Friday, 29 July 2011

Random Friday Facts

Never done one of these before, so here goes.

1: I don't consume any caffeine, not even in chocolate. It seems if I consume too much of anything, my body starts to reject it, which is kind of annoying.

2: I can't eat green leaves. At all. See above. It can actually make me shit my pants*

3: My wife can yawn and burp simultaneously. We now call this a byawn.

4: I may just quit drinking on Monday. Nice to do these things on a date you can remember, isn't it?

5: I got married in Vegas. Elvis attended.

6: I have been pitching book ideas left and right, and the one that's had interest is the one I haven't started yet. Next week...

7: I am supposed to be writing a report on Eastern European amusements and coin-op gaming right now. I am clearly not doing this.

8: I do not enjoy running in summer at all. Struggle, fail, struggle.

9: I am short, and I do not have a problem with this. Strange how other people think you have, though - like if you get angry, it's Napoleon Syndrome. No, it's not, I just think you're a cunt and want to stab you in the eye. The eye part is, of course, coincidence.

10: I swear. A lot.

11: My favourite movie is probably Amadeus, with honourable mentions to Starship Troopers, Heathers, Requiem For A Dream, The Man From Earth.

12: My favourite book is Born To Run. There are quite a few others though. But in the last few years, this is the only one I have read more than twice.

13: I read a lot.

14: I'm not a great swimmer, and tend to sink, but my credo helps me through: "when in doubt, apply brute force".

That'll do you, for now.

*If combined with a surprise sneeze

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Motivation and illness.

Tough times here at the ranch. Well, not a ranch, so much. More of a house. Not on the prairie, either. More… in a town, really. The first part of the sentence was correct though. The bit about the tough times.

I'm struggling to find time to run at the moment. For example, last night I took the dog with me to combine her walk with my run, which didn't really work. I mean, it was fun, but it's too hot for her, as it's over 20 degrees and she won't take that fucking fur coat off, so what's a boy to do? Shave her?

A big thing for us at the moment is my Lovely Wife's diagnosis by exclusion. The doctor is working out what isn't wrong with her, and whatever's left is what she's got. Looking at the symptoms and reading the literature, we're in agreement that it's what used to be known as ME, now more commonly called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Why are these things always syndromes??

Aaaanyway, the thing is, it leaves my lovely, active, fit and healthy wife with absolutely zero energy. Nada, zip, Jack Shit, fuck-all. I'm typing this at 5:30pm and she's in bed, hopefully getting an hour's sleep. She was so active, and so fit, that to see her like this is almost as suck-assy for me as it is for her. Well, maybe not. But it's bad. She's frustrated because she can't get out on her mountain bike any more. She can't run, in fact there's very little she can do, so we have to plan days around her, pacing her energy. Like now - hopefully she'll wake up refreshed and be able to spend the evening with her daughter at the cinema tonight. We shall see.

However, it does mean more work for myself, which isn't a problem. I'm just struggling to fit running in around it. I'm having to actually use my brain to fit it in. For example, right now I'm going to prepare a salad, then get dressed for a run. Go out, do a few miles, then when I come back all I have to do is warm some garlic bread and make couscous, and her dinner's pretty much done. Planning ahead…

There just aren't enough hours in the day right now.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

A Small Victory

And it is a small one, but significant.

Saturday was a hard day. I got up early, went for a run, then walked the dog; then back home sans dog, as she was down at my parents' house for the day. Then we loaded the car, and went to a festival to try and sell handbags and shoulder bags to hippies.

Well, it was a long, long day. We sold a couple of bags, but not a lot. We had some great food and chatted with some lovely people. Got home around 6:30pm-ish, absolutely knackered out.

So, I went to the supermarket for some nibbles and bits, fully intending to buy beer as well, and yet I walked out without it. It was for some reason a revelation. After a day like that, a beer is usually most welcome, but I just… didn't want it. I went home and had hot tea with my lovely wife instead. Woke up the next day with a clear head, well rested, and though I didn't run that day, I could have!

It would seem the war is not unwinnable. What a wonderful thing to learn.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Woo hoo!

Today, dear people (person? Emptiness?) is my birthday so I started it with a really lovely, albeit short, run. A newish route, one I have walked with the dog many times, I'd not run it until today. The beauty of it is, it's a route I can easily extend, as well. It uses about 2 miles of my easy 3.5 (which actually has a few bastard hills in it) then goes off on a picturesque tangent, which I can go in several directions from.

