Sunday, 5 October 2014

Leekyboy. Lee. Me....

There are a few things I need to get off of my chest. No reason as to why now, why I feel the need to, or for anyone's benefit but mine, and because I just say so. Maybe I've felt the need to explain me on a bigger scale, maybe I just want to open up a bit. 
As I've gotten older, I've become attuned to the fact the way I am is difficult for people at times. I'm inaccessible, I'm removed, I'm cold, I'm stubborn, I'm opinionated, I'm obstinate, I'm dismissive...but at the same time I'm loving, I'm giving, I'm open, I'm passionate, I'm an organiser, motivator and humanist. I accept that this is a conflicting persona, and that it makes me wholly impossible to truly know, or at least get behind the 'walls' that have been built up around me. By me. 
There are reasons we are who we are. There are catalysts over time that affect us in ways that sometimes take years to realise and see. 
The other day I watched a documentary on paedaphiles/grooming and got very vocal and angry on the subject. The same, I guess, as most decent humans and parents. Only.......
When I was a very young child, I was indecently assaulted. If you want to use the word rape, do so. The truth is, I don't have, nor will ever have, I suspect, the full picture in true clarity of what happened. I have snap shots from the first person, and third person perspective in my head, that are clear, but not complete. I guess this is acceptable for a young child who understands nothing of the sexual nature of life. Sometimes I have flashback of a vivid nature that irritate the hell out of me, because they are incomplete to the adult mind. Sometimes I feel and sense 'something', that I just can't process, as its in my 5/6yr old psyche. I don't know who in my family knows about it, although I have visions that allay to something happening following something I said about this at the time, or indeed who in my family knows that I either remember or understood at the time what happened. To this day I'm as much in the dark, as ignorant then. I've only ever told a few details about this to a couple of trusted souls....this has lived with me for over thirty years. forgive me for blurting this out, but hey, I'm trying to get over it, so you have to too...

Second up is the Encephalitis. Or not so much that, but the ensuing dying thing; out of body experience, surreal existential mind-fuck, and realisation that the things I held true as values suddenly jumped up another level and gave me a whole new perspective on life, acceptance, expectance, and importance. I will NEVER be able to vocalise this to anyone other than those truly blessed people who have seen and felt life ebb away from them before their eyes, and to be given it back. It is a part of me that is ever existing and drives my dismissive side; my 'so the fuck what?' Side. There are more important things than what the new, irrelevant directive says. Have some bollocks, stand up for your principles and live respectfully.

The third thing is my back issues....yes, I know I've been vocal about it a few times, but it's affected me more than I let on, I guess. This time around again has reminded me. The first trouble I had was when I was a fighting fit, twenty something, testosterone driven, invincible lad. I had aches, pains, and got the absolute shit ripped out of me when I hinted at being uncomfortable. Which, to be fair, as an uncompromising, order-barking, whip cracker of a football playing team mate, was to be expected. I took no excuses from anyone else and here I was giving them for myself. The day I was in the foetal position for 4hrs was the lowest of my life thus far. Every day since, almost, I have had to work hard on stretching, conditioning and manipulating to just be able to exist in some degree of relative comfort. I just do this now, as part of life and accept it. Until I forget and revert within a week or so to a wonky, pain riddled whinge bag. 
I'm sorry if I sometimes come across as a distant, cold, hide behind the walls person. I'm sorry if you think I offend you sometimes through my open, brazen honesty and opinion-offering ways. I'm sorry if I can't always bend in the right way, or do as you may wish, because it's 'easiest' that way.
The wise-cracking, bravado-filled, arrogant, comical, flirtatious, obstinate, giving, loving, encouraging, driving, helping, laughing soul I portray, is not a smoke screen or alter ego. It is all me and all the same. I don't bend much, nor do I see the need to. Life has forged me into the me I am, and the me I am is as honest with the tools in my armoury as I can be.

Love and peace, Leeky out. xXx

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Lanzarote rematch: Success!! Only just...

A week has passed by since my long awaited Lanzarote Ironman rematch, and the dust has just started to settle. I blogged each leg separately, on dailymile, and posted them. I had to have some time to reflect on how the day panned out, and then put into words as detailed and open as I could; I needed to do this, for future reference, and for peace of mind/release from what happened. I've decided to resurrect this here Blog proper, so below is the race reports, now together as one, as logged on dm. 

