It’s been a while since I last blogged, but as it’s half term, so I thought I’d post! If you follow me on social media, you will have seen the hashtag #MNDAD70, and hopefully you will know what it is about. But just in case this blog reaches people that are not following me, let me explain.
So my dad died in 2010 of Motor Neurone Disease. – for those that are not sure what this is, if I said Ice Bucket Challenge or Stephen Hawkins, you probably have heard of it at some point. It is the most horrendous disease that attacks the motor neurones.
I still find it heart breaking that there is no cure. I remember my dad taking part in trials to help find a cure, yet we are 9 years on from his death and people are still being diagnosed with this, knowing that they will never be cured!
January 30th 2019, should have been my fathers 70th birthday, so I had this crazy idea that to celebrate his life and raise funds and awareness, in hope that one day a cure would be found, I would try to run 70 raffles throughout the year.
SEVENTY is a massive number, and I know that it is going to be hard work to get that many prizes, but I will keep going, just like my dad did. I would love to see a cure in my lifetime, and know that I played a little part in helping, but mostly to know that anyone who is diagnosed has a chance to fight and be cured.
Even if the prize that is offered doesn’t interest you, please spread the word about the raffles, as the more people that know about it, that’s more people that are aware of MNDA, and potentially more money raised.
If anyone is aware of any businesses that may be able to donate prizes to my 70, please comment below, or email.
My RunMND family has been taking part in this race for many years, and I remember watching it on the TV looking for them, and it looked lovely, so a few months ago, I looked at booking it. I remember thinking it was expensive for a 10 mile race and kept putting it off. Then someone shared a competition to win a place, so I stuck my name in, and I was lucky enough to win a place, so thank you SimplyHealth and GreatRun.
By the time I found out I was running it, a lot of the hotels in the surrounding area were already full or were asking £200+ for one night, so I didn’t book accommodation. I then fell ill, and to be honest didn’t really think about the race and the logistics of it all. I didn’t even know if I would make the start line.
Whilst being below par, my husband took charge and booked a camper van for a couple of days, so we booked a camp site just outside Fareham! Just to make this clear, I am not a fan of camping, yet it seems to keep happening! hehe The first night (well and second) I hardly slept at all, but this seems to be a tradition pre race now, as that’s what happened at my last race, read here!! (I DO NOT recommend it ZZZzzzz)
Date: Sunday 21st October 2018
Time: I was in the white wave which started at 10:52, although I got to the start for 9am!
Weather: Bright sunshine, with a light breeze, although when running it felt quite hot. I even laughed at supporters wearing jumpers and coats, yet the moment I stopped running, I needed my jumper!
Course: The one thing I remember of the course, is that it’s flat, and congested in places. We started in Southsea and ran through the docklands, which although it had a cobbled road, was actually really nice. I can’t remember much about the rest of the course. There were some section, where there were faster runners on the other side of the road to watch, which I love. We passed the finish area around mile 6 I think, and then I remember the 2 mile long stretch at the end along the sea. I love running by the sea, I just wished I had worn my sun glasses, as the sun was so bright and low, that it gave me a bit of a headache squinting all the way to the finish line. If you want a PB on this course, you would need to be at the start of your wave, as it was congested in places, especially when the road narrowed. There were a few bands and singers on the course, which always gives you a boost. Water stations were pretty frequent after 3 miles too.
My race: I have said previously, I have not been too well, so training has been a bit hit or miss. The last time that I ran 10 miles, was back in July! I knew I could cover the distance, but I just knew that I may have had to walk sections and I wouldn’t be able to run at any kind of fast pace. I wasn’t bothered about this, I just wanted to go and be part of TeamMND and enjoy running in an event.
I was so lucky to start with Sarah and Ness, events are always so much more fun with people. I actually stayed with Sarah for the entire run. The race started as every race does; with me frantically checking my pace, trying to avoid going off too fast. Also, having that feeling of how is it possible that I have forgotten how to run, why is this so hard?
Even with the checking of pace, I still managed to go off too fast! Around mile 2, myself and Sarah managed to get caught on the tv! We just kept telling each other that we would be fine as soon as we got to mile 3, and to be honest this must have been the case, as I don’t remember much of mile 2 to 4, and I only remember mile 4, as I decided to instastory, and kind of forgot about the people in front of me and nearly ended on my backside. The video is highly amusing!
