Monday, 27 December 2010

Gravity - Westlife

It's been a great day out on the Breaston Beast today as I notched up my 670th Marathon and ran round with Jenny and some of my 100 Marathon Club chums. On a very cold and snowy day out in Derbyshire, it's hard to believe that in less than two days, 30 degrees of Sydney sun is waiting for us.

I must say the concept of 12 long hours and then 9 further long hours on China Airlines is not a concept that I am looking forward to but I will just have to rely on Jenny and probably Jeremy Clarkson to keep me company and entertain me on the plane.

If they have boxing gloves and a referee maybe we'll play Scrabble... as two of the world's most competitive people Scrabble only spells D I S A S T E R when we play and the 9 points or 27 on a triple word score is poor reward for a bust up mid-air! We won't mention the famous ZO incident...

Anyway, whatever we do to entertain ourselves, it's an eternity of a time to sit and do nothing... and that's going to be hard for both of us, although I do have the Nytol!

More later...

Sunday, 26 December 2010

2-4-6-8-Motorway - Tom Robinson Band

We did quite a few motorways today as we did Caerdydd-Newbury-Breaston on the M4, M40, M69 & M1... and I must say it was absolute carnage as every mile or so a car would be broken down, iced up or crashed.

It was just a crazy Boxing Day out there on the roads... with little Christmas spirit and drivers lacking sense and any notion of how much room is needed to overtake, manoeuvre in front or behind any other car.

It was downright dangerous!

Luckily though, we made it back to our fridge of a house where we can now prepare to run a marathon, pack and then get to Heathrow, including two sleeps, in the 36hrs. Now there's a challenge...

More tomorrow...

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Mistletoe and Wine - Cliff Richard

We hope you had a great Christmas Day... as we certainly did down here in the icy snow of Cardiff...

The ULTRArace Roadshow continues onto Thatcham tomorrow for our third Christmas Day, and then on to Breaston later... roads willing of course.

Thank God we can relax with a marathon on the 27th with our 100 marathon club friends.

More then eh?

Friday, 24 December 2010

Frozen - Madonna

Seems only too apt today as we were frozen solid on our walk on the hills above Caerdydd today... the snow just hasn't melted at all in the last seven days it seems and rather than Wales it looks more like Austria imo. It looks the part at Christmas though.

It's a good job that it's warm inside and the Christmas Festivities can really begin with a couple of family days followed by a Marathon of course on the 27th on the Breaston Beast course...

Jenny and I wish you a Wonderful and Merry Christmas, where ever you are in the world and a Happy New Year.

More later...

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Flawless - The Ones

There are days in your life when it's just perfect and nothing is too much trouble and everything is just down right dandy... yep it's been just one of those days. Works done and there's no one to PT now until the 17th of January, well apart from Jenny and Me of course and the warm summer days of Australia and the final test match awaits.

Whether or rather WEATHER we got off the tarmac at Heathrow, well that's another question... tonight's mix is heading back to Caerdydd and the prospect of getting the car back up Salter Mountain... hmm that's another prospect but if the day continues to be flawless, then we will just drive straight on up! Now there's hope.

A long run/walk in the snow tomorrow should build up a good Christmas Day appetite, I hope...

I did try out the Nytol tablets last night as we are going to use them on the flight... they didn't work too well to start off with but I was dead to the world this morning with my arms and legs aching from not turning over. Should work well on China Airways!

More tomorrow...

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

The Caveman Song - Mike Oldfield

Just how far is the digital age going to take us I ask, as I am getting worried to where it's all going to end... Take my hifi when I was just 19, well you couldn't have, unless you had a low loader. it was massive... 40 WATTS RMS of Pioneer Hifi separates pounding into a pair of Wharfedale Teesdale SP2 Speakers, which were so big you could have used them as matching wardrobes... my word did it pound out my Pink Floyd at near pain threshold sound levels with minimal distortion. Yes there was the odd Dolby hiss and Wow and Flutter but hey, it was good enough.

Walkman's had only just been invented and the mobile phone was a good 10 years in the future and internet -  well just a dream away... life was simple in the 'Analogue Age'.

Now take my surprise today as in Comet, (that same store I got my £400 hifi from back then) when I plugged my iPhone, (including Video and Stills Camera, Internet, Email and Skype) into a Docking port on a compact Hifi the size of a Cornflakes packet, shaped like a zeppelin and nearly blew the doors off the shop... talk about quality, pure magic with a bit of MP3 Floyd going amidst the white goods was just amazing I can tell you BUT...

Where will it end... what's next and will I like it, or need it... rather than engineer things smaller maybe we should be looking at eradicating Leprosy, Cancer or the Common Cold... it does make me wonder. I would go back to my old hifi if we could... anyway there's a thought.

I am off to look at Ebay and get a pair of Teesdale SP2's... need something to hang my clothes in and watch out neighbours!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

New Song - Metallica

It just shows you that it doesn't matter how many times you do something, there is always a new aspect or view that you can find and appreciate. This happened today as I rounded the Bennerley Viaduct near Ilkeston and found a footpath that in over 90 times, that I had never seen before.

