Sunday, December 31, 2006

2007's eve

Well I wonder just how many blog entries around the globe will be doing exactly this and commenting on the eve of 2007?? More than a couple I'd wager... is a New Year really all that? You can make resolutions any time, you can see old friends and family any time, you can get plastered (blind) drunk any time, you can get caught up in mass excitement / depression any time... why is one day any better for all of the above than all other 365 days a year?

I read a great holiday book this festive season... Danny Wallace's "Join Me: The True Story of a Man Who Started a Cult by Accident"... quite the inspiration about how to make a difference every day, and how he gave many people the 'excuse' / 'nudge' into committing random acts of kindness in their daily lives. I reckon its well worth a read, and highlights just why actions on one day isn't terribly valuable its what you do every day.... ah, but anyway "Happy New Year" should you find this amongst those millions of New Years blog entries!! ;o)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

End of the year summary

Well I can't seem to migrate my blog to the new blogger just yet, but maybe in the new year I'll get hold of those new blogging tools.

This year, delivered rowing ups and downs, very little running, an awful lot of movement (not just cycling to work nearly every day), getting married and posting really quite a bit (a few too often from work probably). My blog began the year getting visitors but a brief dilly-dally with AdSense put an end to that, perhaps they thought I'd sold out... I don't think I was trying to do that I was more curious about it than anything... it was so rubbish I ended the experiment and re-gigged my blog (complete with new title, i.e. "on the run" to "on the move").

The main (and in fact) only regular reader is now my wife... who I seem to entertain with a high degree of success ;o) Perhaps the new year will entertain a few more 'customers'... the blog will continue to chart my activities as I try to get fit and even that little bit slimmer (not sure about that goal, fitter may have to do).

My goal of losing a stone of weight by my birthday had stalled as predicted with the festive feasting, but the damage doesn't look too bad (more on that to follow...).

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Continuing progress ;o)

The great weight challenge is still moving in the right direction, with a lovely 14st 13.5lbs this morning, sneaking below the 15st mark, nice! The real question remains though... how long will I stay below the 15st threshold?

Historically I haven't been able to stay below 15st for more than a few weeks... hopefully with the training having stepped up with the rowing squad at the moment, my biggest fear though is Christmas excess. Even eating less than normal the calories in most Xmas food is higher than in average fodder!! We'll just have to see where I get to by the first week in January I guess.

Training is going well, although the politics of the place get a little grating, but its all part of the merry go round I guess... I'm just gonna keep on training and keep on getting fit and staying on the move :o)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Progress ???

Well on Sunday I measured progress and I am moving in the right direction, 15st2lbs is lighter than I've been in quite a while. Its not going to be easy getting below 15st, I've only dipped down there in the last 5 years, and not stayed there very long.

Cutting out the snacks and doing some core exercises to target the male pattern fatness around the middle / kidney area, seem to be doing the trick. If I manage to keep this going it would be something a bit special as Christmas is normally a gaining rather than losing period. Its nice to be in the positive feedback loop of losing a little weight and feeling the benefit of exercise at the same time, each reinforcing the other :o)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

70 odd days to go

I have recently set myself a 'little' challenge... namely to lose a stone by my birthday. This could prove difficult given my weight loss trend over the years has involved a consistent Christmas period 'wobble'. The challenge is my way of trying to combat this 'wobbly' phase of the year and see me through to the spring in good shape.

With all the training, I am figuring that the only real change necessary is to stop the snacks and watch the food intake a tad... sounds simple but for a man with a 2-3 chocs, pack of wine gums, 3-4 soft drinks habit a day its gonna be a bit of a struggle.

Way I am going about it? With prepared food from home, a set daily menu if you will... this combined with four meals a day... that's right four... breakfast, lunch 1, lunch 2 and dinner. The trick I aim to employ is the two part lunch... one at eleven a.m. roughly and the other at two p.m. roughly... cutting lunch in two and smoothing out the consumption rate and any energy / glucose dips through the working day.

We'll see what happens... start weight was 15st 7lbs.

Very, very on the move

The last few weeks have been a little hectic, training and even competing. I have taken part in the Cardiff (Taff) Head of the River and the Fours Head of the River (Thames, London), both in the end with the same crew.

Cardiff (Taff) Head of the River went okay, though we were beaten by the same crew minus me with a different bloke in three, which personally was disappointing. Not bad given patchy training boat time wise (i.e. very little time in a four, or any boat!!).

Fours Head of the River (Thames, London), great experience, its one of the bigger races in the calendar, I am happy that I got the chance to do it. It was all a little too last minute, but I feel I gave a good account of myself. Our coxed four did it in 21:25.51 only a few seconds behind our coxless four and quad (which was brilliant)... great result again given the last minute changes and my patchy preparation (fit enough, just again not enough time in a boat!).

Winter training starts proper now I guess.... :o)

Friday, November 03, 2006


Did the weekly pain of the 20/20/20 last night in the first cold snap of winter, although the cold inspire more personal bests...
First run = 17m47s, Ergo = 5085m, second run = 18m55s

Fantastic, I can feel the fitness building and coming back, there are gains each week in all aspects.

200th post

I have nothing to add to this post except it is my 200th :o)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Training - Rowing bikes???

My legs are really feeling sore after the ergo test and circuit in one night, I think that was trying to be a little too hardcore!! My calves are ridiculously tight, although the rest of me is suffering more mildly.

Perhaps I should consider one of these as cross-training type devices...
rowing bikes of the world [follow the link to see a whole lot more 'special' machines]

Monday, October 30, 2006

Cheering squad - a requirement?

Tonight I endured a session that showed the value and benefit of a crowd or cheering squad... I did a 2k ergo test by myself... it was mentally much harder than having someone cheering over your shoulder. The lack of shouting and encouragement translated into a time of 7min 7.7sec, which is a full 4 seconds slower than my first effort 2 weeks ago!!!

I did know that I was off to the circuits straight afterwards, which could have been in my head whilst I was trying to better my previous time. The circuit went pretty well considering, but my calves were very tight for most of the session. I did have to take it easier on several exercises but kept going :o)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Proud to be damaged ??!?!?!?

The strangest side effect of yesterdays outing on the Taff was the blisters on my fingers... not strange that I had the blisters, but instead that I was so flamin' proud of them. They were in the right locations to show that I was holding the blade in the correct way... yippee, the pain meant that I was holding the oar properly!!!! ;o)

It is so very strange that you can see such strange things as victories, if I get the same chance to row every week then perhaps I'll have some more tangible sporting advances to cheer about, hehehe!!!

Bay and drunkeness

Yesterday saw training in the bay, there were actual rotations which seemed to work very well for most, there was a good buzz afterwards which might imply it did the squad good.

Later in the day saw the Captains dinner, an annual club event that involves lots of dressing up and consuming of food and drink whilst listening to speeches of the after dinner variety. There was an awful lot of drunkenness, and in a couple of cases to horrible excess. There will be an awful lot of sore heads this morning, hahaha!!!

It was good to enjoy the party in moderation knowing that my rowing and fitness is making moves in the right direction ;o)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

20/20/20 personal best

Thursday's fun that is the 20/20/20 showed a continued progression of improvement through the three part torture :o)

20's = First run circuit in 19m 06s, Ergo 5105m in the 20m, second run 19m 34s.

Very happy with this at least ;o) First 20's over 5000m in the middle twenty :o)

Am I bovvered? Am I bovvered, though? Do I look bovvered?

L: Am I bovvered, though, Look at my face, does it look bovvered, though? Look at my face. Look at my face. Look at my face, though.

S: I'm looking at your face.

L: Does any part of it look bovvered? Am I bovvered? Ask me if I'm bovvered. Go on, ask me if I'm bovvered. Ask me. Ask me if I'm bovvered.

S: OK, I'll ask you if you're bothered. Are you bothered?

L: No, I ain't even bovvered.

Thank you so much Catherine Tate... [quote 'borrowed' from HapFairy Productions Ltd - Monthly Feature] I look bovvered that I am not picked to row the Taff Small Boats Head? Of course I am flaming bovvered, see my face, bovvered, YES!.

What can I do about it? Not a lot, there's no 'I' in 'team' and all that... though team or squad might imply rotation / flexibility / strength in depth... perhaps someones trying to tell me something without the will to say it?

Tomorrows blog more Ying to this Yang... where's that joke blog???? Bovvered????

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

On a theme

Carrying on yesterdays a brighter blog theme... this is how many smileys you can fit in MSN messenger... I didn't manage to train last night as I have a presentation to give in work today and was feverishly swotting (ah ha!!). Have to say the night off was good, I need a long hard look at my training intentions & schedule (once I get the presentation done - no I am not task avoiding, honest!?!?!).
PS. No!!! I have not counted the smileys ;o)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A brighter day

Most of my recent entries have been introspective and dry so I went looking for something brighter.... and found a cracker...

