Training: Week Seventeen

REST DAYS GALORE this week. Rest Days are Important. Just as Important as the Running Days. It’s the time for the body to repair and get stronger.

I love rest days. Doing this much training means I love it when rest days come around. I’m practically squirming in my seat with excitement at not having to do much.

Now, strictly speaking rest days are not an excuse to sit on my arse stuffing my face with chocolate digestive thins.

Oh no.

I am ‘allowed’ to do some gentle stuff, like walking, swimming, yoga etc. So far though I have mainly used them as an excuse to sit and stuff my face with biscuits (although sometimes on my rest days I have walked to the supermarket to buy said thins…) which I reckon is good for my soul, if not the waistline and the mystical 5kg weightloss which <cough> isn’t going so well. Maybe I just have loads more muscle now, and everyone knows muscle weights more than fat, right?

But despite all my rest days this week (because of that Big Walk I did last weekend) I still got out for some running and cycling fun. No rest for the wicked when you’re ultramarathon training. I swing from days where I just feel So Tired Of Just About EVERYTHING, to days where I have loads of energy and can happily run for 3 hours, usually related to how much food (and what type) I’ve been eating, and how much (and decent quality) sleep I’ve been getting.

What I actually fancy right now is a week away somewhere hot and sunny by myself with nothing to do apart from run, walk and relax. Totally should have built that into my training plan. Hmm. Wonder if my boss would let me have a week’s unpaid leave next week? I should be so lucky.

Training: Week Sixteen

Well HELLO HELLO week sixteen! Have I really been doing this for 4 months now? Jeez.

I sometimes wonder whether running will have changed for me once I finish this. Will I never want to run again, recoiling from my trainers that will lay strewn, abandoned and lonely?

Or will it make me want to enter another race, or run across a country?

It seems never ending and coming to an end soon all at once. Am I fed up with running yet? Surprisingly, I seem not. Not yet anyway. I still have just over 5 weeks left yet. Ask me again then.

However, I guess I do get a bit bored sometimes. This week was a bit ‘force myself to go out, didn’t really want to go with anyone else, didn’t really want to take any pictures or explore new routes’. I just wanted to go get my runs done.

But then this weekend was a different type of training: walking the Cotswold Way with some friends. All still good training (time on feet, long hours etc.) but just something a bit different and YES I WAS SO EXCITED FOR IT.

We TOTALLY lucked out with the weather (4 days of glorious sunshine) and despite going too hard on the first day (27 miles on a first day is a bit keen) I didn’t do too bad and time permitting I think I could have definitely gone on to finish it (we have about 34 miles left to do). It did make me acutely aware of how much further and faster I have to do in the desert though, so let’s hope for less hills and faster legs in the desert.

But do you know the best thing about it? 4 days of no lists, no computer screens, no walls, nothing to do but walk and eat and sleep. Just fresh air, countryside, good company, camping and eating. That simple life-on-the-road adventure life.

Man, it felt good.

Training: Week Fifteen

“How’s the training going?”

If I had a pound for every time I’d been asked that question over the last couple of months I’d already have quit work and doing my training by skipping through the Alps in the sunshine.

I never know how to answer it really.

Training is, well, it’s….going.

There’s not much to say. I’m running. Multiple times a week for a few hours at a time. Meh. Sometimes the runs are brilliant, and sometimes they’re dull.

I don’t know whether I’m improving, or getting stronger. I hope so, but as I’m just repeating the same training these few months there’s no way to tell. Until, I guess, until I did something like the Yorkshire Three Peaks. I had no idea whether I could do it, but I did, and I surprised myself. It went well. So, I guess there’s the answer.

It’s going, and it seems to be going well. Only time will tell.

So this week I want to write about all the other stuff that sits around Training. Life.

I haven’t really struggled with motivation so far as such; mainly because I know I need to get out there and train, and if I don’t, come October I’ll be a failed mess with only myself to blame. I’m raising money for charity, so it’s my duty to get out there, put the effort in to at least stand a half decent chance of making it through. Sure, sometimes I can’t be arsed to get up early in a morning, but usually I run with other people so I can’t back out.

What I am struggling with right now is Time and Too Much To Do.

