About Me

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I am a Table Tennis playing, running, married father of 2, and I need somewhere to vent. I have chosen this place!

Thursday, 28 April 2011


Hello friends and other peoples.

This is just a small note to say I have decided to open up another blog. I don't quite know my reasoning for this, I just wanted to start afresh.

If by some miracle you're interested in what a spew out (which I'm hoping will get a jolly sight better) go to www.ninjabreadman.blogspot.com

Thankyou for reading my blog, I hope you cross over with me to my new one.

See you all soon.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Polaroid Sunnies!!!

Howdo peeps.

Yes I am a lazy fecker. Also, I have completely lost my blogging mojo, I think it may be the weather. And yes, I am a typical Brit, I blame the weather for everything no matter how nice it's been.

Reeto then, back to the subject matter, namely a shiny pair of Polaroid Venture sunglasses.
I was sent the above pictured set of shiny sunglasses to test and review back in March, I was hoping to get them in time to war them for the Reading half, but alas, no, they arrived 2 days after. Not that I minded in the end as they wouldn't have got much of a test on the day.

The day they arrived,  the packaging was ripped to shreds as soon as I got near them, mainly because I had no idea which model I would be receiving, it was all a big shiny surprise. Needless to say, they weren't the model I was hoping for, but I was hardly going to complain and send them back now was I?
Luckily I was planning to go out on my bike to see my dad and report to him my time and things from Reading, and lo and behold, the sun was a-peeping out. Helmet on, gloves on and brand spanking new shiney's jammed onto my face.

The first thing I noticed about these glasses was not the awesomely shiny colour of the lenses, although it is pretty awesome, but the fact that the arms move up and down at the hinges. Being a specs wearer for the best part of 30 years I was expecting them to be able to move in and out. Up and down however was a big surprise. And a surprise in a good way. Everybody, and I mean E-V-E-R-Y-B-O-D-Y has a wonky face. That is 1 ear slightly higher than t'other. If you don't believe me, go and get your face checked! These glasses adjust to the difference in ear height to a massive extent. Even Sloth from the Goonies could wear them and they would still be straight.

They are however, a sod to get used to. It didn't take much to move them, just a wipe of the sweaty brow with a catch of the hand on the top of the frames would see them knocked out of line.
I do have to say though, these glasses are a cracking fit without feeling tight, and that is coming from someone with an XL hat size. For some reason they don't fit quite so happily when I'm wearing my cycling helmet, don't know why this is but as this is mainly a running based blog, I shall ignore me.
I took this pic of me in the Polaroid's at work. This explains the high-viz.

If you have never used polarized sunnies before, which I hadn't by the way, seriously, you need to break them in slowly. I was fine walking and stuff in them, as soon as I started cycling though, properly serious brain freeze headache. I know it was the glasses causing it as when I took them off it went away, plus I was only riding to Sutton which I had done quite a few times in the past. This also happened on the way back. The time it took to get used to this was only around an hour, so please, if this blog/review persuades you to buy a pair, don't be put off by the crushing headache you will get when you wear them while travelling at anything faster than walking pace. It is just your brain adjusting to the new info being pumped through your eyeballs!

I can't really say say how good these specs are at polarizing as I've nothing to compare them to, all I can say is, they do a damn good job doing what they're supposed to. This is especially noticeable in my job as a security guard. Most people don't realise that their car windscreens are tinted, and therefore, stupidly reflective. It annoys me at work that people think I can see who them in their massive cars from my tiny wee shed. With these glasses, I actually can. All  the reflective glare is gone. Unfortunately though, they don't help you see though bird crap, that still get gets in the way.

Yeah but, are these glasses any good for running in?

