Helvellyn 10k Trail Race Report

There’s really only one thing to do now that the days are short, the temperature has dropped, and it’s raining more often than not. Do a 10k trail race in the Lake District, obviously.

 

Last Saturday SB and I traversed the North of England to run a 10k trail run at Helvellyn. When people heard we were running there, their responses weren’t great: they’d grimace a bit and say “Really? You’re running Helvellyn?”. Since it was only 10k, I was fairly confident that we weren’t running up and down the whole mountain , but something manageable for my short, little legs.

 

A brief moment of sun

A brief moment of sun

As with all of the runs in this Lake District series, the route takes you out of whatever village you start in and up the hill pretty quickly. It’s been a year since I have done a proper trail race like this, and I had forgotten just. how. hard. it. is.

 

I entered with a false sense of security that it’d be a breeze, a lovely way to spend a Saturday, and it might be rainy and cold, but heck, we were out in nature, man, keeping fit and being at one with the trees and the birds. I had imagined some kind of Wordsworthian experience, and what I got were wet feet, sore ankles and stitches in my shoulders.

 

The route climbed for approximately 4.5 kms, ran level-ish for about 1.5km, and then back down again. As I ran up the hill, it felt like my legs were magnets and wanted to stick to the ground. Try as I might I couldn’t get them to move faster. SB, with his strong legs, is great at hill running. He alternated between powering ahead and waiting for me to catch up. I felt like the Little Engine that Could, and every corner turned brought more climb!

 

Why do hills never look as steep in pics?

Why do hills never look as steep in pics?

Finally, we reached the top. I say top – of course, there’s the whole rest of the mountain, but who cares about that right now? As we ran along the peak, there was the most beautiful view of Glenridding village with Ullswater stretching before it. The good thing about my current running leggings is that my phone is very accessible for action photos.

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Along the peak I found my stride, and was able to pick up the pace quite a bit. That’s when it became fun. I had completely forgotten how much mental energy trail running uses: you have to look at every single step and find where’s best to place your feet. If not, you’ll trip and fall. We ran over stones, rocks, through streams & mud, and in fields with hidden potholes. But there’s always time for a selfie – especially when I was in front!

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Running downhill was the scariest for me. The path has all stones sticking up at different angles, and I could hear someone treading really loudly and heavily behind me. If he slipped, he’d definitely have taken us both down. And landing face first in a pile of rocks was not what I had imagined for this run. Luckily, he passed and sprinted off into madness and down the hill.

 

I had no idea how fast I had run when I finished. I had thought the descent might have made up for my slow ascent, but who can say?

 

Well I’ll tell you who: the Timing Chip. Hurrah for Timing Chips! I found out that SB finished in 50:10, and I finished in 50:56. We placed 39th and 51st respectively out of 250 runners. And the event has free photos for you to download as well:

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This series is one of my favourites. They’re not too big, the route is always beautiful, and they’re pretty cheap for what you get. Plus, it’s always great to have an excuse to go to the Lake District.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Ellie B

Asics Gel Evation Review

 

In the words of U2, ‘GEL-EV-A-TION! WHOOOO hoo! WHOOOO hooooo!’

 

Or maybe they were singing ‘El-e-va-tion’. Hard to say.

 

Anyway, last month I was the lucky recipient of a new pair of Asics Gel Evations! That was an exciting day, let me tell you. Everyone in my office knew about it. When I entered the Neon Run with my pals, I mentioned that I would be running in my Asics Kayanos, which qualified as entry to the competition, and then two months later they told me I’d won. :)

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Recently I have favoured my Nike Free 4.0s to run in, as they are lightweight and don’t have the same stress points on my feet as my Brooks (thank god for no more ugly blood blisters!). Like my Frees, the Evations are designed for a neutral tread, and are designed for people with little pronation in their running. I actually over pronate, but I much prefer neutral shoes since the marathon.

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The Evations are light, like the Frees, but they also have a raised heel – officially called the ‘Rearfoot Gel Cushioning Syste’. This is designed to lessen the impact of a heel strike. I always land on the balls or mid-foot, but what I found is that the raised heel contributes to a really good arch support, which is needed thanks to my ridiculously high arches. My arches are so high your momma makes herself right at home under them Terrible attempt at a joke. Turns out there’s nothing funny about high arches.

 

They are a snug fit too. The fit is something I find really challenging about shoes. Certain models are perfect, and when I’ve bought an exact replacement, they are too big. These are a much closer fit to any of my other shoes, however, I haven’t had any blisters with them. So things are looking good. They shoes also boast a removable sockliner to work with orthotics, and an open mesh top to help ventilation.

 

Running in these shoes took a bit of adjustment. Although the shoe boasts AHAR+ outsole material (which is supposed to help grip), I personally felt that the grip on the foot doesn’t feel as secure as some of my other shoes, so in wet weather I have to tread carefully. Initially I kept rolling my left ankle too: perhaps the neutrality of the shoe impacted the support, and needed a little getting used to.

