Juneathon Day 17: the one with a late lunch and spot of half marathon planning

Good morning and happy Tuesday. Trains permitting, I’ll be in the office squinting at my laptop screen when this blog is published. If I’m having a really good day, my new work phone will have been delivered.

Juneathon Day 17 got off to a positive start as I’d remembered to switch off my 05:30 alarm. This meant that I didn’t wake up until 08:30 so I started my Monday feeling like I’d wasted most of the morning.

I spent most of what was left of the morning sorting out some of the clutter that had been dumped in the loft.

I’m known as a bit of a hoarder, so I found throwing away my wage slips from 1996 hard. I ended up keeping my first ‘proper’ wage slip; my hourly rate in March was £3.63. I also made myself recycle some of the journal articles I didn’t get round to reading during my PhD, throw away a pile of Size 8 clothes I’ll never be able to squeeze into again, a couple of giant rucksacks from my backpacking days, and six pairs of trainers. I’ve no idea why I kept all my old trainers but parting with them was quite emotional.

As I needed someone with a car to help me transport the five black bags of unwanted clothes and trainers I’d filled to the local clothes and shoe bank, I convinced my friend to drive me to Mere Green. He was reluctant to start with, but I managed to bribe him with the promise of a free lunch at the restaurant of his choice.

I was a little surprised when my friend opted for Bistrot Pierre, last time we ate there he did nothing but complain about the service and the food. Luckily for me, the service was faultless and the food tasted amazing. It’s a good job my half marathon training plan starts tomorrow.

The rest of my Monday afternoon went something like this; nap, ironing, emails, blogmin, and then a spot of West Indies v Bangladesh in the ICC World Cup. Following a small evening snack, I sat down and drafted out a training plan which will hopefully get me to the start of the Lake Vyrnwy Half in one piece. My target autumn race was originally going to be the Snowdonia Marathon in October. I’ve now accepted that attempting to train for an undulating marathon would be stupid.

If you know of anyone who needs a place in the Snowdonia Marathon please let me know. Entries are transferable until the end of September.

Random photos from Day 17

I could get used to eating out on a Monday, Bistrot Pierre was lovely and peaceful, I could actually hear what my friend was saying 🙂

Having said that, I was slightly disappointed mussels weren’t an option on the lunch menu. If I want mussels, I’ll have to book a table in the evening.

Best thing spotted on the Internet on Day 17

With apologies for a work related tweet.

Drought myths #2: Droughts only happen in the summer

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 16.5 km*

Are you a bit of a hoarder or are you good at throwing things away? I kind of hope that I’m not the only person who hangs onto things just in case.

Do you know of anyone looking for a place in the Snowdonia Marathon? If you do, please let them know I have an entry I won’t be able to use.   

* This will hopefully start to increase as my Lake Vyrnwy half marathon training plan starts tomorrow.

Juneathon Day 16: the one with far, far too much housework for a Sunday

Good afternoon, sorry for publishing two blogs in one day. Normal service will soon resume. I’ve not been in the office today so I’ve been ticking off loads on my ‘things to do list’.

So, what did I get up to on Day 16 of Juneathon? Not much, so this Juneathon update will be shorter than usual.

I spent the morning blitzing the house; it took me well over an hour to dust and vacuum every room, where on earth does all the dust come from? Vacuuming completed, I spent far too long cleaning the bathroom before finally tackling the kitchen. I can guarantee that it will be a mess again next weekend.

Clean House Injured Runner

[Source]

Housework complete, I spent a little too long watching India take on Pakistan in the ICC World Cup. The atmosphere in Manchester looked amazing; it’s just a shame the weather had such an impact on what could well turn out to be the match of the tournament.

Highlights (?) of my evening included an hour of Diamond League athletics, an episode of Holby City and some FleaBay related admin. Not the most interesting Sunday ever but after a hectic week or so probably just what I needed.

Random photos from Day 16

I could have taken some before and after housework photos but the ‘before’ photos would have been embarrassingly bad.

