Friday, September 05, 2014

Hockenheim F1, a DIY trip.

If you want to go to a Formula 1 overseas, you can go to a travel agent and sign up to a tour package or you can do it a bit DIY. The tour package is good, don't get me wrong - someone organises your flights, transfers, accommodation, F1 tickets, transport to and from the track and if you want they will  arrange some side trips as well. But it can be expensive, and if you aren't afraid of a bit of planning and a few crossed fingers, then you can do it yourself with little issue.

We started off working out which F1 races we wanted to see, and then it all hinged on tickets. If you want the cheapest, but still good tickets then you have to know how F1 ticketing is set up. From what we can tell, there are either allocations of tickets, or it all depends on your ticket reseller. We've learnt from a friend that the earliest way to go about it is to buy them from the track website directly. We've bought Malaysian F1 tickets direct from Sepang International Circuit at the 50% off earlybird price a number of months before they were available on Formula1.com.

The same happened with Hockenheim. We bought tickets direct from the Hockenheinring website long before Formula1.com released them. We actually chose Hockenheim because Austria had already sold out via the Red Bull Ring track website. At Hockenheim we went for the Nordtrib├╝ne about halfway down the stands, with a great view of the first straight, first corner and the end of pit lane. If we bought them again I'd probably edge a tiny bit closer to seats with a better view of the television screens but discounting that the seats were fantastic. Earlybird price was €250 each for the three days. At Sepang we get similar seats for around AUD125 for the three days.

If you buy the tickets early, you can therefore often get decently priced appropriately timed flights without too much hassle. Mum booked us on an inexpensive Malaysian Airlines fare, into London Heathrow and out of Frankfurt so we could do some travelling around Europe before the race. We've travelled Air Asia X to Malaysia before, but with a long haul trip to Europe tacked on the end of that we were more than happy to spend money on comfort. Air Asia X is confined enough with a short five hour flight to Malaysia. To then tack a further 12-14 hours (depending on plane) onto the end of it in the same conditions did not appeal.

Once we'd bought our F1 tickets our next target had been accommodation. My hope was that we wouldn't have to commute the hour train ride from Frankfurt to Hockenheim but I knew it could be a possibility - to book accommodation in Hockenheim for F1 weekend generally requires you to book it at least a year in advance. I went onto Booking.com and looked in vain for accommodation in Hockenheim from Friday to Monday, and then for anything in the surrounding areas, and two rooms were left in a hotel in Speyer. I booked one, because Booking.com allows you to book with no cancellation fee it seemed a safe risk. It was called Hotel Technik Museum Speyer. Speyer is an amazing town that dates from medieval times. It has a cathedral that is justifiably a UNESCO world heritage site, and it is about 10km from Hockenheimring. 

A quick sidenote: There is a museum attached to the Hotel (that would explain the Technik Museum part of its name), and it is extraordinary. They have a 747, an Antonov AN-22, a Russian space shuttle, Russian submarine, more motorcycles than you'd expect, shot up Messerschmitts and Junkers, modern and vintage cars, steam trains, it goes on. It was the reason we subsequently extended our stay at the Hotel until the Wednesday we flew out. I wasn't going to stay there and miss out on seeing all that. We also toured the Cathedral and discovered it was built around 1060. Speyer was worth the trip alone; we would go back there in a heartbeat. Probably on a bicycle tour.

Once we had the accommodation booked this was where the crossed fingers came in. We were betting that there would be some form of transport from Speyer to Hockenheim either just for the Formula 1 weekend or a regular bus route. When I booked the hotel we'd looked at Google Maps and noted that from Speyer to Hockenheim you could really just ride a bicycle - it wasn't more than 10km via flat bike paths between the hotel and the Hockenheimring, and in retrospect if we'd turned up with a couple of days to spare before the race I think we would have rented bikes and taken that option. We also knew that the Hotel website had said that they rented bicycles, and we came to the conclusion that if there ended up being no bus, no taxis, no logical train route, and no rental bicycles left at the hotel or at the bike shop in town, then we still both had the ability to run the 10km from Speyer to Hockenheimring. 

As it was, we caught a local bus (717) that would take us from the Domplatz next to the Speyer Cathedral and drop us off at the Hockenheim Rathaus (Town Hall). In the afternoon the closest they'd get - there was too much F1 traffic by the afternoon - was the Hockenheim Bahnhof (train station). It couldn't have been more than between a kilometre to a mile between the Rathaus, the Bahnhof and the Hockenheimring; again, a seriously easy walk. Also because the bus cost €4 one way per person it was a damn sight cheaper than a €35 one way taxi from the Hotel Tecknik Museum to the Hockenheimring gate.

If you are staying in Frankfurt, then you can catch the shuttle bus from the track to the Hockenheim Bahnhof, or you could just walk the mile there instead. There were regular trains that went from Hockenheim to Frankfurt, and we were advised by someone who went to the German F1 at Nurburgring that the autobahn traffic leaving Nurburgring after the race was a three hour traffic jam, so Hockenheimring was far preferable because the train station was so close by.

I'm assuming that you are just going for the race, but if you want to travel around Europe, the train system is amazing. They're all high speed trains, so the speed bobs around between 250 to 340 km/h. Go to http://www.sbb.ch/ and check out the times that it takes to get from one place to another - two hours to Paris Gare du Nord station from St Pancras station in London via Eurostar, instead of the trip to the airport, the required three hours prior to departure to negotiate immigration and security, an hours flight to Paris and then the transfer from Charles de Gaulle to your hotel. That's a good six hours at least. 

You can book train trips on the Rail Europe website. Don't be afraid to play around with your times. We were going to travel on Eurostar to Paris around 10am to avoid some of what we expected to be peak hour travel from Victoria Station (near where we were staying) to St Pancras International, but if we took the earlier Eurostar train, we could book first class tickets for AUD70 less than we'd have paid for second class tickets on the later train. We figured the cost saving and included breakfast would be worth the potential extra hassle. To get to the F1 from Paris we bought tickets from Rail Europe before leaving Australia. We caught a train from Paris Gare d'Est to Karlsruhe in Germany, changed trains to a local service then again at small suburban station on to Speyer. Total travel time was about four hours.

On the Wednesday after the race we were flying out of Frankfurt airport, so to get from Speyer to Frankfurt we caught a taxi to the Speyer Bahnhof, caught the train to Mannheim, then changed trains to the line that stopped at Frankfurt airport (Flughafen).

We would happily go back there. Hockenheimring was so well organised, clean and friendly. The toilets were plentiful, and never seemed to run out of supplies. The only faults I could think of was the amount of cigarette smoking there (a 20 pack of cigarettes costs €6 in Germany, and can be bought from a vending machine on a street corner, whereas in Australia they cost around $25 and you have to find a shop that sells them), and the inevitable fizzy mineral water at the track. If you want still water bring your own; we bought two 1.5L bottles of still water from a supermarket in Speyer for 11c each, and the gate staff had no issues with us bringing in our own fruit and water. There is a beer garden at the track, and so many different food stalls you can have almost anything; a healthy sandwich to bratwurst in a bun, Nutella crepes and waffles to pretzels (brezels).

TL;DR two thumbs up, would go again.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Catchup - back to the beginning

A very quick post to say post-Europe we decided we couldn't really justify the cost of flights to Sydney for the Blackmores Marathon (for Jeremy) and Half Marathon (for me), so we withdrew our entries.

While we were away the backache that I had after Longest Run returned occasionally (probably due to running and walking on average 20+ kilometres a day sightseeing) and I could rectify it simply with stretching until I managed what what my physiotherapist has diagnosed as another sprained facet joint; this time in my lower back. I'm under treatment, but the City to Surf Half Marathon might be a little iffy - I've entered anyway, via work, and will change my entry to the 12km if I have to. I've the OK absolutely to do the 12km run; my back will probably hurt afterwards - that's a guarantee, but it won't worsen. We've got another few weeks to get me back to relative normal before then.

I did a similar injury back in January 2012 in my neck which took about 3 months of physiotherapy to fix, so my past two weeks of dramatic improvement has made me quite pleased - I was dreading my second appointment after my diagnosis, because the thought of 3 months of therapy stretching out in front of me was horribly depressing, but I started out with 65% of full movement, and now I seem to bob around 90-95% which is pretty good.

My plan is still to do the Six Inch Trail Marathon this December, and this shouldn't stop me training for that, but it has emphasised my need to work on my core strength, my gluteal muscles and hip flexors. Having a solid core reportedly wouldn't have prevented the facet joint sprain but it will help my running and assist my swimming technique become less 'powerboat' style, with my legs providing drag in the water. The physio has advised that I need to develop a better posture when sitting, as my tendency is to slump. My posture when walking isn't too bad, but when I sit I slouch and that won't assist my healing now and would likely impact on free movement when I become elderly.

