Posts Tagged ‘+Adidas’

Romania so far…..Farmland, animals and tradition… And a Marathon

Well here I am in Romania where I have been based since late August. What was supposed to be a 6 to 8 week job has stretched into probably a 12 week trip and I will be home around mid to late November… Bit of a shock to the system and goes against my usual principles of rotations and work, but hey one must adapt to the times……

Clasic local scenery and great horse and cart

I love the horses and carts used around here. This is the number one means of transport for these dirt roads, I imagine in winter that this is the best way to travel. I so want a go on one of these!

Its work again, so time for running has been pretty limited.

The area I am in is up in the North West of Romania, Satu Mare County in a place called Tasnad, fairly close to the Hungarian border. This area apparently used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until after WW1.

Classic  villages

A regular visit to Silwas as its on one of my 12km circuits. A cute place with loads of geese,ducks,horses and churches, alongside old style cottages and water wells.Cool

The area reminds me a bit of East Yorkshire where I grew up, its a mix of flat agricultural land – corn and sunflowers plus some pasture land, with some low ( 100m ) rolling hills along the edge where Tasnad town is and I am staying in a small hotel with a thermal water pool…

Silwas Vilage

Very Eastern Yorkshire, UK prior to the Agricultural Act and the ripping out of anything that impeded progress for tractors ( and mechanization of British agriculture, depopulation of the rural areas and destruction of wildlife habitats) - There are wild boar here, any number of birds of prey, Hares, Foxes etc etc.

The running is certainly not mountainous but is cool nevertheless. Its really different to anywhere I have spent time recently and as such its a pleasant spot. Admittedly I miss the mountains – Alps and N wales home but there are lots of subtler things around that help to compensate for the lack of mountains here.

More views

More rural views on my runs around the area. I am getting to know all the little paths and tracks. I love it when you begin to build up a mental image of the network of trails and tracks in an area, and everything starts to fit together somehow

The place is riddled with agricultural tracks and quiet country roads ( a lot of the roads here are still gravel and dirt and get almos

Workplace

Out at work one day... I have run through this place a few times and was suddenly taken with the light over the stream and the bridge. No mountains of course but it has a certain charm...

t impassable in wet weather – and very little tarmac), hedgerows, ditches and old style villages.

Horses and carts are common here too, the main form of transport for a lot of people and produce and its great to see so many of them.

Old communist barns with pigs lurking inside, quintessentially rural villages with churches, ducks, geese, hens and all the crucial ingredients for classic olde worlde charm, dilapidated hen farms, rustic built hay barns and friendly people.

These have to be licenced and all have a number plate of sorts to go on the main road

This is in Santau, one of the villages where we are working..

Occasionally one gets a glimpse of the edges of the Carpathian mountains in the distance…

So what am I up to? Well my runs until the last couple of weeks have focused on around  45 to 90 minutes in length ( as much time as can be taken off during the work) and I have been working on building some pace into my general running turn over speed so some interval sessions have been incorporated – 80m x 8 reps, trying to keep a pace of under 3 mins per rep ( around 2 min 50 s in fact), with some shorter 200 m rep sessions. In between these its been 1 or 2 runs to get around 10 to 6km in on the flat farmland tracks or on the rolling hills, and really been exploring all these quiet villages and small valleys and farmland that surround us here.

I have a quality 10km race track on a road out to a spot called Saucas, its got some small climbs, and I have in fact managed a 39min 21 second 10km on this so I feel as though I am definitely speeding up..

Out and about there are some cool sights and again, different to the usual. On my jaunts out, the peace away from work is really appreciated, and I have found Foxes, Hares, loads of birds of prey , from Buzzards to Kites, Kestrels, Sparrow hawks, marsh and hen harriers.

There is the added fun of a huge number of seemingly mental dogs, basically every building seems to have at least one in it which love to run up behind and bark at ones calves, which are well exposed to a bite should they fancy it! However, the technique is to stop running , crouch down as one turns around and these seemingly deranged dogs either quieten down and wag tails or charge off in fear, most amusing…..

