Gorilla Organization



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The Gorilla Organization, the international charity led by experienced African conservationists dedicated to saving the world’s last remaining gorillas from extinction. Our award-winning community-based approach to conservation promotes sustainable livelihoods, nurtures young conservationists of the future and empowers local people to tackle the main threats to the gorillas’ survival.

UK Reg Charity 1117131

Sunday, 27 November 2011

From Satan to Santa ... what a year...

This time last year was HellRunner, the very cold muddy trail run at freezing temperatures. In fact I swear I have the mud ingrained in my soul after that race. With all the races I could do last year, I missed out on the SantaJog back in Basingstoke which is 5k in a santa suit - so in 2011 it's time to fix it.



Also, this week my car has been a bit sick so it's out with the bike for the commute to work; which is about 20k per day (with a train journey in the middle). I'm hoping that it'll be good training for the Coast-to-Coast next year (boy that's a lot of training), so actually getting back to running as kind of odd.


A 'Santarama' taken before the race.

The race was fun, and watching a couple of hundred Santas doing a warm-up must be a youtube classic.

I came in about 10th, with a new personal best of about 24mins for a 5k in costume; but I haven't been running for a while, and today I really felt it in my knees, even though the legs seemed strong - they had lost some of their bounce.

So, no more excuses, I need to get some more running miles in.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

2012 ... The cunning plans commence ...

Breath in .... breath out ... and relax.

I just signed up for my biggest challenge yet the 'Coast to Coast challenge'. Its a two day event where you end up crossing Scotland by bike, foot and kayak (I get to row down Loch Ness - wow!). The course is just over 100 miles long (eek) which seemed so much smaller before I clicked 'Purchase' on the web-site...
This is going to involve a whole lot of running and bike training and I really must learn how to use a kayak - as I made a complete twit of myself in a RatRace a couple of years ago.

I found that training for the London Marathon this year was a great thing to focus on, and I was looking for another different challenge to look at. I suppose it's all part of the 'Can I do an IronMan (or that type of thing) before I'm 40?' challenge I though about a couple of years ago, and since I still swim like a lead-lined brick then the distance swimming is not really for me. I read about this race earlier in the year, and had my life not paused due to the death of my best friend I would have run it this year, and maybe in a weird way I'm celebrating Damon's Scottish roots by running this race, or maybe i'm reading too much into it.

Don't worry, I haven't sold out - I'm still running and taking part in various races, and it seems Scotland is the place to be in 2012, as I've also signed up for the Edinburgh Marathon too (as a human this time, no furry suit).  The gorilla suit is making a comeback though as i'm running the Reading Half as Gerald again and there is also a hope (please please please) to get into the New York marathon for 2012 - where I promise I will don the  gorilla suit again and run the whole race with a blonde Barbie doll - as it would seem right to run as King Kong in that city. But, I won't find out about it until next year anyway.

That's it for tonight - now to figure out where I left the tent ...

Thursday, 13 October 2011

People are so amazing

Last weekend I snuck back in to Basingstoke for a Parkrun. I 've only managed about 14 over the last 18 months, while Peter (a friend I persuaded to join in after a couple of ParkRuns) is up to 49... he's one off that special red t-shirt. He also  persuaded all his family to join in - so he ran with his wife and two children (2 of them on their first ParkRun) - and they all managed it - well done all.

The previous weekend I was supposed to be running in the Basingstoke Half marathon, but due to illness I had to pull out - instead I cycled to the 2/3 mark (just after some evil hills) and gave out jelly babies and cheered the runners on. I know from my runs over the last year how important it is to be cheered on, as it always brightens you up even when you are feeling groggy and everything hurts with miles still to go. 

It reminded me that while reading through twitter over the last couple of weeks how amazing and motivating people are in their achievements, I though I would list a few of them to let you know the things they are up to (trust me there are so many more I could mention).

So, in no particular order:

Simon Buckden (http://www.raceto100.co.uk/) - who completed his 32rd marathon last Sunday in Liverpool. I know that race was tough for him, and is now getting ready for the Amsterdam marathon on Sunday. He served in the army for 12 years, and unfortunately suffered from PTSD, but has turned his misfortune around to raise awareness of this condition as well as the work of  the charity Help for Heroes.

Rob Savavva (http://www.justgiving.com/RobertSavva) - another runner who has set a challenge of multiple marathons (I was absolutely badgered by just doing one in April). His challenge is 1 a month for a year, and like Simon has personal reasons to undertake this task. He is running to raise funds for his Autistic son's special school Newick House in West Sussex. 

Finally, Paul Mather (http://www.runclimb4autism.com) who is planning to run 1000 miles in 2011 and also climbed Stok Kangri earlier in the year. Along with Simon he was running the Liverpool Marathon on Sunday - in gorilla suit!!! (I so know you pain). He also is running for personal reasons to support the National Autistic Society as his nephew has autism. 

I read their stories and am totally amazed by their effort and achievements. But, also back at home the Basingstoke runners who ran the half marathon including Peter whose activities and achievements are just as motivating.

All you guys (and girls) keep this gorilla running - keep it up.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

I am running like a one-year old!!!

Amazing to think that one year ago today I started this blog (check out the first posting here: http://marathongorilla.blogspot.com/2010/10/day-1-saga-begins.html) - since then it's been read over  as well as my twitter persona @MarathonGorilla - and he's still tweeting away.




Wow!

And to celebrate last week I took part in the Great Gorilla Run 2011. Which in many ways is what started me off getting back into fitness and then running the 26 warm furry miles in April.

I was back in London ... and back in the suit ... but this time not alone ... there was the whole whoop of us (Apparently the term whoop came from the Not The Nine O'Clock News sketch with "Gerald the Gorilla") and it was so much fun!!!

All these people shared the same desire to have fun and help preserve a species, and given the heat of about 22-23 degrees on the day it certainly wasn't chilly in those suits, they showed how much they really had committed to this cause.

A sneaky photo with Bill Oddie who started the race.
Back in the suit ... and the tutu (hmmm!)
Did I go for an Epic time? no not really, I was having too much fun chatting to runners and spectators alike (not that I have any reputation for chatting ... cough ... cough).

For those who have never seen the Great Gorilla Run check out the album my friend Adrian has uploaded to flikr (he had so much fun trying to photograph every gorilla he saw...)
I was even 'Knighted' by Bill Oddie at the end of race.
So, should  I stop now ?

Actually, "No!", I have enjoyed doing all the races over the last year (and most of the training). I have met so many interesting people and heard their amazing stories of who/why they run; many of these stories are so personal to their daily lives it helps you put things in perspective. For example in the Maidenhead Half-Marathon recently I met Alan Rowe OBE, who let me carry 'The Baton' for part of the race, he explained how it had travelled the globe, and recently went to the North Pole as show in 'Harry's Arctic Heroes'.

