Friday, 30 September 2011

Random Friday Facts

Whew. That time already? It only feels like last week I was doing this.

1: Today, I leave for Gatwick airport, and tomorrow, I fly to Vegas. Actually, if you read the post I just made, you'd know this. Sorry about that.

2: The day I got married, nearly four years ago, me and my wife-to-be did the Vegas half marathon. It was pretty bad; I had huge blisters on my insteps by eight miles, I still have no idea why. I ended up hurting my knee because the blisters made me run funny.

3: Elvis is in nearly all of our wedding photos.

4: In one, I'm looking down at my 10-year-old stepdaughter; now the roles are reversed, as she's 15 and 5' 10".

5: I always take my own toilet paper when travelling. You just never know. I learned this after several trips to eastern Europe.

6: I love Kiev. One of my favourite cities in Europe. If only it were not full of sex tourists, it would be even better.

7: Kiev has my favourite statue, excepting the war memorial we have here in Ludlow, which is a stunner. Kiev's is a bit bigger though - check it out here. It's worth a look, I promise!

8: It's really sunny outside. We're having a bit of a heatwave - temperatures of 24 C in late September is unheard of in the UK.

9: My dog is completely lovely, and I miss walking her terribly when I'm away.

10: I don;t yet have any US currency to take with me. Must sort that out.

11: Bugger, I still have shopping to do, too.

12: And work to finish. And yet here I am.

13: My favourite blonde joke: Blonde lady walks into a library, and says: "Excuse me, do you sell shoes?" Librarian replies: "This is a library..." Blonde whispers: "Sorry. Do you sell shoes?"

14: I have six books to take with me for the trip to Vegas, plus the latest Runner's World. And one more book to buy while in transit, the new Lee Child book which came out yesterday. I don;t even like those books, but they are perfect for reading while away.

15: One of the books is The Secret History, which I have been meaning to read for years, and has so far been to four countries with me, while still not being read.

16: Last night's dinner was pasta with a sauce made from tomatoes from mum's garden, bacone and onions.It was utterly fucking delicious.

17: I'm aiming to add at least 7,000 words to my novel while away. Discipline, dammit!

18: Every time I am in Vegas, I wish I could drive for a couple of hours to the mountains and go running there, instead. Maybe next year I'll have my licence and it will be possible.

19: I'm pretty sure I am not interesting enough to maintain RFFs. Still, it keeps me off the streets.

20: I didn't own a bicycle until I was 20.

Not injured!


Done two runs this week, only short ones, but I'm in absolutely no pain. Looks like that rest thing worked. Woo hoo!

Off to Vegas today, my least favourite place in the world to run. But luckily I'll still have the enthusiasm from not being injured to carry me through it. Yay! Mind you, I think it's something mental like 36 degrees Celsius. So I'll be out running early, with factor 50 on my thinning hair...

Friday, 23 September 2011

Random Friday Facts

Here we are again! Woo hoo!

1: I just - really, just - finished all my work for the day. I have three pages outstanding, but the content won't be with me until Sunday, so fuck that.

2: I'm off to Vegas for six days from a week tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it, but I do not know why.

3: I recently started taking Glucosamine, alongside the other crap I take. Multivitamin, iron + vit C, Zinc and peppermint oil.

4: My wife has cured herself! That woman is an absolute fucking LEGEND. SHE IS NO LONGER ILL. Wow. Life just changed hugely for us, in 24 hours, and all thanks to a self-diagnosis and a purchase of sea kelp and selenium.

5: I think I'm going to have a beer or two tonight. But not enough to stop number 6.

6: I'm going running in the morning, first for a week. But my ankle feels good, so I'm absolutely burning to get out there.

7: All the guys I am coaching to the London Marathon next year are faster than me. Older, smoked for longer, and every one is much quicker! For now, I shall cling on to the fact I can go a lot further than them. That won't last long though.

8: My facts never feel very random.

9: One of the things I miss about living in East Anglia is that I could always fins cheese Snaps there. You only get spicy tomato flavour this side of the country.

10: This morning, I met a couple from Lowestoft, in East Anglia. They were very nice and amazed that I knew their area; I've lived near-ish to there three times.

11: I used to move house on average once a year. It never stressed me out, though apparently it's a stressfult hing to do. But then, until I got married, I lived very light.

