Target 26.2 - First Timer Steve's Journey to Paris



  • Mike Sheridan wrote (see)

    Steve - sleep easy now for a few days.

    Then "Terminator-esque" - you'll be back!

    Have a blast in Paris and then good luck with the knee repair when you get back......

    Cheers Mike, I will definitely be back and, hopefully, fitter than ever - there's nothing to stop me doing a shedload of core work in the meantime!

  • Angela Isherwood 2 wrote (see)

    Hi Steve,

    What can I say that others haven't.  You've made the right decision, which is key.  I'm not sure if I would have been brave enough to make the decision if I'd been in your shoes.  LAst year whilst training for NYC marathon I pulled my calf, but didn't realise thats what it was,- just thought it was tightness, so ran more and more on it, and made it really bad- by which point, I needed to take a month off, which was the high mileage month.  I was still determined to do the race, even though my longest run had been 14 miles in July (for a November race).  Divine intervention stepped in, and it was the first NYC marathon to be cancelled, so I didn't do it, which has meant I've been able to get some decent training in this Spring, - I still notice the after effects of that calf tear now, so had I run, it would probably be even longer before I would be able to train like I am now, so what I'm saying is that you've made a really smart decision, and I have to say, watching a marathon is really fun too!!!  So you're gonna have a great time.

    We'd be very happy to have you volunteering in the Colchester park run- the first one is this Saturday, so I guess you're busy, - I'll be run director on 27 April.  To become a volunteer, go to this page, and it gives you all the info:

    Look forward to seeing you there! and well done for being such an inspiration! image

    Hi Angela,

    Thanks for the kind words. It was a tough decision but, ultimately, it was the only right decision. As was said in an earlier post, no-one wants to read about me hobbling round Paris on one leg in a huge amount of pain and I realised that that would only leave me feeling disappointed at the end anyway...!

    I'm glad it worked out well for you in NY (although you must have felt gutted at the time!) and that fills me with hope that you are now training better for it, so thanks for that image

    Yes, this Saturday I shall be in France at a running expo. It's a tough life, but someone has to do itimage but the 27th sounds great!

  • PC91 wrote (see)

    Hi Mr Bacon,

    I'm linked directly to the 'Followed Threads' so sometimes I forget that RW have attached their site to our forum !  By the way who's SamMurphyRuns ? One of your groupies who you've been sharing your valueable advice with.  62 years old ! You've got a couple of years ahead of you.  I get confused with everything I read but I think there was a 74 year old who did a sub 3h30 recently (could have been quicker ?).

    Very considerate of you to help Mel with the carb loading, perhaps you could eat a few Creme Eggs for Sarah and drink a couple of beers for Shady.  They are going to love you at the restaurant as you tuck into your pizza followed by profiteroles, all these sacrifices you do for your friends.

    I went to the physio dreading the worse, it's not wonderful but they are not going to shoot me, although he would have liked to after seeing the state I have let myself get into.  I'll see him again tomorrow, then several sessions after the marathon.  I don't know what will happen on Sunday.

    There are over 900 strides in a kilometre, I've done 800km since November. My body has taken a pounding, any defauts in technic or posture will take their toll, and I am far from perfect.  My muscles have tighten up, in the case of my thigh, too much which caused my leg to block up.

    After Sunday I'm going back to square 1.  I will (try to) learn how to run, concerntrating on short distances, attempting to improve my technic.  Warming up and cooling down properly !  Stretches, often neglected as I was eager to get out of the door or exhausted after the long runs.  I aim gradually to build up my runs so there is less of a shock to the system. I intend to read back through the threads, find out more on aceleration strides and recovery runs.

    Your experience has given you a stronger base to build on, I don't know if you get bored of hearing this but thanks for sharing it with us.  Cheers.

    Hi PC91,

    Haha I wish Sam was my groupie! I think I'm bordering on being one of her groupies image Well 62 years old is exactly twice my age, so I've got it all to come...

    As for what you are saying about form, Sam very quickly made it clear that form and technique are so important and it makes a huge amount of sense - if you are running much more efficiently then you have to put in less effort to achieve the same result... I really try now to focus so much on form when I'm running and the results were there to see... Once I'm back to full fitness, that is something that I will definitely carry on trying to perfect.