Following the pattern of most London Marathon runners, one week after the race you re-apply for the next year - and unfortunately I did not get in. I don't want to take a charity place for next year as I'd prefer my overly generous friends to get 'Charity Fatigue' - you guys helped so much this year it was amazing.

However, in the 'You didn't get through' pack there is a flyer for the Edinburgh Marathon in May, and I signed up straight away. Will it be suited? Not sure yet - I may need to negotiate with my wife Helen quite extensively. Besides, there are plans for some more 'Gorilla Outings' in the future, but quoting Dr. Who 'Spoilers!'

For everyone who did get through to VLM 2012 - Good Luck!!! I will be there to cheer you on. If you have never done it before - you will be blown away by the spectacle of the day - and remember to keep training and enjoy the run.

Now .. for that cake ...


Sunday, 21 August 2011

Chasing people for fun and recreation

It's been a couple of weeks since I announced the start of Chapter 2, and things are starting to change for the better. I've made it back into work which is a good start, and got back into running again. I even managed a Personal Best on the "Dorney Dash" a couple of weeks ago of 54:28 for 10km!.

It was strange to be running back at Dorney Lake again post marathon, yet also safe territory as I've been there before. I found that the mentally it was a much easier to run that distance as I knew I could run so much further and reminded myself of this as I ran ... and that worked (weird huh).

During the week I also ran with the local running club for the first time as I'm starting to prepare for the Basingstoke Half Marathon in October, it was like an overgrown ParkRun with all the benefits of running in a larger group - it was nice to compare notes on races and they suggested I take a look at the race route to be prepared.

So, today I did. I went for a cycle around the route and boy are there some grinding hills through the countryside - I logged the profile below for anyone curious to see what the route is like. As a comparison the London Marathon has about a 40m height difference at mile 3 and that's about it (check the link to see what I mean).

However, it's not all doom and gloom as its going to be a very challenging yet rewarding race - the trick will be not to over do it early and be prepared to run a slower pace - so probably not a chance to get a new PB, but for many of my friends who are running their first half - this will be a very rewarding personal best.




Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Chapter 2: The Recovery - Day 1

So, just under 100 days since the big race, here I am blogging again. So much can change in such a short time, I was on such an emotional high at the time something was bound to bring me down - and it was unexpected ... boy was it unexpected.

About a week after the race my Mum had a pacemaker fitted - and being an only child you get kind of nervous of these kind of events as it reminds you of how mortal you are (even if you've just trained for the one of the biggest events of your life). The operation was a success, and all was well ... so back to normal then ... I even did some more running. The Fordingbridge 10k, Shinfield 10k and then the Bracknell 1/2 marathon - all was going so well.

About a week later, I had a call from a friend which lead up to the question "Have you had any bad news lately?", to which I answered "No, why?". It turned out that my best friend had been killed in a car accident - it's still feels wrong just typing it, and since most of his contacts were in his phone, which was in his car ... nobody had been in able to tell any of his friends - so, that's what we did for the next week.

For those that knew both me and Damon, we were friends from Uni and never really grew up. He was my 'big' brother an many times people thought we were related :) we were so similar, and so close that it feels as if part of me has died with him (I know that it sounds like a cliché - sorry)

Then, back at work things were getting a bit hectic as they do - getting 30 people to agree on any project is tricky at the best of times - unfortunately, dealing with the Lilliputian style 'debates' on really minor issues just didn't work for me. I could deal with black and white, but grey didn't appear as an option, and most of these topics were just in the grey.

In the meantime, back at home my Mum's health was up and down - and finally we accepted that she'll have to stay permanently, so we started to process the selling up of her house (fun fun fun).

They about two weeks later, another friend was found dead in a local park, which unfortunately shook apart whatever pieces I had stuck back together in my head.

SPLAT!

Finally, something snapped, and I had to talk to the doctor to help, and so for the last four weeks I've been recovering at home - very slowly getting my head/heart back together.

I'm not trying to indicate that my experience/pain is in anyway bigger/better than those experienced by anyone else, i'm just listing it here to remind me of where I am today.

So, why choose today as 'day 1', well ...

  1. I'm starting to go stir crazy at home - which I feel is a good sign
  2. I have an appointment at Life Right, later today which will help me get more things sorted 
  3. Finally, it's my fourteenth Wedding Anniversary today!!!

So, how to celebrate ... well fitness kinda stopped as of the news of Damon, and so to re-awaken that part of my life i'm off training again, and have signed up for the 'Dorney Dash' on Saturday to get myself going. (I know that area from the pre-marathon training, so it'll be almost like home ground). 

That's it for today, Marathon Gorilla is back, and will keep you all updated of his progress.

Thanks for all your support in the past - it has been really appreciated.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Day 200 - Part 2 (Home Sweet Home)

That's it ... job done ... back home ... ouch!

Boy is this chair comfy, and the cup of tea so nice ... did that really happen yesterday - or was it a really bad bit of cheese I ate?

OK, assuming that it wasn't the cheese this is what really happened yesterday...

It was almost like getting ready for a flight, you set every alarm you can find - and also staying in a hotel you ask for multiple alarm calls ... but the total fear of missing it means you are awake 5 seconds before the alarm started at 6am. Then off to breakfast in the hotel where it was so easy to identify the runners ... they eat porridge, fruit and yogurt ... the supporters or normal hotel guests were tucking into their bacon and black pudding (we were jealous of them).

Back to the room to 'Gorilla suit-up' with the check list:
  • Goo/Talc applied to 'Nips' and 'the lads'
  • Blister plasters covering all the 'usual suspects' on the feet and toe-sock on the dodgy nail
  • Familiar running socks on, and a foot-less pair of compression secs on over the top.
  • Normal sports gear
then ... 
  • On goes 'Gerald'... (this was about 7am), followed by running top/number. I wrote my name on the front, and my @MarathonGorilla on the back - this worked out so well for the race :)
Exhibit-A ... er ... me
Off to West India Key to get the DLR to Greenwich ... I was the only person in costume on the train (this did not bode well) then off to the start. 

Banana acquired ... 
For various reasons the three of us (2 gorillas and 1 banana) were at different starts: I was in Green, Pete (The banana) Blue and Dave (Gorilla #2) at Red. As the plan was to run together we decided to meet up at the mile 1 (Me/Pete) and mile 4 (Dave); this meant we became part of the crowd for a while and cheered on the runners - while listening to fantastic music being played by live bands. I know that the queues at the red start were long, but the paranoia started to hit when we were waiting for Dave (from the finish time - he crossed the start line 20 minutes after I did), us he OK? with so many people phoning/tweeting there was little phone reception - we couldn't tell.

Then Dave appeared and our hearts leapt ... now we are three :) BRING IT ON!

Off we went, heading off at a reasonable speed and the crowd cheering it was superb, perhaps the running speed was a tad too fast - or was it the heat ... or both?  as the need for water became more apparent (or as Pete kept reminding me 'Water is fuel') it was getting rather hot out there even without a furry suit (as other runners reminded me) so we slowed down and I kept running to the shady side of the road.

