Rapanui Eco Clothing

I have to buy my own t-shirts now that my race entries have slumped to next to zero per year.

I first became aware of the existence of bamboo clothing when The Royal Parks Half issued their first race t-shirt. What a fantastic fabric – it’s incredibly soft and has amazing anti-pong qualities.

I ordered this lovely green number – the bamboo Eko from Rapanui clothing after the marketing guy there alerted me to enviromental merits of the company. It is a beautifully soft t-shirt and embroidered with a leaf motif.

It has rapidly become my fave item of clothing and has been worn rather more than is decent.

After two 5k runs and four 18km cycle commutes, I decided it was time to send it to the wash basket – more out of a fear of my work colleagues thinking I had personal hygiene issues than any actual cleaning requirements. Bamboo really does seem to have impressive anti-smell properties.

The Bamboo Eko is quoted as being Rapanui’s most breathable t-shirt but I wouldn’t really recommend it as true performance wear. The weave is too tight and although it is a light t-shirt the sweat soaks in and lingers for just a little bit longer than I appreciate. Cycling seems to be ok as the breeze helps the drying process but I come back a bit damp after a run.

I hope they expand the range though and consider making performance sports gear for runners.

One of the eco features of Rapanui is the so called Traceability Tool, which enables users to trace the entire journey of any garment on our site from seed to shelf.

Seems like my t-shirt fabric was made in Turkey and assembled in their fair wear wind powered factory in the Isle of Wight.

Do they grow Bamboo in Turkey or am I missing a stage in the trace?

Nike Humanrace and Waterlogged Gadgets

Saturday evening, after entertaining my family with a slightly charred roast lamb joint but a perfectly acceptable bottle of vino (or two), I get an email from Nike. Apparently, if I could resurrect the long dead Nike+ Sportband, and push my sorry arse out of the door, complete with Sunday morning hangover, to complete a 10k of my choosing, I would soon be the proud owner of a freebie Nike Humanrace t-shirt.

Hard to resist a freebie t-shirt, so I left my visitors to rustle up their own breakfast and arranged to meet them in Kew Gardens approx 1hrs 20mins later.


Lovely day for running, providing you don’t have a pointy head or too much body jewellery.

I have a particularly round head and enjoy running through electrical storms and downpours but I was surprised to see quite so many other water babies running along the river. I searched for signs of commitment to the global humanrace but saw none, it seems that some folk don’t need freebies to run.

3 months on the sub-bench allowed the Nike+ Sportband to dry out sufficiently for me to read the screen again, but I thought it prudent to spin the screen round to the underside of my wrist to provide a little water protection. Pity I didn’t do the same for the garmin forerunner 405!

A few weeks ago I had a comment on my forerunner 405 review, warning me of short-circuiting type responses when the garmin bezel gets wet. Apparently a few reviewers had commented on the bezel bleeping and flicking through screens randomly when exposed to water or sweat. I was quick to reject that the forerunner 405 had a problem but I should have kept my mouth shut.

Running through this downpour left my watch bleeping like crazy as I tried to stop the timer and move it off the training mode. In the end I had to wait for it to run out of battery life to switch off. Serious design flaw here.

I’ve had the forerunner 405 for a few months now and as it’s pretty much rained non-stop throughout the whole of summer, I find it hard to believe that I didn’t notice the problem earlier. I’m wondering if it could possibly be related to the recent firmware I downloaded – doesn’t really sound like a software issue but I’ve upgraded to the latest update just in case.

Great Capital Run

As is usual for race day, I wake up grumpy as hell and immediately text OGB to remind him that he is entirely responsible for all that is wrong with the world – he replies with something outrageously abusive.

A quick look back over previous race reports ought to be enough to remind me why I keep entering these torments, I start off moaning like Victor Meldrew and by the end I’m beaming from ear to ear as if I’m in love with the world. Of course it’s easy to be philosophical and upbeat while the endorphins are still coursing through the bloodstream.

I’m still a little grouchy in the starting pen so I fumble around with my garmin to take my mind off things and then have a last minute panic with my playlist. Last night I acquired 18 Joan Armatrading cd’s which I felt would be sufficient to see me to the finish regardless of how slowly I ran, but after the first couple of tracks I decided I’d made a big, depressing mistake so switched to the backup of “The Talented Mr Ripley” – an audiobook.

When the starter claxon goes off for my wave the garmin has flitted from the training screen and so ignores my start button pressing, approximately 400m later I get the thing ticking. This isn’t the last of my problems with the garmin though, at the first water station some guy dive bombs from a diagonal trajectory, swipes the bottle that I’m just about to close my palm around and presses the stop button on my watch. I would have liked to lob a few bottles in his direction but by the time I’d set the watch recording again he’d disappeared.


