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Northern Masters 5K Road Championship Race Report – by Dot Kesterton

Dot Kesterton is no stranger to BUZZ, with plenty of experience, teaching runners half her age how it’s done!

Running for #TeamAccelerate, as well as Sheffield’s Steel City Striders & her local ladies club ‘Smiley Paces’ – she competes within the V60 category (outdoing many in the V50 & V40) and runs like she means it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spen Greenway 10K Road Race Report – by Dot Kesterton

Dot Kesterton is no stranger to BUZZ, with plenty of experience, teaching runners half her age how it’s done!

Running for #TeamAccelerate, as well as Sheffield’s Steel City Striders & her local ladies club ‘Smiley Paces’ – she competes within the V60 category (outdoing many in the V50 & V40) and runs like she means it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spen Greenway 10K Road Race, incorporating Northern Masters 10K Championsips Sunday 16th September 2018 Race Report

I like a small, local, friendly event, full of enthusiastic runners of all ages and abilities – supported by partners, kids and passers by so this race in Cleckheaton last Sunday was just right with only 138 runners.

The NMAC runs a series of events throughout the year on track and road and occasionally on fell.  This one was attached to the local club in Cleckheaton.  It’s an out and back course along a tarmac surfaced disused railway line, only 270’ of elevation and of course, traffic free.  My last Championship 10K was hilly and done in sweltering temperatures, so it was refreshing to try a cooler and flatter course of the same distance.

My goal was to knock a couple of minutes off my BMAF 10K time of 49:32 set six weeks ago in Stoke.  I was aiming for just under 8 minute mile pace, trying to keep my heart rate down.  For those of you who know and have run with me I appear only to have two settings, stop and go.  As soon as the signal was given I set off in my usual startled ferret fashion as if my life depended on it, rattling the first mile out in 7:12.  Trying to keep my heart inside my body I sensibly eased off for the next two before the turn.  Then it was a case of homeward bound so up went the HR and the pace.  The last half mile was a ragged affair, just trying to hold it all together.

I’m delighted to have earned my season’s best time of 46:14, knocking more than three minutes off my previous race and averaging 7:24 minute mile pacing, though average HR was through the roof at 171bpm.  It was enough to give me first FV65 and NMAC Gold.  I later discovered thanks to Spreadsheet Superman, Mick Wall, that the same time on the World Masters competition would have earned a gold medal.  Never mind.  Cleckheaton is a fun place to be in September.  Who needs Malaga eh?

The NMAC 5K road Championships are on Sunday 30th September in Leeds.  Join me if you fancy a three lap course on tarmac at the Brownlee Cycle Circuit.

 

Dot Kesterton

18th September 2018.

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Ultimate Direction Month: How to pack a pack.

 

It’s a free country.  We all have our favourite kit.  Our preferred way of doing stuff.

But for what it’s worth, here are my top tips on how to ‘pack a pack’ in association with Beta Running & Ultimate Direction.

Taking the Ultimate Direction Signature Series Scott Durek Ultra Vest as our running vest of choice…

For a breakdown of what makes a running vest the ideal piece of running related storage, read my recent blog entitled ‘What IS a Running Vest?

 

If you’re running for long enough.  You’ll likely need a drink.  If running for hours on end, you’ll need food as well.  The weather can change, so having layers and a waterproof outer shell can help in the event you have to stop, or slow down and can’t keep warm by moving alone.

Also, you’ll often find that depending upon the time of day, you might run the risk of finishing your run in the dark.

So items like a headtorch, spare batteries, map & compass, microspikes, poles and more will be required by many.

It’s worth being prepared, with the correct gear upon your person, even if confident you won’t need it.

 

Okay – the basics.  Waterproofs.  They often come supplied with their own stuff sack (a small pouch which can accommodate jacket in its entirety).

Thing is, this means that they’re balled up and create a lump against your back when stuffed inside your vest.

Better to fold it flat, like you were placing it away in a drawer at home, then layer it against the inside of the main compartment, so it lies against your back when carried.

The waterproof nature of this first item ensures that it won’t suffer as you sweat, with rain posing no threat whatsoever, since it’s specifically designed to withstand moisture.

The bonus here, is that the remaining kit in your bag is shielded until further notice, by the waterproof barrier against your back.  Contents won’t get soaked and any objects with hard edges, you’ve yet to pack – shouldn’t cause any discomfort through that extra layer of material.

 

Next, if you’re taking them, over trousers.  Same tactic, but times two!  Even more protection.

Note:  It’s far more likely that you’ll wear your jacket than your trousers.  So pack the trousers first and perhaps leave them there.

