Category Archives: Friends


We were at a lovely wedding a couple of weekends ago  – the one wedding we’ve been able to get to this year – of a pair of close friends of mine from University. We took the opportunity to catch up with many friends across our friendship group. People lamented that we hadn’t managed to schedule visits for a number of them and – in all honesty, this is principally our bad and Amanda and I are going to sort it.

There is, however, a busy-ness that comes with the early days of parenthood (who knows if it ever fades? I don’t think it will for a few years) that people without children don’t always seem to fully understand – or at least, sympathise with. The obligations (and indeed, desire for) time with close family, the developmental activities you schedule for the little one, and the sheer, relentless routine of feeding, playing and tidying up the aforementioned play and feeding entails. We’ve been good about making sure that we’re the kind of parents that are happy to take Emily out of the house – and even travel to an extent- but we do try to apply consideration to how disruptive one thing or another is to her.

This notwithstanding; diary inspection begins and we’ll start plotting out some fun visits for the weeks and months ahead. Currently booking in dates in late September…!!

Regrets, I’ve had a few…

I didn’t desperately enjoy boarding school. By the time I left, I’d made a few friends and found a localised kind of happiness and certainly gained a great deal from it – exposure to public speaking, journalism, intellectual discourse, guitar skills, philosophical debate, various sporting activities and the like helped net me a place at Cambridge.

However, a significant part of the time spent there was dotted with pained phone calls back to home, agonised discussions as to whether I should transfer back to a school in Malaysia, spates of bullying and a persistent sense of being marginalised by a community in which I did not really fit. And this resulted in a general sense of misery for myself and my parents for the duration.

Having become a parent, discussing my childhood with my parents, the question was asked: should I have been sent to boarding school at all? Should it be a regret for all involved?

Now, oddly, despite the relative unhappiness whilst I was there, I have absolutely no regrets about taking the decision both to go – and to stay – there. In both cases my parents applied very little pressure – first I wanted to follow in my brother’s footsteps, and then a combination of pride and obsessiveness had me wanting to finish what I’d started. And eventually friendships formed and it became less of a trial, and I grew to love elements of the experience.

It’s funny how any experience, once you’re sufficiently clear of it, can be seen for the ‘character-building’ goodness that it was. The person I am today was not entirely defined by my experience at school but certainly aspects of me were forged there – 15 years ago in the rolling fields of Buckinghamshire. And now I’m an extremely happy adult, it’s difficult to regret anything that got me to where I am today.

I miss some aspects of being at Stowe, and the friends and teachers I had there. I hope to reconnect with some of those people in the months ahead and see how perspectives have shifted in the decade and a bit since we all left… and just rekindle the memories of discussing fantasy novels with Will, cars and Transformers with Mac, Squash and alt-rock with Al and, of course, Radiohead, religion and Tintin with Roy…

Valete @jimbocoyle

My colleague and co-blogger @jimbocoyle isn’t leaving this blog, but he is moving on from B2L towers for new challenges. “Valete” is Latin for goodbye, but literally translates to “be well / stay strong” which seems a more than appropriate wish for me to send in the direction of a man who is training for both a half marathon and a triathlon simultaneously. And no, I’m not some great Latin ponce, but I picked up a few words by osmosis as a result of having been schooled poshly.

James delivers his running wisdom directly to me at the moment (he’s sat behind me at work for about three years) — so really this is good news for you all, devoted readers of LSR, as it means we’ll have to use communications platforms like this one to discuss our running geekery.

Join me in wishing James luck as he goes off to work in, it won’t surprise you, a more sport-related field [sic].

In tribute to his departure, I returned to running this morning and recorded a personal best time for a 5k, 28.53. That’s an appropriate leaving tribute for a man who can beat my time by nine minutes.

Chatting with Sensei Paul

As great as it is interacting digitally with y’all, its great to catch up via other media too. Tonight I had an hour long chat with Sensei Paul and Rach, about all sorts, catching up on life… and of course, getting the Sensei’s guidance on all things running related.

Specifically, we talked about:

  • Limbering up – how it takes both of us the first couple of k’s of a run to get the stride going
  • Endurance training – how interval and speed training help (and how much they matter) in long-distance run training
  • The life-span of a pair of trainers – about 300 miles, apparently, which means (at current rates) that I’ll need a new pair of New Balance 850s towards the end of July
  • Injuries and sore knees
  • Building stretching into the running routine (as recently blogged about)
  • What race conditions do for your motivation and your personal bests
  • Readjusting my half-marathon goal (from sub 2hr to sub 2hr10 – a bit more realistic)
  • Sensei Paul’s target of sub-17 minutes for a 5k he’s running next week (!!)

We also discussed the possibility of a guest post on the LSR (whaddya say, Sensei?), and the potential for a blog about home produce growing – when I have a bigger garden I fully intend to plant us some leeks, onions, carrots, etc….

Anyway, that’s off-topic for LSR. More to follow next week y’all!

Friends of the LSR

Readers of the site (rather than the RSS feed, Facebook links etc) will have noticed a new tab in the navigation taking you through to a “Friends of the LSR” page – this is where James and I will list our running mates, friends and colleagues – the people that inspire us to all this running lunacy. I’ve started plugging a few names and “bios” in as I frequently reference odd-named people in my posts (my curious personality has me consulting with all my friends on running technique, tips and technology), so hopefully this will demystify it for you… if you were wondering who Sensei Paul, BIL, Jimjamjebobo et al were, have a look… and if I’ve left you off, let me know and I’ll fix that toot sweet.

Today’s Juneathon effort (day 8): 10.4km in 63 minutes – pretty much bang on a 60 minute 10k, which I’m very pleased with. Felt like a ‘return to form’ after a slow couple of weeks. Was tough work in the pouring rain, though…