Massage Mishaps (Andrew)

My clothes are neatly folded and I’m lying face-down wearing nothing but my pants. There is an awkward silence as a pretty young girl in immaculate make-up considers the word “groin”.

It’s at this point I regret  my choice of Bugs Bunny boxers. Her eyes flick down and I feel less than magnificent.

It’s not uncomfortable. This is not my first massage, but it is my first with a woman.

Normally, it’s Steve the Physio. Steve the Physio is practical. Steve the Physio doesn’t do small talk. “Groin?” he asks. And when I nod, he roughly pulls my legs apart and, before going to work, sternly tells me to “Cup the balls, and pull them back”.

Which is not a phrase I’ve ever had to use, not that it would fit any other social situation.

“Andrew, can you pass the English mustard?”

“First, cup the balls, and pull them back!”

“Andrew, do you have any spare change for the bus?”

“FIRST, cup the BALLS! And pull them back!”

“Andrew, is this extended flight of fantasy becoming increasingly laboured”

“CUP THE BALLS AND PULL THEM BACK!”

But Steve the Physio is on holiday, and last week I was presented with the slim and attractive Muriel, and the thought of asking her to work the groin is making me feel ever so uncomfortable. Not that it should. She’s a professional; I’m a customer; and this is NHS approved physiotherapy clinic not a cat-house (which is second only to a duck-house in dodgy MP expense claims).

I think of saying nothing. Saying nothing is okay during a massage. No one expects a running commentary or political discussion. Small talk is fine. In fact, anything is fine, except for “ooooooh!”, “aaaaaahhhh!” and “just a lit bit”.

But my inner thigh has tightened and, if I am to resume running, I need her fingers to work their magic. So, when she approaches, when she lays her gentle hands upon my back, and asks “According to Steve’s it’s normally your groin that’s the problem, is that right?”

I don’t say: “Yes, if by problem you mean it’s too big!”.

Instead I nod, glad that she has gotten the G word out of the way and I can relax safe in the knowledge that I’m not going to embarrass myself by making some well intended but sexually sounding overtone to this young girl. Everything is going to be okay.

Until she says “So, where should we start?”

And I say, without thinking: “Cup the balls and pull them back!”

Freezing Your Ballochs Off At The Clydebank to Balloch Half Marathon 2019 (Andrew)

It wasn’t a good start. I was in the back of a taxi and having to point out to the driver that he was driving away from where we need to go. “Are you sure Clydebank is not back this way”, I pointed. He took one look at the sign saying “Clydebank” behind us and said: “I don’t know that way”. I asked if he was following his satnav and he added “Never use it – it gets things wrong all the time!”.

Given I had been tracking him on an app as he approached the house and I could see he’d missed the road, done a u-turn, missed the road again, got caught in a one way system and had parked for 5 minutes in a laybay (I assume to try and work out where he was going), he maybe wasn’t one to judge others on directions. Never mind criticise the location prowess of multiple geo-stationary satellites and the software calculations of Google.

“Can you just turn round and I’ll tell you where to go?”

“We’re going the fastest way,” he said.

We weren’t.

“You won’t get there any faster,” he claimed.

We would.

“But if you insist…”

I did.

And 10 minutes later we were in Clydebank for the start of the race and not in Hamilton, which is where we would have gone because ‘that’s the way he knew!’.

On the way over, between giving directions, I could see the weather was turning. Grey clouds were turning black. A few spots of rain became a shower became a powerwash from heaven. 

By the time I left the taxi, I was soaked through just spending 30 seconds looking round for Iain.

He wasn’t there.

Hardly, anyone was there.

I phoned him.

“Are you in the car park?”

“Yes!”

“No, you’re not. I’m here and I can’t see you.”

Then he asked if I was in the right car park as the race start had moved from the old sports centre to the new one. 

“Errr…”

Turns out my taxi driver wasn’t the only one with no idea of where he was going…

The Balloch to Clydebank half marathon should be called the Clydebank to Balloch to Clydebank half marathon as you start in Clydebank, the finish line, by jumping on a bus which takes you to the start at Loch Lomond shores in Balloch.

This year it might also have taken you back to the start because, as we drove up, the rain turned to snow, and you could see it start to cover the pavements. When we arrived, the driver was told to wait, in case the race was cancelled.

