Saturday, 11 June 2011

A lot can happen in a year

It was 12 months ago to this date that I walked into Burton on Trent with Clive and then got the train home to Redditch to see the lovely Helen for the first time in ages. I was reminded of this earelier today when Jane phoned me to say that she'd been reading the blog and wondered what I was doing in Duffield yesterday. Nice one Jane, you were only a year out.
My spending on the new business has been going well, currently about £8000 with no income to show for it but by the end of next week I will have been trained properly and the van will be fully fitted out so that I can start earning something. I've already got a few jobs lined up and when the printing is done and the van is painted I can really start to advertise. it's really quite exciting.
 I am doing the training in Folkestone and I notice that there is a Wetherspoons only 10 minutes walk from my B&B, so after my day's work, and a run (well, you never know) I know where I will be.
I'm also making progress with the ensuite shower room and should be able to get the shower tray in by next weekend, all that needs then is tiling and the shower fitted. My target of finish by christmas should be manageable.
I've been golfing again today, playing pretty well but I'm sure that the ball that I was using was afraid of the dark, it just wouldn't fall down the hole.
We've got our first holiday dog coming on Tuesday, a young Parsons Terrier. That'll keep me on my toes. 

Thursday, 2 June 2011

It's like waiting for a bus.You wait for ages and two come along at once

Just got in from what started as a run but finished as a hobble. After about 10 minutes my left calf seemed to explode and I ended up limping home slowly. I really don't know if I can do this, think I've bitten off more than I can chew this time.

It's official, I'm a rubbish blogger

I am embarrassing myself by not posting more regularly, it's not as if there is nothing going on in my life at the moment; probably the opposite, there's so much happening that I don't make time to write this.
I went out running last Monday, about 10 days ago, determined to make an effort to make it regularly but I haven't been out since. It's not as if I fared badly, I completed my 3.3k lap in 21 minutes and didn't  feel stiff or sore afterwards, it's just that other issues have taken over in the last week or so.
It also rained a lot and I find I am a fair weather runner.
The big news is that I am starting a small business after searching in vain (but not in earnest) for work since I got back from last year's JOGLE walk. It's to be called Domestic Oven Valet and I will become an oven cleaner for a living.
Now you may be wondering how I came up with this concept and I have to say that it's not something that I feel I was always destined to do. Basically I saw an advert for a franchise and applied, when I investigated further I found that I didn't want to pay the franchise company what they were asking but I did think that there is a market for the service, from there it's just snowballed and I've bougt a white van and will shortly be going to Folkestone for training. Just goes to show that you never know what's round the corner.
On Tuesday just gone Helen and I went up to see her dad Reg and on the way called in to our Pete's where our cousin Sandy and her husband Chris had just arrived from New Zealand. Sandy was one of my first followers on this blog and it was really great to catch up with her after so many years. If all goes well they will be stopping with us in a few weeks. I was impressed with Chris's view on beer - he told me that he was going to try everything ontil he found one he didn't like, he hadn't got there yet.
Yesterday it was gardening for Reg and, after I had mowed his lawn I decided to trim the hedge between the houses while Helen took him out. Unfortunately I was somewhat gung ho and next doors sky tv cable took a bit of a battering, resulting in a severed cable - its going to cost me. When Helen got back she was rightly critical of me and insisted that she took over. She, of course, promptly cut through the cable to the hedge trimmer - it did cost me.
Russell, if you're still following this I've just found that your reply about meeting up on the 19th went into the spam box, can't work out why, but I would love to get together. Can you call me on 07980289365 and we'll sort it out.
It's a lovely day out there now, perhaps I should go for a run. 

Monday, 16 May 2011

Its been a long time again

I haven't run since 21st April, about 3 and a half weeks - mainly because I've been busy tying up the loose ends of my census job and then spending last week catching up on the DIY at home. I did intend to go out a couple of times last week but its amazing how many excuses I can find when the crunch comes. Having not worked for 18 months I just didnt realise how much I was taking out of myself with a full time job. Anyway I decided that there can be no more excuses and I just have to get on with it so off I went this morning, on a slightly extended route - its now 3.3k and I managed the first 3.2k without stopping; I just couldnt do the whole of it. I am due at the docs this evening for more treatment on the dreaded verruca on my left foot which I thought had cleared up. I had it all of last year and it went from JOG to LE with me but I've had enough and want rid of it now. My foot will probably be too sore to run tomorrow but hopefully I will be able to get on with it later in the week.
We had Stu, Beth and Zack stopping over the weekend, the baby is a real joy and is now into everything, he's definitely got my genes as he seems capable of falling over at the most inappropriate times. We also had another dog owner come to check us out, she brought her 11 month old Parsons Terrier and we'll be looking after it for 10 nights in June - we are in for a lively time. 

