Getting Outdoors

In the second blog of my ‘Women In Sport’ series, we have one of my clients – Jane W.  I believe some of her challenges are more than worth reading about, more to come on these later in the week but to wet your appetite, if I was to say she will be canoeing 89km supporting Poitr, moving down the River Tay from Killin to Meikleour.  Wow!

So to start you off check out where this fantastic journey in sport began:-

‘Last November, 2016, I heard about a talk being given by Louise Johnstone (Louise’s PT4U) on behalf of Grow Biz East Perthshire.  A local enterprise support group for small businesses in rural Perthshire.  It sounded fascinating, Louise was going to give a motivational talk about the Marathon de Sables which she had completed earlier that year.  Following the talk I was clear that I would like to approach Louise for health and fitness training sessions.

At that point I was dealing with some back and joint problems which were having an impact on my work. And with the fact that my daughter Derryth, had left home to move to Glasgow. She was my main buddy and partner in crime. In her mid teens she became interested in a number of outdoor activities. These included mountain biking, canoeing, ski-ing, rock climbing and road biking. We gave them all a good shot. I was determined not to be just a taxi driver. I wanted to join in.  So I tried everything and found I had a passion in particular for the biking. But I love the canoeing and climbing too. We were lucky enough to have friends who could teach us the skills required to take part in these new interests.  We would buy second hand kit and to go ski-ing we would work our lunches in the ski cafes in order to get a free ski pass.  We would take ourselves off on some fairly mad adventures. We cycled the Caledonian Etape together when Derry was…almost 18.  We paddled up Loch Morar, camped out overnight and then paddled off down Loch Nevis one time. We’ve cycled the Burma Road in the Cairngorms on our mountain bikes. And for Mother’s Day this year she took me rock climbing at the crags on the edge of Kirriemuir.  I took up these outdoor sports in my early 40s as Derry entered her teens. And have had an absolute blast doing them.  I would not say that I am a naturally gifted person at learning these new skills. Unlike Derry who would get it first time. I would have to really apply myself and practice a lot. Derry took to things like a duck to water and had to exercise a lot of patience whilst waiting for Mum to get with the programme.   She would also teach me what she had learnt and picked up quickIy.  So I would have lots of opportunities for re-learning everything.

I have always been pretty active tending to work outdoors part time in conservation and rural management work.  And also in running my own business, where I make baskets, willow fences and coracles. When I was younger I played team sports such as netball and lacrosse at my High School. But I hadn’t done any sporting activities in over 20 years until I started mountain biking and canoeing with Derry.

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Why did I chose the activities I engage in?

I could have gone down the team sport route if Derry had gone down that route. But she chose the fields that I am now participating in. So to begin with I followed Derry. I let her lead rather than the other way round. Which seemed to suit both of us.    But they have continued to suit me particularly well. I have always had a love of the great outdoors, of forests, mountains and rivers. My dad used to take me fishing when I was in my teens and bird watching. And I went hill walking in the Lake District with a group of girls from my Secondary School..

 

All these were formative experiences.

And I am at my happiest when I am out of the house in a wild place.  And to be able to navigate through that landscape under my own steam with the aid of a boat, bike or a rock climbing rope has and still does give me immense satisfaction.  When I am on my bike I get two amazing sets of feelings. I feel wild, ferrel, completely free and full of physical power (even more so following the training sessions with Louise!).  The stronger I become physically, the more those sensations are magnified.  But if I am feeling stressed, rung ouDSCI0011t or under pressure the bike is always the solution. If my heart is racing due to menopausal hormones; daily stresses; or caring for my parents the bike has an incredibly calming and steadying effect.  When I have had the opportunity to cycle for extended periods I seem to find a natural rhythm or cadence. A certain number of pedal strokes per minute am not sure what it actually is. But just that I know it when I have hit that pace it is a lovely feeling and makes me feel like I could keep going indefinitely. That rhythm is like a meditation, and really grounds me both mentally and physically. ‘

Jane is embarking on a remarkable challenge on Wednesday 21st june 2017, there will be an update later in the week  to let you know more . . . .

 

(PS:  You may be able to follow their progress at Outdoor Explore on social media)

 

What did previous runners say???

Well it is now only 4 days, 22 hours, 11 minutes, ? seconds and counting – oh god its drawing closer and I am scarily calm.  Is it the calm before the storm?  Well we’ll soon see.

I thought you guys would find it interesting yo see what previous MDS runners to say about the race . . .

