Monthly Archives: December 2014

My year of running

I thought this would be a good time to reflect on my year in running. I view my own “running year” as running September to August for reasons too dull to go into (with a target of at least 6 races, including 1 marathon each year) but a fellow blogger reviewed her calendar year, so sod it, so shall I.

2014 saw me:

Do my first obstacle race
Do two races in one day
Get a PB sub 24min in a 5k
Get a 10k PB of 48:44! PB by over a minute.
Get a half marathon PB (in February after having set it October 13).
Pace a running club friend to her half marathon PB (by 7 minutes) – a really phenomenal feeling.

Not a bad year really! Sadly a sub 4 marathon alluded me and consequently I spent June and July sulking. Actually, other than the half in Feb, all those achievements were all in August, October and November…
In March I did a relay (3.6miles) with some people from the work running club, great fun and a definite fixture for 2015.

2015 will see another marathon (MK again) but I think I will shelve the sub 4 plans. At least one more obstacle race is also a must, and check out my local parkrun.

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More musings on presentations and some updates

Well, what with a busy work schedule getting four mailings (and an email I agreed to do) signed off before the festive break, seeing family, Christmas parties etc I have been pretty busy.  I haven’t even really been running much.  However, I stumbled across a link (retweeted by Garr Reynolds) to another site with an article about speaking with passion.  I investigated the site a bit more closely and found a fantastic infographic post about body language (complete with tips on how to adapt to different situations – asking for a raise, at an interview, making a pitch etc).


But perhaps the most interesting post was on turning a presentation into a story (which we have looked at in previous blog posts).  The blog page tells us that there are, five basic plots/stories:


A hero sets out on a goal, achieves it and then tells us all about their success.  Crucially, in a Quest story you can’t just go home again and carry on as if the Quest hadn’t happened – it must change you or the situation.

Stranger in a Strange Land

Thrown into a new situation which you do not understand, you have to work to understand/be competent in your new environment (and then may well work out it’s not so different after all)

Rags to Riches

You start with nothing (poverty, no power) and through hard work and/or luck, you get richer/more powerful.  They can be similar to Quest stories,  but don’t “end” as such – (a quest has to have an end) so can be useful for people/situations where you have to keep building and building.


A wrong has been done to us/the hero/the company and needs to be avenged – often we need to understand our enemy in order to achieve this.

Love Story

Love, loss and love reestablished (boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back). Both subjects are usually changed by the experience having learned the value of (for instance) commitment, honesty and appreciation.


The article gives examples of the stories (Planet of the Apes as Stranger in a Strange land), relevant situations and even some famous speeches using those ideas, as well as giving us tips on how then to incorporate story elements.  Fantastic!


CASE Update

A week or so ago I posted a brief update on the CASE conference I had just returned from.  The following week, I delivered a presentation to the department on what we had learned, roping in my colleague to deliver one of the slides about a speaker she particularly enjoyed.  To show that I have not totally forgotten everything I learned from 23 Things; I have uploaded the slides to SlideShare* – but I expect they won’t be a lot of use without my accompanying narrative.  Another successful presentation though, which I had positive feedback from the department on!


In other news – I  passed the first part of my Coaching assessment so my guinea pig and I will be working hard in the new year and I did something I have always wanted to do – sponsored a child; a seven year old girl living in rural China. If you are interested, you can read more about sponsoring a child here.


*incredibly easy to use, like – I signed in with my LinkedIn account and it worked pretty much instantly.  Terrific!

CASE Regular Giving Conference

In early December I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the CASE annual conference on Regular Giving.  I have been to a CASE conference before – the Spring Institute which was earlier (umm, in spring) this year.

So, on Tuesday night myself and a colleague got a slow train to Manchester to the Marriott Victoria and Albert hotel, arriving about 8pm on Tuesday – too late for dinner, but early enough to catch some of the speakers and attendees in the bar.

My suite – view from the door

The first surprise of the conference was when we turned up to check in – due to the number of rooms and what-not, my colleague and I were going to be in suites.  Wow.  Sadly, as is typical with CASE things, the schedule is so packed you barely get any free time at all (and what free time I did get in my room was spent searching my tremendous room for something I had just put down and forgotten where in the enormity of it all) – but I made sure I turned on my living room TV once and sat down on the sofa so I could say that I had done it.  I doubt I will ever be in a suite again!

suite - bed and column

Bedroom – I even had my own column

The CASE Regular Giving conference starts with an opening plenary on the Wednesday morning (after registration) at just after 10 with the last session finishing at 6pm – it’s a pretty full day, Thursday kicks off at 8:15 with breakfast roundtable discussions and then finishes at 5pm.  Sessions are a mix of plenaries that everyone attends, or workshops where the programme splits in two – fundamentals and innovations (I think this is similar to the CASE Development Services conference too).  There were also two showcase sessions (one each day) with a choice of two, allowing some of the suppliers/sponsors to give a 45 minute talk.  It was great to take a colleague along because it meant we could attend the full programme between us.  There had been a pre-conference on the Tuesday with two streams – one about crowdfunding and one about setting up a Regular Giving programme, but we did not attend.

I will follow-up in a later blog post with what I learned and what sessions I attended (as I did at Spring Institute), but I had been really looking forward to seeing Adrian Salmon from Leeds (his blog is here and twitter feed here) he was doing a number of sessions and I also wanted to chat to him in general.  Sam Davies who was at SI was also going to be there, delivering one of the last elective sessions.  Sadly Bob Burdenski was unable to be there; his plane was cancelled due to the bad weather in America – a real shame.
In fact, there ended up being a big group of delegates from my Spring Institute – it was great to catch up with everyone and see how people had grown in experience, confidence and knowledge. Extremely heartening for the future.

23 Things – Thing 23 Wrap-up

Wow, the end of my 23 Things journey is finally here and (unsurprisingly) the final thing asks you to reflect on what you have learned and experienced as part of 23 Things, which I had been planning to do anyway, but I had expected Thing 23 to specifically direct me to do it.

Stuff I learned

  • – this looks like a good tool to track click-throughs and create short, neat urls extremely simply; I hadn’t investigated it before because I (wrongly) thought it was complicated, signing in via twitter also meant I didn’t have to create yet another account!
  • Image use – I was glad to get a bit more guidance around this subject as I was extremely wary of using images that I hadn’t taken with my own fair hands.  I still am wary – but at least I know what to do now if I do choose to use one!
  • Podcasts – screencast-o-matic.  I think this may be very useful one day – I have thought it would be great to do a podcast about telethons, direct mail etc and then do a screen-cast to show people/colleagues how to use the data manipulation tools that I have created, rather than writing a how-to document with screenshots, I think this would be a much more fun and useful approach.
  • Wikipedia – this was a bit of fun exploring the extra tabs that I hadn’t known existed and signing up to the daily emails.

Perhaps the most useful thing that I got out of 23 Things though was the habit of blogging.  Having stablished my blog in May; my blogging could be described as “sporadic” at best; one of the main reasons for my signing up was to get into more of a habit of regular blogging – I think I have managed this (let’s hope I can keep it up).
I have also got far more involved in Twitter and following other blogs.

23 Things was part of #Oxengage – a Michaelmas term suite of events and activities getting people more involved in social media.  I went to a talk on social media and analytics, a half day course in setting up an online presence and of course, that amazing talk by Garr Reynolds.

All in all it’s been a really worthwhile experience – I am particularly pleased with my all-time high of 44 views in a day! I would recommend anyone interested in becoming more familiar with social media to try it out.