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Resolutions Resolutions Resolutions …

So it’s the new year and I’ve not blogged since errr September …. crikey !

Well as some of you may know – I’m not really the kind of person who sets myself new years resolutions. This year for one reasons or another i’m using New Year as a reason to wipe the slate clean and have several ideas I’m trying to work towards.

No 1. I need to start my running again – this is really important. My first race is in just a few weeks and I’ve not run properly in ages. It’s a half marathon at Silverstone and am not expecting to achieve a very good time with my lack of training. Since Lake Vyrnwy I’ve been finding too many excuses not to run and this must stop.

Number 2. I need to Blog more and I also need to start tweeting more. Work has been insanely busy so haven’t had the time to have as much presence as I’d like but thats not really an excuse I guess.

Number 3. We need to chill out more, last year both myself and Sarah took on more than we could chew. This year we’ve got the wedding to sort out too so we really need to stop being so busy.

Which leads to Number 4: I need to chill out more – I get really stressed and pent up about the most silly of things, I need to stop worrying about every minor little detail and just realise that things happen and you can’t always help that.

Finally Number 5: I need to start focusing on the positives rather than the negatives – I’m a natural pessimist I guess but it’s not a great way to go about day to day life. Everything and everybody has their good and bad points (and everything inbetween) I just have to accept this so I don’t turn into an even bigger ball of stress.

So that’s it … first if not slightly predictable (and short) blog post of 2012 – Happy New Year Folks.

The Last Supper …. (Well almost … )

I’ve mentioned before that race day is often like being on stage. When I used to have a big gig coming up you could guarantee I’d be ill a few days before either with a sore throat, flu or cold and then spend the next few days dosing up on lemsip, strepsils, vocalzone, guiness, icecream (the list was endless !). Call it coincidence if you like but there’s got to be something Pyschosomatic there surely …

I noticed a trend that before my other races, I’d mysteriously been picking up injuries from training too hard. Races for me are a big deal and I get stressed easily by the smallest things and need to know that I’m going to be able to complete them. This time around, I’ve been very careful not to over train and have been dosing up on recovery milkshakes which have eased my muscles after the longer runs.

My next (and possibly final race this year) is on Sunday, its the Lake Vyrnwy half marathon which I’m running for Severn Hospice which is even more pressure to know that I can do it. I’ve only ran 13 miles once that was two weeks ago and I’m not going to sugarcoat it in any way shape or form. It was the hardest run I’ve had to date, from about 10 miles onwards I was really struggling and was fighting hard to carry on. In my favour I had chosen quite an undulating route having ran up to Haughmond Hill, around it and back via a rather scenic route. Lake Vyrnwy is almost completely flat so that should give me some hope, the weather forecast is pretty bad which again works in my favour: it’s apparently going to rain which should help keep me cool as opposed to running on a pretty hot morning. After that I’ve toned down my running to allow my muscles to have chance to heal properly but have taken shorter runs to help keep things moving. Tonight I did my final run before the race, a rather simple 6 miles (but one of my favourite routes around Shrewsbury that I do). I feel pretty good right now and am fairly chilled out about the race on Sunday. I don’t think I’m going to get near my original goal of sub 2 hours for the race but if I can finish in under 2.15 I’ll be happy.

You never really know how a race is going to go until you’re there but I’m planning on starting about 3/4 of the way back and working my way through the crowds. This might sound like a bit of a daft game plan to you but stay with me for a sec and I’ll explain. If you start towards the front you can guarantee there will be people who are quicker behind you and every runner who passes you as daft as it sounds can knock your confidence. Now if you turn that around and start towards the back every runner that you pass can give you an enormous boost and it becomes far easier to keep the one foot in front of the other. Maybe it’s because I’m naturally competitive, I don’t like to lose but I find thats the mentality that I’m in during every race I’ve been in so far.

I’m still overwhelmed that its just over a year into me putting on a pair of running shoes and I can now run 13 miles, it’s scary just how much I enjoy it compared to how much I used to hate running !!

So there you have it … no doubt I’ll be tweeting/facebooking during the event so be sure to follow me at:

http://facebook.com/rollercolster and @rollercolster

If you’d like to sponsor me please follow the link below:

Excuses excuses excuses …

Dear (Insert P.E. Teacher’s name here)

Colin will not be able to partake in sports today because:

1. He’s got a nasty cough and cold
2. He’s aching like a swine
3. He’s been running a temperature despite shivering

At school I was the kind of kid that used to look for just about any excuse that we could to avoid any form of sport (except Hockey …. I loved Hockey … there was something about having a wooden stick in your hands that you could beat up peoples shins with ….)

