Training Update: Countdown to the 2016 London Marathon

actionaid logoThis is a link to our fundraising page for our sponsor in the London Marathon, Action Aid. Sarah and I are both big believers in ActionAid’s goals of improving the lives’ of some of the poorest women and children, in over 45 countries, around the world. Hope you will read about ActionAid’s inspiring story and their programs and help us, help them, by giving what you can.


When Sarah and I announced to the world last October that were were going to be running for Action Aid in the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon, we had no idea how fast time would pass. Back then we were doing little three kilometer runs, thinking how hard it was at the time. Well, running in 90 plus degree temperatures at 90% humidity is pretty brutal, I don’t care how far you go, but we were just getting started. As weekly mileage and number of running days per week increased, it didn’t take long before we learned that on running days, watching the sunrise in the relatively cool mornings on the Mekong River is preferable to sleeping in and running in the heat later on so we started getting up early.

Old Training Run - You Would Think We Would Know Better

Old Training Run – You Would Think We Would Know Better

Well, now that a typical weekday run is nine or ten kilometers and our Sunday runs are approaching half-marathon distances, this is starting to feel real! Weather in Vientiane is cooler than it was when we started, but we still have to get up early for the long runs. After many trips and a few falls, we are also starting to discover that running here, although beautiful, the rough roads are not really optimized for smoothness or speed. None of that matters though because we are running for a great cause and although the road is sometimes bumpy, the sense of accomplishment is well worth it.

Sarah and I have been using the Endomondo training plans online and on our iPhones and, although sometimes they seem pretty aggressive, they rarely offer up more than we can handle. I really like Endomondo because the app tracks all of our runs, shows the weather during the runs and displays a map of our route with speed at any given time. I guess we letting our inner nerds out because we are also tracking our total daily fitness using our Fitbits. Having a plan on top of a daily goal helps keep us on track. I have been listening to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks while I run. Finding an extra hour or two to run almost every day, even though I am retired and supposed to have all the spare time in the world, can still be a challenge. It is nice to be able to multitask, but maybe that is why I fell.

London Marathon Course Map

Since we are about to go into the hot/smoky/dry/humid/dusty season, of which March is usually the worst, we have decided to go to Taiwan for a month and continue training there. The weather should be cooler and there are several half-marathons scheduled at various places on the island that we can integrate into the training program. Hopefully we will be able to pick up some new shoes in Taipei (it is amazing how fast they get worn out here in Laos) and maybe replace some of our other running gear that is falling apart.

Directly from London, after a short detour to Paris for Sarah’s big birthday, we are going to St. Jean de Pied de Port, France and walking 800 kilometers or so along the Camino Trail to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Even though it is a lot of walking, we are both really looking foreword to seeing some beautiful scenery, meeting a lot of people along the way and, perhaps just as importantly, eating our way slowly across the Basque country and northern Spain to the Atlantic Ocean. I hear the wine is pretty good too! It may be a lot of days in hostels and guesthouses, but I am sure it will be amazing.

Camino Trail Route

When we committed to doing all of this it didn’t seem too real. Now with only sixty-days to go before we start it is beginning to feel very, perhaps too, real. No matter. Even though we are perhaps a bit older than the average of people that take on these sorts of things, we believe it is important to have goals, and even more important to have some adventure in life. As Hellen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.”

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Author: Jonathan Look

In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world solo; one country at a time, one year at a time. To accomplish this he got rid of most of his possessions, packed up what little he saw as necessities and headed out. His goal is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn't intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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