Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Monday, 21 December 2009
Much to Sarah’s amazement I have had a great week of training and chilling. I say to her amazement because she has yet to see much evidence of me shopping and is getting a little concerned whether her Christmas stocking will be slim this year??? I of course have everything under control. Ellie still had a week left at school, Evie was in nursery on her usual days and Sarah had a pretty normal week of work. More carefully planned than the invasion of Iraq (actually that is a really bad analogy) I constructed a week of training around the girls, school and nursery drop off’s and pick up’s and other things that were in the weeks planner. This post will be largely training based because next week there will be far more exciting things to write about; at least I hope so because I have been a good boy this year!! Before we get on to my training a little of the rest of the week.
I spent a really chilled afternoon on Thursday with Sarah curled up on the sofa watching the film ‘Australia’ and munching on Terry’s Chocolate Orange. It was great to be able to spend some quality time together and not a bad film.
We now have a couple of outdoor Christmas lights on the Garage, much to the joy of Ellie. I think this is the start of the slippery slope, more planned for next year adding a couple yearly until we have a house resembling that of the Character played by Robson Green in Northern Lights (a nice film, see it if you haven’t)
We travelled north to Newcastle for the weekend. Sarah’s Dad took me and Sarah out on Friday night to a Christmas Party at his local. Bernie changed his local pub a few years ago and rather amusingly the refurbished Pub he now frequents has become a focal point for the Gateshead and Felling Gay community. The owner (an energetic lady in her 50’s) and most if not all of the bar boys and girls are camper than camp people in a camper van in a campsite. All involved in the pub have been great to Bernie over the years, especially with his various problems associated with his Parkinsons and balance difficulties, they are great bunch and really look after him. Anyway I ‘camped’ it up a bit with my outfit, and we went out. A nice Christmas meal was followed by some live music from a group calling themselves ‘Souled on Sax’ It looked promising and the first song a great version of Santana and Rob Thomas ‘Smooth’ was excellent, unfortunately the music went to a rock place and the Saxophone stayed on its stand (much to Sarah and Bernie’s disappointment) But this said it was still great to be out. The band were good, the Saxophonist and lead Singer looked pretty good in her black catsuit, knee high 6” heeled boots, and their rendition of Bon Jovi Living on a Prayer brought back a few teenage memories!!! Geordie women just don’t care!! Age or size is no barrier to getting dressed up and having good time, fair play to them. There was plenty on show, the main outfitters must have been ‘TopShop’ and the vast majority a size 18, throw in the bar staff and their friends and you get a bit of an idea of what the night was like. We had fun, the wine flowed and it was a good evening, thanks Bernie.
Sarah and her Mam went shopping into Newcastle on Saturday whilst Bernie and I entertained the girls and watched some of the Cricket. We spent the afternoon at his local ‘Gay Bar’ chilling out whilst Ellie and Evie played in the indoor soft play centre. Eileen’s new super deluxe spa bath complete with underwater lights got some action, (nearly fell asleep in it on Saturday night) and as usual we were very well fed and thoroughly spoilt by Eileen, a nice weekend.
Training wise I have had a great week, currently I feel aerobically very fit but I also feel like I am getting quite strong from the recent gym activity. I put quite a bit of emphasis on strength training. I think it is key (along with stretching) to not incurring repetitive injuries from running and swimming, leg strength is important for the bike when the road goes up or higher levels of power are called for, plus in my mind a strong body is a fit body and this is vital for everyday living and more so as we age, finally I really enjoy the variety of being in the gym lifting weights. Recently I have been doing loads of Core work with Medicine Balls with my Judo friend Dane and on Thursday we had a monster session. Not particularly Triathlon specific but a great Power and Plyometric session. Power Cleans and Tuck Jumps, Power Squats and Bench Drop jumps, Power Bench Press and Plyometric Press ups, Rows and Kettle Bell Torso Rotations, Medicine Ball Side Throws and Seated Overhead Throws followed by some really challenging core work. I really enjoyed pushing Dane hard and enjoyed trying to match him in my own performance. Needless to say I was sore and stiff on Friday.
