Comeback

Posted: March 14, 2014 in running

It’s been a while.

This is the equivalent of sending your Auntie a birthday card even though you haven’t seen her in years, just because if you don’t make some sort of contact, she might think you’ve moved to Australia and stop sending the kids Christmas presents. Cheers for that by the way, Auntie. Oh and “Happy Birthday” of course for whenever it was/is.

I have been quite severely mojo deficient of late. The weight has gone on. Fatigue has set in. I’ve been snappy with the kids and I have no goals.

Wonderful. Well… nice to catch up. Let’s do it again in a few months.

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. Alternatively, I could tell you how I came second in a running event last week…

It was the second event run by some local runners who had hoped to host a parkrun. Unfortunately (although I can understand why) the venue/route was turned down as a potential course by the parkrun powers that be, but the runners decided to hold an event there anyway, once a month.
They have the support of the local council and the simple lapped course with an option of 3k or 5k will, I’m sure, prove popular with locals not wishing to drive 30 mins+ to an official parkrun.
At the moment, there are few enough people for the timers to record names and times individually… and… more importantly, few enough people for a very middle of the road (not literally – I’d get run over) runner like me, to finish second. To be honest, the worst I could have managed was 7th.

I’m still going through the motions, see, even if the mojo is lacking.
Yesterday I attempted to summon the mojo by, after dropping my daughter off at nursery, running a half-marathon. Not an official one, just a long run along the local canal. It was rather nice.

Mile 1

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Mile 2

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Mile 3

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Mile 4

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Mile 5

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Ok. Admittedly, these are all quite samey…

Mile 6

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Mile 7

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Mile 8

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Mile 9

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Mile 10

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Mile 11

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Mile 12

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Mile 13

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And then, at 13.1 – the best view…

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…and her impersonation of me at that time…

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One last one… Back at my favourite bench…

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I may be mojo deficient, but I can still enjoy a run, or at least, the occasional part of a run.

…and….relax!

Posted: January 31, 2014 in Janathon, running
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Final day of janathon. Final blog post for a little while (though I will periodically post further randomness as the mood takes me, so do pop back).

Well done everyone who has taken part, to whatever extent and for however long.
Thank you for stopping by and reading this blog, ‘liking’ it and commenting. I have enjoyed the banter.

Cheers! *drinks sip gulp of beer*

I feel I ought to write something profound about the journey, about the lessons learned, about the great running community.
I have read some great posts about folks realising what they do and don’t love about running, about the extent to which they can push themselves, about the importance of rest to be woven into the challenge of daily exercise.

Cheers! *drinks another gulp or two of beer*

I have really enjoyed coming up with some randomness each day. This is what I love about the challenge. I have really been pretty poor in terms of distances run, swum, cycled, etc. but I have totally nailed it in the ‘beating up snowmen’ stakes, balancing on chairs, and the effective use of interpretive dance.

*goes to fridge to grab another beer*

I may need a bit of time to reflect to come up with something truly profound though, and time was not something I had a lot of today…

Took kids to school/nursery – a bit more of a rush than usual because older child was a but slow on the move as he stayed up late to listen to local radio and hear Nottingham Forest come back from 2-0 down to win 4-2 against Watford. Get in!

I went straight from there to collect the two new additions to our family. Rabbits. (Name suggestions welcomed by the way)

Went for a run. Two runs, in fact – another 7:39 one and a mile recovery.

Collected child 2 from nursery just before lunch.
Home.
Quick lunch after sorting rabbits out.

Take child 2 to doctor’s surgery for her pre-school injections. One in each arm!
Feel grateful that I spent hours playing ‘doctors’ with said child this week in preparation (“it might hurt a little bit but then it feels fine and you can have a chocolate coin that is left over from Christmas but is still just about in date”). No tears! A bottom lip… But no tears…and then I was fine.

Home again for general house duties, washing, etc. followed by rushed school pick-up to take both children to dentist…

… then immediately taking older one to football training…

…home…food…meet & greet with rabbits…

…off to school fundraiser for the evening…

…write blog.

*drinks big gulp of beer*

So I think today can be pretty well summed up by Flanagan and Allen…

Run
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Rabbit

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Run

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Rabbit

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Run
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Run
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Run
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(That was “run rabbit, run rabbit, run, run, run” in case you missed it.)

Those last three pictures were not all from today, though. They depict my three attempts at my 7:39 run (how far I could cover in that amount of time). Steady and consistent improvement, I think you’ll agree.

Watch this space.

In half a month, I’ve gone from a 7:14 mile pace to a 7:09 so that equates to a 10 second improvement in a month… That’s six months it’ll take to knock a minute off my time… so… in….
(*whispers…6,12,18…and 10 more seconds…*)
… so in 19 months time I shall be sub-four minute miling!

See you then.

Finally, a ‘thank you’ to Cathy (aka jogblog) and the janathon mafia (yes, that’s you, Helen) for once again rallying us into action. It does feel a lot like a marathon right now in that I’m thinking “never again” and we all know what happens then, but just in case I don’t do another…thank you.

