Author Archives: robbieroberts16

Capital Quake

When all the dust has settled

And the wreckage is confirmed

I’ll paint you a picture

The one for which you’ve yearned

 

The streets are full of rubble

The town can barely stand

Struggles from the pile ups

Cuts on people’s hands

 

I’ll tell you ‘bout the day time

It’s desolate and grim

The shadows are a highlight

Respite from sullen dim

 

I’ll tell you about the night time

Hollow, rough and raw

The icy winds compound them

And chills them to their core

 

A naked child confronts me now

With anger in his eyes

He leads me to the building

Where his parents died

 

The concrete pillars crumbled

The staircase burnt to ash

The boy lays his belongings

All scattered on the grass

 

His eyes ask me a question

His mouth remains tight shut

The villagers surround us

From their makeshift huts

 

To them am I the reason?

The symbol, or the cause?

The one that runs their wells dry?

The one who closes doors?

 

If so can I deny it?

Look at what I wear

Look at how I view them

Measure my despair

 

They don’t want my money

For my lifestyle, they don’t care

They simply want their freedom

And returned to them, what’s theirs

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Will she say yes?

When I finally come to ask her,

What do you think she’ll say?

Will she wrap her arms around me

Or turn her face away?

Is there any way of knowing

‘Cause my mind’s in such a mess

Whether she’ll say no

Or whether she’ll say yes?

 

It’s been 4 years and counting

And I think my timing’s right

And I always think about it

And it wakes me in the night

And how do you phrase the question?

Because I must confess

I really ought to get it right

If she is to say yes.

 

 

There are many ways to do it

You have to give it thought

Do you drag it out for hours

Or keep it sweet and short

Do you do it on a holiday

Do you do it on a date

Do it in the morning

Or wait ’til it gets late?

 

 

We’ll I’ve heard it done on aeroplanes

And seen it done on ships

In Michelin star restaurants

Over a bag of chips

You can scream it from the mountain tops

Or whisper in her ear

Do it in the pouring rain

Or wait until its clear

 

 

For me I think I’ll stay at home

And cook her favourite food

Put a record on the player

So to create the mood

I’ll wear my tuxedo

And she will wear a dress

I’ll ask “darling will you marry me?”

And I just hope that she’ll say yes!

Car Journey

The tempered road of grey unfolds the endless, endless day

It twists and winds and broken signs they help me on my way

The wind sings long a painful song, the timber trees twist benter

The noise into my ears – can’t bear it; piercing to my centre.

 

The journey’s end so far yet in my mind I am but there

I see and smell my hands are pouring through her golden hair

The rain drives down and obstacles are littered in the road

My eyes see a beauty; the most I’ve ever knowed

 

Since last we met she may have changed, inevitably true

But I still know her hair’s still gold and eyes still bottle blue

And we can we grasp those moments that we had right from the start?

No change can move the place of her inhabitng in my heart

 

The road now is deserted like the time we first did meet

Just us alone with nervous pounds of every heart that beat

Far into the distance is a lonely flickering light

Reminds me of the lantern used that saw us through our night

 

A passing car it dashes by, a tear falls from my eye

Reminder of a stab of pain that nothing can belie

For in a jolt some day long gone a flash appeared so fast

A strangers arm took her hand and thus defined my past

 

And many cars are passing now, but there are none to mention

I have no cares for them my heart cannot be brought to question.

And many times I’ve tried to recreate that which I have lost

But candles in the winter garden can’t prevent the frost.

 

But still I drive I’ll carry on. It’s now or it is never

My ties to her made of a kind that none can truly sever

And if it’s so she’s found a life of happiness and laughter

I’ll turn about and trawl the road to begin my second chapter

The Curse of Chardonnay

I lie awake before the dawn

While others soundly sleep

Chardonnay I sipped before

Through brain cells softly creep.

I think of all my earthly fears

At this dark, silent hour

None resolvable right now

I’m drained of any power.

Scenarios are flashing through

My mind’s revolving door.

None have ever come to pass,

That I can recall.

So why this propensity

To rake over every flaw?

Chardonnay, Sancerre

You have a lot to answer for!

