Thursday 30 May 2013

Put down the jaffa cakes!

I’ve now reached day 11 of injury...of not running, not exercising & eating everything in sight…including all the crisps, chocolate, flapjacks and jaffa cakes I can get my hands on. It’s like I’m still eating to fuel myself through an ultra a day, never mind a marathon, and I know it's comfort eating of the worst kind.

I feel like I’m slowly going insane and although I’m not weighing myself these days so don’t know how much I weighed when I started, I must have put on half a stone. My jeans certainly feel like I have!

Now, although I can’t run, or cycle, or really walk, that’s not to say I have to let my health & fitness go completely out the window and today I’m determined to stop feeling so sorry for myself and get a grip. Just because I can’t exercise at the moment, I can still focus on my nutrition.  If I can get back to some sort of normality with my eating, and stop putting on loads of weight, and actually lose some, when I do start running again, I’m not going to be trying to shift quite so many lbs around! It'll be like taking off a full rucksack ;)

The other thing that has prompted me to try and sort myself out and get ready for when my injury heals is that yesterday the date of the next Thames Path 100 miler was announced (3rd May 2014) as was the date that you can enter (29th June 2013).

Although I’ve talked a lot about trying a 100 miler next year, recently I’ve been thinking that maybe it’s too soon and maybe I should wait a few years until I try what, for me, is the ultimate distance to run all in one go. (The 145 miles of the GUCR is just a bit too incredible and not on my bucket list). However, as soon as the notification came out from Centurion about the dates for the TP100, I got very excited. I realised that this is definitely something I want to do, and know it's got to be my next challenge – at 10am on June 29th, I’m going to be sat in front of the computer trying to get my application in before everyone else!

I want to give myself as much of a chance as I can though, and carrying so much extra weight when I run really can’t be good for me – who knows, if I was a stone or so lighter, maybe running the 10in10 would have left me injury-free?! So, nutrition it is. Healthy, balanced and normal is what I’m aiming for and hopefully once I can start doing some cardio again (swimming and cycling probably, before I can run) the weight-loss will sort itself out. I’ve got the 100km race in September, which my physio (at the moment) still thinks is feasible, and that will give me a really good yardstick for the training I’m going to need to do to get ready for May 2014!

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Every runner's nightmare


Although I’ve had quite a few painful niggles before, a bit of tendinitis, over-use stuff, I’ve never suffered with a real injury. Until now.

I’m classing this as a real injury above the other problems I’ve had before because there is a barely a minute of the day that goes by without some level of pain or discomfort. Because I can’t walk (hobble) for more than 10 minutes without more serious levels of pain developing. Because I am somewhat debilitated and I know I can’t run. Because my physio, Tessa, told me it’s an injury.

On Thursday, I went to see Tessa with my lower leg and ankle swollen up beyond recognition, in lots of pain, with limited movement in my ankle and particularly in my big-toe which was seemingly paralysed, and massively limping. She examined me, massaged, manipulated, and diagnosed me with anterior compartment syndrome. She said I needed to RICE, to avoid alcohol, and if it got worse, to go to A&E, but otherwise to come back and see her after the weekend. She also gave me exercises to do too, to try and regain some level of movement.

So, I RICEd.  I didn’t dance at my friend’s wedding, at work I sat with my leg up on a stool at my desk, and at home I sat on the sofa with my leg up on the coffee table. I iced with special ice packs that Francis had bought me, and I compressed with new socks that I’d bought, because my compression socks wouldn't fit over my swollen foot.

And so the swelling went down. Today, Tuesday, was my return visit to Tessa. The swelling has reduced so much I can wear my normal compression socks and I can walk with only a minimal limp. My ankle moves a fair bit more than it did, and although my foot, ankle and leg are still painful, everything feels better than last week. I'm even able to move my big toe a bit. This meant that I was expecting her to say, well done, it’s improving much more than expected, you’ll probably be able to run by next week.

What I wasn’t expecting to hear was that she hadn’t wanted to give me the full picture on my first visit in case it freaked me out, and she wanted to see what the damage was like when the swelling had gone down. She said that I had to prepare myself that if it didn’t improve a lot more over the next week or so, there was a chance it could be also be a stress fracture and I’d need to go for a scan and even if there isn’t a stress fracture, it’s very unlikely that I’m going to be ready in time to run the two 50-odd mile races that I’ve got scheduled for July. She’s pleased with progress, but as it turns out, it is a serious injury and it’s going to take time to heal.

