Thursday, 17 March 2011

Back to work!

So now that I am recovered from Run Wales, and running well again, it's back to work!

My journey across Wales has certainly given me an insight into how hard you can train if you really want to. Not that I would consider working any of my clients that hard, not unless they asked me to anyway!

If you would like to change your life by taking on a challenge of a lifetime, then give me a call! My website can be found at . Further information on all the classes I run as well as a little background information on what I can offer you as a personal trainer can be found on the website.

Just keep on running!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

I'm still a runner!

I have just been out for my first run since finishing Run Wales. I managed 4 flat easy miles.

My legs are a little more achy and stiff than usual, and I was definitely lower in energy than I normally would be. My pace has also gone, but I can still run!

The real fear with doing an event so huge was that the aftermath would put me out of running for weeks or even months, but it seems the human body is a lot more resilient than I expected. All my aches and pains have disappeared, and my blisters are fully healed, just 8 days after my 227 mile run. It looks like I will be fine for Forest of Dean Half Marathon in a couple of weeks, and even a 31 mile ultra in Swansea on April 16th. I also have plans to do a 50 mile ultra at the beginning of May. I would like to spend the rest of the year just doing the races I fancy, maybe a few marathons which are close to home, and some offroad races.

I have thought about planning another solo event, but I think I need a break from the organisation and pressure that comes with such a big event. I have some major changes happening in my working life at the moment, so feel I have enough to contend with at the moment. Having said that, I have seriously thought about the next challenge, and knowing me I will find myself planning something before I have realised what I am doing.

I went out for lunch with a good friend on Friday, and she asked me what it was like now that Run Wales was over, how did I feel? The only way I can describe it is, that it feels like I have had an incredibly intense and wonderful holiday relationship. I am very sad it is over, but I wouldn't change a thing, and given half the chance I would rush back into it like a shot, but I realise real life has to come first. I have been so lucky to have this wonderful experience and I do hope I get the chance to have another different adventure some time soon.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Post Marathon Blues

It's hit me, I have post marathon blues.

Although my body is recovering and my legs and feet are feeling a great deal better, they are still feeling the effects of 227 miles. My blisters are very nearly healed but I can still feel them to walk on. My right knee is very stiff and sore. I had a massage with Wayne yesterday, and he confirmed what I thought, there is no damage to the knee, it is just that the vastus medialis (part of the quadriceps), is very very tight, and it is pulling on the knee and making it hurt. The reason for the tight quads was compensation for the blisters. So it just goes to show you really do have to treat every little ache and pain as a real full blown injury to avoid it turning into something nasty. Having said I ache, I managed to cycle just over 5 miles with my running club last night, albeit on the flat. I am exhausted this morning as a result, but I know my body will recover I just need to be patient.

When your body is tired, your mind often follows suit. I am dwelling on negative thoughts at the moment and finding it hard to feel positive. That is part of the process of recovery. I had to be so strong during the run, that my mind had to work really hard too, and it also needs a break now.

I knew that this would happen, so have lined up some treats to look forward to. I am doing Forest of Dean half marathon with my husband and sister in law in a little over 2 weeks time. Or if not I will be having a night away in a B&B and a good old chat with my brother in law whilst I support the other runners. I also have a couple of ultra events I will either be supporting or running in the next few months. Having something planned in the future, even if it is not actually running gives me something to look forward to, and helps me realise this blue feeling is only temporary, and a very normal part of recovery.

Everyone has been asking me what I plan to do next. I would definitely like to do something big again, but I think I need several months if not a couple of years to regroup and plan my next adventure. I do intend to have a go at some more organised events, where someone else has all the heartache of the organisation, and I just get to enjoy the running. I would like to start with a 50 miler, and maybe attempt a 100 mile race in the next year or so.

I have learnt a lot about myself on this journey, and a lot about what it takes to run 227 miles in a little over a week. I have loved every minute of the journey, and it is something I want to repeat. I always think though that distance running is about patience and control. This journey has opened up so many possibilities for me as a runner, I just need to be patient enough to explore those possibilities at a pace that my mind and body can manage!

Friday, 4 March 2011

The Aftermath

Over the last few years I have followed several blogs that describe people's ultra challenges, and I have invariably been disappointed when the challenge finishes and the blog disappears. I want to know what it's like after the event itself is over. I want to know how the runners cope when they finally stop running.

So just in case there are other people out there who feel the same way as me, and want to know what happens next, this blog is for you.

Last night I slept better than I have done since the day before the journey up to North Wales. It was pure luxury not to have to tape my feet, and massage my legs on waking. Although I did have to get up at 7am to get breakfast and see the boys off to school. The plan was to go back to bed, but in fact I just lounged around all morning in my pyjamas, something I never do. My feet were still quite swollen and painful from the blisters and all the pounding, so I spent the morning icing them too. My right quad just above my kneecap is also a little tender, and the knee very stiff, but nothing that ice and rest won't fix.

I am unbelievably weary. I don't want to sleep, I just can't move very fast! My brain is also a bit slow. It's a shame really because the weather is beautiful, and if I had the energy I'd love to be out in it. I did walk about half a mile to the shops at lunchtime, and the blister on my little toe was painful. I hope that by Monday that will have subsided a bit. Already my feet are looking more normal, and the swelling is reducing. I am still wearing compression tights to be on the safe side though. I have a massage booked for Monday, so hopefully I will be walking more normally by Tuesday.

The day so far has been punctuated by well done texts and phonecalls. I feel honoured that my run has been of interest to so many people.I even got 2 cards wishing me congratulations. The cards must have been sent before I finished to arrive today - they obviously had confidence in me that I would finish!

The only down side to the day was realising this morning that both my husband and I forgot to vote in the Welsh referendum! I guess we had other things to think about.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Day 8 - 14 miles

The finish line in Cardiff
Just a short plod into Cardiff from yesterday's finish point West Aberthaw.

I got up early and it was a mad dash to get everything and everyone into the car and en route for the start. My husband and sons were my support crew for the day. Unlike any other day so far I also had company for the whole run from Women's Running Network runners and leaders and one of the charity workers.

I met Gayle in Gileston standing on the side of the road. I had massaged my legs and taped my feet whilst sat in a traffic jam on the M4, goodness knows what the other motorists thought I was doing! Apparently whilst waiting for me to arrive Gayle had met a couple of villagers, who stopped her and asked if she were with the runner who finished here last night. I was the talk of the village! Which was handy, as Gayle was able to knock on one of the villager's doors and ask if I was able to use their toilet before we left. Thank goodness I'd caused a stir.

