"for the happy, the sad, I don't want to be, another page in your diary"

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Character Building

On Friday they make a decision about Stamford and with Yellow Weather Warnings of winds forecast to be over 40mph they postpone the race to next week which rules us out. We have an 18th Birthday Party to attend, my brother’s lad, and we’ve also entered the Prestwold Half which is much nearer and an earlier start which means we can easily make the party.

We very briefly consider turning up on the day at the Naseby 1645, that I did last year, which they promise will be on but will be ‘character building’ in the forecasted strong winds and driving rain. Of course, we might turn up at Naseby and they cancel at the last minute.

L says she’d prefer to do her own thing on Saturday, as she did last week, and then have a
night on the lash, as we did last week.Which is fine by me, then we both spend Valentine’s Night in the gym but not the same one...

On Saturday we do the Wollaton Hall Parkrun which having dodged Ciara last week also seems Dennis proof and attracts 461 runners. Daughter joins us and runs with MD meaning we don’t have to cope with the conundrum of what to do with him. It is only five minutes’ walk from home but we can’t leave him home alone because he’ll howl in distress, so we’d have to drive over and pay to park the car just to keep him happy.

L does her 'own thing' by running an extra lap and then keeps running while Daughter and I check out the cafe. It’s good to see that the cafe is tuned into the potential to make money and opens at 9am rather than its usual 10am. It also now does breakfast baguettes before noon (don’t ask, I have no idea...).

Then I head off to the match. After which Radio Derby summariser Craig Ramage is sacked for singling out two of Derby’s black players for criticism.

L completes 14k, does Pilates, then head off for part two of her run, completing 16 miles in total. Very impressive. I am feeling totally upstaged by the two girls, L and her sister, who are all doing bigger distances than me in preparation for the Brighton Marathon.

So on Sunday I do my own training run and I run 15 miles with the Lad. Who I think gets more than he bargained for. We WhatsApp a few photos as we go, including one in front of the Robin Hood statue by the Castle where the Lad’s cuteness leaves not a dry eye among the assembled tourists who are waiting to take their own selfie in front of the statue. 

(Sunday 16th February)

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Hell Hath No Fury

Monday starts with some snow! Heavy snow! But then it’s gone and we have rain. Heavy rain.

L’s shopping list to me is (she says) long, expensive but healthy. Hash browns and curly fries are healthy? Who knew? And there’s something called FF on there but she can’t remember what that’s short for. We hope it's not vital and it sounds like some trendy brand of vodka. Then it comes to me, fish fingers!

It’s still cold and yesterday’s rain has now turned the pavements into ice rinks. I slither my way to the bus stop and only fall over once. For which I suppose I should have had a week off work and sued the council even though I’m fine.

It’s still windy too but I do my run. I manage 11k on what feels like an outdoor treadmill e.g. I didn’t seem to be moving much due to the wind.

Having lost one race last week to a moody Ciara, now we are faced with her handing the baton over to Dennis who is showing that ‘hell hath no fury like a’ man upstaged by a woman and it’s not looking very good for Sunday’s Stamford 30k at the moment. The trouble with races these days is you don't know whether you should be entering months in advance because they all seem to fill up almost instantly. Then when you do, they get cancelled.

An email pops into my inbox offering me tickets for the Ladies Final at Wimbledon through the ballot. They have finally moved into the last century with their ballot, scrapped the old paper form that you had to send in and now all you have had to do was click a box online. So I thought why not and now I have the offer of Ladies Final tickets for only £400. I think not and turn them down.

L’s sister gets a place in the Great North Run. L is gutted because she was hoping she’d be able to hand hers over to her sister but now she’ll have to run it as well.

On Wednesday L has PT and I have dogging. Then on Thursday I manage to cycle to work and without needing any lights which is an indication of how long it’s been since I last cycled.

(Thursday 13th February)

Sunday, 9 February 2020

A Nice Spot Of Tourism

L’s pool seems to have found a few customers from somewhere, mainly the tri club who she heard bragging about their events to each other. Not that she was impressed, she’s done most of them.

Clifton Bridge on the ring road near us is closed after damage was spotted on the underside of it. It is completely closed in one direction and has only has one lane open in the other direction. Not good and I can’t see any fast solution to this.

I take the bus to work on Friday, which went ok but coming back is another matter. The traffic is hell because of the closures. I’m not sure what time I’ll get home.

L meanwhile seems a bit impatient as she waits for me and is threatening to start Friday night without me. This is because her personal trainer has recommended that she starts foam rolling and she wants to give mine a try tonight. I’d hate to miss out on that.

