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5

Jan

2020

Parkrun

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action, Running | No Comments »

I’ve known about parkrun for years, but since I’ve never really considered shorter distances my thing, and I tend to like the solitude of running alone with just my thoughts (or maybe a podcast!) I’ve never done one. This week however, my wife mentioned that she would like to give it a try and didn’t really want to go on her own the first time. As it happens, the kids were staying with their grandparents overnight which meant we would be child free on Saturday morning so we signed up and headed off to our local run at Heartlands in Cornwall for a 9am start.

My first parkrunIf you’re somehow unfamiliar, Parkrun is a movement that was started about 15 years ago in the US and how now spread across the glove. With over 1400 regular runs worldwide, it allows runners, joggers and walkers of all ages and abilities to just turn up and run a 5k every Saturday, completely for free. The events are timed, and results are emailed out later that day, and often photos are taken and shared on a social media group. The events are run entirely by volunteers, with the ethos that you “run a few, then volunteer one” and I have to say, I was extremely impressed. It felt very well organised, better in some regards than some of the paid 10k races I used to enter. The course was very well marked and marshalled, the volunteers and the runners were extremely friendly, and the overall vibe was one of positivity and encouragement.

It’s definitely “not a race” – the idea being that it’s very inclusive and the last walker is treated as being just important as the first runner over the line. Having said that, there’s definitely some friendly competition towards the front of the pack, and I overhead the work “personal best” or “PB” many times while runners were chatting before and after the event. I overtook a runner in a spint finish on the final straight, and his reaction was to shout out “You go buddy, finish strong!” and then congratulated me on my finish after we crossed the line. When my wife crossed the line she thanked me to, for getting her out of bed (not a morning person!) and encouraging her to run for the first time in quite a while – all in all, a successful and enjoyable first park run.

Carn Brea Castle

Carn Brea Castle

Now 5k wasn’t going to cut it in terms of distance for my Saturday training schedule, so while my wife jumped in the car to head back for a shower I donned a waterproof jacket and pack and ran back via the carns for a hilly, winding, wet and slippery extra 13km. The thick mist actually cleared as I reached the peak of Carn Brea giving me a great view of the castle and the surrounding countryside including a clear view over to St.Agnes which made me reaslise I’ve never ran from St.Agnes Beacon to Carn Brea or back… will have to work out a route and check the distance on Mapmyrun.com and sort that out!

By the time I got home, my parkrun email had arrived confirming a finish time of 21:48 which put me in 9th place out over 163. Not a bad first time and now I have a goal to beat next time. Checking my data on Strava confirmed what I though which was the first 2 -3 minutes passing slower runners had held me back quite a bit. I’m pretty sure if I start closer to the front next time I could easily get that down under the 21 minute mark, and since I’m doing some speedwork as part of my regular training now anyway, I think a goal of a sub-20 minute 5k/parkrun by the end of the year needs to be added to my list!

If you’ve never done a parkrun before I highly recommend giving it a go. You can sign up for free at www.parkrun.com then all you have to do is print off your barcode and turn up any time you have a free half our on a Saturday morning. We’ll definitely be doing more of them, and I’ll be signing up as an occasional volunteer as well to give something back!

 

2

Jan

2020

2020 – an Ultra Year!

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action, Running | No Comments »

While I’ve had “Complete an ultramarathon” on my list for a long time, 2019 was finally the year I got to cross it off. Wanting to build on that I decided not to sign up for 1 more in 2020, but for 3 of them!

First will be the Cousin Jack Ultra in February. An out and back on the Cornish coast path, starting and finishing at St.Ives with the turnaround at Cape Cornwall for a total of 35 miles. It will be the most exposed route I’ve done so far, and with a night time start the first couple of hours will be done in the dark with a head torch. I’ve been running with a head torch for years so that doesn’t bother me, but I don’t usually run on the coast path in the dark so I want to get some practice in before the event.

