Jan 04

Can you touch your toes? I can’t

As I head towards Year 40 I am embarassed to say that I cannot remember if I have ever been able to touch my toes.

Well according to the web this is something that you can achieve in 2 weeks.

Surely this is poppycock.

So I am going to put it to the test. I started this evening with this session minus the plate and tennis ball

http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/3-minute-flexibility-routine

Do you have any suggestions on how to achieve toe-touching nirvana?

Dec 28

Just Because Its There 2012

When we first dreamt up the name ‘Just Because Its There’ in a Xoomworks meeting room we all felt slightly fraudulent. Why? well because the name sounds so grand and even though we were doing four marathons in a week, well they were still just marathons.

Xoomworks Golden Bonders

Xoomworks Golden Bonders prepare for last 10 miles

Ok we joined two together and stretched it out to 57 miles between Brighton beach and Greenwich Observatory but when you read about all the epic challenges that people complete nowadays it still didn’t quite match the name of the website.

So we’re back for 2012 and this time we’re upping the ante. For this year its time for a ‘100 mile ultramarathon’ and maybe a few other epic ultras as mere training runs. Say it quietly but if we survive then maybe this is all a training run for a bigger prize like the ‘Spartathlon‘ or maybe our own meatier challenge.

Anyway back to the job in hand. This year the crew are largely back. So its myself plus, Mr ‘PT’ James Ellis, Mr ‘Duracell Bunny’ Jamie Homes, Dazza ‘No-Way’ Strachan plus we are also joined by Steve Beill who was attracted to the darkside by reading this article http://www.extremeultrarunning.com/1stultra.htm

Over the next few weeks the chaps will introduce themselves and each find their own unique way to let you know how they avoided so much training over the excessive Xmas period and how they plan to bring it all back in time for our next milestone which is the ‘London Ultra‘ in February.

Apr 20

Never Give Up

I wish I could say “Thank God that is over with”, but actually I feel quite the opposite.  I have had such fun being part of such a great team effort.  From the initial planning, to the quiz night, to the 3 fantastic running days and watching our fundraising target outstrip our goal, it has all been amazing and I have loved every minute of it and I now feel a little empty.

In terms of the whole 107 mile challenge, I must say that I feel a bit of a fraud.  I am sad to say that I am not a broken man, nor are the other 3 who did the whole thing.  We are all feeling far too well.

So I dedicate my final blog to 3 very special people for whom things did not go to plan, but they dug very deep, through a lot of pain and frustration.

First there is Mike, who, having fought the problems with his ITB (knee problems – very painful – imagine a red hot spike being pushed into the side of your knee!) from pretty much the outset of the training, finally came to terms with the fact that he was going to have to cycle the Brighton to London stretch, only to decide on the day of the run, equipped only with some squash shoes that he would try and run as much of the 55 miles as he could.

He managed 16 miles, with his knee clearly giving him massive issues from the start but was determined to be a significant part of the running team in the Brighton to London run and was.

Secondly there is Chevs.  Not only did she bring the family down to Brighton to support the team, but then led the most incredible support team consisting of Chevs, Alex and Will in cars and Gerald, Anthony and Tim on bikes for the long run from Brighton to London.  All the time I could see how worried she was at potentially letting the team down when joining us for the last leg in London.

Far from letting the team down, she showed massive amounts of balls when her ITB finally got too painful to run on and the neuroma in the opposite foot meant that there was no chance of compensating with a lop sided hobble.  But rather than stop, she just put her head down and kept going.  It wasn’t swift and effortless but pure gritty determination with the odd tear to show that she is human!  It was far more like what I imagined one of the core team would be going through by this stage, but luck was on our side and not so much for Chevs.

This leads me to the final gang of 3 to whom I dedicate this blog.  Our daughter Holly.  Having a birthmark anywhere on your body is unfortunate.  Having it on the brain is unlucky, especially when it bleeds before you are born and causes considerable brain damage all over the left side of your brain.  But knowing Holly, she would probably consider that she was lucky enough to have this happen from birth when the brain is most able to re-learn and adapt rather than the birthmark bleed later in life when the brain is more stuck in its ways.

I am delighted that others have had a chance to meet the inspiration behind the many Holmes running challenges.  Every day she embodies that marathon spirit of digging deep, accepting the situation and just getting on with things and doing it with good humour and a stiff upper lip (well mostly)

“Never Give Up” was her advice when interviewed on BBC Radio London on Saturday morning – not a bad motto for life.

