Daily Archives: September 23, 2016

International Hobbit Day, Fun & Run(ish)

Yes, it’s a thing.  Hobbit Day – because  September 22 is the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins!   Now as you my regular reader will know, given that my hobbit buddy and I feel an affinity with certain characteristics of this noble duo, we couldn’t really let the day pass by unmarked.  The problem was how to celebrate though.   I mean, there was a hobbit day virtual run we could do, but you have to pay for it in American dollars, and we are way too tight to indulge ourselves in that degree of decadence.  Plus, I think sometimes you have to find a way to create your own celebratory rituals.  This was one such occasion.

Coincidentally, 22nd September is also World Rhino Day.  Rhinos are rarer than hobbits these days, sad but true.  Makes me mad, and feel a bit helpless too to be honest.  It is a lot easier to mark Hobbit Day with cavorting and frolicking than it is to help save a rhino, but I hope if you can you will do something in honour of both, and honestly, if you can only choose one, choose rhinos.  The hobbits will probably endure longer than the last few individual rhinos we still have with us.  I took part in a rhino conservation project a few years back.  The heavily monitored few we were trying to protect, are pretty much all now gone.  Through direct poaching, or the indirect consequences of trying to protect them from it (two were killed by poachers, the third died from a reaction to being sedated so it could have a tracking collar fitted to protect it from poaching.) Nothing funny about this.  Just bloody depressing.  No wonder I’ve ended up posting more about hobbits than saving the rhino.  Sometimes it’s understandable to want to ignore big issues and hope they will go away, but given that this day has been chosen to think of both rhino and hobbits, spare a thought for each will you, and even better, keep informed throughout the year..

So, lightening the mood, back to hobbit day.  I did look at wikihow for some ideas about how to celebrate this anniversary.  I’ve consulted wikihow before and it’s actually helped me out before with carrying out other previously unfamiliar tasks like working out how to remove my bathroom light fitting (the screws were really hidden and obscured by the design, so I’m not as entirely incompetent as that example suggests).  Wikihow is also handy for other topics like, oh I don’t know, probably carrying out minor DIY open heart surgery, that sort of thing. It does not have a post on how to save the rhino unfortunately (not that easy alas) but there is one on how to draw a cartoon rhino, so that’s a big help with conservation obviously.   Fortunately, it did indeed have a post on ‘how to celebrate hobbit day‘.  Not all the ideas were especially practical, but one of the listed points did jump out:

8) If you do not think your friends would be very interested in a Hobbit Day celebration, celebrate the day in your own way. Walk around barefoot for the day, eat about six meals (hobbits are always hungry), or make a Hobbit Day t-shirt to spread awareness. Consider making flyers to share with friends and acquaintances to help them understand the importance of this day
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The thing, is we, hobbit buddy and I, were absolutely committed to marking the day with a celebratory hobbit run.  Indeed, we even went out on a route recce to plan the perfect hobbit themed hop.  We explored our local woods with new eyes, seeing it in all it’s glory as a magical wonderland, albeit one we don’t quite yet have the photographic skills to capture adequately.  One consequence of this was that the atmospheric shot of mysterious little fungi growing in the dark base of a hollowed tree-trunk ended up looking rather more like a particularly unpleasant still from a recent endoscopy.  However, we have to work with the tools and skills we have.  We were still playing homage in our own way, and researching ideas for our own forthcoming (bound-to-be awesome) celebrations!  I remain faithful to my original promise to myself that I’d try to be truthful in my blog posts, and as we’ve already established the camera never lies, I’m sure you’ll enjoy these lovely shots as much as we did.  Maybe it can be a calendar off-shoot to our DVD plans for Winterval?

