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Monday, 14 June 2010

Bouncing around the world with the Harlem Globetrotters

They were awesome, enough said!!! Well I will say a few more words than that. I had a great weekend away in Birmingham and the Harlem Globetrotters were the cherry on the top of a wonderful weekend with Cheryl. It was blazing hot on the Friday and it stayed like it until we got back home.

It was a fairly uneventful drive down the M6 (I hate that stretch of motorway it is hell!). The tricky bit came when we got to the City centre. Spaghetti Junction was not a patch on what Cheryl had to drive through. So we got ourselves sorted and started sight seeing around the City centre. It was odd sitting outside the Bullring shopping centre and next to it was a church from the 17th or18th century. A clash of modern and old ideologies clashing in Birmingham. We wondered around for the afternoon through the market stalls and on to the canal area via the City museum. To round of a really good day we went to have a curry with a Curry House conveniently next door to the hotel. Birmingham living up to it's reputation there.

On to Saturday and we warmed up for the Globetrotters with a really nice trip to Shakespeare's birthplace, Stratford-Upon-Avon, a town which has a real charm about it and they have kept a lot of the old Tudor houses in good shape. A blazing hot day again and we went on a really gentile cruise along the canal which kept us a cool for a while. With the hot weather it reminded both of us of being in Mexico on honeymoon (good times). We ventured or really meandered along taking in the beauty, charm and wonderful archtecture of Stratford.

Now for the main event; the Harlem Globetrotters at the LG Arena (formerly the National Indoor Arena or N.I.A for short). Entering the venue was like heading into a funky 1970's club as it was a massive reception area where you could eat, drink, play Basketball it was so vast. We went in and got our seats and you saw that there was not going to be a big crowd there that night. Basketball is not a real popular game in England but has a small following. Basketball has a difficult job to attract and market the game in this country due to the established sports that have existed in this country for over a century now.

The game itself was the Globetrotters against the Washington Generals (the usual suspects they seem to be playing through out their tour). Parts of it was a very impressive display of skills and tricks and what I remember from watching on video and television when I was a teenager. There was also the American over acting that appears in WWE wrestling which felt really cringing at times for me. For the kids and their families they loved it most probably. At times they over hammed their acting and the microphones they used did not work very well and we could only hear about half what they were saying. At the end with my programme I got a couple of autographs from the players as partly proof of being their and being like a kid again. The crush was unbelievable as there were pushy parents and kids trampling over each other to get their first. Sad, yes but it is all in the name of getting the list done. Overall a great weekend away and really happy I got to see the Globetrotters.

Peace, love and banana's xxx

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Cycling to work has been done - tick!

That was not too bad, I have been helping out at Cheryl's work painting the education centre at Preston North End's Deepdale stadium. So with learning how to paint this week I thought it would be a good time to tick another one of the list. I got on my bike and rode to Deepdale every day this week as I treated as work even though it was just a voluntary work. It felt like it was an achievement to me as I am still out of work and the hardest thing is keeping yourself motivated along with getting out of bed in the mornings. The weather in Preston has been fairly decent this week and I have took the massive steep incline at the bridge next to Tulketh Mill that goes over the railway lines. The route took me along Blackpool Road along Moor Park and turning on to Deepdale Road to the Stadium. A decent ride and has meant I have not carried on running this week, but I have missed the buzz of running which I will get back to next week. Probably my knee's are glad of it as they have been a bit sore lately from the running and walking up Pendle Hill (more about that in the next blog entry).

Peace, Love and Banana's xxx

Me on my bike going out to do the last cycle to work.

Friday, 4 June 2010

So much time, so little entries

As summer comes, we wave goodbye to a harsh and horrible cold Winter.

So as we reach halfway, time to hurry up and get things done on the list. I started to train for my walk up Snowdon by going up and around Pendle Hill with my mate Joe (part time professional walker). That was Bank Holiday Monday and It was a good walk of three and half hours in the beautiful surroundings of the Ribble Valley/Forest of Bowland.

Currently on the road and heading south to Birmingham for a great weekend which includes the mighty Harlem Globetrotters at the N.E.C on Saturday night. A dream is finally getting realised, check out the earlier entry about them and why I am going.

Peace, Love & Bananna's xxx

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

The Bupa Great Manchester 10K Run

What an achievement, training since early February this year and I done it in a time of 1:05:05. The training at times has been tough and I have bits of chaffing and plenty of aches and muscle strains. I have never done a 10km run in my life before and the nearest to running that distance has been doing the cross country run at school. This has been all part of the journey to achieving one of the hardest goals I set my self on the list of 30 things to do to celebrate my 30th Birthday.

Pre-race glow here or is it more I am thinking there is no going back - it was worth it though!

