Sunday, February 07, 2021

February and beyond... there is a marathon on the horizon and fundraising for Mind

Looking at the horizon through the month ahead and into the rest of the year I felt I had to put a bit more of a plan or at least some milestones to aim at into the calendar. So all being well I will do my first club run for Pegasus Running Club over the weekend of the 12th of February, and I have set up my deferred deferral for the Brighton marathon for the 12th of September - plus I've got a deferred  Wormshead 10k in October to keep me good and busy on the milestone side of things.

Fundraising for 2021...

So as the issues around the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continue to impact us all in so many different ways, I have decided to try and do a little bit to help support Mind, the mental health charity.

I am donating Christmas 2020, my birthday and my running efforts as I build slowly towards the 2021 Brighton marathon (which I have had to defer twice, once because of injury and once because of the pandemic - hopefully it will go ahead this year!).

If you are able and comfortable with doing so I would love it if you would lend a bit of support to a charity that assists in supporting the mental wellbeing of so many among us. 

My fundraising for Mind, is if you have followed my blog in the past via the platform, which is easy to use and super reliable. The page for this 'challenge' or the build up to the marathon is Andrew Hollins is fundraising for Mind ( 

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Happy busy new year - where did January go?

It has been one of those starts to the year where you blink and wonder where all of the days have gone. I have been busy with lots of different things, but the main commitment that I have been trying to keep is moving every day to cover at least 5km. This was something that I started in mid-December when work finished for the year and I had the headroom and time to instigate some new habits with the intention of trying to make them stick through the festive period.

So how is it going? Pretty well... I have just finished @REDJanuary2021 where I moved myself everyday over 5km, 29 walks and 2 runs. I wold have liked to have run more but I listened to my body and allowed myself not to rush into arbitrary run every other day schedules that would have probably not worked for me just now. Wow, that sounds contrary I know but my body just isn't in a state where I could have run to that kind of schedule or volume (even a starters couch-to-5k volume).

In the end January was about watching what I ate and getting into the habit of being more active again... 10lbs (4.5kg) down over the month is testament to that working pretty well. There is a long way to go but it is a start, the goal is a long way down the road and I have the time to try and do this really well.

All in January was not too shabby at all, here's to a 2021 that turns out to ultimately be better than 2020 was.

A bit of a flavour of my month from my Strava feed:

RED day 31 - It is always a good run when you run into people you hadn’t planned to, and after a brief chat with Rhys it was onwards to another brief distanced chat with Julia and Ali (Pegs assemble!). The snow got heavier throughout the run, which was a bit... well, lovely actually. Granted the second half of the run I was running with the snow at my back which was much more pleasant than the opposite! The run had a bit of everything which was fabulous, and I even managed to resist the urge to go faster - always a bonus on only you second run in months.

#redjanuary2021 is done and I covered at least 5km every day - 29 days of walking with two runs thrown in. January was about changing habits and laying the groundwork ready for the foundations to be laid for a future marathon. January is not the end of that process but part of the beginning that started in December, going to try and keep the progress going at its own pace and we’ll see how much building happens along the way. This is a marathon not a sprint afterall.

The one with the pushed pace #RED2021day18 - There were moments on this walk where I could have comfortably broken into a run, yes I was doing that funny kind of walking where it looks like the teacher just told you not to run in the corridor. I have the sense that a run isn't too far away now, but I know that this particular run was powered by stress release and a 5km run would not have ended well.

Another day another RED 5km walk.... done.

The one in foul weather dodging fallen (Christmas) trees #RED2021day11 - Not a pleasant walk with the wind, cold, rain and all the now unwanted tree house guests left out on the street to fend for themselves. Couldn't walk this morning so it was a late one, which with the weather deteriorating all day was a bit of a kicker but it was what it was. 5km again on a regular route with a grumpy greyhound for company.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Last day of 2020, 12 days of Christmas #day7, and RED January 2021

It is the last day of 2020... and it would be easy to say good riddance and jump onto the bandwagon of trying to bundle up occurrences of the last 12 months as if the flip of the calendar to 2021 will remove all the bad stuff. Sadly life is not that simplistic, and much of the changes 2020 brought will hang around in one form or another for many more months / years to come. There is way too much that I could write about the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic but I simply don't have the will to commit it all to a blog post, especially on a blog called 'on the move' which is ostensibly about following my efforts to get and stay fit. There has been acres of text written else where about the pandemic and other major world events I couldn't begin to do them justice.

