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Monday 12th May 2014

Monday 12th May 2014


An eventful, exciting and ridiculous long run this afternoon. I was keen to beat my new 2014 personal best of 65 minutes and if possible do my six and three quarter miles in under an hour and so set off at quite a pace. And joyously it felt easy - possibly easier than going slowly. To push me onwards I had decided to use the stopwatch on my iphone to check my pace, which only had the slight drawback of having to get it out of my pocket and type in the passcode as I ran. But I did the first mile in 9 minutes, which I was pleased with and seemed to be getting faster as the run continued. I was on about 31 minutes at what I guestimated was the halfway point which was slightly disappointing, but managed to pick up the pace and then came up with a genius idea to spur me on. I decided that I was running as Me2 and I was trying to defeat the time set by Me1 last week.

It might be crazy, but this really worked. Me2 was determined to defeat his nemesis, whilst Me1 sat on the sidelines, blithely saying it didn't matter if this run was faster because he'd be the first to do a sub 60 minutes. Which of course just pushed Me2 on faster. I know a member of the Olympic archery squad has used Me1 vs Me2 sports psychology to up his game, but it really worked for running to. The two Mes were actively and passively competitive. As Me2 I really wanted to shove this down Me1's throat. I tried to work out what time I would need to hit Hammersmith bridge to be on course for the sub-hour run and thought I was probably a little bit behind. And at the one mile to home mark I had a little over 8 minutes to do something that I thought would have been impossible even last week. But then I hadn't counted on Me2's ruthless determination. We picked up the pace even more and within a couple of hundred metres of my house we still had nearly two minutes remaining. This was awesome. We (Me and Me2, with Me1 as an aggrieved passenger) bombed up our road and I thought we might even do it under 59 minutes. I had the iphone in my hand ready to press stop, but as I sprinted (or as close as I get to sprinting) I realised I had accidentally overrun and passed my house. I furiously tried to press the stop button as I turned and in the confusion and competition I somehow tripped and went flying on to the pavement at some speed. My phone crashed across the paving slabs and this was my first concern, initially because I wanted to stop the stop watch, but then with a sinking heart worrying that the heavy impact might have smashed it. And indeed the screen was badly shattered. It was very mixed emotions. I had passed my house at about 59 minutes and 10 seconds so was delighted with that victory, but my beloved phone had been broken. Pride and the fall came simultaneously. I wasn't even considering if I was unscathed.

It had, in many ways, been a ridiculous accident. A man pretending to be a version of himself was sprinting in order to beat another version of himself and in his determination to record to correct time had not only forgotten where he lived, but had come smashing down to earth in a spectacular and comedic manner. I had jumped up quickly in case anyone had seen me, but couldn't get into the house as my keys had gone missing. They had fallen out of my pocket and flown some way up the street. That's how quickly I had been going.

I mean, let's not let broken phones and humiliation destract us from the amazing achievement here. I had run the distance 21 minutes faster than it had taken me in January. Then I had been running terrible 11 and a half minute miles (as I did at the recent half marathon) and now I was running eight and a half minute miles. I was amazed I could do one mile at that pace, let alone nearly seven. I am doing the Royal Park Half Marathon again in the autumn (I will run as whichever me has achieved the best time on the runs).

But as I entered the house I felt a sting of pain in my right hand and my left forearm and then my knees started to ache. In my childish competition against myself had I managed to crock myself. Would this amazing triumph be my last one? Had Me2 deliberately sabotaged my body so that Me1 couldn't have his go at bettering the time?

I am nearly 47 and a fall, at speed on to a pavement could have had grave consequences. Even a twisted ankle would have fucked up my exercise regime, but it could have been a lot worse than that. I mean, what a fucking idiot.

As the adrenaline of the run and the victory faded I realised I was in a bit of pain, but luckily I don't think there was any long term damage.

I was still more upset about the phone, though as when I had the previous one stolen off of me by a bicycling thief I was half thinking that this would be a good excuse to buy a newer model (and whatever the case I could probably write a Metro article about it and recoup some of the expense). But Helen Zaltzman from Answer Me This (who knows everything) recommended lovefone in central London. And as I was heading into town anyway to get a train to a gig, I thought I'd get it repaired straight away. It was an expensive mistake and I should probably dig out one of my old running watches in future. But they did it quickly and efficiently and it was nice to have my phone back to full health and not leaving tiny shards of glass in my fingers.

I was a bit shaken up for the rest of the day, mainly imagining how much worse things could have been. But ultimately my phone still works and I have cracked the 60 minute barrier that most sportsmen said would be impossible. It's great to have reached this level of fitness. Be a shame to ruin it by "having a fall". I guess the fact that I got up again proves that I am not yet old. There is a limited amount of life in the old dog yet.

Edinburgh tickets are now on sale. There's only 500 per day for both shows, so obviously don't hang around. Those will be snapped up. Definitely.

Get your Lord of the Dance Settee tickets here.

Get your I Killed Rasputin tickets here.

If you haven't seen episode 2 of Meaning of Life yet, then here's a short sketch to whet your appetite.

The video version of the RHLSTP with Nick Helm is now available to buy at - that completes series 5 (though there's a bonus audio from Machynnleth coming out soon). Here's a free taster.

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My new stand up show, Oh Frig I'm 50 is at on tour from February til June 2018. There's also a new series of RHLSTP with recordings every Monday from February 5th to April 2nd All details of shows here.
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