Category Archives: Blog Posts

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 🙂

Advertisements
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

Chat

#65 Rovaniemi 150: Preparations

Some History: Better Heath than Being A Hero

One day, as I was completing a 50km event in Salisbury, a fellow participant told me about Arrowhead 135. He had tried to fat bike the distance and failed and was unlikely to enter again as it was too hard…….so I entered my first snow and ice event in 2012. I failed due to not understanding how to work with soft packed snow under foot and suffered with “beaten up” achilles.

I attempted again in 2014 and failed again due to not being vigilent enough and being complacent. Extreme cold is unforgiving and frost bite can take hold in 5 minutes! I had frost bite on my fingers by the first check point and thought I’d prefer to have working fingers rather than be a hero.  The hand specialist in London wanted to chop, thankfully I had spoken to more experienced consultants in the North of the UK and Minnesota who gave some sound advice….leave it to see how it heals. However my confidence for dealing with cold by myself was low.

I needed something shorter, so I entered Rovaniemi 150 in 2015. At the start of the event, I was not well. However a Polish participant had given me some anti-flu pills and I felt temporarily good. I pulled myself out at 115km due to lungs seemingly blocked and breathing difficulties despite the warmish weather (about -5 deg C at the time).

After all as Alex (the Event Organiser) has said to his participants: “This event will  be back next year. Better safe than having permanent health issues.”.

2016 I didn’t attempt any snow ice events due to insomnia messing with my system. Sleep deprivation before an event is hard to deal with. For the Glen Coe sky running event, I had 5 days of no sleep prior and was on the start line thinking “Just enjoy the scenery and hopefully you will physically exhaust yourself to sleep deep”. I completed 1/2 of the course. Note this is a tough event as you do have to scramble up mountains and I did not take a tyre companion with me.

Really there are no failures in life, just as long as we reflect and make our experiences to become better the next time.

….and here we are in 2017…. I have kind of learned how to deal with the insomnia!

Preparation

homewood-parkrunHmmm…..Parkrun 5K every Saturday (this is free to join – walk it, run it, pull a tyre in it)…if I felt like it.

Life has to keep rolling forward. It is not that I was complacent, but I was focusing on the thoughts of tax, work to pay for stuff, renovations, fixing stuff, social stuff…… you know living!

Ok really….I focused on “seeing” myself complete the event. Those who have been following this blog will know I finally understood the power of visualisation in the Rome Marathon and separated it from the “imagination of the distance”.

4 weeks before the event, Isaiah 40:29-31 was given to me.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

NIV version

And I met a Buddhist monk friend who reminded me about Peter trying to walk on water. Matthew 14:22-33

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

NIV version

My preparation was spiritual to remind me God can take us through the worst storms.

2 weeks before the event, I checked into my local church to see how they were going. I saw they were still trying to raise funds for their building. However they had progessed on forward and borrowed the funds instead to make a vision reality. They now need a couple of million to pay back and it seemed right to dedicate this event to them and God. If you want to support me in my endeavours, it would be great if you could place a donation with them to help them with their building which serves Egham community and put “TyreLady” in the reference so I can thank you. (See previous post)

The Winds of Doubt

A week before the event, a cold was sneaking in. Also I did a 4 mile cross country event on the Saturday prior and appeared to have a niggle on the left foot. On the Tuesday prior to the event, I completed a 7 mile run with Runnymede Runners and my left foot was sore with tendonitis. My thoughts flashed back to Peter……and like the wind he encountered, this too would just blow over. Prescriprion “calf massage and R&R (Rest and Relaxation)”.

Calf muscle massage saw me in giggle fits (very tight calves). As for R&R I still had packing….which took me all 3 days prior to flying. More insominia smacking me round the head….average 3-4 hours a night. But still it would all be positive, afterall I would be looked after. I had reverend Geoff of St John’s praying for me + a running buddy Stephen from Audio Kitchen keeping me safe in prayer.

Wednesday evening I was ready.

Thursday evening we had arrived in Rovaniemi and I was ready for bed!

sledarrival

Sled arrived in one piece

Thursday’s sleep was great and by Friday, we had rejoined with Lumi

lumi-ready

Next post: Rovaniemi 150: The Event.

Chat

Rovaniemi 150 Charity

I am raising funds for my local church to help them with their building project and community outreach.You can find information about the building project here: http://www.stjohnsegham.com/building/

If you would like to support this run, then please donate funds to St John’s. Their account information can be found here: http://www.stjohnsegham.com/building/pledge/

Have extracted that information below.

Sort code: 60-07-33
A/C No:     89216393
A/C Name: PCC St John’s Centre
Just to get this out of the way, I have a left foot niggle and a minor cold (sniffles) but nothing too bad to stop me from starting and trying to complete. After all it might just all blow over and am fine on the day 🙂
After all isn’t that what happened to Peter when he tried to walk on water (Matthew 14:22-33)
Chat

Rovaniemi 150 – You Sure About This?

signing-lumi

Lumi – the 15kg Ice Tyre is waiting to be pulled

Initially of course am not sure about this! I haven’t had time to train, busy with earning a living to pay for stuff like mortgages…….maybe the rashes (urticaria and eczema) I suffer with are a voice from within…..”something getting under my skin”.

I signed up for Rovaniemi at the end of 2016. Afterall I need to complete this event, having bailed out in 2014 at 115km, 35km from the end as whatever bronchial disorder I was suffering from was making me wheeze so badly, I thought “fool you should have not started”.

