Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A sign of the times



The tomatoes refused to ripen.  So, I made Green Tomato Chutney.  What else would a guy about to turn 33 be doing on a Sunday afternoon?

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Fluffy, yet deadly.



Yes, that’s right, it is Cuddly Sniper Nick!

While clearing out some old emails (I never delete anything but an now nearly at my 15gb limit!), I found these.  Sometimes, weird stuff just happens...


Monday, 13 October 2014

Is this Sparta?



On Saturday, Lee, Matt and I did the London Spartan Beast.  Which wasn’t in London at all, but on Pippingford Park training area at Crowborough, that we know very well indeed.  This is one of those new fangled Obstacle Course Racing events, which seems to be a sport in itself now and even has its own magazine.  As with most things we jumped straight in at the deep end, doing the hardest event they run – the BEAST (they seem to like capitalising it) at 20+ km.  In the end it certainly wasn’t much more than 20k, if at all.



When I agreed to do it, I set about my usual action of constructing a complicated training programme – the difference being, this time, I flatly ignored the entire thing and have been going backwards for months.  Not to worry, I said, getting ever more worried.  We roped Matt in at a fairly late stage, and he also did reassuringly little training.

After a bit of a snafu with registering, we made our heat just in time – which meant we were at the back so the start was slow, but it did mean we missed all that ‘Aroo!’ crap they seem to love so much.  It was interesting seeing the training area from another angle, and they made excellent use of the space.  I pity the poor souls who have an exercise there in the next couple of weeks, the place is a quagmire now, and I do have some hesitation over the environmental impact of 2500 runners with massive lugs on their shoes destroying the area, then again, where better than an MOD training area?

The obstacles were mostly good fun, in a masochistic kind of way.  A lot were lugging things, including a one mile tyre carry (Micra tyre nabbed pronto!).  The water crossings were numerous (and some, surprising unmarshalled) but I didn’t expect a full on swim.  I am not sure how far it was, much less than the 50m I have in my head I suppose, but jeez, did I struggle.  Doggy paddle is not very effective.  A chap in front of me wailed for help and as the canoe fetched him and I sank lower in the water, I rather thought I’d need fishing out next. But make it I did, just.  The monkey bars were long and hard and I only just made them, but one obstacle I thought wouldn’t be a problem was the rope climb. Well, I couldn’t get off the floor. Let’s just leave it at that.

All in all, we finished in 3hrs 8min, and Lee placed 457th of 2403 finishers. I didn’t get a time, perhaps my chip was broken, but I’ll go with his.  So top 20%, on first event, with no training.  A reasonable g’effort I think.  I think we’ll all be doing another one.

After finishing there was only two things left to do – have a beer (nice touch organisers) and have Matt’s car dragged out of the mud.





'Aroo', I guess.

UPDATE WITH EXTRA PHOTOS

Look how low I swim in the water! Streamlined eel, or a precursor to drowning?


Another update: Willow begins her training for next year's race:














Thursday, 18 September 2014

Running a Zoo



On Sunday, I ran the London Zoo 10k as the 8th fastest female! 

I run like a girl
I actually ran in Holly’s place as she has a crocked ankle, perhaps I should have told them, but hey.  Results were both encouraging and alarming – I was 48th overall, perhaps the highest I have ever placed in a race, with a time of 47min50.  That, however, is quite a slow time, which says a lot about the field.  Running on no breakfast, no coffee and no night off the booze, I guess it wasn’t so bad.  I look set for a long and gruelling Spartan in four weeks though.

We then went round the Zoo.  Some of it looks a bit tired, but it was good fun with a baby, and Willow seemed to really enjoy it – even spotting the pygmy hippo that I missed.  In the Bugs section, I made a point of noting the Black Widow and False Widow spiders – to my knowledge, never having seen a False Widow before and being curious about Britain’s only venomous spider.  Then, Monday morning, sitting on the floor by the door (my back just about allows that these days), what crawls up my leg? I shit you not, without a word of a lie, it was a chuffing False Widow!  I am ashamed to confess that it got squished in my panic, and to save my daughter from terrible peril, yes, that.  It was a small one, but I am pretty sure it was one.  My eyes are now constantly peeled.


Be spider-safe people!