Anyway, back to our hobbit day run.  Basically, logistical problems meant we couldn’t do our actual run until the day after Hobbit Day, so there was some onus on each of us to conduct more private celebrations on the day itself. Bare feet and lots of food seemed a reasonable enough compromise for each of us to commit to on the 22nd September itself.  Though I did go wild and celebrate by going for a flu jab.  The nice pharmacist told me something I didn’t know, which is that you shouldn’t take paracetamol or give calpol to children too close to having any inoculations as it makes them less effective (the jab not the children).  Emboldened by this disclosure, it seemed only polite by way of exchange to share my knowledge about it being Hobbit Day.  ‘Did you know today is Hobbit Day?’  I queried.  He didn’t,  and looked slightly panicked to be honest.  It must be that he felt absolutely terrible that he’d forgotten all about it and so had omitted to plan any celebration as such,  and not at all that he was scared about being trapped in an enclosed space with someone who not only was in possession of this fact, but felt compelled to share it.  Strange but true.
So it was, that the following day, (today in fact) which shall from now on be diarised in perpetuity as our celebratory day (i.e Sheffield Hobbit Day shall henceforth be celebrated on the weekend – Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday – nearest to the 22nd September in each year) would be the day of our actual run.  Yay.  What larks we had in store, what larks eh.  I could hardly sleep the night before…
hobbit-party-guide
So morning dawned, bright sunshine, autumnal air.   Lovely!  Unfortunately, the runes weren’t great.  Hobbit buddy had suffered a major allergic reaction to an insect bite, and was suffering.  Honestly, it was quite impressive. I thought she’d taken off her wedding ring to signal availability because of the ongoing Brad Pitt issue, but actually it was because her arm had swollen up dramatically.   She wasn’t really in great shape for running, but we were both resolute that compulsory celebrations would go ahead.  Who said fun-days were actually fun?  Anymore than fun-runs or happy Christmases.  We had agreed we would celebrate hobbit day today, and celebrate it we blooming well would, whether we felt like it or not!  With this spirit of forced fun firmly in mind, we stomped off into the woods!
hobbit-habitat
I donned my back pack, with secret celebratory contents within.  I don’t normally wear a pack when running, and there wasn’t much in it.  As a consequence I spent the entire outing convinced we were being followed.  Much to the at first amusement, and subsequent irritation of hobbit buddy, I kept stopping and turning round to give way to the runner comer up behind.  Nobody there.  Woooooo, spooky in the woods!  Turns out, it was just the loose contents of my rucksack bouncing about in rhythm with my walking.  Very weird though.  Even when I’d worked it out, I was still fooled every few hundred yards by the phenomenon.  I must be slower on the uptake than should probably be freely admitted on the internet say.
Whilst today was a route march more than a run due to already established health reasons.  We did at least have a brilliant destination in mind.  Locals may already have discovered this, but if not, I give you the Forge Dam Hobbit Hole!  How brilliant is this, perfect venue for a party!
hobbit-hole
We settled down on the steps, and I rummaged in my backpack to produce the necessary pre-requisites for our Hobbit Day Party.  Basically, cake.  Cake, and candles.  Two candles seemed appropriate, one each.  Yay!
party-business
The cakes weren’t all that nice to be honest, but they were the most portable ones on offer at Tesco metro when I went in yesterday, plus they were reduced to 75p for two.  We first posed on the steps of the hobbit hole, and then gamely tried the cup cakes anyway, until we mutually agreed the calorie intake was too great a cost for the taste and texture reward the cakes themselves were offering up. So we ended up just chucking them (in a bin, we didn’t just leave them there like a sacrifice at a shrine).  However, before we had so jettisoned the cake fixes, we were spotted by an unknown runner, apparently gorging ourselves on them. She was coming by and on seeing us almost doubled up with laughter, she couldn’t contain herself – ‘well, I’ve seen some sights!’  On balance, I think she was possibly more incredulous at our approach rather than wishing she’d thought to take cake with her as her nutrition option for her own run.  On reflection, we hadn’t got anything around us to signify this was a special occasion as opposed to our regular training routine.  Next year I think we need signage, balloons, and yes, probably fliers so we can inform our ignorant public about the significance of hobbit day. We could do a two-sided flier and have one side all about Hobbit Day and the other all about International Rhino Day, that would be good.
We were definitely in forced fun, rather than festive mode though.  Not quite feeling the lurve, what with the cake being horrid, no actual running  having taking place and hobbit’s arm falling off.  Also, there were supposed to be medals. But they hadn’t come either.  Oh well, it can be a late addition to this post when they do!**  Demonstrating the stoicism and endurance that can only really be developed through multiple childhood summer holiday trips out to the beach in the driving wind and pouring rain with sand-filled sandwiches and eyes stinging with the salt-laden wind and rain, we stuck it out.  We would celebrate, we were having fun… until we conceded we really weren’t.   We decided that maybe we should regard this more as a dummy run (only without any actual running on this occasion), the necessary preparation for planning  a bigger, bolder, better more inclusive celebration next year.    Maybe kandoo events will want to take it up,  they can’t rest on the (admittedly expansive) laurels of the Round Sheffield Run for ever.  I said, for the record, and will say it again here. That if my forthcoming (yet to be revealed) adventures mean I don’t make it through to this time next year.  I’d really like my Smiley Paces running club – and indeed everyone else who has ever run in Sheffield, to organise a fancy dress run up to this point next year.  The hobbit hole to be shrouded in balloons, surrounded by cake and providing a suitable venue for outdoor party games.  Absolutely no clown costumes though, I think we all know why.
Also, someone from Save the Rhino to promote their cause.  In fact, rhino themed fancy dress would not only be very acceptable, but might reasonably be made compulsory.  That would greatly please me.  Good to have these things on record.  Rhinos can run a lot faster than you think by the way, maybe not so good at maintaining those speeds, and they also have seriously rubbish eyesight, but even so, worth emulating for sure.  Might be your last chance to see them anyway to be honest, and not just because they are running so fast.  The rhinos below are black rhinos by the way, different mouth shape to the white rhinos above.  You’re welcome, rhino identification is insufficiently discussed in my view.

