good morning friday morning blog readers, how're tricks? 

mighty fine i hope, and i mean that genuinely, your wellbeing and happiness, whilst sounding cheesy and corny, is important to me, so hopefully you're in a good place, if not shout out, there will always be people that can help, and if your support network is a bit thin on the ground, drop us a line, bigmoose aint here just for the good times, and the glorious headlines, we can try to help when it's a bit pants too, we're on this great journey together you know, and support either for ourselves, or to give to others, cannot be measured in importance.

i never plan my blog, it feels a bit contrived if i do, so i just sit down, and let my mind flow in whatever direction it leads, almost like pouring water down a hill, we all know it will eventually reach the bottom, but the path it takes is never fully known, and as i type this, my first headline of five words to get a p.b. make me think of how this knits in with my first paragraph, and the reason for this is it is about support.

as regular readers and anybody that has been within earshot of me over the last few months will know, i have committed to run the marathon des sables in 2016, a huge challenge for this fifty two year old, double hip replacement geezer, who has never been a runner before meeting running coach rory coleman.

a huge challenge, ha ha ha, that's the hook isn't it, that's why i am doing this, it is a challenge to push my body and my mind to places it has never been, and i am loving it, i know, weirdo right?

i had been finding it difficult to switch back on to training since my first ultra race on my birthday in july, which i think was post race blues, but i am now fully plugged in, and am back training six days a week, which though tough, especially on these dark wet mornings, i am fully committed to, and i think that the joy of finishing this race will be down to my determination to get out of bed at 5.30, lace up my claire raynors, and head off into the darkness.

i had been struggling with how to get out there when it is raining, especially when i have midweek runs of over two hours, and weekend runs of up to five hours, and getting soaked in my first thirty seconds was mentally challenging me, but after talking to rory, and reading some stuff on the line, i concluded to get some mythical mtfu pills ( man the f up) grow a pair, and work on the best quote i found, namely that i am not made of sugar and therefore will not melt.

tough love from the running community, i found.

however, this week saw me head out for the first time into the rain and darkness pre 6am, and upon running and returning, the hot shower after was to provide the place to reflect, and be proud of myself, and my determination, and i know full well that the hard work pounding the streets of cardiff is where the ability to complete the sahara challenge will take place, and must be done.

this mental strength is something that for some reason i seem to have, i am wired in a certain way that makes me push hard, and if i'm honest i would probably guess it has psychological reasons that stem back to my childhood and family break up, it's funny how such moments in your life can effect you in ways that truly shape your path, and whilst obviously carrying some pretty heavy luggage full of that angst, the truth is that my childhood has shaped me, and hopefully in a good way, that manifests itself in a way that has led me here, and you to be reading this, woah heavy man!!! lol

so, back to support.

we all need support in some way, from our families, our friends, our coworkers, etc, and this support in what we do and who we are is so vitally important i think.

so this week, i had a 13.1 mile run to do as part of my training on wednesday, and the only way i can get this kind of distance in is to do it early morning, hence the early starts, so i was up stretching and getting myself mentally prepped to open the door to the morning elements, when chloe came downstairs on her way to the bathroom.

now happening upon her dad, lycra clad, swinging his legs up and down in pendulum like motion strangely enough did not surprise her, this is her world!

then, without a 'good morning', 'what time is it', or other such inane question, she came out with five words.

'i'm proud of you dad'

no more no less.

she knew.

i knew.

she then hugged me, and trotted off to the bathroom.

i stepped out into the rain, and figured this was where i invested in myself, and thought of all the corny sayings alluding to how when the going gets tough, etc, and then found myself thinking about billy ocean's 80's classic song, and how i really didn't want to be in a movie of my life trotting out in an über camp way with billy belting out the song title!!!

moving on, as the rain lashed down, and the wind blew i was really enjoying the toughness of the run, and at times the rain blew almost horizontally causing it to hit my face almost like tiny pin pricks, but this only increased my resolve, and as i got to my halfway point i noticed that my pace was actually quite fast, for me that is!

i started to think about chloe's words, and as i approached the last hill on my route i pushed hard, and breathed deep, feeling the cold air fill my lungs, and circulate my body, i was alive in a way that made me happy, and i thought of all the millions of people who would love to be able to be in my position to be able to run, to push hard, and i ran harder to show my appreciation, i am indeed lucky.

the last two miles of my run are downhill, and then a flat last mile, and i thought i might have a chance of doing a good time, and chloe's words kept playing out in my mind as i kicked for home.

now as a runner i put all my runs on strava, which for non runners reading this is an app that is used by millions worldwide, and measures your distance, time, route etc, and bigmoose have a group, where we can all see each others runs and cycles, and hopefully encourage each other.

now i have a pal of mine who has commented a couple of times on my runs, and said how a certain run looked like a strong finish, so as i pushed into my last mile i imagined him encouraging me, and chloe's comments rang in my ears as i pushed harder than i had ever pushed after 12 tough miles already.

my legs felt strong, and i knew i had enough in the tank to finish fast.

i fired up my phone to look at the distance, in order to stop as soon as i hit 13.1 it's all about marginal gains, no need to run a step further than 13.1, no sir!

i pushed and i pushed, my arms synchronised with a rhythym that really made me feel like i was actually a runner.

and stop.

i bent over my knees, and tried to read my stats.

not a frickin chance, not with these 52 year old eyes!

ha ha, how funny i thought, i feel so strong, but so weak as well, hilarious.

as i found my key in the plant pot, i brushed the earth off it to allow it easy access into the keyhole, worrying that i might block it with earth, man i worry about a lot of stuff.

i entered chez smith, and you know exactly what i did first.

i headed for my bins, to allow myself to focus on strava.

strava knows what makes me smile, it knows what excites me.

a little gold picture with 'pr' on it.

i had run my fastest half marathon, which i hadn't intended for one moment pre run, but a mix of emotions had caused my physical to respond in a certain way.

and this dear reader is what i meant about support and encouragement.

we can all give it, and we all need it.

never doubt how a little encouragement at any time can help somebody, and this is why the best coaches, managers, parents, all employ this style regularly, so maybe as a takeaway from this blog, just encourage someone around you just a little bit extra, imagine if we all do this what the cumulative effect will be.

well that was my wednesday, and in truth it didn't get any better, i kinda peaked pretty early :)

so, in other news, wow that story ran away with me a bit, sorry about that, this week we have just hit 100 volunteers for our supertri on december 20th, which is pretty amazing, and i am trying not to get too excited about this as it just makes it even more daunting to execute well, but i'm sure with your help it will be a blast, i for one am very excited, especially as we have a few surprises to announce nearer the day. *bites lip in a very excited but can't tell the secrets just yet kinda way!

so, that rounds up today's ramblings, and as dawn raises her pretty head, i just wanted to mention that before i set about writing this blog my e-mail programme informed me of our 288th subscriber, who is sarah lewis, so whilst 288 is not normally associated with any numerical significance, i am gonna celebrate it, and welcome sarah to our throng, and just think it will be fun for her to read her first blog that she has subscribed to, and to feature in it, so hi sarah, i hope you have a lush week ahead, and tell all of your friends that you are now a huge part of the bigmoose community, and thanks for joining in with the randomness of it all :)

so until next week i'll be seeing ya,

blue skies,