Ironman Lanzarote 2.55 mi 01:14 29:11 pace
#pec 140 #edim #swimming Alarm call just after 4, and a nice, healthy brekky in, transition prep was a relaxed, but focussed affair, chatting with my mates and just going thru the motions of swim readying. Started toward the back for less stress and to enjoy the moment, Gary R. and I were in good spirits after a late warm-up swim, and joked around about the day to come. Once we got down thrum the funnel to the water, we wished each other luck, and made our way in. I took my time rinsing the goggles and fitting them on while wading in, and began to swim as I was ready. Stopped a couple of times to re-fit the goggs(last minute change to softer gasket), then slowly got into a self-imposed speed limit and rhythm. Some highly irritating fellow competitors' navigation skills annoyed me, but I found myself thinking that they weren't meaning to break my rhythm, and just eased up, got going again as required. A fast, but zig-zagging twonk really tested my patience, constantly veering across me for around 5/600m, as did some feet-clawing drafters, but I stuck to my plan of down-pacing. Nice wee stop at the end of first lap in the shallows(lol) and at the end of second-maybe slight over-hydration. V glad I chose to invest in super-thin sleeveless wetsuit; needs more concentration on technique, but kept me cool. Walked thru T-1 very relaxed and comfy, almost unstressed physically.
Ironman Lanzarote 109.76 mi 07:19 15.0mph pace
#pec 137 #edim #cycling Brace yourselves...
OK, so onto the bike; my seemingly strong point in Triathlon. Race plan by me was already set in my noggin to comfortably spin easy throughout this leg, enjoy it, drink plenty, munch as needed and get thru comfortably. So it began that way. Opened up nicely on the faster, flowing parts, passing plenty on the way, spun the legs as easy as poss into the gruesome wind(and it was gruesome). I clearly remember going thru this write-up en route right up to 50-odd miles, thinking how proud I was that I actually was sticking to my plan of riding at least 20% within myself most of the time.
Started to feel a li'l not quite right soon after, had a pee stop and a chat with another brit doing same, and tried to find my rhythm again. Something wasn't quite right, so I drank, ate a li'l, and tried to shift the events of 2011 outta my head(which had now infiltrated). The next 15 miles were a bit of a blur, and the final push up to and into the special feed station were really nauseous. I grabbed my bag, started to look thru it, and, OH NO.....the same feeling I had 3 yrs ago was on me again.
I remember feeling a sense of panic, of resentment, of...of...sit down, collect myself. Feel strange, lay down....hear voices close by asking me if I want something...feel my eyes close. A dozen thoughts all at once had me shaking them open again and sitting up, answering the concerned aid station guys with a 'I'm fine, fine' before taking some strangely shallow, wheezy breaths and standing up, thinking I need to get going before I get too cold in the stiff breeze, and then......I'm on the floor, on my back, bike on me, people grabbing me straight away and talking at me. Guy asks me if I'm ok, I can't really respond, but mumble about being cold..foil blankets arrive, and everyone struggles to wrap me in the wind, and I'm shivering uncontrollably. Asked if I want to get in the ambulance, and I agree...need to be helped to it as legs are like a baby giraffe on ice. Wrapped in blanket, my drink brought to me, blood sugar tested immediately. Told it's very very low, and given a few chewy sweets, a banana. Blood pressure OK. Asked if I want to quit, get some medication and head back. Refuse, explaining the events in 2011, and that I'm finishing. Referee turns up and tells red cross guy I'm DQ'd..instantly snap into defensive mode and grill him(thru red cross interpreter) as to why; eventually agree I've had no medication and given a form to sign and hand in. Am then told they need to whizz off as been given an emergency shout and I've declined the medication.
Out I get into the wind again, still wet with sweat, and still shivering. I grab a couple of discarded bags and stuff them down the front of my tri-suit(much to the bemusement of volunteers) and grab my bike. Still a li'l tingly thru my limbs, I head gingerly toward the super fast, super tricky descent into Haria, which I manage to wind down thru with aplomb, being waved thru a few times by more careful riders. Crack on up to Mirador del Rio, captivated again by the views, and then on down to Arrietta at a good, fast pace, using the road well, but aware to constantly self-mointor my status, as it's a dangerous place to be switching off. Pass lots of peeps, chat to some, crack on at a decent, but conservative pace, and eventually turn inland and onto the shallow climb to Nazaret, right into the howling gale. Follow a Spaniard who's struggling up, and decide to just sit back a bit from him to try and avoid a big hit from the wind. SHIT....I can feel myself shaking out of li'l micro's happening again. I know it. I get to the aid station and get off straight away, and sit down, against a wall...aware constantly of voices offering me 'agua, cola, redbull' of which I take some water, pop an electrolyte tab into it, and have a sip of cola. Then I hear voices again, offering eyes open...I've dropped off briefly, raise my glasses and look at a girl, and politely decline...this repeats 2/3 times, each time i put my glasses back over my eyes to knowingly prevent them seeing me nod off...I'm scared they'll call an ambulance and I'll be dragged off...I just need time, I tell myself...then the thoughts flash thru: telling Fletch I've got no new medal to show him, seeing the faces of my pals as I appear in transition with no medal and a bad look on my face, explaining to everyone why I've failed again. Fletch and medal, blog, friends' comforting words....... 

