Archive for September, 2008

What? What? What?

This can’t be real… Please someone tell me this isn’t real. This woman wouldn’t get to repetition no. 2 because I would already have sliced her open and ripped out her abs in search of the device making that hideous noise.

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Citroen Shitroen

I’m sure this will apply mainly to the European market but is anyone else fed up with Citroens transformer car adverts already?

Citroen’s marketing department have certainly applied ‘find something that works and stick with it’ logic to this one because I believe I saw what must be Citroen’s 5th advert featuring a dancing robot that transforms down into a car during Ross Kemp On Gangs last night.

I don’t think anyone could argue that their first advert and the catchy little music rift they put with it was  nothing short of brilliant BUT TO DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN?

BOOOOOORRRRRIIIIIIINNNNNNG.

Especially since if you buy one of their cars you certainly won’t end up with a funky hip hop car version of Optimus Prime dancing in your car park spot when you leave work but rather a freaky looking bubble of a car with a massive ‘grin’ at the front and more head room than David Blaine is going to need after the next three days of hanging upside down. All that folks AND the all the reliability of a one armed rower which is about as much as you can expect from a French car.

I guess we had a forewarning about the originality of this manufacturer given the fact the majority of their car names since the 1950’s have taken the format ‘Citroen C……’. That’s it, steady on boys, you don’t want to use all 26 letters of the alphabet up too quickly do you.

If you want to see the original advert then Youtube ‘Citroen’ and you’ll come up with all 50 of them. The best one by far in my opinion and much closer to the truth is this spoof one.

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Duathlon Video

Armed with Diggers snowboaring helmet-cam Cameron ran about taking clippets of video at the duathlon on Sunday. I’ve taken the most pertinent sections of vid and put them together here. WARNING: Do not watch on a full stomach. Cameron has not mastered the necessity of holding the camera still and instead holds the small pen-like camera in his hand while he runs about holding a massive cardboard banner reading ‘GO FOXY GO’ on one side and messages to Wil and Diggers friend Keith on the other. The effect? Lots of sky and ground footage along with sideways angles at all the crucial parts. Still he had a lot of fun which isn’t easy when you’re stuck out on a dam marshalling a course of grumpy sweaty duathletes at the crack of dawn on a Sunday.

Big HUGE thanks to Digger who was our sole supporter for the day and who not only came along to cheer us on but helped marshall the course and looked after Cameron for us while we ran. And judging by all the comments I heard about the banner Cameron was carrying around – he’s a top notch race banner maker/designer as well!

Video:
1) Me running past from the start line during the first 5k. Note the first clump of super humans running like their arses are on fire at the start. Then once they’re past I come plodding along and just because I look like I’m at the back I’ve left the footage of ALL THOSE PEOPLE behind me in for you to see.

2) Me running past on the second 5k following 23k on the bike. This is the point where I had spaghetti noodle legs and this is blatently apparent by the fact I’m shuffling along like I’ve crapped my pants. I was suffering pretty bad calf ache at this point and upon approaching the dam I’m thinking ‘how the hell am I going to last for another 4k with HILLS’.

3) Me arriving at the finish (You’ll only know this when you hear Cam’s screams of MUUUM, MUUUUM, MUUUUM). I was so out of it by that point all I could focus on was the finish line and where to hit the ground on the other side of it. And that I’d just been overtaken by a 72 year old man.

4) Wil arriving at the finish line.

Points to look out for: Where I’m sitting on the ground at the finish and I pinch my itchy nose between thumb and forefinger right at the same time a plastic cup falls over on the table next to me making it sound like I made a loud snort.

Right at the end of the video where Wil bends over to stretch and makes a groaning sound that actually makes him look like he’s leaning over to hurl. (he didn’t)

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Duathlete! Me!

It was a morning of challenges, the first being able to get up at 05:45 this morning in order to eat early enough for my 08:10 start at the duathlon. I scoffed down a couple of bits of toast which was the second struggle. Bleugh.. food before 09:30. Still, toast and jam at 06:00 was going to feel better than no energy half way round a 20 mile circuit a couple of hours later.

