Film Friday – One Year Alone in a Forest (Iain)

Film Friday is a weekly (when I remember to do it) recommendation of one video to watch this weekend.

There is a famous tongue twister that goes “How much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?”

Try saying it again and again, faster and faster. It’s quite tricky.

I was reminded of it whilst watching this two hour study of one man, his big pike of wood and a lot of chopping. It is strangely calming to watch a man build a shed from scratch over two hours.

Give it a watch and see how long you can keep it on for.

Training For Celtman 2021 – February (Andrew)

Kirkintilloch Route: Blue areas show the hills

After last month’s brush with COVID, this month was just about getting back into a routine and getting close to the schedule I should have been following.

My original idea was to follow a Celtman training plan on TraingPeaks. For c£50 I bought a plan showing day by day the sessions I should be doing in order to give me the best chance to meet the cut off for running Ben Eighe. However, with the COVID lurgy I managed four days before I had to stop to become part of a global pandemic and then another three weeks where I had one week for it to pass, one week of a slight cough and then a third week of rest and only very light exercise before starting back again. this meant I’ve had three proper weeks of following the programme and so far I’ve done… not too bad. I’ve completed all sessions except for a couple of switches when I cycled instead of ran because the weather was too bad to go out and shortened a couple of the long cycles because I was doing them indoors and I don’t have the fitness yet to do more than two hours indoors. I work though on the principle that every minute indoors is worth two outdoors because you don’t pedal all the time outdoors and for every metre you climb when cycling from home then you also have a metre to descend….

To finish the month, we raced the Kirkintilloch 12.5k and managed to get the race bike out for its first outdoor ride this year. All in all, a good month considered. Now onto the crunch month: March and the impending announcement about whether Celtman will go ahead. Given Scotland is not due to start opening up un the end of April I’m giving it 50/50. It will be hard to have the race postponed again but given it’s due to take place less than two months after lockdown could end it’s a big step to get from opening up to hundreds of people in a remote part of the Highlands so shortly after that. We’ll find out next month though.

Rugged Run – Campsie Circular (Iain)

My ideal running route would start at my house and envolve a hill with a nice view that I can get to the top of before getting back in time for lunch.

Luckily, I live next to such a route but I’ve creatred the route so that it starts in Clachan of Campsie at the car park. If I marked the start as my house you would all be popping in to demand to use my loo or have a cup of coffee!

The route can be run in either direction but anti-clockwise is my preferred way as I can start with a nice flat run to warm up before tackling the hill. It’s then mostly downhill from the top with great views down the valley towards Strathblane.

I’ve run it in all weathers. I’ll admit this was one of the harder days. When I left the house the weather was sunny and the sky was blue but by the time I got to the top it was cold, snowy and I couldn’t see a thing.

Check out the video to see what I mean.

VIDEO

MAPS

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My favorite local route as I can run it from my house and be back in time for lunch!

Parking

Rating: 3 out of 5.

There is car parking in Clachan of Campsie but it can get very busy on a nice day.

Facilities

Rating: 1 out of 5.

None on the route

Nearest cafe

Rating: 5 out of 5.

There is a cafe in Clachan of campsie

Run Surface

60% track, 40% off road

Dog Friendly

Yes but your dog will need to be on a lead when running near the farm before climbing up the hill towards cort ma law.

Elevation

519M of elevation.

Film Friday – Sean Conway – The 496 Challenge (Iain)

Film Friday is a weekly (when I remember to do it) recommendation of one video to watch this weekend.

Sean Conway is a British adventurer who was the first man to swim from Lands End to John O’Groats. If you don’t know his story go and check out his books. They are all worth a read.

At the end of last year (2020) he posted this tweet.

https://twitter.com/Conway_Sean

This is how it went.

Book Review: Running the World by Nick Butter (Andrew)

First, something that really annoyed me.

In 2017, ultrarunner Nick Butter began a challenge to run a marathon in every country in the world. 196 countries to be precise. Or 195 if you want to be really precise. Or 194. Or possibly 201. It all depends on who you ask as there are a number of countries that are heavilly disputed such as Macedonia or Palestine. But what annoyed me was that I didn’t know that there is one country which is also disputed and I had no idea it was not a country at all.

As Nick recounts each leg of his journey, starting first in the Americas and then flying to Africa, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific and finally finishing with countries such as Yemen and Syria where conflict makes travel almost impossible, I kept thinking: “When’s he getting to Greenland?”

And then he finishes in Athens with a final marathon back at the home of the marathon and I still think: “He’s missed a country. He’s not run the world at all! He didn’t go to Greenland!”

However it turns out that Greenland is not a country at all. It’s part of Denmark and Denmark, far from being one of the smallest countries in Europe, is actually one of the largest countries in the world because Denmark is Greenland and Greenland is Denmark.

