Tag Archives: ultra marathoner

Here Comes A New Season

So I have now had two weeks off since I completed the JW 30 Mile Ultra Race. That race was the end of my season. I have been running for 3 years now and that was my first successful season which I was able to complete and compete. I ran 5 races in this season and got personal records on them all! My next season starts this week and this seasons grand finale is the A Week at the Knees in March – 7 marathons in 7 days.

I have done much more research this last few months on how to correctly structure my training plans for the next coming season starting next week. This will be the first time I have followed a solid personal training schedule.

I will be having 20 weeks of foundation training. In this phase I will be running between 65-75% Max HR. This is within the aerobic zone. Running in this zone will help to build my aerobic capacity, help me become faster and also help my body to do some crucial building in preparation for the strains of both higher mileage and speed work later on.
There will be no speed work within this element of my training. I will be taking part in a few events, but I do not anticipate racing these. I shall just be using them as training.
There will of course be a weekly long run which will increase each week and on the 4th week be reduced to prevent plateauing and crashing in my training.
Once a month I intend on running calorie depleted long runs of between 2 and 3 hours without taking on any fuel apart from water and electrolytes. This also means no breakfast before the run. This will help me to better utilise the stores already in my body before the addition of more fuels to help keep me going. I will also be running some back to back long runs on weekends. Most of my training will be peaking at 70 miles in this phase.

Phase 2 will be lasting 8 weeks and will be incorporating a 2 week taper and the 3rd week will be a week of running a marathon every single day for A Week at the Knees event in Milton Keynes in March 2016. Of course the biggest challenge here is getting to the start line. Then recovering, then training lol. I will be adding some easy speed training in the this phase. I have purposefully made my speed work all fartlek sessions between 70-90% MAX HR. This is so I can just go by how I feel and not be overly strict and overdo it.

Throughout my training there’ll be a stress on body weight strength training once a week, regular flexibility exercises and post workout stretches and finally a set of different drills will be done weekly.

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Fast Packing. Birmingham > Worcester > Malvern > Bewdley > Kidderminster

On Sunday 14th June 2015 I decided to do some fast packing. I had been keeping an eye on the weather in the areas I would be passing, and it seemed the perfect time to go. My plan was to do roughly 90 miles from Birmingham, I would go down the Birmingham – Worcester Canal past Worcester and follow it further south to meet with the River Severn. I would camp at a camp site here. The next day I would walk to Malvern which is an area of outstanding natural beauty. I would then start the Worcestershire Way Trail heading north to Bewdley where I would then repeat the North Worcestershire Way trail for the second time this week. The idea was to do one big circular from my house back to my house. So that’s the overview.. and this is how it went.

I packed my usual stuff with me, 20L WAA Ultra Bag 1 man hiking tent, spare tshirt, long johns,spare socks, Thermarest XLite inflatable mattress, OMM Raider 1.0 sleeping bag, Sleeping bag liner, Marmot Essence waterproof jacket. For food I packed 2kg of dates (I did eat in some places along the way though) and I carried 1.5 L bottle of water which I finished off and topped up whenever I could. I didn’t bring my Petzl headtorch as I like to just sleep when it gets dark and I had one on mobile if urgent. I also carried a recharging unit which allowed me to recharge my Garmin Fenix 2 for the entire duration and my iphone about 3 times also. Finally a little cash and a card.

I set out from my house in Northfield Birmingham at 10:30am. I walked down to Wast Hills Lane where I joined up with the canal to Worcester. This path is pretty much down hill the entire time. Even though I walked a fair bit I struggled with this section. I think perhaps because I wasn’t used to carrying 8KG of stuff with me while running. Also what made it hard is that the council has started to turn the tow paths into tarmac paths instead which hurts under foot wearing studded Salomon Speedcross 3s. I have such a love hate relationship with these shoes and I have said before that I would throw them away. This time I have. For a country with little long distance TRAIL ONLY routes I find these to be pretty useless in the way of a quality long distance sneaker. Walking on tarmac roads over long distances with heavy weights on your back, with the studs on the bottom pushing into your feet every 180,000 steps or so over 90 miles really hurts. I’m going to opt for HOKA ONE ONE Maximalist trailies next time.

Regardless I really enjoyed this day. It was familiar ground as I have ran this route 6 times now. There was only the small section past Worcester down to the River Severn I wasn’t sure on but I knew from looking at maps it was very straight forward and I could just follow the Severn Way Sign Posts.
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I remember seeing this boat shortly after being set on fire by idiots. The owner has been trying to fix t for many months now. To his, and everyone else’s surprise, some bastard had let it lose overnight and it had drifted down the canal well away from anywhere to tie it up. The owner was just leaving as I arrived, he was very upset and I think had given up on it completely as he walked away soaking wet.

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In winter I went the wrong way here and it lead to a horrible dumpy looking cul de sac. I took this picture because as the seasons have progressed it looked just beautiful.

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I like bridges for some reason 😉 Hence all the bridge images.

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Happy moment. Knowing that I wasn’t too far now from Worcester and then only a few more miles south to the first nights camping spot.

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Tried to have a little talk with this swan but he got a bit aggressive with me and tried to bite me lol. Little bugger.

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Once I got into Worcester I spotted a Subway and decided to get myself a Salad Sub 😀

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It was a nice moment to get the River Severn. I hadn’t been this far down before.



