Dublin Rocked

Come to Dublin – climb a chimney! (What else are you going to do?)

 

My first ever visit to Dublin combined a challenge Karen and I had decided to complete, set by ourselves and agreed between us. Dublin did not fail to impress, either on the race front (Rock n Roll Half Marathon), on the sights or in fact in the scenery/ views, we had an absolute ball.

But really the best bit was being away and taking it all in with Karen, my best mate.

Challenge

A few years ago, we decided we would take on a challenge in each of the British countries together:

Spartan Beast -London – 2013

Rat Race Coast to Coast – Scotland  – 2014

Rat Race Man vs Mountain – Wales – Sept 2015

Rock n Roll 5km and Half Marathon – Republic of Ireland – 2017

??? – Northern Ireland – open to nominations and suggestions: they can be OCRs/ running/ multi-activity events?

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Karen with family

Rock n Roll 5km

We had both registered early enough which meant that our numbers and all info required for the event had been posted out, this saved any hassle and was suggested by Karen as she had already taken on the equivalent race in Liverpool. We were staying with Karen’s cousin Colin and family, this made life so much easier while we were visiting, just having that inside information on what we were looking for and travel arrangements etc.

Colin dropped us into Phoenix Park, the largest inner city park in Europe I hear, and we headed in for bag drop.  We had plenty time which is what I like before an event to get everything done but still warm-up, account for extra toilet trips and queuing. I had had my first trial run since hurting my ankle at Deadwater, it wasn’t quite the pain-free experience I had hoped but quickly settled and I didn’t feel it for the rest of the event.IMG_2949IMG_2952

The 5km to myself, seemed reasonably quiet, everyone was gathering around the pens waiting to be called in, the music was playing in the background – some Bon Jovi and all sorts of other great rock to get us all in the mood. Runners were smiling, chilled out on the grass, shaking off the legs, jogging around, adjusting kit, chatting and looking around, taking in the environment (I’m sure you can imagine it). I was keen to get into my area, Karen and I were in different zones so we wished each other luck and parted.

My turn to jog on the spot, shake the legs, grimace at the tight spots, you know the nervousness that settles in as the clock counts down, even though I was taking it easy this weekend, definitely Lynne and Sally – my physios! Gonnnna be in soooo much trouble 😳

When I go to new events I thoroughly enjoy taking in the atmosphere and really being present with all the runners, chatting and taking in what’s around.  It really helps me to enjoy everything and take the pressure off myself. I am quite good at piling it on myself. The sun was shining, I know finally right?!

Well now I was too hot, I went off a bit quick so slowed down, I took pictures, took in the gorgeous surroundings that were Phoenix Park, it was like you were on trail but it was a completely tarmac run. The marshalls were full off energy and making noise as you passed, encouraging you and cheering.

At approximately half way, there was a band which we would pass again on the way back toward the finish line but in a looped manner.  IMG_2960We had a slight downhill, normally I’m in my element for these but I was too worried about my ankle. I was also hit by waves of lightheadedness which were really knocking me, but I kept going and just monitored things, slowed down long enough to moan about how hot I was feeling on my camera and then promptly told myself to shut up!

Everyone was loving Captain Coo – one guy passed shouting ‘ love the cattle’ haha, creating bants.

The finish line was great, it was like people had created a funnel of finishers as you were running to the end, encouraging you in. You were given your amazing 5km medal, a bottle of water, a number of, snacks were handed out as you moved through the runners area to the stage area where all the tents were set up.

I quickly moved round as I wanted to catch Karen but first it was essential that I lie down and raise my legs! Like really important! Some ladies from CaliforniaIMG_2970 started chatting to me and so did a lovely lady from Ireland with her 2 kids.  They were all loving Captain Coo.  I discovered I was too short to actually see Karen cross the line, the wee guy Luke was giving me a detailed insight into the workings of Thomas the Tank engine, this was serious business.IMG_2972

 
Rock n Roll Half Marathon

This event the 2nd for us of the weekend, took place on the Sunday, it was an early rise – that can only mean race day on a Sunday! We had to get a taxi to the start line as the buses didn’t start early enough, but we soon spotted runners all heading in the same direction so headed in following them.  The start area was down at the docklands, not an area we had managed to get to on our sightseeing.

We arrived in good time for bag drop/ toilets and getting a general idea of where everything is and of course the obligatory photos. The trucks were set up by the first 3 letters of surnames grouped together, you just had to use the bag and tag provided in your sign-up info. There were also plenty of toilets provided for everyone, it didn’t take long for these to go downhill, ya know!!!

We just hung about in this area until we needed to check out the zones we were both in, Karen set a personal goal of running at least 6 miles non-stop, we were both in the same boat, training hadn’t managed to come together for one reason or another. I just had to be careful with my ankle, I was taped up and feeling okay, Captain Coo was getting lots of admiring glances.20945219_10210633485781435_759997982_o

I was in Corral 7 and Karen was a bit further back ( these were based on your predicted finish time, to be honest, I have no idea what I put and naturally that would have been pre-ankle injury but I chose to stick with it). Again, we wished each other luck and parted to get in the right sections, well, Karen was actually heading for the loos again, I think she was in the queues when the race started haha.

I haven’t really done many of these big races, so found the whole process interesting, simply the length of time it actually takes you to get to the start line and start running is amazing and probably forgotten about in all the considerations. With the countdown ringing in our ears alongside the rock music we were off . . . . .

I found the route interesting, the key thing here being that it was pretty much all new with the exception of areas we had walked around the previous 2 days.  I dont normally do city runs, I’m not a massive fan but I thoroughly enjoyed myself on this day and during this run.  The shlap (yes that’s what I meant to write) of trainers in the tarmac, belts and bags bouncing round, items jangling, coughing, clearing the throat, shouts here and there for friends and fellow runners, the odd sorry as someone cuts you up. The sheer number of people in front and behind you always astounds me on these races BUT I spent the majority of it, once again, with space and on my own. There were huge numbers, as I’ve said taking part in this, yet in Deadwater (check out my last blog for the lowdown) there were only 18 of us on the start line and I only once felt I was on my own – how amazing I that?!

I took pics, posed with marshalls, the young man in the hospital grounds giving out Jaffa cakes was on for a gold medal from me I’ve gotta say, 20952116_10210633480621306_1684431481_othey were amazing, I took photos of the surroundings, the bands where I could, Captain Coo of course and so much more along the way.  I have to say this felt like one of the quietest races I have every taken part in, literally no-one was talking, it was so so strange.

