Archive for October, 2010

26
Oct
10

Product Review – Polaroid Vector 99 Sunglasses

It has been a little while since I’ve posted here. There have been many, many things happening – most of which you will hear about in subsequent posts. That is not to say that I’ve not been running… au contrere, I have run on a number of occasions and I’ve been testing the Polaroid Vector Sunglasses that I got sent a few weeks ago. In order to give a proper judgement, I felt I needed to test them throughout a spectrum of conditions so they have accompanied me on runs and cycles in differing circumstances.

The glasses come with the basic Polaroid “sunglass” lenses and also 2 additional sets of lenses – 1 clear set and one “amber” set for low light conditions. Also supplied is a soft fabric drawstring bag and a rigid glasses case that holds all the components snugly. This hard case is very, very useful if like me you are prone to grabbing all your running gear and throwing it into a bag – if the glasses case ends up at the bottom the bag and the trainers, running gear, Garmin, mp3 player etc. all sit on top, the rigid case ensures that the glasses remain intact.

The glasses themselves are very lightweight: rubber pads at the bridge of the nose ensure they sit comfortably whilst adjustable rubber grips can be positioned along the straight arms of the frame to ensure a snug fit behind the ears. These adjustable grips are actually incredibly useful as they keep the glasses in position close to the face and ensure everything stays put when sweaty. Lenses are easy to change – they simply clip into the channel above the bridge of the nose.

The glasses look very sleek and aerodynamic too… the design is somewhere between The Terminator and The Tokyo Bullet Train and even if glasses are unlikely to actually make me run faster, these would certainly make me look faster. A couple of my excursions were early morning runs and consisted of gloomy, overcast runs, bright sunlight and a combination of light and shadow when running along tree lined country lanes. The Polaroid “sunglass” lenses did a good job keeping the brightness of the sun at bay and increased the contrast of light and dark far more than my usual tinted sunglasses. This was particularly useful when out in the VFF’s as it allowed me to see and avoid small objects (stones, acorns etc.) that I would normally not have noticed until I had landed on them. In lower light conditions the amber tinted lenses again accentuated the light and dark but also made everything appear slightly brighter than normal. I’ve yet to test these out at night under streetlights so will have to plan a few night runs in the near future.
One of the handy things (and I’ve no idea if this is my idea or if this is by design on Polaroids part) but by supplying a soft drawstring bag, I am able to take an additional set of lenses when I go to run. So I would set off with the “amber” lenses as it was overcast and when the sun came out, take the tinted polaroid lenses from the bag, swap them over and continue to run in the sunlight. The changeover takes seconds and, with practice, could probably be done whilst running. The unused lenses then go back in the fabric bag and fit neatly into the small zip pocket in my running shorts.
I like these glasses – they are nicely designed and functional. They stay put even when you are drenched in sweat and pounding down an incline and the lenses are great and easily changed to suit the conditions. I usually wear glasses whilst running and am used to having to reposition them regularly throughout my runs – the nice thing about the Vector 99’s is that I could put them on and then forget they were there.

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14
Oct
10

must… go… faster…

72 hours of inactivity was all I could endure as it had been a fairly frustrating few days and I always feel more inclined to get out and run if I have some frustrations to get rid of. It was getting dark when I set off and I was curious to see how quickly I could run 10k based on my Half Marathon experience and the recent cheeky barefoot 5k. I set off vowing to run 5k, turn round and come back the same way. It just so happened that the 5k point came right at the bottom of the hill I had just run down so had to turn on my heels and run straight back up. I felt like I was pushing hard every step of the way but by the time I had wound my way back to where I started my run (adding in a little loop just to get me to exactly 10k), I hit stop on the Garmin and was disappointed to see that it had taken me 55:36 when it had felt so much faster. Mrs eatingtrees did point out that I had run 13.1 miles 3 days earlier but I still felt it should have been quicker. I now have a new goal – to get my 10k time down to under 55mins and with the RPH out of the way, a new goal is just what I need.

