Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Miss me? I very much doubt it.

I did exercise yesterday (day 5). 2 hours of tennis.

 In the rain.

This is as close to proof as you’re going to get…

One very wet hoodie.

It was to take my mind off my tooth. It worked…briefly…But then I barely slept last night and I ate nothing all day today (until this evening – now regretting it)

Hmmm… Just kinda looks like a regular mugshot, but I assure you, me left jaw feels like I’ve been punched. Hard. And then I’ve been forced to eat a golf ball… made of cotton wool.

No exercise today. 



Sleep needed. 

Tooth out tomorrow methinks. 😦


Wasp attack? 

…Well… Not quite.

 I just wore my Garmin (GPS tracker – for the benefit of my parents) while I played tennis today and here’s the Strava screenshot…

A tennis match on Strava always looks like a wasp attack.  I covered 4.5 miles during the course today’s game.

Incidentally, I might have played better if I had actually been attacked by a wasp during the match, but I won’t go into that now. Suffice to say – it wasn’t the best. Roll on the day that my pesky tennis elbow pain is gone!
I might actually go for a run tomorrow.

Last night, my family and I stayed over at my parents’ house. They moved recently… not exactly ‘near’ us, but certainly nearer than Devon was. I miss taking moderately regular holidays in Devon now, but it is greatly outweighed buy how much more frequent our visits are when the journey is only 1.5 hours instead of 4.5!

I woke in the early hours (about 04:15) for some reason and still had my Bluetooth headphones awkwardly wrapped around my face somehow. In my attempts to remove them, I must have somehow pushed the secret combination of buttons activating the mysterious secret code and initiating those horrible words that I then heard in my ear… 


What?! No. No no no no noooo…

04:15 a.m. 

Like… In the morning?

Where’s my phone gone?!

Who did I call last?!

Thankfully (sort of) the last person I called was ‘My Mother and Father’ [so listed in my phone in order that when using voice dial I don’t say “call mum” and then have to choose between Amy’s mum, Callum’s mum, Harry’s mum, Matilda’s mum, George’s mum, Lewis’s mum, Bobby’s mum, Georgia’s mum, Robyn’s mum, etc …you get the picture]. I had called them the evening before to say I’d turned off the A1 and would be another 20 minutes.

Anyway…back to the moderately amusing anecdote… 

Well, I jumped up from my makeshift bed on the floor of the living room (the new house is a little smaller than the old one – I’d not just had a family argument or anything) and the speed at which I did so, looking for the glow of my phone,  is worthy of a Juneathon activity in itself. 

It was like a burpee on steroids. 

I eventually spotted my phone only after the house phone started ringing at that special volume that is reserved only for unwanted noises in the wee small hours of the night/morning … and I managed to turn it off within 3 seconds….But those 3 seconds felt, and sounded, like 3 minutes.

I thought I’d got away with it as I didn’t hear anyone else get up… but later in the morning, I was informed that this wasn’t actually the case. Oops.


Moving on… 

Come 06:30 a.m. and the boy wakes up wanting  play football! 

So naturally, we headed out for an hour to the local park to kick the ball around.

 ‘Official’ Juneathon activity done.


Other activities today included a reasonably long walk around a sculpture park, chasing my kids around the water-play area at Burghley House, and rolling down slight hills.


It’s June.

Which means it’s Juneathon. A month of activity/exercise and blogging. You know…that thing where you start of saying that you’re going to be all fitness and health for a month and then manage a week if you’re lucky, before then either slinking away hoping nobody notices, or proudly announcing your failings to the blogging world, amid encouragement from all the other slackers to eat all the biscuits/cake etc.

I’ve not blogged for ages. A lot has happened. 
Unfortunately one of those things has been me getting older, which results in a number of things, 

1) I’m slowing down.

2) Bits of my body are failing me.

4) I can’t remember all the other things that have happened.

3) I get a bit muddled.

I recently turned 40. I didn’t have a big do. 

I thought about inviting all my friends round but they don’t really know each other so I figured I’d visit them both individually at a later date.

Instead, I took a couple of days off work in April and as my wife and kids had different Easter holidays to each other, after seeing the kids off to school we headed up into the Peak District. 

We enjoyed some lovely views and a glass of celebratory bubbles at Froggat Edge…

…and stayed over in some “accommodation” nearby…

…which, despite the completely inappropriate use of punctuation, was actually really nice. I woke up the next morning while it was still dark and treated myself to a little run along the edge, snapping few nice pictures along the way…

It was a nice birthday trip away. 

Plus we saw some cool cows we weren’t expecting. (That’s a sentence that can surely only be expressed by someone aged 40+ , right?)


Physically, little runs are all I seem to be able to manage at present and have been for quite some time now. 5k …maybe 10k at a push. I can do these without too much agro. But anything more and my left achilles gives me jip. It’s just letting me know it’s there, mostly just whispering, but if I start getting cocky and try to run further/faster, it shouts at me.

To combat the reduced running (and associated weight management problems I then experienced) I’d been going to the gym a bit more instead, and was enjoying this – a regular circuit of free weights, skipping and stretches (yes….stretches…I know…get me). This was going well, until a slight niggle in my right arm became more than that. 

Long story short – it’s tennis elbow. I didn’t realise it could be this painful. I genuinely thought I’d somehow broken something. 

And now, about 4 months after I first noticed something, I can wake in the early hours and be unable to straighten my arm.

 It will go… eventually… apparently… I’m told. But it may be months….it could be a couple of years… But the gym circuit has now been cut from my routine too.

There have of course been subsequent weight management issues associated with this.


Those of you who have read my previous postings may know that I’m quite ‘All Or Nothing’ when it comes to my health. If I’m being fit and active, I’m often also eating well. As I’ve not been very fit and active, my nutritional intake has also been less than perfect. 

Now as confused as I get with what my idea of ‘perfect’ is anyway… High fat/low fat, carbs good/bad, etc (and at this point I want to say, please don’t try to advise me, you will only seek to confuse me further!), what I do know is that eating the amount I have been as often as I have been, has not been great for me. 

The subsequent weight management issues associated with this no doubt aggravate my achilles issue, affect my motivation, etc, etc. So I need to do something.


I still manage to enjoy the odd game of tennis. I gave this a rest for a while to see if it helped the elbow. 

It didn’t. 
And I’m not giving it up indefinitely so I’ve decided it’s a case of taking a few painkillers before a match, gritting my teeth and getting on with it!

My boy, who’s eleven (funny name for a boy, I know) and I are playing in a league match together as partners this Saturday. I’ll let you know how we do.


I’m not (always) daft. It’s not like I’m going to go mad and try and do 100 press ups, 100 sit ups, 100 lunges and run 10km every day or anything*…

*…I …errr… I… I  did that a couple of weeks ago…. For one day… And then couldn’t get out of bed the next morning… So that’s not a good idea people. I have done this so you don’t have to.

 Today, I have started gently. Some stretches. A few sit ups. Let’s not go mad. I’m determined too teach my daughter, who’s six (funny name for a girl, I know), to ride her bike this half-term holiday. I shall be doing that later today, too.

So there’s my update. My first Juneathon post in a long while.

 It will be all or nothing, I’m sure. Either the full month of activity and blogging or a miserable fail followed by blogging silence. 

And let’s face it, I’ve already got my excuses in.

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.