 

Now I’m accustomed to these small differences, I am really happy with them. Whilst I found the grip to be a little weaker, the combo of the gel cushioning and the AHAR+ means that the impact of each step is reduced, so they are very comfortable to run in.Whilst not quite as light as my Frees (and this is based on feel rather than strict measurements), they are still very light, and they don’t put the same pressures on the balls of my feet that other shoes do. So after a month of trailing them out, I can heartily recommend them. Just be careful of your ankles…

 

In other news, I am now another year older. I am old enough that people feel it’s ok to say ’21 again – HAHAHA!’ Thanks, guys. Way to make a girl feel better.  I spent the day as any birthday girl would hope: in management meetings in Oslo.

There may have been meetings, but there was also DESSERT AND SPARKLERS!

There may have been meetings, but there was also DESSERT AND SPARKLERS!

 

Actually, as you can see, it was a great birthday. My colleagues were absolutely lovely and treated me to champagne, pizza and tiramisu. And there’s nothing like a room of 50 Scandinavian colleagues singing happy birthday to you! I also had a night out on Saturday which was more than enough to last til Tuesday.

 

Ellie B

Holiday Friday Faves

Hey everyone. It turns out that there’s a lull between when the sun goes down at 5.30 and when we eat dinner at 8.30. This is where I get my best holiday running, blogging and pre-dinner drinking done (just in case you were wondering why I’m doing blogging on holiday. There’s a LULL, guys. We either watch badly dubbed movies, or do this. And I quite like doing this!). By the way – there are more shabby places to be blogging:

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It’s the perfect place to get my people-watching done too.

Anyway, it’s Friday! And the perfect time to share how a short, ginger girl spends her days without the stresses of work and the grey skies of England. So here is what I have been:

 

  • Reading: In descending order of enjoyment, we have The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair (funny, gripping, creative and really entertaining), All My Puny Sorrows (unique, sad, honest and an interesting study on love), The Aftermath (ok, a light read, but really not amazing), How to be a Girl (starting tomorrow and SO EXCITED about it too).

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  • Running in: My new Asics Gel Elevations! A few months ago I entered the Neon Run, which is in October, with a few friends. And along with that was an entry to win some shoes – which I did! I’ll do a review once I’ve broken them in properly, but they have been a dream during this trip.

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  • Watching: Emma Watson launching thew new #HeforShe campaign at the UN last weekend, and basically articulating everything that I want to but can’t because, basically, I’m not as fabulous as her. Please watch this video… I love how it’s inclusive and encourages everyone to talk rather than blame. So good.
  • Running: 12.5 miles/20kms so far. I hope to round that out to an even 18 miles by the time we leave.

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  • Eating: Chocolate. If Paris was the land where you can eat ice cream with every meal, then Tunisia (specifically this hotel) is the land where you can eat chocolate with every meal. And I’ve done myself proud, hence the target of 18 miles…

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  • Listening to: The Hamish and Andy podcast. Gotta love a bit of H&A!! They help me keep up to date with the important news of Australia, like what’s going on in The Bachelor and the first fleet of the People’s Island.
  • Learning: That factor 3o sunscreen will give you a sun tan still, and protect you from sun burn. It’s not a lie. My step-mother has been telling me this for 12 years, and I finally believe her. That’s quite a life lesson learned, believe me.

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And that’s how you holiday like Ellie B! SB’s holiday has consisted of less chocolate, more weights, more movies, fewer books, more swimming and more sun.

 

Also – MOST EXCITING OF ALL – the Sydney Swans are in the Grand Final on Saturday! So, for any English readers, the Swans are the best team in the Aussie Rules Football league. I want to write that they’ll do us all proud tomorrow, but I’m weirdly superstitious about stuff like this. AFL is a fast-paced game, with high scores,high skill and high appeal. And if you’re still not convinced, perhaps this will help:

 

Uh, yeah. Biceps much??

Uh, yeah. Biceps much??

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and thanks for reading this holiday-drivel!

 

Ellie B

Good things come to those who… work

Two good things happened this week:

  1. I bought some new Pure Cadence 3s after trying them during the Brooks My Try It On promotion last month
  2. I got a new PB!

 

Shoes first. I’ve noticed, on longer runs when I get tired and my form drops, that my little toes are covered in blisters afterwards. They are like two big white bubbles on the end of my feet. Sorry about that mental picture. After about 10k, I can feel my feet sliding around in them, and rubbing on the shoes. I have always had Asics, but my feet have reacted this way with the two most recent pairs I’ve had.

 

The Pure Cadence 3s are a snug fit, and as soon as I tried them on I could feel the support they gave my arch.  During the promotion I had a size 4, but now I have 4.5s, which are a much better fit. Weighting only 195g, they are very lightweight too (my Kayanos are 252g), and they have a heel-toe drop of 4mm, which isn’t a major thing for me as I tend to run on the balls of my feet anyway. This makes for giant calf muscles!

