Sunday, 29 January 2012

Weight Watchers

Thankfully, after last week, it was an uneventful weeks training. Every fourth week in the Fink program is an easier week, it's been a nice week training. I did something for the first time too... I missed a session, my first one. Now this obviously could be seen as a bad thing, but frankly I'm quite relieved. I suffer missed session guilt, so not to stress about losing 1 hour feels good. I even restrained myself from going on the usual Sunday Eakring ride. I've mentioned before how much I enjoy it but they were scheduled for much longer than me. Now I know if I went along I'm unable to turn back and do a shorter session, so the only thing to do is not to go and go solo. Despite the cold it was a good ride.

This focus of this weeks blog is food. Now I'm not great at swimming, and I'm not great on the bike, but I'm frankly awful when it comes to eating, I can quiet literally take food or leave it. Following last weeks episode of being blown off and getting some stick for being a little lightweight I thought I'd reassure you that I'm (trying to) eating well. Every day at work I make time for breakfast, I have a midmorning snack, a sensible chicken/rice convenience lunch, and I have an afternoon small meal/snack. In the evening I've been alternating between fish and red meat. It's not something I've ever really talked about, but I'm self conscious about weight. I've always controlled my diet and have never been 10st. I'm happy to say I'm 9st8lbs at the moment, trying to eat well, I'm eating some greens (spinach) and trying to view food as fuel. So far so good. Anyone who wants to offer me a good meal, whether home cooked or a meal out please get in touch :-) Thanks to Helen and Paul for last nights tea too.

In unrelated news and to add to my busy life, my band (well 3/5 of us) got back into a practice room this afternoon. Man it felt good, we'll hopefully be releasing some new music in the forthcoming months... I'll keep you posted... Now back to triathlon...

On yesterdays run I listened to the Black Keys album Brothers, which is always a welcome companion. My friend Julo said to me this week that I use music to motivate and get me going, but to be honest it's more a reflection of mood. Tuesday I listened to one of my favourite albums from my student days, Reuben's Racecar is Racecar Backwards. It's a bit throw away but Fall of the Bastille is genuinely one of my favourite songs. I'm going to leave you with a line from it that I draw inspiration from...
If you say "nothing left to loose" 
Then you have not lost your voice 

Matto_out x

PS A quick shout out to Marco, my friend how has taken up fencing... he loves a minority sport :-)

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Man Down!

An eventful week this one. I've spent quite a bit of time asking myself why... Why do I do triathlon? Why do iron distance? Why am I so committed to my training schedule? Why? It was going to be the focus of my blog, but then last night I found an article by chance that answered it brilliantly. Read it here:

56 hours at work... 9 hours commuting... 11 hours training.

Tuesday started as it has been doing, an hour swim session before work, and I have been going for a run straight from work. Two reasons, 1. If I get home it takes a lot more motivating to get myself back out after a long day at work, and 2. I live in a little village by the Trent which doesn't have any street lights on the roads out. So imagine my disappointment when I realised I'd forgotten my shorts! I could have run in my leggins yes, but I didn't have pockets for my car keys and most importantly the iPod. So I decided to head home and run from there. I got back and got ready, and headed out... dark isn't the word. I couldn't even see my feet let alone where I was putting them. Stupid I know, but combine this with the fact I was listening to M83's album Before the Dawn Heals Us, I don''t mind telling you I was scared. The album is basically soundtrack music to horror films, check out the song I've loaded onto my You Tube player.

Wednesday is my usual 5.30 start with an hour bike/run transition before a 12 hour day at work. This week it wasn't my last. I had an 8pm appointment in Mansfield on Thursday so I decided to do another early morning turbo session. I rushed to swimming after work, and then on to my appointment, only to be left stood up in the rain... bloody idiot, a right royal waste of time that was.

Friday I was up early again, this time I was meeting a great friend for tea. A 01:15 run in the dark and cold listening to The National and Native. Definitely worth it though, I had a great home cooked meal and some great company for the evening, despite being out way past my bedtime.

I worked Saturday this week, and followed this with another 01:15 run, accompanied by My Vitriol and Pulled Apart By Horses, pretty standard although it was windy, a prelude to Sunday....

Sunday is Eakring bike ride day, something I always look forward to, I really enjoy the ride and the company of fellow Absolute Tri Club members. So why's the blog called "Man Down!" I hear you ask? Well it seems a week doesn't go by without me coming off in some way. Most comically not being able to un-clip, followed by a super slow-mo fall right into a puddle... smooth I know. So here I must add, I've only been cycle a few months, and it's my first experience in clipless pedals. So please excuse my inexperience... but also I've never really cycled in the wind, well nothing as windy as today anyway. I really didn't think the wind could fully take you off your bike! Well it can, especially when you're only 9st6lbs. I was at the rear of the group (luckily... otherwise I could have taken everyone with me!), a stern blustery side wind caught me just as a reach a gap in the hedge basically clearing me out. Not really sure what happened, but thanks to Maurice for straightening me back up. All this after only an hour. Thanks to Lisa too for keeping my spirits up over the next hour or so and giving me what tasted like the best Jaffa Cake half way around.

