The Knitting Sailor


Just like a mountain goat
October 9, 2012, 8:59 am
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , , ,

Having ran the Great North Run I thought I would never run again. Ever. Not even for a bus.

So you can imagine my surprise when I found myself back on the start line this weekend.  I don’t really know how it happened – well I do – it was a really clever marketing mail about two weeks ago suggesting I might like to take part in the Kielder 10k.  Well it was Kielder and we were going to be up for the weekend as we were both on duty for the Sunday – so I thought why not?

Having signed up for this it was then patiently explained to me that this route was basically made up of hills.  Lots of hills.  This made me a little aprehensive  – I know from the GNR they aren’t my strength, but as I had signed up now I decided I just needed to man up and get on with it.  So I’ve actually gone and done some hill training – running up and down the banks off the beach, and even going to Hexham to run up Causey Hill ( got lost on the way, ended up running up and down and through the park about 47 times followed by finally finding said hill by the time I was already totally exhausted and deciding by the time I got half way up that it was a stupid idea anyway and going home for a nice cup if tea and a giant sit down).

It was ‘only’ 10k do I reckoned if I could do it in comparable time to the GNR I should be looking for a 1.15 finish time.  And if it got really tough then I could always get the bus like last years Kielder marathon winner!

So Saturday dawned, bright and cool, and I got changed into my kit.  The idea was that competitors went a parked in a local village and were then shuttle- bussed to the start at the main visitor centre – Leaplish.  But it tuned out that I felt a much better idea would be to save myself the hour or so all of that was going to take and instead abuse my position and get a lift in a rib instead!

Arriving at Leaplish

So 500 competitors turned up in buses, and I turned up in running gear and a buoyancy aid. It was a good look.

I shouldn’t have been scared of the whole thing, but I was starting to get very nervous. In addition to the 10k there was also the run, bike, run starting at the same time (individual or team, run 11k, bike 26, run 6) so the pace was packed. Lots of people had come with me to cheer me on though which was great – and their plan was to go and sit in the pub while I was running – which kind of felt a little unfair.

For the start we all just piled in – I hung back so I was right out of everyone’s way.  The waiting was the worst – I was doing it on my own, so you just start to worry you wont cope and wondering how come everyone else knows how to do stretches and stuff.

Nail biting start

Lots of people in front of me

And then we were off. It was very hard to try and get going as the paths are only 2-3 abreast and it turned out that I wasn’t the slowest there – I actually needed to run past some people.  And then the hill started. I had been warned that the first mile was rough – straight up and it just kept going.   But I was managing.  In fact I was still running past people.  Actually – some people were walking already!  I was a running god!! Until I hit the mile. And it was still going up.  I had been lied too!  I wasn’t sure how much longer I could keep it up for and I could see more and more people in front of me stopping. I pushed through, got round a corner… And it levelled out.  I have never been so pleased to see some flat in my life.  It’s amazing what a bit if achievement can do to push you on though – because all of a sudden I wasn’t at the back any more, I wasn’t walking and the kick I got from it was amazing.  I started watching my pace and trying to improve – every mile I managed a little faster, overtook a few and started to think that I was actually doing OK.  I did have a wobble – it was around the 7-8k when we rounded a corner and I saw the waterski club – and by water that is a LONG way to Leaplish (you tend to have to beat all the way too) and my heart just sank – but before I knew it I was past the 8k mark and realised I’d nearly finished!
As I got close to the finish it was clear everyone was stepping up their game – but I didn’t want to push too hard incase I couldn’t finish … I rounded the corner, saw the finish line, heard someone shout my name and just decided to run like billyo – and I did – I took 5 places in that last 200m and sprinted over the finish line.

I was thrilled – I felt I’d actually ran a race, with the the GNR I was just happy to get round.  And my time? 1.03.  Like I said – thrilled.

I just need a podium now…

I think it might be the first time ever I have actually enjoyed running.

Advertisements


Something to write home about
August 29, 2012, 8:54 pm
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , , , , , ,

So this weekend was packed at the sailing club – we had visiting T15 windsurfers, cruising, racing, BBQing and the clubs Little Americas Cup on Monday.  It was probably the busiest weekend the club has seen for a while – despite appalling weather – veering from no wind and sunshine, to torrential rain with anything from no wind to really strong gusts coming in.

Now the Little Americas Cup is one of my favourite events – in homage to the original yacht racing in which our Olympic Gold Medal winner Ben Ainslie is competing at the moment.  Sorry – promised I would drop the Olympics didn’t I.

You’ll notice I said ‘Little’.  So don’t think this

think this

It’s a one day series ran in those infamous Toppers…… yep we’re back to those again… and the whole club match races against each other in these tiny craft, all on the same course in back to back races ran really close to shore for maximum jeering.  It can be a long day as you need to race everyone in your group and then there are semi’s between your group and the other groups and then up to a finals.

