Halloween – who’s scared of a PB?

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Don’t you just love an Autumn run?

I can’t say my Hanley Park Run antics today were in any way worthy of the Halloween theme – unless you count the most tenuous of links with the urge to throw up.

Pushing myself running tends to push certain bodily functions into the equation but thankfully that didn’t happen and another Personal Best was achieved!

The nausea kicked in after one zealously-tackled hill and again after finishing (I always feel compelled to redeem my slow self with a sprint at the end).

The Park Run I go to deploys pacers on the last Saturday of every month – so I’d got in the mind-set of following one.

Alas, there were none in my exact target range! (Though that’s a future plan..)

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Pacers are deployed once a month

So I picked a trio of women from Stoke F.I.T. (Friends In Training) who did finish about 45 seconds ahead of me in the end.

Two of them kept up a steady babble of conversation which, when I was close enough to hear it, I tried to use to take my mind off my exertions!

We were overtaken by a family in fancy dress – now being overtaken always feels crap anyway, but when they’re in fancy dress?

A former colleague remembers the humiliation of being overtaken by Batman in the London Marathon and I myself have been bettered by Mr Potato Head in the Robin Hood Half in Nottingham, a race in which Scooby Doo regularly provides an indicator as to when it’s time to dig deep!

Back to Park Run and I watched the receding skeleton wings on the boy, with dad in a cloak – I also knew he was wearing a mask (reminiscent of Edvard Munch’s “Scream”) which made him sound like he was talking through a snorkel when, previously, he loomed behind us en famille

Image courtesy of ajround.com

 

I had some hunch I’d done a good time when one of the organisers at the finish shouted “C’mon Emma?” – and looked a bit surprised to see me.

My Guerrilla training has contributed not only to a couple of personal bests in the last few weeks but also knocking a good couple of minutes off my previous time, so it would appear I have discovered the alchemy necessary to produce Personal Best “gold”.

I caught up with the Stoke F.I.T. trio and said I’d used them as pacemakers, hoped they didn’t mind and thanked them.

I felt I’d somehow “gate-crashed” their run  but Laura, the first woman I spoke to, said that was fine – and to be honest, I don’t think they’d been too aware of my presence.

She said the chat, between two of them, had been aimed at taking the silent third one’s mind of her running (I think she had a bit of hip pain or something).

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Stoke F.I.T. members (seen here at a summer event!) have a brilliant club ethos

Laura added something like if you could speak about seven words a sentence without gasping whilst running then that’s a fair indicator your breathing’s okay.

Despite the fact that I normally talk a lot, I couldn’t have uttered one word at that pace!

Another of the trio, Kirsty, emphasised the point was to be helpful and nobody is ever left alone on a Stoke F.I.T. training run – they’ll come back for you if need be.

This generosity of spirit is not just confined to team-mates, it extends to other runners too.

“It’s the club ethos. You can always tell if someone’s a ‘Fitter’ ‘cos that’s what we do”.

Once I’d fuelled up with tea and hot buttered toast at the Park Run Café, I joined another “Fitter” on the walk home, and got more running advice.

Lee advised me to “push from my glutes” (buttock muscles!) when running up hills (“it’s easier to push than pull”).

Isn’t it amazing? Slow or not, I’ve loved running since I was a teenager and I’m still learning!

 

 

 

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A life-saving device? It’s up to the community

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Action taken within minutes can save lives

Imagine if somebody collapsed in front of you – and you had the chance of stopping them dying.

 

Having an accessible, fool-proof machine that could save a life installed in your community should be a no-brainer, right?

Automated External Defibrillators, (AEDs), mean people who are not even trained in first aid can still keep a cardiac arrest patient alive until ambulance personnel arrive.

They work by “shocking” a person’s heart into restarting within the crucial first few minutes – and can ensure a 60 to 70 per cent chance of making a full recovery.

Ambulance bosses want these to be as common as fire extinguishers.

I am told the 999 operator will give you the code to unlock the device from where it’s mounted (so it can’t be stolen, obviously).

Then the machine guides you through with spoken instructions. – once you’ve attached the pads to the patient – the machine will assess the need for CPR, and only deliver the shock should it be needed.

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You don’t have to be a superhero

In other words, anyone who’s inclined to panic (and let’s face it people do!) being reassured they will not be making the situation any worse.

Ambulances bosses I interviewed said the number of AEDs needs to be boosted five-fold in the county (there are currently about 1,000).

But they stressed that local people must come forward and tell them where they’re needed.

So of course, I thought – well, why not moot the idea of having one where I live? Obviously the easiest way to get the discussion going was – in my local!

The first person I spoke to, apart from emphasising that yes, the devices were fool-proof, said that ordinary CPR was just as effective, but as we were literally just up the road from the local ambulance station, he wasn’t sure that a request to have a community defibrillator would be approved.

