Posts Tagged ‘London Overground’

12 Days to go. A selfish rant about selfishness.

October 20, 2009

Just 12 day until I run 26.2 miles in the New York Marathon. So the weekend just gone I hardly did any running at all. About 7 miles in total. The week before I did about 42 miles in all including another 20 mile run up the canal and a 10 mile run home from work.  Weight still 80 kg – still several kilos above target. Not sure why. Probably just eating too much!

Anyway. Blah blah blah. I hear you say. So you ran a long way. Or you didn’t run a long way. Who cares, I hear you say.

Ok. Forgive me, for I am getting very anxious about this marathon malarky that I have got to do in 12 days. So I think the rant that follows is a symptom of my anxiety.

The other day I got to Acton Central to go home and there was a problem with the train and it was stuck at the station and was quite full of people and I got on and there was a woman with a handkerchief over her mouth and in her eyes I could see a look of disgust verging on revulsion. And it made me a bit angry. I thought, “If the people, like me, you share your train journey with are so disgusting, why don’t you get a cab? Or go and live somewhere without an overcrowded public transport system. Commuting in London means you are crushed, battered and squashed several times a week.” Maybe I am being unfair what with the Swine Flu thing, and some people on the train could do with washing more often, but for pete’s sake this is what living in a city is about. None of us particularly wants to be squashed up in a train on a line which only has temporary signage.

And given that I work for (and am raising funds for – click here for my just giving page) NCT which is all about pregnancy, birth and early parenting – and there is quite a lot of that which is about the fluids, juices and more corporeal side of humanity – I just found the hanky thing a bit insulting really.  A bit rude and selfish, if you will.

And when people shout at others for trying to get on or off the train, I have a similar reaction.  Some people shove and are rude and selfish and some people shout (rudely and selfishly) at others for trying to find a place on the train. And then there are the people who almost knock pregnant women and small children out of the way to get a seat.

And people who let their dog run around in the only designated dog free green space in my area of north London, and when you point out that fact they (the more polite ones) say that “The dog is on a lead and they will clear up after it, so that is ok.” But that is not the point. That is what they should do in all the places where dogs are allowed. It seems like there is no thought for others in these people’s heads.

And I am not even going to mention the banking crisis and the unprecedented greed and selfishness that got us here. No. Not a word.

I know I am coming across like a columnist in Country Life magazine, grumpy and grumbling about the erosion of traditional values and if only people were a bit more polite. (Actually I got shouted at by a traditional red-faced farmer in Gloucestershire at the weekend for straying a few metres off a (badly maintained) footpath – communist insurgent that I am- so I still have a bit to learn before I can write for Country Life.)

“But, Allan,” you say, “You are flying off to New York to have a fine time eating in your favourite restaurants running a flickering marathon which you have been going on, and on, about for nearly two years now. And what about your poor family which has had to put up with you disappearing for three hour training runs and having to suffer being connected to your relentlessly self-absorbed blog! Isn’t that a little bit selfish too, Allan.” Well, yes. I do like New York and this training and everything can be a bit excluding for my long suffering family.

OK, now I have offended health conscious commuters, dog-owners, all of ruaral Britain and the British Banking community (the last must be used to it by now though) and probably just annoyed you, my loyal reader. What’s my point?

My point – yes there is one – is that we have lost a bit of tolerance and understanding and a bit of thoughtfulness about other people. And one of the things that NCT is about is supporting people when they are struggling or in need. And by having our branches which are networks of people helping each other and helping their communities with the activities they provide, I think there is model for a responsible and supportive society. So if I can raise some money for NCT by running a really really long way on 1st November I am doing a small bit for a better society. No really, I am. (And having a great time in New York as well, I hope.) 

Selfishness abounds
but I am running New York
for a better world.

(pretentious? moi?!)

LOL (or LOLBACALI)

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38 Days to go and I am ill (but it’s only a cold)

September 24, 2009

Yes I have a cold, so I haven’t done the 10 mile run I should have done today by my runners world schedule    (pronounced with a sh like shed – I may be doing the New York Marathon but I will keep my standards). Any excuse it seems to avoid running those long distances.

I think that I have been anxious about a recurrence of the serious medical problem that prevented me from running last year and that has been a bit of an elephant in the room as it were. However, I got the all clear from the hospital earlier this month and don’t have to have another check up for a year! And  now I have done a 16 mile and an 18 mile run with only a normal amount of pain and muscle ache, all should be ok. But that doesn’t seem to stop me having crazy anxiety dreams about it. Being chased by large wolf-like beasts; or being trapped in a room with the walls closing in: the usual sort of thing.

I think the long runs have helped me feel a bit more positive about the whole thing and have prompted me to actually look  forward to the marathon and the trip to New York. A city I really love.

