Category Archives: Excuses

Day 6 – Exploration

  • Distance – 6km
  • Total distance – 40km

Set off with the intention of running a decent distance, but ended up running about 3km in one direction (along the beach) then running 3km back in the other direction (quite close to the beach). Once I got back to the start I didn’t have the heart to do any more, so I sacked it in. My terrible distances have seen me cut hopelessly adrift from the Janathon top ten, languishing down in 13th place. But, I did find a nice new route which can be glued onto my existing one to make it a little longer.

The weather has been suspiciously good the past couple of days, I’m expecting an ice-storm tomorrow or meteor strike.

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Janathon – Day Quatre

(I’ve got guests, just popped in to say I ran 14km. I’ll speak to you tomorrow).


What a hellish week that was. It all kicked off with a well intentioned run last Saturday (er… the last but one Saturday) where I was aiming for around 20-25km. It was hot, and from the off I didn’t feel entirely good about the endeavour. After labouring to 15km I stopped in a village about 10km from home and felt so dizzy and sick I had to compose myself for a good 10 minutes before I could move on. It was now blazingly hot and I think I had dehydrated pretty spectacularly. This is never usually an issue (I’m not a big drinker when I run), but as the week progressed I think it was fairly clear I had a lurgi of some sort (which I didn’t know at the time) so perhaps this contributed in some way….

Having no money and there not being any shops open anyway as it was midday (yay, go France!), I decided to jog/trot/walk 5km to a village I knew of that had a water fountain in its graveyard. This short hop was utter hell. It seemed to go on forever. By the time I got there and crouched in a dark corner next to a gravestone swigging water out of the communal watering can I knew I was having a bad day. The 5km back to the house was also pretty bad, even though I walked it, but at least I wasn’t thirsty. It was comfortably, by some margin, the worst running experience I’ve ever had, and I took it quite hard.

Well, after that the rest of the week was pretty terrible too. My asthma was awful, keeping me awake at night and I felt sick, weary, dizzy and generally off colour. I managed to rouse myself slightly for my running club’s six monthly VMA (Vitesse Maximum Aerobic) test. This involves running around a track, going faster and faster until you collapse – which sounds less fun than it actually is. I put in a reasonable performance, but the rest of the week was a series of laboured 5 and 10k runs I hated. My bad right leg was also playing up, which was making me extra miserable. To top it all off, on the last run of the week I realised I’d forgotten to charge the GPS which switched off mid-run – this corrupted the data sitting on the watch I hadn’t uploaded and I lost days worth of cycling and running info as I had to hard reset it after it recharged.

I tell you, on Friday of last week I was about ready to chuck the whole lot in and choose a new hobby.

Thankfully Sunday and Monday of this week have been much better. I did a perky 5k yesterday which I was expecting to be awful, but turned out to be OK, and a decent 10k tonight that felt pretty good – it was a hilly course and I didn’t get much lung or leg gyp. I also feel almost back to normal and my breathing seems to have settled down, so that’s good. Asthma really sucks. I notice one of the kids now has a cold, so I imagine I had something nasty but without the usual sneezing and coughing. So yeah, hideous week all told.

In brighter news – I finally assembled the elliptical trainer I bought the other week at the supermarket (it took hours and hours thanks to the terrible instructions). I haven’t used it in earnest yet, but it looks like a promising way of supplementing my training with a bit of lower impact endurance building. It also means I can train and work my way through the backlog of DVDs and TV shows I’ve never got round to watching. Yay!

So, not a very amusing update, but it’ll take a while for my humour glands to refill….

Sheep tossing


Bit more like it. 15km today, at a decent clip. 5.20m/km, which isn’t very fast, but felt easy, which is encouraging. Next week I think I’ll try a proper fast run.

This morning I felt a bit like the Millennium Falcon – in a surprising turn of events I managed to put my back out again by adding my lower back to my upper back and was in absolute agony. This was alongside about 150 other bodily complaints and aches. Decided to take the kids to the “local” leisure centre (20km away, nothing is local in France), as the worst thing you can do with a bad back is give in to it and lie on a bed all day. It basically worked. After 3 hours haring round in a pool and playing a round of tenpin bowling I think my back just shrugged and said “I give up you obstinate bastard” and everything felt a lot better. Still feel like the Kessell run in 1.5 parsecs might be pushing it, but at least I’m in orbit. Don’t want to bore you with health complaints though, nothing worse than someone yabbering on about how ill they are all the time.

We have a small problem at the moment as one of our sheep is in love with one of the goats. It’s a real Romeo and Juliet romance (Romeo and Eweliet?) and Mr BD our ram has taken to jumping out of his pen to go and spread the love with his lady goat friend. Star crossed lovers. Not sure whether a goat and a sheep can actually mate, I suspect not, but it doesn’t seem to be bothering him. What this means is periodically grabbing a horny sheep and putting him back in his pen. I’m sure this did for my back as I elect to lift him over the fence and back in, rather than drag him round to his gate where it becomes a struggle to stop the other sheep escaping.

For upper body strength and toning I can recommend frequently lifting a smelly, horny sheep over a 5 foot high fence. I was thinking of releasing a series of workout DVDs. I bet they’d sell in Wales.

I also watched the last Sherlock, and I have to say it was quite good. Glaring plot holes for sure, but the acting was reasonable and there wasn’t a guy with distractingly large ears in it, so that was a bonus. The funny thing is, I quite like Sherlock but can’t STAND Doctor Who, which is essentially done by the same bloke/team. I really detest wobbly British sci-fi where people all shout, grin and dash around cardboard sets aimlessly fighting tinfoil and cardboard box monsters and no matter how you try to disguise it, the new Doctor Who is just as bad as the old Doctor Who. Sci-fi should be like the Battlestar Galactica reboot (Series 1 to 4, not 5). Sensible, high budget, lots of people looking earnest and shouting at one another and CGI that doesn’t look like it was done on an Amiga.