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Yay first signs for the Severn Way. Another trail I must do. It’s 150 miles but it’s all downhill so should be a nice one. Right down to Bristol. 🙂


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I
 arrived at The Ketch Campsite early evening. I spoke with the warden there and paid for my hiking tent. This site was right along the river. Lovely location, though you can see why they don’t allow children under 11 here. You can just about see the tips of the Malvern Hills past the River Severn in the distance. That’s where I was heading the next day.
I did about 28 miles on this first day. Throughout the day I found myself running a few miles here and there when I could be bothered and wasn’t on stoned or tarmacked ground. I didn’t see this as a race. Just going how I felt.

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It was a hard boring 7.5 mile walk to Malvern Hills. I set off at 5am. I tried to plan a trail route but I wasn’t confident in the trail I had created through an advanced route creator online. I worried a lot of it was closed off completely to public so I opted for an A road which ran right to Malvern.

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I sort of did one of those little happy dances when I saw this sign. I knew I’d soon be off the busy A road and onto the quieter hills where I belonged.

When I arrived into Malvern the first thing I did was go to COSTA and buy a Soya Latte. I warmed up with this and chilled for a while before heading back out, to a shop to top up water and then to The Hills.

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I wish I’d have been here during the afternoon. I was on the East side of the hills and because the sun rises in the East it made it hard to get a good snap of how amazing this view was. You could just see for absolute miles on end of farm lands and tiny villages. There were even a few hot air balloons.

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When I got to the top of the hills I started the Route for Worcester Way which I had saved to my Garmin as a GPX file. I was so upset by this. My Garmin Fenix 2 allows you to set how often it records data. I had set it to record every 2 minutes on UltraTrac rather than every second. The result being up to 50 hours battery life. When I activated the route onto my current session (from day one point 1) it changed the recording frequency to SMART and wouldn’t let me decide how often. The dilemma here was that I would need to not use my phone or music anymore and keep charging my Garmin much more with my recharging unit. The alternative would be to save what I had done so far and start a new one to put the settings back to UltraTrac. As I wasn’t even sure I’d have enough recharges for the duration of my journey I decided to save that session and begin a new one. I decided what I would do instead was select “map” option on the Worcestershire Way and follow that. Sadly when I zoomed in further the line showing the route went off the watch so I couldn’t even see where I was going unless I had it at a 30 mile radius. I realised I would have to rely on way marks for the next 65 miles.

This is clearly something I’m going to have to look into. I loved the idea of Fenix 2 for it’s ability to upload GPX or create routes and have such long battery but it seems the battery wont last that long if you use a predetermined route? Why is this? If you have any alternative suggestions that please do let me know. If this wasn’t a waymarked route and I didn’t have a charged phone I would have never made it as far as I did.

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This is looking back to the Malvern Hills I had walked up and across earlier.

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I believe this is the River Teme. There’s a little Post office around there called Suckly Post Office. I’m not 100% now on locations sorry. Anyway I remember going in to top up my water and I also bought a few apples. I went outside and sat on the bench to eat them. To my surprise a young guy came up to me and asked if I was Vegan. He had spotted my Vegan Runners top and said he was vegan too. He also mentioned he had seen some of my posts on the Vegan Runners Facebook group. It was really nice to bump into a fellow vegan especially in a place like this population 10. He seemed a really happy person and said how lucky he was to live in such a beautiful place in the world. We wished each other well and on I went. Maybe he might read this post… if so say hello 😀

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I stopped at a The Talbot pub in this little village called KnightWick and had two portions of chips and a large lemonade. I piled on the salt to replace my salt loss.

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Here is another trail I would like to look up. I hope it is full of geological delights. I have a keen interest in geology 😉
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I was getting pretty tired by this point and was considering camping around here. I’m not very good at wild camping. When I was a kid I did it all the time but now as an adult and knowing it’s illegal I never know. Also I don’t know if there’s anyone around in the area. It did seem ideal as a place to camp for the night though.
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At about mile 30-32 on day 2 I was just turning to go down a hill in the forest. I spotted the lower half of a guy running. He hadn’t spotted me yet and I made a flash decision to start running. There was no way I was going to slog my way down a steep hill in my VEGAN RUNNERS top that he was running UP! So I got going and he said hey. The funny thing was that even after slogging for so many miles that day I managed to pretty much run the last 8 miles all the way into Bewdley.

About a mile out from Bewdley I ran into some danger. This was the only trail I knew of into the village and it really was a race against the sun at this point. I came across a field with what I thought was cows. They seemed relaxed and I (unknowing how dangerous bulls were at the time) decided to take the trail. As I passed about 5 of the 8 or so bulls they blocked off the was I came in. Which meant I had a longish climb uphill to the exit and had to pass 4 more  up the hill in the process. Their attitude changed and they began to group up an run in my direction. I turned to face them and slowly walked backwards. I really wanted to run but I knew that bulls are faster than people and I had already done 38 or 39 miles today! I didn’t know how to react so I faced them but didn’t look into their eyes. I opened my arms and showed them my palms. I firmly but calmly said to them “nooooo, come on now… easy boys, you’re ok, I’m not going to hurt you.”. The lead bull settled back a bit and I thought I might be ok. Then one of the other bulls took lead and they all began to charge at me again. This time he got within 2 or 3 meters of me but I managed to somehow get them to calm again. This happened 5 times in total. I really thought I was going to die. So many people get a blow to the head or their body’s crushed. I got out safely though. I managed to find the exact field on Garmin Connect. I sent an email to the Long Distance Path Association to ask who I contact about this. It is my understanding (I could be wrong) that it is highly illegal for farmers to block public rights of way with dangerous cattle and no warning signs or alternative route signs.

