Chef Ramsay Set To Enjoy Taste Of IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire


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IronMan 70.3 Staffordshire

IronMan 70.3 Staffordshire

Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay is turning up the heat by challenging 100 people to join him in the inaugural IRONMAN® 70.3 Staffordshire next summer. 

The chef has signed up for the UK’s flattest, fastest IRONMAN® 70.3 event which comprises of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile half marathon run.


Taking place on Sunday 14th June 2015, the swim will mark the start of the race at Chasewater Country Park, followed by a one loop bike route taking in the picturesque Staffordshire scenery in and around Cannock Chase. This single circuit course will then link back to and finish in the stunning setting of the Shugborough Estate.


Although the Staffordshire event has now sold out, fundraising places are still available through IRONMAN® UK’s charity fundraising partnership – and Ramsay has secured 100 places for competitors to raise money for The Gordon Ramsay Foundation, which supports a number of inspirational causes.


Kevin Stewart, Managing Director of IRONMAN UK, said: “Gordon is a fantastic competitor and it is great to have him on board. Although Staffordshire is a sell out there are still charity fund-raising places available, providing a great opportunity to be part of the race whilst raising money at the same time.”


Mark Winnington, Staffordshire Cabinet Member for Economy, Environment & Transport, said: “The event is a huge opportunity to showcase our wonderful county and will be fantastic for tourism, the local economy and residents.


I am delighted that Gordon Ramsay will be joining us in savouring all that Staffordshire has to offer and we are confident we have the perfect recipe for a fantastic event.”


Gordon said, “I’m excited to be launching GR100 and thanks to IRONMAN UK for giving us the opportunity to race at 70.3 Staffordshire.  It’s amazing for me to combine two of my passions, the Gordon Ramsay Foundation and triathlons.”


Athletes can find out more about charity partners here or for Gordon Ramsay’s challenge please visit


Ultimate Performance Silicon Toe Protectors for running


Well, here is a product I never new existed and yet turns out to be rather handy (well footy).

Ultimate Performance (UP) Toe Protectors are made of high-grade silicon and are designed to cover a single toe at a time. They are approximately 1 inch or 3 cm long and can be cut to size.

Ultimate Performance UP Silicon Toe Protector
Ultimate Performance UP Silicon Toe Protector

You get 2 in a pack. I got a free pack to review. Thank you !

As it happened a month before I received these samples I had the pleasure of completing this year’s second Half Marathon. Joy! as I finished with a very painful toe which, over the next week or so, developed a rather nice bruise underneath the nail which then (the nail) eventually fell off. The falling off process was surprisingly NOT painful – unlike the original injury.

First problem. as you can see from the image I have 2 mutant webbed toes, quite small.

Ultimate Performance UP Silicon Toe Protector
Ultimate Performance UP Silicon Toe Protector


I seem to get this sort on ‘injury’ either when I run half marathon type distances OR when I wear running shoes that are 1 size too big. The latter is not as silly as it sounds as most running shops seem to recommend to me to wear one-size-too-big shoes to accommodate foot expansion whilst running. I don’t think my feet expand that much and I have found through trial and error that a half size ‘too big’ is what I need.

Anyway I still fairly often run >HM distances and wear those shoes that are one size too big that I happen to have bought.

So with my new cut-down-to-size (second image) toe protectors I’m good to go. A simple pair of scissors sufficed.

After 2x 10mile+ runs I can successfully report no bruising and all toe nails intact.

The toe protectors are VERY soft and slippery to the touch and yet do easily stay on the toe. If you were so-inclined I imagine you could put them on your big toe or fingers. You’d need very small fingers though.

Just a thought.




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D4R_2975  If you’re looking to race IRONMAN 70.3 UK, Exmoor, you better be quick as there are only 75 places remaining.

Demand for entry into one of the toughest 70.3’s which takes place on UK soil on Sunday 28 June 2015, has never been higher, with organisers on track to close entries to this sell out event within only 7 weeks.

Kevin Stewart, IRONMAN Director of Northern Europe, said, Despite the announcement of 2 new 70.3 races this year, the demand to take part in this iconic 70.3 in Exmoor is still at an all time high. Nearly half the entrants are first timers to IRONMAN, which demonstrates just how tough our UK athletes are!