12: I didn't own a major appliance until I got together with my lovely wife. We went halves on a washing machine.

13: There is a bowl on my desk with yoghurt caked around it. I had Greek yoghurt with peach slices in for dessert today, after lunch, which was tomato soup.

14: My stepdaughter has tonsilitis. Today's the first day she's had any energy this week, and you know what that means… Housework! Just kidding.

15: When I'm working, I most like to listen to Flesh For Lulu, or Bach's cello concertos. Weird, but there you go. It works for me.

16: I don't know anyone else that likes Flesh For Lulu, but I think it's just because they haven't heard them.

17: Except Beccy, my bezzie mate from school. She loves a couple of their songs, but I think it's because they remind her of me.

18: I had a baby-filled day yesterday, all the more remarkable because I find them as interesting as cucumbers. I met my great niece, and my friend Jules also came round with her offspring.

19: I'm going downstairs any minute. Then I might go and buy beer; Aldi has a really good deal on Estrella.

20: I love Mexican and Spanish beers. They do it for me.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Random Friday Facts

Whew, I'm not sure I'm interesting enough to keep this thing going.

1: I love broad beans. I can eat some green things with no problems, just not leaves.

2: Last night I made my first-ever lasagne, including a bechamel sauce from scratch made with rice milk. The pasta sheets included spinach pasta, which appears to be fine for me to consume.

3: I don't have much hair. I discovered this thanks to a photo taken after last week's half marathon. I was wearing a stupid expression, but I'm not sure that really comes across. I'd post the picture, but then I'd have to kill  find you and hurt you  admit to being short and fat   explain why my shirt says 'Bonty' on it.

4: I have greying hair, getting greyer by the day. This is the coolest thing that has happened to my hair for a long time, and I'm loving it!

5: I'm off to Vegas in a couple of weeks for work. Gah and double gah. Possibly my least favourite place to run in the world; I'm looking forward to learning to drive so I can hire a car while I'm there next, and drive to the mountains to run there instead.

6: I accidentally caused a woman to fall right over yesterday. I threw a stick for SuperDog and her dog, on the lead after a long injury layoff, went for the stick too. She went down like a sack of spuds and ribbed me about it this morning, saying she could hardly move.

7: My lovely, talented wife has a job. I'll show you a picture of her, because she is simply gorgeous. She's here:

8: She also designs and makes one-off handbags and shoulder bags, as well as desiging and making wedding dresses and outfits. She's right clever, she is.

9: She also does all the DIY in the house. I am a DIY-retard.

10: At my heaviest, I weighed over 240lbs. It's probably the only time I have looked my weight.

11: Oh, go on then.
I'm currently around 210lbs.

12: I had terrible wind this morning.

13: I like Marmite on toast, but for some reason always like it more when someone else makes it.

14: My favourite superhero is Batman. That dude rocks.

15: I thought Frasier was going to be dreadful. How wrong was I?

16: I occasionally drop 'fisting' into polite conversation simply because it makes me laugh.

17: Not a fan of war.

18: Though I do like Bruce Springsteen.

19: I'm not very good at RFFs. But I will persist.

20: Before I got married, I had never lived with a girlfriend/wife. I'd never been with anyone I got on well enough with to want to spend that kind of time and space with them.

21: I really really like being married. Never thought I would write that sentence, though of course marriage is tough and has its ups and downs.

22: That bleedin' agent still hasn't read my book. Financial independence (after selling the movie rights) must wait.

23: I amazed my event co-organiser yesterday with the story about going to a tiny party in Detroit and seeing Eminem perform, and meeting Proof and Mekhi Phifer. I used it as an example of the kind of ridiculously cool things journalists get to do instead of having a real life. Now that I have experienced both sides of the coin, real life wins every time.

Enough of my burble. I think I'm supposed to be on deadline.

Unhappy Feet

I'm injured. Not in a big way - and the deadness in my leg has gone, thankfully - but the day after my half marathon my right foot started aching, down one side. It's hurt all week, and only after a bunch of anti-inflammatories last night has it becalmed.

My left foot has been aching too, in the big toe. Too much mileage (did 30 miles last week for the first time in six months) too quickly.