Next up is the Classic Quarter. This was actually one of the events that originally peaked my interest in ultra running. It starts at Lizard Point (the most southerly part of mainland UK) and follows the coast path for 44 miles to finish at Land’s End (the most westerly part). It’s a step up from my longest run so far which was 40 miles, is perfectly timed as a “training run” for event 3 of the year, and will likely bring back memories of rolling into Land’s End back in 2003 when I cycled the length of the UK from John O’Goats to Land’s End in 11 days. This one is in early June which builds perfectly into event 3…

The Plague! Part of the Roseland August Trail (RAT) running festival, last year I ran the Red Rat (20 miles) this time I’m skipping past the Black Rat 32 mile option and going straight to the 64 mile (100km) run. Starting at Porthpean (where all RAT runs including the red I ran last year) finish, it’s another out and back this time following a very jagged stretch of coastline south to St.Anthony’s Head and back. It starts at midnight so will be quite a few hours of running in the dark, and is a significant increase in distance so I need to be well prepared.

So – 35 miles, 44 miles, 64 miles, seems like a nice solid progression! I have to admit the thought of the 100k still makes me nervous, but that’s half the point isn’t it… if it was easy there would be no point. Competing my first ultra last year gives me confidence, and hopefully completing both the Cousin Jack and Classic Quarter in turn will only build that confidence further. I have what I think is a solid training plan in place (which will no doubt go out the window once or twice along the way when life throws spanners in the work) and I’m raring to go… let’s do 2020!

This is a fantastic short film about a runner’s first entry to the plague. I’ve already watched it twice, no doubt I’ll watch it a couple more times before the event it both gives me confience I can do it, and reminds me how tough it will be at the same time!

 

15

Oct

2019

My First Ultramarathon

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action, Running, The List | No Comments »


I first heard about ultra-running over 10 years ago when I caught part of a documentary on TV which mentioned Dean Karnazes. I grabbed a copy of his book Ultramarathon Man from Amazon and was fascinated. I’ve been running occasional 10Ks for years and had a couple of half marathons and one full marathon under my belt, but the idea of running further than 26.2 miles seemed crazy. I had trained for months to run my first (and at that time only) marathon, the Edinburgh marathon in 2005, and it chewed me up and spat me out. The first half of the race was fine, but it got progressively harder and the last few miles felt like torture. I remember quite clearly telling my sister at the finish line that I would never run a marathon again!

I really had no intention of running a marathon again at that stage, but something about the idea of running an ultra marathon appealed, so I stuck it on my “something I’d like to do one-day” list and half forgot about it.

Over the next decade, my running was very sporadic at best. I bought a house, got married, started a business… basically life got in the way. It wasn’t until 10 years later when I got back into martial arts and realised my fitness wasn’t what it used to be that I started running regularly again, and even then it was just a short run a couple of times a week.

Fast forward to 2018 and my interest in ultrarunning popped its head up again. A few documentaries about running on Netflix got me interested, then I read Scott Jurek’s North about running the Appalachian Trail. I started building up the length of a long run at the weekend, and most importantly found that I was enjoying it… maybe I could give this ultra thing a shot.

In spring 2019 I started looking around for a suitable event. It had been years since I’d even ran a half marathon so I decided to start out slowly. There was a half marathon trail race just a few miles from home in July – perfect. I signed up, and started to train. On race day I got up nice and early, ate some breakfast and got kitted up, and my wife and I started bundling the kids into the car so she could drop me at the start line… but our 2 year old had other plans – there was NO WAY he was getting into the car or being strapped into a car seat. We spent a good 2 minutes in the pouring rain trying everything from bribery to brute force, but he was having none of it, so rather dejected we went back into the house. I could drive myself, but since it was a point to point race I’d then be 13 miles away from the car with no way of getting home, so I did the only logical thing. I opened the front door and started running, and simply ran 13.1 miles on my own. It was the furthest I had ran in years, and unlike the organised half I was supposed to be doing, there were no other runners to pace myself against, no water stations, no marshalls to give encouragement… but I ran my own little half marathon and that evening, feeling rather pleased with myself, I sat down at my computer to search for a longer event. An ultra marathon seemed like a stretch at this point, but I found a 20 mile trail run in about 6 weeks time – perfect! I signed up for the “Red RAT” and carried on training.

