Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Ordinary World - Duran Duran

Listen to the song here...
Lyrics:- 'But I won't cry for yesterday, there's an ordinary world somehow I have to find. And as I try to make my way to the ordinary world, I will learn to survive' - Le Bon, Taylor, Bates & Cuccurullo

Song Choice:- I always thought the Duran Duran boys were awesome. Right from Planet Earth onwards their songs were always really so well produced and very underrated as in the case of the brilliant 'Ordinary World'. To be honest, they were always more of a 'girl's band' and your Metallica - Guns'n'Roses - AC/DC fan would never have owned up at the time to liking them. If I'm honest, they've always been a bit of a guilty pleasure for me and I'm glad that they made some great ballads as well as the 'Rio' type pop songs as this track has always got me thinking, especially when you consider some of the lyrics.

I mean, what is an 'Ordinary World'? - because I haven't got a clue what one looks like or feels like from my own 'life experience'. However I've been speaking today with existing and potential clients about 'Ambition' v 'Ability'. I mean it's great to have a burning desire to achieve a personal goal or achievement but without the ability to do so, it's a complete waste of time, energy and money. And yes, I know it's great to have dreams and not good to pee on someone else's chips but REALLY sometimes I'm left gasping - Actually it's more of a 'REALITY' as in check that has to be a big part of any intentions that folk might have, please take note if that's you.

Running across deserts, climbing mountains or rowing the Atlantic ain't too easy and you have to do the apprenticeship in any discipline needed to conquer any of these quests for sure. Tipping up last minute hoping to 'wing it' - only leads to failure and that's never an option in my book.

The reverse view though is that folk who have the 'Ability' for greatness and totally waste the opportunity; or even worse do a 'Best' or 'Gascoigne' and self-destruct like a 27 year old rock star are even worse - and if that's you, please come and see me as I'll wring the greatness out of you.

You see folk want greatness but also to lead an extraordinarily, ordinary world - it's nuts isn't it, searching abnormally to normal.

And then try and survive...

Have an 'ordinary day' if you can folks in your 'ordinary world'...

Rory Coleman - 983 Marathons - 241 Ultras - 13 Marathon des Sables
9 Guinness World Records - 8,455 Days' Alcohol Free
1 Inspirational Running Memoir - Get your copy here.
Location: Cardiff, Wales

Friday, 24 February 2017

Fred V & Grafix - Just A Thought (Ft. Reija Lee)

1999 MdS #1 - A lifetime ago
Lyrics:- 'Lost what I already had' - Fred V & Grafix - Take a listen for yourself here.

Song Choice:- Well I've been experiencing a lot of 'thoughts' as I try to return to somewhere near my previous level of running fitness and this track cropped up on Friday, at twenty miles into a Merthyr Mawr 26.2 mile 'MdS Running Fitness Test'. It was a bit of a deal or no deal for the Marathon des Sables if I'm being honest, as only 300 days ago I thought I'd never walk again, let alone RUN following my brush with Guillain-BarrĂ© Syndrome. It's a condition that kills 7.5% of people and leaves 30% with lasting physical impairment.

I didn't realise I was quite this ill...
You see it was really serious, more serious than I ever realised at the time, and the level of pain associated with Guillain-BarrĂ© Syndrome (GBS) was unlike any I've ever experienced. For the first seven days in May, I didn't really have a clue where or even who I was. After a week of intravenous immunoglobulins that saved my life, I started my rehabilitation. It was a long learning process starting with managing a simple stand, then progressing to a walk and finally to becoming a human being again. It's a complete nightmare and being wheelchair bound brings it home about how fortunate we are to be able to run free and experience life to the full.
Already talking MdS on a Zimmer-Frame?
It's not as easy as it looks...
This is three months later...
GBS not only numbs the body, it also numbs the mind and there are gaps in 2016 where I just can't remember much at all. I know I frightened everyone around me, especially Lady Coleman, and after a month I just went with the flow after fighting EVERYTHING and EVERYONE around me. After all I'm a fighter and not a victim and after some soul-searching I decided to make the most of what I'd got, not what I'd lost.

