Saturday, 22 June 2019

Fibonacci number sequence Miles to km

8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987, 1597, 2584, 4181, 6765, 10946, 17711, 28657, 46368, 75025

The Fibonacci number sequence and Phi (the Golden Ratio) are math thingy things that don't get mentioned enough. They pop up everywhere without being noticed, in science, nature, politics, religion, art and behind the sofa.

What is the Fibonacci number sequence? I hear you ask.

The Fibonacci Sequence is the series of numbers: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, ... The next number is found by adding up the two numbers before it.

The Golden Ratio is when we divide a line into two parts so that:

the whole length divided by the long part
is also equal to
the long part divided by the short part

It is 1.6180339887... It relates to the Fibonacci sequence in that if you divide any number in the sequence by the one before it comes to this ratio and the further down the line is ne you go the closer it gets.

As a runner do you recognise that number? The 1.618... It's near the conversion rate for miles to Kilometers. So if you want to convert miles to km quickly take any number in the Fibonacci sequence, take that as miles, and then the next number (the sum of the last two numbers) will be the equivalent in km.

The higher you go the more accurate it is...

8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987, 1597, 2584, 4181, 6765, 10946, 17711, 28657, 46368, 75025,

Saturday, 1 June 2019

40 miles on my 40th birthday

Well I wasn't sure if I'd do it but once I got to 26 miles it had to be done!

I ran from my house in Wrexham to Chester, then along the Coast until I got to Flint Train Station. I caught the train back to Wrexham then ran home (with a bit added on).

When I was in Flint someone recognised me but I'm sorry, I didn't recognise him/you.

Whilst I was running I kept thinking, I'll stop soon, this is silly 😋. Why am I doing this. But then I would think of reasons to keep going; such as:
- this won't help me run my upcoming 5k any faster but I know other ultra runners who do well off long miles for shorter stuff;
- a friend from work who knew I was planning on doing 40 miles sent me a text at 20 miles in, how could I face them Monday morning!
- In ten years time I'll remember this just as I can remember doing 30 at 30.


Glad I've done it.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Sandstone Trail Challenge 34 miles

I don't blog enough! It's nice to have a record ⏺ of my life even if I just write garbage.

So, last weekend I did the Sandstone Trail Challenge. It's a LDWA event. I wasn't interested in winning, I wanted more than that! I wanted the course record 4h10m and thought it would be achievable!

The mind is a funny thing. You have to believe that you are capable of something otherwise the mind won't will the body.

How did I get on?
I started off well, I had target times etc and got to 10 miles feeling good. But then things, lots of little things, built up to eat away at my average pace.

Firstly at 11 miles I went a little off course and then after that I was hesitant at each junction / path fork and took a couple of seconds to check on my map I was going the right way. Then there was a bit of mud, not a lot, but enough to eat away at my average time. I also had to stop for a wee and stop to help a mentally disabled person who his rucksack caught on a gate! I had to stop at each check point to have my card stamped but in hindsight this was unnecessary. There were other things too. A constent headwind, too distracted by drinking enough water and carrying all the safety gear.

I was also enjoying myself! Strangely this meant I wasn't focussing on speed. I needed some competition to chase but I was out front on my own.

So, end result: a cheap win in 4h43m and nowhere near the record.
But lessons learnt and I still believe that I could get the record with better concentration.

The race reminds me of my day job a bit. I have a target 🎯 in mind for the day and unexpected distractions come up. I'm used to it in work and have strategies to fight them off.
Any trail strategy advice will be most welcome.

Monday, 1 October 2018

International Association of Ultrarunning - China 100km

Hi all,

A couple of months ago I applied to the organising committee of the Changan Ford Ultra-Challenge 2018. The application got through and therefore they'll pay the airfare, Hotel, travelling in China and most importantly the food. I have to sort out travel in the UK, Visa, vacations etc. Did you know that to get a tourist Visa you have to show that you are invited to China!

It's 100k on the road. The best Ultra athletes from each country will hopefully be there, similar to when I went two years ago. Although with the World 100km Championships being not that long ago maybe there will be a lower calibre. It's 26nd October so we'll be travelling 22nd October to 29th October. My wife will be left with the children which I don't like doing because she works so hard. She is a star.

Training has gone well with 6 quality weeks. I just have Chester Marathon this weekend then I need to rest.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

On a Quest - Gear Review On Cloudflow trainers

Since the spring in 2006 I started a quest to find the perfect footwear. By chance I also started a new hobby at that time called running.

 I started with a shoemaker called Brooks who had a trader within the walled city of Chester. For three years I fraternised with Brooks' arsonal of models. I thought I found the right one but it wasn't perfect. I enjoyed it's support and cushioning but it was too heavy. Then I switched alliances to Mizuno because a family member worked on the inside. I started with Mizuno's racing flats called Mushas which were the perfect 5-10K shoe for over pronators. Mizuno decided to keep upgrading the Mushas with version 4 getting a narrower toe box which didn't suit me. Then eventually they got replaced with Mizuno Hitogamis. I went through, probably 20 pairs of the Wave Hitogami trainers trying to decide whether or not I liked them. I did like them but I knew that they were too narrow. Every now and again I would buy another pair of shoes on my quest for a shoe to support me on the flat roads I travelled on but to also be light and with a wide toe box and be near to a natural running form.

