Monthly Archives: November 2012

2013 Challenges

Originally the plan was to swim Windermere next year – so my plans were quite simple: keep swimming. Now, having done it a year early I need to revise those plans, or at least reconsider them.

Windermere was obviously a big thing for me so I’d like to do some significant challenges and not just drift back into my old slobbish ways. That said, training for Windermere took a lot of effort and time and I need to be able to do other things with my time (not least family and work).

The compromise I’ve reached is that I’d like to set myself some big challenges for 2014 and that 2013 will be a bit of a “transition” year. I’m not fully decided on what the 2014 challenges will be yet, but it may be (and please don’t tell anyone just yet) a half ironman triathlon (I’ve done the Olympic distance previously) and another marathon (I’ve done two – London and Dublin – but way back in 2004).

So, to prepare for those, 2013’s challenges look a bit like this:

– More swimming. I want to re-do Bala and Coniston and to beat my times. So I’m aiming for 4hrs 15mins for Bala and sub-3hrs for Coniston. I also want to do the 7 mile Ullswater swim.

– Triathlons – I’d like to do at least three sprint triathlons next year. Luckily for me there are two organised in my village every year (run by One Step Beyond).

– Running – To help me focus on the running a bit more I’ll enter at least two 10k events.

– Cycling – Of a triathlon, it’s the cycling element that I enjoy the least, so rather than ignore it I need to “face the fear”, so I’ll enter at least one long cycling event.

– Three Yorkshire Peaks – on top of all of that I’m going to do the Three Yorkshire Peaks next year. It’s the year I turn 40 and an old mate of mine and I decided a couple of years ago that we’d do something to celebrate this landmark year. What we really wanted was an excuse to have a weekend away drinking beer, but this attempt to prove that we can keep up with the youngsters appeals to us as well.

Hmmm, busy year then 🙂



Filed under Cycling, Running, Swimming

1,000kms update

After saying that I thought achieving my 1,000kms for the year target was looking unlikely I decided to go for it and see if I could actually achieve it.

At the time of writing that last post it looked like a ridiculous target to aim for. Of course it was possible, but as I previous said – unlikely. It looked a little like, oh I don’t know, someone telling me in early July that I’d be able to swim Windermere in September. You know, the kind of ambition that was way beyond … wait a minute. So that’s when I decided to have a real go at it.

So far I’ve done well. As of Sunday evening I had done over 65kms and was 13.88kms above the required “run-rate”. To put that into perspective, in no other month had I managed more than 100kms, yet in 11 days I am 2/3 of the way there.

But now here’s the problem – I’m currently at the start of a week in London with work and that means no gym and as my leg is injured, no running either. So this week I won’t add to my goal and by the time I wake up (at home) on Saturday morning I’ll be 14.44kms behind the required run-rate instead.

I did consider bringing my kit to London, but apart from the extra hassle of packing it and carrying it around, I couldn’t see when (yet alone where) I would go. I don’t know any gyms around here, I’m not staying in a hotel that has one and as I said, I can’t run at the moment. On top of that, I expect that I’ll actually be out every night I’m here – I’m not complaining about this bit, just stating it.

To top it off, I’ve got a week away in New York with work at the end of the month. I am taking my kit with me there and I hope they have a gym in the hotel, if not this 1,000kms goal will be a bit more than unlikely I’m afraid.


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Filed under Cycling, Running, Swimming

Do I say anything?

I don’t do it as often as I’d like to, but I love doing the school run with my son.

We try to have breakfast together as a family most mornings, so if I do the morning school run it’s a great extension of that. We’re lucky enough to be close enough to school to be able to walk, so unless the weather is terrible (or I have to dash off in the car) that’s what we do. On the way to school we try to chat about the day ahead, but it’s usually random stuff like “Daddy, do you believe in God?” – and other easy to answer questions. And then we get to school and off he goes to kick a football around until the bell goes.

On the way home from school, he’s a bundle of over-excited and over-tired energy, just waiting to be released and run around like crazy for a bit. For the first few minutes there’s no sense from him and any question about school is met with a “it just flew out of my brain” answer as he decompresses from a day sitting still and being quiet. But then as we walk and talk and he’s eats his snack we chat about something and nothing.

As I say, I love it.

Or at least I did until the last few times I’ve done it when I’ve had the misfortune to bump into another dad who is seriously getting on my nerves.

We haven’t spoken directly, although he always seems very friendly and polite to other parents in general, but the attitude, demeanour and tone of voice he displays to his children angers me every time I see him. I’ve never heard a friendly word spoken to his kids, but worse than that he regularly tells them to “shut it”, “be careful or you’ll get a clout”, “do as you’re bloody told”. But it’s not just the words it’s the tone and aggression that he uses. It is honestly something I find completely inappropriate and especially unnecessary on school premises.

I find myself having to bite my tongue and I really, really don’t want my son exposed to it.

So my question is – should I say something to the school to see if they can get him to stop? Or should I even approach him directly?

What do you think?



Filed under Thoughts

Wow, read this – it brought a tear to my eye.

Tri Fatherhood

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

500,000 babies are born early every year in the United States. In 2008 you were two of them, Max and Kate. You were 10 weeks early.