The route this morning was definitely the least scenic start I'd had so far, as it was a major A road around Cardiff airport. There were a lot of huge trucks and white vans intent it seemed on getting somewhere very fast. For the first time I had drivers gesturing for me to get off the road. Although I had as much right to be there as they did, I would much rather have been running on quiet country lanes, but I had somewhere I needed to be, and this was the quickest way to get there, so I concentrated hard on staying upright and negotiating the roundabouts as safely as possible.

After 6 miles or so Gayle left me, and I met Amy from Swansea Women's Aid. It was lovely to have so many new people to talk to, and the next few miles went quickly. Amy mentioned that she had not been running for very long, so the hill we did in Dinas Powys was her first! She did brilliantly.

In Dinas we were met by Erika and runners from her group, some of whom had taken the time off work to be there. They brought not only a donation for the charities, but also a large banner, which in the icy wind today was very brave of them to carry all the way into Cardiff. After a quick refuel we were off on the final leg of what had been an amazing week.

In Cardiff centre, there was a manic half hour whilst we loitered in various supermarkets and museums until the finish line was set up properly and we then ran round the corner into Roald Dahl Plas with Erika's group following holding the banner stating the mileage I'd completed, and I finished my 8 day run with as much of a sprint finish as I could muster. Quite surreal.

Glad to see my family again.
It was lovely to see so many people there. Wayne and Clare my sports massage therapists, my family including my Mum and Dad, representatives from the charities, as well as some of the charities' service users, the people I was really running for. A few friends who worked in Cardiff had also come along, which was lovely. What was most bizarre was a group of 8-9 people in white hoodies who all came along to cheer. One of them introduced himself at the end as a group who were doing exactly the same run as I had just completed but up and back. The only difference being they were running it as a relay, so I think they were a bit surprised to find I had run it on my own.

After tea, cakes, photos and speeches it was back to normal life.

I've had my burger and chips, my huge bowl of cereal, a decent cup of tea and a shower. I am too tired to talk right now, but I have had the most amazing week. It's difficult to express how astonishing and wonderful the experience has been. I don't have a big enough repertoire of superlatives to describe it adequately. What I can say though is, I want to do it all again!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Day 7 - 29 miles

The time is now 9.15pm and I am sitting in front of the computer eating cereal. I didn't get home until 8.20pm from my wonderful massage with Clare, who did a brilliant job. I can even walk down stairs unaided! I have eaten and sorted the route for tomorrow, but I still have to sort my kit, food, and support crew stuff for tomorrow.

I am tired, so I do hope this blog makes sense.

I was with two running friends Sheila and Julie from the start on Fabian Way today, which is a horrible long straight dual carriageway. I was stiff, and completely exhausted. I usually finish the day on a grandad shuffle but today I started that way too. Sheila and Julie accompanied me to the beginning of Port Talbot and then I was on my own. The weather was fantastic, bright sunny and cold. I managed to speed up the shuffle a bit til I was almost running by Margam, and I was greeted there by Clare my sports therapist who had threatened to jump out at me.

Helen was crewing for me again today, and we had the map sorted well, with Clare on board for a bit too the running was easy. They met me regularly and dealt neatly with the old lady who protested when they parked in the busstop. Clare also very kindly lent me her ipod for the day, as even though I have 185 songs on mine, I'd listened to them all at least 3 times already.

It was a nice straight line down to Pyle, with a little bit of a headwind, but as I woke up, so did my legs, and I managed pretty well. I did however manage to take a wrong turn around Pyle somewhere and nearly ended up on the motorway, not my finest moment. I was finding today that Helen would tell me the route for the next 2 miles, I would repeat it back to her, and then run off and promptly go the wrong way. This is what hundreds of running miles does to your brain!

The next section was just lots of nasty A roads with lots of traffic, punctuated by a cup of tea in a car showroom, blagged by Helen, and cheers and waves from passers by again sorted by Helen. She was actually running into every shop/cafe/pub/service station I passed telling them what I was doing, then dragging them out onto the road to cheer me on, and boy did it help!!!!

The next miles passed in a blur of ever increasing muscle aches, my body was just slowly becoming tighter and tighter and more and more sore. I rounded the corner at Gileston with just a mile to go, and it began to sink in what I was about to do. I expected to run the last mile with tears streaming down my face, instead I ran it at the speedy pace of about 12 min miles (as fast as my weary legs and feet would go) and saw the sea ahead of me. Helen was shouting from her car to passers by what I was doing and I ran onto the beach at West Aberthaw the most southern point of Wales to the cheers of a man with a model aircraft, a woman with a dog, and a granny and granddaughter at their front door, cheering and shouting. It couldn't have been better!! The elation, and sheer joy of seeing the sea again was indescribable. I really had run from north to south, 215 miles in a week. The man with the model aircraft said "you've got a car, you should use it you know!" Too true!!

To top the day off, my phone rang, it was the news reporter Claire Pearson I'd done the interview with at Swansea Sound, (again arranged by Helen), wanting to interview me on having completed my challenge. So standing on the shingle looking out at the wonderful sea in the sunshine, I told her how I felt...... invincible!

So all I have to do now, is run just 14 miles into Cardiff tomorrow, accompanied all the way by various WRN runners, and charity workers, and meet my friends and family and charity representatives in the Millenium Centre for tea and cakes. I am so lucky.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Day 6 - 33 miles

Running into Swansea city centre
I was very nervous starting today. Having looked at the route last night I realised I had around 34 miles to run today, which seemed such a long way. My right foot was quite swollen on waking, and didn't seem to be going down much even with icing.

Today was a very good day. My legs behaved, my foot settled down and the miles got done.

The weather was fantastic, cold, clear and wonderful to run in.

I had 6 miles to Llandeilo, then another 5 til I met Jenny a runner friend in Llandybie. Meeting her was so lovely, so great to talk to someone for more than 5 minutes at a time whilst I stuffed my face. She had half the village out of the village shop to cheer me on when I arrived, so lovely.

After leaving Jenny I ran along the base of the Black Mountains by Garnswllt. The road was slightly undulating and my right knee which had been a problem yesterday began to bother me. I tried my best to ignore it, but it just wouldn't go away, so I took 2 ibuprofen. I always advise my runners never to take painkillers whilst running, but then I don't know many people who run ultras. Anyway, whatever the rights and wrongs of it, it worked, and the discomfort from my blisters went, my gait improved, and my knee stopped hurting.

Once I was inside the Swansea County border I started running roads I knew well. Before I knew it I was in Gorseinon, and feeling strong. I rounded a corner and there was a group of my runners and walkers come to cheer me on! It was so lovely to see them, they were so encouraging and cheerful, thankyou for your support!! Helen who was supporting for me for the day, had phoned Swansea Sound Radio station, and on my way past they asked me to pop in for a quick interview (which will be on air tomorrow). They even made me a cup of tea! I had no idea how ordinary the inside of a radio station was though, looked like any other office. Having sat down for a good 15 minutes I was a little worried how standing and walking and eventually running would be, but I shouldn't have worried, I was fine!

