Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Injury update

Well the last event nearly finished me off, that was 3 weeks ago & I still can't run or swim.  When I did the splits I ended up tearing my groin & worst of all I have torn the bottom muscle of my abdomen which means that virtually all forms of exercise are now out of bounds. 

I have managed to start spinning now & have been doing PT sessions still, but all I have been able to do is boxing & weights & my god how my shoulders have felt that.  At least the spin classes will maintain my fitness levels & endurance.

I have another week off from serious training over the Christmas period & look forward to hopefully getting back into real training in the New Year as I have a number of running & cycling events that I want to do.

A proper Christmas Tree!!

My close friends know me thoughts of the Christmas period & if not the hat might give you a clue!!

Needless to say I'll be glad when it's all over & the country can go back to being normal again & in my case as normal as I can be!!

Happy Christmas to you all & have a peaceful New Year xx

Monday, 26 November 2012

Guts 'n' Glory

Well what can I say, it didn't disappoint!!!  The website said that it would be wet & muddy, & my god was it!!

We left home early to make sure we had sufficient time to get to the start, had a good run through to Essex & got to within 200m of the car park, this is where the trouble started.  It had poured down with rain over the last few days & the car park (field) was waterlogged, so as the cars went on to it we all got stuck in mud.  Had to be pushed to a dry bit!!  This didn't dampen our spirits though

My 2 running companions Rosa & Hannah

Sadly because of the trouble with the car park the start time was put back by an hour & a half & didn't start until 12.30, not good when I start work at 2pm!!  We decided that we would do the 5k event as I needed to get away to get back to work.  

The first 2k was a gentle run to 'the pits' a series of clay pits full of mud & the water.  I can only describe the consistency as like runny porridge.  This went on for about 3k through chest high freezing water & up mud covered steep banks.  Dirty doesn't do it justice, but what fun!!

The last section is through a river, well a muddy swamp area, with fallen trees blocking the route which you go over or under.  It was during this stage that I did the splits 3 times (I can assure you unintentionally!) & now can barely walk!  Through this covered in thick slimey mud to a 1k assault course at the end, do you know how hard it is to climb out of a muddy skip??

Cold & wet, but still smilling!! xx

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Guts 'n' Glory

They say that tomorrow is another day, well next Sunday is another event, another 10k which looking at the rain we've had this week should be an interesting affair!

Watch the clip from last years & make your own mind up!!

Oh what fun it'll be!!!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Regents Park 10k

Well it's been a few weeks since my last update, sorry to say that I have torn my calf muscle & haven't really done anything for the past 3 weeks.

Sunday I had another challenge when my friend Rosa & I went to Regents Park to do a 10k run.  She is a very good & strong runner, where I just jog.  I was worried, my calf still feels a little knotted, but I decided to give it a go.

Rosa & I at the start

The route it's self was 3 laps of the the park, needless to say Rosa was off like a long dog at the start & I didn't see her to the finish.  I just plodded my way round, which I did find hard going as I hadn't run for 3 weeks & I was worried about my calf!

I also had the extra weight of the Movember to carry

Always smiling!

Just wished it was the finish line!!

As the weather is starting to turn, my bikes are now in the garage where they'll probably stay now until the new year.  I shall continue my usual routine of running, swimming, spinning & PT sessions through the winter & hopefully come the spring will be bike fit!!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Tunnel 2 Towers Run

Last Sunday, I was joined by my friend Rosa & we competed in the Tunnel 2 Towers Run (T2T).  This originates in New York & commemorates the life of a Firefighter called Stephen Siller who after the attacks of 9/11 did what most of us in the emergency services would have done & went straight back to work.  He couldn't get to his station because of the traffic, so donned his uniform & equipment & then ran 5k from where he could park, through the tunnel to Manhattan & ground zero to help others. Sadly he was one of the many emergency responders who died that day.

In NY they do an annual T2T run for the fire brigade widows & orphans.  London was the first major town outside the USA to copy this.

We met at Southwark Park & then ran through the Rotherhithe Tunnel & finished in the shadow of Canary Wharf on the Isle of Dogs.  It was a really good atmosphere, well organised & raised a great deal of money for the UK Firefighters charity.  Everyone who took part were friendly & chatty, it was a real 'fun run' as opposed to a race.  I didn't get the opportunity to remind the many fireman there that God created Policeman, so Fireman can have hero's, but I will next year!!

