Asthma – What it’s like, both in life & in sport

Well this lengthy update is about a different kind of obstacle and one that I’ve that I’ve faced all my life – Asthma. It’s a challenge that I have triumphed over in places but in others I’ve really struggled with. I guess this update is about that struggle.

Over the last 14 months Asthma has come back into my life in a big way, seriously impacting some of my results and also my training. I’ve written this blog update about 10 times in that year, reading them back some of those were very negative, others pessimistic or angry. I’ve been through a big period of reflection with my situation over the recent months and I hope now that this update might be of some more positive value to others in my situation, or just to help understanding of Asthma in general. I have to stress that this update is my own personal opinion, and description of Asthma in the way that I understand it – sufferers should always seek qualified medical advice.

So why do a blog update? Well it comes down to 3 parts really – firstly when things have been going well with my breathing in the past I’ve actually wanted to help the community out a little, maybe doing some work with young Asthma sufferers to tell them things will be ok and that you can go on to do athletic things in adult life. Second I think I’m writing this to try to shed some light onto what it’s like to have Asthma for a non-Asthma sufferer. Part of my issue when I was young and even in recent years is the views of Asthma (often quite judgemental) and misunderstandings which can be very frustrating and isolating. But lastly I guess I’m now mainly writing this update for me, as there is a lot of psychology linked to Asthma and it’s healthy to get it all out, Blog-Therapy I guess!

The story starts in my childhood. I’ve had chronic Asthma from a young age but in the last year have also developed EIA / EIB (to explain, Asthma is split in two divides, Chronic Asthma for those that have full Asthma – all the time, with numerous triggers and then there is EIA or Exercise Induced Asthma also known as EIB Exercise Induced Bronchoconstriction) The later only has an impact during exercise, its primarily driven by our need to breathe through our mouth when under high CV load. The body doesn’t have chance to warm the air properly in the nasal passage and this can bring on Asthma symptoms during exercise.

Having a childhood illness can be a confusing thing. My parents did a brilliant job at always explaining things to me, and actually as a child you are used to being told what to do – where to go and what needs to be done. So all the trips & stays in hospitals and searches for an answer were probably more stressful on my Mum and Dad – I always saw the fun side. In fact I have very fond memories of needing to come to the homeopath centre in London as it meant a trip on the train, and visits to the science or history museums afterwards which I just loved. In all honesty being an inquisitive child I also enjoyed the appointments themselves. The specialists where always great with me and I was interested to learn and ask questions!

I didn’t understand the triggers as a child, and an asthma attack is a very scary thing – for anyone. It’s a hard thing to describe, but I can only assume it’s what a CS gas attack must feel like – or akin to being trapped underwater or in a smoke filled room. As humans we are so used to our breathing happening automatically, but when it doesn’t you really only have a few seconds to react and it quickly becomes serious. I guess another simulation is if you were to put your head under the covers in bed for ten minutes – after a while it becomes very hard to breath. That’s akin to how asthma feels for me.

The connotations with asthma are panicky ‘unfit’ people appearing to hyperventilate to get out of sport! Often people think the answer is to try to get them to calm down, which is true – but that hyperventilation in my experience happens because in the preceding minute the person could not get their breath, and this escalation often happens quite rapidly.

As a child I never felt that restricted by my asthma. I was bullied about it sure, but I never really got too upset by bullies. I was highly allergic, especially to artificial ingredients – I knew I had limitations but that more meant I couldn’t eat chocolate or drink Coke on school trips. Again over time this wasn’t something I felt I missed out on. In some instances I would be given ‘treats’ at parties or my friends mums who felt sorry for me or thought my Mum was too strict – these would then set me off and I quickly learnt that actions have consequences and nothing tastes as good as breathing feels I can assure you! So I did miss out on E numbers but not really anything else.

I talked earlier about judgement, and this is because as an Asthma sufferer it’s very hard to get your point across to those that don’t have it. It can be frustrating and people have these ideas of what Asthma is, which are often wholly wrong. Well there is something I need to admit now, I too was judgemental as a child. Let me explain.

