PUMA PB Challenge Ambassador

So that’s me into the second week of my PUMA PB Challenge now. Today was a scheduled rest day with the option of some light cross training. However, after last nights evil intervals session, I opted to make the most of the recovery day.

In all the time that I have been running, I have only ever taken part in 8 1/2 marathons, with times ranging from my 1:51:05 PB back at the 2008 Moray 1/2 marathon, through to 2:02:24 at the Fraserburgh 2009 1/2 marathon.

Date Event Time
30/09/07 Great North Run 1:59:27
07/09/08 Moray Half-Marathon 1:51:05
19/10/08 Aviemore Highland Half Marathon 1:54:34
16/11/08 Fraserburgh Half Marathon 1:54:46
08/03/09 Inverness Half Marathon 2:00:00
18/10/09 Aviemore Half Marathon 2:00:44
15/11/09 Fraserburgh Half Marathon 2:02:24
04/07/10 Stonehaven Half Marathon 1:57:45

A quick glance at the above should demonstrate that my 1:51:05 actually appears to have been a ‘bit’ of an exception and, certainly at this moment in time, just coming back to running after the birth of my son, any attempt at a 1/2 marathon would likely see me add a time to the above list somewhere close to my slowest times. I have a long way to go before I am anywhere near to being able to better my 1:51:05 time. However, I like a challenge and this surely fits the bill.

Some of you may already be familiar with my ultra exploits outlined in my ‘Aim high, anything is possible!’ blog on The Running Bug. For those that don’t, here’s a quick overview:

  • Pre 2005: unathletic child; heavy smoker from teens through to 30s; overweight; despised running (with a passion!)
  • 2005: 1st 10k; occasional bouts of running, nothing that could be construed as ‘training’
  • 2009: 1st marathon; First heard about UTMB and ultramarathons whilst on holiday in Chamonix
  • 2010: 1st ultra, the 33 mile D33; Followed by my 1 DNF (Did Not Finish) at the 53 mile Highland Fling; Completed Speyside Way Ultra in August
  • 2011: Completed 6 ultramarathons, from 33 miles to 55 miles in length
  • 2012: Completed the same 6 ultramarathons plus the 95 mile West Highland Way Race
  • 2013: Birth of my son Harris; Completed D33 ultramarathon despite total lack of training

Despite all the miles covered in training and events, I remain overweight, something which no doubt hinders improvement in my running pace. With training not exactly going to plan after the birth of Harris, and, often, not happening at all, the weight issue has worsened.

The final straw came on the weekend of 22nd-23rd June, when the 95 mile West Highland Way Race took place, an event that I should have been running but, in light of my training (or lack of it), pulled out of in advance. Determined to return to fitness, I sought a goal that was attainable without spending too much time away from family.

I decided to try and beat my 1/2 marathon PB, admittedly without actually checking to see what it was and giving due consideration to how this compared to my current running level – doh!

Coincidentally, the PUMA PB Challenge caught my eye and I applied. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would actually be selected to participate. I first heard that I had been selected back on 5th July but was sworn to secrecy until the event actually launched. I am delighted to have been given this opportunity and welcome the assistance that PUMA and The Running Bug are providing to help me try and beat my PB. I am sure that there were others that could have been chosen, quite possibly people who would have been a safer bet to beat their PBs, so thanks to PUMA and The Running Bug for taking a chance on me. I will do my best to top that 1:51:05.

So far, I have had the benefit of a running schedule tailored to my specific needs by Hayley Munn. It’s great to get some assistance and direction in this area. I have to admit to being a bit of a single speed runner in all my years of running to date and it is only recently, over the past couple of months, that I have appreciated the need for a varied training programme to buck me out of this rut.

I have had some assistance with the implementation of my training from ‘Coach Carly’, a fellow new parent who I first met at an ante natal class and, thanks to our sons, have become friends with. Carly, an accomplished track athlete, put me through some speed sessions in the weeks before I became a PUMA PB Challenge Ambassador and is kindly assisting with the implementation of Hayley’s training plan. I doubt that I would have pushed quite so hard at last nights intervals session, for example, had Carly not been there to ensure that I did not slacken off the pace when the going got tough.