A sell out 1900 athletes will descend on Somerset for world’s first 70.3 IRONMAN, in the spectacular but challenging setting of Exmoor’s National Park. The event comprises a 1.2 mile swim in Wimbleball Lake, a 56 mile 2 lap leg bursting bike course, followed by a 13.1 mile looped half marathon multi terrain 3 lap course in and around Wimbleball lake.

IRONMAN 70.3 Exmoor, will have 50 slots on offer for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship which will be held in Europe for the first time in Zell am See, Austria next August.

Additionally, the event will be encouraging children aged 3-14 to come and get a taste for the sport and be part of the action with its IRONKIDS run event. Entry to IronKids will open on Friday 14th November 2014.

Week 2 : Marathon Training

Race Leader:

40 miles…that’ll do nicely.

Originally posted on more run less eat:

This was a tough week.

I am finding that I am hitting my target times on speed workouts although on longer distances it is taking me longer to find a rhythm.

Despite this I was very pleased with my Sunday long run, setting a target of 01:40:00 for 13 miles, finishing in 01:39:36! 24 whole seconds to spare! Easy :s

Here is my weeks breakdown :

Mon : 5.6 miles @ 08:44
Tue : 7.3 miles @ 07:42
Wed : 6.4 miles @ 07:16 (Silverstone 10k )
Thu : 4 miles @ 07:45
Fri : Rest day
Sat : 3.1 miles @ 08:30
Sun : 13.2 miles @ 07:41
Total miles : 39.6

As mentioned I was impressed with my long run and felt reasonably strong at the end, finishing with the 13th mile as the fastest split.

I also ran the Silverstone 10k this week which was a fantastic…

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Insane in the Portslade

Race Leader:

parkrun-related blog from a lady with a lot of shoes…

Originally posted on Isobel's Running Blog:

I thought I’d better get back to the gym after a three week break as I am paranoid I shall lose my leg muscles again. I was pleased to discover I could do everything at the same weight as before so everything is ok. I was less pleased when I arrived at track in the evening and remembered it is difficult to run having been to the gym in the morning. Although I tried I was completely unable to keep with Mark and Rick in the 4 minutes kilometre group. This week we had to do the 1000 in 4 minutes then 2 x 500 in half the time minus 5 seconds so 1.55 in my case. As I couldn’t keep with Mark and Rick I had no idea of my pace except what my watch told me and I don’t think it’s very good on the track. Too many…

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Dublin Marathon 2014 – finished!

Race Leader:

parkrunner and marathoner

Originally posted on Run and Jump:

Dublin Marathon 2014 finisher top and medal

Just about completed, mind you.

A tough day, with no PB at the end of it, but I’m still happy. I finished the 2014 Dublin Marathon in 3:38:59, just beating the mythical 3:39 barrier all us marathon runners talk about.

(You can find all the Dublin Marathon 2014 results online, and in cold print in tomorrow’s Irish Independent.)

My finishing time was a good half-hour slower than what I had trained for, and what my race results during the summer suggested I could achieve. Still, I’m pleased that I managed to turn a difficult run into a decent time – and after all, it’s the second-fastest of my five Dublin Marathons to date.

I’m not sure what happened to me today. All I can do is present the facts; despite training well for 18 weeks and feeling fine before the race, from the very first mile I felt I…

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What does a parkrun Run Director actually do?

Race Leader:

Interesting blog and a different view on parkrun…if you do them

Originally posted on On the run, on the bike, in the drink:

Recently I foolishly volunteered to become one of the new Run Directors at Pomphrey Hill parkrun. What drives a reasonably sane person (okay, okay, terrifyingly boring) to volunteer for a role like this?

1. With the ego the size of a planet and head sized to match any role titled “director” is impossible to resist. Especially as I get to boss people round which my wife doesn’t let me do at home.

2. “Director” looks fantastic on your CV, at least until you have to describe what the role entails “I, um, make people run round in circles” “NEXT”

3.  parkrun is a community and having taken from that community, it feels good to give back.

4. I look f*&king awesome in Yellow

Being a run director is a little bit more involved than standing up on the wall looking and feeling  like a berk and cracking a few jokes…

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Polar V800 Swimming Metrics :: Are Here (Almost)


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Polar V800 Review

Polar V800 (Source: not clickable)

Great timing from Polar with the imminent arrival of the V800’s swimming metrics for Christmas. A very nice present.

