Sunday, 25 September 2011

Recovery mode was over

It was just before 4am. ‘Recovery mode’ was over. Time to get up, eat some sort of breakfast, wake myself up as much as possible and drink a very large coffee.

I was aching quite a bit since High peak 40 and the Pilgrim Farnham marathon the day after; I guess hills always do something to the quads. Sometimes I don’t really ache at all.

I really could have turned off that alarm on Wednesday morning and gone back to sleep! Sometimes the hardest part of doing a marathon is dragging yourself out of bed in the morning when you’re so tired. You would give anything not to have to get up in that moment. Of course, it gets better once you actually adjust to being awake, but I would describe those initial moments as torture…

The Great Barrow Challenge – Day 1
So, I managed to get on the motorway for 5am…there were so many lorries I could hardly believe it! I dodged the lorries and made it past Birmingham in plenty of time to avoid all the traffic…hurrah! However, the traffic soon caught up with me once I had reached the A14 near Cambridge and I was stuck in an awful traffic jam for absolutely ages. This added about an hour to my journey time and my car bonnet started to smoke from engine overheating, eeeek! Thankfully, I eventually got moving again and arrived at race HQ just before 10am. All of the other 26.5 miler people had set off at about 8am, so I was waaaay behind them. I also felt ever so dehydrated from having got up so early and failing to take in enough water in those hours. I had a bit of water, ate a few sweets to perk myself up a bit and set off on my adventure. I felt so disorganised from my lateness. I was faffing about with maps and route descriptions; not wanting to get lost when there was absolutely no-one else in sight. I needn’t have worried…the route was really well marked and the description made perfect sense. I had a great day of running through lovely Surrey countryside and along winding forest tracks. I went past a pig farm, saw lots of wildlife and I even saw a fox in broad daylight. Best of all, there were no cows on the loose and no scary animals to chase me. It was a lovely sunny day.

In the last couple of miles I did manage to catch up with some walkers/ slower runners. I made it back to the finish area; I picked out somewhere to crash that night and got a lovely warm shower. This was going to be a fun couple of days. After a lovely dinner of spaghetti bolognaise, I met up with some lovely friendly familiar runners I know in the bar area and drank some refreshing Guinness – the perfect recovery drink. Marathon 95 was complete.

Monday, 19 September 2011

A pilgrimage to the Farnham Pilgrim Marathon

After the drive back from Buxton on Saturday night, I bypassed home and had a good old shower...I was pretty mucky from the ravine, so this was definitely a good idea. Also had time to chuck some muddy running gear in the wash :) I didn’t manage to totally scrub my toe-nails clean, but I guess they hardly ever are clean for long haha...but at least I have a full the moment!

It was going to be another really early start in the morning and I really wasn’t looking forward to it. Fortunately, I was being driven the 3+hours to Farnham, Surrey and therefore, I was able to get in some MUCH needed sleep in the car. I literally slept the whole journey. I was really feeling the stiffness when we finally arrived at the start venue, however. My legs just felt like they were solely comprised of pure lactic acid and nothing else. This probably wasn’t so far from the truth. The hills in Derbyshire are a bit hilly and my legs had definitely worked hard.

Yesterday was always going to be tough after that little adventure, but I had known this for some weeks, which is why I guess I was so nervous about this weekend. And so, it was really lovely to see some familiar faces and have company for the whole marathon route. I love my marathon mad running friends. I especially love it when they are also feeling the aches of an ultra/ marathon from the previous day as well and we can both hobble around laughing. It was a really good day.

The marathon route yesterday was also quite hilly. I have done quite a bit in this area and along the North Downs Way before and it is a really beautiful part of the country. I guess we did bypass some of the hillier bits I have encountered in this area before, but never the less; it felt that bit hillier anyway. In reality, I guess the hills probably weren’t so bad, but Saturday’s efforts were making me feel every little incline to the greatest extent. I was feeling quite knackered and again, quite hungry in the last couple of miles...but all was good and we managed a bit of a sprint over than finish line. All in all, a great day was had and I wasn’t as slow as I had imagined I would be.

So now, I am in ‘recovery’ mode for a few days. My right big toe was absolutely throbbing after yesterday; I guess I must have kept banging it and irritating it against the front of my shoe whilst running. Anyway, it seems to have calmed down now. The next day and a bit will involve a lot of refuelling and sleeping.

Wednesday will see the start of The Great Barrow Challenge: 4 marathons over 4 days...Wednesday to Saturday! Hey, at least I get the Sunday off :), a fact that I am quite excited about, since I haven’t had a Sunday off in quite a while! But for now, until Wednesday, Lazy Liz will rein!

A tricky ravine, hills, some horned cows & a 40 mile meander...

I had been a bit nervous/ apprehensive/ disorganised about the weekend just gone, the weekend that was yesterday and the day before. I’ve don’t a lot of double marathons before and indeed, I have completed multiple ultras/ a combinations of ultras and marathons on consecutive days.

