Category Archives: Blog Posts

Chat

#68: RTTK 2017: Karaoke Ultra Challenge: 1/2 Way There And Not Enough Songs (Part 3)

Previously…

  • 10 songs accepted by CP2
  • One hip flexor niggle from over-pronating to avoid a stone embedded in the sandal sole

By the end of CP3 (26.6 miles in 7 hrs 47 mins)

Out of 9 songs submitted, 7 were accepted. This brings the total tally to 17 out of 53 songs to complete. There are 26.9 miles left and a DNF is now a possibility due to an incomplete song list, unless Tyre Lady has something up her sleeveless sleeves.

As for the hip flexor it was hurting on arrival into CP3. Decided a massage would help…..but perhaps it was too deep a massage (was all for the elbow in). Hip was great for 5 minutes on leaving CP3, then it throbbed and burned like hell on fire!

I rejected taking Ibuprofen cos I like to feel my pain to respect the pain!

Disallowed List:

  • We are the Champions – only the chorus was sung
  • Livin’ On a Prayer – no video evidence was provided. Verbal evidence is not permitted.

Accepted List

#11: I Know Him So Well

Thanks Adrian for being such a good sport and singing a girly song with me 🙂

#12: On the Overoad

This is from a favourite album that my mother used to play for us kids on a long car drive. It’s from “Oliver and the Overworld” by Freddie and the Dreamers. Used it to motor down a hill. Thank you to Kath and the 3 lads for letting me by 😉

#13: Oh What A Beautiful Morning

#14: Castle On a Cloud

#15: Greatest Love

Song is dedicated to Toni and her lovely boys xxx

#16: There’s a Hole in My Bucket

The great thing about singing a song when you’re in pain, is that it does distract from thinking about pain. Thanks to Alison and Nicky once again for your help 😉

 

#17: Run to You

We grooved, we moved….thank you Joey (MC) for your enthusiasm and fun. Song is dedicated to Julie and her family.

Tyre Lady will need to pull her socks up and complete at least 36 songs during the 26.9 miles. However, as she has completed the event, she will not have known that 6 songs would have been rejected. The panel are still checking the songs.

Next post: To Checkpoint 4

Advertisements
Chat

#68 Race to the Kings: Karaoke Ultra Challenge: Complacency Hurts (Part 2)

So from the previous post, 6 verses were accepted out of the 10 submitted. A bit harsh on Morning Has Broken, but have to accept the rules.

My Polar Buddy used to drill into me “If there is a problem, sort it sooner than later to circumvent any future issues.”

So onwards to checkpoint 2 (CP2). Here’s the first song after CP1.

“Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics: Accepted as first verse was sung correctly

During this part of the journey, stones had been rolling in and wedging themselves between my right foot and the sole of my sandal but they would also roll out.  It seemed strange there were so many. I ignored the warning dull sensation and sometimes over-pronated my landing to avoid landing directly on a stone under the ball of my foot. There was always a song to sing to divert a pain.

“Take A Chance On Me” by ABBA – Accepted as words to first verse were correct.

As time went on, the underfoot jabs began to intensify.  I stopped several times to wipe the underside of my foot. Then, took my sock off believing there to be something stuck in the sock. I believed this helped, but in truth did nothing. There was a small callus on the ball of the foot, so thought this was actually the issue and would fix this at CP2. Though I did think it strange that the stones kept rolling under my right foot,  I continued to over-pronate for some miles believing it would only be for a short while. In that “short while” a hip flexor niggle began to surface. Of course another song was due and Alison and Nicky came to my aid to provide another short distraction from my own discomfort.

“Ging Gang Goolie” a Camp Fire Song with Alison and Nicky: Accepted as TL corrected words when fluffed!

I continued over-pronating believing everything would be fine, just wanting to get to CP2, but complacency is a fool’s symptom. I would complete about 9km landing in a way that was untrained.

The hip flexor niggle became sore. The Tyre Lady hobbled into CP2.

Whilst talking through the situation with one of the participants (Craig), I took off my shoe and found there was no foot pain when stepping on the soft grass.

The pennies fell out of the sky. Embedded in the under-sole of the sandal was a stone that had an evil sharp edge that had pierced the top of the sole. Though Craig took out his big blade, I managed to womanly handle my sandal and prised out the stone. I handed the knife edged stone to Craig and his buddy to admire and immediately went over to the medic tent. There, my sandal was patched with KT tape. However the fix might have come too late…But a song was due.

HoleyShoe

At Checkpoint 2: “I’m Gonna Be” dedicated to John Lennon – a Parkrun buddy. First verse accepted.

…although Ian said he wouldn’t join me, he really did want to join in 🙂 That was him whistling in the back ground at the end.

Thank you to everyone at CP2 and Alison, Nicky and friend for completing I’m Gonna Be.

So 4/4 songs accepted which brings the total to 10 songs by CP2.

