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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)
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#64 Pisa Marathon Part 2: Beating the Blues

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If the elephants can do it so can A-D

Event Type: A road marathon
Route: Starts at 9am. Roads are closed but sometimes drivers will attempt a closed section!
Weather: Started at 0 degs C at 8am. Increased to to 10 degs C by about 11am
During: Water + energy drink; bananas, apples, wafers @ every 5km; some sponge points as well. Too cold for sponges
At the End: A lovely colourful medal
Website: http://www.maratonadipisa.com/?lang=en

17th Dec: Fighting Negative Energy

The plan was to spend some time at the expo, leave the expo at 5pm, eat dinner and be in bed by 9pm.

My buddy had gone off to the Dali museum whilst I tried to convince people to be proactive in their approach to our planet, even in a marathon.

  • The clock struck 5pm and my buddy was no where to be seen.
  • 6pm: stress quickly settled in. Nadia (organiser) kept a positive cool presence and tried her best to help phone my buddy. Unfortunately none of his phones were on.
  • 6:30pm: the internal stress is burning away.
  • 7:05pm: my buddy appears.

When you’re already partly negative beforehand, it is easy to push the whole being back into the negativity cloud.

As I get older, I seem to become more OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) about stupid things. Here was a great example. My buddy had got lost in thought and was out enjoying the Pisa landscape, had made a mistake on timing and all I could be was annoyed at his timing. Lost was the positive energy that exuded from the organisation, and the stressed pre-Pisa emotional brain had returned which affected everything else that night.

Thankfully I have learned that one sleepless night before an event only degrades performance a little. However taking negative energy into an event can screw your want to move forward and has a much higher degradation on performance and mental thinking.

To fight your own demons, first recognise you’re negative. You’ll feel it from that draining fuzziness in your head to the language that you use. Negative language continues negative feelings. For example: using “Not” frequently in sentences such as “I am not being negative” vs “I am positive”. It is easier to say the latter with a smile.

Our language and feelings are all interconnected. Keep your language and gestures positive and I promise you, that negative fuzziness will quickly go away. (reference NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming).

So “Allons-y”

18th Dec: Marathon Day’s Positive Triumph

Some demons are easy to remove by being around positive people.

I had to be positive as teachers and students from Pacinotti High School started with me at 08:30am. I enjoyed listening to their excited chatter for the first 5-10km.

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Teachers and Students from Pacinotti High School made “Run with Tyre Lady” t-shirts

I had to be positive as runners passed from the 7km until the 12km mark were constantly providing positive feedback.

Some demons require space, time and nature to remove

When the teachers left me at the 10km mark, I could focus on slaying those last remaining demons in my head once and for all. At points I wanted to weaken, but passing runners in the opposite direction reminded me to keep moving.

At 25km, the tail runners picked me up.

Their positive energy blasted me through. At the last 4km the students and teachers from Pacinotti High School rejoined the happy group. I now had a full entourage to take me home.

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As they yelled “Go Lady” there was a song we all sang …..”Laaaayyyyy di…..laaaayaa…go….Lady now you gonna go home…..” Surrounded by so much light destroyed any final embers of darkness…..And for the rest of you, the banana boat song…..to enter into town with us with a joyous sound.

Thank you to Pacinotti High School, the Pisa organisers and the amazing volunteers for their support and to Fabrizio for the use of his photos.

Thank you Pisa Marathon for the positive energy that you exude.

The world is now great and it will take a lot more now to rock my boat!

Time =6:52:22

Total stoppage time on course for photos estimated at 15 minutes

Pisa Is Calling

Sometime end of Novemeber, someone from a running site (FetchEveryone) asks me if I am doing the Pisa Marathon.

I respond No.

She tells me I have been featured on their website. I had a look and sure enough there I was:
http://www.maratonadipisa.com/545/?lang=en

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Of course it would be rude not to go. I looked at the most recent stats I could find, and it painted a bleak picture of recycling of plastics in Italy. At best it reached 4% in 2012.

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Ok this is 2016, so there have been improvements. I know in Rome, shops have been charging for plastic bags and some have provided a small discount on your shopping. The Rome marathon gave away a good back pack and cloth bags as part of the “give away” to runners.

Last stat I’ve just seen shows about 35% of plastic is recycled in Italy overall and this is a pretty typical figure throughout the world. Here is a document about Plastic Recycling in Europe.

My Northern Italian friends have told me that the North is very good at recycling.

But the school children from a school I visited in Rome told me a bleak picture of toxic waste going to the South and of Northern waste being handled by Southern companies.

Medi was thrown down from the heavens to remind Italy about this toxic waste.

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https://tyrelady.wordpress.com/2016/04/09/the-birth-of-medi/

There have been newspaper articles about this, however thought you might like to read this directly from someone who lives in an affected area in the South.

http://www.robertosaviano.com/en/how-the-mob-turned-southern-italy-into-a-toxic-wasteland-2/

….and sadly it appears this is still happening today.

http://phys.org/news/2016-01-italy-higher-cancer-death-mob.html

I will not let the children down, and hope I can continue to highlight this back to the North of Italy via the Pisa Marathon so that they can hopefully review their own processes for waste disposal (including household waste) and not simply turn their back because they “paid” someone else to dispose of it for them. Because the Northern waste is ending up in illegal landfills, rivers and the Mediterranean ocean.

Let’s hope North Industries can take stock, review and change to improve practices. After all the lives that are suffering are people, animals and plants. Yes it costs to be sustainable but how about making this month onwards all about caring 🙂

I will continue to drag this waste issue out all the way to the Pisa Marathon because it is all about effort. And if people want to feel effort, try dragging an 8kg tyre non-stop through 26.2 miles.

Some great news, Pisa Marathon have just recently responded to my BYOB requests to runners. They will be using glasses instead of plastic cups……

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Perhaps it is toughened glass! Anyway it’s a start and Italy appears to do a great job on recycling glass (@ 70%)- so bring it on.