Thank you all so much for following us over the last few weeks / months and for the huge generosity shown in our fundraising (both our main charity site and those of Martin and Graham) – it has been a real pleasure.

Apr 18

Three words, ten letters, one meaning

Ready for London

Okay, so I find myself in the inenviable position of paraphrasing a Take That lyric here, but bear with me.

A week ago, I’d struggled badly over the last six miles of the Brighton Marathon and had no idea whether I could go on to run another 70 odd miles in a week and then we went for a pint. And it was the first time I’d really met Holly.

Until that point, I think I’d been doing the challenge for myself. I barely knew Jamie and Chevs and, while I had every ounce of empathy for what they’d been through and I was pleased to help them raise money, the run was more about me trying to do something different, trying to better myself.

The first time in 108 miles that David passes a loo and doesn't use it

But then I met this bright, intelligent, polite, incredible young lady. I knew some of the things both she and the rest of the family had been through as her result of hemiplegia but I marvelled at how she could be so positive after everything. We sat in a Brighton pub, me 43 and knackered, her 12 and sparky and she made me laugh out loud with her jokes, good humour and sweet nature.

As I left the pub and we said goodbye, her parting words were: “Don’t give up.” And the die was cast. Whatever hardship, however dark it got and however much I wanted to quit, there was no way I was stopping.

Me running backwards

And so we went step after step after step. Jamie, Darren, Dave, myself, more than ably supported by Chevs, Alex, Tim, Mike, Gerald, Anthony and Mike. In the background Laura, my wife, who has taken on more and more responsibility with our twins as the training runs have got longer and longer and Lillian, the woman who does my sports massages who has taken me through more suspected injuries than I can imagine and kept the clapped out old legs going  (get in touch if you are suffering, she works miracles).

London was a different beast to anything else we’d done. I cant quite believe how horrible most of the route is as it twists through some awful parts of the East End but how incredible the crowds are – a truly memorable experience in a truly memorable week that will stay with me…. well until we do our new run, the Marathonaspartathlon…

Apr 18

They think it’s all over….

Firstly well done boys for achieving your gargantuan goal – I am truly amazed by your fitness, drive and determination in doing this.

As David mentioned in his blog below, the final leg did not go quite to plan. It did, however, go pretty much as I had expected, if not a little worse I’m afraid. My knee had started hurting by three miles and the neuroma in my foot at four, and by 6 miles it was all about blocking out the pain rather than thinking about any pace goals. This was not helped by the fact that the sun has come out and it was uncomfortably hot. Anyway, as we hit Tower Bridge, I realised that there was not going to be much more running, and we decided that the two Zebidees (James and David that is – they were bouncing around and running backwards for the first two hours!) must be unleashed to do their thing, so we bid our farewells. It was a shame, but the best thing for everyone methinks, however, it is at this point that I must pick my Bone with David, (for the sake of my own pride!) that we actually said goodbye to you at Mile 13 in 2hrs47 – I know I was slow but I wasn’t that bad!!!! So there. It was here that we also saw the wonderful McFee family – apologies to you Louise for sobbing on your shoulder – it was the only point on the course, except for Buckingham Palace, that I cried, honest. Hope you spotted Tim coming the other way? Ben was also spotted on several occasions so thanks to him for coming to support!

Sad as it was to yet again be managing pain rather than putting my stamina to the test, for three hours Jamie and Darren kept me highly entertained with the bursts of crowd rousing energy (COME ON LONDON!), endless silly banter and provision of sweeties and we rather enjoyed the tour of east London. They also managed to enjoy their long dreamt of pint of Pride at mile 17, to marvellous and rapid effect!

We did a couple of running bursts but the extra momentum gained was not worth the extra discomfort, so I saved myself enough energy to be able to put on a sprint (ha ha!) from Big Ben home. Sadly we were running SO fast that we missed Maisie and the Sheehans who had been waiting for us for 40 minutes – soz! As we rounded the corner at Buckingham Palace for the final two hundred yards, Jamie and Darren had momentarily gone on a crowd rousing mission again but we re-grouped to join hands to cross the finishing line together after over six gruelling hours. This morning the feet are blistered and I am walking like C3PO but it was worth every minute. Its been a month to remember and a pleasure to get to know Darren, David and James better. Needless to say I am also enormously proud of my wonderful man Jamie. We have now raised well over £13,000 and still counting so HUMUNGEROUS thanks to everyone who has sponsored and supported us to make it all possible.

