Posts Tagged ‘Nottingham’

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 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.



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.


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…


“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.

I really am not much of a runner.

I can just about remember how I started really. Here’s the short version…

Stress relief during a student placent,     I believe. Keeping a friend company on her runs when she didn’t want to head out alone.

I don’t think it was the running that I enjoyed but more the sense of accomplishment after the run. I remember that I used to hate running at school (sometimes hiding by the bushes on lap 1 of cross country just to rejoin the group on lap 2), but as a university student, feeling a real buzz after the first time I ran for over an hour! 

Telling a friend about this while I was doing some youth work they pursuaded me to really challenge myself and enter the London marathon. I didn’t get in. But surprised at my disappointment at this, I entered again the following year and this time I was successful.

 It was the year 2000, my final year at university, and I had just turned 23.

I was possibly the fittest I had ever been and possibly the lightest (as an adult) …. oooo maybe with the exception of the gap year I spent in Zimbabwe when I pretty much only ate whatever the local farmers produced and lived in the mountains for eight months.

London in 2000 was the best marathon experience I’ve had. And it remains my fastest. I can’t actually find my official finish time, but the clock said 4:28 as I passed underneath and I know it took about 15 minutes from the gun to cross the start line (I can’t find the official online results anywhere now so if you know where I can find them, please do tell me). 

I had to get this out of storage to snap the photo


I’m not 23 anymore.

I’m not the lightest I have ever been as an adult.

I don’t live in the mountains.

And it just took me over twenty minutes to get out of bed because I happened to do a few sit ups the day before yesterday!

I completed the huddersfield marathon recently. It took me over five and a half hours but despite this, (and a significant amount of cramping) in the last few miles, I was happy with that because it really was a tough course and besides, I knew that a month earlier I had run twenty miles in 3 hours 5 mins on a reasonably undulating one in Ashby.  I know another six miles would have been tough but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have taken me more than 90 minutes would they?… Or would they?

You see, I don’t really know. But I’d like to.

Being sort of marathon-fit at the moment (minus the post-marathon beer-drinking, takeaway-munching slob-out) it ‘makes sense’ (if it ever makes sense) to run another marathon soon – if I’m going to at all.

Nottingham’s Robin Hood Marathon is in September. 

I’m tempted.

04:30:00 would be the target but I would REALLY need to shift some weight if I was to aim for that.

It’s expensive too I think, at £40 so I am saying now,  

“I will only enter if/when I lose 10kg” (So I’d be 82kg)”. 

Please, please ridicule me / call me out / shout at me if I tell you on here that I’ve done otherwise!!

If I’m honest, I would like to actually beat my first and best marathon time too… But this would be like racing against my 23 year-old injury-resistant and lighter self. Is that realistic?

Perhaps not. But I fancy giving it one (last) go.

1. Finishing










I have not given up… I’m using a run/walk strategy.

I have not given up… I’m using a run/walk strategy.

I have not given up… I’m using a run/walk strategy.

This could perhaps be my motto for life in general, but that’s another story for a different time and place.
It shall certainly however, be my mantra next week at the Nottingham Ikano Robin Hood Marathon on 29th September.

‘Mantra’ may be the wrong word. Explanation/excuse/reason/apology may be more appropriate. In fact, I may put it on the back of my shirt so I don’t feel the need to explain it to everyone who overtakes me.


I’m paranoid that people will ‘tut’ and shake their heads at me when I walk after only a mile. But this is exactly what I plan to do.

Today (Sunday 22nd) I ‘ran’ for 10.5 miles using a run/walk strategy of walking for a minute after completing each mile.
It seemed to work for me.
No aggravation of recent injuries.
All parts of my body appear to remain in their given locations.
I can still walk.
…and my overall pace worked out at only a little over 10 minute miles.
These things are all good, especially considering I felt I would have to withdraw just a little over a week ago!

If you are a regular running reader of this blog then ignore the next bit as you know doubt have your own charities you run for, or perhaps you don’t agree with sponsorship for stuff you do for ‘fun’ anyway (a position I quite genuinely understand). It is purely for the benefit of those I may have directed here personally.

I am doing this marathon anyway. I am doing it because I want to. I paid the entry fee myself, etc. But I was asked if there was a chance I might also raise a few pounds for a brilliant Nottingham charity that I supported last year doing the JOG/LE bike ride – the wonderful Rutland House School for Parents . I agreed, figuring if they can get a little something out of this venture too then all well and good, and there is nothing lost, if not.
So if you feel so inclined then here is the link…
JustGiving - Sponsor me now!
Or you can text ‘PINT55 £3’ to 70070 to buy me a virtual pint at the finish line, except with the money going to the charity. But I will have a real, actual pint and think of you as I drink it 🙂

In other news… Here is another one of those ‘guess the running injury’ pictures. This one is quite hard. It’s almost better to think of the running injury and see if you can fit it to my picture. Good Luck!