Name: Gordon Barrie12510725_10153207786621861_1501170662_o

When did you complete the Marathon des Sables? 2005

What was your background in running?     I started running in 1st year at school (Madras College in St Andrews) and joined Fife AC. I now run for Dundee Hawkhill Harriers (since 1991). I have competed over various
distances on the track, cross country and road.
What made you sign up?   I was in danger of drifting away from the sport
and wanted a fresh challenge. Plus, I had seen the MdS on the TV and in
Runner’s World and thought it looked amazing (and it was!).
What was/ is your best memory of being out in the Sahara?    Running
through the desert on the long stage in the middle of the night was
fantastic. There was nobody else around, it was nice and cool and the
stars in the night sky were amazing!
What was/ is your worst memory of the race?     Waking up on the morning of
the long stage (about 50 miles!) and being sick with nerves. I honestly
though I was going to quit at the first checkpoint that day. Then I
looked at the guy lying next to me in the tent, who looked worse than I
felt! He kept going and I was immediately motivated again. I never
looked back after that. In a race like the MdS, everybody has highs and
lows, you just have to keep focussed on the goal. Plus, everybody
encourages one another. There’s a real bond between the runners.
How long did you have or take to train for the race?     I was running
anyway but specific training for the MdS was probably 5 or 6 months,
with the bulk of it in the last 12 weeks. Back to back 20+ milers at the
weekends!
What is the one thing you would have changed about your training?   I
would have done some upper body strengthening and carried a pack more
often in training.
What is the one piece of knowledge or recommendation you wished you had
had going out there?   Make sure you like all the food that you’re
carrying. I discovered that I should have taken more savoury stuff. I
found the sweet food unpalatable in the heat!

Name: Keith Anderson

 When did you completethe Marathon des Sables? 2009

What was yourbackground in running?   No background prior to entering the event
in 2007. Was formerly a rugby player.

What made you signup?   Had seen Ben Fogles documentary a few years before which
was the first awareness of the event. I was looking for a challenge and wanted
to prove that the ordinary person can achieve anything.

What was/ is your best memory of being out in the Sahara?
Difficult. In short the camaraderie and “journey” everyone shared. Personally,
on the long day I suffered sickness bug and almost retired at the first
checkpoint. I got medical assistance for extreme dehydration 7 x 1/2 litre bags
of saline and glucose via a drip, after which I got up and walked the next 66
miles non stop. That episode was “my mds”.

What was/ is yourworst memory of the race?    Sickness bug which swept the
campsite on day 2.

How long did you have or take to train for the race?   2 years building from 10
km up to ultra distance races as long as 64 miles.

 What is the one thing you would have changed about your training?
You don’t need to train for 2 years. 6 months should be long enough. However my
experience was in 2 stages. The journey to the start line which comprised of 2
years of fundraising and training which was an amazing time, and then there was
the race itself. The more training you do the more you get to know your body’s
limitations.

What is the one piece of knowledge or recommendation you wished you had had
 going out there?
I researched every element of the race to an extreme level and so I had all the
info I needed and there was no real surprises which gave me confidence in my
abilities. The best piece of advice that I had was to never withdraw yourself
from the race, get a medical assessment and let them withdraw you. You’ll be
surprised how much you can achieve even when you think you are done.
Also, never share anything with fellow participants, that’s not being selfish
it’s self preservation as bugs transmit very very easily so no sharing
water/food/cutlery/etc.

 

Name:  Lucja Leonard1902795_10152441613959924_4052712739759365014_n

When did you complete the MDS?    I did my first one in 2014, now up for my 2nd.

What was your background in running?   I took up running to lose weight about 8 years ago, hated running or any sport growing up, I was a size 18, weighing 98kg when I started with a walk/jog routine and next thing you know…..I’m running MdS (ha ha not quite, it did take quite some time but it was pretty quick considering my history) First marathon in 2011, first ultra 2013.

What made you sign-up?   I’d watched a documentary about it on TV and was gob smacked by the sheer challenge.

and then return again . . . and again?    My first MdS was a real eye opener, a real kick in the guts every day I was out there to say you are not as fit as you thought you were and I found it brutally difficult and although I finished I was personally disappointed with my result so even though on the finish line I vowed I would not be back….whilst I was watching my husband compete in it again last year (2015) and he did super amazing (32nd overall!) I just got so excited I had signed up before he had even finished the last stage!  I am really keen to go back and run it better and stronger.  I am fitter, lighter, stronger and wiser than last time so that has to help right?