My Mum and Dad threw themselves into finding a solution for my problems. I had Asthma but also Eczema and this put them onto a quest to work out why. My mum, in the mid 80’s started to look into organic products and washing powders that didn’t contain detergents that set me off. She started talking about avoiding E numbers – colourings, flavourings and preservatives. She tried me without dairy, without sugar, and supplemented my clean diet with Vitamins and Minerals – Mum and Dad actually shifted their entire careers into working for a firm that sold products that were ecological and better for me. To be honest they were so ahead of their time everyone thought they were mad and actually cruel for what I was / was not allowed. If they had been taking the same steps around 2000-2005 I reckon they would have ended up millionaires by now. The world gets it all now – but back in the 80’s Asthma was rare and understanding the impact from Nutrition and external factors was low. (Mum – I’d like to take the time to thank you both at this point, I know I must have been a huge worry and I do appreciate everything you did for me!)

I’m grateful as it really started my knowledge of nutrition at a young age – something that I went on to study at college and am fascinated by to this day!

So back to my point around my own judgemental views – Those that know my mum know how social she is, and in her quest to get to the bottom of my asthma she made a lot of friends in new circles. Many of these also had children with Asthma who became my friends, and in all honesty I just never felt as ill as them. I was – in a lot of cases I was worse, but most of them seemed to be severely limited by Asthma to a point where it was a disability. I guess my judgement was that in a way they were taking it all too seriously and were too protected and that in fact through will power should be able to do more, it was like they hid behind it to not do things. So in my own way I judged someone else and how they were effected.

As I grew my management of asthma became better through diet, avoidance of triggers (E numbers, dust mites, cats, some pollen, chemicals, perfumes etc) homeopathy and use of the correct inhalers. Inhalers is a topic I’ll quickly touch on. As a child I didn’t have a lot of time for the preventer style inhalers. To explain there are several types of inhalers for Asthma. The most common is the Blue inhaler which is the core reliever. This is the first step for most sufferers and as you feel Asthma kick in you can take it to widen the airways, really for all of us this is the ‘Magic’ bullet, and it’s nearly immediate. The next inhaler you end up on is the preventer style, which when I was a child was a capsule / powder style then went onto cream / brown inhalers. These are inhaled Corticosteroids are hormones that are produced naturally by the adrenal glands. They have many important functions, including control of inflammatory responses. Beclometasone is a synthetic corticosteroid and is used to decrease inflammation in the lungs. (NB. Corticosteroids are often simply called steroids, but it should be noted that they are very different from another group of steroids, called anabolic steroids, which have gained notoriety because of their abuse by some athletes and body builders.) Anyway this type of inhaler is taken daily but actually doesn’t help you to feel any better – but you must take it to build up the levels which should help prevent asthma flaring up but as a child I could rarely see the point! The last and more modern option are combination inhalers – these contain long acting reliever drugs (like the blue one but last up to 12 hours) and the steroid. So it limits the number of inhalers you need to carry.

The instant gratification of the blue inhaler to relieve symptoms makes it the Asthma sufferer’s best friend – and it can actually generate quite a panic if you can’t find your inhaler.

So as I grew up I became less dependent on the reliever, and slowly managed to stop using the preventer’s. So really from my early teens right through to 2014 I was virtually asthma clear – I always had the blue inhaler nearby but only needed to use it rarely and in particular situations. I also found when I lived in the Alps that I had virtually no need for it at all.

Well that situation changed for me last year. For the last 3 years I’ve been training pretty heavily, and have needed the blue inhaler on occasion during sessions. I also have my races. To start with I was ok at races, but always carried the inhaler with me. I rarely needed it mid race but on occasion did and just had to time it when I wasn’t too badly out of breath! Last year it became a very different situation.

On top of my step change in Asthma,  2014 was a chronic year for hay fever and allergy sufferers in general. I understand it was due to a late start in some pollens which meant everything came at once – meaning a very intense season that ran on. I have known 5-6 people diagnosed with Asthma who have never had it before. And I know many non-Asthma sufferers who struggled with pollen etc.

Well for me the timing could not have been worse. I spent 2013 into 2014 focused on improving my fitness levels & pace – I increased the tempo at which I was training and I felt at my peak all-round fitness level, ready to race. The early races in the year were extreme cold endurance events and they went by without any huge problems as they are more about survival, but early February I had a faster paced race that I struggled at. Again I raced in March and I seriously struggled. I had my inhaler but trying to inhale enough of it at pace was hard – and it just didn’t seem to have a big enough effect. This theme plagued me through the whole 2014 race season and into 2015.