Both Pete and Dave have done the London Marathon before they had great experience to share with me as we went. They knew the course so knew where the quiet bits were, the exposed areas, the ways to beat leg pains and many other things. I have to say guys 'it was Gold-dust!' without that camaraderie I would have been in serious trouble. For example at about mile sixteen my right knee was starting to play up and Dave suggested that we run 'ten-on/ten-off' (ten seconds/paces or running, ten seconds of walking) 

A number of friends had made the effort to turn up on the day, and wait over six hours in the sun for three costumed characters to run around tiring themselves out - like kittens with a ball of string. Many thank guys for being there :), additionally a number of twitter friends caught up with me for #GorillaHugs, thanks everyone it really really helped. I also remember seeing 'It's my 30th birthday today' on the back of one girl runners shirt, so I felt duty bound to kiss her hand and wish her Happy Birthday, and then run on.

It was off towards Docklands where the sun decided to hide (phew), but we kept up the 10-10 running which was easing my knee ... and people were offering fruit (perhaps a who banana was a bad plan) Orange segments have never tasted to good :). By now I was making sure I collected water at every stop, some I drank, some I poured down my/Dave's neck. 

Then by the time we got back to Canary Wharf the sun came back out, the TV coverage kept using the term 'glorious' - not a term I would have used while running in a 'G-suit', I would have used 'sub-tropical'. But slowly one by one the mile markers disappeared, soon 10 miles turned into 10k, we kept up the 10-10 (by now I was counting them out loud as I ran) but we were making tracks through all those that were just walking. 

Eventually we got to 5k, where unfortunately I needed more walk, than run; where no matter how much I had trained over the last six months I was just not prepared for the heat on the day. Pete tried to keep us ahead of  'two people running as a bus', unfortunately I had say 'we'll catch the next one' as we let it ran past. 

We then lead up to the final mile, wow - the crowd was amazing now ... calling us all out by name, so we saved ourselves for the final 800m (or so) where the Banana would taunt the Gorillas and we would take chase; so much so that the final straight up to the finish line was almost a sprint (I have no idea where the energy came from).

Then it was done, we managed it, the un-holy trio had stayed together for 22 miles, and we kept together to the end. As mentioned earlier the delay between the starts gave us all three different times, but I am still proud of my time 6h 12m 30s, and as I never have completed a marathon I now have a Personal Best, something to aim to beat next time.

Some of the lessons I learnt from the marathon

  • The crowd is fantastic and will cheer you on - encourage and enjoy them
  • You can steal sweets off small children
  • Aim to finish, not for a finishing time
  • You gain a pathological hate for 'I would walk 500 miles' being played
  • Don't eat your food to quickly, chew (my Mum taught me that), burps are bad :(
  • Talk to fellow runners - you both feel so much better
  • A Rhino is like a Micra, you will always be overtaken by one
  • Not all sports gels taste like snake venom - honest!
  • Your friends will cheer you on, personally if they can make it on the day, or via social networks - you will remember all their messages as you run
  • If you see a 100 people tied together as a human centipede, and they are queueing for the portaloos  - try not to laugh too loud. ( fantastic work on the run guys)
  • If you wear a silly costume - you will get noticed  (The best London Marathon fancy dress)
Finally, a few friends I'd like to mention (and their times) Well done all.

Dave Holby 05:52:40, Pete Elliott  06:07:52, Stephen Kelly 04:04:37, Chloe (The Brand) 04:26:03, richard dainty 04:59:00, Charles the Chav 05:13:15, Steve Dubois 04:57:02, Simon Freeman 02:43:37, Chris Naylor 03:59:54, Karen Balloch 04:23:58, Paul Robbins 05:54:00, Samuel Marsh 04:03:45, Chris Mercer 05:41:15, Sally Sauntson 06:21:00, Uli Killian 04:45:43, Mel Churchward 05:25:10

Day 200 - part 1

I DID IT! I managed to run (well some of the time) 26 miles in a  gorilla suit. Boy was it warm yesterday...it must have gone over 20 and there wasnt a huge amount of shade.

More later once I hobble home and have a nice cuppa.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

198 - This time tomorrow i'll be poached ... and i'm against poaching

The last 24 hours before the Virgin London Marathon ... crikey ... where has the last 6 months gone!

In order to chill-out and remember why I've taken on this task I went to London Zoo yesterday, to gain some sagely advice from the Silver-backs...

So what did I learn from the lads?






  • You can lie on you back naked, and scratch.
  • Picking your nose and eating it in public is allowed;
  • If you are disagreeing with someone, you can pull up your rope so they can't get to you;
  • My gait is wrong, as i'm not using all four paws.
It was just what I needed, to see the actual creatures i'm running for .. to remind me. 

Their expressions and mannerisms are not at all different from our own, they want to play and are just as curious as we are. It was great to see how much London Zoo share the passion of the Gorilla Organization and are emphasizing the same areas for support.

Later as a surprise for Helen (my ever supportive and resourceful wife) we went to see the Lion King (a night off from Gorillas for her), and a good friend Beth-Monster (long story) had arranged a special back stage tour for us (WOW!) and as it's Helen's birthday next week, Beth 'sneakily' got all the cast to sign a poster for her. I now have a very happy and bouncy wife!!!

Now, it's Saturday and I'm starting to feel nervous, and all the little gremlins of doubt are waving at me, but THRUPPP I say to the gremlins. All the support over the last few months is holding me together ... I can see from my friends on Twitter that they are all sharing the same feelings of panic and excitement, and the banter on there is both hilarious and emotional - check it out  here (you don't even need to have a twitter account).

To keep on with the detractions - tonight my short film 'mISSING pIECES' will be showing at the 'Red Carpet Screenings 2011 International Short Film Festival'  - featuring my furry self running around Basingstoke as a gorilla - I'm really excited about this, and more importantly I get to catch up with my Mum for a bit as she prepares to go into hospital next week to have a pacemaker fitted - we don't do things by half in this family.

So, that's about if for the pre-race banter, panics and celebrations ... next time I blog it will be post VLM whatever that brings... 

It's going to be EPIC!





Thursday, 14 April 2011

Day 196 - Base camp established ...

So now it's the final push ... as I write this the London Marathon web site lets me know that there are only a couple of days to go ...


Today I signed I collected my running number from the massive expo event at Excel - and then a couple of hours later I collected a new number ... Ok, so this is what happened, back in 2010 I contacted 'Guinness World Records' to see if there is a registered record for running a marathon 'dressed as a gorilla'? They did a lot of checking and got back to me letting me know there is one for 'running a marathon dressed as an animal' so I would be competing with that one.  The downside of that one was the current record is 3:30 - and only after the last couple of races have I realised that this time - "No, I can't manage that yet" (I add yet).
So, I let them know Guinness know ... but somehow Virgin wasn't updated - so now I have a green number '28539' no longer 39900; this means I have to sort out the final details with Pete and Dave but all systems are go!