Running well.
I was now on a high and running well. I knew another group of runners was waiting for me at Carmarthen road ready to take me down the High Street to the running shop, where my husband and youngest son was waiting with friends. It was gone in a flash, and there I was running into Swansea town centre, I thought I might cry, but all I could do was grin from ear to ear. My son had made a banner with "Welcome Home Mum" on it, and runners, walkers and friends were all there, as well as Melanie Walters and an Evening Post Photographer. When the photographer asked Melanie and I to run like superman down the High Street holding collecting tins and each other's hand, I politely declined, stating that if I tried any super hero stunts after 180 odd miles I might never run again! Instead he settled for an exaggerated shuffle from me, and a photo of the boys banner.

With Melanie Walters and Simon Franks.
Simon Franks at "Up & Running" had organised some biscuits for me (which my son ate!), and a welcoming cup of tea. After my allotted 20 minutes though, I really needed to finish the run for the day.

Helen and Ann joined me for what was supposed to be the last 2 miles, but in fact turned out to be 3. Their support was invaluable.In the last half mile I was really struggling, and had resorted to a mad woman shuffle/mumble approach to running, when Nina another friend literally jumped out the bushes at me. She was just the impetus I needed to finish. After a quick hug I ran to the finish and the support car at the Visteon gates. I have never been so pleased to be jumped out at! Nina was an angel from the bushes!!

It has been another eventful, but brilliant day, rounded off with another great massage from Clare. I have just 2 days left now, and just 45 miles.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Day 5 - 28 miles

Llandewi Brefi - I am the only "runner" in the village!
150 miles done.

And I have no idea how I have actually managed to do them.

After the emotional upheaval of yesterday I was feeling rather flat today. Without Wayne I also had to massage myself in the morning. Wayne had showed me how, and I did the best job I could, but I was a lot stiffer to start than I had been. I also now had an issue with my right quad which was very sore on a small point above my knee. Of course I panicked and phoned Wayne. He managed to reassure me there was no damage, just a alot of miles in my legs and pain was to be expected.

The day was slow, but scenic. Some incredible views in the clear bright sunshine, it really felt like spring.

As with every day so far, the last few miles were tough, but I had a brainwave and started phoning everyone I knew to keep me company. An ultra running friend Caz was particularly good, and kept me chatting for a good few of those miles. I must have looked strange though running or should I say plodding down the road chatting and laughing out loud, to noone!

Today I reached 150 miles, just 85 to go, and I really feel like I can make it.

Day 4 - 27 miles

I started the day today just outside Machynlleth. The weather was a little drizzly, but fairly warm. My legs felt fine, but my mind was shot.

Mandy my support crew manager needed to go home 4 days early, which meant I now had huge logistical problems. With only 1 support crew member helping out the following day as Wayne my masseur had to go back to work, I had a car but no driver, and no way of getting the support car home.

On just 3.5 hours sleep sorting out how the next few days were going to work and run 27 miles was just too much to cope with. I didn't want Mandy to go home, but she was, so I needed to just get on and sort it out. The first thing I did was run the first 5 miles alternately sobbing and phoning people. To cut a long story short, I phoned the right people, who rallied round fantastically well, and support car, and support crew were sorted for the remainder of Run Wales. Knowing that, meant I could relax and get on with run again with a focussed mind.

The run went very well, it was hilly, but not ridiculously so, although there was a lot of walking up hills, there was also a lot of running well down them. At one point I managed a 10.45min mile, which was an encouraging surprise.

1001 uses for frozen peas!
The last 5 miles were a real struggle though. Once I had come down of the high of the middle miles when everything was falling together nicely, it was a question of dragging my carcass round. In the last 2 miles I really felt like I was going mad. Hannah my sister in law (now promoted to sister status), was fantastic, she joined in my madness and did the ministry of funny walks to keep me amused. I finished the day as I started in tears, but this time they were tears of relief. I laid myself out bare today on the road, but I survived another one.

The evening's massage was excrutiating, and as I had punctuatued the day with tears, I shed a few on the massage couch too.

Hannah and I waved goodbye to Wayne and Mandy, and then retired to Eifion's fantastic house with accompanying log fires. I had a very relaxing evening, fell asleep early and slept well.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Day 3 - 29 miles

Today didn't start very well. I didn't sleep for long enough and woke early feeling a sick and exhausted, struggled to hold a conversation. I was still feeling sick and very tired when Wayne and Mandy dropped me off at the start point just south of Trawsfynydd. The first 6 miles were slow and achy, and I was worried. I just had to get my head down and get on with it.

I have a large blister on my little toe and every step for those first few miles was painful.

We then went off the main road and down a side road into the forest. I was running with Mandy, beginning to feel a little better, when we reached a cross roads, and came unstuck. We didn't know which road to take, and asking a passer by didn't help, so when Wayne came back in the car we decided to be sensible and go back to the main road, and just stick with the easy route. What looked like one road on the map, had turned into a mass of little roads with few sign posts in the forest, so the best thing to do, was go back to the main road, and take the easier option for navigation.

The views were fantastic!
Things now started to look up. We negotiated Dolgellau successfully, and Wayne managed to get me some coca cola. And boy did that coke taste, I'd been imagining it for miles! Once Mandy dragged me up over the next not inconsiderable hill we were within reach of Cader Idris pass.

Running was going really well. My blister was manageable, the legs were going well, and Mandy's peanut butter sandwiches were hitting the spot, so I cracked on. The pass was breathtaking, the sun had come out and the mountains looked truly beautiful. I had a great time over the pass, and the traffic was very obliging and gave me plenty of room. I think most people were so surprised to see anyone running that road, that they assumed I was a mad woman and gave me a wide berth. (Probably not far off the truth)

Down the other side towards Machynlleth my quads were beginning to complain about all the downhill, and although I was still feeling like I was coping emotionally, my legs were completely shot. As I knew Machynlleth was within reach I was focussed on reaching the town, everything else was irrelevant, it was a battle for survival. By 26.2 miles, a marathon for the day in 5 hrs 11, my legs had quite frankly had it. I was shuffling along and all I could do was make sure I stayed upright. Thankfully the last few miles were on a very wide pavement and I was able to concentrate on getting as many miles done as possible.