    Along with concentrating a bit more closely when running over slippery bridges!

  • jenfjenf ✭✭✭

    I have this written in my training diary, thought it was appropriate,

    'Notre plus grand gloire n'est pas de ne jamais tomber mais de se relever a chaque  fois que l'on tombe.'

    Have a good weekend, x

  • Steve, yes must have posted at same time! I think at least you know that this is absolutely the right decision so go to Paris and enjoy the atmosphere and the weekend break from the norm. You are still part of the team.

    I had asked restaurant to ensure there was pasta and plain tomato sauce available for those that wanted this to eat the night before, now the whole menu is open to you! Your dietary changes have been top notch as has what you have learnt on this journey. You have been a star!
  • jenf wrote (see)

    I have this written in my training diary, thought it was appropriate,

    'Notre plus grand gloire n'est pas de ne jamais tomber mais de se relever a chaque  fois que l'on tombe.'

    Have a good weekend, x

    Hi Jen,

    Thanks so much - that is a really lovely sentiment (not to mention a very true sentiment)...

    For those who don't speak French (or who can't be bothered to Google the translation. Tut tut) it means:

    Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall

    Incredibly fitting and something I will definitely bear in mind this weekend image

  • RUTH MCKEAN wrote (see)
    Steve, yes must have posted at same time! I think at least you know that this is absolutely the right decision so go to Paris and enjoy the atmosphere and the weekend break from the norm. You are still part of the team.
    I had asked restaurant to ensure there was pasta and plain tomato sauce available for those that wanted this to eat the night before, now the whole menu is open to you! Your dietary changes have been top notch as has what you have learnt on this journey. You have been a star!

    Yes, the others really have made me feel like I am still very much part of the team and they all seem genuinely gutted that I won't be starting with them. They've all sent me great messages of support which, considering the excitement they must be feeling and their being so tightly focussed on their own races at the weekend, really does mean a lot to me. It just goes to show what a great bunch they are.

    Haha I had already considered the significantly widened scope of what I would be allowed to eat in the restaurant - I'm sure that doesn't surprise you!

    My dietary changes have been immense - I would go as far as to say that my diet is unrecognisable from when I started the competition. I've got these amazing new things in my diet now called, I think, vitamins. They're great!image

  • Hi Steve, gutted to see that you won't be doing the marathon, but the fact that you're still heading out to Paris to support the others says so much about you as a person. I look forward to updates on your recovery over the coming weeks!


  • So... nearly there...

    Tomorrow afternoon we'll be heading out from St Pancras station on our way to Paris.

    It's not the way I wanted it and, as it draws closer, I'm realising more and more that this weekend is actually going to be pretty tough going. Seeing the excitement of the others, watching them prepare for the race, the amazing atmosphere of race day and, I'm sure, seeing them all go out and run fantastic races and achieve their goals... Well, it's not going to be easy knowing I could have been there with them.

    There will be many, many more races for me and I will hopefully run lots of marathons in the future. I have some very ambitious goals going forwards that I want to achieve and this in itself is a very minor blip on the road to those goals so, in that respect, I just need to keep telling myself that and focus on the future and what I will achieve...

    And if this were a "normal" marathon I'd signed up and trained for perhaps that would be simple enough and wouldn't prove too difficult. But the fact that the race was the culmination of this competition means that everything has been heightened and everything has been amplified so that I am left feeling incredibly deflated.

    I picked up the latest issue of Runner's World whilst out shopping last night and when I got home and read it, it reminded me of how well it had all been going, the leaps forward I had made... and ultimately what feels like a huge opportunity I have missed.

    I think if I had run other marathons in the past, it might not be so bad but because this was meant to be my first, because I've never achieved this before and never had the experience of completing 26.2 miles it is harder to realise that it is just another race and that there will be others. There's just this big, new, exciting thing that I've been building up to and putting so much into that has suddeny been taken away and isn't there anymore.

