Sunday, 16 April 2017

Weeks 4 and 5 - Back Home!

Weeks 4 and 5 - 3-16/4/2017

Week 4

Final week of this term before the break up for Easter. Everyone feels like they deserve a big break from everything, lectures are coming to an end and everyone is in the mood for a holiday away from the pressure of timetables, deadlines, and instead look towards the wonderful day they get to open an Easter egg. 

After a few days rest, I went out to do another run along Swansea bay, aiming to go 4 miles in total. Following the advice of my girlfriend from last week, I aimed to keep my mitochondria happy and paced myself out for a mile before running a mile at my own 9 minute mile pace, and headed back again following the same routine. The run itself went pretty well, as I didn't get too exhausted as I did with a similar distance last week. Plus this time the sun was out so I took the opportunity for a cheeky refreshing sea dip - was a great decision!

Nice and sunny weather for the bay run
Also happening this week was Varsity! The clash of titans that is the day of sport between Swansea and Cardiff University went relatively well, despite a few unfortunate comeuppances. When boarding the bus to get to Cardiff, the security decided to bin my water bottle without even testing to see if it was suspicious - not very professional or well-handled considering we were advised in advance to stay hydrated throughout the day. Despite this, watching the matches in Cardiff themselves were entertaining and often gripping, especially my flatmate's badminton match and the women's rugby, which Swansea absolutely smashed.

Parkrun this week had better weather, but I didn't manage to beat out my PB, but still got under 29 minutes. As long as I keep up the slightly longer distanced running I should be reaching the lower 28 times!

Week 5

Back home in Devon! Its a pain being away from the girlfriend and the rest of my flatmates, but I'm back home with fam and that's (mostly) always a nice thing to have between working terms. Took some Ancient Greek language revision home with me to have a look at over the Easter break, since I couldn't continue in the module this semester as it clashed with compulsory stuff. Found some rock climbing shoes in my roof, super helpful in the long run since the climbing society in Swansea has a box of their own for you to pick and choose; having my own would save plenty of time searching for my foot size. Also got my exam timetable for this semester, but by strange circumstance I only have one exam! The rest is coursework based! Lucky me!

Had a bit of a run around my neighbourhood back home on Tuesday - since my suburb is on a bailey hill, the gradient really worked against my pace for a good half of the run. The uphill run wore me out, but got some great photos when I got to the top of the motte though.

Panorama at the top of my town!
 The latter half of this week was spent at my grandparents' house in Cornwall - typical English holiday location eh? Anyway we were intending top spend a relatively relaxed few days in the cottage, not particularly doing anything spectacularly interesting. Except I found a nearby parkrun and decided to have a go, not knowing that this particular parkrun was renowned for being one of the hilliest, most challenging 5ks in the country! When the fateful day came, I completely underestimated just how steep and uneven the gradient would be over the 3.1 miles. The field run, which consisted of an uphill climb around a field rotating clockwise and back down the trail we came, particularly blew me back in terms of energy and willpower. Despite this, I did manage to finish in 33:22. Nowhere near my PB, but still justified in my opinion due to the route. 

Overall, still sticking to two runs a week seems to work for me, and I aim to keep at that goal. I might aim to have a certain amount of miles a week as a goal in the near future. But nevertheless I enjoyed this fortnight, and look forward to next week where I get to continue running with my girlfriend again.

I'll post next week, and once again enjoy the flattering photo of the week...

Enjoying the cool sea water?

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Week 3 - Happy Mitochondria

Week 3 - 27/3 - 2/4/2017

Wow, this blog post is late. Apologies for the lack of posting recently, although I still have plenty of stuff to write up on here, as I'm half a week behind, there has been plenty of things going behind the laptop that needed my attention. Nevertheless, I'm still going to keep trying to post every Monday, so leave a follow to keep up to date!

Anyways, this week was somewhat slower in terms of running and climbing, even on the revision front things are becoming quiet as the Spring term is coming to an end. People are tired, assessments are due all over the place, all we students really want to do at this time in the year is collapse into our beds and stay there until Easter turns up. 

Along the bay with bae

Quiet as the week was, I still managed to continue running at my pace of 9 minutes per mile, making four runs across the week. The first of which I ran on my own from Singleton Campus up through the park and up to Sketty, before heading in a lasso shape back home. Although its a couple of miles, the path itself is all uphill until the halfway point, at a whopping 119ft elevation gain. Okay that may sound like minuscule but it was challenging to stick to my pace and soldier up through it. 

The second run of the week was much longer, and was a long jog up and down Swansea bay. Even though I was trying to find some gardens to have a jog around, I completely missed the turning (which was somewhere on the other side of the road) and continued down to Westcross where I realised I'd gone a tad too far. By the time my girlfriend caught up with me, we had a quick rest then headed back at her pace. It seemed slower than my pace running down, but according to her: running at a slower steadier pace helps with your mitochondria, making them 'happy mitochondria' as she put it. It's supposed to help with your energy consumption so I suppose some runs during the week will be a bit slower to make the cells happy and healthy.
On the way to Parkrun!

Parkrun this week was also pretty good, I knocked a minute off my last time, making my new PB 28:47. The weather for this run was fickle sadly, seemingly switching between rain and shine at every step. The ensuing moisture made my hair increasingly uncomfortable to run with, as a nice thick strand of wet hair was continually slapping my eyelids. Anyways, that run went well, as did the recovery run around Singleton Park the next day. 

Once again, this week wasn't overly interesting in terms of content but I got a good few tips from each run: don't charge up hills like a mad bull, slow but steady = good mitochondria, and have a haircut before running in the rain. 

