Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category


Tuesday, November 16th, 2021 | Sport

Fresh from watching Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold over lockdown, and bombarded with people telling me how climbing is the new thing, Elina and I went bouldering last weekend.

It’s pretty high. I know it’s only around four metres high, but that feels quite high when you are held up there by a pebble that is nailed to the wall. I did make it up to the top of one of the easy level routes though, so not a complete disaster of a first session.

Sub-20 parkrun

Sunday, November 7th, 2021 | Sport

A sub-20 5k has always seemed like one of those mystical things for club runners to me. Almost up there with a 3-hour marathon. It’s super fast and something I never thought I would get anywhere near.

Then Nike produced their super-shoes and in the first month of lockdown I took a minute off my PB to bring it down to 21:06 and it didn’t seem so far away anymore. But 66 seconds is still a lot of time to shed.

I made an attempt at it in April of this year but had to fail out 2 kilometres in when I realised I hadn’t set my watch up correctly (I turned on ultratrak which, despite the name, actually turns off GPS intermittently). Unfortunately, I had a small window before the 7in7 challenge and Evolve Trio and that was that.

Now it is November, the triathlon season is over, and I decided it was worth a crack before I dropped my training down over winter. It wasn’t the best start: my digestive system woke up unhappy which meant I marched up to the start not feeling great. But I thought I would give it a go anyway because perfect days don’t come along by accident very often; they’re made.

As such, I tried to go through all of the preparations for assuming it would be a good day. Carb-heavy breakfast of Frosties 90 minutes before, a caffeine energy gel 30 minutes before, I took my coat to keep my warm before the run, did a 15-minute warm-up and some activation exercises to get my body ready.

I got myself right on the start line to get a good position and ended up going out too hard. This was sort of the plan though as I didn’t want to get held up by other runners. And despite all this talk of negative splits, many PBs are run by someone running beyond themself in the first half and then somehow managing to hang on.

I clocked through the first kilometre in 3:48, so with some sliding room, but with it also being downhill and going out too hard. The second one was 4:08 but this wasn’t disheartening because I realised I had forgotten to turn GLONASS on for more accurate tracking and thus the course was likely to read short.

By the 2k mark, I was hurting and suspected my pace was unsustainable. I wanted to give up and walk so many times. There was wind. And the slight uphills feel like a lot when you’re already on your limit. I managed to go through kilometre three in 4:02 but the pain just got worse and my fourth kilometre was 4:17.

By this point, I didn’t really know where I was at. I knew I was behind the 4:00 per kilometre mark, but given my GPS was off, I felt like I was still in with a chance if I just kept the legs turning over.

As I got to the bottom of the final hill I checked my watch and saw I had 90 seconds left. It’s all a gradual hill but the first 2/3 is very gradual and the final 1/3 is a little steeper. I allocated 30 seconds to each section and knew that if I got to the bottom of the pivot point with 30 seconds to go, I could sprint to the finish.

I made it through ahead of that and opened up everything I had left. I closed the line in:


I had done it, I was a sub-20-minute runner!

My final kilometre was paced at 4:04 so about in line with the rest given the slight changes in elevation. My watch registered 4.83 kilometres meaning that the 4:04 pace it said I was running was actually more like 3:56.

My calves were screaming after I stopped. Even walking down the finish funnel was a strange limp of not bending my legs and they didn’t stop hurting for the rest of the day.

It turns out I wasn’t overestimating the pain I was in. My average heart rate for the run was 198 and it reached a maximum of 209. I’ve held an average of 190 before at the Abbey Dash, but it usually maxes out at 205 and I’m several years older now. As a little bonus, I was also 1st place in the VM35-39 category.

Thank yous: thank you to all of the marshalls that make parkrun possible. I try to thank them as I run past but today was just a head-down day with an occasional wave of thanks. I hope that’s understandable!

Birthday wishes: happy birthday to Poppy! I shamelessly went for a PB rather than joining the birthday run train and she still gave me a birthday biscuit. Also thank you to Anne for handing out the chocolate mini bites.

Hubble Bubble half marathon

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021 | Sport

Hubble Bubble is a Grim Up North Running event that I first did at the ultramarathon distance in 2018. Since I got faster over lockdown and I’ve been wondering whether I could place at a smaller event. There were spreadsheets making predictions but the half marathon distance didn’t look impossible, but not was it likely.

It was raining heavily during registration and the race start which led to big puddles along the towpath.

I had the flu a few weeks ago and I can still feel it in my chest in a little so I don’t think I’m on top form yet. But I decided to give it a go and see how it went. As we set off a pack of four runners formed in front of me but I decided to follow the plan and give it 10-15 minutes before deciding whether I should continue to push.

As it happened, a few hundred metres in one of the runners ahead got fed up with the mud and puddles and turned around. I caught the third-place runner around two kilometres in. The front two disappeared off into the distance but in the remaining three kilometres I managed to put 30 seconds into fourth place.

My watch was no help. The GPS was way off and recorded a total distance of 18.5 km. I knew the canal so well that I knew it was way off but that meant I didn’t know how fast I was running. Garmin suggested I was running around 5:15 per kilometre but in reality, I was averaging 4:32. I just ran to feel (as usual).

I crossed the line in:


Four minutes behind the two front runners and just over five minutes in front of the fourth-place finisher. My first official placing! There were only 24 of us in the race but a podium is a podium. It also beats my previous half marathon PB, set at Outlaw X, by 12:13. I modelled a good run as 1:40:00 so very pleased with the time.

parkrun 250 t-shirt

Saturday, October 30th, 2021 | Sport

Chuffed. I took me 21 months for my parkrun 100 t-shirt to turn up so I was super excited when this arrived just nine days after I did my 250th parkrun. The new set fee regardless of where you are in the world seems to be working well.