It was an amazing revelation and my MdeS partner for the day, Richard Galbraith, looked on as I groped the bricks and looked up at the wrought iron girders.

This revelation added to a wonderful day out on a very, very cold day in Derbyshire... with one of the fittest MdeS guys that I have been lucky to run with.

Watch this space...

Monday, 20 December 2010

Rooftops - Lost Prophets

Ahhhh... at last I can rest this month as I have just put the January Newsletter to bed and I will be sending it to out to our loyal readers later on tonight.

I must admit to getting excited at writing the second page where I did my own feature on focus and motivation...

Having never really suffered with either, it was quite hard to contemplate how others might feel about running... since starting in 1994 I have never regretted EVER putting on my trainers and hitting the trail, it has brought me some amazing experiences and engaged me with a wide spectrum of incredible people. I must say meeting the people has always been my favourite part of running and this alone is worth every second you devote to what we love doing most.

So, if like me you like what we do... don't be a 'Lost Prophet' and shout it from the 'Rooftops'... most apt and keep an eye on your email later on eh?

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Very Necessary - Salt N Peppa

'Salting in Progress' it said on the overhead gantry signs on the M4 and M5 today. I can only think it's an anagram of 'Angering Strip Loss', as that is what it actually was...the outside lanes were ice and snow and we didn't see a Gritter from Cardiff to Derby tonight.

There was more salt on Jenny's Crisps than the road! And there were plenty of people driving with potato size brains as some of the manoeuvres we saw were just plain stupidity.

I suppose we got what we deserved joining all those folk doing 'Essential journeys only' in a multitude of different 4x4s.

Note to self, move the car off the mountain side BEFORE there is 14 inches of snow to negotiate on a near vertical drive... it was a lot of fun though and Jenny's face on the descent was just a picture especially on the very slippery bits.

More tomorrow Gang.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Move any Mountain - The Shamen

There's a huge mountain to move at Hotel Salter as 14 inches of good honest Welsh snow has blocked us in. We tried a little in vain to shift it but to be honest it's been just too much to get rid of as even with a couple of parallel tyre tracks dug in place, we didn't chance taking the car down the hill. If we had the front valance wouldn't have stood a chance anyway I believe...

Maybe some thawing tomorrow will help but at the moment we are living, working and running from our new Welsh headquarters, in a real 'Winter Wonderland'.

On a training note, I did manage to get out for a good hours run and took on Caerphilly Hill once again and even ventured into local Llanishen to witness just how many folk were stripping Salisbury's of any food they could get their hands on, as the snow and ice looks like its taken hold now for a few days to come.

Tomorrow's run might get me as far as The Cardiff ULTRA trail and you never know and we might get the car down the drive... but not to Derby!!!

Watch this space and more then...

Friday, 17 December 2010

Snow Patrol - In My Arms

We needed a Snow Patrol today as 14 inches of Snow hit Cardiff and guess where we were... Yes Cardiff of course! In an amazing scene the snow just kept falling by the bucket load! The very Christmassy Scene descended very early this morning and just kept falling. We ventured out this afternoon and enjoyed running up Caerphilly Hill out of the city, running off road and uphill on some tracks, literally knee deep on the trail.

The opportunity of running in these conditions was just too good to miss out on... it was just an amazing experience.

Tomorrow, well I am hoping to get out on the Cardiff ULTRA course and get some miles in but we'll see eh?

More then... ho. ho, ho...

Warren Zevon - Werewolves of London

One of the drawbacks of getting older it seems is that you get hairier, except the on the one place that you need it... your head and nowadays I spend more time getting my body mowed than going to the hairdressers. I am not in the same league as my good friend Chris Seeney (the hairiest man alive) but I am slightly worried about my future levels of torso stubble.

Does anyone else have that problem?

I can remember being 18 and having just the three hairs on my chest and even having pet names for them... it does seem quite strange that thirty years on Tom, Dick and Harry have been able to reproduce so many offsprings.

If there is a way I can trade them in for a Ken Barlow or Trevor Eve style thatch that would be a Godsend for my remaining thinning silver locks, in the meantime I will just have to bale my chest trimmings and make a suitable wig...

Now there's a thought.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

New Boots and Panties - Ian Dury and the Blockheads

We are off to a wedding tomorrow and I tried on my best suit today and luckily it still fits after our Christmas weekend of over feeding... More interestingly, I did tried on my 1999 Jeff Banks super slim suit and that fits too, making me feel good about being the same size as I was pre-40, a lot different of course to pre-30 as you know.

It does make me wonder how the next eleven years will affect my bodysize and shape and how important will getting into that suit will be in 2021?

That's the beauty of getting older, I suppose and watch this space, well that's if I am still blogging...

More tomorrow...

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Sailing - Rod Stewart

It's been more plain 'Flying' than plain 'Sailing' today as we went to Dublin for an M2M ULTRA sponsor meeting. And it was just SO easy! What had in previous trips been a bit of a delayed, ruck of a plane ride was actually far too simple. Even the 4am start wasn't a big deal and Dublin was friendlier than ever.

