Me and Fantasy Football plus Bobby Zamora

We all have our vices, wasting hours picking a shite team every week is mine.
We all have our vices, wasting hours picking a shite team every week is mine.

Fantasy football is back this weekend after missing a week for internationals. Since transfer deadline day (gadz), and all the fanfare and fake hoopla that goes along with it, has came and gone the squads to choose from are pretty much locked till the new year (save a few raw teenagers who might get on as a sub and pick up 1 point so will be added and given a reflectively low price) so planning ahead is now a safer option should that be your chosen tactics, or use your wildcard, that might be my best plan.

Bit of an in depth, and so, a confusing opening there. I should explain, the English Premier League has a fantasy football game on its website and I have been playing it for 8 years (which might be since the start actually) not only do you play in the whole thing for the huge prizes which you have a miniscule chance of winning but you can also set up your own mini leagues which you have a better chance of winning and you get something better than tickets to the game of your choice or a strip or a trip to the world cup, you get the bragging rights of being a champion.

I have never won our mini league.

I did however come up with the name for it and that has stuck since the first year, in fact it has Roman numerals after it to signify the competitions age almost like the superbowl or wrestlemania. The name I came up with was Bummersliga. A play on words using the German bundesliga name and crowbarring the word bummer in at the front. I think we can agree its both puerile and a bit crap. However I am happy it has stuck for 8 years, my little contribution.

I have been into fantasy football for ages, I set up a Euro 96 one for neighbours and pals from school, which I won on the back of a a stellar Alan Shearer performance at the tournament. That involved me tracking everyone’s points and needed me to watch every game. At 16 that wasn’t a problem. A bit over zealous and or geeky, but achievable. For the start of the new season I attempted a full effort at the premiership with a draft system and everything that would see transfers carried out between managers and attempts at new players maybe resulting in a bidding war, points worked out by the Shoot! magazine and me counting them. It lasted about three weeks. No one got the concept and I quickly lost interest compiling points for something no one gave a shit about. I was winning though, I had David Beckham who scored that goal from the halfway line on the opening day, it was going to be a good year. I reintroduced the other format for France 98 and essentially failed my highers on account of drawing up nice point calculators with wee felt tipped pen done flags beside the players names for everyone. Rather sadly I was 17 then. Ryan Rubertazzi won it.

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My boyfriends, a long term relationship with Bobby, a year long fling with Arouna, will Ricky be next?

I think I hate it now but continue to play. I am regularly in the lower reaches of the mini league (let alone in with a hope of winning the whole thing) and its not for the want of trying, I make all my transfers but loyalty to certain crap players affects my weekly scores. I have a horrible feeling Ricky Van Wolfswinkel could be this years chosen guy. My affection for Arouna Kone last season wasn’t too bad for my team all things considered as he picked up plenty of points but I was maybe too sharp to add him back to my team as soon as he returned from African Nations duty, home matches at Rugby Park would be punctuated by frantic scanning of scores for goalscorers then the even more frantic scan through the turgid match commentary on the Sky Sports News app to find out who got he assist, Sometimes it was Kone, i was beside myself. Worse was when for two years I got hopelessly attached to Bobby Zamora when he was at Fulham. I could not for the life of me transfer him out my team, because you always feel that he could score a hattrick the week I ditched him and if he did I would have been on suicide watch. Also, you get an affinity with these guys whom I dub “my boyfriends” where you want to see them do well and they become your imaginary pals. It was around the time I was getting married and I thought long and hard about writing to Zamora and asking if he fancied being my best man, ultimately I never but still, I thought about it.

I should also mention that it was pointed out to me on the mini league forum (very popular arguement arena back before facebook went huge) that Zamora was like me. Not particularly good but scored a few goals and seemed likeable. Was never sure what to make of that but I had started that ball rolling by commenting that another fantasy football manager was like Tomas Brolin; a magical player when younger, now fat.

As I say, I think I hate it. There are certain things I wish it was that would make it better for me. For one I wish it was based on the Scottish Premier League (SPFL Premiership to give it its full daft name, p standing for professional shamefully) as I like Scottish football and a game like this can increase interest and participation for Scottish fans and people all over the world. The bosses in Scottish football should take their finger out their arse and get involved, folk pay more attention to the product on the park if they have a vested interest in it, even if that interest is whether Frazer Wright keeps a clean sheet for St Johnstone  at St Mirren Park and doesn’t pick up a silly booking and cost himself some fantasy points, or waiting and hoping James Forrest doesnt get named in Celtics line up on the Sunday because you have a goal and an assist from Barry Robson sitting on your bench waiting for an autosub. People learn more from fantasy sport than anything I think, and I also think they learn to care. I have been playing fantasy baseball for about 9 years and think that I now know more than ever about the players and their skills through scouting the box scores (individual player stats for a game) every morning. The same happened when I moved to Canada for a year and wanted to get into the ice hockey. A bit of fantasy hockey and I could rattle off the name and position of guys all over the league. Fucking easy.

