The road to recovery…

April 9, 2018

rickySo i’m injured but hey I can work with that. At the moment I feel a bit like Ricky Hatton having just returned from a long stint in America where no doubt I ate far too much bacon…

In the coming days I’m going to work out a training plan that see’s me lose some weight and get back into some shape that is remotely acceptable…TRAINING PLAN here we come…

N

Why you should ride with a cycle helmet on…

March 30, 2018

On Sunday 25 March I decided to go for a bike ride. When we came to SF for YCombinator we all bought our bikes but we have been so busy with work that I’d been out on my bike for about 30 minutes total in almost 3 months. My flight home was on Monday so I decided that I’d try get a ride in.

IMG_8386Most of my colleagues had ridden Old La Honda road and said the climb was doable so I decided to give it a go (in fact there reference to this in one of Sam’s earlier iterations of our YC demo day pitch). As I huffed and puffed my way up ( I’m definitely not (Bike) fit) I was adamant I’d make it to the top. It was a long steady incline relentless for about 3 non stop miles. I battled my demons who were telling me to turn round and just enjoy the down from those points.

I made it to the top and then took the decent down the other side. It had been raining, the ground was wet so I took it easy (plus it was very quiet on these paths/roads). I made it off the mountain and was gradually making my way home. I stopped for a couple of tourist photos enjoying the fact I was less than 3 miles from home. Topped up my water and carried on.

I remembered admiring the interstate sign on the road I crossed. Sat at the traffic lights I wondered if I should stop to take a photo as they looked pretty cool up close. I didn’t. Lights went green I carried on…

…‘Hello, hello’ a voice I could hear talking to me. Oh sh*t where am I I thought, my face stinging and my lip feeling like it was a balloon. ‘Hello Neil, hello’, I grumble something. ‘What’s going on am I ok’. I was lying on the floor in the road somewhere. I roughly remember a conversation that was had between who I can only imagine was the paramedic and the woman who found me. ‘Did you see what happened’ he asked ‘No she said I just found him lying on the floor by his bike and called you’.

I have no idea how much time has passed by this point. Stitching what I can from different events on my Garmin and the fact that I apparently called Sam (and spoke to him) at 1230 I took this photo at 12:15 approx 2/3 mins before I went down. I lost 12 minutes of my life…

IMG_8378At this point I have absolutely no idea what is going on. People talking to me. Can you wiggle your fingers, yes, can you wiggle your toes yes. Obviously I assumed I could as they didn’t say otherwise, when I think about it now ok reflection I was in no state to really know if I could or couldn’t. I went into panic mode, this was bad, Laura, my wife, Emily and Daisy, my kids were thousands of miles away I needed to let them know as Laura would soon be heading to bed and I was petrified. As I said already, I was due to be flying home the day after, I haven’t seen my family for over three weeks and I couldn’t wait. I was crying, not sure whether the paramedics really understood why but I’m sure I kept on saying I need to fly tomorrow I need to fly tomorrow. I wanted them here with me but knew that wasn’t going to be possible.

Don’t remember much of the ambulance journey other than being cold, they asked me to memorise a colour (or I should say color) green and they asked me a few times which I assume is basic brain testing. We got to Stanford Hospital, I was on spinal board with a collar on and they transferred me to another bed. I went and had a CT scan straight away and they gave me X-rays. I had no idea how badly Injured I was as the collar meant I couldn’t really move (in fact the first glimpse I got was the photo right at the bottom that I asked Sam to take for me)

Miraculously I had not broken anything. A lot of road rash down the left hand side of my body, two fairly chipped front teeth and the need for a few stitches but somehow I got away with a miracle…Why then the title you may ask. See picture of my helmet…
I think it did the job it was meant to do. It’s no longer usable and cracked right through but that could so easily have been my head. It wasn’t. I had minor concussion, lots of bruising but allowed to leave the hospital by about 6pm looking like this:5B2E9AC1-55C0-4775-9599-55569244009E

Now I have been fairly selective about these photos to make sure everyone who wants to see them has done but given I’m home and totally fine apart from the cuts and scratches to show for it I feel it worth sharing. Mainly to reinforce the importance of wearing a helmet I want to share what I think it the Holy F*ck photo. If you don’t like blood look away now /scroll down really quickly.

