Juneathon done.

Posted: June 30, 2015 in Juneathon, not running
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30 days of exercise.
30 days blogged about…Just sometimes a day late or sandwiched in with another post…

…like this one.

Last night I went straight to the tennis courts after work and left there 4.5 hours later. Lovely.

Lost a big match after going down 9-7 on a tie-break. A bit gutted, but a great game.

Not been doing much running this month, to be fair. Not in terms of miles anyway.
It doesn’t look like I’ll be entering the Nottingham marathon this year. I said I’d only enter if I managed to shift 10kg.

I haven’t.

I think I need a bit of a break. No pressure. No goals. Just enjoy the running. Or not running.

Time to sit back, relax, enjoy Wimbledon.

I went down to the tennis club again tonight, actually. Stopped off first, bought some ice, bought some beers…

  
My kind of tennis…

Cheers, Juneathon people.

Normal service of only occasional random blogging (sometimes about running) now resumes.

Or “Uh oh” …Or whatever it was I was emailed by Strava recently, telling me that MY course record had been STOLEN!

Well, I’ve only just gone and nicked it back haven’t I! Eh? Yeah I have!

Take that, course record thief!

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Ok…So it’s only 0.3 miles and less than 2 minutes running.
Ok…So it may have reactivated some dormant asthma condition that I was previously unaware of.
Ok…So I did this run purely to pursue this course record again and the previous ‘owner’ of the record (the thief) achieved his (only 3 second slower) result as part of a 10k loop (I’ve just snooped on their run history)…

…But for now…

It’s mine!

All mine!

Mine, I tell you!

Mwaaaa haa haa a ha ha haaaaaa!!

P.P.P.P.p.P.P

Posted: June 27, 2015 in Juneathon, Uncategorized
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Poor 

Planning

Prevents 

Predicted 

parkrun 

PB 

Performance 

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I was so up for a parkrun this morning. ‘Up’ mentally, and ‘up’ physically… I’ve been getting faster and fitter (just not any lighter… But that’s all part of my cunning training strategy!).

I was actually out of bed and everything!…

…Well… nearly everything. After yesterday’s ‘out of the house all day’ adventure with the kids, we ordered in a pizza that evening. It was lovely.

And then everyone went to sleep. Which was also nice…but it unfortunately meant that this morning, there was all the morning stuff to do plus all of last night’s ‘last night’ stuff to do, there was no milk, hard-working wife still had hard-work to do, the kids were up, tennis coaching and ballet lessons awaited the little people and the in-laws were due round at some point today too.

I should have done it last night. Then I could have been off and out this morning.

Despite having got all dressed up in my running gear, I traded the run in for a proper breakfast, numerous cups of coffee for myself and my good lady wife (I only have one by the way – that term is not used to differentiate between different wives, like I have a ‘bad manly wife’ or anything), and getting both the kids and the house looking moderately presentable… 
…this included eating a cold slice of pizza.

Having taken Child1 to tennis, I met a fellow club member there and we ended up playing a set ourselves so I did at least get some decent exercise in.

As a bonus, Bounts – the website I have reported on before where you can earn points for exercise – redeemable for real world cash gift cards (sign up here for 100 points to get you started), have recently started magically recognising my attendance at my local tennis club and awarding me attendance points too. That would have been extra handy if it had started a month or two back, based on how much I’ve played recently. 

After lunch I took Child2 to ballet, did some food shopping and then I’ve spent the late afternoon cremating meat on the BBQ and drinking cold beer with my wife and her family. 

There are worse ways to spend the last part of the day.

Tomorrow’s breakfast

It arrived at last!

After great anticipation and a build up worthy of a child with their first chocolate advent calendar… Friday 26th June 2015 was international handstand day!

It was also an inset day for the children (for my international readers, joining me today in celebration of international handstand day, an inset day = teacher training – i.e. No children in school/nursery). So I had them both to myself for the whole day.
I am a lucky dad. These are the kind of days I like.

The only request from either child was that we went swimming at some point. My only request was that at some point I should do a handstand to mark international handstand day. My original plan, having checked the swimming timetable, was to leave the house early, cycle to the swimming pool together, swim, then cycle off somewhere for a picnic lunch, before then some mad adventure in the afternoon.

There was, however, plenty of morning faffing top be done; picnics to be made; children to be woken and breakfasted; bikes to be oiled, brakes checked and seats raised (these little people don’t stay little for long, do they?); and handstands to be attempted.

