Sunday, 10 April 2016

Running for Fun

 Today I went for a run. I wasn't supposed to. Yesterday I did something very stupid which resulted in a dodgey leg and I said I was going to rest. However during the week my new running skirt had arrived and I had promised myself I would take it for a test run today. I have a silly rule that I must wear a skirt on a Sunday but that's not usually possible when running. Besides, my son had rugby practice and I could either stand on a cold pitch watching or go for a little run.
  I wasn't expecting great things from this run but with a science background I find it almost impossible to run without analysing my speed, distance, pace etc. Every run has to be run with a time in mind. Today I took my son to rugby and then got out the car to take a photo of myself in my skirt. I proved I am useless at selfies and that my arms aren't long enough to get my face and my skirt but never mind.
  I set off on my run with a limpy leg and almost regretted it immeadiately. I checked my watch and was already running 2 minutes slower than I would normally set off.  I didn't stop though. Every runner knows that the first 1km is the worst so I kept going.  It wasn't long until my leg started to work and I was picking up the pace. Then it happened. There was That feeling that all runners dread. My stomach started to churn. Now there are occasions when you can run and you know the churning will just create wind. I've run on beautiful sunny days where people have looked up to see where the thunder is coming from when really it is me passing wind.  Today I knew that with that churning I didn't dare let anything out. Luckily I could see a toilet block in front. I had run less than a mile and was now running with my chest out in front and my bottom out behind with my buttocks tightly clenched. I didn't dare speed up and it was too risky to slow down. It was a case of concentrate hard and pray you didnt see anybody you knew.
  I made it to the toilet block but didn't dare relax just yet. Do you know how hard it is to get the bolt across on the toilet door when your runner's belly is trying to escape ? I won't go in to detail but I was glad I stopped my watch so nobody would know how long I was there!  Once relieved I came out and took a photo of the loo block. By now my run was truly interrupted and never going to beat any targets. However my time out gave me time to think and I restarted my watch and my run with a new goal. I decided I wasn't going to look at my watch and I was going to run this for fun. I was actually going to see, hear, touch and taste this run. I was going to live it.
  I set off looking toward the lifeboat station where the RIB was sat on the slipway with the blue sea

beyond. Instantly I knocked my bottle off my belt and smashed the lid. I didn't stop my watch. I laughed as I drank the cool, orange sports drink that made my hands sticky and threw the broken top in the bin.  With the wind behind me on the promenade I could feel my feet lifting from the floor as it pushed me along faster. I ran past the dog walkers, the children on scooters, the football match in the field.  I listened to the crowd cheering and teammates shouting to each other. I heard the water spraying in the play park as I went by. My feet were pounding on the path as I ran along.
  It wasnt too long until I reached my turning point- the Gosport Golden Mile finish line. I stopped, took a photo and turned back into the wind. Normally I would curse running against a 24mph wind with stronger gusts. Today I smiled. I held my arms out to the side and let the wind jostle my sleeves. I let my top fill with wind and create a drag net behind me. My new skirt was pressed against my legs in the wind. It could have been worse, the wind could have lifted it to display the under shorts.  I ran back slowly, watching the large ships on the Solent. I listened to the wind roaring in my ears. I felt it blowing through my fingers, pushing against them and making their own little sound and ripples. I watched the white horses on the sea and wondered just how choppy it would feel in the water.
  I could taste the salt in the air and feel it drying on my skin. As I ran through a parking bay somebody blew smoke out their window. I knew I was going tonrun through it as I could see it
coming towards me. I thought I would smell cigarette smoke but I could smell strawberries. They must have been smoking an e cigarette thing. I carried on running and then I walked for a bit just so I could take in the view a bit more. Running again I could hear the footballers again so n
Knew I was getting back close to the start of the promenade. I kept going and ran past the turning I needed so I could run to the start line of the Gosport Golden Mile. I stopped to take a few photos and I walked back towards the road.
 I noticed a gentleman carrying a log, loads of weathered sticks and a rucksack full of driftwood. Smiling, I started a conversation with him. He said he was like a kid in a candy shop today as the beach was strewn with beautiful driftwood. The large log was going in his garden. The smaller weathered pieces were going to be used to decorate mirrors and plant pots. He was meeting his wife in the car park. As we approached the car park I started to run again. I heard his wife moaning 'You said it was just a couple of pieces'. He replied that he had several large pieces to go back for and then I was out of earshot but I don't think his wife was too pleased though.
  I ran a little way up the road and noticed the bluebells growing along the roadside. I stopped to take a photo. I looked back at the sea behind me, across at the football match and forward to where I was
running.  I carried on back up the road and back up the slope. I turned to run along the side of the
creek. A small bird flew in front of me into the hedge. The seagulls were swimming in the creek and a family were just unloading kayaks from their car. I ran back to where I had parked my car and stopped my watch. I pressed reset straight away.
  I don't know how far I ran. I don't know how long I took. I'm not interested. Today I ran and saw more than my feet and the floor in front of me. Today I heard more than just my breathing. Today I took notice of where I was and what was around me and I appreciated it all. Today I was alive. Today I lived as I ran. Today I had fun and enjoyed myself. Today I realised what I had been missing. Yes statistics and fast times are still important but so is running with no other purpose than enjoying being out there .