The 5K route

Rosa & I at the start

I was please with my run & for the first time maintained a sub 10 min mile over any distance.  Roll on the 18th November when I shall be attempting a 10k round Regents Park

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

A dirty weekend!!

Well some times keeping fit just has to be fun, there was no pressure on times for this one, when I went with a group of friends to Devon for a dirty weekend!!!

Some months ago Becky at work suggested that I do the Commando Challenge, which is a 10k obstacle course over the Devon countryside, with mud & water & more mud!!!

We drove down on Saturday morning for our ridiculous early morning start on Sunday & got down & dirty!!

The route is a 3k run over fields & roads to the main event, straight into a tunnel, which is pitch black inside & we couldn't see a thing, had to go by touch 'Oops sorry madam was that your bottom!', well that was my excuse!!

Out the other end & into Peters' Pool.  I think the expression on Becky's face tells you how cold it was!!

Freezing is an understatement!!

More water & loads more mud, but what fun.  Definitely going to do it next year!!



It was an amazing time & we laughed all the way round, I am grateful for the generosity of my friends for their humour & patients in waiting for me to catch up.  I'm now on a diet to lose a few stones before the next one!!.... Thanks guys xx

Footwear was a problem for the event, we all took boots with us as well, but decided on trainers & I'm happy to report I didn't get sucked off in a bog!!

One of the many tunnels we crawled through, they of course were pitch black when we did it!

The crocodile pit, smelly thick slimy mud

Entrance to the 'smartie tubes'

The question is would I do it again, too bloody right & I'll be there again next year for more of the same!!!  Come & join me should be a laugh!!

Our finishers medal

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Planes, Trains & Automobiles!!!

Well on Monday 6 of us left London & cycled to Dover in some truly miserable weather.  It started badly when as we went to pull away Dave had a flat tyre, not to worry that was quickly repaired.  Up & over that awful hill at Wrotham & onto the nice descent towards Maidstone, again no drama's.  We stopped at the transport cafe just shy of Ashford for a bacon sandwich & off again.  My how the rain came down & sadly Dave had another puncture.  This was mended & it was plain sailing to Dover.

We boarded the ferry to travel across to Dunkirk & as we went onto the car deck, I heard this noise from behind me to see Rae skidding across the deck on his arse. Car decks on ferries are sheets of metal covered in paint.  Not a good mix for thin wet cycling tyres at 110psi!!

No damage done, apart from a little hurt pride & we were off to Ghent, cycling through France into Belgium with wonderful flat roads.  All had purpose built cycle paths next to them & if the weather had been kinder it would have been a happier affair.

Rae did well, not falling off again until we stopped in a little Belgium village for a well needed hot chocolate to warm ourselves up with.  He hit his front brake on some parve & it was good night Vienna for him again.  Good news again no injury & we hardly mentioned it too him again.... much!!

A coffee stop in Belgium

Adam at John Frostbrug, which for me was a bridge too far!!!

It was then a very wet & cold ride to Ghent.  Nice hotel, good meal & a good nights sleep.  We had cycled about 155 miles

Day 2 was kinder towards us weather wise, no rain & no strong headwinds.  The plan was for 160 miles on day 2 & quite frankly after about 80 I dropped out & got in the van, I wasn't up to it.  However before I became the map reader as we went through Antwerp Dave had the best 'off' of the tour.  He of course blames the tramlines & he almost recovered it.  It was like a hop skip & jump of the fall, again fortunately no injury of any note.

We made our destination around 11pm in Arnhem, a few well deserved beers & then bed.  We were looking forward to a leisurely breakfast & then getting the train to Brussels & then the Eurostar home.  Well that was plan 'A'.  Just happened to catch the Dutch TV news channel & although I couldn't understand what they were saying,  worked out that the Belgium's were on strike & there were no trains..... Plan 'B' then.  Our day went from bad to worse!!  Adam had left by this time with the bikes in the back of his van

Plan 'A' - Train to Brussels & then the Eurostar 

Plan 'B' - Train to Lille & then the Eurostar home..... Belgium isn't a big country until you have to try & work a way round it by train. Would have meant getting a train to Germany & then Switzerland & I think Spain was even mentioned??!!!

