The Neon Run: Race Recap

A week ago I ran the Neon Run in Sunderland with some friends. The Neon Run is in a similar category to the Color Run – I’m pretty sure it’s a for-profit 5k event that is based around a theme or gimmick. In this case, it was running in the dark with neon lights.

 

I am not against events like this at all. Some people I’ve spoken with take issue with the fact that they’re for-profit, but I think they’re really fun. And here’s why:

  1. They are a really great way to spend time with your friends that’s not in a pub or a restaurant, but out doing something active
  2. There are many people there who I would say don’t exercise on a regular basis, so this would be a new experience at an event that’s completely non-threatening
  3. These events are not about how fast you run, or how far you run, but how much fun you have on the route. That counts for a lot, but is often forgotten.
  4. There’s not many opportunities for grown adults to run around a playground that’s designed purely for their fun and enjoyment

 

The Neon Run started at 6.45pm when the sun had well and truly gone down. It was a particularly windy evening, and the race took place in some kind of park (not being the driver, I actually don’t know where it was held!). We were pretty bloody cold as we waited, and so took the advice of the guy on the speaker: we got ourselves a pint before we started. Now, this is my kind of event.

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The Neon Run gives you a flashing wrist band to wear throughout the run, and as the sun went down and the DJ played some tunes, people started dancing. I’m guessing it was as much to keep warm as it was because they were caught up in the moment, but it was awesome to see all the flashing lights shine in the darkness.

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That’s what I loved about the Neon Run. Once we set off, we soon left the noise of the race village, and we were running in the dark. Even though there were lots of people there, the atmosphere was calm and quiet, kind of like when it snows. As we ran down the path, all we could see were flashing blue and green lights from the wrist bands, like a trail of glow worms lighting the way.

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There were two music stands along the way – they had intended four, but the wind prevented this. This broke the quiet, and suddenly everyone was dancing again. I learned that running on a path that’s lit up with a rotating disco ball will make you feel car sick, so that’s an important life lesson if ever there’s one.

 

We ran the route twice, making 5k in total, and as we finished, we were met by some Neon Warriors. These guys seemed to have a little more dignity than their equivalent at the Color Run, who were covered in coloured feathers and face paint. These guys could kick your ass and no mistake. But they also kindly posed for photos and cheered us as we finished.

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I had a really good time at this event! It was expensive, and thanks to the cold, we left pretty much straight after we finished and didn’t make the most of the after-party. But the whole thing had an atmosphere of excitement, and I loved running in the dark. Plus, my friends and I just love any excuse to dress up and paint our faces. That’s what we’re about :)

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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

100 Mile July week 3

So we’re down to the home stretch in this 100 mile July thing. There is exactly one week to go from here. Here is how last week went:

  • Thursday 17th: 3.5 miles
  • Friday: 6.9 miles
  • Saturday: 4.5 miles
  • Sunday: Color Run, 3.1 miles
  • Monday: 11.1 miles – on a MONDAY I tell ya!
  • Total: 29.1 miles!

 

That’s 75.6 miles overall for July, and only 24.4 to go this week.

 

Now there’s an overall mileage goal – as opposed to a specific goal for that individual workout – I’ve got a different approach to training. When I only ran 3.5 miles on Thursday, for example, I knew I’d have to do a mammoth run at some point to make up the miles. So I’ve had to plan out the week rather than just running what I want, or doing what my training plan tells me for that day. And weigh short & long runs vs more consistent, evenly spread runs.

 

By Saturday’s run I was tired. I had done nine days in a row, with only one rest day in the middle. Which, to be honest, is unlike me. I like two or three runs dispersed with rest days. On  Saturday morning, Durham experienced some classic Sydney-mugginess: the sky was grey, and the air was heavy and warm. I was dripping with sweat, and my legs felt like they were made of concrete.

 

I also think that I’ve not been eating properly for all this – I was still on my post-marathon, calm-your-carbs-woman diet, which is fine for more infrequent running, but not this. Luckily on the weekend we had both a wedding and a BBQ of immense proportions, so by Monday’s 11 miler I was on top form again.

 

My Color Run posse and I have just signed up for the Neon Run in October! I am verrrrry excited about this one. I am excited about the novelty of running a race at night, and being covered in neon lights. It falls under the same category as the silent disco in terms of ‘Things I Had Never Imagined, Yet Bloody Love’. If they could make the neon run a silent disco as well, I think my head would explode.

 

Our running party planner is a pal of mine called Jow Baby. She comes to my Monday night running group, and is also an instructor at the pole school. She always makes me laugh on a Monday because – during the runs – she doesn’t always have the best time, and isn’t shy of telling me. But then afterwards I always get a text saying how much fun she’d had. The reason I mention her is that she’s a fine example of how hard it can hurt when you’re in the middle, but the satisfaction and runner’s high you get afterwards makes up for it (At least, I hope it does…)! All you have to do is keep going.

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And also, props to her for being our running-party-planner, and encouraging everyone to actually run during the Color Run. :)

 

Happy Thursday! Remember to eat right before you run, or your legs will feel like concrete! #LessonOfTheWeek

 

Ellie B