—————- Polar Press Release ————————–

Swimming metrics and Daily activity are just around the corner

The long-awaited swimming metrics is almost here. Just a few tweaks and test runs, and it’ll be ready.  With swimming metrics you’ll be able to measure your time, distance and pace, count strokes per minute, and identify your swimming style with the pool swimming profile.

Based on your feedback, this release will also bring Daily activity with steps, goal and guidance to the V800.

You’ll be able to enjoy these features in the second week of November.

Oakley Partners with Garmin



I was recently laughed at by several sources on my predictions for where some of the Garmin technologies were heading with speculation about a Garmin 930XT. One particular area was the possibility of a fighter-pilot-like heads-up display (HUD). Complete nonsense of course, will never happen.


Then there was this announcement today. (lol, I think they say these days :-) )

—————————– Garmin Press Release Follows Verbatim ———————



Oakley Airwave 1.5_Garmin VIRB Elite Camera

Next Evolution of Oakley Airwave™ Snow Goggle with Heads-Up Display to Serve as Wireless Video Display and Remote Control Solution for Garmin® VIRB® Elite Camera

We’re excited to announced that we have have teamed up with Oakley® to expand the functionality of the next evolution in Oakley Airwave™ alpine goggle technology. Wireless technology and a specially designed app will allow the goggle’s heads-up display to be used with the Garmin VIRB® Elite action camera.

“It is an honor to partner with Garmin, and we are excited to further expand the already stunning array of capabilities offered by Airwave goggles,” said Chris Donnelly, Oakley Senior Vice President of R&D & Optics. “Garmin’s solid reputation in the sport performance market and uncompromising level of quality matches up well with the Oakley brand.”


“We are thrilled to partner with Oakley to make it easy for people to control their VIRB Elite action camera using the Airwave 1.5 goggle,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin Vice President of Worldwide Sales. “Oakley shares our passion for innovation, and through this collaboration we’re enabling our customers to use our products in more ways than ever before. It’s a natural fit.”

Customers with the Oakley Airwave 1.5 snow goggle will be able to wirelessly connect their goggles to the VIRB Elite action camera, allowing the goggle to serve as a live video heads-up display, as well as a remote control. The glove-friendly remote for Airwave 1.5 enables the user to control camera features, and the goggle’s heads-up display can serve as the camera’s LCD display to show live video previews, as well as data from the camera’s built-in GPS sensor.

Oakley Airwave goggles combine world-class performance, protection and comfort with a heads-up display developed by Recon Instruments that integrates GPS, Wi-Fi, MFi Bluetooth® and more with a host of onboard sensors to offer instant access to a world of information. The innovative design allows the wearer to navigate resort maps; see jump analytics, speed and altitude; control their soundtrack; and locate and track friends on the slopes who have Oakley Airwave goggles or the Recon Engage App on their smartphone. Airwave 1.5 offers a broader range of connectivity, enhanced display graphics and improved battery life.

Donnelly added, “With Oakley Airwave 1.5 offering such a comprehensive range of features, a key focus in development was ease of use. The user interface of Garmin products sets the standard for the industry, and it further exemplifies the synergy between our two companies.”

The Garmin VIRB Elite action camera features built-in GPS, an accelerometer and an altimeter, and data seen in the Airwave 1.5 heads-up display can be overlaid onto the video recording. Aerodynamic and water resistant with an IPX7 rating, the camera has a rugged design that does not require a case for most activities, and the battery provides up to three hours of recording in full 1080p HD video. The VIRB Elite also has a 1.4″ Chroma display for convenient preview and playback.

Creating and Merging Underwater HR Data Into a regular Sports activity.


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Get ready

Source: Mike Lewis

Back in April this year (2014) I wrote about how it was possible to get HR underwater using ANT+ and a MIO Link optical HR Wrist strap. Things have moved on a bit since then with more optical HR options and new sports watches from Garmin (920XT), Suunto (Ambit3) and Polar (V800).

As I write this towards the end of October 2014 there is still no easy way to properly and ubiquitously get analysable underwater HR data. But there are several workarounds and near-solutions.

I’m writing this as I personally want to get reasonably accurate HR data for my swim sessions. And then to share it with anyone else who might also benefit.

