OK - I've taken liberties with the lyrics, but the sentiment is the same. I'm going to come across all boys-with-toys here, but I don't care. It's my blog and I'll cry if I want to, cry if I want to.
So in Europe we hired a car so we could experience Europe how we wanted, and when we wanted. We ordered quite conservatively and recieved this:
A brand new Audi A4 2.0 TDI.
Now as you can guess, we fancied a little trip on the autobahn. However, the point of this post is not about the car or the speed, but about how fortuna weaved her web. Someone, somewhere, knew that I have a Ford Ka, and didn't want me to go fast.
So while Rory was dealt this by the satnav:
... I was dealt this... sigh:
Best piece of innovation that I noticed on my recent sojourn around Europe? This:
Spotted in Malmo. It's a bottle opener in the WC. It means that not only can you take a bottle of ice cold beer into the loo with you while reading the Sunday papers, but that you can take a second one in and open it up when you're in there. I mean, let's be honest, there's nothing worse than a flat beer when you're sat on the throne...
So it's done. And it was brilliant.
I don't know where to start.
In a nutshell:
The marathon itself, for me, was about 90% fun and enjoyment, 9% physical, mental pain and determination and about 1% welling up and tears. We all set off together with the 4 hour pacesetters, but had agreed to run together as long as we could and then to split up if we needed to. I always run better with people so was hoping we could stick together as long as possible.
We got to the half marathon point and I think we all felt pretty good. We slipped a little behind the pacesetters for 4 hours, but only by a minute or so. At this point a big mistake was nearly made, and it was my fault. We saw the people with the 4 hour balloons walking along the side of the road. Getting my calculations wrong I thought they were ahead of time and just having a breather and suggested to the lads that we should join them... Of course they'd swapped runners to a new set of people. I'm glad I noticed this quickly...
At about 22km John dropped off a bit and that was the last I saw of him until he was back in the hotel room. Rory and me carried on until about 30km but his ankle and knee really started giving him some pain so after stopping a few times with him he also dropped off a bit. At this point I had a decision to make about whether to stay with Rory and run/ walk together or whether to do the selfish thing and run off alone. I chose the latter. I felt pretty fresh, but was mindful of the fact that I'm a better runner with a partner.
I can't remember how long I was running alone for, but it felt like an age. Every voice I could hear behind me was John's or Rory's and I had the fear that they'd catch me up. This wouldn't have bothered me per se, but I know that I would never have lived it down. This, and thinking about the sponsorship kept me going. From 36km to 40km it was a real battle. I must have hit that wall people talk about because I couldn't mentally convince myself that what I was doing was possible and once or twice I did walk for a minute or so. My legs just couldn't run.
What happened after the 40km marker was great, though. The crowds were getting busier and rowdier, and there was a real feeling that I could actually do it. And not only do it, but get a decent time. I had envisaged 5 hours, so being stuck somewhere between the 4:00 and 4:15 pacesetters was a great feeling. For the last 2km my pace returned to my normal pace, and for the last 500m or so I literally sprinted as fast as I could to the finishing line.
Crossing the line was a strange feeling. It was euphoria mixed with anticlimax in a way. I was so happy that I'd managed to do it, and enjoyed it, but also you've been telling your body for so long to run that when you tell it to stop it sort of doesn't want to. I know John said he didn't feel any real thrill when he finished, but I certainly did I must admit. My sponsorship is over £700 at the moment and I felt happy for the people that had faith in me and for the reasons I chose the British Heart Foundation. A slow, aching walk back to the hotel and within half an hour or so the lads were back and we were chatting about it.
So what next? Well, for me definitely more running. I've enjoyed being fitter, losing a bit of weight and raising some money for a good cause. I think Rory feels the same. John didn't get the same buzz he did after the Deerstalker, and has been feeling the ill effects of his lack of training regime. He had to fly home early due to injury and I don't think he's too keen to repeat the marathon. I think maybe the lack of buzz is due to the lack of training. Part of my buzz at the end was knowing that I could do a marathon and knowing that the time I achieved was down to training. More than that though was actually enjoying doing it. And I did. Loads.