 

Now.  There are items which you’d obviously prefer didn’t get wet at all.  Electronics.  Spare clothing.  Food.

So you ought to consider a dry bag.  A waterproof bag, with a roll up top, which can be used to secure items and ensures that they remain dry.  They float when fastened, which is why they’re popular with those engaging in water based activity, but the trick with packing one into your vest, is to flatten the bag once everything’s in.  Just squash it until all excess air has been removed and layer it in next to the already flattened clothing.

Where food is concerned, there are different schools of thought, depending on people’s ability and tollerance of eating while on the move.  Fatigue can cause the digestive system to have trouble dealing with what might normally be a firm favourite at the dinner table.  So train as you go, trying out foods which can be stored safely and still seem appealing and palatable after hours of exercise.

For most runners, the front of the pack/vest is where they’ll want the majority of their nutrition, since they’ll be attempting to ‘graze’ as they run.  Within easy reach, your food choices are going to be bite sized or easy to pick away at until finshed.  But there’s always someone who prefers to stop and take a meal break, or likes ‘real food’ as opposed to race gels or anything overly processed.

You’ll want to take care with any delicate food stuffs, so the kind of stuff you’ll be carrying ought to be resilient enough to handle a lot of bouncing and shaking.  So think flapjack, energy bars, green bananas, pasta, rice, etc.

A strangely divisive issue is the inclusion of a mobile phone on your run.  Not so much a question of should I carry one, so much as where?

For example:

My common sense says that on a race day the phone remains firmly fixed within that dry bag, for insurance against damage, so that if needed in emergency, it works and has sufficient battery left to locate me in a rescue scenario.

Alternatively, while training – the phone comes in handy for photo opportunities and such.  There’s usually room enough in one of the UD Ultra Vest’s front pockets for a smart phone if you should wish to have access.

There’s little chance of me removing and unpacking the entire bag if I’ve stacked it down a steep bank or suffered a broken arm or hand, but I still try to keep my phone tucked away for the sake of safety, having drowned previous models duringhours of heavy rain with my poor phone left exposed in the top of a backpack.

But – part of me likes to have it to hand for taking calls from anyone else who might be having an emergency of their own!  I am, after all, a parent and am known to receive calls about accidents and illnesses, when I least expect them…  What to do….?

So maybe the phone stays out of the drybag for now.  In a zip-lock sandwhich bag for good measure.  Still waterproof, but visible enough to see who’s calling and for me to operate the phone, with touch screens still working even through the plastic.

 

Sorted.  There’s just the matter of those occasional items, seasonal essentials and so on.  Things like torch, poles, bothy shelter, microspikes for snow/ice, power bank…

 

Items like these (headtorch/compass) may be in your bag all day just in case/in anticipation of a late finish.  They may of course be useful from the get-go.

With the set up described above, you can cram them in for good measure, particularly into those handy external pockets on the rear of the main chamber and never feel any jabs from corners or hard edges during your run.

 

All that remains, is to pack any and every little thing that you might want your hands on, into the front pockets and enjoy a contstant rate of progress as you’ve no need to stop*.

You can feed yourself (I’ve been known to slice & bag up a pizza, then have a nibble every 30mins or so) via the front pockets which sit over the front of the bottle pockets, which in turn contain upto a litre of drink and come included with the ultra vest.  Batteries I think ought to be within reach, since you’ll be changing them in the dark, so wrap ’em in a bag of their own and get used to finding them by feel, unless you also carry a spare torch altogether (which I often do).

Snacks and treats have a place, along with a supplemental pack of Clif Bloks to replace electrolytes (vital salts) if desired.

 

 

For changeable conditions, it often proves useful to have hat & gloves in range as well, since you can find yourself putting them on and taking them off again throughout your trip.

*always bear in mind that it’s a life saver to stop and add insulation/protective clothing whenever the weather turns harsh, or you’re forced to slow down or stop.  And it might not always be because you were incapable – stopping to assisting a fellow runner causes you to lose heat just as quickly as sitting still with a sprained ankle.  Don’t be afraid to take the time when you’ve all the correct kit right there on your back.  And don’t be afraid to upgrade your whistle, which again comes included with the ultra vest, but for real volume, try a dedicated emergency whistle.

And that’s it.  Ditch the stuff sacks.  Dry Bag the important bits.  Keep the emergency items within reach.  Doddle.

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Ultimate Direction Month: What IS a Running Vest?

 

Traditionally, hikers  would travel for prolongued periods while carrying all of the equipment necessary to cope with eating and drinking on the move, sheltering from the elements and covering distances over varied terrain.  The job was made easier through the use of a rucksac, or backpack.

