Monday, 30 March 2015

Only a few days to go.

Everything is going on at the moment. In my wisdom ive also decided that I need to catch up all that has happened before I go.

So the research program stuff has been ongoing and at times tedious, with filling out food diaries and activity diaries. I really didn't find them easy and had to try to remember to log all ASAP.

Last month was my birthday, so I thought a good way to raise some would be to " go bald for my birthday" I wanted to see if my hair would itch when growing back and so then be better prepared for desert. I asked all to put in my Mencap bucket and promised to shave off all my hair if I reached £500 ( cunning plan, cos I would have done it for £1). Amazingly in 6 weeks the bucket had in it. Thank all that put in, absolutely amazing. This is my hair before cutting it cut, probably the longest it's ever been.

This is the shaving off of my hair at my birthday party. I think everyone had a go at one stage or another.Press to watch

There are lots and lots of people that have helped me prepare for the event, with information, treatments, yoga, and I am really grateful for the time that they have spent. I wanted to advertise their businesses as a thank you, so I had a t shirt made up with their logos on.

On the 20th April 2015 I went back to Porsche Human performance at Silverstone for my second heat chamber run. I didn't have any major changes in my performance from last time, but Jack, one of the technicians said that he wouldn't expect to as I hadn't done any heat acclimation since last time.

Following the heat chamber I wanted to carry on with the heat acclimation, so I decided to do step aerobics every day until I was heading down to Gatwick . I started with 20 minutes and worked upto 35 minutes. That is hard work. The sauna was at 50 degrees plus.

Time to pack..... This was going to be easier said than done. All this

Into a 20 litre rucksack. Thankfully I had the use of my good friend Jon OHaras vacuum packing machine. We got there after a few hours of packing and re packing.

I have really rushed to get this last blog done in a slimline version  before I go, will fatten it up more, when I get home.

Whilst I'm away, I can be followed at

My race number is 0424 

One last thing before I head off to my adventure in the desert.

I am currently at £9290 for Mencap

Thank you all so much, and will have loads of pics and stories to tell I'm sure, when I get back

Sunday, 15 March 2015

4 weeks to go till MDS 2015

Last September I received this from Dr Justin Roberts, who works at the Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge......

To all Athletes,
Firstly may I express my sincere gratitude for the overwhelming response to take part in our research study surrounding the MDS 2015. The deadline for applications is 22nd September but I think we have hit saturation in terms of numbers now.
This is just a quick update to let you know of progress and next stages. Firstly, I will be moving jobs to Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, as such from the 29th September my email will be and you have my phone contact details from prior emails.

Onto the study: this is the first of its kind so as you can imagine there are complex and multiple logistics our end to cover ahead of the start of the research. This is in hand. Due to the large numbers applying we have extended the nature of the project to include multiple groups (which means that most of you will no doubt be selected). I have brought on board a new PhD student – Mr Craig Suckling – who will be dealing with a large percentage of this study and who will become a main point of contact in due course. The outline for the study and next stages are as follows

· To assess the impact of nutrition on training adaptations and race performance. We are not intending to interfere with training or normal build up to the race. However, once the selection process has been completed and you have been notified of provisional study inclusion you will be randomly allocated to a study group. The groups will involve obviously a control group (normal training and diet intake), a nutrition group (we will be looking at dietary intake in relation to training load), and two supplement groups (probiotics and probiotics/antioxidants). The supplements planned for use in the study are of clinical grade with no adverse or known side effects, and are commercially available. We have used the products before and demonstrated benefits to ironman athletes. Hence we are interested to find out how they might benefit MDS runners
· Testing will start effectively in December – we plan to hold a main study briefing for ALL participants in early December, and collect some provision data (training/diet) from you before xmas.
· The main test dates at present will be 8-12th Jan (to be held at Anglia Ruskin Uni, Cambridge), 26-29th March (also at Anglia Ruskin) and 17-19th April (post race – to be held at Middlesex Uni). In addition to the first two blocks, we are arranging for you to also have a DEXA scan (body composition) at Middlesex Uni – more to follow on this
· In addition to the UK tests, we (the research team) are aiming to be in morocco to collect body composition and blood data approx.. 5 hours post finish at the race HQ.
· Rest assured we are aiming to be as supportive as possible for you as athletes/participants and in no way planning to impede or hinder your race performance.
· I will be at the MDS expo with Craig in Oct should any of you wish to speak to us

· Logistics our end – this will take most of October
· Participant selection – we will be aiming to recruit most of you and will notify all participants around late October
· Subject Briefing – early December
· Provisional data collection – mid December
· Test dates – Jan, March, April
I/ we look forward to working with you and will be in touch around the end of October for an update

Very kind regards

These are the test groups...... I have been placed in the control group, just carry on as normal was the brief

On the 9th January 2015, I went first to Allianz Park and then upto Anglia Ruskin university to take part in the first testing session for the research programme. At Allianz park I laid on a Dexa Scanner, which measures and locates body fat. It was like lying on a big photocopier.

Dexa scan..... Click to watch

Following the scan, I had a 90 minute drive up to Cambridge to Anglia Ruskin university for the following tests... Blood sample, blood pressure, resting heart rate, Electrocardiograph, VO2 max test, body composition test. Prior to the testing I wasn't allowed to eat for 6 hours... Which for those that know me, know that that wasn't an easy task.

The test were performed by university students, under the watchful eye of Justin Roberts and Craig Suckling. Great afternoon and an insight into a purpose built,testing facility. The hardest bit was the Vo2 max test, especially having not eaten for what was 71/2 by the time I got on the treadmill. As well as vo2 max, I was linked to a computer to show the biomechanics of my running style.... Interesting.

Click to watch....

Biomechanics to watch

It was interesting to me to see how low I was lifting my feet. I'm not sure if that has been an adaptation that I've made since starting to run ultra distances, in order to save energy.

Following the testing, straight out for food and a 2.5 hour drive back to Lowestoft.

Fundraising is going well. As usual a Massive thank you to all that have donated.

Happy New Year

Well here it is ...... 2015......the year of the 30th Marathon Des Sable. I'm writing this blog with under 12 weeks to go until I fly out to Morocco. Quite a bit has happened since my last blog and not just christmas and new year. So sit back and enjoy my latest instalment.

On the 15th November, I went to Silverstone race track to The Porsche Human Performance centre, where I had sweat test

Press here to watch

That has to be the easiest fitness test that I have ever done. Following an easy test came the not so easy part. This said, I'm glad I experienced it, as it gave me valuable information and feelings that could be useful when in the Sahara. The heat chamber was set at 43 degrees, the plan was to stay in there for an hour. I'd asked the technician Jack to take me to the limit, as I wanted to feel when I would need to slow down in order to be safe. I went in with 1.5 litres of squash on my back. Started on the treadmill slow and then the speed was taken up to 10kph, every 5 minutes, Jack checked my core body temperature. I managed to run for 40minutes before my core temp got to 39.4 degrees. I was losing concentration and my fingers felt like hot pins were being stuck in the ends, so I figure this was quite a dangerous level. The speed was slowed down, my heart rate came down, as did my core temp and I saw out the hour in there. When I came out I was weighed and had lost 1.2 kg in the hour. My water bag was weighed and I had drunk 1.2kg of fluid, happy days.

Heat chamber.... Click to see