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It becomes a little bit of a Janathon cliche (… hang on… how do I get a cute little apostrophe thing that goes on an ‘e’ … what are they called, again?… to go on that ‘e’ ?… ah… there we go…ok…start again…)

It becomes a little bit of a Janathon cliché that when no exercise has been performed, out comes the plank, or a bar press-up, or carrying the shopping, or whatever. That’s fine. I’ve been there. I’ve done that too. Nobody minds really, do they? Well I’ve done that today…but I’ve taken it up a notch.

When I used to be in the scouts, we played a few random fitness games, one of which was to start on the top of a sturdy table and attempt to crawl under it and then back on top again, around the other side, without the feet having touched the floor. And if you could do it once, then you tried to see how many times you could do it in a minute. Harder than it sounds, by the way.

I didn’t do that today.

Another game was to have three chairs of the same height so that you have your bottom on one, your head on another and your heels on the third.  You then tense up so that your bum comes off the chair, leaving you balancing on your ankles and head only (strong neck muscles required) and then you see if you can pick up the chair and pass it up, around your body and back to its starting position behind your behind.

I didn’t do that either…

…but only because I couldn’t find a third small chair.  I did the balancing bit though, holding it for about 10 seconds…

 

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Happy with that :-D

This way up

Posted: January 29, 2014 in Janathon, not running
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This monkey is the right way up… Or is he?

He is sitting on the pre-assembled flat-pack rabbit hutch that arrived yesterday. It was manipulating this package that formed the basis for my janathon activity today

It was like one of those jokes – “How do you keep an idiot occupied?”…

See, at the bottom… “this way up” with arrows up the right way.
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Then as I slowly rotate the camera to the other side…
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(admittedly, this would work better on video…)
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(just try blinking quickly as you scroll down…that might work)
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And there it is! – a “this way up” but now pointing down.
(I will obviously be sending off a strongly worded email to the company shortly).

I have spent today (in between my usual ‘Dad duties’ of cooking, vacuuming, being taxi, doing Bob the Builder jigsaws, etc*) putting together the rabbit hutch in question and treating it for its life in the outdoors.

Rabbits will fill it on Friday.

Right, I’m off to find the corner of King Arthur’s table to sit on.

*I also managed some tine at the local skate park, pulling some mean tricks on my wheels…
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stILL

Posted: January 28, 2014 in Janathon
Tags: ,

Still ill but no work-shirk.
Did job, now a slob.
Can’t run – no fun. Can’t breathe, would heave. Full of snot. Best not.
Exercise would cause demise.

Now writing blog on the bog (don’t know why I shared that *sigh*).

So, on to say, what I’ve done today…. From office to car, it is quite far and I carried a sack upon my back with shavings of wood which will be good for my new bunnies’ hutch that they will like much.

I’ve yet to get, the actual pet but I’ll soon have two, which I’ll show you once I have got the lovely lot.

I think that’ll do. I’ve finished my business here.

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I am actually feeling a little better today. So hopefully there will be a resumption of conventional exercise shortly. Carrying a massive bag of sawdust from the workshop to the car was really pretty hard work I’ll have you know, mind you.

Expressive

Posted: January 27, 2014 in Janathon, not running
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I shall be blogging about today’s activity through the medium of expressive dance…

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There. Admittedly, it doesn’t come over so well when you can’t actually see it. But trust me, it was so totally brilliant.

Batak Snowman

Posted: January 26, 2014 in Janathon, not running
Tags: , ,

It gets harder to be creative with blog-posts as the month draws on, and harder still to exercise if you are are under the weather too. This is why today, I punched a snowman.

(I could have included carrying an ikea desk out of the car, up the stairs and into my son’s bedroom as today’s Janathon exercise, but punching a snowman sounds a little more interesting.)

PART A
Have you heard of Batak? You probably have without realising it. It’s the sort of thing you might get on some Saturday evening TV game show or at a leisure/fitness testing convention and basically involves putting out lights (by hitting them) on a specially created board, causing new lights to appear. The object being to do as many as possible within a fixed time frame.

20140126-225224.jpg As you can see, if you do it appropriately quickly, it also turns you into Neo from ‘The Matrix’ and comes in handy if you need to dodge any bullets.

PART B
I am well aware it is nearly the end of January and that Christmas decorations should have been well and truly put away by now, but we have one item at home that has remained. It is this giant, paper/glue-covered willow creation of a snowman (with internal lights and flashing orange nose)…
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We created it as a family during an art workshop before our local Christmas lights switch on last month. We only just got it through the door of the house but it is certainly not making it into the loft with the rest of our festive pieces.

PART C
I then set myself the task of punching through each paper/glue panel of the snowman as quickly as possible, Batak-style, in preparation for moving him to his new home, the garden, for the next eleven months… at which point we may or may not re-cover him and place him in our window again.

It wore me out nearly as much as the desk-carrying.

Oh, and I didn’t get round to taking him out to the garden so now I have a rather scary-looking, tatty, beat-up snowman in my bedroom.
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Neck workout

Posted: January 26, 2014 in Janathon, not running
Tags: , ,

Look left… Look right…
Look left… Look right….
Look left… Look right…
Look left… Look right….
Look up to the left… …
Look down to the right.

