Monday, 18 March 2013


We use quite a lot of running terms and expressions perhaps without much thought to   what the listener might understand by it.   
 For the last month or so when asked "how's the running going" I've responded "just ticking over really" and the reply came back from one who said, "how do you mean just ticking over?"

 The dictionary states...........
"tick over"
vb (intr, adverb)
1. (Engineering / Automotive Engineering) Also idle Brit (of an engine) to run at low speed with the throttle control closed and the transmission disengaged
2. to run smoothly without any major changes 

A pretty apt description then of how's the last month or so has been.  I started my return to speedwork for the season with a track session at SPORTS CITY, Manchester  but plans to make this weekly were scuppered as,  like so many people,  I had to cope with a head cold which went down onto the chest.  Not at all pleasant.

So 3 weeks of just trying to maintain some running fitness whilst treating the cold; no races , no speedwork and no real pace. Hard to record any miles faster than 9 minute pace.  

I'm not one for rushing to the doctor's but as "emissions" from the nasal passages and off the chest became quite increasing unpleasant I paid a rare visit.  The doc knew I was expecting to receive a prescription for a course of antibiotics but she just told me to "see how it goes" for another week.

She followed the mantra, no antibiotics for a viral infection.  As you do.

Of course 7 days later it was only marginally better so as per instruction I paid another visit,  seeing a different doctor in the group practice who prescribed AMOXICILLIN.   I would say that the AMOXICILLIN worked but perhaps the first doctor would contest that things would have cleared up without taking it.

sO, yesterday I decided I would more or less repeat last Sunday's "jog" on the canal.  The week previous before the AMOXICILLIN  I coughed and spluttered out and back for 10.5 miles. Averaging just 9.30 pace in very cold and windy conditions.
Yesterday  after a cautious start I was accelerating through 12 mile run down close to 8 minutes mile pace;  granted the conditions were much more favourable.

Things might have gone even better if I had not been sent sprawling to the ground by a tiny pug dog which darted across my path after 6 miles .So suddenly I couldn't avoid it.  Fortunately I didn't try to break my fall with my arm or I might have dislocated my shoulder again.  As it was I landed heavily on my right hip and then rolled over on to my back. So bruised hip and lower back.  GPS covered in grit; jacket covered in mud.   Shaken and stirred!!

The young man "walking" the unleashed puppy of course asked me if I was alright.   I don't recall an apology.   Now I'm not one for anger retainment. If you're angry with someone...........let them know!!  And I did and anyone within a half mile radius.
Let's just say that he was last seen with the wee dog under his arm and was running away down the canal towpath at a speed which would not have shamed Usain Bolt.

Of course, the consequences could have been a lot worse.  Yes, a dislocated shoulder,  severe hip damage......ambulance..........hours in accident and emergency etc. All because the pup wasn't on a lead!

I'll see how the legs feels later this afternoon..............when the snow has been washed away.

Friday, 15 March 2013


Bit like going to confession here....Catholics amongst will know what I mean......

Forgive me, readers, it's been 3 weeks since my last blog post.  So what's been happening!?
Well it's not been the best 3 weeks of my life but as they say life goes on and we have to make the best of it.

We try to be positive in negative circumstances but some things take a bit of getting used to.  I still keep reaching for the phone to have a chat with my mother in Manchester then quickly realise she is no longer with us.  She passed away last month in a manner which shook all the family.   Seems only months ago that we were telling her to watch her weight only to see her "fade away" over the last few months.
    But "making the best if it"  she was 93! and was joking and winking with us all to the very end.  
She'd had a hard to start to life without a father, a hard middle coping with the bringing up and keeping 4 children in school up to 18 and then having to cope alone when we'd all left home and my dad died suddenly at 63.  
  She remained positive, resolute and often stubborn throughout; trying to stay alert, alive and active and encouraged us to "enjoy it whilst you can".   I don't think though she could appreciate that my running is my enjoyment and such a big part of my life.
   I didn't run the day of the funeral. I did have time but it seemed appropriate really. As "mam" wasn't really into my running.  She simply didn't have time when I was a teenager and of course lately she thought after 50 years , surely I'd "done enough"!    If the weather was bad, she say, "you haven't been running in this weather, have you?"  or "why don't you have a rest" or  "when you going to stop"!
  But then again I didn't do what she told me to do as a teenager and I certainly wasn't going to in my '60s.
Having said that  I did give her the medal from the Morecambe marathon when I won in 1984 and it was still hung on the wall in her lounge when we cleared it nearly 30 years later.