This weekend I had High Peak 40 on Saturday and a marathon on Sunday. I did High Peak 40 last year, so I knew to expect hills, cows, a ravine near the end that takes you by surprise and makes me nervy thinking about it. It’s just a bit of a pain to descend on tired legs and I tend to always take the option of easing myself down it on my a far from graceful manner.

Mostly I was nervous of the cows. Last year there was a whole host of energetic bullocks in the field approaching the ravine and that’s all I could think about...fortunately they were not in this field this year and the last 4 miles were actually quite pleasant. Also, unlike last year, it was still daylight, since I had made better progress and was ultimately over 2 hours faster. Therefore, navigation was so much easier and I didn’t end up in a boggy field trying to navigate my way out of it. It was clear where I must go, I could follow the signs and arrows perfectly and I made it back to the school and finishing point without getting lost. This is not to say that there weren’t obstacles along the length of the course.

This year, it seems there was a diversion of sorts. Not that I know where or when this diversion was or noticed it much. It did add on just over a mile to the route, however. So, the mileage covered on Saturday was just over 41.5 miles or so. There were also cows along some of the route. For those who don’t know, I am a runner who is ridiculously cautious of cows. It is such a silly thing to be afraid of and often slows me down...either that or I speed up to sprint past them and get out of a field as soon as humanly possible, but yep...I am afraid of cows.

With about 7 miles left to go, there was a whole host of horned cows long a certain narrow grassy pathway. There were more than 30 of them. There were far too many to simply barge past. I’m sure we could have if we were brave, but I certainly wasn’t risking it. So, stuck behind all these cows and with a dry stone wall topped with barbed wire to the right of us, I kept my eyes open to look out for a section of wall that was free of the barbed wire and I found a section. So, me and this lady scaled a wall and bypassed the cows. We then had to find a way to get back onto the pathway. Fortunately, we discovered a bit of wall with a few rocks missing underneath the barbed wire and were able to limbo underneath the wire.

I cut my leg a little, but we successfully got past the cows and that is all that matters :) I was quite pleased with myself for that little diversion and it’s quite a funny memory to have. I ran a lot on Saturday and was happy with my progress. I even think I could have been far faster if only I had prepared enough for the event. I think I failed to take in enough food on the days leading up to the run and was really lacking in sleep.

I haven’t been sleeping very well lately and I awoke on Saturday morning at 3.30am and got up. I didn’t need to get up until about 4.30, as Derbyshire isn’t such a long way away from me. I just could not sleep. My lack of nutritional preparation/ intake was very apparent in the last few miles of the event when I felt really sickly and my stomach was frantically gurgling away. I wanted to run, but I couldn’t run and all of a sudden I felt quite weak. I recovered enough to run a bit at the end, but whilst driving myself the 1 ½ hours back home afterwards, I felt really very sick. I had to keep breathing in an exaggerated way in order to stop myself from being sick. It felt like travel sickness, but it was definitely a lack of food. As soon as I stopped at a service station and refuelled – albeit on junk/fast food – I immediately felt better and the sickly feeling went away.

Ultimately, I had a really good day on Saturday. Last year I finished in about 12.30ish and this year I finished in about 10.26ish :) This was my 93rd marathon/ including ultra’s event....Yesterday was my be continued....

Saturday, 17 September 2011


Getting ready for the weekend’s running shindigs, I have just come back from Morrison’s with rather a lot of goodies! Considering this weekend will involve lots of exercise, my basket looks considerably unhealthy. I have pizza and pasta for tonight’s tea, a min red wine to accompany the feast – it’s semi-good for ye’ and has lots of iron ;-). The basket may also have contained mini-snickers, wine gums, a 6-pack of original Lucozade, for the fizzy energy kicks…I don’t mind if it makes me burp whilst running haha, Lucozade original is the best pick-me-up, along with full-fat Coke. I also bought a large multi-pack of crisps…so lots of lovely stuff there. Should power me through tomorrow’s hilly and most probably wet 40-miler and Sunday’s Farnham Pilgrim Marathon and maybe a few of next week’s escapades…I shall chat about those after this weekend’s fun :)…

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

We can be heroes... "The 10 in 10 Diaries"

There goes my hero
Watch him as he goes
There goes my hero
He's ordinary

So, it’s all over.

13 out, 13 back – we all did it. We overcame the tough times, the tiredness, the injuries and manky feet and we made it. It was tough going and there were days when I really didn’t want to get out of my warm bed – especially when the rain was beating down so hard on the windows and the wind was going crazy. Sometimes it felt like you had only just fallen asleep, only to be woken up again; it made some of the mentally tough bits that bit tougher. But everything was worth it. All the effort is worth it. That moment when you cross the finish line on Day 10 is priceless. You get up that hilly driveway and it’s all quite quiet and then you turn a corner and you decide to leggit’ and all of a sudden there are all these people everywhere…just amazing.

