... I'm often minded of the bloke from 'The Fast Show' who used to wander around proclaiming the simplest things in life were 'brilliant'. There I was on Friday, writing at my desk, early morning, headphones on and a bit of Neil Young waking me up for the day. I figured I'd heard the six or so albums I have so many times I could do with some more so off I toddled to the itunes store, selected three more, downloaded them and - five minutes later - I'm listening to new music. I've never really thought much about the technological advancement that has allowed us to do this (and that we now all take for granted) but, in the words of Paul Whitehouse...
... isn't technology brilliant!
Speaking of things moving on apace, we went to Erin's GCSE Option evening earlier in the week. They have six core subjects to take and need to take another five as options. Not much different to the system that was in place when I was at school really. The head teacher, Alan Rosen, gave an excellent presentation highlighting the importance of making sound choices and part of his communique was that many of the most popular jobs now available to school leavers and graduates didn't exist five years ago. So, the schools have the job of educating our children for jobs that don't yet exist in a world where technology is moving so quickly that predicting what it will be like when they leave sixth form or university is a near impossible task. They have to be on their toes and quick to change.
As I think, do we all, both in business and in our training.
I've continued to make great progress this week, sticking by my goal of not having any days off following my operation. It's important to me to get back on top of my game as soon as possible. Others have different ways of doing it and I have mine. So far, I feel good about it. Although, in the spirit of being quick to change... I had a nasty run experience on Monday when I went out for my first strong run since the op. Seeing as it was less than five days since the knife, a 10km at a steady 8 min mile pace should possibly have rung an alarm bell. Anyway, it didn't and I don't mind saying that I got it wrong. My leg was in agony from half way round the loop and it took a good 24 hours to settle down. I went swimming the next day though and was really pleased to come through that with no ill effects, managing an easy 1.6km (albeit wearing my 'Skins' compression tights to avoid inflicting the mess that is my leg on the pool). I've knocked out another brief session with Team MK swimming and a 5 x 400m session on Saturday. So... swimming is back on the agenda. The real victory this week though has been on the bike. My form has been strong so far this year and I was determined not to let a bit of discomfort turn that form to rust. I've been out four times this week for rides of 17 miles, 33 miles, 22 miles and 35 miles. Now I'm ready to ramp up the distance a bit more this week I think and I've instructed Coach K to prepare a week of swim and bike.
Coach K, by the way, is naturally a little concerned by my fairly full throttle approach. He wants my leg to 'recover' and I can see his point. But how can I best explain? Let me try this - one of the key things I've learned in my brief time doing Ironman is that the battle is between mind and body. One must never outreach the other. You have to know EXACTLY what your body is capable of and have the strength of mind to pull back the moment you feel you are 'red-lining'. Likewise and slightly conversely, I believe you have to trust your body to perform at times, allowing it the freedom to see how it can do. It might just surprise you. But, the moment you feel any of the tell tale signs - often difficult to sense due to the presence of testosterone and adrenaline coursing through your system during exercise - you have to check back and get the balance right again. So that's what I've been doing. I feel its as valid a part of Ironman training - this mental game we play with our bodies - as the simple physicality of training and, frankly, it's been a valuable experience for me.
So, last week's training looked like this:
Mon 45 mins 10km run
Tues 1 hour easy bike with Peter and Dave
Weds 30 mins easy 1.6km swim
Thurs 1 hour 48 mins strong hilly bike. 33.5 miles at 18.6mph avg
Fri 1 hour 15 mins bike. 22 miles at 18 mph avg
Sat 1 hour 2km swim session. 5 x 400m including drills
Sun 2 hour 36 mile bike at 18.1 mph
Total time training this week... 9 hours
Swim - 4.6km
Bike - 108.5 miles
Run - 6 miles
Today's pic is of my good mate Dave Jones who came a cropper on a relaxed bike ride I took with him and other friend Pete earlier this week. Dave would be the first to say he's not the most experienced cyclist and this, combined with gazing around whilst Pete and I were braking, resulted in the crumpled wreck you see in the pic. And his £ 50 ebay Peugot bike wasn't in good nick either.
The previous week's film quote was a bit tricky. It came from MAGNOLIA, was spoken by TOM CRUISE as FRANK T.J. MACKEY and the link with The Usual Suspects was that 'Suspects' was written by Christopher McQuarrie, who also wrote Tom Cruise's latest movie VALKYRIE.
How about this:
"I am a star. I'm a star, I'm a star, I'm a star. I am a big, bright, shining star. That's right."
Name the movie, who said it and what links it to the previous quote...
Huge thanks this week to Ray at Snugg Wetsuits, who fixed up a massive rip in the neck of my wetsuit for £ 25 including postage. Suberb, personal service and I'm now thinking of getting a top range Slipstream wetsuit from them rather than the 2XU or Blue Seventy. (I've heard that most of the pro's that get the latter suits send them to Snugg for custom fitting anyway). You make your own decision but consider this small, bespoke British company if you're looking for a new wetsuit this year.
Strangely enough a light week of movies, catching only one last week, which was THE BIG LEBOWSKI. I've seen it before, of course, but it was the perfect movie for an Old Thatch Cinema Society evening where the boys descend with beer and popcorn and ten of us or so screen a movie in the cinema.
The Dude abides...