London Marathon 2018 review and a surprise for Mrs Fay

So race morning and up a little bit earlier than planned due to nerves and walking down to the tube I bumped in the a female fellow runner so we got the tube and train together to the start in Blackheath. There was a bit of freshness in the air but the sun was up and very few clouds in the sky. By the time I arrived at the start I was hot after a few stuffy train rides and the temperatures was increasing. I put my bag in a lied down on the grass and watched some of the earlier starters head off on the big screen. The organisation was first class and free drinks available and plenty of toilets. I made it to the starting pen in plenty of time and had a chat with a fella from Bradford as we waited to be the 7th wave to start from the blue section. As my wave got ready to start the old pre race need for a wee kicked in but I had time to relieve myself and was all ready to attack the course and I eventually started 38 mins after the gun.

Due to the heat forecast I had already decided I was just going to try and enjoy the race as much as I could and not focus on time. It was very busy at the start and so this helped me keep my pace down to a level I wanted. Things were going great and the atmosphere was good as the sun must have brought out extra supporters. First sight was The Cutty Sark which and the noise if anything was too loud and a bit distracting. Mrs Fay and some family members and friends were at mile 9 and I gave them a jolly wave as things were going well. They spotted me again by accident a few miles later and next up was London Bridge. Just in front of me was a fella who got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend to rapturous applause from the crowd and fellow runners including myself clapping as we went by. 13.1 miles and half way  I was 2:23:07 and going well. Parts of the course became a bit conjested and “on top” as the crowds drew in from the side in scenes like the Tour de France going up a mountain and the noise was a bit annoying for me even though it was well intentioned support. As the miles went on I had already lost both my nipple protection due to sweat and lots of water being poured onto my top and the old joggers nipple kicked in. There were Vaseline stops so I managed to stop some of it but I had a blood covered top at the end of the race. My mate kindly text me this morning to ask how my “chippy tits” were ! Moving into the middle stages of the race there were people being treated at the side of the road with the range of problems from full on strecther jobs to people vomiting and many people stretching legs out. My first target was to get to 20 miles and review the race then. As I got to 20 miles I decided that due to the heat I would concentrate on getting the definite finish. I had deep down set a target of 5 hours but due to all the great sponsorship it was all about the finish. I walked half a mile ran half a mile from miles 21 to 23 with more walking after that and of course a decent run at the end to put on a show for the finish and I eventually finished in 05:15:13. With it being declared the warmest London Marathon at 24c in the shade temperatures on the road in the blazing sun must have been near 30c at times. So I got through the post race procedure very quickly and again the organisation was brilliant I ended up having to wait for Mrs Fay to meet me as she was stuck in the crowds.

 

With my marathon training starting back in October but turning hardcore into the new year and my life off the grog leading to a boring few months Mrs Fay has had to put up with a lot from me over these last 4 months. So 5 years ago she lost the diamond in her engagement ring. I had managed to get hold of the ring ready to pawn it for an iPhone X  but decided to get it fixed and a new diamond as a post race surprise. We met under Admiralty Arch and I asked her to take a picture of me and my medal and then said to her I have a medal for you and presented her with “new’ ring. That is possibly the most romantic thing I have done since offering to sleep on the wet patch once. She was overcome with emotion as was I when I realised how many credits that I must have in the bank now for trips away etc.

After a torturous tube journey home it was a quick chill and then a shower and time to have a few post race beers and reflect on the race. Those Desperados tasted nice and apart from the normal aches on the bottom of my feet I felt quite good. As I laid on my bed I spotted a pack of salt and vinegar walkers max in my bag and they were the tastiest crisps I have had for ages as I walks struggle to eat and get to sleep after a big race. It was 1am by the time I got asleep and I was awake for just after 7. Think I wil, be asleep in my own bed for around 8pm tonight. One last walk around North London in the morning and the train home we were back in Liverpool ready to pick the kids up from school.

Many thanks to Claire’s Aunty (Lynne) who put me up for the weekend which made things a whole lot more relaxing and less stressful. As for the race itself the organisation was first class and never seen anything like it before. The race itself trying to take the heat factor out of it I found a bit too noisy and busy both in the race and on the sides. After about the 89th time of somebody shoting down your ear come on “Billy” to their mate who is by you it became a bit annoying. Maybe on an easier race I might have bought into the support but it was relentless for 26.2 miles.  My thanks also to all the well wishes and congratulations I got across all my “socials” my stock answer yesterday was “it was like running the Cyprus marathon”

Two down and one to go with The Liverpool Marathon up next in just under 4 weeks.

