Saturday, 16 July 2016

All Lives Matter

Can we learn retrospectively?

The world is changed. The permanence of this is unknown, as is the final landing place.

France, Belgium, America and Turkey are recent deliverers of shocking news of terrifying events – events that change the way we view ourselves, our environment, our futures. And many other events fail to capture the publicity they deserve.

I was doing some research this afternoon including reading several interviews with well known writers, some first published in the 1930’s.

One such interview was with Author William Faulkner published in the Spring edition of The Paris Review in 1956, written by Jean Stein

In the interview, Faulkner is quoted as saying

“No, only to repeat what I said before: that if we Americans are to survive it will have to be because we choose and elect and defend to be first of all Americans; to present to the world one homogeneous and unbroken front, whether of white Americans or black ones or purple or blue or green. Maybe the purpose of this sorry and tragic error committed in my native Mississippi by two white adults on an afflicted Negro child is to prove to us whether or not we deserve to survive. Because if we in America have reached that point in our desperate culture when we must murder children, no matter for what reason or what color, we don’t deserve to survive, and probably won’t.”

The full interview can be accessed here.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Esoterically Athletically – My New Approach to Training

New ideas can take a long time to germinate to trial and longer to reach execution.

I run differently now. I have a program targeting the Gold Coast Marathon in July, but I am not a slave to it. Why?

It was 3 years ago, either late July or early August. I had a coffee “date” with someone who among many things, is a student of esoteric living. In very simple terms, this includes, (and only includes) being honest with your feelings about everything, trusting these feeling and acting accordingly. It includes being “loving” to yourself, your body, to your being, and prioritising this as part of your daily life.

So, what has this to do with running training?  Keep reading, I haven’t gone mad. 

Our coffee (Peppermint Tea) ordered, I mentioned cycling 4 loops of Mt Coot-tha early that morning.

“Why four” she asked, “why not two”?

I stumbled an answer about 4 seemed reasonable adding some totally non plausible explanation.  

What the……….  Who does she think she is? Most people respond saying “wow” that is incredible but here is Ms Esoteric asking why.

It’s obvious - -  I did four loops because………. just because.

“Why push yourself to do four, did that feel hard on your body? She added

I stumbled again and quickly spurted out that it wasn’t hard and I wasn’t pushing myself unreasonably, I am fit etc etc.

I was incredibly unconvincing. I wasn’t telling the entire truth – the third lap was a struggle and I had to push myself and because it was so hard, I decided to do a fourth because that is what we athletes do. (But I didn’t share this)

Over the coming months and years, my Esoteric Student friend talked regularly about many things including treating our bodies kindly and lovingly. “Feeling into what are bodies are telling us”.  That more is not necessarily better and pushing ourselves physically is not necessarily sound.

I was largely dismissive of such an approach. I have grown up in a world of “no pain no gain”, “if it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger”, “harder – faster – longer”, of course you have to train hard and of course it hurts. I grew up in a sporting household, a Physical Education Teacher Sister who played netball, tennis, cricket and softball and an Olympian Father where hard work was the answer to everything – toughen them up, train them hard.

Besides, what would Ms Esoteric know? How many Premierships has she been part of, how many times has she cycled the French Pyrenees, the Alps or dehydrated herself batting for 5 hours in the height of summer?

Training for the New York Marathon was hell – there, I have said it.

I followed a training plan. If it said run, I ran, the distance and time dictated in the plan, always, no matter what and did so often when in pain –  except when I was injured. When I recovered from said injury, I then doubled up my training sessions to catch up, that is until I was injured again. (looks like a repetitive cycle)

If the plan said run 28 kilometres I did, no matter how much it hurt. If it said run 10 k at an average of 5 mins 55 sec I did, no matter what muscle was straining, pain and all, often limping.

I am not saying every session was “hell” – just most of them.

But it was worth it. I ran the bloody the New York Marathon. I witnessed an incredible City from a unique perspective with a group of people from every point of the globe (55000 is a group).  I was the pretender in Brisbane team of amazing people all supporting and raising funds to support MND Sufferers and to contribute to finding a cure for the horrific disease that is MND.

But, in the back of my mind I knew I could not again go through the pain of a running training program, at least not without making some miraculous discovery of a miracle potion.

I thought about the “feeling” based approach Ms Esoteric had discussed with me. What was there to lose? Most of all, I could prove the whole “esoteric” thing to be rubbish.

You need pain to gain – you need to punish yourself physically, push yourself through the comfort zone to achieve physically – it is how it is and has always been.

For the last 3 months I have been following a training program aimed at the Gold Coast Marathon on 3 July – although I will probably only do the Half Marathon.

But I am not a slave to the program.

If the program says to run “today” I generally do. If it says run 10 k at 6.30 pace I may or I may not.

If I head out and don’t feel I am running “easy”, I stop after a few k, or slow down and see how that feels.

