Wednesday, 4 May 2011


Yesterday I completed the best run I've done since beginning this challenge- 8.34km in an hour and 5 mins ( inc 3 mins walk start and end ). Ok so it's not particularly speedy, but I was really chuffed with myself because it's the first time I've managed to keep going for an hour without any recovery walking.It really boosted my self-confidence and made me realise that my fitness is improving. It also reminded me how important it is to believe in myself... mental strength really is as important as physical fitness.My next goals are now; firstly to be able to complete 10km , then to work on my speed in order to be able to run 10km in an hour.

Friday, 15 April 2011


These quotes kind of speak to me... so I thought I'd share them...

Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's physical, emotional, and mental states.  ~Carol Welch

I always loved running... it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power.  You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.  ~Jesse Owens

There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year, years in my life.  But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a saint.  So, too, are you.  Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be.  ~George Sheehan

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Getting back in the saddle...

First session back after a week of being a bit run-down and poorly, and it went ok. I decided to cycle on the bike at the gym as this was the easiest option, and it felt good to be back doing something physical.I'm still not feeling 100% so will avoid running and swimming for another week I think, no point in pushing myself too far too soon, then having to take another week off! Instead will stick to cycling and not worry too much about speed. I'm really glad I'm ahead of where I need to be in terms of distance covered as it takes the pressure off at the moment. I think once I'm back up to my usual fitness and energy levels I will set myself a mini challenge to keep things interesting... maybe cycle 125km in a week?

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

My run today...

Not so much a poem... more a glorified list

Music in my ears,
sun in the sky.
Cars, buses, lorries
Roads, woods and estuary.
Dogs, big and small.
Birds on the water (don't ask me what type )
Runners,cyclists, walkers,
Toddlers on trikes.
Up and down hill.
Aching legs,
turning beetroot
A happy heart
and a smile on my face.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Targets and goals

I was really chuffed to get past the 500km point last week, and doubly so because I managed just over 100km in that week alone. The most I'd done in a week up until that point had been 66km. I decided to really push myself and see if I could complete 100km, and though I was doubtful I would, I did it. I couldn't keep that up every week, partly because of other commitments, but it's good to know I am capable of making up for weeks when I can't do so much- ie school holidays. The half term break really brought it home to me that I can't fit my usual amount of training in, in those weeks - and there are a lot of weeks taken up with school holidays in the year!! So every now and again I will do a full-on week of training to make up for those times and also to test what I'm capable of. I guess my next goal should be to complete between 110 and 125 km in a week, and of course the next big goal is to get to 1000km- hoping to do that by the beginning of June.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Being interviewed by radio plymouth

Me being interviewed by Tim Manns for radio Plymouth, last week- thank-you to radio plymouth for sending me the audio file to use. The images that accompany the MP3 file are photos of the two current hospices provided by Children's Hospice South West- "Little Bridge House " in North Devon , and "Charlton farm" near Bristol. ( images courtesy of CHSW) Please note there is a short break of a few seconds silence in the middle of the audio, please continue to listen to the second half.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Facing fears and over-coming obstacles

Last week proved to be an interesting one for me as far as this challenge was concerned.I was put in two situations where I felt uncomfortable and would have naturally chosen to avoid, yet I got through them and I'm glad I did it. That all sounds a bit dramatic, but I was really out of my comfort zone- I had to have photos taken by the local paper for an article , and then I was interviewed on local radio.I guess some people would relish the attention, but not me. I avoid the camera as much as possible, and always pick fault with photos of myself , and well the thought of having to be interviewed - arrrrrggghhh.
Both went well, though I wasn't happy with the photo of myself in the paper,I got my head around the fact that other people would only look at it for seconds so it really didn't matter.The interview went much better than I expected,several people commenting that I sounded really confident- no idea how that happened! Most importantly with each of these things I had to remember the reason I needed to do them was to try and raise more awareness for the work of Children's Hospice South West, and hopefully increase the donations being made. What I learnt was that it really is beneficial to step beyond your comfort zone, it makes you realise what you're capable of.
The third thing that happened last week, I'd like a drum roll for please, because I'm really chuffed with this achievement... I mastered running on the treadmill without holding the bar!!! Ok you can stop laughing/ looking gob smacked in disbelief ( delete as appropriate), this was massive for me. Before starting the challenge I'd never run on a treadmill but assumed it was pretty straightforward- well not for me as it turned out. I've got a bit of an inner ear thing which seems to affect my balance in certain situations and I discovered I couldn't even walk on the treadmill without holding on, let alone jog/run. I felt really daft. But I'm determined if nothing else, and peserverance, plus focusing on my posture by holding my core muscles firm did the trick. I finally felt like a runner! The added bonus is that it also seems to have stopped the aches I was getting behind my knees.
All in all a week to be celebrated.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

From the treadmill

Obviously for safety reasons I'm not actually writing this whilst on the treadmill, that really would be a recipe for disaster!
The gym has become my second home though, and hours every week are being spent running, cycling and swimming, which gives me hours to think and at the same time not think. I realise on the face of it that doesn't make sense. I find whilst I'm exercising I can switch off to a lot of the stuff that usually fills my head- work, homelife,family, endless to-do lists etc which is great. It's almost like meditation in motion I suppose.The repetitive physical actions seem to quieten my brain, and quite frankly I'm the kind of person that needs as much help as I can get with that!
Whilst exercising, my thought processes instead of being a noisy, colourful jumble of ideas, concerns and must-dos all vying for attention, become, calmer and more reflective.Thoughts pop into my head but I'm able to acknowledge them, then let them go rather than get caught up in a mental discussion.I am able to focus on the task in hand, without worrying about what I should be doing next.What it allows me to do is live in the moment. To be truly present.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Why this is so important.