That experience and the months preceding your birthare memories that mommy and I will carry with us forever. Sometimes we still wrestle with the hard times, but we’re trying to let go. For our family everything worked out and we eventually brought home healthy babies. It wasn’t easy though and there were days and weeks when the outlook wasn’t good. But we brought you home.

Not everyone is so lucky. A baby dies every :30 seconds from complications of prematurity. The thought is overwhelming.

November is National Prematurity Awareness Month. I wanted to do something personally to raise awareness. Prematurity affected my life. It shaped it in many ways.

I wanted to say thank you to the doctors…

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1,000kms unlikely

One of my key challenges was to complete 1,000kms of activity this year. This is based around swimming, cycling and running (the triathlon disciplines) and is also based on a complex algorithm to balance them all out – actually it’s not complex – but instead of repeating it here, you can read it on this page.

Anyway, as things stand it’s looking unlikely.

At the beginning of November I was 283.22kms short of my target – which equates to about 4.64kms per day or around 140kms per month. Given that even on my best month so far I’ve not passed 100kms you can see why this is looking improbable.

Of course this situation is not my fault*. No, circumstances have conspired against me. I was doing okay for the first three months, then my workload got the better of me in April and again in June. Then after a good summer (including Windermere at the beginning of September) I was really ill in the middle of September. And then a holiday in October didn’t help. So now I’m left in this position.

*I accept that it is completely and wholly my fault.

For the rest of November and December I have to do about 30 minutes of exercise every day, or about 45 minutes per day if I do it 4 times a week. Doesn’t sound crazy, but it’s a LOT more than I’ve managed so far, so we’ll see.


Filed under Cycling, Motivation, Running, Swimming

Swimming to work

According to this article on the Guardian and idea to provide London’s canals with a swimming lane has been mooted. This would allow commuters to swim to work.

I love the idea and a 2-3 mile swim every morning (in the summer) would be a great way to start the day. It would certainly beat going to the gym and what a great way to see a bit more of London and to commute to work.

However, the comments on the Guardian piece don’t seem very complimentary.

It’s a shame as it’s ideas like this that eventually lead to real and practical uses for the canal network. You have to have the “wacky” idea first and then the more practical ideas develop from that. I would have thought that Guardian readers may have been a little bit more sympathetic to it.

In any case, it’s not likely to come to pass as it was all part of a competition to come up with new ideas to reclaim public space – and it wasn’t even the winner. However there were some great other entries, you should take a look here.

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Falling in love again…

I don’t want to get too personal, but I think I might be in love… and I don’t mean with my wife.

I’m in trouble, or could be. It’s a former love that has re-entered my life, one that previously disappeared with unrequited issues. And this is possible THE love of my life.

I can’t stop thinking about them and I feel a constant hole in my life. Of course I have moments where I forget, but then the memory hits me even harder.

I’m not sure what to tell my wife and worst of all I’m pretty sure that the feeling isn’t returned… mainly because it’s a city. It’s Vancouver I’m in love with.

Those of you that know me in real life will have heard me “banging on” about Vancouver on numerous occasions. I’m sorry to have bored you with it, but I love the city. I love the views and the backdrop of the mountains, I love the multi-cultural mix, but most of all I love the vibe, the feeling and the freedom I feel there to be me. And after a ten-year gap I went back over recently.

Of course I wanted to share my love for the city, but how do you show all that to someone in a 3-day visit?

That is the problem I had when I took my wife and son over for their first ever trip to Vancouver. And it had predictable results.

I wanted to try and recreate what it meant to me to live there, but that meant sitting and stopping and absorbing and we didn’t have time for that. They wanted to see “things” and it isn’t the things that I love about Vancouver. On top of that the weather didn’t help much. We were visiting at the wrong time of year and although we were lucky with the rain, it was still Vancouver in autumn (or fall) and rain and clouds are to be expected.

In the end they thought it was okay, you know, quite nice.

I still love it though, I just couldn’t fully show why. It was all I remembered – not more and possibly a bit less (the economic downturn has hit here as well), but just like a former lover that has “weathered” a bit, you appreciate the changes, enjoy exploring the differences, but most of all feel the sense of “right” when you are together and just enjoy spending time together.

Now I have to find a way to go back – and I will be going back as soon as possible.

Vancouver, from Kits beach – this is why I love it.

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Trickle Treating

Two Draculas

So who else was out last night Trick or Treating (or “trickle treating” as my lad’s been calling it all week)? I went out and loved it. I’ve always been slightly dismissive of Hallowe’en as an American holiday and not something we did over here, but it was great to see the kids enjoying themselves and the adults getting involved.

It was just my son and his friend from school who went around together, both dressed as Dracula. I did the typical dad trick and hung around at the back to check they were safe. They were.

We just went up and down our street and we’re lucky that we live on a quiet street. There aren’t many kids around, but there are enough for most houses to know what was expected of them – and nearly every house we went to joined in, pretended to be scared and most importantly offered sweets. Only three houses didn’t play – one just said she didn’t have anything and shut the door, one didn’t even open the door and the third had clearly forgot what day it was and was very apologetic.

All said a good night and a tradition that I’m happy to be part of in future years.

Trickle Treating stash

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