Monday, 30 November 2009

The Longest Operation in the World

Well, not in terms of time, but in terms of the name of the procedure. Try this for a mouthful (pun intended) - uvulopalatopharyngoplasty!

So, why did I decide to get my soft, fleshy, dangly bit cut off?

I've always been a very, VERY bad snorer. I still remember fellow dorm mates walking around my bed every morning to retrieve the shoes they'd thrown at me over the course of the evening in an effort to stop me chopping down tress. I was 13 years old at the time.

And I still don't think I'll ever be invited on another overseas race trip with good mate Ken Collins.

Add my lovely girlfriend into the mix of haters and it's pretty clear as to why I went looking for professional help. I will add that I tried all the herbal, nose strip and pallet spay options available.

I popped down to my local NHS GP, who did what she normally does and sent me to a specialist. An ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor. In all honesty, my main motivation to stop snoring was so that I didn't have to spend countless nights on the couch or wake up to a scissor kick in the back of the head at three in the morning.

However, after he poked and prodded around my mouth and nasal passages, he asked me an intriguing question. "When you wake up after a good amount of sleep (8-9hrs) do you feel properly rested?" It was like that moment on TV shows when the earth stops moving and a gospel choir sings, HALLELUJAH, HALLELUJAH, HALLELUJAH!

Queue another of my terrible character traits - I'm not a morning person. Never have been. And I'd love to be one. What the doc explained was that because my snoring was so loud (I will often wake myself up with the noise) I never get those essential hours of deep sleep. The noise wouldn't allow me to drop into it (so just imagine my girlfriend laid next to me at this point). What surprised the specialist was that I'm not a 'classic' snorer. Most people with my condition are fat smokers that enjoy a few bottles of wine every week. When I asked to delay the op until after the Ironman, he nearly fell over.

That appointment was in February, and today I finally had my uvula removed and soft tissue pallet tightened. Think of it like a sting on a guitar. The tighter the string, the harder it is to make it vibrate without real force. Less vibration = no noise/snoring.

(BTW, that's not my mouth in the photo.)

So here's hoping to peaceful nights; deep, restful, undisturbed sleep and early morning wake up calls!

(I must say, Kingston Hospital was brilliant, but it's SO not like Scrubs!)

Tuesday, 24 November 2009


As a school boy in South Africa, sport meant everything. And not just pro sport. School boy derby games would attract crowds in their thousands. Long after we'd finished school for good, iconic games between rival schools would be discussed at length.

The above video (in my opinion) is possibly the best creative campaign I've seen this year. (If not the last few years!)

So even though I understand nothing about American football, this video reminds me of how great it was to go to a school with a history, heritage and rivalry to rival these two teams.

To watch the full length video, click here.

Congrats to TBWA\Chiat\Day for an absolutely WORLD CLASS campaign. Gatorade should be singing your praises from the tops of the stands!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Kona Inspiration

Although it's been quite a few months since I completed my first Ironman, the pain is still fresh in my mind. Along with the memory of suffering, the sense of achievement lives large.

And in all honesty, the stoke of finishing far outweighs the torture.

So, I've entered another one! The Outlaw Triathlon in Nottingham, August 2010. The above video is what it's all about. The dream of one day qualifying a spot at Kona, the World Champs of Ironman competition.

Even if I only get to compete in the M50-55 category in many years to come.

(Congrats to GB's Chrissie Wellington for breaking the long standing women's record at Kona and winning her 3rd world title in row.)