Thursday, January 31, 2013

And we are on the way

So it is D Day at last. I have to admit at times I wondered if the day to head out to the desert would come. These last few days seem to have taken years and I am sure the next few will pass so fast I will wish I hadn't wished them here so soon.

Sarah stayed at mine last night so we could be ready early to leave for the airport. We were meant to leave at 08:30 but I faffed around for a bit putting songs on to a playlist which we probably won't listen to after all.

We will be flying out at 14:00 with Egyptair who have very kindly agreed to upgrade myself and Sarah to club class seats if the availability is still there. Such a lovely gesture from them and having never flown in club class before I can't wait to check it out. So a massive thank you to EgyptAIr for doing that for us.

We should be meeting two other runners at the airport which will be nice and a few are already out there. We have packed trainers and a full set of kit in our hand luggage just in case our bags get lost which had been the case of some of the runners who are already in Egypt (hopefully they will get their bags today) better safe than sorry though.

Our flight lands at 20:45 into Cairo and I am sure I will have lots to say by tomorrow. I have wifi in the hotel until we leave for the desert Saturday morning so will post again.

Very nervous now - it all feels so real

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

snow running

Some may think - nooooooo it's snowing - how am I going to train ? where will I run? AM I GOING TO HAVE TO USE......................THE DREADMILL !!!!!!!!

But no - I saw the snow and got very excited indeed - I love running in the snow - everything looks so pretty and as long as you wrap up warm you can really enjoy it. I also figured that as it was going to be slippy I would have to shorten my stride, concentrate a lot more and it would be a lot harder on my legs and ankles - perfect desert training (if you forget about the fact that it is bloody freezing).

I had actually been due to run the Folkesworth 15 this weekend but it was cancelled due to the snow (a couple of the guys from my club in Peterborough went anyway and confirmed there was a section of the course which was pretty nasty).

In leu of this I decided I would work a shift behind the bar at the Music Box, get home at 4am and then go out for a run in the morning with my parents. Staying at there house was much easier as the Music Box is in St Ives and that is where my parents live. Plus I now get a turn down service at the parents :)

A little piece of scottish tablet on my pillow - yummy

The next morning it started snowing quite early, my Dad was concerned about this as he and Mum have Dubai Marathon this week and didn't want to fall over and injure themselves. We decided to drive part of the course we were looking to run and if it was too bad we would just run down the bus route which we knew was clear. I knew once we were outside it would be fine and the fact that it had started snowing again actually made it better because it wasn't as icy.

We did a 7 mile run and stopped for a for some pictures on the way :) I love being able to run with my parents it's really nice and a good time to chat and see how everyone is :) now if only I could persuade my 7 brothers and sisters to do it aswell ..............

Here are some of our pics from the run


Buff is in relation to the Buffs we are wearing

This was also my first opportunity to use my new Inov-8 Pack and I have to say I am very very happy with it. I was worried that getting it so close to the race might cause a problem but it was very comfortable and all of my kit fitted in with plenty of space to spare. I used the compression straps to make sure nothing bounced around inside and they worked perfectly and I used the side pouches to store my 9-bar for after the run (I didn't really need it for 7 miles but I thought it was a good excuse to eat one :) )  The only slight issue I had was with the bottle holder - it was fine but it did keep hitting my shoulder ever so slightly - over a shorter run - perhaps even up to 30 miles this wouldn't be irritating but I think over 160 miles I would prefer to be safe so I have bought some velcro to sew on to it just for that extra bit of support.

I plan to have a fuller review for you following the race but will take some close up pictures of the pack before then and show you how all of the kit fits in to it.

Striders Edge have also very kindly sent me a few more tops to take with me to the desert - me and Sarah decided that we would use the drop bags to our advantage and evey 30 miles we are leaving the option of a change of clothes - I didn't have enough so they have sent me some more - the thing I like most about the kit from Striders edge is that I actually cant wait to wear it - and the colours are gorgeous. 

The only other brand of TShirt I plan on taking with me to the desert is the one that me and Sarah had made by the wonderful people at Shotbowl. Check these out

These are the sponsors that we don't have branded products for but who have kindly helped in our challenged.

A week tomorrow we leave Aghhhhhhhh I can't friggin wait

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

15 minutes of fame and Ninjas V GPS

WOW - What a couple of weeks we have had. Since meeting Mimi on the 5th January Sarah and I have been interviewed by Ian Corless from Talk Ultra.

For those of you who aren't aware Talk Ultra is an incredibly popular Ultra running podcast and to actually have the chance to be interviewed for the 15 mins of fame section is an absoloute honour so thank you to Ian for giving us the opportunity to appear.

I think I can speak for both myself and Sarah when I say we were ridiculously nervous for the interview. We weren't sure how it would work and of course because me and Sarah were not together it was going to be difficult to know when to speak.

When Ian called it was the wierdest feeling - I have completed so many long runs listening to him on the podcast so I recognised the voice immediatly but actually hearing him speak to me was very surreal.

We had a lovely conversation and Ian asked us lots of questions about the race and our preperation for it and it wasn't at all as scary as we thought.

