Lot’s of running and running related stuff going on since the last post and here is the recap;
I was asked/interviewed about my Two Oceans Marathon trip to South Africa by Matt Mitchell, a Canadian journalist living in Scandinavia. I did this, sent him some spiel and a few photos and heard nothing back for weeks. When prompting him in July about where the article would appear when he said September and Bluewings, a publication I was not familiar with.
Having looked it up, it turns out that Bluewings is the in-flight magazine for FinnAir which kinda disappointed me as I would have liked to at least appeared in a running, or at worst a general sporting publication. But beggars can’t be choosers as they say so it was all good. I was to appear in a magazine that, with FinnAir expanding out East and flying globally, could have a pretty good readership.
So I mailed the author, and heard nothing back re getting a hard copy, something for the grand kids to marvel over. “Grandpa, you used to run?” I then mailed FinnAir head office and heard nothing too, so turned to the ever reliable Twitter. The FinnAir peeps then gave me an email address for someone who would get back to me and would promise to send a copy when it arrives.
I then found it online this week. I was less than impressed. Or should I say I was les than impresed?
Cheers for spelling my name wrong, Matt. I mean, given the interview/questions and communication was submitted by email, where my email address is my name, and I signed off with my name, you managed to spell my name wrong? And when I asked him about it he seems to shrug and say “it was my miss”.
Ah well, it was always a comedy of errors that one. So, when my grandkids see the magazine in the future they will not just ask “Grandpa you used to run?” they will also ask “Grandpa did you change your name?”
You can’t give away a bib in this town
I have been very fortunate recently. I never really went in for those RT and Follow to Win contests but a Fashionista blogging friend has been winning left right and centre so I thought what the hell….
- So then I won a brand new pair of Asics Gel Kayano 23s, before they were even out in the shops.
- And also a spot at the Ealing Half Marathon. This I couldn’t accept as I am running in Berlin that weekend and so gave it away.
- Then I paid attention and gained that Runners Need one hundred pound voucher. Tick.
- And then last week I won a spot at the Kew Gardens 10K, part of the Richmond Running Festival.
There is a small issue with this final win, in that I was already signed up for the Battle of Britain Memorial race at RAF Cosford that day. I decided to be charitable again, I have two bibs for two London races on the same day, so I offered one up to, first, the #ukrunchat crowd, then workmates, Facebook and then finally Twitter as a whole. And you know what, nobody came through for me. You can’t give a bib away. I had a few nibbles, one notable, but I can’t be left hanging around and a bib going to waste is a tragedy in my eyes. Someone out there must want to race, would love the opportunity to run in either of the two venues, leaving me to run the other one.
It took a week of trying to give it away for someone to come forward and DM me. And, fingers crossed it is all sorted. But please, if I win another, and I want to give it away, you must know someone who wants to run. It is what we do.
The crushing of my soul
Since I started running at Park Run I have felt guilty about not volunteering. I know, I know, I have only been half a dozen times or so, and there are people who probably go week in week out and do not volunteer (this does seem the case if we only need 7-8 volunteers and there are 300 runners at my one).
So I finally bit the bullet and volunteered at Hampstead Heath Park Run (my local). The question being, what to do. There are several roles you can perform on the day:
- Race Director – the organiser, speech giver and general boss of it all
- Timer – pressing of the button at the start and when each person crosses the line
- Barcode hander outer – the two peeps who hand out the bar coded timing thingy after you cross the line
- Barcode scanner – two peeps who scan your code and the one you get when you cross the line
- Marshalls – out on the course at key turns and junctions
- Tail Runner – running along last to ensure everyone gets around in one piece, letting the marshalls know they can return to the start, and picking up the markers/flags.
The last one, I thought, that would work for me. I could get the 5K in (you get both a volunteer and a runner credit for being the tail runner) and I could volunteer. Win-win.
I was asked to bring a phone (in case of emergency en route), although I have no signal in the heath so that was a non-starter. I also brought a CamelBak with first aid stuff. Again, this was not needed as I needed to carry the dirty backpack used for the flags. Ah well, this is the key with reality, it rarely does reflect your imagined version of events to pass.
Running itself was a bit of an eye opener. After speaking to the tail runner from the previous week, I was told there was a couple of mothers with little ones trying to get around, and settling for just one lap of the two. This I thought adorable, and would have been happy to accompany them around their first lap before catching up with the last runner doing both. But after the start as I met one of the two ladies and her little one, and then an old guy who looked like Father Time who was only running one lap as he had a half the next day I walked/ran behind the other mother/daughter pairing for about half the lap until I realised there were three girls, probably late teens, maybe early twenties walking along, on their phones, laughing and giggling incessently, at something. I asked if they were running Park Run and mid-giggle they said yes.
Oh, this was soul destroying. They were not even trying. I know it is all about participation, but only one of the girls even tried to run. The other two just spent time giggling, walking slower than anyone in the history of walking walks, and playing on their phones.
In the end it took over 50 mins for me to get around. Double my normal time. I was glad I volunteered and I am doing the same this week. I am just hoping for the slowest runners to want to actually try, rather than just amble around.
Sense Prevailed and then I signed up for something else
This was serious. I hate cancelling races, especially way in advance. I do not like being double booked, and I tend to ensure I give those places away. I really hate my history of DNS from a couple of years ago. So when I realised that going to Berlin for the Berlin Marathon and 4 weeks later going to Lucerne for the Swiss City Marathon was turning out to be not only a physical stress but a financial one I decided to make a call. I would defer Lucerne for a year if possible.
And thankfully, and kindly, the organisers came back immediately and said this was fine. I will have the same spot next year as long as I don’t take up my bib this. Booking of the hotel cancelled, job done.
Well, almost. It did mean that I had a weekend where I would be sitting around sad, questioning why I had cancelled a race that I could have run. So, to combat this I booked myself on the Town and Gown 10K in Cambridge and got a lovely hotel for weekend. Job actually done this time.
Now this is fun. Someone in my Twitter feed posted a mockup of the Harry Potter inspired Hogwarts Running Club 9 3/4 medal. I retweeted it and it went a bit viral. Dozens of people signed up for it including me. Then one of the team noticed that if you run 52 miles over time you get a second Galleon medal for running the distance from Kings X to Hogwarts. I was doing the miles anyway so signed up for that too.
Good news is that I have already run the 52 miles now and the Galleon medal is on it’s way. I was one of 2662 to complete it so far and on Tuesday 1st September we will be running to Kings Cross and finishing at platform 9 3/4 for the second race. Photos to follow.
Getting there (a good LSR)
Berlin is not far away, and the training plans are down to the last 5 weeks so I was glad to finally post a large enough number on the board to make me happy. It was the first of several 32K runs, in a pretty good time for a training run, one where I could have run further and for longer. It was also my longest run to date and it filled me with confidence. I have a few 10K races coming up, but I am hoping for a couple more runs that take me closer to the distance.
I have since developed a sniffle, and a sore throat, and I do feel a little tired, but my legs were fine for the next day. No walking like Robocop for me.
I don’t go in for that running book business. I bought 4 over the last 3 years. I did not like the Paula one, as it was effectively a Nike catalogue. I haven’t even opened the one about running faster, I think it was called something imaginative like “HOW TO RUN FASTER”. I did look, when suffering at my copy of FIXING YOUR FEET, but that was a while ago when I first developed Mortons Neuroma.
So I was quite surprised when my brain went through Amazon and found this. I know that I have been remiss in my core and strength exercises, effectively just running as training for, well, running. So this intrigued me. It is an inch and a half thick, and I have not started it yet, but the thought is there, and it is the thought that counts.