This is another area I want to explain. The impact. A full asthma attack can stop you in your tracks. Coughing / wheezing – it’s terrible. And I haven’t had that in adult life. My asthma is more of a raised restriction. Where I go through day to day life with what feels like a 10-15% restriction to my breathing in a race this can go up to 30-40%. I’m ok to continue but breathing becomes difficult and the impact is a huge loss of energy. In short you are not getting enough oxygen. It would be like the average population running with a training mask or wet scarf over their mouth. You can breathe but as the steps continue your every step becomes laboured. I’ve found the blue inhaler less effective at the same time – my Asthma has had an acute attack meaning that the inflammation in my lungs has got really bad, temporary damage has been done or maybe other complications.

Now I know people don’t always understand if I mention it, as I get comments – “but you finished the race” And I did. “You have had some good results this year” and I did – however I know I’m capable of more. And it’s that feeling that has driven my frustration to the maximum. I want to finish a race with my legs on fire, exhausted and collapse over the finish line – But instead I finish the race feeling suffocated and laboured. Then at rest within 5-10 minutes my energy returns with normal breathing and I feel I could do the distance again as my pace was not pushed physically. Likewise the last person on earth I want to be at the finish line is the guy making excuses.

Alongside this performance frustration is the frustration of treatment. For the last 14 months I have chased, hounded and pushed my treatment forward but with no solution in view. My personal experience of Doctors is that they have a pathway to follow that has no real individual adaption for the patients they see. One of my initial responses from a GP was “well if it only impacts you when you run hard, just don’t run” I mean? Yes for most illnesses avoidance is a great answer, however to say that to an athlete (by that term I don’t in any way want to make myself sounds like a Pro or someone at the top of their game, merely a term to describe myself as someone that undertakes regular competitive athletic sport) is so unhelpful. I’ve tried everything the GP’s suggested, with no improvement. Additionally I undertook a series of private tests with Brunel University which were incredibly helpful and yet to get a solution from the NHS on those results or to even have them fully interpreted has been a real battle.

I’m not intending to damn the NHS here, but I’m talking about frustrations or a lack of empathy to someone’s individual situation and the time taken to progress. And here is my real concern for others – I’m motivated to resolve my Asthma, I’m a driven person – I chase, push, escalate, I don’t care who I speak to or how to get something resolved, I will knock down barriers to get to what I want – and yet in 14 months I’ve had no progress. So who I worry about is the less driven people. The people or even worse, children & teenagers who try sport and struggle to breathe so hate it – and who may never again return to sport in their life because of the unaddressed breathing problems. It really could shape someone’s life at an early age if not corrected, and that I worry about. The correlation between weight and breathing difficulties is known, but history of both for the individual could give us a root cause perhaps?

I’ve been through some tough times mentally, over the last 6 months especially but I am starting to keep things in balance. I will find a solution to this, and am working with a new Consultant who is very interested in my case. Frankly I just want to know what’s going on, good or bad – so I can adapt and overcome. I have some races to win, and if it’s not in OCR then there will be an athletic sport out there for me.

I hope in part this update helps people understand what it’s like to experience Asthma and the frustration that can go with it. It’s meant to be positive or at the very least informative – That’s my reason for finally pulling this together, and combined with the fact its World Asthma Day it seemed the right time.

Feel free to get in touch via Comments below, or Social Media if you want to discuss this or any of my updates.


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Tips for your first Obstacle Race / Mud Run!

If you are new to the OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) scene and have an event coming up, here are my tips that I learnt the hard way when I was starting out.  Hope they help!

Clothing – You will get wet, you will get muddy! So my suggestion is to wear tight fitting / tech clothing that won’t get caught or water logged. Wear as little as possible, I aim to start summer races a little cool – you’ll soon warm up once you get going.

Shoes – You are going to need grip, as a minimum a pair of trail shoes is a good idea, there are also OCR specific shoes available now – ranging from £20 (More Mile Cheviot) to £90 (The awesome Reebok All Terrain Super) if the event is going to be particularly muddy grip will help!