Best thing spotted on the Internet on Day 16

I’m such an old fart I can actually remember a fair amount of the Barcelona Olympics. Although Sally Gunnell was my hero, this clip still has the ability to make me quite emotional.

In my humble opinion, this clip shows what fatherhood is all about.

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 16.5 km

Healthier eating and drinking update and BWT Magnesium Mineralized Water jug review

I hope that everyone had an amazing weekend; my weekend was a little gloomy at times as I said a final farewell to Wallingford.

As it’s a few weeks since I published my wake-up call post I thought I’d share a progress report on my healthier eating and drinking.

If you’ve been following my Juneathon updates you will have noticed that pubs and restaurants have featured quite heavily. I made the decision to enjoy my final week living and working in Wallingford. I didn’t want to turn down any opportunities; I may not get to visit some of these pubs and restaurants again.The Wallingford dietSo, although my attempts at improving my diet have clearly been a bit of a fail, I have been making a real effort to increase my fluid intake. And by fluid I mean water and not just Diet Coke, beer and red wine! I’m going to review a water jug with a difference I’ve been testing. I hope that you all enjoy reading the review and find it useful.

BWT Magnesium Mineralized Water jug review

As a hydrologist and runner, when I received an email entitled ‘Magnesium Mineralized Water’ I opened it as I to be completely honest, I wondered what the point of mineralized water was. The email was from the PR coordinator for BWT UK; Europe’s number 1 water technology company and asked if I’d be interested in testing and reviewing a BWT Magnesium Mineralized Water jug and filter. As always, I did a spot of research before saying yes.

Rather embarrassingly for a hydrologist, I only had a vague idea of how much water or other fluids I should be drinking a day. When I was researching the recommended fluid intake for overweight females aged 40, I found quite a lot of conflicting information. Some sites recommended six glasses of fluid a day, some 10 glasses a day – I’m not sure my bladder would cope – and some 6-8 glasses a day.

I opted to go with the NHS recommendation:

Your body needs water or other fluids to work properly and to avoid dehydration. That’s why it’s important to drink enough fluids. In climates such as the UK’s, we should drink about 1.2 litres (six to eight glasses) of fluid every day to stop us getting dehydrated.  In hotter climates, the body needs more than this. We also get some fluid from the food we eat.

I decided to aim for around eight glasses which I believe equates to around 2 litres of water a day. I think it’s safe to say that when the BWT Magnesium Mineralized Water jug arrived in the post and I started using it, I instantly increased my daily water (and magnesium) intake. Rather conveniently, the jug holds 2.7 litres of water, so I knew that if I worked my way through most of the jug I would meet my daily water target.

Before I attempt to describe the jug and the review process, I thought I’d share a bit more information about magnesium.

Why is Magnesium so important to athletes?

People who actively take part in sports or physical exercises on a daily basis often have a greater need for minerals and magnesium is essential for normal muscle function. For every litre you sweat you lose approximately 36 mg of magnesium – a mineral that we can often be deficient in.BWT bannerBWT provide a wealth of information about the importance of magnesium and a whole range of tips for the optimum supply of magnesium on their website here so I won’t repeat them.

The BWT Penguin 2.7l Magnesium Mineralized Water Filter Jug

I’m not sure I can write an essay about a water jug and filter and all of the information is available on BWT’s website, so I’ll stick to sharing what I think are the key points.BWT penguin water filter jugAccording to BWT’s website, all of their Magnesium Mineralized water filters use patent protected magnesium technology which exchanges calcium ions for magnesium ions. This reduces the pH level more than other water filters, creating magnesium-enriched water which tastes delicious and improves the flavour of the drinks and meals prepared using it.

