Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

 

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Maybe not the victor but I still got the spoils

 

I have had a busy couple of weeks training wise and, to be honest despite some really cold weather, I have loved every minute of it. The Marathon training is well on pace thanks to a few amazing runner friends of mine, my first race of the year has now been completed and I have entered yet more events.

So, to the training. I am a member of two running clubs, one affiliated with my old gym and one with my new. These are unofficial and are ran by either the instructors or members from their own good will mostly. They offer a great way to distance train with some really great people who are fast becoming friends. one club in particular has had amazing results turning non-runners into runners and this has led to them holding Sunday sessions to help train for the Coventry Half marathon. Running anywhere between 4-12 miles at the moment the clubs are a really good way to meet like-minded people who help and encourage everyone and they have benefited my training now end.

 

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15 miles Training Run

 

Due to my shifts I have taken an approach of a long run week followed by a short run week on a fortnightly cycle. Last cycle I ran a 13 mile on my own, a 15 mile with a friend and a 10 mile with the run club. week two was a 5 mile with one run club, a 6 with the other and, to really push the boat out, I incorporated a 10k race. of which more later!

As well as the runs I have been interspersing them with resistance sessions and swimming in the gym. I am very keen to avoid the previous calf niggles so will keep focusing on strength training. I am also mindful that the cycling is currently being left out so I will be adding Watt-Bike sessions and, as soon as the weather improves, it will be back to bike/ run brick training.

 

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Sorry for the shaky cam. it was the cake fuelled sugar rush!

As we gathered half way along the dam for the Draycote 10k, shivering in freezing conditions, I did wonder what the hell I was doing there. It was so cold we had to resort to a group hug just to try to keep warm. Well that was our excuse anyway! I think the smiles in the picture tell the real story though. It really was a great start to the racing year for me and meeting new people and swapping stories is really the icing on the cake (forgive the pun).

This race is one I have entered a few times and forms part of a couple of series ran by The Race Organiser (https://theraceorganiser.com/ ) The race comprises of a dog leg off the dam followed by a full lap to give full race distance. the scenery is amazing but along with that comes the fact that the reservoir is totally exposed to the elements. Great for the Sail boats not so good for the runners. That said, once running, the weak winter sun was enough to get us up to temperature pretty quickly. the course is described as flat. That is a lie. The hills are deceptively hard work at times but it does make for an interesting place to run.  My final official time came in at 53:09. Not my fastest but it felt great to be out there competing again.

 

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Stratford Triathlon 2017

And Finally to my upcoming events. February is almost half gone already and so we look to March. The Coventry Half will be the big event of the month and a valuable step on the path to The Southampton Marathon  which is the following month. In the middle of May I now have The Tough Mudder Midlands on the 19th and The Coventry Sprint Triathlon on the 20th! After that I have nothing booked until the New Forest Half in September but, rest assured, This is going to change.

And so I wish you all happy training and I wish you all the best.

 

 

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2017 Review and The Year ahead

Posted: January 31, 2018 in Uncategorized

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Hello and a belated Happy New Year.

2017 turned out to be an amazing year for me. In my fitness life and personal life I met some amazing people, found new opportunities, changed careers and achieved all the targets I set for myself. I completed my first ever Triathlon and Half Marathon and gained the Alpha Wolf award for completing 4 Wolf Runs in one year. I competed in a Pedal Car Endurance series and actively helped others achieve their fitness goals.

I hope I can be forgiven for the lack of posts. It really was a hectic year.

So, where do I expect to go in 2018?

In March I will be entering the Coventry Half, an event I missed last year due to taking a practical exam for my Gym Instructor qualification. Its my local event and I can’t wait to take part. On the subject of Half’s I have also entered the New Forest Half. This event was my first official  Half Last year and was an amazing experience. A fantastic trail run through the Forest, with amazing views. I would recommend it to anyone. I decided to go down and camp in the New Forest over the race weekend and despite heavy rain for the majority of the time it was brilliant. It helped that I took my Mountain Bike to explore the area.

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So that book ends my year. Cov in March and the New Forest in September. I have also booked up to join a team from “Midlife Gamers”, A gaming community built around a podcast of the same name. We will be smashing the Midlands Tough Mudder in May. I also have been graciously invited back to race in the British Pedal Car Championship again.

