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Marathons #73 and #74: Plym Trail Marathon

Plym Trail Marathon.JPG

Tyre: Freeus-Blod
Event Type:
 Tarmac path that goes along the Plym Trail cycle path. This is a small friendly event and options for a 1/2 marathon or full marathon distances.
Sustainability: The RDs have said the events will be cupless next year 🙂
Start Time: 09:30
Weather: @18 degs C by mid-day
During: Checkpoints every 3-3.5 miles stocked with jelly babies + gels + crisps + peanuts + water to refill
At the End: Medal + small goody bag with food, water
Website: https://www.firstandlastrunning.com/

After a restless night car camping and waiting to take off, we were greeted by a couple of wild horses in the village. Had not expected the FirstAndLastRunning’s website pictures would be real! It is real and something to ease off the urgh of sleep deprivation + prowling pervs.

Davey pulled up and greeted us with an early morning welcome sending out more mega-watts of positive energy to the world.

Both Davey and Lesley are 100 marathon clubbers , so they know how to ensure all runners needs are satisfied.

Whilst in the “waiting lounge” (the Village Hall) captain Davey announced that next year the FirstAndLastRunning events will be cupless! Hooray was the response from participants who were there and was pleasantly surprised no one quipped about it.

Time for me to get on the run way and control tower Davey directing that everything was clear for take off. With a final description of the flight path, was soon taking off from Clearbrook Village, up past that dodgy car park, cruising along a high path for a couple of hundred metres. We then flew back past the village, and onwards down towards Plymouth for 6 miles to a turn around point at the end of a path and the entrance to a furniture making factory on one side and a railway track that a steam train uses on the other side. The flight path then returns back up to Clearbrook village and is repeated along this 6 mile track. It is in Dartmoor, so you can expect to view beautiful scenery at a good altitude above flat ground.

Here is a tour with Free-us Blod for part of that route.

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Despite the small numbers, still met folk from a previous marathon and a fellow Fetchie. Other memories of this run was the man who put his hands on his hips and asked with indignation “what do you think you are doing?”, the lady who exclaimed “goodness gracious me…what?” My response “Sorry lah, am foreign. Please be forgiving me.”

Thought I would only be doing day 1 due to a lack of training beforehand, but Uncle persuaded me to do day 2 as it had taken us 6 hours to reach Clearbrook and as he says we should make the most of it. I just needed to be able to move my legs.

The route was pretty clear of runners’ trash. Of course did my duty as last runner and picked up trash – 6 gel tabs and 2 gel packets picked up for an estimated 60 runners.

At the end, there was a final education time to a group of cyclists to teach them about disposable plastic and why thinking zero waste really is the way forward. Loved the line by a Nigerian guy

“Why are you pulling the tyre with a plastic bucket? Is it a metaphor to show us that we are going backwards with disposable plastic?”

Day 1 landed in 7:43:51.

Marathon Recovery tip: If you find you’re stiff when you get up, this might be due to dehydration. Ensure you drink lots of water (for me at least 2 litres) after the marathon and more the day after. It’ll ensure you can get off your seat!

Day 1 Night

Airplane seats suck when they are on a slant. Just seem to constantly slide down and the legs / body can never be comfortable. Yes – we stuck to car camping that night and again pretended we were in business class. We were joined by a fellow runner who simply pulled up and went to sleep. Think I might have had perhaps half an hour of sleep at 6am. Oh well I’ve trained for zero sleep running.

Day 2: 

This morning, water poured from the skies, thoroughly soaking the ground and continued to pour down for hours after. Today’s animal greetings were from a bunch of sheep that had gathered round the cars. The awesome Davey gave another energised send off. Despite the lack of sleep, zero breakfast, and a miserable day, one could only smile being in the country.

It was wet but warm with waterproofs on. Puddles had formed and in parts water was streaming on the ground which tends to slow down the tyre. Free-us Blod happily scooped up the water. But it was just great to be in the open, breathing clean air and fantastic to be active than sitting on my butt for days programming on “trivial” important company stuff to improve their processes.

Day 2’s route is the same as Day 1.

It would only be after about 3-4 hours when the rain eased off and besides the hard core runners out there, saw very few people unlike day 1 when the sunshine and warm day had lots of bystanders out and about.

As the last runner back, again did my duty to spot & pick up any runners’ litter. Perhaps due to the wet day, I did not see any gel tabs or gel packets this time on the return journey to the village. Great job runners!

Overall really enjoyed this run despite the lack of sleep. It’s always fun to see the same runners multiple times as well as to have the space to enjoy the views.

Day 2 landed in 7:40:00, 3 minutes faster than the previous day!