Main features of the Penguin 2.7l water jug include:

  • Easy control LDC display which provides a visual reminder of when to change the filter
  • Designed so that it fits inside most standard fridge doors
  • Easy to fill with no need to remove the lid
  • Dishwasher safe (with the exception of the lid)
  • Cartridges last 28 days (or 120 litres)
  • Total capacity of 2.7 litres (filtered water capacity of 1.5 litres)

The review process

The review process was straightforward as the water jug and filter came with a detailed, fully illustrated instruction manual. As I didn’t want to cause any issues with the filtering system, I made sure that I followed the instructions in the manual before using the water jug for the first time.BWT Penguin jug pouringAlthough it took me a while to clean the various components of the water filtering system, the instructions were reasonably easy-to-follow. The only slight problem I encountered was trying to work out if the water jug I’d been sent was a Model A or Model B. Fortunately, with the aid of Google I sussed it out in the end and I was up and running so to speak.

The Verdict

I’ve owned a few water filter jugs, and the BWT jug was definitely one of the easiest to set up. It also fits inside the door of my fridge which meant that I could enjoy chilled water.

I love the fact that by using filtered tap water I’m cutting down on my use of disposable plastic water bottles. In the past, I’ve been guilty of popping into the local shop and buying the cheapest bottle of water I could find. Although I always recycled my plastic water bottles, I could have made more effort to reduce my plastic use. I’ve been using the filtered water to fill up my reusable water bottle; this bottle travels with me to and from the office and whenever I travel anywhere. I’m pretty sure that once I get back into some sort of running routine, I’ll be using water from the BWT water jug to dilute my hydration tablets.

So, would I recommend the BWT Magnesium Mineralized Water Filter Jug? Yes, I think one of the biggest positives is that the magnesium-enriched water didn’t actually taste of anything. Had the filtered water tasted what I call chemically, I can pretty much guarantee that I would have gone back to buying bottled water.

The full range of BWT Magnesium Mineralised Water jugs and filters are available from BWT with prices starting at £19.99.

**Full disclosure: BWT sent me a 2.7 litre penguin Magnesium Mineralized Water jug and filter in return for an honest review. The infographics and some of the photographs in this review were taken from BWT’s website. As always all opinions are my own**

Juneathon Day 15: the one with the final farewell, Crazy Bear Club sandwich and torrential rain

Good morning, I hope you are having a good weekend. What happened to the sunshine? I’ve noticed that in Four Oaks it tends to be sunny enough first thing to wake me up and get me out of bed. The sun then waits until I’ve had a shower and then disappears. I suspect I’m over thinking this as it’s not like the sun knows what I’m doing.

Anyway, back to yesterday and the halfway stage of Juneathon 2019. I’ve no idea why, but I woke up feeling really tense with this horrible feeling that something bad was going to happen. It’s hard to explain but it wasn’t a great feeling and I almost postponed the trip down to Wallingford. Looking back, I think I was feeling stressed because I hate motorways and was about to spend a couple of hours on the M42 and M40.

We set off at 09:30 and after a relatively straightforward journey, reached Wallingford a couple of hours later. I didn’t spend too long collecting all my belongings together as my friend was feeling peckish and to be honest I just wanted to say my final goodbyes and leave. We decided to stop off for lunch before we reached the M40 and after a couple of ‘false starts’ found ourselves at this place in Stadhampton.

My first ‘proper ‘job was working as a waitress in a busy restaurant so I get that it can be a shitty job at times and that we all have bad days. Unfortunately, the lady who took our order was so rude to my friend I had bite my tongue. My Crazy Bear Club sandwich and Curiosity Cola both tasted great, but our lunch was slightly ruined by the attitude of the female member of staff. I didn’t add a tip to the bill when asked.

The journey back up to Four Oaks was quite stressful as we encountered some torrential rain near the M40-M42 junction. We left the M42 and then encountered more torrential rain on the outskirts of Sutton Coldfield. I don’t think I’ve ever been so pleased to make it back to Four Oaks. Travelling by train between Oxford and Four Oaks was a pain in the arse but it meant I didn’t have to spend my Friday afternoons on a motorway. The journey also reinforced my decision to travel by train to my new office in Solihull. On a quiet day it took 40 minutes to reach the junction for Solihull.

