Rainy, muddy, hilly, lovely – Bolton 10k

Considering that previously I have declared that I don’t really do races, I seem to have got a bit of a taste for them this year (and it’s not just my Mutley-like love of a medal). This weekend, while 37,500 people were pounding the streets of London Village, I ran the Bolton 10k, despite very nearly weaselling out of it.

I'm glad that I didn't waste a place

Ginge had to work, so his usual cheerleading/photography duties were gamely taken up by Mum, who stood out in the rain and missed The Archers omnibus to support me, a sacrifice that was very much appreciated.

I didn't have a brolly - I might have run faster if I had done

My preparation was much the same as normal, turned up, collected my race number, went to the loo, had the internal conversation where I persuade myself that I really don’t need the loo, skulk around trying to spot people that I think I might finish in front of (basically anyone who has a zimmer frame or is dressed as a pantomime horse).  One day I intend to have a proper routine, stretching and bouncing and the like, but until then I will remain content with simple things like being proud of not falling into the indoor long jump pit…

I don't think that this was a deliberate trap

I watched other people warm up and was rewarded with the sight of chap in tiny running shorts who was doing a remarkable accurate impression of the tennis playing bum scratching lady from the 80s Athena poster. That image will be seared on my retinas for a very long time to come.

Thanks Mum!

I left Mum finding out the life story and medical history of a chap who was there to support his son, and shuffled my way to the back of the pack.

Since signing up, I’ve been very much aware that this was not going to be a day for a personal best. The course is hilly (well it has a monster of a hill that you run up twice) whereas I prefer my races to be coastal (by coastal, I simply mean flat). On the day, dark looming clouds turned into spells of bucketing rain and the trail sections of the course became muddy and puddled under foot (although all those towpath miles must have come in useful). There was also a bit of a bottleneck as the course dipped down an uneven set of steps and then went across a narrow (single-file) bridge, but I can’t really blame that for my shortcomings. For that I have to look at the fact that my pre-race regime had involved a week mostly knitting in pubs.

Those clouds didn't just threaten rain...

Despite the rain and the mud and the less than brilliant performance, I really enjoyed the race and was glad that I didn’t weasel. I might even try and get some running in before the next one.

I may or may not be a weasel.

Viceathon. Yes. Um. Well… If I’m completely honest, I’m not sure whether or not I’m still aboard the Viceathon bus and if so, for how much debt. Last week, I introduced the concept of ‘time shifting’ – this is an ethically grey area in which I weaselled out of time shifted two runs from the time that I was supposed to do them to the next morning. So technically I didn’t weasel. The run was still done (in fact maybe I should apply for bonus points for getting up early in the morning AND ending up doing a hat trick of run, yoga, weights on Wednesday) just not at the allotted time.

Whether or not time shifting is acceptable to the Viceathon gods, I’m not sure, but I suspect that the second half of my excuses will be dismissed without thought. Basically, I haven’t weaselled from Saturday to Tuesday because although I haven’t done any exercise in that time, I didn’t plan on doing any. Alright, so I may have had a misguided idea about going to the gym on the Saturday after my friend’s wedding but that’s only one weasel, the other three days were exercise-free because that’s what I chose to do. So there.

Since coming back from our yarntastic weekend (did I mention the crab sandwich knitted from elastic bands on the pic-knit blog? No? I am an idiot) I have yogaed (Wednesday), done treadmill intervals and weights (Thursday), ran a very heavy legged 6 miles today and declared tomorrow a rest day. I’m hoping that the heavy leggedness is because of Wednesday and Thursday’s exertions because on Sunday I will be doing the Bolton 10k. I signed up for this in what can best be described as a fit of foot stamping. Basically, I went for a run in the morning and was spotted by a friend. Later in the day, Ginge was on the phone to that friend and I suspected that my running efforts were being mocked. Unfortunately, I was looking at the Bolton 10k at the time so I entered it in a “ha, that’ll show you” frame of mind. Even more unfortunately, it turned out that at worst my friend was guilty of affectionate teasing and was actually being quite positive about the sight of me lumbering along the main road, but by this time I was fully paid up.

I did consider ignoring the race (it’s also the first one that I will run without Ginge there as my cheerleader) but have been shamed into it by all the London Marathon talk on twitter. If so many people are going to run 26.2 miles, I can hardly sulk about doing 10k (even if it is a bit hilly) at the same time.

Good luck to everyone running London on Sunday, but in particular these lovely and inspiring people; Mark, Jay, Carla, Julie and Jo who have all worked bloody hard and deserve to have a fantastic race. Incidentally, I am equally in awe of everyone who I know who has run/is running marathons whether they are in Brighton, Liverpool, Manchester, Lochaber or wherever. A marathon is a marathon is a marathon and 26.2 miles is 13.1 miles more than I ever want to run – I salute you all.

In which there is more wool than you can shake a knitting stick at

If you’re here for the running, move along, there’s nothing for you here. We’ll just say that there hasn’t been a great deal of it over the past few days, but there has been a lot of woolly goodness.

We’ve been up in Whitby for a few days – I love Whitby, we tend to go up every year and I even went on a running break there a few years ago. This time however, it seemed to be all about the wool. We stopped off at Saltburn-by-the-Sea to visit the Olympic graffiti knitting on the pier. The identity of the knitters behind this remains a closely guarded secret, but whoever you are – woolly hats off to you for creating such a fantastic display!

The pier at Saltburn

Kayaking (or canoeing) (I think kayaking though)

Waving not drowning

I have no pun - it's just ace...

