March 2010

Tuesday 10 March 2010

So I did my presentation for the John Logie Baird award and I am unsure of what the panel made of it. There was plenty of smiles and they certainly liked the look of the Wobbly Williams jelly which I took in for them but when I had finished they had very few questions. I have sat on these panels before as a judge and, generally speaking, no questions is not a good sign. The person who knows whether or not I have won is Gayle who runs with us at the weekend. She remained tightlipped!

Saturday’s run was huge. We took the train to Balloch, on the edge of Loch Lomond, and ran back to Anniesland, not far from Glasgow city centre. It turned out to be 17.5 miles. Comfortably the furthest I have ever run and apart from the last mile it went very smoothly. Running is amazing, I have driven to Balloch many times and I did not know of the path which runs through the fields near the road or what it was like to pass under the Erskine Bridge or the beauty of the Bowling canal basin on a sunny morning. It is a beautiful run. And a bloody long way. I was quite emotional when we finished, I am going to do this. To celebrate, Karen and I went for an enormous breakfast in Morrison’s. 3000 calories burnt in 3 hours, all regained in 15 minutes.

Surprisingly, my foot from Dystonia has been behaving itself better over the last few days. This is something I can’t explain. It was as bad as it has ever been on Saturday at the end of the long run, but has been entirely absent on the two runs since then. I have not had a run without the effects of my bendy foot for a very long time. It was very pleasant.

The plans for the Wobbly Banquet are going well, I am seeing the venue next week however a sneak preview is available here. When the Wobbly Banquet is in this room, it will look entirely different. I cannot wait.

Tomorrow I turn 39, still far too young to have this disease. On Friday it is the awards ceremony and Saturday I head off to Silverstone for a half marathon around the race track. How cool will that be?

Tuesday 16 March 2010

I was surprised at how disappointed I was not to win the John Logie Baird award. It was only on the day itself that I realised just how much I wanted to win it. I knew it was a long shot but I put my heart into it and was gutted when I didn’t. The blues lasted for most of Saturday which, for me, is unusually long.

Steve Ford, the chief executive of the PDS, was in Scotland for a meeting in Stirling and it was good to meet him for the first time. We spent some time on Friday and Saturday talking about Parkinson’s and the role of the PDS. I have been no great fan of the PDS since I was diagnosed, but in Steve there is a passionate man in charge who can make a difference in the fight find a cure.

On Sunday, Karen and I ran the Silverstone half marathon. It is great fun, or at least as much fun as running 13 miles around a race track in trainers with wet weather soles, when slicks would be more appropriate, can be. The course was a lap of the Formula One track (3 miles) followed by 7 miles around the outer ring road and on other circuits, and finished off with a further lap of the Formula One track in the opposite direction. We completed the first lap in 33 minutes and the final lap in under 31 minutes, presumably due to carrying less fuel towards the end of the race. However, rather disappointingly, there was no chequered flag finish or, more to the point, the chequered flag waver had got fed up and gone home by the time we arrived.

I have been having a good snigger in recent weeks because, for these races, ladies enter the veteran women’s category when they turn 35 whereas veteran men don’t start until 40. Therefore Karen is a veteran and I am merely a youngster despite being four years older than her. When the results came out, however, she rather smugly informed me that I had finished 3215th in my age category whereas she was 209th in hers, despite finishing with the same time.

The comforting thing about Silverstone was seeing the bodies of the other competitors sprawled around the track as we serenely set another lap record to finish the race. Most of the competitors at Silverstone will also be running in the London marathon and all things considered we finished in good shape. The training is on schedule. This Saturday it is 19 miles so I shall be fairly terrified for the rest of the week!

Finally, I need some material for a speech. I have been asked by my golf club, Douglas Park, to proposed the toast to golf at this year’s Past Captain’s dinner. So if anybody has any amusing golf and Parkinson’s related stories, whether fact or fiction, then please let me know. Soon. Email here.


I have upset a number of people over the last few days with remarks I made on a forum concerning awareness raising and the new branding of the PDS. Whilst I would rather bury my head in the sand, a number of people will tune into this blog to read what I write. Whilst I stand by everything I said in my post, I misjudged my audience and I apologise unreservedly for anybody I offended or upset. I have learnt a lesson not to post on forums on a whim and when I do, choose my words a bit more carefully.

Tuesday 23 March 2010

My feet have been blessed with the arrival of further evidence of my athletic prowess, a black toenail. The second toe on my left foot looks like it has frostbite and will soon part company with its toenail. I laugh in the face of adversity, toenails are significantly overrated. As far as I’m concerned the less nails you have to cut the better. I was advised to buy bigger shoes to prevent this happening again so I went onto the Achilles Heel website and discovered my preferred shoe was in a sale. The shoes come in three colours; red, blue and orange. The sale price presumably reflected the popularity of these colours. The red shoes were £10 off at £70, the blue shoes were reduced to £40 and the orange ones were down to £20. My feet are normally size 12 so the next size up is size 13, a size which is verging on clown shoe territory. I decided that the colour did not matter, and, indeed, with orange shoes I could be a hit at children’s parties.

On Saturday the six of us who are running the London Marathon got together to run from Loch Lomond Shores (which you’ll be surprised to learn is on the edge of Loch Lomond) to Anniesland in Glasgow, a distance of 19 miles. Karen, Richard and I all ran together and it was a terrific run. Richard is on a different training program to us (one which avoids injury by not doing any running) which dictated he finished at the 16 miles. Karen and I ran on to 19. Every step after about 15 miles was painful but there was absolutely no question of stopping. The exhilaration at the finish was brilliant. I have never achieved anything as difficult as I did on Saturday morning. This weekend is the Liverpool Half Marathon, the third of our ten for the year and four weeks before London.

Late Saturday afternoon I went for a massage. Nothing seedy you understand, a sports massage. It was the first time I have had a massage, I have always been put off them by a masseur in Bali who stood beside the path between our hotel and the beach and took a fancy to me. Every time I passed he would grab hold of me and make a deep throaty rumble as he massaged my forearm. He was terrifying. He was terrifyingly strong. He must have been 80. So it was with a bit of trepidation I went into Graham’s window less, stuffy, little room. I hobbled in an old man and walked out a slightly younger man. On Sunday my legs felt perfect. Highly recommended.

This week my competitor number for the London marathon arrived, 53686, together with the final instructions and other exciting things for somebody who loves details like I do. There is a great picture of somebody urinating with the caption “Don’t wee in anybody’s garden”.

I am enjoying writing my speech for the captains dinner at the golf club. It is proving quite challenging, no doubt I will be a bag of nerves on the day but for now I am quite enjoying the challenge of writing a speech about golf with a Parkinson’s slant. I am trying to tell a story rather than stand and tell jokes because I am not very good at telling jokes and I think a story is a bit more compelling.

I am delighted Sir David Jones has joined, he will be a great addition and add a lots of readers to the website.

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