What has 2020 been for me? Firstly a year of little blogging (well lets face it hardly any blogging at all), it has been a year of little running, and it has been a year of hard work at work responding to the changes of working from home. It was a change that I made well, perhaps too well, as I let it remove some of the base (hidden) activity from my day - the commute, the walking for lunch, going to shops on the way home, walking between meeting venues.... most all of that took place within a handful of metres of each other - commute = walk to front room, lunch = walk to the kitchen, shopping = all done once a week or online, moving between meetings = shutting one browser tab and opening another one.

2020 became the year of YouTube, as I found that I watched more than ever - Peter McKinnon, Matti Haapoja, Becki and Chris, Casey Neistat, Rich Roll, the minimalists, Matt D'Avella, Kevin Stratvert, The Body Coach, Yoga with Ness, to name just a few (I am not listing links, just stick these into the search engine if you are curious, though most are hardly niche, and have large followings).... don't worry though I have consumed lots of cinematography, vlogging, and camera skills videos I know my limits and won't be going all 'YouTube' any time soon.

So 2021... for me it has to be about me regaining and moving towards fitness again, a sustainable fitness, a fitness to live my own life relatively well... I have gotten shockingly far away from that this year and need to recover. There is the kind of fit for life stuff of glossy multimedia and then there is just the plain being fit to live your life... and I am solidly aiming for and in need of the latter. I need to be able to move without pain and aches, lift without worry, walk without being winded, run a short distance without difficulty. Yes, this year I got there, to the place of such poor levels of activity that my base / basic fitness all but completely dissipated. 2021 thus has to be about genuinely getting moving. So that is where my walking 5km or more a day started some days back, as that first small step, and today's instalment was as follows (borrowed from my Strava feed)...

The one with all the kilometres - 12 days of Christmas #day7 ("seven swans a swimming" - well no not today, too icy!)

On the seventh day of Christmas my true sent to me... a bunch of stuff we needed from the shop. It was in no no no way a way to sneak a long walk this morning while everyone thought I was simply doing vital shopping.

It was lovely out, if tricky under foot with cheeky black ice in places. Loads of people out again, and sadly too many groups thinking they can out wit the biological fundamentals of viral transmission which was... well anyway let's not get sweary or rant about their selfishness (there's twitter for that, apparently).

Ended up being a magnificent 7km because when I looked at the distance it really did beg to be rounded up again... honest!

... and to keep things moving tomorrow we start RED January... "This January, the RED community will be challenging themselves to get active every day. Whether running, swimming, cycling or choosing a favourite fitness activity, REDers will be going the extra mile to support themselves and others. Their fitness and fundraising efforts combined with your generosity will help Sport in Mind reach and empower people to experience the life-changing benefits of physical activity."

Whatever you are doing have a happy and safe New Year's Eve 🤗

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Days 5 and 6 of my Twelve Days of Christmas walking

The one with the sunshine and a sunny peg catchup - 12 days of Christmas #day5

Twas the gap between Christmas and New year and all were out a walking, a running, a cycling, a squelching merrily in stick mud. In other news I walked into another peg, Phil, and had a fab chat about all things lockdown, running, walking, Christmas and partners off chasing reindeer (or finding Comet anyway) 😁

It was great to run into a fellow Peg, Phil, for a quick (socially distanced) chat about the range of running motivation in lockdown and the peaks and troughs and coming and going of motivation through this difficult period. Notably he had found some new ways of training with the club and a handicap run series that had been set up. I realised that I had worked so much that I didn't really engage much with things like Facebook, the internet, and training on online with the running club... they just seem like a stretch too far too far for me with everything going on. I thought that it would be a poor substitute for real club nights, but clearly it had worked well for those that went for it.

Beautiful day for a stroll along a suggested route that I actually took a wrong turn on, nice was.... muddy! On day 5 of the 12 days there definitely weren't any gold rings to be found, five old things maybe... but another walk ticked off and another small step in the right direction

The one that just had to be rounded up to 6km - 12 days of Christmas #day6

Did the route that I was supposed to do yesterday, although to keep things really spicy I did it in the reverse direction... I know right? Proper daring stuff! It was busy out on the paths and tracks again this morning with good conditions for running (I mused as I walked!). Second day in a row I spotted two elite athletes zip by, always inspirational to notice their ease and grace of movement... I run just like them when I run - honest!

Spotted another (former) peg as I walked but recognised them too late to say "hello", and then realised that I would get home in that annoying distance of 5.6km and had to round it up to 6km by carrying on for a bit (as you do). Well it was the 6th day of the 12 days after all and 6km seemed fitting, and no 7km will not happen tomorrow before you ask.

