Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

Buy All The Things!

on 9 April 2015

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When we first converted the spare room into a gym, I decided I would only buy things as and when I determined that I needed them, rather than trying to fit every exercise accessory under the sun in there and then having them accumulate into a heap and never see the light of day. Recently, I decided that I needed more stuff. Ok, I totally didn’t need it, but more things occurred anyway! The motivators for my shopping spree? Several upcoming things – firstly SUMMER! Followed closely and in some ways superceded by the Gelt Gladiator assault course, and assisted by a side helping of No Ego Trail Challenge. It’s looking very much like the Run England session last week was winter’s last punch – the evenings and nights are still chilly, but the days are looking decidedly bright and warm at the moment – sometimes even consecutively!

I have been very comfortable all winter (except when raining), running in my long slightly baggy cotton tracksuit bottom legging things and thermal tops, but unfortunately they don’t cut it when it’s getting warmer – and if I’m doing any form of exercise at all, anything above 6ºC counts as warm! I like it Arctic cold when I’m exercising (well, maybe not that bad, but decidedly chilly anyway!). I’ve had a stash of work-out vests for a while, and have finally lost enough weight to wear them without feeling like a tube of cookie dough, so my top-half is sorted for the warmer weather, but I have only 1 pair of capris – so I am definitely totally justified in buying a second pair 😉 You hear that P? Logical purchase 😉 I also bought a sun-visor – less sweat-dripping, less sun glaring, more breathable than a hat – another logical purchase right?!

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So, that’s summer taken care of! Now for my trail run and monster assault course… the No Ego Trail Challenge at Otterburn is in just over a week, and having gone over on my butt twice on the last one and got my trainers soaked again I decided I wanted another pair of trail shoes – the Brooks Cascadia 9’s I normally wear are absolutely fine on loose gravel, sand, woodland trails, but are not hugely grippy in wet conditions when there’s any sort of depth of mud at all. They’re fine on wet tarmac – better than my Brooks Glycerin road trainers which I love for general running, but they don’t have a hugely deep tread. Knowing that between the No Ego Challenge and the Gelt Gladiator course these trainers were likely to get trashed and were unlikely to see the full mileage I might normally expect, and that’s without the possibility of winter’s cross country prospects, I also didn’t want to spend as much as I did on either of my Brooks pairs. I found a pair of Reebok’s on SportsShoes.com that looked very heavily treaded, and liked the look of the reviews saying they were well cushioned – I love that about my Glycerins – though this may make them extra spongey if they get soaked. They’re apparently Gore-Tex coated so less likely to get my feet wet – but I think they have rain impervious in mind not taking them through a mud bath! I think I’m going to get some insoles for these before I try running in them – they’re a pretty loose fit in height compared to some and I think some insoles will make them a bit more comfy for lacing. I was also expecting them to be a bit more red…they’re very very very hot pink! More so than the step in the background of the other pictures! They won’t be for long when they’ve got some mud on them!

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The other thing I’m very nervous about, more for the Gelt Gladiator event in May, is the prospect of pulling myself up obstacles when I have zero upper body strength – I might be able to manage the monkey bars if they and me weren’t covered in mud, but the big vertical walls I am dreading. 6-ish weeks to go – what can we do about it?! Buy things! That’s how you get fit right? Spend a fortune on exercise equipment and hope you gain strength by being near it or looking at it occasionally?! So, I bought a pull-up bar. I spent a lot of time reading different reviews to make sure I got what I wanted. Originally I was looking at a free-standing one, being a bit dubious about pulling the wall or the doorframe down, but the footprint would have meant sacrificing about a quarter of my floorspace if I put it in the gym and I don’t want to do that, so that put me back on the more compact wall and doorframe ones. I read a lot of reviews, preferring the thought of a wall-mounted one, but they all seem to be very secure on brick or breezeblock – nothing about plasterboard – suspicious. So…doorframe one? I really really don’t fancy having the lintel falling on me, and I fancy even less attempting to rebuild one! I tried putting a small degree of weight on the top of the outer doorframe for our gym and heard a small crack – no way am I hanging anything heavier than a paperchain from that! I found a really well reviewed telescopic one, with enough reviews to give me some confidence in them and that didn’t cost the earth, and went for that one. I’ve got it on the doorframe now and it seems solid – P was very dubious but after having a tentative hang then a full chin-up and hold on it seems satisfied that it might not drop either of us on the floor with concussion for at least a few days!

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Something else I came across when reading pull-up bar reviews was that many of the ones without grips are quite tough on the hands if you’re not wearing gloves – so having bought a plain metal one, I totally need some gloves right?! I also have a faint hope that they might help me a teeeeensie bit in Carlisle, but now that they’re here I might like them too much and may have to buy another pair so I don’t just have some trashed ones 😛

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Having installed the new bar and bought fancy gloves, I have succeeding in hanging off it, and can hold myself up on it, but am completely incapable of doing a chin-up let alone a pull-up – which does not stand me in good stead at all for the Gelt Gladiator no matter how much of a boost I can get up the walls! Fortunately, Scooby to the rescue! One beginner’s guide to being able to do pull-ups in a step-by-step intensity way. I’ll be finding a chair and trying this out tomorrow :O Watch this space! (J, that link’s on the Helpful Links page on the menu at the top right :P)

My last purchase was more for fun than anything – J was kind enough to take me to the No Ego Trail race at Hamsterley Forest and I had a good rummage through her car CD collection while I should have been paying a bit more attention to the map and decided that I liked the look of this one – so even if all the songs don’t make it onto my running playlists you can bet I’ll be travelling to many races bopping along to it!

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And just a teaser of something I’m working on when I should be going to bed and am not writing blogs at silly times…one day I’ll figure out I shouldn’t start writing at the end of the evening as they always take longer than I think!

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