Remember I Carried That Queens Baton Thing?

I like a diary so since I carried the Queens Baton thing for the Commonwealth games last week last month, I thought I would fill anyone who is reading in on how that came to be.

wpid-img_20140628_111214.jpgIn diary form of course…..

Some time last year:

I was asked as a board member if I minded being nominated to carry the baton on behalf of the Killie Trust. I didn’t mind at all so agreed. It was as much to see what happened next as anything else, I would say it was pretty unlikely I would be picked at the time so a wee keek at the process for a nosey guy like me seemed ok. They sent out an email to confirm that I agreed to be nominated and then the waiting begun.

March(ish)

They play West FM on the radio at my work, on the news there are clips of people who have been selected as baton bearers and are celebrating. I check my emails, nothing happening there, so assume I haven’t been selected, however later in the afternoon an email appears, but it is blank, just an official header but no text. I phoned when home from work and I am told that it was a mistake, lots of people got sent the same and that they were working on it and would send another email later.

So I waited.

It arrived around 9pm and I had been selected. Haha. Who would have thought it. Magic. I don’t really know what to do now. Seems a bit weird. Luckily I didn’t have to break any news myself as its broke for me on facebook.

wpid-image-3712dbe43cf352163f98c220c8bc82d0077332bcd158f72928945ce6156666c7-v.jpgTuesday 27th May

Got my commonwealth running gear through today. And a letter that says I am carrying the baton through….New Cumnock. Hmmm.

Thursday 29th May

I call the Baton relay hotline (or office phone probably, kinda over selling it here) to see if there has been a mistake in where I have been placed to run. All the letters and FQA stuff I got on Tuesday says that you can’t swap and when its done its done but I am thinking maybe just maybe its a mistake. I get through and explain that New Cumnock is a fair distance away, I am closer to Prestwick, Irvine, Troon etc. all places outside East Ayrshire but closer than New Cumnock. She checks my record. Confirms that it is a fair bit away but then offers her sympathy and says that its just unlucky. Turns out its not a mistake. Ah well.

Wednesday 4th June

The photo call for baton bearers at Burns Monument in Kay Park is today. I have a few hours off my work to attend. the Provost gives a speech then we are out for the picture. I take a place up the back, out the way. The photographer snaps away without really making wpid-img_140042282903989.jpegit clear he had started then shuts the chair he was standing on and give the floor to the family and friends who were there with their point and shoots. I am positive I wasn’t looking in most, and I doubt I was smiling as I assumed he was just getting a few practice shot in before directing us to wave flags or cheers or whatever. Or maybe he did and I wasn’t paying attention. I was standing away up the back.

A photo appeared on facebook later on. Don’t think it was an official one, however, I’m not smiling in it. What a surprise.

Thursday 12th June

The photo that was taken appears in the Kilmarnock Standard. It looks mostly like the one above except I am looking at my phone in it. Brilliant.

Friday 20th June

After dodging it for almost a fortnight I was finally coralled into an interview for the local radio station, I did it over the phone down at my cousins house as I needed an iphone to record it on and send via email for whatever reason. After a shaky start I relaxed and answered the questions as fully as I could. I mentioned The Killie Trust when asked why I was nominated, rambled on some boring pish about the process of finding out, then when asked if I was nervous about anything I replied that I was more concerned about what I should wear on my feet as my running trainers are fithy and on their last legs. My choice would be my checkerboard Vans, but I would probably regret that. I wonder what all the other people will wear, I should do some research and check some photos online and see what has been the footwear of choice the past few days its been carried around Scotland. These are the type of things that entered my head at the last minute on the day before sadly. I also became concerned about how my running style would look as its not my best feature, and thats when running naturally (naturally is a curled shoulder shambling mess), I am guessing I will be trying to run a bit slower to savour the 200 metres but that will only make me look dafter. The reason I was dodging the interview is because I have a quite a dour personality and I was concerned about how that would come across. I tend to downplay things that happen in my life instead of come across excitable and cheery. I didnt want to sound ungrateful or miserable on West FM. Or any Fm for that matter as it couldn’t be farther from the truth, but my voice could convince you otherwise. I did it though, and we will se what clip gets used if any.

