Posts Tagged ‘Running With Dad


a sentimental story

Winter evenings mean that I will often forego my usual canal towpath route in favour of more well-lit paths. A few times, 11 year old SonNumberOne has asked to run with me. Because I will generally run about 10-12km in the evening, I have politely declined but suggested that he cycle with me whilst I run. This is great for both of us as he enjoys going out on his bike in the dark and I have someone to talk to whilst pounding the streets.

A few weeks back, SonNumberOne once again asked if he could come out and run with me. As it was relatively early, I agreed and we settled on a looping course that meant we had a number of opportunities to cut the run short if he began to get too tired. He has run a couple of 2k kids races and we have attempted 4kms (at his request), but these were stopping and starting runs and I could see that he was struggling.

Tonight however, he was adamant that he wanted to run 10kms – I said that we could try but that at any point, we could cut the run short if he was getting tired. We set off and I fully believed we’d get to 5km and he would say he’d had enough. We chatted through the first couple of kilometres and I gave him the choice of stopping at 2kms or carrying on – if we carried on, we would not be able to stop again until 5km. He chose to push on and we set off up a long unlit hill with just our torches to guide us. Again at the top, we could have cut the run short but he was determined to continue. He began to slow but was  desperate not to stop and walk so we carried on. As we got towards another fork in the route where we could have taken one of 2 routes, I again gave him the choice which way to go. This time he chose to finish the run so we turned right and headed home. We covered 9kms and he ran all the way. Not bad for an 11 year old who hasn’t run any sort of substantial distance for about 4 months! I really enjoyed having him run with me and he has asked if we can do it again.

And, without being too saccharine, there are 2 morals to this story:

1) As unlikely as it may seem, at some point and for however briefly, you will become a role-model for your kids so try to be a good one.

2) Your kids are probably more capable of some things than you think



True to form, the long Bank Holiday weekend was wet from start to finish but that was OK because in a moment of madness I had agreed (oh, alright, partially instigated) that I should spend the time redecorating the bathroom. As always, I enter into these projects and then, after about 5 hours of preparation and sanding down, wonder what on Earth I was thinking of when I suggested it. For those of you that have never tasted the bitter, chalky tang of freshly sanded plaster filtered through a poorly fitting dust mask, you really haven’t lived. Sorry, what I actually mean is that you are likely to live a whole lot longer as this stuff really is horrific – it removes all traces of moisture from whatever it touches – tongue, teeth, skin… at the end of the first day I felt like I’d had all the liquid in me replaced with talc. Horrible.

Of course, 3 days spent cooped up in a dusty and noisy bathroom made me yearn to get out and run but I was so drained at the end of each day, it was all I could do to drag my sorry self off to bed.

In addition to the above, SonNumberOne and SonNumberTwo had begun to ask if I could take them running as they are both entered into the Wheathampstead 2k and take their training veeeery seriously. So yesterday, with all decorating duties complete and with specks of paint still dried to the backs of my hands, I decided to go for a run with them… SonNumberTwo, age 6, completed 1.03kms and returned home happy and red-cheeked. SonNumberOne, age 10, was then put through his paces and we chatted as we looped away from the house to run what was just a tad under 3kms. I did feel a bit cruel as he only needs to run 2k for the race but thought he would gain some added satisfaction from knowing that he can comfortably run further. He even managed a final push to the finish when I threatened to sprint past him on the home straight. Very impressed by both of them.

Not quite so impressive was my longer run today. I set off mid-morning and didn’t feel like I was running slowly but a glance at the Garmin told a very different story. It was a truly lack lustre performance nicely finished off by getting caught in a short but sudden hail shower which seemed to halt the second I got back inside. Still, 16.5kms in the bank and the Hertford 10k to look forwards to on Sunday.

Soundtrack to this post: Fugazi – Waiting Room


wheathampstead 10k race report – back once again

I hadn’t planned to enter this year. Sandwiched as it is between Grim Beast In The East and BUPA 10,000, I thought I’d leave it this year and come back in 2012. But when SonNumberOne and SonNumberTwo started asking when they were running their 2k, I relented and entered… all of us for the 2k and, hell, I was going to be there anyway, me for the 10k.
This was to be the third time I had run this course, first in 2009 when SonNumberOne and I ran the 2k and I ran the 10k, and then last year when I ran the 2k with SonNumberOne, SonNumberTwo and Mrs eatingtrees and then the 10k with the mighty Hauling My Carcass. You can read reviews of previous years here and here.
The event itself has a friendly, village feel to it. A refreshing lack of corporate sponsorship, bouncy castles for the kids and cake stalls and a barbecue for the hungry.
The 2k was a blast… it is so great to see the joy on the kids faces when the race starts… all off like a shot with big grins. Some of the accompanying adults didn’t look quite so delighted as many looked like they were more familiar with the sofa and the remote than the running shoe. Myself and SonNumberOne finished in 16:24 with Mrs eatingtrees and SonNumberTwo coming in around the 22 min mark. And all the kids get medals…
Then at about 10:45, I set off to the start of the 10k. It is a short walk to the start and we make our way there, everybody chatting with each other as we file through along the narrow path. Once at the start, we settle into out respective zones, set out in expected finish times. Previous years I’ve gone for the 55mins – 1 hour zone as it is a challenging course with a few obstacles (stairs, kissing gates) where there is often a queue to pass. But having put in a couple of quick (for me) runs recently, I optimistically settle into the 50-55min section. As soon as everyone is in their place, we are off, bang on time and into the rolling countryside. A mixture of bridle paths, farmers fields, woodland tracks. I settle into my pace and at about 3km find myself running alongside a guy who has fallen into step with me. We begin talking as we run and the next few kms pass easily. There is a water point at 5km and I drop back slightly and put my headphones back in and concentrate on keeping a steady pace for the second half. There is a camaraderie not found in bigger events… runners ahead call back to those behind if there is a dodgy tree root or rabbit hole to avoid, people chatting and queueing calmly to get through the kissing gate
Obstacles successfully negotiated and with only one small trip over an incospicuous root, I finished in 52:43… a new personal best: beating my old pb by 2 mins and 5 seconds and my previous Wheathampstead times by 7 minutes. I see a few of the runners that I was talking to at the start and we swap congratulations and enquire how we each did. I love this event… it’s is completely unpretentious, very friendly, well organised and feels more like a village fete than a race. I will be back again next year.