What I would like more though is for a rotisserie fantasy football game. That being like the ones you see in American movies or read about on twitter or whatever where guys are preparing for their fantasy draft (baseball or American football) and all bid for players and study the stats so they don’t get duds and spend the season on their phone trying to do deals with other managers to improve their squad. The commisioner based games you might read or hear about. that’s what I would like. English or Scottish league, it wouldn’t matter but some sort of package where you have a live draft for your mini league and no one has the same striker or goal scoring midfielder. That would sort out the men from the boys. See who knows this and can predict that. So surely someone out there can develop the program or augment the program for the American games that I mentioned to fit a British football model. Maybe I’m just being naive but its just spreadsheet manipulation? Isn’t it? No? Millions could be made here by someone, get it on Dragons Den, Peter Jones and his great socks would throw some dosh behind it and I would get my Sunday afternoon in late July spent in the biggest living room me or my friends have hoping to grab Ricky Van Wolfswinkel for a song in round 7 of the draft.

We can but dream.

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Great Scottish Run

On Wednesday I ran in the Kilmaurs Gala 5k which I did last year in the run up to taking part in the great Scottish Run half marathon. Which got me thinking I should maybe write a bit about how my training is going for this year’s 13.2mile endurance test (not great) and such things and see how it goes.

However when I brought up the posts list in my WordPress app it appears I never got round to finish writing about my 5×50 challenge that I done earlier this year. In fact, checking the blog I covered half of it. 25 days. So I thought, bollocks, this will take longer than I thought and would probably be easier on the computer so now, on Sunday, here is a brief rundown of scant memories of I can remember of the other half mixed in with full reports of actual days that I did write out in draft versions of posts for that second half plus a look at my efforts at training since.

Well, the 5×50 thing I finished. Did all fifty days. Never missed one and for that I am quite proud. Didn’t particularly like doing it and don’t think I would do it again either. I felt most days I just wanted to get my five k out the way. Managed to get my time down to around 21 mins. Never cracked 20 which is disappointing but I found it really hard considering it was day in day out, and falling ill during it but not letting it stop me I feel went against my chances for a sub 20 run (of course not missing a day even though I was choked with the flu or something was impressive I thought). The second half did throw up some noteworthy moments.

I had two stand up gigs during the second half, so instead of whatever I had been listening to the day before on my mp3 player I recorded myself reading my set and listened to that so it got into my head a bit. Worked quite well actually though I do wonder why my wife married me because I have a really fucking whiny voice. I ran in a monsoon, I got close to 20 minutes, as i have mentioned, but not close enough. In fact….

Between days 34 and 39 this happened, i know this because I must have typed it up at the time.

Day 34

Today was the fucking pits. Due to circumstances and downright stubborness there was only one time i could go out and that time was when it was absolutely pissing out the heavens. I managed it though. My times are a bit dodgy (it includes one 2 and a half minute kilometre which I would assume I cant do) because the rain was so heavy that my clothes were soaked through within two minutes of going out and as such i think the running apps gps might have got a wee bit fucked with the rain. I was worried that the phone would be gubbed and need a night in rice but actually it survived. the earphones might not, we will find out in the morning.

There was quite a lot of puddles on the road, and i managed to find them all, i had to ditch my specs and as i ran through the car park at Annanhill someone said “hi John” and i dont know who it was. And finally as i headed back up the Bonnyton Road, through the arch that floods i experienced for the first time being soaked by passing cars pouring water over me like a waterfall. Its actually very sore as big dollops of mucky water belt you in the face and go in your mouth. Tremendous.

Day 35

When I got in from last night’s run in the pishing rain my dad phoned me about going running with him. I had mentioned I would like to go to with him to the running thing he does on a Saturday morning. I didn’t know a whole lot more about it but I did know he went on Christmas day just passed so it must be decent.

*there is a logic in there somewhere.

So I got up at 8 to be picked up at half past. Some cereal, a big drink and two rennies in me prepared for a good run. Turns out, as he tells me in the car on our way up, this is a sorta big thing called parkrun where you sign up online, get a barcode which is your racing identity. Each time you go you do your run then get your placing barcode (which is a wee Tesco clubcard type thing you get when you finish) and your personal barcode scanned and all the results are put online and your progress is tracked.

Day 36

Busy day today so squeezed in a run in the morning. I decided to go the same run from Friday’s monsoon to see if it was 5k since there would be no water problems with the phone and hence no GPS problems with the app. However toward the end I forgot where I went so it became a bit of a waste of time. I maintain it must have been at least 5k as I was going like fuck cos of the weather and still ran for 25 mins. Must have been…..

