Sunday, 30 October 2011

The Adventures Recommence

Greetings from Brunei! After a far-too-long break from my travels, the training kit, camera, laptop and a rather optimistic pile of reading have been bundled into a suitcase, and here I am two thirds of the way to Australia. I’m not quite as unorganised as I was for my trip to Mexico 18 months ago, but I’m not far off. It turns out that working full time and organising travels at the same time is a skill that’s I haven’t fully developed yet, but at least I know where I’m staying the first night this time around (but only since Thursday).

First I have a residential in Canberra to do as part of the world’s longest-running graduate certificate (a reflection on me, and my inability to complete the requirements rather than the actual structure of the course), and then it’s off to Falls Creek for two weeks of altitude training.

Prior to the course and the book, Australia was never really on my hit-list of places to visit. Not because I don’t want to see the country, or meet the people, but rather the thought of sitting on my bum in a confined space for 24 hours just to get there is a long way from my idea of fun. Some of my colleagues asked me earlier this week if I smoke – the most logically reason they could come up with why I am always so keen to take the post to the post room. The real reason is, of course, a lot more logical. I don’t like to sit down for long periods of time! Not a great trait for someone that likes travelling so much (of course when we say we like travelling, we actually mean we like being in different places and seeing new parts of the world rather than actually enjoying the process of being transported through the sky from one country to another). Anyway, I’m two 8 hour flights into getting there, and I’m not going to give up now. Just another 7 hours to go and I’m there. Easy! Or at least it is to do it once. Getting back on the plane to do it all in the opposite direction will be the real challenge.

In the meantime, I will hopefully have interesting things to write about again. Not that living in East London is not interesting - in fact there is barely a dull moment - but it’s more about living life on the edge rather than living the life. My life is in the lap of the gods each time I leave the house, and if I don’t nearly collide with a car, a pedestrian crossing the road with his back to the traffic, or another cyclist who thinks that the rules of the road don’t apply to him, then it’s been a successful day. Brushes with death on the roads of London don’t make for the most interesting of reading, so hopefully in the coming weeks I’ll have interesting things to write about without my life being endangered.

But before I get to the interesting stuff it’s time for an update on my running – boring I know, but it keeps everything in context. In one of my last posts I mentioned that I would be doing a half marathon again soon. The safe target was to break 90 minutes; but in the back of my mind I knew that I wouldn’t be happy unless I broke 85. And so I lined up alongside (well ok, slightly behind) Haile Gebreslase at last weekend’s Great Birmingham Run. Just being in the same race as my running idol really motivated me – perhaps a little too much – and I was lucky not to pay badly for my over exuberance in the first mile. Unfortunately my watch didn’t start so I wasn’t completely sure what time I was on for until I had just 400 meters left to run. With a huge smile – which probably looked more like a grimace that that stage – I crossed the line in 1 hour 24 minutes and 4 seconds. Mission accomplished! This followed a 61 second personal best over 5km in September, and a time that was just 1 second outside my best at the National Road Relays two weeks ago. I’m not quite back to my best yet, but not far off now. Any it feels very good.

Anyway, time to go and sit on my bum so more. Australia here I come!