Salomon Challenge – An Introduction

I was enjoying a nice leisurely Saturday evening when JogBlog reminded me that today was the start of our double challenge combo.

Snazzy Free Stuff

Some months ago, Salomon contacted me (and several others) with the offer of oodles of snazzy free stuff in return for the completion of some crazy running feat. I am quite prepared to commit to almost anything 2 months prior to any requirement to expend actual energy, so I said yes, thought up some crazy feat, then sat back and forgot about it while enjoying the snazzy free stuff.

Unfortunately decisions made in haste have a tendency to turn around and bite you and today is the start of that lesson.

The Salomon Challenge

My challenge is to recreate the central London tube line (zone 1 and most of zone 2), running between stations to create my own GPS version of the underground map. Over on the right sidebar you can see a my challenge widget kindly provided by Salomon. It suggests that I will be doing this in a mere 11 days. This is a LIE. The challenge was for a crazy running feat not a suicidal one. My aim is to complete the task within 31 days. I’m also not a “he” but I’m prepared to let that one pass.

I’m not entirely sure what I have committed to, beyond the obvious – hours spent wandering around in circles trying to find the shortest route to the next tube station on the brown line, heck, maybe I’ll even get to learn the names of all those tube lines. It’s very difficult to work out the distances between stations. The London tube map is not to scale so I’ve been printing off geographical versions, tracing pieces of string around the track and totting it all up on my abacus.

An incredibly inaccurate estimate of the track length is 100km, but when you factor in the above ground restrictions, I can imagine my total distance coming closer to the 100 mile mark. This then explains the second challenge. JogBlog is aiming to run 100m in a month as part of her Salomon challenge so we’ve decided to coincide start dates for a little bit of competitive rivalry. Can either of us actually hit the 100m target? Can I do it first?

If I win I may even be tempted to throw a game of scrabble for her.

Anyway, back to today. By 8pm the pressure has built up sufficiently for me to consider a run. I grabbed the Garmin, Nike+, N82 with Sportstracker and iPod. Tooled up with hundreds of pounds worth of gadgets I get on a bus and head towards one of the seediest areas of West London. I was not in slightest bit surprised that when I puffed past a group of lads on the North End Road one of them said “Shall we mug her for her….” I didn’t hear the what for part, I wasn’t really hanging around at the point. Maybe they took a shine to my incredibly red Salomon XT Wings?

I wanted to start off slowly today so aimed to tick off one of the smallest sections of tube line on my map. That’s the district line (green line), Kensington Olympia branch and Hammersmith branch. I made a bit of a bodge though and included West Brompton into the mix which, although part of the district line, is actually on the Putney branch. So I messed up on the easiest section of the whole month, I may have to write tube names up my arm for the trickier sections. As it is, I’m running with the Nokia N82 in my hand watching the little dot moving around the google maps image.

View Larger Map

So todays tally:

Salomon XT Wings Challenge
6 Tube Stations complete
5.26 km total
Sports Tracker map with photos.

Warriorwoman vs Jogblog 100m Challenge Combo
3.3 miles total

…and in case you are all feeling sorry to be missing out on all these challenges, there is a third one starting on the 1st of June. Tis the annual Juneathon where you commit to run every single flipping day for a month. Head over to Joggerblogger’s joint to sign up and if you have a Nike+ thingummy you can join the challenge here as well.

Juneathon Invite?

Somehow I managed to miss my invite to the Juneathon challenge, neither XFR Bear, Jogblog or Jogger blogger saw fit to let me know of the great event before it was too late and I was too pissed to join in.

On the 1st, I managed an unexpected sprint home from the pub, as my weekend guest seemed to think her visitor status gave her the automatic right to use the bathroom first – wrong! Yesterday was a bit slack on the running front, I think I may have broken into a little jog down the steps of the Millenium bridge, and I thought about chasing the little sh**s tearing round the cinema at the end of Spiderman 3 – does that count?

Today however, Rach dragged me out of bed at 8.30 and started to hum the theme tune to Rocky – the running was back on. I found myself melting in the middle of Richmond Park with a support team of two, yelling me on to greater and greater distances. Shame Rach lives in Nottingham, I’d definately recruit her as a regular personal trainer.

Here are my two motivators enjoying the view at the midpoint of the run.

Support Team

Not much time allowed for photo snapping before the whip was cracked again and we went back into the park for a smartish run in search of sizzling sausages. Found these pretty foxgloves first though, and my heart was racing so much by this point that I was tempted to have a little nibble.