It’s here- the Cornish Challenge!!

CornwallToday’s the day! I am packed, I have triple checked my stuff, I have packed sweets in little bags for each day’s walking (vitally important!) and will be shortly setting off for Cornwall, dropping the cats off at their holiday accommodation (AKA the cattery) en route…

Our itinerary is as follows…

Friday– Day One- we will be walking from Carbis Bay through St Ives and along the South West Coast Path, passing Zennor, Sennen Cove and Cape Cornwall to our overnight stop at the Youth Hostel at St Just. We will be walking around 21 miles and apparently this part of the Coast Path is some of the most challenging due to the amount of climbing and descending! It is gonna be quite tough for a first day- but then we don’t like to do things by halves…

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Nearly Cornish Challenge time…

Cornish ChallengeI cannot believe how fast this year has gone. It seems like only a few weeks ago that Helen and I first started actively planning our Cornish Challenge and yet it was last September!

We drive down to St Ives on Thursday to start our walk on Friday, and, of course, in true British tradition the weather has been lovely for days but it gives rain at the weekend…

I think we are ready. After the Pride of the Peak epic we have had another couple of walks of about 15 and 17 miles with the packs. One involved navigating our way round footpaths and bridleways linking Staunton Harold Reservoir and Calke Abbey grounds with Foremark Reservoir. We took Spud with us, and ended up having an impromptu weight training session as we had to physically lift him over several high stiles, much to his disgust!

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The Pride of the Peak Walk

Pride of the PeakIt was pitch dark- all we could see was a little circle of ground a few inches in front of our feet, partially obscured by the persistent rain drops lit by the beams of our head torches as we trudged uphill through the mud. We had no idea what time it was, but we knew it was late… and getting home depended on reaching the exact spot where there was a gate through the woods- not easy when you are in a meadow a couple of miles wide…

Helen and I had decided that we needed a big walk as the culmination of our training for our Cornish Challenge in three week’s time. I had planned to enter us into the 26 mile Bassetlaw Bash, but decided that we needed to up the ante a little and do something tougher…

So I raided my walking books and found the 30 mile Pride of the Peak walk that I had done with mum and my two sisters several years ago… the difference was that then we walked it over three days, not one!

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The Cornish Challenge, May 2016

CornwallI realise I have mentioned in passing the challenge Helen and I are doing in Cornwall in May but have totally neglected to give the full details… I apologise- this is very remiss of me and so will be rectified immediately!

From 20th to 23rd May we are walking around 80 miles of the South West Coast Path over four days- from St Ives to Coverack, taking in Lands End and The Lizard plus miles of gorgeous coastal scenery. That’s three days of walking over 20 miles in a day and a ‘rest’ day of around 15 miles. Of course, our accommodation (B & Bs and Youth Hostels) are not necessarily on route and so the mileage may well increase…

Plus we will be carrying everything we need on our backs for the duration of the walk- we had a ‘dress rehearsal’ of 14 miles along the canal on Sunday with fully weighted packs and mine seemed bloody heavy!

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Event Report- the Three Shires Challenge

009Well, I entered this one with high ambitions of finally smashing out the 29 mile route this year… but as usual I had had fantasies about getting much fitter than I actually have done…

I met Sue at the start, in the village hall at Swythamley, one of those Peak District villages that manages to be rather difficult to find and, as I have heard described, in the ‘arse end of nowhere’.

As we set off, it was quite clear that the overwhelming theme of today’s walk was going to be mud. I haven’t seen such a variety of mud in a long while… sticky mud, slippery mud, glutinous mud…

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Coventry WayIt was quite a shock to realise that I last completed this event 11 years ago! Where does the time go… I nearly didn’t do it Sunday as I had succumbed to yet another cold, this time accompanied by a bad cough, and had been feeling really poorly right up until Friday.

It’s frustrating- I seem to have picked up one thing after another recently- colds, tummy bugs, the lot! I am usually such a healthy bod so this is really quite worrying. I am due to have some blood tests taken next week (mainly to shut Mum up!) so we will see if there’s anything untoward going on or if it is just work stress and the result of constantly pushing myself when I am not feeling great…

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Back to Back Walks and Faster Runs…

020After the non- event that was the Millennium Ultra, what’s been happening since?

It’s not all doom and gloom. Helen and I have been doing some training as a preparation for our four day charity walk in May, which involved a couple of back to back walks the weekend before last of around 16 miles each day. We loaded up our packs in a bid to strengthen those muscles as we will be carrying everything we need with us along the South West Coast Path.

On Saturday we completed the short route of the Charnwood Forest Marathon, which involved quite a few climbs- Broombriggs Farm, Beacon Hill, Windmill Hill and the Old John at Bradgate, whilst Sunday we walked from Helen’s house to Calke Abbey, where we walked through a tunnel from the old lime workings. It is amazing how much carrying a heavy pack makes you ache when you are not used to it! I’m sure we will be carrying a lot more gear in May too…

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DNS…

DNSWhat’s the only thing worse than a DNF? Yep- that’s right… the good old DNS. At least if you DNF you have battled, you have struggled, you have pitted your body against some of the toughest, muddiest and wettest terrain out there, and, although it beat you this time it still leaves you head and shoulders above those who chose to stay in their warm, comfortable beds…

But, alas, I DNS the Millennium Way Ultra… I succumbed to a particularly nasty cold a couple of days before and was barely capable of running a bath let alone 41 miles.

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A Training Update

IMAG2764So- it’s February already!! Is it me or is 2016 zipping along like an express train already?!?

I am convinced the years are actually getting shorter… and while I am having a moan I just want to mention the weather (I am British after all). I mean, what’s with all this wet stuff falling from the sky? It feels like it’s rained nearly every day since last October and every where is just so wet and muddy.

If we don’t get a bit of dry weather soon those fields on the Millennium Way Ultra are going to be one wet morass… they are bad enough at the best of times- one poor soul apparently lost a shoe last year, never to be retrieved, and had to limp back to Stafford Railway Station to catch a train to the finish!

On the advice of race organisers Beyond Marathon I have bought my first ever pair of proper trail shoes- they haven’t actually arrived yet, but they are bright red and I an expecting great things!

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2015- A Rather Late Review

2016Woah… what’s this?!? My head still thinks we are only just into 2016 but in reality we are half way through January already! How did that happen January?… you sneaky month, you…

I haven’t even done my review of 2015 yet- but I guess there’s no time like the present so here we go;

At the start of 2015 I somewhat optimistically stated that 2015 was going to be the year of beating the urge to slob out and eat vast quantities of chocolate instead of getting out to train… so just how successful was this?

Hmmm. I’d say variable. Okay, variable to rubbish! I did do quite a fair bit of walking but not much in the way of consistent distance or running training. And there was still far, far too much sofa slobbing and chocolate eating.

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