Next post: Onwards to CP3 and paying the price of a school girl error

Chat

#68 Race to the Kings: Karaoke Ultra Challenge: Verifying Start to Check Point 1 (Part 1)

Event Type: 53.5 mile trail ultra following the South Downs Way with a couple of miles on the main road.
Start Time:
Depends on how fast you said you would complete. (Between 08:00-08:45)
Weather: Between @ 16 degs C to 19 degs C. Some showers and lots of wind
Checkpoints: Well stocked with all sorts of food & drink, with porta-loos,
Mid-Point: Check out the cake buffet, then the pasta and pizza buffets. Massages, Beer, Hot showers 🙂

During: Professional pictures taken were streamed live to your Facebook profile via Pic2Go if you had subscribed.
At the End: Medal + food to eat

Website:http://www.racetotheking.com/

Overview: This event is like going on a long haul 20 hour flight in Business Class

StartPhoto

uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TyreLady

About EarthWatch: Many diseases like cancer, asthma, eczema, etc are linked to the way we treat and live within our environment. Our sustainability practices are key to our well being and to live in harmony with our environment. EarthWatch funds scientists to assess and monitor our impact on the world, as well as to establish sustainable practices that we can implement in the way we process our world such as in fishing, farming and transportation.

Sing at least 53 complete verses from 53 songs over 53 miles.

  • Evidence must be produced in the form of a video recording of each song + words.
  • A chorus is not counted as a verse unless it really is a verse within the song. An email was sent to the organisers to confirm the challenge would take place.

 

Below are the first 10 video submissions that have been verified and counted. All videos can be found on YouTube with words to verify the verse sung. Warning: lots of heavy breathing.

Disallowed: Tyre Lady did not complete a verse, letting Patrick and his team do all the singing.

Disallowed: As the intention was to sing the correct words, the last line was incorrectly sung.

Anyhoo thank you team Pom-Orange for trying to help 🙂

Accepted as one complete verse was correctly sung

Easy acceptance by the panel: Song dedicated to Kalpa’s daughter Jill who celebrated her first birthday on 24th June. Thanks Stuart for celebrating.

Disallowed: Chorus only and incomplete. Thank you Gary…..ya got away 😉

This song is from the TV show, The Big Bang and is dedicated to 2 great friends Sharon and Jessica who helped me learn these lyrics two nights before race day. The operatic version is dedicated to Claire from “The Stables” in Fontwell, Chichester.

Thank you to Holly, Sue and Lana for lending your operatic voices.

This one is a close call. The panel gave the benefit of the doubt and has allowed this as a verse.

Thank you to Ellen and Liza

An easy acceptance by the panel. Thank you everyone that was at check point 1

An easy acceptance by the panel. Thank you to Anna and Edward

So from the first submitted 10 songs, the panel have allowed 6 out of the 10 songs to be counted towards the final count. Do the public think this is fair? If TL does not complete 53 verses from 53 songs, the event will be a DNF (Did Not Finish).

Part 2 coming up: Onwards to Check Point 2

 

Chat

53 Verses 53 Songs 53 Miles

My main enjoyment for running over a period of time is for: the meditative part of the run; to battle and resolve the daily challenges of living; to observe one’s own surroundings; and on a trail: to allow one’s senses to dance with nature. By the end of a marathon or ultra there is a thorough feeling of well being….

RunnersGotTalent

Yes, easily persuaded when you are tweeting nonsense to Stuart, who is an amazing positive person and a fantastic human being. Yes easy to get caught up in the moment and then boom a challenge results.

With Stuart’s encouragement, I wrote to the Race to the Kings organisation (a 53 mile event) telling them I was going to do this singing challenge “53 verses from 53 songs in 53 miles”, to cement my commitment. Additionally said DNF me if am unable to complete 53 verses and will produce video evidence.

Completing 53 miles with a tyre over the South Downs is going to be hard enough in the current heat wave we are experiencing (35-35 degs celcius) so what fool world was I in? Just to really really ensure I did not back out, I sent another email to EarthWatch to cement that commitment that I will be singing to raise funds for the:

…as well as on social media to tell the world my intention.

The truth is, I do like to belt out the odd ballard on a run to occupy my mind. This is normally somewhere in the middle of the event distance, for a couple of minutes to motivate myself. However my preference is to save one’s breath for breathing, contain the moisture in one’s mouth, and listen to the natural world as well as Drue singing “Take a Chance On Me”

So in the last couple of weeks I have tried to remember verses from 53 songs. I know odd lines from songs but not 53 full verses. My mother has helped me find more songs we used to sing together on car journeys when I was a wee lass – a very nostalgic moment.

Then tried singing for an hour on a run. After 15 minutes, it all just sounded like noise.

I enjoy being at the back of the pack in my own world in my own silence but a challenge has been set for Race to the Kings and rules have been made.

Rules

I am nervous about this, but as the good Doctor (David Tenant version) says “allons-y” and if I’m to make a noise, let’s hope it’s a good noise. Public decides.

Anyhoo, maybe Stuart will be dancing at his next ultra challenge 😉

Chat

Running Injury Free (& Pulling a Tyre)

StartPhoto

June 2006 I began running with a tyre, targetting my first marathon, the Singapore Marathon, to complete with my tyre.

Singapore Marathon, 2006: Shin Splints

New York Marathon, 2007: Achilles Injury

I sought advice from people who had been running for some time. Was told it was my foot wear. Went for gait analysis and bought myself an expensive pair of running shoes.

Ultra 45 Northamton to Tring, 2008: ITB Strain

Singapore Marathon, 2008: Plantar Fasciitis

Those who had been running for much longer than me told me I would continually get injured because of the tyre and my foot wear.  Those who cared for me, told me doing long distance running was bad for my body and health.

Posture

Poor postural alignment: Shoulder, hips and ankle should be aligned

At the end of 2009 I put myself on a Pose running course. I chose the Pose technique as it would tell my biomechanically what I was doing wrong.  Dr Nicholas Romanov has written you a post here: https://posemethod.com/running/ so that you can understand what the “running pose” is all about.