But also, if I get to 10 k and am feeling as if it all very easy and painless, I keep going. I am using the training plan as a guide while running a distance at a pace based purely on feel.

During the New York preparation, the most number of consecutive runs I completed without injury was 8. I realise that what I am about to say is tempting fate, but here goes anyway.  Through 56 consecutive runs to date adopting this new “feel” based approach, I have not suffered a single injury.

But what is extraordinary, I am running further, faster and more easily than ever. My “run to feel” approach has me running 46% further than the training program says to do, and at a pace that is 58% quicker. I have no stiffness the following day, no knee swelling, calf pain or hamstring tightness. My back is fine and even my shoulder is ok.

And, I am enjoying it – lots.  I look forward to my next run rather than dreading it.

My learning is, do what feels right and do what is kind to your body and your body will reward you many times over

It is just a pity that it took me 3 years to execute this.

Now, what is next? What else can apply this feel based approach too? What else have I learned but not yet executed?

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Introducing : Fiji - Stronger than Winston

She is a very striking young lady, daughter of a Senior Naval Officer (Retired) and successful self employed businesswoman.

While living in London, she worked successfully in Investment Banking, and having recently qualified as a Freelance Journalist now works in Marketing.

What is known to all too few is a passion for Animals, a devotion to Family and a strong, extremely strong care for others including an in built obsession to think of others and put their well being and interests ahead of her own.

She is engaged a daily battle to just maintain a semblance of good health, living in a world where being 75% well is truly a great (and rare) day.

Over Christmas, along with a Girlfriend, a luxury holiday to a Resort in Fiji was booked for March. 

Then the cyclone hit, devastating much of the country, particularly the poorer outlying areas.

Many who know her on the surface, will be surprised to know what happened next.

I consider her a friend and have been granted the privilege of getting to know her well so to me, what happened next was of no surprise. I am proud to be her friend.

The following link tells a small part of her week in Fiji.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Why I am going to New York

Scott Sullivan was in his late 30’s and a Father of two working in a Management role with Suncorp (Group) when he was struck down by MND. Rather than sitting back waiting to die, he established the MND and ME foundation to raise funds to support sufferers and their families,  and to join the fight to search for a cure, a cure that would never be found in time to help him.

Over the 3 years prior to his passing, Scott worked full time generating awareness of MND and raising over $3 million to create the MND Centre and Fund to research for a cure.

We now continue to help his legacy, find a cure and support those who have the disease and their families.

MND is a disease that is non-discriminatory. It cares not for age or gender, how much or little you have or the work you do. It cares not for ethnicity. There is one certain outcome - death.

My trip to New York to run the Marathon is motivated by raising funds for the Foundation and ultimately to contribute to no other children losing a parent to MND. I ask for your support by way of a donation made by clicking on the link below.

Donations are tax deductible.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

RAW Passion

On Thursday evening I attended “Sensory May 2015” presented by Raw Artists.

“Raw Artists” is an international organisation, or an international concept with an objective of allowing local artistic talent a vehicle to display itself.

There are over 60 cities world wide where regular “Raw” events are held and we can be both proud and grateful Brisbane is one of them.

The Venue for this event was The Met nightclub in the heart of the Fortitude Valley entertainment precinct and I confess to being just a little amused that as someone who just happens to be over 25 years of age that I was heading off for a night at The Met. But hey, age is but a number.

My prime motivation for attending was to catch up with, and support Alberto from Monte Rego Photography ( who was exhibiting a superb sample of his landscape, scenery and wave images. (Alberto’s image of the Burleigh Surf Club is amazing)

Alberto was one of several photographers presenting their work, and they were joined by fashion designers, make up artists, sketch artists, painters, musicians, short film makers, art and craft and a near naked woman being drawn on.

Overall, it was a very impressive display of local Brisbane artistic talent, much of it “young” and others just young at heart.

However, I was impressed by much more than the talent on display.

The talent was diverse, but the diversity of the crowd in attendance also impressed me.

There were what you might describe as “artie” types and dressed as you might expect. But, but there was alsobusiness people dressed in their corporate finery, others dressed to kill as if on a night out at an exclusive restaurant or event and others ready for a nightclub. It was incredibly invigorating and motivating to see such diversity, mixing and mingling in perfect harmony and without judgment.

But what impressed me most, what motivated me most were the exhibitors and the common theme of all exhibitors.

All were passionate about their particular artistic pursuit.

All were doing what they wanted to do, following their dream, making it come true, or doing all they could to make it come true.

How many of us genuinely pursue our passion or passions?

How many of us have the self honesty to even identify and articulate just what our passion is?

It is a wake up call for me.

To conclude, I am going back to Alberto and will then end with his words.

Many years ago when living in Adelaide, Alberto worked as a photographer in a specialist field.