These days however being unable to run when I want puts me in a terrible mood whether that be due to illness or just a heavy work schedule. Last weekend I pushed myself into running a rather impressive 11 miles which gave me a huge ego boost towards this half marathon i’m running in just a few weeks. I’ve never ran 13 miles and need to get up to it quickly so that I have the confidence to complete the race and have time to work on my speed so that I can finish in a time sub 2 hours like I’ve been hoping for.

My longest run to date

I’ve also seen that Addias Micoach is now available on Android, which I really missed from my Blackberry owning days, the interactive coaching telling you to speed up or slow down and encouraging you really helps motivation and although Run Keeper has been a good alternative it’s something I’ve really missed on my runs. Needless to say, now that it’s back on my phone I really really want to get out and try it.

This was only supposed to be a short post but there’s a couple of things I wanted to mention briefly. The other day Severn Hospice were kind enough to send me a t-shirt to run in which has really motivated me to train hard for this race, I’ve been wearing it proudly for most of my training.

The New Team Strip !!

And just finally I wanted to mention that whilst writing this post, it occurred to me to find out just how far I’ve ran since I started out running. I’ve been training now for just over a year and I was shocked to find out that since logging my runs via the various mobile phone GPS systems I have actually ran 386 miles which I find absolutely mind blowing. A year ago I couldn’t run even one mile. I feel amazing as a result of my new love of running and if you’re reading this and considering taking it up I really can’t urge you more to just get out and have a go. Sure it’s tough to start and there’s some real lows but the rewards you get are so great. Through my running I’ve seen things around where I live that I’ve never spotted before, I’m fitter, healthier and am enjoying raising  some well deserved cash for a great cause.

The Big L

The nerves start to kick in the moment I wake up early ready for our drive to Liverpool. I’m taking part in the Liverpool Tunnel 10k run which I’ve been looking forward to for a very long time, the idea of getting to run through somewhere that I normally wouldn’t be allowed seems awesome. Luckily I packed last night and am pretty well organised so we set off on time. We meet my folks up in New Brighton who have come along to cheer me on with Sarah and had also offered to drop me off near the start in Liverpool.

We drive through the Wallasey tunnel where  I would be running in just a couple of hours, my head filled with so many thoughts. I hadn’t really trained as much as I probably should have done but really wanted to improve on my time from Market Drayton. The conditions for the race seemed a little better than for Market Drayton, I really don’t like running in the sunshine as I simply get too hot and then the run becomes tough (even in the bad snow and sub freezing temperatures we had earlier on this year I only wore a vest and jogging bottoms to run). Market Drayton had been tough as I had learnt a valuable lesson about race pace, in the excitement I had started off too quickly, trying to keep up with the pack and had really suffered from it later in the race.

Despite getting dropped off near the start line, I still manage to get a little lost but get talking to a fellow runner who soon points me in the right direction. There’s an amazing sense of camaraderie amongst the runners who are all happy to chat, finding out if this is their first time running Liverpool 10k, what time they’re hoping to finish in. Everyone’s got a story and it’s nice to just chat and forget about the race for a few minutes. There’s less to see and do here with the starting area comprising of a booth playing music, a coach to take the bags to the end and loads of portable loos. The crowds are overlooked by some modern flats and we see glimpses of the people who live in them as they line up on their balconies to cheer us on.

I begin warming up pacing the area and doing various stretches partly to warm up, partly through impatience to start and partially to calm my nerves. Very quickly, it’s time to line up and the almost three and a half thousand people are huddled together all eager to begin. This part of the race has always felt like when I used to go on stage, it sounds daft but the nerves really do start to set in as you prepare for what you know is coming. I choose to start from about two thirds of the way back from the back of the crowd to try and stop me from trying to pace myself with some of the faster ones.

All too soon and the countdown begins and the gun goes off, we slowly make our way over the start line onto the streets of Liverpool. I’m aware that I really need to pace myself but am steadily overtaking people, the streets are nice and wide and it gives us lots of space to get around people.

The kilometres pass and all to soon we’re making our way onto the tunnel approach making our decent under the Mersey. The air is really warm down here and I’m starting to regret wearing my new running jacket which very soon ends up around my waist. We seem to go down for what seems like an eternity only making fears that the incline is going to be a struggle. Before too long though we reach the bottom and immediately begin the climb back to the surface. It doesn’t seem nearly as bad as I had feared, maybe it’s because i’m pacing myself or maybe because from halfway you can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel (see what I did there ??).

