Archive | June, 2012

Marathon Blog 6 – Roma edition!

15 Jun



So a Scotsman, an Englishman, a Norwegian and a Frenchman are in an Irish pub in Rome discussing long distance running… No punchline! That’s exactly how my Rome marathon day ended, and what a day it was. 

I was aiming for 4 hours 30, and rocked up in 4:29.22 (and litirally rolled across the finish line!!). Delighted! Even pushed out 5 miles the day after, and 10 miles the day after that! As far as marathon tourism goes, this has to go down as the best yet. Paris was amazing, but Rome just taken the biscotti! Starting at the Colosseum was a sight to behold; where many a Gladiator had fought for their lives and Julius Cesar ruled mercilessly. It seems only fitting that Rome hosts a tough marathon. 

Cobbles… One thing the Romans didn’t get right. Great for building roads, not so great for running on. Definitely pain staking on the toenails (those of them that are still attached to my toes!). However, what they did get right was a truly beautiful city. Although it is my second visit to Rome, the sights are still something to behold. The Trevi fountain, the Spanish steps, the Vatican, the women!!!!! If only my Italian chat up lines were any good. “Just one Cornetto” didn’t exactly cut it! 

Every minute of every mile was a joy, and I can truly say I am made for running. There were times where it was tough, but thinking of every single person who had donated to the cause kept me going. It’s amazing how knowing that other people appreciate what you are doing inspires you so much, and it makes it so worth while. It’s a bit like pushing through the trials and tribulations of fighting Vasculitis, and knowing there is a finish line ahead. There is not a single person on the course willing you to fail. They are all cheering you on and willing you to keep strong. 

I hope that in some way, my crazy running is proof that nothing is impossible. I used to be an overweight, unhealthy, ill person. Now, I am a healthy and fit person that happens to have a passenger called Wegener’s Granulomatosis. 

Next up is Plymouth half marathon in June. I’m going to be running with a friend who is aiming to get a sub 2 hour half marathon. Will be a fun day and I’m looking forward to it. After that I’m going for a DRAM! Not the alcoholic type, the Dundee Running Adventure Marathon in July!! Going to be a very tough 26.2 miles in the Scorching Scottish summer. Trail shoes and Camelback at the ready! 

Thanks again to everyone. Next donation of £40 or more gets the last place on the tattoo. Come on! I need to get this tattoo started!!! 

PS. The pic is taken on the final 1/4 mile of the marathon. Woo! 

Marathon Blog 5

15 Jun


11/03/2012 – 7 days to Roma race day!  

So, only 7 days till the first Marathon of 2012… It’s been a long time coming and in some ways too long. My last marathon was way back in September and it feels like a long time ago! This is one of the reasons why I won’t be waiting so long until the next one!! Nope, not Berlin… A far more glamorous city. A city of discovery… a city with plenty of wildlife… a city that is pretty close to my home town of Montrose! Dundee Running Adventure Marathon, or DRAM for short. I like the occasional short along with a pint so this marathon/dram seems like a good idea. After 26.2 miles I can’t actually imagine a worse thing than a wee dram of whisky, but if needs must, I may take one for the team! 

What else has been happening? Well, I’ve entered the Plymouth half marathon on the 3rd of June 2012. Not exactly the closest run to Inverness, but one I will be running with a friend that I met doing the Marathon du Medoc. She is running in the Bath half Marathon today so all the best to Sarah! 

Training in the last week or so has been eventful and productive. In the lead up to a marathon distance run it is normal to shorten and decrease (taper) your running. For Rome I have done just that. In doing so I have neglected something – the need to carry certain things during my running sessions… 

So, it had been a long day at work and I drove out to the majestic (wine), (no advert honestly) Culbin forest and embarked upon a 9 mile run taking in the beauty of nature. Making sure to set my starting point on my GPS watch, I bounced along listening to a recently acquired running music compilation album About 7 miles in I thought it was about time to start planning my way back, so hit the buttons on my faithful GPS to send me home. 36 miles it said!!! No, no, no… Thankfully I was sensible enough to pick up a map of the forest before I set off. Unfortunately this map turned out to be a map advertising another forest with what looks like an interesting route! As much as I was intrigued by this new jaunt, I was still wondering how I how I was going to get back to my car. This has now become a regular running route for me, so despite the failure of my GPS I was still confident of navigating my way back. The last marker post I seen was number 6 so all I needed to do was turn right at number 3. Simples I thought! 

So boys and girls, this is why it is always important to carry spare batteries for a head torch! 




“Look how bright the moon is!” 



At this point I’d also began wishing I’d eaten a few more carrots this week! My eyes slowly adjusted to the moonlight and it was a slow trundle through the forest, but my memory served me well and made it back to the car. What did I learn from this? Never rely on compilation albums because it’s not easy to skip tracks when it’s pitch black! 

