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#75 Nice-Cannes Marathon: Part 2: The Observational Run

Merci beaucoup tous le monde pour votre aide. Désolé pour seulement écrire l’anglais. J’utiliserais Google pour traduire.

Two days of campaigning, running around with participants leashed to a tyre and now run day. The thought of waking up at 4:45am to get to the start point meant a restless night. Ah well, if I can complete a 135 miles in 59 hours without any sleep (Arrowhead 135), running a marathon distance (26.2miles) with zero sleep should be simple.

Article on the day: https://www.20minutes.fr/planete/2365107-20181104-nice-pourquoi-singapourienne-bouclera-marathon-nice-cannes-tractant-pneu-10kg

Chasing the Rabbit

bunny dogs

The organisers agreed to start me off at 06:30am (1.5 hours before the official start time) as long as I remained on the pavement until the elite runners had over taken. Uncle would accompany me on bicycle for as much as the route as he could.

Instructions: “Stay on the bicycle path (Promenade des Anglais) until the lead runners have over taken you”

A pre-start is like the rabbit on the track. How much distance could we (me and Teera-Wates) make before the runners caught us? Place your bets.

Route Map

It was expected that the lead runners would overtake at about 10km. My competitive streak kicked in, to see if we could make it to 15km before being caught. Storming along the course, we completed 7km/hr. We were sooo fast, we ran right past the turn off (highlighted in the above route map).

The signs changed from 11km to a 16km mark on the bend. Maybe there was a loop back? Uncle tried to call me back, instead I went over to the check point that was about 50m from the 16km sign. They were directing me towards Cannes…..ahhh the temptation…..

Uncle showed me the map…. We needed to retrace our steps and return to the turn off point just after the 11km mark. Gutted and losing 15-20 minutes, we fought as hard as we could and got to 13km before being caught.

LEad pack

C’est tant pis. Une autre temps.

nephew daughter

JJ’s nephew caught me at about 22km and JJ’s daughter at about 25km

After that so many people thanked me for the planet and for their children and grand-children….so many people motivated me on to continue the fight.

“Bon Courage!”

“Allez allez allez!”

Constant waves of cheers pushed us along especially when the pacer groups overtook.

running1

Collaboration

But one person can only go so fast. Many hands make light work….and on the first steep hill, one man helped to pull Teera-Wates up.

Between 30-35 km, there were more hills. Natalie (a fellow participant) came to pull the rope as did another runner when she was tiring to help me along. Another fellow runner carried Teera-Wates for 1 km.

Collaboration makes light work of the burden of waste.

It was great to have help. Great that so many people want to see change. Great that so many people want to be involved.

The only other time when runners have actively helped me pull my tyre, was in my first marathon in Singapore 2006.

Did the Runners Bin It to keep the course safe and clean?

There were many awesome runners who diverted to put their rubbish in the bins, but as the number of runners ahead of me progressively increased, more litter appeared: tubes of creams, empty gel packets, paper cups and plastic cups, banana skins, oranges, sponges. When the majority of runners had been through the check points, there were times when there was a carpet of litter on the floor (especially sponges), one had to tread carefully to ensure you didn’t trip up.

Along the coast, the wind howled and an angry spirit went through the check point, throwing plates of food and cups on the floor. Cups that had been dropped on the floor were sucked into mini vortexes to be tossed into the bushes or on the beach.

RUNNERS YOU CAN BIN IT! …Les coureurs mettent toujours vos déchets à la poubelle!

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The Finale

Running End

Completed in 7 hours and 27 seconds and collected medal and t-shirt without packaging + a small food bag with a bottle of water…..well I skipped the food bag and bottle.

And finally a quick look to see if participants understood what the bin colours meant….

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Now to write a list of recommendations to the organisation and then onwards to the Singapore Marathon to ensure participants Bin It right!

Articles after the marathon: https://www.nicematin.com/course-pedestre/elle-court-le-marathon-nice-cannes-en-tractant-un-pneu-de-10kg-et-le-boucle-en-7h-274479?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1541339007

http://www.leparisien.fr/environnement/elle-court-le-marathon-de-nice-en-tractant-un-pneu-04-11-2018-7934673.php

https://fr.news.yahoo.com/nice-pourquoi-singapourienne-bouclera-t-103102615.html

Mentioned in the 6pm news that night.

Have I inspired a nation to focus on the burden of society’s waste?

