Monday, December 31, 2012

Last run of 2012

Well what a year 2012 has been.

I started this year with a half marathon PB of 2:33 and a goal to get it to 2:15 - at the time I thought that was a far fetched goal but I am pleased to say that back at the St Neots Half  I managed to smash my target and got my PB down to 2:07.

I also had a target to get my 10k PB down from 1:09 to under the hour. Again not something I thought I could manage but today at the last possible opportunity I managed to get my 10k PB down to 56:22 so I am in a pretty good mood at the moment.

Todays run was the Ely NYE 10k. I entered this race the day it opened back in September - it didn't matter that I was in Dubai at the time. I was determined to get in as I had enjoyed it last year and it was a good job i didn't wait as it closed within the same day. It was a ridiculously windy day but I managed to plough on through and was very pleased to come out of it with a PB which is not something I expected when  I woke up this morning.

Not only that but this year was the year of the Ultra - I can now call myself an ULTRA RUNNER wahoooooooooo

Next year I plan to do the following;

1. Take my Half Marathon PB down to under 2 hours
2. Take my 10k PB down to 50 minutes
3. Take my Marathon PB down to 5 hours (or under if I can)
4. Complete the Ocean floor race without completley breaking myself
5. Complete the Adidas Thunder run 24 hour as a solo runner
6. Complete the Fat Feet Grimsthorpe Ultra Marathon (70 mile option) in one piece

As mentioned above one of my targets and my very next race is the Ocean Floor Ultra Marathon. I leave the UK for Egypt along with my good friend Sarah Gardner Hall on the 31st January. I can't beleive how fast this has come around and can only hope my mixed training will be enough to get me through the race along with my sheer determination to get to the end and raise as much money as I can for Mac Millan cancer support.

I only met Sarah a short while ago - after seeing her at the Thunder run this year a solo runner (her not me) I contacted her to see if she would like to run the Ocean floor race. I didn't expect her to run it with me at all but when she brought it up and said she would like to I was thankful but also slightly worried as she is a lot faster than me (with a 2 hour lead on my best marathon time) However these worries proved to be unfounded as Sarah has been a wonderful support in the lead up to the event and has become more like a big sister to me than just another person to run with.
She now knows not to talk to me in the morning as I am grumpy as hell, she knows she can tell me to shut up and stop whining when I am tired and I know we will work well together when we finally get out to the desert.
So thank you Sarah for putting up with me and Here is to an incredible 2013 -

BRING IT ON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 I would also like to say a massive thank you to all of our supporters for the Ocean floor race we couldn't do it without you and will be sure to send you photos of our treck when we get back :)

I would also like to say a big thank you to my mother who has been coming on several long runs with me in my training (as she is also training for her very own ultra) and my husband for putting up with all of my running and training and supporting me the whole way.

Also good luck to my Dad who will be completing his very first Marathon in Dubai in January - GO DAD !!

Happy new year everyone. See you on the other side

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Striders Edge - proving you CAN look good whilst excercising

A month or so ago I posted on here to say that Striders edge had very kindly agreed to help me out with some kit for the Ocean Floor Ultra Marathon in February.

I was so excited when I received the email from Kate ('Founder and Creative Director' ) to say she would love to help out and to let her know which bits of kit I thought I could use best.

I have to admit to being a little bit like a kid in a sweet shop - I must have chosen and re chosen a hundred times before I finally settled on the items I thought I could use best.

I then also decided to buy a few extra bits - well honestly trying to decide was so difficult and a few things just happened to fall in to the online basket there was nothing I could do about it ;)

The top below is one of my favourites it is the Endurance Insulite L/S - Crag Grey with Black not only is the fabric a dream to wear, so soft and stretchy it is also slimming with it's contrast black panels and also has the signature sports thumb through cuff - these are brilliantly designed. With most tops that have the thumb through cuffs if you choose not to wear it with your thumb through you can just see a big hole there - with the Striders Edge tops you don't it just looks like a smooth design.

Also in the above pictures I am wearing the Peak elements tights and I have to be completely honest - I hate it when I have to put these in the wash as you can really tell the difference in the cold weather when you don't have them on. The tights are antibacterial and they are windproof (which in England is a blessing) They are made with a supportive 4 way stretch fabric and the pockets are just perfect. As the pockets are on the front rather than the side or back they are easier to get to and the material they have used for the pockets means that you don't feel the items in the pockets as much as you would in other tights. I often use mine to stow my iphone in when I am on a long run and listening to a podcast. and I forget it is there. 