GO SPARTA!

Apr 18

alLonDone – London Marathon

Judas here.

The final leg of the challenge was completed not exactly to plan.

All five of us (Chevs, Darren, James, Jamie and I) set off at the back of the 40000 strong field nestled snug between two guys in a 30ft bus, Sonic, Mr Testicle, two ladies in an authentic warhorse and too many rhinos and tigers to count.

About 25 minutes later we still hadn’t crossed the start line and even when we did we were stymied by a wall of runners.

Through Blackheath I saw Rachael, Howie, Milo and Sonny already enjoying the unexpected morning sun.

All was looking good up to mile six when we stopped at a petrol station to use their facilities and pick up a savoury sausage roll and boost.
After that the next four miles became pretty tough with wave upon wave of costumed hero waltzing past us.

It was around this point and maybe 2:30 hours in that big gaps started appearing between us. One minute we would be together, there would be plenty of fun and banter with the eastenders hanging out of the pubs that line the route and then we would look around to see that the ‘team’ had split.

From mile 10 to 14 Chevs knee began to suffer and the pace slowed. It was here that we had a ‘team’ meeting and Judas Dave and Judas James took the option to shake those now weary muscles and hunt down the rhinos. Whilst it looked like we’d jumped at the chance to crack on it was a tough call because so much of the success of the Brighton to London 57 mile challenge was down to Chevs support.

Anyway enough comradeship James and I had some testicles and supermen to catch.

By now the midday sun was at full throttle and it wasn’t easy picking our way through the throng but we kept the crowd banter high and shamefully looked very strong as we picked off Sonic and the jungle crew.

With the pace high we passed Ben for the second time cheering us on and soon found our way on the final embankment strip, passing friends on the Virgin boat and then amazingly seeing Amelie and Gaby hugging the final bend at Buckingham palace (with Nanny & Grandad hoisting Jarvis up at the back).
kisses over it was a quick dart back to James for a well deserved embrace over the line. The first 14 miles had taken roughly 3:30 and the last 12 about 1;30 – with a finish time cheekily kept sub 5hr.

Chevs, Jamie & Darren kept a good pace going and finished not too long after when we were able to all reunite in Green Park with family and friends.

Its been a truly memorable week but the magic has not come from the running as much as the tremendous support and great bonhomie shared with our friends.

We have all been blown away by the amount of funds you’ve helped raise for HemiHelp (somewhere over £13000 and still counting)
Having spoken to Alice and the crew from HemiHelp (all seen whooping us on @ mile 6) this amount raised is going to make a big difference to their capabilities for the next year – so a huge group hug from us all.

I think you know us too well to guess that we aren’t hanging up our spurs. Just the simple dilemma of whether we swim the English channel or run Spartathalon in 2012.

Maybe both.

Thanks again. Photos and comments from the other guys to appear very soon.

Apr 16

Infamy, infamy…

…they’ve all go it infamy

Jamie, Darren and the Holmes clan try their best to talk over the presenters on BBC London this morning – and then good old Holly sums it up in one line at the end!

JH&DSontheradio

Apr 14

Sandwiches

B2L done – ready at the starting line for the London Marathon!!!

Yesterday was definitely a day of sandwiches. There were Ham, Cheese, Cheese and Marmalade, Peanut Butter and Jam, Chicken and Crispy Duck to name but a few. However there was one sandwich that truly stood out as the Scooby Snack of sandwiches. It consisted of a filling of five crazy men – (Jamie, James, David, Darren and Mike) enveloped by a protective outer layer of two cyclists (Anthony and Gerald) which, in combination, made for a truly inspiring combo and a force to be reckoned with.

Gentlemen you were AWESOME yesterday. I am humbled by your sheer dogged determination to achieve your incredibly challenging goal. You conquered hills (in fact, hill after hill after bloody hill) and ran through enormous pain. You smashed any walls that got in your way and just got on with the job in hand.

Kelvin Sherrington (launched Ultra Running World magazine apparently) was quoted as saying “99% of it is mental, and so’s the other 1%”. This could not have been more clearly demonstrated than by the BB2LL team yesterday, whose mind over matter, failure is not an option attitude was inspirational. I am SO proud…and almost crying…again! Congratulations you are now officially UltraMarathon Runners…and confirmed totally insane.

