So after three months we're back for Run Through's Lee Valley Velopark event. We booked these two events together hoping that we could first set a benchmark and then have a target to strive for.
22 seconds slower than my first attempt! So that didn’t work out as planned. Well despite my initial intentions I haven’t exactly been running/training for this, except for the odd event here and there. So with the official temperature being nine degrees higher this time I really can’t complain with my lack of preparation.
Nuclear Races today hosted an event with no running, but plenty of obstacles including their infamous Deathslide and Ziplines. The Nuclear Summer Party was great fun. You could go on the obstacles they had out as much or as little as you wanted to. This was brilliant from a filming perspective in order to get multiple shots and fantastic as a participant as it gave you a chance to hone your technique and get more daring with your approaches, such as Superman-ing it off the Deathslide!
Some guys from Southend Parkour came down to give a talk on their approach and philosophy to training and fitness. It was interesting even though some things contradict what others teach. For example they shot down the leg technique to get over a wall which I often use. Their reasoning is that "technique can only get you so far." I'm sure I've heard that being said the other way around too! Although I see their point in that we shouldn't use a technique in place of reason to get stronger. Whilst I have already been exploring other ways to scale a wall and I want to be able to muscle up, I will still be using the faithful leg technique for the walls if I'm going to save my strength for some of those more demanding upper body obstacles during a race. Race smart!
Got to say the parkour guys really do show us up when it comes to obstacle flair!
The Nuclear Summer Party was a fun day out and very good value at £22. It was a real shame however that the 'Gorilla bars,' were not accessible even though they advertised it. My friends I went with today are not fans of running or mud, so it was great to spend the time with them, as they definitely won’t be joining me on future Nuclear Races.
For me I prefer the actual obstacle races as there’s something satisfying and purposeful about getting from A to B through a much bigger variety of challenges. I think the running gives you a boost of adrenaline and makes tacking the obstacles a lot more fun. I realised this when I was walking down the path to the zipline, it just all seemed to make more sense when I started running!
SUP Armada is a day festival of activities based around the aqua sport of Stand Up Paddleboarding at Bewl Water lake in Kent. It was an hour train ride from Charing Cross station to Wadhurst station where we took a 15 minute cab ride to the location. I'd recommend Elba Cabs, Clive our driver was very friendly and accommodating for us!
We pre paid our entry fee of £15 a while ago but we then on the day made a £10 donation for board hire and £2 for buoyancy aids which goes towards their charity. This led us to believe we could just pick up a board and paddle to take to the waters, this was not the case. As we were queuing up for registration we told there were "plenty of boards for all of us to use." It wasn't until we got to the lake we discovered that most activity slots were already booked up, if not till late afternoon.
Some of the instructors could see were a little miffed by the situation so one of them very kindly made time for a slightly shorter introductory session for our group.
It was the first time SUPing for the six of us and we all managed to stand up and get paddling fairly quickly. The more advanced turns which required us to move our feet had us taking plunge before figuring out our stance. I'd say it's a little more advance than kayaking but as we were on a fairly calm lake it wasn't too much trouble to get going, Just the head wind made it more challenging to paddle against.
After watching a race I could see people were using a bit of knee bend with their strokes to gain more power. So on my next session it did prove to be advantageous. (Knee bending seems to be a cross subject of a lot of sports!). An occasional wave from a passing boat gave the board a rock which stopped my confidence from getting too far ahead of myself!
The most exciting part of the day was the group paddleboarding. A massive board could hold eight of us for a fun but somewhat competitive race. We didn't come close to winning but it was great having a more unifying activity.
The final event was the World Record attempt for the most stand up paddleboarders on a circuit at once. Although it's one of those records which is more about organising a huge amount of people rather than an individual talent it was still a fun challenge getting around the 2km course. The wind certainly picked up for us which made it feel like I was on a treadmill, paddling right in front of the finish line for a couple of minutes! Well the organisers managed to pull the record off. 390 SUPs.
SUP Armada was a good event, although the individual activity sign ups could have been done a lot better. They should have known the volume of people who would show up! Would have liked to have done the SUP yoga.
Bewl Water is such a lovely area that I'd definitely like to come back again either for SUP Armada or as a place to make a long weekend of. We'd like to hire some bikes to tour the whole lake and hopefully we'll have more of that summer sun we were blessed with!
£32 gave us a point to point run through the Queen Elizabeth Park. Whilst I've done a number of events already in the Olympic Park the selling point was that the finish line was in the Olympic Stadium. Another notable feature was the use of the cycle track. Even though we ran the opposite way to my previous experiences my prior knowledge gave me an edge on what to expect (hills!) and resulted in me being able to pace better than others.
It was a particularly hot day, especially for a race starting at 9:30. We were repeatedly reminded of this fact by the MC and the sun beating on us. Therefore it wasn't until the last kilometre I finally found my surge to pick up the pace. No PB for any of us today but happy with the final time.
Good event overall. We also got a got a goody bag, a tshirt, medal a few things to eat and drink, plus two tickets each for spectators to soak up the atmosphere from within the stadium. I've got to say the security staff at the spectators gate of the stadium were very friendly, asking everyone how they did as they checked their bags. Thumbs up!
"Any tips, reviews and advice are my own opinions and are not to be taken as professional view points. The information on this site is what has worked for me and is here for guidance only, but I hope you gain insight into the various activities I partake in." Jonathan Chen