On the run…again

We’re roughly two months out from his year’s Royal Park’s Half-marathon and I’m back into training with gusto. I ran almost every morning when in South Beach last month and, while it was far too hot and humid, it was great to get a few kms under my belt. Also a great way to take in South Beach’s spectacular ocean views, so it wasn’t all misery😉

I completed my longest run in a while this morning: 14km around the city. Left Canary Wharf, headed through Limehouse, across Cable Street, up past Spitalfields, round Old Street roundabout, through Moorgate, down to Bank and across Cable Street and home again.

I had to avoid Wapping and the Highway due to today’s London Triathlon. Barriers and crowds galore!

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It was really enjoyable and I ended up running further than planned due to a combination of the sunshine and the unaccountable spring in my step. Strange, given yesterday’s overindulgences!

Anyway, I’m putting together a training plan to cover the next eight weeks – one that hopefully won’t result in peaking too soon or injuring myself. I have a couple of trips in the calendar between now and then – one to Sitges and one to Jersey. I’m looking forward to getting some runs in on both visits. But I know I need to get the kms in on London’s streets too.

As ever, I’m running to raise money for Epilepsy Action. I live with epilepsy and this charity does great work to dispel myths, provide support to those living with the condition, as well as their families and carers. Every run I complete, I do in the knowledge that so many others with epilepsy just couldn’t.

I’m lucky – I really am.

If you’d like to add to my sponsorship fund, just click here – thanks in advance for every single pound. It’s much appreciated!

Overdoing it on the BBQ front

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A snap from my *last* visit to the Big Easy – note the pre-meal smile and confidence…

We went for brunch with friends to the local ‘Big Easy‘ here in Canary Wharf yesterday. And, true to form, I was attracted to the unlimited BBQ deal they offer. Unlimited puled pork, ribs, BBQ beans and roast chicken, plus drinks, for £30.

Hard to say no to that, really.

But this time, I was sharing the table with even more of a professional eater and I’m afraid that competition got the better of me. I ate more for that branch than I ever have before. Talking somehow didn’t get in the way – and we had a lot to catch up on. I didn’t even pause to take any photos of the food. Amazing, I know.

The result?

Well, an agonising walk home, a total collapse into my arm chair and straight to sleep. A food coma, if you will. I had the meat sweats. I felt like I was jet-lagged, far too full of food and really unable to do anything. It was like Christmas all over again…

A few hours later, I managed a walk around the neighbourhood in the evening sun. But even though we stopped eating at 1pm, I didn’t have any dinner. Still full.

Normally, @FrankDJS is my cue to stop eating. He’s not a fan of the unlimited deals, really. But I got stuck in a ‘re-order some pork!’ mode and the staff were only too happy to oblige.

Don’t get me wrong: it was a delicious meal and the service was great. I just had the equivalent of two and a half meals in one sitting. Normal service almost resumed today, but it seemed my body needed more time to come to terms with the calorific intake. I slept until 0930 this morning!

Now I’m itching for a run…

The views from above

I took a few photos from my flight home from Barcelona on Thursday evening. After my unexpected and very welcome free upgrade to business class (thank you, British Airways!) I got seat 1F and had wonderful views out the window.

In the right weather, you can get some amazing views over Barcelona as you leave. Flight ago out over the sea and then loop back over the city. While the sun’s still up, you get a superb panorama of the city and its surroundings.

I snapped the pics below as we left, then took a few more as we were on approach to Heathrow. Seriously – if you were designing a city from scratch, could you pick a better location than Barcelona’s?

Again, the lighting and the angle were just right and I could even see our apartment building as we passed over Canary Wharf. (Yes, I know – it’s a real case of ‘I can see our house from here!’)

I love how you can see the bends in the Thames as it snakes through this part of the city.

More than anything, though, I’m impressed with what the iPhone’s camera managed to record – given the speed we were traveling and the altitude.

The upside of business travel: Barcelona sunshine

I’m in Barcelona right now, for work. I’m here most months these days and over the last year, have fallen a little in love with the place. And Sitges, too!

Yesterday evening, I was able to spend a couple of hours walking around the city. Even at 7p, the sun was still out, it was 30C and not a cloud in the sky. Gorgeous. I retraced an earlier walk, down the Avenguda Diagonal, down the Rambla de Catalunya, round Placa de Catalunya, back up Passeig de Gracia and home via the Diagonal again.

All in all, it was about 6km (according to my Apple Watch) but it passed very quickly and the sunshine was a joy. But after an early start, a long day of work and this walk, I dropped plans to eat out and simply had room service. It was just as well, because bucking all Spanish trends, I was in bed and falling asleep by 9pm.

