My running stuff

Right now I should be doing the Santa Dash in Glasgow but, because I didn’t open all the attachments in the email they sent me after I registered I didn’t know you had to go into The St Enoch Centre in the days before the event to pick up your number and Santa costume. So, I thought I would go in on the Sunday morning to get it all but alas, this was not possible, the shop was shut. Hopefully next year they make it clear in the actual email that you can’t pick up your stuff on the day of the event, somewhere obvious that a daftie like me can’t miss it!

Anyway, this blog isn’t about that, it’s about the stuff I wear when running. Firstly, probably the most important thing – the shoes. I got myself these bad boys (Saucony Guide 10 I think) from the good people at Achilles Heel.

20181209_1018041260392399438159546.jpg
My dirty running shoes

You should always buy them from a proper running shop I think where they will look at how you run and recommend you a pair of shoes. I got my shoes from Achilles Heel in Glasgow https://www.achillesheel.co.uk They were really helpful as I thought the shoes didn’t fit me properly at first but on taking them back they explained a few things about how they were making my feet feel and gave me some advice and, hey presto, 2 weeks later after resting, they fitted me like a dream, very comfy and they feel pretty bouncy and everything.

20181209_1019064783620089897177320.jpg
The most excited I have ever been about a pair of shoes
20181209_1019256806626530270564097.jpg
I chose the tongue symbol, colours and ST and 76 myself

These shoes were bought for me as a Christmas present by Kirsty. I got them from Nike ID and designed them myself. I think I will keep them for indoor running as I don’t want to get them dirty! So far I like them.

Now the shoes are done I guess it should be socks next. I used to hate trainer socks and would often go running in the socks I wear to work – dress socks, This wound Kirsty up something awful and she would always want me to go for trainer socks – I resisted though. Now I wish I had listened to her – trainer socks are far superior – as long as they are decent ones that don’t slip down off the bottom of your heel.

Jackets now. I have a load of these, firstly this one:

20181209_1022549116094207696844519.jpg
Ronhill

It’s made by Ronhill, I think my brother got me it a few years ago but it never fitted me, was always a little on the tight side. Thankfully now it fits me fine! I like it because it has a hood on it. Next, I have this old trusty top, again bought for me by Kenneth. Again, this was too tight at first but I really enjoy running in it, now it is probably a little big for me but it’s really comfy and warm and nicely fitting.

Puma – a favourite running top

I went out in it one night for a run but I think Kirsty thought it wasn’t bright enough to protect me from the threat of being hit by a car so she kindly bought me this shiny specimen, it lights me up like Blackpool Promenade in October and I love this too!

20181209_1021154799297482025304741.jpg
In normal light – made by BTR
20181209_1021076494507638835032436.jpg
With the flash on…

As you can see from the 2 photos – it reflects light really well, even me driving with my dodgy right eye would be able to spot someone wearing this thing! This jacket is also nice and warm but it does generate a little bit of sweat, taking it off and leaving it in a pile on the bedroom floor is not a good move (sorry Kirsty!). Finally I have this jacket underneath, following on a common theme, I have managed to slim down to fit into it and, again, I like wearing it. There isn’t much to it, it is very thin but ideal for running on days that aren’t too warm but aren’t too cold either!

Made by Ronhill – think my brother must have a sponsorship deal with them

Next, the contentious issue of shorts. I would like to make one thing clear here, I will never go running with those tights things on! I am sure they are great but I am not sure of the point of them, I always think I would get too warm wearing them. I do not own any running shorts although with Christmas coming up hopefully that will change soon. Here is a picture of me finishing the Glasgow 10k in the year they messed my time up – I look nothing like a runner. I wear an old Uruguay away shirt as it does something weird with the sweat that comes off me, I can’t quite explain it but it seems to draw the sweat away from me better than any other teeshirt I wear. You can also see me wearing a pair of Glasgow Rocks basketball shorts, they are knee length and spare anyone having to see too much of my pasty white legs!

fb_img_15443513752798114553671519766797.jpg
Finishing the 10k

I have never actually bought a pair of these shorts, I usually win them in raffles. Here is a picture of me being presented with them by a Glasgow Rocks’ basketball player, none of the 4 people in this picture look happy to be there!

screenshot_20181209-103012_facebook9100101920118155846.jpg
A very awkward photo

Finally, my trusty earphones. I resisted wireless earphones for ages but finally I succumbed. I keep losing these and have another pair in the flat somewhere. I can’t remember who makes them, I think it may be Soundbuds? They are nice and loud anyway. I quite fancy the bone conducting ones, they wouldn’t  keep FALLING OUT MY STUPID EARS EACH TIME I RUN!!! Sorry, had to get that off my chest!

