Friday, 14 July 2017

I guess this blog needs waking up.

So, since I last posted, we had a son – he is quite ridiculously beautiful, incredibly funny, and he is now just over two years old. We also have another on the way; as I write this, Fern is 39 weeks pregnant, and the baby could be here any day.

We have moved house again after an awful experience with our landlords in the place described in the last post. While checking our legal footing, I learned they were defrauding two mortgage lenders and an insurer, so I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise that they were such shitty landlords. I seem to remember them saying to me at one point, 'we're fed up of being told we are shit landlords'; all I did was ask them to fix some shit in the house they owned. You know, be a landlord. It's a role that comes with social responsibility whether you like it or not. We could have sued for various reasons – still could – but I chose not to because really, how much do you want people like that in your life? Fuck that shit.

Anyway, my hamstring issues appear to be resolved, but I have put four stone (around 56lbs, fat fans) on in the meantime. Gah. I am now VERY heavy. I've added some muscle, quite a lot actually, but I've also got mega fat. Hmmmm.

I've been doing high-intensity strength training on my hams/glutes, so curling about 60-70kg (132lbs-154lbs) on them to bring the strength in that group up in line with my calves and quadriceps. It's worked very well, but I do have to maintain it.

And it means I can run again. I just have to get over the fear and get out there now. And yes, there is fear. Fear of being injured again, fear of this not being the solution, and fear of being such a fat fucker out 'running'. It's going to be a long hard road, and time will be at an absolute premium with the new baby. I can't even take the baby out running with me until it's six months and can hold its own head up etc, dagnabbit.

I'm in the ballot for the 2018 London Marathon, and I was hoping that by late next year I might even be in shape for a half Ironman. But right now, I'd like to just be able to run up a big hill without feeling that I'm going to throw up my lungs.

First run is imminent. More soon.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Massive life changes.

And training, and sleeping, and... Everything changes.

Whoever said the more things change, the more they stay the same was talking right out of their arse. In the last year I have experienced more change - and positive change - than probably in the previous 30.

It's been what, 10 or 11 months since I last posted. In that time I have fallen very much in love, conceived a child, effectively become a stepdad again, moved house, and much much more.

I become a father in around six weeks, all being well; the pregnancy is going very well, which both delights me and gives me a great feeling of pride toward my partner. I hope that doesn't sound patronising; my better half has a daughter who is nearly 2.5 years old who was very, very premature, so the pregnancy has not been without tension and worry.

We move into our new (rented) house together in the next couple of weeks; I finish painting the bedroom floor hopefully tonight, move furniture around tomorrow, then we can move my family in when the kitchen is painted. It will all be sorted in the next week or two.

These big changes also coincided with me discovering a problem, a weakness, in my right hamstring, which led to it feeling fatigued basically all the time. I still don't really know why this would be the case; the most plausible reason is from a sports masseur whose wife is an NHS physio; they think it's tightness in my calves and glutes, pulling both ways on the hamstring to create a barrel of crap. Given how tight my calves were, they may have something there.

A change in my overall focus also led to me saying goodbye to my coach; I suspect that a more focussed training is what highlighted the hamstring issue, and I need to resolve that before I go back to her group. My space is apparently safe, it was understood that my focus just needed to be elsewhere so I'm taking time out.

It amazes me how few hours there are in the day. Some days, I actually nap at work (I now have a small office in town, as we are moving out of town and I wanted to separate work and home life, so each gets the right attention at the right time, and I am fully engaged with whichever I am doing to the best of my ability.

Take an average Friday, for example. I get up around five, perform my ablutions, then head out with Millie Dog around 6am. I get Millie to the office about 6:25ish, settle her in, then leave for my first stint of lugging stuff on the market. I'm usually done with this within an hour. It's not heavy stuff, but it's lots of to-ing and fro-ing. My second market client usually arrives around 8am, so inbetween I go and give Millie some fuss. Client two's products are all hardwood, and a few are quite exceptionally heavy. One article in particular often needs three people to move it. It's hard work - but it only takes 15-20 minutes.