Around mile 6, I was a caught by one of my club mates Dem, and that gave me a boost. I could feel my pace was slowing, but I really didn’t mind as this race was not about a time, and it was really quite warm. I picked up water around mile 8 and decided to walk whilst drinking. It was the best decision, as after my walk break and walk, I felt so much better.
The last two miles along the sea front feel more like three miles! We were lucky that the weather was nice, as I have heard in the past, the wind can be bad, but we only had to contend with really bright sun in our eyes. This helped me just put my head down and concentrate in finishing strong. I finished in 1:42:53, not a great time, but also not bad.
Lesson learned: Sometimes you just have to put yourself on the start line, and enjoy the event!
Free entry – who doesn’t love a free race – running is not a free sport!
Well organised, flat course. I was lucky that MNDA had a tent at the event, so I didn’t use the bag drop, and when the toilet queue was HUGE, we had a local (thanks Ness) who found some toilets that had a queue of about 3 people! Bonus!
Meeting new people. #TeamMND #RunMND include some of the most amazing people, and each race I get to meet more.
Linked to the above, running the entire race with Sarah!
The last 2 miles feeling like 3 hehehe
As I said above, it is a congested course in places, so if you wanted a PB start at the front of your wave.
Hotels are expensive in Portsmouth, especially as it is half term too, but to be honest that’s the same for all the places that hold big races.
I have to finish this post with massive shout to RunMND. Phil Rossall used to be a keen runner, but now has MND and is wheelchair bound, and some of the amazing group pushed Phil around the course, so that he could take part in the event for potentially the last time. MND is a devastating disease that I don’t think you ever appreciate this fully, until you are affected by it, and some of the AWESOME people in the RunMND do everything they can to help make life that little bit ‘normal’ and special for those living with this disease. I am not going to name them, as I worry that I may miss someone, but I hope they know I am writing this about them. They are very special people who I am proud to call my friends.
The event felt bigger this year, and I am sure there were lots more people running and spectating. If you are not familiar with this event, it’s a 24-hour race that starts at noon on Saturday and finishes at noon on Sunday. It’s held at Wasing Park, Reading (and there is one in Leeds) and you can run solo, in pairs, small teams and large teams. The course is just shy of 5 miles and is an undulating trail route.
I was in a large team, and there were 6 of us. The maximum in a team is 8, and I think 3-5 people is classed as a small team. I arrived on the Friday night, but was lucky enough to be part of RunMND, and some of the group had got there at 11 am and secured a good spot for camping. We were camped in the same place as last year, which is to the left of the event village and only about a 5-minute walk to the start line. If you camp in the large field, you can have a 10-15 minute walk to the start.
Arriving on the Friday night allows me to catch up with friends and meet new friends. Our running group is expanding rapidly and there were many new people to meet. Although the reason for us all knowing each other, (we all have known/know someone suffering from Motor Neurone Disease and we all have a passion to raise awareness and funds to help find a cure for the horrific disease) it has allowed us to meet the most amazing group of people.
The event organised a kids race and a disco on the Friday night. I went down to support the children’s race, but didn’t stay for the disco, as we had some pizza’s to get through!
I didn’t get the greatest night’s sleep on the Friday, and I really MUST remember ear plugs next year, as someone talking outside my tent woke me up at about 4 am! Honestly, I probably would have woken at this time regardless, but I’m hoping earplugs might allow me a few more hours sleep next year!
They have about 18 showers available, and I used them twice over the weekend, and they are nice. I would have used them again at about 3 am on Sunday morning, but the queue was huge, so instead, I headed to my tent to catch a few hours sleep.
The start of the race is always manic, as everyone comes down to see the start and cheers the runners on. This is when you realise how many people are at the event. I was going 2nd for my team, so after cheering everyone off, I stayed around the race village and then headed into the change over pen.
Live from the start of Endure 24! Maybe Fatboy Slim will come and DJ next year🤩
My training hasn’t really been very good of late, due to being ill and my husband being away with work, so I had no idea of how my laps would go and how many I would do. My only aim was to enjoy the laps and have fun with RunMND.
I ended up doing 4 laps, so just under 20 miles. I ran 3 of the laps, well ran/walked as I didn’t even attempt to run some of the hills. One day, I may attempt Heartbreak Hill, but then again…..