Meanwhile the world is beginning to get worried about a new flu like virus, coronavirus, with has so far claimed over 800 lives in China. Our local GP surgery texts me today saying that if I’d ‘recently returned from China or South East Asia and are concerned that you may have a viral infection please DO NOT come down to the surgery’. As I said, worrying.

Saturday sees the start of a new Parkrun at Wollaton Hall which will be our new local but where are we? We’re at another new one at Doddington Hall near Lincoln, which is on its third week. We’re on the way to visit a old friend of mine who lives near Market Rasen. What with Warwick last week as well, that’s a nice spot of tourism. We’ll do our new local next week. 603 turned up for the inaugural one.

We were actually supposed to be running on Wollaton Park on Sunday but the Winter Warmer 10k has been postponed due to the arrival of Storm Ciara, a troublesome female if ever there was one. Ciara’s tantrum somewhat rips up the weekend’s planned schedule but it does mean we’re allowed out on Saturday night. We pub crawl Sneinton, visiting the Neon Rapter Brewery tap for one, then the Fox & Grapes for one, the King Billy for two and then visit Brewdog to finish off.

A freed up Sunday allows me to do a track session at the Velodrome.

(Sunday 9th February)

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Collision Point

The race results from Watford have been corrected of their own accord. The normal order of things in our household has now been restored.

The Golf’s dashboard has suddenly lit up like a Christmas tree with warning lights. So, when L goes over to see her folks she takes the bus, not wanting to go over in a dodgy car. There’s always the Astra I say. Oh, she did say she didn’t want to go over in a dodgy car didn’t she.

I go over later to pick her up because I wanted to give the Golf a run to see just how dodgy it was but somehow it fixes itself as those wise folks on Google said it probably would.

On Tuesday L’s watching Kinky Boots at Broadway while I’m watching football boots as Derby defeat Northampton in their FA Cup 4th Round Replay. I shunt my planned dog training session to Wednesday.

L has her PT on Wednesday where she signs a contract committing to 12 sessions. As she says, that’ll sort her out. After which, she manages to walk home unaided but she may not be lifting pints for a while.

Meanwhile L’s dentist convinces her to make the leap to an electric toothbrush. Mine has been trying to convince me to have one for years along with regularly seeing the hygienist, selling me floss and also those things you put on the end of your fingers. Sometimes I’m not sure if he’s a dentist or a salesman. He spends more time trying to sell me stuff than he does looking at my teeth.

...and while she’s on a spending spree, she’s looking at hoovers and asks ‘how does a girl go about getting a new hoover?’ How does a girl go about getting anything new, shiny and expensive out of her man? But it’s not PC to do that sort of thing any more, so she’d best just tell me what she wants and I’ll get it ordered.

...and Daughter is searching for a skipping rope. I remember once shopping for a skipping rope for her. It may have been a few years ago... I think she may have been eight.

On Thursday L and I do a joint run, sort of. I start running home from work while she starts running towards me from home. The plan is we’ll meet somewhere along the way. The planned collision point is the Charlton Arms in Chilwell. Not that we intend going in but it seems just about the right distance as she wants to do about 8 miles while I’m going for the Full Monty home which will be 15.6 miles. As planned, I bump into L just past the Charlton Arms 11 miles in and we make it all the way home together.

(Thursday 6th February)

Sunday, 2 February 2020

A Ceremonial Trimming

On Saturday we head over to the Parkrun at Warwick Racecourse on the way to visit Son in Leamington. We meet him and his fiancée for breakfast, this time at Coffee Architects which sounds a bit posh but aren’t all the cafes these days. Posh of course means there are no prices on their online menu.

It is conveniently two doors down from Misters Barbers which is the chosen venue for the ceremonial trimming of Son’s wayward beard, the first in living memory. It is indeed an historic day and it also seems to be a great success, even with Son, and the aim is now to get another trim in before his wedding at the end of next month.

Sunday sees us down south at the Watford Half Marathon which has a very civilised start time of 10.30am. Which is a good job really as it's quite a drive for us down to Watford.

It starts in Cassiobury Park which, given the recent weather, is a soggy mess and the first challenge is not starting the race with wet feet as we head to the Race HQ to pick our numbers up. Then it’s a paddle back to one of the two start lines. These are colour coded Red and Blue with the vague instruction that the Red one is for Veterans. Which I think means us.