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Another day, another run

I've just got back from my latest tour round my 2.5k route, 16 minutes without stopping and no leg problems to worry about. I went out at 9.30 to avoid the hot weather later on but it was still pretty warm and I was dripping when I  got home. It seems that all the towns dog walkers had the same idea and I was dodging errant dogs all around the route, at one point having to detour slightly to avoid a mass brawl.
I'll be out later on census work, this is getting easier as I get used to it but it still entails about 5 hours on my feet, walking up and down hills and steps. I think that last year's walk was just training for this month's work. The area is multicultural and I'm having fun trying to explain what it's about in a variety of languages. My knowledge of Urdu and Polish are non existant but being British I find that shouting and using  hand gestures are effective.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

It's just another day in the life of a census collector.

Since I last posted I've been really busy with my census work, most dys spending all afternoon and evening pounding the mean streets of Redditch - knocking on doors and generally harrassing people into filling their forms in. I got my allotted hours in by Friday afternoon and was able to spend the weekend with Stu, Beth and Zack. The weather was good but the barbeque that we intended to build didnt get done, instead we made some extremely large raised flower boxes. It was a nice change for me and I felt much relaxed by the time I got home.
I had another busy day on the streets yesterday and then this morning I felt fit enough to go running. It was hot but I only took 15 minutes to run round my 2.5k route (without stopping again!). I didn't feel too bad either when I finished.
I've now done the route 5 times and I reckon that next week I should be able to stretch it a little further. I was put in my place on Sunday when Stu said he'd be going later for a 9 mile run, it's going to take me some time before I get to that stage.
After the run today I went over to Stratford for some training on the elections which take place in a couple of weeks and then went out to knock on doors for the census, typical of me to have no job for over a year and then get two on the same day.  I wiull be pleased when May comes and I can return to my retirement bliss.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

It's been a while

It's a week since I found the time and energy to post another blog item, but I haven't been idle in that time - although I've been just too tired to go out running.
My new job as a census collector is taking up far more time and energy than I had anticipated, I'm on my feet from 2.00 until 8.00 and there is a fair bit of admin on top. It's just wearing me out but I suppose that it is giving me time to fully recover from the hamstring.
I'm hoping that as I settle in to this strange world of work I will improve my fitness and stamina and feel like running again.
I did get two mornings on the golf course but I should have been working as it's left me struggling to complete my hours for this week, I will have to give w/end golf a miss until the job is over. That's a shame as I finally posted a good score on Sunday, managing to play very well on the parts that I normally fail on.
We had Aaron round to finish off our electric job at home and he'd also been employed locally for a couple of other jobs so, with my golf and his working I didn't get to see him as much as I would have liked.
The work on the shower room has pretty well ground to a halt as it doesn't seem too much of a priority at the moment.
I hope to have more positive running news next time.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

I'm on the road again

I've found the last few days to be worrying, wondering when or if my leg was going to improve enough to try another jog. I'm going to be tied up over the next month with my census duties and I've been keen to get out and test the hamstring but wary of doing so.
So this morning I had another go, I could still feel a little ache but figured that that might be normal after a problem. I waited for the kids to go to school, partly because I didn't want their ridicule and partly because I didn't want to scare them and then I did a long stretching session before setting out at a very gentle pace.
It was more in hope than expectation and sure enough, after about five minutes the hamstring started to hurt. Sod it, I thought, I'm going to carry on and I slowed my pace - now barely more than walking but at least with a running action. I managed to carry on like this for the whole of the 2.5k and returned a very happy boy indeed.
It's the first time that I've managed the whole of this circuit without stopping and I did it in 16 minutes. I warmed down and then had a long soak in the bath, if there are no adverse reactions overnight I will try again tomorrow.
This afternoon I start out on my census form collections, I have to do 14 hours over the next two days and I am quite nervous about it really. I've not had a job for 18 months and, although this is only temporary I want to do it properly but it's going to be hard to fit it in to my busy retirement schedule.
Wew've got Aaron coming to stop the weekend, he's got some work locally to do and will finish off the work he started for us earlier this year, if you want a good electrician he's your man.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Every cloud

