I thought I knew what stress was until 2017 came along!

I find it very ironic that my last post was in September 2016 and it talked about stress. Back then it was work related stress and I was trying to juggle family, training and work which is split between London, the East Midlands and then anywhere else in the World I might be needed. So, yes I was stressed and I was letting it get to me.

But, looking back at 2016 and my life at the time of writing that post I would say I have a completely different outlook on what stress is and also whats important in life which in itself has a direct relevance to what a person considers stressful.

As you may or may not know my younger brother was diagnosed with terminal cancer in March 2017. My life got turned upside down, sideways and inside out. 

STRESS!

What is stress?

Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you feel threatened, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which rouse the body for emergency action. Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper. These physical changes increase your strength and stamina, speed your reaction time, and enhance your focus. This is known as the “fight or flight” or mobilization stress response and is your body’s way of protecting you.

When stress is within your comfort zone, it can help you to stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life—giving you extra strength to defend yourself, for example, or spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident. Stress can also help you rise to meet challenges. Stress is what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration when you’re attempting the game-winning free throw, or drives you to study for an exam when you'd rather be watching TV. But beyond your comfort zone, stress stops being helpful and can start causing major damage to your mind and body. 

It was all sounding good, almost positive until the very last sentence (in BOLD). Over the last few weeks I have experienced more stress than I have ever experienced before, and this is coming from someone who had a stomach ulcer at 33 years old (something that is heavily linked with stress).

The reason for my stress has been a new addition to my world recently 'cashflow'. Since moving my UK manufacturing business to it's new, bigger premises cashflow has been a challenge. I had been told to expect to find cashflow hard, but I never imagined how hard. I have been on a very steep learning curve over recent months.

I know everyone has stress in their life and everyone deals with it in their own way, but I wanted to share four ways that I deal with it.

1) Training. For me this is the most powerful form of stress relief. If I feel like things are getting to me there is nothing better than going for a run or a swim. Shutting myself off from work and just spending an hour or two alone with just the hurt to think about is a very powerful tool and something I would recommend to anyone. 

2) Talking. I try and talk to people and get the things that are stressing me out off my chest. Sometimes it will be a rant to a friend, sometimes a heart to heart with Marsha or my Mum and other times a discussion with my staff, but talking can be a great way to dump off some stress.

3) Working. For me much of stress comes from work, so believe it or not to do more work can help relieve my stress. Much of the time work related stress comes from needing more work in, paying bills, hitting deadlines etc. So, doing more work and concentrating on your work quite often will put me in a better place.

4) Television & Movies. For me TV and watching movies with Marsha is probably one of my favourite things to do. When I am watching a movie it is one of the few times I don't look at my phone, don't think about work, want to check my emails. to totally immerse myself in a TV programme or movie is great and for the 60-90mins I have no stress.

These are very obvious, but sometimes people ignore the obvious things and start over thinking the problems. For me the simple things are always best and any stress can be dealt with if you are lucky enough to have family and friends around you. For me Marsha is my best friend and I am lucky enough that she supports me and puts up with my work hours and the stress that comes with it.

Thought i'd write this post after a bonkers week, helps me put things into perspective, but unfortunately my stress levels will remain very high until tomorrow's Private Equity triathlon is over.

John

A EXPLANATION FROM GUINNESS...

Hello Everyone,

I haven't written blog for a while and one of the main reason why is that after Blenheim and the World Record attempt I was waiting for my response from Guinness World Records (GWR) as to whether my World Record would be allowed to stand. Well, yesterday I got my answer from GWR and like the whole GWR experience it was less than satisfactory.

As you might know, when applying to GWR for the attempt at the beginning they mentioned a target of 10 full spring triathlons or 30 disciplines inside of the 12hrs. this was always going to be virtually impossible at Blenheim due to the tough course but we hoped that should I try my best they would recognise it and allow the record to stand for someone to come along and break it.

After Blenheim I collated and submitted all the my video and photographic evidence, my times, my witness statements etc. I sent it away and after 2+ months of waiting this is what I received from GWR...

"Dear John Brame

Thank you for sending us the evidence of your record attempt for Most sprint triathlons completed in 12 hours. We have now looked into your evidence pack in detail, and we are sorry to inform you that we are unable to approve your record. Unfortunately your application has failed to break the current record which stands at N/A and is held by N/A. Whilst we fully appreciate that this is not the decision you were hoping for, we trust that you will understand our position. However, if you have any further record proposals please do make another application, we would be delighted to hear from you again.