The vibe for the event feels great, the opportunities are endless and the experience for the 16 athletes will provide a lifetime of memories for all concerned.

We are dead excited... and dead proud and very tired now we are back in Breaston.

More tomorrow...

Monday, 13 December 2010

Jet Airliner - Steve Miller Band

What is it that makes us think that flying anywhere in December is a good idea? Jenny and I are off to Dublin tomorrow for our M2M ULTRA sponsor meetings and are on a ridiculously early 6am out and a late 7pm in flight from and to East Midlands Airport.

One good thing is that our bags will have more room for Duty Free as we are not allowed to take Christmas Crackers in our hand luggage... Who came up with that one?

It's the latest in flight rule and  strangest of all I think. Are they worried that the jokes will be lethally funny and there is a possibility of literally dying laughing?

Whatever next! No doubt we will find out tomorrow...

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Cigarettes and Alcohol - Oasis

It's more like Peanuts and Caffeine Free Diet Coke in my case and I feel hungover today after a belly full of both on our Coleman Christmas Day yesterday. I did of course have masses of Turkey etc. but I am under the impression that both of the former substances just aren't good for my body no matter how enjoyable they are at the time.

This was born out this morning with a totally aching body like I'd gone 15 rounds with Mike Tyson last night... hmm... makes you think eh? Anyone else feel shitty after Peanuts and Caffeine Free Diet Coke?

More tomorrow and on total detox now...

Friday, 10 December 2010

Drink - The Student Song

I was back in the T-Shop today doing the food shop for Tomorrow's Coleman* Christmas Day. But found myself getting a bit upset trying to buy a Christmas Pudding... one WITHOUT alcohol. It's a bit like a vegetarian trying to buy a meat-free bacon sandwich. When I did find one, it boasted 'Serves 4'... more like 'You'll Need 2 to touch the sides' and is the size of a Peanut and more worryingly the ordinary Christmas Puddings, contained warnings of Nuts yet not Alcohol, or a % proof…
Bloody T-Shop!
Not good for us people clocking up 17 years of being dry… and even the Customer Services didn’t know either… hmm. Good job I have eagle eyes I’d say.
Got 2 litres of Custard to cheer myself up!
*5 Colemans and 1 Salter

Thursday, 9 December 2010

What you need - INXS

It makes you wonder what you actually NEED at this time of year. Wondering what people want and them wondering what you want makes for a real stressful time to mind and wallet. Not wishing to sound scrooge-like, I like Christmas and it's Mid-winter celebration of the 'Birth of Christ' and all that it entails. It does appear though that from my forage in to the T-Shop (that's TESCO but I don't like to say the T-Word) that they are preparing for a global food and drink shortage that might last till the middle of next summer!

It's material madness IMO.

For me having all my children with me for our family Christmas this weekend will be all I really need and I must say that I am looking forward to the fuss, bustle and excitement of them being here, more than any gift that I will or can receive. Don't get me wrong, the odd Ferrari or even pair of socks won't go amiss but as far as needing stuff this year... don't worry as that will be the perfect present.

On a lighter note...I did need more oxygen this morning in our hill session on Toton Hill but that's another story and I don't need this cold and sore throat... as it's killing me!

More tomorrow... now where are my humbugs! Ah just remembered that I don't need 'em...

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Down Under - Men at Work

At last, the burst water main outside our house has been fixed... The cold weather obviously had a big part in it's being there in the first place and has slowed down its repair for sure. However what did make me laugh today was the workmen's attention to detail in making sure that there were diversion signs, keep left signs and enough barriers put up to line all the motorway roadworks in the UK.

Even more laughable was the poor preparation of the work itself and the sweeping into the hole of all the dust, snow and debris prior to the tarmacking crew that came along afterwards to make the job 'good'. Now we'll say good but we'll see - no doubt it will happen again as this patch, replaced a previous patch that had already been made.

That's the thing nowadays, we spend more time worrying what might happen and how we cover our backs rather than doing a good job instead. Does this sound familiar?

More tomorrow... let's hope that patch holds eh?

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Too low for Zero - Elton John

Before I looked at the temperature in my car today, I knew it was cold. The Minus 10.5 degrees only confirmed to me that it was not only cold, but downright bloody freezing. In a scene from the inside of a deep freeze icebox (my Mini), I made a clear commitment to myself that any future cold desert expedition was just pure stupidity on my part.
Even though it does seem a shame as I always fancied walking to the North or South Pole…
Please don’t try and convince me as, I know there are some remarkable fabrics and layers out there that can even keep a Salter warm (although I doubt it somewhat) but it seems that I am getting just as bad about the cold as the rain, and that ain’t good.
You see, I need sunlight and warmth coupled with some good long runs in the warm countryside… and that just isn’t happening right now.
Australia, seems light years away and I only hope our central heating boiler can keep up its Smelting Iron Ore temperature output as the ULTRArace office is the only warm place in Britain right now…
We’ll be burning old trainers and kit if it packs up…
More tomorrow… now where’s my big slipper?