I thought it would be cancelled. The snow was heavy and I couldn’t imagine either runners racing on it or volunteers standing outside. I didn’t think it was safe. I was wrong. And right.

I was wrong that it would be cancelled. The race went ahead but with the option for people to jump on the bus and return to the start. But I’m not sure it was safe. There’s was a lot of snow and slush on the pavements and runners moved onto the road at points to run through Bowling and Clydebank.

While the roads were quiet, there were cars and buses driving behind them and I heard a few frustrated honks from the drivers. 

The race itself was a challenge to remain warm and comfortable as the weather changed from snow to rain to dry spells to rain again. 

Knowing that it might rain I’d just worn shorts and not leggings. My theory is that leggings don’t help in the rain. They just get wet, then your legs get cold as leggings cool you down. You’re better off with just your hairy legs – nature’s leggings! – when it rains.

I don’t know if this is true though but for half the race I congratulated myself on my choice as the water dried from my legs during the dry spells, and the other half of the race cursing my choice as everyone else looked like they were running as a happy as runner with toasters strapped to their thighs.

You can’t call the race scenic. There’s a few nice spots, mostly at the start as we run along the canal from Balloch, but most of the race is through housing or industrial estates. It does though have the advantage of feeling like you’re running downhill as there’s very few climbs, or even gentle inclines, and there’s a few long stretches when you run downhill. 

But at least the finish line is scenic. If you like skips and bins. 🙂

Bishopbriggs Sprint Triathlon (Iain)

Bishopbriggs has a reputation as one of the best beginner friendly triathlon races in Scotland. Which is why Andrew and I decided to do our second ever triathlon here. It was 2014 and the race came 5 years after our first attempt at a triathlon https://twinbikerun.com/2017/10/23/my-first-triathlon-iain

My preparation for the race didn’t go well. I didn’t realize I had to be there early to put the bike into transition. By the time I arrived the official car park was full. I managed to get a car parking space in a side street but I didn’t write down the name of street. I wouldn’t realize until later that Bishopbriggs has allot of very similar looking side streets…

SWIM (16:09)

I’d like to say the swim went smoother than my parking but I made some rookie errors:

Mistake 1: I under estimated my swim time.

When entering the event I had to give a predicted time for the swim. I took a guess and added a couple of minutes to make sure I wasn’t in a fast lane.

My estimate was too slow! I was actually much faster than everyone else in the lane. I should have realised I wasn’t among fast swimmer when everyone else arrived wearing rubber rings and snorkels.

I’m not a fast swimmer but I’m not slow either. I should have checked my time in advance and I should have had confidence in my ability. It would have been an easier swim for me and the other in the lane if I’d been in the correct lane.

Mistake 2: I didn’t have a tri top

I was the only one in my lane without one. It was a cold wet day. When we headed outside for transition I felt every cold blast of wind and rain on my bare naked skin. I was more more Frozen than children singing “Let It Go”

I should have worn clothes appropriate for the weather condition outside and not just for the tropically warm indoor condition.

Mistake 3: Leaving clothes outside uncovered

The weather was dry when I placed them in transition but now that it had rained all my stuff was wet. I should have put a plastic water proof bag over them to keep the rain off.

My bike seat was soaking wet. If I’d put a plastic bag over it then I would have enjoyed a nice dry seat instead of a “wet Andrew” which is my code for a soaking wet arse.

Mistake 4: Safety pins!

My biggest mistake was that I’d accidentally put my safety pins through the front and back of my cycle top preventing me from getting into the top! DOH!

I had to do undo all the pins. Put the top on and then tack on the number. Ever since this I’ve used a race number belt.

BIKE (42:30)

There was quite a variety of bikes on the course from mountain bikes to hybrids to full on time trial specific machines. Maybe triathlons shouldn’t be just about age group results but about how much was spent on the bike.

But then again I saw one man on a hybrid race past a man on his time trial bike. Maybe it is actually about how hard people train!

RUN (23:21)

The run was the first time I’d ever seen a spray can used as a course feature. After running 2km I had to run round a spray can, which was placed in the middle of a path, back to the start. I remember thinking why don’t they just spray the ground instead of putting the can there?

