Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Bricks and Lurgy!

Well what a few days! I ate my body weight in Curry on Friday night and failed to get up for my run saturday morning. The curry was with Carl (who I would be riding with on Sun and Brian who is Poppy's dad. I stayed on the water and was asked why I am doing the Ironman and if I fancy a Strongbow at all. I dont fancy a drink in the slightest and I'm doing it not only to raise money for Poppy Fields but to be a better man. Time will tell as to whether it works. I compounded my annoyance with myself by having a cooked buffet breakfast (£8 for four of us to eat as much as we like.....I know! it would have been rude not too!) which took me over my weekly calorie intake target still with a day and a half to go! I picked up my bike from the shop with another upgraded set of gears on it with assurances from the guys that they had both tested them thoroughly and they now seemed to be fine! I then mapped a 35 miler for sun morning and added a 3.5 mile run at the end to make up for not running sat.
It was chuffing freezing at 6.30am Sunday when Carl and I went out. The gears seemed fine as i took it steady and made sure I eased off when changing, my new light was great so the streetlightless lanes were no problem and other than my right foot I was warm enough with my several layers. The ride was great with some good hills which I tried again to attack and maintain momentum. Had to stop to take a picture of this sunrise though. Never seen anything like it. Always makes me happy to see the sunrise knowing I'm out training whilst others waste the best part of the day in bed!

Carl of course powers ahead as usual then waits for me to catch up. All my training so far, running and cycling, has been with people faster than me. This is a good thing right? It makes me push rather than resting on my laurels if the situation was reversed. A Snickers mid way again provided for a great boost and I felt good completing the 36 miles. 14.9 mph ave. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/146113131
As I hopped off my bike and shed the leggings and clip ons for my shorts and trainers I noticed I couldnt feel my right foot. It seemed to be from the cold but felt like it was asleep. The first part of the run (at least 1.5 miles) was run without any feeling. I guessed that if i run normally I wont do any harm even if I cant feel it and as the feeling crept back in everything seemed fine. the last couple of miles felt really good and I felt strong. 8:50 mins per mile average so well happy. I am beginning to love brick sessions. The different muscles used and the test on the mind it provides. They're ace! It was only a short run but I was pleased. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/146113134
Sundays exploits easily meant I nearly wiped off Saturdays excesses on the calorie front with me finishing the week 53 calories over my target weekly intake which I thought was alright.
Now Monday I had a Dermatologist appointment to sort out my face lurgy that has plagued me for 2 years. His first impression is that it is a low grade skin cancer (he stressed the low gradeness of it). Biopsy to confirm (it was like listening to Dr Gregory House - well it was in my head anyway) so they cut a bit off and I find out in 4 weeks. Cancer is a worry obviously whether its 'low grade' or 'you're fucked'. The Consultant says its nothing to worry about so I assume they can sort it. It does make you think though what with Cancer killing my mom when she was 38. I'm 40 in May and I suppose I have always wondered when it would come to me. Its not serious - or even confirmed yet - so I'm not going to worry. Mrs Brightside does all the worrying for both of us but I am sure it will turn out fine.

In the meantime it means todays swim is cancelled, so is Thursdays with the revised plan to be in the pool this weekend after stitches out on Friday.
I did however get up for a 6am 6 miler this morning with a new fastest mile of 8:10 for @LBMagicMile and an average of 8:38 per mile. Very happy with this and down to running with coaches @grjolley and @pdchadwick again! http://connect.garmin.com/activity/146113120
Thats where I am at the start of my official 22 week plan. Can I Ironman - I cannot find any reason why not!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Twisted Nuts!