#63 Chanthaburi Scenic Marathon: Run For the King

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Finisher’s Medal

Event Type: Mainly a road marathon
Route: Starts at 4am, so carrying a light is useful in the dark areas. Goes through Laem Sadet. Flat and rolling hills, partly by the sea. Roads are not closed but there are road controls and the second half of the marathon is on the cycle route.
Weather: Starts at 25 degs C at 4am and then goes up to 36 degs C by about 9am
During: Water + energy drink every 2km; bananas + watermelon after 10km; water sprays after 20km.
At the End: Lots of local street food + finishers t-shirt with yout name (you are expected to complete). Lovely medal with a wee embedded diamond. Chanthaburi is known for its jewels!
Website: http://www.scenicmarathon.com/?lang=en

The King of Thailand

My alter ego had to work in Bangkok, so decided to tag along and find a marathon. Chanthaburi Scenic Marathon kindly welcomed the Tyre Lady to their event which was to be held on the 30th October. Unfortunately on the 13th October 2016, the King passed away and the country went into immediate mourning for a month, curtailing all entertainment. The event was postponed to 20th November, a tenuous date for my alter ego as she likes to work. But at the end of the day, the King’s cause won.

In 2015, Thailand produced 26.85 million tonnes of waste, of which 19% was recycled properly and 31% properly disposed of, according to Thailand Environment Institute. 50% was dumped in open landfills and caused pollution. Thailand is listed as one of the main polluters of the world’s ocean. ref: http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/1128785/even-garbage-didnt-escape-the-kings-eye

Trash is a problem! http://www.firstpost.com/world/thailand-hurtling-towards-massive-waste-disposal-crisis-1690599.html

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Khun Krabaen Mangrove Swamp: It’s restoration was initiated by the late King

And yet this is a country that has bountiful resources, beautiful beaches, amazing rain forests ….(along with the great food and welcoming people).

The King realised the current economic model of consumerism is highly unsustainable and thus developed the Sufficiency Economy Model: it’s purpose to idealize a way of life in order to help the people reduce the pressures of “wants” versus needs versus conservation.

“Buddhist ethical and moral principles are governed by examing whether a certain action, whether connected to body or speech is likely to be harmful to one’s self or to others, thereby avoiding any actions which are likely to be harmful.”

Basically polluting/harming your environment will harm you and others: the air you breathe, the food you eat, the stress you feel and the health you cherish.

The King walked his talk, being an advocate for environmental and sustainable causes, blending into a permacultural way of living to lead towards the well being and happiness for his people. Thus the King initiated thousands of environmental / sustainable projects to lead the country into sustainable economic practices. All of these can be found at Thailand’s Sustainable Development Foundation.

Love this talk by ted talk by Jon Jandai about living a sustainable life that led to him finding a happier life.

Being Led In and Looked After

As I read more about the King, I had to be in Thailand to remind the people that though the King is gone, the greatest respect and send off the people could give him would be to walk the King’s talk. The first step that every person can take is to reduce the amount of harmful trash such as refuse plastic bags that are given away. Have set some challenges here: Reduce disposible plastic usage.

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Animals affected just by plastic bags. 25% of the fish contain plastic in their stomachs.

My potential obstacle was my passport was due to expire in 4 months.

With a week to go before the marathon was due to be held on the new revised date, I told the organisers I would be there but would need help with transport, accommodation and a Thai tyre. They responded all can be done if you can make it over.

As I faced the custom’s officer with my return ticket and passport, that is potentially useless to travel with, I prayed he would let me in.  Am sure the King must have whispered in his ear, because after a short pause, he stamped my passport and I was in!

19th November: Registration Day

1Coaches.JPGThe Sky Trains are clean and easy to use, though are crowded at peak times (just like every other city). At 7:30am, I had a wonderfully easy ride to Ekkamai Bus Station. Following instructions, I waited at platform 17 and did not see any other person looking like a runner until…. a runner type person came along looking equally confused. Of course I approached him (women always ask when they are uncertain) and he found out that the coaches were waiting at the front of the station.

19th November Meals: My breakfast was 2 small croissants; Lunch was a cornetto ice cream; Dinner was fried rice and another ice cream. My previous days meals had been pretty good, so going light for one day shouldn’t make a difference!

About 3 hours later, hey presto and we arrived in Laem Sadet, Chanthaburi registration.2registration3

Anucha, one of the organisers welcomed me and immediately showed me my accommodation at the Jungle Bay Resort. Huts mingled in with the native trees, the forests animals can come and go. Some of the permanent residents are a blind monkey, a baby monkey that was abandoned by his mother and there is an albino python that loves a good swim in the fish pond! Though mosquitos are plentiful, I loved the place for its raw and rugged feeling and yet the huts had good beds, air con and their own bathroom.

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There was an option of staying in tents that is seconds from the start/finish line (in the distance in the following photo).

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Tents set up close to the start line – has mat, pillows and light blanket

Now the only thing missing was my Thai tyre. Anucha promised me it was coming and it would be outside my room. At 2pm, I wandered aimlessly around the registration area and then at the tents.

“You need to register with the organisers and then they will allocate you a tent” a voice called out.

Ming seeing a lost soul reached out. I thanked him, we got talking and he became my buddy for the day. He was doing his first marathon.

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Eating dinner looking out over the sea

6pm, I returned back to see Anucha to let him know I would need to go to bed and enquired about my tyre once more. It had arrived and it was lighter than my normal tyre. I would be glad about this later when I would have to fight the heat (about 5kg tyre).

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Chamey was over the moon to meet Khun Krabaen

The Tyre lady was now complete. Photographer Tom gave it a name “Khun Krabaen”

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And before the rains came, we got some signatures to start the ball rolling.

We collected pledges before, during and after the event. People pledged to reduce their disposible plastic. And hopefully this would also mean in this area the moo dud (dugong or sea cow) will also be saved.