The two starts are both on footpaths which merge together before the race leaves the park. Getting a good start position is key because the footpaths are narrow and the terrain either side of them is muddy and unrunnable. So putting a foot off the footpath to overtake was unwise and tended to see you sliding backwards rather than moving up through the field. This meant it was difficult for me to latch on to one of the pacemakers and I watched them gradually pulling away from me.

Once out of the park we headed out into suburbia where there was at least scope to overtake even if my desired pacemaker was now long gone. Then suburbia gave way to countryside where the real fun began. Now I thought Watford was a flat part of the country, how wrong was I.

The race guide merely stated that the course is through pleasant undulating countryside. Although it did go on to say that 'due to the severity of some of the hills this course is not suitable for wheelchairs'. Always read the small print as they say, even if you don't have a wheelchair. It was very hilly and just how hilly seemed to come as a surprise to many, not just me, given that the hills were accompanied by some colourful language (I mean encouraging words) from my fellow runners.

Even when you get back to the park for the final mile, it is largely all uphill. I finish in 1:48:45 marooned almost equally between the 1:45 and the 1:50 pacers. L and her sister come in together about 45 minutes behind me although according to the results, when they come out later, she beat me by about five minutes. Perhaps I missed the shortcut. 

(Sunday 2nd February)

Friday, 31 January 2020

A Sea Of Positivity

L is having problem accessing Dog TV but it’s working for me. Well I think it is, nothing is moving so it could have frozen or they could simply be comatose.

Monday is the first dog club committee meeting of the year and L is, as ever, sceptical that I’ll be home much before midnight but it doesn’t go on that long and I’m back in plenty of time to heat up the scraps she’s left me for my dinner.

Not for the first time she is job hunting in remote places. She sees two jobs going on St Kilda but unfortunately she’s not an Archaeologist nor a Marine Biologist.

On Tuesday L is off work and instead doing a training run with her sister followed by lunch. I just hope that they were both a sea of pre-marathon positivity. I do my own run after work and make it as far as Beeston before getting on the bus, which is just over 12 miles.

On Wednesday, L is out to lunch again then has a consultation with a new personal trainer, one who takes her dog to work with her. I wonder whether it tries to join in the sessions. Ours would. Later I take ours to dog training.

Thursday see me cycling to work which was really hard after my two runs this week while L is at her run club.

On Friday Derby at home to Stoke and impressively win 2-0. Derby need to get as many points in the bank as they can because they are due in front of a tribunal for selling their own ground to their owner. That’s allowed but the valuation seems to be on par with that of Wembley Stadium which does sound a little dubious. They could end up with a points deduction. However they claim to have documentation signed by the league approving the valuation of the ground and if that’s true I can’t see how the league would have a case.

(Friday 31st January)

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Helpful Like That

I have Friday afternoon off work to help set up my club’s Winter Dog Show ahead of the event itself on Saturday. We have the venue just for a strict two hours from 5pm until 7pm, then I rush back home because we have guests.

Daughter and her +1 are coming around for dinner and in my absence L has cooked cottage pie. The main concern is whether we have enough wine after what happened last time...

We manage to not run out of wine but no one has room for Christmas Pudding. We really must stop doing all those races where they give these away to all the runners because we're not big Christmas Pudding eaters ourselves and clearly we can't give them away either.

I attend the show on Saturday without the dogs as it’s a more of a specialist type event with nothing for oldies like MD and not much for youngsters like the Lad. There was one event that the Lad could have had a go at but it seemed a bit unfair to drag him over for just the one run.

Not that they’re happy about me going without them and L gets barked up nice and early. They’re helpful like that. Then they get dumped again as L, Daughter and her +1 all go to Parkrun to run off their hangovers.

I don’t know why L has a hangover as I’m sure we only had one bottle between the two of us. Our guests must have accounted for the other four empty bottles. Then L and the boys spend the afternoon asleep, so perhaps it was only me who was restrained...

Meanwhile the Dog Show runs late due to a rather fastidious judge.

With no race again on Sunday, we reprise our run from Elvaston Castle with a few revisions to last weekend’s route to avoid traipsing through all the puddles that we encountered down the river path last time. We again do an extra lap with MD and then go visit my folks. 

(Sunday 26th January)

Thursday, 23 January 2020

All Bases Covered

L recommends the Fractured Marathon at Calke Abbey, that I’ve not heard of before. It sounds interesting and thankfully it’s not ‘fractured’ as in ankle although it is all off road . It’s called fractured because each of the 10 x 2.6 mile laps start on the half hour. So it’s not a continuous marathon, assuming you can do a lap in less than half an hour. It also starts at 7pm, which means the last lap starts at midnight.

