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What do you get if you mix an extreme 50km foot race and the biggest annual experiment in community, self expression and self reliance?  The new Burning Man Ultramarathon of course!

Going to Burning Man has been on my list for many years now, and I’ve always wanted to run an ultramarathon too so could this be a match made in heaven?  Well you decide – it’s a 50km race which looks set to be one of the toughest and most unique ultramarathons (comparable to the Badwater).  It’s probably the only ultramarathon in the world where there’s a high liklihood of several runners attempting the event naked – though I think some parts are likely to chaff over such a distance!!!

The official FAQ states that each competitor must bring at least 1 gallon of water, sunglasses, a dust mask, goggles and a headlamp!

Their suggestions is to “run slow, eat potato chips, and have  blast!”

It looks like 12 people have signed up to the event so far.  Unfortunately there’s no way I can get to Nevada this yea, but if this becomes a regular event I think I’ll have to add it to my must do list!

Here’s a link to the official Burning Man Ultramarathon web site.

Image courtesy of Aleksander Soender





Swimming is improving…

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action | No Comments »

Half way though my swimming coaching and I’m seeing big improvements already. While I’ve still got a LONG way to go I already feel much more comfortable in the water. We’ve worked on a number of drills to help improve my head position, timing of my breathing, and syncing my arm and leg movements better.

My breathing was definitely my biggest problem with my crawl. It turns out that my head position was slightly wrong, I wasn’t rolling enough, and I was trying to breath slightly too late in the stroke. By starting to turn my head slightly earlier, and rolling more, I’m finding the breathing much easier which makes me more relaxed and less much more confident.

I have another lesson this evening, and then I’ll try and get to the pool two or three times during the week before my final lesson on Saturday. Hopefully after that I’ll have been given enough pointers to really get stuck into my training myself and progress over the next few months to a level where I can start my Ironman training in January confident that I’ll be capable of doing the swim!


I came across this shocking statistic today – every year, disposable plastic water bottles are responsible for an incredible 1.5 MILLION TONS of waste plastic, using 47 million gallons of oil!

In 2011 the global sales of bottled water is predicted at 174.2 million liters, up 51% in five years.  We always keep a big bottle of water in the fridge which we simply refill from the tap, and I always take a sports bottle to a workout, rather than buy a bottle from a vending machine, but the bottled water industry has carefully marketed its product to make people think it’s a “purer” and “safer” alternative to tap water… but it’s just water!

There’s very little empirical evidence that suggests bottled water is any clearner or better for you than tap water

Here’s an info-graphic I found.  If you have a blog you can embed it yourself using the code at the bottom of this post to help spread the word, and do just a little bit to help reduce this massive burdon on our planet’s resources… [click to view full size]





Swim coaching begins

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action | 1 Comment »

It seems like an age ago that I booked my swim coaching, but the wait was finally over today when I had my first session.  I was only 30 minutes but even in that short time I have made real progress, and it’s given me a real confidence boost…

I have 3 more sessions booked over the next couple of weeks, and I’m pretty sure that if I can get in several practice sessions in between, then in a couple of weeks time I’ll have my basic front crawl stroke nailed, and be well on the way to developing my swimming to a level where I can train for the Ironman with confidence!

We started off briefly discussing my goals, and then my coach Jan, an ex competitive swimmer who trialed for the 1988 Olympics, and a triathlete herself, watched a few lengths of my normal stroke to see where I was starting from.  I was quite surprised when she said that my stroke wasn’t too bad, and that with a few small changes I could make big improvements.

The rest of the session was spent doing some basic drills, getting my breathing timing correct, and working on both my kick and arm stroke, and body/head position.  I was really impressed with how fast I seemed to progress – it makes SUCH a difference having an expert tell you exactly where to position your head, body and limbs and how to co-ordinate the stroke.

The biggest changes seemed to be my head position, the amount of roll on each stroke, and the timing of my breathing.  Just small changes to each of these has already made a big difference to my comfort, speed and confidence in the water, and I can’t wait to get to the pool in the morning and put what I’ve learned into practice!





Amazing Places To Swim

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action | 2 Comments »

With my swim coaching booked to start next week, I’ve been thinking about different places where it would be amazing to swim. I’ve been lucky enough to swim in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans already, the Mediterranean, Aegean and Carribean seas, but what about more obscure or adventerous swimming destinations?

A few years ago I cycled along the length of Loch Ness, and aside from the cold that would definitely be a cool plce to swim, but I think you have to look further afield to get really interesting swimming spot…

Bioluminescent Bay is a bay in Puerto Rico which contains massive numbers of bioluminescent micro-organisms which glow when the water is disturbed. Swimming at night creates a blue glowing “halo” effect around the swimmer’s body, so that sounds like an awesome place that should be added to my “places to see” list!

