Half Way To Paris

In what way, you might ask, is Worksop half way to Paris?

Well the obvious answer is, if you are starting from Land's End and going to Paris via Worksop (an unlikely journey I know, but someone will have done it ... although their reasons, I suspect, will go with them to the grave due their probable embarssesing nature) ... and then if you just happen to throw in a detour ... via ... lets say ... Cleethorpes, Worsop would be about half way.

Alternatively, John O'Groats to Paris, via Worksop possibly taking in ... erm ... Wigan Pier ... assuming that is, that Wigan Pier has any place in reality ... again Worksop would be at the half way mark ... ish.

You can plan other permutations of this nonsense that will, with several starting points and unlikely towns to pass through, give Worksop that dubious honour of being half way to 'la Ville des Lumières' as the French have been known to call their capital. This is an activity whose only useful function would be to find a distraction from an all consuming and potentially terminal case of train spotting addiction.

Worksop is half way to Paris only in the sense that the Worksop Half Marathon was next on my Paris Marathon training schedule. And a half marathon is, as I have probably bored people senseless pointing out, exactly half the distance of a full marathon.^ You do the maths.

Paris Marathon 2019

 Guy will be running the Paris Marathon 2019 to raise funds for Hothouse Theatre.

All 26.2 miles of it! Paris. 14th April 2019. A day that will live in infamy.

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So, just 6 weeks into my intensive, ambitious (in a belt and braces sort of way) and challenging 30 week training programme, I reached the half way point.

Now I am not so naive as to actually believe that 6 weeks into my training I am half way there. I know the difference between being 10k ready and 13.1 mile ready. I very much know the difference through bitter and painful experience. I have been there, got the Hi Tec sweat wicking, glow in the dark T-shirts. Not to mention a ton of cheap metal in the form of more finishers medals than can be effectively, or even safely, displayed on a nail knocked into the bedroom wall.

I can tell you, being half prepared for a half marathon is not a full barrel of laughs. The first 7 miles might be OK. Even a bit of walk in the proverbial.

It is generally the 8th, not to mention the 9th and 10th mile when you start to fully appreciate the value of inadequate training. In the 2 miles after that, options for euthanasia start to be considered seriously. The final mile is generally OK. At least in hindsight. This is because the conscious mind has a knack of consigning all such memories to the same part of the brain where childhood trauma, the accurate and truthful recollection of the name of first single that you bought and just exactly what your argument was for voting for Brexit in the first place, hide away, safe from even the most expensive forms of psychotherapy.

It is my assumption that the experience of doing a marathon in only half ready condition will be similar, in the sense of the word that basically mean 'a whole lot @*£ing worse!

Marathon training is on a logarithmic scale. Half way is very much in the early stages.

The Worksop Half is, so far, in my somewhat limited experience of long distance running, my favourite.* It undulates down some very nice North Notts lanes (it also has it's fare share of 'up' undulations, but you know what I mean), before turning into Clumber Park (one of, if not the best of the old country estates from where the landed gentry spent several centuries lording it over the plebs in the area of rural Nottinghamshire known as the Dukeries) and it finishes with a 1 mile down hill section, which is a wonderful way to finish off any 21k. As near to a pleasant Sunday stroll as you can get doing a 13.1 miler with a heart rate of well over 150 beats a minute.

Due to me being somewhat older, a beer based life form with a girth to prove it and having a rather negative attitude to exercise, my wife and I are fairly well matched in this running lark.

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A selection of 6 classic Ghost Stories by some of the best writers of ghostly yarns.

They will include, The Signalman by Charles Dickens, A Warning to the Curious by M. R. James and The Lost Ghost by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman.

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We are both just as likely to beat the other as we cycle through extremes of apathy and enthusiasm for running, boozy nights in/out (delete as applicable), cream teas, over sized roast dinners, and portions of puddings that could keep a small family on the critical list for type 2 diabetes for a week.

This has led, and I'm not too sure who's idea is was**, to a series of cups that we compete for.

The 5k cup - currently on my side of the bed following 4 consecutive, heroic and convincing, parkrun victories.

