Dreadmill Training

I am heading off this weekend to look at a potential venue for the 24hr treadmill challenge which now looks like it has been set for April. It is been billed as an official record attempt but the record currently stands at 153.6 miles so I am doubtful that I will manage further than that. I will, however, give it my best shot and see how far I can do in 24hrs. To give myself the best chance at doing this I have pulled out of the glasgow to edinburgh double marathon and will not be entering any other races until this is complete to focus on my traning.
In the meantime I will be doing mainly treadmill running (yawn) to get myself used to the pace and tedium. It will be a mix of long runs and some speed sessions too.
My friend, Paul (lanzarote crew), works in Esporta in Poole and has arranged for me to do an 8hr treadmill run there next month – I will post the exact date when I know. They will promote the upcoming 24hr challenge that I will be doing with Sweatshop and Nike.
Hopefully after this weekend I will have an exact date for both events and I can seriously start worrying about it – although there have been some panics already about it

Indo Trek blog

It’s been only a week and a half since I got back from Indonesia but already I’m looking forward to heading back next year.

Normally my multiday events are races but when Indo Trek was organised by Phil & Co at Sole Challenge I couldn’t resist the chance to visit another island in Indonesia, Indo Ultra was held in Lombok whereas the trek was to be in Java,more specifically in the spectacular surroundings of Ujung Kulon National Park…an area where the endangered Rhinos are. Sightings of these Rhinos are rare and we weren’t lucky enough to see them but there is always next year!

Myself and Debs arrived at the Jakarta hotel the morning of the 30th Sept so had a full day and nights use of the hotels resources. i couldn’t resist the use of the pool and gym. A bit of luxury at the start www.fm7hotel.com It is also the hotel at the finish

There was a long drive the following day to the base camp at Tamanjaya where the trek would start from. There we met some more of the crew and I saw some familiar faces from Indo Ultra…Steveo and Hendra. We were given a welcome and a presentation from one of the Ujung Kulon National Park Rangers. He was obviously very passionate about his work, to be fair i think if i worked there i would be too.

It’s difficult to explain exactly what each day was like, I think it just has to be experienced. As each day finished I decided that that was my favourite day…i don’t think there was one day I didn’t love.

We had beach, trail, coral, jungle routes with jungle plants and animals to look out for. Quite a few big spiders and lots of birds, monkeys and fruit bats to be seen but no Rhinos came along.

There were a number of jungle days…a couple of the routes had not been used very often so it ended up as a jungle obstacle course which was a lot of fun. At the end of that day we came out onto the most beautiful stretch of beach I have ever seen. I spent that night in a hammock falling asleep to the sounds of crashing waves. Outstanding! The following day we had a short trek then spent the most of the late morning/afternoon on a boat heading back to base camp…the water was so inviting but couldn’t go for a swim here unfortunately.

We returned to Tamanjaya base camp where the following day we did some community work. The group planted some trees which we named and will be used in the future years for a variety of purposes. We also made bins for local schools and shops which we presented to them. Taking the one we made to the school was great. The children pretty much mob you and are very sweet. It was difficult to actually tear yourself away from them!

When we finished our community day we were treated to the most amazing show of sing/dancing/entertainment from the village, the whole village turned out and it was such a great night. A few of us got dragged up to dance too, though Denis decided to entertain everyone with his “interesting dancing style”

The last trek day we visited a bat cave…some of the crew like Eja and Bram went down and took photos. This was also the day we got to swim in the jungle pool and do some tarzan swinging from vines and jumping into the water….that was awesome!

Another long journey back to the hotel before a very early flight back to uk and to reality.

The other trekkers were all a lot of fun too, I had known Debs, Michelle and Denis beforehand but it was great to spend time with them on the trip as well as meeting Jean, Lenel, Karen, Jeni and the crazy Viki!

Thanks to all the crew. The porters did an incredible job, quite how they carry what they do (barefoot) is unbelievable.

Great crew overall…Phil, Steveo, Hendra, Eja, park rangers, porters and the cooks (food was sooo good) So well done to everyone involved in making it a great success…I’m looking forward to being part of it all again next year

Roll on next september!

Beacons Ultra

I have been enjoying my time back ultra running without the thoughts of sea swims in the back of my mind at all times.
Likeys Beacons race is a two lap route around the Brecon Beacons and is billed as 45miles (its apparently more like 46/47miles)


I travelled up on friday afternoon with another ultra runner, Kev. A lot of ultrarunning friends including Mimi Anderson were comming up so it was more of a social event with a bit of running to be done in between.
A few minutes before the start of the race I started having mild stomach spasms. I took my medication but was resigned to the fact that it was not to be a fast day for me. The spasms lasted most of the race but were intermittent so was actually able to enjoy the event and was still feeling pretty fresh at the end. My legs felt great, better than they have done in a long time, I was surprised at how little aches I had the following day. In fact only this weekend I did a 45mile training run at a little faster than 10min miling and it felt easy towards the end and have no aches now. I’m not going to complain about it, just enjoying it as long as it lasts.
The main event of the Beacons weekend was the pub quiz which was great fun….the Welsh team cheated so they won of course.
Great weekend all round, well done to everyone who took part. Our Elagen teams took 1st and 3rd overall.
Off to Scotland for the Yamaa Winter Ultra this weekend so am looking forward to it.

