Lance Drugmonger (Andrew)

Black Panther is a mass murderer!

Bear with me, minor spoilers for the film ahead, but hear me out. I’m a lawyer. I believe in the rule of law: no person or government is above the law. In simple terms, it doesn’t matter who you are, we all have to follow the same laws.

Pretty much everyone (dictators, Donald Trump and psychopaths excepted) agree that this is a GOOD THING.

Now let’s look at the evidence against Black Panther.

  • He’s the King of a civilised country
  • He believes in the rule of law
  • There is a law that someone of royal blood can challenge him for the throne
  • We see at the start of the film that he follows the rules. He accepts the challenge, he strips himself of his super-strength and armour and fights them as equals.
  • We see this again near the end of the film, except, minor spoiler alert, he loses!
  • He then, skipping over some of the details, cheats by taking his powers back, wears his armour again and returns to KICK ASS!
  • But that’s not all he does. He also gathers up an army and kills everyone who stands in his way, ordinary citizens of Wakanda who are just following the rule of law by accepting the legitimate winner of the challenge as their King.
  • He’s a MASS MURDERER!
  • Lock up T’Challa!
  • Kilmonger is innocent!

But he did make the mistake of calling himself ‘Kilmonger’. It’s the curse of nominative determinism. That your name, defines who you are. Call yourself Kilmonger and people think you must be a bad guy. Yet, he only got that name because he worked as a soldier for the US Government. So, he was following the rule of law too. He was a soldier in service to his country. He shouldn’t be called Kilmonger, he should be called Lawmonger, given all the laws he mongers!

Anyways, watching Black Panther got me thinking about performance enhancing drugs because the one big thing that bothered me about the film (among all the other things) was that it accepts Black Panther is a drug cheat. He takes a potion made from a glowing blue power to get super-strength. Kilmonger, it must be said, doesn’t. There’s only one cheat in this film and that’s the supposed good guy.

But is it ever okay to take performance enhancing drugs? Because, while I was watching it, I was thinking that earlier that day I’d taken a couple of paracetamol before going out for a run. I had a sore neck and headache developing and thought the paracetamol would see it off.

Am I as bad a Black Panther? Should I be called Drugmonger?

And that made me look at the film in a whole new light. Maybe, just like cyclists in the early 00s, Black Panther is only taking super-strength cocktails just to keep up with all the other superheroes taking drugs. They’re all at it. Super-serums for Hulk and Captain America. It’s a dirty system and Black Panther could be just as much of a victim as every other systemic drug cheat.

Who’s the real victims here then? The countless people who died at Black Panther’s hand or Black Panther himself?

It makes you think, doesn’t it? Maybe Lance Armstrong was actually the good guy? Maybe, by taking all the drugs, he was fighting to restore his rightful place as the head of the peloton from Eric Tourmonger, the rider who monged (is that the right word?) all the tours.

Whisper, maybe Lance Armstrong is innocent?

(Clearly not).

It did make me think about my own drug taking and whether a couple of painkillers was acceptable or whether, just like Lance and Black Panther, I might, just might, be edging to the dark side.

Just in case, to avoid slaughtering hundreds of my own people, in future I’ll just tough it out. Just call me ManUpMonger! For all the manning up I’ll be mongering!

 

 

 

Alley Alley Alley! Go! Go! Go! (Andrew)

I’m not a thief. I’m not ‘casing the joint’.

I’m not a mugger, though I am hiding in dark alleys.

I’m a runner – but one that’s set myself a challenge to run around Glasgow using as few streets as possible. Instead I’m running along lanes and alleyways, small parks and connecting paths. I’m explo-running*.

*TM Pending (And when I say pending, I mean the trademark office said don’t call us, we’ll call you. Which is encouraging as they wouldn’t want to spend their own money on a call unless they were really keen on the name!)

It started a couple of months back. You get used to running the same streets next to your house. No matter what you do, when you leave the house, unless like a blues guitarist you were born on a cross road, you can only turn left or right. Same road. Same sights.

It’ll be the same for every street around you. You’ve seen them a hundred times because you’ll have familiar routes and you’ll trod the same old steps.

I’ve been in Shawlands for 16 years. I know every street from Queens Park to Harry Fairburn in Giffnock. I’ve run up them, I’ve run down them, I’ve run of the left side, I’ve swapped to the right. I could run some routes blindfolded, but I won’t because I’m not an idiot. I’d veer off into traffic! But you know what I mean. I’ve been there, run that.