The fear for any male runner is surely the twisted nut. Fortunately my collection of running pants have kept me safe for the past 18 months since I started this exercising mularky! After the gear debacle of Wednesday I again failed to get up for my 6am 5 miler yesterday. Instead, in a bit of a rush too, I brought my running gear to work for a lunchtime run to keep me on track. I'd grabbed my original trainers, purchased July 2010 for the Birmingham Half Marathon, as my current battle weary trainers are suffering veterans of all my 2011 running including the two marathons I did. I had a wry smile as I took them out of my bag to change because I deliberately kept the B'ham Half timing chip on the laces to remind me just how difficult that run was and how I was always going to be able to complete my challenges no matter how tough they may be at the time! My wry smile was unfortunately replaced with a typical Taurean instant loss of temper with myself when I realised that in my rush I had forgotten my running pants. So, do I not run today and use this as a 'valid' excuse or do I run in the boxers and go commando for the afternoon. After a couple of minutes of pulling up, pulling down and support checking (they provide very little) I decided to risk a run. Afterall the risk of a twisted nad from one 5 miler must be slim surely. As an aside I was horrified to be told by my step brother in law that my step sister runs with no knick knocks at all and oftern stops for a poo when out running!!! What? Please tell me this is not common practice.
Anyway, the run went well in glorious sunshine through the marajuana streets of Willenhall/Beirut dodging the drug dealers/takers/makers, the hostel absconders and the 'Fat Slags' taking up the pavement as they wolf their lunchtime kebabs whilst keeping their fags and Tennants on the go! 5 miles in 43:56 which is 6.9mph ave so under 9 mins a mile. Knees felt fine and I felt strong. The nads survived without a twist but I hope to not take that risk again. A commando afternoon sat at my desk with a sweat on isn't the best but far preferable to the annoyance I would have had with myself had I taken the easy option and not gone at all.
I'm now 195 miles into 2012 for 2012, Ive logged my fastest mile split with @lbmagicmile at 8:20. Ive had my stage confirmation for @jogle2012relay (stage 14 Cannock to Worcester 11:40pm start time 42 mile run) which is all really good and exciting. I start introducing swimming into my training next week and I will hopefully have my bike back all perfect any day now for a long blast Sun in prep for the start of my 22 week IM plan on Tuesday. Stay with me its gonna get bumpy.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Bloody Gears and Poppy Update!

" All I want is a red guitar, 3 chords and the truth!" - Bono once sang (Rattle & Hum Movie cover of All Along The Watchtower). All I want is my gears to work! After being unable to get my gears fixed on Saturday (see last blog) I went out Sunday morning at 7am with Carl for a 35 miler. Steady pace. The wind was phenominal - great when its behind you, evil from the side and damn near solid from infront! It made for a good work out as you have to work so much harder. We went through Whittington to Fradley where we stopped to tweak my gears to see if they could be temporarily improved. Unfortunately they couldn't be and so I had to ride on the big cog at the front and the 2nd 3rd and 4th cogs on the back. This allows for steady enough cycling but takes away the opportunity to properly belt it on a good downhill stretch and for some of the latter uphills against the wind I would have definitely dropped onto the small front cog. Overall it was great fun. Many improvements noted not least of which was my efforts to attack hills and maintain momentum rather than drop down through all the gears and slow right down. I cant give you the Garmin of the route which went from Fradley, through Coton in the Elms to Moira to Newton Regis to Shuttington and back through Tamworth because my computer at home is broke! It was 35 miles at an average of 14 mph which considering the gear issue and the wind I was happy with. Again a Snickers at the midway point proved a great fuel and is now definitely part of any distance ride. I felt good afterwards - no aches and pains other than a bit of back stuff but I know thats coming anyway. Dr to me circa 1987ish "the discs in your back haven't fused properly due to over activity so I'm sending you for physiotherapy and you need to refrain from all sporting activity for 3 months. Is that understood". Of course I understood but what could be the worst that could happen? I continued cycling 10 miles a day on my paper rounds (ironically cycling to the physio sessions too!), playing rugby 3/4 times a week, football etc etc Whilst the Deep Heat masked the pain the Dr wasn't fooled when I was discharged back to him with little improvement. He did then warn me that I can expect problems in later life and he certainly knew what he was on about!!
Anyway, Sunday went well so my bike was dropped in to the shop on Monday for my gears to be upgraded and sorted out. My plan has been finalised for IM training and a nice steady 3 mile run Tuesday lunchtime was fine apart from the fact I had mapped it mistakenly in km and so had to do 2 loops to run the necessary distance. Oh how I laughed. Legs felt good, running felt good. Picked my bike up Tuesday evening with ugraded shiny gears and upgraded front light.
Woke up this morning keen to get a 16.5 mile 1 hour blast in at 6am not afraid of the country lanes with new lights and new gears ready to be tested. Unfortunately the ride lasted 3.5 miles before being brought to a sudden stop. As I neared the top of Hints Hill (small cog) the gears started jumping so as I went over the brow and hit a slight downhill I went up to the big cog only for a lot of clanking and grinding to start. I tried to change gear in the hope a safe gear could be found when suddenly my back wheel locked, I skidded to a halt and narrowly avoided a comedy clipped in fall to my left. On inspection the hangy down bit of the gear thing at the back was upright above the gear thing and wedged solidly in my wheel!!
Its not supposed to be like that is it? All I could do was bend it back out of the wheel allowing me to roll the bike and trudge home on foot! I did get to coast back down Hints Hill but walking the rest of it in my cycling shoes was a shock to my calves! The bike is back in the shop to be sorted out. Bloody frustrating but better to happen now I suppose! I've told the guys to sort it and then use it overnight on a commute to test it. I need to have confidence in my gears which I currently don't have! I am doing this Ironman to raise money for Birmingham Childrens Hospital and specifically Dr Peets research and treatment of child brain tumours. Many of you follow the progress of my niece Poppy who has been battling a brain tumour since she was 14 months old. She is now 9. She had 2 brain operations when diagnosed but only 50% of the tumour could be removed safely. As a result of Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy the tumour has broken into 3 but is still growing. The good news is that by breaking up the surgeons are now confident the whole tumour can be removed. The bad news is of course that a very aware and bright 9 year old has to face a 5-6 hour operation. It is likely to take place after a scan in March. I will keep you posted. I have been overwhelmed by the good luck messages passed to Poppy via me from loads of you on Twitter and FB. Thank you. www.justgiving.com/sidpoppyfields donates straight to Birmingham Childrens Hospital as does texting RUNS99 £5 to 70070.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Lunchtimes, minutes and Beirut!