And on that note. Thanks for all the comments and support insisting that I still have my blogging mojo that literally one of you made. Good to know.  And another (the other) reader said I should be pushing the fundraising more. So here goes: Please please sponsor me. I am Fundraising Operations Manager for the NCT, so I really do need to raise some sponsorship for this run. It could get embarrassing.

I do think I am still a bit rusty with the blogging. After going on about campaigning for permanent signage on the London Overground  (MOSP), since this is an NCT thing, I should have said “And talking about campaigning, the NCT Campaigns and Public Policy Team is doing fantastic work at a UK-wide and local level working to improve people’s experience of pregnancy , birth and early parenthood.  Why not visit http://www.nct.org.uk/active/  to find out more and see how you can get involved!”  But I didn’t, so apologies Campaign & Public Policy Team.

Oh yes, I am also now in actual print on paper. Yes, rush to your local newsagent to pick up the exciting August issue of Charity Funding Report where, on page 34, you will find an article of stunning insight, wit and brilliance by me! If they have already sold out or by some crazy quirk don’t stock it let me know and I will send you a pdf! No haiku in the article, though.

I could not ignore
an elephant in the room
and was chased by wolves.

Only 41 Days to go!! Oh Crikey!

September 21, 2009

That’s right. Only 41 days until the New York Marathon. That doesn’t seem very long at all. (Because it isn’t.) It is less than six weeks, in fact.

I have been worried that I have lost my running mojo and my blogging mojo. Blogging has been very sporadic this time around. As has the running. I blame Neil Spencer. He writes the horoscope in The Observer. Like many people I don’t believe in horoscopes except when it suits me to do so. So sometime in early August when Neil told me that I should rest and take it easy until after my Birthday (28 August) I did what he said. I had a very lovely relaxing August with lots of food and drink and the occasional gentle run here and there.

This meant that a couple of weeks ago I spent a long night lying awake getting very worried about how far behind in my training I was and how I was miles behind where I was this time last year. I got into a bit of a panic.

(And did I mention that there are now only 41 days to go!!!)

So I have given myself a bit of a talking to (“Do some more running you soft southern soft softie!”) and have been out running a lot more.

Last weekend I ran a 16 mile run. It took me just over three hours, so it was quite slow.  (To give you an idea of how slow that is, my colleague, Andy, ran the Paris Marathon this year  – also raising funds for NCT – and completed it in pretty much exactly the same time it took me to run 16 miles. In other words he ran 10 miles further  in the same time.)

Helen, my wife, asked what I was thinking about on my long run. I wish I could have said to her, and could say to you, that I was really working through some important and difficult issue to do with work, or even world hunger, or the financial crisis. It would be great to say that after thinking about it all for over three hours I have found an amazing solution to the very important issue at hand.

However, I generally think about things like what can I write in this blog or how many minutes it is until I can stop. This week what I really actually thought about was starting a pressure group to force London Overground to make their signs permanent. (All or most signs on London Overground stations contain the message “Temporary Sign“.) I thought it could be called Make Overground Signs Permanent or MOSP. And we could have rallies and sit-ins and stuff, like in the 1960s, and we could shout:

“What do we want?”
“Permanent signage!”
When do we want it?”
“After a sensible and appropriate period of stakeholder consultation!”

Well it’s something to think about to keep me busy after the marathon!

Other, stuff I think about on my long runs is about the joys of New York and how much I am looking forward to being there again. And where we will eat! We hope to eat in my old favourite, Balthazar, again. So I have been trying to summon up the smells and tastes of New York to help motivate me to run and run and run.

So, this week I have run a total of 35 miles (ish). Including an 18 mile run today. (The longest so far this year – and it really is a long way, by the way (btw).)  My weight  is down to 80kg if I look at the scales at the right angle. (Not as good as at this time last year, but moving in the right direction.) But I have raised £0.00 on my just giving page. (Probably because I didn’t tell anyone where it is before now. Btw, if you sponsored me for the marathon I didn’t run last year, you are naturally excused sponsoring me for this one.) I have raised £5 off line, thanks to one very generous colleague. So please sponsor me if you can.

So, although it is all a bit close to the edge (I don’t know if I mentioned to you that there are only 41 days to go!) I think I am getting there with the running. I will leave it to you to decide on how the blogging is going.

running and blogging
are back on the road again
just in time, I hope

MOSP!

I have decided to run the New York Marathon after all- oh lordy!