Short answer - hell yeah!
They have an adjustable nose bridge, which adjusts by itself (at least mine does, I hope it's supposed to!) no matter how sweaty you get. They are seriously lightweight and as previously mentioned, a very good tight but comfortable fit. Combine the 3 and they really are very good. The shading effect of these glasses is also very good. I wore these glasses on a 6 mile x-country run along the Ridgeway. There was not a cloud in the sky and it was as bright as it could be. I really did not notice at all. I could see other runners and bike riders wearing different glasses were struggling with the brightness of the sun, look for frown lines next time you're out, but these honestly were magic. But again, the only let down really is the adjustable arms. They are a splendid idea, but unfortunately, this early in the models development, they are about the only thing that lets them down.
When you run, you sweat. When you sweat, you wipe. When you wipe while wearing these glasses, you have to re-adjust. When you re-adjust while running you stop concentrating on running. When you stop concentrating on running - well, if you're a runner, you'll know.

All in all, these are very good sunglasses, and worth every penny of the RRP

All in all, I would give these little puppies 8 out of 10. The arms themselves knock off the 2 points I'm afraid.

Thank you for reading this drivel people. And do you know what, I have just realised how much I jabber on! Still won't stop me though ha ha ha ha .

Sunday, 27 March 2011

The Reading Half Marathon. Pt. 1

Yes I know its a bit late but since the Janathon finished I sort of lost the will to blog on time.

But hey dee ho, off we go.

I was rather dubious about forking out £31.50 to run 13.1 miles, especially after trying to enter the VLM which would have only cost £30 to enter, for double the milage and double the sense of achievment I would have expected, but after much umming and arring and not a little persuasion from my chum Nicky who had already entered, I decided to go for Reading rather than the slightly cheaper Silverstone Half. And hey, j'know what, I'm bloody glad I did.

Training didn't go quite as well as I'd have liked, in fact, it hardly went at all. Like most people in this country I was affected by the massive snows we had, but I tried to carry on despite it all, with some success I think. It did get quite slippy but only after a few days of all the snow compacting down on the pavements and turning to ice.
Along came Christmas, all was lovely but still damned cold. No running on Chrimbo day for me. Went out on Boxing day instead in nowt but my planned race gear, which turned out to be quite a bad choice, as I had started to develop a bit of a cold, which then turned into a beast of a cold and cough and horridness.
Rest time!!
Had to get as much rest in as poss as I had signed up to do the Janathon, which by the way was the purpose of this blog in the first place, and as the name suggests started in January, on the 1st to be precise.
The Janathon went well until the 22nd when I was cripped by an injury just 0.67 short of the 100 mile mark.

Because of work and things I was unable to rest properly to allow the injury to heal until mid-February when I managed to wangle a weeks leave at very short notice, during which time I spent as little time in footwear as possible. This thankfully did the trick and I was able to go out for a run a month later (HUZZAY) all be it, only a short one. It was by now, only a month to Reading Half - bicycle clip time!!

Between that short 4km run and the 20th March, I only managed to fit in 9 more runs, the longest of these was just over 12.5km, the rest were 5, 6 and 7km's with the odd 9er thrown in. Not the best milage coverage ever for a half I think.

Race day loometh ever closer .