I can’t really begin to tell you what yesterday meant to me. It was two years to the day that I had first been inspired by the idea of the 10in10; seeing all those amazing guys back in 2009, I wanted in. The Windermere Marathon has become really special to me since it was the first marathon that I ever did and because it is a beautiful race with a lovely atmosphere. And to think, it all started by chance when I googled Lake District +marathon and pressed search in 2009 – I have always loved the Lake District and this last 10 days has been surreal (even if the weather hasn’t always be great).

When I awoke yesterday morning, it really was like Christmas day. There’s this celebration in the air, nervousness and excitement. There was also quite a bit of nervousness about the weather. The night before had been really bad weather-wise and the wind had picked up significantly. The rain was torrential. Come early Sunday morning and the rain still hadn’t let up; it was a pretty miserable sight and I was really worried that it was going to be like that all day. However, it did begin to let up. As we made our way out onto the lawn for our pre-race 10in10 huddle and foxy read his speech, the air seemed still and the rain did seem to stop. A few tears replaced the downpours for a while. It was really emotional. I knew it would be. Yet suddenly it all felt so real. This was it, the moment.

Before I knew it, we were off down that driveway, at the start line and then we were off. For the first hour, the weather was definitely against us. The wind was blowing with such force in my face and the rain couldn’t make its mind up. It was raining, then it stopped, then it was raining again. I had absolutely no energy. I felt a little bit frustrated; there just wasn’t a lot in my legs. Ultimately, the rain let up and overall, the weather remained quite pleasant all day. I was so happy when the other runners started filtering through. It was nice to have some company out on what has been, at times quite a lonely course. At the same time it was really strange; who were all these people out on my course? On OUR course? Haha - we had all grown so accustomed to the solidarity of the course. I ended up going a bit quicker than I had in days before, but overall I just wanted to enjoy the day. It was fantastic to makes it back to that finish. It is all just crazy. I can’t quite believe that I ran around that lake 10 times. It really doesn’t feel like I went out there 10 times. I know we did, but it’s so strange; it has gone soooo fast.

Ultimately for me, this challenge was about completing 10 marathons in 10 days. I wasn’t sure what the experience would be like or how I would deal with the psychological aspect of the same course and same routine. It’s tough. One of the toughest bits is getting out there again the next day and the day after and knowing that you’ll have to revisit specific sections of the course that you may have had a tough moment on previously. As a very wise runner told me: if you weren’t mentally strong before, you will be after this.

Dealing with the unexpected was also hard – my stomach wasn’t right for the majority of the event. There were days when I felt sick, days when I had a weird trapped air feeling high up near my diaphragm and days where I would rather have been tucked up in front of the TV rather than out running. You just have to accept the annoying bits and try and work around them.

Road Kill Tally

And the winner is….The Nappy. It stayed with us until the end, through rain storms and blustering wind it remained a daily landmark. The blackbird also remained; although it changed position slightly…

Now I’m back I feel all sad really – it’s so hard to explain everything in depth, all the emotions you go through. I can’t believe I really did it.

Thank you to everyone who supported me and to everyone who read my ramblings

'Twas the night before Christmas.... "The 10 in 10 Diaries"

We are always running
For the thrill of it, thrill of it
Always pushing up the hill
Searching for the thrill of it
On and on and on
We are calling out and out again
Never looking down
I’m just in awe of what’s in front of me……

Ahhhhh…it’s almost over and it’s an amazing feeling, but also very sad at the same time because I’m going to miss everyone sooo much, the amazing atmosphere and the Body Rehab Team – I have been in a little bubble in the beautiful Lake District and I don’t want it to end, but at the same time I am mega excited for its conclusion.

Tomorrow will be virtually two years to the day that I ran my first ever marathon, since my first ever marathon was at Windermere in 2009. I can’t quite believe that tomorrow, I will be running around as part of the 10in10ers on marathon day! It is like a dream come true.

It’s been hard work and there have been tears, pain, frustration, tiredness, dodgy tummies, dodgy feet, sore feet, sore and aching muscles, brutally cold ice baths and lots of mind games, but it is all worth it. It really is worth it. You have moments where you question that and when you find it tough and you question what on earth possessed you to be doing what you’re doing, but it is so worth it. Life is for living and you need to take risks and take the tricky paths in order to really live and feel.


Today was again a bit of a toughie. Mentally, I found some bits difficult. The usual bits that I dislike in my mind start to get to me and the perfectly runnable bits that I could quite easily run, I don’t run because I just so happen to not like this or that stretch of road. It’s all very silly. It was lovely to see some friendly faces out on course today and see my mum and dad and get bought an ice lolly at ice-cream Mountain, even if it was really raining hard by then. The rain did hold off most of the day and overall the day was lovely and pleasant, weather-wise… but a very rainy front did emerge later on. By the end of the day I was utterly soaked and couldn’t wait to get back to a nice dry towel and some lovely hot spicy tomato soup!
Body rehab was a bit brutal tonight haha – I guess my muscles are tired and tender and achy….not tooo bad really, just very tender!

Roadkill watch

There is a new addition. We have a new addition to the tally. There was a rather unfortunate looking rabbit quite early on in the course. It’s actually pretty brutal. It’s a sombre sight. The nappy is still with us…Nappy Mountain forever.