Sheep dogs and cattle dogs everywhere

All these dogs look a bit mad when you first see them, barking and running at you but then they chil out as soon as you say hello. Nte the dangling stick to stop them running too quickly... seems a bit harsh..

Watching the seasons change is cool, as harvests are gathered and fields are getting ploughed turning dark earth browns under the plough blade. The rich green that enveloped the area when I arrived is well on the way to its rich golden and yellow autumn coat as the temperature drops and the nights begin to draw in… I remember this time last year in the Alps was spectacular…

Anyway despite all this working is not the same as being on break and I miss the mountains!!!

I did manage a weekend off last week courtesy of my employers, and I headed to Bucharest to have a bash at the Bucharest Marathon , which turned out to be a great event, albeit almost pan flat…

Ceaucescu's old residence where the Marathon started and finished

A great and grand setting for the Marathon Start/Finish Line. Ceaucescu's Palace 2nd argest building in the world after the Pentagon apparently...Bonkers

I was not really prepared to try and run a PB due to all the hill time and not too much speed training, but I was well pleased to manage a 3hrs 11 minute race, coming 60th overall, well chuffed with a spur of the moment excursion. I have knocked off 15 min from my previous PB on the Snowdon Marathon and well chuffed.  I am proper convinced that with a few more paced runs and some tempo things I could actually break 3hrs……Maybe I will try and enter the Barcelona Marathon in March, or something equally flat around that time when the weather is still a bit mingy for long mountain runs and out of season races are few and far between on the fells…

These are my favouritest Road Shoes ever - Adidas Adios Boost - Awesome

Found these in Adidas shop in Bucharest. So hard to find the size for me. They are awesome - Adidas Adios Boost, they are so light and so springy, super comfy neutral and just make you want to try and run faster. Oh and by the way these were the shoes that were worn when the world marathon record was broken 2 weeks ago in Berlin

The atmosphere was great, loads of crowds watching, cheering, music, friendly aid stations and the start and finish were in the lee of the old Ceaucescu Palace, the 2nd largest building in the world ( pentagon is 1st)

Watching the prize giving. I am not usually back in time for this sort of thing. Cool

Great atmosphere at the BUcharest Marathon, sunny and warm and watching the prize giving at the end. A fun race, I well enjoyed the experience despite it being not hilly and not in the countrysde... It was cool


Pank Camp Loop – Best camp location for views and quality loops

Possibly the best 3.5km loop of tarmac I have come across with around a 100m heigh difference and a few diferent hills on a single lap. Telly Tubby style bridges, a couple of short grass tracks and great views means its actualy pretty inspiring to run here, depsite the fact that one is not going anywhere.

Combined with the very hospitable Kurds and our friendly OPF, a bunch of Asaish and lots of holiday makers, its quite an experience. These pictures are all from the quiet end of the camp near the gorge behind Rowanduz Village. This place is surrounded in trails and climbing opportunities. Might have to come back on holiday!!

Paul Dixon flying along at Pank

Soran in the background and Hamiltons Road running up the valley into Iran in the distance

Jim Plaice on the Pank Loop with a great Back Drop

Jim Plaice, one of our gang of four - myself Paul D and Qudrat make up the other 3 - daily battering on the tarmac above Rowanduz. It could be worse?!

Paul D going for it again

Akoyan Valley in the background and the Harmusche ridge. Full of potential routes - biking, running, scrambling or climbing. Rowanduz is such a cool spot. Qudrat,Paul D and Jim P on a mission. 38 degrees C.

Rowanduz, running, Kurdistan

Paul D and Qudrat, more partners in crime on the Pank Loop, steps and sweeping mini paths ad to the fun and stretch the lungs and calf muscles

Rowanduz Gorge behind, Pank Camp super Loops. 38 degrees C. Tired Legs

Pank Loop - Your truly - attacked the steps and the rather fancy red and white paved swoopy paths jioning the tarmac loops, lol


Kit for Work and running Rowanduz

Its been a hot month and a lot of my clothing has ben used for crossover running and working out in the hills, The North Face Trail Guides have taken a good beating, they are over a year old now, and my Adidas Adizero Adios have finally given up the ghost due to excesive trail running in what are in fact a pure road shoe (used them loads in Cambodia).

