Back to strapping on the Bergen.........

.........and trying to avoid the wife coming at me with menace in her eyes waggling the bottle of Germolene Newskin! If anyone's read my post-Catterick post they'll remember exactly what I'm talking about! I always vowed that if someone came at me with that stuff again I'd knock 'em out, however to ensure that doesn't happen it would appear that I've got two choices, grin and bear it, or grin and bear it! The weather has been as hit and miss as the training and invariably, the bergen has gone on, when the sun has been at it's warmest, which is ridiculous, considering how much we've seen it this year! But as a result, the warm 'training' weather and bergen aren't good bed fellows for the back and the skin generally takes exception to it.

Probably wise to rewind a little, training has been, I'll be honest, as I've already alluded to, hit and miss this year. Finding out we are expecting Little Rushy has meant that everything else has become to a certain degree secondary, including training, there is much DIY to be done, and a nesting wife to keep happy, and as arrival day gets closer, the more demanding those demands become! However despite it being a bit hit and miss, I've felt good, when I've gone out, the constant hammie niggles never seem to go, but it doesn't stop me training, and generally I've felt pretty comfortable. That all changed 6th July 2013! 

6th July 2013 @ 1100hrs the guns go off signifying the start of the next Paras'10 Challenge, back at Colly, where in October the day before we flew out to get married last year, I recorded my best time of 1:58. For the first couple of miles or so I felt pretty decent and was keeping pace with my good friend Limby, a warhorse and ex-3Para, but at 10min/miles I knew it wasn't gonna be too long before I needed to drop that off and settle down into a better/slower rhythm. For me generally the Paras'10 events go in three very distinct phases:

Miles 1 to 3 - I run decently, but my shins, calves and achilles are screaming
Miles 3 to 6 - everything's warmed up a bit, but I'm still struggling to find a rhythm
Miles 6 to 10 - I'm away and everything's working as it should be and I'm as happy as a Sand boy!

Well this time for miles 6 to 10 refer to miles 3 to 6 and drop a fricking great big wall in there at about 8 miles that no matter how many times you smash at it, it just keeps coming back at ya. Those last two miles back were hideous, and no matter what I did, I couldn't get the legs to work, everything was drained. The heat it seemed, took it's toll on Saturday, not just on me, but just about everyone (well us normal folk), not so much those among us that are slightly superhuman. I got across the line at 2:16:58, which when I look back might not seem so bad, but it's still disappointing. I know there's a 1:50 in this body, but as yet, it still hasn't made an appearance, and with Little Rushy due to make his appearance the day before Paras'10 Catterick, I'm going to be waiting until March and Aldershot before I get another chance to hit it. However, as trade off's go, I can live with that, becoming a dad, has been an ambition that I've had to wait a long time for, the 1:50 will come, and as the Paras'10 continues to grow, I know that ambition will be realised far sooner, after all, as long as I can continue to run, I'll always have a chance. 

Making a dash for the line.....
The haul since Catterick in September
A full page of passport stamps........
However, as much as I love the Paras'10, which is evident; for me, it's just the most incredible event, with an awesome group of people, both in terms of organisation (Stephen Cooper and Dewi Winkle being the lifeblood of such an incredible event - who always make me feel so very much part of it) and taking part, this year has been about 20th July and the Fan Dance. Everyone knows the frustration I had to endure by not being able to take part in the Winter event, so making sure I'm at the Summer event has been my primary focus. What's even greater now is, that so many of the incredible friends I've made through doing the Paras'10 events are also now taking part in the Fan Dance events, which is testament, to both the events, their organisers and the guys themselves.

No one will quite understand what you put your body through unless you do theses events for real, obviously the blokes that are on selection for the Paras, PF and SF's know all about them, and Christ believe me to us 'normal' blokes we are in awe, because they do this sh*t for real, and by that I mean, they don't wake up in a nice bed that morning or have the luxury of a warm shower and a decent breakfast, and invariably they have had to suffer sleep deprivation, plus trying to recover the body enough so as to go at it again the day after they done it all before! But it does enable us to experience a little bit of that world, and as far as I'm concerned it's a truly special experience, and an honour to be able to do so. I obviously have my own personal reasons for putting my body through this, but so do most of the guys I've met and I can't help but applaud them and thank them for becoming essentially an important part of my life.

My dear darling little brother has been gone just over two years now, and the evening before the Paras'10 Colly, I spent it with my darling Sister-in-law and my beautiful niece. It was my Sister-in-laws birthday, it was also the 2nd anniversary of the day we said our final goodbyes to Lloydy and laid him to rest. The courage and dignity she continues to show and the positivity with which she lives her life and the love and nurturing that she gives to her daughter are borne of a strength so incredible I can only be in awe of her, it was a character so rich in my brother, that it breaks my heart, that they've been taken away from each other, but everyday she does him proud and through their daughter he is still very much alive. Doing these events is my way of keeping him alive, It means I get to experience a small amount of the hardship and sacrifice he had to endure to become the best, and that's why the Fan Dance is so important, because due to the nature of the selections he took and passed means as tributes go, it's the hardest one I can take on, and ultimately the biggest tribute I can pay him and the man he was. He was a giant among men, and come 20th July, I hope I'm man enough to be able to pay him my 'ultimate' tribute, by earning the respect of my peers by taking part in and completing the Fan Dance. Blue skies little brother, for you I'll go "always a little further" xxx

The reward........for those that earn it!
I have so many people to thank for helping me get this far, you know who you are, and I look forward to many more years of doing batshit crazy things with you all, and the personal triumphs they bring, and the great friendships they become. But I couldn't have got this far without the support of so many dear friends, family, my Sister-in-law and my gorgeous wife, my everything, who is always there to pick me up when I need it the most and repair me when I'm in need of patching up, Caroline you are amazing xxxxx

See you at the phone box in 12 days.......


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