Gloves – Like marmite the OCR community is split on if they help your grip or not. Personally I don’t use them, and in training I work on building my grip / calluses etc – but a grippy pair may help you with wet monkey bars. Ideally test first!

Hydration – As with all training / race events Hydration is key, ensure you have a good level of electrolytes & liquids going in on the lead up and morning of the race. (ActiVeman Energy Charge or Pure Energy are good options)

Food – Ensure you’ve eaten a decent breakfast (I use ActiVeman Oatein) with enough time to digest before the race start

Gels – Depending on the length of the race you may need to fuel as you go if you are really pushing hard. If you are using Gels ensure you have tested them prior to the race, they don’t agree with everyone. Isotonic gels have more water added so don’t require a drink with them or if you don’t like the texture you can now get Gel Blocks (like jelly cubes) but again they need water to activate.

Training – Ideally get yourself to somewhere that can simulate the races. I use both Bootcamp Revolution (Rayne, Essex) and Wild Forrest Gym (Ongar, Essex) as they have Obstacles that you can learn & practice technique on.

Warm up – It’s important to get your CV system warm for performance, but also your legs / arms / ankles etc as you will be running on uneven ground, jumping, falling, landing. Wake up / activate everything you think you are going to use in the race to help prevent injury.

Recovery – You are going to ache after this! At the finish line grab a Protein drink (Bio Synergy Whey Protein or Essential Sports Fuel are ideal – or their RTD drink if you don’t want to mix it up yourself) before you reach for the alternate post-race celebration liquid refreshment 😉

Post Race – Have a change of old clothes and a towel ready at the finish (bag drop or a spectator) get out of the wet clothes as fast as you can.

Last point of all is to enjoy yourself! Sure the front rows of runners will look pretty serious as they tear off in the Elite wave, but everyone is there for fun first and foremost.

Welcome to the world of OCR I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

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Car Racing – what is ‘sprinting’?

A few people have asked me “What does car ‘Sprinting’ mean?” so I thought I would explain.

Sprinting is a form of car racing that involves cars making a timed lap around a set course on a race track, from a standing start, one car at a time. So instead of regular car racing that’s door to door against others you are in effect racing against the clock – a little like a qualifying lap in Formula 1. At the end of the day every driver’s best lap is selected and ranked in order from slowest to fastest to decide the ‘overall’ winner / results. In addition to the overall category there are also classes which rank similar specification cars against each other – for example by engine size, turbo or NA, or even development level.

We race the PJF Racing MR2 Turbo in the Toyota Sprint Series (TSS), a UK championship dedicated to Toyota only entries. We are in the A1 Pro class due to the high level of modification to the car from standard and we took runner up slot in the 2014 championship.

In the TSS we get 1 or 2 warm up runs which are untimed and allow you to learn the track and setup the car without pressure of timing, then we get 8 timed laps though the day with our best counting. If you hit a track marker / cone or put more than 2 wheels off the circuit that lap is a void run as you may have gained an advantage in lap time. Each run the driver presents the car to the start line, and under control of race direction the driver is presented with a traffic light system similar to drag racing, the green light comes on and away you go – racing towards the Finish line timing beam.

Sprinting is a high adrenaline sport as in normal racing you only get 1 or maybe 2 ‘race starts’ per race day, in Sprinting every run is a race start, with the associated pressure / excitement – and a chance to improve on your performance. Accuracy is important, having an issue early on in the lap can throw your whole run out so it’s important to drive with accuracy & consistency.

All racing is expensive however without the door to door collision damage often seen in normal car races Sprinting can offer a lower financial commitment over a season, but it’s still a high octane, high adrenaline sport!

Let me know if you want to know more!!

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Toyota Sprint Series Rd 2 Blyton Park – Update

Well this weekend we started our 2015 UK Toyota Sprint Series with a bang. Class victory and 2nd place overall!

Following a test day at Bedford the car needed some further modification around the oil cooling system as it was getting too hot. Water temperature has been perfect since the addition of an Electronic Water pump last year but getting the engine oil to the correct temps took some further modification so we had to miss the opening round at Snetterton, however with the modifications in place for Rd2 at Blyton the cars temp behaved perfectly!