Plan 'C' - Hire a car, drive to Lille & get the Eurostar home - Spoke to Herts & yes they had a 5 seater car & yes we could leave it at Lille station.  Fantastic we were in business.  Got the bus to Arnhem & found the hire company.  Booked the car & just about to sign the agreement, when I thought hang on the Dutch don't use Guilders anymore & that can't be the price in Euros.  They wanted €750 to leave the car in France.............. I was lost for words

Plan 'D' - Right we'll get a train to the Hook of Holland & get the ferry to Harwich & then a train into London.  Got the Soup Dragon to check the last train times from Harwich back to London & we doubted we would be back in time as the crossing takes 7 hours.

Still laughing at our situation!

Plan 'E' - Buy a second hand car & just leave it at Lille?

Plan 'F' - Buy bikes & cycle to Lille (Yes we actually thought of that)

Plan 'G' - Get a train to the edge of the Belgium boarder & wait until 10pm when the trains started to run again & have a shandy or 2?!

Plan 'H' - Book into a hotel & stay an extra night

Plan 'I' - Get a cab.... silly would be so expensive!

Plan 'J' - Train to Schiphol airport & fly back, a quick check on the iphone & it would be about £75 each.  

So we merrily jumped on the train to Schiphol Airport & went to the British Airways desk & tried to book the tickets for £75.  Needless to say they wanted to charge us over €350 each..... thieving bar-stewards

Plan 'K' - We went to the KLM desk & managed to get the flights for €200 each & had a very pleasant flight back to Blighty

I got the DLR to Woolwich & then a bus home

I think over the past 2 days with the exception of a helicopter & a submarine we have done all forms of transport!!!

We did laugh about it all day though & certainly cheered a few people up with our tails of woe!!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

I finished!!

Well what can I say, that was by far the hardest thing I have ever done - harder than running a marathon.  It started badly when I had to jump in to the dock.  I'm not a confident swimmer & daft as it may sound I didn't like jumping in as I normally walk into the lakes?!  When I jumped in I managed to dislodge my goggles which then kept filling up with water as I started to swim, so I did most of the swim with my eyes shut. The route is an up & back & as I started the downward section I got cramp in both calves, so couldn't use my legs.  I was overtaken by the following group which was horrendous as they literally swim over the top of you, this forced me a few times to drink the dock!!!

It was as cold as it looked!!

I was so glad to get back on dry land, the water was freezing & I was shaking, but I had done the bit I was dreading the most.  I should have kept my wetsuit on for the bike ride & run, it was horrendous, howling winds & heavy rain.  The roads were slippery & I saw a few riders come off so caution was very much the priority for the day.  I was also amazed by the amount of riders that punctured & didn't carry a spare inner-tube??

Onto the run, which was actually a nice route, as the rain had been that heavy one bit there was an additional water feature for about 12ft, so the run was almost a steeplechase!! God that was cold as well.

I crossed the line & saw a familiar face smiling & cheering me on, thanks Becky for waiting xx

Don't let the first place step fool you, I think I was last!!

The all important finishers medal!!!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

It's D Day!!

Well not quite like 1945, but still the biggest one day challenge I have done yet.  The preperation has all been done, I checked my bike over last night adjusted & tightened the screws, tyre pressures done.  I can now do no more, I shall be donning the wetsuit about 1.30pm & starting my swim at 2.05pm.  I think because of the weather I'm looking at about 3hrs & 45 mins the breakdown is as follows

1500m swim  50mins

Transition 1   10 mins

40k bike ride  1hr & 30 mins

Transition 2    5 mins

10k run          1hr & 10 mins

This gives me a total time of 3 hours & 45 mins.  Well that's the plan!!!

I'll post pics & my times when I finish.......wish me luck & thanks for the messages of support xx

Thursday, 20 September 2012

D Day -2!!

Well just doing last minute preperation, not going to the gym as I've been told to taper.  I should have actually started training first I suppose!!

Looking ahead to Sunday now & I thought I check the 3 day weather forecast.  I wish I hadn't, it's forecast to be heavy rain & high winds.  On reflection I will now be happy to finish in under 4 hours!!!


I am looking forward to Sunday & to be honest can't wait to just get going, I'm sure I'll feel a lot more comfortable then.  I am worried about the mass start for the swim, but I would imagine after a 100m or so the group would have thinned out & I'll have some clear water round me.. well I hope anyway

The bit I'm not looking forward too

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

11 days to go!!

It's now only 11 days until I attempt my next adventure, which is the London Tri-athlon.  This involves a 1500m swim, 40k bike ride & then a 10k run.