So that was my week, here's hoping this one is a little less eventful.

Follow me on Twitter @matto_w for more stories of falling off and such like.

ps Other than ruining my top and a few grazes I'm fine... a bruised ego definitely, but they always say pride comes before a fall.  

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Save your friends, find your place, speak the truth.

Training has gone okay this week, but firstly I want to get a guilty pleasure out of the way...I'm a closet Bruce Springsteen fan! I especially like running to him, so there, it's out, if I mention it again it won't come as a horrible surprise. To balance it out this week I also ran to the Smashing Pumkins album Adore which worked really well too, a real gem of a record.

I had to shuffle my program a little bit and do a double session on Friday due to a family commitment this weekend, it was my beautiful cheeky little monkey niece Imogen's 3rd birthday party on Saturday and I was privileged to be Godfather today to my nephew Luke. The blog today is about my friends and family, who are all very special to me. I'm certain in one way or another these relationships will suffer a little over the coming months (hopefully not too much) so in advance of this I thought I'd dedicate my 3rd blog to you all...

I spent the weekend at my big Sister's and Bro-in-Laws in Clitheroe in the the Ribble Valley, needless to say I didn't get much sleep with a baby and a 3 year old so I was up nice and early. I took full advantage, donned the running shoes and got out for an hour run before daybreak. On the way back the sunrise over Pendle Hill was beautiful! Emma and Andy, thanks.

I took my Mum and Dad out for dinner last weekend (following Don Fink's advice). I wanted to let them know why I was doing the Outlaw, and that I was taking it seriously and not to worry etc. Mostly to convince them I hadn't gone insane. Dad's been very supportive and has even come bike shopping with me. I've enlisted Mum as a helper, picking up odd bits from the supermarket, doing the odd bit of washing etc. Now I know what you're thinking...that that's something that always happens anyway, right? Well I have this independence thing where I don't except help, so I've swallowed my pride and got Mum on the team. Mum and Dad, thanks.

Another Fink tip is to enlist mentors, the first and most important one was my best friend Andy, he's always been there even when he was the other side of the world. He's an energy giver, and a great guy. His lovely better half Gabby is also amazing, I have a huge amount of time and respect for her. I owe these two a lot, Andy and Gabby, thanks.

My family is very close and full of people who I class as friends as well as blood. Paul and Adam are my cousins, ex-bandmates and great friends, both settled down, Adam with two great boys and a beautiful wife Louise (who helps me become more aerodynamic in Summer). Uncle Mark and Aunty Helen, Uncle John and Aunty Chris, Pat and Geoff, thanks too. Also a shout out to my Canadian relatives over the Atlantic and not forgetting the Italians!

Last summer I was honoured to be my best friend from universities best man, I'm delighted to say Howy and Helen are expecting their first baby a few weeks before I'm due (to do the Outlaw). I'm also a season ticket holder at Nottingham Forest, I always enjoy sitting next to Marco Blinston in the Trent End, another great friend who is getting married this summer, the weekend after Outlaw, so I'm especially looking forward to that one.

A super special mention goes to Julo, without doubt one of the toughest people I know, you are a great inspiration to me, keep going! Another person who had a positive effect on me a few years ago was Eric Wheater, E-dog is a legend... he's a doer and I think he'd be awesome at Tri. Not sure he'd have the time though, he's more of an extreme sports guy!

By the way I also play in a band...Love Ends Disaster! We were lucky enough to play Reading and Leeds Festival in 2010 and I love being trapped in a car with them on long trips to venues around the country...Matt Oakes, Jon Dix and Dave Wright. There is another member but I've forgotten his name (I think I may give him a post all to himself).

Professionally I want to thank Dave Rudd, John Willis and especially Ian McLean. Also more uni friends Nick Cooper and Gary Pierrepont, boom. And a mention for my second mum, Mrs Ann Lumley.

Another special thanks to Margaret and Frederick.

There's a massive group of people I haven't mentioned, new friends and mentors and energy givers at Absolute Triathlon. I'm going to save a blog for you guys :-) but in advance, thanks.

A bit of a self indulgent blog maybe, but it's not all going to be x miles in x minutes. Friends I will need you along the way but I may not have the courage to ask. Any support you can give will be greatly appreciated.

