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