Sunday, 25 December 2016

And I'm finished!!!

What a fabulous feeling. A few weeks ago I was struggling with the fact I had several events to do, and the thought of doing them just seemed completely out of reach. But today, on Christmas Day, I completed my 40th event at parkrun this morning. It's so nice now that it's all done. 

The last 15 months has seen me through a mix of good and bad experiences. There have been times when low mood has really affected my motivation and focus, and this has been part of the challenge. It's not natural for me to want to do exercise, although I'm well aware of the health benefits, both physical and mental, and this is where a large part of the challenge has lain - moving myself to complete these events, and to try and do a variety of events that would challenge me. Sometimes anxiety has really played its part in not doing more things than I could have done, and coupled with low mood, this has affected my focus and motivation to get out. Physical health problems such as bronchitis and viruses, that have floored me, have also played their part in not seeing this challenge finished earlier than it could have been. I have faced personal challenges of pushing myself to do things that have taken me out of my comfort zone (trail half-marathon comes to mind), and facing demons in my head who would be telling me I was incapable of doing things and there wasn't much point, that I was useless at running, and because I was doing a mix of running and walking I felt I wasn't doing it properly.

On the positives I have done things I might not have normally considered doing, and usually I've been with friends at events, which makes so much difference. I have taken myself out of my comfort zone, which does add to the exhilaration of finishing an event I initially thought I would bulk at, and pull out, or not even enter. 

Over the last 15 months I have completed half marathons, parkruns, virtual races, 10k races, 10 mile races, 5mile races, a quarter marathon and a triathlon. In terms of seeing achievements I have finally been able to run 5km more consistently than before. 

But ultimately, I have actually done this challenge. I've completed it and to be honest, at one point I was worried that it wasn't going to be achievable. But I DID IT!!!!!!!! 

There is no medal to show I have completed this, nor have I reached my fundraising target, but I know every penny that has been donated is going to make a difference to those affected by PSP - both individuals and family members. 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me during this time, both friends and family. I have received much advice, information and support over the time, all of which has made a difference in how I then faced each event as it came up.

Some stats over the challenge:

Total mileage covered - 201.54 miles of which I did:
18 parkruns
7 X 10 km
X 5 mile
1 quarter marathon
2 X 10 miles
2 half marathons 
1 X 8 miles 
1 triathlon
1 X 7 mile (multi lap race)
2 virtual races
1 mile fun run

My medal collection through out the challenge:
Plus two of the following medals which were virtual races (the Father Christmas and Rudolph medals). The other two I did combined with the parkruns yesterday and today, where part of my entry fee went to Girlguiding UK. 

So, what next? Well, a few weeks ago I was contemplating having a break from running completely. Then, more recently, I remembered I had signed up for two virtual races in January. Not letting my entry fee go to waste!!! Guess, I'm not giving up that easily then. But at the moment I intend to run just for the sake of looking after me, without worrying about trying to raise money. Mind you, I keep saying that and then I find another cause to try and raise money for!!!! 

So Merry Christmas my faithful readers. There have been good times. Not sure when the blog will get updated next. But I'm keeping it open.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

One to go!!!

So, the penultimate event was completed at parkrun this morning, on what probably is the hardest course physically with 6 hills but I still ran it all. Having woken at 6am, a decision was made that I may as well go to parkrun since I was up. It was extremely chilly with a brisk wind, but, once out of the wind, I'd discarded the jumper I was wearing.

So, one more event to go. I think I've been persuaded to go to Christmas Day parkrun tomorrow. It would be awesome to finish the challenge on Christmas Day. Best set the alarm. I can't see me waking up voluntarily before 8am two days in a row!!! 

Another virtual runner medal earned as well, again for Girlguiding UK. 

Friday, 23 December 2016

Event 38 of #fortyb4forty

As with a lot of the races I have done, I do not plan far in advance. It's been known that on the morning I will enter a race. At least last night I had a few hours when my friend texted me to ask if I wanted to go for a run this morning. I still had some virtual runs to complete, having entered them. Again, I had entered a race where part of my entry fee went towards Girlguiding UK.

Two weeks ago saw me commiserating and feeling sorry for myself because my son had decided to pass his germs onto me. Well, those germs mutated into something that floored me for a good couple of days but has taken a lot longer to recover from. So last night when the message came through I thought I'd give it a go, and try and run 5km and earn the medal I had entered for.

The upshot is that I ran 3.6 miles (5.8km). Further than I intended to and, aside from stopping to cross the road safely, I ran the entire distance. My running buddy is awesome and very patient, despite training to run an ultra distance herself. I certainly wasn't quick, but for me, the fact that once again I ran 5km (and the rest) it feels like I'm finally reaching some consistency with my running, and instead of having a break from running, which was what I was planning on doing once the challenge is over, means I might actually keep going. 

I have felt increasingly disillusioned about the point of carrying on with running and, I guess I've been frustrated with the fact that for so long 5km seemed such a hard target to reach. It feels that for many of my running chums 5km is not as hard as it is for me. Hence struggling to keep going with the challenge because I have so woefully inadequate about myself.

But now it now feels that things are turning round and it seems that I could have a running buddy most Friday mornings which will help so much. And giving up running might not be happening.

As I have pretty much been raising money for one charity or another since May 2014, I'm not planning on setting a challenge for myself. I think I need to learn to enjoy the sport for myself, and reap the benefits (both physical and mental) without the pressure of hitting a deadline or target.