Day 37

I set myself a target of under 20 minutes which so far I haven’t beat. I got close (ish) once bit now it seems further away than ever. I thought Saturday at Pollok Park might have been the one, what with running past folk but it wasn’t. My last idea is to start going for longer runs so that when I drop down to 5 again it will feel like a sprint. It might work. I started this today by doing just over 7 and a half k by instead of scuttling up the embankment onto the cylce path continuing on the road that leads to the fork in the road that leaves Killie and either goes to Kilmaurs or Stewarton and cutting off through the new houses along the western road and then around the old Annanhill pitch n putt which is much missed by me who now lives up in that neck of the wood. (i fondly remember my dad trying to show off by chipping his ball over the big tree on the eighteen and fucking it up and losing the ball years and years ago).

Oh and then home.

Day 38

More distance as I headed down toward the old abbitoir and back up through the town. Saw an old shoe on my travels. Didn’t warrant stopping for a photo though it was folded up for some reason. Done a little over 8k. Hope this idea works. Today I also ran without a jacket for the first time in this challenge. Its gems of details like that which makes this whole blogging thing worthwhile I think.

Day 39

Not a lot of time today and have to give me father in law a loan of my motor so meet him in crosshouse and run home past my work at Moorfield. Shite run.

IMG_20130518_103550So that leaves 11 days. I did two runs which were under 21 minutes. One of which i had to tie my laces twice which i am certain would have pulled me under the 20 mins, but it didnt so can’t claim it. Done Parkrun in Eglinton on day 49 in the rain which is very muddy and at one corner you hit a mud puddle which sees your foot plunge in and the muck go over into your shoe, but i got my picture on their facebook site that run so suppose every cloud. Day 50 i did a fairly routine run in an routine time, came home to zero fanfare and er, thats it. Plus other stuff, i dont know. I am boring myself here. Point more or less is, I never really lost any weight, and didnt really look any different at the end from what i did at the beginning apart from some fairly decent looking calves, i was pretty tired though.

Since then I havent ran nearly enough, went back to the parkrun a few times but the other week there i decided to give a good go at running for a bit further so ran from Prestwick to Troon along the cycle path and then back out the road to the airport and back to Prestwick. It was about 6 miles however for a fair bit of the way there was no pavement and I was shiting myself as i held up a line of traffic coming out of Troon who had to wait til no cars were coming the other way to get past me.

Then on Tuesday, the day before Kilmaurs i ran five miles while i waited on my motor getting its MOT. It failed quite spectacularly but thats another story.

Great Scottish Run is on 6th October apparently, better get my finger oot.

Me Versus 5×50 Challenge: Part 3

Day 11 till well, till today.

Day 11

The success of day ten and the first sub 23 minute run was the lack of traffic on the route. My route on day 11 had traffic lights and motors so was slowed down considerably as i ran around the streets in the nearby. I got the run in though and thats the main thing, i count these days as rest days so i can push it harder on other days. What with there being NO actual rest days in this challenge.

Day 12

I feel the biggest set back of todays run was the fact that becuase I wouldnt get dinner to much later my wife came through with a wee plate of mexican party food things before we jumped in the car to visit her mum in Prestwick (who had fell down the stairs and hurt the ligaments in her foot actually). The set back was indigestion sadly.

See I was actually looking forward to my run once i heard the news that my mother in law had taken a tumble down the stairs (was it her insistance on wearing high heels indoors that done it?) as it meant we would go down for a visit and i would get to test my wits (and running ability) against an old favourite route from when i lived down there and never had a gps type phone app that told you distances and times and things. The route is from the roundabout heading in along Monkton Road, out past airport to caravan park at end of the golf course, along a bumpy road then right along the goal course/coastline at beach before making up the rest to eek it out to 5k.

I started out well but tailed off as the wee spicy bites came back on me. Dont get me wrong, it wasnt terrible. Under 24 minutes, but could have been so much better. Plus i didnt find out how the injury happened. Will try that route again though in the next week or two. One thing that shows up on the map for my run is that Prestwick airport is called Alamo Prestwick Airport and I have no idea why.

Day 13

Since i play football on a Friday it will always be difficult to get my run in. Last week i ran home, this week my wee boy wasnt feeling himself so after football i just drove home and helped out, and as such had to go my run once Cody had fell asleep. That happened about half 9 so I headed out for a run at 9.40 on a friday night! Was actually a bit apprehensive about this and put my earphones in without anything playing in case i got jumped. I have a quite active imaginaiton, but ultimately its a negative one, i spend most of my runs turning over in my head how i would deal with the worst of possible situations while out jogging and in this instance it was how i was going to avoid getting battered.

I kept to well lit areas and ended up running out to the hospital, for one, because i knew that there would probably be no one on the pavement going that way, and two if there was and they leathered me i was close enough to a&e to get fixed up pronto. Smart thinking. Nothing happened though and i returned home for my second shower of the day.

Day 14

Due to a packed schedule I decided to for the first time split up my run to get things done while on the way and save me some grief later on. So i ran out to Crosshouse village (or is it a town?) pressed pause on the running app, popped into Coral bookmakers, put my football coupon on, unpaused the app, and ran home.

