VOTE Shady_Ady


Christmas came early at the start of the week and I was fortunate enough to reach the voting stage of Asics Target 26.2, in the 'On a Plateau' category.



Before continuing, I think it would be rude not to introduce myself.

At 31 years old, I have been running now for 8 years, The first few marathons I ran, I was extremely embarrassed to find myself finishing behind almost all of the fancy dressed athletes, just under 5 hours.

I've improved dramatically since then, running over 15 marathons and now have a PB of 3 hrs 44 mins, which I achieved in the Boston Marathon in 2009. I know I have the ability to go faster, my 16 mile PB  of 2hrs 02 mins suggesting this. My target for Paris, if successful, would be 3hrs 30mins, which has been a dream of mine since starting to run seriously.

Why should you vote for me? I've never been blessed with the perfect body for running. Everything I've accomplished has been through hard-work and graft, which I hope can encourage other runners like me. I don't lack motivation or the desire to succeed. Last year I walked 1160 miles for charity from Lands End to John o'Groats, in memory of family members who had recently lost their battle to cancer. This journey is often the driving force for my runs, especially on dark, wet, evenings when my brain tries to convince me to stay indoors. I know I'd give this shot every last ounce of energy I have.

Running keeps me sane. It gives me a feel good factor that I've become addicted to. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. After previously working overseas in international development in the developing world, I get a lot of satisfaction from helping others and would share every failure, success and snippet of information to hopefully help others break reach their marathon goals.

Feel free to fire your questions away. All are welcome. Before you ask.......yes I like marmite......and my favourite cheese is Stilton.

If you think I'm a worthy candidate, feel free to vote for me at



  • Hi Adrian,  

    I really enjoyed reading your 150 words, and particularly liked the dog out of the window analogy!

    Walking LEJOG is an impressive accomplishment, I wish you all the best for your campaign!


  • Hi Xyloid.....thanks very much for making my first comment a positive one. I always think it's strange how much enjoyment I get from such a primal activity as running. Everyone where I work is in to squash. Tried it.......but it's never come close to giving me the enjoyment that running has.

    I always look back at LEJOG with fondness, especially parts of the West Highland Way in Scotland and The Pennine Way in England, but I dont think I'll ever be tempted to do it again, especially with the summers we now have!

    What race distances do you usually run?

  • It was my Xmas party this evening and I almost felt guilty for eating the 3 course meal that was prepared for us for free (even though they were stupidly tiny portions). The feelings of guilt were kept to a minimum as I had done a speed session at lunch. Eight times 800m sprints at 5km pace followed by a 2 minute walk between intervals. An old work colleague introduced me to this who was looking for under 3 hour marathon. He succeeded with 2hrs 54mins. If it's good enough for him, it certainly should be of benefit to me. Has anyone done something similar in their training?

  • mmmmm stilton....


     where did you find out about this compettion........and what is your average running week like

  • I am a complete newb when it comes to running.  I always avoided it as best I could as I always felt like I was doing a Mr Bean impression!  

    At 45 I have left it a bit late in life to take it up but as the waistline was getting more and more pronounced, I was struggling up hills on the golf course and was soon to be needing a bra for my moobs (especially the left one?!).   I thought I had better do something about it.  

    I was inspired by my daughter really who has always struggled with her weight but has done really well lately and I kind of wanted her to feel as proud of me as I am of her!

    Did you have any marathons planned for 2013 prior to entering this competition?

  • Hello seren nos

    I originally came across the competition on the Runners World website last year, but as I was spending Thanksgiving to Xmas in the States with my wife and her family, I never entered.

    I did follow Craig though particularly, as I love seeing people's reaction after their first marathon. I was only ever going to run 1 marathon, but the adrenaline buzz that you get when you cross the finish line (not mentioning wanting to cry uncontrollably!) had me hooked and I've ran an average of 2 or 3 a year ever since.

    I have a subscription to runners World, so I knoew about it this year from the start.

    My average mileage each week is about 30 miles, running 5 times. I have started to now do 800m speed sessions once a week (6-7m), 1 run at marathon pace (3m), 1 run at 10km pace (4m), one slow recovery run (4m) and then a long run at the weekend (normally about 13 miles).