"Lee, are you OK"? Michelle rides past and her words wake me up...I think I shook my head, tried to speak but I don't know for sure...Mind clears very quickly, and I start to process the situation. Drink...think, calm, think...I get on my bike and my head clears a li'l...I can feel my heart racing at the thought of failing, and start spinning off along the horrible surface at this point of the route. I pass people again, and start to feel heavy legged, but better in my head...I start to think about arriving at T2, this is good, I tell myself...and as the KMs tick by, I wander between arriving and moving on, and arriving and stopping...I'm just not thinking straight. I'm unsure if I can do the run...again the thoughts of the consequences race thru...and suddenly I'm at the final turn into town, having seemingly flashed down the fast, flowing long descent on auto pilot. 
I'm convincing myself I can't do the run, I'm just not in any safe state to do another 5/6/7 hrs of work....I'm getting off at T2, and done. I'm deffo done.....Applause. Cheers. Smiling people direct me to a halt, and thru to more smiling people taking my bike...I ask where to go, not sure what's happening, and then I'm in the change tent via the toilet, talking to a nice lady about this ridiculous sport we do. We're both happy in our convo, and I explain all about 2011...and then I'm out the entrance...wobbling off in my running shoes. What the hell just happened??? More applause and cheers...I'm ON THE RUN. Holy shit... 
(total of 1hr30mins off the bike, in la la land))
Ironman Lanzarote 26.28 mi 05:51 13:20 pace
#pec 137 #edim #running right, here instalment
So, I find myself in fresh run shorts(sensibly changed on auto pilot), calf guards, and my run shoes, on the Lanzarote run all honesty, it was a bit surreal; I simply didn't know how I got there. "I'm running...I said I was going to stop".."my head feels ok, my legs are a bit stiff" "no, hang on...I need a banana"...but off I went..kind of in a lollioping, jogging, li'l dream world that didn't hurt too much, or make much sense either. Music.....Colours and shapes of people wishing well blurred past, the sea to my right filling my peripheral, the silhouettes of competitors on the other side of the road, and I remember looking at their wristbands(for laps) and thinking that there's no way I was gonna make it around 3 laps..I wished I was one of them. I just kept going tho, not really sure what I was doing it for. 
Feed station came, banana in, coke in, water in....a familiar voice pipes up to my left, and my mate Kev is in my vision(I didn't hear/process what he said, but was told after it was "Cava for breakfast", a thing we'd joked about for post race). I am half running half walking, then I see a familiar sight-Gaz boi, in our OLT team colours, walking up a slight incline toward me. I'm aware of stopping running, and talk with him, trying to explain a few things..I feel embarrassed, anxious, and worried he's OK all at the same time. Off he goes, on I look and try to progress, still thinking I'm not gonna be finishing but still moving forward. Struggling to breathe, and can't run because of this; short, sharp breaths that I can't control. Next thing I'm aware of is Peter, calling at me, but I'm past him before I can react or process what he's saying. I think I kinda waved an arm in response to a typical Pete quote of warrior proportions, and walk on...I can see in the distance the turn around area, way beyond the airport, and my heart sinks..."I've gotta do this AGAIN"? "AND another smaller loop? Michelle passes me, says something, I stop and we kind of hug, but I really am not in a good place, and just kind of react as best I can. The next 2hours are like a record stuck on a loop; feel weird, water and banana, walk/jog, coke, walk/jog, banana and water...feel weird, and so on. I constantly want to sit down and cry. 
The light starts to fade, and I've been trying, but failing to calculate the time remaining, and my projected finish time, but think I'm ok to sneak inside the cut off...I've been walking, jogging, thanking people screaming encouragement at me from the roadside, from inside restaurants, from fellow competitors. Always checking their bands when my eyes are able to focus properly. Always wishing I was in possession of another, and on my way home. Massive lows come and go, where I think again of the talks I'll have to have with the kids, colleagues, my friends at transition, the blog I'll have to write conceding defeat. Time after time I consider just laying down closing my eyes and waiting...I pass people slumped at the side of the road..each one making me want to do the same, and simultaneously making me thankful I'm still upright. Bananas and water...coke...wobble. Repeat. Cold. Eyes wobbly. 
It's dark now, the wind is fierce in some places, the route is lonely. Very lonely. No one will see me if I sit down at the side. I can't stop. I'll be left here. There goes Hollie again(I'm sure I saw her before). And Michelle(did I say hello again?). I'm in total dreamland, my legs ache on and off, and I still can't accurately process my finish time. Ian goes by on his bike and asks if I'm ok...I shake my head and mumble about ambulances. Plod on, totally dejected.
Final turn around did I get here? I really have 2 bands on my arm? Kev, Gaz...asking me if I'm ok.."no"...will I make it they say "yeah"..." I can't not make it, can I"
The last loop was the best, and most conscious. I owe a great deal to a Dutch guy named Marcel. We spoke; about life, love, Ironman, work, kids.....He stopped to cuddle his toddler at the side of the road, and I waited for him. We walked together lots. His stride was longer than mine by a fair way(and mine is big). I ran a li'l, feeling guilty, and that I need to, but he caught up a couple of times as I wobbled a bit and spoke with myself, away with the fairies, making my peace with the events of the day. We walked together for 2miles, and came to the final few hundred metres. We saw a guy in front, jogging, but slower than our walk. I explained I needed to run in, and we shook hands. I ran thru the crowd, and everyone was screaming, cheering, high fiving me. 
I paused a li'l, as I caught another straggler, and allowed myself my own moment crossing the line. The lovely Kenneth Gasquet(race director) shook my hand, patted me on the back, and I wobbled away, medal around my neck. I think I heard my name announced.
I couldn't, and still can't, process how on Earth I got there. I really can't. Even now, 4days later, it feels like a dream; a surreal, otherworldly place I existed in. I was in the absolute depths of personal failure and despair. Minutes rolled by without me even realising or knowing what I'd done. And yet here I was with a medal. One that eluded me in 2011, and I was convinced had done the same in 2014. But I had it around my neck. 