Halfway through the 12days of christmas now and enjoying myself quite a bit.... which is nice!!

Monday, December 28, 2020

The out and back walk imagining I was running - 12 days of Christmas #day4

The one where I kept wondering how far I would have got to if I was running! There was a tiny cameo from fellow Pegasus runner, Julia, and I found myself wishing I was running so that I could have doubled back for a chat... although to be fair that would have been just as short lived as she is very quick 😊

This is now ten days of covering 5k plus on foot everyday, and while as an ambition it felt 'small' with it hardly being a training plan per se, it seems to have worked. Trying to 'do' 5k a day for a period has given me just enough push to get out and active with little risk of me feeling that it was not possible. Until now I haven't declared what I have been up to because I have noted the personal trend that if I explain an elaborate plan in a blog, instagram post, or tweet then it often fails - there is a name for the phenomena (which I forget).

Lovely day out and nice to get out and enjoy the morning... daydreaming of running. On the run front, I have a way to go yet, and will be c25k'ing when I get to that point. Like the start of a good marathon run I'm starting slow, and reminding myself if it feels slow it probably isn't slow enough for a strong finish!

In other news the Wormshead 10k that is the only event I have entered in 2021 (I forget where I am with my Brighton marathon deferred deferral), has been postponed from February to October. Given that I am miles from fit just now, I can only say that I am happy with the extra time to prepare, but I do feel for the organisers having to plan an event in these difficult times of SARS-Cov-2 uncertainty and disruption. Having said what I said about grand plans falling over I will though say that the Wormshead event is my 'a' goal for the year because it is just a plain fun, tough and well organised event.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Strolling, just strolling...

There are places to start and then there are places to start. After the realisation of just quite how bad my fitness is at the moment I have decided that it is just a case of getting moving again, and by moving for the moment I mean walking. For each of the last four days I have covered 5km (3.1miles) or more on foot, mostly with the dog for company, and with no targets in mind other than just getting some walks done. They say if it isn't recorded on Strava it never happened, so here they are on Strava (sort of)...

So the 19th of December I hope will be a turn around point from the routine that I had established for the last many weeks of sitting on a chair in our front room for the vast majority of the day and working without barely a stretch for hours and hours. I didn't consciously decide not to move, it just sort of snuck up on me, as getting on with work has been a brilliant way to try and ignore the madness in the world just now. There is so much wrong with just sitting, and I am fully aware of the potential consequences of so much inactivity, but it just felt better to get on with stuff as fast and as much as possible. I am feeling the consequences of my poor choices and hence I am trying to bring this thing back around to the simple tenet of this whole blog - me being "on the move". Movement is good for all forms of health and I just need to keep it simple and get moving.

Happily for me I think all I need do is re-connect with the Pegasus Running Club crew in a couple of weeks time and they will spur me along. They are fab and have already been asking after how I am getting on... running clubs much like any social grouping around an activity are just the best thing for community and shared wisdom.

From here, more walking, then perhaps its back to a blend of couch to 5k and / or the running form, elasticity and strength training of RunRx and /or club runs... to be honest I purposefully haven't chosen what comes after the walking as I really am determined to take this one step at a time (cliché not intended) to make this a proper change... so for now we walk! Which is nice!

Sunday, December 13, 2020

When a walk around the block winds you

 There is nothing quite as sobering a recognising just how unfit you are, and when walking around the neighbourhood with your dog leaves you feeling more than a little winded then that is that bit more sobering all together. I have not run in a long time, the longest time since I started running, and like many during the recent SARS-Cov-2 issues have been much more sedentary than usual - working from home (the ability to work is a blessing), not commuting, not walking to get lunch, not being able to meet up with clubs easily, wanting / needing to shield relatives, and sitting for huge parts of the day I shouldn't perhaps be all that surprised. I haven't (to my knowledge) had 'the virus' but seemingly have been doing myself a considerable amount of harm.

Today I walked and I Strava'ed it (for the first time in weeks recording an activity) and was drawn to the feeling of having worked much harder than the distance covered would normally have told me I had. I recorded my walk for one reason - a running club member (the chair person as it happens) mentioned in the week that they had missed the quirkily titled Strava outings. Some switch in my head went off, and I realised that I had been telling myself there was no need to log activities cause the tool was not all that... when really I had not been logging activities because I would see how little I have actually been doing.

Where to go from here? I guess the only way is up, but it feels like it is going to be a long way and hard work. When I was last in this condition it was around the turn of the millennium and I hadn't started running yet... 20 years on and it feels like its going to be decidedly more difficult to find fitness again.