The last km was through a muddy path but annoyingly I had on new trainers. I  abandoned running quickly and instead ran cleanly as I gingerly avoided every bit of mud. That was my excuse for my slow run time.

POST RACE (1:26:47)

As I’d forgotten where the car was parked I had to spend twenty minutes on my bike, exploring the back streets of Bishopbriggs, trying to find it.

Balloch To Clydebank Half Marathon 2019 (Iain)

Andrew was on the phone to me. “Where are you?” he asked.  I replied “I’m in the car park.” I’d agreed to meet him at the official race start – Clydebank Leisure Centre. I was parked in the car park and I thought I was quite easy to spot as it wasn’t too full of cars.

“Where in the car park? I don’t see your car.”

I looked around. I was the only car in my part of the car park. I was very visible. “I’m the only one here. Look towards the back of the car park.”

“I can’t see you. There’s nobody parked at the back of the car park!” He sounded annoyed.

It suddenly dawned on me – “Are you at the old leisure centre rather than the new one?”

“There’s two lesuire centres???”

“Yes – you’ve gone to the old one! Idiot!”

It was a fair mistake to make. The race had always started at the old leisure centre. I drove over to collect him. There was a number of other runners waiting there. Which goes to show how few people read pre-race instructions as it was quite clear from the notes where to go.

The race is a point to point from the shores of Loch Lomond back to Clydebank. Clydebank is where the band Wet Wet Wet come from. It was also an apt description of the weather. The rain was hammering it down as I got changed in the car but thankfully, I had packed a Gore-Tex hat and jacket. Once I had them on it looked like I was off to climb a mountain rather than run a race.

The view from my car

To get to the start the organiser put on buses. They must have asked the bus company “How much for a bus to Balloch for 700 runners….HOW MUCH!!!…Can you do it cheaper? How much for a bus with no heating?”

The cold miserable bus ride was more of an endurance test than the race itself. Shortly after leaving Clydebank the rain turned to snow. The talk on the bus was whether the race would be cancelled. I saw one man in small shorts and sleeveless vest. I don’t know what weather forecast he’d seen that morning to be dressed so inapproriatly. He must have assumed the yellow weather warning meant “Danger – there may be sunshine!”

When we arrived a man told the bus driver not to leave as he might be needed to take all the runners back to the start. The organisers were consulting and would announce shortly whether the race would go ahead.

We took the opportunity to get into the toilet before anyone else. This will explain why https://twinbikerun.com/2016/03/15/never-mind-the-balloch-to-clydebank-half-marathon-andrew/

Word soon came through that the race would go ahead but anyone who wanted to go back to the start could get back on the bus. I was happy to run. It had stopped raining and it didn’t feel too cold although I was worried what the paths would be like.

Runner are a hardy bunch so quite a number did choose to start including the man from the bus who had hardly any clothes on.

The start

The first couple of miles are along a canal path. There’s not much room to pass people which is annoying as faster runners get caught behind slower ones. Which is why I was behind Andrew… honest!

There was a lot of puddles on the path due to the rain. Runners like to think of themselves as hardy souls prepared to run through rain, hail and sleet but the one thing they won’t run through is a puddle. It was amusing to watch the different techniques other runners used to avoid getting their feet wet.

Some do a swerve at the last second to avoid the puddle and other attempt a long jump to stride over it. I prefer to go straight through the first puddle I see and let my feet get wet. I then don’t have to care about avoiding puddles for the rest of the race. Its a wet race just get soaked and then get on with it!

The last few miles of the the course is normally run on pavements. The organisers very clearly state “Stick to the pavements. Do not run on the road.” But many chose to ignore this as the pavements were covered in slush. Some were running on the road with headphones on as car’s wizzed by. I’d rather get my feet wet than be hit by a car.

Race organisers should offer a email/text service were you can grass up other competitors to get them disqualified. It would be for peoples own good as they’d then learn not to so stupid things in races!

I’d ran with Andrew until the last mile. At that point he increased his pace and I couldn’t keep up. I was happy to have stuck with him until then as I was still a bit sore after falling down a hole on a bridge the previous week.

