It is customary for the most well-known charities, with very significant fundraising budgets, to provide their runners with running vests and other such branded kit. While I imagine it must be nice to run in the colours of your chosen charity, the gift we received from the kind people at the London Transport Museum meant much more to us: A London themed vest for young Philip! And it is for up to 6 month olds, so he can wear it on April 23, when his daddy will be running the London Marathon!
I have full respect for the larger charities, I am sure they do a very worthy job in their respective areas, and I of course support as many as I can, to the extent that my circumstances allow. But whenever I’ve considered doing an event such as running a marathon for charity, I have always gravitated to those that don’t benefit from as much publicity as others, on the basis that my individual effort will make more of a difference to them than it would to the really big boys and girls of charity world!
1) Fundraising update
But with that comes a sense of greater responsibility: I am not part of a large team all running the London Marathon for them, so my effort represents 100% of the fundraising they can expect from that particular event this year. And this is something I am keenly aware of at the moment: after a strong start till mid-December, my fundraising slowed down a bit over Christmas and is only tentatively picking back up now. This isn’t at all surprising for this time of the year, but it reminds me that I cannot afford to be complacent, and to get my fundraising shoes back on! There is a while to go yet, but a whole lot of money to raise to meet my target (£1,639 and 15p to be precise!)
If you want to help, you can do so by making a donation through my fundraising page at: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LeonardSymeonides
2) Training update
Things are slightly more consistent on the training front: following the 17 mile muddy canal long run of the week before, this week introduced “long run with speedwork” sessions: the first one was “only” 12 miles long, but included ten ¼ mile repetitions ran faster than marathon race pace. The point behind this is to build “speed endurance”, i.e. the ability to not just go far, but to keep up a decent pace throughout. I know this is an area of relative weakness for me, so I have made sure I’ve included a few of these in my training plan.
This particular session I ran at the gym treadmill so I could watch Leicester play Southampton at the same time: a painful experience, even more painful than running 12 miles with no socks on (which I had managed to leave at home). Still, I completed it to plan, which added to the boost I got the day before by setting my best time since November 2013 at the Braunstone Parkrun! I’m still not as fast or as fit as I was then, by a margin, but I’m edging towards the right direction…
So training is going to plan, but the most challenging sessions and longest of long runs are still ahead… and there will be a few of these before the longest of the lot on April 23!
3) Philip update
Of course all of this is happening against the backdrop of our new baby! Philip is growing steadily (he is beginning to outgrow his smallest clothes and he feels heavier to hold) and is developing a fondness for water, which gives us both much joy: we can’t wait to take him for his first swims (an opportunity to cross-train?)!
We still have help in the form of Demi’s mother, so we haven’t yet been challenged with establishing a routine that the two of us can make work (while training, working etc.): That’s the next step on the way to “full” parenthood. It won’t be easy with no immediate family close by, but I am somehow looking forward to the two of us facing up to that challenge: I can sometimes be a bit silly like that!