Monday, 6 December 2010

Progress - Take That

It's all progress as I head towards the end of 2010... and start to really plan for the 2011 season ahead. I have been looking back at my marathon year. I don't think that I really did my best and looking at this positively, I will have clocked in 32 marathons or ultra-marathons, clocked up a ten year marathon PB and beaten the 10 hour barrier at The Round Rotherham... Yet somehow, I know I can do a hell of a lot better if I really try my heart out...

So, I am going to get my arse into gear and set some goals for next year. Top 150 at MdeS would be good and a sub 3:30 marathon would be amazing to do again at this stage in my career.

Maybe I am not the only one thinking this way about 2010... if you do too... let me know.

More tomorrow...

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Wow - Kate Bush

Kate Bush sums it up so well about my run out on The Cardiff Ultra course... WOW, couldn't be a better word for it. This course is simply A M A Z I N G! From the moment I joined the trail just south of Pontsticill, I knew this was going to be one of those magical runs that you only get every so often... I was just in the right place at the right time today.

Tunnels, Ice, Snow, Viaducts, Lakes, Dams, Hills, Downhills are just a few things that spring to mind. Going under an Isambard Kingdom Brunel viaduct added icing to a magical iced cake!

It was an extremely hard workout actually... Neck breakingly slippery just doesn't describe how dangerous it was in reality, however I think that added to the run if I am being honest.

If you were thinking about entering The Cardiff ULTRA... make sure you do as it's going to be brilliant... I can't WAIT to run on it again.

31.2 miles just wasn't enough!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Row, Row, Row your Boat - Charles Kelly

Amazing this morning watching the 'Welsh Indoor Rowing Championships' in Cardiff. The quality of the young athletes pushing themselves through the pain barrier to complete distraction in some cases was quite amazing to watch.

The best competition by far (and of course I am biased) was the Womens Lightweight U23 final which had an extra Ladies 35-39 entry... one Jen Salter. Looking very lithe Jen was amazingly relaxed and had done all of one six minute row practice last week and promptly ended up second beating all but one of Wales U23 finest rowers. It was most exciting I can tell you, with all the times and positions displayed on a screen at the front of the arena.

Of course she was mildly pissed off that she was first in her category out of one but then who cares as she is the Champion... might drag up myself next year and have a go... might struggle with the sub 60kgs weight limit though!

More tomorrow from the Cardiff Ultra course...

Friday, 3 December 2010

Student Driver - Stellar Kart

In these days of high vis jackets and health and safety when will we notice that the current way of teaching people to drive is more than just risky ... it's downright dangerous! Take the weather for instance... minus 8 degrees C in Breaston this morning (with it being so cold that my doors froze solid with me still inside the car, with a Dukes of Hazzard style window entry and exit system, I kid you not) there were still learner drivers out on the road. An 'L' plate on the back of a car in fast traffic in bad weather without experience is just madness... and not pleasant to be behind I can tell you.

For heavens sake someone please change this outdated process... From what we saw today people who have passed their tests seem unable to drive in a straight line at a sensible speed and they have driving experience, or you would have thought.

We are down in Wales this weekend and on our journey down the M42 we saw a chap reading the Yellow Pages whilst weaving and trying to dial a number as he did 70+ on the inside lane... what a nutbox!

I hope son of mine, Sam (17) who has just passed his theory test will not be letting his fingers do the walking whilst driving along... or anything else for that matter that distracts him, I dread to think. Loads of young, inexperienced drivers get into loads of crashes and near misses. No wonder elder son George's (19) first quote on his insurance renewal was over £3000, his demograph has the worst road safety figures it seems..

IMO it's time for a re-think on the learner and bad driver front... make 'em take a few tests in lots of different conditions including the motorway, that's what I say and our roads would be a safer place. Best of all though, stay at home and keep warm...

If not come to Wales it's tropical against Derbyshire, I might get my trunks out and get down the beach tomorrow as it looks like it might get above zero... Although I'll be running there though as Saturday morning is a popular time to get the 'L' plates on and I don't want to get behind another Learner Driver...

I'll belt up now and more tomorrow...

Thursday, 2 December 2010

World Cup Willlie - Lonnie Donnegan

Dressed in red white and blue
That's World Cup Willie
We all love him too
World Cup Willie
He's tough as a lion and never will give up
But for some of funny reason...
We didn't get the 2018 World Cup.

I wonder how much our World Cup bid cost the UK's economy today? Getting Prince William, The PM plus all the hanger's on, Seb Coe - (The famous centre forward) et al out to Zurich has to be a huge waste of money no matter how close/far away we were with England's pitch.

You see we always struggle on this type of thing... take Eurovision for instance we never seem to do all that well do we... Cliff Richard was robbed when he came second in 1973! And we were robbed today both by not getting the bid and by putting so much into something that we knew we'd never win.

England and World Cups just don't mix nowadays it seems...

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Eve of the War - Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds

My my, Christmas does seem to be more of a battle these days than a celebration... As we head deep into Christmas season , yes it's only the 1st of December, there is a bit of added panic in the shops it feels. At ULTRArace we are trying to fit a month into the next 27 days as we are off to Australia on the 28th and we have Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the Breaston Beast on the 27th to fit into our busy schedule.