What was/is the best memory of being out in the Sahara desert?    The total isolation, I love that feeling of being away from everything that is routine to my normal daily life in a stunningly beautiful place whilst pushing my body and mind to the limit.  It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

What was/ is your worst memory of being in the Sahara?    The heat & the sand!

How long did you have to or take to train for the race the first time round and then thereafter or have you been keeping fit doing other races in between?   I was marathon/ultra fit, or at least I thought I was (it’s all relevant) already so my training kicked off in the December of 2013 so a good 4 months of solid training with a mixture of training and a few races in between to keep me focussed.  Christmas is always a hard time though so that was a blip in the schedule.  In hindsight I can see now that I overtrained, I was so focussed on my weekly mileage rather than the quality of my training, and spent too many hours running ‘junk’ mileage and too much running with my bag instead of focussing on quality sessions and including strength work into it.  After MdS I remember it took at least a month for my body to recover, I recall feeling like I wanted to run about a week after and about 1/2mile in I just stopped and was totally exhausted, the mind wanted but the body couldn’t.  It really takes a lot out of you.

10153771_10152441614489924_1331766896319222961_nThis time around my training has been all about quality sessions, getting in my key sessions each week – strength, flexibility, speed, hills, tempo, long back to back runs and most importantly – rest!  I have only just had a run with my bag and only plan on about 4 runs with my bag fully weighted, and I will start heat chamber sessions and Bikram yoga 2 weeks out from the race.

What is the one thing you would have changed about your training?   Sometimes less is more.

What is the one piece of knowledge or recommendation you wished you had had before going out there the first time (if you can remember)?    It is probably really obvious and it does sound stupid but I wish I had realised how damn hot and sandy it was going to be, nothing prepares you for the furnace that is the Sahara and no one can explain it to you.

Did you change things massively year on year?    More in my training approach, a few tweaks to nutrition, especially for during the race, the first year I took lots of nuts and bars to eat whilst ‘running’ and found them impossible to stomach, so this time I am going for gels and liquid energy (like Hammer Perpeteum and Torq energy sachets to add to my water) and save the chewable stuff for back in camp.

Here are Lucja’s own blogs: MDS Preparation 2014 and Post-event – please do check them out.

 

Thank you for reading folks, I really do appreciate everyones support and words of motivation.  Big thank you to Gordon, Keith and Lucja for answering these questions for my blog but also for answering my incessant questions and fielding my worries.

 

I am raising money for a small local mental health charity – Dundee Association for Mental Health – DAMH – they are a wonderful Dundee based charity who do fantastic work to help local people.  As someone who understands the need for this kind of invaluable suppo12687943_10205375836827795_8892240053623715467_nrt, both personally and professionally, I aim to do my very best out there in Morroco.

I will be taking on my biggest challenge to date,
if you would like to donate to the charity and sponsor myself you can do so here – Sponsor Page – Thank you

Follow me from your comfortable seat 😉 – Here is a link you can go to to follow me on a ‘live’ basis but if you wish you can also send good luck messages to keep my spirits raised during the event!    I am runner number . . .  1013 (#scary)

Mudnificent 7! 

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(I am holding the mother of all Lincolnshire hot dogs in my outstretched hand – earned!)

Mudnificent 7 truly took its name to heart, Ive spent the whole of Sunday scrubbing to get muck out of every orifice you can think of (aye all of them!).   This was a fantastic first event by the squad from Obstacle Race Magazine, I was there from Friday and could see the village begin to take shape.

The start line was full of energy for the first heat, a great practical warm-up and then some great words by THE Mr Mouse to get us off.  The start was a brief run around the edge of the lake and into a field to spread out the runners, this probably could have been a little longer and that would have been sufficient to reduce the queuing we had, even in the first heat.

Stand-out  Zones and the Disappointments:

Each of the 7 zones was hosted by a different race company,

Mudstacle 6Zone 1 – Aztec Warrior:  Great ideas but alot of bottlenecks, there was certainly a controversial obstacle with a chamber filled on one side with ‘offal’ and the other was with potatoes.  I luckily chose the vegetarian option, I have to admit to a few gagging moments at the other side as it was all crushed under numerous trail shoes.