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Khun Krabaen is at Jungle Bay Resort if anyone wants to sign & pledge to reduce disposible plastic

By 8pm, lights out for a 2:30am wake up. Jungle Bay Resort was about 600m from the start line. Breakfast was a chocolate cookie and another ice cream! (the room had a fridge/freezer)

The Honour of Completion

The event starts at 4am. The air although coolish, is still humid. I am one of the last to leave the start line to ensure I do not impede the runners.

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Out of Laem Sadet and to the 10km mark over the bridge

Thus I am amongst other slower moving participants. Once out of Laem Sadet, there is less lighting. Before @7.5km at the top of a hill, I watched a participant (we had been continually overtaking each other beforehand) stop, change his clothes and get on a motor bike. I would see this same participant when I was going up to 22km and he was heading back at 38km. It was sad to see someone cheat themselves.

He may have got a medal and a t-shirt, but he lost out on the opportunity to grow. Overcoming challenges makes us become more resilient, mentally stronger. By conquering his fear of failure and suffering, any future overwhelming situations are more easily fought and conquered.

The Fight

As the sun woke up, the sun would be shining down, revealing sea, mountain, farming and village views.

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This is a pleasant marathon to enjoy in the early morning.

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Participants @22km-24km and returning along same route

Marathon food was some jelly babies and 3 small chia seed snacks + bananas and melons at check points that had food. My main concern was handling the heat and keeping cool when the sun woke up at 6am. Thankfully the event had organised lots of spray/sponge points.

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As I continued after the first 22km, many people stopped me to take wefies. Total stoppage time would amount to about 20-30 minutes. I thought it would be okay as I had killed the first 22km….well I did have a lighter tyre than normal and Ming did say it would rain at 10am. Towards 30km, the staff from FaaSai Resort were out supporting and more Wefies were taken on the return journey back to the start.

results

Though with stoppage time meant that I would be facing a hotter day. The dreaded heat was soon beating down but I would continue to fight. As the sun sapped me of energy reducing me to a march, I was thankful for the lighter tyre and I would remember everyone who called out to me to keep fighting, and I would tell everyone behind me to keep fighting as I looped back on myself back to the finish.

Because it is the fight that makes us grow. And if I can put in the effort to drag a tyre 42km, then I am sure we can put in a little mental effort to bring our own bags shopping, bring our own thermal cups for a hot drink (a large amount of plasticizers leaches into the drink from the plastic bag), and we can continue to put in effort to fight for the environment that gives us joy and life.

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To the lady who finished her first marathon and gave me a big hug even though I was wet and smelly – you rock! Thank you to the organisers for all your help, Jungle Bay Resort for hosting me, the volunteers for being out so early and everyone who encouraged me to continue. Thank you for letting me run for the King.

May the late King of Thailand’s thoughts on sustainability and environmental concerns continue to become part of Thailand’s fabric of living as a remembrance to him.

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The late King’s Sufficiency Economy Model can be read about here: http://www.ipsnews.net/2016/08/thailands-sufficiency-economy-philosophy-and-the-sustainable-development-goals/

 

#53 Aston Subedge: The Doctor and the Quiet

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Group Photo with Reu before she entered the Tardis at the Aston Subedge

Event Type: Costwold some very long steep hills
Route: Trail marathon, following a pretty straightforward paper description + some signage
Weather: Cloudy and quite sunny
At the End: Food and lots of spot prizes (like wine, bottles, and stuff)

This is a really friendly event with gorgeous scenery and some long hills to go down and up and down and up and of course some muddy hills to venture back and forth.

Website: http://www.broadmeadowruns.co.uk/

At the end of my 50th event (the December Double, Nov 2014), I sat on a sofa with a plate full of food, stuffing my face with buffet food Chris had organised for the runners and volunteers.  Mike who I had seen on both days as the mid-way point marshal and at other points was also now resting contemplating driving all the way back down to Southampton. Mike had driven for over 4 hours to support his buddy Chris for his event. Such friendship is so special.

And here we were swapping admiration for each other for different reasons. Having run along the canal for 2 days, Mike suggested I participate in the Aston Subedge in June 2015. I don’t remember the exact details of the conversation, but it probably was something like, “you need a bigger challenge than 2 days of a flat muddy canal…..and we need some entertainment”. ……and that was it, I was entered into the Aston Subedge.

Stress

Heading towards the Aston Subedge event day, my head was being bogged down with projects and deliverables. At the end of the day, what do they all mean? Who cares what I have created (programmed) afterall the creation is only a small part in the machinery…….which drives a bigger cog and so on.

Thankfully Mike entered me into the lovely Aston Subedge event that Broadmeadow Runs hosts. I was soo stressed but this was good to take time out from my PC. I sometimes think I should quit work to just focus on marathons, but at the same time, I want to prove I can do it all – work, family, find accepting events, run and develop.

These runs have now become important to take me away from the “every day hum drum” to the “shang shing dragging my thing” putting perspective in life.  Although route finding does add some thought diversions. Fortunately Chris’ routes are fairly straightforward as long as one stay’s mostly focused.

Reu’s Pull

Although I had a 1 hour headstart, other participants quickly caught up as there are a couple of hills to “bounce” up and down. Reu is a 10kg lovie whose treads were telling her that this would be her last race. She’s participated in US events and in 2014, the mayor of Cheltenham had signed his name on her to pledge to reduce his disposible plastic.

Reu is a happy go lucky tyre. She bimbled along teasing the farm animals and I, the puller wondered why I was dragging a 10kg dead weight up hills and over mud. However Reu has some of her grandmother’s animal magic and shows she can “pull” too…..horses, cows, alpacas, sheep….