The week hasnt quite gone to plan with me failing to get up on any morning and run or ride - boo. Ridewise I'm not too worried as my real plan doesnt kick in for another week and i am having my gears upgraded Monday - yay! (it was supposed to be today but they were too busy - boo!). Tuesday 6am run with my run coach team @pdchadwick @johnsupermole @grjolly didnt happen because I was too lazy and blamed not having enough sleep - boo! I was so incenced with myself I took my running kit to work and ran a 5 mile loop at lunchtime. It was only my second run since Nov 1st and it went really well -yay! Felt strong and comfortable and no ill effects - yay! During the run i stopped to let a car pull out of a junction - the car was clearly owned by some Coventry wannabe gangsta blood or crip types - you know the type - no insurance - no tax - no MOT - Honda with Subaru bodykit - and 4 sets of bloodshot eyes peering through the cloud of marajuana smoke - I got a skunk high as they drove past - boo! The area i was told by colleagues on my return is very rough and is perhaps why the police travel in convoy and you can only walk down the street if you're carrying a can of Tennants Super or White Lightening - this did at least help with my pace which i was pleased with - yay! Here is the run which is now my lunchtime 'need to squeeze a run in' 5 miler http://connect.garmin.com/activity/143337908 I did this again on thursday too so the week hasnt been wasted.
Wierdly this week I have had a couple of confidence issues, some moments of extreme anxiety (which sometimes cross my path) and two mornings when i have woken up quite sad because I've had a 'real' dream where i have been with my mom, only to wake to the reality it was a dream! Such 'real' dreams are becoming so rare it quite suprised me! The anxiety and confidence issues were ridiculous and my personal fury at myself was vented through the runs!
I've spent each non running lunch sorting out my VLM and IM training plan. I went initially for a build build build miles based plan but after very helpful advice from @JWUltra and coach John Vann I've revised it to a time based build, reduce, build, reduce in 4 weekly waves plan. I like the look of it now and with some inspirational reads of several blogs and IM stories my confidence in all of this is still high. Stick to the simple an effective plan and I will Im on July 1st.
Ridiculously as i am only planning to enjoy VLM not race for a PB I am actually thinking of doing it in the Poppyfields Morphsuit which hasnt had an airing since the Birmingham Half Marathon Oct2010. It was hard to run in but i may only get one run in the VLM and I need to maximise fundraising. If my technical failings dont overcome me there will be a pic on the end (or start) of this post.
I've eaten my bodyweight in crap today so i have a 35 miler mapped around the country lanes of Tamworth, Whittington, Fradley, Overseal, Newton Regis for tomorrow at 7am. Quick thanks for all the advice and support especially from the tweetworld particularly @movingalong79 @mcjeebus @jaymcneill @madlot1 @paulb0lt0n @m_bacardi @iamrockjo @gazmanmeister and of course Mrs Brightside.

