Friday, 30 March 2012

Run - Pink Floyd

Have you been panic buying petrol? Makes you wonder what on earth we'd do if there really wasn't any petrol at all in the UK... I think we'd all be stuffed!

Well the 97% of the population that are inactive would be...The 3% of active population, especially us ULTRA-runners would be the massive winners as well as Cyclists and Horse Riders, I believe. As at least we are used to covering huge distances under our own steam.

Back in the 1800s, Pedestrianism was all the rage and people such as Captain Robert Barclay were real superstars, making millions from walking challenges and gambling on whether they could/couldn't complete a challenge.

Perhaps, it would do the nation a big favour if we did run out of fuel and we could get the population moving once again.

I'd be up for it... would you?

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Coffee Song - Bob Hilliard and Dick Miles

Is anyone else out there addicted to Coffee?... I am...

I must say that a drop of Caffeine in the morning really gets the old body into gear and the day started for me and in the lead up to the Marathon des Sables, I am trying to cut down.

Hmmm... it would be easy except FOR THIS SPLITTING HEADACHE... which won't go as I am going to have to have a cup in a minute as nothing is shifting this one!

No wonder Costa and Starbucks have sprung up all over the place as there is now an endless stream of people needing Americanos, Lattes and Skinny White Flats to get them, and me I hasn't to add, thru our every increasingly busy pressuriseded day. Made more pressurised perhaps by our caffeine intake!

I am interested if you have gone 'Cold Turkey' on Caffeine and how long it will take before my need for Caffeine will subside...

More tomorrow... now where's that kettle?

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Legs - ZZ Top

It's amazing just how much they can hurt you know... the cliffs of the Jurassic Coastline have a lot to answer for and I am sure that my Cardiff-Derby-Cardiff round trip will not make them repair any quicker! Going downstairs in a hurry to answer the door to Parcelforce at the crack of dawn (are they allowed to deliver that early?) made for a very Bambi-like journey to the front door... made even more comical by me waring Jenny's dressing gown!

The Postie didn't comment though and was probably glad to see that I had SOME clothes on... from there it things in the lower leg department didn't get much better but my Coccyx is showing signs of being less bruised and I was cheered up by daughter Pearl (7) when she said that 'She would still remember me when I was dead,' from the back of the car on the school run... surely my legs aren't killing me that much are they?

Ah well, it's the thought that counts, thanks for the vote of confidence Pearly... Now where's the Nurofen?

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Up and Down - The Vengaboys

Well the second day of the Jurassic Coastal Challenge didn't disappoint... tough, hot but not totally impossible and gave us probably some of the best trail available that any ULTRArunner could ever want. The navigation isn't perhaps for those that aren't too Geographically alert (Slater did 2 more miles than me) but it's route had only a couple of places where we had been forewarned of that gave rise to some common errors of judgement.

It was quite a day to run thru Weymouth and see some of the biggest folk that England has to hand and witness the deep Olympic clean that is taking place prior to the Yachting taking place in just a few months time. Seb would be proud of the freshly painted lamp-posts along the front.

Are we running tomorrow's third and final leg, well hell no... our quads are pretty much battered now by the steep descents BUT I fell well prepared for MdeS and can definitely recommend this seaside escapade to anyone of any running/walking ability who is looking for a personal challenge. It's great...

Might do all three next time.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Don't Believe a Word - The Awesome Thin Lizzy

Now if you are a regular reader and also a marathon runner, come and have a go at this bad boy on The Jurassic Coastal Challenge... a 3 day, treble marathon (of which I am so glad to say that we decided to only do 2 of as it's close to MdeS)... Glad 'cos it was bloody brutal that's why...

There are some plain daft ascents and descents on the coastal path that literally stopped me in my tracks in the first 10 miles or so that made me realise that I talk a better race than I run... apart from the last 13 miles today on the flatter trail where I put all my toys back in my pram and 'Manned up Buttercup', with enough left in the legs to run a 5.55.25 to get me circa 70th on day one... I ended up chuffed actually...

Slaterchops, of course, set off like a gazelle and finished third overall in 4:22 which shows just how tough it was for her too as it put a good 70 minutes on her PB marathon time, which makes me feel somewhat better about my run... It did make me think that at 20 degrees today, the 50+ of The Western Sahara seems slightly more daunting but them hills in Dorset are the biggest killers I have been on in this lifetime I can tell you.

Tomorrow, well there's even harder hills to come in the last 10km near Lulworth Cove... but then that's tomorrow. All I do know is that at 2152hrs it's time for this 50yr old to turn out the light and join his 37yr old partner who has already gone to sleep - in our holiday caravan, with two strangers, We know how to have romantic weekends away eh?

Anyway, less of that and more after the next Marathon...

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Time - Pink Floyd

How often do you hear people say 'There just wasn't Time' or 'I didn't have Time'...

It used to make my old boss Tony Baker, now MD of The Fat Duck, restaurant's blood boil, if you chipped up that excuse for not getting things done. But help is at hand as the 26 hour day is coming our way... I promise, only it's going to take 400 million years for the slowing action of the moon's gravitational effect on the earth to make this happen.

