Month: December 2013

Perspective

It’s been a funny old time recently. More ups and downs than a rollercoaster.

New job, new prospects, new events, sponsorship, new excitement to look forward to next year, Christmas, time off work, presents and an abundance of food and alcohol.

All put into perspective and pails into insignificance when you get a reality shock about someone you love’s health.

Every moment becomes more cherished, thoughts turn to the worse case scenarios and what could possibly happen to us as a family unit.

Keeping thoughts from each other but seeing it written over my wife’s face and knowing I am not doing a good job of hiding the same. Driving to work through teary eyes and hoping that everything becomes ok, reassuring someone with no confidence or ability that everything will be fine, when you both know that the words mean little and are not grounded with firm foundations. Snapping with colleagues at work and having arguments over nothing at all at home, both of which are massively counter-productive and only heighten tensions. God only knows how my wife has coped and kept it, at least outwardly together.

Not many noticed in the twitter world of my withdrawal away from the usual stupidity, banter and harassment for freebies, but I appreciate the messages I got and you know who you are. If / when I ever meet you the first pint is definitely on me. Realising that twitter acted as a support network and dragging myself out of the moody slump I was in I snapped out of it and attempt to get back to the supporting role I was needed for at home.

It also led me to spend 6hrs on a turbo trainer, which was my way of ‘defeating something I didn’t think possible’ which I guess is potentially what we are up against in 2014, it also led me to run a half marathon despite being told to still be resting my knees.

Mind over matter – if I can do those things, my mind thinks anything is possible. If I can show that apparent  ‘strength’ then maybe my wife will think the same and if a battle needs fighting then she can overcome it. 

We are now within the strange stage of waiting further tests, which will not now be completed till the start of February. 

Would I trade the new job, new prospects, new events and sponsorship for clear test results? Within a heartbeat.

If it meant never riding my bike again or swimming open water or having the buzz of waiting on a start line – without a second thought.

Whatever the outcome its certainly made me realise what is important in life and provided some perspective. It’s not about the fancy job, or the big car or the bigger house it’s about the journey of getting there, the holidays, the memories and the adventures along the way, the moments to look back on in 30 years and smile about.

Its massively cheesy to say you don’t know what you have got till it’s gone, but I hope this is just a close call and we all come out of it stronger and healthier as a family unit.

Advertisements

The sweet taste of success?

Two things – a parallel – a cross roads if you like.

I have just sat looking at photos of myself – even worse – race photos of myself. Hideous enough I know but I did it whilst eating a substantial amount of everyone’s squidgy moist cake; a festive edition none the less.

It dawned on me just how bloody far I have to go – just how much I have to improve and just how far away I am from achieving what I hope I think I can do at the various races this next year.

20x30-SATK4148

(notice i am rocking a mr bump plaster – keeping it real)

Also a strange parallel that I am actually only looking at photos as I had to buy some official ones for the first time in order that 9bar can populate a nice little piece about me on their website in the new year.

A good reality check? Definitely.

20x30-SATH2992

(any ideas what my knee is doing?)

Lately I have probably used the excuse of my knees being not 100% to get lapse in my plans – you need to understand that I am generally an all or nothing type of guy. In a past (recent) life one biscuit would have seen the majority if not all of a packet disappear, whereas if I don’t have the first single bite then I won’t miss them. At the moment I am having ‘just one bite / packets ‘ of cake, biscuits, mince pies, beers, smarties, shortbread etc.

I am quite good at separating my eating from exercise. Good in a bad way. I seem to allow myself these occasional bites on the days that I have busted my ass off on the turbo for 90+mins – like in my head it has cancelled themselves out, when I know deep down they won’t.

After all isn’t this about getting fitter and thinner in order to go faster and further – not just to sweat myself silly and then eat cake, whilst actually gaining weight!

I need to sort this out .

Granted I think I have come a long way. I have lost almost 80 lbs. which is no mean feat. But I don’t want to think that this is just it now. Exercise a bit eat too much and stay the same.

I am greedy, not just for treats, I am greedy for PB’s at all distances and surprising more people in races. I am greedy for the finishing shoot at Outlaw and I am greedy to put some demons to bed for good.

I wonder what that tastes like.

#Lonewolf

9bar

Well then folks.

 

In the biggest news to come out of the sporting world this year, bigger than Bale to Madrid or Froome winning the tour,  I am delighted to announce that I am now almost a professional triathlete.

 

Almost, but alas a hundred million miles away still.

 

However my hopes for 2014 and the years ahead have been lifted massively by the news that I am to be sponsored for the coming year by 9bar.

 

 

 

The company is local to me and I honestly like the products they make, mainly as they taste bloody good, are reasonably priced and don’t give the stomach side effects that gels do. So to get selected to be on Team 9bar for next year was great news, especially considering the number of people who applied. However I don’t think they have fully thought it through as the sales will dip from my local Asda as I now get freebies direct from the company.