I think around the tail end of the Longest Run my technique suffered as I tired, which was what lead to injury and soreness. Jeremy's calf muscle problems were caused by a similar situation, so I think some work on strengthening muscles to decrease the likelihood of poor technique should help some. Very little will fix tiredness at the 30km mark, but I hope this will make me less prone to injury at that point.

***

I have a post in draft form about the Hockenheim F1 that will go into more details - the how and the wheres and when, but let me tell you that it was absolutely fantastic.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The weight of water

Jeremy and I have been joking around about my entering the Malaysian Women's Marathon next March. It's probably going to be held the week before the Malaysian F1 race, so we could fly over there the week before the marathon, acclimatise in accommodation outside of KL - probably unairconditioned, run the marathon, then spend the following week recovering in five star comfort ready for the Formula 1 the following weekend.

I would enter, and then Jeremy could enter as my pacer - men are allowed to run, as long as they are running with a woman; as a pacer, or just a supportive partner. They're also eligible for the finisher's present - a running skirt!

Seems a genius idea, right?

Except I just remembered that one hot day I ran 14 km and loss 2 kilograms in weight.

A marathon is 42.2 km, and Malaysia isn't the coolest climate.

This could end badly.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Meditative breathing

Out, Out, In. Out, Out.

Out, Out, In. Out, Out.

That's my breathing pattern when I run. At least, that's what I hear in my head. I'm conscious that there is an intake after each of those 5 beat rhythms but I don't hear it - all I hear is "huh huh heer huh huh".

I didn't realise how important the way I breathe was until today. We were running in one of the regular Masters Athletics Western Australia Sunday Runs. This one was at Herdsman Lake, and there was a 5km, 7.5km or 15km option. I'm doing the Perth Marathon next weekend in a relay with another woman, Tracy. She's doing the first half, I'm doing the second half, which meant I needed a good long run this weekend to set me up for the 21.1 km next weekend, so the 15km option looked perfect.

Of course, I got a cold a week and a half ago, which has me well immured in the barrel of snot aftermath stage. I shot some spray decongestant up my nose before we left the house. That is usually sufficient for me at this point in a cold, and is enough to allow me to do most things, but today was not my day.

After the run briefing we set off around Herdsman Lake, and it is absolutely gorgeous around there. The path we took went from hardpacked white dirt and gravel to tarmac to mulch-like path and back. In the last part of the 7.5km circuit you looped through the bush four times, running through a small forest of paperbark trees.

I ran with Jeremy and I immediately found it difficult - it felt like we were going too fast, and after a short period I requested that we slow down some. We did, and it got a bit easier, but our average pace kept getting slower and slower. I realised I needed to blow my nose, but didn't have any tissues on me, and I wasn't prepared to blow my nose on my hand and wipe it on the grass. I just ran along like a major mouth breather, and struggled on. As we headed on through the third loop Jeremy asked me whether I was going to continue on the second lap. I said that I wasn't sure, but I'd decide at the Pony Clubrooms that were coming up and which was where the toilets were and therefore somewhere I could blow my nose. I then said because I needed to go further I'd probably slowly run out to the 5km option turnaround point and re-do the loops once I got back to the start, and that he could continue on.

He headed off, speeding up, and I ran slowly round the pony club paddock to the loos to blow my nose. Glory be, it was wonderful. The second I could breathe through my nose, I remembered the sound "huh huh heer huh huh". That was what had been missing. Because I couldn't get a rhythm going in my breathing, I was struggling.

I don't tend to run with music, and when asked why I always recall the run that I spent three kilometres trying to find a song that I liked on my iPod and that it wasn't until I switched it off that I realised that the music I wanted to listen to was silence. I realised today that that day I needed to hear me - my footfall, and my breathing. I need to run to my rhythm, not someone else's.

The Pony Club was about 200 metres from the finish line for the 7.5 km, which marked where you continued on for the second lap if you did the 15 km. The clock read 47 minutes something, and I decided that it wasn't a bad time, considering and that I would carry on. Had I known I probably would have stopped, but I didn't so I pulled in, refilled my little handheld water bottle, and set off, requesting to some parkrunners to tell Jeremy that I was going to run my second lap.

I made it round to the water station at about the halfway mark. I'd stopped and blown my nose a few times, and just enjoyed the scenery; the number of black swans, coots and moorhens around Herdsman Lake is high. I also found out that not only do ibis make an odd hooting noise, they perch high up in trees. They look very ungainly, but they do perch. I told the water station marshals that it wouldn't surprise me if I was the last runner. I kept on, probably for another kilometre and then at 11.91km my body said stop. So I stopped, and started to walk.

