Tag Archives: park run

Explore your nether regions

I wanted to write something snappy and witty but instead opted for the drudgery of mediocre boredom – shit, did I just say that ?  Well, one more week in the South of France and then we depart for Mallorca.  Not a moment too soon if you ask me, 6 months in France is enough for anyone.  John Thaw may have managed a ‘Year in Provence’ but he was a highly paid TV actor. The reality is it is all too fashionably anal for me.

Last weekend I managed to disappoint myself.  A parkrun with the aim of setting a new PB but missing it by 10 seconds.  That is harsh, I can remember a couple of occasions when my concentration slipped.  When that happens, you slow down.  I reckon I would have had it if I kept my concentration – maybe next time?

Also gave the mountain bike some love this last week.  Overdue some head bearings, pedal bearings, bottom bracket, front brake pads and new handlebar grips – they were all pretty worn out.  I also fitted a damn fine second-hand back tyre that I sponged off of The Yates who was upgrading so I am on a flying machine again.  I am going to try to squeeze a 44T on the front again though – that 42 just doesn’t unleash my legs.

3 months until the Great North 10k – and I am fully intending to set a new record there.  For those of you with Runkeeper, you will be able to track me again in real-time as I race against those Gurkhas one more time.  My last run, I managed to catch and pass two of them even though they had a 3 minute head start – I was impressed with that even if you weren’t.

But for now I have nothing more to say.

 

Gunk my old friend – we will meet again.


What – no Top Gear ?

Just settling down for a sunday evening in front of the TV, Sunday 8pm, BBC2 Top Gear – but not tonight.  Seems that Jezza has overstepped the mark.  Poor old fella!  Personally, I think he could be a huge premadonna so I can believe all that I am hearing. I do predict that tomorrow though – the news will be full of stories about Mr Clarkson NOT renewing his contract with the beeb.  To really push the boat out, I reckon Hammond and May will stay on and Top Gear will continue with a similar format.  It does get a bit boring watching them smoking tyres out on dream cars, with the predictable punch lines and especially when they ask the audience if they want to see the lap in the  ‘star in a reasonably priced car’ segment – of course they do………..time for a change I think.  Tonight I am sampling a new program called ‘Off their Rockers’.

More toilet talk – I picked up a pack of Belgium’s finest bog roll the other week, all different designs.  One that took my fancy straight away was a roll with a drawing of a pile of poo on alternate sheets (almost mis-spelled that ), underneath the cartoon pile was the word ‘Happens’.  I kinda liked that – ‘Shit Happens’  quite apt for a toilet roll.  Then I noticed another roll had a cartoon face of a Lion (or Cat – I couldn’t tell which) with the words in Portuguese underneath that translated to ‘ Very Nice to see You’.  I thought that was a bit weird, dragging that across your butt hole but then this week I noticed the best yet.  Pictures of hands making shapes that signified letters of the alphabet – I assumed they were sign language but thankfully, under each drawing of a hand was the letter being signed.  I pulled a few sheets off the roll to reveal the full phrase, I-L-O-V-E-Y-O-U  drag that across ring piece of your nearest and dearest to show how much you care.

So recently I have been to-ing and fro-ing from Brussels a lot – late night drives to avoid traffic congestion. Traffic just does my head in and if you plan badly you get traffic on the M25 and also on the RO (the Brussels M25 equivalent) at the other end. Usually this means a 10pm ferry, arriving in Dunkirk at 1am local time followed by a two-hour spurt into Brussels.  The other night I got into some morbid thinking about death on the long run into the ring from Dunkirk.  To perk myself up I started flicking through my iTunes playlist until I found something I really liked.  I found the mighty Biffy Clyro & 27. Singing my heart out I was fully prepared to play it again if it finished before I made it to the house but there was an ace in the pack, a very big ace.

As I approached Stockel Square, Biffy faded out and was replaced by Robbie feckin Williams with ‘Angels’.  It was 3am and I was definitely going to be at the house before this song had finished so I dropped both front windows on the car, pumped up the volume and started singing at the top of my voice.  I had time in hand, that was clear, so I circled the market square 3 times that morning – singing my bollocks off in the most out of tune manner you have ever heard in your life.  Think about the worst karaoke you ever heard – that was me.  It was like holding both middle fingers up to those boring french speaking fuckers of Belgium. IT FELT GOOD!! I hope I woke all of them up.