'Borrowed' from

Monday, October 23, 2006

Quite where do I go?

I am left wondering what I have to do to get a decent row, the squad has deteriorated into several crews leaving some on the fringes looking for scraps. It may all change after the next race event, but those left in the cold are getting rusty and dis-spirited.

Of course the whole thing has a fluid nature so this time next week, I could be cooing about the opposite, but I do doubt that.

I am determined to keep working hard and trying to get a place, but it looks like being a long tough and somewhat lonely process... the lonely furrow element is really the part that leaves me wondering "can I be bothered?" - the answer for the moment is yes, but I don't know how long that might hold true :o(

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Aches - Weights - Webcams

I have the beginnings of some interesting post circuit aches, I still don't think someone of my build should be doing the Irish lightweight circuit. But what does kill ya makes you stronger and all that ;o)

Got on the scales this morning to an awakening, I am definitely now up around the 15st 9lb mark consistently. The training leaves me feeling so tried that I feel I need the food, perhaps I am over doing the perceived compensation... and eating the wrong compensatory foods, hmmm... this one needs some thought...

Everyone is web-cam mad (and I don't just mean dodgy ones) my father-in-law is sporting one, and amusing my wife no end with his stationery office antics... and now the Llandaff Rowing Club has finally gotten things together and re-vamped theirs (I have updated the link) LRC Webcam... there was even signs of a boat earlier!!! hehehe

Monday, October 16, 2006

Weekend = 3 seat

The two training sessions over the weekend saw me trying out the 3 seat, on Saturday I had to wait my turn, which was cool until I got in the boat and discovered my head was Swiss cheesed. The session on the water was brief, we had a second seat swap which helped somewhat, but being properly warmed up by then I was always gonna row a little better perhaps.

Sunday, I was seated in three again as there were absences I looked forward to a full session in a seat working out some of my many stroke issues... unfortunately another crew member cramped up and we didn't complete the outings planned. I had felt I was relaxing and improving through the session, and felt a little raw that it was cut short, but these things happen.

I am short on water time, and I guess I will have to engineer more (sadly, I couldn't take up a pair offer on Sunday as I had to leave to visit my grandad in hospital)... just gotta keep on chillin' and pullin' ;o)

Friday, October 13, 2006

20/20/20 + 2k test :o)

Last night was my second attempt at the "20/20/20 = ouch" night, only I did my overdue 2k test before I set off!?!?!

2k test = 7m 3.3s
20's = First run circuit in 21m 34s, Ergo 4984m in the 20m, second run 20m 40s.

I was really very pleased with my efforts, not sure quite how I'm gonna up the 2k time in a week (the penalty of being late doing the first is that the next one is next week - we are supposed to do a 2000m test once a fortnight!!).

After a topsy turvy week - hence no blogging - I was chuffed to bits with my work... though I fear it'll hurt later, hahaha!!! ouch!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Circuit bashing fun

Sunday saw yet more pair rowing, I was fluctuating between doing good and rubbish work, but hey it was progress... we went up to nigh on maximum pressure, and it went okay. Gotta work on my slide timing a little again though - consistency is still the big issue.

Last night saw circuit night 10-15 blokes leaping around like mad things, would probably make a pretty silly YouTube video put to the right music!!! I didn't feel too bad afterwards, obviously shattered, but I worked a little more within myself to try and even out the three loops of the circuit. I managed more bunny hops between exercises through better pacing and ironically better breathing... essentially exhaling during every upwards motion. A few more weeks and I think the fitness will be showing ;o)

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Mixed up week

Wednesday saw me playing squash and playing with hand weights at home. Thursday saw me in work late and not able to make the twenties squad session (apparently only five or so did, which is a little worrying). Friday was supposed to be squash also, but I didn't have time with the crew meal / end of season session... as it was I out on my feet - between work and the training I was ruined.

Saturday morning saw me turn up for squad not knowing what to expect and finding myself in a pair, my first experience of pair rowing. It went pretty well for my first time, and we got some decent pressure and technique going at times. We'll only wait and see what we'll get up to next?!?!?!

We didn't look quite like this GB crew, but you get the idea ;o)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Monmouth Head result, tough training and a question

Sunday afternoon saw the Monmouth Head and it went okay in as far as we won in the eight and collected a medal. I can't say that I rowed well because I didn't, my oar hit the water on just about every recovery, I was rowing about half stroke (what with missing the catch and washing out), I even managed to hit my own knees twice. The rating was 36's or higher all the way down the 2500m course, which just doesn't suit me currently, I still prefer the longer, slower, stronger strokes to get the power in more efficiently!! - until I get fitter and find some form of sprint ability.

Tough training is the Monday night that is the circuit, the Irish lightweight circuit no less (the Irish lightweights being current world champs apparently... I am however every inch the heavy weight and the spring needed for forty five minutes bouncing up and down is a little considerable for someone of 15 and a half stone!!!!!

The question now is what will my 2k ergo test result be next week??? I did three reps of 2k tonight aiming to stick to 1m 55s splits all the way... I did 7m 37s, 7m 45s, and 7m 46s which was pretty tough... I went a bit quick on the first one and they did get tougher, but I was pleased to get through the three without getting overly troubled... the question now if how can I do over a 2k one off maximum effort test????

Saturday, September 23, 2006

All systems go :o)

I turned up for my first squad training session this morning at 8am, thinking I would be single sculling as everyone was in crews for tomorrow (the Monmouth Head). But as I arrived I found they needed a sit in for a four, I sat in bow and thoroughly enjoyed myself (first sweep outing in a month all!!).

The four session was a little wobbly at first, but the "front loader" is a lovely forgiving boat. I got my hand heights together able to see everyone and see what was affecting the balance and what would best resolve the tipping. We went to half pressure and the trickle under the boat was a torrent... sweet :o)

After the session it became clear they were one short for the eight on race day... yippee... I get to a race at the Monmouth Head. Perhaps being available and happy to row either side will help keep me in seat reckonings ;o)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

20/20/20 = ouch

Tonight I tried for the first time the new squad training phenomena which is run for twenty minutes, ergo for 20 minutes, run for twenty minutes. As a (as it now seems) former runner I thought the running would be easy bookending a not too bad ergo distance. I horrible underestimation... pretty much feeling the direct opposite of last night post-training :o(

Stats: first run circuit in 19m 30s, Ergo 4867m in the 20m, second run 24m 30s.

Still the only way is up fitness wise.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Training back in swing

30 minutes of ergo'ing did me the power of good tonight... I really truly got the endorphin rush, what a natural high. I completed 7576m in my 30 minutes of work, though the machine then crashed and left me unable to collect split times and such.

I wasn't far outside of my best at the 5000m mark, so I am fairly happy that I can bring that benchmark down sometime soon if I feel like hitting 5000m hard.

Also, whilst there I was sounded out about a veteran 8 for the Taff Head next spring which was very welcome, having been in the 'feeling left out' doldrums over the new squad regime.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Squad pains

Rowing at the moment has involved a transition into a squad system which should have plenty of benefits, only I have my reservations... its seems it may be all about the clique and that law of the school-yard nonsense. I might very well be wrong, after all I am an old / young cynic, and it hasn't exactly been running very long.

What worries me I suppose is the whispers I hear around the club, as those who have been members for a few years say that the see the same thing every year. I really just want to row regularly, I will see where the squad leads and then make a reassessment down the road.

Training hurts

Training after the lay off hurt quite a bit... not so much in the muscles (they were relatively compliant with what was required), it was the lungs and cardio that really hurt. I am it seems out of shape, I didn't do anywhere near enough base work through the summer and the break the last three weeks has compounded that.

Ah well the only way is up... I'll just have to do the work!!

This morning revealed a telling 15st 7lbs on the scales, damning proof of what an hours circuit class last night revealed :o(

Much more training hurts to come I feel!!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Three week slump

With the end of the regatta season I opted for a bit of time off, that and we had a holiday booked. I have done very little exercise in the last three weeks, and I can really feel it... I feel heavy and sluggish. I need to go some training, and tonight is the start of winter training - that should prove interesting ;o)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Peanut butter is still not my friend, but I can smile ;o)

I haven't had peanut butter in a very long time now and I can happily say I am not missing it... it wasn't though the source of my failure to lose weight it was just a very unhealthy addiction it turned out. I haven't lost weight since my peanut butter embargo.... but then again my skin is so much clearer, aha!

Did kinda count my chickens too soon with the peanut butter call... speaking of chickens, I am sure there are chicken jokes a plenty to be had at Smile of the Day. Certainly brightened the start of my Friday ;o)

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Caught on RowTV

Our bank holiday monday eights activity was caught on RowTV, proof if proof were needed that my technique needs work ;o)

The Ross Regatta films are at

The senior four eights races featuring the pot winning Llandaff eight are at:-
Semi-final =
Final =

How to build an eight

I found an interesting little article, a BBC Sports page all about the layout of a standard eights boat....

