Friday, 20 July 2012

Song(s) Of The Week.

Ahh British weather. Don’t we just love it? And as for the jet stream, just how unfair is it to be stuck right in its path.  This week’s tunes(s) came about as a result of the jet stream. Driving home yesterday in the pissing down rain for a change I found the need for some escapism, something to transport me away to my happy place in my head.

That place has always been Ibiza, the White Isle. Four visits to the same island clearly say that I liked the place, the music, the beaches, the bars and the atmosphere. Cafe Del Mar, Space, Playa d’en Bossa, Pacha and El Divino to name a few great memories. So flicking through the IPod I game across Pacha Ibiza Classics, a 90 min DJ set. Press play.  
The last visit was in 2001 when 10 of us rented a villa and well and truly did it proper. Not much sleep. Drank a lot of water. Danced (badly in my case but thought I was ace) and returned home in need of a holiday. However, the tune that came on the Ipod that made me smile was Groovejet (If This Aint Love by Spiller featuring Sophie Ellis-Bexter which was from the 2000 holiday. Just the four of us on that trip but great all the same. The tune was all the rage and Sophie Ellis-Bexter did a PA at Renaissance at Manumission which wasn’t all that really. But, that was the tune of the year. Manumission, supposedly the greatest club wasn’t really that great either but we ticked it off the list.

The best Club was El Divino in Ibiza Town. Much smaller than the aircraft hanger sized Manumission, with a far better crowd and beautiful location and terrace overlooking the harbour. Walking down there from the bars in Ibiza Town we passed the teeny tiny looking Miss Ellis-Bexter but she didn’t seem to recognise us from the other night. Playing it cool no doubt. Now I say that El Divino was the best club I went to but it was slightly tainted by the fact that the two baldies from Right Said Fred were also there that night. No PA. NO chance. Just there. We had a little laugh with them as we left at the end when they drove past in a car saying “want a lift guys” before laughing and speeding off. Just proved they were knobs.

Now, at the beginning I did refer to tune(s). This is because I went off on a little bit of a tangent because I heard a tune on the radio today that transported me back to some early clubbing days circa '90.


Oh, and then something else popped in there!!!

And then I had a right old flashback to '88. 

Ahh '88. Acid house and all that. Park Hall, smiley faces and flower shirts. Another time. 

Friday, 6 July 2012


Sheesh, have I been FFAFG this week. Too much so to be able to write a race report about the Outlaw last Sunday. But I’ll get there. It might even do some good to sleep on it, several times, in order to gain a little perspective and convey a level headed appraisal of the day, my day, a long day, what a day! 
A day of four seasons. 
A day of calm. 
A day of doubt. 
A day of joy. 
A day of having to climb up stairs to the second floor of the guest house I was staying at. Sheesh!   

Friday, 29 June 2012

Song of the Week - Elbow - One Day Like This

It's been a while since I did a Friday song of the week. Don't know why I started them. Just a little fun. I'd often choose a tune that had been rattling around my head that I couldn't get out, or a new tune I'd heard that I liked. This one goes under the first heading.Then again, it goes under that heading most weeks. It resurfaced again last weekend when they did it at the Isle of Wight Festival. I didn't go, but they showed it on Sky Arts1. Shocking coverage to be honest. 

The lyrics are just great and I reckon and hope that it's in my head on Sunday.  

..well anyway, it's looking like a beautiful day
So throw those curtains wide, one day like this a year would see me right.    

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Chill and Prep....Repeat

Am I ready? Just about. Am I excited? Yes. Am I nervous? Not yet. Will I be? YES!

7 months in the making and we're finally here, just a few days 'til the Outlaw Ironman Triathlon. Yes, I am putting the IM word in there. The WTC can do one! (But please don't tell them, I don't want to get in trouble!). But it is an Ironman, so let's not let a little copyright and trademark get between friends.

Training over the last month has hardly been textbook. Don Finks textbook to be precise. A calf injury at the beginning of week 26 has meant that I've only managed a 20 and 30 min run the last 14 days as I gave it complete rest in an attempt to at least recover in time for the race. Well, its mostly healed but still niggles a little. I find that shorter strides help out. Which is fortunate, as that's as good as the run's going to get after the bike! They do call it the Ironman shuffle for a reason. Fingers crossed it'll hold out to get me across the finish line and that I've held on to some of the endurance I'd built up. It was always going to be a run/walk scenario but there'll just have to be a little more walk in there now. It's all about forward motion and that finish chute.

My preparation for the weekend starts today. I've taken today and tomorrow off work so that I can relax and get all my kit together bit by bit without rushing around. Whilst also watching the athletics, Wimbledon and the football. Just perfect for me! The floor of my living room is very quickly becoming an obstacle course as I add elements to it. I'm taking the kitchen sink! Will I/won't I need it? Pack it. 

Then tomorrow there's a few more things to get from the bike shop. A little more nutrition, a couple of spare inner tubes. It'll all come together by the end of tomorrow and then I'll be heading up to Nottingham early Saturday morning to soak up the atmosphere and register, potter around before heading to the hotel. Whether I'll get an early night is debatable once the nerves kick in but I'll try. I'm going to bed earlier and getting up earlier the next couple of days in order to try and trick my body. That 3am alarm isn't going to be too pretty!    