Anyway, at night I went to a stag do in the Brass and Granite pub, I repeated my worries there to a few people. Never got much helpful advice though.

wpid-dsc02524-20140624-150423.jpgSaturday 21st June. The Big Day

Woke and managed to get to New Cumnock for half 8 as requested. Turns out there were plenty of folk from Kilmarnock running here, this makes me feel good but also a bit of a dick for being so awkward about it and phoning to see if there had been a mistake, I bet they never made a phone call mind you. Just me. On the way down I hear myself on the radio, rambling on that boring pish about being told I had been selected. I’d love to say I was cringing however I wasn’t as my voice wasn’t as much as a whiny loser as I thought it was.

After a quick briefing on the minibus we were driven to our spots on the course. I was number 9 so third in New Cumnock (actually I was second as the person who was sencond never turned up so the first person ran two legs) my number indicator sticker was wrapped around a lamppost so you couldnt see it properly. I took a photo with my phone anyway but it’s not too clear. One of the bits of info that we were told on the bus was to try not to have your phone in your back pocket as the cameras were catching either arse cracks or people pulling up their trackies because of the weight in the back pocket. I had mine and hoped to hand it off to someone at my start place. However everyone congregated at the end of my 200 metres so I had to just take the risk of scanting myself with my phone.

The police escort came up and filled me in with how it all works. Again, some research prior would have been useful as when he told me there would be time to get my family in for a photo I didn’t know what that really meant and so when we got to them up around the changeover I didn’t know what to do. Since doing it I have seen clips and photos and folk getting good photos and the likes. Mines were kinda rushed and a bit of a mess actually. I hold my hands up there.

So my police escorts were there and then the lady who carried it 400 metres appeared. At the handover we get our photo taken with the baton together,then she would leave and I get my photo taken myself. This was something I questioned on the minibus beforehand actually. As it is the minutiae of things that bother me, as I have mentioned it’s not the carrying the baton that I worry bout rather the shoes I wear, how I run and now who holds the baton in the photos. It was cleared up though as it turns out we both hold onto it. Which is fine, and we do both hold it. Then she lets go and it’s me. So I start running. A light jog I think it would be best described.

I should note that it’s a bit of a strange thing in that you would expect to see the runner coming first with the baton in hand. The runner is pretty much last after a car with a led message thing on it’s roof, the BBC truck with the cameras filming each runner then you surrounded by cops running and motorbikes. So when I have it my family and friends out to see me don’t actually get a glimpse until the truck has passed.

I tried to take it all in, look around, spot things but really it’s over in a flash and there isnt much to look at really, few houses on the right, fields on the left, and the tv truck right in front, I suppose I just looked mostly at that hoping against hope that I didn’t look too odd and that I was holding the baton right and my trackies weren’t slipping down at all, that sort of thing, plus the thought that I could have a quick minute with my wife and kid before giving up the baton was on my mind.

As I said, when it came down to it we made a bit of a mess of it. Unsure where the cameras were and me being paranoid about what to do with the baton and how long we had we smiled and posed for something but not sure what. My wife hade made cracking wee daddy flags for Codys pram which ultimately have got in the way of a good photo.

wpid-dsc02540-20140624-150431.jpgI then jogged the last few feet and saw my mum, dad and sister who had arrived a bit late due to my dad taking advice from a guy from his work on where I would be running rather than the black and white of the letter I was sent. I then handed over the baton after the official handover photo and that was me. I walked back up to my family and the waiting West FM roving reporter Vicky Murray who interviewed me post run. She followed up on pretty much all the daft things I said the yesterday, in particular about my choice of running shoes, which in the end up I plumped for my blue adidas ones, and I admitted to scanning everyone elses feet as they arrived in the morning to make sure I hadnt made an awful mistake in chosing those particular ones.

That line of questioning didn’t make the edit when they played my clip on clyde 1 and West FM later on that day, rather it was my surprised delight that so many folk had travelled to see me. Like the one in the mornign, wasnt as bad as i feared. My worry of having a whiney, neddy west of Scotland accent faded more and more as the day went on.

wpid-img_139917026103988.jpegAfter that I walked back the length of New Cumnock to my car, saw the famed outdoor swimming pool, and drove home. Had a wee nap. Woke up to find my picture on the bbc website after my wife emailed it in and for the Killie Trust and others to have posted pictures on facebook.