It’s already on the cards. In 2018, action started when China banned imports of recyclables. The EU has now agreed on regulations that will come into force over the coming years. France will be taxing single-use plastic in 2019, which will most likely be passed onto the consumers. It is up to the consumers to push back to ask for discounts if they BYOR (Bring Your Own Reusable) to places such as take away and shopping. Many coffee shops already provide a discount when you BYOR cup.

Keep It Away From Landfill

Manufacturers need to place a value on disposable resources so that they can reuse packaging to reduce landfill. This can be easily done by providing a small money back incentive to shoppers such as 5cts. There are already furniture & clothing manufacturers who will already take back your items when you no longer want them to refurbish/repurpose/repair and provide a money back incentive.

It is up to our societies to make the norm:

  • Reuse – by supporting organisations such as Freecycle , charity shops or hosting/attending a Really Really Free Market
  • Repair – by hosting/attending Repair Cafes (singapore call’s theirs Repair Kopitiam)
  • Repurpose – allow your DIY creative imagination make use of junk to create something unique. I have reused a bedside table in a bathroom as a sink pedestal, or door handles as coat hooks.

All stakeholders (the organisation, sponsors, and the participants) can be part of the action to reduce the environmental impact of our disposable convenience.

Let’s do it with as many Green Nudges as possible with as much collaboration as possible.

Do let me know if you would be interested in helping Nice-Cannes marathon move towards a zero waste event. Either send me a DM via Twitter or Facebook the Tyrelady

 

 

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Marathons #73 and #74: Plym Trail Marathon

Plym Trail Marathon.JPG

Tyre: Freeus-Blod
Event Type:
 Tarmac path that goes along the Plym Trail cycle path. This is a small friendly event and options for a 1/2 marathon or full marathon distances.
Sustainability: The RDs have said the events will be cupless next year 🙂
Start Time: 09:30
Weather: @18 degs C by mid-day
During: Checkpoints every 3-3.5 miles stocked with jelly babies + gels + crisps + peanuts + water to refill
At the End: Medal + small goody bag with food, water
Website: https://www.firstandlastrunning.com/

After a restless night car camping and waiting to take off, we were greeted by a couple of wild horses in the village. Had not expected the FirstAndLastRunning’s website pictures would be real! It is real and something to ease off the urgh of sleep deprivation + prowling pervs.

Davey pulled up and greeted us with an early morning welcome sending out more mega-watts of positive energy to the world.

Both Davey and Lesley are 100 marathon clubbers , so they know how to ensure all runners needs are satisfied.

Whilst in the “waiting lounge” (the Village Hall) captain Davey announced that next year the FirstAndLastRunning events will be cupless! Hooray was the response from participants who were there and was pleasantly surprised no one quipped about it.

Time for me to get on the run way and control tower Davey directing that everything was clear for take off. With a final description of the flight path, was soon taking off from Clearbrook Village, up past that dodgy car park, cruising along a high path for a couple of hundred metres. We then flew back past the village, and onwards down towards Plymouth for 6 miles to a turn around point at the end of a path and the entrance to a furniture making factory on one side and a railway track that a steam train uses on the other side. The flight path then returns back up to Clearbrook village and is repeated along this 6 mile track. It is in Dartmoor, so you can expect to view beautiful scenery at a good altitude above flat ground.

Here is a tour with Free-us Blod for part of that route.

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Despite the small numbers, still met folk from a previous marathon and a fellow Fetchie. Other memories of this run was the man who put his hands on his hips and asked with indignation “what do you think you are doing?”, the lady who exclaimed “goodness gracious me…what?” My response “Sorry lah, am foreign. Please be forgiving me.”

Thought I would only be doing day 1 due to a lack of training beforehand, but Uncle persuaded me to do day 2 as it had taken us 6 hours to reach Clearbrook and as he says we should make the most of it. I just needed to be able to move my legs.

The route was pretty clear of runners’ trash. Of course did my duty as last runner and picked up trash – 6 gel tabs and 2 gel packets picked up for an estimated 60 runners.

At the end, there was a final education time to a group of cyclists to teach them about disposable plastic and why thinking zero waste really is the way forward. Loved the line by a Nigerian guy

“Why are you pulling the tyre with a plastic bucket? Is it a metaphor to show us that we are going backwards with disposable plastic?”

Day 1 landed in 7:43:51.

Marathon Recovery tip: If you find you’re stiff when you get up, this might be due to dehydration. Ensure you drink lots of water (for me at least 2 litres) after the marathon and more the day after. It’ll ensure you can get off your seat!

