Saturday, September 12, 2009

More and more

With my brief session the on Thursday I thought I would make up for it today and do some more 2k ergs.

2k 1 - 7m33s, Aver. per 500m 1m53s, Aver. 23spm
2k 2 - 7m45s, Aver. per 500m 1m56s, Aver. 22spm
2k 3 - 7m42s, Aver. per 500m 1m55s, Aver. 23spm
2k 4 - 7m34s, Aver. per 500m 1m53s, Aver. 23spm
...and finally I tried a last gasp 500m sprint, silly but I thought it might be interesting.
500m - 100m 1m33s 42spm, 200m 1m34s 35spm, 300m 1m39s 36spm, 400m 2m55s 17spm, 500m 2m28s 18spm.

It was a good session, but I really need to improve my concentration through the middle of the distances. I found the split times were fluctuating as my attention came and went. Still perhaps I'm being tough on myself, I could have just not bothered and that would have been worse!!

Book Review -> Absolute Friends" - John le Carre

Another of my re-cycled book reviews from my LivingSocial's facebook entries.

"Absolute Friends" - John le Carre
"A le Carre fan bought a copy of this thinking they hadn't read it, but they had and so passed it to me (knowing I'd read Little Drummer Girl recently). I started it and was immediately drawn into the detailed world of le Carre's craft. The story is moved along at an absorbing pace, through a world of rich description, history and character. The political themes and comment inspires reflection, while the central friendship keeps you by turns amused and concerned.

I am beginning to think I may have joined the legion of le Carre fans, whilst only having sampled a couple from his catalog, his writing is simply a joy to experience. I don't mean to gush, but not since Jack Higgins whilst in my teens has an author had me so spellbound."

Whoops, all too busy

Well I'd planned to do a 5 times 2k ergo on Thursday night, but loads of new rowers turned up and I got distracted. I found that I was the only non-learner there and that the noise of my machine was causing issues for the 'tutors'. Oh, well, as it was I'd done a hard'ish first 2k so I probably couldn't have done all five.

The two I did do were:-
2k 1 - 7m14s, Aver per 500m 1m48s, Aver 27spm
2k 2 - 7m37s, Aver per 500m 1m54s, Aver 23spm
I was actually very happy with the first one, it felt like I could have gone faster if I was going full out.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Daylight robbery

On Tuesday I had the misfortune of being involved in a minor 'incident' near my work, a couple of guys were attempting to steal a bicycle. As I walked towards my office building I noticed a guy in a large quilted jacket looking out of place across the road. Something made me stop and watch as he stooped to apparently dust something off his trouser leg and looked up and down the street quite furtively. As he stood up I saw a length of scaffold pole inside his jacket, which he manoeuvred into position having turned to face a racked bicycle. The guy was moving the bike's lock into a spot where he could lever the pole to break it - it all happened swiftly and I was looking about to see if anyone else had noticed or whether there was anything much I could do.

Knowing the area well (I've worked there for some years), I knew there was a University security centre over my shoulder, but there was no one apparent coming or going - something the would-be thief had also noted.

I had a moment to decide what to do, I had (being brutally honest) almost turned to carry on my way, but something made me stop spin around lift my right hand, point my finger and with a firm tone shout "Oi!". It wasn't at the top of my voice, but it came out with an assertive clear - slightly alien to me tone.

At which point the guy looked up and slid the pole back into his jacket. He glanced around wondering who else noted my stance, and began to move off up the street. As he went he through some sort of verbal abuse my way, that I really couldn't make out - accept the general implication of "what business was it of yours you ****er!". I again turned toward my office block before remembering the security centre which I headed for instead. As I turned that way I caught the guy starring at me and throw a few more choice words my way.

Once at the security office door I noticed him climbing onto the back of a friends bike before his partner pedalled the two of them away. Funnily enough the 'friend' had his stripey hoodie pulled up nice and tight. The thief couldn't enjoy such luxury and was no doubt the fall guy in every sense of the scenario. The people in the office took my descriptions and set about following them on CCTV... which seemed a little feeble to me... happily as I left an officer was off in their direction of travel to follow up.