I think the route was exactly the same as the very first Nike Run London event we ever did, a swirly number around the Serpentine in Hyde Park. There is plenty of doubling back on yourself so for quite a long time you can see runners from earlier waves coming towards you, it’s quite unsettling seeing the pros, my god do they push hard! I spent some time hugging the edge trying to spot OGB but he was obviously lagging a little bit behind the big boys.

Talking of big boys, I was belly barged by a trio of inflated sumo wrestlers. They were running three-abreast and built up quite an intimidating crescendo of flapping air blubber.

Great Capital Run - Race Bling

By the 7k marker I was starting to feel the lurve, the race photos are going to look awful with me smiling like a gormless loon and for the last 2k I ended up with a flag in my hand which I proceeded to twirl like a helicopter til the end.

I finished in something like 78 mins which is probably my slowest 10k time but I’m happy with it as I was doubtful of breaking 80 mins before I started.

Great race bling and a smashing buzz as ever from the great run series.

The afternoon was spent drinking and wandering around outdoor shops in an attempt to buy essential camping gear for our Great North Swim adventure.

Juneathon delays Curry

I was planning to run the Piccadilly line after work but strangely enough I didn’t feel like it by the time I’d finished. Nontheless, I am a committed challenge runner so I headed to the loos to change into my running clobber anyway.

I let out a less than silent whoop of delight behind the cubicle door when I discovered that I had forgotten to pack my t-shirt. Not wanting to run through Leicester Square in pinstripe, I headed home.

I can’t escape the fact that it is Juneathon, although I tried quite hard. I came home feeling knackered and ravenous, started to prepare a broad bean and pea curry and settled down to surf the web. Here I discovered that a whole host of people have jumped onto the Juneathon band wagon and after reading their Day 2 posts and comments on the facebook group and assorted blogs, I was duly shamed into going out for a run.

Yesterdays 3.5k river loop repeated and actually enjoyed.

Here are the bloggers on board so far (let me know if I missed any):

Fit Artist
I Like To Count
Marble Cake

Juneathon Tally
Runs: 2/30
Total Distance: 4.2m

Warriorwoman vs Jogblog 100m Challenge Combo
28.1 miles total

It’s Grim Down South

Forgive me bloggers for I have sinned. It has been three weeks since I last got off my fat arse and moved faster than a shuffle. I was suffering from infectious slobitis and generalised exam anxiety, but that is over now and today I paid a big price for my excessive slothfulness. Sitting here shattered and barely able to string a coherent sentence together, I would say that penance has definitely been paid.

Three of us (OGB, Tanya and myself) found ourselves huddled round a pint of beer last night, escaping from the torrential rain and trying to determine whose crazy idea it was to enter an 8 mile mudfest in December.


We weren’t a great deal wiser this morning as we brushed sleep from our eyes and tried to follow the signs to a place called Grim.

We were damn lucky with the weather but by heck it was freezing. We all lined up at the portaloos and sat in adjacent cabins just to keep warm before the race – I’ve got over my earlier toilet phobia.

As Tanya was a complete race virgin we decided to run this event as a team, attempting to stick together through thick and thin.


This proved to be a bit of life-saver for me but was probably jolly tiresome for the other two. Poor ole OGB had to resort to a peculiar bouncing action with occasional stints of running on the spot so he could slow himself down to my pace.

At “The Ravine”, the competitors were forced into single file to enter the first area of flowing water and I was grateful for the 10 minute hold up so I could get a breather and try and stick with the clan for a bit longer when we set off again. Unfortunately I took a stumble at the bottom and ended up in freezing water up to my waist – wet pants kinda slow me down.

Wet but happy

The next obstacle was a scramble net leading directly into a gloopy expanse of potters clay. I seemed to take the gloopiest route and immediately fell to my knees as the clay grabbed me by the legs and refused to relinquish its grip as the rest of me attempted to move forwards. I dislodged one leg and slung it to the right where I felt I’d reach firmer ground. I ended up stuck again but this time in a semi-splits stance which proved rather uncomfortable and almost impossible to escape from. Thankfully Tanya and OGB were within yelling distance and they came back to assist. Tanya scrabbled around digging the clay from around my foot and OGB just yanked wildly. I managed to lever myself up by applying pressure to his shoulder. Just sufficient pressure to force him upto his knees in the same trap and yet still ensure my escape. I stormed off, trying to get another headstart while they strained to free each other.

