Lincoln town.

I love living in Lincoln. It’s a fab little city. [Pretty much] everywhere is within walking distance, there’s lots to see and do. The Bailgate is my favourite bit. It’s old, wonky, pretty and higgledy piggledy. Loads of nice buildings to look at, and of course, The Cathedral. The thing that you can see from miles away. That when you see it, you know you’re nearly home.

Yesterday the sun was out. Had a nice walk up to the top of Steep Hill to a new fudge shop (sea salt fudge=Amazing) and a beer by the Brayford. It was almost like summer. But not quite so warm. I’m going to miss Lincoln. Especially this summer. Wandering around all the little streets, taking photos, running round by the Cathedral and lazing around in the beer gardens.

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Runs around the world #3

Lincoln, Lincolnshire, UK

OK, so, again it’s still in England. And it’s a run that I’ve kind of done before. The Marine pointed out when we were in London that I shouldn’t include runs I’ve done before because I said I wasn’t going to, but I’ve decided to include this one because, well, I want to. It was a Glorious Run and deserves the write up, and I did run a bit that I hadn’t before.

Today’s run was 11 miles in total. Out from Lincoln along the River Witham to Five Mile Bridge and back again, with an extra bit stuck on at the end through and up the High Street. So quite a long run. I haven’t been for a weekend (yeah OK, I know it’s Friday but no work so feels like a weekend) morning run for what feels like AGES so I was well looking forward to this one. And it didn’t disappoint. Firstly, the SUN shone for a large majority of the time. This is Unusual. It was glorious to see the big yellow thing in the sky. It was so lovely and slightly warm that I took my long sleeved top off and ran most of the way in a T-SHIRT. Yes, that’s right people, A T-SHIRT. Such an amazing feeling.

It was the first run in a while where I wasn’t thinking “bloody hell it’s cold, can’t wait to get back”. I had my headphones in, running along in the sun. I enjoyed it. Running for the pure fun of it and enjoying every second, not once thinking about being pleased to stop or get back inside in the warm. Haven’t done that in a while.

I smiled, waved or chatted at people as I passed them. There were quite a few people out and about down the river path. Most people acknowledged me, apart from one runner and an older gent. Both occupied in their own worlds and thoughts. I got a runners wave from another runner. I contemplated making up a runners salute back but the moment had passed.

I had no idea what was down the river path. I still don’t know how far it goes. I know it at least goes to Bardney because there was a sign at Five Mile Bridge (funnily enough at 5 miles from Lincoln). From here it’s another 5 miles to Bardney. Which means it’s another 7 miles from that bridge to my parents house (although those last two miles won’t be along the river). So just over 12 miles from Lincoln to my folks house down that path. Really not that far. So in a few weeks I’m going to run to their house one day. Doubtful I’ll run back but that’s what my dad’s truck or my mum’s car is for.

All along the path are signs about the river and it’s uses in days gone by, benches to sit on and some arty sculpture things. There are two metal cows about 4 miles in. They’re quite pretty so I stopped to take a picture. I wonder how many people from Lincoln will ever know they are there, or, ever see them. I guess 4 miles is quite a way to walk, and there’s probably a lot of people that don’t even know that path exists. And of course, a huge majority that wouldn’t want to or couldn’t care less.

One of the things I love about Lincoln is that from pretty much anywhere in town, within just a few minutes you’re out in the countryside, with lots of green stuff to look at. Great balance.

Only one thing: I need new runners. These ones are battered, have ran too many miles and have no support. They are, to be frank, buggered. A job for this weekend I think.

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Skinny fit.

I’ll admit it. I want to be skinny. I always have. I’ve never been overweight, but I’ve never been skinny either. I used to want to be bony skinny, especially as a teenager and into my twenties. That little bit too thin. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because it’s what society says we should be. All those pictures in magazines and on TV. Maybe the teenage me thought that’s what was attractive or it was what I should look like for other people. Maybe it was my own brain saying that’s what I find attractive.

Whatever it was, I never was. I never had the willpower to not eat a lot. Because generally, that’s pretty much what it takes. Unless you’ve got natural genes, metabolism and small bones.

