Blog: Keith Luxon

"10in10 Runner 2012"

20 May 2012

Not just another day....

Well even with my usual nonchalant approach to some things and generally laid back attitude I couldn't see todays marathon as just another day. Sure it was 26.2 miles like all the rest but 26.2 at the end of a week that has pushed me to the limits (and once beyond) my emotional and physical limits. Running your tenth marathon in ten days is pretty mental at the best of times - which is good because this week has been some of the best of times.

The day itself was different for a start the alarm went off at 6 and the race started an hour early to accomodate the "oners" (the 800 odd people who were only dong the one marathon - I ask you no vision some people). Hobbling again when I got up as the shin ceases up over night and takes a good workout from Body Rehab and then 4-5 miles to get going.  Before the start we paraded in front of the early arrivers and familes for a rousing cheer and a moving few words from Foxy. Then it was down to the start and heres where the day reverted back to more normal.

The run itself was largely unaffected by the marathon that followed an hour later. There were water stops but as I went past most of these were still beings set up and we had our usual boxes.  The road closures didnt take effect till after we had run through and teh marshalls always seemsed a littled surprised when I ran past them :-)

Race itself went exactly to plan (well the kind of cobbled together plan I had.) Steady for first six miles to get leg moving and then see what was left in the tank. Actually surprisingly there was enough to get me round in first place and in a none too shabby 3:31 for my fastest time fo the ten days - will take that thanks very much. Even better was that I managed to stay ahead of the leader of the main race all the way around so I was first at the finish and got an amazing reception - you will have to watch the video to see me collapsing/falling over though (http://www.cumbrialive.tv/brathay10in10/) probably be up tomorrow. Great news is that one by one all 18 of us made it home - full results will be up later tonight (possibly) at http://results.sportident.co.uk/home/multistage.html?multistageid=df125791-07d8-45f0-a52b-343b6b0e863e but overall I am delighted with second place about 5 minutes behind Sally who ran brilliantly all week. The finish was amazing

Would I do it again? Nope. Am I really pleased, proud  and delighted to have achieved it once - you bet!

One of the reasons I wouldnt do it again is that I achieved everything I could every have wanted to do and so much more. In running its good to have a list of goals - bare minimum rising to absolutely perfect and these were mine...

  1. Finish it - Tick!
  2. Raise more than my pledge of £4,219 (a penny a meter) for the wonderful work that Brathay do helping disadvantaged children and young people transform their lives - Tick we are up to just shy of £6,000 but if anyone has any pennies (www.justgiving.com/keith10 )
  3. Finish in sub 40 hours for the ten marathons - Tick - finished in around 36:45 or so
  4. Finish each marathon in less than 4 hours - Tick - 1. 3:45 (3rd) 2. 3:46 (3rd) 3. 3:39 (3rd) 4. 3:44 (3rd) 5. 3.45 (3rd) 6. 3.37 (3rd) 7. 3:35 (2nd) 8. 3:42 (2nd) 9. 3:37 (1st) 10. 3:31
  5. Not be beaten by more than 3 of the runners in the main marathon - tick

So all in all thats about as perfect as I could get - coming back as well as being mentally and physically a huge ask wouldnt be able to beat this experience.

But I am delighted to be member 44 of one of the smallest and most select marathon clubs in the world - Brathay 10 in 10 finishers.

 

And toinights final dedication can only go to the awesome  double act that are Aly and Mac - they have held us all together, been support, motivation, coaches, mum & dad,  a shoulder to cry on and 101 things more. Brathay have a diamond partnership in this pair running this event and it just wouldnt work without them - so thanks for everything guys it was awesome.

By Keith Luxon, 20 May 2012 – 5 comments

19 May 2012

The Fat Lady Hasn't Sung Yet

So close today to getting there but we are not there yet and tomorrow we have a full 26.2 marathon to run - whilst hopefully there should be a huge addrenalin rush (partly because its the last day and partly because we are being chased by 1,000 other runners who we have a one hour head start on) we are now running mostly on empty or at least the orange fuel warning sign. There ain't much left in peoples tanks and we are heading for a roller coaster day tomorrow - hopefully withsome amazing highs but also some pain to get through.