 

I took them for a test drive on Monday, which coincidentally was when I was due to run 8m with a sub-46 10k in the middle. It might not have been the best idea to try new shoes on such a strenuous run, but having tried them out last month I at least knew how they would feel.

 

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A sub-46 10k would mean my fastest 10k yet. Squeezing the run into my lunch break (another reason to make it a fast one!), I treated it like a race day, eating porridge for breakfast and nothing but a banana before the run. I knew it would be hard, but it wasn’t until SB said that I should respect the distance and not just go at it that I started to feel nervous.

 

I started with a 1 mile warm up before starting the 10k Challenge. I chose the route carefully – there were slight inclines, but no major hills, and I was able to get a strong start. Throughout the run, I tried not to check my Garmin every kilometre, but it was too hard not to! And it helped with the overall pacing: by half way through I knew I had a certain amount of grace period to make the sub-46 mark.

 

The route was an out-and-back, and as I turned around, and knew the inclines were ahead of me, there was a little mental toughening up going on to keep the pace. I stopped focussing on the entirety of the distance, but focussed on that particular kilometre that I was in, concentrating on not dropping my pace and doing the best I could in that moment.

 

It was a great feeling to get to 8k and realise that, unless I majorly stuffed up, I would make the goal! Then it was challenging: those 9 minutes went on for ages as I pushed to the end! But I was rewarded: I finished in 45:18, which is 1:16 faster than my last PB. I rounded off the run with a 1.5 mile cool down, making 8.5 miles in total.

 

Here are the splits:

  • 4.10
  • 4.19
  • 4.21
  • 4.42
  • 4:35
  • 4:22
  • 4:58
  • 4:41
  • 4:22
  • 4:46

 

So all this speed work is paying off! And at the end of that run: supported feet, with nice, pink, non-blistered toes! Thanks Pure Cadence 3s :)

 

Happy Friday everyone! The weather in the UK is supposed to be warm and sunny – I hope you have a good run :)

 

Ellie B

What I’m Loving Friday!

Gooooooooooooooooood morning!

Happy Friday! I hope you’ve had a good week. I feel like I haven’t sat down since Sunday: does that count as training? 😉

Last night I made up for all the first part of the week: I did some interval training and went to pole for an hour where we did pole circuits: stomach crunches, inverted pull ups, climbs, practicing your “wrong” side, all on the pole. Bascially you are left pink faced, and in disbelief that you’re actually not as strong as you thought you were! It’s a great way to wake you up on a Thursday.

So here is What I’m Loving Friday for this week!!

  • My new runners. I picked my new Kayano 19s up from the post office yesterday. Asics are my shoe brand of choice, and I’m in love with their colour, which match my running shorts. I took them out for a test drive yesterday, and my feet felt like they were running in slippers. For me, they’re breathable, they’re not too heavy, but they do sit tightly on the top of my feet (I have ridiculously high arches). I don’t have a lot of running shoes, and Kayanos seem to handle both long and shorter distances, and different training workouts. Asics feel both flexible and supportive. Apart from needing to look at their lacing, they are great so far. I ordered them from Start Fitness: for anyone in the UK, this is a great online shop with reasonable prices, and their physical shop in Durham has very helpful staff who really know their stuff.

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  • Abs August. This challenge set by my dance school has got everyone talking. Facebook is awash with people who are doing crunches before bed time, boot camp before work, and even sit ups in the board room (not really. I dare someone to do it though….).  My own progress is coming along, but perhaps isn’t ready for a progress pic just yet! 😉
  • Aerial yoga. This really ties the running and the dancing together. Aerial yoga has silk hammocks which help support your weight, so you can focus on really stretching to your comfortable limit, and can also control how far you push yourself. It’s also good for core, arm, and leg strength. I really like that it gives all my running and dance muscles a chance to stretch, and I can push myself on my splits too. Plus, there are some awesome moves which have you spinning and swinging around like when you were a kid.

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  • London Street Art. I’ve been lucky enough to be in London twice in the past two weeks, and have been in areas where there’s street art on every corner. We were on Brick Lane, poking around its amazing collection of markets and food stalls, and I also saw some by my office, near the financial district. It’s amazing how many creative people there are out there who aren’t afraid to tackle a mural the size of a building. Where do you start with something like that?!  My street art certainly wouldn’t look like that.

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  • Internet shopping. So we have been moving house for what feels like forever! And I’ve come to rely on good old Amazon.co.uk for those things that you just need desperately and don’t want to wait for. Plus, SB’s birthday is coming up, and it’s a great distraction from actually unpacking. So rest assured UK: I’m doing my bit for the economy!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! My in-laws are coming up so we’re getting everything in order for our first official house guests. 😀 Plus the usual runs, abs and more.

Ellie B