Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

(not the) Sir Titus Trot

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021 | Sport

In autumn last year, I noticed my motivation was flagging. I decided to set myself a challenge and didn’t think that anything shorter than a marathon would really do it, so I signed up for the Sir Titus Trot. I was supposed to run the race (half-marathon distance) but picked up an injury before the race. This year was not to be either as the government pulled the race licence 48 hours before.

By that point, I was ready to race, though, so I decided to turn it into a self-supported marathon.

It was bright and sunny when I set off but still cold. The grass was frozen which made for a nice surface. I turned around just after Apperley Bridge and headed back to the car park to pick up more supplies. On the way back, the ground was a little muddier as the sun melted it. And then the snow arrived. It settled on most of the canal making it a bit slippy under foot.

As I got back to Leeds it cleared up and I set off toward Skelton Grange bridge for the final out and back. By this point at the Yorkshire marathon I was dying, but I felt good this time. The final quarter hurt about the same as the third quarter, which is not insignificant, but manageable compared to how the fourth quarter felt! I realised I could set a PB if I put in a fast final few kilometres and finished in:

3:55:33

That is 1:44 seconds faster than my previous PB. And that was in the snow without trying (for example, I stopped to take a selfie). That said, I was wearing my Nike Vaporfly Next%, so what are records now that I should be running 4% faster because of the shoes?

In any case, a great way to begin 2021.

Alps to Ocean virtual ultra

Wednesday, December 30th, 2020 | Sport

Yesterday I finished the Alps to Ocean virtual ultra running challenge. It’s set in New Zealand and, not surprisingly, takes you from the mountains down to the coast. Not all of it is on Google Street View so the views are not as good as they otherwise might be. There are a couple of postcards along the way. Total distance 289.7 km which I completed in a leisurely 87 days.

This is the fourth Conqueror “ultra” I’ve done, plus GVRAT and three “real-world” ultras. I had only done two until 2020 started but it’s been that kind of year.

Running For Beginners group

Sunday, December 27th, 2020 | Sport

Over on Facebook, I founded a Running For Beginners group to help new runners gain confidence and ask questions. At the start of the year, we had just 100 members.

What a difference 2020 has made. The group has exploded in popularity and now boasts over 3,000 runners supporting each other, asking and answering questions and sharing their stories.

If you are into running and want to share your wisdom with new runners, or maybe ask a question or two yourself, feel free to join us in the group.

1,000 miles of running

Saturday, December 26th, 2020 | Sport

A few weeks ago, I was chatting to my friend Lucy who mentioned she was closing in on running 1,000 miles in 2020. Just out of interest I checked my stats and I found I was around 90 kilometres short of the 1,609 kilometres that represents the 1,000-mile mark!

Thanks to an early morning run on Chrismas Day, I crossed the virtual finish line. 50% of the work was done during May and June while I was completing in the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee, but it was nice to finish the year strong too.

Alba jersey

Sunday, December 20th, 2020 | Sport

Last year, I joined local cycling club Alba Rosa. I didn’t ride with them during the winter as I can’t put mudguards on my aero bike and I don’t have a winter bike. And I mainly joined for the TT races. But by the time summer arrived, we were belly deep in COVID and everything we cancelled.

So, I haven’t actually done anything with the club. But I did want a Pactimo jersey, so when the club shop opened, I decided I should at least enjoy the membership benefit of being able to buy club gear.

It’s winter so I haven’t had a chance to try it yet (it’s Gabba temperatures at the moment). But when summer comes, it will be rice to swap out my poorly-designed HPH jersey with my this one.

Garmin HRM-Dual battery replacement

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020 | Sport, Video

The Garmin HRM-Dual is a heart rate monitor that I do not like. It has no internal memory and I keep seeing drop-outs on Zwift.

Worst still, though, when it comes to replacing the battery you have to unscrew the back. And Garmin’s official website recommends a Philips #0 head screwdriver: but it’s actually a #00. I figured this out too late and now my heart rate monitor is ruined (and on it’s way back to Garmin).

If you can live without Bluetooth in your heart rate monitor then get the Garmin HRM-Tri. Otherwise, get the Polar H10.

Yoga for triathletes

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020 | Sport, Video

I’ve been running some yoga classes for the triathlon club. Below, you can find a 46-minute flow class designed to open up your hips: it is great for running, cycling, sport in general or just building some strength and flexibility. There are more classes on the way so drop me a message if you want to join them live.

Run coaching

Thursday, October 29th, 2020 | Sport

I have been coaching triathlon for a while now, but recently I started coaching with the run club, too. The key thing is to remember to take the group photo. Keeping runners alive and injury-free is great, too, once you’ve got the photo.

LEJOG

Friday, October 16th, 2020 | Family & Parenting, Sport

With COVID forcing everything to go virtual, for this year’s father’s day, we got my dad the Land’s End to John o’ Groats running challenge. It is a 1,744.2 kilometre ultramarathon that winds its way up the UK via a needlessly indirect route and we undertook it as a family.

We set a 140-day (20-week) target. Early days went well because I was polishing off the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee and even when I stopped running as much everyone else was crushing it. This included a week where my parents walked about 100 miles around Flamborough that pushed us even further ahead.

In the end, we finished in 103 days, 5 weeks ahead of schedule. The biggest contribution came from my dad who filed 542.8 km of the distance himself. We finished it off with a socially-distanced walk using a WhatsApp video call.

Daffodils sportive

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020 | Sport

Sportives are back! Last week, Bogdan and I completed the Daffodils sportive that starts from Thirsk. It had everyone you would want from Yorkshire: beautiful views, rolling hills, and wide, quiet roads.

It was raining when I woke up and raining the whole way through the sportive. I don’t have any clear glasses so I look a bit miserable in the photos but it is mostly because I was trying to keep the rain out of my eyes: once we were cycling I was enjoying it.

My maximum speed was 57.8 kph coming down one of the hills. Later that day, Filippo Ganna won the prologue (the opening stage time trial) of the Giro d’Italia with an average speed of 58.8 kph.

I hate cold, wet feet so I went full winter gear: winter socks, Mavic winter boots and my Spatz extra-thick overshoes. I did get a little bit of water or sweat in there but they felt warm and dry for the whole event.

Everything took place outside. You had to book your start time down to the minute. This worked better than the long queues at other events although there may have been fewer participants. They had loads of portapotties at the HQ (and I mostly rate events based on their toilet availability) so that was great, and we got a sausage in a bun at the end.