I recently watched what was probably my children’s last rugby fixture to go ahead for the foreseeable future due to the Coronavirus outbreak but at least it was very memorable. Last weekend, I joined a slightly inebriated crowd of students at The City Varsity to watch the annual rugby head-to-head, clearly before social distancing was trending. As I watched Imperial College London’s1st team pummel the London School of Economics, rival crowds swayed and chanted to each other in a leery competition of who could sing the loudest and most outrageous lyrics. With the final whistle of the match, everyone surged onto the pitch to continue their messy celebration with the teams. After finding my son among his fellow players and congratulating him, he embraced me in a massive bear hug while coughing furiously. I reeled back in alarm and looked at him but he said quite confidently, ‘Don’t worry, it’s mucous-y!’ before grabbing me again.Continue reading
As I was running in torrential rain whilst trying not to be blown off my feet during the latest storm, my mind wandered to the newspaper article I had read that morning. It was another feature set out to debunk several myths about running and encourage more people to take it up. Although I didn’t disagree with the essence of the article I realised that this was the second time that I had read something on the very same topic in only a matter of days. Whilst I pondered to what extent there was any mythology about running that was stopping people from lacing up their trainers, I was momentarily distracted and misjudged the depth of a very swampy puddle. I felt the surge of icy water engulf my feet as my shoes sank to the puddle’s depths and it occurred to me that neither article had mentioned this.
No one ever comes clean and tells you the truth about running. Maybe it was about time to let the uninitiated know what they will be signing up for. As a veteran runner, I feel dutybound to share this so what follows are the harsh realities and the inconvenient truth about running.Continue reading
While drying my dishes the other day, I was reminded of the fact that we are always told by others that we should do things outside of our comfort zone. They say that we should take on new challenges and opportunities because you never know where these new experiences will take you. Which doesn’t mean that it isn’t a bit risky to stick your neck out and try something different. However, to quote the wise words of Canadian former professional ice hockey champion Wayne Gretzky aka ‘The Great One’, ‘You always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take’. But if I ever need any further encouragement to step outside my comfort zone, I only have to look at two prized tea towels.Continue reading
As we begin the New Year, change is in the air. Whether it is Brexit, the new Spring term or the third season of The Crown, change can feel uncomfortable and slightly overwhelming. This is never more true than when it comes to our diet because we often make changes while being oblivious to any potential downside. It is hardly surprising that after an indulgent holiday of eating and drinking far too much, many people have started the year full of good intentions and ambitious resolutions that were made over a glassful of bubbly. Whether it was the mince pie ‘bites’, mini stollens or the bottomless tubs of chocolates, most had their downfall and were ripe for change. But now we are in the first few weeks of January, once the festive treats and sweets have safely disappeared, the reality of what you signed up for will be starting to sink in…Continue reading
As I sit with my feet up, nursing a very blackened toe I have taken a moment to reflect on the past weekend. Last Sunday, I joined over 2000 other runners and took part in the annual Milton Keynes Winter Half Marathon. I have run this event several times before and have had very mixed experiences of it mostly due to the dodgy weather at this time of the year. But like many others, I haven’t been put off by it either. The Winter Half is increasingly sold out every year and for the first time, the start was organised into waves of evenly paced runners. Not that this stopped a bit of ambitious manoeuvring to the front of the start by runners from later waves. But the slight kettling at least meant that the beginning of the race felt less like being chased by a herd of gazelles who thundered by while you tried not to get trampled on or slam into the occasional bollard.
The other difference in this year’s Winter Half was that the course had slightly changed. Now this is not unusual because the changing winter weather can mean that some years, the route must be altered at the last minute due to flooding. However, as I have run the course so many times before I never pay much attention to any tiny little tweaks to the route. Especially because the course always overlaps and repeats many of the running routes I normally train on. So as far as I was concerned, as long as the Winter Half course was pretty much the ‘same old, same old’ and not any farther than the 21 long kms, I was fine with it. Or so I thought…Continue reading