I got my cummupence pretty quickly as a root shot out from nowhere and threw me into a commando roll. I landed on my feet eventually but they had already regained the lead.


The whole 8 miles was a relentless cycling of cold ponds, cold swamps and cold clay traps. Freezing, one could even say horrendous and yet it was all strangely invigorating. Who hasn’t wanted to don wellies and jump slap bang in the middle of the biggest puddle recently?

I did have rotten stomach cramps today though and I’m not sure that cold water immersion will ever take over the more usual hot water bottle and chocolate remedy.

We were still smiling at the end, chuffed to bits with our t-shirts and already planning our next mudfest – Hellrunner anybody?


Here’s the crazy route if you can make head or tail of it. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, I just felt like we’d been put in washing machine and spun around:

Grim 8 at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:Share GPS tracks

My time was 2:09, the other two came in a little before me as I released them for the last mile. Excellent first race Tanya, you’ll have a whopping pb here next year!

Racing with the Surrey Housewives – Loseley 10k

This post should be subtitled “Portaloo Anxiety”, if only to warn you that what follows will be somewhat focussed on bodily functions. However thats giving the game away before I’ve even started, so lets crack on.

Loseley Park 2007

Todays race involved me gate crashing the elite Surrey Housewives Set (SHS) for a trog around the muddy woods of Hawley Lake.

At some ridiculous hour in the morning, visibility was down to 10 yards or so, a little worrying for a back of the packer who has a tendency to lose sight of the back of the pack very quickly. Still, I had chance to build up the anxiety a little as I needed to pay a visit to the little ladies room.

When I first turned up the portaloos were empty but I thought I’d put it off as long as possible. Not sure what I was waiting for, did I really expect someone to pass by and spruce the cabin up, deodorising and leaving a selection of Moulton Brown toiletries? Nope, as any seasoned event attender knows all too well, these places only get worse the longer you leave them – much worse. I blame SHS member no 3 (names withheld to protect the innocent) who horrified me when she returned from her foray into the cabin, completely smeared in some strange slime.

In the end I decided to start the race with a full bladder, hoping that my body would just learn to reabsorb. I also thought it might make me run a bit faster, it always seems to work when I’m on my bike. I break all my records cycling home from the pub as the quicker I go the sooner I get to use the loo. For the record, it doesn’t translate so well for running, especially not hilly, uneven, cross country running – the first downhill section reminded me of the importance of pelvic floor exercises!

I do apologise for the banality of this post but I did warn you, I was preoccupied. My playlist selection for this event was last sundays omnibus edition of the Archers. Perfectly timed to last my predicted 1:13:00 time and the ideal accompaniment to keep my mind off more pressing matters. Well it would have been if I hadn’t somehow managed to load up an edition that I had already listened to. I like the Archers but I cannot listen to Eddy snogging his girlfriend for a second time in a week and they had the cows mooing so loud in the recording that I kept having to make sure I wasn’t about to be attacked from the undergrowth.

So I was left with my thoughts which oscillated between, “I need the loo”, “That’s a pretty mushroom, do you think I could just stop and pick it?”, “Christ I’m gonna wet myself!”, “Check out that flippin puddle – am I supposed to swim?”, “How come I’m always behind the walkers?” and “ooooh I NEED the loo!”.

You get the picture. It was lovely though. The marshalls were very pleasant and I got a great cheer from the SHS crew as I reached my final sprint for the portaloo.

Loseley Park 10k

Special mention goes to Suzan (SHS member no 1) who stormed home, breaking the 60 min barrier with 1 1/2 mins to spare! I think members 2 and 3 are still trying to fathom out their precise time (give or take 5 mins) as they were relying on a rather interesting timepiece, one lacking a second hand and minute markers.

Race t-shirt here.

Cabbage Patch 10

I haven’t done a lot of running since the GNR, in fact I haven’t done any, beyond the occassional jog in the direction of a bus stop. Illness, DOMS, work and idleness have kept me away from running this autumn but yesterday was the Cabbage Patch 10 so I had to get out and see if I could remember the action.

The Cabbage Patch 10 is an event that I have been looking forward to for almost a year after hearing the race t-shirt was a sight to behold, it’s held fairly locally (Twickenham – Kingston – Richmond) and organised by the Stragglers running club.

After examining my splits for the GNR I decided to approach this 10-miler with a strict pacing strategy. I was aiming for a 2 hour finishing time, which was realistic yet stretching and therefore needed to keep at a 7:27 min/km pace. Again perfectly reasonable but I have to admit to doing my most of my long slow training runs at a slightly slower pace.