Day 1 Night

Airplane seats suck when they are on a slant. Just seem to constantly slide down and the legs / body can never be comfortable. Yes – we stuck to car camping that night and again pretended we were in business class. We were joined by a fellow runner who simply pulled up and went to sleep. Think I might have had perhaps half an hour of sleep at 6am. Oh well I’ve trained for zero sleep running.

Day 2: 

This morning, water poured from the skies, thoroughly soaking the ground and continued to pour down for hours after. Today’s animal greetings were from a bunch of sheep that had gathered round the cars. The awesome Davey gave another energised send off. Despite the lack of sleep, zero breakfast, and a miserable day, one could only smile being in the country.

It was wet but warm with waterproofs on. Puddles had formed and in parts water was streaming on the ground which tends to slow down the tyre. Free-us Blod happily scooped up the water. But it was just great to be in the open, breathing clean air and fantastic to be active than sitting on my butt for days programming on “trivial” important company stuff to improve their processes.

Day 2’s route is the same as Day 1.

It would only be after about 3-4 hours when the rain eased off and besides the hard core runners out there, saw very few people unlike day 1 when the sunshine and warm day had lots of bystanders out and about.

As the last runner back, again did my duty to spot & pick up any runners’ litter. Perhaps due to the wet day, I did not see any gel tabs or gel packets this time on the return journey to the village. Great job runners!

Overall really enjoyed this run despite the lack of sleep. It’s always fun to see the same runners multiple times as well as to have the space to enjoy the views.

Day 2 landed in 7:40:00, 3 minutes faster than the previous day!

Thank you to:

  • Davey and Lesley for letting me participate in this event. I enjoyed the route despite the ups and downs
  • Uncle for marshaling the turn around point and Richard for the mid-point.
  • To all the other runners for their encouragement

Also thank you Davey for pledging to go cupless next year, and to reduce the single-use packaging.

Some final animals whilst crossing Dartmoor

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Preamble to Marathons #73 to #74 – Creep Alert

LookDownOnVillage

Looking Down at Clearbrook Village and Dartmoor

At times, am not the most organised person and tried to find accommodation close to the Plym Trail Marathon. There was no room at any inn, and was repeatedly told “it’s bank holiday weekend”. Easy decision – camp out – which have done before. There was a car park at the top of Clearbrook Village that had a scenic view of Dartmoor and a gorgeous full moon was floating in the clear sky, lighting up Dartmoor. It was really spectacular and reminded me of Arrowhead 135. Being in a remote location on the edge of wilderness is always magically. I was to be slapped out of Alice in Wonderland mode.

CarParkAboveVillage

With a Full Moon on a clear night, this car park has a spectacular view

There were 3 other cars in the car park. One car had moved to be closer to another car and then the other car left. I went out to survey the area for a good camping spot. The other car re-parked closer to where we were parked. Thinking it might be another runner, I went to speak to driver in the car. He was a white male in the driving seat, maybe in his early 20s, alone. From here on, I refer to him as “Perv”.

Me: “Hi – you camping here to run tomorrow?”

Perv: “Oh is there a run?”

Me:  “Yeah.”

Perv: “Are you camping”

Me: “Yeah – thought we’d camp here in this awesome place. You camping too?”

Perv: “No. Am going to be in my car. Out here for the night.”

Me: Confused – “It is a perfect night to watch the moon…”

Perv: “Yes it is”

My spidey senses were tingling and I returned to the car slightly unnerved by the tone of his voice and told Uncle (aka Mr RF) who was in the driving seat. Uncle asked me for my thoughts and I brushed them aside wanting to believe the best. I put warmer clothes on as there was a chill in the air, which made me think about nature’s call. I got out of the car again and this time so did the Perv, who walked in the same direction I was going. He was just a couple of metres ahead of me and turned round to ask “Are you camping?”

Me: “Oh yes” I responded a little confused.

Perv continued to walk towards the bushes and I u-turned to return to the car. As I began to tell Uncle my concerns, the man also returned to his car. At this point we noted that cars were coming into the car park, pausing for a moment where we were and then leaving.

As we were parked right in front of the view of the full moon, I asked Uncle to move the car to the right hand side. Perv also relocated his car next to ours.

Me to Uncle: “Nature is calling, but I need you to watch me as I head for that bush and watch that guy because I think he will get out of his car as well.”

As I headed towards the bushes, the man also got out of his car and walked this time towards my track in my direction. Uncle jumped out of the car and demanded “Where are you going?”. The man was caught off guard and fumbled over his words. Perhaps he thought we were 2 females in the car and thought I was the second female when I had put on warmer clothes. Although I was now hidden behind the bush, I could only hear Uncle’s voice. Perv seemed to mumble.