This time of year it seems that the public are unaware of things are going to happen and just panic. Bad winter weather and that old chestnut Christmas most of all... The recent bad weather illustrates just how we can't cope with cold weather in the UK. You thought we would have been used to this as it happens every year!

Ah well, it all gives us more time over the next few days to work and prepare for the 2011race series and with any luck we will have ULTRAstore up and finished in the next few days and the snow will have been and gone as I don't think that I will be at the Luton Marathon this weekend.

Maybe if it is I can go Christmas Shopping?

Think not eh? More tomorrow...

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Snowbound - Genesis

Only right with the weather that we are enjoying/loathing right now. It has made me think back to my winters' past. I can't remember 1963 but my mother told me yesterday that she didn't leave the house for two weeks and that there was no water or central heating!

I do remember the late 60's when our school playground was frozen over for weeks on end and we all became great at sliding on the ice. I used to run and then slide for miles on my slickened Clarks Commandos Shoes... boy they were fast and totally polished on the sole.

Then I am not quite to sure what happened... too many sunspots or warm summers came and went and hardly a snowflake fell until 1985 and then 2000. Maybe we are in for one of those winters followed by one long hot summer - yes please. I am living with a 166cm Blue Icicle that barely comes out of gloves to thaw out.

So for that reason alone bring on the Sun! For those of us still wanting to slide on playgrounds at 48 years of age - Let it Snow and Freeze over!

Now where are those Clarks Commandos?

Monday, 29 November 2010

Lola - The Kinks

I heard today that one of the boys from my old primary school is now a woman... which came as a bit of a shock if I was being honest. But... after a few minutes I thought good on 'em as at least they are now living their dream and are maybe comfortable at 48 years of age about who they are or what they want to be.

It must have taken a huge amount of confidence and pluck to have told friends and family let alone work etc. about not being person X and now being person Y...

The bit I admire about my old school friend is that lots of people SAY what they are going to do, or be and there are those who never ADMIT who or what they are... Mr S.Cowell and Mr R.Williams please take note... My old schoolfriend has come out and told the world....They've got it right and I am proud of them... nice one...

More tomorrow...

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Groovy Train - The Farm

We are officially Welsh, well ULTRArace is should I say... Yes, we are now affiliated to Welsh Athletics. It's really exciting and we are now an 'Official event provider to Sport Wales with our 50 mile Cardiff ULTRA. How cool is that!

As far as us being Welsh personally well Jenny already runs for Wales and has a Welsh mother but I am sure my Granddad would be battling in my corner to say that I am a little bit Welsh from his being Barry born and bred. He would be SO proud. ARAF!

It's warm news on what's been a cold old day in central Derbyshire... Breaston was an absolute ice-box earlier on when we ran round and it's looking very chocolate boxy... It's starting to feel just that little bit Christmassy dare I say and yes I now it's November.

More running tomorrow will help keep us warm I am sure...

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Zero 7 - Destiny

There are people you meet who are young in life but you know will be stars of the future. One such young man is Benno Rawlinson whom I trained again today in preparation for next Aprils MdeS. I blogged about Benno last February and said then that he was a Superstar of the future... and today I know for sure he is.

Watch out for this Guy as he will climb mountains and really make his mark in the future... not bad at 25 eh? Last time I met someone with his spirit was when I trained little Helen Skelton from Blue Peter and we have all seen where she is going...and what she has already achieved.

Some people have just got IT... lots of people spend a lifetime trying to get IT. What sort of person are you?

More tomorrow...

Friday, 26 November 2010

Dark - Toxic Federation

Is anyone else struggling with the Dark Days of Winter? This time of year is just pants in my opinion! So I have had an idea... I thought I would request more of the frosty, bright, crisp mornings that I loved last winter, well as a starter, anyway.

Now I am not too sure when one sends that type of request to but it needs to be ordered as so far I have endured more than my allotted amount of wet, muddy and damp running on events such as Round Rotherham and Breacons Ultra already as Blamires can vouch for... let alone in training.

And there's still Luton Marathon, next weekend to come, Yikes! .... (and that's always been a very rainy affair in my times of running those three laps of lovely Streatley)...

So we need a solution Guys, one thought is to migrate the whole of the UK south, possibly next to The Maldives each winter? Or we could buy their weather instead of the rubbish stuff that someone seems to have ordered here..


Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Play Away - Ending Song Theme Song

I just had to put something in the days blog about Brian Cant today, especially after seeing him this morning on BBC Breakfast. Play School, Play Away, Camberwick Green et al, were all part of growing up and part of an amazing BBC for children in the 60's and 70's.

Anyway back to Brian, and it was so sad to see him suffering with Parkinson's Disease and a shadow of his former self. You see for me it's sad as I have a firm memory of those days and at 77, sure he is no longer the vibrant person he was. It's like that too for John Noakes, Peter Purves and John Craven. It's a bugger this getting old lark!

I hope for his sake that Brian can take pleasure from all the young children's lives he has touched over the years and will be able to Hugh (it was never Pugh), Pugh, Barney, Magrew, Cuthbert Dibble and Grub for some years to come...