Day 15 and Day 16

Decided to just write about these together as although the times werent bad I am completely miserable about the whole thing, I have got in my mind shin splints. Andy Cole and the old Liverpool right back Rob Jones suffered from those, i dont really know what they are but my right shin seems sore, logic to me is that i might be getting it. My ankles hurt a bit too, and my left calf. My dad showed me that there is a charity organised run in the Dean Park on Sunday (day 22) though so i think I will hold on and do that, see how i feel after that. Be good to compete and hopefully run past people and get a half decent time to cheer myself up.

Day 17

Its amazing how a good day can turn your attitude to thus whole thing. As I have described in last few days I was completely scunnered, sore and getting a bit depressed at my lack of progress. But today I posted a time of 21 minutes and 5seconds and I am over the moon and in the cheeriest of moods. Shaving a good minute and a half off my last quickest time and nearly getting under 21 mins has completely flipped my mood. Peaks and troughs right enough.

It shouldn’t have happened like this, I woke up with aching shins, calves and hamstrings, to combat it a bit i wore tubigrip around my right calf before moving it up to my knee as i was unsure where was actually sore. I went out on the run just hoping to get it finished and home without being too painful. However with a first k just over 4 minutes i was bouyed. My second k was slower but i felt i was going to be under 25 minutes so an improvement on the past few shite days so i kept on going. Kilometre 3 and four were faster than the first and i was getting excited that I was going to crack it. For this run i ran from Tesco in the town centre out to Scott Ellis, up onto Glasgow Road into New Farm a wee bit before down past College and Grand Hall (which was louping with young folk because as i learnt later Enter Shikari were playing (which actually brings about all sorts of questions actually about why they were in Killie, but….)) then past the Halifax (which used to be Managrove, remember that?) down the town and up the Irvine Road via House of Chou (to keep out of the wind a bit) Seems a fair distance actually. I Managed to keep the to smaller climbs and more flat areas which probably reflects in the time, the Irvine Road most likely accounts for the slow last split. But fuck it, you do what you can. I am very proud of what i done tonight.

Day 18

Woke up with what feels like a huge knot in my hamstring. It doesnt hurt when i move or anything but it is quite sore to touch. I fire on the tubigrip again today but quickly decide to move it up onto the hammy in case it is something. Its funny about the positive mood i mentioned above, in days before I was considering quitting and wondering if I was going to get injured now I am back in the swing and working out how i dont let this knot affect me. When i got home i had a wee look in the mirror and found that the knot is actually a bruise. I have no idea why i am bruised. But i have done lots of things with bruises so i went out running anyway.

On my favourite route it seems I head out toward Knockintiber before nicking off down the back road to Onthank and scrambling up the embankment onto the cycle path again, shaving about half a k and bringing the finish line closer to my house. I didnt hold out much hope for today, just an easing out but a quick first k had me chasing another quick time, a similar speed in the second k and was clocked at about 8 mins 20 secs which was brilliant. Unfortunately i slowed right down after that and finished around 23. Not terrible (good actually, considering what i was aiming for) at all. Met Wullie Seaweed head out on the cycle path, we acknowledged each other with a wave and a smile, no chat. Two men on a mission. I remember he fell down a dug out hole in the sand we hid under his towel in Benidorm. That was a laugh.

Times

I will fill these in tomorrow when i have time. Dont suppose they matter to anyone reading right now, you might not have even read this far having been bored to tears with the 1400 odd words that go before it……

Me versus 5×50 Challenge: Part 2

After the intial post where I described what I am doing and the likes (click the link if its not ringing any bells) here is the continued adventures of me running around Killie for a vague reason. From day 3 till day 10.

Day 3

Well it turns out I might not actually be registered for this challenge thing. I found this out by chance when I was scooting about the 5×50 Twitter account with the idea being when I tweet that this blog is ready to read I @ them and they retweet it. Becuase as nice as it is that this gets read 20 times or whatever, by 15 people (i furiously refresh the stats page (yes, there is a stats page) post publish button press) it would be quite nice to maybe get a wee rub from the challenges over 2000 followers and get some more readers. A wee ego massage you see. They might even be reading this right now. If you are, hello! This is actually my second part of my running oddessy the first part I linked in the first paragraph. Ta.

Anyway, what happened is that on Monday night I clicked and registered but never paid my money due to a concern about how long ago I had used PayPal so I though I would do it when on the laptop and had time. On the Twitter feed it mentioned registration closing and out of curiousity I go on the site and log in and try to pay my fee. Not being able to do it I try sending a private message through twitter but they dont follow me (shame on them) so this option isnt available. Instead i search out a Facebook account and get in touch that way, explain my stupidity and hope that I am accepted and somehow get it sorted. Provided there is a problem, I might be fine.

Run wise, I leave my house and run into Crosshouse past the hospital, i dodge down past the school, round past my Dads pals work and then past the Spar and back into Kilmarnock. Without doing any of the dodging and diving in and out cul de sacs and down back roads and the likes the run lasts just over 5k. This makes me happy and could become a bit of a regular route. I also done it in less than 25 minutes. One of my initial goals. That was nice.

