Heartattack in a Layby

I originally left this first paragraph out because I wasn’t entirely sure how to add it in without being dramatic, but I figured I probably owe it to the people that contacted me with well wishes after last week’s rant: unfortunately/fortunately in a way because he was clearly suffering, my Grandad passed away Thursday morning. That sucked, and I’m glad it’s over.

Monday: 35 mins turbo, 1 hr 25 mins running
Tuesday: 1 hr 35 mins running
Wednesday: 55 mins swimming
Thursday: 45 mins turbo, 35 mins running
Friday: 1 hr 15 mins swimming
Saturday: 5 hrs 20 mins cycling, 20 mins swimming
Sunday: 30 mins turbo, 1 hr 40 mins running

I’ve had a week (sort of) off work, so I’ve been able to do a bit more writing and life admin (read: laundry) this week. Not as much as I’d like, because last week’s work project overran and I didn’t get to take the whole week off. Also, I’ve got to get this post done toot-suite because I still have to do more work stuff tonight. Argh. But yes, I managed to finally finish my review of a rather nice Indian joint up in Camden. Imagine that. The guy who spend weeks complaining about how terrible his nutritional values are is now a (internet) published restaurant critic. Hah. Hahaha. Hahahahahahaha. Life. I’ve also had another guest blog piece accepted which will be published sometime during the week, and am slowly working on a couple others, so keep an eye out for those!

The week off hasn’t really done much for my training, however. The one day I’d scheduled to do a bit of extra work – a TT ride, because I miss getting out on the open road with Agro – was the one day I had to cancel all plans because of work (rather than just some plans as with all other days of the week). This put a bit of a downer on the week. In fact, the whole work thing was pretty stressful and it put a bit of a downer on the whole week. I don’t usually take blocks of time off work unless it’s for something specific, so I was quite looking forward to having a week solely to catch up on life matters and not stress much about things. Ah well. Can’t have it all.

Unfortunately it also seems that last week’s burst of motivation was just that – motivation; and as with motivation, it is a very temporary thing. In this case it lasted a week. I’m blaming Wiggle – I got an order and it didn’t include any free Haribo. This caused a minor twitter scandal, in which I tried to pick a fight with a clearly made up ‘Haribo monster’. This is what I do with my time when I’m bored. Just to let you know Wiggle: I’m dead serious. I will ruin that fiend for what he did to my order. Just gimme a shot.

I managed to do something every day this week, I just don’t necessarily feel like I did it well. Running was plentiful, but hitting pace was often a bit of a push. It probably didn’t help that I started the week by catching up on last Sunday’s planned long run but heading down Tooting high street. Obviously, living in London, not every route you pick is going to be a scenic beauty, but Tooting high street just seems grim, even at the best of times.

After I glided through the water like an aquatic Billy Elliot, swimming this week can best be summed up by Wednesday’s set where I failed to hit any of my target times, then got cramp so bad midway through the last rep that I managed to fall over. In a pool. Yes, it looked absolutely as stupid as it sounds. I felt it just as I turned to push off the wall at the end of a length, pulled up, and then realised my legs weren’t capable of moving where I needed them to be to support me; next thing, I’m hanging off the lane rope while a bunch of kids splashing about stare goggle-eyed and start laughing. God. Fucking. Dammit. Yep, I left that pool in embarrassment. That wasn’t even the biggest dumbass moment of the week.

So, I’m on my way back from a successful eighty mile round trip through the Surrey hills on my bike yesterday. I’d ridden pretty strongly, which is a bit weird because I managed to drop half my nutrition on route, an essentially finished 80 miles on a mug of coffee, two energy gels and the residual calories of the half a tub of free Oppo ice cream I’d downed late on Friday night (I won a twitter competition run by them and the fabulous Aduna, hence the free-ness of it). I’m riding back through Streatham, having just safely navigated the St. Leonard’s junction – definitely one of the fuckiest junctions in south London – and, I, er. I ran someone over. Kind of.

Now, this can’t be said to be completely my fault. Ignoring the fact that the guy stepped into live traffic without a single glance – actually, let’s not ignore that. Let’s address that directly. What the fuck is wrong with you? Are you mad? This is a surprisingly common occurrence in London. What is it about the place? Have we swallowed so much petrol fumes from stationary traffic that’s it’s become an addiction, something so damn sexual that we can’t help but fling ourselves into the path of oncoming traffic in the hopes that the brief moment where we meet very fast moving tons of steel might before it bounces us off and along the tarmac might be that sweet release we’ve waited our whole fucking lives for? I must have learned some serious willpower over the years because I manage to avoid doing that. My neck works: see, I can turn my head both ways, it’s an awesome skill, I know. Jesus. I generally do have some human sympathy, honestly, but it tends to go flying out of the window when dealing with absolute fuckwits.

What was I saying? Oh. I was traveling down the bus lane and some idiot stepped out in front of me without looking – maybe the poor bugger was deaf, because I was certainly shouting “BEHIND YOU! BEHIND YOU!” very loudly as he did so. There was neither adequate space – what with all the other traffic – or time to avoid him, so he got the cold shoulder. Literally, at about twenty miles an hour. Was I going a bit fast? Yeah, probably. But as someone who’s overactive head is always far too eager to apportion blame to itself, nah, I’m not going to pretend I was the majority responsible party in that situation. It’s live traffic, you prat. Don’t step out into it willy-nilly. Hey, I guess at least I know my bike handling skills have improved from stationary crashes in Richmond Park last year (true story) – I managed to stay on the bike and keep cycling. Warrior spirit.


It’s not been all misery though (though the Haribo-less Wiggle order nearly broke me). Good things – I got to do my running coach thingy this morning! It felt far more comfortable than I expected it to, but I suppose that’s partly due to it being a rather small group I was working with. I’m willing to bet it was also in part to turning up wearing both sunglasses and a visor in order to look more ‘pro’. A strong look, which I carried into the subsequent long run I did. It now feels significantly less ‘pro’. Still, getting to lead a group again was fun, and got me back into the spirit of responsibility just in time for the season to start (again) next Sunday at the Kingfisher Aquathlon. I’m excited, but trying to remain a bit more subdued about things this time around, hence the lack of mentioning it earlier.

I had this weird moment on Friday night when I realised that out of four training sessions I had plans to attend over the weekend, both of the group ones I was doing (Saturday’s Chasers bike ride and the Goodgym Hill Intervals), I was in charge of. I’m not sure why it struck me quite so much as it did, but I really don’t think that’s bad going for someone who picked all this up less than two years ago. Pat on the back for that, George. It’s nice to think that even in the weeks that I think have gone really badly, I can still point at stuff like this and think about all the progression I’m making, at it cheers me up.

Oh: also, I’ve finally ordered the tri kit that’s been sitting on my kit list page since forever. I got my name on it, to look more ‘pro’ (read: I’m a massive tart). What?

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Also, part of the reason I’m doing this is to raise funds and awareness for The Maytree Respite Centre, a small charity in North London that provides support for people going through a suicidal crisis – so if you’d like to support my fundraising efforts, please click here. Thanks so much!

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