Month: October 2012


Technology is just a demonstration of how stupid I am.

Last week I bought the shiny new computer and thought all was well with world. Then I tried to activate my email accounts and was reduced to *headdesk* and getting others to fix it for me. Then there was the blue-ray debacle.

This week I bought a router to try to fix that drop-out problem I’m having with my connection.

It arrived (when I was in the shower, obviously) on Friday. I had a quick play with it before work but couldn’t get it set up. I set to in earnest today (Saturday) and got it recognizing the PC and working, but saying the ethernet cable wasn’t connected.

I trotted up and down stairs many times, sticking cables in different slots and generally being puzzled. I looked at my old modem/ router jobby and followed what I knew to be the wiring of that. It’s only 3 wires, 2 if you take the power lead out of the equation. One from the ADSL/ ‘phone line, one from the router to the computer (via the mains, in my case.)

After quite a while, and some vigorous and heartfelt cussing I had a moment of epiphany. An ADSL connection is not an ethernet one. The ‘phone line goes into a ‘phone line (ADSL) slot, an ethernet goes into an ethernet slot (something fancy and computery, I don’t know!)

The router doesn’t have an ADSL slot. It is a router. Not, as it transpires, an ADSL/ router. They are not the same thing.


A router, it appears is just a transmitter for making Wi-Fi. You need to have a modem/ ADSL jobby as well.

Double super.

I bought it to replace the modem jobby, to try and get a stable connection to the internet. But that’s the kit it needs to work. *sets fire to internet*


BTW, (By The Way) I don’t know how much of Twitter/ internet grammar has leaked into RL (Real Life) but the asterisk thing is a way of expressing an action or emphasising a written word. Someone described it as a meta-commentary. Some people will say anything, though.

It looks pretty self-explanatory to me, but everything does when you are used to it.

Anywho, I have now bought a DVD white elephant and router one. Got to love learning by your mistakes, it’s like buying my education in small, irritating chunks.

Talking of which, not content with the above frustrations, I took Anonymous’ (the hack-tivist collective) advice (on Twitter) and bought a VPN (Virtual Privacy Network) which is just running your internet stuff through some proxy server (as I understand it). So I want X but don’t want The Man knowing about it, I get it but it goes through my proxy’s computers first where, presumably, it is anonymized.

Anyway, easier said than done.

I’ve been fighting with it most of the week. Lots of partial successes. I got a 12 month contract which was only about £44 quid (to save 25%), but I wish I’d just got a month’s. I’d sack it and try something else.


Wendy has got another cold. I’m pretty sure she has some strange fetish for illness. She seems to be poorly all the time.


I’ve been riding to work and running. God, I hate sprinting. I’ve done two identical runs of 1½ miles. 6.01 for the first mile, 3.15 for the following half on both times. I think today’s was fractionally easier. I still can’t breathe. I had to spit and the few seconds it stopped me from breathing was like I’d been winded or something. I had a panicky, desperate-for-breath feeling. I had to gasp in as much air as I could and was panting like a dog. That was the better run!

Also I’ve got pains in my shins. This is an alarming development.

Pre-injury I used to wear my pains with pride, proof that I wasn’t slacking, pushing my body to the limit. Now I am nervous of every twinge. I can’t afford a six month set-back in my training. Obviously the first thing that springs to mind is shin splints. That would be serious.  When you get something like that there is no pushing through it or any half-arsed fix. I think I’ll lay off the distance runs (I know I can knock off a steady 20 miles at the drop of a hat), just do the short sprints and rest. I’m doing a mile and a bit warm up/ slow jog to my designated start point, rest for a minute then a 1½ mile sprint, die, then gently jog back.

Honestly though, I’d much prefer to do a steady, beastly hilly, 20 mile run than try to run 2 miles at 6 m/m. Or 1½, for that matter.

Still, at least the pain is brief. If intense.

HA! It’s Sunday, I’ve just been for another sprint session and I’ve broken the 6 minute mile! 5.55! I forgot to press the pause button on my stopwatch for the half, it was either 3:07 or (more likely) 3:17. Balls!

That’s just two week since I broke the 7 minute mile barrier!  At this rate I will be running at relativistic speeds in two months. Then, as well as worrying about shin splints and coughing up a lung, I will have to fret about disrupting causality and threatening the space/time continuum with the inherent paradoxes. It’s a lot of responsibility.


The other good news for today is that I’ve sussed the VPN thing. All working, as far as I can tell.


Also I’ve joined (re-joined technically, just never went last time) Warrington Tri. Now I have to get up my nerve and go. They do coached swim sessions on a Saturday and group bike rides on a Sunday as well as ad hoc runs. I don’t see how they could push me any harder in the runs, mind. But they could have better training methods. I could turn up for the runs, I reckon I could hold my own in that, it’s just a bit daunting turning up for something when you are crap.