Unfortunately, my ankle started to niggle away from about mile 6, I could still run, just a little slower and I used the

20930738_10210633479021266_1056660747_osurroundings to help distract me. The bands were on every mile, sometimes this actually meant a band but other times it was a DJ and individuals with guitars playing for us. The mile markers, by my watch anyway, were bang on for accuracy, the water stations were great, they were handing out the smaller water bottles which is an ideal size for carrying. At a couple of the later stations I know they were also handing out Powerade and gels if you needed them.

 

We managed to bring the sun out again for a warm, hot run, the novelty was wearing off.  The finish was located in Phoenix Park again, it really helped having been there the day before and knowing the set-up.

I managed to finish in a reasonable time of 2hrs 00:32 got to say I am incredibly happy with that given the ankle, I only walked 0.15 of a mile to loosen things of, the photo opportunities (these were taken literally on the run haha).

For our efforts we  were given our half marathon medals, we queued for our guitar medal which is for doing 2 runs in the weekend but Karen received a ‘World Rocker’ medal which is incredibly cool for having completed runs in the series in 2 different countries.20945219_10210633472941114_1057944889_o You also receive a t-shirt, which was different to the Liverpool one, lots of snacks at the finish line and of course a band playing in the spectators area for a period of time.

The weather really makes something like this, it was sunny, in fact hot and people were sticking around to enjoy the post-run glow – well done everyone!

6 years in the Making

Photo credit: Lucja Leonard

It is quite surreal sitting here being able to write this blog.  I wasn’t sure I would ever get here (that may be a wee lie, I’ve learnt never to doubt my conviction and determination – maybe the question was when?):

How did I get here?  

Six years ago I injured my leg playing rugby, a completely random injury – a tackle directly to the nerve in my lower leg.   I was in a lot of pain (approximately on scale of 7-8 out of 10 daily) this impacted on my ability to be active.  For a period I questioned whether I would be able to continue being active.  Think of it like:  shooting pains down my leg, pins and needle sensations repeatedly, electric shocks, numbness – these would repeat every hour, multiple times within the hour.

This was a devastating consideration when activity and exercise are  my work and my stress management tool.  I eliminated lots of sports, the list was getting very short, unfortunately running became my sport hahaha.  I say unfortunately, it has been a lifesaver. Irnoically my first blog was named – ‘I hate running . . . ‘.

To help me stick with running, I knew I would need a BIG goal.  Well, I heard about the West Highland Way Race and immediately knew this was it – my goal –

Complete the West Highland Way in 23 hours ie finish on the same day I start.

West Highland Way Effort 2017

Fast forward 6 years and here we are, two weeks on . . .

The day after, I was ecstatic that I could get off the toilet without having to hold on and pull myself up while making noises (you know so no faces!!!)

There were so many considerations leading up to the 1am start, it throws the newbie that

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Photo credit: Karen Brown

this is not a normal time to start a race, but then there is nothing normal about this epic race.  I was pretty nervous heading to registration, it’s always the same with new events, it seems like everyone knows everyone but I spotted some familiar faces (Sharon, Jeni and crew).  Registration itself was very smooth and easy to follow, blown away with the jacket in my goodie bag . . . karen threatening to steal it while Im out on the course (it had to be purple hahaha).  We headed to the car for some last minute relaxation and just closing my eyes for quiet time. But not before Captain Coo also received his band, weigh-in prepped for his race also.

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Photo credit: Karen Brown

(Just in case you’re wondering, Captain Coo is Munro Primary Schools newest recruit #schoolmascot )

The nerves ramped up at the race briefing and the guys left me to get a good spot to try to see me run through.  Before you knew it we were running through the tunnel, it was pretty awesome, the cheers, cowbells, support along the high street.  Then it was all about settling in, I thought it would take ages for us all to thin out but it happened within 1 – 1.5 miles.  This first section to Drymen was great just being able to check off the points I remembered from my recce. It felt like each memory was being ticked off quicker than I had anticipated but I wasn’t going any quicker than I should have been.  I felt good, it was great seeing people spotted throughout the course encouraging us on, I hadn’t expected this, the time of night and because of the surrounding built up areas.

I stuck to my nutrition plan, eating every hour, even though the temptation was to just push on because I was feeling so fresh.  I met my crew for the first time at Drymen in the field, big G spotted me, giving me a wee shout.  They told me they would be wearing flashing bunny ears (G) and the other would be a walking rave (Karen), I was. Little disappointed that there was only fluorescent flashing lights. We took the time to top up my water, exchange snacks for the next stage that I might need and ate some more food as well.  We had agreed in advance that I would be given an update on my timing and where we were relative to my where I needed to be to hit my target of 23 hours.  I’d also leave with the next sections distance to help me stay focused on the here and now, I had learnt from previous big races that I find it overwhelming to keep the full distance in my head at all times.

Despite the moody weather, the big black clouds hovering as the light came in, the scenery was stunning!  As I rounded the corner behind Conic Hill, looking out on Loch Lomond, I was again, despite the poor light, blown away by its beauty.  The small islands look like the humps of what could be the Loch Ness Monster  . . .  and no I wasnt hallucinating haha.

Just before Conic Hill I was able to take off my headtorch, it certainly was not as bad as the first time I took on the hill in a recce.  It passed quickly due to the memories I had from that day:

‘I remember pushing up the hill on a stunner of a day, glorius sunshine, not a cloud in the sky.  There were lots of folks out that day, I caught up with some young-ish kids who were out with their mums.  They were playing rock-paper-scissors, I was amused by this and it distracted me from my sore quads.  The young lad just kept playing the same hand everytime, this went on for ages.  I asked what the score was – it was a draw 😉  I think it remained a draw no matter what.  I got speaking to them, the wee man wanted to chuck himself off the hill into the water, you know, the hill was THAT bad, they had been walking for aaaaages!! Hahaha he was very dramatic but clearly having a good time and being distracted by his sister.  With words of encouragement, I pushed on that day exchanging jokes with the mums as I passed’.

I tempered my pace coming down the other side of Conic Hill, I didn’t want to burn out my quads this early in the race.  I was happy to meet G as I was coming down the last wee section, we came down to the car park and I was shocked to see everyone standing at the checkpoint.  I must have looked so ungrateful for the cheering/ support.  I dibbed in, I couldn’t get my head around, in that moment, why people were cheering for me as I came in.  Of course, I would do the same for anyone on a race, so I dont know why I was suprised, I think the early hour was still throwing my expectations for this race.

