Tech: Convert Your Strava or GPX routes to Google Street View Hyperlapses

I came across a website that can covert your GPS running data into Google Street View Hyperlapses. I exported a GPX file from my morning run and produced the video above.

The website currently doesn’t support downloading your finished hyperlapse, so I had to perform the following steps to achieve this.

  1. Uploaded my GPX to gpxhyperlapse.com and adjusted the settings until satisfied with the output speed and frames.
  2. Add the Nimbus Screenshot & Screen Video Recorder extension to Chrome.
  3. Started screen recording and downloaded the finished video. It was in .webm format which I’d never heard of.
  4. Used an online video editor to crop the video to the frame size (removing rest of browser window, etc.).
  5. Converted to mp4, and uploaded to YouTube.

In other words, quite an effort really, but interesting all the same.

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas weekend and enjoys some quality time with friends and family. Rest, rest and more rest. That’s my plan for the next week. Of course, a little running will be woven in here and there!

Here’s a wee video I recorded over six years ago now! How time flies! Enjoy!

Added: Hot Chocolate 15k – Charlotte, NC

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Hot Chocolate 15k Charlotte as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

I just signed up for the Hot Chocolate 15k in Charlotte, NC — my first race as a BibRave Pro! For those not familiar with BibRave, it’s a website where you can find and write race reviews.

As a BibRave Pro (Ambassador), I get to fuel my running passion by participating in races and reviewing running related products and then telling everyone about it!!

The Hot Chocolate race series is hosted in cities all over the country and they offer both 5k and 15k races. I have signed up for the 15k (just under 10 miles) and will be running through the streets of Charlotte on 10th Feb 2018.

Continue reading “Added: Hot Chocolate 15k – Charlotte, NC”

Vertigo is Horrible

vertigo.pngI blogged recently about experiencing dizziness during my run last Saturday, while visiting Ireland on business. I thought at the time it was simply related to a combination of jet lag and dehydration.

The dizzy feeling went away on Sunday, and as I blogged then I felt just fine, hopeful I’d get back out for a run on Monday evening.

This wasn’t to be.

On Monday at work the dizziness returned. By lunchtime I had thrown up in the restrooms and had to be taken home by a co-worker.

I could write a whole post on the sole topic of getting an appointment with a doctor in Northern Ireland, but to cut a long story short, I ended up in A&E (ER) on Monday evening.

Continue reading “Vertigo is Horrible”

Jet Lag and Running

As I left home to go to the airport, the first flakes started to fall. My wife sent me pictures of the kids playing in the snow which made me miss them already. I was on my way from Raleigh, NC to Ireland for a work trip.

It was a pretty turbulent flight, but I felt OK and do not usually suffer with travel sickness when flying. I had to put my book down when it got really rough. Nothing else.

I arrived in Ireland to more snow and freezing temperatures, collected my car and drove to my parent’s house. After some catch-up, I thought I’d get a run in.

I decided I wouldn’t run outside, but instead use my parent’s treadmill. So I put on a pair of shorts and long sleeve top (it’s still cold inside). However, the treadmill was a no-go, The belt is slipping and I couldn’t run on it.

That’s leaves only one option…

I had to head outside. I grabbed my gloves, hat, buff, and off I went. I was pretty prepared, I thought. I had my trail shoes, which were great in the snow. I had a buff to keep the cold air off my face, and a nice hat. Even with shorts, it was manageable.

The first 1.5 miles felt good. No issues at all.

Then something didn’t feel right. At first I kept veering off to the right as I ran. I was loosing my balance. When I eventually stopped it hit me hard. My whole world was spinning. I waited a few minutes to see if I could shake it, but it wasn’t going away.

I started to walk back to the house and was staggering all over the sidewalk. I couldn’t walk straight. I felt like I was going to pass out. I kept walking, and due to complete disorientation, ended up the wrong road and had to come back down. At this stage I was hoping the police would pick me up for public drunkenness and take me home.

