TwinBikeRun 2022 (Andrew)

A decent year for the site as we clocked over 11K visitors again. There was a clear drop this year from last but that was largely due to a decrease in searches for open water swimming after a boom last year in people looking for information about local lochs. 

Hello to our visitors from nearly 2000 visitors from around the world.

And an extra special hello to those single visitors from Uruguay to Jordan:

And many thanks to all who visited the site, read a blog, left a comment, clicked a link, watched a video or bought the book.

My Year (Andrew)

My ‘A race’ this year was going to be ‘Baby Celtman’ aka Celtman Solo 10.5. However, as Iain Twinbike Run qualified for the full Celtman itself, and Baby Celtman being the following week, I could only go to Applecross once and supported his race instead. So, my main race this year involved me sitting in a car having a snooze while waiting for Iain TwinBikeRun to finish swimming. And how did I get on? I can honestly say I smashed it. Just look at the genius move of bringing a pillow with me to make my snooze even more comfortable. If supporting was a race, then I was a gold medal winner. 

For actual running, biking and swimming, I had a back up goal of trying to run a bit faster this year. I’d noticed my average times were creeping down and I wanted to try and push a bit faster. By the end of the year I was running around 30 seconds faster a mile than the start. I’d like to say there was a dedicated training programme to achieve this but it mostly involved finishing work at 5 and having to be home by 540 as that’s when our nanny finished. There’s nothing like having to avoid paying overtime to make you run faster. 

Overall, a decent year that reflected two things. One, a one year old in the house which meant I was very restricted about anything longer than an hour. Two, a broken rib and then COVID to finish the year so Oct to Dec was patchy as I had to avoid pressure on my rib and then anything which set off a cough for a couple of weeks. 

Next year, ‘Baby Celtman’ is the goal again and I’m looking forward to being back in Applecoss, even if I have to be there with a bike and running kit and not a comfy pillow. 

The Sound of Football: Colchester United (Andrew)

Every fortnight we cover the best and worst football songs from every club in the UK from our book ‘The Sound Of Football: Every Club, Every Song’. You can buy it here

Colchester United

Nickname: The U’s

Ground: Weston Homes Community Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 10,105

Song: Up The U’s

If you are interested in alternative music, then one name will immediately come to mind: Steve Lamacq.

Steve’s tireless championing of new music on his long-running shows on Radio 1 and Radio 6 Music has delivered the first UK radio exposure for Oasis, Coldplay, and every guitar band who’s emerged on the UK alternative music scene in the last 20 years. In-between attending hundreds of gigs each year, Steve has another love: Colchester FC. On 23 January 2006, he combined both passions by playing the team’s anthem ‘Up the U’s’ on Radio 1’s Evening Session.

The song is ironic: Colchester is the setting for the famous nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty. During the English Civil War, a sniper known as Humpty Dumpty, due to his large size, sat in the belfry of a church (Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall.) He was shot down (Humpty Dumpty had a great fall) and, shortly after, the town was overrun by Parliamentarians (all the king’s horses and all the king’s men/couldn’t put Humpty together again), which is why, instead of singing ‘Up the U’s, an appropriate fairy tale ending for Colchester would find them falling down the divisions.

The club has had moderate success. With a population of just over 100k, it has punched above its weight and regularly features in the top half of League 1. Its greatest achievement was a victory over Don Revie’s all-conquering Leeds United side of the 1970s. A result that put all of the Colchester players involved into the club’s player hall of fame.

The club anthem is ‘Up the U’s’, and Colchester based punk band Special Duties has recorded the song twice.

Special Duties was originally called X-pelled, but they switched names when a box of badges with “Special Duties” printed on them ‘came into their possession’. Allegedly the badges were stolen from a local Colchester school. They changed their name to fit the badges rather than print more badges with X-Pelled written on them.

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

Jimmy Irvine 10K 2022 Race Report (Andrew)

If you ‘assume’ then you make an ass of of you and me.

Which is one of those phrases that doesn’t seem fair, when you think about it. Why should two people be blamed for one persons assumption? If I assume that you will give a chocolate cake if I visit your house, then it’s not your fault if I turn up on your doorstep at midnight demanding a Black Forest gateaux. You would be quite right to slam the door in my face and call my every name under the sun. No has made an ass out of you. You’re in the right. I’m in the wrong and when I assume I have only made an ass out of me.

Which is what happened at the Jimmy Irvine 10K. I had assumed the route was the same as the last time I’d entered. See Jimmy Irvine Race Report 2019. However, the organisers had moved the start line. Instead of starting at the top of a hill in Bellahouston Park, they started at the bottom. And the first few hundred metres required us to run to the top.

I didn’t know this so hadn’t warmed up and I spent the first few hundred metres huffing and puffing and cursing myself for not think to check the route.

Other than that, the route was the same as previous years and involves 2 and half laps of Bellahouston Park. Unlike previous years – see 2019 again – it was a warm autumn day. There was no rain and it was a nice run through the park with around 500 other runners.

