Pride comes before awful

Posted: February 1, 2016 in running
Tags: , , ,

So my foot is definitely better. And I’ve been for a few short runs to make sure it’s better. And my cold is much better. And I’m eating better again. Well done me. And generally things are better. 

And on Saturday I ran a parkrun again for the first time in ages it seems.

Unfortunately that was NOT better. But I expected that. Ran my socks off and was still about 50 seconds off my best. Glad I went though. Well done me. Let’s get this consistency going again.

I’ve kept up my non-running exercises too (I decided to take up new hobbies of weight lifting and knitting [when I prematurely and over-dramatically  assumed that my foot niggle meant I would never walk again!] mainly just so I could get the ‘knit one, curl one‘ joke in) so, well done me.

Also, having eaten a healthy homemade dinner on Saturday night, I heroically decided that doing the ironing would prevent me from further snacking. Well done me. I got the board out and the iron, and was just about to plug it in… when the phone rang…

…oops…

…I’d totally forgotten about the tennis club meal out to the local Thai restaurant. ‘Where are you, mate?” came the voice from the phone.

Oops…

“On my way!” I replied.

I promptly cycled into town (my body is a temple, you know).

I then proceeded to drink all the beer and eat all the food.

 I eventually cycled home somehow (my body is a temple and all that) …far too late, of course, and slept terribly, woke early and ate a HUGE fried breakfast (which is required by British law).

My tennis match is just after lunch on Sunday, so I don’t actually eat lunch (just a packet of Maltesers). I play ok, but we lose the ‘important’ (it’s all relative though!) tennis. I then eat the muffins/choc biscuits/flapjack provided before coming home and having a full roast dinner. 

Yay! Go me! :-/ ahem.

It wasn’t an easy weekend in other aspects. On Friday night, Dad was taken in to Hospital. I won’t go into details but suffice to say he is out now and sounded better than he has in a few weeks actually.

Andy Murray lost the tennis earlier (this probably features unnecessarily  on my list of bad things that happened this weekend).

I also had the sad news that an old friend from my University days had died. I had totally lost touch with her over the past few years and didn’t even know she was ill. She was only a year or two older than me and her kids are similar ages to mine. Not that her having young children makes it any greater or less of a loss but just that I can identify with the fragility of it all.

And then Sir Terry Wogan has died as well…not that I knew him personally, of course but I did sort of ‘grow up’ with him.

:-(
Not the best of weekends, really.

I’ll be hoping for a ‘recovery run’ tonight.

A 38 year old, thinning (hair rather than body-type), brunette runner has recently given an exclusive interview to this blog describing essentially how, following the onset of mysterious foot pains that threatened to leave him unable to ever walk again, he was able to miraculously turn his fortunes around in just three weeks!

I caught up with him over a coffee in his kitchen recently to establish the facts of this extraordinary case.

He takes a sip of coffee, lets out a long sigh and sits back in his seat as he places a cigar in his mouth and nonchalantly places his feet on the chair next to him. His hamstrings are so tight that the resultant release of energy catapults him backwards into the floor. He eventually recovers, shifts uneasily in his chair, takes another sip of his drink and a bite of his cigar before beginning his tale as if the events of the last thirty seconds never actually occurred.

“It was amazing really” he begins, recalling the events of the past month. “I went from being fully active – running, swimming, performing stunts aboard the top of a train, and Morris-Dancing at weekends – to being unable to place my foot to the floor without shooting pain. And I had no idea why!”

“I even wrote a blog post about it,” he continues, “to try and cement in my own mind that it was in fact real.  Because everything I write in blog posts is real and actual fact!” He slams his fist on the table and takes a further bite from his cigar as he says this.

“Runners fall into one of three categories when it comes to injuries,” he asserts with an air of authority in his voice…

“Category (1) – I’ll be fine. It’s just a niggle. Nothing that a good hard track session or ‘undulating’ long run with full mandatory ultra running kit won’t cure!