So here is a picture of my medal in its rightful place

I have two events left to do. It is entirely possible to finish on Christmas Day if I was to go to parkrun tomorrow and on Sunday (yes, there is a Christmas Day parkrun). I still also have two virtual medals to rightfully earn. Can I get myself up and sorted the next two mornings? I've been enjoying some decent lie-ins since the schools broke up for the holidays!!! 

Friday, 9 December 2016

Events 35, 36 and 37.

As I write this I am feeling quite sorry for myself, my son having passed on his germy germs onto me. However I have already done. 5k run today which I shall talk about later.

so, event 35: this was parkrun at Netley Abbey. This was on a new winter course and contained a few hills. It was cold and windy standing by the shore waiting to get going. However, after running the entire course I was not feeling as cold as I had been. And yes, I ran the entire course. The second time this year that I have run 5k without slowing to walk. I was feeling really pleased with myself. My time wasn't as quick as it has been previously but to run it all was definitely a major achievement.

Event 36: Boscombe 10k. As the name gives it away we were in the Bournemouth area. I was very close to pulling out right before the start of the race. I just didn't want to to do, to the point I was in tears. But after some encouragement from family I went to the start line. At one point in the race there was a long slow hill but despite this I was pleased as to how I ran the remainder of the course. 

Event 37: this event was slightly different. It was a virtual race organised by virtual No, this doesn't mean I run on the Internet. What it means is that I pay an entry fee, of which a percentage goes to a specified charity, I complete the distance in my own time in the dates specified, and once the race is completed in my own time and I have submitted my result, I receive a medal. That was my 5k this morning. I went with a friend and, again, ran the entire 5k distance that I set myself. The charity that was being supported was Girlguiding UK. I have three more medals to run for, again for the same charity throughout December. I definitely had endorphins going around my brain today. It was a good feeling. On this occasion, the medal had been sent out prior to the event due to Christmas post, so I captured a photo today:

So 3 events left. 

Friday, 18 November 2016

Event 34 of #fortyb4forty

This event was held on 6th November and was about raising awareness and money for the Royal British was a 5 k distance and there was such a variety of people taking part - adults and children whose aim was to complete it whether walking or running.

So, my aim, as usual, was to complete it. I actually ran the entire distance. It's the first time for a long time that I have run a 5k distance in its entirety. I as really pleased with myself. 

6 events left to do.....

Saturday, 5 November 2016

7 left to go ending on Christmas Day

Yep, that's what this post is all about. 7 left to go and it absolutely feels like the biggest thing to try and achieve before February at the moment. I know it's not but that's what it feels like.

Since the Great South Run I have lost a lot of motivation to run. I'm also aware that my general mood is also dipping, so I am doing things to help me keep my head above water. Exercise, I know, should be one of them, but even doing other things like crochet and reading is helping.

My husband had an idea: as our local parkrun is running on Christmas Day, he suggested I make that my 40th event. I think that is quite a brilliant idea, so I need to work backwards and plan in when I need to fill the gaps between now and then. It would be great to finish this challenge before the year and gives me a target to aim to. Which will help in keeping me focused.

So far, I have the following events booked: Poppy Run (tomorrow), Decathlon 5km (2 weeks time), Boscombe 10k (3 weeks time). And then of course Christmas Day parkrun as my final event. That's 4. Three events then left to do. It's apparently 8 weeks until Christmas........

Can I hit my fundraising target by then too? I have less than £100 to raise before hitting it. I'd love to reach that.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Event 33 of #fortyb4forty

The Great South Run - one of the South's biggest running events every year, with thousands of people taking part for different reasons.

My preparations for the event included doing my nails using nails wraps from Jamberry that I thought were amazingly apt!! I even put one on a toe, joking it would make me go faster!! 

I had also met up with a former colleague during the week, who I had recently got back in contact with, from my last workplace and her mum had passed away from PSP last year. So yesterday I was not running just for Nan, but for her mum, Carol, who I had also worked with

Anyhow, this time last year this was my 5th of the current challenge. And to be honest I was pretty downhearted with the time and the actual run itself. I didn't enjoy it.

Fast forward to yesterday. The weather was beautiful. I was starting the race with two running buddies and I was looking forward to the event. I even remembered to take Hope with me.

And suddenly we're at the start. The sun is shining, and although the wind had been slightly cold, it didn't take long to warm up. I kept up with my running buddies for the first 5 miles maintaining a 3 min run, 30 second recovery walk. It was surprising how quickly that recovery walk would pass. I then did my own race. The wind wasn't that bothersome except in one area. The atmosphere was brilliant the whole way round, I was looking forward to the residential area near the end where last year they have music on loud speaker and just loads of encouragement. I do remember thinking at one point that I am not entering next year's event, even if the tantalising offer of early bird was available!!! 

The end is in sight!! And that is always the part I struggle with. I have no idea why. It's so nice to see familiar familiar faces in the approach and it really is a boost to keep going. I cross the finish line with an official time of 2 hours 24 seconds. This is 7 mins faster than last year so this really has made my day although I am ever so slightly disappointed that 25 seconds faster and I'd have had a sub 2 hour time for the course. Clearly, doing my nails had had a positive effect........

Seeing some running club buddies after crossing the finish line to give me a hug was amazing. I was exhausted and probably could have just burst into tears. But it was also nice to get a finish line photo from them :-) 

Today I am exhausted!! Knowing I pushed myself yesterday is satisfying particularly with the result that it achieved for me. Yet, I have two children to entertain. 

I have 7 events left to complete this challenge. It's possible it could happen before the end of the year. I'm not sure when next event is but I'm sure it'll be soon. 

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Event 32 of #fortyb4forty

Hard one today. The New Forest Stinger 5 mile distance. There as also a 10 mile distance but opted to not go for that.

