King For a Day

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

In terms of a return on my investment I feel a bit cheated.

No, I don't have a large sum of cash deposited in a Cypriot bank, in fact I don't have a large sum of cash invested anywhere unless you regard my one handed attempt to drain the European wine lake as some kind of fiscal genius.

I'm talking about the volume of training I've committed to since before Christmas and my resulting performance at the D33. Admittedly with hindsight I would run the race differently ie employ my usual race plan of running off like a loon, keep going until I've proven my ambition completely outweighs my ability, then breathing through my arse and hanging on til the finish. I honestly believe this strategy might have paid greater dividends in that race.

I've employed a similar technique in other areas of my life with some success. For instance I'm reminded of a monthly budgeting strategy I once employed, something I called the 'Live In the Moment System of Money Management.' It involved being paid at the beginning of the month then eating fine foods from quality restaurants and drinking fine wines til I fell over. Lots and lots of fine wines. Getting to and from said restaurants involved hailing a fast black and tipping the driver generously. As a single man this lifestyle ensured for a successful love life between the first and fourth days of each month.

Such excesses were balanced by the remaining 26-27 days where nutritional needs were met with tins of spaghetti hoops; any desire for an alcoholic beverage involved considering the ABV percentage of my after shave; and carnal needs were taken care of by Madam Palm and her five sisters. What you should see here is an enforced balance. If my life were lived according to the model demonstrated on days one to four I would surely burn out like some South London based Jimi Hendrix (or Jim Morrisson, Sid Vicious, Elvis Presley, Amy get the idea). Whereas if I were to extend the restraint shown in model two throughout the month I would be guilty of failing to enjoy the gifts of life and may as well fuck off and live in a cave.

As I said earlier, this budgetary strategy was one I called the 'Live in the Moment System of Money Management' and it was one that I employed for some considerable time....until an old Guv'nor of mine highlighted it's pitfalls and renamed if the 'King for a Day, C*nt for a Month' method.

Since then I've become considerably more sensible and have attempted to ensure a steady flow of expenditure throughout the month. No more expensive restaurants, BOGOF wine deals from the supermarket and a generation of cab drivers who mourn the demise of a man that suffered from some kind of fiscal lycanthropy.

I'm just concerned that in applying this degree of sensibleness to running, and in particular, racing, I might have killed something off. Some spark might have been extinguished. Some fire doused....OK, enough of the firefighting metaphors, I promised not to discuss my employment within the pages of this blog anymore.

Since the D33 I gave my lower back seven days to repair and have now returned to training. There was an easy run out on Sunday with a few hill sprints; a 40 minute static bike session on Monday followed by some 'down in the basement' squats on the Smith Machine; then a 70 minute treadmill session yesterday involving eight x four minute hill reps at an incline of level six. Today will see me out for an hour out with the running club.

That, Dear Reader, is no 'King for a Day, C*unt for a Month' training plan. No, Siree, that is full on, balanced, 'Race like Bragg' exercise strategy.

If the D33 was a test, it was something of a failure. Yes, I avoided the dreaded DNF and achieved a personal best, but I was expecting something better. The next test is the Highland Fling which is about a month away. The last time I ran that race competitively I attempted to chase down a crazy burd in a tutu and failed. It's unlikely she'll be running this year so maybe I'll wear the tutu for her.



Monday, 18 March 2013

What does it say about society, or at least the consumers of online blog material, when a post entitled 'A Bigger Penis' makes your hit counter spike alarmingly? Someone, somewhere must have either wanted larger appendage themselves or was looking discreetly on behalf of their husband/boyfriend.

If anyone reading this happens to be one of those individuals please accept my apologies for disappointing you with tales of bread pudding and running. In proving your time has not been entirely wasted, and in attempting to provide some advice in that particular subject area, just let me say this: bread pudding definitely will not enlarge the size of your Hampton. But eaten in large enough quantities it will expand your waistline, which in turn, will reduce the comparative size of your chopper (indeed if it's minuscule to begin with you'll never see the fuckin' thing again).

Likewise with running; that particular activity will not enlarge the size of your custard launcher either. In fact, if you run when the weather's cold enough, you'll believe your beaver basher has become nothing more than an oversized clitoris.

Anyway, enough of that and on to the meat of this post: the D33 Ultramarathon. I did say that this would either be a tale of triumph or a story of woe. In fact it's neither really. Triumph would have been beating my target time of five and a half hours while woe would have been a DNF and neither of those occurred. But before I go on I should say that from an event perspective, and in terms of planning, preparation and execution, this race is the nuts. The Race Director, George Reid has created an early season event that's accessible, achievable and a whole lot of fun. And I'm not just saying that because he's my mate and he let me stay at his house. Over 300 people entered it so the numbers don't lie, but onward with my triumph-free-yet-woe-less tale.