Once again thank you for contacting Guinness World Records.

Kind regards

Records Management Team at Guinness World Records"

To say I was disappointed was an understatement so I after a quick rant on twitter I got back in touch with GWR and asked why can my record not stand if there is no record that currently exists and what/who is 'N/A' supposed to mean?

GWR did reply to me quickly, but mainly because of the twitter rant and the response that so many of your guys gave that was less than nice about what GWR had replied to me. In this latest reply they state that in looking into this record 'in depth' they have found someone, somewhere to have done 25 disciplines so they can't allow my record to stand.

Did this person do it as an official GWR attempt?

Did this person provide witness statements and evidence to prove his 25?

If it is a record that I have not beaten why is it not in the GWR book?

I am sure there are people out there (maybe even me) who can eat more Ferrero Rocher chocolates than the person who currently holds the World Record according to GWR, but if these are not registered or done through the correct, long winded way that GWR insist, the record according to GWR stays. So, unless this 25 discipline record was done 'officially' I can't see why thy won't allow my record to stand and put it out there for someone else to beat? 

If anyone doesn't agree with me then thats cool, and this is being written in the heat of the moment when I am disappointed, not for myself, but for the team at IMG who put in so much work to allow the attempt to happen at their event, for the team at Bloodwise who have supported all my silly 2016 challenges and for my amazing friends and family, many of whom lived the whole 12hr experience with me.

I am going to tweet this, make sure if you retweet it add the @GWR tag so they can read it to, and we can either get the 25 discipline attempt in the GWR book for someone to beat, or my 21 discipline attempt in the book for someone to beat, either way this record SHOULD exist!

Thank you for reading and see you all soon for a less frustrated blog post!

John

2016 Challenge 2 - 5hr Swim Session - DONE!

Hello Everyone,

A quick debrief after another challenge completed!

If you didn't know, yesterday I completed the 2nd challenge of my 2016 season by successfully completing a 5hr swim session. The session was 100m efforts off 2mins (swim and recovery) continuously for 5hrs.
Firstly I would like to thank everyone that came down to Surrey Sports Park to either just show their support or whose who got in with me for a few 100m efforts. I would also like to make a special mention to my amazing Mrs Marsha El-Hage (who herself swum a new furthest distance of 6.5km during the 5hrs) and Simon Kibble & my Mum Carole Brame. these three were there at the beginning and still there after 5+ hrs on a very hot poolside providing motivation, nutrition, support and assistance, I couldn't have done it without you.

Anyway, how did it go?

I started at 11:50am and had decided that I would break the challenge up into blocks of 10 x 100m and I would allow people to join me at the start of each 10 but not in the middle, this would allow me a routine. Once I got going I settled down into a steady 1:25min pace per 100m so getting 35secs rest and until about block 5 I was feeling good. I never had any idea of time until Simon told me I was half way, so it was just a case of managing each block of 10 x 100m. Through blocks 6-8 I struggled, my shoulders started to feel tight and my times dropped to 1:30-1:34mins per 100m but I knew if I could get to the 100 x 100m point I was going to happy..... even if I didn't make the full 5hrs.

I did the whole 100 x 100m with no toys, no pull buoy or paddles and was genuinely proud of myself, I had had my doubts and after a Thursday and Friday or driving and lifting/moving heavy office furniture and a Saturday or more driving and 100+km hilly ride, I did wonder whether I would have even got to this point!
After the 100th 100m it was tough, and I did really have a wobble (literally) about 12km into the session, but as I got nearer the end people kept arriving to show their support and I just kept checking off each 100m effort.

I finished the session hurting in places I have never hurt before, my back, arms, lats and triceps were pounding, but I was super happy and feel I am another step closer to my World Record attempt at The Blenheim Palace Triathlon in a few weeks!

Challenge totals:

Total swim time: 05:03:12hrs
Total swim distance: 14.5km or 14,500m
Total lengths (of a 50m pool): 290 lengths
Total toilet stops: 3 breaks of 2-3mins

If you don't know these crazy 'challenges' are all in aid of the Bloodwise‪#‎Charity‬ and I am hoping to raise as much money for them as possible in 2016. I have at least 6 more challenges planned and any amount you can spare to support me, to support this amazing charity is greatly appreciated. The link is below.....

