37 days to go

August 14, 2009

Friday August 14th
37 Days until The Great North Run

Total Raised: £40!
Distance run today: 0km.  Okay, I’m going to put my hands up for this one.  Today I, Charles Hogge, do stand up and admit that I simply couldn’t be bothered to go for a run.  It’s Friday, it’s been a long week, and I just fancied crashing.  I’ve got home between 22:30 and 00:00 this week, and as I’m out tomorrow night, first at my friend Lori’s birthday in Richmond and then on to the Livewire wrap party, I thought I’d take the night off.  In fact, at the time of writing this, I’ve already slipped into something a little more comfortable and have nothing more strenuous ahead of me than the trip from this seat to that bed, albeit with the odd loo break.  Having said that,  whilst preparing for said adventure I was overcome with what I can only assume was a spontaneous and entirely subconscious act of pennace. Stuck my feet up on the sofa, assumed the position, and busted out a quick 40 press ups.  And just in case you were wondering, that’s a lot for me.  In fact, it takes the total I’ve managed so far this month up to 40. 

And so it’s no real surprise that, with my arms hanging limply by my side like a couple of socks in the rain, I’m typing this with a chopstick held between my teeth.   Who volunteers to help me with my socks in the morning?

Touch of Madness
Progress today: Some.  Not a lot, but some.  But nothing worth reporting just yet.

38 days to go

August 14, 2009

Thursday August 13th
38 Days until The Great North Run

Total Raised: £40!
Distance run today: 0km.  I went straight from work this evening to Wimbledon and the splendour of Cannizaro Gardens.  I was there, with Will and 10 or so friends, to watch our younger brother play the role of Louis XIV.  He’s part of a troupe that are dramatic in every sense of the word.  Gothic, moving, excessive, fantastic, they’re all that and a whole lot more!  The play, The Man in the Iron Mask, is staged in the sunken garden within the beautiful grounds of Cannizaro House.  Rather than an organised seating arrangement, we’re invited to bring seats and picnics, and arrange ourselves around the stage area, only making sure we leave a route through which the actors can play amongst the audience.  To give any more away would be to ruin it for that small (if even existant) group who both read this and will be watching the play tomorrow evening!

So what I’m saying is that I once again didn’t do any exercise today, but for once I don’t feel too bad about this one!

Touch of Madness
Progress today: None.  See above

39 days to go. Help.

August 13, 2009

Wednesday August 12th
39 Days until The Great North Run

Total Raised: £40! (Thank you Lucy :-))
Distance Run Today: okm.  But once again I was working in the pub this evening, and really don’t have time between work and the pub to go for a run, even a short one.  I have thought about it, but I really don’t think the pubgoers would appreciate me sweating into their pints.  Not the ones that matter anyway! 

You’ve no doubt noticed we are now less than 40 days away from the big event.  As it’s beginning to get frighteningly close, I have moved onto the final and most important stage of my preparation…  carefully planning my menu for the week after it’s all over.  So far on the list I have a jacket potato with chilli, cheese and sour cream from 3 peas in a pod, an amazing sandwich shop just down the road from my office.  I’m thinking about adding a filthy rack of ribs from Tony Romas and it goes without saying that a Domino’s will be featuring fairly high up the agenda.  Other than that though, I’m still not sure.  The world, as they say, is my oyster!  (Although, truth be told, oysters won’t be going anywhere near my list.  Seriously people, I don’t care how sophisticated they are, there are better things to be eating than living mucus.) I will be getting drunk at least 4 times in that week as well, I feel like I’ve been virtually dry recently, something that has taken a little getting used to.  The world is a very different place when you’re sober all the time!

Just as a heads up, I’m going to watch my brother in a play tomorrow night as well, so won’t be doing any exercise there either.  And you know what that means… I’m going to have to go running on Friday evening while the rest of the world is unwinding with a beer.  Now that’s commitment.  Not that I’ve done it yet, I’m just saying that if I do, it’s because I’m committed.  Or should be committed.  One of the two.

Touch of Madness
Progress Today: None.  Again.  Can you see the pattern developing here?  Having said that, our first real newsletter is due to go out on September 4th, 21 Days, 19 Hours, 48 Minutes from now according to my countdown clock.  So I need to have something to talk about by then!

40 days to go

August 11, 2009
Right, let's get this over and done with.

Right, let's get this over and done with.