A couple of months more in hospital and wheelchair confinement soon got me thinking that it wasn't the outlook I wanted and not much use if you want to run the 2017 Marathon des Sables - I had a firm picture in my mind of me crossing the magical finish line for that magical 14th time. Being stuck on 976 lifetime marathons was also starting to grate on me as, by September 2016, I would have reached the 1000 life-time marathon mile mark. The 24 I had left seemed now more like an impossible mountain to climb.

My good friend Chris Patterson had been in my MdS Tent in 2016.  He came to visit me and broke me out of my rehab hospital on the August Bank Holiday weekend to go to the local park. I managed to walk 100 steps holding walking poles mid-air just in case I tripped over my own feet and broke a bone or even worse snapped a ligament. After a month of learning to stand and walk and endless hours of physio, it felt like I'd turned a corner.

Remembering how to walk and run when your legs just won't move or go where you want them to go is a right bugger and really frustrating I can tell you.

Since then it's been a bit of a 'Roller-Coaster' if I'm being honest - one where I've had to use all of my years of strength, running expertise and intuition to get me out of hospital, off all the high dosage medication and through what training I could do without wiping myself out for days or even weeks afterwards...

The fatigue that accompanies GBS also has a profound effect. Whereas before my recovery from a marathon was pretty much instant, being able to run them day after day... now, for some time afterwards, I'm pretty much physically and mentally destroyed. It took me about a month to recover from my first marathon post-GBS, more lately it's about a week - and that's for a flat road-marathon without a pack.

So after my latest couple of road outings with a post-GBS Marathon PB of 5:43, I decided that running the 4:37 mile circuit six times around the Candleston Estate at Merthyr Mawr, which is leg sapping on a good day, would be an excellent test. You see, the stats are interesting as last year I ran a 5:36 prior to the MdS quite easily but the 8:14 I clocked on Friday for the same distance shows just how far I'm away from being SAFE from the cut offs in the race. For the record, I did RUN the entire 26.2 miles, every single step, in a whopping 19.01 minute mile pace. I believe I can walk it quicker and and that could be my next test.

A real moment of realisation...
For those not aware of the dunes at Merthyr Mawr, they provide the closest running conditions (apart from the heat of course) to the Sahara Sand that 1200 or so runners (including me) will be taking on in just six weeks time at the 32nd Marathon des Sables. For those that have yet to run in sand, well they're bonkers IMO as it's the place where you'll find your self-sufficiency pace which I believe is the key to MdS Success or Failure. I liken it to attempting to swim the channel following a few training sessions in your local pool.

Having previously placed 143rd at the MdS 2009, completing the marathon day in 5:11, I noticed that I took 8:14 to cover the marathon walking with Sir Ranulph in 2015. This was  heartening until I saw I was half an hour slower than that in 2016, although by this point I believe I was already suffering from the onset of GBS I believe. 

My general thoughts about running in the UK v Desert are that whatever you run in MPH here is roughly equivalent to KPH out there. Marathon day at the MdS takes you around 1.4 to 1.5 times your road marathon time. It's a rough guide and it's not far out but please don't hold me to it.

I can analyse the race and get the sunniest forecast possible to make me feel better about my chances of finishing this year. I've got the experience and unsurpassed support from my family (whom I know are really frightened) as well as friends and clients that will help me through the tough times ahead.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a sympathy blog - no-one is forcing me to go out there but, psychologically, it's a really important part of my recovery. I'm cutting it very fine this year - as yet it's still hard to put two double figure mileage days together although I did manage a 5 mile recovery run after my dune marathon and felt ok. The race is an amazing 'life-experience' and it's always lived up to it's reputation of the 'World's Toughest Footrace' quite nicely.

As a distraction, things are hotting up for those going there for the first time and I do try and guide them to a more pleasant 'Running Holiday Experience' and my advice has always been 'carry nothing', 'weigh as little as you can' and 'do some training!' and if you're suffering with an injury or just plain tired like me - TAKE A DAY OR EVEN A WEEK OFF as it won't kill you or your chances of finishing the race.