    It's only after bootcamp I've added more variety in. Beforehand most of my runs were always at the same pace. I have Sam to thank for this change!

  • Hi Xyloid.

    The reason I first started to run was to lose weight too (as you can see from my photo on the voting page, I have more work to do! Not the most flattering of photos - not even my cheeky smile can hide my little belly and moobs).

    At least you only had a left moob.....I have both......and what I'm doing now to finally lose them for good is adding more variety into my running, and also starting to go the gym. I often struggle with my diet as well and this is already one area I've started to work on, ready for next year. If it makes you feel any better, I still had little ones when I ran my PB in the Boston Marathon in 2009, so with the right diet added to a better traiing regime I have no doubt I'd lose them and also go much quicker.

    I dont have children yet, but reading what you wrote makes me want them more than normal. I love seeing running parents stopping for their children in the home straight and running with them through the finish line. I'd even let them wear my medal before I get the chance! One day I want to be that person!

    What races do you have planned? I did have some races planned for 2013 but have put them on hold until the Paris result is announced. Rome would be nice to do in March, and there's the Richmond Park Marathon in May. I was also planning on doing some of the pre-London races as well - Kingston Breakfast Run, Thames Towpath 10, etc.

    I have entered the Comrades Marathon for next June as well, but Paris is still my priority and I wouldn't do anything to jeopardise this chance while it still exists.

  • Adrian, A great introduction and the main reason I wanted to speak to you. You seem quite approachable...

    I've started running this year and find the motivation really hard to get myself outside and onto the streets (especially in this weather). What keeps you focused and your desire to compete?

    I have managed a few 10k's and a 10 mile event, but I really want to complete a marathon next year. What advise could you share to in the preparation for this and how much training would you recommend?

  • Hi Stuart,

    Thanks very much for your message. 

    The reason I started running was because I put on a lot of weight after Uni. After that it was a case of 'how much further can I go?' I would just keep increasing my weekly long runs until I thought 'hey, maybe I could manage a marathon now.' This was my initial motivation.

    Nowadays in this weather I struggle with motivation. In the Summer I have no problem running along, but in the winter I find it much nicer to run with someone. Not only is it sociable, but you dont want to let the other person down so I find myself almost forced into running, when if I was alone I'd find it much harder. Plus I know running in the winter months will put me in such a better position come Feb/ Mar. And probably a wrong motivational technique is the fact that Xmas is coming. The more I run now the less guilty I feel come Xmas Day afternoon image

    The most important rule I would say, and one that I failed to do when I first started running, is to increase your mileage slowly.......just because you think you can run 16 miles in one go, but you've only done 8 before, dont try and do it all in one go. Work gradually. What they said at bootcamp and what the general consensus is, is no more than 10% more per week.

    But if anything, running with someone else will probably keep you running more often and more motivated. Sorry I rambled on for so long image

  • Thanks for the speedy response Adrian.

    So increase 10% per week, I like that advice and sounds achievable. I have been looking at events for next year feb/march, I was going to aim straight for a half marathon but taking your advice on board, I think I'll find another 10 mile event first and progress to a half marathon the month after. Sounds like a plan and hopefully achieve that full marathon before the end of the summer...

    I hope you don't mind me asking... What Marathons have you taken part in? And what is the one race you would love to compete in? Do you have any amusing stories to share......?

  • Not a problem Stuart regarding the speedy response - I'm not getting quite as many messages as some of the other entrants, so obviously that means I get to put a bit more time and effort into the few posts I do receive!

    Actually I'd disagree with you on your first point. If you've already done a 10 miler, then I don't think there's any problem with moving on to a half marathon, especially if you've done the 10 miler recently. Where was the 10 miler you did? Marathon trainingn plans are normally 16 weeks long, so there should be no problem attempting one in feb/ mar next year. Plus there are some excellent half marathons that time of the year as well, especially around London (I live here, so I'm not sure this would be good for you?) in the run up to the London Marathon.

