Archive for August, 2008

Weeks 12, 13 & 14 – Holiday

August 31, 2008

This week:
Weight:down 2kg at 76kg! (target: 73kg); Miles run since I last wrote: 101.41!
Total funds raised exactly the same: £217.82 (including Gift Aid) Only £782.18 to go.  Sponsor me at my Justgiving page by clicking here.
Days to go to the New York Marathon: 62 (frighteningly few!).

Apologies to my loyal readership (which if the facebook group is to be believed, numbers 24 people!) for the long delay since my last posting but I have been on holiday.  And I had a lovely time despite the weather, thank you for asking. I was in Cornwall (or Kernow, as  it is spelled in Cornish) and decided not to spend any time in the interweb cafe in Bude. I was too busy enjoying myself to write about enjoying myself (not very postmodern of me, I know!).

Anyway, three weeks is a long time. Importantly I have done a lot of running. As you can see above, in the three weeks I have done 101 miles (162.554km)! That is 33.803 miles (54.3958km) per week on average. Which is a lot more than I was doing.  The reason is I have been following “The Murakami Method” as I call it. Which is to run six days a week, with a longer and longer run once a week (up to 14 miles/22.503 km today). And while I was away I was running up some pretty steep Cornish (Kernowish?) hills!  I imagined that running up these hills would help me run faster and longer when I got back to the flatter running routes of north London. (But it seems not!)

And thanks to the fantastically seasonal rainfall, they were slippery hills too.  Here is me (left) on one of the slippery hills (walking rather than running that day)

Summer 2008 in Cornwall!

Summer 2008 in Cornwall!

Note wooly hat and rainwear!  So I think there are two questions for Kernow (Cornwall): why so hilly, Kernow? why so wet this year, Kernow?
Here is another picture of me with a giant mushroom. Or is it a toadstool?
Me with big mushroom

Me (left) with big mushroom

I will leave you to make up your own fun guy joke.
Anyway, this is all very interesting, I’m sure. But I have been away for three weeks and run and run and there has been absolutely no increase in funds raised which is pretty poor.  This is, I assume, because I have not been putting in the hours blogging, so readership loses interest, finds another blog about training for a marathon, gives money to different fundraiser! I think it goes back to the marketing thing again: I have to keep the blog posts flowing to keep people’s interest. No pressure then, given that I also have to run 26.2 miles (42km) in two months!
Oh, and by the way, I didn’t see a single minute of the Olympics.  But from what I heard and read there was plenty to fill a competitive postmodernism event (see earlier post). Russia & Georgia kept on meeting each other in competition while being simultaneously at war. Paula and Kelly both did me proud by losing splendidly and as one would have scripted it. But Team GB overall seemed to surprise everyone by being genuinely quite good without the need for any irony at all! So in honour of them an irony free haiku:
I had fun running
on holiday in Kernow
but did no blogging!
Back to work tomorrow, and more regular blogging.

Week 11 – Why I am like Haruki Murakami

August 10, 2008

This week:
Weight: Down 1kg at 78kg! (target: 73kg); Miles run this week: 24.78!
Total funds raised up only £5 this week, but others have promised to “when I get back from holiday”: £217.82 (including Gift Aid) Only £782.18 to go.  Sponsor me at my Justgiving page by clicking here.
Days to go to the New York Marathon: 83 (not many).

This week I started reading What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir by Haruki Murakami. It is very interesting. It is a book about how important running is to him; how he runs and why he runs.  He does this very eloquently and it is very inspiring to read someone write so well about running.  I am as a result of reading the book looking at increasing the number of runs I do in a week and this week I did five runs (including one of ten miles) and got up t 24.78 miles for the week. (For my growing number of metric readers that is 39.87954432 Kilometres.)

So, like me, Haruki Murakami, runs and wrtites about it. He does running to keep his weight down, to keep fit and because he likes doing it.

However, he runs a lot more than me (six miles a day, six days a week, usually) but then he has more control over his time (he can have a nap in the afternoon). And he is a much faster and more experienced runner than me. Though he describes himself as a “mediocre” runner he has done lots of marathons in times which I can only dream of.

And of course there is a difference in the way Haruki (I feel I can call him that now I’ve read 60 pages of one of his books) and I write. I hope he will take this in the spirit in which it is intended, but I think he could put a few more laughs in there. And not a single haiku so far!

So maybe this blog should be called Week 11 – Why I am different to Haruki Murakami!

Murakami talks about eating and food and losing weight. He says the more he runs the healthier he feels and the healthier he eats – he doesn’t want to eat anything but fruit and fish. Again, I am slightly different.