On the nutrition front, I will soon have a consultation and plan in place thanks to Mac Nutrition (http://www.mac-nutrition.com/) The ‘UK’s Leading Consultancy For Nutrition Advice’. In the past, my dietary efforts have not produced the desired results and, if anything, I have found myself lacking in terms of fuelling my training and events. I am already looking forward to seeing what they have in store for me and, with a bit of luck, this will result in weight loss, which in turn will impact on my running pace.

Finally, I am off to Northampton, via London, on Sunday night, for a physio appointment and to meet the other PUMA PB Challenge Ambassadors (5k, 10k, Marathon).

So, that’s an introduction to me, and where I am at in terms of my PUMA PB Challenge. My challenge race is the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow on 6th October, a mere 74 days away but hopefully long enough for the physio, nutrition and training assistance to take effect.

As of 24th July, there are 135 fellow Bugs taking up the PUMA PB Challenge for the 1/2 marathon distance which is brilliant. Thanks for all the comments and support on my logged training sessions over on Bugmiles and, also, over on the forums.

Happy Running :o)

Runner Out To Smash His Records

From the Evening Express, Monday 22nd July 2013:

“A runner is to lead a UK-wide campaign to inspire people to beat their personal bests.

Jonathan Mackintosh, a web developer at the University of Aberdeen, from Ellon, was picked to spearhead the Puma Personal Best Challenge.

The 41-year old is one of four ambassadors chosen from more than 500 applicants.

The group will attempt to smash their records at 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon distances, encouraging as many runners to join the challenge and do the same as possible.

Jonathan will try to smash his best half marathon time of 1:51:05 at The Great Scottish Run in Glasgow on October 6.”

10 Reasons to Run in Scotland

“With its rolling landscapes, rugged mountains, and endless scenic trails and paths, there is no better country for runners than Scotland.  As well as being an ideal destination for leisurely runs, Scotland also offers a wide variety of organised 10ks, marathons, relays and races.”

There are many reasons to run in Scotland, and www.scotland.org lists 10 of them in their recent article.

Number 5, For amazing challenges, reads as follows:

“Some runners like to take their sport to its limits, and Scotland’s more extreme races will not disappoint. The West Highland Way Race sees participants taking on a challenge to run 96 miles from Milngavie, just north of Glasgow, to the Highland town of Fort William. The route is off-road but on waymarked trails and heads through the fabulous ever-changing landscapes of central Scotland and the Highlands. Expect off-road tracks and plenty of hills. Taking place in 2013 on June 22, WHW Race runners will be racing to beat the record breaking times of 15hrs 39 mins for the men and 17hrs 16mins for the women’s. Yes, you read that correctly. That is well under 18 hours for a 96-mile run!

Other Scottish running challenges include:

  • 100km The Anglo Celtic Plate in March
  • 55-mile Cateran Trail Ultra Marathon in May
  • Cape Wrath Half Marathon 2013 in May
  • Rat Race City to Summit in June
  • 43-mile Devil o’ the Highlands foot race in August
  • Glenmore 24hr Trail Race in September.”

The complete list:

  1. For fantastic views
  2. For the love of tartan
  3. For friendly cities
  4. For whisky
  5. For amazing challenges
  6. For gorgeous castles
  7. For the highest mountain
  8. For great mates
  9. For landmark attractions
  10. For the sheer madness of it

Read the complete article: 10 Reasons To Run In Scotland

PUMA PB Challenge Ambassador Gear Arrives

It’s only 2 days into the PUMA PB Challenge and I am just back from run number 2. Not exactly sticking to my training plan (supposed to be a rest day) but the opportunity for a gentle run with company arose so I thought best to make the most of it. Just over 7 miles later and I am feeling a lot better, having just completed my best run in weeks. The tight legs of last night were less troublesome, though I think a sports massage is definitely still in order. What’s more, it was an opportunity for me to try out all the new PUMA gear which arrived this afternoon.