Now I have to start coming to terms with the idea that I could be out of the running game for more than another week or so. This could be quite a long lay-off…counted in weeks or months instead of days.

I’m still totally in denial about it, and in the back of my mind, I’m still pretty sure that she’s overreacting, and that by next week it’ll be 100 times better, and she’ll be very surprised, and suggest I go for an easy couple of miles. But I’m telling people what she said because the more I talk about it, and the more people I tell, the more real it is, and hopefully the shock will be less each morning that I wake up and find the pain still hasn’t gone and I still can’t run.

Sunday 26 May 2013

One week on & inspiration from the GUCR

This time last week, I was still at Brathay Hall, enjoying the amazing last meal with the rest of Team 10in10 2013, celebrating the completion of the 10in10, and feeling absolutely over the moon about everything.

A week later, and things are very different. I'm home again with Francis, which is lovely - being apart from him for so long was very strange - but I miss everyone in the Brathay family, hugely. I've found it very difficult to get back into the swing of things at work - I've been too tired and just not interested to be honest and could have really done with taking the week off, rather than just the Monday.

I'm injured too. Diagnosed with anterior compartment syndrome and up until about three hours ago, I couldn't move my big toe at all. Luckily, it's responding well - I can now bend my big toe, although still not lift it, and my ankle/lower leg no longer resembles the elephant man's and it's much less serious than it was when I saw the physio on Thursday..."if it gets any worse over the weekend" she said, "you need to go to A&E" but it's still not fun.

We went to a good friend's wedding yesterday and instead of getting up for a dance at the reception I was sat down at the side of the room watching everyone else. Hey ho. I don't know how long it's going to take to fully recover from, or to regain full movement in my ankle and toe, but I'm certainly not going to be able to run the marathon that I had booked for next weekend! In fact, I may well have a few weeks ahead of me before I can run, but I'm trying not to consider that.

However, I am still overwhelmed at the achievement, and very proud of myself for completing the 10in10 even  if I do sound a bit down about everything.

Keeping in touch with everyone else on Facebook helps, as does trawling through the hundreds of photos and watching the video diaries. I can totally understand why so many previous 10in10ers return to Brathay and although I'll not be applying to do the 10in10 again in 2014, I do want to return next year to run the Windermere Marathon on the last day, and hope to convince Francis that we'll go up for a long weekend. I expect I will apply to do another 10in10 one day. If it wasn't for the fundraising element of the process, I'd do it again in a heartbeat, but think I'll need to leave it a few years before I ask people to put their hands in their pockets again - everyone was so generous that I don't want to take advantage of that.

***As I write this, I've seen on my Facebook feed that Mimi Anderson has just completed her DOUBLE Grand Union Canal Race...290 miles. She ran up to Birmingham non-stop, in 31hrs 50mins and then the next day, she ran back to London as part of the GUCR event in 36hrs 49mins. She is a truly amazing woman...Marvellous Mimi indeed!!

My thoughts also turn to the others that I know involved in the GUCR this year who I've been trying to follow this weekend - Jerry, Ellen, Traviss, Lindley, Paul - I can't quite believe I know people who are taking part in such an amazingly challenging event. Then I start thinking of everyone else who has had races or events today. Some amazing performances out there....I'm just so inspired by everyone.

I've done the 10in10 but there's a world of ultra running out there still waiting for me. I need to stop feeling so sorry for myself, still be sensible and rest and recuperate to get over the injury, but then get back in my trainers, and get ready for my next event and stop moping about because one incredible experience is over.

There are many more to come.

Tuesday 21 May 2013

The last day of the Brathay 10in10

I didn’t manage to write my "last day" blog on the last day, or even yesterday, and as I sit in front of my computer on my first day back at work with a medal hung over my monitor, and my 10in10 trophy on my desk, I wonder if even now I’m going to be able to find the words to do justice to what has been the most painful, challenging, wonderful and rewarding experience of my life.

Everyone told me that Day 10 would be amazing.  I didn’t quite believe that and I didn’t think I’d enjoy it. I thought I’d be totally overwhelmed by the crowds and it would make me grouchy…I’m sure everyone would agree I’ve had my fair share of mardiness over the 10 days. But I was wrong, they were right, and it was perfect.