I was more than a little nervous by the time race day came. For a start, I’d been Googling the RAT and had found a number of Youtube videos and blog posts, all almost unanimous in the exclamations about how tough it was. “Those bloody steps go on forever” and words to that effect seemed to be a common turn of phrase. I wondered if I had trained enough. Adding to my nerves was the weather – a severe weather warning issued by the MET with winds of 45 MPG which, considering we would be running on the very exposed Cornish cliff path, was slightly worrying. I need not have worried about the wind – it was certainly blustery and I had to hold on to my cap several times to avoid losing it to the English channel, but otherwise the weather wasn’t too much of a problem. I can’t say the same about “those bloody steps” though! The first half of the run led me into a false sense of security – I was feeling strong and probably going faster than I should have. The steps, however, are mostly in the last 8 miles or so, and they do go on, and on, seemingly forever! By mile 17 I was getting cramps in my quads and calves, and feeling exhausted. By the final half mile I really was running on empty, and felt utterly beaten as I crossed the finish line. I collected my finisher’s medal, made a quick call home to my wife (who was concerned about the high winds) and then limped back to the car to drive home. I was in quite a bit of pain for the next 2 – 3 days and all I could think of was the fact that I couldn’t have gone another mile, let alone another 10 to make it an ultra distance… so by midweek I did the only sensible thing, I signed up for one anyway. But not a 30 miler… in for a penny in for a pound so I signed up for a 40 miler!

I had decided that at least part of my problem with cramps was probably due to my nutrition. I was only drinking water, and eaten a couple of cereal bars. I’d also started off too fast for the first few miles, and massively underestimated those hills and steps. I once again revised my training, started experimenting/practicing with nutrition on my longer training runs, and started integrating more hills into my training. This time I had about 8 weeks to go, and my longest training run was around 24 miles – I felt better at the end of that then I had at the end of the 20 mile RAT, but I still felt like I was done by the end, I could have slogged out another mile or two but never another 16.

Race day arrived, I once again had an early breakfast and got dropped to the event without any issues. It was a point to point race this time on the north Cornish coast path starting at Newquay’s Fistral Beach and ending near Hayle. I’d be attempting to run almost twice as far as I’d ever ran before, and I had no idea if I could do it, but I had no intention of quitting. My plan was simple – keep the pace slow at the start, eat regularly and take on plenty of electrolytes… and don’t stop until I reach the end!

I “dibbed in” to activate my timing chip and I was off. Slowly and steady does it. I wasn’t wearing a watch so I simply ran at a pace that felt easy, and it was lovely. The weather was cool and damp but nothing bad, the sea spray over the north cliffs reminded me of boing a child going fishing at Mevagissey and playing in the rockpools at Trevelace and Trevanuance. Those early miles seemed to pass by with ease but I was geld to reach the first checkpoint at Perranporth. I had just about finished my drink which is exactly what I had planned so I felt like I was on target, and now I could stock up and push on. That’s when the marshall told me I was in 9th place – oh crap, I had started out too fast! I did not want a repeat of the RAT so I edged the pace back even further. By the next checkpoint at Chapelporth I was in 12th, still further ahead than I had planned (I had planned to be somewhere near the back) but I had now ran about the distance of the RAT and while I felt tired, I felt like I would make it to the end.

My first ultramarathon FinishPortreath was the next stop. Now I was getting tired. 16 miles or so to go, and from this point on I was much less familiar with the coast path so I took advantage of the aid station and sat down for 5 minutes with a coffee and a cheese sandwich. My legs didn’t really want to get going again, but I couldn’t risk stopping for any longer than 5 minutes and cooling down too much so I headed back up out of Portreath towards Godrevy. As I was running up towards North Cliffs a young couple walking the other way stopped me to ask what the event was as they had obviously already passed several runners. When I explained we were running 40 miles from Fistral to Hayle along the coast path their reaction was incredible – both of them wanted to shake my hand and cheered me on up the hill, that gave me the boost I needed to climb up onto the north cliffs and then started the longest slog of the run that long, relatively flat section of coast seemed to drag on forever, but eventually I made it to the final aid station at Godrevy. At this point I knew I’d make it to the end – I “only” had to run through the dunes and along the beach at Gwithian, round the corner and back up the hill to the finish at the St.Ives Holiday Park. The weather started to take a turn for the worse as I headed down onto the sand and then the dunes went one… for EVER! The rain and mist meant the visibility was really poor and the sand sapped what little energy I had left in my legs, but eventually, I did make it to the Hayle estuary which meant the dunes were behind me, and it was just a short stretch up the hill to the finish line. I actually met another runner at that point (first I had seen in quite some time) who was lost and checking their map. I showed him where we were, and we ran together for a while. Turns out it was his first ultra as well (we’re pretty sure we were the only 2 newbies on the run!) but he was struggling at this point. After a mile or so he excused himself to head into the bushes to relieve himself, though I suspect he just needed a breather. I had however somehow found some extra energy, no doubt from knowing how close to the finish I was, and powered on the last half mile to so up the hill to the finish. My dad was waiting for me at the finish line as he had kindly agreed to drive me home (didn’t seem like a good idea to drive myself on such tired legs!) and it was great to see him and shake his hand as I finished my longest run to date.

