When Sarah had Ellie she was very fortunate to become friends with some really nice Mum's who had all just had their first babies. Now the first babies are all 4 years old and for some number 2 has come along. Each year Sarah, the Mum's and the kids head down to Sherwood Pines where they hire a couple of log cabins and have a weekend away. The highlight of the weekend is a visit to Adventure Land to drop off their letters to Santa Clause (Ellie delivered my letter.......Cervelo P3, Zipp Wheels, Power Tap) This left me with a very quiet weekend, and whilst I miss my girls the break is much appreciated.
I think sometimes I underestimate the draining effect two young girls can have on ones energy reserves. After work I usually come home (actually I always come home) and as Sarah starts her music teaching I take over bath time and bed time duties. If all goes to plan, reading stories, doing jigsaws, drawing and generally having some fun usually finishes by 7.30pm. I can then start to think about some food and chilling out for the evening. My power pack is usually pretty empty around 10pm, zzzzzzzzzz. However on Friday I came home to an empty house, for a moment I was lost. I got some food and wondered what to do. A nice leisurely evening followed. At 10.30pm expecting to see my energy nearing zero I was most surprised to see it still plenty full!! What to do? I was in no man's land, like a fish out of water, like the Wales Rugby Team leading the mighty All Blacks, I was lost. Out came the hoover, whizzed over the lounge, and then still full of energy I got showered, dressed and went clubbing.......Only joking Sarah, I brushed my teeth and went to bed!!! The point is I had energy to play with. I absolutely love having a family, but boy do they zap your energy.....
I have kept to my promise and thrown in a nice balanced training week, and with a couple of extra training days to play with have put in a few more hours. Being a PE teacher my days are quite active. I don't usually consider Rugby Training session's and refereeing as training however my job certainly adds to my weekly training load. This has definitely been the case this week. I have refereed two rugby matches, played a lively 20 minutes of 6 aside football, the staff gave the Year 11's (16 year old's in old money) a lesson in 'total football' 11 - 2!!!! and a 30 minute Rugby session with the juniors (10 year old's) where I played scrum half (I was awesome!!) So my week looks like this;
Monday: Bike 1 hour
Tuesday: Bike 1 hour (20 mins over geared), Run 30 minutes (8.13 min/mile)
Wednesday: Bike 1 hour, Refereed 1st XV 1 hour
Thursday: Bike 1 hour, Run 1 hour 20 mins 10 miles (7.54 min/mile)
Friday: Bike 1 hour, 20 mins 6 aside Football, 30 mins Rugby
Saturday: Run 45 min Run (technical session), Refereed Rugby 1 hour, Bike 1 hour
Sunday: Bike 3 1/4 hours (55 miles), Upper Body Dumbell Weights Circuit 30 mins
Total: Bike 9 1/4 hours (175 miles), Run 2 1/2 hours (19 miles), Weights 1/2 hour, refereeing etc 3 hours, Total 15 1/4 hours.
I've had some good sessions this week, but I am particularly pleased with Thursdays run. With an hour's cycle in my legs I ran nice and steady, aiming to run a negative split (staying steady not racing the last 5). This I achieved, running the last 5 miles in 7.34, 7.46, 7.43, 7.32 and 7.48 all a little quicker than any of the first 5 miles. Sunday's ride was also very positive. Waking up to a sprinkling of snow and a very grey day it would have been very easy to wimp out. However dressed for the arctic I 'chilled' for the first hour then the sun came out, and I had a good ride, finishing off with 10 minutes over geared in the 55 x 13. To have hit another pretty big week of cycling is also very pleasing, in the last 14 days I have ridden on 13 of them, and logged 345 miles, nice...
I managed to watch most of the Rugby on Saturday, (must have spent 4 hours on the sofa, unheard of) Here is my summary. Ireland vs Argentina, whilst Ireland deserved their win, I was a little staggered at some of the players reaction to some of the referee's decisions. Is respect slipping in Rugby? It will never reach the depths of Football but I was surprised to see the referee taking and accepting so much from both teams, Where has the 10m rule gone for arguing and descent. Ironically as the BBC announced Ronan O'Gara as 'Man of the Match' he was seen running back after a successful penalty attempt giving the Argentine Players a linguistics course in obscenities, great example Ronan, just get on with the game you are on the winning team.
What about Wales starring out the All Blacks, great TV viewing, but maybe a little unnecessary. It reminded me of a boxing weigh in. I was willing the All Blacks to start the game, kicking long (unfortunately it wasn't their kick) As with all actions, gestures and talk it means 'jack shite' if you cannot deliver on the pitch. Wales performed really well for 40 minutes, however where were they in the second half? Jeremy Guscott summed it up nicely when he said, Wales were 'hoping' they could hang on to the lead they did not 'believe' they could win.
I did not see Scotland mash the Canadian's, so finally England. Oh dear, oh dear I wonder whether Martin Johnson wished he had bought a nice warm scarf and joined Mr Dallaglio on the BBC commentary team? Building a new team is not an easy process, but I liken it to starting triathlon training after a long lay off. You wouldn't start your training with brick sessions, transition practise, complicated repetitions on the track and difficult cycling hill repeats, you'd just get out there go for a run, ride your bike and swim in the pool, you'd build your fitness, enjoy the process and feel good about yourself. Last week we witnessed repetition of long complicated line out moves that failed, this week there were times when I lost where the ball was there were so many dummy runners, then when the camera did pick it up it had moved at great speed side ways. The players in the England set up are good players, (except Toby Flood, I'm sorry I think he is out of his depth, he doesn't even look like a Rugby Player) but they need to find some cohesion and confidence. Cohesion and confidence comes when you do things that you can do, ie simple forward running rugby with pace and power, it comes when individuals have belief in their team mates (if I was part of the England Pack, at 75kg's quite unlikely! I'd be pretty worried every time Cipriani steadied himself to kick in open play) I think the coaching staff have got things wrong. What is the point fine tuning an F1 car if the wheels keep coming off? Players need to 'bed in', they need to feel good about themselves, do simple things but be awesome doing those simple things, we can then start fine tuning. Next Saturday should be fun. An All Blacks team out to prove a point vs an England team unsure of what to do, lacking a leader and pretty low on confidence. We will see what happens, sport is rarely predictable.
Next week will be a steady one. We have plans for the weekend, drop the girls off at my Brother and his Wife's house in Liverpool, and with no Saturday rugby Sarah and I are London bound to see a show 'Billy Elliott', and spend some quality time together. I can't wait. Do not hope things will happen this week, believe they will happen and even better, make them happen.....