Free The Folksworth 15!

The Folksworth 15 could be a group fitted up and wrongly imprisoned in the 1970s for a crime against tractors. “Free The Folksworth 15!” chanted no righteous crowd ever. You know that in a better reality, that would absolutely have happened.

A brief race review. The race is excellent as long as you arrive in plenty of time and don’t have to park at the bottom of that hill at 14 miles. To be fair, the organisers lay on cars to get runners to the race HQ and back to the distant car parks after the race. I thought I would be able to get closer than that given that I arrived in Folksworth just after 10:00am. I got to race HQ to pick up my number 40 minutes later. I left the HQ with eight minutes to get to the start three quarters of a mile away. Thank God it was downhill all the way.

My own performance was poor. I was ticking along at just over 8:15 a mile for the first lap. My lungs were a little affected by the cold air so I wasn’t going to go much faster. My calf began to cramp after a couple of miles but that didn’t slow me down much. It got worse as I went round the first lap. I was wearing my inov-8 racing flats. I love them but they don’t half take it out of your legs. They’re zero-drop and now have no cushioning in them at all. I don’t think I have worn them since last spring and it was definitely a bit ambitious wearing them today.

My calf got tighter and tighter and I pulled up just before leaving Folksworth on the second lap. I stretched it out a bit as a marshal checked I was okay. I walked back up the hill to the HQ and saw chums running down past me, gathered my bag from the drop and got changed into warm clothing before heading back to my car. I saw more chums looking strong heading for the finish in their final mile. Congratulations to all of them for a lot of proper performances.

I don’t think my heart was really in it today. That my calf was sore gave me an excuse to stop. Sometimes races are like that. It was a glorious day for a long run on some soft trails. I just had something else to do instead.

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Pants, Porridge and an Emergency Jelly Baby

It’s been a while since my last PB and I am not inclined to put this one down to some of Dave Brailsford’s marginal gains. No, I’m giving the credit for today’s result at the Buntingford 10 to my lucky pants, some PB porridge and a last-minute jelly baby out on the course. Given the choice between the application of science (in some form) and good old-fashioned afflete’s superstition, I will personally go with the superstition eight and a bit times out of ten.

There is a lot to be said for the Train Hard, Rock Up, Run Like Fuck school of running. Do the training and trust in it, relax on race day then run like you couldn’t care less about the result. My training has been lackadaisical at best but I have been inspired by the athletes in the Cambridge Half Marathon Support Group. If you want to get your arse in gear to train, then just arrange a session and make sure you get there. I’ve skipped reps, missed a couple of sessions completely through work and frankly struggled to keep up with the group but they are brilliant, endlessly enthusiastic and boundlessly supportive.

It can be hard to relax on race day. It helps if you’re prepared. I am not always well prepared. I was in bed and reading early last night (a history of the Holy Roman Empire, if you’re interested) and up early to have breakfast this morning. PB porridge is just porridge. It becomes PB porridge after the fact. Quite a lot of selection bias going on here but I don’t care. This is not about marginal gains, it’s about oats and milk and water and a bit of salt and some blueberries and maple syrup to serve. The only marginal gains here are to my body weight.

Speaking of which, strictly observe the Two Poo Rule before a big race. It’s a marginal loss I’m willing to make. It’s also easier to relax with empty bowels. TMI? Sorry. So, one poo at home and another in the loos at race HQ.

Into my lucky race shorts (five seconds a mile, at least) and club vest (worth another five to ten seconds a mile), second favourite race shoes on my feet because my favourite race shoes have no grip left on the soles and this can be a slippery race for a tarmac one. I know I’m being superstitious here but I’m not sodding suicidal. Favourite Saltire Buff round my neck and I’m more or less ready to go.

Sometimes ambition exceeds ability by a terrifying amount and you’re chundering in some bushes with three miles to go. On the whole though it’s good sometimes to go for it even if you’re not entirely sure you can hold the pace. I was a bit conservative for the first few miles and went through half way in 39:30. It was inside PB pace and all the hard climbs bar the final one were out of the way. I had my gel before five miles because I was wilting a bit on the long, slow drag up there. I felt a lot better after that and pushed on a bit. When I began to suffer again after eight miles there was a spectator distributing jelly babies on the edge of Aspenden. I scooped one up and popped it in my mouth. I barely started chewing it before I had to spit it out. I couldn’t breathe properly at all. I am just one of those men who can’t run and chew jelly babies.

