Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Last night I was awoken at 01:00 a.m. by a pretty girl tickling my feet.

It was my 6 year old daughter. She had a sore throat and a temperature, and couldn’t swallow very well, she told me. 

Somehow tickling my feet at 01:00 a.m. helped. 

A similar thing happened at 02:00 a.m. And then… by 05:00 a.m. she had returned but had resorted to just sleeping at my feet… The smell must have soothed her off into a land of slumber.

I didn’t get back to sleep so I feel shattered this evening and all plans of a run tonight have vanished.

Without wanting this to sound all ‘new year’s resolutiony’… I neeeeeed to get back into some sort of fitness again soon. I’ll be forty this year and whilst I do not believe this is ‘over the hill’ it certainly feels like a pretty reasonably sized undulation which I have perhaps enjoyed freewheeling down for a bit :-/

The vicious circle of ankle (including occasional Achilles) pain, reduced distance running, reduced enjoyment, comfort eating, weight gain, and increased ankle pain…. is a harder one to break than I thought.

I had been doing sone gym work to keep active but although I feel stronger, it has done nothing for my size, my ankle pain, or my running generally.

I had thought that 2017 might be the year I challenge my 21 year old self to a marathon race. My first marathon was completed in 2000 at that age and I have never run one faster since. That kind of bugged me. Bugs me. 

I ran a 10k in November at a reasonable (for me) pace but haven’t been for a ‘long run’ in ages now. I don’t think I would enjoy it. My ankle certainly wouldn’t. 

In a desperate attempt at a final fling, I might buy a buy a new pair of running shoes. But I’m still caught in that vicious circle and I’m not entirely sure how to break out of it.

So many confusing and conflicting ideas regarding what constitutes a healthy diet at the moment… I don’t know the ‘right’ answer (please don’t tell me either), but whatever that ‘right’ answer is, I know that it is not – eating an entire bag of midget gems found in the glove compartment of the car on the way home from work. Now I’m a (sort of) intelligent chap… I KNOW categorically that the answer is not that!

I’m not going to beat myself up here too much… But I do want to take stock, check where I am now, and move on. This is not good health-wise. Not mentally. Not physically. Something’s gotta give and I don’t want it to be my sanity, my ankle or any other body part (and there are plenty queuing up).

So I found >>this old blog post from 2013<< in which I tried to do similar and took a few measurements. I’ve summarised the main differences below but I went about it in 2013 in a much more fun way.

This is from 2013: (and 31/12/2016 updates in bold.)

Height: 5′ 10″ (178cm)      STILL 5′ 10″

Weight: 93kg (205 lb)         NOW 98kg

Thighs: R= 63cm L= 63cm NOW both 64cm

Biceps: R= 38cm NOW 39.5cm  L= 36cm NOW 38cm

Waist: 97cm.           NOW 102cm

Chest: 112cm.            STILL 112cm

Muffin top: 104cm.    NOW 107cm

(Muffin top = that bit above the waist where all the fat is squeezed to and due to its ageing inelasticity just sort of stays there, unaffected by gravity, like some cheap memory foam).

I’ll attempt at least a monthly update here. For my own benefit really. Maybe for the next 6 months. It’d be great to see things change and who knows, now I’ve put it out there, it might. I usually need a goal to motivate me but I don’t fancy wasting a race entry fee when there is a distinct possibly of a DNS . But even with a goal, things don’t just change on their own, I know.

I thought I’d finish with good news/ bad news…

Good news:  my wife, who really dislikes running (she doesn’t dislike me running, or running generally, she  just dislikes her running) got herself a barcode. Yes, a parkrun barcode. I genuinely never thought I’d see that happen. She fully intended to walk/jog around the 5k with younger daughter while I ran the route with older son.

Bad news: rather disappointingly, daughter (who was very excited about going at first) informed her legs were going to fall off after less than 1k and wife decided it would e too draining to try to persuade a small child who clearly decided she didn’t want to be there around the remaining 4k*. They would then have waited at the finish and watched son and I complete the parkrun, except he had decided his legs were going to fall off before we got to the 2k marker and I was in no mood to persuade a pre-teen around who had clearly decided he didn’t want to be there either. We went home early, having previously gone for longer walks to buy a pint of milk and today forfeiting our plans for a celebratory post-run bacon cob and cake.

I’m trying to think positive. Everyone now has a barcode…We could just turn up whenever (on a Saturday at 9am ) now, right?. But…I feel most disappointed for my wife really. She had been the one to suggest it, which I never thought would happen. And I know she would have felt a sense of achievement. But I can’t see her wanting to get up early on a Saturday again now, to travel for half an hour and then potentially not complete it again. Not for a while anyway.

*incidentally the whole family walked 8.5 miles around Carsington reservoir a few days later.

Skip this post

Posted: December 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

The other day  I went to the gym.

I did some skipping.

The chaps nearby stopped lifting weights…and started doing hopscotch.


Marginal gains

Posted: October 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

I haven’t done a parkrun for ages but today, the new, lightweight me got a run out.

Yes. Lightweight to the tune of one tooth abscess AND said tooth. Removed yesterday, solely in preparation for parkrun of course.
It  was quite a big tooth.

Marginal gains people!

Unfortunately such gains, it appears, were offset by the reduced aerodynamics of my stupid fat face (that looks like I’ve been chewing a wasp).
All in all, it seems that in terms of speed there was actually a net gain of two minutes!
By ‘gain’ I obviously mean ‘more’. 

A 5k run taking me close 24 mins instead of close to 22. Nothing to do with not running a parkrun for a few months. Nothing at all.
Remember folks – I am a scientist (I got ‘A’ at double-science GCSE you know) and carry out these experiments so you don’t have to.

Which reminds me, I’ll have to repeat the post-party experiment again soon.

I wouldn’t recommend the abscess thing though. Even with such a small sample size, on balance I’d say it’s not really worth it.

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.


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.

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.

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. 

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.

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


Posted: June 27, 2015 in Juneathon, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,










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

I was actually out of bed and everything!…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tomorrow’s breakfast

“You cannot be serious!”

… this is an accusation levelled at me often…

– sometimes by my son, who is doing his impression of John McEnroe.

– sometimes by my wife who just wants to have a sensible conversation about something.

…and now also by myself, as you may remember a while back I stated I would like to target a sub 04:30:00 time at the Nottingham Marathon in September 2015 (but I would not even enter it unless I lost some serious weight – 10kg was what I quoted, I think).

I’m beginning to think that I’m not really serious about it and I don’t really want to do it after all.

Well I like to think that I do.

But maybe what I don’t know is that actually really I don’t. I just think that I like to think that I do.

Maybe I’m not really serious about it at all and I just like the idea of it.

What has led me to this conclusion? Well… 

…maybe the fact that I weigh more  now than I did when I promised myself I’d shift 10kg (I’m currently 95kg, 2kg heavier).

…maybe it’s that I couldn’t be bothered to head out the door at 6am on Sunday morning which I knew would be my only opportunity for a long run this past week.

…maybe it’s that I’ve just eaten two choc-ices.

…most likely it’s the interrelation of all of the above.

I didn’t run yesterday.

Hard-working wife continues to work hard and so I took the kids to the swimming pool in the afternoon to give her some space. It wasn’t really hard work. I feel a cheat counting it as exercise. But I’m going to anyway.

Two for one

Posted: June 5, 2015 in Juneathon, running, Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Yesterday (Thursday 4th June) for Juneathon, I played tennis and I swam.
Not at the same time.
That would have been interesting.
But no.

I hit a ball up and down a court for a couple of hours, and later, I swam repeatedly up and down a pool for half an hour.

There is no more to say.

It is what it is. It doesn’t even deserve its own blog post.

But today (Friday 5th June) I decided that if I’m going to actually have a decent go at another marathon, I’d best get back into the long-run mentality. As I knew this was unlikely over this forthcoming weekend of tennis activities with my son, today was my best bet.

Unfortunately I had not eaten breakfast this morning, but no matter, I had recently got quite used to long runs on an empty stomach – convincing myself I was training my body to burn fat and not rely on carbohydrate stores.  I hadn’t run long since my marathon in mid-April. But seriously how much fitness can you lose in 6 weeks?

Quite a lot, it would seem. 

Having intended to run a half marathon this morning, I stopped on the return leg at 10.9 miles, not even rounding up that last bit – figuring that walking the remaining 2.3 miles home in a dazed state was preferable to attempting to crawl 2.2 miles after regaining consciousness. 

I had done too much for where I’m at fitness-wise at the moment. It was hot. I was sweating buckets. It felt like I’d had a couple of pints (that bit was strangely quite nice). 

I was ok really and appreciated the lovely day, the lovely scenery, the family of swans having their swimming lessons… 

…but walking was definitely the right thing to do. I live to run another day.