Very many geographical moves and many jobs later, fatherhood, cycling and travel, Alberto has acknowledged and accepted his love for his art and is pursuing it.

His words to me were enlightening, honest and motivating.

In respect of his photography, he said:

“I feel like I have come home”

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Running to New York

Its time to get Blog “active” again and the motivation to do so is my entry in to the 2015 New York Marathon. I have always wanted to do a Marathon, one Marathon, and figure that I may as well do the grand daddy of major city events, which means 1 November 2015 and New York.

My entry is as part of the group representing the MND and ME (Motor Neurone) Foundation and it is with much pride that they have adopted me for this event.

I have a training program courtesy of and with this, I am transitioning from cyclist to runner, be it only (at this stage) until the conclusion of the Marathon.

And the transition is interesting. In the space of three weeks, I have run my best 10k road run in some 25 years, begun to enjoy, even look forward to running and am watching my diet from not just a health perspective, but looking in to diet from a performance and recovery perspective.

Which brings me to my training run on Saturday morning. My program called for a 12 kilometre medium paced run. I have gained great confidence the last week or so by completing similar runs very comfortably. My average heart rate has been getting lower, my energy burn reducing and my times improving. It has actually been comfortable, verging on the edge of being easy.

However, this morning was really difficult. It was hard to get in to a rhythm, I was aware my heart rate was higher than usual and I just felt sluggish.

Not withstanding, I pushed on, paid particular attention to my running posture and breathing while at the same time looking for anything to distract me.

I completed the run; in fact, I added extra 2 kilometres just for the sake of it and was quite surprised to find my average pace was 4 seconds per kilometre quicker than the equivalent run only two days before. However, my average heart rate was 27 beats per minute higher and my energy “burn” was 334 units more than 2days prior.

So, what was different? Why the sluggish feeling? Why the higher heart rate?

I went over the period since my last run, 36 hours previously. What had I done differently?

The answer was simple and obvious.

I left work for home at about 4.30pm Friday hoping to get a head start on the weather ravaged traffic in a Brisbane that had been hit by freakish weather conditions. After driving nearly 3 kilometres, in 2 hours 10 minutes, I executed a “doubtfully legal” U Turn and returned to the office.

Back at work, I consoled myself with three Gin and Tonics supplemented by a large packet/container of Pringles.

On finally getting home at about 10.30, I had some soup, watched the end of a movie and went to bed.

Given my attention to diet has been somewhat fastidious, and my alcohol consumption basically zero, it is obvious that the difference was wholly and solely diet related.

I should note that sleep time was consistent as have been weather conditions (run in the rain excluded).

I have never been a fan of supplements but will now research them. I will also look closer into diet and what further I might be able to do to assist training performance and recovery.

If one relatively small diet divergence can have such a huge negative impact, it stands to reason there is an equal positive impact ready to be discovered from more attention to diet detail.

Watch this space…..

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Facebook Delivers

Facebook impacts different people or groups of people in many different ways.

For all too many parents of teenagers, it is the vehicle by which communication with child becomes challenging because “you always have your head in your phone”. Heaven forbid there be a “friend” status update that is posted 30 seconds or more without the chance to comment. The speed responses are posted is astounding.

For many others, Facebook is a great vehicle for sharing photos of family and experiences eg Travel, sport, celebrations etc

And of course there are the negatives. The parties that find their way to Facebook and get out of control due to the number of unintended attendees is one such example. There is also the negative of hate pages.

 Major Corporations have become better at managing their images and use social media to connect with new demographics, however this can come unstuck due to the inability of the “Spin Doctors” to control feed back or comments made on their pages. And for the small business, Facebook is a low cost avenue to support other marketing and sales initiatives.

 Facebook has allowed me to follow the progress of a number of staff who worked part time for Ideal Image and it has been a delight to see them establish careers, have families and to see these families growing up 

Events of the last 7 days have reinforced one of the reasons I use Facebook, even if it has taken these events to fully appreciate this reasons.

During the last 2 years, I have re-connected with a number of people I had completely lost track of. This includes several I went to school with who I literally had not communicated with for over 32 years. One lives in the USA and has for most of their Adult life.

 I have also reconnected with a former work colleague who I knew well but we went our separate ways about 28 years ago.

Reconnecting via Facebook has resulted in several face to face catch ups and to hear and learn what has transpired in their lives has been fascinating indeed.

The benefit of using Facebook were even more clear for me this last week when I discovered a message from someone who was a much valued and trusted friend quite some years ago. For a number of reasons, we were unable to maintain, or be in contact however due to changed circumstances our contact has been re-established and hopefully, will now be maintained for life.

Thank you Facebook.

It should be said however, that my skills using the message functionality of Facebook are somewhat under developed and it was only by accident that I actually found the message. The message to me had been sent some weeks ago and had been sitting unread. In fact, if I had not clicked on a button/icon by mistake, it may well have gone unread for many weeks, months or longer.