So the fundraising is at £1361 funds for Millstead school and there is a bit more to add on in offline donations and this has been much much more than I expected. The link is below for any more donations as I still have one more marathon out of the three marathon challenge to do.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/faymondo

Peace

Fay x x x x x x x x x

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The London Marathon 2018 Race week diary Weds to Sat

 


So marathon two out of the three marathon challenge and The 2018 London Marathon. Here is the diary of events.

Mad to think that summer 2017 was spent with an achilles injury and when The London Marathon ballot paper dropped I went running for the first time in ages and it was on October 11th I limped around Aigburth doing a 3 mile run. Even worse was when the post chrimbo scales of injustice weighed in at 18st 7. Jesus there was some work to be done to just even get to the start line. But I can be a determined little person (I was going to swear then) and with hard work and dedication which included most of the training period being free of white bread and alcohol (Which was if anything harder than the actual training) I made it to race week and here is how it went.

Wednesday 18th

Time to check the weather out and its looking hot with a worst case scenario of 24c and sunny. I hate running in anything over 15c and large chunks of training have been run a zero degrees with a windchill factor of about -7c !!! Hopefully things will change for the better a bit. I went out for a gentle 4.5 mile jog in 21c sunshine in Liverpool and into the breeze wasn’t too bad. Once the wind was behind you though the heat kicked in. Hopefully a psychological thing I can beat on the day but its deffo looking like a case of survival and just getting around in one piece.

Thursday 19th

A final 4 miles in the heat and that’s it the next run will be 26.2 miles around London. So having got the train to London and landed at my Aunty in laws I treated myself to a can of lager in the stifling heat of the big smoke. Sleeping in a strange bed and it being warm (still around 19c) I could have almost have been on holiday apart from the fact I wasn’t bright red in bits, pissed and just gone to bed after a Jamon Ruffles crisp butty. Bad news for race day and an email was received saying that Sunday could be the hottest London Marathon on record at 23c or more. Just what I need.

Friday 20th

So I headed off on the Underground which the nerd in me has a fascination with and I even bought a book a few years ago on the history of The London Underground. It was a glorious day of sunshine in London and the London Tube “Betty Swollcks” alert was at danger level. I was soon at the massive London Excel centre and had my race number and other important bits in hand. I had a little mooch around the expo and was offered a flyer from “The Ibiza Marathon” imagine trying to do that after the night I had at Space last September !!! With spare time on my hands I decided to have a random day out in London. First up was the Emirates Airline cable car with a cracking view over the river and armed with my Oyster Card London was indeed my Oyster. The cable car landed me by The Millenium Dome aka O2 I had a little mooch around there and decided that as I was in Greenwich that the geography nerd in me would find the Greenwich Meridian Line. So I hopped on the 188 bus and went for it.

 

So after some mad London Traffic I reached Greenwich Park in the lovely sunshine and headed up to The Royal Observatory and nerd heaven with a picture of me straddling the Greenwich Meridian and a museum packed with clocks and measuring equipment with some astronomy thrown in as well. Being up on a hill there was. Cracking view back over The City Of London. Venturing through Greenwich Market on the way to the tube I decided to head home handy and miss the rush hour. The heat is intense and thankfully it’s going to be a bit cooler for race day but whilst at the Expo earlier I was thinking about buying a vest but them remembered that I hadn’t shaved my back for months and would resemble something like the missing link or  Chewbakka so swerved that idea. One last reminder as I walked to the tube and a warning sign for Sunday’s race. Just can’t get away from the damn thing. Back at base camp and time to chill. I was dying to get out in the sunshine but can’t risk any hint of sunburn with race day approaching.

So after tea I headed out to see Tottenham Hotspur’s new ground that is being built and a lovely balmy evening walk through Tottenham. There was so much going on in the streets of Tottenham. There was a buzz to the area with many shops and corners a hive of activity. Like a super duper version of Lodge Lane but on speed. It seemed very exciting from an outsiders point of view. I tried hard not to stick out like a tourist. It was certainly a different world than the shops in Aigburth Vale. Mad how many many pockets of London have their own individual buzz to them. As for the stadium it looks massive and the area around it will change. Not necessarily for the better with gentrification and locals getting pushed out. Walking up Tottenham High Street I felt like I was in my very own “Bitter Sweet Symphony” video. Coming back through two of Tottenham’s parks you could see some real London nor far from the new stadium. I wonder if in 10 years it will have survived.