I got talking to a fellow triathlete on my run today. He is following the route suggested in the magazines; if you want to swim fast join a swim club, if you want to run fast…

As well as being in a tri club. I should look into it. I need to get the swimming lessons sorted first, though. Swimming is my biggest weakness. 

He was saying he did the Outlaw last year (as did I!) in 10.09, which is pretty damn impressive. Also he said he did the Lanzerote Ironman this year, by the time he got to the marathon he said it was 45 degrees!

Screw that! That would have been me. “TAXI!”


A few of my favourite tweets this week:

“The first rule of Chinese Whispers Club is ‘No one squawks about tiny-flippered cubs.’”

A vicar posted: “Nick Griffin says he is prepared to go to jail for Christians. I accept his kind offer.”

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A brilliant film synopsis:

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"Savile even hoodwinked the Vatican." Amazing, as they’re usually so hot on this sort of thing.

‘Guinea Pig dressed as a dinosaur’ of the week:

I've just looked at this picture of a guinea pig dressed as a dinosaur and it's calmed me down. A bit.

“Thoroughly examined my testicles in the mirror today. Gave myself the all-clear. The Ikea Security Guard was non committal.”

“Couldn’t sleep, so started counting sheep. Now I can’t sleep due to fear about why the sheep are amassing such an army.”

A gay chum on twitter was suffering from office ennui so I tweeted;

“Start a small fire in the bin, then crack open a diet coke as several hunky fireman beat the crap out of you for wasting their time.”


“What did I do before Twitter? Well, there’s my family and……OH MY GOD WHERE’S MY FAMILY?!?!”

Other stuff.

Well, apart from my running, which I may have mentioned is a total bitch, other stuff has indeed been happening.

My fancy-pants new computer has arrived, and after five days of sorting out niggling issues, is now all peachy. I was having a bit of a nightmare getting in to my email accounts, but with help from Luke and Plusnet (who now take over your pc and sort it out for you remotely, as you watch. Ace!) they are all working and integrated into one place.

My next issues was with blue-ray’s. I had a blue-ray film and wanted to burn it off. The pc said it was the wrong kind of disc. Fair enough, apparently DVD’s and blue-ray’s are different discs. I bought some blue ray discs. Wrong burner.

A DVD burner doesn’t burn blue ray’s. Now you’re just taking the piss. This means I’ve had to order a blue ray burner for the pc. The brand new, build to your own spec, pc. Or to put it another way, I’ve just bought a brand new DVD burner in my pc that is never going to be used because it is obsolete tech. Balls.

It never even occurred to me that blue rays and DVD’s were different.


Hopefully when it gets here it will be easy to install.

The other thing I’ve ordered is a new router. For some reason whenever you turn the landline on or off (and often when you’ve done nothing) you lose the connection to the internet and have to reboot the router. Hopefully it’s the ancient router that is at fault. If not it’s only £40 and a new router is worth having anyway.

With the new pc I included a new keyboard and mouse. Nice easy set up, no messy wires (the old wireless ones had plug-in  receivers on wires, this one just has a dongle thing that plugs into a USB port. Tidy.) and the keyboard is quiet. The old one sounded like a manual typewriter. I can get away with typing now without Wendy killing me.


Work continues to be inconvenient hours but it’s steady, 5 days a week work. To the same place, doing the same job. That I like. Saying that, on Friday I got to Crewe to pick up my trailer for Cowley and they couldn’t find it (not unusual, Crewe is a farce of a depot) after an hour and a half they declared they couldn’t find it because they didn’t have one for me. They sent me to Barnoldswick instead. I’d been there once before and hated it, tiny roads and that stupid, four barrier-ed, impossibly tight crossroads. This time, expecting the worst, I found I took it all in my stride. I may be improving. Yay!

And I’m definitely getting better at that hideous reverse at Cowley.

I was saying to Wendy, I think I’ll stick at it until February before looking for another job. This is the time of the year when work is plentiful on the agency, but come January there is nothing for six weeks or so. At least with this job it is ongoing. And by the time it picks up again next year I’ll have utterly mastered this reverse.

Then I can apply for any job, confident in being able to do anything they throw at me.


I can’t seem to write without mentioning the running, so here’s a quick word. It seems I have four weeks to get up to the standard of the starting point of my training plan to fit in with the races I’ve booked. So I have to build up from one mile (6.05) to 3 miles in 18 minutes in the next four weeks. Not easy, but it sounds possible.

The other thing to note about the plan is it is (deliberately?) sadistic. If you run a 3 mile sprint one day and then a 15 mile ‘easy’ run the next day it is not easy. I decided to at least make it a tough course if I was doing an easy pace, so ran up to Frodsham hill and back. But event he starting, fairly flat, mile was enough to have me sweating and thinking about quitting. I suppose it’s so you train your legs to run tired.