Thank you to:

  • Davey and Lesley for letting me participate in this event. I enjoyed the route despite the ups and downs
  • Uncle for marshaling the turn around point and Richard for the mid-point.
  • To all the other runners for their encouragement

Also thank you Davey for pledging to go cupless next year, and to reduce the single-use packaging.

Some final animals whilst crossing Dartmoor

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#71 – Glorious Gargrave: Lost and Found

Glorious GargraveTyre: Freeus-Blod
Event Type:
 Multi-terrain marathon that goes along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal that can be quite exposed to the sun. This is a small friendly event with a couple of hundred doing 5K, 10K, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon and Ultra distances. It is a beautiful area and you can watch the way the amazing locks work.

Start Time: 10:15am
Weather: @25-28 degs C by mid-day
During: Checkpoints every 3.5 miles stocked with fruit, jelly babies + water + squash to refill
At the End: Medal + water + food to eat
Website: http://www.itsgrimupnorthrunning.co.uk/grim-up-north-running-events/event/glorious-gargrave-2018/id/14/do/details

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Gargrave Start Point

Earlier on this year, I contemplated only supporting events that were cupless and using zero single-use plastic like the LWDA events and the many ultra events. However, with Cheltenham Challenge going cupless and using zero single use bottles (I grinned the whole day), that event indicated that every event needs a voice to redirect how they (and participants) manage their waste. So decided to be that voice to observe events and provide feedback about how they can enrich their event with waste reduction measures.

Thursday 21 June: Calf Strain

Calf StrainThere I was racing round the field in a game of rounders as a fun social with my local running club, reveling the freedom of the sprint. Two of us were left batting on the team, sprinting round the field like lunatics and then it happened. Just as it happened last year as I sprinted in a touch rugby match, the calf muscle sprung its spring. Pain slowed me down, but I continued to limp to the last base and make a final round as Paul blasted the ball into space.

Last year when I tried to continue with the Touch Rugby match, it was nearly 2 months before I could run again. Lesson learned, I played back stop instead….no running.

NoticeDoctor Me

The leg refused to support me properly and the calf was in pain. Iced the area then the next day used a heating pack, followed by another ice pack +  Gentle Massage therapy + Arnica + whatever heat cream I could find. I wanted to be able to do the marathon on Sunday.  Saturday, the calf still felt tight but I could do a poodle run (small steps).

So compression tight + poles came along for extra insurance on Sunday so that I could restart my mission to encourage events to go cupless and plastic free, and find out how good runners were at disposing their rubbish.

After all if a lady pulling a tyre, can carry her own bottle and refill at hydration points, am sure everyone else can as well. Cheltenham Challenge has shown that a 1/2 marathon distance can actually improve the overall running times if participants would be willing to take on the challenge of BYOB and/or BYOC (cup).

In this event I did notice an obvious good number of runners had their own bottles & hydration back packs, so this event should be able to commit to being cupless with very little grumblings.

Lost and Found

This event used plastic cups, had reusable water dispensers + provided sweets, crisps and fruit. Thankfully those runners that did use cups respectfully threw them in the bins at the checkpoinnts (so no grouse there).

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Scenes of Skipton by the Canal

Being the last runner, meant I could do a final review of the course and runners’ litter behaviour. Thankfully very little runners’ litter was found, however there was a noticeable consistent dropping of gel tabs found: 4 tabs on the 10 miles out and 4 tabs on the 10 miles back to Gargrave; on the second loop 3 tabs on the 6 miles out and back. Some sweetie wrappers + Eat Natural bar wrapper were also picked up over the 10 mile out and back. Though this could be general public litter as well as the canal tow path is a public path.

If you recognise any of the tabs that you could have lost from your packets of gels, or if you dropped any gel packets on the path + sweetie wrappers, grateful if you can gift your cleaning fee here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/tyrelady Your monies will be used to help EarthWatch continue their research on impact reduction measures we can take to work with our environment.

Lost and found 2

To runners who use “sucky gels”, those annoying plastic tabs are missed out by even the professional cleaners. Please pay extra attention to ensuring they are put in your litter bag as am sure there are a lot of them in our waterways as many marathon routes run close to waterways.

Personally I find the gel “prescriptions” are really a load of marketing BS. I’ll write a post on this later.

As for the calf, with careful poodle running steps and taking note of proprio-perception, the calf held up throughout. Now proceeding with calf raises on the step to improve the calf resilience.

Thank Yous

  • The event organiser for letting me join the event, who trusted that I would carry my tyre when the path was narrow
  • Naomi’s place is in a great location in Skipton. The marathon passes her house! Stayed with her via AirBnB. https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/13834105
  • To the Leeds twins – you are awesome and thank you Twin 2 for your donation. Get well soon.
  • Biscuit Man – Craig – lovely 20 minute chat to you along the canal (towards mile 10) and thank you for your donation.
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Achieving Beyond a Best Time

A personal record or personal best (frequently abbreviated to PR or PB) is an individual’s best performance in a given sporting discipline. It is most commonly found in athletic sports, such as track and field, other forms of running, swimming and weightlifting.

