My Philosophy

"Don't tell me the sky's the limit when we have footsteps on the moon!"

Tuesday, 1 May 2012


Barcelona is memorable to me for many reasons, first of all it was the location of my first marathon and second for one of the maddest weekends I've ever had!

Most of the events cannot actually be put in a blog that my parents and family might read, so unfortunately I'll have to stick to the "family safe" stories.

I've already mentioned the marathon and the (truly amazing) Sagrada Familia. So I think I'll start with the morning after the marathon, as you can imagine my legs were pretty sore and did not want to do much walking. So guess what we decided to do? Yeah, we went to the Nou Camp! What a place though, was well worth the agony of getting up and down the stairs!

Me and the Nou Camp "More than a Club"
I enjoyed reading the history of the famous Barcelona club, but for one massive oversight, they didn't even mention the legend Sir Bobby Robson who managed for one season and won 3 trophies! Nonetheless it was a very impressive stadium, with such a trophy room as to be the envy of every club in Europe! (Especially my club, Newcastle who now haven't won a trophy in 43 years!)

This is a panorama shot I took of Barcelona's 6 trophies from the 08-09 season, with Erik and Jamie
If you've done the Nou Camp tour yourself then you will know how many steps yo have to go up and down, and my knee was killing me! It was worth it though and I'm glad I did it, I don't know which is my favourite out of the Nou Camp and the Santiago Bernabeu, but my Spanish team is Real Madrid so I guess the Bernabeu.

The next stop was to go back to the hotel room and get changed to go out for a meal. Instead we found a Tapas place that I will never forget! Their offer was one beer and one Tapas stick for 3€, so Erik suggested we have one then go get changed to go out. We ended up having 7! That was Erik's idea too.

Erik and Jamie in our favourite tapas place
It was only 7 PM, so we still had plenty of time to go to a restaurant, so we eventually made it back to the hotel. I was absolutely shattered though and a little bit drunk, so I decided to get a power nap, people in Barcelona don't go out till 10 anyway. The next thing I knew it was 4 AM. It was the best nights sleep I've ever had.

That day we went to the Sagrada Familia, an amazing place that warranted its own blog post (LINK).

After that Erik and I went to the seaside, there was a man made wharf that had a shopping centre on it, it had a bar/restaurant that served maß beer!

After two of those maß beers the madness began. It is definitely not a family friendly story, but we ended up walking up and down the famous La Rambla street looking for "buenos chicas". That was when my phone got stolen. What a crazy night.

We went out drinking with our marathon winners medals, so proud we had to show them off!

Me and Jamie snogging our medals
I want to thank Erik especially for convincing me to run the marathon and give me an excuse to visit this amazing place, also thanks to Dave and Jamie for making it such a memorable trip!

Viel Spaß homies!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia is probably the most amazing building I have ever seen. The scope of imagination it would take just to even plan one of the spires is absolutely mind boggling!

They originally thought that it would take a few hundred years to complete the church, but thanks to modern technology and construction techniques it is estimated to be completed around 2026, 100 years after the Architect Antoni Gaudi died. The guy managed to envisage this building, and build this scale model of it:

Now I am not a Christian, but being in and around this masterpiece gave me a new sense of belief about the power and creativity of man. Everyone should visit it and see what I mean. I will definitely come back to see it when it is finished.

One picture, or even a hundred could not describe all the unique details in the exterior or the extravagant beauty of the interior, but I had a go. Check out my album in the link below:

Viel Spaß homies!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Marathon #1 (Barcelona)

So my first marathon has been successfully completed!

Today I ran the Barcelona Marathon in 5 hours 5 minutes. My knees and quads are in absolute agony right now, but the sense of achievement is astonishing. To be honest, considering how poor and interrupted my preparation was I am happy that I just managed to finish it. Next time I will aim to substantially improve my time and hopefully completely avoid having to walk.

I ran it with my friend Erik from eriksmarathon and 2 of his friends. The first half marathon 3 of us basically stuck together, which was nice as we got to see the Nou Camp and the Sagrada Família together, but the pace we were running wasn't exactly ideal for my race strategy and I ended up dropping back just before the half was completed and couldn't catch up either.