But (my big bad “but”) time at the end of each year and the beginning of each year travels so fast that I am left clueless about what I have done until that point in time. The alter ego has to sort out corporation tax, personal tax, plus all the normal administrative duties of running one’s own business. Everyone around me tells me to get sponsored, however I want to see if I can do crazy events, write to corporates to provide them with unpaid suggestions to what they can do to improve the sustainability of their own company and our environment, as well as look after my own responsibilities just likethe majority of people do to pay for stuff. So yes, I work, run a business, have to fix my house when it needs fixing, raise funds for charities when I can, look after people, run when I can (5K every weekend and perhaps one or two 4 mile cross country runs for the club), and sometimes screw my own time with social media.

Focus on one thing and do it well they say – mostly men are telling me this. As a woman, we need to focus on many things to ensure life keeps moving forward for all those around us and generally women are amazing at juggling tasks.

However, sometimes I feel overwhelmed and am screaming “I don’t have time”…..I don’t have time because I am running around like a headless chicken in all directions.

Time Management

Really I do have time, and this is my own lesson about time and relationship management. Sometimes giving time away and sometimes putting up the crucifix to those who turn into vampires to drain my time away. (yes the people who ALWAYS have problems and think you have none, and contine to dump their own self pity emotions on you)

Afterall we are the masters of our own time. We can actually control how much time we spend on events and must learn to have defined time limits for emotional dumpers.

So You Sure About This?

Yes, am sure. Even though I think I lack physical training for the past 2 months, I have completed this distance. 4 marathons in 4 days in 2011, 100 miles in 2012, 100K in 2015, and every year completing marathon after marathon with no training in between. The mental side is strong. This year my secret weapon is God who has given me Isaiah 40:29-31

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

NIV version

So yeah completely sure. The physical will be fine for each 10K that needs to be completed. Okay I just have to do that 15 times in a row.  All will be good…….and my God is an amazing God.

Rovaniemi 150, here I come!

End of 2016

No challenge is just about “the challenge”, it’s about the journey to completing that challenge no matter how long or short that challenge is.  For me the journey to complete each marathon continually passes moments of enlightenment: spiritually; physically and mentally. This year I completed 7 fantastically different marathons.

#58: The Green Ultra Challenge

#59: Rome Marathon

#60: Crainleigh Boundary Trail Challenge

#61: Richmond Park Marathon

#62: Cheltenham Challenge

#63: Chanthaburi Marathon

#64: Pisa Marathon

But really they were similar, in that they began to uphold the ideology of sustainable living. There appears to be a stronger environmental awakening with plenty of participants wanting to feast on sustainable ideas.

Many more groups of people in different societies are running towards sustainable living, with the notion of leading a zero waste life. These #ZeroWasteLife groups may seem idealistic, but then the choice is in everyone’s hands: Environment vs Convenience. By shunning convenience you learn to readapt your life style and facilitate new sustainable habits.

Our Environment: Plastic vs Personal Best

Unfortunately plastic cups are still the number 1 choice to provide liquid to participants.  It is cheap thus keeps costs down, however they are a bane as they are mostly unrecycleable, and tend to end up in landfills or in the sea somewhere. France is looking to ban the nasty things. They are environmentally an eye sore.

Leading up to any marathon, I try to encourage runners at that event to bring their own bottles to reduce the ugly amounts of plastic cups and bottles that are tossed on the road and sometimes in front of runners who have tripped up on a bottle under foot. A lot of water is wasted and volunteers have to sometimes go quite far to pick up plastic runners’ debris including those disgusting gel packs. I have volunteered in events and picked up those discarded chemi-gel packs, that are just full enough to ooze their foul liquid onto your hands or shoes.

pisamarathonfbglass

As for bringing your own sports bottle to refill at check points, it was interesting to read how participants are scared to carry a “for ever reusable” bottle in case:

italianchristmas2016

  1. They found the bottle too heavy…..even though am sure many of them carry a bottle in training and those bottles probably weigh less than 1% of their body weight!
  2. Refilling the bottle slowed them down and they would not get a precious PB.

A break can actually re-energise the body and could improve performance. I have spoken to a couple of sub-3 runners who have told me about times they have stopped at marathon check points and still been able to break sub 3! One of them carries a reusable sports bottle with him all the time.

Performance vs Visualisation and Belief

We humans are capable of incredible things, it is only our belief in ourselves that hinders what we can do. That is why training is so important to remove our mind obstacles. Failing to train, means our mind tends to be chained to the limits of what others think.

Further performance improvements can be made with a clear mind and visualisation. On my 59th marathon, Rome: good, solid visualisation certainly helped provide a sound performance and was replicated in Richmond Park Marathon. Our minds affect our bodies and being able to perceive and feel your mental and physical beings can bring unimaginable strength on the day. I have found this is best achieved when the mind is clear of negative stress. Because negative thoughts will continually distract and deflect positive thoughts.

However Pisa showed me how being with positive people can help to push out deep negative dark holes in one’s psyche. I have learned a lot by being with myself, but Pisa reminded me that the synergy of people united in one thought can embrace individuals within the group with uplifting energy. I was floating on a cloud into the finish point!

With Brexit & Trump coming into power, it sounds like “CHANGE” is the word for 2017. For me it will be “mindfulness”, to engage with positive beings, to deflect negative fruitless concerns……and maybe try to write a book as have foolishly said I would to my soul sister!

So a reminder to myself: learn more on “mindfulness” so that I can effectively practise visualisation….as well as sleep better 🙂

Seasons Greetings

Drue and the gang wish you all an excellent Christmas and Happy New Year.

Buon Natale e Felice Anno nuovo

สุขสันต์วันคริสต์มาสและสวัสดีปีใหม่

christmas2016

Spot the “stuff” in the picture that represents Christmas

A-D’s snowman has a final word.

italianchristmas2016