Until a couple of months ago when I thought, “What’s up that alley?” And I ran behind some houses on Kilmarnock Road and found an alley of garage doors, back gardens and glimpses of people washing up dinner at kitchen windows. Who then called the cops as they saw me gawk in at them looking for all the world like I’d just been caught trying to jump their fence…

It was new, it was different, and it felt like discovery. I was Christopher Columbus finding a new world… of domestic tasks and refuse bags. Which is not a new world they’d show on Star Trek. Spock never transported down to a new planet to face 45 minutes of marigolds and Fairy Liquid, But, still, a new world nonetheless.

After that, I’ve started looking out for every path that twists behind a house, every track that leads to a cluster of garages and every lane well trundled by a thousand bins.

There’s a whole network criss-crossing the city. Unexplored, unventured and ready for the intrepid runner to go exploring!

Unless, and I cannot stress this enough, you’re woman*! I’m not a mugger but that doesn’t mean you should explore dark alleys on your own!

(*This general sexist description includes men scared of shadows and excludes woman who can handle themselves in a fight or routinely carry a recently sharpened knife of at least six inches.)

Get out there and get explore-running!

(Safely!)

This blog was brought to you by a love of running, exploring and public safety announcements.

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Norseman video (Iain)

The official Norseman 2018 video has been released. The first Norseman video I saw was the 2013 film

I didn’t know a thing about the race or triathlons but I was transfixed by people jumping off a ferry. It looked amazing. I looked at what the race involved and wondered why anyone would want to jump off a ferry into a fjord.

5 years later I was lucky enough to do it. This is the video

Hopefully it will inspire someone else to dream of jumping off a ferry.

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In other news – this site has been nominated for a prize. Yes – really and its not a prize for terrible punctuation and grammer which has come as a shock to Andrew who claims he has to correct all of my blog posts after I’ve written them!

If you want to give us a vote then you can do so here:

https://therunningawards.com/vote/205/233#vote

Around The World In 80 Days (Andrew)

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Last year, Mark Beaumont smashed the record to cycle round the world by circumnavigating the globe in 79 days. This year, he released a book. I haven’t given any spoilers as he tells us he succeeded in first few pages. Instead, he said he wanted to write a book to show how it was done, rather than could it be done. What did it take to cycle 16 hours every day for 79 days?

The answer was easy – be a dick.

On nearly every page the clear impression he gave was that he had to be a selfish dick who cared for nothing and nobody but riding his bike from before dawn to after dusk.

Shout at support crew? Scream at the camera man for not getting the right shots? Tear apart the team manager for taking the wrong road?

He did it all. And you have to, kind of, respect him for it.

Not the attitude but his honesty in revealing that’s what he became in order to be someone who could focus on cycling every unrelenting waking moment.

As such it’s refreshing to read a book which shows how far an athlete has to go in order to be the best at something. And the cost it has on their relationships and support in order to do that.

Was it worth it? It’s difficult to tell, without actual spoilers about the end of the race, but I would recommend reading the book and finding out.

Interestingly, we went to a talk by Mark a few weeks ago in Glasgow. He revealed at the start that after his previous adventures – cycling the world, the Americas and Africa – he was always approached after every show by people who wanted to emulate him. But this time, he said, not one person had asked him about racing the world. Which perhaps shows, that while many people will dream of a BIG ADVENTURE, very few people dream of becoming dicks in the process.

Kind of a nice thought, actually. Most folk just want to be nice.

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P.E class (Iain)

I grew up before sexual equality was invented. Sexual discrimination was rife against girls although very occasionally it was against boys.

At my primary school boys and girls received two physical education lessons a week.  They were taken by a female teacher. The boys and girls would get changed. The class would start. The teacher would tell the boys to stand at the side of the gym. She’d then let the girls play games for 40 minutes before letting the boys have 20 minutes at the end.

She once made the boys stand for the whole hour. The boys didn’t get a single minute of exercise!

Years later I got my revenge on her. I had a job as a paper boy. The gym teacher was on my round. She liked the Scotsman. She hated the Daily Record. Whenever there was no Scotsman’s in stock I’d put a Daily Record through her door instead.

BUT what I’ve realised is that I didn’t get my revenge. What I’d done was assume a male privilege that I as a man deserved to be treated better so I must have been discriminated against. Actually what she had done was very clever. She knew the boys got lots of exercise. We played football before school, every break and after school. If we weren’t in the classroom we we’re on the football pitch.

The girls, on the other hand, got very little exercise. There were no facilities for them to play at breaks and no encouragement from any teacher to do exercise. Therefore she used the two chance she had to get them to do exercise as they needed support more than the boys did.

I wasn’t discriminated against for losing P.E time. I was privileged to get every other bit of time!

I’m sorry I gave her the Daily Record. It’s a sh*t paper.