Later on we headed into the town centre to see panto star Liam Dolan MC the proceeding in a saltire suit. Liam, back when he was called William was the DJ at my wee sisters birthday party in the Riccarton Community Centre actually. we waited around to see the baton finish its journey for the day in a wrestling ring at Kilmarnock cross in front of a big crowd.

A wrestling ring.

Was pretty cool actually.

Back home I barbecued in my baton bearer tshirt.

Tuesday 24th June

On my way back from a gig in Dumfries i decided to turn left at the roundabout in New Cumnock to the spot where I collected the baton to see if i could prise the wee number 9 sticker off the lampost as a memento of the day. Sadly it was stuck on fairly tightly and even though I badly need my nails cut i couldn’t get underneath it to get it off. Sake.

Thursday 26th June

Time to check the local papers and see if I feature.

I don’t. Well, I don’t know if I do or not, I only checked the Kilmarnock Standard and I am not in that, unsurprisingly since I was in the Cumnock Chronicle (i think) area.

Wednesday 16th July

After a shower I fire on my commonwealth trackie bottoms and remember that I haven’t posted this blog so put the final touches on it, give it a once over and write this short entry for today to complete it. At leats its published before the baton relay is finished so has (some) relevance. Which is the best I can hope for really.

So there we have it. All done, well not quite, obviously I have my commonwealth tattoo to get somewhere on my body, the Olympic athletes all get the rings on their bicep ot somewhere so surely I am now qualified to get some sort of emblem forever etched onto my person, athlete/baton bearer are the same thing in the whole movement, no? And of course there will be the unveiling of the mural on New Cumnock main street with me on there somewhere no doubt.

Or maybe not.

No, it was a brilliant experience and I am honoured to be a part of it, thanks to anyone rewding who came out and supported me or supported me from home or wherever, and to Andy Millar and the Killie Trust who nominated me, I really appreciate it. Thanks.

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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.

2012 in as few a words as I can

Last year i started writing a diary of sorts on here which was very cathartic and good fun, sadly it fell by the wayside after a few months, to be expected but a decent effort none the less if i dont say so myself. In fact i think i will include it in this, a rundown of all the good things that happened to me the Olympic year just past.

