Transvulcania 74km

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The race took 9hrs 41mins and I came 11th. In hindsight I am pleased but I am left with a few nagging questions. I (a runner from a the flat lands of South England) took on the a race (technical and at altitude) against the best mountain runners in the world and survived but I wanted to do more than that, to be honest my pride is a little dented .

My training went well but it wasn’t in the mountains. I sought out some hilly places to run

     
but these were absolutely nothing compared to the race mountains. I even trained in the heat chamber because it was supposed to be hot but to be honest it wasn’t.


I did not feel that good even from the start at sea level, Faro de Fuencliente, but this is hard to quantify.

I could not go off with the pace of the lead women but then when I saw Anna (Cometi Pascua) and Uxue (Fraile) appear from behind me 2hrs later I thought maybe my start was not too bad. I climbed and climbed and climbed. Much of this was walking and I’m a runner not a walker so this was not great for me. Course knowledge would have been good here because then I would have known when to push and when to have expected a hill but I was not fazed at all as I knew it would be a long day for me anyway. The course was in the dark initially up soft black sand but as the sun came up the course wound around alpine trees.

The first aid station was at El Pilar and it meant I could drop off the head torch. The trail was good leaving the checkpoint and I felt as though I could finally run but I wasn’t sure how hard I should push on. We soon climbed again (total climbing in the race was 4000m) through the National Park of La Caldera de Taburiente and emerged above the cloud and I could see it lying in the valley below. Truly breathtaking.

            

I stuck with Anna and Uxue for 2hours but then they ultimately got the better of me and were stronger on the ascents. The next aid station was Pico de La Nieve and once I had left there I ran the rest of the race on my own.

Jon met me at Roque de Los Muchachos which sat at 2426m and just under 52km before the final descent.


He had also been up since 3.30am and then drove the 2hours up to this feed station. His support was fantastic.

My descending was abysmal. There can be no doubt about that. I tried to just let my pace and legs go but I was too cautious for this to be significant. I fell over twice showing my lack of experience on the rocky descents.

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The final descent was down the Vertical KM course and I could see Tazacorte Port at the bottom. I knew we still had to run up to Los Llanos de Aridane though so despite it feeling like a finish line I knew it wasn’t which definitely helped as I ran through the cheering crowds.

I was embarrassed as I ran through Tazacorte and was met by the Scott Running team- “I’m so sorry I’m running so slowly…..I’ve let you down….. It was too technical for me….I’m so sorry….”

So that was it really I trained well, I felt good racing in terms of nutrition, endurance, muscle fatigue but I could not go any faster. It wasn’t quite the result I had hoped for, however, I got to share a week with new friends in a new place and had an amazing day out running through spectacular countryside.

Thank you to all those you supported me- SCOTT running32GiBounce BallsThe House of CoffeeRockTapeLED Lenser head torch & SPRU.

Categories: Sponsors, Ultra races | 8 Comments

A Numb Bum

I sit here this morning not being sick and feeling like I can manage a cup of tea finally. I have had some sort of gastro bug which made me bed ridden for 48hrs and finally stopped me in my tracks. That may not seem so bad but 2 weeks ago I got a viral bug which took a week or so to go. The kind with the aching bones and the thick green sputum but the kind you can also still work through. Again perhaps you may say well that is just winter for you but a month before that I was ill for 2 weeks with another viral fluey bug and again worked on through it. It seems I have the immune system of a gnat! So as I lie in bed drinking the most lovely cup of tea I decide to reflect on what I’ve been up to.

Training: I have been back running after the Everest Trail Race (ETR) and was getting in some hard sessions to work on some speed. I had a long time off after the ETR to rest, recover from the infamous Nepalese chest infection and enjoy some time with friends and family. My first ultra is not until May 7th in Transvulcania so I do not need to get into ultra training just yet and so entered Bath half marathon to give me some focus in the winter. This time last year I was injured and this means running will never be taken for granted!