Spiritual Investments

For the final 7 miles, I was joined by Phil and Kim who decided to move at my pace. Phil gave some excuse about the docs wanting to keep his heart at a suitable rate. We righted the world, wondered about how people’s apathy affects their want to be sustainable and then focused on what marathon/ultra runners gain from spending time out. Here we ventured on the path of spiritual notions and even if a runner is not religious, a runner has spiritual moments, conscious about the world they live in.

Why is this? In order to become aware and understand complex matters, the brain requires moments of nothing-ness. We have surrounded ourseves with so much noise whether that is from sounds, reading, political blah blah that we become easily overwhelmed. This was our spiritual enlightenment and we merged into Albert Einstein’s reflection

“The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”

Scientists and spiritual leaders are similar in allowing themselves to be absobed by “the quiet” to open up the unconscious to allow a free flow of new thoughts and ideas to surface to the conscious.

Try it

Find a day (or 8 hours) in your buzzing world of busi-ness to step away from the internet/TV/mobile/people telling you stuff, to allow your mind to reflect and meander into the unconscious streams. If you cannot find a day then enter into an event that will force you time away. Broadmeadow Runs or the LDWA have great prices and a nice feed at the end.

As for Reu, it is farewell to her as she enters into the next adventure in her tyre life.

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Reu’s one last wave before checking in to see the Doctor

Thank you once again to Mike for his most excellent encouragement; Chris for organising a great event with awesome prizes as per usual; the Cotswold for the great scenery; Phil for his tales of tree houses and his passion for sustainability; and of course the lovely Reu – may you have many more adventures.

#62 Cheltenham Challenge: Mud vs Hills

MuddyFeet - Web

Why sandals?.

Overview

Event Type: Multi-terrain
Route: Easy to follow markers (although I did miss a couple due to lack of concentration) with a large hill feature and on this occasion some wonderful mud.
Time limit: 9 hours
Weather: 17 degrees C
Goody Bag: Finishers medal; t-shirt and thankfully no plastic bag!
Check Points: @Every 5km
Scenery: Its the cotswold so look up, look out and enjoy the vistas
Date:
19 June 2016
Website: http://www.cheltenhamchallenge.org.uk/

And I sang to the check point at the last 4km mark about Mud. Here is the song in full:

In the days leading up to the event, the rain fall was high with a tropical rainfall pouring down on the Friday evening before the Sunday. The weather prediction thankfully was for a mostly dry Sunday until about 16:00. With all the rain,  there were warnings of a mud bath from the organisers. So now we had a large hill and a muddy trail to tackle.

Which do you think is worse? A large steep hill or a long slippery downward trail of mud?

Two years ago, when I had tackled this event, I had tried to somehow run and drag Reu (a 10kg tyre) up the hill. That killed me for the rest of the event. I crawled up the hill the second time round. This time an 8kg tyre called Drue came with me and what a difference 2 kg makes! Although it is rumoured the organisers had pushed down “the Argh hill” this year. So taking the hill easy on the first lap, made it fine on the second lap.

As for the mud……there was a short muddy section in the first 5km of the event that the overtaking 1/2 marathoners tread cautiously. However the real mud challenge was in the last 5 miles, an approx 400m mud trail on a downward hill incline, that was ankle/shin deep in some parts. On the first lap, Drue had an easy time as we got trapped behind a queue of people taking the muddy path very cautiously. The second time round the aim was to fly thru the mud. I was happily moving quickly thru the muddy section when Drue put on the brakes and embraced a rock burried in the mud. Yes I fell over into the bramble and nettles. When I tried to get going again, Drue did the same trick with another rock strategically placed in the middle of the path. As I lay there in the bramble and nettles, Drue smiled smuggly. (Am sure his treads were turned upwards).

What type of shoes would you wear? 

Commonsense would probably indicate trail shoes. However they  get clogged up with mud so lose their gripping power and become heavy.  Additionally muddy water still pours into the shoe when the mud grabs hold and swollows your foot. Hence your feet would stay wet for the rest of the event risking blisters.

I decided to try out flat sandals. Why because my feet would dry faster and they did. As for the non-grippiness, as long as I thought “Pose running”  and moved confidently then all would be fine….well you know what the cheeky Drue did. Grit did slide underneath, but a sock barrier softened the discomfort until the mud dried up and fell out. So I would say it kinda worked. Kinda worked, because as the feet were drying, the feet rolled in the sandals whilst wet. I think I’ll return with wellingtons next time.

Chronic Sleep Issues

Apparently 1/3 of the population suffers from chronic sleep deprivation. Being within that statistic, it is easy to see how sleep deprivation affects one’s mental ability and moods. And if you suffer from eczema, like I do, the itching becomes increasingly worst. Last year due to stress, anxiety and eczema, that after 5 nights of very low sleep (average 0 to 3 hours), I had to DNF in a skyrunning event. I didn’t want to be on the start line and couldn’t even will myself to run 5K but I switched mode to just enjoying the event and continued until they threw me off for being so slow. I did not have a tyre for an excuse in that event!

Work stress and anxiety do eventually wear me down and I need to learn how to manage this better. Health is more important than work. I am also learning to pre-emptively avoid situations that can put you in a negative mind set. Our past bad experiences are not a burden, but a way of helping us recognise and avoid a re-occurrance.

Marathon events are fantastic for getting my head back into sleep and for detoxing the body to reduce the eczema itch.

I was a little nervous for the Cheltenham Challenge as had 3 nights of very little sleep prior (3-4 hours average) however by the end of it, I was buzzing. I sorted out a situation based on gut feeling, and this turned out to be an excellent decision the next day. The night after the event I fell asleep with nettle prickles tingling over the arm and leg, and happy thoughts of ploughing through mud and singing songs.

Thank you so much to the volunteers for being out there, welcoming me back and kept smiling throughout, to the organisers for praying for weather that was cool for participants and dry for the volunteers, and for reducing the size of Aggi Hill. Thank you also to the people who donated to EarthWatch. Funds raised on the day = £16.