The start of the race was a little cramped, 1500 runners assembled into a small pedestrianised zone prior to being released onto the high street. I ended up caught somewhere in the middle as I assembled with OGB. Clearly the wrong spot for me, I need to be at the back, tucked nicely out of the way.

Cabbage Patch Splits

I ended up setting off well above my desired pace as I was trying not to make too much of an obstacle of myself. I dropped back down to 7:27 after the first km but maybe that early start affected my longevity. I don’t know what happened at the 6 km mark either, I think I had a few people underfoot and it seemed easier to just pass them. After that move I faded fast and although I kept pushing to increase my speed there just didn’t seem to be anything left in my legs.

I finished in 2:03 something (watch time) and 2:04:39 (officially), somewhat under target but not too surprising.

The marshalls were excellent – loads of them and all very cheery and vocal – much appreciated!

I will eventually issue a snap of the coveted race t-shirt but at the moment I’m sulking too much, and anyway its on its second trip around my washing machine, where I hope it will stretch. By the time I finished they had run out of large (and medium) sized t-shirts, which meant I had to make do with small. Now I understand that I if I’m going to make a habit of being almost the last over the line then I can’t complain if I don’t have much choice but at the same time, if I speed up a great deal it seems likely that I will have shed enough lard in the process to negate the need for choice anyway. Hey ho.

Now I’ve got a little repertoire of race distances under my belt, I’ve drawn up a chart comparing my actual race times with race predictions based on my 5 km pb, utilising the Purdy formula. The calculator for this is found on the brilliant runningfofitness website under predict race from race.

Hadd Required

Not surprisingly it shows that I am underperforming as I increase my distance, an indication that I’m not fit enough for the higher distances. I’m interested in this as I read about it in a booklet on Hadd training, who advocates running at low heart rates as a means to increase aerobic efficiency. I’m going to give this a go in December, by then I will have switched work and will be able to run on an almost daily basis again – I can’t wait. Next year is going to be a good one for running.

Fancy a Bottle of Dog, Pet?

The Great North Run has got to be the most self-indulgent running event in the race calendar, I personally could handle this kind of ego boost on a monthly basis, I would say weekly, but as I’m still unable to walk so I think that might be pushing it.


Look how happy I am barely seconds after the finish. I work hard to be permanently grumpy but this race had infectious happiness thrown in – I was smiling at every mile, even at mile 12 when my quads seized up badly and I had to be rejuvenated by a tumbler of vodkaless vodka handed to me from the sideline.

The Great North run is a very special event, the organization is flawless and the support from the crowd is amazing. I ran the route hugging the left hand side, I therefore got very familiar with a lot of locals (I also came close to having an unwelcome shower from the guys caught short and relieving themselves on the overpass above me). Every one of those 13 miles ticked by so quickly, I must have slapped the grubby hands of at least a thousand kids and I have to admit its not an everyday occurrence for kids to high five me.


We had to set off from my parents house at 5am, so there was a 4.15 am rush to the loos, enough to put anyone in a bad mood you’d think. OGB and myself have managed to be grumpy for every race we’ve attended over the last year but we surprised ourselves by feeling upbeat for the whole shebang on Sunday. We were a bit nervy at the outset as we were right at the back and it felt a little uncomfortable to start with the sweeper van clipping at your heels. Still, it only took us 25 mins after the starters pistol to reach the start and we set off at a sprint (unmaintainable) to escape the van.

Thats the last I saw of OGB until we were re-united at the family meeting spot. You’d be forgiven for thinking he just hitched a ride to the end as he looks so fresh and spritely but his official time was 1:58:33 so I suppose he had plenty of time to freshen up.

Me and OGB

I had a lovely run from the start, I was just raring to go and set off a bit too swiftly but I was enjoying myself. Despite sharing the motorway with 49,999 other runners, I didn’t feel too constricted. I had to do a little bit of weaving in and out but mostly I followed my line.

The red arrows stormed across our path just as we crossed the start line and then appeared above South Shields again when I reached mile 10 and kept me fairly occupied with their acrobatics til mile 12ish. That was jolly good timing as I was suffering quite a bit from the tenth mile. I still had plenty of energy but my legs (quads specifically) were tightening up like crazy. I had to hop off to the sidelines at mile 12 to try and stretch out my legs a bit so I could carry on. I ran the whole way but in the latter stages my running was no faster than other folks walk. Every now and again the crowd would call out “Go on warriorwoman!” and I’d manage another appreciative burst. Such good fun.

