Saying Hello to an Old Friend

I have cheated on her all to often in the past year and the last time I went to say hello she was so happy to see me and me her that we fell in love all over again. I hugged her at every step and just like the first time she took my breath away. I don’t know how she does it.

This was a camping trip with a friend… who’s original thought was a multi day walk in the peaks. Boring I know but he does seem to like the Peaks and to be fair there are a lot of nice walks and I enjoy that area of the UK as well, but I can go there on a day visit. He then raised the idea of the Lakes. Well we could do I said, but where? I’ve done most of the south-west fells. I haven’t but the places we were looking at I had done. I was off course slowly driving him to the decision of Snowdonia.

Like many people, my friend thinks he ‘prefers’ The Lakes, and feels they have better scenery and mountains and in some cases that can be true. I was never a fan until I walked the Pikes and climbed The Old Man and just as I was falling in love with this area of Britain I went and visited the girl I had been cheating on and before I had laced up my boots I knew that the Lakes had nothing on her.

So with a modest agreement from myself we had planned to go to Snowdonia. He had wanted to walk Tryfan, and I wanted to bag some of the Welsh 3000. I really want to bag them all before I go and this walk promised getting a good 6 of them in.

As we arrived at the foot of Tryfan, my friends jaw dropped with excitement, and we speedily placed our rucksacks on ready for the hike. We were going to conquer Tryfan from the North and the last time I had climbed her was from the south which I thought was a bit of a scramble. That scramble I remember was about to turn into a walk in the park.

What faced us was only made more difficult by carrying our packs on our backs. We both had light loads, but lets face it, you can have the lightest tent, sleeping bag, coat etc, but once they are all packed together you are talking about an extra 4-6kg on your back.

My mate was loving it, the walk was a mix of scree, climbing, walking, jumping (but not falling) although there were some hairy moments. Every turn and twist, every step of height came with a new challenge and a new view. This was why I loved Wales. A 2 mile accent was turning into a 3 hour climb, as we stood at the base of each new challenging assessing the best way to conquer it.

We reached the top, and were not alone as we saw some one jump Adam and Eve… something I have longed to do but once again chickened out despite the best efforts from another group using what I would call bullying tactics to make me try it. It might have worked on their friends but the fear of tripping, or falling and smashing my legs already played deep in my mind.

From Tryfan we stormed ahead towards the Glyders, and what a sight. This had been the first time I had conquered these and why I have waited this long was beyond me. the landscape was vast, and ever-changing. Were in another planet, or the moon. Maybe we were in a quarry, or some strange Sci-fi world. Next we would be talking to Captain Kirk and Spock the landscape was for ever-changing but the one image I have locked in my head is that of the Horseshoe of Snowdon.

In the distance, sat looking like she always does was the magnificent Snowdon in all her glory, in the way I had never seen her before. That was to be tomorrows treat.

After a long and very steep decent to the Nant Peris with several reminders to my mate that I had run on this road and up towards the Pen-y-Pass when I took on one of my favourite races we finally reached camp, only to divert into the local house for a well deserved pint.

Shortly after pitching we were back in and sampling the fine ales on tap and talking about what we always discuss when I meet this friend. A long discussion about trains. We got the distinct impression that our neighbours were listening in every so often and so they should have been as it was a enthralling energetic topic of discourse.

With the last of the 6 or maybe 7 glasses finished we trotted off to the campsite only to be jaw struck by the sky littered in the most number of stars I have ever seen, all shining as bright as the next, and in front of this backdrop lay Crib Goch and her impressive knife ridge. Being a city dweller I see stars, but never have I seen the sky mapped out like this it was like being in a planetarium.

Morning rose and my friends cold had fully taken hold. As the walk was cut early from the previous day due to time and the knowledge we would never walk Y Garn and get to the reservoir  used for Electric Mountain we had decided that this would be battled today as we could always come back and do the horseshoe on another day.

To cut a long walk short, my mate could not go on, and so we changed tact and headed for the car with the promise that we would return to finish the walk at a later date.

Even with this short spell in her magnificent gaze, the love I have for the area is even stronger and the thought of not being able to see or walk in Snowdonia for a year scares me.