Now, when I woke up this morning I wasn't booked onto a race. I had intended to enter this one but needed to wait until pay day, and then I plain forgot. Saw that a couple of friends were doing this race and wished them luck, including the comments that I had forgotten to enter. I think one of the ladies who entered into a conversation was on the team organising the race. So by 8am I had nearly convinced Muself I was going to do this, but for one thing: one of my worst fears about races. 

Now, at most events, there is almost always more than ample parking. But, I have this almost irrational fear that If I go alone I'll get lost, there won't be enough parking and I'll be late. This morning, as I then decided I was then entering on the day, I also had a major anxiety panic about turning up and finding out all the enter-on-the-day places had been taken. To the point I was nearly in tears about it, and nearly just didn't go.

In jumps my wonderful husband who drives me to the race, with the children. He takes them off for a walk whilst I am running. 

The terrain of the race was pretty much mud and puddles. Difficult to run in. Legs feeling like lead made it all the much harder. Going around, I struggled with anxious feelings about completing it, the fact that my legs just hurt, and they nearly get the better of me on more than one occasion on the route. I haven't had these feelings for so long. Probably last time was when I did the Ox half, so that was May, I think. I struggling with breathing too. Carrying an inhaler has made such a difference to my running lately but I had to work hard mentally to not go into panic mode completely because I struggled to breath. Anyhow, it's fair to say the latter half I probably spent more time walking, but I did run down the hills. I was going to finish this damn race becaus there's no way I wasn't going to finish. The last kilometre was a long slow hill. Whilst pushing myself up I saw an adult deer, and three babies cross the path in front of me. It was an incredible sight. I pushed to the end. It was hard.

I had to laugh at my husband when I found him at the end. He'd wandered back to the car after walking with the children to drop something back because he thought I'd be a lot longer. Ha!!! Really happy with about 1 hour 12 minutes. Got a rather nice little cool bag as my finishing memento.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Event 30 of #fortyb4forty

Yes!! I am now 75% complete of the challenge. It is now a countdown to 40. What a nice feeling!

So, what did I do? I took part in the RNLI 10k in Portsmouth. A very flat route, good prep for the Great South Run which is in 17 days time. The weather was just lovely. I had no idea how the race was going to go. In previous runs I was struggling to get to 1 mile without needing to walk so today was going to be interesting, one thing I tend to do is to set off too quickly, so I had to really hold myself back and let everyone overtake me. However, this way of doing things meant I ran the first three miles of the race before needing to walk. I was so pleased with myself. It gives me hope for the GSR that whilst I probably won't run it (never say never however), it feels that it could be a lot more comfortable to do. I absolutely loved the medal at the end. I finished with my best 10k run for the year.

Haven't really planned when I'm doing event 31, but that's okay. I have vague ideas when races happen but entering races at the last minute always adds to the fun of it,

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Event 29 of #fortyb4forty

This run was very much a last minute event. As I was helping at the main Perform 5 mile event by handing out tshirts I was unable to take part. However, there was a 1 mile fun run afterwards, which was most likely aimed at children. Having persuaded my son to take part, I entered also. 

Now, I realise a mile isn't far. However, I could make it challenging by getting round as quickly as possible, and seeing how fast I could do one mile in. My son just raced off and finished comfortably ahead of me. I finished in under 10 minute, so was very pleased with that.

I recently received Hope the PSPA bear. I brought her along to the event, and my plan in the future is to take her along to the remaining events of the #fortyb4forty challenge.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Event 28 of #fortyb4forty

I'm a bit late with this. My apologies.

So, the Woodland Way was hard. The aim was, in 6 hours, to run as many laps as possible. 4 laps would equate to a half marathon. When I entered this was my aim. Being treated for sinusitis and probable bronchitis in the week prior really played havoc at the actual event, and I struggled on the second lap so I had to call it a day. I still wasn't fully recovered. Gutted but pleased that I actually got out there and actually gave it a go. I didn't achieve what I wanted to do, but it was such a relaxed event anyway. And I did enjoy it. Nice to see a few people from running club too. I apologise for lack of photos as well.

So now? Still not completely well, but am under medical care for that now. But I haven't been told to stop running.............bring on event 29 hopefully soon 

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Event 27 of #fortyb4forty

Triathlon probably isn't the first thing you would expect me to come out with - unless you are following my page on Facebook, or on Twitter.

So, to update you. During my recent holiday, I saw that GoTri Hamble were hosting the final in a series of tri events: a triathlon. A 160m swim, 6km bike ride, and a 2 km run. I was interested, but it would be something where I was putting myself out of my comfort zone - cycling is the one thing I am less keen on for various reasons. But anyway, I entered. Last night, I was seriously doubting that decision. 

Let me take you back to May 2015. I was a member of Herc Tri, a fairly newly formed triathlon club. I had entered a local triathlon event hosted by Try Tri - the May Day Tri. This was a 200m swim, 6km bike ride and 2.5km run. I managed the swim really well. The cycling, however, was my nemesis, partly due to not having trained as much, and the hills that were part of the course were quite steep. My error completely, considering that I had done a recce ride. Nevertheless, after completing the course, I was put off triathlon until now, as I had really struggled physically and mentally to complete the cycling element. Then running 2.5km on jelly legs, which included short but sharp hills, was just too much.

