A letter

To Thomas,

I know you enjoy it and you read all the mags and articles on that world wide web thingy. I even know you have that race coming up and that you are determined to break some PB in a couple of months time. But I do beg you to listen to me.

I enjoyed the two weeks off that I had and really enjoyed taking it easy but you must remember I am not a car. I can’t be started up and driven long distances, I need to warm up and get back in the game.

After this week, and I will be the first to admit the mileage is very little and the work load has been on the small scale but I am feeling it. Feeling so much that come Sunday I may refuse to play ball at the start line and if I do play along I may throw in the towel in the last 400 meters.

So if you don’t want a DNF on you record then may I suggest you spend the next two days giving me a rest. Giving me some TLC. It’s all well and good running long and hard and doing hills and speed work but like you I need time to recover and the harder you train the longer I need.

Off course you are able to help in this matter. Some more protein, seeds, nuts, fruit. Less bad fat and chocolate. Plenty of stretching after the runs. At least half an hour. You use to be so good at your warm downs now you seem to think a poxey five minutes with the foam roller will suffice. Well have I got news for you… It won’t.

Like a car I need the correct fuel and maintenance. If you spend time looking after me I will perform and keep on performing for many years to come. I’ve shown my worth in the past… Looking how your PB’s keep being smashed. Look how far I have carried you. The speed I have travelled.

So please take note. I’m tired, and I really don’t want us to fall out over this as I know how happy you get when pounding the streets. But you won’t be happy when I can’t carry you forward and get an injury.

I hear from Left and Right Foot that you treated them to some new socks and trainers. They pass on their gratitude. Now if you can only show me the same respect and give me some rest. The miles I am use too. The new training scheme of hills and speed is something I need to get use to, and this needs time. Heart and Lung do their best, but over the years I’ve adapted to long distance and need time to adjust. And I’m not just talking about in training. Recovery is when I grow and repair myself and at the moment you are refusing to give me that time.

So I beg of you Thomas. Please surrender the trainers until Sunday and allow me and your body to recover.

Thank you for your time





Hello Mr Magpie

Now I can be described as quite shy. I will often not talk to random people. If I go to a party or a new place of work it takes me time to really open up and start talking to people. However when I run, I’m quite outward.

Now I have discussed this before. It comes under the runners code, for when you see another runner a little nod or wave to communicate that you are in this together. That you are part of the fraternity of runners. If you are able to spare any breath then a simple ‘Hi’ would also communicate this. All to often I see ‘Joggers’ and I will call them such as they ignore this simple rule of acknowledgement and after all why should I expect them to know the ‘Runners’ code when they are just simple ‘Joggers’. After all they only come out when the sun has his hat on or there is a rather large ‘Great Run’ event to train for which they have left too late with their 3 year old trainers that have seen better days. Now I’m not being a snob about running, but the correct footwear is a must.

Now don’t get me wrong. I think any one who runs, jogs or walks at a quick pace is better than those who remain with their buttocks firmly attached to the sofa. But it does annoy me when I see fellow runners who ignore me. After all hill walkers have the same code and they even go as far to stop and engage in discourse. ‘Where you come from?’ ‘What route you taking?’ ‘Have you done this before?’ Off course like with running some hill walkers have little respect for their brethren as I have often passed walkers descending a path only to find out that the path has become impassable from the recent weather. Off course many hill walkers will pass that bit of info on and maybe even stop and discuss the next best alternative route to the top.

Runners as I have said are a funny bunch. We are a strong community, a bond. We share the passion and dreams but yet we seem to carry out the mere function of running alone. Even when we run with a pack or a group we tend to be in our zone but a simple hand wave, nod, brief ‘hello’ demonstrates that you are in this together.

So the point of the title… Well its simple. The the other day I was out running and said hello to around seven fellow runners. Five returned the greeting in their own way while two ignored my efforts. The odd thing is, like me one of the ‘ignorers’ seemed to be superstitious as I saw her salute and greet a Magpie. Now I often say ‘Good day Mr Magpie’ I have no idea why, but I can always remember being told to say hello as it was good luck. The peculiar thing is that this runner wouldn’t waste energy on greeting a fellow runner one of her own but instead chose to waste breath on a bird.

Now lets not get into the nitty gritty. But like walkers, runners often inform one another of the perils or dangers ahead. I was once told you should always say hello to a fellow hill walker so they remember you. Because if for some reason you got lost, standard or injured there would be someone on the ground who could remember your last whereabouts. Surly this is the same with runners. I often see the same faces at races and on the paths of Manchester and a simple hello after pounding the pavements is a real energy boost knowing that there is someone else like you who is feeling the same. Lets face it, a bird isn’t going to give a dam about what you are going through let alone even know what a ‘salute’ means.

So if you have time to say hello to a magpie which for me is important and I always do, then say a hello to your fellow runners. You will be surprised how good it makes you feel.

The Long and Short Of It

I fell into running a couple of years ago and always had a goal to increase my distance. Two marathons down and a third in training I am loosing perspective on the running game. Not fallen out or even become disillusioned just we don’t seem to be getting on.

When I went to increase my runs from the 5 or 6 kilometre mark to that of 10K and then to ten miles when I was in training for the Great North I was enjoying myself. Even only a couple of months ago I would joke that a 10K would be something I would nip out to do before breakfast. Truth known I rarely run before breakfast.