This is one truly wonderful place and will remain my special happy place for years to come. North Wales and especially Snowdon always has a place in my heart.

Change of Plan

It’s always good to have a plan B. Lets face it what kind of General would you be if you didn’t have a ‘Plan B’ even shouting the orders to ‘retreat’ is a kind of Plan B.

I once read a book. I have since read several others, but none of the others offer the information to explain the subject of this blog. Sure I could try to use the plot of Jurassic Park except they were not clever enough to have a Plan B as they thought everything would be okay and that was like me on my first Marathon. Hang on, wait a minute… I have just referenced another book to explain my point.

The point is, that in the book I was reading all about Marathons the runner talked about some advice he got from a coach. That tiny bit of advice as seen the way I train and think about races completely change. Within the advice the coach offered, she said always have three times in your head.

Simple really. It explains where I have gone wrong. My first Marathon was like many other people’s. I dreamed of getting around the course within the golden four hours. I didn’t even think about any other times and so when my Garmin read 3:30 at 18 miles I knew I had blown it and with it my sense of caring. I was now just going to finish. At the Manchester 10K when I wanted to break my PB, and saw with a Kilometre to go that this was not going to happen I just slowed down to my Sunday run pace. Time only mattered if it was better than the last.

However when I ran my latest half. I had three times. Sub 1:30, Sub 1:35 and 1:40. The latter I knew I could achieve. When I saw I was not going to do a Sub 1:30 my determination and energy went in to obtaining the 1:35, which as we know paid off. Without these three times in my head I think I may have just slowed and crossed in rather disappointing but still respectful 1:45.

So what has this got to do with my ‘Plan B’ well my marathon , which I have coming up has three times. To break the four-hour time, followed by 3:45 or really trying my luck 3:30. However my training has been a little lax, and my long runs have only been lengthy in terms of the time between me getting my trainers on and running. Not to beat my self up, I would like to say I have done two long runs of 20 miles, and one of 16. But that is not enough and with todays run of a little sneaky speedy 10K and speed session I decided that I should concentrate my efforts on chasing a new 10K PB of sub 40 or a sub 35 and just be happy to complete the marathon course. As long as I come in within 4:15 it will be a new PB and I should be happy with that.

I said to my friend after Snowdon that I would never doing the distance again, but with me going to New Zealand and Manchester being my first, I just had to race it again and while I enjoying running long, I must admit that I think my distance wis the half. I enjoy the way it is long but also fast. 26.2 miles just seems nothing more that a long time on your feet which you have to pace correctly.

So with only five weeks to go, I think I will start on my 10K training and sneak in some long runs just so I can complete the last Marathon I will possibly run in the UK.

Your Passion

Off the usual road that this blog normally follows it has been inspired by a friend who asked on that topical highly viewed and respected for its truth and honesty, well read and admired for its educational and informative angles webpage that is Facebook. Yes as part of her status she asked if people if they had a passion and if so what it was. The reason for asking such a question was not just a mere interest into the psyche of her friends but because she had just watched a film where a passion was involved and was so inspired it made her want to find one.

Now all regular readers could shout out what I would list as passions. Running, Bridges, History, Steam Trains, Heritage, Canals, Castles, Wales. And you’d be right. I quickly added a comment containing ‘Running, Castles, Heritage’

So far this seems like a pointless blog entry, but hey why change tradition. But seriously what is a passion, could any of those listed above really be a passion. I love to run and get very kiddy when I see a castle, I can make my voice go as high as Aled Jones singing ‘The Snowman’ when ever I see a nice bridge or a good mill. But are these passions? I decided to consult the good old English Dictionary.

The meaning (s) are described as thus

noun

  • 1 [mass noun] strong and barely controllable emotion:a man of impetuous passion
  • [in singular] a state or outburst of strong emotion:oratory in which he gradually works himself up into a passion
  • intense sexual love:their all-consuming passion for each other[in singular]:she nurses a passion for Thomas
  • [in singular] an intense desire or enthusiasm for something:the English have a passion for gardens
  • [count noun] a thing arousing great enthusiasm:modern furniture is a particular passion of Bill

So maybe the ones I listed are passions. I do get very excited, and love my running and history. This blog is evidence of that. I’m very enthusiastic on all the subjects I speak about and maybe friends would say I’m passionate about them. However at the end of the day this status made me think. I was all to quick to list the subjects and hobbies that I love or interest me but it was only after when I thought about the true way in which they make me feel. Do I feel passionate about them. Yes I love running and if I can’t run I’m miserable, I love a good castle and would like to be transported back in time to see them in their full glory but does this count as a passion or just admiration and love of a subject. I’m sure they are passions but find my self still questioning myself.

