The Hardmoors Princess challenge 30/08/14

My first post and my first race in a terribly long time…
The Hardmoors Princess challenge is a 31 mile run which follows the Hardmoors 31 course traditionally run on New Year’s Day. It is spread across the beautiful Cleveland Way coastal path and the disused Scarborough to Whitby railway line. I had a bad year last year with injuries and so took time out to get healthy. I spent the whole summer getting strong, built a good base of fitness and decided it was time to test it out.
This was a small event to raise funds for the Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team with a field of approx. 70 runners. I was lucky enough to be given a lift to the race start by a kind volunteer who gave up her morning to help register runners.
The atmosphere at the start was much like other local races. Some folks jovially catching up with each other, whilst others were quietly get focused and ready. I didn’t know anyone and so happily did the latter. Looking at the runners there was lots of brightly coloured kit from Hokas to huaraches and there appeared to be plenty of experienced capable runners. They didn’t need to be intimidating as I psyched myself out, self-doubt passed through my mind at the start line, I picked apart my preparations and imagined these guys running off leaving me in a cloud of dust. But as soon as we set off this faded and I happily settled into my rhythm.

Photo 31-08-2014 18 49 09
I know the course well, living in Scarborough and so I knew the first part of the run would be fast. Beautiful singletrack following the cliff top trail descends to the Hayburn Wyke. This section quickly passed, I soon reached the bay where treacherous steps descend before climbing steeply at the other side. Dry weather made this much less hassle and checkpoint 1 arrived quickly, I just ran straight through.
The next section was to follow the old railway line back to Ravenscar. This was a steady gradual climb back to our start point for checkpoint 2. The path was straight, surface hard-packed and much less interesting than the coastal path but I had the company of another runner to pass the time. It was nice to have company and we chatted all the way to checkpoint 2. Skipped it again and carried on.
Back onto the railway line and down to Robin Hoods Bay, we made quick progress to the third checkpoint. We separated for several miles, coming back together just before Whitby checkpoint 3. Here I topped up my soft flasks, grabbed some melon and carried on. To get through the busy streets my running partner ran behind me in the space I carved through the crowds. We headed up the iconic 199 steps to the Abbey then back onto the Cleveland Way. Again to pass the walkers I led and bellowed “excuse me!” in my friendliest voice. This section was a real highlight for me looking over the cliffs, the shipwreck broken on the rocks and the hidden caves. Just beautiful!
I became aware of my thirst, so gulped from my soft-flask. A short while later I realised I was running low. I eased the pace a little to make my fluid last till the next aid, as I didn’t want to blow up. My partner then pulled away slightly but remained in sight. The streets of Robin Hoods Bay came into view as I felt my left calf doing strange things. I wouldn’t say it was cramp, nothing seized up but the muscle was in spasm. I paused looked at my calf and it appeared to have the arms of a typewriter or the hammers of a piano drumming away inside. I was sure this was the result of not enough fluid and I hadn’t used any electrolyte tabs but I stayed at a steady pace and it soon passed.
Into Robin Hoods Bay and the final checkpoint. I topped up my water, this time added electrolytes but I think the damage was done. The crew fed me Jaffa cakes, told me I was 7th gave me my splits, they encouraged me saying I was guaranteed a top ten place. This picked me up and I pushed on, I had ran fairly fast up to this point because I knew that the end was tough and the climb would slow most folk to a walk whatever they had left in the tank. The last mile or so was steep as expected but the steadier pace earlier had settled the calf issue and before I left the Cleveland way for the road I felt strong again. I pushed up the final bit of road with the end in sight. I entered the hall to a round of applause from the crew and other runners, I felt a great and for a moment thought I could carry on running but that passed as my thoughts moved to food and water. I had arrived in 5 hours and made 7th place which far surpassed my expectations, I had only hoped to finish injury free.

 

Photo 31-08-2014 20 56 20

After the race those in the village hall were warm and welcoming sharing their race day experiences, as more runners came in everyone stopped to applaud their efforts. It was beautiful race with stunning scenery, and I enjoyed racing on my local trails. The winners were presented with their awards and I was offered a lift home with a fellow runner. The Hardmoors family were a friendly bunch; the runners were supported well by a dedicated team of helpers and I’m looking forward to coming back and challenging myself further!

(I do not own and did not take the photographs in this post, they were kindly taken and shared by a volunteer, thank you to the photographer for this race memento)

Advertisements

A Dogs Life

20130624-201043.jpg

The past several months I have been caught in a bizarre hysteria. I have been mountain running, mountain biking, climbing, skateboarding, surfing, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, practicing my yoga and drawing like a mad man. Things appeared to be great, so great that I didn’t realise I was perilously close to a full meltdown. Then it happened, not without warning, the signs were there I just ignored them, I crashed and burned.

Injuries, illness and stress resulted in me falling in a hole I felt I couldn’t escape.