Soundtrack to this post: Altern8 – Evapor8

10
Oct
10

royal parks half: race report – the older I get, the better I was

Just back from this year’s Royal Parks Half Marathon. Anyone who wants a full race report can look here as this is the third time I have run this race and, as the course and much of the logistics of the day are the same as previous years, I won’t bore you with the details. Having said that, it is still one of my favourite races and this one was no exception.
This was the first year that I have run it without Hauling My Carcass, although I wasn’t entirely alone as my friend Dianne (author of the “Juneathon-Only” running blog Hotshoeshuffle) was also running today so we decided to keep each other company pre & post race. It was overcast and a little misty whilst waiting for the start and I did feel a bit of a tit wearing sunglasses but the Met Office had forecast that it would be sunny by 10.30 so I was just, like a good boy scout, being prepared.
Unusually for me, I’d also prepared a race playlist on the MP3 player, even going so far as to predict how long it would take me to complete and picking a slower, more relaxing track for around 7 miles before cueing up all kinds of insanity for the second half where I knew I’d need something with a bit of aggression to keep me going.
It took me longer than normal to get through the start this year (nearly 6 minutes as opposed to about 2 mins on previous years) but once on the course it seemed to thin out quickly. Running through Admiralty Arch then out over Westminster Bridge before turning and coming back straight towards the Houses of Parliament & Big Ben is still exhilirating and, as it occurs at the beginning of the race, I was able to take it all in and enjoy it. As I did with the run down the Mall towards Buckingham Palace. It was only once I re-entered the Parks that I really just zoned out and ran. I was oblivious to everything except the ground about 5 metres in front of me and the music. Which sounds like I was struggling but I really wasn’t… just maintaining. 10k was ticked off in just under 56 minutes and then 10 miles passed at 1:33. And it was only at the 10 mile mark that I began to start to want it to finish. There are a few uphill gradients through the park and they had begun to take their toll. So I just pushed on. It was clear by about 12 miles that the sub 2hr time I wanted was not going to happen but I was just happy to be nearing the end and kept going. The last 1000 meters is a horrible, long, optical illusion as it is a straight road to the finish which is visible long before it is sprintable and therefore feels like you’re never going to get there. Each time you look up and expect it to appear closer and yet it still looks as far away as it did a minute ago.
I crossed the line in 2:05:06 and, although it was 5 minutes and 7 seconds slower than I was aiming for, I wasn’t disappointed. The last 3 miles had beaten me and I know that with a bit more preparation, I could have finished quicker. Although, the first 10k felt easy so I am confident that with a bit of work, a new 10k pb is possible (sub-55mins). And it may even be a barefoot 10k as I think the next 10k I tackle will be in the VFF’s (weather permitting).

Incidentally, Ms. Hotshoeshuffle ran a blinder and finished in 1:55. Ooh, and there is a new “leaf-shaped” medal,too!

As I ran towards Buckingham Palace earlier today, this is what was on the MP3 player…

Soundtrack to this post: Gallows – London Is The Reason

05
Oct
10

tiny tears

In preparation for this Sunday’s Royal Parks Half Marathon I did, a few weeks ago, run the full Half Marathon distance during training. To some, this is madness and absurd behaviour a few weeks from the race. For me, it is designed to be a confidence booster in that I then know that I can complete the distance. The following week, my long run was 15k and I was due about 12k this Sunday – which I blew out due to a combination of lazyness, disinterest and conjunctivitis. The conjunctivitis had been getting progressively worse for a couple of weeks and when I checked the NHS Direct website, it states that most cases of conjunctivitis clear up within 2 weeks and if symptoms persist past 2 weeks, to go and see the doctor. So, like a good citizen who does not want to waste the doctors valuable time with silly eye infections (when they could be saving lives), I waited 2 weeks which meant by the time I did get myself to the surgery, I felt like someone had been rubbing sand into my eyes using a slice of onion and looked distraught what with my big, red teary eyes. I was prescribed some magic eye drops which seem to have cleared it up after nearly a week of use but the infection still left me feeling lethargic.
But on Sunday, my eyes were still itchy and watering and the last thing I wanted was to go out and run and get sweat in them and make it all hurt even more. So I wimped out and instead gave the mountain bike a clean and an adjust before Winter. And then I agonised about skipping my last long run before the race so I went out last night and ran just shy of 11km.

And now Sunday approaches rapidly and I feel ill prepared but am still looking forward to it. Or maybe I just want to get it over with… Who knows? Still, once it is done I have a very nice pair of Polaroid sunglasses to review and I am also planning on reviewing some Reebok running shoes that are being supplied by those nice people at Fitness Footwear.

Soundtrack to this post: Sinead O’Connor – Curly Locks




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