In the name of Mo Farah, and of Steve Cram, and of the Holy Ovett. Amen. Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. This is my first confession.

Go ahead, my son. Say your piece. The Lord Coe almighty will understand.

Father, I have coveted my neighbour’s arse. We were out on our run today and stopped at Parkside Pool for a loo break. There is a bronze statue there of a diver entering the water and he has a very rounded bottom. So we started talking about cute bottoms. And I found myself thinking too much about runners’ derrieres.

That’s not so terrible, my son. It can be hard to follow the True Path.

But I don’t always follow the True Path, father. I sometimes follow a really nice arse. It makes things easier in a hard race if there is a nice bottom to follow.

I see. Anything else?

Yes, father. I find myself thinking unkind thoughts.


Yes, unkind. When I am tired and I’ve given everything to a training session or a race and I read that someone is very pleased because they’d run three miles in three-quarters of a mile. Or when people don’t push as hard as I think they can. Or when they don’t really do much of anything and seem really pleased with themselves.

That does seem unkind. What do you think then?

I think they should stop feeling so smug and self-satisfied. I think they should man the fuck up and push themselves even just a wee bit harder.

And that’s unkind?

It is when they’re already giving it their all. I forget that we all run for different reasons. I run because I have delusions of adequacy. I like to think I can be not completely terrible at it if I work hard and do things like 16 x 400m and mile reps and make my legs hurt lots. I forget that other people just want to go out and run with their friends at the same time as I go out and run with friends and really enjoy myself doing it.

Ah, my son. That is a terrible thing to admit.

Father, I have a question.

Yes, my son?

Is it a sin to think that Mo Farah’s Quorn advert is just a bit shit?

No, my son. It really is just a bit shit.

And why does nobody remember Peter Elliott when he was completely awesome and able to even the Lord Coe Almighty?

That’s easy, my son. It’s because he’s a bit of a ginger and who wants to remember that? You should say fifteen Hail Paulas and stop being unkind to people who are giving it their all. Run in peace and sin no more. Git.

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It’s Not About Sexy Cyclists, It’s About Giant Pasties

I was going to blog about sexy cyclists. Cyclists? They’re all Lycra and testosterone with worrying whiffs of inadvisable drug use, aren’t they? Nothing sexy here. The whole sorry Lance Armstrong story has completely ruined pro cycling for me. I’m sure that a knight of the realm like Sir Bradley is as clean as a new whistle that hasn’t been left lying around in a drug den so that’s okay.

The notion is that more successful athletes are more attractive. The study used official headshots from the 2012 Tour de France. Participants were asked to rate the attractiveness of the riders. It’s probably just as well that they used photographs taken at the start of the Tour. Photos taken at the end of sweaty, knackered and broken men may not have been attractive to anyone at all. The quickest 10% of riders were assessed as 25% more attractive than the slowest 10%. I read the original paper but I’m not very good at sums and science so it all went over my head a bit.

But I’m not going to blog about that. Well no more than I already have. I have a confession to make; a guilty, terrible, awful, shameful secret to share.

I like Ginster’s pasties.

I feel better for saying it. I certainly feel better for saying it than I do for eating them but there is something about them. They’re the ultimate sober drunk food. The ultimate drunk food is of course the doner kebab. They were almost a nightly staple in the bad old days. I suppose if you had a small one, ate all the salady stuff and left some of the meaty stuff (you can’t really call shredded cabbage and onion “salad” or the doner “meat” – it’s animal product, certainly), then it’s almost a balanced diet but the fat content has to be gigundous. (I’m a blogger. You don’t expect me to do real research, do you?) A sober drunk food is one that you eat when you’re sober but which would definitely taste much better when you’re a bit pissed.

Anyway, I like Ginster’s pasties. They provide me with an occasional, inadvisable treat when nuked in the microwave and eaten accompanied with some baked beans. One of life’s more unexpected taste sensations. Lunch, in fact, when you really can’t be arsed and the day can’t possibly get much worse anyway.