In the aftermath I felt charged, and buzzy... as that wore off I'd pondered what I'd done, my inner coward came forth. I found myself wondering what exactly he'd shouted, and whether our paths would cross again. I have an oddly encyclopedic people memory, and I know I've seen him before on my commuter train. I'd only noted him then because of his 'look', I could expand and offer generalisations of his motives / background but they probably aren't helpful.

I'm only happy, especially as a fellow cyclist, someone went to go home that night and found their bike where they'd left it. It's funny what can happen in just such a few short seconds sometimes.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Carry on archiving

I am in the middle of going back through my blog having a bit of a clean up. Correcting my terrible spelling, refreshing the odd link, enjoying a nostalgic read, and adding tags to posts written before Blogger offer such things. It very interesting to read my own musings, they at times seem to be written by someone I recognise and at other times by someone I don't. This blog does represent the longest diary I have ever kept. Even though its mostly sports / fitness / weight based it does contain many references to other things going on in my world.

The biggest puzzle at the moment as I go back and forth updating my archive is the number or Clustrmap hits I have in the U.S. of A. since January this year. Normally the biggest single red blob on my map in a given year is me in the U.K. There is an ever growing blob smack in the middle of America, that seems to be reading this blog more than I am... if you are that blob FANTASTIC don't stop visiting... but I fear there may be a problem with my map :o(

I can heartily recommend a blog / diary (even if you don't make it public and watch red dots on a visit map with interest) for keeping a record of endeavour, effort, activity, or simply events. The best bit is looking back at the archive after a time with a warm sense of appreciation and recognition.

Last weeks activity in summary (sort of)...

Training LogRowStretchRunErgoCircuitWeightsCycle

Rowing and stretching seem to be making up the staple of my recent activity, which is great. If I manage to add the bike into the mix again I will really be on the move again... I keep trying to get back on the bike but the weather or work keep tempting me away from peddling. The weather has been so changeable I haven't been motivated on rainy / windy days, and work has been such that taking the train has been the most convenient. Still returning to the gym for some weights sessions over the next few weeks will be a welcome addition.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Who is getting brave then?

Today I got out in the single scull again, and set out feeling a little bit brave. As I've done a fair amount of sculling of late I thought perhaps I would give a few new things a try. The river was fairly quiet, but the crews that were out were mostly coxless and the sun was unexpectedly bright. Having gotten there nice and early, I just got on with getting the boat out, and set it up swiftly. One of the things I was determined to try was moving off from the racing start position.

I did manage it a couple of times, but as my Cartoon sculler demonstrates I wasn't entirely comfortable. The last time I did it was just before I heading to the landing stage at the end of my session - I figure if I fell in it wouldn't be far to swim. Happily it went well, though a watcher on the stage pointed out I was doing strange things with my left oar.

One other thing I tried during my three trip excursion was a 'race piece' over 500m, from above the bridge to the end of the landing stage by the web cam. I wasn't looking for anything earth shattering, but really just a benchmark for future reference. In the end I did it in 2 min flat, and though not amazing or all that smooth I was pretty happy with it.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Book Review -> "Devil May Care" - Sebastian Faulks

Another my reviews that I've been posting on LivingSocial's facebook app...

"Devil May Care" - Sebastian Faulks

"I have little doubt that Faulks is a fabulous writer (my wife says so), but I was left a little cold by this. Not sure what I was expecting, there was you'd expect, but it seemed a little like average fan fiction.
I have to say I haven't actually read a 'genuine' Fleming book so I can't labour over any comparison (perhaps I will put this right and read an original). The characterisation seemed lazy, the plot fast but clunky... although in saying that I did enjoy the read - I didn't get tempted to give it up at any point. So in that Faulks held my attention and had me partially immersed in a Bond world of suspended belief.
The parallels to modern world issues were in places obvious and while I could see what the author was trying to achieve I was not rapt by the style in which it was done. The research seemed too deliberate in achieving the comparisons, and at times distracted.
On the whole I enjoyed the book, and it will likely mean I look for a Fleming read, and perhaps even a read of one of my wife's Faulks 'as Faulks' books."