Sandals

Completed 4 marathons in these sandals

My technique sucked! By the end of the course, the instructor told me I was good to go, so I challenged myself to complete 10 marathons in 2010 with a tyre and any foot wear I chose, that included beach wear sandals to prove to everyone that it had nothing to do with the tyre nor the foot wear. It had everything to do with technique. (In case you’re wondering, I have not read “Born to Run”). It should be noted that I kept to low mileage for the first 2 months after the course, to train “new” muscles for longer distances.

After 47 more Marathons (with a 10 kg tyre = 22lb tyre) and 26 more Ultras, one being 150 km with a 15kg tyre, the worst “running injury” I have suffered is a couple of blisters.

What changed was my proprio-perceptual awareness of what my body was doing and how to correct it. I changed my harness to a body harness as over a long distance I found my posture would drop when I was tired.

After doing the Pose running course, I assisted 3 more Pose running events in 2010 and 2011 to help others improve their running technique.

After that….well everyone wants to run with a tyre 🙂

Consider training with a tyre if:

  • Need to do hill training and only have flat areas in your local vicinity
  • You want feedback about your running technique. Note the tyre bouncing due to poor postural alignment (butt sticks out). Had a bad stitch at the end of this event and found it difficult to straighten up!

Also you might want to read one of my old blog posts: http://www.tyregirl.com/the-adventures-of-tyre-girl/archives/03-2013

If what you are really looking for is strength training and time improvement, then would suggest you look at using HITT (High Intesnity Training Techniques) to improve your times. Core strength can be improved with Yoga and Pilates. An additional bonus with Yoga is it teaches you proprio-perception.

You can test all the methods in this post have improved your running by using a tyre, but your times and reduction in injury will also prove they work.

So if you are injuring in your running, then invest in your technique. It is far cheaper in the long term then having to take time off & seeing a physio to get yourself fixed.

Remember: Train slow and it is unlikely you will find your “fast muscles”.

Blowing in the Wind

My buddy Tess Burrows, a fantastic and giving human being, gave me a set of prayer flags. I’ve not known what to do with them until the 2nd attack in London this year on 3rd June and the 3rd senseless mass killing in the UK this year, signaling more grief, hurt, anger and concern.

Terrorists are in all religions, all races, seeking to create divisions within societies by using terror and hatred. In the last 30 days, we have heard of Islamist attacks in Manchester, Egypt, London, Paris, Iran, Kabul and back to London again. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Islamist_terrorist_attacks

ISIS are not discerning, attacking any religion including other Muslims.  With being involved in social media, it is harder to disconnect to the senseless bloodshed and hard to ignore people’s emotions.

PeaceMsgFlags

The Tibetans put prayer on flags so that the prayers and mantras could be blown by the wind to spread good will and compassion into all pervading space and thus bless all beings in the surrounding areas. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer_flag So my challenge was to find a high point for the peace messages and let the wind propel their goodness over London.

RainLondon

Prayer flags hung at the top of Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill has an amazing view of London and so the mission would be to let them dance in the wind on top of the hill on Tuesday 6th June  into London, with any peace messages anyone would offer. In 2 days, folk sent beautiful words and I fantasized writing these words on Tuesday evening, tying them to the prayer flag line whilst watching the sun set over London.

Tuesday 6th June: Had persuaded a brother to have a picnic with me. As we reached the Primrose Hill, it first began to sprinkle.  As we tied the flags onto a couple of posts, the wind picked up and Chude, a jazz musician student, joined us. He wanted to see a rainbow before going to a meeting.

The Wind tempo increased as well as the rain. Everyone disappeared off the hill except us, reading out the peace messages we had received, as the wind and rain danced around us. Later, we were rewarded with magic: a double rainbow appeared over London.

Wednesday 7th June: As I sat at the top of the stairs of the Peace Pagoda (Battersea Park), sewing peace messages together, people who had seen the bloody conflicts in their respective countries came to the Peace Pagoda wanting to believe it would bring them peace in their heart and mind. People from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Palestine had passed by to breathe in peace.

MsgsPeacePagoda

And the peace messages fluttered in the wind powered by the Peace Pagoda to send more goodwill over Battersea and its surrounding area. A perfect windy 2 days for sending goodwill over London.

If you are in darkness, may you find light to help you find your way

If you are in turmoil, may you find peace and serenity

If you are overwhelmed, may you find wisdom

If you are upset, may you find compassion.

And may you all have love in your life with a bit of magic thrown in 🙂

Chat

#67 Richmond Park Marathon: A Lady’s Campaign + Psychical vs Physical

WebPhotoStartShot

Event Type: A trail marathon that does loops in and around the perimeter of Richmond Park. Expect to cross roads that enter/exit the park.
Start Time: 9:30am
Weather: @ 25 degs C by mid-day
During: 3 checkpoints in total stocked with fruit, jelly babies + water to refill
At the End: Medal + t-shirt + water + food to eat
Website: http://www.1m2go.co.uk/

Have completed this event 5 times, feels like catching up with old friends from the RDs to the volunteers to the runners who I regularly meet on this run and others. Missed the gorilla lead cyclist this year!