Sunday, 5 October 2014

The Confident Dormouse

        Are you shy? I mean really shy, so much so that it stops you in your tracks? I am. Now some people will read that statement and laugh. They know me and I've never seemed shy. They haven't seen me rolled in a ball, hiding under the dining room table with all the chairs pulled in so nobody can get me. They've not been there when I've locked the toilet cubicle, put the toilet seat down and curled up into the smallest ball possible. They've not been the person who has had to ask the price for me in the shop so I can buy a present.  They've not seen me when my heart beats faster, my eyes widen, my feet start tapping and I search for somewhere to curl up. They weren't on the university field trip with me when I considered walking into the sea and keep walking to avoid giving a presentation.
  I bet they've seen the barriers but not realised what was happening. Were you at scout camp with me the night everybody came to sit in the mess tent? Did you notice the table to my right, the washing bucket in front of me, the utensils box to my left and the tent wall behind me. Did you see me put my jacket on and sink into it as I looked across to the chef for reassurance? Every single person there was my friend but on mass and in my area I was unsure.
 If you come to one of my Ann Summers parties you will see I will always sit on the floor so I can be small. My rail will be behind me, suitcase to the side and paperwork forming the rest of the wall to keep my fortress intact. I will stand up for the presentation and I will move a wall to take orders but the magic circle is there to keep you out.
 Maybe you were on the infant P.T.A with me and I arrived at the meeting with you. The doors to the staffroom are solid and I am petrified of opening them. I always arrived at meetings with somebody. At the junior school I have volunteered for 6 years in a classroom. At break I take shelter in the office because I can't enter the staffroom when it is full of teachers despite being friends with them all.
  As a child I was so shy I would hide behind my mum or my sisters or my friends. There was a fear of being asked a question and a fear of having to ask . I couldn't be the first in a room in case there was somebody in there. I couldn't travel in somebody else's car. The number of times I had to be tricked into being given a lift somewhere still stays with me. People offer me a lift now and I turn it down then pluck up the courage to ask them for a lift. I'm sure that's the reason I often go to get in the wrong car when being collected as I'm so pleased with myself for accepting a lift I forget to check who is driving!
 At senior school we were allowed to wear our own clothes. I would keep my coat on so I could sink into it. There was a math teacher who called me the dormouse. She said she could see me sliding under the table, sinking into my coat and pulling it round so only my eyes could be seen and the top of my head. I reminded her of the dormouse in the teapot. I wasn't sleeping though. I would always watch and listen. I do that now too. I sit and I listen and I remember what is said but nobody notices me. That's how I like it. Being asked a question fills me with absolute dread. The fear stifles my comprehension of what I was actually asked. Let me sit quietly and watch and listen. You learn so much from listening .
  How then does somebody like me become chair of several committees, sell personal products to strangers and join community groups? I blame Ann Summers. As an ambassador it is my job to empower women and increase their confidence but that works both ways. I became an organiser by mistake. My husband told them I was interested in joining and I was too scared to say no. I practised in front of a mirror and I learnt the catalogue cover to cover. As long as I believe I know more than anybody in the room I am in control.
  Then came the PTA meeting where somebody was needed to give a talk to new parents to encourage them to join as the chairman had resigned. I plucked up courage from somewhere and volunteered. The head teacher turned round and said I couldn't do it as I was an Ann Summers organiser and it wasn't appropriate. At that point I forgot my fear and decided that not only would I give the talk but I would become chair too. I've been chair ever since - first at the infants and then at the juniors.  I surprised myself but found I loved the role. I could chair meetings because it was reporting on what had happened and organising events. I still have trouble standing in front of all the parents and tend to leave thank you for coming speeches to proper staff members. I still arrive 30 minutes before everybody else for a school fair as I know lots of people will ask me questions and I need time to sit in the office and gather my courage. (The head teacher always brings me tea and we talk through what needs to be done. I think she thinks I'm stressing over the fair but I know that will all be fine!)
 Twitter has helped me too. I can hold conversations with people I never have to meet. I can be friends without making eye contact. Then when I do actually meet these people I'm not so scared because I already know them and they know me.
  I put on a smile, I put on confidence building underwear and I face my demons. Most days I survive. Some days I take longer to get out the car whilst I gather my control. Last month I even did 2 things that are almost unheard of - I was passenger in the front seat of a car (even if I did put my foot on an imaginary brake at one time!) and I went to a social party on my own and even stayed longer than an hour! These are milestones for me because I AM SHY but I am now a much more Confident Dormouse