On Monday I hooked up with Ove for a Run. After a steady 30 minute warm up we put in 6 hill repeats each lasting 50 secs, taking it in turns to lead and set the pace. There is something very motivational about being on the front, I think we both upped our game. We then ran home giving us a 7 mile run with some hard work in the middle.
Tuesday was long day in the gym. A steady 2k swim, was followed by an hour on the spinning bike, then the spin class group turned up, so I thought it was rude not to join in. 45 minutes later after some tough fast spinning and high resistance, slow cadence work I was cooked. I had a bite to eat and then met Dane for a 90 minute strength session including heavy squats and leg press. I once read that Gordo Byrn at the end of a long ride or Ride and Run would do a few tyre pull intervals to really work himself hard. His thinking, if he could run some intervals with the tyre pulls at the end of a long day he would easily find the extra effort to push through in the final k’s of the Ironman, also none of his competitors were doing it!! Tuesday was a 4 hour day, nice.
With Ove on Wednesday I had the wettest ride I have had for ages. By the time I got home I had ridden 55 miles, 3 ¼ hours and was soaked through. It was great to ride with Ove, nice and steady and good company, great motivation also, would I have stayed out for that long on my own? I tried to swim in the afternoon, but my arms were pretty sore so just settled for 1500m of chilled out drills. It did all add up to another 4 hour day.
My final session of the week was a Run in Newcastle. Fresh snow had fallen late Saturday afternoon so a nice off road hour’s run at a really steady pace, (dictated by the conditions) Crunching through fresh snow with blue skies above made a for lovely start to the day.
By the end of my first 7 days of holiday I had trained really consistently on 6 of them, including 2 4 hour days. I had managed a really nice balance of all disciplines and pushed myself in the gym, in total I trained for 14 hours, race season seems a way off, but I just love it!!
Christmas is firmly within our sights and our house is gearing up for a good one. I think I am as excited as the girls this year. My Mum and Dad are coming up on the 24th for 5 days, we are all looking forward to seeing them and spending plenty of time together. It goes without saying Ellie’s excitement goes up a notch every morning when she realises the Christmas is a day closer and Evie is mirroring her sister’s behaviour.
Enjoy Christmas week, try not to let the preparations take away from the real pleasures in your life, make some time for those close to you and for yourself, and then kick back and have fun.
P.S. Rage Against the Machine, such lovely boys!!!!
Monday, 14 December 2009
Sunday, 6 December 2009
Monday, 30 November 2009
Monday, 23 November 2009
Sunday, 15 November 2009
Monday, 9 November 2009
Monday, 2 November 2009
Sunday, 25 October 2009
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Camping: We have had a couple of fun camping outings with friends at a great site in the North Yorkshire Dales and in the garden. Sleeping under canvas and living outside is good fun. Ellie and Evie seem to like it, hope to fit another one in before the summers out.
Jobs around the home: Boring stuff really, some necessary, some done out of a few months of neglect and some done to make training more comfortable. My Garage/ Gym is now looking clean and inviting, strength and conditioning is now back on the agenda in a big way. Oh to be 18 years old? I have been putting one of my A Level Pupils and Family Friend's through his paces on the weights. He is on the verge of breaking into the GB Judo Squad, and has decided to delay his University experience this year to concentrate on his Judo Goals. At 73kg he was just out of the 73kg category but at the bottom of the 81kg Category. Heavy weights, protein and an intense appetite for training have seen him pack on 5kg's in the last few weeks. He is well on the way. I am just about holding my own, but for how mush longer I'm not sure! Oh to be 18 again and have more Testosterone and HGH than the Tour de France Peleton (that's a little unfair it seems to have been a very clean tour) Dane is a very motivated athlete, switched on kid, great support network at home and I think will be there in 2012.
