Archive for February, 2013

Enjoy the little things. The little things are more important than you know.

For example, when running my 15 miler tonight, the one gel I happened to have taken with me, and which I’d assumed would be the usual citrus flavour turned out to be a rogue banana flavour gel.

Cue smile.



Posted: 22/02/2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,


I went for a little run, it was a bit muddy.

Mud is good.

That is all.

Not strictly true, as the madness started about August last year, but it’s only come to a head recently. In order to help us all to understand, I’ve copied my newly-updated “Sponsor Me” page below. It goes a little something like this:

Last year, I ran the Kielder Marathon, and some of you lovely folk sponsored me. That was ace. I felt good, you felt good, we all had a great time, right?

I think we can all agree it’s about time to do it again, but let’s be honest, I’ve done a marathon – none of us would be surprised if I could drag myself around 26.2 miles again, would we? I know I’d be less staggered than I was when I completed Kielder. Mind, I was a bit shocked to discover I hadn’t died on the way round or got lost in a bush near the start.

So, it’d better be something a little more …erm… adventurous, don’t you think?

Let me unveil The Wall.

The Wall is a 69 mile run, from Carlisle Castle to Newcastle. That’s one side of the country to the other. That’s also Hadrian’s Wall, and he knew a thing or two about building walls, did ol’ Hadrian. This one’s still up after 2,000 years (or so), which is pretty good going.

I’m going to run it. In two days. With my fab running-buddy Jon. In June. With my actual feet (assuming they stay on until the end).

I nearly referred to Jon as my “staggering running-buddy” there, but that would have made him sound like he lurched along the path, which is not the case. He’s like a gazelle in a Buff, a zephyr in leggings, a … well, you get the idea – he’s clearly a good bit faster than what I am. But I like to think I may be more bloody-minded than him, which I think might pay off on the tricky bits, or when my toes start falling off, as I’m pretty sure they will.

I’m doing it all for Medecins Sans Frontieres, the same outrageously lovely charity I ran the Kielder Marathon for, simply because they’re no less amazingly beautiful a charity than they were then. They just can’t stop doing Good Things, though I’m not sure they’re even trying to stop now I come to think of it – I suspect they may be doing Good Things on purpose, the wee pixies that they are.

Should you wish to send a quid my (their) way, you can find my tin-rattling page at:

Together, Jon and I make up The Dashing Accountants, and our collective team page is here where you can choose to donate to both of us, one after another, doubling up your feeling of a job well done, and earning an extra warm glow.

If, on the other hand, you think running 69 miles is fun, then you can find out about The Wall here come join in!

See what I mean? The Madness Continues Here, But In A More Visible Manner should have been the actual title, but I only realised that when I got to the end here and realised what I’d written on the “Sponsor Me” page a moment ago…

The joy of specs

Posted: 19/02/2013 in Running

I’m loving Jantastic – OK, so we’re on Febulous now, and it’s giving me the motivation to run long runs each week. This week was 14 miles, and having been introduced to the fun that is Holywell Dene, I now have a longer, more interesting route to get back to the coast.

Things were looking less than perfect when I stepped out of the office to run home – drizzle. I don’t mind a bit of weather, in fact I kind of like it, all adds to the fun, I reckon, but drizzle is a pain. Rain is OK, a peaked cap keeps it off my specs, but drizzle is too light and blowy, and sneaks in under the brim to cover the lenses. Glasses covered in drizzle are not fun. You can’t see where you’re going, you can’t see what the ground is like. During the day, that’s a hassle. At night it’s asking to turn an ankle or step on a spiky, spiky rock.

Anyhow, off I went, along the tracks, stopping every now and then to wipe the mist off my specs with a cloth. Up the Waggonway, under the bypass and off down the trails – I’ve only run this way once before, with Jon, and to be honest it was dark and he lights up like a character from Tron when he’s in front, so I wasn’t 100% sure of the route. Part way along the trail I went off-piste, realised fairly quickly and turned back.

I know I’m doing fine if I run past the scrap yard with the crazy dogs in the middle of nowhere, and sure enough it rolls right past eventually. complete with a horse festooned with LED lights. Odd, eh? I certainly was a bit odd coming out of the mist in the dark at night with the dogs going crackers.

On I go, and eventually stumble my way into the trees at the top of the Dene. It’s actually quite difficult going, muddy, slidey, and I can barely see with the damp on my specs. I’m still enjoying it though.

Did I mention that my head torch went out? Well, not quite, but further down the Dene it started to fade out. So now it’s even more difficult to see, but luckily just enough light remaining to see the sides of the path.

At the end of the Dene I hit Seaton Sluice, around 7.5 miles in, so 6.5 miles to go. I know the run back to Whitley is around 3.5 miles, so I need to fit in a bit more – run towards Blyth a bit, maybe? A mile down the road I turn back, sometimes enough is enough. The drizzle stops, so I can see now – back down to Whitley , and another extra half mile to make up to hit 14. Job done, home for curry!