once more before the snow

Random. That’s what my last few runs have been. Now, deep into “the season to be jolly”, I’ve had to get creative to squish in those runs. The day after our works party last week (which consisted of a Jack The Ripper Tour (after all, nothing says Christmas quite like the murder and mutilation of East End prostitutes!!!!!) followed by a curry in Brick Lane), I felt the urge to get out and run even though I suspected the remains of the curry was still gurgling and fermenting within. So an 11.8km run was executed late in the day, in the dark and still with the odd patch of black ice to spice up the proceedings. Clearly I wasn’t going to be breaking any land speed records.

Then Sunday morning, and with a packed day ahead, I managed to convince SonNumberOne that it would be fun for him to accompany me on his pushbike. And it was – but it did make for another very slow run what with the frequent stops to wipe dripping noses, the pushing of Son and bike up hills and one impromptu stop to administer help and sympathy when he wiped out – his front wheel losing grip on the wet leaves beneath.

Finally, yesterday lunchtime, with my head spinning from proofreading a document so riddled with typos that it resembled a foreign language, I decided to get out for a quick run before the snow that had been forecast plunged us into a New Ice Age. So, with rain and wind threatening to turn into a snowstorm, I set off for a quick exploratory 10kms to see if my favourite towpath route had reopened after it’s closure for engineering works a few weeks back. Fortunately it had and the towpath did a passable job of shielding me from the wind. Unfortunately, the return leg is not along the towpath, so I spent the last 4.5kms running headlong into the wind and now icy rain. 10kms exactly in 58 mins exactly. Not fast, but a run nontheless.

Work has now begun on events for next year… Grim happens midway through January and I’m also now signed up for the Wokingham Half Marathon in February. And there are plans afoot for another European Running Excursion / Road Trip with Hauling My Carcass. More details will follow as and when they become confirmed…

Soundtrack to this post: Harmonia – Watussi



The Day Of Rest? – What Is The Sound Of One Foot Slapping – A Helping Hand

After my 10 mile extravaganza last week, I wanted to maintain some momentum and do another longer than normal run on Sunday morning. I fancied about 13km but was feeling a bit bored of my usual routes so was frantically trying to think of an alternative. When SonNumberOne asked me what he could do on Sunday morning as he had nothing planned, there was the sudden sound of 2 birds being killed with one stone. I suggested he cycle along with me as I had been tinkering with his bike the previous day, it would be a chance to see if his gears were working again, it would occupy his morning and give me something different to concentrate on whilst running. He agreed so we set off on, what turned out to be, a 13.3km run / cycle.

He is always good company and running along with him on his bike, even if we are not constantly talking, is always a pleasant experience. It also means that people walking towards us often offer up a little smile when they see the 2 of us approaching… much nicer than the usual response of them trying to avoid eye contact with the sweating man lurching towards them.

It also gave me the chance to listen to the sound of my feet as they strike the ground. I am planning on getting some Vibram Five Fingers at the end of the week so was trying, once again, to alter my gait so that I am not, literally, pounding the pavement.

Runs with SonNumberOne often end up low on sporting acheivement (it is hard to run a fast time when you are shuffling sideways and shepherding a boy on a bike across each road you come to to ensure that neither of you get run down.). They are however packed with insight and pearls of wisdom from an eight year olds psyche. Towards the end of the run, after talking about bicycles, school, camping, aeroplanes and a million other things, I was reliably informed that a “robot exists that will do all your housework and cooking for you”. Apparently it is “packed with sensors that mean it can navigate around the house to perform tasks” and was invented “about 2 years ago” and “we could buy one”.

“Would you really like a robot in the house doing all the cooking and cleaning, though?” I asked.
Son NumberOne looked thoughtful, like he’d never really considered the option of it being in OUR house, just that it was a good invention. “Hmmm… No, I don’t think I would like a robot in our house. Unless….” he tailled off.
“Unless what?” I asked.
“Unless it could do my maths homework for me”

Soundtrack to this post: Gravitys Rainbow – Klaxons

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