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Primal Kitchen Loveliness

I was sent 3 snack bars from The Primal Kitchen to try out last week. I’m afraid they were so lovely that I didn’t have chance to take artistic photos before I’d polished them off.

20140611 212942 77382223 Primal Kitchen Loveliness

The Almond and Cashew bar is particularly delicious and I’ve already bulk ordered some additional bars for the snack cupboard.

They’ve been designed to make paleo snacks more accessible and include minimal ingredients, all real food. My favourite bar contains only dates, almonds, cashews and almond oil.

I have found them the perfect snack for taking on endurance events like the London2Brighton. They’re also handy in the office drawer but can be a little to tempting for my own good.

Just as a quick aside. It’s Day 11 of Juneathon and I’m still on track. I reluctantly dragged myself on to the treadmill this morning for a High Intensity Training session before work and was mighty glad I made the effort. There are few things more rewarding than a completed run.


Garden Squats of the Heavy Variety

I’ve been reviewing Gubernatrix’s video on How to Squat Heavy. It seems I’ve been doing it wrong all along.

I tend to split the action into two distinct parts. The first where I load up my shoulders and descend to my haunches.

Then I pause…….for quite a long time.

I use the pause to ponder my options. Have I bitten off more than I can chew? Can I make it back up? What happens if I can’t?

Then the second part starts and I stand. So far successfully, but it’s only a matter of time.

Watching Sally’s video I see it is all one continuous motion and all completed (I think) on one breath. Breath in – down – up – breathe out.

I better get out there and try again.


Mad Dogs

20140608 231750 83870669 Mad DogsTerrible timing today.

I was on twitter this morning trying to get Lynn to wake up so we could hit the trail. It would have been more effective to have given her nudge.

As it was, we didn’t get to leave the house til midday and then spent at least an hour driving the 30 mins to Putney. Most of it was spent jumping from bumper to bumper in Wandsworth.

When we finally arrived at the river, the sun was baking. Every runner passing us looked thoroughly jaded, in a damp, beetroot impression of jaded, and I was a little nervous about starting to run.

We started, and my heart rate rapidly climbed to 168 desperate beats per minute and stayed like that til we reached Hammersmith. By Hammersmith my guts had knotted themselves so tightly that I had to crawl into Riverside Studios in an attempt to recover.

That recovery took 15 mins and I was still shaken when we set off again.

There was a hint of a breeze and the stretch of riverside pubs were upon us. Watching other people drinking ice cold lagers gave me some peculiar relief and I began to feel a bit better and was actually encouraged to extend our planned 8k to a 10k.

The extension was probably a mistake.

When we turned back it felt like the oven door had been opened and we had 5k left to retrace our steps.

It turned into a run/walk torment but we made it back to the car without passing out and my Garmin declared it to be the fastest 10k I’ve run since I got the watch for Xmas. That can only indicate quite how lazy this year has been – there was nothing fast about today. It was beautiful though.

20140608 200618 72378795 Mad Dogs


A Stretch Challenge for Day 4 and 6

I have overuse niggles from the waist downwards. Tender spot on my hip, tight hamstrings and a couple of shin splints for good measure.

I basically haven’t yet recovered from my very long walk almost 2 weeks ago.

It’s been quite fortuitous that while I’m in need of some rehab, James Dunne of Kinetic Revolution has just released a 30 day challenge to make me a better runner.

The challenge consists of 15 min exercise sessions mixing up stretches and balance routines. I’ve been working on my hip flexors and hamstrings so far and have loved the one-legged slo-mo sprinting.

There are a glut of 30 day challenges doing the rounds for June. Lynn has signed up the Ab Challenge which I think she might regret on Day 30. It looks like a recipe for an injury or two to me.

20140606 083405 30845239 A Stretch Challenge for Day 4 and 6

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Running with the Foxes

I went out for a solo run this evening. Just me, the dope dealers on the hill, and a load of foxes.

The dealers remained in their BMWs, exhaling aromatic compounds from the windows but the foxes criss-crossed my path the entire way round.

On my third loop, 3 small fox cubs tumbled out across the path and started playing on the verge. They eyed me warily, but despite me plodding along in my massive Hoka’s and breathing like an exhausted asthmatic, they stayed put while I passed.

It was too dark for photographs so instead of a cute image of frolicking fox cubs, you’ll have to make do with an image of my route from Strava. The image in the left was the route recorded by my top of the range Garmin 620 and the one on the right using the free Strava app on my iphone. I feel a little robbed.

