Friday, August 30, 2013

Summer has almost gone...

Wow, where has the summer gone?
We’ve had a good one to be fair. Since the beginning of June, the lake has been warm enough for boardies and an impact vest, so it’s going to be a shock to the system when temps start to drop and I’ll have to put a wetty on.
Our trip north of the border was a good one. 
Edinburgh was bonkers but I should have realised that as the Fringe was on. Theatrics freak me out at the best of times and so being at the Fringe in August was absolutely mental - Thespians all over the place; each one trying to out-ham the next.
Fort William was more my scene, with more space and some great places to explore. No mountainbiking (as planned) but a brilliantly bonkers hotel and some good walks.
Dumfries was the final destination. Not as mountainous as Fort William but some amazing sights. The place we stayed was a tad weird. Love a spot of caravanning but a friend had arranged for us all to stay on a holiday park and sadly it had no soul….in fact it seemed to have destroyed the village in which it was set. Away from the site and there was a some brilliant mountainbiking, cycling, castles, abbeys and even a spot of wakeboarding at Loch Ken - this setting was just beautiful (the red coloured water did freak me out a bit to start).
Would I go back to Scotland - hell, yes! I just know a few places to avoid now.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thinking of dad...

Do you know, I'm ashamed to say that I forget the actual day and even the year that dad died. We always celebrate his life at the end of June and this weekend we'll be doing it again - heading to Beer for the day, hire a boat, enjoy the sunshine and have a picnic in the bay. He was a great dad (obviously the best) and I miss him every day but I now think about all the great things that he did and how he made me the man that I am (thanks dad).

It's days like this that I think of dad a little more than usual (ignoring the fact that it's the anniversary of his death) as it looks as though Lisa and I are going to have a crack at buying an actual house. We've lived in our little flat for the last 8yrs and I think it's about time that we bought a place with a garden and stairs actually within it.

Dad was great at these sorts of things. I remember buying my first proper car and thought I'd got a great trade-in deal for my car etc. Took my dad the next day and without any effort, he managed to get the price down on the car I wanted and I got to sell my existing car privately .... he saved me about £1,000. He managed the same earlier in my life when I rented my first house at Uni. The man was a bartering legend and I have no idea how. He had a way of listening that just resolved all problems. Full of quiet advice and very worthy tales, he truly was one of a kind. Quietly confident in his own worth and strong beliefs, he made an impression wherever he went (whether you had the same political/social views as him or not).

It's still strange that you can Google Granville Baldwin and you'll find a stack of info about how he was the first Lord Mayor of Exeter (very proud son).

Thanks for being my Dad.....I just wish it had been for a wee-bit longer.

Friday, May 31, 2013

London 2 Brighton....

Bloody hell, I know it's stupid to say but running 100km in one go is hard work. I'd set myself up for a challenge by deciding to run the equivalent to 2.5 x-country marathons in one go but I don't think I'd realised how hard it was going to be. I was hoping to get it done in 15hrs but in the end it took me 17hrs to get the deed done (including a number of check-in/rest points).

Prior to running the full 100km/63miles I think the furthest I'd run would have been one of my regular 1/2 marathons. I'd upped my general fitness/stamina and was running more frequently but I hadn't put in the longer distance work, so I was putting my faith into the fact that I was feeling fit. What I hadn't planned for was how much of the distance was actually proper x-country. Only about 5% was on roads, a whole chunk of it was on bridleway but the vast majority was full on nasty X-country. If any of you have done the Dursley Dozen in the past, much of the route was like that and in some places I really hated it - it was wet and flooded in places and impossible to run through.

The oddest thing to hear me say is that the first full marathon distance was actually OK. I felt pretty good as I crossed what would be a finish line after just over 4hrs of running. Even the second marathon distance wasn't too horrible but the last 1/2 marathon distance was just about slogging-it through to the finishing line. There was nothing pretty about it in the last 20km and very little (if any) running. My left hip had frozen, the sun was going down (it was pitch black for the last hour) and I'd foolishly left my head-torch behind, thinking that I'd have been in the pub for a hour by the time I eventually finished.

In the final push, I teamed up with another runner - he provided the light and I provided the motivation (so glad I caught up with him as with out his light I don't know how I'd have managed some sections) - and together we crossed the line. Both a little bit broken but at a running pace we were cheered into the finish area. I was scanned in, received my finishers t-shirt and slugged-back a glass of bubbles. Lisa ran over and hugged me and she then took me to get my finishers meal....I think I only managed to chew down about 3 chips and a couple of mouthfuls of burger.

Will I be doing it again next year.....I thinking NOT!

Don't forget though, if you still want to sponsor me, check out my justgiving page.

This was at about the 40km stage.