Fuck this shit

For the last few years I've been feeling a growing, gnawing sense of malaise. Wasted minutes turn into wasted days. Wasted days turn into months, and years. Time is a non-renewable resource. It's our most precious commodity. And I'm letting it slip through my fingers.
I haven't been able to work out why I felt that I was wasting time. Recently, I've begun to reach an understanding.
I've stopped deliberately getting better at things.


Likeys Brecon Beacons Ultra 2014

Update 27th May 2015: This post is now hosted on Ordinary Superhuman.

Two and a half years ago I ruptured my Achilles Tendon. My rehabilitation included nearly four months on crutches and nine months before I was allowed to run for just a few minutes on a treadmill. To help get me through recovery, I started trying to find something big to set myself as a challenge. I'd flirted with running over the years. I love being outdoors. So, I started to settle on the idea of an ultra marathon. The results of much pleasurable googling and internet surfing (it's not called trail porn for nothing), was the Likeys Brecon Beacons Ultra. It had great reviews. It sounded really friendly. It was in a beautiful place and relatively accessible to me. So that was it. It was my goal. A reason to not give up on being properly fit again. The Likeys Brecon Beacons Ultra 2014 would be my first ultra marathon.

Roll forward a few months and by Christmas 2012 I was tentatively trotting on a treadmill for 10 minutes at a time. By February 2013 I'd built up to running for 30 minutes a few times a week and I did my first outdoors run of about 4 miles. And, in many ways, then the training began for this race. My training progressed and I built up to running six days a week and the mileage crept up. February 2014 arrived and I was up at midnight to make sure I registered nice and early for the race when the entries opened.

Being the unremittingly competitive and obsessive type of person that I am, the goals for the ultra gradually morphed from "running an ultra" to "running an ultra and raising a load of money for charity" to "running an ultra, raising a load of money for charity, and finishing in a more-or-less competitive time". This eventually settled down to a goal of finishing in less than 8 hours and raising money for a fabulous charity called Azafady.

Along the way, I've learnt a lot about training, achieved some other personal bests and had a huge amount of fun. But those are all stories for another time. Let's get to the weekend and the race itself.


The power of a mid afternoon cup of coffee

As you might have noticed, I spend a lot of time experimenting with different aspects of my diet and lifestyle. I like to look at the impact of things like the number of calories I consume, the balance of macro-nutrients, the amount of sleep I get, the differences between getting up early versus later, and so on.

Obviously, these aren't rigorous scientific studies. I can't double-blind test the results. My sample size of one is not statistically significant. But I enjoy playing with them and, ultimately, personal performance is just that: personal. So, finding what works well for me is valuable.


260 hours to cover 46 miles. Please will you sponsor me?

If you've read just a few pages on this blog, it can't have escaped your attention that I'm running a 46 mile ultra marathon on 15th November for a charity called Azafady.

Please would you consider sponsoring me? I have a charity donation page here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DavidBlamire-Brown

Azafady's mission is to alleviate poverty and conserve unique and biologically rich, but greatly endangered, forest environments in south east Madagascar by empowering some of the poorest people to establish sustainable livelihoods for themselves and improve their well-being. They work on a range of projects including building schools, improving maternal health, conservation and providing training to enable rural communities to develop sustainable enterprises.

Madagascar has an incredible environment and yet the Malagasy are amongst some of the poorest people on Earth. In 2008 seven in ten Malagasy lived on less than $2 per day. Now more than nine in ten do.

Any donations I receive will make a real and lasting difference to the lives of the Malagasy with whom Azafady works. Even a small amount of money can make an astonishing difference.

An example of the work that Azafady does is the building of schools:
  • £8 will provide one bag of cement to render the walls 
  • £17 will provide one blackboard and a year's supply of chalk 
  • £30 will provide a desk and bench for 4 students 
  • £63 will paint the interior walls of one classroom 
  • £132 will provide 10 aluminium roofing sheets to shelter the students 
I am hopeful that I can get enough support to get close to £2000 in sponsorship.

The event that I'm running in is the Brecon Beacons ultra marathon. It's a mere 46ish mile mixed trail/mountain/canal/road run around the magnificent Brecon Beacons.

46 miles is a heck of a long way! Since I signed up for the race in February this year, I've spent over 260 hours in training and logged over 1700 miles. Along the way, I've lost four toenails and climbed almost the equivalent in height as Mount Everest.

It's been a lot of time away from the family, so collecting sponsorship is also a form of "selfishness offsetting".

I would be hugely grateful if you would consider sponsoring me.


Going out with a bonk - my last long training run for the Beacons Ultra

Well, I've logged my last proper long run before the Beacons Ultra and it wasn't for the faint hearted. I figured I might as well try to re-create some of the likely experience of the final stages of the ultra. So, Friday evening's run was a carb-depletion run.