I enjoyed the long runs and found it a pleasure that the 6 miles that I had trained to run was something that was really quite painless and getting past ten miles was now the target. This has gone on and on and as I try to train for my third marathon I really can’t be bothered.

I will wake and think ‘Nah forget it’. The trouble is while I’m out running I enjoy it. But I only enjoy it if its short. Well, I say short, I’m talking under ten miles. This is off course an issue with  Marathon training as I need to be pushing another eight or ten miles on top of the ones I am still enjoying. I think the trouble was the weather as I as many other runners ran for the gym rather than quite literally hit the icy pavements.

It was while I was in the gym I decided that long running on a machine was dull and therefore I should give the old interval HIIT sessions ago. A month on and I am enjoying these workouts more, far more. I prefer running fast and short than slow and long.

So what is to be done. Friends have suggested to take time off, which can’t happen as I don’t have the time what with the marathon being in 3 months.

I’m hoping some new routes and some runs with people will ignite the flame that I held for long distance running.

I certainly hope it will do the trick, otherwise I will be hitting that wall very hard.

Man Walks into a Bar

That man is me. I have walked into many a bar and as I walked the city streets the other night coming back from doing some shopping I passed several bars. Some new that I have never been in, some that I still frequent and many that I sadly no longer visit either because they have gone down hill or the times and fashion have moved on.

This got me thinking. When I leave I will probably have a leaving do. What would be better than having it themed around all the bars and pubs I have drank in while in Manchester? Now it’s not going to be that bigger of a pub crawl but it will be an interesting look at my drinking habits from being a student to now. Starting in the clubs, and then the trendy bars before moving to the bars and pubs that only serve real ale for real men.

I Have Never…

There is a radio show called ‘I Have Never Seen Star Wars’ where celebs talk about activities that they have never tried. Maybe they have never done horse riding, or been to a swimming pool. But lucky for them the show arranges them to go on a rollacoster or ride a motorbike.

So in this style and with my departure from the best city in the world to happen in a couple of months I thought to myself that there are a lot of sites and places that I have never gone to or taken part in. So while I was out walking the city yesterday I stopped and popped in to ‘John Rylands Library’ on Deansgate. 13 years I’ve lived in Manchester and never once have I been in.

Today while running I saw a sign for Wythenshawe Park. Again 13 years and I have never once ventured in to it. The sad thing was is I went to college right opposite the park gates.

So from now till I leave I am going to do all those things I tell touring theatre companies or the tourist information centre tells you about.

Now I have done most of the museums but not of the art galleries. I have never eaten in China Town, gone to Eccles. I have however gone to Heaton Park and eaten a curry on the mile. I’ve seen a film at the corner house and been in the Town Hall. I however have yet to have afternoon tea at the Midland. I’ve ridden a tram and shopped at the Arndale but not had cocktails in the Hilton.

So while I have been living in Manchester, like most people who live in cities I have failed to embrace the culture that is on my doorstep. I’ve neglected the parklands and hidden wonders of my own city. Well, over the next four months that is all to change.

Please if you are from Manchester, or have visited the city please comment on things I need to experience before I leave. It will be interesting to see how many there is that I have failed to do.

You could even tweet me with your suggestions @lddex #NeverDoneInMcr

I’ve Done It!

Well I couldn’t for one be bothered to read past posts, so I am sorry if this has already been recorded in the world of cyber space but at the moment I am so bored that I don’t mind repeating myself, if in fact I am actually doing that, I am not too sure. Like I say I have not looked at past entries so this could be a complete original post or as I started to fear as I put fingers to keyboard a complete copy of old news.

So what is it? I hear you cry. Patience reader I will inform when I am ready. Today is a lazy day. I can’t be bothered with anything. No running, no getting up. If truth is known I am still in bed and the afternoon news is about to come on. Lazy! Well yes. But that was not my intention. Oh no I wanted to walk in Snowdonia but my friend had very kindly mixed up the dates and doubled booked. I only know this information has I texted him to see if he was still up for it and to arrange a time to meet, if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have been any the wiser.

My other friend sounds like he is a little off with me. Maybe because I never invited him but he seems to be wrapped up in his kid and partner (not that I blame him for that… but he has become a little distance)

So on this day where I want to hit the bottle, forget all my worries and eat masses of bad fatty stuff and feel altogether sorry for myself I thought I would cheer myself up with spreading my news. I am now finally off to New Zealand. I got the tickets for the flight, sorted out my travel for the first two months and have started planning. If truth be known I am bricking it but at the same time can not wait. I often think that if I had got my act together and not wasted time thinking I wanted to run in a 10K and Marathon I could have been on the plane at the end of March and say goodbye to all this crap that is in my life. (I delayed the trip to run in both Manchester Races)

I still don’t know why I am doing it? To travel? Thats not really me. To have a holiday? I have always wanted to see NZ. Or is the real reason to pack up and start again. After all what is in the UK? Some friends that I don’t really see. Some closer friends who are too busy with their own lives, work front that is dry… so why not make a new start…

Some people have said that I might not come back, others are still in shock that I am going. For me I am in both camps. I really can not wait to get away…