Now to my main goal and, frankly, the one I have most reservations about. The fat old guy from three years could never have achieved what I have over that time and I really hope this wont be any different. I have entered my first Marathon!

The Southampton Marathon is the same day as London on the 22nd April. It comprises 2 laps around the city crossing the River Itchen several times affording fantastic views. I will be running with a few friends, 2 experienced and 1 aiming for his first 26.2 just like me. I only booked last night and today the worries have kicked in but I am already ahead in my training for the half so have a great base to build from. So now it is a mental battle. Running a half was great but the equivalent of two back to back is something I can barely imagine right now.

Training begins now. Lets do this!

So, it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post so I’ll give you a quick catch up first.

A few weeks ago, after cycling almost 40 miles around Warwickshire, I developed the most awful toothache. It took four days to get into see the Dentist. 4 horrendously pain filled days, by which time there was nothing the Dentist could do but pull the tooth. Big respect to my Dentist who did a top notch job but the after effects, probably not helped by the amount of pain medication I was taking, robbed me of another three days of training.

Back now as fit as a fiddle and on to my next adventure. A short while ago my Gym Instructor asked me if I fancied taking an empty seat in a pedal car for a race at a go kart track just 20 miles from my house. Not knowing anything about the sport he pointed me to http://pedalcarracing.info/ the British Pedal Car Championship’s website. The cars are basically four wheeled recumbent bikes with light-weight body work.


The day arrived and I made me way to Bruntingthorpe in Leicestershire. The 480m Go-Kart track would be our venue for the 6 hour endurance race. I quickly met my fellow team mates. We were to be in the third car ran by Apollo Racing who are currently leading the championship. There were 4 drivers per car and our car had two experienced drivers and two novices. Once the tents were erected I got a litle go in the pits and, despite the controls feeling totally alien at first, soon got the hang of it.

Official practice was delayed due to issues with the timing system but once underway our car made 1 1/2 laps before the chain jumped off the rear sprocket and getting stuck round the axle. This required the axle being removed curtailing any chance of me getting on track before the race.

After the drivers briefing it was decided that I would be driver 4, meaning I would take the fourth, eighth and final stints of 30 minutes each. Luckily, due to the earlier timing issues the start was delayed and our car was back together in time to make the rolling start.


When our car pulled into the pits for my first stint I would like to say our change over was professional but I made a hash of it and panicked leading to my first couple of laps out on circuit being slow while I regained composure. Soon enough though the car started to feel natural and my lap times improved. On my final stint I was lapping at an average of 16 mph which I thought was ok for a first attempt and we finally finished 6th out of 18 cars.

The weather was fantastic and the day was fun. If asked back I would love to have another go. It’s always great to try something new

As I sit here typing this I am in an immense amount of pain. Sporting injury? a fall in the obstacle race? No. Toothache! I am at home on a work day waiting to go to see my Dentist to hopefully get it fixed. It started coming on immediately after I had finished training and then go an hour or so later. Me being me, I chose to ignore it but when it came on Friday afternoon it didn’t go. Hey kids! If you have pain don’t ignore it because now I am suffering caffeine withdrawal on top of every thing else because hot coffee send the pain through the roof! Its hard to stay positive in pain but here’s the rest of my amazing weekend.

Gel Break at Corley Rocks

I finish work at 2 p.m. on a Friday afternoon and the Sun was shining, birds were singing and I had several hours to kill. Far too nice to be in the gym I thought it was way past time I started getting some miles under the cut price road bike I purchased a few weeks ago. Yes she is cheap, yes she is heavy but it’s all I can afford right now. When I set off I was thinking I would get in around 25 miles but the day was so nice, every time I hit a junction, I kept turning away from home eventually clocking up over 38 miles. The first 11 (the distance I will have to bike in the Sprint Triathlon) were racked up in 42 minutes. So 15 minutes for the swim and a conservative 30 minutes for the run puts me in the ball park of 1 hour 30 dependent on how bad I screw up the transitions. The ride itself was brilliant except for hitting traffic through one of the towns. Really need to plan my route better.

Saturday saw me miss Parkrun. I know, Shock right? With the Wolf Run the next day I thought it best to save the legs, especially after the use they got on the cycle ride the previous day. Instead I took in a strength session in the gym. I have started a new programme with more free weights. An area I will freely admit to neglecting before but as strength training is becoming more important in my fitness plan its time to embrace it.

