Posts Tagged ‘leeds’

Parkrun Day

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019 | Sport

Every year, Hyde Park Harriers try to take on all of the parkuns in Leeds in a single day. This has become more and more of a challenge as new parkruns start. By this year, 2019, there are now nine of them. With two more starting soon, I have no idea what we will do next year. Possibly a multi-day event.

Having so many parkruns means the distance this year was up to 45km. Anything longer than 42.2km is technically an ultramarathon. 45km is pretty much the easiest ultramarathon you can possibly do, especially as you get a break when driving between them. Or so I thought. It turns out that having a break just gives your legs a chance to seize up.

Roundhay

We started bright and early at 7:30am. Ed Sheran had taken over most of the park so we had to forgo the regular parkrun route and do two laps of the lake instead. Nobody was sad to miss the long drag of the hill up to the mansion in favour of a beautiful view of the lake. It was sunny on the near side and rained on the far side.

Potternewton

By Potternewton, I was already feeling it. Bad times only 5km in! I wanted to pace myself so I walked up some of the hills. Meanwhile, Marcos Angel Valero Palacios came sprinting past me to take a course record of 15:59.

Temple Newsam

I had not packed a lot of food as I only decided to come for it at the last minute and had not had a chance to stock up, so by Temple Newsam I was hungry. I grabbed a coke, a sausage roll and a caramel shortbread from the cafe. The sun was out in full force by Temple Newsam, and Amy and Paul made a guest appearance.

Rothwell

The sun continued to beat down at Rothwell so I took a quick break to suncream up. The tarmac was starting to pound my legs by this point, so I was pleased to have grass to run on for most of it. How easy was everyone else taking it? Toby and Rich lapped me at this one.

Middleton Woods

Ah, the sweet shade of the woods. I felt good at Middleton, at least for the first three kilometres. I was still walking up some fo the hills but was running everything else. After the run, we had lunch on the bike cafe. A cheeseburger and chips went down well, accompanied by two bottles of orange juice and another can of coke.

Cross Flatts

It has cooled down a little by Cross Flatts and we dispatched the course without too much trouble. I felt no ill effects from having stuffed my face.

Bramley

By Bramley, I was tired but feeling good. I had finished both my bidons by this point, so we went to the shop to reload. The ground was a bit soggy when I moved off the tarmac and onto the grass.

Armley

This one was always going to be a challenge because it was so deep in but not quite at the end. We took it really steady so it didn’t hurt too much.

Woodhouse Moor

Ah, the end! I was excited to arrive here and we were joined by a few other Harriers. I went hard to try and put in a good time, but the fatigue meant that a “good time” was still 31 minutes. After crossing the finish line, I would say I felt amazing, but I mostly felt sick. That’s pretty standard with anything over three hours, though.

Conclusion

I can’t believe I made it. Eight others also claimed all of the runs, and while Greg missed Roundhay, he did the most work out of all of us as he cycled between each one. Thank you to Toby for organising it and Ellie for keeping me company at the back.

I’ll see you all next year… for one of the parkuns ;).

World Triathlon Leeds 2019

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 | Sport

The 2018 World Triathlon Leeds was the first standard distance triathlon I signed up for (although I actually completed Wetherby two weeks earlier) and was my target race for the year. I lost my timing chip in the lake and so technically registered a DNF. The swim was cut in half due to fog, so the 2:43:00 I registered on my Garmin would have been 3:03:00 with a full swim.

This year, I was hoping to improve, mostly by setting an official time.

The preparation could have gone better. Two days before, Venla handed me her cold. I could feel a little tickle, which by Saturday had turned into a full cold. It took me 28 minutes to complete parkrun and it rained all day, which made for a wet affair at registration. Thankfully, it dried up on Sunday for the race itself.

I was in the Yorkshire Championship. We didn’t start until 8:35, which made for a lice line-in compared to the 7:10 start I had last year. It also meant that almost everyone else in Hyde Park Harriers was in the same wave as me. They were all in their beautiful club tri suits. Alas, mine did not turn up in time.

The swim

The swim went well. I was just under 40 minutes, which is my useful benchmark. I had my family chasing me around the lake cheering me on which provided some extra speed boost. We were the second-to-last standard distance wave, so not many people swimming over the top of me.

Getting out, I remembered just how long transition is at this event. It goes on forever. There is probably a kilometre of running between the swim exit, finding my bike, and taking it to the mount line and then doing it all again in T2.