Monday, 9 June 2014


With swimming done and a huge high achieved it was time to face my fears and return to running. I can think of no better race than Absolute Running's Gosport Golden races.
  My children always want to join in and with the Gosport Golden Junior mile there was the perfect chance for them to do that. It was with great excitement that we all woke up on that Sunday morning. I rushed to get dressed and get the kids up and to the start on time.
  We arrived with plenty of time and strolled along the promenade to the start of the race. The kids couldn't wait to have their numbers pinned on and their chips attached to their trainers. Then they looked towards the finish and realised a mile was further than they thought! It didn't matter though. I looked around and the place was buzzing with children of all ages getting ready to run. Their were dads in their club kits proudly pinning numbers to the future stars. There were mums getting ready to run along side their tiny tots. There were children in club kit, school teams and things their parents had got out the cupboard in the hope it would look sporty (my kids!!!) This really was a race for all.

  I left the children at the start and walked off to the finish. Just walking made the backs of my legs ache but I was determined to start the 5k. I went by kids rushing to the start and waved as Nick cycled by. It dawned on me that the fast kids would rush by if I didn't get a shift on but I decided not to rush. Luckily the race started a little late and I was at the finish before any child.
  It was lovely to see so many people waiting at the finish and cheering the kids on. The true athletes came rushing passed and then the fun runners began to arrive. It was a while before mine appeared but that didn't matter. They had entered and run and were delighted with their medals.

 The next race was the adult Golden Mile. Again there was a mixture of competitive runners, would be runners and those in it for the fun of it. I saw so many people that I knew running and so many people that I knew marshaling. When I entered last year I knew my sister and a few people by sight but not by name. So much changes in a year and so many of those friends I have now made were due to Nick at Absolute Running. The community that he has created through the shop and the events organised like the Golden Mile and the weekly swim nights are so important to so many people. I hope he realises just what a difference he has made to so many people.

