The year so far…

It’s been a while, so here’s a bit of a catch up!
Yesterday I went to Liverpool Cathedral to hear Rob Bell talk about his new book – ‘Love Wins‘. I’d seen him do a Q&A at Greenbelt last year, so was quite interested to hear him in person talk about his new book which has already caused a bit of controversy within the church.

It was quite bizarre because quite a few influential people were highly critical of it via Twitter, even before the book had actually been released, so I decided I’d rather make my own mind up, rather than listen to emotional ramblings from people who can come across a bit arrogant at times!

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I went with Tom Green from Vinelife, and met up with Dave Bateman (who’s now living in Liverpool), and I also bumped into Tim Follin and his wife who were both there too. The place was pretty packed, and it was really interesting to hear his thoughts, but even though I think some of the stuff he said was quite though-provoking, I’m not totally sure I agree with all the points he put across.

After he did his main talk bit, he was ‘interviewed’ by the host of the evening, but he wasn’t really very good at it and asked pretty rubbish questions.  And then they invited people from the audience to ask questions, but again I thought there were a lot of missed opportunities, and Tom went forward to ask a question, but they wrapped up just before he got a chance to which was a bit annoying!

I bought the book afterwards, and I want to read it myself to see what I reckon – I certainly think it’s good that he’s causing people to ask questions about it.

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26 miles this week!

I’ve been cycling again this week – first off I did 10 miles at the gym, which took took me about 40 minutes, and although my legs were like jelly when I got off, I was pleased that later on, my legs weren’t aching at all.  Again, the only thing which I could feel was the negative effect of the saddle!

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Anyway, today we went back to the Upper Derwent Valley at the end of the Snake Pass, and did the same route as a couple of weeks ago.

I went with Dave again, and this time Rob came with us.  We started a lot earlier than last time because Rob needed to get back mid afternoon to travel down to a gig in Solihull, so we got to the visitors centre at Fairholmes at about 10.30am, and set off around the reservoirs just before 11 o’clock.

There was a lot less snow and ice this time round, although there were still a couple of places where a few small snow drifts are still hanging on in there.

I found the first 10 or so miles pretty alright, and was able to go much longer between breather stops than last time, and I managed some of the ‘hills’ that I struggled with before, although I did get off and push for a few of them still!  At about 13 or 14 miles, I started getting really tired, and unfortunately at that part of the route, there’s a bit of a stretch which has an incline, so I ended up doing that on foot!  Then I managed the last couple of miles back to the car park, where we managed to grab a hot drink which was very welcome!  Dave and Rob were really good too, because obviously I was slowing them down, but they kept pretty much at my pace, and when they did ride ahead, they’d always wait for me to catch up.

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I’m feeling totally knackered now, but it’s more of an overall tiredness rather than any aching legs or anything, which is good.  One thing I’m pretty sure of is that I’m going to get a good night’s sleep tonight!

I’ve added some photos of the day to my biking album here.

…And relax!

Well almost… I’ve got a job in the morning but I’ll forget about that for now!

James and Gareth with TV's Rob HallamI’ve just got back from the Sports Bar in Manchester where there was a big gathering to watch the Cannonball documentary go out on ITV1 tonight. The sound in there was really crap so it was hard to hear a lot of the speech in it (although I now know it all word-for-word!), but everyone really seemed to enjoy it. For some bizarre reason I got a bit nervous as we were waiting for the news to finish, and when it finally started I was quite relieved that we’d finally got it to air! I know I’m always over-critical of my work, and there were things that I could see that I probably would have liked to change a bit, but maybe I need to chill out a bit more and accept compliments from people… something I really struggle with to be honest.

