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Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Inspiration - I

I find that inspiration and motivation are funny concepts. What inspires me to get through the door and into a run or onto my bike changes on a fairly regular basis, especially when I'm not close to a big race or event. Motivation comes in waves: sometimes it's easy, sometimes I need a kick up the backside to get me out there. This is the first in an irregular series cataloguing what's making me run and ride at the moment.

Back in February, I spent a lazy Saturday afternoon watching the Aviva Indoor Grand Prix from Birmingham. Watching the track events, in particular Jenny Meadows brilliant run in the 800 metres (a distance I used to run reasonably well), inspired me to try and recapture some top end speed. I'm lucky enough to live about a mile from a two-lane outdoor track which is freely available and little used, so I've been trying to add a speed work session once a week. I feel that it's paying off on my longer runs now and am hoping to keep them up over the summer.

Jim Speakman put me on to XXC, the extreme cross country cycling magazine. And from the XXC blog I heard about Dirt Road Washtenaw, a website and book subtitled "Discovery out your back door". OK, so Washtenaw is in Michigan and I live in Cheshire, hardly next door, but the idea stands. Discovery out your back (or in my case front) door. There are places you can get to which can inspire you, and armed with my new-ish Inov Roclite 295s I've been running offroad much more regularly to discover those places.

Finally (for this post at least) I've been reading Joe Simpson's "Storms of Silence". I've not read any of Simpson's other books but was aware of him and his story largely through having seen the film version of "Touching The Void". This book though is magnificent, and I'll be working my through Simpson's back catalogue when I've finished this one, reminding me that there's a great wide world there outside the M62 corridor where I spend most of my days. The details of the Chinese occupation of Tibet presented here aren't for the faint-hearted reader but serve to show that we're lucky to live the lives we do in the West and that we're most fortunate to be able to play the games that we choose.

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