A message out to MdS17 UK Competitors...
So it's going to be a strange last few weeks where, as most will be tapering down slowly to 9th April, I'll be tapering up. You see the more I work these old legs of mine, the better they get. When I start any run, it feels like I've already covered a 100 mile race and my legs are dead for sometime before they wake up and get going. I've managed a 28 minute parkrun 5km which ain't so bad but I think the MdS will put a proud smile on my face this year, just as I hope it will on yours as it's simply a privilege to be a part of this unique occasion that every April sends people to their limits and beyond.

I'll see you at the start line and take a listen to 'Just a Thought' as a bit of Drum and Bass - it will help you out no-end when your s*** hits the fan out in the sand.

Just a few thoughts...

Rory Coleman - 983 Marathons - 241 Ultras - 13 Marathon des Sables
9 Guinness World Records - 8,454 Days' Alcohol Free
1 Inspirational Running Memoir - Get your copy here.
Location: Cardiff, Wales

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Draw of the Cards - Kim Carnes

The 7 of Daffodils
Lyrics:- 'Sleight of hand, hands of fate, chance you take, life's a snake - Carnes

Song Choice:- Kim Carnes (now 71) was sadly just a two-hit wonder and was probably better known for her 'Bette Davies Eyes', but I prefer 'Draw of the Cards' off the same 'Mistaken Identity' album which sadly faired less well in the charts way back in '81.

It faired well with me anyway, and the video is well worth a look as it appears to have been made with outtakes from Bowie's 'Ashes to Ashes' and Adam Ant's 'Prince Charming' videos. Poor old Kim looked dated even then aged just 35 - which is a shame as it's a great track that's been sadly ruined by poor imagery and dressing her like Bonnie Tyler.

ANYWAY, after three days of wrist slashing bonkers blogs from yours truly, I thought I'd go through some lesser know songs of delight from '1981-2011' that can help illustrate my new daily upbeat mood.

And why not as it's my blog... and by chance I heard this on my car radio this morning which prompted me thinking about 'The Draw of my Cards' and the 'Draw of Other Folks'. 

You see it's difficult to work out sometimes what to change in the hand you've been dealt and even harder to guess what other cards everyone else are already holding in theirs ready to trump you, especially if they have one of those poker-faced personalities that's impossible to read. You know the sort - you might even live with someone that gives nothing away.

Being dealt the perfect hand, twisting the pack once too often and being part of some kind of deception will happen to us all at least once in the first case and far too many times in the last. Let's face it the deck we are playing with isn't loaded in our favour.

Or is it? As you are the dealer and you can mark your own cards...

They all have powers - Aces, Kings, Queens, suits and even in low denominations that have power in quantity. It's a lifelike reflection isn't it? We can't all be Lemmy's 'Ace of Spades' - (look where that got him) play perpetual 'Snap' hoping to find a match or play 'Fish' as that's just pure luck and I never win anything that as there's no skill. I prefer a bit of gamesmanship and you can even play on your own (oh er Missus) if you're not a team player.

My advice is to know the rules of the game you are playing, count the deck (like my old Granddad could) and go with your intuition as 9/10 you'll always be right first time and always wear your best suit with your heart of your sleeve.

It's a great trick! And one well worth playing.

Rory Coleman - 982 Marathons - 241 Ultras
13 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records - 8,450 Days' Alcohol Free
1 Inspirational Running Memoir - Get your copy here.
Location:Cardiff, Wales

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Anyway - Genesis

Lyrics:- 'Feel cold and old, it's getting hard to catch my breath' - Banks, Collins, Gabriel, Hackett & Rutherford

Song Choice:- Wow, it's already time for the last part of my 'Confused GBS-SIDP Trilogy' as it's now become known to me; and the 'Anyway' track contains one of my favourite Steve Hackett guitar solos which is sadly always over before it's begun in my opinion and far too short. It's a real highlight on the 'Lamb' double album for in the future. Take a listen yourself and see if you rate it too...everything is just perfect. What a recipe, Bank Piano - Collins, Drums - Rutherford's, Bass served up with lashings of Sir Peter of Gabriel Vocal Custard.

Anyway, (a word I write in every blog, if you've ever noticed) there are some bleak lyrics in this dark and rather macabre brush with death that our hero 'Real' experiences during the concept albums story. The 'Feel cold and old, it's getting hard to catch my breath' line is something I can obviously connect with, the track itself has even darker images to deliver.