20181209_1024356603240941010300954.jpg
Any excuse for a plug

Thanks for reading again, the number of people reading my stuff is pretty cool. I start proper training tomorrow so I will post again during the week looking at my training plan. I will give a wee fundraising update too – I am so close to halfway there and would love to hit the £1,000 mark by Christmas. I have a collecting tin for loose change on my desk at work so if all else fails that will be getting emptied in 2 weeks and paid in to the account!

If you wish to sponsor me running the London Marathon for the RNIB then you can do it here:

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stuartmtaylor

Text SMTR76 £1 to 70070

(or 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10 pounds also available!)

What’s happened and what’s happening?

Hello, I’m just going to post a small update on where I am with things, typing this on my mobile so it will be a short one probably.

Random picture of a run I did.

First of all, my fundraising is going really well, a massive thanks to everyone who has supported me. Every single donation I get is really important to me and gives me a boost. I’m currently at almost £1,000 as can be seen below.

Justgiving page

My Panini draw raised £188. It should have went for £138 but I got a coupe of extra donations for it. It turned into more work than I thought getting rid of all the stickers but I got there eventually!

I also managed to book flights and hotel for the weekend in London in April, this has near enough bankrupted me coming in the same month as car service, MOT and insurance, I should do something about the service and insurance next year and move it to another time of year I guesd. We are flying down with British Airways into London City Airport Friday evening, I even splashed out extra money on emergency exit row seats in both directions! Booked a hotel in Croydon too for 2 nights. With work on the Monday morning I can’t hang about after the run, straight to Heathrow and a flight home, does anyone know where I would be able to have a shower by the way?

Another cool thing that has been happening is that loads of people are asking me about this and showing me loads of encouragement. I was at a growth mindset training session at work today and we were talking about goals and how to achieve them, this is certainly a goal that will take a bit of achieving. The messages and conversations are all great though, keep them coming!

Training is going ok but I’m in a bit of a paradox, I’m running well but that makes me think I deserve a burger or something so I’m not shifting weight like I want to. I reckon dropping a stone and a half would make my life so much easier, must focus on getting that right!

Finally, I’m volunteering at parkrun on 8th December, as promised in my parkrun blog. I’m also running in 2 Santa races over 5k. One in Cumbernauld and one in Glasgow so they should be fun.

Coming up, I’m trying to organise a quiz night in Glasgow in February or March and I’m trying to get a few well known runners to interview to try and attract done more traffic to the blog, I guess it’s a case of keep chipping away! If anyone wants to write anything give us a shout because I can see me drying up soon! I’m also going to try getting to a track in Glasgow over Christmas to compete against my 10 year old self in a Thistle Award challenge. I will find out the points values for a man in his early 40s and see if I can score more than this wee guy here:

Aside from that there’s just the countdown to Christmas, Kirsty is getting me a pair of Nike Pegasus which I’m scarily excited about and I will return the favour with my annual donation to Jo Malone, the amount of money I’ve given her over the years she can’t refuse me a wee donation for a raffle prize surely? If anyone has any hints or contacts that maybe able to get me something then please let me know. My good friend Cory has already secured me something really decent and a few other people have said they will help me out too.

For once, I’m not going to link my justgiving page or text number, I just wanted to give a wee update towards the end of the month.