So back to today. The bike ride was always going to be my difficult area to overcome. After being reassured that the route was relatively flat, I was feeling okay, but knew I would still struggle having done no recent bike training. The swim was easy. Sorry, but it was. But swimming is the sport I focused in as a child into my teens, and I guess as a result it comes more naturally to me. After having some mechanical issues with my bike sorted prior to starting the race, I was nervous, and to be honest, at one point I wasn't sure if I as going to be able to even race due to the mechanical issues. Anyway,  I was cleared. The actual ride was hard for me (lack of training) but it wasn't difficult, and no where near as inclined as I had ridden (or walked) up during the May Tri. But I got around, and was happy.  Had the jelly legs after dismounting, and there was no way I could run to the field for the final element. I think I would have collapsed. But I got around the field with a mix of running and walking. I had to dig deep to keep going. I was very aware of a group from running club who had stopped on their run, and was cheering people on (thanks girls, I loved that. Apologies for seemingly ignoring you. I wasn't, I was very focused by the end of the run). 

And I finished. Very happy with the fact I finished and I did enjoy doing it. 

Having done some analysis of times and distances at my events today, I have come to the conclusion I did a brilliant job and, despite lack of recent training ( last minute entry and I was on holiday!!) in the run up to the event, my times are right on track with what I had been training at, which is better than going slower than training!! Happy days 😄

Next weekend, I'm doing a 6 hour event where I run as many laps of a course as I can manage in that time. Again, something a little more challenging than just doing a set distance race. 

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Testing times

Doing 40 events before I'm forty seemed a good idea at the time 11 months ago or so. I knew it would tag me physically, but it has been the mental challenge in more than one way:
* having to wake up early to go to events more regularly than I did. Me and early mornings have never been friends and I will often have an argument with myself to hoick myself out of bed, particularly for parkrun.
*believing in myself that I can complete an event, even a 5k event, such as parkrun. Halfway round a distance my mind start telling me that's it's too far, that my body has had enough and let's just quit.
*The feeling that I can't be bothered, I'm too tired, I haven't eaten properly, finding a babysitter, it's too hot/cold, 

But here I am 26 events on now. Hauling myself out of bed, especially to get to parkrun. Fighting those inner voices which will continue to torment me, telling me I'm not good enough. 

I will admit, I will be glad when this challenge has finished. It's been a long haul, this year particularly. I've had to work hard to change my thinking and to fight the feelings of depression, and actually breaking the cycle of letting it rule my life; but instead regaining control, and ok, sometimes I can't be bothered to do X, Y and Z, but that's not depression. I'm being a lazy whatsit. I'm not denying that I've had depression, but this year I came to the conclusion that I really need to move forward and only I can really do that proactively, and not make excuses all the time. 

The weather has been really hot, and it has made recent events hard going. But last night I did take a  proactive look at my challenge, I now have 14 events left to do. Not including today I now have 25 weekends left to do 14 events. So I produced this:

Having written it out like this helped me to focus and look at where I can do events. If I really focus I can complete the challenge by Christmas time latest if I tried hard to get to parkrun each week, and find a few more events.

So I got this, right? 

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Event 22 of #fortyb4forty

So event 21 for the sharp-eyed among you was Race for Life last Sunday.

Event 22 - Wyvern 10k. This is on home ground for me.

The weather - initially wet, but stopped. Cloudy, humid, making a run quite hard to push through when you feel like your wrapped in a fluffy blanket in a sauna. My running has taken a nose dive and I was worried and set myself a target of 1hour 15 mins, even though to just finish would be my ultimate target.

It was hot and very humid going around. Even the breeze was warm, uncomfortable and unpleasant. Thankfully there was water at frequent points on the course. As this was an event run by Hedge End Running Club there were a lot of marshals who were members so the support was immense which made a huge difference to getting around. As a result there were many opportunities for my picture to be taken and I decided to have some fun with it. (Photo credit to Paul Hammond for pictures 2,3,4)

Ultimately I came away from the course with a 10k personal best this year, although not a course PB, but not to far off it. Official chip time was 1:13:13. So very happy with that (previous chip time in 2014 was 1:11:39).

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Half way

So today, I did my 20th event of #fortyb4forty. To recap I have done:
8 X 5km 
3 X 5 miles
4 X 10k
1x quarter-marathon
1 X 8 miles
1 X 10 miles
2 X half-marathon

I feel I should be more excited!!!! It's a downwards journey to counting down. 20 to go. Instead I am quietly contemplating the journey I have done so far - mentally and physically.

But it feels that the end is in sight. I will be honest, and at the moment, I will be glad when this challenge is finished. I'd love to beat my £500 fundraising target. I'm about £5 short of £300 which is amazing frankly.

I haven't entered any races recently and so far I have a 5k, a 10k and a 10 mile race already entered. So I'll need 17 more events............

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Trying not to feel guilty

Today was the first time I have pulled out of a race due to having a cold and having shortness of breath (SOB) with it during my challenge.

I feel incredibly guilty that I couldn't manage it. The condition for the race were perfect - dry, not too hot, flat course. But even walking was testing my ability to hold a conversation without getting too breathless.

It was the sensible option. Last time I ran with a cold and SOB  I struggled. Really struggled. And I finished that run feeling worse than when I started.

Today should have been the 20th event of #fortyb4forty. Halfway. 

Anyway, I'm not going to let it get me down, I'm going to get better, get back out running, and move on and do the 20th event soon. 

Sunday, 12 June 2016


I have just been seeing so many posts on Facebook about Endure- a 24 hour running event where you try as a team, a pair, or solo, to run as many laps as possible in a 24 hour period. I can honestly say I am completely awed by the commitment, endurance, team work and camaraderie that clearly came across in all these posts on my news feed. 