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The 999 call handler should be able to give the unlocking code (Pic: BBC)

Like, hello?

A charity offering support getting these things installed is specifically asking people to come forward if you don’t have one within 200 metres of where you are!

The issue of panicking is one that we all agreed was very pertinent, but would it stop people having a go?

I then made a point of approaching another guy who’s a key player in the local residents’ committee – and surprise, surprise, they’re already in the process of getting one, having only just discussed the matter at their meeting last week.

Which I am very glad to hear. I still passed on the relevant contact details.

Authorities say the number of AEDs in one local town is four – but when you get out to another rural area, that figure rises to nearer sixteen.

In other words, there would appear to be more self-sufficiency in the remoter areas, whereas an element of complacency remains, the more urban you get.

That attitude did appear to prevail in my straw poll, although I’m pretty confident most people do not think “there’s an ambulance ‘round every corner”.

I’m hoping that, for everybody’s sake, we won’t be denied an AED because of the ambulance station down the hill.

And that we really will “be getting one”.

(Please note: the views expressed in this article are my own and not related to any organisation I work for.)

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Machines like this one tell you what to do

Jonty’s Journey – Brief Update!

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Remember sports presenter Jonty Sargeant? Well he’s featured in two of my blog posts here – and it’s good news of a very modest nature.

He informs me he’s playing five-a-side every Tuesday night, and has been doing so for the past month.

As you will recall, Jonty twisted the Anterior Cruciate Ligament of his right knee in a tackle during a game playing for his radio station’s team two years ago.

This resulted in surgery, a long recovery period and arguably, a wariness about playing sport that could remain with him for life.

Jonty’s philosophical and enjoys his work interviewing top players and presenting sports programmes.

But it’s still great to know he’s back playing football – albeit in five-a-side.

And I like good news. Don’t you?

 

Who needs perfect?

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The only text I’d add to this is that Marilyn, of course, was no stranger to jogging, before it became “fashionable”. She also sustained an ankle injury which may have compromised her exercise plans.

Who knows? Arguably that wouldn’t matter to someone this beautiful…

But if an injury’s stopping you achieving the body you’re aiming for – let her be your inspiration!

Monday Motivation!

alarm-clock“A legion of voices are shouting their unanimous permission for you to hit the snooze button and go back to dreamland.
“But you didn’t ask their opinion – the voice you’ve chosen to listen to is one of defiance.
“A voice that says there was a reason you set that alarm in the first place.
“So sit up, put your feet on the floor, and don’t look back.”

Cold comfort – an etiquette dilemma

Someone in the office has got “that-nasty-bug-that’s-going-around” – and you don’t want  it.

Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
Credit: Wellcome Library London

Or you’re in the (inevitable) queue in the Co Op waiting to pay and you’re trying to box clever and avoid the shop assistant who sneezes into her hand (“Att-CHA! ‘Scuse me”) then gives you your change – from the same hand!

Or maybe someone’s turned up at your Guerrillas class coughing away but still acting like a trooper and expecting a pat on the back for toughing it out.

tumblr_ni2zjtzhNx1su40qeo1_500Or maybe a sympathy-seeking friend’s put on FaceBook that they’ve got “a little poorly girl” who’s had to stay off school today. Aw, bless – NOT!

Or is it simply a dilemma of having to shake someone’s hand when they’ve obviously got a cold?

If you do get this bug, it’s going to completely ruin your training plans because if it’s serious enough you simply can’t exercise – and you know it.

It’s not as you actually dislike any of these people!

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Looks like I’ll be spending more time with the pub dog!

But you feel like you have to choose between being polite – or staying healthy.

Solutions regarding the workmate (who by now  is coughing so hard she’s had to terminate a phone conversation) include being the Office Good Samaritan & offering cough mixture, surface wipes, throat sweets etc and/or making sure you use your hand sanitizer religiously.

And if you do shake hands with Mr/Ms “I’m-so-full-of-flu”, just hightail it to the Ladies’ and wash your hands thoroughly ASAP!

I speak as one who’s so far been off exercise for a week with lungs full of phlegm – not good.hand_cleaning

But then I’ve stayed away from Guerrillas so it doesn’t spread there – and in the office I scrupulously wipe down my workstation and the phone with antibacterial wipes when I finish work.

That’s not to say I haven’t been caught out!

So if you don’t want to pass on your germs then good advice includes: the “Dracula” sneeze into your sleeve and, if required to shake hands, telling the person you’d rather not because you don’t want to infect them.

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Do I need a leper’s bell?

(BTW there’s more colds and flu prevention advice for athletes here)

And regarding exercise, I usually deploy the “neck check” when deciding whether or not to go ahead (ie if all of your symptoms are above the neck you’re usually good to go, but still use some common sense).

Unfortunately for me, and as said already, that means I’m off until this chest clears.

The pub it is, then!