I'm not overly worried about the ride or the run, but openwater swimming is something I'm not confident at & to be honest am dreading a little.

To help over come this, I went to Leybourne Lakes today, donned my wetsuit & then did a little swim, more to boost my confidence than actual training.  After a short time I started to feel more relaxed in the water & dare I say it quite enjoyed the experience

I do doubt my own abilities in water so will be back there again tomorrow where I hope to swim a little longer & hopefully a little faster??

They're bringing back Dallas, I could do the remake of the Man from Atlantis?

The cycling & running seem to be going well too & as my PT instructor has decided to grace the UK with an appearance I shall be consentrating on my core & shoulders???

In actual fact I managed to drag Debbie down to the lakes with me & we did the 1350m circuit

Is rubber ever a good look???

The staff at David Lloyds (my gym) are getting in on the act of standing on balls (see older posts!)

Way to go Hannah!!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Post Olympics

My dear reader (Steve)

Again sorry for the lack of posts, but the Olympics have been keeping me very busy at work & I have hardly had any time to do any training.  It's fair to say that I am now dreading the London Tri-athlon in 2 weeks & think if I don't drown on the swim, the bike & run will finish me off!!!

I have started to run again & bought my self a new pair of trainers that seem to make me go faster & the good news is my knee hasn't been hurting.  There is even better news, I seem to be getting quicker & have been running at under 10 min miles.  This is hardly going to impress many of you, but for me is a big milestone as I usually ran at about 12 min miles.  I would like to thank Rosa & Gerry for being my targets to chase when I'm running!!!

I now have 2 weeks so will be at the gym or the lakes as often as I can.  I should also really monitor what I eat & drink.  A few pounds off will make some difference!!

I need to lose weight!!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

What to do next??

Well dear reader, as you may be aware I've now cycled Lands End to John O'Groats 3 times & I've always said that I would continue to do it until I've seen the top of Ben Nevis.  The last 3 times I've cycled passed it it's been covered in cloud (well rain really!!)

This year when we did the 3 peaks challenge, the weather was glourious & I have photographic evidence that I've seen the top!!

The top of the 'Ben'

This of course has lead me to another quandry, what do I do next.  I really enjoy LEJOG, but there is so much more I can do??

I have been contemplating this & decided to enter a tri-athlon.  Which I did a few weeks ago with my friends from the gym, Tony, Debbie, Tony (differnt one), Phil, Marcella, Anne & John.  I really enjoyed it.  I know I'm not the fastest thing on 2 legs, but it was a hoot!!

Leaving T1

400m swim, 27k bike ride & 8k run completed!!

Debbie & Tony (no not that one, the other one) at the end

I enjoyed it so much that I have no entered the London Tri-athlon in September.  It's a much longer route & involved an open water swim.  So a few weeks ago because of work I had to go to Plymouth  so called in at the Tri-UK shop on Yeovil.  They have a swimming pool, that powers a jet of water at you so I could be measured for & buy my wetsuit (see below)

If anyone mentions whales or Japenese shipping I'll not be impressed

It isn't that flattering!!

Bring out the gimp?!?!?

We have a couple of ideas for next year & indeed later this year.  On the 1st October we are cycling from London to Arnhem (about 330 miles) & we plan to do that in 24 hours in one hit.  I'm also looking at spending a couple of days cycling some of the iconic climbs of Le Tour in mid October. I'm thinking of Col du Telegraph, Col du Galibier & Alpe d'Huez on the first day.  Mont Ventoux & Col du l'Homme Mort (Dead Mans' Pass) on the second day???

Getting ready for the Alpes

Sadly the bloody Olympics is now getting in the way & with the debarcle with G4S I have a feeling my days off will be cancelled to cover so training will be hit & miss

The Olympics can bugger off!!

Friday, 8 June 2012

We did it (well 9 did!)

Well the challenge was to do the 3 peaks, Snowdonia, Scarfel Pyke & Ben Nevis oh yes & cycle the 450 odd mile inbetween.  We had set ourselves the time limit of 72 hours.  I should stress before I start that I never had the intention of doing the hills, my knees wouldn't take it.

