New Music

Now I don’t and have not for a long time purchased any new music and if I am honest I intend not to. Thanks to youtube and Spotify I can listen to new music or any music when ever I like without shelling out for the album that would be filled with eight other below average tracks.

Off course this means I do not really discover new music any more. I listen to the Radio and sometimes hear new bands and music that I will investigate and if they are worthy of an album purchase then I will part with my cash.

To be honest my love with music has grown old, and I tend to listen to stuff I like, or albums I already have along with the music chosen for my listening pleasure by XFM. However sometime when I want to hear some music that I have heard on the radio or see the music video I will search Youtube, and then look at the suggested videos and sometimes I will find some gems. The gem I have found recently has been out since 2006 but i have only just found him, and I love his stuff. Here are two of his songs that I currently am in love with.

The artist is called ‘The Tallest Man on Earth’ and the tracks are ‘Dreamer’ and ‘Spanish King’


Feeling Good

‘God am I reading this correctly?’

‘I think you are!’

‘He has titled it “Feeling Good” which is a shame. I like the rants he sometimes does’

Well I am sorry, there is no rant or no moaning but just a very quick post. Today I ran 18 miles. 18. And I can hold my hand up and say come mile 12 it was hard, but by 14 I was enjoying the run again and could have gone on to do another 2 miles.

After last weeks 16 miles I was a little bit upset that I was not cut out for Marathon running but then again which British beer drinking men are? However after today’s trip running at 20 seconds per mile slower than my race pace I felt good. The issue with mile 12 was I ran into my local park which has quite a lot of steep hills which I kept running up. Last weeks 16 was hard, as I was working evening and mainly ate sandwiches, where this week I have been able to carbo load and had two nights off.

Anyway I was concerned last week that 16 miles felt tough, but after today I feel good and confident that I will be able to run the 26.2 miles and will still be smiling and alive as I cross the finish line on the 29th April. Just another couple long runs to go and then it’s time to taper taper taper.

Being Like Everyone Else

I’m sat on my bed. Shorts on, Running top on. Bottle of water at the ready. Running gloves on standby. I look out of the window and see a cold blowy wet day. Drizzle. Fine wet drizzle. The drizzle that ‘Northerns’ and ‘Brits’ comment on how it gets you wet, it’s the fine drizzle that soak you to the bone. I’m waiting to go for a run, not any run but one with a friend who has not had cardio since Christmas. I like running with him as he helps me with my pace, but also pushes himself hard to keep up with me if I speed up. It’s a challenge for both of us, and will be the last time as he is moving away.

The trouble is today I’m not feeling it. I’m half way through my training and still enjoy running once I get out on to the streets but today I wish I could be like other people and claim ‘I can’t run’ ‘I’m no good at it’ As today my legs are like lead and I still have another 40 miles to cover this week and really do not have the energy. Why can’t I be like other people and just spend my mornings slumped on the sofa watching the ‘Wright Stuff’ or ‘This Morning’ Why can’t I stay up late without thinking that I should go to the land of nod as I have a ten miler to beat out of my legs in the morning.

I suppose the only notion that is keeping me going is that not everyone does a Marathon and come May I should be able (I hope) to say I’ve done one and I’ve done it on my own back garden. Besides I still enjoy running, it’s just getting out there and telling my legs they enjoy it.

Is it Spring?

Well on Saturday morning you would be right to say ‘No’ but as I debated on rain jacket or running top as I prepared for my longest run (16 miles) the short stop in the proceedings were exactly that, and the intermission in the weather pattern that had allowed the short spell in the sun to shine through the breaks in cloud were very soon side lined into the wrings as the star of show came back for yet another rendition of his favourites even tho I doubt the audience didn’t call for it. It was now or never that I had to leave so decided that I would have to embark on a run where getting wet would be a very high possibility.

Within mile 2 the showers had retired to their dressing room and the show was continued with Mr Sun, which was not welcomed by myself as I started to sweat in my warm rain jacket. For this long run I decided the canal network would help with the old mileage and so set out along the Bridgewater canal to join the River Irwell towards Lowry and Old Trafford. The idea did not help with mileage, Manchester is a large place with very small miles. Running from Manchester City to Bolton seems a long way but when you map it out it proves a rather disappointing 8 miles. To get any kind of long runs you need to include looping back on yourself to cover the foolish miles you’ve agreed to achieve in your head. This run to Old Trafford needed to snake around the estates at the Quays and then double back to Manchester City Stadium to even attempt to reach my 16 mile target.