But there has been one constant to pick me up…

My honourable hound!

The small but mighty Eliza

Every morning she wakes with enthusiasm and lust for life. She showers me with love and helps me to keep going. She is helping me to realise that you don’t need a lot to be happy. A lick of my breakfast bowl and a walk followed by a nap are all that she needs for a perfect day.

So the streamlining of my life has begun:

Less is more

I am selling off underappreciated possessions. Increasing my down time and in turn hopefully improving the overall quality of my existence. I will continue all of the above activities but am aiming to focus on quality over quantity. My artwork will continue to be shared on my facebook page but rather than hastily thrown together pieces, produced just to meet the daily challenge I set. I hope to create a portfolio to be proud of.

My outdoor activities will continue, but I realise that in order to achieve my aspirations I need to be more focused and rest when necessary.

To further simplify things this blog will now be known as MOVINGFASTBLOG a more streamlined name, in keeping with my determination for simplicity. I have realised that once things stop being fun I am missing the point.

Only time will tell if it works?

But luckily if it doesn’t Eliza will wake me with a lick and a smile and help me to have another go.

Hardmoors Half marathon 17/02/13

Last Sunday the 17th of Feb I took part in a trail half-marathon at Osmotherly. The race was part of the Hardmoors 26.2 series.

A few days before the event the race organisers warned that weather could make things difficult and that participants must be prepared. On the day the Weather couldn't have been better, temperatures were cool but mild, the wind had dropped and the sun was shining.

The course was superb, this was the first trail half I have entered and I was treated to some of the most beautiful scenery.

In order to appreciate these outstanding views the course included some serious climbs but each climb gave ample reward.

The trail included everything from fire-road to singletrack. The conditions were variable providing ample challenge and demanding your full attention, sections included wet mud, hundreds of steep and loose stone steps and rolling hills.

I ran the race with a new colleague and friend, he was kind enough to put me up the night before and also wore a go-pro camera taking an image every 10 seconds of the race (we hope to create a video with the 1000+ images). Graham and I ran the race and finished together, I held back to make this happen and to support him, much to Graham's amusement he was placed a second ahead of me even after finishing behind me. Officially the record book says that he is a second quicker than me 🙂

Had I pushed I believe I could have gained a few places, given our finishing time, a top 3 would not have been out of the question, we finished 10 and 11th on the day and i had another gear that was unused. I race for fun and had never imagined placing at any events but who knows in the future it may be possible?

The race was impeccably organised, the course was superb, I hope to perhaps enter some of the future events in this series. Great preparation for my trail marathon next month.

 

Thanks to Graham for taking and sharing these great pics!

 

Training for an ultra marathon…The Wall

This year I am aiming to run “The Wall” a 69 mile ultra marathon, I have my race entry confirmed:

I have entered the elite category, aiming to complete the whole thing in under 24hours. I have until June to prepare, so my daily routine is beginning to be dominated by exercise and eating. Our wonderful British weather is helping to keep things interesting, a week of running in the snow with my yaktrax has been great!

As I write this post more snow is falling and once my Friday at work is complete, I plan to spend the weekend hiking in the white stuff, more miles and more fun!

June seems an age away but I know how quickly it will arrive, so I am working hard to focus and prepare, if any experienced ultra runners have any advice it would be greatly appreciated, please leave comments…I need all the help I can get!

 

Road ID: Wrist ID slim review

As a Christmas present in part to my wife and myself, I bought an ID band by road ID. I spend most of my free time running, biking, hiking, surfing, climbing or undertaking any number of other potentially dangerous outdoor activities.

Were I to come a cropper somewhere, I feel I owe it to my wife to have a means of getting what’s left of me back to her :-).

Since breaking my back in 2011 I am more conscious of the consequences when things go wrong. The accident failed to stop or even slow down my adventurous activities, they are what makes me…me, but I am now more open to having sensible measures in place to look after my well-being and give my family piece of mind.

About

  • The ID band arrived quickly, even with shipping to the UK, it was beautifully packaged, presented and does exactly what it says on the tin.
  • I opted for the Wrist ID slim, it has the lowest profile and it is great, in fact I forget its on my wrist. (They offer countless styles and colours)
  • Weighing 0.1 of an ounce and being laser engraved, satin polished surgical stainless steel, the plate is fantastic quality.
  • The wristband is a standard silicone wristband, they come in a variety of colours. The plate can also be fitted to other charity wristbands.
  • I had opted to have contact numbers of next of kin engraved on mine.
  • They also offer a number service, where for a small subscription fee they will keep medical info on a database, so if you are in an accident emergency services can get your history quickly.
  • The stainless steel plate comes with a lifetime guarantee, it you wear it out you get a new one.

This product is cheap and so light it goes unnoticed. At worst it will give your family piece of mind and at best could save your life. I see no reason why all outdoor enthusiasts don’t have one!