The week leading upto race day I decided I really should try some energy gels. Popped into the local bike shop where I had managed to fetch up some gels previously for use in a TT competition. I was hoping to get the same ones - S.I.S. gels - as I knew these didn't upset the old digestive tubes, they taste like crap but they don't make me crap. Alas, they had no S.I.S. gels in the shop, they had only Powerbar gels. So, Powerbar gels it is then. I bought the last 6 in the shop, 3 sour apple flavour and 3 blackcurrant flavour. I tried one of each on the Tuesday before the race, I had a TT match to play in Abingdon that night and decided to run there, it is just over 5 miles from work. I had 1 gel around 6:15 in the evening just before leaving work, the sour apple one, which by the way really did taste like sour apples which was a surprise, and 1 during my run at around the 4 mile mark. I was very pleased that there were no stomachy tremblings, arrived at TT and played an absolute blinder of a match which I attribute entirely to the gels.
The next day however was a bit different, after very little sleep (I was buzzing all night from the gel, the win and the large bowl of pasta I scoffed when I got in at 10:30 that night) I got up to go to work feeling ultra sore and stiff and not a little bloated. That day I did a silly thing, I had egg sandwiches for lunch.
"So what", I hear you cry, "I have egg sarnies all the time".
Well I don't, hardly ever in fact, my eggies are reserved for brekkers either fried, boiled or scrambled.
Egg sarnies sitting on top of pasta sitting on top of (under-diluted) energy gel, are just not good for your tummy. I spent the rest of wednesday evening and pretty much all of the night in some quite considerable pain. Thought about calling in sick at 2:30 in the morning, but considerate fool that I am, I didn't want to bother getting control all upset and have to call round waking officers up at 5:30 in the morning, so I decided to go in to work. 10am and I'm on the phone to control. It is at this point when I started thinking I may not be able to run on Sunday!
"Hello control, I'd like to go home sick please, and while I'm at it you can put me down as sick for tomorrow (Friday) too".
"Alright mate, will do. I'm sending Surya down to cover, are you ok to hang on there till he gets to you?"
"Yup, no probs".
"Nice one, he'll be with you in an hour".
"Wicked, thanks very much".

1 hour later and I'm off home, 10 mins after that and I'm back in bed a-kip. Spent most of Thursday in bed and slept pretty well during the night too, and I awoke to the blessed sound of my tummy making good growly noises. I stayed at home and just tried to chill as much as poss.
Race day arriveth!!

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Slendertone belt - End of the review.

Howdy y'all.
Long time no type.

I know I haven't blogged for aaaages but that is because I had nowt to write about. Well, that and I am just to damn lazy.

Anyway, to the point of this particular bloggy-woggy-woo - the Slendertone trial.

For anyone reading this tripe for the first time, I was approached by Slendertone to do a 28 day trial and review of their latest ab belt whilst I was taking part in the Janathon. Thanks again Janathon, if t'weren't for thee, I would never have been given one of these.

Right then, you want the short answer - THE SLENDERTONE X70 AB'S BELT WORKS!

I was as surprised as you, although I probably shouldn't have been from reading other reviews, but how often do read reviews of exercise equipment that praise it to the high heavens and you think "yeah right, what ever"? All the time I reckon.
Some of the claims made about this particular product are absolute toilet. One said (roughly), a half hour session on the Slendertone belt feels like you've done 100 sit ups. Well, it really doesn't, I tried to do 100 sit ups the other night, I got as far as 81 and had to stop, I am still very tight and sore!
However, the belt, as I said, does work. It may not be as effective as your actual exercises but it does do the trick albeit slowly, but, as long as you follow a proper routine you will see an improvement. I will post a picture or 2 on this page later on to prove it. Although I didn't measure my waist at the start of the trail, I was, I'm pretty sure just under a 35 inch waist, my work trousers fitted quite nicely. Now however, there is definite space around the waist band. I measured, just to be sure. With a thin t-shirt and normal white shirt over that, the measuring tape 34 1/4 inches. I have also been assured by wifey that there is much finer definition in my abs.
I do have to add also, that my diet was perhaps not as healthy as when I was taking part in the Janathon, so perhaps the results may not have been as good as they could have.

 Before (profile)
 After (Profile)
The advantage of the belt over traditional sit ups or crunches is that it takes up hardly any space. The only faff is having put the thing on in the first place, although this does only take a minute, where as you can just flump on the floor and get on with your sit ups.