The plan was to run to Machynlleth, then see how many more I could do before my legs gave in completely. In the end I managed 29.2, and I was very happy with that. A banana milkshake and a massage and I feel better. Stairs are definitely a problem now, and my blister is still sore, but I'm ok.

I have just had a lovely meal with friends of my parents in Machynlleth, who very kindly helped out with accomodation too.

I am now very tired, and hopefully will sleep a little better tonight.

I hope that tomorrow will be as good a day as today, but all I can do is get up, and just get going. This morning I thought it was impossible, by the end of the day everything was possible again. No doubt tomorrow will be another roller coaster. Knowing I have another 5 days to do, is more than I can cope with thinking about at the moment. So for now it's about getting back up the 3 flights of stairs to my bedroom! 3 days done 5 to go.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Day Two - 33 miles

A very hilly day but a much better one than yesterday.

Stu and I before braving Pen y Pass.
The day started well even though it was raining and very misty. The wind was less strong, another good thing. I started running with Stuart from Rhos on Sea, who was very good company and got me up the Llanberis Pass and down the other side. We then did a lovely road, which was well off the beaten track but quite beautiful. Not having phone coverage all morning was an issue but we coped.

I have a couple of blisters which needed regular attention, but were not too bad once I'd got going. I ate better today, and made sure I ate early. Yesterday I used 4500 on the run, which added to my 2000 for daily living takes me to 6500 required. I did not eat 6500, but I ate alot today and felt better for it.

The last section of the day was alongside Trawsfynydd, and it was tough, even with Helen's excellent company. No matter what I ate, it wasn't giving me any more energy, but I pushed on and finished the day only 0.5 miles short of the target point, which meant I'd made up what I lost yesterday.

Wayne and I at Blaenau Ffestiniog Mountain Railway.
I felt much better today emotionally and physically. I felt in control of the route I was taking, and I knew where I was going. I was slow on the hills, and probably took an hour longer than yesterday, but I did it, and I feel good.

The massage tonight was slightly more painful, but Rhys and Gwyneth have really looked after us well. The food and a hot shower was fantastic!

I will be in the Telegraph Saturday Review next Saturday, a photographer will be meeting me on the run this week to snap a slow motion photo! Watch out for it!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Day One - 33 miles done

The daily routine of taping my feet.
What a day.

We started in Holyhead dashing round trying to find somewhere to have breakfast, which we eventually managed. Then a 30 min car drive to the start point in Amlwch, Bull Bay. The wind on leaving the car was fierce and cold! That was to be a problem all day.

First checkpoint reached with few issues except a huge hill and strong headwind. It was then 6 miles to the next one, which went quickly. And thank god Wayne my sports masseur saw me in time as I headed off in the wrong direction.

Checkpoint 3-4 was a really tough section as I came down into Llanfair I added an extra 2 miles at this point. But ho hum, nothing that could be done. I met Helen, Richard and their kids at this point. Mandy was in and out with me all day, and that really helped.

After the Menai Bridge the roads were big and confusing and our navigation went from bad to worse. I was getting very hungry but also feeling a bit sick. There were no sign posts anywhere and it was a case of the support crew car driving to the next junction and just waiting for me.

The last few miles were a blur of rubbish navigation on my part, driving head wind, sore feet and nausea, but I managed, I finished. My Garmin gave up but I think I managed about 32.5 miles.

A lovely cold shower (!) later, and a really good massage, and I'm eating lasagne and chips with Wayne and Mandy in Pete's Eats. All done, and I'm still walking fine.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

And I'm off! With a little help from Asda.

A small selection of what I am taking with me. The food and drinks alone will take up most of the boot of the support car. The drinks have all been kindly donated by Asda, Gorseinon. More than enough to keep me going.

I am feeling quite calm. Whilst out with my walking group last night, taking it easy at the back, I was walking at a 16 minute mile. If I walked the whole of the Wales run at that speed I will still only be on the move for 8 or so hours a day. That thought was very reassuring.

I don't intend on walking it all. I want to run as much as I can, but knowing what my worst case scenario is, makes the whole thing seem so much more manageable.

Forward motion by any means possible that's the key!

Now I need to go and finish packing, I leave in less than 4 hours, and I still have wet clothes to wash, iron and pack!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

2 days to go.

By this time tomorrow I will be on my way to North Wales. A scary thought.

I am busy packing the gargantuan amount of stuff I need for the trip, and trying desperately to answer all my work emails before the off. Not an easy task when it's punctuated with requests from my son to bake and ice cakes!

In comparison running an entire country might feel like a break!

Monday, 21 February 2011

3 days to go - Follow me!

You can now follow my epic and some would say mad run across Wales in 3 different ways! click the link and "like"!/Platform51
Or by watching this page.
I'm not getting a huge amount of sleep at the moment, I am too excited and nervous. It may also be due to the fact that I haven't run this little since the week after the London marathon, so my legs feel a bit odd, rested! I still have a lot to do though, so the nervous energy is quite handy! I have been receiving daily emails and texts from people wanting to join me on the run, so hopefully they will all make it, and be happy to plod along with me for a bit.
The charity totals have also topped £2000, which is fantastic. I only need to raise another £400+ for each charity to reach the total of £3000 for the both. So, if you'd like to donate, please follow the links on this page and make a difference to the women and children of Wales. For some women your donation could make the difference of whether they feed their children that night or not, so please give generously to these very deserving causes.
Every so often I will be engrossed in doing something and then I remember again, "I'm running a whole country", and my heart leaps into my mouth in panic. So I keep stuffing my heart back into the right place, but frankly it's leaping all over the place at the moment. I'm ready to go!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Knowing what you want

"Know what you want, why you want it, and how much you want it." Charlie Spedding.

I want to succeed at this, because I want to prove to myself that I am a runner, and it's hard to quantify how much I want it, but I am prepared to put up with a lot of pain and discomfort to get it done.

I know it seems odd to say after 13 marathons that I need to prove I am a runner, but I'm sure a lot of other runners out there will know what I mean when I say, fast is good, but it's never quite fast enough. Going a long way is good, but again it's never quite long enough. That is what I love about running, there is always another goal. I think so many of us are comparing ourselves with runners who are just that little bit faster, or that little bit stronger. It took me 5 years of running not to feel like a beginner.

In the past I have been in situations where my running has been compared not very favourably with those around me, and it is that sense of inadequacy that drives me on. Rationally I realise that I am a good runner, and I realise that I have already completed races other runners can only aspire too, but deep down it's just not enough.

I don't like to admit it, but I think a large part of why I am running across Wales is to show other people that I am just as good as them. Of course rationally that makes no sense because comparing yourself with others is utterly pointless. But I've always felt not quite good enough. I've always felt that I need to do better to really be good enough.