Zone 2 – Airfield Anarchy:  Without doubt!  The MAHOOSIVE slide where I may have wet my pants before I even got wet . . .

kidding, kidding!  But not about keeking myself.  There was a decent queue to get on here but well worth it for the WOW factor, the safety brief was repeated consistently, clear and concise.  We had a delay after a lady had a bit of a freak-out at the top but well done to her she did it with true OCR support.  I understood why11845950_10205227854324027_1180950125_n when I got to the top – ‘Holy S**T!’ it was a vertical drop and I can tell you my ass didnt make contact until the slide curved and then you were flipped off the end in true style.  I swear I was breathless from this obstacle for the next mile, we hit some more bottlenecks where there was tunnels with only single person access.

Great ideas but not ideal with the numbers and so early on in the race.  We also hit some water dips here, some lovely gentleman kindly gave me a help11801957_10205227850523932_1734497196_ning hand – did I mention already I hate water?!

Zone 3 – Tough Guy – I was looking forward to how this would run,  I know Alex ( Brass Monkey Events ) put alot of effort into setting up  the Tough Guy section.  It’ll hopefully have let everyone see what we will have in store for you all coming north to the brand new McTough Guy event!

Anyway, there were great balance beam sections taking you into the main section, those at Mud 7 were priviledged to get a taster of carrying the ‘Jesus Crosses’, only a select few have done so within the Tough Guy events ( I Iook upon these guys in awe!).  There was some decent running between the osbtacles which spread folks out, they highlighted TG obstacles perfectly, they were simply but truly effective.  There were cargo net crawls, ‘torture chamber’ (classic), water dips (another classic – I also think Alex was winding me up as he had said it was fairly deep – actually not too bad).  Mudstacle 5This was one of my biggies as it was for Airfield anarchy11830649_10205227846283826_1368400782_n – did I say I hate water?  But Empo and Marnie were on hand to give me encouragement, I think thats what it was 😉  Not only this but the Ghost Runner squad were on hand to beat their drums and they did so allll day!!

Zone 4 – Bigfoot Challenge – These guys made great use of rope obstacles, different obstacles that I had seen in other events but never so focused, which I quite liked.  We had lateral traverses between trees, more traditional hanging traverses created in a V-shape.  Mudstacle 4

Mudstacle 7

Zone 5 – Ram Run – Im afraid to say nothing really stuck out for me here

Zone 6 – Reacher Events – I thoroughly enjoyed this section, these guys took mud to a whole new level, some really original obstacles (well at least ones I have never seen).  Another slide but with a different approach, using climbing wall parts, and smaller but you know what?  It didnt matter!  Mudstacle 9Low cargo net crawls, A-frame climbs with increased difficulty created by wet and super muddy shoes/ bodies, followed by a fling yourself at a cargo net climb.  I have to say the marshalls here were great and really interactive, one young lady let me wipe my eyes on her high-vis – I didnt need to see anyway haha! And then I found another gentleman with a Reaper T-shirt that was waaay too clean so I helped him feel a part of the mud-fest.  Not only that, one of the greMudstacle 8at marshalls also wanted a hug so naturally I had to oblige, hahaha!

Zone 7 – Bear Grylls – I have to say, once again, nothing here stuck out for me, it struck me as very spartan and nothing 11846423_10205227843363753_379773188_noriginal which I would have expected from the big deal being made about Bear Grylls.  Particularly at an expo which is to showcase what a course has to offer.  However, the final section of their zone challenged me big time – the water crossingS, yes bloody plural!    The first one I could bob along on tippy-toes, just keeping my head out of the water, talking to myself all the way, ‘Its alright Louise, just keep moving Louise, Its okay you’re nearly there’.  I think the guys on the boats could here me as they just kept smiling at me encouragingly, you have not idea how close I was to tears. I really just don’t get why I freak out so much when I can actually swim.  Onto the middle island, under a cargo net and then straight into the water.

Oh God!  Oh God – I couldnt bob on this one!  Oh God, even typing this my heart rate has gone up several notches!!  Again, there were nearly tears, only this time they were so much closer to erupting but I sucked it up and told myself I would be okay and started toMudstacle 2 swim.  Then along came Lisa (from RPCC – based in England for those that dont know the team), what a lovely lass.  We had met earlier in the race and I had the opportunity to help Lisa over the walls and I kept encouraging her as we headed toward the water.  I’m glad I was able to do so, as I really feel like I haven’t been able to repay her support over the second crossing but at least I feel I helped her alittle in return.  She offered to stay with me, as Lisa could swim and was really very relaxed.  She told me to remember to relax, it worked a treat as I had obviously started to tense up alot without realising it.  I was getting really breathless, I think because I was real tense, we paused so that I could chill out alittle and then we headed for the finish line and crossed together – amazing!  I can’t thank you enough Lisa!Mudstacle 1