    There's not that many marathons ran over the Summer, due to the heat (or lack of it in a British summer!), but you could easily use the half marathon in Spring as a stepping stone for an Autumn Marathon.

    As for Marathons I've ran. I've been lucky enough to have the chance of running a nice variety. Never done Paris, which alongside Rome are on my list of ones to do next. The big marathons I've ran include London, Edinburgh, Berlin, Chicago, New York, Prague, Boston, Athens, Quito (in Ecuador) and Great Wall of China. For me, for atmosphere and experience, New York has been the best so far but Athens the holy grail (for obvious reasons). 

    Although not a full marathon, I'd love to do The Great North Run someday. It always looks amazing on TV.

    Haha.....amusing stories.......I have a few....I was beaten by a dwarf (very convincingly too! he didnt even look tired!) in Berlin. In Poland I ran a marathon and a friend knew the race director....he managed to get me a place right at the start amongst the 'pros'. So as the TV coverage was scanning along some of Eastern Europes finest long distance runners, chubby old me with a cheesy grin was standing at the end, waving like an idiot!

    The worse race I had was Prague. I fell over in the first mile on the cobbled streets right in front of my mates, who found it hilarious. Later on I somehow managed to get both feet snared in a metal ring, falling head first onto the floor. I cut my head open, ripped all my shirt, but carried on running. A few miles later when my wife saw me, naked torso showing, covered in dirt and blood she looked more confused than shocked. The worst thing was......again.....everybody laughed! If I had stopped I know I would have started to cry, and that's not a thing a man should do in public (well not often anyway!) It's a good job I can see the funny side now. image 

    Again, apologies for rambling on even longer this time! Good luck if you choose to do a half marathon. Like I've earnt recently, these forums are full of so much useful info. You can't go wrong looking through them.

  • Hi Ady, running not my top priority in sunny Bangkok! But Rach showed me your email so have voted for you. Need to do some more running in the new year so let me know if you if you would like someone to plod along with you on your long weekend runs?

    Mark (and Rachel) from beside the pool
  • morning

    what do you hope to gain from the forums and what do you think you can give to the forumsimage

  • Ady..I am a sprinter, but have often thought that distance running could be something I would like to get into, what advice would you give to a complete newby?


  • Hey Mark.

    Thanks very much. Will be more than hhappy to meet up for long runs at the weekend if you are around. Are you entering any races next year at all? Enjoy Thailand!

  • Hi Seren Nos,

    I think 'support' is the greatest gift that Runners World forums offer, whether that be through words of encouragement, information giving, or even from hearing of other runners experiencing similar struggles and ways of getting past them.

    Before I came to Runners World, if I was injured for example, I would just google my pain.......9 time out of 10, the response was I was going to die with in days (there's a story to go with this, but I'll save that for another time!). Coming here you quickly find others like you. 

    What I can give to the forums? Honesty I think would be the most important thing I'd give with my posts. I dont care writing about the problems I have, or the amateur mistakes I've made. I'm not worried about trying to impress, only looking to educate and inform runners from my own experience so they dont suffer the same.

    Like a pet dog, I'm also very loyal image and like to motivate others in achieving their goals. I think I said in my opening post, that I get almost as much satisfaction seeing others complete their goals as I do my own. One of my greatest moments in running is watching my wife run her first (and only) half marathon. She had never tried running that distance before, so offering words of encouragement and seeing her succeed  was just as good as succeeding myself.

  • Hi Andy,

    Thanks for the question. A sprinter? Maybe there's a lesson or two I could learn from you about speed as that's the main area of running that I need improvement in.

    Long distance running isnt for everyone, but I find it very thereaputic - relieves the stress and gets me from under the feet of my wife at weekend.

    I think the best piece of advice is to start slowly....possibly even run walk until you feel comfortable increasing the miles. There's plenty of places now that have clubs, even for beginners, so if you do like it, you could even get a new social side out of it as well. My local Sweatshop has a weekly 'friendly' run. Plus there's the Park Runs which you could enter. These are only 5km as well so a god base to start from. These can be a little less intimidating for someone completely new to running than a running club.

    I hope you try it and enjoy it! 


