The Fan Dance

For those of you reading my blog for the first time, my name is James Allen and I am 44.  I will be 45 in August.  I am 5 foot 11 and a half inches tall and I weigh 102.2 kgs.  My body fat percentage was last measured on 24 November 2012 and it was 22%.  In October 2011 I went trekking in Peru (and you can read all about that here) and despite all my good intentions I let my personal fitness drift once I got back, mostly, I would say, because I did not find something to focus on, to maintain my motivation, to drive me.  I have made sure that is not the case in 2013, and that is the reason for this blog and the series of blogs which will follow from it.

So, my decision is made and the hard work begins here.  I am going to take on The Fan Dance in the summer of 2013.  Although I am not sure on the precise date yet.  It might be secret.  The route certainly is, until you are given grid references on the day.  The basics are pretty simple : it takes place in the Brecon Beacons, starting at The Storey Arms car park, going straight up to the summit checkpoint of Pen y Fan  before descending by ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, and then continuing along an undulating stone vehicle track (the ‘Roman Road’) to the second checkpoint which also serves as a tea stop and turnaround point.  Then, taking the route in reverse, it climbs back up “The Fan” via Jacob’s Ladder and passes through the summit checkpoint a second time before descending to the finish at the Storey Arm’s car park.  That is 24km.  When it is used as part of the SAS selection process it has a time limit of 4 hours and 15 minutes, and as they are doing it at the end of a 2-week process and I will be doing it as a one-off, I think I should set that as my target time.  Oh, and like them, I will be carrying a pack, but while they carry 55lbs, I will only be carrying 35lbs. Plus food and drink.  This is not going to be a walk in the National Park.  Ah, yes, of course, it is, but…

This series of blogs will detail my health and fitness regime leading up to me actually running The Fan Dance.  I will be working with my personal trainer, Christianne Wolff, and taking on a number of events which I believe/hope will help me towards my goal, as well as walking Pen y Fan more than a few times over the end of winter and the spring.  The first event I have planned is the Silverstone Half Marathon on 3 March, and I will be following a 12-week running plan towards that, and keeping a weekly blog to record how that is going – detailing the training I am doing, the times I am achieving, my body fat percentage, my weight, what I am eating.  You get the idea – I will try to keep it fun as well as informative.  Following on from that I will be taking on a ratrace Night Run in March, a Wolf Run at the beginning of April, a Warrior Adrenaline Race at the end of April, and a Tough Mudder at the beginning of May, and will put together a blog about each of those.  I will be getting along to at least one class a week at The Yoga Hall and will also be climbing at least one mountain each month through 2013.  We shall see if all that proves to be enough.  And once I have taken on The Fan Dance, it has been a while since I walked the Yorkshire 3 Peaks, and I will see about moving on to the 24 hour challenges of the National 3 Peaks and the Welsh 3000s.

I would welcome your comments, feedback, support, criticism – it will all be good, and I am not so stuck on my chosen course of events to dismiss advice which is going to benefit me.  Here we go…

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8 Responses to The Fan Dance

  1. roger says:

    You’re a better man than I, Gunga Din!

  2. Catherine says:

    Good luck! And a helpful hint: those SAS-style balaclavas with just eye-holes make it harder to eat things that you shouldn’t…

  3. Rob H says:

    I can’t decide – ambitious, courageous, foolish… Whatever, best wishes for this.

  4. Tim says:

    You should definitely do The Paras10 if not done allready, I too am doing the summer Fan, so look forward to hearing of your training progress.. Best of luck, dig in and crack on…Go!

  5. Ken Jones says:

    Great stuff! Reads like you will have a very interesting, active and challenging 2013. Good luck to you, we look forward to seeing you at the inaugural winter edition of “The Fan Dance”

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