    It's the knowledge that I'm not able, through no fault of my own or through any lack of effort, to finish this amazing journey I have started that has left me with a rather hollow feeling at the moment... but I also know that the journey, in other ways, is just beginning. I have tried very hard to remain positive throughout, to keep a smile on my face, but I'm allowing myself a few hours at least of feeling sorry for myself before I plaster the smile back on!

    Time to look forward.

    Working with Sam, Sarah, Ruth and the rest of the team and hearing all the views and advice on here from all the fantastic people who have commented on this thread and shared the experiences with me has helped me improve tremendously. It has given me a glimpse of my potential... so that has awoken that old competitive, perfectionist instinct in me.

    I am going to run a marathon and I am going to run it within my target time and I am going to achieve those other goals I have set myself in the future. I will achieve a lot more than that as well.

    This weekend is going to be fantastically exciting and rewarding and very tough to cope with in equal measures but I'm sure my positivity will shine through, helped in no small part by the fantastic Target 26.2 team.

    I am going to have a little more time on my hands in Paris than I was really planning on (!) so I am going to try to keep everyone as updated as possible on how it is all going. I'm not sure what the internet access is going to be like but I certainly plan on taking lots of pics and I should be able to upload them fairly easily to Twitter, with as many posts on here as internet access will allow... so if you would like to keep up to date with how the fab four get on throughout the weekend, follow me on Twitter (@Steve_Waites) where I promise to keep up a blow-by-blow account!

  • Hey Steve,

    If it's not too much pressure, would you consider starting a Steve's 2nd journey ... style-post when you enter your next marathon? I would love to follow your journey for your 2nd 1st marathon! image

    However, may be forced to trip you if you start looking too likely to beat my marathon time too easily in your first ...image

  • MalcsMalcs ✭✭✭

    Steve, you're a gent. I will be glued to the computer on Sunday. 

  • MalcsMalcs ✭✭✭

    Steve - I'm doing the rounds just to wish everyone luck and in no way did I want to leave you out. In some ways I think you need more good luck wishes than everyone else. To go there and not race is harder than going and racing in my opinion.

    I really hope you enjoy the trip. I think you have every reason to. Try to focus on all the many positive things that have happened through this process and you'll have plenty to smile about.

    I don't think our paths crossed at boot camp but through the voting madness that followed I feel I got to know you quite well. 

    It has been a pleasure following your progress. I've had a blast reading your amusing comments and I look forward to doing that again once you're back up and running.

    All the bery best. 

  • TenjisoTenjiso ✭✭✭

    Don't get too drunk, Steve image  Have a great trip.

  • Sound like you will have a busy weekend with the updates! I really hope you have a great weekend.
  • Really hope you enjoyed today too.
  • PC -PC - ✭✭✭
    Hi Steve,

    Hope you were alright today, must have been difficult to have watched the race but it was the only decision.

    I said that my 'dodgy' form had tighten my muscles, the physio sorted out my thigh but said all my muscles were tight. I have more appointments booked. Anyway I got to 20k and had to stop and stretch. Then I started walking! I wasn't in pain but discomfort. Stupid thing was my thigh was the only muscle not hurting. It's not fun walking, I felt very lonely. My Garmin was showing a pace I could normally do whilst hopping and I watched the time tick away. It's disappointing knowing that I could do better. I finished in 4h44. At least it's a PB waiting to be smashed.

    You have to dig down deep for a marathon, you've shown that you have this quality, when you are mended it won't be easy but you should do well.

    I enjoyed the start, I high fived loads of kids and the crowds were fantastic. I had my name printed on my T-shirt, loads of people cheered me on. The downside was when I was walking, it was easier to read so the crowd were telling me to move it. After a last 5k of 50 min (a record) I managed to run the last k. The crowds at the finish were packed and very enthusiastic, they were shouting my name. I felt like a cheat because I had walked most of the race. Unfortunately I didn't see any of the famous 5 but meet loads from the Paris forum.

    I take away a great experience, especially the training and the forums.

