18 August 2015

(Mis)Adventures in Running at The Rugby Rover

Sunday saw me joining a couple of running club friends for an interesting event that none of us had done before--The Belper Rugby Rover, 30 kilometres of undulating mixed terrain fun. We are going to blame this one on a Tesco car park conversation with a member of a neighbouring running club who claimed she was going to run it slow then went and thrashed all of us!

We started out together but since my training has been so poorly due to the damned allergies plaguing me I told the other 2 that I would just see them at the end and hoped they wouldn't have to wait around too terribly long for me (turned out to be around 16 minutes).  My plan was to walk every uphill because despite taking clarityn nearly every hard effort is resulting in hellacious sinus pressure headaches--better to be a slowpoke rather than having to get a lift back to the finish line due to not being able to focus on the path.

Picture courtesy of SL Images. Cheesy grin and thumbs up courtesy of moi

Anyway enough whingeing, I actually was able to keep my friends in sight with the power hike up the hills and bombing back down them up for the first few miles until I decided to strip down to my crop top (hey, it was actually warm for once!).  That involved having to unpin my bib, take off the hydration pack, pull off the vest, fold the bib to fit onto my shorts, repin said bib, wrestle the pack back over my shoulders, realise I hadn't closed the top of the pack so had to take it back off, decided I wanted to eat something, put the pack back on AND finally back to moving forward. Whew, that was a workout all on its own!

What was good:

*Stiles. Wasn't bothered about the time so enjoyed the slowdowns at the stiles in the beginning and middle.  Towards the end it seemed like the gaps kept getting narrower though and those rocks don't give any!

*Multi-Terrain:  Nice mix of road, trail, footpaths, and fields. Keeps it from getting boring although I know some don't like it because it's impossible to maintain a steadyish pace. There were even some technical bits to 'dance' over.

*The views: Absolutely gorgeous vistas, I'm still oohing over the section where I glanced over and could see the Crich Monument in all its glory on the next hill over.  Shining Cliff Woods also warrants a return trip for a more laid back exploration.

*Chatting with other runners/walkers:  Fell/trail races are far more laid-back generally so there's always laughter and chatter at least amongst those of us towards the back of the pack.

*No litter:  Everybody was VERY good about not throwing their cups down too far from the water stops and I didn't spy any gel packets about

*The water stops/check stations:  Awesome volunteers! I didn't stop for water because I had the hydration pack but the jelly babies, crisps, and encouragement were very welcome.

*Race marking:  This is going to be in the good and not so good.  99% of it was very well marked but there were a few instances towards the end that I questioned if I was going in the correct direction.  Part of that appeared to be other trail users messing about with the signage though.

Not so good:

*Nothing in this section that pertains to how the race was set-up except for there being a couple of spots near the end that should have been marked better for those of us that are directionally challenged--like the section where the path splits 2 ways at the water treatment plant.  Yes, I was the dumbass that went the wrong way here and ended up with bonus mileage and I also couldn't remember the where we turned into the rugby club carpark for the finish.

*Wearing the hydration pack which coincidentally is the amount of weight I need to lose right now! It's a pain in the arse wearing it but I NEED to get used to it before the 30 miler in November.

*Catching a sharp rock with the side of my foot in such a way that the rock went under the big toenail on my left foot.  I was afraid I'd torn the nail off but thankfully it only loosened it, bad thing is it's still extremely tender today.

*Of course there was a fall, only the one though and there was no blood so not sure it even counts.

*I am listed as a male in the results! Still debating on whether to bother contacting them to change it or not.

The aftermath! I look peeved because I was still fuming about going the wrong direction so close to the finish :-) 

10 August 2015

The post where I whinge a little

I was hoping to be writing a recap of Nordic Walking 33k at the Salisbury 54321 event but alas it ended up being a big fat DNS (did not start) due to a resurgence of an allergy-induced migraine that was determined to hang about.  It had started Friday afternoon, eased up Saturday midday then made a comeback in the wee morning hours Sunday.  There was no way I was in shape to endure a 3.5 hour drive down to Wiltshire to be at the start line before 8:45, I am aggravated to the nth degree about this because I had been looking forward to it so much!

