Hmmm… Instead of having a beer and writing a blog post, I had a beer and listed my mum’s old boots on eBay…but somewhere along the line, I forgot I wasn’t writing one of my daft blog posts. 

Bold prediction, but I don’t think they’ll sell.

   
   
Full ‘Unusual Running Shoes’ listing >>>HERE<<< if you want to read more.

……………………

Edit (20/04/16) as that link won’t be indefinitely active, here’s the full description…

Unusual running shoes! 

Mum and Dad have moved house (you didn’t need to know that) and I’m helping them clear stuff out. These were my mum’s. I suppose, on second thoughts, they could have been Dad’s …mmm… But no… Pretty sure his feet were bigger. These are a UK size 7 (eu 40).

These boots were in the pile labelled “If I wore them anywhere, I’d do myself an injury”. So here we are. I remember her wearing these when I was little. I probably wore them myself when I was little too. She had these really hard wooden clogs too…I definitely wore thembut they were really painful (you didn’t need to know that either).

I definitely don’t fit them now! I just tried. See photo. 

(Before you ask… No, I’m not a model.)

Back to these beauties – what more can I tell you?

– Made in Italy 

– Approximately elbow height, see photo (my hand fits in them, my foot doesn’t) but that isn’t helpful to you unless you already know the vital statistics of my arm… I’ll measure them properly in a bit. (Edit … They are 41cm high. 4cm heel)

-Soft leather

-Pretty good condition for age (like my mum). Please see photos and ‘condition’ info. I haven’t included photos of my mum for comparison. She is not for sale. I’m keeping her. The boots make a rubbish lasagne.

What else?…

Colour ?… Goodness knows! I’m colour blind, me….Could be anything. I want to say ‘Tan’ but that depends how long you’re out in the sun for and what factor cream you use, I guess. We’ll go for ‘light brown’ I think. I could say ‘neon pink’ here because, let’s face it, you’re just going to look at the pictures anyway to find out (unless you just want to see my elbow I suppose). Right. I’ve just listed them as being ‘pink’ … But they aren’t. Please don’t buy them and then claim they aren’t as described! Do people do that? I bet they do. Sod it. I’m just going to go the whole hog and list them as ‘unusual running shoes’. I mean, people bought ‘Vibrams’ and ‘Hoka One Ones’ after all. It could bring these boots to a new audience. Hello runner-type people if you’ve clicked on this listing out of morbid curiosity.

Heels – yes. Two. One small one on the bottom of each boot (towards the back).

Spiders – none. I’ve checked. Three times. And no elephants either (they’ve been scared off by the mice).

Mice – none. That was just a joke.

Smell – just a little bit like my folks’ house (which incidentally was smoke and pet free) – absolutely no ‘essence of foot’ from what I can detect. A bit leathery, though, which being leather is probably to be expected.

Brand – if the cow that kindly donated their hide for the purposes of covering my mum’s feet (and ankles/shins/calves) was branded at one time, it can no longer be seen now. It may have been a very posh cow or just a common heifer. I do not know.

Summary

Light brown women’s size 7 (UK) knee-high boots. Good, used condition.

Despite any silliness these boots are genuinely for sale (although I may have had a beer at the point of listing them). Please look at the photos and only bid of you are serious about buying them. 

If I wanted maximum coverage, I probably shouldn’t have listed them under ‘sporting goods’ to be honest but I’m pretty sure there is a record for running a marathon in high heels so, well, you never know.

If you have any serious questions (about the shoes that is – I’m no philosopher) I’ll be happy to answer them.

Thank you:-)

……………………….

In other news:

My folks moved house… so that’s another two (at least) parkruns that might be accessible during visits.

…IMPORTANT UPDATE…
Someone has only gone and bought them! She said she was going to an 80s party but I think she’s actually a cross-country runner and was fed up with getting muddy legs.

Well that was an eventful weekend.

Warning: This is a long(ish) one.

I will get on to the review part of this post in just a second so please don’t get put off by the next paragraph – it’s not as depressing at it may at first sound. 

(I’ll include side headings in this post so you can skip to the bits you came here for if you like. I won’t take offence)

PERSONAL

So, a little personal news.  I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my Grandmother (‘Granny’ to me) had had a stroke.  Up until that point she was living independently at her own home at the age of 92. She recovered partially from that stroke and she was able to see and talk to my dad and his brothers over the next few days… but while still in hospital she suffered another stroke and never regained consciousness, dying on Saturday morning. We will all miss her and her random Christmas presents (though, I have to admit they were actually disappointingly very appropriate just recently) but we are grateful for her full and active life.  

She didn’t even read my blog while she was here so I’m doubtful she’ll see this next bit now… but… ‘Goodbye Granny’.