  • Thanks for the prompt response, some good ideas....see you in a marathon soon!

  • Hi Ady, sorry for the delay in replying, been on the road this week and can't always get online.  I haven't got any races planeed thus far, I am still trying to get used to running al fresco where real people can actually see me!  My intention though is to start of with the local Park run and then build up to 10k, HM and then hopefully a full marathon, but at the moment I am still trying to build a base of general fitness.

    One of the things I am struggling with is that my shorts keep bunching up between my thighs!  Trying to run whilst de-bagging my shorts every couple of minutes isnt a great look.  The other difficuly I am having is with cadence.  I avaerage around 160 steps per minute but everywhere I read they recommend that you should aim for 180. When I try to consciously increase my steppage it feels like I must look like a cross between a Geisha and someone who has poo'd their pants!  I am trying to convince myself that it is just because I am running at such a sedantary pace that no one could actually squeeze in that many steps without treading on thjeir own toes, but I am not so any advice on de-bagging my shorts or increasing my cadence would be greatly appreciated. I have already voted for you so I can't bribe you with my vote now!

  • Hi Ady,

    I noticed in your introduction you said your biggest weakness is diet and second to that is lack of speed training. However it seems like so far on here you've mainly been discussing the lack of speed training. As someone who also struggles with their diet and knows how easy it can be to quickly fall off the diet wagon, I'm just wondering how you're planning on overcoming this weakness if you win. Especially as I think your training has to start before Christmas?

    Also just wondering if you think your diet causes you problems because of a lack of the right kind of energy for your body or because excess weight is slowing you down? (Not trying to offend at all here or saying you need to loose weight, just going off what you've said already!) image
  • Haha Andy....I'd certainly be interested to hear if you did decide to run a marathon. The best piece of advice I was given when running my first marathon, was just to enjoy it. Don't get carried away with thinking about a certain time, as it takes the gloss of what you have accomplished. Take in the experience - the crowds, the sights, the sounds.....and if you feel like crying when you cross the finish line, then what the hell, let it all out and hug the closest person to're guaranteed to hug you back!

    Also in my own opinion, if you're new to running and are planning on doing a marathon, choose a biggish the crowds definitely make a difference if you're into the last few miles and have never ran that far before! All the best.

  • Hi Xyloid. You make me chuckle! Reading your post about debagging put images in my head that shouldn't be allowed before the watershed!

    Where do you usually run at the moment? Is it just in the gym? I have just joined my local Park Run too, so I can start to concentrate on increasing my speed by doing shorter distances at a much quicker pace. You definitely seem to have the right idea by attacking each distance one at a time and then moving on the next.

    I'll start with more interesting of your two questions - de-bagging! If I dont wear proper running underwear, then I always have this problem, and there's nothing less sexy than running past a group of twenty year old girls near the town centre, looking like you're fiddling with your bits. That's not even attractive in the bedroom! It also causes a lot of chaffing as well, which means youre still scratching about down there long after your run has finished (maybe that's just me).

    There's 2 things that has helped me - firstly buying proper running underwear (I wear running underwear that look like cycling shorts. These are tighter and thinner than normal underwear so they dont scrunch up like normal pants do. I also wear proper running shorts (opposed to football shorts, etc). I still haven't worked up the courage to wear the skimpy tiny running shorts! But these are lighter material as well, which also stops it from happening. This has worked for me and stopped it happening.

    In some races I've seen some guys who wear no underwear at all under their shorts.........with graphic detail, as they vaseline up their meat and two veg! If it works for them, fairplay, but these kind of images before a race can leave a newbie traumatised!

    As for've stumped I'm going to look like a complete novice image I've never actually studied this when I've ran....I've just gone out and ran. I've never had it analysed either. Somebody might correct me, but I really wouldn't worry about this, especially if it makes you look like you've dropped the kids off at the swimming pool, before even reaching the leisure centre!

    If you're working up to a general base of fitness, then maybe trying to fit in an extra 20 steps a minute, will increase your level of discomfort and speed. This can always come later on. Once you feel more comfortable with the longer distances.