Just to be clear for some: For a Garmin It **is** possible to get HR Data Underwater AND merge it with a Garmin Pool swim activity AND look at HR by length.

NOTE: This document is not yet complete and fully checked. It’s probably in a final draft version now. I need to clarify some of the details as it all get a bit complex at times! and add some bits that I know are currently missing need adding. However it’s good as a general guide for you now.

We need to first look at sensing and transmitting the HR Data.

1. Legacy Polar

Even the ancient Polar watches were able to record HR underwater. They used a signal that went MUCH further through water that ANT+ or Bluetooth.

I’m not sure exactly why Polar moved away from this, probably: to use more standard protocols; to use protocols that can uniquely pair devices; and to use more energy efficient methods.

The problem with Polar (October 2014) is that they do not have proper pool metrics that go around the underwater HR that they CAN already record. These metrics are scheduled for imminent NOV2014 release. Cool.

2. Chest Straps vs Optical HR Wrist Monitors

Chest straps are probably the best and most accurate way of sensing electrical impulses and then broadcasting the beats to whatever is listening. However, if the strap broadcasts using either Bluetooth or ANT+, then the signal will only travel a very few centimeters ie NEVER to the watch on your wrist.

But !! now we have devices like the MIO Link which record data optically and then transmit via ANT+, Bluetooth or both/either. If that wrist monitor is sufficiently close to your watch (on the same wrist) then your sports watch IS able to receive a HR signal.

MIO make their own technology which they sell to other companies, like TomTom, and there are also other companies like Epson who also make their own wrist technologies – so the accuracy WILL vary from manufacturer-to-manufacturer.

TomTom Cardio

TomTom Cardio

Newer optical HR sensors on the wrist are great. Especially devices like the TomTom MultiSport Cardio where everything is on your wrist in one unit. They might want to enable HR recording from swimming…

However. Optical sensors shine a light onto your skin and measure it bouncing back. If water gets between your skin and wrist strap then the readings can be way out. Having said that, I’ve also had fairly good success with this method.

The Scosche RHYTHM+ is a similar product but is reported to be better suited as upper forearm-worn…this is too far away from the wrist for a Bluetooth or ANT signal to travel.

So. Wrist-based Optical HR is a reasonable way forwards but maybe not perfect.

In comes Suunto and Wahoo.

mzl.dsooyjwd[1]The Suunto Smart Strap (Bluetooth for the non-ANT+-supporting Ambit3, using Movescount)  and the Wahoo TICKR-X (for generic ANT+ and Bluetooth devices, using WAHOO FITNESS) both use a conventional chest strap BUT their HR pods have a memory that is able to store HR data. In the case of the TICKR-X a whopping 14 hours…more than enough for any of my water-based sessions.

At the end of your session, or during pauses in your session (Suunto) the strap synchronises with a smartphone app. This could be at the end of your lane, the car park at the edge of a lake or at home. Sorted.

Surely then this ‘caching’ really is the way forwards?

Source: Unknown

Source: Unknown

Well, maybe. The catches are that, firstly, a HR strap doesn’t look great when you are in a pool. OK you might have it under a swimsuit or wetsuit. But many guys will not want to wear one in the pool. There are further problems as, secondly, even a half-strong push off from the end of your lane can dislodge even the tightest of chest straps. Still women are OK and everyone is fine in the sea or in a lake with their wetsuit on.

I also found problems with the TICKR-X having drop outs or too-low readings.



Thirdly you still have to get the darned data back to your sports data analysis tool of choice – be it Garmin Connect, Training Peaks or SportTracks AND be able to analyse it against your other swim metrics.



3. Getting the data where you want it.

This section talks about getting the data into the right app. The next section talks about combining it into 1 session.

Well I want it in SportTracks. You might well want it in Training Peaks. Newbie triathlete Jo Doe may well be happy to keep it in the Wahoo fitness app. Many Garmin devotees will go for the ever-improving Garmin Connect. The issue is that there are tens of thousands of us who want our data in different places compounded by manufacturers who want to ring-fence and monopolise their particular product set.

Well if you are a Suunto user then you are already sorted. You have the data in the Movescount environment. You’ve nothing more to do.



Similarly with the Polar V800, it records HR underwater. However the analytics are not yet there (due Nov-2014)…

Let’s say you want the data in TrainingPeaks. Well if you have the pro edition then you could quite readily use to synchronise with dropbox, SportTracks and Garmin Connect.