I was too tired; I think from running too fast at the beginning, and from not being able to breathe properly. Once I got to the roadside path, where the loops were about to start, I decided to shortcut the run, and skip the loop section, certain that I would cut at least a kilometre off my distance. My Masters Athletics number is attached to a racebelt, so I slid it high up under my shirt; if I was shortcutting, I wasn't competing and therefore I was out of the race.

I managed to run again for a little stretch, but had to walk again, and left the path heading into the last loop, around the pony club paddock and towards the finish line. Jeremy met me just after the Pony Clubrooms and we walked back to the finish line. I avoided the finish funnel and spoke to one of the organisers. I'd been overtaken on the pathway by two female runners, and they'd reported in that they thought "there was one more runner out there in yellow shorts". I advised that it was me, and that because I'd shortcutted I had pulled out of the race.

I managed 14.68 km, which is both good and bad - I've moved almost two thirds of the distance I need to run next Sunday, but considering the set course was 15 km, I only managed to shortcut 320 metres, so if I'd done the loops at walking pace I'd have one more race on the board with Masters Athletics. A terrible time, but it would be a run on the board.

I'm not disappointed with my run though; I ran as much as I could, I stopped when I recognised that I needed to stop, and I saw an ibis, awkwardly perched in a tall tree, hooting.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Red Bull Wings for Life World Run, Busselton

This is the first time I've been reluctant to post a race report, not because I didn't get a good time, or didn't enjoy myself, but rather because I'm afraid my writing doesn't do the event justice.

The Red Bull Wings for Life World Run was a completely bonkers idea that worked so well. The 2014 race took place simultaneously in 34 different locations around the world, everyone starting at the same time; 10am GMT. For Australia, Busselton was the only location taking part, and for us that meant a 6pm start on Sunday night. 100% of the entry fee went to spinal cord research.

The Busselton event local organisers were TriEvents, who had run the Busselton 70.3 the day before; so all the infrastructure that they had in place for the 70.3 was recycled by the Wings for Life run. A number of the 70.3 athletes used the WfL as a recovery fun run, because really you could run as far and as fast as you wished.

We all set off near the famous Busselton Jetty heading west to Dunsborough, and then the plotted route went south towards Augusta. Half an hour after we started, a 'catcher car' began to travel the route at 15km/h behind us all. The idea being as the car catches up and passes the back marker runners, they are deemed 'out'. Effectively, your finish line is behind you, and you have to try and outrun it. Following the catcher car are shuttle buses to take finished runners back to the party at the Busselton start line. The catcher car travels at 15km/h for 1 hour, then 16km/h for a further hour, then 17km/h for a third hour, then 20km/h, and then five hours after the car starts it travels at 35km/h. No one would be able to outrun the car; if you are a slow runner, or a walker, you are looking at 4-6km completed before you get caught. The faster you are able to travel, the further you will make it down the road.

Now, I can't remember where or when I read that there was a runner that was considered the 'favourite' at Busselton. Of course, Red Bull had some people that were 'ambassadors' for the run around the globe - Mark Webber ran at Silverstone in England, locally we had Steve Hooker, the Olympian pole vaulter and Courtney Atkinson the triathlete (who actually also competed the day before in the 70.3). But I read somewhere there was some obstacle course runner called Chief Brabon who was supposedly the favourite in Busselton, and I laughed. You see, Wings for Life had done some late promotion work for the run and we'd seen a video where a TV news mob interviewed a local ultramarathon competitor that Jeremy and I automatically assumed was going to win WfL Busselton; Dave Kennedy.

Now an ultramarathon is any distance over the standard 42.2km marathon, so there are 'short' ultramarathons and there are 'long' ultramarathons. Dave Kennedy runs both. Actually, he organises them too - he's the Race Director of the Six Inch Trail Ultramarathon that Jeremy ran last year, and also organises the WTF 100 Ultra, a 160km/100 mile race around the Waterous Trail mountainbiking loop - the 'Waterous Trail on Foot'. Dave Kennedy considers a half marathon a warm-up, runs a marathon as a constitutional and is the sort of person who doesn't look at a mountain range and say "race you to to the top", he looks at a mountain range and says "race you to the top, along the length of the ridgeline, down the other side and back again". Dave was going to win, it was just a question of how far he'd have to run in order to do it.

In the starting corrals we all stood and waited - there were five parkrunners that I knew of; Jeremy and I, Matty, Tim and Abdul. Abdul hadn't run his half marathon before he'd signed up so he had been placed in the starting corral behind us. Jeremy and I had previously discussed our plan for the race and he suggested that we run together, and Matty and Tim were going to do similar. About 3 minutes before the start I said to Jeremy "No, let's run separately - let's see what we can do." Almost simultaneously Tim said the same to Matty; we'd been speculating in the corrals as to whether the event was going to happen a second time, so I felt it seemed such a waste of an opportunity to truly test out what distance you could manage by running together and one person potentially slowing the other down.

Because the timing of the event meant that Busselton was starting after the sun had set we had all been equipped with complimentary LED Lenser headlamps. In the first kilometre the long snake of runners glowed as we ran. Jeremy and I had chosen our outfits carefully, because we knew that it was going to be quite dark and assuming we got that far we'd be running on Caves Road (which has a 110km/h speed limit) so we both had our high-vis Craft running vests on for extra visibility. Jeremy wore an amazingly bright headlamp that he'd bought earlier in the year over a hat and I wore my LED Lenser headlamp over the Wings for Life supplied buff - the problem with running with headlamps we had been advised was that you can end up with blisters on your forehead, which is not entirely comfortable or the best look.

The plotted route took roughly the same course as the February half marathon that Jeremy and I have run, travelling through the back streets of Busselton from the Jetty, eventually making it the 7km to Alan Street and onto Bussell Highway. Running through the suburban streets there were masses of people cheering; locals, tourists and the previous day's 70.3 competitors. I think it's partly because Busselton people embrace endurance sports, partly because of the time of day and partly because of the brilliant and daft concept of the event there was more support and cheering for the Wings for Life than I've seen at any running event I've ever participated in other than the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival. At the 5km aid station we came across Cathy, Greg, Claudia and Misia cheering on the runners. I found out later that at this point Jeremy had thrown his Craft vest at Greg to take because he was just too hot in it. We had experienced some very gentle rain by this point, but it wasn't sufficient to get you cold.

While the majority of the pack ran the 1.5km along the shoulder of Bussell Highway vehicle traffic was stopped - I did feel sorry for the Domino's Pizza driver - but spectator support continued, with clumps here and there where people had come out of hotel accommodation and stood on the corners of streets connecting with Bussell Highway. Once we crossed the massive roundabout to Caves Road vehicle traffic flowed around us while we ran on the wide shoulder of the road, but because there are no street lights along that road and the mass of runners had thinned out significantly, combined with the sparser spectators you found yourself running stretches by yourself in the dark, slowly catching blobs of light in the distance that became people-shaped and occasionally having your shadow appear defined on the road in front of you as someone overtook you.

Earlier in the race I'd been overtaken by Steve Hooker, so I was proud to later overtake him on Caves Road. As you ran along you'd fall into conversation with other people; encouraging them and being encouraged yourself. There were a number of 70.3 competitors who were running with complaining hips, knees and ankles and many were flagging after 10 kilometres - hardly a surprise as they'd put it all on the line the previous day. I later found out that Courtney Atkinson who the day before had had to pull out of the 70.3 race half way through the run leg was leading Wings for Life Busselton at around the 30km mark.

I'd played with a "how far can you run" device on the Wings for Life website and worked out that with my likely pace I could probably managed 15km before the car caught me, and sure enough I managed 14.66km. The first indication I had that the car was near was two support volunteers on mountain bikes who were warning runners of the proximity to the catcher car. When they told me I took off. I would have been around the 14.1km mark when they told me, and if you look at my Garmin file for the run my speed shoots up for about 500 metres. I just sprinted for as long as I could while the volunteer biked alongside encouraging me, but at 14.66km the car pulled alongside. The passengers in the car were cheering and clapping and one called out my distance travelled as I gently jogged up to the 15km aid station.

I scoffed down water and electrolyte drinks at the aid station while the volunteers manning the station were frantically pulling it down to leapfrog the field and set up an aid station down the road for the runners further away. Just as they cleared off the tables I grabbed an energy bar to eat on the shuttle bus back into town, and all the runners at the aid station clambered aboard to cheers of people who had been caught earlier. There were no seats left on the bus so rather than stand the 15km ride back into town I sat down crosslegged in the aisle, grabbed my phone from my spibelt and tried to find out how Jeremy and everyone were managing.