3 weeks ago I completely the Ox Half. As mentioned in my previous blog post, it was a test of my mental and physical endurance. Since then I have not been out for a run until today. It took about a week to recover from this half. I was soooo tired. My muscles also took a few days to recover. Not surprisingly, but unlike after the Southampton half marathon, I have not entered yet entered another race.

It's hard to put into words how I feel about running, or just exercise in general at the moment. Usually once I'm out there I'm fine and I get on with it. But why is the motivation to actually get my gear on and out the door so hard to do? I've heard people say that one should just get out there and do it. No messing around around, no feeling sorry for yourself. Just do it. Easy, right? Sounds like it should be. 

As a child I was a swimmer. I belonged to a club, trained at least twice a week, with lifesaving club, and synchronised swimming in top of that. Not that I excelled in synchro, but it was good fun all the same, and I can still skull my way up and down a swimming pool on my front and back with considerable ease, as I found out at a tri swimming training a while back!! 

I am determined to turn my mental health around. To not use it as an excuse all the time to not do something. In all aspects of my life. It's hard fighting against a voice that tells you it's not worth it, that you can't do this, that and the other, why did I start the fortyb4forty challenge, you need rest, too tired, I haven't eaten properly. So many excuses. But I want to fight them, and it's probably going to take baby steps, but I will get there. 

So that's where I am. My usual battle with an inner voice of a child who is being rebellious.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Event 19 of #fortyb4forty

I'm not going to lie. This was one of the toughest events I have ever done - physically and mentally.

Let me take y back 4 weeks. I had completed the Southampton Half-marathon and had enjoyed the experience. Within two days I had signed up for another half-marathon - the Ox Half.

Yesterday:  I arrived  with a friend from running club (thanks for the lift Linda!!) and, in the pouring rain, pitched my tent. Got utterly soaked but in the end got it up and all my things in. Having done that we went to see the start of the Light Ox, a 10k race. We hung around waiting for the spouse of another  club member finish his race. In that time I collected my run number for the next day, sampled the chips on offer (gluten free), and enjoyed a nice hot cup of tea. After that we went back to our tents to wile away some time until the Dark Ox race, of which Linda, Tiggy and Mike were taking part. Thankfully the rain has eased considerably by this time. Whilst waiting for them we were treated to this wonderful view:

So once they were successfully back it was bedtime.

Nice 6.30 view on opening my tent doors:
However after a trip to the loo I went back to sleep.

By the time I got up my nerves had started kicking in and I was seriously doubting my decision to take part. White Star Running, who organises these events, has a reputation for hilly trail runs. I didn't fully appreciate how hilly they would be, and the endurance I would need to complete the course. They also have a reputation for well organised and enjoyable events.

By the first hill, the steepness of that hill had installed a panic in me, and I really started to struggle. The downhills were fabulous, but each hill that we encountered seemed to get steeper and longer. We were even caught in a very heavy shower at one point also. One hill, known as Garlic Hill (wild garlic grows in these forests), was one of the worse. I was struggling knowing that I had a blister on one heel, my hip and thigh on the other leg were quite sore, and made anymore running quite hard. This hill I found particularly hard, mentally and physically. The 'path' was just a strip of sticky thick mud in which my feet slipped and slid in all directions, nearly landing me in the bushes in several occasions. The hill was steep and seemed endless. Mentally, I really was not coping with this and it was purely one foot in front of the other that kept me moving forward, plus the fact that I had to carry on. It really was a test of my endurance, both physically and mentally. My feet were slipping in thickly sticky mud along the route, I struggled with the narrowness of walking paths. Tears and panic did make an appearance on several occasions, particularly the last hill. 

On the upside, the views were spectacular. Here's one we were treated to:

The final hill led to the finish. How I stayed on my feet was a miracle, and it was the longest 400m I have done to the end of a race. I had nothing left in me and couldn't even quicken up to a jog to the finish the last 50 metres. But ultimately I did it. I got around within the time limit allowed (just!!!) Although some one had assured me the organisers were fairly flexible with the times had I been a little slower. 

So here are the elevations and I've circled with what I recall was Garlic Hill:
Looking down Garlic Hill (picture borrowed from a friend) and still had a while to the top: 

So, I finished it. I felt broken mentally and physically. The hugs from running club members were much welcome. This really was a tough challenge. I then had to pack up my tent and belongings to go home!! I think that nearly broke me altogether when the wind suddenly picked up, the rain started and the thought of taking my tent down was nearly too much for me. 

So, another event done. Despite the difficulties encountered I am glad that it is done, and I didn't give up when I could have easily done so at a food station. 

Monday, 16 May 2016

Event 18 of #fortyb4forty

Before any smart people notice yes, my last event I blogged about was number 15. That's because I have done two parkruns, in the company of my daughter since number 15.

So, yesterday I did the Moors Valley 10k run. It was lovely weather, if a little hot, which made it hard to run. Moors Valley Country Park is a beautiful location with lots of paths, although having to do two loops of one area was a little disheartening. The second loop was much better. 

So armed with the same running buddy as the Eastleigh 10k, we set off. The course was undulating, but not hilly. There is a difference!! The course was a mix of Tarmac and gravel paths. Ultimately we completed it, and came away with a medal. The event did start later than advertised, which made me a little antsy as I just wanted to get going, but eventually we were off.

Much to the amusement and bemusement of Becky, I got a few comments of 'Run Mummy Run' and she just couldn't figure out why to begin with. I was wearing this which still gave her no clues:
I then explained that the kit came from a running community group called 'Run Mummy Run' on Facebook. They also  have their own shop for clothing. I have to say that I love my socks. They have made running so much more comfortable. They were definitely worth investing in. The Skort was also from the same company, and sadly is being discontinued. But these items do define a community that has a common cause - running. Hence, the comments from complete strangers.

