The Dark Side OF Adventure Planning – Part 2 – Logistics Of Running The E1

This is going to be one of the biggest time consumers of the whole trip, if not the biggest time consumer of the trip.  I have to get myself to the start, get myself back from the end, setup a schedule for the route so people can have an idea of where I’ll be, when I’ll get there and what sort of distances I’ll be covering.  Then there’s finding addresses along the length of Europe so I can post equipment along the route and collect as needed.

In essence I’m trying to predict or put in place lots of systems and events that ultimately lead to specific points in space and time, and doing all this while become an meteorologist and trying to predict and plan to changing weather conditions.

The time of the trip is done to partly coincide with the first time I managed to run for more than a minute, almost exactly 4 years ago.  It also gives me a time where flying to Norway is slightly cheaper.  But there is one issue…

At some point I will have to be up high and have to deal with potentially impassable conditions, whether that is in the Swiss Alps, Apennines or the higher sections of Norway.

I’ve chosen the what I think is the lesser of the evils.  Starting in Summer in Norway.  The idea of running in sub-zero conditions, snow and with little to no sunlight wasn’t something I wanted to even experiment with, so I’ll now have to contend with whatever conditions the Swiss Alps throw at me at around 2000m.

This bit is important.  The logitstics of something this long are going to be intimately linked with the weather.  There is absolutely no getting away from the fact that as I run down Norway, I will be losing between 30-15 minutes of sunlight, as I reach the latter parts of Sweden and then Denmark, I will be running through mild but wet conditions as Autumn begins to take hold and then there’s the Swiss Alps…

The E1 runs along a pass through the alps that at it’s highest will be in that border line section where I could have no snow, some snow or enough snow to make the whole rejoin liable to avalanche!

Some conditions, are passable with a control of the risks.  Others will stop me dead.  This is where I’m going to have to find some form of employment and wait for the ideal conditions (or more to the point, passable conditions).

The change in seasons on something this long are also going to play a big part in what is needed, which is going to be the most fun part of the ‘Dark Side of Adventure Planning’.  Get it wrong to not have the equipment where and when you need it is likely to be a barrier to the constant forward progress, but I’m going to enjoy working closely with Alpkit to get this side absolutely nailed down.

So what is the point of all this?

Simply put, you will always have a few things to workout:

  • A general schedule of places you are going to pass through and possibly dates or even times you will pass through them.
  • Knowledge of whether certain sections are passable (i.e the need for ferries, knowledge of tide times, average weather conditions etc).
  • Drop locations that will reduce the need to cary equipment and food for later stages.
  • Location of food and water (water is less of an issue with the use of water filters).

 

What else do people consider when dealing with the logistics of adventure planning?

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Why Do You Run? An Existentialist Angst Response @Trailrunningmag @Runnersworlsuk @OrdnanceSurvey #GetOutside & #Run

I apologise in advance for the existentialist angst in this post….

I run because it is fun!  I run because I get to see cool places, lots of cool places and I get to see them in a shorter space of time.  I run, so I can sit on top of big things, looking all contemplative when in reality I’m tired from running up the hill.  ;P

 

Have a great Christmas!

The Season Of Mixed Emotions

Taking a time out to enjoy the view and colours.

I find Autumn to be an odd month.  It comes with a sense of loss as Summer ends and those warm and relaxed days are replaced by days that start and end in the dark, the temperature drops and the winter moodiness sets in, but at the same time it’s full of sense of joy and wander as the countryside transforms.  Gone is the green and in comes the varying shades ranging from yellow to red.

It’s also that time of year when people find a myriad of excuses to not get outside.  I would have been one of these people, but luckily, my training bud organised me into an early Sunday run.  No excuses we’re made today and it was glorious.  I’m amazed at how lucky I am to live where I do, so I’ll stop using words and hope that the pictures will do this mornings views some justice. 🙂


Being shown new trails is always great fun.

Running through the mist that was clinging to the rocky edge.

Chatsworth estate, where all the trees have folaige that starts at exactly the same height.

Run done, so time for breakfast and tea.

Shoes optional – A Barefoot Runner’s Journey Along The Length Of Britain – Chapter 1 – Before I begin

It’s early and I’m regretting the previous night’s drinking.  Head feels like a small demon is inside it, pommeling my skull in an attempt to break free.  Quick motions are followed by a wave of nausea and I have to get myself to a rendezvous with my good friends Rooth and Adam’s to make the trip to Land’s End.  A quick coffee is all I can handle, so I go stand in the shower in the impossible hope that the water will wash away the hangover, but it doesn’t.   That odd taste of nail varnish remover that accompanies the night before stays, and it’s time to leave.  Luckily I had packed everything the morning before and after some dithering I get in the car and I manage to get to Ashbourne before I have to pull over and let the nausea take over.

Kit laid out ready to pack the morning before the day after.

Kit laid out ready to pack the morning before the day after.

“Why the hell do I drink so much?”