From the moment we walked out of the main house to the applause of the gathered supporters and runners taking part in the main marathon, I loved every minute of it. The speech that Foxy gave as we stood together in a huddle made me cry (and he quoted lyrics from Bruce Springsteen’s ”We were born to run” which hasn’t stopped playing in my head since – I love that song) and walking down to the start was really intense. My family were at the bottom of the drive and I went and said hello before lining up. I was still hobbling a bit, as were many of us, and couldn’t imagine how I was going to get round the 26.2 miles that lay ahead but knew in my heart we’d all make it.

Then, all of a sudden, we were off. Huge amounts of applause and cheering got us away to a flying start, until we got around the first corner and remembered how much everything hurt and I slowed down!

The first half of the course went by much as normal albeit with a few extra marshals and cones out on the road but we were pretty much on our own, although when I passed the cafĂ© in Hawkshead, there were lots of people sat outside having breakfast and everyone cheered me. There was also a line of very excited Brownies a few more meters down the road…I ran past high-fiving them all. As I passed out of the village I was in tears again.

It was still very, very painful though. I was running the slowest I had so far, and although uphill was ok, the downhills were agony.  As well as the constant pain, every so often I’d get strange muscle spasms too, making it feel like someone had taken an axe to my shin.

At some point, the police bikes started passing me, and then the lead car…and then I heard a voice call out my name with encouragement. I looked around and Marcus Scotney was absolutely flying along – lead man in the main marathon! I know he’s an incredible elite athlete but to have had him treating me in the physio clinic at the beginning of the 10in10 and then to see him racing, and winning the Windermere Marathon was awesome, and to have him cheer me on too was an enormous boost. From then, the pain started to wane.  More of the elite runners started to pass me, each one with a word or two of praise – I was so touched at the support of these amazing athletes, and in awe to see just how fast they were running!  

On I went, and knowing the rest of the marathon field was coming up behind me somehow stopped me walking when I usually would. I got to Newby Bridge and although the pain was starting to creep back, I saw family and friends (and my awesome banner) and bigger crowds than there had ever been on the route, and was again encouraged not to limp and just ignore it.  It had taken me longer to get to this point that it had on any previous day - 2hrs 20mins - but I knew I had to keep running.

By the time I got to our next water station, I remembered that Aly had left a can of magic healing spray (technical term there) in the box with the water bottles. Not sure what it is but I doused my foot, ankle and both knees in the stuff. I had another pain killer. I was ready to go.

And go I did.

I attacked those hills like I hadn’t before. I ran up everything…although was a little more tentative on the downhills…and was helped along by the kind words from pretty much every single other runner that passed me. I couldn’t believe how well I was doing and how much I was enjoying myself - the pain was a dull ache in the back of my mind.

When I got to ice-cream mountain and saw Stuart and Mac with their snack table, I stood with them for a few minutes having jaffa cakes and jelly babies, watching some of the other runners go past. I felt so incredibly proud to be part of the event – it was wonderful. I saw Paul come through who was running instead of supporting as he had done all week and then Keith – to be honest I could have stood there all day watching the other runners. But I knew I couldn’t…I had to get the job done.

My family turned up in a few more places cheering me on, and by the time I got to Windermere, I saw my friends Steph and Niv again, in front of the pub. Both had pints in their hands. I’m sorry to stay I stole Steph’s and a beer has never tasted so good! :D I was having so much fun!

On I went but by then it was nearly over. I made sure I touched the statue of the otter at the bridge for good luck, I made sure I read the daily sign that had been hung for us just before we got to Brathay, and I made sure I ran up the drive. I felt amazing. When I got to the top, I couldn’t believe the number of people shouting for me…coming down the finish shoot was awesome, and although I’m not sure I really remember it, having watched Martin’s Day 10 video, I know that I was hugely emotional as I crossed that finish line. I had a special Aly hug as I burst into tears.

I forgot to dib in when I finished, but by the time I did, it recorded that I’d finished in 4:37 which was still a brilliant negative split to round off my 262 mile journey. 

10 marathons, in 10 days, all under 5 hours. Job done!

The rest of the afternoon was just as good as I watched the remaining 10in10ers finish, I had ice-cream, and a second one, I hugged everyone. Then came the presentation – it was lovely to be stood together as one team on the stage before each of us got presented with our beautiful trophies by Joss Naylor. 

Dinner was very special too with speeches and thank-you’s and so much applause, not only for the other 10in10 runners, who really are an incredible group of absolute legends that I am privileged to have shared this with, but also for the phenomenal support team who got us all through it....Aly and Mac, Karen, Paul and Trudi, Chris, Jim, Michelle (and the amazing sweet station), Scott, Shelagh, Paul and his miracle working SparQ physio team, and last but by no means least Martin, who I really hope knows it was never him I didn’t want to talk to, just the camera.