There was the most amazingly long thread on Facebook filled with comments from friends who had been following our progress during the race, and Cathy, Greg and Claudia had been tracking our progress and updated me with text messages. As the runners were caught the website showed our names and the distance run, and there was a live video feed from all the other locations of all the other runners. Bill advised me that I beat most of India and large chunk of Ireland, which I was rather chuffed with. While I was on the bus heading back into town Jeremy was caught at 20.58km.

I got back to Barnard Park and went straight into the marquee tent and picked up my backpack of clothes - the temperature was low enough to warrant the adidas tracksuit I'd packed to wear afterwards - and then I went straight to the food line. The array of food was wide, portions good and the butter chicken was brilliant; even factoring in endorphin supplied flavouring. I scoffed my food while watching the live feed on the screen; there is something quite wonderful about a crowd of people in Busselton, Australia cheering on an exhausted man in Colorado who is just trying to eke out a few more metres before the car catches him.

So: Jeremy managed 20.58km and Matty got 22.07km with Abdul just ahead at 22.58km. Tim thrashed us all with a mullet wig assisted 32.99km, which put him as the 9th male in Australia.  The women's race at Busselton was taken by Laoise Thuama, an Irish born local, and the men's race was won by Dave Kennedy who ran 43.89km, finishing just past Wilyabrup. The overall winners were - female - Elise Selvikvag Molvik in Norway who ran 54.79km, and - male - Lemawork Ketema in Austria who ran 78.58km.

One of the best parts of the run was knowing that you were competing with people all around the world, and it was easily checkable on the website as to where people came. For example, Mark Webber managed 28.36km, which isn't bad considering he apparently intended on 10km.

Happily next year's World Run has already been announced for May 3rd 2015, and I am crossing my fingers that TriEvents are able to put on a Busselton edition, because if so I will be there. I cannot recommend it more highly - that was the most fun I've ever had racing.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Kilometres run

I signed up to Smashrun a few weeks ago, after seeing the Event Director from St Peters parkrun posting about it.

It's brilliant, and it's done wonders for my spirit.

It hoovered in all my Garmin running data, and will tell you handy things like "this was the earliest time you've run in six months" which makes you realise that you've laid in bed far too long far too often.

But it told me that the furthest I've run (cumulative total) in a month was in December 2012. I consider myself a better runner now, but the lead-up to my first half marathon was the only time I truly trained for a half. I've not bothered since, so my improvements in my speed, finishing times and recovery afterwards is all despite the half assed attitude I've had to my running.

It goes:

Oct 2012: 28 km (purchased Garmin this month).
Nov: 62
Dec: 115

Jan 2013: 114
Feb: 60 (first half marathon in this month)
Mar: 49
Apr: 64
May: 44
Jun: 56
Jul: 61
Aug: 69 (second half marathon in this month)
Sep: 95 (third half marathon in this month)
Oct: 72 (fourth half marathon in this month)
Nov: 75
Dec: 88

Jan 2014: 75
Feb: 81 (fifth half marathon in this month)
Mar: 89 (sixth half marathon in this month)
Apr: 76
May (as at 24th May): 84 so far, with another 12 scheduled tomorrow.

This slow ramp up could be interesting, assuming it continues.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Endorphin supplied flavouring

All food after serious exertion tastes amazing. It doesn't matter what that meal is, it just tastes extraordinary. After my last triathlon I had the best sausage in a bun that I'd ever had. After my first half marathon I ate the most incredible watermelon slices, and the pizza I had that evening was perfection.

Jeremy finished a duathlon (I was spectating on the run course, and came in a couple of minutes behind him). He got a finishers bag and it had an energy bar that he was already halfway through when I finally caught up with him to order post-event coffees (priorities, people). When he saw me he exclaimed "Oh this bar is great! We have to buy some!" About two months later I found them in a supermarket and bought a few. When Jeremy got to eat one a second time he wasn't as impressed, but after a solid training run for the Six Inch Trail Ultramarathon he had one and they were rated as "Amazing!" again.

I've absolutely no scientific or medical training but judging by what I've experienced, and what I've seen when Jeremy or friends finish sporting events and activities like endurance training sessions, "endorphin supplied flavouring" is a thing. I'm the first to admit that Rotary Clubs are well practiced when it comes to the sausage sizzle (I'm a solid supporter of the local sausage sizzle), and farmers market quality watermelon is always going to beat the mass grown version from the supermarket, but I think exercise adds a flavour to food that monosodium glutamate just can't compete with.

It's probably partly why people will go for a run and burn 600 calories and sit down and eat 1200 calories in replacement.

Does anyone else find this happens to them?