Summary

This was a fantastic event and what a great way for the OCR community to come together without competition but support of each others races to work together to provide the ultimate of experiences for the participants.  I loved every second, well nearly – when I wasnt peeing my pants!  But, having been asked a few times what my favourite bits were, I couldn’t say categorically that I had one but all of it in combination.  The chance to do the best obstacles that each event had, to experience potentially what you could experience at each race.  I get that people were disappointed with the queues and bottle necks, yes disapointing and yes not what we want at a race BUT this was not a race and not an ordinary get together at an event.  All the event providers really worked hard to put the best they could out there for all of us, no racing just taking part and supporting each other.  I met some truly awesome people, witnessed truly inspirational acts and was able to support others, nearly losing my heid helping a baywatch beauty (Ill leave that one to the imagination and I dont mean a falling out), seeing far too much exposed (sorry Pamela, the baywatch dude, but what I witnessed on those ropes really will never be erased!) but also being helped to really face my fears and helping others while doing so.  That is the true essence of the OCR community!

Couple of drawbacks as mentioned were the bottlenecks (it was constantly mentioned this was not a race on the tannoy), using timing chips creates some perception of wanting the best time possible and therefore people want to move through obstacles as quickly as possible.  The posting of results also creates the impression that there was positions which there cant be if it was participation event.  The results themselves dont mean much except for the first handful of people due to the bottlenecks and folks constantly skipping obstacles/ queues.  These are basic points which didn’t detract from the event itself for me, simply points to keep in mind.  I quickly cooled my heels once I realised this wasnt going to be a typical race and really didnt push hard but challenged myself but conquering all obstacles and thoroughly enjoying myself!

Definitely get it onto your fun – to-do list for #MUD2016!  Get your mates along with you!        11846334_10205227842483731_1083406700_n

Presenting Cheque to Local Charity 

Super proud of myself for this, stepping outside of my comfort zone to help others, thank you to Lesley (my lovely ex-client) for prompting me to raise money for charity.  DAMH (Dundee Association for Mental Health)  have been fantastic and will be using the monies raised to help continue their physical activity initiatives. 

Finally, but do not give it any less thought. Each and every single person who encouraged me with text or words, who sponsored me, helped me every step of the way!

Thank you also to the Evening Telegraph for giving this some coverage. DAMH are a fantastic local charity working hard to support those within the Dundee Community with mental health difficulties. 

   

Uncomfortable with Mental Health?

Evening Y’All!

I’m sitting here trying to work out the best way to write this blog, its a challenging one to write I think cartoon-confused-face-300x297

I could tell you all about the stats that are out there:

‘1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental health condition in any given year’,

‘9 out of 10 people who suffer from mental health difficulties will be the subject of stigma and discrimination’,

and ‘nearly 3 in 4 young people fear the reaction of friends when they talk about their mental health difficulties’

( http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/mental-health-statistics-facts ).

Being Brave . . . .

On some level we are aware of these facts, we know people who suffer from mental health difficulties, these people are our friends, family, work colleagues.  I would add myself to this list of people, I am not identified by this, nor does it define me.  I have been told at different times to ‘Get a grip’, ‘dont be dramatic’, ‘why do you think you are any more important than anyone else’ and many more.  I have had health professionals see me only as my mental illness, some can not see past it, family and people I thought were friends,  be dismissive of it.  I really believe it is important to never judge the road you have never travelled, and in all honesty, will not travel, because you are never fully in that person’s shoes.  You can sympathise and empathise but you can not walk in their shoes.

How would people describe me? (comments I have had back)

‘determined, strong, active, successful, distant, arrogant’, amongst many other sayings.  Why is this important?

Those who suffer from mental health difficulties come from all walks of life, why am I talking about this, because I believe by being open I can help others see that those with mental health difficulties are not the stereotypical images that we have imagined, but can affect so many of us to a variety of levels and extents.  Does this mean your feelings are any less than anyone elses – NO!  Yes, there may be people in a worse position than yourself food wise, poverty wise but this does not detract from the feelings that you have.

To help me, cope with a bad day (or anyway you wish to describe such a day), I choose to exercise.  I choose to get out in the fresh air, there is nothing I find more exhilirating than getting out in the country, in the fresh air of Scotland, the surrounding area.  To see wildlife on my run, for me that in itself really does make a run or a cycle, to run in the hills, past the farmyards.  The occasional nod from a fellow runner/ cyclist, its that mutual understanding.  Don’t get me wrong, I have to work at it, this is by no means easy.  But there is some celebration in this achievement of simply sticking to the decision to look after myself.  Simple and silly to some but an important necessity to me.  I have managed to take what I enjoy and use it to benefit others.