20140605 230421 83061712 Running with the Foxes

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A First Strava Crown

I downloaded Strava to my phone this morning, half expecting it to nestle between the many other unused GPS run logs that do little more than clog up my iPhone memory, but while reading a few Juneathon blog posts before work I was intrigued to see that @BandTRuns was coincidentally mentioning Strava Segments.

It seems that Strava segments are snippets of routes that you can monitor yourself against. These segments can either be private or public and if they are public you get to see how you fair against other local runners.

It sounds like a rather intriguing concept and provided sufficient motivation for me to leave the treadmill behind and head out for a late night circuit of the local posh houses. Lynn joined me and we did 3 loops, actually managing to keep running to the top of the hill on each circuit as well. My heartrate was drifting with each additional loop and may well have maxed out if I’d tried for a  fourth.

20140604 003214 1934872 A First Strava Crown

I chose to use my Garmin 620 rather than the Strava iPhone app so I could monitor heart rate as well as pace and would worry about the connection issues between Strava and Garmin later. It did in fact prove to be more of a faff than I’d hoped. The Garmin Communicator doesn’t work with the latest Garmin 620 and unfortunately Strava doesn’t work with the wifi upload or Garmin Connect mobile device.

DC Rainmaker came to the rescue with his instructional post on automating the upload and syncing of training devices and fitness sites and I am currently 65% of the way through a major synchronisation using tapirik to link Strava, Garmin Connect, Sporttracks and Dropbox.

I uploaded today’s run manually so I could check out the segments and was a bit miffed to see that there were none in my circuit. I have created a tiny segment now though and am currently the fastest and only runner to have completed it. I believe I now have a crown.

Long may it last.


Reluctant Running in Happy Valley

I had planned an early night followed by an early morning session on the treadmill but then Happy Valley intervened.

We started with a quick episode before bed but one thing led to another and episode 4 happened.

If you’ve seen episode 4 you’ll understand the havoc it plays with any desire to sleep or at least any desire to lie down in a darkened room. Adrenaline was buzzing so we slipped into episode 5 hoping for some relief.

At 1:30 am we ran out of episodes and finally went to bed.

That brings me to my 7am alarm and an extremely low desire to get up and run.

Being made of especially stern Juneathon stuff, I did of course get up and drag my reluctant body down to the treadmill for a short and unimpressive plod.

I went from running in Putney yesterday to running through the Forests of Maine today.

20140602 090300 32580347 Reluctant Running in Happy Valley


A Juneathon Recovery Run

I’ve had my feet up for most of the past week, recovering slowly from the after effects of the London2Brighton walk.

Today was the 1st of June and that means an end to bone-idleness, masquerading as recovery, and the start to Juneathon – a month of running and ever more tedious daily blog posts. Apologies in advance to any subscribers.

We got up early and headed to Putney, to run 6k around the Thames.

We set off at a remarkably spritely pace until my shin splints appeared and the pain in hamstrings re-asserted itself. I considered stopping and heading back but I slowed down and by the time we’d reached Hammersmith I was beginning to feel rather comfortable.

So that’s my first Juneathon of the year completed and I’m looking forward to a few more runs ahead of me.

20140602 004831 2911454 A Juneathon Recovery Run


London2Brighton Challenge 2014: The Second Coming

20140526 171035 61835429 London2Brighton Challenge 2014: The Second Coming

I’ve done quite few of my long training walks in my hiking boots but none of them were considered successful. I decided quite a long time ago that the London2Brighton 100k Challenge would be completed in my super cushioned Hokas’ with my Inov8s’ held back for the second half when my feet would likely have swelled.

I woke up on Saturday to an apparently relentless deluge and there followed a huge shoe dilemma. I bundled an assortment of shoe options into the boot of the car and developed a strategy that would hopefully give my feet a fighting chance.

20140526 171036 61836977 London2Brighton Challenge 2014: The Second Coming

As Accuweather suggested a potential bright spot around lunchtime, I started in the trail shoes, hoping that Lynn would meet me at the 25k mark for a switch to the Hokas.

The rain came and went, just long enough for me to take off my waterproof jacket and then started again. It was a bizarre weather day and walkers would emerge from woods into bright sunshine and visibly steam as the rain evaporated from their hot bodies.

