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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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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Follow The Tram to Clifton

Clifton Tram WalkSince my first walk to Hucknall following the route of the Nottingham Tram, a further two tram routes have been opened leading to the suburbs of Clifton and Beeston, so I decided that for the sake of continuity I had better go follow them…

I picked a reasonably sunny Autumn day for the second challenge, following the line from Nottingham Station to the terminus at Clifton. Feeling a bit of a fool I walked up the stairs to the tram stop before turning round and leaving the station to join the pavement next to the tram line.

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Event Report- The Spires & Steeples Challenge

spires and steeplesAlthough I have walked the 26 mile Spires and Steeples Challenge many times before, this time it was different. I had brought a friend with me. Helen had decided to join me for a little jaunt through the Lincolnshire countryside.

The Spires and Steeples Challenge is a different kind of challenge walk as it is a linear route- we were taken by bus to Lincoln and let loose to walk the 26 miles back to the car at Sleaford through fields and villages. It is not the most spectacular of routes, but thanks to the Autumn colours it can look quite charming when the sun’s out. Unfortunately it stayed dull and overcast all day.

Arriving in Lincoln, Helen and I set off to locate the public loos, where we were treated to an unfortunate and ill-timed conversation between two lady walkers already in situ, discussing that they had brought the Vaseline and how it reduces friction… at least I hope they were walkers!

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A Walk Along the Monsal Trail

Monsal TrailAs we piled in the car and set off for Bakewell it promised to be a perfect Autumn day- sunny with clear blue skies, showing the colours of the dying leaves to their best effect. My friend Helen and I had decided to undertake an 18 mile John Merrill walk, which takes in the Monsal Trail then returns over fields and through villages, in preparation for the 26 mile Spires and Steeples Challenge.

We took Helen’s dog Spud with us, and climbed out of the town to reach the trail. The Monsal trail runs for around 8 miles from Bakewell to Blackwell Mill, and as it follows the line of a former railway (and what a scenic one it must have been!) it is easy walking. The worst hazards along the path are large families out for a day on their bikes who like to take up the whole path and decide it’s a good opportunity to teach the kids how to ride- after several near misses one little girl managed to run into me. By the end of the trail I was ready to push people off!

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