Sunday, 9 November 2014

Beachyhead Marathon

On the 24th October 2014, Paula and me made the trip down to Eastbourne to Meet up with Rachel from Mencap and some of the other Mencap MDS runners. we were also given a presentation from Rachel about Mencap and the work that they do and we were treated to a great insight to the MDS by a participant of this years race Simon Moran. He gave us some great information and tips, which may make my trip to the Sahara a bit easier.

Race day was forecast to be hot and sunny throughout. It started out cold, but with a hill to start, I'm Glad it wasn't hot.

The organisers announced that we should add 40 to 50 minutes onto our normal marathon time. It soon became apparent why. Fantastic scenery, but was a tough hilly course.

The sun appeared after the first hour, and became quite warm. I ran with my race vest and didn't need stop at the checkpoints for water. The last 5 miles (pictured above) were the 7 sisters ( aka the bitches). The were steep in parts and had me down to a walk. My usual hip and hip flexor problems didn't kick in until the last 3 miles. The finish was down the hill that we started up, great for your knees (not).

coming into finish..... click here

finished in 4hrs 39 minutes........ happy with that

The Mencap boys at the finish

With less than 6 months to go, and with the information from Simon Moran. My mind has been on to my food that I'm going to take. MDS race rules, say you have to carry a minimum of 2000cals per day. So the trick is to find foods with highest cal to weight ratio. The best thus far is Macadamia nuts at 718cals/100g.

Other stuff Ive tried has been freeze dried

These packs weigh 180g and on average, contain 700cals, and surprisingly they taste pretty good.

Thanks for reading......please sponsor me at my justgiving page.... just click

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Svp 100 16th August 2015

After pulling out of London to Brighton at 50 miles, the 100k target was still on my list to conquer. It was an obstacle in my mind that had to be completed, sooner rather than later.

The Stour Valley Path 100k, was my race of choice. The Stour Valley Path is a 100km (62 mile) long footpath in England, which starts in Newmarket (Suffolk) and ends in Cattawade, a village near Manningtree (Essex). The SVP100 covers almost the entire length of the well marked trail, and is one of the longest point to point races in East Anglia. 

The main lessons learnt from L2B were:
- More trail and cross country runs in training
- No long stops
- No shoe or sock changes if possible


Early start, with a drive from lowestoft to ipswich. I left my car at Steve Paul and Anita's house. I then grabbed a lift with them both to Newmarket to the start.

7am start in Newmarket

7 AM on a slightly chilly but sunny morning we started started the wrong with Steve Paul it was soon apparent to me that he was faster than me and I'm glad that before the race and I had said him ,not to stay with me and he was soon away in the distance.I didn't want to feel I was holding someone up and that way I could run my own race. I knew my back and hips wouldn't enjoy cross country however I was surprised how the pain came and went during the day.

8am - click for video

The course was 95% trail and 5% road. So upping the trail running in training paid off.
The weather remained dry and in the middle the day was quite hot. My pee was telling me I was dehydrated at about 1pm. Spent the next hour really concentrating on getting fluids in regularly.

I'm not the fastest runner or the slowest, so as a result I spent a lot of time on my own. However this wasn't a problem on this course as the scenery is fantastic, and having a sunny day to view it made it even better.

Navigation was pretty straight forward, following arrows pink ribbon and marker tape. One arrow even sprayed on a cow pat. I went slightly wrong in a village, but was soon back on track.

I tried to have a snapshot of how I was feeling every hour. I managed it except one. Can't remember what happened there, must have really been in the zone.

9am please click

10am - click to have a look

11am - press here

I stuck to my race plan and didn't spend to long in the checkpoints. Just the time it took to fill my bladder bag and grab some food, and then I was out again. The volunteers were fantastic. I've never experienced in a race, someone saying" take off your bag, i will fill your bladder bag whilst you grab some food" before. It was like having your own pit team, brilliant. I even had one lady say" it looks like your knees are getting sunburnt, do you want some sun cream "

12 noon

1pm. Click click click

2pm over half way

Paula asked me what I thought about during the 100km. I can honestly say I can't remember anything specifically. I guess it would be a mixture of the views around, how much longer to next checkpoint? When was the last time I drank? Wonder how Steve is doing? But I didn't feel the need to put my iPod on, which is a result.


3.30pm fantastic scenery

4pm 19 miles to go

6pm missed an hour sorry

7pm nearly

8pm nearly there

It was dark when I finished, so no video. 13.42 for 100km, 14.09 for the 64 mile course. Happy with that.