Later that night i got a message back from the 5×50 fb page giving me a email address to contact, so i guess I have fucked up but it can get fixed.

Day 4

Decided to run home from work but apparently they lock the gates to the car park now. Not a problem, in fact it actually solves one as I can strategically place my motor in a parking spot that near Rugby Park so that after the football at night i can collect the car and drive home and save myself a walk. This running thing is helping in ways i never imagined. So i park up at my wifes Aunts and start making my way up to Morrisons (to pick up my wifes car, the reason its in the Morrisons car park isnt important but it is there nonetheless) however the distance between the a of Natalies aunts and the b of Morrison’s isn’t as far as it seems and after a detour around the Howard Park and zig zagging around all the streets it seemed in the area of Killie where the garage and the Brass and Granite is I end up actually having to run around the edge of Morrison’s car park to get the 5k in. I mean no one would have noticed or if they did, cared, but it was mortifying. Also I was a quite a bit slower which I’m putting down to running straight after a day at work, but its still disappointing after improving my times day on day for the first 3.

Day 5

Another day another car journey to a remote location and ran from, only to be picked up later. Tonight it was Tesco as the wife wants us to go a walk with the pram once I have been out my run. Ha. Resting is not an option it would appear. My knees are a bit sore and so are my ankles.

Day 6

I play 7 a side football on a Friday night. Day 6 falls on a Friday. So to get my run in and not completely compromise my night I get a lift down to the powerleague to play football with the intention of running back. It is probably the warmest night of the year so far and when I get there its been changed from 7s to 5s and only 9 folk showed up. Good stuff. Long story short, fitba was shite and I still had to run home. I decided to head up past my old schools and the library and into the Kay Park (just the Dean Park now for the trifecta) where as I come under the railway bridge entrance at the Killie College I am met by the sight of some daft alkie enjoying the last remnants of sunshine lying on the pavement in at the wall cuddling his bottle of Becks. We used to run around the Kay Park for cross country at P.E. when I was at the Killie Academy, in tribute I ran down the oval hill at the Burns Monument, but instead of running back up I ran out the park past the tennis club up through the town and home.

Day 7

My times have been pish as the week has gone on, I put that down to working and then running and generally being tired. My thoughts are that a good sleep and a run on Saturday morning followed by a run on Sunday night will see me go faster with more recovery and sleep and less manual labour. So i head out this morning again from Natalies aunts house but instead of going the same way I decide to try going out the road that runs from the old abbatoir up to the Crosshouse roundabout past the Premier Inn and also past the Heron Bros site across the road and up a bit which i have no idea what is going on in and its driving me up the bloody wall. I saw a few guys making a road into it on the 3rd of January in the dark on my first day back at work this morning and since then its got bigger and bigger with all sorts of diggers and that in there. Bugging that i dont know what it is.

Anyway, the run is pretty much uphill which is bugging, still i do it fairly quickly (certainly quicker than my crap runs in previous three days) so i am thinking my plan is going to work.

Day 8

FUUUUUUUCK! Twenty three and a half minutes (ish)! My fastest time yet but I am disappointed because after a facebook conversation with my fellow 5x50er who said last year he tried for a sub 23 by day ten (sub 20 by day 50 also which is my dream) I had hoped i would have cracked it on day 8. Especially as the running app on my phone which gives time splits every km gave me hope that i was in with a chance as it was looking good at each split. To be beaten by seconds is annoying, especially as i waited off till late on on Sunday to do so and in doing so be well rested. I am taking this serious I have to say. Too serious my wife says.

On this run i went on a old favourite of mine. Out Fardle hill to Knockintiber, turn right and head for Kilmaurs and nip down onto the cycle path and run back to Kilmarnock along the old railway line (or current, im not sure) to the town dump and in home. its about 5 and a half km, a decent run and up and down hills. Do you know i never saw one bike on the cylce path. Or a dog, its usually louping with dogs. I did see a big bird in the sky, a perigrin falcon or a buzzard maybe scouting out a rabbit or some other animal no doubt, it did cross my mind what i would do if it swooped for me, i realised i dont know what i would do, i am trying not to worry about that.

Day 9

After yesterdays strong run I wasn’t expecting much and ultimately it didn’t deliver much. I do however think that the 25 minute plus days are behind me, as I was under that time easily. Also when Victoria Pendelton’s automated voice on my MiCoach adidas running app thing chimed in with the announcement that “distance (beat) three (beat) kilometres” in the fashion she does I distinctly remember feeling that I had a fair amount left in the tank which made my heart soar.

Day 10

When I almost broke 23 mins on day 8 there were a few factors which hindered my progress, one of which was the dog at one of the farmhouse type places on the road to Knockintiber which although didn’t actually make any move in my general direction did hamper my time by a few seconds due to me trying to keep my distance and also trying to keep my cool and not let on I was feart it was going to savage me (which it wouldn’t). I also had to tie my laces which takes a bit longer than you would think and of course the problem with the big bird that wasn’t interested in me. All these variables can be reduced, mainly by tying my laces better before leaving and also, with luck the dog won’t be there on the road since its a weekday and not the weekend (dogs on the cycle path are unaccountable for).

