Posts Tagged ‘leeds’

Parkrun #148

Monday, April 2nd, 2018 | Sport

The weather did not invite running. It had rained overnight and it was still raining when I woke up. Worse, I felt terrible. I normally feel pretty poor on the way there, but this time I had to walk some of the way there. Even my watch agreed that my condition this morning was poor.

Still, I had set off early so that I could start right at the front and I didn’t want to waste it. As the other people around me discussed whether it was too muddy to attempt a sub-17 or not, and prepared their starting stance (one leg bent, leaning slightly forward) I thought I would at least sprint off with them and see how it went.

As it turns out, not many people did come rushing past me. Although, this could be due to the reduced number of people that had braved the weather. I kept my pace just within the limits needed to set a new PB (personal best) and a gruelling five kilometres later I crossed the line, punching the air.

As it turns out, I was way ahead. Although I was only 10 seconds per kilometre ahead of where I needed to be, because I start my GPS at home and keep it running until then, it didn’t factor in that I ran the first section and the last section of Parkrun way above this pace.

I hadn’t just beaten my previous PB of 24:36, I had crushed it. It now stood at:

23:08

It almost seems too good to be true. But, reexamining my Garmin data, and comparing it to what I’ve been doing in training, it seems to fit. Indeed, potentially I could go faster: I wasn’t feeling great (though you often aren’t when you set a PB) and I had my rain jacket on. Or maybe I can’t: we’ll find out soon!

Here’s an updated graph:

Next week I may or may not be able to do Parkrun depending on whether it clashes with the Bramley Baths triathlon, and the week after that I will have to go easy in preparation for Skipton. So, it might be a while before I get to run another fast one. We’ll see how it compares.

Bramley Baths indoor triathlon

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 | Sport

Last Sunday, Bramley Baths triathlon team ran an indoor triathlon: swim, bike and run using the pool, gym bikes and treadmills. It was a lot of fun, despite what the facial expression in the photograph might suggest.

The course

The race started with a 250-yard swim in the pool. Yep, yards. Bramley Baths was constructed in 1904 and metric wasn’t a big thing back then. This knocked nearly 10% of the distance off from when I calculated my expected swim time in The Edge’s pool.

After that, it was on to the fitness studio where they had static bikes set up. Finally, on to the gym to use the treadmills.

Transitions were untimed for safety reasons: they didn’t want people rushing around the building and running into each other, other gym users and the many sharp corners that feature in Edwardian architecture. This meant it was a fairly stress-free event, especially as there was a short queue for the bikes, giving us time to get our breath back.

The results

My combined time was 30:23, which placed me 7th out of 31 participants. This broke down to 5:19 in the swim, 20:37 on the bike and 4:27 on the run.

30:23

I’m pleased with that. It would have been nice to get my bike under 20 minutes (and thus my time under 30 minutes), as I have ridden faster on the gym bikes at The Edge. However, I’m not sure how comparable they are to each other (or real riding) as I don’t know how accurate the speed and distance calculations are.

My swim was slightly ahead of my predicted time (5:36), but I wasn’t pushing that hard when I set my estimated time, and I knew I had an untimed transition coming up, so I went a little harder than I would have done in a normal triathlon.

Middleton Winter Duathlon

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018 | Sport

A few weeks ago I took part in the Middleton Winter Duathlon. It was a run-bike-run affair with 2.5km of running, 5km of biking and a final 2.5km of running.

The picture above is not Middleton woods. But I was too busy racing to take a photo so this stock one will have to do.

The event itself was reasonably well organised. There were plenty of marshalls. It wasn’t always quite clear where we were supposed to go, but on the whole, I got around. And I got a t-shirt, which isn’t bad for £5 registration.

The results haven’t appeared on the website. My phone clocked me in at 42:34. That’s quite slow, primarily because the bike course was entirely on a hill so my pace up the hill was much slower than it would be on the flat. It’s on Map My Run.

EDIT: They’ve seen emailed around a link to a Facebook page with the results displayed in a giant image. Strange, but it works. I came 13th out of a field of 35. My official time was 42:22.

