Monday, August 25, 2008

There's no place like home...

Well, we're back from New York. We arrived on the red eye back from JFK on Friday morning, only for me to be whisked off to a day of preparation for the two TV commercials I'm shooting tomorrow and Wednesday. The flight was great though and enabled me to catch some much needed sleep before a full on day of work.

Truth be told, I'm always a bit grumpy when I'm back from a holiday. It takes me a couple of days to settle back in to 'life' here and the time spent in transition isn't always fun. But at least I know it's going to happen and I can prepare for it. Forty eight hours on though, I'm right and ready, delighted to be back in Blighty and locked and loaded for the next few days.

I've come back from New York with a renewed appetite for my film script which has undergone a hibernation period during this busy commercials time. There's nothing like being in the place you're writing about to have it all become real and feed story, character and location ideas into the mix. Once I have a moment I'm going to download them and get back to work on that baby.

Unfortunately, New York has its problems... one being that you tend to walk everywhere (well, on Manhattan, you do) due to the deceptively simple nature of the street layout. Getting from Madison and 41st to Broadway and 29th? Easy, three blocks across and twelve down. Only trouble is... it's bloody miles and it takes a toll on you. So I've come back with a back that's out of kilter and my chiropractor hasn't been able to see me this weekend... and I can't see him until Thursday at the earliest due to work commitments. So I'm waddling around like a pregnant duck until I can get 're-aligned'.

Once I do I'm going to get back into training. It's impossible for me to keep in shape if I'm not training. So, even if I'm not at Ironman level, I'll need to have some sort of regime to keep me in shape through the winter as I'm commited to arriving at IM training in the New Year in better shape than I did this.

I'm thinking of having a late season marathon to aim for as well as starting up with the mountain biking. That, combined with the pool swimming should keep me honest.

More photos from New York this week. I hope you like...

I know the film quote has been burning a hole in your minds for two weeks now. To be honest, I thought some of you movie buffs would have got this:

"It must be hard living your life off a couple of scraps of paper. You mix your laundry list with your grocery list you'll end up eating your underwear for breakfast"

The quote comes from MEMENTO and was spoken to Leonard (Guy Pearce) by Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss). If you haven't seen Memento, do yourselves a favour. Buy some beer on a friday night and sit down and enjoy. It'll make your head hurt though, so have the nurofen handy.

How about this week's offering. Big clue... it's a New York story...
"Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, no job is too big, no fee is too big!"

So, my Blogettes... onwards and upwards.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Greetings from The Big Apple...

I'm writing this from my hotel in New York City. Fiona has repaired to bed for an afternoon nap following a visit out to Coney Island so I thought it would be a good opportunity to catch up.

We touched down at JFK Airport as an electrical storm shut the airport. We were held on the tarmac for an hour and then for a further three hours in the baggage reclaim as the handlers couldn't retrieve our bags. So not the best start then...

We've followed that up by three great days, visiting Little Italy, Chinatown, Soho, Greenwich Village. We've seen the Dali Exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art and checked out the lesser known Tenement Museum down in the Lower East Side. On Sunday we headed out to up and coming, Bohemian area, Williamsburg in Brooklyn for brunch and on Sunday night we dined in style at Cipriani's overlooking the main concourse of Grand Central Station. Saturday lunchtime saw us up on the roof terrace at the NY branch of my London club Soho House feeling like extras from an episode of Entourage.

Tonight we're meeting up at Smith and Wollensky's for a steak with my brother, Sean, who's in town for a couple of days on business.

So it's all good. But bloody tiring!

The girls seem to be having a great time in Florida, though how long that will hold with the impending hurricane due any moment is anyone's guess.

I'm going to try and put on a few photos taken from my iphone but, needless to say, I don't have the right cable to do that so I'll have to re access this blog from the i phone. Anything could happen. - Edited later - sorry, couldn't manage this so have to make do with generic NY shots !

How's my foot do I hear you asking? I did hear that, didn't I? Well, not too bad actually. Sore, yes... but not half as bad as it could have been. That said I've withdrawn from The Vitruvian and will re-commence light training on my return to Blighty.

I'm getting extremely frutstrated with not training, so much so that I had to strip off and plunge into the sea today at Coney Island and hammer out a 20 minute session. I feel much better for that but find myself absent mindedly pinching my arms and waist to see if excess skin is forming due to non-training. Do you think, perchance, I'm becoming obsessive?

Film quotes next week.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Injury and The Blockhead...

Hit me with your stupid stick, hit me… hit me.

Tell me this… would I, four weeks before Ironman Austria be seen with several glasses of wine inside me, playing a hybrid game of Dodgeball/British Bulldogs with a group of parents and kids in a pair of ill fitting sandals on a potholed campsite at 10pm at night?

Of course not.

So why on earth would I do it four weeks after and think that I wouldn’t go over on my ankle, it make a sound like a gunshot and swell to the size of a grapefruit.

Damn, my first injury of an otherwise perfect season and a nasty one to boot. But all my own doing.

It’s possibly the end of the season although I may come back for a few sprints at the back end. Ah well.

On to happier things. I’ve been camping this week with Erin and Alice. Fiona decided to stay in the 5* comfort of Old Thatch, drink wine and imagine the full glory of our bonding session.

Truth be told, we had a great time now that I’m back and reflecting on it. The girls were complete superstars and we had Jane (my sister in law) and her family right along side us. We ate appallingly, of course, mostly frying bacon or eating fish and chips. The nights were grossly uncomfortable and most things got damp in the wet. But that’s why people camp isn’t it?

