Monday, 25 June 2012

OK Go...

An interesting week....apart from the most challenging week at work for years, I had an appointment with my physio on Wednesday. The great news is that I'm free to resume doing what the heck I like on the sporting front. (Without boring you with the detail, my two conditions can, we concluded, continue to be managed, just as I've got them both under control, through a strict and unending regime of exercises, and care with the diet, in terms of both inclusions and exclusions [ok, next level of detail; the inclusions are salmon, turmeric, green tea and ginger; the exclusions are non-organic dairy products as far as possible, red meat more than once a week, refined sugar]).

My first reaction, apart from massive relief of course, was that I should resurrect plans from earlier in the year to join Mendi Prouleur in the Pyrenees at the end of August. Then I realised that was madness - not only have I done no riding of note this year; not only do I not have access to a bike during the week at the moment (and for the foreseeable future), but I've also got plans for many of the weekends over the next couple of months. Weekends in Paris and the Shropshire hills with each of my two eldest kids, sister-in-law's wedding in Plymouth, another Brittany visit, and a posh and free weekend in London, all mean that I have no time to do the kind of extended rides needed to equip you for a week in the high hills. So, things must stay as they are, more's the pity.

I was bemoaning the fact last time that 2012 is a bit boring compared to previous years. Well, there might not be many landmark events, but there are plenty of smaller ones. This weekend was an example of that - it was 'Barnaby' weekend in Macclesfield, a 3 day festival that celebrates the olden days, when all the silk mill workers and their families decamped to Blackpool for the week. And what a fantastic amount of effort had gone into organising a multitude of events. Mrs M did loads, including a 2 hour paleocalligraphy course, otherwise known as how to read 15/16th century handwriting. I accompanied her to an evening of ludicrous cabaret-type magic on Saturday night, which was bonkers, enjoyable, and the filling in a half-marathon sandwich.

Yup, I managed 13 miles on both Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning in the hills, so 2000 feet of climbing each time as well as the distance. That's nothing on a bike, but it got the ticker going when I was trying to run, I can tell you. And there's going to be a whole load more of it...it fits in with the new work-dictated lifestyle, and I have to say, I enjoy it. Time to go and look up the marathon calendar for the rest of 2012....

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Fastidiosam anno

The title approximates to something like "a boring year". Queenie had her 'annus horribilus' back in 1992. Twenty years later, I'm just having a dull year. That's part of the reason why this blog has been pretty quiet over the last few weeks - there hasn't been much to write about. However, even the dullest period eventually yields something interesting, so here goes a random selection of things......

Let's start with the dull year bit. Every year since 2001 I can point to something relatively major or interesting that happened in that year, not all of it necessarily sport-related. I know you'll be fascinated, so the list looks something like:
2001 - moved to Chester, 9/ll, acquired the injury that stopped me playing football and eventually started me cycling
2002 - spent a month in Germany doing MBA, took kids to Disneyland Paris
2003 - split up with 1st wife, lived on own for 6 months, met current wife, started cycling
2004 - Etape du Tour, moved to current house, proposed to current wife in Barbados
2005 - got married, Gran Fondo Campagnolo, holidayed in Singapore & Vietnam
2006 - loadsa sportives, fantastic activity holiday with kids in wet mid-Wales
2007 - loadsa sportives, last time I bought a new roadbike, Etape de Legend, holiday in France with kids
2008 - loadsa sportives, watched 4 stages of TdF at roadside whilst doing a mega-tour of France
2009 - Lands End - JoG with Mendi Prouleur, decided to buy a house in France, watched end of TdF in Paris
2010 - bought a house in France, Raid Pyrenean
2011 - Monmarduman year: duathlon'd, marathoned, brilliant charidee ride from London to Paris
2012 - er, well, hummm, changed job? being injured?

So as you can see, 2012 does not sit particularly comfortably just yet. Actually, I shouldn't complain, for lots of reasons. First, having the eldest two kids just down the road, relatively speaking, in Wolverhampton, has meant lots of unexpected opportunities to see them, which will sure as heck disappear later this year when one goes back to Bath Uni, and the other toddles off, with a bit of luck, to Exeter Uni. Today, for example, we had a cracking 4 hours hill-walking together. And last night we watched the football and ate curry together. Humdrum, workaday events perhaps, but very precious to me, made particularly so in the knowledge they won't last much longer. So to those of you with young-ish / younger children, it's a terrible cliche, but do enjoy them now, because time does disappear before you know it. That said, they're a hell of a lot more entertaining at 21 than they were at 11.

Other reasons not to complain - I've not just participated in sportives, runs and so on in previous years, but I've trained quite hard for them, and towards the tailend of last year I was truly knackered - long term exhausted. Having a few months off, which has partly been necessitated by the injuries, is helping to address that. Though that could just be me retro-fitting facts to theory.

The other thing that's forced a relatively low level of training in recent times is the change of job - I'm finding it very tough, partly because I don't really know what I'm doing (mid-life change of career - I'm not sure yet whether it's advisable; watch this space), and hence working lots, but also because I'm away from home most of Monday to Friday at the moment, and I'm not working in a part of the world where I can just nip out for a quick run.

Yes, that part of the world is about 400 yards beyond the end of runway 1 at Heathrow. It's just a phenomenonally busy, noisy and not especially safe-feeling area. It's not where I'd choose to spend my life, and truth be told, I'm becoming very jealous of those of you who get to sleep in your own bed most of the time between Monday and Friday. I don't regret changing job at all - the petty bureaucratic nightmares and corporate groupthink have been removed, and for that I am mighty grateful. It's just that I'm questioning if this is what I want to do till I retire, where 'this' is solving other people's problems, being away from home, and sitting in a stinky air-conditioned office making up clever powerpoint presentations to justify being charged out at a ridiculous daily fee. I mean, the last roadbike I bought was cheaper than my daily rate (which I only get a fraction of, I stress). Hey ho.

Anyway, dear reader, I'm back in the saddle metaphorically and the TdF is only 2 weeks away, which always raises my spirits. Courage to those of you getting in the miles at the moment, I hope to re-join you mentally and physically over the coming months.  
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