This feeling of not being good enough sounds as if I am ridden with neuroses. I'm not. I'm bloody lucky!

I am so lucky that I want to do this mad thing. I am so lucky that I get to experience this mad run. I am so lucky that I am driven to push myself to extremes. I get to have an experience so few people have, and I know why I'm doing it, and I accept it about myself.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Come and say "Hi!" in Swansea

On Tuesday 1st March at approximately 3pm I will be running down Swansea High Street and stopping at the 'Up & Running' specialist running shop for a cuppa. This will be Day 6 of my run across the length of Wales.

If anyone would like to join me for a couple of miles afterwards to finish on Fabian Way that would be fantastic!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Will I make it? The route.

I have spent the morning with Mandy my "Support Crew Manager" (posh title), in order to transfer all the routes onto the map.

Mandy had already done quite a lot, but we managed to pretty much finish, bar a day and a half. Actually looking at the route on paper, and thinking about where I would meet the support crew and how hilly each day was, really made it very real for me. A little too real to be honest. I am fearful that I may not make it. I know it will be painful, that's for sure.

I have, I think sensibly, altered the route to avoid some very very big hills (mountains), as well. One of the days is now not quite 30, and another a little over, so I think my starting and finishing points each day will vary from what I have actually planned. I can't believe how much I still have to do. I know I've said this before, but each time I sit down to do something for the week away, I remember 5 other things I also need to do. And unfortunately this Sunday I am working all day in Cardiff. Not only that, I am being assessed as a UK Athletics Coach Education Tutor, so I can't wing it. Still at least it will give me something else to think about.

I have started dreaming about Run Wales, although in my dreams I don't ever seem to be actually running!

I am also going to be in The Telegraph, not sure exactly when, but definitely in the Saturday Review. An old school friend is a freelance journalist who writes for some of the national newspapers, so she pitched the idea of an article about "normal" women doing ultras, and the Telegraph went for it. Not sure I really count as "normal" anymore! It's a great opportunity to get some publicity for the run, for the WRN and for the charities though - so I'm very excited about that. Plus it will be lovely to have a catch up with my friend, we've only exchanged Christmas cards for the last few years.

8 days to go and counting.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

I'm now counting the days, and panicking!

Just 10 days until I leave for North Wales, and I had a major panic last night about my support crew situation. Yes I know I should have sorted all that out weeks ago, but I was busy running!

I now have a sports masseur available every day of the run except the last day. As I won't be needing to run again after Thurs 3rd of March, I thought I would leave having a massage that day, as my guess is it would be agony, and I reckon I will have had enough agony for one week.

I have also managed to rope in another friend Helen, to be an extra support crew member for the Tuesday and Wednesday. She is very encouraging, and very chatty, so I was so glad when she said she'd be able to do it, as she will be brilliant at it!

I have been having some real moments of panic this week. Every so often I will just think of what I am about to do (run across an entire country - arghhh), and my heart leaps into my mouth, and I wonder what on earth possessed me to sign up for this. Then I remember how well my training has gone, and I shove the panic away again for a bit until it surfaces the next time. I know this panicky feeling is perfectly normal, and that it's also normal to feel quite exhausted and like a dreadful runner as your event approaches. I remember my first half marathon. I went out for a run with a friend a couple of days before the race for an easy but hilly 3 miles, and was sent off into a massive panicky spin because I was breathless on the hills, and my legs felt like lead, and I had no idea how I was going to finish the last mile, let alone 13 of them! Now I have done a few races, I know it happens every time. So I will trust my body, and just do what needs doing until Feb 24th arrives.

I am meeting up with Mandy, my support crew who will be with me for the whole week, on Tuesday, in order to finalise the route. It'll be a case of spreading out the maps on the floor and pencilling in where I am going, should be fun! I also need to start writing some lists - I am a prodigious list writer and don't feel ready until I have several lists under my belt. I am convinced it is my list writing mentality that makes me a better ultra runner. I'm not a natural risk taker, and like to know exactly what I am in for, before I do something. Writing lists, and feeling prepared gives me the confidence to attempt things that might seem unachievable. I am a Theorist learner. That means I sit back, listen to everyone else's ideas first, do all possible research, then when I have formulated a plan, carry it out precisely. I have a friend who is an Activist, jumps straight in with both feet, up for anything, incredibly outgoing and friendly, but not a distance runner - good job really!

So, next week just 4 days running, and only 30 miles to do - and probably some more panicking to organise!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

2 weeks to go - dealing with fear.

This week so far I have run a grand total of 19 miles. Today I am not running at all, which feels most strange. However my body really needed the rest. My legs are beginning to feel a lot better, all the niggles and sore bits are slowly disappearing, although I still have no speed.

It is 2 weeks today until I start my 225 mile run across Wales. I suspect it will be a little more than 225 miles as I planned the route online, and cut a few corners whilst plotting it. I have spent the extra time I have had this week getting as much sorted for the week away as I can. I have been in contact with all my overnight stops and checked that they are all ok. A good job I did too as the hotel in Llandeilo was booked for the wrong night! I have also ordered some hoodies for the support crew and myself which Manhattan Marketing, Llanelli very kindly gave me at cost price.

I don't feel too nervous yet. I tend not to feel nervous about big events until very close to the day. I am pretty good at filing away difficult thoughts until I need them. Possibly not a very healthy way of dealing with fear but it works for me. I'll need the terror and the adrenaline during the week, I don't need it now, so I'm tucking it away in a dark corner to bring out later. I think the quote below says it all:

"Bravery is not the absence of fear, it's the ability to operate in spite of it."

I don't know who said it, but feeling the fear and doing it anyway is the way to go. The emotional highs and lows of ultra events are utterly addictive. You have to find reserves that you never knew you had. Facing the unknown and coming through triumphant - what a kick!

There is still so much to do. I need to make sure my support crew have the same route as me, and that we all have hard copies we can carry with us - no good having the route online! I have also yet to finalise a sports masseur for the last 4 days as Wayne will need to go back to work on the Monday. I have someone in mind, but need to sort out the final arrangements - the thought of being without a massage is a bit scary!

Last week everyone I met suggested I was mad ...... I don't feel mad! Running a country just seemed the logical next step after 3 marathons in 3 days. As crazy as that sounds, when you know you can run 80 miles in 3 days and survive, you want to know if you can run 225 in 7 and live to tell the tale. Only a few more days and I get to find out!

I will be blogging throughout my journey across Wales, so keep on reading, and enjoy the emotional rollercoaster with me!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Calling all runners!

I need your company!

I have now finalised the route (or as final as it's going to get), and I need as many people as possible to come out and run with me.

