Posts Tagged ‘running’

(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.

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.

How long do the Nike Vaporfly Next% shoes last?

Saturday, September 26th, 2020 | Sport

How durable are the Nike Vaporfly Next% running shoes? Some people have suggested they are only good for 100-200 kilometres, so I tested mine to destruction to find out.

After nine months and 915 kilometres of running (just under 570 miles), the upper tore away from the sole in the arch. I was two kilometres away from the finish line at Windermere Triathlon at the time but managed to finish the race.

How long will they last? Based on these figures, if you are doing two 10k runs per week, you will get 11 months out of them. If you are doing 30-40km per week (20-30 miles), you will get six months.

I’ve never had a shoe fail on me like this before, so it’s probably fair to say that the durability is not as high as other shoes. But I still got nearly 1,000 kilometres out of them with no noticeable drop off in performance so they are far from a race-day-only shoe that you need to replace after each marathon, either.

Farewell, Nike Zoom Span

Wednesday, August 19th, 2020 | Photos

Non-runners can never understand how hard it is to get rid of your favourite pair of old running shoes. We’ve been through so much together.

Mindful Running

Monday, August 17th, 2020 | Books

Mindful Running: How Meditative Running can Improve Performance and Make you a Happier, More Fulfilled Person is a book by Mackenzie L. Havey.

It’s a nice read. Nothing suer-new or much I did not know, but if you don’t practice mindfulness already or use it in your running, this would be a recommended read.

It was also a good reminder of what Havey calls our “True North Goal”. The thing that keeps us going regardless of what races are coming up. For many of us, it will be to stay on top of our physical and mental health, to challenge ourselves, to show ourselves we are stronger than we thought. A timely reminder given almost all of the races in 2020 are cancelled.

Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve

Monday, August 10th, 2020 | Life

The official map of Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve has about two paths on it and there are way more. So, I did my best to run most of them.

You can see a proper map on Strava.

GVRAT buckle

Friday, August 7th, 2020 | Sport

One of less good bits about virtual races is that it tackles a while for your medal to turn up. Or, in the case of the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee, your buckle.

Buckles are a common alternative to medals in ultramarathons it would seem. It’s nice. I don’t have any belts where I can change the buckle (I don’t have many belts, to be honest), but it’s no less useless than a medal and probably higher in sentimental value.