G guided me to the car which was really helpful, I grabbed a seat, changed my tops, on went my RAW Dryrobe, this let me dry of my sweaty jacket.  Karen drilled me with multiple questions about what I needed and then supplied in quick order.  G became a french chef, and apparently had also developed a spanish accent – who knew! Scrambled eggs became the order of the morning – they tasted awesome. It was funny looking around, seeing what everyone else was doing, some were in and out in minutes, these types of things make me question my own strategy even though I should know better than to compare myself to others. I was obviously sleepy, trying to drink my cuppa through my midgie net, this was the only section I was aware of midgie but know the crew had it worse with more standing around.

Balmaha to Rowerdennan

This was my awful section, I left the Oak Tree Inn car park feeling great, Karen ran me down to the road, she was chief photographer as well. #everyoneneedsakaren #multipleroles

I was hit with waves of tiredness, not in the sense that my body felt tired but purely from a ‘I should be sleeping’ feeling.  They just kept coming, I didnt know how to deal with these – definitely something to work on for the future.  I started having stomach issues, from feeling nausea to cramps, sometimes I could run through it but most of the time I couldn’t. Then the waves of tiredness would kick in again.  I think part of this was the low light due to the clouds and dull day, which made it harder to feel like it was daytime.

I’ve never been so grateful for seeing my support crew, it was here that they made the first of their massive impacts on my race.  G’s constant check-ins so that he could update Karen and then asking ‘how can we fix this’ really helped to focus on the solutions rather than the problem.  A real cup of tea, a ton of jaffa cakes, maybe a few other things I cant remember.  This little blip also didnt stop them from getting the right information to me. Because of my stomach I hadnt managed to eat much on this section, so they sorted my water (this was at least going well) and drilled me about my food.

I left with ‘get a couple of good sections in and EAT!’  It wasnt ideal that I wouldnt be seeing these guys for 3.5 hours.

Rowardennan to Beinglas Farm

Rowardennan to Inversnaid along the lower section next to the Loch was great.  I accepted that you wouldn’t maintain the same pace as on the trails but this brought me alive.  This section had a bit of everything in it, each time I came out of a technical section where I had to concentrate, onto the trail I would be hit with the waves of tiredness.  I got into Inversnaid, the marshalls were once again fab.  Always cheery, always with a wee joke and checking that you are alright on the other hand (clearly a lover of the hula hoop variety).

Did the essentials: emptied stones out of shoes, tied alittle tighter, Packed the food from my drop bag into my pockets, topped up the water, deep breaths and of I went.  I was looking forward to this section, the only part I had not recce’d.

This section did not let me down. I absolutely loved this part, which appears contrary to most other reports.  Again, this brings me alive, I love pushing on on these sections. Very stony section, some clambering involved, I think I was more careful than normal as I wanted to save my ankle for the rest of the race and not do myself some damage. I still had a wee hop, skip and a jump in my step on this section.  It felt good to be actually moving, to feel like I was moving.  I caught up with a young man and we stayed together for a bit.  I can’t believe I never caught anyones name during this event – tut tut, but he was telling of his fantastic progress from knee injury to the race.

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Photo credit: Karen Brown

This was a great confidence boost section for me, it was a nice feeling to come out at the end of the loch. Beinglas Farm checkpoint was a good one, I was feeling tired still but definitely more awake.  G once again, told me the script with where I needed to go to dib in and then where they were based.  At this point Karen and G tried to get some more solid food and energy into me . . good ole swig of coke aparently brought colour to my cheeks.  This is where I had started to feel my IT band in and around my hip.

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Photo credit: Karen Brown

Thankfully I brought my trusty spiky ball with me, Karen sorted out my comfort and a good bit of easing this off helped.  Great banter going on between the crews which distracted me.

Beinglas through Auchtertyre to Bridge of Orchy

With a change of shoes, full top half change, I set off on my way to the ‘half way point’.  I like this next section it is beautiful, lots of waterfalls and just flowing rivers, its beautiful.  Again I felt like I was checking off the memories I’d created on my recce, it seemed to pass all too quickly.  It is a lovely downhill through the forest toward Auchtertyre, again I enjoy this section, this was affected by my increasing problem with my IT band which had now shift into my knee.

G met me again and ran me in, guiding me to where I needed to be.  First up was my weigh-in, where I was told I had dropped to my allowance already.  I couldnt believe it

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Photo credit: Karen Brown

because I didnt feel I could have done anything else to improve this situation.  Well G took away the ‘feed me’ with gusto haha.  Some TLC for my IT band, heard about a mishap with the gas cooker the crew had had, this was enough to distract me.

G and I were soon off for the next phase, what a massive difference it makes having someone run with you. I was super glad to have company, I definitely ran further than I would have on my own with my sore knee becoming an increasing problem.

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Photo credit: Lucja Leonard

We met Lucja at Tyndrum with salty chips, hell yeah, they were immense and it was real nice to see her before we properly got underway.  This section was one of changeable weather, rain, increasingly stronger winds and sunshine.  G did a great job of keeping me going, I took over the lead on the downhill section because I tend to be faster and only had to slow up when the pain in my knee just took over. We kept crossing places with a couple of lads but had to let them go on as I was in agony and struggling to walk never mind anything else.  G came to the rescue with his massage skills, right on that spot! I’d highly recommend his skills.

Many will recognise the pain of It band problems, it was frustrating as I was sure this is what it was.  The pain you feel just doesn’t seem to represent the seriousness of the injury/ problem in the relativity scale which is frustrating in and of itself.  The pain laterally piercing me knee repeatedly brought me to a halt, I would stumble through as much as possible, G was working real hard to keep me going, no way I was stopping if I could make the next point.

We broke the route up into sections that I would run – walk, G took the hit on the wind where he could but the closer we got to Bridge of Orchy the more the wind began swirling.  Absolute superstar, always positive, pushing me just enough to get the most from me in achievable bursts.

Bridge of Orchy (BoO) to Glencoe Ski Resort

At BoO I dibbed in again to the cheery words of the marshalls. I didn’t do much at BoO, it was quite an exposed checkpoint with the weather coming in but also with the car being parked away from where we met.  G did a handover with Lucja in terms of where I was at, Karen sorted me out in terms of food and fluids and checked if there was anything I needed.

We didn’t stop long, Lucja took me off up the hill with the promise of Jelly Baby hill, now as a first-timer, it’s all a bit confusing.  What on earth?!

We marched, Lucja may disagree with this word haha, up the hill, moving at a pace I could sustain.  I was pretty much feeling pain in my knee uphill and downhill but with adjustments in pace I could keep going.  Lucja was great at speaking away keeping me distracted, I had known I wouldn’t be running out of BoO when I did my recce, I kept trying to push my pace so as not to feel I was too slow, I have to confess to many a time worrying I was going to slow and letting my support crew down.  Do others feel this way? Or do you just accept that they are there for you?