Exam Stress: I have revised and revised for an up and coming APPI Pilates Level 3 Instructor exam which I had in London 2 weeks ago. Every morning when I walked the dog I rehearsed the exercises in my head and then at the weekends practised them. If anyone saw me they probably wondered what I was doing when my arm occasionally shot up in the air or a leg moved out to the side as I tried to execute the moves on the move! It is nice now to be able to walk the dog and just enjoy the walk and keep my hands warm not holding revision notes!

Job Application and Interview Nerves: As you know I’m a physiotherapist and I saw advertised on the English Institute of Sports (EIS) website a post for adhoc contractors. It was work that I could potentially fit in around my MOD Military work and help those elite athletes going to Rio for the Olympics- what a fantastic opportunity and I could not resist it. Working for the EIS is a sports physio’s dream and would certainly make me proud. I spent a good few days on my covering letter and CV and then submitted it. I got called for an interview in Bath. It was great news but bad timing on the illness front. I had got the viral bug the day before and had left work early to sleep. I slept in the afternoon, 11hrs in the night and then on waking got up and walked the dog but felt so awful went back to bed for an hour before driving to the interview!

Sports Physiotherapy Masters: Last September I started this Masters course at the University of Bath. So ongoing this has been rumbling along too. I say rumbling but perhaps I should say grumbling because that’s what I’ve been doing when I try to start an assignment and really can’t get my head around it. My poor husband, Jon has to listen to me all upset and stressed and even the dog cowered at times. I have spent time at my desk resulting in an often numb bum. I am always willing to work hard but I am not in anyway an academic. As my brother once said my head is full of ‘stuff o’ nonsense’!

It takes illness to make me reflect it seems. The gastro bug descended on me after a weekend of relative relaxation which I knew I needed after the stress of the exam, the interview and the most recent Masters assignment.

I work and I run and as I get older I need time to recover too. I had taken on becoming a Pilates Instructor and passed (yes!), I am studying for a Masters, and I had applied and successfully got the EIS contractor post (an even bigger yes!). I have all this enthusiasm for doing what I love and so had taken on too much and paid the price by succumbing to being ill. This last bout of illness has to be looked on positively- I’ve taken time to read, reflect and sleep in the past 48hrs which is exactly what I needed when on the daily routine of taking on too much. I like to think I’ve learnt now not to take on too much but it’s hard to find the balance.

When you see the Bath half marathon results remember I will just be so pleased to have made it to the start line as this time last year I was injured and could not race. Remind me when I’m inevitably disappointed with my time that I have not actually fitted in the best in consistent training but have achieved some other great stuff along the way.

 

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The North Face 50, San Francisco

The race did not intimidate me but I was well aware of the calibre of athlete that toed the start line and so gave it my full respect. Well I thought I had….

I arrived 3 days early to try and get over the jet lag but I never seemed to. However, my screwed body clock waking me daily at 2.30am was convenient for race day as that was the time I had to get up. The race started at 5am but I had to get there so an early start was a nasty essential.

I spent the time in San Francisco resting up as I was still recovering from the Everest Trail race and its 170 unrelenting kms and the chest infection that followed the trip.

Race day

Race day kit: SCOTT Trail Rocket shoes, LED Lenser SEOR torch, 32Gi gels, & Rocktape on the feet.

I got up at 2.30am and left the accommodation at 3.30am to join the other runners reaching the start line. It was a cold morning. Nervousness hung in the air. I waited until the last minute to take off my jacket and hand it in at the bag drop off. From start to finish the organisation for this race was top notch and faultless. People huddled around gas burning fires and torch lights just dotted around the start line. I felt excited and up for it.

The start was fast. Normally I try and be conservative in my starts but I thought if I don’t go with the pace I may never catch them back up.  Error 1 showing lack of respect!

….I should have gone a little slower. Rooky error but then I had not raced for a year in such an event so I think I got carried away.

I loved the start. The freshness of the morning, running under the beam of a head torch, watching the red sunrise as I ascended and each switch back allowed me to look, and finally to be running after 2 weeks of resting from Nepal and the lergy.

