Month: November 2012

Cant see the wood for the trees?

Sometimes its difficult not to lose track of things within the context of what is actually important.

Simple statement but I have found really really true. All this running and cycling around I have done this year has enable me a lot of time to just think – think about what I have done wrong (usually food related) what I have done right (passing exams) and more importantly to think about the future – not just challenges I have set myself but things like Christmas, time spent with Sue and Zoe and how to maximise all of the above. Time to be thankful and time to reflect on a lot of the good things I have in my life and identify areas in which I need to better myself.

Sue has noticed this year that when I don’t exercise for a few days due to illness or workload or laziness I start to get even more grumpy than normal. I have to admit I think its partly down to not having this time to just think and clarify things in my head. Its not often spoken about in regards to the benefits that exercise brings but for my its up there with how much my t shirt sticks to me at the end of a run in importance.

Since I last updated this I managed to exceed my targets in regards to the Conway half marathon. I had never completed the distance before, ever, but I was confident that I would manage the extra 2.5 miles over what I had ever run before. I was less confident of doing this in any great style or indeed at any great pace.

Happily I can report that I only once slipped below my target speed (which I had written on my hand, which is a top tip and something I will do from now on) and that was when ‘running’ (it was more like a slow jog at that point) up the largest of the hills. As a result I managed to complete the course in 1:52:02 well under my best performance target of 2 hours.

I know your not meant to compare yourself against others but being new to this event stuff I didn’t actually know I reasonable time for the distance, when stood in the middle of the crowds at the start surrounded by thinner fitter looking people than myself I overheard conversations like ‘no way I am running under 2 hours today’ and ‘this is going to be tough to crack 2 hours’ this filled me with dread. if all these people who certainly looked the part and talked the talk were aiming for slower races than me, was I just being massively optimistic and fooling myself into thinking I could break the 2hr barrier?

But when it started I was confident and knowing that it would be a PB regardless just as long as I finished. I learnt from my only other event to date and started at a comfortable pace and attempt to find myself a bit of space – both of which I managed. One thing to take forward is to double knot my laces as both came undone on the course – something which hasn’t ever happened to me before – annoying to think I would have been under the 1:52 mark but for that stop at the start.

Also the thought of again having sue and Zoë at the end was great and my parents had also made the journey early on Sunday morning to offer there support – something which was nice. Who wouldn’t fail to be inspired by there parents telling you how proud they are – just for even attempting it in the first place.

I would love to tell you lots of details about the route, to be honest it was such a blur and I was having such an ‘enjoyable’ time that its hard to pinpoint details. The stand out two being the fact that it involved running on sand for a section would has a horrible surprise and the fact that one young lad collapsed. Running past him laid out prone on the floor struggling for breath with about a mile to go was horrible and briefly made me question the logic behind an overweight 30 year old doing such events.

How selfish would it be for me to get injured doing an event and how would it effect everything in my life? Horrible to think about it but then again I could get hit by a car on the way home tonight – may as well have some fun before!

So with Conway safely in the bag and the second challenge ticked off the list I can look forward to the future events. Starting on the 1st December with the painbarrier in Leeds. Cant wait to be honest – never done a novelty run in my life and the recent weather should make it extra ‘interesting’.

I do seem to have gone a bit crazy in regards to booking of future events. The challenge of doing something every month next year is definitely in force. I have added my first Olympic length triathlon to the list which is in August and involves an open water swim. I have also found Chester marathon next October and as it runs past my sisters house that’s in the plan now as well.

I have added a challenge to myself to run for 4 hours on a treadmill in December to see how far I get – ideally 26 miles would be great. Which I dreamt up whilst waiting in my car for the Conway half marathon to start. See thinking is good!

Either way it will be good training for the 100kms in a day which I plan to do on the 1st January. Not entirely sure if it will be all cycling or a mixture with running added to the mix. Quality start to the year though and I hope it will set the tone for the rest of 2013.

Just lacking July, November and December now for 2013, and potentially thinking of doubling up in may and completing the fandance event as well as the planned 10k. Strange to think of a 10k as being ‘only a 10k’ now when previously it would have frightened the life out of me.