Golf yesterday was pretty much the same as the day before, most of it good but with some absolute rubbish in the middle. Still I'm out in the fresh air when I'm playing and there's always the Hobgoblin ale at the end.
Today started with something of a disaster when I showered and water dripped through the ceiling into the dining room. Investigation showed that the seal around the bath had stopped working so it was off to the DIY shop this afternoon for replacements, not before we went for our now regular Monday walk around the lake, just the two miles today.
On the way to the shop we called to visit one of our old neighbours who has moved into a town centre flat, it's a little distressing to see how disabled he's become after knowing him for so long when he was fit and healthy. We then made one of my regular trips to the tip with some debris from the weekend's gardening, whilst crouching to pick some of it up my hamstring twanged again. I'd almost forgotten about it as it hadn't given me any problems yesterday or for the first part of today, it looks like I'll have to wait another few days before I start jogging again.
I got a call from my doggy employer and have our first dog guest booked in for the end of September, typically it will coincide with the Windsor run so I will have to sort the logistics out, maybe I can take her down with us.
Also had a call from Alan, my brother, he's invited me on a golf trip to Northumberland in August, can't wait for it.
Tomorrow morning should see our plumber Phil arrive to start work on the en suite, I just want him to do the basic preparatory plumbing at the moment and then I can get on with sorting the rest out.
I didn't know there was so much to this retirement lark.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

At least the curry was good

We went to the Spice Cafe and as usual we were greeted like long lost friends, we only go in about 3 times a year but Imran the attentive waiter always remembers Helena's name and she milks it for all its worth. We did use the car and were back home pretty early. Friday was a day of little happening, I got a lift up town to the bank and then regretted walking home as my leg was fairly sore but after lunch i did a little more DIY on the en suite that I'm constructing. It was then feet up for the rest of the day, hoping that my leg improved for golf today.
As it happens I managed to play the whole round without noticing the hamstring, hopefully a good sign for next week. My golf is as frustrating as ever, my handicap has gone up to 15 as I play a few good holes and then two really bad ones - ruining my score and leaving me wondering what might have been. I'm playing again tomorrow morning but it's a lazy one as I've agreed to share a buggy with a friend to svae us both the walk.
I even managed a little time in the garden cleaning the pond after the harsh winter. Sad to say that the fish numbers have been severly decimated by the frozen conditions, there are now only 7 left and I will buy some more in the next few weeks to make it seem a bit busier in there.
I start with the census on Wednesday so will have to get out and run in the mornings as the job is only afternoons and evenings.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Problems , problems, problems

It's very strange but even though I chose to do this half marathon it still feels like I'm being punished and I can't tell you how many times I found an excuse not to go out for a run this morning. Everything from the wet weather to my bad leg and the need to play chess on the computer, but eventually I plucked up courage and got changed. I did loads of stretches and then went for it. I was worried about my hamstring but it didn't give any twinges when I stretched so I started fairly tentatively, hoping that I could at last make some progress further round my route before stopping. I was feeling pretty good as I neared my normal stopping point and had no doubt that I could go a lot further today when I noticed that my lace had come undone. I stopped and crouched to tie it up and then my hamstring went again. It's a setback but I suppose I'll just have to give myself some time for it to heal and not worry about having to start all over again. It'd better not interfere with my golf!
I walked the rest of the way, with a few half hearted attempts to jog thrown in for good measure.
Last night I had a visit from Beccy at 'Animals at home' and I am now signed on to be a host holiday minder for dogs. The lucky dog gets to stay with us while their owners go away on holiday. I should get a pooch for the odd week in the summer and I hope that it'll provide a little light relief as well as a little pocket money. That's three jobs I've got now.
It's curry night tonight, I was thinking of walking there (it's only 20 minutes up the hill) but given my sore leg it might be more sensible to drive, provided that Helen doesn't mind driving home , of course.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