So I head back out on the same route, its a good route because there are no red lights to cross or any real traffic, the only problems seem to be the ones i have already highlighted.

Anyway, long story short, I done it. 22 and a half minutes. I knew i was in with a chance with the splits at each km but when i did do it, when Vicky said the time i was up on the Western Road, just past the dump and i raised my hands in the air in triumph. What a dick i am. I also ended my run on the app and walked home proud of myself.

TIMES

Day 3: 5k-25.34mins, Total run 5.23km-25.54. Day 4: 5k-27.37, Total run 5.05km-28.00. Day 5: 5k-27.09, Total run 5.04km-27.27. Day 6: 5k-27.22, Total run 5.25km-28.57. Day 7: 5k-26.0,1 Total run 5.22km-27.15. Day 8: 5k-23.28, Total run 5.58km-26.27. Day 9: 5k-24.19, Total run 5.4km-26.28. Day 10: 5k-22.30, Total run 5.12km-23.09.

Me versus the 50×5 Challenge

Inspired by an friend of mines Herculean effort last year at this event I have decided to undertake it myself this year. I will update my progress every wee while on here. Hopefully I will be getting quicker as the days go on, maybe I will see some strange things on my travels when out running (I once saw a Hoover under a bridge in the middle of the countryside) and when I do I can report it here as a wee record of my effort. Some stuff will surely happen in the next fifty days you would think.

In that thrilling intro I neglected to actually explain what the event actually is. Of course its name is the name of the post 5×50 challenge and it is a running challenge to run 5 kilometres every day for 50 consecutive days. You can do more in a day of you want but the minimum is 5k. I like running, I ran a half marathon last year, so as a different type of challenge I have decided to give this one a bash. I have even set myself a target of a sub 20 minute 5k. Dunno if that possible for a guy like me but we will find out. I also have no idea why such a target is important to me and why I want to achieve it but its a goal nonetheless.

Ordinarily you do things like this for charity and get sponsorship along the way, I won’t be doing that, I will pay my registration out my own pocket (which goes to comic relief I think) and that will do. If you do want to contribute in some way as a mark of recognition of what I am doing then if you don’t mind donate to the Dylan Duff appeal. Thanks.

So without further ado, here we go:

Day 1

Having said i was going to give this a shot it was only in the evening i actually decided to go though with it. By this time on Easter Sunday I had ate two huge courses at my mother in laws and had three bottles of beer so not exactly the best condition to be going for a run. But you either start on the start or you dont bother so i went and flung on my running gear and headed out assuring myself that i wouldnt spew my ring on the route. Its been a long long time since i have been out running at night, I think the last time i misjudged the road back into Kilmarnock and ended up running along the bypass to Irvine (which is hilarous if you know the roads in and around Killie but completely redundant if you dont) and that was about five years ago. I prefer to run in the early evening in the light or preferably in the total daylight of the day oddly enough. I tried to keep out of the way of cars and such by going around the Grange estate but it turns out 5k is further than you think so i had to run into the main part of the town a bit past some pubs (which it seemed were mobbed since it was Easter Sunday (the new Christmas)) which could have been embarrasing if someone shouted or tried to scant me or something.

Why i think that that would ever happen is quite worrying.

I get back up the road and have to ring around the streets surrounding to get it up over the 5k and no more. My belly is aching and i have brought up a little sick in my mouth but mostly my chicken balmoral, profitoroles and budweiser stay in the tummy where they belong. The challenge has begun and John Speirs has booted it in the baws with his first run. Well done me. In total i did 5.09 km in 28.17, but did 5k in 27.47 because i had my old phone with the wee running app that i use as a mp3 player (not ipod, gadz) in my hand counting down the 0.01s of a km out of curiousity. Time isnt important tonight though, its about getting started.

Day 2

Told a lot of people that i have taken up this challenge today. No one seems to give a fuck. Jokes on them though as i will talk about it quite a lot and like or not they will have to listen. Got sent home early from work so went to get my wife and kid at my parents house and left my shitey old VW Polo there so i could run back later to get it. Went and saw my old granny with Cody then up the road, fed Cody and we played under his rainforest type toy thing, i dont really know what it is, he doesnt have a clue whats going on, we had fun though. I then ran down and it turns out the distance from my house to my mums isnt anywhere near as far as what i thought and doesnt come close to 5k, improvising but not nearly as well as i did on day 1 i eek it out by running up and down their cul de sac and through someones drying area. I did do a lap of the Howard Park though, that was quite nice and exited through an exit i dont ever remember seeing in the 25 years i have memory of being in and around the Howard Park. I also went up a lane to come back down seconds later, that was embarrassing, hope noone was looking out their window and wondered what the big guy who runs weird was doing.