The course has a real sod of a finish. The final mile is uphill and the finishing straight goes on and on and on and on and on and then just when you think it’s nearly over it starts to go on and on and on and on again. I like to think that whoever laid the course out is a genial soul who got the evil out of his or her soul by devising devising that finish. The genial soul in charge today was Steve Smith who was standing at the top of that sodding hill giving everyone a huge welcome home.

So, I crossed the line in 1:18:00 in 149th place, 30th MV50. Conditions today were perfect which made things easier. The entire Royston Runners crew were supporting us and also making things easier. They give so much positive energy to the runners that they’re also worth more than some of Dave Brailsford’s marginal gains. My thanks to them.

Nice bit of bling too.

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Jingle Mile 2018

Cambridge University Athletics Track

1 December 2018

Jingle Mile Round 1

PositionNameTime
1Maria Buczak05:42
2Alex Wright06:05
3Andrew Lightfoot06:07
4Charlie Ritchie06:08
5Richard Caton06:18
6Ben Chamberlain06:25
7Daniel Caton06:27
8Jon Marsh06:28
9Sam Johnson06:36
10Dom McIntyre06:43
11Lee Radley06:43
12Jo Rickert06:50
13Lucy Johnson06:55

Jingle Mile Round 2

PositionNameTime
1Peter Bennett06:10
2Chris Walton06:14
3Sebastian Bennett06:52
4Suzy Tautz07:03
5Sarah Williams07:08
6Lucas Zakrzewski07:14
7Helen Walden07:53

Jingle Mile Round 3

PositionNameTime
1Lorna Gold 07:18
2Ashley Walden07:59
3Caroline Zakrzewski08:07
4Pauline Blake08:30
5Clare Bacchus08:34
6Ros Bodi09:12
7Louise Pryor09:14
8Helen Johnson09:18
9Pamela Abbott10:19
10Bethan Morgan13:32

800m

PositionNameFetchandle
1Maria Buczak02:38
2Andrew Lightfoot02:44
3Charlie Ritchie02:50
4Chris Walton02:56
5Ben Chamberlain03:09
6Jo Rickert03:19
7Chris Hurcomb03:24
8Lorna Gold03:33
9Sarah Williams03:35
Grace Albury (Mile Round 4)08:52

400m Heat 1

AthleteIDNameTime
1Lucy Johnson01:15.8
2Alex Wright01:16.2
3Sam Johnson01:18.8
4Chris Walton01:19.7
5Ben Chamberlain01:29.5
6Chris Hurcomb01:31.3
7Helen Walden01:31.6

400m Heat 2

AthleteIDNameTime
1Dan Caton01:06.6
2Andrew Lightfoot01:12.2
3Richard Caton01:12.8
4Peter Bennett01:17.6
5Jon Marsh01:18.6
6Sebastian Bennett01:24.9
7Dom McIntyre01:28.1
8Lucas Zakrzewski01:35.2
9Sarah Williams01:37.1
10Lorna Gold01:38.5
11Caroline Zakrzewski01:44.6

4x100m Mince Pie Relay

AthleteIDName
1Bennett/Bennett/Caton/Caton
2Wright/Walden/Walden/Walton
3Williams/Lightfoot/Rickart/Buczak
4Ritchie/Waite/Chamberlain/Unsworth
5Bond/Gold/Albury/McIntyre
6Abbott/Johnson/Zakrzewski/Morgan

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Jingle Mile VI – The Return of the Fetchi

Cambridge University Sports Ground

Wilberforce Road

2 December 2017

Huge thanks to the timekeepers, judges, volunteers and unofficials: Diane Potter, Chris Hurcomb, Rachel Leah, Ian Williams, Kate Williams, Charlie Ritchie and anyone else who stood and cheered and yelled “Ding, ding, ding” because I forgot to get a bell again.

Results below.