As I reached Cardiac hill peak for the first time I got to hand in my head torch. I thought right lets get into racing.

Photo credit: Nate Dunn

The trail flattened out a little bit but would my legs respond…no. After the hill the Nepal legacy reared its head. It was a risk I had taken racing so close together so I just thought lets see what happens and tried not to be frustrated by it.Then by 10.30am with the sun in my eyes I was ready for a nap (damn jet leg) but a bee sting soon put pay to that.

There was lots of ‘great job’ ‘awesome’ and the support was great even though I was an unknown out there.

I sprained my ankle and it made me feel sick but it was not going to stop me. My legs responded less and less to the need to change and adapt to the undulating (under statement!) course and to compensate I ate more. My gels and bars did the trick until I ran out. Error 2 showing lack of respect!
….I did not carry enough food. There were aid stations but not one when I needed it. I bonked and had to walk a bit and then got passed so in the last 5-10miles my errors manifested themselves and I lost places.

 

Face of pain photo courtesy of iRunFar

I may sound like I’m disappointed in my performance but I’m not to be honest. My mind is a hard task master, as was the competition, but the body is a wonderful thing and it did the best it could.

Photo credit: iRunFar- great race coverage. Thank you.

 

I finished 8th covering the 50miles in 7hrs 44mins.

 

I learnt lessons and explored some spectacular countryside doing so. I got to rub shoulders with the cream of the crop and meet some other SCOTT athletes. The race was well organised and comes highly recommended. I also had to pinch myself throughout the trip- was I really in San Francisco?!

 

 

 

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Everest Trail Race 2015

My introduction to Nepal was Kathmandu. A populated busy city full of history….

IMG_6038Patan– an ancient fortified town. Now a suburb of Kathmandu.

Unesco World Heritage Site of Swayambhunath    Swayambhunath is also known as the Monkey Temple   The Unesco World Heritage Site of Swayambhunath. Also known as the Monkey Temple.

religion

Prayer flags- as the wind blows through them the prayers are offered.Prayer flags– as the wind blows through them the prayers are offered.

IMG_1391Prayer wheels to be spun.

people (and extreme cabling!)

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….& culture

Coloured powders for sale

The race was just apart of the whole experience. It was a race I was set to have a challenge with. I’m no mountain goat and this race is all about the ascending and descending mountains. I determinedly faced the start line.

Day 1 Jiri to Bhandar 21.5km, 1.975m up 1.820m down, 3hrs 1min.

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I had two battles this day; one with the ultimate, awesome, winner, Anna Comet from Catalonia; and two with my Mountain King poles. I had never used them before and having four legs instead of two was hard for someone with no coordination (at all!) but I was determined to win that battle and I’m glad I did as they proved invaluable as the race went on.

The sun shone and that afternoon the local village folk came out and danced. We got presented marigold flower garland chains which I soon learnt was very significant in Nepalese culture.

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Day 2 Bhandar to Jase Bhanjyang. 23.9km, 3.486m up 1.796m down, 5hrs 26mins.

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This was tough up hill day. We camped at 3600m so fairly chilly at night but thanks to my  PHD Sleeping bag and booties I was really comfortable. Everyone was jealous of my booties!

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Waking up in the morning was incredible as we were above the clouds and the horizon seemed endless reaching towards the highest peaks.

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Day 3 Jase Bhanjyang to Kharikhola. 37.4km, 2.521m up 4110m down, 5hrs 46mins.

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My descending skills got slightly better in this stage but it was the last few km’s that really got the legs as we ascended up to our campsite outside a monastery. We even got the opportunity to listen to the ceremony inside which admittedly did sound like band practise at school but was none the less another opportunity to learn about the local culture.

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Day 4 Kharikhola to Phakding 27.5km 2.479m up 1.975m down 4hrs 52mins

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More bridges and yaks to contend with…

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Day 5 Phakding to Tyangboche 20km 2.224m up 1.022m down 3hrs 51mins.