Taking part in a 24-hour running race is tough. You don’t have to have a runner on the course at all times, and my team were very relaxed about how long we took, and how many laps we would all complete. We were not going to win it, so we went to have fun, and between 3 am and 5 am we didn’t have anyone on the course, and it was between these hours that I did get my head down. I could have slept at other times, but I had FOMO! (Fear Of Missing Out – explanation for my mum!!)
Our group had set up a temporary camp along the finishing straight, and we cheered all the runners on. The finish line camp had people there for the whole 24 hours, and even though we cheered our own runners on the loudest, we supported every runner. As you become more and more tired, the cheers become funnier and banter flies – I laughed so much I didn’t want to go and sleep as I didn’t want to miss out!
Sorry Mike, it had to be shared!!
My night lap was with one of my club mates. We walked the loop, took photos and video’s and I loved being able to share the loop with Julie. Considering there were so many runners from RunMND and two teams from my club, I saw very few of them on the course, yet, you never feel alone. The running community is a friendly group, and there were so many solo runners, that I congratulated and wished well on the way around. The course is also challenging so it keeps you focussing all the way to the end.
Last year, I remember saying how it would be great if they had pre-erected tents and they had that option this year. We realised that this wasn’t quite what you want when you are with a big group of people, as you want to be able to camp together. But, the taking down of the tent at the end is something you dread, as by this time you are on the struggle bus with sleep deprivation. I was VERY lucky, as I shared the tent of some other runners, and by the time I got back to camp, Paul had already taken the tent down! Thank you, Paul, I owe you big time! But we did discuss how paying people to come and take your tent down, and neatly pack it away in your car, would definitely be a money maker! hehe
This year, I booked to stay in a hotel in Newbury on the Sunday night, as the drive home has not been pleasant for the last two years. It did mean that I would have to be up super early on Monday morning to get back for work, but I still felt this would be better than the drive home! When my alarm went at 4:30 am on Monday morning I wasn’t so sure! I really need to get a job where I can take a days holiday during term time!
Throughout the weekend Mizuno ran competitions on their twitter feed to win trainers. I tried to enter two of the competitions, but with no luck. You have to remember lots of additional battery chargers for your devices, as logging on to twitter, downloading your laps to strava and taking all the photo’s to share on Instagram certainly zap your battery – yes I know none of these have to happen, but if it’s not on Strava did you really do it???
I managed to purchase two new headbands over the weekend too. After my New York City Marathon headband from Sparkly Soul costing me SO much (thank you import taxes!), I have tried to get my monies worth and wear it ALL the time. But as soon as I looked at the Halo headbands, especially the Endure 24 one, I knew I needed to buy it. They had a deal on for two, so I decided to get the Union Jack one, as one day soon I will do another international marathon!
Recently, I have been blogging less and less and was wondering why I even kept this site. Then I lost the entire site somehow when I was updating a race time. It sent me into panic mode, as I realised that I like looking back over my training. Yes I could keep a diary, but I wouldn’t stick photo’s in, so this is just my form of diary!
At the same time, if I can encourage one person to run, or join an event, especially this one because of my feedback, I know Sthat can only be a good thing! So, if you have any questions about Endure, please post below.
For me, when packing next year (and anyone else needing reminding), things not to forget next year!
Tent – if Julie and Paul are reading this, yes I know!!! hehe, Sleeping bag, sleeping mat, pillow, I try to pack a complete change of clothes for each lap, including underwear (packed in separate carry bags), flip flops, and one set of casual clothes for the end. I mainly changed straight into my next set of running kit after each lap. So far I have only ever used one set of trainers, but take a spare pair, as if it was to rain, wet trainers would not be pleasant. Camping light, head torch, FOOD; I mainly rely on the food outlets at the event, but you still need snacks between laps, I think I lived on Jaffa Cakes! I had my Spibelt, that has bib number tags, it means I don’t have to change my race bib every time I change clothes. Towel and flip flops for the shower. Dry shampoo! Fully charged extra batteries for my phone and Garmin, EARPLUGS for sleeping, deck chair. Mug for Tea – I forgot mine! A funny story, I pulled into Reading Services, thinking I could buy a travel mug there. I took a wrong turning and ended up back on the motorway without even stopping! What a wally!
I know I haven’t added everything to this list, so I will keep editing this post, in hope that next year I will be super organised. Please feel free to add things below to help!
