The Bupa London 10,000, or as I affectionately refer to it as the Bupa 10k, has a very special place in my running calendar. Not only was it the first 10k race I ever ran, but it was also the first race I ever ran, too! Back in 2012 as a reasonably fit lad (being quite modest here), I thought that running a 10k wouldn’t require more than an already established level of fitness. How wrong was I! It was a hot day, and having done no training, I crawled home in 57 minutes. A wake-up call that running a 10k was no easy feat! I returned in 2013, having casually done a little more training, and finished in 48 minutes. Not bad, I thought. But I was still not running regularly. Then in 2014, I began to take my running training more seriously, and once again tested myself at the Bupa 10k, running it in 43 minutes. This was a turning point for me in my running, and I vowed to return in 2015 and further better my time.
Like many others, I was super excited when Apple announced the new 12″ MacBook with retina display at a special event in March 2015. I was initially hopeful for Apple to unveil an updated MacBook Air with retina display, but better still, we (the consumers) were pleasantly surprised to receive a whole new category of the Macbook!
I preordered the new MacBook on the day preorders went live, April 10th (the same day preorders went live for the Apple Watch). A large part of my day on the 10th was spent in Brighton, collecting my race pack/mumber for the Brighton marathon, as well as visiting the Apple store to try-on the new Apple Watch. There was also the issue of deciding which specifications I wanted in my new Macbook. But I digress. I finally settled on the 1.2Ghz/512GB model and was quite disappointed that by the time I had preordered, shipping times had slipped to 3-5 weeks. This essentially meant that my delivery window was 15th May – 29th May. Bummer. Fast forward a few (long) weeks, and I finally took delivery of my new MacBook on May 19th!
I recently hopped over onto the Garmin bandwagon with the fenix 3 sapphire edition GPS watch last month, and was intrigued by the range of features available on Garmin watches. Since then, I have been wearing the fenix 3 with the link bracelet and it has become something of my daily watch, allowing me to receive notifications from my iPhone, track my activity (steps, calories, sleep, etc), as well as serve as a beautiful time-keeping device. The only issue I had with it was changing the straps every time I wanted to go for a run, which can be up to twice per day. This involves a process of unscrewing the link bracelet and attaching the rubber strap, because let’s face it, no one wants to be running long distances with a metal band weighting ~120 grams. As a result, I decided that the sheer beauty and convenience of the fenix 3 justified it’s price tag, and decided to keep it for: a) my daily watch b) shorter runs c) trail runs and hiking activities (due to the enhanced navigational functions). This compelled me to look to other Garmin watches to use for those daily longer runs, coming across the Garmin 920XT.
I first ran the inaugural Run Hackney Half Marathon in 2014. It was not only my first half, but in my experience a very well organised event with fantastic crowd support. These reasons were enough to compel me to return in 2015. There was some criticism of last years event by other runners, the main points I can recall being raised were; water running out at the fuel stations, no finishers T-shirt and many down-and-back stretches ‘around’ (and not ‘in’) the Olympic Park, with no shade there. In short, I am pleased to say that these issues have been addressed and this years event was definitely an improvement, although I personally was reasonably pleased with last years event.
The fenix 3 is Garmin’s latest flagship GPS sports watch, boasting an incredible array of features. It is not only a very capable watch for running, cycling, hiking, etc. but also doubles up as a smart watch, providing the user with notifications directly from their smartphone. I am currently waiting for the Apple Watch, which like many others, I patiently preordered on the 10th of April. Unfortunately, my patience has begun to run thin, and there is no sight of me taking delivery of my Apple Watch. Well, not least until May 27th-June 9th, which is my current ‘shipping window’. But I digress.
I run around 6 days a week, and often listen to music when out for my morning runs. I usually run with an iPod shuffle and a set of wired Apple headphones. Although I can get by with the average sound quality on the Apple headphones, they simply are not designed for sports use, and frequently fall out of my ears. This proved to be a frustrating affair for some months, after which I moved over to some Sony wired headphones. Luck would have it that after a year or so these broke, so I was back to my Apple buds again. Being in the market for a few months now, I tried a few headphones, but could not find anything suitable for my needs. In the end, I simply gave up listening to music whilst on my training runs. Fortunately, I was contacted by Mpow and asked if I would like to try out their new Sport Bluetooth 4.1 Cheetah headphones and write a review for them. They kindly sent me a pair and I took delivery of these on the 18th of April. Having tried them out now for around 10 days, here are my thoughts.
When Apple announced the Apple Watch in October last year, like many other tech enthusiasts, I was overwhelmed with excitement and anticipation. Finally, in January 2015, we got word of an “official” release date; 24th April. Preorders were due to open on 8th April, 8:01 GMT. Excited as ever, I did some research and decided to preorder (online) a “42mm Space Grey Aluminium Case with Black Sport Band”. Like a child on Christmas morning, as soon as preorders went live, I logged onto the Apple website to confirm my (pre)order. To my disappointment, the website was still being updated! I waited until 8:05am like this, finally reading on a macrumors forum that the app was working fine. I made my selection and proceeded to the checkout, receiving a confirmation order email at 8:08am. I was disappointed to see that the estimated delivery date for my order was shown as 18th of May, almost a month after launch! A simple 8 minute delay in preordering resulted in this.
The same day, I went into Brighton to collect my race pack for the Brighton marathon on Sunday (12th April). I decided to visit an Apple store there to take a look at the watches in person. They were all located behind a secure glass cabinet, so potential customers could look, but not touch! I was fortunate enough to be booked into an appointment at the store shortly after, to try on the watches in person.