Uncle asserted again “What is in your hand?”

Perv mumbled something and then returned to his car and drove away. Uncle later on told me he went to look at the man’s licence plate, and the man quickly drove off away from the car park. Who knows what would have happened if Uncle had not intervened.

Feeling unsettled, we decided to relocate ourselves in the village parked up next to the village hall and car camped with the doors locked…..urgh…..was just like being in an airline seat. We told ourselves it was like being in the Premium option, but all the same. Somehow had to rest for the marathon the next day……

I later heard that the car park is a popular “dogging” site (new slang term for me)

Dogging Definition

Gratitude: There are nasty sex predators in this world and have encountered them whilst growing up in this world from molesters, potential rapists and stalkers. This incident reminded me of all of them from 8 years old until now…..now I needed to let those memories pass on by so that I could rest. Tomorrow was a new day.

Am thankful to my mother who made me learn a martial art when I was 11 years old. Am thankful to the police I have spoken to in the past who taught me to be observant in all surroundings. Am thankful to Uncle for confronting the man. Am thankful to God for always keeping me safe.

Next post: Plym Trail Marathon

 

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#72 – Ladybower Trail Marathon: The Gamble

Title with cards

Tyre: Freeus-Blod
Event Type:
 Multi-terrain marathon that goes along around the Ladybower reservoir with parts that can be quite exposed to the sun. This is a small friendly event with a couple of hundred doing 1/2 marathon or full marathon distances.
Sustainability: It is a cupless event in a beautiful area around a part of the peak district so BYOB.
Start Time: 09:30
Weather: @25-28 degs C by mid-day
During: Checkpoints every 5 miles stocked with fruit, jelly babies + gels + water + isotonic to refill
At the End: Medal + t-shirt + water
Website: http://www.peakrunners.co.uk/ladybower-trail-marathon.html

The Gamble

When oi was a wee lass, me mother taught us how to play card games & then as a family used to play contract bridge. I used to play with my father & at times we’d take a gamble on contracts. My father likes to recall the time when we played together in the Pesta Sukan bridge competition in Singapore against one of the top Singaporean pairs. We somehow found ourselves in a risky 7NT contract and got lucky. This event reminded me of that game. With a relatively good hand, I started the bidding conservatively with 1NT (One No Trump playing Standard American). David (RD) responded positively and helped make the cards “look nice”. So I booked the accommodation, organised how to get to the destination, the calf was feeling great…..and parked ourselves in a safe 3NT contract. But as things go, sometimes the opposition will interfere to snatch a contract away.

A key family member (affectionately known as “Pa”) passed on to his “next journey” on the Wednesday on the week of the event. His funeral was scheduled on the Tuesday after the weekend of the marthon…..in New Zealand. From the UK, this would be a 30 hour journey and Kenny Rogers has started to sing a song.

I counted my cards and contemplated my next actions. This marathon was on the Saturday, in the Peak District, about 3-4 hours away from Heathrow. A 30 hour journey plus the time travel would see me 2 days into the future. The latest I could leave would be the Saturday evening of the event, for a Monday evening arrival.

…and Kenny sings: “If you’re gonna play the game, girl
You gotta learn to play it right”….

Ahh the choices:

A. Let the opposition steal the contract: that is let the organiser know that I cannot attend and focus on organising myself to leave with plenty of time or,

B. Check for Aces: that is see if the RD would allow an early marathon start, book an evening flight  for the Saturday evening and then the rest would be up to me + a bit of luck.

Organiser checked, flight checked…..though a top card was questionable, the calculation was possible if everything aligned correctly. I put myself in 7NT (the best contract possible with the highest amount of points to collect).

Yes a flight was booked for 9:30pm on Saturday evening, RD kindly gave me the green light to start the event two hours early at 07:30am. It would be down to me to play the cards well.

Here’s the algorithm:

Completion times at the last 2 events were Sundown 7 hours 58 minutes one month ago and Glorious Gargrave 8 hours 7 minutes one week ago. David was allowing me a special 07:30am start.

Airport at 7:30pm latest = 4 hour journey time to airport + 30 minutes shower/change + 20 minutes faff after the marathon + x unknown time to complete marathon.

Thus x = 7 hours 30 minutes worst case roughly knocking off at least half an hour from the last 2 events.

Of course Freeus-Blod would be coming along – am still trying to complete 100 marathons / ultras with a tyre! Just needed to focus on the event instead of stopping to yabber to passer-bys, and reach 13.5 miles at least by 11:00am.

