19th September 2011
An amazing weekend with the Split festival, Sunderland winning 4-0 and the Great North Run, lots of reasons to be proud of where we live.
So I made it then 13.1 miles all the way to South Shields, with only my legs to carry me. I some how managed a time of 2hrs 11mins which I am so chuffed with considering I walked some of it and my legs were giving way by the end. The Great North Run is one of the those events which fill you with pride when you watch it, it captures everything which is great about the Northeast and I've always said that I would do it, so now I've done it twice is something special.
Standing on the Central motorway with over 50,000 other runners is always a great feeling, always a little odd to see so many blokes having a wee as well, shame seems to go out of the window! It is much better for the men I must add. It's always odd at the start because you hear the gun go then it takes you some time to get over the line. I started off running with two friends but after a couple of mile realised I wasn't able to maintain their pace and dropped back. Running on my own I thought would be awful but there are so many people around you and the crowd chearing that the time went over fairly quickly. I rememebr getting to half way and thinking everystep is one closer to the finish. It's always a little bad when someone in a costume overtakes you and when someone dressed as a giant sunflower passed me, that wasn't a great moment, but I did pass the man carrying a fridge on his back, so that was ok.
To begin with the sun was out and it was really warm on one side of my face, so the rain was very welcome, and definetley helped, as weird as that seems. I'm sure I would have been slower if it hadn't rained. I got to 10 miles and felt better than I expected, it also coincided with the Boost zone where you get music and jelly babies! The last 3 miles were really tough, and I started to get cramp so had to stop a number of times to release my leg which went into spasm. It also happened during the final mile and I remember thinking just let me get to the finish line, I've come all of this way. Luckily I did finish and hobbled over the line and down to the Marie Curie tent where I was met with smiling faces and everything I needed to recover.
You get a goody bag with your medal and t-shirt as well as other goodies. There are a couple of items in the bag which do seem a little odd. As well as the water and sports drinks and nutrition bars there are T-Bags and toothpaste in there, no toothbrush but toothpaste!! Not entirely sure what use they are stood in a field in the middle of South Shields, but appreciated the thought none the les!!!
People have been asking me how the race was and genuinely I love the fact that I've been part of it and am very proud that it takes place in our region. I will probably do it again at some point, just not next year. As I write this the back of my legs ache so much and I still have a lovely John Wayne style walk, was it worth it...I have to say yes, but don't embark on it lightly, put the training in and you'll get even more out of the day. It is the WORLDS biggest half marathon and I'd say if you can do it even once in your life, it's well worth doing. I'm now off to have a lie down!!
Posted by Mark Black at 3:07pm
13th September 2011
I am now into the final week of preparation for this years Great North Run, and I'm still getting over my cold/manflu! This year I haven't done as much training as I should have, but hoping that the training I did for last years run will stand me in good stead (wishful thinking). So I needed a good week this week and really could have done without this cold. Over the weekend it was much worse, my nose was constantly running. It amazes me where all the fluid comes from and then you end up with a nice red sore nose from all the blowing. Tried to get sympathy from Laura, but as she had had it the week before and I wasn't that sympathetic she wasn't that forth coming.
So enough of the gory details, I had a cold, it's much better now I just sound bunged up. As for my training everyone has advice on what you should do the weeke before. Everyone seems to agree that lots of pasta and chicken is a good thing, but to run or not to run is the question. Last year I did a couple of short runs then had a three full days off before the run and that seemed to work. Some people are saying that I shouldn't run at all (which is tempting) so not sure what to do. I think I'll go out at least once, I think I need to to, so I know that I can do it. This year is definetley more daunting as I know what is in store, last year was my first time and ignorance really was bliss. This year I know which bits to dread and what I'll be like at the end! Not to put you off if this is your first. It's a great day and I thouroughly enjoyed it, but I'm giving it a rest for a few years after this one.