 

They have selected 5 triathletes to join the team, with two of them very local to me which I hope to tag along on training with. One of them Shaun has already been a massive help to me this year and it was his involvement with 9bar which originally got me interested / intrigued about the idea of applying. Just hope I am able to get close to him at an event next year.

 

As well as allowing me some fancy new tri related gear ( an allowance I have well and truly already spent, hence the asking for reviews of shorts etc. in recent weeks) I will receive a number of free products throughout the year, the opportunity to train with others and entry into some of the sponsored events which they cover. I think possibly the biggest benefit will be the nutritional advice that they offer as I fully accept that I still need to work on this side of things quite a lot.

 

I can’t wait to get started now to be honest, and now as I am ‘sponsored’ I don’t have that added pressure of having to win an event next year, as per a previous blog post, as let’s be honest – that wasn’t going to happen.

 

Within the team there are a number of specialist cyclists (Ed Clancy) and ultra-runners ( too numerous to name) and I hope to sweet talk these guys and gals into being on possible teams at the twitter tri world championships in Leeds (told you I was coming for you Yorkshire folks!) and also to get involved with the Equinox 24hr 10k race both next September, which I have loosely been attempting to organise teams for.

 

Maybe I won’t win a race next year single handily but maybe I can piggy back on their expertise to win a relay. After all you should all recognise by now that I am like lightening in a transition area.

 

I like the notion of being world champion……

 

Feel free to check out the company or indeed the fine range of products that 9bar make at http://www.9bar.com/, or by nipping to Asda, where they are usually on 2 for a £1, but I warn you – once you have had one though there is no going back.

I have good news, which I am still not allowed to share with you, so for the time being you will have to make do with bad news.

 So for the bad stuff.

 For the first time this year, apart from falling over on the ice way back when, I am injured L

 As mentioned previously both my knees are currently a bit broken by kerbing I assume – which running rest, a tri specific swim session and 160 miles ‘turboing’ haven’t , for some reason, eased. In fact whilst doing some decorating (earning brownie points for next year’s adventures) I had a sudden realisation that I was actually making them a lot worse – something which transpired to be true as they woke me up on consecutive nights to vent their frustrations to me.

So physio was booked, doctors seen (eventually – I will spare you the long draw out story) and thankfully now the drugs and rehab plan have kicked into effect. Knees have eased and I have started on the prescribed prescription of 50% effort and duration for a while, to see how the knees take it. Managed to somehow manage to pull a muscle in my ribs as well so, feeling a little bit like the walking / hobbling wounded – I can’t remember what it feels like to be ache or pain free.

Bad news for the long suffering Mrs J is that I am even more grumpy than normal when I don’t get to exercise and also that the house is half decorated at the moment, something which now won’t change until after Christmas.

In November I only ran 5 miles ( on November the 1st) and the plan was to increase towards the ultra after Christmas, looks like my last event of the year will be my first DNS of the year. The other implication is that I now definitely won’t hit the revised target of running 962 miles in the year. Which is a shame, but I have run further than ever before this year, whilst swimming properly for the first time and abusing my new road bike to the tune of 2458 miles since January.

So regardless of what happens for the reminder of the year, I am putting 2013 down as a success.                    

Also I have decided to focus on what I am putting into my body rather than moaning about what it can’t do.

My nutrition has been hit and more likely miss for the last month or so (damn those free yogurts) – with the phasing out of events for the year and generally enjoying more treats than I should. The free time I now have I hope to utilise in further educating myself and improving the quality and variety of my diet going forward to maintain and slowly lose the weight as I hopefully pick up the pace and training in the new year.

The other side of this is sleep – turning my alarms back an hour or an hour and a half and attempting to increase my nightly sleep sessions, so when I can get back into it properly I can do so from a non-tired base point. I have to admit I have enjoyed this – not feeling ready for bed come 9 in the evening and not having to drag myself out of bed to get lyrca’d up isn’t a bad thing and will probably be the hardest to forgo again!

So every cloud and all that.

The above was written as part two of a blog which was meant to contain good news – I hope to be able to share that with folks sometime pre-Christmas.

For now you will have to accept the good news that for the last two days I have actually managed to do some exercise. A light, very very light turbo session on Sunday and then a gentle, slow paced and short trot this morning. Knees seem to be ok, a few aches but all things considering I am happy to be active again.

Forgot how good it felt to go for a run in the dark and cold and just to hear my own breath and footsteps as I plodded along attempting to remind myself to take it easy. On physio instructions I probably spent longer stretching and warming up / then conversely stretching and cooling down than I actually did running / turboing these last two days, but if it means I can go back to pain free exercise I really don’t mind.

For some reason I am in a very good mood today – can’t think why.