No running for two days

After I posted on Monday Helen came home from a late lunch with friends and we went for a walk across the meadows. I hadn't told her that I'd hurt my leg earlier so off I hobbled feeling rather heroic. We didn't go far and were going at a gentle pace so it didn't hurt.
On Tuesday I finished off my household chores and then mowed the lawns until the rain started, that was the end of my plans to go out on the bike - probably a good thing as my leg was a little sore after the gardening.
Today is Wednesday and I went off this morning for a game of golf, only for the heavens to open and we all decided to call it off. It ended up with an hour round trip in the car for a cup of tea.
The rest of the day so far has been taken up with producing a video of Zack's first year and printing DVD covers for it. It's never going to win an oscar but it should be fun to look back on in years to come.
I have received my contract from the Census and I'll be working with them until middle of May, more than I'd anticipated but the extra money will come in handy. Maybe I will be fit enough to jog around my district.
I'm hoping that both my leg and the weather will be fit enough tomorrow so that I can extend my 8 minutes running.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Very probably I wasn't born to run

I went to my Census training today, it's a long long time since I was in a classroom and I didn't enjoy the experience at all. I came home with a headache but I did learn a few things. Fill in your forms or the meanies will get you!
This afternoon I went for another jog, the same route as before and just as I was leaving , after my warm up, I answered the phone, it was about some potential employment so I did the right thing. The conversation took about 5 minutes before I could leave. Of course I didn't go through the warm up routine again and just as I was getting home I tweaked a hamstring. Looking on the bright side it does mean that my warm up so far has been good and it also means that I've got some muscles in there somewhere. The warm down must also be fairly Ok as I recovered better after yesterday than after the first attempt. There is hope.
I did try to keep to a more sensible pace and managed to return to my earlier 18 minutes, I feel a lot better when I get home than when I did it last week so something positive must be happening.
I passed a group of youths and received the usual "run Forest, run" shout. It's good to know that nothing really changes.
As soon as I'd warmed down and had a shower I treated myself to a hot cross bun, a true sign that Easter is approaching.
If the weather keeps up I may try the bike tomorrow, my goal on this is to cycle to the Coach and Horses for a pint of Holden's mild, about 30 minutes each way with some steep hills to negotiate. If I can do that without stopping I will feel like I'm in heaven.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Maybe I was born to run?

After my attempt on Friday I was hoping to get out and have another run yesterday but, to be frank, my legs were hurting too much for me to be bothered. They were by no means as bad as they got when I was in Scotland last year but the same muscles were shouting at me. I did go to golf and surprisingly played pretty well although when I crouched behind my ball on the first green to read the line of the putt I had to be helped up by my playing partner as my legs wouldn't function.
I went again this morning, nearly missing my time as I'd forgotten to alter the clocks (Helen has been away for a couple of days and I was left to my own devices). I didn't play as well as yesterday but my legs were feeling a whole lot better so when I got home I had a cup of tea and went out to run. It's still not really running but it is faster than when I walk.
It's been a pleasant spring afternoon and there were a number of neighbours in their gardens so I took off like an olympic sprinter and found that I had reached the point where I started walking on Friday in two minutes less, it was certainly time for a walk.
I walked two minutes and then ran for four before another two minute walk and finally running home the last two minutes - I was only out 16 minutes but it felt like all day. Having said that, I was quicker and didn't feel any worse than the other day but I can tell you that walking a long way is a whole lot easier than running a short distance.
Still, I've now covered 5K in my training, about a quarter of what the actual half marathon distance is.
Happy birthday to Sandy in NZ, sorry I couldn't make your pig roast but we'll be meeting up soon. Well done to Siobhan, I can't imagine what pain you have to go through in a triathalon.
I'm off to Kidderminster in the morning for my Census training, that reminds me - I should complete mine and post it.

Friday, 25 March 2011

I've done it

I've finally taken my first steps this morning, in the warm and encouraging spring sunshine. I received the pro advice the other day, which was about good preparation in stretching and a really good warm down at the end to help with recovery. Also I was advised to go on the mapmyrun website to work out a 2k run as a starter, and then run 3 minutes walk 2 minutes etc.
I wish I had visited this website before JOGLE because it's excellent for planning training walks as well as runs.
My first route is 2.5k down the road and back across the meadows to home, very pretty and given my experience last year a little worrying with the cows in the meadow.
After my little blister of the other day I am back to my ritualistic taping of my feet, how I've missed this since I got back from Cornwall.
Anyway, I finished in 18 minutes, with the first 8 minutes at running pace (barely faster than a brisk walk), followed by 2 minutes walking, 5 running, 2 walking and then running the last bit where the neighbours could see me. It's not world beating but I'm elated.
Yesterday I went to the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire to play golf, its a beautiful area but unfortunately the golf course didn't match the surrounding beauty. On the way we went through Ross on Wye and my companion asked which river ran through the town, is it the Severn?
Priceless, it'll be a long time before he lives that one down. I carried my bag around the undulating course but the others chickened out and drove a buggy.
It's golf again tomorrow and Sunday and I  hope to run on Saturday evening after I've finished playing.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The best laid plans

Strangely I've been somewhat apprehensive about starting running, far more so than taking on the JOGLE challenge, and I awoke this morning after a fairly poor nights sleep feeling very nervous. I've promised everyone now that I will start running and you are expecting me to say that I did a little today.
That, at least, was my plan - firstly I decided to finish the windows at the rear of the house, now I know that all of you busy people would have done them yesterday with the roof glass but I don't currently have any time pressures and decided to put it off til today.
I was still anticipating a short run afterwards but then got on with knocking the remaining tiles off the walls of our en suite shower room (suppose that I've now admitted that I have entered the world of the middle classes) and then visiting the tip with the debris. Now I've got the time for a jog, but I've not got the energy. My legs feel like they are made of lead and I just don't want to go.
We are out for a curry tonight and then tomorrow I've got a big golf day to attend so it looks like I'll have to postpone my first run until Friday.
I do feel a fraud but I remember feeling a little like this when I decided to JOGLE, I know that as soon as I have taken my first steps I will be OK but it is just plucking up the courage to take them. Maybe the curry will get me running.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Good things come to those who wait

It's been a long time now since I last posted, life has moved on and everyone is getting older. Young Zack has had his first birthday and is now walking, who knows but he may one day go for a long walk with grandad snapper.
I've been away on a golf trip to Spain, unfortunately the weather wasn't too good but I enjoyed it just the same, even winning the trophy.
I have been appointed to work on the census, starting shortly, and to add insult to injury I've also been offered a post for the day of the next election. It's funny to think that I was in Scotland, Tain I think, when the last election was held. From the position of no work I will have two jobs at once for a short period, still it'll pay my golf fees for next year.
I've actually started doing a bit of walking on Mondays with Helen and the local 'old folks walking group'. It's only about 3 miles a time but it is some exercise.
The reason that I've decided to start the blog again is that I've made the major decision to run in the Windsor half marathon in September (I'll be 59 by then) and I thought that I'd record the trials and tribulations that I go through as I prepare for this and then, hopefully, complete it. I can't remember the last time I ran anywhere - probably to get into the pub before closing time.
Stu has also entered, he's done a couple of them already and it will be nice to have an experienced companion at the start of the run although I don't expect that he will wait for me as it progresses.
I have been and bought some running shoes, I didn't even own any trainers, which have been designed for people with flat feet like me. I was advised to walk them in before running in them and I wore them on Monday for the short walk, now I've got a small blister on my heel. I'm not going to let that put me off though - I know that after last year's experience I can cope with a few blisters.
Today, after cleaning the conservatory roof (on the inside - I don't like climbing ladders!) I went out on my bike for 40 minutes. I'm still wobbly on it and I still don't understand the gears but I didn't fall off and I hope that this will help me prepare for the run.
Stu has a friend who is a professional running coach and will prepare a training regime for me. Already I've been advised to see a podiatrist which is a bit worrying as I'm sure I keep hearing about the police arresting these people and closing their internet groups.
Tomorrow I want to get out and run as far as I can before I need to stop, it'll probably only be to the first lamppost but everyone has to start somewhere.
In the time that I've missed writing this blog I've been writing a journal about last year's walk, I've asked a few people for some input and I'm still waiting for some of it. So here's a plea to anyone who reads this, if you were involved in any way with my JOGLE; either as a walker, one of my many hosts' a blog follower or contributor, or if what I did inspired you to do something out of the ordinary yourself please send me some words and I'll get them included in the book.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Sorry, I've been hacked

I've just heard that I've recently had a number of  spam posts on this blog. Hopefully I've now deleted them all. Apologies for any upset. Steve