And Kenny sings…..”You gotta know when to hold them, know when to fold them”…

The course is in the Peak District….nice undulations and somewhere along, there is a steep hill to climb to admire the views.

Route

Route is undulating with a hill to climb at about mile 14-15

At 07:30am RD flagged me off.

At about 10:00am the cards were unfolding nicely and the 10 mile check point had been reached. The volunteers were lovely and encouraging. By 10:30am a tall runner loped along, his t-shirt thoroughly soaked. He was the lead runner and had overtaken me at what I thought was about 11.5 miles.

…and the song continues – “Know when to walk away, know when to run”

I needed to push on… that’s what Salt N Pepa tell me…

Coming round at the bottom of the lake, a couple of cyclists held a gate open for me to pass through, and stopped me to ask what Freeus-Blod was doing. We chatted for a couple of minutes, they gave me some money for EarthWatch, we talked some more, took some photos and then I hurried on (thank you to the man and woman cyclist) towards a road, which was a 2 mile entrance towards the Lady Bower car park where I had registered earlier on.

Another lady stopped me to have a chat. Had a quick conversation to find out she was walking to a pub to meet her daughter to later cheer her son who was in the event. Of course she asked for a ride….Freeus was in no mood to entertain the thought. Time was ticking on and the tricks were being taken, but it didn’t seem enough. Arrowhead 135 had shown me how the mind can distort time and distance, so the confidence was a little low.

Back to Kenny…
“You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done”

Mind Torture

Having not reviewed the route prior to the event, had thought this was a double loop, hence the mid-point (13 miles) should be from whence we started. The clock struck 11am, the sun was beating down and the mind told me “how about adding another 15 minutes more?”. 15 minutes went by and the mind told me “it would be sensible to quit when you get to the next check point to ensure time to get to the airport”.

Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away
And knowin’ what to keep
‘Cause every hand’s a winner
And every hand’s a loser

By 11:35am a check point appeared diverting us away from heading onwards to the “Start” point. Am ready to throw in the towel except the marshal tells me “It is mile 14 and you’re doing really well”. Am confused but a voice in my head dares me to continue reminding me the RD had earlier told me that at mile 15 there is a steep hill to the edge….and at this check point there is a steep hill! A triple check with everyone and the head said “get on that hill”.

Freeus jumped on me shoulder, for a ride. In fact she stayed on for most of that section as she clung on to so many rocks and roots sticking out of the ground. There are some glorious panoramic views of the Peaks at the top but there is no time to take pretty pictures.

As we leave that section and returned to a couple of miles into the route of the first lap, another group of runners stopped to have a chat, estimating that we are at mile 17 at 12:15pm

I wanted to believe the possibility, but didn’t want to disappoint myself, so the demon voice told me “you’re a foolish idiot, Uncle will be mad at you and it’s probably only mile 16 you need to quit”.

Ahh yes Queen…..

Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you no man ask for
Under pressure that brings a building down
Splits a family in two

…and then Pa popped into my head cheerily smiling, telling me “You nutter but you’ll do good. Go for it.”

The point about a bridge contract is you create a plan of play at the start and adapt as the cards unveil themselves.

Another cyclist stopped to have a chat. He and family were heading to the lakes for a swim. With the clear blue sky and strong sun, that sounded a dream. But “allons-y”, I had to go and the cyclist pressed a 5 pound note in my hand for my cause (EarthWatch).  A feeling of guilt rushed over me for moving on so quickly but I couldn’t let Pa down.

Some distance on, a runner is limping and stretching at the side of the road. I stopped to check he is okay and if he needed any water. This is his first marathon and he is now at the furthest distance, thinking it is mile 18-19. I get him going for a short while, but the ticking clock in my head urged me to keep moving. We get to the next check point at mile 20. Yummy melon and oranges were being served up – perfect for the hot day but no time to chat.

I assumed the next check point would be at mile 23. Again the demon brain told me “You’re so selfish jeopardising family for your own selfish ego….”. Yes I am imperfect and embrace my imperfections.

There aren’t many cards left and with the heat bearing down, am starting to believe have played the wrong card. My mind reflects on Arrowhead135 when the space, time and distance were all out of sync…. my demon brain tells me “You’ll never make it. You probably have 3 more miles and you won’t make it to the airport”. It is nearly 14:30 and having to cover 3 more miles would mean about another hour.

As another runner passes, I panickingly ask “Do you know how many more miles it is to the end?”

Runner: “About one!”

We turned a corner to a downhill slope all the way to the end.

The finish line is crossed in 7:07. Made it back home to have a shower and caught flight. Contract completed.