I made it back to the house eventually and immediately threw up in the bathroom and then laid on the bathroom floor for a while. Can I just say, no alcohol was involved here at all. But that’s probably what it looked like, and felt like though.

After a hot shower, I drank some fluids, in case it was dehydration, and ate some chocolate in case it was low blood sugar. It took around 3-4 hours to feel normal again.

Today I will rest, and not run.

Maybe.

Review: Race Across Durham Trail Marathon & 10 Miler

It was so exciting to be part of the first ever Race Across Durham Trail Marathon & 10 Miler event. I registered for the 10 mile race, since this was my first ever trail race (and also because I could not run 26.2 miles on a flat surface).

The 10 mile race started at the West Point On The Eno Amphitheater, an open area in the middle of the woods. From there, around 200 runners gathered, ready to run through the trees toward the river to join the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

The race was timed (time-chip on back of the bib), but there was no starting mat, so time was taken from the starting gun. I wasn’t too motivated by time on this race. I wanted to run it well, and enjoy it at the same time, so not having a starting mat didn’t bother me.

I was expecting a little bit of a bottleneck at the start of the race, because we had to transition from an open field to a single track trail. There was no pushing or shoving. Everyone was very chilled and polite and seemed to be out there to enjoy the day.

It took about 1.5 miles or so to thin out on the trail. I managed to pass quite a few people at the beginning and catch some groups that were running at a pace I was comfortable with.

I was really glad I spent a few weekends before checking out the trail section by section — it was really helpful mentally, as I knew which sections of the trail were most challenging and when I needed to preserve energy during the race.

The trail was well marked, and I didn’t hear of anyone getting lost. I did hear about a number of falls though — I’m amazed I managed to stay on my feet.

It was a tough course. Probably one of my toughest races to date. Just look at how tired I am above. This was taken just after having crossed the finish line.

There were two aid stations. One at 4 miles, and one at 8 miles. I decided not to carry any fluids and rely only on the aid stations. That worked out fine for me.

I didn’t stop during the race to take any photos I’m afraid, so I’m looking forward to seeing some of the official race photos. There were 3-4 photographers stationed along the route. I tried my best to look like a real trail runner when I spotted them.

Here I am with my friend, Dillon, looking a bit more refreshed after some fluids and snacks at the finish. There were shuttle buses arranged to take runners on the 10-15 min trip back to the West Point On The Eno for the race after party. Beer.

Isn’t that a lovely medal? Well, yes it is. Very nice. It has the Durham skyline, with water tower, complete with the Eno State Park and River at the bottom.

I was glad family could come and join me for the after party. It was a very chilled affair — which was fine. There was food and beer, and a band playing in the background. People sat around on the grass field, or at the picnic tables. Xander (below) was happy to have freedom to run around and enjoy himself.

Based on my training runs, I would have been happy with any time under 2 hrs, so to come in at 1hr 45min was a nice surprise. My Garmin logged the course at 9.4 miles, and  11:10/mi pace. The official distance was 10 miles, which brings my pace up to 10:31/mi. I can only assume my GPS signal got a little lost at times which accounts for the missing 0.6 miles.

Official results for yesterday places me in 87th Place, 10:31/mi pace.

A post shared by Alastair Vance (@alastairvance) on

 

If you’re interested in more of the course details and elevation, you can check out my Strava activity here.

One final note — if you do intend to sign up for it next year, sign up quick. The race sold out in a number of weeks when registration opened at the start of July.

 

How To Make Irish Soda Farls

This is a favorite weekend recipe for us, as it’s quick and easy to make. Irish Soda Farls are a tasty and filling breakfast bread (or anytime snack!).

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 cup of buttermilk

Method

Put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl.

I use a fork initially to bring all the ingredients together.

Then by hand, knead the mixture into a dough.

Flatten out the dough by hand into a pancake shape, about 1/2 inch thick. Any thicker and it can be hard to ensure it cooks through.

Cut the dough into four triangles and place on a heated skillet (medium to low heat).

Once they’re ready, let them cool on a rack for a while. To serve, slice open and eat with fruit jam, or cheese. I like to toast them before applying some butter.