The unit is quite expensive at around £140, and you will have to replace the conductive pads every 6-8 weeks (depending on the usage#).
The battery and ease of use of the belt though are excellent. From the initial charge of around 5 hours, I have still not needed to re-charge it. I have tried, but it will not let me! I don't know why, it just won't. You are supposed to wait until the little battery icon flashes, and it still hasn't. Wifey is using it now and while she may not have it turned up as high as I did, it is still going happily.
I would say that you can easily forget you're wearing the belt if that were true. If you have it on low, you may do, but once you get around the half-power mark there is no way you can. And don't try reading to your kids if you're wearing it at full power! Try it, you'll see what I mean.
I have tried at least 2 of the previous Slendertone abs products, and this is by far and away THE best one, there is no faffing around with gel, crappy little barely-conductive pads, wires, straps, switches and plugs. You basically just get your belly out, take the protective plastic sheets off the pads, strap the whole thing around your waist, plug in the little power unit, turn it on and turn it up. That is it, really very easy indeed.

Should I buy one or not?

If you don't like or physically can't do sit ups or crunches, or you're just to lazy and have £140 to spend, then yes, a great big definitely. BUT, do not expect massive results over night, using nothing but the Slendertone X70 will improve your abs, but it takes time, and then only if you eat healthily and follow a strict regime#. If you can't do either of these, then honestly, don't waste your money. If you really must get one, don't let my ramblings stop you, go for it and good luck to you.
But if like most people, you're a bit skint but still want to work your abs, there really is nothing like hard work and doing proper sit ups.

Overall I will give the Slendertone X70 9 out of 10. It is an excellent product, it does what it is supposed to do and it very is easy to use. The only reason it is not a 10 is simply the cost of the thing. If it could come down to below £100, it would get tops.

(# = 6 workouts per week - 5 workout days, 2 rest days. 1 of the 5 workout days included a double workout)

I would just like to say a quick thank you to Ryan at the MSL Group for asking me to take part in this and for sending me the Slendertone belt. Thank you matey.
Also, again I would like to thank Cathy for setting up the Janathon in the first place. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have got this funky freebie.

Cheers all.

Stu - PPP

Monday, 7 February 2011

The Slendertone test, mid-point.

I'm back again.

Not much exciting going on in my world. Foot still rubbish, slight chance of not being able to complete Reading half because of said rubbish hoof and I lost my first TT match of 2011 the other night, still a record of 8 ot of 9 though so far this year which I'm quite happy with.
Wifey is still going with her 10k training which is also kewl, although she found it tough going on Sat morning because of the wind and general horridness of the weather.

Anyway, to the point. The Slendertone review.

It's been 2 weeks now since I started this trial, well pretty much anyway, Monday is my second rest day of the program, which, by the way, follows thusly:
Tues, Wed - workout, Thurs - rest, Fri, Sat - workout, Sun - double workout, Mon - rest.

For anyone who has used the Slendertone products before, this is by far and away the best they have come up with. The pads are supremely conductive and water-based so there is no need for sticky messy gel as with previous products, and you don't (shouldn't) need to keep adjusting the belt position. The pads are damn cold when you put the belt on though so be prepared for that.
As I'm still only on level 4, I have no idea of the pattern of the workout. At the moment it is roughly 6 seconds of "pulse" folowed by 6 seconds of rest for 30 mins. When you start ramping up the intensity it takes a little longer to get used to it each time, but only around 4 or 5 pulses.
If you've never used a Slendertone system before, wait another couple of weeks until I've finished this little review to decide whether to get one or not. But at the moment, I'm around 60-40 on the "yes, go for it" side.

If you do decide to get one however, be warned, using the belt is very addictive. It is massively tempting to hit the go button again when your workout has finished. I decided to do a double workout on a Sunday because of this very reason, although I do one in the morning and one in the early evening.
I do have to big up the battery in the unit though, I used it for 10 sessions before recharging it, and it still had some juice left in it. That is roughly 5 hours. I wish my iphone battery was that good.
The control unit (which includes the battery) by the way is about two 2/3 the size of a computer mouse and 1.5-2cm thick.