So, no running for me this week. Though I must say, if it improves again tomorrow, I shall test it out in the morning with a fruity little run, maybe a 5.5-miler. I've missed it. I've been pissed-up-drunk and had loads of late nights this week, which is bad bad bad. And actually, it's not that enjoyable. I've missed running, and it's missed me. So fingers crossed for tomorrow.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Race Review: Lake Vyrnwy Half Marathon 2011

Well, bearing in mind I overdid the training in the run-up to this (I went from about 16 miles a week, nice and lazy, to 30 in less than 3 weeks. D'oh) and had to go and see the doctor, this went incredibly well. Lake Vyrnwy is, as the name suggests, a lake, and the half marathon runs around the outside of the lake. not through the middle, none of that swimming shite. Round the outside. Like a Buffalo Girl, right? Right.

Anyway, we arrived - Lovely Wife, two friends who kindly drove - just 30 minutes before the start of the race, which was a bit of a worry. It all turned out okay though, and I made my way to the back of the pack just in time for the buzzer to start the race. It was a surprisingly deep field, and the race attracts a real variety of runners because it's kind of fast and flat. Well, flat-ish.

It took a few minutes to cross the start line, then we were off, moving up a hill. Which went on for a full mile. Then we crossed the lake (which is actually a reservoir, as the bit we crossed was a dam). From the start line, I overtook people and did not stop until the finish line. There were a lot of slower runners out, perhaps attracted by the easy and exceptionally picturesque course. It really is gorgeous - the road is lined with huge, old trees, the lake to your right, woods to the left… for 13 miles or so. I love that kind of path, but I must admit to struggling in the first few miles. My dead leg felt fine and was not yet dead at all, but I was heating up and as we all learned in London this year, hotness is the enemy. So at the second drinks station on six miles, I dumped a load of cold water over my head and suddenly, miraculously, I was feeling fine.

I cruised through the next miles, the road gently undulant and the course really rather lovely, with my brain firmly in the 'off' position. It's a no-iPods race, which is pretty unusual, though plenty of people had them on anyway. Gobshites.

At the next drinks station, 10 miles, I doused my head again and was feeling pretty good. Doesn't double figures always feel that way? Righteous, dawg!

Anyway, then we're on the way back, almost home, and I know Lovely Wife is there somewhere. She was waiting on the turn by the dam, with a big smile for me. The next stretch was all downhill, and I was halfway down when I realised this was the uphill we'd started on - and fuck me, it was incredibly steep. It hadn't seemed particularly so on the way up, but on the way down for a mile my quads were screaming. Even so, I let the brakes off and went for it, because I have absolutely massive quads and they're built for downhill. Ouch. Especially at the bottom, when I saw a small hill ahead which I really didn't remember, and I almost crawled up it.

Then I finished. The end.

Oh, the time was 2:12 on the clock, but it felt a lot faster; plus, I'm taking three minutes off that for the delay getting to the start!*

Things I noticed during the race:

• Nobody had a nice bum. Except me. Weird!

• I saw people running perhaps 11:30 minute miles who had bags on with multiple gels, and sports drinks. Seriously. I think these people would have put weight on during a half marathon. Incredible.

• You really couldn't see the lake. Trees in full, erm, leaf= no lake. My sister ran the course in April, and she said it's gorgeous when the leaves are down or just on their way back. In fact, hold the race a month later and you'd have the most gorgeous road race ever.

• I was disappointed with my time, but on the other hand, I was kinda injured. So really, not so much.

• My Lovely Wife noticed a change in my running style - she said: "You were leaning forward, I've never seen you do that before". A conscious effort to land mid- or fore-foot, and it worked. Rockin'

• I forgot to do a Random Friday Facts. Curse you, brain!

*My friend Angie started in the middle of the pack and her watch showed a two-minute difference to the race clock when she crossed the line, and I was waaaaaay behind her. But I'd feel bad if I claimed more than three minutes, as I can't do it with any accuracy. Three's fine, for a 2:09. Thirty seconds slower than my PB, which was pretty slow in the first place.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Doctor, doctor

...can't you see I'm burning burning... Whooooa Doctor Doctor, is this pain I'm feeeeelllliiinnnnggggg…

So, I went to the doctor this morning. About the dead leg thing. I explained what I thought caused it to the student doctor, he felt up my gorgeous legs for a while, then we went in to see the Real Doctor.