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At Registration

And so to the main Event. The Wolf Run (http://thewolfrun.com/) is an Obstacle Course Race (OCR) Held four times a year over two locations. The WOLF stands for Woods, Obstacles, Lakes, Fields and is billed as Wild running. The Spring and Autumn events are held just a short drive from my home at Offchurch in Warwickshire.

We arrived at 9:30 to get registered and collect my Dryrobe (https://dryrobe.com/) which was included in the price of the season ticket I have purchased to do all 4 Wolfs this year. The party was already in full swing with music pumping from the event village and all the food vendors ready to serve you all the carbs you need. My Daughter, a first time Wolf runner (there is an 18+ age cap or she would have done it last time too) chose to fill up on donuts. Maybe not the choice I would of made but it worked for her.

We didn’t have to wait too long before we were called into the warm up area for our start bracket where we were lead through several minutes of exercises that I am sure were as much for the amusement of the gathered crowd of friends and relatives as it was to warm up the runners.

Once the safety announcements were out of the way, we were ushered to the start and we were off. First up were some tyres followed by a crawl under some cargo netting. Much to my daughter’s amusement she found she could pretty much bear crawl through all of the tunnels. As she frequently pointed out “I am only 5 ft” though this would be her downfall later during the lake wade and in the muddy bomb holes which others walk through, she elected to swim rather than submerge. In fact she tackled every obstacle with aplomb and despite a few nervous moments on the 20 ft vertical cargo net and the infamous “Nut Cracker” She completed everything. The Lake swim was probably the toughest of all the obstacles. An 80 m swim in freezing cold water. No wetsuits and only breast stroke allowed, it was tough for me and Jess needed to cling to a passing canoe half way across to get her breath back. A big shout out to all the marshals on the day because they were all encouraging and helpful.

Highlight of the day was, as many will agree, the “Landslide” A 100 m long water slide downhill. it was all over too quickly though and before I knew it the end was in sight. With one last drop in to a muddy pit to go we had both completed the Spring Wolf. It was then off to pose for a finishers picture and collect our T-shirts and goodie bag before returning to the village once more for a well earned pint and a pork and stuffing roll.

My one regret from all of this is that I didn’t get fitter sooner because, in all honesty, I would have loved to have been doing this event every year. It really has an amazing vibe and is just a brilliant day out. That said in just 8 weeks I will be lining up for the Summer Wolf at the other location in Leicestershire. Will my Daughter be Joining me? You better believe it!

Another week has passed and I am now only a few days away from completing my Gym Instructor course. Nerves have really gripped me but revision hasn’t taken up all my time. 

It is also less than 2 weeks to the first Wolf Run of the year and I am really looking forward to having my daughter join me for this one. I hope she knows what she is letting herself in for.

The Sprint Triathlon will be only a few weeks behind that and my swimming still isn’t improving despite a mega coaching session from my cousin on Friday night. Teaching myself to swim and then not doing it for years is going to take a lot to repair.

Saturday saw my 22nd Parkrun. I really do love these events. This week there were 702  runners of all abilities. I got my highest ever position and a new PB to boot of 23:28. I can feel a sub 23 coming. Really can’t believe how far I have come. 


Sunday saw me running with a smaller group when I joined my friend and the group he runs with for a few laps of Draycote Water. He was there training for the London Marathon and did 20 miles. I wasn’t feeling so brave but managed a respectable 9.4 miles in the spring sunshine. I love how my training has led me to reconnect with people and introduced me to even more. There really is a group mentality out there that says if you run you are a runner. No worries about distance or times. You are one of us. 

March Catch Up

Posted: March 22, 2017 in Uncategorized

Firstly, sorry for the lack of posts over the last couple of weeks. Due to a bout of illness and last minute revision training has had to take a back seat. Thankfully now things are getting back to normal. 

As my Gym Instructor course is almost over I can now report I have sat both the Anatomy and Phisiology paper and the Principles of Fitness paper and achieved good results in both. I have also passed my formative practical assesment. This just leaves completing my workbook and my summative practical assesment to go. Nervous is not the word! If all goes to plan I will be fully qualified in less than 2 weeks. 

Fund raising has slowed but I have now raised £340 for Myton Hospice. I had originally pledge to raise £100 so am really pleased but as August is a long way away it would be great to hit £500. Please consider hitting the sponsor me button on the side of the page. 

