It did require me to dig deep and summon up motivation, especially after a night of New Year celebrations and a rather grey landscape outside, but I was glad to make it out. Was good to see other people also made the effort to venture outside during my wet 11k interval run of road, fence vaulting, hill sprints and forest trails.
Happy New Year everyone!
It was fantastic to discover the crisp escapism of an autumnal run. No one around, just the squirrels diving across my path of endless orange leaves.
I've done a couple of runs using the 180-Formula after reading an article from fellow blogger Van. (180 minus your age to find your target heart rate).
Although I find it hard to step off the throttle I do like how casual and more pleasurable the overall run is.
Today however I noticed that I'm considerably slower than I normally am in order to keep to my target heart rate. (I was running at less than 5 mph, about 1.5 mph slower than previous). It wasn't till I finished that I wondered that if the cold I currently have is the cause of this. Several websites and forums agree with this statement although am yet to find a more official page on this.
Nethertheless I completed my first work to home 10 mile journey. 2 hours 13 minutes.
Despite the cold I enjoyed the run and the time went pretty quick. It was nice once I got closer to home that runners would give you a hood wink, unlike the less friendly London runners. (Chill my friend, just stereotyping here)!
I'm looking forward to repeat the journey once this snottiness disappears...
Today I upped the distance, targeting 8 miles. I was meeting a friend in the Queen Elizabeth Park and we agreed 3 miles, so I decided to run to Stratford to make up the difference. Totalled 9 miles instead.
It was my second time training under a low heart rate. After reading my fellow skater and blogger Van's article on this topic I used the 180-formula he mentions. 180 minus your age and that's what your heart should be aiming to stick to. From what I understand training my heart in this way should improve my speed in the long term as my heart and body gets used to this consistent pace, lower instensity should keep you in a nice threshold to continue training on a more frequent basis and should be less prone to injury. I won't go into any more details on this as I won't be able to explain it as well as Van. (I need to re-read it myself, there's a lot to take in).
For me this was quite difficult to stick to, I'm all too tempted to sprint up a flight of stairs or dash across the road as soon as it's green. However I do notice I'm less exhausted as the exercise intensity is much less. As a result it took over ten minutes longer to complete 5 miles than my usual time.
That's the science out of the way. Neverland....
As we were running around the Olympic Park we noticed a few more playground areas we hadn't seen before. It included rope constructions, things to swing across monkey style and slanted walls which are about the same size and angle of the ones I've come across in OCR events. I do particularly like the playground made out of tree branches which would keep any adult feeling young again.
What a great morning running around Battersea Park with hundreds of other Santas. The Santa Run was organised by 209 Events. Our £25 got us our race number and Santa Suit ticket mailed to us in advance. We exchanged the tickets at the Millennium Stadium close to the start point. A bag drop was available but I don't know how well manned it was as we left our valuables in a friend's car. The un-timed 6k event consisted of a warm up at the pagoda central to the park, before completing two laps around the main park pathway.
It was a good vibe on the run with a handful of people taking a more serious pace. My friend Alex brought a flag to help us find each other as it's difficult to find your friends when everyone is dressed the same! The flag was such a good call as it allowed me to run off or hold back to film the action before rejoining them.
Our friend Muhayman was there representing his charity Wheels and Wheelchairs who were at the front of the pack to keep safe from the runners. There were a few other wheelchair users and kids on scooters on the wheels side of things. A lot of runner brought their dogs dressed in Santa attire as well.
The Santa Run overlapped the Easy Saturday Skate's weekly meetup in the park, which I regularly attend. My fellow skaters loved watching the runners, but weren't quite sure why I'd choose to run around the park!
The sun was out on this frosty morning and I captured some brilliant footage of my run group, my skater friends as well as other runners on the event. I feel I have to give a special shout out to the Spanish ladies for giving me a really enthusiastic wave for my camera. Gracias.
As we crossed the finish line we were given a nice gold medal as well as a bottle of water. It was funny seeing Santas doing their post run stretches in the park.
Overall the event is very well organised and the marshals were great in supporting us on the way round. The only thing that was missing was a bit of music. Guess I'm spoilt with the sound system we have on the London Santa Skate. However it didn't stop a few people singing their way around the park with Christmas carols...
"I could never run a marathon." So I've said many times. Yet today marks a new turn in my sporty pathway, I've signed up for Berlin RUNNING Marathon! (Exclamation mark multiply a thousand). If I am successful with the ballot I will be doing both the Run and the Skate full 26.2 miles on the same weekend.
As I was growing up I was always the sprinter, running the 100m and 200m for my school. Anything longer was painful and I hated cross country. I've always admired people who could go the distance and wanted to be able to do the marathon, but at various stages have ruled out the idea. So on reflection it makes we wonder what has changed in my way of thinking to get me to where I am today. Here I list all the things that's made my change of heart..
Running does requires commitment to maintain your level of fitness. I remember during the summer of 2004 my friends Tim, Richard and I did some forest runs after work. At my peak I ran 8 miles in 50 minutes. (That particular run was when I suddenly realised I took a wrong turn down the wrong route and didn't want to keep the others waiting).