I still don't think It's really sunk in what I went thru. I've spoke to people about the 'dark places' in races, but this was something else...I don't claim to know completely why we as humans do these things to ourselves, or how we find it within ourselves to find that....*something* that allows us to continue to follow our own personal dreams. I always have, and will, applaud anyone who dares to walk where those angels fear to tread. Or to quote: 
"it is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat"
My place will never be with those cold, timid souls.
Heartfelt thanks to those back at home who were anxiously following my progress, and the support I've been afforded. It's incredibly humbling. I'm just an idiot who tries hard to blag his way thru some tough times. Sometimes I get it right, often I get it wrong. This is how I am.
Like I said, the dust has now settled...I said after the race that no more would I put myself up against the full IM distance, and that I'd enjoy some 70.3 racing(where I feel at home and happy to redline for the duration), and shorter. 
But here's the thing: Lanzarote. It takes a hold of you, and pulls you toward it, like a big, volcanic, hard as nails opponent throwing down the gauntlet. I can't shift it outta my head. I know people who will race next year. I want to be there; to support, and holiday. But I know, I just know I can't think of going there on race week and not be a part of what is just a phenomenal behemoth of Triathlon. I will assess things over the next few weeks, and really dig deep into my soul for answers on what to do. Financially it'll eat me as much as anything else too. But that's just a small part of the
I have some exciting racing ahead, to keep me busy, hard working, and happy. Moving beyond those.....
Watch. This. Space. 
Leeky out xXx

