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Member of the Month - Big Al Widepants

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pedroscalls asks: Congratulations on winning MoTM. My question is, if money and time were no object is there any route or race anywhere you'd love to do?

Big Al Widepants says: Hi, thanks. When you live in Scotland, you tend to dream about warmth. So I'd like to run a 10k or half in New Zealand. It's like Scotland but warmer and there's no places like Cumbernauld.
Joopsy asks: This is the best news I have seen in ages on here. I love you Al but please can you tell us the story about when you were caught short on a run, the one involving the puddle?

Big Al Widepants says: Oh mate, I think that's one that should stay "on tour". Put it this way folks, there's a farmer in East Lothian who's very lucky he wasn't out in his tractor that night.
Diogenes asks: Congratulations Al. What were your best, worst, most memorable, strangest, and funniest runs. What part of the day do you most enjoy running.

Big Al Widepants says: Thanks Dio, my best run was my half marathon pb. It was (obviously) some years ago at the Loch Leven half. I had a target of sub 1.40 and made it by 13 seconds I think. The last 5k was torture but for once I dug in and made it. Quite proud of that one. Worst was the Dublin marathon 2006. Just the most horrible last 10 miles. The woman taking my timing chip off was nice to me and I started blubbing. Most memorable was the Santa Monica 10. I was on holiday and thought I'd give it a go. There were only about 50 people running and it's my only podium. Strangest was forgetting my kit during the streak and having to run in boxers and bare feet in a hotel gym treadmill. Funniest was that run in East Lothian that I'm not going to tell you about...Oh, and evening is best.
swittle asks: A worthy MotM. Big Al, to what extent does Streaking help you towards a beneficial life balance?

Big Al Widepants says: Cheers Steve, not sure it does ;) I am not some running evangelist. I just know I need to do something and running is the most likely thing I'll do considering I don't have to be in a team or worry about the weather or spend a fortune on kit....oh wait?!
Mrs Jigs (Luverlylegs) asks: Congratulations Big Al, I am delighted you won! Your last blog mentioned amateur dramatics, if you could have any part in a play of your choice what would it be?

Big Al Widepants says: Thanks. I love musicals esp G&S and my missus is a singer so I think I would do a part in a show with her. Maybe the Duke and Duchess of Plaza Toro. Oh, and I wouldn't mind being good enough to play (a bald) Romeo :)
Captain S asks: Congratulations on being MOTM. You run every day, how do you stay injury free? When I've tried running every day I get injured all too soon.

Big Al Widepants says: Hi, cheers. Truth is I don't stay injury free (just ask Santababy). It is true I don't get many serious injuries which is probably down to the glacial speed I run - and luck. Quite often I just run slowly through the injury. (not really to be recommended.)
Tikka asks: Congrats, Al. I’m thrilled skinny to see you win this. My question is this: I am fascinated by your streak, especially as it’s several notches above the average “one mile a day at whatever speed” sort of streak. I can (sort of) see how it’s possible to keep going day after day physically, but mentally? I look forward to my rest day as a chance to come back mentally refreshed and enthusiastic to start the week over again. How do you keep your head from wanting to take a break, even if not your legs?

Big Al Widepants says: Hey Tikka, thanks for all your support. There's a wee battle going on between wanting to not do the run - that's a daily fight - and thinking "I don't want to give up just because I didn't feel like it". The toughest period without doubt has been the last 6 months. Even now, I'm thinking the end of the year might be it. (Probably won't though ;) )
_andy asks: Congrats Al. Nice one. What's the story behind the Widepants though?

Big Al Widepants says: Hi Andy. I wore flares to work and was known as BAW at that place after that fashion faux pas.
Bintmcskint asks: Congratulations, Mr Widepants :-) Here's my usual question...you are stranded on a desert island. You can take one type of food, one book and one Fetchie. What and who do you take and why?

Congratulations, Mr Widepants :-) Here's my usual question...you are stranded on a desert island. You can take one type of food, one book and one Fetchie. What and who do you take and why?


Big Al Widepants says: Hi BMcS. Food - some kind of seafood like they do in Singapore. I lived there for a while and they do this amazing pepper and chilli crab. They put what looks like a tablecloth on you to cover up your clothes and then keep bringing the delicious little nippers until you say "STOP". The book would be the bible. It's got blood and guts stories, history, poetry and amazing deeds of bravery and faith. And I'm a Christian so it would be rude not to :) . I'd take Joopsy. He's a good mate and there's no danger of me ever fancying him.
Night-owl asks: Congratulations a worthy winner. My question what is your favorite type of run, distance, terrain,weather, company

Big Al Widepants says: Thanks Night Owl. I like wee 2 milers at the moment but if I ever recover, I do like my stock 7.13 miles along the Union Canal towpath to Longstone and back on a summer evening with my son (although he is much better than me now and would definitely drop me in the last mile (it would always be a race!).
Gasheader asks: strava

Big Al Widepants says: Hi, I don't really know what strava is so I had to Google it. One social media site for running is quite enough.
ChrisHB asks: Complete this sentence in the way that most pleases you, with reference to your training log: I have run at least ___ miles every month for the past ___ months. Multiple answers are permitted.