Toast: I love toast! white bread, multigrain, brown, wholemeal it just doesn't matter. I can destroy a loaf over a couple of days no problem. However with toast comes butter, jam, peanut butter, honey, Nutella etc etc. I read an interesting book called 'The Paleo Diet for the Athlete' and have since been trying to cut down on my intake of wheat and grains. In brief a Paleo diet suggests we eat like a Caveman, lots of good meat and fish, heaps of veg and fruit and nothing that they wouldn't have had eg, wheat and grains as well as the more obvious refined sugars and processed food. I have been giving it a go. I have eaten more fruit and veg than before and have not really missed the pasta, rice or breads that would have made up 30% or more of most meals. Breakfast is now fruit, nuts, a little Muesli and a little yogurt or eggs usually in the form of a 3 egg omelet with various ham, chicken, mushroom combos. I have not become 'anal' over what I can and cannot eat but if possible have tried to go for it. I think I need to tweak it a little so it works for me, fitting in with my family and lifestyle but in theory it makes quite a lot of sense to me.
www.ironman.com: I have spent many hours watching the updates from various Ironman Races across the World as my friends have raced their socks off. Too many at this stage to call individually but well done some amazing performances, Inspiring stuff :)
Reading: I have really enjoyed reading this summer. I have Read 'In search of Robert Millar' an interesting read about life as a pro cyclist. 'Thunder and Sunshine', Alistair Humpreys story of his journey by bike around the World, now that's an adventure, made me feel very safe and small in my comfortable bubble. 'The Paleo Diet for Athletes' (see above). 'Mark Cavendish, Boy Racer' this was really enjoyable. I might squeeze one more book in before I return to work, suggestions?
Coffee: Throughout my life I have drunk Tea not really getting the coffee taste, however Tea is a bit boring so I have given the famous bean a go. Finding proper coffee a bit of a shock I have eased in slowly and am now enjoying the Tea alternative of a milky Coffee or when the opportunity arises a Cappuchino. Not yet on the hard 'Black' variety but moving in that direction. Life's about experimenting so lets experiment!
Work: What is that? In a colleges office is a postcard that say's 'the 2 best things about teaching are July and August' If as a teacher that's your mindset then the rest of the year will be tough, but hey July and August are pretty good. So far I've had 5 1/2 weeks holiday with 2 1/2 more to go. I am looking forward to going back to work but being at home is not bad either.
Well that's a very brief over view I hope to get back into the regular blogging mentality, it's been very enjoyable. Take care and enjoy the sun for it is now shining, and before long it will be dark at 5pm:)
Monday, 15 June 2009
Monday, 8 June 2009
I finally finished marking the 275 pieces of A Level Coursework, a job I do for the exam board each year. It is a small piece of work that should demonstrate the students ability to write 6 short essays chosen from a variety of topics from the 2 year Sport and PE Course. The standard of work from some students is incredibly low, it makes you wonder why they are doing A Levels. Why are they doing A Levels? Well it's a complex issue but I think the pressure from society, teachers and parents to study beyond 16 years is immense. There is also so little else to do. Apprenticeship positions have all but dried up and practical courses still have a stigma attached to them and many students don't fancy that option. So what happens, students stay at school or go to college and study subjects they were fairly successful at GCSE's (not really a true reflection of their intellect) Some subjects, Maths and Science modules can be taken over and over again, and many other subjects have turned to multiple choice style questioning or short answer style questions. Students then stay on at school and find themselves hugely out of their depth, unable to cope with the style of questioning and extended writing required for most A level subjects. They of course will get plenty of opportunities to retake the modular exams they fail to perform in and eventually at the age of 18 will most likely progress to a University (Universities now need to put bums on seats, so anybody will do) to study a degree course that probably won't lead into a related job, and then what???? I think employee's have already started to look at the path taken to get there as well as the end grade. I suppose in some cases it might show perseverance and determination but I still question whether it is the correct route for these students to be taking. It's not all doom and gloom, I have also come across some very clear, concise, accurate pieces of work at very high levels.
I have started training this week. I have ridden to work each day, thoroughly enjoying the weather and the steady no pressure riding. I have laid down the foundations for my 'get strong' weights campaign. Feeling the effects of a Chest session for a couple of days and an over enthusiastic weighted abbs session for a number of days. In also went swimming, an activity I have in the past simply forgotten about after completing my Ironman race. This year however things are going to be different. I intend to continue swimming, working on my technique and putting together some interesting pool sessions, building my swim speed and endurance. It's been a very enjoyable week of training (maybe exercising is a more accurate term)
I have plotted some rough plans for the rest of the season starting on Sunday with a 10 mile TT on the V212 course. This is the stretch of road where Tom, Helen and I have done multiple loops in our mega brick sessions, so I know it well. I hope to get my heart rate sky high and see what the clock stops on. I will then build on this adding in some serious intensity into my training. I am really motivated to take my fitness forward and enjoy some more races this summer and into the autumn.