Although the start of the race has changed the end has not. It still finishes at at the old leisure center which meant a one mile plod back to the car via some of Clydebank’s most glamorous spots

Oh the glamour of running

POSTSCRIPT: I asked for a medium sized t-shirt but I didn’t try it on until I got home. The organizers must got their t shirts from the same place as they got the buses. “Hello, how much for 300 medium sized t shirts….HOW MUCH!! Do you do kids sizes? is that cheaper? I’ll take 300 kids medium sized T- shirts.”

Its the smallest medium sized t shirt I’ve ever received at a race. It barely covers my belly button. I’d like to wear it as its a smart design but I’m afraid I’d look like a 1980’s dancer from Fame!

IronMan UK 2015 (Andrew)

I found my race report for IronMan UK that I’d posted on the Glasgow Triathlon Club forum and you can tell that I wrote it within a couple of days of racing because the first line is far too emphatic. And I then broke it by entering Norseman and now, this year, Challenge Roth. Oh, if only I’d listened to Wise 2015 Andrew!

Here’s the report:

Swam a bit. Rode a bit. Ran a bit. Walked a lot. Happy to finish. Will never do it again.

I just wanted to share six AMAZING tips I learnt from the race that you won’t find in Don Fink’s training guide*.

Tip 1: Crash at least once when it’s totally not your fault. I did and I promise that you’ll forget about your legs as you spend the next 20 miles daydreaming about a bike pump, the rider who crashed into you and the elaborate torture porn of the Saw films. 

Tip 2: Your nose will run. It will never stop. Why not devise your own word for wiping your nose on your sleeve, arm, shoulder, any dry patch of jersey really. Snotting anyone? 

Tip 3: You can leave a special needs bag to pick up during the bike course. You could leave spare gels and energy bars or, you could do what I did, and leave a cheese & ham sandwich and a packet of crisps. It may take a couple of minutes to stop and eat it but, after a constant diet of gels, bars and electrolyte drinks those few minutes were the highlight of my day. Mmmm…. Cheesy Wotsits!

Tip 4: We all run our own races. That’s true. But, secretly, in our heart of hearts, we all get a boost when we see a fat bloke struggle. (This is an equal opportunities tip – remember, for the people ahead of you, you will be their ‘fat bloke’ ). 

Tip 5: Spectators will cheer you. They’ll shout “You’re doing great”, “Keep going”, “You’re running really well” etc, etc. However, sometimes, you know you’re not doing great. You’re walking. You’re crawling. You’ve given up and had a cry at the side of the road. At those times, the spectators should shout “You’re crap”, “You’ll never make it”, “The fat bloke’s beating you”. Sometimes we need a bit of humiliation and tough love from strangers. For your next Ironman, to run faster, why not wear a gimp mask?

Tip 6: Finally, a tip I’ve never read before. This must be a special tip reserved only for the most dedicated Ironmen and women. I call it “Recycling”. It works like this: at some point during the race, you’ll need to go to the toilet. When you do – why not eat a banana? You’re hands are free. You’ve got time. You’re not going anywhere. So why not put in what you’re… erm… putting out? 

I’ve no other explanation for the amount of food found in the portaloos: folk are chewing and pooing – and they’re heading to Kouna! This could be you (but, please God, wash your hands, you’re an athlete, not an animal!).

*tips not found in Don Fink’s book for good reason!

SUP Boarding – North Third Reservoir (Iain)

At the weekend, I went Stand Up Paddle Boarding at North Third reservoir near Stirling . The reservoir is strangely named as I can find no record of a North First or North Second reservoir. Maybe this one was third time lucky after the other two failed.

The reservoir is a great spot for swimming, paddle boarding and walking. The reservoir has high cliffs on one side, which form a dramatic backdrop. The surrounding area is forested with bike and walking trails. It’s a nature lovers paradise but it’s also a paradise for lovers of a different kind…

My favorite bit of the story is his very British excuse – “I can’t possibly be having sex with men. My wife made me sandwiches!”

I don’t think I helped the reservoir’s reputation. A van of men pulled up at the car park just after I’d got changed. The looked at me like I was a weirdo. I can’t think why…

Dressed like the Gimp from Pulp Fiction!

If you look closely at the start of this video you’ll notice a bridge across a river.