Forgive me father I have sinned. Well it was still 20c and I could not resist two Rekorderlig Ciders sitting outside watching the sun set over London. Not exactly the correct way to hydrate for the warmest London Marthon ever but it was a lovely relaxing couple of hours and I was in bed for 10pm with a pint of water. Two more sleeps. Gulp !

Saturday 21st

So I decided to give the Liverpool game a miss and head into Camden. The main road wasn’t up to much but Camden Market exceeded my expectations. I suppose the lovely sunny weather gave it a better vibe and it was an real test not to sit off and have a refreshing cider. But I stuck to my hydration tactic and water was the drink of the day. The market has lots of little nooks and crannies to discover including a few record stalls. If food is your thing then some of the food stalls looked great and there was one shop called “Cyberdog” it sold loads of clubbing gear and lots of quirky T-shirts and I will deffo be heading back there before Glastonbury 2019. There were bouncing choons playing and somebody stealing my 1994 Club 051 moves as seen below

View this post on Instagram

Get on this shop in #Camden #cyberdog

A post shared by Neil Fay (@faymondo) on

 

I will deffo return to Camden with Mrs Fay who missed out as I met her at Euston station after my half day out and now back at the in laws having more water and loading up on spaghetti hoops. The Aunty in law and the rest of the gang are on the grog and Tom is even taking the piss being on Desperados. So water and bed for 9 and the big one awaits. Wish me luck. I might need it in the forecast heat.

 

So lets not forget the cause that I am running for.

The original target is to run The London Marathon on Sunday April 22nd and running to raise monies for Millstead School

The challenge then grew out of control to 3 marathons in 7 weeks. With Manchester in the bag and Liverpool to finish off.

Lois has cerebral palsy which effects all four limbs. She is unable to walk or support herself and her ability to communicate is limited. Millstead School aims to provide the very best learning and development opportunities for children like Lois who have severe learning and mobility difficulties. From the initial target of £500 things have gone off the scale. So much love and thanks your way.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/faymondo

Peace

Fay x x x x x x x x x

 

 

 

15th April once again a TWAT of a day

Different year, same blog (ish)

So the 15th of April comes around yet again and its a day I dont look forward to. 15/04/1989 and its now 29 years since Liverpool fans went to Hillsborough for a F.A.Cup semi final and 96 of them died. I didnt go the match that day but had friends who did and I still remember making the phone calls that evening wondering what I would do if I heard any bad news. All my close friends made it back. There was however one lad who I played football with who did not. His name was Philip Hammond. He was only 14 and I has played in teams with him from Sudley juniors through to APH. He was a good player, that good that he was in the year below us but often played with my year. Hid dad Philip Hammond Senior has been a tireless campaigner for justice for those fans. It’s nice to see Calderstones school name their sports hall after Phil and I have had a bit of contact with his younger brother Graeme on Twitter and had the odd pint with him My thoughts are with him and his family and the other families today. What a shocking waste of a life and as I get older both as a person and a parent I can feel the pain that the families have suffered both of the tragedy and the 29 year fight for justice. But sadly still many people need educating about the facts of Hillsborough and even though the inquest in Warrington provided the truth which some people still choose to ignore the families of the 96 are still waiting for justice.  Just remember don’t buy the sun.

boycott_the_sun

As if by some cruel twist of fate 15/04/2006 came around and after battling cancer for the best part of 10 years my mum finally died after some time in a hospice. She was brave to the end and went through so much in those 10 years and I grab the positives that she seen me get married, and have our eldest Elizabeth. I can’t quite believe it is now 12 years since that day forever etched in my mind. It pains me that she never got to see Charlotte. Time does heal things a bit but certain dates stick out. I often think what she would have made of the kids growing up (So fast) and its heartbreaking that every body has missed out, the kids, me and my mum. Both my daughters have Lillian as a middle name after my mum so they will always remember nana. In 2012 we had another daughter born in early April called Holly who never got to see nana and also my mums mum is no longer here as well and Holly has her name Eillen (poor girl) as a middle name. Added to the misery is that my dad has now joined the great Fay/Roper party in the sky. Nobody prepares you for losing a parent and when the second one bites the dust it made me re-evaluate my life, a process which is still happening. No longer anybody to look up to and ask questions. All of a sudden you become technically an orphan. I had been giving Thatcher stick in an old blog but her daughter hit the nail on the head by saying “It is a deeply sad and rather thought-provoking landmark in life.” Talking about losing a second parent. Now I am leader of the pack with a massive hole in the family make up. Just a short blog today to remember my mum and those footy fans who went to see a match but never returned.

