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

Monday, 30 September 2013

Dogs On CCTV

I ring up the insurers and order L’s new bike. They tell me it’ll be delivered on Wednesday, blimey they don’t mess about. I must saying I’m impressed by the whole thing.

A while ago I bought a CCTV camera to see what the dogs are up to whilst we are out at work and especially to see how Doggo gets over the stair gate, although he hasn’t done this for a while. This is probably why I’ve not rushed to set it up but it’s working now. Although for convenience it’s currently trained on the kitchen, where there is no sign of either dog. So I assume they’re both in the hall, trying to work out how to open the stair gate.

Allocations for tickets for the Commonwealth Games are announced and we get some athletics tickets. That’s a 50% success rate, much better than the initial 0% success rate for London 2012.

Apparently Steve McClaren, or should I say Dutch legend Schteve McClaren, will be the new Derby manager. I don’t really mind who we get but would be very happy with McClaren. He has unfinished business at Derby. He’s not only a former player but was also assistant to Jim Smith back in the day and was being groomed as his successor before Manchester United poached him off us.

Dog training tonight, where it’s a bit cold up on the hill tonight. Winter approaches I guess.

(Monday 30th September)

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Chasing Robin Hood

So today, my limp around the Nottingham Half Marathon. The first problem is getting there. My usual short cut across Castle Bridge Road by the Sainsburys’ superstore has been closed off and I headed into town having already seen the epic queue along the ring road. Getting within a mile was fine; getting that final mile took about forty five minutes. With no police or marshals directing traffic, it was every man, woman and Robin Hood for themselves which simply made things worse.

When I finally got there, it was long after my father had arrived and it’s not often that happens. Once on site, the organisation is better and the atmosphere building nicely. After pointing my father in the direction of a good spot to watch the start, I slot myself into the sub 1:40 red zone, along with the multitude of different coloured numbers that were already lining up there. My pace was optimistic due to the state of my ankle, not sure what everyone else’s excuse was but at least I was of the right colour.

We start and my ankle feels ok at first as we head past Nottingham Railway Station, sadly currently hidden behind a ton of scaffolding. Then we embarking on the long hike out of town along Queens Drive, a dull dual carriageway lined with business premises. I pass L and the boys who are supporting at the two mile point and then see someone short cut back to the start, presumably to be an early retirement. I still feel ok at that point, so I don’t join them but within a mile the ankle starts to throb and I wonder if I’ll make it round or not.

I hobble badly for a couple of miles but then I guess it goes numb because I don’t have too much trouble after that. So then it’s just a question of surviving the course. Unfortunately the new course, introduced last year, is not very inspiring and by now we’re running through, for no apparent reason, the Boots Industrial Estate. The estate is closed to the public and there were about 10 hardy folks supporting us in the whole of that desolate wasteland. Them and the tumbleweed of course.

Sadly the support out on the whole course is also a lot less than it was due to less places of civilisation now being included on the route. Even Wollaton Park, which was always a good spectator point, that pulled the crowds and therefore helped spur on the runners, is no longer include.

In an attempt to be ‘fast n flat’, the new course misses out any such scenic bits if they are within sneezing distance of mild incline, meaning the new route also does little to promote the best of Nottingham. The old course was much better and even that didn't take in enough of Nottingham.

I had hoped to pace myself around behind some lass in a Robin Hood suit but although the organisers have encouraged people to dress up as RH in an attempt to set a world record, they all seem to be men. There’s not even a scantily clad Maid Marion to be found.

After a bit of scenery around the university and not of the Maid Marion variety, it’s another dull plod back towards the city centre. We are turned away before we get there of course but if you're quick, you do get a glimpse of the castle on your left before they finish us off, literally, with a two mile out and back slog along Victoria Embankment.

This really tests your mental preparation. I was lucky I had L and the dogs there for a quick pat and a snog. That spurred me on for a while but even that wore off as the turning point seemed to get further and further away. Once there, you were in the unenviable position of knowing exactly how far it was back the other way. Evil stuff.

One thing I haven’t dealt with before are the new water pouches and perhaps I should have watched the video they supplied on how to work them. I couldn’t get enough water out of mine, while other folk seemed to get too much. Still, I’m sure they’re a good idea. I just need some practice.