I need your help

14 peaks challenge

I have entered a draw to be part of a team who will be heading to Wales attempting to climb all of Snowdonia National Park’s 3,000ft+ peaks in five days. The challenge will also include taking in some of Snowdonia’s classic ridges walks, including the Snowdon Horseshoe. The selection process is a combination of public votes and judges decisions, please vote and help me out:

http://www.experience-tour.com/tour/fourteen-peaks-challenge/applicant/837/

All you have to do is click vote and then respond to the e-mail to prove you are human.

(The closing date for votes is 18th January 2013)

It would give me something really tremendous to feature on my blog!

Thank you for your support!!

 

VivoBarefoot Off Road Hi Boot Review

Photo 11-01-2007 20 27 34

I just don’t get along with boots.

In recent years I have had boots from Scarpa, Zamberlan and Salomon and all of them were great boots but I didn’t like to wear any of them.

I soon sold each pair.

Boots are heavy, stiff, uncomfortable, restrictive and they all felt like torture. I felt little connection to the ground I was walking, to me they all just felt clumsy. I then noticed that VivoBarefoot did a walking boot and after very positive experience with their trainers I decided to give them a go:

Photo 11-01-2007 19 19 18

What they say

The Off Road Hi is a barefoot hiking boot like no other! Utilising our latest Off Road sole to provide the ultimate grip away from the pavements, you will still have a lightweight feeling and the flexibility you know and love. Added to that is a wholly waterproof shell with breathability. Suitable for: Conquering the wilderness.

Spec

– 2.5 mm Base, 4.5 mm Lugg Height

– 3.0 mm Press EVA Insole

– 303 g. With Insole

– 289 g. Without Insole

– Usage of Eco Friendly Materials

What I say

Firstly I have been using these boots for a year, they have walked hundreds of miles in all weathers and they are still my go to boot. All the other boots I tried were worn with my teeth gritted for a month or so, hoping they would bed in and some-how feel better, these on the other-hand were comfortable out of the box!

These boots have a pretty conventional look; with their high ankle support and brown leather they appear to be traditional walking boots, but their flexibility is so apparent folks have approached me wanting to know more about them.

Photo 15-12-2012 21 02 20

Pros

  • Light weight: these boots are  mutch lighter than conventional walking boots
  • Flexibility: the sole and upper are so flexible that the foot behaves in a much more natural way, it does not feel restricted. Great for those with claustrophobic feet. The sole offers great ground feel and feedback improving balance, posture and reaction times.
  • These boots offer good grip in a variety of conditions: the lugg pattern hooks up on mud but sheds it quickly and I have found these boots to cope far better with wet rock than any conventionally soled walking boots. this perhaps has a lot to do with the fact that the toes can spread and even grip surfaces through the shoe, that combined with a good choice of rubber compound for the sole.
  • Durability: I have been wearing these boots for a year and they are still in great shape, regular cleaning and treatment of the leather has ensured that they will continue to serve me for a long time (if you where to wear them extensively on concrete expect the sole wear out faster)
  • Eco-Friendly: I feel that the usage of Eco Friendly materials is a must and it’s great to see recycled and sustainable material being used wherever possible
  • Crampons: Although their flexibility would prevent them from being used with full Crampons, I have used them with great effect wearing the Yaktrax Pro Micro crampons, I have found the combination good enough for most of the winter conditions I have faced and the two combined are much more comfortable than I expected.

Photo 15-12-2012 21 03 33

Cons

  • Toebox width: The toebox in these boots does not appear to be as wide as other models in the VivoBarefoot range, although this has not proved to be a problem for me, they seem a perfect match for my feet.
  • Waterproofing: Although for the most part my feet have stayed dry, they have been breached on a couple of occasions. This may be due to the low Toungue Gusset. In June whilst in the lake district for a week it rained heavily every day, after about four days of this the boots seemed to have given up, others in my party wearing goretex lined leather boots stayed dry, I would say though that this was a small price to pay for the comfort they gave me and this was truly extreme weather.
  • Sole coming away: I have experienced some separation between the sole and the upper where the foot bends, I have to say that ever pair of minimal shoes I have ever owned from every manufacturer has done this, it appears to be due to the nature of their flexibility, minimal construction and perhaps even the way I walk. This problem was easily remedied with some Shoe Goo, and I really don’t know how this problem could be avoided in the manufacturing process.

Photo 11-01-2007 19 17 17

These boots are genuinely minimal with zero drop from heel to toe, no cushioning and an extremely flexible sole, so anyone not used to wearing minimalist footwear must cautiously increase mileage allowing their body the time to adapt. On Saturday I completed the Scarborough Rock a 24 mile hike, these boots did my proud. The conditions were muddy the mileage was high and my feet were dry and comfortable all the way round, what more could I ask For?