I was definitely tired but felt nowhere near as bad as I had just a few weeks previously running half the distance. Could I have gone on for another 10 miles? Yes, I think I probably could if I had to!

Now, the sensible thing to do at this point would be to cross ultramarathon off my list. However, there’s unfinished business! The 20 mile RAT is only one of the distances offered at that event, there’s also a 32 mile and a 64 mile (100km) version, so… I’ve signed up for 35 miler in February, then I have my eye on the Classic Quarter (44 miles from Lizard Point to Land’s End) in June, leading up to the RAT Plague (100Km) in August! Maybe if I manage to complete that one I can tick ultramarathon of my list for good (or maybe not)

 

I never really knew either of my grandfathers, as they both died when I was very young. I’ve heard stories of course, but it wasn’t until this week that I realised the scope of some of them!

My maternal grandfather, Les Turner, was an engineer and I knew he was very talented. He built a number of guitars (two of which I own, that was the primary reason I learned to play) but among other things I had heard stories that back in the 1960s he had built and raced a dragster. I always assumed it was just a little hobby, but after speaking with my older sister and doing a little research I discovered that it was more than that – he took his racing very seriously, and was very successful – winning a number of events and setting new records. It seems he was a skilled engineer in his workshop, and a fearless and competitive racer on the track so I guess being an action geek runs in the family!

This is a photograph of him from 1966, next to his 1500cc Ford Slingshot which set the following records at Elvington:

International standing-start records at Elvington in 1967 in Class F:

1/4 mile in 11.06 sec. // 500m in 12.53 sec. // Kilo in 20.2 sec. // Mile in 29.62 sec.

He raced and tweaked it over several years, constantly trying to squeeze every last drop of power from it, and apparently getting a lot of respect from other builders and racers with one report stating it was “one of the best turned out cars of that era with green frame and alloy panels”.

The workmanship and build quality was so good in fact that though the car was broken up in the 1970s, the engine block was reused in another car which raced until the mid 1980s and the chassis was reused and raced well into the 1990s (and apparently is now in a collection in Denmark)

The following is an except I found on a site about classic british drag racing:

Jon Sewell purchased the car in the late 1970’s and was so impressed by Turner’s superb block work with its billet steel crank and rods, flywheel and sintered clutch in a Lotus alloy bellhousing, and an Lotus alloy diff. — that Jon realized this could be a terrific National Hot Rod motor, and it went into his #222 hot rod which he took the the Spedeworth wars racing against the likes of George Polley.

The Turner rail had been one of two dragsters being stored for a friend as a favour in Jon’s “garage”, until 1979 when Jon moved out. At this point his friend took away the blower [above] and cylinder head. The chassis, temporarily stored in Addlestone, Surrey, was bought by some enthusiasts who had a car but no trailer — so they pushed it by hand all five miles Woking

Jon says the dragster “was a work of art, even the bellhousing and diff were polished”. As for the engine, he bored it out to 1600cc and fitted the necessary cross-flow head and flat top pistons. “It was so oversquare it would rev as high as you wanted but had no torque.”

Here’s a shot of it in action:

Finally, here’s a photo of him riding his 750cc Triumph drag bike in 1969:

So nice to know that being an action geek is in my blood ;)

 

28

May

2012

Walking on Fire

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action, Crazy/Weird | No Comments »

There’s something about fire… it doesn’t matter if it’s a wood burner in a cosy living room, a small campfire by a river, or a huge raging bonfire on 5th November, people are drawn to it like moths to a lamp. I spent much of my childhood living in an old farmhouse which was always being renovated and extended, and we often had bonfires in the back garden to dispose of tree cuttings or wooden waste from the building works. I’d always be excited, helping my father to build a pile of wood, sometimes splashing on a little parafin to get things going if the cuttings were still wet, and then I’d carefully tend the fire as it roared away. One particular afternoon I was using an old piece of steel rebar as a “poker” and found it was fun to leave one end right inside the hot embers until it was glowing red, then carefully pull the bar out and marvel at how this solid rod of cold hard steel had been transformed into an orange glow with the power to throw off huge amounts of steam if it was dipped into the nearby duck pond!

