On the 25th of March 2015, adidas hosted their first ever #boostlondon, “the energy takeover” event. Much of the event was kept under wraps and hushes, and runners who signed up had little clues as to what the run entailed. The only concrete information I could find about this run was the following:
-It is a 10km run.
-The start is located in Elephant & Castle, Lambeth.
-There will be a labyrinth/maze concept to the run.
-Runners need to bring a fully charged smartphone (to help ‘navigate the Labyrinth’).
-And that this event will be “like no other”.
Registration was limited, and hopeful runners could sign-up for the event, with only a handful being successful. Apparently, the selection process was random. Although I am not aware of the figures, it would appear that there were between 200-250 runners there on the night. Before the event, runners were sent a race pack consisting of an adidas branded “energy takeover” T-shirt, a smartphone armband (which is suitable for an iPhone 5 sized mobile) and an information leaflet.
Often on my long runs, pretty much anything over 25km, I find myself making repeated trips back home to refill my water bottle, and maybe have an energy gel or two. I must confess, I am not a fan of strap on running belts, and like to run as free and light as possible. The repeated trips I must make back home also limit the routes I can take, leading to some degree of boredom. A few weeks ago now, I began to look into the possibility of using a light weight hydration pack. I looked into a few different options and manufacturers, but the ones which seemed to click best with me, both in design and functionality, were from Nathan.
Without hesitation, I ordered the Vapor Cloud and Vapour Wrap models, with the intention of keeping one and sending the other back. In fact, they were both so good in their own way, that I decided to keep both. Here is a summary of my thoughts on these vests.
To-date, I have run 6 half marathon races, and run the distance of 21.1km (and beyond) several times during training. However, this was my first time pacing this distance (and pacing any event for that matter!), and something I was really looking forward to. My current PB for a half is 1:23:39, so I was pleased to be pacing for the 1:40 group at the Richmond Half Marathon.
In typical fashion, Sunday morning trains were a little slow. Despite taking the first train in, my journey to the lovely Richmond Park still took over 90 minutes. I hurried and made my way to the Xempo tent, where other pacers were already getting set-up. My race pack was waiting for me there, as well as a light-weight running vest/back pack, along with an Xempo branded “1:40″ blue flag. Set-up was fairly quick, and within a matter of minutes we were all ready to go!
Although I was confident to be able to run the half in under 1hr 40min, I was still under some degree of pressure, as I really wanted to do a good job pacing. Other people were depending on me and I obviously didn’t want to let them down! I queued up in the start pens in what seemed to be a suitable place for 1:40 finishers to be (asking other runners around me their expected time helped to determine this!). After having a chat with a few runners, we were off, promptly at 9am as planned!
A little bit about my background. I run around 50 miles a week, and participate in events ranging from 5km, all the way up to the marathon. In short, I love running! And was excited when Atlas Laces approached me and asked if I would like to write a review for their elastic shoelaces.
I run around 6 days/week, and normally tie my laces before my runs. I tie my laces in such a way, that I can easily slip my shoes on and off, and this cycle lasts anywhere between 4-5 runs, before which I feel that the shoe laces have become too loose, and must be retied. I know some runners tie their laces before each run, and this can be a chore, particularly when time is an asset (notably when I run before going to work and am on a strict time line).
The adidas Silverstone Half Marathon was my first half event in 2015, and my first time running this course. It was also my first non-morning race, beginning at 12pm. So a lot of first occurrences here! I woke up just before 7am, had a light breakfast consisting of a jam-infused porridge, fresh berry smoothie and a banana. Leaving home at around 8:30am for a race also made for a new change, leaving me with plenty of time to be driven up to the Silverstone race circuit in Towcester.
I arrived at the venue just before 10:30am, leaving me plenty of time for pre-race preparations such as a toilet visit, changing into race kit, etc. It was a very (unexpected) cold day for March, and a little disappointing after the slightly sunny/warm weather last weekend. None-the-less, I still decided to race in my running vest. This was also my first race in the adidas Ultra Boosts, which proved their worth (more on that later). With plenty of urinals and a changing room amongst other facilities, the race village was professionally organised.
The adidas Ultra Boost are Adidas’s flagship running shoes. According to adidas, they provide a new boost foam in the midsole, which will provide a cushioned and responsive feel, returning energy with every step. The shoes also include a TORSION® SYSTEM, allowing for a more natural motion, along with a stretch web outsole that will adapt to the runners foot strike.
Being a long distance runner, I was naturally intrigued. Forking out £130 for a pair of running shoes is a fair investment, considering that running shoes are a disposable product. Running experts recommend that running trainers are ready to be retired after ~700 miles. I myself currently run around 80km/50miles per week, meaning that if I used these shoes exclusively, they would last me around 4 months.
I have been pondering for a while about whether or not to publish this post. I am fairly reserved when it comes to discussing personal issues, and must confess that it took a fair amount of courage to post this on my blog. I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (pancolitis) in September 2005. After an initial period of anxiety and shock, I was prescribed a cocktail of medication, ranging from corticosteroids, immunosuppressants and anti-inflammatory agents. For those who may not know, ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease, in which the large colon can become inflamed. As there is no known cause for this condition, treatment measures are usually prescribed to help control symptoms, as there is no known cure. Going through periods of active symptoms and remission, my health was never quite the same as a pre-colitis state, resulting in some degree of impairment with leading a normal lifestyle.
Being somewhat of a cliche, I have always been very active with exercise, maintaining (albeit infrequent) gym training sessions since diagnosis. In fact, it is worth mentioning that just before my initial diagnosis, I was in very good shape. However after being afflicted with colitis, no matter what I tried, could never achieve the same level of physical fitness. This post will not be questioning the various hypotheses and research surrounding the cause of ulcerative colitis, but rather focus on what palliative measures one can take to prevent a relapse of symptoms.