As I got into Bewdley I started to pick up the pace as I headed for the River Severn once more 🙂
I went to The Cooperative to top up my water and buy 600g of Strawberries. My body was craving fruit and lots of it. I wandered along the Canal Path going into my first mile of the North Worcestershire Way. I stopped on a bench and rested a while. I then put on my other top and a jacket as I was starting to shiver. The sun was going down, it was about 9:30pm now. My feet were completely bashed. It was my intention to wild camp in the middle of Worcestershire way like I said, but I decided to take it all the way to Bewdley.

This day was much tougher than my first day. It was in no means downhill. There was a total of at least 1,560 m (5,118 ft) ascent. Yet that day I felt much stronger. I wasn’t feeling my bag hurt my shoulders so much and I felt like my feet were capable of more even if torched at the end. I remember whenever it got tough I would count my steps to 20 and then repeat. I did this continuously sometimes for an hour or more non stop. Whenever my mind drifted initially I refocussed back to counting and just got lost in the rhythm of counting. When pain set in I would also notice it as just a feeling. I would remind myself it’s a feeling, it isn’t me. It’s physical and I’m just an observer of this physical body.

So day and light was ending and I needed a place to camp. I could hardly walk at this point and I wobbled up the river about a mile to find somewhere safe to put my tent. In the end I put it not too far from a main road but a really well darkened spot. This site turned out to be a car park for the private fishing anglers association. I know this because at 2:45am there were car lights coming into my tent which woke me up. I quickly opened the zip on the tent to see what it was. I could then see him get out the car and close the barrier to the car park. His reg plate was something like SLOTS or something. I panicked. I thought he had seen me from the road and now he was coming to kill me. He went to his boot and started sorting out his murdering tools. I called “hello?”. He replied “Hi you ok? I’m just here fishing. Didn’t mean to give you a fright. You do know this is the fishers car park?”. I apologised and explained I had walked a long way and ran out of light and just pitched up. I kept my eye on him a while and could finally see it was fishing stuff in his car. Then I tried to sleep again.

I only got 3 hours rest that night. I remember getting up at 3:30am and packed up to carry on the final part of my journey.
This is where the big problems started. My eyes kept dropping and I kept seeing things. I stopped to eat a shed load of dates to give me energy and drank a load of water. I kept walking along the river. There’s some grassy areas along the river and so naturally my feet and socks got soaked. I kept praying for warmth to come through and sun so that hopefully my sneakers will dry. They didn’t though and my skin soon folded and blistered which became really painful. I was only a few miles into my day and had to do 34 miles in total for the day.
11140267_1669042419993410_6109479989292645280_n I know this is nothing compared with other runners feet pics I have seen lol. This has now become a top priority for me to master, not only to deal with blisters (I’ll use my Fixing Your Feet book), but also how to keep them dry. I have T184 mile Endurance Race in 2016 and I know that the grass will be wet in the mornings along the River Thames. It was enough to knock my morale and make me stop my journey.

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As I walked up hills in the forest there was a big drop to the right of me and I didn’t see the drop but I saw a lake and kept hallucinating. I kept thinking how I’d like to take a dip in the lake but it wasn’t really there and the picture eventually became clear and all I saw was a the big dip that was really there.

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Here I am looking exhausted and feeling it. I was sat on one of those wooden cross over fence things. It felt so nice to have something to sit on and get my feet off the ground.

At about mile 8 of today I remember just starting to cry. I kept slogging along at like 3mph. I kept thinking about how I wanted to just lay down on the ground and sleep. Even just for an hour. I realised that 3 hours sleep after 40 miles isn’t enough to sustain another 34 miles the next day. I wanted today to be the last day and reach the end. At mile 12 I kept losing the way marks and getting lost. I felt disorientated and realised I was walking around in circles.
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I only continued another 5 ish miles and then I decided to come off the trail and head to a local pub to eat and call for a taxi home. I was 15 miles away from finishing my planned journey. Although when I got home and calculated the distance I thought it would be 89 miles and it was 89.9 for what I did. So I had actually done more than expected. This stands to reason as I got lost on a few occasions.

I had told myself that it comes to a certain point that when you believe you have found what you where looking for there’s no real need to keep looking. I had learned so much for future events and adventures that it was now time to go home and analyse all the information that I had absorbed from this experience.

I want to thank my husband who helped me along the way with the odd text of support from him. Also I want to thank everyone on my Facebook friends. I made a post to ask for their support as I was feeling it emotionally at the end of day 2. I had so many replies. I was absolutely gob smacked. Thank you so much for your support it meant the world to me and still does. You made me cry… just a little 😉 Xoxo

My hat goes off to those out there running 100 milers and more. I can’t wait to get to that point. I have had little training due to injuries lately. I’m seriously looking forward to getting some proper training behind my belt for some ultra events and some more fast packing.

Who knows that’s next? I am now tapering for the Birmingham Black Country Half marathon on July 4th. As I write this it’s only a day since I got home and I’m feeling much better already and hope to be back out running as normal tomorrow.

I have the JW ultra coming up in September it’s 30 miles on the canal from Stratford Upon Avon to Birmingham. My friend has offered for my to come and practice the route with him soon. I think we are going to after we have done the Summer Round the Reservoir Marathon on 26th July in Northampton.


180 Miles Cut Short

This last 6-8 months I have been getting more and more dreams about taking off and going for a long hike and run. They have been getting more and more vivid and I would wake each day DYING to get out there and do something. Obviously the weather hasn’t been great in the UK through winter, but this last week has been wonderful.