I don’t recall whether my little sister had been “helping” with the fire from when it was lit, but I do know she was joining in with my duckpond dipping though being a couple of years younger than me (I guess I was about 8 or 9 at the time) maybe didnt quite grasp the danger of a red hot steel bar. At one point while holding the bar (safely from the cool end) she turned around towards me and the other, red hot, end came hurtling towards me. Instinctively I put my hands up to block it, and instantly let out a scream as it touched the palm of my right hand. It was probably the sound of my scream which made her drop the bar, which luckily had only touched me skin for a brief moment, but it was long enough to cause a huge amount of pain and sear a stripe of skin right across the palm and on the inside the fingers.

It’s strange what the brain remembers. More than 30 years on from that day, the thing I remember most vividly was not getting burned, but being at a friend’s birthday party that evening and sitting in the corner with a bandaged hand while the other children were dancing around the living room while terrible 80s party music blasted out and 4 coloured “disco lights” flashed along to the beat. I remember feeling very sorry for myself not being able to join in the fun, and resentful of my sister for causing it, though it clearly wasn’t her fault, and luckily the burn was actually pretty minor and didn’t do any lasting damage.

That day definitely gave me a renewed respect for fire though, and when I first saw someone WALKING ON FIRE (I’m pretty sure it was on an episode of Record Breakers but it was a long time ago so I could easily be misremembering that) I was stunned. I mean, if touching a red hit bar for a fraction of a second could cause so much pain (and missing a party!) then how could anyone possibly endure walking barefoot over red hot coals!

The event was being organised by a local charity, The Merlin Center, to raise funds for their Multiple Sclerosis therapy center. I paid my fee, and collected a couple of hundred quid in sponsorship from friends and family, and waited eagerly for the day to arrive. The event was being held at a local rugby club, and when I arrive the organisers were already laying out logs and safety fences on the turn alongside the pitch. Those of us who would be taking part in the walk were ushered into a room in the club house for a safety briefing.

I was worried there might be a lot of hippy mumbo jumbo in the talk, telling us about the “power of the mind” and that we had to focus our chi energy at our feet to avoid getting burned or something like that. I needn’t have worried though, the chap giving the talk was actually very down to earth. He explained the reason why it was possible to walk barefoot on red hot coals without burning (while the embers are red hot, the coals from dry wood are pretty poor conductors of heat, so if you keep moving at a constant pace and keep your feet fairly flat so no part “digs in” the foot should have lifted off each step before it has a chance to burn) and explained what to do if am ember gets “stuck” to your foot (basically you wipe your feet in the grass when you step off the end). I saw a few nervous and concerned faces as I looked around the room, but he did a great job of putting people’s minds at rest. I did laugh at the end when he was answering questions and somebody asked what happens if you trip and fall over on the fire. His response, along with a big grin, was simply “Well, you’ll get up again really f***ing quickly!”

Finally it was time to step outside. A large crowd of spectators, most of them with a beer in hand and clearly hoping to see someone’s feet get burned, had gathered to watch. Those of us participating lined up alongside the fire land as the organisers spent a few minutes introducing themselves to the crowd, and raking the coals (dies the flames down and evens the size of the embers to make the bed flat to walk on). I could feel the heat coming off the fire on my face as I stood nearby, and when invited to we each bent down and put our hand above the fire to test the heat – I reached down a few inches above the embers, and I could only keep it there for a couple of seconds – it was red hot! That was when the nerves kicked in. I knew intellectually that this was very safe, I knew the science of why it was possible, but that primitive instinctual part of my brain screamed at me FIRE, RUN AWAY!

Fire walking

It's a shame it wasn't half an hour later as the light had faded, it's hard to tell from the pic but those coals really were glowing red!

The organiser took his shoes off and walked across first as a demonstration to cheers from the crowd, and then one by one the rest of us followed, each person’s facing transforming from nervous, to unsure, to grinning as they walked the few meters over the coals and realised that they weren’t getting burned. We all had 2 – 3 goes, before being given a certificate, posing for a group photo for the local paper, and then cleaning the soot off our feet with wet wipes! I didn’t even get a blister, and while I suspect the adrenaline caused by the slight nervousness and the cheering crowd has something to do it it, I really didn’t even feel that much heat. 20 minutes after the event, beer from the club house in hand, I went back outside and once again bent down over the dying embers. Yes, they really were still red hot even now, there’s no way I could put my hand anywhere near them.