Priceless stuff eh? Although I do like Iain and Hacker the Dog on CBBC... wonder if the same will be said of them in 40 years time... hope so as they are a real hoot!

More tomorrow...

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Lost Prophets - Rooftops

Rory says:- I think I am still sweating after my 45 mins in the 'Porsche Human Performance' labs today. Body comp, muscle stats and watching your heartrate adapt to increasing amounts of humidity and body temperature takes you right into the Morocco zone, are only a fraction of what you can learn about yourself and potential performance in a very short time, I can assure you.

I took my session a lot easier than Jenny I am sure but my heart rate hit 135bpm at 8kph in 45 mins...and that's just about flat out for me at MdeS. It certainly felt that way and add a 6.5kgs pack and we'd be there!

We are going to go back and get really busted up I think so watch this space... it's highly recommended especially if you are into Grand Prix Racing. It's based half way down the Hanger Straight at Silverstone in a Giant Porsche playground.

More tomorrow...

Gonna Make You Sweat - C&C Music Factory

Well I'm currently sat at the Porsche Human Performance laboratory at Silverstone having completed my 45 minute stint in the heat chamber - Rory is mid-sweat!

I must say it is a great experience - you drive alongside the racecourse for a good mile before reaching the Porsche building which has racing cars parked inside - I am currently sat on the first floor looking out at the track watching some racing wannabes 'race' around the track for the day!

Anyway, back to the heat chamber - it was about 35 degrees - I only ran at 10.5km but that was comfortable. Every 5 mins you have your body temperature checked and are asked your Perceived Rate of Exertion. The idea is that your body adapts to the temperature change - these adaptation effects last about 2 weeks. According to Andy who runs the operation, the optimal number of sessions is 14, but you gain 70% of the benefits in the first 5 sessions - all of these should be done in the month prior to your desert run.

Effects include an earlier onset of sweating which means your body is more efficient at cooling itself down and a lower heart rate whilst exercising in the heat. They can also test your sweat content for sodium (and other) levels... this sounds like an awesome idea for those contemplating the MdS or similar as it will give you an accurate reading regarding how much salt you need to take on during the event. Given the fairly random recommendation of 20 tablets/day in Morocco for everyone regardless of size, weight, body shape or gender, this is definitely something I would recommend...

Anyway, Rory must be nearly finished now - more later...

Monday, 22 November 2010

Eminem - Recovery

Theme of this weeks daily blogs and a feature of this months newsletter will be about recovery. Getting fixed after smashing one's self around 45 miles of Likeys' Brecons ULTRA this week is a perfect reflection of what I am talking about.

I am interested in running and achieving... not having a day off and getting repaired and ready for the next BIG challenge.

Tomorrow's trip to the Porsche Human Performance Laboratory will hopefully give me an insight to where my body is right now... I wonder if you are meant to do this with buggered quads and a sore back...

Must get another bottle of my own medicine!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

The Number of the Beast - Iron Maiden

What better way of clocking up my 666th Marathon and 170th Ultra-Marathon by bashing in 45 miles on Likeys Brecons Ultra. Two laps of a pretty ferocious part of the Brecons including part of our Cardiff ULTRA course around Talybont Reservoir was the backbone of this event.

Considering my back problems of the week I was surprised how I got into my ULTRA race pace and caught up with my good friend Blamires just before the halfway point. I worked hard with him and Matt Dawson for the second brutal lap around Fan-y-Big in the fog and the darkness of a rainy evening in wintry Wales. My God it was bleak....I felt really lucky to be in my group as on one's own it would have been quite a scary old second loop.

We were very happy to finish, I can tell you and I hope everyone got back safely on this one...

Legs today are grand and back to training this week... Looks like 666 worked out just fine for me in the end eh?!

Friday, 19 November 2010

I'm still standing - Elton John

Well, by hook or by crook I have managed to get myself in one piece for this weekend's Brecon's Ultra. I think I will just have to be happy in getting round and I am hoping Blamires is going to be there so that I can partner up with him for a good day out in Wales!

It's a bloody early start and part of the event is on our Cardiff Ultra route so a bit of planning round Talybont won't go amiss.

Jenny is already faffing and in pure race mode ready to smash her tootsies into oblivion in the hope of winning...

It's just great to be back running if I am being honest!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Girls Aloud - Biology

Amazing thing the old body and it's remarkable just how it fixes itself so quickly... my ligament damage in my back has nearly gone today and no doubt I will be fixed enough to get me round 45 miles on Saturday in the Brecon Beacons.

To say it's been a pain is an understatement and I got to the point today when I had enough and moved on, back willing or not.

Mind over matter is the motto and if you don't mind then it doesn't matter they say... well we'll find out over this weekend eh?

Ten days of non-exercise is really annoying if your body is used to getting a daily helping of endorphins. Tomorrow's trip to ARAF will help focus the mind I am sure and more from there tomorrrow... now where's my red and white scarf?