I met Murdo (I really hope I quoted the right name???)  on Jelly Baby hill, now I knew. What a glorious sight at the top of the hill, jelly babies, smiles, flags and naturally he checked I was being looked after.  We ploughed on, into the wind, I was feeling a little hesitant for the downhill coming, the complete opposite of my normal downhill reaction (normally I’d be doing a wee dance). We started downhill, I think you would call my run more of a hobble, a skip and step over and around the stones/ corners. We made it to the bottom, I’d earned a walk period again. I’d hoped being on the tarmac would be a bit of a relief, we broke it up with walk- runs and caught up on runs, future runs and of course Gobi.

We arrived at the entrance to Rannoch Moor, with the trail on the left to Loch Etive.  This’ll give you a chuckle and I think I laugh myself every time I arrive at this point:

‘During my recce, which I was doing back to front ie Glencoe Ski Resort to BoO, the signage is a shocker going in the opposite direction for a ‘well-marked’ path.  Anyway, obviously my fault but I ended up waaaaaay too far down that track, but with beautiful scenery and wildlife.’

‘The second time I recce’d this section, in the correct direction I might add, at this point on the left in the forest there was a young deer munching away, completely oblivious to the fact we were all awestruck with his beauty.’

This is the straw that  .  .  .  .  . almost broke the camels back ie my leg. How so much can change in such a short time!

I knew my leg was becoming more and more of a problem, I hated the ground underfoot in this section, I was never comfortable on it and I also found it difficult to gauge how far along we were after a while but that could be tiredness more than anything.  We kept trying the walk – run method but that quickly became impossible with the pain it was causing.  It was affecting my ability to bend my knee to lift my foot high enough over the embedded stones, I kept trying to find the smoothest section to walk on but often these were so narrower I’d be tripping over the edges and that in itself affected my movement and knee.  I couldn’t win.

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Photo credit: Lucja Leonard

The weather was in, rain, wind, yes there was even moments of sunshine.  Sideways rain, battering our left hand side, I swear my right hand side was pretty dry until closer to Glencoe. Putting one foot in front of the other – I could do that! Finally we spotted G waiting for us, he took us to dib in, they kindly asked how we were doing. Actually, at the very point, I felt not too bad. But that very quickly changed. Karen, Lucja and I headed for the toilets to get changed were told about the drying room – OMG what an invention! This was fantastic, Karen pretty much stripped me and dressed me while Lucja dried herself under the hand dryer. But I started to feel sick and actually thought I was going to be sick, we hurried over to the toilets but I wasn’t actually sick.

We went to find G who had started to worry about where we had gotten lost, apparently it took 40mins for all of the above to take place and he was feeling like a weirdo holding seats for people who never seemed to appear hahaha.

The guys were buying me food, encouraging me to eat, I managed to get down most of my soup in the cafe but struggled with anything else.  I was feeling ridiculously nauseous and sick, it just wouldn’t settle. I know they were worried – I could tell by the looks on their faces. We knew my time goal was out, I was a bit of a mess and now know I probably can’t really grasp how I looked or the impact this was having on them.  We went through a list if possible ways to move forwards, this included going for a 30 minute kip, with my time goal out, I had time to do this without having to pull out completely.  It also meant even if I didn’t feel better I could pull out at that stage having tried the options.

I slept, I ached to start with, felt sick and couldn’t switch off to sleep at first despite being knackered. Then I was out, then I was awake the next second – or so it seemed. G woke me up  and we headed back to the cafe, it was very busy, full of walkers and runners. My RAW dryrobe was amazing during this period keeping me warm.  I was informed by hawk eye G that I must eat a decent meal to carry on, then I was told I needed to layer up more.  The guys were still worried and I’m super sorry to have put them through that worry. I dutifully did as I was told and to be honest I felt much better, my knee was sore but it felt slightly better since my sleep.

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Photo credit: Graeme Maxwell

They agreed I could go on, we had decided pre-race that I needed to let my crew make some decisions for me when or if I I was deemed not able. This was one of those scenarios.  I trusted them wholeheartedly to make the right decision based on the information in front of them. It was my constant worry that I was placing too much pressure on them and asking too much of my crew.

Glencoe Ski Resort to Kinlochleven

We decided I could go on with multiple layers, I believe everyone was being told to put waterproofs on anyway.  So I left Glencoe with a vest, running t-shirt, running long-sleeved top, my new running jacket, my normal running jacket and G’s amazing tent waterproof haha, plus hat, buff, gloves and multiple hoods.  We were good to go, we had also accepted I probably couldn’t run much, if at all with all the pain in my knee.  It had developed into pain on two areas at the back of my knee and laterally on the knee. But walking down the entrance drive to the ski resort and I felt my knee wasn’t as bad as when I had stopped.

I told G we could try running a bit along the tarmaced sections to Kingshouse hotel – it worked! Get IN!! I was pleased as I knew when we went off road again it was likely I wouldn’t be able to. At the back of the hotel G pointed out a deer crossing the river, pretty amazing to see, then another deer popped out behind the bridge, simply stunning to see these guys in the area.  We also spotted a small herd over by some trees, I love this, it make being in nature, the trails worth all the runs.  We overtook some folks as we headed along the bottom to the Devils Staircase, we were walking at a decent pace.  Head down, one foot in front of the other, this was again a confidence boost, small as that may be but I’ll take that as a small win along the way. Karen and Lucja met us at the bottom of the staircase just to do a last check to make sure I was okay.   Thumbs up!

We headed up the staircase, I felt bad for G, this wasn’t how we had recce’d this section. G was a master on the hills, he had tenacity and just plots on, exactly why I knew he was the best guy for me on this section. We were walking, G leading so that all I had to do was follow.  Apparently, I didn’t do that very well either, oops!

500 m from the top there was a sign for a cafe at the top, surely a joke right? Apparently not, we had a laugh at this, over the top I ate, G regularly checked I was drinking and eating. I think we had a wee jog down the other side, it was hard. We had slipped into our usual patter when running/ walking together, calling out any obstacles, points to note, this is how we roll and we generally extend this same courtesy to anyone beside us as well.  It work S for us, good communication helps each of us to take the best path to our goal.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t take advantage of the great downhill into Kinlochleven, I was also feeling that I could literally fall asleep on my feet, insert the ‘alphabet game’, great distraction. We had agreed I needed to be open and upfront when I wasn’t feeling great so that the guys could help me rather than trying to bang on quietly.  It was fantastic to reach Kinlochleven with an indoor checkpoint, weigh-in – my weight was back up – superb!

