Lisbon Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon – 2014

Third time lucky.

I’ve recently got back from a week in Portugal, having run the Lisbon Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. It’s part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon series, based mainly in America with a small handful or races in Europe too. The rock ‘n’ roll bit comes from the fact that they stage a number of small live bands around the course to entertain the runners and spectators, as well as putting on a bit of live music at the finish too. If I’m honest, it’s not much different to other events I’ve run where you often get a bit of music here and there anyway. That said, it was a well organised event and the course – the first half along the Atlantic coast and the second half along the river through Lisbon – is spectacular.

Lisbon Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon 2014
Lisbon Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon 2014

My third marathon attempt this year (and ever), I was trying yet again to go sub four hours. At London and Milton Keynes, earlier in the year, it had all gone well until about 18-20 miles after which I completely fell to bits and struggled to keep running. This time, everything came together perfectly. With the exception of a couple of slower miles where I stopped for loo breaks and hit a little congestion as the half marathon runners joined our course and caused carnage at some of the water stops, I managed to keep things consistently and comfortably below nine minute miles, finishing with a slight negative split at 3:58.

Compared to London, Lisbon was a pretty small event and I think I prefer it that way. Last week I received my rejection letter for London 2015 and wasn’t disappointed at all. I’d like to run more marathons, perhaps next autumn, but I’m keen to stick to smaller events that are more about the running and less about the spectacle of it all. In the meantime, I’m eyeing up a new half marathon PB at my local Milton Keynes winter half  in December and definitely fancy a bit more duathlon and triathlon next summer.

 

 

 

London and Milton Keynes Marathons

It seems like it was years ago that all this started, when I found out I’d got a space in the 2014 London Marathon. In reality it was only last October, but I’ve (literally) covered a lot of ground since then. Since October I’ve run for a total of 113 hours, covering over 700 miles and burned around 80,000 calories. That’s around 230 burgers.

Race day in London was amazing.  For 26 miles from start to finish there are constant crowds of people cheering and supporting, in places the support is so intense it literally takes your breath away. I finished the race in 4:16, struggling in the heat over the last six miles but swept along by the crowds. Milton Keynes was much calmer, although still had excellent spectator support. Three weeks of recovery between the two events may have been a little optimistic. Once again I struggled with the heat and hills towards the end of the course, finishing yet again in 4:16, although slightly more comfortably. Having my three year old son run across the finish line with me was pretty cool. Having the finisher’s medal put round his neck instead of mine, not so much!

I seem to have become slightly addicted to this distance running lark and have just booked flights to Portugal to run the Lisbon marathon in October. I can’t wait.

Here’s a little cartoon I came across a couple of months ago whilst in the midst of my marathon training. It’s worth five minutes of your time and describes long distance running better than I ever could:
http://theoatmeal.com/comics/running

Marathon training update

New half marathon PB
New half marathon PB

My marathon training is almost finished now. This coming weekend will be my second 20 mile run and then from there I’ll take a gentle taper down over the following three weeks until the the big day. The plan this weekend is to have a bit of a dress rehearsal for London, so from around Thursday I shall be trying to mimic closely my plan for London in terms of preparation, nutrition and hydration.

In other news, last weekend was the annual MK Festival of Running where I managed to knock a few minutes off my half marathon PB. Hopefully that’s a good sign that training is going well.

London Marathon 2014

Virgin London Marathon 2014
It’s on

After a couple of years of failed attempts, I’ve finally manage to secure a place in the 2014 London Marathon through my running club. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first, but it’s been a week now and I’m pretty excited and looking forward to both the race and the training. It’s probably a bit early to get into a full on marathon training program right now but I’m starting to increase the mileage slowly already with the aim of completing a comfortable half marathon or two this side of Christmas.

This weekend is the Winter Wolf Run, which should get me nicely into the swing of being cold, wet and miserable for the rest of the winter.

 

MX5 interior refresh

Last night I finally got around to finishing off a little bit of retrimming in the Mazda. I’d got fed up of the bulky interior door handles encroaching on the already pretty cosy interior, so decided to ditch them. To cover up the holes left behind, and also to improve on the dated vinyl door covering, I have recovered them in some cheap faux suede that I found on ebay. A small strap, screwed to the back of the door release lever, serves as the new door handle.

MX5 door pull strapThe cabin feels a bit more spacious now and has a nice minimalistic feel. I also added a layer of 3mm scrim foam underneath the fabric to give it a soft, slightly less cheap feel.

MX5 door pull strapThe blue matches nicely with the stitching on my gear lever and handbrake gaiters.

MX5 gear lever and handbrake gaitersThere’s more to come on the throttle bodies conversion too. I’ll update here as soon as I’ve taken a few pictures.

Update on the MX5

MX5 with GSXR 600 throttles
MX5 with GSXR 600 throttles

Just a quick update on the MX5. The GSXR 600 throttles have been assembled and attached and are now on their way to running pretty nicely.

The physical side of the install was pretty simple, mostly a case of bolting stuff up. The only real issue I faced was the routing and length of the throttle cable, which took a few attempts to get right. After a lot of trial and error and the use of some mountain bike parts to help the cable get round some tight bends, the cable now fits fine. The ratio of throttle plate movement for a given amount of cable pull is now a little higher that it was before, making the throttles very sensitive to small pedal movements. This can currently make the car a little difficult to drive smoothly in traffic and when parking. I have a plan to move the cable mounting point on the pedal to resolve this, but it’s not an urgent modification.

On the ECU side of things, the car is tuned and running well under most conditions. Startup and idle are smooth (the car sailed through its MOT last month) as is 90% of driving whilst the car is moving. Increasing the revs off idle is still a little rough, things go lean for a split second and stumble, which again makes driving the car in traffic a little laborious. Once moving, the fuelling is smooth and wide open throttle sounds great.

There are a few things that I rushed to get the car ready for the summer which I’d like to go back and revisit. For now I’ll just enjoy the sunshine though, when autumn starts to arrive I may take it all apart again and make a few small improvements. Amongst other things I think the head would benefit from a small skim. We’ll see.