Monday, 16 January 2012


This little beauty was supposed to be 35 miles! http://connect.garmin.com/activity/142037558
My legs were truly wrecked yesterday afternoon after this but it was great fun. Left at 7am, dark and very very cold and met Carl. "35 then have you mapped it?" I asked "oh was I mapping it? <smile> dont worry its all in my head" was his reply! The alarm bells should have been ringing. I'd tell you where we went but everywhere was new to me (sometimes I wondered if it was new to Carl too!) so you'll have to look at the map. All i know is that it was a bloody long way. Due to the cold I 'd gone for 2 pairs of socks, leggings over cycling shorts, skin layer and 2 cycling tops and the old reliable 2008 London Marathon rejection coat! I was warm all over apart from the groin area (although this eased quickly enough thank god) and my toes. Chuffing hell my toes were cold. I kept wriggling them as I rode to ensure the blood paid at least the odd visit to the area. After the first hour or so they warmed up but a pair of over shoes appears to be an essential. I would also like to question why Shimano put a hole at the bottom of the shoe in the middle at the front? Gonna have to tape that up! I had a bottle of Lucozade sport (which froze) and a Snickers just in case.
The ride was brilliant but I'll confess to being sick of seeing the back of Carl paricularly at each hill when he attacks it. This is where i lose all my time and pace as i drop through the gears. It is clear his greater fitness and strength is the reason he could do a 50 mile work commute on Friday at 20mph ave! Its very frustrating and something I have to work on. We stopped twice. Once because the sunrise looked amazing and I wanted to get a pic and the second time for Carl to strain his greens! The Snickers turned out to be a welcome snack and from 2.5 hours in gave me the boost I needed to get home. Definitely gonna be the snack of choice in the future. Need to also look at getting a second bottle carrier as two drinks would have been better for a ride like this.
It was fun in the dark (so need to get a beaming front light) and in the frost. It is amazing how you notice changes in temperature from different areas and the change can be quite dramatic. I may also have to consider a change of headgear. I wear a wooly hat under my helmet but once it was full of sweat (nice thought) and whilst it was still freezing cold it then seemed to freeze to my head making my head very cold.
If you knock off the stops we rode for about 3 hours 10 mins at a moving average of 14mph which I was happy with considering the elevations were past the 1000ft mark for the first time.
I've planned the next 14 weeks up to VLM. I wasnt supposed to get to 45 mile rides for another 2 weeks. It was hard but with 24 weeks to Ironman I am wierdly confident the ride section wont catch me out unless I cock it up (go out to fast for example). The plan is to complete and survive Outlaw so as long as i stay steady I should be ok. The ride doesnt scare me, the run does and when i start swimming (hopefully feb) I'll let you know how I feel about the 2.4 mile open swim.
My wrecked legs of yesterday feel strangely good today. So good I feel I could have run on them which I didnt expect. I've got a 5 mile run planned for tomorrow morning and I hope they feel this good tomorrow.
I'm 135.40 miles into 2012 for 2012 and 259 miles in on the bike since I got it mid December. Need to find time to fit in reading Going Long, @ironholgs book which I think is Cant Swim Cant Ride Cant Run and I will definitely be getting @chrissiesmiles book when out in feb! I need some of that focus and single mindedness (as well as balancing work and family of course). Thanks for all the support,great tips and info from my twitter #IMS its a real help. Can I IM? Yesterday there were moments of doubt - today you know I think I can!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Oh the shame!

