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Update 18.02.18 (In short I still have lots to do)

Money Raised so far: £155

Where can you sponsor me?

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/russell-brookes4

Goals set:

Cycle: 2500 Miles to include 2 100 mile rides

So far: 68.3 Miles

Mileage needed each week to hit target: 52 Miles

Rides planned: Cotswold Bike Ride, Jurassic Beast, Ride London

Run: 750 Miles to include 2 half marathons.

So Far: 87.3 Miles including one half marathon.

Mileage needed each week to hit target: 14.4

Runs Planned: Mud Run

So if the above tells me anything, its two things:

  1. I’ve a lot to do still to hit my targets and;
  2. I’m an idiot for setting these targets in the first place!

But I’m committed to doing it and do you know what I’m actually enjoying the training.

I’m behind where I’d like to be with the cycling, but I finally got out on a couple of rides this week and it was great to get back out on the bike. Doing Portway and Whiteshill in a 25 miler training run was probably one of my poorer life choices though! This was followed by a 44 miler yesterday. So this has reassured me that my legs still have distance in them. But I need to start upping it and if i’m serious about clocking a time under 6.30 hours on a Century ride this year, I need to start working on my pace.

So i’ve signed up to the BHF Cotswold Bikeride in May and intending to do the Wiggle Jurassic Beast that month too. If I can find a couple of others, that should put me in good shape for the the Ride London. On that note, I’ve booked the accomodation and me and my lovely wife are planning a few days after to celebrate (hopefully!) I’m starting to look forwatd to it and this week has been a reminder of just how much I love being on my bike.

Running:

I’ve still been getting out running, just not as long distance wise and just ticking over. I’ve been getting out on lunchtime at work and this is a good way to sneak in the miles and also let of steam and escape the desk! I’m amazed how much I’m enjoying an activity I used to hate.

The mud run is two weeks today and i’m really looking forward to it, whilst wishing I had a few more people doing it with me. But you never know some of you may feel moved to join me, after reading this.

I still need to do at least one more half and still believe I can knock a few minutes off my PB of 1.51.50 but I bet everyone thinks that!

Other:

In addition to this I’ve done a long walk with Em which is always nice. We are also looking into getting back to swimming, which might lead me into another dumb event idea, but that’s another story…

Rugby is kinda taking a back burner to my other stuff, but i’ve had a couple of games and still enjoy playing touch.

In short I’m currently trying to capitalise on my fitness bug I seem to have, but am a bit behind where I’d like to be. Its about getting the balance right I guess and I’ll get there. As the day stays lighter for longer that’ll make it easy.

The Fundraising:

So far i’ve raised £155 which Is a great start and thanks to anyone who has sponsored me so far, but i still want more so please sponsor me on the link above. Even a £1 can make a massive difference.

Thanks for reading and i’ll be back to bore you to tears again soon!

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The first half is always the hardest.

I’m going to confess something. I used to hate running. I remember giving the sport relief mile a go, many years ago and it was horiffic. I barely got round the 3 miles, I had shin splints and I figured never again. Finally, I got on a bike and never looked book. I just thought running was one of those things, that I’d never get. Turns out I was wrong.

So with less than a months real training under my belt, and with 11 miles being the furthest I have ever ran in one stint, I had for reasons best know to my brain, decided that a Half Marathon would be a good thing to undertake. At first I figured I could just “give it a go” and not worry about a time, but that’s not how my brain works. After a few training runs, I’d spoken to a few friends, who were more experienced runners than me, and had a multitude of differing thoughts on what a good time would be and how to pace it. So outwardly I had been saying to people that:

“you know what if I can do it in 2 hours and 20 minutes I’d be bloody chuffed.”

Secretly though I wanted to test myself and resolved that I was going to aim for 2 hours. This would mean running at a pace of 9.09 minutes a mile, faster than I was used to. So nothing like really testing your self.

So nothing would set it up, like a bit of a rough nights sleep. I’ve never been good at the pre-event part of preparation. Mentally I’m riding my bike or running before I’ve even got to the event. And this was new. And new stuff isn’t always easy for me. I get a bit anxious and build it up to be more taxing in my head than it really is. Luckily because of this I get organised and had everything laid out.

So I turned up in good time, grabbed my bag and started walking up to the registration. And this was where the gremlins first started. They like to niggle, “you won’t be fast,” “look at their kit they know what they’re doing, you don’t” Over time I’ve grown used to this and have found ways to zone out and deal with it. It is not something that phases me just an irritant.