Each and every one of you made this the most incredibly experience– you kept me going when I was struggling, you put up with my moods and you shared my joy and enthusiasm. You all made the 10in10 more than a running event, you made it a life changing one, and I miss you all already.

Saturday 18 May 2013

Friends and family

Well, we've got here - today we ran our 9th marathon in 9 days. Unfortunately though only 14 of us made the start line this morning as Phil has had to pull out with a serious injury that he picked up yesterday, resulting in him having to walk pretty much the whole day to finish day 8. Absolute respect to him for getting to that finish line though - I can't begin to imagine how hard that must have been.

I don't really know what to say...I'm so tired and in so much pain. But yesterday's marathon and today's were made infinitely better as my family and friends have been here to support me - seeing them out on the course made the pain that bit more bearable. Yesterday it was Alice, Cath and their daughter Martha and it was a total surprise - as soon as I saw them by the side of the road I burst into tears (that's the photo) was such a boost though. Today, I've had my husband Francis, my mum, father-in-law and Franc's aunt and uncle out on the road...and they even had an especially made banner, just for me! It was a lovely touch and so nice to see them cheering for me. I also had Steph and Keith, two friends, who had the fantastic idea to blast inspirational running songs on the car stereo when I went past - it was brilliant and made me smile so much. 

I was in a lot of pain during today's run, but they helped me through, as did the typically awesome support from the rest of the 10in10 team who have made it possible for me to take each and every step of this journey so far.

Tomorrow, our 10th marathon in 10 days, will be incredible. I'm in no doubt about how much it's going to hurt, but I'm just really pleased that I'm going to be able to share it with my family and friends who have come to support me, as well as with the 10in10 team of 2013...runners and supporters...who I now count as dear friends too.

Thursday 16 May 2013

We ran around the lake again

Amazingly, we've now completed seven marathons in seven days. Just incredible!

Yesterday, day 6, I had a truly fantastic run - I felt great, didn't have any pain, and I was in a great mood. A totally different experience to the miserable day before, and I finished the marathon in 4:17 - a time that I would never have even considered achieving before starting the 10in10. I was over the moon when I crossed the line and rambled on at length for Martin and his camera - I don't think I came across as the sanest person around ;) But I loved it, and will remember that run.

Today was a bit of a different matter. The seventh marathon of the 10in10, and my 30th marathon in total, and we were blessed with gorgeous sunny weather. Wouldn't want to complain about the weather all the time (I know it might come across that way)...but it might have been a bit too warm! 

I was having another great run though, and got to the half way point faster than the day before, but from about 18 miles it all started to go wrong and I developed crazy amounts of pain in my ankle. One of the physios out on the course iced it for me briefly at about 21 miles, and I went on. I was thinking about the other 10in10 runners who were also out on the course, some of them with much worse injuries than me, and how they were still going and took them as my inspiration, and got the job done in 4.30

I'm just back from physio now and have had a rather striking bit of taping done on my ankle which will hopefully help overnight, and I'll get it taped again in the morning, when we will all take on number eight!! 

Tuesday 14 May 2013

An emotional day

Today was really odd. I felt quite a lot of pain this morning in the dodgy knee, but after a bit of stretching and walking about, it soon loosened off. Went down to see the physios and got a great taping job done, and was in a pretty good state of mind to have a decent run.

Once 10am came though, I started feeling a bit weird and didn't really want to chat to anyone. By the time I got to the start line, I didn't really want to run anywhere either. But what other option is there...

Anyway, I started, and my legs hurt and I was tired and grouchy. The painkillers I'd taken didn't seem to make any difference and I didn't seem to be warming up. I got to the water station at 2.5 miles, and still felt rubbish...but what you can've just got to get on with it. I still didn't really want to talk to anyone though :( On I went, and soon the painkillers kicked in...and what a difference it made. Although I wasn't entirely pain free, to be able to run relatively freely was such a welcome change. The weather was lovely too! Neither though improved my mood, and by about 6.5 miles I was running along in tears! Why???? No idea...but I was overcome with emotion about who knows what and spent the rest of the day trying to control myself and just get the job done.

I carried on, still feeling pretty strong, and once I realised that I might be on for a sub 4:30 I decided that was going to be the aim of the day. I managed to finish in 4:27 which is my fastest Windermere marathon, but couldn't even look at anyone when I crossed the line.