Going to have a lazy week this week, but looking forward to going back to Rome, but this time with my running shoes. It’s a beautiful city and the perfect place for a pasta party! Armed with my awesome bib number: 14455, I’m looking forward to a good run Look out for my post marathon musings soon.. 


PS. Photo is post head torch failure! 

Marathon Blog 4

15 Jun


29/02/2012 – 17 days to Roma race day!  

I really honestly think that my left socks have been hiding or destroying my right socks! I have countless running socks, however I have a growing number of left socks and a decreasing number of right socks! So much so I have lost the count of the number of banana foot runs I’ve had to partake in! 3 this week alone! 

Good news this week though… The big runs are all done for Rome marathon! Done a grand total of 60 miles between Friday and Monday, 17 miles being my biggest run. It was pretty uneventful in all honesty, but seemed pretty effortless apart from getting the energy to drag my sorry legs round Loch Morlich near Aviemore. Stunning views and fantastic weather for a long run! 

This year will see me run in a few more marathons than I first decided. Looks like I’m going to add in 2 or 3 more. Maybe a big long trail run too. Why?.. I hear you ask. February 2013 will see me undertaking an undoubtedly brilliant run around the beach! The beach, being a 160 mile non stop Ultra Marathon around the Egyptian white desert over 94 hours. Yup, it’s insane, but it’s been dream of mine to do an Ultra Marathon, and this one fits the bill. Anything greater than 26.2 miles is considered an Ultra, but I want to really push myself to the limits. This will certainly do that! 

The race is called the Ocean floor race, and is called so because it used to be covered by the Tethys ocean over 200 million years ago! The desert is a wonderland of over-sized mushrooms, kneeling camels, sitting ducks, dessert meringues, towering spires and insane runners… Well, not so many insane runners! I will be 1 of a maximum of 50 nut cases taking part in this event. There are still places if anyone fancies joining me? 

My runs in 2013 will be dedicated to the Lauren Currie Twilight Foundation. Any donation for this event will be greatly appreciated! You can read more here: 

This doesn’t stop my efforts for 2012 and increases the number of runs I will be participating in this year. Both charities are supporting me greatly and I hope you can support them both too. They are amazing people, running amazing charities, doing amazing things! I am in awe. 

Thanks you all again for all your support. 


PS. photo is me post Marathon du Paris 2009! Also, quick question… If I turn my left socks inside out, does that make them right socks? 

Marathon Blog 3

15 Jun


A big thanks to everyone who has donated, you’re in my thoughts during the runs!  

Here is blog number 2:  

19/02/2012 – 27 days to race day!  

So… Every eye was on me in the gym Saturday. Why were they looking at little old me? Was if for my running prowess? My dedication to 80 long minutes on the treadmill? Was it my brand new Vasculitis UK T-shirt? Unfortunately not… Note to self: If you are wearing headphones and not running outside in the middle of a forest, other people can hear you singing along with Frank Sinatra! Any chance of someone sending me a Vascultits UK balaclava so I can face the gym again?! 

It’s actually been a really good training week. The big run on Thursday came a little too soon after the Sunday run but was productive none the less. I managed 18 miles despite wanting to stop from mile 1, then followed it up with 6 miles on Friday morning. Saturday (apart from embarrassing myself), involved 5k on the treadmill going easy in in the morning, then 15k of treadmill interval training after work. 

Today was great fun! 15K total, running with 5k splits. Ran the first 5k in 19 min 57 seconds, followed by 5k in 23 min 53 seconds. Then after 1 or 5 Haribo sweeties (only pros use Haribo’s!) a final 5k in 24min 64 seconds. So happy to beat 25 minutes for the last 5k (please note: may have cheated slightly). 

This week should see me wind down a little bit. Going to work a little more on my core strength and more interval training. The long runs are going to start coming down in miles though! Woo yeah! 15 miles planned for next weekend in my home town of Montrose. It’s going to be a route I used a lot training for Paris Marathon in 2009, so a nostalgic run one could say! This week will also see an announcement as to making this challenge a wee bit tougher! Next weeks blog will undoubtedly reveal more! 

Thanks again for reading! 

PS. Pic is the Majestic Wine Marathon du Medoc Marathon team sporting our medals! Bring on Roma! 

Marathon Blog 2

15 Jun


13/02/2012 – 33 days to race day!

Wow, the days have really been flying past! Can’t believe the hard part of training is nearly over. Only one more long run before I’ll be hammering the streets of Rome.

This weeks training involved a 40 minute interval session, a 9k run on the treadmill, a split day with a (very early) morning 5k threshold run, a 10k easy run in the evening, an 18 mile run on Sunday and a 30 min easy warm down run.

