Sony W273 Waterproof MP3 Player – POOR for swimming

July 22, 2014

I wrote this post last year and thought I had published it. It was only when I was out looking for a new set of earphones I went to look and realised it was saved to draft!

I don’t often do reviews because that’s not what this site is for but occasionally I buy a product or get something to play with that I think oooh yes that would work (one of those are a pair of vibrams, blog to follow shortly). These earphones I went and bought before a holiday as thought they would be a great way to get me into the 50m pool with some Audiofuel coaching alongside.

I can’t say exactly why I ended up choosing these earphones over any of the others, they looked cool were available across the road from work and ultimately seemed to get reasonable reviews amongst a collection of negatives across the market. Also surely the might that is Sony should be better at building MP3 players than a clothes company like Speedo or some of the other competition out there. How wrong was I!

Loaded up with mp3′s I headed to the pool armed with my earphones. I’m sure I looked a bit of a *insert appropriate insult here* amongst all the others doing doggy paddle but I didn’t care. Press play, bit fiddly but you know what I could live with that it was what happened at 51meters that was a problem. I turned round at the end of the lap and pushed off at the wall at which point the ear popped out. No problem I figured I would just put it back in and adjust it at the other end, a pain but understandable. However, when I put the ear back in the sound was all muffled I could barely hear anything. I swam to the end and played with the volume – nothing. Put the earphones on the side and gave in with them for the day. I’d try next time.

The next day I put the phones back on, the volume restored. I comically decided I would push off gentler to save the phones and allow me to do the session. However a few laps later the same started to happen. It wasn’t long before I couldn’t hear anything again. Rubbish.

This time I went to my trusty friend google and looked up the model number. Buried under lots of PR seemed to be similar reviews and comments. It appears that water can get trapped in the earphone causing a muting effect and block between ear and music. The solution to fix the problem – jiggle the earphones about. Wow. If only I’d read that before buying them – not sure I wanted to add a jiggle earphones segment every hundred meters to my swim sessions!

To be totally fair to Sony ( not sure why as these earphones were sold to swim in and I wonder whether anyone actually did swim in them other than the sort of swimming you see many do which is headsup breast type) I think these may work reasonable well for running. The fact there are no cables to worry about means it is clutter free, I didn’t try then though for this as I’m perfectly happy with spotify and my yurbuds! I don’t really own too many MP3s any more!

Luckily I had a receipt and these went back straight away on my return. Poor product. Swimmers be warned. Any suggestions out there?


Runners, Cheaters and the 2014 Virgin London Marathon in numbers

April 14, 2014

Note – I have updated the post to remove photographs and subsequently comments. This is a personal blog in which I share my normally fairly boring running journey. Obviously this year someone has picked up this blog and it has gone a little bit mental. I have no intention of harassing or naming and shaming anyone hence why I am amending this post

VLM_2014_LogoEvery year after the marathon the geek in me wants to look up and get some more information about how people have performed on the day. This research project also allows me to find people who have made some “spectacular” negative splits.

This year it seems we only have a couple of suspicious people…as of yet some of these people don’t have photo’s! This chap managed a 50 minute half marathon! IMPRESSIVE!!! Someone should really let them know that a world record was broken on the course!!pic1

Oh dear…what happened in your first half marathon 2:07 seems very slow for someone that can pull out a 1:01 half marathon negative split. Next year when you return back, because with a second half like that you really should, you MUST work on your first half pacing…pic2

It’s not just one…this person managed a 1:30 half after a 2:40 half – most odd, I can only assume they are much happier in the mid day sun and needed a bit of warming up! :)
Wear those medals with pride…*

Some interesting facts about yesterday:

  • 941 negative splits (1,296 in 2013)
  • 4 runners with PERFECT pacing (EXACTLY the same first half and second half)
  • Biggest positive split: 224minutes. 01:39:55 first half, completion time 07:04:44.(This is not meant as a bad thing, merely interesting – having suffered something similar a few years back ago I just found it interesting!!)
  • Starters who didn’t finish: 191 (this figure seems very low so may need reviewing!)

* or take pride in the fact you know how to jump over a barrier on the Highway skipping 8 miles…

Obligatory London Marathon Post

April 1, 2014


I know I leave this blog alone for months upon months but to be fair this time until January I hadn’t really run at all since my last post on Vibrams in May last year.

It has been a tough year for me. My father, my initial inspiration and motivation for running my first (and subsequently second as I didn’t beat his time) passed away suddenly from a heart attack. After this I couldn’t bring myself to either running with my own company or running full stop. My trainers went in the cupboard.

In July I setup a charity site in his name and to date we have raised over £4k for the British Heart Foundation through cycling and other charity events – if you wish to donate please go .