The walkers left Snowdonia at some silly time in the morning to walk up (I was still in bed) & we met them at the bottom & started our little adventure as a group of 16.  The first days ride was uneventful covering something like 90 miles to our stop over,  just north of Liverpool.  We got there around 6pm.  We had a few hours rest a British Army spagbol & the off on the first night stage to the base of Scarfell Pyke.  It's weird cycling at night as a peleton as you can't really see the start of your wheel in the lights, which makes it hard to get as close as you can to the rear wheel of the ride in front.  (If you cycle like this you use 20% less energy)

We cycled through to Lancaster & then the walkers made their way to the Pyke, we fortunately went to the hostel to sleep arriving at 5am.  A quick shower & then bed.  We were lucky the walkers came in some 8 hours later!!  We left there at 8pm for the 160 miles to Loch Lomad, just north of Glasgow

A tiring ride which was made worse by the useless Scottish Youth Hostel Association who we had told we would be arriving early morning, grabbing a few hours sleep & then leaving for Fort William.  We had a phone call the day before telling us we couldn't check in before 2pm because of Health & Safety???????? They are winkers (I think that's the correct spelling) So after a few hours sleep on the grass, we were off again.

We arrived in Fort William around 8pm, grabbed some food & the walkers were off, finally getting back to the base of the climb about 5ish in the morning.  9 people did it in 70 hours, 22 mins & 15 seconds, an outstanding achievement

Somewhere in Wales

Just north of Glasgow & I let the side down with the wrong top!!

Scottish Youth Hostal Assoc should be ashamed of themselves, we slept in a park

Almost finished climbing for the day in the Highlands

Fort Wiliam, where we arrived at the base of the Ben

At the Commando Memorial Splean Bridge with the riders, walkers & crew

Friday, 18 May 2012

3 days to go!!

Dear all,

It's now only 3 days until we leave to drive to Wales for what will be the hardest physical challenge I have faced.  To cycle 450 miles in 72 hours, with 3 hills thrown in for good measure.  There are 16 of us cycling this & our aim is to get at least one person under this time.  A rival team from Greenwich did it a few weeks ago in 76 hours so we have to beat them!!

I will try & update my twitter page with updates as we go up the country & as most of you will be tucked up in bed when we ride at night I have added on the top right of the page the feed so they will appear (If you are on twitter you can follow me at @philipclare or we do have a dedicated site at @X3peaksbiathlon where a number of different people will update)

Should be fun!!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Well it's now only 3 weeks until we start our next little trip, well it's only half the length of the country so it must be a little one??!?

I've not really been on my bike much, the monsoon season is upon us & where I have cycled great distances in the rain, I just don't enjoy it anymore so am not doing it!!

I have been keeping up with my training & been doing spin, swim & running at the gym along with my Personal Training sessions with Debbie

Tuesday & Wednesday, I had a big test which was I had to undergo my annual training for public order & off to Gravesend I went.  I got the 500m shield run out of the way, coming in last at 2:37 (you have 2:45 to get round).  I did it so was pleased & then the fun & games started.  It's often referred to as riot training for obvious reasons & a friend from the gym was horrified when I told her that they throw petrol bombs at you.  The instructors try to make it as realistic as possible & I did go up in flames at one stage!!

A pretend riot!!!

It does get warm!!

Having got this out of the way for another year, I am now spending the next few weeks concentrating on my cycling.  I am out tomorrow for a 30 miler & will go out again next week for at least a 50 miler

Sadly then the Olympics will be upon us & my home life will cease until the 17th September, which will give me a week to prepare for the London Tri-athlon.  

Oh I nearly forgot I have entered the ballot for next years London Marathon!!

Friday, 27 April 2012

In 4 weeks time!!

The training has been continuing but off the bike, been going to the gym regularly & swimming, spinning & running when ever I can.  It would appear that we now have a monsoon season in England between Winter & Spring, so the bike is staying firmly in the garage until this is over

The bikes are mating, I'm sure of it!!

I've continued to do my PT sessions with Debbie & as ever she is pushing me to my max.  I have started to see results & am getting better at all the routines she has me doing.  I still hate doing the plank & always will, but love the boxing

It whilst round at Debbie's that I told of her of a woman at the gym that stands on a medicine ball & does squats.  I think I've started a craze??!!

This is how it started!!

Wendy refused to be beaten by me!!

Linda got in on the act!!

Rosa wasn't going to be out done!!

Debbie had to do it, well she is our PT trainer!!

It's now only 4 weeks until 16 of us from work attempt the 3 peaks challenge & cycle the 450 miles in between.  Aiming to do it as near to 72 hours as possible.  Watch this space for more information!!