Friday, 17 July 2015

Being a CEP Pacer

There's just over two weeks left now until Dublin Rock n Roll half marathon, where I get the amazing job of being the 3 hour CEP pacer again. So, I thought that it's about time that I reflected the experience of being a CEP pacer at Liverpool Rock n Roll ready to give both pacers and runners at Dublin a heads up of what they can expect.

I was really lucky that I have the best pace partner ever at Liverpool Rock n Roll.  Me and Alison paced the three hour half at Liverpool Rock n Roll, crossing the finish in 2:59:35.  We were really pleased with how well we did but we weren't surprised, we check our times at every mile marker against some pace bands that I made the night before (And then using a pace calculator on my phone when the pace band vanished).  We had a small group of runners that we'd see every so often during the race but we just kept to our pace and let them do their own thing.  It can be hard to leave runners who you have been encouraging but if you can't keep them with you then you just have to keep going because you don't know whether other people in front or behind you are using you as a guide for a specific time.  After we crossed the finish a number of runners were waiting to say thanks.  They'd used us as a marker to stay in front of the entire time and we'd helped get them the time that they wanted.  It is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and I'd highly recommend everyone having a go at some point.

So, for those joining us in Dublin...

To the runners: Running with a pacer can make your race, especially if you're after a
specific time. We get to the race early and go through all of the prep stuff so that we can be waiting in the relevant corrals when you get there. We'll then do our best to try and get you round the course within the specified time (We're only human and we're still running a race too so sometimes we can have the same issues that any other runner can, so please be nice if thinks don't exactly go to plan).  Most pacers run an even pace throughout the race but your pacer should be able to tell you their plan.  You don't right next to us either.  If your pacer has a group of people around them that puts you off running with them just keep an even distance in front or behind.  At Dublin we'll be wearing a bright red CEP t-shirt and socks so we're pretty easy to spot in the distance.  We're usually quite a friendly bunch so don't be afraid to ask questions.  There is a 'Meet the Pacer' session planned for 1pm at the expo on the Saturday before the race but more details will be available on the Dublin Rock n Roll website, facebook page and twitter.

To the pacers: I'm be no means a pacer expert but I thought I'd share my knowledge.  These are just my opinions, feel free to ignore.

Marathon Art

Today was a rubbish day, not been able to move.  Found something new to fill my time though, marathon art.  I made one for my friend for her birthday and decided to do some for myself too because they're quite fun to do and you just need the route and the colour scheme of the race.  

I do like the one for Brighton better because it has a great colour scheme.  Liverbird isn't the most exciting route ever in print but who cars, I ran that.  Eight times.  They look pretty cool framed too if I do say so myself.  I'm going to do a tour one next.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Medal Watch

No one likes a told ya so but...

So, let's go through me medal count:

  1. Half Marathon medal
  2. Fun Run medal
  3. Encore medal if you ran the RnR Dublin half last year
  4. World Rocker medal, if you've done a RnR half/full somewhere else in the same calender year
  5. Double Beat Heavy medal, same as the world rocker but you have to register here
You do not have to do anything to get the first four medals other than turn up and run.

For more information about the races go here

Medal Watch - Dublin is getting an encore medal

The RnR guys are trying to keep us in suspense by announcing another possible medal but the shape is oddly familiar.  Does it remind anyone who did both Liverpool RnR's of anything? Like their Liverpool Encore medal perhaps, awarded for doing the race two years in a row? That brings the possible medal count up to 5.  Five medals in one day has got to be a record.  It even beats EHM where gold runners can get four medals in one day.

2015 Liverpool RnR Encore Medal

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Medal Watch - Dublin Rock n Roll

Rock n Roll Double Beat medal
Right, first things first, has everyone who has done another Rock n Roll event this year signed up for the Heavy Medal?  You need to register at the following link and then you will be sent the lovely Double Beat medal after you complete the Dublin half marathon.  This is additional to the World Rocker medal.  It's really easy to do, just click here and complete your details.  If you sign up for the Double Beat medal and do the 3k fun run it means you can get a total of four medals for the day if you have done another half/full race in the same calender year.

So, you will get the half marathon medal, the medal for the fun run and the massive World Rocker medal on the day ad the Double Beat medal will be sent to you after.

RnR Dublin have also just announced that as a good will gesture anyone who entered the shall we say disappointing Titanic Half in Belfast can get 50% off the Dublin Rock n Roll half marathon.  More details can be found here.  The t-shirt has been revealed too!!

Enteries for the two races on the 2nd August are still open.  The half starts at 8:30 and the fun run at 11:45 so it is possible to do both.  For more details go to

Medal Watch - North Wales Half

2015 North Wales Half medal
2015 North Wales Half medal
The North Wales Half Marathon by Run Wales is in the 26th July and this is the medal.  I love the Run Wales medals, I've gotten a few so far this year, at Rhyl 10 and Wrexham Half.  Their quietly understated but they're still pretty and stand out.  I love the t-shirts and medals are always coordinated too.

Apparently the race goes over sand, road and mountain, it's a shame it wasn't before the tour because it sounds like it would have been good training.  I'l have to do all of the Run Wales races one year, I'll be at Thunder Run this year though so can't make it.  For more information about the race please click here.