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Photo credit: Karen Brown

I sat down and caught up with Karen, G did a hand over again, I got 10 mins nap while the others had a laugh at my expense. I woken with some amazing noodles!

Kinlochleven to Lundavra

Lucja was up next, it was a long climb out of Kinlochleven, we climbed and climbed, got a little lost but managed to get quickly on track again.  It was over to the Larig Mor, I thought we had seen the worst of the weather but no, at points we were literally stopped dead in our tracks by the wind, most the tracks had turned into mini streams with the rainfall. Thankfully I had worked out if the weather was bad that this section would be a wet one – trail shoes were a good bet. We had given up talking because it was impossible to hear each other. So it was heids down and just keep going. It just seemed to go on and on for ever, we were over the weather and that section.

19727067_10210233917832486_1644814496_oLundavra to Lochaber Sports Centre (Finish)

Karen had the final shift, she was very positive and full of energy despite having also been up for hours within only small amounts of sleep.  As we walked along every so often I’d catch my foot and she would turn to ensure I was still standing.  When I look back, it feels like we got through the last section well but I know it didnt feel like that at the time.  When we arrived at the final downhill section in Fort William I was keen to try a little run – walking – what a waste not to run downhill.

I couldn’t do it, it was simply too painful, with the pain now coming in at the back of my knee. So, to the finish line it was to be a hobble – to experience crossing the finish line, I was happy with that.

Not how I wantedt but theres time for that . . .

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Photo credit: taken by finish line photographer on mobile.

Run Rabbit Run

Once again, I am excited to introduce you all to a good friend of mine, Jeni, I am always blown away by her running exploits.  They put me to shame, I love hearing about her upcoming goals and dreams.  We first met a few years ago through a mutual friend and from there I have followed Jeni’s journey through trail running.

Get a wee squiz on Jeni’s fab achievements and learning her why . . . 19619751_10155397983105775_2051904924_o

1. When did you first get involved in sport/ exercise/ physical activity?

In 2005 I found myself in front of a mirror and saw myself for the first time in a very long time, I didn’t like what I saw.  Many struggles of life had occurred before that point but the truth was I was unfit, lumpy, grey, dull and needing to lose some weight.  I changed my lifesty19650506_10155397982840775_64886262_oe for the better and along with some gym stuff I found running was most convenient for my life.  So I ran a few 10k races, they were tough.  I completed a half marathon in Glasgow and I was destroyed, it wasn’t good, I ran other in Aviemore a few weeks later and had to walk half the way due to pain.  I gave up running that day.  In 2011 I found myself in-front of a mirror again, I was 14 stone, I had a 6 month old baby and a 2 yr old.  My youngest had a bad start in this world and we struggled through 6 months of hospital visits and zero rest.  I was tired, fed up, depressed, and lacking in energy.  A couple of pals (Donna; who introduced me to the inspiration behind these questions; Louise) encouraged me to hit the gym and join JogScotland.  So I did…. In 8 months I had lost 5 stone and had completed my jog leader qualification and was back to work, happy, and running….

2. I know you through your fantastic and inspirational running exploits, can you tell us more about your journey through running?  

I have a passion for mountains and big days out, I wanted to have the strength to run further to make hill days count for more, fell running was my goal and I knew ultra-distance would be good for me.  In 2014 I ran my first Ultra (D33).  I ran 2 ultra-marathons that year and to be honest I found it tough and mentally awful.  The following year I ran a few more; I visited some beautiful places through events such as the Highland Fling race,19692191_10155397983125775_47539126_n Speyside way, Jedburgh 3 peaks and Glenmore 24; many many lessons were learned that year as I found I loved running further, I absolutely loved the ultra-family who adopted me with little bribery.  I loved the events but I felt I could be using my running for a greater cause.  Then 2016 happened.  It was never the plan to run as much as I did and I properly do not condone it as it nearly broke me, but in a mission to complete a charity challenge I had the goal of running 70 miles a week.  On paper, ultra races would help to cover those miles, I absolutely would not race, I would have company (I was already feeling isolated in my village), it would be fun, there would be bling and I get to check out awesome places…. so it was a no brainer at the time; enter loads of events throughout the year till my 5000km year was filled; BOOM.  I finished my challenge and ran the distance as well as raising £7000 for MNDScotland, I am still so grateful to all those that helped me and although I was mentally and physically broken I felt at peace.  Oh and I won the Scottish UltraMarathon Series for the lassies…

I now focus my charity work towards mental health charities as I have struggled myself over the years and running has helped me to work through some of my issues.  Makes sense to support others.

3. Do you have anymore running goals in the coming months and years?

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My goals this year are to heal my mind and soul, I need a year to get a normal life back and let my body recover properly.  I have started to prepare for mountain marathons and completed the L

one Alpine Mountain Marathon a few weeks ago.  We tackled the top head on and entered the A class, probably a bad idea for your first one but I loved it.  I am also having a shot at the Salomon skyraces in the Lake district which again could be a complete disaster but I know I will enjoy the adventure whatever happens!  It is after all only running.  Next year my goals are to complete a 100 mile race and have a bash at actually racing it.  Then its all about the mountain rounds for me, starting with the Ramsey round, then Bob Graham and if I survive then its the Paddy Buckley!

4. What would you say to women/ anyone wanting to get started in running but is thinking ‘I’d never be able to do that’ or they fear being last?

I have started and stopped a few times now, every-time I gave up was due to being under trained and lacking knowledge of what I was taking on.  Since training properly and taking as much advice as possible I find I can run distances more comfortably.  So don’t give up, you can do it but you need to put the work in.  Every runner starts the same, we all start struggling that first mile and some days its as hard to run that first mile as it was all those years ago.  As for being last, I’ve been last plenty, and you know what its not that bad.  I read a great article once and will never forget the lesson.  It was about putting more value on a PW (personal worst) than a PB (personal best) performance.  When your oranges are down (an orange represents a reason not to run, if you have 3 or more reasons not to venture out then don’t… could be tiredness, an over run meeting, a cold… anything) and your race/run is terrible and you achieve a PW then actually you have gained more, so be proud that you did it.  You got out and battled against all odds.  Always remember those who actually can’t run, do it for them!  Do it for your heart; mentally and physically.