The Expo was amazing - and given the collection of toys/products/advice i'd suggest it to anyone considering any kind of distance race. There is no entrance fee - so if you are doing any race over the next year, i'd suggest just go and learn lots from there (Why isn't the Expo in October - when you get your place?).
I also got to meet @LardyBoy2011 and @theredsquirrel two of my friends on twitter who are running in the Virgin London Marathon.

I also met a great guy 'Uli Kilian' who is planning to solve 100 Rubik cubes while running the marathon! seriously, I thought it was tough in a suit, he's got a suit a hundred puzzles to solve AND carry. Check out his website for information on the run (and how to sponsor him).

What kind of person runs 26 miles in a strange suit
 ... oh yeah ...  I retract that one.
While sorting out my revised running number Helen filled out her entry for the 'Virgin Poetry Competition', I hope I dont't muck up her chances by adding this - but I was so touched by what she wrote I had to share.
Helens rather touching poem for the Virgin poetry competition 


Every tuft of gorilla fluff,
Every time I said "that's enough!"
Every time my heart swells in my chest
Every race he tries his best
Every penny raised by friends
Every step a means to an end
Every race is tough, but
Everyone's better off.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Day 194 - I am not a number ... or hang on ...

Less than 5 days to go ...

LEGO 'GorillaMan' to the rescue
Days are counting down to the Marathon ... and it's getting really exciting; the last day has seen some  amazing things happen:
  • The run with Pete with excellent fun yesterday, still giggling at the video we made yesterday, and made it over 555 Km in training 
  • My fundraising made it past £2000! Completely beyond anything I ever imagined - thank you everyone.
  • I was asked by the fellow Simians at 'Go Ape' to write for the BananaBlog, which was published today.
I'm keeping an eye on the weather (as I gather is the pattern for the last week), and looking forward to the Expo on Thursday ... right ... back to the carbs ... nom nom nom.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Day 193 - Follow that banana ...

The BBC have started showing adverts, as my friend @clo_v tweeted yesterday 'Just saw BBC #VLM advert. My stomach did a flip & I felt a rush of excitement. A feeling I usually calm with a vodka. Prob not a good idea.'  Yep - that's where i'm at currently.

Today was probably my last run before Sunday - and what a fun run it was today, but before I write about that ... here's a photo of the two gorillas getting ready at the Pasta Party on Saturday night ... Dave will be running in Geraldine (also wearing a pink bra) and I'll be running as Gerald (pink tutu).

Two cheeky Monkeys ....  well Gorillas actually ... and Blinky the three eyed fish too.
So, why add the photos of the two gorillas ... well as a lead up to Pete who is our nemesis (well sort of) in the form of a giant banana.

Yes, gorillas and bananas do indeed work in IT

Pete works at the same company as me, and when he found out that there was a gorilla loose in the building he heard the 'call of the wild ... well livid really' and bought himself a banana costume to join in. He was already training for the marathon and this added extra flavour to the event!.

I'll get you ... and your little dog too...
Today we 'suited up' for the first time together and went for a run around Green Park in Reading. The weather was about 17 degrees, but with a pleasant breeze ... but still hoping it's slightly cooler on Sunday as fancy dress costumes are generally not designed for running.

Pete completed the very scary 'Jurassic Marathon' two weeks ago - which is three marathons in three days ... I'm still working on ONE!. It was a great chat while we ran and working out our plans for the end of the week; it was also great watching people as we ran past them in costume, they either:

a) stared and couldn't believe what they saw, or
b) tried to not make eye contact.

Either way it made us laugh as we ran, so much so that I uploaded this video to share with you all.






Saturday, 9 April 2011

Day 191 - Using my powers for good ...

Down to the the last week now ... EXCITING!

OK, so the taper is going well (really lazy, but I like the idea of a technical term for it), but I do feel like I another ParkRun or something ....

Hmmm, well the original plan for Saturday morning was to do just that - but then I remembered that I really should head off into town and pay-in some of the donations I have already received to the bank. Lets see, they open at 9am and the run is at 9am ... hmm, run but leave loose cash in the car ... bad, get the money paid in and do something else ... good.

But what run to do ...?

Well I woke up at 7am (darn it - my body won't let me off even on a Saturday) and had the solution ... you see my wife (The ever supportive Helen) wasn't feeling too well the day before, and I remembered that she really loves American style pancakes (If there was an IHOP in this country - i'd never see her again) so I decided to run to the local McDonalds and get her some pancakes and maple syrup and then bring them back for her.

So, carefully sneaking out the house ... armed with an iPod and a Camelback ... off I went. I knew it was going to be good when the first track on the pod was 'Song 2' ... and off I went.

I got a funny look from one of the other customers as I was obviously in running gear,yet  going for food in McDonalds ... pah! After quickly drinking the orange juice it was time to head back home ...

When I got back in, Helen was still asleep ... so armed with a cup of tea and a some pancakes I snuck back upstairs to surprise her ... I think I may have redeemed some of the brownie-points I owe her (she's been to nearly every training event since October) and the day was set up to be great.

In the afternoon a photographer from the 'Basingstoke Gazette' visited, and asked me to run-around the close and do star-jumps for some photos in the full suit (I look forward to the paper on Thursday).

In the evening we planned a 'Pasta Party' for friends to come over and chill - as it's the quiet before the excitement next week - and Dave Holby came over ... he'll be wearing the other Gorilla costume next week-end. It was the first time he got to meet 'Geraldine' ...

Finally, on Monday I'll be catching up with Pete, the guy who will be wearing the banana costume that the two gorillas will chase, and hopefully we'll go for a lunchtime run together in costume (there is a medical need for photos).

So next week lookout for the following trio:

  • Banana being chased by two gorillas (Pete Elliott, running for CLIC and The Helen Bamber Foundation)
  • Gorilla in pink tu-tu (that's me, running for the Gorilla Organization);
  • Gorilla in pink bra (Dave Holby, running for Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

Only a week to go ... I hope it's not too hot.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Day 184 - Never leave a man behind ...

Yikes - It's now April ... only a couple of weeks to go...

So after last week's injury from the Breakfast Run, I have spent the week trying to rest the leg (and also work has been busy) it was crunch time to see if the rest helped. This took the form of the ParkRun on Saturday morning; I was unsure of how things would develop - so I thought I'd see how a 5Km run affected my left leg (or vice-versa). To say the least I was rather nervous.

As usual Pete was there at the run, I persuaded him to join-in about a year ago - and since then he's done more ParkRuns than I have (guilty face), my excuse is all the other events I have done, but the running total on the ParkRun website always reminds me of this.

My plan was a comfortable 5Km at about my long-distance pace, so about 9-10 minute miles, as I've noticed that my distance running is slower but more consistent at this pace. If this worked with no pain then things were looking up !!!.

So, I ran with Pete ... we chatted ... we kept running ... chatted more ... overtook a few people while still chatting and kept on running. In the final straight Pete slowed slightly to let me finish before him, but I wasn't going to let that happen so I shoved him forward. I was pleased to say I came 72'd and Pete came in at 71st.