An addition to this year’s series that I’m excited about is that car owner & developer Peter Foster is also driving after a 6 year break (Pete raced 1 round in 2009) and I think it’s great to have 2 drivers as we can share feedback on both the track and car. So chief mechanic for this meeting was my wife Becky, and she certainly kept us on our toes with checklists & technical checks prior to, and following each run. Thanks Bex!

Both Peter and I started the day cautiously. Despite the track being dry and sun out the air temp was very cool (a good indicator of this was Becky’s 2 hoodies and coat!) and so initial tyre temperatures on track were a little low. The Dunlop Direzza tyres we use are outstanding, however it’s always a balance to get them working in their best temperature window.

We modified the pressures and made some subtle suspension changes through the morning to build tyre temp and also our confidence. The car felt great but we both struggled with picking the correct brake markers and entrance speed to the turns. On the throttle the car responded very well, using its 400+ BHP well but the nature of the bends at Blyton requires correct line up of entry to turns for a good lap time.

Nigel Levinson took an early lead in our class (A1 Pro) with a solid 1.16 lap, which I felt I might be able to get down to, however I knew Nigel would also only be getting faster! Leading into lunch break Pete and I both had increased our times and comfort with pushing the car. Another problem area for us was the start, the car spins the wheels through 1st & 2nd gears so it’s a balancing act of not over-revving the pull-away but also not bogging down – and it can be very frustrating to start a lap with a bad start knowing you are compromised for the rest of the lap! But our times where coming down.

I always write off the run after lunch as we’re out with cold tyres but I was given a re-run due to an issue with the timing system, so I had a chance to get straight back in the car after Pete. I made a hot start to the lap and the car felt great, however going into one of the more technical turns (Bunga Bunga) I made a mistake that ran me wide and I missed a gear, sacrificing a lot of time! However I then managed to take a fast chicane later in the lap in 4th gear, and it had been in 3rd up to that point. My lap time was in a similar ball park to pre-lunch so I knew with no mistakes more time was possible….

In the afternoon the track warmed, we saw it up to 33/34oC in the direct sun and this meant we could further adjust the tyres and suspension as the car now was generating enough tyre temp. Looking at the overall rankings at this stage I was around 7th place and knew I needed to find another 1-1.5 seconds to get near the overall podium. Sadly I also learned that Nigel had blown his turbo so would get no further runs in the afternoon. A real shame as our races are often so close!

At this stage we had two objectives, for me to see if I can drop into the 1.14 bracket and for Pete to push down into his next second bracket. We had two runs left and talked through the circuit. For run 7 I pushed pretty hard and actually changed the gear I was using through the chicane, and this felt a lot better. I went down into the 1.14’s but I was just tenths of a second behind several other cars and so sat in 5th place. Pete also equalled his best lap of the day.

Going into the last run we were both keen to push hard and achieve the lap times we knew we were capable of. I made a good start, and kept with the gear changes from the previous lap but just tried to keep it clean, I pushed harder through the fast chicane than previous laps but still far from perfect – however by the finish I felt it was a good lap. In the TSS we don’t get told the final lap time until the awards ceremony to keep the suspense up so I had to wait. Pete made an amazing start to his lap, perfect gear shifts on the pull away, I think the best I saw all day. The car looked agile through the fast sweeping bends and I was sure Pete had met his lap time target.

It was great to take Class victory but a shame Nigel couldn’t push all PM as we’ve had some great rivalry in the past. I’d hoped I’d done enough to take 3rd place Overall however as we got to this stage in the presentation another driver was in 3rd place so I thought I’d not done enough, however I had! In fact by 00.01 of a second I had beaten Simon Marsh to 2nd place Overall (behind Adrian Smith with an amazing lap time of 1.11 – Adrian is as ever the marker we all need to aspire to!) and the best news was that Peter had knocked over 2 seconds off his lap time in the last lap, target smashed!!! So a really great weekend for us both.

Thanks to Peter for all the work done on the car, it truly is in the zone right now in terms of performance & specification. Becky who kept us on our toes and everything in order, and Mary for the excellent catering!

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Bio-Synergy & why I always talk about supplements!

I’ve had a few people ask me about Bio-Synergy, who they are and why I’m always talking about supplements so I thought I’d share my views.