Having not done enough sailing this year I really felt this would be a great idea – especially in the sheeting rain with promises of big winds and gusts of up to 38 knots.  What I actually thought was ‘what the hell, I’m always knocked out early doors and at least I’ll have shown willing and with any luck I’ll be able to justify some cake if I’ve been sailing’.

So after an evening of preparing in the bar we were all ready to go.

Race preparation well under way

Following my recent posts about Ood’ing it’s also a really complicated one to run.  This year our Rear Commodore was back in the chair having ran this for a number of years.  And he did something I have never seen before.  Set up a course with a running start.

What this means is that the start line is DOWNWIND, round a P course and then a beat UPWIND to the finish.  I only worked out what this meant as I wasn’t in the first race, so I could watch how to do it, but the course looked a little like this –

I’ll have a P please Bob

Actually the wind and rain were a bit more wonky than that, but you get the gist!

So the clubs six Toppers were rigged and tied to the jetty and the racing began.  Each race is between two people from a group – and three of these races take place on each start.  So you get a hoot to start the countdown – which is two minutes and at the end of this two minutes the first pair set off, followed a minute later by the next pair, and the third pair go a minute after that!  Added to which to keep it fair you must change boat every race – so that there is no tactical advantage from one of the very high quality boats being set up better than another (i.e. having all its bits in working order).  The boat to avoid has usually been Jester – with a slow leak, but after some remedial work prior to last years race he went from zero to hero becoming the most favoured boat due to his racing orange colouring.

It’s not confusing at all.

On top of this watching the adults trying to climb onto these ridiculously light boats from the jetty is a sport all of its own… I wasn’t the only one who had my only capsize while trying to swap boats between races.

But the unusual course and start were not the only oddity.  This year we had the tightest racing the club has seen in at least my time.  People were doing tactical maneuvers, ‘covering’ people on the upwind leg, positioning themselves for mark overlaps, stealing wind on the downwind and generally doing things you would not expect to see.  And as its so far into shore and ran from the jetty – there are always lots of spectators waiting for their next race – cheering – and it turns out… taking notes.

So what started as a few people who had worked out some tactics, became a few more people who had also got tactics, followed by lots of people who had tactics and the tightest racing we have seen for ages.  Both the semi finals and finals all went to sail-off’s the results were so close.

Watch and learn

So why am I telling you all this?

Well firstly because I thought you would be interested in what is in our club an unusual and fun event, secondly to tell you about an exciting downwind start, thirdly to share what a great way of running racing this is for raising the standard of racing across your club and get more people involved, and lastly

Thunderous applause from the crowd

I actually came third in a proper race event.

I still don’t believe it.



This is a tourist information announcement for Yorkshire
August 10, 2012, 2:51 pm
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , , , ,

Ten reasons why Yorkshire is great

1. No parking restrictions

You parked it where?

2. A somewhat relaxed approach to Health and Safety

Is that really safe?

(That right – giant saw, no helmets, glasses, gloves, shirt hanging out, and I was too scared to photograph when he was stood on top with one leg either side of the blade pulling the wood through – while it was still running)

3. An inclusive and welcoming approach to people from all across the globe

I wonder if they paid them in fruit

4. Great night life

Just a normal Saturday night on Pickering High Street

5. Wool Shops

Fortunately they have plenty of multi coloured sheep in Yorkshire

6. They support the traditional British holiday

Don’t worry – it did rain later

7. Enthusiasm for the local wildlife

It’s OK – I checked and it wasn’t nailed there

8. They have pride in their inventors

Not seen a one of these on any of the Olympic boats – are we going wrong somewhere?

9. They can make you walk on water

…almost…

10. And most of all… they serve great Beer!  (Really?  You need a photo of it?????)

Go visit – and tell them I sent you!



In case you are a burglar
June 19, 2012, 1:28 pm
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , , , , ,

I haven’t posted for a while as I have been away on my holidays!  We went here –

Foreign Place!

(Bonus points for anyone who can ‘name that place’ from a photo)

We saw some boats that looked like this –

Posh Boat

And had a resident terrapin that looked like this –

Note my claws rather than flippers and that I am not drowning tortoise-like

I know it’s a terrapin because when we got home I spent hours on the internet to try to identify what it was.

And on coming home we got to see the Olympic Torch –

Keep Looking – it’s just there – really small in the middle????

(How exciting – I have to say I am feeling super-patriotic at the moment)

And most importantly I got to employ my new favourite toy – the YARN WINDER – to turn this –

Into this –

It’s been a busy break.

I didn’t tell you I was away because I have an irrational fear that burglars in hand knit balaclavas will find out and come and rob my house while I am away sunning myself.  This is somewhat laughable as I have little of value or interest to anyone else – other than some lovely yarn and a somewhat smelly wetsuit.

What do you mean it’s just what you always wanted?




%d bloggers like this: