I nearly ran a 5k last weekend with my son in a park near our old home.

It was part of the Decathlon running series. A free event put on by the sports store. If you have  a Decathlon near you, it is worth checking out. It’s not chip-timed or anything, but it was friendly and well organised and a very pleasant morning. It wasn’t quite 5k, hence the ‘nearly’ but more of that in a bit.

I might be NotMuchOfaRunner, but my son is even less of one, so when he agreed to do this one with me a few months back (swayed by the free t-shirt and goodie bag ‘worth £10’), I signed us both up straight away (there was persuading my wife or daughter though). He has been out on his bike a few times accompanying me on a run, but hasn’t run himself since May when he managed just under 30 mins for his school’s 5k.

Here’s a couple of photos of him doing his stuff during the race. None of me… but just imagine a slightly taller version with less hair and generally more tired-looking if you want an idea.

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He’s a funny one, my boy. I made sure he knew that it was fine to walk… that we weren’t going for a time… that it was a hilly course…etc. Basically  no pressure. But he wanted to get sub 30 and really beat himself up when he struggled to run up the hills or had to slow to walking pace. Thankfully, the end came in sight before I’d expected it and all of a sudden, his energy had returned as he pulled off a strong final straight into the finish.

Knowing the park quite well, I took him to an outdoor tap at the edge of the field and he soaked his head for five minutes afterwards to cool down. He was fine after that and didn’t again mention what a ‘terrible run’ it was (his unhelpful mantra for the last 2 kms).

It wasn’t just me who was surprised by the early finish. Here are a few of the titles from other people’s Strava runs that I saw later on.

“Shipley Park 5k (only 4.65k so I ran to end of field and back)”

“Decathlon 5k (that wasn’t quite 5k!!) Run with Jane”

“Decathlon nearly 5k”

“Decathlon short 5k series”

And my own, “Decathlon running series (?)5k(?)”

 

Ha ha. So don’t target this race if you are going for a legitimate PB… but for  our purposes of a ‘fun run’ it was very welcome! Don’t tell my son it was short, though!

We thanked the officials and headed off to the Decathlon store to collect our goodie bags…

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…Mmmmm…. NEARLY £10 maybe….Stretching it perhaps? Here it is…

Energy drink – £1.50
Bottle of water – £1

Energy bar – £1

(These are educated guesses, by the way)

Decathlon lanyard thing – £0.50 (not that I think I’d buy one for 50p but it makes the maths simple)

Fabric P.E bag advertising decathlon – £3 (pushing it)

Which means that sticker that says ‘run power’ is worth £3 ! Apparently. Who knew?!

Haha! I don’t mind really because…

1)It was a well organised event (though I did get an email a short while back telling me I’d been signed up for the Bolton event! …someone must have clicked ‘send to all’ by mistake).

2)It was free.

3)It was a lovely morning.

4)I was with my son.

5)It felt very inclusive.

6)We got a decent T-shirt each upon sign up (yes that bright yellow one!) but I won’t be able to wear it on a trip to my local Decathlon store for fear of being stopped to ask where the goggles/archery equipment/football shirts/bike locks/etc are…

Maybe that makes up the value of the goodie bag😉

No matter. The run was worth it (for me) even without a goodie bag because I was with my boy.

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I hope he forgets that he doesn’t like running very much quite soon, because I’d like to go out again.

Well just at the point I was considering giving up running, I get sent these from the lovely people at new balance… New Balance Vazee Coast

As you can see, they include a certain amount of ‘knitting’. The sort of main fabric they are made from… which looks great… but maybe that’s the point. They look and feel more like fashion trainers to me.  I have been for a short run in them (and I hope I don’t regret saying this) but I don’t particularly like them for running. I would run for the bus in them, sure, and if I was late getting my kids to school like this morning.

I still like them, I do. But more to go with my jeans than with my shorts, I think. On a night out maybe… if that ever happens again… but not to one of those places that says “No jeans. No trainers.” … obviously because they’d say, “Oi! No!  You’re  wearing jeans AND trainers” …and who could argue with that logic?!

As you may have noticed, the word ‘running’ has crept back into my blogging vocabulary.

🙂

It has… eventually… but not after getting worse first. I shall fill you in.

You see, in addition to the pulled hamstring in the dads’ race at sports day… I then, after eventual (well… partial) recovery, played a game of tennis and ( to give you the shortened version) I managed to pop my quad! Have I told you this before? * checks previous blog post* Nope, I haven’t. Well there was an audible ‘pop!’ and I couldn’t walk. It was shortly followed by a repeat of the hamstring pull and subsequent melancholy for a few weeks with me complaining of getting old and falling apart.

I resolved to ‘control what I could control’ and took to doing some weights and core work, together with taking some protein supplement (after many days of extensive internet research) to aid muscle recovery. It felt like it was working, albeit slowly.

A holiday to Wales came at the right time, and I was able to go out for a short morning run on most days, which I slowly lengthened….

…and…cue the photos…

And who could blame me for going out each day when this was the view in the morning… (filter included to help provide a sense of the feeling I got while looking out at it)…


I even managed Wepre parkrun on the journey there… Laps around a field it is not…


…and even the wetter weather closer to home hasn’t stopped me heading out…

 

Some of the recent weight gain has started to shift, and things are generally a bit more positive again. Though my ankle keeps reminding me I’m still not exactly the picture of prime physical perfection. Obviously… if it wasn’t for the ankle though… I’d be on the cover of a men’s fitness magazine😉

This Sunday will see me and my boy head out on a 5k run organised by the company ‘Decathlon’ as part of their free race series. I really don’t know what to expect. The free T-shirt and goodie bag got my son to say he wanted to do it… about 3 months ago. When I reminded him yesterday though, he didn’t seem so keen:-/

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Sooo…  there now follows very little at all about running. This is because I have done very little running at all.

Since that triathlon I did last month, I have run one less time than the number of EU referendums the UK has had.

Now I’m not sure if it’s the cause or the effect…  if it’s to do with the lack of running or the result of the referendum… but my motivation has been on a fairly low ebb recently.

My Garmin will tell you I have been running…but it’s lying.  I’ve been playing tennis while wearing it so I can see what distance I’ve been covering and still get ‘BOUNTS‘ points. (I’ve written about them before, I’ve effectively earned £15 so far this year for free, just doing the little bit of activity I already do. If you’re looking for a Bounts referral code, use avery1132 or just click the link for 100 free points when you do your first activity.)

Smallest child has taken up tennis (instead of dancing) which starts at 9am on a Saturday, so that’s parkrun off the agenda for the foreseeable future.  I don’t mind that.  Just glad that she is being active and enjoying it.  The biggest child has been doing a lot of tennis too (more about that later), and thankfully, the same sport has been keeping me active in this non-running month.

It’s weird that I enjoyed the triathlon so much, ran a great 5k time considering the swim and bike beforehand, and yet have done nothing to do with running since.  In part this may be due to the dodgy left ankle which seems to flare up after any exercise recently.  It may also just be a bit of the post-race blues that I often get.- does anyone else get that? Oh… and putting a bit of my recent weight loss back where it came from.  Here’s a picture of just how unmotivated I’ve been…. I have a brand spanking new pair of some of my favourite running shoes in the cupboard – unworn – tags still attatched… and they’ve been there for four weeks.  Even their presence can’t persuade me outside yet.

  
I have signed up to one of the free 5k decathlon race series in September and a local 10k in November/December (I can’t remember exactly), so I have something to work towards at some point at least…and a bit of work to do beforehand.

So I really have been ‘Not Much Of a Runner’ recently. My thoughts a few years ago of doing an Ironman before my 40th birthday will remain as just that – thoughts.  I did look into it, but the cost financially and physically have me beat(en) before I’ve started.  There’s a reason not many people do one.  Mine is not one of those inspirational ‘Can do’ blogs I’m afraid.  If you want one though, go and check out www.runslikeadog.wordpress.com and read about Cathy, who is two weeks away from doing her first Ironman .

 

It’s been all about the tennis for me and my boy. With the help of a little bit of luck, he was selected to go onto Centre Court at the Nottingham Women’s Open Tennis to go and toss the coin at the start of the quarter final match featuring the British player ‘Tara Moore’ (who lost incidentally) – obviously a highly specialised job that only a ten year old can do.

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Him doing that meant that my daughter, my wife, and I got free tickets for the day and we saw some great tennis.  I also got free tickets earlier in the week thanks to the tennis club I play for.  The following weeks thanks to another internet competition I’d entered, we got free tickets to the semi-finals of the challenger tour (kind of like the equivalent to the Championship as opposed to the Premiership – to use an English football comparison – and I won’t mention English football again).  This involved a lovely drive to Ilkley, Yorkshire and the prize also included a grass court coaching session on that morning.  I hat a bit of a hit too but pretty much left my son to it for a couple of hours before settling in to watch some more great tennis.

   
    
  

  

As a result of yet another competition, I then won free tickets to the men’s ATP event in Nottingham on the Monday (I had already taken the week off work) but anticipating it would be chucking it down, I cycled there and back home so at least I got some exercise despite only seeing 20 minutes of tennis before needing to collect the kids from school.

However I then got a message from the competition people saying that as it was such a washout on the Monday, and one of their other winners was unable to accept their free tickets for the Tuesday, would I like them.  Well yes I would indeed, I said. So I cycled again on the Tuesday and this time got a bit sunburnt.
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On the Wednesday, I actually already had paid-for tickets that I’d purchased months ago (see, I do actually contribute sometimes) and I cycled in once more, but this time I had a friend collecting the kids from school and I wouldn’t have to leave early and I could relax a bit.

  

 Logic would dictate that carrying a bottle of bubbly for over half an hour on the bike and then opening it would only have one result. Well it did… and the cork landed – as I was helpfully informed by the security personnel – on court number 3! oops.

No more free tickets since then.  I’m not going to Wimbledon this year.  Maybe my son will get good enough in about 15 years to qualify there and I’ll get my free tickets then.

 

I’ve been playing tennis as well, though –  I’ve bought a new racquet AND tennis shoes, and I’m  working my way through the rounds of my club’s own championship so will be playing in the semi-final soon… most likely to be against our club’s coach… mmmm… I know this is supposed to be a running blog, but I’ll let you know how much I lose by.

I don’t think I’ll be winning a trophy…
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June 2016

So my last blog post was a short introduction to how I intended to beat my younger self at this year’s triathlon

I suppose, to be honest, it wasn’t so much how as just that I had that idea. There was no plan as such. Just an intention to swim hard, bike hard and run hard and then generally hope that I’m fitter and harder than I was four years ago!

This is a short post. You know how I’m no good at long race reports. (I can actually hear your collective ‘phew!’)

The first thing to note is that I did fit into both my tri-suit and my wetsuit. Four years on from their last outing this was no mean feat… unless by ‘mean’ you actually just mean ‘average’ in which case, that’s exactly what it was. But I was s bit worried about that do it was indeed a good start.

SWIM (750m open water – 15:23)

The timing of the swim start had been changed due to a course change upon the discovery of some blue-green algae in the lake. They needn’t have bothered as I am colour-blind anyway and besides, the water was so murky you couldn’t tell what anything was.

I swam the swim ok, but my snug wetsuit seemed to make lifting my arms out of the water really hard. I would also get stupidly dizzy and need a few strokes of breaststroke just to stop the world spinning. I alternated between this and front crawl until the exit gantry, where I then proceeded to try and remove my rubber onesie while trying not to fall over! Proper dizzy!

I later found out my son, watching, was saying, “What is he doing?” Upon viewing my antics.

BIKE… (20k – 36:53)

“…Eventually!” – my son.

This felt straight-forward… with a few corners thrown in. Four laps of not crashing. 20km.

I was never going to be super fast on the bike but I overtook a few people and was overtaken by a few different people… though I consoled myself with the fact that most of these were not in fact ‘cycling’ so much as ‘piloting futuristic looking spacecraft’. I’m sure I would have overtaken myself if I was piloting futuristic looking spacecraft too!

I did one of those clever, off the pedal – straight into running with the bike -dismount thingies, but I think I was going a little faster than I thought because my legs had to work like billy-o to prevent immediate face-planting embarrassment.

RUN  (5k – 22:51)

This must weirdly have had it’s benefits though as I settled into a steady running pace that I thought I could sustain for the next 5k and a glance at my Garmin told me this was 7:45/mile . Pleasantly surprised with that so I stuck with it.

I slowly picked off a few runners and didn’t get caught by anyone (that I remember) which felt good (obviously anyone faster than me at running was also faster than me at swimming and/or cycling).

I still had enough energy for a strong finish in just over 1 hour 18 minutes – just over five minutes faster than my time in 2012🙂

  
If I continue at this rate of improvement I shall be winning this event by the time I am 55 years old! 

Many thanks to the family for cheering on the chubby bloke in a leotard, and to the marshals – who incidentally were lovely to me (the friendly, law-abiding triathlete novice) but who had to deal with a few trumped-up numpties, I heard.

It is now June… Which in the past has meant JUNEATHON which has meant daily blogging. I can’t see that happening…but maybe a few more regular ones this month.

…T’was the day* before the triathlon…

 

…and all through the house,

there is a strange creature,

trying  hard not to grouse,

as he tries yet again to squeeze into a suit

that is made of a rubber as tough as a boot.

No suppleness,

no stretch,

little movement at all…

…I refer to the man – the daft ageing fool!

He thinks he’s still twenty (and of course he is NOT)

he’s in fact almost twice that and his body is shot

But despite his worn-out-ness he quite wants to show

that he could beat his time from four years ago:

Open water swim – 16:24

then add a transition (a huge 2 minutes more!)

Then a 20k bike – 40:01

then 1:18 transition to head onto the run…

…which was then  5k  – a PB in that year

at  23:46 … but he still hopes he’ll get near

to that total of 1 hour 23:28

he might get caught out with that time as the bait.

So I wonder, do you think he’ll improve? Will he worsen?

Will he ever stop referring to himself in third person**?

 

**Well… yes I will.  I just did. There you go.

I’ll keep you updated

 (*in fact two days to go)

   

( Photos from 2012 )

Read the original blog post here

Part 1 – packages

Spoiler: This post contains a full frontal photo of me in a rubber suit with my package clearly visible.

At the end of this month, I shall be racing a triathlon for the fist time in a long time. So long has it been, that on Wednesday last week, I thought it prudent to check that my triathlon suit has not drastically shrunk during its time in my drawer.

It has. A little. But I was able to squeeze myself in. Just. I hope it returns to its normal size in the next few weeks!

It has been even longer (about 3 years?) since I wore my open-water swimming wetsuit. I thought I’d perhaps try that on too. This took longer. It even required a break part way through – to cut my nails for fear of tearing the rubber in my efforts to wrench the obviously aged and stiffened material further on to my muscular, svelte frame. I can’t believe this suit has shrunk as much as it has!

After the leg/bum/tum workout that was the application of the lower half, I crouch down and manage to get one arm in, using the ‘slowly standing straight’ method of pulling the remainder of the wetsuit into approximate position. 

I figure, as long as I don’t need to breathe at all during the swim section of the triathlon, I shall be fine. 

Using a combination of yoga poses, near dislocation, and the sheer determination that only wetsuit wearers possess, I managed to actually put both arms in AND zip the zipper all the way up!

Yeah baby!

Woo hoo!

*Dingggg Dongggg* 

What??!

*Dingggg Dongggg*

!

An actual ding-dong. A someone-at-the-door ding-dong. A day before son’s birthday, might be a parcel, best not ignore it, sort of ding-dong.

I have no choice. I go and answer it. I try in vain to explain exactly why I’m wearing an overly tight-fitting rubber suit on one of the hottest days of the year so far as I collect the package – clearly seen in the photo below (I knew instantly that this would be a blog post  – and one that would require a photo with a caption!).image

I have decided that every day, between now and May 28th, I shall put on the tri-suit/wetsuit combo as a method of training. It ticks all the boxes:

Strength
Endurance
Flexibility

…and it’s quite motivational!:-/

Part 2 – pants

I was recently offered some more Chaffree underwear for free – I declined.

I have written before about Chaffree underwear. They asked me to. They sent me some free to try. I like them – a lot. If I didn’t, I would say. They work – if they didn’t, I would say.

Question – So why did I decline some free ones?

Answer – Because they’re worth buying! So I bought them.

In the interests of transparency, I have to declare at this point that having bought myself a further two pairs, Amanda, the Chaffree boss-lady, sent me an extra pair anyway.

So if you’re reading this and your thighs don’t chafe, then fine. No problem. Keep doing what you’re doing. It works…

… but if you do… seriously consider giving these a go. I wasn’t asked to write this. I want to. Because I love you. 

Not entirely true. 

I don’t reallyknow who you are. You could be anybody. I might know you. I might have met you. I might even love you, I suppose. Mum and dad occasionally read this blog. Hi Mum. Hi Dad. I love them. The rest of you… well… You’re lovely too I’m sure… But  the point is I did just want to write this as I wouldn’t want any of you to suffer unnecessarily with the pain that comes with chafing, especially when (but not limited to) running.

If you’re a blogger/runner/professional-underwear-reviewer then find them on Twitter (@chaffree) and get in touch with Amanda, as I know she’s always on the lookout for bloggers who write betterer than wot I do an’ that.

Part 3 – PBs

It’s been a little while since I got a 5k PB [ ‘personal best’ that is – for the benefit of my aging parents…and American people😉 ]. Not since my little PB streak inspired by a new Garmin and a bit of weight loss before Christmas. But a couple of weeks ago, my son’s school hosted their annual 5k charity race and we both got PBs. He broke his by 4 minutes(!) to go sub-30 with 29:20, and I took about 30 seconds of mine to go sub-22  for the first time ever with a 21:45.

—————————————–

In case you were wondering… that package in the wetsuit photo…it was some new running shorts that I won through completing a challenge with ‘Running Heroes (if you sign up, use referral code 6w7m for extra points!). It wasn’t a present for my son. I could have hidden and not answered the door and it wouldn’t have mattered.

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.
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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.