Source: Wiki Definition: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_record

Let’s not beat around the bush here – the majority of runners who enter a marathon or ½ marathon or 10 km run are doing it for the personal challenge. Less than 1% will actually put in the time and effort of an elite runner: that is training twice a day, doing 100-160 miles a week.

For professional athletes, a best time is nice to achieve but it is not the total measurement of how the athlete performed.

Yet if you talk to many non-professional runners, you would think the time element of a PB is the only component that defines a PB. Runners’ can be upset for days recounting the story of how they could have beaten their PB if they just ran that bit faster, or runners’ depression sets in when they haven’t seen sight of a best time for days, weeks or months.

Parkrun (a worldwide free 5K event that happens every Saturday) sets out some performance elements:

  • Personal best time
  • Personal Parkruns you’ve completed
  • Number of times you have volunteered to help the Parkrun community

Defining a Personal Best in a Run

If a PB = Best Performance, then a PB can relate to a culmination of many aspects, that can be treated like milestones. In addition to time, you can have a PB in your preparation, conduct and effort.

Preparation

This means you can have multiple PBs in an event:

  • How much preparation did you really put in?
  • Were you able to put in more than your effort on the day?
  • Have you PBed in your conduct? ….”Hmmmm” I hear you say…

Conduct

Your preparation should have included reading up on the rules of conduct for the event. Follow the guidelines below and you can say you PBed in your conduct. These are some typical rules of conduct:

  • For road events, keep on the inside close to the curb unless you’re over taking. In places like the UK & Singapore, keep on the left, unless overtaking on the right.
  • Drop all trash into a bin to keep the course clear and safe for other users and to prevent “run-away” trash.
    RunnerPutInBin

    • Dropping your trash on the floor can cause other runners to slip/skid/trip causing them injury

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    • Dropping your trash on the floor can create “run-away” trash:

Run-AwayTrash

  • If you run past the bins, then hold onto your trash until you come to a checkpoint. There are several bins there to deposit your rubbish.
    • TyreLadyBelieve me, you have the strength to carry a couple of grams to the next checkpoint….I drag a 10kg tyre! It just takes a little more effort and 1km is short compared to the distance you will achieve! In the Singapore Marathon there are bins about every 20 metres in the ECP area.
    • If it is a gel packet, then put it into your short’s pocket/underwear or for women put it into your bra top. For the “euwwers” out there, you are smelly and sticky anyway, or carry a small bag for your trash.SuperHeroVolunteer
  • Thank the volunteers for their time and help. They’ve been out longer than you, setting up and then waiting to help & encourage you. At the Singapore Marathon, many will have been setting up checkpoints since midnight, and then waiting for runners from 04:30 onwards. Give them energy and they will give you energy back.

 

  • Look out for each other. You are an immediate hero when you help someone.

Effort

The effort you can expand will depend on both your physical and mental preparation.  On the saying “90% mental, 10% physical” Ross, a sports scientist, says:

An athlete who lacks talent is exposed, as a junior in many cases, and never reaches the Olympic Games.  An athlete who has abundant talent, but lacks the mental edge, may fade into obscurity because they don’t have the drive or discipline to train, or because they don’t compete well.

The athlete who lacks confidence or self-belief stands out among the crowd eventually – they reach the “highest level of insecurity”, if you will, before being exposed, often spectacularly.  On the other hand, the athlete who lacks talent often disappears into the middle of the pack and obscurity.  Perhaps this is why we have identified mental aspects as so crucial, the source of the 90-10 principle?

Source: http://sportsscientists.com/2010/02/the-mental-edge-thoughts-and-opinions/

And finally an element that very few seem to spend time on is visualization. This can be done in bed some days before an event. This can help you go so much further than you expected as it can keep you positive throughout the event.

So next time you talk about your PB, remember you can PB in other areas other than time.

 

Tips for Runners at the Singapore Marathon

 

NB The Green Ambassadors are part of Green Nudge

 

 

 

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Tring Returns From Retirement

TrangTring

Dec 2008: Trang (back) & Tring (front)

November 2008, Tring was found wandering a Singaporean rain forests. She was dirty, frightened and lost.

We cleaned her up and tried to get her to participate with Trang in the Singapore Marathon in 2008. After being in the jungle, Tring found the crowds of people overwhelming. Her reluctance to move after 6 miles, meant we had to take her off the reigns and continue on with Trang. We completed the event whilst Tring was looked after by a friend. Tring’s confidence was really low, so we found a role for her as trainer and coach to other runners. She loved it.

