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Everything posted by SamD

  1. Bespokes Car Rental

    This weekend I rented a car from Bespokes car rental. Thought I would provide a little review of the service as well as the car that I rented. Hope this is useful to someone. For those of you that don't know, Bespokes rent a whole range of sports and prestige cars. I chose to rent their 1988 911 Carrera Targa, and to pick it up at a hotel in Watford. This was great as it saved me driving the car for the first time through London, as their main place is behind Kings Cross. Pick-up day arrived, and we made our way to the hotel to meet the delivery driver. First impressions were not great, as the driver was 40 minutes late, leaving us sitting in my wifes car with a hungry toddler in the back. Still when the car arrived it did make a good first impression, the noise was immense in comparison the the other commuter-mobiles on the road. The car was an 18 year old, grey-blue 911 Carerra 3.0 air cooled. The car has obviously been well loved in it's 18 years and was in remarkable condition considering the age and the fact that it is a hire car! It had acheived a mammoth 172,000 miles in it's life, not that you'd know. After going through the paper work using the spoiler as a desk, the delivery driver gave me a run through of the controls, and warned me to drive smoothly and avoid breaking/changing gears in corners (good advice seeing as it is a rear-engined, rear wheel drive car!) So the time finally came to start her up and get on the road. She started first time with a nice roar. The thing that struck me most was quite how heavy the clutch was! I could tell that I would build up my left leg muscle over the weekend. As I pulled out of the car park space I was struck by the next thing - there is no power steering, looked like I was going to get a good-work out driving this car! First journey was to go and pick my wife up from my Mum's house (where my daughter was spending the weekend). This involved a very busy stretch of M25, which was quite painful considering the clutch and steering! On the journey (which also involved driving through a town centre) I was struck by the realisation that this car makes no sense whatsoever at low speeds or in heavy traffic. That afternoon we set off for a weekend in the Cotswolds, which is where the car really came alive. On a nice fast twisty country road this car suddenly makes much more sense. Driving the Porsche is a very sensory experience - you hear the roar of the 3.0l flat size behind you, fight the steering and clutch, see the country side pass at a very quick pace, and smell the engine oil! Over the course of the weekend we had great fun in the car. I have to admit I was very cautious on the few occasions that it rained, but when it was dry I gave it all I dared. The roar of the engine certainly turned a few heads, and I got a few waves from more modern Porsche drivers! I delivered the car back to Kings Cross this morning on the day to work, which all went very smoothly. All in all I have been very impressed with the service from Bespokes, they provided me with a fabulously maintained car that never missed a beat. The only question left, is which car to hire next! Pictures of the car to follow!
  2. Anyone want an E Class....

    Think I might go any park the car somewhere else for a bit....
  3. Fitness thread - Q1/12

    Today is my 1 year anniversary on the road to fitness, so I thought I'd repost a blog post that I wrote about it all. It also happens that on this anniversary I took another 2 minutes off of my half marathon PB with a 1:41:eek: 1st April 2011. That was a pretty important day in my life. I'd reached 34 years old, was pretty close to being 20 stone/280lbs and incredibly unhappy. Fortunately, it was also the day that I had a medical through work, and was confronted with the necessary hard truths to get me to change. *Everything* For that day was the first day on my road to health and fitness, and if someone told me then what I would have achieved in a year I'd have laughed until I cried. The journey has not been easy - in fact at times it's been damn hard - but it's been more than worth it. I've lost a total of 8 stone/112lbs/51kg in the last 12 months and achieved more than I could have dreamt possible. For the first 2 months of my journey I focussed on becoming more active by walking every day, and eating a better diet, but soon I wanted more. That more, as it turned out, was running. I discovered the C25K programme and after getting through those first few breathless runs I started to actually *enjoy* it - to say that surprised me would be an understatement. After 7 weeks of the programme I tackled my first 5K race - I finished in a time of 34:25 - I was pretty happy with that, and honestly didn't think I'd get much faster. Today I broke my road 5K PB as part of a half marathon, and did it in 22:36, so yeah it's fair to say I've got a bit quicker (my all time 5K PB was on a treadmill and is 21:15) I then moved on to building up to the 10KM distance and finished my first 10KM in June in 1:12 - again I've improved a little bit on that, and again broke it today as part of the half marathon with a time of 46:11. In September I did what I would have thought would have been impossible when I ran my first half marathon. I completed that in a time of 2:07:54 and was totally ecstatic! Today I ran my 4th official half marathon in a time of 1:41:23 a 2 minute PB - it felt quite special to do that on my anniversary! In 8 short weeks time I will attempt my first full marathon. 26.2 miles. Just saying that scares the living daylights out of me, but I know I will finish it. If I can go from not being able to run for a minute less than a year ago to a fairly decent half time today I can get through 26.2 in someway or another! Besides running and weightloss, a lot of other things have changed in the last year. For one I discovered the Tumblr health and fitness community. The people I have met - both on line and in real life - from there have changed my life. They have provided support, advice and a shoulder to cry on when things have been tough, and a special few have become among my best friends - they know who they are so I won't embarras them by calling them out here. They have goaded me into signing up for far more races that I would have on my own, and pushed my well beyond my limits - and for that I am eternally grateful. There have also been changes in my personal life which I've deliberately not written about here, but let's just say when you go through the sort of physical change that I have over the last year, you go through a lot of mental and emotional changes as well and those people that fitted with the old you, don't necessarily fit with the new you in the same capacity. It's a hard truth, but it's a truth all the same. In the last couple of months I also discovered another special group of people in RunDemCrew. RunDemCrew have quickly become like a family to me, providing motivation and a purpose to my running - I hope I am lucky enough to run with them for a long time yet and get to give back some of what I have taken from them. I'll write more about this soon as it deserves a separate post to do it justice. So here we are 1st April 2012, 12 months on, just 365 short days, and my life could not be more different. *I* could not be more different. I've gone from the shy, quiet, unconfident fat boy, to a somewhat more confident (but still some way to go there!), and far more outgoing person. Most of all I can now say, that for the first time in a long time I am truly happy. Resolved, if you like. Things are good, and I can tell they are only going to get better. I am not done with this journey yet, there's more to do, and more places to go and I am going to do my best to enjoy the ride!
  4. Fitness thread - Q1/12