Category (2) – I must immediately make an appointment with a consultant orthopaedic surgeon and demand an MRI / acupuncture / a personal 24 hour round the clock physio / an invasive operation 

Category (3) As if there’s a category 3! There is no other option. Category 3 is clearly a joke. There is nothing to see here.” 

He snorts, laughing a little too long at his own non-joke as he proceeds to eat around the edge of his cigar before dipping it in his coffee. After a moments silence, I urge him to continue….with the story…not dipping his cigar in his coffee.

“I have always been a category (1) personality but losing the ability to weight-bear when shoeless had me stumbling around for answers. I thought my tennis match would let me accurately assess the extent of the injury but I had the wrong week, then it snowed on the right week and the match was cancelled. I ran to my car after work briefly last week but apart from that and lifting a few weights, exercise has been pretty non-existent. To be honest, I was quite fed up and I had very little mojo to do anything even if I could have. Maybe this saved me.”

He pops the rest of his cigar in his mouth and gets another identical one from the TWIX packet next to him…

“So there you have it.” he says, as the interview reaches its climactic conclusion, “I basically didn’t do anything. Didn’t take painkillers. Didn’t take anti-inflammatories. Just rested. And it got better.”

WOW! I’m left speechless. As I attempt to adjust to the enormity of these events. How one man, by resting, has effectively turned upside down conventional wisdom with respect to running related injuries.

He pulls me over to one side and whispers in my ear…

“Do you know, in hindsight, I reckon it was doing the can-can in bare feet on the tiled kitchen floor with my daughter a few weeks back and following that up with a few sessions of that ‘Shape-Up’ game on the Xbox – again, without shoes. I reckon it was just some sort of…well… bruise. 

Maybe I’ve been a bit over-dramatic.”

I am in shock. I have wasted too long writing an article that I could have headlined ‘Man recovers from bruise!‘ and so I collect my belongings and leave, slowly shaking my head, and without saying another word.

As I get to my car, and for the entire drive, I panic that I cannot find my wallet that I was sure was in my trousers earlier…but when I get home later that evening it turns out, I find it down the side of the sofa. 

The following day I smile to myself and think.  That runner bloke and me… we’re pretty similar really.  

I crack open a TWIX, dunk it in my coffee and look forward to my rearranged tennis match on Sunday afternoon.

Bare with me while…. Err… Bear with me… Err… Stay with both me and any nearby bears who currently may or may not be wearing clothes, while I explain the whole wallet/injury thing.

Now, I may either have a little niggle, or possibly a life-changing medical condition.

I do most definitely have a tendency to exaggerate however (I’ve been told a million times to stop doing it), so none of this should be taken too seriously. I hope.

It’s a foot pain, basically. It came on very suddenly about a week ago. Specifically – on my 4th MTP joint (underside of foot, the bony bit of the toe next to my little one where it meets the rest of the foot) making placing a bare (definitely ‘bare’ this time) foot to the floor feel like I’m stamping on a piece of Lego.

Yes. Stamping on Lego.

That bad.

So naturally  I immediately presume that I have developed aggressive, sudden-onset sero-positive erosive rheumatoid arthritis.

In a similar way, I thought my wallet was in my shorts pocket after my night run to the 24hr supermarket the other day…but the following day when I came to wash them, it wasn’t. So naturally I presumed that I dropped it and its contents (including £40 cash I’d just got from the machine) somewhere on the route home.

I go through stages of ‘wallet loss’ . These include

1) Oh my goodness! Panic! Cancel my cards. We can only live off stale bread and water until we have saved the money to repay this dreadful loss.

2) OK…think! This always happens. It’s not where you thought it was but you’ve probably just absent-mindedly put it in the fridge instead of the milk or something.

3) Right! Panic again. Not in the fridge. Check other pairs of shorts in case you were mistaken about which ones you were wearing. No luck. Check pairs of shorts not worn for a year – just in case. Nope.