In an ideal world, I would have spent the afternoon/evening unpacking and sorting through my Wallingford clutter. This unfortunately didn’t happen as I had to travel across Birmingham – via TK Maxx – for a violin lesson. I definitely slept quite well!

Random photos from Day 15

Rather predictable, but thanks to the traffic lights I managed to capture a photo of what I hope isn’t my final trip across Wallingford Bridge.

I also took some photos during lunch and a photo when I was trying to keep calm on the M42.

Best thing spotted on the Internet on Day 15

Not the best thing but the most interesting thing. If you haven’t already read this Holly Bradshaw interview then please do.

It’s a shame that Nike are doing their utmost to ensure that people like me don’t go near their kit in future.

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 16.5 km

Would you ever consider boycotting a brand? Although I own quite a lot of Nike running gear, I don’t think I’ll be heading to Niketown next time I’m in London.

Juneathon Day 14: the one with some much-needed sleep, a run and a spot of admin

Good morning.  When this blog is published I will hopefully be en route to Wallingford. I am little disappointed I couldn’t make my local parkrun as I was invited to take part in a photo shoot. Hopefully there will be other opportunities. The people of Birmingham need to see my cheesy grin and double chin.

After a discussion with my line manager earlier this week – I haven’t taken much leave this year and quite honestly I need a break – I was told I could book Friday and Monday off. After a bit of a lie in, I got out of bed on day 14 of Juneathon feeling refreshed and ready for a productive day. Well that was the plan. Friday got off to a slightly surreal start when I opened the kitchen door and discovered that a baby blue tit had been trapped in the kitchen overnight. Trying to get the bird outside proved to be quite tricky, I hope it survives its ordeal.

I spent most of the morning tackling the mountain of washing that had built up, some housework and some blog related emails. I also attempted to progress a couple of my side hustles. Last month, I set myself the aim of making running self-sufficient. I’m making good progress towards the £140 I need to sign up for a Leadership in Running Fitness course.

Following what felt like a productive morning – so much for a relaxing day off – I decided to head out for a lunchtime run. I mistakenly thought Four Oaks would be reasonably quiet as the weather was grim. I was wrong and ended up playing dodge the pedestrian a few times. Still, it felt good to pull on my trainers. I just wish my right knee would behave itself.

I spent the afternoon working on a guest blog post, working on the seemingly never-ending academic paper I wrote with Geoff and catching up on Casualty and Holby City. I also plucked up the courage to take the swab sample I need for the DNAfitkit I bought myself. I now need to remember to put the sample in the post!

My Friday evening was what I’d describe as dull so I won’t waffle on any more. Tomorrow (well today!) has the potential to be quite emotional as I’m heading down to Wallingford to collect the rest of my belongings.

Random photos from Day 14

ENGvWI cricketSwab kit

Best thing spotted on the internet on Day 14

I found this interview with Paul Gardener really interesting and hope that you do too.

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 16.5 km

Have you completed a Leadership in Running Fitness course? If you have, did you find it useful?

Would you find a blog about the results of my DNAfitkit interesting? I’m going to do my best to find the time to write up the results once I’ve worked out how to interpret them.

Juneathon Day 13: the one with a lie in, meeting and trip to BrewDog in Birmingham

I’m writing this after a fun filled post-meeting couple of hours in Birmingham. One of the few perks of living in Birmingham is getting to have a lie in on the day of National meetings. Much as I felt some sympathy for my colleagues based a long way from Birmingham, I appreciated the extra sleep.

Getting to the meeting on Broad Street was quite difficult. Large areas of the centre of Birmingham are a giant building site. Broad Street was one of the busiest roads in Birmingham; it’s currently closed to traffic due to the expansion of the tram network. I’m looking forward to seeing how the area around Paradise Circus looks once the road and building works are complete.

The meeting was useful as I got to talk to a lot of hydrologists I hadn’t met before. My organisation likes to call it networking; I just call it talking and sharing ideas. Lunch was slightly ‘unusual’ and by the time the meeting finished I was feeling quite peckish.