Another one crossed off the list! I saw Derren Brown on stage a couple of years ago walking over broken glass, perhaps that’s one to try next…

 

24

Sep

2010

Big Ride, Old Men

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action | No Comments »

If you’re a regular reader you may know from an earlier post that my father in law has been riding from John O’Groats to Land’s End for charity.  Since he is blind, he’s riding a tandem with his brother in law riding up front.  Well, after 11 days of rather bad British weather they finally completed the 930 mile trip and crossed the finish line at Land’s End.

For those readers not in the UK, John O’Groats is the very North-East tip of Britain, right up past the Scottish Highlands, while Land’s End is the very South-West tip down here in Cornwall, making it the longest route you can take across the country.  I did the trip solo myself back in 2003, and Steve and Pete took a fairly similar route to me and did it in just about the same time (11 days) despite having 2 “engines” on their tandem – but hey, they are a little older than me ;)

Pete’s son, Paul, joined them in Exeter for the last couple of days, and I joined them yesterday as they passed, to cycle the last 36 miles with them to Land’s End.  All my training recently has been running, swimming, weights and yoga and so I’m definitely not bike-fit at the moment.  Add to that the fact that I was on a mountain bike, trying to keep up with a tandem and Paul on his racer, and it turned out to be quite a challenge to try and keep up!

Luckily for me the route is pretty hilly, and while I couldn’t keep up on the flats or downhills, I was able to make up time and pass the tandem on the climbs!  The weather stayed bright, if rather windy, which made for a very pleasant ride (and made up for quite a bit of rain they had earlier on the trip!)

They have raised around £2000 so far for ABLe and Bowel Cancer UK, and that number should increase a fair bit over the next week or two as the final donations come in.  If you want to read up more about the trip, the charities, or to make a small donation head over to Big Ride Old Men.

The old men at the finish line in Land's End, with Pete's son Paul (left) and myself (right)

 

19

Sep

2010

Yoga Confusion – Cobra vs Upward Facing Dog

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action | 3 Comments »

I’ve been doing more and more yoga recently and really noticing some real improvements. My balance in both handstand and forearm stand/scorpion is really getting better, my standing postures and forward bends are getting much deeper, and overall my confidence and knowledge are growing all the time. Having said that, there are still lots of things which I’m unsure of and one of those has been the difference between cobra and upward facing dog.

Superficially both asanas appear to be very similar, and I’ve spoken to a number of people who actually think they are the same thing, with the only difference being whether the thighs/knees are lifted off the floor.

Iyengar’s book Light On Yoga shows the difference quite clearly and I understood that the position of the hands was important, but it was while watching a video on YouTube this morning that I finally had a “eureaka moment” and finally understood the difference. If you practice yoga and are uncertain about the difference between up-dog and cobra, take a look at this…

 

17

Sep

2010

The World’s Most Dangerous Sports

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action | No Comments »

A headline like “The Most Dangerous Sports In The World” always catches my attention, so when I saw that in my RSS reader yesterday I clicked though to find yet another generic list of a dozen or so “extreme sports” with little or no real information about them.

Base jumping – check!

Cave diving – check!

Heli-Skiing – check!

Cheerleeding… wait, WTF?

Yes, according to ithing.com, cheerleading should be in anyone’s top ten list of danger sports, since “there are over 20,000 reported cheerleading injuries a year”.

Can you really compare a twisted ankle, or a broken wrist from cheerleading with a BASE accident?  I think not.

Anyway, a little later in the day and I see virtually the same headline over at totalsportspro.com and decided to check it out as a comparison.  This time the focus was very much on danger, as in liklihood of death or very serious injury, and needless to say that cheerleading didn’t make the list!

Anyway, for anyone interested there’s an infographic from the site below. Interesting to note that it’s obviously an American site, since the map of “Dangerous sports all over the place” shows only North America, even though the headline is “The World’s Most Dangerous Sports” but hey, they also have the World Series of Baseball and AFAIK only USA and Canada compete in that ;)

Most Dangerous Sports
Via: Term Life Insurance

 

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

 

2

Aug

2010

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!