Abbey Dash 2021

Friday, October 29th, 2021 | Sport

I was hoping to set a new 10k PB at the Abbey Dash this year but then I picked up the flu the week before and spent the week in bed. When I got up on Sunday morning, I was still feeling exhausted and decided not to go. But then I looked at all of my previous blog posts from the Abbey Dash and decided not to break my streak.

So, I put plenty of warm clothes on and toddled around in:


23 minutes behind where I would have liked to have been but technically a finisher.

Well done to everyone else who ran, including Toby who achieved his first sub-35 and Will hook achieved his first sub-40. And thank you to everyone from HPH and beyond that was out cheering.

Leadership in Running Fitness

Thursday, October 28th, 2021 | Sport

I’ve been looking to bolster my coaching with some additional training from British Athletics. To do this, you have to go through their entry-level qualifications to access them, regardless of your coaching background in other sports. While this would usually be a routine thing in normal times, it is a little more complicated during COVID times.

British Athletics’s strategy for dealing with COVID was to stop running in-person training and require people to film an activity and submit the video. I did not find this clear when I signed up (perhaps I didn’t read closely enough) but it shifted the responsibility onto us, even though we were in a lockdown at the time. Thus there was a three-month delay between doing the theory webinars and delivering some coaching.

After that, we also had to complete a safeguarding course, the same week as I was doing my British Triathlon safeguarding course, and complete a DBS check, all of which has now been done.

Therefore, I think I’m now a LiRF? It’s a bit messy working with British Athletics because they have Athletics Portal, and Athletics Hub, and DREAMS, and they don’t necessarily say the same thing.

Thank you Curtis for supervising and filming our practical, and Danni and Jonathan for teaming up for the group practical.

Appalachian Trail virtual challenge

Thursday, October 21st, 2021 | Sport

For the past six months, I’ve been cycling along the Appalachian Trail virtually. After 90 rides and 3,168 kilometres covered, I’ve finished! This was the longest Conqueror challenge until they added Pacific Crest and the last one I have on the go. Time to give my legs a break, I think!

250th parkrun

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021 | Sport

I’ve joined the 250 club! Thank you to all of the marshalls, my parents for coming over and running it with me, and everyone who hung around at Coffee on the Crescent for a chat after the run.

Goole Triathlon 2021

Tuesday, October 5th, 2021 | Sport

My 18th and final triathlon of the year was a family affair with my dad and my sister racing, as well as friends Tim and Sophie. Plus with Elina, Venla and my mum forming the cheering squad it was very social day.

If you are thinking that a triathlon in October sounds like a chilly affair, you would be correct. I had my leggings, Merino base layer, hoodie and coat on and I was still freezing. Still, there was some silver lining: it was dry which was a big improvement on the heavy rain when we went to cheer my dad on in 2019.

Registration was 6-7 am which meant getting up at 5 and driving over in the dark. I had to wait until the sun came up to get the stickers on my bike as I couldn’t see the edges of the sticker sheet. This meant standing around for three hours waiting for my 9:10 start time. Thankfully, the butty van eventually turned up at around 8 am.

The swim

400-metre pool swim. I was in lane one which allowed us a little more space for overtaking. I had to sprint past two athletes on my second length and then got tagged by an athlete halfway through who I then ended up sitting on the feet of for the rest of the swim. Not sure if it was poor pacing on his part of the benefit of drafting but either way I was on the poolside in 8:36 by my watch.

After clocking up an eye-watering 18:51 T1 at Dalesman, this was a faff-free affair and I was out of there in 54 seconds.

The bike

The bike course was pan flat. There was some wind. I didn’t mind the headwind so much, it was the crosswind that made me a little nervous on the aero bars as I had to lean the bike a little in the wind. My speed was not quite what I wanted, I think because I had to stop at multiple junctions to wait for cars, as well as having to stop for cars overtaking parked cars and slower cyclists.

When I left T1, I left my gloves and arm warmers as I felt warm enough. I felt fine throughout the bike but when I arrived in T2, getting my socks and shoes on proved difficult due to numb hands.

The run

Once I was onto the run, I felt great. It was a straightforward out and back route and I went through the first two kilometres in 4:02. I thought about trying to push on for a 5k PB but correctly guessed that the course might come up short. A lost a couple of seconds in the third kilometre working out which way to go but then held the pace for the rest of the run.

The result

I finished in:


Here are my splits:

Disipline Time
Swim 9:04
T1 0:54
Bike 34:14
T2 1:20
Run 18:53

The bike course measured around 18 k so I averaged 31.5 kph. The run came in at 4.68 km which translates to a 4:02 pace. The race winner was about 10 minutes ahead of me, taking 2 minutes in the swim, 6 minutes on the bike and 2 minutes in the run. Very happy with that.

For a brief period, I was 2nd on the leaderboard.

It’s done in swim-speed order so the faster athletes tend to go later. But even after everyone had finished, I was still 28 out of 148. That means nothing in my age group though as 6 of the top 7, including the race winner, were also in the male 35-39 group 😂.

Everyone else smashed it, too. My dad may well have run a 5k PB if it was full distance and Katie was running great, too. I went past her on the way out but she was still right behind me when I reached the turnaround: not bad for her first-ever sprint triathlon!

Swimming Mount Fuji

Thursday, September 30th, 2021 | Sport

After finishing the English Channel swim and I wanted another challenge. But there wasn’t anything else in the sea so I’ve been swimming up a mountain for the past four months.