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  • Got my wife pregnant! Kid is due early February, its touch and go if this will be finished before the baby is born, mind you, will update that particular piece of ongoing news at the end before i press publish.
  • Bought a cantilever arm to stick the television on the wall with. its the only thing i wanted when we moved in two years ago and now i have the necessary thing to make it happen. (it has now actually happened, its brilliant)
  • Did 9, count em, 9 gigs taking em to 14 lifetime, im on the cusp of cracking this shit! Of course im not and this tally isnt all that impressive really but take into consideration it was only 6 lifetime in July and i did 8 from August onward so things are picking up.
  • Kept an online diary till March.
  • Gigged at the Edinburgh fringe Festival. or at least i think i did, it was the free fringe and it was one five to ten minute gig but i done it. felt good, should have been two gigs but was ill the next day and couldnt make it. what i learned most about the Edinburgh festival is that its probably fairly easy to get a ton of gigs just by being there and seeing if folk (like me on day 2) dont turn up and you can get a wee spot. Always assumed it would be ver near impossible to get gigs and it was all locked down months in advance. Quite surprised really. Was so proud i even uploaded it on youtube.
  • imageTook in some English Premiership football for the first time. Everton v Spurs, just as brilliant/shite (delete where apropriate) as Scottish fitba, there was just more people there. Guys who cant hit 50 yard passes attempting 50 yard passes and putting them in the stands, fickle fans berating their team only for then to score two in the last minute to overturn a one nil defecit and leave praising their team to the hilt. Beer in the ground though was good and the Everton players ran to our wee corner when they scored the equaliser and the winner Goodison, home from home.
  • Ran the Glasgow half marathon. Which was 1 hour and 53 minutes of looking at people’s backs or my own feet. Though I did take in the views when running across the Kingston Bridge, that was cool.
  • Went to a civil partnership. I am horrendously akward when dealing with how to kiss the bride (one cheek? Both Cheeks? I now do a strange cheek to cheek rub thing which seems to work) so a brideless wedding was a weight off for me. Two firm handshakes and words of congratulations suffice. Terrific.
  • Gigged in front of just four people one night in Paisley. Well, 3 people and a barman. Plus compere and 3 comics. 7 really, gigged in front of 7 people. Lowest so far. Was still a decent night though.
  • Gigged twice when there were burlesque dancers on the bill.
  • Nearly got a new job. But didn’t.
  • Went for a Turkish shave. Which was an exhilirating experience from the red hot imagetowels to the open blade shave (twice) to the setting your ear fluff on fire and leaving them smoother than anything else on your body. I was the only person in that Friday morning and while i had a razor blade at my throat by one Turkish fella, another one was taking my photo. Thats weird, right?
  • Took our new car up to Loch Lomond and managed to drive right past it and ended up lost. Found Loch Katrine instead. Drove that far past it it took over an hour to finally find Loch Lomond. Got lost coming home too.
  • Watched Kilmarnock lift their first ever league cup on an amazing day in March.
  • wpid-IMAG0201.jpgPlayed doubles at darts with Andy “The Pieman” Smith versus Terry “The Bull” Jenkins and a guy called Hoggy on the stage at a darts exhibition night in Park Hotel. We won but I was fucking woeful.
  • Passed my fork lift truck drivers licence on a two day course over a weekend. The videos you have to watch are magic.
  • Walked around York’s city walls one weekend in May. Lovely place. Went to York races on the Saturday and stood in a suit all day on the warmest weekend of the year, facebook was full of folk out their backdoors in Ayrshire and beyond with their shirts off drinking lager and eating hot dogs off the barbecue, i had a tie on and my sleeves rolled up. Was good though. At York races they dont let you drink outside in the dear bit but on the other side of the course (the inside) you pay the lowest amount for tickets and get to take your own booze with you and watch and bet and get fu’ cheaply. Something far wrong there i think.
  • Changed the back tyre on my Polo. Add this to the “knocking up” of my good lady wife and i feel i made some genuine steps into manhood this year. To be fair, i only put it back on and let the jack down, i didnt put it up or get the wheel off, there is always next year.
  • Became an uncle again. Nephew this time. Hope he likes fitba. And Batman. And wrestling. Few years before all that mind you.
  • Appeared in a play. One stand up gig i managed to get was as part of a play in Irvine, driving down to do it i was aprehensive and hardly had any information about it and had asked to get my night changed from Sunday to Saturday but it was bloody brilliant. It was a play about a comedy club that fell on hard times and in between scenes a comic would come out and do five or so minutes. Great experience.
  • Celebrated our first year married.
  •  wpid-IMAG0113.jpgWandered around the comedy carpet in front of the Blackpool tower. Absolutely minted. Didnt set aside enough time for it, thought it would be a bit shite to be honest. How wrong could I have been, lines from tv and stand up over the years, the Python stuff is great, Peter Kay too and this genius from Spitting image.
  • Appeared on the telly on Scottish Football: The Debate. I covered it all here though so no need to go on about it again.
  • And while i am plugging older posts from my blog, i wrote a thing about playing Ayr the night before the semi final and it got retweeted and thrown around facebook that Friday night which was geekily quite exciting. Sat and refreshed the stats page on here and watched the number go up like a egomaniac prick.
  • Saw Spamalot! at the Kings Theatre the day before the League Cup final. It was very good. Saw Chicago later on in the year as well, it was alright too.
  • Got papped out in round 1 of the Scottish Comedian of the Year competition. Which was a audience vote format and took place in my own town. Not too impressive. Was on first though. Excuses excuses. Always next year. Or, you know, this year as it is.

So thats about it i think, and yay, I managed to get it all typed and posted before the baby has made its entrance. Could be any time now…….but this has been nice. Thanks for reading, thanks for waiting in fact for something to actually read, please accept my apologies and half hearted promise to post more in 2013.

Happy new year.

A Diary in 53 Parts: Part 12: Week 11

Where i got a gig and went to the theatre.