It was 6 degrees celsius when we arrived at the venue, a large water reservoir owned by the local water company. The air was completely still and the sun was beginning to burn through the mist to reveal what turned out to be a gorgeous cloudless 17 degree sunny day.

We set about putting the bikes together and getting kitted up. A glance around the carpark revealed body upon body of lycra covered triathletes placing the wheels in their carbon framed bikes with the solid carbon disk wheels at the back and timetrial bars at the front. If I wasn’t feeling out of my league already right now I was feeling like an anorexic at a pie eating contest.

The transition area was set up with scaffolding racks on which there were numbers. I found my number and hooked my bike up by the seat taking note of how others had left their shoes and helmet, open and facing the right way ready to step in. The experienced had brought a small towel on which they’d laid their stuff out on to save getting wet from the grass. Then I made my way to the start line.

Wil was leaving in the 3rd wave so he was able to come and see me off for the start of my race. The starting horn sounded and a pack of about 30 of us left. My aim here was to go steady which proved difficult since most of the pack was flying past me, leaving me plodding through a cloud of dust. There was an immediate urge to keep up. I began to approach the dam crossing where Digger and Cameron were marshalling. I glanced over my shoulder and felt instantly picked up when I saw a group of people running some distance behind me. My aim for the moment – to keep them there.

Cam and Digger cheered me on over the dam where at the end I followed the track down through a narrow wooden gate, up a steep stony sand track and onto a minor country lane which lead down a long hill and back up a slow curvy incline before turning into the main road leading back to the transition area. Two of the people running behind me passed me on the last straight. I finally arrived back at the transition area feeling good.

The change into my cycling shoes and helmet was quick and fairly easy, I fastened my helmet and lifted my bike down from the scaffolding and jogged clumsily to the mounting point. I struggled to get my  running legs coordinated enough to clip my shoes into my pedals! With both feet fastened in I got up on the pedals and watched as my odometer climbed into double figures.

The 14 mile cycling route was something I had trained and was fully prepared for. What I was not prepared for were the serious roadie cyclists who spend many days in a week hammering out the miles and competing in serious road race competitions and time trials. Wil has done many of these competitions and I can see where he gets his very ‘matey’ close up biking style from because in these races you don’t want to go miles around someone when you pass. WHY GO MILES AROUND WHEN YOU CAN NIP IN SO CLOSLEY TO ME YOU CAN BRUSH MY ELBOW WITH YOURS AND THEN NEARLY TAKE MY FRONT WHEEL OUT. For a split second the ginger rage kicked off and I was fixing to get nasty and start reaching out to punch their brake lever in retaliation but I thought against it and just braced myself when they hammered past me on my modest little 1.5″ tyred Bontrager. I might not have been flying down the road at 30mph but I was dead on target for the speed I wanted to carry and I can’t say it didn’t feel a little boost when I passed one of the speedy guys pulled over with mechanical problems.

The cycle route was smooth carriageway snaking it’s way out into some beautiful countryside and along side the river orwell estuary. There were 3 or 4 fast downhills and for every downhill there was a fairly long but not too painful climb up again. Only one of these hills made my thighs burn and that had been right after I’d left the start and before my cycling legs kicked in. Fortunately this was the point where I passed Wil who came running towards me on the final leg of his first 5k. We exchanged encouragement and continued on. On the last hill the dreaded happened. My chain decided to pop off the front ring leaving me with no recourse but to jump off the bike and rehitch it. Problem there was that my glove got caught between the chain and the ring so I had to back it off again before fixing it. In total I lost about a minute with chain probs not to mention the time it took me to get my rhythm back up for the final stretch.