Friday saw the final chapter in Belgium close as we handed back the house there. I will miss having such a huge forest right on my doorstep but new chapters beckon, new adventures are always just around the corner.  Tonight I went for a run taking in a little amount of road before heading into the fields, aiming for the canal towpath somewhere between Kilsby and Barby.  I did finally make the towpath as the light was fading fast.  I missed a turn halfway down a field and added a good half kilometer to my distance.  My OS maps app didn’t work so I had no choice but to back track and find where I had gone wrong.  Eventually on the tow path, the inevitable happened – I needed a dump !  Now, the non runners amongst you will never understand the link between running and dumping but please be assured there is a legitimate link – I certainly do not have a fetish for dropping a steaming coiler out in the nature – sometimes it just can’t be avoided.  Thankfully this time, I had a packet of Handy Andy’s with me so my underwear and hat were safe.

Staying with running – I did manage a new personal best at Saturday’s Parkrun in Coventry’s War Memorial Park.  I ran my lungs out to take over 45 seconds out of my best time.  I was more than a little miffed though – on the last half of the second lap, two other runners that I correctly guessed were in my age group overtook me.  This is a problem for two reasons.  Firstly, anyone that is older than me or younger than me that is in front of me, is a target. I just can’t be beaten by anyone close by that is older or younger (yes I know that is everyone) but could I catch and pass them before the finish line ? Could I bollocks !  The second reason for this being a problem for me was that as they overtook me – they were having a conversation FFS!  If that is not adding insult to injury, I don’t know what is.  I do wonder though – if they applied my theory of ‘if you have enough air left to talk, you ain’t running hard enough’ – just how fast a time could they make ?  Anyway – I managed a respectable 77th place out of a field of 504 runners but I did get beaten by two chicks, and when I say beaten – I mean given a jolly good arse kicking !

But I keep trying – remember, there are two Great North Runs on my agenda this year.

Next week I return to St Maarten in the Caribbean before setting sail on yet another transatlantic crossing for Mallorca.  Transatlantic crossings are very boring. 16 days or so with not a great deal to do although I always say it’s better to have a boring 16 days than 16 days of fighting for your life.

 


Where the f**k have I been ?

Do you really care?  The important thing is that I am back now.  A long stint in the Americas saw my interest in life itself dwindling beyond belief as the country sucked my will to live right out of me.  However, since the 9th December, I have been safely tucked up in the eurozone and slowly re-charging my life batteries to a point now that I feel it is safe to write again.  I was also slightly reminded that I hadn’t written for a while by Word Press themselves when they sent me an email telling me about the stats for the year.  Now that I have a world audience, I can plan my attack for world domination but until such time, let me bring you up to speed.

Yesterday, I went for a run in the forest up the road – you may have heard me talk about this many times before but for me, it is a giant adventure playground.  In the winter, all the leaves are gone and yesterday the ground was covered in snow so visibility in the forest was spectacular.  Add to that the fact that I was running in a high viz jacket and you might begin to understand my dilema of needing a dump at about 2/3 distance – no way of making it home, no bushes to hide behind, quite a few people around and me wearing a bright fecking yellow jacket – but I had no choice, no chance of making it home so I chose a tree and let it all go.

I also had a ride at Cannock Chase just before Christmas with Rue.  Steve couldn’t make it so it looked like we had a chance of putting a good time in.  I even made a video of one of the better downhill sections but it turned out shit so I didn’t add it to the archives.

My iPhone 4s shat the bed late in November and left me with a dilema all of its own.  The back up phone I had, a standard iPhone 4 was sold to me by the shop as an unlocked phone but it turned out it was locked so that was of little use.  The choice was stark and simple, the 4s was now no longer supported by Apple so it was time to go iPhone 5 or iPhone 6.  If you know about these phones, the problem was, the charger socket and SIM card size, both the 5 and the 6 sport lightening sockets and nano sims so a full change was on the cards whichever way I went.  Thinking that if I took the latest phone, it would be a while before that phone became redundant like the outgoing 4s had now become.  I bought the smaller of the two units BUT it is still too big.  Clumsy to hold, doesn’t fit in my running bum bag as easily and a bastard to navigate with just one hand.  Steve Jobs was 100% spot on when he said that nobody wants a phone that they can’t hold and operate with just one hand. I remember fondly the time when Apple products were wanted because they were leading edge, not because they had a big screen.