Tuesday August 11th
40 Days until The Great North Run

Total Raised: £20!
Distance Run Today: 6km.  Someone suggested a while back that we take part in a 10km ‘trail trial’ around Richmond Park this evening.  It was supposed to be a race against our largest clients, but in the end they bottled and we ended up settling for the 6km version instead.  To be honest, the fact that we did it at all is something of a miracle, it’s just the kind of thing we’d normally look for any excuse not to do!  Still, we did it, it was a glorious evening in the park, and I think everyone enjoyed it.  Running and reading a map at the same time proved a little taxing at times, and it didn’t help that the organisers had warned us to double check each marker as there was another race going on, and then managed to misnumber one of them!  Genius.  It did mean that 2 of our party spent 15 minutes running around looking for a marker that they had already found, but fortunately these little mishaps (or Lucy and Julia as I like to call them) are the things that you laugh at whilst enjoying the celebratory drink in the pub afterwards.  In retrospect, I should have done the 10km run really. I’m acutely aware of the fact that the race is a little over 5 weeks away now and I still haven’t covered half the distance.   I think I’ll run the 5km run twice on Saturday morning.  Maybe.

Touch of Madness
Progress Today: None.

41 days to go

August 10, 2009

Monday August 10th
41 Days until The Great North Run

Total Raised: £20!
Distance Run Today: 0km.  But I worked in the pub again this evening, so didn’t really have much of a chance.  If I’m completely honest though I don’t think I would have made it out anyway, been feeling rough as thunder today.  I have a horrible suspicion I’m still trying to get over Saturday, my body really wasn’t impressed with that one.  It certainly drove home the importance of being properly hydrated…  To make things worse today, about an hour into my shift at The Grove I suddenly found myself fighting off tears for absolutely no reason whatsoever.  Literally none.  No idea what was going on, but I’m going to chalk it up to low blood sugar or something like that.  Definitely nothing to do with a complete lack of masculinity, nosiree.  Because, let’s face it, I didn’t actually cry.  Just felt like it.

Touch of Madness
Progress Today:  Very little.  Really did feel awful though, was going to ring in sick this morning but actually have too much work on to be doing that.  That’s not something I’ve been able to say for a while, but it’s nice that things are beginning to pick up again.  I don’t operate well when I’m not busy.

42 days to go

August 10, 2009

Sunday August 9th
42 Days until The Great North Run

Total Raised: £20!

Today was what is known in the trade as a write off.  Let’s just forget it ever happened.  Because, to be honest, it didn’t.

43 days to go

August 9, 2009

Saturday August 8th
43 Days until The Great North Run

Total Raised: £20!
Distance Run Today: 5km.  I think I may have overdone it today.   It’s now just gone 1:00, and I’m lying in bed with what I can only imagine is mild sun stroke.  I was up at 7:50 this morning to have a shower and get ready for Emma and our Saturday morning 5k run around Richmond Park.  I’ve overslept the last two weeks, so this was the first time I managed to shower and eat something, both of which I was hoping / assuming would make a real difference to my time.  Wolfed down an apple on the way (don’t eat Pink Lady apples straight after brushing your teeth, they’re not nice) and a banana just before the race, and set off to break 25 minutes.  I want to run the race itself in under 1 hour 40, and that means running 4 consecutive sub 25 min 5k races.  And right now, I can’t manage one.  Came in at just under 28 minutes today, and I’m beginning to worry that the natural speed I thought I’d uncover at some point might simply not exist.  It turns out I’m just not a very good runner. Still, needs must and all that so I’ll be soldiering on!  Might try and run it twice next week.  That would be half the distance of the race itself with 5 weeks to go.  Not quite what I had in mind when I signed up 5 months ago, but hey, that really shouldn’t surprise me!

Once I’d finished the run, I popped into my flat, grabbed my tennis racket before Phil and I headed over to the tennis court.  It was such a beautiful morning, and running past the deer in the park before a nice spot of tennis was pretty much my ideal Saturday.  Okay, that’s a lie, but it was certainly very nice.  Once we’d done there, we headed home, spent a couple of hours tidying the flat and then headed into town to hit the Kingston riverside.  Early afternoon, the Gazebo, catching up with some of my oldest friends (one of whom I hadn’t seen, inexplicably, for over 2 years).  Glorious.  Having said that, on reflection, 8 straight hours in the sun (3 sweating profusely) does not for a healthy body make.  And don’t even talk about the cider.  What the hell was I doing drinking cider?!  I think that might be the second time I’ve ever drunk it properly.  To be honest, I think I got it because it came with ice, and boy did I need cooling down!

We finally sat down for dinner at 9:15.  Bearing in mind that up to this point I’ve eaten an apple, a banana and a bag of peanuts.  Had an awesome burger, washed down with an Oreo mikshake.  A man can only take so much salad. 