Oh hang on a minute!! none of those include WAHOO Fitness or Movescount (which is where your HR data would come from).

so there would need to be an extra step.  If you put it in Strava then you should be good to go. You can connect Strava to Movescount and then Tapiriik will sync Strava with all the above. (I’ve not tested that)

And therefore if you are a Garmin Connect or SportTracks user then this method is also fine. ie using strava as a staging post. (eesh)

If you are a Garmin WATCH user then the situation is a bit more complex thatn I’ve alluded to so far.

For starters, in openwater swim mode, the 920XT records HR data from a wrist based Opticla ANT+ strap. Sorted.

But if you have a 910XT or indeed any other Garmin model you are NOT sorted. Neither are you sorted in pool mode on the 920XT, although it is possible this might be enabled in future firmware releases.

Garmin Forerunner 920XT - Same look and feel?

Garmin Forerunner 920XT

With the 910XT, or indeed any other Garmin, you can only record HR data underwater if you set it to, say, run mode where it will record HR but then you will not get any of the swim metrics supported by your watch. Dilema.

So the solution here for the Garmin watches seems to be to use one of the chest straps that store data and upload the information in a second/parallel exercise file. And here is where the Suunto comes in.

These are the ‘workflows’ of data from the chest straps:

  • Suunto strap-to-SuuntoMovesount-to-Strava-to-Tapiriik-to-GarminConnect OR SportTracks OR TrainingPeaks)
  • Wahoo TICKRX strap-to-WAHOO FITNESS-to-Garmin Connect-to-Tapiriik/SportTracks-to-TrainingPeaks (iOS only)

However you are still left with two separate activities: a heart rate track and a swim track without HR.

I believe you cannot merge them in any of: SportTracks MOBI, TrainingPeaks or Garmin Connect.

However there is a 3rd way. and this is the only way I’ve found. Tell meplease if there are more.

4. Combining The Data How You Want It

As I said previously, with the Suunto Ambit3 and Smart Belt and with the Garmin 920XT+optical wrist HR (eg the MIO Link) you are either OK now or probably will be soon in the case of the 920XT (if Garmin turns on HR during a pool session). Similarly with the Polar v800 you might be OK in November 2014.

My suggestion for the 910XT and 310XT (and currently for the 920XT in pool swim mode) is to use the WAHOO TICKR-X or Suunto Smart Belt alongside using the watch – you would use the watch how you normally would (but obviously without the HR).

When you have finished your swim set; the WAHOO FITNESS app can trim the data to get rid of unwanted bits at the start and end of your session (this is important if you want the HR to match the lengths later). You can then export to, for example, a TCX file. If you manually import that TCX file into SportTracks (having first already imported your regular pool activity) then SportTracks will allow you to add/merge the HR track to that activity AND to synchronise the start times.

This definitely works (see the image below)

However. It’s a bit longwinded (understatement) as now you can automatically sync your PC SportTracks with SportTracks Mobi (requires a paid for account), tapiriik (requires an annual contribution for automation) and the paid for version of Training Peaks and the free Garmin Connect.

Eesh !

and, no, I haven’t tested every possible combinations of software and linking them !!

In the PC version of SportTracks with the POOL plugin (excellent) the developer, mechgt, has recently shown HR by length. So you can see how it varies for the different components of your pool session.

This clickable image clearly shows this (HR to the right) and this is the final solution that you want and need (well if you use sporttracks, it is, if you use another software package you will have to export the recently combined session from sporttracks!!):

Pool Plugin With HR Combined Files

Pool Plugin With HR Combined Files

In Summary

Think, why do you actually want HR data from swimming?

I use it to measure/validate the swim component of my overall training load. That’s all. So I only have to do it properly once every few months to make sure my estimate of TRIMPs per length/per 100m is up to date. I then apply that to my swim sessions..takes about 5 seconds. (Unlike the method above!).

If you want to look at HR data while you are physically swimming (you are mad, concentrate on your stroke).

If you want to look at average HR for your last set. That’s reasonable. You could just get out of the pool and check your HR or use one of the belts that cache your HR.

Would I go through that synchronisation malarkey 3 or 4 times a week. Err…no! But at least now you know how it can be done.


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