Friday, 28 January 2011


It's definately safe to say that there has been very little in the way of updates to the site in the last couple of weeks.  That's not to say that I've been sat around doing nothing though.

My training has carried on pretty much as per schedule, with the miles increasing on a weekly basis.  I've taken my training schedule from 2:09 events and so far it seems to be doing me good.  I'm doing 6 sessions per week, that's giving a split of around 30 running miles and on average 15 miles during the weekly bike ride (although given the state of the forest at present this must surely equate to twice that accounting for the mud and general crapiness of trails at present).

I was starting to get concerned the training was getting a bit too much and that the feeling of being utterly knackered was the start of being overtrained.

Chatting to a hugely experienced runner and biker and going through my week with him has put my mind at rest in no uncertain terms though..

"So what you doing?"

"Sunday - long run
Monday - Easy run
Tuesday - Intervals
Wednesday - Bike Ride
Thursday - Hill Reps
Friday - Easy Run
Saturday - Rest"
"Sounds good to me, you've got the basics in there"
"I just feel knackered, I was riding wednesday and my legs felt properly shot to pieces"
"Are you sleeping?"
"like the dead"
"err, yes, alot"
"and you're doing the normal stuff like drinking and stretching?
"In that case, you aren't overtrained, you're just getting used to the increased exercise, crack on and you'll soon adapt"

It's funny, that simple conversation has made getting up for my morning run suddenly more bearable, knowing that I'm on the right lines, coffee will see me through til bed and that tired legs are just a by-product of what I'm doing.

Here's to tomorrows lie in (baby allowing) and another week of progress :o)

Friday, 14 January 2011

Repeat to Fade

I've pondered doing this post for a few days now.  I'm writing it though as I made a commitment to myself when I started the blog I would post regularly about the stuff that is going on in my life.

It came as a shock when, on the second day back after the Christmas break, my Company announced it was making redundancies.  The shock was excacerbated only two days later when I was told that my role was at risk.

In the days that followed I spent a fair bit of time with the usual potential job-loss emotions; anger, guilt, worry.. through all of them though, a quiet voice sounded the same message.. 'It's ok.. this is going to work out'.  As I researched jobs, redundancy law and subsequently spoke to friends, the quiet voice got louder.

I'm lucky, the people I have been priviledged to work with over the past decade are about as good as you get, each and every one of them are friends who have come with previously successful careers in training, recruitment, pyschology and a whole heap of other things.  As such, I have, at my disposal a huge source of information and resources - not many people have a sizeable number of professional business coaches in their phonebook who'll offer advice or guidance as a friend.  I've also had a fortune spent on me in training that means that I'll emerge, wide eyed and blinking, into a rather turbulant jobs market a hell of a better catch than I was 12 years ago.

The repeat to fade I spoke about is the result of this training.  The positivity and set of behaviours that have, without knowing, become muscle memory from repeated exposure are now surfacing.  An inner control of my emotions, my thinking is now clearer and, although I have a bit of a wobble at the odd time, I have a focus and plan in my head and a positivity of outlook that has surprised even my wife, who, quite unannounced told me how she was amazed with how well I was dealing with the whole shooting match.

Malcolm Gladwell investigated the factors which contributed to good becoming exceptional in his book Outliers.  In it, he makes mention of 10,000 hours (previously researched by Anders Ericsson) - that being the time which is required to become exceptional at something - from the Beatles playing over 1,200 times in Germany between 1960 and '64 and coming back a slicker group and ultimately a global success, to Bill Gates spending 10,000 hours programming computers prior to making his fortune.

I guess this has links to sport, repeat, repeat repeat.  It's the only way of engraining behaviours, reactions, confidence and thought processes for when they are needed.

Boil it down and it turns out the more you do stuff, the better you get.

I made mention a few weeks ago that I'm not a runner.  I'm still not, but each morning repeat is becoming easier and I relish the challenge of wet cold and dark mornings, where it's just me and the pavement.  Last week I posted the highest mileage of my training so far.  Better still, I did it without aches or pains, showing I have the potential to do more.  That's going to be the challenge for next week and I'm looking forward to seeing how I do.

My future awaits..

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Endura Laser Gilet Review

I've never got on with jackets whilst riding off road, the whole body effort of moving me and the bike around has always kept me warm in all but the coldest of weather.  Even during the very cold snap I found that anything long sleeved left me overheating within a short time.

Thing is, sometimes a base layer and riding top just isn't enough, so I started looking into the various gilets that were on the market.  A dizzying number of manufacturers offer a dizzying number of designs and many of them carry a very dizzying price tag.

I eventually settled on the Laser Gilet from Endura

I like Endura stuff, it's well priced and designed to just get on and do the job without fuss.  I've got their gloves, shorts, bibs and a few tops too, so I felt happy in handing over cash for another of their products.

