Latest posts by Big_G

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Shades Marathon Training

Posted: Today at 05:05
MF, this is what Lonely Planet says about where I'm staying. "This important national park is home to diverse animal and plant life, making it one of Vietnam's most protected areas. Some 307 bird species, 133 kinds of mammal, 122 reptiles and more than 2000 different plants have been recorded here".

It's called Cuc Phuong National Park. There are several organisations here all doing their own thing, but all working together too. The organisation I'm working for looks after 'confiscated' pangolins (one of the most illegally traded animals in the world, and they're scaly anteaters. They're very cool!) and civets (think 'badly drawn cat'). And right next door there is a large organisation looking after 'confiscated' monkeys, and next door to that turtles. The majority are native species and all have been confiscated in Vietnam, and the idea of all of the organisations is to reintroduce the animals to the wild, but ensure their safety in terms of poaching etc. The enthusiasm of the people working here is infectious as they're very passionate about what they're doing, although funding/equipment is an issue.

'Confiscated' means finding animals that are being illegally traded, or illegally kept as pets (in very poor conditions) and essentially rescuing them and bringing them back to full health. Poaching and trading is a big problem here.

Around the park there is lots of wildlife, in particular a lot of butterflies are easily seen. At night 100s of fireflies are around, and the noise from the forest is deafening - frogs, birds, insects all making their calls.

Yesterday we went to another reserve, reached by a small rickety rowing boat, driven by a lovely Vietnamese lady. She spoke no English and we speak no Vietnamese but we got on fine! The scenery was simply stunning, with lots of flowers on the water, mountains all around and wid monkeys way above the river. We were out for about 2hrs and it was very quiet and peaceful, except for the calls of the monkeys which were similar to dogs barking.

I have taken pics but can't upload from my phone, and I haven't brought a laptop with me. I'll try and post a few when I get back.

I did go for 4.5 mile run yesterday AM at 5:30. It was hot at the point so probably should have gone out a bit earlier really. Still, I had a good run around a small part of this huge national park.

KK, well done on your parkrun time! I have work to do until I get back in that shape, I think!

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 29/07/2016 at 15:06
Hi all. Thanks for the good wishes!

I've arrived here safely, although I'm pretty tired now from the travelling.

I'm staying in a National Park for 10 days, which is one of Vietnam's most important in terms of animal conservation and welfare, so that's fantastic. I've been introduced to the project and they're a really good bunch and have sorted me out with a mobile SIM card, a bike and shown me the best places to eat near by. In the time off, they've also arranged some things for us to do including visiting a bear sanctuary, and a couple of other projects they're involved with outside the National Park.

The Park itself is beautiful and there are definitely some great running routes for me (Tarmac). The issue is the heat/humidity - it's ok for just walking around (with safer), but not sure abut running yet. We're 6hrs ahead over here and tomorrow AM will my first morning waking up here, so I'll see how the humidity feels first thing and decide from there. If I can't run, I'll definitely do some lesuirely cycling around though. But unlike Sri Lanka, it feels totally safe to run in terms of traffic - because there isn't any!

It's no place for someone attempting paleo though!!! Rice and noodles are the main dishes and I've had two meals so far that have both been superb. Oh, and the beer is very cheap indeed - happy days!

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 27/07/2016 at 08:21

Shades, the guy who runs it now has got an online system where coaches/leaders say when they're free over the next 2 or 3 months, and then he allocates the available people to a session (which are also all planned in advance).  There are 6 sessions on Monday and 5 sessions on Wednesday, so there're quite a lot of sessions to fill.  Plus fairly regularly, people say they can no longer do the session with quite short notice so then he's chasing around trying to find a replacement.

I did 7 miles yesterday, with 5 at tempo pace (7:30 min/mile pace) and I enjoyed it as I did it early evening, so it was a bit cooler.  Planning about 8-10 today, and then that's it as I have an early (5am!) start tomorrow.

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 26/07/2016 at 15:50

Shades, yes I'm hoping the run leader role will go okay.  I need to plan some different 6-mile routes from the club house.  I've asked to be put on the social runs to start with, as the continuous runs tend to involve the leader running back and forth along the group to make sure no one goes too far ahead and no one gets lost.  My first two sessions are the day after a Half and a marathon respectively, so I just want an easy run out for my first sessions  The chap who organises all the training sessions (which is a big job, in itself!) is very proactive and also very accommodating, so he was fine with that.

