Posts Tagged ‘running’

Grand Canyon virtual ultra

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020 | Sport

Just as my medal arrived for Hadrian’s Wall, yesterday I crossed the finish line on the Grand Canyon challenge. This one was somewhat longer: 450 km but with all the running I am doing for GVRAT, I managed to get through it in 28 days. Pretty happy with that.

GVRAT t-shirt

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020 | Sport

Important Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee update: my t-shirt has finally arrived!

I’m just over two-thirds of the way across now. I keep checking Street View and it is mostly farmland and some woodlands. I am about to arrive in Knoxville so that may liven things up a little.

Hadrian’s Wall medal

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020 | Sport

I finished the Hadrian’s Wall virtual ultra three weeks ago. Yesterday, my medal arrived. I’m impressed by the quality. It looks great, has a chunky feel with the cut-out edges at the bottom and a lovely soft strap.

Endure24 NHS

Monday, June 15th, 2020 | Sport

With COVID-19 cancelling this year’s Endure24, the organiser’s created a virtual version to raise funds for the NHS Charities. I only found out about the race a few days before but it sounded fun so I thought I would give it ago.

The race takes place from noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday with the object being to run as far as you can. I set my car up as a basecamp with spare clothing, food and drink. I spent Friday night testing out potential routes and decided on one up the call and down Kirkstall Road, giving me a 5 km loop where I could return to the car each time for nutrition.

I started by running the first four laps before taking my first break. After that, I ran another two laps, then switched from my Nikes to my Hokas for a bit of added cushioning while I walked the next two laps. By this point, it was 6 pm, so I started cooking tea (there’s no escape from parenting) while I ran another swift 5 km before taking a proper break to eat.

I managed another three loops but by this point, my hip was starting to hurt. At 10 pm, I decided to walk a final two laps as the sun went down.

At midnight, I headed home to grab some food and get some sleep before getting up at 6 am. Between being wired and in pain, I didn’t get much sleep, but that’s pretty standard after a long day. I managed to get a bit of breakfast in me and back running again just after 6:30 with a best-case scenario of running another six laps. I ran the first two, but my hip was increasingly unhappy and by the third loop my run, turned to walk, was a slow limp so I decided it was time to throw in the towel.

In total, I managed 86.44 km. Not bad for my first 24-hour race. Fair play to everyone who managed 100 miles, which is almost twice what I managed. As the time of writing, the JustGiving page has raised £17,602 for NHS Charities Together.

EveryMayDay 10k challenge

Sunday, May 31st, 2020 | Sport

Every day this month, a team of runners (including myself) have been running 10km each day to raise money for the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. We are aiming to reach £10,000 and, at time of writing, are already over £9,000.

Click here to support us on JustGiving.

It’s been a tough month. I don’t run anywhere near 70km a week, so it was a big uplift. Typically, they say do not increase your mileage by more than 10%. But if anyone actually did that, how would ultramarathons get done? I did take it easy at the start: most limiting myself to 10km and some days were super slow. Every run involved some running, but some “recovery dates” were mostly walking.

Towards the end, I picked up the distance a bit as I wanted to reach 400 km total for the month (I am also clocking up mileage for the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee). So, the final week was made up of a lot of 15 km runs and reaching 401 km by today meant I have averaged just under 13 km per day. Not bad, although nothing compared to the superhumans I was running with, several of whom knocked out marathons today.

My body has mostly held up. I’ve been done strength and stretching exercises every day. My left ankle is not happy but it does not feel serious. I can still run on it once I warm up. Calf muscles are fine. Mostly, I am just tired. I think I have been eating enough and I have gone through several cases of energy drinks, but I still find I am lacking energy. I haven’t lost any weight, either.

Well done to everyone who completed the challenge and thanks for your support. It has been a pleasure running with you all.

Hadrian’s Wall virtual ultramarathon

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020 | Sport

On Monday, I finished the Hadrian’s Wall virtual ultramarathon. 144.8 km in 11 days. But, before I brag too much, there are a couple of caveats.

It was a virtual event, so it’s not like running a real ultra: you get to sleep in your own bed each night and have plenty of recovery time between runs.

