Thursday, 16 April 2015

sækrɪfaɪs - Sacrifice

This is my first post in while simply because I don't think I have anything valuable to say. Now, I think I do have something to add. Something totally new and ground shaking

2 days before I should be running the Plymouth half marathon I am writing a post about sacrifice, Why? As if the answer isn't obvious.

In my studies and when I read about the pros racing they talk about sacrifice and the great patience of their friends and family. I have given up many small things for my ambitions. Now I am having to make bigger and bigger cuts. This requires a selfish streak and a inflated sense of self importance.

Making sacrifices for my studies has been easier. This is not to say the things and people I have given up for medicine are minor but the rationalisation is easier to make. Friends and family are very forgiving about missing birthdays and social dinners for some exam or practical but less so for a race where I am likely to finish somewhere around 30th out of 32.

I have had a list of races I have entered or wish to enter for 2015 on a post it since October last year. The Plymouth Half was third. It is/was important for me to go back and make right the wrongs my last outing. The Exeter half was marred by the mental hole I dug for myself and so this at the scene of the first Half battle was were I was hoping to seek retribution and a sub 2hr. This race was meant to be the beginning of me hitting my targets at a race. Instead I am going to be sitting on the side lines and cheering on my friends who are still running.

My dodgy knee is only part of the reason for my not running. 2 years ago I would have charged ahead, racing regardless as finishing was the most important thing. Finishing was the ultimate goal. Now not so much. If I am going to sacrifice friends birthday's, nights in the pub and lie-ins I don't want to just finish. I know I can run a half marathon or cycle 100km and my attitude has matured. I still enjoy the challenge, I love the feeling that I am using my God given body productively. No more was it just about finishing, now it is about quality of the finish.

So I am digging up those vast reserves of selfishness and self importance and using them as motivational jet fuel. I am using the knowledge that I can finish and building on that. I look at previous results and think I am faster than this.

I am faster than this

I am fast

I used to be a lot more mixed about my ambitions, but the sting of these sacrifices has really hit home. If I am going to give up these tiny sublime pleasures then I shall make sure it was bloody worth it.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Major Gains

Marginal gains. In cycling the idea of marginal gains is a big deal. Cyclists at this level are already in the top 10%  if not 5% of their field. The 80 seconds saved on a 50km time trial makes a big difference to these guys.
In triathlon there have been 15 seconds between podium positions. These positions aren't just 1st or 2nd but also 3rd and 4th and 10th and 11th. This is significant for the pros as the pay differnece between 1st and 2nd is substantial and even more so between 10th and 11th were 11th may recieve abosolutely nothing despite finishing within minutes of the podium positions.

I am not a professional athlete.

Marginal gains are made by having a £4k plus carbon time trial bike, a wind tunnel tested helmet and a custom fitted saddle. These and all of the extra kit associated with triathlon are fantastic but for someone who is still looking to crack a sub 2 hour half marathon, has only just cracked a sub hour 10k and whose fastest mile time is well over 5 mins they are of limited benefit.

I am barely an athlete

I am not after marginal gains. I am still chasing the major gains. I shaved 3 mins off my 3k time. Partially because I didn't stop to help a fallen cyclist and partially because I am still on a fairly steep improvement curve. Each month I see I am getting faster and fitter. Sometimes the improvement is evident week on week  other times the same tasks feel easier for the same speed, but I am lucky enough that I haven't really had a week where I have regressed.

I have already bought my entry to at least 2 of the races I want to compete in. The Beaver standard distance and the Stinger duathlon with pending entry in the Deva standard distance Tri. Both Deva and Beaver are beginning of the season fun with a duathlon before hand to help me tune race performance. I am excited and nervous about these races. I have fairly ambitious time goals for these races and I think I can achieve them.

This December I just want to maintain my gains

This month with Christmas, New Year and birthdays coming up I am not going to kid myself that I am still going to make huge improvements. All I want for Christmas is to keep the fitness I had. Please Santa... I've been mostly good.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Race Report: Great West Run

A lift from a friend mate all 4 of us didn't have to wake up 3 hours earlier to get a coach and taxi from Plymouth to Exeter. The Great West Run was October 19th on a clear crisp day. The forecast had predicted rain in the afternoon but it stayed clear and sunny all day. I ran with a great bunch of friends all fundraising for MSF.

Sunday, 28 September 2014


PARKRUN - A company set it 10 years ago with a simple aim to get people running. Park run started in North London October 2014 in Bushy Park.  It is totally free and run on the generosity of volunteers. London is packed with Park runs and I love it. Even when I am not in London I am still park running.
So I like Parkrun, that has clearly been established the main reason for this post is I am a convert. I love it and have been spreading the magic of Parkrun to all those who listen. I wanted to list 3 reasons why I love park run.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

I am 67% cocoa

I used to say I am a fat kid trapped in a skinny body. I have always loved to eat but luckily I never got very fat. My Mum didn't allow much fast food in the house. MacDonalds was when only when I went to the doctors and that was only because it was next to the surgery! Fizzy drinks were also a no, although I tried my best to ruin my teeth with sweets bought out of my pocket money. I think a major reason I remained very skinny - I was all knees and elbows till about 14 - was I was very active.
Sometimes I think I was too active, like the time I cam of my bike and nearly split my head open...
He looks better than I did

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Defying the Odds: Me and My Giant Defy 1

It is finally here. Since I have got into triathlons and endurance sports I have wanted a decent bike. Finally after 2.5 months of working a full time job over the summer I have saved up enough to buy a decent road bike. I realise there are far flashier bikes out there, and the bike is only as good as the rider driving it, but I am still excited to have this bike.
I had spent the last week being ill, so ill that I am concerned I won't be able to make the start of the Cambridge City Tri I had my eye on. That race was a big factor in me deciding to get this bike when I did. I have effectively ruled my self out of that race despite recovering well but have my eye on a few end of summer sportive and still on the Great West Run. This made everything feel a little bit better.

So the great reveal. Dim the lights and start that drum roll ...

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Teamwork, Targets and Cycling Treats

I have recently taken up running again. Nothing too crazy just a few kilometers after work with the girls in the office. We run twice a week and as well as laps of the beautiful russell square we do drills. Lunges, high knees bum flicks its way more fun looking like a ninny with friends than on your own. As well as my new office habit I also have my eye on a couple of beauties.  A mix of flat fast roads, rolling hills fresh water and men in lycra...