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Why? - Annie Lennox

Hmmm, no prizes for guessing why I used this song title.... WHY is it that no matter what I do my feet still fall apart at even the sniff of an ultra?! These are (embarrassingly) my feet today - the toenails on my toe next to my big toe are about to come off on both feet with nothing but blood blisters underneath them. More worrying, both of my big toenails are also on their way out - that nice red stuff on my left foot is juice weeping from my big toe as I have just stuck a pin underneath the nail. I have 10 blood blisters and all in all, they are very manky indeed. So what next....?

Well this is a result of a 3-day 82-mile Ultra. I had an idea on Day 2 (too late to save the damage already done but a thought for next time)... I took out the insole in my trainers and I think this would have helped. I have a feeling I am curling my toes upwards and they are hitting the roof of the trainer. So from now on I am going to try have a size smaller (to stop them bashing the end of the shoe) and take out the insole. I have also restarted a course of foot-dipping - this time in very salty water to harden them up.

Watch this space - if you can stomach it...

I must say though, all of this is self-inflicted - poor Rory stood cheerfully at checkpoints for the whole 3 days and his back has gone as a result of standing around and stretching the ligaments in his back - how ironic, and I am feeling more than a little guilty since he was keen to run too... sorry Rorz xxx

John Miles - Slow Down

I think Jenny will have to hide my shoes at this rate... as I am officially the worst patient EVER! Worst of all is that I know I am and that she is fighting a losing battle trying getting me to slow down. She's doing a sterling job really and is not remarking too often at my strange 'list to port' that my back has given me. I really HATE being ill...

That said... it's been a good day. I haven't strayed far of course as I have been a busy boy catching up on all those horror jobs, I set to one side.

The pain management is coing via a cocktail of drugs that would stop a charging elephant in it's tracks and would be worth a few quid on the streets of Nottingham I'm sure. Nevertheless, I could play football as well as England are tonight on my own without a Zimmerframe... shameful is a word that comes to mind when I think of being proud to represent your country at a sport AND get paid bucketloads to do so. What a bunch of No-Hopers...

Anyway, more tomorrow from a less sickbed I hope and I will be talking about the 'Rise of the ULTRA-marathon'... now where are my footie boots it's nearly half-time in the match and I might be called on to liven up the second half... 'Nurse, Boots and more Drugs please, I'm on!'

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

ACDC - (You) Shook me all night long

Well good news for me is that I have buggered up a ligament in my back that attaches to L4 and L5 in my lower back and have over extended it probably over the weekend by standing around lots! My Osteopath, Vaughan Cooper didn't take long to figure that one out and turned me inside out it felt on the old slab...

It f**king hurt, I know that...

It didn't hurt so much when I got the Diazepam down and hit the deck this afternoon like a 747 hitting the tarmac without it's gear down. Good job Jenny woke me up at 1800hrs or I would have been there all night long...

Not quite sure now what will happen this week as I am now super crocked for the weekend...

Ho Hum...

Monday, 15 November 2010

Body and Soul - Coleman Hawkins

After a weekend of no exercise, I was somewhat bemused when I trapped a nerve in my back this morning and aged 50 years in a nano-second. Regulars will know in the past my L4/5 in my lower back is a right bugger and stops me dead in my tracks. I think a trip to Doc Martyn for some 'Very Happy Pills' is on the cards tomorrow!

What with me bent over and Jenny walking most strangely following her weekends 82 miles on mushed feet we looked a right pair earlier on walking in town.

My aim is to be back fit and ready for the weekend, so watch this space. Hopefully some mind bending drugs will put me back on the path...

Now, where's my Zimmerframe?

Sunday, 14 November 2010

One Year Later - (Original Ukulele Song)

Well what a funny old weekend of rain, running and romping over the Ridgeway! Only I didn't really do much of anything apart from get rained on... I saw a lot of running, ate a lot of checkpoint food but throughly enjoyed meeting all the runners on Neil Thubron's, Druids Challenge event.

Feedback was that lots of the runners had enjoyed my after dinner slot, last night but then if I can't talk about ULTRAs and ULTRArunning to ULTRArunners, then I had better pack up. I am of course open to offers for any after dinner gig you might have in mind :-) so just contact my tour manager, Jan Slater.

Moving on swiftly, and I am going to have to train off all the cake excess and get ready for next weekend's 45 miler...

No peace for the wicked and well done to anyone who competed this weekend... remember to Train and Think as a Champion.

More tomorrow...

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Good Day Sunshine - The Beatles

Well that's two days completed of crewing on the Druid's Challenge and another great insight into what makes people tick in 'Our World'. Seeing the lead athletes batter thru Checkpoint 2 today made me realise once again just how much I have to re-commit myself to this running lark.

The importance of running at tempo and performing to the best of one's ability has never been greater emphasised to me...

It's been quite a strange place to be on the outside looking in on people beating themselves up over three hard days on the trail. As the outside world goes on, the three days of this event will be a microcosm of effort and a harmony of like minded folk, drawn together by running ULTRA-marathon prevails... makes you glad to be alive eh?

More tomorrow...

