Countdown to the Manchester 10k and I’m out on the town!

You would think having one social occasion in the week before your first UK 10k would be harmless, wouldn’t you?

And if I said it was my book club’s monthly meeting, why you’d imagine a sober group of like-minded individuals debating the finer points of a novel – it’s pluses, it’s less-than perfectly realised plotting, it’s characterisation…

Anyone nodding clearly isn’t in a book club. The word ‘sober’ certainly needs editing from the paragraph above. People in my book club have lost mobile phones, laptops while out with book club.

They’re not exactly wild bacchanal orgies of indecency, but they do involve a fair amount of wine and food and wine. And sometimes the odd gin and tonic. And some wine. Did I mention wine?

This month we met at Jamie’s, a new restaurant in town owned by Jamie Oliver. it used to be a bank and the private dining room is in the vault. It’s called the vault. It looks like a vault. It does have that 80s industrial, polished steel vibe and I loved the memphis-style chandelier but the rest. Hmmm. The constantly flushing of loos outside, not so much. The whirr of hand dryers, not so much. People constantly coming in for a nosy – ok, but wearisome after the fifth interruption.

In the Vault at Jamie's

In the Vault at Jamie’s – me front, right

So the food. Pretty, tasty, quality – expensive. We ordered a selection of starters – cracking olives. I had the turkey Milanese with a side order of broccoli that turned into cabbage because they’d run out of broccoli. Nutritionally it hit the button, but you know, it’s not broccoli. They ran out of a lot of stuff. £40 a head including tip.

The Vault at Jame's

More wine with your book debate?

cool chandelier

Memphis-style chandelier – pretty

Oh the book – Me Before You by Jo Jo Moyes. My advice; don’t. But lots of people like it and if mawkish floats your boat then go for it. I just found the characterisation lazy in that they were all archetypes, parts of the plot seemed wholly unbelievable to me and while I wanted to take the book seriously – the central plot revolves around a city boy adventurer who gets hit by a motorbike and ends up paralysed from the neck down – the irking elements made the whole just annoying.

But hey – that’s just me.

This month – The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. What kind of bloke survives childhood being named Amor? A talented one, it seems. I’m enjoying this book greatly. 1930s New York with the Wall Street crash looming, it’s a trip around the clubs and lifestyles of the haves and have-nots of Manhattan. Great writing, great pace, struggling to leave it alone for five minutes. I think I’m going to love this one.

And did this whole episode add to my running technique? Well, I have enough garlic in my system to ward off colds and vampires for the rest of the month but no running Friday due to ‘tiredness’ but I did get out on Sunday morning. Quick update coming next.

Time to get serious

This morning, in the bath, I had a word with myself.

‘Are we self-sabotaging here? Well are we?’

‘No, stroppy Alpha Me, we wouldn’t dare.’

Alpha me is wearing the running kit now and we are focused!

I have three weeks till the Manchester 10k and what did I do last week? Mostly gad about. Mostly work-related but gadding about nonetheless. While chatting at the launch of the Bolton Food and Drink Festival I enjoyed a couple of glasses of fizzy wine and nibbles. That was Wednesday night.

Thursday lunch time I enjoyed another glass of fizzy wine at lunch with two lovely people I used to work with and would be delighted to work with again and then Thursday evening I saw another former colleague, had dinner at Harvey Nichols, and got in about midnight. Friday evening, yup – more gadding.

The gadding needs to halt. The nutrition focus needs to come to the fore and the fizzy wine needs to stay in the bottle.

I want to do my best and that is not going to happen unless I train, get my sleep and eat properly.

Goodbye to this…

and hello to this…

healthy running food

Running salad: chicken, avocado, olives, feta... yum

Training for Great Manchester Run

So it’s training tomorrow. One hour of Adam half-killing me in the name of speed.

This is what I’m training for these days – The Manchester 10k run – check out the video. It looks cool. And big.

It’s called the Great Manchester Run which seems a little grandiosing to a self-depreciating amateur runner. And a little overwhelming. Yup, still nervous about it.

The plan is to get me running at six miles an hour by May. At the moment I run a 10k at five-and-a-half miles an hour and often more like at five mph. Nearly there. But not.

The good thing about having a trainer is he never lets you coast, it’s never easy. This is a cause of frustration. You feel like it’s never a stroll in the park, no matter how hard you try next time it’s But why would I pay him to give me an easy time. The point is it pushes me, because me? Left to my own devices? ‘Fa la la la la la la, hello birds, hello sky’. I need that push.