Monthly Archives: September 2013

First 50km Run


Run hike Run hike Run hike


In just a week’s time I will be doing my first really long run. It is the gruelling  50 kms over the hills of the High Peak, setting off from  Hathersage. I am pretty nervous as this will be quite a challenge, but I hope that me and Naomi and Billy the Running Dog will triumph – and by that I mean  FINISH!

Training for it has been varied. I always have my eye on the MdS so it has been a part of that rather than something separate.  Basically, the format has been running 4 times a week – three short and one long, hot yoga, pilates, spin and weight training with Ian Hawtin.

The most relevant and specific training has been the running and that is also the most challenging for me. Naomi and I got up to a cracking 18 miles in the Peak but that was 4 weeks ago and I haven’t done anything longer than ten miles since. Life and travel have intervened

But  I HAVE snuck in another trip to the Atlas Mountains and some perpendicular hiking – which I reckon is also great for endurance, strength and mental toughness. By the time you get to hour four of a hideous rocky descent, it can be hard to keep relentlessly positive and at this stage I am just trying to forget the 82 zig zags up a perpendicular scree…Image

For those three days Noureddine Bachar of made me suffer to varying degrees. He likes to make me suffer!

DAY1: Imlil to Azeeb Tamsoult: 18km, 1,360 m of ascent, highest point 3,100 metres

DAY2: Azeeb Tamsoult to Toubkal Refuge: 32km, 1,350m of ascent, highest point 3,600m

DAY3: Toubkal Refuge to Lake Ifni and then on to I’msosore village (Amsozert really): 30 km, 400 m ascent,  highest point 3,600m

The magnificent scenery and fantastic people made it all a huge pleasure – it is a truly magical place – but I was knackered by the end of every day.

In terms of how I feel, it is all good. Well, my tendons are not good, they are giving me a lot of pain and walking downstairs is a challenge but my recovery has been good every day and I am feeling stronger – though still very,very slow.  Roll on next week and that first 50km – let’s see how the body holds up. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather and a good run!
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The perfumed garden

Close your eyes, take a deep breath in and imagine pushing your nose deep, deep into your 14-year-old brother’s trainers after he has just come back from a training session. That is it, breathe deeply, in through the nose, out through the nose…….

Welcome to Bikram yoga!

yoga bannerOne of the pieces of advice I was given by a previous MdS runner, John Whittaker, was to do Bikram yoga, partly for the stretching and flexibility and partly to get used to the heat. So, off I trotted to the Hot Yoga Centre in Manchester to give it a go.

I’ve never really done yoga – except for a few sessions with the lovely Kendra Ryan as we cycled across Africa – usually to the astonishment and delight of a gathered crowd. Not astonished at our prowess, incidentally, just at the sheer lunacy.


Clad in my thinnest running kit, I picked up my mat and towel and went into the yoga hall. The first thing that strikes you is the .

heat which they keep at a toasty 40 degrees.

I lay down to try and get accustomed and then got up as our instructor came in. The first exercise is simply a breathing one, but that is not as simple as it sounds when the air is so hot but it also got me accustomed really quickly and then it was on to the poses.

Well, I am not a natural yogi it has to be said. But the instructions were all really clear and easy to follow and so I was able to make a stab at all the poses. The instructor was great and on it all the time, so you get constant guidance.

The class is 90 minutes long and you go through 26 poses with minimal rest in between. There was, however, a beautiful 2 minutes in the middle where we got to lie on our backs to the mantra: “Nothing else to think about, nothing else to do.”

We were told at the beginning that our aim as newbies was, “not to run out of the room” and I managed that, so all was well. Afterwards I was absolutely shattered and totally drenched in sweat. By the time I got back home to the Peak I was too tired to even eat properly and ended up spilling my dinner all down my dressing gown which I had changed into the minute I got in, groaning quietly. Of course, visitors had to arrive and catch me in my shameful state!

The yoga was great and I definitely do feel a benefit. Who knows, after a few sessions, I may even be able to sit on my feet Japanese Style – something I definitely can NOT do at the moment.

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