Touch here for POWER! – The Virgin Money London Marathon

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Benn said I better wear warm clothing today as the morning was very cold and it was raining. I was still in bed and thought today is gonna suck. He wasn’t joking – it was 5 degrees Celsius outside and quite windy.

I got to Greenwich park and continued to debate with myself whether I should keep my long sleeved running jacket on or not. The sun came out and the jacket came off. It felt like making a life and death decision back then.

10 AM and the marathon started. Previously I’ve always obsessed about pacing and running in specific heart rate zones. However, this time was different. I made the conscious choice to look around and take in the scenery, the people and the atmosphere. There was so much cheering around, many smiles and great effort by so many runners – man it was competitive. I though the runners would spread out after 5-10 km or so but no, there were always many runners around me.

A bit more than 39,000 people registered (however it’s not yet certain how many actually ran and finished).

My new pet peeve is high-fiveing kids’ little hands as I pass ‘em. I can’t do that every day you know.
All in all I think the crowd was amazing and they helped me heaps.

Some people made signs to encourage the runners. My favorite one read “Touch here for POWER!”  It made me smile.

It was roughly half way through the race when I reached my favorite stretch of the race –  the Tower Bridge and crossing the river. It was beautiful. And I didn’t even notice that approximately 20 km were already behind me. It all just happened effortlessly.

At the risk of sounding like a pussy I must admit I had a tear coming out of my eye at one point. But only one! I was thinking about everything that had happened in the last year and how I got to this point.  And here I was… running one of the world’s largest footraces. Nothing was hurting and I was enjoying myself. I was on fire!

My goal was ideally to finish around 3H 45 minutes but I greatly underestimated myself. That sign must have given me lots of power.

Half split was in around 1H 35 MIN and 20 miles in 2H 25 MIN. Not too shabby I thought. Then my pace dropped dramatically. I hit the wall between 20-23 mile – I should’ve timed the consumption of my energy gels better. I was so low on energy after 20 miles I took everything I could get my hands on – Lucozade energy drinks, Lucozade gels – even though I didn’t train with the stuff. My stomach is now a chemical soup of various isotonic gels and energydrinks. But that stuff worked wonders. I was able to pick up some speed again. Soon I passed the Buckingham palace and finished like a pro.

My time was 3H 21MIN 38 SEC, overall I was the 4939th, I was the 4384th man who crossed the finish line and I was the 2126th person in my 18-39 age category. I am very pleased with my performance as I didn’t train at all in March (I was sick) and April wasn’t that great either because of my exam. Anywho, below is the data from the marathon:

Category                     18-39

Runner no                   7932

Place (Men)                 4384

Place (Age Category)  2126

Place (overall)             4939

Finish time                  03:21:38

Split Time Of Day Time Diff min/km km/h Place
5K 10:22:34 00:22:02 22:02 04:25 13.62
10K 10:44:40 00:44:09 22:07 04:26 13.57
15K 11:07:27 01:06:56 22:47 04:34 13.17
20K 11:30:20 01:29:48 22:52 04:35 13.12
HALF 11:35:14 01:34:42 04:54 04:28 13.44
25K 11:53:03 01:52:31 17:49 04:34 13.15
30K 12:16:13 02:15:42 23:11 04:39 12.94
35K 12:42:03 02:41:31 25:49 05:10 11.61
40K 13:10:11 03:09:40 28:09 05:38 10.66
FINISH 13:22:10 03:21:38 11:58 05:28 11.00 4384

Even though this morning was really cold I’d still give the marathon a 10/10. Or maybe I’m just high on endorphins.

Virgin Money London Marathon certificate 20160424_220127 20160424_220037

I had a nap at home and then decided to celebrate at ZoukOff – the best zouk event London has to offer. I was a bit sore but it was a great finish to a magnificent day!

More power,

Ivar

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Before the race

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I and Romario were very poor. We really needed a third tenant. To make matters worse, Romario didn’t cancel his standing order and paid rent to the previous landlord as well. His bank account went over his overdraft limit and the bank charged him £5 for every day his account was above the limit.

Not-sure-if-everything-is-expensive

He said he’s never been this poor. Then his bank also blocked his card. I found the whole thing hilarious.

We told Amazon that she should look at other flats and give this one a pass. Even though I had about £50 in my bank account and Romario found some change in a drawer – it was all the money we had… However, after Amazon checked out 6-8 other properties she gave us a call and wanted back in. It’s funny how that worked out. Apparently the other flats had weirdos living in them or they didn’t have a living room or in one case she had to walk through a toilet to get to the available room etc. London is weird like that.

The Amazon merger improved our financial position dramatically. Things are looking good again. And she’s been an amazing flatmate so far.

Some other things regarding the rental agency have surfaced and I’m very tired of all the bullshit. I stopped communicating with them as I don’t want to deal with them anymore. Everything they’ve told us or promised has been a lie and I have no interest in interacting with people like that. I’ve got way better things to do with my life.

I took the AF5 exam about a week ago. It’s the one I failed by one point back in October. I’m not too confident about passing it this time around as my thoughts were a bit distracted when studying because of all the stuff I wrote in the last two posts. Anywho, I’ll find out if I passed in about two months.

The London Marathon is tomorrow. The mass start is at 10 AM and based on my training, I should finish within 4 hours. 3H 45 minutes would be a good result. I’m quite excited.

Wish me luck!

Ivar

SteveO

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One of my friends died.

He was a good man, a happy man – always smiling, always joking. I used to call him bald Steve. I was never able to spell his last name… I loved his humour and his laughter. He was one of the good ones. Why did he die and not some other horrible person? There’s plenty of them going around.

We worked together at my old job.