Do any of you lovely people have a passion and if so what is it? Is it important to have a passion?


Getting people running and being beaten to it!!!!

Well I run. We all know that! All we have to do it sift through the pages on the blog to see how much running means to me. The trouble is that other people and by others I am referring to a class of people who I spend several hours with. In simple terms my friends; they do not fully appreciate the running bug. While some have trained with me and have ran the Manchester 10K others can not be bothered or have left there running shoes hiding behind the sofa or scared on a bus doomed for the lost property bin. This may be unfair and is done in jest but I find it hard to get people to train with me. Not because I’m good or quick but because I am always training for some race so have to be strict about the time or length I spend running. But once a week in my schedule I do enjoy a fun run where time and distance are not a factor it’s just getting out there.

I have made it my mission to get people running and not because I care about their health but because I want company on my runs. There’s only so much music you can be forced to listen to on a long run and having some one who you can talk to and keep you company makes the run that all more enjoyable. As running can get lonely and it’s always fun to have some one to share the experience or shake up your routine that you become set in.

Now this is about how I have got one of my friends into running.  I know that this person reads this blog occasionally and might thumb through this post and feel that it is a little one-sided or indeed feels that it is not how it happened. But I’m the story teller so I have control of the events on how I recall them.

Therefore when I talked about running to a recent friend while driving to Wales/Scotland or the Lakes for our 3 peaks weeks he responded by saying he wants to try it, but he gets to out of breath or tired or can’t be bothered. I informed him and he may feel free to correct me here, as I may have imagined this conversation, but I said slow and steady. Run for a bit, walk for a bit. The aim is to run non stop for whatever time but your goal should be to be out there on the street for 20 minutes with running or walking. Then you can build it up and you won’t lose sight of the goal as you won’t be tired from pushing yourself. Three or four runs on he has run 5K in 32 minutes, well some of it walking. it just goes to show that anyone can run, you just need to build your body up to it and being that a large majority of people would be happy with a 30 minute 5K I think well done to him.

The post title refers to him blogging about his achievements before  I can brag about my involvement. But he does mention a friend was one of the driving factors. I like to think that friend was me. And the best part of it, is he is enjoying it so hopefully I will have yet another running partner.

My Longest Run!!!

Today I was going to go running along the canal to my friend’s house who lives out in Oldham. I decided that after yet another fast run the other day to cool it off, as he would have had to been pedalling so slow on his bike he might have fallen off as I wanted to use this long run as training ground to pace myself especially as I now have my trendy new Garmin which enables me to monitor my speed.

My mates in the pub the other night laughed when I spoke about not being able to run slow, there were cries of  ‘God yeah I have that issue running to fast’. Being drinkers I forgave their ignorance as they didn’t really get the idea of pace (both with running and drinking), especially when one said I could run 26.2 miles easily. I’m sure with training and after a couple of halfs (not pints but runs) I will be ready to take on the mother of all runs but for now I am quite content with running my first half and entering a couple of 10K’s each year. However after today’s triumph run I do feel that maybe next year I could enter a full-blown marathon and jog to the finish feeling good, all well be it not in a respectable time but after today’s result of 1hr 20min for ten miles maybe doing it in under 4 hours could be achievable.

A lot of runners like me who take running up to get fit, and see it as a hobby a bit like hiking or mountain  biking often dream to run a 6 or 7 minute mile and keep it up for 5 or 10K. The trouble is I can do this and have always been able to do it. My trouble is slowing down. I have read and been told to pace myself and I should be aiming for a 8-9 minute mile. The trouble is I can’t do it. Not sure why, I feel that I may be walking to fast or taking gentle strides rather than beating the road at any real speed.