In the balance

You lie here before me

Life in the balance

The wonders of science

The irresistible will power of nature.

In battle.

 

Sickness, Silence, Contemplation, Flowers,

The occasional bleep from a white machine

This is our new environment

A television in the corner of the room but no desire to break the silence.

 

What will happen in the next minute, hour, day?

What will life be like next week?

 

Outside frail autumn leaves cling to the branches.

Spiders weave watery webs.

Rabbits burrow beneath the bracken.

 

Inside, masks, tubes, cables. Bland clinical cloths stretch across your surrendered body.

 

But you’ve never looked so beautiful

I’ve never needed you more than I do now.

My love for you has never been greater.

The contemplation of what could be lost is on a scale I can’t comprehend.

 

I’m utterly helpless.

 

I hope you will wake up.

I need you to wake up.

Please. Wake up.

 

I’m so sorry that I can’t help you.

 

I just sit here.

While you lie here before me

Life in the balance

The wonders of science

The irresistible will power of nature

In battle.

Two weeks to go

Two weeks to go before the big run.

This week has unexpectedly seen me cover my highest mileage over a seven-day period. I say unexpectedly as this wasn’t in the original plan but I was trying to catch-up from missing some runs while I was in Johannesburg last week. I caught a cold and stomach bug while I was there. I wasn’t too ill but with a packed schedule and plenty of people telling me that I shouldn’t go out running the city streets for safety reasons, I only managed one five-mile run last week and that was with a heavy cold and on a treadmill. So this week I ran on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday covering just over 35 miles in total, including 12 miles this morning. It’s been a bit of a slog, but now I’m feeling back up to par with my training and ready for the final tapering off over the next couple of weeks in anticipation of the big day.

As per my previous post, the weight continues to drop off, problems get worked through as I pound the streets of Sutton Coldfield, and I feel that I’m working towards achieving something I didn’t think would have been possible just over a year ago. After two weeks off alcohol I did have a glass of something whilst in Jo’burg but I’m back off it again now until the big race.

I am often guilty of looking too far ahead and must admit I’m already wondering what life will be like after October 15th. It’s probably sensible to focus on the marathon itself and worry about what comes next the day after. I do though have half an eye on making sure the benefits that have come with marathon training don’t fade away; penny for your thoughts.

Two weeks to go. My average of 3.9 miles a day in September will taper off a little into October. The mornings are darker and colder than they used to be making me very glad that I was able to do my hardest training in fairer weather over the summer. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for good weather on the day. If we can avoid torrential rain and high winds, I’ll take anything else.

Friends, colleagues and family continue to sponsor Matt and I and we’re very chuffed that we’re now at 134% of our original target – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/matt-robbie. This is another first as I’ve never been part of raising anything near this sum of money before, and it’s for such a worthy cause.

Two weeks to go. Can’t wait now!

Birmingham Marathon training: 5 weeks to go

The conversation between my friend Matt and I started on Whatsapp on 25th October 2016. By 28th October we were signed up and the challenge was on. Best not to think about these big decisions for too long…

Even then various events in our lives after that meant that it wouldn’t have been so unreasonable to pull out. Matt hurt his Achilles heel and then tore his calf muscle just before Christmas. I managed to get bitten by a dog two days later. Matt had a virus during the summer which knocked him out of action for two weeks. Matt and his wife Nisha became parents for the second time in January 2017, and I was waist deep in an MBA which was taking up most of the spare time I had at weekends. We could’ve chosen a better year to do our biggest running challenge yet! However, not once did either of us suggest that we pull out. It became all the more a binding commitment when we registered to raise money for MyelomaUK. We’re chuffed to bits that with six weeks to go before the race, we have already beaten our target of £500.

Go on….you know you want to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/matt-robbie

So here I am. It’s 5am on Saturday 9th September and something has compelled me to turn the computer on and write about how I’m feeling about running the Birmingham marathon in five weeks’ time.