The new mountain bike is slowly being bedded in – one trip in the forest and another around Cannock Chase means that I am slowly getting used to it.  Running is slowing down a bit though, all due to the hilly terrain I am using instead of the monotony of flat Florida.  I also managed to run my best Parkrun ever !!!!  Leamington Spa on Saturday 13th December, I chopped a massive 57 seconds off my previous personal best, giving me  22:19 – not only that but I also had my best position finish, 45th out of 241 runners, 7th in my age group (that’ll be the Veterans by the way), not one female finished in front of me and I also increased my age grading to 63.55% so a productive outing after all – it will be a tough one to beat but there is more time in there – next target is under 22:00

I have a confirmed place for the Great North Run 10k and also entered the draw for the Great North Run Half Marathon the following weekend, that should be confirmed within a week so the North of England could be graced with my handsome charms in the summer – I may even venture across to the lake district for the week in between with my mountain bike, or attempt a cross country hike across Hadrians wall or a long run along Offa’s Dyke.  Scotland also wouldn’t be too far away at that point either.

Now, for those of you that didn’t receive my Happy New Year message, firstly let me wish it to you now but also explain what went wrong with the iPhone 6.  I wrote my text message and added the 32 recipients I wanted to send it to.  I pushed send and 7 of you got it, 25 of you didn’t.  I couldn’t get it to send the next day either, completely locked up, so I send my appologies.  I think for next year, I will also revert to sending Christmas cards again.  I had two this year that found me, one from Connor and one from Ralph.  It did kind of make me smile so if at some point between now and christmas, I ask for your address, please don’t panic, this is why.  I did stop sending cards years ago because I thought it was a huge waste of paper but now, I have changed my mind.

That will do for now, it’s almost time for a trott in the forest. I am wondering though – where the hell is Verity McCoy ?


Two Months Off

Before I do anything else, I want you to click on the link below and watch the news story – you will need sound too.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26030919

What an amazing guy – maybe one day I will do something as amazing as that, although I better hurry up –  I ‘aint getting any younger.

So work has finished for the next two months, that’s not too shabby!  I start the holiday season with a quick trip to England before jetting off to Egypt  for 3 weeks.  Tricky this one, I am making a back up plan of escape from the country in case of all out civil war.  I reckon I need a code word for my Uncle so that he can steal a plane, fly it to Egypt and extract me, all under the cover of darkness of course – similar to the German kid that landed a plane in Red Square way back in 1987.  Wouldn’t that be exciting!!  As he is turning the plane at the end of the runway with the door open, I can run along side, throw in my bags, jump in and close the door while shouting ‘go go go ‘.  Then while buckling myself in, in true Roger Murtaugh style I can mumble ‘ I’m too old for this shit’.

Much to the missus’s disgust, I have eaten a couple of kilo’s of chocolate since I got back, all washed down with a couple of bottles of Belgian beer or the odd glass of red wine.  The upshot of that is, since getting here last Friday, I have dropped half a kilo in weight – ah, the irony of weight loss !  There are many women out there what wish a diet of beer, wine and chocolate was for them.

This saturday will be a new chapter in the history of personal endurance.  Myself and Rupert (AKA Poopie Pants) are heading back to the Coventry Park Run.  I will be aiming for a new PB and will accept nothing less.  Rupert, I am sure, will not be far behind.  The real ace in the pack is that I managed to talk both ‘better halves’ into it too.  I even tried to get Older Sister (due to seniority she has been promoted from Big Sis, to Older Sister out of respect) to attend but injury will keep her away – I guess you get more delicate as you get older, the closer to 50 means the longer for injuries to heal, then of course, there is the fact that you are generally more fragile anyway.

I expect some backlash from that – much the same as I got when I told you about the mystery shoe thief that broke into the house and took one pair of ladies shoes and nothing else. I would like to say I have learned my lessons but that is highly unlikely, especially when I am gifted fresh ammunition on a daily basis.

