Thursday, 25 February 2010

The journey begins


Flashback to August 2008.Been back running for about 6 months and was sidetracked with my first injury since returning.ITB band,down side of my right knee.I was on holiday in Spain ,with the family,in about a week,and was looking forward to those early morning runs down the deserted beaches.I tried different shoes-no good,bit of rest-no good,running on grass-no good.I was resigned to a non running holiday,when I noticed that when I was in the house,barefoot,my knee seemed ok.That night I when to the nearest field and ran for 30 mins.The knee still hurt,but was runnable,where it wasn't before.The next morning at work,thinking that allsorts of information is available,I typed in 'Barefoot running'.That was the start of this adventure.

First I came across Barefoot Ken Bob,which lead to Barefoot Ted,which lead to the Tarahumara indians and a shadowy,renegade U.S ultrarunner-El Caballo Blanco.With the arrival of the best selling book 'Born to Run',covering the race,organised by The White Horse,in Urique,deep in Mexicos Copper Canyons,my mind was set.I needed to go.

Last night was spent on the seats of Heathrows Terminal 4.Dispite the machine that seemed to be cleaning alnight and constantly beeping,I did manage some sleep.With my philosophy of working less,living more,I want to make this trip an experiment in cost cutting,opening up opportunities for extended stays in similar places,without having to work more.No hotel last night means a saving of about £70.Moving the carabanger off site for a couple of weeks means no rent while I'm away-saving £150.Currently still at Heathrow,awaiting a flight to Amsterdam,then connecting to Mexico City.The plan is to get a night bus on the 20hour trip to Chihuahua-another nights accomodation saved.Its a good job I can sleep anywhere.So far it's all gravy!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Surfs Up


I spend half of my life in a parallel universe,dreaming of dreams and schemes-living under a bridge,becoming a yoga teacher(I've never done yoga)etc,etc.Mostly these ideas are never acted on,but rarely they are.At the moment I feel as though I am on the cusp of finally getting near to the life I have always longed for.A life of freedom,of no great responsibilities,of doing things I want to do because I enjoy them,not because I have to.I feel that I am in a good position at the moment-no emotional ties,apart from my great son,who I'll always be there for-but no love interests,no mortages,no great ties to work.For a 42 year old man,many people will look upon my circumstances as a great failure,but you carn't change who you are.On my very first date with my to be wife,we dined at a restaurant,opposite a garage.Parked in the garage was a large winnebago type van,and I remember remarking that I would love to live in something like that and just roam around.My base intincts never changed.My resistance to committments such as buying a house etc caused allsorts of problems,but such is life.
I have always admired the soul surfer types.Living close to the sea for a great proportion of my life,you develope an attraction to the water.I don't go in it regularly,but the calm of being in its proximity is powerful and something I miss when living inland.People such as Nat Young,Cheyne Horan and Rob Muchado inspire me,even though my surfing experience are minimal.
Yesterdays was sunny.As I walked into town,I started to think about the on coming summer.The area where I live is full of natural beauty-acres of green countryside and best of all miles,upon mlies of runnable beaches.The sun set me thinking.It would be great to get out on the deserted beaches-rig up a super basic camp-just a tarp and bivvy-sleep under the stars-get up early-sun rising-the sound of the waves lapping the shore-and just take off on epic long runs-just wearing shorts-barefoot-the sun tanning my body-hair flapping in the wind.That is a must do.
By comparison today I made the short trip to Boston.Leaving the carabanger about 6.30,the weather was frostly,as it has been every night recently.Half way on the hour long bus journey,I glanced out the window and the snow had started to fall.Then it just fell and fell!4 of the Boston crew were out for the challenge and the weather at the start of the run was rough-headwind and biting snow and cold.However the conditions calmed and a good run was had by all.For the post run nosh-up Jose took me to a Portugese/Brazilian place called Jo's Salsa bar and we had one of his favourite portugese dishes-sounds like a frenchman in Portugese-and very nice it was too.Cheers Jose!
Thursday sees the start of a trip with destiny.I will be setting off on the long journey to the Copper Canyons in Mexico,to run free with the tarahumara indians and El Caballo Blanco,of the best selling book'Born to Run'fame.Reports and pictures will follow!

Sunday-Lincs county cross country champs-4th vet
Monday-2hrs 30
Tuesday-1hr
Wed-2hrs 30
Thursday-2hrs 30
Friday-no running-cold
Sat-3hrs
Sun-2hrs 15

Saturday, 13 February 2010

The B Choice.



Its funny how things happen in your life,and at the time,especially if those things are bad,you cannot see that these things may have happened for a reason.At present I am sat here,feeling the most positive and driven I've felt for a long time,and thinking that the negative things that have happened in the last year or so,have actually shaped the mood of positivity I am feeling at present.

There is one person responsible for this new burst of optimism-Steph Davis,the world class climber.As previously noted I have a fascination with people who live on the extreme.Many of the people who I've read about recently with unorthodox lives are climbers.Why climbing attracts such devotion is strange,but surfing and probably skiing attracts the same commitment-people who live with their favourite activity as the main interest in life,with subsequent things like careers and material aspects of life taking a back seat.

Steph Davis took up climbing in her late teens,while studying at university.She gained her degree,then gained a masters degree,then entered law school.After a week at law school,she decided it wasn't for her and decided to adopt full-time the dirtbag climbing lifestyle,living typically on less that $6000 a year,waiting tables part-time for minimum wage and climbing.The next seven years,she lived in the back of her car-but this unorthodox life lead to her becoming one of the worlds best climbers.On one advert for some climbing company she was sponsored by,a question asked A or B.The A option involved the life she would have had if she became a lawyer-loads of money,nice house,car,clothes,etc,but long hours and no time to climb.The B option was the path she had chosen-minimum wage job,basic living conditions,no money,but freedom to climb.This struck a cord with me.For ages I've been trying to think of work I would actually enjoy,but I was hit by the revelation that I may have been looking at things the wrong way round.Instead of finding a job you like doing,just do less work full stop!

I am in the position for the first time in years where I don't actually need much money.With the simplification of my life,my expenses have dwindled.I have therefore decided to spend less time working and more time running.I've not got aspirations of being a world beater-I just want to give it my best shot and see what the result is.The targets for the year-12 hour race in August and a 24 hour race in October.See how it goes!

Sun 31 Jan a.m 1hr 30-flat p.m 1hr-flat
Mon 1 feb-no running
Tues 2 Feb a.m 1hr p.m 1hr 30
Wed 3 Feb a.m 1 hr 30 p.m 1hr 15
Thurs 4 Feb a.m 1hr 30
Fri 5 Feb p.m 2hrs
Sat 6 Feb p.m 2hrs
Sun 7 Feb Cleethorpes Beach Cross country race.8500 m--11th
Mon 8 Feb p.m 1hr 30/1hr rest/1hr
Tues 9 Feb no running
Wed 10 Feb p.m 2hrs 30
Thurs 11 Feb p.m 2hrs 30
Fri 12 Feb a.m 4hrs 30
Sat 13 Feb p.m 1hr 30