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Last weeks Training Log

Training LogRowStretchRunErgoCircuitWeightsCycle
Thu/27/8/09.Y.5x 2k...
Continued signs of movement, though I am seriously considering putting a miscellaneous column on the end for other activities like the allotment digging and heavy-duty DIY ;o)

Quick catch up - after the Bank Holiday weekend

All in all it was a busy weekend, with the August bank holiday and all. I was pretty on the move, with sculling, allotmenteering, BBQ attending, and so on. It all started on Saturday with three full trips in the single scull whilst trying to coach a more novice double scull... emphasis here should be on the word 'trying' - being not more than a novice sculler myself, it was interesting attempting to impart advice while not toppling in! In the end all was well, I found it very useful for my boatcraft skills to not be staring at my hands on each stroke and so on... I was actually looking down the river (something numerous coaches have told me I should do, ahem!).

Sunday saw a trip into work, and a BBQ at my rowing partners place - welcoming him back from a sabitical in Boston (nice work if you can get it, hehe). Monday then saw our first pair outing in months, which went well, but was hardly our best ever. Our fitness seemed improved but lack of boat time certainly showed now and then. Happily we are both trimmer, working on base fitness, and go into Winter training again looking forward to next years glories :oD

Wednesday evening even saw us take to the weight room, but our exubrance may have gotten the better of us - both of us are in achy pain today apparently! Sadly its not looking good for rowing this weekend... below is the very full river this morning after a couple of days of stormy weather (you can normally see the plinth at the bottom of the bridge on the far side).

Mobile phone picture - Taken this morning from the Taff Trail

Friday, August 28, 2009

Book Review -> "Music for Torching" - A.M. Homes

Another my reviews that I've been posting on LivingSocial's facebook app... I may as well re-cycle my words for anyone finding my blog.

"Music for Torching" - A.M. Homes

"Having read "This book will save your life" I looked to the authors other work and picked this for a holiday read. Well good grief it is as gritty and hyper real as anything I've read. Quite often I was moved to queasy uneasiness, and at points found it a disquieting read. The writer draws you in to the world of dysfunctional relationships, and suburban America. I had come to believe the book was a post-modern farce and that it was heading for a puerile but grand comedy reveal of an ending. Only I was absolutely, totally and utterly wrong.

The ending is masterful, in one chapter it all swings around and brings everything abruptly into perspective. I would absolutely love to gush about why, but I'd ruin the ending for anyone who might read it. If you really want to read a book that will make you examine the preoccupations of selfish existence, and peer relationships get this and bare with it to the end. My admiration of the authors skills have increased many fold."

Green eyed monster

This morning on my walk with the dog I pasted by the rowing club and suffered a pang of jealousy. The trailers were half loaded ready for the weekends racing,... and I felt the urge to go racing. I hadn't ever recognised that I enjoyed racing as much as to miss it. After a broken season of training, illness, bad luck and so on I didn't race as anywhere near as much as I have in the last couple of years.
Taken on the Taff Trail using my mobile phone

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Whoops, five times 2k... fast, slower and slower

Tonight I was a bit daft in my five 2k training session this was what I managed:-

2k 1- 7:15.7 - aver. 1:48.9/500m - 26spm -very happy, decent time with energy to spare.
2k 2- 7:37.6 - aver. 1:54.4/500m - 25spm -hmm, too fast first 2k?
2k 3- 7:51.2 - 1:57.8/500m - 24spm -yes, too fast on the first 2k!!
2k 4- 8:24.6 - 2:06.1/500m - 22spm -oh no, no power left!! :o(
2k 5- 9:59 - warm down -even as a warm down this was a long, long time.