Start was actually very difficult today - when I woke up I could hardly walk - shin pain and although Body Rehab are good miracles aren't yet entirley predictable. So I literally limped to the start with the hope that as I warmed up the pain would lessen although unlikely ever to go away - and so it turned out. First 3-4 miles was really tough and painful every time I put my left foot down it hurt but either I got used to it or it did warm up as the next 22 miles whilst unpleasant were at least bearable. After that today was a pretty good day for me - started quite conservatively and ran part of the way with Paul which was nice to have some company. Malc Smith a fellow Comrades runner also jogged along half a mile or so with us.

By about half way I started to increase the pace a bit and soon found myself in the lead. Gently accelerating but keeping a close eye on pace. It was tough going up the hills and tougher coming down them today but no choice but to go the ful 26.2 . It was great to have some support from the previous runners, Body Rehab (party at mile 21.5) and from some runers registering for tomorrow.

Managed to stay in front till the end and recorded a 3:37. Now just the final one to do before that fat lady can sing.

By Keith Luxon, 19 May 2012 – 2 comments

18 May 2012

50 Not Out - did two races today

Funny old day today in the Big Brathay House. Day Eight, not quite nearly there but a bit more than mid week. Some of the great and the good turning up which is lovely but still three marathons to run or 78.6 miles so a bit of a challenge there!

Howard had the honour of leading us out as he was doing his 200th marathon and I followed him doing my fiftieth. After about two miles I was in the lead and this is unusual territory for me in a race so being the sane careful thoughtful chap I am I let it go totally to my head.

Ran way too fast - well thats not quite true - ran a perfect pace for a very solid 20 miles race and for that 20 miles I had a lovely time. Whizzing around the lanes of Windermere feeling great and enjoying my 50th marathon. As a side note a lovely gesture by the School at mile 4 as they lined all the kids up to High Five us on the way past - if its on tomorrows video I had a fly in my eye at that point honest, nothing else.

My 20 mile race strategy went absolutely brilliantly, in the lead all the way and canning it. Unfortunately I had overlooked on the last 7 days that its actually a 26.2 mile race. Ooops - the last six were shall we say awful - and very much the same as my first marathon 4.5 years ago where I went off too fast as well. That time I crawled home in 3:56 so at least todays 3:42 was an improvement but it hurt like hell. Held on to second place behind Matt (who breezed past at mile 21) and held off a late challenge from a resurgent Fozzy who is a good outside bet for a good place in one of next two marathons.

So eight done - two to go and its either light at the end of the Tunnel or an express train :-) Have a bit of a problem with my left leg particularly the shin area but hopefully the treatment will see the pain tomorrow no worst than toda.

Todays blog is dedicated too all the people I have met on my running journey, some good mates among them, my fellow 17 affletes, and teh guys from Realbuzz and BOSh who share the journey with me virtually. Thanks to all of you for making a solo effort very much a group activity.

By Keith Luxon, 18 May 2012 – 3 comments

17 May 2012

Running By Numbers, Repairing by Love

Its got to that stage of the week that everything starts turning into numbers, days left, miles run,gels eaten (yuk), times, targets and the rest.

For the record we passed the significant milestone at about five and a half miles today of having less than 100 miles to go. That means that by the end of todays run in the last SEVEN days we have all run  183.4 miles (3,301 between us) - in a week - thats just mental. My normal mileage sits around 50, in good weeks a bit more in many weeks a bit less. But 183.4 - I have had months (probably the majority) with less or not much more mileage than that.

I have been running 26 hours 53 minutes and 20 odd seconds - considerably more than a day. Today as well as being day 7 was also my 49th Marathon in total since I started running four and a half years ago - so tomoorw its the 50th (which pales against Howard who tomorrow is running his 200th). All in all lots of numbers to play with and occupy the mind as we run round.