So after registering I was on the start line ready to go. Now I had a tonne of strategies I was going to try on this run, but the one I read I like the sound of was to run the first 10 miles sensibly, then go for it on the last bit as if a 5km so that was my idea. My Garmin Fitness watch, brought by my long suffering wife was invaluable in helping me keep a pace. So as the run commenced my objective was simple. Keep it under 9.10 minute miles and just give it my best.

Below is how my brain would operate as I went.

Mile 1: 8.21

This is a good pace, look at your watch, crap this is too fast ease it up, no I feel good, why not keep this up? Because you still have a bloody age to go.

Mile 2: 8.34

Christ we hit that fast, ok lets get settled in now, we’ve had the adrenaline, lets focus on the task at hand and not do anything rash. We have to get round, thats the most important thing here.

Mile 3: 8.53

That was still fast, lets settled down now.

Mile 4:  8.44

Christ still under 9.00, come on Russ, pace it.

Mile 5: 8.28

That was faster, you berk! You know what this pace is ok, right lets settle and just see how it goes. I wonder If I should maybe do a Marathon. Christ I’m overtaking people.

Mile 6: 8.31

Ok if I can hit mile 7 in an hour thats over half way and I have a pretty good chance of getting round.

Mile 7: 8.23

Christ I could do this, you know what 1.45 is doab… no focus lets get a good time

Mile 8 8.41

Ok I’m feeling it now. But the time is still good. Maybe I did go to fast. No don’t over think this, keep it steady. Nearly at mile 10, then we go for it.

Mile 9 8.39

Thats good pace is consistent. This hill is tough, ugh I might not do this. my left knee aches. Shut up its a tiny bit you’ve been through worse. Remember why you are here, to raise money, its not meant to be easy, earn this. Trust your training, trust your plan, you are doing well.

Mile 10 8.24

Ok, my hammys ache a bit now, but its not bad, you’ve cycled over 100 miles you can do this. Whats a bit of pain. Think how good it will feel when you do this.

Now is the time lets up the pace and give it all we have.

Mile 11 8.04

Shit that was to quick and i’m hurting, maybe i’ve miscalculated. This is uncharted territory, i’ve never run this far before. Come on its 2 and a bit miles, its nothing, keep the faith!

Mile 12 8.12

1 and a bit to go, we’ve going to get in under your goal, but thats no excuse to let up, push it, push it lets make it as good a pb so its a challenge the next time. Wait we are going to do another? of course we are!

Mile 13 8.15

This hurts, this hurts, but i’m going to do it, don’t stop, no let up, lets bring it home. you’ve got stronger, you’ve judged this properly.

The home stretch: 1.35

You’ve done it now keep pushing and enjoy it!

That’s the story of how I pushed it through and not only did something I was sure I’d never achieve, but utterly loved. I am very fortunate that on my first half I achieved a goal, which i hope was a challenge for me. Now I want to do at least one more and see how I can do.

But now my focus is on the mud runner. I am lining up the Cheltenham half though possibly, I definitely think I have a faster time in me and isn’t that what all runners say?

And I still have a 100 mile bike ride on the Horizon…

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/russell-brookes4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Setting Targets

Gloucester Half Marathon: Sunday 14th January

Mudrunner:  Sunday 4th March

Ride London: 29th July

So the above is what is facing me this year so far. I’m sure I’ll set myself some more stuff to get my teeth into as the year goes. I’m pretty excited about it all. Its taken me a while to realise I’m very much a goal driven person. So the more stuff I set myself the harder I work. My training ethic has improved since the half marathon has been on the horizon and so I feel more ready for that. I still have a lot more to do with the bike and need to get out on there more as the Ride London is the biggy for me.

So this week is gearing up to my first ever Half Marathon, which I’m both nervous and excited about. It’s going to be a distance I’ve never covered before. That said I hit 11 miles on Friday so I’m confident I can hit the 13.2 miles needed to finish the race. I’m aiming to pace my self at 10 minutes a mile to start out and see how I go, but would like to come in under 2 Hours 15 Minutes.

Mudrunner is a bit harder to set a time. I just want to get round and enjoy that.

Ridelondon is a different kettle of fish. I’ve done a few 100 milers now. But never got a fast time. I’d love to hit about 6 Hours 30 minutes but to do that I will really have to push myself and don’t have a lot of time to train. But I want a goal thats going to stretch me, so thats what i’m going to look to do.