Pocket on Peak Elements Tights

One of the items I purchased from Striders edge was the Stride Lite run Jacket   shown below.I don't have a picture of myself in this yet but hope to get one up soon. This is possibly the most flattering jacket on the market at the moment. I would even consider wearing this when not running. It is so comfortable, light and again has the thumb through cuffs which are perfect for the cold weather and also means that wind is not able to go through the cuffs of the jacket. It has a stretch back panel to allow full freedom of movement and the hem of the jacket cinches to keep out the wind and also style in to a bomber effect. I am so pleased with this jacket and can say it was definitely a good purchase.

Showing the Stretch back panel

Striders edge is a luxury women's sportswear brand. Their clothing is not only beautiful to look at - with non of that Garish fluorescent pink, it is also beautiful to wear. They are well cut and designed with the female body in mind (Kates Muse is a Bond Girl) and prove that you really can look good and get sweaty at the same time. I don't think it will be too long before I am making a few more 'Christmas present to myself' purchases. Keep and eye out for the reviews on my other items of clothing coming soon.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Training and Christmas shopping

It is always harder to find the time to train when it comes to the Christmas season. I have been a bit slack with my blog lately becasue of this - one thing had to go and it was either running or this.

On the 23rd November I held a pamper evening to help raise money for Macmillan cancer support and also to help raise funds for the Ocean floor race. I had done one of these previously and it had been very succesful so I thought I would do another. This one wasn't as busy as last time which was a real shame as we had some wonderful stalls there and I felt really bad that it wasn't as busy but it was still a successful evening all the same raising £180 for Macmillan Cancer support - as soon as I have paid this in to the bank I will update the fundraising page to reflect this.

What made the evening more special was that Sarah came down to  support the event as well along with her husband Ben. We had planned on spending the Saturday looking around running shops and getting Sarahs V02 Max test done (Kindly offered to us free by Advanced performance in Cambridge) and then running the Hereward relay as an ultra on the Sunday.

Unfortunatly as you know, the weather was truly awful that weekend and this resulted in the race being cancelled due to part of the route at the beginning being under 4ft of water and rising the day before and the Welney wash being flooded meaning the last section was also not runnable. It was such a shame.

So instead on Saturday we went off to Cambridge - Sarah had her V02 max test done and was classed as Exceptional (I think that was it and if I don't get the same she will never let me live it down) to make this more fun for me I decided to take a picture of Sarah looking beautful with her mask on :)

As I mentioned earlier this V02 test was provided for us free of charge by Advanced Performance for which we are very grateful. I haven't booked in for mine yet but as soon as I have it I will post some suitably embarrasing photos of myself as well :)

After out little outing to check Sarahs V02 we decided to head off to have a look around Cambridge and keep out of the house for a bit as my husband was working all day at home so we didn't want to get in the way. Then that evening we went out for dinner, it was actually really nice to enjoy our meal without having to worry about getting up so early for the run in the morning.

I have to say the race organisers from the March Athletics club were superb in letting us know the race was cancelled, they emailed me and when they couldn't reach me on one number they also called me on my second number just to make sure I was aware along with Sarah. They are looking at re arranging rhe race for late Feb but unfortunatly that will be a bit late for us as we have the Ocean floor race at the beginning of February and I intend on resting for the remainder of the month after this one :)

Instead myself and Sarah decided to still go on a run just not as long a run - it was early Sunday morning we learned that we are going to have to be careful in the desert - I am NOT a morning person - my husband knows that speaking to me first thing before I have done my work out or had a shower is not the best of ideas. I usally just role out of bed chuck on my workout kit and do my Insanity work out in the front room (I will blog more about this another time) and after that I am fully awake - I challenge anyone not to be - and I am once more human and ready to face the day. Sarah however is an entirely diffent story - she is chatty and bubbly and full of beans first thing in the morning and I kept snapping at her - Sarah if it is any consolation I do feel bad :) but consider it a warning ;)

Once we got out the door and started running I instantly began to calm down and felt much better. We took a new route from my house which I have never done before and arranged for the men to meet us in March at 13 miles. We had intended to run a bit longer but decided instead to go home once they met us and get some much needed planning done for the Ocean floor - making to do lists and planning which kit we would need to take with us.