And now you can buy Large Ones. I’m horrified. The standard one is calorific enough. 566 kcal per pasty, over 20% of the recommended daily amount for a man. There is quite a lot of salt in there too and over a third of the RDA of fat for even a fat bloke. Especially for a fat bloke. I can’t imagine many women eating a Ginster’s pasty either. I suppose they might. It’s quite a gender-specific food, I think.

Their website claims that the larger one is no more calorific. I smell shenanigans. That might just be the seasoning or the neeps. It’s 25% larger so there has to be some difference between the two of them. Even as an occasional foodstuff it’s not brilliant.

Portion control is a tough thing to master. It’s even harder when manufacturers are increasing the sizes of all the bad – and fun – stuff. There are king-sized Mars bars. There are double Mars bars. There are grab bags of crisps “meant for sharing.” I’m certain that Penguin biscuits and Wagon Wheels have shrunk but nothing else has. Apples and bananas are still the same size and don’t have huge marketing campaigns behind them. Mars sponsors the Football Association. So does McDonalds. English Apples and Pears has an app. They probably run their entire operation on what Mars spends on corporate social responsibility.

I’d love to see ads for apples in the same slots as Mars and McDonalds. It won’t happen, sadly. And I’ve wandered off point again. I don’t think I really had one tonight. I just wanted to have a rant about crap food and big marketing budgets and great big fuck off pasties.

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Week Whatever

I’m definitely losing track of time. My training diary is counting down. I only know how to count up. Subtraction isn’t my thing, man and I’m completely lost. So, it’s eight weeks to go to the race in Manchester and I’m not sure whether I’m in my ninth, tenth or possibly eleventh week of training. Things are becoming slightly weird.

In space, no-one can hear you scream. I’ve seen it on a film poster so it must be true. Hollywood wouldn’t lie to me. When you’re on the Roman Road, everyone in earshot can hear you swear when you almost lose a shoe in ankle-deep mud. I’m afraid I had a sense of humour failure towards the end of my run this afternoon. I had what some would call “a complete paddy” in what might pass for a paddy field. I’m not sure anyone would want to eat the rice grown at the top of Babraham Road but I think you could actually get a crop there right now.

In the gym, quite a lot of people can hear you whimper. I wore new running tights this morning. They had unexpected seams. There is nothing worse than a seam where you least expect it. Where I least expected it this morning was rubbing my right testicle. The Laws of Comedy dictate that the left bollock is always funnier than the right bollock. If my left bollock had been so exquisitely chafed that I didn’t actually notice any pain until hot water ran onto it in the shower, I would have been been standing in that cubicle bent over with laughter. I wasn’t. I was sucking in a breath and trying to avoid the eye of the nice lady standing next to me. I mean, what would I say to her? That wouldn’t get me slapped or thrown out of the gym, I mean.

Chafing issues are something people warn you about but you always forget about them when they haven’t happened for a while. You can avoid them with Vaseline or BodyGlide. I would probably have been able to avoid it if I’d slathered it on down there. The trouble is that I would have needed enough of it to leave a highly suspicious stain on my new breeks. I’d have ended up with one of my mates asking me if I’d a little accident. “Well, you can claim it’s just Vaseline but it certainly looks like you’ve shat yourself.”

I also have the Garmin Scar. The chest strap for my heart rate monitor has left a particularly impressive welt across my breast bone area. You don’t see that in the brochures. No, you see attractive men and women running around, getting a nice glow on (not a euphemism, possibly a special effect) and you don’t see the after effects of a three hour run without first having slapped on the BodyGlide. It’d be enough to put your off your dinner, as if the sight of me topless isn’t bad enough. David Beckham, I am not. Nor am I David Tennant whom I have seen photographed almost wearing his kilt this week. I’m not even Vladimir Putin who would stand more chance of being a gay icon if he didn’t keep saying stupid things about homosexuality and stopped being a complete pillock. I’ve forgotten the Russian for pillock. I hope someone will remind me.

Next week, Week Whatever 2, I’ll do some more running around and I’ll certainly remember to slap on enough Vaseline to excite the Village People and give Vladimir some cause for concern. No more whimpering in the showers for this old man. Nossir.

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