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 26/07/2016 at 09:16

SK, you're running well to do a 41:20 in the heat!  Enjoy Italy!

In other news, I'm now an "official" run leader in my club, which means I can take out groups on social runs or what we call "dynamic looping back" sessions (i.e., continuous runs, with no breaks, but looping back so no ones gets left behind).  It's been in the pipeline for a while, but I needed to complete a DBS check, which took a while to be processed (I hadn't heard of DBS before, but it's basically a check to make sure I am permitted to work with young or potentially vulnerable people).  I have my first two sessions in September, where I'll be taking out the 6-mile social group on the Monday.  It's not a coaching role, but maybe if it this goes well I may put myself forward for that in due course.  I remember saying a few months ago that I'd like to get a bit more involved with the club, so with my press role and now this run leader role I'm happy enough.

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 25/07/2016 at 11:05

Mowzer, your son's trip sounds amazing.  I'm really looking forward to my trip now, too.  For the first 10-days I'll be working on a volunteer project and then for the rest of the time (2.5 weeks) I'l be travelling about.  For the volunteer bit, they've got some things they want me to do (website work, and also setting up a camera system to one of the enclosures, so that live footage can be shown on a screen and the web).  The slight issue I'm having at the moment is they are not very responsive to emails.  They wanted me to take some gear over with me (cameras, cabling, software), but in order to know what to buy I needed to know some information on the set up they already have, but they haven't been forthcoming with that detail.  I'll just have to sort it out when I'm out there!

Probably the thing I'm most looking forward to is kayaking around some of the caves.  It looks awesome, and a friend has leant me a GoPro, so I'm hoping to get some reasonable footage of it too.  And the food!  The food is supposed to be amazing  

KK, I built Hiske up fairly gradually from just 1-mile, then to 2 and 3, and the most I've done is 4.  She's a fit dog anyway, but is quite a big dog so I don't push it with her at all, and if she wants to stop I just let her especially in this weather as she does get hot.  When we go for long walks (i.e., 8-mile+) she's off the lead and I've often wondered how much longer she does than the 8-miles I've done, with all the running back and forth she does.  I wouldn't be surprised if she does 12-miles to my 8!  I may stick a Garmin on her at one point, to see  But the parkrun on the weekend was the first time we've ran in a largish group.

I've been really busy the last couple of days, just getting stuff ready for Vietnam and also seeing different friends before I head off.  Strangely though I don't think I need to take that much stuff in terms of clothes, as I'll just wash items when I'm out there.  Also, I'm only taking a backpack so that restricts the amount of stuff I can take anyway, which is probably a good thing!

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 23/07/2016 at 10:45

Shades, yes I fly out on Thursday.....really looking forward to it now!

I did a parkrun today with the step-dog.  It was an off-road course where we pass a couple of streams, so the plan was to stop at those to let her go for a dip to cool down if she wanted to, which she did.

Parkrun do allow dogs as long as they're on short leads, so we took our place towards the back and headed off at a very steady pace.  The thing is, Hiske (the dog) seemed to have a "MUST (pant) GET (pant) AHEAD (pant) AT (pant) ALL (pant) COSTS" kind of attitude, which she doesn't normally have when I run with her on my own.  I guess it was some kind of pack instinct that kicked in around the other runners, but I had to hold her back quite firmly in the first half a mile or so, but after that she was fine and we didn't get in anyone's way.  We trotted around, with a few stops for sniffs and swims in the streams (for her, not me!) in 33:40 so not too bad.

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 22/07/2016 at 10:04
Well done Iain! Looking forward to the long run - does not compute Ha ha.

Shades, yes the shirt fits me well, so that's good news.

I did 7 miles steady this morning, with no issues.

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 21/07/2016 at 21:35

Evening all.

I did a 3-mile run/walk with the step-dog this morning.  We ran/walked to the beach where she had a dip in the sea, and then we ran back.

Then this evening, I had a 10K in Kingsbridge.  It's another hilly one, but I was really pleased with how I ran, in the slightly cooler conditions (7:30pm start).  On the flat bits I was running under 7min/miles and felt really strong and finished well too.  My watch shows 47:47, so I'm happy with that on what was another good event.  £8 with a (cotton) t-shirt so can't complain at that.

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 20/07/2016 at 13:55
Mowzer, that's incredible! Going well under 24hrs for the 100 miles on the weekend, so soon after your other 24hr race is amazing. Words fail me really - but well done!!
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