Anyone ready for next years Standalone?

There we have it.  For another year the Standalone 10k is done and dusted.  It was another amazing family day out, as always it was a superb event and even the weather was brilliant!

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The Family Day

This is the most important aspect of the race for me.  My girls look forward to the day, so we started celebrations early.   On the way to Standalone Farm, we belted out a few classics in the car.  Mrs G and the kids joined in with my energising renditions of Gold by Spandau Ballet, Fire by Kasabian and the Rocky sound track classics Eye of the Tiger and Gonna Fly Now.

Every year, my family turns out and supports the race and the runners.

Step-father, mother-in-law, and Mum

Step-father, mother-in-law, and Mum

By the time we arrived, my cousin Linda was at the farm with her kids, and pretty soon we were joined by my Mum, step-father, sister, mother and father in-law, brother-in-laws (x2), an abundance of nieces & nephews and a handful of great friends.  After the race we were joined by my Nan and enjoyed a meal for 20 in a local pub.

This years race was even more special to my family than normal because my sisters husband Matt completed his first road race.  It’s an emotional day for me and my family anyway and when Matt came around the corner on to the finishing straight, half of us were in tears because we were so proud of him.

The main race is followed by a 2km fun run for all the kids.  Most of ours ran in the 6-10 age group and I shepherded my eldest, my Godson and my nephew around.  It was hilarious! We started with the plan of running together until the sprint finish but things got tricky when my nephews shoe came off (twice).  Then they were running in zig-zags all over the path.  Then we got split up when my Godson made his run for home about half way around.  We all made it in the end, and even managed to finish in front of the lady running it in Ugg boots and jeans whilst carrying her handbag and a Bob the Builder rucksack!  I probably had it easy though; Mrs G ran with my God-Daughter and my youngest who insisted on sitting on her shoulders the whole way round (until collecting her medal at the end)

The Event

I can’t believe that, from it’s humble beginnings as the Novatek 10k in the 80’s, the race my Dad built now has a capacity of 1400 runners.  It felt bigger this year but maybe that was because I started with Matt, and my friends Jim & Leanne at the 55 minutes (target finish time) section.  That was a good move because it kept my pace steady at the start whilst picking my way through runners.  Of course there was one person walking in the first 600 yards, but that is the only tiny niggle I could come up with for the whole event.  The course remains undulating but reasonably fast and the field is made up of a good range of experienced club athletes and people like us – which means that everyone feels at home!

The sun came out around the 6k mark and for a moment I was worried that my decision to not take a drink was going to backfire when I could feel the temperature beginning to rise.  But the small pockets of shade helped me through the final 3k and I maintained my pace to finish under my target time of 45 minutes … so I was happy.

Here comes Matt

Here comes Matt

After collecting my fetching blue t-shirt I quickly made it back to cheer on our other runners.  I missed Jim who was just after me at 48 minutes, managed to catch Leanne’s sprint for the finish and was delighted to be able to celebrate Matt’s arrival well inside his target time of an hour.

Once again, the North Herts Road Runners have delivered an outstanding day.  Everyone who came with us had a great day out and I can guarantee that we’ll all be back next year to keep supporting the event that has become so important to me.

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A great day on the bike

If any day can epitomise my interests and motivation behind this blog, it was Friday.
After a nightmare of a week at work, I had a day of working at home instead of going in to the office. I’d barely seen the kids all week so it was a pleasure to do the school run… especially after turning it in to the school ride.
For the first time ever, I shared the simple pleasure of cycling to school with my kids. The big one on her own bike and the youngest on the back of mine. They loved it and so did I. The freedom that my daughter feels on her bike is visible and seeing such a big grin on her face going to school makes our summer of cycling all the more special (especially when a lot of her friends are still on stabilisers).

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After dropping them off and clearing a mountainous backlog of emails it was time for a lunchtime ride. Time was tight so it was a short and fast ride, scooping up two K.O.M.s on the way!
For any Strava virgins a K.O.M. (King of the Mountains) accolade is what you earn when riding one of the segments of your ride quicker than anyone in the world…ever. A brilliant way of spicing up shorter rides and adding a bit of local (and virtual) rivalry with other cyclists. Holding a K.O.M. in our village is similar, and as close as we’re going to get to, holding a rainbow or yellow jersey.
Anyway, back to my great day on the bike.  after picking up the girls from the school, we cycled back, I wrapped up work for the day and we had a cross country ride to Stanton Lakes to enjoy a pint of Peroni and a basket of scampi and chips looking out of the lakes while the sun went down. Does family cycling get any better than that?

I had my mojo, lost my mojo and then found it again!

My early season cycling activity was full of drive and enthusiasm, resulting in a great ride to Skegness and my first triathlon.

And then I lost my mojo!

OK, I could blame work for getting busy but where there’s a will there’s a way and I just lost the will to train.  Even the road races I’d entered didn’t spur me on and after a dismal half marathon I spent most of July off the bike and doing no exercise.

What causes these total attitude changes? I’ve read a few articles and not really uncovered the answer.  The “get your ass in gear, loser” approach doesn’t really float my boat. In the past I’ve entered events to artificially urge myself in to action, but have either not trained or not performed if my mojo was missing.

Even introducing the element of competition hasn’t worked in the past, although being just a little bit faster than my mates from time to time is a great feeling.

I reckon the keys to motivation lie in your values as a person. I’ve never been particularly vain and for years carrying my belly around was disappointing but not destabilising.  Now that I’m surrounded by a beautiful family of my own fitness is important but I’m not old enough to worry about keeping up with the kids in the way that you read on many other blogs.

What is important to me is to feel a sense of achievement or pride, and to share those achievements with my family.  I’m delighted that my eldest daughter is loving her bike at the moment, and am proud that my cycling provides a point of reference for her.   As her Dad, she’d look up to me about pretty much anything. But I want her to look up to me for things that I am proud of myself.

The London Marathon, Skegness, Paris and the triathlon are all things that I’ve been able to share with my family and I can share them with pride when I perform well.  I figure that the secret to finding and retaining my mojo is in remembering how good it feels to take part in a challenge and perform well in completing it. Remember the sense of pride when all my hard work pays off … as hard work invariably has the habit of doing.

Reading the articles that my Google search found all tell you to set goals, measure progress, do things for charity.  They may work for some people, but you can’t use other people’s motivation to push your own buttons.

So, even though it is one of the seven deadly sins (why?) a sense of pride is what will help me find and keep my mojo. I wonder what REALLY motivates other people?