I woke up Friday 10th April 2015 and I decided that was the day I was taking off to do something. I didn’t know what to do initially. I knew I had a Harvey Map, part 1/3 of Pennine Way which covers all the south of the trail from Edale up to Ribbersdale. In total it should be about 160-180 miles there and back.  I didn’t think I’d actually go but after looking at trains I found a value priced open return for £48, so I booked it after checking weather.

It said there may be a little rain Sat and Sunday but then all next week would be glorious weather again. This sounded perfect. I quickly packed my bags and off I went to the train station.

As soon as I left I realised I had taken the tiny old samsung phone as battery lasts weeks but I had a NANO sim from my iphone. So I had to get an EE temp number and top up £10 to text my husband.

I went from Northfield to Birmingham New St. Here I had to stop and get a compass from Cotswold and some Cliff Bars. To my surprise they only had 3 left. So I took them all. Then I carried on to Sheffield, here I asked a bakery if their vegetable pasty was vegan, she said all these with cheese are Vegan and vegetarian. I asked if I could see the ingredients list in her book. She showed me and I asked if they glazed with egg, she said no they use soya milk. YAY a pasty for me! 😛  Next I went from Sheffield to Edale. I remember laughing on the train to Edale because it was like a bus on rails. It had all bus seats rather than train seats and reminded me of the older trains from back in the day when I was a little nippa 😉 I also chuckled at the oh so familiar accents becoming broader and broader.

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I arrived into Edale just before 6pm and it was cooling a bit but still warm. From here I followed my map to find a campsite for the evening before starting my journey the following day. I stayed at Field Head Campsite. It was meant to be £6.50 but I only had £6.36 in change. Instead of her breaking my note she let me have it for £6. As usual my name was spelt Hassell rather than Hassall 😉 I chuckled and went to find myself a spot for my tent.

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I pitched my tent and then took out the pegs and re put them in again 4 or 5 times. It was also annoying trying to get them in when everywhere I put the peg there were rocks underneath stopping me getting in. I was also trying to not have the inner sleeve touching the outer. This seemed impossible so I did the best I could and left it. Meanwhile I could hear children laughing and playing and people talking and generally having a good time. I had a laugh when a family turned up  and the daughter said “OMG Dad you seriously need to learn to put up a tent it’s going to kill someone that! Look at the state of it… now pass me those pegs!”. I thought to myself yep I know how he feels”, as I looked at my terrible attempt at putting up my own tent.

I blew up my NeoAir Thermarest sleeping mattress, which by the way I have to say I’m disappointed with. I lay on it to check it and it kept making pop sounds but they were really loud and scared other guests at the camp site. I couldn’t for the life of me work out what it was. Then I noticed the head part of it wasn’t pulled in like the rest of it if that makes sense. I think it came away in parts from pressure and each time it did it went POP! POP! POP! It was still inflated, but at £100 for an inflatable mattress you would expect a little better! I tested it at home and typically it was fine there! I had to learn what I did when it popped and lay on it differently without putting too much pressure around the head area of it. After I worked it out right it stopped popping. I also found there just is not enough room for the mattress to go inside an OMM Raid 1.0 and you as well. Something is going to go BANG!

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I then went down to The Ramblers Inn and asked if they sold any fruit. I was surprised to see that there wasn’t any shops at all here. They told me if I want fruit I could go to the next village; called Hope, which is 5 miles in the wrong direction. I went back to my tent and lay looking at the map so I could work out where the nearest food shop was on route. I knew it wouldn’t be too far as I have researched about carrying food on Pennine Way before. So many advising you’ll not have too many issues getting something on route. I could see on map there was loads of place on route that were shops selling food so didn’t worry too much about it. I had 3 cliff bars in my bag but I went to bed hungry and saved them for tomorrow to give me the energy I would need to get up Jacobs Ladder (590ft) and then onto the food shop. I set my alarm for 5am and as it got darker, the park got quieter and I shut my eyes.

It felt like an age lay there with my eyes closed not overly tired. I remember thinking how I just can’t wait to be on that trail on my own without all the noise. The noise was good and there was so many cheery people. But I was looking forward to quiet time if you know what I mean. Then eventually I started to nod off just as a younger kid started crying his eyes out for an hour and half bless him. He was then quiet and drunk teens walked past making the usual drunken disturbance lol. Now I was thinking “hmmm why didn’t I bring those ear plugs? I have like 25 pairs at home… FOR THIS kind of thing too! lol I need to put them on my checklist spreadsheet as compulsory next time”. I was really toasty at first until about midnight then I started to get really cold so I put my other top on and my jacket, then it got colder so I put another jacket on and a beanie hat on top of my buff. I began to wonder why I hadn’t learned my lesson in winter when I tried my OMM Raid 1.0 sleeping bag…. this is a ONE season bag! Not a 2 and certainly not a 3!. I just thought now I had the Thermarest mattress it’d be much warmer. I was just about warm enough but not comfortably warm. Borderline shakes.

My alarm went off at 5am. I packed the stuff that was inside the tent into my bag then I packed the tent. I refilled my water and used the bathrooms. I ate a cliff bar and then off I went by 5:30am heading to the start of the Pennine Way Trail.
The views here are breathtaking they really are. Though I held off on taking too many pics yet as I knew there was better stuff to come. Also it was still pretty dark. I saved my battery and kept going. I set my Garmin to Ultra GPS recording. I haven’t got a clue how that works. I checked how to do it before I left but when I actually did it, it was asking me for a time which I had no idea what it was for. I set it to 90:00:00 which probably means update every 90 hours? oups!

