Archive for the Category RUN:stüffe


World’s Most Expensive Bookmarks

It’s been a week since I got back in the saddle of the road bike properly, having hung it up in the garage at the end of the 2015 following the Shropshire Peoples Triathlon. On the bright side, the Big Red Ride was a wonderful day out, and even the weather held out. The new start/finish venue was great (even if the tea had doubled in price), and I scored a fat collection of personal best Strava sections following the circuit with Jack. Winter training on the spin bikes has really worked for my bike legs, and I felt like I had plenty more to give had I needed to. On the flip side, moving from my best bib shorts on padded seats, to my warmest windproof bib tights (you know, the ones with the distinctly average pad) on the decidedly unpadded bike saddle has taught my sit bones a lesson. Just a case of need to get out more now and suck it up for the week it will take to become normal.

This weekend was all about visiting Ashmei following my shortlist for their ambassador program #ashmeiambassador. I had to knock up some fake “Polaroid” photos to take with me, one a portrait of me, and one simply anything to do with my sport.

Polaroid Homework

Polaroid Homework

I chose to take a fresh “portrait” thinking they needed a reference of what people look like, hence the boring one (although I am wearing my prized Slateman Savage tee). Upon arrival, they shot their own, so perhaps on reflection I should have picked a more interesting one! The other is a shot from training with TNT on a woodlands intervals session. It’s got 2 things in it I like, 1) my friends, and 2) something unexpected happening (yes, I was supposed to be stood with the rest of the group and cocked up the timer).

I had a fun hour talking the toot with various people (and putting on my new socks – thanks!), and watching the presentations and discussions that had been put on for us. Perhaps didn’t learn too much, but definitely cemented the feeling of how passionate these people are about their own stuff, and why they are doing it. Then we went out for a run. Well, I say run, more of a jog, only for me it was more of a torture session. Having been off running for most of Jan and Feb due to annoying glass back niggles that I haven’t found time to get fixed by my friendly osteopath, I knew I would probably find 6 miles tough. Add to that the several gallons of ectoplasmic residue that I have been ejecting from my (left nostril only…) nose for 3 days and I felt pretty shoddy from about half way in. But I did have fun, and overlooking the village of Marsworth where I spent much time approx 15 years ago was a bonus point for the unexpected (I knew it was near, I didn’t realise it was that near…).

With such a great (and large) bunch of people, all who have done and are doing some amazing things I can’t expect that there is much chance of me scoring a spot, but regardless of who is selected I’ve scored a few contacts local to me both in the Peak District and in Edinburgh, and that’s a win anyway. Everyone seemed to have a great little story to tell, and I enjoyed attempting to translate my years plans into a cohesive narrative when asked.

Bag of Goodies

Bag of Goodies

Of course, it would be great to “win”, but there’s little point entering into this sort of thing just to get lucky for the sake of winning the shineys, and there would be no point wanting to continue if I didn’t actually like what I would/will/might be asked to wear and test, so with 6 days of Mallorca training camp only 2 weeks away, I decided to simply treat myself to a set regardless. After a second (post bath) test for fit and label removal (hey, no labels, you hear that Decathlon!!! No 8 inches of sharp edged ribbon with care instructions in 14 languages sewn into the seam behind my knee!) I’ve bagged them to be left untouched until I arrive in Palma. I am left, (even with the wonderfully generous 50% off anything for attending) with a pair of the World’s Most Expensive Bookmarks 😉

World's Most Expensive Bookmarks

World’s Most Expensive Bookmarks

I’m looking forward to seeing who is selected, because I’ll be taking an interest in whoever it is.

On a side note, I totally forgot to take any photos while I was actually there (shame, as the Airstream Popup Shop is stunning!), but through the medium of failing to shut my boot properly, resulting in the alarm failing to set properly, resulting in me fiddling around working out where the loose sensor is (all of this on the way home I should add, sadly) I did come across the missing 2 action cameras that have been causing me mental anguish for being missing since before my snowboarding holiday! Too late to take on that, but they’ll be coming with me to Mallorca and I hope to be able to produce a proper little montage of my first ever cycling on multi day training camp :)

Park Life!

I’m trying to learn to love running, but it’s a hard process. I’ve long had the opinion (stolen from some comedian, no doubt, about 30 years ago) that it you are fit enough to jog, you don’t need to.

I think the majority of people I know through triathlon would admit that swimming is the bit you have to endure, the Coffee Revel to your Malteser or Toffee one for cycling and running. But I just can’t quite get a handle on the running. I don’t love it, I don’t feel good doing it, and I sure as hell am no bloody good at it.

But! I do want to get there… I reckon it must be like drinking beer as a kid, you don’t enjoy it, you pretend to like it, and then at some point, without you actually realising it you find that actually, you do like beer, and you like this particular kind of beer best. I obviously haven’t drank enough yet, and/or stumbled across my tipple of choice, to bulldoze an analogy.

I hate, and I use the word sparingly in most contexts normally, but I hate running alone. I can’t do it. I need people around me, to push me, to inspire me and all that. But they have to be the right sort of people, people with enthusiasm, not people with a single track mind that usually results in ignoring anyone who is not directly useful for them as anything other than a marker to lap. Where best to just meet a load of enthusiastic runners who aren’t there to “win” and go home? Your local park run of course.

Small problem, I don’t have one. Any park run you can’t at least cycle to, is not local enough in my books, hence me only having ran 4 or 5. Sheffield has more park runs than pubs it seems, but Chesterfield has none. Anyway, I’m a devious bugger me, and I decided to attack this from an odd angle. So I dug around on the net, and saw that plenty of others wanted one, but no-one was actually doing anything about it. So I did something about it. I set up a group on Facebook, the delightfully named “Unofficial Chesterfield Parkrun Interest Group“!

Some cajoling here, some prodding there, and lots of blasting all my tri friends with enough spam to send them mad got us up to over a hundred members in a little over a week. Yay for social media! Turns out there is a lot of interest out there (I knew there had to be), they just need the right people to find each other and click. The short version is that I managed to start the ball rolling, and others have turned up to look at the ball, others have gave it an experimental kick, and yet more have got behind the thing and pushed like lunatics. And in April (roughly speaking, no firm dates) it looks like I can bin the group, and point everyone at ParkRuns latest official group.

So, it’s a bit of an extreme way to crack the nut, but pretty soon Chesterfield will have its very own ParkRun, with its very own run-hating race director! I’m really proud that this is happening, and that I have been a key participant. I can’t wait for our first event, and I’m also really pleased to have however inadvertantly brought together what looks like a fine events team in Lottie, Tim & Mark who have done all the real work leaving me to fart about on Facebook.

Kill or cure, I will learn to love running! Now, where’s my pint…