James arrived for the last 20 minutes of the show which was cool (I didn’t think he’d be able to make it because he’d had a few late nights and didn’t want to disturb Helen when he got home, but he came straight from a Sheffield Wednesday match so would have got in late anyway!!) He did the title sequence for the programme, and I think he’s done an amazing job on them. I was originally supposed to be doing it, and had laid out the shots to the music, but realised I wouldn’t have time to do a decent job on them, so I basically sub-contracted them to James! And what he did with them was loads better than I would have done – he’s really hot with Flash animation and had used that to create some retro animated backgrounds. I’m so glad that I’m doing more and more work with James because he’s incredibly talented, and I think we make a good team because we seem to compliment each other with our skills, and I reckon we could do some really great stuff together. Anyway, that’s enough of the back-slapping – obviously a bit tired and emotional! It was a good evening, and Rob was really pleased with the final programme… I’m looking forward to hopefully working on more of his shows in the future.

One other event from today… me and James had kind of arranged to go swimming this morning, but I was working pretty late last night, so when James texted me at nine this morning to see if I still wanted to go, it was the message tone that actually woke me up! Anyway, I decided that I should still go because I really want to kick-start my fitness stuff again, and met James there just after half-past.

The swim was pretty tough-going… it’s been quite a few weeks since I’ve been and I found it really tiring on my arms this morning. We did some time in the pool, and then spent about 10 minutes in a hotter than usual jacuzzi before heading off to the showers. We’d been in there a couple of minutes just talking about work stuff when suddenly I interrupted James to announce that I felt like I was going to be sick! I’d suddenly become really light-headed and I knew that I could chuck up at any time! James didn’t really know what to say… he told me this evening that I’d come out with it so matter-of-factly that it caught him a bit unawares!

Anyway, I then had to quickly struggle to untangle my swimming shorts to get them back on again (they were screwed-up because I’d been washing out the chlorine, and I really didn’t want to be standing over a toilet being sick whilst totally naked! That wouldn’t have been be a pretty sight!!) but I wasn’t sick much in the end, though I did heave quite a bit – the smell of the toilet didn’t really help! Feeling totally okay now – I think it was probably down to not having had anything to eat or drink before going, and also only being awake for half an hour beforehand! Next time I go swimming in the morning, I’m going to make sure I have a slice of toast and juice before I set out!

Aching all over!

Thought I’d do a quick post before I pack up my computer and head down to Soul Survivor…

Just got back from swimming with James – and I’m really aching! I guess it’s a mixture of the after effects of yesterday’s gym session, as well as spending nearly an hour in the pool this morning, but I do actually feel really good about it so far, which I wasn’t expecting, so that’s great. Also, I hadn’t really been swimming for probably nearly 15 years, mainly because I suppose I’m not really comfortable with how I look, so would never take my top off, but I managed to overcome it today and think “who cares…? It’s going to help me lose all that weight in the long run!” I’m still not comfortable with the way I look, but at least I’m over the first hurdle!

It was kind of strange trying to remember all the different strokes, but it all came back – the only one I struggled a bit with was the breast stroke, but I don’t remember being particularly strong at that when I used to swim at school, and we also had a bit of a chill out in the jacuzzi – something I’ve not had before – and it was amazing! So relaxing and I didn’t want to get out!!

Change can be good…

I’m feeling totally knackered! But it’s kind of in a good way because I’ve just joined a gym up the road, and this afternoon I went there for about an hour and half with James, for what was probably the most intense exercise I’ve done for over a year! I’ve made a decision that I want to get myself really fit, and get my weight right down, so I’m going to have to put myself through some serious pain to achieve my goal!

But one thing I found by going today was that it’s so much better when you go with someone else because it kind of motivates you more, and when you think of quitting a particular exercise, you generally don’t because the other person is doing it with you! We’re both going to go again first thing tomorrow morning and do some swimming, so hopefully this is the start of me being able to make some major changes in my life.

I’m off down to Bristol tomorrow afternoon to visit Ali, then on Wednesday, I’ll travel a little bit further south to Shepton Mallet for Soul Survivor where I’m working on the Underground venue with the 29th Chapter again. I’ve not sorted out anything for it yet – and time’s running out! And I bought a new tent on Friday, so my old orange canvas tent is no more! I really could do with attempting to put it up before I leave just in case there’s anything missing!

