Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

Potternewton Parkrun

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018 | Sport

Last Saturday, I headed down to Potternewton Park to try the new Parkrun there. Parkrun like to soft launch their events to work out any bugs, so many of us had avoided event #1. But, now that that was out of the way, 199 of us headed down to give it a go.

Leeds now has a total of nine Parkruns: Woodhouse Moor, Cross Flatts, Middleton Woods, Temple Newsam, Roundhay, Bramley, Armley and Rothwell being the others.

Potternewton Park is hilly. It doesn’t have the endless drag of Temple Newsam, or maybe even Roundhay, but it goes up and down quite a bit. It’s three laps, mostly on tarmac with a bit on some matting. You could get a buggy around the course if you fancied hills but dogs are currently not allowed.

My time was okay. I ran:

23:46

Ten seconds slower than I did at Middleton Woods last week, and a minute and a half off my PB, but you can’t compare the flats of Woodhouse Moor to a hilly course and I ran most of the last lap with Graeme, and it’s very difficult to chat and get enough air in at the same time (worth the trade, though).

Abbey Dash 2018

Monday, November 12th, 2018 | Family & Parenting, Sport

Earlier this month, myself, my dad and my sister ran the 33rd annual Abbey Dash.

It’s a 10km road race from Leeds to Kirkstall Abbey and back to raise money for Age UK. I first ran the Abbey Dash in 2014. However, I first attended the Abbey Dash in around 1987 when I watched my dad run one of the first few dashes from the comfort of my buggy.

We decided to run as a group. After all, there are plenty of 10ks, but rarely a chance to run together. And as it was only a week after the Hubble Hubble ultramaraton and my foot was still pretty beat-up.

In the end, we made it home in:

59:24

Comfortably within the hour, so happy days. Well done one and all! After the race, I headed to Headrow House for some drinks with Hyde Park Harriers before moving on to The Midnight Bell for Sunday lunch. Despite some very dubious Yorkshire puddings, the food was good.

Battle of the buggies

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 | Sport

Last weekend, Venla and I headed over to Cross Flatts park to do Parkrun. It’s pretty empty at 8:30am, when it’s six degrees, surprisingly, so Venla had the swing park all to herself. After that, we headed off to the start line in the buggy.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to run given I was still recovering from Hubble Bubble, but I felt good once I started. Until I pulled a muscle in my neck, at least.

Buggies go fast downhill and slow uphill. But I can’t have been too far off form because in the end I managed a 26:26, finishing a couple of minutes ahead of the next buggy. I don’t think I could do that at Woodhouse Moor where the super-runners smash out Olympic buggy times, but it felt good to steam home to victory.

Hubble Bubble ultramarathon

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018 | Sport

Last Sunday I completed the Hubble Hubble ultramarathon. I came 5th overall with a time of 5:18:11. It turns out that if you want to place in the top ten, the easiest way is to enter an event with only 11 participants.

52.6 km (32.7 miles) in 5:18:11

Two weeks ago I ran the Yorkshire Marathon. Why run an ultra two weeks later? Sheer laziness. Training for a marathon is a big undertaking: even coming off the triathlon season I had to spend a few months building up the distance. It seemed like a lot of effort to do that twice. On the other hand, if I stacked them two weeks apart, one big training block beforehand would allow me to call myself both a marathon and an ultramarathon runner without ever having to run again.

Besides which, it was my stomping ground. The run starts in Kirkstall and is exclusively based on the towpath. You run down into the city centre, out to Saltire, back to the city centre and finally back to Kirkstall. A total of 52.5 kilometres, which makes it a mere ten kilometres longer than a marathon. Easy, right?

The first 30 kilometres passed without incident. I felt good all the way to Saltaire. But, as I headed back, I began to feel the strain. By 35 kilometres in I could keep running no more and began to allow myself short walks between running segments which carried on for the rest of the race. Luckily, it didn’t affect my pace too much and I continued to do around 6:15 per kilometre. I was very relieved to pass back through Kirkstall at the 43-kilometre point where I was able to pick up my second bidon, complete with a set of caffeine gels.

The weather was reasonably kind. It was cold, a little under ten degrees, but that is a good temperature for running, and we only experienced a little bit of rain. Nothing compared to the Yorkshire Marathon.

The winner, Robert Eagles, was 40 minutes ahead of me at 4:37:32. I was eight minutes behind the guy in fourth place and 40 minutes ahead of the guy that finished behind me. All participants finished in under seven hours.

One of the highlights of It’s Grim Up North Running events is the amazing selection of homemade cakes. Unfortunately, by the time I finished the runners doing the shorter distances had almost cleaned them out. But I did come away with a Halloween-themed cupcake.

Recovery was a mixed bag. I didn’t have the muscle fatigue I had after the marathon where it hurt to get up and down. I was a little stiff after not moving for a while but otherwise fine. However, the bottom of my foot really hurt and gave me quite a limp. Not sure which one was worse but neither have been terrible.

And now I look forward to never having to run again. Well, after the Dash next week…

Super fast half marathon

Friday, October 26th, 2018 | Sport

I did my full-length training run for the Yorkshire Marathon three weeks before the race and shortly after came down with a cold, meaning I had to cut short my final long training run.

A week out from the race and I was still feeling rough. However, I decided I needed to get at least 30km in my legs, so having done Parkrun I set out to do 20km on the Sunday.

Despite feeling crap, it didn’t hold back my pace. In fact, I was faster. My current PB is 1:52:24, which I set at the Canal Canter in March. I topped the distance up to a half marathon and ran a 1:45:25 – almost seven minutes faster than my PB and representing a pace of 4:58 per kilometre.