A Plastic Thought: Which is harder? To pull a tyre over Cheltenham Challenge or to change our “throw away” lifestyle?

WaterBottles

In 2015, the UK recycles only 57% of plastic bottles

  • 30% of plastic pots, tubs and trays are recycled.
  • Most families throw away about 40kg of plastic per year, which could otherwise be recycled.
  • 492,623 tonnes of plastic packaging was collected from households in 2014/2015
  • The use of plastic in Western Europe is growing about 4% each year.
  • Plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose.
  • Polystyrene breaks down to small plastic balls that is ingested by small animals
  • “Degradeable plastic” breaks down to micro plastic particles that can be ingested by plankton.

Ref 1: http://www.bpf.co.uk/sustainability/plastics_recycling.aspx

Ref 2: http://www.recycling-guide.org.uk/facts.html

#60: Cranleigh Boundary Trail Challenge: A Tale of Two Minds

Martin

With Martin and Drue

Overview

Event Type: Trail with some short steep hills and undulations.
Route: Signage mostly on ground with biodegradable paint + trail markers. Some smooth trail and other parts lumpy, bumpy and boggy.
Time limit: None
Weather: 25 degs C. Bright and sunny.
Goody Bag: Finishers medal.
Check Points: About 5km; 10miles; and then 3 more after.
Scenery: Forests; bluebells; a couple of big birds (Kestrels?); rabbits; cows; sheep; horses; farms

Tyre taken: Drue
Our Finish time:
8:30

Walking the Parish Boundary is also known as beating the bounds. It is an ancient custom still observed today in many English parishes. Cranleigh Boundary Trail follows the parish boundary.

 

Our mental attitude can adversely affect out performance and that mental attitude is not just about the on-the-day attitude, I have noticed it includes the immediate build up to an event.

Someone who is confident generally stands more upright and this can only promote a positive flow of mental psyche in one’s own body. This posture helps the individual tune into the good vibes of the world. Just look at how NLP works.

With the Rome marathon, I had an overall positive build up to the marathon even though I may not have slept wonderful the 2 nights before the event. My mental attitude had kept everything positive throughout and the body felt great after. I could have run another marathon immediately after.

Cranleigh was a different story. 2 weeks leading up to Cranleigh marathon, I had become overwhelmed with stuff happening. My postural positions became tired and I hunched when I sat down. Perhaps this continued my negative thoughts about everything, adding to the “down” feeling that I struggled to push aside.

I contemplated not doing Cranleigh marathon. A week before, Brian reminded me about my participation and Uncle encouraged me on. My housemate asked me how we would do in the marathon and my response…..”with my frame of mind it is going to be 8 hours or so, unless I can change my mind”.  Sure for women “changing one’s mind” should have been an easy thing to do. I weakly attempted to do some visualisation 2 day s beforehand but could not.  I would use Cranleigh to reconcile my head.

I forced myself to get over to Cranleigh in the morning and met runners who were interested in Drue. I tried to speak positively on his behalf and struck up a good conversation with Josh and his gang of two from Barnes Runners. Someone asked about a route description. I said it would be well marked. Josh laughed and said knowning his luck, he would probably still get lost!

Cranleigh Parish Boundary Challenge 2016

The local pastor (or rev?) blessed the event at the start. Thank you pastor.

Wrong Turns: Blame it on Josh!

Paying Attention

The positive chat with Josh had charged me up and I was nicely in front of the walkers until I could no longer see them behind me. Within 2 miles of starting, I had taken a wrong turn. I had not observed the markings and after @ 300m of running in the wrong direction I was turned back by some kind fishermen.

Once back on track, 3 walkers had overtaken me. I would make sure we would be in front of them after the single lane track ended and soon again I could no longer see them. Later a lady runner overtook me. She had taken the same wrong turn but unfortunately had not been redirected. She had lost sight of the main running pack when she had to do an emergency tree dash to reflect on life. She was still pretty calm and positive. The markings were pretty frequent and I reminded myself to pay attention.

Unseen Arrow

Going up a hill, I took another wrong turn. I continued round the hill for @100m before becoming unsettled about the lack of markings. I returned to the last sign I had seen and @5m from the sign, an arrow was painted in the grass pointing upwards.

Mis-Direction before 10 mile check point

I struggled up the hill and the head was bouncing about the possibility of calling it a day, afterall the RD at the start of the race said it would be no shame to do a 1/2 marathon instead of a marathon as it was a hot day. I struggled to recall the visualisations of Rome but the mind had blurred that time. Reminder, need to practice visualisations more frequently. An hour went by admiring the woodlands and bluebells, listening to the birds calling. There some boggy patches and some downhill but the arrows were all clear. I was still running so can’t have been too bad.

About 9 miles in, a proper sign appeared directing runners to the left and walker’s to the right. It was a joyous long downhill as more positive thoughts started to stream into my head. When I reached the crossroads, I saw the same lady runner who had passed me earlier talking on the phone. She was lost and had gone to the bottom of the hill and found no markings. We decided to explore a 100m of the other 2 possible directions. There were no markings.

Looking at the trail we had both headed down, there were more bicycle tyre markings than foot markings.We needed to return to the sign that we last saw which would have been @1km from the cross roads and go in the walker’s direction. Lost lady runner was struggling with herself. Getting lost saps energy: physically and emotionally. I have come to expect to get lost on trail marathons having found myself off-piste on so many. Unfortunately lost lady had thrown in the towel and walked the rest of the way to the check point, refusing to run even on the downhills.

Josh – am sorry – I imagined having a conversation with you and you saying that you got lost….I laughed….. then cursed and blamed you for us getting lost and had another good laugh  😉

Found My Mind

I decided at that point I would definitely complete in 8-9 hours. I was far more cautious and with the next part of the course having less markings, I dithered at potential route turnings. As for Drue, he ambled along, enjoying being carried over stiles until he got stuck in 4 tall kissing gates. Drue has a 60cm waist and joked that only slim people could live in Cranleigh.

