines.

Yet to my utter, misplaced, delight , they had an array of ridiculous hi viz bits at a bargain price!

Bought myself one of the gillet things as I'm not very good at running with stuff with sleeves on - my Flora London Marathon training jacket gets right on my tits despite weighing about the same as a packet of crisps.

Obviously I look like a deranged idiot wearing it, but by implication, that means people can see me which is an improvement. And my chances of death by dumbass driver have dropped markedly.

So, muchos kudos to JJB - the only high street sports retailer who thinks it might be good for runners not to be mown down by traffic!

New poll

As time marches onwards to the day of the run, I'm gonna try to focus a bit more of my waning energy on raising money for Asthma UK.

I'm already tapping work colleagues for sponsorship, but need to explore new ideas.

With that in mind, I'm using this week's poll to try to get some ideas from you! Well, you didn't think I was doing this just to entertain you did you?

The obvious things are some kind of cake sale at work (they love their cakes here) or ridiculing myself in some way, such as shaving my legs. Not quite sure how the latter raises money, but I've heard of it being done, and I'm a game old chap.

Now I'm sure you can think of more humiliating things I can do to raise funds so please feel free to add what you like (it's anonymous so unless it's something specific that can only be traced to you, there's no way I can get the retribution I would probably relish).

So, new poll is on the sidebar of the Phil Runs London site, with the question:

How should Phil raise some more money?
Cake sale?
Shaving his legs?


Poll results

As those of you who know me personally will be well aware, I am nothing, if not well-dressed.


It was in this spirit that last week I asked you, friends, colleagues, random interweb people, about the appropriate attire for running the marathon.

Here are the results...

Shorts 29%
Tight/legging things 14%
Other 57%

Now, because I made a mess of the question, there were two options for "other". One you clicked yourself, the other where you made suggestions.

Among the suggestions were "thong", and "mankini".

For reasons of public decency, I don't think I'd be allowed to run around London in a thong. And the potential chafing doesn't bear thinking about (and I'm not prepared to use vaseline for that!!).

As for the mankini - not on your life.

I am possibly the palest man in the world anyway, and if it's a slightly sunny day, the glare could be mistaken for some kind of elaborate terrorist plot to blind the population. Given the Met's reactions to an innocent Brazilian running through London was to shoot him repeatedly in the head, I don't think it would be wise for me to pursue that course.

Also, thankfully, as I am running for Asthma UK, I'll be wearing their vest thingy, so the mankini wouldn't work.

So it is with sheer delight that I am announcing I shall remain in shorts!

Much to the delight of the laydeez, and more men than I'm comfortable knowing about...

Watch this space for a new poll soon...

What am I doing...?

So, it turns out 11 miles is quite a long way.

Made it round, and for about 5 mins after finishing, I felt ok.

I now feel like someone has reached down my throat and torn out my soul.

I'm completely drained - it's taken my about a week to write these few lines!Trying to take on some food to get the energy levels up, but it's not worked yet.

This is mostly annoying because as I was going round, yes it was hard, but at no point did I think I wasn't going to make it, that I might explode, or the killer herons would get me.

Off now to try to find some sugar to eat to see if it picks me up... haven't got energy to say any more....

can you get sat nav for legs?

Was only down for a 4 miler this morning, but ended up doing a 5 as I forgot what I was doing, and I'm in a strange place in my training where adding an extra half mile to the outward part doesn't seem daunting.

Writing that last bit terrified me - am I actually getting "not awful" at this?

I guess I need to - the marathon aint gonna run itself after all.

But just thinking back a few weeks, the thought of potentially adding an extra mile because I couldn't remember my distance marker would have made me curl up in a ball at the side of the road and hope to be eaten by a strange new breed of killer heron.

Today it was like "well, if you're wrong, it's only an extra mile". Where's the killer heron gone?! Probably gorging on orhans somewhere, as they is there way.

On the flip side, if I can't remember how far 4 miles is, how the hell am I gonna remember 11 tomorrow!

It's on my training plan, but it's one of the distances that doesn't have a link to a map for you to see where I am.

That's mainly because I can't actually think where I'm going to run for 11 miles.

It has been good having pre-planned routes - just have a squizz at the sheet, get my gear on and I'm off.

Now I need to think of somewhere that's 11 miles - not a nice 3, 4, or 5 - and as a result, I'm procrastinating like mad.

Accidentally doing an extra mile is fine (what's happened to me?!), but running more than twice what I inadvertently did today, and almost 3 times what I should have done (oh god, why did I do that bit or mental arithmetic!) is like being punched in the guts by a small child - it can hurt, but you can't really do anything about it (you can't really punch a toddler!).

So, I'm off to play on with maps to work out what I'm doing...


Just worked out my 11 miler.

How I won't get lost, I have no idea!

Shameless plea for donations

As yesterday was the last day of Jan, it meant it was that wonderful time when I, and crucially, my fellow workers get our meagre earnings dumped into our still-recovering-from-xmas bank accounts.

Now, despite volumes of evidence to the contrary, I'm not daft. Apart from a note announcing I was running (more to explain why I would be late for things due to aching limbs) I've not tried very hard to solicit donations from friends and colleagues during the last few fiscally challenging weeks.

So, in a moment of utter shamelessness I sent the following to people I work with:

Firstly, please please please don't hit "reply all"!
Secondly, let me take you on an imaginary journey. It's January. The nights are dark, the weather is horrible,and there is a general gloom and pessimistic air that follows the festive season (not to mention budget setting etc). Now imagine you were me. Running 4/5 times a week on the dark nights, in horrible weather. Dodging traffic, chased by bears/wolves etc. Not a nice image is it?
Why should you imagine this?
Because I agreed to run the London Marathon on 13 April.
I hate running.
I cant remember a day when I didn't ache.
Some of you have been following my progress on my website and blog (which is updated more frequently) and have already donated - a big thanks to you for that, I really do appreciate it. There have been times when could quite easily have given up, but the fact people have put their hands in their pockets to spare some of their hard earned money has kept me at it.
Now, the guilt trip:
I'm, running for Asthma UK which is a cause close to my heart. My better half has asthma, and January is always a time of year when it's worse for her (had to get her on the nebuliser twice in the last few weeks). It's not the sexiest cause, but every six hours, someone in the UK dies from asthma. Most people just think a few puffs on the inhaler and it's fine, but it doesn't work like that.
Anyway, I'm trying to raise as much as I can to help the cause, so I'm shamelessly sending this email to you in the knowledge that it's pay day.
In return you get to read my regular blog postings about how little I am enjoying myself, with the satisfaction of knowing that you are a direct cause of my suffering. Similarly, when you see me walking gingerly around the place as my legs feel like they are about to fall off, you'll know that it's down to you.
Donating is easy, there are links to my Justgiving page on both website and blog. Be warned though, despite what I thought, it does take the money out now, not when I've confirmed I've done it (another reason I can't give up - I'll end up having top repay people from my own pocket or something, and I'm from Yorkshire, so thats not my fave idea!!).
I've also got a sponsor form up here if you are of a similar Luddite persuasion to me and "don't trust machines".
That's it. Messages of support, advice or gentle mockery are welcomed.
That note generated an extra £100! Not bad for a few minutes "work".

Still got a long way to go though, so if you haven't donated visit my donations page or email me for other options.