Fun size Marathons….

I ran a marathon at the weekend, you know, as you do. It was my first and I went to Amsterdam with my running club to do it. I thought Amsterdam would be perfect for my first marathon as it is generally flat, and on that point, and that point alone, I was perfectly correct. As for thinking that this flatness would help me in achieving a finish time of less than four hours, I was very wrong. To be fair to myself, I did sustain an injury to my back during the peak of my training which had put the marathon in doubt. A fantastic effort by the osteopath I was referred to led to me being ready, well my back was ready at least, the week before we were due to go. I had not run for nearly 4 weeks and was sceptical about my fitness for it. After a couple of runs to test my general fitness I decided to go for it and booked my hotel. Upon arriving in Amsterdam I had to attend an Expo in order to pick up my race number and timing chip. It was here I realised that I was actually going to run a marathon. Swerving around the various groups posing for photos with their race number in hand, I picked mine up, returned to my hotel, and, well s”%t myself basically! Not literally of course, but I did become very nervous about it all.

The club I was out there with were having a pre race dinner, about 28 people were there and NONE of them were drinking!  Not even a glass of wine with dinner. How was I supposed to consume a pre race nerve steadier amongst that lot? If I did order a drink I might as well of asked them for any spare change as well! I resigned myself to sneaking a couple of the old ‘Dutch courage’ back at my hotel. This I did, sleep I did not. I wound myself up good and proper, in fact I did not really calm down until I had actually started the marathon itself.  The first 25k went really well. I’m not talking in Kilometres instead of miles because I think I’m all European, it’s because that’s how the markers were laid out, and believe me, you will remember them. 15k to go! 10k to go! Only 5k to go! And so on. At around 25k my back started to play up. At 26k I thought it had gone totally and I stopped running and started walking. For the next 3 or 4 kilometres I ‘power walked’ resigning myself to stopping as this would be the most sensible thing to do. I was looking for a metro station en route, but the desire to finish completely overwhelmed any thoughts of quitting. That and the thought of sitting on a metro with race number et al being accused of cheating OR sniggered at by Local residents. All this drove me to limp, walk, trot, jog and hobble my way to the finish in a time of 4 hours and 48 minutes. The feeling you experience when you finish is hard to put into words but it is quite simply amazing. That feeling is totally enhanced when you realise you have finished ahead of the OAP’s and Elvis’s that seemed to pass you by…….just.

Medal received, burger and chips eaten and beer in hand, we swapped stories later that night in a Bar in Amsterdam, my euphoria dropping slightly as I realised I was last out of the group. Would I do another one? Oh yes, I have already entered for Berlin next year. I had an excuse this time as I was carrying a back injury. If next year, fully fit, I end up running with the Jugglers, clowns and roman soldiers again, then yes, it will be my last.

Ok yeah, so I beat you!?!.....

Unplugged Melodies…..

So I recently found myself singing to baby Friday. I’m sure he enjoyed it, he was smiling back at me as I was warbling away. The tune was Ernie, fastest milkman in the west by the late, and some would say great, Comedian, Benny Hill. I am a little unsure as to whether this smile of baby Friday was in a fact grimace or not? You couldn’t blame him if it was, it is an awful song really, typical of that 1970’s slapstick humour, where shows like Benny Hill and the Two Ronnie’s always had a musical interlude of comical tunes consisting usually of sexual innuendo. Everyone thought they were great and clever at the time, but now it seems not. Well unless you’re from Albania that is? Or is that Norman Wisdom?

Anyway, as baby Friday grimaced/smiled back at me and my singing, it got me wondering as to what kind of songs are acceptable to sing to him? Particularly as a Dad (I very nearly put as a male Dad then!) Nursery rhymes are acceptable, especially the punchy, slightly violent ones like Humpty Dumpty and the grand old duke of York. I’m not very comfortable with Mary Mary Quite Contrary that is definitely Mums territory, although I dispute whether it should be sung to him at all? The nursery rhyme I like the most is Hey diddle diddle. This little ditty does however contain very hallucinogenic lyrics so sing with caution.

Research, probably by a University at some place or another, has shown that playing classical music to babies can enhance their development as it is complicated and they have to work it out.  You can’t really sing classical music to your baby, unless it is Opera, and that is just a ridiculous thing to do. No it’s definitely modern music, pop, rock, hip hop, house and a dash of punk is best I think. I have turned myself into a living karaoke machine, pumping out at will a vast array of tunes. No need for MTV or Radio 1, just me and my raw naked voice for baby Friday to enjoy. Dad Unplugged. I must sound bloody awful though, unlike most karaoke nights, the audience in this case isn’t drunk.

"and he drove the fastest milkcart in the west!".....

Your carriage awaits!….

I have come to the point where I have to ask the question What car do I drive now? Or I should probably rephrase that to What is the most suitable form of transport for me AND baby Friday? Is it an Estate car? Could it be an MPV?  How about a Saloon? Or shall I just take the Bus?  I have to agree without too much protestation, but with much regret, that gone are my hopes for a 2 seated sports car, well, for the foreseeable future anyway. The bus is also definitely out. The thought of jostling for position with a baby laden buggy on a crowded deck, full of people coughing and spewing out all sorts of interesting ailments for myself and baby Friday to pick up, does not fill me with a great sense of excitement. Trains are only slightly better. So it’s back to what car do I drive now? MPV’s scream Family man! Single life over! You would probably be invited to a school governors meeting instead of the pub. Estate cars are very similar, but with a dash of travelling executive about them. 4×4’s are very appealing to me, but as I am effectively a house husband and would not be travelling vast distances over rough terrain’s, to drive one of these would mean the complete and total absorption of me into middle class yummy mummydom! School runs, Exercise classes and face lifts also come as often added extras to these.

"Daddy just needs to sort out the latest terrorist threat, then we'll go to the beach!"

So it’s down to the four door saloon then. This seems to be the best and most practical option available to me and my ever self conscious image. A sleek black little number I think, with chrome edging and tinted windows that says could be a family man, but he could also be a hedge fund managing spy. Yep, this is definitely the best choice. This enables me to hang on to my single, child free, manhood. Driving my way to urban chic coolness! I just hope I can fit the buggy the boot?