The gym re-opens (boo!)

So it had to happen, they re-opened the bloody thing didn’t they!

After about two weeks or more of a break (well it was Christmas too, and so I wouldn’t exactly have been beating their door down for a refund of my membership!), I went back yesterday for a good old (and overdue) workout. I was going to do my usual routine, but as they have changed about 90% of the gym equipment, and I couldn’t find the Nordic climber thingymajig, I had to alter my routine. Does that sound funny to you, it does to me:)

So all the gym equipment is very new-fangled. Each treadmill and bike has its own tv, ipod dock, fancy programmes and the like. The gym itself looks a bit more austere, but is fresh from several licks of paint, and so I am sure will be ‘warmer’ after a while. Not much can feel warm though whilst we have temperatures of -5 outside! Place was packed too, lots of people like me eager to get rid of their excesses over the festive period.

Anyway, so I did my bit on all the new equipment, and got done as much as I could without injuring, maiming or otherwise making an idiot of myself. Didn’t do too bad, but realised half way through that I need a new programme, some new motivation, inspiration etc. I want to be pushed harder, for it to hurt more. No pain no gain, no beer no cheer:) I have seven weeks to go, it is now or never for flippin’ heck’s sake!

As I leave I therefore go and speak to the girl on duty, and ask for a re-appraisal of my programme, and tell her why. She says ‘no problem’, and can I be there at 7 in the morning? That focuses the mind somewhat, and so I say ‘yes of course’.

I resolve two other things too – tomorrow I am going to launch my sponsorship stuff to the unsuspecting world – I would love to raise some money, anything at all for such a worthy cause as Bowel Cancer, and secondly I am going to have a big sort of wall chart in the house, so I can tick off the days and chart progress etc. If that sounds a bit OTT then you don’t know me – I need every kick up the backside/reminder/prompt/guilt trip I can lay my hands on.

I am going to climb Kilimanjaro, and it will NOT kill me………

To the pub and back again…

So after the delights and excesses of New Year in Kent (and once my headache had subsided three days later:)) it seemed like it was time to go and do some exercise. I have a feeling it is 49 days until Kili, or something like that, and I want to seriously panic, but I resolve not to. I resolve instead to read this blog back in about two months time and look back at what an idiot I was to not do enough training. Moreover, and far more importantly, I decide that the hard work really really really starts here.

Most of the Kili training schedules that I have read (and I have read far far more than I have participated in, obviously) say that the hard work needs to start 8 weeks beforehand. So here we are then, seven and a half weeks to go. It is never too late, I hope! The weather is unseasonally cold at the moment (about -2C or 28F daytime temp), but the sun is shining and so I resolve to go for a good walk and get those boots going. As I didn’t really want to drive too far in the conditions, I thought I would walk from the house, and headed over the Ridgeway in the direction of The Bell at Aldworth (see one of my previous posts), just in case I fancied a break when I got there:).

I also decided that as this wouldn’t be the most strenuous of walks that I should carry a pack with me, so I loaded up my backpack with the first heavy thing I saw, which happened to be a big old ghetto-blaster, and set off. I added some water and a few other things, and so I was carrying about 25lbs or so. OK, maybe 20:).

Days don't get much prettier than this.

As I got over towards the Ridgeway the path got icy, and was literally impossible to walk on, but the day was so still it was just wonderful to just breathe the air – this is what walking is all about for me:

a view of the start of The Ridgeway from Blewbury

The path at the top of the Ridgeway was however very much frozen – and so was difficult to walk on:

Conditions underfoot were a little chilly

Eventually I made it all the way to Aldworth, about a 5 mile jaunt:

Approaching Aldworth village from the top of The Ridgeway

And then The Bell Inn was in sight:

Ahhhh, time for a rest then!

So after a couple of very pleasant pints of Old Tyler, it was time to wend my way back to Blewbury. The way back was actually slightly harder than going up, as you had to watch your footing more closely. I also stopped to take a couple more pictures, including this one of a miniature horse:

I really have no idea what this picture is doing here.