It relates the meeting of 'Real' with Death at the Pearly Gates, with his heart out of pumping energy as a 'Running Man' facing death. See I told you it was dark and personal... and just before Real gets reduced to ashes to start the whole lifestyle process once again, he narrowly escapes and is led away onto further adventures by the 'Supernatural Anaesthetist'. 

Boy LSD certainly helped create this one...yet it feels so real.

Anyway, 3-2-1 and back in the room, I'm being led in an anaesthetised state away from a near death experience is the best way I can possibly describe the 'Grogginess' that's accompanied the whole 'Confused GBS-SIDP' experience this past six months.

What or whom is going to lead me away from being the person I didn't want to become - to the one I still don't want to be, is still in the discovery stage perhaps and possibly the whole 'Lamb' experience was Genesis experiencing a similar state too and they turned out ok didn't they?

'Anyway' - the 'Confusion Trilogy' only matters to me in the 'Grand Parade of Life' and 'I guess I'll only drive myself insane' or possibly those around me with my observations and realisations that in fact being open to new horizons and chasing fresh dreams and goals with my new persona isn't going too much of a mountain to climb, if I can ever accept it.

Regaining some of the old fire that burns deep down in my heart of creativity is what I'm desiring right now. The sense of loss is one that only time can heal and that success can help to disguise. Maybe you get where I'm coming from and if you are recovering or rebuilding your life, I hope your sense of clarity returns.

You never know because like mine, it could be there right in front of our eyes.

Rory Coleman - 982 Marathons - 241 Ultras - 13 Marathon des Sables
9 Guinness World Records - 8,449 Days' Alcohol Free.
1 Inspirational Running Memoir - Get your copy here.
Location: Caerdydd, Cymru

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Chamber of 32 Doors - Genesis

Lyrics:- 'But the Juggler holds another pack' - Banks, Collins, Gabriel, Hackett & Rutherford

Song Choice:- I've jumped back a track on 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway', the 1974 concept album from prog rockers Genesis. Recorded at their peak IMO, this track provides a fantastic visual picture and mental conundrum that signs off side two of the album with a musical note of perfect pathos, that actually leads into yesterday's track Lilywhite Lilith. Back in the day, you would have had to have jumped up and quickly placed the second LP on your turntable to maintain the mood - luckily for us it follows on nicely on the remastered digital age in a seamless segway of super studio quality sound which I'd only have dreamed of listening to my old 70's HiFi as a wide eyed teenager.

Anyway, it's the 32 doors notion that I'm interested in for today's blog and I imagine them to be set out like a larger version of Noel's dreadful 'Deal No Deal' game show. (Did you know btw it ran for 3,001 episodes and I see it luckily fell off the C4 schedule in October 2016 - How any TV show based on pure greed and luck lasted for so long I'll never know and hopefully it's now disappeared for good)...

I digress and back on Planet Coleman, I'm visualising those 32 doors. I see two versions - One is where you can see all 32 at once and the call to action is to blindly open them in a crazed advent calendar type way - hoping to find the utopia you are seeking. The other is what you might find on a ship or submarine or in the film 'Alien' where one door, leads to another, leaving an air tight non returnable seal behind you and hopefully the nightmare monsters.

In Gabriel's Lamb, the doors always lead his hero Rael back into the Chamber he's been endeavouring to escape, however in my version they lead to people, places and opportunities with experiences and passages of life that have hopefully been fulfilling, pleasurable and memorable as well as been tough life experiences to endure and overcome.

It sounds simple it would be if there were just 32 doors...

You see, the umpteen thousands that we open during our lifetime (and sometimes stupidly immediately close) lead to a complete spectrum of personal happiness, fulfilment and missed opportunities. Other's are closed on our behalf, through love or doubt, which is a shame.

Sadly some are never opened in case of failiure. Fear has a lot to answer for and playing it  safe only leads to regret and it's rare that the Juggler ever holds another pack - also there's nothing worse that being set on the right track and then losing the way through poor vision. Hindsight is one door that everyone would desire in their own 'Chamber' for sure.