Fundraising

On and off I have raised money for local mental health charities Insight Counselling (http://www.insightcanhelp.co.uk/).

Last year after being encouraged by a previous client, I decided to fundraise properly for a big challenge I was undertaking.  Now, I do a fair few challenges and races, I really enjoy pushing my own limits and fully seeing what I can do.  For me, at the time, this was a biggie!  So I met up with DAMH (Dundee Association for Mental Health – http://damh.org.uk/), Jenni was amazing and super keen for me to hear of the various activities that they do.  I wanted to ensure that the momey raised would go to a specific initiative and wouldn’t be swallowed up, into admin for example.  What excited me, ALOT, was that the money raised could go to a physical activity initiative, well this blew me away, this was completely in line with my own beliefs, what I do for a living at Louise’s PT 4 U (http://www.louisept4u.co.uk/) and fully in line with the research out there.

I was alittle worried that I wouldn’t be able to raise enough to really help the charity but I was committed to doing my best.  WOW!  I was blown away by the support I was given for my Cotswold Way 100 Mile Run (Equivalent of 4 marathons in 4 days! – there is a blog detailing the 4 days if you want to have a read).  It was incredibly tough, this was the furthest distance I had ever run back to back and I think, it was my furthest distance in one day also.  I ticked off alot over these 4 days.  Truly pushing  your limits, really is a great thing, your perception of yourself and the possibilities really does change.  Not only that, the fact so many people supported me and donated money, showed me they believed I could do it.  I couldn’t let them down.  So through those hazy, lightheaded moments – I pushed through with my donaters in mind at all times, helping me put one foot in front of the other to the finish line!  We had raised over £800 by this point.  Simply outstanding, I really can’t even begin to have the words to say thank you and express my gratitude!

Tough Guy The Original

This one deserves italics!! I decided it would be great to top the money off to £1000, I thought that would be great.  Next big challenge, ‘Holy S**t’ – you get the idea this was going to be mental.  It pushed my boundaries in a way I never thought possible.  Blog is upcoming for this folks – keep your eyes peeled! (Apologies for the profanity, but even now, I have butterflies in my belly thinking about it, so that is tame)

You guys, everyone who donated are simply AMAZING – we hit that £1000 and some.  Truly amazing.  Blown away!

Time to Change . . . 

MIND, the mental health charity based in England were running a campaign called ‘Time to Change’ on the 5th February 2015.  Now, I just happened to see it on facebook and decided this would a great wee initiative to encourage folks to get involved in, albeit, it was last minute as it had only just popped up on newsfeed.

This was a great day that we ran at the gym I work from – Good Health and Fitness (City Quay, Dundee).  The members as well as my own clients and friends there were fantastic in supporting the day.  I did an early morning walk, a midday walk and we had a few guys do some baking, by the way, I believe I may have consumed my fair share of them.

All in the name of checking it was appropriate and tasty enough for you guys of course, hahaha.  During the day it was about simply taking that 5 minutes to talk about mental health.  This could be from a personal experience perspective, it could have been from the view of having supported someone, a work initaitive or simply your own perceptions.  We also looked at how physical activity played a vital role.  We then asked everyone to make a pledge, not in the typical sense, this was about maybe something that had been learnt or what you already did, maybe mental health and physical activity.  I was overjoyed to see we raised a brilliant £85, for a last minute day and not managing to get as much done for the day as I would have liked, I was super pleased!  Again, the people I have to thank are all of you out there who have sponsored, supported and shared anything I have been running.  It has been amazing!

Last words . . .  

Those who suffer from mental health illnesses are not by any stretch of the imagination weak.  They are strong beyond belief!  To get through every day can be the hardest thing in the world, our history makes us who we are today.  I would not be the person I am today had I not had to go through the difficulties and experiences that I have, this in no way intimates that I wanted these situations or would choose them.  Simply that I know I am stronger today than I was yesterday.

‘It is not the mountain we must conquer but ourselves’

Thank you folks for taking the time to read this blog folks.  Please remember these are my own opinions and not those of any organisation/ business or group.  Keep any comments positive, any negativity will be removed.

P.S Just heading off to hand over the cheque folks – picture will follow.