Week 30: Gromit Unleashed at Cribbs Causeway


Thursday 28th July

Back in 2013 Ardman Animations launched a city wide art campaign with 80 fiberglass statues of Gromit of Nick Parke’s Wallace & Gromit. Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 22.18.33Each Gromit was given a unique design from famous artists, designers and celebrities including Pixar Animations, Cath Kidson and Joanna Lumley- the results were stunning. In October of that year, the gromits were sold at auction and raised £2,357,000 for The Bristol Children’s Hospital. Since then The Grand Appeal have repeated the campaign last year with Shaun in the City raising £1,087,900.

IMG_4711Until 2nd September, 18 of the Gromit Unleashed gang are on display at Cribb’s Causway. Tonight I took at trip to the Mall to go see them! My scenic route took me 12kms up to the shopping centre and all went to plan. After a bit of a cramming carb loading day I packed some gels into my pockets and planned to get some sugar at Cribbs to keep me going the full route. I’m not sure what the girl behind the desk thought when I ran into the shop and asked her to take a photo for me! I ran back out, into Boots, Coca-Cola and a
bottle of water plus a few dodgy looks and back out the door for the last 9kms. One IMG_4729problem, downing a 1/2 litre of coca cola creates quite a large bubble IMG_4730in your stomach- by 2kms I was down to 6min10secs kms… mainly due to having to stop every few minutes to either fart or burp! Agonisingly slow, I continued along the dual carriageway and edged my way home. Inspired once again by my BT Tower, I caught a glimpse of it by the Royal Mail sorting office. That’s where my girls would be, time once again to grind it out. After a few more K’s enough was enough, stop being a whiney little b**ch and get on with it. I even took a photo to memorise that sentiment for prosperity…..

This is what a low point looks like….
Home just in time for Autumn’s bedtime, yet another different experience and once again pushing on with gratitude every step of the way for what this amazing hospital has done for my family

If you’d like to know more about Gromit Unleashed or Shaun In The City check out these links. You can even buy miniature figurines with all proceeds going straight to The Grand Appeal- great gift!


Week 29: Summer Sizzler

Wednesday 20th July

IMG_0635The only thing Stu Loughrey and I were grateful for tonight was that we didn’t run it last night! On Tuesday the temperature hit 30 degrees and we agreed that this was going to be 2hrs of pure suffering! Last time I ran in the heat on Week 23 it was utter misery and I was very conscious of avoiding a repeat! We were initially due to start at 6, then 7 and in the end began at 8pm. Both of us had absolutely no problems pushing the start time back to avoid the evening heat. Starting from Whiteladies in Bristol we looped around some beautiful parts of the City. Durdham Downs, Clifton and Clifton Bridge, through Leigh IMG_4657Woods and onto the Ashton Court Golf Course. We made the decision to avoid as much uphill as possible. Stu’s calves were in pieces from painting on his tip-toes up a ladder all day (pro athletes IMG_4666eh!?) and I didn’t fancy a repeat of a gun-shot-cramp to my left calf from week 28. So all-in-all it was damage limitation hats on as we
set out in what turned out to be a beautiful evening in Bristol. We finished off with a second loop around Durdham Downs and hit 21.1km down Whiteladies Road. We were greeted at Stu’s place by a magnificent spread of steak, sweet potatoes with macaroni and cheese and a beer. A sophisticated end to a sophisticated evening around the posh side of Bristol!

Week 29/52 survived….






Week 28: 1/2 Marathon for Breakfast

Tuesday 11th July

I’ve tried it before and had mixed experiences. Week 3 I ran with Renee and felt great,IMG_4596 Week 13 I ran alone and felt absolutely horrendous. With a window in the week for a 1/2 marathon before work it was time to try running 21.1km with no breakfast once again. I didn’t go out completely unprepared, that would be suicide. I had a huge chilli with rice the night before and got well hydrated on Monday afternoon with lightly salted water. For the run I took 2 gels for the inevitable dip. On this bright start I was joined by The Bright Start, Ed McDermott for the first 10km. Ed is the bright spark who suggested this challenge in the first place back in December 2015. Over £4500 and 569.7km worth of weekly 1/2’s in, I’ve got him to “thank” for such a worthy suggestion.