On this note we would both like to say a MASSIVE thank you to our new sponsors;
Hope have donated a headtorch to each of us - I plan on doing a review on this shortly so watch this space
Feetures have provided myself and Sarah with several pairs of socks to wear for training and in the race.

As you can see they have been more than kind to us. Feetures are an American company but they are also online so you can of course buy their wonderful products using the link above. Sarah has been to see them at the Expo for the Las Vegas Half Marathon (she is running this tonight so All the best Sarah if you read this before hand) I hope to also do a review on these socks in the near future and have a perfect weekend in mind.

Another new sponsor is that of Bloc Sunglasses. I wrote to them a few weeks back in the hope that they might be able to help us out with a pair of glasses each for the run to help protect our eyes from the sand and the sun (with the idea that we could change to clear lenses at night and use our buffs to help protect as well) and Colin Pickering from their head office kindly sent us each Three - yes three pairs. I couldn't beleive it when I recieved the email from him saying he was sending them out and we are both truly thankful. I have yet to decide which pair I will take with me but am going to try them out ona few day runs here to make sure I am confortable wearing them and to give me the time to alter the fit if needed.

I am going to sign off for now - I have Christmas lights to put up and after my 16 mile run this morning I should probable give my husband some attention. :) Thank you again to all of our wonderful sponsors and to everyone who is supporting myself and Sarah especially to friends and family who are putting up with the long runs and turned down invitations - I promise service will return to normal after the run :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Why are efforts so..... efforty

Tuesdays are my effort nights - recently I have been doing these over at the club (Bushfield joggers in Peterborough).

It goes a little something like this - I post online on  monday the type of efforts I am looking at doing and wait to see if anyone else is interested in joining me. Usually there are one or two who are up for it but if no one fancies it I just do them from home.

Last night I had three willing victims Mary, Wendy and Becky. I had seen a few new efforts ideas in the trail running magazine I am subscribed to and thought I would give one of those ago. We did 15 minutes warm up followed by 20 minutes doing 1 minute fast and one minute slow then a 15 minute cool down.

The idea was to run at threshold pace but I think we all pushed it just that little bit more - I have no idea why it's not like if we got to the end quicker we would be able to finish sooner - we had to do all of them before we could relax.

Any way - as always the first one seemed to last FOREVER but gradually as we got in to the rythym of it they seemed to come a little easier. This is one I really enjoyed and I think perhaps I could look at increasing it to 25 - 30 minutes in the coming weeks to make it more diffucult but that was a good tester.

I have really enjoyed bringing some of the efforts back to the club - we used to do them every week but it was gradually phased out as it didn't seem to be very popular - it still isn't really but as long as I have a few people interested each week I shall keep doing them :)

I love the feeling after doing the efforts - I am always very nervous to begin with but by the time you reach the half way mark it doesn't seem quite as bad - you can usually trick your mind by saying ' its ok your halfway there now - your on the way home' :) and then when you are finished you feel like Superwoman (or man)

In other news I mentioned previously that The sports injury clinic were going to help me out with some discounted rates for Sports massages which is excellent but not only that they are going to be providing myself and Sarah with a foam roller - I can't decided whether to be happy about this or not - foam rollers may look like very innocent little things but they are EVIL truly the work of the devil - anyone out there reading this and laughing - I dare you - try one and then let me know if you still think they are innocent

That is all :)

Good night

Sunday, November 11, 2012

So proud of my Daddy :)

Today was a very proud day for me.

My Dad used to say to me and my mum when we went off for a run - Running only makes you tired/it's bad for you/i don't know why you do it .... replace as you see fit.

However just over a month ago dad decided he wanted to loose a little bit of weight and thought he might try out this running lark after all so off he went on a walk/run.

He called me right after to let me know and I was so excited I could burst - I have always wanted dad to get in to running as I knew it would be a good hobby for him and something to help relax him after a long day working (he is a driving instructor so his job as I am sure you can imagine gets very stressful at times)

The next week I went over to see him and go on a walk with him - I genuinely thought he meant just a walk so I went over in my jeans and flat shoes expecting a nice little meander - how wrong was I ! I arrived and dad was all kitted up in his trainers (we wont go in to the type of trainers he had on) shorts and t-shirt. I quickly changed in to some borrowed running kit from my mum and my sisters trainers and off we went.

