Thursday, 27 July 2017

Mr Blue Sky - ELO

Lyrics:- 'Sun is shinin' in the sky, there ain't a cloud in sight' - Lynne

Song Choice:- Well when it come to anything 'Blue Sky' this always pops straight into my mind. Taken from the 1978 Double Multi-Platinum selling album, (which you could have bought in 'Blue Vinyl, that no doubt my friend Mark Wynn has in his record collection), it's well worth another listen as ELO were one of THE standout acts of the 70's and Mr Blue Sky , one of my favourite tracks.

Anyway, back to the 'Blue Sky' thinking part and it's amazing just how many clouds come along when we are not paying attention and mess up the sun shining on our own little worlds. It's a right bugger when it does as if you are not careful and a bit of a proud 'Empire Builder' like myself, you find yourself having to ask for help.

How degrading eh? 

Well, it is if you are super-proud like me and the feeling of failure this time last year was overwhelming.

The funny thing is though, it's seen by others as being 'Human' and that you are 'Mortal' and 'Flawed' - folk like that. I learned a lot last year about asking for help. Wheelchair bound and out on a solo push, at the base of the hospital hill, it's amazing how folk are only too keen to push you up. Way on past any limits you might impose too, as they are only too pleased to help.

For me it was a lesson well learned and having help to blow away the clouds only leaves 'Blue Skies' I've found since then. Only taken 55 years - to be 'Welcomed to the Human Race'...

Amen.

Rory Coleman - 996 Marathons - 244 Ultras - 14 Marathon des Sables
9 Guinness World Records - 8,604 Days' Alcohol Free - 452 Days' post GBS
Inspirational Running Memoir
Location: Sunny Cardiff

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Human Racing - Nik Kershaw

Nik looking the part...
Lyrics:- 'Around and around we go' - Kershaw

Song Choice:- Remember Nik? Wasn't he in Duran Duran for a while? I'm sure he was. I know he was a teenage heartthrob until his fans found out he was married. He did write some good tunes though and Human Racing today highlights my thoughts perfectly on the subject of the Human 'Race'...

You see, we're all 'Racing' nowadays with little time to come up for air and consider our precarious lives on this revolving lump of spinning rock in the midst of time and space. 

The concept of space and time is rather mind-blowing but the wonder of how our world was created in a nano-second of time in an ever expanding space that one day will implode makes our day-to-day existence seem rather futile to say the least. In real terms, our whole life existence is a mere blink of an eye and it's kinda frightening what we do with the time we have living on it.

We all want to make our mark. A mark on the planet. To be known for doing or being something. Standing out from the crowd isn't easy and being a 'World Beater' a very rare commodity.

That's why it's strange to think we are all so different. We're not really. I mean looking in on our world, we would all be seen as one species, one breed. Yet why do we believe that we are all so different and have such diverse needs. We are all pretty much the same it's only that our drive is different.

99.99% of us have 206 bones, will have had 32 adult teeth at one time or another, walked, talked and learned to be a 'Human', as a species we are great at learning, at expanding our minds and pushing the boundaries way past their limits.

The strange thing I find is that we don't look after our 'Vehicle for Discovery', yes our Body very well at all. That's why daily fitness is so important to our longevity, as well as our need for greatness in whatever field we can find to make our mark. Those treadmill Guinness World Records I set in 1998 have been worth their weight in gold over the years. It took me four years and 116 marathons to get my mind, body and soul ready to know that when I stepped onto the treadmill, the five records I was chasing in that 24 hours were going to be a dead cert.

My point is, that if you set out to do something, make sure you do it.

My timing was just perfect and my driver at the time was thatI just wanted them more than anyone else. So my question is where are you making yours and who are you racing against?

Amen

Rory Coleman - 996 Marathons - 244 Ultras - 14 Marathon des Sables
9 Guinness World Records - 8,603 Days' Alcohol Free - 451 Days' post GBS
Inspirational Running Memoir
Location: Sully, Cymru

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Alaska - UK

Lyrics:- 'Close my eyes imagine somewhere' - Jobson

Song Choice:- I nearly chose Violiniski's shocking Clog Dance for today's blog but simply couldn't as it was so dreadful at the time. It drove me potty back in 1979. Instead I've chosen UK's Alaska from the same year featuring one of my own Violin heroes, (no not you Dan Mullin) but 'Eddie Jobson'.

I wanted a Violin based track to illustrate my thoughts on Malcolm Gladwell's theory that the key to success in any field, is simply a matter of practicing a specific task that can be accomplished with 20 hours of work a week for 10 years. 

The theory's been written about far too many times to mention, but if you are learning to play the violin, as my 12-year-old daughter Pearl is, it will be 2027 before we'll be able to take our ear defenders off and hear a 'Jobson-Like' performance. Even at Grade 8, I'm told, it will still sound like the painful screech of nails down a blackboard. Yikes!

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure she'll enjoying the learning experience and becoming a more proficient player but like anything it will take time. Her success will rely her determination to succeed and endurance. Sounds kinda familiar eh?