Well, tuesday my alarm went off at 5.15am for me to go for a run. My first since Nov 1st due to knee problem. I pressed Snooze. It went off again at 5.25am. I pressed Snooze. By 6.35am I reset the alarm for 7.15am and angrily resigned myself to being a fat lazy bastard. I justified/consoled myself on the basis that I can still be on schedule by doing my first ever brick session Wednesday and mapped a cycle and run route. Wednesday morning my alarm went off at 5.15am and I jumped up and flew out of bed ready to take on the world...........well not quite. I pressed Snooze! Aaaaaarghhhh! By the time I actually got up I was fuming with myself. Propper effed off with me! So I dropped the kids off at school, rang the boss and booked a day off work. Had a bowl of porridge and set off on my bike.
16.5 miles of sunshine, country lanes, peace and tranquility. Felt I was slow throughout despite seeming to be in higher? (harder) gears than before. Do gears get higher the harder they are or lower? I never know. Anyway I was well chuffed to get home with an ave moving speed of 15.7 mph. Easily my fastest ride. There was a slight 'incident' of regret on the ride however. As I slingshotted (is that a word) around an island onto a short stretch of dual carriageway I was extremely pleased with myself to be overtaking a line of cars in the inside lane. I powered on and smiled at the occupants with a high degree of smugness. This was unfortunately short lived as the line of cars I was overtaking, with the quite miserable faced occupants, were following a hearse! With a look of shame and shock I did my best to dock my hat/helmet in a solemn show of respect to the immediate family car at the front and the hearse driver. I think I need to be looking ahead of myself a bit further! http://connect.garmin.com/activity/140795608
I parked the bike in the garage and quickly changed out of the padded cycling shorts and into my running shorts and trainers. Swig of Tropical Lucozade Sport which isnt that nice but when my brother in law gets them at 50p a bottle as he works for a wholeseller and they expire in feb I cant complain can I? I click the Garmin to 'running' mode and off i go. Now, I wasnt quite sure what to expect. Would the knee be ok?, can I still run?, will it be easier having already cycled for an hour? It was a Yes, Just and an Unsure in response. First couple of miles were wierdly out of body like in that my legs didnt really feel like they were my own. During the last 1.5 miles however I felt really good, in my stride and strong. This coincided with a fundraising idea to get people to sponsor me. The plan is to run a sweepstake on my VLM finish time. People sponsor me a sum, say £5, get to pick a time and the nearest to my finish time wins £50. I'll put the £50 up myself and the sponsorship all goes to the cause through justgiving! What do you reckon. Support a cause and have a chance of winning some cash! I may need to run with a dictaphone in hand cause I have all my best ideas when out and forget most of them by the time I am back. Anyway there seems to have been no ill effects with the knee and overall I really enjoyed running again.The run came in at a respectable and pleasing 9.08 minutes per mile which I was really pleased with considering. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/140795611
So my first brick session is complete. Another planned for tomorrow and by combining the ride and run I have stayed on track despite my annoying tendancy to ignore my alarm! I'm 91 miles into 2012 for 2012 (I think) Can I IM? You know I still think I can!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Can I Ironman? - today you know I think I can!