Training actually takes up a shit load of time. My shortest run is one hour, but it’s not really one hour. There’s the prep of my backpack/food/clothes/heart rate strap/anti chafe gel/kitchen sink. I can no longer just put my trainers on and go run. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t run without my backpack which weighs about 5kg (which I have to load up with water/snacks/other weight). Then of course the run. Which sometimes ends up longer because I might get lost go exploring. Then, a bit of stretching (and if I’m feeling good/brave/stupid, some foam rollering). Then eating the right stuff, as soon as possible (or just peanut butter on toast as a snack until I have proper food).  And of course this doesn’t include any pre, during or post-run faffing such as taking photos or videos for these very blog posts.

So training now takes up more of my time, so obviously I have cut down on all the other stuff I do, right?

Of course not. Yeah yeah, I know, I’ve only got myself to blame. But, how was I supposed to know that I’d end up with plans to move to New Zealand at around the same time as the Wadi Rum? So yeah, there’s all the stuff that comes with that. Moving out of my flat, flights, dates, working out when to leave work, making the most of Cheltenham & the UK in the summer, making the most of seeing people and all that jazz.

I have massive to do lists, which I’m not keen on. Both at home and at work. My life is like one big task list. It was like this last time I went travelling and it drove me bonkers. But I do know I have the reward of all that disappearing in a couple of months when I’ll land in Christchurch with no job, no friends and loads of time to just chill out for a bit.

<<If anyone reading this is contemplating signing up for an ultramarathon, my one bit of advice is that it does take up a shit load of time – be prepared for that.>>

In more exciting news, this week I also got some new kit (hurrah!). New socks – didn’t really trial any in the end, just went off a recommendation from someone on the internet as there is just TOO MUCH CHOICE. I shall just hope for the best. They weren’t cheap so they must be good right? Also got some running underwear – went for a Decathalon own brand (read: cheaper) and I’m pretty chuffed. Can’t believe now it took me so long – they will come in so handy for any kind of active stuff like hiking etc, not just running. Sweaty cotton chafing be gone!

Training: Week Fourteen

This week started with the most painful sports massage I’ve ever had. Especially my feet. For a while I thought they would break in half and that she was pulling my toes out their sockets. But no! They remained intact and I skipped out of there an hour later. OK, that might be a slight exaggeration as there was definitely no skipping and I couldn’t quite bear to touch my own skin..AND was advised to go ice my calves because she’d gone “so deep”, but….. I certainly felt better, honest guv.

Because of last weekend’s mammoth activity I’ve taken it easy(er) this week. Skipped a couple of sessions to rest and come back stronger (OK, I only meant to skip one but Thursday night consisted of a few too many proseccos/sambuca and not enough water…).

Also added in a couple of bike rides but kept Sunday’s long run and included a hill or two just for shits and giggles. It was also nice and warm and I ran in the middle of the day which is all good for training. It also meant that I could reward myself with a post run recovery beverage of the alcoholic kind in a nice sunny beer garden.

This does mean though that Project ‘Losing 5kg To Be More Efficient’ is still in the initiation phase and being hampered by the post run recovery beverages and crisps.

Training: Week Thirteen

With the arrival of August came mild panic. Shit feels like it’s getting real. However, I also ONLY BLOODY WENT AND RAN A MARATHON*!! AND one that had the equivalent climb the height of Ben Nevis (I ran the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge route).

The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge takes on the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, usually in this order. These peaks form part of the Pennine range, and encircle the head of the valley of the River Ribble, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

To say I’m rather chuffed with myself would be somewhat of a understatement. This is the longest I’ve ever run before (let’s not look at the time, but there were hills, food stops and of course some general faffing) and combine that with lots of climbing made it a challenge in itself, even though it was ‘just a training run’. I also then walked the exact same route the day after on tired and slightly achy legs and DID NOT DIE.

I ached no more in the few days afterwards than I have done doing other events, and having a sports massage a couple of days later really helped (although it hurt like fuck).

Confidence: Boosted. (level 32 at least I reckon)

Feeling a bit more prepared now and like my training has actually made a difference. GREAT training week (reality: might still be high on endorphins).




Training: Week Twelve

Hello week twelve, you equal 3 months. Holy crapbags! I don’t feel like I’ve been training for 3 months. Last week I felt good, like I was nailing my training and feeling pretty OK. Now, realising I’ve been doing it for 3 months actually makes me feel like I’m nowhere near where I should be and surely I should be further ahead than where I am?