  The last race of the day was the 5k. By now I had met up with a friend who had won race entry at the school auction. We went to the start line together but at the back. (I know my place!)  I class myself as a runner in it for the fun rather than as a competitive race however I have yet to discover the fun of running. Off we went . Within a few strides of the start I discovered a major error on my part. The elastic in my trousers was not up to the job in hand. With every step my trousers fell further down. It was at that point I discovered a mum from school was behind me and laughing at my panic that I was going to have to run the whole race holding on to my trousers.
  I kept going, hoicking my trousers up every few strides. It was at this point I discovered another error. I grabbed my trousers  and yanked as hard as possible to pull them up but it wasn't my trousers. I was now wearing a thong far too high. Running with a wedgie is not pleasant. Displaying a bright red thong above trousers that were falling down was not the smartest move. I was just pleased I was at the back so only a few people saw the full moon at Stokes Bay that day. With t shirt rising up, trousers falling down and undies on display I soon found I had gone by 1k and had a comfortable pace going. The sweat stuck my trousers on and I kept going.
  I looked like a beetroot within seconds of starting the race and my overheating continued. My aim was just to reach the water station. How other people run without looking like they are a lobster in a pot I don't know. I guess when I swim the water takes the heat away but running doesn't do that. I was delighted to see a friendly face handing out water (Thank you Shona) I drank some and threw the rest in my face. The run then left the path and on to the pebbles of the beach. Last year I walked that bit but this year I kept going. Being cheered on by name is so encouraging (thank you Kim) . Round the fort and back to the water station. My willingness to continue was flagging at this point so I made the mistake of stopping for a drink.
  Getting restated wasn't so easy. I did though but my enthusiasm was going. I may have walked a little bit between 3 and 4 k (but only a little) Being cheered on by friends kept me going. Then the song popped in my head. 'Nothing is impossible. If your heart is really in it. It's a fight but you can win it. If you just trust your dreams' With the song in my head I kept going. I went by Nick and my children were there waiting for me. My daughter took my hand and we ran together. We went by Tom with his camera. I even went by the finish line. I t was lovely to hear Lee and Steph calling me on and seeing that medal in Steph's hand waiting for me. The steel band was still playing and the crowd was still there cheering
  More water and a goody bag. I had finished. I felt like you could fry an egg on my face but I had finished. It was at that point somebody told me I was flashing my knickers and I just hoped nobody had a photo!

  If you are new to running then make this one of your first races. The encouragement from spectators and marshals is great. The route is lovely. I know I am attracted to the beach and running along the bay is my sort of thing but it is a lovely flat course with an interesting pebble patch. 
  If you are an experienced runner put this event in your schedule. It's an event for everybody. If you are a competitive runner there is a race to be won. 

