Tag Archives: parkrun

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 ?


Heimatliebe

Firstly, and most excitedly, my new FHRITP T-shirt has arrived – I look forward to posting a selfie in it soon.

Secondly, I got told off tonight at MMA for apparently hitting too hard while sparring. Now, don’t think I am getting all Adolf Hitler or to a lesser degree, Mel Gibson on you but there is this old Jewish guy that I sometimes spa with.  Now he hits quite hard for an old fella.  I normally let the first one go, then he gets me with the next one and then the third one comes in.  Now, three hard ones in a row in my book is a request to play harder.  We can all misjudge one, maybe stumble on the second and add a bit of power but three is an open invite.  So after taking the third one in the face, I gave him a bit of a twat around his ear, rocked him on his feet after which he stops, holds his head (presumably counting the tweety birds that are circling it) and asks for a rest, telling me I hit too hard.  Straight off again he gives me a couple of good ones so I give him another tweety bird up the side of the face and stop the fucker in his tracks. Now me, I just want to play fair but someone always wants to up the ante.

Thirdly – I want to tell you about my 16km (10 mile) circuit I have been running.  For those of you that are not on runkeeper, let me tell you all about it.  5 days ago, I took just over 3 minutes out of my 16k time.  While writing about it, I mentioned that there was more time to come out of that – I was sure. I wasn’t wrong.  Last night I pulled my Brooks Glycerin shoes on, waiting until the top of the hour had passed so the draw bridge wouldn’t stop me , and started my run.  The first part is always painful, up and over the bridge and down towards the sea front, but once down on the flat, I can stretch my legs and really get a wiggle on.  I knew I was running harder than normal, my breathing was noticeably more intense.  It’s normal for me to drop my pace so that I am not even out of breath but last night was pretty full on, I wanted a couple of minutes out of the time.

My ear buds started slipping around, even filling with sweat from inside the ear until they short out and I have to remove them and blow the sweat out of them to get the sound back. Shirt off just over half distance and the evening is cooling – next target is Las Olas Boulevard and the bridge – once I am over the bridge, I consider myself on the homeward stretch – albeit still around 2.5 miles to go.

I hit my wall at around 8 miles, right next to the swimming pool and then, Machinehead by Bush comes on – the perfect uplifting track to keep me going – and keep going is what I do.  As I pushoff Seabreeze Avenue (or as Vanilla Ice would call it – A1A Detroit Avenue) onto SE 17th St, I spy a couple of chicks way up ahead of me – I thought I would never catch them – but catch them I did!

I passed them on the uphill side of 17th St Bridge and then once crested, I noticed another chica on the downhill side – could I pass her before the end of the bridge?  You bet I can – I nailed it, running like  a bank robber until I got back to the boat and stopped the clock.

So, on 4th September, I ran this route in 1h 34 minutes – September 19th I managed an impressive  1h 31 minutes, 3 minutes faster – last night, I managed it in 1h 26 minutes, another 5 minutes (and 20 seconds) off my best time.  I was happy but man alive was I tired.  I managed to get out of bed for the gym this morning but my rowing speed was massively down on normal.

All that said – I want to give a shout out to my OLDER SISTER who hasn’t posted anything on Runkeeper for some time. I would also like you all to consider the prospect of a Leamington Parkrun early in December – think about it, get a baby sitter, clear your work diaries and let’s do it.

Less than one month until I hit Boulder, Colorado

 

 


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


In the Mother Land, Comrade

Crikey O’Reily – it’s been a while since I last posted – I blame a lack of inspiration but I am slowly getting my mojo back.

Before I get into my swing, I would like to congratulate Amy Winehouse for being drug and drink free for two years now – well done Amy !

For those that don’t know, I am currently frequenting the ‘Mother Land’ of St Petersburg (that’s Leningrad for you oldies, or even Petrograd for you very old oldies, or better still St Petersburg for you readers that were around before WWI) and heading for Moscow on the overnight train tomorrow evening.  I am already thinking that I would like to spend more time here as I went for a wander around the city today after sending the bird out to work to earn some dollar, like the pimpernel that I am.

For the gamers amongst you, well that will be Steve, I took the tube today.  The escalator down into the depths had a very communist feel about it.  I know you want me to explain.  It was the stereotypical scene that we have seen in movies for years, but if you are a gamer, you no doubt would have played ‘Call of Duty’ at some point in your life, better still, the ‘World at War’ version.  As I dropped downward on the escalator, I fell into silence.  Silence of course apart from the solid sounding rumble of the escalator punctuated by the sound of someone speaking over the tannoy system.  The tannoy speakers were placed between the opposing  escalators and facing upward to the roof of the tube tunnel that the escalators ran through as they drop hundreds of feet down.  This gave it a clarity that was almost set in stone.  The people coming up, had expressionless faces, much like that of the tube in London.  Maybe all countries have the same effect on you when it comes to tube travel – you have to have a tube face, a bit like a poker face perhaps?

Anyway, it was just like playing a scene from Call of Duty, as I froze on the escalator.  My mind wandered of course, you would expect that.  I was thinking back to the Cold War Era and I could easily feel the potential this place would have had at suppressing an uprising to move away from communism.  I imagined, if I was a spy, planted deeply behind enemy lines here in Leningrad, how I would simply be shitting my pants purely because of this escalator ride.  The sombre silence of it, the drum and drone of the escalator, not too loud but powerful in its drone – left you with the impression that it could carry a tank up it should the mother land require, while the tannoy speakers pumped out continual communist propaganda.

I was also in awe of the amount of monuments, statues and generally spectacular buildings and that got me thinking too.  I guess, when you want a propaganda machine that keeps your people all pulling together, making them remember previous historic battles with thousands of magnificent works is a damn good way to do it.  I also got to thinking that if there were another call to arms of the likes of WWI and WWII, I am left with little doubt that Russia could easily muster another army of equivalent size or larger, whilst the UK and America would have more conscientious objectors than volunteers – because of course, if you are English or American, your country owes you something and you shouldn’t have to work for it, or god forbid, risk your life for it.

Still on a war theme, tomorrow I am going to the war museum.  Our guide drove us past it last night and I just have to get a photo of me with the mobile missile launcher.  I took a look at an old war ship from the turn of the 20th century today, a ship called Aurora.  Quite important if you are Russian but unfortunately for me, none of the scripts had been translated into English so I couldn’t absorb the history. Anyway, for something that was around in 1903 – it was a scary arsed piece of weaponry even if I couldn’t understand what they were waffling about.

I have also been looking for a vintage Russian Infantry Coat complete with emblems, lapels and pins etc.  No joy here, only new ones to be had but I am told Moscow is the place to find those. I did try on some genuine 1997 Russian Navy hats but they were just a tad too small.

Getting toward the end now – let me thank Horley for her inspirational tip-off of a web site called Park Run.  I am now officially training for my first race, at the ripe old age of 43.  The next Saturday morning that I am in England, I will be very competitive as I burst onto the amateur running scene in all my glory.  I am registered and ready to go.

I also need to say nah nah nah nah nah to Susan.  I am certain she will be jealous that I am visiting Russia, because I know it is on her to do list.

I also heard today that my replacement engineer on Timoneer has also quit, he didn’t even make 2 months FFS !!


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