Yesterday, when I should have been buried in bed listening to the tommy gun rain and dreaming of coffee, I found myself at the start line of the 2014 Wymondham New Years Day 10k. Despite the wannabe tornado wind making my face flap like a skydiver’s, I had a great run, sweetened by a new PB for this distance(54:55 minutes). I feel on top of my running at the moment, which is a nice feeling, nicer still with the recent weight loss because of it. My aim is to keep this going and to lose as much weight as possible while maintaining a healthy diet. And if anyone can show the world that dramatic weight loss is possible on a diet of donuts and hamburgers, it’s me.
I’ve never reviewed a year before on this blog, but it’s been a happier 12 months compared to Team K’s annus horribilis of 2012 that I thought it was worth seeing it all flash before my eyes one more time.
Having been a huge fan of Ace Jet 170 for the longest time, imagine my surprise when a throwaway remark on Path in January led to an invitation to write a guest post about Ken Garland: Structure and Substance published by Unit Editions. I was humbled (as well as very nervous) to do this and it made me think about doing more of this kind of writing.
One last sorry subplot of 2012 played itself out in March, when my Uncle Brian finally succumbed to his leukaemia, nine months after being diagnosed. Raising money for Cancer Research as well as Asthma UK is the reason I ran the Virgin London Marathon in April. The months preceding the marathon were dominated by training runs. How I laughed in the face of the worst British winter for 50 years as I spent long hours skidding across the snowy, icy roads of Norwich (when I wasn’t getting drenched by the rain) pausing only with shock at the rare sighting of the sun. The mud, sweat and tears were worth it as on marathon day I crossed the finish line with a sprint, three minutes inside of five hours. It was one of the few times I was genuinely proud of myself and the £4,297.52 (with gift aid) that I split between my two charities.
Riding high on my marathon fever, I completed three other races this year – the Dereham 10, the Humpty Dumpty 10k and the Norwich Half Marathon (again) and tomorrow sees me running the Wymondham New Years Day 10k. In May, I proudly watched my daughter Eve run the Race for Life for Cancer Research in memory of her Grandma, Pat, who died suddenly in 2012.
After a stressful build up and the longest completion EVER, we finally moved to Hethersett in the summer to a tidy little bungalow we’d fallen in love with in February. The summer whizzed by in a flurry of decorating and curtain pole erecting. Also during the summer, I became an official Mozilla Mentor after successfully completing a nine week MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). So now I can #teachtheweb to encourage young peeps to get creating instead of passively consuming it. My first gig in this new world came in August when I was invited by fellow Mozilla Mentor Dorine Flies to help #teachtheweb at the Kent Scouts International Jamboree 2013. It was a really rewarding, fun day watching the Scouts get to grips with Mozilla’s online web making tools, making projects out of the videos and photos they’d taken during the Jamboree.
Of course, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy so Team K took two breaks in 2013 – our usual beach break in Greece, then a few days in New York City in late October.
On our return, I joined the Virgin Money Studio peeps in raising money by participating in Movember. Our nine dodgy moustaches raised over £1,085, a sum which created history because Studio member Big Paul promised to shave off his 40-year-old moustache if we raised over £1000. His old moustache is now on display at Norwich Castle Museum if anyone’s interested.
Reading through my posts this year I couldn’t help notice that the first post forecast great design changes for this blog which, er, didn’t happen. So one of my New Year’s resolution is to rectify that – look out for a better, bolder, beautiful and responsive version of this tatty thing you’re reading now.
Happy New Year folks!
In a few short hours, Team K will be winging their way up to Boston, Lincolnshire, for the Christmas meeting of the clans. The run-up to Christmas day has been enjoyable so far, what with the impromptu present opening this morning, while rocking my Secret Santa pressie from the Virgin Money Studio (above). Also of note was my Path Secret Santa, an original copy of Elvis Costello’s brilliant third album Armed Forces in all it’s wonderful Barney Bubbles designed glory.
Whatever you’re doing, wherever you’re going, I hope it ends in a very Merry Christmas!
Today’s the day the Virgin Money Studio’s Movember ‘taches go to that great barbershop floor in the sky. Those fund-raising follicles leave us, knowing they created a huge pot of £1,029 (over £1,150 with gift aid) supplemented by auctioning the Studio’s various creative skills within Virgin Money. See the Virgin Money Studio Movember page for the glorious result yourself.
And if raising money and awareness for men’s health issues wasn’t enough, we also created history. Big Paul, the Virgin Money Studio’s answer to Hagrid, pledged to shave off his 40 year old moustache if we raised over £1000. The smashing of the target was marked by the buzzing of an electric razor wielded (somewhat shakily) by Jason, our Head of Traffic, and Big Paul’s upper lip tasted fresh air once more.
Yes, I did. And nine, count ‘em, NINE minutes faster than last year, a new PB.
Trumpet blowing aside, it was helped in no small part by running with Virgin Money colleague Jem Walters and his sister (on her first half marathon). They helped me keep a good pace which worked well until halfway through mile 11 when I suffered a power cut. Jem and his sister disappeared into the distance as I staggered around the last few bends and that ****ing hill that leads back to the finish line on the Norfolk showground. I did receive more encouragement at this point, as people could see the light fading from my eyes and someone even kindly read me my last rites as I clung onto a bin after scraping over the finish line. Luckily for me, Team K appeared with my Goo-Goo Cluster from Dylan’s Candy Bar which restored life back to my wheezing frame.