My wife thought it was hilarious that I went too fast and blew my bolt too soon... and there I was a week ago all happy and chuffed with my pacing and effort, hoo-hum!

Now I seem to be well and truly back on the move all I need do now is get back on my bike (to commute to work) and sort out my eating habits again... like I said, hoo-hum! :o)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Website Wednesday

I have been browsing a few things with a view to updating my blog links, along the way I found :-

Men's fitness UK
Pete Reed's rowing form guide

The British Olympic rowers guide to using an ergo effectively. The article is a bit brief, but very useful if you have only ever abused the rowing machine in your local gym rather than 'rowed' it ;o)

WorldRowing website

Great website to follow all of international rowing, from Juniors through Senior to Masters level. Coverage of the Semi's and Final's (including live streaming) of the World Rowing Championships in Poznan, Poland starts tomorrow.

The website includes events, results, and athlete biographies (including MEET THE ATHLETES - Video Interviews)

Facebook fan group

Week rolling on

Last night (Tuesday) saw more circuit fun, I managed to pace myself much better this week but it still hurts today! There wasn't a great attendance again, but the six of us did have plenty of room to work hard. Even with just six we had to have the fan running in the gym because of the muggy humid weather we are enjoying this weird weather summer. The stretching at the end was once again the hardest part, I really am not very bendy at the moment. Its probably something that requires me sticking with the more awkward stretches rather than doing the easy ones a lot.

No training today, but a long day in work followed by attending to and putting to end a grumpy and crying daughter has completely finished me off. Still being a bit more on the move of late should keep me going until the weekend :o) I intend doing another 2k ergo session tomorrow evening, which should prove very interesting?!?

Monday - on the move type job

Outside my office window on Monday morning I was treated to a demonstartion of a truly on the move job...
Yeap, absailing window cleaning. That definitely is no desk bound job, and very spider-man!!
The guy had his tools hanging off a kind of Batman utility belt, simply awesome!! Not that I was in anyway jealous, oh no.... I suffer from a fear of heights / vertigo. So much though his job is great and completely on the move, its not one that I'll ever be retraining to apply for, no fear!?!?!?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Almost broken, plus latest training table

Today was a bit of a tiring one, it started with a long 4 trip session on the river in a double scull (two in the bow seat and two in the stroke seat), and ended with a long afternoon digging our allotment. The double went very well, so much so that my partner suggested we did some 'work' - starts and full pressure rowing. It seemed to go so well that my partner was wishing there was more of the season left to go racing, hehe.

The allotment digging should perhaps go in my training log, as I got a bit carried away and was treating it like a sporting event!! I ended up having to have a hot bath when I got home just to try and avoid too much stiffness tomorrow. Felt good to be working hard, but Monday morning work will prove interesting... I might be moving pretty slowly.

Happily this weeks training log (see below) shows a welcome return to quality "on the move" work, I am chuffed and look forward to keeping it going :o)

Training LogRowStretchRunErgoCircuitWeightsCycle
Thu/20/8/09.Y.5x 2k...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Further adventures in 'singling'

This morning I continued my recent adventures in a single scull, and tried a different boat. The change of equipment wasn't through choice it was necessary as the river bank was bustling with rowers today. Everyone is in training for the Gloucester and Ross regattas over the up coming Bank holiday weekend. I hadn't realised we had another boat I could use, but the alternate was actually a good looking proposition. It went very well, I managed four trips up and down the river. I didn't fade too much through the outing, although I did have a few sticky patches.

After the event I was quite tired but happy to feel that I am getting fitter each week. Unfortunately my backside is killing me as I forget to take a seat pad with me!! Some of the other crews out on the water looked promising, and I had a good bit of banter with other single scullers. One comment from the bank suggested that I give up sweep oar boats and stick to sculling... hmm, we'll see how things go.