Something I have noticed over the last six months (crikey ... just worked it out on my fingers) is just how much time is taken up preparing for something as huge as your first ever marathon. The training plans give you an idea of the training required, but not of the work done around it or the time spent preparing for the events. I know that I have had to sacrifice a large part of my social life to prepare over the last 6 months, and with this don't get round to seeing all the friends I normally would at play rehearsals, at the cinema or even down the pub.

You do notice their absence (hopefully they notice yours) and although there are all the social media gadgets to keep people in contact (The irony in not lost on me as I submit a blog to be read on Facebook and Twitter) ... but nothing actually beats meeting up in real life. I prefer to chat with people without the need for a keyboard, and to see the expressions on their faces as you compare stories.

It's for that reason that Pete finished before me - as just 'being-there' on a day when I was feeling a bit 'wobbly' cheered me up and helped me focus on the right things.

I now feel so much more prepared for London ... and just have a couple of remaining tasks to do and then it's  all systems go...

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Day 178 - Forget the gorilla suit get me a pirate suit

Firstly, the gorilla movie 'mISSING pIECES' is finally finished - and uploaded onto the web. Many months of fiddling with settings and fighting Shockwave flash to generate a custom transition, we finally finished it off. We have submitted it for 'Red Carpet Screenings International Short Film Festival' on April 16 ... so fingers crossed.



Back to the running, today was the 'Breakfast Run' a 16 mile event in Kingston.  This comprised of two laps of running to Hampton Court Palace and back. It also was my last 'Long Run' before the marathon - and was to be run in full suit. The event was a much quieter affair than the Reading Half, and only a few people came to the streets to cheer us on; I didn't realise how much the cheering last week boosted the running - I know London will be a completely level - so am really looking forward to that part.

Well, the first lap went well at about 1:20 - which was going to plan well, then at about 12 miles my left leg decided to misbehave slightly, and by mile 13 running was not an option - but this was going to stop me ... so I ended up walking the last 3 miles, but did it in the end.

I chatted to various people as they overtook the gorilla, and so their support was great.

Finally, when I made it in I had my first Sports Massage .... both ouch and relief at the same time, which seems to have fixed bits in my leg already.

Right then ... bring on the tapering ....

Monday, 21 March 2011

Day 172 - Mr. Lister ... fetch me spare head two

Reading marathon plus one ...

Another late blog entry ... I'm seeing a pattern here, I think it's because as the training is increasing, and the distance longer, the more tired I get - ho hum...

Anyway, back to the blog ...

So, yesterday there were two big reasons:

  • One month since my first half marathon
  • My first run in my new 'custom' gorilla head
The previous night our house was like 'arts and crafts' as we stitched together 'spare head two' - a more breathable gorilla head to run in - time to see how it works out ...

We got to Reading quite early, and caught up with a few colleagues from work beforehand (they did really well in the race - well done all), and then transform into 'GorillaMan'.

GorillaMan - one of the lesser known supers...
I realize it's important to make sure i'm fueled up before a run, luckily they had a drink my size ...
 
Gorilla-size Lucozade
The race really was really great - an amazing experience for so many reasons, the people of Reading were so enthusiastic calling out 'Come on Gorilla Man' or 'Monkey Man'along the whole race (How come small kids know I'm a gorilla, but the adults think I'm a monkey?). There were live bands playing in peoples gardens, steel bands at the half way point, pub's giving out free beer (honest).
  
Nearly there ...
The mask worked well, and kept the heat off pretty well, but was still toasty. I was really glad that I had the CamelBack as the 'on-demand' water made all the difference (as well as many water stops) - and a small army of Jelly Babies.


Goodie bag ... and time to head home 
Once month until London ... eeek!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Day 164 - Barking dogs (Part 2 of 2)

OK, so thats the excuse for Friday done in the previous post ... so why didn't I post yesterday either? well ...

Saturday

This was a very very big day, as Festival Place the local shopping centre was allowing me to have an awareness day for the Gorilla Organization (a.k.a. the charity I'm running the London Marathon for).

This meant getting everything set-up for 8:30am, and for my wife and I to man the stall until 5pm - so we knew it was going to be a long day. Also, as it was not a charity spot we couldn't collect on their behalf at this spot - we could however point people in the direction of the 'Lush' store in Basingstoke (just around the corner) who were holding a 'Charity Pot Party'  for the gorillas on the same day.

To keep the spectacle up for the day I was wearing a gorilla suit for the day (about 10 hours in total) which worked really well as a technique for getting peoples attention - we could then show them details on the display we put together in the morning.

Many leaflets ... posters and a gorilla
There was a reasonable amount of interest in the day from the public, and many many smiling faces as a gorilla waved at them as they walked past.

I did make one mistake - as my legs were a bit stiff from the previous days run, and standing around all that time wasn't helping them much - so I went for a brief jog around the centre to stretch the legs (still as a gorilla), however we didn't realise that even though Helen was manning the stall - I should have been there too as I was wearing a distinctive  (and furry) outfit.  The security staff though were really great, and advised me to head back to the stand - which I did, and all was well.

One of my favourite moments in the day was a small child (dressed as Buzz Light Year) who had bought a 'Charity Pot' tester from Lush for the gorillas, but insisted to his parents that it was for the gorilla and he must make sure I had it.

Many friends popped round during the day, which was great as it gave an opportunity to explain better why I was getting ready for 26 miles of fur and tarmac.

By the end of the day we headed back to Lush, and we discovered that all 72 testers, and 11 pots  of 'Charity Pot' had already been sold that day - and there was still about an hour to go. This meant the event had raised about £212 for the gorillas - which was absolutely fantastic.

I'll catch up with them tomorrow to find out the final total was and  to collect a small blue gorilla who kept guard in the shop during the day.

Thanks everyone in Festival Place and Lush for all the help yesterday - it was really well appreciated.

Sunday
My feet ache ...

Day 164 - Barking dogs (Part 1 of 2)

It been a busy couple of days, and so the first time in 46 posts I didn't update them on the day.. so here's the reasons (or excuses).

Friday

I decided to go for a very long run ... Basingstoke to Andover, which worked out at just over 31km (18.5 miles). The reason was, as i'm running the Reading Half Marathon next week-end, and the Breakfast Run the week-end after, I seemed to be running out of March to do a really long run. I even took the day off work to do it - that's how important it seemed to me.

As usual it was to catch up with a friend for coffee as an excuse to run there (I really need to get out more), so about 10:30 I set off armed with a camelback full of water, and a full change of clothes for when I get there (mistake no. 1).

The route I chose is the B3400 which goes between the two towns with no fuss - less chance for me to get lost if I just stay on the same road ... however I did forget how winding and hilly the road was especially where honking great trucks are involved (mistake no. 2).