Dad continues to make good progress and is now on the road to recovery. He has driven the car, ridden his mountain bike down the road a short distance and completed plenty of short daily walks. The specialist doctor doesn't think it is Labyrinthitis, but more likely a small blood vessel in the middle ear that has been affected by a lack of oxygen. The great news is that he should make a full recovery, he must walk, ride, practice balancing and start doing everything that requires balance and locomotion. In other words his progress is in his own hands, which is just where he wants it to be.
Great to see you this weekend Uncle Max and Auntie Rachael . Brilliant to see you having so much fun with Ellie and Evie, they had a wicked weekend with you guys. Fabulous Birthday Cake Rachael (I have eaten so much of it the last couple of days!)
Have a great week, I hope next week to report on a fast 10 mile TT.......
Monday, 1 June 2009
I don't intend to write much this week, I think I will let the photos do the talking. Following my Ironman experience on the 'Island from Hell' as my good friend Steven Hobson (10 times Ironman Canada finisher) calls it, I have enjoyed kicking back and spending mucho time with the girls. An added bonus was landing at Leeds Bradford on Thursday to be greeted by blue skies and warm weather, this continued throughout the weekend. Making the most of the brilliant weather I started my day at 6am in the garden and didn't really leave it until 9pm, excellente. 8 days of total recovery (apart from walking, pushchair pushing and messing around in the pool with Ellie) was just what the doctor ordered. Anybody out there who struggles to properly recover from an Ironman, and is lost without the training just needs some wee little ones. Perfect for forced recovery :)
Top of Mirador del Rio climb
Lunch at a great restaurant in La Santa
Breakfast in my Garden
This week I am riding to work, swimming (yep I intend to keep it going from now on) and starting my 'get strong again' weights campaign, the following week I might slot in a few runs. I intend to enter a few 10 and 25 mile TT's, and aid Tom with some time in the 'hurt box' as he ramps up some interval intensity on the bike before Ironman Switzerland.
HUGE congratulations to my best buddy Ben who race Hawaii 70.3 on Saturday. He had a really great race finishing 3rd in his age group, also earning a Kona Ironman Slot. The World Championships will be his 10th Ironman and 3rd visit to Kona, inspirational stuff as always mate, wish you were still here in England so we could train together.
Friday, 29 May 2009
My target pace was around 8:45 min/mile, I'd swapped my Garmin 50 for the 405 so had mile splits from the word go. Showing low 9's I was a little off pace but I carried on feeling pretty good. I clocked my support crew, Sarah, Ellie and Evie and Tom's friends who would also shout me round Andy, his wife and his two girls, and Ian and EK, cheers folks the encouragement came at just the right times and your smiling faces made me pretty emotional during each lap. The run was far from flat with 3 climbs, well not really climbs but definitely gradual ascents each lasting between 100m and 200m. The wind that had blown me part of the way home was now in my face to the turn around point. I was running solid and went through the first lap in 59:24. Lap two was knocked out in 1:02:04 giving me a 2:01:28 first 1/2 marathon. Lap three is always the killer and here was no exception. I tried to drink plenty of water and eat gels and orange segments, and seeing Tom, Helen and Sam giving it plenty really helped my motivation. At the top turn on lap three I picked up Russ. Russ is a really solid IM athlete who has gone sub 10 hrs plenty of times. I followed his progress in Australia where he has been training and his adventures at Epic Camp early this year. Today he was having a bad day, hampered with a huge saddle sore preventing him cycling efficiently and running without pain. I convinced him to run and we knocked off lap three in 1:08:07 It was great to have some company, cheers Russ. Just one more lap to go.
Lanzarote Ironman was incredible. Once again I have had a fantastic ironman experience. I loved racing with my friends Tom and Helen, that really added to the occasion, cheers guys. The final word must go to Sarah, Ellie and Evie who also had a really long day out on the course supporting me, and have been fabulously supportive during my training and preparation period, I love you all so much.