Monday, 31 December 2012

What a year!

2012 for me has to go down as my best year for sport ever. Personally I competed in the London marathon in Olympic year. I met one of my sporting hero's and like many was totally blown away by the Olympics. To actually be there at two major events and to be in the stadium for the Paralympics will be memories that last with me forever. Below is my sporting year in pictures, some of inspiration some of self achievement.

My 6 races of 2012 that I competed in (from top left to bottom) Surrey Spitfire 20 miles,Denbies Vineyard 10 mile, Dirt Challenge half marathon, (from top right to bottom) London marathon, Love life love running 6 hour endurance, The running show 10k. I managed PB's at the marathon and 10k 

Happy: Me collecting my number from the London marathon expo

Anticipation: Start line of the London marathon

PROOF I ran the marathon!

Done: The other side of the finish line. Happy and relieved faces.

View of the embankment, one of my favorite moments and brilliant crowd support 

West Byfleet: The men's Olympic road-race, blink and you miss them! 

The Women's Olympic marathon. Amazing to be up close to the elites.

The Women's Olympic marathon: The top three finishers.

Inside the Olympic stadium for the Paralympics. One of the best stadium crowd atmospheres I've ever experienced.

Panoramic view of the Olympic stadium

The Olympic park by night.

The amazing Olympic stadium.

The privilege of meeting Paula Radcliffe.

A great year for Trail running.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

New Balance 1260 v2

Once in a while I'm lucky enough to receive trainers to review. Today I received from New Balance a pair of their latest 1260 model.

I've had New Balance trainers in the past and been happy with them. The only reason I reverted to try something new, was to see if the grass was greener on the other side. I tried the Nike lunar glides, the grass was greener and I've stuck with them ever since.

Other trainers have been tried and reviewed but alas nothing has come close to the Nikes....until now!!!

The 1260 v2 looks stunning and has been put together well. The welded seams mean no stitching to cause rubbing, just one of the many well designed features of this trainer.

Putting the trainer on for the first time, I noticed how comfortable the shoe was. The toe piece is roomy but keeps the forefoot in place, the upper then hugs the foot nicely up to the well padded tongue. The heel is held in place well and felt secure on the run.

One minor comment I do have is that when lacing the trainer the last eye holes are very high up and to the side of the ankle which means when tying the trainers up the laces feel very tight across the top of the foot, and I had to loosen them off.

Once out the Tarmac I was impressed how fast the trainers felt. With new materials being used for the soles of trainers now, trainers are getting much lighter. The 1260 v2 is no exception, and to date are the fastest support trainer I've worn. The low profile of this model was something I was not used to but really liked.

The ventilation mesh on the forefoot was really noticeable. The evening was cold and I could feel the cold air moving through the trainer.

Gone are the days of the prominent medial support posts in heavy stability trainers. The medial support is there but designed perfectly in a very comfortable sole.

The trainers are listed as a stability trainer for mid to moderate overpronators but due to the low profile of the shoe it's hard to believe this is not more of a neutral shoe. That's not to say there is a lack of cushioning but as someone who suffers from tight calfs and Achilles it will be interesting how I get on with the 1260 v2.

Overall a brilliant lightweight fast road trainer for the lighter runner requiring some support.

Cushioning - 8 out of 10, Not as much cushioning expected from a stability shoe
Comfort - 9 out of 10, Very comfortable especially in heel area
Flexibility - 8 out of 10, Good Flexibity.
Responsiveness - 9 out of 10, Very responsive with the low profile

Overall 34 out of 40

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Run with Paula Radcliffe

Thanks to the O2 sports priority app and being on the 02 network meant I got to meet one of my sporting heroes this weekend; marathon legend Paula Radcliffe.

Catching the 6:39am train to London on a cold winters morning is not something I am used to, especially after getting up at 5:30 the day before for my Friday run to work. But when meeting sporting legends its a small price to pay.

After reaching Waterloo and the short tube ride to Oxford Circus, I queued along side other like minded runners as we waited to go into Niketown and meet Paula.
Now I do like my Nike sports apparel, so to be in one of the biggest stores before opening time felt like being a kid in a sweet shop! As we waited for the introduction of Paula we were able to pick up a breakfast bag and mingle and look around the store. I got chatting to another runner who had made his way from Stoke for the event before I met up with fellow `Tweeter ` Simon. It was great to finally meet Simon after following on Twitter and we had a good chat exchanging stories of running.

As we all gathered around Paula was finally introduced to us as we stood and listened to her being interviewed by a Nike representative. Most interesting was listening to Paula describe her comeback from injury that sadly kept her from competing in this years Olympics. But it`s good news and sounds like Paula is not far from getting back to running again in the new year.

Q and A with Paula at Niketown

Sadly due to recovering from her injury, Paula could not run with us today but instead would come down to watch the core workout we had at Regents Park and then meet us back at Niketown for some photo opportunities.

We were all given a Nike white technical T-shirt before we head out along Regent street and to Regents park. We were split into 3 groups with a couple of pacers per group, it was strange to be swapping the quiet trails with running down one of London’s most famous roads, and as you would imagine there was a lot of start stopping to get across some of the roads leading to the Park.

When we reached the park we done some core workouts for about 15 minutes. After this it was a run back to Niketown. Before heading back Simon and myself spotted Paula along with a few others and got the chance to have my picture taken and a very brief chat with Paula. Simon being an ultra runner asked Paula about running ultras and running with Kilian Jornet, I added that Kilian was in fact not human to which Paula agreed!

Can I upgrade my current running partners for this one please?

Once back at Niketown, I quickly changed before joining Simon in the queue for another photo shot with Paula.

I felt a bit guilty as we were at the cut off point in the queue, as Paula had to leave and I was to get my second photo with Paula. The guilt lasted about a second as I grabbed another photo and returned the favour to Simon and got a photo of him and Paula as well.

2nd Photo with Paula back at Niketown

Paula was great in the Q and A session, informative,happy and laid back and so down to earth when chatting to her in the middle of Regents park.

A great day and well done to O2, Nike and of course Paula for making it memorable.