Run today was good and enjoyed it a fair bit. Weather was more Lakeland than we have been getting with a fairly constant drizzle/rain but not too cold and little wind. So more annoying than anything else. Was intending to run more conservatively than yesterday as want to ensure I am not totally knackered by the weekend - that all went pear shaped and run in a good solid 3:35 and a second place behind (out of sight) Sally who is running really impressively Making my sequence so far 3:45, 3:46, 3:39, 3:44, 3:45, 3:37 and todays 3:35. Tomorrow will have to be a slower day, many peoples family and friends are starting to turn up so teh support on teh course is growing which is great.

One of the only reasons we are able to carry on like this is the amazing job that Roxy and the Body Rehab team do on us every morning and evening. We do our bests to rip ourselves to pieces by running a marathon every day and they with a smile, some encouragement and the least amount of pain they can get away with put us back together. This week as well as being taped (achilles area) since about Tuesday I have been lasered and had some accupuncture on my quad. Without these treatments it just wouldnt have been possible but more so they help to keep us (relatively) sane by just being normal! Huge debt to them and the entire team from Body Rehab and the various students who support them.

Body Rehab do it (as well as alledgely because it fun) to support the great work that Brathay are doing. They believe in the charity as we all do and give them time to support this amazing charity. Any help you can give (www.justgiving.com/keith10) would be hugely appreciated. I am sorry that I havent been able to thank all the people who have donated recently but it has really spured me on.

So "only" 78.6 miles to do. Thats three marathons to you and me. Wish me luck and I hope Body Rehab can tape me together long enough to finish. (pretty pink tape above is apparently draining fluid from around my shin as got some pain today)

By Keith Luxon, 17 May 2012 – 10 comments

16 May 2012

The Sun Shines on the Runners

Good day today after yesterdays attitude problems. Zipped up, had a good talking to myself and decided that the only thing for it was to enjoy the experience and stop taking myself so seriously. Its only a run after all :-) O and a couple of glasses of red in the bar last night probably helped too.

So with a new attitude the sun came out both literally and figuratively today. It was a lovely day to run in. The Lake District looked absolutely stunning today but luckily it wasnt too hot so pretty perfect running weather. Even had to dig out teh shades for only the second time this week.

Ran too fast (oops) but no major problems on route and was also privildged to see both our leaders at various points - Sally (another cracking win) between 14-18 - think she was teasing me as on the ups I got within maybe 200 yards but she ran away on the downs. And then Matt in the last 5 miles or so from Ice Cream Mountain - again like the pro he is he toyed with me letting me get close before whizzing away :-) Still happy with 3:37 for an average time of 3:42:20 or there abouts.

Thought might be interesting (well it was the only thing I could think of in four hours running) to give you a quick break down on a "typical" day here in the Big Brathay House.

Breakfast - do your own thing with plenty of porridge, toast etc to make
Treatment - usually up to an hour of gentle treatment from the physios and taping of any injuries etc
Testing for the physio experiments
10:30 Main race start
next4/5/6 hours run
Finish - Stretching by physios
Testing
Ice bath (ten minutes in a converted horse box - better than it sounds) 
Physio treatment - hour and this one hurts as its not gentle but keeps us on teh road
6:30 Dinner - great food and plenty of it
Blogging etc
Bar

Actually its a pretty busy day and doesnt leave a huge amount of time for anything else - havent seen any TV since I have been here or read a paper.

So thats day six over with. Its mad but you hear people saying things like "Only 4 marathons to go" - since when did the term "only 4" and "marathons" have the right to be in the same sentence?  Hey ho lets see what tomorrow brings

PS - no sheep. But as they have deserted me I have swapped my allegiances to an entirely different flock at mile 12 - much more my sort of sheep and we are starting to understand each other well - I am sure they will see me through this unlike that other lot of lightweights

 

By Keith Luxon, 16 May 2012 – 5 comments

15 May 2012

Tears, Tantrums & Tourettes

Funny old day. Day five and all that - half way point.

