Meanwhile, over on the ‘other’ blog…
Meanwhile, over on the ‘other’ blog…
Dogs Who Look Nothing Like Their Owners
Sibling rivalry. By the time you get to our age, we really are above such things.
I mean, neither of us hold a grudge.
About 45 years ago my brother smashed up my painstakingly constructed Airfix galleon with a broom handle. Some years later, he was known to casually knock my favourite Subbuteo players onto the floor and crunch them under his feet. (I think this may have ended the career of Sky Blues legend Mick Ferguson!?)
But. Seriously. Who does actually remember these things…………
I mean, I’m sure my brother has COMPLETELY forgotten the Third Reich incident. I think I had to lock myself in the bathroom whilst he raged outside with a carving knife in his hand! He was an aficionado of historical and battle re-enacting board games. The Third Reich game had a massive board and hundreds of tiny counters depicting military units.
Tell me, who wouldn’t have found it funny to move a few of these counters here and there over the course of a summer’s gaming. Sorry bro’. I think I may have altered the course of history.
So as we emerge, fairly unscathed, from our mid-life crisis’ and settle into enjoying a fitter and healthier lifestyle into our 50s (he’s not quite there yet), there really isn’t anything to be competitive about.
Except we’ve both become hooked on running. I enjoyed a few years of bragging rights having started a couple of years earlier. But Simon has become a bit of a racing snake since joining the Abergele Harriers. Me? Well I’ve taken to the trails, the ultras and, let’s be frank, the pork pies.
All of this culminated on Christmas Day when we ran our (now traditional) Christmas Day miles. Despite being 300 miles apart, we both know it’s a RACE. There is always some careful handicapping negotiation, but last year it was an out and out scratch race.
And I got it handed to me. In spades.
Not that I’m competitive, you understand.
There’s a visit planned.
Torbay Velopark Parkrun, on March 17th 2018, will be hosting a beast of a smackdown. Get there early, the Sky Sports TV trucks will be taking up much of the car park.
My younger brother came oh-so-close- to dethroning Mo in the Diamond League last year. I think I’m going to have my work cut out…
16th May 1987.
I was brought up a Coventry City fan. My parents were both brought up as Coventry City fans. My Grandad used to never miss a home game, and that included the reserves too. He was the commentator for hospital radio, so he sat in his little booth at the back of the stand and described the games for those Sky Blues fans who were stuck in one of the city’s hospitals.
Rumour has it Grandad didn’t miss a football match at Highfield Road from the end of the second world war until he fell ill in 1986. His dream was to see his beloved Sky Blues play at Wembley…….. You’ve guessed it, Wilfred Brown departed this earth in late 1986. Missing Coventry City Football Club’s first trip to the iconic stadium a mere six months later.
This has been on my mind rather today, after hearing the sad news that one of the victorious 1987 FA Cup team, Cyrille Regis (‘Big Cyrille’) had died at the crazily young age of 59. There was a lump in my throat for sure.
Whilst searching around the internet for something to learn about Cyrille I discovered that Cyrille’s father, in his birth place, French Guiana, was supposed to register his child as GILBERT Cyrille Regis…. Whether he’d paused for a celebratory shandy or two on his way is lost to history, but he certainly forgot! And so Big Cyrille was born.
Rest In Peace Cyrille Regis MBE 1958 – 2018
ME!! It’s brought to you by me.
As an aspiring writer (!), I try to read as much as possible, I’ve always got a book on the go, and I read online articles, normally running related. I also delve into others’ blogs as often as I can. Reading others work, and seeing which styles I enjoy, helps steer my own scribblings. Don’t forget the OTHER BLOG for occasional, mostly non-running related, witterings.
I have noticed that some of the ‘bigger’ blogs tend to have a leaning towards product ‘reviews’. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking some sort of reverse snobbery based moral high ground here. Oh no, although I always look for truly independent journalism , or writing in general, I would probably struggle to turn down a supply of free running kit if it was thrown my way. And then what would I do????
Anyway, luckily for me and my blogging integrity, that’s highly unlikely to happen. So if I do mention a product, company, event or any other service, then my opinion will be based purely on the experience I have had.
Which brings me to running shoes. I’ve just opened a box of shiny new road kicks, the umpteenth pair of Adidas Boost shoes I’ve owned. I find them soooo comfy, cushioning my clumpy and heavy running stride and compensating for the odd angles my feet tend to approach the ground at.
I may have mentioned before, my running ‘style’ was once described by an esteemed running coach to be like a drunk man herding cats!!
This latest pair are a few models old now, so I picked them up for a reasonable price too. Being rather dull, I keep a count of miles ran in my shoes and my last pair did 600+ miles of road running. The PREVIOUS pair (pictured alongside the new ones) also racked up 100s of road miles before becoming my work shoes. I’ve probably done 6 months of building work in them too, only swapping them for boots on heavy weather days.
So, if anyone asked me, even without a cash incentive from the multi-national fashion and sports wear brand, I would recommend them, especially if you have the same bizarre running geometry as me.
I used to use Adidas trail shoes too, but found said running technique tended to trash them too quickly. Some of you may recall I had the chance to run in a second hand pair of Inov8 shoes at the Conistion Marathon (read all about that beautiful event HERE). I splashed the credit card there and then and those shoes have been absolutely amazing, and still going strong after 500+ miles of all types terrain and weather.
I wore them for a lumpy coast path run on Saturday, keeping it simple, with an out and back route, but the views are always different in the other direction. The sun was barely awake at the start and it turned into a lovely crisp morning by the end. Have a nosey HERE, if you like.
Ahhhh, my wonderful wife……. I truly am INSPIRED by her…… we are both pretty exhausted at the moment and it would be easy to reject our runs and training. Hopefully, the cajoling is reciprocal. I am so, so determined to train, especially when I have the absolute joy of Nicky to be driven by.
On Sunday, we ventured a bit further along the coast, both feeling lethargic, but, together, convincing each other we were doing the right thing.
Running with Nicky is incredible, time becomes meaningless, and before we knew it we were 10 miles in, and ready to turn. We fancied a fairly flat 20 miler as our next planned marathon is on an out and back and flattish road course. We’re off on our holidays next week, and running a marathon on the middle weekend.
I enjoy running with Nicky so much. I ALWAYS enjoy running, but the runs with Nicky have that little extra magic….
In fact, whilst we were trotting along the Exe estuary, I started a ‘best of 2017’ conversation, in preparation for an end of year blog. I said my proudest achievement was when Nicky and I crossed the line of the 50k R.A.T. (read all about it HERE), where we smashed our best time for the event, in our third attempt at the route. Apparently there’s a 100k version….
She was surprised that I hadn’t said my Gower 50 Ultra, which I completed solo (blogged about HERE). I pointed out to her that, even if I successfully go on to complete longer and tougher challenges, and I will take great pride in them, that little bit of heart fluttering magic will be missing.
We will line up at 5.15am on December 2nd, for our holiday marathon, hopefully crossing the line holding hands a few hours later, and THAT will be the secret magic….
Anyway, we had a gorgeous (mostly flat) run on Sunday – check it out HERE – and we’re ready for a break now…….
I think it’s called ‘tapering’!
There’ll be blogging from holiday, but it’ll be short posts from the phone I guess, but mostly we’re looking forward to no alarms, warm breeze and seas, good food, the BEST company and, of course, a marathon!
A few piccies from last weekend’s runs….
Quite often our mantra whilst we’re casually googling potential new challenges.
Swim 10km? How hard can it be? 50km over Dartmoor? How hard can it be?
You get the picture.
Also my work chum and myself……. plumbing? roofing, underfloor heating etc? Just how hard can they be?
So, a couple of days with the eldest grandson, Callum, taking him away for his birthday treat. Not a problem?
I’m often found to be idly flicking through the well-thumbed pages of Ultra Marathon websites, ooohhh, ahhhh, mmmmm, ha ha ha, how hard can they be?
But multi-day events. Ow! Not sure that’d be up my street, not my bag, unlike my cup of tea (which is actually coffee, anyway). Nope, as regular readers will know, I DO have ambitions for long single stage events, but multi stage events, nahh.
Legoland. Two days. Two CONSECUTIVE days! I know!! Is there a test of endurance to match it?
I’ve been blessed. I know I’ve mentioned this before, and my rather wonderful, beautiful and, quite frankly, HOT, lady wife, Nicky keeps telling me to stop being so soppy. I’ll be making the avid readership feel nauseaous, she reckons. BUT, I truly am blessed.
From the moment Nicky bundled her way into my soulless life and filled it with all this phenomenal love, adventure and laughter, I have felt, well, blessed!! AND I became Grandad to her two bundles of fun filled granchildren, which has now become three. And I absolutely love it.
Late on day 2 in this world of a billion coloured bricks, we found a perch and had a selfie with a lego batman soft toy. We looked drained!! In the most wonderful way. Callum has been full to the brim with excitement, with wonder, with awe and has, for two whole days been nothing but a joy to share the time with.
A 6am start (sounds like an identikit race report coming up….) followed by 4 hours in the car and we arrived at the park. It’s big! Luckily, we had booked, as the place was sold out, mostly because it was open late for fireworks.
Yes, we’ve had our moneys worth, getting to the Holiday Inn Express in Slough about 8.30pm that night (we know how to live!!) where we promptly ordered a Dominoes gorge fest. The three of us propped ourselves up on the (less than) double bed and feasted our tired, hungry faces. Bliss.
Callum slept well on his put-me-up, whilst we enjoyed the aural delights of Heathrow, and before we knew it, day two was upon us.
By the time we climbed into the car at tea time, we were all suitably sated of our lego desires and the trusty Mini devoured the miles home.
An extra hours sleep?
Nah, an extra hours RUNNING!!!
(Did I mention I’d completed a 50 mile Ultra? – read alllll about it HERE) I reckon the three weeks since my Gower exploits haven’t yet flushed the fatigue from my legs. Combined with the previous two days adventures, I was never going to break any records on THIS run.
BUT, I loved the three hours around the bay, much of it by headtorch, and, after the ‘injury’ at Gower, I seem to have also been blessed with amazing powers of recovery too.
I know, we will, and I’m sure Callum will too, treasure these moments forever!
Keep on keeping on people, don’t let the b******s grind us down….
I stood and watched a hundred or so runners, including my rather wonderful lady wife, Nicky, head off towards the moors.
“Follow the ORANGE flags!!” yelled myself, the race crew and other spectators. A race of 3 halves, as it were. Pure Trail’s Dartmoor 3-in-1. Those who had elected to try and run all three race on the day were to follow the “ORANGE FLAGS” on the first loop. At 9.75miles this was the longest of the day.
Not only the longest (and even longer for those who drifted off course in the mist) race but also the hilliest and the foggiest as it turned out.
In another guise, I did home delivery for Sainsbury’s (You KNEW you recognised me from somewhere!) and for a while we used to cover these west moorland villages. And what a lovely village to base a race, the quirkily named Peter Tavy. Quite a magical air to the village as we optimistically parked the mini on the wet field. (“it’ll be drier by the time we leave!”)
The village hall, acting as HQ for this cracking event, is classic fare – the modern era only nodded towards with the addition of a defibulator, not that heart failure is particularly a modern phenomenon.
Anyway, off they all went. Jealous? Moi?
I’d probably have preferred to have been gallivanting across the moors chasing sheep rather than perched amongst the kit bags in the village hall, notepad in hand, trying for all the world to look like “a writer”!
Well, if I DO want to be a writer, then write I must…..
But, my self-diagnosed fooked ankle (did I mention I did The Gower 50 ultra last week?? – read all about it HERE), isn’t in a hurry to get running again, so coat holder and cake eater I was. I also had a wander in the lane and found a Cornish pasty recipe on the village notice board!
I’m a bit of a Pure Trail fan, trail running events, usually with a twist, created by runners, for runners. We had a great time at their Race The Tide earlier in the year (blogged about, naturally, HERE). They have a regular group runs across the moors and are genuinely good guys to be around.
With a 9.75 mile race, followed by a 7 miler and finally 5 miles (with different coloured flags to follow), some were charging around, then using varied techniques to keep warm before the next race’s start time, the day was definitely one for clever pacing.
Rather dangerously for me, I ended up chatting to Steve, half of the duo who are responsible for Pure Trail’s success, whilst the runners were out on race 1. Dangerous? Well, inevitably talk of ultra challenges, “ooooo 150 miles on a canal…” “oooooo MOUNTAINS!” etc etc……..
So after some quaffing, and scribbling, and chatting, I limped outside to watch the runners arrive back to base. A regular fixture in this blog, Jamie Bullock (see blog about his Stoke Gabriel Carnival 10k HERE) came cruising back, well inside the top 10. In fact he finished 8th overall after all three races.
Nicky meanwhile came back with plenty of time to spare. Despite this, the week’s chaos, tight calves and poor night’s sleep had caught up with her. She opted to partake of the three C’s instead of lining up for race 2 – Coffee, Cake and a Cuddle.
Anyway, a great event and lovely day out on the moors, we took a scenic route home, the mist having cleared, and headed for a chilled evening.
BUT – the real action of the weekend was the pebble skimming at Elberry Cove on Sunday, as four generations of this wonderful and kooky family I’m so proud to belong to took a stroll (or limp in my case) in the warm autumnal breeze.