The UTMB 2014 – race report

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It is hard to know where to start writing this…. What an epic adventure and journey the UTMB has been and not just the race itself, but the journey of actually just getting to the start line. I have dreamed of completing the UTMB route since first going out there in 2010 and if you had asked then if I could have done it, I would have just laughed, I remember being in complete ore of all the people completing this magic journey. Even last year after my second year of running the CCC (the sister to the UTMB) I still didn’t truly believe I could ever run the UTMB and yet there I was on Friday 29th August ready for our 17:30hrs depart with 2,300 other runners lining the start of the 2014 UTMB hoping to make dream become reality. Awaiting the start of a journey that would take us on 104 miles (168km),...
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The North Face UTMB Training Weekend July 2014

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The UTMB training weekend, put on for North Face athletes and friends, is one that is now firmly in the calendar and one which both Jez and myself hold as one of our favourite weekends of the year. Long days running in the mountains with great people, all doing our own thing and meeting in the evening for dinner to refuel us for the next day. So the aim of the training weekend is to complete the UTMB route- 168km (104miles) with 30,000ft of climb, around the Mont Blanc over 3 days (and at the end of August the aim will be to complete this route in one!). This is the third year I have been out for the training weekend, but the previous two years I have met Jez and the rest of the crew on the second day, as I have been racing the CCC, which is the sister of the UTMB- this...
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Snowdon Reps June 2014

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It is difficult to know how to train for the Ultra Trail de Mont Blanc, and when you live by the South Coast at sea level with little hills around, apart from the beautiful Jurassic Coast, but no mountains anywhere near it makes things it even harder! This year I decided to head up to Snowdonia one weekend to do some Snowdon reps, I wanted to try out my new pack and also using poles, which I am going to be using for the race. I thought it would be a good place to go, to get some decent climbing as well as descending and also as I am not the world’s best navigator I knew I could not get too lost on the mountain and it was relatively safe for me to bob up and down! I arrived on a Wednesday evening and set my alarm for 3:45am, I wanted to be on the...
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The Fellsman 100k Race Report

Awaiting in the Village hall in Ingleton for the start of The Fellsman :-)

Well where do you start to write about this… what a race, pure adventure! I was extremely nervous the days leading up to this race, in fact Jez said that he has never seen me so nervous, I wasn’t even as nervous on our wedding day! I think the nerves were for a number of reasons, there are so many aspects to have to think about during this race and you are not allowed any outside assistance otherwise you get disqualified, so you really need to get it right. Firstly you have to think about the right kit, the Yorkshire Moors are notoriously wet, windy and misty on the higher ground, unless you are a front runner you will be running well into the night, so you have to think about being warm enough for the night section. You then have to think about the navigation of which is not a forte of mine… the...
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Manchester Marathon 6th April 2014 Race Report

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About 6 months or so ago Jez and I were driving in the car and we heard someone mention the Manchester Marathon on the radio and we both thought ‘that sounds fun, let’s enter.’ I am not particularly sure why we chose to run Manchester; it certainly wasn’t because it was close to home, it is always fun to involve a little road trip on to a marathon weekend though and a great way to visit and see an area. For Jez it meant flying into Manchester airport from San Francisco on the Saturday morning after spending 5 days there, not ideal preparation for a marathon! We booked to stay at the Travel Lodge at Salford Quays, which is located, just a 10minute walk away from the start of the Marathon area, the Marathon starts by the Manchester United Football stadium. The travel lodge is an ideal location and there is a Morrison’s right next...
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Gluten Free Chocolate and Courgette Cake

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Well it will be that time of year again soon that all our fruit and vegetable seeds will be sown and we will eagerly be awaiting for the first shoots to sprout! Last year we were over run by courgettes in our household, I think I went a bit crazy on planting too many seeds and the courgettes just kept coming, so it was having to ‘think outside the box’ of what to do with so many courgettes, after palming so many off to family and friends, what do you do then? Cake is always good and after being out on a long run, to sit down with tea and cake on the sofa after a hot soak in the bath, it doesnt come much better So i decided to experiement with a cake, and it was yummy…the courgette made it so moist, it didnt last long in our household either! I have no doubt...
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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – In a nutshell

Running through the finish on Day 3 of 'The Toad Challenge'.

CBT is one of many techniques that people use to allow them to perhaps gain a slightly different, more rationale perspective on their lives and also to regain that focus and motivation. CBT in a nutshell is about someone’s Cognitions- so their thought processes. It looks at how a person’s thoughts and perceptions can influence how they behave in situations, can impact on the physical symptoms they feel and affect their overall emotion. An example of how you can apply the CBT model to a marathon;   Let’s look at when a healthy, fit person (i.e. they are not injured or had to stop for any serious reason) ‘hits the wall’ in a marathon (which can often be around about the 20mile mark) and apply the CBT model. There are two outcomes to ‘hitting the wall’, you either give up on your target time or you push through it and keep focused until the finish...
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The story of how I got into running

I have always run on and off, but it wasn’t until 2009 that I ran my first marathon in New York. I remember seeing pictures of a University friend who had raced the New York Marathon in 2008, and I thought ‘I want to do that’, so I looked at what I needed to enter and the timings of a half marathon to get ‘good for age’ placing… I can’t remember quite what the timings were now and whether you can even get in on a half marathon time now, but I thought I could achieve the time and so entered the Bournemouth Half Marathon, April 2009. I remember race day was really hot, the beach was packed with people sun bathing and splashing in the water, I was psyched for the race… I ended up coming in a time of 1hour 34mins, and second lady in my age category and I had done it!!...
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Psychology- Goal Setting

So January is out the way, the dark evenings and dark mornings are beginning to fade away and the light is creeping back in, hooray J It seems to have been a long winter I think purely for the fact that we have had a constant battering of heavy rain and cold winds and I fear we are not quite out of the woods yet either. The endless times I have looked out the window into the pouring rain, put on my leggings, my waterproof jacket and headed out for a run so far this year, well I have lost count. I would usually describe myself as someone who embraces the ‘English’ weather, but even I have found myself cursing the rain and wind at times. Wading has also become a regular part of my running of late; wading through puddles or perhaps I should call them lakes, springs that have suddenly just popped up...
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Bournemouth Marathon and not my day!

Well what a day it was out there and perhaps not quite what I was hoping for…. I was excited to be at the start of the first ever official Bournemouth Marathon, it was great to be running in my home town and to know so many local runners at the start and a lot of the organisers and race officials on route. It usually takes about 5miles for my legs to really warm up and get going in a race, so I wasn’t too worried when I didn’t feel full of energy beans at the start of the run, I was just happy to get started. I developed cramp early on but presumed it was because I needed the toilet and once I had been that would pass. The first 8miles I ran at a consistent pace and felt happy and comfortable at this pace, it was a great atmosphere out there and amazing...
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