Run #EveryStreet – Day 9

With one week to go to complete my challenge to run every street in May I’ve had my first non-block block running session. I’ve tried to be methodical and pick off ‘blocks’ of streets but this was the first time I went out to try and pick up some streets I’d missed.

It can be tricky to remember every street while you’re running them. I thought I’d done a good job but, when I check the map later, I usually find that there’s one or two sides of a block that I’ve missed. D’oh!

But the good thing about missing a street is that it does give another reason for going out. It’s been a good motivation to keep running and to pick off streets – and missing a street only gives you another reason to go out.

One week to go though – so once complete I’ll check and see how much of Glasgow I’ve managed to run in a month.

Run #EveryStreet – Days One & Two (Andrew)

Good news. It looks like Boris will relax lockdown on Monday and everyone will be able to visit family in another house. 

This is a great idea. We’re currently too frightened to leave home to return to work but there is nothing that will get me back in the office faster than the thought that the mother in law might pop in. 

“Who’s coming? Quick, I need to go to the office, I’ll be working for the rest of the day!”

Boris is also expected to announce that we’ll be free to exercise more than once a day, which is bit like announcing that we’ll be free to breathe more than once a day. We can already exercise more than once a day. There’s no law in England or Scotland that prevents you from going out as many times as you want and for as long as you want just as long as you maintain social distancing. Announcing we can exercise all day is good news but it’s no more news than announcing the sun rises in the morning.

Despite there being no legal reason not run a marathon every day followed by a 100 mile bike ride, I’ve tried to keep to less than an hour when out and about. That means I can run around 6 – 8 miles depending on fast I’m going. I thought that would be enough to cover a good bit of ground for my #EveryStreet challenge – see here – but, after the first attempt I think I may need quite a few runs to cover every street within one mile of the house.

It’s hard to remember every street and make sure you catch them all as you round. I can see I missed one street in the above sweep and will now have to add it on. Groan.

Also, in one hour I managed a few immediate streets but I hadn’t taken account of the number of backtracking or circling you need to do when confronted with a block of streets. I’m beginning to suspect that by running every street I may in fact be running #everystreettwice…

The Andy Murray 100 Volley Challenge (Andrew)

It seems that every day there is a different challenge. Former Tour De France winner Geraint Thomas is cycling 12 hours a day for three days in Zwift to raise money for the NHS. Captain Tom Moore, a 99 year old army veteran, has raised £15m by completing 100 laps of his back garden. And umpteen folk are trying to complete marathons in the smallest possible location. I wrote a couple of weeks ago that at least the lockdown would mean that we wouldn’t receive any ‘please sponsor me for charity’ emails – see here – but I was completely wrong about that. I don’t get anything but charity messages now. If I’m not donating to the NHS then my sponsored donkey is running an ultramarathon on the spot in someone’s living room as I write this. Oh well, at least it’s all for a good cause – and I couldn’t help joining in!

So, in an attempt to try a challenge that would be genuinely challenging as we would be going from zero to (helping an NHS) hero in the attempt, we tried the Andy Murray 100 volley challenge. You can see his attempt below:

Remember though that he is a professional tennis player and make it look easy. Too easy. Our first attempt at volleying the ball back and forth to each other last two volleys. Our next attempt was five. By the end of our first session we’d managed 36. But, if there’s one thing the lockdown has given us it’s time and a lack of other thing to do instead…

After two days and umpteen attempts we managed to complete the Andy Murray Challenge – and also completely fail it with our first attempt as the video show.

The Coronavirus Exercise Rules (Andrew)

As the weather turns from “blimey, it’s sunny but that’s a cold wind!” to “cracking!” in the next few days I thought I’d share some random ‘rules’ about exercising during lockdown. Anyone got any others? Or disagree? 🙂