Jellyfish Lake” also ticks all the boxes for being interesting and adventurous. The late is on one of the limestone islands of Palau, and since the lake is sealed off from the ocean with virtually no predators, the jellies there have evolved to be stingless.

The third amazing spot is known as “Devil’s Swimming Pool“, or “Devil’s Armchair” at the top of Victoria falls in Zambia – 420 feet above the river below! You can relax in the water right up to the edge (in the dry season) and look over the sheer drop – now THAT looks like an amazing place to swim!

Got any other ideas for AMAZING places to swim?  Leave a comment below…





Training Schedule For Half Marathon

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action | No Comments »

Well, after being told by my doctor to rest for several weeks I’m now feeling very gittery and itching to get back to training.  Due to being laid up for so long I’ve missed my chance at entering the Perranporth Triathlon, so my training will now me base building towards starting Ironman training in January, and aiming for a reasonable time in the Eden Project Half marathon in 13 weeks time.

The schedule below is based on the Sub 1:50 training schedule on the Runner’s World website.  I’m easing into the running gradually over the next few weeks, and will need to listen to my body and adjust accordingly.  I’ll most likely cycle on most of my rest days, and will probably switch the Thursday runs (or at least some of them) to cycling too.

My goal is 1:45 which I’d be very happy with considering that Eden is quite a tough hilly course.  If I can achieve that, or at least get very close to it, I’ll feel confident going into my Ironman training shortly afterwards.

We have a few commitments over the summer, including 2 weddings to attend, and a multi-day stag do which I’ll have ti work around as best I can…

Week Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun
1 3M Easy Rest 2M Easy Rest 3M Easy Rest 4M Easy
2 3M Rest Rest 4M Easy REST Warm up, 2M fast, warm down 5M Easy
3 4M Easy 3M Faster than Mon Rest 4M Easy REST Warm up, 4 x 400m, 3 min jog recoveries 6M Easy
4 4M Easy 4M Faster than Mon 5M with 15 mins of 30 sec fast, 60 sec jog 4M Easy , off road REST 1M jog, 5M fairly fast, 1M jog 7M Slow
5 4M Easy 6M Hilly 5M inc 16 mins of 1 min fast, 1 min jog 5M Easy REST Wedding Wedding (5M Slow)
6 4M Easy 6M Start slow, finishing faster 4M Easy Warm up, 8 x 90 secs fast, 90 secs slow Stag Do Stag Do 8M Slow
7 4M Easy 6M Fairly fast 4 x 3min fast, 2 min recoveries 5M Easy REST 2M Slow, 1M fast, 2M slow 10M Slow
8 5M Easy , off road 6M Start slow, finishing faster 3 x 5 min with 5 min recoveries 5M Easy (6 x 150m fast strides) REST Wedding Wedding (5M Slow)
9 5M Easy 5M (16 X 1 min fast, 1 min slow) Warm up, 2 x 2M timed at threshold pace 5M Easy REST 1M Easy, 4M Fairly fast, 1M Slow 10M Steady
10 5M Easy , off road Rest 8M Fairly fast 4M Easy REST 4M on grass (6 x 200m strides) 10K Race (plus warm up/down)
11 5M Easy , off road 6M Steady inc up hill bursts 3 x 5 min with 5 min recoveries 5M REST 6M (10 x 30 sec fast, 30 sec slow) 12M Steady
12 5M Easy 5M (16 X 1 min fast, 1 min slow) Warm up, 2 x 2M timed at threshold pace 6M Easy REST 1M Easy, 4M Fast, 1M Easy 10M Steady
13 5M Easy 7M Comfortable pace Warm up, 2M race pace, 2M jog 5M Easy (6 x 30 sec fast) REST 3M Eden Project Half Marathon




Race For Life Truro 2010

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action | No Comments »

While I’ve been resting on doctor’s orders for the past couple of weeks and unable to train, my wife has been out there pounding the streets, and yesterday entered her very first running event – the Cancer Research “Race For Life” in Truro.

She was a little nervous being that it was her first ever event, and due to being away at Glastonbury a couple of weeks ago she felt that she hadn’t trained enough, but on the day she was fine.

The weather was kind, if a little humid, and it was a really good turn out of around 1,400 runners, joggers and walkers all raising money for a great cause.  The oldest runner was an amazing 94 years young, and the youngest were several babies and toddlers in prams and pushchairs being pushed along by their mums!