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The location we stayed in this night was spectacular in terms of surrounding scenery with the mountains of Tawache, Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam in the background.

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Day 6 Tyangboche to Lukla 29.5km 2.105m up 3.138m down 4hrs 22mins.

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and to the finish 12-IMG_9973-3 where Julia Boettger and I finished together. That night we stayed in Lukla ready to fly out in the morning.

The race was incredibly well organised and the camaraderie that evolved amongst the Spanish, Catalan, French, German and British runners was a real highlight.

The prize giving ceremony was back in Kathmandu.

IMG_1435Me, Jon, Tony, Sue, Ignacio, Julia, Rachel and Louis on one table.

IMG_1449 Jon getting the first vet 50 prize #proud

IMG_1444 Me getting 2nd female.

It was a race full of swollen sprained ankles, rocks and stones to be travelled over, tender quadricep muscles, emotions on a roller coaster, being humbled, meeting people, yak shit, tears, funny tummy’s, dust and at the end a stinking cold and chest infection but the challenge had been met and success was triumphant.

Thank you to everyone I met for making the race a true experience, my husband for sharing the highs and lows, my Mum for looking after Rufus whilst we were away, Scott kit and the KinabaluBounce balls energy32Gi Sports fuel and recoveryRock tapePHD Sleeping bags and clothingMountain King Aluminium Trail Blaze polesSporting Edge Simulated Altitude trainingLED Lenser head torchZeropoint Compression for Recovery, and lastly but not least my old buddy Hectic Hamster.

 

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Racing again at last

Amidst the hardest few weeks of training I am taking the time to reflect on where I have come since my injury. After overcooking it I was forced to rest for 6 months. I then took 5 months to build up to where I am now- slowly and progressively.

In the back of my mind since back running I’ve always been training for the Everest Trail Race (ETR). Jon and I had entered (Team Squirrel!) and made a sacrifice to do so by selling our VW Camper van (sad face) so I was determined to make it.

As part of the build up we did 3 days on the GR20 in Corsica which being technical and cold took me out of my comfort zone…..check out these crap descending skills!!

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However, we survived the trip running about 50miles out there.

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Cold and wet so happy to be at Refuge Bavella

We got back on the Friday and on the Sunday I was about to compete in my first race of the year- the Clarendon Way marathon. Great conditions and a beautiful off road (runnable- phew!) course and to top it all I won in 3hrs 8minutes.

Clarendon Way Marathon- in action    Clarendon Way

After that I focused firmly of getting ready for the ETR. With the help of  Sporting Edge and their simulated altitude machines I have been putting in some hours on the treadmill running at 25oo+m.

It took some getting used to and hopefully it will help. I don’t want to go all the way to Nepal only to find out I can’t acclimatise. I realise it’s very variable each and every time but I thought this might help.

Sporting Edge

To make it an interesting case study I will have been VO2max tested pre and post using the altitude equipment to see if there are any physiological changes despite not using it everyday.

Apart from running I also have been doing lots of strength training.

And although I have no proof as of yet I can actually do 5 pull ups with this puny arms!

So the ETR is 3 weeks away and we are beginning to pack. Thank you to PHD Sleeping bags and Mountaineering Clothing for the sleeping bag and I’m sure the mitts and boots purchase will make the world of difference. I’ve gone for the whole warm shebang with that and the SCOTT Insuloft Down Jacket. I now need to get some poles. The practise of them will have to be whilst racing- any hints and tips more than welcome as I’ll be a novice with them.

Training has been fully supported and in partnership with SCOTT running,  Hectic Hamster, 32 Gi Nutrition, Bounce Balls Energy and Rocktape. THANK YOU.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Big Smile

A big smile because I am back to running. 6months off wasn’t so bad was it? Hell yes! but I realise now it was inevitable and non-optional. Progress back as been cautious and very sensibly gradual. As my husband, Jon raced around the UTMB I strung my first full week of training together without any problems (mind you if Jon could do such an incredibly hard event and remain in one piece the least I could was proudly support him before, during and after which definitely required remaining in one piece). I guess the beauty of running in the mountains for me is that I had no option but to run slowly and without pace/ speed I was less likely to get injured.

