June 2010

Sunday 6 June 2010

I read with interest the article in the Daily Mail concerning the pensioner who set the fastest ever time for an over 65-year-old at the London marathon. He did this by taking a 10 mile shortcut. Where the course crosses London Bridge there is a section where the people at 13 miles are running in one direction and the 23 milers are running in the opposite. Apparently this gentleman hopped the fence.

This is cheating and cannot be compared to swapping your timing chip with somebody else. That is just a laugh. If, having completed the Great North Run in September 2009 in an official time of 1 hour 34 minutes (rather than my actual time of 2 hours 37 minutes), I had accepted an award such as “the fastest person with Parkinson’s” or “the fastest neurologically challenged competitor” or “the fastest male pin-up” then that would have been cheating. But I didn’t. Apparently there was no prizes handed out for being both quick and lacking in the brain cells department and, surprising as it may seem, there were a number of faster runners who could be considered more handsome than I am! Persumably measured on some arbitrary scale dreamt up by a substantially blind academic who spends too much time indoors. However, should such an award has been made I would have declined. In due course.

My symptoms have settled down again recently, I am on 16 mg of Requip XL per day and one Azilect tablet. I feel fragile at the moment, I have a lot on and I am very tired. However, the Wobbly Banquet has turned the corner with around 25 tables sold and more in the pipeline. We need to sell 40 tables to break even. It doesn’t make for peaceful sleeping! however, it now looks like we will be a sell-out and a great night is on the cards. Buy seats here!!

More than 20 people have expressed an interest in the Wobbly Walk for 2010. That is a terrific start for what is a lovely walk. All the usual suspects have signed up, with the exception of Bob who is running the Berlin Marathon that weekend. He will be missed, he has been with me on this adventure from the start and is a wise head who, like me, can’t sing. I will have to murder “Piano Man” on my own.

The fifth and sixth half marathons of the year have been completed. Campbeltown was a fantastic weekend, or would have been had Rebecca not spent the weekend puking and rushing for the toilet but not quite making it. There were 14 of us in Campbeltown and it was good craic. The highlight was running along the beach at the halfway point of the half marathon, a truly beautiful moment. The medal was made by Campbeltown pottery and is a cracker.

In contrast, the Stranraer half marathon was crap. I wasn’t in the best form having had a long and tiring week, I had not eaten or drunk properly and it was a 2 1/2 hour journey to get there. The race was at 11:30 and the sun was out. It was horrible. I felt pretty rough for most of the run and my misery was compounded by the village nutter cycling beside us for about 3 miles. He had a very high-pitched voice and babbled nonsense. At one point we managed a brief respite as a police car drove past, but within 30 seconds he was away again. A well placed use of the F-word saw him cycle off to annoy someone else at about 7 miles. At the 12 mile mark we met the policeman who had driven past us and he said “you managed to lose Squeaky than?”

The medal was cheap and crap, and I had to stop on the way home to be sick in the gutter. Not a good day.

Thursday 17 June 2010

Busy, busy, busy. June and July are the busiest months in the office. July will be spent at my desk, probably seven days a week, tidying up my practice for the end of our financial year. Every year it is the same. Vicky hates July. I am either at work and not answering my phone or at home and grumpy. She just ignores me. As with most years we are going away for the first two weeks in August.

With half an eye on the walk, WPC and Banquet, I am trying to get as much done in relation to them before the end of June. The planning is going well. The Banquet is heading for a sell out, about 34 of the 40 tables are paid for or earmarked. We have endorsements from Sir Michael Parkinson and Jonathan Edwards and the start of the PR campaign is next week. As sales are going well we can focus the PR campaign on raising awareness of the condition rather than encouraging people to attend the event. We can focus more on the message that this is not a disease of the elderly, it is a crippling and unforgiving disease, and there are many brave people standing up to it with a smile on our faces. We can’t choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we react (a sentiment nicked from a talk I heard by Chris Moon, need to make it a bit catchier!)

The Banquet isn’t the only press coverage we are getting at the moment. I have done an interview for the local press because of the Running Team’s involvement in the Glasgow 5k on Wednesday, and next week we are doing a photo call due to our participation in the Great Scottish Swim. 20 Wobbly Swimmers will swim a mile in Strathclyde Park in August. The photo call is with Olympic swimmer Mark Foster and involves all of us donning wetsuits and gadding about in an inflatable pool in George Square. Should be a laugh.

The final bit of press coverage was preceded by a moment of terror.

The phone rang.

“Hello. Bryn speaking”

“This is Kathleen from the News of the World”

Panic. What could it be? What have I done? Do I not wobble enough? Had our next door neighbour grassed on me for swearing at the guinea pigs last night?

She spoke again.

“Bryn?” I fleetingly thought about denying everything.

“Errrrr hello” I sounded so guilty.

“Lesley has nominated you for the News of the World Fundraiser of the Year award”. Lesley is my Admin. She used to be a great friend.

Anyway, Kathleen interrogated me and sent round a photographer to take pictures of me and my adorable guinea pigs. If I get shortlisted I get to go to the awards dinner (with Lorraine Kelly no less) in the the Grand Central ballroom at the Grand Central Hotel, where the Wobbly Banquet is being held. I thought we were cutting it close by having the Banquet just 30 days after the hotel is due to be reopened (after a £22 million refurbishment), but the News of the World dinner is on 10 September, just 10 days after the opening.

Friday 25 June 2010

On Sunday I ran my last organised run until September. It was the men’s 10k, a race which is very dear to me as it was the first organised event I participated in two years ago. I went into the race determined to run as close as possible to my time of two years ago, 57 minutes and 53 seconds. Last year’s time was 55 mins 44 secs. Much to my delight my pal Matt offered to run with me. Matt is a 40 minute runner so my speed was a bit like a walk for him.

He kept me on a good pace the whole way round and I crossed the line in 57 minutes 16 seconds. I was delighted. It is a strange thing that my body has slowed down into two years since I ran my first 10k, yet I can run faster. I am still at the stage where I can accommodate progression of the disease by changing the way I do things, and that includes running. There will probably come a time where I have to give up something completely. When that happens I will just pick a new fight.

After the 10k we had a party at the house. The party clashed with Father’s Day, so I invited about 90 people, on the grounds that half of them wouldn’t come as they would be seeing their dad. 78 accepted. There was no way I was going to stand around flipping burgers for that number of people, so we pushed the boat out and had roast hog. It was utterly brilliant. Jerry from the local butcher arrived with the pig at nine in the morning and spent the whole day poking, basting and cooking the suckling porker. We started carving at four. Utterly magnificent. Five days later pork sandwiches are starting to wear a bit thin.

This weekend sees a new event for the Wobbly team, The Swamp Football World Cup. Two days of languishing in the mud of Dunoon, being hosed down and drinking cleansing lagers. The Wobbly Wanderers have three group matches to navigate and hopefully a semi-final and a final. Can’t wait.

The Wobbly Banquet launch takes place on Wednesday in George Square, Glasgow. The format is a fine dining Jelly eating experience. Some of the Banquet organiser’s ideas are off the wall! It will be good fun.

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