One of the last things I said to SteveO was “I will miss seeing my reflection from the top of your head. If I was female I’d slap that tight bum of your’s as well.”

SteveO drove me home that day and on other occasions as well (for example when it was raining outside or I needed a lift to catch my train).

He was kind.

He was humble.

I wish more people were like him.

He was a friend.

I will miss you,
Ivar

Surprise buttsex

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Today’s been a very angry day. In fact I can’t even recall the last time I was this angry. Dealing with the real estate agency has been horrible. They have been screwing us right between the buttcrack so hard that I’m starting to enjoy it. I stopped clenching and just bent over even more and gave in. Now I know what rape feels like.

surprise_buttsex

Sorry about the above mental picture. I believe I owe you dinner first before going down that road.

Here’s what happened. I and my housemate agreed to rent a 3 bed flat in Central London. The flat is da bomb. It is in a fantastic location and we love it. However, we ran into a few complications with the agency.

Our initial plan was to rent with a couple i.e. four people in the flat. We told this to the agent at our very first viewing and said that we haven’t yet found the new potential tenants. We were told that this is no problem and that we can do that. We agreed to make an offer for the property based on that.

The following day the agent (Blond Bimbo) called me again and said that we need to increase our offer (for the weekly rent) to make sure the landlord accepts it. So in order to sweeten the deal I reluctantly agreed to increase it by £10 pw… i.e. circa £43 pcm.

The next day the Old Hag (Blond Bimbo’s manager) called me and said that if we have a couple as tenants we would have to apply for some license because of health and safety reasons and that the landlord wanted to increase the rent by a further £40 pw i.e. £173 pcm because of extra “wear and tear”… so just like that the rent had increased by £216 pcm. I was told the license would cost about £500 as well. I immediately said we can’t afford that and asked what if we had just one person instead of a couple. She said that she’d get back to me and on a later phone call said that the rent would stay the same i.e. the plus £10 pw amount. That was acceptable I thought as this would also save the £500 license cost.

Our holding deposit of two weeks’ rent was taken and the referencing process began. I already wrote about that in my previous post – it was a nightmare as well.

We were still looking for a tenant and found a potential one but were not able to have a viewing because the landlord had the property rented out on AirBnB. We had to wait for more than a week to get that viewing (which was on 29th March – only two days before our move in date). They wanted us to sign the contract and pay way before we had the viewing in order to “close the file” and make sure we can move in on the 1st April.

The agency was charging us a £180 admin charge for the contract. I specifically emailed them to ask if there’s going to be another admin charge if we add a third tenant. It did not make sense to me to pay £180 now and then another £180 again the following week. Blond Bimbo’s email response asked me to call her to discuss this. So I did and she said that there will be no admin fee for adding the third tenant because they’ve always known we were adding another person. Following that I signed the contract and paid the agency all the fees, rent and deposit. This £180 fee is the key reason for my anger.

A week later, we managed to get a viewing for the new potential tenant (Amazon). She was very pleased with the flat and agreed to rent it with us. Things were looking good. Blond Bimbo took Amazon back to the agency’s office to scan her passport and take the referencing fee of £60. At least that’s what me and Amazon thought would happen.

Amazon said that when she went to the office with Blond Bimbo to pay and scan her passport, one of Blond Bimbo’s colleagues said that “you shouldn’t take that payment, what if it doesn’t work out and she can’t move in”. The license issue was news to Miss Bimbo as well and they didn’t take any payment from Amazon.

It was raining outside and Romario was on his bike – as you do when you’re Dutch. We decided to wait until the rain stops before heading back home after the flat viewing. That’s when Romario got a call from Old Hag regarding the license. She said that we need a license to have a third tenant. I spoke to Old Hag as well as we previously talked about this issue and that this would only apply if there were 4 tenants. She mumbled some crap and said that this was not the case and that a license was definitely needed for 3 people as well.

This was very bad news. We went home and were proper panicking. We discussed all kinds of scenarios about what we can do because we could not cover the rent between the two of us. We definitely needed another tenant to afford the place.

We sent a long email to the agency detailing our disappointment and concerns about the whole situation. However, we asked them to resolve this situation in a fair way and wanted to work together in the future.

We had a read through our contract again and found out about a massive exit penalty – almost £4,000. We were effectively in a position where we couldn’t afford to cancel or stay in the contract. That’s when we started to feel proper screwed.

The next day we received a response email from Old Hag which was very apologetic and said that they were not trying to hide any information from us on purpose etc. It was all bullshit. Later we got confirmation from them that the third tenant could move in if we applied for the House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) license.

We decided that the least bad option for us was to pay for the license (it cost circa £600) and hope for the best. We are very broke right now. Please send me money.

Amazon went to the agency yesterday to get the ball rolling and then she was asked to pay they wanted to take the second £180 admin fee from her as well, along with the £60 referencing fee.

She called me and was very upset about it. I then called Old Hag and was proper angry with them because this is something I specifically discussed with Blond Bimbo previously. Old Hag said there’s no way we can avoid that fee. Amazon decided to walk away from this shitty agency and we fully support her decision. Sadly we are locked into the contract and can’t do the same.

That second admin fee was the last drop. We have been lied to so many times and the agency keeps changing their story and has introduced new hidden fees on multiple occasions. All the agency fees add up to almost £1,300 but should’ve been £504 following our very first meeting.

We have decided that we will only communicate with them in writing. I do not believe a word they say.

It is also possible that the property already has the license and they are trying to pass the cost on to us. I’ve asked them to provide proof that they applied for the license (we want to see receipts, applications etc) and that it indeed cost what they said it would. Same thing for the “inventory check” for which they charged us as well.

It’s been such a horrid day. The only good thing is that it can’t get any worse, right?

Ivar