Friday, 19 April 2013

We are stronger

I know there have been many blogs and posts, with some wonderful words, but I wanted and felt the need to do my own. 
Monday, April 15th.
 I got home from work and set about uploading training data, and catching up with the online community of runners, cyclists, swimmers, and triathletes that I am proud and honored to be a part of and in many cases to call some friends, in every real sense of the word. Something flicks up on twitter about Boston Marathon. I then recall that it's today that it's on, and wonder how many peeps I may know running. I dig deeper into the news, and I'm struck with shock and slight disbelief at what I'm finding: EXPLOSIONS...FINISH LINE...4hrs...INJURIES...DEAD. 
Those of you that know me and know me well, will know that I am very much a pacifist, a humanist, a live and let live person. I've been thru the testosterone-driven fisticuffs in life and sport, but I've grown into a human that likes to observe, accept and appreciate others, their ways and their beliefs. I sincerely believe, also, that the vast majority who choose to dedicate themselves to endurance sport share this ethos. We share a common bond; to challenge ourselves in a way that does not adversely affect anyone, but positively improves us, our families, society at large and we do so in our own li'l minority world, free from politics, racism, homophobia or religious argument. We get lampooned about our sportswear, our 'holier than thou' 'green' attitude, our seemingly self promoting smug posts, but I believe also, that in reality people generally respect us for what we do; our sacrifices, commitment and what we stand for. 
To choose our li'l self contained world of positivity to create fear and destruction is a cold move into a very low place. To strike the common man, he or she who has maybe overcome some pretty hefty odds stacked against them, physical or mental challenges, who is a magnificent example of strength and courage, of what we can achieve as individuals, is beyond my comprehension. And, seemingly the sporting community at large. Immediately there followed a flood of disbelief, reports, info-sharing, caring, concern, support. The collective pain was palpable. 
The Boston Marathon. Forever tainted, against anyone remotely connected to it's wishes. 

We are a strange but tough bunch tho, us part-time, time crunched, wanna be athletes. We fight against anyone that attacks us, en masse, and vehemently stand up for what we believe in. We unite. 

This Sunday is the London Marathon. For many it will be the pinnacle of their sporting lives; the ultimate goal of dedication they maybe only dreamed about. Now these people have been forced, against their wishes, to re-evaluate whether they should run; whether to worry, unnecessarily their families and friends. Why should they have to do this
I will be running; it will be my forth in five years, and I would never contemplate withdrawing. I do not scare easily, or fold when backed into a corner. I fight my cause, I stand up for what is good and true. However I also completely understand those who choose to take the easy and safe route in these circumstances. I accept their decision without question; I am a father, a son, brother. I feel that fear and feel the pain for those decisions. I sincerely hope that the actions of a few deranged excuses for humans does not spoil the future sporting goals of the many. I hope with all my heart that people return to run Boston. That no-one stays away from London. I believe, that the majority will return, and will turn out on Sunday. The runners, the volunteers, the supporters. It's what we do; it's what we have committed to, it's what we love. I even think it will be maybe the best London experience yet, because-we are stronger. We do not wish to be a part of the problems of the world when we pull on our run vests and lace our favourite runners. We take great personal offense at being affected. We pull together. 


I will wear my first time Marathon vest from the 2009 Flora London Marathon as my own li'l tribute to Boston; it is blue and yellow, the colours of their race, and has a special place in my heart as the best moment in my sporting life up 'til that time. It will be an emotional day, but I will run with pride, and solidarity for my fellow Marathoners.    

Be proud in what you do. Have faith in the will of the many. 


Sunday, 8 January 2012

That was the year that was...not?


Nearly eight months since my last post. Hmm..'last post'. Kinda the appropriate theme tune to the Lanzarote Ironman. Failure: whatever the reasons, whatever fate threw up for me last year, it was still failure. I can deal with failure; it holds no fear for me. I've been to some very low places-some out of my physical control, which allows me to step back and view that 'bigger picture' which is always a sobering, grounding perspective. Less than three hours after being pretty much unconscious at the top of Lanzarote, my baby boy was sitting on my knee, unaware of the thumping headache(and sorry-arsed heartache at not achieving a dream) telling me that "it's alright, Daddy" and being interested only in what I can entertain him with, and what fun things we could do next. In an instant, the Ironman dream mattered not one li'l bit. I simply could NOT wallow in any self pity. I did go out and complete the bike course 5days later, just to get it done..but...MOVE ON!!

But only for a while, OK??? It is most definitely an itch that not only needs scratching, but needs ongoing attention. I have the long distance bug, regardless if I'm built/conditioned for it or not. I have not been scared off, I'm not full of 'revenge', more like...I have a reborn desire to improve on myself; to learn my life-limits in training, understand more the importance of preparation, and carry out a race plan that I know will work.