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Cheered by the thought that we might do better with our celebrations same time next year, we abandoned plans for the acorn and spoon race I’d been hoping for (we didn’t spot any acorns going up, and I never produced the spoons at our destination because that moment had passed) and scooped ourselves up for the walk home.  I took a detour to find the bin and snap the elephant in the woods (which is somewhat like the more familiar ‘elephant in the room’ only not) and then we headed back down to from whence we came.

Unfortunately for us, this was to be the final epic fail of the morning. When we were back ‘from whence we came’ on the road again, we saw a massive F*&% Off 4X4 bearing down on us.  It was intimidating enough on sight, windows blacked out, with its enormous dimensions fully blocking out the light.  Honestly, it was like we were witnessing an unexpected eclipse of the sun.  We thought it was the end of days!   Not just our paranoia, there have been signs have there not, what with GBBO going to channel 4 and the seemingly irresistible rise of Donald Trump – surely one at least of those  must signal the beginning of the end?  Then there’s Syria, everything really, the world is definitely in meltdown… no wonder the dolphins all left.

hummer-h2-black-knight-729x486-d2cdc22497f727ec

Worse still, the invisible driver pulled alongside us, and lowered her windows with chilling calm before cackling out the window at us.  ‘Why aren’t you running slackers!’ (I paraphrase).  It was a fellow smiley. This was very bad, because it’s the second Smiley that has seen us ‘walking’ when we were allegedly out on a ‘run’ within a week.  We have been caught out, not just once, but twice.  Maybe I wasn’t imagining all those eyes on us when we headed out, their spies were everywhere right from the off!  She had presumably been tasked to track us and had turned up as The Enforcer! Terrifying but true.  This will end badly, what if they start to scrutinise our Strava run times, they don’t bear close inspection?  We will be hounded out of the club for lack of any actual running in our ‘running’ records  (ironically resulting in the fastest bit of running we’ve done in weeks or months).

Initially, our best form of defence seemed to be explanations and we went for self-justification – showing off Hobbit’s arm which really was swollen (honestly, it was really bad, she ended up spending a night in hospital because of it and I’m not even exaggerating for comic effect!), and gesturing to my back-pack to indicate we were only ever out for a picnic not a run anyway. Then it dawned on me.  Hang on, why were we justifying ourselves to her?  She, who was evidently merely posing in her active wear and not even walking, let alone running. Ha!  Rumbled!  We moved into attack mode!  ‘Pots and kettles methinks!’ we protested.  She did protest also, muttering something about yoga (which is basically sitting down isn’t it) but essentially she was soooooooooooo busted.  CORRECTION:  I’ve just been advised it wasn’t yoga, it was pilates – well, that’s just lying on the floor breathing surely, so something of an own goal I’d have thought, still, that’s me, always willing to issue amendments and corrections in my blog when requested.  Clearly just a delightful bonus if it strengthens my point!  Judge for yourself – look here she is, flaunting her Sheffield Half-Marathon Tee whilst basically reclining on heated leather seats in a mobile industrial sized RUV.  Ha!  no wonder she sped off promptish after that!  Wheels spinning as she departed.

posing-in-active-wear-for-sure

So dear reader, that was that.  Hobbit Day celebrations done and dusted until same time next year.   We departed our separate ways, celebratory activities concluded.

happy-hobbit-day-homage

Not an entirely succesful outing to be fair, but sometimes you have to just push on through and not be discouraged.  Not every day can be a good work out day, sometimes it feels like not any day. As for our hobbit day celebrations, we are new to all this, it was bound to be a learning curve and anyway, we all know worse things happen at sea.  There’s always next time.  At least we tried.    Hope over experience, impossible odds notwithstanding, you have to give these things a go or how will you know?

at-least-we-tried

Next stop back to parkrun.  That will give me back my mojo, got to love parkrun.  Best start to the weekend EVER.  FACT!

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**They came, the medals came!  Yay.

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