Challenge Roth (Andrew)

Next year’s race is sorted. “Challenge Roth!” I said. Roth as in cloth, as in moth. “‘I’m doing Challenge Roth!”.

And I’ve started to read blogs and race reports of what it’ll be like and I’ve kept thinking:

“Yay, Roth (as in moth) will be fun! Can’t wait to go to Roth (as in cloth)!”

Except this week when Iain told me it was pronounced Rote. As in wrote. As in goat.

Challenge Goat.

That’s what I’m doing.

Challenge Rote.

And my first lesson as part of looking at what training I’ll need to do for next year is a simple one – get the name of the race right.

Arrochar 10K (Iain)

In the six weeks since Norseman I’ve done relatively little training. The break has been good, as my body/mind were pretty fatigued, but all good things must come to an end. Last weekend, I was back running by taking part in the Arrochar 10K.

Andrew was supposed to do it but he dropped out due to his injury that was too minor for the minor injury unit (see https://twinbikerun.com/2018/09/11/runner-heal-thyself-andrew/) so I swapped him for my wife which I would refer to it as wife swap if that didn’t have an entirely different meaning!

Nic is just getting back into running after an injury. A proper injury! Not like the one’s Andrew gets. Even a sore toe will see him head to the nearest priest to get the last rites read to him.

Nic is the least competitive runner known to man (or woman.) I know this because she always tells me “I’m not competitive in any way”

Which was true until near the end of the race and she saw a women in front of her and turned to me and said

“We can beat her”

“I thought you weren’t competivie. We can just….”

“Stop yapping and get running!”

That was me told. Definitely not competitive…..

The race was fun. Its mostly off-road with a short section on the road at the end. We both ambled round at a slow steady pace. Happy to just enjoy it rather than race it….except for that one woman.

Afterwards we went to The Perch Cafe in Garelochhead. It was a great find as they did a very tasty lunch although the reading material was a bit niche unless you like Ducks.

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The Naked Triathlete (Andrew)

How much breast is too much breast? A couple of years ago that was the question facing Glasgow Sheriff Court when it was asked to decide whether a flyer for a strip club banned by the licensing board was obscene.

Glasgow City Council’s licensing board presumably didn’t mean to criticise the flyer for strip club, showing a dancer wearing a pair of yellow pants and just an arm covering her breasts, as depicting the woman as “unsuitably clothed” because that could only mean she was wearing too much. What else would would be suitable clothes for a stripper except a birthday suit?  But that comment by the board meant a trip to the sheriff court to work out how much – or how little – was too little clothes for a flyer for a strip club.

This led to an interesting discussion as Sheriff Taylor said: “Only a very small part of the side of her breast is depicted in the photograph. There is certainly more breast exposed in certain daily tabloid newspapers.”

And, he added: “If one looks at adverts for perfumes and the like in magazines normally read by women, one sees more breasts exposed than in the flyer.”

In short, he said: “I can see nothing wrong in the degree of breast exposed”

And he was really looking.

I remember this debate when I was thinking about how we take stripping in public as natural. Go to any transition and you’ll see a bunch of athletes pulling off wetsuits, bearing their chests and, generally, mooning friends and family watching on from the side.

It’s like Stringfellows but with less fake tan and gold jewellery (and that was just Peter Stringfellow).

I swear one time I was in transition a man tried to stick a tenner in my pants!

Yet, we accept this as normal. Even though it’s not. And it’s Scotland and we look like we’re starring a XXX version of Avatar as the blue people strip in the open air.

But then again. Maybe it is normal. Maybe the strange thing is to feel self-conscious about it all. Why not strip in the open air? Why not let it swing free and stand there bold and proud with nothing to protect you but a well positioned bike stem? We shouldn’t be ashamed! We should be free! There’s nothing wrong with letting it all hang out!

And hopefully, the Sheriff Court will agree with me after the police arrest me…

Are Twins Psychic? (Iain)

The book “The Encyclopedia of Superstitions” says:

“It is a very common belief that twins, especially identical twins, are united by a strong bond of sympathy that each knows when danger or misfortune threatens the other, even when they are separated.”

A few years ago, I did an experiment so see whether this statement was true – would I feel anything if Andrew was in pain or in danger?

We did it in a very scientific way – we formed a comedy double act. Like a teuchter Ant and Dec but with no comedy timing, jokes or ability. We  were so bad the only shows we could have hosted would’ve been Britain’s Got No Talent, or I’m Not a Celeb Leave Me Right Here.