Anyway. Roll on 24 hours. I’m writing this on a plane 2hr 25 to go. Far from the comfy journey I was hoping for I have managed to sleep a few times but getting comfy is tough as I have a lot of bruising going on and even with a lot of pain killers it’s impossible to get into a good position. Never mind. Did I mention – HOME IN 2hr 25!!!!

At this point I’d like to thank nurse Sam Browne, he went out of his way in what I’m sure was meant to be a busy day of calls to ensure he was with me at all point and kept in touch with Laura. Laura for being so understanding, she must have been, deservedly, petrified being 5000 miles from me 8 hour time difference and an 11 hour flight away. Last but not least the drs and nurses at Stanford University hospital who had to put up with me. I’m sure I would have been hard enough for them to understand without a swollen lip but they must have been really confused by my cockney sarcastic chat! Well done all.

ababd304-10a4-42fc-b9e1-eb0a7c6f25a0Obv I’m going to have to take a rest for a few weeks now to allow my body to heal. I suspect it’s going to take a bit to get me back on the bike especially as I’m unclear as to what happened. Was it a hit and run (perfectly plausible), did I hit something in the road and tumble (possibly but hard to understand how my helmet cracked where it did), did I collapse (garmin didn’t show any big increase/drop in heart rate). Regardless of this I’m sure I will do at some point as we discuss these things in the office almost daily. What I will do is sign this blog off with the same headline as I stated.

WEAR A CYCLE HELMET.
LetsDoThis

Parkrun :)

March 24, 2018

Back in Jan 2016 I completed my first parkrun. I’d just finished the Disney Marathon and had treated myself to a running buggy whilst in the states so Emily could be pushed around whilst I ran.
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We are lucky to live really close to Valentines park and their parkrun is perfect for buggy running as it’s all concreted paths and wide turning areas.

We’ve dabbled in a bit of parkrun tourism seeing Harrogate and Elsmere Port during trips up north for work and visiting friends. In April 2016 we visited San Francisco, but without the trusty running buggy, so I ran whilst Laura and Emily watched.

This time around we borrowed a running stroller from a lovely lady on a local facebook page so that Emily could take in the sights of the ‘most scenic’ parkrun in the world. With the Golden Gate Bridge as it’s backdrop I don’t think you can get much better.

The briefing revealed just how many people from around the world visit this parkrun. There were Brits, Aussies, Kiwis and a number of people from South Africa as well as those from the East coast of the states. Everyone arrived early to get the obligatory tourist photos and to chat to each other. It is such a friendly parkrun.

Emily loved the run, as did I. So much so that we went back the next week too. Laura even volunteered (with some help from Emily once we’d finished the run).

I was really surprised by the number of local runners who were using the same park as us who had no clue about parkrun. In the UK you’d be hard pushed to find someone who hadn’t heard of it l, but here the race director spent the hour we were in the park explaining over and over again about the concept. For any Americans reading this, parkrun is a FREE timed run every Saturday morning at 9am. It’s not a race, for local 5k races see here XXx 😉.

Marafun…

March 19, 2018

img_0389_1024Hopefully it’s pretty apparent that I’m the sort of runner who does it for fun. I took up running years ago to get fit and enjoy it. Yes I have done a huge number of marathons which is crazy there are certain types of races I have entered just to have fun. Disney is one of them! I couldn’t have cared less about my time during this race I just went to have fun

The Disney Running series is one of the most enjoyable set of races for me. I get to take my family to one of the most magical places and enjoy my sport at the same time #WINWINWIN. I cant wait to run my next event and who knows what I’ll be dressed as :)

Any suggestions for fancy dress or which next disney race I should do ?

Twitter @neillock

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International Marathons

March 1, 2018

I love a holiday and I love running. So pairing up the 2 always seems like a good idea to me. Most of the time I’ll allow Laura to pick a destination and I’ll find a race, but other times I have found races in places that I know she would like to visit in order to get my international running fix.