WARNING: below is photographic evidence of me attempting to stand on my hands in the morning in a very lose-fitting dressing gown. I have taken care to obscure my face from the photograph but I am wearing nothing else apart from slippers (which I was kindly bought recently for father’s day – I’ve got some ‘Minions’ ones too, but I’m not wearing them). YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

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Are you sure you still want to do this?

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Ok then…

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I was actually pleasantly surprised that I could still bend down to my toes. Go me!
So, back to our day… The kids and I eventually left the house after much deliberation about the route…

“I don’t like cycling on the roads” 

“it’s dangerous!!”

“I don’t like hills!”

” can’t we just take the car?”

But eventually, the kids persuaded me to stop being such a wuss and just start pedalling.

We had a great time cycling and then swimming, with Child1 managing 50m front crawl at the end of the session to ‘earn’ (they were going to get one anyway) him and his sister a treat from the machines in the foyer after the swim. She isn’t yet swimming independently but happy to be in and around water.

Next, a short cycle to the park for picnic (now about 1:30pm) as despite machine treats, we’re a bit peckish.

Deliberately ‘forgetting’ to bring a football was a good plan as both children played really nicely together and we all attempted another international handstand day handstand…
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A basic understanding of the laws of physics will betray the fact that neither my own or my son’s (sorry- but especially my son’s) attempts held ‘form’ for more than a mere fraction of a second.

We spent ages on the park and I then led them off on another bike ride to a secret location.

They didn’t like ‘secret location’ bike rides… But they did great. And when we got there, the cinema still had some tickets left for the newly released ‘Minions’ movie.

Quick Film review: Meh…it’s no ‘frozen’ but the kids enjoyed it, so therefore I did.

We cycled back home and got in literally just before the rain started. Great timing.
Great day.
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Oh… and great slippers!

  

Stolen

Posted: June 25, 2015 in Juneathon, running
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Yesterday, Wednesday 24th June was rattling through with very little going on in the way of exercise.
I’d taken some friends to the Nottingham Open tennis in the morning but I couldn’t stay, myself due to my fatherly duties (daughter collection from nursery later).

It wasn’t until later in the evening, when eldest child went to cubs that I got the day’s exercise in.
My good lady wife had arrived home just in time to take charge of the youngest so once I took the eldest to cubs, I could just go for a run until collection time.
It was a good job too, because a minor accident nearby meant I wouldn’t have been able to drive home anyway. A 10k run later, though and with Child1 now collected from cubs, the route was clear. Wednesday – done.

Thursday 25th
Squeezed in just a set of tennis in the morning but it was a good one. It took an hour and I was dripping afterwards.

But when I got home, I had an email informing of a theft.

Something of mine had been stolen.

The email started… “Uh, oh” …never a good sign. Then continued..”your course record has been stolen!” It was from Strava.

I know. I imagine you are in shock right now too… But yes, I did actually have a Strava course record. It was/is a downhill segment (naturally! Well, it wasn’t going to be anything else) and I ran it on an occasion a while back when it had just started raining very heavily and it was dark (this is important as it meant I could see if cars were coming at the point I had to cross the road).

Anyway, it has been stolen from me.

I will get it back.

Maybe not today.

Maybe not tomorrow.

Or the day after.

Or the day after that.

Or next week.

Possibly not next month
(I’ve very busy, you know)

Next year’s not great for me either…

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..how do you fade out in a blog post?

Double Monday

Posted: June 23, 2015 in Juneathon, not running
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Monday 22nd June

I remember, approximately twenty-something years ago, at school, I loved Wednesdays.

Wednesday’s timetable was, I think: double P.E (yay! Love P.E!) double maths (love puzzles) and double music (love making lots of noise).

Today (…well…yesterday now…but today too, actually) is not a Wednesday.

Monday, at school twenty-something years ago was double hunanities. I don’t know why it was called ‘humanities‘ it wasn’t very humane to bore the pants off us students for hours and then give us ten hours of homework to do by yesterday. Well that’s how it felt. There were probably other lessons on a Monday, but they could not overshadow humanities!

Today (yesterday now) is (was) a Monday.

But it didn’t just feel like a Monday, yesterday, it felt like a double Monday.

I was unproductive and slow and if my thoughts were spoken out loud, I’d have told myself to shut up and get out of my own company.

I was looking forward to tennis night though, in the same way that twenty-something years ago, I looked forward to the end-of-school bell…

…But when I got to tennis it started tipping it down with rain, big time.

So at this point, I’m supposed to tell you how I laced up my running shoes and went for an invigorating run in the rain, singing at the top of my voice, smiling at everyone who thought I was mad and brightening people’s day as I deliberately stand next to that huge puddle as the car drives by to give myself a refreshingly muddy shower and celebrate the wonder that is the sensation of life!! WoooHooo!!!