At the moment, I have very sensible projects on my needles – one of which has proved to be perfect for pub knitting. The Wingspan scarf looks amazing, but is fairly straightforward garter stitch with a turn every other row – enough to keep my interest but simple enough to manage conversation and drink beer whilst not making mistakes and/or swearing. I have absolutely no shame when it comes to knitting in public, despite the curious looks it sometimes gets. Oddly enough though, last night proved to be the first and second time that anyone has asked me what I’m doing – I hope my rambling and hand-flapping explanation sufficed for them.

Knit one, purl one, sup one

Bookending the sensible knitting was another bit of community woolliness, this time inside the Captain Cook Museum. The museum is celebrating the Earl of Sandwich, who was one of Cook’s friends and patrons, and what better way to commemorate the man behind the butty than by knitting a whole pic-knit of sarnies?

The pic-knit in progress

And have an octopus presiding over every knitted crumb.

Well I'm not going to fight him for his barmcake

I cannot tell you how much I cooed over this lettuce

I was most miffed to have missed the “how to knit an octopus” workshop by 48-hours, but fully intend to contribute my crust to the project as soon as I’ve thought of my filling (and have stopped being intimidated by the examples on their blog – I love the wasp attracting jam sandwich). If you want to knit a sandwich for Sandwich, there are patterns and details at the greatsandwichpicknit website.

Thank you to the Administrator of the museum for letting me take photos – it was much appreciated!

In which I actually run THREE TIMES in a week and find that my leg doesn’t drop off

I don’t know what I did when I had free will and didn’t get blindsided into doing Athons avery few months. Well I do, I chose sofa and didn’t run as much. Since declaring myself as part of Viceathon, I have managed to stick to some kind of plan (although today’s exercise hasn’t been done, so there is a potential weasel on the horizon).

The week has seen an early morning run, a yoga class followed by late night gym, an evening run (which surely would have been otherwise weaselled because I was a bit knackered), a rest day (which was appreciated all the more for being guilt-free) and a nice 6 miler in the brief spell of sunshine that we had yesterday. Today has been declared run or gym, but judging by the steady drizzle, I suspect that I’ll be heading down to the gym.

I did a lamb run the other week, they're lovely - very gambolly.

Happy Easter!

PS: note tiny knitted chicken (from a Mochimochi Land pattern – warning:contains many teeny tiny bunnies…)

Sessions weaselled = 1
Miles run = 12
Minutes gymmed = 45

Hopping on board the Viceathon bus.

I have been trying to avoid the lure of Viceathon, but I have succumbed. For the  unitiated, Viceathon is the brainchild of JogBlog (who you might remember from such Athons as Janathon and Juneathon) who explains concept here. Basically, it’s a bit like offsetting your carbon footprint, but instead of planting a tree every time you turn the heating on, you offset a vice by doing some exercise. Offsetting your lard footprint if you will.

I have been trying to avoid the lure of Viceathon, but I have finally succumbed. For the uninitiated, Viceathon is the brainchild of JogBlog (who you might remember from such Athons as Janathon and Juneathon) who explains concept here. Basically, it’s a bit like offsetting your carbon footprint, but instead of planting a tree every time you turn the heating on, you offset a vice by doing some exercise. Offsetting your lard footprint if you will.

My problem has been with identifying a vice that I can offset. Now I’d love to claim that this is because I am viceless, but this will be read by people who know me and if I did claim that, the comments below would be filled with loud guffaws (hello mum). No, it’s been more of an issue finding a suitable vice. Other people’s vices include alcohol, baked goods and being a dirty stop out, all of which I may have indulged in at some point or another (hello again mum), but everything that I thought of now are too dull/too infrequent/too unsuitable for sharing with the general public to be vices. I’ve also managed to identify a thousand bad habits, but these are all things that I want to give up (saving Ginge a lot of Toffee Crisp buying missions) or I don’t take pleasure in (and I’m certain that a vice should be enjoyable).

Yesterday I complained that I still didn’t have a vice, but I also hadn’t done any exercise, which surely meant that if nothing else, I was breaking even? It was at this point that Sue suggested that ‘not exercising’ could be my vice. I thought about this, only for it to create a bizarre paradox that made my brain hurt, so I stopped thinking about it until my run this morning when it crept in again…

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been convinced that I’ve been running fairly regularly, but now I’ve looked back on Miles’ records I’ve realised that since the end of Janathon I’ve only once managed to run three times in a week. What makes it even worse is that my weekly mileage has been consistently less than 10 miles (except the week where I ran once, but did 11 miles). So my belatedly designated vice is going to be “weaselling out of exercise”. Generally, these are days where I postpone my morning run to after work and then get tempted by the magnetic power of the sofa and do sod all instead.

Theoretically, I shouldn’t do this more than once or twice a week so I’m going to have to do some hefty penalty points. As such, I have decreed that each weaselled session = 10 miles or 90 minutes in the gym.

Sessions weaselled = 1 (Monday)
Miles run = 3 (Tuesday)
Gym minutes hefted = 0

It is the third of April, I am already 7 miles in debt.

Oh, and to avoid cheating, I suppose I should declare my intentions for the rest of the week.
Wednesday – Gym and yoga
Thursday – Run
Friday – Resting (not weaselling)
Saturday – Run or gym
Sunday – Run or gym


My problem has been identifying a suitable vice to be offset. I’d love to claim that this is because I am viceless, but this blog is read by people hwo know me and if I did claim that, the comments would be filled with loud guffaws (hello mum).