I admit now that this was not the best idea we’ve ever had. But I did have a genius idea for a joke. An idea that couldn’t fail – we’d do an experiment on stage where I’d get an audience member to hit Andrew with a rolled up newspaper whilst I looked away. As Andrew screamed from the hits I’d try to guess where he’d been struck! It would be comedy slapstick gold…It wasn’t.

To test the idea out we went to a poetry night that allowed a bit of comedy because I reasonably thought nothing bad can happen at a poetry night….

When it came to our turn, we stood up and told a few gentle gags to get the audience warmed up. The audience laughed and applauded but as they’d just spent 90 minutes listening to poetry I think they would have applauded anything that wasn’t more poetry!

I stepped forward and asked for a volunteer from the audience. No one volunteered so I looked around the room and saw a man sitting by himself. He looked harmless enough. This was mistake number one – a man by himself at a poetry night must be a solid gold rocket of the highest order!

I invited him on stage and realized he was bigger than I thought. He was built like a rugby player. He was also a bit drunk. No worries – I’ll just continue the show. I handed him the newspaper and asked him to roll it up. This was mistake number 2 – never hand a man a weapon and ask him to load it himself. He rolled it very tight. So tight it was now stronger than a wooden baton.

I looked at Andrew. I could see fear in his eyes. I looked at the audience member. I could see violence in his eyes. I did what any loving brother would do. I turned to the man and said “I’m going to look away. Hit my brother as hard and wherever you like!”

This was mistake number 3 – I shouldn’t have turned my back on the scene of the crime.

I shouted “Hit him”.

There was silence and then a large THWACKKKK sound before more silence….like the silence you get after after nuclear bomb has detonated but the blast hasn’t reached you yet. Then the audience gasped….Andrew screamed. He’d been hit so hard in the balls he was now my twin sister rather than brother.

If I was psychic I should have felt something. I felt nothing! The audience member hit Andrew again. THWACKKKK….SCREAM…THWACKKKKK, THWACKKK….SCREAM! Each time he was hit I felt nothing.

As Andrew lay on the floor writhing in pain. His crown jewels having been pulverized. I asked myself “Are twins psychic?” The answer is No! I also asked are twins funny. The answer was still no.

Footnote: You would have thought Andrew would never agree to do this ever again but a few weeks later we did it in Manchester. I’ve found the footage and I put it here for all to see. I’ve never watched it but I don’t think Andrew is seriously hurt this time. Although afterwards we split up over creative differences. He wanted to go down a less violent comedy route!

Runner, Heal Thyself (Andrew)

When I started running at university I would run on a treadmill for 20 – 30 minutes on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Over a year it became part of my weekly routine as I was studying for my final exams. Then, one day, my knee hurt.

“That’s nothing,” I thought. “A wee run will fix that!”

I’d pop up to the university gym and, after five minutes, the pain would start to fade, and, after 20 minutes, it would be gone.

“See,” I thought, “it was just a wee niggle!”

And by the time I’d have my shower, my leg would fall off.

Not literally. I’d topple. But it might as well have as I couldn’t use it for the rest of the day. It wouldn’t bend. I couldn’t put weight on it. I would hop from gym to library to home until…

I’d wake up in the morning, my knee would hurt and I’d think:

“Really, it’s nothing, a wee run will fix this!”

And I was a cripple for a month until I realised that a ‘wee run’ will only fix this if your problem is an escaped lion and you need to get away fast. If your problem is a damaged ligament then don’t run on it!

You need to follow the RIC (Rest, Ice and Compression) program not the RIC (Run, Ignore, Crawl To Bed) program.

Yet, 20 years later I’ve learnt nothing. Last week I pulled a muscle in my abdomen. Not sure how, think it was twisting to lift something while sitting in my chair at work, however, when I noticed it was sore I thought immediately:

“It’s nothing, a wee swim will fix this!”

And I went swimming. An exercise that requires you to continuously twist and turn.

Because there’s nothing like putting out a fire like pouring more oil on it and shouting “Burn, baby, burn!”

It was stupid.

And on Tuesday I ended up in the minor injuries clinic complaining that I couldn’t turn my body to the right or pick up any weight with my right hand.

Which was also stupid because, despite being a clinic for minor injuries, the doctor listened to my story and immediately said: “We don’t do abdomens.”

Which made me think: “What do you do? Left ankles only. Just the right elbow? How can you distinguish between different parts of the body? You’re a doctor, your meant to do everything.”

He sent me to my GP who’s sole advice was “If it hurts when you twist to the right then don’t twist to the right!”

Genius.

But she was right because she was just telling me what I already knew – if you’re injured, then don’t do twice as much as you did before in the hope that more means less. Rest. Ice. Compression. And don’t go for a run.