Finally, my last client turns up around 8:30am, and that's a solid hour of heavy lifting, unloading a van full of boxes of china and crockery.

Then I get to the office after 9:30 to do the day job, returning to client one around 2:30, client two 3:30, and client 3 around 4pm. Then back to the office for a bit more work, then stumble home.

When we move house, this will be preceded and followed by a 5.5-mile bike ride which rises by almost 1,000 feet over that distance. It's very undulant, and whichever route I take, quite punishing.

I don't think moving house is going to see me lose fitness, frankly. Also, behind the house is access to miles of trails and walks, all over 1000 feet, and it's like running or walking the roof of the world. It's beautiful.

I'm burbling. This is quite directionless. In short: life is good.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Big change.

Rough, smooth. Swings, roundabouts. Good stuff, shit stuff. No light without shadow. No farts without stink.

Which reminds me of a great joke I heard recently. Why do farts smell? So deaf people can enjoy them as well.

So, with a recent small change in my financial status, I reinvested the money somewhere I haven't really used it before - myself. I realised recently I got stuck in the victim-saviour cycle, which is a load of old shit and no good for anyone. Hell, the woman I'm interested in now probably fits the same profile. I'm being careful, analytical and sensible though.

Anyway, there has been a decided lack of investment in myself. So I've taken a small amount of cash money and employed the services of a coach to help me put some focus into my training and see just what I might be capable of. This is with half an eye in the future on completing an Ironman, and in the short term of shifting some of the bulk I have added in a year of being drunk to hide from the basic agony of getting through the days.

See, now I'm a lot happier, more settled, and my shit is considerably more together. Hence, the investment.

So we started just shy of three weeks ago. The first thing I noticed, at the end of the first week, was just how much I fucking hurt. I realised how lazy I had become in my running. Don't get me wrong, I can run up hills a mountain goat would turn its nose up at. But I can do fuck-all else. There's a functional fitness, and there's a deeper version, where you can race, where your body is in balance and is working with the greatest efficiency you can achieve. I was functional.

I've been doing MAF runs, easy runs, very specific gym workouts for strength and stability, all sorts. It's been really fascinating, not least to see how my body has responded. Tone and muscle always comes quite easily to me, but after relatively easy workouts on paper I've felt like I've been beaten up. But god, I felt so STRONG!

And the running - I started to see what I might be capable of. I don't have a competitive mindset, so it's finding the right way to push myself and the right coach to make me want to push myself. It had to be someone I respected and did not want to let down, and I think I found that.

I lost about 8lbs in ten days. I felt fan-fucking-tastic. Then I went on a business trip, had a few days of easy running (travel - so frigging tiring!), and came back feeling like I had the worst jetlag in history. I'm completely flat, no energy, nothing. Small hills are leaving me feeling battered; I have absolutely nothing in the tank. To go from how I was feeling to this in such a short time is just fucking heartbreaking. I was getting somewhere!

On the plus side, I haven't put the weight back on. So that's something. When I kick whatever it is that is leaving me so weak, I will be kicking fucking ass. I have NEVER enjoyed training this much. S'good.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

A bold step

Well, for me it is.

Next month sees my stepdaughter turn 18 and, as a result, the end of my financial support to my ex. The funds this frees up will partly be used to to pay for the expert services of a coach.

Not like a minibus kinda coach, either. An athleticy kinda coach. I know, right?

Now, I don't consider myself an athlete. I'm more a curious person that enjoys exercise. I'm curious about my potential physically. I mean, I've completed three marathons, but they were all pretty shit. But I LOVED training for them. Absolutely loved it. And now I am feeling more emotionally free, stable and secure than I have in too damn long, I'm wondering what I might be able to achieve. Can I get a 100-miler under my belt? An Ironman? Make my own ultra? Or just be a fit, healthier, happy person that helps others achieve the same and get off their arses?