How? I don’t know. Chris hypothesised that my body’s natural pain management from the cold was still in effect. There may be something in that as it didn’t hurt that much. It certainly will be interesting to see what I can do in a race.

Yorkshire Marathon photos

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018 | Photos, Sport

As it was my first marathon event, I decided to splash the cash on the official photos.

This one is near the start. You go from the university, into town via the Minster, and then out into the countryside. So, at this point, I’m feeling okay.

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Armley Parkrun

Monday, October 22nd, 2018 | Sport

Earlier this month I went up to Armley to do the Parkrun there. It’s about three kilometres away from the city centre, so just a little further than Woodhouse Moor.

Armley Parkrun launched over the summer, albeit with a “soft launch”. When I mentioned it on my blog I volunteer contacted me and asked me to remove the reference and when I asked about it in running club everyone spoke in hushed tones. Apparently, when a new Parkrun launches there is an unwritten rule about not telling anyone. It’s one of the weird rules that makes me a little uncomfortable at how Parkrun operates as an organisation.

Nevertheless, having been running for over four months, it is now a well established and welcoming run. They seem to have an army of volunteers, based on the sample size of one event.

The course is a mix of tarmac and grass. Having run past Gotts Park many times I assumed the course would be very hilly. However, Armley Park itself is really flat: probably flatter than Woodhouse Moor. It’s three loops with a bit of a crossover between the start and finish. It seems a good option to go for if you’re looking for a PB.

Ironman World Championship 2018

Sunday, October 21st, 2018 | Distractions, Sport

A full distance triathlon consists of a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and marathon run to finish the race. Ironman is the most famous of the full distance brands, and every year people compete in Ironman races around the world to earn a qualifying spot at the original race in Kona, Hawaii.

I watched it for the first time last year. Patrick Lange took his first victory and set a new course record of 8:01:40 after Cameron Wurf set a new record on the bike course. Meanwhile, in the women’s race, Brit Lucy Charles led for the swim and most of the bike until Daniela Ryf came storming through to take the lead and run her way to a third victory in a row.

This year they were celebrating the 40th anniversary of Ironman and they did so in style: the weather was absolutely perfect. Or, at least, as perfect as you can get on a lava field on a tropical island.

Josh Amburger led out a fairly easy swim for the elite men, coming home in 47:39. You might think that was the fastest swim of the day. But no. Age group athlete Jan Sibbersen smashed the age-group record with a swim of 46:29 while Lucy Charles went on a solo charge and broke the elite women’s record with a time of 48:14.

Things didn’t slow down on the bike. Cameron Wurf, who set a new course record last year with 4:12:54, brought it home in 4:09:06, breaking his own record by nearly four minutes.

Lucy Charles ploughed on on the bike. However, Danielle Ryf was simply unstoppable. After an awful swim due to being stung by a jellyfish and almost pulling out of the race, she finished the bike course in 4:26:07, smashing the women’s record, taking nearly 30 minutes off her time from last year (4:53:10).

Once onto the run, defending champion Patrick Lange finished the marathon in 2:39:58, becoming the first person ever to go sub-eight hours in Kona with a total time of 7:52:39, beating his own course record from last year by nine minutes. Second place Bart Aernouts also finished under eight hours while Britain’s David Mcnamee took the third podium stop for the second year in a row. Other notable finishers included Joe Skipper in 7th (Ironman UK winner) and Tim Don making his return to Kona.

On the women’s side, Daniella Ryf smashed the course record with a time of 8:26:18, giving her her fourth world championship in a row. Lucy Charles made it two for two on the second spot of the podium with Germany’s Anne Haug in third after running the fastest marathon time in the elite women (2:55:20). Four female athletes went under three hours in the marathon and ten went under nine hours.

And to finish it all, Patrick Lange celebrated by proposing to his girlfriend on the finish line. She accepted. He said something about “if I set a course record”, so lucky for her that it was a fast day, I guess!

Can we have Jim Harbaugh back yet?

Friday, October 19th, 2018 | Distractions, Sport

In 2013 the San Franciso 49ers went to the Super Bowl. Despite going down in the first half, they staged one of the greatest comebacks in Super Bowl history before heartbreakingly failing to convert on a 1st and goal from the seven-yard line and lost the game 34-31.

In 2014, head coach Jim Harbaugh was hired by Jed York because they couldn’t get on. We knew at the time that it was a massive mistake, and now we have the numbers to prove it.

Here is a graph showing the 49ers win percentage. I’ve also included the win percentage of the Michigan Wolverines, who Harbaugh went on to coach after leaving the 49ers.

You’ll notice that we’re not doing very well until 2011 when we hire Jim Harbaugh. Things turn around instantly and for the next four years we not only make the playoffs but make it all the way to the championship game (and once, the Super Bowl). In 2014, we go 8-8. Not great, but not a losing record either.

Harbaugh is fired and we go through three head coaches in three years: Jim Tomsula, Chip Kelly and Kyle Shanahan. All of which are losing seasons, and we’re losing this one, too.

Meanwhile, Michigan, who, to be fair, was never a bad team, go from inconsistent results to having a winning season every year under Harbaugh.

In fact, the 49ers have never had a losing season under Jim Harbaugh. Neither have Michigan. Can we have him back yet?

Brownlee triathlon centre launch

Thursday, October 18th, 2018 | Sport

After my first visit to the Brownlee cycle circuit I found myself back there for the launch of the triathlon centre. It’s not really clear what that was. It looks the same. But, in any case, British Triathlon was providing some free training.

There were three sessions: transition, run and bike. I will be changing the way I do things based on the transition session but it was the bike session that was most useful. It was led by Coach Morg, who runs Blue Lagooners and the Evolve triathlons and really helped me build some confidence with leaning the bike over and taking more speed through the corners.