  • ‘Road bikes’ are for roads, ‘mountain bikes’ are for mountains and ‘Gravel bikes’ are for folk who are easily persuaded to spend hundreds of pounds more on a road bikes with ever so slightly bigger tyres. But there is one type of bike that doesn’t exist and that’s the ‘pavement bike’. Bike are not designed for pavements. Ride your bike – but keep it on the road!
  • Don’t wear your club cycling gear when secretly meeting other members (of other clubs, not heard of any GTCers doing this) for a four hour ride. It’s not a secret if four of you are wearing the same club top.
  • And, no, the Crow Road (or favourite climb wherever you are) will not be quiet this weekend. Every other cyclist in north Glasgow (wherever you are) has had the same idea. You will be joining a peloton larger than the number of people trying to get a Zwift selfie with Geraint Thomas.
  • Fat blokes must wear longer t-shirts. It’s great to see so many people running, especially when becoming fitter can help fight the virus, but this tip shouldn’t need saying, but say it I must, no one wants to see your under-gut, wear a longer t-shirt so you’re not flashing your belly.
  • Fit bokes must wear a t-shirt. I know it’s sunny but the only fashion trend you should be following is “masks on” not “taps aff”. You don’t need to physically distance yourself from your running gear.
  • You cannot outrun the virus, just because you’re running faster doesn’t mean you can brush someone as you pass and escape the coronavirus. Keep your distance even when running. Especially, if you have your top off. No one wants a drive-by sweat-swipe.
  • Don’t go swimming. Not only will be breaking curfew you’ll be breaking in as the swimming pools are closed.
  • You are not invisible when exercising. In fact, you must as well be out with a spotlight on you and a klaxon blaring “I AM A TWAT”. Remember, most people will hate you for being out and assume that you’re breaking some rule or other. Try and avoid busy places, be the first to cross the road if you see someone come towards you, stay well away when passing anyone. Just, in general, assume not only that you have the virus but you’ve also seen Colin from Accounts and he’s the most boring man alive and you want to avoid a conversation with him at all costs and act accordingly.
  • Finally, don’t be a dick.
  • Really, don’t be a dick. 🙂

The Fat Minister (Iain)

The UK lock-down (which sounds more like a wrestling event than a disease prevention measure) means a lot of people are spending time at home instead of at the office.

This free time is a great opportunity to learn to write, or you could learn to paint, or you could learn to play a musical instrument – which means once lock-down is over there will be a lot of bad novels, bad art and bad music around!

Here at Twinbikerun we’re ahead of the curve. We’ve being making bad novels, bad art and bad music for years. As a bonus we also produce weekly blogs for people to enjoy/endure.

But there’s an important lesson we learnt doing these things. Our first book was “The Fat Minister’s Question time”

The Fat Minister was a character we created for twitter (https://twitter.com/thefatminister) so we could write jokes abut the Scottish Independence referendum. Any resemblance to any former First Minister is purely coincidental…

We collected the Fat Minster’s best jokes into a book. I re0read it before writing this and I can honestly say, like the SNP white paper it was based on, it hasn’t aged well.

We had no aim for the book. It was just a fun project to do so that we could work out how to write a book, publish it and sell it.

We’d have been happy if it sold just one copy.

It actually sold quite well. Beyond our expectation – two copies! One for me and one for Andrew. It helped that it was priced at 99p. Reviews were mixed. Some people loved it

and other didn’t love it as much.

But because we had written the book we received a couple of interesting requests.

  1. We were asked to contribute to a BBC radio show about the independence referendum. Each week for six weeks we would go into the studio and give our comedic take on the weeks news. I still have the cheque from the BBC for my work. Considering how much I’ve paid them in licence fee payments, it was nice to get a bit back.
  2. We were asked to support Eddie Izzard in concert! Yes – the real Eddie Izzard! We would go on before him and tell jokes to 2,000 people.

I’ll write about that next time….

The lesson I took from the book was don’t wait for anyone else to publish your book, or sell your painting or play your album. Just do everything yourself. You never know where it might lead.

Lockdown Diary (Andrew)

DAY ONE 
Up at 6am. Breakfast: homemade kale smoothie.
Shower. Shave. PE with Joe Wicks. He’s BRILLIANT. 
Isn’t this fun? No telly for me, I’m going to learn to play Metallica’s Enter Sandman on a 12 string Mandolin. Can’t wait for rest of the lock down!

DAY TWO
Up at 7am. Breakfast: Coffee (two cups).
PE with Joe Wicks. Eff off, Joe, it’s too early in the morning. 
Back to bed.
Watch every episode of Friends on Netflix except the London episodes. They’re awful. I still have standards. Skip!

DAY THREE
Wake up. Surf net. Find a punchbag of Joe Wicks and order on Amazon. Up at 8am.
Breakfast: All the purple ones from a Quality Street selection box.
Switch on Joe. Switch off, Joe. Joe must die. 
Is 10am too early for Jack Daniels?
Look out window. Why are people jogging on the street? Don’t they know the world is ending? You can’t outrun death – he’ll get us all in the end!
Watch London episodes of Friends. Twice. Why did Ross say “Rachel” at the wedding?! Why, Ross, why?!? Emily loved you!

DAY FOUR
Up at noon. 

Food runs out. Bed surrounded by empty Quality Street wrappers. Must go out but supermarkets are filled with infected checkouts. According to a post I saw on Facebook I can only survive if I gargle lukewarm PG Tips and rub my chest in marmite. It must be true. I saw it on Facebook. But I have no marmite. 😦

Never-mind, I can survive without food. I’ll need too to as I have no bog roll.

Joe Wick’s punchbag arrives. The masked courier complains my delivery was not “essential travel”. They’re wrong: Joe. Must. Get. TWATTED.