20140526 171840 62320712 London2Brighton Challenge 2014: The Second Coming


The rain and the 3000 runners & walkers played havoc with the trail. The off-road sections looked like segments of last months Wolf Run, as if the organisers had piped in extra mud to add to the challenge and my planned shoe change became a reluctant boot change.

I started the London2Brighton challenge an hour later than last year. It was my intention to spend an hour or so walking in the dark before reaching the main rest point at 57k. That way I would remove a potential hurdle to continuing – fear of the dark. Despite actively planning this stint in the darkness I made a huge packing faux pas. I put my main torch in the car to retrieve at the midpoint and popped the Petzl head torch in my rucksack. I knew the batteries would be low so put triple A’s on Lynn’s shopping list, again for the midpoint.

When I tripped over the first root in a dark, foreboding, wood and reached for my emergency Petzl, I was less than impressed to discover the most insignificant glow from the lamp. Completely useless and I was at least 4 hours away from batteries.

I had a glow stick but it wasn’t working and I ended up edging my way forward, gripping onto my poles for dear life and seeking out the breadcrumb trail of glow sticks that marked the route.

I wasn’t completely alone, other walkers came and went but I couldn’t hope to keep up with them. It was a pretty lonely place to be.

A generous chap took took pity on me stumbling over a stile in the dark and lit my way until we reached a road section where there were more walkers.

There was only another 10k before the major rest stop at Tully’s Farm but I was pretty despairing of my ability to get there. I was limping and silent sobbing. It was pretty darn pitiful but I felt like I was torturing myself.

With about 7k to go Lynn managed to find me on a quiet road and thrust batteries in to my hand before driving off again.

20140526 171037 61837646 London2Brighton Challenge 2014: The Second Coming

My world looked ever so slightly brighter with a functioning Petzl on my head but it didn’t stop the weeping. I seemed to be stopping at every available tree stump in order loosen my boots and attempt to rub some life back into my swollen Achilles. It is hard to fathom quite how slow those last kilometres were. I sent Lynn a text saying that was it, I was bailing at the next stop. I didn’t actually think I could make the last 2k and when I finally crossed the line I fell into Lynn’s arms and started crying again.

I don’t feel as though I let myself down on the event. I gave it my all on that trail, leaving myself physically and emotionally broken. I can now say that I am finished with this challenge, London2Brighton has beaten me and unless I can commit to working on my body and my diet I will not consider this again.

I’m an extremist. If my exercise doesn’t have that extra edge I just can’t be bothered with it. For the next year I’d like to work on creating a body that has strength and resilience and that earns it’s place in such a challenge.

This is a great event and I have huge respect for everyone that started, and even more for those that managed to push themselves beyond Tully’s Farm and on towards Brighton.


Canvas Prints of Event Photos

If you follow me on twitter or facebook you would have been seriously tempted to unfriend me last week. Having just completed in the “best obstacle race ever”, I proceeded to jabber on about it. Incessantly.

20140513 130555 Canvas Prints of Event PhotosI’ve been wearing the finishers bracelet at work and the big Wolf Run hoody at all available social events and it’s safe to say that the family, my work colleagues and quite possibly the world, are bored by my tales of mud and glory.

This weekend I think the hoody will need to pay a trip to the wash basket but fortunately I will continue to be reminded of the day’s enjoyment due to the arrival of this wondrous canvas.

Canvas Design contacted me last week to see if I would like to try out their service.

The folk at Canvas Design are keen sports folk and regularly partake in triathlons themselves. They’ve started to create framed canvas montages for triathlon and running events and I was very happy to receive my canvas from the Wolf Run.

20140517 154558 Canvas Prints of Event Photos

The process is extremely simple. Just requiring you to upload a photo or photos of choice and then select the canvas size you want. They can do custom sizes and the construction and delivery is extremely speedy.

The finished article is really impressive. The canvas print is stretched over a sturdy pine frame and all the required fixings are included in the pack.

I love the 3D effect you get from the canvas prints wrapping around the frame. As you walk into the room you get the effect of the picture coming out from the wall and in this case it means seeing Lynn bursting through the finish line of her first event.

It strikes me as the perfect way to capture the pride and glory of finishing an event.

If you’ve got any photos from your latest sporting event and would like to convert them to a canvas print, you can use the voucher code BLOG15 to get 15% discount on your order at canvasdesign.co.uk.

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