Many thank yous to Dave and Amanda (RDs) for your very kind generosity. Always to the volunteers to where very encouraging all the way and to the various cyclists who kindly pressed money into my hand £14.30 to EarthWatch.

Well stocked check points, loved the reusing of bottles to make up isotonic and appreciated the fruit offerings. Way better than jelly babies.

Would definitely recommend this marathon event.

Next write up: Plym Trail Marathon

 

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#71 – Glorious Gargrave: Lost and Found

Glorious GargraveTyre: Freeus-Blod
Event Type:
 Multi-terrain marathon that goes along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal that can be quite exposed to the sun. This is a small friendly event with a couple of hundred doing 5K, 10K, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon and Ultra distances. It is a beautiful area and you can watch the way the amazing locks work.

Start Time: 10:15am
Weather: @25-28 degs C by mid-day
During: Checkpoints every 3.5 miles stocked with fruit, jelly babies + water + squash to refill
At the End: Medal + water + food to eat
Website: http://www.itsgrimupnorthrunning.co.uk/grim-up-north-running-events/event/glorious-gargrave-2018/id/14/do/details

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Gargrave Start Point

Earlier on this year, I contemplated only supporting events that were cupless and using zero single-use plastic like the LWDA events and the many ultra events. However, with Cheltenham Challenge going cupless and using zero single use bottles (I grinned the whole day), that event indicated that every event needs a voice to redirect how they (and participants) manage their waste. So decided to be that voice to observe events and provide feedback about how they can enrich their event with waste reduction measures.

Thursday 21 June: Calf Strain

Calf StrainThere I was racing round the field in a game of rounders as a fun social with my local running club, reveling the freedom of the sprint. Two of us were left batting on the team, sprinting round the field like lunatics and then it happened. Just as it happened last year as I sprinted in a touch rugby match, the calf muscle sprung its spring. Pain slowed me down, but I continued to limp to the last base and make a final round as Paul blasted the ball into space.

Last year when I tried to continue with the Touch Rugby match, it was nearly 2 months before I could run again. Lesson learned, I played back stop instead….no running.

NoticeDoctor Me

The leg refused to support me properly and the calf was in pain. Iced the area then the next day used a heating pack, followed by another ice pack +  Gentle Massage therapy + Arnica + whatever heat cream I could find. I wanted to be able to do the marathon on Sunday.  Saturday, the calf still felt tight but I could do a poodle run (small steps).

So compression tight + poles came along for extra insurance on Sunday so that I could restart my mission to encourage events to go cupless and plastic free, and find out how good runners were at disposing their rubbish.

After all if a lady pulling a tyre, can carry her own bottle and refill at hydration points, am sure everyone else can as well. Cheltenham Challenge has shown that a 1/2 marathon distance can actually improve the overall running times if participants would be willing to take on the challenge of BYOB and/or BYOC (cup).

In this event I did notice an obvious good number of runners had their own bottles & hydration back packs, so this event should be able to commit to being cupless with very little grumblings.

Lost and Found

This event used plastic cups, had reusable water dispensers + provided sweets, crisps and fruit. Thankfully those runners that did use cups respectfully threw them in the bins at the checkpoinnts (so no grouse there).

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Scenes of Skipton by the Canal

Being the last runner, meant I could do a final review of the course and runners’ litter behaviour. Thankfully very little runners’ litter was found, however there was a noticeable consistent dropping of gel tabs found: 4 tabs on the 10 miles out and 4 tabs on the 10 miles back to Gargrave; on the second loop 3 tabs on the 6 miles out and back. Some sweetie wrappers + Eat Natural bar wrapper were also picked up over the 10 mile out and back. Though this could be general public litter as well as the canal tow path is a public path.

If you recognise any of the tabs that you could have lost from your packets of gels, or if you dropped any gel packets on the path + sweetie wrappers, grateful if you can gift your cleaning fee here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/tyrelady Your monies will be used to help EarthWatch continue their research on impact reduction measures we can take to work with our environment.

Lost and found 2

To runners who use “sucky gels”, those annoying plastic tabs are missed out by even the professional cleaners. Please pay extra attention to ensuring they are put in your litter bag as am sure there are a lot of them in our waterways as many marathon routes run close to waterways.

Personally I find the gel “prescriptions” are really a load of marketing BS. I’ll write a post on this later.

As for the calf, with careful poodle running steps and taking note of proprio-perception, the calf held up throughout. Now proceeding with calf raises on the step to improve the calf resilience.