Reach for the stars…Climb every mountain higher! "The 10 in 10 Diaries"

P.S, S*Club 7 were on the Radio this morning; this is the madness that we deal with on a daily basis ;-)

Today when I started out, I was really up for the run; I just wanted to get out there and get stuck in. Later on, however I started to get a bit frustrated with it all. I think it’s just sleepiness and flying insects that were annoying me the most – flies kept dive-bombing me and I got one in my eye and another attempted to fly into my mouth…in fact it actually did fly into my mouth, yum!

I started the day with a taped leg today – still no major niggles, calf has just been a bit achy and so I got some tape yeyyy – looks pretty hard-core haha. I also got some ‘big daddy’ tape on my upper back last night as my right shoulder has been getting a bit tense after a while of being out there…and I had a few muscular-pressure-point needles put into my shoulder also…how I’ve written that doesn’t make any sense really, but they’re basically like acupuncture needles that target trigger points and pain and stuff and I guess release pressure…?! Anyway, it doesn’t hurt to do. This morning the laser also came out, which again doesn’t hurt…it’s just quite funky to be given such cool treatment by The Body Rehab team – they really do everything they can for us to get us back out there on the road again the following day.

It really turned out to be a bit of a toughie today. Getting to certain parts of the course was quite tiresome and took longer than expected. My right foot ended up really hurting, as my trainer decided to randomly start rubbing against the bony bit of my foot/ankle and by the latter stages of the run I was starting to limp about a bit. It doesn’t hurt now, I just hope when I wear different shoes tomorrow that it isn’t still being annoying. It meant that even some of the downhill’s that I would normally really run down – I love flying down the downhill’s – I couldn’t, because it was really niggling at me which in turn was making me really frustrated. A Ribena ice lolly at ice-cream Mountain at mile 22 eased some of the frustration. I can definitely see it being an ice-cream day tomorrow, maybe a bit of beer thrown in? ‘Tis the weekend after all, eh?!

Roadkill report: brought to you by Liz-Watch

Sooo, today out on the roads, everyone seemed to be in agreement that the blackbird that looked fresh from yesterday was no more. Indeed, I don’t recall seeing it out on route. Its presence will be missed. However, I did spot a really small blue-tit like bird in the latter stages of the run; it could have been there for some time, but no-one knows, because it’s really small and kind of blended in with the ground leaves. There were lots of dead bumble bees out on route today - they too can be classed as roadkill. Moreover, the nappy at 15ish miles is still hanging on in there – it is a prominent fixture that we all seem to take great joy in passing; I think it’ll be with us until the very end.

Post Run Fun

The soup today was really nice after the run, but I can’t for the life of me think what it was – it tasted very vegetable-ish and possibly had some lentils in it. I also enjoyed an ice-cold Corona, before partaking in a 10 minute ice-bath session which was brrrrrrrrrrr freeeeeeeeeezing! Following this was a lovely hot shower and for dinner we had chips, lots of other yumminess and some steak and ale pie.

Da daaaaaaaaaa, Day 8 is done: 13 out, 13 back again = brilliant stuff. It’s Saturday tomorrow, how exciting ;-) Just a weekend double marathon to do now…we are past the 200mile mark Wooooooo

Have you ever, ever felt like this, When strange things happen, Are you going round the twist? "The 10 in 10 Diaries"

I lean against the wind
Pretend that I am weightless
And in this moment I am happy...happy…
I wish you were here......

Today we had sunshine :) and the weather was really nice. It is such a big relief when ‘tis sunny; it makes the day that bit smilier.

I know you’re probably all sick and tired of hearing about the digestion-gate scandal now (I am!), but when I awoke this morning my stomach did feel a bit better. However, out on the run I still had that really weird trapped air feeling up near my diaphragm again, but what can ye’ do? I think were just battering our bodies I guess, so I think it’s just something ill have to put up with…but I hope it does feel better tomorrow, as always. It’s like I need to do a massive burp all the time….lovely….and that burp never ever ever makes a proper appearance.

Notable landmarks on route

It’s always funny when you’re running around to get to certain spots on the course and you get used to looking out for certain things in particular. We’ve had road kill, weird trees and bit of rubbish out on course that marks different mileage milestones for us all. As Andy has previously mentioned, there is the rather disgusting but slightly amusing nappy between miles 15 and 16. Today there was a new addition to the road kill tally; a rather fresh looking stone-cold blackbird. The Kleenex box in the latter stages of the course is no longer with us, but the empty packet of Haribo strawberry jelly sweets still exists near this point. The house with the awesome gates that are actually better than the entire house is a favourite part of the course

Going a bit insane

I think a lot of people are going insane, but in the funniest of ways :) I think I went a bit mental earlier in the week…So, there’s this fisherman whom a bunch of us see around a lot on course at about mile 4 and he’s always pulling this massive fishing box/ fishing line and tackle and I remember thinking to myself the other day ‘Ahh, a fisherman…I wonder where’s he’s going to go fishing around here?’ Errrrm that may have been one of the stupidest crazy thoughts I have thought so far, especially when we are running around a HUGE lake in one of the wettest most watery parts of Britain!!