One thing I have been doing is a regular Wednesday night run with my Gym’s running club. After so long running alone it’s nice to be in a group, chatting as we run.  From now on though it is back to full training. The first Wolf Run of the year is 3 weeks away and the events start coming think and fast from then on.

Hopefully the next post won’t be so long. 

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Last Year’s Myton Cycle Challenge

I am now pleased to announce the big news this week that I have chosen which Charity I will be raising funds for this year. After much consideration I have elected to support a local Hospice that provides end of life care to people throughout Coventry and Warwickshire and who’s care has reached out to nearly everyone’s family that I know at some point. In their own words, taken from their page (https://www.mytonhospice.org/) “At Myton, we believe that everyone matters for every single moment of their life and that treating patients with dignity and respect is more important than meeting targets. We passionately believe that the final part of someone’s life is as important as the beginning.”

The main thing I will be doing is taking part in the Myton Hospice Cycle Challenge on the 6th of August. This is a ride around the south Warwickshire countryside taking in Villages and hills over a course of 30k, 100k, or 100 miles. I have opted to do the 30k ride with a couple of friends. I completed this ride for the first time ever during last year’s event on-board my trusty Giant Talon mountain bike but this year will be riding my Ammaco road bike. It will be definitely faster down hill but I will miss the low gears on the climbs.

At first I was hoping to reach £100 in sponsorship but this was smashed in just 90 minutes. That’s how worth a cause this is. As a result of this I will keep the funding page going. If you should wish to sponsor me for any sum please do consider helping this Charity as they really are doing superb work. the link to my donation page is https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/dazliss?utm_medium=email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=20170305_96877

If I can work out how to do it I will be adding a link to the side of the blog.

And so to my training.

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Park run 4/3/17

Despite the poor weather and a few real life issues impacting on my training schedule this week it has, on the whole, been quite successful. I have had to find a new swimming venue due to scheduling conflicts meaning the pool was closed to the public at a time when I needed it. This has been resolved as I now have bitten the bullet and joined a local club so I get unlimited use of the pool (also sauna, steam and spa because who says it has to be all hard work) and they also have a running club on a Wednesday night which I shall be looking into.

On Saturday I completed my 21st Parkrun. My times are getting really consistent now and I hit an average pace of 7:43/ mi without feeling like I was pushing too hard. This was my second fastest after last weeks PB and I honestly felt I was taking it easy by comparison. Of course it always helps to be running with friends.

Finishing in 154th and 19th in my age group is a pretty good feeling out of 733 runners.

This morning (Sunday) I had planed of doing a 30+ mile ride but driving rain and bitter winds cut my ride short at just 12 miles. Its all time on the bike so I am not too despondent.

And so on to the coming week. More of the same really with a heavy dose of Study because my exams are fast approaching and if I hope to crack this fitness instructors course I need to balance training and study much better. I know there is a lot still to do but I am more positive than ever that I will get there.

 

Have a great week!

Another week has passed by and now I am more focused than ever on training. I have signed up for yet another event and this time I am really moving out of my comfort zone. I have registered for The Stratford Sprint Triathlon on the 14th of May! (http://uktriathlon.co.uk/events/stratford-220-triathlon/) This is something I have had on my mind for a while. I love running, cycling and swimming, why not put them together in one event?

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Sprint Triathlon will be an excellent introduction to the sport. As the name suggests it is a quicker version than an Olympic event, only having a 400m swim, 18k cycle and 5k run. Now, each of these events on their own are pretty comfortable for me at my current level of fitness. The trick comes in doing them all together which is why I have tried to fit two disciplines into some of my training days. A run/ swim/ run on a Wednesday for example. I must admit though the thought of the transition scares me. Having to locate my bike in a sea of them and then manage footwear changes has got me watching “how to” videos on YouTube. To that end I have bought myself a Tri-suit. This enables me to do all three activities without having to change my clothes…. Bonus!

Although my times for running and cycling are improving (Switching to a cheap road bike instead of the mountain bike has seen times tumble) the swim is killing me. I was very late learning to swim and can only really do breast stroke. My time has improved a bit but anyone doing front crawl just breezes past. Time to learn a new stroke, me thinks.