Single sculler
My cartoon sculler rides again!! [Drawn in a my own special way using Microsoft Powerpoint] 
By the way the answer to the scullers question is simply that different boats are rated for different weights of rower / sculler. I had been in one designed for heavier and one designed for lighter, before finding one that was just right.... no, the three bears involved, although as I read that back it sort of sounds like it ;o)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Book review -> "Sail" - James Patterson, Howard Roughan

I thought seeing as I've been waxing lyrical (or not) about the books I've been reading on LivingSocial's facebook app I may as well re-cycle my words for anyone who finds my blog ;o)

"Sail" - James Patterson, Howard Roughan

"I was a little troubled even before I started to read this, by two things. Firstly a second author tucked away in fainter type under the bestselling main draw, and secondly the size of the print in my edition could be read by a passing satellite. Why did this trouble me? A second author often feels like one or other had half an idea, and they thought they'd 'bash' it together with a mate in an attempt for mutual gain. The edition screamed trashy pulp fiction before I even broke chapter one. Trival as you might find this, it turned out to be a telling premonition.

The story is 'b' movie, I think that's where I suspect they hoped to take this. The characters where left so empty as to be played by near enough any actor, making a directors job nice and easy. Plot twists are painful, and there are numerous clumsy drop ins of pop culture that are meant to connect the reader to this fiction - Apple's hardware range, car magazines, and the good restaurant guide appeared to pass as research / cultural 'touchstones'.

Yes this book is pacey, yes it is a decent enough light read (each chapter lasting an average of 2.5 pages), but no I won't be looking up other of this authors works in the near future."

Going Global - well a bit!

Wow, a bit of recent blogging and look what happens to my ClustrMap counter thingy....

[Screen grabs from my ClustrMap this morning, cut together with Adobe Photoshop]
Just last week I had visitors from perhaps six countries now I have so many more. All because I have been blogging that little bit more frequently. I can only hope all those who stopped by liked what they found (ahem, I hope!!).

Stop the press - I have also just spotted that I have my first 'Follower' (still not actually certain what one is), from Brazil - "Hello Cantora Lauriete" :o)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

2k, 2k, 2k, 2k, 2k and thunder!

I have more or less put myself into Winter training mode already, and in that vein I have decided to keep my heavy 2k session in my week of exercise. It should prove a good guide to my progress over coming weeks, if I keep it up ;o)

Tonight I was really quite happy with what I managed:-
2k 1- 7:28.6 - aver. 1:52.1/500m - 24spm
2k 2- 7:35.1 - aver. 1:53.7/500m - 24spm
2k 3- 7:36.2 - 1:54.0/500m - 25spm
2k 4- 7:40.6 - 1:55.1/500m - 24spm
2k 5- 9:04 - warm down

Pictured below, the instrument of my own self-imposed torture (there's probably a word for that kind of activity).
I realised halfway through that I had my feet too high, and found the adjustment far better for my posture. At the beginning I had adjusted the drag factor (resistance setting) to better suit someone of my weight as well. All the little details probably contributed to this being a better session than last week. Below is a picture I took tonight showing the fantastic view I have as I put myself through my paces...

As I was finishing my session a thunder storm broke that made me glad that I was in the gym and not out on the water like the rest of the club. I was also chuffed that the thunder came during my warm down as it proved to be a huge distraction, and that I had lovely fresh cool air to head home in.

Glorious morning for a pun...

Indeed, despite the rain (drizzle) it was a glorious morning for a pun. This has been on a felled log on the Taff Trail for some weeks (if not months), but today I finally thought "yeah, it's about time I photographed that!". It is just as simple a piece of witty tagging / graffiti as I've seen anywhere in some time, and is somehow enhanced by its setting....
Taken using my none too fabulous mobile phone (I'll bite my tongue on bitching about that piece of kit for anow) on the Taff Trail overlooking the river Taff

It isn't in my weekly training log (see the very bottom of this blog) but walking the dog a few mornings a week (past the log above) really does add to the "on the move" weekly total - was that I kept such a total - which I don't!! Just about any activity can be an "on the move" activity :o)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Circuit dizziness!?!?!