Peace

Fay x x x x x x x x x

Half & Half footy scarves nah make me a third/third/third one !

So with marathon number one out of the way this week has been about recovery and by Wednesday I had stopped walking like John Wayne. It was back to pounding the streets on Wednesday and a run today as well. Just the Tunnel 10k on Sunday and two light jogs Tues/Weds and its all eyes to The London Marathon but more of that next weekend. Whilst in town on Monday I walked past one of the stalls. You know the ones that sell all kinds and those infamous half and half football scarves. Who in the right mind would want one of those. Imagine cruising the streets in your half and half Liverpool/ManUtd scarf. You would end up getting twatted by both sets of fans. But this week there is a new scarf on the scene. Yep your one and only “The National” scarf. Now admittedly the weather so far has been shite and a few of the ladies today might have needed a few scarves handy to keep the chill out but why would you want a ” The National” scarf. Lets suppose your crazy enough to want one. First option is the colour. Now I have no idea why “The National” scarf is yellow and green. This would pose problems when requesting your half and half scarf with Norwich City. Now that you have settled on the yellow and green colours what would you possibly want on your “The National” scarf. I know lets bang the names of a few of the famous fences on it as well. What more could you want ? There you will be head held high singing “We love The Grand National we do ohhhhhh Grand National we love you” scarf proudly lifted above your head and as many are held on the kop it would have to be back to front or upside down just to complete your idiotic look. Thinking about this scarf venture I believe the market stalls have missed a trick here. They could have rush produced individual scarfs for each horse name with the jockeys colours on along with the jockey and trainers name. Aghhhhhhh the OCD in me is kicking in. It could also have the form of the horse on and the number. Possibly the weight as well and why not the age and Timeform rating. Stop it stop it. We could even go all retro and have some past winners such as a Red Rum scarf. Right I am off to apply for Dragons Den and I have the ace card up my sleeve and for one day only you could have a limited edition third/third/third scarf as tomorrow we see Liverpool play Bournemouth and its The Grand National. Plumbing new depth in the world of scarves. Tom Baker eat your heart out.

With the outrageous price increase in FIFA world cup Russia 2018 panini stickers up from 50p a pack to 80p a pack it was a sad day the other day when I decided that I would not be collecting this year meaning my run of completing full albums from World Cup 2010 to Euro 2016 would come to an end. It worked out with extra stickers this year that to complete the album by normal methods would cost you 9.601 Billion Dollars which funny enough is the Gross Domestic product of Chad who failed to qualify for Russia 2018. Anyways group on had a deal for a box of 100 for £65 and I was back in the game. Gone of the days when I would collect Footy 81 stickers at just 5p a pack and the free market would declare that the Liverpool badge was worth at least 20 normal stickers or 10 stickers a can of Top Deck Lime & Lemonade and a Wham Bar. My eldest daughter (13) who started collecting was forced to collect in 2010 still wants to collect them as does my youngest daughter (6) but sadly middle daughter (10) has no interest and would rather make slime ??? So if anybody fancies hitting me up for some swaps please do so as I already have Andreas Bjelland and Viktor Vasin on swap. Got, got, need.

Peace

Fay x x x x x x x x x

The Greater Manchester Marathon 2018 Review (1 down 2 to go)

So with Moses being the kind friend who volunteered giving up his Sunday lie in (Thanks to my other mates who said they would as well and a bit later sending that email reply Moe and you would have got away with it) we headed off to the start line of The 2018 greater Manchester Marathon. I had decided to do the marathon as my last long run for my training for The London marathon.  Better pounding the streets of Manchester with a crowd than another soulless run around Liverpool. After a personal best (PB) in The Liverpool Half Marathon a few weeks ago training along with weight loss could not have gone any better. So this meant that The London Marathon challenge had grown out of control and ended up being a three marathons in seven weeks challenge with Liverpool tagged on after London.

