Monday, 23 February 2015

Time to Lose the 'Rich Pringle' Beard

Whilst my leg was initially in plaster it was hard enough work standing up- Let alone having a shave so I went for quite some time without lathering up and shearing off. I've had family members telling me I looked like a paedophile (Thank you Brother!) and friends telling me I'd "Let myself go" and needed a bloody shave.

Jemma had started to call it my "Rich Pringle" after the UK Spartan Race Race Director's impressive facial hair and it does seem to be a predominant thing in the OCR community to let your hair grow. With guys like Mudstacle's Andy Parry being another sporting rather significant facial hair including mustache it seems something the community has embraced although I'm not really sure that a muddy, shitty beard is what I'd want to come away from a race with. Maybe all the racers are more concerned with training than their personal hygiene or simply spend so much time training that they don't have time for a relationship with a razor?

The Rich Pringle beard- Definitely not a Liam look.
As soon as I started to shave the beard off I started to feel much better. I had originally said that the beard would stay whilst I was in a plaster cast but in honesty it had started to get on my nerves. Looking down and seeing errant hairs and then there were the occasions where it itched. I'm me when I'm clean shaven and in some smart threads. Even in the gym or on the bike things must look right together and me with a beard simply looks wrong.

Looking much cleaner after a session with the clippers

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Jemma's First Goal for 2015- Qualification for the UK OCR Championships

We had some great news this week when it became apparent that one of our local races will be a qualifier for the UK Obstacle Course Racing Championships so Jemma has a new target on the agenda- Qualification for the 2015 UK OCR Championships. Roll on the Dash of the Titan. We'd not spotted that it would be a qualifier before entering but it's a nice bonus and helps Jemma with a great target for early 2015

The 2015 UK OCR Championships will be held at Nuclear Fallout in Essex, November 2015. Yes it's a long way to travel but if Jemma can qualify it will definitely be worth it. And would be an amazing achievement to go from overweight and unable to run to a national championship field. within literally 3years

A Little Video From Last Year's Dash of the Titan

Dash of the Titan (Although plural on the OCRAUK website in error) is on April 4th at Thoresby Park near Ollerton in the heart of the legendary Sherwood Forest. From the reports we've heard it's previously been more of a mud run but the soundings coming from Dash of the Titan is that they have a new team in place with the aim of creating a much better race for 2015 so it's definitely one to look forward to- especially on our doorstep.

Jemma's looking for a position in the top 20 women to qualify for the elite National championships or a top 10 in her age category (30-39) to compete in the senior wave.

Training is going well. We're seeing PB's in the gym so lets see what happens!

Liam and Jemma looking far too clean before a Spartan Race event
And my role at the Dash of the Titan? You'll likely see me on the site, I've offered my services to the race organisers as a marshal for the day so whilst Jemma has her fun on course I can still immerse myself in OCR in a different way. Plus as a nice bonus Dash of the Titan will offer me a reduced price entry to one of their future events which means I can enjoy the race in future as a racer when I'm back up to fitness.  

Sunday, 15 February 2015

2015- The Year of the Leg Break for Liam

Liam's 2015 Over Before it Started?

I was on course in my training for my first Marathon. The CTS (Coastal Trail Series) Anglesey on January 17th. I'd got up to running 3.5 hours despite the snow we faced over Christmas and the cold conditions and was beginning to enjoy heading out for those long, sapping runs, even if the warmth was being created thanks to the use of windproof winter cycling jackets and thicker roubaix-lycra tights.

Then on Sunday January 4th disaster happened. My ankle literally gave way on me and the sole of my shoe ended up facing me and I knew there was a serious problem. I'd turned my ankle before but nothing like this.

An initial trip to Accident and Emergency showed that I have a fracture at my heel and I needed to return the following day to fracture clinic for assessment. It started to dawn on me slowly that I had broken my leg
The swelling on my ankle when the initial plaster cast was removed

The next day at fracture clinic unearthed a little more as the Doctor began looking a little deeper he established that ideal fractured the top of my Fibula, base of my Tibia and I would subsequently need a operation to pin the ankle back into place as the gap between the bones had widened. The only reason they advised I wouldn't be staying in hospital was a lack of beds. I'd be back by the end of the week for my operation.

