Posts Tagged ‘performance’


Last Saturday I ran my usual parkrun at Horton Park. I’m really getting to like this course as it is a challenge and a great wakeup call on a Saturday morning whether you have been out or not! It was a pleasant, sunny morning and I ambled round at my usual pace enjoying my running. At the end I did my now customary sprint for the line and went to talk to one of the other QRC runners Neil.

Neil has only just started running again but he is fast around 211/2 minutes for a 5k. He asked me if I was doing the Bolton Brow Burner and I asked him what it was! It turned out it was a challenging 10k race the next day, one where you could turn up and just run it. I’ve got the Pudsey 10k in just under 2 weeks as I write this but I thought what the hell, no time to think about it, go for it!

I had a couple of pints at the club that afternoon but was in bed early as I am not very good at getting up on a morning after a session on the beer. Sunday morning came and I was up bright and early, feeling good and ready to race!

I set off early as I am well known for getting lost and today was no exception. I drove past the venue at least once and ended up miles out of my way. A journey that should have taken me 15 minutes ended up taken me 1 hour 15 minutes. The lesson here is to never let me give directions in any form of transport.

But I finally arrived at the registration point and within minutes I had entered my fist 10k race not knowing where I was, where the race was or what the course was like. All I could see around me were hills, steep hills so I guessed I would be running up at least one of them at some point.

Off to the start we all went a car park at the side of the canal but as good as anywhere. After hanging around for around ½ hour during which most of the men were running off to have a pee, we were told to line up and then we were off!

The race started on the canal for a mile or so, just nice and steady and I settled in looking for a suitable candidate to follow and pace myself against. Unfortunately for me they all took one look at me and increased their pace as soon as we turned off from the canal and headed for the hills.

Before I knew it I was at the bottom of Bolton Brow and it was scary! Very steep and covered in gravel, it was not an easy hill to climb especially if you had never been near it before. I got talking to a lass of a similar age to myself and we walked up it together discussing running. The thing I really like about running and runners is they’re always happy to talk to you about running and relieve past glories.

At the top of Bolton Brow the lass left me for dead but I had never run 10k before so remembering what my fellow club runners had told me went at my own pace. This proved to be a good strategy because once I started to head back down I was keeping the lass in my sights and not letting her get away.

This proved to be going well until I had to stop and pull my shorts up. I’ve lost a lot of weight recently and I’ve dropped several sizes in shorts and jeans. However this was quite embarrassing as my shorts were falling down and my boxers were on display for everyone to see. After managing to give some people an eyeful I was back on the trail safe in the knowledge that my shorts weren’t halfway round my bum.

But now I had some catching up to do on unfamiliar trails. The lass had gotten quite far in front, but there was a young lad not too far up ahead so I targeted him and used him as bait to drag me round. And it worked. I had a couple of runners in front of me due to my shorts adjustments, but I soon passed them and set about catching the young lad. And then the lass appeared in the distance too and I decided to do my best to keep them both in sight because you never know what might happen.

Through Copley Woods we went up and down, sloshing through mud, diving down wet rocks and stone steps and generally just enjoying it all whilst trying not to fall and damage myself. I would certainly run it again as I enjoy off road running but for today I concentrated on just getting round and completing the course and avoiding injury.

And then I was through the woods and running back down Bolton Brow towards the canal. For some strange reason my downhill running has got slower recently and I am going faster uphill and on the flat than I am downhill. I’ve no idea why or how this has happened but it had and today was no exception. I sort of lumbered down Bolton Brow and only felt like I was picking up speed when I reached the flat at the bottom.

Up until this point I had no idea where the lass and the lad where. For all I knew they may have pulled a mile on me and be out of sight. But as I turned onto the canal I saw them both up ahead and I thought ‘they’re not too far I front’; ‘I can catch them’. And with that thought in the back of my mind I set about maintaining my pace and seeing if I could catch them.

The only problem with the canal is that it is quite boring by its nature being flat and beside a still water, but encouraged by walkers and homeowners who obviously revelled in the sight of a middle aged man trying to kill himself through running I carried on until I reached the end of the canal and began the home straight back to the registration point at the school.

By this point the lad had pulled quite a distance on me so I resigned myself to not catching him, but the lass was slowing, and by quite a bit too! I had her in my sights and I could visibly see myself gaining on her until I was right behind her and then past her. I don’t think I said anything to her as I passed her as I needed every single breath I could muster at this point.

And then there was the finishing line at last. Or at least I thought it was until I realised I had to do one of those convoluted finishes that involve going in and out of fencing and rope until you see the sign that says finish.

But finish I did in a time according to my Garmin of 1:14:26. I was very happy with that. Under 1:15 for my first ever 10k and according to the runners around me if I could run this one I can run any. My official time was over 1:15 but this was due to my shorts stoppage so I’m going by my Garmin time which is a more accurate reflection of my performance on the day.

And I got a very nice metal medal too for all my efforts. At the end of the day I left Bolton Brow a very happy and satisfied man knowing I had accomplished something I never thought possible which is run 10k.

