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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ultra Spoof!!!

ULTRA RUNNER from Cedar Wright on Vimeo.

Just loving this Ultra Running spoof from Timmy O'Neill featuring Scott Jurek. I just wonder how many times they had to do re-takes because Scott must have been cracking up for most of it. How he kept a straight face is beyond me and its great to see such a tough sport showing a really humorous side.

Having a recovery day today after a tough day yesterday. Late night tempo run through the hills around the local villages last night. A good 17km's covered just before midnight. Trying to cross train as much as possible too with a lot of km's on the bike and some time in the pool. Incorporating some early morning sessions too in preparation for the 24hr in ten weeks time. Slowly cutting out all fizzy drinks and chocolate which I find difficult but seeing great improvement in my physical condition.

I am also looking forward to the local 20km race on Sept 5th. There is a limit of 300 runners and the course is on my doorstep, its a very undulating a winding trail and I am quite familiar with it too. Should be a chance to flex the legs, though not going all out on this one for fear of overdoing it ahead of Oct 2nd. My sometimes running buddy J.C. is coming along for the 20km so a laugh will be had for sure. Between now and then though there will by a lot of hours put in.

Latest news on Pearl is on the site as of last night. Great job Alicia.

See you round the bend.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Driving Miss Daisy

I do not drive. Never have, unless you count the 5 months of driving lessons in London many years ago which resulted in the near death of my instructor twice a week, and probably never will. There are some things in life people just get. It could be running, football, Desperate Housewives, stamp collecting, fishing, Harry Potter books, sleeping all day, hey the list is endless, live and let live, different strokes for different folks ya-da-ya-da-ya......

But I could never click with being behind the wheel of a car, I either over thought the process and became a rigid lump gripping the steering wheel as if it were a life buoy in choppy seas, or I didn't think at all, preferring the day dreaming approach (see above for near death of instructor). Yes I know it is about relaxation and co-ordination and I have a problem with neither, I am pretty laid back (relaxation part sorted) and being a drummer back in the day means that I can use my hands and feet independently of each other. I just did not have the interest and boy do I regret it now.

Take my current situation for example. As the person who takes Pearl to all her appointments a good system is required to keep the show on the road. On Monday I take her to the creche in the morning and her Psychomotricien in the afternoon. Tues, Weds and Thursday are Speech Therapy days plus one morning at the creche. Friday is Child Psychologist and creche. That is a typical week and means about 40km's plus on the bicycle with my little co-pilot Pearl sitting at my derriere. Multiply those weeks by the best part of year and throw in all the other random meetings that crop up and you see just how many therapy sessions there have been and how many kilometres have been covered. This is good for me because its healthy, its great for Pearl to be outdoors and free (she hates the bus and trains) and it saves some money and the planet a little bit too. Its not very nice during the winter or when a monsoon rain appears from nowhere, but we always get there in the end. Yesterday we had a consultation with a surgeon to check out Pearl's belly button, long story short she has had a hernia since birth and its just a cosmetic procedure to fold it back in. A little nip and tuck type scenario. So the appointment was 8 km's away and the route led through these incredibly steep hills and through the forest trail. It was a tough ride with 15 extra kilo's on the back but it was good for the legs and it's a blessing to be able to do it. The wind was fierce at the top of the climb and eventually we found our clinic and our lovely doctor. He declared himself to not be enough of a specialist to deal with it and sent us to his secretary for a referral. She gave us all the details we needed and never charged us either. Job done, we were on our way down the hills toward home. Today is the second appointment and its down in Boulogne, which is further away and means even more hills. Hey, its gotta be done.

Now my issue, getting back on track here, is this, what the hell do I do when she is too big for the bike? Add on another 5kg to that child and her days as my passenger are truly numbered. And it's not like I can suddenly (re)learn to drive now considering the lunatics over here drive on the right, don't give a sh*t who else is on the road and probably get their licences with eight tokens from a the back of a Kellogg's cereal box. I mean seriously, if you want a display in road ignorance then look no further than here. (luckily they make good cheese)

So you can see my predicament folks. Something will present itself I am sure, maybe running everywhere with her in a shopping trolley is the way forward!!!! All suggestions welcome.