Tuesday evening saw me heading to the rowing club for a circuit training session. I had to turn down an row in an eight to do it, but I have more than realised that fitness is the key to getting the boat moving. Unfortunately too many colleagues circuit like crazy all Winter, meaning they are superbly fit come March, then do little or no work during the Summer when the lure of long days and water prove too much. This means the average crew gets slower through the summer months, ironic, unproven, yes, but I suspect pretty much on the money.
(c) copyright: A.J. Hollins
[Another cartoon effort using the 'fine art' PowerPoint drawing tools - I call this "Circuit Dizziness!?!?!" - a true work of classic post-modern doodling. ]

Only a shame you don't get a sense of the pain involved in a rowing circuit from the cartoon!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Novice Sculling Cartoon

My very own little cartoon sculler muses his own weekends shortcomings.
[Drawn in a my own special way using Microsoft Powerpoint - that great artists pallet and creative tool!?!?!?]

Last weeks training table

Slowly but surely getting back into all things active...

Training LogRowStretchRunErgoCircuitWeightsCycle
Wed/12/8/09.Y.4x 2k...

Weekend madness

It started with a single scull outing, which took in three trips up and down the river. I could feel after one and a half that I wouldn't be able to do more than three. My brain was saying "hey, lets go fast, we've spent too long messing with technique", unfortunately my body was saying "I'm shattered now from staying upright doing all that technique!". In the end I did a 500m 'pressure' piece from just above the bridge on the last bit of the second trip, and then limped up and down the third one. I could feel the battle between concentration and fatigue during almost all the final trip. At least I managed to win the battle to stay upright :oD

After the rowing came loft sorting, box moving, shelf building, lawn mowing, allotment clearing, shopping, and all manner of other weekend madness. It was a busy weekend, which left me so tired I had to go for a nap when our daughter went for hers!! I feel that a bit of fitness will make these kind of weekends a little easier... I am still pursuing that, after several weeks of no rowing training and heavy summer cold. happily things are on the move ;o)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Double coaching

I had a brief outing in a double scull last night helping a friend get to grips with using two blades. It went very well, they are actually more proficient than I first thought and more so than they gave themselves credit for. I found it interesting that I swiftly ran out of useful things to say, as it was hard to tell what they were doing sat behind them and worrying about where we were going.

Happily in the near future I'll get out in a single along side them with their buddy in a double. Perhaps then I can actually add some proper advice and do a slightly better job of coaching. One of the biggest advantages of coaching always is that your own efforts improve as a result of thinking about and explaining technique in new ways. Doing even a little coaching can put a smile on your face as well as 're-framing' technical knowledge :o)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Signs of progress?

Over recent weeks I have found it hard to put together a good run of training. On Saturday morning I tried to do some repeat 2k ergo's as a session and managed a warm up 2k of 8:51.4, a firmer 2k of 7:39.2, and a final tired 2k of 9:49.0. The three of them felt like very hard work, and I had nothing really to give in the third 'warm down' effort. It really felt like I have a long way to get back to fitness.

Tonight I tried the same sort of session and managed:-
2k 1- 7:40.6 - aver. 1:55.2/500m
2k 2- 7:37.4 - aver. 1:54.4/500m
2k 3- 7:36.8 - 1:54.2/500m
2k 4- 9:31 - warm down

I felt much better tonight, although clearly I have a lot of work to do. I hope to do a similar session once a week to work on stamina and the mental toughness of repeating fixed race plans. Its kind of a plan...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Recent activity

Hmm, when I say 'activity' in the title of the entry I unfortunately can't report physical / fitness type activity. There has been much going on, but not a get deal of exercising. My weight has remained where it is, in spite of a bit of comfort eating here and there. I have been enjoying a summer cold (no it isn't Swine Flu, I've had flu before and this hasn't been the flu). The weather in these parts have not exactly been summer'y.

I have had to take the train to work, and skip circuit classes in the last ten days or so. It hasn't been nice, but I really have had to pace myself even in day to day activity as I have been extremely fatigued.

