Reflections…

Returning home, after a good scrub, some clean clothes, a giant dinner of comfort food and finally putting my feet up I can only now begin to digest the experience of the last 19 days and 18 hours!

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People have suggested I must be feeling ecstatic, euphoric, celebratory and proud but to be honest I am currently feeling a strange sense of calm – an inner peace almost with the relief that I reached my goal and completed the challenge, tinged with a little melancholy that despite the comfort of a warm, dry, cosy bed right now I am no longer on the trail, no longer immersed in the simple act of just keeping moving forward. And despite the foibles of what the weather has been throwing at me I already miss being at its mercy and breathing those deep lungfuls of fresh air.

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Big weather ahead!

Don’t get me wrong I am very much enjoying this reflective mood, the whole journey has been such a whirlwind of activity that it is lovely now to just stop and relive each day in my mind.

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Serene moments up in the clouds!

It does seem like a very long time ago when I was bounding up Snowdon feeling very energetic and strong, I remember wishing that I would feel in such good shape every day but just two long days later I was so exhausted and creaking, my feet red, rubbed and blistered, the worry that I might not be up to this challenge sneaked into the corner of my mind. In the evenings I could barely walk and waking up was even worse but slowly, gradually, my body seemed to get with the programme and each day I began to feel stronger. I still hobbled about like an old woman in the morning but I knew that so long as I didn’t make any sudden movements and made sure Β to warm up slowly, soon the engine would be humming and I could complete another day on the trail. I also attributed this recovery to the practice of a good, long stretching sesh at the end of each day and the speedy intake of some protein, generally in the form of a shake and/or protein bar kindly supplied to me by the guys at Clif Bar and MountainFuel.co.uk , thanks guys – life savers! I think I have eaten more protein in the last two weeks than I normally would in about 6 months! I’m also quite impressed with my newly defined quads!

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Hmmmmm…chocolate or strawberry, chocolate or strawberry….?

Day by day was quite a rollercoaster and I never really knew when I set off how the day would pan out, sometimes easier, sometimes tough. At times my backpack would feel comfy and light and at other times I would be swearing profusely at the very same pack and kicking it unceremoniously into the undergrowth. Some days I chatted with lots of different people , occasional days I actually saw no one at all.

Bivvys, Bothies and Bunkhouses!

Towards the final days my legs started to rebel with shin splints, unusual spreading aches, sore tendons and tender heels which created a whole new challenge for my mind – to handle the frustration and fear of being thwarted at such a late stage. I was also a bit suspicious that somehow these physical manifestations may have been directly linked psychologically to the fact that I was so near the end, my mind and body now conspiring against me….ggrrrr!

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Times of trail running pristine perfection!

Even on the final morning I was unsure if I would complete the challenge or have to be satisfied with a ‘2andAhalfPeAksRun’ ( which just doesn’t have the same ring to it does it?!) given the daunting weather conditions on Ben Nevis but I decided to set off and see how far I could get. In the end the fact that I was super over prepared ( gps, back up gps, two maps, compass, recent Mountain skills training course fresh in my mind (thanks Carol Emmons) and even the correct bearings to find the way off the summit in total whiteout!) gave me the confidence to keep plodding on through the brutally buffeting wind and lashing rain slicing like shards of glass against my cheeks, divining each cairn shrouded in the swirling cloud to reach the very top which was a genuinely exhaltant, if cold and wet, moment.

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Jubilant spirits heading into Glencoe!

The highest mountain in Britain reached all the way on foot from the highest mountain in Wales with a little evening jog over the highest English mountain on route….the ‘3PeAksRun’ in the bag! All that remained was to get down off this majestic wintery rock without breaking my ankle and we could call it a wrap! (I did slip over three times on the wet rocks of the descent, my trail shoes by now split, worn almost smooth and held together with some gaffa tape…not advisable!)

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Bleak summits!

A wee soggy traildog, Patch, and I made it to the warmth and welcome of Glen Nevis Youth Hostel wet, tired, hungry and dirty but very very content….the perfect end to any adventure!

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One soppy Patch Puppy ( he’d definitely be shivering if he had a central nervous system!)

One of the best parts of this adventure has been the incredible people I have met or been in touch with along the way. I have been so touched by the kindness and support of those who have come out to meet me, run along with me, brought flapjack or cake or posted endless encouragement via the social media pages. Your support, encouragement and advice has brightened dull days and motivated me throughout. I met many lovely people along the way too who despite being in the midst of their own adventures took my challenge to heart.

Although this was technically an ‘ unsupported’ challenge in that I was without a support crew to take care of logistics and be on hand along the way I have actually received massive amounts of support by all those who have followed and shared this adventure and I bow to you all with a huge THANK YOU and boundless gratitude.

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Patch having a bit of Search Dog bonding time with the lovely Tess!