I had already arranged to head out for a couple of pints with one of my ex-Wallingford colleague, so we left the meeting and headed to BrewDog in Birmingham. I decided to walk from Broad Street and past the Library of Birmingham. I hope my colleague enjoyed my guided tour of Birmingham. The walk was slightly ruined by the actions of a charity collector we walked past. His attitude was so bad – we didn’t appreciate being called selfish c**ts – I decided to contact the charity via social media.

Now although I’m from Birmingham, I don’t actually travel into the centre of Birmingham much. I had a vague idea of the location of BewDog but wasn’t 100% certain. Luckily for my reputation as a Brummie we found it and also found somewhere to sit.

After a couple of pints we both sensibly decided to head somewhere to eat. We both felt like a burger and chips so I suggested Five Guys in Birmingham New Street. This would allow us to grab something to eat while keeping an eye on the trains. I had heard rumours that Five Guys is a bit of a rip-off; I didn’t expect a portion of chips to cost £5.25 and a hamburger £6.95. The food tasted great and actually filled me up, but I think I’ll stick to McD’s if I ever need a post-drink takeaway.

The rest of Day 13 involved a slightly emotional ‘goodbye’ on Platform 10, a delayed train due to trespassers and an early night. Once again, it didn’t involve any running, however, during the day I did walk more than six miles.

Random photos from Day 13

I think that these free water fountains at Birmingham New Street are such a great idea.Free waterBrewDog

I also love BrewBog 🙂

Best thing spotted on the internet on Day 13

Now that I’m living back I’m Birmingham I’m making more of an effort to get to know my home city. At the moment, I don’t really know many people so I hope that by

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 11.3 km

How well do you know your ‘home’ city? I hope I’m not the only person who doesn’t know their home city that well. It’s hard to keep up with the constant changes in Birmingham.

Have you ever encountered a rude charity collector? I get that the job isn’t going to be a lot of fun, but at the end of the day this person was representing a charity.

Juneathon Day 12: the one with more rain, four hour telecon and a headache

I managed to mess up my scheduling – it’s time I knew the difference between 10:00 and 22:00 – so this is a little later than originally planned.

I’m sure you’ll all be pleased to know that I’ve sussed out my optimal morning train; the 06:32 to Birmingham New Street was six carriages long and was virtually empty. If the train from Birmingham Moor Street to Solihull runs on time – it didn’t this morning – I’ll be in the office for 07:30. I just need to refine my morning routine, get used to heading to bed before midnight, and then I’m sure I’ll feel less shattered.

I had a difficult morning, not due to work issues but because my vision started to feel weird, at one stage I couldn’t read what was on my screen. Having to sit through a four hour telecom probably didn’t help as I wasn’t able to top up my water bottle. It’s been a while since I last had a migraine; I guess that the stresses of the last couple of weeks finally caught up with me.  I just hope that this was a one-off. I don’t really want a repeat of what happened last time; at one stage I was experiencing visual disturbances and headaches almost every day.

Unfortunately, eating lunch and making sure that I drank a lot of water didn’t do much to ease my headache. When typing became challenging and the flashing lights and zigzags got worse, I decided to call it a day. I took my work laptop home with me so that I could respond to some important(ish) emails when my headache cleared up.

I got home, dumped my bags and headed straight to bed for a lie down. I must have been far more tired than I realised as I woke up four hours later feeling a million times better. I made myself something to eat and then headed back to bed. Not the most productive of evenings of evenings but my head gave me no choice but to rest.

Random photos from Day 12

I found myself getting soaked on the way into the office for the second day in a row. I’ve no idea what has happened to summer 2019.

If you ever find yourself travelling between Birmingham and London, definitely travel from Birmingham Moor Street. The station is far less stressful than Birmingham New Street.

Best thing spotted on the Internet on Day 12

This tweet reminded me about The Oatmeal.

If you haven’t checked out The Oatmeal then definitely take a look. This is one of my favourite running related cartoons.

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 11.3 km