One morning late in January whilst sat stuffing my face in Pret, I had an email from Perry, a friend of my dad that said he would be running the marathon in my dads name and also another similar message from another gym friend who was doing the same but at Brighton the week before London. This was the spark I needed. I would try get a place to run London myself. At the time I ignored the fact that 7 months of no running may have set me back a bit. I got a place (a little bit too quickly if I’m truthful).

Ok time to strap on the laces and go for a run. How difficult could it be? I should be able to go straight out and comfortably run 13miles – a staple distance if mine a few years ago. Transpires in a complete role reversal most of my runs in the past where my head gave up before my body, this time my body gave up first leaving my head unsure why it wasn’t possible. I can’t remember how far I traveled on that first run but I remember it being more of a run walk and my Garmin informed me it was slow.

I trundled on with the training ramping up the distance but two consecutive weekends I choked. I really wasn’t enjoying these long runs in the slightest. The problem was I only had about 6 weeks to go and really felt behind where I should have been. This is where my wife came in and she helped draw a physical schedule on the wall. She was my spark and motivation and created something I couldn’t (and she wouldn’t let me) ignore. From this point I have hit a number more long runs to bring it upto a couple of 16+ ers and a couple of 18+.

Throughout my entire training in the back of my mind has been the reason I’m doing it this year and I have even been on the radio to explain why…

My running isn’t fast, I have no intention of beating personal bests here I’m doing this for one reason only. To take the medal at the end and show it to dad. As this one is for him. X

The view from the other side…

May 1, 2013

556406159128a38512be4375247420516b686267ea367a8c6fa32d85297fd9f4c44ea99a…by Laura Lock (Neil’s wife)

I am not sure if this post will ever see the light of day on Neil’s running blog. It doesn’t detail miles completed, or times of splits. It does not contain references to nasty looking feet or a recomendation for a new piece of kit. It does however talk about grit and determination and immense pride.

My husband is a runner. Which makes me a running widow! In the months leading up to a marathon our Sundays are usually filled with trips to random places at very early times of the morning for a race or don’t start until lunchtime once the ‘long run’ is out of the way. I am not a runner myself (yet!), so why do I let hubby’s hobby take over our weekends? The answer is simple. I enjoy it as much as he does. I meet new people. People just like me who spectate or people like Neil who run. The community is amazing and I have a lot of very close friends who we have met from running circles over the years.

Last week Neil ran in his 8th Marathon in 4 years. He started back in 2009 and has now lined up 5 times in London and 3 times abroad. His running has taken us to the south of England and this summer up to the North for the GNR. We have been to Paris, Berlin, Dublin, Venice and to San Francisco (during the San Fran half marathon we got engaged!). I get to go to nice places on hoilday because Neil wants to run – I definatly am not complaining!

Vibrams – The Barefoot Revolution

April 29, 2013

As with most revolutions I always like to be at least a year behind and with barefoot running this is very much the case. Don’t get me wrong I have been watching this movement for a few years but I am dubious about the claims and risks involved.
A few weeks ago I got a pair of Five Fingers. If you have seen my blog over the last few weeks you will know my marathon training has been far from text book. However, I wasn’t stupid enough to throw barefoot training into my schedule as I know I heavily pronate and need the support. However, now with the marathon out if the way it seems like a great time to take them out for a spin.

Having been to a number of workshops and read all the books my plan over the coming weeks is to start to wear them around the house, for short walks and just refrain from running in them. I’m undecided whether I can wear then to work as I’m not sure they would fit the dress code (not that we really have one, but I have been trying over recent months to look a bit more smarter than I used to!).

Once I have amassed a few miles walking in them I plan on starting to up the distances a little bit. I suspect I will never reach the marathon distance in these shoes, I think my biomechanics are totally inappropriate for that. However, I’m keen to give them a go alongside the Brooks Pure’s I also have sitting in my cupboard. I can see if a lighter shoe makes any difference to my times in the shorter distance events. Alas I suspect losing a few pounds off my stomach will help more than ultra light shoes :-)

Follow up post will be made in due course!


2013 Virgin London Marathon

April 24, 2013

551403_10152748239485311_688560548_nSomehow the day was here where I had to go collect my number. After a couple of months of digging my head in the sand and expecting something would stop me from actually making it to the start line, there I was at the Excel not ill, not injured and excuse-less. Oh cr*p. Maybe I should have done more runs!

As always the number collection process was smooth and efficient, if you go on the Weds/Thurs this always seems to be the case. We popped over to the main stage to watch Iwan do his talk and tell the audience it was all about pacing etc, etc. I then had a very formulaic approach to the stalls at the expo. I basically went direct to the stalls I wanted and didn’t go elsewhere. Nuun, yes please – let’s try some other flavours, SIS yup go on then – caffeine gels at the ready, Skins – time for some new shorts and finally X-socks as I’m not liking the new Hilly’s as much as my old Run-Sky-Runs. A fair amount of cash spent and we left the expo, however everything I bought I would use!