I didn't waste much time in toeing the line again, the Nokia Windsor Olympic distance Triathlon was only three weeks after the big day on Lanza, and as a first time participant, and wounded warrior, the goal was simple: enjoy the race. Go through the motions, soak up the atmosphere, love the Tri life again. It went great; lazy but not too shabby swim, smooth bike, and a decent run, in awful conditions. Loved it, and I was happy with my performance. Two weeks later I had a big day out planned: 154miles of Flatout in the Fens with my work pal Al. I went into it never having gone further than 95miles on a bike. WOWSERS, what a day; mental barriers broken through, back pain suffered and dealt with, a friendship built upon, a big deal done.
The end of July brought my next BIG goal: going under 02:30 for Olympic distance at the Virgin Active London triathlon. I was firing on all cylinders in the week preceding this race, and I mean really firing; flying for me, but still with that 'in reserve' feeling. Two days before the race was Fletcher's 3rd birthday and I spent the morning on the floor playing with him and his new toys. Great..or at least it would have been if I had done my stretching properly for my back issues that week. 'POP' went the lower vertebrae. Agony ensued, and the race was a painful mess of lop-sided swimming, super-fast biking on aerobars(comfy in a doubled over position), and a painful, wonky run. I finished 56secs outside of my goal. I feel sure I lost at least 3/4mins thru painful, uncomfortable racing. Gutted. MOVE ON!!

I got wind of a chance to race the Vitruvian on September 3rd from my twitter pal Jon, and jumped at it. I wanted I guess, to prove to myself I could put together a raceplan, stick to it and finish comfortably. I did. It went smooth as can be, not as fast as I could have been, but quick still, for me; an improvement of 50mins on my previous middle distance race, and I felt in total control throughout. I can't really say how happy/relieved I felt at this result. It was a confirmation of what I thought I could do. I got the chance to say hi to Twitter pals Claire and Corinne, and wave back at Sally(who I didn't know was racing but guessed it was her, lol) and had 2 guys, Ian and Kev I know from home racing to gee me on on the run too. A very good day at the office.
I entered the Brighton Marina tri on a whim, at the end of Sep, with the aim to have fun, in front of my boy, Ma n Pa, flew around with a smile on my face and somehow crossed the line 33rd out of 126 finishers. Nice curtain call.

So that was the racing.
That was the year that was NOT the year I became an Ironman. Or went under 02:30 for OD.

It was also the year that was NOT the year I cemented the relationship I went into it with. Irritations and small differences in personalities ate away at me there. It was also NOT the year I rekindled a relationship with Fletcher's mum and made a little utopian lifestyle for me/us/my boy. But in all honesty, I am glad we can both move on, still on good terms, and find our own personal happiness however we can. It wasn't to be; life was never made to be easy, or perfect. MOVE ON!!

It WAS the year that:
I conquered my second of the three high peaks of mainland Britain; Ben Nevis, on an epic ridge walk with the guys from work, who had put their trust in me to get them safely to the top of the Ben with an adventurous route thrown in for good measure. Cracking weekend.
I popped my 100mile cherry on the bike in style, a feat in itself considering my mangled back.
My relationship with my beautiful boy moved up a level as he has grown. It's like having a mini, extra special best mate with cuddles and kisses on tap!
I started a new relationship, thanks to a connection with two of my twitter/Facebook pals: Ally and Steve, that came out the blue but just 'works' and feels right. Very right. Didn't see that coming AT ALL, I'd contented myself with just doin my own thing for the foreseeable, but I'm in a very happy place with the wonderful Diane right now.
I committed to becoming a better athlete. I know that I have not even come anywhere near achieving what I should(not could) do, and it's time I started to correct that imbalance. I enjoy my racing but need to perform a bit better now.

Where are we now then??
Well..That was the week that was...

The first week of training for 2012. A year which has two main goals:

Virgin London Marathon in April, and being lighter, and leaner than my previous two Londons, I'm aiming for a trouble free build up for the first time and see how I can go. I am positive that my 04:34 will be obliterated.
The Outlaw Ironman distance Triathlon July 1st. This is THE focus of this year. I have already visualised this race over and over again. I WILL complete it, and complete it well. I WILL COMPLETE IT.

I have signed up to the Dailymile site, and hope..well know, that it will help with my focus and motivation for this year. There are lots of you guys from Twitter and Facebook on there that I already respect, and appreciate feedback from, and some new guys that have been introduced to me. I hope I can find the time to properly share your experiences this year, and do justice to the time you invest in motivating me.
I already have some fantastic support from old friends, colleagues, and new friends on my adventures, and hope that you will enjoy following my antics. It's gonna be a good year.