You see, in my world, it takes a similar level of dedication and time. I wonder how folk believe they can become a world beater at any kind of endurance sport with less than 10,000 hours of practise and Gladwell's theory I believe stacks up. Yes, you can get very good in a short space of time but to become a world beater and bodily bombproof, well that's down to the simple equation of, You + Dedication over Setbacks + Injury.

I saw Danny Kay at the weekend, now there's a guy - a proper running machine at 75 years of age, completing his 683rd marathon - he's never experienced a DNF and is still running strong. We share the same running philosophy and he gave me some sound advice during the run. He took some beating too! 

Starting out I found speaking to the guys who've been there, got the T-Shirt and have done what ii is you want to do, is always the best approach. John Martin taught me all those lessons back in 1995, when I wasn't sure whether I wanted to take his advice. His prophesy and teaching came true though, give him his due, and his ideals and those of Coach Arthur Lydiard live on in my work.

If only I could apply it to playing the Violin...


Amen.

Rory Coleman - 996 Marathons - 244 Ultras - 14 Marathon des Sables
9 Guinness World Records - 8,602 Days' Alcohol Free - 450 Days' post GBS
Inspirational Running Memoir
Location: Caersydd, Cymru

Monday, 24 July 2017

Can I play with Madness - Iron Maiden

Lyrics:- 'Give me a sense of wonder' - Dickenson, Harris & Smith

Song Choice:- I've seen Maiden live and I can't say I was overly impressed so I'm currently exploring their back catalogue to see if I get their music a bit more and I'm enjoying some of their better know tracks. This got to #10 in 1988, and I mean, any song with 'Play' and 'Madness' in the title strikes me as being a perfect 'Blog-Song' accompaniment. This track from their platinum selling 1988 album 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son' and is well worth another listen.

I thought about this track a lot as I 'Played with Madness' during yesterday's Bath Running Festival's Marathon - my 996th marathon outing and possibly one of the hardest and probably the wettest.

You see, I should have known better than to take on anything that's as super hilly as this one, during the middle of the 'British Summer'. All those reducing parkrun times and thoughts of returning to fitness had lured me into a 'False Sense of Awesomeness' you see. They were soon kicked into touch though as the heavens opened just before the start. It rained all day with one downpour being so heavy that the descents, especially off Solsbury Hill became ravines and extremely treacherous. It was easier to ski in places rather than try to walk or run.

I'm not bleating, however it did make me wonder though why they made the course so hard, especially the 14.5 miles in three hours cutoff which I beat by a mere 36 seconds - many didn't. Pushing hard to beat that meant that for the rest of the race I was in recovery mode.

I did run the last vertical mile to earning a couple of scalps, but it shows me that I'm still not as fit as I thought I was. Marathon #997 is a welcome lapping of the Enigma Lake where I'll hopefully get a better gauge of my recovery on the flat, and see my actual progress since my last outing there in February.

Am I downhearted, nah... Little Charlie is one this week and the year has flown by. I watched him come into the world from a wheelchair, so I only have a 'sense of wonder' at what I've achieved in less than 365 days. This time last year I would have done anything to be out running in the rain, let alone walking.

Grab life while you can folks and enjoy the week ahead... Maybe 'Play with Madness' a bit eh?

Amen.

Rory Coleman - 996 Marathons - 244 Ultras - 14 Marathon des Sables
9 Guinness World Records - 8,601 Days' Alcohol Free - 449 Days' post GBS
Inspirational Running Memoir
Location: Caersydd, Cymru

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Solsbury Hill - Sir Peter of Gabriel

Not as Sunny today!!!
Lyrics:- 'I just had to trust imagination' - Gabriel

Song Choice:- If you run over Solsbury Hill on a marathon, it's only right to use it as a 'Blog-song' IMO.

Gabriel's first post Genesis hit from 1977 relates a spiritual experience he had on top of the hill about his thoughts about his departure from the band.

It's really about the gambles we take in life. You know when you take everything you've built, everything you've worked for and everything you created only to discard it in the hope of what you are striving for instead is the golden ticket.

I've done it myself a few times with differing levels of success but have always thought that I've been better off for taking the gamble, rather than not.

There's nothing worse in my world than someone saying 'If only I'd... as of course they should have. Even if things don't turn out for the best, you'll always know if it was wirth the sacrifice and there's nearly always a second chance anyway.

So what's stopping you climbing your 'Solsbury Hill' today? And what are you most frightened of?

If it's the 'Fear of Failure', if it is, don't worry as you probably won't... if it's the 'Fear of Trying', climb your hill, take a good look around and then give it a go... what is there to lose eh? A bit of pride perhaps?

Come on - dive on in, the water's lovely especially in a British Summer - as it pi55ed it down today for nearly all 26.2 miles.

Amen.

Rory Coleman - 996 Marathons - 244 Ultras - 14 Marathon des Sables
9 Guinness World Records - 8,600 Days' Alcohol Free - 448 Days' post GBS
Inspirational Running Memoir
Location: Bath, England

Friday, 21 July 2017

Match of the Day - Genesis

Winning more now than ever...
Lyrics:- 'The only way, to spend your Saturday' - Banks, Collins, Hackett & Rutherford

Song Choice:- Well it's not surprising that Steve Hackett left the band after recording this EP, and it's very rare that I pick a really DUFF track for my blog but this 1977 shocker from Genesis illustrates my thoughts perfectly going into the weekend on what might be a better way of spending your Saturday.