Then I give myself a kick up the arse and just tell myself to get on with it and do the best I can. Stop bloody whinging and whining and just keep running. I have no idea whether I actually should be further on than where I am, as I’m now at the point where I’m not progressing as such (as in, I’m now at the maximum training time) I just need to keep repeating each week. Even if I had another couple of months, maybe I would still feel like I didn’t have enough time. Hell, I don’t even know what the right amount of time is. What I actually know is that I’m on a training plan that’s a) tailored for me and b) for the amount of time I do actually have. So, yep, stop bloody whinging and whining and just keep running.

So, 3 months in and how do I feel? Pretty tired actually, most of the time. Not enough to stop any training, but enough to make me know I’m asking more of my body than I usually do. Trying to eat lots of good food and get a bit more sleep than I usually do to combat it.

Feeling slightly stressed as it’s taking up a lot of time and therefore I feel even busier than usual as the time I have to do things decreases. Life admin has taken a back seat right now.

Motivation levels are still pretty high, surprisingly. Massively helped by a) getting people coming and joining me (£2 training plan seems to be a great idea) b) knowing I’m raising money for charity and c) keeping runs interesting by changing routes/locations etc.

An Introduction to Buddhism and meditation

In July 2013, I spent 10 days in silence at a Buddhist meditation retreat in India. Here’s what I had to say about it back then:

I’ve just spent 10 days in silence. Actual silence. No talking, no communicating with anyone. You might find this funny. Or wonder how I did it. You see, I like to talk. I like to chat. I like to ask questions. 10 days is a long time. A really long time. Nearly two weeks. Believe me, I thought all these things and I was a little bit scared about whether I was up to it. But hang on, let’s step back a bit. Because you’re probably wondering why and what for.

When I was in Manali a couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon the website for Tushita Meditation Centre, which advertises Introduction to Buddhism courses. It is just outside Mcleodganj, home to the exiled Tibetan government and Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet. I knew I was heading this way and it got me interested. I knew I had about two weeks left in India, and was looking at what to do with the time, the next course started in a few days and would fit right in with my dates. It would leave me enough extra time to explore Mcleodganj before heading back to Delhi.

I knew nothing about Buddhism or meditation. I’m slightly ashamed to admit although I had heard of the Dalai Lama I didn’t really know who he was or what he did. I certainly knew nothing about the Chinese occupation of Tibet and the reasons he was in India. I felt very uneducated – how did I get to 32 without knowing about these things? And why? So, I took the plunge and signed up. A few days later I found myself with around 54 other people starting a 10 day course that would be a mix of teachings about Buddhism and meditation sessions, ending with a 2 day meditation retreat. In silence. They stress that a lot. It would be a challenge, but wasn’t that why I came travelling? To learn, to experience new things and give myself a kick up the arse?

I’ve been thinking about what to write in this blog post for a couple of days now. And I’m still no clearer. There’s so much but so little. It was a very personal thing, lots of self reflecting and looking inside, and I’m not sure how much I want to share. But, I want to let you guys know what it was like.

Before all the in-depth stuff, here’s some basics:

  • The centre is in the middle of the woods on the side of a mountain. It’s very peaceful, quiet and out of the way. Mum, I kept an eye out for any pygmy activity. You’ll be pleased to know there wasn’t any. Just monkeys. Lots of them, including teeny tiny baby ones. They provided a lot of entertainment.
  • There was lots of food. This was good. If anyone from Zambia is reading this, you’ll be pleased to know there was peanut butter. But, it was not peanut butter as we know it. No, I think this was proper, home made peanut butter, so not so sweet. In fact, not sweet at all. I mixed it with honey to make it sweeter. Unfortunately this made it look like baby sick or dog doo but I didn’t care, because, damn, it tasted gooood. I think I’m having withdrawals now.
  • I couldn’t run for 10 days. No real exercise, apart from walking up and down some steps a lot. There was a lot of sitting in a meditation position. I have never had pins and needles so many times.
  • There was the most amazing thunderstorm on the second night. I was too tired to stay awake for it all, but caught a glimpse of loads of lightening flashing through a forest. Incredible.
  • I didn’t miss technology. No really, I didn’t. Well, not until the very end at least.
  • We all had jobs to do each day to help keep the centre clean and tidy. Mine was cleaning the windows of the gompa (meditation hall). This was good; I didn’t envy the people who had to clean the toilets that 55 people used all day.

