Friday, 8 February 2013

Key Tips for the Arctic!

So this morning I have been told off for not updating this blog.  Rightly so.  Not that I have been sitting on my backside since the last blog entry, indeed my backside has been subject to squats,  one leg side raises, (courtesy of Kim’s Saturday morning brilliant torture …sorry, core sessions),   lunges,  weighted presses,   and a lot of kicking by certain individuals (you know who you are)  who knew I could do that last 20 minutes of sprinting  when my legs and lungs protested  they couldn’t.  They were right, and their voices shall follow me to the Arctic for those moments when I absolutely can’t…. but know I will have to.

So what have we been doing since the last blog?  Well, between Col and I we have clocked up  tens of thousands of meters swimming,  hundreds of miles running, 100’s of tonnes of weight lifting,  cycling, cross training and pulling tyres in an attempt to kid ourselves into believing  that we are fit .  As we are now 10 days away there’s not much more we can do on the fitness stakes though - it is what it is.  So our attention has moved to kit and mental  preparation and after reading the tips and competences  of Arctic Trekking  I’m still wondering  what I’ve let myself in for.  Top tip for keeping warm “ put duvet on and run……”,    best  of the list though,  “don’t get sh*t on the shovel – you need it to cut water”.  As Confucius  said  What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” Good advice as there is only one shovel.

Col has been doing a sterling job keeping our facebook page up to date,  and we have both been badgering, cajoling, pleading  and downright bullying anybody we know to sponsor us.  It seems to have worked , and we are extremely grateful for all the donations, and of course the obligatory advice and  helpful comments we have received such as “pack extra toilet rolls and sudocream”, and  “don’t eat yellow snow”.  We will take heed.

Training this weekend on the critical skill of erecting a tent – quickly – and without putting that multi-purpose shovel through the fabric……

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Nearly there....a progress update.

In just over a month we will be on our way to Norway, so I thought an update was in order.

Speaking for myself training and preparation is going well. I have most if not all of the kit I need, including the elusive Bridgedale Summit knee high socks which are apparently the footwear equivalent of rocking-horse shit, I'm sure other socks would suffice, however I used the Bridgedales last time I was in Norway, they served me very well and I had no problems with my feet. I finally tracked them down to Global Adventurer in Forest Row.

The other bit of kit I was determined to source was a Vapour Barrier Liner for my sleeping bag. Last time out I was forced to use a bog-standard, orange plastic survival bag, which was absolutely horrendous to sleep in. This time I've managed to source a Rab VBL from a nice man on UK Climbing.

Training too, is going well. Since October I've really knuckled under and have been in the gym a lot, so much so that one of the comedians I work with has changed my phone number to the extension in the gym. According to Runkeeper I've cycled, cross-trained, rowed and run nearly 300kms and lifted a cumulative weight of over 66 tons. I have to say I'm feeling pretty damn good and am certainly fitter than I was when I last travelled in Norway.

Fran too, has been hard at it and puts my mediocre training to shame, she has been posting her progress to our Just Giving page, why not take a look and donate while you're there.

Our fundraising efforts have been thrown into sharp relief by the SusSAR team SSV (Search Support Vehicle) failing its MOT last week. Although the problems have been fixed and its back on the road, the failure shows that the team desperately need a new vehicle from which to mount our searches and that the money we raise will be going to a very good cause.

Thanks for reading.


Monday, 22 October 2012

Well it took me a while but.....

Yes folks, i've finally got off my (fat) arse and started training, so far I've been taking advantage of the gym at work and for the last couple of weeks have been using one of those elliptical/cross-trainer machines. My plan so far has been to train for two days and then take a day off. The sessions have been  just over an hour in length and have been managing around 7 miles a shot, yesterday was a bit of an anomaly as the cross-trainer was unavailable so I did just under 19 miles on an exercise bike instead.