I should mention my Virgin Money Studio colleagues who ran this too – Rob (The Fastest Man in Virgin Money™) who came eleventh(!) place out of a field of 2,166 and Andy Bobbin, who forged a half marathon PB of one hour 32 minutes.
Again with the New York thing? Yep.
On our second trip to Gotham:-
- We stayed at the über trendy YOTEL;
- Enjoyed fabulous burgers with fabulous beer (Brooklyn Ale, ShackMeister Ale and McSorley’s Pale Ale);
- Saw the sights we didn’t last time (Ground Zero, Top of the Rock, Greenwich Village, a daytime Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge);
- We walked the High Line;
- We shopped like a pack of wolves;
- I indulged my half-marathon training schedule with two runs over Central Park;
- Joe had a skateboard lesson;
- Eve got a new hair do;
- Eve and Mrs K went ice skating in Central Park;
- We did all of the above under cloudless skies;
- We saw Orlando Bloom and David Byrne (not at the same time);
- I gasped at the Batmobile waiting at traffic lights;
- Joe and I went to the Paul Pope exhibition at MOCCA;
- We got arty at MOMA;
- Heard “LOVE your accents” twice;
- And had our last meal at Carnegie Diner (our favourite).
Pictures on Flickr, and Facebook if you’d like to see the full gory details.
Well, it had to happen. After all the charity days we’ve had at Virgin Money and the various sums raised by Studio members running the Virgin London Marathon, it shouldn’t be surprising that the boys in the Studio have finally got around to participating in Movember.
For those of you who aren’t aware of this extremely worthy cause, it involves the raising of money and awareness of men’s health issues (such as prostate cancer and testicular cancer to name two) and all you have to do to take part is not shave your upper lip for the entire 30 days of November. Apart from raising money for a worthy cause, Big Paul, our perma-moustachioed colleague, has said that if we raise over £1000, he will shave his moustache off on November 30th, thereby exposing his upper lip to the world for the first time in 40 years. His wife Elaine has already donated a significant sum to speed that along, much to the amusement of the rest of the Studio.
My moustache is coming along fine (I can grow hair anywhere, except my head) although I’m not sure if I look like a dodgy ’70’s Detective or a German porn star. I asked my wife what she thought I looked like, but I can’t repeat her answer as I try to keep that sort of language out of this blog.
The Virgin Money Studio Movember team page is here if you’d like to donate, which would be very nice of you. As my wife hates my burgeoning ‘tache, I’ve directed her to No-vember, a clever site that accepts donations to the cause, without Husbands/Partners/Boyfriends freaking out their other halves by morphing into walruses.
As I mentioned in my last blog post, I’d been invited by fellow Mozilla Webmaker Mentor and first lady of EPIK, Dorine Flies, to help out at the Maker Party she’d organised for the Kent Scouts International Jamboree 2013. Number One Son Joe and I headed southwards to the garden of England the night before in readiness to rise at cockle-doodle-doo-o’clock on Friday morning. Wearing our pure white Mozilla Webmaker t-shirts, Dorine, Joe and I aided by members of Team EPIK set up shop in a hanger size tent with 20 laptops donated for the occasion by those lovely people from Toshiba.
Our Maker Party was led by Explorer Scout and boy genius Mozillian William Duyck, who conducted the assembled Scouts and Guides through introductions, warm up games and paper prototyping before they got down to the serious business of having fun, making movies of their Jamboree week using Popcorn Maker. Joe busied himself with his own project, while I, and several other Mozilla Mentors Dorine had trained weeks earlier, hovered helping out with questions and technical support. Also on hand was Mozillian Melissa Romaine (who organised the launch of Make Things, Do Stuff a brilliant initiative between Mozilla, Nesta and the Nominet Trust that I mentioned here).
Despite the overheated wifi dying and regenerating more times than Dr Who, (it was baking hot inside, which is why we held some other non-tech sessions outside) the Scouts/Guides were able to finish their creations and save them to their respective Webmaker pages. It was fantastic seeing our new Webmakers creating with Mozilla’s online tools, tools they’d only got to grips with earlier that day.
A big thank you to Dorine for organising this event and inviting me to help out. Although maybe next time we should do it somewhere cooler, like maybe the surface of the Sun?
The nine-week Mozilla #teachtheweb mooc I’ve been on finished last week and I can now celebrate achieving my Mozilla Webmaker Mentor status (and with a cool badge to prove it too, above). As ever, I’ve been slow delivering my last two makes (projects) as the past two weeks have been really crazy at home/work, (I know, excuses, excuses) but they look like this…
For week eight’s Make It Real we were asked to invite people we care about to explore the web with us. This is something I’d kind of done for week seven, as I’d playtested my Webmaker class ideas with my family. So instead, I will be making my first contribution to the global 2013 Maker Party that runs from June 15 to September 15, by volunteering to #teachtheweb at the Kent International Jamboree 2013 summer camp with fellow Webmaker Mentor Dorine Flies.
Week nine’s make #teachtheweb #4life asked for a portfolio of makes and posts to apply for the Webmaker Mentor badge. As I have already earned mine, I have instead joined the Making Learning Connected (#clmooc) to learn more about Connected Learning. I will remain active in the Mozilla Webmakers G+ community, where I’ll keep contributing and sharing my #teachtheweb activities. I have a Webmaker session planned in September with my son’s scout troop and my next step is to approach local libraries to see if they might be interested in allowing me to run Webmaker sessions on their premises.
My #teachtheweb #4life starts here…