Firstly I've got to thank everyone for their support and help on twitter, in training, family and the guys at http://www.2wheelsonly.co.uk/ . The overwhelming help and support is partly at fault for my brain ache when added to all the IM blogs I keep reading, the buzz from training and the fear and doubt that creep in every now and then. Swim, bike run?.....the brain ache alone is knackering.
Anyway, two great training rides this weekend (I was slack last week and after monday didnt get out - no excuses just a lazy bastard!). Sat 6am trip out to Shenstone and back. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/140028089 Combines main roads and country lanes and quite undulating too. My gears were slipping when on the little cog at the front so rode it all on the big cog (this is as technical as I get and I know it sounds like a kids programme I can hear it in my head "big cog little cog welcome to our cafe" - one for the moms and dads amongst us). This was good in respect of making me work up the hills until the gears started slipping on the big cog too. Very frustrating. Also when riding in the pitch black whilst my lights make me visible they dont really light up the road. I may need to look into buying a high powered front light. This will also come in handy to point at oncoming motorists who think that because I am on a bike I have no eyes and therefore cant be dazzled by their full beam! I was finding myself chuntering away to myself about the inconsiderate bastards when it dawned on me I am becoming one of those 'hold your line, middle of my lane, the road's as much mine as it is yours, dip your effin lights' cyclists who aint gonna take no shit from motorists. Hope it doesnt become a campaign of mine although I fear it will! Once at Shenstone my mph ave was around 12 which was disappointing and the last 8 miles or so home were all uphill bar the last 3...or so i thought. I set off and flew up the A5 to the A38 island. This is definitely uphill but I was flying. I had great fun negotiating the A38 island overtaking a lorry twice at the traffic light controlled sections and waving to a truck driver whizzing through the lights on red just a split second before I pulled away on green. Ive seen some cyclists jump lights when the opposite ones change to red. Had I done that this would have been a post from the grave! I then whizzed along Watling Street (Old A5) and really powered up the hills so so much better than when I had previously ridden this section. By the time I got home my average was up to 14mph and with my limited gear selection I was very happy. I nipped to 2wheels only (i bought the bike from them) and they tweaked the gears, said some technical stuff while I looked at the shiny stuff in their shop, gave it a test ride and handed it back to me running beautifully. They are gonna upgrade my gearing to help me out at no cost and service it and prep it for the IM in due course. I left with a track pump too. No more slow rides on 60psi for me!
I then bagged this ride early doors Sunday http://connect.garmin.com/activity/140028033 it was with Carl a friend of mine who is 'naturally fit' and can turn his hand to anything. Swimming, running, cycling he immediately excels at everything. It was a great ride because it forces me to ride better (was gonna say work harder but cycling seems to be so much about being clever and being better) and with confidence in my bike again (gears) I feel I really put a shift in. Gorgeous day for it, dry, not too windy and a mixed route again. By the time we were getting back we passed about 3 cycling groups of between 10 and 30 members out for their Sunday jaunts. Felt nice to be able to shout (sometime wheeze) 'hello' to them. Its like being in a gang. I've not forgotten my humble running beginnings of course and I am proud to stand up and cross the divide and still shout 'hello' to the runners I pass too! I was very pleased to have upped the distance, ridden on consecutive days and upped my average speed to 15mph. I am learning loads each time I go out. It also occurred to me that we are all 'naturally fit' its just the level of lazing about, curries, junk and booze we've consumed that affects our current level!
If anyone is paying attention Im up to 52.65 miles for 2012 in 2012 after week one! Myfitnesspal had me 89 calories under my weekly goal and when I would normally have at least 14 500ml bottles of coke a week I've only had 3 this week! I've been able to give up drink, bad food (mostly), unhealthy snacks and sugar but Coke is proving to be my nemesis!
Whilst I have mapped out my own training plan I today received a huge volume of IM info from coach John. Apparantly VLM Apr 22nd will throw a spanner in the works but I am confident I can work around it - lets face it they're not going to change the date of it to help me! I'm off to read some more IM blogs and create some more fear and inspiration. Can I Ironman? - today you know I think I can! (this comment is subject to status and likely to vary based on the wind conditions, which side of the bed I get out on and which blogs I've read!)

Thursday, 5 January 2012

T minus 15 & 25 weeks!

From Sunday 8th January its 15 weeks to VLM and 25 weeks to Outlaw IM! Blimey! I've planned 356 miles of run training over the 15 week period with the goal of 'enjoying' VLM rather than racing it. Does that make sense? The ultimate aim is to be primed and ready to tackle the Outlaw IM in July! I have so far clocked up only 145 miles on my bike since getting it mid Dec. I've planned 2155 miles of training over the next 25 weeks to Outlaw. With my current plans it leaves me about 8 seconds per day 'spare' to go from Red swimming badge circa 1977 to 2.5 mile open water swimmer. My plan is all about technique for the swim, miles on the bike and strength left over for the run. I've kind of got 2012 miles for 2012 in my head following a nudge from Captain Duggan @sharonjduggan . In theory it should be a breeze and in the bag by half way into 2012! I should be following loads of blogs but my technophobia means its unclear as to whether I am or not (believe me I have tried). A few worth a look belong to @runner786 @donna-de @robsavva @movingalong79 @ajh1269 @lisalynch - most of them are challenge based and Lisa's is just an indescribable mesmeric honest harsh stare at reality! She reminds me so much of my mom its uncanny - worth a read - all of them! So 2012 kicked off with a 21 miler on the bike on a dark Monday morning with Coach John Vann (Outlaw IM 2011). Great tips and observations particularly with gearing and tyre pressure (he was coasting downhill faster than I could pedal due to my tyres having dropped to 50psi and his at 120psi! Mine now back to 90psi). Note to self: must buy tyre pump and check each time I go out. Got a 20 miler planned for tomorrow morning at 5.30am then a 30-35 miler Sunday morning. Next week ie first week of the countdown will involve tagging runs onto rides. Brick sessions apparantly. Looking forward to it! Loving my #IMS twitter team. Hope you're with me for the full ride!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