5.  What does running give you?

Mentally running is very very important to me, any exercise in fact has been a blessing.  It helps me process my day, mostly I’m quite happy and I like to think through my endless ‘to do’ lists and plan my next adventures while running.  Some days I don’t cope with being on planet Earth very well and if I go for a run in the woods or up a hill its all sorted and I find I’m able to give myself a good talking to.  Life is always better after a reality check in the hills.

Physically I’m now fitter than I have ever been, I turned 40 this year and I’m delight19686267_10155397982950775_294395409_oed to feel that I’m improving my running and I hope that by the time I’m 60 I’m still gunning for big adventures and gaining personal bests.

Socially, I am grateful to running, I currently partake in long distance events that are as off road as possible.  Through this I have made some amazing lifelong friends.  Adventures and shared experience give us a connection that is very special and I do whole heartily admire, respect and love those who take time to get to know me and hang out while on the trails.  I’ve been lucky to have fallen in with a crazy bunch who enjoy meeting up regularly and am lucky to have many chums across the country.  I must add in that marshaling at these events also helps my socialization on the planet and I encourage anyone wishing to run far to try marshaling first to gain insight to our ultra world; this is my only regret and wish I’d helped sooner.

Thank you to Jeni for bring my ‘Women In Sport Week’ blog series to a close (ahem, albeit Im late on this).

The primary aim was always to celebrate the successes and amazing feats of those who are around us every day.  I think sometimes we can forget just how much inspiration can be taken from our friends, our families or our colleagues.

Thank you everyone, I hope you enjoyed this little series as much as I did.

Ending on a Fail?

It kinda feels like an omen for 2017 doesnt it?!

It is always my hope that what I have been doing helps someone, one person is enough to make a difference.  One person impacts the people around them, the knock-on or domino effect.  As for the Marathon des Sables, many ask why should people pay for me to go and have fun, to go and do events I wouldn’t normally afford.  This is about so much more than running in events, it is raising the profile, raising awareness of a charity/charities and some monies.  It is doing something that some see as impossible, a massive stretch to the human body.

Without the support of those who have donated, given their time, their conscious effort to make a difference and to help I would not have gotten as far as I did.  It is with great sadness and a feeling of letting others down, of failing my charities, that I say I did not manage to secure sufficient funds to attempt this challenge – #80degrees.  However, I am very grateful to the sponsors for trusting me to secure the funds to enter the event in January 2018 – I have a goal.

In addition to my friends, clients and those sponsors, a big mention must go to Vickie Saunders.  Vickie is behind The Sponsorship Consultants, they work with individuals such as myself and but also many top level athletes.  Vickie has been instrumental in shaping my perspective on sponsorship.  She has shown me and illustrated that all is not as it seems.    You do not have to be the winner of every race, you do not need to be or have to be a household name to secure sponsorship.  Vickie has taught me a huge amount about connecting with teh right people, that everyone has worth and connects with others, thank you!

#80degrees (My name for the challenge) was meant to be my next challenge to further raise awareness of the fantastic work carried out by DAMH (Dundee Association for Mental Health) and SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health).

These two events are run by David Scott through his company Sandbaggers – check them out if you are looking for something different. An 80 degree turnaround!

Running through the Namibian desert in +40 degrees with a second marathon at -40

degrees in Outer Mongolia.  The mental strength, capacity and determination to do these types of challenge mimics real life.  My experience in the Sahara is testament to this.  I have tried to ultilise and speak of my own experiences with mental health to demonstrate that those who face these challenges do not always fall into the stereotypical ideas that society has.

Mental health challenges and welbeing affects people from all walks of life.  We bounce back and sometimes we don’t so quickly (By the way this is not a reach out – Im all good).

I have much to keep me busy in the coming year, so this is a failure?

No, it is an opportunity to grow, refelct, evaluate and improve my approach to come back stronger and more knowledgeable.  If you would like to keep up to date, I will endeavour to be better at posting my blogs.  I am being published by Positively Scottish so keep an eye out on there also.

Whats coming up:

My Marathon des Sables experiences

My prep for #80degrees

Training for the West Highland Way (June 2017)

Deadwater (July – Aug 2017)

Finally but by no means least, a huge THANK YOU to my sponsors who have stayed on board to ensure we can continue to raise the profile of DAMH and SAMH.

Heal Physiotherapy                                                  Carol S & Kay L and many more fundraising

Bloc eyewear                                                               Murroes Primary School

Icebug UK/                                                                   Running Sisters Tayside

Clarks Bakery                                                             Henrys Coffee House

The Gas Technology Partnership Ltd.

 

 

 

 

Women Run Strong – Great Event!

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What better day to post this blog than International Women’s Day!  A post on an event called Women Run Strong!!  Think about that for a second, what do those words mean to you?  All the positives, the supportive environment, lacking judgement or pressure, first or last – all supported, no timing – ‘Just Run’

I hope you all had a lovely Mothers day on Sunday?  Including all of you lovely ladies who may not be mothers!!  I loved hearing about all the races that took place, I was over in Edinburgh for 2 reasons:

Support clients who were running Women Run Strong Edinburgh run. (As a personal trainer)

Support my sponsor Women Run Strong in their first Edinburgh run.

I arrived in Edinburgh in the safe hands of Shauna and Daniel, our key supporter!!  We headed into The Crowne Plaza in Edinburgh, well, this was like no other run registration I have ever been to.  Very civilised – brilliant – but also very relaxed!  Avril who runs Women Run Stong has done a fantastic job of creating a community with the facebook group for those signed up to run, you get to know faces, names and whats happening with the run.

This is ideal, I know many of you will agree, it can be pretty intimidating turning up at a race event on your own.  Not here, you knew faces, everyone incredibly welcoming.  Not only that water, tea and the best – biscuits available to munch.  You can tell I am sold already haha.  Sign-up was an easy affair, we then waited on the rest of the crew to appear.

12799071_1710395169172525_4538943199466152473_nNot only that but you’ll never guess who I managed to run into – Cathy from  The Art of Communication! Wonderful to be a part of her 6th event out of the 50 planned this year!  Here is the epitome of ‘Women Run Strong’, I always think its nice to run i12806103_1096537113745035_2572782224698782507_nnto people you know at events.  Not only that I got to meet people I have been communicating with on social media.  I love making new friends!

I was lucky enough to meet Lucja, who has run in the Marathon des Sables previously AND is going back this year.  Nice to know I’ll know someone out there.  I think I picked her brains, well and truly, it was a revelation to be honest (Ill keep that for another time).  We were then led down to the start line, a very short walk away at the base of Arthurs Seat.