My Virgin Money Giving page: My page: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JohnBrame

2016 Challenge 1 - 12hr Brick Session - DONE!

A tough day is over and Challenge 1 of 2016 is DONE!

Today I completed a 12 hour Brick Session in Richmond Park. The brick session consisted of 2 full laps of the 11km Richmond Park road circuit and then a 2 lap 5km run. I did this continuously for 12 hours.
The day started at 4am so I could get a head start on the cars, walkers, cyclists that all start entering the park at 10-11am onwards. It was pitch black when I started and with my bike lights on I did the first 3 hours completely alone, but had my Marsha El-HageSimon Kibble and Carole Brame all at the house to greet me between each discipline which helped.

I had a few dark times when the 12 hours looked impossible and I did consider on more than one occasion just giving up, but about 6 hours into the session some very supportive RG Active people came to the house to support me and some even joined me for a few disciplines.

I must say a massive thank you to: Richard Dickens Vicki Abberton Anne Renshaw Richard Wild Emma Young Simon Burrell Joe Maule Catherine Gualdino Maule Henry Yorke Ian Wilson Malcolm Lyon Rob Elliott and also Matt Price, Katie Price, Richard Mothersole, Andi G and Krista & Ryan Bibbings.

The last 3 runs were miserable, but they were saved by having strong bike legs in the later stages of the 12 hours. I had my lovely Mrs (Marsha El-Hage) join me for two of the last 4 bikes and this was very motivational and as tough as it was I stayed focused and kept a level of consistency until the end.

The session in numbers:

9 x Bike legs totalling 198km
9 x Run legs totalling 45km
18 transitions between bike/run
Total time 12:13:51hrs
Fastest bike time: Bike 6 in 49:46mins
Fastest run time: Run 2 in 22:57mins
Slowest bike time: Bike 8 in 55:47mins (traffic didn't help)
Slowest run time: Run 8 in 29:43mins (walk/run)
5939 calories burnt

After the 12 hours I had a visit from Alice Monger-Godfrey and she was kind enough to help me with a massage and an ‪#‎osteopathy‬ treatment to help speed up the healing and recovery and right now i'm chilling with Marsha El-Hage and friends,watching a movie and counting the seconds before I can go to bed and to sleep! haha

Finally a massive thank you to Etixx UK who fuelled me for most of the day,Finlay Paton and Rose Bikes UK for their awesome bikes, CEP UK & Irelandfor holding me together and helping me recover right now, Bollé & Bollé Cycling for their awesome helmet and glasses, QSW Sports UK for the kit that kept me dry, un-chaffed, and warm throughout the day, Curranz for their product both before and now after and RG Active Ltd. & RG Active Race Team London for their support and friendship.

Thank you everyone, I found today harder than I thought but I did it and I can't take all the credit, so many people helped me get to the finish!

See you all again soon!

John Brame

P.S. Photos and images to follow soon!
If you haven't sponsored me and think you could after todays achievement please do, I would be most grateful!

irgin Money Giving | Fundraising | John Brame's fundraising pVage

Battling Demons....

In the last few weeks my training has suffered due to heavy work commitments and more recently a 'niggle' with my knee.

My workload for the last few weeks now has been silly, with the triathlon season starting and RG Active getting very busy, very fast and then the manufacturing business moving to new, bigger premises whilst having lots of work in progress, I will be honest and admit I have struggled both mentally and physically to find the motivation, time and energy to get out a train as much as I would like. The problem I now have is my World Record attempt is 3 weeks away so I have to train enough to keep me in a positive mind set but no overdue it as I am supposed to be tapering, but the little training I have been doing has been helping me manage the work stress, so it's a tough balancing act.

Don't train too much to effect the taper - Train enough to de-stress from work - Don't train too much to make injury worse - Train to keep sane! 

So what is this injury that is adding to my mental struggle...

From what I have read and people that I have spoke too on top of personal experiences, it is an overuse injury known commonly as 'runner’s knee'. It is caused by a number of things that include too much volume, incorrect footwear, too much tarmac, bad bio-menchanics, poor flexibility.... you get the drift.

After a little research I have found the following information and I am now doing everything to try and get this 'issue' sorted ahead of Blenhiem Triathlon.

reatment of this condition is three-pronged and is aimed at 1) decreasing inflammation 2) allowing time for adequate healing and 3) alleviating whatever factors led to the problem in the first place.