So, sorry, Nick, I thought you’d cheated but it turned out that you had ran every country in the world, which at least saves you a plane ticket and a purchase of some thermal underwear to complete your challenge!

As for the book, while the challenge was for a good cause, he was raising money for the charity, Prostate Cancer UK, the format of the book becomes tiring. 196 countries and 196 marathons with most entries being:

“Arrive in country. Delay at customs. I wonder if I’ll get in? (He gets in). I wonder if my support will be here to collect me? (They collect him). Let’s run this marathon! (He runs marathon). I met some brilliant people, they were all great. Let’s go to the next country (he goes to the next country).”

The fact that Nick just about manages to make this format work is a testament to the uncynical and enthusiastic way he talks about the challenge. You get a real sense of what it meant to him to raise money and awareness of Prostrate Cancer and his optimistic outlook to try and find the good in every country he visited.

But 196 countries is a lot of countries… and by the end I was glad he didn’t have to go to Greenland as I’m not sure I could have handled another country.

You can buy the book here: Amazon

Badgeathlon (Iain)

“30 unique challenges, 100 days to complete them all. A Celebration of Movement, Training & Running.”

Gary Robbins

This was a challenge that Gary Robbins, a Canadian trail runner, posted to his Instagram feed.  Competitors received a badge for each challenge completed. He called it the Summer Solstice Series (http://www.trailseries.ca/cmtr/#details)

I loved the idea but I wanted to make it simpler and quicker. Could it be done in a week and could the challenges be opened up so that anyone could do them whether they are a runner, biker or walker.

So after many hours researching how to make badges I realized I should stop looking at badge and concentrate on the the competition logistics instead. Being inherently lazy I put that off and went back to looking at badges until my triatlon club Glasgow Triathlon Club (https://www.glasgowtriathlonclub.co.uk/) asked “Has anyone got an idea for a club event?” That was my push to create Badgeathlon

The concept is 30 unique challenges, 7 days to complete. A celebration of triathlon and GTC Members. 

Everyone who wanted to take part were invited to join a Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/events/901651313997567

This was used to track the event and to create a community during the event.

The badge prizes

I posted 23 of the challenges in advance to the facebook group so that everyone would know what to expect in the week. Challenges were as simple as “go for a run” or “Attend a GTC session” to the more complicated “Check the time on your watch, then run/walk/bike for 30 minutes. Look at your watch and see how close you were to 30 minutes”

The remaining seven challenges were announced one at a time on each day of the event.

It was a fun event. I recommend any club give it a try. The key to making it a success is to make uses the facebook page and get people to post to it. The community that creates really drives the event forward.

Badgeathlon Challenges

Proclaimers Badge – Can you walk/run up 500 steps? Use the stairs in your house or your block of flats or find some steps in your local area.

Roger Bannister Badge – During the challenge what was the the time of your fastest mile (running or walking only)

Marianne Vos Badge – During the challenge what was the time of your fastest mile (biking only)

Ben Nevis-ing Badge – Complete 1345m of elevation (run/bike/walk) by the end of the challenge

Night Owl Badge – Complete a run/bike after sunset (this can be indoors)

Beat the sun Badge – Complete a run/bike before sunrise (this can be indoors)

What Weather Badge – Exercise in the rain/snow. There is no mimumum time for this. 1 minute outside will count!

Run Long Badge – What was the longest run you completed during the challenge

Bike Long Badge – What was the longest bike ride you completed during the challenge

Loop de Loop Badge – Go to a football pitch and see how many times you can walk/run around it in 30 minutes.

No watch Badge – Try to exercise for 30 min (running) or 60 min (biking) without looking at your watch whilst you do it. Make a note of start time and then check the end time when you think your time is up.

Weight Up Badge – Complete a weight/yoga/pilates session

GTC Badge – Attend a GTC session or do a GTC virtual run/podcast

Swim Badge – Have a cold shower

Shanti Badge – Immediately after a bike or run session find a quiet spot, lie down and close your eyes for 5 minutes and think of nothing.

Run Streaking Badge – Can you bike,run or walk for at least 3 days in a row.

Unplug Badge – Complete a run/bike session. Don’t upload it to strava or post about it on social media.

Home Run Badge – Get dropped off somewhere away from your home and run/bike back to your home

Trail Badge – Complete a run or a bike ride that is predomininatly off road (the canal path counts as off road or you can use a local park)

Back to the future Badge – Find a 100m flat area and time how long it takes to do it running backwards.

GPS Art Badge – Can you draw a picture in strava (or any mapping software) by running/biking. ( I suggest trying to spell out GTC) If you don’t have GPS then creat GTC art using some other medium song, poem, painting, baking.

Party Badge – As S Club 7 once sang, there ain’t no party like an Badgeathlon party! What one song would you want if you are finishing Iron Man Kona. What song would you want playing as you cross the line? Or imagine a boxer going to the ring and the entrance music blaring out.