Secondly a heartfelt thanks to the Gold Bond Gang who joined us for the last ten miles – you did an amazing job and the image of you all running down the avenue to the Greenwich Observatory will stay will me forever. Maybe a marathon next year (Martin I am sure you can smoke on-course if needs be?!)? Cheers guys.

Jamie’s brother in law, Tim, also broke his own record and cycled over 100 miles yesterday – well done Timbo. It was great to have him, Alex and Wil there – huge fun having such lovely company all day. The fact that Tim’s gear box broke 500yrds in and that he had do the whole thing in 15th gear made his achievements all the more impressive (and presumably his thighs all the more sore today!). Well done Tim.

Well done all of you crazy muppets – if you ever need a mobile corner shop again, it would be an honour and a pleasure. Great photos of the day to follow when I manage to sort out the technical difficulties of loading them up!

Three down and one to go – you have set the bar very high for me on Sunday. I can’t wait to cross the finish line with you all, as long as I can keep up. And if we end up walking most of the way, it will make for a  more enjoyable a day.

BIG respect.

For a load of photos telling the story of the day please go to:  www.photobox.co.uk/album/740877075

For proof that we did it check out the GPS of our run at: www.endomondo.com/workouts/user/1333016

Awesome, awesome day….

David:

Just want to say what an awesome day spent with some awesome people.

Bruce gives Darren a well deserved pink jersey

Theres hundreds of orange lucazde, cheese & marmalade sanwiches and lots of pills - any takers?

David completes poo in the Woods No.1 and we all look knackered (after only 10 miles)

Mike (who blew us away with his determination to run) causes a 4 mile tailback during peak commuter traffic!

It was never meant to be easy - James

It was never meant to be easy - Jamie

It was never meant to be easy - Darren

It was never meant to be easy (without loo roll) - David

 
 
 
 

Gerald caused plenty of bike envy

Tim taking a well deserved break in between cyclin 104 miles!

Our beautiful Golden Bonds community

Vai, Emeka, David (Darren), Graham, (David) Martin, Steve (Jamie & James).

A huge thank you to our Golden Bonders seen here in Hayes part way through their 10 mile challenge. They were all a beautiful sight after 45 miles (and a few wrong turns/no toliet paper/lucazade poisoning) and they certainly helped us through the last 10 miles with their huge smiles and quick pace.

These guys have also raised close to £2000 for HemiHelp which is truly staggering.

Graham:

Last evening while replacing salts, rehydrating and taking an ice bath after the run (ok enjoying a pizza and a bottle of plonk) a thought struck me …

 Although I’ve never met her – what an incredibly talented person Holly must be.  I reckon she must have one of the world’s biggest hearts

 Not only has she the ability to keep her parents supporting her with their unconditional love … but also managed to get a group of her dad’s colleagues to join him on an audacious physical challenge.  Now that’s impressive

 Not only that – she also mobilised a matchless support crew of drivers and cyclists to join the runners – zig zagging around the roads of Kent together with half of Pret a Manger’s monthly stock

 And if that wasn’t enough and number of Golden Bonder’s felt a call to tag along too

 What a talent – that’s quite a feat by, I’m sure, an exceptional lady

 If you had any doubt ultramarathoners, Holly certainly isn’t going to let you down during your final leg!

 What a privilege it was to share your extraordinary day

Mike:

James – you have impeccable coaxing powers. My legs are shattered today. I just looked at my calendar and the last time I ran over 6 miles was the 14 miler I did 12 weeks ago when I first told David I would do this challenge. Def screwed up trying to get around ITBS…oops! Lessons def learned for my first real running challenge.

@Chevs – you’ll be great on Sunday!

Darren:

Yes, massive thanks to the support crew and cyclists not only for the food and drinks but for the boundless enthusiasm / clapping / cheering which really was a lift during the darker moments.

 It was a great day, really enjoyed it, despite the pain of the last few miles. Legs are completely buggered today, but am sure I can get them back into some kind of shape for Sunday.

Jamie:

Here here. I could not have imagined yesterday going any better – and to be honest, I had imagined it going far worse in many different ways.

I feel great – and really don’t deserve to – even managed the cycle in this morning – which actually was probably far easier than walking!