I stopped running after my inappropriate cheap trainer began giving me Shin splints. (Only later finding out what the technical term was). After giving it time to heel up I returned for a run only to discover that my fitness for running was back at the start. That run was painful and I gave it up. Underlying was the fact I had a taste of the good side of the run.
In 2007 I joined the London Street skate scene. This is probably one of the best things I've ever decided to do. I was able to enjoy a sport I've done for years but in mass, but with the comfort of the marshals involved. My skating improved a lot and the fact it was exercise was just an added bonus at the time.
After a year I was comfortable partaking in their faster Friday routes and I felt I could still go on after we finished the session. Their weekly newsletter at the time advertised the 2008 Goodwood Skate Marathon and it seemed like something that was achievable. At the time I didn't know anyone else who had done this so I just rocked up and skated the whole 26.2 miles in 2 hours and 45 minutes. My naive approach meant it was a painful experience and vowed never to do another skate marathon again. (I'm forever eating my words, good thing I like eating).
In 2011 I began to befriend more regular and experienced skaters on the London roller scene so the skate began to be a more social experience for myself.
Early 2012 I was unable to attend the weekly street skates but was able to attend the Easy Saturday Skate. The predominately beginners' skate group is very friendly and always open to new people, regardless of level. A lot of them at the time were excited about going to Germany to complete the Berlin Inline Skate Marathon. My debut 2008 skate marathon experience seemed like a distant memory and I got caught up in my friends' enthusiasm one afternoon in the pub. Usually talks like this would trail off after leading to nothing actually being done, so I have my friend Alex to thank massively for being über efficient in making this trip a reality and so wholesomely enjoyable.
During the planning of this trip we joked about how crazy some skaters were that actually partake in the running marathon too the day after the skate marathon. My friend Chris surprised us all by saying he'd be up for it if he'd get a place.. Unfortunately the entry for the run had sold out.
Having been better educated this time round from my experienced skate companions, I caught the skate marathon bug. I completed the Berlin Skate Marathon in 1 hour 47 minutes.
As winter set in I wanted to keep fit as skating was something that requires dry surfaces to partake safely in most places. I decided to pick up running again. My session lasted five minutes in the rain and I caught a bad cold which lasted a week. My running career was cut again. Although I stopped running for a long time after this felt like unfinished business..
Back to skating. The more you look into a topic, the more details you discover. In 2013 I got my speed skates. Bigger wheels! Now I was able to up my level. I started to look into more aspects of endurance training and nutrition.
I remember a skater friend Sinead talking about her running ways. She was explaining to me about heart rate training and how "if you're in the correct zone you could just run forever." That stuck in my head.
My friend Theresa was getting a team together for Survival of the Fittest 2013. It was either a 10k or 5k obstacle course around the Battersea Powerstation. Her team was full so I created my own, convincing my friends and myself that the obstacles would be a rest from the monotonous running distance. Most of my group said they'd do it if we opted for the 5k route.
In preparation for this event I started running, again! My first session was just 2 minutes, followed by some freelining. I slowly increased this. Eventually completing just over 3 miles comfortably. It then struck me after all this time, when people say they are going for a run they probably should say they are going for a jog.
We completed Survival of the Fittest and we loved it. I probably loved it a lot more than the others as I started looking for similar events and ended up blogging about it. Got bit by the OCR bug!
Theresa was soon organising another event, Tough Mudder. I needed quite a bit of persuasion to join this however. This event was a lot longer, 12 miles and the electric obstacle just sounded awful. My friend Harriet also invited me to a similar event called Rough Runner at a slightly shorter 10 miles. Both exceeded any previous run distance.
As a bench test I decided to just run for an hour and see how I felt. I felt great so I signed up for both events.!
During my training I started running with my friend Naomi. She mentioned a couple of times of doing a big challenge for our 30th birthday year. Naomi had Tough Mudder in mind for her challenge, but as I was doing that event this year it led me to think of what's the next step...
In 2014 I completed both Tough Mudder, Rough Runner as well as a few other OCR events. Funny how I'm essentially paying to partake in cross country now, albeit under a new trendy name called 'Trail Running.'
My friend Emily, plus just this year Theresa and Van have done the infamous Double at Berlin, Skate Marathon on Saturday followed by the Run Marathon on Sunday. These people were a huge inspiration with their achievements. Also seeing my friends Chris, Richard and again Van completing the Le Mans 24 hours race was incredible. Watching my friends achieve great things made me compelled to do the same. (maybe not 24 hours of skating)...
I believe all these things contributed to my progression to my 30th year challenge and the Berlin Double Marathon commitment, with Theresa's recent messages reaffirming that this is a good thing to do.
So now I have to wait till November 20th to see if I'm successful with the Berlin running marathon ballot as it's massively over subscribed every year, I'll work it out somehow.....