Jingle Mile Round 1

Position Name Time
1 Lucas Zakrzewski 07:55
2 Amos Roney 07:56
3 Graham Boswell 07:58
4 Caroline Zakrzewski 08:11
5 Diane Card 08:15
6 Terri Sains 08:25
7 Dave Mail (Pacer) 08:27
8 Glenn Richer 08:31
9 Cheryl Boswell 08:38
10 Laura Coates 08:40
11 Ros Bodi 08:58
12 Louise Pryor 09:00
13 Bernie Shannon 09:00
DNS Sue Potts
DNS Helen Gardner
DNS Helen Johnson
DNS Pauline Blake
DNS Greg Potts

Jingle Mile Round 2

Position Name Time
1 Lucy Johnson 06:50
2 Colm Crowley 06:50
3 Anna Duch 06:55
4 Tracy Crowley 07:12
5 Rachel Morgan 07:19
6 Wayne Hargreaves 07:20
7 Andy Unsworth 07:27
8 Graham Boswell 07:31
9 Bernie Shannon 07:50
DNS Julia Sudbury

Jingle Mile Round 3

Position Name Time
1 Maria Buczak 05:53
2 Chris Poole 06:00
3 Neil Coates 06:02
4 Chris Walton 06:03
5 Cliff Weatherup 06:03
6 Ben Chamberlain 06:12
7 Isabelle Lemasson 06:17
8 Dave Mail 06:38
DNS Rachel Leah
DNS Lee Radley
DNS David Mould
DNS Scott White

Jingle Mile Round 4

Position Name Time
1 Istvan Jacso 05:00
2 Charlie Wartnaby 05:13
3 Alex Murkett 05:20
4 Ben Capper 05:29
5 Rob Moir 05:30
6 William Howling 05:36

The Turkeys’ Escape and Evasion 800m

Position Name Time
1 Ben Capper 02:39
2 Chris Poole 02:48
3 Ben Chamberlain 02:48
4 Neil Coates 02:53
5 Chris Walton 02:53
6 Cliff Wetherup 02:53
7 Isabelle Lemasson 03:04
8 Anna Duch 03:14
9 Bernie Shannon 03:19
10 Wayne Hargreaves 03:19
11 Rachel Morgan 03:21
12 Graham Boswell 03:28
13 Diane Card 03:50
14 Glenn Richer 04:00
15 Cheryl Boswell 04:14

The Hurtbox of Crackers 400m

Position Name Time
1 Alex Murkett 00:59
2 Ben Capper 01:06
3 Lucy Johnson 01:12
4 Chris Poole 01:13
5 Chris Walton 01:18
6 Ben Chamberlain 01:19
7  Isabelle Lemasson 01:20
8 Neil Coates 01:21
9 Colm Crowley 01:22
10 Anna Duch 01:24
11 Rachel Morgan 01:26
12 Bernie Shannon 01:32
13 Tracy Crowley 01:34
14 Andy Unsworth 01:39
15 Lucas Zakrzewski 01:41
16 Diane Card 01:46

4x100m Mince Pie Relay

Position Team Name Members Time
1 Chris Poole, Bernie Shannon, Maria Buczak, Rafik Jallad 01:02.6
2 Ben Capper, Alex Murkett, Amos Roney, Rob Moir 01:03.0
3 Laura Coates, Neil Coates, Chris Walton, Lucy Johnson 01:03.9
4 Tracy Crowley, Colm Crowley, Diane Card, Caroline Zakrzewski 01:12.6
5 Ben Chamberlain, Istvan Jacso, Anna Duch, Isabelle Lemasson 01:13.0
6 Graham Boswell, Cheryl Boswell, Wayne Hargreaves, Rachel Morgan 01:16.7

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A Ball Of String

“Knowledge equals power, power equals energy, energy equals matter, and matter equals mass. And mass distorts space. It distorts a library into polyfractal L-space. So, while the Dewey system has its fine points, when you’re setting out to look something up in the multidimensional folds of L-space what you really need is a ball of string.”

Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!

I have a ball of string. I have several of them. They’re not actually mine, in as much as I went to a shop, asked the nice assistant for a ball of string, took the ball of string from the nice assistant and handed over money in exchange for it. No, my dearly beloved wife did that at least twice to my certain knowledge because there is a ball of string on the bookcase in the hall and another in the conservatory and that dearly beloved wife of mine is no string thief. No, she would have paid for any string in the house.

It’s just about possible that Kick the Cat would have stolen the string and brought it back like she once did with a chicken carcass and a sausage still warm from someone else’s barbeque but she showed no real interest in balls of string when they weren’t being dangled in front of her. Then, she would playfully eviscerate anyone foolish enough to toy with her in such an obvious way and leave the string unravelled over their twitching corpse.

