Tuesday 24 March 2020

Brentwood half 2020 and the other stuff... RIchmond Half marathon 2014

I typed most of this, go for some food and get told we are akmost at full lockdown (you can still go to work if you really really can't work from home and public transport is still running), so my main point can mostly be communicated with this helpfully advice filled song which has been my favourite for 45 years in time of struggle for a bit of perspective. And breath.

The rest below is now probably all out of date.
Stay in, be kind, do nice things, keep a record of them.

Until next time

the start of the 2020 Brentwood Half Fun Run

The Brentwood half marathon was last week. With people understandably staying away and following the then government advice to social distance and not supporting mass events the numbers were down 50% - as they were at Bath Half as well which took place on the same weekend. Fleet Half cancelled on the friday. But oh how fast things change in a week. Just assume everything is cancelled until you hear otherwise, it's one decision instead of lots of identical stressful ones - so save your energy. They will tell you if it's still on !!

We as a company were pretty fast out of the blocks with becoming unemployed - with events cancelled through May by the following Tuesday. Talking to the timing guys at Brentwood, we seem to be on a 48hr delay compared to when they get told by race directors...which seems about normal.
By now, yes we're seeing events cancelled through June, and into July. I honestly don't expect it to be any better by October, and that's going to rapidly go onto the renewed London Marathon date of October the 4th. If nobody can go out to train, that's going to be a hard race to run - if it does.

Meanwhile the Olympics are starting to get a severe case of Ring Twitter, and of course the Euros have done the sensible thing and pushed everything out to 2021, if that is going to exist as a thing, we simply don't know. By the time I finish typing this, they will probably have cancelled the whole thing (olympics, not 2021, but who knows ? well the WHO might have a better guess than most).

Leadership in a crisis
So yes, we're effectively unemployed now with very little income, and this is where the spirit of Ernest Shackleton will have to come to the front... get a routine, motivate on a task or an objective, give clear direction, small steps, always have a plan, and provide hope and optimism.

In the meantime, I've a load of skillz that are very familiar to homeworkers to share with you guys, as basically we have a home office, and have been doing things for 12 years online. Frankly the weekends of going to events are the fun bits, as 95% of this job is grinding admin and praying for orders. We're used to not knowing where the next bit of income is going to come from, like actors - and it took me 7 years to get used to the christmas lull, so hopefully one day - it will come back. I'm starting to wonder if this is the end of capitalism as we know it, but then it did survive the 1930's. 

The other place I've looked for inspiration - apart from Shackleton, has been from various professions that have had to work in isolation and difficult cramped conditions. Obviously there were two that stood out - the space station, and submarines. I was a bit dissapointed with Commander Hadfield to be honest, he was all about managing risk and setting out on your inner goals - which in the immediate moment without the skills and support to go deep diving into ones inner Psyche, wasn't a great help. I didn't count Tom Hanks in my list of experts because Castaway was a film, and he was on his own completely - but I did find this little gem on amazon.

So whats the advice from the submariners ?
Routine, shedule, plan, and have some down time, and schedule in the connection time - even if you don't think you have anything to connect about - it's still connecting. And clean that damn place - just a little bit a day always makes a difference.
So here's the best advice I've found online anywhere:

Social Media
The other thing that's starting to get a bit obvious is - spending too much time on social media. The news cycle is on repeat - if you listen to it twice a day, you'll hear the improtant bits, and you can always dial in for the Boris Show at whatever time that is to see it literally drop out of a horses mouth as he pulls his the words he's too scared to say (go back and see if he actually manages to say the entire word "close" when he talks about the pubs..). Of course these audio messages do have a bit of a time lag, especially online - it's approximately 14 days from the maths I'm seeing. Speed of thought doesn't seem to be the same as the speed of sound.
So, get off the social media except for when you would have normal breaks - ie the toilet, lunch, or after work. It's very very easy to spend all day scrolling and nothing "new" coming up - trust me - it'll be there when you look in a few hours time, but it's not urgent. If it's urgent they will have contacted you directly somehow. So don't get drawn into the dispair, and you're not the main person who should beware the Ides of March which finishes on the 25 of March.

Video chat
So, instead of social media, I am spending time to connect on zoom.us with the new working from home team, and have a regular meal with friends scheduled for online time too. My parents are dead, so that saves me a bit of tech stress, but hey the telephone still works and relatives are still, well, relatively speaking.
As I have a lot of spare cameras about now, I've also found out how to use a DSLR as a webcam - which gives infinetly better quality than an ordinary webcam, and well, all the webcams have sold out, and guess what my usual webcam has been nicked by the kids for their working from home. So a spare 50D has been put into action.