With the Manchester bombing last week, I thought about skipping this post. However why should we let some a***holes try to replace peace, joy and love in our lives with emptiness, despair, terror and hate? Those who wholly blame one religion should remember one bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch. Extremists and hypocrites exist in all religions, in all walks of life.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96HqPpjI3UY

Additionally with the rapid changes in technology, we have to be more discerning and teach our children to be more vigilant and discerning. I pray those affected by terrorists and s*** happening in their lives will be able to focus on peace to find joy and love once again.

And so La Blog Post: Preamble Event Thoughts

RPMShowMeYourBottleWith the French elections over, a sigh of relief came out of Europe and focused moved back to the hum drum of the UK elections to be held on the 8th June 2017. As it is the season for campaigns, I launched my own Show Me Your Bottle campaign for “Grow Your Own” seeds.

Not sure how successful it really was, but I have had a number of runners at my local Parkrun showing me their bottle.

Note to self: Hand out seeds at my local Parkrun to reward all those with a bottle.

For this event, tried to encourage runners to BYOB and write to London Marathon to ditch the single use plastic bottles. In 2017, 900,000 bottles for runners and volunteers were made available (Source: The Mirror); In 2016, VLM organisers had stated 40,000 bottles were recycled (Source: ITV news).

Am happy to report there were a good number of runners with their own bottles, with some slowing down to have a chat and ate the seeds I handed to them! Hope others were able to pick up packets of seeds from the second and third checkpoints.

Hello Sisters

Moving on to other normalaities…..and maybe I’ll embarrass my sisters out there!

Women are super strong just before their menstruation/period/girly thing. Our energy is amazing, and we have a heightened awareness of stuff going on around us at all times, meaning our octopus like ability enables us to seemingly handle all things at the same time.

Then a day or two before it happens, we can transform into evil malicious beings. I’ve certainly ripped off my partner’s head, chewed him up, and spat him out for doing something trivial.  Have had to do so many apologies!

And those days before and during ovulation, I, like many of my sisters out there, have those sleepless nights.  I have tried bedtime yoga & meditation to allow the universe to let me sleep with a little success. My best medication is sunshine, large doses of those glorious rays let me sleep far better & keep me happy.

For women who would like to be more eco-conscious in their choice of sanitary products and be more comfortable think about reusable pads if you use sanitary pads, or menstrual cups instead of tampons. Here is a nice article about it: https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/05/28/flowing-pride-two-women-fighting-menstrual-taboo-hong-kong/

Sleep Deprivation

Dolly and BonnieAs you might have guessed, I was in “period mode” when the Richmond Park Marathon came along. As the heavens blessed the UK soil in the days leading up to the marathon, sleep was a struggle with an inability to stop thinking at night…..it just happens.

Pre-race night: struggling to sleep for the second night, I was counting from 20 to zero. On the third replication of 20 to zero, I thought counting sheep might help.

I wondered if there was such thing as a Welsh “baa”? Would Aussie sheep say “G’day Dolly” to their English cousins?……drifted off to sleep as dawn broke & then the alarm’s lullaby tunes pulled me back into consciousness. Oh baa! I awoke with my brain hanging outside its head.

Does Eating Breakfast Really Give Us Energy For A Marathon?

Currently am trying to holistically sort out an auto-immune disorder with an intermittent fasting period of around 14 – 16 hours. Thus have got into the habit of skipping breakfast and eating any time after 12pm. So I forgot to eat breakfast prior to the marathon, only remembering I should have done so once I had started. Should it really matter? Especially if we have eaten well in the days leading up to a marathon. Is it really a psychological booster.

As it was only a marathon distance, I thought I’d see if it really was a psychological booster. With being fed vitamin D by the sunshine, the hot day took the hunger away. I forced myself to eat part of a flapjack at 11:00am. By 12pm, I began to slow down, hot & tired and forced the rest of the flapjack down. Between 12pm and 3pm, I consumed an additional carob bar, banana and two Quorn cocktail sausages. Other folk along the route had also slowed due to the heat. Observing my own body functions, everything pointed to heat + lack of sleep, envying the many others enjoying the sunshine on their backs.

In conclusion, with me being the test subject, the important days of marathon nutrition happens days before the marathon and not the day before or even at breakfast. I’ll try the no breakfast test again in the ultra next month and observe how that affects performance.

With regards, to sleep deprivation and my performance, one night of no sleep has a minor effect, two days of no sleep has some effect, three days of no sleep and the mind has to work really hard to banish the tired head. Four-five days of no sleep, means just enjoy the day and get off the course (DNF).

WebFinishPhoto

Happy running.

Thank you to the organisation for introducing biodegradeable compostable cups, volunteers, runners and those who donated to EarthWatch. £21 was raised on the day.

Completed this event in 7:05 (@ 20 minutes off the last year’s time)

Chat

#66 St Illtyds Trail Race 50K: The Tyre and the Snail

0-OpeningWeb

Event Type: A trail ultra with a couple of miles on the main road as well as through some villages. The route is an out and back.
Start Time:
9am.
Weather: Started at @ 9 degs C at 8am. Increased to to 13 degs C by about 11am
During: 5 checkpoints in total stocked with food + water to refill
At the End: A large medallion medal + t-shirt and food to eat
Website: http://www.goeventswales.com

After Rovaniemi 150, 23 Feb and 62 hours of no sleep during the event, I took 2 months off to stabalise my sleep patterns. At the Glen Coe Skyline 2015, and after 5 days of very little sleep, I learned that I really do need sleep for my head to allow my physical being to work effectively. St Illtyds 50K Ultra in South Wales would be the next event at the end of April. 3 weeks before the event, my legs were strong and pulling Big Bluey (15kg tyre) in 5K events. However in a marathon I will always bring a lighter tyre. So Drue (an anagram from Reduce), to Wales we go……

Some Preamble Event Thoughts

Croeso. Cymru am byth! (Welcome. Wales Forever!)

