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 ;)