    I presume that you participated in the celebrations. You all merited it.
  • Hi PC91,

    So sorry to hear how the race turned out but you should be as proud as hell of yourself that you finished the course and went the distance - there will be plenty more races in future that will go the way you want them to and, like you say, that PB is going to be massive next time round image

    Thanks for the support and the smiles image

  • Thanks for all the kind comments guys - I could write post after post about the weekend, which was tough in one or two places but ultimately a huge, huge pleasure to be involved in... Here's one post to be going on with:

  • So after my promise to give a blow by blow account of Paris... my phone decided not to work at all as soon as we emerged from the Channel Tunnel!

    I’ve had loads to tell and we’ve all had a fantastic weekend... and I’ve had to sit there on it in silence...

    First of all, I just want to say a massive, massive congratulations to my teammates who all ran fantastic races and did themselves so proud – they all hit their targets and they all executed fantastic races that truly merited the weeks and weeks of preparation they had put in.

    For Mel to beat her goal of going sub 4:30 by nine minutes so soon after losing Martin yet to be smiling every single time I saw her and for her to be such a positive influence and make everyone else smile almost as much as her was a pleasure to witness. Mel is an amazingly strong person and, even if she doesn’t realise it, she really did help me through what, in the grand scheme of things, is just a blip but what I have found pretty tough so I was so pleased to see her cross the line (still smiling) and be able to walk with her to collect her medal.

    For Ady to achieve his goal of going sub 3:30 and run a PB of I think 13 or 14 minutes was an amazing run – seeing the smile on his face afterwards was fantastic and I think I have made a real friend. He is such a level-headed guy and very determined. Not only did he hit his target but he also lost nearly a stone in weight (!) and he has impressed me so much with his dedication. I also happen to know that his previous best spilt was a thirteen minute positive split for a marathon – he got round Paris in only a two minute positive split... What a fantastic improvement!

    Sarah, RunnyRunRun, absolutely smoked it! Whether it was the thought of tucking into all those crème eggs she has stockpiled in the freezer, I don’t know but... wow! She ran a 20 minute PB!! Sarah and I have chatted loads and loads since the beginning of this whole experience and we had such a great time during the initial voting process, messing around with silly ways to get votes and annoy everyone we know with talking about nothing else... To see her achieve her Boston Qualifier and much more besides was fantastic and I’m so pleased for her to have made such a massive leap forward in performance.

    As for Alex... wow, what a runner! He wanted to go sub 3:00 yet run a stellar 2:53 – and, from what I saw on Ady’s thread, actually did that with a toilet break thrown in for good measure! Talking to Alex over the weekend really gave me a boost and motivation to improve my own running. He really considers and thinks about what he is doing and does what needs to be done to improve his performance and the results are there to see. I can only dream of running times like he does but he does show you what hard work and applying yourself can achieve. When he told us he ran his first marathon a few years back in 4 hours 30mins odd we almost fell off our chairs – this guy has worked and worked and shown such huge improvements that it almost doesn’t bear thinking about... there’s hope for the rest of us yet! He came about 530ith out of the whole field of not far off 40,000 – hope you are feeling very proud of yourself, mate.

    Secondly, I want to say a huge thanks to the all the guys who made this competition possible – the guys and girls from Asics and Runner’s World not only work really hard but they’re also a great bunch and us runners had nothing but fun all weekend. I won’t mention them all by name and embarrass them but it was a genuine pleasure to meet them all and I’m so grateful that they took me to Paris to finish the experience that the five of us started together.

    And how can I forget the experts who have been respon

  • ...

    responsible for such amazing runs by the Target 26.2 guys and who allowed me to blow my own expectations out of the water.

    I’ve read Sam’s articles in Runner’s World for a long time and I remember having a rather embarrassingly star-struck conversation with Sarah about how she had her book and how excited we were to have met her. Sad but true! To have her as my coach was an honour and a pleasure and, Sam, you’ve changed my running beyond all recognition. Without wishing to give her too big an ego, she is also a genuinely nice person who so obviously loves what she does and her knowledge and enthusiasm make her a pleasure to be around.