Aly, who is so wonderfully intuitive, and knew I'd been having a tough day, steered me away from everyone and got me inside, before I took myself off to another room and burst into tears again! But by now it was all over, and soon enough, with a bit of support, I was ok again and was able to carry on the rest of the day quite normally.

I have to send my apologies to all of the awesome people out on the course today who I barely acknowledged as they tried to cheer me on...I just couldn't deal with any of it, although I kept thinking about how much I'd needed the support on previous day. But now I'm just hoping for a much better day never know, the sun may shine, my legs might work and I might just be in a good mood too! Here's hoping for a great marathon number six!! 

Oh and if you'd like to help make it an even better day, please do sponsor me at

Monday 13 May 2013

What a difference a day makes

For our fourth lap of the lake, we finally had some good weather!! What an absolute godsend it was…it made an world of difference to today’s marathon for me. Although the wind was cold and strong, for the majority of the time I was running, there were patches of blue skies and, unbelievably, sunshine. The feeling of the sun on my skin was wonderful after those long days of rain and made me smile lots of times today! I was so grateful!

As well as the weather, there was great support out on the course again, and it’s amazing just how much the sight of a vehicle surrounded by people in high-vis jackets can cheer you up! I was also incredibly pleased that as I ran up ice-cream mountain for the very first time instead of walking it, the support bus passed me…with Jim leaning out the window cheering me on.That was great timing guys :D

Before we started the run this morning, I was nabbed by Martin for a quick interview about how it was all going…which wasn’t as awful as I expected but is still something I dread. He’s also progressed from just having his camera on the tripod and we now have bike-cam too where he rides alongside for a bit, filming up as we run. When I saw him today on the bike, it was actually really nice to have a bit of company! I’m still too embarrassed to watch any the footage that’s gone up online, but I’m sure that once all this is over I will do…as Aly said today, I’m going to really miss Brathay and the 10in10 and will want to relive it – I totally agree!!

But, I’m getting ahead of myself…we’re not even half way through yet so back to today, the 4th marathon.  I was in a much better place in my mind today than yesterday despite having quite significant pain in my right knee from pretty much half a mile in until the end, by which time it was major pain in my knee, spreading all the way up my thigh, meeting the pain that was spreading down from my hip! Nevertheless, I still managed to enjoy myself although I did struggle with any sort of pace, particularly going down hill which really hurt.I walked a fair bit too which left me with my slowest marathon so far, at about 4.50. But that’s to be expected on day 4, and I’m over the moon that I had another sub 5hr run.

I had an excellent physio session this evening, and I think they’ve worked out what’s wrong with my hip too, which has been problematic since before I arrived at Brathay, so hopefully tomorrow wont be quite as painful as it was today.  But who knows. I brought some pretty strong painkillers with me so might have to start popping some pills out on the course. But whatever it takes…all I need to concentrate on is getting to the start line each morning, as once you’re on your way around the lake, nothing would stop you finishing!

Sunday 12 May 2013

The 10in10 gets tougher

As we all sit in the bar together at the end of what has been a tough day, I feel I should tell you all about running my third marathon of the ten...about the atrocious weather, forgetting to charge my garmin last night and so having to unexpectedly run without it, and the particularly pertinent fact the I also forgot to take my coat to give me any level of protection against that relentless rain! For me it was a VERY miserable was hard work and I really struggled. 

But what I'm actually going to tell you about is how awesome the support has been today. The whole of the Brathay 10in10 support team seemed to be out on the road...and it was wonderful. Every water station was manned, and everyone out on that course played their own part in getting me through the run today. I think I chatted to most people a bit, and made sure everyone knew how sorry I was feeling for myself and how tough I was finding it. They all said the right things, cheered me on, and got me back on the road though, as they do for every one of us taking part in this insane challenge.  At one point, about 16 miles I think, I only half-jokingly asked Karen if she'd give me a lift back to Brathay in the car! She declined and sent me on my way ;) 

For the latter part of the run, me, Kaz and Eli were often in sight of each other, and occasionally met up at water stations too. I think that helped as well - although we're running individually, it really is a team event and seeing them was a motivator to keep going! 

Once I crossed the line (about 4.40 I think) I was feeling thoroughly annoyed with myself for not taking the Garmin, or the coat, and was generally pretty fed up with the never ending rain!! I was cold, tired, my legs were hurting more than they have in ages, I never wanted to see another hill...and I don't think I came across as too cheery for Martin and his camera! I did feel pretty emotional though at having got Day 3 done, and had hugs from the others who were there which made a real difference.