Tring Marathon Dec 2010

Tring in her former glory days

We slowly introduced her to larger groups of people and in December 2010, she completed her first marathon – the Singapore Marathon. We also gave her a bunch of animals to look after during the event in case her people phobia returned. Tring was hooked.

OldTring

She went on to complete the Singapore Marathon in 2012, three Parkruns, Twilight Ultra (50K) – 2015 & the Green Ultra (50K) – 2016.  With the distance she had put in, her pretty treads were looking worn on one side, and holes developed catching on roots and stones on trail paths. It was time to retire her.

Many tyres like her have gone onto successful careers upon retirement (…as garden ornaments or pledge tyres), but Tring was not ready to go. She requested a new lease of life as a a “Tyre Lady” tyre.

Tring’s Transformation

We have rebuilt her! Her transformation from land lover to sea lover is now complete. So here is the lovely Tring and the art work she displays is:

“Plastic fish feeding on polystyrene”

Tring is requesting that all people of the world help stem the flow of plastic in our waters and ocean which is affect our aquatic life, plus our fundamentals – food, water and air supplies.

It requires a little effort by refusing disposable/single use plastic & using a BYOR (Bring Your Own Reusable) approach. That is bring your own reusable cup, plate, cutlery, bag, etc to anywhere that provides plastic. It’s part of stuff in my handbag 😀

Please commit to this action because #PlasticSoup #PlasticOceans can be healed. Boyan Slat is helping one part of the solution with an ocean clean up:

We are another part of the solution.

Below are images from the web on plastic pollution that we can all play a part in stopping and preventing in the future.

FRomWeb.JPG

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Running Injury Free (& Pulling a Tyre)

StartPhoto

June 2006 I began running with a tyre, targetting my first marathon, the Singapore Marathon, to complete with my tyre.

Singapore Marathon, 2006: Shin Splints

New York Marathon, 2007: Achilles Injury

I sought advice from people who had been running for some time. Was told it was my foot wear. Went for gait analysis and bought myself an expensive pair of running shoes.

Ultra 45 Northamton to Tring, 2008: ITB Strain

Singapore Marathon, 2008: Plantar Fasciitis

Those who had been running for much longer than me told me I would continually get injured because of the tyre and my foot wear.  Those who cared for me, told me doing long distance running was bad for my body and health.

Posture

Poor postural alignment: Shoulder, hips and ankle should be aligned

At the end of 2009 I put myself on a Pose running course. I chose the Pose technique as it would tell my biomechanically what I was doing wrong.  Dr Nicholas Romanov has written you a post here: https://posemethod.com/running/ so that you can understand what the “running pose” is all about.

Sandals

Completed 4 marathons in these sandals

My technique sucked! By the end of the course, the instructor told me I was good to go, so I challenged myself to complete 10 marathons in 2010 with a tyre and any foot wear I chose, that included beach wear sandals to prove to everyone that it had nothing to do with the tyre nor the foot wear. It had everything to do with technique. (In case you’re wondering, I have not read “Born to Run”). It should be noted that I kept to low mileage for the first 2 months after the course, to train “new” muscles for longer distances.

After 47 more Marathons (with a 10 kg tyre = 22lb tyre) and 26 more Ultras, one being 150 km with a 15kg tyre, the worst “running injury” I have suffered is a couple of blisters.

What changed was my proprio-perceptual awareness of what my body was doing and how to correct it. I changed my harness to a body harness as over a long distance I found my posture would drop when I was tired.

After doing the Pose running course, I assisted 3 more Pose running events in 2010 and 2011 to help others improve their running technique.

After that….well everyone wants to run with a tyre 🙂

Consider training with a tyre if:

  • Need to do hill training and only have flat areas in your local vicinity
  • You want feedback about your running technique. Note the tyre bouncing due to poor postural alignment (butt sticks out). Had a bad stitch at the end of this event and found it difficult to straighten up!

Also you might want to read one of my old blog posts: http://www.tyregirl.com/the-adventures-of-tyre-girl/archives/03-2013

If what you are really looking for is strength training and time improvement, then would suggest you look at using HITT (High Intesnity Training Techniques) to improve your times. Core strength can be improved with Yoga and Pilates. An additional bonus with Yoga is it teaches you proprio-perception.

You can test all the methods in this post have improved your running by using a tyre, but your times and reduction in injury will also prove they work.

So if you are injuring in your running, then invest in your technique. It is far cheaper in the long term then having to take time off & seeing a physio to get yourself fixed.

Remember: Train slow and it is unlikely you will find your “fast muscles”.