I arrived on enemy territory well in time avoiding the chaos of my previous Greater Manchester Marathon in 2016 and I arrived in kit so was all ready to start and took in a few sites by the start line as part of a warm up walk. Before I knew it there was just time for a pre race wee in the bushes a wee that you never need but to get that last dribble out makes getting to the start line in perfect condition a great feeling. That along with a cool and misty Manchester sky with the lightest of winds meant that running conditions were also prefect.

So this year (Last marathon was Manchester 2016) I was armed with a GPS running watch to help pace myself and todays aim was to run a decent half marathon then plod onto 22 miles which I knew I could do having nailed that in training in Liverpool on Good Friday and then see how many more miles I could eeek out after that having in my two previous marathon attempts never ran one without stopping. So the first few miles around Trafford went well and  made sure I didn’t start too fast looking at my watch. Running through Sale, Timperley and the half way point in Altrincham. Things were going great and I done 10k in 01:00:10 and the half marathon was done in 02:08:16. I must say the people of Greater Manchester really get into this marathon with loads of people en route cheering you on and some people making a day of it outside there houses giving out water and sweets. The people of Liverpool could take note of this and it really does help especially on those last few miles. I spotted Frank Sidebottom en route and also ran over The River Mersey at one point. Being a scouser in Manchester I had to represent and had this on my running cap.

So I eased down straight away at 13 miles ready for the second half of the slog. Around 16 miles there were a few people walking but I had done 22 in training and I was going to do more than that at the minimum despite the temptation to stop. Around 21 miles things were getting tough and mile times now around 11 min miles. At 22 I said “Right this is the furtherst I have ever run lets get to 23” at 23 miles I said “Just 3 miles and that is it” and ploughed on and my estimated time was going to be under 4 hours 30. I actually upped my pace for the last two miles. I wouldn’t quite call it a kick for home but mile 26 was run at 10:20 and with large crowds cheering me on I raised my arms as I crossed the line in 04:27:18 a PB beating 04:48:41 from 2016 at Manchester. Wow I had gone under 4 hours 30 and also ran a whole marathon without stopping.

The hardest part about the race was stopping as I hobbled through the post race area and put my medal on. As I walked under the stand at Old Trafford Cricket Ground it reminded me of why I actually done a marathon which was when my dad was 40 he was 20 stone in February 1985 and said he would do The Liverpool Marathon that September. After we had picked ourselves up of the floor from laughter we went about our daily business. Come September he was 13 stone something and completed his first marathon. I always remember him saying to me “Thats it son when you are 40 its your turn” to a 13 year old boy this was in the space age future time range. Sadly my dad died in 2012 and never got to see me doing his marathon challenge as a 40 year old but I did. Walking under the stand at Old Trafford reminded me of the times we used to go on the ale to watch England play cricket there. I was now physically and emotionally drained and on the verge of a tear or two along with a wobbling lip ha ha but pulled myself together to met the family who had come to see me finish. I am sure you will be proud of my running achievements and todays time dad and I will have a Desperados tonight watching the golf which was another thing we watched together back in the day though you would mock my Desperados as being “lemonade”

So the inspiration of this marathon challenge was to raise money for Millstead School as friends of mine have a daughter with Cerebral Palsy. As mentioned its grown out of all proportion from just a London marathon challenge to now three marathons in seven weeks. My original target of £500 was passed and I kid you not as I was writing this blog the new target of £1000 has been reached. I am truly overwhelmed by this as a person who has no workplace etc its an amazing effort from you all. From Friends and Family to random followers on my Liverpool Weather Facebook and Twitter accounts to friends of friends I cant thank you enough. Link to my fundraising page below.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/faymondo

So the next two marathons I am going to run a bit slower and enjoy. London should be good fun (As fun as 26.2 miles can be) and rather than having an eye on the watch trying to shave a couple of minutes off a daft PB I am going to take the London and Liverpool races in and enjoy. Having now ran a marathon without stopping and also going under 4 hours 30 I only have one ambition left in running. That is to fit comfortably into an XL t-shirt you get after you finish a race. The Manchester one below is the least snuggest yet but as you might see in the picture I think there is a reason my tops are tight. Not a bad run for a 16st piearse. Who knows I might even get to 15st something by the end of it all ? Now I have some energy back let the post race sausage roll and Desperados festival begin.

Peace

Fay x x x x x x x x x

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