I discovered this whilst explaining to Jenny that a year is the time taken for the Earth to orbit the Sun. It seems that her poor Geography never led her to a physics lesson...which left her ample time for Maths, so every silver cloud eh?

Anyway back to the 26hr day and I can see a lot of problems here as we will need new clocks that go to thirteen and Kiefer Sutherland in very old age or course will be in 26 and not 24 anymore and the year I explained to Jenny will be the same length but will have more hours. Will we still need BST? Who knows?

We had a delivery timed for 10:18hrs this morning from a courier and it turned up bang on time... So just as we have finally managed to be precise with our 24 hour day, it's all going to change.

I wonder if 400 million years is a long enough lead time?

More tomorrow, if I have time...

Monday, 19 March 2012

Tubular Bells - Mike Oldfield

Whats the first LP* you ever bought? Mine was the glorious 'Tubular Bells' on 13th November 1976, when I was just 14... Recorded some 40 years ago this year, this 17 million selling record, sounds just as fresh as it did when I first heard it on scratchy vinyl all those years ago and then hissy as it did on my cassette bought in WHSmiths (when it sold records), in Stratford-upon-Avon.

(*LP, Cassette, Album and Record are terms used by people born before 1970 when music wasn't on CD's or MP3)...

Listening to it again still makes my hair stand on end, as it's simply wonderful and for the poor Mr. Oldfield was a bar so high, he never matched or surpassed it... a bit of a Moonlanding in Neil Armstrong's case...

My meagre achievement's in comparison make me wonder if I've had my 'Tubular' moment or I still have it to come... funny that MY drinking days came BEFORE my achievements and that Mike and Neil's were AFTER theirs...

Makes you wonder eh? Now where's my cassette player, and what WAS your first ALBUM?

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Rock Bottom - Mike Moran and Lyndsey de Paul

Well it can't get any worse... A week on from my Tarzan Swing cock-up and I still can't sit down... I can stand and can stand an hour of slow-running but it's a rubber ring now wherever I go as my Coccyx ain't having any of it I'm afraid...

I was going to have a run out on the Exmoor Ultra on Saturday but I thought better of the two hours in the car I would have to endure as well as at least six hours of slow running I would have to do to get me the full distance...

So instead it's been a weekend of sport from the comfort of a well padded settee and floor to watch on as the Mighty Reds took the Grand Slam in style...(I say Mighty Reds as a term of endearment to the nation where I now live but I still find Jonathan Davies mighty annoying, so my repatriation still has some way to go perhaps).

I have got three hours on my running tachograph however and all I can do now is rest till MdS and hope that experience gets me thru... Either that or Jenny can carry my kit, no one will notice eh?

Ah well, I'll keep taking the drugs and I am just very lucky to be able to run, let alone in the Worlds Toughest Footrace.

More tomorrow... when I will be thinking about David Holyhead 1960-2012.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Wire - U2

If you are 50 - then act it!

Now if only I had heeded my own warnings, worn a high viz-jacket, tested the equipment before hand and load tested the children's rope slide in the local park, I wouldn't have a very badly bruised or broken Coccyx...

I can't tell you how much it hurts and how impossible it is to sit down... IT'S PURE AGONY... and as you know I'm not one to go on about being hurt especially as Jenny will be fussing more than she is now but it's all my own fault you see.

I was with my daughter Pearl at the park and did what lots of other Dad's do in that 'You've been framed being a Pratt and acting like a small boy way' and in a moment of high drama went from the start of the world's biggest wire swing by an 80kgs 50year old man to making the wire sag with my weight and hitting the metal bar below the swing with my full weight wrecking my old Coccyx and bruising my big pride... Yikes!!!

Well it was more Yikes really but no F Word as the Pups was there... it did make my eyes water though.

Not a good idea with MdeS 4 weeks away and so where I am now... well I am lying on the floor typing on my stomach and hoping that in a few days that the pain subsides...

This and my recent toe stubbing incident in a ball pond means my playground days might well be numbered!

Maybe it's time to grow up?

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Leader of the Pack - The Shangri-Las

Wow what a weekend of running and ULTRArace Grantham now in it's 5th running never fails to surprise and uplift my ULTRAspirits. We had some great results from lots of new runners to our races as well as people (some with LARGE backpacks) having a last practice before the upcoming MdeS.

We did our last minute MdeS Saturday Night Talk at the Race Hotel and I am more than ever surprised that folk are still buying that heavy old Aarn pack at a back-breaking 1080gms instead of gearing up with a much lighter pack... that and correcting some shocking trainer choices made my one man get everyone ULTRA-running Crusade one step closer to fruition.

I was REALLY pleased and my ears are VERY, VERY happy that Jenny ran so well on day two and smashed her course record in 3:38 by six mintues... nice one and please don't mention ANY MORE that you are UNFIT or INJURED!!! You were simply awesome...

More tomoz... I am off for a lie-down. All this standing around is knackering...

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Waterfront - Simple Minds

I'm back at the scene of my first ULTRArace back in 1995 in Grantham. It seems an eternity since I set off on that monumental first trip over a marathon of 33 miles 1660yds that I ran in 5:02hrs...(I was speedier then) but I was hooked from that moment on of going L O N G...