Another race that is in the diary is the Peterborough Marathon, which I had considered doing as a warmup race for the Brighton Marathon but it appears there were only 170 in it last year. Which isn’t quite what I was looking for but then if everyone thinks that they’ll never get the numbers up.

On Monday we all head over to L’s folks to shift some things downstairs for them which means the boys get a walk around Mickleover. It’s already dropping colder and by the next morning it’s very icy underfoot. I fall over twice while walking the dogs, who barely notice. I do manage to make it to the bus and therefore to work without any further falls but that’s probably helped by not having a dog in each hand.

Later L fails to talk herself out of run club while I fail to persuade the Lad out of wanting to go Dog Training.

On Wednesday I am summoned to the Yard for pizza by my now retired ex-colleague. The only probably is that I am down to run 10 miles tonight and now I’m full of pizza. Somehow I get through it.

Thursday see L heading over to her running club again where they have introduced a longer 6 mile run but she is having what she calls ‘massive nerve attacks’ about it, what I call ‘adrenaline’. This is because it's only fast fellas that have posted on Facebook to say they are going. 

I’m sure she’ll be fine. I pop both a 0% Leffe and a 9% Leffe in the fridge, so that all bases are covered for when she returns.

(Thursday 23rd January)

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Dog Sledding

On Saturday we do Colwick parkrun which is a bad choice. In fact I can’t understand why it hasn’t been cancelled. If I’d been the Run Director it certainly would have been but then everyone else seems to have a great time wading through the thigh deep mud. Then again, nobody else is tied to a collie which is like dog sledding without the sled.

On Sunday it’s the 31st Folksworth 15 organised by Yaxley Runners with a field of 500 runners.

Note to self. If we do this race again arrive early, very early. I mean we aren't exactly late but everyone is far more clued up than us meaning all the nearby parking has already been taken by the time we arrive. We are directed out of the village, out to the 14 mile point and then down a country lane where we park on a grass bank. It would be a long walk back to Race HQ but the organisers have kindly laid on a car to get us there. Obviously we need to go ready to race, so we take a bag with us to drop in the baggage store.

Once at the Race HQ, which is the local school, we pick up our numbers and are then faced with a 15 minute walk\jog to the start, three quarters of a mile away. As it’s a two lap course it begs the question why not remove the walk to the start and call it 16 miles? I'm sure there's a reason...

It's a cold day and icy underfoot in places. I think many races would have been cancelled given the way we had to slither down some of the hills, so I'm thankfully that the organisers had the guts not to call this one off. We needed the run even if we do have to skate parts of it although apparently despite the conditions someone broke the course record.

The 15 miles, with its three challenging hills per lap, is a decent test of where my marathon training is at. If intend to run my marathon at 9:00 pace again, or hopefully better, then to not drop below 8:50 here and to average 8:15 is definitely promising as I finish, back at the school, in 2:03:45.

Afterwards I get a lift back to the car and release the dogs. Then the three of us clap everyone else, including L, through 14 miles just as they head up the final hill to the finish.

(Sunday 19th January)

Friday, 17 January 2020

Consoling The Inconsolable

With no race on Sunday we need to get out to do some training. I'm always happy to take the Lad with me but MD isn’t up to the distance we want to do and nor probably are L’s knees if she was to run with him. The problem is we can’t leave him at home.

Attempting to console an inconsolable howling MD whilst the Lad is taken for a run is a difficult enough task but if there’s no one there to placate him, who knows how long he’ll howl for. The full two hours? Or does he stop once we’re out of earshot, put the kettle on and chill out for a couple of hours?

So we all head off in the car, drive to Elvaston Castle and leave MD in his box. He seems happy with that. We then do half marathon distance with the Lad, running out along the river past Pride Park to the edge of town and then back through Spondon and Borrowash. L does a bit less than the Lad and I due to us doing loops up a few side streets whenever we get ahead. We then do an extra small loop with MD, so that he gets to feel part of it.

Then after visiting my folks we stay in, finishing off the tub of Blue Monkey.

On Monday L is out in Derby leaving the boys and I to have fun in the mud at home. On Tuesday Daughter comes around for a run with L and then we do some more angry-shopper role play.

Wednesday sees me on the bike, despite the threat of Brendan but thankfully that particular storm seems to have passed over now. In the evening it’s dog training and then Thursday is run day for which it’s still a tad windy but hopefully blowing in the right direction to power me along. I keep it to just 9k this week as we have a 15 miler on Sunday.

Then on Friday I have an appointment with my torturer for a sports massage.

(Friday 17th January)