Entering the tunnel


Emerging from the tunnel and its obvious the weather has taken a turn for the worst, the rain’s coming down now although it’s very welcome. Down in the tunnel it was very warm so the rain cools me down somewhat. People on the overpasses taking photos and waving certainly help to boost my motivation as does the water station which is just around the corner. Very soon I’ve completed a loop and am running along the seafront towards New Brighton. It’s still quite a way off and the straight section seems to go on forever. Luckily markers every 100 metres countdown my journey to the finish which really does aid my spirits.

Everyone hot on my tail as we run along the promenade

It’s the last few hundred meters now and I’m sprinting as fast as I can trying to get the best time possible. I see my Sarah and my folks in the side cheering me on and that only makes me run even quicker. I cross the line in 53 minutes and 7 seconds and my legs instantly turn to lead, I’m trying to slow my breathing down and feel phyiscally sick for a few moments. A few second’s later I’m walking along in the crowd picking up my T-shirt, medal and goodie bag. I’m ready to collapse and feel in a complete daze.

I meet back up with my folks and sit on the side for a few moments just catching my breath. Elation hits me and it suddenly catches up with me just how well I had done, I’d shaved a decent amount of my Market Drayton time regardless. A little later on in the afternoon after a well deserved cup of tea and a drive to Blackpool and the nicest ever fish and chips (see below)I recieve notification that my actual time to complete the course was 51 minutes 23 seconds, I finished 1082nd out of around 3300.

Official Results

Me .... taken after the cup of tea and looking a little more refreshed lol

Well deserved don't you think ??

So there you have it, thanks for reading and thanks to all of those who’ve donated to my next big race the Lake Vyrnwy Half Marathon which I’m running once again for Severn Hospice. If you’d like to donate some cash you can do so by clicking the link below. So far we’ve raised £170 … a great start but I really want to reach my first target of £250. If you can spare even just the price of a pint you’ll be making a huge difference to such a great cause !!

<a href= ‘http://www.justgiving.com/roadtovyrnwy&#8217; alt=’JustGiving – Sponsor me now!’ target=’_blank’><img src=’http://www.justgiving.com/App_Themes/JustGiving/images/badges/badge10.gif&#8217; width=’270′ height=’50’></a>

Things that go bump, boo and arrrrrgh in the night …

As I’ve previously mentioned a few weeks ago, we visited an industry show called Scarecon which, as thrill seekers both myself and Sarah couldn’t resist visiting. The day consisted of seminars, networking and trade stalls all geared towards frightening the living daylights out of people. Its the kind of thing that really interests us and although some of the information in the seminars wasnt geared towards us, we were fascinated by it all.

The day rounded off with the evening Scareball where everyone came dressed to scare, there was food and drink, a hilarious spoof seminar from Doc Austin a ‘Theoretical Zombiologist’ and a disco …. there’s nothing like seeing a whole room in horror costumes dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller ….

Sarah and I in scary mode (Photo by Stephen Candy)

The lives and souls of the party ... (Photo by Stephen Candy)

Normally I’d be partying till the early hours, or at least till I couldn’t walk in a straight line or had fallen asleep in a corner somewhere, however we were keen to return to our rooms or rather ‘Scarerooms’ by 11.30. At Midnight we’d signed disclaimers to say that anything could happen, actors would visit our room at random intervals through the night up until 7am or until we put the do not disturb signs up on our door.

We’d decided that we could maybe raise some money for Severn Hospice by making it through the night and so the bar had been set. We were in bed by midnight where we thought we would be safe, how bad could it possibly be afterall ?? The suspense was killing us as we literally didn’t know what to expect.

At 12.30 we had our first encounter, a simple banging at the door which had us cowering in our bed (see videos below) and a little later on a full on assault with several actors jumping onto the bed as we tried to get under the duvet for safety.

By 1am the hotel had recieved numerous complaints about the screams that were coming from upstairs …

By each hour that passed the scares increased, our duvet was wrestled from us and we were left terrified. At points we hadn’t got a clue whether there was anyone in our room or not as we mustered up the courage to go to the bathroom to check if anyone was hiding in there.

By 4am we were really starting to feel tired and were really tempted to hang up our wimpy do not disturb signs luckily we didn’t as things got very odd after ….

Room Service ....

The scares became more improvised and with more humour, our room became a relentless warzone as our actors made us cups of tea, shook up our bottles of pop, rearranged our beds and sang to us.

Sleeping on the job ....

At 7am our night (or morning) came to a terrifying climax when a friend we’d met during the day popped in with his chainsaw to make sure we were still awake. It was the perfect ending to what was one of the most surreal, terrifying and most enjoyable evenings I’ve ever spent in a hotel.