The entire run as I said in the previous blog was long and took in both football stadiums. The trouble was the weather was warming and I started to question if Spring was here.

On the tow path I did spy some daffs peeking their heads up through the long grass, and being a runner of morning, noon and night I have been finding that temperatures are on the up. So just as I got use to wearing me tights in public, it seems I may need to pack them away as I believe Spring is here which I understand for many a part time runner will be a welcome relief or for those who are running for fitness but I’m not nipping out for 30 minutes I’m what you would call a hard core runner. I’m up at dawn and I run in all conditions, I’m running for 3 hours and the thought of sustaining that routine in warmer temperatures does not agree with me.

When I was training for the Great North, there was a training day of 16 degrees, where I sweated the whole ten miles of my run and prayed that the day itself would be cooler. There is after all a reason why Marathons and Half Marathons are not scheduled for the warmer periods of our climate.

So is spring here? Is my training going to become warmer? If the towpath is right, then I would say spring is just around the corner.

Waking Up

The alarm buzzes at 5.30am and as roll over to hit the snooze button for yet another ten minutes of relaxation and sleep something triggers in my brain that I don’t have time and instead of reaching for the button to snooze I reach for the button that illuminates the room with the artificial light and reach for the laptop to check the weather reports. Highest temperatures on record the screen beams back to me. Great I think.

Now I don’t get up early unless I’m being paid very high, or it is something that I am looking forward to like a holiday or a trip to a theme park, or in this case a run. Not any run, but one that I’ve invested time, money, pain, and sacrificed work, money and friendships over and because of that I am not about to roll over to take another two minutes of Z’s

The reason for this post is that I will be running my first Marathon in April and while my first 10K made me nervous as did the first half I knew that I would cross the line. However with my marathon I have not really felt anything. I feel relaxed when I run and enjoy it why should I be scared. All I am concerned over is not finishing in my Sub 4. This was the case up to a couple of days ago until I spoke to a mate who is training for the Lake Windermere run and mentioned that he had a fear of getting to 13.1 miles and thinking ‘Jesus, I have to do another 13.1’ This was when it dawned on me how big a task I had taken on. What really scares me is getting to mile 20 and thinking ‘Yeah I’m in my home straight only another 10K to go’ But wait 10K. My 10K PB is 45 minutes and that’s at 10K pace, I’m running marathon pace here which means at miles 20 I have another 55 minutes of running. 55 minutes more? This put the shivers in me I can assure you and what completed the fear factor was when I went out for a run yesterday (16 miles – my longest run yet) and saw that at mile 14 I was wanting to chuck in the towel. I think this is due to a busy week at work and not enough energy gels but even with these excuses maybe I’m not actually cut out for a Marathon yet. After all I’ve been running for just over a year and only done 3 10K’s and 2 Halfs and am still carrying a spare tyre all be it a small one but that extra weight is not making me run like a Kenyan.

The trouble is I have a month left before I need to start to taper, and within the month I should be building my miles I am travelling up and down the UK with work, working 70 plus hours a week plus travel time, which leaves those hours left for sleep. Maybe instead of driving to Barrow and Newcastle I should run there and get my mileage in that way.

All of a sudden I think I have realised what is facing me, and while the temptation is strong to roll over and hit the snooze button to a 5K or 10K I know I will have to wake up and do it as a DNF (Did Not Finish) is not good enough let alone a Did Not Make the Start (DNMS)

Oh well back to training.

Starting Again

It’s no secret that I want out of my current job the trouble is it’s not just a job or a career but a way of life. Describing the theatre biz to people who are not connected to it is a hard task. Even partners who have their better halfs working in the industry can’t really explain this magical hidden world.

As well as a job with unsociable hours comes the joys of a very busy hectic social life always drinking and partying as you say goodbye to one cast and hello to a whole bunch of new actors. I’ve been luckily enough to work with some very generous people and my phone book and facebook page is filled with one time affairs of people I’ve worked with knowing that years down the line our paths will once again cross.

However my career has taken the wrong path and has come to a dead end. I can’t trace my steps back as I’ve come too far, instead a career change is needed. Now let’s be honest people who read this blog or know me just a little will know my love of history, Wales and castles and that my dream job would be to work in a Snowdonia National Park or for the National Trust the trouble is how do you start?

The theatre biz has seen me with several transferable skills but how do I lay these out on application forms? I am a production manager which in simple terms is some one who managers budgets, all staff involved on a production and schedules to make that show be built and open on time. But for some reason people scoff as its nots a business or shop manager a role they can relate or understand having knowledge off that position.

