Mindblown on 3rd Jan 2018

OMGOK, thanks to a lot of wonderful people the total raised for CLAPA has just gone through £2,000. I don’t know what to say…at the beginning of 2017 I’d only hoped for £100…Thank you… I’m opening the wine NOW!

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Day 365 Mile 365: Fun At The End “I’m not good at many things in life but I am a fair hand at drinking tea” (It’s Not Tea)

20171231_110656-01.jpegDay 365 Mile 365: Fun At The End “I’m not good at many things in life but I am a fair hand at drinking tea” (It’s Not Tea). Well! today is the last day of the year and brings this challenge to an end. I can now say that I have run at least a mile everyday this year, for me, and to raise money for the Cleft Lip and Palate Association. Between everyone over  £1.5k has been raised, so far beyond the £100 I was hoping to get that I cant articulate my feeling properly. I woke up this morning to a wonderful tweeted thanks from CLAPA which was a terrific suprise and is watchable here. CLAPA link

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This year’s running finished as it started, a mile along Penmaenmawr Prom but this time it was a little different 🙂
I went for a run along the prom,  or rather we went for a run along the prom.

‘Start line’ photo courtesy of Sue Meredith and Jayelle Neal.

I was joined by family and friends for a cheerful run; from the slipway out to the gate that marks the start of the cycle path at the end of the skatepark and back. It wasn’t fast but it was glorious, and there was bubbly in plastic glasses secreted by the sailing club to finish.

In the the middle of all of this wonderfulness it has given me cause to look back over the year. I have met some astounding people and learned a lot about myself and the world around me. What amazes me most is the level of support which has been forthcoming from family, friends and strangers alike. This includes all the emotional shouldering, the cake, the financial sponsorship, the press coverage, the tea making, the motorbike and car servicing, the counselling over a pint in The Full Moon, and the race home for chocolate. Oh yes, by the way the quote in the title is from Guy Martin, but that isn’t important at this juncture. What is important is….

THANK YOU ALL!

It’s hard to wrap my head around all the stuff; good and bad. There has been sublime, outstanding, heart-rending beauty, and the downright gut wrenching fucked up shit which has happened this year. I apologise for the language but it is appropriate, (that, and I’ve been reading a lot of Alan Moore and Chaucer!). It is hard not to conflate this year’s life with its running. So, a few thoughts spring to mind in bullet points to save writing a book:

  • Firstly I feel better physically and mentally than I could possibly have hoped to have been had I not done this.
  • While running clears the head I’m not altogether sure if has done my mind good it can make everything a bit faster and more urgent.
  • It is hard to figure out where the line is between doing something to do good for yourself and others and where that turns into being a bit needy.
  • Simply sticking at something can make you better at it, due to consistency, you end up more physically and psychologically adapted and more aware of how to do something.
  • There are corners and history to be found in places you so often ignore.
  • It is fascinating physically engaging with the history, geology, culture and legends of a landscape. I’ve gained a completely different understanding, where events and people’s move on trajectories in an evolving theatre of glacial slowness and inexorability. At times it is as if everything and nothing is happening concurrently with different layers of narrative and motion flowing through the space.
  • People make a lot of assumptions based on appearance and smile and wave if you are not wearing sunglasses.
  • I will never be a super-fast runner but then again neither are 99.9% of the population of the world!
  • The internet is a weird thing. As far as doing something you care about it is really odd, at times the web can provide massive publicity and feedback, at others it can be a heart breaker as something you care about doesn’t even scratch the surface but tweeting about seeing sweetcorn in your poo seems to get a billion likes.
  • Do stuff because you want to do it, but sometimes you need to build infrastructure around it to legitimize the effort and the diversion of resources into it.
    Running is hard, but writing is harderer.
  • Swapping trousers for running shorts while sat in the car behind the wheel will always leave me slightly suspecting I’m about to be arrested for public indecency at any moment.

Here are a few numbers from the year for those who like that sort of thing:

  • 365 days later
  • Roughly 505 miles down the road and 55500 ft. of elevation climbed. Alternatively that could be approximately 4750 calories burned, 700000 paces or 350000 breaths!
  • In that time I have engaged with…. two canine companions, three twisted ankles, numerous pairs of socks, four races, 33 Parkruns… and a partridge in a pear tree.

There are a few people who I should mention especially for the help and inspiration that they have been, folk who I have run alongside (or behind) during this year, apologies for anyone I may have left out.

Alena Grace ‘Rabbit’ Wright
Blippy Emma
Humphrey the bungee dog
Pete ‘Duck’ Jones
Chris Williams and little Tom
Linda Knight
Laura the Purple Plodder
Han Prosser
Dan T
Fran Psychology
Phil the Vet
Diane SENRGy and her woofage
Charles with the surnames
Mum

Thanks to celebrities (actual celebrities! in chronological order) who have helped promote this ridiculous adventure too, its a bit of a list of people!

Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne (motorcycle road racer, the only person in history to win the British Superbike Championship 5 times)
Dafydd Elis-Thomas (Welsh Assembly Member and politician, officially ‘Baron Elis-Thomas of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council’)
Niel Gaiman (author and researcher)
Alan Hinkes (mountaineer, 1st Briton to have climbed all 14 8,000 metre peaks)
Cerys Matthews  (musician and broadcaster)
Kate Rusby (English folk singer)

I ran a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.

Distance: 1655.5 meters recorded

(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)

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All that remains to say is: thank you, it was fun 🙂

Today’s earworm, not quite the version most people are used to, but somehow feels right 🙂

In memoriam Bryan Wright and Tegwyn Jones

Day 364 Mile 364: An Invitation – “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like [Cat]mas”

Day 364 Mile 364: An Invitation – “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like [Cat]mas”. I’m sure we are not the only family who goes to see relatives at Christmas and then has another micro-Christmas when they get home, largely for the benefit of pets and a bit of fun. 

Sadly we are cat and dogless as a houshold this year, but the tradition still holds good, so here is to Catmus (aka. Christmas Round 2). I’d better waste no more time writing, except to say that if anyone fancies joining me for the last mile I’ll be starting at the Penmaenmawr Sailing Club and going along the prom starting at 10:30 31/12/17. Everyone is welcome and I can’t stress enough that this is not necessarily a ‘fast’ run, this is an all inclusive run/walk/toddle thing, go at whatever pace suits it’d just be great to see people there! 🙂

For those who want a Facebook event page for it, here you are! Facebook link 

I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.

Distance: 1983.9 meters recorded

(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)

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Thanks as ever for all the support!

Ed

Day 363 Mile 363: Three (days remaining!) Is A Magic Number

Day 363 Mile 363: Three (days remaining!) Is A Magic Number. Yes that’s right, there are three days of the year left and that means I’m only 3 days, or three miles away from completing the challenge of running at least 1 mile daily in 2017.

Capture

Today I went doodling with the sat-nav. It is a bit of a hoot and makes you explore places you may not of thought of.

It’s a wonderful hurtling descent with a rainbow over the sea which coalesced into a hailstorm at about 0.5 miles through. This somewhat added to the feeling of a titanic last hurah as the last serious days of running gradually draw to a close. What jolly jolly fun!

I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.

Distance: 1881.1 meters recorded

(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)

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Thanks as ever for all the support!

Ed

It could only be one earworm really for today!

Day 362 Mile 362: “Always remember, Frodo, the Ring is trying to get back”… No, Really!

Day 362 Mile 362: “Always remember, Frodo, the Ring is trying to get back”… No Really! Charles Walter Smith (below) is my maternal great great grandfather, and was born in 1838.
It is one of those weird arcs of serendipity or narrative, that during my time at university (roughly 250 miles from where I grew up) I moved into a village on the coast, where, unknown to me Charles and several other members of his (and by extension my) family had lived well over a century ago!

charles-wlater-smith.jpg

They used to reside in, and run a farm, barely 10 minutes’ walk away from where I now live. Although it is hard to pinpoint precisely which building it would have been, as over time boundaries and buildings shift, change and are rebuilt and extended. The road he lived on and the fields along with most of the buildings are still there so I can give it a pretty good guess.

My Dad used to wear Charles Smith’s singet ring (CWS monogram in reverse on the photo as a sealing stamp) and since he passed away earlier this year it has come to me.
There is something wonderfully super-symetrical about the circle of a ring from around 1850, owned originally by Charles Walter Smith being eventually inherited by Edward Charles Wright about 160 years later. In that time it has travelled through numerous countries and now comes to reside less than 10 minutes walk from where its first owner lived.

Tonight’s run is tough. I’ve driven over 250 miles today on the way back from Christmas visitations and I can tell. It’s probably just excessive turkey though! It is late, clear and is forecast to be the coldest night of the year. There is a wonderful feeling in being out under the star’s and able to see so many constellations. Orion now visible out of his summer hide away  the mountains seems to jump at a jaunty angle and click his heels together mid hop in a very music hall kind of way. Running along the top road its directly over Charles’ fields and no doubt a view and re-affirmation of winter he would have been only to familiar with

It all makes my head spin a little, as well as making me feel like a very small link in a long chain, with the weight of custodianship thrown in.

If this year of running has made me more aware of anything it is the layers of history, narrative and culture that ripple out across the landscape like so many mist inscribed projector transparencies.