…But no.  I didn’t do that.  I have done that before…but not on this particular double Monday…

On this particular double Monday…I played tennis in the rain for an hour and a half with other mad people.

It was quite nice.
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Tuesday 23rd

I didn’t post yesterday’s post yesterday, because if I did, my parents would have phoned to check I was ok. They read my blog…and they read into my blog…which is dangerous. I am ok.
I was ok. It was just a double dose of Monday. You don’t need to phone. Oh and dad has said I can use that poem thing I was on about for father’s day (as long as I credit him), so I’ll go and edit that into my B&B post in a bit

Today was a different day. It was Tuesday, for starters.

I felt much better today.

I am considering a late night run, but having done 60 press ups in 60 seconds earlier (just to see if I still can) and therefore meeting tonight’s Juneathon requirement, I think I might go to bed early…or at least early for me.

Don’t forget people (UK people at least), Friday is national handstand day – yes, seriously that is a thing.

That day’s blog could be interesting.

B&B

Posted: June 21, 2015 in Juneathon
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It’s Father’s Day today so I started by getting up early and running 20 miles…

  
…nah!! I had a lie in and was given breakfast in bed for the first time in a long time.

I went on to have a lovely day – I exchanged emails with my dad (I didn’t actually speak with him but he doesn’t really ‘do’ Father’s Day so he won’t mind) who had written a great short poem about being a dad… I just thought, I could share the poem here but would want to check with him first.

I played tennis (my Juneathon activity for the day) with my son and watched tennis from Queen’s …. Go Murray!

Then it was dinner with the in-laws, a game or two and then bath and bed for the kids.

Then I thought I’d check out the Randoms bag for today… 

 

So to complete a related exercise, I figure it’s time for a couple of bicep curls. 

Cheers.

______UPDATE EDIT _______

Dad has given permission for me to use his poem as long as I credit him:

Here is my own advice to dads; it’s all about deciding …

When to say yes
and when to say no
When to hold on
and when to let go
When to jump in
and when to lie low
or when to admit that you really don’t know.

When to reach out
and support should they fall
When to cheer up
when they’re made to feel small
When to build up
and to help them walk tall
or when to step back and do nothing at all.

And if you’re not perfect
it’s not really so bad;
Just try to be
a “good enough” dad.

© C.D Avery 2015

(Or ‘randomness take two’)

Same photo … Different blog post!

 

 Yesterday’s random sweet plucked from the randoms packet (from which I had to elicit some sporting activity) was a tennis racquet – boring.

Today, it was this…

  
A space rocket! Yeah! 

So I trained to be an astronaut!

Well obviously not. 

It was suggested that I do 100 burpees because I would have to shoot up like a rocket to do them. I thought there would be very little chance of me even leaving the ground after 100 burpees so I declined that suggestion.

I opted instead for the easier option of moving at 4 times the speed of sound.

Well… A leisurely 20 minute run to check on a couple of our geocaches that I needed to check were still in place.

On the way back, I placed my phone on the ground, set the timer, and ran over it.

So, just like a rocket going past my house, I’m moving fast, defying gravity, soaring through the air, and I’m barely visible…
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…Unlike a space rocket however (I imagine), I landed in a big pile of dog poo and subsequently did the dog-poo-foot-slide thing all the way home (which incidentally had little or no effect as I was wearing trail shoes and I’ve just forced it into the gaps).
I’m left them outside and I’m hoping for a thunderstorm tonight!

Random 

Posted: June 20, 2015 in Juneathon, running
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I decided the other day that my daily exercise has been far too sensible so I decided to buy a packet of these…  

…draw one out (at random) and tailor my exercise accordingly to match.

Except…I got this…

  …which to me, looks like a tennis racquet. So I played tennis on Friday. Hardly random for me recently.

On Thursday I went for a run. I felt like putting a a bit of effort in and upped the pace from my usual plod. Some roads, but mostly track/canal path so predominantly flat but with occasional short hills… and it felt good.
I covered 10k in 48:55 (which for me is a PB) so I celebrated by sitting on the picnic bench outside of a newly opened village tea room, relaxing with my purchases and enjoying the countryside :)
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Very pleasant…

But not very random…

What I really need is for someone to have set up scarecrow version of Tommy Cooper in their front garden or something…
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…just like that.

Why do I run?

How many blog posts try to answer this question?

I’m not sure I know the answer…to either of the above. Partly because the answer changes day to day, month to month, year to year.