Well, the answer to that is a collection of ex-sixth formers chanting the name of the teacher at the bar followed by “get us a drink!” and several shots of tequila.  Can’t say it’s the best start to an adventure but then it makes it more interesting.  I get myself together and head to my mother’s house to drop off my car so my uncle can borrow it while I’m away.

“That stone you’re going to pick up at Land’s End made me remember something about Dziadek” my uncle says as though we had been taking for hours.

“Really?  What?” was the only reply I could muster.

“Well, when I was smaller, he used to take me and my friends down to the canal and he showed us how to skim stones across the water.  It’s made me think.  He introduced the whole idea of picking the right shaped stone for skimming and without him the idea would have completely alien to me.”

Now, the conversation continued but my mind was fixated on this newly learnt bit of family history.  There seem to be certain links in what we do and our past that we aren’t really aware of.  I remember seeing people press stones to the graves of loved ones in Iran and then leaving them there, but I never thought there would be any link to the polish side of my family.  We carried on towards Long Eaton and if we carried on talking j couldn’t really say, but eventually we arrived at Rooth’s.  I said farewell, we shook hands and I may have imagined it but there was something in my uncles eyes that made me think he wanted to say something, but he didn’t.  I wander if I imagined it or there was something he wanted to say?

I emptied my pack at this point and decided to pack everything one last time, decide what I’d leave behind and get ready to jump in the van. At some completely unregistered time we left, I got in the back of the van, lay flat and promptly went to sleep. I don’t remember much about the journey down apart from the food stops and a traffic jam that seemed to appear then vanish with no apparent reason.

My view of the road trip to Land's End accompanied by a bag of protein truffles made by Rooth for SK1 Fuel.  Delicious and the perfect keep the hangover at bay food.

My view of the road trip to Land’s End accompanied by a bag of protein truffles made by Rooth for SK1 Fuel. Delicious and the perfect keep the hangover at bay food.

Rooth & Adam - Two of the best people I know. I guess I'd perked up a bit at this point.

Rooth & Adam – Two of the best people I know.
I guess I’d perked up a bit at this point.

Once we got to Land’s End, I wandered down the rocket cliff to find a pebble to carry the length of the country. The south west coast is made up of lots of granite, but amongst it all was a small piece of white quartz. I grabbed it, along with a piece of granite and scrambled back up to the van. It was time for food, followed by pitching up the tent and sleeping. It was all about to begin and I was filled with an odd mixture of calm excitement, complete disbelief and a lack of comprehension as to what I had to do, all with an undertone of doubt. The doubt was all to do with the unknowns that Id have no control of.

“Are you ready then?”

“I have no idea. Gonna find out tomorrow though”

Luna Origen Review – First Impressions

It’s no secret I’m a bit of a Luna addict, so it’s no surprise that I have yet another pair of Lunas to run in. There are other Luna sandals that I’ve looked at and not considered buying, but when I saw the Origen, I was suckered in. They are actually made, in part, out of tyres! So, last Wednesday I decided I’d waited enough, visited LunaSandals.com and ordered a pair.

By Friday, I was amazed as always, as to how quickly they arrived from the US. Then I got them out the FEDEX envelop and first impression was their weight. They’re heavier than any of the other sandals I own, but then I flipped them over and grinned.  

There’s something oddly rad about having some tyres strapped to your feet when you’re running, so the day after, despite feeling a little ropey (virus induced as apposed to alcohol!), I headed out to one of my favourite trail routes.
The route is actually a great mix for testing shoes out, with a mix of sharp rocks, polished limestone, mud, concrete and gravel trails, so the Lunas were strapped on, adjusted and it was time to have a little gentle trot.

All strapped up and ready to go

The first thing you’ll notice if you’ve ran in any other Lunas is how bouncy these things are. They seem to flex and mould to any and every bump and groove in the trail, but they gave enough protection so that no sharp bits of rock stabbed the sole of my feet. I did notice the difference in weight in these sandals, and I started off being a bit more sloppy than I should be usually. Now, I’m not sure if this is because of the density of the tyre rubber, the weight or just bad form on the day, but after a few minutes of running they got quieter.

As soon as I got off the road leading to the trail, I knew the sandals were awesome. They handled everything the trail had to offer, giving just enough grip in the mud, just enough ground feel on the tricky technical sections and surprisingly good grip on the wet polished limestone rocks! This last bit surprised me as there is nothing known to man that can grip polished limestone. So after 6 miles, I’m a fan.

They seemed to grip everything from mud to polished limestone trails!

Testing the flex in he sandalss on a rocky river bed. they seem to flex and mould to the terrain tge way your feet would.

What are the sandals like in comparison to other Lunas?
I’d place them at the perfect midway point between the Oso and the Leadville Pacers. I think they have the same foamy rubber mid section as the Mono (or at least the top feels like the same rubber), so I’m going to presume they will mould to my feet as I put the miles in, and I’m actually looking forward to giving them a baptism of fire on the gnarly terrain of Mordoresc Crib Goch and Tryfan in Snowdonia at some point very soon.