    Keep going - it gets easier and easier. It's where I started and I managed a 1:43:54 Half Marathon at the weekend 10 months after I could barely do Week 1 Run 1 of C25K!
  5. Fitness thread - Q1/12

    I didn't enter the MR one as I'd entered the Runner's World one which sadly I didn't get on
  6. Fitness thread - Q1/12

    I am now down to 11 st 7lbs which I am happy with, don't really want to get much lower than that if I can help it. Had my BF% properly measured yesterday (12 site professional calliper measurement by a nutritionist) at came out at 12% which I am *very* pleased with as that's in the "athletic" range and 23% lower than when I started last April! Ideally I'd like to get down to single figures - I still have some room for improvement around my middle - which I think is pretty achievable if I carry on doing what I am doing. I also smashed my 10k PB last weekend on a very hilly (15% in places!) course with 45:32 for 30th out of 137 and 12th in my age group (male under 40)! Marathon training is going well and I have my first proper test in a couple of weeks at the Bath Half (I am aiming for 1:50) which should be good. I am also doing 3 days a week of strength and plyometric training, the weights I am lifting have increased massively over the last couple months, it's great to see progress. Oh, and I wrote an article for Mens Running magazine which is out this week :D
  7. Not fast, but it was fun. Running in deep snow feels like running up a steep hill the whole time. All the cross-country racing I've done this year stood me in good stead to get out and run this morning. Glad I didn't do things the other way around this weekend - I cycled 45 miles yesterday - don't think that would have worked out too well!
  8. What a lovely day for a 10 mile run

    Yup both iPhone pics with instagram
  9. Running to music.

    Careful using decent headphones when running. I've destroyed 2 pairs of Etymotics as the sweat ruins the remote controls I am currently using Yurbuds and while the sound quality is not as good they are at least sports specific. On the lookout for something better though...
  10. Running to music.

    I tend to run to podcasts now. There are lots of great running and triathlon ones - Marathon Talk is my favourite.
  11. My iPad 1 64GB Wifi? £325 including the camera connection kit and an Apple case
  12. Fitness thread - Q1/12

    Now, that looks fun
  13. Fitness thread - Q1/12

    Tomorrow will be a rare day off for me. So far this week I've done: Monday : Hour weights session with my trainer - upper body Tuesday : 6 mile tempo run Wednesday : Hour weights with trainer - legs Thursday : Hour weights with trainer - chest and biceps + 10k speed session + an hour of swim training Friday - Spin Saturday - 8 mile easy run Quite enough for one week :D
  14. Fitness thread - Q1/12

    Certainly was, I did 8 miles at a nice easy pace this morning. Took about an hour for my hands to regain feeling once I was back though AND I was wearing gloves. Still, cold with clear skies and bright sunshine - I'll take that over grey and warm every day!
  15. Fitness thread - Q1/12

    I do, but as I am training for 2 spring halfs I don't have time to actually focus on the shorter distances at the moment. Should have some time later in the year though
  16. Fitness thread - Q1/12

    Sub-50 was my target, but I smashed that - I really am quite stunned! My 2nd 5km was 22:46 which makes my aim of sub-20 this year look somewhat more achievable than I'd thought!
  17. Fitness thread - Q1/12

    I am down to 12st exactly as of this morning which I am very pleased with! I also ran a massive PB at 10K this morning which is fantastic - previous best was 55:20 back in November at the Greenwich Mo Run event, this morning I ran 46:21 in a club time trial 10K! :D
  18. Inspired by the 'What a difference' post

    Nice one, quite a transformation Did you quit the smokes too?
  19. First picture was 24th December 2010, the second picture was this morning: (I do like to have my hand up a bird )
  20. The Difference a Year Makes

    Pretty much. I've been *very* sensible on the eating front - no cheat meals or indulgences at all really, but it's easier that way for me. I have been doing a boatload of exercise too
  21. Fitness thread - Q1/12

    I use LiveStrong DailyPlate, works pretty well
  22. Fitness thread - Q1/12

    Yup they certainly do
  23. Fitness thread - Q1/12

    They are, yes. I am a numbers geek and these satisfy that part of me massively
  24. Fitness thread - Q1/12

    The Withings wifi scales are the king-of-scales, not cheap but the tools to analyse the data and trends are great
  25. Fitness thread - Q1/12

    Well my 2012 plan is 3 letters and that is abs. That means getting down to sub 10% BF which I think I can do in the first 3 months of the year. I am working with a body transformation expert (fancy title for a nutritionist!) to get there - I'll post some more about the methods once I see how successful it is, it flies in the face of convention in a number of areas so should be interesting. I also want to get my 5k time to as close to 20 minutes as I can (I am at 24 right now) and my 10K to as close to 45 minutes, and my half marathon below 2:00 (dream goal 1:45) This years been huge for me and I am determined to make next year even better. Oh and I finished this year off with a 10 mile hilly road race today, and am starting next year with a 10km hilly XC race (on Monday)