I've got to say I've been feeling pretty good from the training, the old runners high kicking in, I've lost a little weight and generally am feeling fitter. However, I now have a week off work with no access to a gym, so this morning I went for a run instead and I was shite. I managed just 2.32 miles in just over 25 minutes before nearly coughing up a lung and getting pain across my back.

How annoying.


P.s. Anyone out there got a cross-trainer I could borrow for a couple of months.......? ;0)

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Etiquette of Communication Whilst Cycling

So now we have finally got our fundraising campaign underway I thought I’d better put some effort into getting seriously fit.  So what better to attempt than a long hilly cycle ride?  Having cleaned the cobwebs out of my cycling helmet and refamiliarised myself with gear changing without the accompanying clanking of cogs, I set off early  Sunday morning for a 30km ride through Forest Row, Hartfield and Edenbridge. Expecting all sensible people to still be in bed at this time of the morning I was surprised at how many people are whizzing up and down the roads on a variety of two wheeled contraptions.  And herein lies my problem.  When passing a cyclist on the opposite side of the road  how should you greet them? Or should you ignore them in the typically British way.  And what should you say?” Hi, how are you?”  Mostly I would expect the answer to be “knackered actually”, if they were honest that is.  “Good Morning?”  Too formal maybe.  Or should you attempt a barely perceptible  nod  – just to show you are putting all your effort into your own cycling and therefore you must be a “serious cyclist”.  Maybe the “I Love Bart Simpson”  slogan on the t-shirt gives away that I’m not.   I settled for the nod, then swapped it for the “Hi” as the nod became a little too discourteous , and then to the “Good Morning”  if the cyclist was a little older (or on an upright bike with some groceries/dog in the front).  Friendly lot these early morning cyclists. 

However with me communication and the level of it depends on whether I am going uphill or downhill.  I’ll let you guess when I’m at my most communicative…….. and it’s definitely linked to my levels of fitness.

Next week I’ll get back to the running….that one’s easy. Shades on – iPod in -  no communication needed!


Monday, 25 June 2012

Fitness....or not.

So Mrs W says to me this morning "I really think you need to start getting fit, not because you're fat, but because I'm worried you're going to struggle in Norway...." The worst thing about this statement isn't the "fat" bit (although I may be a little chunky at the minute), its the fact that she's right. Last time I travelled in Norway I wasn't quite as fit as I should have been and consequently I struggled a little and spent a lot of time staring at the tips of my skis instead of enjoying the scenery. A year ago when I started planning for this trip I vowed to be fitter than ever and since then, apart from climbing, I've done bugger all about it.

I'm trying to think of excuses,

I cracked a couple of ribs in February - yeah, but what about the 8 months before that?

I'm carrying a knee injury - okay.....what about the rest of your body?

I have no excuses.

I'll start soon....I promise....after all, I can't have Fran putting me to shame....


Friday, 15 June 2012

The reason why!

Next February Francine Davis and Colin Watson, two members of Sussex Search and Rescue, are going to be taking part in a 120 km trek across the Finnmark Plateau in Norway. The route will take us from Alta to Karasjok across frozen lakes inside the Arctic Circle. Temperatures can get as low as -45C. 

The trek will be done on cross-country skis pulling a sledge weighing a minimum of 35kg. We're putting ourselves through this pain to raise funds for a variety of items that Sussex Search and Rescue needs - including a contribution towards a new Search Support Vehicle.
Please give generously, the team are called upon at all hours of the day and night, in all weather conditions across Sussex and surrounding counties, in order to help others.

Sussex Search and Rescue (SusSAR) is the primary volunteer resource used by Sussex Police in the search and rescue of vulnerable missing people. We are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All members are volunteers, contributing their time and 100% of their own costs (training, equipment and fuel) free of charge, through the common desire to help others. The team is also often called upon to assist other Search & Rescue groups throughout the UK. 

We rely entirely on donations from businesses and groups, and also the generosity of the public, to operate and provide this vital service to the people of Sussex.

Please make a donation at JustGiving