It all worked though because i clocked in 5.07km in a much faster time of 25.26 with the 5k being done in 25.07. Faster than day one but without so much food or bevvy sloshing about that was a gimme. Gona try and get under 25 mins on a regular basis first off, see how that goes, before getting my times shaved further. Getting rid of my chins would be a nice byproduct too with the summer months coming in. Bikini body and all that. Need to have a wee think about my routes i think.

I will be back in a few days, or a lot of days depending on if i have much to say, with more thoughts on the challenge. Cheers for reading down to this full stop.

Oor Cody and What I Have Learnt about Parenting and Stuff Like That

4 weeks and one day ago, one whole month considering that month was February (plsus a day) after I bemoaned the fact that my baby seemed not to want to make an appearance and simply wished to stay in his mums belly a bit longer, I decide to write this in the time I have between now and Cody, which is the name we gave our son, waking up for his night feed. My wee boy Cody was born on the Sunday afternoon, the day after I wrote that last entry. What a day that was, what an experience it has been.

having been up since 2am I was starting to look a bit tired
having been up since 2am I was starting to look a bit tired

Yes, I am now a dad, and this is a big night as this is the first time I am flying solo in the baby looking after stakes as my wife has went out for dinner. I have the PJ’s set out, along with all the other stuff I am told i will need. Fair to say i am shiting it. So I decided to try pass some time till his mum comes back, as he lies sleeping in his swing like a ticking timebomb ready to go off at any point and start screaming for something by giving my, (disclaimer: views are both pathetic and probably factually wrong) view on a few things that have stood out in the last month.

Labour

Labour wasnt nearly as traumatic as i thought it would have been, it also is nothing like what i have seen on TV and in films, there was very little (if any) lying on beds, and no doctor or midwife checked and told you how dialated you were before leaving you to watch tv and eat grapes and such. Its all very intense but totally hands on from the midwives who i thought were all bloody great. But thats at the hospital, before we even got there was quite an experience. for about four hours we were the baths, on the couch, in the hall, in the kitchen, on the phone, back in the bath. I watched a fair amount of tv in this time, Stewart Lee live at the stand from about 6 years ago, was quite good. Also Cheers comes on itv4 quite early on a Sunday, i enjoyed an episode and a half of that, love Cheers so i do, it took an hour to get from the moment the phone call to the maternity unit said we should come out to us actually getting out (a five minute drive) due to the unexpected struggle to get socks and jeans onto a pregnant woman in labour. Such things you dont really think about and certainly dont get told in the anti natal classes.

Anyway, when it comes labour, and i mean labour labour we were in the pool which was actually great. I used the edge of the pool from my position behind Natalie on a seat

outside to obscure my view of what was going on in the water, i could see the other side and natalies head but couldnt see the water down below. Natalie’s way of describing it has been a “scene from Jaws” bearing that in mind i feel my decision to choose what i could or couldnt see seems justified. If i needed to stand up, or say leave the room to go to the bathroom when i was given permission (its a long time not to go for a pee) i tried to stand up and take a step back at the same time thus keeping the same view of the pool. Of course it wasnt foolproof and i did see some things that i wish i didnt but the ability of the human brain to instantly assess and delete such images or simply lock them away in some deep dark recess of the memory has astounded me. Well chuffed with that, I had feared mental scarring for most of the 9 months prior, as well as about ten years before that. Full thing was a happy exerperience in the cabable hands of professionals.

Oh and i tried “gas and air”, it was crap.

Object in the rear view mirror may seen like their jacket doesnt fit
Object in the rear view mirror may seem like their jacket doesnt fit

Bibs

Now I’m not in any position to hand out parenting advice what with Cody a month old but if I was in a position to do so and any expectant mums or dads, or recently married couples planning families or even reckless youths having weans unexpected are reading this, I would advise to buy in excess of 1000 bibs and put them in every room in every drawer on every flat surface and every wee nook n cranny in your house. We have what we thought was plenty, but its not enough. Black bin bags full of them everywhere is plenty, having 40 under the couch just in case is plenty, being ale to lay your hand on one regardless of where you are in your house is plenty a wee drawer upstairs and a couple in the changing bag and box (maybe 30 in total) is not, we will be buying more but please take heed future mums and dads, for me, this shit is important.

Newest Killie fan
Newest Killie fan

Colic

Colic is a strange thing, noone can really tell you what it is, and to be honest my knowledge of the subject was the passing statement of people i wasnt ever really paying full attention to saying something about a baby being a colicy baby. I think, (bearing in mind we think (thats think) that Cody has colic)  that its something to do with wind and finding farting sore but really its still a bit of a mystery. Apparently they grow out of it after about six months, I am taking this as the gospel truth and count down the days of the next five months and rue the fact that not all months are the same length as February. There is a bottle brand called Dr Browns who specialise in bottles for colicy babies. Dont know how that works though, the bottles look complicated.