To decrease inflammation, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) medications such as ibuprofen are quite effective. In addition, frequent applications of ice to the affected are may also be helpful. While a complete cessation of activity may not be necessary, it is important to refrain from any activities that exacerbate the pain. In mild cases, running at low intensity for short durations may be possible but for many this is not the case. To ensure adequate healing, rest and recovery should take place until the joint is pain free. During this period and immediately thereafter, strengthening exercises of the quadriceps and the ankle are beneficial to prevent recurrence and are to be encouraged. Finally, it is important to address any issues related to footwear, arch support and the training program in order to prevent patellar tendinitis from coming back.

Link: Running knee injuries 101
Link: How to beat runners knee
Link: Patellar Tendinitis
Link: Runners DIY guide to knee pain

I am now beginning my taper period, but I have actually been in an enforced taper for about 2 weeks now because of the work load, stress, niggles etc. So, things aren't ideal but I am trying to stay mentally prepared even if my physical state is no quite ideal.

Keep your fingers crossed for me and I will update you all very soon,

Regards

John

My VERY disappointing experience with Guinness World Records so far..... (Part Two)

I wanted to ask the question....

"When did the Guinness World Records become only about making money and not about celebrating the amazing achievements of people and raising money for charity?"

So, to continue my rant about the GWR people. I had initially had my record applications rejected and this started a long winded and frustrating back-and-forth with GWR via their automated message system on their website.  This is the ONLY way they will allow you to make contact and it states on the website 'allow up to 2 weeks for a reply'.

In their defence they usually got back to me quicker than two weeks but it meant lots and lots of days with no news and waiting for something, anything! With so many things to be discussed this whole process was now dragging on into 5+ months from my initial application, Christmas was coming and I wanted/needed to start planning training, and get things organised to maximise the fundraising time.

We finally got somewhere.... not the World Record attempt I wanted, but at least it was an attempt. GWR accepted the attempt that involves me completing as many sprint distance triathlon in 12hrs which was great. But, they then felt the need to add a target for me to achieve, although the record doesn't exist?

I had to ask why. Their answer was... 'Their  US team had done some research'????

So, I now face a World Record attempt knowing that the limit of 10 triathlons was quite impossible on the Blenhiem course and they won't allow my record to stand even if there is no record in place! I am hopefully that once I have completed the attempt in June and provided the evidence, assuming no-one has taken the record already, GWR might allow my record to stand. But, I will worry about that after i've tried.

Moving forward, I have an attempt so now to start training and promoting my attempt with the goal to raise money for charity!

Yes, you guessed it.... GWR were there to get in the way and mess this up too!

I will tell you about that in part 3 of my GWR story. Training has started and I am now 5 weeks into my plan after a great first month of training.

Total hours training in Month 1 = 45:20:23 hrs

Total distance covered in Month 1 = 435.72 miles

Total number of sessions completed in Month 1 = 30 sessions

Speak again soon,

John

My VERY disappointing experience with Guinness World Records so far..... (Part One)

I wanted to ask the question....

"When did the Guinness World Records become only about making money and not about celebrating the amazing achievements of people and raising money for charity?"

My journey with GWR started back in October/November 2015 when I had the idea to attempt to set a World Record as a personal challenge to raise money for charity.

I have never raised money for charity before because I had never felt people would want to sponsor me for something unless it was something special and something that people would consider a real test of my mental and physical ability based on my background in sport.

I went away and did my research and after seeing some of the very odd and very silly records that currently stand, I thought my plan for the 'Most Sprint Triathlons in 12hrs and 24hrs' would definitely be something that people would be keen to support me and I never thought  passing it with GWR would be an issue.

The application process with GWR was quite simple, all automated through their website. The first thing that amazed me was the application wait time of 3 months but that just shows how many applications they must receive. I was however surprised that you could opt for a fast track option which costs £450 +VAT. This was my first disappointment, although I am on a deadline and fast tracking my application would allow me more time to plan and more time to fundraise, how could I justify spending this money if 1) it comes out of money that could go to charity or 2) out of my own pocket when the answer from GWR could be 'no' and I've just wasted £450 +VAT!! The fact that they state prices '+VAT' suggests that their target audience for fast tracking applications is corporates who £450 is a small fee and they can claim the VAT back. They don't seem to have considered individuals, like myself, taking time to attempt these records, who are not doing it for financial gain, to raise money for charity and are dictated by a specific event deadline and could genuinely use a fast track service to make the most of their precious time!