For those of you with RunKeeper, you can now track me live and see where I am (handy if you want to rob me) how fast I am going and most importantly if I lay dead somewhere – you can find me.  I had to pay for that upgrade so I would appreciate if someone would use it.  You will also be able to track me in Egypt should I need to covertly escape – please keep that to yourself though, I wouldn’t want the authorities to track me too.  It could also come in handy should I get lost.  Yesterday I was in the forest deep in thought while running.  As I came out of the thought, a bit like an out of body experience, I looked at the track ahead of me and thought – ‘where the fuck am I ?’.  For a brief moment, I had no clue where I was, or even which country I was in.  To make it worse, I was approaching a cross roads in the track and needed to make a decision quickly.  It’s funny how life changes as you get older – now I get a kick out of not knowing where I am, when I was younger it was all about not knowing where I was going.

Tomorrow morning I head for the serenity of the RR Sport – my trusted steed for my next mini road trip.  I say mini because Belgium to England really isn’t so bad – more of a 6 hour sprint, punctuated with a train ride under water.

On return from Egypt I intend to be a fully qualified scuba instructor


10k is the new 5k

I am almost home and dry, my watch will finish by 17:00 on Thursday 30th January and I am looking forward to my two months off (which ironically is also one of Underworlds greatest tracks). Will I miss Italy – not one bloody bit.

I have devised some plans that are guaranteed to piss of the Italians.

1.  Increase the tax on ice cream

2. Raise the price of fags by a euro

3. Enforce traffic laws

4. Make them all do ‘National Service’ in customer service jobs

5. Make them start and finish work on time

 

Of course, if any of those fail, we could always remind them that it was only a couple of generations ago that they stood shoulder to shoulder with the Nazis.

Why am I so annoyed with these muppets?  4 times now, I have come close to getting run over while on pedestrian crossings (with the green man lit) and when I say close, I mean ‘punching the bonnet’ close.  Two twisted ankles while running on the roads – for all the forest and cross country running I have covered, I have NEVER twisted an ankle – give me 3 months in Genoa and I get two. Contractors blatantly lying to me face to face, a lack of ability to achieve even the most simple task on time and/or to an acceptable level but most of all, their ability to make me feel like I need to apologise to them for their short comings.

So what next?  Egypt !  Seems to be a bit of a war zone at the minute but that has potential to turn into a huge adventure of getting out of a war torn country on foot, alive and sane.

Italy has provided me with some winning situations though.  I have broken my 10k record time twice now (once only 6 days after my 2nd twisted ankle) and yesterday I also beat my mountain bike top speed record and pushed the envelope (listen to my corporate speak) up to 44.3mph.  I also have 4 days left to break my 7k and 5k records which I fully intend to do unless I have another twist.

I gave a security guard a run for his money the other night, I came running in one of the exits to the shipyard and heard him get off his seat.  Next he was out of his gatehouse shouting at me to stop but I thought better of it.  I was against the clock and I was pretty certain he would be too lazy to actually give chase – and I was also hoping that if he decided to draw his gun, he would be as shit a shot as he was an athlete.  I never stopped, he never shot me, that has to be a win win situation.

Now, I have to get lucky again tomorrow night as I run the 5k and turn in past his gatehouse again I will be sprinting for almighty with plenty of Billy Big Steps – if nothing else, the incentive to dodge bullets should get me a good 5k time. As a minimum I will be running in a zig zag pattern until out of shooting range.

Come Friday morning, I will be road tripping again – Switzerland at first light and into the snowy Alps.  I will be trying very hard this time not to trip any speed cameras before hitting the dizzy heights of downtown Brussels and my first Belgian beer in 3 weeks.

I spotted 2 new adventures this week on the TV.   A 10 mile race up and then back down Snowdon and then a full marathon through Snowdonia.  I expect to be signed up for both of them before too long

Next race is scheduled for Saturday 8th February in Coventry as I hit the local Park Run again, Poopie Pants will be there, and so might my sister if she isn’t too busy looking into when she gets her pension book.

 

 


In the arse end of nowhere

I had a new Italian teacher last night, so that makes a total of two in two lessons.  Not that I am scaring them off but I have since figured out that it is one teacher for language, another teacher for hand gestures.

That aside, I also figured something else out today.  This morning over breakfast, I treated myself to a little Amy Winehouse from her time on Jools Holland.  Way back in 2004, she was quite sweet and innocent, tattoo free and a fuller figure – her voice, purely magical.  A couple of songs later and the year was 2006,  the tattoos started to appear, the weight dropping, that glazed unfocused stare and of course in the background the worthless shite of a boyfriend.