4) OK. Stay calm. It nearly always turns up. You have just now looked everywhere it could possibly be (and even some places it couldn’t possibly be) mmmm…face it. It could actually be proper lost this time.

5) It’s still not found. No point getting angry at your own carelessness. Try to be happy for the lucky person that has just found £40, and hope that they really needed it). Time for bed. Try to sleep well. Don’t be angry with yourself or the world. It will change mothing.

6) Oh there it is! (Under the pillow with the headphones I’d taken out of my pocket when I got back from the run) I was never really worried. I knew it would be somewhere.

A pic from my New Year’s day run (in case, like me, you were getting bored with all those words)

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Unfortunately, I am still in the equivilent early stages with my injury/niggle. I don’t remember actually doing anything to it… Maybe...there might have been a stone in my shoe that I thought I’d just put up with rather than remove? But it wasn’t that painful or anything.

Now I have just got out of bed (early Sunday morning) and I cannot put any weight on that part of my foot without it feeling like I’m stepping on a pin (obviously a standing-up one, like a drawing pin …or a tack… – this is more painful than standing on a pin that is lying flat on the floor. I wouldn’t have mentioned it if it was only that painful).

You see, I’m trying to be light about it because I hope that in a few days it it’ll turn out that it’s just been some sort of bone bruise that goes away, never to return, and I can laugh about how I was getting all melodramatic about it for no reason.

It seems ok when it’s cushioned. I can even run on it, though I’m being sensible and trying not to…

I went for a bike ride on Friday afternoon, to do a spot of geocaching…and fell off for the first time in ages…coming down this very tame (but very slippy/muddy) hill…

The thing is, that hill has a canal at the bottom and although not-braking was necessary for staying-uprightness, there was also a requirement for corner-turning in order to prevent removing-self-from-canal-with-bike-ness.
I stayed upright mostly.
The bike didn’t.
I felt sorry for my bike.
So I promptly joined it on the canal path floor.
In that muddy puddle just there.

I just ‘enjoyed’ wallowing in the mud for a bit before checking my actual, proper ‘I know where this injury is from, I just fell off my bike’ type injuries and then took  the above picture… followed by the one below, to try and show that the hill felt steeper than it looked!

I was able to cycle most of the way home, stopping off to buy some good for the evening meal. But on exiting the shop realised my front true was now totally flat. Unusually having headed out with no puncture repair kit (which of course guarantees getting a puncture that needs repairing!) I had to run and push the bike (and my now full backpack) the remaining 3 miles home in order to still be able to collect little people from school. I was shattered. But the foot felt fine while I was running in my nicely cushioned trainers.

I gave parkrun a miss on Saturday but I’ve got a tennis match today. Could be fun :-/

I hope my next post reports how the foot pain has totally disappeared. If not, it looks like the cycling and swimming might get better.

[Edit. …and of course, for the record… it’s ‘bear‘ with. No stripping off, here!]

It’s been a while. I’ve been too busy eating cashew nuts, mince pies and chocolates… often at the same time.

So here’s a little catch up on various goings on…

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I received an email from the lovely people at New Balance, informing me that they had some new kit and had a few items for some lucky running folk to test.

This included the fantastic looking (though pricey!) winter running jacket (the Beacon) pictured below.

   
 
Unfortunately I was not one of the lucky runners to get to try this out for myself as I was too slow. They didn’t check up on my 5k PB or anything (I don’t think), I just mean that by the time I’d responded to the mailing they had all been snapped up.

I don’t know if the email responder was just feeling very Christmassy or what, but basically said (and I paraphrase here…), “Sorry we don’t have any jackets left for you to try. Here’s some trainers instead. Which would you like?”.

A couple of days later, these arrived for me. 

 
A pair of 1080 v5 running shoes. 

Well thank you very much :-) and Happy Christmas, New Balance PR people.