It's basically what I thought - ramped up the mileage too fast to do this half marathon (which I had no intention of doing, until the hospice rang and asked if I could fill a spot, and find two other mugs runners to do the same. I can still do the race but instead of topping out at 40 miles this week for possibly the first time ever, I'm going to end up at about 19 or 30, including the race. I can live with that - the injury is nothing, it's not even an injury, then I'll scale back the following week and start building again. Job done, nothing to worry about, nothing to see here.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Dead legs and training runs

The last few runs I've been on, I'd had a weird dead feeling in my lower left leg. No idea why, it just feels... Absent. It's disconcerting, and annoying. So this morning, on a run of unspecified length, I decided to focus on form and make sure I am moving the foot and ankle more, and it seemed to work. After perhaps four miles, my leg felt fine after an iffy start.

However, my right knee once again had a nagging pain across the front. That one does worry me a fair bit, not least because there's a half-marathon looming on Sunday; today's run came after three days of rest, so it's particularly annoying. Serves me right though, after I texted a friend and said 'My legs feel great, like they could do anything!'

Karma, thou art a great big bastardface.

In other news, myself and Mark the Neighbour went out and did three training runs last week, with three more planned for this week. Four-mile run/walks, gradually upping the time running and decreasing the rest periods. He's handling it fine, annoyingly well; Friday night I chatted to Jon and Fred, the other punk runners, and they were full of jokes and high jinks. Fred asked Mark how far the marathon was exactly, Mark told him 26.2 miles; "Fuck! I've been training for 26.4!"

Jon just says he's going there to win it.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Random Friday Facts

Here we are again.

1: I just saw a lovely old lady in the supermarket that I have known for years. She never recognises me - she's 95 now, after all - until I smile, then she says my name with a gasp. It's hilarious.

2: Today she asked me how come I haven't aged! She's known me since I was 16 and I'm 37 now, so I suspect I have aged a bit... Or I looked like shit as a teenager.

3: I smoked from the age of 17 to 30.

4: I was very, very good at smoking.

5: I have burned out through work twice. It sucks, but that is partly the nature of the job. Which I why I'm not that interested in it any more.

6: I have a lovely pair of Under Armour running gloves, with snot wipes on the thumb and pointy finger.

7: Oooooh, and the bestest running jacket EVER. Gore running jacket, and it's INFLATABLE. It's fucking excellent, fo shiz.

8: I have a plant called Terry.

9: I no longer watch football. I used to support Chelsea, until the last World Cup, when England were utterly appalling. As soon as the tournament ended, I took all my football shirts to the charity shop. Fuck them, they're all wankers, frankly.

10: If it ever turns out Usain Bolt is doping, I will be heartbroken.

11: I have the personal email addresses of several of my heroes. I have to be careful sometimes not to drunkmail them.

12: Best interview I ever did was Jerry Weintraub. That dude is a legend.

13: I like cake. Not all cake, but it's close.

14: I wear a Canadian dollar around my neck - it's the Terry Fox coin, and the gentleman on our market who cuts out coins and stuff cut around Terry and the trees on it for me. It's wicked.

15: I wear it every time I run - hell, I wear it almost every day. It's filthy. When I took it into a jeweller's to see if they could get it clean, the lady picked up the chain and said "Is this stainless steel?" "No, it's sterling silver." She was a little surprised.

16: I love people, right up until they start talking.

17: I need a new CD marker. Not for marking CDs though. I use one to cross out finished pages on my flatplan for work.

18: I have a DVD remote control on my desk. I'm not sure why.

19: Two of my favourite web sites are and

20: I just bought two Kings of Leon songs on iTunes; I'd not really heard them before. I love the song Fans.

21: A friend of mine is the Single of the Week on iTunes next week (might just be on the UK version). Her second album's about to come out and the reviews are basically saying it's a masterpiece, or fucking close to one. That's pretty cool. We have drifted apart a bit though in recent years. Still, I wish her all the luck in the world.

22: I can't sing for shit. I used to be in a band though, and I was the person at the microphone. Go figure.

Aaaaaaaaand that's a wrap. Have a great weekend!