Medal Watch

2015 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend medals
I wish I lived in the US because these medals for the Disneyland Half weekend are sooooo nice.  I love the Dumbo Double Dare one in the centre that you get for doing the 10k and half marathon back to back over two days.  The 5k medal is pretty nice too, it's a special one for the 10th anniversary of Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend.  I'm not as keen on the half marathon medal but the centre does spin and the Snow White themed 10k medal isn't my favourite but I certainly wouldn't knock them back if someone offered to let me to to California to get them.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Dopey Training

(It's no longer Tour & Dopey Training, it's a sad day. Tour training will begin again in January).  So, last week was quite an impressive number of miles and the week before that wasn't too shabby either.  Running through that feeling that your legs want to fall off is certainly getting easier compared to the mini Dopey simulation at the beginning of May.  I was worried that an 8:30 completion time for Dopey might be a bit unrealistic but I'm more confident now after finishing the tour in 9:08.  The tour is four miles more (and is spread over an extra three days obviously) but there's no sand and steps (which are the only times I walked in the week) at Dopey and hopefully I won't have a dodgy shin.  It came after a couple of weeks of not being able to run too. 

Pretty easy week this week with a couple of run races this weekend and what might be the slowest mile race ever recorded tomorrow but will be mostly resting to get ready for Thunder Run.

See you next year Tourists

So, the tour is over. I honestly thought that I'd do one and that would be it. It would be great training for January plus I'd get to do all the BTR races in one year. Next year I'd volunteer, maybe do a few guest places. I really underestimated what it means to be a tourist, I don't think you can fully understand until you have been one. There's something about the events that you go through that pulls everyone together, even the people you didn't speak to. You'll see someone in a few months time racing in a tourist top and you'll give them a louder cheer than anyone else because they're part of the family, even if they're the crazy relative whose name you can't remember. We're like the Mitchell's (Eastenders reference men) or something, we look after our own because of the amazing and unique experience we have all shared. Today I watch the list of 2016 grow and was so happy to see so many names that made my experience so great returning but at the same time there's some new very nice people on the list. I'm excited that they'll get to experience it too. 

There are so many great memories but I have some highlights. Running with Zena and a 74 year old lady has to be up there, Hale was so much fun. Hearing the story about Rob stealing a pint as he finished, I would have loved to have seen that (He didn't actually steal it, he arranged for it to be there for him). Derek's socks! Fancy dress!! Eammon's high fives and the stitches he had me in shouting at people who went past him at Stadt Moers. Powerman! Too many wonderful supporters and volunteers to name. Keith telling us we could get off the beach, Ali running to me with my water and Pat making us smile before we faced the steps. Saying well done to every runner who went past me (well most of them, I had to stop during Stadt Moers) and getting to support a race whilst running it. Erika stopping to save a dog! Emma passing out on the train, surprising Alan with the masks and then Joyce surprising him and Yvonne with the dolls. Claire Dolan's face when she was called to the stage and watching Derek take pleasure in helping her to cross every finish line with massive smiles. David Marsh's speech and learning the importance of a pray and a hope and a song forever changed. Seeing Michael Bailey's determination at every race and pretty much every moment with Stan. Stan if I was told to give my medal back I would without hesitation, you were right, some things mean more than a medal. 

My super hero
I'll finish my race reports soon so that we can relive a bit of the agony and to give the rookie tourists an idea of what they've got themselves into. It will only prepare you for the running though, there's no preparation for becoming a tourist. You'll find out soon enough. 

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Tour of Merseyside - Day #4 Hale 5 Mile

Image owned by Mark Humphreys-Green
Today started with a bit of a melt down.  It was a shaky day, I couldn't focus and my head kept exploding whenever I tried to get it to do something.  Normally on days like this I stay on the sofa because it's embarrassing for people to see you on a bad day.  I get frustrated and anxious and I thought I wouldn't be able to run and so I didn't want to go to Hale but James talked some sense into me and then took me to the race.

We got to the race start and oh my, the costumes were so amazing.  I'm so glad I went because it was one of the funniest sights I have ever seen, those poor people of Hale and some of the guest runners didn't know what hit them.  Stan was Dorothy, Derek was some Zena Warrior Princess variation, we had ET, cavemen, a Pokemon, a lego man Paul, Dennis the Menice, Hoola girls, a old granny, quite a few supper heroes, 118 men and a couple of Baywatch babes who are perhaps in need of some tlc.  Men as women, women as men it was so so so very funny (I'm going to steal some photos to put at the end of this post, hope no one minds). 

Hale 5 mile route
The 5 mile race goes round in a big loop starting and ending in Hale.  It's pretty much 3 country lanes that take you back to the start and is a nice flattish and fast course. I really like this route so it's a shame that next year we'll have a new replacement.  There's issues with getting the police to support the race and so next year we'll be moving but we've been promised a flat loop course where we'll pass the other runners and finish at a pub but they're keeping quiet about where it will be at the moment.  Where ever it is I hope the fancy dress continues.  At this point in the week it's so nice to have dressing up to look forawrd to, it distracts you from the pain of the 29 miles already ran and the day off gives you lots of time to get your costume ready.  Alan, if you're reading thus, we'd really like an award for best costume too please.

Hale 5 Elevation
I ran today with Claire and Derek because I could feel that I was close to my illness starting and I didn't want to get ill trying to race .  Last time we raced here it was on a Sunday morning so it was quite quiet but there was a lot of cars today.  Most of the drivers were nice and cheered us on, some got a laugh out of seeing Supergirl, Zeena and an old granny running past.  There were a few miserable ones but the volunteers did an amazing job of keeping them under control.  It was quite warm, there was shade on some of the roads but we were very glad to see the water station at mile 3, especially when Ali ran to us to give us our water. Then it was just a nice slow steady two miles to the finish.  It was a lot of fun without any pressure, we just had a nice relaxing time but we still ran the whole way and we finished in just over an hour.  We got an added extra bonus medal too, they're left over from the last Hale 5 but it's pretty great because they have the stickers to put your time on the medal.  I need to finish the tour in under 10 hours now so that I can put my tour time rather than race time on it.

The pub finish was great because it gave everyone an opportunity to hang around, have a laugh and relax a bit.  Plus I finally got a chance to sample the ice cream.

I do not own any of the photos below.