IMG_4598We set off around 2 loops of the Bath Skyline, the first around Sham Castle and the neighbouring golf course, around the back of the University and secondly along the beautiful forest paths that skirts along Coombe Down. The morning was quite cool and crisp and my head felt so clear for pretty much the duration of the run. It’s not uncommon for me to run with a grey mist in my head, just a lethargic-tired feeling. This morning there was none of that and my mood and energy levels were high. This continued past the halfway stage. This clarity was pierced as I took on an innocuous incline at 16km by a shooting pain into the lateral side of my IMG_4649knee. My left leg buckled and I tripped into the nearby wall. I tried to play it cool as a few cars went past looking a bit concerned! The pain came and went in a moment. Off I went but again a pain abruptly stopped me. My beautifully clear head told me this was going to be a grim last 5km. I pressed on with my foot turned out as I continued on. The cause? Low on glucose, low electrolytes, poor physical preparation- I just don’t know, maybe a combination of all three. Week 28 will be marked as my first cramping episode in this campaign! Also my first blister this week, a plump little peach on my third toe of my right foot (opposite side to the cramping).

IMG_4608I’m still undecided as to going out without breakfast before morning runs. On the one hand I do like the clarity of mind and lightness that I feel sometimes when I don’t eat. On the flip side, nearly 2hrs of tarmac requires a lot of energy and I have run my best times on a massive amount of carbohydrates. Anyhow, after eating my first half for breakfast, it felt great to take on my second breakfast- a full English before starting work for the day.

Week 27: Friday Night Out With The Boys

Friday 8th July

What’s your idea of a big night out? Tonight was a big night out in Bristol with two guys that I coached many years ago with the Loughborough Student Hockey – Richie Dawson-Smith and Stu Loughrey. I left work with trepidation, knowing that these two pro field hockey players had the legs to really drag IMG_4578me through some turmoil tonight. My hope was that they’d burn up as the night went on but no such luck. We set out into a beautiful summer’s evening, all in matching outfits for a themed night out on the town.  Just to be clear this wasn’t quad-vods in Echos or 3 for 1 deals at Wild, this was 21.1km of running in the heat!

Tonight we did an out and back route to Blaise Castle, near Westbury-on-Trym. I had not run it before so the route was always going to be a little improvised. 4 miles out to the park, we took a shortcut and transitioned from road running to forest. Textbook. Standing in a field with paths in every direction we were quickly lost.

“Which way shall we go?”

“Try going up, what’s the worst that can happen….”.

The worst that can happen is that you hit a seemingly never ending 30% scramble for the IMG_4581
next 5 minutes. The boys each assumed a running gait that brought memories of Bradgate Park time trials and early morning interval sessions flooding back. The ascent was like an unexpected punch in the gut and we hit the summit gasping for air and [if I’m honest] a little offended by  what had just assaulted us at just 8km in to the 21.1km course! IMG_4583Disorientated we stumbled onto the Blaise Castle Golf course, taking directions from a random player we plodded on. We looped around the faux medieval Blaise Castle and headed home. At 16km the inevitable happened, Richie lifted the pace and the two athletes gently pulled away from me. I later explained to them that I had refined a very specific ability to plod at 13km/hr. Their acceleration fell outside of this window and I couldn’t respond.

IMG_4585We made it back, cracked open the beers and reminisced about the great characters of our period of Loughborough Students’ Hockey, who was where and what they were doing now. Chilli-con-carne and Tour De France highlights with a coffee capped the big night out in Bristol.  Call me old and boring but I’d take this over a night out in Loughborough any day of the week…