A few miles in I felt a bit peckish - checked the backpack for Jelly Babies ... crisis I'd forgotten them (mistake no. 3), leaving me to put off any of the gels until really really necessary (as i'd managed to remember them - doh!). I really do prefer the sweeties to the gels as they:

  1. taste nicer
  2. don't go gooie if you only have some of them (gels make a mess)
  3. cheer you up when you see them

However, it did give me an incentive to run to the next town - thankfully they had some so all's right with the world (phew).

By now i'm too making good progress ... but the lack of pavements on the road are noticable, and even as a 'B' road it was very busy. Most of the drivers were good, but a few seemed to play chicken with me to see if I could merge into the wall so they didn't have to steer past - do I look like a T-1000?

Well over halfway I made it to Whitchurch, around here I was feeling a bit warm, and the backpack was starting to become noticeably heavier ... and when I saw the roadsign telling me how far I had to go  ... it didn't help much either ...

Only 7 miles to go ... (ONLY!!!)
Yet more hills, and oncoming traffic and by the time I reached Andover I was not running fast at all (or at all) - and made my way slowly into the town centre to meet my friend (Thanks so much for waiting Vivien :)  ).

Due to other commitments I had to be back home early that night, so after a quick change and a jacket potato    it was time to head back. This time by train, this is were I learnt my final lesson for the day ...  Never get the train back if it follows the route you just run ... as the towns you spent ages running between - just fly by as stations ... (mistake no. 4)

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Day 157 - It's cold up north

Having escaped my monkey suit for the week it's time to catch up with some of my family in Scotland. Getting up here was fun as we tried out the 'Zombe bus' that goes from Victoria to Edinburgh overnight - they then wake you at 3am to go to the toilets at service stations on the M1 (much like being woken in hospital to be given a sleeping tablet). Once we arrived at Edinburgh, we then found out most of the remaining journey will be covered by a replacement bus service - woop! more buses....

Surprisingly, most of yesterday was spent sleeping - this does not bode well for work tomorrow when I get back first thing in the morning.

With much chilling behind me, I decided to go for a long run today (before most of the house was awake) - to add to it I had no real idea of where I can go round here, but after a bit of google maps and some local knowledge I had a basic idea of a 'lap' of the area.

Armed with a Camelback,an mp3 player (my phone as all the others I have killed) and a full packet of Jelly Babies off I went...

The first couple of miles were not pleasant, maybe a combination of disrupted sleep over the last couple of weeks (having been short listed for redundancy screws with the head) or concerns over my Mum's health (Diabetes, heart problems and a blood vessel that blew in her brain 12 months back) or maybe checking that my foot has recovered over the last week...  whatever was going on in my head it started to ease off after a few miles (and a couple of Jelly Babies) and I could then concentrate on running alone.

Most of the running today was on the road as there aren't too many pavements up here, but 99.5% of the drivers were really good at giving me plenty of space on the road, The 0.5% tried to overtake into me to cut a corner (doh!!!)

Today I managed a personal best in distance of 25 Km, which is about 15.5 miles in old money. The timing was not best (probably being careful) but the stamina was there which was fantastic :) A bit more work to do over the next couple of weeks - but a great achievement regardless.

Next time I do something like this I must remember to pack gloves and a hat brrrrr as the wind is a bit nippy up here.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Day 155 - From Monkey Suit to Gorilla Suit

Today I decided to run around the office park at work again - this time in my gorilla costume. So, a 5.4 k run around Green Park (2 weeks until the Reading half-marathon), it only took about 31 minutes. It would have been quicker if I hadn't have stopped at a local cafe for ... guess what .... a banana. The girl in front of me in the queue tried to ignore the fact I was behind her, but she finally cracked when I only bought a banana.

At one point in the run I caught up with another runner who was obviously focussed on running, and when i said 'So, you didn't get the memo then?' as a way of breaking the ice he just went '... huh ...' - so I decided to overtake him and run on to the next bit. (That'll teach him).

Today is probably the last run in the original gorilla head - I have a new (smaller and lighter one) which i'll be trying out for the Reading Half - as it was a bit fruity in there today.

Finally, I must say the response from my work colleagues today was fantastic - lots of encouragement and sponsorship. 

Thanks so much everyone.


Sunday, 27 February 2011

Day 150 - Legs like Jelly Babies

So, another day of training ... this time it's the 'F3 Duathlon Sprint' event back at Dorney Lake. It was weird being back there 1 week after the 'Race Your Pace' event, especially as the layout of the event was completely different, however I managed to win a place in this event so time to add it to the training.

Today's event was a 5k Run/20k Bike/5k Run duathlon - so a chance to get my old bike out, old is an important word as its a 20 year old Dawes Mountain Bike.

Ok, back in the later eighties and Dawes used Pink & Black alot...   
I guess my bike was the oldest there (and probably the heavy-est too) and kept the off-road tires on for the race. I saw so many uber-light racing bikes there it was like a 'Chris Boardman Display team' - I did get a little concerned. Nick who came with me was not helping with jokes like 'you did remove the basket and the dynamo?' or 'the Post Office called ... they want their bike back'.

OK, armed with two bananas and a half packet of jelly babies off I went.

The first 5k was like a normal ParkRun except I had to keep to pace myself as their was a lot more to come,
and felt good.
Still smiling ... must be the first half then ...
A quick banana at the transition, then on to the bikes - 6 laps to make up to the 20k, now to see what the 'old bike' can do ... well I discovered that it can be overtaken a lot... my bike is set-up for terrain not for the flat - i guess my top speed had twice as many teeth as some of their bikes - owww! The cross wind was not pleasant but do-able, it would have been better if the bike had decided not to let me use the top set of gears for half the race (pedal faster then I guess).
Final straight (back to the Billy Whizz hair)

Phew, after that 'extra peddling' back to the running for the final part of the running, this time not so pleasant compared to the first one, but after giving  by the power of Jelly Babies I managed it (I may have given out a few to some of the other runners to cheer them up).


Overall, a great race, and I completed it in 1:42:20 which was about the time I expected - now back to running.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Day 146 - Pedal your Pace ...

Phew ... just about recovered from the half-marathon on Sunday, and time to hit the gym again.

I got an email today reminding me i've got a Duathlonon Sunday, and surprise!!! it's back at Dorney Lake again so back to the laps of the really flat track but this time with bikes and running. Time to train on the bike again then.

Tonights challenge ... how far can I now cycle in an hour? The answer 30.35 km - which really makes me feel good about Sunday as the flat route should be similar to the gym.

Then off to the running treadmill - then it went wrong ... how? well about 2 k into the run .... I needed a pee, and the toilets are a distance from the gym so it kinda killed off my run :(   oh well, next time 'go before we leave'.

The other great news is that the great people at Lush in Basingstoke are going to host a Charity Pot Party!  where all the proceeds (minus VAT) from the sale of their Charity Pot body lotion will go to the Gorilla Organization.

How cool is that!!!

So March 12th (provisionally) come to Basingstoke Lush and buy up their Charity Pots !!!