The software I ended up going with was Sparkocam which cost a bit for the license, but still less than a good webcam, and the images are really great (no hotspots, smooth colours, no pixellation in low light). I've got my Rode microphone on there too - plugged directly into my desktop, so that's the lot sorted. The one obvious problem with using a camera is it does need a mains adaptor, instead of running off battery. For some reason 15 years ago the 40D did come with a double recharger and mains adaptor battery thing, so that's me sorted. I'm just going to burn the sensor to death now in wonderful HD RGB... I just need to sort out some ringlight... getting all technical here...

Give it time before launching that new career
It took a broken foot, and 5 weeks of sitting at home in 2004 working out what made me happy before I came up with sports photography as a possible career - which at the time was a bit of a change from engineering or financial services, but I'd done photography as a background on and off thing for 20 years by then, so running it for 5 years as a "paying hobby" before quitting the full time job in 2008 and then making it to being a limited company in 2012. This timeline seems to be a pretty normal development for any entrepreneurial endeavour. It's not something that will pop into your head out of the blue, it's probably something you've wondered about or used to do and now miss - or something that's always been there but you've not had the chance to grab it but certainly a core skill you already have but haven't tidied it up to make it a job. But don't rush into something, let it grow from a seed, work out how to make it more substantial without using all of your resources to test the water. When the new status quo comes round into sight - be aware that your brainchild may have been killed off by circumstances beyond your control - so don't rush headlong and throw all your money at it - keep something in reserve, and pace yourself, bt do do do try it.

In the meantime - there is a surprising number of online data entry jobs that exist in the world. things from programming AI, to just typing in what you see, to coding reciepts, to clicking on the image with the letterbox which frankly my kids will be forced to do if their online schooling stops. This blog is a good introduction. Granted there's a lot of jobs on hold, but there's still a lot of work from the other half of the world that's still functioning that needs doing. Go and have a look - it might bring structure to your day, and give you something if not a sense of purpose for a few hours a day ?

And now, also just to cheer you up - we are going to post photos of historical events that were cancelled this week too - so we bring you pictures from the Richmond Half marathon - 2014 !!
Look up your race number, and then check out your 6 year ago self... so young, so athletic, so.... free !!
The 2014 Richmond Half 
find your race number and results here :

they looked so happy back then, the world was their playground

I hear that he still runs with a limp

who's this international elite athlete - just starting her running career ? check the full set on our gallery

she forgot to eat the banana on the way round...

I didn't take my job so seriously as I should apparently, and look where that got me.

always the big hello

I think the biggest worry is that when everything comes back to some kind of normality - we won't be able to service the usual races we cover in the bundle, and then we lose long term relationships we have held dear for many years and worked hard to build and keep.
It's not that I don't blame the race organisers for giving it another go at a different time of year, but say we do end up with races in october and everyone rushing to get there. Well firstly there's all the races that are already in october that you're trampling on, and secondly - you can't fit the missed 5 months of half marathons into one month when people won't have been allowed out to train for them (assuming the apocalypse lockdown is starting tonight at 8:30). Nobody will be fit enough, or they will be, but just on zwift (that's an online bike thing). Which reminds me, I must buy some shares in concept2 rowers... There's also not enough timing companies to go around either, you see there's a reason that races are spread out all year long - it's because it has to be spread out.

Here's some of the latest events and links for you including Brentwood
Date Event Gallery results website
Sat-22/02/2020 National XC Champs http://sspimg.com/English-National-XC-Champs-2020-Gallery https://results.sporthive.com/events/6636909432352045056
Sun-23/02/2020 Hampton Court Half Marathon http://sspimg.com/Hampton-Court-Half-2020-Gallery http://www.sportsystems.co.uk/ss/results/Quicksilver%20Hampton%20Court%20Half%20Marathon/4320
Sat-29/02/2020 Brutal Bordon http://sspimg.com/Brutal-Bordon-2020-Gallery https://www.athlinks.com/event/326671/results/Event/898509/Course/1746541/Results
Sun-01/03/2020 Steyning Stinger http://sspimg.com/Steyning-Stinger-2020-Gallery https://www.nice-work.org.uk/races/SteyningStinger/2020
Sun-08/03/2020 Cambridge Half Marathon http://sspimg.com/Cambridge-Half-2020-Gallery https://resultsbase.net/event/4707/results
Sun-15/03/2020 Brentwood Half http://sspimg.com/Brentwood-Half-2020-Gallery https://results.sporthive.com/events/6644248659557406976

and here's a small list of cancelled stuff, not all ours, but might be useful-ish for you to check.