Earlier this week I found myself in the car park of the Crown Plaza Hotel in Marlow, Buckinghamshire (for work reasons, I hasten to add) surrounded by three smoking men. It is now 8 months since I stopped smoking. And I felt quite pleased with myself, even allowed myself a smug little smile. An interesting (interesting to me anyway) effect of the healthier lifestyle I am now leading (don’t smoke, don’t eat so much, don’t eat stuff between meals unless it is fruit and such like) is the fact that I have started treating myself to swanky meals out.  I used to read the restaurant reviews in The Guardian and enjoyed reading them. But now I think, “Oh that sounds great, and since I am saving so much money by not smoking I can go to that restaurant if I want”. So I do.  And I look up the restaurant on the Interweb and hopefully look at sample menus and think about what I would like to eat and drink. Which I know is sounding a bit obsessional and potentially unhealthy.  Salivating over the thought of a big blow out meal when I am limiting myself to leaves and fruit. But I do eat well – just less of it and no crap. And I go with Helen, my wife, and or the children and we generally have a great time.

So this year I and one or more of my family have eaten some very good food in some very interesting restaurants. Like Belga Queen in Brussels, Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow, Maze Grill in London (where I declined the opportunity to eat a £120 steak) and Le Cafe Anglais in London to which I have been twice now. Once with both my daughters, Mathilda and Delilah, and once with just Delilah. Both times it was great.

However, my “I’ve not smoked for eleven months and I’ve run a marathon” treat will be at Balthazar in New York, which is my favourite. (“Ooh, look at Mr Smartypants with his favourite restaurant in New York,” said a voice in my head when I wrote that. But actually it is because it is in New York and therefore something extraordinary and part of the whole experience of being in New York that makes it my favourite. (And by the way, I don’t get lots of strange voices in my head arguing with me all the time, in case anyone was wondering, and they don’t say “Kill, kill, kill” or anything like that.)) Anyway, although eating in a good restaurant is not the main reason I am doing all this, it can help sometimes (like on today’s 10 mile run) to imagine myself sitting there in Balthazar with my wife the day after the marathon and smiling smugly.

Despite appearance
Haruki Murakami
Is not much like me.

See, Haruki, not that hard is it?

Week 10 – Marketing

August 3, 2008

This week:

Weight: Still at 79kg (target: 73kg); Miles run so far this week: 17.78
Total funds raised now over £200 – hurrah and thanks: £212.82 (including Gift Aid) Only £787.18 to go.
Sponsor me at my Justgiving page by clicking here.
Days to go to the New York Marathon: 92

Regular readers will notice a change to the look of RunAllanRun since last week. This is because my wonderful colleagues in the NCT Marketing Department have been helping me to build interest and therefore raise more funds. So we have a hilarious banner for the blog. We have a facebook group (RunAllanRun) and we have a little paragraph on the NCT website.

And it is working. Sponsorship has gone up 100% in just one week, which is a very impressive uplift. So thanks for all the input NCT Marketing!

Marketing is mostly a very good thing and it works. My job at the NCT would not exist without the need for marketing. Commercial organisations wish to market and advertise their products and services to NCT members and supporters. I enable these organisations to do this while ensuring that NCT gets the benefit of valuable funds in return.

I myself am a sucker for most good marketing. I understand there may be mp3 players out there which are better value, or technically better than an iPod. But it is an iPod that I have. I think this may go back to my childhood (hello Mr Freud!). When my father bought me a toy car racing set, being an engineer, he went for the best one technically that he could afford, which was called “VIP Raceways“. Unfortunately, VIP Raceways went bust, probably because the much bigger and more popular (and better marketed) – but, according to my father, not as good – Scalextric put it out of business. As the two systems were not compatible, this meant that I could not get any new cars or extra track for my VIP set. Whereas, Michael, my next door neighbour could fill his living room with a massive labyrinthine Scalextric track that he just kept adding to and adding to, damn him.

So because of this – well, let’s just call it “painful” – early experience, then, I often give in to popular trends. We already know that I have the GPS thing because it looks really cool and the running magazines talk lovingly about it. The fact that I am running a marathon in the first place is probably down to all the marketing there has been about running marathons over the last few years. I recently bought the “I’m in” official ING NY Marathon T-shirt, which I have been wearing proudly since it arrived this week. It cost me £11 for the shirt and £16 for the postage, but there you go. The marketing worked.

Although as with most things, of course, I don’t need it.

And as this is for NCT, we know that the marketing of formula baby milk continues despite the World Health Organization Code. As Baby Milk Action points out: “The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 1.5 million infants die around the world every year because they are not breastfed. Where water is unsafe a bottle-fed child is up to 25 times more likely to die as a result of diarrhoea than a breastfed child.”

So do some research before giving in to the marketing I suppose is my fatherly message today. Because it can be fun to give in to the marketing and indulge oneself. And this blog is a bit of self-indulgence for me, and I believe the marketing and imagine myself a great comic writer with literally seven or eight fans. Oh no! I’ve gone all postmodern again!

Marketing is good
Marketing is also bad
So do some research.

Right kids!