I did manage to get out in a double scull on Sunday morning with a 'novice' sculler (I'm a novice too by the way) and it went great. Okay, so I'm not super-coach and she probably has heaps that a 'real' would analyse, but she was proficient and even getting to grips with steering. We were ahead of an eight at the bridge, and I said "lets just put a little squeeze on the legs"... next thing we are at the weir side by side with the eight clashing oars. Several stand out things in that (1) she was totally fine about banging the oars and we showed no hint of rolling, (2) this was a mens eight doing a pressure piece and we held them to a draw from a two length head start at the bridge, (3) as we began to 'race' them the pressure and rate came up steadily - natural competitor that Fran, (4) by the last 150m I was able to near enough give it full beans with no worry of the boat balance or run. It was the kind of fun session that reminds me why I got the rowing bug in the first place :o)

Book review - >"The Road" - Cormac McCarthy

I thought seeing as I've been waxing lyrical (or not) about the books I've been reading on LivingSocial's facebook app I may as well re-cycle my words for anyone who finds my blog ;o)

"The Road" - Cormac McCarthy

"There are books to read and then there are books you should read. This is one you should. Yes, it is post-apocalyptic and striped to its bare essentials (no chapters, short punchy paragraphs, direct dialogue), but it is a beautiful portrait of a parents efforts to protect and nuture their child.

The writing stretches 'normal' conventions by dropping aspects of punctuation and so forth, I took this as a gesture to the deterioration of language in the author's disintegrating world. The author deftly moves you along the father and son's journey through the crumbling remains of the planet and society using the pared down construction, and simple clear image-conjuring prose. Keeping the reader absorbed.

It might make you glum, it might make you distinctly unsure where the author is taking you, but you will not be able to put it down and you will be left having had your grey matter thoroughly exercised. A deeply satisfying read, and yes the ending might be somewhat speedy but you will being thinking about it for days."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Crickey that hurts!

The return to 'proper' exercise is certainly leaving its mark this week... the circuits left a hefty and prolonged ache. Ironically it was the stretching session after the circuit that did the most 'damage', stretching bits that hadn't beeen strectched in a while! The opted to try and stretch out more often afterwards, and so far haven't been caught by work colleagues doing impromptu leg stretches in the office, hehee.

I managed to get myself into the gym this morning, which was great. Although I didn't realise the done thing is to coiffeur your hair into the bed head look in the mirror for five minutes before entering the gym and working out!?!?! I went with my usual 'au naturel' bed head, plus bike helmet head hair style (sans mirror)... perhaps I'm actually a gym fashion leader??!?! ;o)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Many ouch'y returns

I returned to circuits tonight, and oh ouch!! I discovered just how much my fitness has gotten away from me. At points I was weak as a kitten, which is... rubbish. It was a good circuit in its design, I just didn't have the power to do it!?!?! I hope to make it a regular session now, because it will definitely pay off if I keep it up. After tonight it has to be said the only the way is up!!

It has really brought home to me just how far I need to go to get into half decent shape. Will do my best to keep the blogging going ;o)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Little by little

When it comes to making new starts (which inevitably happens along any path) then the key thing to keep in mind is little by little. I managed to forget this bit of my own advice, and for a few minutes of a rowing machine session this Saturday just gone I was very annoyed. I thought that I would be able to do almost as well as I used to do a couple of months ago, ah no, not even close. When you go back to doing something you've not done in a while give yourself a mental break and don't expect old glories instantly.

The same is true of healthy eating, don't expect that because you were once much lighter that a return will come swiftly. Admittedly the early days of eating better invariably do go well, mainly through a sort of detox effect of 'emptying' your system of excess digestion material (whatever it was you were using to make yourself feel 'full'). After the initial phase give yourself a similar mental break, and know that from there on its going to be incremental and steady work to get back to where you once were.

Happily I am enjoying be back at the task, the rowing machine session felt good - as soon as I got off I felt the buzz. The healthier eating is similarly good, the initial 'effect' of diet change has tipped me just below the 15st mark. I must up date the chart, though I need to get my FTP service sorted before I can, d'oh!!