Is it art? Badge – You have to post a pic from a bike/run/walk and the image must contain either a mural/graffiti/picture/interesting object and it can have yourself/other people in it.The more imaginative the better! It will be judged on artistic merit.

Rest Day Badge – Badge Fever is a condition that affects badgeaholics when in the pursuit of badge glory. Today – relax, take it easy and recommend a book or a film that you have enjoyed recently.

15 Minutes of Fame – to earn todays badge you have to post a sentence or picture detailing your claim to have had 15 minutes of fame! Maybe you’ve spotted a famous person in your local supermarket, maybe you are an artist/author/musician, maybe you can do a Rubik’s cube in under a minute. No matter how spurious your claim post it up!

Ant n Dec Badge – I’m a triathlete get me outta here! To earn todays badge post a sentence or picture (by midnight) saying where you would love to be swim/bike/runtoday if you could go anywhere. It could be a race/destination. Where ever you want to go as long as you can swim/bike/run.This is also known as the Hilary Glen Badge in honor of her being stuck at home

Post It Badge – To earn the badge you have to post (at least one or as many as you like) pictures or videos to this page from an attempt at one of the badge challenges on the spreadsheet. There are 22 you can choose from and your pic/video can be anything you like as long as it was taken whilst you did the badge. This badge is available until the competition ends on Sunday. You have the rest of the week to earn it.

ILOVETRI Badge – Posting a picture on the theme of “I love triathlon.” It can be a picture of anything swim/bike/run related from your time with GTC. It doesn’t have to a picture of yourself. It can be anything you like just as long as it was taken whilst you’ve been a member of GTC.

Badgeathlon Stats

44 people took part
Fastest Mile (run) – 6.50Fastest 100m backwards (run) – 26.62
Fast Mile (bike) – 2 min
Longest Run – 15 miles
Longest bike – 53 miles
Most loops of a football pitch in 30 minutes – 28
Fastest up 50 step – 4 min

7 people got a gold badge for completing all 30 badges
5 people got a pink badge for completing 25 badges
7 people got a red badge for completing 20 badges
7 people got a green badge for completing 15 badges

And the woman beat the men by averaging 21 badges to 18. 

The winner of the GTC art was this one because I like the 1980’s neon graffiti vibe.

Rugged Run – Meikle Bin (Iain)

Meikle comes from the Middle Scottish word “meikle,” “meikle” and “mekill” which meant “great,” or “large. Bin comes from Dusty Bin the star of 1980’s quiz show 3-2-1. Which makes this the only hill in Scotland dedicated to this great icon of our times. NOTE TO SELF: I should learn Gaelic so I can give more accurate explanations.

Ted Rogers - Dusty Bin by Agnes Guano
Yes this was a an actual TV show!

The common route up Meikle Bin is to go from Todholes car park in Carron Valley. I prefer this way which is much off track and a bit more adventurous.

Park at Lecket hill. Run down the road and then follow the path through the forest. Turn right when you come to the only fork in the road. The path will end in a clearing. You want to go diagonally left and through the gap in the trees. Check the ground near here and you should see other footprints and mountain bike tracks from previous travelers.

The ground here is very muddy so I normally walk into the forest on the right hand side and head down between the first and second row of trees where its much drier.

After a few hundred meters it will open up into a valley. Head across the river and follow the fence line. It will lead you to a firetrack path. Turn left and you will see the sign for Meikle bin.

Once you reach the summit head for the trees in the distance. There is a clear track to follow. Head into the forrest and keep following the track. It will open into a clearing. Head straight across and up through the trees. You will eventually reach a fence.

Jump over the fence. Turn right and follow it until it comes to a corner. At this point you’re on your own 🙂 I’v enot found a clear way to lecket hill so please comment below if you have one. I normally turn and head in its general direction and then keep an eye on my mobile phone app (https://maps.me/) so I don’t go too far off course.

Once you reach the hill there is a clear path all the way back to the car.

VIDEO

MAPS

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Amazing winter conditions for a tough but beautiful route.

Parking

Rating: 3 out of 5.

There is a small car park at the bottom of Lecket hill

Facilities

Rating: 1 out of 5.

None on the route

Nearest cafe

Rating: 5 out of 5.

There are cafe’s and a supermarket in Lennoxtown.

Run Surface

40% track, 40% off road, 20% very off road!

Dog Friendly

Yes but keep an eye out for sheep when near Lecket hill as the wander the top of the Campsies.

Elevation

500M of elevation.

Film Friday – Danny MacAskill – The Slabs (Iain)

Film Friday is a weekly (when I remember to do it) recommendation of one video to watch this weekend.

I’ve wanted a drone for years but they were always too expensive and too bulky for what I wanted one for. It needed to be light enough to carry when running and cheap enough that I wouldn’t have to remortgage my house to get one.