Because I had to get back to walk the hound this morning and I hadn't gotten up particularly early, I took the short-but-incorporating-a-horrible-slow-hill route, which was nice and I actually finished quite fast.

I'm feeling strong, though disappointingly my PT1000s have finally bitten the dust, I think. Still, I have done a marathon and a half marathon in them and pretty much all my running since September, so I can't really complain. They have served me beautifully. Running in New Balance right now and enjoying them more each time, but I cannot wait to get another pair of PT1000s.

Which reminds me, the tone of this blog might change a little as I have a couple of running-related projects on the go... One is training three members of a local punk band for next year's London Marathon, which should be great fun. The other is organising a race to be held in the town here next summer, which is going to be a hell of a challenge. So expect to hear lots of gripes about those two things...

Enough of my burble. I had a lovely run today which was great because I've been struggling in the heat recently. It was nice to have a run which just felt… easy.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Dean Karnazes and Chrissie Wellington.

I'm quite lucky in my work as I get to interview top athletes occasionally. It used to be movie stars, producers, directors and writers, but when I (quickly) realised they are mostly staggeringly insecure, that lost its polish pretty fast**.

But athletes? A different entity entirely. They generally fit into two camps, for my money. There's the athlete that has always been an athlete and knows nothing else, and so is desperately boring – Michael Phelps is a brilliant example of this. Great athlete, boring as all fuck. Want to talk training, eating and sleeping? He's your man. Anything else, you might as well talk to a crab. Chrissie Wellington is the opposite - she had a life and a job before becoming a full time triathlete, and it really shows. It was one of my favourite interviews ever because of her holistic approach to the whole of life, and that she's very articulate which doesn't hurt when you're interviewing. And what an athlete; how is this woman not a household name in England? I have no idea. The media hides from endurance athletes, and I don't know why. This woman could be the greatest role model (along with Dame Kelly Holmes) for young women today in the UK, and yet I didn't see her Iron Man world-record-breaking event in any news here. Get this: third coming out of the water, took the lead on the bike, then BEAT EVERYBODY INCLUDING ALL THE MEN in the marathon to post a 2:52*. She's never lost a full Iron Man. All this, and international development is her great passion. Wow.

Dean Karnazes, who I interviewed yesterday, is similar in that he has had a life before becoming an athlete. It really shows. He understand how to engage people (and may be the most gifted person I have encountered at that very thing) and to speak to folks from every walk - and run - of life. I made a very conscious effort to come up with a wide range of questions that I didn't think he had been asked before, and the end result was a great interview with a really great guy. He's just… A really good person. It radiates from him, and not in an annoying way at all.

I first looked him up after reading Born To Run, in which the author basically disses Karnazes as a publicity hound. I bought Ultramarathon Man, and enjoyed it a lot. Then I bought 50/50 and it was very good. His new one, 26.2 is even better because he goes into lots of detail about his cock-ups, races that went really really badly – and as I said to him yesterday, that's more interesting for runners because we understand that you don't learn anything by getting it right.

I think the dissing of Dean in Born To Run (still my favourite running book) is fairly out of order - he's doing something very different to most ultra runners out there. He's getting people up, getting them active, and it's working. He's getting off his arse and engaging the world, and saying "Come with me, it's fun, really!" I think that's a great thing to do, and something I try to do myself on a (much) smaller level. He's raised his profile, and is now using it to do good things for a lot of people. I think dissing someone that does that is… Well, I don't agree with it. Doesn't mean I love Born To Run any less - I don't run barefoot either, still love the book.

I'm rambling. The interview went really well, it was a pleasure to do, and I might post some excerpts from it on here depending on what happens with it. One magazine wants a thousand words of it, but there's a lot more than that so I've asked another magazine if they want a Q&A. Fingers crossed.

*Sorry if I go on about this. She rocks.

**My favourite interviews ever are however with film people. Best one ever, Jerry Weintraub, no question. Second favourite, the wonderful Bruce Campbell. Third, Meir Zarchi - as far as I know, I'm still the only person that's ever interviewed him. Overall, though, I think the interview with Dean might top them all. Mind you, the Weintraub one was excellent...

Tuesday, 5 July 2011