Must also mention Chrissie Pitt, who I had on the show this week. She auditioned on X Factor last Saturday with girlband twisted and Kelly Roland persauded her to go solo. Chrissie is from South Shields and a real talent and hopefully we will see her progress from bootcamp to the finals. She has been getting loads of press over the last few days from 'This morning' and 'loose women' to 'Lorraine'. It's great to get behind a local talent and Kelly Roland clearly thinks she's got what it takes and so do we. If you want to show your support you can follow her on twitter @Chrissiepitt.
Posted by Mark Black at 2:51pm
5th September 2011
This weekend we were at the Peterlee show hosting the main stage again, it's the only time we get close to being rockstars! "HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO PETERLEEEEEEEE" It was another great weekend, if a little wet in the afternoon, with loads happening.
There was the final of the xtra factor which went down really well, ten fabulous singers with Lily Brooke the eventual winner, for someone so young she has bags of talent and a deserved winner. Before the bands on the Saturday I was looking after the main arena with The Black Rock Llama display team, The Whirling Wheel of Death and the Pre Hee Men! The llamas where brilliant, and didn't spit which was a bonus. I had no idea they were so energetic and could jump as much as they did around the course. It's fair to say my llama knowledge has increased since the weekend. I also got the chance to use my X-Factor style voiceover voice! The Vander brothers had the Whirling Wheel of Death, and I bet you're even saying it to yourself in a big voice, it just lends itself to it. I should explain what it is. It's a metal contraption with two giant rings at each end which spins. The two guys get into a ring each and get it spinning while walking on the edge, unaided by any safety support, it's quite impressive. There was also a script that I had to read while they were performing, hence the x factor style voiceover, still needs a bit of work though.
Other things to mention is a chocolate scandal this christmas, yes, SCANDAL! There are certain things you have to get at christmas, christmas tree...chestnuts...after eight mints AND a tin of roses (possibly even two). This year though you will get less for your money, the tin will be lighter, equivilent to ELEVEN chocolates less, Eleven. Now this is significant as there are always certain ones left at the end, usually the toffee pennies in our house. Now everything would be fine if they took out eleven toffee pennie, I could cope with that, that would benefit me, but it won't be, which means less of the ones I want, and more chance I get stuck with toffee pennies. So I have a dilema do I continue with tradition OR do I get something else. Of course there is a third option...just buy an extra tin!!
Posted by Mark Black at 3:15pm
1st September 2011
It's been another busy week, busiest day by far was bank holiday Monday as me and my wife were looking after our friends two girls, they're 6 and 8 (apologies parents if I've got that wrong!) Not having kids myself, I wasn't fully prepared for being responsible for them for a whole afternoon, yeah not even a day just an afternoon! We decided the best course of action would be to take them somewhere, so took them to Down at the Farm. This was a brilliant idea as there was plenty to keep them occupied, however they wanted to do everything, and NOW!! They have so much energy and will power. They definatley had the upper hand and I found it very hard to say 'no' (I'm definatley the 'fun' one, Laura was left to say 'no' most times). It did have it's disadvantages as I did a lot of chasing around and pushing on toy vehicles, and up hills! It also became very obvious that I got bored quicker than they did, and all the parents also had the same look on their face and I did keep hearing the same sentence being shouted over and over "...ok then, just one more go."
It also amazes me that anyone would have more than one child, let alone three. They double team you and run in different directions so you have to split up, and they know it's easier when they get you on your own, especially me as I can't say 'no'! On the whole though I think we coped pretty well but it was really nice to hand them back at the end of the day, but I'm sure the call will come again to baby sit.
Other things happening this week was FREE Cake!! The Midweek Treat has started and no surprise it's going down well. The only snag with it is everyone is very generous and they keep offering me cake, but I have to politley decline. Two reasons behind this, I can't keep eating cake every week otherwise I'll get fat, also it is the Great North Run in two weeks and I'm meant to be training. As I write this I have seventeen days to go and although I've done some training, five miles is still the furthest I've gone. I'm looking for a miracle on the day that I'll just find the fitness from somewhere, you never know it could happen.
It's the Peterlee show this weekend and we are there all weekend, so I'll Blog about it next week as I'm sure I'll have plenty to tell you about.
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