Friday, 18 February 2011

Another donation, a physio session and a yoga session

Today was a busy busy day.  Besides the work aspect, I started the day with a physio session which involved doing various exercises whilst standing on a flat disc shaped inflatable.  Of course the fact it is filled with air means it is very unstable when standing with both feet on it, as every movement with one foot causes a movement for the other foot.  Therefore your feet are constantly moving small amounts to keep the balance.

Then at lunchtime was the tougher yoga class.  Today I didn't find it as tough as last week, but then again we didn't do so many abs focussed exercises this time.  Before and after the class I practised my handstands again, and the longest I managed was 5 seconds, so a small improvement there.  It feels like I would only need slightly more balance and then I could hold it much longer.  I almost managed to stop myself from falling but obviously not quite enough.

I also got another donation on my fundraising page from a colleague.  Based on the number of days left till the Marathon des Sables itself, I need now to get about £10 per day in donations in order to meet the minimum target.  When you break it down like this it does seem perfectly reasonable although of course there is a point when the donations slow down once you have asked all your circle of friends and colleagues.  At the moment though there are 65 donors, and my circle of friends and colleagues certainly includes more than 65 people so I am not running out of people to ask yet.  I also asked various magazines if they would run an article on me to get increased exposure.  That and in addition the UBS internal magazine.

The corporate sponsor hasn't come back to me yet, but I do have one who has pledged something very interesting that may help me to bring in a lot of money.  I am waiting for them to draw up the contract first though before I can reveal more details.  It would certainly be of interest to people living in Zurich.

Well folks that's me signing out for tonight.  Tomorrow I am planning to go cross country skiing again as long as there is enough snow and the cross country trails are open.  I wish you all a goodnight.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

My claim to fame

You can find my mugshot in the following 2 local UK newspaper articles :)‘toughest%20footrace’

It's much better being in there for fundraising than for appearing in court on vandalism or drugs charges like a lot of the stories.  It is a refreshing change when the press prints nice positive stories rather than depressing ones about the negative aspects of the world such as plane crashes, boats that sink, riots and terrorism, murders e.t.c.

A note to the press - please keep up the positivism.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Today's cardio combo

Todays training once again started at 6am.  First I did 20 minutes on the cross trainer, initially on level 10 of 20 and then I ended up on level 20 (the most difficult level) as I got quite pumped up to the music.  Following this I did one hour on the static bike in hill training mode.  Today was therefore more of a strength/ interval session that a steady rate cardio session.  I thought this would help to further increase the muscle strength in my legs and thus help to support my knee even more when I start running again.

After the cardio I spent a good 20 minutes stretching and doing hip stabilisation exercises.  I am so far from being able to do the box splits it is incredible, but with frequent stretching maybe I can get a little bit nearer.  When I used to do martial arts I could do a sidekick above my head.  I would like to be able to do this again.

That's all for today folks as I need to get some sleep ready for my next training session which surprise surprise is tomorrow :))

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Finally past the 6,000 GBP mark

Well today is a great day in the history of my campaign to raise 10,000 GBP for Mencap.  I finally passed the 6,0000 GBP mark, which is where I hoped to be with donations from friends and family before really having to push hard on corporate sponsors.  There are still quite a few people who have promised to sponsor me in the coming weeks and if I am really lucky that will push me over 7,000 GBP.  For any strangers reading this blog wondering what I am talking about, take a look at my fundraising page

On the exercise front today I had another physio session, this time on  the wobble board.  For anyone who doesn't know what a wobble board is, it is a circular disc with a smaller circular disc underneath and you stand on top of the large disc and move around on top of it.  Since the disc underneath is smaller, the whole thing is not very stable and your muscles around your knees and ankle and those in your core have to work hard to keep you balanced.  After half an hour on that my muscles were nice and warm and it was a nice feeling.

Then at lunchtime was yoga again.  Each week I notice more and more improvements in terms of the time I am able to hold the poses comfortably and the moves I am able to attempt where previously I may have given up.  Also the handstands are coming along nicely too.  At the beginning of each lesson I try to hold a handstand and whilst several weeks ago I fell over immediately, now bit by bit I am starting to feel more stable and I can hold them for a few seconds at least.  With time I am hoping to be able to hold them for maybe a minute or more.  The other new move I attempted today was to do the bridge pose and then to lift one leg in the air and point it towards the ceiling.

I think tomorrow I may get up early and have another attempt at the 1 hour timed row on the Concept2.  Or I may go on the static bike instead.  So many choices - oooooh my head hurts :).  Remember I am still on a running break till next Monday - doctors orders.

Monday, 14 February 2011

What better way to start my birthday than with a new PB

This morning was another early one, despite it being my birthday.  I woke up at 5am and after opening my presents and playing a little treasure hunt game that Anny had prepared for me I went to the gym at work.

I decided to have a proper attempt at the timed 1 hour Concept2 row that I had tried the other day but couldn't focus properly on, knowing that my neighbours downstairs could hear me and were not amused.  But at the UBS gym there is no-one to care about the noise of the fan whirring, and I knew I could do a better performance.

I started off quite fast and the pace /500m was below 2:00 for almost the whole of the first thirty minutes.  Then as tiredness started to set in the pace went more towards 2:05.  I knew that I was going to beat my distance of 13,521m from last time, but I still wanted to do a lot better than that.

In the end I managed a total distance of around 14,400m.  I would give the exact figure but tonight whilst plugging the cable from my laptop to my PM3 so I could read the data off my log card which I took to work with me, something snapped inside the PM3 and I can no longer use it as a card reader.  I will have to get a replacement and then I will be able to give the exact figure.

This was a great start to the day indeed.  I had a quick look at the Concept2 online world rankings for men of all ages, both heavyweights and lightweights, and I am now in the top 50th percentile, which I am very pleased with.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

The snow may be gone in Einsideln but it isn't in Stueden

As you all know, cross country skiing this season has become my weekend hobby.  So I was getting sightly disappointed that I haven't done it for the last 3 weeks and decided this weekend do or die, I would do it.

I checked the snow report in Stueden last night and all looked good.  27km/27km were open and the condition of the tracks was described as good.  Stueden isn't the easiest place to get to as the connections are not so often, but it only takes 1 hour and 20 minutes from Zurich if you do make all the connections.

I arrived at Stueden just before midday and by the time I hired the equipment I was out on the track by 12.15pm.  After a few minutes of stretching I set off and I wasn't sure how well I would do after a 3 week break.  A few minutes after setting off though I realised that the 3 week break had done me no harm at all, and if anything my balance was better.  Maybe it is the combination of extra pilates, yoga and rowing that is starting to strengthen my core and improve my balance or maybe it is magic - I will never know which.

In total I did about 15km which is not my furthest to date, but I only stopped a couple of times and this certainly is an improvement.  In the last few km though I realised that 15km would be enough for today, especially as I am still in the phase of trying to combat my runners knee, and now I am back safe and warm in Zurich.  I don't know if Anny's spanish side is starting to influence me, but I am just about to take a siesta.  Adios amigos y hasta luego, Pablo.