Run #EveryStreet – Day 9 (Andrew)

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.

Hot Stuff (Andrew)

The world has changed. Things we thought acceptable two months ago are unacceptable today. Things like shaking hands or picking pockets – it’s the light fingered larcenists who are the real victims of the coronavirus – or just generally being anywhere remotely near another human being. We need to adjust to the ‘new normal’, a phase which instantly suggest life will be worst. No one adds ‘new’ to a word without making you think you prefer the old one. New Coke? New Mutants? New York? All worse than old Coke, the original X-Men and an ugly cathedral that’s easily flooded.

In this ‘normal’ (I’m not using ‘new’) there is one thing that we all did that seems even more abnormal now. Two months ago we would voluntarily sit in a wooden box and be sweated on by strangers. We called it a sauna, to make it sound more continental, we wore shorts, so as not to make it weird, but, when you break it down, a sauna nee sweatbox is nothing but a small room where strangers met up and dripped on each other.

Some saunas were weirder than others. The one in Stornoway was made of plastic so that it felt like you were a carrot in a steamer. To be accurate it was a steamer as it was a steam room rather than a sauna but room would suggest it was larger than a kettle pot while steam would suggest it wasn’t a molten bast of heat that shot straight-out from underneath a single seat flaying any stray ankle that happened to be in it’s way. It wasn’t an accident waiting to happen. It was an on-going disaster that required to be put out. It was Chernobyl in a sports centre.

In Glasgow, the Arlington Swimming Pool has a garden door as an entrance to its steam room. A proper white plastic fire door more commonly found in cheap extensions and infection control labs. The glass was so thick it could have a been a PE teacher. This room also featured a single furnace of heat to be avoided at all costs. But if it did hit you then you could cool off in the rivers of sweat that swept down the walls. The walls were so wet that Noah would have started building a second ark.

At my local gym the sauna is slightly more civilised. There is a pretend coal fire and you can ladle water from a bucket onto it to create steam. I don’t bother though as I’ve seen the lifeguards collect the water by scooping it from the pool. Adding it to the fake fire doesn’t create a nice steam effect, it turns the water into chlorine and the steam into mustard gas.

But the strangest thing I’ve ever seen in a sauna was a drug deal. Or at least I thought it was.

I was in a sauna with Mike Skinner of The Streets and his band. It was in a hotel in Glasgow and they must have been playing a show. One of the band started talking about the Dragon and how great it was in Leeds the previous night. I thought “Dragon, that’s clearly drug slang for heroin – don’t you chase the dragon?”

I thought I was going to get a tale of drugs and rock and roll until Mike Skinner said:

“The Dragon. Yes, lovely Chinese. I had the lemon chicken.”

Today I can only look at the sauna and think about what made us think that sitting in a room surrounded by the accumulated sweat of strangers and foot critics was ever acceptable, or fun. Hot stuff? Hot zone, more like.

What’s the Point of Singlets? (Andrew)

What’s the point of the singlet? Do sleeves slow you down? Do armpits make you run faster? Or do guys just want to look like Bruce Willis in Die Hard?

To be fair, Bruce Willis does a lot of running in that film but you can’t say that he was wearing the right clothes. He doesn’t even have shoes on. You don’t see Kopchoge lining up at the front of the London Marathon barefooted and ready to go. No, he’s wearing his Nike Cheat Boots because he knows that clothes don’t just maketh the man, they maketh the man run faster.

So, why a singlet?

I can understand why you might wear a singlet to the gym: you want to show off your arms. You want bare bulging biceps while curling large weights in front of a mirror. Then you want to lie on a bench and press even larger weights while showing the world your underarm pubic hair because you think folk are impressed by a chest that looks like it’s got armpit shrubbery. Clearly, you are a tool, and you should be covered up but I can understand why you do it. You don’t mind being a dick. But I don’t understand singlets for running because runners, at least the ones I know, aren’t dicks. So, again, why singlets?

Looking at some running forums and I find comments such as:

“it’s one of the great distinguishing marks between guys and gals who are serious about their running and the running tourists.”