So again where do I start, how do you start again? I’m applying for jobs that I meet the criteria for but don’t seem to get beyond ‘thank you for your application we’ll be in touch if you get through to the interview stage’

I sometimes wish it would be easier to stay in the theatre game but while the social life is great the settling down side is absent. You can forget buying a house or starting a family as it really does not pay enough or give you the time needed away from work. I often joke that theatre is my life but the tragic truth is that my life is theatre. I sleep, talk, walk, drink, eat this art form and like a seductive mistress she has a spell and a grasp on me so strong that I forget there is more important things in life.

Oh well time for yet another application form. Wish me luck!

Thought Sundays Were Made for Rest!!!

They were! weren’t they? It says so in the bible ‘And on the seventh day he rested’ Through history Sundays were seen as rest days people didn’t work.There was no noise of clogs on the pavement trudging down the cobble road to Quarry Bank Mill in 1864 on Sunday and come to think of it it has only been within my lifetime when shops have decided to open their doors. No, Sundays are rest days they are getting up before your parents and watching ‘Sharky and George’ (google it if you’re unsure it’s a childhood reference) then helping to bake cake with your Ma before getting dirty in the garden digging holes for your dad before being called in for a milky coffee and getting cleaned up before a roast and the afternoon film which would often be a western or a war theme. While you snoozed the afternoon away waiting for the buffet style evening tea and the Sunday night bath you could be assured that the day had been spent in deed resting from your usual life. And even now the thought of Sundays are to sleep in and do not a lot.

So why is it that my Sunday just gone I found myself in the shower at 7am and in my car for 8.30 heading along the M56 and on to the A55. Yes Sunday was a Race Day. I had been looking forward to this cheeky 10K in Llandudno North Wales as I was using it as a warm up to my Marathon. The course runs around the Great Orme which climbs 650ft in about 3-4 miles, before it sends you cascading down in just over a mile.

I had run the Orme before as part of the Conwy half so half knew what to expect. The atmosphere was electric even for a small running club organised race. The truth be known it looked like the locals were staying in doors as the promenade was filled with the 800 runners that were ready to start. After doing so big organised races like the Great North and Manchester 10K, I do prefer these smaller ones. You get more for your buck and a better chance to have run rather than being stuck trotting along like a heard of sheep on a country lane trying to break away from the pack.

I manged to get to the front of the pack at the start and when the gun fired I was away. I didn’t really know how to treat the run, so I just ran my 10K pace and felt fine. I think I was spurred on by the fact that up the hill I was over taking and never once being over took myself.

It was only towards the end when I over took a guy, and no longer had anything left to give a final push and sprint across the line that he took back the lead and crossed the line seconds before me.

All in all it was fun, I felt I could carry on that pace and my legs were fine. All the long running  is making these 6.20 miles seem like childs play. The bonus of the day was I also got a new PB and came 160th. All I need to do now is try to break the 40 minutes for a 10K then I will be happy. For those who don’t know, then within a year I have gone from a 55 min to 44 min race time so who knows another couple of years and I could take on Mo Farah.

My Affair

It’s true I am having an affair. I feel guilty about it and have been loosing sleep while trying to come to terms with what to do. I joke to myself that I’m not hurting anybody that everyone is getting the happiness they deserve but while these thoughts run around my head they end up being chased by the small little demon saying it will all end badly.

The truth is the affair is not hurting anyone. It’s true. In fact it is having the opposite effect. The affair in question is my other love… the one of the outdoors and walking and while I felt bad about cheating on running with this slower paced form of exercise I have come to the conclusion that I need to spend time away from the streets and spend time with the mistress.

The wonderful news is I can use this hiking as part of my training which is fantastic news, as I love getting into the hills and breathing in all that fresh country air as I climb hills to various trig points and through the gaps in the northern grey clouds looking out across the Cheshire plain, or the hilly landscape of Derbyshire.

There’s nothing more than a nice walk and the wonderful news is it’s a great warm down or warm up, to pump that carbohydrate back into those calves.

In other news the training has taken a noise dive as trying to fit all the running into a 70 hour working week as been a little tricky but the 6am starts with this freezing weather has meant I have finally got to use my winter clothes including my tights that funny enough no school children at bus stops muttered any hurtful or sarcastic comments. Maybe the age of men in lycra tights has arrived and it is now perfectly acceptable, after all footballers and rugby stars wear Skins in training and other lycra products. In fact I bet the school kids have compression clothing in their gym kits.

See you all soon.