Second, I’m already running the Great Virtual Race Across Tennesse. Both events explicitly say you can run in two virtual races at the same time, so I decided to join this one in case I fail to finish GVRAT, which has a strict cut-off and much longer distance.

Full disclosure over, I’m looking forward to my medal turning up.

Meanwood Valley Trail

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020 | Sport

It’s day six of #EveryMayDay 10k for the COVID-19 relief fund. Today, I headed up to Woodhouse Ridge. I lived in Woodhouse for two years but I never knew it was there. In my defence, I wasn’t running much at the time. Since then, I’ve only made one trip as it’s not right outside my house (and the canal is). Having to get plenty of running in, I decided it was time for a proper explore.

The ridge itself is nice, with plenty of trees that you can immerse yourself in. As you follow the Meanwood Valley Trail up follow some dirt paths, ginnels and streets until you arrive at Meanwood Valley Park. I got as far as the top before turning around.

May races

Friday, May 1st, 2020 | Sport

Tomorrow would have been Tour de Yorkshire. Instead, we’ve got an email confirming at World Triathlon Leeds has been upgraded from postponed to cancel. But not all is lost.

Everymayday 10k

As a fundraiser for the WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Relief Fund, we’re running 10km every day throughout May. That adds up to 310km in total, which is 7.3 marathons. I don’t feel super-prepared as it’s a higher weekly mileage than I usually do. But might be doable with plenty of easy runs and some run-walks, or just plain walks.

Find out more on the JustGiving page.

The Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee

From the mind of Gary Cantrell, creator of the Barkley Marathons, comes this virtual race. 1,021 kilometres from one corner of Tennessee to the other. Still, you have four months to complete it, which means you need to average 8.3km per day.

My original target was to do half of the distance. I think 500km is still a good crack at it. But, if I get through the #everymayday challenge, who knows. The important thing is that you get the t-shirt just for starting.

You still have time to sign up if you fancy the challenge.

Garmin activities not uploading

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020 | Tech

If you watch is syncing with Garmin Connect or Garmin Express, but not appearing in Garmin Connect, it could be that the activity has corrupted.

You can fix this by plugging your Garmin watch into your computer, browsing to Device/Garmin/ACTIVITY and finally finding the .FIT file. Try uploading this to Garmin Connect manually. If it says unsupported file type, you know you have a corrupt file.

Take it to Fit File Tools and run it through their fit file fixer. Download the result and try re-uploading it to Garmin Connect. Hopefully, it should be accepted this time.

Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020 | Books

Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance is a book by Alex Hutchinson.

It’s an interesting book for understanding the limits of human performance from both a physical and psychological point of view. Not that all questions are resolved. But there is plenty of discussion.

Below, I have picked out a few points.

Typically, you don’t run yourself to exhaustion. Your brain stops you before you reach that point. And that starts from the minute you start exercising. For example, cyclists set off slower from the start on a hot day.

But when you get in sight of the finish, you know the danger is over and you can sprint. Hence we can be hurting so much until the final straight, at which point we find that last bit of energy to push across the line.

How does this work? Is there some kind of internal regulation in the brain that we are not consciously aware of? Or is there another explanation? For example, could we be tapping into anaerobic energy?

It seems likely that the brain does have some control. For example, everyone finishes a marathon in just under 3, 4, 5 hours. Only the brain can respond to these abstract concepts. So why do so many more people finish a marathon in 3:59 than 3:47?

Similarly, how is it that the limit that climbing a mountain without oxygen turns out to be almost exactly the high of Everest? If Everest was a little smaller, or a little larger, would it turn out that the limits of climbing without oxygen were different also? It seems likely given that it was thought to be impossible until Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler did it. Then they changed the sums to show it was just possible.

Finally, a note on hydration. We often hear the idea that if you wait until you are thirsty, it is too late. But voluntary dehydration seems to be fine in the short term. Top marathon runners sweat more than 3.5 litres per hour. They replace nowhere near this much. If our performance drastically drops when we lose 2% of our body weight, how did Gebrselassie become an Olympic champion when losing 10% of his body weight? That is not to say drinking to thirst is the perfect strategy for running a marathon: but it does seem to be fine for everyday life.