[I got the eights picture from a University College Dublin rowing web page, that used to be located at (link checked and found broken in Feb'2011)]

...even given we won on the weekend twice in an eight, having looked at the above article I am not sure the boat couldn't have be laid out better seating of personal wise... ah who cares we won :o)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

World championship rowing success

It seems that the recent World Championship Regatta at Dorney Lake, Eton was a great success according to the link below...
"London 2012 News Archive"

[Sadly the link no longer went anywhere and so I removed it (Feb'2011)]

All change - the 'big' name switch

This blog used to be called "Andy on the run" but in light of how little running I was doing I have morphed the blog into "Andy on the move"... to better reflect my attempts to be active and on the move.

The old URL was "" to become the new and very different... ""

That has also meant a change of banner ;o) If you search back in my blog you'll find how I created it in the first place.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

End of season flourish

The season threatened to end on a down beat note at the Ross rowing club regatta, with failure to progress in the coxed four. Only for two races in the eight to put smiles back on all faces... the category was non-status (i.e. three crews not the minimum four need to gain a points win), and we drew the extra race in the draw... but we won, yippee!!!

I shouted like a quite mad person when we beat Royal Chester Rowing club to the win late in the afternoon, and was beside myself with relief that the long day was not for nothing.

That made three pots for the season, one for our novices and two in the eight in the last weekend of the season :o)

Winter training starts here and promises the much awaited return of some running, ah ha!!! Haven't totally figured out what winter training will mean exactly... watch this space I guess ;o)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Gloucester regatta - failure and success

Gloucester regatta (@ Ross-on-Wye) saw a failure to pass the first round for the four, which meant a long wait around the regatta site for an eights race late in the afternoon. The day was spent trying to still chilled and focused in the face of the usual on bank nonsense... boat issues, ARA card troubles, club politics, flurries of races, and long dull delays.

I managed to stay relatively within myself, so much so that on the run up to the start in the eight I was told to not have lazy hands to which I had the presence of mind to call the rest of the crew to sit it too - which happily they did.

The race itself was a little ropey at the start, I lost my feet in the over sized shoes (they must have been size 15 or something) within the first 300-400m that did serve to concentrate the mind somewhat. The last 250m the crew got it together and came through to deliver a good final speedy burst to take the win... and a pot!! My second of the year, the eight was none status (straight final), but stuff that we won :o)

Happily my wife also won a straight final in an eight after a similar start to the day... a good rowing day in our household ;o)

One year on...

I have been feeding this blog now for a year, quite a year it has been indeed, 170 odd entries and awful lot of sporting endeavours. I haven't so much been on the run as on the move... I have had a landmark year in sporting activity. Oddly I haven't lost weight over the period to any get extent, although apparently people have been noticing a change of body shape. Though hard to judge objectively, I have noticed my legs have increased definition, also my arms to some extent... as I say all difficult to assess. Generally I am stronger so that's good enough for me.

My running hasn't progressed, although my rowing is doing well. The year has seen changing priorities that's for sure :o) Looking forward to what another year of blogging might bring...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Lessons in what not to do for Regattas

Over the weekend the crew travelled to the City of Oxford regatta on the Thames. For me it was a lesson in what not to do... in summary...

1) Don't neglect basis fitness work - can offer excuses but that a bit rubbish.

2) Be organised - I was off beam all weekend and it showed on the water - inconsistency breeds inconsistency may be.

3) Alcohol and day two of a two day regatta don't mix - I was not drunk on the middle night but it still took the edge off - we raced the eventual winners, thus we could have been the eventual winners if sharper perhaps.

4) Don't listen to or get involved in crew gossip / slagging fests - they inspire negative thinking.

5) We camped next to a scout hut so should have been reminded about this one - be prepared - my mental preparation was non-existent.

Some lessons you learn the hard way I guess :o(

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Nice sites on a rainy Cardiff afternoon

On a browse I came across...
TDR - The Danforth Review
and an article within the site about online publishing... "FICTION SITED: A Look at Fiction Online by Corin Cummings"
Looks like a good place to browse during a coffee break ;o)

The other place to go is Sianni's Photo Journal my wife's collection of photos of all kinds of diverse stuff (at least I forecast it will be as it grows - its still quite new).

[At time of checking this link (Feb'2011), unfortunately TDR is no longer... the link leads to a page explaining as follows...
"The Danforth Review was an online magazine published out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, between 1999-2009.
All content and a number of full past issues are archived at the website of the Library and Archives Canada."
...sad news]

Pain and pressure

The last time I rowed (Monday night) my ribs hurt like crazy from when I fell off my bike... the pain coupled with the perceived pressure of keeping in a crew for next year meant that it was the worst row that I have experienced in a long long time.

The pain will clear as my ribs (or rib cartilage as a trip to the doctors reveal it to be) heal over time and with use of anti-inflammatory drugs.... the pressure I am not so sure about, its a very new phenomena. I am not used to team dynamics (see previous posts for comments on that I'm sure), and am not used to being this competitive. I don't think I will get my head round it, so I just hope injuries and such work themselves out and I manage to maintain a crew without having to be too proactive... my biggest fear is that my luck in this department is due to run out!!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Cropping a treat

The fruits of our garden labours have begun to crop a treat. Here is just one of several small bowls of cherry tomatoes.

We have also been enjoying strawberries, herbs, chili peppers, and lettuce. Soon to come are sweet corn, carrots, pears, courgettes, water melons, and artichokes.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Week off... well its never really that ;o)

I enjoyed a week off work last week, which simply means that I spent the week channeling my work energies into a different set of tasks.... predominantly gardening... predominantly cutting and trimming things.

I was slowed up in my endeavours by my foot injury, I can call it that now as the treatment for the verrucas that I was given stripped my skin and left one area infected. I was hobbling for quite a bit of last week. It seems to have improved greatly since I stopped using the cream (at least I can walk better!!), and it seems that the cream whilst painful may have paid off to a degree.

Spent a couple of days at my mum's, gardening... spent a few days at home, gardening... spent a couple of days watching shows about, gardening - well okay that and 'Grand Designs' re-runs on cable... wanna find a building plot, dammit!!!

Despite switching on my computer several times over the week I didn't quite get around to a blog. Could it be this is what I do for a break in work??? Surely not ;o)

Friday, August 04, 2006


The entry below reminded me... I am a member of Sustrans is the UK's leading sustainable transport charity. I joined last year but seem not to have mentioned them on my blog before...

What do they do... here are two passages taken from their web pages Why Sustrans?

"Cycling and particularly walking are the most sustainable ways of travelling. They require very little use of the planet's resources, and they are both fuelled by food, a renewable source of energy."

"So Sustrans has set about creating an environment that will actually help people to walk and cycle much more. Hence the National Cycle Network offering a mixture of traffic-calmed streets, quiet roads and traffic-free routes in communities all over the UK, helping people to work, shops, school and play."

Oh look... tarmac... ouch!!!

Yesterday on the way home on the Taff trail we had a collision. Sian and myself managed to get our bikes entwined and so down we came. Sian luckily found the side of the trail and thus the grass, I hope my hand on her handle-bar helped. I found myself looking at the tarmac, my bike had jack-knifed around my left leg and sent me left side first to the ground. I landed pretty well (very, very grateful for my bike helmet), the biggest pain was in my ribs, I think I managed to elbow myself as I crumpled!!!

Unfortunately I deemed myself fit to row, which in the main I was... until we lifted the boat off the water and tried to angle it to retrieve someones keys (which had been misplaced into the bow void of the boat)... then I felt my rib make a popping sound and it started to hurt that bit more. I think I have bruised the bone and pulled intercostal muscles, which apparently take a while to heal!!! Ho-hum, silly things happen :o)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sunny day in Cardiff

It seems the weather has settled down again in Cardiff, after heatwaves and rainy days, the sun is out and there is a breeze a blowing. From my office window cars are buzzing back and forth, while I endeavour to be vaguely productive... as I am blogging I am clearly not managing that!?!?

Other recent task avoiding web things have been...
Rocket Boom - watching the site struggle & come to terms with its new host.
CommandN - watching tech news.
The Ultimate Olympian - enjoying the mans pursuit of Olympic percentages and charity funds.
FarmGirl Fare - soul food.
Wlpan diary - interesting for someone who might learn Welsh properly one day.
Argos Online Store - looking for weights stuff of all things, ugh!!
Wikipedia : Llandaff North entry - doing my little bit to improve our local listing ;o)

You know I really should switch my computer off more!!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Medical intervention

It seems that the large blister I suffered months back, that subsequently became infected and turned into a verruca... will require medical intervention.

