I’ve been busting to tell you but I had to keep it under wraps.
In January, I signed an agreement with the GB Rowing Team to film them as they made their way towards The Rio 2016 Olympic Games. As video contracts go it was a peach and in good rowing style I was thrown in at the deep end. You can see how I got on here.
7.15 am on a blustery February morning amid some of the worst storms the country has seen is not a pretty time to be awake let alone sitting in what I can only describe as a fibreglass splinter, cracking out a two-hour training session on a freezing cold lake. But that’s what rowers do. Every day. With only one day’s break every 6 weeks. For years at a time. That, brother, is dedication. That is what wins Olympic medals.
And win they did. Nine medals in all at London 2012 and that was a record.
If rowers don’t mind, I’d like to offer them a compliment. In the making of this short film I met some pretty hardcore champs both of the current millennium and the last. Not at any time was I made to feel unwelcome as I poked my camera at them during their bizarre stretching routines nor at any time did one ounce of ego show itself among folks who could quite well justify a little self-praise. Instead I met a bunch of unspeakably healthy individuals dedicated beyond belief to becoming the fittest and doing the very best their bodies and minds would allow them to do.
While superhuman athletic performance and some lottery funding is part of it I think it’s this personal quality that truly makes Olympians.
Sorry its been a while since my last blog. I’ve been kinda busy. Hopefully more to come through the summer including more amazing rowing footage and news.
Look, I know, I’ve let the side down.
What’s the point of doing Janathon if you can’t get your lazy erris out of bed to run or exercise. I am that person. Mr no-mojo, non-running bloke, too busy eating and avoiding booze to do his regular running slot.
It started badly and got worse and lately i’ve been almost two weeks without a run and so here I am prostrate before you more adhesive Janothanites to plea for forgiveness.
I did run this week – a four-miler in a mix of sun and rain topping me out at about 24 miles for the month to date . Yeah, yeah, poor; I know, yadda yadda.
In fact I’ve not been ill or injured, I’ve not even been working that hard although I can lay claim to a few other, er, domestic stresses. I did however collect my Xmas present lunch at Yauatcha this week with Mrs G and very yum it was too.
Opened in 2004 and instantly awarded a Miche star it’s definitely a treat for the tastebuds. It’s “modern authentic dim sum” and a good variety of more familiar oriental dishes served with a lot more style and creative culinary flair than you’ll find at your average Peking Palace and priced accordingly.
Given their DimSum expertise the best advice I can give is don’t run, graze on Dim Sum for as long as you can afford. Don’t be distracted by the delicately encrusted duck course or the aromatic and sweetly peppered flaky lamb in black peppercorn sauce. Good though they are, they pale in comparison to the angelic Rice paper prawn and mango roll and the downright cerebral Spicy pork Szechuan wonton which will just blow you away. Even the cucumber nibbles are to die for dipped in a house chili sauce that was crafted by denizens of the underworld so beguiling was it. We over-ordered mains and so skipped pud which would have been one more delight judging by those we saw on the cold display.
Price £120 incl for two with one bottle of wine. Value for money? I guess so for top table and the service is absolutely fine.
Any negatives? I don’t like the chairs; they’re too low and the tables are too small. I felt like I was at Kindy and needed a bib and the atmosphere is more cafe than fine dining if I’m honest.
Look, I do like running but I also really like Hakkasan and I just loved Yauatcha. They’re both fantastic an there’s barely a noodle between them.
I know, I missed one. So what; I’m a rebel. But I did run today and I did run yesterday so my Janthoning tally is now 20 miles. Six miles along my beloved Chess River Valley was spectacular today just as the 2 miles on the treadmill yesterday was not.
Still alcohol free, I feel like some kind of demented can of running Swan Light.
There you go – my sins are laid bare. It’s now the 7th of Jan and I’m still only on Janathon the 4th. Four outings and two of those were walks. Tally: about 12m. Yesterday’s 6m run along the Chess River Valley was quite the wettest and stickiest I’ve been on for ages. Inov8 Roclites (319s for the running geeks who were wondering which model) were and will continue to be an essential kit component for the Chilterns in any season but particularly so after weeks of wet and Xmas walkers and mountain bikers have thrashed the paths mercilessly.