First of all I’ve been associated with Bio-Synergy for over a decade. The team started to support me during my Motorcycle racing days, at the time I kept to a very low fat diet as weight is important in GP Racing, however you also need strength and endurance. Moving a bike around a Croatian race track for 45 minutes in 40oC heat, in full leathers at over 160mph was quite demanding I can tell you! And so I started to review supplements to help me with performance and recovery.

To start with it was Isotonic and Electrolyte drinks to help with hydration and glycogen levels, then I started to drink Protein after each session. Over a race weekend, when you are both rider, manager and one of the mechanics stopping to eat regularly is often not an option, so shakes offer a great way to get the nutrition that you need in both easily and fast! But I found, in particular over long race weekends with multiple sessions that protein helped me to recovery and have more energy / feel better.

Wind forward a few years and since 2012 I’ve been back training harder than ever. With our commute training time is hard to fit into our schedule so we often add prolonged or double sessions to make up the hours we need. This, coupled with races through almost every weekend last year means that recovery is vital to maintaining pace and performance.

Why can’t I just eat normal food – like chicken for protein? Is a question I get asked loads. Well one thing that’s scientifically proven is that liquid foods are easier to digest. It’s also known that replacing glycogen stores with carb and protein to repair as quickly as possible after a workout (15-20 minutes) is key and so protein shakes come into play. You can have them ready in the car after your workout, to immediately kick-start refuelling the body. I’m not reliant solely on shakes for food of course – but they are a great addition to my diet.

Don’t protein shakes make you fat / are just for body builders? Factual answer, protein shakes contain calories yes, and body builders drink a lot of protein – however, they do not get big from drinking shakes alone, these guys are training hard and lifting huge weights – THAT’S what makes them big and muscly and the protein is just allowing the body to repair – and therefore grow. Drinking protein alone will not make you a muscle bound warrior!

Aren’t these shakes all a bit dodgy? NO!! Whilst there are some products available on the web from the states etc which are low quality or cannot be trusted a decent brand like Bio-Synergy are 100% reliable. All their products are stringently tested and fully approved for athletes. They sell a Paleo protein that’s PURE egg whites – that’s it! And the regular protein shakes are made from Whey!

Do I really need them? The bottom line for me here is that’s it’s down to the individual. If you can train and race how you want to without, then great. However I find for me and my lifestyle that the core products I use help me no end. I even take Whey Protein with me skiing now to help the Ski Legs over the week! Sure some things may not have such an effect on you, however what I always say, is try it for a month. Then stop – and see if you miss the product as I know I sure do!!

And now – who is Bio-Synergy –

In 1997, Bio-Synergy was founded out of a passion for health and fitness and a desire to create the first clean, effective and high quality range of sports nutrition, to the support the goals of athletes and fitness enthusiasts to fuel their performance and make it happen.

Since its launch, over 1 million passionate sports and fitness enthusiasts have chosen Bio-Synergy sports supplements to reach their health and fitness goals and fuel their performance. Bio-Synergy sports supplements have been used by many of the world’s most respected athletes and teams, in fact, it could be said that Bio-Synergy is the best kept secret in sport!

Athletes, brand ambassadors and sports teams include James Cracknell, Melanie Sykes, Mark Wright, David Coulthard, Padraig Harrington, Will Greenwood the British & Irish Lions (both codes), the British Basketball, Ice Hockey and Rugby Leagues, Premier Rugby, the Boxing Board of Control and Commonwealth Games to name but a few. In fact, our range of sports nutrition may well have fuelled more Gold medals, PB’s and World Cup wins than any other brand!

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First Post!

Hello and welcome to my new look website.

I’m moving both and across to form one Blog based website, easier to maintain and a fresher look & feel going forward. I’m in the process of moving all of my old updates across over the next month, and creating some great new content so please just bear with me for now!

Here’s to a great 2015 ahead


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2014 Reflection

2014 – Where did it go?

With all that happened in 2013 Bex and I made a resolution for 2014 to seize the day. Bex pushed herself to do one new thing a month that scared her, which she certainly did and overcame each!