Deffo counts as another Occasional Half Marathon.

Next week is 15 miles – one of these days I’ll make it to Blyth I reckon…

Wind yer neck in!

Posted: 18/02/2013 in Uncategorized

Not running related, but was pleasantly surprised, OK astonished, to find out that my neck is 1.5″ smaller than it used to be. I’m not sure how many things revolve around the size of your neck. Maybe it’s a hot topic when hangmen get together for a brew, perhaps bow-tie makers get all sweated up about it? Other than that, I can’t think of any other professions that would be too fussed.

When I started this path of the run, I took a 17.5″ shirt – for those not in the know, men’s shirts are measured in neck-sizes. Odd, I know. Is there some kind of neck-based-golden-mean rule that says “the size of the neck is exactly half the size of the waist” (not that that’s true, though I wish it was).

That’s 8.5% smaller than it used to be…

At the weekend I needed to get some new shirts as I was risking being mistaken for someone going camping if I sat on the grass. Slightly bemusedly, I got the chap in M&S to measure my neck – it’s a very weird experience, let me tell you. However, he came back with a 16″ measurement. Result! So I now proudly own a handful of shirts that actually fit me, and Mrs. Bees now has a stack of shirt-based material squares for crafty pursuits. I was wondering if she might make me a patchwork shirt out of actual shirt material. Professional and backwoodsy, I can only feel it would have folk in awe of my groundbreaking sartorial style.

Did I mention they were “slim fit” rather than “regular”? Didn’t think so, but they were.

Since I took the plunge to be vegan, I’ve been doing OK. Not 100%, I reckon, but as far as I am able I’m not having anything that came out of an animal.  I think it’s a percentages game now, the last bits are the things that hide dairy produce in them and hope you won’t notice. I’ll get there.

I got very confused in Sainsbury this morning – I’ve been buying stuff from their “free from” shelves, which has mostly worked very well. I know it’s mainly a gluten-free thing, but the veganaise and so on is also hiding in there. In fact, I tend to have a bit of a browse at the exciting things. There’s a vegan, gluten free crumble mix in my cupboard right now, and I nearly bought some vegan, gluten free caramel shortbreads (but remembered at the last moment that vegan and gluten free does not equal calorie free).

So I was looking at free-from pitta breads to go with the soup I’m making for lunch, a cursory glance at the ingredients, as it said it was dairy free on the label. The, whoa! Stop the horse! Dried egg white? What’s that doing in there? I’ve never seen a recipe for pitta bread that includes egg white before, so I was a bit astounded.

Put the item back on the shelf, went to look at the wholemeal pitta in the bakery. No dried egg white? How’s that work? In fact, no dairy, the only offending item in there was normal flour (if you were looking for gluten free, that is, it’s still vegan) and a label that says vegan-friendly.

So I bought the regular wholemeal pitta as is was more vegan than the free from one…

I thought eggs were classed as dairy, and Mrs. Bees agrees – is that not the case? Clearly a bit of a grey area…

Just goes to show, eh?



Jantastic – I’m loving it! Run by Marathon Talk, it started simply enough in January, with a challenge to set a number of runs each week of the month. Having a lot on, I went for the easiest option of 3 per week, and actually ran 5 on average. I’m taking part in a team of other Vegetarian Cycling & Athletic Club members, and it makes for a bit of fun and camaraderie.

Febulous is up now, with a number of runs per week, I went for 3 again, and a long run distance – I went for 12/13/14/15 over the four weeks. Last week I ran a half marathon, ticking the 12 mile box. This week was 13 miles.

Last week, I had an ace run home with Jon, my Wall partner. This week we aimed for something a little more adventurous – up through the Waggonways to get to Holywell Dene. I haven’t been through there in the day before, but at night it was amazing – head torches on and the tunnel vision that comes from only being able to see a handful of feet ahead. It feels faster, too, as bits of trail jump out at you from the shadows. A touch eerie too – rustlings in the trees. Looking at my GPS after, there appears to have been another runner with us at some points – could he have been leaping through the trees, “House of FLying Daggers” stylee?

So, through the Dene, which was a rare treat, and all the better for good company, then eventually out at Seaton Sluice. Around the two headland trails to bring us back to the top of Whitley Bay. North Shields Poly AC were holding an event, not sure what, but there were a metric tonne of runners around.

I waved farewell to Mr Ritchie at the Dome, and then plodded an extra three miles to get up to the 13 mile target.

Quite simply one of the best runs I’ve had in a good while, and considering I spent the weekend with dodgy guts that persisted into today, that’s quite a statement.

Next week s 14 miles, and Mr R is up for the full banana. Result!

With a touch of a tweak, this is so the next Occasional Half Marathon. Just watch…