See you round the bend.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Running for Pearl Logo.

Our new logo, many thanks to Diarmuid at Brosna Press for all his help in bringing the idea to life.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's Evolution Baby.

There has been a seismic shift lately in my mind and in my attitude to life, and to the possibilities that lie ahead. It is a yearning for a peaceful and simpler life devoid of material clutter, for a stripped bare existence that constantly strives to uncover a better version of myself. I don't think this attitude or the these thoughts would be possible, or as clear, without the benefits of exercise. From starting as a road runner to suddenly adoring being on the trails, it is this time alone that allows me to figure out where each of life's jigsaw puzzle pieces go. Whether I am looking for inspiration or answers, my time on the dirt tracks almost always provides the solution. At the moment I don't know if life is demanding more from me or I am demanding more from life. Either way a certain impetus is in the air to get more done for Pearl, and trust me she has a lot of activity on her plate leading up to the holidays in a few weeks time (more of that later on the website news) I have to up my game too, the training days are becoming more intense with the focus directed towards October 2nd for the 24 hour race. Luckily there are a wealth of experts out there who are helping me in my preparations and as is typical of the running community, they are all really behind me.

Profundity aside, I have just finished 2hrs of undulating trail running and it was sublime, no headphones, no extras. Just me, my water bottle and my box-fresh New Balance 758's. I have been wearing New Balance shoes since I started running two and a half years ago. The first pair were an "introductory" pair and didn't cost me a lot, I got good mileage out of them but I suppose that was due to the fact that the were only in use two hours a week. I am loyal by nature and decided that the next pair would be the same brand but I would step up a few model's. I chose the 1063's next and they were fantastic, I am not sure they felt the same way about me as they were abused to the hilt. Back when I first got them I was blogging here how much I liked them, hell, even a few people I know followed suit and bought a pair. They probably went about 600 kilometres over their best before date and were retired just last week, they served me well but all relationships end at some stage, death parted us after many glorious months on the road. May their little laces rest in peace. Amen .

Luckily though it coincided with the July sales, this time I went for the New Balance 758 you can see below.........

This morning I took these little babies out to meet the neighbours, i.e. up and down a lot of dirty and dusty trails and through paths that look more like they were made by animals than man. But before I got into this harmonious-unification-with-nature-malarkey I had to take Pearl to the creche. As per usual I arrived in full gear so as to not lose a minute by running out the door immediately afterwards. I clocked her in, put on my shoe covers (like the ones you see in hospitals to stop the spread of germs) and bid a howdly doodly to the fine ladies who look after Pearl three mornings a week. Once she was settled in it was like I was fired from a canon, I took off up the road and headed for the forest. My first impression of the shoes was that they were a little "flappy", I was thinking to myself that this was not exactly what I was expecting. Something just did not click with these new beauties, would we not last even our first rendevouz? Then people started to look at me strangely, eyeing my stride as if I were running like a new born donkey. It was then, after at least a kilometre on the trot, that I looked down at my feet. I had forgotten to take off the shoe covers. A picture paints a thousand words so here is a picture of what it looked like, just pretend my feet are in the shoes and add into the mix that its a busy morning with everybody out on the streets and heading to work. (Laughing silently at me let me add)

(the 758 hospital/crime scene style running shoe... you get an idea of the stupidity)

Did I look like an agent out of CSI, running through a crime scene in my cool blue covers so as not to leave any "trace"? NO. Did I look like the cool doctor on Greys Anatomy, gliding down the hallway holding in my hand an ice bag that carried a heart that was minutes away from saving the patients life. NO. I looked like a tool on a sunny morning in a Parisian suburb who was so excited about his new trainers that he forgot to "unveil" them before taking off. I made it to the woods after about ten minutes and just started to laugh to myself, I am sure it has happened to others, yes? OK maybe not.