The other thing that’s happened this week is that I’ve managed to catch up with Sarah who I haven’t really seen for the last 18 months, though we have chatted occassionally on messenger recently. We met up first last Sunday afternoon for coffee where we just filled in what we’d both been up to since we’d last spoken properly. Then we went round to Caroline’s in the evening and I also got to see Olivia who I hadn’t seen since she was just over 6 months old – and now she’s almost 2, and it’s amazing to see how quickly kids grow up! Then last night, we both went over to Bradford to Abundant Life because I’d been tipped of that Martin Smith from Delirious was leading there!! Not an ideal reason for going but hey! It’s been good though to start to rebuild our friendship, because I have really missed it over the last year or so… so all in all it’s been a pretty good week!

And relax…

Hooray!! I have a day off!!

I’ve been working every single day now since the run – which adds up 24 days! So I’m feeling a little bit worn down, but am trying to tidy up the house a bit.

Found that my photo was taken at the run on the other week (there’s a company that takes photos of as may people as they can, and then try and flog them to you). Last year, I managed to avoid being snapped, but they caught me this time during the last km of the run. So I thought I’d buy it to prove to people that I really did it – athough it cost me £20 for just a copy of it on CD! Don’t know whether I’ll ever print it out, but I reckoned it’d be good to have a decent copy myself.

Not done any more exercise since that day! To be honest, I’ve not really had the time or energy with all my work, but I may try and go back to the gym again this week. Not promising anything though!! Anyway, that should be the last time I go on about the run… the only exception will be when I know how much cash I raised!

The other thing that’s happening at the moment is that I’m thinking of buying myself a decent video camera – but it’s not cheap! I’ve given the suppliers a call to arrange to take a look at one before making my final decision, so this time next week, I could be further in debt!!

Mission Completed!

After 10K AND 4 flights of stairs!Well, it’s Monday morning, and I’m aching a bit!

I completed the run yesterday with a time of 1hr15m39s – just 1m15s slower than last year… which is kind of good because I felt pretty rubbish in the run up to this one, but then I wonder whether I could have caught up that time and have beaten last year’s? What I do know though is that if it hadn’t been for Jamie pushing me this last week, I’d never have managed to do it in this time… so major thanks are definitely due to him! Chees mate!

Anyway, I got into town for about 8.45am and went to the office to get changed and meet with Mike and his dad who were running as well. The lift still hadn’t been fixed, so walking up all the stairs was a nice treat to start with…

We headed down to the start to meet up with the 20,000 strong crowd that was waiting to run. Our particular section kicked off at 10.23am, and I managed to do the first 3km of it without slowing down, which took me from the city centre, around back of Granada and the Science Museum, and up to the main stretch of dual carriageway that leads to Old Trafford. I then decided to walk the next 1km – by now my calf muscles had gone rock hard and were hurting ever so slightly(!) – and then carried on running for the majority of it… I reckon I ran about 7½km in all, walking the other 2½km at a pretty reasonable pace.

Jamie, Oli and Rosie came down to see me at the finish line, but they totally managed to miss me actually crossing it! I bumped into them as I was heading back to get changed, so they came into the office until I got sorted (which brought the unwelcome return of the stair climb!)

We then headed into town to grab lunch (not sure a KFC was the best meal to have straight after running 10K!), and then me, Jamie and Oli went to see the new Star Wars film – Revenge Of The Sith and I really liked it. Definitely think it’s the best out of the three new ones.

I’m pretty glad the whole run thing is over now – just have to go and collect the sponsor money (you can still sponsor me if you want!)

I don’t really know if I’d do it again next year. I guess if I’m honest, when I signed up for last year’s, I was kind of doing it to with the intention of trying to impress a certain person, which probably wasn’t the best reason for taking part (‘cos it obviously really worked! ) – and this year I ended up applying for it without really thinking. So with next year’s, I’d have to really think about it before signing up again, because I really would need to put a lot more effort in.

Oh, and apparently I came in 14,377th position. I don’t think I’m going to brag too much about that one!

Final preparations

Well it’s nearly here, and tonight I did my last run before Sunday with Jamie around Levenshulme.