I finally went yesterday, after weeks of self-treating (on and off) and avoiding making the call. The doctor looked a little stunned and exclaimed "I don't think that can be frozen off, or even cut out... try treating it with paste and we'll see if it can be shrunk enough to be frozen off".

Arrrgh!!! Weeks of treatment ahead.... The moral of the story is simple (yes, its a male thing probably) "as soon as anything looks / feels iffy see a doctor you prat".

If I ever create a list of important entries in my blog that serve as useful to anyone training / participating in sport after losing weight and getting fit I will sadly have to include things like this... highlighting my own stupidity!!! d'oh!!!
Ps. I would include a picture, but that's just taking it too far!!!!!

Not quite a year

I started my blog in August last year I noticed and got excited that perhaps I'd reached an anniversary... alas no... I started on the 27th of August, still some way to the one year anniversary.

Its been quite a changeable year of sporting endeavour, I think I might compose a monster blog entry to mark the anniversary and recap my years efforts ;o) Watch this blog space...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Rowing resource

I bumped into a rowing resource through a quick blog search...
Great Psychology and Excellence Resource Includes Rowing Content.

Found within The Daily Erg - Rowing Science, which seems to be an excellent blog with a lot of good information.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Breakfast time fun

Every morning during breakfast we get up early enough to catch a bit of BBC breakfast before work... I very often get a nice cynical start to the day by some bad news winding me up.

But the very first thing to note is who is presenting it (even our dog is addicted), you can find all the presenters at Breakfast team profiles... but we refer to them as follows...

Sian Williams & Bill Turnbull = the A-team
Dermot Murnaghan & Natasha Kaplinski = ugh, so not the A-team
Dermot Murnaghan & Kate Silverton = the B-team
Natasha Kaplinski = pout pout
Kate Silverton = faux Natasha (referring to Kaplinski)
Bill Turnbull = we like Bill we do
Sian Williams = she's learning welsh you know, lovely
Mishal Husain = replacment Sian
Susanna Reid = replacement Mishal
Simon McCoy = Tony (referring to Tony Stamp from The Bill)
Declan Curry = ahh, Declan
Chris Hollins = sport wally
Sue Thearle = what she's pregnant too?
Carol Kirkwood = breathy weather lassy
Louise Lear = the clothes stand
Helen Willets = ah, bless, still struggling with the early mornings
Julia Botfield = faux wannabee stuck outdoors

These are the cast of characters that brighten our morning [apologies for the names they are all in cheeky jest ;o) ]

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Bow side (breaking in) & running reminders

The move to the new seat in the boat is going okay, although my body is sometimes defaulting to balancing the wrong way. It is helping to work out somethings I was doing when on the other side... so it can only be a good thing. The biggest problem is the aches that come from work muscles differently and blisters from a different grip.

We went out for two sessions over the weekend, with at least three planned for the coming week... it should be good fun ;o)

I have received application forms for three runs... the Swansea 10k, the Cardiff 10k and the London marathon... will work out if I can put in entries for all three in the next week... I need to fit them around work, holidays and rowing preparations for next season.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Runner's World link - United Kingdom bias

I have just had it pointed out to me that the link to Runner's World on my links bar (on the right) was to which is United States based, not a lot of use to me or anyone I know living in the United Kingdom... of more use is :o)

Correction made... the link on my blog take you to the UK site... both sites are of course from the same stable of publications, difference being that they are sales territory specific - both are very very useful for finding races, race feedback, training tips, and runner forums. I can recommended both for information, though choose the right one to search for a race near you ;o)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Keep on moving

Squash... yeap, I am finally back playing squash after my shoulder injury of last year. It seems to be holding up very well and its other bits of me that are hurting after matches :o)

The return was prompted by a squash ladder in work, and an eagle eyed colleague spotting a squash racket when I moved offices ;o) Its gone so well that I am in second place in the ladder... granted they are pretty much novices, but its still nice to achieve such a lofty status, hahaha

As the title says... Keep on moving :o)

Getting connected :o)

Well I seem to have gotten back into following a couple of vlogs.... RocketBoom which is undergoing something of a revolution... I think I like the transformation, but am tickled by the number of people giving there thoughts every day - it seems the response from the makers is pretty tailored to the talking heads - also quite amusing :o)

The other one is the tech log CommandN, which is going from strength to strength having just past their first anniversary... I really like their style and content [almost bought a t-shirt but they didn't have my size :o( ].

Perhaps I have been task avoiding too much this week ;o)

Switch, switch, switch

Well we switched me out of stroke for the Bewdley regatta, and lost in the first round on Saturday (also lost in the first round in the eight). We did better on the Sunday, probably because we'd gotten more used to the change and also just let it all hang out grunt wise... made it to the semi.

Next I find myself switched to bow-side, this shouldn't be too much of a problem. Although I am now a bit lost as to our plans for racing the rest of the season. We shall see how it all turns out ;o)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Up and downs - schoolyard thinking

After the highs of winning novices rowing, I was then 'demoted' out of the stroke-seat... not really that any seat is more or less important than the next. There is the responsibility of setting the rhythm and pace while racing if you are in the stroke seat. The saddest part was that no one told me why the move, and it was dropped on me as I was about to row... no warning. I have discovered that despite the advancing years of most of the participants of club rowing (that is most have passed puberty), their mentality towards sports is no more advanced than the schoolyard.... where you are in or out, good or bad depending upon more than just your ability to complete the sporting skill required.

I have had several retrospective placating comments about the 'why', ranging from you were too stressed, to you weren't fast enough, to you're better paired with that guy in that seat.... sadly a large part would be schoolyard thinking I believe. Given that we in fact won novices with me in the seat.

I'd like to say that it stops at the boat, but given a blazing argument I had with a rower from our club who should know better jumping the boating queue past 14 yr old girls crew waiting in baking heat... sadly the law of the schoolyard never leaves some people.....

...sadly, more than once I have found myself pining for a return to just running... when its you verses the distance, the clock, and your own sole set of goals it seems somehow 'purer' (that's probably not a word 'more pure').

[On 'sober' reflection my own reaction was as bad as the situation I perceived. Still these thoughts were true of the moment, so I won't censor myself.]

Monday, July 24, 2006

Senior rower with no points - Llandaff Regatta

Well I am way behind, lots going on... at the Llandaff regatta our crew won our novices, in the men's novice coxed four event over 1000m. Well chuffed, I shouted myself horse celebrating one of the biggest sporting successes of my life.

It was flaming hard work, but we came through three races (two of which were very tough) to claim our prize of tankards, champagne, a whole punched in our ARA cards, and.... yes being thrown into the river!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Weight update

I currently weigh 213lbs which I am relatively happy with, given that I am getting fitter and stronger at the moment with all the rowing. I have updated my trend plot [see the menu bar on the right], it seems the the summer dip is in progress... wonder if I can keep it off this winter?!?!

Peanut butter is not my friend !!!

It is true that whilst I am very much friends with peanut butter, "peanut butter is not my friend !". I have noticed that for a week or so we were out of peanut butter and during that same period my weight has begun to drop a little... no coincidence I fear. I am not crazy about weights measurements, though I clearly weigh myself more than someone who doesn't think about such things, and it's only a subtle trend so I am watching it to see what happens.

I have also cut out butter / spread on toast in the mornings, perhaps its more a case that... butter is not my friend ! ;o)

Grand designs

I have set myself what I thought was a small challenge of building a timer to help with interval training on ergo's or ROWperfect's... it seems it might be a little more complex than I'd hoped... I was hoping not to bother my wife with questions about getting it working... (I'll keep them to a minimum I promise)... the timer will I hope chime at preset intervals over a workout period to remind you to change effort or rate intensity in training. Its on the drawing board, will blog its progress :o)

Oil and heat

This morning I spent a very worthwhile five minutes oiling the chain on my mountain bike. The heat of the past couple of weeks, combined with dust from the Taff trail left my gears near enough bone dry and 'clanky'. A few spots of oil and 'hey pesto'... if only there was a simple trick for the actual heat... 31 degree C plus today... British heatwave forecast !!!

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Good row in the four this morning... not great rhythm but nice and powerful with plenty of effort to achieve the correct body posture. Some where along the way it transpired that I was referred to as a beast, because I have gotten stronger and more flexible... I really hadn't noticed any particular difference and I suppose really its a form of complement.

Tomorrow we try out a new seating arrangement switching the middle two around, it involves them both swapping sides which will prove interesting... tomorrow decides what seating arrangement will be used for the next regatta - our home one in Llandaff.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Keeps on rolling

I went back to check on the previously injured Ultimate Olympian, and found that he is very much back in action and in the swing of it (yes, he's tackling tennis... sorry for the pun!!!).