The run was fantastic, the atmosphere was electric and a big thank you to Brother-in-Law Alan and his Girlfriend Sarah for letting me and Cheryl stay over in Manchester and cope with the nerves for that big day. We meet up with Sarah's mates from work and got warmed up with the other 14,000 in the last wave to go. The weather was perfect for running the 10k run, warm but overcast with a slight a wind (hmm...I should do this weather forecasting on the television - easy as pie). The first 2k seemed to take forever, it probably did not help with everyone still quite bunched up but it got easier after then I got a good rhythm going. I had my Ipod to listen to as I was going around the course with a playlist (see below) I created specifically for the 10k which I used in training as well. Around the route there were random bands playing all sorts of music from funk, rock, classical to weird jazz! Also there was the Key 103 and XFM (Clint Boon DJing live) had there own stage pumping out the tunes. That was okay, just a bit annoying at times when I wanted to listen to my own tunes, but Clint Boon was good though, he was playing The Charlatans and the track that is currently being used in the Cadbury's chocolate advert 'The Only One I know'. It was a good route as well passing around Old Trafford and Salford Quays and the Imperial War Museum and back into the City centre. The last two k was hell my legs were gone (they were in so much pain) I was struggling to breath. Thankfully as I was trundling past the 8k sign the NHS were handing out jelly babies and clumps of Vaseline. I did not need the Vaseline, but the jelly babies were very much needed as the sugar gave me the boost to get past the finishing line.

Coming down the hill from Chester Road I started to see the finish line and I used up the energy that I had left in the tank to make a storming run and to get a quick time, I saw the time on the board and I thought...WOW! 1:06 but I actually shaved off a minute when I got my text through for the official time. As I was running around the course I thought of what celebration I was going to do when I crossed the line, well I managed just to pump one fist in the air. With the crowd roaring you on in the last 500 metres it really helped me to get my backside across that line. The feeling off crossing that line was an unbelievable sensation and I was buzzing for the rest of the day. As soon as I crossed the line I felt like I was going to be sick and one of the First Aider's came over to offer me a sick bag. My thought was do I look like I am going to be projectile vomit across everyone and I have just run 10k I am not going to be sick! Amazingly even though I felt sick I thought I can still carry on for a little longer, I never I would feel like that but something inside me said you can still do it! Keep on running, maybe it is a primal instinct that I have unearthed. By the time I got showered and dressed we went to the pub to meet up with the rest of Sarah's workmates and their families. I was part of the John Hughes Trophy which was part of a small group of people who were running it for a bit of extra fun. I managed to come third overall. Which considering my odds were at a respectable 20-1 before the race (according to the organisers of the John Hughes Trophy).

Will I be doing it again next yea? Yes I will! the buzz of the day was out of this world and I want
to get under an hour for next year. Thank you as well to everyone who sponsored me for the event with all the money going to the British Heart Foundation.

Peace, Love and Banana's

'What do you mean I am running the London Marathon next week...!?!'

My impression of Rick Astley from the Peter Kay gig

 The Playlist of songs I listened to training and running for the 10K run. 
Acapella Kelis
The Age Of The Understatement The Last Shadow Puppets
All My Life Foo Fighters
Eat My Goal Collapsed Lung
Another Chance (Afterlife Remix) Roger Sanchez
American Dream Jakatta
Long Train Runnin' The Doobie Brothers
Radar Love Golden Earring
Foo Fighters
Some Velvet Morning (New Version) Primal Scream
The Distance CAKE
Turn Up The Sun Oasis
Eyeball Tickler Oasis
Get Ready The Proclaimers
Empire State Of Mind (Part II) Broken Down Alicia Keys
End Credits Chase & Status
Proper Education (Edit) Eric Prydz vs Pink Floyd
All Along The Watchtower Jimi Hendrix
Wake Up
Arcade Fire
Rebellion (Lies) Arcade Fire
Millennium Robbie Williams
No Regrets Robbie Williams
Robbie Williams
Jenny Was a Friend of Mine The Killers
I'm Not Alone (Radio Edit) Calvin Harris
Beastie Boys
You Don't Love Me The Kooks
The Kooks
Warrior's Dance The Prodigy
Don´t Fear The Reaper Blue Oyster Cult
Fu-Gee-La The Fugees
Paris Is Burning Ladyhawke
Are You Gonna Go My Way Lenny Kravitz
You've Got The Love Florence & The Machine
Headshrinker Oasis
My Vision Feat. Seal Jakatta
No Time for Tears The Enemy
Something Good '08 [Radio Edit] Utah Saints
Singin' In The Rain Mint Royale
Cry For You September
Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer) Freemasons Feat. Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Devil In Me 22-20s
Television Hard-Fi
Get Off
The Dandy Warhols
No One Knows Queens Of The Stone Age
Spanish Hustle The Fatback Band
Stop The Rock Apollo 440
Eye Of The Tiger Survivor
She Said
Plan B
Little Lion Man Mumford & Sons
Smooth Criminal Alien Ant Farm
Black and White Town Doves
Tied Up Too Tight Hard-Fi
Sweet Disposition (Original Version) The Temper Trap
Take A Look Around (Theme From M:I2) Limp Bizkit
One To Another Charlatans
I Am The Resurrection The Stone Roses
Highway To Hell AC/DC
Underdog (Album Version) Kasabian
Fast Fuse
When Love Takes Over (feat. Kelly Rowland) David Guetta
Wide Awake The Twang

(Below: This is not me straight after the run but! This was taken about a week and half afterwards)