The bike

I took it steady on the bike. I always imagine that everyone will come flying past me on the descent down Stonegate Road but almost nobody did. On the second lap, I caught up with Dan from the club. The course was getting fairly quiet towards the end and Farhad was cheering us all on, and taking photos, at the turnaround point.

The run

As I exited T2 I took stock of my overall time. It was unlikely that I would be able to go under three hours, a goal that I missed by 15 seconds at Allerthorpe Classic last year. I would have to run a 49-minute 10km and that seemed to big an ask.

But I decided to run hard anyway. I suspected that the course was slightly shorter than 10km, at least as Garmin would measure it, and it was mostly downhill. So, I thought if I put myself in the position to be around that time, I would see what happened.

Once I made it to The Headrow there was lots of support: members of the club, my family and many people who were already turning out to watch the elite races. As I came down The Headrow at the 8km mark I realised I was at 2:50:00, giving me ten minutes to complete the final two kilometres. This was by no means in the bag because I had to run up The Headrow, and the distance on my watch could be inaccurate, but it was looking good.

It was only as I rounded the final corner that I knew I was going to go sub-3.

The result

My official time was:

2:58:00

Putting me 48th in the 57 that entered the Yorkshire Championship. Not quite a qualifying time yet! But there were four Harriers behind me, so not the lanterne rouge, either. That breaks down to:

Section Time
Swim 39:25
T1 8:32
Bike 1:19:04
T2 4:02
Run 46:59
Total 2:58:00

An eight-minute transition sounds awful. But even Naomi, who qualified for the European age-group championships last year, took five minutes due to the amount of running.

46:59 on the run is a superb time for me. My personal best 10km is 47:39, that I set at Wetherby triathlon last year. This could represent a new fastest time, then. That said, my Garmin measured it as 9.86km, which, if accurate, means a proper 10km would have taken me another minute. And it was mostly downhill.

As ever, my running outshines the other disciplines: I set the 26th fastest time on the run, which puts me on the top half.

I’m really pleased to have gone under three hours at the standard distance for the first time.

Well done to all of the other Hyde Park Harriers who raced, too. I know so many of you achieved huge PBs. And overall wins, too: Amy and Cat took first and second prize in the women’s Yorkshire Championship.

Mark Knopfler at Leeds Arena

Sunday, May 26th, 2019 | Music

Last year, Mark Knopfler (of Dire Straits fame) announced he was playing a gig in Leeds. It seemed like an excellent birthday present for my dad. Thus began an agonising five-month wait where we all had to keep quiet about it, not easy when my mum’s friends were talking about how they were going. Well worth it in the end, though!

Leeds Arena has tight security on the night. Everyone had to go through airport-style scanners and put their valuables in a little tray. We were on level 2, which didn’t seem that high up until we took our seats. It also meant that I really struggled to see the stage clearly. But the audio was fine.

I saw Knopfler play in Sheffield a few years ago. Quite a lot has changed. First, he has gained in popularity. Sheffield had maybe 3-4 thousand people there, Leeds was closer to 10.

Second, this was more of a rock show. His Sheffield gig was a bit folkier and he was changing guitar mid-song to do little fiddly bits. This time he only changed his guitar at the end of each song (which is still a lot of guitars), played his more popular solo stuff as well as a few Straits classics and it was more upbeat.

Finally, he is definitely a bit older. He shuffles around the stage a little more and plays with more of a stoop. That is perhaps understandable when you are still busting our two-hour shows at the age of 69, though (not that it’s stopping Pete Townsend!).

LBT Brownlee duathlon April 2019

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019 | Sport

On Saturday. I completed my second duathlon at the Brownlee circuit. Hosted by Leeds & Bradford Triathlon Club, it takes place on a regular basis and I completed my first one in March.

I had my new bike wheels fitted the day before, so I was keen to see how they would perform. The answer is badly :(. I was 15 seconds behind last month but a lot of that was lost on the bike.

Section March April
Run 1 20:27 19:46
T1 1:13 1:11
Bike 19:32 20:34
T2 1:00 1:02
Run 2 5:19 5:12
Total 47:30 47:45

That said, I’m not totally heartbroken. It was miserable weather. It rained pretty much the whole bike section and so I wasn’t as confident going through the corners at speed. I also backed it off down the hill due to the strong crosswinds.

I also went hard at parkrun in the morning to check my form. I only managed 23:45 there, despite my best effort. But that’s no excuse because my power numbers were only negligibly less.

Ultimately, I need more data and to test them in the dry.

Thanks to LBT for hosting another good event.