On Tuesday, I met Judy Pride, the Community Fundraiser for NE & SE Cornwall and Plymouth area, for Children's Hospice South West. Wow, what a meeting ! I thought it would be basically a chance for me to learn some more about the work that the charity does and to talk to Judy about my 2011km challenge. Yes we did that, but it was so much was an amazing, emotional, uplifting, positive experience.That possibly sounds a little over the top, but I can assure you it isn't.

Children's Hospice South West, is the only organisation in the South West providing hospice care for children with life limiting conditions. Sadly there are over 1000 children in the south west with illnesses that mean they will die in childhood. Through their 2 children's hospices- Little Bridge House in north Devon, and Charlton farm , in somerset, they are able to provide expert care for up to 400 such children and their families.

By building a third children's hospice in Cornwall, they will be able to reach out and support even more families, and bring their special service closer to the many families in Plymouth and Cornwall that need them. Since September 2007 they have been raising funds through their precious lives appeal, to raise their target £5 million to build this much needed hospice. Work is now very much underway in St.Austell , and they hope that Little Harbour will be open to families by the end of this year.

All 3 hospices offer respite, emergency and end of life care for sick children, in a homely environment that supports the whole family. Well siblings and parents are given an opportunity to meet with families in similar situations to their own- an extremely important source of support and friendship. Families are also supported through bereavment and beyond, for as long as they need it.

I am extremely fortunate to have two healthy children something which is easy to take for granted.The reason that this charity is so dear to my heart is that my best friend's little boy is now using the service. He and his family have just returned from a respite visit to Little Bridge House, which proved to be an extremely positive experience for the whole family. It was a chance for my friend and her husband to get a little, much needed rest, knowing that their son was being looked after by very caring and highely trained staff. They were able to mix with other mums and dads who understand what they are going through. They enjoyed time together as a family knowing help was on hand should they need it, and very importantly their older daughter, who has been having a difficult time at school because of her brother's condition, could see she is not alone.

During my meeting with Judy, several times she referred to me now "being part of their family" , and I think that summed up for me the essence of this charity, and reaffirmed that choosing to support them was 100% the right decision.

Please help me to support them by clicking on my just-giving link on the left of this page, any donation no matter how small will be very gratefully received, and well used.- Thank-you!

Find out more about The precious lives appeal, by joining their facebook page

Sunday, 16 January 2011

A marathon a week, every week for a year

A marathon a week, every week for a year...If someone had put it in those terms originally I have to be honest, I probably would never have even attempted this challenge!

However here I am almost 4 weeks in ( for those of you who don't know impatience got the better of me , i'm doing it 21.12.10 to 21.12.11) and I am doing it! I'm on track to complete my target of 155km. I started the challenge hoping I would manage half of that in the first month, then gradually build it up from there. It seems I am more capable,determined and fitter than I thought. I wouldn't have classed myself as a couch potato , but I'm certainly no athlete. I've always done some sort of regular exercise, but never pushed myself like this before. Going public, has helped enormously, I've had such overwhelming support already in terms of both donations and good luck messages, both of which are equally important to me. Knowing that people believe in me and want me to succeed is going to carry me through.

This challenge isn't about weight/inch loss, though I will be happy for it to be a by-product, and already I'm noticing changes in the shape of my body. I've lost a little from the tops of my arms and my thighs and my tummy feels flatter. I'm yet to pluck up the courage to re-weigh myself but will aim to be brave and do so this week. Perhaps more importantly than the physical changes, I think there has been a shift in my mental attitude. This challenge is making me realise what you can achieve if you really set your mind to it.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Day 16

It's day 16 of my 2011km challenge, and so far so good!
So far I have
Run 26.87km
Cycled 85.56km
And swam 540m
That's a total of 112.97km which I'm really chuffed with. Much further than I thought I'd be able to do in the first couple of weeks. So far most of the kilometres have been clocked up on cycling but I'm hoping to gradually increase the running to make it a bit more even.
Feeling a little bit of wear & tear on my hips and knees today but then I did complete 21.48 km my furthest in one session so far. I know I'm not going to manage great distances with the swimming but I want to slot some in-between the running and cycling to make it more interesting and also put less pressure on my knees hopefully. Anyhow here's to the remaining 1898km...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Giving myself the best chance

Eleven days into the challenge, and so far I've completed almost 50km which I'm pleased with- next training session tomorrow.

I really want to give myself the best possible chance of completing the 2011km, which means I need to try and avoid getting poorly or injured as best as I can. So I'm taking berrocca vitamins along with cod liver oil capsules each morning, trying to eat fairly healthily and having days off between training sessions to allow my body to recover.

I know from when I've been doing a moderate amount of running before, that I need to take care of my knees and hips, both of which seem to take the brunt of overdoing it. So I'm doing exercises to try and protect and strengthen those joints.
These are links to some of those exercises

However, I've been reading "Eat, pray, love" by Elizabeth Gilbert , and it seems there maybe an alternative way to free up and protect those joints that might be worth looking into....

Gilbert visits a healer whilst in Bali and the following conversation takes place-
"She felt the other knee... Grinned and said, "I can tell by your knees that you don't have much sex lately." I said "why? Because they're so close together?" she laughed. "no,- it's the cartilage.Very dry. Hormones from sex lubricate the joints...."

Not sure if there's any scientific truth in this, but hey ho could be worth a try!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone