Welcome, formerly known as 'Salford Swim Swim'. This is a Manchester blog about running and swimming and random stuff. Oh and mental health, it is good to be mentally healthy. Which we of course are not.......so if you're not too then check this out.........Moodswings

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Olympic Park Run

I'm off to Sunny London this weekend for the Olympic Park Run!

Not to be confused with parkrun (only a complete idiot would do that in their original ballot application), this is very much a one-off - a 5 mile run round the Olympic Park, ending in the Olympic stadium full of cheering supporters.

They've sent me a super-smug t-shirt to wear.

This will doubtless look amazing with my new Skins compression calf tights (otherwise known as "very tight socks") and shorts.

Hot, huh?

 The packaging says "It's not like your sense of style falls asleep the moment your muscles go to work. Consequently Skins are also designed to make you look great." 


It is all very exciting and once in a lifetime-esque. I'll be beating Paula Radcliffe over the Olympic finish line! Not that she's running on the same day as me, but still. And there'll be celebs doing it. Well, Princess Beatrice is running it anyway - here's hoping her crown doesn't fall off.

So, if you're watching the National Lottery Show on Saturday, look out for me (and find yourself something considerably better to do next Saturday night).



Monday, 19 March 2012

A shoe review - New Balance 660

Well now, the folks at SportsDirect offered me an opportunity to review a pair of running shoes for them from their range.

I have been given free rein to tell you the honest truth about these trainers folks so hold onto your knickers.

I went for the New Balance (NB) 660, why? - well I hadn't ever had a pair of New Balance before and I have a mate who swears by them so why the hell not.

Brand Comparisons

I am  big Nike fan - they fit wide trotters and I like the bounce of the air and they can look a little cooler than the norm. I have had mixed reviews from my podiatrist on how they are for pronators. I have been told off for wearing them in the past & after all I am constantly injured. Though I think the reason why my doc didn't like my Nike's was because they didn't have a rigid sole.

I am currently running in Asics - which I am not 100% with, they seem to shock absorb okay but I had to get a larger size for my wide feet so I pull out of the back of them a little. New Balance do offer a wide fit on some shoes though - worth noting for the ones of us with fat feet.

Asics are like the big fat gypsy wedding dress of running shoes. They have gaudy colours and are uglier than a Pat Butcher frock (may you rest in peace Pat).

NB have a classic looking range, they are a bit like the Gap for shoes - classic and unoffensive but not fruity like Nikes. What I like is they seem to stock tomboy colours and girly pretty colours in the same shoe. They are a decent looking shoe as running trainers go and this was definitely what attracted me as I am a bit of a shallow cow.

They are super light, compared to the Asics they feel like jumping around on clouds. I notice this is because they have a foamish filled sole, Asics soles are full of gel and this makes them a little on the heavy side. Nike are pumped full of air so they bounce a bit.

The weight of these shoes excited me as I hate being dragged down by weight. Though, I didn't feel the NB shock absorption was enough for me personally. I pronate bad, really bad on one side and the 660's sadly didn't cushion my terrible biomechanics.

I chose the 660's for the stiffened sole, I found it to be very rigid which will offer protection around the arch area. As you can see in the photo above, if the shoes have a central grey block of colour on the inside sole you know that they have a rigid centre to protect the arch.

NB shoes seems to run small, you need to go up at least a size for them to fit. Also you will need to remember to incorporate half a size to allow for foot swelling when running.

So I STRONGLY recommend you try before you buy to ensure the right fit.

Positives -
Light shoe
Good looking
Comfortable from the second you put them on
Rigid sole

Lack shock absorption
Run small
Not wide enough

Advise for
Neutral gait runners
Short competitive runs - 5km (light weight speed my friend)
Occasional short distance runners - road or other flat surfaces
Gym shoes
People on the feet all day

Advise against
Long distance runners without a neutral gait
Running on uneven ground
Insole users
People with high arches

Despite my comments these shoes will not be joining all the others in my trainers graveyard, I intend to wear them in the gym and maybe for a competitive short distance race because they are so light.

New Balance 660 c/o of Sportsdirect
They are easy in the gym bag but not on the knees in my opinion.

In the interest of fairness I took these shoes out with both insoles and without. My insoles are half shoe ones and are designed to prevent my high arches dropping. I didn't find there was enough support in these shoes and I needed the insoles. I usually slip them under the trainer insoles but these were quite narrow and slipped about on top of my inserts.

There was no way enough arch support for me without my insoles.

Do not let my experience put you off these shoes, they are mid-priced and would deffo suit a neutral runner or gym bunny better. They are incredibly comfortable from the minute you put them on so if I had a job that involved being on my feet all day e.g nurse, physio then I would consider these but I don't think they are built for high impact running.

Saying that my mate runs probably at least 50 miles a week in New Balance trainers; she has no complaints and has never ever experienced an injury. It all depends on you, we're all different - thank shabba for that coz I wouldn't wish my Oprah thighs on any of you guys.

You won't know if these are truly for you without a gait analysis first. All the specialist running shops do this, do what I do - get a free analysis and then seek them out at a cheaper price.

I didn't have a gait analysis for these but I could see my left foot was out and my knee felt pulled after a few 5km runs.

I won't be hanging up my Asics for the 660's though I am willing to give New Balance another go as, despite my quibbles, they are comfy and light, I just need to find the right fit for my disco feet.


Sam x

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Squirrels and Beards

Now, I was going to write a little somethin' somethin' about things that motivate me to run because I have been serious lacking motivation.

I like cakes, I am motivated to eat a lot of them. I like running a lot when my bits and bobs work and it gets addictive but when I stop, well the cake part of my brain takes over.

The cake part of my brain is like the grey squirrel, it's fat and generally takes over everything, kicking the red squirrels tinier little ass. So the red squirrel has to hide out in Scotland and the north east, it thinks about taking the power back but the grey squirrel is just too greedy.

BTW - the red squirrel is the running part of my brain. Did you like my little analogy? No, neither did I but I was basically trying to demonstrate that I like food and I am tubby.

Yes, I lured you into this post with another picture of the hot stuff that is Anton Krupicka but I will get to him in a minute.

My point about motivation being is that there is an element of environment that motivates me. A nice run in a pretty place with nice weather is one of the best things ever. Unfortunately, I live in Manchester, where the rain and the cold is as common as chlamydia at freshers week.

If I lived somewhere with proper amazabags weather and stunning scenery (enter Anton in the magnificent picture at the top) then I would obviously run more and would look fit as a butchers dog.

So there you have it, I have worked it out. Now let’s all move to Colorado and stalk Anton Krupicka in his micro shorts. I would be proper fit if I was trailing him.....which I would do purely because I admire him as an athlete and not because he has long hair and a beard.

Sam out x

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Under Pressure

This morning saw my Counsellor and me running up and down corridors in an empty School, before I pinned something to his chest.

The next line should of course be "and then I woke up" followed by a very Freudian explanation indeed, but in fact both of us turned up late for the Trotters 5 mile race this morning and had to register in a spot of a hurry before warming up sprinting up a hill to the start line with seconds to spare.

I should of course say that he is now my ex-Counsellor. I am cured, not depressed any more, I passed the self esteem exam, and am now sane. Marvellous.

In the last couple of months I have stopped running to take my mind off alcohol. I just run now. Life without booze is finally becoming "normal", the way I live life.

So, the last couple of weekends have seen me out at local club races. I did the Lostock 6 mile run last week, and then the Trotters 5 one today. These races are a bit more serious than ones I've been in before - there is a distinct lack of fancy dress - and I pounded round last week. I got a time that Sam wept to see and was second woman in her early forties wearing black with a ponytail (or whatever category it was).

Very smug I was too, before I realised the shin splints weren't going away when I stopped running. They're not that painful, but can be a precursor to something much nastier. Luckily there is lots of advice on the Internet about shin splints and I've followed lots some hardly any of it.

Stuff to do when you have shin splints

No running. 
I've followed this to the letter. It doesn't include parkruns or races, right?

Take aspirin for painrelief and to reduce swelling. 
Who's honestly got any aspirin?

Use ice packs after exercise. 
Or I'm sure having a cup of tea and an Eccles cake in a hot bath works just as well.

Put your feet up.
And what better way to spend the time than Internet shopping? I have bought some Skins compression calf tights. These will work miracles - not only will I not have shin splints, I will also run more quickly. Bargain!

I will of course not look a tool in these, and will be certain to wear them every time I leave the house.



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