Which takes us full circle back to the Millenium Falcon again, and my old, crumbling body. I really do feel old at the moment. I know I’m in my mid thirties, and no doubt when I go back and read this blog when I’m 80 and eating jelly through a straw I’ll shake my fist furiously at the screen (or virtual cortical implant, or whatever), but age really does seem to have crept up on me in the last 4 or 5 years. Sigh.

Still, as long as I can still drag myself out for a run now and again…


Nothing to report today. Dragged myself at a half run/half walking pace for just over 5km. Knee hurts, bum hurts, head hurts.

Deep breath. Will refocus for tomorrow.

day16 anmy handsr cold

normlly i write these psts befre i go runng but tonightn i’m jus back froma short run and m yhand s are bloody freezing. i can’t really type so thisa oisd all youre gettingtodsay.


Break-Dancing Long John Silver and the Excuses

Another 10km today. Bland featureless roads. I saw a donkey (not pictured).

I then did a 16km cycle to go and get some milk. Long story, but I do it quite frequently. I might expand on that in a future blog, because I can just tell you’re itching to hear more about it.



I suppose I better write some more.

Lets talk about excuses.

I love excuses.

Finding excuses to avoid doing things is an art form I should be internationally recognised for. For example, when I was supposed to be revising for my A-Level Chemistry exam I discovered I absolutely had to watch as much cricket as possible on the television. I didn’t even like cricket. (I got an E in the exam too, which just adds another thing about cricket I don’t like to the already long list). What was amazing was the irresistible pull that cricket exerted on me.

It proves that anything other than thing you’re supposed to be doing is normally far more interesting than the thing you’re supposed to be doing.

(I know. I read that sentence twice too and it doesn’t make any sense. Try to imagine Bob Dylan singing it; that helps).

At this time of year I see people making broad, sweeping gestures about how in 2012 they’re going to change their lives and sort themselves out. Run, swim, wrestle an alligator daily, whatever floats their boat. All in the name of losing weight, getting buff and avoiding a painful, lonely, early death (I kind of added the last one). But most people, like me, would rather do anything as long as it isn’t exercise. Exercising for a while is fun. Getting out there day, after day, in the wind, rain and snow is less fun. Doing it for months or years when you’d rather be gradually filling out sideways and developing a double chin is even less fun again.

It’s a war. A war of man vs. excuse. A war of man vs. putting-it-off-till tomorrow.

When I worked as a corporate drone, employed to sit behind a desk poking a keyboard occasionally while drinking small cups of coffee and eating Boost bars until I felt nauseous (that’s what I put on the CV anyway) I used to revel in thinking of new and creative excuses as to why I couldn’t possibly run. I didn’t see myself a runner. I cycled. I swam. But running? Noooo. I needed an excuse.

The ace-in-the-hole was my ankle. From birth I had a strange growth on the side of it. As the growth subsided it left a strange chewed up shape which was a sort of greeny-blue in colour and covered in red sprinkles. 200 years ago I’d have been burnt for being a demon, but as I was born in modern West Wales they settled for putting me in a sack and dropping me in the Ystwyth.

I often ask my parents what the medical term was for my defective part, but they can’t remember. As an only child, I can appreciate how my birth deformity might not be particularly memorable.

(I digress slightly, but the nebulaic explosion of ankle colour always looked so cool I sort of hoped an alien race had tattooed it on my body as a starchart that would make me a critical asset in an interstellar war, and that inevitably one day the aliens would return to beg me to lead their spacefleet. To date this hasn’t happened, but I’m not giving up all hope.)

Anyhoo, said wonky ankle always made my gait a touch weird. My strange malformed appendage made me gallop with all the elegance of a break-dancing Long John Silver. Add in a dash of asthma, and I was set for a lifetime of denial and double chin building. I could barely walk without wheezing and wobbling like Mr Blobby. What hope running?

Last year, something snapped inside me. I was 35. I didn’t walk into the valley of the double chin blindly. I didn’t want to get out of breath when picking my nose. Hell, I wanted to fight those excuses. I wanted to see if that gammy, deformed leg could propel me to glory. To my surprise it actually could. I could run! Once the excuses were gone I actually found sticking to my new hobby was vaguely enjoyable. Indeed, when I was injured in November and December and couldn’t get out to run I actually felt almost sad about it. GASP.

That’s when I knew I’d gone beyond the excuses. (insert rousing string section here)

Thankfully there are still plenty of things in my life I avoid doing. Many of them too revolting, personal or offensive to list here, but just let it be known that running helped me on a voyage of personal discovery.

It might not have been a voyage to the head of the Arxian space force, where I repelled the Xurg menace using a weapon I located because of a starchart on my ankle, but it’s not far off.

Getting fit isn’t about saying you’re going to do it, and planning how. It’s about working out why you’re going to avoid doing it and then addressing that.

Wow. That was glib. I should be writing articles for Bella magazine.

Till tomorrow! Joggetty-loggetty-bloggety-boo!

Start Time
Jan 2, 2012 10:37 AM
10.00 km
Avg Speed
5:27 min/km
Max Speed
4:32 min/km
930 kcal
116 m / 174 m
61 m ↑ / 51 m ↓
Heart Rate
– / –
Cycling, sport
Start Time
Jan 2, 2012 6:18 PM
16.29 km
Avg Speed
19.8 km/h
Max Speed
35.4 km/h
570 kcal
145 m / 172 m
30 m ↑ / 31 m ↓
Heart Rate
– / –