7 reasons The Edge is better than Kirkstall pool

Monday, January 29th, 2018 | Sport

I’ve been training at Kirkstall leisure centure for a few months. However, since January it’s been rammed. 9-10 people per lane, which is just too many to get a proper workout.

So, I decided to give The Edge at Leeds University a go. I’ve only been twice but so far it has been a success. Here’s why.

It’s open all of the time

Kirkstall has specific sessions. For example, I used to go to the 12:00 to 13:30 session. Most of the time the pool is closed, or something else is happening, so you can’t go. You have to wait for the specific sessions.

At The Edge, the pool is open almost all of the time. There are a few sessions such as water polo or canoeing where they close the whole pool. However, for most events, they just close a few lanes and keep the rest of the pool open.

You can swim for ages

At the end of a session at Kirkstall, you get kicked out. At The Edge, you can swim until you get bored.

It’s bigger

They have eight lanes. They’re half the width of Kirstall’s three, but it feels a much better way to do it as it reduces the number of people per lane. They have multiple slow lanes, for example. And a double lane at the end if you would prefer that.

It’s deeper

Kirkstall goes from 0.8 metres to 1.6 metres. 80cm of water is not enough for an adult. It’s a family place so I understand why they do it. But I can stand up, on flat feet, at any point in the pool.

The Edges goes from 1.2 metres to 2.0 metres. Their floor can go up and down so sometimes they bring it to 0.9 metres in the shallow end. But even then the whole thing is deeper, and that is only if you go to the morning sessions. The rest of the time it is much better.

It’s cheaper

Off-peak, The Edge costs £4.50. That’s the price the public play, let alone if you’re a member of the university. At Kirkstall it is £4.90. There is no off-peak price because nobody in Kirstall has a job.

They have hair dryers

They might be rubbish, but The Edge does have hair dryers that do work eventually.

The lockers are bigger

They have these big square lockers that are much wider than most places. This makes it much easier to squeeze your bag into.

Festive Fifty

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018 | Sport

On New Year’s Eve, I took part in my first sportive. It was a 50km spin around Selby to raise money for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fun based at the LGI. Several hundred people turned out for it and the event raised £2,000.

As my first sportive, I didn’t really know what to expect. The race HQ was Squire’s Biker Cafe. It’s basically a pub with food options and seemingly unlimited parking. Both the pub and the organisers, Sportive HQ, did a great job in running everything. It was clear what was going on, there were no big cues and everything ran smoothly.

Plus, the photos they took were available for free. In contrast, you often pay £20-30 at events like Run For All (well, I don’t pay that, obviously, because I’m from Yorkshire).

I made great progress for the first 35km, averaging 24.6kmph. My theories that I was much faster on quiet roads than I was on the canal or the endless traffic lights of inner Leeds was all coming true.

However, for the final 15km, as we headed back to complete the loop, it became clear why I was making such great time: a big headwind, which had presumably been a tailwind on the way out. In the end, my pace clocked in at 22.1kmph, a full .4kmph below where I need to be for triathlon.

It makes you realise just how easy they have it when riding in the peloton in the Tour de France and makes what Thomas De Gendt does even more impossible.

I enjoyed the group riding. My friend Bogdan was riding it, too, and having caught me up at the feed station we rode back together.

I’m looking forward to doing more. Especially once it warms up so that I can take my hat off. I think I lost a few kilometres per hour by having the world’s tallest head.

GO TRI Braham

Monday, November 20th, 2017 | Sport

Hot off the heels of GO TRI Temple Newsam, I signed up for GO TRI Braham.

It was a different setup: less running and more cycling. The cycling was on the road and slightly less hilly. It was also more competitive: people turned up with racing bikes and separate shoes for running and cycling.

The competitiveness was most obvious on the road. I held my own on the run but I was overtaken by a lot of people in the cycle, even on the climb. The revised format made it a quicker course, though, and in the end, I finished 22nd, same as last week.