It's the night before the race and after arriving in Stonehaven Mrs Mac and I head for the Station Hotel where we know the Race Director and his glamorous assistant, Karen 'Poopy' Donoghue, will be holding court. Indeed that's where we find them and they're surrounded by a group of runners. I know these people are runners for a number of reasons:

1. They look fit, lean and lithe.
2. They wear clothes with labels like 'The North Face' or 'Asics.'
3. The talked incessantly about training, split times and PBs.
4. I know quite a few of them.

Of course, in considering the above criteria numbered 1-3, none apply to me but I feel no inferiority on that score. Do you know why? Because I can drink most of them runners under the table and when it boils down to it that's all that really matters.

So, after five pints of Guinness we're off to George's gaff to get our heads down.

The morning comes around far too quickly and my desire to wear shorts and tee shirt is discarded in favour of full Max Wall clobber due to the below zero temperature. My plan is to start the race and allow my pace to be dictated by heart rate (keeping below 140 BPM), stick at 10 minute mile pace, and never venture ahead of Bob Allison. My reason for sticking behind Bob has nothing to do with my appreciation of his peachy derrière and everything to do with the fact that for seven years I've stormed out of the blocks at the West Highland Way Race leaving Bob eating my dirt, only for him to cruise past me before Conic Hill and make that shaky hand gesture favoured by irate car drivers.

The 10 minute miling, 140 BPM and staying behind Bob all seem to be working well but I feel I'm holding back a bit too much. Anyway, it's all going swimmingly up to the 10 mile point when Bob stops to fish something out of his bag.....SHIT.....this wasn't in the plan. I either stop to help him and risk being arrested by the local constabulary for apparently attempting to rob one of their fellow Scots, or I go past him.

Bob mutters: 'Fuck off Dave, I've had enough of you enjoying my slipstream,' which kind of makes my mind up for me so I do indeed fuck off.

A few miles later and my sorrowful position in the race is made apparent when the leaders come haring toward me having turned around at the half way point. At one stage some fella I don't know almost crashes into me....he steps left, I step right....I step left, he steps right.....we're doing this ridiculous dance in the middle of the Scottish countryside and he's getting angrier by the second as his finishing place is being compromised by some idiotic Londoner. Eventually we find a way round each other and he's off like a rocket while I continue on to the turn around point at half way.

At this point the pain in my lower back is beginning to concern me. This is a condition I've been afflicted with for over a year and it's put a stop to a number of races. At the half way point I ask John Duncan if he's got any pain killers and like a Scottish Pablo Escobar he furnishes me with enough drugs to get me a part in Trainspotting.

By the 3/4 way checkpoint my pace is slowing and the pain in my back is becoming unbearable. My body has betrayed me, the drugs don't work (see what I did there?), the five hour thirty minute finish time has dissolved and serious consideration of DNF is made.

Then I think of a friend who I won't name but her blog is linked to mine. She's presently having a bit of a fight with illness and would like nothing better to be racing in the Scottish countryside with nothing to bother her but a bit of rain and an insignificant pain just above her arse. Anyway, I neck a caffeine gel, stick the Airborne Toxic Event on my iPod, and remarkably the pain goes and I get moving again.

I find my pace and make up a good few places in the race. I'm running along singing to the music and feeling pretty good. Whether it was the gel, the music, or thoughts of my friend that pick me up I'm not sure but I'll be trying that combination again.

I grind out the final few miles and arrive in Duthie Park in around six hours. I've scored a PB although I'm 30 minutes off my target time.

So what about a review of the race, of my training plan and the future? Well, with regard to the race I know a better time is in me and without the back pain I reckon I could have achieved my target. I reckon I could have bettered it too if I didn't hold back so much.

I intend to stick with the training plan and seek some physio. It's my belief that the back pain is caused by tight hamstrings so I'm presently looking at ways to solve that.

And the future is still on: The Highland Fling in April and the West Highland Way in June.

Finally, if you are one of my readers that came here looking for a bigger penis, I'm often told that size doesn't matter but here's something for you:

A Bigger Penis

Friday, 15 March 2013

Ok, so I said log in sometime after Saturday to discover the outcome of the D33 ultra marathon, but it's pre race day and I'm awake at 07:00 with a rumbling belly. The first of many carbohydrates are about to hit said stomach and I've decided that part of today will be set aside making bread pudding which will provide sustenance during the race.

For anyone unfamiliar with this cockney delicacy, it's a baked cake-like dish that's created from bread (the clue is quite clearly in the name), dried fruits, spices, milk (mine will be of the lactose free type......otherwise I'll receive a lifelong ban from Race Director, George) and butter (also of the lactose free type for the same reason). However, my version of this dish has a twist: the dried fruit spends a good few hours soaking in a bowl full of rum.

