Impending

Oo-er, the London Marathon is now less than 4 weeks away, which is terrifying and ridiculously exciting in equal measure.

I’ve spent a good deal of time reading through all of the articles on the Runner’s World website, from training advice to what I should eat on the day to reading people’s accounts of previous marathons to how tight I should tie my shoelaces…there is a LOT of advice available.

Training is going ok…I could probably have done more but I think I am on track-ish. I got some new shoes on Saturday (Mizuno Waverider 13’s for those who care about that sort of thing) and after a longish run (14.5 miles) yesterday I have to say my legs feel significantly less tired than they have done recently. Although who knows how much that is down to the shoes.

My two potential problem areas are my left knee and my right hip both of which get a bit sore after 12 miles but if the atmosphere on the day is anything like it was last year then I’m sure that’ll carry me through any temporary soreness.

I am itching to do it but also slightly terrified that my body will fall apart and i’ll hit then wall and then promptly soil myself. We shall have to wait and see!

Academia

As well as my web work I also work at Leeds Met doing bits of marketing and student engagement. Yesterday we had 2 guest lectures, one featured Dennis Weinreich (Head of Audio and Post-production at Pinewood Studios) and Dave Turner (of Pepper Post), they gave a brilliant lecture on post-production work-flow and the relevant roles and responsibilities involved in this process, a really unique and useful insight. Then, in the evening, we had the inaugural lecture of Ray Russell – one of our visiting professors. His lecture covered his career in the music industry, was part-lecture, part-performance and was funny, charming and entertaining in equal measure.

However, my point is, neither of these lectures had an an audience of more than 60 students/people, which is so disappointing. Leeds Met has over 600 (ish) students studying music-related courses so even if all of the audience at both lectures was different students (which it wasn’t), that still only represents 20% of the relevant student body. You couldn’t even argue that the lectures were repeating themselves, Dave and Dennis concentrated very much on audio post-production, dialogue, sfx etc whereas Ray is a composer and musician, two very distinct and different professions and skill sets – albeit often closely linked. It is an almost constant frustration to me how little students seem to want to grasp the opportunity to meet and learn from people like Dave, Dennis and Ray – although these are all shining examples of the professions that these students claims to want to take up.

Dennis said something to me in an interview I was doing with him that I think possible hinted at the root of the issue. “Working in the music or sound field isn’t just about playing about in recording studios, you have to really love it” and the problem is, I think for many music tech/production students that the romantic ideal is far more attractive than the reality – which is a lot of hard work.

Eddie Iz Awesome

It was Sport Relief over the weekend (as I think I mentioned below), in the build up to the weekend I watched a 3-part documentary about Eddie Izzard running 44 marathons in 50 days (or similarly ridiculous numbers). Here is a man who is a self-confessed non-runner, who hasn’t done any training to speak of who sets off to run a marathon a day, 6 days on, 1 day off for something like 7 weeks to raise money for Sport Relief. This all took place last summer and I have to say, slightly shame-faced, that I wasn’t really aware of it while he was doing it. I heard a few bits and bobs but the whole thing sounds so hugely impossible that I don’t think it really registered with me. However watching the documentary I was so bloody impressed with him I ended up texting the number that popped up at the end of each programme to donate (something I have never done before in my life).

He put himself through a pretty mega ordeal and dealt with it all with amazing humour and grace. I’ve never really been that aware of Mr Izzard as a celebrity/comedian/activist before – really my only awareness has been that my Mum and cousin both think he is funny and he voiced those recycling ads and was in the awful film version of The Avengers. I thought he came across so well in the programmes, however it was never entirely clear what his motivation was, obviously he is an ardent believer in what Sport Relief is doing but that alone doesn’t seem reason enough to run over 1000 miles all around the UK. The first programme seemed to hint strongly that he needed to do something like this as a bit of a journey of self-discovery, he visited important locations from his childhood (e.g. the house where his Mum died from cancer when he was 6) and he is obviously an incredibly determined bloke, maybe that was reason enough? I think I need to try and dig out some of his dvds, apparently his style of comedy is very Python-like, which would suit me no end. But suffice to say, Eddie Izzard is a legend and I am very much in awe of him.

