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 ....

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

A Bit of a Drama ....

So, I went to Ripon Racecourse Lake last night for my open water swim induction.  A bit late in the day this, my first triathlon is on 9th July and I've yet to do ANY open water swimming, but hey-ho - better late than never eh?  I'll get a few in before the big day.  Anyhow, while I was there waiting for the induction-bloke from NYP Tri to show up, I got chatting with the other lad who was waiting for him too.  He looked a bit shaken up and I asked him why?  Turns out that he was looking for the correct entrance to the racecourse lake and mistakenly turned into the entrance for Ripon Marina (a few hundred yards bfore the racecourse), only to be greeted by the sight of a car with a hosepipe plugged into the exhaust and leading into the car!  The door was open and the guy inside was still alive (ie. had a pulse), so he called an ambulance and pulled the guy out of the car to get him into the fresh air ... I actually DID see the ambulance there and wondered what was going on.  Bloody hell eh?  He saved that person's life .... funny thing though, he'll never know who saved him (assuming he wanted to be saved - this had to be cry for help at 5.30pm on a busy road) as the ambulance crew didn't even ask this lad's name.  He genuinely was shaken up though and I don't blame him.  As for the person who tried to kill himself?  Well, I hope he's OK but my thoughts are very much along the "you selfish bastard" line.  Is that a way out?  What was he leaving behind him?  Was there a family, a life, children, a whole gamut of people who would have to live with the knowledge that someone close to them chose to die in a car park in Ripon?  Perhaps it's wrong of me to be judgemental, but the whole suicide thing is anaethma to my soul.
Anyhow, the induction went well, I am now a second-claim member of Ripon Tri (which means ditching my affiliation to the RNAC) and can swim in the lake at the training sessions.  I dashed home from there, a quick change to running kit and it was out to Arkendale for a club Point-to-Point.  I didn't expect to do well, have been doing a lot of hard training of late and it's left me tired, however things didn't go too badly.  I managed a consistent 7 min pace on a slightly undulating course, nobody overtook me and I overhauled about 4 other runners.  Legs felt good, no aches or pains so generally I think things are OK.  I think I could have improved on that had I been fresher, but I'm in a training phase at the moment and didn't expect to break any records.  Course (out and back) below:

Changing subject, am looking forward very much to supporting Dave A's BGR attempt on Friday and will be getting camping gear etc ready tonight, Stuart is picking me up early on Friday morning so camp should be all set up by midday.  Hope Thirlspot is not too crowded, rumour has it that Dark Peak FRC are descending en-masse, so decent pitches will be at a premium.  Weather forecast looks like we're going to get rain which is a bit disappointing, but hopefully that won't be accompanied by high wind.  I refuse to believe the weather could be as bad as it was the last time I did BGR support.
Better get some work done!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Bed Race Victory

A rather entertaining weekend, all in all. Legs feeling a little tired from Friday's exertions, however Helen and I forced ourselves throught the door for a 30-miler (bikes, you understand) out to Boroughbridge and back, went pretty well. Stopped at Ripley on the way back for pies/ice cream and to muse on what b****s some car drivers are, then back home, quick scrub-up and out to the Knaresborough Bed Race. A hugely important event hereabouts, last year our club ceded the title back to Ripon Runners and this year it was looking very dodgy, as due to the ridiculous policy (and incompetence) of Knaresborough Lions we didn't even get a place! This meant of course that there was no viable opposition to Ripon and they were going to walk away with it ...

Fortunately - and I don't know what happened - a team pulled out and we were allocated their place. Not perfect, as we were fourth on the grid and that means it's hard to overtake .... I am told there was an amount of pushing, shoving and near-temper losses, but in the event, our team's time was 2 seconds faster than Ripon, so once more Harrogate Harriers are the Great Knaresborough Bed Race champions. TV was there too, check out Trans World Sport for an interview with the winning team!

Have been messing around for most of the day, catching up on BGR news from the weekend etc. Repaired bad paintwork on front door frame, website updates, am now contemplating a run. And it's raining.

Exploring the possibilities ....

Excuse me a moment while I indulge myself, I've just found out it's possible to embed Garmin Connect code in these pages. Let's find something to test with .... how about the Austwick Fell Race from the other day?

I feel I should point out that I did this race off the back of very tough BGR support leg on the Friday Night/Sat morning and a jaunt round the AW route on the Sunday! I was limping a tad .... [best whiny voice]

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Stomping Uphill

Took a day off yesterday, felt very tired after interval/fartlek training on Tuesday night so thought that a day with no training would give the ol' glycogen levels a chance to replenish.  Also persuaded Helen (who's a qualified sports massage therapist) to give my legs a bit of a going-over and feel much better for it today, so as a) I'm upping my game (so to speak) and b) we have a tremendous gym at work, I thought I'd start doing the odd lunchtime workout.  So, did a nice relaxed 30mins on the treadmill, carefully working the tightness out of my quads then did a fierce 15 mins on the Summit Climber - you don't see many of these around actually and few people in the gym use it, which suits me perfectly.  Managed about 2000ft of ascent before I fell off in a sweaty heap, I will be using this machine a lot as the months progress.  The goal is to seriously build up my quads to a point where they will convey my worthless body uphill in a much more robust fashion.
On a very positive note, was beginning to worry about getting to our campsite in the Lakes next Friday in anything like a timely manner, owing to the fact that Helen can't get out of work early.  All is resolved, one of the guys I'm running leg 2 support with has offered to pick me up, this will mean I can get the tent up and have a nice relax before we have to get up (around 0200) and run across a fairly inhospitable mountain range.  It will be wonderful.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Johnny Mae Mathews

Have today off work and as usual, am not producing much. On these occasions I'm given to messing around the house listening to my beloved soul music, usually played very loud! When people see my modest collection, I'm usually asked if I have a favourite ... a difficult question, as there are multiple genres of soul and they're all mood-dependent. If I was forced into a decision, this one would be up there near the top of the list. It's incredibly rare and worth a lot of moolah, just to hear it at all is really a privilege. it has tremendous depth and real soul, I have no doubt that Johnny Mae means every word. It hits the spot, give it a try and see if you can feel it.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Running on Empty

Since getting back from our last weekend in the Lakes, I have been focussing on cross-training (cycling, swimming) chiefly because I have my first triathlon in a few weeks and don't want to look an arse. Have really been cracking on and, for the first time in years, have been doing some sort of training every day. For instance, swim session Friday, long bike session Saturday, 10-mile run Sunday, medium bike session Monday, interval training with club tonight.

I am exhausted and eating everything that is not nailed down or foolish enough to stop moving for more than two seconds.  I'm going to keep at it - maybe with a rest day thrown in at some point - but taper back for supporting my friend Dave's BGR attempt on the 17th June.  Really looking forward to it.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

I Think I'm Beginning to Understand .....

So, the Ripon Triathlon approaches and I'm beginning to panic.  Little training done and I really don't want to make an arse of myself, therefore last week (once my legs had recovered from our weekend in the Lakes) saw me hit the pool and the bike with a vengeance.  Did a benign(-ish) 35 miles on the bike yesterday, albeit in quite hilly country, and was surprised at how knackered I felt on my run today.  I mean, really weary.  Maybe I've been fooling myself all these years?  I hope this training period brings positive results ....

Just found this on You Tube.  What a lovely chunk of soul, please enjoy ....