However, three things happened this weekend on my Saturday run to make me realise I really was back into training as these things only tend to happen when I’m running.

  1. I got caught having a quick wee in our local woods by another early morning runner.
  2. A bus accelerated past me and the puddle it went through absolutely covered me.
  3. I was enjoying the luxury of a bath and mud- face mask after the run and the door bell rung. Everyone was apparently too busy to answer it so I had to present myself in a towel with bubbles still on my feet and shoulder and a mud pack on my face to the shock of the postman!

I am now back running on consecutive days but it’s taken me 3months. My injury was because I have essentially over cooked it and as a result my body was going to find any excuse to get me to stop and so my knee pain was a bit of an anomaly and essentially just a time game but once paid my penance it should not come back….I run in fear though I must admit. Every run to be enjoyed. I have been in the position where I’ve been allowed to take my time or rather not rush the natural loading process.  All my sponsors have been really supportive and I can’t thank them enough so they definitely are worthy of a mention and a big THANK YOU- Scott Running ,Get In The Mood coffee, Bounce Balls, 32Gi Sports Nutrition and Rocktape.

My next race is the Everest Trail Race, in Nepal which I am training for with the help of Sporting Edge.

biff and training with altitude_portrait

I want to be fit and also to be ready for such an epic race. Jon and I have invested a lot into being able to go (the sale of our camper van- sad face!) and we would hate to get out there and not be prepared for such an environment. I am to be a case study for the Simulated Altitude Training Company so they can collect my training data in order to see my physiological, and my perceptional, benefits to promote their systems to other athletes. I have to do a VO2max test pre and post using the altitude system for one month. I did a VO2max last month and…well…I have zero inherent talent in me so the less said about the test the better as training required! I have to combine using the the altitude system when sleeping and also when running (obviously not at the same time!) so just working out the logistics of that now.

The next 7 weeks will be spent  steadily building miles and preparing kit…warm kit!

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Time

Has it really been 3 months since my last blog? Yep. I can’t even say time as flown by because being injured has meant I’ve noticed everyday go by…another day not able to run. Hindsight in someone with a rational outlook is a wonderful perspective and I finally have been able to look back with some clarity. I raced 10 hard races in 12 months and have paid the price….compulsory rest from running for 6months. If I had spread those races out over 18months maybe I would have got away with it. I raced about 750 miles in 10 ultra races so doesn’t even take into account the half marathons, 10kms and local league races I competed in. Unsustainable….yep! Rest was inevitable however much I fought it.

Thank goodness for work…

Back at the start of the year I was asked to be the physiotherapist for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Race Across America (RAAM) cycle team. Defence Sport and Recreational Association (DSRA), a membership organisation based within the MOD, celebrating 25 years decided to put a team into one of cycling’s most renowned endurance events. The event, RAAM, is starting on 20th June 2015, and consists of a 3000 mile, time-trial from San Diego, California on the west coast of the USA to Annapolis, Maryland on the east coast. Almost entirely self-sufficient, teams must negotiate extremes in terrain, temperature and individual comfort and typically ‘relay’ through 50+ checkpoints, 24hrs a day to complete the course within the 9 day time limit. My team is of 8 riders and 4 crew members.

At the time of applying I wondered how I would fit it into a busy training and racing schedule but knew it was too good an opportunity to miss. Oh how I laugh now…..racing? What is that? In fact what is running? (although I have started a progressive return and so far so good!)

Time is a wonderful thing and I’ll be back to the running as soon as I can but the thing with time is it doesn’t speed up even if you really, really want it to! So in the meantime I’ll be donning my Kinabalu to fly out to America for the first time and have the honour and privilege of supporting these cyclists. A big thank you to the MOD and my Boss at work for granting me this opportunity, to help support other athletes fulfil their goals (and distract me from thinking about my own!). I wish them all the very best and I’ll certainly be doing my best in terms of driving, navigating and physio-ing to make sure they succeed.

