Jan 24 (Iain) – Insanity Is doing the same thing over and over again

The “genius” Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Week after week I play squash and every single time I lose.

Am I insane? Am I doing the same thing again and again?

I don’t think so.

I’m a much better squash player now than when I started playing. I can see shots and angles of return that were previously unavailable to me.

I can vary my shot depending on whether I want to use pace or skill.

I can move around the court so that I’m always in the correct position to anticipate the next move.

Yet, I still lose week after week.

And this doesn’t bother me.

For me – winning is irrelevant. It only matters that I enjoyed the game and that I pushed myself to my limit.

So when I sign up for a challenge I don’t look at whether I’ll win, whether I’ll get a PB or whether I’ll succeed. I ask myself whether I’ll enjoy it.

My `A` race for the year is the Long Course Weekend. I saw it on TV and it looked fun. I have no idea how difficult or easy the course is. It doesn’t matter. I know I’ll enjoy visiting a part of the country I’ve never been to before.

Einstein famously never wore socks. He didn’t see the point when shoes were more than adequate at doing the same job. I disagree with him as I forgot my spare socks last week and ripped my feet to shreds in the afternoon trying to walk sock-less in leather shoes.

Maybe he wasn’t such a genius after-all.

 

Jan 24 – Nigel Barge 10k (Andrew)

UntitledThe Nigel Barge 10k was traditionally the first race of the year in Glasgow. It was held on the first Saturday of January and attracted hundreds of runners to a hilly and challenging course around the West End.

It was set up in 1943 to commemorate Nigel Barge, an officer killed at Dunkirk. Nigel was a keen runner and a member of Maryhill Harriers running club. After his death, his father set up the race in his memory. It has been held continuously for over 70 years and is now one of Scotland’s oldest road races.

You can find out more about its history here: Scottish Road Running History

Today, the course has moved from its original route to Garscube sports grounds, about four miles further west. Unfortunately, the race may have moved but the hills have remained. It’s a two lap course with two steep hills, tackled twice.

I was looking forward to running. I’ve never raced as early as January before and I thought it would be good practice to see how I’d perform after a couple of weeks of training. I thought 47 – 50 minutes would be a good time and give me something to build on for the months ahead. It would also be a good test of running in bad weather, or at least I thought it would…

Unusually, Sunday turned out to be almost Spring-like. The temperature was in double figures and the sun even threatened to peak out three months early.  I ditched running gloves and an extra top and went with a base layer, t-shirt and leggings. It was too much and I found myself wishing I’d just worn a t-shirt after the first kilometres.

I also felt I started too fast. The course is downhill for the first 500m and, with everyone jostling for position, I couldn’t help running faster. Iain also starts faster than me and I tried to keep up even though it felt like I was running faster than I should. Normally, he would start to pull away, but this time I kept pace.

After 500m there was a short 100m section across playing grass before re-joining the main path. However, after raining most of the week, the grass was just a boggy swamp. Runners lept from foot to foot like Cossack dancers to avoid touching the ground. A few slide. One even found a sink hole that went down to his knee. It was funny until I remembered I was running in (no longer) bright white new trainers.

The first hill came a minute later. A long steady slog near Garscube vet school. The second hill a short sharp climb to Maryhill Road. Neither were pleasant but they both had longish descents after them where I tried to open my stride and run faster. On the second lap, on the descent after the first hill, I started to lose Iain. On the second descent, I grew the gap to 100m.

After that, my only thought is: “Don’t let him catch me, gotta keep ahead of him.” I looked back once, with 200m to go, and saw he was still 100m behind. I knew I was safe but still tried to finish with a burst, my thoughts now turning to Norseman: “Only another 20 miles to go (and a mountain)”.

I finished in 45 min 58 seconds, pleased with my time and with beating Iain after he’d “won” our last few 10k races.

One race done. One race won. A good start to the year.

Triathlete’s Dictionary (Ranxiety) – (Andrew)

Ranxiety

Noun

  • A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent race or something with an uncertain outcome.

“He felt a surge of ranxiety about tomorrow’s Nigel Barge 10k”

  • A desire to go running, typically accompanied by various excuses not to go running and a strong desire to watch some telly instead.

“His ranxiety increased throughout the week until he admitted defeat and watched four episodes of Making A Murderer in a row.”

 

Jan 20th – Football’s a stupid game (Andrew)

I’ve retired  from playing football two times. The first time I was 25, just returned from six months in London, and without a regular game of fives to join I chose to ‘retire’. Though I wasn’t so much retired as abandoned. I didn’t mind though, I just wanted to run and I concentrated on half-marathons (and eating cake) instead.

The second time I retired was when I was 34 and I’d snapped my ankle. I’d started playing again after a new game had started through work on an indoor pitch near my flat. After 18 months, I mistimed a tackle, snapped an ankle ligament and ended up in the Victoria Infirmary x-ray department. “12 weeks to heal” they said. 12 weeks later I walked out onto the pitch, ran scared from any tackles, then played on a further three months to show I’d overcome it. Then, I retired. This time, definitely, officially, over. Football is a stupid game, and people get hurt. People like me.

This time I retired until 18 months ago. A new job. A weekly game. A good chance to get to know the people I worked with. I’ve been playing regularly since then in a freezing cold shed in Falkirk and tonight I’ll swap a running session for a game of football. I know it’s not in the training program and I’ve got more chance of injuring myself but, despite retiring, I still like to play, just slower and with even less skill than when I was 25. Then home for some cake. I’ve never retired from cake.