Getting more to the point, they are heavier and more protective when you compare them to the Leadville’s and I think they are going to mould better and quicker, but they are more flexible and match the form of the trail better than the Oso, feeling a little less stiff from the off.

Only more miles will tell if they are going to be a repeat purchase in the future, but first impressions are that these are going to be a favourite for most of the trail runs I do, the Leadville Pacer’s have been relegated and the Oso will come out for those days where I want to feel the extra responsiveness that the stiffer Oso give.

A Two Year Journey In Pictures…

There is more to this journey than the posts on this blog. On deciding to make the whole Le Jog attempt public for a good cause, I deleted all the old posts, most of which served as a training log. Here’s the journey in the form of pictures, a past time I picked up from my Grandfather, who passed away due to several strokes and who the run is in memory of.

Beware!  The Dangers Of Shoes… 

Not just the dangers of shoes, but th dangers of not listening to the feedback that your body give you.

I ran the Fellsman and was asked to shoe up, and after just 4 miles, due to the wet conditions, my shoes had pressed long enough on the top of my for to begin some soft tissue damage.  16 miles later and I’d refused to listen to the signal of pain, and after finishing and removing my shoe, the damage done was visible.  One huge, red, soft lump.

Monday followed Sunday and the swelling spread throughout my foot.  The ankle joint creaked when I flexed my foot up or down.  Serious RICE time, a trip to Buxton Physiotherapy Clinic, serious tissue work by Nick Allen and the swelling is subsiding.

Still, how do I cope with the inability to train for my summer challenge?

Body weight WOD making good use of my Swiss ball to remove the weight from my foot.

Here’s the drill:

5 pull ups

10 press ups (feet on Swiss ball)

10 sit-ups (feet on Swiss ball)

30 second plank (feet on Swiss ball)

30 second side planks (both sides and feet on Swiss ball)

3 sets with 10s rests

The side planks really work on activating he core and the glute medius that is often the cause of ITB problems when it tires.

Fingers crossed, the icing, raised foot and flexing of the ankle joint speeds up the healing process and I’m back to running and working on more running focused conditioning.

Yet another lesson learnt.  Listen and fix sooner.  Don’t push through as you’re proving just one thing….

You can get injured just like everyone else!

So, what do you do if you are injured and can’t do your normal activity?

What’s Your Nutrition Plan in Ultras?

I’ve just had a great little conversation with Mike from Tailwind UK!

I know what two things you are likely to think…

1.  Tailwind?

2.  Tailwind in the UK?

Well, it’s not quite here yet but it’s so close that I can smell that miracle powder in the air.  Tailwind so far in a 2 weeks of training, seems to be some sort of miracle powder, and it’s hard to believe it was invented in someone’s kitchen!!

Normally, I’d have a plethora of foods from caramel waffles, brioche buns, flapjack, crispy bacon, salt tabs and some cliff shot jellies.  This year, I’m gonna carry Tailwind and use the few food stations on the 61 mile ultra I’m running on Saturday for anything solid I might fancy.  

So far, the support from Tailwind has been awesome whether from the UK contingency or from the U.S., giving me tips on how, when to use Tailwind during a run and after to help with recovery.  In fact, how often does a company contact you when they think that maybe you need a little bit of help with the product they sell?  In my experience, never!

Saturday, will be the true test and I’m going to try something I’ve not really done before during my 61miles of off-road Yorkshire fells.  I’m going to make a video blog of the race, whilst racing, so you’ll see Tailwind in action, and see what an incredible race the Fellsman actually is.  

Fingers crossed for good running weather, but I’m not sure the Trail Gods are giving without some sort of sacrifice.

Team Purple Is Racing?!  Support By Getting A T-Shirt :)

If you want to support a great cause (funding for research into the treatment and prevention of strokes) then get your tshirt by asking for one in the comments.  £10 for a top quality technical top!!

Great week of getting to see ideas become real, and seeing people showing their support for a great cause.   The local runners ran the Herod farm Fell race and demonstrated how to look good in purple.

     

Today, I joined some of them and ran a trail 5k followed by a 10k fell race called Chicken Run, proudly showing the purple t-shirt and setting some personal barefoot bests.  

   

     

I seem to learning that the only thing or person to listen to is my body, and that to find out what is possible, you need to test your limits yourself.

Have a great weekend 🙂

First Week Ever With 100 miles Of Running!!

Well, when I say 100, I mean 99.9!!

Blisters from two weeks ago are healing up and I’ve used it as an opportunity to test out different ways of covering and treating them.  This is going to be really useful come summer time, when I’m running 1206miles barefoot across the UK.

I’ve also started to break in my Luna sandals.  I really love running in them, and since barefoot is a little out till I have replacement foot skin in place, they are the next best thing.

I’m a little surprised how quickly we recover and how straight forwards 100 miles of running was.  It’s done wanders for my confidence in my summer challenge, but I will have to try a 200 mile week later this year!!  Sounds completely insane, but the kniwledge that I’m capable of it will make all the difference in those inevitabl low points.

Hope you’ve all had a great week and here’s to the week ahead 🙂

Justgiving.com/barefootlejog