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)

A day off...

Friday was a training day off, I don't have too many aches or pains from the week, which is good cause I have a nice weekend out on the water planned ;o) My only worry is that I felt a tweak and twinge in my damage shoulder during the circuit doing press ups... it settled down last night but has been a little bit tender in certain positions.

I am sure it'll all get easier and better as I get fitter and stronger ;o)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Stepping up anyone???

Blimey, just updated my training log and realised that I have already this week cycled 24 miles, been to three circuit classes, and ergo'ed.... I am ever so slightly impressed with myself, and really chuffed with my stepped up start to the new year ;o)

I am hoping it'll pay dividends later in the year both with marathon training, and with the rowing regatta season.

The circuit tonight was a bit more relaxed as I could run between stations which was oddly a breather from many of the stations... I don't enjoy the press up, squat thrust, or standing bunny hop station. I look forward to it getting easy to complete over coming weeks ;o) Might have to take a crew mates advice about ice baths after the Tuesday circuits though, hahahahaha... that one hurt a little on the fronts of my legs!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Tuesday - interesting - circuit training

Tuesday night saw my first ever experience of circuit training, and rowing circuit training at that!! It was actually very good although I had steam rushing off my body for most of the actual circuit after the warm-up. The circuit had 22 stations, with a good mixture of tasks, though some were grouped in such a way that one muscle group was hit particularly hard for three or so stations. An excellently thought out and run session :o) I am to make it part of my regular week, with another one on Thursday nights.

Wednesday morning, I was not overly stiff in any muscle group, just had a feeling of general fatigue - which I guess is a good sign :o) Then it was off for another circuit... the physio class. As it turned out my legs felt fab on the bike, and in the class I felt good. It seems that this was my last class, I have to go back in two weeks for a 'review' consultation with a physio - hopefully that will be the all clear.

The result of all the circuiting = slightly fed up with running in circles [hehe] + all over tired in that good way + feeling really quite buoyant [that will be the endorphins then ;o) ].

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Monday, Monday... so crazy ;o)

Had what could be regarded as a topsy turvy Monday... madness in work, including an ungodly amount of work this month... then bike dash to Llandaff for an ergo with the crew... then ergo for 20 mins at 22spm, fitness wise it didn't seem to much of a problem, we all covered over 4.5km, at light pressure.

The week continues with more of that there fitness quest, featuring two circuit classes, the physio class, and even an ergo test (I have no idea what that will entail... will let you know!!).

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Quick note of a page I found via Google

I found this during a quick Google search on rowing training... Specialized Strength training for Rowers... it looks really very sensible, I think I will be trying out some of the ergo workouts ;o)

[Not sure where the page originates, it was written by Stephen Seiler in 1996 according to the link last few lines of the page]

Sunday struggle

Concentration!!!! I am suffering from two things on the water confidence and more importantly concentration. When I thought I did well in the four this morning but everyone else felt the boat was heavy and hard work... I felt good, flexible and strong... perhaps feeling physically good I didn't pay enough attention to technique, who knows. Still I enjoyed it, and it wasn't all together bad seeing as we had two subs.

I think the fact that I am not a natural athlete may be beginning to show, the second outing with the eight (again a scratch novice crew) began to show this I think. I was doing a lot wrong I think, but was being left alone because of the nature of the crew and the trips.

Lets just say that right now the solitude of running looks kind of appealing, sadly I am hooked on this rowing lark. I think I need a trip out in the double with Sian to help sort me out, especially relaxation and timing wise.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Stroke to 2... and interesting double up

This morning I had volunteered to "sit-in" for one of the novice 8's... this meant an early start (not too much of a problem) and as it turned out rowing in stroke. We ended up with 7 crew, one short, of an 8 obviously and also not a even number... thus three blades on one side of the boat and four on the other. I enjoyed it none the less, it was tough in stroke, I found that I could feel absolutely everything... my biggest mistake was trying to correct for everything that I felt - it worked better when I got on with my own stroke... until the next dragged oar or rushed slide snuck into my head.

The four that I am getting involved with has a former national / international athlete in the stroke seat which aside from grooved metronomic timing means that he is far stronger - this combined with a long wing span (oar range) makes him our ideal stroke man. I hope that with fitness I can make my own stroke much more grooved... it comes and goes, sweet for a time then shot to bits... I have noticed that very often the take off strokes are sweet, because I can feel the grab of the water far better than when the boat is fully moving.