By the end of this event, the endorphines were fully in action and I was a happy Tyre Lady once again despite being lost and being sun burnt. Afterall how can one stay grumpy when the trail has some wide open hill-top scenery and is littered with lots of woodlands and blue bells. This is a new trail marathon and will be even better next year. Now looking forward to Richmond Park marathon.

I didn’t want to do Cranleigh Boundary Trail Marathon, but I’m glad I did. Being quiet, refilling my head with nature & exercise is good for the head!

My Own Joke For the Day
I was asked at the 15 mile check point what was I: a runner or a walker? I responded…….a wunner…..walking runner.

The Rome Marathon (10th April)

MEdiConquers

Overview

Event Type: Road/cobbled stones marathon with undulations and clear views of ancient historical ruins. Time limit = 7:30 hours
Weather: Started at 10 degs C and went up to 18 degs C. Very sunny but loads of shade from buildings and trees.
Expo: Provides an insight to lots of other European marathons as well as has the normal retail running stuff at discount prices.
Goody Bag: A backpack that doubles up as your drop bag; technical t-shirt; pasta (of course); some snacks; drink; plasters and a cloth bag to put it all into.
Support: Probably the best we’ve experienced so far! Normally the back of the back pack is quiet…..here Medi was treated like a celebrity all the way by both runners and spectators.

Reflections

The expo, 2 days before, was an eventful day with a number of invites to participate in various city marathons to promote curbing the hunger for disposible plastics.

Before accepting I wanted to see how Rome would go. I do have reservations about large city marathons. London was marred with meeting gangs of kids in Greenwich and Limehouse who decided Ted (my tyre) should be pulled and stepped on. Also whilst heading towards Canary Wharf, 1/2 full plastic bottles of water and energy drinks, dropped by runners, were lobbed at us by individuals who thought Ted would be a fun target.

New York: Verrazano Bridge was littered with “trip over” clothing dropped on the bridge by runners and immediately after the bridge the initial spectators were hostile, yelling at me to take the tyre off and run the event properly. Later some “serious” runners told me I had taken the place of a “serious” runner.

Singapore has been the only big city marathon that has always been kind to my tyres (Tring and Trang) but the heat and humidity is hell to endure!

A Cunning Plan

CentaurStart

Medi pretending to be a shield

5 days before the big day, the organisers warned me that the Rome security will not allow me to take Medi into the starting pen due to the recent suicide bombings at Brussels.

I thought if I dressed up as a gladiator and pretended my tyre was a shield they might let Medi in. However security waved the “no no” finger at me, saying “no baggio”…despite showing Medi was not a bag, the Roma polizia pretty much told me Medi would not be allowed into the party!

Medi had a better plan, she would meet me a little after the start. Of course the Roman Gods were watching over, and my trusty friend Uncle would take and wait with Medi about 800m from the start….

TyreLadyMedi

Ole

…Cos nothing would stop Medi from being part of this event…..The crowd cheered. The runners cheered and Medi became an instant celebrity.

MediPhotos

Incidences: At 15km, a guy nearly won a Darwin award when he banged into the barriers as he tried to take a selfie with Medi. Fortunately he was ok, although a little embarrassed. At 30km, one tired runner decided to see if I would drag him along with Medi. Medi must have said something, because he got off and looked embarrassed.

Running Discovery: When you’re in the run and your body begins to feel the “toughness”, reflecting back on training runs, thinking of people, and doing mind occupation tricks helps a little. But as time passes on, negativity will fight to win and sometimes the body follows for a short while (for me this can occur after 4 hours until the 6th hour) until the positive light is reignited. How can one ensure those negative thoughts never surface?

This time I approached the visualisation differently and worked this into my bed time routine some days before. Before I went to bed, I focused on the time I wanted to achieve (6:50) and how I wanted to feel throughout especially after the 25km mark. Once my brain was experiencing the positive feeling of success, I acknowledged and thanked the feeling. I repeated this 3 times before I went to sleep then let it go and got on with sleeping.

(note the last long run was a near 50km at the Green Ultra Challenge and it was a tough sluggish 9+ hours)

During the run, the normal vacant head feeling after 4 hours of being on my feet was hardly noticeable, as I focused on the body form and aligned all feelings with the visualised feeling I wanted. It was incredible and what a feeling of power!

Memories of the Rome marathon: smiling faces, oodles of encouragement to keep on with the message of reducing disposible plastic; oodles of encouragement all along the marathon route from both runners and spectators; meeting people from Modesto and Santa Rosa marathons; smiling sun and cool stretches; tree lined streets; amazing Roman architecture; enjoying the city tour; centaurian lined finish……and a big fat PB of 6:50:10…..beating my last PB of 6:55 at Richmond Park marathon a couple of years ago.

Will be testing this visualisation further especially as it helps me to sleep 🙂

Hope to return to Rome again in the future to see a more conscious reduction of disposible plastic and next time expect my “bros to run” brothers to be waiting for me at the finish! 😉

Thank you Rome marathon for hosting me xxxx

This is my favourite city marathon!

The Green Ultra Challenge (part 2)

Following on from the previous post….for those looking for the petition see here.

Nerves? Or Negative Mental Attitude?

From August 2015, a sleep disorder has been driving me crazy. I used to think I could make my body move even if I was mentally exhausted. But in Sept 2015 and after another zero hours night’s sleep (from little mosquitos nibbling my face), I was at the start line of an event in Scotland thinking I need to be in bed. I couldn’t even run 3 kms. My head told my body to quit and it did. So I DNFed and it became the start of months of bad running mojo. My July high had swung to the opposite direction. I didn’t want to run.