As if by way to highlight the importance of you all today, around 1.30pm our Paul was taken from the post Christening buffet do into Casualty! Now he's not the kind of guy to really be ill so if he says take me to Hospital it's got to be serious. Firstly and most importantly he's be let out and will be fine. The ECGs came back ok. A scare none the less. So remember, save your friends, find your place, speak the truth.

Matt_out x

Sunday, 8 January 2012 what you need if you want to be an Outlaw

So a quick overview... it's fair to say that I haven't been as motivated in life over the last few years as I should have been. I've been getting by, but I've hardly been pushing myself.

That now has obviously all you already know I'm doing this Iron Distance triathlon thingy...but I also started a new job just before Christmas. I have been casually self employed but I needed to get back into full time employment due to this expensive hobby I've found :-). It's been quite a culture shock to get back into a routine working 8.30-6pm, with a commuting time of 1.30 each day. But I'm enjoying the job and I've got some great new work colleagues as an added bonus.

And so to todays blog entry...This week has been my first week of following my Outlaw training schedule, Tuesday was the first day back in the office, but I was determined to get to the pool beforehand, despite being called in for an early start at work. I made it, but had to endure the banter when Coach Steve and Andy found out my one likes an Estate Agent right? :-).

Another early start Wednesday so I could get a bike and running transition session in before work and before daylight. But not to sound like I'm complaining, I guess the message of the blog this week is to highlight the realisation that the amount of training combined with living life has struck home...good job I love it, it's all part of the challenge.

I finished the weeks training this week by taking responsibility for organising the Sunday ride. Our usual leader Helen is away training in Lanzarote with husband, and fellow Outlaw entrant Mike...lucky for some :-). I decided to get us out on the Outlaw bike course from last year, I know it's due to be different this year but seeing as though I live pretty much on it I thought it'd make for a good ride. Just one loop totalling 46 miles with fellow Outlaw entrants Cayci and Andy, Half Ironman Mallorca entrant Lisa and Ruth and Louise. We all made it up Oxton Bank and I really enjoyed hosting and planning, I hope they all enjoyed it too.

Another aspect is my love of music, it's a really important companion to my running. I thought I'd let you know what I've been listening to and what's been helping me on my way. This week I tried something new for my long run on Saturday...I went for a more chilled out feel with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs second album Show Your Bones, and concluded with some of The XX. It seemed to go well so I'll keep you posted.

Dedication is definitely what you need if you want to be an Outlaw, I'm going to enjoy my day off training tomorrow and look forward to starting it all again Tuesday. I went out for dinner with my folks to reassure them I hadn't gone insane, and I found a mentor in best friend Andy Lumley, probably only he will get my conclusion fully, but I'm sure you know what I mean after reading this when I say "All or Nothing".

Follow me on Twitter @Matto_w

Sunday, 1 January 2012

An Introduction... Who Am I? What is The Outlaw?

Who am I?
Well, I'm a nobody really, I'm just a guy who turned 30 and thought he needed to do something to keep fit. I've done a fair amount of sport over the years but I'd never call myself an athlete. I started at the beginning, I started running. Last spring a 3km jog seemed like a big effort, to increase my motivation I did a local 10km at Wollaton Hall, Nottingham. The Marrowthon for Anthony Nolan, I completed it in a reasonable 43minutes. When I finished, I just kept running. Next target... the Great North Run, September 2011, I finished in an ok 1:40:43. During my summer training the monotony got to me and someone suggested triathlon, I bought a bike as an occasional training substitute, with the longer term goal of trying triathlon. After the Great North Run, I joined local triathlon club, Absolute. Without doubt one of the best things I've done in a long while. That was 3 months ago, and now... I'm signed up for The Outlaw!  

So, what is The Outlaw?
The Outlaw is an Ironman distance triathlon, it involves a swim of 2.5miles, a cycle of 112miles and finishes with a full marathon (26miles). All in all a gruelling 140miles in a day. The swim is open water and takes place at Holme Pierrepont, whilst the cycle and run take in the surrounding Nottinghamshire countryside. It takes place on July 1st 2012, exactly 6 months from today.

And finally for now, the big question why?
Why The Outlaw? Well I guess it just stems from the feeling of needing to do something I can look back on, and to push myself to see how far I can go. I've been inspired by a lot of people since joining Absolute Tri Club, who make it seem very achievable. At the moment I'm somewhere between fear and excitement and the road ahead seems like a long one, but I'm sure it will be worthwhile. Not to mention the chance to raise money for some great charities which I'll come to in a later post.
Why the blog? The fear and the demands of this challenge are pretty daunting, any support I can gain will defo help me along the way, it's also a great tool to help with fundraising which you'll no doubt get sick of if you choose to follow me on this amazing journey.

For now, @matto_w out x