The two pins in my ankle to push the Tibia and Fibula back together
6 weeks later my ankle is still in a cast and I'm contemplating just what I may be able to achieve this season. I've seen reports of people with similar issues not running for 4-6 months. Fortunately the good people at have allowed me to start my year long season ticket when I'm ready to get back into racing but I wasn't so lucky with the people at Endurancelife who run the CTS series as it was less than 2 weeks from the race when I let them know of the issue so they couldn't transfer my entry which is an annoyance but I'll hopefully be back to Anglesey in future.

I was hoping to be racing the Mighty Deerstalker in early March. Maybe I'll be able to head up there and spectate (Jemma will be racing anyways).

2015 for me was due to be all about long distance endurance events. I had a number of adventure races planned. My first Ultramarathon and a number of long distance cycling events. For now they're all off the menu.

After some reflection on my circumstances it looks like I'll be able to still get involved with many events as a marshall/ helper. At present I'm hoping to be able to help at the Dash of the Titan event at Clumber Park and Ratrace's Dirty Weekend in May. I'll also be able to get the camera out at some events too. 2015 isn't over for me but it's taken some time to adjust to new horizons.

If you see me at an event feel free to say hello as I continue my recovery from a broken leg.


Liam's 2014- Road Cycling Boredom and a Love of Redbull

Redbull, Spartans and Road Cycling Frustration

My 2014 started in the way of previous years. Lots of road cycling. Concentrating on doing the necessary to get up to race fitness and to finally nail that elusive 2nd Cat License. The mileage built up prior to a March training week on the island of Lanzarote. Having previously been out to Majorca for training I was really looking forward to a different environment for training.

I found Lanzarote fantastic for training. The Island is big enough and challenging enough for a week of riding although the strength of the wind can make rides a little sole destroying at times when you're on your own. There are some great climbs on the island to really test a rider and some beautiful scenery, particularly riding through Timanfaya park and the vineyards of La Geria.

I hired a bike (A Cinelli Xperience with an Alloy frame and 105 groupset) from Tommy's Bikes Costa Teguise for a reasonable price and of decent quality although it did need a replacement bottom bracket from the off. I wasn't too worried about an ultra-lightweight carbon bike having come from my heavy winter bike at home and used to lugging some weight up the climbs.

Team Colombia Kit
Teguise Market, March 2014 Lanzarote Training Camp with my Tommy's Bikes Costa Teguise Cinelli Xperience
In the space of 6 days of riding I averaged around 5 hours of riding a day and believe I must have hit at least 450 miles, maybe closer to 500 miles with a mixture of climbing days, intervals and just generally enjoying riding on the island. I'll definitely be back in future for some more training and possibly even the Lanzarote Ironman,

Saturday, 14 February 2015

2014 The Year of the Spartan for Jemma

2014 Was a Big Year- The Year of the Spartan Trifecta

Sometimes in life you have to 'Take the Bull by the horns' to achieve something. Our journey into 2014 began in September 2013 at the Yorkshire Spartan Sprint. We'd never done anything quite like it before. A run/ race with obstacles to really challenge the body and mind. We had entered as part of Jemma's drive to get herself fit and lose weight and it was a real achievement for her to get through it from being hardly able to run 6 months prior to being able to walk/ hobble/ run the course and then tackle the obstacles. As soon as we'd finished Jemma's words were "I want to do the Spartan Trifecta next year". She's never been one to settle for where she's currently at.

Spartan Race Yorkshire 2013- Ellington Banks Ripon
So we started working out what Jemma needed to be able to do from that point onwards to achieve her Trifecta.

Jemma- Ready for the Edinburgh Spartan Race 2014

Jemma's 2014 Events