Training overall has been extremely lacklustre due to the allergies and the fatigue/headaches that comes along with them but the only thing I can do is plaster a smile on, pull on my big girl pants and keep plodding forward. Oh and take naps, lots and lots of naps!
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08 August 2015

Nordic Walking parkrun tourist

It's only a week late but I Nordic Walked another parkrun with a large group of Midlands Nordic Walkers last Saturday to support one who was completing her 50th.  Such an amazing achievement! Thank you as always to the wonderful Colwick parkrun volunteers and well done to everyone who participated.

I was slightly slower than the previous one but wasn't near as sore afterwards either! It did give me a chance to test out the new trail trainers and Dirty Girl gaiters before the 33k challenge at Salisbury--it worked brilliantly so hoping tomorrow goes well, wish me luck please.  

06 August 2015

Running kit review: Montane Bite 1

Way back in June I won a competition from Accelerate UK for some Montane kit which consisted of a Featherlite jacket, hydration belt, t-shirt, and 3/4 tights. The jacket is awesome, I've worn it several times but as of yet I've not tried out the shirt or tights--it's summer (sort of) so I'm wearing vests and shorts or running skirts as much as possible right now.  The Bite 1 hydration belt also didn't get tested out until last week because I've not gone on any runs long enough to justify the use of one since it arrived.  I finally decided that I should take it out for a spin on a short run to find out if it would cause any issues on a longer one.

Montane bite 1 hydration belt

First impressions:  It looks heavy.  Even my friend who I was meeting for a run the day I tested it out commented that it looked heavy.  It doesn't feel it once you get moving but it's hard to get past the psychology of it appearing that way.

Looks like I'm getting ready for a quick draw!

Next thing you notice is the pocket material, it's crinkly. And noisy as you are loading up whatever gear you are taking along.  Again, once you are moving it's not noticeable until you need to get something out and then you are reminded of the crinkliness (yes I know that's not really a word) and noisiness.

Roomy pocket

The pocket is nice and large though, big enough for a phone, gels, tissue, keys, a peanut butter sandwich, whatever you think you might need. It's large enough to fold up the Featherlite jacket and stow it away as well if you omit the sandwich from the aforementioned items.  But there is a downside to that roominess, it needs a smaller pocket within to kind of separate things out otherwise it's like a bottomless purse where things disappear never to be seen again unless you dump everything out.

Fiddly bottle

Is it going in yet?

Still trying to get it in place

Last step! But still not quite fully seated

I also wasn't impressed with the water bottle, it has a flat side that is meant to fit flush against your back but while on the run it's fiddly trying to get it back into place because it isn't different enough from the other sides by feel. It also started leaking around the lid during today's picture taking session. Amphipod totally wins with their shaped bottles because you don't have to take too much attention away from running to get the bottle back in place, if I decide to keep the Montane belt I will simply use those bottles with it rather than the one that came with it.

Excess belt

What I did really like about the Bite 1 is that it stayed in placed while running thanks to the stretch belt.  Only very minimal adjustments were needed which is miles better than the majority of belts I've tried out.  I have the excess bit of belt looped over and tucked under in the photos but there is a bit of blue strapping there to loop it through--something I didn't notice the first 2 times I wore it! Definitely a d'oh moment for me.

Belt wrapped over and tucked in

The mesh fabric on the inside of the belt is quite comfortable and according to the hang tag it is coated with an antibacterial treatment (no stink!).  Haven't tested it out enough to find out if the anti-stink actually works though.

Mesh on the inside of the Bite 1

One last thing that isn't normally an issue for the UK is that the black version can feel hot if you are running on a warmish day.  Normally not a problem for here but if you live where it stays warm I would suggest opting for the light blue version of the belt because the black absorbed the heat quite rapidly.

As of right now I'm not sure if I will keep the belt, I do like that the pocket is waterproof and large enough to fill with the necessities of a longer run but the water bottle being so fiddly might be a deal breaker if my amphipod bottle doesn't work with it.  The Bite 1 also rides further up on the waist than I usually prefer but at least it didn't bobble about like a Salomon belt does that I have.

Thank you again Accelerate for running such awesome contests!