The interesting thing about the ride was that firstly I was taking it easy again not knowing how I’d feel for my final 5k run so I should be able to better that time next time, but secondly it took about a 1/4 of the route before my cycling legs kicked in. I felt a noticable change in where the strength in my muscles was coming from and where I’d ached previously I ached no longer. Aided in part by a bottle of Powerade and a couple of mouthfulls of jelly beans I received little spurts of power along the straights and even managed to pass someone going up a hill. The trouble with cycling legs is that they are much more useless at running than running legs are for cycling. So when the time came to dismount and run my bike back across the grass to the scaffolding racks it seemed like my legs had been replaced by two limp spaghetti noodles and that I was running through a half set bowl of jelly(o).

On the second 5k I started out very slowly indeed. It took a good 2k before I found a rhythm and by this time I was repeatly telling myself to just stop and walk. Another voice in my head was shouting down the other and insisting that I carry on running because if I walked I’d feel pathetic later. So somehow I carried on thinking ‘just plod one foot infront of the other and repeat’ and making repetative pattern sounds with my breathing which I then timed my steps to. Then I saw the woman who I’d been following closely up to the point my chain came unhitched. Feeling good that I’d managed to close in on her on foot I focussed on catching her up and it helped as I stepped across the finish line right behind her at 1:52:01.

Wil went around the course well too running around the same times as me but making up considerable time on the bike. He thinks if I had a roadbike I’d have had a comparable time but I think if I hadn’t been biking in conservative energy mode I could have made up another few minutes anyway.

My splits for the 5k Run/23k Bike/5k Run were

25:58 (105) 57:20 (105) 28:43 (101)

The number in brackets is the position I came overall for that section. So I wasn’t leading the race but you want to know the best part about that number? IT WASN’T LAST!!!!!

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‘D’ Day Lurks Like Last Nights Curry

Well Sunday is creeping ever closer and if ever there were days I was wishing I hadn’t sacked that bike ride off or had put a little extra effort into that run, these be them. For Sunday, is Duathlon Day.

You remember when I had my Billy big pants on some time between being unable to push my own body mass off the floor with my own arms and then being able to do 10 girl pushups and I signed up for that duathlon based on the fact that I can run and I can bike – albeit neither that well?

I received the race documents yesterday which explained the rules and when, where and how everything will be happening. Apparently I’m in the first ‘wave’ which is the first group of people leaving at 08:10. Wil is to follow in the 08:30 wave. This is both good and bad.

With Wil leaving separately it takes a little of the pressure off both of us. Wil thinks I’m the sportier one out of the two of us. I know even with no training, he is. I’ve seen the proof, he doesn’t have to lift a single bone for a month and he can still go out and run 5 miles. If I sat still for a month I may as well learn how to walk again. With separate leaving times unless I REALLY struggle I should be able to stay ahead of Wil and finish before him physically (not necessary according to our race times, so he’ll still win). This means there will be no horridness caused by one of us doing really well and having to leave the other behind. However, if my bike fails and I’m sat at the side of the road when he comes along I will totally turn on the tears. (I am ginger remember and ginger = fickle).

So the race participants leave in 3 waves of mixed abilities and ages. When I say mixed abilities I mean ‘them’ – the 164 Tri/Duathletes and ‘us’ – me and Wil. My good friend Digger is going to be there to support us and as they were short on help manning the course he’s also going to marshall. Therefore the master plan is that after I have run through he’s going to direct everyone else the opposite way. Not so much a plan than plain old wishful thinking. Digger is a good friend and when I emailed him today worried that I was going to come last in the race he offered meaningful friendly advice that went something like

“Foxy don’t worry – you’ll always be a winner in my eyes, even if you are holding up all the fat asthmatic kids at the back of the race”

Still worrying I went down to the office where the bloke who got me interested in the Duathlon in the first place sits. I pleaded my concerns of being a lame runner and slow biker and tried to tap him up for information on the weak points of the other people he knew that were taking part. He browsed the list of entrants and picked out a few names of people he deemed to be ‘slow’.

Word to the wise – when doubting your sporting abilities don’t ask for words of comfort from a man who does half Ironman events in about 30 minutes flat.