Now my next challenge is looming up quickly, the Pudsey 10k. I am prepared for this mentally although I haven’t been round the course, but I know I can run 10k on any day and I know I will give it my best. I would like to go under an hour but I am aiming to get as close to this as possible. All I can say is that I will give it my all and do my very best.


A friend of mine who goes to the same writing workshop has set up his own YouTube channel where he performs poetry he has written. Joel is a great young man and a fine spoken word performer too. Have a look and enjoy and maybe be inspired to set up your own YouTube channel. The link is here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDOr8iz-Zemg4xCRWcY8CyQ/featured


This is me reading a poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley. I’ve decided to upload a reading as I’m frequently being told I have a very good voice for reading poetry and more. Personally I hate my voice but again this is very common amongst many people, so I have decided to put my voice out there and let the world decide! Follow the link to my Tumblr blog: http://andyqby19.tumblr.com/ to hear my reading.


Today was an amazing day for me. I was invited to Specialist Autism Services, an autism charity based in Bradford, England. I was invited down to talk about my poem ‘My Eyes’ and the subsequent film derived from it made by Courtney Sandifer to some of the students from the creative writing workshop. It was a surreal experience for me answering questions about one of my poems and talking about the story behind it. I’ve never experienced anything like it before and it was humbling for me to have people there who wanted to listen to my words and hearing one of the students read my poem out.

After the reading and the film I read my new poem ‘Ignored’ out and the students then got very creative turning it into a film and a cartoon. It was inspiring for me to see and hear the ideas they came up with just from one of my poems! I felt that they had far more creativity in them than I did and to me they proved it. When the workshop had finished and the students told me that they could not believe they were meeting a real life author and how much they had enjoyed the workshop it really hit home how words and writing have the power to change lives and inspire others.

For the record I don’t consider myself an author. I’m just someone who is able to put his feelings, thoughts and emotions into words that other’s can take something from. This makes it very, very rewarding for me and very worthwhile to keep going and never stop writing.


Last night was another auspicious moment in my poetry experience. I lost my poetry reading virginity! I was very, very nervous as you can imagine, but the evening was made far more relaxing by being held in a small restaurant called the Kava based in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. I had never been to the Kava before but it is a lovely little vegetarian restaurant with a very pleasant and convivial atmosphere, helped by the intimate surroundings.

I went there with two friends, Nuala Robinson and Gaia Holmes. Both Nuala and myself attend a workshop run by Gaia called ‘Igniting the Spark’. The workshop is held every week although we are taking a break for the summer. The workshop is a very friendly environment and achieves what it sets out to do. It has certainly ignited my spark and I am enjoying writing poetry and having my creative side challenged every week by the various activities Gaia sets us. It is the other writers who go to the workshop who also inspire me to write better poetry and without them I would not have come so far in such a short space of time.

In the Kava was another friend who I knew and this helped to settle my nerves knowing that there were people there who had come to support me and the other poets based purely on our performance on the night and nothing else. Gaia was the guest poet and performed several of her amazing poems to a spell bound audience. All of Gaia’s poetry was very well received and she had well deserved rapturous applause at the end of her readings. The compare Anthony then read a poem and after two other poets had performed some outstanding poetry it was my turn to perform.

I got up and very nervously began to read my first poem ‘She Dreams’. All of a sudden my first night nerves had disappeared and I just concentrated on reading my poetry to the best of what I consider to be my limited ability. My next reading was ‘My Eyes’ which is a very personal poem about how I see not being able to read and understand non-verbal communication because of my Asperger’s Syndrome and how I imagine it is for someone else. The last reading was ‘Emily Bronte’s Pen’ which is my interpretation of what it must have been like to be the pen with which Emily Bronte wrote ‘Wuthering Heights’, Every since discovering the Bronte’s and Haworth last year they have held a special place in my heart and every time I visit Haworth Moor or the Bronte Parsonage I feel a tingle down my spine at the thought of walking in the footsteps of literary geniuses who changed the literary world forever with there outstanding poems and novels which have stood the test of time and always will do. At the end of my reading everybody applauded loudly and vigorously, especially my friend Simon who should be a professional applauder! The relief from finishing my very first poetry reading and losing my virginity was immense. All I wanted to do was find a bed and lie down for a very long time! But being 20 miles from home and with other poets still to read I couldn’t lie down anywhere. 

The rest of the poets were equally impressive and I realised how much I have to learn about poetry and I took inspiration from the other poets and their readings. After the event had finished everybody congratulated me on losing my poetry reading virginity and said I was a natural. To hear this gave me a boost to my confidence and has inspired me to carry on writing and reading poetry. Having Asperger’s and suffered from bullying has severely dented my confidence, but I am slowly getting it back through my new found passion.

I cannot thank Gaia Holmes enough for the lovely words she said to me at the end of the night, nor for the owners of the Kava Café who let us have the venue and all of the other poets and people who made it a magical evening for everybody. I got some ideas for a theme for my poetry and I cannot wait to read some poetry again whether it is one of my poor attempts or poetry by one of the greats.