But, I still want to be skinny. Well, actually now, I guess it’s not really ‘skinny’. I want to be lean. Healthy. Toned. Thin but not bony. And, well, I guess I’m pretty much there. I’m happy with the way I look. And feel. I judge my well-being on how I feel inside, what I see in the mirror and how I feel when I run or do exercise. I’ve never owned a pair of scales, and doubt I ever will. I feel pretty healthy, and know I eat [mostly] healthy stuff, exercise a decent amount and don’t smoke. Ok, I probably still drink a little bit too much but hey, I’m not perfect. And I’ve realised that if I feel healthy and do all those things, I feel good, and I’m happy with what I look like in the mirror.

That’s not to say there’s things I wouldn’t change. Of course there is, everyone’s got them. The bits they’re not that keen on. But really, I can live with them, and overall I’m happy with how I look. It all makes up me. Character, as my Dad would say (generally about anything that’s a bit different, wonky, not quite right or imperfect).

But why do people, women especially, get so hung up about what they look like? Why are women never happy with the way they look? According to surveys, most women are unhappy with their bodies. One, commissioned by REAL magazine, found that only 3% of the 5000 women surveyed were totally happy with their bodies. 3%? 3%? That’s bloody awful. (Link here, sorry for Daily Mail link but it’s the only write up I could find)

Why ladies? Why so negative and down on yourselves? Do you treat others that way? Would you say the kind of things apparently said to yourself to someone else? I doubt it. The survey found that 91% of the women surveyed were happy with the way their partners looked. So what do you think their partners think about them? They’d probably say the same surely? But if you told some women that I guess that wouldn’t make any difference. Whatever they were told they wouldn’t believe it because those thought processes are so ingrained. They don’t want to accept compliments. Don’t believe them. Unfortunately it’s not a new thing either.

Interestingly, a survey conducted for Fitness magazine shows slightly different results. Still not great, but a bit better. The numbers and % seemed to be a bit better. I’ve read before that people who exercise tend to feel better about themselves and their bodies, whether they look different or not, the fact they are doing something seems to help the way they feel about themselves. And this can only be a good thing.

People come in all shapes and sizes. We should learn to love ourselves for who we are and what we look like. Character and all. We should look after ourselves, eat healthy stuff, do a bit of exercise and have the odd bit of indulgence. Give ourselves the credit we are due. Accept compliments. Take pride in who we are. And if other people don’t like it? Well, it’s none of their business is it? Their problem, not yours.

Confidence. It’s a powerful thing. Remember, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. So, go forward, accept yourself and your character and always realise this: “those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind”.

The Lincoln 10K.

I’m running the Lincoln 10K on 7th April with some pals from work. We’ve been training hard all through the cold winter and the day of reckoning is nearly here. It’s not all gone smoothly – we’ve lost one member of our crew (Dale) to injury so his place is being taken by Becky who hasn’t ran in a race before or been doing that much running so is training hard in limited time. I’m running the Wolf Run 10K obstacle race the day before so will need my legs to hold out. Matt has had a few niggly injuries which has made his training a bit sporadic and Michael is hoping the weather takes a turn for the better.

It’s fair to say it’s going to be a challenge for all of us so please help us to raise money for local charity St Barnabas Hospice by sponsoring us here http://www.justgiving.com/UoL-ICT or texting “ULIT50 £5” to 70070 to donate £5.

Thank you very much.

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Instagrammed.

I went to London this weekend and took a few photos on my iPhone because I wanted to Instagram them into a little collection. I love Instagram and how it can make photos look cool or different just by sticking a filter on. These are my favourites 🙂

Oh, and technically I didn’t take the first one of Nelson’s column, but it was taken with my phone so still counts 😛

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Trains, planes and…other public transport.

Trains. Public transport. Don’t you just love it. I actually do. Well, maybe love is the wrong word. But I do like it. I find it really interesting. So many people watching opportunities.
I’ve done more of it since selling my car. And I’ll be doing a lot more over the next year. Which I’m sure will be an experience. Because you never know what you’re going to see.