Mega excited to see all the porta-loos arriving on site and all the marathon preparation beginning to take shape eeeek…exciting. Don’t worry; I’m not that excited by porta-loos, just what their appearance means…..that the weekend isn’t far away…

Today, I took the pace the same as yesterday. I could have gone faster, but I chose to be leisurely hehe…ohhh, and I’m a bit sleepy. But I had a nice can of coke at ice-cream mountain and ran down the hill for a bit and astonishingly, I didn’t even spill it!

Overall, today’s ice bath was freeeeeeeeeezing, feet were a bit sore, dinner was lovely (we had some chips too) and Body Rehab is probably going to be brutal…and I'm as disorganised as ever!

So, there are some snippets for all you blog-addicts out there

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Burper… "The 10 in 10 Diaries"

And cars speed fast

Out of here

And life goes past

Again so near

There goes the fear again

There goes the fear……

The Digestion-gate scandal is still being scandalous. When I woke up this morning, my stomach still didn’t feel great – Really trapped air quite high up near my diaphragm or something like that…really odd, but makes taking on nutritional stuff and breathing/ running fairly uncomfortable. Oh, and there’s been burping…

Anyway, it didn’t hinder me too much today in the end and I had quite a bit of peppermint tea out on course and I took some Elete Electrolyte tablets before I started to make sure I was sufficiently balanced electrolyte-wise.

It was nice to have a bit of support out on the course today in the form of my Nan and granddad, dad and brother with the camera out.The weather was also a lot nicer. It was breezy and the sunshine made quite a sustained appearance, which was great.

I’m so glad the sunshine came out today,as it was raining really heavily overnight. Overall, I kept things at a comfortable pace and I’m still in one piece *touch wood* - I ran, I walked, I took in my surroundings and I was nearly 30 mins faster than yesterday, so there we are.

For me,this journey is ultimately about getting to the finish, about getting to that final day, the big day! It has been something I have dreamed about doing ever since I did my first marathon at Windermere in 2009. The 10in10er’s I saw then really inspired me and continue to do so.

We are all very sleepy bunnies *yawn*, but we haven’t lost our sense of humour. Still smiling :) , except when I’m in the ice bath brrrrrrrrr’s, or the Dungeon ofPain, i.e. Body Rehab…though, seriously those guys are great….crazy ninja physio’s that they are.

Right, so there’s a little snippet of today’s shenanigans

May theforce be with you…

P.S. I WILLfind a way to watch tonight’s Apprentice…I WILL I WILL I WILL…because ‘tis the best!

I just saw a snail go past… "The 10 in 10 Diaires"

Apparently there’s an Olympic Snail on the loose in Windermere, if you find him, he might race you *chuckle*….. Nahh, passing some strange Scottish coach driver, he said something totally incomprehensible, I mean I literally couldn’t understand his voice, but apparently he said that we were running so slow that he just saw a snail run past…so there you go. My day can be summed up by these words. Well, kind of.

My legs have been fine. I’ve been having my 10mins in the ice bath, which is utterly freeeeezing…very very very cold, but strangely enjoyable and Body Rehab, as usual have been working wonders. My stomach is a different matter and as my body struggles to take on enough food and digest it, it is really affecting me out there.

I felt today as if someone had pumped up my stomach with a bicycle pump and it was really difficult to run at any sort of sustained pace. So I had to walk a lot. It was long and frustrating. You keep going, but you know you should be doing so much better. I really hope my stomach and digestive system decide to co-operate with my legs, because today it zapped all the energy out of me. I was constantly worrying and in dismay. Rarrrghhhhh.

I think other than this problem; it is my feet that are starting to take the most battering. No blisters, but they are definitely starting to feel quite tender. I also need a bit of a mental boost, but other than that, we’ve only got 4 + The Bonus Round to go ;-)

OoOoOooo and I saw the cutest mouse up Ice-Cream Mountain today…or Mouse Mountain as it could be known :-) Ahhh, it’s the little things that bring a smile to your face sometimes.

National Sunshine Day........... "The 10 in 10 Diaries"

Today was a bit of a wet one, yet again! In fact, it was really pretty soaking wet…and cold…so more than a bit wet. Now, I know it’s called the ‘lake’ district for a reason, but please, Mother Nature, couldn’t you be a bit original and go for the opposite, like maybe sunshine instead? Just a thought.

I don’t dislike the rain…I quite like it; I was born in October. But, it doesn’t feel too great when you wake up in the morning and its absolutely thrashing it down and then you have to go out there and immediately get soaked and know that you will be out there for most of the day…it can be soul destroying at some points…you just have to battle through it and I keep looking to the hills and thinking ‘well, at least I'm not up on those fells right now!’