As the Green Ultra Challenge event date drew near, I became anxious. I was snatching 3-4 hours sleep leading up to the event. 2 days before the event, I was cleaning the top of my water bottle in the bathroom and the drinking nipple part went flying into the toilet bowl……so I pulled it out and set about sterlising it…..Well the toilet wasn’t that dirty, I had only flushed it beforehand! 1 day before and I had a warning headache. On event day “boom”…..that girly thing began. It’s no wonder I’ve been so blur! So I drank a strong cup of coffee to shake up my system….and it did wake up my system right into the night after the event!

At 06:30am volunteers had arrived to go to their stations. I was awarded lucky number 88. Being of Chinese descent, 88 means double happiness, so I bade “bye bye” to my negative attitude. UR 88 – how cool.

Map2

The route

So What Are You Doing?

RailBridge

Photo at the start point (taken by the Green Race)

As my first lap ended, some of the participants that were doing one or 2 laps headed towards me. They had started their lap. “Lucky dudes” I thought, “I’ve got 4 more to do”.  I needed to get a move on. Once I had checked in, I immediately turned back out.

More People

The temperature was heating up and there were more people on the trail…..more people to ask me to take photos with them; more people to ask me if they can have a ride – “Sure. It’s a $100 a centimeter. Want or not?” – no takers.

 

….more people to stop me to ask me what I was doing……”stop the cross rail link coming thru this treasure”….more people to tell me isn’t this hard enough…..”If I can pull a tyre, you can make an effort and reduce your single use plastic” after all the event was about raising awareness of sustainability and a pledge tyre called Peace, a hefty 15kg baby, was waiting at the end point to encourage folk to change their ways (if they hadn’t done so yet).

After all the organisation itself was trying to have a zero waste event with a “Bring Your Own Cup” for drinks.

TGOpen

The long stretch before the Durian Walk

The Other Stuff That Was Happening

1/2 way round into the 2nd lap, I began feeling light headed. I hadn’t been drinking enough. The volunteer at Dairy Farm offered coke. I accepted, mixed it in with my 1/4 full squash and greedily guzzled it down. Then like “Oliver” I coyly asked for more. It fixed me and I gave the volunteer imaginary hugs and kisses.  At this point I decided to walk up the hills!

At 10:00 the sun was sizzling as I ventured onto the long open stretch before reaching the cool canopy of the Durian Walk, but it had to be done.  But I dreaded the 3rd lap even more as the sun would be hot enough to cook the skin.

As I checked in for lap 2, I wondered about sun cream but was distracted by SynTech, a manufacturing company that was at the event creating awareness about keeping Singapore’s water ways clean.

NeWater is reclaimed waste water that meets 30% of the nation’s water needs. SynTech had information about products that we use that pollute our water ways and that we should stop using so that our aquatic life and us stop ingesting plastic and other bad stuff. Microbeads are plastic particles that a lot of popular brands use to help us clean stuff and require very fine filters to take out of the water. If you want to know what other products contain microbeads, check here.  SynTech suggest sticking to products with the Green Label.

It’s 11:20 and I really was dreading the 3rd lap. The heat was affecting me. Not only me but the animals too. Along the Green Corridor, an electric blue snake glided across the path way. I later found out it was a Blue Malayan Coral Snake, and highly poisonous. But it was so beautiful.

Towards Diary Farm, the monitor lizards were running for cover and of course the cheeky monkeys came out to laugh at the mad humans running around in the hot sun.

I thought of Acres, a local charity I run for because I like wildlife and over 90% of the funds they raise goes back to their cause (See Singapore Charity Commission). They rescue all sorts of injured animals or illegal foreign animals that have been dumped at Bukit Timah/Macritchie forests. They will fix the animals up and return them to their country, if they have enough funds. However some are so big, that the expense is unaffordable. Having animals that do not belong to a country can upset the biodiversity. In Singapore the turtles that are in Machritchie reservoir are from the US that were set free by owners and have out competed the local turtles. See here for more information.

Acres want to turn their backyard into a sanctuary for the animals that can never return to their homeland, however unfortunately they had the misfortune of hiring a rogue company that dumped a whole of toxis waste in the area they were supposed to prepare. See Straits Times Article for more information.  But they will forge ahead with that dream.  A number of participants asked me how they can donate to Acres. To support the work that Acres does, you can donate via giving.sg. In the mean time if you see an injured animal whether that is a wee bird/lizard/snake/turtle/what ever call Acres on 6892 9821. You can also link to them on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ACRESasia/

(thank you Abi for your very kind cash donation to Acres)

Home Runs

Checking in for my final lap, the SJI (St Joseph International) students had come to do a litter sweep of the area and collected 2 large bags of litter on the first 5km of the route. This was litter that some may have been accidently dropped by runners, but the majority would have been from people out enjoying the area. After all I had seen a group of guys with cups of coffee walking along the trail and later seen a couple of those same coffee cups on the trail where they had walked. Thank you SJI for cleaning up after everyone.

Speaking of litter, we were given a couple of Lucho Dillitos guava snacks Guava Snack wrapped in a leaf! The leaf definitely protected its contents just like a normal “plastic” wrapper as I had been fully doused with ice water before laps 4 and 5. The sweets wrapped in paper were a little damp but the contents of the Lucho Dillitos was dry! So instead of a gel (and there were a couple of accidently dropped empty packs on the trail), try this instead because dropping the wrapping isn’t as bad…a leaf on the trail to join the other leaves 🙂

Also thanks to Ngee Ann Poly, Bukit Batok Secondary school (your cheers for every lap were awesome), the volunteers who poured ice cold water over us, and all the other volunteers that were out there baking in the hot afternoon sun.

5 laps and 47km completed in 09:12:20. A big thank you to the organisers (Sanmuga/Ash/Farhan) for a well executed 1st event and giving me the time to complete my first event of the year and my 58th marathon.