My time was 33:21

Despite being slow relative to the other athletes, I wasn’t too disappointed by my time. Despite being ill, I still averaged 24kmph. That is nothing to write home about if you are a cyclist. But, as I struggled to get my speed above 20kmph on the towpath, and kept telling myself I would be faster on clear roads, a little vindication did make me feel better.

The event was well organised and the results were online the same day.

GO TRI Temple Newsam

Sunday, November 19th, 2017 | Sport

Last week, I completed my first triathlon. Except it wasn’t a triathlon, nor was it anything like a real distance.

It was the “GO TRI Temple Newsam”, a novice event designed to get people into triathlon that is organised by the British Triathlon federation. It took the format of a duathlon with a 2km run, 5km bike and another 2km run.

Despite a slow start, leaving me dead last, I managed to pull up the pace and pass most of the field. In the end, I came home in 22nd position, out of a field of 58. Not a total disaster for my first event.

My time was 37:07.

Coming off the bike was hard. I did a duathlon training session on my birthday, and for the first kilometre, I had no running legs. That’s not a huge thing when you are running 10k, but quite a big thing when you are only running two.

It was also a good reminder that my descending on the bike sucks. I lost a few places coming down the hill because I was on my breaks and other people weren’t. Luckily, what goes down must come up, and I was a faster climber than everyone who overtook me.

Event-wise, I think it was good. It felt a tad disorganised at times, but that didn’t really matter: everyone knew what was going on and there were marshalls at all of the key points, so that is all you need.

My only criticism is that we were promised a secure transition area for our bikes. But, that turned out to be the middle of the field. Not a problem when you are riding a Halfords-own-brand bike, but if you brought your £1,000 bike (which is pretty common if you are into your cycling) you would probably be quite annoyed.

It was good fun and I would do it again. Especially when it warms up a little bit!

This is why we can’t have nice things in Leeds

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017 | Photos

I carry around two bike locks so that I can secure my frame and both of my wheels. But how are you supposed to defend your handlebars or your saddle?

Abbey Dash 2017

Monday, November 6th, 2017 | Sport

November means the Abbey Dash. Last year I set my personal best over 10k, 56:45, which bested my previous PB of the awesome time of 59:59 set at the Leeds 10k.

This year I had a support time, as Elina and Venla came down to the starting pen. Much welcomed given how cold it was as I could keep my hoodie on until the final 10 minutes before the race.

This year seemed bigger than ever. The announcer said 11,000, though whether that many actually showed up I’m not sure.

My target time was 54 minutes, nearly three minutes ahead of my personal best. It was carefully calculated from the Run Less, Run Faster conversation tables which told me that if I could run a 54-minute 10k, I could do a sub-2 hour half marathon.

However, training has been going really well recently, including taking my Parkrun PB down to 24:37, so I decided to set off fast and slow down when my chest felt like it was going to explode.

As it happens, I managed to avoid this and bring it home in:

49:46

Very chuffed. Well ahead of my target. I had done a sub-50 training run, but it’s always harder on race day because you can never take the perfect like, so you always end up running an additional 100-200 metres with all of the dodging around people and taking corners wide.

I came on to the finishing straight, and Strava told me I had hit 10k with 49:11, giving me 49 seconds to sprint to the actual finish.

Does this mean I can run a sub-2 hour half marathon? Hopefully! It’s not as straightforward as it might seem. The Abbey Dash is very flat while the Leeds Half is almost entirely set on hills. Second, the weather is often very warm in May. But that is certainly the target.

The conversation tables also suggest I can run a sub-4 hour marathon. But I doubt that would be true!

A big shout out to Jane for whom this was her first 10k race. And it was great to grab a beer with Rob, Dr Chris and Elina after the race.

Night photography course

Sunday, October 29th, 2017 | Photos

Earlier this month, I went on a night photography course around Leeds.

I didn’t really learn anything because I knew all the techniques, but having an experienced photography tutor there to remind you all the stuff you have forgotten and who has an eye for the perfect angle, is invaluable in getting great shots. And it was a lot of fun.