The last 10k was very tough, as my knees were burning, so I had to walk at least half of the time of that distance.Given that the most I had trained was 19 miles (31k) and that was intervals with walking and running I am pretty pleased with that I could complete it, and hope that the next one goes a lot smoother on the knees!

The pic at the top is the 4 of us at the finish line showing off our medals and our pecs, below is a closeup of the medal.

It was a good day so far, but now I need to leave and have a celebratory beer and stuff! :)

A full blog about Barcelona will appear soon.

Viel Spaß homies!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Marathon Mini Series: A Mini Update

Hi All!

I am pleased to announce that I am quitting being a quitter; I'm going to run (or at least attempt) the Barcelona Marathon as originally planned!

I got my flight tickets yesterday, and will travel very early on Saturday morning and spend an afternoon in Barcelona and the next day explore the city in my favorite way, running!

I hope I can do it, but as my training was cut short due to the harsh winter conditions for running I'm not in as good a shape as I should be to tackle my first marathon. I hope to do it even if there is a bit of walking involved. I'm looking forward to sharing a beer with Erik, Dave and Jamie with our medals after the run!

Viel Spaß homies!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Today's office; (Vienna, AT)

A week after my trip to Bern came another work trip, and once again to a city that I hadn't been to before, Vienna!

I had one night there and the next day I had to work, so there was some time for exploring the city and having a Wienerschnitzel :D

I travelled to Vienna from Munich by train, which accomplished 2 things; I could get some work done on the train, and also see the amazing views of the Alpine mountains and lakes. Next time I go I'll take the train again, so I don't miss out on seeing these views!

A view of the Chimsee from the train

I love travelling over land :)

My friend Birgit recommended a restaurant to have a Wienerschnitzel, so I went there as soon as I checked in. It was the Figlmüller in the centre of town, and you don't just get one schnitzel, you get two!

A pair of schnitzels, a nice salad and my fifth or sixth beer of the day

Then I just went to the hotel and got an early night, so I could be up early and finish the work faster. I was to meet an engineer at the T-Mobile office and work together. While we were working this engineer told me a few interesting facts about Vienna, for instance I asked him how why the water tasted so nice, and he informed me that Vienna's water is actually taken from the alpine streams, funnelled over 200 miles to the city. Seriously the tap water there is better than Evian bottled water!

After the work was done I had a couple of hours to kill before my train, so I had a walk around the city. It is such a nice place, and just one day doesn't do it justice, so I am going to go back at the earliest opportunity! I created a Google album of the pictures I took using my Sony Xperia S phone, the picture quality is awesome for a phone. I wonder if my company will sponsor this post? Anyway, here is the album if you want to check it out.

I'll go back at some point this year for a long weekend, or maybe do another cycle tour, like the Passau to Vienna along the fabulous Donau river. I'm excited already thinking about it!

Viel Spaß homies

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Today's Office (Bern, CH)

It has been a while since I shared with you guys some of the cool places I go to work, largely because I have been stuck in the office for months! Well, my first Field Test trip abroad in a while happened to be to a city I had never been before, Bern!

Bern is the capital city of Switzerland, although only the fourth most populist city. It was here that I learned why the international country code of Switzerland is "CH". It stands for Confoederatio Helvetica, which is Latin for Swiss Confederation. There you go!

My visit to Bern was to go and work with the engineers at Swisscom on on of our Sony products, which turned out to be more problematic than I anticipated and even had to stay an extra night to ensure the work could be completed. O woe is me!

Actually I only had time to see the city centre once because the working was pretty intense, so I visited the Bern old town and had a walk around in the dark and went to a specialty Rösti restaurant. Rösti is, I guess, where we got our inspiration for hash browns... Grated and deep fried potato. But I have to say they do it better. The best hash brown I've ever had is not even in the same league as what I had at this restaurant:

The boiled pear was an interesting touch however, but it meant I did not have to order a desert.