Then over lunch, I happened across a BeeGees in concert movie so I stuck that on and we got to talking about the two brothers that had died.  It then hit me – you can tell how old you are by how many dead artists you have in your music library. I bet everyone has a bit of Lou Reed right? Jimmi Hendrix, Beatles, Nirvana, Joplin, Marley,Presley,Bolan, Beastie Boys, Barry White,  they very quickly add up. I would like to tell you now just how many dead artists are in my library but fear of knowing the true figure stops me counting.

Of course, it got me thinking about Winehouse. Being a hard arse, I have little sympathy for her way of life but I do fully appreciate the staggering loss of talent when she departed. I also remember when Cobain decided to take his head off with a shot gun, I never understood why. I am sure that will remain eternally unanswered but then one night many years ago while in bed in Abbey Street I was listening to Radio 1, before it got shite.  Back in the day (at 44, I am old enough to use that phrase, not like some of the spotty teens on the streets)   the evening was filled with Bob Harris (deceased) Nicky Campbell and of course the late and very very great John Peel.  Peel was hosting a show on Cobain and finished off with words along the line of feeling like he could have helped, invited him into his house to be looked after and helped through their problems – and I can’t help but think Peel was right, better still, there are many of us that would have volunteered our services to help to keep such talent alive.

But enough of that crap

Lets talk about my friend Rupert – or ‘Poopie Pants’ as he is known in Portugal.  During a recent stay in England, I talked Poopie into doing the Park Run with me on saturday morning (thank you Horley for the tip off).  For those of you unfamiliar with the Park Run, it is a weekly event ran by volunteers across the UK and 7 other countries (including S.A. Lexa) where you can run a 5k track, be timed and have your times analysed and compared by world record times, age, sex etc.   While out on a run on the prior wednesday evening, I was accompanied by the aforementioned Poopie and as we got talking I suggested he do the Parkrun with me on Saturday.  He actually agreed, I was agast and he was regretful almost instantly.  Building up to the saturday, he started to look grumpy about doing it but I kept pushing him until at 9am on an autumnal Saturday morning, the flag was dropped and we were off.  My previous 3 runs had all been personal bests and I knew I would be pushing it if I were to to another.

I never of course, I posted my slowest time ever of 23:53 but was very impressed to see Poopie coming in around 1:15 seconds behind me as a first attempt.  Now I have to admit at the time it was a bit of an eye opener.  I run a lot and I was aware that I need to pick up my pace but seeing this fucker post a time like this with a complete lack of training gave me a kick in the nuts that I needed. I did take some comfort in the fact that despite all of his moaning and groaning about not being a competitive person before the event, he did actually really enjoy it.

Since then, I can see his Runkeeper times are very respectable and I have no doubt that Poopie will be busting his nuts to get a better time than me next time we go, so I am upping the ante and have pegged a 7km course here in Genoa to ‘train’ on for my next 5k.  First time out tonight was under 35 minutes with mild poo cramps toward the end but expect that time to tumble as I naturally get quicker and time my toilet drops to perfection


Road Trippin

That was a tough weekend. A 5k run on saturday morning followed by a 20 something k ride around Cannock Chase on sunday, I was completely worn out.  Worst of all, I posted my slowest 5k time on saturday and had a few moments on sunday where I couldn’t be arsed to keep ahead of poopie pants and steve-o. I think at 44, I am now officially getting old.

I do have some advice for you though.  When road tripping through Belgium and Luxemburg, don’t throw your litter out of the car window.  France is the next country you will pass though – throw it out there, they thoroughly deserve it !

I still got to thinking about the people of Luxemburg and what they are collectively called but it escapes me. Italy is full of Italians, The good people of Germany are Germans, Ireland Irish, Americans a pain in the arse etc etc but what about Luxemburg?  I really need to know, if you can help in any way – please do.

My new job started today, I arrived in Genoa, Italy at 09:30 this morning in the most torrential thunder storm I have seen in ages, even the Italians were slowing down in their cars because of poor visibility.  After a monster 12 hour + drive down from Burssels, I am now completely shattered.  Had a little walk around the old docks this evening to see what has changed since the last time I was here – not much if I am honest.  I was impressed with one of the local sculptures though, it looks like a colaboration of body parts form several of the Saw movies all stitched together in the wrong order.

I also managed to kurb one of my wheels in the downpour, happy now that I never had them painted when I bought it.

thats enough for now – more exploring tomorrow

 

 

 


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