Big Al Widepants says: Hi Chris, I was thinking about this and I did run 15 months of at least 200 miles. But I think for general pleasure at having done it, I did 148 days of at least 6 miles a day this year when feeling pretty rubbish with breathing and so forth.
sallykate asks: Congratulations, very well-deserved. What's the closest you've come to missing a run, and why?

Big Al Widepants says: Hi SallyKate. I had a bad ankle injury when I got run off the road in Dalmeny Estate. The 4 miles after that on the same night were pretty tough. Also the 4 miles on a treadmill in August this year with pneumonia while I was on holiday weren't nice either.
Corrah asks: Many congratulations on MoTM Al. What I would like to know is what's your favourite post race food and tipple?

Big Al Widepants says: Hi Corrah. Post race I never feel that hungry right away. But I can usually murder a curry later on. As per after The Hebden this year. Nice cup of tea. Although I have been known to neck a beaker of wine.
HappyG(rrr) asks: Many congrats Al. Well deserved. Your streak has been huge and through some rough times. You've got a busy working and family life. So can you tell us how, and I suppose also why, you fit it all in! Well done again, :-) G

Big Al Widepants says: Hi Happy, thanks for your support. Truth is my kids are a little older now and two are off at uni. The other doesn't need the same kind of ferrying around so finding time is more straightforward than it used to be. Also, when you're only doing 2 a day minimum, there's always time :)

Why is harder. I just suppose I know how deep-down lazy I am and I'd do absolutely nothing if it wasn't for the tyranny of the streak.
westmoors asks: Congrats. Can you remember why you started your streak and what do you think would cause you to end it?

Big Al Widepants says: Hi. I started my streak on New Year's Day 2009. I had an old friend over for Hogmanay and we both thought it would be good to blow the cobwebs away with a run. I thought that since I started, I'd see how long I could go that year before I didn't do a run. If I get out today it'll be day 2856. That adds its own momentum. I have little thoughts about 8 years or 3000 days. I'd rather I just stopped without being forced to by injury or illness. Sadly I'm down to 2 miles a day but frankly that's close to not running at all so I don't see me stopping any time soon.
BigChiefRunningBore asks: How big are your pants these days?

Big Al Widepants says: Hi BCRB. I'm hardly running, what do you think?
McGoohan asks: Al - you seem to have an incredibly busy life & pack a lot in. How do you manage to fit it all in?

Big Al Widepants says: Hi McGoohan. I'm not as busy as all that - I'm answering these questions after all ;) I think there are lots of folk with tons more on than I have. People with young kids - that's a huge strain. Our foster kids only come once a month and I know people who have adopted and that's a blank cheque. Hats off to them, I couldn't do it.
Dvorak asks: In a blog once, I think that you (unless it was Boab) described cup a soup as "the food of criminals". As a restaurateur and tv chef, what other foods might you describe as the food of criminals; and conversely, what foods would you reckon as top-notch pre/post run nutrition?

Big Al Widepants says: I don't think I said that but for sure, I don't feel like a Cup-a-Soup all that often but I do remember an ad for the stuff which had marathon runners stopping at a feeding station and trying to tear open the sachet, boil a kettle and make the thing whilst tripping over the lead and pouring the soup down their top. Other criminal food - the list is quite small as I like most things but here goes: Tarasamalata. It's fishy, it's creamy, it's pink. Just like a criminal. NO. Iceberg lettuce: there is actually zero point. Minestrone soup. Esp Minestrone cup-a-soup. Too many bits. Wholemeal quiche: surely no-one likes that? Oysters: snot on the half shell. Quorn, Elmlea, okra, american cheese, brawn, fruit tea, sugary bread, margarine, tripe sausage (had it in France - I have quite a strong constitution, but that had me on the semi-boak.

Top pre-run. I hate eating anything but I have been known to force down some porridge pre-race. I am Scottish after all. Post-run, that's a different matter. I quite like getting the carbs and fat in a one-er. So, beer battered fish and chips, mushy peas and a lager. Or Vogel bread toasted with avocado, parma ham and those really nice vine tomatoes that actually taste of something x2 (or 3....). I'm editing this now that I'm a Peskyvegan. Nearly everything feels faintly criminal in that I open the fridge and it screams "you shouldn't be in here. Get over to the walnut, linseed and tofu section." All I can say is thank goodness coconut milk is not on the banned list.

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