My theory behind using rum infused bread pudding as race food is this: it's soft and easily masticated, hence requires minimal energy to consume; it's created mainly from carb rich bread, so will fuel failing muscles; and has the inclusion of alcohol, which will give my undoubted sense of humour failure a lift and will act as a pain retardant. Fuckin' genius!!

Anyway, in poetic parlance this blog post is nothing more than a fact it's not even that, it's an epigram. And it is here to provide advice to fellow bloggers:

Avoid entitling your blog posts with something that, at first glance, might contain material that would be found under the counter at the local video shop (at least it would have done a few years ago before the advent of Internet adult related entertainment).

Using a title like 'Anally Inserted Love Eggs' might well act as a hook, and might even disappoint the hairy palmed enthusiast when he discovers the actual content has nothing to do with the suggested subject matter, but what it does do is attract and absolute avalanche of spam.

And I'm talking over 2,000 comments offering me Luis Vuitton bags, hair removal products, hair replacement products, and various ways of making my penis bigger.

Be sensible, fellow bloggers, don't do it.

Cutting the Grass

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

I made a conscious decision that the days of tip tapping away in front of a screen while glugging red wine were behind me. I decided that Blogging is passé, entertaining virtual friends in the Blogosphere was sad, and in abandoning Subversive Running I'd developed into a more emotionally and psychologically mature individual.

That's all fine if you actually believe it. But those that know me well will realise that while the tip tapping away in front of a screen may have ceased, the glugging of red wine would continue in the same ferocious fashion it always has. They will also realise that any attempt at maturing my emotional and psychological sides is an exercise in futility and doomed to failure.

The fact is that public tale telling has some deep, deep pitfalls and I decided that for my own safety a step away from blogging, Facebook and Twitter was a good way forward. Well, blogging and Twitter at least. I've continued attempts to make the odd comical statement on Facebook but try to give that a bit of a wide berth when the cork comes out of the bottle.

I'll give you an example of how in the virtual world things can go from tripping along nicely to tits up in a heartbeat:

A couple of years ago I used to regularly relate tales from my employment as a London Firefighter. If you're a time served reader of this blog you may remember them; if not, have no fear, there was never any indulgence in airing the tragic, the gruesome or the pitiful, just some of the funnier sides of the job. Things like seeing ghosts in the laundry of an old folks home; chasing and capturing an exotic beetle that had escaped from a packing case from Egypt (later to discover it was a common or garden cockroach); and releasing an inebriated resident from his toilet because he was too drunk to open the door.......hold that thought......

So one day I'm hard at work in the fire station office. The phone rings and the discussion goes something like this:

'Hello, this is the local reporter from the Wandsworth Guardian, I'm phoning to see if you've had any newsworthy incidents lately.'

'I'm afraid not, we've been really quiet these past few days.'

'Really? Do you know anything about an incident where a local gentleman was locked inside his toilet?'

' do you know about that?'

'I read it on a blog called Subversive Running....'

'Cough.....splutter.....err......err......nope, I don't know what you're talking about, sounds like a work of complete fiction to me....'

So you can see my decision to leave the blogging alone was based on sensible and practical reasons. But having a blog that sits dormant is a little bit like having a garden that remains untended. You don't want to look at it because it's a mirror to your laziness and absenteeism.

So after braving the weeds and reading everyone else's blogs I should apologise. Particularly to the friend who has bravely related her current fight on her blog. You've ALWAYS accommodated the most lofty position in the female Scottish heirarchy regardless of owning your own teeth or otherwise.

Anyway, please view this post as me having got out the metaphorical lawnmower and hacked back the brambles. While not a horticultural showpiece of Chelsea standards my garden has at least seen some attention.

So what of training and running? Well, the training programme I've been following is still dictating my attendance at the gym and my presence on the hill. I had a bit of a hiccup when I was on a week long course in the flat lands of Lincolnshire a while ago and then a key long run of four hours turned into a shit short run of one hour after some kippers and toast played havoc with my lactose intolerance. You truly do not want me to say one more word about that.

The first test comes on Saturday when I run my first race of the season, the Dee 33 ultra. I ran this race last year after having done very little, if any, training. I reached the half way point successfully on a mission to finish in around five and a half hours then the wheels fell off. You can bluff it as an ultra runner up to a point only. Indeed entering an ultra marathon and knowing some of the participants does not an ultra runner make.

So hopefully a better performance will be recorded and it'll be upward and onward to June and the West Highland Way.

Check back in some time after Saturday to either read a tale of triumph or a story of woe and marvel at the developing garden. And if I foolishly eat something containing lactose you might be able to read of my exploits in the local paper. Imagine the headline:

'London Firefighter Dressed Like Max Wall Arrested for Exposing His Arse and for Causing Massive Bio Hazard Alert in the River Dee.'