Thank Yous

  • The event organiser for letting me join the event, who trusted that I would carry my tyre when the path was narrow
  • Naomi’s place is in a great location in Skipton. The marathon passes her house! Stayed with her via AirBnB. https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/13834105
  • To the Leeds twins – you are awesome and thank you Twin 2 for your donation. Get well soon.
  • Biscuit Man – Craig – lovely 20 minute chat to you along the canal (towards mile 10) and thank you for your donation.
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A Glowing Feeling of Change

TucksmansModel

Tuckmans Model from Shift-IT 

My highly performing bunch of 40 volunteers pretty much dived into Norming and Performing. There really wasn’t time for the first two stages of Tucksman model. Cuifen and I seemed to hit it off pretty immediately and when the rest of the amazing Green Ambassadors came on board, the team were immediately coming forward with ideas and taking on responsibilities that were part of their skill set to get tasks completed.

More blessings came in the penultimate week, with Cuifen picking up a photographer, another community clean up volunteer, a much needed banana marshal and a banana mascot 2 days before the event. Yes a banana mascot. Ivan volunteered to be our most amazing mascot ever and gave trash education, cajoled, enticed and encouraged the crowd to get their banana skins in the bin or hit the person holding the bin!

BananaMacot at Play

And although everything might not have gone to plan, the Green Ambassadors dealt with it.

Expo – Bin It

Though there was some information in the info leaflets, Nicholas and Sharon took the initiative to remind runners to keep the course clear of trash at the Expo.

SharonNicholas

 

Sssh There’s a Tyre on Site

With the help of June, Greenie / Greenit made it over to the Ironman site office at the Padang, to errrr inspire and encourage the organisation. Hope Greenie GreenIt behaved herself.

Greenie

 

Banana Skin Bins

Veolia provided six bins specially for the banana skins, but it was up to us to differentiate the bins from the rest. There was a spark of light coming from an online community (Journey to Zero Waste, Sg) in the form of Wai Sen. 5 days before the event, this bundle of energy came on board and dived straight into the performing side coming up with ideas and then picking up kit for the team and scrounging around in market dumpsters for abandoned cardboard boxes to execute those ideas. Cuifen definitely was my right hand woman, and Wai Sen became my left hand woman: who brought in Kampong Sengang to support us with kit and printing as well as Funatics to happily sponsor inflatable bananas.

And tada we now had bin decorations at the Padang and funky looking banana marshals to interact with the runners to collect their banana skins.

On the Day

The Better Trails team of 5 kicked it off at 2am to prepare for the oncoming 45,000 runners. Their mission was to perform an impact assessment / green audit of the 1/2 marathon route during and after the event. It would be a long day for them.

BetterTrailsTeam

Next up were the Half marathon and Full marathon runners, Bin It bibs to the ready and their own BYOB

SiliaMax

At 6am –  Wai Sen and Jim needed guidance to find the best place to get to the banana point location. Of course I was up with my team to ensure they were all well. The internet is an amazing tool that helped me guide them to the nearest location to avoid the road closures.

BananaMarshalPickupBananaCollectionJim

Pledges

Pledges collected

And then the Trash Marshals trooped in. They handled any “issues” with perfect adaptability. After all plans are simply guidelines. A highly performing team will adapt to the situation and make stuff happen.

The runners came through and despite their very early morning start, some stayed on to double up on their role as Trash Directors and Pledge Collectors.

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Trash Directors and Runners

Am proud of those 40 ambassadors who came forward to make an impression amongst 45,000 runners. We estimate about 350kg of banana skins were diverted from the landfill. This is about the fifth of the bananas that were made available to the runners that day.

How Effective Were the Contracted Cleaners After the Event?

Mechanical cleaners were used on the main route along the ECP. Sadly stuff that ended up in the grass that were not at check points were neglected. 10 green ambassadors did a cross check of the area, some having started their day at 6am as Trash Directors and ending the day as Community Clean Up.  About 3 bags of trash were picked up. Here are examples of  items the group found 2 metres on either side of 8km of the route: sponge, blinky light as this event starts in the dark, the nasty gel packets, soles of shoes, bottle caps, caffeine tablets, sun block.

This is a reminder to events to look on either side of the course. Thank you to the green ambassadors for putting up with the mosquitos!

CCUCLeanUpTeam

How Effective Were The Bin It Ambassador Runners?

Bearing in mind there were only 15 runners amongst 45,000 runners, and thus there would still be running tossers, Ambassador runners were seen. Here are some comments from sgrunners which  is a running forum.