Bottles

Talking of bottles, we are using Avent ones made by Phillips of all people. I just thought they made tellys and hifis but aparently they are now in the lucrative business of babies. Smart move, there isnt a lot of competition, not like telly, so plenty of opportunities to make dosh. Dont know exactly how this affects dutch fitba team PSV Eindhoven mind you as their name means Phillips Sound and Vision which may well change since they are taking their business in a different route. Phillips bottles and steralisers? PBS Eindhoven maybe? I think i might get Cody a strip.

Taking his Photo

I like most people have a camera on my phone. I now exclusively use this to take photos of my child. Thats a lot of photos of someone who doesnt really get out the house much and visit different places. To combat this i take them in both colour and black and white to give the impression of diversity.

More Robust Than You Would Think.

Its all about dressing your kids properly
Its all about dressing your kids properly

My headings are getting a bit more descriptive and and as such the explanation seems pointless. This one is just such a self explanatory effort. Turns out wee babies while hot potatoes you are feart you snap with your bare hands when they are other peoples are actually fairly robust wee units when they are your own. there isnt a big time gap between being handed him not long after being delivered and being able to move him from arm to arm and up over your shoulder or even the weird choking out motion of holding his body straight to get a wee bit o wind up during feeding.

Pushing Prams

I am right into this, I push the pram everywhere, earphones in and stomp about for a fair bit, the wean loves it, all the bumping about and is sleeping pretty much instantly and i get a bit of exercise and the chance to catch up on podcasts and that. Win Win.

Paternity Leave

Is truely bizarre and I was glad to be back at work. Its so fake. Every activity was all hands to the pump, like a nappy change for instance would see us both running around barking orders at each other about who is doing what, feeding was a military operation and the notion of heading out had to be planned days in advance. Better me back at work and real life can resume.

Tasting the Milk

Only the formula stuff, not breast milk, couldnt bring myself to do that. Though in hindsight, it surely couldnt be any worse than formula which is like ready brek made from cabbage.

And thats about it, wish i had ended on a more interesting thought though. Its been a strange old month. I have enjoyed it. We have enjoyed it actually, the three of us. Well I think Cody has enjoyed it. I dont really know.

Look at that wee face
Look at that wee face

Wait, I just asked him there, he didnt cry, i am taking that as a yes he has enjoyed it. I am happy with that, feel like a success as a parent now. Well, Natalie wont be long now, I will just press publish and see whats on the telly.

Cheers.

Our Baby is Late, Just Like its Dad

Well, looks like there wasn’t a 90th minute winner in this game of pregnancy. We are now past the due date and with no sign of the kiddo yesterday a golden goal in extra time will be needed to finish the match. At this point in time we won’t even consider the end of the two week extra time and the midwifes inducing Natalie to bring on the labour which for the sake of extending this painful cup final analogy we will call penalty kicks.

It would seem we are playing the old waiting game.

But the bags are packed, the nursery decorated, cot built, baby monitor set up, moses baskets (one in the living room and one in the bedroom) are set for action, pram is in its space under the stairs and its tyres blown up to the advised pressure, isofix base thing fitted in the back seat of the car, clothes are all washed, even the coming out of the hospital clothes for Natalie and the baby are hanging in the new wardrope ready for me to take in with me so i dont fuck that up. Its all taken care of.

But we wait.

I guess i could shine up the metal work of the pram, so it looks nice. Or i could get the steraliser out in the kitchen and have a wee trial run with that and the bottles for feeding. I could even read one of the parenting books i have so far dodged for 9 and a half months (and now a day ontop of that). We could decide on a name, or rather names since we dont know what we are having.

We could do all these things as we wait but we arent.

We are just waiting, we have tried all the things they tell you but so far no joy, it will come when its ready. I am quite enjoying it actually, Natalie not so much. Its not too much pressure on me, mostly i am doing the things i usually do, working and watching the telly, Natalie is off her work on maternity which initially i was fairly jealous about but she is mostly knackered from carrying around the bump and needs a pee every twenty minutes so i suppose the novelty will wear off soon. I will get my paternity fortnight soon, the two of us working out how to look after a wee toaty baby.

I am looking forward to it.

But I am not excited, I rarely get excited. Not a very excitable person really, I can appear quite dour. Wonder if my kid will be like that. If it is Natalie will be demented. Thats away in the future though, now as I try to remember the advice given at the anti natal classes we attended about how to deal with labour (there isnt a lot of info about a fathers perspective at those incidentally, certainly not the ones i was at, so you have to improvise a bit from the mothers perspective info) and put it in practice when the waters break (if they do) and mop up the gallons of stuff that comes out (imagination getting away from me, hopefully) before packing us all up in the car and heading out to the maternity unit at the hospital. Surely its within the week?

Not sure where i am going with this now, think i will just press publish, go see what Natalie is doing. Its Saturday night, T plus one day (is that how it is described?) and since its after 11 its unlikely we will see a wee mucky baby arrive before due date plus two so the wait isnt near to being over. This is frustrating writing this, more frustrating than just sitting about waiting.

Waiting….hmmmmm.