It set up my trip around Europe with a great start. I'll be posting more about that in due course. Thanks to everyone who has sponsored me, and to those that haven't - you still can!
Sat in the hotel bar here in sunny Copenhagen last night, myself and Mr. Fegan began discussing planning. Again.
This is something we do every time we discuss anything, as Mrs. Hadfield has found out (and made the monumental mistake of uttering the words "not everything is planning you know"), and much to the annoyance of Mr. Mclean who was sat with us.
You see, we were discussing people we see in the entertainment world, and which out of these - in our mind - could add something fresh and interesting to the world of planning. Obviously to qualify this we'd have to ascertain exactly what planning is. I've given you my version of events before, and there are the industry standards. There's also the play off between what I call 'taught planners' and 'learned planners'.
I see taught planners as planners who have joined agencies through graduate recruitment schemes. They know what they've been taught very well, and reflect that the further up the chain they go. Different agencies will have different training schemes so you end up with different types of planners in the industry.
I see learned planners as people like me. People who have had a background from outside the industry, that have joined the industry without the knowledge of some of the tools and techniques, but fundamentally have something fresh to add to the mix. I see a mix of these two types of planners as the ideal planning department.
OK, now that that's sorted, let's get back to the topic. Celebrity planners. Planners that are doing something else now that could join an agency as a learned planner.
What I love about each is that they're pretty damn good at one thing, but also pretty damn good at other things. They take these skills and meld them together to form something new, interesting and exciting. Anthony Bourdain in particular would be someone I'd see who could make a great planner. He focuses on food, but how that food is important within the society in which he is present. How it brings people together, how it takes on a role more than just sustenance. He knows the politics around it, the history around it and the ceremony around it. He offers more than just ingredients.
So - readers - anyone I've missed?
I think it's a nice little one, this one:
What it's trying to say is:
Adult learn loads through the years, but thinking like a child could add something special when trying to solve a problem. But how can we make adults turn back the clock?
And I think it's sort of true. When people become educated they automatically bypass some original, naive, almost childlike questions. This saves time, but sometimes it's these basic questions that need to be asked. They can sometimes highlight issues, opportunities and insights and it's something I always try to do - to look at things like a child.
Something (only mildly, probably) interesting happened yesterday. I received this email:
It was apologising for an email they sent me by mistake. The only problem being, as with a lot of mail that clogs up my gmail I delete it after only a cursory glance. However, I undeleted the email they were referring to and had a look:
You see, I looked at it, saw some posh hotel, thought they wanted to flog me weekends away and deleted it without reading it. I did what I guess most people do with marketing emails - I gave it only a simple glance (less than a few seconds) and decided whether it was worth keeping. I decided no.
This makes me think of a few things:
This needs some serious thought over an ale I think.
Here are the tweets I sent the other day when I was at a 3rd birthday party. I think it sums up what they're all about pretty well...
There's the stage where adults chat with those they know before really mixing:
3:37pm: At my godson's b'day party. The kids are all mixing, but there's a corner of parents from the NE of England, and a corner of Americans.
There's the bit where you wished you were a kid again:
4:07pm: The kids are playing pass the parcel. I'm well jealous.
There's the bit where you get scared:
4:44pm: Oh God please help. The children are running out of sugar! Evacuate! Evacuate!
There's another bit of wishing you're a kid again:
4:54pm: One of the kids just had his face painted as a dalmation. He looks more like a member of the baseball furies from The Warriors.
There's a bit where you give in to your wishes:
6:02pm: Just been on a bouncy castle for the first time in years. Class!
Then there's the bit where the beer kicks in and you just enjoy yourself:
8:27pm: Watching 3 year olds dance to YMCA. Not my usual weekend pursuit, but superb.
I cannot confirm or deny if I danced to YMCA...