Would we do it again ?? You bet! We’ll definately be back again next year to do it all over again. Below are some of the videos we took, they’re only a small part of what we went through, we didn’t want to spend the whole night behind a camera but they should at least give you a glimpse of what I’m on about. If you enjoy the videos, please consider making a donation (no matter how big or small) at the bottom of the page which is going to Severn Hospice.

PLEASE NOTE Due to the nature of the night, there is unfortunately some swearing contained in the videos, if easily offended  or there are young ones within hearing distance or you are unsure please do not watch.

:)



Market Drayton 10 K

Well the big day came and although I’d not trained as hard as I possibly should I felt I was ready to run. I was up early and ready in plenty of time which seemed like a good plan even if it did give my nerves plenty of time to settle in. Infact I was probably as nervous as I used to be when I used to go on stage !!

I arrived at The Grove school in Market Drayton and began to queue to recieve my race number which turned out to be 789 … how cool is that ?? I’d gotten to Market Drayton which gave me plenty of time to wander around the field soaking up the atmosphere, picking up my souvenir t-shirt and even warming up with a run around the edge of the field but before I knew it, the race was steady to start.

My heart was racing ten to the dozen as they counted down and we were off. We did a lap of the field with hundreds of spectators cheering us on as we ran out of the school gates. The first mile and a half went by very quickly and saw us running around houses with even more people outside cheering and clapping.

Very soon I realised I’d have to slow down a bit, I’d been running quicker than I normally would and at that pace I’d tire myself out too quickly but it wasn’t easy, I found myself naturally trying to keep up with the pace of the other runners and this especially showed between miles 2 and 3 which were particularly hilly and by the end of, was wishing that I’d gone easy at the start.

Each mile after that became increasingly harder but the crowd really did help lift my motivation, I carried on and soon the miles started passing me by, I spotted people I knew on the streets which only made me run faster. Upon re-entering the school gates for a final lap of the field I increased my pace until I was a couple of hundred metres away from the finish where I broke into a sprint and that was it … I’d completed the race.

I finished in 53 mins 28 seconds, 474th out of 957 which I’m incredibly proud of for my first time.

If you came down and supported me, thank you so much, I doubt without the clapping and cheers if I would have actually completed the whole thing. Thanks also if you’ve donated money to Severn Hospice which is the charity I’m running for.

I have a month till my next race which is in Liverpool, I think I can shave a minute off my total time there if I carry on with my training this month.

3 Runs and a rather sleepless night ….

It’s official folks. In September the next milestone has been set and it’s a half marathon around Lake Vyrnwy in aid of Severn Hospice. You could probably argue that the Pontesbury Potter took place over 13 miles so this should be easy, but I’ve never done anywhere that distance on roads (where it will really put pressure on my joints) and the potter was more relaxed and you didn’t feel bad for walking in parts. I intend to run every step of Lake Vyrnwy.

As training my first warmup race is in under two weeks, the Market Drayton 10k race and my second is just weeks after in Liverpool. It’s going to be a very busy few months of training and racing in preperation for the big day.

As usual you’ll be able to follow my progress as it happens on Facebook and Twitter and to raise a little extra cash for the cause we’ll be spending a particularly sleepless night in a hotel in dudley …

… Some of you may be aware of both mine and Sarah’s love of being scared, we’ve been chased through Cornfields by actors dressed as zombies, chased through sewers by “monsters” and had chainsaws held to our necks, all in aid of a good scare. We’ve travelled the country taking part in various “Scaremazes” and “Haunted Attractions” and even travelled to America to get to “Halloween Horror Nights” a massive event which features loads of these mazes and we loved every single one.

The one thing about a scaremaze is it doesn’t last very long, it can be anything between a couple of minutes up to about 15  minutes, the key here is that if you don’t like it, you’re in a fairly big group for support and you make it through, either screaming or with your eyes shut and you know that it will be over soon.

In May we’ll be staying in the UK’s first all-night “Scare-room” a hotel with a very disturbing past, where actors will spend the night doing everything they can to terrify us. At any point we can hang a do not disturb sign on the door but we’re hoping to make it till dawn. Again you’ll be able to follow our live updates via facebook and twitter.

I have till September to train for the half marathon which seems like a mammoth task at the moment, but feels like a milestone which I’m eager to achieve in a respectable time.

Market Drayton Half Marathon takes place on Sunday 8th May

Scarerooms at Scarecon takes place on May 12th (Check Here For Full Details)

Liverpool Mersey Tunnel 10k is happening on Sunday 12th June

Lake Vyrnwy Half Marathon is on Sunday September 11th

If youre about on any of the above days don’t forget to come and cheer me on … could really do with the encouragement.

If any of you would like to sponsor me for Lake Vyrnwy then please click the link below :)


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