Loaded for Bear. Your home from home, conveniently stored on your back. Happy trails….

 

As people more commonly opted to run the same distances without so many overnight stops, the need to carry quite the same volume of kit decreased (unless you were in the military) and so too did the size of the pack.

Hence, people began running with a scaled down version of the hiking pack, for running in.

The OMM pack was, in its day, an impressive step toward lightweight efficiency on the move & still works very well for larger items or overnighters.  A more traditional solution to carrying plenty of kit.

 

 

 

Key differences were the waist belt, now no longer employed to support the weight around the hips, was a mere strap to keep the bag from leaping and swinging from side to side, or up and down.  The materials were a little lighter weight and therefore a little less durable, but the kit being carried was lighter in weight too, so things seemed fairly fit for purpose.

The feature which made a massive impact and made a running pack successful, was the inclusion of an external, front mounted bottle holder which allowed the runner to drink as they went, without having to stop and undo the bag altogether.

And guess who pioneered that feature…..

Ultimate Direction.

So the packs gradually accrued various additional features, but always with the same issues.  The movement of the pack would cause your body to destabilise.  Back and forth, the weight of the bag swinging about would throw your movement and cause more work, or less forward progress.  The same movement would also chafe the skin over a prologued period.

Add the vertical movement and you often found that your shirt was worked up your back until you were forced to keep pulling it back down.  Irritating.

Then along came the vest.  Worn like a boyancy aid.  Firmly fixed about the ribcage, away from soft tissue and stable as anything once properly sized and fitted.  Hydration could still be mounted at the front, but in a way that was a lot more stable than ever before.  Gone was the need for the waist belt altogether.  So there was nothing pressing tightly against your guts, or your bladder.

The fit – well, amazing the difference.  You feel more as if you’re ‘wearing’ a running vest, as opposed to carrying one.  It simply doesn’t shift.  Your contents stay still inside the vest, while the vest stays against your body.  The elastic nature of some models keeps things from flapping around when not filled to capacity, while others feature compression straps which draw the pack closely against your back in the same way, but with a measure of adjustment rather than a default fit.

Gone are the grumbles and gripes.  Gone is the feeling that your pack is fighting you every step of the way.  Gone is the need to stop – at all, on even the longest of runs, with everything you want within easy reach and available on the fly.  It really is a game changer.

The ‘waistcoat’ style design of running vests, with their place for everything & everything in its place.  Easy to reach & completely stable.  Your pack acts like it’s one with you.

 

There are still lots of very different shapes and sizes out there, with all manner of options in terms of materials, features, custom accessories and exclusive gimmicks within the vest arena, but for what it’s worth, Ultimate Direction’s strength lies in their efforts to develop the same core products, having them evolve over time, with every new version tweaking what was already successful and simply improving a time honoured design.  The straps and buckles allow for the vests to be tightened indefinitely, where some entirely elsticated products reveal how much they’re lost their hold after a couple of years use.  Sure there’s justification in replacing something that’s been used to death, but there’s a value in seeing that the only reason to replace a UD vest appears to be that a more desirable version has hit the shelves.

With in-built pole holders, front mounted bottle pockets for upto 600ml flasks (included with the Signature series), overlaying pockets for gels or small accessories, etc and secure zippered pockets in stretch fabrics, for stowing food, batteries, money, mobile phones, hat/gloves, map/compass and so on.  The potential is endless and the running is better than ever.  Some even have an in-built synch fit sstem for adjustment of the fit while active.  They really have thought of everything.

For anyone training and wishing to remain self sufficient, the solution is right in front of you.  Even on race day, if you’re settled on a system that works so well in practice, the need to compromise on food and drink at aid stations is a thing of the past.  Aside perhaps from plain old water, there’s very little need to gamble on the random sports drink, or nutrition on offer, when upon your person you can carry everything that’s tested and approved and maintain a rhythm, while avoiding unforeseen complications of any kind.

Running vests have been nothing short of a revolution.

Click here to view the Ultimate Direction equipment range.

 

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SIERRE-ZINAL MOUNTAIN RACE – Race Report by Dot Kesterton

Dot Kesterton is no stranger to BUZZ, with plenty of experience, teaching runners half her age how it’s done!

Running for #TeamAccelerate, as well as Sheffield’s Steel City Striders & her local ladies club ‘Smiley Paces’ – she competes within the V60 category (outdoing many in the V50 & V40) and runs like she means it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For her latest adventure, Dot has pulled out all the stops.  Click the picture below to read about her amazing time racing at the SIERRE-ZINAL MOUNTAIN RACE in SWITZERLAND.

Click the image to read the full story on pdf

 

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