I was pleased with my time after having been ill a couple of days before. However, I don’t know my exact time. According the organisers I ran in 46 mins 30 seconds. According to my watch, I ran 10k in 45 minus 40 seconds. I could only wonder if the extra metres at the start may have made the course longer.

(Or my watch failed to track me right).

I would make an assumption but we all know the dangers in doing that now.

New Trainer Time (Andrew)

When do you change your running shoes? According to the shoe manufacturer, Asics, you should change them every 400 – 500 miles or earlier if:

•              Sections of the rubber outsole are so worn that you can see the softer foam underneath

•              The midsole feels too soft and collapses easily under pressure. 

•              You see longitudinal creases in the midsole

•              The heel counter becomes mobile and less supportive

•              Your toes wear through the toe-box and the shoe upper tears

•              One shoe sole becomes asymmetrically worn when compared to the other

•              One or both shoes no longer stand up straight when placed on a flat surface

•              You feel increased muscle soreness after running

I’ve got a simpler system to know when to replace your shoes: once a year, when the sales are on – or earlier, if a hole appears. 

The important thing though is to change them whether they need changed or not  – because no shoe lasts two years. If you get one year out of them, then you’re doing well. If you get longer, even better. Because you can buy the new pair and then keep wearing the old pair until the hole appears. 

It’s a simple system and it’s never failed me.Modern shoes should last a year, unless you are Kipchoge and running marathons every second week. But, in his case, he gets shoes for free from Nike so doesn’t have to think about it. Mo Farah on the other hand, now that his career is slowing down faster than he is, will need to start thinking about buying his own. So, Mo, if you’re reading, perhaps best you pop down to the January sales and buy a pair for this year!

So, there you go, you don’t need to know much about shoes to keep injury free with proper trainers. Just buy one pair a year in the January sales and you’ll never need to think about it again.

31 Day Stretching Challenge – Day 31 (Andrew)

Last year, after finishing my 31 days of exercise challenge, I wrote:

Tired legs, tired arms… Pooh sticks thrown off a bridge show more skill in the water than I did [swimming] this morning. I was very glad to finish the swim and, with it, the challenge.”

Today, I feel good, and I feel I have benefitted from trying some form of stretching each day. So much so, I’ll be continuing the challenge tomorrow by incorporating some form of stretching each day into my routine.

Most importantly, I started the challenge because I felt pain in my right hip, and, today, I can report I have not felt any pain or discomfort for the last two weeks. Yay!

Who’d have guessed it? Taking care of yourself and trying not to run, bike or swim your body into the ground, is actually a good thing to do! 🙂

The Sound of Football: Clyde (Andrew)

Every fortnight we cover the best and worst football songs from every club in the UK from our book ‘The Sound Of Football: Every Club, Every Song’. You can buy it here

Clyde FC

Nickname: The Bully Wee

Ground: Broadwood Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 8,029

Song: The Song Of The Clyde

The lyrics to Clyde’s song ‘Song Of The Clyde’ are the perfect description of what it means to be a Clyde fan. The second verse includes the lines:

I’ll follow them east, and I’ll follow them west

Tae the north or the south still it’s ‘my team’s the best.’

So come down tae [insert name of the current stadium] you’ll know I’ve not lied

When I tell you the greatest of team is the Clyde.

(Source: unknown)

Clyde’s a nomadic team, which is why we’ve written “[insert name of the current stadium]” in the above lyrics. The supporters originally sang of Shawfield Stadium in the south side of Glasgow before they relocated in 1994 to a new stadium in Cumbernauld, a town to the north of Glasgow.

In 2015 there were reports that it would be on the move again after falling out with its landlord, North Lanarkshire Council, over unpaid rent for Broadwood. This time it would move back to East Kilbride, another town to the south of Glasgow. In total, Clyde has had six grounds since it formed in 1877. However, returning closer to its original southside home will not guarantee that fans will follow. In its final season in Shawfield, Clyde averaged 940 fans a game. In Cumbernauld, it has averaged 1,100, and many of those fans may not want to travel across Glasgow to see Clyde’s new home.

While Clyde may have a small fan base today, it was once considered one of Scotland’s bigger teams. It played in the top division of Scottish football until 1976 and won the Scottish Cup in 1939, 1955 and 1958. However, the late twentieth century was not a good time to be a Clyde fan. After Clyde’s owners sold the stadium, relegation from the topflight was followed by financial problems and, ultimately, the decision to leave its home in Shawfield.

Between 1986 and 1994, Clyde shared a ground with its hated rivals Partick Thistle (imagine Manchester United sharing with Manchester City, and you’ll have a good idea what fans thought of this move) and then with Hamilton Academicals before it was persuaded to play in Cumbernauld. North Lanarkshire Council promised Clyde a purpose-built stadium. Although 6,000 people attended Clyde’s first game, 5,000 didn’t come back. The stadium’s proximity to Glasgow meant local supporters would bypass Broadwood and go straight to Ibrox and Celtic Park for their football fix. However, while talks of a move have gone quiet, the fans know one thing:

I’ll follow them East, and I’ll follow them West

Tae the North or the South still its ‘my teams the best‘”

(Source: unknown)

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

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