Today I think it might have been National Idiot Driver’s Day in the Lakes….Soooo many moody drivers trying to force runners into the gutters…and yet there are signs everywhere…silly billy’s!

Ahhhh so, ‘tis Day 5 tomorrow …almost half way. I swear Body Rehab are miracle workers….it hurts when they get stuck in with your aching muscles. Speaking of Body Rehab, this is just a quickie, as I’m about to go and get my evening massage now…it could be a bit of a painful one!

Less Jiggle, More Wiggle… "The 10 in 10 Diaries"

The 'jiggle' being my stupid stomach that would not stop feeling ick! The 'wiggle' being the running that there needed to be more of....

Today I had a really rubbish day, one of those runs where you just want the ground to swallow you up. I won’t dwell too much, but it was AWFUL.

Admittedly, I didn’t sleep well last night. It was a night of tossing and turning and when I eventually got up, I felt like I hadn’t slept at all. What’s more, I felt a bit sickly; my stomach just didn’t feel good. It has felt kind of icky all day and running up and down hills felt like I was on a roller-coaster. It made my stomach lurch more and I felt that little bit sicklier. I just had to keep breathing deeply and be tough with myself, but there really isn’t much you can do in a situation like that. You’ve just got to dig deep and get round. It’s all very frustrating. My legs felt fine, all my running bits were good to go, but my stomach really didn’t want to participate. I felt a bit self-conscious and silly walking so early on, but there was nothing I could do. I was ok in myself. My stomach just felt like it was in a washing machine.

Later on I really craved salty, savoury things immensely…I couldn’t take on any gels today, I couldn’t stomach the thought. A packet of crisps really helped me in the latter stages of the run. Today was very hard, really tough! I had a bit of a cry when I finally got to the finish today, although I think we’ll all get emotional and have bad days at some point. I really really hope my stomach feels much better tomorrow.

Today I had to keep reminding myself of running experiences I have been through that have been much tougher that today’s run. Well, there were quite a few to draw from. Strangely, this made me feel better. I thought to myself, ‘well, at least it’s a 26.2 mile run today and not an all-out ultra in one go.’ Then I proceeded to remind myself of times where I’ve been out there in the rain, fog, cold, night, on the moors, in the woods, in fields of scary cows, in hailstorms, up really big off-road gnarly hills, through bracken, stuck in the mud, had to cross rivers during an ultra and had to keep going 14+ hours in some cases in one go whilst feeling utterly rubbish. And I realised, I am tough, I may have not looked too chirpy or felt very good, but at least I can always delve into my memory and dig out a rough experience to make the current seem less significant. Tomorrow is another day.

Good things that happened today, well, about 3 ½ miles in, I saw a group of deer cross the road right in front of me…it was pretty amazing actually. One emerged and then 3 or so more followed, I’ve never seen them run past so close up before.

Overall, tonight I really need to rest, rehydrate and refuel.

Running up that hill.... "The 10 in 10 Diaries"

It doesn't hurt me.
You wanna feel how it feels?
You wanna know, know that it doesn't hurt me?
You wanna hear about the deal I'm making?
You (be running up that hill)
You and me (be running up that hill)

Note: no extra mileage was done today. Smile :)

Sooo, today has been a lot less rainy than yesterday…actually there has literally been no rain, although it looks as though it might at some point! Apparently it rained quite heavily last night, but I was out like a log (that doesn’t make any sense, but you get the drift). I’ve now got a Corona sat by my side and imp being really lazy in writing this blog. I’m just being lazy full-stop so there. It was a nice day today, although I felt a bit stiff; just the usual really! So I thought, ahh I’ll just go with the flow. I ran bits well, I walked bits well…save the legs and all that, with 8 days left to go.

Something I found strange but rings true for me later on though was the fact that a really good song came on after leaving ice-cream mountain at 22miles (I had a Ribena lolly-ice…I wanted a 99, but apparently they are MUCH more expensive than 99p these days :p) and immediately, my pace quickened and I was able to run a bit faster. I think the mental aspect is a HUUUGGGEEE thing for me, so I'm really looking forward to progressing a bit more through these 10 days…I think it’ll help a lot with morale and be a bit of a boost as we count down a bit more.

Although, don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely treasuring the experience and the beautiful surrounding, nice food and all the witty banter that surrounds me, but it feels good to get another day out of the way. It was a nice smiley day today. It was lovely to see and run alongside Flip Owen and Dave Robson for a few miles and have a bit of beer courtesy of flip :) I really appreciate all the support and the photo’s they took are really good.

My massage this morning was great and The Body Rehab guys are just brilliant. My back was really stiff and achy yesterday and they have worked their magic, both last night and this morning. As a result, it hardly ached at all today.

OoOooo and today, unlike yesterday, there were no injured sheep/ sheep that had gotten themselves caught on wire fencing in a field and thus had to be rescued by the farmer See, I told you these blogs would be in no chronological, sane order whatsoever ;-) Right, off to ice bath again mwahahahaaaaa

Day 1 in the Big Brother house... "The 10 in 10 Diaries"

Verrrry superstitious da da daaaa da daaa....