 

 

Jan 17th (Iain) – SPRIIIIIIIINNNNNNTTTTT!

I once had a job interview where I was asked “what type of manager do you like?”

I wanted to say “one who lets me do as little as possible!” but instead replied “One who I’m scared of. I perform better when someone is shouting at me than one someone is being very nice.”

I remembered this whilst doing a Spin Class. The normal instructor was away. She’s a nice girl who gives very clear and easy to follow instructions. I enjoy her class and always get a good workout.

This week a man turned up. He was shaven headed, covered in tattoo’s and looked like he’d just left prison. Not the type of man who be released from prison but the type of man who would broken out!

He took one look at us and immediately shouted “Level 19 and a cadence of 100!”

This was going to be hard. The girl normally says “Level 12 but take it at your own pace”

“Level 20!” F**k – I’d only just got used to level 19

“LEVEL 21! I’ll Know if you’re slacking!” How does he know? Can he tell that sometime I put my hand over the switch to turn it up but only pretend to move it?

“LEVEL 22!!!” There’s sweat everywhere. In my eyes, matting my hair and dripping on the floor. I hope my bike floats as the pool of sweat is going to be deep.

“LEVEL 23!!!” I’m dying.

“LEVEL 24!!!” The man next to me can no longer turn his pedals. I can barely move mine. This can’t get any harder

“NOW SPRINT!!!!” It got harder.

At the end of the class I hated the instructor but he did make me work harder and better than I ever have in any other class.

So for Norseman I will adopt the shout at Andrew approach! “SPRIIIIIIIIINNNNTTTT!”

Jan 9th (Iain) – Snow Cock!

“That looks like a massive snow cock!” Shouts a runner as we pass what looks like two large snow balls and one large shaft.

“Maybe its two snowmen cuddling up for warmth with a chimney in between them?” I replied.

“Its definitely a massive icy wang!” They shout back.

“I think you’re right” I concede.

Today was a 7 mile trail run that would normally have amazing views overlooking Glasgow but due to snow and fog the only thing I saw was an erotic snow sculpture.

Jan 5th (Iain) – Standing In Front Of The School Naked

I was late for spin class.

I’d popped into work on the way to the class to pick up a parcel from my desk. I’d then spent too long trying to work out the pin code to get into my office. I know it’s got a 4, a 7, a 1 and and a 9 in it. I just didn’t know the correct order. After twenty minutes of randomly trying combinations I had to abandon my parcel.

I thought I’d sneak into the class and no one would notice.

I was wrong. The class was full. Everyone stared at me.

I offered to leave! I’d already biked that day so didn’t need to bike again.

The instructor told me to stay and gave me her bike. The one facing the rest of the class.

This must be the spin cycling nightmare equivalent of standing in front of the school naked.

I decided to look down for the whole class and pretend no one else was there.

Jan 3rd – Are Twins Psychic?

“Swim@1500?” Texts Andrew

“Ok!” I reply.

It’s claimed that twins are psychic but we prefer to rely on text message. Sending each other messages by thought alone has proved more unreliable than scotrail trains.

He once fell off his bike and broke his arm. If I was psychic I’d have felt his pain. I felt nothing!

Which is why at 1510 I was standing outside the pool wondering why he was ten minutes late. After another 10 minutes I decided to go in and swim as he mustn’t be coming.

I got changed and headed to the pool. I jumped in a lane. There was with one other swimmer in the lane so I waited for them to swim to me so I could check it was ok to share the lane.

“Hey!”

It turned out the swimmer was my brother

“Why didn’t you meet me here at 1500?” He asked

“I was outside!”

“Oh! I thought you’d come inside.” he replied

What did I say about twins not being psychic.

Jan 1st (Iain) – What Is A Tradition?

I have a New Years day tradition which I started last year. Does that count as tradition? How many years do I have to do it before it becomes traditional?

I climb a hill on New Year’s Day. It doesn’t matter which one. I’m not picky.

I decided to climb the hill nearest my house. Before I left I double checked the route on the map. It seemed simple. Walk to the top via one route and follow a different path down.

I decided to go Alpine style which is a another way of saying I couldn’t be bothered carrying a bag or a map. I’d regret that later…

How hard could it be to walk to the top of a hill and then find a path back down? Surprisingly difficult. There was no path back down. Whoever drew the map must have failed map school.

I could have walked back the way we came but instead I decided to make my own path. I went to the hill edge and headed down the steep slope. I could see the town so I aimed for that. There must be a path eventually…

40 minutes and no path later I was standing in the middle of a very muddy field. My shoes were muddy, my jeans were muddy and my nose was muddy. I’m not sure how that happened!

The field was the only thing keeping me from reaching the town. I could see the houses. All I had to do was walk across this field. The choice was simple. Retreat and spend time looking for a better way that might not exist or commit to the mud.

I choose mud.

I squelched my way across the field. The closer I got to the houses the more I realised I faced a non mud related issue. Their was no gaps between the houses. The only way to get to town was to jump into someone’s garden.

I hoped whoever’s house I invaded would be too hungover from the night before to notice their first footer is a 6ft tall stranger covered in mud.

I choose a delightful 3 bed bungalow to invade. They didn’t have a dog (I hoped) and their garden wall looked sturdy enough to clamber over.

I couldn’t see anyone in their windows so I jumped over. I landed in the garden next to their trampoline. At that exact moment a women appeared at the window.

She looked at me

I looked at her

I waved hello

And legged it!

I stopped running when I got to the house.

My new New Year’s Day tradition is to not scare the neighbors!

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