I am saving whats left of my Adidas Adizero XT4’s for the alps but seriously need a new pair of shoes….

The North Face Stretch trousers, Better Than Naked Shorts, Adidas and The North Face tops – short sleeve that I got from V12 have been great and actually I really did benefit from the wicking nature of both TNF stuff and Adidas. I could wear the t’s throughout the day, then don my shorts and run in the tops as they would dry so quickly. Good airflow and comfortable fit, plus hard wearing are the impressions I get from these garments, all great.

Loads of tarmac km’s lots of ascent and descent, fresh air, salads, work work and more work, and I feel super healthy now and pysched for the Alps trip with Helen … New adventures always…


Good work and plenty of exercise in Rowanduz. Next stop Home.

I am due back in Wales on the 11th after a fine hard working month up in Rowanduz, in Eastern Kurdistan on the edge of the Zagros mountains, with distant views of Iranian and Turkish peaks. Its a magic place to be honest and such a great place to work.

Admittedly the options to run wild over the mountains are out due to work commitments and HSE rules, but just running around the Pank Holiday resort where I was embedded for a month was stunning due to quality tarmac and great views. Work has also involved a lot of hiking into the hills and 2 out of 4 weeks I have managed 3700 m of ascent, one week 85 km  and another week 106 km, squeezed in to late afternoon tarmac sessions, marching in the hills to check out work teams, and occasionally running on dirt roads at the end of the day with a vehicle following me on the way back to camp… I am sure the photo’s posted give a bit of an idea of the potential here – tha place is ripe for new routing, now ridge running, trail runs, gorge exploring and kayaking, with road biking and mountain biking options a plenty.

an amazing place full of fantastically hospitable people, Kurdistan is an adventure waiting to happen


Back In The UK And Getting Into It Again

Clasic view from the Glyders towards Snowdon, Its great to be back in Wales

Great weather this week, a good welcome back to Wales, Snowdon from Glyders

So after a month of work and being confined to the camp and running in circles ( got the camp circuit down to 2mins and 5 seconds, segment on Strava. Paul Dickson has matched the time so need to smash it when I get back to work…. However:-

Back in Wales Weather has been great, I am feeling really good, the flat circuits have kept me in reasonable form I reckon and what a good week of trips out:-

For all the runs this week i am back in my pair of Adidas Adizero XT4’s. They are as ever great grip and superemely comfortable whilst minimal enough to give a great feel for the trail but stil protecting the sole of the foot from battering. They are light, dry fast and never seem to smell bad… my 3rd pair and they last for ages. the last pair I bought slightly small and I have passed them on to Duncan whilst there is still some life left in them. I am in size 46 not 45 now, and this is perfect for me , locking my foot into place with enough toe box room so i dont stub. Really locked onto my feet and super comfy.. ( I am a size 44.5 in a normal shoe and have decided that 46 suits me best in most trail running and road shoes, especially Adidas.

Looking down into te Ogwen Valley on my first day back from work.

The start of a great week of running and fun, with plenty more to go before I head back to work. Looking down from Y garn into Ogwen, Pen yr Ole Wen on the left, Tryfan to the right

Wednesday 16th April – 17km 1087m ascent

Arrived back at 1315hrs and then by 140hrs met duncan and headed out up through the quarries onto Elidir Fach, then Fawr, my favourite ascent, tons of steps and steep, more of a power march than a run, but runnable sometimes… headed over to Y Garn with a chily Breeze and a very excitable Sam the Dog, and then managed to convince Duncan that the descent via Pen Dinas would be fun. Possibly the steepest bit of grass in the pas and annualy used for the Pen Dinas Fell race – a vertical thrash u and down….

A great day out finished by continuing back into Llanberis along the road from Nant.

Thursday 17th –  MTB 25km – plenty of climbs and some awesome descents, Trail Run 8km with 40m ascent

Battered legs – quads particularly tender due to the steep descent off Y garn via Pen Dinas. The flat lands of camp dont prepare the legs for this realy so some pain is inevitable! but its good stuff and clears away once the legs get moving..

