Greatness doesn’t need a starter pistol. #findgreatness
Monthly Archives: July 2012
When I signed up for the 10K run and sponsorship for Alzheimer's Society I decided to buy a charity branded tee shirt to race in. I didn't realise I would be sent one just before the race so I will eventually have two. Not to worry though as the cost of the shirt goes towards the charity.
My shirt arrived today so I decided to give it it's inaugural run this evening along with some compression shorts I bought at Nike yesterday.
I was really self conscious about wearing them (compression shorts are the same type Linford Christie is famous for – well they made his lunchbox famous). Anyway I don't think I had anything to worry about as my new top is quite long and hides my modesty.
I am not sure that's strictly true though as I was conscious I was wearing them and ran faster when I was amongst members of the public! Maybe compression shorts are designed to make you self conscious and run faster :). They seemed to do the trick though, I had a comfortable run and felt pretty much pain free through the run this evening.
Again I ran without the coach and set myself a 30 minute target. I did a 5 minute warm up walk then several fast runs and a longer steady run towards the end of the 30 minutes.
I managed 4.8k this evening and am really happy with this. I think I will keep this duration this week on my other runs to see how I do uncoached and to see how I push myself over the same time. Again not bad given I've been absent from running for a while.
I am really happy with tonight progress especially as I am now walking to work from Liverpool Street as I am avoiding public transport whilst the Olympics are on. This adds an additional 4k walking during each day. I could run it but it's a challenge walking in London with the crowds, I'd be too frustrated to run (and at 2k each way it's not really far enough).
My Alzheimer's Society sponsorship total is at £485.00 – many many thanks to all who have contributed so far. Please pop by my Just Giving page and make a donation. Anything you can give will help incentivise me and will go towards all the excellent work the charity provides for sufferers of Dementia and Alzheimer's and of course the support they provide to their families and loved ones.
Best of luck to the cutest boy to come out of Plymouth since Richard and I!
Seriously though I’d like to wish Tom Daley and all his team mates in Team GB the very best for the Olympic Games.
I also want to say a big hello to Liam Heath as I know Em is missing you and very excited that her number one fella is competing in the 2012 games.
After a 10 day sabbatical from running due to contracting Tonsillitis, I am now back to pounding the streets of Colchester.
The break from running has given me the opportunity to realise that I am indeed doing this for fun and I should not get wrapped up in stats, pace, speed etc. I had a conversation with two good friends (both runners) about this yesterday and they completely echoed this sentiment.
This morning I decided to leave the coaching app off and simply set Nike+ Running to count 25 minutes and tell me whenever I had a completed a 5 minute interval. This enabled me to hear how far into the run I was and it also ensured that if I was tired I would slow down and if I felt I had the energy I would put some more power into the run.
I feel I did very well considering I have had a break from running and that I couldn’t breath or swallow a little over a week ago!
In little over 25 minutes I managed to clear nearly 4K.
And yes I did go out for a run at 6:40 am
My Alzheimer’s Society sponsorship fund is at £485.00 – many many thanks to all who have contributed so far. Please pop by my Just Giving page and make a donation. Anything you can give will help incentives me and will go towards all the excellent work the charity provides for sufferers of Dementia and Alzheimer’s and of course the support they provide to their families and loved ones.
Today will forever be logged in my memory as one of those days I will never forget and it very nearly didn’t happen.
After two failed attempts to get off the ground on my hot air balloon trip and a bout of tonsillitis (and the horrible effects of the antibiotics), I have finally managed to take off.
I was almost (but not completely) certain it would happen today as the weather report forecast balmy summer conditions, no wind – in fact the warmest day of the year.
I will only admit I was nervous and a little bit worried about how I’d fair in the sky seeing as I was still recovering but I needn’t have worried.
My departure was moved from Colchester due to the wind and we took off from Blake House Craft Center which is near Braintree and about 50 minutes away. That meant an even earlier start as I had to be at registration before 6 am.
Sadly Richard could not join me as he had work commitments so I drove myself to the flight location and met up with the rest of my fellow passengers.
The balloon was quite substantial and the basket holds 16 people. There were 15 of us flying today (plus Richard the pilot – had to stop myself from chuckling that our Virgin Balloon pilot was called Richard). This meant the compartment I was in only had 3 of us instead of the usual 4 as I was travelling solo.
I met lots of lovely people today but have to say a special hello to Ashley and Dennis. They were a fun, polite couple and we shared the same section of the basket.
This gave me an opportunity to chat to someone mid-flight and we were all avid photographers so we happily snapped one another to ensure we had enough photos of ourselves in flight. We’ve exchanged email addresses and I look forward to seeing their photos.
The flight was simply amazing. I was worried about the security of the basket, the space etc and I had nothing to fear. The basket is a decent size and there’s room to rest on the basket, kneel or sit down.
Following a safety briefing we were asked to help set the balloon up. We all expanded the canopy on the ground and I volunteered to help with the set up. I was in charge of one of the fans and had to deactivate it when there was enough hot air in the balloon.
I knew the fan was going to be loud but I wasn’t quite prepared for the heat from the burners. The balloon filled up rapidly and before we knew it it was upright and we were asked to climb on board.
A final check everyone was happy to fly and we were off… I think there was a collective nervousness when the guide rope was removed but we needn’t have worried. The balloons lift off was absolutely effortless and before we knew it we were meters of the ground and starting to soar higher and higher.