Last night we did the same route as Tuesday and it took us exactly 40 minutes (although it did seem faster than before – maybe our calculations were a bit out on our first run?) Anyway, tonight we ran a shorter route which was just over 2miles (which is 3¼km, so just over a third of the real thing).

One thing that is worrying me a little bit is that when I’m running I get quite a bit of pain across my shins and through my calf muscles. And I’ve noticed that I seem to put more force down on my right foot, and that’s the side that is hurting the most. I think I’ll have to take some painkillers on Sunday morning to get me through it!

It’s actually been really helpful running with Jamie this week – it’s certainly helped with motivation, though I’d still rather not be doing it! He reckons I should carry on going running each week now that I’m doing it, but I said I’d wait until Sunday’s passed before I think about that!

I’m not going to do anything tomorrow – I just need to rest a bit, because my legs are feeling pretty tired after this week. And at work the last 3 days, our lift’s been broken, and our office is four floors up, so that’s not been ideal! And what’s worse, is that I need to go there to get changed straight after the run, and the thought of climbing 4 flights of stairs immediately after compeleting 10K does not appeal!

Also, if anyone does still want to sponsor me for Sunday to help make the pain of it all more worthwhile, then I’m raising money for Cancer Research UK, so just let me know how much to put you down for!

Are you bored of this yet?

Click to view larger mapAnother post about the run! Like anyone really cares!

Well, this evening straight after work I met up with Jamie to go for a run to help me get a bit motivated for Sunday. We didn’t run the whole time, but we hardly stopped at all, which is kind of my strategy for the real thing. I found it hard going – especially when I got pretty bad stitch half way round(!) – but it was so much better running with someone else compared to just being on a running machine at the gym. The only thing that I find harder is that concrete is a lot harder on your feet, and they felt well squashed by the time we finished!

It turns out we did 3½ miles (which is just over 5½ km) in around 40 minutes (forget to check our exact start time!), which I thought was pretty good considering it’s the first time I’ve ran outside since doing the 10K last year! Jamie’s offered to go out for a run again on Thursday evening, and then a short one on Friday, and I’m going to try and get to the gym tomorrow during work to do a little bit as well.

Still not looking forward to Sunday at all, but tonight has helped I guess. It’s scary to think that it’s nearly twice what we did tonight, but hopefully the atmosphere of the day will make it a bit easier.

Anyway, if you click on the map above, you can actually see where we ran! Woo!

‘United’ States

Has been a bit of a funny couple of days at work – if you don’t know what I’m talking about, take a look here.

Anyway, aside from that, I’ve been to the gym just 3 times this week to try and get prepared for the 10K a week on Sunday.

I’m still not enjoying it one little bit. I’m struggling to run more than 1km at a time, so goodness knows how I’m going to do on the day. And the trouble is, when I’m there, it just makes me even more down with the realisation of how useless I am. I’ve also been doing at least 6km each time on the cycling machine to try and help with the whole fitness thing, but I don’t think it’ll be enough.

Part of me is still tempted just to forget about it and not turn up on the day, even though it would mean I’d lose the entry fee – though that doesn’t seem such a big sacrifice at the moment! Like I said before, the only nagging thing is the sponsor money, but it’s going to take a lot to convince me to run it, because I really have absolutely no motivation for it at all.

I hate running…

I went to the gym today, but was so fed up with it that I walked out after just 20 minutes – in which time I’d done a bit of cycling and some running.

I really hate it.

As I was running on the treadmill, I suddenly decided that I’d had enough and went and got changed. I’ve got absolutely no motivation for the 10K next month – if I hadn’t already got quite a few sponsors, I’d have definitely already pulled out of it by now. Don’t know how I’m going to do it this time, because last year I at least wanted to do pretty well in it – now I just don’t care one bit!

1hr14m24s

Well I did the Manchester 10K run yesterday! It was a boiling hot day which wasn’t ideal for running, but I completed the course in 1hr14m24s which I’m well chuffed with, because I was really expecting my time to be between an hour and a half and two hours!

