Tough challenge ahead this week.

Tuesday 17 May 2016. Almost very nearly precisely a year ago. Blog posts that I’ve not read back since I wrote them. Unable to look at what I tried to express on that Tuesday…..and then…then the Wednesday. I just tried again. I just failed again. 
My dad died on Wednesday 18 May. A form of lung cancer that spread to his kidneys and other parts of his prematurely-aged body. He fought and fought. By God, he fought. Just two weeks prior, we’d been watching the rugby live in Cardiff, drinking Brains in packed pubs, laughing with cousins and close friends… and then…then 10 days later he was rushed in to hospital again….and then he didn’t leave. We were all there, we all got to spend quality time with him, we laughed with him, and he never once mentally gave up. Sure, physically, you could see the collapse. His body fucked him about for days. Mentally,  he fought and fought, battled, scrapped with the terror taking him. I’ll never forget spending the night in his hospital room, darkness drawing life out of the room at 3am, despite the artificial, lifeless glare of the overhead lights. He couldn’t breathe,  his O2 was up at Max, and he stayed calm. He breathed shallow, controlled, hour after hour after hour…until daylight and the life of a new day returned. He slept then, recharged as best he could for what lay ahead.

I’ll never forget that. In the year since it has inspired me on more than one occasion. Of course, I’ve never been through a battle like that, what I do doesn’t compare even slightly. But his strength pushes me all the time.

So, this week is going to be tough. We put so much stock and attention in to anniversaries that it is impossible to treat this week…or that day…like any other. My mother, sisters and I will have dinner together on Thursday, 18 May 2017. I dont know how it’s going to be but I’m happy to be with them. Mrs Nomad and I have tried to anticipate this week, we’ve aimed off for the emotion with the children. I didn’t think it would actually be that bad. 

Feelings are already beginning to roll in, to hit, like the first, clean, building waves of a storm against a shore, before the chaotic riot of water, surf, weed, and hidden rocks tumbling me over and round, uncontrolled. 

Summer Hols Week 1 – France, Beach XFit Comp, Illness, Lot of Stairs

Fit is not a destination, it is a Way of Life.

“Throughout, I’ll be maintaining fitness through load carries,  strongman type work, bodyweight exercises and combinations of all.” Those were the words I finished on in my last post (Here). It was my intention to take what I could find around me throughout my summer holiday period, throw it around many times (“Moving large loads, long distances, quickly” – sound familiar?) and blog it. Finishing last Thursday with olympic lifting work in Crystal Palace, I was therefore mega eager to get back on it as soon as possible once I hit the French turf.

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Warming up with some squats, situps and push ups

No sooner had we arrived in our holiday cottage in Ploneour-Lanvern (Brittany) on Saturday 30 Jul and hit the beach at Pointe De La Torche did I find there to be a beach ‘Cross Training’ Competition on the go! As part of some wider festivities, “BigoudBox” (see their Facebook page here) had laid on a huge fitness extravaganza on the beach for all-comers. Formerly a CrossFit gym themselves, they have since decided to rebrand and de-affiliate due to the (as they see it) prohibitively high affiliate costs and poor return that they receive from CrossFit; there’s a lot to be said for that but perhaps that’s for another post. However, they appear to be quite ‘the shit’ in that town and had free reign to run a massive event on a public beach on 02 Aug. Whatever the massive event was though, it was pre-empted by a ‘Cross-training’ competition a few days before but they were extremely short of volunteers. So, for all the beaches on the west coast of Brittany that we could have go to, we ended up on the the one with a CrossFit event! Boom! Sure enough, wearing nothing but jeans with rolled up legs, I said (in really bad French) that I was keen to take part. The organisers took pity on me and threw me a pair of shorts.

