Saturday, September 11, 2021

Cardiff Parkrun - #65 (#60 at Blackweir) and my first one back after you know what

Back at Blackweir (Cardiff) parkrun for my first parkrun since January 2020, and it was an absolute blast. I had a great experience of being back out there in parkrun world, with the organization and marshalling utterly en pointe today. The biggest change I noticed was the shortened run brief at the start and truth be told I preferred it to the old ones. The atmosphere in the pack was good, the camaraderie certainly has not been diminished at all in the time since my last run.

A set of three pictures. One of me. Two of the cardiff parkrun setting.
Random phone pics of the event today

In terms of my finish time, I couldn't can given a monkeys what it was really. I ran as comfortably as I could, I looked to pace with caution and respect the backend of the distance. Certainly I feel I managed my run well, and that is at the moment what I want - I want to manage my expectations and just out and out enjoy my runs. The biggest give away that I had contained my over-enthusiasm was that I did not sprint finish (!), and come on what's the point right as it is only a run after all, its not a race.

For the record my watch recorded 31:50, parkrun officially clocked me at 32:43, and I was the 489th runner to cross the line out of 644 runners at Blackweir parkrun today.

I know I won't be doing parkrun every week and I am happy with that as I want to avoid getting on the "better, better, better" treadmill of parkrun time chasing, and stay with the "enjoy, enjoy, enjoy" rhythm and stay injury free.

Hope you have a good weekend of running or moving, A

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Where I am - re-starting from a low baseline, and pulling out of events

 It it safe to say that I have been here before and no the way, but also that I know how long the journey is and how tough it will be to get to where I want to go. Two recent runs with the Pegasus Running club crew have shown me what I already knew in my heart about my current fitness level, and a recent trip to the GP surgery reminded me just how low I had let my fitness ebb. Recognising the problem is they say half the battle and I very definitely know that I have a battle ahead.

How bad is my fitness? Well lets just say that I am where I was before I started this blog, and am like then learning to run again. I have no dramatic injury, it is simply that I am simply unfit. I weigh too much for my physiology, and my body is labouring with exertion just now.

So, Brighton Marathon 2021 is a "no" from me unfortunately. This is a race that I really want to do but it will have to wait one more year, a year where I have a lot of work to do on myself (I am though happily signed up for next years race and will all being well have that option). For the time being I hope to ease back into running events with local series' and races.

The reason that I am pulling out of races and at a very low fitness ebb is multifactorial - so much so that it could really fall into the category of "well life got in the way" - between the pandemic, working from home, job insecurities, major family member ill health, other family issues, poor choices around food, and lack of recognition of my own health needs there is little wonder I am where I am.

As I said I know the road I want to travel and so lets go!

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.