Between us we booked one adventure or another almost every weekend. At times it was exhausting, but it was always exhilarating 🙂 I believe we are all capable of way more than we realise, it's just unlocking that potential. My year was not without it's difficulties, my Asthma reared it's ugly head again after a 25 year break, which effected me physically but also more surprisingly mentally (I don't handle restrictions very well!) however I'm now on a path to sorting that out.

I had some great support in 2014, most of all by Bex but also by mega friends, family and sponsors. To everyone that helped me or offered me an opportunity in 2014 – Thank You.

I set the 5 goals below for 2014, and all bar the 5th I completed. For 2015 a podium at Spartan Race is my absolute priroity. I know it will be a real challenge to reach for, however all 5 of the below seemed impossible last year – so thus is my focus.

1. Climb Mont Blanc (4810m)

2. Class Win at TSS

3. Complete On Trial

4. Complete Coast to Coast

5. Spartan Race Podium

Here's to us all unlocking our full potential in 2015 whatever our individual goals may be.

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Toyota Sprint Victory at Rockingham Motor Speedway

Class victory for Luke at final round

Luke Lawrence finished the 2014 ToyotaSprint Series season with a class victory at Rockingham motor speedway lastweekend.

"The car had some further development coming into this round car owner Peter Foster identifed a problem with the fueling system so the car was into Fensport to have the fuel pump and filter replaced. A big thank you to Peter for the late nights (again!) getting the Mr2 ready to race.

Arriving at Rockingham and rained overnight, and the track had really poortraction so the practice laps were very conservative.The car was spinning up massively off the line which is to be expected with the power it makes but it also lit up in 2nd and 3rd gear on the straight! Going sideways next to banked wall over 100mph is an eye opening experience! With clear skies I knewthe track would improve so I took my time in the opening runs to learn the track. A tentativefirst lap sat me in 8th place from 47 entries however it was a big gap to the leaders.

I was itching to get my right foot down and build some speed, fortunately by run 3 the track had really started to improve and I couldpush the car. The Mr2 is great to drive, but it likes to be on the edge, when youpush hard it responds well."

The track had dried by Lunchtime and Luke was sitting 2ndfastest but 3.3 seconds adrift of the leader with fellow A1 Pro driver Nigel Levinson very close on time.

"The gap back to 2nd in class Nigel Levinson was really close as we both seemed able to chip away at our times, excitedly checking with each other after each run. After lunch the track temperature was upand I set a good time – 1.21.07 but Nigel also went faster – 1.21.92 so I knew on the next run it was now or never.

I talked with the TEIN suspension guys and made a small change to the front end of the car to help it turn in better. This worked atreat, from the first turn I had much more confidence and decided to give it myall. It worked – I dropped down to a 1.19.26 with Nigel on a 1.21.23 his fastest of the day.

My Last run did not go to plan – however I had done enough the 1.19.26 sat me in 2nd place overall and first in class, I was also only 1.6 seconds away from Overall TSS Champion and brilliant driver Adrian Smith.Additionally this result means I moved to runner up spot on the overall ClassChampionship – I'm really happy about that after missing two rounds.

I want to thank TEIN Suspension, Dunlop Tyres, Bio SynergyNutrition and PJF Racing for the use of an awesome race car. Roll on 2015!"

Keep up to speed with Lukes racing via or twitter @LukeLawrenceOCR

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Luke completes a lifes dream – SummIt’s Mont Blanc

Luke Lawrence summits the 'rooftop of Europe' – Mont Blanc (4810m) 28th August 2014

It's been a dream of mine to stand on the rooftop of Europe for over 18 years. I first went to the Alps with my parents skiing and we all went up to Pic Blanc (3330m) the view was simply astounding from there, and I gazed over towards Mont Blanc and could not even imagine what it must be like to be on a summit that's another 1.5km higher! Since then Mont Blanc has always been in my thoughts when I've been to the Alps and I've often gazed up and wondered

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BattleOats bars to fuel Luke on Mont Blanc

Further to the support from BEET IT for the Alpine Expedition Luke has also agreed support from BattleOats bars.

"I'm really excited about using BattleOats as a source of energy for the trip They are tasty bars – a great trekking snack but also very high in protein so it's an easy way to carry a recovery item! The new range has just launched and it's Gluten free and free from trans fats with a switch away from oil in the baking process – really cool.

I'll be posting more on how I get on with them!"

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