It’s a really great event for anyone who is interested in getting into running but is wary of signing up for a 10k.  It’s an incredibly friendly and non-competitive event, and there really are all levels of entrant, from a reasonably speedy 22 minutes to the final entrants walking with pushchairs (and one lady pulling a trolly which her dog was curled up in!)

Best of all, Cress is now training for a half marathon with me, so it will be great to finally enter an even with her… and while the doc told me to rest for 4 weeks, I feel pretty good now so I’m going to ease back into training again this week ;)

If anyone wants info on the Race For Life and to find out where your nearest event is check out http://www.raceforlife.org/

Note – new this year there is also a series of 10k events, open to both women and men.  Check for your local event at here





Parking Ticket Update

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action | 1 Comment »

Well the response to this has been great.  Yesterday the story appeared in our local paper, The West Briton, and since then a ton of people have visited the web page at http://www.squidoo.com/armtrac-security-services and posted comments of support, and stories of their own dealings with Armtrac.

The article in the paper included a quote from a local councillor branding firms like Armtrac as a “blight on the town”, and stating that the council, “must average one complaint a week.  They are driving shoppers out of the town”.

The web page has already received hundreds of visitors, has been “liked” on Facebook more than 20 times, but best of all it’s climbing the Google rankings and currently stands near the top of the second page of search results for both “Armtrac Security Services” and just “Armtrac” so with any luck it will hit page one in a few days, and be easy to find for other “victims” of Armtrac’s scam.

UPDATE : As of Monday 12th July the web page now ranks #1 for “Armtrac Security Services” on Google.com and Google.co.uk





Dodgy Parking Ticket

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action | 3 Comments »

OK so this is not the sort of thing I normally blog about, but this got me REALLY annoyed…

On Saturday my wife and I were issued a “parking ticket” by a private security company named Armtrac Security Services… WHILE I WAS SAT IN THE CAR!!!

We had stopped in a parking bay adjacent to a shop in a local town. There were plenty of empty bays, including the one next to ours, and I stayed in the car with the keys in the ignition while my wife popped inside quickly, and within a minute or so an unmarked van had pulled up close behind our back bumper blocking our car in.

The driver who was not in any sort of uniform jumped out and took a photo of the car, and when I asked what the hell was going on he said I was getting a parking ticket. I said no worries, that I would move my car, and asked him to move his van which he refused to do. No matter what I said he refused to move his van while he wrote out the ticket, then he handed me a “Charge ticket” for £60 and then left.

The parking bays to my left and right were empty, and by delibarately parking on the road so as to block me in he was the one causing an obstruction, double parking a silver mini-van opposite and preventing any other vehicle from passing.

The ticket states that we have 7 days to pay, otherwise the price increases, and that “If you have reason to appeal a £5.00 administration fee will be charged.”

What a joke. So as soon as I got home I went online to find Armtrac’s website, and it turns out not only do they not have a site, but the address they give is a mail forward, and the phone number is an 0871 redirect… basically they are hiding!

Well not any more. I’ve created a page all about Armtrac and their dodgy business in the hope of exposing them. I’ve also been interviewed and photographed by our local newspaper, and I’m waiting to hear back from a researcher at the local radio station who says they are looking into it.

These guys are scammers, their entire business model involves “pouncing” on people to issue these tickets and I’m sure it’s illegal. I’m taking legal advice and will fight them all the way, but in the meantime hopefully anyone searching “Armtrac Security Services” after getting one of these tickets will find this page and the Squidoo lens and realise that they are not alone, they they should NOT pay the ticket, and that Armtrac need to be stopped!

[rant over]





Life gets in the way… again!

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action/Geek | No Comments »

Well it’s been a rollercoaster of a few weeks, and unfortunately that has meant this blog has been sadly neglected. I’ve been ill, but after seeing the doctor I now know it’s nothing serious, have been given something for the pain and told to rest and that I should make a full recover in another 3 – 4 week… so much for running my first triathlon at the end of the summer then!

But I guess whatever plans and goals we make, life is going to get in the way and we just have to deal with it. Hopefully I’ll be well enough to start my swim coaching later this month, and I’ll just have to change my goals a little and run my first tri as early as possible next year. I still have the Eden Half Marathon in October to train for, and it means I’ll have a lot longer to get my swimming sorted before my first race.

Other than that, I was at the Glastonbury Festival last week which was awesome apart from missing quite a few bands I wanted to see due to being ill, and having to just rest in the tent while everyone else was out having fun! I still managed to have a great day on the Saturday though, and still some some amazing acts including Muse, The Lightning Seeds, Willie Nelson, Rolf Harris and Vampire Weekend to name a few. I’ll write a proper post about the festival over the weekend, and next week I’ll need to sit down and really re-evaluate my goals and training to see where I’m headed…