These retail at £110 on the New Balance website but I dare say they might be cheaper elsewhere (I hope that sentence hasn’t resulted in me being removed from their virtual Christmas card list).

I then noticed this post on Twitter from Laura at lazygirlrunning… 

 
She then asked… (and I responded)

 
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And if I’m to take her word for it… 
 

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So… How could I compete with that?!

Well… Like this… 
 

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…and this…

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A few days later, I decided to take them for a proper test run.

Now it just so happens that some days I start work late and finish early – to let me still do the school runs,  but the kids had finished school and my hard-working wife was also off work so I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to do a run commute to work.

It was a great idea. I allowed plenty of time, I took a lightweight bag and I hit the road. 12.7 miles later (this is why I don’t regularly run commute) I arrived at work in fine form and was set for the day.

The shoes were super comfy, cool, and roomy. I have quite wide feet and these come in a wide fitting so there wasn’t a hint of blistering despite this being their first proper run out (I’d worn them around the house for a few days just to look swanky, of course), and naturally they do look pretty swanky.

So running to work, all be it a fairly long way, was a great idea…

…running home on the other hand…

…well…

…I made it…

…but it was certainly no negative split!

Now, on the downside, I’ve found the 1080 v5 is great in the dry, including track (canal path) running but they feel  quite slippy on wet tarmac, I found.

Also, in scientific tests, they’re rubbish at cooking…

  
Despite this, they would be my shoe of choice at home currently for a long run as they are wonderfully cushioned and feel like they could really take some big mileage without problem.

They don’t, in themselves make me any stronger or fitter unfortunately, so that big mileage… well that’s up to me.

I’ve signed up for a twenty-miler and an open-water triathlon in 2016. I might also do the Wolf-Run that never quite materialised for my brother’s 40th birthday. Apart from that, there’s plenty of parkruns to be had. My 5k time was reducing nicely, in line with some necessary weight-loss. I ran a hard parkrun yesterday though and was about 90 seconds slower than my PB. Christmas nibbles are to blame for that…or more precisely…me eating lots of them.
I’ve decided against officially ‘doing Janathon‘ this year. You know, that ‘exercise every day in January, blog every day in January’ thing. I have been so useless at regular blogging, that I’d probably only manage one post a week at most. I might try for that, anyway. Good luck to you if you’re doing Janathon proper this year.

Best wishes for 2016.
Run well…even if you don’t run.

On Saturday (err…a little while ago now – not the one just gone – this has taken me far too long to write), I thought, “What I need on my blog is a write up of a race that I enter on a whim having not run for a couple of weeks and while I recover from an injury.”

You see the week before, THIS HAPPENED (<<<blog post link). 

In summary (and this really is the short version),  the Friday was my work’s Christmas do to which I had cycled, eaten perhaps (definitely) too much, drank a very balanced amount (balancing the food out), and danced way too much, finally getting home to bed at about 02:00 on Saturday morning – the same morning that I ran my 50th parkrun and my 9 year old old son ran his 10th. Not to mention (which is a weird thing to say because I’m now about to mention it…) meeting up with parkrun tourism royalty – Louise Ayling (aka abradypus). We headed straight from there to the tennis club where I promptly pulled a muscle in my calf and found even just walking very painful.

Naturally, the obvious next move from this point of limping around for a few days, was to get chatting to some folks running an ‘undulating’ (and we all know what that means!) winter half-marathon the next weekend and express interest in the possibility of getting a transfer place.

Yes. That’s a good idea. Don’t run for a week because you’re injured then enter a hilly undulating half-marathon that next weekend. Nice one.

I only found out I had a transfer place for the Sunday’s Turkey Trot on the previous afternoon (official entries are sold out within a few days in September time). I was at a football match when I got a message from a lovely chap called Alan (a contact of Katie’s over at runyoung50) saying that due to injury, he’d not be running it now, and if I could collect the number, it was mine for no charge (though a £5 charge is made by the organisers on race day to cover admin, and surplus is donated to Rainbows Children’s Hospice). He happened to live only a 5 minute run from the football ground so I figured if I could make it to his without pulling the calf muscle again, I’d be fine. I was fine. And I now had the number.