Weird to think that I am surrounded by events I never knew existed before recent investigation – sprint, middle distance and Olympic distance triathlons, full and half marathons, dualatholons all within 30 miles of my house.

With the above in mind I made a commitment to my health and acquire a ‘proper’ set of running shoes for the first time. Having my gait analysed by up and running was painfree and the best shopping experience of my life – the staff were helpful, knowledgeable and eager to share tips. Hopefully having some shoes which will support my foot better will relieve some of the aches and pains I have had after slightly longer runs in the past. Cant wait to try them out after the pain barrier – there is no way there going through that – and it seems like a good place to kill off my old shoes!

Exercise seems to have taken over my life a little bit at the moment – not actually doing it because I have had deadly man flu but reading about it, researching it and putting plans into place for next year. Key to this is the fact that I read a book called cant swim, cant ride, cant run by Andy Holgate. I would recommend this to anyone thinking about getting fitter and its this book which inspired me to book the Olympic length event next August. He has a second installment coming out in the new year and its on my holiday reading list for January.

Interesting times ahead!


lick the lid of life – just not to often

so close on a month since i last wrote anything on here and plenty has changed for me.

new job has meant that i am doing (slightly) longer hours and the pressure to conform within the new culture has meant that rather uniquely i have been in a strange situation. You see i now work for a popular yogurt company and one of the ‘benefits’ of this is unlimited fancy coffees and unlimited, whilst on site products – heavy weighted onto the limited edition unheathly corners.

now i, as previously mentioned, used to be massive in size and small in will power – something which i have hopefully reversed this year  – or at least moved to even out. however i do still have lapses in the willpower battle – treat meals can turn into treat weekends and if i am not careful they can turn into treat weeks – i am sure you get the picture. I am one of those who it seems finds it easier to be all or nothing.

So you can see the issue – a lack of will power all the time, a new culture to attempt to fit into and free unlimited – almost forced in your face food whilst at work.

bet you can see where this is going.

I have eaten alot of yogurts in the last 3 weeks. more than i should / more than i have wanted to / more than i needed to.

as a result of this i have lost zero weight in my time since joining the company. that despite running / cycling more miles than planned, at a quicker pace and more frequently. i dont blame the company – why would i – however it is clear from walking around the site hat there are a fair few robust people and surely that must be in part to the freebies on offer. i just know that i cant continue to eat the level i have – i take this as a positive step. i recognise the change i need to make, i have started the process of changing ( yogurt free this week) and i am making the effort. in times gone by i think this would have taken me longer to realise and alot longer to do something about it.

also new company = a fresh start. no one there knows me as the fat lad who has gone thin. I am ‘just’ rob at the weight i currently am. They know no different which is both a help and a hindrance to me and something i am learning to manage. plus i have to wear suits now and i have to admit i like the way i now look in a suit and have started to take pride in the way i look.

anyway. On sunday i am doing my first half marathon, it will be the first time i have run the distance – having only done 11 miles on two seperate occasions in two very different terrains – one muddy trail which took close on 2 hours and one last sunday on a tread mill in a gym which took 76 minutes (a pace which i loved doing on a flat surface, without a dog or traffic getting in the way). hoepfully on sunday i will manage a pace somewhere inbetween and be under 2 hours.

i know this is a tough task on a course with a rather large 2 mile hill in it. however #fitteam12 regulars will know that a challenge is useful!

i plan to get there nice and early – remembering to bring all the kit this time (learning from the 10k errors) and will write on my hand the timings i need to hit. so for 5 miles i know i need to be 45 minutes, 10 miles 90 minutes – on that pace i would be there or there abouts for the 2 hours mark. i also hope that this will stop me going off to quick like last time.

i have already rather saddly practised my crossing the line celebration – which as ever will be aimed at my long suffering wife and daughter.

since i have last wrote a blog i have read james cracknells book – touching distance and would recommend it to anyone of a sporting nature – very moving and shows the impact such a small incident can have on a family unit.


remember folks. lick the lid of life. just not 3 or 4 times a day 5 days a week!