But....just was in a really odd mood - one of the challenges of this emmm challenge is that it affects you in different ways at different times. No  real rhymne or reason for it but somedays just are going to be tough mentally and this was one of them.

From first thing this morning I had difficulty holding it together, really tired I guess and quite emotional. Few tears at treatment this morning and monosyllabic answers to perfectly sensible questions. Knew todays run would be a toughie and it didnt disappoint. From step one it was hard going and never really felt comfortable or with it for the entire run.

Adopted a "strategy" of simply carving up the miles one at the time - each step was one step closer to finishing today and that was the only aim really. Focused on each drinks station not to have a drink but as another 2 miles or so out of teh way and behind me - pretty it wasn't, relaxing hardly but moderately effective.  Aly and her team in the suppor car that whizzes round checking we are OK got used to my head down slight wave and plod on but it was good to know someone out there wa slooking out for me.

Every moderate thing upset me today, cars pulling out, buses being slow, mud on the road, tourists being tourists. Didnt know what was best to swear or cry when a motorist at about mile twenty two pulled across pacvement (about only part with pavement in entire route) and stopped - so I did  a bit of both - sorry!  At another point I would have happily sat on side of raod and cried apart from I still needed to run 10 miles to get home.

Two things genuinely kept me going. The first and most important is that I have been sponsorded at least a penny for every meter of every run (www.justgiving.com/keith10 ) I knew that every step forward was another penny to Brathay and the wonderful work they are doing.

The other was that other members of our team have far more to moan about than me. I am fit (ish after 5 marathons) and touch wood this will continue. So all in all no reason to feel sorry for myself but just to zip up and get on with it. Which ultimately step by step is what I did.

Todays dedication and thanks is there fore to every one who has sponsorded me or will sponsor me - it meant an awful lot today and made the difference between a really really awful pointless day and one that something positive came out of. Am in a much better place now and hopefully the mood has passed and looking forward to run number 6.

Stats - Todays time 3:45:12 (I think ish) Total for first half of this challenge is 18:40 ish for 131 miles

Todays place Third - Overall at half way point Third

PS - The sheep were still gone.....do you think the police should be informed?

PPS please dont say anything nice as I will probably cry :-)

By Keith Luxon, 15 May 2012 – 9 comments

14 May 2012

What the sheep said

Day four and my whole routine was upset today and well it just wasn't the same after that. Mile nine in the run (my favourite part of the course is about mile 8 - 13 lovely scenery and not too many hills) and there is a big field (shock horror field in lake District) full of sheep.

I have been getting into habbit of having a chat to them as I run past. You know the kind of thing Baaa, Baa baa, Ba! Baa Baa Ba? Ba. (seriously I do go "Baa") Which I like to roughly translate as them wishing me swift and easy miles and me hoping they have a long and mint free life. But the sheep weren't there today!  Whats the world coming to, didn't the farmer know I needed the support and encouragement. What right has he to move his sheep. Anyway after that the run just wasn't the same, didnt feel right, to be true it didnt feel wrong either just a bit odd. Guess I am going to have days like that.

Struggled a bit and didn't have as much energy as yesterday.

Thats 100 miles - or to be more exact 104.8 miles run so far - four marathons in four days know as a quadzilla - and normally the longest sequence of marathons that anyone silly enough to do these events will ever do. (I've done one) So its good to get Quad 1 out of the way, just Quad 2 to go (reminds me odly of Bananas in PJ's - depends on the age of your kids that one) and a cheeky double to end the week. Weather has been kind again with minimal rain for most of tehe day and fingers crossed tomorrow looks OK.

Have a few niggles - nothing serious (fingers crossed) and we are extremely fortunate to have a crack team on hand to help, but more of that tomorrow.  But a sore left quad and an inflamed right lower soleus. But hopefully they can rebuild me in time for tomorrows jaunt around the lake.