I will admit, I am a bit superstitious – its Friday 13th, there are 13 runners…OoOoOoooo! And also, it just so happens that I have been very scared of this day for a very long time; Day 1! (I’m also a bit scared of the next couple, but I’m hoping after a while I will find my ‘stride’ and discover a little something called ‘pace’ and things will get mentally easier).

Sooo, after getting here yesterday, it has rained rather a lot. Our room smells rather musty from where some rain has leaked in through our slanted ‘roof’ window & the floors a bit wet. Never the less, I got a pretty good sleep last night. I awoke really early and was really quite wide awake for some odd reason, but I did have a deep sleep once I nodded off. I also had a mega spooky weird dream, wherein different members of my family had turned really ‘evil’ and were stopping me from leaving the house to go and do the 10in10….sooo weird. It was actually quite a scary dream.

By the way, in case you haven’t realised already, this blog is going to be quite randomised, as thoughts and recollections emerge in my brain…but I promise it will make some sense.

Last night and this morning, we had to give saliva and urine samples for a masters study being conducted at UCLAN uni. It is really pretty interesting, and we will participate in the sampling every day. But, man is it difficult to ‘dribble’ through a straw and get it into this tiny little tube. It’s really tricky and even though I seem to have improved from yesterday, I end up slobbering over myself more than getting it into the tube. There’s a nice image for you there!

So the day has arrived and step one of our journey has been completed. It rained on and off for the majority of the day, but it was a nice temperature for running in. I’m not as majorly bothered about times as I am about completing the challenge. That is and will remain my number one priority. However, my pace wasn’t all that bad to begin with and for me, I felt happy with how everything was going. My back did start to get a bit achy towards the end of the day, but the main annoyance to me and my morale was getting ‘lost’.

Yeppers, I went the wrong way…which is really really stupid and silly of me, because not only have I completed the course twice before, but we drove the route yesterday. So with 4 miles left to go, I went in the wrong direction + I faffed around for ages trying to negotiate with myself which road to take. It was a silly mistake that added on a fair amount of time and almost 2 extra miles and lots of added frustration. The up-side to this is I damn well won’t make the same mistake again ;-)! And nope, I’m not trying to make each one into an ultra hehe, ‘tis a one-off!

After getting back (finally), I had a bit to eat, although it was a bit of a struggle…I then had a Guinness which was less of a struggle and finally I braved the ice bath. The ice bath actually turned out to be really great. I stayed in there the full 10 minutes and I really think it is beneficial. I felt I could have stayed in longer. Penny managed 14 mins!! So far, I think the girls are more hard-core at the ice bath than the guy’s haha ;-)

And so, here I am now, blogging away after haven eaten some really yummy and much needed food. Better go and get my bottles ready for tomorrow shortly and then I shall get a bit of a massage from Body Rehab. So, Day 1 is over, let’s hope tomorrow is a good’un and that the weather is friendly.

The 10 in 10 Diaries....

Completing the Brathay 10 marathons in 10 days challenege had such a big impact on me and I think I learnt a lot both leading up to it and during the challenge. So, I've tracked down some of my blogs that I wrote during the challenge itself and I'm going to hook them up to this blog...just to remember :)

Monday, 12 September 2011

Some of the marathons (maybe a few ultra's) I have completed in the last couple of months are:


19th - Cheltenham Circular (Marathon)
25th –Holly Challenge (Marathon)


10th –High Weald Challenge (Marathon)
16th – Moors the Merrier (28 miler)
17th –Fairland’s Valley Challenge (Marathon)
24th – Downland Challenge 30 but in Sussex (30 miler)


7th – Dovedale Dipper (Marathon)
13th –Elescar Skelter (Marathon)
14th – Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1 (50k)
27th – Smugglers Trod (Marathon)
28th – Sunday, Sandwell 6 towns Marathon
29th –Monday, Gin Pit Marathon 26 miler


2nd – XNRG Toad Challenge (28 miles+)
3rd - XNRG Toad Challenge (Aprox 32 miles)!
4th - XNRG Toad Challenge (32 miles+....I got lost, did 34.5 miles)
10th – Birmingham Canal canter (Marathon)
11th – Yorkshire man Off-Road Marathon (Got a little off course = 28 miles+)

Soooo, these last few months have been pretty jam-packed, especially since these have all been completed in the months following May's 10 marathons in 10 days! The events I have done have varied greatly...but a lot of them have been on trail and off-road. There has been lots of mud, rocks, obstacles, extra mileage from getting lost & bad weather. It is all worth it at the end of the day. And even though I literally had to scrub my feet after yesterday's Yorkshireman Off-road marathon (in which I got awfully lost) and my toes still look all dirty and manky & my feet a bit swollen, try a marathon some time (if you haven't already) and you will know that it is all worth it!

3 on, 3 off, 3 on…

So, I didn't really keep up with the permanent blog thing! I have one, but only my runner friends can access it....anywaaaay, here goes my attempt at starting up an accessible blog #2!