Cost wise it's just shy of £30.00 and for that you get a well specced gilet.  It's made from a windstop material that claims to be shower proof.  The back has a large mesh panel, intended to reduce that horrible sweaty feeling you get whilst riding and wearing a hydration pack, below this is the windstop material, designed to be wipe clean (a UK designed feature for all that mud we seem destined to endure.. or maybe endura.. ahem).  It has reflective piping around the shoulders and sports a rear light hanger.. I get the feeling that's a roadie feature, but is a useful commuter addition for when a higher rear may be required.

Colour wise you've got the three options, black, blue (my choice) or hi-vis yellow.  Sizing goes from Small to XXL, I went with Medium and the fit is spot on for me.

When It arrived I was immediately taken with how light it seemed, Endura states it's designed to be light enough to pack away in a cycling jersey pocket and a quick test of this proves them correct.

I've used it during my last few rides and I love it, throwing it on over the top of my usual base layer/riding top combo I get that extra layer to fight off the cold during descents and the lack of material to prevent roasting myself during climbs.  The back mesh panel works well to manage body heat and the cut is just right to ensure it's a fit and forget item

My only real grumble is that it's pocket less, which I do find slightly frustrating on those odd occasions when I need to store something in a pocket but can't be arsed to stop and get my pack off.

Overall though, it's a real 9/10 bit of kit for me, it's packable nature and 'does what it says on the tinness' means I won't be heading out without it again.

Highly Recommended :)

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

2011, Here We Come

Look at any sports blog at present and you'll either be witness to New Years Resolutions, or lengthy posts about the  writers achievements for 2010.

I'm only jealous, 2010 for me included Mountain Mayhem and 24/12.. neither of which I won.

The idea of this site for me, was to chart progress toward any events I want to take part in.  2011 is lining up to be a pretty full calendar at this rate, with a fair number of different events having already caught my eye.

I guess the easiest thing for me to do is break it all down into category.

Biking Events
Wentwood 50 - 06 March
This is a new event and seems to close to miss, I've not ridden in the woodland the enduro is going to be taking place in, but a look on google earth and a search on the net has come up with a site explaining all about a downhill track there, nothing else on the XC side of things, but it's looking good and the organisers are promising a tough challenge.  My entry is already in for this one!

Mountain Mayhem - June
I'm umming and ahhing about this one at present, I've done it for the past 6 years, it's billed as the biggest 24hr event in the calender and is run only 20 miles or so from my door.  If I did it, it would be for tradition and the comaraderie, as a trail, I find it unrewarding.  It's also expensive - something like £70 per rider for a team of 4.  I guess this is a watch this space, I may get talked into it once the entries go live.

Twentyfour/12 - July
This is held in Newnham Park, Plymouth and gives the option of either doing a 24hr race or a 12hr.  We did the 12 hour last year in pairs and I loved it.  The course is challenging and fun enough to ensure each lap pushes you to go that little bit harder.

Forest Of Dean Enduro - September / October
My LOCAL local event.  I love it, ride the trail on a fairly regular basis and last year finished in 11th.  I want to go there this year and break top 10.

Running Events
Forest Of Dean Half Marathon - 27 March
I've done this once before and it's currently my training focus.  It's gaining popularity but I've got my entry in early and am working hard to try and beat my previous time

Runners World FOD 10k - 22 May
This is also a new event and is taking place the day after my birthday (hint hint), seems like a nice way to celebrate and it'll be a new experience for me having not done a 10k before.

Not sure here.. I'm kind of stepping into the unknown a little, a few which have caught my eye are;

Monmouth Tri - 10th April
Ross On Wye Tri - 12th June
Eastnor Tri - 03 July

That's quite a lot isn't it?, in fact, it's a hell of a lot.  That is obviously the dream list and I'm well aware
that life is going to get in and mix things up a little.  I've got concerns over the triathlons too, purely because I'm lacking in pool time and present, I'd hoped they were later in the season, but hey oh, push comes to shove I'll do just one this year and change the blog name to thatbikerunbikething ;)

Monday, 3 January 2011

Red Pill or Blue Pill?

I feel like Neo at present in that scene out of the Matrix where he is offered the choice of two pills, taking the blue will cause the story to end and he'll wake up in his own bed, or he can take the red pill, he'll stay in wonderland and be shown 'how deep the rabbit hole goes'.

I've had the best part of 3 weeks off work, spending the time with the family.  It's been fantastic, seeing Callum and Kate all day every day and doing family things.

Tomorrow though, is the first day back at work, unlike Neo, I don't have the choice and will instead be forced to take the blue pill, waking up in my normal life, with the normal routine to be re-established.

I guess the only change will be the new higher level of training I've been doing.  Getting through the day with the earlier starts that are required for the higher miles will probably going to take some getting used to, but I guess that's what they invented coffee for.

I think I've changed over the last couple of weeks, I now feel more like a runner, where before I was more content riding, I now love running.  I took my ipod with me for the first time in a fair while yesterday, within 10 minutes i was tearing out my earphones and shoving them into my pocket.  I've even got a massage roller for gods sake.

More tomorrow :)