I started at the corner of the basket and apart from the heat of the burner (in the corner you’re not shielded by the burners), you got the best view as I was able to browse the view below on two sides.
It’s a shame we didn’t take off at Colchester as I would have loved to have seen our adopted home from the air but the views from Braintree were stunning.
People don’t believe you when you tell them that Essex is a beautiful county. We glided across open fields, arable fields of wheat and passed over the tops of trees, lakes and rivers. At one stage the balloon was chased by a dog who was intent on barking us down to the ground!
We could quite literally see for miles and we passed over the top of a couple of villages, we saw Stanstead airport in the distance and towards the end of our flight we saw another balloon taking off on the far horizon.
There was only one point where we felt any breeze and our pilot had taken us into it to slow us down. It was odd to feel as the whole experience had been very serene and still. If you didn’t look directly down there would be points where you would believe you weren’t actually moving.
Yes the basket is open to the elements and we all joked about loosing caps, glasses and cameras over the side of the basket but it felt perfectly safe and natural to be floating above Essex. It was quite liberating and I thought the whole experience was quite wonderful.
Sadly a couple people had a touch of vertigo and one girl was nearly sick over the side but I didn’t feel any side effects (which was the case for most of us).
We flew across farms and fields for a good hour before our pilot started to look for a safe spot to land. He admittedly avoids landing in farmland as it costs the farmers money when crops are damaged. Richard let out a happy shrill when he saw an approaching cricket pitch and we headed for it.
It seemed that we came down quite quickly but you hardly noticed it. We were all asked to sit in the basket and hold guide ropes for the landing and before you knew it we were back on the ground. We did bounce on the pitch once and then immediately stopped upright. I was amazed as I had thought the basket may have been dragged along and tipped over as I have seen this in films so often.
The canopy was vented to let the hot air out and we were soon enveloped within it. We were allowed to leave the basket and set upon working together to help fold the balloon up. Imagine trying to deflate and pack up a very large inflatable mattress and you’ll have an idea of what a task this was.
Richard and his crew gave us excellent help and guidance and we managed to fold up the balloon and help get it onto the trailer in a short space of time. Even with 20 of us helping it was hard work and we were all covered in morning dew and cuttings from the cricket pitch.
A local resident decided to complain about us landing on their cricket pitch but our crew handled the cranky old maid swiftly and professionally.
We were treated to a glass of champagne/bucks fizz/juice and offered the chance to purchase the group photo which was taken mid-flight (digital camera on a scaffolding pole with a fish eye lens which is operated with a remote). My cheque is in the post as I’d love to have this as a keep sake.
We were all presented with certificates signed by Richard Branson and then we got on a coach to take us back to our starting point and our cars! I did a sat nav check on my iPhone and we had flown 7 – 8 miles during our hour-long flight.
I had a truly wonderful day and I am so very lucky to have been given such a wonderful Christmas present from Richard.
I’m really glad my company didn’t sponsor the Olympics. My life is already filled with too much of this kind of twoddle: Thanks for the nod on this one Enda!
Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.
- William Faulkner
This isn’t a running update because I have not been running since Tuesday evening. As I mentioned I had a sore throat when I ran and felt the run was particularly hard. This is simply because now know that I have tonsillitis :(I spent Tuesday night trying to breath and not being able to swallow. The back of my throat was raw and it meant a trip to the doctors.
A couple of days in and I am still laid up with this damn bug. The worst thing is I had my tonsils removed when I was in my early twenties but the illness still continues to plague me.
This all means my running has been put on hold because all I have managed this week is to sleep. Whenever I get out of bed or try to talk my throat closes over and I am fighting for breath – this is not fun and as a result I have not been at work since Tuesday either
I have been thinking about my running and have to remind myself that I took this up for fun. Yes I have signed up for the MoRunning 10K in November but I shouldn’t let this get to me.
Friends and fellow runners have offered me some excellent advice as I do appear to be getting to hung up on the stats and my pace. I should simply go out to run and to enjoy myself and most of the time I do.
Apps like the Get Running one are great as they have coached me in very little time to run nearly 30 minutes complete without stopping in under 8 weeks. This is amazing and I am sure I would not have managed this on my own. I should however not get hung up on them and should as much as possible just hit the road for fun.
I do want to properly plan for my 10K but am not sure whether an app or simply a plan is sufficient to ensure I am in good shape on the 25th November.
I’m pretty sure Enda, Janice and Jonathan won’t mind if I am not at Olympic standard – I am pretty sure we’re all joining in for the camaraderie and the fun. Thankfully the first organised 10K I have picked to do is fairly light-hearted and doesn’t take itself seriously (thanks for the tips on that Paul and Enda).
I note that it’s that time of the month and wanted to remind you that as you have been paid (or are about to be paid), that you please put your hand in your pocket and sponsor me for Alzheimer’s Society.
This is a charity that deserves all the support it can get and you can find out why I am running on their behalf on my sponsorship page.
You don’t have to be in the UK to sponsor – anyone can sponsor me and I honestly don’t mind how much you give – just give what you can.
I am running in the Mo Running 10K at Greenwich Park on the 25th November and as you can see from the following video, it doesn’t take itself too seriously:
It may seem odd to ask for sponsorship but why not? At least you won’t forget and the more I raise now will give me an ever greater incentive with my training.
You can keep up with my training on this blog and I plan to update you as often as I can.
I am sure I will be back on my feet in no time and hopefully pounding the tarmac once again.