So there we have it. Not 100% fit but… I think… fit enough.
We’ll see.
I said I’d never do another marathon unless I weighed less than 13 stone.


I went on holiday last week. One of those ones where there’s lots of trees and countryside and sunshine and activities for the kids.
I had spent day one having a great game of tennis with NotMuchOfaSitStiller and getting lost on our bikes. I particularly enjoyed seeing his growing confidence on a bike that is actually the right size for him.
We even entered a family quiz in the evening and won £40!

Everything was going swimmingly.

Deciding to make the most of the lovely weather, I set my alarm for 6am with the intention of heading out on a long run first thing in the morning of day two… especially as that annoying left foot niggle I don’t mention was practically non-existant.

I ran.

For three hours.

Over sixteen miles, with a little break at a fresh fruit and veg shop in Edwinstowe for an apple and nectarine. Lovely.

I walked/ran the last couple of miles as I was slow anyway and my shin was feeling the effects of my non-runner’s frame.
I got back home. Tired but happy. Proud of myself for being bang on track for the Nottingham Robin Hood Marathon in 4 weeks…

…except….over the course of that day, my shin pain worsened, my ankle swelled and I could barely walk.

Initially it felt like my lower shin, but later, a sickening ‘crunching’ sensation was to be felt just above my ankle and I was not able to flex or extend my foot without major pain.

Ibuprofen is being taken for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I am snacking on paracetamol.

Google + self-diagnosis indicates ‘anterior tibialis tenosynovitis’ and a 4-6 week recovery period.

I’m not a happy chappy. I was so looking forward to using this holiday to be really active, to attempt a parkrun PB, and sleep well – none of which have happened.

Soooooo… I’m petty much tapering now and my next few updates before the marathon, if I do it, will be even more boring than this one.

Well it’s five o’clock on a Saturday morning. I’ve just been woken by my smallest child because not only has Teddy fallen out of bed, but Giraffe apparently sacrificed himself in an attempt to save her. This required immediate attention to rectify the situation and return all stuffed animal representations to the arms of their concerned owner before attempts at sleep could be resumed.


Dreams of being eaten by a shark while open water swimming have not helped me sleep, however… so here I am once again with a marathon training update (/countdown to disaster).

Last Monday, while at work, I had a ‘good idea’. This ‘good idea’ was to run into work one day. It would involve waking up early…and running (obviously)…but would allow for minimal disruption to others as they would remain in dreamland (hopefully without the company of sharks).
“Well there’s no time like the present!” I thought. Although, the fact that I was already at work, was somewhat limiting with regard to the execution of the plan. I therefore, on the spot, decided to run the 12/13 miles to work the next day, and in a rare moment of forethought, removed my current underwear and socks and deposited them in my locker*. I figured that this would be slightly preferable, upon my subsequent arrival at work, to the sweaty ones I would have been running in*.

I then travelled home by car, as usual but commando, as not usual* , went to tennis, ate, slept, etc. and rose the next day to a sunrise and the challenge of a half-marathon to work.

*(oh yes, this is such a classy blog!)


There is nothing quite like the threat of dismissal and colleague ridicule to help maintain a steady running pace and ensure timely arrival at work. I could have done without my usual pre-run faffing before leaving the house however, because delayed departure also meant increased stress on the run, when I realised that any injury or further delay would result in tardiness.

Two hours (and 12.2 miles) later, I arrived – with time for a shower – and felt fine for the working day, which passed without incident… until I thought about getting home.


I was a little concerned that if I did run home too, I’d not be able, psychologically, to ‘only’ have done 24.4 miles that day, and would have to force another 1.8 miles out to make it up to marathon distance (albeit a broken one).

I needn’t have worried. I only managed 7 mile before being collected en route home by my lovely wife… and I was not at all tempted to make it up to marathon distance.

A marathon is going to be hard. Proper hard. I think I may have forgotten just how proper hard running a marathon is.

DOMS set in for a couple of days and speed work has been sacrificed this past week. I would REALLY like to carry less unnecessary weight around a marathon route with me…and that side of things is not going brilliantly, I have to say.

Later this morning, I will be deliberately carrying excess weight, however as NotMuchOfaSitStiller and I will be doing a parkrun while I carry a nearly three year old – NotMuchOfaSleeper around on my shoulders with me.

Should be fun, right? :-/

Another good idea.

I have run past this bench at night….


I have run past it as the sun is going down…

…and this morning, I ran past it before most people were awake…

I have not yet sat in it.

But I will.

In about 10 weeks.

Once I have finished my training.

It will be like Rocky’s steps…

Like Daniel son’s ‘Crane kick’…

Like Tom Cruise’s ‘I want the truth’ ‘you can’t handle the truth’ court scene in ‘a few good men’.

Like that cute penguin doing his tappy-tap dance in that movie with the animated penguins that dance, well most of them sing, but he dances because he sounds like a strangled cat when he sings and because of that is excluded by most of the penguin community despite his clearly outstanding dancing talents which later prove instrumental in saving the entire penguin community!
(You don’t have to watch that one now.)