Trip to Coed Y Brenin and a great ride round the Dragons Back, havent been here in quite some time and unusual not to have Helen with me as Mountain Biking is one of our things … Plenty of it lined up for when she returns from Cambodia.

Sam is always super excited to get out with us! I get a great welcome from him every time i turn up.

Duncan and Sam are always keen, and duncans odd work hours means he is available during the day sometimes, in between building his house and family time.

Biking was great and helped the legs recover, weather was ace again.

After the bike ride I decided to try out a short trail in the forest – The Sarn helen Long route – 8km and 400m ascent, a great little spin out and legs felt beter and beter as the run went on. There are a load of trails marked up in Coed y Brenin, including the trail Half Marathon Course which would be a great run, save it for next time. I have done the marathon course a couple of years ago at the inaugral event and the race goes from strength to strength each year…

Friday 18th Road Bike ride 60km

Headed out with tired legs over towards Waunfawr, then round via Beddgelert and up the Nant Gwynant to Capel Curig, along the Ogwen valley and down through Tregarth , and picked up the van from my mate duncans. Excellent ride and legs actualy felt ok climbing the Gwynant but knackered later on. tried to keep the pace reasonable and maaged about 3hrs ride including half an hour stop at the magnificent Nant Gwynant Cafe. Once again, great weather , and its just so good to be out when its like this!

Saturday 19th Mountain run 21km 1770m ascent

Great rocky ribs reuire some care as they are pretty rotten but height is gained quickly

I did this route when I was a teenager into scrambling and its one of my favourite ascents onto the glyders. No good in the rain tho . Spot the XT 4 Adidas Adizero's and also Ynys Etws hut in the bottom of the valley.

Once again an awesome day weather wise and out early ish to seek a parking spot in Nant Peris (couldn’t face running down the tarmac to Nant).

A great way up onto the glyders from the Pass- Bryants gully is steep and has some awkward scrambling in it when wetm but its good and steep and relentless to power march/climb

Great views into the pass from high up in the gully, avoiding the wet and slippery awkward wall, steep scree,heather and rocky buttresses

Picked a cold damp and shady route up onto Glyder Fawr to avoid the easter crowds, via Bryants gully, actually pretty slippery and awkward at this time of year as there is still afair bit of water running down it. Its a steep steep way onto the glyders and the higher part of the gulley features a short steep wall which can be a bit lethal in the wet so this was side stepped by ploughing on up the scree hillside to the right of the gully to keep it safe and sound today.

Onto Glyder fawr the towards Glyder fach to the top of the Cneifion Arete, above Clogwyn Ddu. I descended the ridge to Llyn Idwal after wondering if I could face it – it loked a long way down and my legs were tired…However once the decision was made, I was feeling great and loking forward to the climb back out from Idwal lake. Steeply down to the lake then crossing at the outflow, i head directly up towards Y Garn , a long a step stren ridge ascent with not much horizontal terain between the lake and the summit. A great way up and legs felt OK, tho I took it steady.

Tryfan in the distance,looking down the Y Garn ascent with Cneifion Arete in middle distance

A great track up steps and a broad ridge from Llyn Idwal right to the top of Y Garn, lots of ascent. The middle ground behind the ridge is the Cneifion Arete, that I had just descended,

From Y Garn it was onwards via the crowded summit towards  Elidir Fawr – most of which is quite runnable on tired legs even when one is feeling lazy – then descended to Elidir Fach and cut off the top to join the tarmac road  to the surge pool and then down through the quary on the zig zags, al the way back to Nant Peris via the small path that breaks off about 3 or 4 bends above the lake, across the hillside, a great variation.. Awesome few hours out.

I took Sunday off for paperwork and a break, just to keep me keen, and then Monday had a plan to run with Duncan and Brian

Monday 21st April 27km 1646m Ascent

Great route that was chosen for the decent weather. we had planned a round snowdon Jaunt but decided instead to go high and do a vatiant of round Snowdon.