Basically, today I learnt that too much sun, too much cider, a burger, a milkshake and a pint of Guinness will have you in bed by midnight on a Saturday night. It’ll also have you hoping that for some reason the sun will take tomorow off, so that you can sleep all day without feeling guilty.  Come on sun, you know you want to.

Touch of Madness
Progress today: None.  Didn’t really have time.

44 days to go

August 9, 2009

Friday August 7th
44 Days until The Great North Run

Total Raised: £20!
Distance Run Today: 0km.  But look, it’s Friday.  And I’m getting up before 8 to go to for a run tomorrow morning, so I think a night on the sofa, doing more washing than is reasonable, is allowed.

Touch of Madness
Progress today: Actually, today was a good day.  I stayed in the office late to watch the end of the debacle that was the first day of the test match, and ended up sorting out the timeline and development plan for the next 9 months.  Goona make it all pretty and understandable on Monday, and then get to work on making things happen.  Expect significant developments every week for the next month or two.

45 days to go

August 7, 2009

Thursday August 6th
46 Days until The Great North Run
Total Raised: £20!
Distance Run Today: 0km.  But then I do work in a pub after work on a Thursday, so shy of getting up early to go for a run there’s not a whole lot I can do about that.  And getting up to go for a run in the morning is something I have only ever managed twice, and they both happened in the same week so clearly something was wrong.  Suffice to say I’m not really building pre-breakfast runs into my schedule.

Touch of Madness
Progress today: Finally, some!  Nothing that will blow your socks off , but we have established a basic timeline for development and worked out what we want to have happened when.  You will be pleased to hear that we finally have an official launch date for the true Touch of Madness – Thursday May 27th 2010.  I’ve picked the 27th because we need about 9 months to get everything ready (you see, ToM really is our baby), and agreed we would launch in May of next year.  The 27th is because I had an idea when I was closing my curtains on Tuesday… I noticed that the moon was all but full, and suddenly realised when I would be sending out our newsletters:  Every month on the full moon.  A nice little touch of madness that one I thought.  Was a little disappointed that I was therefore left with less than 24 hours to get the first newsletter out, and justifiably so as it ultimately proved to be totally impossible (not sure how bad a thing that is, there really was never going to be a huge amount to say this month!).  Still, we now have a target date for our first ever newsletter – 4th September – we’re trying to think of names for it at the moment, so if anyone’s got any suggestions, they would be much appreciated.

By the time that newsletter goes out, we definitely hope to have something to write about.  We’re going to introduce some level of ecommerce into the site as soon as posisble, to drum up a bit of interest.  At the moment, there’s nothing for anyone to get from the site – we were hoping to get visitors’ imaginations fired up and be inundated with the ideas that I know people have (I haven’t spoken to anyone about ToM who didn’t immediately think of something that would be perfect for it), but unfortunately, that’s just not happened.  We were always going to develop the site as it stands now (‘Touch of Madness – Evolution’ Phil reckons we should call it, and I think he’s on to something), but we were originally going to save the fireworks for the grand launch next year.  We realise now that that was a little optimistic, and that we at least need to light up a few sparklers at regular intervals over the next nine months to ensure people keep talking about us.

I’ve even started composing my letters to celebrities and significant people in my life (especially old teachers.  It’ll make sense one day) – I think it will be a while before I send them, we’ll just get the site as we want it, but fingers crossed we’ll be able to drum up at least some interest in what it is that we’re trying to do!  Incidentally, when I say celebrities, I mean real ones, actors and the like, not the kind you see in a jungle.  They’re are not celebrities, seeing as most of them are in no way celebrated.  Anyway, I digress.  Basically, although we have nothing physical to show for today, we do have a white board covered in scribblings and a much better idea of what the next couple of months is likely to hold for us.  We needed to start somewhere!

46 days to go

August 5, 2009

Wednesday August 5th
46 Days until The Great North Run

Total Raised: £20!
Distance Run Today: 8.5km.  Read it and weep!

I can’t put it off any longer.  As the days tick away and the nights begin, depressingly, to get shorter, I am forced to lace up my raggedy old trainers and hit the streets once again.  I thought I’d take a slightly different route this time, and ran into Kingston rather than to the quieter area of Berrylands.  I think the theory was that with more people around I would be less likely to walk – manly pride and all that.  A noble concept, but it turns out that although I may have many kinds of pride, the manly kind isn’t one of them.  Less than 3km in and I was walking, albeit for no more than 20 seconds, a rule I tried to stick to for the rest of the ‘run’. 

Still, it’s definitely getting easier.  I even managed to stop off at the pub on the way, although disappointingly it was only to refill my water bottle and enjoy a justified break.