What I also did by wearing the Skort was to expose the unsuspecting public to my milk bottle legs. I have fully accepted that I don't tan as my skin is quite fair thanks to be being a redhead. But, it was going to be hot. Sadly though the shorts under the skirt did ride up and cause a little soreness, so I need to find some silicone tape stuff to sew on and hopefully prevent that happening again. Either that or find my body glide I had bought when I went open water swimming last year - once. 

So, the next event is next Sunday. Another half marathon. I had vowed to my husband that after Southampton Half Marathon I wouldn't do another half marathon. So I'm off to Wiltshire to do the Ox Half including some camping as well with some friends too. Because sleep is really going to happen!

must check the tent!!!! 

This week is also PSP awareness week. I really hope that through my challenge I can raise money for a cause that can help more families who struggle with the day to day of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. 

Only 22 more events to go before next February.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Event 15 of #fortyb4forty

Two years ago there's no way I would have ever contemplated completing a half marathon. And today I did just that. It was ABP Southampton Half Marathon. Last year I had to defer my place and do the 10k instead due to an injury earlier in the year, so this year I was going to do it.

Yesterday, I felt amazing. I was looking forward to today. Last night nerves started kicking in. This morning I actually felt sick. My porridge pot wouldn't thicken up, we had no caffeinated teabags at home, and I ended up having to buy breakfast once we had arrived in Southampton. I had planned on wearing my Aftershokz head phones, and ended up forgetting to take them off charge, and leaving them at home. So it wasn't the best start to the day. Honestly, I was close to tears. 

I had a running buddy, Lisa, who was awesome in keeping going. It was tough. My legs really struggled and Burgess Road really was hard to get up. By the end my legs were so achey I struggled to keep them moving. But in my head, I was having an awesome time, and whilst I was glad to see the finish, I thoroughly enjoyed myself today.

Looking at my data, we completed the run in 2hrs, 48 mins and 27secs. Breaking it down it gave me an average pace of 12.52 minutes per mile. Soooooo happy with that. It was right on track with what I had been training at, despite going over itchen bridge and back again, and also going up Burgess Road, as well the slope in Southampton Common. I had to dig deep to keep moving through the common. 

When I saw the finish line, I had to say that I've done this, I've done a half marathon. A little tearful once over the line but soon got over that. 

I have some awesome friends who produced PBs and other amazing results. One friend actually found me on the course with her daughter and I was so pleased to see her. A big hug was then needed. 

Yesterday, I exceeded my halfway fundraising target for PSPA.  Soooo pleased. I still have just over £225 that I would love to raise to hit my target by the end of my challenge. To go beyond it would just be awesome. I seem to be using that word a lot today.  BECAUSE TODAY WAS AWESOME!!!! 

Before the race, the sun came out and generally stayed bright and sunny throughout the race.

The route went through St. Mary's Stadium, home of the Saints. Whilst I am not a football fan, it was awesome to run through it.

We did it!!!! So pleased to have completed it. 

The bling itself :-) 

Friday, 22 April 2016

2 days to go

Yes, it's two days until the biggest challenge of this #fortyb4forty so far for me. Mentally and physically it really is going to test me and I thank my lucky stars that I'm going to have a buddy. We're going to dance our way around and enjoy it. Training has not been as good but I know I can keep going. I'm nervous, of course I am. And I will be glad when it is done. But to finish it will be epic. Who knows what the next challenging thing for me to do with this challenge will be. 

Currently I am 81p short of £200. By twenty events (half way) I would love to have raised £250, which is half of my fundraising target. 

So, my next blog entry will be following the half marathon in Sunday. 

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Longest training run ever!!!!!!!!

Today I did my longest training distance ever - 12 miles. It was a mix of running and walking. And I have to say, my legs were hurting by the end. Unsurprisingly. But with two fabulous companions we soldiered around. It was a circular loop we did.

It's safe to say at the moment that I definitely do not want to enter another half marathon. And I have promised this to my husband - and he laughed. But I achieved something today. Some thing big for me. Apart from the fact I had to keep going as there was no other way of getting home!!!! But I am rightly proud of myself, and if I can get at least one more long run (longer than 3 miles) in before the event then I might be okay on the day.

Throughout the run, I wore my water pack, which I had never done before, I have to say, I really enjoyed wearing it. It didn't wear me down and it was great to take a sip as and when I needed it, and keep my hands free. I fuelled my run with shotblocks every hour, and I have to say that although my legs were really struggling, I didn't feel utterly wiped and reasonably mentally alert. I think I'll be doing that again at the half marathon. 

I did the run in about 2 hours 36mins. I'm not worrying about the time, I did it and I'm not out to get PBs because I have no intention of doing another half marathon.

So here's a chirpy photo taken before I started the run.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Training steps up

Took myself out for a training run today, bearing in mind it is less than 4 weeks to Southampton half marathon. Well, I say run, it was run/walk but it was more running than walking, although one hill had to be walked as it really is a hard hill.

I pushed myself out of my comfort zone today. Took myself on roads I had not run on before, and I used opportunities to extend my run. So instead of using paths that cut corners off, I took the longer route. Mentally it was tough to do as I just wanted to find the shortest route home, but physically I was actually doing okay, so I talked myself into doing it. So I ended up doing 5 miles by myself. Also, I have to push myself mentally and physically and I am very bad at taking myself out of my comfort zone when it comes to running.