We recovered from the run with a plate of fish and chips served on the seafront with a bottle of dog. Such bliss.

GNR Route

Here are my splits from the garmin:


I suppose that shows that I need more training. I had plenty of energy at the end but my legs cannot cope with the strain. I sooooooo hope I don’t get accepted into the London Marathon this year, I only entered so that I can start building up my rejections for the 5 strikes and you’re in rule. God help me if I get accepted first time. Instead I fancy cramming a few half marathons in for the new year, I think thats a good challenge distance.

I’m back home now and am suffering quite badly, not sure how I’m going to get into work tomorrow. My quads are completely shot and I’m practically descending my flat stairs by shuffling down on my arse. In fact the only reason I’m not bouncing down on my bum is that I wouldn’t be able to drag myself back into the upright position. What a state! Mind you, I’ve made progress, this time last year I was crippled by the Nike 10k run, at least I’ve doubled the distance to knock myself out. This time next year…..who knows?

Official time: 2:56:07

T-shirt shot over here.

Gyro 10k

Isn’t it lovely when the powers that be decide to organise a running event slap bang on your doorstep? I was still luxiariating in my bubble bath as registration was opening, which has got to beat bouncing up and down with a fitness first instructor as a way to warm up…… mmmm let me see….. aerobics or radox muscle soak?

The start of the race was tucked away across Barnes Bridge in the well hidden Civil Service sports club. I arrived and immediately started worrying about my inevitable back of the pack placing. This was a small race, maybe 240 which doesn’t bode well for company in the longer distance races, not that I’m fussed about being last as such, but I would rather not finish 30 mins after the rest of the pack.

Gyro 10k

So, I started the race bringing up the rear and held onto that coveted spot right the way to first km marker where our first run/walker showed her strategy. I passed her, which immediately triggered a 10 second comeback, she passed me and stopped to walk again less than 5 metres in front of me, so I passed her again, she put on a little spurt and fell back to a walk about 4 metres in front of me. Now, I have nothing against run/walk as a race strategy but it does wind me up quite a bit to be someone’s repeated trigger, can’t you use a tree or a lamppost? I was wondering if I could possibly handle this too and froing for the next 9km but she never made another comeback after the 5th passing. The first psychological battle was won but now I had to worry that she’d actually quit the race, she can’t quit or I’ll be back to last place again!

I had an atrocious run last night, a planned 5k route that degenerated into a 1k run and 2.5k sulky walk, so I wasn’t sure what to hope for today. I set my garmin virtual partner for a 75 min target but at every check I seemed to be gaining distance on my plan. It took me about 10 mins of mental arithmetic to work out that I was actually on target for time close to my pb – 72 mins and something. I couldn’t remember what that something part was though and anyway I had my garmin set up so that I couldn’t read the seconds after it ticked past the hour.

In the latter half of the run I managed to pass a few more runners who had dropped right off their original pace and I crossed the line in 72 mins and something, I just had to wait for the official results to see if a pb was recorded.

gyro 10k

Triathlon World Championships Hamburg

It was a pretty good event, all the entry fee went towards Sport Aid, the t-shirt wasn’t too bad and they had a bbq at the end – a bbq with beer no less. Talking of beer, I caught the highlights of the world championship triathlon held in Hamburg, did anyone else see the huge glasses of beer the podium winners were given? There must have been about 10 yards of ale in those buckets.

Oh yeah, and they had chip timing, with the results piped down the phone line within 2hrs of finishing.
Official time: 1:12:23
11 flippin secs short of my pb and I could have had those 11 seconds if I’d been a bit more organised.

SportsAid Gyro 10k at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: GPS Travel Community

GNR Weekly summary Wk 7/10

Mon: nowt
Tue: nowt
Wed: 42 km bike
Thur: 42 km bike
Fri: 5 km run
Sat: 3.5 km run/walk disaster
Sun: 10 km run (race)

A Twitching Post

I headed back to Richmond Park this evening for a quick(ish) run around the park with the novelty of daylight in my favour.


It felt pretty tough and my accompanying bike buddy was moaning rather a lot about the distance so I cut the route short by heading up a unfamiliar track near Ham gate. Ended up spotting some great tracks for future runs and I managed to sneak up on a rather fetching Heron in one of the many ponds.

Total distance was 8km. Doesn’t look like I will get a proper long run in this week as I am booked in for BPTT on Saturday and the crack of dawn 10k showdown in the shopping precinct (Bluewater) on Sunday. This means a brand new t-shirt is expected for my page any day now – its been hyped big time so I’m pretty hopeful for a page topping star.