Sunday, 20 February 2011

Day 143 - Unleash the inner furry

Boy, what an exciting day!

Today was the 'Race Your Pace' event from 'Human Race' (I seem to be doing a lot of their events at the moment). It's a great idea where there are pace setters that run at specific speeds from 8 min/miles upto 12 min/miles, and then you run against these.

It was my first ever 1/2 marathon today, and to add to that I decided to run the 1/2 marathon as a gorilla (well, almost) - I ran in the body of the suit, but not the head. I'm waiting for an alternative head for running with better air-flow.

Before the race ... with my new shiny running top.
As I was changing into the costume, and putting on the running top, I was asked by someone 'So, who are you running for?' .... I was tempted to say 'The Boy scouts' - but didn't.

As I had no MP3 player working at the moment the whole run was without a soundtrack (which normally helps me set the pace) so I plodded on it. I seemed to be setting about a 10min mile consistently over the whole race which was great.

While running there was a chance to use some 'Naked Gun' type humour as I was asked by runners ... 'You must be hot' ... to which I generally replied 'Thanks, I have been working out'

As I reached the final mile I realized that the 10 min mile pace-setter was catching up ... so I hoofed it up a bit in the last section.

OK, so the hair went a bit 'Chuckle Brothers' after the race

I also got a chance to meet up with many other of the VLM runners including a number of first time racers - good to compare stories :)

Also at the end was a seminar organised by Lucozade Sport on Marathon training, so went along to that one too. The good news is that i'm heading in the right direction with my training, the bad news ... I may have to increase the mileage a bit.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Day 138 - Exercise really makes you feel your age

Phew ... back from gym now ... after todays challenge.

I realized i'm a couple of weeks away from my birthday today (amazing how you can forget these things) - so I thought I'd do a crazy Tuesday challenge of exercising my age in km (This would be where Nancy calls the men in white coats).

I thought about what exercises to do, and decided on a combination of running, cycling and rowing; which originally seemed a great idea. However, about 5k into running I realized I was only about 1/7 through the challenge and I was starting to run out of Lucozade (crisis) so I started to break up each mile of running with a short break to recover and drink, then restart - amazing it really helped and got me through the first part.

Then off down to the bikes ... about 2k in my iPod died, I hope is the battery - but think I may have killed it by sweating - I seem to be the kiss of death to mp3 players in this area. I can't help it ... I do not perspire ... neither do I glow ... I sweat.

Finally once the cycling was done, off the to rowing machines. The more I try to row the more I am impressed by how Dave Holby managed to row around the planet on a static rower, I just managed the 4 k and was glad it was over ... he did 10,000 as many k - so why am I complaining?  

Strangely, I feel rather good after tonights epic session ... will see how I am in the morning.

For those that are curious:
11 k run in 61 minutes, 22 k bike ride in 45 minutes and 4k rowing in 19 minutes.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Day 135 - Just a chat between friends

A mostly quiet day, after much duvet-based deliberation I finally conceded to going todays Parkrun, was touch and go though.

Also, taking so long to decide what i'm doing meant no chance to run/cycle in - which was probably good after last night (Day 130). When I got there I caught up with Peter a good friend who I persuaded to do Parkruns last year, and now has done a lot more than me ... (great work Peter).

I decided to pace myself today, and run with Peter at a reasonable (not flat out pace), and it worked really well. I remember a comment from a trainer a while back 'If you can manage 6-7 word conversations while running then your V02 (still not sure what that is yet) is about right, so we did just that.

We did have to stop twice on the way though because of injury, not ours though, one of the kids who was running sprained an ankle so we stopped to help him along, and get him back to the start (Parkruns are nice like that).

Still feeling good given i've run 15k, and cycled 20k in the last 24 hours....

lets see what can happen tomorrow....

Friday, 11 February 2011

Day 134 - Angry Running

It's been a long week - well thats an underestimate... I can't say anything really bad has happened, but there have been a collection of minor niggles & frustrating things that have all built up.

So, to prevent an argument at home (which I wasn't helping - to be honest), I decided to go for a run into town instead. So got changed, found iPod and started out, conveniently the shuffle option came to my rescue and found a motion traxx  (Episode #49: “Mean Streak”) which worked really well. It got me into town (5k) and I was still energetic. 

On the way in I remembered that I have a dualathlon in a few weeks time (5k run, 20 cycle, 5k run) so why not try that this evening, so off I went to the gym for a 20k cycle. I was really pleased as I did it in just over 41 minutes this time, nearly 4 minutes faster than Monday.

I must confess, by this time I was getting a bit sweaty, so I didn't really want to hang around too long at the gym once I finished. So, off I went home (a slightly different route) to have lots of  water followed by a relaxing bath.

Oh, and now have broken 300k in training :)

Hmmm, there is a ParkRun in the morning, I'll see how I am then ...



Monday, 7 February 2011

Day 130 - 10:1 I'm going to feel it in the morning

We all know where cunning plans go ... today was definitely Baldrick Monday.

My first 'cunning' plan was to go for a run at lunch-time, you know get a few more miles in. Well the weather looked a bit ropey but I though why not, I can't arrange the weather in April so take it as it comes.

I went off to the car and collected my gear and then just as I was dropping off my jacket at my desk ... argh !!!  Problems and questions from the team, and being my generally helpful self I continued with these until I realized I'd missed my chance for a lunch time run.

Never mind, I'll go to the gym later, and go for a run then. Hang on gym ... where's my card? oh no I must have left it at the race at the weekend - so off I trot to get a replacement before heading in. So ... running time ... Nope :( all the treadmills are in use, no worries I'll go for a cycle.

I then remembered that i've got a dualathlon later in the month 5km run, then 20 km cycle, then 5km run to complete - so why not go for a 20 km cycle then go for a run. Well, I managed the cycle in 44:57 (boy did I push that last km to break 45 minutes) and then headed off to the treadmills, attack of the Baldricks again as I normally run in shorts while inside and trackies outside, but ho hum i'll wear them inside ...  guess what NO. Why? well they have a mesh inside and those knees from the weekend still feel a bit raw - and the trackies had a moderate cheese-grater effect so I only ran 2k in the end.

While I was there though I caught up with Joe, an excellent trainer and motivator who helped me prepare for the gorilla run in 2009 - so it's not all bad.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Day 129.99 - Just a sneaky one before bedtime

I just discovered a photo of me mid-race in TuffMan, as you can see it's the return of 'insane-dolt'.



Night all,

ZZZzzz....

Day 129 - Shopping

With a gorilla suit in the wash (yes I do have more than one) its time to run as me for some  training today. I'm a little conscious of the grazes to both knees, but feel I really need to do at least some more training as me to clock up a few more miles - but what excuse can I use ....

I know ... shopping  ... so, i'll run to the shops, meet my wife and after the shopping run home. Yep that'll do.
I managed to beat the car back home - which was fab - then found out that although we left at the same time (YAY) , my wife read a magazine and eat a chockie bar before heading off (not so-yay).