It was an awesome feeling to be up so early no one else in the camp site was. I was the only one leaving. Made me even more determined. Little had I realised they had probably read the weather warning signs on the info windows. They were staying in bed for a reason!

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It was dry as I head onto the trail. Then it began to drizzle a little. I walked along flagged pavement fields, past lots of sheeps, through lots of gates that stated that sheep are just stock “STOCK grazing make sure gate closed”. I passed Lee farm and then came to the bottom of Jacobs Ladder. Jacobs ladder is awesome! I kept wanting to take a pic but kept thinking it would look even better the further up I got. But it got windier, and rained harder. The ladder was becoming a log flume! I was being blown around, but I kept soldiering on in my piss wet through non waterproof tracksuit bottoms. Before I knew it I was completely covered in fog, hail, 40mph winds and sleet and rain. I got to the top quickly so I could find a flat surface to pitch my tent for emergency cover. Of course on top was even worse.

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Putting up my tent was near impossible. The ground wasn’t flat at all but massive bumps of thick grass. The wind was blowing the sheets like crazy and I couldn’t figure out which end went where. By the time I secured it and got inside (which wasn’t very long) I was absolutely drenched, the inside of my bag was soaked, my footwear, feet and socks soaked and inside the tent. The wind was so strong it pushed the height of the tent right down so it was touching me no matter what I did. I tried to quickly go out and reinforce it but it didn’t make a difference. I looked out to the sky and I could tell the storm wasn’t going to go any time soon. Then noticed I was started to shiver and shake and was lay in a big puddle in the tent. I knew then I had to go back down to Edale.

I got out to sort out my tent and the top sheet was just blown away, SWISH and it was gone out of my hands. It very quickly disappeared in the fog/cloud. I packed everything else I could soaked in my bag and made a move for it back to the base. I am NEVER one for littering in the wild. I tell people straight when I see them do so, but on this occasion there wasn’t much else I could do… and I wasn’t exactly impressed myself losing my expensive tent.

I ran back down Jacobs Ladder with the wind behind me pushing me quickly down those death steps. It was actually pretty fun until I lost balance a bit and thought I twisted my ankle. After keeping on going it seemed fine. I told myself I was fine and that if I was going to get any joy out of this trip, then enjoy this run I’m doing back.

The weather was now also treacherous at the bottom of Jacobs ladder. Even as I ran past the sheep, they were all pushing into the side of the bricked fences to keep the hail and wind off of them. It was an amazing sight. I’d have loved a pic but at this point I had no idea of where my camera was in my bag and so I just kept going.

When I got back to the camp I tried to find the “drying room”. I found my change expecting it to be a pay per 20 min drying machine. It wasn’t though and the sign said “The HEATERS in this DRYING ROOM will come on at night AFTER a wet rainy day”. Oh lord haha! There was a free to use washing machine though 😀

I worked my way to the notice boards and that was when I saw the other sign I wish I’d seen earlier;
“Mountain Weather Warnings Sat 11th April 2015, Low pressure coming from south west 30-40mph winds.”
Then I noticed the next sign
“Mountain Weather Warnings Sun 12th April 2015, Low pressure coming from south west up to 50 mph winds”

:O Thank god I didn’t carry on. I knew I couldn’t sleep a night soaked and only had one emergency foil blanket. Shame I couldn’t hold in till Sunny Monday I could have dried everything out in the sun 😉

I headed back to Edale Train Station and had just missed a train so I had a chance to sit in the cold wind for an hour and look upon beautiful scenery, and watch a train spotter taking snaps.

When I got to Sheffield I went to Sports Direct so I could buy new cheap trainers, tracksuit bottoms, underwear, socks and a top. My marmot waterproof jacket had dried again now thank god. I changed into these in the changing rooms and realised I got children’s socks but had ripped the packaging off. I pulled them on tightly and made do with it. I got myself 2 more vegetable pasties and a Soya Latte and then came home back to Birmingham. Of course at this point everywhere was lovely and sunny!

So I have learned so much from this experience. Sadly I did 6 miles at best rather than the anticipated 160-180. I can’t wait to go again, though my husband has said I’m not having another tent any time soon. Which is completely understandable lol. I’m a complete noob with a thirst for adventure. OK so things didn’t go to plan on this occasion but at least I’m not one to let anything stop me. If I want to try something I’ll go for it regardless of experience. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger hey? I’m still up for running and walking the whole Pennine Way at some point and I’m still up for doing the UK South West Coastal Path too and that’s some 640 miles and equivalent to 3 Everest’s in overall elevation apparently!

These little things keep cropping up pulling you back a bit. They are tests though to make us stronger so it’s easier next time. I am an ultra runner and I am going to be a successful one too! My determination and stubbornness keeps forcing me to keep trying, and I will. I’ll succeed or die!

I need to work out what the hell to do with your tent as emergency cover when it’s absolutely belting it down already. How do you not get everything completely soaked? What happens if everything does get soaked? Say I was in the middle of nowhere and it’d take days to get back? Also my Salomon Speedcross 3s were demolished within minutes going up that bitch hill in the rain/sleet/snow/hail! I now also know to read information notice boards! Also I have come to realise that although I love my WAA ULtra 20L bag it’s not enough for these kinds of things. The 4L front pouch is very handy though and without being able to clip it in properly to another bag it’s pointless as a waistpack as bounces all over the place. It’s also pointless in rain as gets soaked. Next time more planning rather than just jumping for it and going.

