Category Archives: Running

Thunder Run TR24

Getting ready to run in the Thunder Run (TR24) this weekend at Catton, Walton-on-Trent, Derbyshire.

The Thunder Run is a 24hr relay running race run in continuous laps around a 10km cross-country circuit set in the picturesque Staffordshire countryside. The track twists and turns across varied terrain including bogs, forests, steep hills and open fields.

When its dark through the night, I run with a head-torch. This photo was taken with a long exposure to capture the movement.

Running with a head-torch at the Thunder Run

Running with a head-torch at the Thunder Run

I’m meeting up with some pals to run as a team. We’re camping and the weather forecast is sunny intervals, warm & humid with thundery showers. Well it may be wet, but at least it won’t be perishing cold 😮

Not looking forward to clocks-change

‎14 mile run this morning. A bit misty but light. Next week it’ll be dark early in the mornings, due to the clocks going forward for British Spring Time – boo!

Thigh Trouble

18 miles run this morning, with the dog round the forest. I thought carefully about taking the dog with me on such a long run, but as it turned out, he fared better than me. The dog was fine, but my thigh tweaked badly and the last 6 miles were agony. I had to walk part of the way, and ended up 20 minutes behind schedule.

I’m treating the area with an ice patch whilst I’m working. I’ll review how it is later.

Head-on Collision!

Ran 15 miles this morning, around the forest with the dog.

It’s bin-day here today and the village is very hazardous with rubbish bins and recycling bins littering the paths.


Hazards on the paths on bin-day

Although I do wear a head torch, its difficult to navigate through all the obstacles in the pitch-dark and as I looked down at my watch I had a head-on collision with a large black wheelie-bin. I knocked it over but managed to prevent myself from falling. I was OK, except I hurt my hand.

A cold morning today, with a hard frost, which on the positive side means no mud, and a clean dog that didn’t need washing when we got back.

Nick is Coach to Half-Marathon Team

A team of over 40 people from Audi UK are preparing to take part in the 2011 Milton Keynes Half-Marathon. Many of the runners have never run before and the half-marathon presents a real personal challenge.
Nick has agreed to be their coach for the event, and has set out a training schedule and will be working with them right up until race-day.

Nick with the Half-Marathon Runners - Nick is the one with the flash on his sleeve

Nick with the Half-Marathon Runners
(Nick is the one with the flash on his sleeve)

The Milton Keynes Half-Marathon is taking place on Sunday 13 March and Nick will be there to cheer on the Audi runners, and to run the half-marathon with them.

“How to Run a Marathon” Manual now Available

I have now finished my marathon manual, I started it ages ago and had mostly completed it but some final work was required.  I finished the content and Leigh has edited it and finalised the layout and so it is now completed.  


The manual is designed for running beginners to be able to complete a marathon.  It covers all aspects of training, as well as information on warming up, stretching, and nutrition etc. etc,  Importantly, it also passes-on many of the time-saving and pain-saving tips that I have learnt over my years of training for and participating in running marathons. 


It’s a manual not to be missed if you are new to marathon running or if you want to improve your previous best marathon time.


For more information visit

An update on my recovery from surgery

I am now free of my cast but have an Aircast to wear.  This is a ‘ski boot’ like device which I put on to hobble about but can take off for physio treatment and to aid scar healing etc.


I went to the physio last week and he will let me start to swim next week if the scar is healed sufficiently.  The healing was going OK apart from one small area of the scar which was a bit sore.  The reason for this became apparent on Thursday when I did the typical bloke thing and was picking at the scar.  I thought I found a bit of dead skin but as I tugged at it, it was clear that it was the tip of an internal stitch.  I duly despatched it with a sharp tug and pulled out a piece of thread about 10mm long.


I was really pleased as I thought this was what was delaying the healing and now it would heal quickly and swimming would be on the cards.  However, Friday had me picking at it again only to find another piece of thread.  This time I tugged very hard but it didn’t want to shift.  Off I went to clinic to let the nurse have a look.  She decided that it wasn’t going to come out either and cut it as short as possible and dressed the wound in the hope that it would start to dissolve and allow the scar to heal properly.  So, I am hoping that when I remove the dressing tomorrow the scar will have healed sufficiently, as some form of exercise would be really good. 


The nurse also gave me a severe talking to as she found out I had been walking around at home without my boot on.  This is clearly a no-no and she read me the riot act.


If I can start swimming next week that’ll certainly help me to start to regain my fitness.  The next step is more physio and then in three weeks time the ski boot may be able to be dispensed with.  If the Prof (Surgeon) is happy with that the physio will let me do some static cycling and this should really help speed my recovery and with any luck soon after I may be able to start jogging.


We had some friends round last night and one of them was working hard to convince me that my Achilles will never be the same.  That’s the second person to try to ‘be helpful’ with information about my recovery.  Is it just the nature of us Brits to be so bloody pessimistic?  I include me in that of course.


Meanwhile I am gradually getting my RAAM experience down on paper but it is taking much longer than I thought and I feel that I am only covering the surface of things and not really getting in to the nitty-gritty of all the finer points of the personal interactions and emotions that the team went through.  Maybe I’ll have to put that in later as a separate section rather than threading it throughout the entire read.

After RAAM nick puts his feet (foot) up

Well the deed has been done.  I spend six and a bit days with a team cycling across America and then come home and within a few days have an operation on my leg which leaves me helpless and reliant upon Leigh to help me out with just about every task.

The operation was planned after I went to see the specialist in January to see what exactly was causing the pain in my right heel.  The pain was only apparent in the mornings but was particularly apparent after I had run the previous day.  The result of all of the X-rays and MRI scans was that I had two bone growths on the rear of my right heel, one being a bone spur and the other a ‘Haglunds’ (a growth of additional bone on my heel).  The spur in particular was causing the discomfort as it was interrupting the smooth surface of my heel on which the Achilles tendon would slide and was slowly damaging the Achilles.  This damage was more apparent after a nights sleep when the Achilles became inflamed and resulted in the tightness of the tendon and the need to hop around for quite some time until I had managed to stretch it out and get back to a near normal gate.
The only course of action was to grind off the spur and Haglunds to recreate a smooth running surface for the Achilles.  Unfortunately, the only way to access the bone growths is to cut through the Achilles vertically and spread it apart.  Once the bone was ground off the Achilles could be repositioned and my heel stitched up.  To ensure recovery is swift and no lasting damage is done, my leg requires two weeks in a cast and then a further four weeks in a specialist ‘ski boot’ removable cast, after which a course of physiotherapy will be required.

So, I now find myself on the settee with my right leg propped up on pillows, taking pain killers.  Despite the pain killers my heel still feels like it has been beaten severely with a cricket bat!  Still, hopefully the pain will subside quite quickly and I will just have to deal with not being able to carry anything around as my hands are filled with crutch handles.

Nick with his feet up

Nick with his feet up

The other thing that surprised me is that when I first awoke after the operation I couldn’t feel my leg due to pain killing injections but my throat was very sore.  It seems this is from the tube that would have been inserted whilst in theatre, nothing drastic but something I wasn’t prepared for.  It’s still a bit sore now but only when I eat, which is often at the moment and something I need to watch.  I can’t eat the same amount as I usually do and not exercise whilst staying the same weight.  I really don’t want to put on weight whilst I’m laid up.  Starting exercising after such a long break will be hard enough as it is, let alone whilst carrying more weight.

The trip to the hospital and operation were actually very pleasant.  I had my own room and there were lots of nurses and assistants looking after me.  I was only in overnight but was thoroughly spoilt by all concerned.  I hadn’t experienced a general anaesthetic before and was amazed at the complete loss of the time whilst I was in the operating theatre. Once awake I was constantly monitored until after I had eaten and peed (peeing seemed particularly important) had my leg plastered and was ‘checked out’.  I say checked out, as the hospital was more like a hotel than a hospital, not that I’d want to go back regularly but the experience overall was pretty good.

Leigh is now having to help me big time as although my manoeuvrability on crutches is good I can’t carry or move anything so Leigh (what an absolute star) is pandering to my every need.

I have been ‘signed off’ for 6 weeks but have no chance of getting bored.  I have plenty to do including catch up on some reading, do a few blog entries and try to write about my RAAM experiences as well as a list of things Leigh would like me to try to get round to.  Clearly, all of these jobs are non physical jobs but jobs which I normally struggle to find time to do.  It will be nice to be able to ‘blog’ a bit more and also take a well earned rest from work.
It’s already two days after my operation and I am sure the 6 weeks will whiz by and I won’t get anywhere near the amount of things I would like to do, done.  But I will hopefully fully recover from my operation and at the same time recharge my batteries.

I’ll update you again soon, in the meantime there’s a TV programme on ITV 4 on Saturday 5 July at 20.15 about RAAM.  I don’t think it is about this years race as it too soon after the event but I think it will give you an insight into RAAM and what Leigh, me and the team went through.

London Marathon

I’ve been watching the London Marathon on TV today, as it’s not in my schedule this year, as I’m focussing on cycling for the Race Across America in June, plus as I have an injury, I’m not able to run at the moment.  But watching the runners on TV always inspires me.  Watching the stories unfold, of personal challenge and achievement, I find myself urging on complete strangers.  I find myself quite emotional seeing them achieve their dreams of completing the run, it’s a great day, with a fabulous atmosphere with crowds cheering all the way round.
Many people decide to run a marathon for the first time, after seeing the London Marathon on TV, and I would encourage you to have a go, it’s a day you’ll never forget.
If you’ve been inspired by the London Marathon and you’d love to run a marathon, tell me your burning questions and I’ll do my best to answer them for you, and don’t forget, if you have not yet claimed your free marathon training schedule, just let me know and I’ll send it to you.

Introducing our Gorgeous New Puppy!

Let me introduce you to our new puppy. 

Nick with Sterling 9 weeks 

 He is a weimaraner, he’s gorgeous and is now 11 weeks old, silver in colour, with beguiling blue eyes.  Leigh says he’s super-cute.  We’ve named him Sterling which refers to his silver colour but also means genuine, authentic, real, true, pure, excellent, first-rate, exceptional, matchless, incomparable, worthy, admirable and valuable – Leigh chose the name and thinks it’s cool.

He is a joy but is also a handful!  He is definitely a time-vampire requiring frequent attention.  I need my sleep and am extra-tired at the moment because Sterling is also keeping us awake at night!   If you have had a puppy – or kids – you’ll know what time-vampires they can be.  Anyway, this of course is only a phase, and we’ll come through it, but in the meantime, we are sleep-deprived!  He is lovely though, and we’re looking forward to being able to run with him later when he’s old enough.  Sterling doesn’t know it yet but he is going to be my partner in Cani-Cross events.  Cani-Cross is cross country running with your dog and there is a series of races organised in the UK and they are based around this dog/owner team and there are specific classes, rules and regulations.  I can’t wait to get in to this new sport.