Mojo

So far this year I’ve mostly split my exercise between 3 things:

  • Mountain biking
  • Running
  • Yoga

I’ve been running a lot more than biking in last month or so and have pretty much neglected my bike. It’s an odd feeling to be unexcited by anything to do with riding. It’s not my usual mindset and I’m not really comfortable with it. I’m normally the one trying to plan things and organise rides with my friends.

So what has happened? Well, I hit a bit of burnout. I lost my mojo (to quote Austin Powers).

About a month ago. I went out for a ride after work in my local woods and came home after about 30 minutes. I just wasn’t feeling it. Why? I think I was exhausted and needed a bit of a break from it. Between starting a new job, general life stresses, running a lot and going away riding each weekend, I’d just been pushing myself too hard. Something had to give.

Being a mountain biker in Norfolk is hard. Its like being to be swimmer who you lives in a desert.

Norfolk boats a dizzying 300 feet/100 metres of elevation from sea level, meaning that we are heavily reliant on travelling to other places to ride where there are such luxuries.

Don’t get me wrong, living here has helped push me to go and visit to some amazing places in the country (and world) to ride my bike and makes me more appreciative of landscapes more rugged than Norfolk but it adds complications to going out for a little local ride.

Over time the travel adds up to long weekends and late nights driving; Which is also hard when you are juggling this with everyone’s life commitments.

After having some time away from the bike I’m due to return this weekend for a Mini Enduro race at the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. A place I am familiar with and with some good (fast) friends.

It should be fun and other than some nerves about being back on a bike for a race after a month of no real riding, I’m excited to try and get my bike mojo back.

My first (10k) running race

Last Sunday I ran my first proper 10k event. It was one of my two goals for 2019:

  • Run a sub-20 minute 5k parkrun
  • Run a timed 10k event

The Marriott’s Way 10k run actually turned out to be the Marriott’s Way 10k race, which to be honest a bit of a shock as I noticed this after I had entered…

I guess I should have really paid more attention when I signed up. Either way it didn’t put me off. The route ran point to point from Alysham to Reepham on the Marriott’s Way (disused trainline)

In the 2 weeks in the run up to the event, I did a couple of 5k and 10k runs in my local woods at different paces and battled an on/off cold. Because of the cold I was unable to make my Wednesday training sessions which was a bit of a worry as I feel I get so much from them.

On race day the heavens decided not only to open, but downpour non-stop with big rain that caused widespread floods across Norfolk and eventually shut some of our roads. I did question whether the race would even be run because it was so torrential.

By the time of the start (I was in wave 3 of 4 – each of 125 runners) I was already soaked through. The Mayor gave a little speech at the start and we all went off.

Finding a pace for something I have very little experience was hard. I had done a faster parkrun the morning before which I struggled through. But I managed to find a rhythm and tucked into 4th place in my wave of runners. I decided to try and keep the guy in front of me in sight and when we caught the backmarkers of the previous wave up, overtaking them gave me a little boost and smaller targets to aim for to catch and overtake.

The water and rain was persistent and didn’t ease for the whole run. This meant that the trail became very waterlogged and puddles formed. People were running on the grass at the sides which I found pretty slippery and more treacherous than running blindly into varying depth puddles. I like to think that my mountain biking adventurousness helped me run through the puddles here. Yay for bikes!

There was a warning given at the start to be careful of the sinkhole that had opened up at 7km and I was thankful to see a man in a hi-viz guarding the hole when I got there.

At the end of the trail the route went onto the road before it came into Reepham marketplace where I was able to pick off a few more backmarkers. I was very thankful for them being there to tow me along as by then I was kinda feeling it a bit as well as being cold and soaked through. Some of the puddles had been over my knees as I ran through them (no exaggeration).

Out of 369 runners I finished in 15th place with a time of 42:44. Incredibly happy with that as my first race and first timed 10k.

Next week it’s the East Coast 10k at Great Yarmouth. A road run with 1000 runners entered!

Twenty seconds?

This week has been an active one. Two 10k pb times and a few seconds shaved off a Strava segment in the woods.

After a disappointing 5 hours sleep and catching myself nodding off on the couch before leaving, I somehow bagged a Parkrun time of 19:48 with an average pace of 6:32. That’s 20 seconds off my PB at Catton. I came over the line 7th out of 459 runners. I’m pretty happy.

I’m honestly not sure how long I’ll be able to keep this pace up but I’ll ride it out for now. It’s fun.

Someone took this nice pic of me at the finish line…

Cracking 20

Since I got home from New Zealand at the end of February I have been going to Parkrun on a Saturday morning. So far I have done 12 but only 11 have been logged.
I have a few nearby to me here in Norwich but I usually go to offroad the courses as I’m not a big fan of road running.

I had set myself two goals this year for running:

1 – To run a 10k event
2 – To try and get a sub 20 minute Parkrun

Previous to today I had gotten my personal best time down to 20.14 and then 20.09 but both times I was breathing out my bum by the time I got to the finish, so I wasn’t sure where I might find those extra seconds.

Apparently today was the day. I came home in 11th out of 368 runners with a time of 19:52 🙂

A lovely sunny morning at a new venue for me – Gorleston-on-Sea Cliffs Parkrun. It was all tarmac so not my preferred terrain and even though I had forgotten my headphones it was still enjoyable – theres even an ice cream shop just at the finish too!

Marathon, you say?

Last night I was watching this interesting YouTube video about a lady called Courtney Dauwalter who was doing an Ultra Marathon. The race was 200 miles. Even though I have no immediate desire to run 200 miles, I was thinking about what a brilliant adventure it would be and how far my little legs could possibly carry me.

I guess I was maybe in a slightly vulnerable at this moment.

I happened to be sent a link to a local trail half and full marathon while watching and will now be running my first (trail) marathon in February 2020.

Scared? No.
Apprehensive? Sure.
Excited? Yes.

Portfolio

I’m a highly motivated and passionate front-end developer and digital designer, with a specialism in HTML email development.

I moved into my digital career in 2005 after teaching myself HTML and CSS and Flash.

I have been incredibly lucky to work in lots of different areas in the digital world with some amazing people and have thrived on any new learning or knowledge sharing opportunity.

My journey so far has been more generalist than specialist and for that I am grateful.

Download my CV/Resume

Here’s a few things I have done over the years…

Aviva:

HTML Email work

Virgin Money:

Digital signage for Manchester United
HTML Email work
Social Media projects
Credit Care Banner refresh

Freelance:

HTML Email tutoring
Pedal Addiction – Branding and more
Razz Club
Unit Cycles – Jersey designs
Abel Motorworks – Branding and digital presence

Aviva HTML Email work

In 2010 I created the HTML email development guidelines and base template for Aviva.

These guidelines were used extensively as a base for all email development for Aviva and are still in use today even though a lot of their development has moved on to using more responsive templates.

Aviva-HTML-email-guidelines