Finally the finish arrives, with lots of people sat in the grandstands and a good jovial commentator announcing people as they come in. I’m handed my medal and goodie bag. Suddenly it’s almost worth it. Still no t-shirt in the goodie bag though.

Then we sit in the stands ourselves, watching everyone else come in. Including two women with orange numbers doing it in charity t-shirts who started beside me in the sub 1:40 red zone but came in at about 2:45, an hour after I’d finished.
Later, with the main requirement now being a large dose of painkilling alcohol, we head off for a night out on the Tarmac in Stapleford and later a Chinese Takeaway.

(Sunday 29th September)

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Understudies Eat Crumble Too

Today a dog show on Southwell Racecourse. Doggo does his only run first thing, he's clear but as usual doesn’t get a rosette for it.

MD’s first run was really good until he messed up his weaves. While his second run was scrappy throughout but was clear. Which is the way it always seems to go. So we’ll probably get a rosette for the second run but it won’t be a highly placed one. We come 12th.

His afternoon runs are also all good but not quite good enough and all have small errors in them including another cock up in the weaves.

My ankle is not as good as yesterday (before my training run) but it’s not too bad. The uneven ground at the racecourse isn’t helping and it’s also a bloody long way to walk from rings 1 to 8 with them placed end to end rather than in a square as normal. No one else is muttering about that though, so perhaps it’s just because I’m injured.

While there I get MD a new bed. I hate it but L will love it. It’s got hearts on it. The beds MD and I preferred had a skull and crossbones on them but weren’t available in the correct size. It looks well comfy though, so MD will put up with it. It also looks well shaggable so Doggo will like it too.

Meanwhile Derby County are busy losing the local derby at Nottingham Forest 1-0. Hardly a surprising result but it has the surprising effect of getting Nigel Clough the sack. Wasn’t expecting that but YES, about time.

Back home I take L to the new Specialized bike shop in Basford. The Specialized Dolce seems to take her eye more than the Scott Contessa we’d been eyeing up at Evans Cycles. So we decide we’re going to order the Dolce through the insurance.

We stay in with pasta and pudding, topping up my energy for tomorrow’s 13 mile hobble. L insists that my attempt to limp around Nottingham tomorrow is a good reason to have pudding, so she does a crumble. I assumed that was just me, as she’s not doing racing but no, apparently understudies eat crumble too.

(Saturday 28th September)

Friday, 27 September 2013

Another Late Fitness Test

A policeman comes to work to tell us about the huge number of bikes being stolen from around the area and to ask if we’ve seen any undesirables around the place, other than the ones who work here that is. Great news, I’m not sure the insurance would believe me if we had another one stolen.

A late fitness test this evening, to decide whether I throw the towel in as regards Sunday’s half marathon. I jog the mile into Spondon and that goes ok, relatively speaking e.g the pain doesn't reduce me to tears. I then take the bus most of the way home and jog the remaining two miles or so.

I decide that the ankle really only hurts (as in a lot) when I go up hill and as the new Nottingham Half Marathon course is apparently ‘fast n flat’ I guess than means I’m in. It’s not going to be pretty though.

L and boys walk towards me to see if I need any help to hobble home. As Doggo tries to pull us all into one of the local pubs, I consider that anaesthetising the pain might be a good idea. On second thoughts though, we have stronger alcohol at home, as well as ice packs and if all else fails L can always take my mind off it.

(Friday 27th September)

Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Long Goodbye

I take the bus to work, saving my ankle for squash, which my opponent then cancels. Damn. Though it’s probably good news for the ankle. 

L sheds a tear over a BBC article about the ‘parents’ long goodbye’ as they drop their children off a university. It’s a bit biased though and doesn’t mention the numerous fathers doing cartwheels. They’ll burst in to tears several months later of course, when the realisation of how much it’s all going to cost hits them.

It’s getting mighty competitive at home and not just over who’s got the most serious injury. L vows to out-cook me tonight after my Hungarian Stew on Tuesday and last night’s surprisingly good cod dish. She proposes a Jamaican, which means that mean my planned Croatian dish will have to wait for another night. It'll also give me time to google up a recipe...

(Thursday 26th September)