My wife has a new challenge and blog following it - Lone Sculler.

It seems summer is reaching a peak of new activities... I really must find myself one :o)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

8's demons

Took a slot in an 8 last night to try to exorcise some of my big boat demons... I got plonked in stroke which helped. For a somewhat new crew it came together very nicely, and I got to relax a bit and feel the balance and run of the boat. Trying to feel where and who was doing good and bad things behind me. It was excellent experience and a good workout.

I feel more relaxed again now about getting back in an 8 :o)

Training otherwise this week has been haphazard... did a goodish erg and ROWperfect session on Tuesday, and might be on the water tonight. Cycling to and from work in top gear is getting easier and I think my leg length is still improving - if only my shoulders would follow suit :o)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Training Plan B

I think I need to do more rowing specific training and the key word there is specific... I need a plan... lets call it "plan B".

One thought for plan B is to train in the morning before work, a time when I am mentally fresher and can relax into sessions. I have yet to decide where to do these sessions, the work gym costs a small fee for every use, whilst as a member of the rowing club their gym is free. Facilities though not crash hot at either, are probably better in work... but as the point of the plan is specific then I guess the club is the logical choice.

I have only now to work out the whys and whens... I hope to incorporate some use the ROWperfect machine in regular sessions...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Ironbridge Regatta - Racing angry

The weekends regatta in Ironbridge was great, fantastic organisation, great camping, good company, great weather... all the way around fab.

My problem came with the frustrations of racing, it was my first regatta in stroke so I was already putting myself under-pressure.

Mentally I caved in over the course of the weekend... the first race I felt good and confident, so much so I felt like winking at the cox as if to say "got this covered" on the start line. We won that race well.

The second race on the Saturday (second round), I was almost as relaxed and confident, but the other crew were too much in my thinking... off the first three to four strokes the other crew moved off better and the call for "ten big" came two strokes too soon - all my mental prep had been on the first six and transitioning into the ten - this threw me and from there I wasn't in the right mind frame. Plus I hadn't realised there would be no go for it at 200m call, realised afterwards that kind of call should be down to me - lift the stroke and rate and see if I can get the crew to move with me. Sum total - we lost.

Confidence a bit dented by that and not seeing my I / we had done wrong, left me too reflective and sensitive.

A noisy disturbed nights sleep on the campsite didn't help at all, I was at one point in the night moved to shout at the top of my voice at idiots clattering our tent... the anger didn't really subside... I was almost too determined to chill, to the point that if anything won't let me it had a very opposite effect.

Sunday morning, I was not prepared to race from a mental point of view... the visualising from the previous week was standing me in good stead still - but too much other clutter had entered my head. I was ready this time for the ten big call too come early, but the start still wasn't clean... we were down, I had decided to take it home independently of call before the race, but didn't know the course well enough to time it... apparently we looked neat and were closing - not a great consolation [my technique was getting a little more ragged according to my photographer ;o) ].

Sunday afternoon brought the 8, the blackmail 8, the stupidly arranged scratch 8... the I should have said "no" 8... much political rubbish before hand and a pair of shoes that was so much in my thinking that I didn't row like I can... we competed and were half a length down on the line, but I didn't enjoy it at all... the shoes had been taped up before hand and were barely in one piece, during the race they stretched an inch or more..... after the finish line I snapped and tore my left shoe out of the foot plate with an angry tug.

After that I was beside myself with - "why did I do that?" - it didn't make a bad row any better... I felt awful. Some strong self questioning and hours later, I confessed my actions to my wife, coach, crew and vice-captain. I had settled upon the decision that if this kind of out-burst happens again I am taking myself out of racing, I have put myself on a two - four regatta probation.

I am a quietly competitive person, not used to being able to compete... my early experience of competing in school was to have the joke or excuse worked out even before failing. My fitness rejuvenation in later life, lead me back into competing and competition (based on physical / technical ability)... and whereas my body is in better shape than it has ever been - my brain has some catching up to do.

You live, you learn, you use knowledge, you live better... I hope I learn fast in this particular endeavour.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ironbridge - what a nice place for a race

Ironbridge is a fabulous place to go racing (I went and watched last year), it's a picturesque place... though no we don't race under the famous iron bridge (featured in the image I ripped from a website below)...
To see the image in its original web location and to read all about Ironbridge go see Enjoy England - Ironbridge and enjoy ;o)

Personal bests & slimming down pages

I am gonna "play" with my blog-template and remove some of the stuff like the personal bests and adverts... back to basics in a fashion...

For the record the personal bests were / are...
10 k run = 57 min 2 sec
5 k row = 19 min 8 sec
2 k row = 7 min 18 sec
I'll update if there is any progress with them :o)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Worries and nerves

With the next regatta coming this weekend I am decidedly worried... it is my first outing as stroke. I am nervous about which version of me will turn up, the calm detached me, or the nervous overly aware of others me. I would like to believe the first one will show up, given that more and more in training it is happening... I just hope that it isn't only a home water phenomena.

My other worry is fitness, I still haven't completely shaken a cough and should have been back to the GP by now. Also I am worried about burning myself out by running around too much in the run up to and at the regatta. Last time I was all things to all people and suffered the price big time. I intend to leave as much of the running around to others, although I worry that that will appear aloof, lazy and arrogant. I don't really care as long as I put up a good performance in the stroke seat, for the crew and also to show all those who mutter about the state of my technique!

I will let you know how it goes, the draw is out and the size of the job is clear, four races Saturday potentially and three Sunday... sporting ambition is a new phenomena to a formerly unfit person... I am so very keen to realise this new found area of ambition in my life... "Come on Llandaff!!!"

Monday, June 19, 2006

The next regatta cometh...

The next regatta is nearly here, I am watching for the draw (Ironbridge Rowing Club)... and waiting to see what we will find ourselves up against and what time we will have to get out of bed.

[Think I will have to add regatta pages to my sidebar menus, d'oh!!]

Llandaff Rowing Club website

Well it seems like the Llandaff Rowing Club website is moving along quite a bit more than it was doing. There has been a change of "web-head" or "web-master", which has lead to the webcam and also a refreshed approach to the pictures from events pages [A few of our own pics have snuck into the collections]. **

It doesn't take a lot of fresh material to keep the pages interesting, just a freshness to the content... the ability to find recent events and current links... the only thing lacking is a forum / message board (even a blog :o) ).

Still its a better place to visit than it once was ;o)

**A further revision of the website occured in June 2012, which saw event pictures no longer part of the public site. A link to the old pages was removed. Further to my original comments the Llandaff Rowing Club website going from strength to strength and is far more useful / useable than when I first commented here in this post dated 2006.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Top Gear !!

Well when it comes to being on the run there are certain little victories along the way that to anyone else mean very little... my little victory today was peddling my bicycle (mountain bike) in the biggest gear all the way to work.

What this means to me? - well it might (if repeated) suggest that my leg strength has improved to the point the the bigger (top) gears of my bike are getting easier and easier.

These little things spring from little things like getting on your bike and promising to ride it as much as possible. I ride to and from work every day, rain or shine... from that little thing comes little mental rewards (like today), and better still physical rewards (like being fit enough to do such things).

Top cycling :o)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Webcam at last :o) ...not the most reliable as yet

At last the Llandaff Rowing Club has a webcam covering the landing stage and the lower part of the river, you can see the bridge. I have enjoyed a couple of images before it unexpected hung up, I hope that it is just new system teething trouble.

The link is**

Enjoy viewing the goings on on the water at Llandaff... watch out for the odd double doing unplanned capsize drills ;o)

** ammendment 14-6-2012 - The link above is no longer active, visit to enjoy its replacement.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

When there is no "team" in "team"

It seems that even small teams (crews) can get tugged around a little... as far as I can tell no one in our crew of four wants to compete on a day when one of us is missing (for fear that a win might advance three us and leave the other behind)... I am very happy that we only ever this season compete as four... but we don't seem able to communicate any of this among ourselves.

There are external factors that come to put some pressure on us, though really it shouldn't... others have watched us and placed a bunch of pre-determined mantles on our shoulders... they are pushing to progress the crew as fast as possible. One reason I believe is that they would like us to progress such that one (and possibly two) of our number can then more readily be 'poached'.

We are lucky that as a crew we have bonded pretty damn good, and have worked really very hard together through the winter to all our benefits... I really, really hope the unit can stick together and find our own destiny this race season.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Rant and rest ;o)

Its not like I didn't know the answer to yesterdays World Cup vs. Wimbledon vs. World Rowing Championships question... it did come across as a little bit rant like... the kind of vitriol I might usually reserve for 4x4's or badly run railway networks, heheheh!!!

Today is a rest day, not that work is allowing me that joy completely ;o) Can't easily remember the last day I didn't go out on the water, all of the activity has done wonders for my rowing muscles... I can only hope it did something for my technique... although I can't judge that one myself obviously.