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So, barefooted, in someone else’s shorts and having not slept on the ferry across, the WOD was:

15min AMRAP

  • 10 x Kettlebell Swing (2 x 16kg KB)
  • 10 x Burpee
  • 100m Run (over soft white sands)

Total (and winning score!): 8 rounds + 25

Yeah, I only went and won the bloody thing – and RX+ too! (out of 3 people!) The others had a single kettblebell but when I stupidly told the organiser that I was a CF Trainer, he handed me another kettlebell (dick! 😉 ) We had slept very little the night before on the ferry, having foolishly thought the reclining chairs actually reclined (I mean, that’s what it actually says in the room the chairs are in!!) and we were all pretty worn out but this was just the perfect start to the holiday! Things were definitely looking up right from the off!! 😀

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And then I got ill with a chest cold and spent 5 days coughing my lungs up with green gunk.

Not to be completely undone though, Team Nomad did have an awesome time in France and still managed a great deal of active adventures, including climbing the 285 steps to the top of the lighthouse in Penmarc’h, the “Phare D’Eckmuhl”.

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13 Jul 15 – In a Change to Proceedings…..My Dad

I just want to give a bit of a mention to my Dad.

You see, all of this effort and determination stems largely from him. My earliest ‘motivation-related’ memory of him was when we got our first home computer, the ZX Spectrum 48k+ (oh, I am a proper computer geek too). It was tape-driven and would take age upon age to squeal its data in to the massive 48k of RAM, only for an error to appear and the whole thing to reset. I got really bloody frustrated one day and he came and sat next to me, asking what was wrong. I was almost in tears that it wouldn’t work and he just gave me this little pep talk to “keep trying”.

Over the years, he has supported my efforts in all walks, providing motivation and encouragement. It’s almost laughable now but I managed an 11 second flat 100m in Sprint when I was 16-17 years old. My parents would be there screaming me on at Sports Day; Dad would take me to the local park to train during school holidays, allowing completely random kids to line up against me, just so I could beat them. I knew he was so proud. My Dad was a physically fit guy himself when my age. I remember his 30s when he was running 10km races on the flat and across country, collecting medals everywhere – it’s entirely why I run obstacle course races. We would both go out running around our local area. He was also a top-grade RFU Rugby Referee and I was so proud to see him referee at Twickenham one year.

He and Mrs Nomad are pretty much the only readers of this blog; I don’t write it for anyone but me but it is nice that someone reads it. My Dad always comments on my little achievements in CrossFit and I know he’s secretly a little bit chuffed when I write that I’ve finally managed to Clean & Jerk 100kg or that I hit a 75kg Snatch in the garage.

Being military himself, my Dad inspired me to join the military and has been a guide throughout my career so far. We share the same core values and I owe him so much. Any command and leadership qualities I do have are almost entirely down to him being my role model from a young age.

He’s a little ill at the moment and it really f!@ks me off because he shouldn’t be. At his age he should still be doing those things that inspired me not so long ago. He’s showing proper stoicism but I know he’s in pain. With luck and a fair wind, he will be right as rain again soon and we can achieve some of the joint goals that we have set ourselves. Until then though, I felt it appropriate to just put a shout out to him and tell him that I’m there for him. I’m proud of you, Dad.

Mon 02 Jun 14 – Really Don’t Feel Well and a drop in the rankings.

I had to take yesterday off due to other commitments, as is sometimes the case with all of us. I’d also awoken with a bit of stiffness/soreness in my left elbow (no idea where is has come from) that made it impossible to rack a bar without pain. I had a sore throat and felt a little dizzy. Luckily, I only had a 4 hr drive back to Plymouth! ;o)

Waking this morning, I am dizzy, have a sore throat, headache and my elbow is still bad. I think today is going to be another day out of the gym and I’m a little upset about it as I’m beginning to feel excited about this programme. I find myself wanting to get up and get it done to see if there are going to be any gains.

Sometimes the numbers hate you too; perhaps I should just get back in bed, pull the covers over my head and tell the world to f**k off. I’ve logged in to beyondthewhiteboard.com to find I’ve slipped a place in the overall rankings!! I’m now 66 instead of the 67 that I’ve been sat at for months. WTF?!? This is not good news and when I get time tonight I am going to have to delve in to the numbers and find out where I have slipped.

Still, it’s another day off when I really didn’t want there to be one but I have no choice.