Met up with Duncan, Brian plus Sam the dog who is always bonkers keen, and unaware of the distance he may end running of course!! Wish I had the metabolism of a dog for energy  – he seems to go on forever!

So we headed off up Bwlch Maesgwm ( Telegraph Valley) then followed the left  fork after the gate on the descent towards the Snowdon Ranger path, then headed through a gate and leftwards towards the old quarries blocking the way between us and Rhyd Ddu. Great trails, tho at times boggy lead one around the hilside and across a great summer bathing spot at a stream, to the railway behind Rhyd Ddu. 100m along the railway you can jump the fence leftwards where there is a pile of breizeblocks for just such a purpose and cut over to join the Rhyd Ddu path towards Snowdon summit. Breaking right , we take the rough track towards Bwlch Cwm Llan and head up the South ridge towards the Summit. Its alternately hot and chill  windy and a steep ascent that keep us huffing and power marching before a wel earned cup of tea in the summit cafe,( Thanks Jonathan!)

After a refuel it was off over too Cryb Y Ddysgl/Garneddd Ugain, tthen down diagonally to the Snowdon Ranger descent and the steep leg busting climb upto Moel cynghorion, before the classic descent down to the top of Bwlch Maesgwm and then down to Llanberis, legs feeling great and my Adidas Adizero XT4;s feeling great all the way. A great day out again  and a fine week of exercise..



Kurdistan – Around the compound in 80 ways

Here i am in Kurdistan, some great looking countryside around – mountains and great rolling hills, great weather and interesting work, although the operations are yet to get going.

I am restricted to running round the camp permiter, inside the berm walls, which is a 0.4 mile circuit on gravel, sometimes firm, oft times a bit loose and hard work.

The views however are unsurpassed and I think this week ( I have yet to finish the weeks mileage) I will manage around 75km of varied running, so nearly 80  kms…

Steady 10km, 10km with some 10m sprint intervals in the middle, some 200 metre speed endurance sessions slipped into a 10km steady  pace and then the classic one fast lap one recovery lap, then hare and hounds stuf as I chased Paul Dickson round the compound today.

Plenty of the guys are out power wlaking, Paul and a few others are inot the running, although Paul is by far the fittest and kenest here, so thats plenty of motivation , and when we are out running we motivate each other, making the arbitrary laps disappear fairly painlessly.

A gradual development of a zen like mindset is required to run round in circles endlessly, I am generally no good at it as I love linear runs or runs n the hills so this is a bit torturous. however, the views are unsurpassed from the camp, and our Northern camp, to which I may move next hitch is on a kind of elevated fortress like hill with plenty of tarmac around the place.

Even tho security guidelines mean we are all stuck in camp, the views are good for exercising. I am also pushing our contractor to replace the running and exercise bike machines with ones that work and are of decent quality…..

head torch on tonight and off for a few more circuits, maybe an audio book if I get bored as I run….

Photos to follow as the upload speed is proper slow here. Looking forward to field operations beginning in earnest and then at least I can march up some hills too…

Keen to batter the legs to try and maintain fitness………

PS:- My 3rd pair of Adidas Adizero XT4 shoes from V12 Outdoor feel great on this gravelly rocky stuff, and the light weight road shoes – Adizero Adios are a good change of shoe from this now and again just to vary whats on my feet….


Sen Monorom, Mondulkiri – Pictures. Trail Running and Elephants

here are a few pics of the first week or so on the Elephant Valley Project, running in the morning before heading to work on the project in the afternoon.

The temperature has been rising since i got here and is around 36C to 38C in the afternoons now, and around 26C first thing in the morning. It soon warms up, and the humidity, despite no rain is quite omnipresent as ever..