Venture Medical First Aid Course

I spent this weekend doing an Adventurous Activities Outdoors First Aid course. It was run by Venture Medical www.venture-medical.com

It’s a two day course and I found it to be much more informative/realistic than any first aid course I’ve been on previously. Rather than the normal Death by Powerpoint the course switched between talks (which were split between both instructors) and hands on practice (both indoors and outdoors)

We were given more realistic scenarios to deal with…outdoor casualties in awkward positions…and had to improvise and figure out how to get them to safety. It was a very good practice session.

all of those on our course passed and everyone there seemed to find it very useful.

As a ultrarunner I can be out for hours on mountains/trails/hills so it’s more likely if I find someone injured then it’s probably not going to be that close to civilisation so I wanted to be confident in being able to help someone when help such as MRT is on the way.

I’d recommend this course to any ultrarunner/trekker/biker or anyone else looking to update their first aid knowledge. I’ll definitely be keeping my training on this up.

 

Viking Way Ultra in Memory of Anthony Downing

The Viking Way Ultra is a 147mile race that is starting on 7th April and runs from Humber Bridge to Oakham. It is a non stop race and has a cut off of 40 hours.
34 runners, including myself, have been selected to participate in this tough event organised by Mark Cockbain, an accomplished Ultrarunner himself.
The event is self sufficient (no crew allowed) with basic stuff being provided at checkpoints every 15-18miles.
I am probably not going to do any other races before it, concentrating on this event and getting up to recce the route as often as possible so navigation is a little easier when tired on the actual event.
I am doing this race in memory of Squadron Leader Anthony Downing who was the RAF serviceman who died of injuries sustained in Afghanistan over christmas. Ant was a a good friend and a talented endurance athlete. I met him when I crewed at the Enduroman Double Ironman in 2009 and was lucky enough to have him in my life. Anyone who knew him would describe him as a gent. He was a kind, generous and modest guy who lived life to the full and whose only weakness was the copious amounts of tea he drank, his only addiction…..he normally couldn’t open his eyes in the morning til he had his first cuppa which always made me laugh!
He was a talented runner and cyclist, having cycled across the States in 25 days, a fact he was pretty modest about. He had also planned on doing Arch to Arc 2013 even though he thought I was insane for doing it. Much as he liked to claim he was more sane than me I think he was at a similar level of insanity.
He was an all round great guy and leaves a void in many peoples lives.
Those who worked with him both liked and respected him and his loss will be felt for a long time so to honour his memory I am raising money for the RAF Benevolent Fund. Please give generously to a very good cause in honour of a very good man.

Ironmonster

Another weekend  spent  in  Scotland  for  racing.  This  race  was  Iron  Monster,  a  race  that  is  normally  a  relay  around  loch  ness.  This  year,  however  28  loons  stood  at  the  startline  along  with  275  relay  team  members  with  the  intention  of  doing  it  all.  Roughly  40km  run  and  80km  bike.  The  first  2  run  sections  were  pretty  easy  and  didn’t  have  too  many  relay  runners  overtake  me.  The  third  section  was  a  little  tougher  but  still  pretty  runnable  while  the  final  run  section  was  the  toughest  and  longest  out  of  the  lot.  It  finished  with  a  pretty  steep  downhill  section  into  the  first  bike  transition. 

The  solo  competitors  were  given  race  numbers  that  stood  out  from  the  relay  ones,  relay  being  1-275  and  solo  1001-1028.  This  meant  that  every time  you  came  into  a  transition  area  you  got  a  big  cheer  from  everyone  who  thought  you  were  a  little  bit  crazy  to  be  doing  it  all.  In  some  of  these  transition  areas  other  competitors,  who  had  either  finished  their  leg  or  were  waiting  for  their  team  mate  to  arrive,  actually  took  my  water  container  to  fill up,  handed  me  food  etc  and  generally  gave  me  loads  of  encouragement  to  carry  on.  I  probably  wouldn’t  recognise  them  now  if  I  saw  them  but  I  was  very  grateful  for  it  all!