What followed was really enjoyable, I explored a few new routes just when I was thinking I knew them all. A lot of really steep climbs felt like they were easier than usual, the switch-back descents kept me on my guard and my stride felt effortless. Some days it just flows. The shoes turned out to be really comfortable and I would even say better than the previous pair, my feet seemed to have a little more room at the toes and felt better ventilated too. It will take a few runs to really break them in but so far I am really satisfied. The fact that they were about 40% less than the retail price helped too because its not cheap keeping these feet on the road. Maybe my prayers will be answered and New Balance will sponsor me, yeah Mally, keep dreamin'.

I have so much to write regarding Pearl and I want to give it the attention it deserves so I will be posting some news on the site over the next day or so. Our logo is almost done apparently and my designer friend will send it as soon as its ready. I guess all that's left for me to say then is...

See you round the bend.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

To Infinity.... and Beyond.

Well, I thought that when I ran my first Marathon I would be content to leave it at that. Or that running 100km's or a 50k 'UltraMarathon' would suffice. Those races definitely pushed me beyond my perceived limits, but at what stage do you say "Stop, that's enough, you can't possibly go on.." Oh...... but you can go on my friends and I am along way from stopping, to quote Johnny Cash "You can run on, for a long time."

As my Achilles tendon recovered recently so too did my thirst for something new, I am kind of glad I had those two weeks to just mellow out and do other things. Of course the "other things" really meant planning a new physical battle in the adventures of Running for Pearl. So after wracking my brain I came across the ultimate mental challenge for me. 24 Hour racing. And before I tell you more about my goal allow me to tell you about the 24hr concept.

24 hour running events are held all over the world and are usually either on a 400 metre track or a one km loop. The size of the loop varies depending on who is organising the event. The aim is simple, the gun is fired and the participants take off, 24 hours later it is fired again to signal the end. A team of time keepers take shifts to monitor the runners laps and whoever covers the most distance is the winner. Now I know to some of you this all sounds like madness but wait until you hear the achievements of the greats. The world record stands at 303.5 km's (188 miles) and is held by Yiannis Kouros was set in Adelaide, October 1997. Even thinking about an event like this is scary but I know its something I can do and even more importantly is something I want to try to do. If it seems impossible then that's all the more reason to give it a shot. It is also for Autism awareness and the more I run the more it may help to shine a light on the subject.

The race I have chosen is in Arcueil which is southern Paris and takes place from 11.00 am Saturday Oct 2nd to 11.00 am the following day. Only 35 people may participate and as of today there are very few places left, the full list can be seen here along with the rest of the website. My aim is to go as far as I can but setting myself a realistic goal is difficult considering I have never done anything like this before. However, the goal is four marathons which is 104 miles. I am pretty confident that with the right nutrition, a lot of patience and a will of iron this is achievable. The physical aspect of running through the night will take its toll but my major concern is the mind games, running hundreds of laps around a track and trying to keep all my marbles in the one place. But when I have pushed myself to the limit there is always one step further that I can go. It will be a run that will rely on heart and soul being completely wrought of everything I thought I knew about myself.

Right now we will start a major drive for publicity, sponsorship and recognition. Its time to broaden the horizon for Autism and with the help of you, the readers, we can take this to a higher level. If you are aware of any companies who wish to get involved in a cause that can change lives please direct them our way. Friends have started posting "Running for Pearl" signs from all over the world on Pearl's Facebook wall, a few are below but please have a look at the wall for the rest of them. Alicia will be updating the news section of the site very soon and has definitely a lot to say about the battles we have fought to get Pearl help for school in September, lets just say it was an 11th hour type scenario.

(Kealan and Alice Reynolds, Co Leitrim Eire)

I wish you all a great weekend, I will be heading up north tomorrow to meet my friends and check out Pearl Jam.

See you round the bend.

(The Stumpf family, Virginia USA)

Running for Pearl

This blog is dedicated to my daughter Pearl who was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) in August 2009. My goal is to raise funds and awareness by doing what I love....Running.