….When I was 8 years old, our Welsh teacher felt he had a duty to teach us these words. I think he brainwashed us because I have remembered these words since then. We also learned that Wales has the longest town name in the UK: Llanfairpwllgwyngyll and the train station you need to go to if you want to visit this place is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Yep learned all of that at primary school.

April 2017 Snapshot

“Change” is rapidly occurring around us. Stuff that we thought was just fiction in the movies is now real.

•    A snap shot on computer technology advancements:
TechnologyAdvancements
Computing technology is moving exponentially fast with AI’s (Artificial Intelligence) presence now built into our devices; our increasing dependency on robotics (yes Humans is around the corner); computers interfacing with our brains (2010)

See https://www.ted.com/talks/tan_le_a_headset_that_reads_your_brainwaves

….and Facebook’s recent announcement of augmented reality via Oculus means Star Trek’s Holodeck is fast becoming a reality or perhaps “Total Recall” will emerge. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2U9lXEnHns It is only a matter of time when runners will be telling us of their VR experiences, such as running with the dinosaurs.

•    On the political scene is certainly changing with Brexit; 2 crazy guys in power: North Korea and the USA seeing whose bomb is bigger; and Marine Le Pen coming closer to being President of France with the potential to bring France to Frexit.

Pre Race Day

So to be in Burry Port, South Wales where the pace of life slows down was just pure bliss with its hilly green views, sweet smelling air, and water that is soft and sweet. Additional bonus, we were greeted to a show of crepuscular rays over the port.
CrepsularBurryPort

The BBC weather forecast was rain and wind for race day. But just as we are interfacing with computers what if we could really “plug in” to our weather patterns. I would unite with my fellow Ultra colleagues, organisers and volunteers to see dry weather for at least the start of the event.  The night of the event, our doors shuddered in the accommodation as the wind vortexed through the room. As I lay in bed listening to the howling wind, I willed it to keep blowing the rain clouds further away. The reward was a dry start on race day. Thank you to everyone who pictured a dry start to the event. We did it.

Race Day

Registration was inside the Neptune pub. A small intimate group collected with many seeming to already know each other through Twitter with #UKRunChat #Whatever.  This day, I learned Twitter is a place to “meet up” with mainly 30 to 50 whatever year olds.  For me, Twitter was mainly a blog feed, and chatting was in Facebook.  Oh well, another social media to suck time away.

Anyhoo race briefing with Nathan (RD) warning that the Tyre Lady would bounce her tyre Drue on anyone dropping their litter along the trail. That would surely make me a grumpy lady and no one likes a grumpy lady especially with a 10kg lump of rubber handy! Of course some thought the Tyre Lady was a Welsh country myth.

08:00, We started with the 100K participants, an hour ahead of the 50K participants.
StartOfEvent
Love a head start. Feels like a hare being chased by the hounds.  How far would we get before the first 50K runner overtook us? What time would they pass us? (Stephen Shanks was the first to go by at 10:07, completing the entire course in a stonking 4:24).

The course starts off flat and I met a couple of perhaps retired Welshmen riding their bicycles. They tried to have a conversation with me and unfortunately I had no clue what they were saying to me. I could only imagine what they were saying and responded according to what I thought they had asked, until one of them threw some coins into my bucket and said something with the word “charity” in the sentence. I responded EarthWatch www.justgiving.com/tyregirl

Gave me a thumbs up, so must have been the correct response!

Thus, decided I had to make more of an effort to practice my Welsh and greeted other passerbys with Cymru am byth! At checkpoints I practised saying my number with a Welsh accent. Of course with a sing song Welsh accent forming, it was time to sing songs in the woodlands as Drue got caught on rocks and roots.

StuartTree

Just behind us in Stuart’s photo above, I got stuck between the fallen sawn tree and immediately after Drue was stuck. Suddenly we were all giggling at the thought of going on a diet just to fit thru the tree on the way back. Elevation

As for the hilly terrain, it is true that any tyre is a drag going up hill. On this event there are quite a lot of them.

However for every up hill, most of them had awesome downhills. Drue loves a downhill thrill,  except one where Drue dumped bucket on his head for wobbling all over the place.

GoingDownHill
There are a couple of main roads we have to venture out onto, but the majority of this event is on trail with gorgeous scenic hill top views and pretty woodlands filled with bluebells and interesting tree shapes + some posh houses to pass (reminded by the amazing Jane who popped up all over the event doing bonus miles and kept going to the end)

Bluebells

No Bluebells were dragged up during this event.

At about 1:30pm, the heavens opened up and the wind blew. Drue loved the rain, becoming an easier pull uphill!

Between the final 2 checkpoints, I met Rob Mills doing his second lap towards the 100K still smiling despite the rain and soaking wet (he said forgot to put on his waterproofs!!!). He had about 35K more to do. Gave him a big hug and told him I’d see him at the end. Rob was the only finisher for the 100K, completing in a brilliantly run 12:33.