So firstly, the Silence. The big Silence. It is mentioned A.Lot on the website, and in the information and in the induction. And rightly so, it is a huge part of the course. It’s designed so you can get the most out of everything, have silence to focus and reflect on what you’re learning and your reactions and thoughts about it. How did I find it? Actually, easier than I thought. When everyone around you is also silent, it is easier. It was easier to not think about how long you had to be silent for though, as it just seemed so long, so I put that out of my mind. I didn’t break the silence, although other people did. Not majorly, just hushed whispers every now and then. But I’m surprised how much this unsettled me; I didn’t like it. It was really disruptive and it’s amazing how a mere whisper can seem like shouting when you’ve been in silence for a while. The only time it got to me was Day 9 at about lunchtime. It was nearly the end of the course, I was ready to talk to people and my brain had just about had enough of thinking. It had reflected all it could reflect, there was nothing but meditation sessions and long breaks and nothing to distract it. I had a bit of a moment where I was just desperate for a distraction; to stop me being aware of my own thoughts and inner monologue. But, it lasted about an hour and then went. But boy, was I pleased to start talking again the next day. I think I talked like a non-stop train as soon as we could. No, I don’t think, I know I did. Sorry to the guys at breakfast, I’m not sure they got a word in.


Having to be silent meant I was much more aware of the thoughts in my head. Now, I knew that my brain was often full of things, but, well, let’s just say there’s lots and lots in there. Although, I can definitely tell it’s slowed down now. It doesn’t feel so full or manic, not so much stuff to process or all whizzing round at the same time. No lists of things to do or things to remember. And I think this course has definitely helped with that. It’s slowed my mind down. Organised it a bit. I remember, back in Lincoln at various points over the last 18 months or so, there were many times where I just wanted, no needed, to stop. This overwhelming urge to stop my mind for a bit, just a minute, so I can think clearly, take everything out and sort it all out into some kind of order and put it back in. To look at everything, see the bigger picture and figure out how to do it all. But every time I tried to do it, I couldn’t. My thoughts were so jumbled, that even if I tried, I could never manage it. Other thoughts would take over and I’d just never manage to unscramble it, my concentration would never last and there was always something to distract me. The ultimate procrastinator. Which was frustrating. Never being able to achieve it. Until now. I’ve had that break. Now is that time, that peace and quiet. I feel like I’ve finally stopped and put some thoughts in order. Unjumbled my jumbled mind. And how lovely that feels. I’ve started to think about one thing, and one thing only, at a time. Focus on that one thing. And I know now, that I can put some things to rest. Let them go out of my head once and for all, because they’re organised and sorted now in the right place, with a sense of clarity. Tis’ wonderful.

Meditating was interesting. Actually, really hard work. For all those people who think meditating is relaxing and just closing your eyes, zoning out and going to sleep, think again. We did two types: Stablising and Analysing. Stabilising is where you focus on one thing (the breath) and try to remove any other thoughts out of your mind, and just be completely in the moment. Hmph. Easier said than done. They are always there, these thoughts. It’s really hard to stop them just popping in. And they are so random, mine were a huge mix of things from childhood memories, to people, to things I will be doing, to future plans, to things I remember from dreams and anything in between. Analysing meditation is where you analyse certain questions and topics, guided by the meditation leader. This is more interesting as your subconscious is there to help you figure things out and think of things in a different way. I liked this, it helped with putting a few things to bed for me, once and for all. There was one meditation session that we did where the group chanted a mantra. It was one of the most beautiful things I had heard, and very powerful. I’ll not forget that moment in a hurry.

After one session I felt so completely peaceful and content, it was just blissful. I can’t quite describe it well, but I felt just so, well, happy and calm. Almost a bit like being drugged, or in a trance. I can’t remember exactly what the content of the meditation was (I didn’t write that down), but it doesn’t really matter. What I noted down was that I felt so relaxed and content. Content with my life, with myself, in my choices and who I am. Happy and more understanding of me, and how I live my life and how I will find solutions. Like everything is starting to make sense, and is less chaotic and more ordered.

Starting out on my travels I knew I wanted to spend my time helping people. Not just while travelling, but afterwards, when I have to work. I know I want a job that’s worthwhile, that’s helping, that’s making a difference. This course has really helped reaffirm this. I knew it, but before it almost seemed like empty words. Not saying I wouldn’t, but just not with that 100% knowing with my heart. And that’s what I know now. I feel it. Helping other people is what makes me happy, simple as. It always has, this has just confirmed it.

Has this been a spiritual experience for me? Yes, but not in a religious way as such. It’s been an experience that I’ve felt in my heart and mind, and has left me feeling more content, richer, with a deeper understanding of me and my thoughts. I feel so lucky that I took this opportunity, and I reckon that it’s going to give me a great basis for the rest of my travels in the things that I do and the experiences that I seek and have. I feel I’ve got more of a purpose, I’m not just floating. I don’t just want to visit places and sights to take a picture, to say I’ve been there and move on. That seems terribly self-indulgent. I want to learn about places, speak to people, experience a place and life there. I’m aware of my actions and motivations, and the consequences. Oh, there’s still loads I don’t know, or haven’t figured out, but that’s the fun. That’s what I’ll be doing. I’ll just be a bit better equipped, and on the right path.

There’s a great quote from HH. The Dalai Lama – “Don’t try to use what you’ve learnt from Buddhism to be a Buddhist, use it to become a better whatever-you-are”.

He also said that Buddhism is like training in altruism. I think this sums it up perfectly for me; I don’t want to become a Buddhist. But, through this course, I’ve learnt so much in so many ways, all of which will help me become a better person. One who can give back to other people. A kinder person, a more generous person. A person who will spend more time thinking of others. Because, the Buddhists are right, that is what makes someone truly happy.


I’m taking any help I can get.

This ultramarathon lark is not just something I can wing this time (believe me, I’ve relied on this as a tried and tested method in the past, with varying success). Nope, I need all the help I can get. So, as part of my ultramarathon training, the other month I took a trip to see Dr Garry Palmer at Sportstest (up near Cannock) for a couple of hours to measure loads of fitness stuff* which would help him come up with advice and guidance on how it’s best for me to train and prepare and a suggested training plan.

*fitness stuff = vo2 max, aerobic threshold, lactate threshold, aerobic capacity, body fat, maximal heart rate, peak power output and more stuff 

Beforehand I’d had to fill in a few forms to give Garry a bit of a background on me: my motivations, my previous race/run times, my strengths and weaknesses etc, and so the session started off with a little chat about what I wanted to get out the session. Garry soon realised that I wasn’t competitive and just wanted to try and finish without dying, which, after telling me he’d be shitting it if he was me, probably came as a relief to him as to figure out how to help me get anywhere near ready.

Chat over, it was time to get wired up and start running. Heartrate strap and other monitors on, the pièce de résistance was to put on a mask which made me look a bit like Bane from the Batman films and run at different speeds for different lengths of time. I have no idea what these were but luckily for me Garry knew what he was doing and just told me what to do and when. I was too busy trying to breathe normally with a massive thing stuck on my face while trying to run normally on a treadmill (I’ve only ever run once before on a treadmill, it’s weird) and hope that I didn’t fall off (because I also couldn’t see much due to the massive thing stuck on my face). Only once did Garry have to tell me to back up a bit before I ran off the front of it. As much as it would have been amusing for him, it probably would have broken his machine.

The very last bit is to just keep running, going faster and faster until you can bear it no more. This is psychological as well as physical. How do you know when to stop? We all know the body can go for longer/harder than when the brain automatically clicks in and tries to protect us by wanting to stop. Whatever I did, I did it before my legs turned to jelly and I was still able to jump off and not maim myself in the process. As soon as I stopped, of course I reckoned I could have gone for longer. Garry helpfully said that he reckoned I only had another minute maximum in me and that he had all the data he needed. Maybe he was just being nice but it helped.

While I enjoyed downing a chocolate milk (nice touch), Garry collected all the data and sat down to explain it all. Now, I’m not even going to try and re-explain any of it here but if anyone wants to know, just message me. It’s much easier to talk through in person. What I will say is that it’s FASCINATING. I now know my training heart rate zones, which are not the same as any predicted or standard ones, and at what level I’m in fat burning/anaerobic etc.

All this data meant Garry could advise on an outline training plan – basically all based on heart rate and having a minimum/maximum time to train (rather than set distances). Basically, in my training I’ll be simulating the type of running I’ll be doing in the desert (i.e running slowly, for quite a while) So no sprints etc, unless I want to do that occasionally for fun(!) or a change. He also stressed about listening to my body, and using the times as indicators rather than slogging it out – if I’m tired or under the weather, or just not feeling it, Garry said to rein it back. Which sounds common sense but sometimes hard to do if you’re following a set plan, so it’s good to have the permission to be lazy.

He also based it on our earlier conversation where we discussed my routines, what I’m interested in, what time I have free etc. To my delight, he added in cycling as part of it – because he knows a) I get bored easily and b) I love cycling. We also talked about time on feet and including hiking/walking as well as running. The whole plan is based around what’s going to work for me, and as I’m not being competitive, means that it’s all about enjoyment rather than a strict, disciplined regime. Which suits me just perfect.