 

Wow! We had an amazing day for our run, there was no pressure on this run and I already knew I wanted to push but at the same time I had been nursing a sore back all week and didnt want to cause myself any further issues.  But also, I already knew I’d be stopping to take pictures along the way and wanted to talk with folks.  I honestly felt sluggish in this run, quite possibly my lack of exercise all week.  The views were simply – Outstanding!  We could not have had a better day for todays run, the sun shone, you could see for miles, the company was fantastic – I spoke with so many women today.  All different levels and experience.  The marshalls were massively encouraging and really brought a smile to your face as you rocked up and either gave you a jelly baby or some water and encouraged you on your way.

Did I say the views were spectacular?  Just in case you wondered .  .  .  . so were the hilly sections hahaha!  Phew, I now know why there was a massage included in your cost.  We all supported each other and stomped on, after the most dramatic of hills it became more undulating but still hilly.  I am not sure even I am making sense here.  I spoke with a lovely lady who said that despite the fact she trained around Arthurs Seat, she had in fact not been on the trails we covered, so a real positive there.  I can see this would have been a harder route in wet conditions.

A run out back to the hotel entrance, where I managed a wee sprint race with a fellow runner to finish well – always good, maybe.  And the prosecco, oh the prosecco!  What better way to finish the run than to be welcomed back with a glass of the bubbly stuff.12794416_1096537653744981_3411775268710125603_n

Quick sip, passed to Avril (I think she is still saving this for me 😉 )off I went back for my crew.  Louise’s PT 4 U motto – ‘NO-one gets left behind’.  This has been a long held motto an done I am very proud of.  Everyone of the girls did well today, for some their first run, we had 2 in the 5km and 2 of us did the 10km.  We did well and supported each other – the important part.

Are you getting what Women Run Strong is about? If not, why not pop over to the website or Women Run Strong facebook  or even come along to one of their runs!  Don’t just take my word for it, I asked my clients for some feedback, here’s what they said –

‘I’ve just completed the Women’s Run Strong 10km run in Edinburgh today. My first trail run and something I thought this time last year was beyond my physical reach. The event was beautifully organised, Avril and her team were superb from the swift registration to the jelly babies stop,  the excellent marshalls and the prosecco and massage waiting at the end. It was a tough run with killer hills but the views from the top were just spectacular well worth the effort. Another stand out factor was the team spirit amongst the runners, everyone actively encouraging and supporting each other. A run I would certainly do again.’ (Pauline A)

‘Women Run Strong? Well, on Sunday I think I was only hopeful of achieving 1/3 of those!! And even then only just!!

Having initially signed up for the 10k I could have easily pulled out as training in January & February was a non event. But I didn’t! Knowing that a buff, a glass of bubbly and a massage were also signed up to, I swallowed my pride and decided I would at least venture out on the 5k – that had to be easier than the unprepared for 10k? Yes? Hmm … I’m not sure!!

For someone who likes jogging on a flat tarmac route with a strong tailwind … what greeted me was something quite different!! The words “trail” and “hill” were order of the day!!! I think “brutal” best describes what I was muttering as I WALKED slowly up the 150m steep ascent to a fabulous view across Edinburgh! Waiting for me at the top was Shauna … a huge smile on her face cheering me on! And the view was spectacular!!

We crossed the finish line together … even managing a wee sprint to the tray of bubbly!! At 6.3k it is safely the longest (and hardest) 5k I have ever run … or run a bit of anyway!!! I’m not even sure it was easier than the 10k … but I wasn’t going to test that theory out when it got to the “10k that way / 5k this way” point! With a leg massage now firmly in my sights the 5k route was the only way home for me! Once again, if it hadn’t been for Shauna, I don’t think the leg massage would have happened for me as the queue was long and the clock was ticking on me having to get back to Dundee! But it happened and I got home with minutes to spare!

Anyway, asides how brutal I felt the run was and how underprepared I was … it was a fabulous event … location, people, massage, friendly faces, give aways and doing it with a wee crew of people who really don’t leave you behind (even when you would be quite happy to be left behind to find a flat route home!).

It was genuinely a lovely morning … a very relaxed gathering of women joining together to have a good time … from walkers to hard core runners … some idiot even ran with a bright yellow 8kg back pack on and looked like she was wearing about 20 layers of clothes – I’m sure I overheard her asking where the nearest sand dune was!? You see them all at these events, you really do!’ (Nicola R – I was ggoing to cut this down but actually, it gives you context and the reality of the day).

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Chequered Flag Series 2 Duathlon

1501299_759047394203267_8311287623378255292_o At the end of a busy week, if I am being completely honest this was the last thing I wanted to be doing.  I was shattered and hadn’t trained all week, recovering from Tough Guy The Original 2015.

But my best mate had said I ‘better not pull out’ after many of the rest of the team had pulled out.  So naturally and just as I had been telling clients and TMT competitors, help each other be accountable.  Be that positive friend, support each other to achieve more.  I am so glad we went!

 

This was incredibly different from the series 1,  we knew this was to be the cross-country event as it were, but little did we realise what we had let ourselves into.  For me, this was a fun event, one that I signed up to do to support the team I had entered.  Without the pressure of trying to really drive, its been great fun, just taking it all in and interacting with others.

Registration was smooth as could be and it was great to see some of the Alloa bootcamp crew (fellow Tough Guy competitors)  who were marshalling.  We prepped and set up the bikes and did something that resembled a highly inadequate warm-up.  Yes, I know shocking, this should highlight where my head was at.  But I was there and that was the main thing.  Again, everyone looked very serious, however, it was their sport – Triathlon – Duathlon.  Well equipped, wearing all the right clothing and there to do well amongst their peers.  Nevertheless, this is not to say it was only those who were serious about the event.  It was a very friendly race, everyone chatting and encouraging each other.  Shouts from the sides from those who knew you and those who don’t is always vital I think to help push you on when you are feeling tired.

 

We lined up in front of the Knockhill Race track lights . . .  then we were off.  I felt heavy-legged and stiff, not surprising but it still felt great to get out there and run.  It didn’t take long to run.  It is definitely an undulating course that had some tough hills which take it out the legs before you realise it.

 

Twice around the race track before getting to the bikes.  Despite the fact it was cross-country series, we still had the heaviest and potentially most beginner type bikes for want of a better description, for this event.  I hadn’t been on my bike for some time, potentially even going back to the Coast to Coast/ last duathlon.  As soon as I started the first lap of the route I knew it was going to be pretty daunting, the tracks were really muddy and you constantly felt like you were sliding laterally . . . .  not even sure if it was my imagination or actually I was?????