There are just too many tempting events about…far too many :-) And so, I have found myself rather busy again which is no bad thing. Being able to do all these different things is what makes things so interesting. And so, I made the best of a long bank holiday weekend and the week following this long weekend…

27th August – Smugglers Trod

The main thing that instantly springs to mind is mud! It was an amazingly muddy mud bath of an off-road marathon. It didn’t actually rain a lot on the very day of the event, but I know that it had been quite bad weather leading up to the Saturday and it had obviously left the moorland very wet indeed. There were literally knee-deep bogs of mud and water. My legs also took quite a thrashing from all the rough bracken and heather bushes across the moors. It was definitely quite tricky in a lot of places and we took it very slow, so as to not go flying. Some of the little wooden bridges across the moors were so slippery and there were rocks and roots under the mud – I love the moors, but I was definitely being a bit cautious here. I love this area though. Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby is simply beautiful. I recognised some of the scenery from back in January, when I and Lisrun had completed the Yorkshire Frostbite Off-road marathon.

One of the most amusing and surreal moments of the day was stepping back into civilisation and emerging from the moorland swamps a little while from the finish, absolutely covered in mud and utterly dishevelled; we entered a busy street filled with tourists and it was such a weird moment. We became very aware of the marshals dressed in Victorian dress and pirate attire, the smell of fish and chips in the air, a chocolate fountain display in the window of a sweetshop and us, looking an absolute mess. We did get some funny looks. Oh, and then we had to walk up a really very steep hill of a road. It was really steep!

Overall, the event was lovely and I really enjoyed it – definitely the muddiest event I have encountered in a while though. And the event description on the LDWA website describes the event as mildly undulating…well, I guess it is in parts, but there are definitely some other hills in there that far exceed the title of ‘mildly undulating’ :-)

At the finish there was pie and peas and some other goodies. There were lots of friendly faces on this event and it was nice to catch up with fetchies such as lisrun and spiced apple. I didn’t get lost at all, although traviss was doing the key navigation work. However, I DID get lost trying to find my way back to the field in which I had parked my car. I had no idea. I must have walked a mile loop before admitting defeat and finding my way back to the village hall. Once back there a nice marshal gave me a lift back to the field – turns out I had only been around the corner from it, doh!

28th August – Sandwell Six Towns Marathon

This seemed like a good idea to do the next day and it wasn’t too much of a drive for me. Anything requiring a 2 hour drive or less is considered near for me…this was under the 2hour mark and so it always leaves me that little bit extra to get my act together in the morning. Although, it was good I had left early because I had absolutely no clue where the parking was situated. It seems quite a few people had the same problem and were also driving around in circles for a while. The problem was that lots of the roads were closed off for the ‘family fun day type’ event that was being held in conjunction with our event. None of the stewards really seemed to know much though. Eventually I figured it out and parked my car. It didn’t leave me with a lot of time. I spent the next 1hr ½ of the event really needing the loo and there was nowhere to stop or even a bush because the first part was down a really industrialised stretch of canal. I was eventually able to sort this little problem hehe, but I had to wait a while. It so silly how stuff like that can just take over your mind and your ability to run properly. I didn’t much like the first part of the event; the area seemed quite dodgy and quite bleak along the canal.

Happily, the marathon did get better with regards to the scenery and became greener. There were some pretty parts, after all. There was also nearly a 2-mile stretch in a dark tunnel – it was so pitch-black that you couldn’t see a thing. We had been told to bring our head torches and we definitely needed them. I actually thought it was quite fun. Admittedly, it was creepy…but it was also quite an unusually fun part – how many times do you get to run in some strange dark canal tunnel…? Towards the end of the day I did start to get a bit weary and was happy to reach the end, upon which I got a 99 from the ice-cream man :-)

29th August – Gin Pit Trail Marathon

I was originally meant to be doing Pathfinder, but I change my mind. For one reason, it seemed like a really silly thing to be driving further south after having completed two events already that weekend. Secondly, I was really looking forward to catching up with some lovely people and Malc at the Gin Pit Marathon. The short drive there and back was a major bonus. I was looking forward to this one (even though I don’t generally love laps). I had a really great day. Following the theme of the weekend, the course was very muddy and there was some rain but it didn’t seem to matter. The course was lovely and organisation was really spot-on! I had to do 6 laps of the course and I seemed to have a bit more energy that the day before. I managed to keep a fairly consistent pace and could have gone faster, although my legs did start to seize up a bit later on in the day; I blame the rest of the weekend’s shenanigans. Overall I managed to get around in about 5hrs 29min…this is quite good for me, especially in this year of mega-slowness and during a muddy trail marathon. So, not that time is a major thing for me right now, I have to say that I was quite happy.

Afterwards, I had a good old natter to lots of lovely people; some familiar faces and some new ones. Oooo and I also had a half of Guinness :-) Then, I drove home and chilled out. I knew I only had 3 days of not doing much until I was doing much more again on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday that was to follow: The Toad Challenge 3-dayer: To be continued…