    Well, I never thought I'd be talking about my underwear on the internet with a stranger. Thanks for breaking that taboo!

    Thanks also for the vote. Feel free to ask any more questions you like. I'm still not as popular as some of the other entrants so you're always guaranteed an essay for a response!

  • Hi Ace,

    Thanks for your message. No offence taken, especially as on the Asics Target 26.2 video, I say I run so I can eat! Of all the things I could have said. image

    A very valid point actually you made there. I havent really mentioned it at all. To be honest, up until now, I havent really concentrated on my diet at all in the past. Not because I've failed to do so, but just because I havent wanted to try.

    It's got to the point though, where I want to give a marathon my best ever shot and do EVERYTHING the right way. The weight I am now is the same as when I ran the Boston Marathon when I got my PB. Normally when I get into the longer runs during my training, I drop weight very quickly. Seeing as I'm at my PB weight now, by also correcting my diet (I don't think it will need much - just eating more fruit as snacks, should stop the urge of eating extra in the evenings), I think I should have no problem dropping 10lbs in 6 wks.

    I'm sorry you struggle too......but I think if your mind is in the right place, then this shouldnt be a problem. The key is to stay motivated and have a goal. For me, that goal is a race. If I dont have a race planned then I struggle to stay focused. Also dont have one huge goal, instead have several smaller goals...this way you feel you're making better progress more often.

    I never have issues with lack of energy because of my diet (maybe I will say differently if I ate correctly 24/7. I always eat the correct food groups before long runs, so should have a good amount of good energy to burn (if that makes sense?).

    And excess weight does probably slow me down....losing it should definitely help to lower my PB and hopefully reach my goal of a sub 3:30 marathon.

  • So the first few days of the final selection process have already past..........only a few left to go. It's been a manic few days, but thoroughly enjoyable. I can't believe it's only 5 more days until the lucky 5 are chosen. To be honest, it doesn;t really matter who these are, everyone's a worthy candidate in their own right. So much variety and potential image

  • I travel a lot with my job so I try to stay at hotels with gyms in.  I always use to stick to the elliptical trainer/bike/rower and just look at those on the treadmill with envy.

     Then one morning the gym was empty so i thought I woukd givie it a go.  I lasted 10 minutes before I thought I was going to die!  I kept at it over the next couple of weeks until I could go for 30 minutes at 10kph.

    Then 2 weeks ago I thought 'bugger it', I'm going to run in the actual outdoors!  We have a network of cycle paths near us so don't have to worry about cars, just the occasional cyclist and a bit of dog poo.  

    I then decided to hi-tech my ass and get a heart rate monitor and a book on it (heart rate training for the complete idiot).  I now try and run 4 times a week keeping under my lower ceiling for about an hour at a time.  I end up walking a fair bit to keep the heart rate down though.

    I have ebem bought myself some running tights, now instead of Mr Bean it is more like Blackadder!

  • Hi Xyloid.

    I'm impressed. When I've worked away from home I often feel too tired when I get back. That's why I run during my lunch breaks image

    Do you prefer running outside more now than a treadmill? I did the Great Wall if China marathon whilst working there and did almost all my training on a treadmill through the winter months as it got down to minus 30 deg C outside. I got injuries I've never had before which included a trip to the hospital and possibly my most embarrassing experience.

    I've never used my heart rate monitor. I know that's bad. How has your running improved using one?

    I hope the de-bagging issues are a distant memory now!

    Now if you could now just progress from Black Adder to Monty Python I think that will be the completed article!
  • jenfjenf ✭✭✭
    hey! you're up early posting around on threads image have a good weekend
  • Hey Jen. I've had a terribly busy week so only had time to concentrate on the 2 forum pages. Now the weekend is here I thought it'd be rude not to have a good look at everyone else on here. Do you have any runs planned over the weekend?
  • jenfjenf ✭✭✭
    just off out now ! weather if fab here I n Wales..gorgeous sunny morning
  • Very good to know. I hope it stays that way. On the train from London to Aberystwyth now. Plan on running along the seafront and up Constitution Hill tomorrow morning. Do you have many nice trails near you? Enjoy the nice weather!
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