So this ball of string, what is it for and why am I writing about it when I really should be describing great deeds of heroic heroism at the county champs this afternoon? Really, it’s displacement activity. I had yet another DNF today. The calf injury which I picked up over Christmas and which has stopped me running since the Ely New Year’s Eve 10k last week had subsided to the point I could contemplate racing today. I thought that I would start gently, see how I felt at the end of the first lap and push on if I could. It turned out that I couldn’t even get to the end of the second lap and pulled out.

I shouldn’t have started, really. I was certain that I had entered via our C&C website but I didn’t feature on the list of runners which Ric circulated. He got me in when it really shouldn’t have been possible (for which many, many thanks) so I felt obliged to turn up and give it a go. I was right at the back of the field when I dropped out. There were maybe half a dozen runners behind me. That didn’t bother me in the slightest. Today was about getting round and having a play on the course while the the young, the beautiful and the speedy mixed it up at the front.

C&C runners took all three places in the Senior Men’s race. Well done to Jeppers, Sullivan and Chris for that. I was the last of the C&C team on the course at the point I stopped. The pain was too great and I didn’t think it was worth hobbling round for another half hour just to give Richard or Megan more work to do. My stupidity and ambition has already given them quite enough to do.

The ball of string also gives me licence to talk about the quotation from Guards! Guards! above. There is another one along the lines of a bookshop being a cultured black hole which has learned to read. Something like that, anyway.

Words are important. Pratchett knew that. We all know that. You don’t need to be one of the modern world’s wittier writers to know that words have power. What you say, when you say it, to whom you say it and how you say it are all really important. It’s probably the subject for another blog post because I’m thinking now about John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word… and no good will come of that in the context of a race report on a DNF and a really sore Achilles.

I want to talk about the power of words to help and heal and to pull down and destroy but that’s definitely a different post for another day. I’ve already touched on it several times in other posts here and on Farcebollocks. I think I’ll close for now because I’m eagerly anticipating whatever Anne is conjuring in the kitchen from the mince she’s defrosted. Mince is Scottish soul food. It has healing properties greater even than porridge. Neil and Katie will be pleased to hear that the #porridgereport is back on Twitter and who knows, there may even be a #mincereport on occasion too.


(For those unfamiliar with the #porridgereport, today it was blueberries, flaked almonds and maple syrup. Good creamy consistency. Satisfying quantity.)