I am off to rest and fill in my sweepstakes form for the World Cup if I can find it, d'oh!!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Coverage conundrum

Well this summer as most is a feast of TV sports... the question is how much telly time will these three get?

1) Soccer World Cup - 9th June - 9th July.
2) Wimbledon fortnight - Last week June, first week July.
3) World Rowing Championships - 20th - 27th August.

Well as one of the biggest sports on the planet you would expect soccer (okay, okay I'll be lazy British - football) to get the most coverage. But when it comes to the other two, taking a British perspective - sadly the one which is a world event and that as a nation we have success in will likely be barely covered - yes, rowing.

I am not looking at the numbers, but pound for pound, in terms of British people taking part in the two sports, I would guess that rowing isn't a long way behind in terms of numbers of the public regularly pursuing them... and I believe we have many more international athletes in rowing than tennis...

So the conundrum is this - Why will there be so little coverage of the Rowing World Championships????

Answers on a postcard please :o)

[Feb'2011 - links to the events were removed as they no longer linked active sites] 

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Well tired - under water rowing

I have now rowed / sculled for 8-10 days straight and I am feeling really pretty tired. My hands are in bits from all of the blade work, though I am oddly proud that the sore patches and blisters have moved over the week to be on the 'right' spot for holding the blade the correct way!?!

Yesterday saw my first submergence, we rolled a double scull over when both stroke side blades crabbed and left us so unbalanced as to fall in... it was an odd sensation in as far as it took what seemed like ages for us to finally overturn. We managed to get back into the boat and row back to the landing stage... all in all we learnt a number of invaluable lessons and also had our first capsize drill! :o)

I am hopeful of a day off the river on Tuesday, I had never thought I would get to the point that I would look forward to one. I love rowing so much... with the weather as nice as it is I will probably find myself rowing Tuesday anyway ;o)

Friday, June 02, 2006

Summer, summer time, summer time...

Aside from my poor attempt at transposing the lyrics of a Will Smith song into my blog title it is indeed and very actually summer... hence the reason why I haven't blogged with enough regularity of late.

The evenings are brighter, I am rowing an awful lot more than I was, at Llandaff rowing club at least 5 nights out of 7. I have been switched into the stroke seat of our coxed four, I am enjoying it it has done a lot of good for my actual rowing action (I think at least, hehe), though it does come with extra responsibility. I am doing okay with the rhythm setting on the whole and am getting the feel of changing pace and effort (although some of that experience is coming through doing some sculling).

We are currently setting ourselves up for a regatta in Ironbridge at the end of the month. It'll be the first sat in the new seat arrangement, but we are hopeful of good things :o)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Lets get this blog started again :o)

So the last post was the first one in ages, and I haven't been running in ages... I am going to keep up from here... and I'll have to admit a break in my training archives, although I didn't stop training.

Its amazing how a few weeks of lesser activity quickly takes away some of the benefits, tone, etc. but it is also incredible how quickly you get back into the swing of things.

The couple of bits of running that I have done whilst rowing training has felt pretty comfortable, training is training is training... all of it gets me feeling stronger. Now that summer has arrived I can only hope that the longer nights will lead to even more activity and even more benefits.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Evesham Regatta

Saturday and Sunday saw my first ever regatta experiences as a racer. It was a well organised event, although I was so distracted by sorting out racing stuff that I didn't get a great deal of browsing time.

We won our first 1k race on the Saturday by 3 lengths, only to lose the next narrowly by 3/4 of a length. This was all good experience, although I feel that I have a lot of work to do before the next regatta, to prepare myself better now that I know what is needed. The team that beat us made it through to the final at least.

The taste of blood in the throat from having breathe so hard so long was interesting, after having had a chest infection on and off for the best part of a month I was a tad worried - but it cleared up pretty quickly :o)

Sunday over the shorter sprint distance (500m) we simply didn't have the start to match our opponents... they went on to win the category (some gratification I suppose!).

An awful lot of valuable lessons learnt, all around, about preparing, organising, committing, helping... the regatta experience is great as a spectator (I found out through last season), but is fantastic is a competitor ;o)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Two week holiday - honeymoon :o)

Well I get to take a two week holiday from training and such thanks to my honeymoon... this means that I won't be blogging for a little while. But it doesn't mean that I won't be doing any training... we spent the day skiing yesterday :o) - pretty good, it seemed I remembered most of what I had learnt up until a tired attempt at a green run... it was a brilliant day.

Have to say I am very much enjoying the recharging of batteries that comes from two weeks travelling and relaxing our way around Canada... roll on Jasper.

More blogging in the not too distant ;o)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Kit 'tastic

I am getting mentally ready for the coming rowing regatta season... so much so that yesterday I went and ordered another all-in-one Lycra rowing do-da. Figuring that having never worn one I should try one before the season, and the club kit order seems to be taking an absolute age. I found a nice black and white number on Godfrey Sports website, who are also providing club kit, figuring that way it could well be manufactured in a similar manner to my racing kit.... I guilty of over thinking and premature planning... yeah probably, hahahaha!!!!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The exercise 'drug'

I am so happy to be doing some more exercise of late, I had a really horrible couple of weeks of work where I did the bare minimum. It is so very true that exercise is a feel good 'drug'... don't exercise and you suffer withdrawal.

I can believe that appropriate exercise is a powerful tool in addressing certain mood imbalances / disorders. It truly makes you felt alive and 'buzzy' to be active and on the move. I hope that my recent reminder will be enough to keep me from lapsing into inactivity again anytime soon... gotta love that natural high.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Lost blogs

I have been so stuffing busy with work that I have been unable to keep up with my blog quota :o( I haven't even kept with my training table, which is really very bad of me.

I have been keeping up with rowing training, mainly with water work. We had our first ever race, but we did not finish as we missed the finish line of the Taff Head by failing to turn right in Cardiff Bay having stormed down the Taff. It was a good row, but I couldn't hide my displeasure at not finishing, whether we rowed well or not my primary goal was always finishing. Still we have a busy regatta season ahead, where we can't really get lost ;o)

I am a fully paid up ARA (amateur rowing association) member now, which gives me a racing license and insurance... it is the first time I have been a member of a sporting organisation. I hope to win my novices this year which would rank as my first measurable success in a sporting arena :o) Here's hoping ;o)

I will try to keep up the blog and update training again as I am about to change jobs, although I am also getting married... so the honeymoon is likely to be another barren blogging patch ;o)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Working and living balance

Just lately the balance has been tipped firmly in favour of work in the work / life balance. It really shouldn't be as I am leaving my current job shortly, it is a truly weird sensation to be feeling loyalty to the work rather than the person/s you are working for... but then is this the trap? Gentle little reminders here and there "a lot of work went into that", "that cost thousands", "we can't let collaborators down"... it all makes me wonder if that bullshit is the modern control mechanism? Maybe its always been the control mechanism for some employers, guilt the good, nice employee into doing their bidding, even when the bidding is flawed...

...anyway, I have for whatever reason been suckered into too much random working (hours that is, well actually the work is pretty random too). This is all leading to not enough time with my lovely partner, not enough time blogging (with sport type content), and not enough time enjoying myself. Too much work makes Andy a very dull, tired, grumpy animal :o(

My new job (as with all I guess) offers the opportunity to redress the balance and create new good habits. I truly hope I pull it off. I will get back to tales of sporting do very soon blog, honest.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Catch up blog....

I really have had one of those landmark weeks, that sadly had no time for blogging. It was landmark for reasons other than training and personal fitness progress. That had an awful lot to do with professional and workplace stress...

[finally sat listening to Air - All I need (from the album Moon Safari), on a more relaxed Sunday morning, catching up some blogging]

anyway although there wasn't time to blog it there was training in the week...

Monday - gym session - my first serious attempt at weights training, saw me learning an awful lot from an experienced international decathlete - absolutely great.
I felt great the next morning, no aches, it was a really good session using all muscles and left me feeling tired in a balanced way. No one muscle group was screaming.

Tuesday - valentines night - therefore a day off from training. Did receive my "Go faster with Foster" training DVD from the ARA, have to find the time to watch it now ;o)

Wednesday - again weights, though this time on my own, a very different experience from Monday. The lack of guidance meant that the next day some muscles were complaining badly from misuse. Need to get more experience under my belt with the weights technique.

Thursday - River - in the dark with head of the river crew, started out heavy then I forced myself to relax / 'go blank' and my rowing was pretty sweet. Everyone finished the session having enjoyed a good pacey, light feeling row.

Friday - night off from training.

Saturday - very heavy pair of river sessions - by this point there was no ignoring the effects of a tiring and emotional week - I felt like lead rowing - the sessions were condemned as "our worse yet". Hope to bounce back, in coming sessions.