Actually we had reasonable weather and Erin demonstrated her ever improving ability with the stills camera. I think she has a real talent and eye for compostition and you can see some of her shots alongside this week’s blog.

From the top… crappy colour photo from my iphone of my injury by me then Erin's efforts:
Empty beach, brother in law Guy and Emily, Guy and myself, high and dry trawler...

I’m writing this on Monday night as I’ve been out location hunting today for my upcoming TV commercials. Tuesday sees a day of more location scouting and a casting session, Wednesday a pre production meeting and then on Thursday we’re off to New York. Bring it on.

Film quote last week was:

"Don't worry darling, its just a small hat, belonging to a man of limited means, who lost a fight with a chicken."

It was uttered by the ultra-urbane Roger Moore in LIVE AND LET DIE.

Any offerings on this:

"It must be hard living your life off a couple of scraps of paper. You mix your laundry list with your grocery list you'll end up eating your underwear for breakfast"

Off to bed now to let my ankle rest and heal.

Oh but were it for sex and drugs and rock and roll :-)

Sleep tight, my lovelies...

Monday, August 04, 2008

Just like old times...

Lordy it's busy around here. Now the girls are off school there's stuff happening left right and centre. Every day is a challenge in time management.

Which has never been a strong suit of mine. :-(

Apart from this year's Ironman. :-)

But I DO thrive on chaos. Not chaos as in anarchy, but I'm undoubtedly at my best when there's stuff going on and I have to keep as many plates spinning as possible like one of those guys running around on Roy Castle's Record Breakers all those years ago.

At the moment I'm rushing around pre-producing two TV commercials that I'm shooting back to back at the end of August - both these require location sourcing, casting, storyboarding, creative meetings, post production planning and the like. I'm also still writing my movie script, finding a piece of time each day to inch forward the storyline, trying to give it the depth and resonance that will lift it above the norm. I'm taking the girls camping on Thursday for a few days so we've been practicing tent erection - no gags please - over the weekend, and I'm furiously making lists of things I've never had to list before... water carrier, torch, batteries, tea towel, washing up liquid... I mean... what the...???!!! I've never needed any of these things in the Intercontinental before now.

Fiona and I are also planning our trip to New York, though it looks like I'll need to find a bit of time each day to orchestrate preparations for the shoots of the commercials which are just a couple of days after we return.

Added to all this, of course, is my triathlon. Thank God, I hear you say... I wondered when we were going to get to that. Enough of the dude's life story. But folks, this is a life blog, not just triathlon. I'm at the stage now where one influences the other. And that's kind of my point this week... tri has become a part of my life, not simply something to fit into my 'down time'. So, within the framework of all of the above, I need to work in my training and competing time.

Having set my targets for my 'A' race next year of Ironman Germany, I'd asked my coach to keep supplying a training plan for the rest of the year. Now this isn't something he likes doing. He made it very clear to me that he felt I should be easing off the gas until training for Germany 09 recommences in January. I felt different and - sure enough - a plan came through. But as early as the middle of the week, although feeling strong, I was beginning to feel tired.

Very tired.

And I realised that if I kept going at the same rate then, come January, I'd be in serious trouble of burnout and, more importantly, I'd have nowhere to go in terms of improvement. To use this week's analogy; the spinning plate that is Ironman training would be well and truly smashed upon the floor.

So I've changed my plans. I'm going to see out the rest of the season with training how and when I feel like it. I'll be training most days, but not to a rigid plan. The Vitruvian half Ironman on September 7th will be my last serious event of the season and I'll give that a lash, hoping to enjoy and compete well. After that I'll do a couple of sprints to wind down and that will be my season done. I'll then keep fit through the autumn by mountain biking (Graham Mackie - my good mate from Team MK is keen to get me started) and other, non tri specific work. General running, cross training etc. Hopefully by January I'll be ready to go get 'em and attack the 10 hours 15 minutes target.

All that said, I've been at the sprints again this week. Team MK entered five teams at the National Team Relay Championships in Nottingham and what a great event it was. Fiona, Erin and Alice came up with me to watch and we had a sunny day competing in a sequential race (each team member does a 400m swim, handing a rubber wristband 'baton' in between their efforts, followed by a 15km bike ride, followed by a 5km run). We lost a bit of time on the swim as Mark K cut his toe in the first leg and disappeared off with the baton leaving Slacko - our number two - perplexed as to this new switch of tactics. However, we picked up and ended up finishing eleventh vets team overall and in the top third of all teams.

A great day, full of triathlon and socialising. Great also to hook up again with Poet from Tri Talk and Tom and Helen too.

I'm beginning to get the taste for sprints and am thinking of making it a goal of the second half of my season next year. I find the switch from endurance to power quite easy to make and figure if I work on the power side of things a bit more it will complement my training for Ironman and give me a focus post July 5th 2009.

Once again a great day with my club mates. Photo here of our team: from left, Mark K, myself, Graham M and Steve Slack (Slacko).

To more mundane things now:

"Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

was uttered by Gert Frobe, playing AURIC GOLDFINGER, in the movie GOLDFINGER. Use the quote as a totem in your life... you'll be amazed at how accurate it proves to be.

Let's stay Bond this week:

"Don't worry darling, its just a small hat, belonging to a man of limited means, who lost a fight with a chicken."

Which actor said this as James Bond and in which film? Use your memories... think...

So... I would love to chat more, my friends, but I glance around me and see my plates wobbling dangerously. Must get spinning...