Date Event Status
Sun-29/03/2020 Hastings Half Marathon Cancelled
Sun-29/03/2020 Colchester Half Cancelled
Sun-29/03/2020 RBK Spring Half Marathon Cancelled
Sat-04/04/2020 Findon Grand National 10k Cancelled
Sun-05/04/2020 HONC Cancelled
Sun-05/04/2020 Paddock Wood Cancelled
Sun-05/04/2020 Run Central 10k Cancelled
Sat-18/04/2020 Brutal Eelmoor Cancelled
Sun-19/04/2020 7Oaks Tri Cancelled
Sun-19/04/2020 Storm The Castle Cancelled
Sun-26/04/2020 REP Bluebell Cancelled
Sun-03/05/2020 3Forts Cancelled
Sun-03/05/2020 Oxford 10k Cancelled
Sun-03/05/2020 REP Steyning Tri Cancelled
Sun-10/05/2020 Run Gatwick Cancelled
Wed-13/05/2020 Mundays 5k Cancelled
Sun-17/05/2020 REP Arundel Tri Cancelled
</extend indefinitely>

So yes, finally, here's some action pictures from Brentwood Half 2020
There was a bit of a theme that struck me in say 16 years of doing this - that there is clearly some kind of mega legging fashion retail outlet in Brentwood because the variety and colour of legings was superb.
Counter to this is that it makes me think just how much of a massive gap there is in the market for good, well designed, well patterned male running leggings. I mean, we get black. that's pretty much it.
And this is how that makes me feel.

Meanwhile at Brentwood - we saw some of this action

vapourflies don't touch the ground - we have evidence

Anti gravity vapourflies

clubmates but different coloured vapourflies, still off the ground

Danny has not touched the ground for 2 hours. Can't wear the vapourflys out...

top finishing !

spot the vapourflies - yes not on the ground

he looked a bit lost to be honest

not a prosthetic leg, but yes vapourflys

also vapourflies that don't touch the ground

She knows the best damn shoulders and arms workout - AND I WANT TO KNOW IT DAMMIT

caption competition - what *is* she thinking ? she's not going to get a race in any time soon now...

Well done Tracey, nice one

And here below is but a taster of the incredibly unusual, unique and beutiful and varied leggings that was Brentwood. Fast running to all who wear them !

a curve pannelled purple leapoard skin pattening

the paint on acrylic oil-slick look

hot knees

just the tonic

blue panneled abstract icicles ?

a graphite snowflake patterning

just post modern abstract, with a hint of vogue

speckle dot camoflaged

sort of a star gazing nebula pattern, below the shorts/half thigh with a red band

sort of snakeskin

angled stripes with a grey chalked linear shorts area

Cookie Monster !

Pastel dots in a rainbow banding with star clips

Peacock feathers with a bright recolouring

camoflaged I think, can't see properly for sure

Mexican aday of the dead pattern skulls !

Blockbuster, but with candles ?

and my favourite - an uneven stained glass window flower style pattern with sweeping curves 

what a cheerful finishing feeling !

This is where I got up to before I went for dinner and the well practiced
so, whilst you can still get out and enjoy the world once a day, take it. Stay the eff away from everyone else.
If your mini-hitler of a boss says you can't work from home and you do marketing for cheesynuggets, tell him you're off sick and you're not going to risk that stupid commute to run the risk of getting infected and tell him to apply for the 80% PAYE based employers pay package.
If you're self employed, then welcome to the titanic lifeboats, we're not all in this together and I sincerely hope that something (like 80% of an average of past two years tax returns) gets put though as a monthly amount up to the same max as employees.

Finally - if you're unsure of how far 2m is (about 6ft 3). Just take a broom with you, they are about 5ft long. if you can touch them with the end of the broom handle - then you and they are too close to each other. Then, as my judo sensei used to tell me - run away!!! And you can give the streets a sweep whilst you're at it.

seriously folks, please look after yourselves, help your neighbours, it will be ok, eventually, keep in contact with friends and family if you have the technology, and we'll try to remind you of the good times with the old photos.

until next time

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