    Ruth has led me to make wholesale changes to my diet. Even if I never, ever ran again, I’m now so much healthier. Actually, only if you discount this weekend! I’ve carb-loaded with the guys like a good’un! Ruth, if you’re reading this, I’m very sorry. I probably should have stopped after the third kilo of pasta... :/

    As for physio Sarah, I’m just so, so grateful to have had her around after everything that has happened – I’ve had friends saying things to the effect that maybe this competition was not much more than an advertising stunt or whatever but people like Sarah show how untrue that is. Yes, there is of course a commercial element but it is so much more than that and there is a massive, massive human element. Sarah has taken so much time out to talk me through things, to reassure me, to treat me and offer her expertise. She has sat on the phone to me for a long time whilst on holiday, she basically gave up most of training day two to looking after and assessing me and has pretty much made me promise to keep her very much in the loop with what happens with my knee going forward. Much love.

    I’ve got a few photos and a lot of Paris stories to tell and I do have a day off work tomorrow so I’ll leave this mini-essay here and pick it up tomorrow. There have been pick-pocketings, cheese jokes, smiles, a hell of a lot of food, potato-free gnocchi, a VIP area that rivalled a Formula 1 paddock, a secret that will go with me to the grave and a celebratory drink or two...

    It was a great weekend and such a pleasure to be able to share it with four great people who did themselves proud.

  • MalcsMalcs ✭✭✭

    Steve, thanks for the update - great stuff as always. Really glad you managed to enjoy the weekend. Looking forward to more stories. You can start with

    "a secret that will go with me to the grave"  !!!


  • Malcs wrote (see)

    "a secret that will go with me to the grave"  !!!


    Perhaps he doesn't like bacon at all!!!!

  • PC -PC - ✭✭✭
    Your grave could arrive sooner if you don't tell us.image
  • TenjisoTenjiso ✭✭✭

    Well done Steve.  it was a bittersweet time for you, but I'm sure your own story is not yet over image 

    Good luck with your future training and racing.

  • MalcsMalcs ✭✭✭
    Kandinsky wrote (see)
    Malcs wrote (see)

    "a secret that will go with me to the grave"  !!!


    Perhaps he doesn't like bacon at all!!!!

    Ha image That would be a shocker! 

    Steve you better spill the beans or the speculation will only get worse...

    Ruth eats at Burger King 6 times a week but not on Sunday where she switches to KFC?

    Sarah is in fact an escaped lunatic living under an assumed identity and was arrested at the border on your return? (we all know she's a lunatic, just a question of whether she was in protective care)

    Finally my biggest fear, you're not really a lawyer - you're a traffic warden?! image

  • PC -PC - ✭✭✭

    Special K ?


  • Malcs- how did you know? You must have your scottish spies!!!

    Look forward to the photos! Perhaps they can help us extract this secret otherwise

    Steve we know where you live.......
  • MalcsMalcs ✭✭✭

    Ruth - damn I thought I'd got it then image So the mystery continues. I'm willing to offer the remainder of a Buzz Light Year easter egg to anyone who comes forward with information.

  • Steve, thank you for your very kind words. It's been an absolute pleasure to work with you and I am so sorry that you weren't able to make the start line on this occasion. However, I have every faith that it won't be long before you do run your first marathon and that it will be in a time that many first timers will find awe inpsiringimage

    But first, you've got the hurdle of the operation and rehab to get over so lets not rush things. As I said in Paris, I think a triathlon would be a great aim for this summer - it gives your cross training a focus, it gives you a goal and it allows you to exercise your competitive streak ALL without overdoing the running too soon. Triathlon is a trusty friend to running image

    Wishing you all the best for a speedy and complete return to running post-op. Keep me posted and let me know if I can help in any way.

  • Hi guys,

    Well it's been a long three months trying to get somewhere with the knee... but it appears that finally there might be some light at the end of the tunnel (and no, it's not an oncoming train!).

    It's been a bit of an up and down couple of months running-wise, mainly down sadly, but the green shoots of recovery are definitely there!

    I kind of felt like this thread was left unfinished so I just wanted to wrap it up with the end (hopefully!) of the knee saga.

    It's a very, very long story so I will copy and paste from an email I sent to Sam telling her all about it...

    Thanks for everyone's support throughout - it was a bit tough-going at times but everyone's kindness and support made a huge difference image

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