 I thought our support crew was truly awesome and cannot imaging how we would have felt if we hadn’t had the car support every 5 miles and the bikes protecting us from the big scary lorries.

 What a great feeling and what a truly awesome day. Just 26.2 miles left to go and it feels great.

 Thank you everyone for making this a week to remember and one to bore the grandchildren in years to come.

James:

I’ve had two hot baths, rubbed tonnes of diclofenic cream into the legs and can happily say that, aside from searing pain the quads when going upstairs (Darren, I hope your new place is over one floor) and some serious chafing on the inner thighs and butt cheeks, I’m not in too bad shape.

 I mean, I still feel f*cked, but not half as bad as I expected to feel! Well done to everyone for a sterling effort yesterday… I think it went better than any of us expected and if the biggest blip was a couple of extra miles, then we did incredibly well (and sorry for losing my sense of humour on that one towards the end!)

  The support team of Chevs, Mike, Anthony, Tim, Alex, Gerald and Will did an amazing job. So much so that I am actually a kilo heavier than when I started. Thanks guys, we couldn’t have done it without you.

 Roll on Sunday!

Tim:

It was a privilege and a pleasure to have accompanied you all yesterday. What you are about to achieve is truly staggering and an inspiration to all – whilst you are certifiably mad I am still in awe! It was a fantastic day and have to confess to finding the end quite emotional as you all crossed the line.

Good luck this Sunday and thank you for allowing me to share part of your epic journey.

See you soon and many congratulations again.

Apr 11

brighton to london planning

Let’s get the good news out of the way!!!!

We have possibly picked the most scenic route we could possibly imagine – the run will be stunning with loads of photo opportunities!!!

The second piece of good news is that the weather is not going to be so sunny.

So now the bad news!

I don’t think I need to mention this one as it is blindingly obvious, but bad news point 1 is that it is an awfully long way!

Bad news number 2 is that the whole route seems to be one undulating course, with several challenging slopes and some steep drops down which won’t allow us to make full use of the hill we just climbed.

Bad news number 3 is that quite a bit of the route does not have footpaths, so we will really need to make the most of the cyclists front and back as we cannot afford to be jumping up on the verges every time a car goes by – I am sure by the end we will have mastered this.  The roads in general are easy for overtaking, so as long as we are in single file for these areas and the cyclists are well seen then I don’t think this will be too much of an issue.

Bad news number 4 is that some of the road has a camber, so we will need to work out how much of an issue this will be and may need to switch sides occasionally (leaving the cyclists to go ahead or drop back as they cannot come onto this side)

But other than that everything looks very good indeed!!

Roll on Wednesday.

Jamie

PS shopping list includes:

72bottles orange lucazade sport ( only flavour they had)

60 750ml bottles water

6kg bananas

40 granola bars

6kg wine gums ( no jelly babies)

48 cans lager

First aid kit

Blister plasters  

Apr 10

Injuries can only hold you back so far

I was basically told by my physio that I will be unable to run the double marathon, much less run 5 miles, without feeling pain. Over the past 6 weeks I’ve tried 4-5 mile runs here and there with no lessening of pain on my IT band. Since ITBS technically has no risk of tearing anything I’ve actually considered running through the pain. I was doing it for 5-6 mile runs – it’s possible, but obviously not enjoyable. The only option I have in order to get back running again is to rest it for the next 8 weeks (I’m 2 weeks into that already). I’m completely gutted about it. Serves me right for pushing my training up too fast back in January…oops! Can you blame someone for trying too hard?

As I’ve posted before I’ve spent a lot of time cross training in the hopes that my ITBS would lessen and I’d go back to running again. This has been partly swimming and partly biking in the gym. Some of the things I’ve accomplished through cross-training over the past 8-10 weeks:

  • 3km swim (no kicking) – 50 minutes
  • Lost about 5kg
  • 3 days in a row long endurance bike rides (fri-1.5 hr, sat-3hr, sun-1.75 hr)

Unfortunately this does nothing when you have a running injury and you need to run a double marathon. So, I’ve decided I will riding my bike along with the team. I plan on being the water  (and food) boy for the team as they make the 52 mile trek.

I just wanted to say another big thank you to everyone who donated money. Holly and the Hemihelp foundation are extremely grateful. Hopefully I can do a triathlon to raise money later this year and maybe my knee will be better to attempt the double next year :)

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