Some Stuff About Me ......

I live in Harrogate, North Yorkshire with my wonderful wife and soul-mate Helen. I have two incredible sons - Evan and Matthew - who are occasionally show up at home, usually when they're hungry or need money. The three of them are the best thing that ever happened to me and I love them all. I spent over 24 years in the Royal Navy, but since I packed it all in and got a proper job my life has gone from strength to strength and I've never looked back. I am a die-hard soul music fan, but my heart truly belongs in the fells of Northern England, it's what I was made for. Please read about my adventures and experiences ....

Saturday 1 January 2022

2021 in Review

I don't think I've done as End-of-Year Review before, but I can see their utility - especially as I've made some specific commitments for the coming year (I refuse to use the word "resolutions") and it will be useful to lay out a bit of heartfelt and factual soul-searching. So, let's stick to the facts and some home truths shall we? Here we go:

Running: I've finished the year with 1438 miles ran and some 290,000ft climbed. It's not a disaster, but a way off the 1500 mile minimum and secret 1800 mile target that I hoped for. Injury and CV-19 were responsible for some of the shortfall, but I can't deny that indolence and procrastination also played a significant part. I'm not making excuses, this should have been better.

Races: I've done a few, enough for me to realise that if I'm going to stand a realistic chance of fighting the onset of age I need to do some faster, pacier training. No really long races done due to my paranoia about the tendonitis that plagues me, I think I'm just going to have to man-up and fucking run in 2022. It will be painful, but hey - I've been running in pain for years now, so do many other runners. The year finished with the Auld Lang Syne fell race, it was a personal worst, but I did finish the damned thing. 

Significant Events: I've supported a few big undertakings in the Lakes and Scotland, all of which have been sobering experiences. Most recently I helped on a Winter Wainwright Round attempt, this had me questioning my own abilities and hardiness. Can I still do this? From a personal perspective my best mountain day in 2021 was, without question, a successful stab at the Cairngorm 4000s. That might not sound too much of a challenge but I'd been wanting to do it for years since bad weather (blizzards) forced me to pull out once I'd reached Corrour.

Cycling: New bike built, but under-utilised. Hope to do more in 2022

Swimming: Much improved. I don't think I'll ever get back to where I was in 2016, but things are definitely on the up and I'm enjoying doing it, the IA does not interfere with it in the slightest - just lapsed technique.

Vitals: Not too bad. Weight has stayed consistently 145lbs - 149lbs and I've been honest with myself when it's started to creep up. Will focus on 145lbs as a 2022 running target.

Health: Mmm, yes. I think "could be worse" is the most honest thing I can say here, a new diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis (without the psorias) was no real surprise and I continue to manage it via a restricted diet (dairy free, gluten free, egg white free) and the occasional 30mg Etoricoxib, probably no more that 3 - 4 times a month. Still DMARD (methotrexate) free. Just one steroid shot this year. Have settled on 20mg esomeprazole daily to manage the Barretts and silent LPR, this is a huge improvement on dalliances with other PPIs and most of the side effects I experienced with omeprazole etc. Due another endoscopy in 2022. Throat occasionally sore, but I know how to manage that. Actually, getting down to 20mg was a big deal - 40mg definitely made me feel a bit crap, I feel I might be able to carry on at this level.

I still don't sleep well, largely due to some deep-rooted anxieties that I'm unlikely to be able to resolve. I need to cope with this, one of my targets for 2022 is to sleep better. Alcohol intake remains limited, I don't drink at all on school nights and have maybe 2 - 3 beers over the course of a weekend. I know that alcohol has an inflammatory effect, so that helps me stay off the stuff!

Family: Not too bad. Parents continue to deteriorate, mum sits on her bum and does very little, she's turned appreciably more waspish and difficult as the year has progressed. She was never easy. Dad is very difficult, his faculties are on the wane and although real dementia hasn't shown yet, I do worry that it's an inevitable thing. He spends a lot of time wallowing in self-pity and trying to attract praise for past achievements, this is hard to live with. A lot of things have come into focus during 2021 and things that puzzled me all of a sudden seem obvious. They screw you up, your mum and dad. Mine properly messed me up.

My sons are doing well. Evan continues to climb the ladder in his chosen sphere of employment, while Matt has a new job for a life sciences consultancy and seems to be loving it. I'm proud of them both, I don't see them very often but I do understand that life is full and they are getting every last ounce out of it. It seems we will have a wedding next year (Evan has announced his engagement to the lovely Becky), so that will be something to look forward to.

2022 Targets: I want another go at the Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge. I know this will sound foolish to many (I did it in 2017), but I really want to exorcise some demons and doing this is exactly what's needed. I now get 18 hours to complete, but realistically I'm going to aim at sub-15 again; all I need is faith and a lot of training :-) I also have a couple of shortish ultras to aim at, one in the French Pyrennees (CV19 permitting). We will see ...... the real target though, is peace of mind and to be happy in the skin I'm in. 'Nuff said eh?

Happy New Year to Everyone!

Tuesday 2 November 2021

Away With The Fairies

Just recently I've been seeing a guy who specialises in traditional Chinese acupuncture and reiki, my initial rationale was the hope that his treatment could help my chronic tib posterior tendonitis, a condition I've had for well over 18 months and something I'm heartily sick of. I have to say I've found it a very therapeutic experience, even if my tendonitis isn't especially improved ! I've had positive, uplifting results from TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) in the past and while the sceptical side of me sometimes questions if it has any real scientific basis, the more pragmatic side of me accepts it for what it is and the calming, peace-inducing effect it has on me, who cares if it's psychosomatic or otherwise? I leave this guy's sessions feeling infinitely better than when I go in and I think that's all that matters. Also, it's good to offload your troubles on such a wise counsel and I guess the carthartic effect is as important as anything else. Out of the four times I've seen him, he's managed to KO me 4 out of 4, reiki is a strange, strange thing. I slept like the dead last night, that's not a usual situation hereabouts

Helen was on a bit of a tight schedule today, so I dragged her out for a run up in Nidderdale (she's absolutely crap in the mornings, a proper nightmare) and it was worth the effort, it was a bright and beautiful day with the Dale looking resplendent in its Autumnal colours. We ran from Dacre out to Glasshouses and then up through Guisecliffe woods to the trig point at High Crag, before dropping back down, past the gin distillery (really) and Dacre. In the afternoon she bobbed off to see some clients while I undertook a rare and miserable shopping trip to Aldi, then back home to make a large pan of spag bog sauce, there's enough for a couple of days and I might use the leftovers to make a little GF lasagne tomorrow.

I did want to go running with NLFR tonight (it's on the Chevin) but I guess I should give it a miss, I'll go swimming tomorrow morning instead then run in the afternoon. I might even get the turbo all set up, as my Zwift subscription has just started up after a summer hiatus.