Touch of Madness
Progress today: little / none – other than deciding to send our monthly newsletter out every full moon.  Tomorrow will be different though.  We’ll be working over lunch time to get our development schedule sorted out.  See what I’m doing here?  I’m committing to something under the impression that that is all it takes…  we shall see.

47 days to go

August 5, 2009

Tuesday August 4th
47 Days until The Great North Run

Total Raised: £20!
Distance Run Today: 0km.  This is getting embarrassing now.  Must go for a run tomorrow, absolutely no excuses.

Touch of Madness
Progress today: preliminary meeting to discuss what happens next with Phil.  Not particularly productive, but the wheels are turning again now, and by the weekend we’ll have the plan for the next 5 months or so, up until Christmas.

48 days to go

August 5, 2009

Monday August 3rd
48 Days until The Great North Run

Total Raised: £20!
Distance Run Today: 0km.

Touch of Madness
Progress today: little / none

49 days to go

August 5, 2009

Sunday August 2nd
49 Days until The Great North Run

Total Raised: £20!
Distance Run Today: 0 km.  Actually, I lugged my golf bag 4 miles round a golf course this morning.  Does that count?  No?  Dammit.  0km then.

Touch of Madness
Progress today: little / none

50 days to go…

August 5, 2009

Saturday August 1st
50 Days until The Great North Run

Total Raised: £20!
Distance Run Today: 5km

I woke up to the sound of my phone vibrating this morning, a sure sign that Emma was waiting in the car outside and that I’d overslept once again.  We’ve just started going to Richmond Park on Saturday mornings for an organised 5k run – it’s set up by a great group of people who give up their time to marshal and organise it all.  If you’re even remotely interested, check them out www.parkrun.org.uk .  I made it most of the way round before stopping, and came in at under half an hour, which was my first objective, although I was hoping to do it under 26mins.  Ho hum, there’s always next week… and next week I’ll make an effort to get up on time and actually eat something before heading out. Oh, and maybe do some stretching. 

Never mind though, it’s Saturday, and I’m about to head out and undo all the good work I’ve done so far.  I love the weekends!

Touch of Madness
Progress today: little / none

So what’s this all about?

August 5, 2009

The Highs and Lows of Lies and Hoes.

Or: How I Chose to use a Completely Irrelevant Title just because it made me Laugh when I Thought of it but I don’t think I’ll get the Opportunity to Use it in Context.

Or: One Man’s Attempt to get in Shape and Make Something of his Life.

 

Introduction

So here’s a little anecdote, a setting of the scene if you will.  It’s Tuesday, and a friend of mine asks whether I fancy going to the cinema.  I do, but should really go for a run after work and, what with the time it takes for me to cool down enough to be seen in public, arrange to meet at 7:30 for 8. I get home at about 6, and promptly crash out on the sofa.  I’d like to say there was nothing I could have done about it, but let’s face it, no one’s buying that.  I effectively wake up on the sofa at 7, and before I’ve even admitted to myself that I’ve missed yet another run, I find myself standing in front of the mirror, running water through my hair.  My plan is to pretend I did go for a run; I might only be cheating myself, but it’s easier than recognising that scornful lack of surprise. As I reached for my phone to let Kelly know that I was ready, I had a sickening realisation – the film didn’t start until 9, and I had another hour.  And so, because even I couldn’t let myself down twice in one evening, I had no choice but to throw on my running shoes and hit the streets.

I tell you this just so that all you out there who haven’t trained for a relatively long distance run understand the hardest obstacle to overcome – it’s entirely mental.  In fact, I really enjoy it once I’m out there, and even lacing up my trainers puts me in the right mood.  It’s the bit before that which proves so difficult.  Oh, and the bit just after it, you know, when you’re actually running.  That’s not much fun either.  But the lacing up of the trainers… that bit’s awesome!

As of this morning, I have exactly 50 days to go.  Now you may think that’s a lot, but when I first signed up I had almost 200 days to prepare.  Fortunately, it only took me 150 days to realise that 13 miles, whilst not a full marathon, isn’t exactly a walk in the park.  And so the game is now well and truly afoot, as everything begins to ramp up and get serious.  I’m running The Great North Run for charity, for a fantastically worthy cause (The Anthony Nolan Trust), and failure is just not an option.  And I won’t be happy just finishing, I need to finish fast.  I’m not sure whether that’s a desire to push myself, or simply a pragmatic understanding that the faster I run, the sooner I finish.  Either way, I’m going for it.  I’ll be reporting in every day, whether I’ve covered the miles or done nothing but sit on my arse, and I promise I won’t ‘wet my hair’ – if I haven’t made the effort, I’ll tell you.