Don't forget that you can watch daily videos of our efforts (never going to make the X Factor) on http://www.cumbrialive.tv/brathay10in10/ (updated early next day)

And keep up to date with the results and all our efforts results wise on http://results.sportident.co.uk/home/multistage.html?multistageid=df125791-07d8-45f0-a52b-343b6b0e863e   usually late evening.

Day Four - 26.2 Miles    Time 3:44:08 and to be honest cant be bothered at moment to work out the rest :-)

Dedication of day - to my mum & day - truly the definition of unconditional love

By Keith Luxon, 14 May 2012 – 6 comments

13 May 2012

Lab Rats

Running first - a good day today. No idea why but not going to complain at all. Didn't expect it as have been having a few quad problems and felt very sore first thing so lined up with my fellow 10 in 10'ers feeling a little apprehensive. Started Ok with intention to keep pace down a bit but got carried away a bit in first half of race - nothing major just maybe 15 seconds a mile or so.

Felt pretty good and carried on to half way expecting to pay for it in second half but never really did - so much better than yesterday where I really struggled in second half. The wind was against us in first half so largely in our favourt in second which might have helped but dunno just one of those good days I guess - may there be many more :-)

Don't think I mentioned it but as its slightly unusual (understatement) having  a large group of people doing these endurance type events in one go we are the subject of a number of scientific experiments by Igor and his mad team. Part of this is half of us having our backs taped with Rock tape to see if this helps reduce injuries (this course particularly lends itself to left side injuries due to teh camber on the road) - bizzarely as its a UKAA event you have to run in the road on the left - out goes all those years of thinking you had to run into the traffic - here the traffic creeps up on us from behind - and there is no pavement on teh A road - Frogger!

The second experiment involves a series of exercises - squats, standing on one leg, one legged squats etc immediately before and immediately after the marathon each day. The team doing them are great but believe me being asked to stand on one leg and squat  is not something I enjoy at the best of times let alone after a marathon. But its all in the interests of science.

Stats for the day

Marathon 3 - Time 3:39:28   Pace 8:21(too fast)  Average HR 144 (coming down)

Placed third for the day and 3rd overall

Total Miles : 78.6 (less than 200 to go!)  Time  11h11m4s  Average 3:43:41 Pace 8:32

We are still working hard to ensure that Brathay can continue their great work - if you can support us we would all be very grateful - www.justgiving.com/keith10

Todays Dedication is to Jacob my son especially appropriate as he was doing a sponsored bike ride today and I was thinking of him doing it as I ran round. Jacob in some ways you are a mini me and in others your own person, luckily you have inherited my few better bits and are filling the gaps with an amazing lovely personality of your own. Hopefully you can take from my running that you can be anything at all that you want to be - the sky really is the limit. I promise to find more time to run with you and look forward to you out pacing me! Love you mate

 

By Keith Luxon, 13 May 2012 – 3 comments

12 May 2012

That Difficult Second Album

You know that problem, you get the first album, book, report or piece of cake out of the way and then you are faced with the tricky second one. It hasn't the same profile or impact as the first but its important to do and establish a pattern otherwise the first will always be a one hit wonder, who now remembers (for good reasons) Mickey by Toni Basil or Grove is in the Heart by Dee Lite (although off at a tangent I do have 99 Red Balloons on my ipod sad I know).

Anyway before I digress too much back to running. Yesterday was the curtain raiser today was down to work, less fuss, ceremony or fanfare and the beginnings of a routine for us all. Up, breakfast, treatment if needed then run 26.2 miles, as the Meerkat would say "Simples!". But today wasn't really that at all. It started well with some consistent steady miles slower than yesterday and kept to my strategy well. Running behind ( a fair bit behind) Sally and with the Fox flying today. The first half was good and solid and I hit the half way point right on target.