Leekyboy out :)

Sunday, 15 May 2011


nearly 2months since last blog and I really feel like I've not fulfilled my obligation to this supposed 'warts and all' accompaniment to my ironman journey. Feel I should make up for the last few mnths all at once but truth is I just can't bring myself to put others in the firing line and expose them to what I'm able to do with my life; be honest, open and up front. Well.. I guess I better do some explaining to some extent as I've just been absent..where I start is another matter. Let's get the Ironman specific stuff done n dusted first. In no way possibly can you describe my schedule as typical..nor normal, or even recommended as a plan of action..indeed it has been an absolute mess of a plan as far as 'the norm' goes, but you know what? It has been as much as I can, as hard as I can, and with the passion and determination that defines me. I have had times of absolute fatigue, but have pushed thru that because I have done what I always do; put myself up there to be judged..and I will NOT take the easy way out, ever. I do not know how to quit, be a slob, be the norm. As I always have said.."there ain't no such word as 'can't' " I'll do what I say I'm gonna do, or at least I'll try harder than most to fit in the effort and show the guts we all have but seldom know how to use. Well. I am out here..I have my kit, my fitness and my attitude ; my best quality. Negativity, excuses and blame do not live in my make up, I'll take it all on the chin if I have to, and dammit I'll mostly try and do it with a smile, life is too precious and delicate to be angry and resentful. There are some attributes within me that may need explaining. This is not an easy part of this openness, and it has taken me til now to even consider laying my thoughts on the line on this issue. My mental fortitude has most definitely been sculpted by 2 major physical events in my life. In 1998 I was rushed to hospital with suspected meningitis and kept in for a few days, 2 weeks later I was on a drip, wires and fighting for my life with encephalitis, and I promise to you all now, I was most definitely thinking I was a dead man. I had already made my peace, accepted my fate, and was ready to not wake up. Yes really. But I never gave up totally and made it thru. No words can ever describe what I felt, saw, experienced. Absolutely no words. And I am eternally grateful to have experienced that, yes, has cemented my attitude toward life, affirmation that my view of 'seizing the day' and 'making the most' was the key to a happy life. 2nd issue-and bizarrely a source of amusement to my old football team pals. My back. I spent over a year of aches and pains, b4 I collapsed on the floor and eventually got diagnosed a further year later with slight spina bifida. The word slight makes no allowances for pain, I might add. Every god damn day I have to stretch, mobilise and strengthen just to prevent pain. I hate it. With a passion. It hurts, every day. EVERY DAY. It is no fun, and I resent so much my old mates for taking the piss. Conversely I am so proud that I refuse to acknowledge it as a problem. So fucking what? I don't have big metal rods in my back and I can do whatever I want. So the doc says maybe I'll be in a wheelchair in the future? I'm not now, and that's all that matters. So. Who wants to know the personal deets? The love life if you will? Well..things were never perfectly set in stone with Emma, and I always thought something was missing. I don't know what. I can guess, can make assumptions but at the end of the day maybe it's just that 'something'. And that something was not there. Now to the here and now. I don't know how this really started, but. Claire(Fletcher's mum) and I have been talking, chatting whatever you wanna say..and we are getting on more than we have done b4. Well, it feels like it did way back when and is a very happy situation. Comfortable, fun, familiar, connected. Really did not expect this to be the situation but I'm loving it tbh. And Fletchypoos is seemingly blooming as a consequence. I now have a fan club flying out to support me on Weds and can't wait. Leeky out xx

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Quick, March!!

Shit-is it? Already?? Blimey-time flies when you're having fun, huh??
FUN?: your definition please, Mr. Kennedy.
Errrrm..well, insofar as my training is concerned, I'd pretty much have to say I have really REALLY enjoyed being so 'thrown into' it, day-in, day-out. No, honestly I have..there have been some horrendously tired moments, but mainly due to that bloody thing called work getting in the way; getting home at 01:00ish one week, getting up at 02:30ish the next plays absolute havoc with the ability to switch off and sleep for more than just a few hrs at a time. But the actual time spent swimming, cycling or running has been great; felt really comfortable and ever more so 'in the groove'. I seem to have ingrained into my being the routine of(and need to, maybe) regular, meaningful, training sessions. I've been getting a bag ready for work at 8pm, ready for an 03:00 commute on the bike, and been looking forward to the crisp, quiet morning air; I've found myself day dreaming on the way home on a train around midday, thinking about which route I can take for a run, once lunch is out the way, or of how many/how long the sets in the pool will be, how I can keep the interest and work myself. So I obviously am enjoying it, so it must be fun, right?..Right?? Just ignore me when I look like a zombie, and have a face like a smacked arse, it's just the lack of sleep!!