Quick change, Rego drink, then a short drive back to ipswich to pick up my car.
Steve and Anita kindly offered a bed for the night, but I figured as I felt pretty good, waking up in my own bed would be more preferable. Thank to you both for the lift and support during the run.

After an hour drive back to lowestoft, I jumped straight in a cold bath, followed by hot shower and stretch. Bit of food. In bed by about 1am.
Woke up feeling pretty good. Happy days

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Whoop whoop over 7 grand

Nothing much going on at the moment. Just settling into training. As I promised myself. More trail than road. Gradually working my way from Blundeston to Norwich, on mainly a trail. Blundeston to Breydon bridge on Angles way

As the title says..... I'm now over £7000, and it feels great

Since last November, I have been in communication with a serving RAF Regiment gunner, who completed the MDS in 2013. His name is Paul (gloomy) Groombridge.He had been giving me tips and info via Facebook messenger and email, but we had never met. Well that changed yesterday. We had decided to have a meet up for a beer and a chat with some grub. He offered to give me a sports massage. Which I desperately needed. Excellent treatment. Very Professional. As I said, he is still serving, so he generally does evenings and weekends. So if you are closer to Bury st Edmunds than Lowestoft here is Paul's website

Press here.... Paul's website
Obviously if your closer to Lowestoft...... Come to me lol

So after my treatment, it was off to grab some grub and a beer. Paul is a top bloke and gave me some top tips and loaned me some kit (pictured below) including a venom pump, heavy duty lighter, mirror, sand goggles and an all important Union Jack patch

Thanks mate. Good to have met you.

fitness tip#13... Sleep sleep. So important for recovery and repair and for mental attitude. If your sleep has been suffering, then pull back on your training. Some one once said to me " rest is best"

Diary of a long distance runner.

9th June 2014- 45min trail run
10th June 2014 - 30 min road
12th June 2014 - 30 min road steady run
14th June 2014 - 30min trail run
16th June 2014 - 30 min trail
17th June 2014 - 60 min trail/road, very warm
18th June 2014 - 165 min trail/ road
22nd June 2014- 60 min trail

This blogs donation roll of honour.

Jo Charles- massage client
Baz Thomas- ex Reggie gunner
Karen Hamilton - massage client

As always thank you so much

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Nearly at £7000 mark

Two weeks since I've been back from London to Brighton. Back on the training, doing more trail runs for definite. I'm trying a different pair of shoes, see what these are like. They are Inov8 trail roc 255. These are more like normal trainers unlike the Hokas.

Will let you know how I get on in due course.

I paid in the money that people had paid to me for London to Brighton. Even though I didn't finish, all kind donations and guesses totalled £352. This money and a couple of donations have brought me so so close to £7000

Hope someone or a few someone's will tip me over the 7 grand mark before Monday morning.

Fitness tip #12. If at first you don't succeed. Evaluate, change if you need to. Leave disappointment behind you and try again.

Diary of a long distance runner

Friday 30th May 2014 - 30minute easy run on road
Sunday 1st June 2014 - 85 minutes trail run with Paula

Monday 2nd June 2014 - 50 minutes trail, steady
Tuesday 3rd June 2014 - 60 minutes mixed trail /road steady. Warm day
Friday 6th June 2014 - 65 minutes mixed trail/ road very warm evening
Sunday 8th June 2014- 110 minutes trail run again with Paula, again a lovely sunny day

This blogs donation roll of honour

Viv Hunt - one of my Walberswick ladies
Claire Whittonbury - another of my Walberswick ladies
Ann Pettitt- one of my heart patients

Thank you so so much, I'm getting closer and closer to that £10000.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

London to Brighton - my first ultra race.

I tried my best, but didn't manage to complete the 63 miles. I've been spending the last week thinking about how I'm going to record this blog. Every way, i felt it looked like I was making excuses. There are absolutely no excuses. I wasn't good enough on the day to complete the challenge, plain and simple. What I've written below are, I feel,contributing factors to me not finishing. And I want to record them for my benefit and if anyone else benefits from it,brilliant

Ten days prior, I twisted my lower back. This stopped me from running for 7 days. I did get a treatment from the smart clinic, which I think helped.
Whilst travelling to London, it suddenly dawned, that we were going to the capital on Bank holiday Friday, not the best journey, I have to say. Lowestoft to Richmond = 5 hours.
Before going to our Premier inn, I decided that I would register, instead of in the morning. This was a good decision as it gave me extra time in bed.
Once in the hotel, we decided to eat in the hotel restaurant, which wasn't great, but hey it was calories. Race kit prepped and ready for the morning, it was time to retire.