If you would like to listen to our interview you can find it by clicking the link below

Click for episode
We are 1hr 52 mins in - but make sure you take the time to listen to the whole episode there are some incredible interviews on this one. Perfect for listening to on your long run.

The weekend just gone (i can never figure out if you say this weekend or last weekend for the weekend just gone) Karl and I travelled over to stay with Sarah and Ben oop North.

It was a great trip - we left on the Friday after work, and after batteling with the sat nav to give us a route that wouldn't take us on a toll road we finally got there to a dinner ready and waiting for us :) we did plan to have an early night ready to get up early for a run but of course this didn't happen once we got chatting :) we finally went to bed around midnight and agreed to get up at 7 to run at 8 ( late for Sarahs usual Saturday run but early for me)

we did 3 runs over the weekend, a 12 mile Saturday morning followed by a shorter faster 3.5 mile in the evening and then on Sunday we did a GPS navigated run.

That's right me and Sarah were let loose on Cannock chase with a GPS and a piece of paper with coordinates for check points. Ben and Karl dropped us off at Cannock chase but not before we had a picture to show that we meant business :)

Then we were off. We had had a crash course that morning on how to enter in the co-ordinates and a general idea of how it worked. And although we were nervous because if we got this wrong it would be a very bad omen for the desert we were also hopeful that we would kick butt.

And kick butt we did -

This is me at check point one. And we hit checkpoint after checkpoint dead on continuously after this 

I didn't actually notice the runners in the road sign until I was uploading this picture earlier :) Sarah is pulling a funny face as she is worried about my husband standing in the road taking the picture, I however seem completley unfased - not sure if that is a good thing ;) 

At this point we had made it back to the last check point and just had a 2 mile run to get home - Sarah knew the way so there was no need for garmins now but mission accomplished

WE DID IT !!!!

We then spent the rest of the day relaxing and planning what we needed to take (a final list) and also what we needed to put in each drop bag - it became so much more real at this point becuse we were having to think about what we would need at a check point 145 miles in !!! I still can't get my head around it.

I have my last longish run this weekend - the Folkesworth 15 but I plan on running this having had next to no sleep (I am working at the Music Box in St Ives the night before) and carrying my full pack - wish me luck

On that note I should also mention that we received our packs this week from the wonderful people at Inov-8 - we now each have a racepac 25 litre and some water bottles and a mesh pouch to use with it. I can't wait to try this out at the weekend and will post a review on how I got along with it following the race :)

Monday, January 7, 2013

The day I met a legend

If you had told me this time last year that I would be meeting one of (IMO) the most incredible female ultra runners ever I would never have believed you.

But it is true. The weekend just gone - Saturday 5th January, myself and Sarah travelled to London to meet the one and only Marvelous Mimi Anderson.

For those of you who don't know Mimi you can find out a lot more about her on her blog - Mimi is an inspirational runner who loves pink and just happens to be a world record holding grandmother.

To name but a few Mimi's achievements include; 

  •  World record for the fastest crossing on foot of Ireland -  Sept 2012 - 345 miles in 3 days, 15 hours36 minutes and 55 seconds
  •  Viking Way Ultra - April 2012 - 147.9 miles 3rd overall and only lady to finish
  • Spartathlon 2011 - 245k non stop race, 1st Brit, 3rd female
  • Double Badwater -  July 2011 (as if once wasn't enough) - 1st British female to complete the double
Mimi joined the Facebook page I had made for the Ocean floor Ultra (before the official page was created) and even seeing her name pop up caused me to jump up and down with excitement. I had listened to her interview on talk ultra and following that had read her blog from start to finish. I tentatively sent her a message asking if she would be running the race - not at all expecting a reply but there it was not long after - I couldn't believe it. We carried on chatting between myself, mimi and Sarah and eventually arranged to meet up for a coffee as Mimi was kind enough to offer to meet us and give us some advice for the run.

Travelling to London on Saturday morning I didn't feel too nervous, that is until we got to the hotel where we were meeting her and then I started to feel it. But in she came and I knew it was her straight away - she was of course wearing pink :)

Well what can I see - she was simply Marvellous - we got through 3 cups of coffee and a glass of wine each and talked for hours about Mimi's experiences in races, what methods she used to keep her going through the tough times and the longer runs, what items to leave in our drop bags, which backpacks we were using (inov-8 25 ltr kindly donated by inov-8) to tape or not to tape the feet, whether or not to wear 3/4 length bottoms or shorts the list goes on

In one afternoon we got more advise than I think either of us has had thus far and I cannot thank Mimi enough for taking the time out of her day to meet with us. We had such a good time and really enjoyed chatting away. It's just a shame the time had to come to an end.

We have arranged to meet with Mimi when we get back from the run to let her know how we got on and to show her our pictures from the race :) I have to finish it now just so I can say hello again :)

Of course we couldn't end the afternoon without a picture with our running idol

So a big thanks once again to Mimi it was wonderful to meet you and I look forward to seeing you again once the race is completed.