But today I decided that the 15 mile run to my mates was too much, and if I wanted to give up, it was unfair on him who had cycled all the way to Manchester, to only have to cycle back to his house on the todd. So I decided I would go it alone around the streets of Manchester, and by god it was good. I started off with a pace of 6 minutes, this slowed to my usual 10K race pace of 7.20 eventually by the 3rd mile I had got it down to 7.60/8.05 but this seemed to make my legs tired almost ache as if they were asking to go faster, I was not striding as much, but this is how I continued until I felt my right foot getting numb and having a sense of pins and needles. With this I strode forward and increased my pace to 6 mins but this was also down hill. I then got back into a gentle pace, as I reached the 8 mile mark, and thought I would call it a day but felt good. My legs were working, my arms were enabling my body to function and pull myself forward and so I ran onto my 5K training route to get to ten miles.

And now I am home. On my travels my watch was a complete star, I do feel that it is helping me to train and pace myself correctly. While it may not feel like you’re running fast, your watch is showing that you are in fact covering a lot of ground.

On my way around I was stopped my a homeless guy who saw my Christie T-shirt with the Great North Run logo and told me what a fantastic job I was doing. He then began trying to give me his spare change. This made me stride forward as I am doing it for myself, but also doing it for others and if some one who has nothing apart from the clothes on his back wished to donate to my cause then it makes any injury or pain I may feel after training worth it, and hopefully will encourage others to donate. Running started of as a way to get fit, and lose the weight. But it has now become my life. I feel fit, free, de-stressed and good about myself. Running is my life and if I can use my past time that I enjoy to help others then why not? And This is why I run races for causes. It makes me happy and raises a little bit of money for people who need it the most.

I’m now back home after icing my foot and doing a good 15 minutes of cooling down, probably not enough I know as I can now feel my calves slowly tighten. But tomorrow is a rest day, and all day monday will be until the evening where a bit of hill sprints are in order to get my fitness and cardio up. I might just go and visit the gym to do some cross training to completely rest my calves from powering me to run.

Well I’m now off to go and eat lots of protein and fill up on my carbohydrate stores and hope that I have over done it.

Should be doing something else!!!

Well I should be watching a dress, but being that it is a lights up and down show both me and director are happy with it, I have decided to take a break from watching it to write this wonderful entry into this most wonderful blog.

Well yesterday I ran 6 miles and thought that would be enough. Partly because I am planning a big run on Saturday with my best mate who will cycle along the canal to give me company but I also stopped at six as I was suppose to be doing a short run this morning with another mate and didn’t want to push myself to hard. Plus my legs were feeling it and I was getting to hot.

As it was he woke up late so we called it off which is just as well as I need to keep my rest days. Especially if I’m now involving long runs. So now I run then rest and then run. Having a long run at the weekend with the others being 4 – 7 miles in length.

While the training is now well and under way, the fundraising is not doing so well.

Oh well better go and start watching the show just in case the light levels or positions of cues do need changing.

Weekend on the A46

Well this weekend was spent drinking and driving. Not together I would like to point out. I don’t even have a shandy or lemonade top when I drive, even when I have several hours between each activity. However with that aside, I carried this two past times of mine out on separate occasions. I was of visiting a very good friend down in Warwickshire.

Now before we go on, I should say that my knowledge of this area, is very limited. the Midlands seems to be a big place, with lots of towns that you’ve heard off, but would never have associated them as being placed in the middle of the country. With all that being said this area of the country seems to lack history. The inventory of the weekend was pretty empty, my hosts struggled to find activities to please my narrow mind, however we soon did find areas of interest, but due to cost I vetoed them.

This blog is all about my weekend, and what I learnt, and what my eyes saw.

The Weekend began picking up my friend who had been up visiting her Mother, and she would play the part of the sat nav. As you may know from other adventures in my car I am not the biggest fan of the M6, north and south bound, however travelling at a nice 60, to increase my MPG, keeping the rev’s under 3000 I enjoyed the drive. The M6 seemed to have disallowed any lorries or idiots on the road, and after two hours we arrived in the village where my friends had relocated to. The First night was spent drinking a box of cider followed by several cans, while watching my favourite of all past times, the wonderful act of comedy. The players were part of the Channel Four Gala, and to be fair, a lot of my comedians failed to feed my appetite for this enjoyable pastime.