For regular readers of this blog, you will know I am a fan of Tribesports kit. Last year, they generously donated a £50 voucher for me to raffle, to help raise funds for MNDA.
I first came across their kit, when they were link to Marathon Talk Jantastic programme. Katie and myself used to rival each other all the way through the programme, so when I needed to buy her a present, it was a no brainer to buy her a Jantastic top.
Katie modelling her new top, and I managed to catch her with flying feet 🙂
I was very impressed with the quality of the top, and it was not long after I bought a couple of their long sleeve running tops, and to be honest, I have pretty much lived in them all winter. The are lightweight, comfortable, long and warm. They also come in some really pretty colours too!
They are now involved with the Parkrun community, and I know it’s not going to be long before I purchase one of their Parkrun t-shirts; you can even have them personalised to your home park run!
So, why am I telling you all this? They recently sent me a referral code through, so if anyone is looking for new kit and have not shopped at Tribesports before, you can get 20% off your first order and I get £10 gifted to me for introducing a new customer. Please feel free to share and happy shopping.
COMPETITION ALERT!! Wahooooo – who doesn’t love the chance of winning a prize!
I always feel a little guilty when trying to raise sponsorship money for events, as it always seems to be the same people who I ask – Friends and family. To try to combat this problem, I have been busy contacting lots of companies asking them to donate prizes. The lovely people at Nuun have donated a variety of flavoured hydration electrolyte tablets, a water bottle and a sample of body glide.
Win all of this – worth around £50
I have been using the tablets since reading about them on Leah’s blog. I like the fact that they are sugar-free, carb-free and each tablet is under 6 calories. They are light, refreshing tablets that you add to water. Click here to read more about Nuun
I am not great at drinking enough water! I never really feel thirsty and can sometimes go hours without drinking. I have been making a conscious effort to drink more during the day, and I find that when I have added Nuun to my drink bottle, I do drink more! My personal favourite is the tri berry flavour, but there are lots of different flavours to try!
So, how do you win the prize, I hear you asking!? Frequent readers of my blog (hello Mum, Sarah and Becky!) will know that my amazing father died in 2010 from Motor Neurone Disease. It devastated our family, not only losing him, but seeing him suffer too. The disease is awful, and once diagnosed is a death sentence, as there is no cure! It attacks a person’s body, leaving them helpless and weak. Even after all these years, I still find it hard to write about, so if you would like to know more about it, please click here, and read Mark’s blog. He is living with the disease.
So, back to the competition! I would like to raise more awareness and funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, so if you follow my blog, I will enter your name into the competition. If you donate money to my fundraising page (click here to go through to the page) for every £1 you donate, I will enter your name twice. It’s a bit little like buying a raffle ticket for 50p! I’m hoping everyone is following this, but just incase, an example. If person A, follows my blog, that’s one entry, they then go and donate £2, that’s another 4 entries! Person A’s name will then appear in the random name generator 5 times, giving them more chance of winning. Hope that makes sense! (If not, drop me a comment below and I’ll answer any questions)
The competition will run until Sunday 21st February and I will notify the winner on Sunday 22nd. As I have to post the prize to the winner, the competition is only open to people in the UK. Good Luck, and please share, as the money could go towards helping find a cure for people suffering with MND.
At the start of this journey, I remember saying Sunday is Runday, but I’ve changed my mind. I much prefer doing my Long Runs on a Saturday!! BUT… that said, because of the silly turning of my ankle on Thursday’s run, I have had to have an extra day of rest to help my ankle heal. It’s not bad, but I can feel I overstretched it and it’s not completely normal.
So today I have had to sit around waiting for tomorrow! Worrying that my run won’t go well, or my ankle will swell or….. The mental battle is awful. What’s bizarre is that I do love running, but at times today I’ve dreaded tomorrow! I’m not sure why? I think that sometimes I am putting too much pressure on myself, wanting to run further, faster… I need to remember how privileged I am to be doing this, how many people would love to have my place, and for all those MND sufferers who would just love to be able to walk again! Who cares if I have to walk a bit – it’s the LONDON MARATHON!! It has been on my lifetime to-do list for years and I AM actually going to be there!!
So with a positive attitude, a smile on my face and my dad in my head and heart, tomorrow I will run for 2 hours 30 and try to enjoy every moment of it.