As for the snail at the beginning of this post: after the final check point, we were joined by the final 50Kers: Lyndon and Aimee. Aimee was doing her first 50K (no training, no other running events prior like a ½ marathon or marathon, just straight into an ultra!)

LyndonOur conversation veered towards technology, social media and how children today were lacking social skills to be able to read and negotiate with each other (think Lyndon brought this topic up). More cyberbullying was happening with schools seeing an increase in child depression due to cyberbullying. We decided that children and adults today need rules and regulations with using “chat” apps to express their feelings.

Do we need to keep ahead of technology? Parents certainly do need to know about the different apps in order to protect their children, especially with adults pretending to be kids and sex grooming. All of us will be forced to experience augmented reality via VR to protect our children.

As the gentle Aimee diverted her path to avoid crunching snails, Drue waited for the snails to pass.

SnailSpeaks

And we learned that although our social interaction is changing, we need to teach our children about the joys of the outdoor, the physical world and the creatures that will touch our lives. Snails are cute!

Aimee you did brilliant and hope to see you on another.

Besides the top of a red gel tab, there was absolutely no runners’ trash on the course. So you all rocked!

WithOrganisersTshirt.jpg

Thank you to the organisers for doing a litter run at the end and picking up 2 full bags worth of garbage left on the trail by the general public. Tori and Nath thank you for a truly excellent event that was well organised and for using biodegradeable compostable cups and bags for the “disposable trash”. Big hugs to all the volunteers for being out there for us even in the wind and rain and to Stuart and Rob for letting me use your tweeted photos. Lots more photos of the event can be found here at Rob’s Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/awv/albums/72157683182452006

And a view of the event from the organisers: http://nathanflear.co.uk/2017/05/02/st-illtyds-ultra-marathon-race-report/

Finish time = 10:48 (watching snails passing by)

Chat

SHOW ME YOUR BOTTLE

For all those with a UK address, show me your personal bottle in a marathon or 1/2 marathon running event in April and May!

EmmaBottle

#ShowMeYourBottle

The flowers are blooming and the veggies are growing (that is if you have planted your seeds). Sutton Seeds have given me a whole load of courgette and sunflower seeds to give away to runners who use their own “forever” reusable, refillable water bottle in a 1/2 or marathon event.

So send me a picture of you running with your own forever reusable, refillable water bottle in a marathon and I will send you at least a dozen seeds to plant now and to enjoy in the summer/autumn months.

You can tweet me @tyrelady and add the hash tag #ShowMeYourbottle or you can email “the girl” EmailAddresswith a picture and identify the marathon or 1/2 marathon you were in.

Running events are growing, offering supplies to keep you moving and with that the amount of single use plastic cups and bottles have become a growing heap upon the landfills or exported to be burned or landfilled in places like China or Indonesia. Most boroughs in the UK do not recycle plastic cups.

 

Only 30% of plastic trash is actually recycled in the UK. Trail events that provide plastic cups find there are unaware participants who will toss their cups into the bush. These cups become brittle with the sun and at times find a route into our waterways.

By refusing a plastic cup at a marathon event you will reduce the plastic cup count by approximately 20 cups. At a medium sized event, that would be approximately 12,000 participants x 20 cups.

The London Marathon will have available 750,000 bottles of water + 149,100 bottles of Lucozade. This number of bottles is to provision for about 50,000 runners.

In 2014 the Westminster Council reported they recycled about 50,000 bottles. In 2016 ITV reported 40,000 bottles were recycled.

What happened to the rest of the bottles?

In the past London boroughs sent surplus potentially recyclable trash to places like China or Indonesia who have pretty poor records with regards to landfilling trash.  Recently councils in the North of UK have been sending their “surplus” to Sweden who burn the trash for energy. So the clue in the website text suggests that over 800,000 bottles are burned if all the bottles remain in the capital for collection.

So be a hero and BYOB at your next marathon event, and you will be rewarded with a sustainable gift 🙂

GrowYourOwn

Improve your sustainability

….a bunch of courgette and sunflower seeds to give away to the first 100 people who can send me a picture of you with your personal running bottle in a 1/2 marathon or marathon event.

Show me your bottle in the month of April & May & become a more eco-conscious runner.  Of course the advantage of your own bottle means you can drink when ever you want to rather than at specific check points with the possibility of a check point running dry as at Brighton Marathon!

Need a running bottle?

If you want me to send you a hand-painted running bottle, donate 25GBP here www.justgiving.com/tyregirl and tag it with #GiveMeABottle. I will get in touch with the first 10 folk who do so. (Funds go to EarthWatch)

Chat

#65 Rovaniemi 150: Luck, Angels and LSD

Rovaniemi 150 Background

150results

2017 Results

Ultra races are a test of mind, some body and a lot of soul. The added snow and ice gives an ultra an added twist. Here participants can die from hypothermia or become badly wounded with frostbite. Temperatures can swing from 5 degrees celcius (in 2016) to -27 degrees celcius (in 2017). No year is the same.

Superficially participants come to be out in the wild to survive. In reality, they come to face their demons. Everyone of us (readers included) have hurts and fears that we have pushed to the dark corners of our mind.

60 people entered the 150, 45 completed the entire event. Unless you have formed partnerships, you will be alone, perhaps in darkness, listening to the forest “pop” sounds.

It is in those moments of loneliness that our minds wander along the corridor memory banks searching those hidden corners, pulling forth the demons so that we can do battle. Out in the darkness, with no one around, no distractions, our demons are exposed and we must fight them. So that we can find the peace and joy of the world around us.