Right then, let's get some of this kit sorted. I hope to bump into a few of you over the weekend. I'll be in Walden Triathlon kit so please say hello. Best of luck to all of you. I hope everyone finishes and is proud.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Start Your Engines!

A while back I posted a blog called Itchy Feet and a Big Belly. Well the belly isn’t there but again I’m getting the itchy feet. Having not raced since last Septembers Vitruvian I’m starting to think it’s time to line up against like minded people and beast myself over whatever distance it might be on the day. Whilst I’m enjoying the training for Outlaw, It is the racing that we really get the buzz off isn’t it. And I’m noticing that a few of you out there are starting to get in some races, be it sportives, 10k’s or half marathons and it’s giving me the urge to get back out there. The fact that I haven’t raced at all in 6 months is actually pretty shameful and it’s only when writing this that I realise it. I did have all great intentions to do some cross country and mountain biking but I just didn’t get round to doing them. Terenzo Bozzone is a huge fan of using races as training and he might well be on to something. Note to self, training through the winter is vital but have some fun and race too!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Coffee, Cake and the Michelin Man

A couple of weeks since my last blog and I’m please to say that training is going just fine. The mileage keeps increasing and, get this, I’m still enjoying it! Got to be half the battle isn’t it? A few niggles here, a few niggles there but all in all holding together. I’m sure, at least I hope, that I’m no different to any other fitness bunnies out there in having to manage the old body. Or young body for that matter. At the moment I’m managing a slight niggle on my right ankle which is a new injury for me but the wheat bag I’ve recently befriended keeps doing its job and the ping of the microwave has become a familiar sound.

On the subject of microwaves and food, after ramping up the calorie intake at the beginning of the year, I’ve now backed off slightly as I was finding that I was putting on a little chub. It’s a fine balance between fuelling the system enough without getting heavier which will only slow me down. Now I’m reasonably slim but I know that losing a little will certainly help out, especially on the bike. So this week I cut out some of the extra and have found that my energy levels haven’t been compromised.

Last weekend was my birthday and a trip to the motherland gave me a refreshing change to the training routes for both bike and run. I couldn’t not train could I?! “Training is not an option” as I was told when I started the Ironman journey and that mantra has stuck. The bike training was particularly fun after I went off piste with the route and found myself on back country roads I hadn’t ventured down before. I always kind of knew where I was going as the crow flies but is still made for a good day out.

And so to this weekend and how cold?! It’s great to see that it hasn’t deterred many of you from getting out there and logging the miles. Yesterday I ventured out into a -6 wind chill to knock out my bike ride dressed as the Michelin Man in numerous layers. 2 sets of gloves on but my fingers still went pretty numb after a while. One of the great traditions with cyclists is the cafe stop, regardless of the weather and I found a lovely one in Finchingfield, Essex where I quickly devoured coffee and cake whilst my fingers and toes came back to life. It’s on a fairly regular route of mine and so I’m going to make it a regular haunt of mine. Today’s run was sacked as a result of the snow. I could’ve braved it out and a good few of you did but I decided to get in an extra session on the turbo. No bad thing with my cycling ability! And what better TV to watch whilst doing it than highlights of the Tour Down Under followed by the Tour of Qatar stage 1 finale. Best motivation there could be apart from a DVD of the Ironman World Champs which I’m still to get.

So there we are, all up to date. And into week 10 we go of the training plan. Those weeks have gone quick! Anything else? Oh, I also worked Monday to Friday but that just gets in the way of the training doesn't it!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Bigger The Better

Writers block. Is this what it is? Some might say that I have it on a regular basis. But I try. 

This has been another very solid training week and I've followed the plan pretty well. I'm only doing 1 swim session a week at the moment which I'm fine with. My plan is to up that to 2 around March time and then get the open water training going in April when Histon Water, north of Cambridge, opens for the season. The running and biking is going well and I'm hitting the numbers that I need to. In fact I'm slightly ahead on the running front by a week. The main session I'm yet to get in is the brick. Now I know you'll think that this is a bad one to miss but I'm definitely going to get it up and running by the end of February. 

Highlights of the week are Mondays swim (2.7 miles) and today's run (10 miles). Both cracking sessions due to their length. I'm always happiest when I get in the bigger distances in. Speed just doesn't interest me and never has done since I started triathlons about 6 years ago. Articles, blogs and websites to do with big distances were always of far more interest. The likes of Macca, Crowie, Lieto and Wellington always a bigger draw than the ITU circuit. Anyway, what's all that drafting business about! Challenges taken on by Ben Fogle and James Cracknell, Ranulph Fiennes, Mike Stroud, Dean Karnazes, Mark Beaumont, Alastair Humphreys, Mark Kalch and Bruce Duncan involving huge distances and adventure grip the imagination and make me want to take on take on bigger things. Hence the Outlaw Ironman this year.

A new addition to my training this week has been a wheat bag. Simple little thing I know but it has certainly eased a couple of aches and pains in these old legs of mine.

And so on to week 8 of the training plan.

Oh, I also worked Monday to Friday too but that just gets in the way of the fun training doesn't it!