The conference was very good. I spent the first day in the registration and exhibition hall, where I was able to do some very valuable networking, catch up with old friends and colleagues, and answer questions about Nursing Open and Journal of Advanced Nursing. At the end of the day, I co-presented a workshop on the use of social networking in nursing. Led by my good friend Alison Twycross, PhD, RN, head of Department for Children’s Nursing, London South Bank University, and my new friend, Calvin Moorley, PhD, RN, senior lecturer, London South Bank University (we had only previously met on Twitter), the workshop was well attended and generated a good discussion.
The evening began with a reception at the magnificent Glasgow City Chambers, followed by dinner with Wiley colleagues at Glasgow’s excellent Urban Bar and Brasserie. I had black pudding starter and haggis sausages, and you probably don’t want to know what either of these Scottish delicacies contain.
On my second day, I lined up some research sessions to attend, and I was not disappointed. I gravitate towards sessions on quantitative research, and there were some excellent methodological sessions on Rasch analysis, questionnaire development, and stress and burnout in nursing. In particular, I enjoyed meeting Nina Geuens, PhD student, Karel de Grote-Hogeschool, Belgium, and her supervisor, Erick Franck, professor in applied psychology in health care, Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium. My long journey home by train was filled with thoughts of the Sheffield half marathon I was due to run on Sunday, 6 April, which brings me to Part 2 of this entry.
|Nina Geuens, Yours Truly, and Erick Franck|
My early mornings in London and Glasgow were taken up with final preparatory runs. I followed a very strict half-marathon training programme by Hal Higdon. As my children would say, I was “up for it.” If you Google “Sheffield half marathon” or, on Twitter, go to “#sheffieldhalfmarathon” or “#rebelrunners,” you will immediately see what an interesting day this turned out to be.
My wife and I arrived at the starting line, along with more than 5,000 others, at the appointed time and were then held there for 50 minutes without explanation. Rumours abounded but, as it turned out, insufficient water had been supplied for the number of runners involved and, at 9:50 a.m., the run was cancelled. What followed will go down in running history. A predominantly middle-class, law-abiding crowd of runners expressed its disgust the only way we could: We started running, and the police were unable to stop us. I don’t advocate civil or any other kind of disobedience, but this was one of the most moving events of my life. I think Mahatma Ghandi would have been very proud of us.
The general public of Sheffield, which had waited for more than an hour to watch us run, went into their houses, food shops, and coffee bars and emptied fridges and cupboards of all the bottles of water they could find. There were bottles of water on the top of parked cars and runners—normally a selfish and competitive bunch—were handing half-finished bottles to other runners. Where the official water stands were closed by race officials, people stood nearby handing out bottles and paper cups, along with the runners’ best friend: Jelly Babies. These incredible, high calorie-sweets are made in Sheffield, and they are exactly what you need halfway round a long route. If you eat them when you are not taking exercise, the sugar high that results is unique.
|The intrepid Dr. Watson|
Did I hear you ask how we fared in the race? Well, my wife dropped out, as she has to save herself for official races and has another one coming up soon. When I realised that the police had backed down and saw that the crowd of runners was beginning to snake its way through the town, I decided to complete the course, which was my first half-marathon. I enjoyed the first 10 miles but realised, at that point, that my plan for a fast final three miles was not going to happen. By 11 miles, I was considering ending it all by jumping into the oncoming traffic and, at 12 miles, had it not been for my wife and sister-in-law shouting my name, I might have knelt down and cried. But I carried on to the finish line and was glad to see that the organisers had decided to stay and hand out running vests, water, and medals.
My ambition was twofold: to remain standing at the end and to complete the run within two hours. My time: 1 hour, 47 minutes and 28 seconds and, with wobbly legs and bleeding nipples (exceedingly painful), I was still standing. Some might consider my inability to speak for a considerable length of time another positive result.