The reason why I wanted one is summed up in a video like this. Spectacular camera work makes the awesome riding skills of Danny MacAskill look even better.

This week, as a bonus, here’s a second film to watch. A behind the scenes guide showing how the made the film.

In Praise of… Massage Guns (Andrew)

In my bathroom there is a very expensive tube containing a lotion from a very expensive shop. Every time I see it, I snigger. It’s a hand creme by a company that really should know better given they charge the earth for something which is mostly just water but, clearly, they don’t, as they called this creme: “Hand Relief”.

I’m just glad it’s not run out as I don’t want to be asked by my wife to get some more when I’m in town and I have to pop into an expensive shop and ask the perfectly poised girl at the counter: “Can I get some hand relief?”

So, let’s all have a giggle and get that out of our system before I talk about massage guns – and this advert which either suggests a purpose similar to our lotion or a crime scene and the weapon used to kill her.

Either way, giggling over, let me say:

THIS GUN IS BRILLIANT!!!!!!

For the last three years I have gone for an annual physio check with a physiotherapist next to my office. She spends 45 minutes using her elbows and hands to mimic a sledgehammer to my back and she checks my posture and sets me up for the year. She is fantastic – https://glenberviephysio.com – and I’d recommend her once lockdown is over, however, with COVID outstaying it’s welcome like an unwanted party guest, it may be some time before I’ll see her again.

What’s worse, swimming helps stretch me out and helps fix wee niggle and pulls. But with the pools closed the pulls have started to become more common and I knew I was missing a massage to sort it out. So, I thought about getting a massage gun.

The only one I knew was the Theragun but it was far too expensive to take a chance on something I didn’t know would work – or even how it worked. At nearly £400 it would have been a big gamble. However, as I was checking reviews I found one which said that if you want a brand name then buy a Theragun but if you want another one that’s better, quieter and over £300 cheaper then buy a Sportneer – which was available for £70 on Amazon.

Now, £70 is worth a shot. Especially on Amazon when you can return it because…. err…. it didn’t work, honest, and if I’m telling a lie Mr Bezos then really, you can afford a little bit of fraud for being the richest man in the world and running an evil corporation that strangles small business and has a slave workforce but is so easy to use that we completely forgive it.

The Sportneer was easy to use. You just attach a had to a small pneumatic drill. You select a speed – from your mama’s ass whipping to kung fu fist of fury – and then hold it against which ever part of your body needs some relief. Wait, not relief, that’ll get us giggling again. Let’s say physio instead.

I tried it on my back and shoulders and over my clothes to keep this review PG friendly and I could feel instant relief from the tired and stiff points around my upper back and neck.

It was, and I say it again and make no apolgies for using capitals a second time, BRILLIANT!

After working on my back for 10 minutes and then swapping the head for another to work the neck I felt as good as a session with the physio. And while it can’t tell me if I’m still ‘balanced’ it did help work and ease the knots that had built up over the last few months.

This gun is BRILLIANT. As I’m sure are Theraguns but, if you want to spend £300 on something else instead then definitely check out the Sportneer massage gun.

Link: JEff Bezo’s Satanic Money Making Website

Rugged Run – Holehead Radar Station

Holehead is the third highest point in the Campsie Fells after Earl’s Seat and the Meikle Bin. The weather radar station is a relatively new structure that was erected in the early 2000’s. It is a replacement for a similar station at Eaglesham which had to be decommissioned when a wind farm was built there.

Normally there is a great view from the top looking down over the Crow Road across to Meikle Bin and over carron valley reservoir but unfortunately not this time.

Murphy law states “what shall go wrong, will go wrong” but I think the trail running equivalent should be Todd’s law – “Whatever can block your view will block your view! When I got to the to the radar station there was nothing to see. It was beautiful clear blue skies for the whole run except the ten minutes I was at the station! Check out the video below to see how fog comes from nowhere to block the view.

This is a great loop that start at the top of the crow road in the Campsie hills. Park at the entrance to the forest trails, follow the path until it take you back to crow road. Run back up crow road until you see the road up to the radar station. When you get to the top follow the stone wall and you will end up back at your car.

VIDEO

MAPS

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A tale of two half’s. The first half was much easier than the second.

Parking

Rating: 3 out of 5.

There’s a small car park in Clachan of Campise. You can park on the street if the car park is full. It can be busy on a nice day.

Facilities

Rating: 1 out of 5.

None on the route

Nearest cafe

Rating: 5 out of 5.

There are cafe’s and a supermarket in Lennoxtown.

Run Surface

90% track. 10% road

Dog Friendly

Sort of – look out for sheep and keep your dog on the lead when you leave the forest as its near a farm. The road up to the radar station is used to graze sheep so even if it looks clear keep your dog on a lead.

Elevation

354M of elevation.