Sunday 11th March 2012

Went into work at half past 7 to tell them i couldnt do the overtime i signed up for becuase i had furniture being delivered. Gaffer seemed a bit taken aback that i showed up to say i couldnt make it but the reason was i couldnt find the phone number. The furniture arrived pretty early and i set about building it. Couch was bloody heavy and akward, the bookcase on its side sideboard unit type thing was less heavy and akward but more hard work to put together. Done it though and celebrated with a bowl of porridge. This was the first time i have ever made porridge, real porridge with salt and water not the girly sugar and milk rubbish. Did a good job, cooking seems to come naturally to me, i can add it to my repertiore now, baked potatoes, porridge and of course, cheesy beanos.

Monday 12th.

Got offered a stand up gig in Paisley later this month to go with the one in May in Killie, good stuff, i said yes. Its a charity gig put on by a student, or a bunch of students, im not quite sure. My big mate Alan Provan (his blog) got me involved as he is doing a set at it and suggested me for it too. Decision now is whether to write a whole new bit or just a wee new bit to replace the out of date Scheme stuff and add it to my seagull stuff which i did last year.

Tuesday 13th.

For my lunch today i took the new Jamaican Jerk pot noodle. Big fan of pot noodles so i am, often thought about setting myself a wee task to see how many o could eat in one sitting (it would be chicken and mushroom one i would use in such an event as they are easiest on the belly even though i am partial to a Bombay Badboy) but as yet havent got round to it. I think i could do 4 pretty easy but might hit the wall at 5. Not sue if thats impressive or pathetic, guess there is only one way to find out….

Later on i wrote up the blog post about me being on the telly, not going to link it again but this will be the last wee plug, if you want to read it i am sure you have the necessary skills to navigate away from this to it, do it, i believe in you.

Wednesday 14th.

Watched Chelseas champions league game tonight. Football players have tiny wee shinguards nowadays. John Terry plucked a pair out his socks when he got subbed which looked to me to be about the saze of a smart phone. What exactly is that protecting? I remember when it was big sondico things with ankle supports and bones down the front which pretty much protected your full leg and before that i remember reading or seeing a shinnys advert where they just stuck old newspapers down there for protection. Totey wee things now though. I think they all wear them now, seems pointless.

Thursday 15th.

Not much going on today, got quite excited about the cup final on Sunday after reading some of the stuff in the Daily Record, plenty to be positive about.

Friday 16th.

Got ridiculous cramp in both my legs after playing football while lying watching tv on the couch with the wife. felt it coming on in one leg and tried to shift my weight to put it off, straighten my leg out a bit, didnt work and the cramp set in my hamstring like a lightning bolt. As i wriggled to get off the couch the other one cramped up too and i screamed in my own living room. Down on the ground writhing in pain i got zero sympathy. Warm down essential from now on, getting too old.

Saturday 17th.

A good few years ago now, when Berti Vogts was Scotland manager and James MacFadden was the cheeky boy, Scotland made the playoffs to reach the major championship at that season end. We drew Holland and ultimately didnt make due to a 6 nil second leg defeat that left us narrowly squeezed out on a 6-1 aggregate. The one came in a 1 nil home first leg at Hampden which i was at.

The reason i tell you this is that the night previous to that great day (when Scotland scored, shamefully i took that as a cue to glug down the bottle of Bud i had smuggled in as the crowd were all on their feet, post patch i flashed a bus of dutch supporters and also had the last bottle of Buckfast to pass my lips that night on the bus back into the city from Hampden) Natalie and i took in a show at The Kings Theatre in Glasgow. Oh What a Night it was and starred Kid Creole i think, maybe Sonia too though that would seem like something i would remember. It might or might not be an omen but today, the day before the big League Cup final, i found myself taking Natalie back to The Kings, this time to see Spamalot! It was really good.

A Diary in 53 Parts: Part 10 :Week 9

Where i made it to part ten which given my track record is something to behold, wasnt a classic as far as notable events go mind you.

Sunday 26th February.