Thank you to Rock tape for their supply I will be taking with me.

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Mad, sad and bad

That has been me for the past 3 months. After 2014 and my incredible year I had some time off running. I can only assume this was a mistake and ticking over would have been a better option because I have not been able to get back to it. Injuries are mind-blowing and I feel mind blown over and over again as I fall on raised hopes that tomorrow will be a better day (in terms of running- obviously there is more to life than running….ummm?!). My injury is not serious but it won’t settle. I have rested (yes properly) and still it persists. Being injured is tougher than any ultra race because ultimately it is an unknown entity- one doesn’t know what one has taken on- and it certainly wasn’t voluntary. I did not pay a fee and willingly sign up to this.

This blog has taken me weeks to start for two reasons. Firstly it meant acknowledging I was injured which means to all those who understand that depression instantly sets in! Secondly my arms are so tired from all the swimming I’ve been doing typing has been taxing!

Being injured certainly provides spare time. Spare time not running and racing that needs filling (but not browsing Facebook as everyone is running…or so it seems!). Cross training certainly helps but it lacks structure and does not really provide the same rhythm and routine that running does. The lack of endorphins takes its toll- moody and unsatisfied. But on the plus side my house has never been so clean and my spice jars in their rack….immaculately labelled!

This dissatisfaction strays into other aspects of my life as my identification, as a runner, has gone. It means you lose sight of the fact there is always more to life than running and racing and there really is. I mean… my poor husband for putting up with me and having to creep out of the house whenever he wanted to go of a run (thank you Jon for being such a star); our poor dog, Rufus, for enduring the extra long dog walks; and my poor liver for the extra wine consumed.

I have been awful but everyone around me has been amazing. My husband listens; my family and friends offers supportive words; Rufus offers extra licks (!); my sponsors have all let me know they will stick by me. I’m so grateful and lucky and it has certainly made the journey a lot more bearable by taking the pressure off. Talking (and putting the world to rights) helps- thanks Holly Rush.

So I’ve stopped being mad and sad and am now trying to get back on track. After knocking on a few doors I have a great Doctor (Dr Jeff Foster), Physio (Andy Walling) and sports massage therapist (Ben Cowling, Ageas Bowl) helping me out and that has been crucial.

It’s always good to share the good times and the great results but also the downs need to be acknowledged. Being injured is tough but should not be a lonely journey.

 

 

 

 

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2015 here I come

I start my first ever official running contract today with Scott Running which makes me excited and proud. 2014…what an incredible year for me. Reflecting now I can hardly believe how lucky I have been to race where I have, meet such great people and achieve such results. My blog illustrates all of this as I write about my races and it’s has been a great way to document such an incredible year. Thank you for the race invites, the friendships and the opportunities.

Thank you for your support

ROCK TAPE

Hectic Hamster and The House of Coffee

AMSPORT Nutrition

Bounce Balls

Ben Cowling, my sports massage therapist

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

2015 here I run…..

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100km World Championships, Doha

This is not just about the race. The invite, the GB selection, the being part of a team means it’s much more.

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We (Jon and I and Team GB) arrived in Doha after a 7hour flight and a few movies watched. It was late with Doha being 3hrs in front of the UK but walking into the room was such an experience I spent ages playing with all the gadgets. The room was iPad controlled and one could choose what colour one wanted the room lights. We opted for blue- as you do!

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It also controlled the curtains which I managed to break whilst opening and closing them (repeatedly)- opps! The bed was enormous- especially for a small person like me!
There are 4 girls in the team (Emily Gelder, Jo Zakrzewski, Ellie Greenwood and I- as per the photo L to R) and 4 men (Steve Way, Paul Giblin, Paul Martelletti & Craig Holgate) and 39 countries putting in teams so about 200people in the mix.