I now know that I’ve got a good level of base fitness – I’d have hoped I would have anyway but it’s good to see the data that backs it up. I have a really good endurance base (which I think Garry was pleased at and at this point said he would be less shitting it now, if he was me) which will bode me well. Probably all that bike riding in Chile earlier this year.

The test also includes some body measurement type stuff, like body fat and the like, and Garry advised that I could afford to lose about 5kg in weight/fat and still remain in the healthy range (I’m already in it) which would all help when lugging my arse across the desert. Basically, it will be 5kg less to carry, and so 5kg less strain on joints etc. It’s not a drastic weight loss and with all the running some of this will probably happen without me having to make a conscious effort, however me stopping/cutting down on eating crap will help (I’ll let you know when I actually start doing it though, I’m still too fond of cake).

All in all, it was, in the words of a Yorkshireman, reet-good-fun. Mega interesting to know how my body is working, how efficient it is and all that jazz, and reassuring to know I’m going to be training in the right way. I want to get to the start line in that desert and feel prepared, like I’ve done as much as I can with the time and resources available to get myself ready. OK, so there’s still work to do with dropping the cake and some boozy nights out, but one thing at a time.

This was a while ago, so I’m now up to all the maximum times when out running,  and now it’s just a case of repeating that every week for the next month and a bit until I start to increase the pace before then dropping down to taper. And you know what? I’m enjoying it [mostly]. I like the fact I’m not always out for hours, although don’t under estimate how long it takes for pre-run getting ready stuff, then the actual running, then the post-run stuff like eating, stretching, showering, more eating etc. I like not feeling completely broken after each run, although I am feeling pretty tired a lot of the time, and it takes a while to make my legs go in a morning (if you see me trying to walk first thing or after sitting down for a while, it’s like a comedy sketch).

It helps I’m bringing people with me on the £2 training plan runs too, gives me motivation to get out there when I’m just not feeling it, and I enjoy chatting to people. Running is the new meeting for coffee.

Verdict? 100% YES to being Bane for a couple of hours. I found it fascinating and I have no doubt that it’s going/gone a long way for my prep.

Thank you Garry!

Visit for more information, or call or email Garry on:

0333 900 3330 |

Note: I’m lucky that my work paid for this (every year all employees can apply for a small grant to go towards personal learning/development – last year I did a mountain navigation course) but normally it would cost £175. Now that I’ve done it, I’d certainly pay for it myself if I did another event, or had a specific goal in mind. Think of it as an investment in yourself/your health/your training.

Training: Week Eleven

This week I turn my attention to some of the people that are running with me on my training (mainly because I want to ignore the fact I missed my long run on Sunday).

They’re all taking part in the self-named £2 training plan. Come help me train, give me £2 for charity.

I did my two hour training run on Friday and split it into two parts. Ran with Alex the first half and Mike and Dale the second.

I’ve known Alex since we were around 16, both working in our first jobs at the same company. Me full time, Alex while he was still at school. We became friends through a mutual mischievous streak at the super-strict company where we’d talk lots when the bosses were in meetings, see who could get a leg to the top of the filing cabinet (I am still not quite sure why we did this), see how close to the starting ‘beeps’ we could get in the morning (we had to be at our desks ready to start work before the beeps!) and socialise outside of work (it was frowned upon).

Exercise wise, we had a brief period of going to the gym together but as I hated the gym it was never going to work. I have a feeling we played some kind of racket sport too but can’t remember which one. We then teamed up a few years ago when I’d got back into running and did a zombie run and then Lincoln half marathon last year, so I called on him to spend an hour bimbling around West Common and having a catch up, rather than our usual catch up of Italian food or bread-based snacks.

Mike and Dale I worked with at the University of Lincoln. They are founding members of the ICT Unofficial Running Club (ICT URC) that we set up when I was on a mission to find people to run with. Unable to find anyone who already ran, I just made these two take up running. And they love me for it 😉

They’re still running, 4+ years on and have 10k PBs to be proud/jealous of. On Friday we followed one of our old routes (along the river down to and past the Pyewipe) and had a great catch up, mainly about my upcoming New Zealand adventures and office gossip, to which I still realise that not much changes once you leave somewhere.

They all gave me a few quid towards my fundraising at – thank you so much guys 🙂