Aliveandrunning March 23 2014


This is Rupert. Today, his behaviour was not socially acceptable. I took him for a walk, bumped into other dog walking friends, stood around chatting for a few minutes and Rupert took the opportunity to pee up against someone’s leg. He has form with regard to this habit having done the same on a number of occasions in the past. Even I have not been spared. Some people have suggested that it’s a trick I’ve taught him. Wrong, dudes! He’s self taught.

Cambridge parkrun yesterday. I ran as fast as I could but couldn’t get below 24 minutes for the 5k. The conditions were good but the Gods did not favour me, unfortunately. I’m considering worshipping a new set of Gods who are more in sympathy with my running goals. I think I need to go on longer runs and do some upper body training. With luck I should be able to regain the level of form I had last year. I’m not that far away rom it. Excellent result for my son Dan who came second at Valentines p,arkrun yesterday. The field was around 230

I went for a 9 mile run this afternoon. This was OK except it turned cold and my gloveless hands were freezing. It took a while to warm up when I got back. I felt overly tired and dozed on the sofa for an hour or so. I blame the lack of sunshine, relatively low temperature and the Tory government for this running outcome.

I read a review of Running Free: A Runner’s Journey Back to Nature by Richard Askwith. His argument is that running has become a high tech focussed industry (gadgets, clothes, shoes) and everyone is inappropriately obsessed with times, PBs, competiveness to the detriment of the simple joy of running and appreciating the natural environment. Saturday 22march 2014 Guardian Review, by Rose George.

Aliveandrunning March 17 2014

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Following last weekend’s Cambridge half marathon when I ran a good time and then made it memorable by becoming dehydrated and requiring medical assistance (see blog dated March 10), I am now back to form. I ran with the club during the week and parkrun on the weekend. The Cambridge parkrun run director and her partner, who have bright red hair and a Mohican respectively, were stepping aside after four years. Dozens of regulars wore convincing wigs in celebration (see pic above). I think I should have spent more time finessing my coiffure. My lush Mohican came rather low and I had difficulty seeing my way around the course. I was also carrying a placard so my time was slow. Still, we had a lot of cake afterwards and everyone was very appreciative of the hard work they have put in since parkrun began in Cambridge.


Here I am modelling my tattoo sleeves after the race. Generally I am anti tattoo but these sleeves are hardly distinguishable from the real thing (as long as they are viewed 20 metres away with sun glasses). I am now scouring the internet to acquire a whole body lycra  tattoo stocking! How cool would that be in Cambridge Central Library or a Tesco super store.



It’s curious how many runners revere cake! Very few of them seem to worry about the sugar or fat or calorie content. Anyway, it was a very enjoyable, OTT morning.

I attended a funeral last week and had yet further proof that, all to frequently, there’s nothing less Christian than a practicing Christian. I’ve heard examples from family before and also seen it with my own eyes. The genteel, comfortable middle classes Church goers don’t seem to be able to welcome anyone who doesn’t conform to their particular norms. This is very clear when their services are attended by individuals whose behaviour may be loud or inappropriate or if they look different. They simply get ignored or sidelined or frozen out. I witnessed the good church folks in action against a women who probably has a borderline personality disorder in the reception after the funeral service. They really should have been able to accommodate her and make the effort to respond and make her feel comfortable. But they didn’t. And haven’t done on other occasions. I don’t like being around such hypocritical people. I don’t like to see such displays of prejudice and unkindness. They don’t take their own moral teachings seriously. They are self righteous nitwits!

Hot news! Scientists have found evidence of the signal left by the super-rapid expansion of space that occurred fractions of a second following the Big Bang, leading immediately to the creation of the Universe. That fraction is estimated to be a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second. Wow!! That’s even faster than the Tories took to start dismantling the NHS by letting the for profit companies take over services. That’s why we need health union leaders of the calibre of Bob Crow who very sadly died suddenly last week, aged 52.

Aliveandrunning March 10 2014


Mea culpa! I’m on the naughty step. Here is a picture of me powering my way, discreetly, to the finish line in the Cambridge half  marathon. I’m focussed and in the zone. Or maybe I’m worrying about the the plight of the hard working tax payer, brought to our attention by the altruistic Tory government. Anyway the temperature was around 17-18c in a cloudless sky and a lot of people were uncomfortable in the warm conditions. I find the heat OK to run in, and having drunk a reasonable amount of fluid before the race, I didn’t feel thirsty. I decided I didn’t need any available water or gels as I went around the course. I was pleased with my time  and failed to drink sufficiently for over an hour while I met up with incoming friends and family.