Massive Thank Yous toos! to everyone who has donated so far to the Mountain Rescue Teams, Search and Rescue Dog Association England and FixtheFells whom the #3PeAksRun is supporting. I am now over two thirds of the way to my fundraising target and will continue to try to reach it ( My fourth mountain, if you will!). Please help if you can by donating a little here at my VirginMoneyGivingPage

EVERY PENNY DONATED GOES DIRECTLY TO THESE WORTHY CAUSES!

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Patch and I are now enjoying some serious shut eye…..see you later πŸ‘£πŸΎ

 

 

Countdown Is On!

Only 1 day to go til the start of my (in the words of BBC Radio Lancashire) Β ‘totally bonkers’ 3PeAksRun!!Β 

So with hours to go to my monster Challenge with a capital ‘C’, how am i feeling? Ready? Prepared?
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Weather forecast for August in Britain…..checkπŸ‘
I am not an athlete, really, Β just your average, everyday, person( OK,with a slightly unconventional lifestyle, its true) and a below average runner its fair to say, though i know some of you are saying ‘yeah yeah, sure you are’ but honestly, its true!
Ultra Running and challenges such as this though are about endurance and if theres one thing i do well its endurance. i.e the sheer stubborn – mindedness to just keep going! When it hurts, when its miserable, when you’re too hot, too cold, hungry, tired or can’t really breath I can just keep moving. Fool…you might say…and you’d probably be right!
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Kit, good to go…..how am I supposed to run with that lot!! Can you spot my mobile physio…. tennis ball Dave?
Physical readiness? Β I have a sore hip, little niggle in my right achilles ( thats a totally new one) , very tight left calf ( not sure what it’s problem is) and sitting in the back of my mind the omnipresent fear of shinsplints, particularly those born of the dreaded ‘stress fracture’ possibility (hereforeafter referred as ‘that which must not be named’) Coupled with the fact that i struggle to climb up four steps if I need the loo in the middle of the night onboard the boat i have to wonder if i am really cutout for this!….oh, and half a toenail came off a couple of days ago which is now really sore!!
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Accommodation sorted…..check πŸ‘Β 
Fortunately, i believe ( or just naively convince myself) that these last minute irritations are mostly just a figment of my over active imagination trying to convince me to just crawl into the duvet with a selection of chocolate bars and watch Netflix for the next three weeks…..how unadventurous my brain can be at times! Come on head, get with the program!
Talking of super tasty sweet treats check out the amazing selection of energy goodies the generous people over at Clif Bars have sent me….i’ll be way too energized to be crawling under any duvets after that lot!!
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Energy in abundance….I notice ‘3Peaks’ Patch is snaffling my crunchy peanut butter favourites!Β 
Then, there are the crazy flapjack loving folk at Graze .com who have very generously provided me with enough flapjack to get me all the way from Wales to Ben Nevis! Brilliant!!
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Hmmm….once again, Patch is guarding my favourites – honeycomb flapjacks….there’s going to be trouble!Β 

 

So, in less than 24 hours I’ll be off to Wales to face my first summit, the mighty Snowdon…..Follow on Facebook at 3PeAksRun – The Long Way Up to track my progress
and see what Patch gets up to!πŸ‘πŸ‘£πŸΎ
Remember, you can support the amazing charities I am running for
by donating a little if you can.
Thank you πŸ‘£πŸΎ

 

so…… just need a nice soak in the bath and an early night……*#$!@ it’s already after 11pm! #hownottoprepareformonsterchallenge

Introducing 3PeAks Patch

After my incredible weekend amongst the inspiring folk at the Search and Rescue Dog Association England I felt a fair scoop of ‘enviousness’ of the owners and handlers of such fabulous dogs and the incredible bonds between them. But as much as i love our furry friends my lifestyle – splitting my time between life on a boat and living in a ‘nano campervan’ is totally non-conducive to responsible dog ownership!

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Then I discovered Patch . My new ‘trail runners best friend’ – an extremely low maintenance pet substitute mascot with aspirations to become a Search and Rescue Dog trainee….hmmm, good luck with that, Patch!

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3PeAks Patch….potential Search Dog trainee?….hmmmm

This miniscule traildog is not without his charms, he has already proven quite a hit around the boat and is about to get into all kinds of mischief, Β i can tell.

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Overdoing it on the post run treats!

Little Patch will be joining me on my 3PeAksRun Challenge, Β and weighing in at 36 grams (less than a small flapjack) I have agreed to find him a comfy spot on my backpack as his tiny legs will struggle to keep up…even with me! (and even if he could actually move them!?)

You can use the follow buttons below to keep up with Patch’s (and my) adventures and see what trouble he gets himself into. He may look clean and smart now but just wait til he gets to the top of Snowdon!

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My new traildog buddy…3PeAks Patch