As for results, it's hard to tell at the moment, my trousers don't fall down yet so I don't think my waistline has gone down at all, but I do think there is more definition to my abs, but that might just me thinking there is. I will take some more pics in 2 weeks time for the grand reveal.

See you then.


Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Janathon Day 25 = Slendertone Day 1.

Plus 1 short sharp bike ride from work, yaaay, the work route again!!

Back on around day 10, I said I couldn't wait to not have to run for a day. I was hoping I would still be fit and to just have a nice fluffy rest day, and also of course for it to be February!

Ah well, musn't dwell on crapness, just got to get on with stuff.

I do have a few things to thank Janathon for, mainly all the nice shiny new chums on Twitter and the realisation that it's not just me that is a massive fan of porridge and jam, woop woop.
One other thing is the shiny new Slendertone System+ Abs belt that I have been sent for nothing!! Freebies are cool! All I have to do is test it on a minimum 28 day trial using a 4 week plan and blog about the results (or lack of). And I shall be including pictures of THE BELLY! This I shall do as of tonight.

Wifey took delivery of the unit this morning, and very kindly plugged it in to charge it up. This is the new unit that uses a rechargable battery unit as opposed to the older style disposable battery and mains powered types. This newer unit also does not require the use of any sort of gels as the pads are covered in a water based non-sticky but very sticky (if you know what I mean) gel. There really is no other way to describe the stuff, and my grasp of English does not allow me come up with the correct word for this goo, though I'm sure there is one.
After reading through the instructions carefully, I pulled out my hair clippers and gave the chesty cakes and tummy area a bit of a trimming. This is in the hope that I would get a better contact, and also to show the results, if there are any, in much better detail. *WARNING* NAKED TUM TUM COMING UP!

Whether trimming the tub will make any difference or not I don't know, but it never hurts to give it a go.

Anyroad, I stuck the pads to the belt in the medium position, there are 3 marks on the belt, small, medium and large, and the 2 smaller oval shaped pads go in these markings, while the larger square pad goes over the big square in the middle of the belt.
After trying the belt on first to make sure I had it in the correct position, I took it off and removed the protective plastic sheets from the "skin" side of the pads. These have to be kept then put back on when you have finished your workout to stop the non sticky sticky goop from drying out.
I then put the belt back round the jelly, hence -

Once I'd got the belt back on, I plugged the program/power unit into the belt, the plug-in unit is tucked away just inside the belt, and switched it on. I went for the intermediate program - the 2nd of the 8 - and turned up the intensity to 40/150. This was comfortable and not to vigorous for my first go. It was 25 minutes of twitchy tummy pleasantness, though tomorrow I think I shall turn the wee fella up to maybe 60 or 70. Afte the 25 mins I got beeped at, and removed the belt, un-plugged the power unit, replaced the pad protectors and put it all away in the tidy little carry bag thingy like a good little boy.

Thanks all for reading, if you're still awake that is.

I shall update again in a weeks time, with more pics, yaaaay.


Monday, 24 January 2011

My challenge is at an end.

It is official now. I missed a run and a blog, my push for the 405 is kaput.
I shall continue to exercise by other means however, mostly in a pedalled manor, bash out a few extra miles to and from work, providing the weather stays nice of course.
And for those of you who actually read and possibly enjoy this Berksheerian tripe, I shall continue to blog, as I actually enjoy it. Never though I would!

I still have my Slendertone test and review, along with pics of my freshly shawn gut (in the name of science you understand!) to do, as well as my TT. As I seem to be playing quite well at the mo *taps table quick-sharp* I shall start a wee blog about that. Maybe about the training upto and including racing at the Reading Half on March 20th, and the progress I can make at breaking the 10k 45 min barrier, and ultimately the training for (if they do it this year) the Abingdon Marathon in October, or when ever they do it.

I will also keep you up to date on wifey's 10k training for the Oxford Town & Gown as well as any other news I think you might be bothered about.
Thankyou all again, see you at Hyde Park on the 12th.