Friday, 12 November 2010

Umbrella - Rihanna

Needed it today as I helped by good friend Neil Thubron out on his Druid's Challenge race on the Chilterns. Jenny was running and I spent a lot of my time encouraging people at the 17 mile point. I didn't even mind that I was soaked as it was really inspiring and it was great to see so many people enjoying themselves.

There's even more of it tomorrow and on Sunday, looks like I will be taking over from Jenny to have a go in the mud... must say that I am looking forward to it!

More tomorrow folks...

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Hungry like the Wolf - Duran Duran

Is it me or is it the weather as I am bloody starving ALL the time? I am 5kgs more on what I was mid-summer ,even though I watch my wasteline. However, the urge to get more food in the Coleman boiler is just too much to handle right now.

It's quite adsurd as I spend a lot of my time telling others to slow their calorie intake down. If I was 15, I would say I was going thru a growth phase! My fat % is the same though so I am getting solace from that!

Maybe it's the weather and I just need food to keep me warm... A weekend on the Ridgeway, freezing my nuts off will hopefully see me a couple of kilos lighter next week (not saying that my nuts weigh a kilo each of course).

Anyone else feel they could eat a dead horse? I could, with chips and a good chunk
of bread ta!

Off to chew my toe nailsto beat the craving and that must count as recycling bodyweight! Doesn't it?

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Secret Affair - Time for Action

Rory says:- We've been talking lots in the ULTRArace office this week about events that we want to do over the next couple of years. Yes the yearly sabbatical to Morocco will still be there but our hit-list is growing ever wider afield it seems.

We are getting to the level where the training is starting to pay off and I might, I say might have a go at the Spartathlon! It's about time eh? I should have done it when I was 34 as I stood a chance then... now... well we'll see...

Yes there are great races here that are on the horizon and Beachy Head is set in stone, after our great run there this year and we both want to do Snowdon. My 50th birthday is in February 2012 so I am looking for something special then. My 49th will be in Apeldoorn, Holland for 6th Feb 2011.

My real focus will be a 6 day or 24hr track... I am just plucking up courage. What's your special race? I forgot Davos already!

Watch this space...

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Verve - Lucky Man

Been out bashing another MdeS wannabe around the Breaston Beast was wet, muddy, hilly and a made a bit harder following nearly four hours of track running only three days ago. Does make me fell lucky that I can do this, not only as a job but actually be ABLE to do this, especially as I have beaten my body into the ground so many times over the years.

You see it's not a bad experience... it's really refreshing and there are always new things to see and today's candidate Phil was most interesting as he owns a Print Management Company... my old job in the 90's. Talking to him reminded me of all the passion and technical information that this role demanded in me and just how important it seemed at the time and unimportant it really was looking back. Years of ladder climbing, buying, negotiating and on the job learning! Can't say I miss that... I did have a nice BMW328 though :-).

I s'pose that and other projects I have worked on have helped me to where I am now... You never know all those marathons might help me one day!

More tomorrow... my legs are aching...

Monday, 8 November 2010

Armed and Ready - MSG

It's time to take stock from the weekends marathon and use the run as a positive base to perform from in the future. Luton awaits on December 5th and the work I do between now and then will hopefully pay off as I go hell for leather on my training.

It will be one based on a higher mileage mixed with shed loads of hills. I already know that my performances have improved with the hill reps that I have been doing and I will be increasing this type of training LOTS. The gym work I did yesterday, even though fatigued thru the marathon, has shown me that I am getting stronger. My fat % is not increasing yet my weight is, so it looks like I have been running a little too lean previously.

To help the mileage I have an MdeS day tomorrow... the rain hasn't made that much of a prospect if I'm being honest...

More tomorrow...

Sunday, 7 November 2010

In and Out of Conciousness - Robbie Williams

The old legs were twitching last night and I must say that my Quads were totally mashed following 105 laps of a 400m track... I am sure the constant left turns every 100 metres strained my left Gastrocnemius. I have never had such a tightness there before but Jenny suffered in a similar way so maybe there's some theory there in the madness. Well that's my theory anyway!

I am slightly more bemused/bit annoyed that I don't know how far I ran yesterday in the time I did - I put a lot of effort in on this one and it's a shame I haven't got some accurate data from the performance.

This last few months have shown me what I am capable of and I am now thinking of a big juicy challenge next year to have a go at. Now I am fit, I need to build on that and start to train harder and prepare for action... I feel very excited, so watch this space.

More tomorrow...

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Everything Counts - Depeche Mode

As the great Dave Gahan once said 'It's a competitive world - Everything counts in large amounts'... and plenty of this was done today. Muggins without watch or Garmin was completely buggered really as I did 105 laps of the Enigma Track Marathon in Milton Keynes.

Race Organiser, Dave Bayley did a great job really and a big kitchen clock at the start/finish of each lap would have helped no end. I did run bloody hard all the way on this baby and my 3.44 time is an alright reflection of my effort.

What the race did have was a great atmosphere and lapping and being lapped by others was most uplifting. Seeing Jenny get a new PB was just glorious to witness. Shows all that hill training is starting to work eh? My next offensive is Luton where I know that a three lap 26.2 awaits and I can get closer to the 3.30 mark...

More tomorrow as the old legs are now f**ked!