Sunday - day off from training at least, my shoulder is feeling pretty sore again, I think from angering it during the Wednesday weights. I hope the day off will sort it.

[Off to enter all this in my training table, and then to look up races for the year ahead... want to do 10 10km road races this year, if I can find them in the area and not clashing with regattas ;o) ].

Will also go check out Amber Mac blog and the commandN podcast for any good computing tips ;o)

Although the link still works [as of Feb'2011] the Ameuter Rowing Association (ARA) is know know as British Rowing. The other links in this post were also updated.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Personal bests

Had my first attempt at a 2k piece on the ergo today, and so set a personal best, heheh. I managed 7m18.8s for the 2k, which was roughly what I thought that I could do, perhaps a little better I thought 7m30s was about what I might do.

We had quite a session on the river, in the Taff Head formation in the four... I am perhaps the weakest rower in that formation (technically and physically). I struggled most with timing the catch and drive, and it is rooted in problem consistently squaring the blade properly. Some of the issue is confidence in the balance, I seem to want to take care of the boat single handed, which of course is just plain daft.

Still it will come together I hope. Training and time in the boat will be the key I think.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Love run time

Typical as soon as I finish a blog entry the result appeared on the Love Run PPUK website... I ran 58min 48sec!!!! Sweet!!!

My personal best was Swansea last year of 57min 2sec... so I am absolutely chuffed with today and hope that I can push the personal best down this year :o)

Since this post PPUK has changed, the following description is taken from their facebook page  "Action Duchenne (formerly PPUK) is a national charity that aims to find a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a severe genetic muscle wasting disease which mainly affects boys and in rare cases girls." [links updated Feb'2011]

Cardiff Love Run - first race of the year

Saturday at eleven after having rowed for two hours and having jogged to the start line I set off for my first run of the year... sadly literally... I hoped that all the rowing training would be favourable cross-training.....

...and so it proved to be, I competed in relative comfort (with no watch for pacing) in around 59 min, I am waiting for the official time to appear on the Runners World website as the event was using chip timing.

I am absolutely happy with my performance, it was a lovely day for a run on a really nice flat route, the lack of water at the finish was a problem, but the organisation was a definite improvement on last year. All in all a great first race of 2006... it has left me with the idea of doing 10x 10k runs this year instead of training for the marathon. I feel that 10k training may fit better with all of the other demands on my time. I will think on it as it would change my outlook for the year and would mean a tweaking of my blog premise ;o)

Busy week

Had a pretty busy week, hence the dip in blogging output ;o) An awful lot of work, one of the highlights was my new bike [Dawes Cycles], one of the low lights was accidently injecting myself with ammonia in work.

Rowing went pretty well, a session in the dark was an experience, we had balance issues in the dark.

Generally, fitness wise the week was much better than previous ones thanks to the cold being banished and getting back to bike riding and such [I won't go banging on about how bad the whole train experience was!!! grrrr].

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Dawes Dawn

I pinched the picture from Dawes (

Over the weekend I received my birthday pressie... a lovely lovely new Dawes Element mountain bike... I was well chuffed and really can't wait to try it out in anger... hopefully tomorrow now I've shifted the cold and infection ;o)

What a weekend

It seems I lost a blog entry from over the weekend, boasting about my new bike [see next post for that then].

Over the weekend I rowed twice, over an hour and a half for each session... we even got to put in a bit of full pressure work on the end of Sundays. A week laid off with my ear infection and cold meant that it all took quite a bit out of me, but it was so nice to get the buzz of doing something again.

All in all a good weekend returning to activity, next weekend is the Cardiff Love Run which will prove interesting as I have only cross-trained and not specific trained for it.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


I the course of trying to play with the couple of pages linked to my blog, something was noticed in my weight loss trend over the years [link on the right blog nav bar]. I take more measurements at the start of the year than the end, looking back I began most of the last several years making new years resolutions and planning to run various spring time events.

What it shows are the effects of the seasons and motivations, later in the year I either forget the resolution or simply am enjoying the long days and activity so much that I neglect the targets. It is really very nice to have plotted out all the readings as I did allowing me to spot such a reproducible trend in my habits.

I would recommend keeping a diary, chart, or even blog to track what you are doing or losing over a long time frame. So that the things that are beneficial or detrimental will become self-apparent, and mean you can utilise or correct those little things you do.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Sculpting ?!?!?

I am not sure that I have lost a deal of weight of late, but it does seem that yet again there are some subtle changes in the Andy body distribution.... a few days ago my Tanita scales told me I had dropped 2% of body fat, and then this morning I went and pulled the belt an extra notch tighter on my trousers.

Definite signs of progress ;o) I have said it before and I'll say it again "scales are only one of many measures of fitness / weight-loss progress"...

...I don't wanna boast but I've even noticed there is hardly any fat on my legs, with all the cycling and rowing... I do however have a little battle to try and win against male pattern midriff fat chunky bits around my lower back and kidneys ;o)

Not task avoiding ;o) Mac stuff...

I haven't had task avoiding time lately...much!!! I have been in work at odd hours running an antique bit of science kit!?!?!?! Through that I have had the odd ten minutes here and there... I found a few treats...

Ambermac Amber MacArthur's site. A tech web-blog for Macs predominantly, based around a Canadian computing show thing, the blog is all things swish (photo blogs, video blogs, links, merchandise, google ads) - its all very sleek and has provided links like the following...

43folders Merlin Mann’s site about personal productivity, life hacks, and simple ways to make your life a little better.

EgoSurf A tool to see just what (if any) presence you have within the www [not saying what I got :o( hahaha].

[Ps. as of Feb'2011 the above links still valid ;o)]

Tiredness, Antibiotics and a plan

I have been a bit rubbish at the blogging of late, but then again I have been feeling a bit rubbish of late. I have not exercised since Saturday morning and have been fighting a cold / ear infection.

The worst is that I have been reduced to taking the train to work... oh don't even get me started on the short comings of Arriva Trains Wales (which reminds me I have to look up their customer complaints department!!!!!). After a trip to the doctors last night and receiving antibiotics, I hope to get sorted and back on the bike real soon :o)

Had a meeting with the crew last night about the coming regatta season and training... it was great to see the ambition and to talk through the work ahead. I am really looking forward to a busy and fun summer. It looks like from next week I get only a couple of days off a week ;o)

Monday, January 30, 2006

MSN at it again... wow, marathon stuff!!

I am again suprised to note that MSN's UK homepage has a link to marathon running stuff... this time "The dos and don'ts of marathon training".
I am impressed and at the bottom of the page are links to their other marathon content :o)
[2011 update - The link / page since vanished, to be fair MSN may have a new section for this content I haven't looked. If I see something in future I'll be sure to blog it again :o) ]

AdSense on trial

I put the AdSense on my page out of interest, and curiosity - - - but I am left wondering if it is a tad of a waste of time... and wondering if anyone who stumbles over my blog might see the banner and think "oh no, one of those advert / corporate / spam blog type pages".

I think I might shift them to the side bar out of the way, then leave them there on a trial basis.

Had to laugh that my running blog was recognised as a rowing blog by the google crawler and posted rowing adverts... perhaps my suspicions were right and I may have to design a new blog name thingy :o)

Worn out :o(

I am so shattered at the moment from work that I am suffering my first cold in absolutely ages... it has meant that I haven't been able to put a great deal of effort into anything. I feel completely tired mentally and physically... it has become apparent just how important sleep is. I have had to be in work every 7hr 40mins for the last 9 days, which has limited sleep and disturbed my routine no end.

Inevitably, it led to a cold, and an ear infection (yet to be diagnosed... off to the Doc's office tomorrow). It has also led to no biking, which has had the extra effect of reducing those lovely buzzy endorphin thingies that I get every morning and evening. I am sick of the sight of work and can't wait for my new job, this one quite simply stinks!!?!?!?!?!? grrrrr!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Day of two halves

Started off feeling brilliant (see previous entry)... ended it feeling absolutely rotten. Work is really grinding me down at the moment, I have to tend to a machine every 8 hrs - - - which if you are sharp means that I can't sleep for more than about 6 hrs at a stretch. I really can't keep it up, and do all the things that I want to do... I have had to blow off an ergo session tonight because I am just plain shattered again.

Roll on the summer of running and rowing ;o)

First run of the season is looming - - - 10k Love Run around Cardiff in February :o)


Yippee!! No more physio for me (for the time being, hopefully ever)... I had my review this morning and passed. I have to still do a few stretches / exercises, but otherwise I am no longer 'under' the physio :o)

I started going last august, a good couple of months or more after my bike crash (okay, accident in the rain on a sloping bend)... it took so long because of the referral system (d'oh!!)... but when I got there it was interesting. From the toughest physical examination I have ever had (all aimed at my right arm), to all manner of stretches, to shoulder circuit classes... it was all good and very very effective. I owe a thank you to all there, including the numerous physiotherapists that took turns to treat me through the various elements, Clare, Jess, Della, Sarah and then Della again.