  Follow the Shoe!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

 On Sunday 18th May I took part in Fareham triathlon. I swam OK, had a brilliant (for me) cycle but walked the run. I crossed the line on my own and n last place but was 10 minutes faster than the   previous year and delighted. However the next day somebody said something to me that made me      feel that I had let myself down . This was a very odd feeling as I'm one of those people who just         believes that if you put your mind to it you can do anything. I hadn't done any training for the             triathlon - I just did it.               
  With that in mind I had to prepare for a 10k swim, again with no training. My mind was full of doubt. Could I swim the distance? Would I make the cut off time? Would I let myself down? My stubborn pig-headedness cut in and by hook or by crook I was going to swim this event.
  Preparation the night before wasn't the best! I went for a little sea swim which lasted longer than intended so my early night went out the window. I couldn't sleep and looked at my phone at 3am. There was a message from my husband to say there was no record of mot on my car. In a panic I got up and searched for the mot certificate. It had run out Sunday. Luckily I had his car outside so after a search for keys I was outside in my pjs at 3.30am testing if the car worked!
 Back to bed I went and waited for the 5am alarm. I got up and had my porridge and promptly chipped a tooth. First thought - I've now got something to do on the swim as I can play with the hole with my tongue. I woke 2 kids up and piled them in the car, searched for an open petrol station and made my way to Eton Dorney.
  To my utter joy I arrived and found 2 friends in the car park. It was fantastic to see familiar faces and meant I didn't have to go through the panic of registration on my own. I'm not sure if Caz and Sarah were as nervous as me. They weren't singing 'Totally unprepared am I to face the Lake and swim. Timid and shy and scared am I for what the water brings' Off we went together, reluctant kids in tow, to the registration tent. Jokingly I had packed my passport in case I got really lost so was pleasantly pleased when I was asked for ID at registration and pulled out said passport. (The fact it had run out about 10 years ago didn't seem to matter!) Swimmer number 78. My number was written on my hand, a yellow wristband attached to my arm and a brown envelope with my hat and timing chip handed over. There was no going back now.
  The 3 of us left the tent and wandered off to take a look at the start. That's when we bumped into the Bayside Tri gang and cheer team. We waited for them to register (having asked if they had passports) and together the swimming group went off to place goodies at the feeding station. Here my lack of organisation became clear. They had boxes with Bayside Tri written on and looked professional. I had an ASDA bag with an ASDA sports drink and a couple of ASDA fudge pieces. At the station they put their boxes down and I put my plastic bag next to them.
 By now my nervous singing was getting annoying and I asked if we could get changed. Off to the tent we went and I started the fight to get my wet wetsuit on. I smothered myself in Body glide and headed off to check my bag in. Nerves were taking hold and doubt was creeping in. In an odd way the fact that Sadie was late and I was worrying about her making the start took my mind off my race nerves. We headed to the holding pen. Fast swimmers had to go in the first pen so that's where Addy went. Caz and I decided the back of the second pen was the best place for us so we could avoid the crowd. Somehow we moved to the middle of that pen. Anna, Erika, Sarah, Caz and I posed for photos for the support team and Sadie rushed to join us.
  Before we knew it the race was starting. I remember saying to Caz, 'Let's not get caught up in this. Don't go out fast. Lets just finish'. Off we went. I followed Caz into the water. First thought - it's not too cold. Second thought - it doesn't taste nice. I much prefer salty water. (This made me giggle in a dirty minded way) Third thought - I can actually see my hands and things in the water. Fourth thought - bugger I've been caught up in this and gone out fast. Fifth thought - where are my friends? Sixth thought - I'm on my own so just swim.
  After that I don't remember thinking anything particular. I was still singing that stupid song but enjoying the swim. I noticed a board at the side that said 1500m. I couldn't work out why it was there as first lap was 1.25km. Didn't take too long to realise it was a race marker for the rowing lake. Later I noticed 1250m and 1000m. (On the start of second circuit I found the 1750m marker too) These were nice to see as I could tell how far I was through the race. It was nice watching the distance drop as I knew it was getting me closer to the finish.
  Another really nice point came when the first of the skin swimmers ran me over. They all had orange hats. My friend Tom is a skins swimmer and wears an orange hat. I took it as a sign that my friends were with me. Being overtaken by a heard of Tom Barnetts made me giggle. I reached the huge Human Race buoy and swam under the bridge. It was at this point I noticed I was swimming with a friend. Sarah was by my side. I'm a social group swimmer normally and like to check on everybody as I swim. To have Sarah there meant I could do my usual thing of swimming with an eye on a friend.
      That second length seemed to go faster than the first. Before I knew it I was at the second feed station where my drink was placed. I could see Erika and Anna having a drink. Slight quandary - do I stop and drink or continue with Sarah.I stopped. I'm glad I did. The kids were there with Tim, Sharon and Amy and they were all cheering us on. I've never stopped for a drink when swimming before. It was an experience. For a second I thought I was going to drown - not because of the lake but because I squeezed the bottle and raspberry drink flooded down my throat. Erika and Anna were off again so I went with them. I knew they had trained and were probably pacing themselves well. They actually had a time in mind whereas I just wanted to finish. We set off with the 3 of us side by side. We went under the bridge and round the buoy to start the second lap. By now the lake was getting crowded again. Blue hat swimmers from the 5k race were determined that nothing was going to get in the way. I got hit and stopped to let them go by. I watched Erika and Anna swim off in the sea of blue hats.