Looking back towards the starting point

Our accomodation - a finky wooden hut pretty much open to the air is behind the white building in the distance. A typical Sen monorom view

Gee Noll and Easy enjoying the river on a warm afternoon. The Elephant Valley Project

A tri down to visit Gee-Noll and Easy in the afternoon in the project forest rented from the Pnong People. The Elies are so happy down here. Awesome to be involved. Nothing better thhan visiting these guys after a hot mmorning run

Adidas Trail Response 20's doing great, Hot day. exploring the trails

Above Sen Monorom. Exploring the tracks and trails, no one around as usual, hot, great single tracks. All part of my scouting runs to work out a Tour of Sen Monorom Route

I managed to work out a great circuit which nly involves about 5km of tarmac on the Eastern side of Sen Monorom. The circuit takes in somme good hills and some awesome tracks and trails along wiith plenty of dirt roads and worked out at around 30km… Need to research a bit more to get a full off road experience……Watch this space, or maybe next time…

Dirt SIngle track on the way to Sen m\onorom Mountain (a smallish hill in fact)

Early morning classic trails - dirt tracks, super dry and hard packed iin the middle of the dry season here. all makes for great running, even down in the valley bottoms in what would normally be boggy. Great tracks that stand out especially after the annual burning of nearly everything brown that occurs here in prep for the wet season and re-growth. This is about 12km into a 17km round trip

Out on a morning run, Adidas Trail Response 20's getting a battering. Great views

So much dry hard packed soil and the trails are great. Gets really dusty late in the day in town and on the dirt roads with the traaffic but in the mornings iits so quiet out of town and the views are great from above the town. Sen Monorom Mountaiin or Sunset Hill plas Sea Forest View Point. All connected by singletrack discoveries . Everything from open trails to ones hidden below bamboo forest....


Reviews and the Adidas Adizero XT 4 trail running shoes

I am well excited as when I get home at the end of this month I can now get my hands on a pair of the Adidas Adizero XT4 trail running shoes. They are in stock at the shop at last and I am well looking forward to running in them. I have seen them , felt them, bent them, poked them and so on…….great stuff!!! I think they will be brilliant – light, fast and cushioned, and from what Big Gaz says about them already on the page in the shop section, they sound really like my kind of shoe too.

I also plan to write a number of reviews in the next couple of weeks about some kit I have had for a long time now:

The Odlo Evolution Light L/S top and the Odlo Evolution Warm L/S top, that I have had since early in the year and my Odlo Gilet that I have been suing over the last month or so. All these are great  items of clothing and will be fully reviewed shortly

Its about time I reviewed my Black Diamond Ultra distance Z poles too. Its the first time I have got poles to use specifically for running and I am amazed at their lightness, robustness and ease of use. A full review soon …..

In the meantime heres a great sign I saw on holiday in S.A, with some handy advice :-

You never know!!

Great sign we spotted in Simons Town around Boulders Beach.........


Adidas Adizero XT4

I haven’t got my hands on my pair of these yet but I am very keen to get them and have a go. Hopefully I will have these down in Capetown for my jaunts whilst on Hliday. I am seriously excited about that, hwever that’s another story..

I may seem obsessed by shoes but hey, I am constantly searching for a bit of a holy grail shoe, and although I know one shoe will never fit all the terrain, and I need some super aggressive Inov8 shoes for the steep fells, I keep seeking a good inbetweener to plug the gap between the North Face Hayasa and the Inov8 / Sportiva Vertical K..

Here is a review from Irunfar.com of the Adizero XT4

These could be the shoe!! They have more grip than the Salomon Crossmax so better on muddier trails and a bit more padding / cushioning than the TNF Hayasa’s and a bit more grip – in fact 7mmm of continental rubber lumpy bits to dig into those muddy trails and also a bit of underfoot cushioing for the rocky bits too….

They are not too minimal and still light and the drop from heel to forefoot is 6mm so they will be an easier shoe for someone who is not completely transitioned to running in flat shoes but wants light and fast and increased  ground feel and neutral, whilst still having some cushioning… They should  keep my feet protected whilst maintaining stability…We shalll see

I will be using them and then write a preliminary review of them probablly after my Cape Town Trip….

By the way, I had a good 9 km blast along the dirt road back to Palma this evening as a hard tempo session. a km warm up and then pushing it on the pace for a 37 minute run, short but hard, before my colleague pickedd me up in the works vehicle on the way to a brief safety meeting


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