Thanks for reading and for your support,

Stuart

Parkruns are Gallus

Parkruns are amazing, they are great, they are fun and you never regret running them (although you will regret not running them). I would probably say they are the biggest and potentially most important thing to improve health in the UK since the smoking in public places ban. I am incorporating parkruns into my training for the 2019 London Marathon which I am running for the RNIB (text SMTR76 £1 to 70070 if you want to sponsor me a quid). This blog is about today’s parkrun at Strathclyde Park, a great parkrun, where else would you get views like this on a Saturday morning while keeping (or getting) fit?

I am not too sure of the history of parkrun, I know it began in London at Bushy parkrun and Leeds University played a big part in its growing popularity and now it is in many locations around the world. You could find out more at their UK site.

Parkrun is a free timed 5k race which happens all over the UK in various park at 9am (0930 in Scotland – we get a longer lie up here). They set you all off on your run and start a timer. As you cross the finish line you get a token which is then scanned with your own personal barcode and hey presto – later on that morning you get a text message telling you your time. Today’s parkrun seem to have been heavily supported by the CO-Op.

It was another crisp morning, not cold enough for frost and ice but cold enough! Classic anticyclone in winter weather (one for the geography geeks).

Here is where we got our goody boxes at the end, more of that later
Well branded by the CO-OP
20181124_0913531948532592550520297.jpg
I liked these inspirational messages

20181124_091406940537589080916148.jpg

Always a welcome site at the end

20181124_0914522302210207923038806.jpg

20181124_0917013290408540984980982.jpg
Dogs always welcome

Watch out, it will break your arm apparently!

Soon we got to the start of the event. I always like this bit. First of all everyone has to stand on the grass! We don’t have priority in the park and everyone has equal access etc. This is a decent moment because they wish people Happy Birthday, congratulate people on milestone parkruns and ask for volunteers. Parkrun couldn’t operate without the amazing volunteers and I really should make the effort to volunteer myself but I am always scared I will mess it up! I have volunteered at junior parkruns a few times but not at Strathclyde Park, that will change next month, I promise.

So, we set off. It is important to remember that parkrun is not a race, it is a run, you are running against yourself and your previous times or you are running for the fun of it. I realised this on my 2nd parkrun. I struggled round and was stuck for ages behind 2 younger children. In the last 200 metres I “sprinted” past them, feeling all smug and a little guilty, but mainly smug that I was defeating them. When they tore past me 100 metres later I came to the convenient realisation that it is not a race!

You very often see the same people at these runs. One of my favourites is the man with the pram who always effortlessly runs past me despite pushing his child in a pram. I also was running behind a lady in a New York City Marathon jacket, again making it look effortless whilst I struggled on! I couldn’t get past her at all! But she summed up parkrun for me by asking people who looked like they may be struggling if they were ok – all runners seem to be really nice.

The massed start

As we continued through the run I realised I wasn’t going to crack 25 minutes today. I came pretty close. My final time according to my Garmin watch was 25 minutes 11 seconds, my second best time I think.

46523973_10157303092294305_7575030353916592128_n

My splits show I could have probably pushed kilometres 2-4 a little more, but I am always scared of burning out, I need to trust the training! After the race was finished we got our little boxes from the CO-OP, it contained a healthy recipe book, a tin of chick peas, some tinned tomatoes (I love them) and a bottle of extra virgin olive oil.

46631801_10157303092344305_6740272707973152768_n

So, there finished another parkrun. I can’t quite get over to you how much I enjoy these. They tick every box for what a good ethical organisation should be. They combat lots of problems we are facing at the moment. They benefit you physically, mentally and socially and if I were a doctor I would be prescribing them left right and centre.

Just as i was about to publish this my result came in. You get it sent as a text and you can also see it on the parkrun website along with your progress if you want. 295 runners today, brilliant!

Thanks to parkrun UK, the amazing volunteers (especially the wee girl with the cowbell at the turning point) and the CO-OP for today, that was great – again.

If you have managed to read this far and want to find out more about the work of the RNIB who I am running the London Marathon for you can check them out here and if you want to sponsor me you can do so here or text SMTR76 £1 to 70070. You can also donate 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10 pounds that way too.