For the second session on the water, our four got itself together for the first time in the fine shell four. We greeted our bowman, who promptly lead us to the ergo room for a five minute warm up (I have a feeling he may have been assuring himself that we were fit and thus less likely to tip the boat over, heheheheh). I returned to the two seat, which I am enjoying more and more. My right shoulder still struggles a little (post bike crash - its the one I am getting physio for), but I am able to time off and follow directly the stroke mans metronome stroke... that is when I focus and can get my body to follow without brain engaging for every element of the stroke. I can't wait to see what is possible with a little fitness work :o)

Friday, January 06, 2006

2 men in a boat - Cracknell & Fogle - give money!!

James Cracknell and Ben Fogel are ploughing their way across the atlantic in a row boat.

If you've found my blog, and this post, then go have a look at and please give some cash ;o) Please!! :o)

Weight pattern

I have had it pointed out be me (by my lovely girlfriend) that my weight chart for the last five years, follows the seasons. I lose weight into summer and then through autumn / winter gain some again... it isn't just Christmas as I glibly mentioned in a previous post.

It makes a lot of sense, it terms of the length of daylight hours and natural activity, so I am not overly troubled by it... though I am now determined that the information that the plotting of five years of weight measurements will help me to lessen the autumn / winter effects at the end of this year. Avoiding autumn comfort foods and keeping active into the darker nights.

I hope that this blog will plot that change ;o)

Important year

This year already has the smell of being an important one... not bad to be having such a turning point year in my 32rd ;o)

One: I am getting married to the most fabulous human being on this or any planet.

Two: I will be changing employer sooner or later this year (have one interview next week).

Three: I am in a men's coxed four team for the coming regatta season (if we are successful it'll be an incredible first in my lifetime on the sports front).

Four: my family face its first full one in the light of my parents divorcing.

Five: [and the point of this blog (most of the time)] running my first marathon in October.

Six: all of the other stuff that is bound to happen in a busy year....

I really do like the look of 2006 already, and its only week one ;o)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Cardiff Love Run 10k online entry

It looks like my season opener will be 10k round Cardiff for the Love Run [online entry via RunnersWorld Cardiff Valentines 10K Love Run].

I did it last year, it was good fun (especially playing spot the girlfriend and greyhound cheering squad) and I hope to at least match last years time ;o)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

New year resolution crazy

It seems that everywhere in the media there are articles tell us that January is depressing and that we should all have fitness resolutions... bah humbug... the media is depressing!!! Most of us are copping just fine with January ;o)

One useful site though was on msn.... Intermediate Marathon Training Plan via a health page titled Marathon Training Programmes. Impressive content msn, often the articles on health are fluffy and without much information, this one looks a cracker ;o)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Not so hot new year start...

...really am feeling rubbish, had to get the train this morning because of my wisdom tooth / ear infection. I really wanna start the year as I mean to go on, but have not been able to so far. Still, I am rowing Thursday, and the weekend... squad ergo Monday... so things should pick up. I really need to run, or I may have to change my blog title for the new year!!!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Sore throat, so so row.

Post new year I seem to have acquired a sore throat / ear ache. I think that they are both related to wisdom tooth movement, yeah that's right, I think I am teething!! Have resorted to teething gel and pain killers.

The row in the four, was okay, though far less stable, I think cause a couple of us were under the weather, and because we had a different sub in bow. Whatever the problem it wasn't quite as sat as it has been, and wasn't running as sweetly. Fitness on my part can only help, so I hope to make strides over coming weeks.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New year, new training

Its the new year and I am yet to finalise the plan but there is one evolving in my head, it involves an awful lot of ergo sessions, and hopefully a fair amount of running. I will need to use the gym in work a fair bit in the coming weeks to fit all the training in. I am committed to a crew ergo session each Monday, and one / two rows each weekend... the training will be on top of this skeleton.

I am most looking forward to a normal routine of food and exercise after the excess of Christmas... all self imposed sadly!!! I am really looking forward to the cycle to and from work... I have been missing even the basic forms of exercise.