The Keyworth ‘Turkey Trot’ was the first ever race I properly ran (not including school sports days and carnival fun runs when I was growing up).  I mean, I’m still growing up obviously, but originally I ran this when I was training for the London Marathon in 2000. And now I was going to run the ‘Turkey Trot’ again. 

Pre-race on Sunday morning… It was chilly… But should it be shorts or tights? 
It was shorts… 

 
…but it was also hat and gloves all the way!

I have no idea what time I managed in 2000, but on training runs of this distance nowadays, anything close to two hours lands me in contentedville but I certainly didn’t want to take the place of an injured runner only to end up not-finishing as an injured runner myself.

I think this may have kept me from the usual ‘sprint finish’ that I attempt in the first two miles of any long run. Splits ended up fairly even actually (well, even for me), considering the hilly undulating nature of the course profile. 

   
…and the heart rate showed a good*, steady increase… (*is this good? Or would that suggest it is not sustainable for say a 20 miler or marathon? I don’t actually know)

  

I don’t really do race reports very well. So that’s it.

I got round. I enjoyed it. I was even happy with my time. Yay.

A little stiffness in the legs for a couple of days followed, and as I gave blood on Friday afternoon, I also gave parkrun a miss the following Saturday morning. I hit a few tennis balls with my son later on, though…
…and…

…when running for a drop-shot…
… pulled that calf muscle again!!

Disclaimer: 1) I’m not a sports psychologist. 2) I’m not a 9 yr old.

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Last week I asked my son if he wanted to delay his tennis session to run his 10th parkrun (that’s the weekly, Saturday, free 5km run – in case you’ve been on another planet…or you are one of my relatives) at the same time I was due to run my 50th one. No pressure. 

He said, “Yes”.

On the Friday night, I went to a Christmas work do. I cycled there. I had a good time. I had a bit too much to eat. I had just the right amount to drink. I danced far too much. I cycled back. I got home in the early hours of the morning- at 02:00.

At 08:00 on Saturday I go through to my sleeping son and say, “So… you’d better be getting up if we’re going to make it to parkrun this morning.”

There are some protestations from him – the bed is warm, he forgot it was Saturday, the wind might blow him away, there are hills, etc.   I remind him that I said I’d meet fellow runner/blogger abradypus at the parkrun, so I was going anyway and if we were going to run our milestone runs together, then today would have to be the day. He gets up

He said he was going to run, so he did. Credit to him.

Now obviously I don’t want to force or blackmail him to run. I would have gone on my own. Yes, I wanted to run it with him… only partly because if I ran it on my own and ran it hard (as I would), then the results, given last night’s…. ‘dancing’… would not have been pretty. But I would have gone on my own.

He is in control now. He chooses a light breakfast, he asks to take headphones this week (there’s a whole other debate, right there), but as it turns out, my ears and his are different sizes (who’d have thought it?) so we end up leaving them.

We are soon at the parkrun and meet up with Louise (abradypus) and her entourage, in the form of Mike – another runner, and Louise’s husband and chief bag holder Andy – not running today.

*For those who doubt the importance of punctuation in blog posts, I think that last sentence proves a subtle point.*

We set off… too fast as always…but this is my son’s run and I’m just there for the ride. The first half km is pretty flat but he struggles a bit at the first hill, more at the second, and he has a stitch that is threatening to rip out his insides by the time we reach the third. We walk. We talk. We run again. On to lap two.

This is where I think I make an error, I put my hands up to this – without intending to add any pressure but because I thought he might want to know – I look at the time and I comment that if he keeps this pace, he’d beat his PB (he’d asked about his best time before we left home).

