THE Athletic Gods were smiling down on me this week.

Instead of setting off for a well-earned break to Portugal, they decided that I needed extra training - and sprinkled the skies with volcanic ash.

Today my holiday has been cancelled, along with the sun, beach and unlimited beer.

It now gives me a chance for extra running, more pounding the streets, more pain ... ahh, on your bike.

I won't be going for a run tonight. I'm going to sit in my garden in my swimming trunks, drinking San Miguel and eating sardines. If Plunkett can't get to Portugal, then Portugal shall come to Plunkett.

The omens were bad from the start of the week.

I twisted my ankle playing football and struggled to walk for two days.

I'd like to say it was caused by an opponent hacking me down as I raced past him. In reality, I stood on the ball.

Swollen ankles and volcanic ash - just another week in my training programme.

As for my holiday, I could always run to Portugal ...

I'm running to raise money for East Lancashire Hospice, so if you are able to sponsor me for the big day, you can click on my Justgiving page below and make a small donation. It's for a fantastic cause ...