 One of those purchases was the Altra Escalante. I've have two pairs of these. They are great for my fussy requirements but my history of running with the Mizuno's means I am finding it hard to adjust to the zero drop (how much taller the heel is than the forefoot). Another great feature of the Escalantes is that they have a super wide toe box. The first Altra shoemakers must have had me in mind when designing their trainers. Perfect for me but I need time to adjust and I may never get there (a zero drop runner). A couple of months ago I decided to purchase another pair of Mizuno Hitogamis as mine had worn out and I needed time to adjust to the Altra Escalantes. However I quickly realised Mizuno had stopped making them. And everyone but me must have realised and therefore bought up the old stock.

 So I got got technical in finding my next trainer. I wanted it to be in between the Escalantes and the Hitogamis in terms of weight, heal drop, support and toe box width. I searched all over the lands and wrote comparison tables and... (actually I'm romanticising, I spent two hours staring at a screen

 I came up with On Cloudflow. I've now ran about 100 miles in them and I love them. I may have completed my quest but I'm not 100% sure yet. I'll be sure after going through a couple of pairs, I don't like to jump to conclusions. My impressions of them so far are that they are responsive. They return a bit a energy, a small spring or stiffness which my beloved Hitogamis had in the Wave plate. The toe box is wide, and I hope On don't narrow it in later versions. In a perfect world I'd like the toe box to be even wider. The drop in the CloudFlows is 6mm, the Hitogamis were 9mm.

 This article relates to my road running which is mostly done at around 6:40 per mile pace. Some faster some slower.  I am on another quest to find trainers for different type of running: track, trail, cross country.  I’m beginning to think that this quest will go on and on as ultimately my foot isn’t designed to have a trainer on it.  Some would argue that the best way to run is barefoot and I would agree but I’ve tried it and it's too messy and cold and feels silly.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Cold Running Clothes Selection ❄️

"There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing" quote
This quote is mostly true but annoying when someone quotes it to you when you're soaked through and cold!

I've had 10 years of running in winter in North Wales, running almost everyday so I've decided write down some tips for others or to remind myself after a long summer. I'm not going to cover shoe choice, training or nutrition because it'll be too long.
"Athletes are made in the winter".

Firstly, maybe the biggest problem with running in the cold is that it takes 10 minutes to warm up. If you start off wrapped up then you will be too warm for most of the run. So, if you are unable to drop off clothes on the run it's best to start cold so that you don't have to worry about carrying your extra top tied up around your waist. If you're prepared to run by your house after 10 minutes then perfect, you can drop off your extra gear.

Here's a handy guide in a table: 

Temperature control
In my opinion, overrated. Yes it might regulate your temperature but only a tiny bit and certainly not enough to justify the cost. Also these garments often have complicated washing instructions.

A jacket can be good but only in certain situations and it has to be light and breathable. Through trial and error I've found that a waterproof jacket is a good choice when it's raining and under 10°C (proud of finding the ° on my mobile text!). Any warmer than 10°C and you'll be wet on the skin from sweat. I spent ages researching (not testing) a good jacket and found the OMM Kamleika Race Smock II with great reviews. Check out my review of it here.
Waterproof trousers are only required for slow running in very cold environments, rarely used. Compulsory kit for some races.

There are lots of choices! Have a range but notes that mittens are much warmer especially when you don't use the thumb and make a good fist.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Wirral Ultra 2017 1st place

haven't been writing many blogs lately because I don't think I have anything original or interesting to say but here it goes! 

After a disappointing 100km time at the National Championships in May I entered the Wirral Ultra and I'm glad I did because I did well there. 

I won in a time of 4h08m for a distance of 36 miles. Pleased with the pace considering four wee stops (toilet) and other stops to navigate. The best thing was how I felt; strong throughout and was able to pick up the pace. 

If anyone is thinking about doing this event then I would definitely recommend recce ing the route beforehand. I did and it helped. I only recced it once and wished I had done it more. Even when I was going the right way I was looking at the map in places to make sure I was on course, this slows you down. The last 8 miles are the hardest to navigate. But don't let this put you off because it's not hard to navigate, it's just that I'm not good at following signs (I run too fast!).

Leading up to the race my diet was ok. Low sugar but, as always, a bit too much cereal. A funny thing is that I ate pizza and chip shop Fish n Chips the day before, but in my defense not a lot. 
On race day I had cereal and coffee for breakfast. 
On route I stuck to Tailwind mixed in with my water, it worked out well, no stomach problems at all. I was too hydrated which made me wee four times on the run. I was worried about the temperature getting hot but it stayed cool. 

I started the race going about 20 seconds per mile too slow for about 13 miles but I had good company and was enjoying the chat. It would have been boring to have run alone all the way and I wasn't really looking for a particular time. Partly why I wanted to do this race was to fall in love with Ultra running again after putting too much pressure on myself at the nationals and it worked. I also just wanted to see if I could do the distance without my hamstrings being weak which they had been in the last couple of races. 

I have had the pleasure of having Zach Bitter coaching me this spring and he gave me a great plan between the 100km and the Wirral Ultra. We recognized that my weak hamstrings were probably the result of doing too much MAF (Maximum Aerobic Function) at one pace so Zach had a bit more variety in the last four weeks to give that muscle group a chance to recover. It worked out well.