Bad, bad daddy! I am 9 years old, I actually wanted to stay in bed this morning but you guilted me into running with you, and now here I am – still with 2km to go and that series of mini hills / mountain range and you tell me I have to keep this pace?! 

When we hit the next hill, he holds my arm. I assure him it’s fine to walk for a bit. We do. But I notice tears :-(

We walk… and I do my best not to sound sarcastic in any way when I say we can walk or run or whatever he wants. I don’t want him to be upset – obviously, I don’t want him to hate running, and clearly I don’t mention the time again, I want him to know (silently) that the time is not important here. We walk. We hug. We are passed by a couple of very encouraging runners on the top, hilly (mountainous) section.

“I just can’t do it” he says.

“I want to, but I can’t.  It hurts.”

And although this isn’t about me, I also feel suddenly very aware that I look like a pushy parent, forcing his child into painful, unwanted physical activity. This is not me, by the way. This is not parkrun.

Choices time. We can stop here. There’s the cafe. Short-cut to the cafe. Hot drink? Grab the football we brought with us? Have a kickabout? Achieve those milestone runs another time?

But it’s not my choice and I refuse to make it (though I was asked).

We have all been there or thereabouts before, I’m sure. Going for a goal, falling short of what we hoped for, and needing to decide if we cut our losses and live to fight (or run) another day or keep going – just finish. Sometimes just finishing is important to us. Sometimes it’s the goal that’s important and stopping is actually the strong thing to do, increasing the chances of hitting the goal another time. So I’m not saying one is right and the other, wrong… just that this decision wasn’t mine.  

When it came to the crunch, he decided to run. He said he didn’t want to come this way and not complete it. It was as if once he made up his mind, that was it. He ran all the remaining way, eventually passing the ever-encouraging other parkrunners who’d passed us earlier. He finished. He finished strong. He was even almost happy…
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…but that was before early-onset teenagerhood kicked in again back at the cafe.

He was of course now too tired to speak. Too tired to talk. Too tired for a drink. Too tired to lift his head from the table…

…so naturally we played football for half an hour before his hour-long tennis coaching session…

…where incidentally, I massively pulled my calf muscle and still can’t walk properly. So much for warm-ups!

What’s next. Now that we are have running icons in the parkrun world we might just claim our free parkruns any Saturday morning when the mood takes us.

We will also claim our milestone T-shirts and if/when he wants to (and my calf has healed), this father/son combo will be back.

Gimmicks. Exercise. Motivation. Sticks. Carrots.

I used to think that if you needed a gimmick to get you exercising, then it was taking something away from the enjoyment of exercising for its own sake and you might as well not bother.
Apart from that, I thought, gimmicks were a waste of money. 

Quick image search for exercise gimmicks…

   
 

Sheesh! Yup. This is still the case, I’m sure, for a lot of things. But can they work too?

I barely use it much now, but I found the Wii-Fit was great for getting me (and particularly my son) active on a rainy day. And yes, all the arguments about getting outside, getting wet, getting fresh air, etc. are indeed very valid.  We both still enjoy getting outside of course, but occasionally it’s a laugh to see him attempt a rowing race (and in the process, do approximately 50 sit-ups whilst barely being aware of it).

Do you remember those bracelets, worn by sportspeople, that harnessed the magnetic powers of the atmospheric chi lines of powerful nature magic causing ions that flow around the chakra plexus? Well… clearly they didn’t work…

Trion:z bracelet link

Triniton (‘trying it on’) spoof version link

[Edit: oh my goodness! Even the original version reads like someone has written it as a spoof!]

But did they work? A placebo effect, for all of its placebo-ness, is still an effect, is it not?

Now I’ve been losing a bit of weight recently. Not tons (obviously) but enough to feel that at the start of a 5k run, I should, all other things being equal, be able to run faster for the same effort. Result was, I did. PB. Thank you very much.

But did I put the same effort in? Or did I just have a bit more belief in myself?

A few weeks later and I have purchased a cheap Garmin (with Heart Rate monitor strap) via a well known online auction site. I run a 5k again. I get another PB. Thank you very much.

Now clearly, a Garmin doesn’t make me run faster. Maybe, it was that I could leave my phone (and therefore my run app tracker doobrie-wotsit) at home, thus saving me from carrying an additional few grammes around the 3.1 mile route? Maybe it helped me stick to the required pace better? I think it’s probably this.

Another week, a bit more weight loss, a bit more belief, another PB, and before I know it, I’ve gone from struggling to break 23:00 minutes for a 5k to now be only eleven seconds away from a time beginning with 21:something.
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The same is often true of the weeks I run when I have bought a new pair of running shoes. They turn out to be PB weeks. Anyone else find this?

(Obviously you don’t necessarily know which week I’ve bought new running shoes. I was thinking more of you and when you have new shoes.)

I am still using my various running points accumulators too Bounts and Running Heroes . The same run, tracked via GPS app, gets me points for both of these. After approximately a year of use, I recently exchanged my Bounts points for £15 in gift cards. For runs I would have done anyway. Bonus.
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If you haven’t yet signed up to this and you already use a tracking app then you really are missing out on money for nothing. (P.S If you do sign up then using the code Avery1132 when you do will get us both additional points)

The points are also still building for Running Heroes too but the rewards aren’t so good, I find. However I have found the weekly challenges very motivating. They vary in difficulty/effort, but if you complete them, you get entered into prize draws for various goods. This has sometimes meant that I’ve been out for runs I might otherwise not have been motivated to do. I’ve still never won anything yet, mind you and I doubt either of these reward schemes would interest me if I had no interest in running in the first place.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I’ve barely run at all. Darker, colder nights and a chesty cold that’s been hanging around have resulted in just a half hour walk/run last weekend and a very leisurely parkrun with my son (which was great) the week before. The Garmin has sat on the sideboard, gradually running out of battery and the only points I’ve been accumulating have been of the sort counted by dieters. 

So what will get me back out there? I tell you what… It’s very unlikely to be a bracelet or a games console or a fetching silver space-sauna-suit, and it won’t be an app or a watch or the promise of points or a high-protein flapjack or beetroot juice or the lure of a sub 22:00 5k*.

(*mmmm….actually, if I’m honest, it might be that last one, at least in part.)

National running poetry day

Posted: October 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

Well… it was National Poetry Day yesterday, which is when I started writing this.

It does mention running at one point (so it does qualify here).

An Email came from school today…

An email came from school today,

That caused a bit of fuss.

It could be read a certain way,

I’ve summarised it, thus…

“Ask your child to bring to school

To put up on display,

Their favourite poem or one of yours ”

Well, bring it on! I say.

I’ll write the greatest piece of verse,

Or sonnet, ode or rhyme.

This is what I do for fun,

It’s how I waste my time.

My wife just smiled and looked at me…

…with love (…or could be pity),

For she knows I now won’t go to sleep,

’til I complete this ditty.

I get to work with dictionary/internet/thesaurus,

As I contemplate the structure,

Do I go with verse and chorus?

Are rhyming couplets cool?

(They are a useful tool)

Now how do you spell ‘limmerick’?

Should I go back to skool?

I toss and turn, try not to think,

How one bad line could spoil it.

It’s midnight now. I need a drink.

And then I’ll need the toilet.

Despite my doubts, it’s going well,

But I’ve not written quite enough.

It’s morning now. I’ve still not slept.

My word – I’m feeling rough!

“Some people have WAY too much time!”

My darling wife would say.

She’s right.

I might turn out the light.

I can’t! The night’s now day!

“You silly man!

They don’t want yours!”

(My wife thinks I’m a fool)

“A favourite poem’s what they want

 to put up on the wall…

E.g. the greats like Wordsworth, Plath,

Byron, Keats or Shelley,

Not yours, you just run, bike and swim,

And watch bad films on telly!”