August 24, 2009

Oh Lordy indeed.  I just realised my last post was in March. So I assume you had given up on me ever writing again. Well much has happened in the world since last I posted, like the death of Mollie Sugden, but almost as important is the fact that I have made the decision to run the New York Marathon this year after all.  And there are only 10 weeks to go until 1 November (the date of the race) and I still weigh too much and I am behind on my training schedule.  Although I did run 10 miles yesterday and have run about 21 miles in all this week.

I am a bit behind because I spent another lovely holiday in Cornwall.  Now I know none of us wants a repeat of last year’s infamous “Cornwall/Mushroom” blog post.  But I will just share with you, this year’s amusing holiday snap. It seems that as we were staying what was once a farm dairy,  in true Marie Antoinette  fashion, I tried to pretend I was a farmer.

 

RunAllanRun as Farmer

RunAllanRun as Farmer

Only in a small way – I just tried the headgear and the “Get off my land” expression, but I think it is an interesting start.

Anyway. This doesn’t get a marathon run, does it? Or an NCT Early Days Helpline fundraised for?

So from now on, it is back to me regularly telling you riveting stories about running early in the morning and trying to find something to make you want to read more.  May be I will talk more about the (still) temporary signage on the  London Overground. (How long does signage have to stay the same before it becomes permanent?) Or maybe there will be more exciting adventures (and misadventures) with North London’s wonderful and exotic  woodland creatures. And of course there will be haikus.

 So join me on this year’s thrilling rollercoaster ride of  “quite interesting” writing about running, training, self-doubt and anything else that I think might make you laugh out loud (LOL (or LOLBACALI)). Speak to you again soon.

marathon again
run, train,  lose weight, blog again
feels like deja vu!

Week 9 – Competitive postmodernism

July 25, 2008

This week:

Weight: Finally broken the 80kg barrier (hurrah!) at 79kg (target: 73kg); Miles run so far this week: 19.23
Total funds raised now over £100 – hurrah and thanks: £128.21 (including Gift Aid) Only £871.79 to go.
Sponsor me at my Justgiving page by clicking here.
Days to go to the New York Marathon: 99

No, the title of this post is is not a new Olympic event. Although now i’ve written it down… I can see the possibilities.

Competitive Postmodernism could run parallel to the actual events and at the end of the Olympic Games medals would be given for the most postmodern, or meta narrative, performance. A clear favourite for the 2008 Gold is obviously Paula Radcliffe because she may not even start a running event at the 2008 games, let alone fail to finish or lose! Kelly Sotherton, British Heptathlon “medal hope” could give herself a better chance of a competitive postmodernism medal by pulling out of the heptathlon altogether and taking part in the javelin, historically her worst event. She could lose the javelin spectacularly, but give a knowing shrug to the cameras and storm the competitive postmodernism event. Or maybe a synchronised swimming team could do a routine which is about what it is like to be a synchronised swimmer in a team at the Olympics, somehow representing this through the medium of underwater dance/mime.

However, I digress as this is not what I originally meant by Competitive Postmodernism. It was meant to be a witty and clever (postmodern) synthesis of my last two posts. The reason being that my run yesterday (5.49 am; 5.02 miles; Time: 50:14.31; pace: 10.00/mile) was slower than my previous five mile run. And I thought, “Oh no, how disappointing that I will have to write in my blog that I have slowed down. How embarrassing to share this with my seven loyal readers”. Then I found out that last week’s posting had only five views, so my loyal readership has dropped as well!

So on this morning’s run (5.50 am; 4.90 miles; time: 47:28.56; pace 9.41/mile) I deliberately tried to go faster so that I could write something which looked better on the blog – and I did run faster! And maybe there will be more readers this week because… err …I ran faster.

However, I am in danger of disappearing up my own blog as it were, and making the blog more important than the running/marathon. This could then lead to some serious self analysis about why am I running this marathon? Am I running it to show off in my blog? Well, no. But maybe I should write more about running and the NCT, since that is sort of what this is about, rather than posting about posting. Hmm. I shall have to think about this.

As an additional postscript to the postmodernism thing. I was struck by the fact that all the platform signs on the London Overground (formerly Silverlink (formerly North London Line)) via which I travel to work, have got the words “temporary sign” written on them. (If you follow the link from “temporary sign” back there you will find a whole document of guidance for temporary signage on the overground from The Mayor of London but it doesn’t seem to explain why.) The signs look good to me. Pretty sturdy. I could imagine getting used to them. And I wouldn’t have thought about them being only temporary unless they pointed it out themselves.

This poses many interesting questions about the signs themselves and indeed the nature of signs. How temporary are they? Will the permanent signs indicate that they are “permanent signs”? Aren’t all signs temporary (in the long term) when it comes down to it? So is it pointless to call any sign anything other than temporary? Discuss.

Today’s haiku:

I can only write
a temporary haiku
this week. Like the signs…