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...