Friday, 30 January 2009

Cinque Mulini

Tomorrow I head of to Milan for my first race since the European Cross Country Champs, which was 7 weeks ago!, longer than I would have liked but I'm looking forward to getting a race under my belt after missing Edinburgh.

Training has been pretty tough going the past couple of weeks and after feeling so tired last week the thought of racing didn't really appeal I must admit, but a good track session on the Tuesday and an easier week of training has left me feeling much more confident and with a bit more of a spring in my stride.

I head out tomorrow afternoon and will be traveling separately from the team (it made more sense for me to travel separately from the team as they are heading out via heathrow). This will be my first England vest and my first time I've raced this event, I first heard about Cinque Mulini last year when I met an athlete in South Africa who was heading out there later that month to compete. I've heard a few stories about the race and it all sounds very unique as far as Cross Country races go. As the name says Cinque Mulini (5 Mills) the route of the race apparantely taking you through the 5 Windmills on the course that's used. Its quite a historical race by all accounts too, its been going since 1933 (checkout the website for more info. Should find the results on there too after the event. The race is 2.45pm Italian time.

I will try and post up a race report either Monday evening or Tuesday morning when I get back.

All for now.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

An Award and a run with a Legend

Last night I attended the Guernsey Sports Commission Awards, it was a really good event, a well organised and entertaining evening. I was fortunate enough to pick up the Richard Burton Salver which was award for the best male performance of 2008. With 2008 seeming to have been a very good year for Guernsey Sport I feel quite honoured to have picked something at all. Alison Merrien (no relation btw, although I think her husband Ian is a distant relation in some form) won the Sports Comission Trophy and Dale Galand Garland was inducted onto the heroes wall - he gave quite an emotional speech I must admit. Thoroughly deserved - well done mate.

I also managed to get a run in this morning with Crammie, something to tell the gran kids! although by the year 2040 they probably won't have a clue who Steve Cram was or that I was even a runner! The fact that our run was along the seafront in rush hour traffic certainly added to the fun of it, I later found out that Radio Guernsey had got wind some how and had put something out on air that we were out running. A lorry driver shouted out 'You can take him Lee', no idea who the lorry driver was but amusing none the less. Actually I was thinking about having the title of this post as 'The Day I injured Steve Cram', he tweaked his hamstring just over a mile from home and I ended up driving him back the rest of way! I hope he doesn't read this :) or if he does reads it in the good humour it was intended. A thoroughly nice good though and fantastic to have had the chance to meet him properly. Actually one more funny story before I go bed, I was told this by someone else this afternoon and found it very amusing, ironically it involves someone I used to work with back in my banking days (who will remain nameless so not embarrass him too much)... some of the people involved from the Sports Commission took Steve Cram out for a meal last night after the awards when the nameless individual turned up very drunk at the bar where they were standing, the nameless individual shakes hands with everyone and says (sluring his words) alright Chessie, alright Dave, alright Stuart, alright mate (to Steve Cram and seemingly oblivious to who he was) then turns round and walks off, about five staggering paces later he stops pauses for a moment turns back to group with a puzzled looking but then without saying a word walks off again in his rather frazzled state. I wonder if the penny dropped later!

Night all.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Welcome to the real world Merrien!

These were the words used by a fellow local athlete recently in respect of my recently challenging Monday... My wife started back at work this week you see and Thomas isn't in nursery on Monday's, with my mum suffering with illness and unable to help that day it left me trying to juggle my new parental responsibilities with my own work as a personal trainer and twice daily training sessions.

Things have changed for us over last few months with Thomas on the scene, and whilst it's a bit of a cleashay I have loved every minute of it, well nearly! (still not a big fan of dirty nappies). A number of people have said to me that children will mean my running will suffer, usually people that don't know me very well and not realising how selfish I can be (that's a another way of saying committed by the way). I'm determined it won't change things, and whilst things may have changed generally day to day I still got my 60minute run in that morning and a slightly later than normal evening hill session in that day. I guess if there's a message its to look for a way round the everyday challenges particularly in respect of finding time for things. One thing I don't want to do when I'm older it to have to look back and say that if only I had more time to train I could done this or could have done that.

Ironcally As part of my new everyday lifestyle I had lunch with Steve Cram today! I had the priviledge of being invitied to a lunch organised by the Guernsey Sports Commission. He's a good speaker and clearly still very passionate about athletics. Those attending the Sports Commission Awards I'm sure will enjoy the evening.

Right I better dash now as need to get gym session in before collecting the boy from nursary (tugged on the old heart strings putting him in nursary for the first time yesterday I must admit).

Keep following your dreams, all for now.


Monday, 5 January 2009

Another DNS! but a new coach and an England call up!

Happy New Year everyone,

Unfortunately I now won't be running the televised Great Edinburgh XC this coming weekend, which is very disappointing. The mild stomach bug I picked up over xmas just didnt want to go away and also got together over the last few days with it's friend the common cold! Whilst there is still 5 days to the race, I took the decision due to a combination of a lack of hard training and with my cold still hanging around. My main priority is to get healthy again and set my targets on the World Cross Trials in March. If there is such a thing, a good time to get a cold would be now! so with a need improved immune system built up I plan to ease back into training over the back end of this week and get stuck into things properly from Monday next week.

On the plus side I have been selected to respresent England in a XC International in Italy at the end of the month so I have much to look forward too in the short term. The Race is called Cinque Mulini (which means the 5 windmills I understand) this is a very good intl race with a lot of history behind it. I had to turn down two England Vest opportunities recently due to other committments but thanks to my mother who has kindly agreed to have Thomas for a night (the wife is also away - her first trip away from Thomas since he was born) I am now able to go to Italy for this one.

Other good news I have now linked up with John Nuttal, who is a UKA Endurance coach based at Loughborough Uni. John who was an established Intl in his day in the 90's now works out of the Uni during the week and will be helping me with training going forward. This will mean opportunities to train with a group in the UK as and when required and get access for lab testing (I will provide details about what that involves in a few weeks), which I can afford thanks to my sponsors Cannon.

Various doors seem to be opening for me over the last few months after a frustration 2008 summer of racing, my good luck charm - Thomas seems to have done the trick! so here's to a successful 2009!