Forum member: NotSoSure

Now while you should never trust a source called “NotSoSure” – that would be like trusting Jack the Ripper with his assurance that he won’t rip you too, there is something in this comment. Is the singlet just a way of showing you’re different? Does wearing the singlet suggests you are better than other people? If top runners wear a singlet then, if I wear one too, I must be a top runner. Perhaps. Or maybe there’s another answer: does wearing a singlet make you faster? Is that why the top runners wear them? They’re CheatTops.

I had to investigate. Do singlets give you a performance boost?

The only answer I can find is that wearing a singlet may have cooling effect for an athlete greater than that of a sleeved top. The open arms allow air to circulate and the heat benefit for a long race may reduce the amount you sweat and the energy used to run fast. Which, if true, leads to the question, why wear anything at all? Which question led me to the following article: Should Men Wear Shirts When Running Races?

The answer is clearly “no, a shirt is for the office, not a race!” but if they mean should men wear t-shirts or singlets then the answer is “Yes!”. And not just because a race demands decorum, not a naturist exhibition. The simpler answer is that if a man runs topless, then where does he hang his race number? From his nipples? Is that how pierced nipples were invented? Someone forgot to take the safety pin out when taking their number off?

Perhaps, we do have our answer though to the question: what’s the point of singlets? Maybe it is to help cool down elite athletes. Equally, it’s also a way for elite athlete to hang their race number without nipples, anaesthetic and a sharp needle. Which means we have our answer to the question of what’s the point of singlets? Singlets do serve a purpose: they are the minimum requirement for racing with a number.

Run #EveryStreet – Mayrathon Challenge (Iain)

I took up the challenge of https://twinbikerun.com/2020/05/07/run-everystreet-may-andrew/ to run every street. I thought it would be easy as I live in small town. I was wrong!

I went out on my lunch break thinking I could do it in an hour and that it would be 10K at most.

90 minutes and 10 miles later I had to abort the run and head home otherwise I’d be late for a work meeting.

What I took from my attempt is that it’s very hard to do it without a map. I wanted to challenge myself by trying to find my own way around town rather than relying on technology. But the mental strain of trying to remember which roads to visit and where I’d been was hard. I haven’t concentrated that hard on a task since my school exams!

New build estates are a killer to run around. So many dead ends and identikit houses makes navigation a challenge.

I got some strange looks from locals when I did run down dead end streets especially if the street was only a couple of hundred metres long. The locals must have wondered why I was bothering.

Long streets with lots of roads running off it are also tricky. I couldn’t work out whether I was better running the street in one go and then coming back to do the turn offs or just do each turnoff as I came to it.

Its an interesting challenge a mixture of running and mind skills.

I’ll try again but give myself more time.

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…

Run #EveryStreet – Mayrathon Challenge (Andrew)

Start of the challenge: loads of streets to run!

I spotted this challenge on adventurer Alistair Humpher’s Instagram account. Can you run every street within one mile of your home?

It’s a great idea. It fits in with the spirit of lockdown by exercising locally and next to your home while also including a sense of adventure and exploring as you realise that you have never actually ran down the street right next to you.

Not sure if there’s any rules to the challenge (I was too lazy to Google it!) so I’ve invented my own.

Step 1

You’ll need to join Strava. There may be other ways to record this but this is the one I know.

Step 2

Sign up for their Summit package – which should be offering one month free.

Step 3

Remember to diary to cancel the package in 29 days!

Step 4

Go out for a run then, when you upload it to Strava, you can check “Heatmap” and it will show you where you’ve been. Every time you run, you can update the heat map and it will travel the streets you’ve run along.

Step 5

Try and run every street within one mile of your house.

And one final rule – it’s cheating to live in a small village where it is a challenge just to find another street…

Oh, and one other rule. Don’t try and run every single street unless you’re Ricky Gates who ran every single street in San Francisco. Keep it local during the lockdown! 🙂

Celtman Training – April (Iain)

Despite lockdown, I managed more exercise this month than any other month this year. It’s just a pity Celtman isn’t on. I feel really fit!

Luckily, I live in a small town in the countryside. I have access to biking, trails and hills on my doorstep. I can leave the house and not see a soul for hours. I don’t need to practice social isolating. I’ve been doing it for years.

Here’s some things I’ve learnt this month.