Already it’s been a rewarding journey for so many reasons. The training runs began properly back in December as I was playing a game of see-saw of exercise and calorie-laden evenings with friends and colleagues in the run-up to Christmas. Back then, and even now, there’s been a conscious effort required to overcome that pre-run thought that maybe I’ll just leave it until tomorrow. Now the prospect of going for a long run is getting easier despite the mileage increasingly significantly – probably because I know that scale of what I’m doing; I have to do it, and putting off training runs will only make the final race even more difficult in the end.

The charts below show the increase in monthly mileage over the summer and a snapshot of my running in August. In November I declared that I was buying my marathon trainers. Little did I know that they’d be completely worn out by July, 3 months before the big run! I opted for exactly the same pair when buying my new trainers, and broke them in slowly over August.

 

Both Matt and I have been following a training plan on our “Run Trainer” apps. This magically maps out a training programme for you working back from your race date to whatever date it is that you register for the plan. The routine is roughly a medium-length run, then a shorter run on consecutive week-days, followed by a longer run at the weekend. The definitions of short, medium and long change as the weeks roll merrily by! We’re both now at the end of the “endurance” phase – which for me ends with a 20 mile run on Sunday. That will be my longest run ever and is something I’ve been physically and psychologically building myself up for. I’m feeling positive about it but actually think that this one will be harder than the actual race itself. On race days you have crowds, adrenalin and a sense of occasion. On a training run you have the tarmac in front of you, your own thoughts and no-one else really cares. After Sunday, the runs reduce a little and although 2 hour runs are still no walk in the park, they’ll feel a bit like that after this Sunday I’m sure.

Running, particularly these long runs, has had many spin-off benefits for me. Here are my top 4:

  1. I’m beginning to lose weight now. I wasn’t before, probably because I was overcompensating with my eating. Now I’m burning off more than I am consuming and have lost half a stone since July. I am aiming to lose a stone by the time race days comes, which would see me weighing in at under 12 stone for the first time since, well, records began! It was probably when I was 22 and living in Japan and a far cry from being north of 14 stone three years ago.
  2. It has helped me manage stressful situations at work. I take my work problems with me on runs. I talk through problems and hypothetical conversations in my head and often come up with solutions. I’ve read up on the science of it all, and still don’t fully understand it, but big problems seem to become smaller after going running and I certainly worry about stuff less than I used to.
  3. There is now an on-going sense of achievement. Matt and I have both done half marathon runs but now we’re in to the latter stages of the training we’re breaking our own personal bests for time and distance and pace on a weekly basis. I am extremely competitive with myself and I do enjoy analysing my runs when I get back. My running watch isn’t that fancy at all but thanks to Garmin Connect and Strava I’ve been able to check my pace and keep a decent log of my training history.
  4. I’ve cut down on alcohol. If I’m honest, I’m always over the government’s weekly unit guidelines and for a long time have got into the habit of having a glass or two of a weekday evening and a couple more again at the weekends. It’s been on my mind for a while that actually this can’t be good for me on a long-term basis. Habit isn’t easy to break though. However, now I’m doing two week-day evening runs, one usually straight from work, I’m not getting back in until after 7.30pm and the usual routine is broken. At the moment I’m completely off it and not missing it, no cravings at all even on Friday night. This is good validation that I’m not quite as psychologically attached to the Sunday Times Wine club as I thought I was! I’ve set myself a target of two weeks before the next social occasion I’ll be at where lots of people will be drinking, and I’ll see how I feel then. As it happens, this will be in Johannesburg, and straight after writing this I’ll be looking for running routes there that avoid lions, tigers and bears.

So here we are. 5 weeks to go.

Despite the obvious physical pain that is a given when you’re pushing your physical limits, the experience has been overwhelmingly positive. On Sunday my mind is focussed on that warm, fuzzy feeling of satisfaction I get after completing a long run, usually followed by me dozing off in front of the football. The day is all planned out!

It’s too early for me to pass on any advice about training for and doing a marathon. However, I can certainly recommend getting into a training routine. For me I need the target of a challenge for which I’ve formally registered to make me do it – so get browsing!

My next post will be just before the big race itself, to capture the nerves and sense of anticipation, and hopefully to report that I’ve got a clean bill of health and fitness.

Thanks for reading

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