So that’s that then. Next adventure is Turkey May 1st for 3 weeks. Let’s see what trouble I can get myself into shall we? 🙂  Any tips or advice pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease post away. Thanks 😀

-Scotty’Noob’Runner


Running on New Turf

Hey everyone
I went for a run first time in 3 weeks yesterday. This run went very well and so we decided to go for another run today on new lands I haven’t covered before.

s (1) Philip doing this thing.

We have moved to a new area on the edge of many trails; including the North Worcestershire Path, which is a long distance path running at 35 miles through the midlands. Sadly we saw a notice saying that this path had been closed just near Wast Hills Lane due to slipperiness and erosion. This sign had been attached to a tree since Spring 2014. I hope that this sign will be gone some time soon as I’d like to follow this path. We decided to head back and follow some different public foot paths as there are many to pick from.
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Obviously with the time of year there was a lot of mud, I love running through muddy fields I think it adds a whole new dimension to a run, a lot of fun and a bit of a challenge. Sadly Philips Merrell trail sneaks weren’t up for the mud and he found it very slippery. He did admit he liked the challenge though so I think next time he needs some sneaks he will be looking for something with a bit more grip in them. Any recommendations would be much appreciated.

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It’s been a while since I have managed to get out in the country. I’m from the countryside originally I was brought up in a small valley on the edge of the Pennines. I forgot what the white fencing if for around farm land. I soon remembered when a bolt of electricity went through my hip and pushed me to the side haha! 😛 Needless to say we avoided any other fencing. They were obviously to keep these beauties out of harms way… I just hope to them it’s just a little annoyance rather than a shock like I got :O
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As always with new public footpaths and no maps it can take a while to learn which end of the fields the path continues on so we did a lot of running back and forward on this occasion, but that was welcomed over such lovely surrounds.

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This kind of surround is much better than running around the city center or just being stuck to the city canal towpaths. The canal paths are beautiful and I enjoyed much of my running there, but I prefer the more technical terrain.

Obviously I had to go out sporting my Vegan Runners top 😛 Nothing like shoving it in farmers faces. :O Although the farmers we came across were nice enough.

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Mucky 😀

It only ended up being 5 miles. I’m glad I didn’t do too much though having just returned to running and it being more technical terrain.

You always know when you have had a decent run when you get home and anything below the waist looks like this 😛 (although they do look a little cleaner than they were).

Good to ‘hopefully’ be back.
All my love
-ScottyRunner


I Did Not Cheat on an Ultra to Gain a UTMB point.

It has been brought to my attention that there are some private secret groups on Facebook who are trying to make my life problematic within the running community. I just wanted this blog to get out around there and passed on to them that you have the wrong details. I hope that these people will eventually see that I’m a decent , honest person with my integrity full in tact. I have no joy in cheating and don’t see any point in doing so at all.

I was signed up to a Go Beyond event recently – Thames Trot 50 miles. As it turned out a few months before I didn’t think it was achievable to do that event with injuries for overdoing it… as I always do cus I aim too high. (no harm in that).

I asked Go Beyond if I could defer my place and this was denied.

I had a ticket going which I couldn’t use and a friend of mine wanted to take part in the event. At the time this friend didn’t have the funds to buy a ticket and get over there and back. So I gave him my ticket for FREE. It never even occured to me that people would think I was cheating for UTMB (ultra marathon de Mont Blanc) points when I know that I do not even have any intention of doing it for many years yet. This is a prestigious event you need to do other ultras and gain points over  certain period (I think 2 years) to be able to apply and qualify for entry.

I have since just contacted GoBEYOND and asked them to remove my name off the board. As can be seen here.

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So there we have it. I will not let this get me down. I can understand how people can get angry sometimes when they believe that someone is cheating at something they have worked so hard on for so  many years. I can completely understand how I’d feel if others had done the same. I understand that you made a simple error and I am not angry with anyone.

On a side note. In future I shall  make certain that my intentions are clear and true to event organizers, regardless of what the outcome may be.

Much peace and love
-ScottyRunner


At the End of my Life Looking Back.

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I am very old now. I am beginning to approach my hundredth birthday. I feel myself becoming more and more peaceful with every single breath that I take. I feel no pain, no worry or fear. I know that I am close to passing over. I know my time in this physical body is coming to a close and that a new chapter is to begin for me. I’m sat here on my swinging chair outside my glorious home within the tropics. In front of me I see a smorgasbord of trees carrying juicy fresh organic oranges, lemons, limes, nectarines, bananas and figs and more beyond that. I see a sprawling ground full of exotic vegetables just waiting to be picked and eaten over the coming days. Beyond these I see the sun coming down over the horizon as it makes it’s way to meet the end of the oceans. The sky turns orange just as it has done 36, 250 times and more since I came into this wonderful world. I’m thinking about the amazing life in which I have had.

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From small beginning of limitations set by others and set by myself I have come far. The memories of the abuse from family I suffered as a child. I remember always being told I would never be anyone and I would never go anywhere. My life was a waste of time I should never have been born, that I was an accident. I remember the fists in my face, being strangled my by collar while thrown out of rooms and being beaten in the chest by his foot while curled in a ball on the ground. I remember the memories of those who bullied me through school. I was a victim and played easy target to them. I remember the self-harm I can still see the cuts on my arms. I can sometimes still taste the metallic taste of medications in which I overdosed on.  I’m also remembering my shaky start to adulthood. Oh how I have been ‘rich’ and been poor but always remained poor. Remember that being rich goes beyond what is in your wallet. I’m remembering the times of drug use as a means to escape. The times of smoking and drinking, feeding my body with poisons, perhaps because I didn’t feel that this body of mine deserved to be treated well. The times I allowed my thoughts to overtake my happiness.  Yes the first quarter of my life was a difficult one. Though I’m not the only one. I remember all this but the pain is such a distant emotion. It’s just as though the printer has almost ran out of ink. Actually I think it might have. All I sense from my past is gratitude. For without all the trying times in my life I wouldn’t be who I am today. I wouldn’t have grown how I have grown and I wouldn’t be able to help others the way I have. I’m thankful for all the experiences I have had in life both good and bad.

Since then on my life changed. Disbelief was taken away, limitations erased. I learned better coping mechanisms. I found the positive in the negative. I noticed steps back and decided not to dwell on them but move forward, I’d began to find my way and my achievements have been plentiful. One of the most important being my ability to live in balance with joy and happiness, regardless of any mental health issues I had when I was younger. I have learnt to be inspired, motivated and positive throughout my life. Even greater I have been able to pass this onto others as my full time mission.

I have mastered the Spanish language and am living in a Spanish speaking country. Here I have been working in harmony with nature and my surround with the food I eat and energy I use.

I have had a successful and inspiring running career. I have ran across vast distances.  I have covered hundreds and thousands of miles across national trails throughout different lands. Always on a journey, inspiring myself, motivating myself moving my body, and most importantly, my mind forward with every single step that I took. I have continued to blog about this in some way or another through my life though the methods have changed somewhat since the ‘blogging’ days. I’m not quite sure what they call it now. This has just as importantly brought inspiration to others which has been my life’s work.

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I have achieved almost everything I had hoped for. I think that achieving everything that we ever wanted in life is a fallacy. To have achieved everything is to stop being inspired, stop being motivated to stop learning more, to stop loving and creating and living. Love, joy, happiness, peace, fulfillment knows no boundaries and I will continue to build on all those things I already have a great deal of and feel a great deal of now. Right through these last days of my life. The world is a vast place with infinite things that we can do out there and learn out there, and within ourselves. I know for sure I won’t have completed all my goals when I pass. For one I have just started to rebuild on my knowledge of quantum physics and I do not expect to learn all that I’d hoped to within my last few days. I do it though because it fascinates me. So yes I know I will have goals that I have not achieved and I am happy with that so long as I am happy with WHO I currently am, and I am.


The first quarter of my life was difficult but my my my how I have made up for it with the rest of my life. All the earlier difficulties were there to help build my strength to have the amazing life which I have had. 

Philip is my life and soul and he has been with me right up until this day.  We have had trying times the two of us. We have not always enjoyed the same things. Sometimes we wondered if we were suited to each other we spoke about how we both imagined doing the things we loved most as individuals, together, laughing and smiling. Though there are many things that fascinate my husband which do not fascinate me. We spoke to each other about the things we do love and our dreams and we created dreams together and achieved those with support for one another and love. People believe love is lost when the spark has gone. Love isn’t a spark between two people that’s an infatuation which turns into something much deeper, something that was never achieved with anyone else I ever met. He has been my lover and he has been my best friend, and a little piece of his spirit will be with mine when I leave this world, just as it is now. We are both very old now and very happy. Living our final days together in peace.

I have found the diversity in the people I have met very interesting and rewarding. So many people don’t give themselves enough credit but luckily they can find it within themselves. It’s always been there, they just need to find it, accept that they deserve to feel that way and have those things and make the choice. People who have come to me for life coaching who thought their lives where in ruins have come out with some of the most inspiring and profound things I ever thought was possible. They were just simply beyond my wildest dreams. I have seen 100s of people and every single one of them enriched my life with my guidance to enrich theirs. We are capable of so much more than we know. The great riches in life are not just for a select few but can be achieved for anybody. This has enriched both my life and theirs and allowed me to better my service by sharing their wisdom along with mine to the next person. This has been pretty powerful stuff.

Another thing that’s interesting is how life just continues to go on and on. The hills and mountains continue to sit there almost never moving through their existence. The wind continues to blow through everything that is passes. The trees continue to grow as tall as buildings. The birds continue to chirp their beautiful songs. As I come towards the end of my life I see all new life around me coming into existence every day. I sit and I think of all the trivia that I allowed into my life once upon a time. All those silly things that I allowed to get on top of how I felt and thought about myself, other people and the rest of the world. I may be old and I may be wise, but overall I am only a tiny fragment of something much greater, the great cycle of life, and all that which is beyond the beyond of the universe and our minds. What an amazing world.

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I had lost who I was when I was younger I think most people get lost at some point in their life. I think they do as they believe they should. They do what they are told to do and never question for many years why they are doing it. They never question whether it’s what they want to do. Even more scary many people know they are not happy every day and decide to not take action. Does it make them happy? Do they love what they do? Do they love who they are with? Then they find themselves lost. They look in the mirror and don’t see the true reflection of who they should be and want to be. They don’t see the reflection of who they are inside. They are the reflection of the person the system tells them to be. They are living by that system as ‘individuals’ and are also limiting themselves greatly by self-limitations and limitations imposed on them over the years by family and friends. I think the best thing anyone could ever do in life is to become lost for a length of time in which to go back to basics and discover who you really are inside. What makes YOU happy? What do YOU want? Sometimes when our lives have taken control of us, we are sad, depressed, lonely and lost and we don’t know what we want or what makes us happy. Sometimes we feel nothing makes us happy. Think as you did as a child what made you happy then? What did you dream? Through being lost and experiencing all those emotions that go with it we have a chance to find ourselves. It may take time but stay lost and you will find a way.  Much like I did all those years ago.

Now I am much older and looking back on my life and I love the person I have become. I love the person I became a long time ago. I am proud of the work I have done and the world I have created around me. I am proud of the people I have helped.  Through sheer stubbornness to not accept that “that is life get over it” I have managed to find who I am and what I want to do in life.  I discovered how to make a living in doing what I love best. I have maintained good health through eating good nutritious healthy foods that I have mainly grown myself right here at home. I have eaten well and still been treated. Fruit are the best treats in life. I have taken up exercise most of my life and even now toward the end of my life I enjoy the occasional walk through the forest or to meditate on the beach. I have shown love and compassion to all those who have come into my life. Well the most of it anyway. Those that I have had disagreements or fights with in my younger life I have apologized to upon further contact and settled our differences. Some of those have become close friends to this day. Others we have agreed to disagree and wished each other all the luck and happiness in the world for the future, both separating with smiles, love and peace for one another. 

I wouldn’t change a thing. I have set out to achieve all the things that I held most dear to my heart to help me to be successful and wealthy and have a rich life. I have done all I can to help other people to do the same. I have done all I can to help other animals and life around me. I have spared their lives by making the choice to not eat animals nor use any products in which they need, or to use them for my own entertainment for men to profit from. I have helped any animal I could help at that current time. I have become guardian for several animals over my life, in need of a home. I am very content with the way my life has gone.

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The most important wisdom and advice I would like pass on to others at this stage in my life, would be to get lost and find yourself! It doesn’t matter how long it takes to find yourself but do so. When you do then live and breathe it with every inch of your being. You may need to make changes, you may need to let go of some of the things or even people in your life… and that’s ok. Everything will be ok.

When the heavens have come to me and it is my time.I shall close my eyes, I shall smile, I shall allow the light to enter my body and lift my soul, my spirit and the true essence of me from my body. I shall look forward to the amazing journey ahead of me to come.

Behind me I will leave my love for every single one of you.
-ScottyRunner

Forest path in the woods


My Dream Life

Here’s a post of things that I think about when I think about my dream life. A life I am working toward building right now every day.

Home is where the Heart is…
La Gomera – The Canary Isles
I have traveled to the canary islands on a few occasions spending several seasons there. My favorite being Gran Canaria in the middle of the island where all the little villages spread along the mountains. We plan on visiting La Gomera in 2016 for a week or so to get a feel for what it has to really offer. One thing we both certainly know is that we will not live the rest of our lives in England. Could this be home?

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Grow Your Own –
We both love the idea of growing all or most of our own food right on the land we live on. Because we want to live in an exotic hotter climate we believe as vegans we could live nicely on our own grown exotic fruits and vegetables. Also grow our own plants that have natural healing powers. I have already been studying the medicinal properties of plants and continue to do so in preparation for some amazing life changing coming my way 😉
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Renewable Energy
The Canary Islands are hot, sunny and often windy. In fact if you look at a map of the Canary Islands just off the coast west from Northern Africa, you will see it’s much more sandy along the east of the isles. This is where the La Calima comes in, which is a sand storm swept in from the Sahara Desert of Africa. Every few years this also brings the locusts too :O Anyway due to these 2 factors it’s a perfect location for both solar energy and wind energy and dependent upon need we would be willing to have both and get rid of normal electricity from fossil fuels.

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What about work?
My dream has always been to work in a field in which I may be able to bring other people joy and happiness or help them to find it within themselves. This is something I’m working on at the moment. But my idea would be how wonderful it would be to be able to create a getaway retreat where people can come and relax away from their busy lives and center their energy and restore balance. Then hopefully they can leave with new insights and new happiness that can spread through to their friends and family and all they come into contact with.

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and for fun?

Well as you all know my main love in life is running. La Gomera is not a huge island but it certainly has some amazing mountainous trails to be treaded through. I will be checking those out next year.la_gomera_forest_trail-542x600

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Also I would like to spend more time doing meditation and yoga. I live in the city and even though I’m behind closed doors the energy is always busy within the city. Sometimes it’s hard to find true peace that I have found in a quiet serene environment.

If we have the space I would also like to liaise with any local animal sanctuary type places. This would be so that if any animal should need a place to live or their lives would be at stake then I hope they could contact us. It would be nice to be able to give them a retreat too so they can get better and hopefully be let back into the wild.

I would also be keen on continuing to blog about the things I learn in life. Sharing these with my friends even if they are mainly online friends I trust they will be friends for life now.

I would like to learn the lands of the island. Learn what can be foraged from the wild to be eaten or used as medicine and take as needed but leave what is not needed.

I would like to continue using and building on the Spanish language I have been learning on and off for the last 7 years. Spanish is such a beautiful language that melts my heart every time I hear it spoken 🙂

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Running –

I will become a regular ultra runner. I am not sure how much I will get to travel from my new home but I will from time to time. Beyond that I will run often around my home. In the meantime I wish to run Pennine Way, Thames Path, South West Coast Path, Grand Union Canal and would like to run the entire perimeter of the England, Scotland and Wales mainland covering over 5 000 miles.

I am creating my future now so it can become a reality. This blog was mostly for me to be creating but if you happen to be reading this then you saw the whole thing. So thanks for reading.

All my love
-ScottyRunner