Monday, 29 June 2015

What have I been up to?

My apologies for neglecting my blog a little lately.  Here's a few things keeping me well occupied:

My work in the criminal justice system has always been demanding and it never seems to let up.  I do like the variety and I like doing little projects in addition to having responsibility for a small team of fantastic colleagues.  I feel privileged.

Alas times are changing.  The profession is almost unrecognisable when compared to my entry as an assistant way back in 1992.  The prison population has almost doubled, I have seen first hand the impact of a succession of very different Home Secretaries, the Ministry of Justice has been formed and the Transforming Rehabilitation agenda has torn my profession apart.  Legislation has had huge impacts on the justice system as well as creating thousands of additional new laws for people to break.  Huge staff reductions have taken place since 2010 and an eye-watering number are still to go in the foreseeable future.

The chance of these staff reductions affecting me are high.  As you can imagine that has caused me to consider, reconsider and consider my future direction. As I seem to have a naturally optimistic outlook for the most part, I am almost looking forward to seeing what doors could open ahead of me. And then I think of all those bills to pay.  At that point it looks scary.

As a family we are incredibly blessed and I am sure the right things will happen, although these aren't always what we expect or want.  We cannot see ahead, although it is wise to plan ahead as best we can.  I will keep you posted as things unfold.

Yes Running!  The focus of this blog.  I'm not sure if I mentioned or not, I have given myself a little target for the year and this is to run 1000 miles in 2015.  At the time of writing I have just passed the 500 mile mark, so nicely on track.

My running pattern seems to have changed over the last year or so.  Instead of running early in the mornings for most of my runs, I find I'm now running after work on a couple of days each week.  As you know I'm based in Stevenage and I will either have a run there, or I might drive part of the way home and then run (having changed into my running gear before leaving the office).

The area I have explored in terms of running is around Preston, just outside Hitchin in Hertfordshire. Preston is a little pretty village on the top of a hill with a network of footpaths, bridleways and lanes around.  All very scenic and as an added bonus some of the hills are great to get my heart beating at a fairly high rate (I should say these are short bursts for a couple of minutes and I have been used to doing this for the last few years).  According to Strava I am 14th out of 84 runners on this short steep hill.  My time is 2:31 (which coincidentally I have hit twice now) and I know I can do better.  I'm already looking forward to the next time.

My long runs remain along the tow path of the Grand Union canal, while my youngest daughter is kayaking.  This gives me a 90 minute window to do roughly 10 miles.  It is a real joy seeing the canal through the different seasons now that we have reached summer: I enjoy them all, even the winter!

A while back I blogged about running up Bison Hill and increasing my lead in the Strava course record.  More recently I was beaten by another athlete and it was by quite a margin.  Although I can't recall the new time, I do remember thinking there was no way I could beat it.  Having checked it again I see that new time has disappeared and perhaps I'm back in holding the course record.

Another course record which I have held since December in along the Busway and a flat 0.6 mile sprint.  I can see others are closing in on me and it is only a matter of time before I'm beaten.  One of my friends, Joe C is the one to watch as he has youth on his side and there's less than 10 seconds between us!

Earlier this year I picked up an over-use injury which is completely healed.  That's good.  What isn't so good is that I think I ran slightly differently and consequently "transferred" the problem to my left hip.  It's not too bad and once again it's about keeping the right balance between keeping some running going and resting.  This is a tricky balance!

Haven't done much, to be honest, just a few leisure rides.  I have, however, been able to encourage a couple of my friends in taking to two wheels and that has been great to see.  This has involved advising on pedals, what kind of bike to buy etc.

We did get the opportunity to see the Women's Tour of Britain flash past at Ashridge a couple of weeks ago.  That was fun, although it has to be said, road cycling is not really a spectator sport.

Back to blogging
I must blog more.  Partly as a personal journal of things that happen and also the interaction with readers out there which brings the world of blogging to life.  It seems the more I blog, the higher the stats go each day.  If I go through a quiet patch, the daily hit rate falls.

If you want to get in touch at all, please either leave a comment below or email me at

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