I keep thinking of things to blog, so hopefully I'll post some of those up in coming days :o)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Return to action

After a brief but lovely holiday I am back to concerted efforts to keep 'on the move'... started by cycling into work today, and will continued with that at least until the weekend. Some rowing and running will (I hope) creep back in next week with a renewed healthy eating thrust.

The scales didn't tell me scary things when I got back from holiday indulgences, only that I seem to have settled back at 15st. I will get to updating my chart on the weekend, it is usually the act of charting that inspires a good run of activity. Now that my days, weeks are fuller with things I will perhaps need to be canny about fitting in goodly amounts of exercise. We will see how that develops.

I noticed my blog has a number of American visits on my ClustrMap, although sadly I never subscribed to the details map so I have no idea where they actually are from. I am intrigued to know whether anyone reads this at all, let alone with any regularity (bar my wife that is who often reads this and offers kind hints about my terrible spelling!?!? hehehehe).

On the subject of readers, I often wonder if I'm missing a trick with certain keywords and so on. You know the thing, you blog a bunch of stuff and keep mentioning words over and over so search engines offer your blog up to read. I am often curious as to what happens if for example I wrote several blog entries about celeb gossip or diet fads whether my ClustrMap would reflect the 'titillating' keyword pick ups / hits?!?! Happily I really couldn't care less if anyone finds this or not, when I remember to blog its always more for me that it is for you.... and I certainly don't intend to start dropping little search enticing keywords everywhere ;o)

Ps. yes I know there is a spell checker here, I often forget to hit the button before the 'publish' button - sorry! :o)

Saturday, July 04, 2009


Well currently I am at 15st, which isn't at all terrible in the grand scheme of my personal weight history, but isn't close to where I'd like to be. The work starts here (again), and starts with the elimination of snacks. Over the last few months I have become accustomed to grabbing food as and when I feel like it. Bringing back some structure is the key to turning around the bad run, standard meals and two light snacks (mid-morning and mid-afternoon) to fend off cravings.

Over the next couple of weeks I hope to improve activity levels a fair bit as well. Hopefully I'll be able to report some good new progress ;o)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

No co-incidence!!

It really is no co-incidence that my last burst of fitness activity was in the run up to the arrival of our first child, or that the drop in fitness followed the exciting arrival. If you then put a temporary job on top of all that, and the quest for a better contract over the following months - it all makes sense, doesn't it?

I haven't really kept up with blogging, and ended up facebook'ing baby pics and things instead... if I ever sign up to twitter then I fear for my blogging I really do, hahaha

I know that I got a few pounds (between 3 and 5) over 15st again in recent weeks, but I am really curious to see what my 'official' weigh-in on the weekend might bring. Somewhere around 15st I think, which looking at the trend line isn't all that bad really. Of course being on the move isn't simply about weight, but being functional active and healthy. So I do have quite some work ahead of me in coming weeks.

Happily I do have a target, my rowing buddy (laughingly reffered to as my 'rowing wife') is away for three months and we have resolved to come back to the boat in the autumn fitter than we both are now! Though I think on recent form I have a bit more work to do, but nonetheless targets are key to some good basic motivation :o)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Time flies...

Time flies when you are busy... sadly though the passage of time hasn't been so kind to my waistline. I opened this blog to pick up my efforts of all things fitness, and saw the last post was my boast... whoops... it lasted some time, then Christmas festivities and and great many other things came along and took my attention away from weighty issues.

Of late I have had a few sage comments from my wife about my whereabouts on my all time trend line, all of them pointing to the fact I have slipped by a few pounds (I will weigh in on Sunday and then adjust my chart to help my renewed pledge to get on the move!!). Noticeably I am not as fit as I was, the stairs in the office are tough at the moment, and rowing is okay as long as we keep it short and sharp?!?!?

Perhaps I'll even get around to diagnosing the reasons behind the slide ;o)