20181124_1001313735715581904392297.jpg
My reward for finishing today

What to listen to when running – Part 1 – a blog about running with nothing about running in it…

 

Something that I am fairly interested in is reading about running – and surprisingly little is written about what is good to listen to whilst you are running.  Maybe it’s not that important in the grand scheme of things but it is really important to me for a load of reasons.

The first question is whether to listen to anything at all or not..  If I am doing a race like the Glasgow 10k there is no way I will be listening to anything, I want to soak in the atmosphere and the cool choir at the top of St. Vincent Street, they are awesome.  I will definitely be going earphoneless during the London Marathon, no way I am missing out on any of the atmosphere of the day.  On training runs, parkruns and treadmill runs I will always have some kind of sound in my ears.

The second question is music or speech?  I would go speech every time, it serves as more of a distraction and the wrong type of music can get my wee legs moving too quickly and tire me out too soon!  Although there is a place for music at times.

But anyway, I am a massive podcast and audiobook fan.  They serve as the best distraction ever when out running.  Here are a few of my favourites:

AUDIOBOOKS

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall – gee this is a great book.  It looks at Ultra Running, explores the physiological and some of the psychological aspects of running and is interspersed with some amazing characters like Jenn Shelton and Cabayo Blanco.  If you can read (or listen) to this book and not go for a run afterwards then there is something wrong.  I would have said that Christopher McDougall is responsible for a lot of the sales of running shoes in the world given the motivational message in his book but he puts forward a very good case for running barefoot…I was almost convinced myself.

Running: A Love Story by Dom Harvey – a book about a middle aged man who suddenly decides to lose weight and get himself fit by running (it could be me but I am 10 year behind him in terms of getting going!).  This again is an inspirational read/listen.  The whole concept of running for a time versus running for enjoyment is explored, again, I couldn’t wait to get my marathon training started once I read this.

Don’t Stop Me Now: 26.2 Tales of a Runner’s Obsession by Vassos Alexander – another late entrant into running, the author easily motivates and makes you want to get your legs moving!  He tells the story of the final 26 mile run leg of an iron man triathlon interspersed with other running stories and contributions from famous names in the running world about how they got started in running and what role running currently plays in their lives.

I really could have mentioned the 3 authors above in my last blog about who had inspired me but I wanted that to be more personal, these 3 men have helped me get out there when I otherwise wouldn’t have bothered, I would really recommend all 3 of their books – thanks a lot for writing them!!

PODCASTS

I love podcasts – there, I have said it!  I spend about an hour and a half in the car every day, time that could be spent learning a language or catching up with current affairs, but I regularly use the time to become expert on wrestling, football and trivia.  Here are a few of my favourites.

Quickly Kevin, Will He Score? – 90s football podcast hosted by Josh Widdecombe, one of the funniest things you will hear.  I used to listen in the car but now save the podcast for some of the longer runs I go on, they are the perfect length for a 10k run.  People must think I really love running when I have such a big grin on my face, I am just enjoying the podcast so much though.

Fighting Talk – An old favourite.  A sporting panel show quiz type comedy affair.  Maybe not the best to run with as it makes me laugh too much and interrupts my breathing!  But these are the sort of thing you can listen to again and again.

Flintoff, Savage and the Ping Pong Guy  – I’m not sure how to describe this, part sporting, part philosophical, part comedy, these 3 people talk about all aspects of their lives and there are some quite strong motivational messages, especially from the Ping Pong Guy (Matthew Syed) who is especially interesting, listening to him gives you a belief in yourself and in the world.

Lineker and Baker – The new pod on the block.  Danny Baker has to be my favourite broadcaster ever, when I first discovered his original 606 show it hit me like a sledgehammer, it was my idea of perfection and I would tape them off the radio and listen to them all the time.  Him and Gary Lineker just sit and chat, it’s great!  So simple.  Danny Baker’s autobiographies could have been in the audiobook section of this blog as well but I would have been here forever.  Danny’s thick London accent keeps me going as I train to run around some of his old stomping grounds in April.

So, there we have it, a blog about running but nothing much about running in it!  I am going to do a parkrun tomorrow so I will write about that soon.  I flaming love parkruns!

What do others like to listen to when running anyway?  Anyone got any new ideas?

That’s it,

Stuart