Month: October 2013

Kerbing my enthusiasm

So

 

Guess what folks

 

Go on I dare you

 

Despite my impassioned plea for sponsorship and the worldwide media coverage it generated I have failed to negotiate the lucrative contract I was searching for.

 

Shocking I know.

 

Don’t worry though, I have come to terms with this issue and as a result I have come to the conclusion that I will just have to win an event or two next year. With that in mind I thought I better crack on with training and up the miles and intensity and a repercussion of this is that I appear to be injured.

 

I have been fairly lucky this year in terms of injuries, aside from the snow based calamities and the mark that llandegla 10k left on me.   Considering I am over 3000 miles for the year and that I frequently don’t look after myself properly still I think this is fairly good going.

 

It’s been suggested that I should be looking to downscale on exercise at the moment anyway – to give myself a proper break – however now that I have to win an event next year to get the critical acclaim I deserve I thought it wise to shun this advice and  up the training after my laziness post Chester.

 

So I have done 300 miles of intervals / pyramids / pain / sweat so far early in the mornings and late at nights on the turbo, battling boredom and  attempting to not drown in a puddle of my own sweat. Sexy I know. All with the mind-set that it would put me in a better position come race time next year – all these bonus miles would surely help.

 

Combined with that I have attempted to give myself a better base for the ultra-marathon I am running in December, than I allowed my body before the Chester marathon. Clearly I won’t stop the pain from appearing, but I am hopeful that it won’t appear till after 20 miles plus instead of around 17 miles as it did last time.

 

So I thought it wise to start running regular longer distances, working my way up to a proposed couple of 20 milers early in December. So I did 3 10 mile runs in a week, the middle of which was a painful and brutal affair. I have come to dislike kerbs, with a passion. What’s the point in them? Really? Think about it. During this run I clipped one and it forced me to stumble a little on my left knee, causing mild embarrassment as I thought I a cow saw me do it in the pre-dawn gloom.

 

However it has caused more than just embarrassment. I pressed on and finished the run a little gingerly but still at a decent lick for me and thought nothing of it, later that day it got stiffer and stiffer (take your mind out of the gutter) and was noticeable when sitting down / changing gear. I gave it a couple of days and it eased, so I did the only thing I should have done.

 

I ran 10 miles, in the cold, dark rain at a pace just below my 10k PB – i.e. balls out flying (for me) – no real pain no real issue, until a mile from the end when I again stumbled and again my knee didn’t enjoy itself, again.

 

So two days later and I still can’t walk up the stairs without pain, I am popping pills like no tomorrow and I fear I might have to write off the first week of training in November.

 

I am such a pro.

 

Maybe I should see if a pain relief company will sponsor me……..

 

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Pick Me – Pretty Please Pick Me

It’s strange how sometimes I am in the mood for writing a blog and sometimes I just feel compelled to ignore it for large chunks of time. But I guess it’s now the season to start looking back on the year and assess how things have gone in all things exercise. 

But it’s difficult to do so without sounding like a bit of a tool.

I mean I am happy with generally how things have gone this year – I have gone further and generally faster than ever before and more frequently. I have been lucky enough to compete in a good number of races at various lengths, terrains and disciplines. I have exceeded my own expectations at every one of my events, Chester marathon aside, and with one event left for the year, I have managed to stay on track to kick off every single target for the year.

Image the pacer couldnt keep up, the slow coach.

But in the back of my mind I have a nagging doubt.

That doubt is, quite disconcertingly – the doubt that I am still fairly rubbish at most things.

Granted I have never, or will ever, expect to win any race I enter. The fact that I have gone from just being delighted to have survived and made the finish to targeting top ¼ in my age group etc. to me is an achievement, but really is this actual improvement?

When I started back in January 2012 my average pace was roughly around 12 mins a mile and the furthest I used to run was 5 miles. I thought that was an achievement – I knew nothing about running or training – I just wanted to lose some timber. Now I can run 7.30 min miles for a HM and managed to drag my undertrained body around Chester Marathon at 10.17 min mile pace. Now is this due to me improving or just me being more knowledgeable with better equipment? 

Likewise with my bike splits – I only acquired my first road bike in January of this year and clip in shoes in April – so have I always been able to cycle 60 miles at 22 mph or is it just the money I have thrown at it meant the difference in performance.

My eating is still hit and miss – I can go weeks being rigidly good and healthy but then likewise just as quick I can slip back into unhealthy ways – so clearly I have a lot to learn from that point of view. Despite doing over 3000 miles this year at the time of writing this I am only 2lbs lighter than at the start of 2013 – I have a lot more energy generally I think and my body shape has changed alittle but to be honest I was hoping to shift a little more.

Maybe I have always been able to complete a half ironman in under 5 ½ hours but I just didn’t know. Or maybe I am thick. Or reading too much into it. More likely thick.

Is it just a case of the more you spend the better you become?

Case in point is a turbo trainer / aero bars / bike fit. I have bought a turbo trainer for winter use and have started using it due to the typically crap weather we have been having – to me these are all bonus miles, as they wouldn’t be happening if I hadn’t acquired it. I have plans to gradually increase the usage over the winter to give me a better base to start training for Outlaw. Thus meaning I don’t have to suffer in the cold like I did at the start of this year.

Aero bars – this in theory will increase my average mph – especially over a longer ride, but this improved performance will be solely down to that fact – not my ability or increase in fitness.

Bike fit – I have a nagging feeling that if I spent £50 to get a bike fit it would mean I could go quicker again and be fresher for the marathon leg of an ironman. But is this value for money – do I need to do this? Again performance enhancement will solely be down to any cash I lay out.manchester 100

I guess the flip side to this argument is becoming better educated along the way. More education gives you better chances of making the right decision, making the right judgements on opportunities or kit selection. Surrounding yourself with likeminded people on social media allows you to get caught up in the hype around products (ironman blenders) but if I had no kit and no money, would I have the same potential as having the best kit and money to burn.

The involvement of money allows you to release the potential? So does that mean if I had gotten into this healthy way of lifestyle and started running marathons earlier and completing triathlons and I was loaded then I would be up there when the medals are given out?

Or am I talking bollocks?

Sponsored athletes clearly get sponsored because they are the best, the cream of the crop. But to me I can’t help thinking that companies are missing a trick or two. Surely it would be more inspiring to sponsor a couple of the average Joe’s of this twitter world  and follow their progress when using the company’s products in a controlled manner. So for instance nutritionally, or race fuel someone like High5 would get more of an uplift in sales if they reported increases in performance for some of the middle of the pack field?

I for one would be more interested in following the progress of someone similar to myself (going from over 20 stone and zero interest  and seeing how they develop than seeing the top stars churning out podiums on a consistent basis.

So world – here is my plea – someone please sponsor me  I will be happy to help with experiments (as long as there legal) in race fuel, race kit, bikes, protein shakes, recovery shakes, clothing, running shoes, socks, pants, hats and any technology you can think of. I would be committed to report back and be available for any media commitments you would like. Showing the progress I make, the weight I shift, the increases in performance etc. I already have races entered for next year, so performance can be judged and if you want to help with race fees then you would be more than welcome.

Am I naïve enough to think this plea will work? No – but if you can’t beat them, I figure I may as well attempt to join them as maybe money can’t buy me love, but I can’t help thinking that it might get me a few medals along the way.