 

The cycle route itself was 5 laps of an off-road circuit – tough – very tough! Lots of inclines, twists and turns, which for those of us that don’t spend much time on a bike, is pretty tricky.  You think you are trying to go one way but end up sliding in another direction.  I was very proud to say I didn’t have to get off and push once, not once on the tricky off-road climb.  The grooves and tracks, which I thought would make it easier actually made it harder to get a constant cycle going.  Coming back around to complete my first lap, I actually felt physically sick and believe I may have swore alot.  I couldn’t see much as the mud sprayed my face.        10923709_759041674203839_8392248298838804033_o

5 Laps later, I have never been so glad to get on the running section.  It was the final lap of the track and it appeared that practically everyone had finished already from the bikes missing in the hanger.

The legs were protesting at having to run the last lap but I managed to get into a good groove and plug it out.  It was great!  Felt good to cross the finish line!

 

 

 

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Naturally, I supported my fellow teammate and bestie round her last lap – ‘No-one gets left behind’.  Massive well done to Karen, I know she found it tough and daunting at points but she never gave up.  That is the right attitude!

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The marshalls at this event were simply fantastic, the weather was on our side, everything was smoothly run making this event very simple and easy to take part in!

Highly recommend series 3 folks:

http://www.entrycentral.com/event/103037

100 Mile Challenge – The Cotswolds Way – Day 3 & 4

Day 3

It has been a while since I have been posting to my blog, simply because life, work, training all took over.  So the final installment of my 100 Mile Challenge, my big charity run is now here.  I have chosen to combine the last 2 days for reasons which will become apparent.  .  .  .  .

We woke on day 3 to what can only be described as torrential rain, a continuation of the weather we had run to our tents to sleep in.  I opened my eyes to the calming sound of rain bouncing of my tent but un-nervingly it was also causing my lining of my tent to stick to the outside sheet.  It was a case of pile on a load of clothes and run for breakfast.

At breakfast it was really quite inspiring to see so many folks brushing off the difficulties they had faced the previous day after hearing the stories told by Jamie McDonald(http://jamiemcdonald.org/).  Check out his website, pretty awesome guy!  I was not one of these people, a tired head maybe, I was sore, aching, hobbling when I walked. Lots of us were trying to get out early envisaging it being another awful day but purely due to the weather we were about to face.  The storm had finally found us!

The staff as always were incredibly helpful and cheery despite the weather.  I headed off at a weary pace while I could move well and actually felt like I found my rhythm quickly and it was back onto the trail.  We ran through a wooded area and onto a golf course, it actually felt at oints like you were running through a river, massive puddles, golfers with their huge brollies.  The rain was simply drumming down and I had to really pay attention as I felt it was difficult to work out your direction as the markers seemed few and far.

At some point the rain eased and it felt very mild, soaked through I began to enjoy myself, the cooling effect of the rain had really worked for me.  I clearly needed to get used to running in the mild heat.  Now this day I remmeber vividly because, well, I had to deal with the delicate matter of needing the toilet .  Of course I was, as mentioned soaked to the skin.  Now we all know there is nothing worse than hauling doon wet knickers for a piddle in the underbrush, actually praying, YES, I was praying that no-one would appear on the path from either end as they would have a clear view of me in all my glory!  NOT a pretty sight I have to tell you.  Not only that I managed to sting my arse on the nettles, aye not the best.  It was a now or never moment but on the other hand there was never going to be a never moment.

 

This day by far felt and was the shortest, I arrived at the camp along with several others ahead of the expected time. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed day 3 way more, I think because of the coolness of the day and the weather, true scots.

 

I felt alot better after my run today, my legs had eased, it felt good, yes I ached but who wouldn’t after taking on this.  But I was tired, all through my run I had gone over and over the order I would do things when I got into camp.  Then I would re-think it, and again, and again.  It changed as soon as I arrived in camp for numerous reasons outside of my control and the best way forward?   Sleep!

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Day 4

 

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Day 4 was a strange day with the weather going on and off all day, now I mean ALL day!  I would leave each checkpoint dry and become soaked.  I started the day talking to myself over and over, giving myself a pep talk.  I had packed my bag, unpacked, re-packed it and repeat.  This was the longest day but also our final day.

 

There was a slight deviation to the route, this was fine, my mantra today was – ‘Do not get lost, do not get lost’.  In fact I had several, ‘keep going Louise’, everytime I passed an acorn, for some reason unknown to myself, ‘Carry on sir’ with a chuckle to myself.  Its the little things that keep us going.  For alot of today I would be on my own, with groups of folks in front or behind me to some degree.  Again, some incredible scenery, along the way.  I passed sections with telephone wires overhead, I swear they sounded like sizzling bacon!  I had a few dodgy moments on day 4, a few wobblers, I had to steady myself.

 

In fact coming up toward the half way checkpoint, I believe I lost myself for a period, almost got myself run over but I was still going.  Not intentional of course, it was a really bad section of road where cars flew round the corner, one minute clear, the next not.  It was a bad period in the run.  My head went down for a while, a long while it seemed.  I was working on, for example, checkpoint 1 out of 4, then 2 out of 4 = half way.  There was also a very long section I had to count down the miles on that section also.  I had to keep it in my head so that I was always, where feasible, I was making progress and winning.  It was tough, reall tough, I began to start hurting.  And then . . . . . .

 

 

I came to the bottom of a field and looked up, I couldn’t see another post but I could see loads and loads of cows!  All paths led to the cows, so off I went, only to find they were all hanging about at my next gate, hahah.  This cheered me up no end, while we eye-balled each other wondering who was moving.  Well I decided I wasnt spending all day witing and no one was appearing behind me to save me, damsel in distress style.

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This has to be one of my greatest feats to date.  To be able to push my own boundaries and combine this with raising funds for a local charity which is using physical activity to help their users is simply an amazing feeling!  I dont want to give too much away for those doing this in the future.  But without doubt I would highly recommend it!  As a runner I found it diffiuclt to adjust my mindset from a competitive one, but there was great banter from staff and fellow runners alike.  However, it is alittle dangerous – major discussion point is other races.

I had to dig deep to do this and complete my chosen task, remembering that so many people believed in me, they had sponsored me to complete this.  The more I focused on this the more determination and grit I was able to take from it and keep pushing.  Have  alook at my pictures, pop any comments or questions below and Ill get back to as many as I can.

 

Finally, I would like to say a MASSIVE thank you to every single person who sponsored me, who text me and motivated me and encouraged me.  For my feel good package I recieved on my return because I was full of the cold from day 3, simply to everyone who took the time to support and help me in any way.  I cant say how much I appreciate it.

 

 

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