Dad said he wanted to do a walk/run so I took him at his word and every now and then said to him "right dad, lets run from this tree to that lamppost" and we kept doing this for a little while. Dad got the hang of the idea and was soon deciding where we would run from and too and occasionally extending the goal posts just before we reached them. I was really happy for him when we got back as he had done more running than ever before and had decreased the amount of walking and seemed to be enjoying himself.

From then I received several text/calls each day telling me - I did this today/I got to 3 miles/4miles/5 miles and the numbers just kept increasing - he was even doing hill efforts - something he had sworn he would never do !

Dad was all set to do his first ever race - a 10k when he managed to injure his ankle during a night time run (see i told you the dark was dangerous) and had to rest for a few weeks, he was gutted and I was really upset for him but he rested and iced and was soon back again and back building up his mileage.

So fast forward a week and he decided he wanted to have a go at running 10.5 miles and run it he did. We left the house this morning, me, mum and dad, at 10:45 headed for Needingworth - I have to admit that this route is not my favourite route but it is good for a longer run as long as you can keep from being knocked off the road by the cars :) To begin with myself and mum stuck with Dad and then for a while ran on and looped back (this is the same sort of thing we do at club and many people have had to do this for me before and still do) Dad however decided he didn;t like this (i think perhaps he was fed up of hearing us jabbering on - he much prefers running and getting some peace and quiete :) ) so we ran on and agreed we would meet Dad at the finish,.

Myself and mum got to 10 miles and decided to walk the final half a mile home as mum is just back running after an injury and she didnt want to cause it any more damage - it had started to hurt so better to be safe than sorry.

We got back to the house went in put the kettle on and went back outside to cheer dad in. We were stood there chatting away and Dad snuck up on us running from the opposit direction. - he had decided he wanted to make the run the full 10.5 miles rather than the 10.3 it would have been if he had come in the same way as we had and ran a little extra to make up the difference. :)

I am so proud of you Dad - well done on the run today - it just goes to show you really can do anything if you put your mind to it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Striders Edge new sponsor !!!!!!

I am really excited to announce a new sponsor for myself for the Ocean floor race

Striders edge is a new company founded by Katy Biddulph - a sports enthusiast, outdoors lover and former sweatty betty designer.

Firstly a bit about the company

"Striders Edge creates beautiful and functional sportswear for women. We continuously push the boundaries by marrying style and luxury with technical innovation. Our products address functionality, quality and impeccable style for women.
Created with premium performance fabrics and manufactured to the highest standards to execute technical garments with soft hand feel and wearability, designed to dress the fitness lover, run enthusiast, and avid hiker."

And I can honestly say I agree with the above. When my package of new goodies arrived on Wednesday I was so excited to try them out. They felt so soft and you could instantly tell the quality of the clothing was excellent and was going to be a joy to wear.

So looking forward to wearing them was I that I even went out on a night time run all by myself last night just so I could :) For those of you who read my last post you will know that the dark is not my friend (yet) so this was a big thing for me to do ;)

Here is a picture of me in some of my new items - note that it is dark so that is proof :)

You can't really see the clothes at there best in this image so I have attached below the pro pictures of the items that Striders edge kindly sent me -

I am really looking forward to wearing the trousers in the desert - they are ridiculously comfortable and nice and warm which I think in the evenings is going to be very important for me as I get cold quickly. Also the pockets on them are brilliant and they are very flattering (I know no one will see me in the desert but hey).
 The jacket shown below is also something that I will 100% be taking with me again it is lovely and warm and very comfortable to wear. I will probably buy a base layer to put under this as well and take a fleee just in case as I would rather have too much than too little. 
Peak elements tight

Core elements jacket

  I think with the climate control top I should have asked for a slightly bigger size as it did ride up slightly when i was running but this would be perfect for gym workouts which I will be incorporating in to my training so I will wear it for those. The Climate map lite t I haven't yet worn for a run but am thinking I will wear it when I go for my run on Sunday with my dad - he wants to run 11 miles so I thought I would go with him for encouragement and it will also mean that I don't run off too fast which is something I tend to do when on my own on the longer runs.

 cmap lite t sunny lime                                               Climate map tank

They have also sent me over one of their headbands which looked tiny when I took it out of the packet compared to the ones I have already but when I put it on it was perfect - just the right size to cover my ears and keep them warm and keep my hair out of my face :) 

So as you can see Striders edge have been wonderfully kind and I am so impressed with the quality of their products I also plan on buying a base layer from them and also this jacket which I have had my eye on ever since I first visited their website I just need to save a few pennies first and maybe ask Santa really nicely :)

I plan on doing a proper review of the clothing after I have done the Hereward relay Ultra on the 25th November (not to be confused with the Hereward Way Ultra I just did) so keep your eye out for that to see how I get on.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Some new sponsors

When Sarah and I started this challenge we thought we would write to a few companies to see if we could get any help with the costs for the event and also help getting equipment, never did we think we would be so overcome with support and I would like to say a massive thank you to the following companies;

Our Main sponsor
J&M electrical wholesalers based in Burntwood Staffordshire (where Sarah lives) have kindly agreed to part fund our trip - we are both so greateful for their help with this thank you so so much.

Music Box St Ives
The Music box in St Ives where I work weekends has also agreed to help with funding for the trip again thanks so much for your help.

We have also received support from the following companies

Rock Tape

Rock tape are kindly sending us over some roles of tape to use in training and in the desert


Sheewee are very kindly sending us over some sheewees to try and for use in the desert - I am sure that these will become invaluable. - Boys you dont know how easy you've got it


OMM have agred to allow us a 30% discount off their products - I plan on using this to get my new backpack (following the un happy accident with the first one) and possibly a jacket so thank you OMM.

Trion Z

Trion Z have sent us each one of their bracelets to test - I am going to go in to how these work in a seperate blog post but I can honestly say after being very sceptical about if they would work or not i can say that I am certainly seeing a difference - I am now sleeping a lot better even before difficult races or training runs where as usually i wouldnt sleep for worrying - very pleased so far

I have another exciting new sponsor to announce in the next day or so so keep reading :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hereward Way Ultra Marathon

In a moment of madness (this was before the moment of pure unadulterated mental unhinging that led me to entering the Ocean floor) I decided it would be an excellent idea to enter a 54 mile Ultra which was due to finish 20 minutes from my house.

Why you may ask (and if you don't you have to listen to my reasoning anyway) well, my mum sent me the link and as it was so close it seemed rude not to so before I knew it and after sending several very annoying questioning emails to the race organiser - I had entered the event - and then promptly forgot all about it.

As the event came closer i began to think that as Sarah and I hadn't previously met never mind run together, that it would be a great idea to ask Sarah along to run with me and she very kindly accepted (something which I can almost guarantee she regreted during stage 2 of the run)

It would be a good opportunity to make sure we wouldn't kill each other in the desert and for me to check that Sarah really did mean it when she said she wouldn't sprint off and leave me to be eaten alive by foxes and other such gremlins in the desert.

As it turns out - we got along very well. Sarah and her husband arrived on Halloween evening and even after promising I would have dinner ready for their arrival - I didn't - and as soon as they poked fun at me for it I knew we would be fine. We passed the evening discussing race tactics, average pace per mile, nutrition ............. ok complete lie we did however open my box of goodies that Sarah had brought over for me containing lots of items from buff, a shiny new head torch, a spork (yes there is such a thing) a little knife and other such exciting things - I was like a kid at Christmas.

Eventually we decided we really should go to bed and turned in for the evening with alarms set for 4:45 - me wearing my new Trion Z Bracelet (special thanks to trion Z who sent me and Sarah one of these to try out) I have to admit I was sceptical on wether this would work or not but I had the best nights sleep I have ever had before a run - no dreaming of turning up to the start and no one was there.........

Just the actual reality - yes it's true - on arrival at the start line (after completley missing the big Ultra running flag the first time around) myself, Sarah and her wonderful Husband ben (who very kindly followed us around all day) arrived at the start line to meet Steven Worallo the race director and no one else.

We couldn't beleive it when he told us he had had 4 drop outs the night before and that no one else had turned up this morning - there was a small beacon of light when two people turned up in their car - but we soon realised they were the race photographers meaning that Sarah and I had our very own crew consisting of 2 photographers (from Summit Fever photography), the race director and sarahs husband Ben - I now know what it feels like to be famous.

At the start line

Steve decided to let us go at 07:30 instead of 08:00 which was the planned start time so we had slightly more daylight (however in hindsight for next year it would be better if the start was at 06:30 to give just that little extra daylight) Steve sounded the horn and off we went on our way.

Within half a mile our feet were soaked and our lovely clean shoes were covered in mud - Sarah kept jumping around directly in to the puddles in an attempt to splash me (really i think she just wanted to make it look like she had worked hard ;) )

The first checkpoint was after 7 miles at the Cross Keys in Kingscliffe - on arrival we were greeted by the most well stocked check point I have ever seen on a run - never mind that it was only the two of us - there were jam and peanut butter sandwiches, gu energy gels, jelly beans, jelly babies, chocolate mice, red bull, cola. coffee, tea, pot noodles - I would have just stayed there all day but Sarah insisted we carry on so off we went :)

Off we went towards check point two -There were plenty more muddy fields, slippy slidey banks and a bit of road thrown in to the mix as well. It was on this section that we were pleased we had kept our road shoes even if it did mean they got a bit muddy. I was struggeling with my right knee at this point and my IT Band was playing up - for those of you who don't know me I do most of my running on the road so off road was taking it's toll - even the lesser bits we had on the first two sections so I was slightly worried for what was to come.  
We pushed on though and were soon at Wansford Station which is part of the Nene valley railway -

And look who we met !!!!

After all of the excitement of meeting Thomas ( I never saw Sarah more excited than when she saw him) Sarah strapped up my knee with some Rock tape, I threw a few peanut butter and jam sandwiches down my throat and off we went back over the bridge and on the nene valley way.

 this section of the course however did not run as smoothly as the first. Unfortunatly the route description we had been given wasn't correct and we ended up going quite specatacularly wrong. The worst thing however was not that we went wrong - it was the fact that we went wrong at the same time that the heavens opened and we had to splash accross two fields not once but twice. As i mentioned earlier 98% of my running has been on road so mud and sloshy fields are not something I come along very often. It turns out that it is a good idea to train offroad before you do an ultra (note to self) and my knees promptly reminded me of this fact by putting be in agony for several miles.
I honestly thought at this point that my run was over. I was struggeling to run more than a few steps without having to stop because of the pain and I will admit to saying a few choice words - at this point meself and sarah were both very quite - later we discovered that I was angry and worried that I wouldn't finish and Sarah was fed up from getting lost and worried for me that I wouldn't finish - bless us :)
We did however make it to the next checkpoint in Peterborough at the Charters cafe which was a floating cafe and after my treck inside to use the toilets I can confirm it is a very nice little boat and a great location for a nice lunch

As my knee pain had eased over the last 2 mile I decided I wanted to carry on with the run so I had a quick cup of tea and a bite to eat and off we went again. This was to be the best section so far. The route instructions here were spot on and I can happily say we didn't take one single wrong turn. We did in fact go so well on this section that when we got to the checkpoint at the Three Horseshoes in Whittlesey our support crew were not ready for us :) It was a lovely thing to hear them saying we had completed that section quicker than they had expected.
This joy was short lived however when I realised that my new backpack when it had decided to open all by itself earlier and spew the contents on to the trail - had managed to also throw out my brand new head torch - luckily for me Sarah had a spare one in the car so refuelled on an ever increasing selection of food (we had litle chocolate crispy cakes at this one :) ) we headed off in to the ever decreasing daylight head torches at the ready.

This 7 mile section was unfortunatly to be our last of the race - as the light faded we headed out on to the trail in to the middle of no where on our way towards March.
I have had a fear of the dark since I was little and had thought that after my nightime lap at the thunder run this year I would be ok but this was completley different. Although I was with Sarah, we were in the middle of no where - the route directions were not the best for this section and we couldn't see anything past the beam of the head torch which was obscured by our breath in the cold night air. After having to jump over a ditch to get to the correct side of the path (we must have missed a turning somewhere earlier on) we continued on towards the road we had been looking for. It wasn't long however before we realised we had manage to miss a turning somewhere and had to back track. By this point the dark was really beginning to make me nervous and I found myself struggling to catch my breath and getting really panicy and upset - I know I must sound like a complete wimp but the thought of going back out in to the middle of a field was un bearable. I felt awful when we got to the checkpoint in March and decided to go no further on the run - what annoys me more is that I know my legs could do it and I know my body would have been able to take it as I had managed to fuel myself well - I also know that although Sarah didn't feel entirley safe with the route directions being as they were and it just being us two - that had I said lets go on she would have followed me.

It is much easier to reflect on this in the comfort of my home wrapped up nice and warm in my dressing gown and kick myself for not having grown a pair and carried on but I know that at that moment in time there was nothing that could have made me carry on - at that moment in time I was more scared than I can ever remember being.

I know I have to work on my fear and I am going to do that my going out on a few night time runs with other people -I am ok when I am on a route lit with streetlights but I intend to try a few routes with no lights other than my headtorch and eventuially try and work my way to doing a few off road sections with someone else as well. I don't think I will ever be comfortable going out on my own in the dark with just the head torch but you never know.

My main goal is to get to the point where I am comfortable in the pitch black with just the head torches for guidance so that me and Sarah can do a few longer runs in the desert before pitching up for the night.

In the end we ran 47 miles which considering the furthest I had run prior to this was 35 miles I am very pleased with.

A massive thanks to Steve Worallo from Ultra running for all of your support - we know it wasn't your fault with the route and as it is its first year there are always going to be teething problems - you were so kind to have let us carry on regardless of the fact that there were only two of us

Thanks to our photographers from summit fever photography for also staying and taking some incredible pictures

Thanks to Ben - Sarahs husband for following us around all day and being very patient and for my wonderful husband for picking me up in March :)and bringing a nice flask of coffee and warm hoody :)

I have some exciting news to announce over the next few days with regards to sponsors and will be back tomorrow hoepfully with some of that along with details of our fundraising event coming soon :)

Thank you for sticking with me if you made it to the bottom of this post ;)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Getting lost in the Fens

This weekends long runs didn't go quite to plan - mainly due to the fact that on Thursday I went out to do my 90 minute run and ended up only doing 30 minutes after my left calf tightened up and was causing me to limp.
Needless to say I was fed up but decided that I would try again the next day - this it turns out, wasnt a clever idea so I booked in to see Tony at the Sports injury clinic at one leisure Huntingdon for Saturday afternoon.

As much as I know sports massages help I really do hate going to see Tony. Don't get me wrong he is a lovely man and very good at what he does IT JUST BLOODY HURTS!!!!

I explained to Tony what I was training for and he said he would see if there was anything he could do to help me and Sarah out on our quest which is great :) Thanks Tony

So today not wanting the weekend to be a total training wipe out I decided to go for a little run along the last section of the route I will be following for the Hereward Ultra Marathon which I am doing with Sarah on the 1st November.

It was very very flat and quite muddy in places. I managed to get lost within the first mile of starting but re traced my steps and got back on track :)

A view looking back on the run
I didn't do the full 12 miles I had planned on as my calf started playing up again and although I am sure I could have finished I didn't want to aggravate it any more than I needed to - I would rather do half a run now than do it all and risk having to have another week off.

This is how long the grass was on some of the sections which was a bit irritating as it is very difficult to run in

check out my pretty new shoes too :)
 I also test drove my shiny new Raid Light back pack on this run - overall I was pleased with it but it definatly needs some tweaking as the bottle in the front pack kept bouncing up and down and it was really getiing on my nerves to begin with (i got used to it after a while but I am not sure I will be so forgiving in the desert)

Another trial for today was the For Goodness Shakes Nectar fuel - it was absoloutly delicious - and I don't usually like anything but Lucozade light.
The taste was very refreshing and not too overpowering. It wasn't sickly it just tasted like a really good blackcurrent squash. So thumbs up for Nectar fuel.

Myself and Sarah have some more exciting news coming up soon we have some new sponsors so watch this space to find out more.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A new sponsor - Advance performance

I am pleased to announce that we have a new sponsor in the form of Advance Performance of Peterborough and Cambridge.

Sam Hale owner of Advance Performance has kindly offered to give myself and Sarah a free V02 Max test which I am sure will be a massive benefit with regards to trainin efficiently in preparation for the race so THANK YOU SAM.

She will also be writing a press release or two on us which will be excellent advertising for the event and for our chosen charity MacMillan cancer support.

For those of you who have never been to advance performance - what are you waiting for !!! it is like heaven in a shop; you can find them either in Peterborough or Cambridge - store addresses and opening times are shown below and for those who don't live nearby they also have a website which I have linked below so get shopping.

4 Titan Drive, Fengate East, Fengate, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire PE1 5XG

Telephone: - 01733 891111
Opening Hours
Mon, Tue 10-7, Wed 10 - 6, Thur 10-8,
Fri 10-6, Sat 9 - 6 (Closed Sun & Bank Holidays)

Store Facilities:
Our famous gait analysis service for finding your running shoes, a wide selection of running clothing and accessories, sports science testing and as the Triathlon Centre we have swimming and triathlon products including wetsuit testing plus our friends at Greenwheel Cycles are right next door for cycles and bike-fit service. We also have an in-store sports injury support from One Step Sports Therapy.

Gusto Mills, Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL

Telephone: 01223 279191
Opening Hours
Tue, Wed, Thur, Fri 10-7, Sat 9-6,
Sun 10-4 (Closed Mon & Bank Holidays)

Store Facilities - Our Cambridge store offers our famous gait analysis service for finding your running shoes, plus a wide selection of running clothing and accessories. As the Triathlon Centre we have swimming and triathlon products,  cycles and bike-fit service from Greenwheel Cycles. We also offer in-store physio support from Core Cambridge.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Exciting news

Well I have been very busy since my last post contacting companies for sponsorship, working, training and planning :)

I took part in the great Eastern run this weekend and was very pleased only a week after my first Ultra to come home with a PB of 2:09 - I know I could have pushed harder on this one as well but I managed to get a stitch which wouldn't shift for the last 2 miles grrrrrrr

We have also had some more good news this week

For Goodness shakes agreed to help us out by supplying us with sports drinks and recovery drinks for our training. It was like Christmas when I got home yesterday to find this lot in my living room :)

INCREDIBLE !!!!! I did my workout this morning and afterwards had one of the vanilla shakes with water it was absoloutly delicious. I can now look forward to my recovery shake after my workouts. Along with the powdered shakes that mix with water they also sent us some of the milkshakes in superberry flavour so I am looking forward to trying one of those after tomorrow nights run.

If any one is interested to try out the products for themselves you can find them HERE and the best thing - they aren't going to be putting their prices up when the VAT goes on to sports drinks - they have infact decided to REDUCE their prices !!!!

I will keep you updated on how I get on with the different products - I am especially looking forward to trying out the nectar fuel as I have heard great things about this.

We have more exciting news coming up soon so keep an eye out over the next few days

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The journey begins

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)

And that is how this all began!

I was sat in the Wetherspoons restauarant they morning after my first ever Ultra Marathon. After having spent the first 10 minutes following the race revelling in my ultra running glory and squeeling with delight along with the others, and the remaining 4 hours promising myself I would NEVER do this again. 

So it was a bit of a shock when I was browsing facebook whilst waiting for Breakfast to arrive and I saw that I had won the FAT FEET competition online to not only gain free entry for myself and a friend to the Grimsthorpe Ultra marathon in August but also two £700 discounts to enter the Ocean Floor race.

Now I had entered never really expecting to win - so many people had entered the competion i felt sure that with my luck there was no way on earth I would get it - so I hadn't even told my husband.

How does one tell their husband that even though they have already spent a fortune on running this year and even though I promised to spend no where near as much next year - that pretty please could I have £900 to enter this incredible race and I promise to be a good girl and never ask for anything ever again pretty pretty please.

LUCKILY I have a very understanding and wonderfully supportive husband and after some discussion and my promise to raise as much funding as I could I emailed the organiser to say I would like to accept and that I would like to take along my running friend Sarah Gardner Hall as my second person.

With deposits paid the training must commence. Along with the fundraising not only for the trip costs but also for the charity we are running for - MacMillan Cancer Support.

We are very lucky in that Sarah is already sponsored by Buff (you can follow the link to their shop by clicking on the image at the top of this page) and they have very kindly agreed to send us over some kit for the run.

We are also going to have our story written about on the Running Free Magazine facebook and twitter pages. 

Talk Ultra are going to be interviewing us for the December Podcast

and we have been sponsored £50 by Mick Hall Photos - we will be displaying their logo on our running tops for the event and in training so if you want to have your logo on here as well please get in touch.

Thats all for now. I will be back soon with more updates. I have the Great Eastern Half Marathon this Sunday and training will officially commence on Monday Next week.