“Oh!”  I sigh.

“I’ve done it now… I might just hand it in.”

It might go in the staffroom

(Or it might go in the bin).

Or be kept as an example,

Of how words can be misread,

And make a man a poet

When he should have slept instead!

I’ve finished now,

But please don’t think, great poems have to rhyme,

‘cos folks – they don’t, though up ’til now

This one has.

.

.

.

.

I tried a haiku,

But mine don’t always make sense.

E.g. suasages

Here is a picture of a boot…

  
(Well, my tag line isn’t “random thoughts and running shorts” for nothing, you know!)

There is a link, though. I gave blogging the boot after June. I kind of just stopped enjoying writing it. So I stopped.

The same was true with running, to be honest. I knew I wouldn’t stop for good, but it was good to have a break.

In hindsight, I could have turned the blog into an interesting, “how I found my mojo” story, but given that I didn’t know how long it would take, it could have got very boring indeed.

Certain stresses have come and gone, but some remain.  Most are self-imposed, hence leaving the blog dormant for a while.

I’ve been running when I feel like it. I’ve done the odd parkrun, played a fair amount of tennis, taken the kids out on bike rides.  

The mojo isn’t fully back. But I am running again, which is a start.

Here’s that picture of the boot again…

  You could say this is a re-boot. A small reboot, at least.

What is new since I last wrote? 

Well we now only have one rabbit since ‘Colin’ (classic rabbit name #1) was found as stiff as a board in his litter tray a few weeks ago. ‘Hoppity’ (classic rabbit name #2) seems to be coping well without him mind you, and my children have very much taken it in their stride too. I later overheard appropriate questions between them like, “do rabbits cry?” and, “I’m a bit sad Colin is dead, are you?” so at least they aren’t sociopaths.image

Child2 is now at school full-time, but at a different one to her brother, so I am ‘enjoying’ the logistical delights of school runs, pick-ups, after-school clubs, sports coaching, and general communications.

I have, as yet, failed to invent some new business and make my millions from home in the past couple of weeks…but equally, I have resisted spending millions to try to artificially fill the gap left by my children abandoning me during the day… so I reckon that evens out.

I had got a bit sloppy with my eating habits recently, as demonstrated by my complete inability to lose enough weight to reward myself with a half marathon entry recently. But I’ve made progress here too and have entered for a brilliant 20 miler (the Ashby20) in March next year.  That is the total extent of my race calendar for the future.

Oh, and off the back of an additional 3kg weight loss, I got a parkrun PB a couple of weeks ago 22:28 (which was probably due to the psychological boost of feeling lighter as much as the actual physiology – I nearly threw up on the finish line).

I’m not exactly wasting away yet, mind you so my longer runs still have the potential to be a fire hazard due to the amount of upper-thigh friction. Thankfully, the lovely people at Chaffree got in touch recently to say, “Hey Notmuchofarunner, do you still pose a risk to woodland areas when you do a trail run, due to the high probability of starting an illegal chub-rub fire? If so, would you like some more of our rather wonderful, seamless, anti-chafe merchandise? (Especially since you wrote that random lovely blog post about the last lot we sent you)”

…or something like that. 

Anyway, I said, “yes please, thank you very much”, and so I have some more most excellent running undercrackers. They are seriously brilliant for running in, but I’ll say no more now for fear of coming across as some kind of underwear fetishist. Read the link for more info (about ‘Chaffree’, not underwear fetishism).

I was even motivated enough to for a quick 5 miles in before breakfast this morning, though due to clicking the wrong button it got recorded as ‘5 miles of alpine skiing’ on Strava. Now edited.

That’ll do for now. Just to show intent. I’ve not given up. It’s just a run/walk, blog/don’t blog strategy.
image

Juneathon done.

Posted: June 30, 2015 in Juneathon, not running
Tags: ,

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.