I’ve learnt that I’m sports TV addict who is so desperate for sport to return I watched the wood chopping world championship.

I learnt that my Dad hasn’t mastered video calls but it was good to see his ear

I learnt that I could spend lock-down learning to bake, or work on art, or even learn a new language. I could do any of those things….or could use this time to get my favourite twitter account Grumpy Skeletor to insult a friend of mine. All it required was a three pound donation to Grumpy’s coffee fund. Money well spent.

I learnt that the most exciting day in lockdown other than Bin Day is Bin Day Eve. I’m never sure if I’ll be able to sleep due to the excitement of wondering whether the bin men will come.

I completed a Jigsaw! Now, a lot of haterz might say – what about the sky? That’s #fakejigsawnews from the #fakejigsawmedia The bits are all there! Do they report that? I’m the jigsawest jigsawer of all time. So there! Make jigsaws great again!

The letter below says that I am a key worker. No need to call me a hero or clap for me…oh ok then. You can clap a little. #humble #clap4todd



Here are a few pics from the month.

Training for Celtman: April (Andrew)

After last month’s postponement of this year’s race… only 62 weeks to go!

This month was a short month as I still felt the effects of being ill in March. I tried a couple of rides and runs but I still wasn’t feeling right so I rested for another week before starting up again gradually. Thankfully the last few weeks have seen no reaction and I’ve been feeling stronger each time I go out. The only challenge is motivation. 62 weeks is 434 days – and that’s definitely too many days to make me think anything I do now will matter.

I enjoy training but I know there are some days where I need the extra motivation of a race to get me out the front door. A bit of rain, a cold day or just tired legs. If you have a race then you know that you need to go out in order to give a race your best shot. But when you have 434 days, you know that you don’t need to go out – well, at least not for at least another 433 days.

So, this month has been about trying to find some new ways to motivate myself. Rather than thinking about races I’ve been thinking instead about how to keep injury free over such a long time and to try some new training to help – whether that’s something simple like warming up on a bike before going on a run or, more challenging, taking part in some Yoga online. Either way, it’s been a strange month, one that should have seen training start to peak but instead saw a postponement to 2021. Oh well, with 434 days to go, I can’t complain now that I don’t have enough time to train!

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.

What to Watch During Lockdown (Iain)

Having more time at home means I get to spend quality time with my loved ones – the TV, the computer and the wife. That is not an order of preference. My wife reads this so I have to say that!

I don’t watch many TV shows. I’m about five years behind everyone else. I only recently started Game of Thrones. I love Sean Bean. I can’t wait to see how his character progresses over the seven seasons.

But because of lockdown, an abundance of free films, Theatre and YouTube videos have been made available to watch.

Here’s a selection of things I’ve seen.

TWIN https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000h3cm

Two twins – one more successful than the other, swap places after one dies in an accident.

This is a concept I can totally buy into. It’s factually correct. One twin is always more succesful than the other. Andrew – How did you get on at Norseman? Do you want to see what a finishers T-shirt looks like? Is it cold in my shadow?

The show is utterly preposterous but it has one redeeming feature. It is filmed in Lofoten. One of the most beautiful areas of Norway. Lofoten is somewhere I want to visit (as I love Norway) and hopefully do their triathlon https://www.thearctictriple.no/lofoten-triathlon/

GANGS OF LONDON

Gangs of London is the thickheaded more violent brother of Twin. It is even more preposterous and prone to extreme violence. It is well directed and acted but at the end my wife said “I’m not sure I could watch any more of that”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZRVEFtHaHc

Snowpiercer

A train circling the globe has the last reaming humans. The train is split into different classes from the poorest to the richest.

This films sounds stupider than Twin and Gangs of London combined but its actually great. Don’t learn anything about it in advance. Just watch it and enoy a smart sci fi premise done really well.

The director and writer went onto to win Oscar for this years Parasite. So it proves he knows what he is doing.

YOUTUBE

I’ve watched a lot of great YouTube videos. I’ve created a playlist of some of the best

I tried watching some live theatre – One Man, Two Guvnors starring James Cordon but after 30s of watching him, I wanted to lick a self service machine to try and get a dose of covid-19. Even that horrific illness must be more enjoyable than 2 hours of Cordon!