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Jingle Mile 2016

Jingle Mile Round 1
1 Lorraine Reeves 0:07’58
2 Pauline Blake 0:08’14
3 Jane O’Callaghan 0:08’14
4 Hazel Thornton 0:08’45
5 Cheryl Boswell 0:08’59
6 Liz Cox 0:09’03
7 Rachael Scrimgeour 0:09’04
8 Laura Coates 0:09’09
9 Linda Crook 0:09’11
10 Brian Judkin 0:09’14
11 Sylvia Jones 0:09’16
12 Sue Potts 0:09’52
13 Sandra Acton 0:13’52
————————————————————————
Jingle Mile Round 2
1 Mike DiFranco 0:07’38
2 Megan Cox 0:07’49
3 Jen Richardson 0:07’59
4 Roger Courtney 0:08’19
5 Greg Potts 0:08’25
6 Glenn Richer 0:08’36
7 Lucy Johnson 0:09’00
8 Hope Hutchison 0:09’01
————————————————————————
Jingle Mile Round 3
1 Chris Tautz 0:05’45
2 Angus Hutchison 0:05’46
3 Suzy Tautz 0:06’15
4 Neil Coates 0:06’31
5 Mike Bull 0:06’46
6 Jay Bailey 0:06’49
7 Colm Crowley 0:06’59
8 Tracy Crowley 0:07’07
9 Andy Unsworth 0:07’28
10 Lynn Christison 0:07’36
11 Paul Nicholls 0:07’41
12 Jane O’Callaghan 0:07’46
13 Paul Beastall 0:07’46
14 Debs White 0:07’46
————————————————————————
Jingle Mile Round 4
1 Dan Kitchie 0:05’46
2 Darren Clerkin 0:05’47
3 Maria Buczak 0:05’51
4 Rob Moir 0:05’56
5 Sophie Kelly 0:06’00
6 Scott White 0:06’01
7 Ben Chamberlain 0:06’03
8 Chris Poole 0:06’05
9 Henry Morrison 0:06’15
10 Rafik Jallad 0:06’16
11 Richard Caton 0:06’19
12 Jonathan Marsh 0:06’20
13 Katie Leach 0:06’28
14 Lee Radley 0:06’33
15 Graham Boswell 0:06’34
16 Peter Morrison 0:06’40
17 Noel Jones 0:06’50
18 Helen Walden 0:07’11
————————————————————————
Jingle Mile Round 5
1 Ben Jones 0:05’24
2 Alexander Marsh 0:05’33
3 Maija Kozlova 0:05’39
4 Ian Richardson 0:05’39
5 Jason Wing 0:05’43
6 Trev Nicholl 0:05’46
7 Nicola McBride 0:06’09
8 Ashley Walden 0:06’48
————————————————————————
800m
1 Ben Jones 0:02’37
2 Scott White 0:02’43
3 Dan Kitchie 0:02’45
4 Chris Poole 0:02’47
5 Ben Chamberlain 0:02’55
6 Henry Morrison 0:02’56
7 Peter Morrison 0:02’58
8 Neil Coates 0:03’00
9 Suzy Tautz 0:03’01
10 Mike DiFranco 0:03’19
11 Megan Cox 0:03’33
12 Lynn Christison 0:03’39
13 Paul Nicholls 0:03’40
14 Rafik Jallad 0:03’44
————————————————————————
400m Round 1
1 Trev Nicholl 0:01’11
2 Henry Morrison 0:01’18
3 Paul Nicholls 0:01’27
4 Ashley Walden 0:01’29
5 Andy Unsworth 0:01’35
————————————————————————
400m Round 2
1 Angus Hutchison 0:01’09
2 Rob Moir 0:01’11
3 Chris Poole 0:01’11
4 Daniel Kitchie 0:01’14
5 Peter Morrison 0:01’16
6 Scott White 0:01’19
7 Ben Chamberlain 0:01’22
8 Sandra Acton 0:02’45
————————————————————————
200m Round 1
1 Connor Cox 0:00’29
2 Angus Hutchison 0:00’30
3 Chris Tautz 0:00’30
4 Daniel Kitchie 0:00’31
5 Jonathan Marsh 0:00’34
6 Ben Chamberlain 0:00’37
7 Noel Jones 0:00’39
8 Tracy Crowley 0:00’40
9 Megan Cox 0:00’41
————————————————————————
200m
1 Rafik Jallad 0:00’28
2 Maria Buczak 0:00’30
3 Henry Morrison 0:00’32
4 Peter Morrison 0:00’32
5 Chris Poole 0:00’33
6 Paul Nicholls 0:00’35
7 Helen Walden 0:00’37
8 Greg Potts 0:00’40
————————————————————————
4 x 100m Mince Pie Relay
DQ Jallad, Kitchie, Moir, Poole 0:01’05
DQ Hutchison, N Jones, Kelly, Buczak 0:01’06
DQ P Morrison, H Morrison, Bull, Wing 0:01’09
1 C Crowley, T Crowley, Acton, Clerkin 0:01’09
DQ Nicholls, G Potts, H Walden, A Walden 0:01’12
DQ S White, D White, Chamberlain, DiFranco 0:01’16
DQ Unsworth, N Coates, L Coates, B Jones 0:01’16
DQ L Cox, M Cox, Bull, Wing 0:01’17
DQ Leach, Bailey, Thornton, Scrimgeour 0:01’34
————————————————————————

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Jingle Mile IV – A New Hope

Heat 1

1 Paul Aste (4:54)

2 Lee Pretlove (4:57)

3 Kevin O’Holleran (5:06)

4 Ben Jones (5:19)

5 Alex Wright (5:28)

6 Grant Chapman (5:30)

7 Ian Richardson (5:37)

8 Graeme Inglis (5:48)

9 Dan Kitchie (5:52)

10 James Adams (5:52)

11 Richard Staley (5:52)

12 Chris Poole (6:12)

Heat 2

1 Richard Fay (5:30)

2 Scott White (5:55)

3 Sam Lewsey (5:59)

4 Rob Moir (6:01)

5 Lizzie Bennett (6:03)

6 Jonathan Escalante-Phillips (6:03)

7 Chris Hurcomb (6:10)

8 Steve Bland (6:18)

9 Ben Chamberlain (6:28)

10 Dave Mail (6:29)

11 Kat Hymers (6:31)

12 Diane Potter (6:54)

Round 3

1 Kevin Stigwood (6:33)

2 Chris Walton (6:49)

3 Lee Radley (6:49)

4 Catherine Wright (6:51)

5 Graham Boswell (6:53)

6 Rachael Leah (6:58)

7 Noel Jones (6:59)

8 Graham Holmes (7:15)

Heat 4

1 Liz O’Donovan (7:20)

2 Jason Mundin (7:26)

3 Gill Mundin (7:31)

4 Hope Hutchison (7:36)

5 Julia DeCesare (7:40)

6 Lynn Christison (7:42)

7 Karen Richardson (8:28)

Round 5

1 Cheryl Boswell (8:53)

2 Glenn Richer (9:13)

3 Linda Crook (9:14)

4 Ros Bodi (9:19)

5 Paul Beastall (9:29)

6 Helen Johnson (9:30)

7 Sylvia Jones (9:34)

8 Michelle Finnegan (9:54)

9 Gemma Underwood (11:13)

The Mince Pie 4 x 100m Relay

1 Ben Jones, Debs White, Richard Fay, Lee Pretlove (59.0)

2 Noel Jones, James Adams, Graham Holmes, Chris Walton (64.9)

3 Scott White, Dan Kitchie, Richard Staley, Chris Hurcomb (68.3)

4 Julia DeCesare, Rachael Leah, Gill Mundin, Jason Mundin (69.2)

5 Jonathan Escalante-Phillips, Kevin O’Holleran, Lynn Christison, Kat Hymers (72.5)

6 Kevin Stigwood, Graham Boswell, Grant Chapman, Cheryl Boswell (74.8)

 

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A Webble Post

This is going to come as a shock to some of you but I do try to exercise some kind of quality control over what appears in this blog. It’s not all just stream of consciousness swearing and yearning for a better running experience. I’ve written something most Sunday evenings since the last post appeared and binned each of them because every one of them was drivel. The internet is full enough of shite as it is without me making it any worse.

It’s been weeks since I’ve written anything I’ve been happy with and it might be weeks again before anything else appears. I have inklings of another project but I don’t have enough time to do it justice. I’ve even bought a couple of new internet domains for the websites I’m going to have to build for them.

I have been thinking about things. I have been wondering why blogs are called blogs and not webbles. Maybe webble posts wouldn’t have caught on in quite the same way. Other people lack my whimsy after all. You could then have moved into other media with viddles instead of vlogs. Vlogs sound like something the baddies in a Douglas Adams novel would leave in an overflowing toilet bowl.

See, I’ve saved the quality ruminations for you tonight.

I remembered something about about an American state legislature in the Nineteenth Century which declared that pi was 4 and not 3.14159265359 etc and then I became distracted by pie. Homer Simpson lives. My butterfly mind flitted on.

What if we had coypus instead of cats? #Coypuday on Twitter would be hilarious. Grumpy Coypu. Think about it. They have huge orange front teeth. They’re a dentist’s screaming nightmare, the antidote to all those toothpaste ads I hate.

Would you run through mud more quickly in bare feet than in knobbly shoes? I hate cleaning my running shoes after a muddy run but feet are easy to wash and come up as good as new unless you’ve been running through Dovedale. I did the Dovedale Dash for the first time last weekend and I think the mud will still be there should I go to the race again next year.

I’m going to stop there because I’ve thrown away more tonight than I’ve published here and I’m not convinced that what I’ve published is really worth reading. I just wanted to justify having the webble  in the first place.

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What I Swear About When I Swear About Running

My legs fucking ache. I mean they’re sore, sorry, tired, wee twigs of nothing much at all other than embarrassment. This morning’s Wimpole 10k Hoohaah was hard work on a warm and breezy morning. The climbs took whatever little oomph I had in my wet rag legs and put squeezed it out as thoroughly as one of those old fashioned mangles. My get up and go got up and fucked off after about 3k and now I’m sitting here on my sofa watching re-runs of NCIS with a cat flaked out beside me. She has spent quite lot of time this afternoon with her nose in my smelly ‘pits with no sign whatsoever of distress. She’s a strange creature.

As I was dying on my arse towards the end of the final climb of the morning I had a particularly virulent swearolog running through my head. “Please end. Please fucking end. I don’t mind if I die as long as I die in front of this fucker but please end.” I usually feel more supportive of my fellow runners but today it was all about me and my woefully shagged legs. I wanted to stay in front of every bugger I overtook and cursed my legs and lungs when I couldn’t.

I took a walk break to sip some water at the halfway mark and found that I couldn’t breathe when I started to run again. Running with COPD is always a bit of a challenge. My lungs just don’t function as well as they would have had I not given them a nice tarry coating over twenty-odd years of smoking. I have nobody to blame but myself so that means I reserve a particular vitriol for my own stupidity.