Team GB

Team GB

The most amount of competitors ever and so the competition should be exceptional.
Nervous now…!
A yellow room this morning I think as I sit here and drink a fresh coffee.
Breakfast was a buffet so the obvious threat was to eat too much which is what I did! Afterwards I needed a leg stretch so Jon and I headed over to the Mall which was practically next door. It had clouds painted on the ceiling and a canal with Venetian gondola in the middle- bizarre!
Lunch was also a buffet….oh dear once again temptation got the better of me.
I needed to sleep it off. What a life!
I went to collect my number which they couldn’t find- is this an omen?
As it got dark we met with some local runners and plenty of others from the visiting countries. It gave us all an idea of what it would be like to start at 6pm- race time. The plan was to go for a run which was nice…make some room for dinner!
The Torch hotel looked incredible all lit up from a distance and you could see the different coloured lights on in the rooms.

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Dinner, team meeting and then bed.
Thursday more of the same except our outing today was a trip to the 19th floor for a dip in the swimming pool. The view was immense spanning from North to South where you could see the desert end and Doha begin. The pool temperature was bath-like and the sun shone luxuriously.
Race day was a day of resting and eating. Waiting all day wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. I was in good shape after a long year of racing and so knew I had turned up on the start line with nothing more I could have done. I didn’t like the waiting but it certainly focused ones mind. One last shot of coffee (thank you House of Coffee Hectic Hamster) and I put the GB vest and shorts on for the first time. It felt sooooooo good! I wore SCOTT Palani shoes and had no problems at all. I taped my feet with ROCKTAPE to prevent blisters which also proved successful.
The start felt relatively quiet with no real loud music or major tannoy action but everyone was keen to get going.
20 laps of a 5km loop.
I started at the pace I thought I could sustain. The first 5 laps went by pretty swiftly and then I started to run a little more on my own which never helps to move the race on but I remained consistent. Because of the nature of the course and its switchbacks I could always see my team mates and that was really good to watch progress giving verbal and visual support.

Food was provided by Jon, my husband and fantastic supporter, at the official table. It’s amazing how little time you have a to grab the food and drink as you run past but Jon made sure I never missed a thing. I had water at most opportunities. I ate something every hour alternating with AMSPORT gels. It seemed to work and my stomach held up reasonably well.
At lap 13 I was still over taking ladies who had gone off too fast which is always good for morale and motivation. Perhaps, in hindsight, laps 12 and 13 were too fast as I got carried away with overtaking because come lap 15 I felt awful and slowed. My feet ached the paving slabs were taking their harsh toll. I could see Irina (Russian) and Meghan (American) possibly catching me back up and so I really tried to focus and push. Irina eventually did and we ran together for a lap and a half which rejuvenated my pace. She indicated I should push on and so I did. I had just under 2 laps to go and push I did. I was 3minutes off third and reduced this gap to a minute but it was too late. Third was taken by fellow team mate Jo Zakrzewski (great run).
With Ellie Greenwood taking first and Jo in third I came in 4th insuring Team GB won Gold. It was a fantastic experience magnified by winning Gold.

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Eleanor (Team Manager), Jo, Ellie and I post race

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1st- GB; 2nd- USA; 3rd- Japan

My splits

Laps Times
1 22.17
2 22.12
3 22.07
4 21.58
5 22.04
6 21.57
7 21.54
8 22.08
9 22.09
10 22.57
11 21.43
12 21.41
13 22.40
14 22.48
15 23.22
16 23.39
17 23.22
18 22.54
19 22.32
20 22.29

A big thank you goes to British Athletics for giving me this opportunity, Jon my husband for supporting me throughout, my sponsors (Scott Running, Rocktape, AMSPORT, House of Coffee Hectic Hamster, Bounce Balls), Ben Cowling at the Hampshire Ageas Bowl for such great sports massage, our family who look after Rufus when we’re travelling to races, Chichester University and Dr Dave Wilkinson for the acclimation work and all my friends who write the nicest messages to me on cards, texts, and Facebook. THANK YOU.

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