LBT Brownlee duathlon video

Thursday, March 28th, 2019 | Sport, Video

Yesterday I wrote about the duathlon I took part in at the Brownlee Centre. I recorded the bike section on my action camera and I have overlayed my speed, power and heart rate onto the video. It’s predictably dull, but I have added some commentary over the top to make it less dull lol. In my defence, this isn’t why I bought an action camera.

The hyper smooth video does a good job, although I find it a bit weird. The background stays fixed in position as everything else dances around. It looks a bit unnatural but does produce something that is easy to watch.

LBT Brownlee duathlon

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019 | Sport

The triathlon season is almost upon us! Skipton is but three weeks away and the World Series has already kicked off in warmer climates. In preparation, Leeds Bradford Triathlon Club hosted a duathlon event at the Brownlee Centre that was upon to other clubs.

Myself, Jack, Graeme and Naomi took part from Hyde Park Harriers. Everyone else has a club tri suit but I did at least manage to full on my HPH hoodie before we took the group photo.

The course was roughly a 4.5km run, 10km bike and final 1.5km run. I clocked in with a time of:

47:30

I was pretty happy with that. It represents a pace of under five minutes per kilometre in the run and an average speed of just under 30 kph on the bike. It would have been nice to be faster on the bike, but the course has its technical bits (for a rider of my skills, lol) and I wasn’t pushing everything I had, so I’ll take it.

Kitty Cafe

Monday, March 25th, 2019 | Life

To celebrate Elina’s birthday earlier this month, we went to Kitty Cafe.

It’s not like a normal cafe. You need to book in advance and you pay for a one hour slot. You then buy your food and drink on top of that. We both had pizza. It was equivalent to what you can buy from the supermarket and cook at home, which is the level I was expected. But you’re not really there for the food.

There were a bunch of cats. Sometimes we had to go on a hunt for them, and Venla enjoyed running around trying to spot them. None of them came over for a stroke or a play. But who could blame them when they’ve spent an entire day with children running around after them trying to wave string in their faces.

Yoga Hero

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019 | Life

After my PT described me as the “least flexible person she had ever met”, she talked me into giving yoga a go. As Yoga Hero is just across the water from the office of a client I am currently working with, I’ve been attending their beginner’s classes.

They know their audience. They have a special lunch flow class designed to avoid getting you sweaty, something I am sure colleagues will be pleased about.

They run two beginners classes a week. Monday’s class is taken by Sophie which is quite strength and stretchy. You come away feeling the burn. Friday’s class is taken by Anna. That’s a bit more focussed on the mental aspect of yoga and I find it a little more relaxing. Both are fun.

One thing I would like them to add is a double-slot class. Anna’s classes end with a relaxation session where you use a blanket, close your eyes and spend some time being mindful. I feel that would transition really nicely into an hour-long nap, and I would pay twice the money for it.

Festive Fifty 2018

Sunday, December 30th, 2018 | Sport

My first ever sportive was the Festive Fifty on New Year’s Eve last year. So, it was fitting to close out 2018 by taking part in the Festive Fifty this year to raise money for Children’s Heart Surgery Fund at the Leeds General Infirmary.

It was great to be riding with Bogdan again, as we haven’t had a spin since August. It felt easier than last year. Last year there was a hill. This year, I wouldn’t even call it a hill. It was over before I realised it. The long road back home was once again a massive headwind but didn’t feel quite as long, either.

Doing the 50-mile route was certainly an option this year, but I haven’t dialled in my position on the Bianchi just yet, and with Venla being rather unwell at the moment, I wanted to get back to her as soon as possible. So, I settled for the 50km route, which was nice as it meant my toes stayed warm the whole way around.

Temple Newsam’s 300th Parkrun

Sunday, December 30th, 2018 | Sport

Yesterday, Temple Newsam held their 300th Parkrun. With it being a big round number, I decided to head across to test my legs.

It’s been a year since I’ve run Temple Newsam. The last one I did, which was my course PB, was part of the New Year’s Day double at the start of 2018 before I had started my triathlon training in earnest. So, the 27:12 I set there was inevitably going to fall.

In the end, I ran:

23:17

Really happy with that. I’ve only gone sub-23 twice at Woodhouse Moor, so once you factor in the hills of Temple Newsam, that feels like an excellent result. I knew I wasn’t running quite as fast as when I was marathon training, but I’m not far off.

It wasn’t much bigger than usual: 199 runners in total. They did have a photographer there, though, so at the start, I sprinted up the front to be in the photo. And, as you can see below, I made it! (Light blue Go Tri t-shirt on the far left, in case you can’t spot me). Thanks to ‎Phil Bland‎ for taking the photos!