The second half was more of a struggle and I put this down to simply running out of energy - lesson learned I just didnt get my nutrition right yesterday. An important part of this challenge is ensuring I replace the 3,000 odd calories I burn up while running and a couple of sandwiches and a big supper (very nice it was) probably wasn't enough. So more food and the right kinds.

Thought it was worth mentioning the course. Wil probably go into more detail later but broadly its once around the Lake, but split into 4 sections. First one if tough, undullating and finishing in a big hill at around 7 miles. Nxt 7 miles or so is OK ad a bit of a chance to get your breath back and relax before the killer section 14-19 which just goes up and down for ages. Every hill appears to have a hidden brow and its all done on the main A road in the area with no pavements! Then the final section through a couple of tourist towns (had the joy today of running through it just after the ferry got in - wall to wall day trippers and not one moved out the way - didnt they know I was running a marathon - thought the vest and shorts gave it away plus me shouting "Don't you know I am running a marathon!"). There is a sting in the tail though with a killer hill at mile 21 known as Ice Cream mountain as there is usually an ice cream van at teh top and many a ten in tenner stops for some extra carbs!

Anyway all done, day two over. Off to stuff my face and hope you ahve a great weekend. Me? I thought I would run a marathon tomorrow. Tomorrow will be slower (deliberately and by necessity)

Stat Attack

Marathon 2         Miles 26.3      Time 3:46:02    Pace 8:37    Third Today - Second overal
Total to date      Miles 52.6       Time 7:31:34    Pace 8:37

Dedication of the day - Today I ran for my daughter Abbie. She doesn't get running (takes after her mother) and thinks I am quite mad. But hopefully as she grows up into the smart intelligent young woman she is becoming I hope my example will see her finding some impossible dreams of her own to follow and achieve. This one was for you Abbie - love you loads.

By Keith Luxon, 12 May 2012 – 4 comments

11 May 2012

Dress Rehersal over

Well after almost a year of waiting it finally arrived - last night was almost like the night before Chrsitmas except there was no pressies and no turkey dinner to look forward to. O and no tree, and well it wasn't much like Christmas at all. But all 18 of us were as nervous and excited in almost equal amounts.


Before you could blink an eye and say Ebenezer it was morning already and the 18 people had moved from teh bar and had materialised in teh pre race room. Still as nervous but now in various combinations of lycra - from the look of us we were expecting everything from a heat wave to a blizzard as just about every combination was on show. My shorts and vest option was definitey in the minority. Shuffle outside to a welcome cheer or two from the staff at Brathay and the school children on site, line up on start line, rousing speech from Joss Naylor and we were set off by the game keeper with his shotgun. Running away with 26.2 miles ahead of us - well not really we stopped around the corner as that was the press start for the cameras. 10 minutes later we did it all again without rousing speech or gun and this wonderful adventure was underway.

The early miles were good as a little group ran together up to about mile 5. Then splitting up to go our own ways. Felt strong and stedy and running reasonably conservatively but started to speed up a  bit and didnt really control it as I should have. Great today but time will tell... Ran behind Matt most of the way. If I ever got too close I knew I was running too fast so backed off. Ended up finishing a minute behind him in 3:45:34 for third place behind Matt and first placed Sally.

Overal a good dress rehersal. Learned a few things and remembered a few more - not least how hard miles 14-18 are. Nearly got knocked over by a bus (slight over dramatisation) and had some great support from random people and of course Aly and her team  but thats worth a blog on its own when I run out of things to say later in week.

As we spend more time here we learn more of the fabulous work of the Brathay trust - the kids on site today were having an amazing time. If you can please help us to help Brathay by donating at www.justgiving.com/keith10

Stats  Miles26.2     Time 3:45:34  Ave pace 8:35 (too fast)  Ave HR 147 (too high)

Dedication of the day - has to be first and foremost to Claire for putting up with all the running needed to get this far and for indulging me in my holiday in the Lakes. It must be love to put up with all that smelly running kit and planning family events around races. Really appreciate it even if I don't say it.

By Keith Luxon, 11 May 2012 – 17 comments

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