One piece of sad news this month to report.
My Nan (Dad's mum) died after a period of ill health, aged a whopping 90 yrs old.
My last grand parent has gone off to wherever it is they go, to prepare biscuits, cakes and sweeties for me, for whenever it is I'll get a chance to be spoiled rotten by them again. She's having a much deserved rest after a life of looking after 10 kids, and dozens of grand kids. Sleep well xx

I'm feeling less pressure and stress in general, thanks(?) to the lack of relationship constraints, and trying to spread myself too thin all the time. I've been able to use my rest time properly and actually put my feet up, relax and recharge. And I have noticed the difference in a massively positive way; I fear the above paragraph could not have been on the subject it is, had I not learned to switch off when needed. I have also been able to have some great times with Fletcher without the need to have us 'fit in' with others, just me and him, mucking around, playing and enjoying our time together. Those are happy days indeed.

Breaking news: Hastings Half done (with some Team Outrageous guys) in a Personal Best time, and sub 8min/miling for the first time in a race above 5k.

Races to date 2011: Thanet Duathlon 2.4M/9M/4.5M Time: 02h30m (fun only) Cold water swim champs-Tootin Bec Lido. Relay, 30m(freezing fun)

Kentish Killer cyclo-sportive: 72.8M in 05h34m (inc 2 pitstops for munchies)

Hastings Half-Marathon: 01:42:28

Stats for week 7:
Weight 13st 3lb (-4lb)
Body fat % 14.2 (-.4%)
H2O % 62.2 (-)

ta ta for now


Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The Good, The Bad, So Hug Me??

Hey ho, here we go with February's 1st blog..
since last time around:

The Good..
Training is really getting in the groove, weight is dropping and I've got that exercise addiction feeling going on. Regular sessions are really moreish and are self perpetuating; the more I do, the more I want to do..something, anything!..Swimming is becoming strangely.. easy??, I've gone from forcing myself thru half a mile to 'just pushing on' thru 2500m in 50mins within 3 wks-because I was enjoying it so much! Running is feeling comfortable, and more so it seems with every pound lost; quite happily doing 7miles @8m30s per mile pace and not feeling like I'm working too hard. No ankle issues either. I've got a good, fast cadence(>80) going on the bike, 15mph ave. pretty much everywhere, on fat 25mm commuter tyres, and up to 45 miles of rolling hills(pretty much all I ride) now.

The Bad.., did you hear about the 'relationship issues'?? Well, here's the news-I'm having to accept that I've relegated myself to the single league again. Not an easy thing to explain, but...I have a job that is time consuming; sometimes up at 03:00 one week, sometimes home at 01:00 the next, leaves you whacked. My boy doesn't live with me, have to make time for him to come see me, spend time with me. Have to. I need to train, as I've decided to join the circus of 'later life sport' (which to be fair, will benefit me, and my boy, so I certainly don't see that as a selfish pursuit) which also requires allotted time. Time for myself?? Hmm...maybe not, if you are seeing someone with kids of her own, like a bloody military manoever fitting in-between different families. Couple this with the fact I really, REALLY don't like not living with my boy, and sometimes spending more time with the 'other half's' kids..well there's just a volcano of discomfort waiting to manifest into an emotional 'blowout'. I just can't be a nasty, tantrum-prone man, so for me, it was easier to remove myself from the problem equation, and concentrate on what, right now, is important; My boy's relationship with me, work, and me(and my sporting lifestyle).

So Hug Me??
haha, well..maybe not YOU-but the metaphorical hugging I'm benefiting from right now is in the form of just talking more to people I need to. Old friends from school, the Triathlon, running and cycling community and online world..discussing things that are just, you know, 'me'. And of course-my real hugs from Fletcher, my boy wonder and raison d'etre. Nothing ever quite makes me so happy, needed, or determined to be a relative success than one of his best, and the accompanying smile.

Races to date 2011: Thanet Duathlon 2.4M/9M/4.5M Time: 02h30m (fun only)

Cold water swim champs-Tootin Bec Lido. Relay, 30m(freezing fun)

Jobs to do this week:
Prep bike for Kentish Killer sportive

Stats for week 7:
Weight 13st 7lb (-4lb)
Body fat % 14.6 (-1.4%)
H2O % 62.2 (+0.7)

ta ta for now