If you feel that you would be able to join me running or cycling for a few miles then email me and I will send you the details of where I will be and when.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Curry Evening at the Mumbai

Helen and Hannah from Platform 51, Lowri Morgan, the bear, myself and Helen from SWA.
The curry evening was a great success. With everyone's help we raised £706 for Platform 51 and Swansea Women's Aid, which is phenomenal!

Over 60 people attended, and everyone was incredibly generous. We had 20 raffle prizes donated which meant that we sold over 350 raffle tickets, which in itself raised a huge sum. Thankyou to all those people who donated raffle prizes, especially Elaine who made some gorgeous beaded necklaces and who I forgot to thank on the night. Even the waiters bought raffle tickets..... and one was lucky enough to win himself a lovely silvery necklace!

Lowri Morgan very kindly popped in for a few minutes on her way to Cardiff, and had a photo taken with the charity representatives. Lowri will be running for 12 hours, resting for 4 hours and repeating 3 times over the next week, as training for her Yukon 350 mile ultra, so for her to spare us a few minutes in her arduous schedule, really was something!

I was very touched by the reaction of the charity representatives, Helen from Swansea Women's Aid, and Helen and Hannah from Platform 51. It wasn't until I actually met them that I realised this money will make a difference to people's lives. Until now it had just been another number to target. Platform 51 have in fact decided to make the money that is raised into an emergency fund for their users, which they have called Finola's Fund!

I was so pleased that everyone had a good time last night, but was quite exhausted by the end of it. This morning I still felt shattered and didn't feel at all like running. I decided to keep it short and do just 4 miles. It's been a long time since I ran anything that short. It went very quickly, and I managed to run a fast last mile (9.25mm - fast for me), chasing 2 other runners on the cycle track.

I am now looking forward to catching up with myself after the last few months of putting things off in order to run. The meal last night really lifted my spirits after a difficult week running last week, even if I didn't actually get to eat that much. I hope that as the days go on, my legs will become less stiff and my body will recover ready to run the country.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Contract Services (SWales) Ltd

Run Wales has received an incredibly generous donation of £100 from Contract Services Ltd to help with support crew costs.

Donations to both charities are steadily coming in, and the charity evening this evening looks like it will raise quite a bit, with nearly 60 people attending.

Please consider making a donation using either of the links of the left hand side of this page, and make a difference to the lives of the most vulnerable women and children in Wales.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Swansea Building Society

Today I received a cheque for £250 from the Swansea Building Society. This is fantastic news, and helps bring the total raised so far to £891 for the 2 charities.

On Monday at the curry evening at the Mumbai Indian restaurant, I hope we can raise some more much needed funds for 2 very deserving charities.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Reaching the limit

Today's run was supposed to be 25 miles, but I decided pretty early on to cut it down to 20. Over the last week my legs have been getting tighter and tighter, and niggles have just not been going away. So first thing I arranged a massage with Wayne for the afternoon, and decided I'd try to just get 20 done and see how the legs were.

At about 17 miles my left calf tightened up, and didn't go away. I managed to finish the 20 miles, but I was worried I'd done some real damage.

The massage with Wayne was probably the quietest massage I've ever had! It was so painful, I couldn't talk at all. There was quite a lot of swearing going on in my head though! Usually I might have 2-3 niggly points that need a bit of work, today it was everything. It was hard to find a muscle that wasn't sore. Wayne had to work very hard. There is no lasting damage, it is just clear that after months of hard running my body has reached it's training limit.

Wayne advised me to drop tomorrow's 30 miles. I will run 10 very easy miles with the club, with the proviso that if my body isn't working I will stop.

Pretty amazing though that with just 1 run to go I have reached my limit. The schedule that I wrote myself has obviously hit exactly the right level.

The plan from now until the 24th Feb is to maintain the fitness I've gained by active recovery, the right amount of running, and tapering well. I've got to stay injury free!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The closer it gets - the harder it is.

I only have 2 more hard training days left, and yet again I don't know how I will run them.

All week I have been feeling tired and not myself. The strain is beginning to show. Everyone has been very supportive, and there's nothing major wrong, I'm just having a whinge.

So whilst I'm whinging........... my legs are stiff and sore and tired. My left knee is stiff and bothersome, my right ankle throbs and energy levels are at an all time low. Wayne had a good look at both knee and ankle. He never makes any comment unless the limb is actually falling off, and he didn't say anything, so I'm good to run.

Thankfully, my feet are much better. Today they were extremely well behaved only murmuring at me a couple of times during the 10 miler, rather than screaming as they have been doing since last week. I think I have finally worn in the shoes I will wear for Run Wales. I shall wear them for my 25 miler tomorrow, then put them away until Anglesey to make sure they last the challenge. Imagine buying a pair of running shoes then having to throw them out after just 3 weeks wear!

I have decided the only way to cope with running 55 miles in the next 2 days after months of hard training is to revel in the experience. It might seem perverse, but when it's really a struggle, telling myself this is a unique experience, one that 99% of the population never have, helps. It's almost like an out of body feeling. As if you are floating inside your own body somewhere like a little mini scientist, noting down the discomfort and difficulties faced by various parts of the body, and nodding wisely at how well everything is functioning. Of course now I really do sound mad!!

To give you a flavour of my emotional wellbeing at the moment. I turned up to a running club session this morning, barely able to talk I was so tired. After 3 miles, with good company I sounded half way normal. Whilst driving home after my run, a car pulled out in front of me, and I let out a torrent of expletives - gave myself a bit of a giggle though, it was like a verbal sneeze, a bit explosive and highly unladylike.

Just 2 more days - then I can regroup for the final assault.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Training your brain to run long.

Today's run was 15 miles. The plan today, was to "feel the fear, and do it anyway". In practice this meant, making the 15 miles mentally tough, and doing it anyway. Last week Lowri and I discussed advice she had been given by a sports psychologist to make her training mentally very demanding, to prepare her for the difficulties she will face completing her arctic ultra marathon. For example, running a hilly long run, then returning home and sitting down for 30 minutes inside, then heading out to do the whole thing again. To be able to do that, you've got to be really hard mentally and emotionally.

My run today consisted of 3 x 5 mile laps, including several steep hills. I started from the house, and actually went inside after the first lap for a couple of minutes. On the second lap I just passed the front door, but didn't go inside. It was easier than I expected, but still a challenge mentally. I couldn't quite bring myself to go in and sit down for half an hour in between laps, but knowing I could stop at 5 and 10 miles, was still difficult.

My legs had nothing in them today, and felt like jelly on each uphill. I kept telling myself that they would recover on every downhill, so to keep going and wait for the recovery. I did stop a couple of times, but got going again.