I'll post again on Monday as I'm heading home to Devon on Saturday! And enjoy the flattering photo of the week...

Majestic post Parkrun selfie

Monday, 27 March 2017

Week 2

Week 2 - 20-26/03/2017

Sadly climbing was off this week, as I said in my last blog post, but I'm looking forward to getting back into it next week and the following week. There's only two more weeks of studying for this term before the Easter hols, so I might as well get as much climbing in as I can before I go back home. I've also booked myself and my girlfriend into a Clip 'n Climb session in Exeter during the holidays, so it won't be a complete dry season for climbing!

In terms of running, progress is really starting to pick up! My pace is averaging at around 9-10 minutes per mile, which isn't bad apparently for a first-time runner. Apparently I'm supposed to aim to get negative splits on my Strava app too, at the moment I'm taking all the advice I can get so every little tip helps.

Lovely views along the bay!

Also, I ran my first Parkrun on Saturday! 5k along Swansea bay on a nice flat surface - seemed ideal for long distance practice. Considering the distance of my weekly runs, Parkrun will be a good way to exert my efforts and check up on my progress every week. On my first go I finished at a sound 29:31, which I hope to beat by at least ten seconds on my next go.

For the 10k challenge in the September (which I mentioned in my last post, go read it for more info), I've been set a personal challenge by my brother to finish the 10k in under 52 minutes - and for every minute I get under, he will contribute an extra £1 to my donation page, which you can donate to here. Since he's the active middle child, and I'm the unfit eldest, I have to prove that I'm still the golden child of the family haha.

Running at the park!
As for the revision section of this blog, the week started with two looming deadlines from hell - a whopping one-two of essays from both English modules. After several hours of hunching over my laptop in:
- A computer lab
- The uni library
- Someone else's lecture
- My room
I managed to finish both and submit them! Three cheers for me, huh? Luckily those were the last pieces of coursework before the holiday, so I'll have Easter to revise for my exams. Well....saying that....

Finally, I've started a new instagram! You can visit it here, and it'll be a more frequent place to see updates and see some of the photography I take while on my runs. Do be sure to leave likes and a follow!

And I think that's it for this week! I'll probably post this Friday for any more updates.
See you soon! And once again enjoy the flattering photo of the week.

Look at those skinny legs

Friday, 24 March 2017

My First 10k!

So this September I've decided to take on my first ever 10k race, which is definitely going to push me to work harder at running these next few months.

I'm planning on doing it for charity, namely the British Heart Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association, and hope if anyone wants to donate to feel free to do so! The link is at and any donations would be much appreciated!

As for climbing for this week, this Thursday I had to give mountaineering a miss due to my looming coursework deadlines, but I think I go into Swansea soon to buy shoes and maybe a harness for myself. The club provides its own equipment, but then again it takes a while for me to find a pair of climbing shoes that fit my wide size 9 feet, as well as a harness to fit my skinny waist - buying my own stuff might be useful after all. While I'm back at home during the Easter hols, I might check to see that I have some shoes in the roof. My dad and uncle are good climbers so they might have some gear I can use.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Week 1

Week 1 - 13-19/03/2017

Currently in my fourth week at the Mountaineering Society, and climbing is going very well!

Thursday evenings are when the club generally takes place, at the Climbing Wall in Sports Village, just outside Singleton Campus at the uni. 

There's a handful of different routes on the wall, colour coded for difficulty of course, ranging from: Yellow, Green1, Green2, Blue1, Blue2, Orange, Black, Rock (holds that look like granite), listed easiest to hardest. So far I've tackled the first four, as of this week, as the blue ones are particularly straining my ability.

Where the blue route differs from the green is the not only that there are less holds to go for, but they are more spread out, have less room for your fingers to grapple, and some require both your hands to pull yourself up. I only managed to reach the top after multiple attempts, including a break, as my wrist was rapidly running out of strength and energy - the key to that route I'd say is to save your pulling up strength until the final stretch.

Next week I want to push myself to try the Blue2 route, which I haven't even attempted once yet.

Other than climbing, I've started taking up jogging around Singleton Park with my girlfriend - we've both realised how unfit we are and decided to do another sport/fitness related thing to help out and improve. Downloaded the Strava app and after my first couple of runs I'm averaging 11 minutes per mile. Not very impressive, but I'm going to try and run every day if possible.

As for student life, I have to start cramming in work over the next few days, as I left my coursework assignments for two modules until the final week (a tactic I DO NOT recommend). Luckily I've powered through one essay as of writing this, just need to submit it, write the other one, then submit that one too. Fun times!

I'll post again after climbing on Thursday, though I'm considering posting once a week since this is about the amount of writing I want to be reaching, rather than lots of short summaries. Quality over quantity, right?

See you soon! And enjoy the flattering photo of the week

Friday, 17 March 2017

First post - new to this

Hi there! Welcome to my blog!

My name is Dylan, and I'm a student at Swansea University. 

I'm hugely enjoying myself here, and I recently joined the Mountaineering Society at uni as a means of getting myself out of my flat to do something related to exercise and getting fit, as well as a means to socialise outside the social circles of my flat-mates and course-mates.

Over the next few weeks I'm planning on recording my progress within the society, which I should post every Thursday or Friday (depending on how busy I am), while also writing down some of the happenings and events here in the flat. Since I'm a first-year, there's plenty of new stuff to talk about to be honest!

Other than climbing, I'm also interested in things like hiking (as shown below) and running, as well as my love for music, films, baking, and books. I'm also passionate for history, especially ancient history stuff like the Romans and my main man Julius Caesar.

Be sure to follow, and I'll be posting more soon!  Dylan