I’m hoping that if I enjoy the half I might yet sign up for some more runs. And I definately see a few more cycle events in the future.

So looking at last year distances the goals I want to do our:

Cycle: 2500 Miles to include 2 100 mile rides

Run: 750 Miles to include 2 half marathons.

So thats now out there on the tinterweb so hopefully that will be the thing that pushed me to actually go out and do it.

But the thing that will really push me to do it is to have people sponsor me:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/russell-brookes4

 

 

Getting off my bike… but only for a spot of running

So another year has been and gone. It had its ups and downs as the flow of time always seems to have, but on the whole I’m excited to see what the new year will bring me. A lot of running by the looks of it!

So in addition to the Mud runner I’m doing, I will also be doing the Gloucester Half Marathon on the 14th January! This will be the furthest I’ve run ever! Last month I racked up 86 Kilometres including a 10 mile run. I’ve really surprised myself with how much i’ve enjoyed it.

A particular highlight was running with a good mate up Robinswood hill in the snow, as you can see this took its toll:

 

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We then had a run on New Years day. Its been fun doing something different and getting into something I never thought I’d enjoy.

I’m trying to get myself in the best shape for each of the events and the different challenges they present and bring me. I’m aiming to just get round on the runs to set myself a time to aim for in future events. The bike ride I want to set a good time but not sure what yet.

The fundraising has been good so far. I’ve already raised £70 of the £250 target I’ve got to hit for the Ride London. I’d obviously love to go beyond that amount as much as possible!

So over the next few months I’ll try to update more but thus far, the training is going well, and i’m excited to see how much I can raise so please keep donating and i’ll keep signing up to do stuff!

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/russell-brookes4

Be excellent to each other.

So another year comes to a close.

And you know what I hate that outlook on life.  Its a horrid way to view living in my opinion. I’m sorry if it offends anyone but as I sat on the train on the journey home I reflected on my year and at first my mindset gravitated to what a bad year its been because:

  • Myself and my wife have been trying for a baby for a year, and its not happened yet and its been far from easy.
  • A close member of the family had a diagnoses of some bad health and difficult times ahead.
  • We (in this case we equals I) wrote the car off.
  • I missed out on a few promotions.

 

And that’s all i’ve got. That’s why in my head it felt like a bad year. Now really only one of those is a truly crap bit of news.

The first one, is a challenge but its not the end. It means next year, will be the year to start a family. Number two will be tough and test our family that’s true, but for now we are pulling together and in the British way, doing our best to muddle through. 3 and 4 in the grand scheme of things matter little. I mean, people are reading this and probably thinking “Russ you have no idea what hard is.”

And you know what good. I don’t want to think like that. I want to be positive. I don’t want to wish my life away. I don’t want to think, “you know what next year is nearly here things will be different then.” No thinks just are. Tough times come, they go. Happy times come, they go. It doesn’t change year on year.

I can make things better, I can choose to hope and believe. I can get off my arse and go running, keep trying to get the promotion. I can keep enjoying life with my wife and look forward to eventually having a family with her. I can just be nicer. There is enough crap in the world, with out me being a miserable fucker and being all dour.

 

Just write something you waffling idiot

I’ve written about 100 paragraphs on this bit of screen now and deleted them all. I’ve been staring at it all day, flicking back and forth between this and work. Its funny just how easy it is to think I’m going to write a blog, it’ll be easy, anyone can write. Sure my grammar and spelling will be rubbish, but I think I have a good story to tell. I’m sure it’ll help me and be a good way to promote my fundraising and get the donations coming in. Then the doubt kicks in, is my story that interesting, am I special, am i boring people, do people care.

And in many ways, training and getting ready for the events I’m doing are like that. Now let me be clear, I’m doing Ride London and a Mud Run, I don’t think I’m doing anything amazing. I’m currently reading Jamie McDonald’s book and what he did is amazing. I just want to to help out a great charity and raise some money. In return I can get fit and be healthy.

So I had kept resolving to get ready, if i’m doing these events, I’m going to put the effort in, i’ll improve my cycling, i’ll smash my fastest time, I’ll work my arse off and be a cycling machine! And the run, it can’t be that hard, i’ll get a good time, I’ll get a bunch of mates to help out, the rugby lads will do it and we’ll smash it. Raising the money will be easy, i’ll smash my fundrasing goal.

