Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Apologies, Work, Gigging on the Isle of Coll and now for the Half Marathon.

Ok, Fran Andel of Ampthill near Bedford, when I said that we’d had a miserable holiday I wasn’t including the four days we spent enjoying your hospitality and that of your good man John. In fact, that’s when we started to turn the corner, I suppose. The weather was much better, the scene at the Brogborough Lake Windsurfing Club was cool (even though the weather was incredibly warm!) and we enjoyed the two nights we spent in your great camper van. Sorry for that.

To make up for it here is a picture of Fran, on the left, Jo and a new friend named Lu getting out our camping gear out the back of our vehicle down there at Brogborough Lake. Of course I am doing the really important work: documenting what they are doing for posterity!

Joanne starts work today after being on sick leave these many months. It was a bit touch and go for a while though. She certainly didn’t need the laryngitis or the cold on top of everything else that’s been happened to her. Hopefully all will go well and if she will only be sensible and take things slowly at first she’ll soon be back into the swing of things.

It’s always hard going back to work after a period of absence. Heck, even going back to work yesterday after my fortnight’s holiday was bad enough. Of course after all the inclement weather we had to put up with before we got to the sun and our friends the Andels we’ve come back home – to work – while Tiree is basking in what looks like is going to be a week-long heat wave. This doesn’t surprise me in the least.

We got back to Tiree last Friday. That evening I headed over to Bruce Kemp’s place for a min-Defenders rehearsal with him and Iain MacDonald. We had actually hoped to get a full band rehearsal in at An Talla before the dance that night but there was a mix up with who was supposed to get the key from Liz at the Business Centre so that didn’t happen. So myself and my two buddies started working out arrangements for new songs.

We have our first gig of the summer over on Coll on the 22nd. I’m really looking forward to it although I’m a bit anxious about whether the new material will be ready in time. The Defenders first played on Coll last summer and we had a great time. It wasn’t like playing at a dance at all, actually – more like being at a big party. And boy, did the folks on Coll know how to party!

The one mistake we made last year was playing gigs on consecutive nights. No great effort for most bands, it’s true, but remember we’re not a traditional band – we’re a fully fledged rock band and we put everything in to each and every performance. The gig here on Tiree on the Friday night had been amazing and the audience reaction was brilliant and when that happens you tend to give more and more until you almost have nothing more to give.

For me, a vocalist, that can be a problem but I usually manage to get to the end of the gig still able to sing reasonably well. But the next day sees me barely able to talk. In the minutes before last year’s Coll gig I still wasn’t sure what was going to happen when I opened my mouth to sing. Somehow we got through it. We agreed, though, that we shouldn’t ever do two consecutive nights again.

Just like last year we’ll be sharing the Coll bill with local duo ‘The Rise’. In fact when we play on Tiree in August the guys will be coming over to share the bill with us here. I think folks who like The Defenders will definitely like The Rise.

The other main project I have going at the moment is training for a half-marathon in October. I know, I know, I must be off my head. Me, the guy who came in last at the Tiree 10k, now wants to run a half-marathon. What’s that all about?

For a few months now I’ve been listening to a pod cast called Phedippidations which comes out of a small town in Central Massachusetts. The show is hosted by a guy called Steve Walker. Here’s what the show notes say:

A Pod Cast for, and by runners: Thoughts, opinions, observations and rambling diatribes composed during distance long runs. Steve Runner is a mild mannered middle-of-the-pack distance runner who shares the output of his oxygen starved cranial stimulation with his audience while training for his next marathon.

Phedippidations is a “RunCast” named after the legendary Greek messenger: “Phedippides”. A modern day “messenger” of sorts; Steve runs near his home in Central Massachusetts. Each show is dedicated to an aspect of running, covering topics such as: training, injury, gadgets, nutrition, strategies and Steve's pathetic attempts at breaking four hours in the marathon. Subscribe to Phedippidations at http://www.steverunner.com/

The show has been a complete inspiration and I sincerely urge you to visit the site and listen to a couple of Steve’s shows. Episodes 41 and 42 are particularly recommended in which Steve records himself while he is running the 110th Boston Marathon.

The reason why I mention all this is because Steve has organised what he’s a called a ‘world-wide half marathon’ which can be run by those who register for the event either on the 7th or the 8th of October. The idea is just to get runners from all over the world running in unison, a sort of ‘bonding’, I suppose, between like minded people no matter where they are. The half-marathon isn’t to raise money for anything specifically (although runners can raise money for their favourite charities if they wish). It’s just all about celebrating a lifestyle.

So that’s what I’m aiming for in October. Since coming back from holiday I’ve launched myself in to the training schedule and you can have a look at my training log online if you wish to. Go to http://www.buckeyeoutdoors.com/ and type ‘Gordon’ in the search box. My training log should pop up. It will detail what I’ve done so far and what I should be doing in the days and weeks to come.

Quite a few things coming up on Tiree in the next few weeks: the agricultural show, the Feis, etc. I’ll get dates and details up before the week is up.

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