Today on the train I saw:

-A girl who goes to some of the same exercise classes as me.
-A guy I chatted to on the way home from London last time. Poor bloke, he got talked at a lot then because I’d had a few beers that day. I didn’t speak to him again this time.
-A guy who had a book, some dairy milk and was swigging some merlot from the bottle (he then promptly fell asleep on the table).
-The guy who looked put out when asked to move to let a lady get to her pre-booked seat until he realised what she was asking.
-LOADS of people with headphones in (me included). It reminded me of The Matrix; everyone plugged in. Made me feel a bit sad; like the world has become anti social. I didn’t take my earphones out though.

Then there’s the scenery. You don’t get to look at so much stuff when driving a car. It’s nice to sit back, relax and enjoy for a change. No worries, no concentration needed.

I just like watching. Looking at the world and the people in it.

Travel fatigue.

I got a bit of travel fatigue yesterday. I was fed up. I’ve spent loads of time in front of a computer screen this week researching travel stuff. Organising travel stuff. Thinking about travel stuff. Talking about travel stuff. I’ve even been dreaming about travel stuff.

So it all got a bit too much, especially when someone was talking to me about the kind of things I need to do/should do. Stuff I’ve already done or have thought about  or will be doing but I didn’t get the chance to tell them that because they were too busy talking at me. Luckily this weekend I’m in London for a fun weekend. So I’m going to put the travel stuff on hold until next week. Then, it’s time to sort out visas.

But, I can’t forget how cool the travel stuff will be. So, here’s a handy little poem by Dr Seuss called “All the places you’ll go”. I like it.

“Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.

It’s opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And then things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.

OH!
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!

You’ll be on y our way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…

…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

NO!
That’s not for you!

Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You’ll be as famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t
Because, sometimes they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike,
And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never foget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

So…
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
You’re off the Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!”

Cartwheel.

Do you ever feel like just doing a cartwheel? I mean like a proper gymnastic cartwheel, not some kind of a metaphorical happy dance.

I do. Every now and then. I did today at 12.17 in the office. No particular reason other than I just got the urge as I was leaving to go to an exercise class. I didn’t actually do one though. Mainly because there probably wasn’t enough room (although I reckoned it would have been OK). That and it would have hardly been professional. I mean, I know I’m leaving and everything, but still.

If you put me in a big space (usually outside, on grass) then chances are I’ll do a cartwheel. I just can’t help it.

Try it. It’s fun.

No going back.

Two Big Things happened today. Or rather, I did Two Big Things.

1) Handed my notice in at work. So, it’s official. At the end of May I will be unemployed. It’ll be the first time since I was a teenager that I won’t have a job. First time I’ve resigned without a job to go to. Not quite sure how I feel. I already knew I was leaving so it’s not like it’s news. But I guess it does make it real. And not that long to go. Which is exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. So much to do, limited time to do it in. And I’m a little bit panicky that I haven’t done my sums properly and I’ll not have enough money. I’m sure I’ll be alright, but still. Natural I guess.

2) Booked and paid for my flights. My bank balance was looking quite healthy.  Now, not so much. They cost a fair bit. But, I can’t go anywhere without getting those booked. So now, my itinerary is sorted. Well, the first bit. Once I get to Bangkok the flights are free to chop and change. I fly on the 31st May at 9pm, first stop Johannesburg then Livingstone in Zambia.

The start of the next chapter of my life. My next adventure.

Inspire.

Who inspires you? For me, it’s all kinds of people. A real mix. People I know, people I don’t.

One chap stands out for me though. Miles Hilton-Barber, explorer, adventurer and motivational speaker. I first found out about him quite a few years ago after my old boss heard him speak at an event she was at and was so inspired she bought his CD. After listening to it myself I could see why. Amazingly positive, he has some great stories about life’s challenges and achievements, the most wonderful South African accent and after just a few minutes into his first CD I was captivated. 

Miles is blind. But it doesn’t let it stop him achieving his goals and dreams, or living a happy, fulfilling and successful life. Why should it? And that’s the message. People can do whatever they put their minds to. Push your limits. Have a dream and make a decision to do it. Don’t give up.

In this article he describes what he talks about in his speeches. Two things stood out for me when reading it.

‘Life does not consist in holding a good hand of cards, but in playing a poor hand well’. It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do when it happens. Don’t make excuses. Make choices.

“Sight without vision is equal to blindness” I can relate to this. Don’t coast. Have dreams. Follow them. Live them.

He inspired me back then to live my life like that. So I do.