Weird Science

By Phil on 2014.02.20 In Fjällräven Polar General

As part of my bid to step up my fitness in preparation for Fjällräven Polar, my friend Dr Lee Williams, who is a senior lecturer in Analytical Chemistry at Sunderland University, offered to pass on my name and details of my Polar adventure to the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the university to see if they could offer any help and support.

Last week I was contacted by Lisa Board, who is a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Sciences, who invited me in for a chat to see how they could help. It just so happened they have a group of MSc students currently evaluating scientific support for a number of hypothetical adventure challenges (Mont Blanc Ascent, Marathon des Sables, kayaking the Amazon, Mount Kilimanjaro Ascent, Everest Marathon, Channel swim and a trek to the North Pole) as part of their Applied Sport and Exercise Physiology module and were very keen to assist me in my Polar adventure. Their study is also focussing on some of my other future plans such as Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro.

After the chat with Lisa and her team, we arranged for me to go for a Physiological Assessment, where I would be wired up to a treadmill with heart and breathing monitors to monitor my heart rate, oxygen levels, blood analysis of lactic acid and more. It looked like the Dolph Lundgren training montage scene from Rocky IV, but with an English team of Lisa, Rachel, Alice and Kobi encouraging me, while taking blood samples every few minutes, rather than the Russian team Dolph had in Rocky IV.

Overall I felt I did quite well, considering I hadn’t been to the gym for 3 weeks. Lisa’s team then collated my results and passed to Bob (who trains the Triathletes) and Morc who came up with a training plan for me for the final 7 weeks prior to the Polar.

Yesterday I went to the gym to start my new fitness plan. The first session went quite well and look forward to continuing it over the coming weeks. As I was cooling down on the cross trainer, I saw this young boy walking towards the cross trainer next to me with his mother. As he got on the cross trainer next to me I could see he had his phone in his hand and using it to listen to music as he trained, but without headphones. I couldn’t believe what song he was playing on repeat as he did his routine with his mother watching close by. The song was Dumb Ways To Die (click the link if you have never heard this crazy song for kids!). I could hardly keep my laugh in. It wasn’t the most appropriate song for a young lad to be listening to while doing exercise. I had to finish my cool down early and leave before I started laughing. I just hope the lyrics weren’t an omen to my new fitness routine in the coming weeks.

And I would like to thanks Lisa Board, Rachael Dawe, Alice Fisher-Edwards, Bob Hogg, Kobi Okoye and Morc Coulson for all their help and support.

Now for the science bit. Some of my stats from test:


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    Welcome to my blog about hiking, trekking, Fjällräven Polar 2014, in fact anything where you require boots and the outdoors.

    My name is Phil, and following my outdoor epiphany which started in the summer of 2012 I’m now hooked on everything outdoors. So far my biggest treks have included the 250km Cathar Way, the 170km Tour du Mont Blanc and best of all, winning 1st place to take part in the Fjällräven Polar in April 2014.

    I plan to use this blog to write about all my adventures, which will include my personal goal of becoming a Munroist (completing all 282 Scottish Munro mountains), summer treks, weekends in the Lakes and many more.

    I like to try and make my blog posts humorous so I hope you enjoy reading and that I can put a smile on people’s faces while showing you some amazing places.

    If you have any questions about the blog or the places I'm writing about, don't hesitate to contact me on: phil@philyourboots.com

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