Every fortnight on the weekend FIFA 12 open the head to head area of the game up for a cup. Its bloody brilliant and myself a few fellas i work with at the warehouse talk about it frequently. “is it the cup this weekend?” one of us will ask, some weeks we will say “naw”, other weeks we will say “aye, i think sa”. Granted its not the most exciting of conversations but we do have it most weeks. This weekend, Friday, Saturday and today being Sunday it is open and I spent a fair bit of of my afternoon chasing the dream of a shiny cup and bragging rights come Monday at work. Sadly though i got papped out regular and lost the place with it and packed it in. Next time hopefully.  On my tv today i had the carling cup final where the commentators sold Dirk Kuyts goal as a cracker, i thought he tackled it in, also watched Sean Lock live from 2008 i think, big fan of him off the tv but this is actually the first time i have seen any extensive material from him, was great i thought. Oh and while the mrs watched dancing on ice i scoured youtube 9actually it took 2 minutes) to find the footage of Bill Hicks on the funny farm from the 80s. I have very vivid memories of the opening credits of that show from my youth, probably because it was a cartoon chicken walking down the street, had no recollection of the show itself. The reason i looked up this video was three fold. 1. I found out about it through facebook by Stu Who? who was on the bill the night i did the open slot at Rugby Park and was very nice to me afterwards (and before, an all round good guy) as he is the guy introducing him onto the stage. 2. Hicks would have been 50 today. 3. my phone wouldnt play the format of video the link he posted had and my laptops sound is gubbed so needed to post it to myself on facebook to watch it. Complicated but worth it. In the five minutes he did i saw a guy who used material i had saw work before but get a slightly muted response which he found pretty funny.

For dinner we had Chicken curry and haggis pies from Brownings which were smashing. Haggis with chicken curry on the top baked in a pie. An explanation probably wasnt needed as chicken curry adn haggis pie pretty much summed it up.

Monday 27th.

Came home from work to a running bath which my mrs thought she would treat me too. Climbed in and read my book for half an hour, the book is Game of Thrones and i have been reading it since November, not the best at reading in the winter.

While in this bath i discovered chocolate and mint Original Source shower gel which might be greatest bathroom based invention ever. It takes all my energy and will power not to eat it. If mint aeros smelt like this i would eat one for my dinner every day.

Tuesday 28th.

I dont think i mentioned it at the time but a few weeks ago i went to the dentist for a check up, needed a filling and today was the day it was getting done. My only decision was whether to go white or get one of they horrible metallic amalgam minging things. I already had my fair share of both these things in my mouth prior so it wasnt a case of keeping a uniform look to the inside of my gub. Went with white because the amalgam ones taste horrible for longer, must be the steel content or something.  Or  zinc or whatever its a mixture of. Gadz.

Its supposed to be better now at the dentist. Jags leave no real swelling and you can go about your day as normal without a tennis ball shaped cheek. But in those days that face meant people knew where you had been and gave you the benifit of the doubt when slevers hang from your chin as you walk to the carpark to get home. Now you can be sitting on the bus home with a normal face and shlurping up saliva you are sure is escaping but have no real confirmation of till its making a pool in your jacket. Folks tut tutting you and nothing you can do as your slurred slevery speech doesnt help.

So i got one, right up the back where the tooth hasnt came through properly so food gets caught in the gum and stuff, all very boring. Had a fair amount of work done on my gnashers and another wee filling to add to the collection isnae the worst that could have happened.

One final thing, when the dentist is in there doing the drilling and your mouth is numb do you think they put a wee hole in another tooth to makes sure theres a wage to get come the next check up appointment? Food for thought.

Wednesday 29th.

Your supposed to do something you never usually do on a day like today i am told. I dont think i bothered.

Thursday 1st March.

Never did too much today at all.

Friday 2nd.

Played some football after work and had a fairly early night.

Saturday 3rd.

Got up early to do some overtime at work. On my way home i decided to be proactive and get my coupon on before going home to have lunch prior to football. That way i wouldnt have to rush early going to the football to get to the bookies before. However as i sat eating my beans on toast updates appeared from the Swindon game which featured on my line. They were getting beat.

So the moral of that story is dont try to be smart, dont try and be punctual and make sure things are organised in advance because i had to spend more money backing the rest of my teams in that line again minus Swindon because i would have went mental if Swindon had been the only one who let me down and it was before 3pm. If i had just done my usual and left it to the last kick the n ice lady in the bookmakers would have said, “sorry pal, ones already kicked off, you want me to still put it through?” and i would have said yes then punched the air in delight for dodging a wee bullet.

After all that excitement i went and got bored to tears at the Killie game before a few beers at the Burns’ with my big cousin and the rest of my family on a wee day out for oor Jock, before heading home via Shahs Palace where we got our dinner. One cheeseburger, one chips and cheese and one large portion of veggie pakora between two.