Comment1

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Just like any fire, we got the tinder going, and then we added some kindling. Now  we need the fire wood…… The Public Health Council would like to collaborate.

May this initiative be duplicated, morphed and allowed to burn bright.

To the Green Ambassadors, thank you for your enthusiasm, passion, and energy to make this green initiative happen. Green Ambassadors you are now ready to lead….as we morph into Green Nudge.

 

Chat

Achieving Beyond a Best Time

A personal record or personal best (frequently abbreviated to PR or PB) is an individual’s best performance in a given sporting discipline. It is most commonly found in athletic sports, such as track and field, other forms of running, swimming and weightlifting.

Source: Wiki Definition: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_record

Let’s not beat around the bush here – the majority of runners who enter a marathon or ½ marathon or 10 km run are doing it for the personal challenge. Less than 1% will actually put in the time and effort of an elite runner: that is training twice a day, doing 100-160 miles a week.

For professional athletes, a best time is nice to achieve but it is not the total measurement of how the athlete performed.

Yet if you talk to many non-professional runners, you would think the time element of a PB is the only component that defines a PB. Runners’ can be upset for days recounting the story of how they could have beaten their PB if they just ran that bit faster, or runners’ depression sets in when they haven’t seen sight of a best time for days, weeks or months.

Parkrun (a worldwide free 5K event that happens every Saturday) sets out some performance elements:

  • Personal best time
  • Personal Parkruns you’ve completed
  • Number of times you have volunteered to help the Parkrun community

Defining a Personal Best in a Run

If a PB = Best Performance, then a PB can relate to a culmination of many aspects, that can be treated like milestones. In addition to time, you can have a PB in your preparation, conduct and effort.

Preparation

This means you can have multiple PBs in an event:

  • How much preparation did you really put in?
  • Were you able to put in more than your effort on the day?
  • Have you PBed in your conduct? ….”Hmmmm” I hear you say…

Conduct

Your preparation should have included reading up on the rules of conduct for the event. Follow the guidelines below and you can say you PBed in your conduct. These are some typical rules of conduct:

  • For road events, keep on the inside close to the curb unless you’re over taking. In places like the UK & Singapore, keep on the left, unless overtaking on the right.
  • Drop all trash into a bin to keep the course clear and safe for other users and to prevent “run-away” trash.
    RunnerPutInBin

    • Dropping your trash on the floor can cause other runners to slip/skid/trip causing them injury

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    • Dropping your trash on the floor can create “run-away” trash:

Run-AwayTrash

  • If you run past the bins, then hold onto your trash until you come to a checkpoint. There are several bins there to deposit your rubbish.
    • TyreLadyBelieve me, you have the strength to carry a couple of grams to the next checkpoint….I drag a 10kg tyre! It just takes a little more effort and 1km is short compared to the distance you will achieve! In the Singapore Marathon there are bins about every 20 metres in the ECP area.
    • If it is a gel packet, then put it into your short’s pocket/underwear or for women put it into your bra top. For the “euwwers” out there, you are smelly and sticky anyway, or carry a small bag for your trash.SuperHeroVolunteer
  • Thank the volunteers for their time and help. They’ve been out longer than you, setting up and then waiting to help & encourage you. At the Singapore Marathon, many will have been setting up checkpoints since midnight, and then waiting for runners from 04:30 onwards. Give them energy and they will give you energy back.

 

  • Look out for each other. You are an immediate hero when you help someone.

Effort

The effort you can expand will depend on both your physical and mental preparation.  On the saying “90% mental, 10% physical” Ross, a sports scientist, says:

An athlete who lacks talent is exposed, as a junior in many cases, and never reaches the Olympic Games.  An athlete who has abundant talent, but lacks the mental edge, may fade into obscurity because they don’t have the drive or discipline to train, or because they don’t compete well.

The athlete who lacks confidence or self-belief stands out among the crowd eventually – they reach the “highest level of insecurity”, if you will, before being exposed, often spectacularly.  On the other hand, the athlete who lacks talent often disappears into the middle of the pack and obscurity.  Perhaps this is why we have identified mental aspects as so crucial, the source of the 90-10 principle?

Source: http://sportsscientists.com/2010/02/the-mental-edge-thoughts-and-opinions/

And finally an element that very few seem to spend time on is visualization. This can be done in bed some days before an event. This can help you go so much further than you expected as it can keep you positive throughout the event.

So next time you talk about your PB, remember you can PB in other areas other than time.

 

Tips for Runners at the Singapore Marathon

 

NB The Green Ambassadors are part of Green Nudge

 

 

 

#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/

 

#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

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!