It reminiscent of one artist M.C. Escher's of perpetual staircases illustrated...which only adds to my confusion and 'Chamber of So Many Doors' with nowhere to hide but a lot of dreams still to live out.

I wonder where and when yours would lead you back to? I can think of many I'd love to step through... it's a fascinating thought and on my second blog on confusion it makes me wonder which doors I'm going to open next - or will be opened for me.

Thing is, 'I've got to find my own way' and so have you... just enjoy your day watching the hundreds of people running around to all the doors...

Rory Coleman - 982 Marathons - 241 Ultras - 13 Marathon des Sables 
9 Guinness World Records - 8,448 Days' Alcohol Free.
1 Inspirational Running Memoir - Get your copy here.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Lilywhite Lilith - Genesis

'The Real Rael'
Lyrics:- 'The chamber was in confusion - all the voices shouting loud' - Banks, Collins, Gabriel, Hackett & Rutherford.

Song Choice:- If you are ever confused, my advice is to listen to some Genesis from their 1974 concept album 'The Lamb lies down on Broadway'. Watch out though, as it won't make things any clearer but hopefully it will relax your mind into accepting what you are experiencing and where you might be travelling in your life next. Don’t ask me where I'm going or where they were going back then, as I don’t know and I don't think that the band knew either. By that stage they had become a very disparate collective and although it’s probably their finest work, the Album and its creation went on to implode their very existence, sadly right at their peak. You’ll have to listen yourself to see where I’m coming from and just how great and alive the tracks are.

Now, I’m going to write a trilogy of blogs to try and exorcise my current thoughts. Don't ask me where this blog is going to go over the next three days, because I haven’t got a bleedin’ clue but the of 'Chamber of 32 Doors, Lilywhite Lilith and Anyway' are tracks that I've always enjoyed as they seem to offer a higher mental plane of thought and absentiesm  Sometimes the music helps me explore the depths of my grey matter and I thought I’d try and use these tracks to unscramble some of my current scramble…

Well it’s a worth a go as I'm confused. Or maybe just ‘Brain Fogged’ is a better analogy.

Well it’s the best I can come up with right now as it’s hard to put a phrase on it and even harder to explain. I could attribute it to being my ‘Big elephant in my head-space’ as a sort of bi-product of last year’s,‘Guillian-Barre Syndrome’? But that sounds like a bit of a cop-out to me. Or is it just my ‘Non-cop-out’ stiff upper-lip denial that’s causing my confused state. Whatever that confused state is, or even if there is one to be confused about, can you appreciate why I feel ‘Brain-Fogged’.

When ‘Googling’ about it I read, ‘Many people who suffer GBS, whether they make a full physical recovery or not, will also make a good psychological recovery. They will find ways of coping with any ongoing problems and will put behind them the fears and stress associated with the acute illness. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that in GBS, as in better-researched illnesses such as heart attack or stroke, a significant proportion of sufferers do continue to experience severe emotional disturbances.’ 'Fuck me! That didn't help much...

So feeling only more confused, I returned to the lyrics.`You see, I get the ‘All the voices shouting loud' reference as that’s a definite contributor to my ‘Mental Tinnitus’. It’s still there ringing away more as a dull white noise all the time if I’m being honest and perhaps my own brain is my ‘Lilywhite Lilith’ helping me through the crowd. It’s more like the blind leading the blind though and even though I feel that I’m in a ‘Tunnel of Night’ I am hoping that one day or some-day soon I’ll see the corner of the tunnel lit up by whatever’s coming my way… Well that's what happen's to Rael on the album...

The thing is it’s more like a ‘Land of Confusion’ and it’s one that I’m trying to escape from but right now I can’t literally run fast enough from or even at all some days. The feeling or being lost or loss in fact is the one that is clouding my thoughts.

It’s easy to say look where you’ve been and look how far you’ve come but it’s doesn’t make things any better. 

Nothing will until a blaze of white light fills the air - Let's see if the Chamber of 32 Doors will shed any light tomorrow.

Rory Coleman - 982 Marathons - 241 Ultras - 13 Marathon des Sables 
9 Guinness World Records - 8,447 Days' Alcohol Free.
1 Inspirational Running Memoir - Get your copy here.
Location: Caerdydd, Cymru