I met up with Mike from work first thing on the morning, along with his fiancé Claire and her mum, and we all walked over to our meeting point on Portland Street to get ready for the start. Everyone was doing some kind of workout on the street, but we couldn’t really see the people leading it so we just kind of did our own stretches and stuff to warm up. Because there were about 16,000 people taking part, they’d split everyone into 3 ‘waves’ so they could start people at different times, so as we were in the ‘slower’ group, we were last to set off. I crossed the start line in St Peter’s Square at about 10.30, and started off and a steady jog down Quay Street, around the Granada building and then back up towards Deansgate. It was as we joined onto Deansgate that we were able to see some of the really good runners crossing the finish line – which was a little disheartening, knowing that there was still about 8km to go for us!

Anyway, I kept going at a reasonable speed until 3km, then decided to switch to a fast walk to get a bit of energy back, and then from the 4km mark switched between jogging and fast walking so that I could pace myself through the whole thing. I reckon I probably only walked about 3km of it really, so I’m quite pleased that I did run for a lot of it. If I do it again next year, I reckon I could improve on my time quite a bit if I can build my stamina up and try and keep at a constant speed all the way round.

After the run, I met up in town for a drink with Sa and Emma who’d also been running – they were slightly better than me(!)… they both did it in 56 minutes, and I was well impressed with that! We grabbed some lunch and chilled out in Exchange Square for a bit, which was was packed with people enjoying the sunshine, and then somehow I ended up trawling round loads of shops with them around Manchester city centre – luckily I didn’t spend too much though!

When I’ve managed to get all the sponsor money in, I reckon I’ll have raised over £300, which is pretty smart, and makes it all quite worthwhile – especially since I can hardly walk now!!

Decorating update, plus 10K run training

I now have smooth walls in my dining room! The plasterers finished it all this afternoon, and I’m hoping that it will have dried out enough by the Bank Holiday weekend so I can get painting it. The carpet is totally trashed though – covered in plaster and stuff! I was planning on changing it anyway – but now I’ll have to do it a bit quicker!

Went for a run up to Parrs Wood last night. To be fair, I probably only actually ran about half of it – the rest was more of a fast walk because my foot was hurting a bit – and I worked out that I did about 4 miles… that’s nearly 6½ km, so it’s on the way to the 10K on Sunday! Can’t believe it’s only a few days away – it’s going to be so hard! Think I’m going to try and run a bit tonight as well, although the later it gets, the less enthusiastic I am. If I can get out before half eight…

Live music, plus first long distance run…

It’s been quite a busy – there’s been quite a bit of running going on, and I’ve seen six different bands playing since last Wednesday!

Music first then… last Wednesday night I went to the Roadhouse in town with Sarah, Emma and Caroline to see Stoney Lacuna do a gig, and they were really good, and we had to listen to two other bands playing before they came on. So that’s three down, three more to go…

Then on Saturday, a few of us went to Alton Towers for the day, followed by a gig in the evening with a gospel group called Sinai, singer Rebecca St James, and headlined by Delirious. The theme park was cool – but massive queues though. Didn’t get onto the biggest rides because the wait was over 2 hours, but still got onto some good ones. The concert was great, although it was quite an experience being in a 12,000-strong mosh pit!!

I’ve been doing quite a lot of running at the gym, but I went running outside for the first time yesterday afternoon. Jamie drove us out to a village in Derbyshire called Mellor to do about an 8km circuit that he normally does on his mountain bike… so as you can imagine, it was quite hilly! We managed to do it in about an hour and 10 minutes with a mixture of running and fast walking. It’s so much harder running outside than in the gym, you really feel it on your feet running on the road. One thing that is quite a worry to me is that after a while my toes went really numb, then just became very sore on every step. Don’t know why they’re hurting like this, and could really do with that not happening this Sunday! Have decided to take a break from running for today, but will be going to the gym tomorrow. I’m getting my dining room replastered on Wednesday and Thursday, so my plan is to try an get out and do a run somewhere near to home at some point during those days.