Great Manchester Run 2011

I ran in the Great Manchester Run today. Finished in a time of 59 minutes 2 seconds. My number 1 aim was to finish under an hour so pleased with that. Of course wish I was faster! Weather was not ideal with the rain but wasnt too bad. It had been a bit of a dull and drizzly morning but as we got near the start line, the rain actually got heavier. Luckily it wasn’t too heavy and once running you didn’t really notice it. It stopped after a few minutes and was more or less dry for rest of run (apart from about 5 mins). Since it wasn’t warm or sunny, there was no risk of getting too hot so that was a bonus.

It was all worth it in the end though. So far I have raised Ā£410. Thanks!! šŸ™‚ Its still not too late if you want to donate.

I think I managed to pace myself alright. I used the Nike GPS app on my iPhone to help but it went weird and it just said I had completed “5 in 5” right from the start! It seemed to give the current pace OK and the timer was working so had an idea of my pace. I did also manage a sprint finish – which is always good to do!!

After the run we went to got some food at Samsi in Spinningfields. I had a deluxe bento which included 4 pieces of sushi – very filling and couldn’t finish everything. (We thought that meant 4 plates but it actually meant 2 plates (with 2 pieces each) – show it used to be different!). Food was pretty good but maybe a bit too salty. Made use of the Spinningfields Yellow card and got 30% off šŸ™‚ Ā We hearded back to apartment via Deansgate to see some of theĀ Great CityGames. We saw Jessica Ennis warming up for the 100m hurdles but decided to watch it on TV as it was raining.

However, after resting for about an hour, we went to check out the last 2 races of the CityGames. These were the 150m womans and mens races. The 150m womans race featured Jessica Ennis šŸ™‚ – she had a poor start but I think finished 2nd (??). In the 150m mens race, there was the 2nd fastest man in the world in Tyson Gay. Also running wasĀ Marlon Devonish, Darvis Patton and Christian Malcolm. Tyson Gay easily won.Ā Stupid to say but they run FAST!!

Have uploaded a few pics – including a picture taken of the TV. Me and my cousin were just about on TV – not that you would know as were not in focus! (Will upload some videos later)

Richard Hammond’s Engineering Connections – Burj Al Arab

I happened to watch the 1st episode of the new series of Richard Hammond’s Engineering Connections. It was actually very interesting and all about how the Burj Al Arab in Dubai has been built and some of the engineering techniques used to build it. (If you want to watch the program yourself its on the iPlayer until 19th June).

The first problem was to do with how the Burj Al Arab was built was the construction of the man-made island. It needed to be protected from the powerful waves.Ā Richard demonstrates the power of quite small waves by explosively releasing a ton of water just two metres above a coffee table. His second coffee table relies on a furniture protection system inspired by the Burj’s sea defences. Tyres lashed together create spaces that absorb the destructive energy of the ‘wave’.

Man-made island

The next problem, still to do with the actual island was what material should it be made of. The island is made of sand, which you may not think is the best material as its not firm enough. The technique they used was all to do with skin friction. Richard showed this putting a knife in a cylinder of rice. It was hard to pull it out of the rice – all to do with skin friction. Another test was inter-linking the pages of a phone book. With just skin friction and no glue, it couldn’t be pulled about – Richard even hung from the phone books and it took his weight. Using this idea, the Burj Al Arab has a load of pillars (like the knife in the rice) going down from the building many metres into the ground. It means the sand no longer moves.

Other things mentioned in the show were about how the metal would expand in the extreme dessert heat. It meant, when building the Burj Al Arab it could have gone all wrong with measurements etc if the metal all not fitting together. For this they used the idea of cams – like in a car engine. By placing a circle “plate” inside the cam, it could be spinned around to even if the metal expanded, the hole would be in the right place.

Under pressure

Another thing was about the temperature difference in the building and outside. Outside could get to 50C, but inside was air conditioned and was about 23C. This is a big difference in pressure. We know from weather that if they is different pressure, is causes changes in the weather. What would have happened in the Burj Al Arab would be that the doors would have been really difficult to open. The solution – revolving doors. The doors remain “closed” and also “open” for people to come in.

Laminar Flow

The fountains in the Burj Al Arab almost look like plastic and not like water. This is because there is little and no friction. This is achieved thanks to something calledĀ laminar flow (check out this cool videoĀ demonstratingĀ laminar flow and un-stiring liquid) – and a revolutionary fire hose.

Danger, danger. High voltage ….. kind of

The final thing was about the dimmer switches. What I didn’t know was that if you have a dimmer light and turn the light to 50% of its full brightness its still using the same amount of electricity. In fact, its actually been turned on and off many times a second – I think the figure was 120/sec. All these constant turning of the light off and on causes heat and basically messes up the electrical current – instead of a nice smooth wave, its erratic. With a place like Dubai, this is more of a risk. The solution lies in a capacitor – the electrical component used to fire a camera flash.