  I was on my own again so just watched the rowing markers count down the length. The turning buoy was a short distance past the 1000m marker. I went under the bridge and past the first of the 2 feeding stations. There I was delighted to see Sarah having a drink. She set off and I tried to swim with her but lost her in amongst other green hats. I knew where she was by the man with the stripey umbrella walking and cheering her on.  I now knew Erika, Anna and Sarah were in front of me somewhere and I hoped to see them at the next feed stop.
   I pulled in at the feeding station and had a chat with Amy and Sharon. They asked where Erika and Anna were. I hadn't a clue. I had seen them swim off at speed and thought they were in front. I carefully had a drink and ate a piece of fudge before swimming off. Under the bridge, round the buoy and into lap 3. Thoughts started in my head. This was uncharted territory. I'd only ever swum 5k before. That was OK. I had a talk with myself. I had swum 5k twice before and that made 10k so I could obviously do this. The fact my 2 5k swims were about 4 weeks apart wasn't an issue. I just had 5k to do.  Here came those marker points again . Here came the singing again. I was singing 'There's one more angel in heaven' from Joseph. This had perfect rhythm for longer breathe holding and made the swim comfortable. I decided to sing the whole soundtrack from the start of the show but discovered I'd forgotten too many words. Go go Joseph was a good one for speeding up though!
  As I rounded the corner to go under the bridge I decided to do breast stroke. That's when it happened. I got cramp in one leg. OK, I thought how do you cure cramp. Blank. I've never had cramp before swimming. I decided to kick it out. I switched back to front crawl and the other leg went. Now, I THOUGHT THAT I DIDN'T USE MY LEGS WHEN SWIMMING CRAWL. I THOUGHT THEY JUST TRAILED BEHIND.AT THAT PRECISE MOMENT I REALISED JUST HOW IMPORTANT MY LEGS WERE.  They just sank. I tried to power on with just arms but I was going nowhere and sinking. I tried kicking but my legs didn't like it. I kicked enough to stay afloat and move forward. I could see the feed station. I could see Sarah! I kicked my legs. They worked! Dilemma do I drink or keep going? I kept going. My legs were working so it would have been silly to stop. Next thought -I've got a 5k run next week and my legs have cramp now and running is my nemesis. OOH nemesis. I KNOW A SONG ABOUT THAT! Perry the Platypus has a lot to answer as the swim to the next feeding station was filled with 'My Neme neme ooh my neme nemesis, my neme neme ooh my nemenemesis.'
  Feed station 3 and again met with cheers and horns. The Bayside pom poms and horns are such a sight to behold especially after 7.5k swimming. More fudge and drink. I think Sarah was there too. I remember talking to a swimmer and an official asking if we were going. I finished my fudge and said the next stop was the finish. Off we went and off Sarah shot (Yes I remember now, it was her.) Under the bridge. Round the buoy. Here come the markers. Reached the buoy, under the bridge, stick tongue out at photographer, keep going, past feed station (no Sarah), just keep swimming, just keep swimming. Go away cramp I don't like you. Keep working legs. Ooh Robbie Williams singing swing song to me.. Ooh 'Dream a little dream for me' has a good swim beat and breathing pattern. Goodbye swans. Goodbye gap where you can see other lake. Keep swimming. Keep singing. Nobody at the feed station. Keep swimming. I hear horn. I hear cheers. Under bridge. Wave at kids on bridge first. Can I overtake this man. Sing faster, swim faster. Give up and let the man have his moment. Approach black finish marker. Made it.
  Now came the hardest part of the race. Get out. Dear legs why do you no longer work. Nice man takes my elbow and helps me up. He lets go I fall over. He helps me up. Cross the line he shouts. He lets go. I fall over. He helps me up, pulls me up slope, lets go. Splat. Lady comes over, 'CROSS THE LINE' she shouts. She escorts me over line, removes my ankle timer and props me up against the fence with a hand on my elbow. Supporters are all there and I wonder how many photos of me on the floor there are (none so far!) A huge smile on my face and a foil blanket placed over my shoulders. Pigeon steps to the medal table as my legs still weren't working and a wobbly walk to find my clothes.
  Off to the changing tent and start to get changed. A text came through  CONGRATULATIONS PENELOPE on completing the swim in a time of 3:44:31 . Gobsmacked. I was expecting over 4 hours. I was worried I would be stopped before final lap! Just after that Anna walked in shivering badly. 'Why didn't you get changed straight away? ' I asked. Then Erika walked in  'ANNA! You look dreadful' she says. (What else are friends for!) THEY START TO CONGRATULATE ME. I'm still looking confused as to why they hadn't got changed. Then the penny dropped! They were behind me. I still can't work out when I went by them. I would have bet everything I owned that they were in front of me. The position of any of us didn't matter. It was finishing that was important but that was the part of the day that still confuses me. I'm sure I saw them ahead of me on that final lap.
  Dressed and with sweet tea drunk it was off to watch Sadie finish. I secretly wanted her to fall flat on her face getting out too but she didn't. However when she came to talk to us it looked like she had! Anna had a puffy face but Sadie took the prize! I believe next time she won't wear her goggles so tight.
  Excitement then as we could see Caz coming down the last length. She had a safety boat with her and we were ready to form a lynch mob if they tried to stop her. Legs now working I 'ran' to the bridge to cheer her on. Then back to the finish to watch her cross that line. I was so proud to see my friend being wrapped in blankets and be congratulated in style. Bayside tri were there to cheer and hug . What an amazing experience.