I started initially so that a female friend at university didn’t have to run alone at night when we were on placement in a new place. But I found myself still going for runs when she said she couldn’t make it.
Stress relief. I think that is still the main reason for me.

One of the best explanations from someone else that I have seen, is one with which you may already be familiar if you are within the running world.
It’s by ‘the oatmeal’ and can be found here.

Gimmicks can help get me out running too. I remember being given an iPod and a Nike+ foot pod thing many years ago now. Then using the Nike+ app with its sort of internal pedometer (my iPod didn’t have gps).
When I eventually got a smart phone, that opened up a new means of run recording, via gps tracked runs. I used apps like endomondo, runkeeper and more recently Strava.  Seeing the miles clock up and seeing speed and distance improvements certainly helped, along with the various other stats.
Also parkrun – the run not a race  (but where you push yourself hard over that final straight so that person you’ve been ‘leapfrogging’ with over the past 4.8km doesn’t overtake again over the final 200m) adds a new element to running motivation for some. Some people don’t miss a week.

This Juneathon and Janathon malarkey… Exercise everyday, blog everyday for a month… Or doing a ‘runstreak’… Motivating? Definitely at times. But if you miss a day, what happens to that motivation?

Jantastic – the initiative from the marathon talk folk was really useful for helping me to get out and running over the first three months of this year in preparation for a marathon in April.

Would I have got out and run without it? Probably. But I think it helped.

Or did it?
Do any of these things?

Or do they do the opposite?

Would I still do Juneathon if nobody read/liked/commented?

Does the motivation come from within (intrinsic), or externally (extrinsic) in the form of whatever ‘reward’ we perceive we get?

Moreover, does the introduction of extrinsic rewards lead to an overall decrease in intrinsic motivation once the external rewards are removed?

I remember the above hypothesis was a generally accepted one in sports psychology around the time that I did my GCSE in physical education …errr…a few years ago.
There was some experiment where people were observed regarding the length of time spent playing with a puzzle. They were then paid a small amount for solving puzzles the next day, and then the day after that the pay was removed and the puzzle playing dramatically decreased. (If I was still at university, I’d have to reference that, but because I’m not, and I’m feeling lazy, I’m not going to. Such a rebel!)

This hypothesis – that intrinsic motivation was decreased by the introduction and subsequent removal of extrinsic rewards – was perhaps a rather sweeping statement to make anyway as more recent studies seem to suggest things are a little more complex and that in some circumstances extrinsic rewards can actually enhance intrinsic motivation. (If you are interested to read more, there’s a bit of a summary at www.appliedsportpsych.org )

This is good news, I think.
I don’t want to be decreasing my desire to be active by using the various gadgets/apps/rewards-websites that I do. But… and unfortunately, I have to admit, I can think of times when this has happened in the past… I don’t want to not get out of the house because I can’t find my phone/ipod, or stop a run because my app has crashed and ‘it won’t count’.

So maybe it’s good to get out every now and again without an app, without an iPod, without even a goal or a session plan in mind. Just go. If you don’t think you would, or could, then maybe your intrinsic motivation has been decreased?

Now… not to undermine all of that… but intended as an extra, an add-on, a ‘sign-up and forget about it’ sort of thing, I have joined up with two rewards sites. One (Bounts) has been going for a while and the other (Running Heroes) only started up in the UK in this past month.
Both sites award points for the exercise you record via any number of apps and you can then exchange these points for tangible rewards such as discount vouchers, gift cards, etc.
It would be a real shame if it ever got to the point where anyone just ran for the purpose of earning these points, but personally, I figure, “if I’m running anyway…why not?”. I am currently at a point with Bounts where I’m just a few runs away from being able to get a £10 supermarket gift card… effectively for runs I’d have done anyway.

If you haven’t already signed up to Bounts and you are thinking about it, then for a limited time we can both get a load of extra points if you sign up through this link or quote avery1132 when you sign up.

I was also contacted by Running Heroes recently and in addition to bonus points if you sign up through this link, they also sent me an instant 100 point bonus code ‘run67run‘ which they said I could share with my readers.

My personal idea with these sites is, having signed up, just to forget about them for a while. They sync up automatically with the apps I use and the points build up over time for what I do anyway. If someone wants to send me vouchers for doing that – great.

Yesterday, I played tennis. I didn’t get any (website-related) points for that. I still enjoyed it. Intrinsic motivation still intact there. Today it’s back to running, though…and I’ll probably get a few points for it… But that’s not the reason I’m going.

If you use these sites, I’d be interested to know what you think of them too. Let me know.