Right now, I’m back at the airport – where I’m basically on first name terms with the security staff! – waiting for my flight home. Once again taking some time out in the ‘Sala VIP’ (it’s so not ‘VIP’, but the sandwiches are good), looking forward to getting home.

Don’t mistake this for a gripe or a moan. I’m intensely aware that my job takes me to interesting places and the experiences are well worth the travel hassle and the nights away from home. It’s just that sometimes, an evening of Barcelona sunshine is what it takes to remind me of all this.

I could so easily be chained to a desk in an anonymous office, doing something I hate, 40 hours a week. I have the job of my dreams!

I’m back over again in three weeks, and next time I’m extending the visit to take in a weekend back in Sitges. Can’t wait to hit the beaches, wander round town and chill out in the sun again. Summer in London has been disappointing to say the least, so I’m taking every opportunity possible to grab some rays and warmth before the dreaded Autumn arrives.

Postach.io’s back!

You may recall I got very excited by a start-up called Postach.io come time ago. Simply put, their USP was taking your simple Evernote notes and turning them into a simple blog. Just tag a note as ‘published’ and it appeared as a new blog post.

Simples!

I quickly fell in love with it, due to its simplicity, its tight integration with Evernote (one of my favourite apps of all time) and how I could quickly write in Markdown.

Continue reading “Postach.io’s back!”

South Beach fun and games

So it’s our last day here in South Beach and I’m several shades darker and (almost certainly) several kilos heavier. It all started with a very welcome and unexpected upgrade to First Class on our flight from London. Thank you British Airways!


It’s been a whirlwind of a week, with plenty of beach time, plenty of swimming in the sea and plenty of food and cocktails. 

We’re flying back to the U.K. in just a few hours and I have to admit I’m looking forward to sleeping in temperatures of less than 28C! No complaints about the daytime temps, though. Such a welcome break from the wind and rain back home. 

Here’s a selection of photos from the week, with more observations and memories sure to follow. 

And now to navigate the craziness that is Miami International Airport 🙄. Then to settle in for a few hours of peace and quiet. Not something South Beach is known for!

See you on the other side. 

Heaving breathing, flashing lights

So I had my sleep-deprived EEG this morning. I fell asleep after about 1am (after staying awake by catching up on the massive backlog of comics I haven’t read) and my alarm went off at 5:30am.

Groan.

I freely admit it was tough to get myself out of bed. Harder still to avoid the coffee machine. I was under strict orders to avoid caffeine before the test. So I woke up at the kitchen table, sipping sparkling water and wishing I was somewhere – anywhere – else.

The test went fine, but was pretty unpleasant. Firstly, you get a load of electrodes glued to your scalp. Then I had to complete a series of exercises, while my brain activity was monitored, including:

  • Hyperventilating, until I got pins and needles in my face and my hands
  • Staring into a strobe light, going against every natural instinct to look away

Ugh. Nothing painful, but unpleasant all the same. I also had to work from my laptop while being monitored, to see the impact a computer screen has on me. I also had to sleep, but – wouldn’t you know it – it took me over an hour to nod off. And then it was in a strange position, so I woke up with an s-shaped neck.

The clinical physiologist that took care of me was brilliant. Very professional,  but also very friendly. We bonded over our shared love of travel while she attached the electrodes to my head.

(A sentence I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d type).

I’m now back at home, shoving coffee into my face and working on staying awake for the next few hours. I’m not sure I’ll manage without a short nap, but I’m determined to catch up on my sleep tonight. Big work day tomorrow.

And now, for your delectation, a selfie of me – complete with electrodes. A valuable lesson in why you should never take a selfie while lying down.

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I’ll get my results in a few weeks, after I get back from South Beach. Fingers crossed for a helpful result. Whatever that is…

Mission impossible

 

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My last EEG test – aren’t those electrodes just the most attractive thing ever?

I’m going into hospital for a sleep-deprived EEG test tomorrow morning. I’ve had a few EEGs on my long journey through the world of epilepsy, including being monitored all night while I slept.

 

Tomorrow, I need to go in having had about half the sleep I normally get.

Oh.

The letter I received recommends going to bed two hours later than usual and getting up too hours earlier than usual. That is, by definition, the worst of both worlds. And to cap it all, I’m not allowed to have any coffee tomorrow until after the tests are complete.

No coffee?!
Tomorrow is going to hit over 30C  in London and I have to brave rush hour public transport short on both sleep and caffeine.

I can tell you one thing: it won’t be pretty.

The sole upside is the possibility of spending a few hours in the afternoon sunshine in our garden by way of recovery. After which I’ll spend far too much time trying to scrape the disgusting electrode glue off my bald head, inevitably leaving some somewhere…

Ironically, my sleep has been pretty good over the last week. Just when I could do with some insomnia, I’m sleeping like a baby.

See you on the other side.