The demons I fought in Arrowhead 135 (which I have yet to complete), caused tears to fall. I had to stop my emotions running away as my eyes began to form ice, and were sticking each time I blinked. The second attempt to complete Arrowhead, ended early with grade 2-3 frostbite which took 3 months for the outer skin to heal and nearly a year for the finger to have 95% feeling but I was still in battle mode.

2015, Rovaniemi 150, sickness prevented me completing. Although I made the time limit, it is miserable when you are fighting yourself and fooling yourself. When your health is poor an endurance event will not heal it!

2017, Rovaniemi 150, I am at peace with my world (see previous post). With prayers and scripture behind me, I was prepared regardless of the lack of physical training. One more of “Peter’s winds” would try to hijack this victory…. a sleepless, restless night.  In total, 22 hours awake before the event had started.  Faith and trust were my focus.

The 150 Race

routemap

Map of route but plenty of markings/signage to indicate direction

route-markers

Yellow and black route markers by the side of the route – photo by Watson Bassett

Although this is called a race, it is also about humanity. We all have our reasons for being here, but this is an evemt where participants help each other to be safe. The cold can kill. And it soon becomes apparent we all want each other to be well. Sometimes we have to take charge of a fellow participant, ordering them to put on clothes and gloves, to dry out, or making sure there are logs for the next participant to make a fire.

 

new-old-friends

The 2015 gals are back in town; Rachel to complete 300km; Marketa to complete 900km – photo by Aleksander Wiatrowski

It was great to catch up with Rachel who would go on to be the first lady to complete the 300km event and Marketa who will complete the Lapland Challenge, a 900km event, that will end on the 20th March. These are women who are filled with joy and love, with spirits that dance in the wilderness and watched over by angels.

lumi-posiing

Lumi posing with Rachel and Aleksander

A glorious, sunny bright day, sees everyone start with gusto, a quick “get-away” on Lake Porohovi for the next 12.5km.

sinettajarvi

Lake Sinettäjärvi – photo taken by Paolo Della Patrona

Despite a night void of sleep, my mind feels alert and thus the body is able to jog the first 10km. After all, dragging a 30kg pulka on a solid flat icy ground is effortless, though the lungs had to do a little adaption to the -10 degs C start.

This year the hills were easier to climb ….though many people still overtook us (Lumi and myself), I could breathe!

This year, the “pain in the arse” first forest section ground was solid – no snow shoes were required unlike 2015. Though care still needed to be taken on the steep undulations. 30kg smashing into your legs is a little painful!

Entering Lake Sinettäjärvi, we could resume a run, walk. In fact, I walked more of this as I enjoyed the feeling of health and thankful for my face mask to protect the face from the biting breeze. This is a long 20km lake stretch and with nothing to torture my mind, except a Mongolian song to loop round over and over again.

Unfortunately as this route unfolded, gel and bar wrappers had been left on the ice. Perhaps accidently dropped. After having picked up 5 wrappers, decided to leave the couple more I came across, hoping that someone behind might pick them up. It was a moral dilemna of responsibility as the area is pristine and yet annoyingly there are wrappers seemingy tossed on the ground by other participants! Plastic trash that will pollute the rivers that would eventually end up in our oceans or swallowed by a fish. I did not pick up 2 that I had seen and now was guilty of ignoring the trash on the ground, just as so many in society ignore the trash around.

More than 8 million tonnes of plastic leak into our oceans….Read here from the UN.

5 measly pieces of trash…..I was ashamed for turning my face away from the rest. It would be great if the organisers gave an award to people who picked up other people’s trash so that everyone took responsibility. However, I believe that there were other “aware” participant who would have taken responsibility for the trash I refused to pick up.

Note to other participants: I still have someone’s selfie stick that was dropped on the trail.

The Dancing Lights

arctic-lights

Captured by Watson Bassett

As night fell, temperatures rapidly dropped. From the lake to CP 6,  we would continually leap frog a Spanish duo (Carlos (150km) and Esteban (300km)) who would in turn overtake us when we were going up hill.

Approaching CP4, Carlos and Esteban stopped. Their light beams seemed to capture ice crystals suspended in the air that surrounded us like fairy lights, and there was a strange alien green light swirling in the sky.

At this point my Mongolian head song is interrupted by War of the Worlds music by Jeff Wayne:

The Pain in the Arse Rickety Bridge

bridgepain

Photo by Watson Bassett

By about 8pm we are crossing the rickety bridge. My plan was to turn the pulka on its side to drag Lumi’s fat rubber body thru. In 2015 I had managed to wedge Lumi between the wooden posts and was forced to climb over the pulka to release Lumi and carry her separately to the other side of the slippery bridge.

My plan to drag Lumi on her side failed. Thankfully Carlos and Esteban graciously helped me, carefully carrying my pulka across the bridge.

As temperatures dropped to -25 deg celcius, I put on my big mitten gloves. Unfortunately I dropped one of them in the forests. My one hand was becoming frozen. I knew I needed to find the lost glove or face having another round of frost bite.

I called back to the Spanish duo and they had thankfully picked it up.

Energy renewed, we were on our way to CP5. There I met a participant who was shivering by the fire and commanded her to put on clothes and her overgloves. Immediately I apologised for being so authoritive, though it was what was needed. Sometimes we think we are with it, but actually we can become confused, as I was at the end of this tale. She was at a check point, safe. It was questionable whether she would go on. I left her to be looked after by the volunteers so that she could deal with her demons.