TENNIS 

At the point I heard the news, I was dropping child 1 (aged 9) at his 10:00am tennis coaching. I parked up at the club and then helped out there for a couple of hours. I then was due to play in a match an hour later so after a quick lunch, I then served at my child for half an hour while he attempted to return them.

The mixed doubles match I was in started at 1pm and all seemed to be going well. Child 1 was in the clubhouse listening to the football match on the radio and… …and then I noticed play had stopped on the adjacent court. One of our men had got injured two games in and couldn’t continue. As it was so early in the match, our opponents graciously allowed a substitution to take place. Step up Child 1.

So after two hours of coaching that morning he then very much steps up to the mark and plays the ten remaining games of the first match… then 12 games in the second match and a further 12 in the third – helping his partner to win just enough games for our club to win overall. Nice one, son.

ASHBY 20 (pre-race)

So although nearly 5 hours of tennis is not normal preparation the day before a 20 mile road race, there was a part of me that was happy not to expect too much of myself at this event. I would try to run the whole way round, take it slow from the start, NOT run a half marathon PB by over five minutes and then slow massively in the final few miles (like last year!); I would enjoy it. Secretly, I would have loved a time below 3 hours but I accepted that this was unlikely as it would mean averaging 9 minute miles for the whole 20, and it’s officially ‘undulating’. Anything around 3:10:00 and I’d be happy.

My hard-working wife had decided to come along with with the kids too so they would drop me at race HQ and then camp out on the course somewhere to offer support…

NEW BALANCE LITE PACKABLE 

  
This was THE perfect jacket for the start line today. There was no rain but it was cold and it kept the wind chill right off while doing that thing where you hang around and decide whether you can really be bothered enough to queue for the portaloos. A much more stylish alternative to the 1980s Karate Kid bad man look courtesy of an adapted bin bag…
  
  
  
I wore it for the first 4 miles, packed it into its own pocket and carried it for the next two and then chucked it at my family when I passed them at mile 6. It was so light though that it flew over their heads and onto a random person’s drive. Sorry about that, random person. In a moment of instant payback though, I wasn’t looking where I was going and ran straight into a traffic cone. The pain in my toe thankfully only lasted for about a mile.

Now I think I’ve said, I like the jacket. It’s proper light, so portable and so functional BUT  there’s this thing…

…the zip.

 It works and everything…very smooth…well made, etc…

…but it’s on the wrong side isn’t it?

My other jackets…

   
    
   

…always with the moveable zippy bit on the left (as I look at it when wearing).

Then there’s the New Balance Lite Packable… zipper on the right.

  
This should not be a tricky thing for a moderately intelligent human being, you would think. But can my brain get around this?… no. It’s like one of those trick bikes that steers the wrong way at a fair. Have you seen them? No matter. They exist, and it’s like that. My brain just cannot do the switch. It has been the undoing of me…. or not, as the case may be.

Just thought – Do women’s jackets zip the other way? This is officially a men’s one… 

 
…see.

So there you go, anyway…

Summary = Great jacket. Weird brain-boggling zip.

Disclaimer: This is not the most important thing in the world.

ASHBY 20 REVIEW (cntd)

I’ve done plenty of 6 mile runs recently and some of them at faster than 9 minute miles so keeping this going to mile 10 seemed straight-forward.
When I got to half-marathon distance at just under the 2-hour mark, I partly thought, “Well done. That’s sticking to the pacing plan.” And another part of me thought, “mmm… I was here last year about 8 minutes earlier and still finished the whole race at 3 hours 4 mins”.

The plan then became to try and keep steady pace until mile 17 and then do maths.

At mile 17 I did maths. All I needed to do was a parkrun distance in 26 mins to break the 3-hour mark. This might be tough, but do-able!

Then something strange happened.

Something that has never happened before towards the end of a race.

I started overtaking people instead of getting overtaken.

That was a weird feeling.

My breathing got a bit strained and loud but I kept going to the end where I could see my lovely family waiting and cheering me on.
There was a little sprint finish which resulted in me just nipping over the line with 18 seconds to spare! I could have taken it easy! (I could have looked a darn sight better in the race-photos too – shocking!)

I even got a £5 spot prize when I picked up my goody bag, just like last year. And just like last year it went straight to the Rainbows charity pot at the cricket pavilion area where I received a decent sports massage.

I didn’t even get cramp. That’s a first too! I think I’m a fan of this pacing lark.
image

image

My heart looks like it enjoyed it.

Many thanks to the organisers, volunteers, locals, supporters and other runners for making this an absolutely cracking event. It’s a perfect spring marathon build-up event…But I’m not doing a marathon this year, so I can also say it’s just a brilliant event in its own right. And instead of a medal at the end (which doesn’t keep you warm) you get a hoodie (which does).

  

This weekend it is the Ashby20 – a twenty mile road race against a Gorilla.