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Picking up my race number at Registration (Picture credit Jessica Lissaman)

Speaking of improving times, Today was the second Draycote Water 10k of the year held by The Race Organiser (http://www.theraceorganiser.com/index.html) and thankfully this time the weather was much more favourable. With around 500 people taking part it was great to feel apart of something. I spend far too much time training alone, unfortunately. With improved weather conditions the general mood was far better and I carried this with me. Occasional glances at my TomTom Spark watch told me that my pace was good at Km 2 but I expected it to drop off as I progressed further. However the pace held and I finished the race with and average pace of 8:01m/ miles. This knocked 2 minutes off my previous personal best. I was ecstatic. After a winter nursing my Calf injury its rewarding to know that I am getting stronger.

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The first climb (Picture credit Jessica Lissaman)

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The finish line (Picture credit Jessica Lissaman)

When I started getting fit in the Late Summer of 2015 I never thought I would be entering events like this. I wasn’t even sure I could lose more than a couple of pounds but this race saw me finishing in a time of 50:03 according to the official timing equipment and Position 102, the 91st Male home and 21st in my age group out of 71! How far I have come! With this result and the PB for last week’s Parkrun I know that I can crack the Triathlon. I know I will never come first but I am constantly beating the guy I used to be hands down.

 

Happy Running.

Despite my fears in my last post the new training plan has fitted in brilliantly. Yes, it’s meant more time given up to exercise but, as I have no social life, it’s all good. The first step was putting it down on paper. I believe this is vital to anyone starting training as it shows the activities you are doing and let’s you make sure you are not doing the same things back to back. I also consider it a contract with yourself. Writing it down makes it real!


As you can see I have even found I could squeeze more in should I need to. For now though this is working that well that I have been able to squeeze in 3 swim sessions a week which will be vital as I have decided the next new activity I want to try is Triathlon. I hope to be competing (well, aiming for the middle of the pack) in the spring category. This involves a 400 m swim, 20 k bike and a 5 k run. I am fairly confident I can do this but haven’t a clue about things like transitions and the rule book looks really complex. Just another challenge though. 

Back to this week and I am pleased to announce a new PB for the Coventry Parkrun. I finally cracked the 24 minute barrier by clocking in at 23:53. A minor achievement considering I only really started running last June. 

Another piece of news is there is now a new bike in the stable. Buoyed by the thought of Triathlon, I thought it was time I got a race bike. Now this one really is a bargain bin special but, frankly, it’s all I could afford. My cousin has kindly donated so clip in pedals so it’s already had an upgrade though and it will be good enough for me. Took it for a spin out to Kenilworth on Sunday clocking up 26 miles or so and set PBs on most of the sections so it’s definitely faster than my mountain Bike already. 


Looking forward, this Sunday I will be running another 10k at Draycote water. Really hoping it stays dry after the last one but I will have fun either way. This may mean I swap parkrun for a bike ride Saturday. We will have to see. 

What ever you are doing this week I hope you find the fun in fitness. Take care. 

So, as my fitness has increased, I have found myself feeling like I am not doing enough of any one thing to stay fit for everything. This time last year this wasn’t a problem as all I did was cycling. If I was in the gym it was stationary bike or Spin class. If we had a rare sunny day it was back to the roads and trails.

As the year progressed though, I came to love running. Not just running though, distance running. Running a mile for me was a dream but now it’s like, a mile? That’s 8 minutes. That’s not training! As a result even 5k now feels like a cheat day.

So far that’s running and cycling, distances and time commitment increasing for both. If only it was just that though. As a result of a recurring calf injury I started seeing a physio. She basically told me all cardio had made my body enter “starvation mode”. As a result it had started cannibalising my lean muscles to preserve fat reserves resulting in weaker muscles. To rectify this I needed to both add strength training and take a rest day at least once a week. I had been running or cycling every day so this came as a blow. 

And now I want to add swimming. A brilliant full body workout. I’m not fast though so 1k is taking me 40 minutes. 

I work full time and am now well into my fitness instructor course so time is needed for revision etc. 

I know this sounds like an “oh poor me” post but, honestly, it’s not. I feel totally blessed that I am in a position to be even contemplating all this. The me of a year or so ago wouldn’t believe it’s possible. So from here on in it’s time to buckle down. If I have to train twice a day I will. Even jog to the swimming baths and back. I love training. It really is my life now. I cannot wait to be able to help others find this too! Am I addicted? Yes maybe a little but when I see the addictions other people have had I can’t help feeling this is one of the good ones.