I'm doing a longer run/walk on Sunday. This could be interesting.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Event 14 of #fortyb4forty

It's the bank holiday Easter weekend - and it's raining and windy at the time of writing this. This morning however, the rain held off long enough for me to run a quarter marathon. Now a quarter marathon does sound quite grand to me, I mean a marathon is a challenge, something that is enduring and hard work. The reality is that a quarter marathon is 0.3 miles longer than a 10k distance - 6.55 miles. But I like quarter marathon - it's sounds much more grand.

However, whilst there was no rain in Boscombe this morning, there was certainly wind. And the rolling waves on the beach definitely indicated that it was no mild wind either. Predicted speed had been 40mph. No idea what the reality was.  So the run starts along the promenade - complete exposure to the sea, but not horrendous, but still hard work to keep going. However, once we went up to the road, the wind was a different matter. It felt like it was constantly changing direction- so it could blow me sideways (usually close to the road), or running straight into it, but made it impossible to find the energy to push forward. Sometimes the wind would push me along and I took full advantage of this to make up some time that I had spent walking as the wind literally took my breath away. I definitely walked more and I did wear my watch today. I was really pleased with my time. I practically matched my 10k time from last Sunday (1 second slower today), and came in with a really respectable time.

At times I had to really fight the demons in my head telling me that this was going to be hard, and what was the point. So I needed some distraction. I didn't wear any headphones and I was pretty much alone (as my running buddy I started with was doing a fabulous run and had run ahead). So I was counting each step in increments of 10. No idea why, but it certainly kept me moving and distracted me from the negative voices.

Despite walking so much more that I intended, I am really chuffed with today. I'm so glad it didn't rain as I think I would have been pretty miserable going around. It was a hard race. And it's given me some more confidence about the half marathon which is in 29 days- eeeek!!! I think if I can use a run/walk strategy around I could be okay, and just need to practice the distraction techniques I used today as they really seems to work. Also very thankful that my knee problems I was having last year do not seem to be repeating. Slight niggling, but nothing that is causing a problem. Thankfully I know a sports massage therapist.......

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Event 13 of #forty 4forty

Wow!!!! What a fantastic race I had this morning. It was the Eastleigh 10k. Last year I couldn't run this one due to injury, and this year I thought I was going to have to pull out having been hit by a viruses since the beginning of Febraury. Last week resulted in a case of antibiotics for an ear infection, and a poor run on Wednesday was making me doubt whether I would actually make it around today.

Well, I totally blew that out of the water. With a fabulous running buddy, I pretty much ran the entire course (except half the hill). I was so chuffed, I had to dig really deep during the last kilometre to find the umph to keep going, and then finish with a sprint. But I did it, and produced my best 10k time this year. Physically and mentally I felt amazing. I felt comfortable for most of the route. No breathing issues that I had previously struggled with and, once they had warmed up, my legs carried me around the course. We were, of course, supported by a great support team from the running club around the course.

5 weeks to Southampton half marathon....... Need to really knuckle down and get some decent training in.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Spring has arrived (unofficially).

What a beautiful morning today. It was still 5 Celsius when I got to parkrun this morning but it didn't take long to warm up once I got going.

Well, this morning's event has been interesting to review. First running with a snot-ridden head makes things a lot more difficult, however, thanks to a change in route for today, I was able to produce my fastest time for this year. My watch, however, isn't agreeing, and showed a much slower time (nearly 30 secs slower).  On analysing past results  for this year and comparing chip times and parkrun starting times, it seems that actually my watch could be at fault as it is consistently slower by 20+ seconds. That's a lot of seconds!!

So training has been rubbish. Viral tonsillitis, and then a cold more recently, has at times, left me feeling like I've been hit by a brick wall. So I struggled today. Next Sunday is Eastleigh 10k. I have severe doubts going through my head, because for the last month I have struggled to run even 3 miles.

So I've now completed 12 events of #fortyb4forty. Just 28 to go............

Sunday, 14 February 2016

It's getting close

It's 10 weeks until the Southampton Half marathon, and training has been a bit ad hoc to say the least. Having had a really annoying cold for the best part of the last fortnight has done nothing for my energy levels, as well generally being able to feel well. But after a hard training swim this morning, hopefully I'm going to get back on track with the running.

So, I'm going to do a big sponsorship push. Let's see if I can hit £250 by the Southampton half marathon - more would be epic but let's set a mid target. Click here to get to my sponsorship page. Let's make a difference in those who are affected by PSP - both sufferers and carers.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Event 10 of #fortyb4forty

What a cold, but gloriously sunny day for the Cancer Research Snowflake run this morning. It was a 10k race, and for the last week I have been quite poorly, so any idea of trying to train just did not happen.

The first three miles felt like forever!!!!! The second lap wasn't then so bad because I knew the landmarks to look out for. Just as well it wasn't a timed event or that I was out for a personal best. So it was a mix of running and walking the way around.

This morning was primarily about running in memory of those who have had cancer, and either survived, or sadly passed away. My Nan had had kidney cancer, and breast cancer, and survived both. But sadly the battle of having PSP proved too much for her body. So today I was able to remember her, as well as other loved ones, including my dad, who had been unable to fight the battle on their bodies. 

I got a hug with a polar bear. That was what I wanted to try and get. The medal was also on the cards too!! 

So, I've now reached 10 events, which means I am a quarter of the way through my challenge, and I am absolutely chuffed. 30 more events in the next 369 days. So to recap, to date I have done:
3 parkruns
1 cross country run
2 X 5 mile races
2 X 10k races
An 8 mile race
Great South Run - 10 miles

I have the Southampton half marathon in April, which will be an interesting experience. At this moment in time I have no desire to do a full marathon.