I’m not quite sure what the whole gorilla thing is about to be honest. I guess it’s just a little side show.

 

The Ashby20 – Because nobody lokes the last 6 miles of a marathon, anyway.

 
I did this race last year in preparation for my Huddersfield marathon because it too has a few hills. I can’t remember much about it actually – MY REVIEW IS LINKED HERE – so I might read it again myself before the weekend. Or I could just read part 2 of this post (but that’s some kind of weird existential stuff going on there as I won’t have written it until after I’ve done it). 

Mmmm… Now I have just read the initial review and I don’t think I’m in anywhere near the same kind of shape. Sunday could be interesting:-/

I would probably be even more interesting if I was playing in a competitive tennis match on Saturaday – tomorrow – the day before this twenty miler.

So… tomorrow, Saturday, the day before the Ashby20 I shall be playing in a competitive tennis match – approximately three hours in a league match at my local club:-/

This could have a couple of unexpected (though because I am identifying them, they are possibly a little bit expected) advantages:

1) I won’t set off like a mad thing like I normally do at the beginning of races.

2) I’ll have a fairly reasonable pre-prepared excuse for when it all goes a bit belly-up! Yay – that’s what it’s all about folks – “Go hard…or at least have a reasonable excuse lined up“.

Because of this hightened level of physical activity this weekend I’ve been eating super-healthily   ‘carb loading’ (and we all know that that basically means beer and doughnuts).  Sunday really could be very interesting.

It’s not that I haven’t done any training for this, by the way. I ran a lot of miles last week, I’ll have you know. I seemed to do a lot of 6 to 10 mile runs as part of a challenge to win a swanky new running watch. I completed the challenge but didn’t win the watch. 

My disappointment at this was lifted slightly when the lovely people behind the PR for New Balance sent me a snazzy Lite Packable Jacket to try. 

   
Here is the official New Balance link to the Lite Packable Jacket.

Now at no point does it explain why the word ‘lite‘ is used in place of ‘light‘ because it is proper light.

It has been constructed by sewing together the wings of ten thousand butterflies using the thread of a silkworm…and it weighs about the same… 99 grammes by my reckoning.

 That’s less the weight of the flour required by Delia Smith to make 2 large pancakes before even adding the milk and egg.  That’s right – I eat pancakes even after pancake day!

Not only that, it also folds neatly into itself so that you can have that special ‘crumpled’ look when you eventually want to wear it again… 

 
Seriously though, this is so packable and so light that I wouldn’t think twice about taking it with me on a long run and tucking it into a running belt.  It will definitely be coming with me to the Ashby20 on Sunday and while everyone else is there keeping warm at the start line in their black bin-liners with holes cut out for the head and neck like some kind of evil 1980s karate henchman, I shall be ready to strut my stuff on the catwalk of running style with my Lite (light) Packable offering. Oh yes.

Have a good weekend folks. I’ll (eventually) get round to part 2 some time soon after.

Just a little detour from the path of running for a moment.  Normal service will resume shortly.

 There now follows some numbers and a possible description of each… Number 4 is just unbelievable!*

.
.
.
1.      Brilliant 
2.      Amazing
3.      Surprising
4.      Just unbelievable*
5.      Totally unexpected 
6.      Frankly a bit ordinary
7.      Mind boggling 
8.      Apocalyptic
9.      Post-apocalyptic 
10.     Decent

*told you. 

The ups and downs

Posted: February 27, 2016 in running
Tags: , , , ,

Sorry. Not Sorry…

…I took a whole load of other beach pics while on holiday in Norfolk last week which I shall now bore you with briefly and then I would like to tell you about Child 1’s dramatic tennis tournament victory and Child 2’s first junior parkrun.

But first those pics…

   
   
Hey, it isn’t just all sunrises, you know! Oh no, no, not at all… there were sunsets too… 

  
  

…but, mostly, to be honest, it was indeed frosty, sandy beaches and sunrises/nuclear explosions in the distance while I ran serenely by (after setting the camera on timer and sprinting away like Billy-o first)

    

 

Moving on from the beach… I said I’d like to tell you about my son’s tennis victories… well I would like to…but I can’t… because unforunately he lost three of his four games and was a bit disappointed in himself, bless him. To be honest, he wasn’t playing his best at all so the results were fair, but I’ll tell you what else, he lost far better than I have seen him lose before. Even when he lost agsinst a lad half his size (after being a set to the good up and having three match points in the second) he shook the lad’s hand and gave him an Andy Murray style bloke-hug as they walked off court. He saved the tears for us later.

Child 2 was all up for completing a junior parkrun while we were away so, having been organised for once in my life and having registered and pre-printed her barcode before we left home, we headed to Norwich.

She was excited.
Too excited.
Is it possible for a five year old to be too excited?
Yes it is.
She was too excited.

By the time the 2km junior parkrun started, she and her brother had probably run that distance already, chasing each other around the courtyard! Child 1 for some reason did not want to run the parkrun, though (probably because he was tired out!) so became 50% of the family cheering squad.

We ran. We walked. We ran. We talked. We saw a volunteer and sprinted. We stopped. We walked. We saw mummy. We ran. We walked… you get the idea… and we finished! Yay!

And she is instantly a ‘proper runner’ too because when mummy asked her if she wanted to do another, she replied, “Never again!”:-/ …but we all know what that means, don’t we, folks?

  
In other news…

My parents currently live in Devon, but not for long. They have been trying for a while to sell up, downsize, and move to be a little closer to me (Nottinghamish), my brother (Cambridgeish), and our families. They’ve recently had an offer and all parties want it to happen within a month!

I love visiting Devon and the house is the one I literally grew up in. I’m not sure that I’m ‘grown up’, however but nonetheless I have very fond memories of my childhood there and I will be sad to leave it now (even though I left it really when I went to University). Any sadness is outweighed by the fact that we will see far more of my parents, who will be less than two hours drive away rather than over four hours currently.

I have come to help mum and dad sort stuff out, break stuff up, take stuff to the tip/dump this weekend which has also been good because on the way I’ve been able to visit an old school friend and his newly born child, and it also means I can run the killer – Parke parkrun (which will clearly be very muddy and I’ll never make it up that steep first hill if I don’t right away buy some decent new trail shoes immediately, right guys?!*).

It’s also good to be here with my folks because my dad’s mother, a thoroughly independant, self-sufficient 90+ year old, had a stroke a few days ago. It is serious and will be life-changing but she seems to be out of immediate danger. Family are really supportive and are taking it in turns to be a physical presence with her. My Granny is an amazingly strong woman and we’ll have to see how that impacts on her recovery over the coming weeks/months.

So without the excuse of visiting my parents here, this might be my last Devon trip for a while😦

To make the most of it, I got up early yesterday and went for a 5 mile run up another huge hill (there are lots of those in Devon!) to this forest…

  

So… yeah… it’s all quite up and down at the moment.

I have the literal trail shoes
(* yes, I did need to right away buy some decent new trail shoes immediately )…

Let’s hope I have the metaphorical ones too.

  

The main (and most important) reason  for not doing the Marathon des Sables is that I don’t think I can pronounce it properly. The potential embarrassment of this is paralysing.

A secondary (and less significant)  reason is that it looks really hard and I’m nowhere near fit enough. This is a minor detail, however.

Also… I’m not keen on running on sand.

I like the idea of running on sand, just not the actual doing of it.  This would hold me back somewhat, I do believe.

Furthermore… sunsets and sunrises – I’m a total sucker for them. And in deserts apparently, they are particularly brilliant. So I would end up stopping every five seconds to take a photo and I’d miss the cut-offs as a result.

  
So there you go. All things considered, I think it probably best, on balance, that I do not enter ‘the toughest footrace on earth‘ or however they like to refer to it.

It has taken me many years of running to reach this conclusion but it was this morning’s run along a Norfolk beach that cemented it in my mind. I’m away for a few days holiday on the east coast (well, about three miles in from the coast) and with the Ashby 20 coming up next month, I figured I really ought to get a few miles in my legs. Now we all know that running on the beach (along with running in the rain/ running in the morning/ running in the dark/ running while listening to ‘Eye of the Tiger’, ‘the Trap’, ‘Chariots of Fire’) instantly makes you hardcore and therefore doubles the training effect*… so I marked out a little route, charged my Garmin and set out my running gear the night before (I can be organised on rare occasions). 

*science

I woke before the sun did the next day and I ended up running for 7 or 8 miles. On the journey I …

  • Got totally splattered with mud while running a very dark bridleway.
  • Reached the beach before sunrise.
  • Chased, caught and disposed of some random balloons blowing around on the beach.
  • Got a massive nosebleed for no reason!
  • Scared a few dog-walkers (due to the nose bleed) who must have thought, “why is it always us that meet the early morning psychos?!”.
  • Took far too many pictures…     

    I really must work on my selfie-taking technique

     

  

  • Actually realised I had a nose bleed and realised why I was getting those funny looks!
  • Noticed my Garmin was actually set to ‘ride’ instead of ‘run’ for the duration – doh!
  • Saw some interesting graffiti…  

Close up…?… 

 

  • Generally enjoyed a very pleasant morning run 😊

In other news: My daughter ran her first junior parkrun the other day (this deserves its own blog post another time).

My dad has recovered from his ‘episode’ AND look to be moving closer to us soon.

That wetsuit I optimistically brought with me looks like it might stay dry… 

 
Looks a bit rough to me…

…and worse in black&white… 

 

    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.