The person I am employing to kick my arse is based in the US and will be working remotely using heart rate monitor data, and presumably FaceTime or similar to kick my arse. I'm very much looking forward to it, and I have explained the things I need to keep doing - quality time with Millie Dog, and for my running group - and we will be working around/with those things.

Mostly, I think I just need to relearn some good habits. Sleep more. Drink less. Do less stupid shit. Eat breakfast BEFORE walking the dog, for example. Then when she drags me into the sandwich shop to get her morning sausage (not a euphemism. And if it was, what a lazy one it would be. I hope you expect more from me) I won't be tempted by the fatty goods on show. As I am most mornings. Combine that with my beer intake and fuck me, I'm a fat bastard!

So coach's first job is going to be helping me shift around 50lbs of lard. If I get my head in the right place, fat absolutely slides off. And I do quite like being pushed, I just haven't really met anyone that can make me do it. The key is making me want to do it myself, I think.

Enough of my burble. More soon. The Amazing Coach Experience begins March 5th.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Gosh. Am I still here?

Yep, I am.

Been running quite a bit, too. The weather has been absolutely fucking shocking, frequent heavy rain. So what did we do? Went up the woods and hit the trails, at least three nights a week. My arse is killing me - the movement is so very different when your foot sinks in to thick mud and pooled water eight inches, and you have to pull it back up at least 10 just to move forward.

And as for that forward motion... The water is deep, the mud is thick. The hills are high. It's fucking hard work. Last night the cloud was low and I couldn't even see the dog, who always stays close. I couldn't see her until she turned around, anyway. Her arse isn't as reflective as her eyes - and she was all of five feet away from me. Thick cloud, driving rain, high winds and cold, all with a headtorch. Ended it absolutely caked in mud, shoes wrecked, and freezing cold.

It was pretty awesome fun.

All for this Tough Guy race in March. Two of my group are doing the half marathon, I've opted for the full. No idea how to train for it, as from what I can gather there is maybe 10 miles of running and the rest is assault course. So we're doing the hardest trails we can think of without being utterly reckless.


Need to hit the gym in a big way though for the next couple of months and get stamina into the muscles. Run, gym, pool. Have done a couple of double-up sessions and they were brilliant. And I have 9-10 weeks to prepare for a complete unknown and to leave my comfort zone utterly.


Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Oh, and...

...a sprained ankle put paid to training for that ridiculous marathon which would have happened a month or so ago, which was a relief, really. It was Lily's ankle that got sprained, not mine, but it put her out for weeks. She's just coming back to running with the group now.

However, as we are not renowned for our common sense, we have signed up for a different Stupid Fucking Race instead. Three of the ladies in my group have signed up for the Tough Guy Half Marathon at the end of March 2014. Over 200 obstacles, including fire, water and electrocution. In a fit of absolute madness, I signed up for the full marathon, which is over 400 obstacles and 26.2 miles.

The full is actually two laps of the course, so I guess you finish the half and think "Yay! Let's go again!" or "Fuck this for a game of soldiers". I wonder how tough that will be psychologically on the day.

Of course, if something is bust in my foot I won't be doing any more than cheering on the day anyway. So let's wait and see. We're doing a hilly trail run in the woods tonight, in the dark, with headtorches. My favourite.

Monday, 9 December 2013

I've been around

Well, a bit. Not been blogging though.

I've been rather down, and I've been quite drunk again. I had a whole month booze-free and I had a whale of a time - really! - but the downs came back and it all seems so very self-perpetuating and whinge moan whinge.

I'll be back with more. Just not today. Waiting for an x-ray on my foot which will hopefully show something really minor that does not require surgery... If it's anything that needs surgery, that's the March marathon out of the window and any kind of mileage between now and then. Which will depress me, because the route out of the doldrums is one that needs to be run.