I've decided too that I need to invest in medal hangers to show off my efforts!!!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016


My children are fabulous. After being inspired to make bracelets to sell and raise money for her brownie unit, my daughter, and my son, said this  morning that they wanted to make things to raise money for charity but they didn't know what charity, so I gently suggested they make things to try and sell for PSPA.

Currently, they have both just started making Hama beads mats, which have a running theme associated with them. They are really excited about doing this at the moment and I'm really proud of them that they are doing this selflessly. They have said they want to try and sell them at parkrun, but I have to find out if they can do this. I did also warn them parkrun has 200+ runners........

Watch this space for their creative pieces. 

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Quick moment of fame

My copy of PSPA Matters arrived this week. Slightly overawed to actually see it in print. The impact of print of paper definitely feels much more real than that online. No ideal why seeing as the Internet reached far more many people. 

Event 9 of #fortyb4forty

So another morning dawned on a race day. Had my usual brekkie of porridge with golden syrup (never sugar though!!). By 8am I was on my way to the race venue.

It was cold. Normally I don't wear a long sleeve top when running, but I was eternally grateful for it this morning. It was about 3 degrees Celsius with a chilly wind. Add in the gloves, and the ear warmer I was reasonably snug for a short while.

It wasn't long before I discarded the gloves and shoved them up my sleeves like tissues. I had no where else to put them!! But, as I said already, I was very grateful for the long sleeve top.

I struggled today. It was a definite run/walk today for me. I had some very lovely company for a lot of the course, which made a difference. My overall time for the event 1:14:42. Definitely slower than last year, but I'm not going to worry about that. I got around. Two weeks until the next 10k event I'm doing. Good training for the half marathon in April, which I believe is now less than 100 days away. Yeah, daunting thought. 

This week it has crossed my mind that whatever the short term discomforts I go through when I run, people with PSP have to live with constant symptoms from which they, if fortunate, may get temporary relief using medications. But the ongoing management can be by disressing.

So here's to the next two weeks of training. 

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Raising awareness

Oh my goodness. I feel incredibly awed seeing my picture 'in print' with the article about my #fortyb4forty challenge in the latest PSPA Matters magazine (page 14).  It's weird. Even though I remember talking to the lovely lady from PSPA about my challenge, actually seeing the article, that thousands of people can have access to, is slightly overwhelming.

This Sunday is event no. 9, a 10k club race which I did last year so I know the course, and whilst I'm not optimistic that I'll be running with a another person, which is always motivating to keep going, I have the main motivation that I'm doing this to try and raise money for a charity, as well as challenging myself to push myself out of my comfort zone, of preferring to take it easy (apologies for the long sentence. Bad English I know!!).

On the 5th January, it was the first anniversary of Nan's passing away, which whilst somber, there was a relief that she was no longer being tormented by the illness. Symptom management by medication can only go so far in relieving the physical side of things, but the mental anguish but be awful.

So the journey continues, with not just running, but triathlon events too, just to mix things up. Having done a triathlon last year, and not enjoying it particularly, getting back into it this year by doing some smaller distance events that are being held locally, will hopefully build my confidence up again, particularly with cycling. My personal current challenge of exercising daily has included dusting off the exercise bike. I'm also swimming with the tri club that I belong to, so I'm getting a good cross section of exercise now, particularly if he weather is poor, or my motivation to go out is non-existent. My children want to go swimming each week too, which involves swimming up and down to prevent my daughter from sinking when she tries to swim lengths,  means that whilst it's not strenuous exercise, it's moving my body and I'm having fun.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Busy training

My event calendar for the #fortyb4forty challenge is filling up. So far I have entered:
*5 X 10k races
*1 quarter marathon
*Great South Run (10 miles)
*southampton half marathon
*1 duathlon

And I still have 5 months that are event free. I'm not planning on completely filling them up with parkruns. I hope to complete a GoTri series that is being held locally (2 duathlon, 2 triathlon and 1 aquathlon). As my Nan was a swimmer, it would be something to put my own swimming into something that will mean something to me, and remind me why I am doing this challenge.

I have also been trying to exercise daily, although one day was nearly all about housework, and one day I did not exercise at all. But the exercise bike has been dusted off, and days where I'm not running, I've been cycling just 10 minutes at a time at the moment but hopefully next week I plan to increase my time on the bike. 

So, no event now until 17th January when it's a 10k race as a club member. I did this race last year and actually quite enjoyed it. I won't get a course PB, but I'm out to get around and complete it. 

32 events left to complete the challenge. Nearly a quarter of the way complete. Should I celebrate it in some way? 

Friday, 1 January 2016

Events no. 7&8 #fortyb4forty

Happy New Year!!!!!!

We are now in 2016 and it has got off to a cracking start.

Went along to parkrun this morning at my usual haunt, and got around the course. To say that sections of the course was muddy and wet was an understatement (not too windy) and once I got going I forgot that I had been cold. It was about 6C. I had got all my kit ready the night before, set my alarm, and pretty much would be ready to go. 

Prior to leaving for the parkrun, there was a post on our running club Facebook page about who was doing a double parkrun I.e. Going on to another parkrun location once finished the first. I um'd and ahhhhh'd before deciding (after some persuasion) that I would go onto the next parkrun. So I did, and I got around that one. It was the first time that I had gone along to this particular parkrun so as well as a double parkrun, I can now announce I have been to a grand total of 4 different parkruns since first starting them in 2014. 

Looking at my times from this morning, I am optimistic that I can improve on these as the year progresses providing I keep going. However, as much as I was amazed that I persuaded myself to go to the second parkrun, I did in fact start the year with a distance of 10k/6miles. Happy with that.