That was my mindset in September when I signed up to both events.

Come October my mindset was rather different. My rugby team stopped playing, i hadn’t been out on the bike, I had lost all impotus. I’d tried being in a cycling club and got made to look a prat when I couldn’t keep up with the group i was in and got spat out. So I reverted to old Russ, the Russ that sits on his arse and gives up. The “you’ve tried your best and failed miserable, the moral is never try Russ.”

And for a few months that was it, I ignored the commitments I’d made to the charity, and it was easy to forget.

So like this blog I sorta tried, but not really hard enough. Then like with the blog, it was like i took a breath, thought fuck it and started to try properly, its not like its going to write its self and in the same way the fitness isn’t going to sort its myself.

So I’ve kinda dragged myself into it, I’ve picked up the odd game of rugby here and there, and its been fun, i’ve enjoyed it, even the games I’ve played on the wing. I’ve started running with a friend, i’m back playing with Squash and starting to be more aware that I need to step up the effort. And it just happened, much like how I’m now sat here looking at a passable blog, rather than one sentence because I just got on with it.

And that’s how I think I need to approach this. I’ll never be the fastest, or fittest, the strongest, the smartest. But I can make myself put the effort in and maybe do something halfway decent by sheer force of will.

so the next time I’m having doubts, I’ll take a breath, focus and just make the best of it, sometimes it works out better than i hoped.

And don’t forget if you like this blog you can sponsor me at:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/russell-brookes4

 

Perspective

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” – Mary Englebrit

No i’ve no idea who she is either. However it seems apt, for my post.

So let me tell you about my last few days(please stay with me, there is method in my madness.)

So the other day I got rejected for a job. Now there is no shame in that, It happens to the best (well worst I guess) of us. A few days later I hit a pheasant (it survived) and wiped out my wing mirror.Today I came home to a flood in the bathroom and then had to shoot off to a meeting about the future of my rugby club, which I wasn’t looking forward to. And I haven’t even mentioned the Gloucester rugby result….

In short, I was in a bad mood and my tolerance and understanding was being stretched to breaking point.

Then I looked at the BBC news website and these are the headlines:

  • 58 Dead in Vegas Shooting
  • 1900 lose jobs as company go into Administration
  • 2 dead in stabbing in France

My natural response is “What kind of world do we live in” and “someone has to do something.”

And you know what someone should; me.

Now I’m just some wurzel from Gloucester, i’m never going to stop a terrorist, or lead in Government. However, I can reject the trope that the world is an inherently horrible place. I can stare back at the cynical eyes that stare back at me in the mirror that lets a day like  today get to me and spiral down and be all “sorry chap not today.” I can smile like an idiot. I can say hello to people, hold the door, let cars out and not get grumpy if they they don’t thank me. I can hold my hand up and volunteer to do stuff, i can keep fighting to keep my rugby club going, and not do it for personal gratification or expect anything in return.

Will that save lives? probably not. Will it make governments change unfair policy, fuck no! But will I feel better than if i’m defaulting to self pity. Probably. Will I at somepoint slip from this holier than thou attitude? Hell yes? But as the great philosopher Alfred Says.

“why do we fall Master Bruce? so we can pick ourselves back up!”

So yes In spite of the shite that has tried to make monday suck, i’m going to keep plugging away at being a nice person. In spite of someone senselessly gunning down people, i’m going to be polite to those around me. Cause I don’t know what else to do.

Now to bring this back to topic, I’ve always been a pessimist, a cynic. But at the same time I’m a massive sap. I cry at Disney films, i see the good in people who have been awful to me. All this I got from Dad. And sometimes I lose my way. But he asked me to make him proud. I don’t have a way of knowing if I can ever accomplish this, but I think he’d be proud if I refuse to give up on this world. One day I want him to be a grandad, and to do that I need to believe this is a world to raise a child in.

And often an overlooked person in this story of mine, is my amazing mum. And when I first opened up to her about Dad dying I remember telling her how unfair it all felt; Her response “Russ life will always be unfair, don’t let it beat you. And remember this is the worst day of your life, if you want it to be life will be better.” As always she wasn’t wrong.

So on reflect. I had a shit day, that wasn’t really a shit day. Inspite of this I need to be positive and be happy. Cause, Bombs will still go off, people will still get sick, Governments will still be bastards, but I’m not letting the bastards get me down and that counts for something right?