I decided to stand on the bridge to get a photo. Unfortunately the entrance to the bridge was blocked off. There was a sign on it that read “Condemned – do not cross.” I thought about it for a second and then decided to ignore it. Whats the worst that could happen?

The bridge had slats missing so I had to be careful as I walked across to not fall through the gaps. I reached the half way point successfully. I took a photo, turned around and took a step forward. I’d forgotten to look where I was going. My foot landed in one of the gaps in the bridge and my leg fell through it!

I took a hefty knock to my thigh but as I fell I did have the wherewithall to place my camera down gently on a slat rather than see it fall into the river. I was impressed with my quick thinking to save the expensive item but annoyed by how stupid I’d been!

As I lay on the bridge with one leg stuck through it all I could think about was the bridge scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

I managed to get back to my feet and thankfully was able to get out on the board. The only thing hurt was my pride. I managed to SUP round one of the reservoir’s islands and I’d highly recommend it as a SUP’ing spot. Just remember to bring sandwiches.

Glentress Trail Half Marathon (Andrew)

Last year, about a week after the Glentress Half Marathon, the Beast from the East arrived and covered Scotland in snow. There were some signs of the Beast when we ran Glentress: some small snow banks at the side of trails, in the shadows of sheltered hollows and in the patches of ice where the snow had melted and the run off and frozen over across the paths.

This year, Glentress was completely different. It was 15 degrees and my first mistake was to wear a running jacket (though it’s obligatory to carry one). I was boiling. Yet, despite that, I kept mine own even when others had discarded there’s – and their t-shirt. Around mile seven a topless man ran passed. ‘Taps aff’ in February, that’s how warm it was. But, since he was still carrying a rucksack I can only imagine it was ‘nips aff’ too as no t-shirt meant no protection from rubbing and chafing across your chest. Ouch!

He wasn’t the only one wanting people to focus on their chest. A number of runners wore t-shirts with ‘Vegan Runner’ written across it. To change an old joke, how do you know if a runner is a vegan? Just wait and they’ll show you on their chest!

For my next race, I’m going to get a t-shirt which says ‘Sausage Runner’ but, to change the same joke again. How you know if a runner loves a sausage? Just wait and look at their stomach!

I tried to be a vegetarian once. It lasted four years. Until, one day, someone told me that pepperoni was a meat and not a pepper and I realised that I’d been a vegetarian for maybe one or two weeks at a time at most. D’oh!

The Glentress Trail half marathon also doesn’t love up to it’s billing. Just as I wasn’t a vegetarian, so the Glentress Trail is not a half marathon despite it being called a half marathon. It’s just over 12.5 miles long. But, if you include vertical distance then it makes up the numbers easily because this is a long, long climb.

The first 100 metres are downhill (which is a horrible kick up on the return to the finish line) then it’s a constant climb for nearly nine miles before an undulating descent for 2 miles and a sheer arm twirling-just-let-go and run final mile.

The race is varied. With sections on the wide fire roads, others on trails sneaking through the forest, bars of light slanting from the low lying early Spring sun like lunar finish lines across the path, to mossy moorland with fantastic views across the tweed valley.

It’s a cracking race, though you do need to prepare to run nine miles uphill – and for all weather conditions, even, some times, if you’re lucky, sunshine and a warm breeze.

Screen Free Saturday (Iain)

During January I read eleven books.

The Voyeur’s Motel by Gay Talese
Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold by Stephen Fry
Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
Battle Scars: A Story of War and All That Follows by Jason Fox
How to Be a Footballer by Peter Crouch
The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken by The Secret Barrister
Tiger Woods by Jeff Benedict
The Lost Soul of Eamonn Magee by Paul D. Gibson
A Boy in the Water: A Memoir by Tom Gregory
Delete This at Your Peril: The Bob Servant Emails by Bob Servant, Neil Forsyth
Bob Servant: Hero of Dundee by Bob Servant, Neil Forsyth

During February I read

Nowt. Not even a single word in a book.

What was the difference between January and February? In January I had hardly any access to the internet or to a television. During February I had unfettered access to the internet and television. I checked my internet usage using my iPhone’s screentime app.

18hr a week – that is time I could be reading a book….probably two books!