Something I really wanted to see was the "Bear Pit", but I don't think that would be worth it unless there is someone with me that would understand the inevitable Anchorman quotes :-). The main reason I didn't go was that I was informed that the Bears would most likely be hiding inside the cave,so I thought I would save that for my next trip :)

Viel Spaß homies!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Marathon Mini Series: Winter Training Is A Killer

I started drafting this post a little while ago to try and explain the difficulties of training in cold winter conditions and how I overcame them. Unfortunately I don't have such a success story.
At it's worst the temperature in Munich was -25 degrees and the surface was icy for over 6 weeks. In the end that proved too much for me, it got too dangerous for me to train during this time, so I made the sad decision to drop out of the Barcelona marathon.
I'm disappointed in this because of all the effort that has gone into it, but at the time of writing I have only a month to train for this marathon and I realise it is out of my reach to train properly for.
This doesn't mean I won't run a marathon though, I only have to delay it for another time.
I did however get some really nice pics of running around Munich in the winter from before I gave up. Hopefully next year will be a warmer winter so I can train then. For those of you that are still training in winter, remember the saying "winter miles, summer smiles!"
Viel Spaß homies

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Marathon Mini Series: Intervals

I decided to adopt a different training gestalt for my Marathon, this is basically because I thought I wouldn't be able to build up to running for 4 and a half hours in just the 9 weeks that were left when I started it.

What I'm doing now is increasing the amount of time I'm out for each workout (over 3 hours) and adding in a rest period. This gives my body some time to recover before the next 'work phase', and I can stay out longer and get my body acclimatized to being out for the amount of time I will need to.

I am working in blocks of 15 minutes, where 11 minutes is running and 4 is walking. Every week I will increase the workout by 15 minutes and also take 30 seconds off the rest time and add it to the running. By doing this I will (hopefully) at least be able to complete the marathon, even if it involves a bit of walking. Today I did 14 blocks of 15, and did 19.1 miles.

Intervals are also useful for other areas of running training. For instance, if you can already run the distanceyou're aiming for, but you want to improve your time, then you can do intervals of slow and fast rrunning. This will improve your stamina, and help you to run the distance faster. Another useful tip is for when you have to tackle a hilly run, you can do intervals of up and down hills, with some flats mixed in as well.

Viel Spaß homies!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Goodbye 2011

What a year 2011 was! For me it was full of proud achievements and great friends (new and old). First and foremost the thing I'm most proud of is getting through what is probably the most stressful period of my life; the first 4 months of living in Munich.

Moving abroad is an incredibly large step and not one that should be taken lightly, or with any doubt in your ability to achieve what is necessary to stay. Of this, I think, I can speak from experience. When I moved I had neither the financial security to guarantee safety or the confidence in my ability to confidently assume my new position at Sony Ericsson. Throw in the requirement to pass a driving test in Germany within a very short time-frame or I would lose the job, and you have a melting pot of stress, anxiety and sleepless nights that even looking back on it now curdles my gut.

Well; all's well that ends well. For that my first mention is Mara Börger, my driving instructor, who was instrumental in me fulfilling this requirement. She's one of the only people that knew the stress I was under, and could tell when I was so uncharacteristically nervous when she picked me up for my test! I got a bit of good fortune that day, because unknown to me, we booked my test on her birthday. The examiner knew this and, as a present to her, made my test relatively short.

After this things were really looking up. I'd made a good impression at work, made a lot of friends and was enjoying literally every hour of my days. This is thanks in a large part to everyone's favourite "Stammtisch", Dienstag Drinks, organised by Magda Dubiel and Erin Beaton.

In addition to the new friends I've made, what made me happiest I think was that I hadn't lost my friends from England, I would see them when I went home and my closest friends have all visited me! So a special thanks go out to Erik Orrgarde and Sarah Nicholson for the most mental of all visits and to Holly Adams, Chris Morrison, for being visiting TWICE! I guess Mike Fearon also deserves a special mention, but most of the events from that tip can't be told because we might go to jail!

So here are my favourite events:

This picture has not made it on my blog yet, mostly because it happened before I started the blog. The guy on the left is Erik at the bongo club. The other guy desperately wanted his picture taken with us. Erik is like WTF...

Thanks to my GPS tracker I can tell you how far I've cycled and ran this year. I've ran 267 miles (the equivalent of running from Munich to Bern in Switzerland) and I've cycled 609 miles (in total like cycling from Munich back to London!)

What a fun year, thanks a lot to all those that made it special :) 

Viel Spaß homies