Saturday, 11 September 2010

Running with Chris Moon MBE and other stories

What a week!

82 miles in 7 days, and still in one piece. 69 of the 74 miles I had planned to do since last Monday.

This week I had the opportunity to run with Chris Moon, a double amputee and amazing ultra athlete on his Post Office 1000 mile challenge . That's 36 miles every day for 30 days. Having read a small article on his arrival in Swansea on Thursday I googled him and managed to get in contact with his business. Through them I was able to contact his support team and arranged to meet Chris at Wetlands at 7.30am on the Thursday. We ran along the coastal path towards Loughor, getting wet feet in the exceptionally high tide, through Gowerton and down the cycle track to the front, where it was straight along Swansea Bay and into town.

He is an amazingly determined man, with extreme mental strength, and of course he's quite fit too. We ran for a couple of hours together, chatting mostly about running. We stopped on the way for him to do a radio interview and a bit of filming before arriving at Swansea Post Office. I then dashed to work, and he went on to run another 22 miles!

The run with Chris allowed me to see that ultra endurance is as much about determination and the will to succeed as it is about physical fitness. For a man who lost his arm and leg clearing mines in Mozambique he can run blinking fast! It also showed me what it might actually be like to run across Wales. The constant focus you need to do something that challenging, and how you have to involve as many people as possible to help make it a success. It was an incredibly inspiring run, and an extremely interesting one, but above all it made me realise how Chris Moon, and other endurance athletes are not superhuman, just ordinary people who work very hard at doing extraordinary things, quite awe inspiring. I hope to have some photos and maybe video from the run for the blog soon.

That all happened on the Thursday, so I managed 14 miles with Chris. On the Friday I had 16 miles to do, which was tough. Towards the end of the run when I was just about to leave the cycle track and head uphill and home I bumped into Lowri Morgan the S4C presenter who ran the Jungle Marathon in Brazil last year. I had watched the S4C coverage of her run with interest, and had emailed her to ask if she would support the RunWales. So bumping into her was a godsend, she introduced herself and declared she'd love to support the run!! Which is fantastic news.

I'm ecstatic to have Lowri and Chris on board and willing to support the RunWales challenge, their support will be a huge boost to the event, and a huge boost to my confidence knowing there are other endurance athletes out there who believe I can do it!!

Today I did another 18 miles, helped along by the WRN long slow run group. I couldn't persuade myself to do the extra 4 miles needed for the 22 I had planned, it was getting late and I felt I had added to my training by upping my 3 day total from 45 miles 2 weeks ago to 48 today. My legs were also still sore from the sports massage I had yesterday which was quite definitely the most painful massage I've ever had. I came very close to screaming abuse at Wayne my masseur and for a few moments I most definitely hated him! However, my knee was fine for 48 miles in 3 days, which given the problems I had last week, I'm very pleased with.

Next week I only have 45 miles to do. What used to be a peak week in marathon training now feels like a rest. Then the Wales Marathon the following Sunday. I'm stiff, sore and tired, but happy!

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