So, from last week I instigated #ScreenFreeSaturday and #SlightlyLessScreenTimeSundayToFriday. I need to work on the slogan for the second one!

The rules are simple. On a Saturday:

  1. No TV
  2. A phones is allowed but not for web browsing or social media.
  3. WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are allowed

On the rest of the week during the hours 8pm to 7am

  1. TV is allowed
  2. A phones is allowed but not for web browsing or social media.
  3. WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are allowed.

It could be argued that WhatsApp and Messenger should be blocked too but I class them as tools of communication in the same way as a phone call or a text message should be allowed. Blocking communication from friends and family is not the point of the exercise. It’s blocking mindless consumption of information i.e. status updates, tweets etc

I’ve been doing it for a week and I’ve already finished reading a book! I’ve watched TV and concentrated on the show instead of having one eye on TV and one eye on twitter. I’ve also had to face the truth – sometimes its good to have screen-time!

In that regard, I caved in on #ScreenFreeSaturday and used a screen. I wanted to watch telly in the evening. I’d done a race, it was a long day of driving and I just wanted to switch my brain off.

I’ve had a long relationship with TV so its hard to break it off!

Saturday is a day I normally watch a film or something on the telly in the evening so it was hard to go cold turkey. So instead I did #ScreenFreeSunday which was still hard but I managed it!

I think I’ll aim to do Saturday eventually but for the moment I’ll break myself in gently by doing Sundays.

Glentress Trail Half Marathon (Iain)

I studied maths at University. I didn’t want to, but I had no choice – it was a compulsory part of my computing degree.  

I remember one exam where I completed all the questions and included all my working out. I was confident I had done well. The paper was marked and returned to me. On the front page it said “0/30 – this shows no knowledge of math’s whatsoever!”

The man who measures the Glentress Trail half marathon must be as good at maths as I am because, although it’s called a half marathon, it’s not half. Its half-ish and comes in short at 12.5 miles. Thankfully it quality over quantity because it is a beautiful route.

I’m not the only person who thinks it’s beautiful. As I got to the top of a hill a man behind me (who had a very loud voice) said/shouted:

“THIS IS BEAUTIFUL!”

Yes, it is. Thanks for pointing it out. Then 10 seconds later…

 “WHAT A VIEW”

Thanks again. I definitely would not have noticed unless you had said something. Then ten seconds later…

“STUNNING!”

It still is. it hasn’t changed since 10 seconds ago! Then 10 seconds later…

“AMAZING!!”

Please be quiet! Then 10 seconds later…

“GLORIOUS!”

Did someone buy him a thesaurus for Christmas!

Then 10 seconds later….SILENCE. Thankfully, he must have run out of words. His thesaurus must be the abridged version. I took in the view and enjoyed the peace and quiet until he boomed  ”THIS IS BEAUTIFUL!” Then 10 seconds later….”WHAT A VIEW!” He must have been stuck on a loop.

At this point I slowed down and let him run on ahead as I couldn’t bear listening to him holler for the whole race about how beautiful the course was.

I wonder how his wife puts up with it: she must serve him diner and then he’ll start going “THIS IS DELICOUS….TASTY….MMMM MMMM MMMM…SCRUMMY…DELICIOUS…”

I do have a couple of complaints about the race. A lack of toilets despite the marked increase in the number of competitors since last year. There has been no increase in the number of toilets. There are two at the car park and two near the start. I saw a queue of 15 people still waiting to use the loo just five minutes before the race was due to start.

Secondly, don’t have the registeration for the 10K and the half marathon inside a busy café. It always causes a big queue of people who are confused about whether they are queuing for a race or to buy a scone.

The race itself is excellent. The weather was a very unseasonable 15C. It was so hot that I spotted one man running the course “taps aff.” Its not often you see a half naked man on a mountain in Scotland in February. Even rarer to see a man “taps aff” who’s not carrying a can of beer!

Don;t be fooled by the weather – this is Scottish seasons.

I was happy with my race. I was quicker than last year and felt good and fit all the way round.

The Chase (Part 3) (Iain)

The wardrobe department choose my shirt! Thats my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

“Do you want to know who you will be facing today?”

The Chase has five chasers. I didn’t mind who we got as long as it wasn’t Mark “The Beast” Labbett as he rarely lost.  