The 10k cup currently on her side of the bed due to a largely forgotten 10k victory, after which allegations were banded about concerning the use of performance enhancing 'in race' refuelling, to say nothing of a stiff coffee or two for breakfast

The Longer than 10k cup - covering 10 miles and half marathons - currently on my wife's side of the bed thanks to a disputed close finish at the Chester Half. Due to a last minute emergency pre-race movement on my part, we didn't start together and I didn't actually cross the start line, so I didn't get a chip time.

Consequently, the times were, and remain, contested.

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It was never envisaged that there would ever be a marathon cup due to there being no spirit to run such a thing on my side of the bed and 'there being no room for any more bloody silverware, dear!' attitude from the other side.

Until that is, on our recent French trip I spied a rather over the top, gaudy green thing with handles on, that was probably intended as an urn. Hopefully it was never used for it's original purpose otherwise the act of bringing across the border probably contravened some European legislation to say nothing of offending the finer points of cultural etiquette. This will be further exasperated when we ship it back for presentation after our post 'no deal Brexit' engagement in Paris in April.

I was looking forward to the Worksop Half.

I had trained for it. I had been increasing my distances. Doing intervals. I had planned my negative splits.

I was ready.

My wife had done none of the above.

I made room on my side of the bed for the return of the Longer Then 10k Cup.

It is a truism of life, as much as of running, that your level of preparation for a particular day usually has a direct bearing on your performance.

The night before that all important interview for your dream job, spent getting into the 'it's already my job' mind set that will ultimately be the thing that gives you the edge over the other candidates and will see doors opening on a whole new, glittering and fulfilling career. And the hangover that kicks in as you wait for your interview slot and you remember the skin full you accidentally downed, the same evening, as you celebrated the sure and certain knowledge that you have never been better prepared for an interview and the job was all but yours.

Preparation has a predictable affect on outcome ... usually.

Sometimes, however, things are less predictable.

You can follow all the quackery based theories on running training you like, invest in the latest, surprisingly 'expensive for sugar' hypotonic running gels and wear your finest florescent pink compression socks. But that doesn't always mean you are in for a good run. We have all seen dead cert favourites, in one sport or another, in sight of the finish line and historic glory, get seized by the uncontrollable urge to throw a metaphorical 'Paula Radcliffe', drop their metaphorical pants and pour their reputation down the metaphorical drain.

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On the other hand, there are those urban myths, those that always happen to someone else, when PBs are gained with a streaming cold, in the early stages of dysentery or whilst their left leg is still in traction.

The truth is, this is sport.

Anything can happen out there.

It should have come as no surprise, therefore, that, despite my readiness for Worksop, I settled into a laboured, unhappy, plod, while my wife shot off ahead like a frisky gazelle, with somewhere else to be and on various caffeine based running supplements that should be on the banned list.

Another truism about life and sport is that it is all in the head. I naturally responded to the shock of seeing the Longer than 10k Cup slipping from my grasp in the first 2 miles, with that mental attitude that marks out the difference between 'also rans' and champions.

I slipped into my own personal purgatory of feeling sorry for myself and waited for it to be all over, whilst I considered investing in a personal music system for my return to said purgatory when the time for Paris finally comes along.

Worksop may have been half way to Paris. But I can tell you, there is still a bloody long way to go.

^ I have generally used this point to explain why no one in their right mind is ever likely to take on such a challenge. However, since I have now at least filled out my application for membership of the 'Out of Our Tiny Mind Brigade' by entering the Paris Marathon, I must now celebrate this fact as best I can and start to at least think positively about it. "A marathon is ONLY twice the distance of a half marathon." Does that sound positive enough?

*The word favourite is used here in a fairly loose sense. In a not dissimilar way that the phrase, 'I am happy with the deal,' is likely to be used by a Brexit negotiator as he rises from the negotiation table and sets off, finalised deal under arm, to his waiting Prime Minister and her finest hour ... resignation letter already penned and in the S.A.E. neatly tucked into his inside pocket.

**I know very well whose idea it was.

The Smith Challenge

 The Smith Family are raising £5,000 for the Earl Mountbatten Hospice inmemory of Andy who died in February.

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Oh My Nottz is a HotHouse Theatre production. Co. No. 6505843 Charity No. 1154523. Tel 07963020259 email website
The views expressed in Oh My Nottz are not necessarily those held by HotHouse Theatre.