#58: The Green Ultra Challenge (27 Feb 2016): Part 1

Those who follow me know I’ve been AWOL. I lost my mojo to write blog entries. One blog entry takes me hours, and even then I find it reads rather procedural….like my job (programmer)! As I began my 4th lap along the Green Ultra Challenge’s, and psyching myself back along the dreaded heated corridor (1st 3km), a participant stopped me:

Participant: “Where have you been? You’ve been missing?”
Me: {uncertain about the question} “I’ve been running around this nature reserve, just like you”
Participant: “Have you been hiding?”
Me: “Err no…I’ve been on this course, trying to catch up with you”
Participant: “Your site lah….”
Me: {light bulb moment} “Oh ya sorry…..I have been missing…..sorry….I will write….thank you……I must go”…..and off I plodded…..

And so to that participant, this blog entry is for you.

I have been hiding! The last event I did was a DNF on a 50 mile team event and I was mighty p***** with the person who asked me onto the team and seemed to make no effort to make the distance whilst the sun was out.  Ok I am still rather peeved with wasting my time on an event when I was suffering from food poisoning and there were other stresses happening in my life at that moment before the 5th Dec.

…And then I did no more running except for the odd 8 miler and 5K runs.

Sometimes in one’s life, we have to just get on and deal with the pressures of life. No matter how overwhelming those pressures are, we deal with them like a marathon. Chew off a little, bit by bit until all is done and then give yourself a little reward. I decided to see my family in Singapore, and this event’s organisers kindly accepted me, providing the extra time I would need to complete 5 laps of the course (@10km a lap) to make this my 58th completed marathon.

On my first lap, I enjoyed some stillness and comtemplated why a progressive society would think developing thru/under a rainforest is progression?

So Whilst I Have Your Attention….

For some months a petition has been going on to ask the government of Singapore / Land Transport Authority (LTA) to not do any type of development in Machritchie Reservoir (MR). If you still have not taken notice there is a development to put a tunnel under MR despite all the media news, see below.

Why should you care?

  • Because it is going through primary forests that is older than everyone and is a natural heritage of Singapore.
  • It breaks founding principles that the late Lee Kwan Yew (LKY) set a precedence for clean, green Singapore and protecting national treasure.
  • It is an environment where the last indigenous “Singaporean species” live.  Yes it is hosts to species that have been around long before us!
  • It puts us on the same level as every other country like Malaysia and Indonesia when it comes to discussions about progression and rainforests.
  • COP21. Singapore has commited to reducing carbon emissions by 36% by 2030….and if you think you’ll be dead by then, God will keep you alive to show you.

If you want to read more about the impact of the development, read here (PDF “Love Our Macritchie Forest” created)

Singapore, as a country has progressed immensly. However anyone saying this development has to occur for progression is still in a 1990s time warp. Singapore is a major port, a major business/financial centre; has just been noted to be the 3rd richest in the world and has just been recognised as a UNESCO city of design.

I wonder if the forward thinking LKY had decided on this test, to see if his people would stand up for the principles that the founding fathers have moulded this tiny dot on and made into a first class country.

This green space is a fragile nature reserve and as an educated society who knows about global warming and suffers first hand from environmental issues, Singaporeans/PR/those who enjoy this country should stand up.  Be zealous. It is too easy to be a bystander and then think after we could have done something.  Developments will always cause a negative impact, especially so with natural environments.  A petition has been going on for some months to have zero impact on Machritchie and it is shameful that less than 1% of the population have bothered to sign it….Apparently it is “green groups” vs “the government”.

I hear too often, “It’s the government, so what ever we do is a waste of time”. This is pure apathy. After all why would the Straits Times, that the government controls, voice concerns over the area? AND The petition takes less than 5 minutes to sign. Click here for the petition.

As for my take, the carless Sunday at the end of each month is great. However for a truely sustainable effort in making this a “car lite” country, it would be great if the government can could lead the world to change in its actions:

  • Diverting the MRT round Lornie Road will encourage potential road users in this area to get on the train (noted the LTA is making some attempt to show willing for this option)
  • Convert the road widening program to make dedicated non-motorized lanes for vehicles such as bicycles so that trees can be kept instead of destroyed. I have observed that new pathways have been built and the old ones will be integrated into the road widening. The old pathways could be made into cycle lanes!
  • Re-think the Green Corridor development. Dumping a tarmac/concrete path along it and putting up concrete buildings is certainly neither “green” nor “clean”. Singapore has lots of pretty manicured parks. Leave the last vestiges of natural Singapore….natural. As the late LKY said:
    • Nature calms the spirit and make people feel relaxed.
    • Trees provide shade and thus a respite from the sun.
    • Trees absorb carbon dioxide (a common greenhouse gas).

For those who are concerned about the diversion costing an extra $2 billion – put it in perspective: the whole line might cost @ $40 billion – see Straits Times article. We can only guess how many will travel on that line (est 1 million at $2,80 ave fare – you do the maths!).  And those along Lornie Road will have better transport options.

As Mahatma Gandhi said: “Be the change you want to see in the world”

So at the very least in one’s own busy life, stand up for the preservation of this natural heritage and let the government know one voice about this Click here to sign the petition. (This includes Singaporean visitors/PRs and anyone who understands societies need to change as we become more educated about our impact). And please get your friends to sign this petition to show the government we care.

Also write to your local MP voicing your concerns or “facebook them”, asking them to protect your natural heritage. Here is a suggestion for your usage: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wEKumtUBO2zjA9EQtRXuEvu8AFFSpGLiyU1ThPcV_AA/edit

For those who fail to understand the importance of protecting primary forests, take a guided walk: https://lovemacritchie.wordpress.com/love-macritchie-walks/ or go visit Sungei Buloh which the late LKY wanted to see expanded.

For those who think there is nothing wrong with “some” compromise to a part of the rainforest, means those areas will continually be compromised in the name of progression. You only need to see the BKE has already started the division of the rainforest and then what else in the future? The buck stops here and we can make it so! Let’s at least get this petition representing at least 1% of this island.