Running, Raining, Writing

Nimes was bloody ace, a very pretty (in a kind of crumbly way) town. Lots of roman architecture and amazing cafés, we just mooched around, went to see Avignon and the Pont Du Gard, repeatedly braved public transport (and didn’t get lost once, although I almost managed to make us miss a bus by waiting on the wrong side of the road) and ate lots of bread and cheese, drank loads of wine and chilled out. In exciting cheese-related news, did you know that in France they have FULL SIZED BABYBELS! I kid you not, try to contain yourselves, and they’re fooking massive. Ace.

Spent a good chunk of yesterday down in Sheffield at the English Institute of Sport where Becca was taking part in a charity heptathlon for Sport Relief along with some celebrities and professional sports people. It was a really fun day, everyone was so nice, had a good chat to olympic diver Nick Robinson-Baker who was a very nice bloke and also spoke briefly to the very nice Jess Ennis (a special mention must also go to, now retired, ice hockey player Ron Shudra – an incredibly lovely man). It was such a rewarding event to be at, everyone had loads of fun, noone took themselves too seriously and were really generous with their time. Becca found it a bit weird that people were asking for her autograph though! I think there will be some highlights of it on Look North tonight, there were lots of cameras around and the whole thing was organised by the Beeb so you’d imagine it was recorded one way or another.

This week I will be cracking on with some structural changes to the Run For All site, finishing off things for Ben Cotton and Aisling Swindells, continuing work on the Pickles and Potter site and also starting work in earnest on the Northern Dales Farmers Markets site – for which I spent a very rainy Saturday in Richmond taking photos.

Marathon training continues, we went to Decathlon in Sheffield yesterday and I stocked up on new shorts – I haven’t run in shorts since I was at school. My oh my, running in shorts is brilliant!

Nimes, Markets, stuff

Had a fairly productive Sunday that involved getting the earliest train to Skipton to take photos at the Skipton Farmers Market. Unfortunately despite the glorious weather it was bloody freezing, the train was late and I had a bit of trouble finding the market so ended up wandering around the entireity of Skipton town centre. Skipton is a bit of an odd place, part- nice, Dales, market town, part- horrible, scummy, crap-shopping-centre-filled- hole.

Anyways, I managed to get a few decent shots, the light was an absolute nightmare to work with – a really low, really bright, winter sun that had everyone squinting.

On Wednesday I’m off on m’holidays, we’re going to Nimes (which is in the South of France), have just tested my schoolboy French to the absolute limit trying to work out if and how we could get trains from Nimes to Avignon and Arles, which are both supposed to be nice. I just want to see the Pont du Gard in all it’s giant, double-aquaduct glory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pont_du_Gard). To be honest it’ll just be nice to have a bit of a break away from things, work on all fronts has been absolutely manic lately. I’ve not been to that part of France either so it should be interesting on all fronts.

One thing that won’t stop is the marathon training, although it’s annoying (so I’m told) how much space a pair of size 12 running shoes takes up in a suitcase. It’ll be fun to run around somewhere new, although I need to try not to a)get lost or b)forget that traffic is all…on the opposite sides of the road and stuff.

Am currently doing work for; Aisling Swindells (e-portfolio), Ben Cotton (e-portfolio/life stream), Nothern Dales Farmers Markets (complete site redesign and content development), Pickles & Potter (site development), Run For All (site redesign and digital marketing campaign) and have a couple more things in the pipeline.

Oo, also, i made a cheesecake yesterday, was really easy, has about a billion calories in and enough saturated fat to take out an elephant but tastes amazing, will pop up the recipe when i get a chance.

Back with a bang (hopefully)

Right, my legs seem to have recovered so I’m going to get back into training properly this week.
Work have written a nice article about my marathon-ing http://www.leedsmet.ac.uk/news/index_ashmann_marathon_010310.htm

If you’d like to sponsor me (which I’d be very grateful for), please go to www.justgiving.com/ashley-mann