Anyway, I waited and waited and it was a long 10-12 weeks but I got my response.....

"Your application has been rejected"

I was gutted and considering the record I was applying for didn't exist, I couldn't see they had just rejected it? I didn't give up, I started communication, via their website as you talk to a human being at GWR, and sent an email asking why. Like with the application process they ask for up to 2 weeks to reply to any correspondence!!!!! This is going to be a looooonnnngggg process!

I have added a few images of current GWR certificates that I have found on the internet. It makes me wonder if I should have looked at slightly different challenges. 

I think I could have been quite good at eating Ferrero Rocher chocolates, I don't think training for Wii Fit Hula Hooping would be a lot easier, and warmer than what I am currently doing! 

I don't want to demean the challenges of the people that earned these certificates, but I wonder if they went through so much to get their record accepted????

I hate writing posts like this as I sound so negative, and that is not me.

All I want to do is challenge myself to do something(s) special and in doing that raise money for worthy causes and charities. If I can help those brands, and businesses that sponsor and support me by offering them a little coverage for my efforts that is great, but Guinness don't get that and I would like to know why?

The next part gets even more ridiculous so come back soon for the second instalment of this frustrating episode.

Good and F#@king bad!

I am not sure I am using this blog correctly because I only seem to write negative words and use it to vent my frustration at things.

I am afraid this entry comes with more frustration and in some cases anger, but I will try to find some positives in my words and hope I don't come across too badly?

I wanted to write today because I have had a strange day, a day that at 7pm required me going out for a 15km run to clear my head and let off some steam, something that really isn't me! I don't think there was any one thing that caused me to 'need' tonights run, but a combination of things which include...

1) Guiness World Records - F#@king bad!

Yes they haven't been too helpful and the final straw from them was when we asked about using the GWR logo. Do you know that you are expected to pay £1500 +VAT per week or £4000 +VAT per month if you want to use the Guinness World Record logo! they tried to justify this price which a lovely PDF presentation showcasing all the multi-national businesses that can easily afford this money to promote records that help sell them product and promote their brand, but who or what do they think I am? #DaylightRobbery

2) Fundraising - F#@king bad!

I have always liked the thought of doing something that raised money for a charity and helping people. I never thought it would be this hard. I knew I had to do something hard enough to make sure people were happy to sponsor me and in my challenges I thought I had. I would also think I had based on how many people have told me how tough they think it will be, how crazy I am, how I fit in the training around work etc. So, after all these comments why have I such a pathetic amount of money raised? What do I have to do to get people to sponsor me for the challenges I am attempting? #WhatDoIHaveToDo

3) Timing the Blenhiem World Record attempt F#@king bad!

I had a phone call last week from the organisers of the Blenhiem triathlon., who have been amazing in the planning of the record attempt. They unfortunately had some bad news for me. They informed me that the people who do the timing for their event had asked for over £1500 to time my record. So, they want an extra amount of money to start a little earlier and work a little later for someone who is just raising money for charity! Everyone seems to want money from me when all I am trying to do is raise money to 'give' to an amazing cause! #ItsForCharity

4) Training - Good and F#@king bad!

The training is going well. The only problem I do have is I need more hours in the day. I currently am working harder than I have ever worked with RG Active, RGMM and QSW all growing nicely, but this requires 16-20 hour days and more stress than I have ever dealt with. Right now training is my escape, its the only alone time I get and it acts well as a de-stresser, but then the pressure of performance for the challenges doesn't always help with the de-stressing, I was told this week that my social media posts suggest I am finding the training easy... WRONG! I just don't like posting pictures where I look like shit, but maybe thats what I have to do, maybe it will help with getting people to fundraise? #ItsHarderThanItLooks

5) Thank you - Good

There has to be some good doesn't there? Well the good stuff comes in the form of family, friends and sponsors. My partner Marsha is my rock, my boys Taylor and Mason are always there for me and help keep me well and truly routed on the ground, and my Mum Carole who works her butt off to help make the businesses keep ticking and as always is there to support my efforts. Then we have my friends, they help out, they support me and they advise me. The sponsors have to be mentioned, they continue to supply me with product and equipment that makes the training and the recovery that little easier and I love them all! #ThankYou

To mention the specific sponsors: Etixx, CEP, Rose bikes, HUUB, CurranZ, Bolle, Altra.  