I woke at midnight, with a temperature and a blocked nose. I thought at that stage , that it would maybe be a wise decision to not go ahead with the run. Then I thought about all of the training that I'd done and the quality time with Paula and family that I'd forsaken for my training of this event. My plan was to go stage by stage. Is it better not to start or not to finish? Debate at your leisure.........
Did I sleep till 5am?????? I'm not sure..

Decision made... Light Breakfast done. Time to go..

I don't mind running in rain, however I'm not a big fan of starting in rain. And the weather certainly had it in for the participants. But that wasn't going to stop a pre run Zumba warm up.

Just told I can go at 6.20 instead of 6.40

6.10am Zumba

Time to start..........

6.19am at the start

6.20am.. Time for the off

100+ runners set off on the 63 mile course. Stage 1 was made up of riverside paths and urban paths and roads. Started steady at 10 - 10.5 minute pace. Breathing felt comfortable despite having a head full of snot. I was hoping not to overheat in the bin bag that I had chosen to use, in an attempt to stay dry in the torrential rain that was coming down in Richmond and surrounding areas.

Stage 1

Made the mid stage point, no problem, felt relaxed. Picked up some food. Rain was still coming down hard. I had my eyes on 2 guys in front, going at a similar pace to me. I chose to keep following them. Big mistake. It occurred to me after about 10 minutes that I hadn't seen a pink navigational arrow for a while. At that point the 2 guys stopped and started looking at their map. They too had followed another runner instead of following the arrows. We put our heads together and worked out a route back. This cost us an extra 3 km........

Unplanned re route

Back on course at 20km, the route starting to get more rural.

Stage 1 finish

The sun came out at the stage finish, so I had a sock change and I got rid of my bin bag protection. It never ceases to amaze me, how just having a fresh pair of socks on , can feel so good. Stage 1 to the mid point was more rural and more hilly. And a massive amount of hip flexor and glute stretching stiles.

I think the following videos sum up the stage perfectly.........

Stage 2

Still stage 2

Stage 2 rain return

Stage 2 stiles revenge

More stage 2

Last bit of stage 2

The halfway point couldn't come soon enough. I needed treatment and there were therapists that gave me a good treatment and got me going again. There was hot food, would have been rude not too. I had a blood blister that needed sorting and another sock change. This was quite a lengthy stop, but one that i needed to do. About 30 minutes and I was back on my way. Stage 2 to 3 was a good mixture of road and rural. I was told by the therapists that I could get another treatment at stage 3 finish. So sticking to the plan of stage by stage... Off I set.

The sun is shining

Over half way

Got me tunes in

Stage 3 midway

I love running but it can certainly be a lonely experience. You pass people, and people pass you and you exchange brief comments or hellos and then it's back into your world. There are massive changes in your thinking patterns, so times really high and sometimes really low.

I didn't stop long in the midway stop. Time was getting on and I became very conscious of Paula and Ryan having to hang around waiting for me at the stage finishes. So I had a quick cup of coffee and half a dozen Jaffa cakes and I was heading for another treatment.

Show me the way to go home

Stage 3 end

I was 200m from stage end, I turned a corner and there was Paula and Ryan cheering me in. I scanned in and headed straight for the therapist area. I felt confident, that I'd have a treatment , some food, last sock change. And be on my way for a slow last 12 miles. I got on the massage couch, I had my hip flexors done, the therapist asked me to turn over, so that they could do my glutes and lower back. All of a sudden I had a really sharp pain in my lower back. It made me feel sick, I had to sit down. The pain went off and I went to get some food down my neck. Before changing my socks, the pain came back again. I knew my day was finished.

The cross country sections were just full of mud and my Hokas didn't deal with it too well. My legs were going in all directions, like Bambi on ice.

This is what my Hokas looked like at the end..

It's not a great feeling, not to finish. It's something I've never felt before and will be anxious for it never to happen to me again.

I know that I made the right decision 100% to stop! but this set in motion a series of " what if " questions.

I have taken stock of the day.. And this is what I've taken away from my "52 mile training run"

. My foot taping was good
. My cross country training was insufficient
. My hydration was good
. My Hokas weren't good enough to grip in the muddy conditions
. My nutrition was good. Food at stage stops and gels every hour
. Not bringing painkillers to take was an over sight.
. Never follow other runners blindly