I also needed to check out what the effect of wearing a costume did for running times, and came up with this:

Time for the Peter Snow voice:
" Just a bit of fun, but ...'
So, a marathon is about 42.2km, it means as a gorilla I could finish about 4:45, but without the suit I could finish in just over 4 hours.

Hmm, enough maths - time for a cup of tea.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Day 128 - Am I the Missing Link?

I have to stop doing some of these races, as the cupboard is filling with race t-shirts. Today was 'TuffMan' the  final part of the ASICS 'Off-Road' series an 8km race in the middle of East Sussex (aka miles from home and an early start on a Saturday again).

I've enjoyed the series of races organised by the 'Human Race' and normally I grab a photo of me wearing part of a gorilla costume, then change back for race; today however I decided to run as a gorilla for the whole event (did I mention it was cross-country?)
Before the race, full-on Gerald
What gorilla? I don't see any gorilla
The weather was on my side to start off with, as it was a bit blowy and drizzly, and lots of comments like 'must be warm in there...' etc. As the race went on though it got a bit tricker as the mud/drizzle started to attach to the suit, and it did get a bit warmer.

On the first lap though I slipped and fell (first time ever in any event). I had taken the gorilla head off at the time to help with the airflow - so it wasn't a 'wardrobe malfunction' just mud. The fall was not too bad but shook me slightly.

Nearly done ....

Phew - finished
The response from all the other runners was great - they were so supportive  for the guy running in a gorilla suit and this really helped - thanks all!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Day 124 - Movies and Mayhem

It's been quiet for the last week ... combination of a ankle hurting and looking after my Mum (a few panic visits to hospital - but better now). So, surprise no training.

However, the last few days has been different - firstly on Sunday we (well Adrian, Nick and Helen) filmed a small film called 700 - (more to follow soon once I get a decent cut of the film). I've added an outtake below as  I epically failed to open a door to a phonebox.


Then tonight back to the gym for some training - a combination of cycling and running which actually went well. Mainly cycling tonight, and a small bit of running - but the ankle stood up well :) There was a superb offer at GoAdventure where a pair 2150 Asics were down to £49 and are really comfy (might sneak back for a second pair).

I'll spend the next few days building up to TuffMan on Saturday.

Sleep calls ....

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Day 115 - Darth Molly

Right just a quick blog today (it's been a busy day for my Mum for soooo many reasons with trips to Hospital and various things).

Before all that kicked off I went for a short doggie run (Molly this time), who forever more be known as "Darth Molly" due to her insistence to run with a stick longer than her and wielding it like a light-sabre.
Darth Molly in action.
Not the best run as I may have over-done it slightly on the sauce last night at the Salsa Party (my bad), but it did remind me of the 'Midnight howling' yesterday at IceMan where with ten minutes to go all the doggies were gee-ing each other on, a most amazing sound.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Day 114 - The Iceman sort of wenteth

Today was the third in the 'ASICS Off Road Series' aka 12 Km of Trail running in more Army woods in Surrey.

Another Gorilla sighting ... how surprising ...

This means more runners with doggies (there should be more of this) and another race T-Shirt (it's filling up the wardrobe). No rivers this time, just hills and some mud (not up to the waist luckily). Both Helen and Nick were there to support me for the race (and take a few piccies) - thanks guys your support was really great.

The race was two laps of the woods so it was a good chance to see how the pace changes over the laps. First one was 35 mins and the second lap 40mins - this made my average running time around 10kph. This still fits with the runs over the last week but I really want to get the time back up to about 11-12kph like it was before the Christmas flu, i'm sure it'll improve I just need to be patient.

A while ago I bought the Salomon Trail shoes after having a gait analysis - today proved that they are supporting my feet better than my normal running trainers, so I get the feeling a new pair of road trainers will be bought soon with pronation support. Actually, the weird thing was that as I ran any oddness in my ankles from running this week disappeared even though I was still running.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Day 111 - Is my phone on?

Lunch run #2 today (I now have a locker key at work - strangely exciting) so once I got all my gear together (trackies, ipod, phone etc.) off I went. The phone is important as its got the MyTracks application which has proven really useful.

Half way round the park my phone reminded me that its a phone not a GPS tracker ... BRINNNGGGG ... off it went .. so I had to pause the run. Once I restarted the run I had warmed down a bit so a tad creaky for the second half.

But, the great news was that even with the break my average running speed was closer to 12 Kph as I wanted. It does seem odd running during lunch as you can bump into colleagues while outside, and then catch up with them afterwards at the office.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Day 110 - My Plank don't work

Good, two days on from my 'coffee-run' and the world is still turning and I don't walk like a LEGO man, so really pleased.

I gather the proper term for yesterday was a 'rest day', I thought it was an excuse to not do much in the evening - but now my between fitness laziness has a proper term I feel much better (I must have been resting a whole lot over Christmas then!!!).

Tonight I went back to the gym (well I might as well check it's still there) to do one of Pete's Circuit Classes; he has the last session of the day so can extend it to nearly 1.5 hours where the last 20 minutes are warm down. I find that they are a great way to stretch everything that you thought you could stretch and a few bits more. I just can't keep a 2 minute plank - while everyone else could :(

Halfway through I had a surprise visit from my wife (Mrs. Gorilla) as she popped by after she had beaten up the various machines downstairs, I suggested she joined in, she suggested I did something else - so she did some stretches and went off home (after a shower I hope).

After the Circuit Class, I decided to warm down on the treadmill - with the challenge of trying to train myself to run a consistent 12Kph - which over shorter distances (ParkRuns etc.) I have no problem doing but I need to build up for distance, so only ran 2Km  and called it a night.

So, that's it for today - time to log off and get some kip.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Day 108 - There better be coffee in heaven

Continuing with my cunning plan from last year ... set a suitable target for a run, and hopefully grovel coffee (and sometimes Flapjacks) when you get there. It's incentive driven, and means you get to catch up with numerous friends at the end and enjoy a relaxing coffee afterwards.

mmm ... coffee ... mmm

So, today it's off to Chuckle's House (a.k.a. Adrian) which worked out as about 18km away ... well it shouldn't have been but I went the wrong way in one village and realised when I saw the sign for the place I was meant to be going pointing back the other way (grrrrr... grisel... etc.). To add to the shame my GPS has a lovely 'loop of shame' in it to remind me of what I did - DOH!

It wasn't the easiest today as it was only my third run after flu, but since i'm running in IceMan next Saturday and that's a 12km trail race - I thought I'd better get on with it. I must confess some of the run today was rather more like walking - but once I had recovered I could at least get back up to speed.

Today's lesson though was, take some fluid with you - as I got a bit parched about 12 Km in and had nothing to drink until I got to Chuckle's house for coffee (I know its a diuretic - but he does make amazing coffee) - followed by about 3 cups of water to up the fluids.

Time to recover now methinks .... or maybe i'll just watch Warehouse 13 on Syfy.