That was Thursday over, two days to go until the start. Could something happen now I wondered?!

The Running Community

April 20, 2013

BH-SMdNCcAEEP0oIt is raining, the wind is howling around the building, it is still dark outside and it is a Sunday morning yet the alarm is going off. Dreary eyed I get out of bed and head to shower and try stuff my face with porridge that I don’t want and consume a pint of fluid I don’t really need. I feel alone sat waiting for my food to digest until I flick on twitter…

I know whatever time it is on a Sunday morning there will be someone else out there going through the same routine as me. Perhaps preparing for a race or maybe just getting set up for a long run (long is a completely unmeasurable distance). Anxiety is common as people head out into the unknown, as I’m sure you will all empathise, no two runs ever feel the same. However, here we are joined by this ‘thing’ in common whilst everyone is still tucked up in bed. There is normally some banter, or good wishes for those racing before the little army set off on there own way.

Train Yas – Abu Dhabi

April 12, 2013

When I was doing my research on the Abu Dhabi (cough Laura possibly found this cough) I found out that every Tuesday night they open up the F1 course to runners and cyclists and the best part is that it is completely free!
CIMG8360 copy

Two days after running a mega training run and after a day of touristy stuff (morning visiting the mosque, afternoon going on the worlds fastest roller coaster in Ferrari World) I put on my trainers and headed to the track.

This isn’t the first time I have run on a race track having run the Silverstone half marathon a few years ago but this was a very different experience to that. For one it was probably 50-60 deg F hotter!

A few weeks ago whilst out on a work lunch with Prash, an employee from Rackspace, I found out we would both be in Abu Dhabi at the same time and he also liked running. I figured it was a perfect excuse for company and we arranged to meet up and run the track together.

On meeting Prash and his family trackside it was clear a few of us would be coming out. Laura had her trainers on and would be heading out on track with us to. The first time she had run on a race track! We got our passes and set off to the start.

As all of us were different abilities we set off in groups – I was looking to do sub 9min mi’s but not overly fussed beyond that. Two days after a 23 mile run I felt my body deserved a rest. I tried to let Prash take the pace but think I may have bullied a little bit towards the end ;-) we chatted about a bit of work and a bit of pleasure. Some say you should leave your work at home when on holidays, but to be honest if work is always running around a beautiful track in perfect temperatures I’m happy to talk shop for a bit of it!

22mi – black toenail but a holiday at the end

April 5, 2013

imageAbout a month ago whilst panic buying a different pair of trainers following blistergate 2013 I spotted a leaflet for an event being run by the East End Road Runners. The concept was simple, they would provide pacers and fuel stations around the first 22miles of the London Marathon course.

For any of my long term followers you will know that I have run the London Marathon a few times so by now should be totally familiar with its every twist and turn. However, if you have participated in this event I’m sure you will agree the route can be a bit magical as you spend 26miles looking at the pavement in front trying to avoid tripping over or the beautiful backdrops shielded by several rows deep worth of spectators. Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining – the spectators are what makes this race so iconic however, for once I wanted to try get some grasp as to the route we run! It *could* possibly help with some of the head demons, allowing me to break the course up a bit better…

On Easter Sunday as the clocks went forward I set my alarm for the crack of dawn to head towards the Cutty Sark and the meeting point for the event. The morning was odd – it felt like a race morning as I struggled to take in my breakfast. It was a bitterly cold however the skies were blue and the sun out which was a good sign!

At 9am we met in Greenwich, waiting with Sally (colleague from work) we opted to head into McD’s to keep warm whilst we waited, i’ll hasten to add not once did the thought of eating a mcmuffin enter my head at that time of day. My nervous energy was spent trying to work out how I was going to hang onto a 8:35 pace for 22miles…

With enough time to get to the Red Start the group were herded up by the running club and walked the mile or so up to the start. Here we were a group of say 80+ runners stood at the gate leaving Greenwich park, about 3 weeks too early!

What a difference the weather makes

March 18, 2013

photo 3Twelve months ago I ran the Reading Half for the first time. I had a bit of history with the city and felt no urge to go back but last year I entered as part of my marathon training regime. The weather that day was perfect for runners, blue skies & sun however not too hot. You could have asked for a nicer day. Roll on 12 months to the 2013 Half.

Arriving in Reading on Sat we chose to stay by the stadium as we had done last year, I’m aware it wouldn’t take to long to get there in the morning but we liked the hotel and it just saved the morning rush. When we were driving over we were greeted to “variable” conditions aka rain and heavy rain. This happened all day and set the scene perfectly for what was about to come

Sunday morning, curtains opened – rain. I could spend the rest of the post explaining the foul weather on the run but it’s probably easier to just say it rained permanently through out. The perfect phrase to describe the race because of the conditions is GRIM.