Tomorrow, lots of our new runners will be taking the same journey... slightly reduced to 29.3 miles in the late 90's by the A52 cutting a few miles off near Nottingham and maybe a bit by the New A46 still causing us a detour but hopefully they will enjoy the same feeling of accomplishment as I did that day back then... Good thing is they have taken all the five bar gates down that we had to climb back in the 90's..

Anyway, lets hope we have a great day out... the course is marked and the weather is set fine...

Just the way we like it...

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Jump - Van Halen

We jumped back into training today (with varying degrees of success), as the ever approaching MdeS is  beckoning like a Siren it seems to some great adventure in a sea of sand and rocks. There's never enough time it seems and no matter how much you do towards making yourself fit enough to take on 'The World's Toughest Footrace... it's NEVER going to be enough!!!

Funny thing is that I could train for years and Jenny could become a permanent couch potato and she would still beat me by miles so I often wonder how much is NATURAL ability and how much is GAINED ability.

Who knows, in fact who cares as its only a month away and no matter what, it will be SUPER hot and at the end of the first days race, we will both be asking ourselves 'Why the hell are we doing this again?'... at the finish line of last day of the MdeS, we will again agree that it's one of our life defining moments... it's magic you see!!!

I liken MdeS to Christmas, it comes once a year, lasts for 12 days, we see people we only see once a year, it's very expensive and there's lots of last minute shopping and packing... it makes a great present too.

More tomorrow... I'm off down the gym... again...

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

King of Pain - The Police

My legs are still knackered from the weekend - my Adductors feel like they've been beaten up by a Mad Butcher with a Meat Mallet. A mere 30 metre shuffle qualified my thoughts and another day of rest and some more dastardly stretching will hopefully see me back running tomorrow... lets hope anyway... as they are KILLING!

A shame really as for once it's been a beautiful day down in Caerdydd, well it only rained a bit, and I think the Sand of Merthyr Mawr beckons for at least Jenny anyway, might go sunbathing myself if it stays nice...

And then it's a packing frenzy ready for the Weekend's ULTRArace Grantham race, and maybe a few more miles on the trail and on the road.

Hey ho...

Monday, 5 March 2012

Beat the Clock - Sparks

How accurate is your Garmin as mine isn't nor is yours I believe, yet we all swear by them... My 105.4 laps of the track yesterday at the Barry 40 proved just how confused it got as on at least three occasions where later it gave me a plotted route on the uploaded Garmin site showing where I had three major excursions out of the stadium into the local housing estate in massive triangular shaped spikes, when all I had done was run around the track.

It also didn't get the distance right either as I am sure that the precisely measured 400 metre track wasn't short, and there would be a lot more world records set there in shorter running distances if it was. Don't get me wrong my Garmin wasn't a lot short, but I would have expected it to be .1 of a mile over if anything.

The thing is and I have already done this once here myself is that we give these devices human characteristics by saying that it got 'confused', and will it ever 'tell me the truth'. Or, is it just a guide as all of these devices are + or - 3% accurate and until a more accurate device is found... Maybe I'll have to stick to my OS Map and piece of string as we did on the old days...

Maybe Jenny's new Suunto will be more accurate and I'll give that a try, although I am NOT going to do another 105.4 laps of Barry's Jenner Park Stadium to find out!!!

More tomorrow...

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Heavy - Dizzie Rascal

On the eve of the Barry 40 (well 26.2 in my case as I can't do 161 laps of the track)... We are both stocking up on calories before the race. Following our trip to ASDA, where we saw lots of normal people who don't run stocking up on Pizzas etc, it got me thinking that if we didn't run just how BIG we might have been...

Lets hope that all the extra calories helps us out as we are going to need it I think as pouring rain is forecast for the Lovely Jenner Park Stadium isn't too breezy for us as we go do-lally going round and round and round.... for hours on end.

Jenny is of course doing the Full Monty and I will cheer her on in the comfort of a very warm coat as she tries to get as close to 5hrs as possible. A sub-4 will be good for me, especially as I have a hurty toe and man-flu for the past week.

More tomorrow...

Friday, 2 March 2012

Duel - Propaganda

Makes you wonder sometimes what Propaganda we are being fed sometimes as yesterday we were subjected to a shopping trip by the three generations of the 'Royals' on a jaunty trip down to the Queen's local corner shop Fortnum & Mason.

They sampled tea and sweets before taking home some dog biscuits and the three women were presented with wicker hampers filled with luxurious items including 'Dog Biscuits'. The animal rights campaigners also gathered to protest the store's policy of selling foie gras, with one activist dressed as a Goose to cause a bit of a stir, so it wasn't all plain sailing.

What was the point? The big winners must be Fortnum & Mason, and no doubt Beverley Aspinal, their Marketing Manager will be well pleased but does this endear us to people spending tax payers money at posh shops? I am not so sure - they could have done this without the publicity really, as they get loads of stuff free including Macleans Toothpaste which I saw is used by HRH Prince Charles (as it's good to know he looks after his choppers just like me) .

So why do it and who fed us the story - The Government, The BBC - I'd love to know?