Believe it or not, I am feeling a little better after writing this. So, I am going to go to bed... it's 01:04am and I have packing for a training camp to do tomorrow along with a double run and a mountain of work and meetings to attend.

I hope this wasn't too negative and I hope to speak to you again soon,

John

Fundraising for my World Record...

Wanted to share this with you for a couple of reasons. One, because I was very surprised to hear it myself and felt the need to make a change and voice my reasons why and two, because if anyone reading this has plans or intentions to raise money for anything in the near future, it will most definitely point you in a certain direction!

This weekend I was in Manchester delivering an NSPCC London Marathon training  seminars to some of the 1000 strong NSPCC team running this April.

The day was held at the Virgin Money Lounge in Manchester's City Centre and part of the seminar including a talk by Emma from the Virgin Money Giving team. She really opened my eyes to the fundraising websites. I had originally set up my fundraising page with 'Just Giving'. To be honest they were the only one I knew of and I made the assumption that all of these sites worked on the same basis, taking a small percentage on the fundraising money and sending the most part onto the charity, in my case Bloodwise.

What I was very disappointed to find out was that 'Just Giving' take considerably more than Virgin who take only 2% of the money people donate. On hearing this my decision was made to move my fundraising page to Virgin Money Giving with immediate effect, which meant starting again, but now I am happier knowing that 98% of the money you guys sponsor me goes to the charity and not into a marketing budget, of some CEO's bonus package!

Quick update with things.... I have a meeting with the people at the Blenhiem Triathlon tomorrow (Tuesday) to finalise the plans and logistics on the actual day of the event. I am ready to start the PR and media side of the challenges and have press and media stuff in the diary which is not my favourite thing, but an important part of the process. I have plans to start a video diary this week, which will be bi-weekly and used on my website and social media, so it's all go!

On top of this, and you will hear this a lot over the coming months.... A massive 'thank you' to my Mrs, my staff and my colleagues that are already being patient and forgiving about the training I am doing and have planned. I always knew that fitting in the training for these challenges around my already considerable work schedule was going to be tough on everyone concerned, so I have to mention everyone who is supporting me on this journey. 'THANK YOU!'

I hope this post is of interest and hopefully it will help a few of you fundraisers get even more money to your chosen charities this season!

Speak soon,

John

The “Rule” of Threes

he rule of three or power of three is a writing principle that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things.

In my case today, the quote "bad things always happen in threes" was more appropriate! This entry is partly a rant and partly therapy to try and prevent me feeling any further anger and frustration out of my system.

One: My day started with a 3am alarm call and my usual drive/commute to Mansfield where our factory is based. The drive was quiet and everything was going smoothly until the dreaded 'warning' light came on the dashboard. It was for coolant level, a issue i've been having for a while, so this meant a 4am stop at a service station to fill-up, not a huge problem, but an inconvenience, and I should have seen this as a sign!

I drove up to the house and arrived for 6:15am so decided to rest up for an hour before heading to work, I was more tired then I had hoped so missed by planned swim session before work and arrived at work ready for a productive day at my desk working on the many new projects we have going on right now as we plan for next year.

Two: After catching up with my emails, my first main job of the day was to go collect the design computer that we had some work completed on over the weekend. It was leaving the computer shop where my day turned really bad. I loaded the car and headed off to Asda where I had some shipping to do. 

On arrival at Asda I got out of the car and had this horrible feeling when I looked at the passenger seat of the car to NOT see my wallet. Where had it gone? I was almost certain I had put it in the car with the computer when I loaded the car, but it wasn't there now!

I immediately called the computer ship and asked him to look outside the shop and asked him to have a look in the only place my wallet could have been dropped... Nothing! I drove back to the shop, asked in the other shops, had anyone handed it in... Nothing! At this point I felt sick, I have never lost a wallet before with bank cards, family photos, cash, Arsenal season ticket, NI card, Driving license and more all inside I was starting to panic.

After a few minutes of looking I called Lloyds bank and cancelled ALL of my cards, then called home and followed that with a call to my insurance people Sentinel. Initially I thought things were going to be ok, Sentinel said they can cover me for my wallet, for £200.00 cash and all of my cards, I spoke to a helpful women who told me she would send me an email with details to process my claim. It's all bollocks... 

- They will refund the money I spend on buying a new wallet? Why would I do that, I've just lost more cash than they will replace and I have a wallet at home so I'm not going to buy a new one and waste money I don't have!