Sometimes I wish that the first thing to fall to hand in my language toolbox weren’t the fuckhammer but it’s just so satisfying to give things a thorough twatting with it. I don’t think things actually improve when you use the fuckhammer. I didn’t run any faster because of it today for example. I couldn’t have; some complete tosser had taken the fuckhammer to my legs already. You just feel better for the emotional release.

I’d like to know whether different people get the same amount of relief from using different words. For some people “Dash it all” would have the same degree of intensity as “Bugger it all to fuck” does for me. Someone should do that experiment. I would but I don’t know anyone who would want to be really sweary for science. Also, I’m a fuckwit who wouldn’t be able to design such a research study.

In addition to the fuckhammer, the linguistic toolbox contains the cuntdriver, the bastardrill, the twat chisel and the plane speaking. Everyone has their own range of descriptors and emotional intensifiers which they use when they’re communicating. Some can do it wordlessly. If you know what you’re doing you can give your opinion of someone as a cockgobbling twatbasket with only a raised eyebrow.

Swearing can carry the same degree of linguistic invention and innovation as other speech. I love playing with words and swearing is a bit like playing in the mud. Who doesn’t love splashing through mud? Making mud pies? Mudtastic fun! And you can do the same with words for fucktastic fun! So remember that when you have your linguistic wellies on.

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An Idiot Abroad

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I have a thing about new clothes. I won’t buy any. I will buy bundles of boxers and party-packs of socks from time to time but that’s about it. I haven’t bought a t-shirt since I started running because I get all the tees I need from races. I have very occasionally bought a shirt in an emergency, usually after I’ve dribbled my lunchtime soup down the one I’m wearing or I’ve been caught in one of those rainstorms which soak me so completely that complete strangers are transfixed by the sight of my nipples and chest hair through the now-transparent fabric. Generally, however, I won’t buy new clothes.

I will buy second-hand clothes. My ex introduced me to the delights of the charity shop. (Hello Jane, if you’re lurking. Hope it’s all going well.) I thought it was weird at the time but she bought me what became my favourite blue shirt in a charity shop in Oxford. I’ve worn it so much that the collar is threadbare and becoming detached and yet I can’t bring myself to throw it out. It’s just such a beautiful colour and the fabric is softer than a kitten’s kiss. I have bought a few things from charity shops myself since then but now that I’m not a fat man any more, there is little on the rails my size.

That’s the basic problem I have now. I need skinny clothes but I don’t want to shell out for them. I’m stuck with shirts I bought five or six years ago because there is lots of wear left in them. It’s a waste for me. I could take them down to charity shops and make space in my wardrobes for clothes which fit but I never quite get round to doing it. Twice in the past week, I’ve gone into shops to buy a new pair of trousers and a couple of shirts, spent half an hour carefully selecting the items I want, taken them to the till and then bottled at the last minute and left the shop empty-handed. Partly it’s the cost. Clothes are expensive. Nice clothes are really expensive. The clothes I like are really very nice indeed. I tried again at Tesco. Tesco clothing is not particularly nice but it’s not that expensive. It’s like new charity shop stuff but even thirty quid for two shirts which don’t billow like spinnakers and a pair of decent trolleys which won’t fall down is too much for me to pay. I’m too tight to pay for snugly fitting clothes.

There is a proviso to that last statement. I’m not too tight to pay for snugly fitting clothes made from Lycra. If you can run wearing it, I’m more than happy to fork out for it. I wouldn’t buy those things for thirty quid on Friday but I paid £40 for my lovely new, too sexy for slow, track spikes yesterday. I didn’t even buy them from the interwebz. I went into a real shop and talked to real people and really bought a real pair or really quick shoes. Shame I’m too broken to use them right now.

Yup, I’m on the injury bench again. I broke at mile four of the Wimpole Half Marathon Hoohaah. In truth, I shouldn’t have even started but it’s my favourite race in my favourite place. Who wouldn’t want to run around Wimpole for a couple of hours and get a medal at the end? There was the additional delicious prospect of hugs from various marshals round the course but I never got as far as seeing any of my mates who were out there. They were perhaps a little relieved not to have to deal with a sweating, slobbery, wheezing mess of a man clinging onto them in an attempt not to fall over. Social runs can sometimes be so detrimental to social relationships.

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