I knew the Ambassadors were going to be kitted out with PUMA gear but didn’t expect there to be quite so much of it. We are definitely being spoiled. 2 pairs of running shoes, 2 kit bags, 3 t-shirts, a pair of shorts, a pair of running leggings, a windstopper jacket, a hooded top, 6 pairs of socks. Much more than the trainers/socks/shorts/tshirt that I was expecting so thanks PUMA, much appreciated :o)

There’s been a lot of interest on the forums and over 80 people so far have joined up to try and beat their half marathon PB. I have spent some time last night and today responding to everyone who has posted on the forum so far. It’s great to see all the stories and PB times that people are aiming for.

Tomorrows run is a progressive run, building steadily on my pace in 10 minute segments and I am already looking forward to it. It’s great to have a purpose again, a running goal to provide some direction for my efforts. It’s also great that the goal is more family friendly than my ultras.

Happy Running :o)

PUMA PB Challenge Ambassador

I can finally let the cat out of the bag! Back on Friday 5th July I received a phone call to inform me that I had been selected as the PUMA PB Challenge Ambassador for the 1/2 marathon distance. I was sworn to secrecy until the event launched, today, Tuesday 16th July.

It’s been a tough time for me these past few months where running has been concerned. I dragged myself round the D33 and eventually came to the conclusion that there would be no more ultras for me in 2013, pulling out of the Fling and even the West Highland Way Race, an event that I had been looking forward to immensely.

Things came to a head the weekend of the West Highland Way Race, as I thoroughly enjoyed following the progress of all the competitors but, at the same time, found myself tinged with sadness at my non participation and, especially, at how far I felt my running fitness had fallen. 95 miles? I don’t think I could have managed 9.5!

So, I needed a remedy, and one that wouldn’t impact on family time too much. It’s always been important to me but, even more so since the birth of my son Harris back on 28th February. Especially at this age, there’s just too much to miss and, being at work all week, I just never get to see enough of Harris.

The solution: a race that would give me something to aim for but, at the same time, wouldn’t see me having to log too many long runs of a weekend. The 1/2 marathon distance fitted the bill perfectly. And then, just when I had decided on the 1/2 marathon distance, I came across the PUMA PB Challenge and the call for ambassadors for 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon and marathon distances.

Talk about timing. However, when I submitted my application I didn’t, for a minute, think that I would be fortunate enough to be picked. PUMA are providing me with complete kit, training, physio & nutrition advice. Brilliant, and just what I need as an impetus to push harder for that PB.

It’s going to be an exciting few months :o)

Trail Running Canada, Issue 5

Issue 5 of Trail Running Canada is now available to read on ISSUU, including the ‘Truth About Cramps’ by Dr. Jennifer Copeland, articles on ultra legends Karl Meltzer and Khrissy Moehl, an interview with Greg Vollet, Salomon team manager, and the usual mix or race reports and reviews (Nathan Vaporwrap and The North Face Hyper-Track).

Ultra Tales Issue 7

Issue 07 of Ultra Tales has been released and covers primarily UK ultra event reports from May – Jun 2013.

This issue included event reports from the CTS North York Moors, Malvern Hills Ultra, Pony Express, Transvulcania, World 24hr Championships, Ridgeway 40, Ultra Brecon 40, NDW 50, Norman Conquest 50, Grand Union Canal Race,  Hardmoors 110, Endure 24, Cateran Trail Ultra, SDW100, UTSW, The Wall, West Highland Way and Long Eaton 50.

This issue contains runners profiles for Keith James, Dan Park, Rick LaBounty, Richard Ashton, Cath Rooke and Mark Johnston.

Issue 7 also includes articles on Training Injury Free, Missing the Spartathlon, the Road to Spartathlon, Spartathlon Preparation, DNF Corner and the Marathon Roundup.

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