Before commencing my first obstacle race last November I did a bit of research on the interweb to help prepare myself. One thing I read repeated was not to wear brand new shoes for the event as it will get completely ruined and you should break them in before a race.
Today I broke that rule after realising that my trainer of choice has barely any thread. I got some KALENJI Kapteren TR3 Men's Trail Running Shoes. £30 reduced from £50. First race in them is this Sunday at Rough Runner, let’s see what happens…
My friend Harriet was partaking in the Sports Relief Run at the Olympic Park. The team organiser was her friend Chris who was preparing for the London Marathon but wanted to experience an organised group run.
I signed up as I thought this would be a little warm up to Rough Runner (10 miles obstacle run) a week later. My friend Naomi signed up to give herself something to work towards. Naomi and I have been out running on a semi-regular basis in the lead up to this event.
Although I wasn’t taking this event too seriously I wanted to complete a sub hour time. I’ve been doing 3 miles on a hilly route in 27 minutes but not done this pace for a longer distance.
Chris signed us all up so I paid the money direct to him. All the entrant packs were sent to him. Inside the pack was your race number and lots of fund raising things, leaflets and a big poster of celebrities taking part in the whole Sports Relief event. I can’t help but think that some of the leaflets and especially the posters were a waste of money being printed. Especially as there were thousands of entrants for the various events happening across the country who probably also threw most of it straight into the bin. Anyway, just a thought for the organisers.
There were a lot of the happy clappy volunteers (not a bad thing, but some of them seemed a bit intense when compared to the usual British service) about directing us to the location of the event. People were handing out free nuts and raisin fruits prior to the race.
As we lined up the crowd of participants grew of all ages and sizes. This was a fun event so I don’t think any of the diehard runners will be out today. On a platform they had two super cheesy aerobic girls doing their routine to get the group warmed up. Maybe because it was early in the morning, or the fact that some of us didn’t get to sleep till 2:00am, or their dance routine was a little bit ‘S Club 7,’ or there weren’t enough room to windmill, but we didn’t really join in the whole work out.
Everyone else seemed to be enjoying it though. I thought I was about to be sick and fall over at one point, as I didn’t realise at first that the bridge we were on started bouncing up and down with everyone’s synchronised bopping! (That’ll teach me for just standing on the side and not joining in!).
I believe there were three waves altogether, we were on the first. As I’ve come to realise with all of these group races now is that the start will always be slow with so many people involved. A lot of the track wasn’t that wide and there were a fair amount of little kids zigzagging so overtaking wasn’t always an option.
I shouldn’t complain too much as I needed the loo right at the start of race anyway. So I had a quick dash into the portaloo after just two minutes into the race. After I came out the pack had spaced out a little, enough for me to catch up with Harriet and Naomi.
We ran most of the way together, as I found from Survival of the Fittest it’s nice to work as a team. A little banter helps ease each other around the track.
Each lap is a 1 mile long and it was down to you to count as there was no timer chip as this event. You couldn’t tell what lap people were on. So if you really wanted to you could even do the whole 26 miles around and around… Or you could walk around once and said you’ve done 6 miles. For the last lap you went a different direction to the finish line. I was a little disappointed they didn’t make use of the Olympic stadium for the track but it was a nice route around the Olympic Park.
Around the track were more volunteers offering encouragement. Some looked a little out of place but the vast majority of them were brilliant. High-fives were thrown from the sides. There were cheerleaders, choirs, live bands, a water station and other groups at different points which really helped take your mind off things. Hats off to them.
On the fourth lap I upped my pace, leaving the girls. They’d been saying for me to do so earlier, but as I said before I enjoyed running together. Also I have tendency to sprint off too quickly and exhausting myself too early. Which is what I did do!
Before the final lap I slowed it back down the curb the potential stitch away. On the last route volunteers voiced out the number of corners left and that helped give you a visible count of distance left. The final stretch was a slight incline and people were slowing down. I love a sprint finish so passing everyone on the last straight was fun. My timing for this was about right as I could feel the legs becoming jelly as I passed the finish line.
A partaking medal, more water, fruit and nuts were given after the finish line. I waited shortly for the girls to pass the finish line too. They only saw me when as passed me as there were many others cheering their friends as well as other participants.
We had a look around the park after which had lots of stalls. I ate anything free they were offering to fill that hole after the run. Volunteers were about asking how the run went. There were some shows and activities on, such as stunt bikes; wheel chair basketball and tennis.
It was a fun day out. My time was 57 minutes so was happy that I achieved my sub hour target. I could easily knock off another minute if I didn’t need the loo at the beginning as well! This event is great for people starting out for the fact you were never left running on your own because of the laps. For more serious runner they’d probably get frustrated about the bottlenecking in places as the track width could get a little narrow. Everything was well organised which is to be expected
I’ve got a run buddy, Naomi. She was one of the team from when we did the Survival of the Fittest and we have both signed up to the Sports Relief 6 miles run around the Stratford Olympic Park in March. We ran for an hour today with a short stop at the outdoor gym. The run route was the same as I had done last December but it definitely felt shorter by having some company today.
"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