With the morning I was treated to a cooked breakfast, and then it was on to decide what the day would bring. Now a lot of people would guess we would head to Warwick Castle, and we would have if it was not for the entry fee, of £36.00. We did find a castle only pass for £16.00 but even for me this was slightly too much to hand over, but we headed to Warwick anyway to have a look around the town. Now the town is very nice and there’s a rather nice church, I was trying to work out how old the church had stood for by looking at the gravestones, but all were dated after the 1800’s. There was however an interesting history with the Church, as it seemed that it use to have windows at ground level, that have now since been bricked up. This brick, looked new, but also looked worn which could suggest the windows being bricked up due the window tax which could date the church back to the 1700’s if not before.

From here, we looked at a possible wedding venue,(my friends are getting wed) which is connected to a later building I saw on my visit, but use to be an old hospital. With the castle being rejected by myself and I can understand some of the shock in reading that. Me rejecting seeing a castle, but even a lover of these buildings, the thought of entering a commercial castle, built for fun and attraction did not appeal, plus I’m a cheap skate. We did however move on to a toy shop, that had model trains at the back of the shop, and lots of discounted engines and carriages. How I wish I had room for my own train layout.

We quickly got back in the car, after I had almost orgasismed  at the train sets and off we set to Coventry. Now my friends did not want to return to this concrete town, as they found it boring with nothing there. I however wanted to experience the cathedral, and boy what a sight. The old bombed ruin stands in equal stance to the 1950’s concrete and coloured glass marvel. The rest of Coventry was nice, I think I have a thing for 50’s and 60’s architecture, especially when it is mixed in with that of Tudors or other classic designs.

Now we had already been to Coventry once today, as the first visit on the list of my friend’s place of work to see his theatre. I did joke that there really most be nothing to do, if we are sight-seeing a university, that is called Warwick, but is actually in Coventry. Luckily I don’t think they do a degree in geography.

Now while in Coventry I did spot a castle, an old style Motte and Bailey, I have included a picture of the evidence so you can all see the proof, and wonder why I got so excited by a patch of grass with nothing on it.

We then headed to the transport museum, which is really a car museum, or history of the motoring vehicle as opposed to a transport museum which I told them so on the feed back form. “Where were the trains, and canal boats” I wrote. However apart from seeing the land speed record-breaking car, and the Chopper, my first bike that I learnt to ride on… actually thinking about it I could have learnt on the Chipper??!!??, anyway apart from that there were two interesting pieces. The old style cars from the early 1900’s were good, but what was better was the old buses, and the double-decker bus test. I did not know this, but every bus is tilt tested to 28 degrees, to make sure it doesn’t fall. It’s little things like this, and my love of concrete modern towns and Castles that will help me remain single.

From Coventry we retired back to my friend’s home, and had Chinese, which took an age to get. Other people were coming into the shop, and getting their food orders quicker than us.

The next day we went to Stratford, to see a mutual good friend and their new addition to the family. There eldest had a Brio Train Set, which kept me entertained, along with the giant pop up book and touch and feel books.

We moved on to a castle, a castle that we walked around, but weren’t allowed in, even tho my friend had a sticker from when he last visited, he refused to hand it over for me to sneak in. Next time I’m going in as reading about Kenilworth its full of history, from Normans, to Tudors, through to the Civil war, and the reigns of the Georges, including the Lord who built the hospital in Warwick. It also looked immense, and extremely impressive.

After that there was just the very nice Sunday Lunch, with home-made gravy, and plenty of Coach Trip and Made in Chelsea which I feel my friend may now be hooked to as well.

The drive home was just as pleasant, a little bit rainy, but again, I did 60 m.p.h and got home in good time. In reflection it seems that Warwickshire is home to history, and a lot of Tudor houses for some reason and plenty of driving on the A46. But I didn’t go down to sight see. Well I did want some castles, canals, and trains, but I achieved the main purpose of the trip, and that was to spend time, and catch up with one of my best mates.