Fitness levels are good though, what with a massive down-scaling of alcohol consumption. My liver is on sabbatical.
I’ve booked up Endure24 again (where I was *official videographer* last year, if you please!) this time hoping to bring my unfeasibly fit son and re-engage with the hatters that came last year and prior to that the Thunder Runs. And a walk of the course at Chiltern Warrior where i’ll be filming in March also looks like it will be fun.
Posted in Charity, janathon, running
Tagged 24, chess valley, chiltern open air museum, chiltern warrior, endure, inov-8, janathon, oxford down, roclite, run, running, sheep
Janathon is upon us yet again the creative brainchild of JogBlog. Run/blog/tweet every day of the month. And in keeping with tradition it’s the second of Jan and I’ve only done one outing. About 5k in bright sunshine in mid-Cotswolds. Lovely.
My take on Janathon is that it’s a mythical month that only has as many days in it as those that I actually manage to get my rear into gear and take exercise and blog/tweet about it. So that makes today Janathon the 1st.
Driving back from Hampshire the other day I caught an amazing discussion on Radio 4 between Melvin Bragg and a hatful of Boffs. They were talking about The Science of Complexity and it was captivating.
There’s a lot of data around these days; big data, and we’re all adding to it every second. But Complexity exists in places much more inaccessible than your hard drive. Birds flocking, diseases spreading, crowds moving across a station concourse, stock market activities, why the Arab Spring happened. Fortunately there are a lot of computers and boffs around these days too and they’re getting better at analysing it. That’s Complexity Science.
There is a difference between something complex and something complicated. If something is Complicated it can be made and controlled and more importantly, its behaviour can be predicted – a jet engine for example. If something is Complex however it is largely a (seemingly) chaotic mass of randomness.
Too much complexity is unfathomable; what will society be like in 300 years? No idea. But understanding complexity through mathematical modelling can produce policy that will, if observed, narrow the risk of disaster.
Most excitingly of all, the human brain, a raggle taggle of individual neurons is a super-complex thing. When a complex system does things on a system scale which you could never have predicted from the components and the way they interact then you achieve what’s called “Emergence”. The arrival of something more than the sum of the parts. In the example of the human brain you get, for example, “consciousness”. Wow. The same applies when multiple brains interact; this leads to the emergence of collective social intelligence. Man, those nuerons just don’t have a clue what they’re up to.
Complexity scientists are on the road towards getting a handle on why large collections of people and things behave the way they do in big numbers. It’s really fascinating stuff; number-crunching on a massive scale. It’s a really useful way for governments and policy makers and companies to deliver a better framework for giving us plebs what we really, really want and it might go some way towards explaining otherwise inexplicable stuff like why Carol Vordermann is on TV and who shot JR.
I’m starting to reach the conclusion that up is in fact not the only way. For every up there must be a down and vice-versa. Celestial balance, the circle of life etc. Up is not a great place to be if the only way is down and being down can be great if the prospect is upwards. You get the picture.
And so it came to pass that I went out to get my Christmas tree last weekend and as I wandered round the forest of little spruces it crossed my mind that these trees had a pretty miserable existence. Battery-farmed with a four to eight year life expectancy, each one quietly crossing its little needles that it won’t be chosen. The reason they don’t move much is they don’t want to be noticed. But they saw me, making mental notes of the location and relative bushiness of those that I passed and doing my Ant and Dec thing muttering “It might be you…”
My victim was a stout three-year old, shorter than most I’ve bought over the years with a view to it sitting up on an old trunk that had occupied the space which last year saw a fulsome seven-footer. The felling of a Christmas tree is not a fair fight. A man with a saw versus an unarmed, immobile object, rooted in mud with limbs outstretched as if in surrender. It takes a few short seconds to introduce it to the concept of being horizontal amid cries of “shame!” from its neighbours whereupon the enemy is bundled into a truck, trussed in mesh and stowed in the boot of my car.
On the upside, like the arrival of the season of goodwill after a long and arduous year, Christmas trees are eventually transported from a cold muddy field to a short life of ecstasy; central heating, baubles, lights, worship and a fairy on top.
Happy Christmas everybody.