Anyway, day of rest (apart from 21 mile round trip to work on the bike) today. Sprint tomorrow.

Right, better get ready for work.

Which reminds me, someone who managed a 3.19 marathon was saying the two keys are repetition and weight loss. Back to the diet then. *sigh*


Where the Iron Crosses grow.

I’ve referenced it before but I’ll jog your memory. It’s a war drama film, a German sergeant who has an Iron Cross and his younger, vainglorious officer who desperately wants one. The officer lies to try and get one and tries to get the sergeant killed to cover his lie. In the end, as the allies are closing in and all hell is breaking loose, the sergeant prepares to run out into the fight he says to the officer “Come with me, I’ll show you where the Iron Crosses grow.”


That is where my rather pretentious and somewhat tenuous blog post title came from.

I’m using it to refer to my latest ambition, the sub 3 hour marathon. It’s that special.

I thought, now I’ve broken the 7 minute/mile barrier I’d just trot in at that pace. This training plan I’m trying to follow says: “week 1, run 3 miles in 18 minutes.”

You have to remember it’s only a week or so ago I was thrilled to set a new PB of 6.45 m/m. That wasn’t an accident. That was going at it full-on.

Then I tried to the 3 mile sprint (19.43). Not good. I mean, new PB for the mile and 3 miles, but not up to scratch. In the week one of the training days was 10 minutes (easy) run to warm up, then 4 X 1 mile sprint. It was blowing a gale so the runs into the wind were slower, but none of them were brilliant. (6.45, 6.23, 7.08, 6.22) Again, that was two new PB miles, but PB doesn’t count for shit. It just means my best isn’t good enough. Today I jogged an easy mile to get warmed up then sprinted the 3 miles again.

It is pure hell. I’d prefer to run a full, steady, marathon than sprint 3 miles. This time was even slower (20.15) but that was because I burned out. I seriously can’t get enough air in my lungs to support that much effort. I set another PB for the mile (6.05, so close!) but then dropped to 6.45 and 7.23!


Let’s focus on the positive here, I’ve managed to knock over a minute off my best mile from 3 weeks ago. I think I’ll have to adjust the training plan. I have plenty of time, it’s a 14 week plan and I have just under a year until the Chester marathon. I’ve booked into some races roughly where they should be on the plan though. A 10 mile, a half marathon and a ‘fun’ hilly-as-buggery marathon.

That should keep the momentum up.

I need to train to reach the base standard. I’ve proved to myself that a 6 minute mile is possible. If I run a mile sprint one day, a long, easy paced run the next, a day of rest and repeat it might be a better plan. Get used to doing a single mile in 6 minutes, then 1½,  2 miles, etc. I just can’t strap on my trainers and knock off 3 miles at that pace.

Looking at the training plan, four of the first eight week’s goals I can achieve now. The longer (10, 12, 15 and 18 mile runs) aiming at 7 or slightly less minute miles. It’s the short (3, 5, 6 and 10 mile) runs at 6m/m’s I can’t do.

The theory seems to be; the longer you run the slower you get (as you tire). Therefore be able to put in a 6 m/m half marathon so you can comfortably run the full distance at 6.30-6.45.

Anyway, just so you know to avoid it, I’ll be updating this entry as a record of my progress. I’ll carry on blogging my usual banality in ongoing posts, but keep this one to chart this stupidly ambitious goal.

There’s a reason it’s a kudos mark amongst runners. It’s because it is so very, very hard.

Wendy reminded me, when I was first getting started and was really chuffed with reaching a distance, let alone a pace, I’d been pleased to get my time down to 8 m/m. Someone at her works who was a member of a running club said “tell him to get it down to 7 m/m, that’s a good club pace.”

Ha! 7m/m! 7! We laugh in the face of a 7 m/m!

If I achieve this it will be epic.

Someone noted a T-shirt in the audience at the Ironman finals in Hawaii saying “You run marathons? How cute.”

I think a good English version might be “Bless.”

I may have one done “Yes, I run marathons as well. As a warm-down.”

Heh. One-upmanship.

Crack a decent time first. Don’t want the grannies barging past me on their zimmer frames if I’m wearing such a boastful T-shirt.

To quote from the philosopher Gump, “that’s all I have to say about that.”


W/E 28.10.12 : 15 miles (up to Frodsham hill top and back) 1.59

1.5 mile sprint:

6:01, 3:15 (9:16)

6:01, 3:15 (9:16)

5:55,  Dammit! I didn’t press the pause button on my stop watch. Not sure if it was 3:17 or 3:07 now.