These last few days of hard training are dragging by. If I can only make sure I stay injury free, then I'll be winning that battle at least. Another 65 miles to go this week, 10 of them tomorrow.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011


I am really struggling today.

I feel really down.

Standing in the bank starving hungry - and I mean so hungry it hurts - a man behind me told me I'd pushed in, and he was there first. I was ready for a fight. Running along the cycle track this morning, 2 dogs were playing and chasing each other. One ran into my feet and very nearly tripped me up, and I cried. I actually cried - I am losing it!

It's not the physical aches and pains (although they are a struggle too). It's the ability to hold a pleasant conversation with people you don't know that well. It's trying to get everything done, whether you're hungry, tired or both. It's pretending you're cheerful and sociable, when you feel irritable and grumpy and you'd be quite happy to just lie down and sleep.

I've just had an Innocent veg pot, 2 rolls with butter, a packet of baked crisps and a bowl of fruit....... and I'm still hungry.

Ultra running isn't easy. I want to do this, I want to run across Wales, I want to know what it's like to push yourself to your limit, and beyond. But it isn't easy.

My body is still working ok, it's sore and stiff, but still working. My brain is struggling.

This is what it is like to run 100+ miles a week .......... hard.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Toes, and losing your mind.

My toes hurt.

I broke one of my middle toes down the length of the bone in a freak canoeing accident in my 20s, and it's telling me all about it now! When I run anything over about 6 miles it just aches. It is quite bent and I suspect it is banging against the side of the shoe, and squashing the other toes too. Wayne, my sports masseur suggested taping it to keep it straight, so he's going to have a go at that next week and see if it works.

If anything is going to fall apart on my run across Wales it's going to be my feet.

My sports massages have been getting more and more painful, and that's not just because Wayne is a sadist (although I am wondering!). I am just so tight and sore after 100 miles a week. Goodness knows what  I will be like after 225 miles.

I am also slowly losing my mind.

"Men and women who race at distances longer than marathons—also known as ultrarunners—are by reputation and reality a strange, obsessive, and somewhat socially awkward lot."

Had a long chat with Lowri about the quote above, especially the socially awkward bit. We neither of us felt we fitted that particular description, but then we could be deeply in denial. But definitely obsessive, oh yes.

Over the last week, it seems the running has slowly eroded both my memory and my IQ level. I forget simple things, miss obvious jokes, and my reaction time seems to be working at a glacial pace. Oh well, it'll all be worth it in the end!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Running with Lowri Morgan

Lowri and I at 25 miles
 Several months ago Lowri Morgan the S4C presenter agreed to support my run across Wales. Yesterday she emailed me and suggested we do a run together. What a fantastic suggestion! She joined me for 25 miles around the Gower this morning in the middle of her 31 mile run. The 4.5 hours we were running went in a flash!

I think we covered a fair range of subjects with ultra running being right up there. She is doing a 350 mile race in Yukon Canada, in the arctic circle in March, so she's in the midst of some heavy mileage.

It was so good to have a chat about schedules, and miles, and how tough ultra running is mentally, and talk to someone who knows. Last year she competed in the Jungle marathon, a 5 day ultra. It was filmed for S4C, and I watched the programme avidly. She is one tough runner, but she's also human, and a great laugh!

If we can we will run together again. Having the company of a likeminded runner was a real pleasure. I'm not sure I'm quite at her level though, as she measures her runs not in miles, but in hours! The thought of running for 8-10 hours (which she does in training), is mind boggling. There's a big difference between running a marathon and running an ultra or a multiday event, but the great thing about running is, there really are no limits. Company on a run is good, stimulating, interesting company is great - today's was a great run.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

The Power of a Smile!

Fantastic sunrise this morning!
I was dreading the run this morning, as I expected it to be hard given what my week has been like, but it was a fab run. I ran to the Saturday WRN group, where the girls were great company. The large group of French men wandering round the docks as we passed proved to be good entertainment too, as they congratulated us on our physical prowess!
A few of the girls ran on after the group for a few miles too, which was great. Then a comedy podcast got me the last 3 miles back to my car.
I couldn't help it again, I was laughing out loud. People were very friendly, several said hello. Amazing what a smile can do.

Friday, 21 January 2011

When the going gets tough - pretend!

You wouldn't think I needed to blog anything about tough going during an easy week, but I had an all time low today.

I had a moment of reality, when it hit me full force that whilst it is lovely spending my time phoning local companies for raffle prizes, and having chats with media types...... I am actually going to have to run the length of an entire country! What was I thinking?

No, ok, I know exactly what I was thinking. It's long, it's hard, that'll be a challenge, sign up before you really think about it. And then, a few weeks before the event, think about it, and panic.

Planning to run 225 miles in a little over 7 days, is scary!

At the moment, when I am permanently dog tired, eating constantly, and spending a lot of my time aching, all I can think about are the tough bits. All I wanted to do today was go out for a short plod with my group, maybe 3 miles, then go home and rest. However I had 10 miles to do, and I just couldn't get out of the front door. Thank goodness I had a group to lead, or I might well not have run at all.

I am tired, really really tired. Physically, but especially emotionally.

I know there will be good bits of the Run Wales experience, but I can't let myself think of them yet. It's like hoping for a good result in an exam. You sit the exam and do the best you can, then spend weeks assuming you've failed, because it's much easier to accept defeat early and get on with a plan to deal with it, than to cope with disappointment when your hopes have been too high. Think I might be a pessimist!

This ultra running business is all about controlling your mind, and your thoughts. Whilst I know all this about myself, and accept it, I also am learning how best to manage my thoughts, and keep myself positive (even if I don't sound very positive at the moment). Secretly I am very very excited, but I don't want to let that excitement explode just yet, because I need it for the event itself, to keep me going through the dark moments. So I suppose by concentrating on the tough bits I am making sure I do get out and train properly. My run today was actually pretty good. I didn't want to run, I felt exhausted, but I did it anyway, and finished with a fast mile. If I can get myself going when there's noone else around and go on after a club when everyone else is going home to a nice warm shower and something to eat, then I think I can run Wales, when hopefully I will have loads of help and support.

The lesson I have learnt today is - if you think you can't do it, pretend you can until you've managed to do it anyway!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

This isn't easy!

So this week was supposed to be an easy week. So far I have run 19 miles over 3 days.

I have never felt so achy, stiff, tired and hungry. How is that easy??

Today's run was 10 miles. I had intended to run somewhere scenic having a little more time than usual to drive somewhere nice. However on waking to a very hard frost I had to stick to pavements that had been warmed by traffic, and that had seen a bit of sun, although I did manage to make it down to the Loughour estuary which was very pretty.