The interval session was ok, shattered by the end, but completed it. The 9k treadmill run was meant to be a 10k run. Didn’t go so well! Every muscle, bone, joint (even my ebay beard!) was telling me to stop. So I did. I went into a mini strop and even slammed my locker door! “WHO STOLE MY LEGS?! THESE AREN’T MY LEGS!?” This was actually good therapy and a manoeuvre I’ll remember for future tenuous work outs! A day off was very much required!! Day off lasted until 00:20am when I zipped up my glow in the dark thermal man-suit and thrashed out a speedy 5k. Later that day was a 10k on the treadmill – none of this 9k nonsense and no lockers were hurt in the aftermath of this run!

Sunday was supposed to be an 18 mile, uneventful, easy run. It wasn’t 18 miles, it wasn’t uneventful and it wasn’t exactly easy. My plan was 9 miles out then run back the same route. Simple eh?

Well… it went so well that I missed a turn and ended up running 18.7 miles before I noticed that I wasn’t back home. Instead I was staring at a road sign telling me that I was 7 miles from home. To make matters worse I was due to be at work in 30 minutes time! Needless to say it didn’t take me long to realise that that wasn’t going to happen! Thankfully I had a mobile phone on me and gave my boss a phone let him in on my little predicament. The laughter was deafening! Next call was organising a taxi to come pick me up – “Can I have a taxi somewhere on the B9154 please? Just look out for a guy in running gear… Not running”

It was actually a really good run and I was delighted that I could have easily ran marathon distance that day.

21 miler coming up this week! BRING IT ON!

PS. The pic is after my last marathon. The marathon du Medoc was so hard it turned my hair green! Hope it happens again… I liked having green hair!

The importance of Support

15 Jun

Ok, not a marathon training blog, but thought I’d highlight another side of WG and illnesses that are just as debilitating. 

When diagnosed with WG, it is easy to just focus on getter better with regards to your physical health and be dammed with the mental side of it. It taken me many years to confront what WG had done to me aside from the physical element. 

For myself, I lost 2 years of my life from the age of 17. On reflection, it was very much the formative years of becoming an adult. At that age, you leave school, join uni/work, start drinking in pubs and start being a responsible (well, semi-responsible :-) ) adult. 

I remember my doctors asking how I was coping inside etc. But to be honest, as much as I may have been struggling; seeing another doctor, or another hospital waiting room didn’t exactly fill me with joy. In hindsight, I should have but In all honesty, the doctor should just insist. 

I’m lucky in that I’ve had friends, family and even work colleagues to scrape me off the floor when I really needed it (I really did!) I never went to them, I just bottled it all up and it eventually came to the fore. Running has been good for getting things sorted though! 

Not even a good article really, just hopefully a good warning to admit life can be sh#t sometimes and to speak up. 

Marathon Training blog for Vasculitis UK

15 Jun

My name is Jamie Flanagan. This year I’m going to be running in the Rome and Berlin Marathons raising money for Vasculitis UK. I am a Wegeners Granulomatosis patient and am looking forward to raising money and awareness to help beat this disease. You can read more about me at my Just giving page below: 

A big thanks to everyone who has donated, you’re in my thoughts during the runs! 

Anyway, here’s the blog: 

3/02/2012 – 43 days to race day! 

Training for the Rome Marathon is well and truly in full swing. Friday was long run day, so planned a 16 mile trek through Culbin forest. The long run is the part I enjoy most. It’s when you really have to zip the preverbial man suit up and keep going, keep going and keep going until a little voice in your head says… KEEP GOING! 

Up to mile 5, everything was going to plan. Easy on the legs, pleanty of eneregy, feelin’ good. Then disaster struck, I lost the map of the forest. Never mind, I still had my gps watch and compass, so I just planned to keep heading west until I get to 8 miles, then turn back. Simple! So at this point I was running along side Findhorn bay, very picturesque. However, as it turns out, I wasn’t running alongside Findhorn bay, I was running on it! I thought the grass was a bit slippy, but I never realied that it was because the iced over bay was below the grass! So, time to detour through the dense forest and find myself a track. I then proceed to hop, skip and jump through very damp, long grass getting my feet wet in the process. Up until this point and not seen a single animal with legs! (Apart from myself obvously… GRR) That statistic contined when I nearly stood on a snake which quickly buried itself into the grass! 

Thankfully it didn’t get me and I made it to a track where I proceeded to get a little lost. Around mile 13 I was beginning to think I was going to struggle to get back in less than 20 miles. 4 more than I’d planned. Not good. Then I turned a corner and BOOM. There’s a carpark! There was a sign with a big map on it too! I left the sign, but memorised an easy route back to the start. Ended up being a 17.5 mile run in 2 hours 48mins. Bit slower than marathon pace, but injury free and that’s the most important part. Bring on next weeks 18 miler! 

P.S. The pic is my good self at Findhorn bay sporting a thermal beard I bought off of ebay (May or may not be true).