Look left… Look right…
Look left… Look right…
Look left… Look right….
Look left… Look right…
Look left… Look right….
Look up to the left… …
Look down to the right…
Look up to the left…
Look down to the right…
Look left… Look right….
Look left… Look right…
Look left… Look right….

Etc, etc… You get the idea.

Tennis.

This, I am well aware, is very similar to that swimming-based blog post the other day.

I make no apologies.

We are near the end of janathon now and this is the equivalent of mile 21 in a marathon…it is not pretty…it feels difficult…I don’t want to go on…but I can’t bring myself to give up…I am just getting the job done.

Saturday morning I woke up having (it felt, at least) barely slept and with a sore throat, noisy cough and a head occupied by a tiny woodpecker. I still took my boy to his weekly tennis session though and even played with him for five minutes at the start before, thankfully, someone else arrived to warm up with him and I could retire to the clubhouse (shed) with a latte.

The rest of the day was spent choosing a rabbit hutch
(yes, it took all day) as we have decided to give a home to the rabbits of a work colleague who is moving from the area.

Because I do not want write another blog-post based entirely of text, I shall now draw a picture of a rabbit playing tennis…

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(I shall have you know that some rabbits do look like a particularly angry mouse frying an egg)

What counts?

Posted: January 24, 2014 in cycling, Janathon, not running, running, swimming

My head is swimming

…but apparently that doesn’t count as exercise.

My nose is running

…but that doesn’t count either.

I’m really not feeling too great today and I’ve spent most of it on the sofa playing some pretty intense games of snakes and ladders with my smallest child. I doubt that even going up those ladders repeatedly counts as exercise.

Pretty much every day in January, somebody exercising and blogging for the Janathon challenge will ask if this or that counts as exercise. Even when I was accused of slacking, I was reminded that, as it is a verb, it is therefore a ‘doing word’ and thus was something I had done.
Clutching at staws I think, but it was still appreciated.

As a result of doing very little today, I’ve just been waiting to feel better.
Some huge waits.…they don’t count.

I’ve considered some Power crunches

20140124-201424.jpg …but they don’t count.

I’ve already enquired about diddly squats….they don’t count.

Recycling bad jokes?… That doesn’t count.

Getting some pull ups in?…

20140124-211657.jpg …doesn’t count.

Dips…

20140124-211724.jpg…definitely don’t count.

Rowing…

20140124-211816.jpg…probably should count, but I don’t think it does.

On your back with a bar bell…

20140124-211854.jpg…doesn’t count.

I have managed now to sit up at the table to write this… but that probably doesn’t count.

I KNOW!! …

Benny, Bjorn, Agnetha, Anni-Frid were in the %$&£ing @$%#&est band ever!!

That counts! It was an ABBA CUSS

Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen. I am here, all weak.

 

As penance, I have just done a token Janathon plank and I also did actually manage a short walk outside before the school run, to go and check on a geocache and plant another (more on this another time maybe).

Oh Decathlon… I like you, I do. But…

…A while ago I brought your attention (via twitter) to a photo that I saw on one of your products at my local Nottinghamshire store and to your credit, you responded quickly, admitting that the sign needed some attention…
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I had only noticed the interesting spelling of LEISURE and read no further but others have since pointed out further issues with “Designed for improve cyclist seating comfort…”
and
“Provides maximum comfort to you bike”

I allowed myself a little chuckle, and as I mentioned earlier, was quite impressed that you had responded so quickly to my twitter comment and I went about my day, giving it little further thought.

Well… time has passed and it would seem the sign has been breeding (or more likely I just missed them the first time around)…
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Shall I go on?
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I even began to question myself…

Was this some sort of branding?…

It would appear not. It would appear it’s just to describe the type of bike/user the product is suitable for… as in the following cases…
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Cycle ‘Sport’ saddles.
‘Road’ pedals. Fair enough.

Ah… maybe it’s just some American spelling or something…mmm? …

Nope.

I just googled it. They spell it the same as us Brits (they just say it funny).

But there is hope…I just noticed at the bottom of the 4th picture on this post… Right down the bottom.. Look…here it is again…
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See! At the very bottom. Someone knows how to spell it. Give them a raise. No. Don’t… that sends the wrong message… just… tell them they’ve done their job of correctly spelling one of the key words in your line of business.

As have the people responsible for these items…
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I know this may appear very petty to some, but you know there are other people* who would refuse to shop at a supermarket displaying a ‘Ten items or less’ sign and who will actively seek out one with the grammatically correct, ‘Ten items or fewer’ sign instead.
I could be saving you money by bringing this to your attention.
Goodness knows how much business you’ve lost already!

*Incidentally, I am not one of them. Even today, I purchased some shin pads for my son (I still had just about enough time after I’d taken all those photos).

Anyway, surely you have people paid to look out for this kind of thing.
If not, pay me (or maybe someone even more qualified).

You are in the leisure retail business.
I am in leasure tell-tale business now.

I’ll be watching.