Once  the  last  and  toughest  run  section  was  done  one  of  the  race  officials  took  us  to  where  our  mountain  bikes  were.  They  paid  special  attention  to  the  solo  runners,  getting  us  food  and  filling  up  our  water  as  well  as  bringing  a  hot  sweet  tea  for  us  to  the  transition  area.  It  was  also  a  chance  for  them  to  check  us  over  and  make  sure  we  were  ok  to  carry  on.  I  had  a  5 – 10  minute  break  here  while  I  got  changed  into  my  bike  gear  and  refuelled.  I  wasn’t  brave  enough  to  clip  myself  into  the  bike  for  this  section  so  stuck   with  the  trainers.  It  was  a  good  choice  as  I  was  forced  off  the  bike  on  a  couple  of  the  up  hill  sections  as  it  was  pretty  steep.  Once  this  section  was  over  I  took  advantage  of  some  of  the  hot  food  they  were  offering  at  the  next  transition  area.  (see,  I  do  eat  in  races  sometimes).  I  swapped  my  mountain  bike  for  a  road  bike  and  changed  into  my  bike  shoes.  The  next  bike  section  was  a  fairly  tough  one  too.  It  started  with  a  long,  steepish  climb  but  then  there  were  some  great  downhill  sections.  It  was  a  bit  unnerving  doing  some  pretty  fast  downhill  sections  on  a  borrowed  bike  especially  as  the  brakes  were  in  a  different  place  to  on  my  bike  but  I  soon  got  used  to  it. The  following  two  road  sections  were  very  fast  and  I  even  managed  to  overtake  some  relay  cyclists  which  I  was  very  happy  with.  Given  I’m  not  a  great  cyclist  and  don’t  enjoy  it  as  much  as  running  I  was  happy  with  how  it  went  and  surprised  at  how  much  I  enjoyed  it.

I  crossed  the  finish  line  in  10hrs  8 minutes  knowing  that  there  were  still  relay  teams  and  other  solo  competitors  to  finish  yet.

This  was  an  outstanding  race.  We  had  great  weather  for  it  too.  The  organisers  did  a  great  job  and  were  happy  to  fit  around  me  when  I  said  my  flight  would  not  get  me  in  to  Inverness  in  time  for  the  briefing  and  registration.  They  told  me  they  would  wait  for  me  and  give  me  a  one  on  one  race  briefing,  as  I  was  on  borrowed  bikes  (thanks  to  Ant  for  managing  to  get  those  for  me)  we  had  to  set  them  up  for  me  before  handing  them  over  on  Friday  evening  which  added  on  extra  time  so  thanks  to  the  organisers  for  waiting  around  while  we  faffed  about  with  pedals  etc.

By  the  time  I  had  finished  they  had  already  transported  my  mountain  bike  and  drop  bags  bag  to  the  start/finish  area  for  me  so  didn’t  have  to  wait  around.  Saying  that,  if  I  had  to  wait  around  there  was  plenty  to  keep  me  occupied  with  some  hot  food  (free  to  competitors)  and  beer  on  offer.

The  route,  organisers  and  fellow  competitors  really  did  impress  me  and  have  already  pencilled  it  in  for  next  year.  Maybe  if  I  get  some  more  cycling  training  in  I’ll  go  for  a  win  this  time  round,  as  it  was  I  think  I  was  3rd  woman  in  the  solo.

JoBot at HOTH

Having only entered this event on a friends suggestion (cheers Ian Tosh) I hadn’t given it much thought leading up to it apart from the fact that I thought it would be a good training run a couple of weeks before Glenmore 24hr run and would give me some practice running through the night.

I had actually thought that running back and forth over Humber Bridge for 12hrs would be pretty soul destroying but was happy to have my mind changed for me. It was a fantastic event and I was already planning on coming back next year before I had finished this year!

The first few hours were a bit tough going…my bruised/cracked ribs were causing some discomfort but after a couple of longer breaks I settled into it and was soon flying along. I felt strong throughout the rest of the run and loved every second of it. A lot of that was down to a brilliant crew and some very friendly fellow runners. It was great to see runners of all speeds and wave/smile at them while either running in the opposite direction or passing them/being passed on the lap.

I was very pleased to take 3rd place and get myself a nice trophy and an automatic entry into next years race….oh yeah and a new nickname JoBot! For next year I will target it as an A race and go for as many laps as possible.

a week until Glenmore…lets hope I can run as strongly there!

Cycle to dover

The cycle from london to dover yesterday went pretty well. I always find the first couple of hours on the bike tough but once it starts hitting silly distances I seem to speed up. I cycled it with Jason, one of my crew, and we passed Nicky doing an A2A attempt about 20ish miles in. We went on for a bit then stopped and waited for him to pass so we could cheer him on a bit. It was great to see him and Ed on route and give some encouragement. He finished the run in just over 21 and a half hours and is currently swimming the channel.


This morning I went out for an intended 2 hr swim. It was a great swim and had to be called to shore so i would get out (they managed to get me out after 2hrs 15mins) A perfect day for a channel swim so am quite envious of Nicky today. He has the weather I ordered so there better be some nice weather left over for me!!!!!!!