As we left Cambridge’s Midsummer Common to return to the car, I started to feel very nauseous  and couldn’t continue walking. I managed to get over to a stack of concrete fencing equipment to lean on for support and simply felt ill and on the verge of being sick. Lorna was with me and I resisted her suggestion of drinking water or seeking help from the volunteer medics. But I failed to feel better and remained too nauseous to move so I agreed I needed help which Lorna immediately organised. A passing first aider advised me to drink water and I gave it a try. Within a short space of time I felt a bit better and was able to clamber into the nice Land Rover Defender which raced over the Common, blue light twinkling, to take me to the medical tent. I was able to give Lorna a cheery wave as I passed her, walking, to same tent. The diagnosis : dehydration, unbelievably caused by me not drinking enough! I drank around 300 mls of water while they were ministering to me and I quickly felt a great deal better. They were happy to discharge me and I tottered off trying to avoid Lorna’s glare which reflected her dismay at my failure to sensibly take on water during the race. Well, lessons have now been learned. I don’t want others to suffer as I did. If I can prevent just one person from being hydrated then it was all worth it (please add your own cliches).

Apart from this interlude, it was a very successful day. My three daughters and son all ran very well indeed and Lorna took some lovely pictures. I managed to beat four arch rivals, three of whom are much faster than me in 5 and 10k races. The weather was excellent and the atmosphere was great.

New running resolutions for this year (and subsequent years) : ensure adequate hydration when running and particularly when it’s warm or hot : have much more consideration for Lorna who worries about my health and thinks I don’t take myself seriously enough.

                                                            Family half marathon

Unfortunately I couldn’t be in this picture of my family since I was trapped on the other side of the fenced in course, collecting my baggage, before I felt ill. Still I recovered relatively quickly and we all went for an Indian meal in the evening. I had plenty to drink and ate humble pie.


Aliveandrunning March 5 2014


These daffodils are immediately outside our front door and they are a beautiful reminder that winter is BANISHED! Yes winter , you are SO last February, you are a past season; please don’t return until January 2015. The  little daffs below the larger, more in-your-face big ones are, of course, their children, born as a direct result of flowery procreation. Is this a load of nonsense? No, readers, it’s the complete truth……like Scientology.

Last Sunday, I ran a five miler, not quickly, but “nicely” (whatever that means). My strained intercostal muscles didn’t hold me back too much and I don’t think Cambridge half marathon is in jeopardy. We met our chums there, some of whom were doing the local half marathon just before our 5 miler went off. Weather was mild but very windy at certain points. This is fen country, very flat with few trees. The winds always feel fierce no matter what the season. At one point I didn’t feel I was making much forward progress at all.

Today I ran just over 5 miles to the river Cam and back, around 5 miles and I felt fine. The temperature was 10c which is good for me although too cold to wear shorts and top. The weather is predicted warm over the weekend, around 14-18c so I may be wearing shorts for the half marathon on Sunday. I’ll do parkrun the day before. I’m mildly under trained because of injury and I don’t follow a fixed running schedule. I’ve already done two long training runs of 13 miles. It’s the speed I do rather than the distance which might let me down. I think I’m talking nonsense again. If I run 13 miles at any speed, there will be no egg left on my face. Egad!

Aliveandrunning March 1 2014

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Cambridge parkrun today, albeit 4-5 minutes slower than I would  normally hope to do it in. Why? Because I enrolled on the If You Have An Injury, You Too Can Make It Worse Course For Idiots earlier in the week. Having strained my intercostal muscles (rib cage – my diagnosis) by throwing stuff onto a skip, I went road running with the club after first doing some painful stretching exercises. The following day I still continued chucking stuff on the skip. I despair of myself and will administer a severe reprimand when I’m in the mood to accept it. The end result is that it will take possibly weeks to heal. Certain movements are quite painful, like vacuuming, getting from sitting, lifting, leaning forward and breathing deeply. The good news is running doesn’t seem to make matters worse although speed is capped by increasing discomfort. Tomorrow I’m doing a 5 mile race and next Sunday it’s the Cambridge half marathon. 

Actually, because focus wasn’t on speed and effort today, I enjoyed the run more. I was also lapped by several runners. It was rather sobering when the winner swept past me with an eventual time of 15 mins 53 secs, nearly twice as fast as me. I’ll have to up my game. I usually place myself mid way in the 250-350 strong field, among the sturdy squires and minor landed gentry which are behind the running royalty and aristocracy. Today I moved back a bit further and mingled with hard working tax payers and no nonsense types not in receipt of benefits. And very enjoyable their company proved. Lorna volunteered again, as official photographer on this occasion, and took around 400 great snaps.

The top photo is the start of Cambridge  parkrun. The weather was overcast and misty this morning and the course is still very muddy. 256 runners took part which is a small for Cambridge. I seem to have successfully seen off any adjacent runners at this point and came in at 28 mins 7 secs.

This link takes you to an article in the Guardian concerning the tragic death of a mentally ill man whose benefits were stopped following an ATOS assessment which found him fit for work. He starved to death four months later. Who cares? Not the coalition government, surely, otherwise they wouldn’t award contracts to mercenary for profit companies only too willing to find any grounds to stop the benefits of the most needy people. It’s a many pronged attack on vulnerable people experiencing serious mental illness. The contraction in community services and support will ensue more incidents like this will occur. At the very least we’ll be entertained by tabloid stories of mentally ill people eating tins of dog food. Thanks David, Nick et al.