The value of stretches and flexibility was demonstrated at every visit, and is a lesson that I hope never to forget. The rowing circuits do a broad range of stretches every session so my shoulder should strengthen further, with the rowing emphasis on shoulder girdle strength / conditioning to 'hold' the stroke.

I am a very, very happy discharged bunny :o)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

My miserable Monday revealed...

My lovely girlfriend came across the real reason for my miserable Mondays reported by the all knowing BBC...

"Always look on the bright side?"
"'I don't like Monday 24 January'"

Apparently they used a formula to work out the 24th of January is the most miserable Monday of the year... I just woke up groaned and knew - - - do I have the gift? - - - or was it just a ridiculous co-incidence?

Very, very monday off... "common cold?"

I am not at all sure what happened to Monday, it was totally unproductive in every way... work crawled, I cat-napped, got home and nigh on collapsed... I felt awful, lacking in energy. Happily this morning some energy has returned though not up to 100%.

I think I am adjusting to training, since Christmas I have ramped up my effort considerably. Also realised that there might have been a link between icing my legs (in the shower) and feeling rough...

BBC X-Ray programme article about colds and icing feet.
Borrowing a quote from their page, from Prof. R. Eccles (Cardiff University Common Cold Centre)...
"We've demonstrated in studies on students is that when we chill students' feet they're far more likely to get a cold over the next 3-4 days. What in fact happens is that chilling the feet constricts the blood vessels in the nose and weakens our defences against infection. The virus is already there, it's latent and what we're doing by chilling the feet is activating this virus and bringing on a stinking cold."

Hmm, I wonder, suffice to say I have put the icing of my legs on hold for the time being hoping that as I get fitter my recovery time after exercise will improve ;o)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Shattered :o(

I am absolutely shattered, between work, rowing training, and a busy weekend I have been brought to my knees. I am struggling to stay awake!?!?!?! I have had a slight ear infection / crackle again over the weekend and am maybe a little run down... I have resolved to take it a little easier today - - - which is hard as I have so much to do :o(

The training seems to be paying off, I certainly stronger and moreover more flexible. Just got to be a little careful this week of over doing things.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Running anyone? ;o) Nah, rowing at the mo

It seems that I may have to deeply consider the name of this blog, seeing as I haven't been for a run in weeks (months - Sian just pointed out!!?!?!?).

It has been a busy weekend, we went out Saturday morning, and then again Sunday a little later. For both sessions I replaced the stroke man who is on his hols... Saturday was possibly the better of the two days, I think the boat was well sat both days. I have to work on my side / pace control - although a bit of fitness has meant that I can compress much better at the catch. The whole boat business seems that little bit more comfortable the more I can ignore fitness and get on with learning to row ;o)

Not sure what I am doing Monday night, I am half considering a good run, except it'll be dark - I will probably do strength work on the ergo at the club.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Atlantic rowing success for Cracknell & Fogle

The two men in a boat in aid of Children in Need, James Cracknell and Ben Fogle have finished in 49 days, 19hrs and 8mins. Crossing the Atlantic by oar power the fastest of any double team, and in 3rd place in the overall event. Absolutely brilliant effort !!!! :o)

Some press links marking their success...
The Telegraph newspaperArticle (1) Article (2)
BBC online
The Independent newspaper

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Gym-tastic!! ;o)

Did an ergo session last night at the club, followed by an intro into free weights and the like in the club weights room. It all seems okay, but I have no idea what combination of the different exercises to do... that bit I will have to look into.

My thigh ache moved around to the groin area but was still not too trouble-some. I have circuits again Thursday night so that should be entertaining ;o)

We went out for a fab Chinese takeaway after the session in honour of my new job offer!?!?!?! yippee!!!!

Fantastically the feast didn't even affect my weight too much, I have lost a good few post Christmas pounds, it seems the trend winter vs. summer is continuing... but its days are numbered, it'll not repeat next winter ;o)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

100th Post and a scary training story...

Just noticed while logging in that this is my 100th blog entry ;o) Yes, that probably means I am an addict!!!

I was blogging because I came across an article on rowing training plans from Jurgen Grobler (the highly successful GB team coach) on the Concept2 website.... entitled "Weight Training by Jurgen Grobler" it all looks a tad bit strenuous!!! I wonder if we'll get anywhere near this in our training, hahahahaha (I think not!!)

Aches, pains and tweaks !?!?!

My efforts at last nights LRC circuit session was rewarded by aches and a tweaked (strained / pulled) thigh muscle in my right leg. I have to be more careful on the second circuit, the tiredness of completing the first means that you need to concentrate even more on technique as time goes on. When I got home cold water showering of my legs seemed to help, as did some Brufen.... this morning it seems fine, but pressure on the bike revealed that I will have to protect it somewhat over coming training :o(

It seems that aside from my long standing (and improving shoulder injury), I am currently also carrying a strained pair of abdominal muscles and a thigh strain. I remember reading somewhere that all serious "sportsmen" carry and live with injuries.... does this mean that I can finally call myself a "sportsman", hehehehe :oD Every cloud has a silver lining.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Just another manic monday, with a little icing :o)

It was quite a mad Monday, dashing about in work, and then making a rapid transition to the club to do a 5k ergo test with the crew. I did okay though slightly less than previously, 19min 21sec, I was not as calm and focused as the other time.

It seems that focus / concentration is something that I need to work on, I was too aware of what was going on around me!?!?! I also saved too much in the penultimate 500m, slowing badly before a storming last 400m, d'oh!! Its all good learning experience.

I tried cooling my legs with freezing cold water in the shower, following chat amongst the crew and my finding of some stuff on the BBC website Sport Academy and BBC Sport Health & Fitness.

As evidence for the slight madness involved I other you this gif, borrowed from the BBC Sport Health & Fitness page on ice baths... that is a tennis player, Lee Childs enjoying an iced wheelie bin!?!?!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Proof that you are early ;o)

Sometimes its nice to be able to prove you were early / on time to train...

...courtesy of Terry's Webcam (not quite live) there is proof that I was on time for Saturdays row, despite the iffy state of the river (also evident) we did row in the end.

Ps. that's me in the pale track bottoms ;o)
Pps. I am sorry that I 'pinched' the webcam picture - so much so that I'd better pop the link to Terry's actual rowing page in as well ;o)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Bring the beat back ;o)

Another couple of weeks of the new rowing land training should really put me back in the rhythm of fitness work. I am looking forward to making this level of activity regular again, it takes 2-3 weeks to take a new regime really in your stride I find. It was certainly the case with running, I am hoping the same will be true of the circuits and rowing ;o)

Had another session on the river today where my lack of grooved stroke work was evident, I have resolved to spend some extra time in the tank room working through the basics. Starting tomorrow night before our 5k ergo test.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

A cool week of good graft :o)

I am very happy with this weeks efforts, I am already feeling the benefits of stepping up rowing land training and am going to make to two circuits at the club a regular feature of the week.

As has been the case in the past it is clear that I have the stamina and can work consistently. But what is clear is that I have to build with strength and fast burst work to covert it to power in the boat.

My only concern with the rowing is the 'body politic' - I am not a political animal and fear that there is a bit of politicking going on.

I am very happy with the way the crew has bound together, and want to work hard with and for those guys. I am wary that at some points outside influences will stress the group, and that by not being politically adept I will end up with the rough end of such influences. Still I am committed to rowing and if needs be I will simply default to plan 'A' - scull in singles or double with Sian. Though it would be desperately sad not to see how far we can get as a crew.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Rowing summer :o)

We have had a list of possible regattas and competitions my crew might be entering this year, along with a commitment check. I'm happy to give this thing 110% so bring it on :o)

Sat 4 March - Taff Head
There is also a possibility of a Monmonth Head.

note: 1000m Saturday and 500m sprint Sunday

Sat 29/Sun 30 April - Evesham
Sat 13/Sun 14 May - Shrewsbury (possibly)
Sat 27 May - Monmonth sprint (500m) (might drop in favor of Sun & Mon)
Sun 28 May - Monmonth (1000m)
Mon 29 May - Hereford City (1200m)
Sat 16 June - Stratford (maybe, as it was cancelled last year)
Sat 24/Sun 25 June - Ironbridge
Sat 8/Sun 9 July - Llandaff
Sat 22/Sun 23 July - Bewdley
Sat 12/Sun 13 Aug - Stourport
Sat 19/Sun 20 Aug - Oxford City
Sat 26 Aug - Gloucester
Mon 28 Aug - Ross-on-Wye

Looks like being a fun summer ;o) Here's hoping we bring in some pots :o)