“Here we go, Patricia Smith aged 56, you’ll be able to beat her Ren… lets see”

He began tapping her name into Google and managed to find her last race results which just happend to be where she completed an Ironwoman event in times that made Wonder Womans spin around costume change look as though it was being performed by a quadraplegic. This, of course made me feel so much better. NOT. Almost as good as when I read the results from the same race last year and found that the last finisher, a woman aged fifty something, ran/biked/ran the same times as I did the last time I timed myself over similar distances. I’M SO LAST ALREADY.

OK… it’s not so bad and in all honesty my concern isn’t that I’ll come last – it’s that I won’t finish. I’m worried I haven’t done enough to be able to complete the 5k run/23k bike/5k run circuit.

Therefore internet, please club your positive chi together and bung it this way on Sunday because I’m going to need all the help I can get once that mega bag of jelly beans has been consumed. And of course what does one do when they’re fretting madly about not being able to ace a duathlon?…..

…..Sign up for the next big mistake just over a month away. The Whole Hog adventure race.

Looking for a girls team of 3………….8 miles of cold November mud and crap anyone?

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Ladybird Tea Cups

I went to my mums the other day and she made me a cup of tea in this lovely teacup. She bought 4 cups and saucers for £1 each. They were on sale in Whittard of Chelsea – Coffee and Tea Shop http://www.whittard.co.uk reduced from £8 each… You know when you go to a sale and there’s that woman at the front of the queue with her elbows out. That’s my mum.

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Bleugh! Disease Bag

Oh it’s so great to have the little disease bag home. One week is all it took for the boy to return to school and collect a cold virus from the rest of the little grubsters.

I’ve already had 5 out of the 6 colds he suffered between Christmas and July and with a duathlon coming up this weekend the last thing I need is to get ill.

I’m not really one for taking vitamins and medicines when it comes to colds because they’ll turn up and go when they’re ready regardless of what you do but Cam and I have always been very susceptible to colds and coughs. All the running and cycling I’ve been doing lately will have given my immune system a battering and knowing it’d be a matter of time before the boy arrived back home with his usual germ party in full swing I stopped by Asda one evening and stocked up on all things cold preventative. This time I’m not going down without a fight.

This morning I woke up listening to him repeatedly drawing in lloooooonnnnnggggg stuffy snorts through his swollen nostrils. He then padded back and fourth to the bathroom, yanking arm lengths of toilet paper off the roll to screw into a small ball which got passed once across the end of of his nose before being discarded into the toilet. Then snorted his way back to bed.

I knew it wouldn’t be long after he’d gone back to school that I’d be dealing with an enslaught of cold germs and virus’. So I had fully prepared myself with alcohol handrub, Vicks ‘FIRST DEFENCE’ nasal spray and one-a-day Seven Seas Multiprobionta ‘Immune Defence’ vitamins which I began taking a good week or two before he got back from the states. With the sudden threat of germ infested kid in the confines of my home this morning I dug straight into my handbag and attempted to use my Vicks ‘FIRST DEFENCE’ nasal spray.

The Instructions called for 2 or 3 sprays up each nostril 3 or 4 times per day. Then you’re not supposed to blow your nose.

GET AWAY!

Because at the first tiny puff of that toxic concentrated hospital smelling liquid hitting the top of my nasal cavity I thought my brain was going to try and punch it’s way out of my forehead. I’ve never done coke, but if people doing it on tv is anything like reality these two substances seem to provoke the same initial reaction. Which was to grab my nose and squeeze it while my eyes proceed to water and sting. At the same time my brain was looking for a sharp exit while I accompanied the whole ugly scene by growling a noise sounding like ‘GAAAHH’.

The sting subsided, the stink remained and not being able to stand it another second, I blew my nose.
Now I’m relying solely on alcohol hand cleanser, Multiprobionta ‘Immune Defence’ vitamins, lots of water, plenty of sleep and huge doses of luck. If I’m feeling generous I won’t make the boy remove all his clothing in the entrance hall and swab down with alcohol hand rub upon his return from school every day.

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