As we headed into midnight, we were treated to another blast of green swirling lights. We were in a magical wonderland and still feeling very lucid despite the sleep deprivation.

kusilampi

CP6, Kuusilampi in the twilight. Photo by Paolo Della Patrona

CP6 @ 02:00. The plan was to spend @ 3 hours at Kuusilampi, to eat and dry clothes.  It is the only hut that has a closed door and a burning fire inside. It was great to see Ollie and Jaana again.

I was surprised to see Simone enter in only 1/2 an hour after me. She had got herself together and made the journey to CP6. Her boyfriend had only just left CP6 as I could not give him positive feedback on whether Simone would make it. He had waited some hours. I felt bad for her and found myself again commanding her to get her clothes dry.

Being dry does much to lift the spirit. We talked and she seemed much more positive. We both filled our Nathan Bladders with hot water. As I continued to bimble around, Simone felt ready to face the world and went on outside to move onto the next check point. Unfortunately her bladder somehow burst and her clothes were wet. At this point she decided to call it a day and I left her in the safe hands of Jaana and Ollie. I thanked God that my water bladder did not burst in the same way despite me filling it with very hot water.

My gripe to other participants: Trash was left on the floor and on the benches of the Kuusilampi hut. This is a self supporting event that just so happens to have an awesome shelter that was built by Ollie! If you enter this event again, please leave no trace and be responsible for your own trash!

downhill-with-lumiSunday, 6am the motivation for hauling Lumi up hills is to use her as a seat to ride down. Va va voom.

Note to other participants: If you use your pulka as a sled, remember to check for road traffic and slow down at the road crossings. Always listen for the silence.

Just over 24 hours into the event (plus the 22 hours of sleep deprivation), my concentration was sometimes waning and I took a 2 hour detour believing I had seen the correct signage. Before I went up the detour, a lady called me. She had seen a glove on the road that I had left at my break stop and had decided it belonged to me. It was my glove! I thanked Geoff and Stephen for their prayers as a lot of “luck” was accumulating. Snow shoes on, I wandered along the incorrect track believing signage I had seen was the event’s signage. After 2-3km in, decided I was just on an exporation route. With a sudden sense of urgency, I returned back to the road and met Stein who confirmed the correct direction.

Reflecting back, nothing was really correct, but my mind tricked me into believing it was correct. I had to be more careful. Although I thought I was lucid I was tired. It is @ 52 hours since I last slept (about 30 race hours + 22 deficit pre-hours). Here now in broad daylight on the track up to CP7, I began to have minor hullucination, thinking I could see people dressed in red or blue, the trees in the snow looked like a little cemetary, and sometimes I thought I heard voices. I let my brain toy with me, sometimes enjoying seeing an imaginary building in the woodlands. Who needs LSD!

lumi-towards-cp7

Little trees making cross signs

CP7: I forced myself to drink some luke warm chicken soup. After all I didn’t really want to continue to the end with 2 litres of liquid still in my pulka. I still had a mostly full 750ml bottle and 2 litres in my bladder.

Having forced myself to breathe through my nose though most of the journey, I found that I didn’t need to drink so often. My throat was fine. I could still sing to the weary participants at CP7 to get them going with “eye of the tiger” or “when you’re happy and you know it….” I must have been annoying!

Sunday @16:03

on-the-trail-with-lumi

Selfie with Lumi

On to the “never ending road” and Alex (Organiser) passes by, asking me who I am!….Guess I must have looked wild with white frozen hair and a tyre behind. You know beared guys look like Santa Claus with their ice white frozen beards!

Note to self: If you have to pee, just pee and don’t worry about anyone seeing you out on a long road…..far better to get it out than having to deal with an embarrassing accident!

Onward bound and as darkness set in, I checked the markers mulitple times, no longer trusting my own eyes.

56 hours sleep deprivation and at the lake before the final check point Porohovi, I had to make a decision to go left or right. I took out the map to make sure the signs I was following was correct.

Now in the final woodlands, after flying down a hill, I decided I had gone the wrong way. So stormed back up 500m to confirm I had gone the right way! Oh well “whee” all the way back down.

Back on the final lake pass with the city lights in sight. I found the city lights annoying as they never seemed to be in focus. Instead I enjoyed looking at the signage waving at me as I went by each one of them!

60 hours sleep deprivation (38 hours 49 mins race hours + 22 prior deficit)  – a gang of 4 fat bikers cheered us in through the door. We clocked in at 38 hours 51 mins.

Our first snow and ice ultra completed with loads of thanks to the volunteers; organisers; Esteban and Carlos for being my initial angels, Rev Jeff & parkrun buddy Stephen for prayers; the participants who stayed to support incoming participants; Bjorn for helping me take my gear to the wrong flat (my fault), getting me to see I had taken him to the wrong flat and then him helping me take everything over to the right block of flat; and thank you to God and his team of angels.

Sending apologies to the flat owner whose bell I rang at 1am and probably rang a couple of times as I thought the button was the light switch. I was so confused about the door change! (wrong building)

To get a feel of Rovaniemi 150, here is a French version with moving pictures: http://www.lci.fr/sport/la-rovaniemi-150-kilometres-en-laponie-seul-face-a-soi-meme-2027255.html