2012 Bring it on!

Blimey. I finished 2011 (my first full year without an alcoholic drink and therefore a hangover since 1988ish!) with a 19.5 mile 14.2 mph average speed dawn cycle with two actual Ironmen that I had 'met' on Twitter. I learned loads during the 1hr 22mins we were out and I will confess to loving this cycling stuff! Meeting cyber 'friends' from Twitter is to many people an alien concept reserved for such mockery as would accompany an admission down the pub in front of your mates that you had signed up to a dating agency and you had a first date lined up. I stumbled upon Twitter in February with the naive notion that Jonathon Ross and Stephen Fry and Eddie Izzard etc would retweet my charity information to their millions of followers and donate cash so my fund raising would go through the roof. That's not quite how it works. Stephen Fry & Co sadly & simply aren't interested. I soon realised this and stopped following the 'celebs' and instead stuck with following 'normal' people doing extraordinary things. Ordinary people running the Edinburgh Marathon in May as I was preparing to do or preparing for an Ironman Triathlon or preparing to run 10 marathons in 10 days or from John O'Groats to Lands End or 100 marathons in 100 weeks or desert marathons or 24 hour Ultras or Himilayan Marathons or running across continents! I soon realised and took full advantage of a huge support network full of advice and support. Having signed up for the Edinburgh Marathon in Dec 2010 I was very lucky to have 4 marathon runners happy to help me through a winter of preparation for my first marathon and thanks to Gareth, John, Kate and Paul I completed it! I met @Deedah10 at the start line who smashed his marathon cherry that day too. I also got to join @mrhappyontherun for a stage of his JOG - LE run (22miles per day 6 days a week with one day of for 1050 odd miles via the London Marathon) in April - a run that gave me the belief I could conquer Edinburgh. I met @movingalong79 and ran with @100mara100weeks at Liverpool Marathon in October unfortunately failing to meet up with @ogdenrunner for the second time. Today @JWultra (Ironman and Brathay 10in10) and @Madlot1 (Ironman) turned out to be as supportive and insightful as they are on Twitter and to the best of my knowledge I've not yet met a nutter from my Twitter real life encounters! I've been inspired and supported by so so many friends on Twitter its ridiculous and whilst I cant mention them all here they are all the people followed by me @Sidowski ! For my two marathons this year and the beginning of my Ironman journey I have to thank all of the above, everyone on Twitter, all of my friends and family for spreading the Poppyfiields word and sponsoring me, Ken and Kenelope who are Poppyfields, but most of all I have to thank Mrs Brightside for putting up with me going on and on about routes, trainers, elevations, times, pace, kit, weather, training, Twitter, FB, sponsorship, as without her I am nothing and I certainly would not have my arse in gear! In return for her support she has gained the continual comedy moments of ribbing me about my "running friends" and now "cycling friends" anytime we see a runner or cyclist whether I know them or not. Thank you all! So onto 2012 sober, hangover free with a minor training run known as the London Marathon in April before the Outlaw Ironman in July (ironically its on the 1st being exactly 2 years to the day I started with a 2.5 mile run after 20 years of curry and cider!) then a 45mile sprint section of the JOGLE2012 relay as a warm down in August. JV got me into this mess and I've appointed him head coach for my IM preparations! I will unashamedly be leaning on you all throughout 2012 as I try and hit £5000 of sponsorship for Birmingham Children's Hospital @bham_childrens who have been treating my niece Poppy for a Brain Tumour since she was 14 months old - she will be 9 years old in 9 days time! I've never liked New Year and I always feel it odd to wish people a Happy New Year only because the changing of the year changes nothing and its purely down to the determination of the individual to make a change. I usually find it too sad and reflective but this year by becoming the WII WWE'12 and Just Dance 3 Household Champion against Mrs B and the rugs its been an end to 2011 full of laughs. I hope that continues for everyone. I'm out on the bike Monday morning, tagging on runs through Jan then hitting the pool. I've a feeling 2012 I could actually do this!