So by the time I got back it was about 4.45, approximately 5 or so hours after I left the house. Allowing for two (or was it three) pints in the pub then I did over three hours walking and about 10 miles or so, so I was quite content with that. I even remembered to carry the old ghetto blaster home with me!

So tomorrow the gym is open again, and so I must must go.  Yes, I must, honest. I am really really looking forward to being back at work too, for the first Monday back of the New Year. Which is worse? – I may have ‘Monday Morning Syndrome” coming on – I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes………

Happy New Year

I cannot believe a whole decade is over! At the (immediate) start of this decade I was actually in Val D’Isere, France, for the Millennium, about to go and hurl myself off a mountain paraskiing. That was a ridiculously scary thing to do. Thankfully the only planning it involved was getting outrageously drunk the night before with my (now ex) brother-in-law, and saying “betcha won’t do it!” a few times poking fingers at each other. As it turned out, I should have bet for money, as he chickened out, and I got to go solo, albeit strapped to some mad French ‘instructor’ who made me scream a lot spinning in circles all the way down.

And so the end of this one finished in Broadstairs, Kent. Hardly Val D’Isere, but a damn good time was had by one and all. I had never been to Broadstairs before, and I thought it was a great place. Special thanks indeed to Col and John for asking me down, and for putting me up, feeding me, etc. etc.

Thankfully no photos were taken on New Year’s Eve (or that I know of yet:)), and that’s the way it should be. I shall leave it there. For posterity though, I do recall (at least) drinking (in this order I think) champagne, white wine, red wine, gin, vodka, Abbot Ale, whisky, Jack Daniels, red wine, red wine, red wine, vodka, sambucca, sambucca, Jack Daniels, and Calvados. I think it may have been a dodgy Calvados at the end that finished me off, but after a few hours’ kip on the sofa I did not, it is fair to say, feel good. I think I got to my sofa at about 5.15. It is difficult to say as no-one, including me, remembers:)

So anyway the next morning I tried to walk it off a bit, which was a stupid idea. I actually stumbled around Broadstairs like someone out of Shaun of The Dead. If someone had had a cricket bat I think I would have just asked them to finish me off. I walked into the very salubrious ‘Submarine Cafe’ near the sea-front and asked for sausage, beans, fried bread and fried egg. In fact that was pretty close to what they served me too, but as lovely as I’m sure it was, after about two mouthfuls I had had enough. No way could I eat, and that is a bad sign, although I did finish my tea I think:)

Got back to Col and Kai’s house about 11.45 to find them up and about and about to walk down to the beach. In Broadstairs they have an annual charity ‘swim in the sea-athon’, and as it was snowing I decided not to tale part:). Here’s a piccie of some of the brave souls who did:

Thankfully I'm the one holding the camera

And then with a flourish they all went into the icy waters:

I take my hat off to the cow girls in particular...

So then we walked along the coast for a bit to ‘blow the cobwebs away’ as they say. Didn’t do a lot for me I have to say, but it was certainly bracing stuff. Here is a view a little further along the cliffs:

Stormy seas....

As it then started to snow and hail pretty badly, we headed back to the direction of Col and Kai’s house, here is a picture of me and Col on the way:

He always was more cool than me, and this just proves it...

As we rounded the corner to what I thought was going to be their house, we passed one of Broadstairs’ landmarks, which is called “Bleak House”. This is the place frequented by Charles Dickens, where he apparently wrote David Copperfield, and pictured here in part for posterity:

He really was here you know.....

As we rounded the bend we did not in fact come to Col’s house, but to another pub, called the ‘Tamar Frigate’ (I think – someone correct me here if I am wrong?). A Bloody Mary was the start of the day’s ills, which included a holy host of more Bloody Mary’s, a plethora of Abbott Ale and IPA, and a good old kebab to finish the evening, with chilli sauce, probably. Kilimanjaro seems like an eternity away.

I return from Kent on the  2nd, and resolve to start training seriously, like never before (which will in fact be easy), the very next day. More about that in the next post then.

Meantime I give you, below, the Lord Nelson pub, site and host of New Year celebrations 2010. Gawd bless her, and all who sail in her, of which I believe  was one:

Happy New Year!

The Lord Nelson, Broadstairs - a 'proper pub' if ever there was one.