It would just be rude not to take it for a run past his old front door wouldn’t it!?

I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.

Distance: 3096.2 meters recorded

(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)

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Thanks as ever for all the support!

Ed

Day 361 Mile 361: Hundslappadrífa – 500 Miles in an Unexpected Snowstorm

Day 361 Mile 361: Hundslappadrífa – 500 Miles in an Unexpected Snowstorm. So, while running at least a mile a day for this year, the odds and ends have added up and today’s jaunt sees the counter click over the 500 mile mark. This may have been cause to attempt a super fast (by my standards) celebratory mile but the weather has clearly had other ideas.

Having seen the news last night and been aware of the slim chance of some sleet the world this morning is a blanket of white. We are visiting my Mum and her dog Humphrey has accompanied me on my last few runs, he is very excited about the snow today.

Hundslappadrífa is an almost untranslatable Icelandic word which roughly means ‘snowflakes as big as dog’s paws, which cover ground as quickly’, given my running companion today I couldn’t think of anything more apt!

It is a wonderful if slow and slithery run, in places the snow and wind has brought down trees overnight, and in others the blanket of white hides puddles which, an incautious foot fall soon discovers to be often shin deep in ice cold mud-water.
It is great to be out, I am sure the cold weather brings out nice people too, although there are fewer of them about they are universally friendly,waving below their gloves and hats and producing gouts of steam by way of a greeting.

What jolly unexpected fun!

I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.

Distance: 3208.8 meters recorded

(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)

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Thanks as ever for all the support!

Ed

Very silly earworm for today 🙂

Day 360 Mile 360: Boxing Day Pudding and New Socks


Day 360 Mile 360: Boxing Day Pudding and New Socks. At the other end of the village where I grew up is a trio of rocks called ‘The Pudding Stones’. As a child I had climbed about on them and just from their rubbly appearance meant they were leftover building detritus which one had figured out how to tidy away. With a few more years of learning things it turns out this was not the case at all and that they were something pretty unique. So today’s run took me out to go and take a look from a more informed perspective.

Hertfordshire Puddingstone is a conglomerate sedimentary rock composed of rounded flint pebbles cemented together by a younger matrix of silica quartz. The distinctive rock is largely confined to the English county of Hertfordshire but small amounts occur throughout the London Basin. A fracture runs across both the pebbles and the sandy matrix as both have equal strength unlike concrete where the pebbles remain whole and a fracture occurs only in the matrix. Like other puddingstones, it derives its name from the manner in which the embedded flints resemble the plums in a Christmas pudding.

The flints were eroded from the surrounding chalk beds roughly 56 million years ago in the Eocene epoch and were transported by water action to beaches, where they were rounded by wave erosion and graded by size. A lowering of sea levels drew out silica from surrounding rocks into the water immersing the flint pebbles. Further drying precipitated the silica which hardened around the pebbles, trapping them in the matrix.

Hertfordshire puddingstone was credited in local folklore with several supernatural powers, including being a protective charm against witchcraft. Parish records from the village of Aldenham relate that in 1662 a woman suspected of having been a witch was buried with a piece of it laid on top of her coffin to prevent her from escaping after burial. In living memory a piece of Pudding Stone was given to a bride and groom, possibly as a fertility symbol. Its supposed magical powers gave it the names of woe stone, hag stone or witch stone. It was also called grow stone or breeding stone because of a related belief that it could multiply itself.

Two of the three village puddingstones once marked the entrance to the local Iron Age fort, now the entrance to the church. It is thought that they were moved from there in about 1905 because the then Lord of the Manor, Henry Turner, believed that, as pagan symbols, they were inappropriate and decided that beside the cricket pitch was a far better idea! The third stone, was dug out of a nearby clay pit, by HG Matthews, the local brickworks in Bellingdon and added to its brethren on the common.

Today is cold and clear with a skim of ice across the northern crest of the ridge. Although it looks like t-shirt weather it is certainly cold on the fingers. The few people who are out are cheering with happy calls of ‘Morning’ and ‘running of the turkey?’ In-spite of it being before 10am. the smell of the lighting of winter barbecue is already rising from behind the hedge of the village pub making ready to feed locals, visitors, horse-riders and undoubtedly the occasional dog as well.

20171226_092348-01.jpegOn a not unrelated note I was given some running socks by my family for Christmas (i.e. yesterday). While under normal circumstances I would have scoffed at socks as a gift almost on the level of a lump of coal for someone who lives near a wood, they were brilliant. Thank you 🙂

I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.

Distance: 2291.8 meters recorded

(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)

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Thanks as ever for all the support!

Ed