DAY FIVE
Later, as I sit on my balcony eating the dog, I reflect on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge country during the previous four days.

Celtman Training – Jan (Iain)

My Dad had a brain aneurysm in his 30s. In recent years, he has displayed symptoms of dementia and Parkinson’s but due to his aneurysm, his brain seems unwilling to commit to one affliction or the other. Some days he will have bad memory from dementia but the next it will be a shaky hand from Parkinson’s.

He took unwell and required hospitalization just before Christmas, which meant I spent the end of last year, and the start of this one, at home in the Western Isles, whilst he recovered in hospital.

Therefore, although January is the start of Celtman training it has taken second place to family issues.

It’s not all gloom though. There has been plenty of laughs. When he is in a confused state, he can be quite funny. Each day Mum asks him – does he know where he is? He comes up with some amazing replies.

One day Dad decided he was on a tram and he had to check all the tickets of the other passengers/patients. He told one poor bed ridden person that if he did not have a ticket by the time Dad came back he would throw him off the tram. The doctor came to visit Dad to see how he was. The doctor is quite a large fellow. Dad took one look at him and said, “Who let a fat man drive the tram?”

At least he recognised the Doctor was the man in charge.

If I didn’t laugh I’d cry.

Looking at my stats for the month, I am pleased to see that I did a bit more than in December.

My main aim has been quantity over quality. I’ve managed to do all the long runs and rides I had planned.

All my runs are on trail and usually hilly. All my rides are indoors on Zwift. I’m going full in on indoor training this year rather than outdoors. It’ll be interesting to see whether it works!

Training for Celtman: January 2020 (Andrew)

January Goals

  • Update and start training plan
  • Look into stats to help with training

How did I do?

For the second month in a row – see Nov and Dec – I set myself the goal of looking at stats to try and be more scientific with training. And, this month, I managed to look at FTP, which is not a brown brogue allegiance for anyone who knows their Scottish football acronyms. Instead it stands for functional threshold power or, too put it simply, the average amount of power you can exert in an hour.

As I’ve being using Zwift for 18 months I already knew I could ride at over 200 watts for an hour but the test – ride for an hour in Zwift with your power recorded over a 20 minute segment – managed to confirm that I was wrong. I could ride at 191 watts. Which is good to know but as I don’t know what’s watt and what’s a watt, it doesn’t mean anything to me yet. Apparently I should now try and increase it and test myself again in six weeks. If the watts have increased then my training will be going in the right direction.

The only other stat I tried this month was to run at least 13 miles in one training run, just to prove to myself that I could run a half marathon six months before Celtman.

I went out with Iain mid-month and, as he’s training for an ultra race in March, I ended up running 15 miles, the longest I’ve run in 10 years (the marathons in Ironman UK and Challenge Roth don’t count as I walk/ran them). It was great to think I could run that far and still feel I could do more. Unfortunately, and stupidly, I ran in new trainers and ripped my heel to shreds so running was restricted to short runs for the rest of the month while it healed.

On swimming, I’ve moved up to a faster lane in my weekly swims. I complain about it here

February Goals

More cycling. I’ve been restricted to indoor cycling and I’d like to get at least one 50 mile ride outdoors, weather depending.

Twinbikerun – the book

The 1st draft of twinbikerun the book is complete.

We’ve previously written a book about Scottish politics

and Scottish football.

but this time we have picked a subject even more prone to disagreements and petty squabbles – ourselves!

More details will be announced later.

PS – The book is not called twinbikerun the book. It has a much better title (we think!)

University – part 1 (Iain)

The view of the Uni in the prospectus

I studied Computing at the University of Edinburgh. I remember my first day at the University. I was informed I’d have to do a Maths course as part of my degree.

I asked “Why? I’m here to study Computing.”

The tutor replied that it was a requirement of the British Computer Society.

I said “Why? I’d rather learn something useful!”

He looked at me and said “Stop arguing. Just sign up to the Algebra course!”

At the end of the year I did the Algebra exam. I answered every single question and included my working out.  I got a score of 0/30 and the tutor wrote “This shows no knowledge of Algebra what so ever!”

I finished the course with a third class honours degree. Mainly due to laziness. I hate learning a subject if it’s something I feel is irrelevant. Allot of the course was irrelevant. I was good at the things useful for a career in Computing and hopeless at the bits that wouldn’t help me get a job.

Since then, I’ve had a successful IT career and not once has anyone ever asked what I got in Uni, whether I passed algebra or whether they could they see my British Computer Society membership.

The lesson I learnt is that you don’t need to go to Uni to be successful. You just need to work hard. People will judge you on what you achieve in life, and not by what bit of paper you hold.

The actual uni building I studied in. I was in the basement!