Monday, 15 April 2013

The Start of My Fundraising Year

It was back in 2010 that I decided on my first fundraising event in memory of my mum. My friend, Jane, had wanted to do a charity trek but was being a big girlie wimp about it and wanted a trek where they spoke English, had nice food, proper toilets and no tents. I didn't actually think this was possible but after scouring the internet I found a charity trek for Breakthrough Breast Cancer along the Gower peninsula.
  We signed up and off we went. Breakthrough were very supportive and I decided that they would be a charity that I would continue to support. The organisation of the trek was fantastic. This was where I first met Gideon of Walkwise UK. They were responsible for sorting hotel, transport and the walk and I couldn't fault that. The weather was beautiful( an added bonus) and the walk enjoyable.
 Walking for a distance gives you time to think and before we had gone too far I had decided that I would really like to do something similar in Dorset where my mum had liked to go on holiday. I had a conversation with Gideon about the possibility of organising a walk in memory of mum in that area and he said it would be possible. Our Gower trek continued and plans were put to the back of my mind.
  The next year my sister announced she wanted to swim across the Solent for fun so she and I entered a sea swim with MACMILLAN CANCER  to see what we felt about that. I now had another idea for a charity event!
  Slowly I decided that I needed a year of fundraising madness in memory of my mum and as October 2013 marked the 20th anniversary of mum's death that seemed the perfect year to carry it out. I knew exactly which charities too. Breakthrough Breast Cancer had allowed me to run for them in Great South Run and had been very supportive so they were my first choice. Mum had had breast cancer and had survived that. Unfortunately she later developed lung cancer and died at the Royal Marsden. She had been given some equipment that allowed her to come home and I decided that the Marsden would be my next charity so I could help fund equipment to let others come home. Finally I chose Cancer Research. There are so many different types of cancer and so many families touched by the disease this seemed an appropriate charity.
  I guess I am a person easily led. I hate running and always swore I would never run. Then my friend, Baz, ran the London marathon. I told them they were mad and would never catch me entering. That put the idea in my head and twice so far I've entered the ballot for a place. The London marathon was then added to my list of events for the year. If I don't get a ballot place I'm hoping Breakthrough will give me a charity place.
   I also said I would never abseil. I hate heights, although mum had no fear. When I say I hate heights I mean I HATE heights. My friend Trish then did an abseil. I continued to say I would NEVER do an abseil but another friend announced they were going to abseil down the Spinnaker Tower. Next thing I know I'm telling everybody that is another event I'm doing.
  At this point I thought I had enough but then a friend asked me to enter the Grim challenge. Of course I said no and that I would never do that. Next thing I know I've gathered a team of about 9 to doThe Grim with me.
  Please don't suggest anything else!!!!!

   Once events were chosen organisation began. My open event is my Dorset Trek. I contacted Gideon and told him the date and area I wanted and he very kindly put together a package. The event takes place 4th to 6th October 2013 and costs £179 per person based on sharing a twin room. At the time of writing I have 13 people attending but there is still room for more. The cost includes 2 nights at a hotel, food, transport from hotel to the start of day 1 and transport back to the hotel and 2 days walking with guide.
 If you are interested in joining me please let me know. I have set up fundraising pages for each charity for the walking team. If you can't join us please sponsor us

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

here we go again

I'm going to spend a year fundraising for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden to mark 20 years since my mum died. My first event will be a walk in Dorset organised by Walkwise UK and will take place 4th - 6th October 2013