I haven't been down this way since my pre running days, when I used to push my son in his buggy through this riverside park. It was quite a revelation to find that the park had a whole other section that I had never explored with my son. It just goes to show how unadventurous I was before I was a runner!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

100 miles - Done!! and some scary dogs.

I can't quite believe it. It does seem ridiculous. But, it's true. I have run a grand total of 100 miles this week.

I now feel I will be able to run across Wales.

The challenge this week has most definitely been a mental challenge more so than a physical one. The temptation to allow all those negative thoughts to flood into your brain whilst you are running, and give in to the feelings of tiredness is overwhelming at times. I have been having some very strange dreams recently where I am incredibly angry, and just shout and shout at the top of my voice. I'm sure it's because I am spending large chunks of my day holding everything together, and staying mentally strong, that all that raw emotion is released in my dreams. Thank goodness I'm not getting so angry in real life! I feel very sorry for my dream adversaries, they really do get an ear bashing!

I have been overwhelmed by the kindness of the people around me. My running friends have gone out of their way, especially Mandy, to keep me motivated, to feed me, run with me, count the miles for me. It has been fantastic. Strangers have offered to run sections of the challenge with me. Aquaintances (I'm sure that's not spelt right, but I'm too tired to check) have sponsored me. It's getting very real!

I have an easy week next week, just 45 miles, with a sports massage and a trip to the podiatrist planned to check everything is ok. I am looking forward to some runs of less than 26 miles.

One thing that didn't go to plan on the run today, was being accosted, or maybe I should say attacked by 4 large dogs. I met them on last Saturday's run as well. Whilst running down the cycle track, and almost at the seafront, they rounded a corner, barking, growling, baring their teeth and jumping up at me. They circled me, and had me at a complete standstill. One of them was wearing a muzzle. On jumping up, they reached my shoulder, and dug their claws into my legs. The owner was completely ineffectual, and totally unapologetic. Last week he commented I'd given the dogs a fright, this week when I said he should keep the dogs on a lead if he couldn't control them, he muttered something about not expecting to see runners at this time in the morning. It was clear from their behaviour that they thought I was a threat to their owner, and were protecting him. I was scared, and appalled, that anyone could allow their animals to be so out of control, and not even consider apologising! Unbelievable.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Bruised, battered, but still running!

Why oh why do I fall over so much???

4 miles into a 15 miler today, I saw a kerb and I promptly fell over it. Luckily the only bit that hit the ground hard was my right knee. I hit a bit of muddy grass with my left arm and hand, so the damage was thankfully limited. I spent a few minutes walking round in circles waiting for my knee to stop throbbing and trying to decide what to do. I tried a few paces, and it wasn't so bad, so I decided to run to the next junction about half a mile away, and decide whether to cut the run short, or to carry on with the rest of the 15.

At the next junction, it was a little stiff but much better, so on I went. Then it started raining again. Looking at my bloodstained socks I figured my knee was probably a bit cut. My running tights had saved me from too much damage, but now they were wet and rubbing on open wounds (albeit small ones). Anyone who has experienced chafing whilst running, will know how much this stings. Still at least the pain was all on the surface of the skin. I decided to continue the run, only cutting off a couple of miles at a moment of weakness, when it felt like the skin on my knees was being rubbed with acid.

So, I did 13 miles, and now have a pretty stiff knee. Being an old hand at this falling over lark, I'm sure it will be stiff for the rest of the day, and either ready to run again tomorrow, or Friday, but we will see. I have full range of movement, just residual stiffness from the bruise. It was definitely tiredness that made me fall. If only I could have 12 hours sleep a night, then I could run forever!!

Not only can you see the bruises in the photo, but all the old scars too!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The route

In the last few weeks I have been recruiting people to keep me company on the run. So far I have someone for most days, and the last 3 days are looking especially busy. North Wales is looking a bit sparse though, so I would really appreciate some more company from anyone willing to run or cycle with me in the first 2-3 days.

If anyone would like a copy of my intended route then just email me on .

Below is a list of places I will be running to and from to give you an idea of where I will be on each day.

Day 1 - Thursday 24th February - Bull Bay, Anglesey to Llanberis.
Day 2 - Friday 25th February - Llanberis to Trawsfynydd, just north of Dolgellau.
Day 3 - Saturday 26th February - Dolgellau to Machynlleth.
Day 4 - Sunday 27th February - Machynlleth to just north of Tregaron.
Day 5 - Monday 28th February - Tregaron to Cwmdu north of Llandeilo.
Day 6 - Tuesday 1st March - Llandeilo to Swansea.
Day 7 - Wednesday 2nd March - Swansea to Aberthaw east of Barry.
Day 8 - Thursday 3rd March - Barry to the Welsh Assembly, Cardiff.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Promotional Video - Run Wales - what it's all about!

Video courtesy of Lorne Guy - Goodguys Production Co.

95 miles this week

Yet again my body has amazed me by completing a gruelling week of running. 95 miles for the week - done and dusted!

Yesterday I ran 22 miles. It was supposed to be 24, but it was a dreadful run, and I just didn't have enough time to run the extra 2 miles. On Thursday I had foolishly not eaten well enough, and ended up leading a power walking group with not enough fuel in the tank. I felt lightheaded, wobbly, absolutely starving and exhausted. All because I missed my afternoon sandwiches (a couple of peanut butter sandwiches mid afternoon is essential for the ultra runner!) The knock on effect was that I was really low on energy for Friday's run too. The legs were fine, no real aches or pains, it was just really really hard.

I learnt my lesson, ate like a horse on Friday night, and added the missed mileage to my run today to make it 27 miles in total. I planned well, downloaded a couple of hours of comedy podcasts, arranged to run with a group at around 9 miles, then picked up Mandy for the last 6 miles (she's a star!) 5 and a bit hours later, 27 miles all done.

I am now comfortable in my compression recovery leggings, feeling relieved I've managed another week's training. Only 3 hard weeks left before I taper for the run itself.

I have been lucky enough to manage to get another article in the South Wales Evening Post for Monday as well, which will help with the fundraising I am sure. The money is coming in, and it would be great to get more than £1000 for what are 2 incredibly deserving charities that protect and support the most vulnerable women and children in the community. If you haven't already donated please follow the links at the side of this page and make a difference to the life of a woman or child at risk of violence.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Curry Evening - 07/02/11

Tickets are now on sale for a Charity Curry Evening at the Mumbai in Blackpill on Monday 7th February at 7pm. It's just £15 a ticket for a 2 course buffet meal with raffle and competitions with prizes.

Everyone is welcome. 50% of the ticket price will go to the RunWales Challenge chosen charities.

Please contact me to purchase your tickets.