- They will refund my for up to £200.00 if I can prove how much cash and where it came from?  Is this possible for anyone to do? How do I prove I had the cash in my wallet unless I happen to ave just withdrawn it from the bank and even then who keeps the piece of paper!!! This is a perfect example of insurance companies screwing you over and how people abusing the system has ruined things for us honest people!

So, I had cancelled all my cards, I had no money, I was looking at getting nothing from my insurance and I had a full day of work and a drive home back to London later with no petrol and no money to buy petrol.

Three: I really didn't think my day could get any worse but it did. I arrived back at the factory to the news that another one of the computers was not working, I had the girls sat around with no work because the computers were down and the final nail in the coffin was realising that I had additional cash in my wallet that I had forgotten about! 

At this point I was done, I had no patience, I was angry with myself and decided to write today off as a non-event and go back home to London, to Marsha and forget about today. 

I wish I had never got out of bed today, but I did and what a disaster of day it turned out to be. One of the most disappointing things about today is that I have NO faith in people. I can't believe that all the personal information in my wallet, the fact that the wallet was dropped in front of three open shops and the scumbag that picked up my wallet can't do the right thing and hand it in or contact me! 

I am going to bed now, I have got this off my chest and I want to wake up tomorrow and forget today ever happened! Sorry for ranting....

ohn

A crazy, busy, exciting, rewarding, enjoyable end to the season!

For me; and my family; 2016 has been a rollercoaster and for anyone thats been along for the ride it has been quite exciting, quite stressful and very rewarding.

In November I took a gamble with the purchase of the factory in Nottinghamshire. The factory made swimwear and a small range triathlon kit. It was purchased to fall into the QSW sportswear business Marsha and I have been developing since 2012. The purchase of the factory, the staff we now employ and the 20+ hour days that have gone into making this business work since last November have meant my training suffered. I didn't mind loosing training time and just had to make, sometime find, time to train just to keep my sanity. However, I had somehow managed to qualify for the World Triathlon Championships in Chicago, so as July came about I had to start thinking about training and race preparation to enable me to go out to Chicago and not embarrass myself.

I looked at my work schedule and fortunately I had two corporate triathlons in the diary. First was the Diamond Triathlon where we were racing with the Disney Triathlon team who we had been training through previous 3 months over 80 sessions. The second event was the ImpetusPEF Private Equity Triathlon one week later and one week before leaving for Chicago. My approach was to squeeze in as much training as possible in 3 weeks around work, race twice and try to be clever about my approach to the World Championships in Chicago.

I am not going to go into detail about the training and the racing so here is a summary of how my progress went as I prepared for Chicago.

Race 1: 3km Diamond Swim - 5th overall in 45:40mins
Race 2: Diamond Triathlon - Wave win and 7th overall in 1:06:57hrs
Race 3: ImpetusPEF Private Equity Triathlon - 2nd in wave and 2nd overall in 1:06:35hrs

These results on top of the training I squeezed in meant I felt good, not great, but in good shape to go out to Chicago and not show myself up on the World stage.

I had entered the World Aquathlon and World Sprint distance Triathlon. These were on consecutive days which some people thought wasn't  a good idea but knowing myself, I didn't think it would effect my performance and I was so relaxed about the racing in Chicago anyway I thought... 'what the hell'.

Chicago was awesome. I got to spend a week meeting my new extended family (Marsha's brothers, cousins). I got to see Chicago which I loved as a city and I got to race twice and watch Marsha and other friends compete in their GB kit, some for the first time. I also got to watch all the professional races from the luxury of out clients VIP tents, so thank you Columbia Threadneedle!

My races in Chicago went really well and I had a stroke of luck int he fact that the weather was unusually hot for the time of year and many athletes suffered in the heat, a heat that I seemed to work well in.  I beat a number of British athletes that I would consider better than my level of fitness in Chicago and athletes fro other countries that I am sure trained harder and longer than me, so I was really chuffed with my results.

Race 4: Aquathlon World Triathlon Championships - 8th overall in AG
Race 5: World Sprint distance Triathlon Championships - 15th overall in AG

Marsha had a great race in Chicago and we travelled home for a quick stop at home before heading off to Majorca for the pre-winter Triathlon Training Camp. During our brief week at home Marsha and I raced the Hever Castle Triathlon for the first time. I had a good race over the longest distance race of the whole season for me. It was officially my last race of the season and I was very happy with how I performed....