We all looked towards the chasers empty seat. The lights dimmed. A silhouette appeared and then sat down. The lights come back on and it was….THE BEAST.  

BUGGER!

Bradley Walsh turned towards my team and said “Maggie, are you ready to face the Beast?”

At this point all I could think was that Maggie will be eaten alive! Bye Maggie it has been nice knowing you. Imagine coming all this way and going out in the first 5 minutes of the show. She was certain to get a  “Maggie – for you the chase is over” from Bradley Walsh.

Maggie went up and stormed the quick quiz round. She was amazing! In the one on one round The Beast offers her £26K to take a step closer to him.

We all advise her not to take it. Don’t take on the Beast!

She ignores all of us and goes for the money. She’d definitely a goner now! She wins easily. I was wrong…again. Maybe we have a chance after all.

The chairs are not very comfy and the back of the desk is all wires and cheap plastic buttons.

I was up next. I did well in the quick quiz. I got the first question correct and that settled my nerves. I managed to get £6K. My only goal for the day was to get to the final chase.

I move onto the one on one round. The Beast offers me money to move close but there was no chance I was going to take it.

It felt like The Beast was higher up than it looks on the telly.

The first question was something to do with the English civil war. I’m Scottish. I don’t know anything about the civil war! I’m screwed. The beast will definitely know the answer. I take a guess. The answer is revealed and by some fluke I get it correct! A lucky start.

The second question is equally obscure. Something about county sizes in the USA. I have to guess again. So does the Beast. We both get it wrong. When this gets shown on TV this question is edited out. They must have decided it added nothing to the show to see two people get the same answer wrong when we both at this point had nothing to play for.

The next question “What is the name of the sitcom that stars Brendon O’Carroll as an Irish Mother?”

I choose “Mrs. Brown’s Boys”

He looks at me and says, “Are you confident with your answer?”

Yes – I was 100% confident in my answer. I also remembered that my mum had watched the show once but absolutely hated it. She couldn’t understand why it was so popular. So I replied to Bradley

“Yes – it’s my mum’s favourite show. She watches it all the time.”

I looked forward to seeing my mum’s face when she watched the show.  This relaxed me and I get the next few questions correct. Eventually, it came down to one last question. If I got it correct I was through. If I got it wrong then I’m out.

It’s about the biggest selling song of 2015. One option is Happiness by Pharrell Williams; another option is Let It Go from Frozen.

I choose Pharell because I have a keen interest in music and I was positive I’d read an article which had said it was the biggest selling song of 2015. Bradley Walsh asks if I’m sure? I say yes. He asks if I’m really sure? I now start to doubt myself. Are you really, really sure? Does he know something I don’t? I’m really quite doubtful now but I stick with my answer.

I’m correct!

Bradley admits he was sure it was Frozen and was sure I was going to be wrong. The Beast congratulates me and admits he thought it was Frozen too.

 Ellen is next. She doesn’t do well and is easily beaten.

Lewis is up next. He seems very nervous. He gets a couple of easy questions wrong in the quiz. He is loses to The Beast. He was easily the best quizzer of the three of us when we practiced beforehand. It shows how nerves can make even the best perform poorly.

The money was mostly Maggi’s.

Onto the last round. I’m not confident about winning but I think if we can score high teens then we might stand a chance.

The round starts. The questions come quickly. Maggie buzzes everything. I can barely get an answer in. if she doesn’t know a question she buzzes to say pass before I can answer. It was very annoying but we score a respectable 17. I think we could have scored more if she had taken a second to let me answer but we may have scored less. I’ll never know!

The Beast starts well but then he gets a question wrong. We get it correct. We push him back one. Then he gets another wrong and another. Eventually we push him back 5 times!

Unfortunately, it is not enough. He scores 18 with one second to go! I admit as I watched the clock tick down I was starting to think about what I would spend the winnings on.

Afterwards I sit on a train heading home from the studio. A couple are opposite me. They are holding a small trophy. I ask what it is. It’s a Pointless trophy. They’d won it that day. They ask if I’d come from the Studio. I tell them I was on The Chase. They ask If I’d won. I say no but I do have a signed pic of The Beast.