For instance, from the end of next year you'll be able to come Wales for free! Wales is such a cool place right now. You see, it's been announced today that we're scrapping the entry fee into God's Country over the two Severn Crossings to increase trade and tourism.

It's great news and I reckon I've personally paid for at least one of the bridges over the past few years with all of the crossings I've done - I'm not sure where the missing £167,000,000 will come from though that the tolls currently produce but maybe the Welsh Government is hoping that the tax on the extra income brought in by dropping the tolls will pay dividends? Hmm...I'm not sure either?

Anyway, back to 'Match of the Day' bit and the Severn Bridge toll is just a drop in the ocean against we spend as a nation watching other people play sport on a Saturday afternoon. The numbers are mind-blowing when you consider that you can actively take part in sport, as the BBC's #GetInspired campaign encourages for £0 - yep a bit fat zero at your local parkrun. Considering the BBC pay Gary Linekar £2,000,000 for his TV 'Anchorman' role, and if the reports are correct, Alan Shearer £450,000 for his 'Punditry' it's all seems a crazy way to spend the licence fee when the cash could be used in much more positive way.

Sadly, the modern-day game of football is a 'Network Marketing Dream'. Back in 1977, the above song's lyrics mention a player's transfer fee of being £440,000 - well that's less than a week's wages for Gareth Bale nowadays, and he's only one of many at the top of this particular money pyramid.

And who's funding it? Well that's the 'Football Fanatic'. The guy buying a season ticket at a Premier League Ground for 19 games a year at a mere £1,000. Add in a Sky subscription all the travel, home shirt, away shirt, casual third shirt and multiply that by a few hundred thousand similar fans and you can easily see how the cash stacks up.

I've nothing against the game and if it floats your boat, well that's fine by me. I'll freely admit that I love the World Cup and Euros but the weekends, are for living out your own sporting dreams and achieving your own personal goals rather than watch other people try and score theirs - I mean you are not even guaranteed a good match or even a result. At least with my approach you are in charge of your own destiny and enjoyment factor.

You can win your own 'Champions League' every year...

So enjoy the weekend 'Match of the Day' free for at least a couple more weekends and have a great Saturday especially if you are trying to smash out a new 5km PB.


Amen.

Rory Coleman - 995 Marathons - 244 Ultras - 14 Marathon des Sables
9 Guinness World Records - 8,598 Days' Alcohol Free - 446 Days' post GBS
Inspirational Running Memoir
Location: Cardydd, Cymru

Thursday, 20 July 2017

All Stood Still - Ultraxox

New Romantic Cool? v 80's Nightmare
Lyrics:- 'The lights went out (The last fuse blew)
The clocks all stopped (It can't be true)
The program's wrong (What can we do?)
The printout's blocked (It relied on you)' - Ure

Song Choice:- Vienna has to be one of THE albums of the early 80's and has so many great tracks including Mr X, Western Promise and this one, All Stood Still as well as the incredibly well known title track Vienna, itself. I won't bash on about that only ever getting to #2 being held off the top spot by Joe Dolce's Shadapp you faceas we are all too familiar with that story (poor old Midge Ure never has lived that one down).

It really was the miss of the decade, well in popular music terms anyway. 

However, the song's well worth the listen and as you'll see it's no wonder the 'Synth-Based New Romantic' style was somehow never going to last and by 1990 most of the 'New Romantics' were more 'Old Romantics'. Those that had survived, had become more mainstream and well into long-term music careers like Duran Duran and Simple Minds. For these bands, they'd gone from being rather awkward and geeky, to well polished performers who were more stadium sized bands rather than the Arthouse Club Acts, they'd started out as. 

Sadly Ultravox didn't make the cut. The changes? Well, they happened super-slowly and it's amazing how much some these performers had changed by the end of the decade.

Oh the point of all of this? Well it just got me thinking about how much we change and will change in each of the decades of our lives. It's something we don't see ourselves when we look into our bathroom mirrors each morning, as the change happens with the speed of a 'Stop Go Animation' at a ridiculously slow rate. Sometimes, it's only our friends and family who have the courage to announce our transformation from one stage to another.

Watch Matthew Perry's transformation over the ten series of 'Friends' to see how much one person can change and how lifestyle is reflected in how they look. It's amazing how we judge people by how they appear and especially how they are turned out. 

It happens every day, all day, everywhere you go, never forget that. We are all constantly being judged.

The image you project is a clear statement of who you really are and reflects your standards and ideals. It might be worth looking at your own reflection and see if it's changed since 2007, as the clocks haven't stopped and nothing stands still. Remember, whatever your lifestyle is now, will be reflected in how you look in 2027 and in your health.

It's well worth a thought...

Amen.

Rory Coleman - 995 Marathons - 244 Ultras - 14 Marathon des Sables
9 Guinness World Records - 8,597 Days' Alcohol Free - 445 Days' post GBS
Inspirational Running Memoir
Location: Cardydd, Cymru