Whilst I am aware there are hundreds of marathons that take place every week across the world here are my personal favourites so far.

Disneyworld Marathon weekend – the Goofy Challenge.img_1674

Most people would be surprised by this race ranking in any serious runners list, but as a parent (and a lover of all things Disney) this ticked all the boxes for us. A great vacation and a well organised race with plenty of distractions to keep you entertained for 26.2 miles. I paired this marathon with a half marathon the day before (known as the Goofy Challenge) and Emily even got to take part in the diaper race at the age of 8 months. It’s definitely not a PB course as a number of the runners were out for a good time. If you are looking for a fun, less serious race then this is the one for you. Or you take on the Dopey Challenge which takes on the 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon and marathon over the 4 day weekend.

New York City Marathon
FullSizeRender-1 As someone who has ambitions to complete the major marathons (London, Berlin, NY, Chicago, Boston & Tokyo) New York was always going to be on my list of to do races. I had entered the international ballot for years and I was offered a place in the 2014 race. I deferred this place due to family commitments, and finally got to race it in October 2015. This is a true major which meant massive crowds, large runner numbers and impeccable organisation. The route takes you through all of the NY City boroughs and I saw more in the 26.2 miles than I did in the 5 days I’d previously spent in New York. A relatively flat course, with the toughest bits being the slight inclines onto the bridges, so this is a race with PB potential.

Dublin City Marathon 

I’ve chosen this as a good race as it’s my Marathon PB. A

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fter years of chasing the 4 hour marathon in London I booked this race with a friend. Dublin is a beautiful city and again, very flat. Sparse, but animated crowds motivated me more than the constant noise i’d heard in London.

 

Not sure what next – any ideas :D

 

N

Silicon Valley Runner

February 25, 2018

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As I sit in Sunny California I felt the need to update this site. My last blog detailed a bit about my new venture -Letsdothis.com.

How is CA and the Running Website linked I hear you ask. Simple really. I’m living out a dream that’s been motivating me for the past 5-10 years of my life. Silicon Valley is the tech place to be and I am here with the team being mentored by the world renowned incubator Y Combinator.

Working all hours that I physically can has meant that I actually haven’t done too much sport – a bit ironic really, as I am building a site and community focused on running, cycling and triathlons. The few times I’ve been out I’ve checked out the running and cycling routes around Atherton, Redwood City and Mountain View and it’s safe to say the hills are a little bigger than those in Woodford. But the weather more than makes up for the hilly nature of this part of the world. I’ve also had a few short swims in the outdoor pool and a very cold experience swimming from the Dolphin Club pontoon out into San Francisco Bay.

I’ve been missing my routine of Parkrun on a Saturday morning, so when Laura brought the girls out for a few weeks to visit I took the opportunity to borrow a running ‘stroller’ and take Emily out for a bit of parkrun tourism (more to follow on that later).

As always I promise I’ll keep you updated, now back to work!

N

Time for something new…Let’sDoThis!

May 30, 2017

Firstly, to my long lost followers, no doubt upset that I haven’t made a post in many many years, I’m back! WOOOOHOOO.16649235_1871022439842350_1525004990964634077_n-1

A few months ago now I  left MoneySavingExpert after 10 years to setup a new website and AMAZINGLY it relates to all things endurance and running! 2016 saw the launch of www.letsdothis.com the sports and endurance market place. On this site we help you on your journey to pick your next 5k through to Marathons, sprint distance triathlons through to IM.

 

Our official launch will be on the 16th July at the Let’s Do This Chavenage Sportive and Trail run. I hope some of you can join me and the team at the event!

 

Looking forward to bumping into you all again.

 

N

Oh Dear…Lets do this again

April 15, 2015

fat-runnerAs I write this post I find it unbelievable it’s almost a year since the last marathon I ran! I am not doing a spring marathon, the first in 7 years, this feels kinda weird and my stomach and body is aware of this! In October I posted about getting training again, this seemed short lived and I just couldn’t get the motivation to get out side and train. Since then I have found out I’m to be a father and training has been pushed back even more!

I registered to run the Reading Half, which I dragged my sorry ass around in a slow time for me and since then I have dusted off the cobwebs on my trainers and am trying to restore some ability in my body…Long gone are the sub 1:40 half marathon days but I figure that I got to that before so it’s certainly possible to get there again if I can just get beyond 4 miles at 8:30 pace (my current pace)!

I am going to be running the New York Marathon this year so I believe my training for that needs to start kinda now! I’m also registered to do the Virgin London Tri, which will be fun – hopefully I can get my 5k run time down to make it a nice little proper intro to triathlons!

I want to try use this again to motivate me through my training so hopefully you will see more updates more regularly.  For all those running London in two weeks time – good luck, whilst I haven’t missed the long training runs, I feel like not having that weird feeling in my stomach on that Sunday morning is going to be really odd for me :)

 

Till next time

Review: Denon AH-150

November 19, 2014

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I have some new earphones to play with!!

As a techie having to read the instructions is something I try to avoid, unfortunately with the Denon’s it certainly required the instructions to set them up but luckily they were short and to the point!

Earphones configured and ready I used the earphones during a short 4mile training run. I had it hooked up to my iPhone with my Spotify playlist.

Once I was running the sound quality was fab, every so often it seemed to cut out for second or so but nothing that was really a problem. This was the first bluetooth pair of earphones I have ever used and being wire free was actually really nice. If I had a pound for every time I have become tangled up whilst setting up myself with my current earbuds I would be a wealthy man!

I answered a call on the earphones whilst out, again sound quality was good and my wife said that it was better than my usual pair as the microphone rubs with my kit giving a loud background noise. Didn’t try making an outbound call – it did connect to SIRI so this shouldn’t be an issue.

Couple of gripes I had whilst out:

  • they seemed to gradually work loose from my ears, there may have been other buds to use but the default set didn’t quite fit. I wonder whether they are perhaps just a little heavy and even a tighter bud would still have issues.
  • I also couldn’t adjust the volume – I’m not sure if this was just because I was using Spotify rather than native music.
  • the button press to change tracks felt a little clumsy, it required a little bit too much pressure I felt for something pressed to your ear!

I haven’t run a test for a long duration of time, as an endurance runner I suspect my iPhone battery would run out first because of the bluetooth but I would like to try that at some point soon.

The box also talks about a training app to use alongside the earphones. I didn’t get to install that yet but will check it out in the coming weeks.

 

N

 

Let’s do this! Training Time

October 18, 2014

Time to dust of the cobwebs on this blog. Training starts again and this time it’s not just focused on running!

As I look down at my stomach I feel all that I spent so long trying to get rid of when I took up running is reappearing. The jeans are getting tighter and I know now it’s time to start putting together a plan back to fitness.

I know I’m not the sort of person that can train without a target – I would lack motivation and I know after a few months I would be back to normal.

When I started running my goal was the marathon, and the years following was trying to better my times. This saw me to the start line of 9 marathons and countless half marathons. My best time was a reasonable 3:42 marathon and 1:32 half. Neither of those are times to be sniggered at and both of them right now seem miles away as I struggle to maintain a 9min/mi pace for more than 3 miles and just getting kit on feels like a chore! I have run every route I can think of locally both backwards and forwards but that is no real excuse! Time to lace up the shoes and get back out there. I want to set my goal of getting back to a sub 1:45 half marathon by March with the intention of being able to comfortable hang  onto an 8 min MI again for a long distance.(13+ miles)

On top of this during the winter months im going to hit the pool. Building up my stamina and speed with the intention of reducing my mile swim time down. My coaching with Ray at Swim Canary Wharf has started again and if you are up early enough during the week you can see me (and Tom Daley, seriously) doing laps in the stunning olympic pool!

Wait a minute what about the bike?  Well during the winter I’m going to dust off the turbo and try smash out a few evening sessions and also get at least one spin session under my belt each week. Getting my body just used to being on the bike again.

So where does that leave me? Other than without any time!? I guess you could say my training might resemble someone thinking about triathlon…and you would be right. Watch this space to reveal more!