I have been good at doing my speed work.
I have been good at doing my hill sessions
I have been good at thinking clearly and sensibly about the food that passes my lips

I ran ten miles this morning before breakfast. The idea being that it MUST…MUST…SURELY burn some fat at least. I also figure it’s a good way to mimic the feeling of ‘the wall’ because I run out of energy really pretty quickly, relatively speaking. I was certainly a fair bit slower than I’d normally expect for this distance.

I even refrained from eating the entire contents of the fridge upon my return. Yes, I am taking this whole marathon thing THAT seriously.

So, no folks, I will not be sitting on that bench until I have earned the right to do so*.

*DISCLAIMER: I might, actually… if I get tired and stuff. I was just being all dramatic an’ that, really.

Training has got serious…

Stage 1 – Decide to actually do some running

Stage 2 – Drink beer while choosing training plan from internet

Stage 3 – Laminate the training plan

Stage 4 – Actually do some running


I reached stage 3 yesterday and I’m now well into stage 4. Stage 5 is “only eating one breakfast” and has served me well in the past… really ought to get back on board with that one.

So here we are. 12 weeks to go until the Nottingham Robin Hood Marathon and the first of what is to be a weekly training update. Note how I have titled it “1 of 12” to help me actually remember to write something each week and stay accountable to the bloggosphere.

Week 1 has been pretty successful so far, sticking well to the training plan… I’ve done the rest day, the gentle run day, the cross-training days and even the speed-work day. I still have the ‘long run’ day to go, but I’m fairly confident it will happen, although I do have a tennis match to fit in too.

My gym membership is (sort of) benefitting me even though I haven’t made extensive use of it. The lighter evenings have meant my children are not settling easily at the usual bedtime so it has been pushed back and this means if I was still paying for swimming I would have thought it wasn’t worth leaving after 9pm. This evening, however, I was happy to cycle to the leisure centre, swim 3 sets of 400m in the remaining half-hour available to me and cycle home.

Here’s a tip, by the way, for daily contact lens-wearing swimmers who think, like me, that it seems a bit of a waste putting them in just for an evening swim…well… just put one in. You can still see well enough to not to crash into other pool users but you double the lifespan of your contact lens collection. You’re welcome.

I got up at 6am on saturday 26th May 2012 and headed off to Holme Peerpoint… Home Pierpoint… Homie Priorpint… The National Water Sports Centre, Nottingham to allow plenty of time for set-up prior to the 9:00am Speedo Big Triathlon race start. I would do this again – I needed that time.
There are lots of things I would do again… if indeed ‘again’ happens… and there’s a few things I wouldn’t, too. These are helpfully detailed below…

I would have a quick nosey around the course so I knew exactly how sharp the bends are and how to quickly identify my transition spots.

I would ask lycra-clad expert-triathlete-looking bods stupid questions like how to attach a number to a number belt (I thought the strange elasticated toggles did something clever… But apparently not!)… “safety pins” was the succinct answer – good job I’d still brought some.

I would not only remember I had left my timing chip in the lockers with only 2 minutes before race start, necessitating a fast flip-flop flit to changing rooms to fetch it!

I would wear contact lenses again. I had big dilemmas as whether to do this or swim near blind or use leaky prescription goggles and use my normal glasses for the bike and run. So
I would use a £1.99 pair of Decathlon own-brand goggles (I’ve tried 5 pairs and these have been the best!). No water leakage, so contacts survived … and I could see things – bonus.

I would use lots of cheap boots own brand ‘personal lubricant’ to assist wetsuit donning and doffing (which, to clarify, does in fact mean ‘putting on’ and ‘taking off’ and is not illustrative of anything else) as the official wetsuit lube stuff is way overpriced… …I perhaps wouldn’t necessarily buy the own-brand equivalent of Durex ‘Tingle’ however – It may have been my imagination but… mmm… actually… hey, maybe I would use it again.

I would bring a brightly coloured beach towel, even if it does identify me as a newbie, as it also easily identified my bike’s location (can you tell which one’s mine?).


I would cycle in cleats again – I had contemplated using my strap pedals and cycling in my running shoes for quick transition but I’m sure I easily made up this time by riding more efficiently as a result of wearing the bike shoes.

I would still go sockless for a 5k run, but some serious upper toe rub on the run means much longer than that would really get pretty painful.

I would like to improve, but I’m still very happy with 1:23:something for my first tri.

Now to find another one to enter!

I would not however get my 6 year old (NotMuchOfaSitStiller) to take a photo of me after the event…

I still await the official, ridiculously-priced ones from the marathon-photo people.

The following link is not intended for my virtual running buddies (though I am already very grateful to a couple of very generous and lovely people) but it is more for work colleagues, family, friends, who I may direct here. I won’t pretend I didn’t enjoy today, but I still did it for a reason. Please check out why here.
Thanks 😀