After finishing, I got incredibly cold, very very quickly. Between Aly, Marcus, and some of the other physio team they got me sorted out with hot soup and extra coats, and then Chris came and sat with me and had a chat for a while so I could get everything off my chest, before I got sent for my ice-bath. Apparently hypothermia isn't a valid excuse for avoiding it! ;) I was so cold I was shivering before I got in so it felt warmer than the other two unpleasant as ever though! But afterwards I got showered and changed and soon felt back to normal - thoroughly happy to have completed number three, and determined to make sure that marathon number four is much less unpleasant. 

A big thank-you to the support team and the other runners for getting me through today day, and for the physio team for hopefully sorting out my dodgy legs in preparation for tomorrow.

Friday 10 May 2013

The insanity has started

Yesterday, I arrived at Brathay, got settled into my little room in our cabin in the woods and tried to prepare myself for today...the first day of the Brathay 10in10!! We all got a briefing, set about preparing our bottles and gels for the aid stations, and generally tried to relax in the bar and forget about what was to come! I left the bar pretty early and once I was all sorted, settled into my bunk bed with the laptop to watch half of a movie before going to sleep at about 10.30pm.

I can't believe I'm actually here - it's an amazing place, and even more beautiful than I remember. As I type this, all 15 of us have completed the first of our marathons, and lots of us are sat in the bar area at Brathay tapping away on our laptops and it's quite surreal to think this will be my life for the next week and a half, shared with this absolutely awesome and inspiring group of people.

If I hadn't really thought about it before, today it's really hit me just how privileged I am to be able to do this - to  have the money, and the understanding and support of my family, to allow me to leave everything behind and totally indulge my passion for running. Although that's not to say that's the only motive for being here - obviously this is primarily a fundraising event - and today has also made me think about the children who Brathay support and to be honest I think for the first time I'm realising just what an important charity this is and how life changing it can be for the children to have the opportunity to be helped by Brathay...something that the money we'll have raised doing the 10in10 will make possible for even more disadvantaged young people. If you have already sponsored me, or plan to, thank-you so much!!

But anyway...I ran the marathon today in 4:38. I was aiming for a nice easy 5 hours but I was near enough to be happy with the pace I had and the amount of walking that I did...and that 20 minutes I saved will, without a doubt, be absorbed later in the week as my pace slows down even more! It's not got any flatter up here, but the run went well and it was definitely much easier than when I last ran it in January...well, easier probably isn't the word...less frightening would be more accurate! ;) It was a bit chilly and raining for most of the day but it was only light and the wind had dropped so near enough perfect for running.

We're all just about the head for dinner, and then this evening I have a session with the physio, before finishing the movie from last night, and then having what I expect will be another early night to give my body the best chance of recovery for the morning!

Sunday 5 May 2013

4 days and 11 hours to go....

In just a very few days, I am going to start the most gruelling event of my running career...the insane reality of running ten marathons in ten consecutive days. It feels that it's both been a long time coming, and that it's come around much more quickly than expected, and I know I'm grossly under prepared.  When I was first offered a place for the 10in10 by Brathay Trust, I was convinced that by the time the event came, I'd have lost all my extra weight, I'd be incredibly fit, would have run a fair few multi-day events in short, that I'd be in the best shape of my life!

As is always the way with my plans though, this isn't how things have turned out.  I'm a good stone and a half heavier than I should be, have only run one multi-day event, and I haven't managed the level of mileage I'd expected, or hoped for, in training. I'm also carrying a fair few niggles, I think mostly as a result of not doing enough strength training and running rather sporadically.

However, I have done quite a few races (nine so far since January, including yesterday's thoroughly enjoyable Bewl Water Marathon) and although physically I may not be in optimum shape, I am without a doubt mentally stronger than I have ever been. Although I'm feeling pretty realistic about the likelihood of injury, very long days out on the roads around Windermere, and a whole world of pain during the 10in10, I'm also feeling incredibly confident about my determination to complete the event. I have no doubt that I will get to the end of day 10, and I'm definitely looking forward to the experience of being at Brathay, really getting to know and to support my fellow 10in10ers through their own journeys around the lake, and to seeing what sort of person I become by the time I get to that finish line for the tenth time. Without a doubt, the experience of the 10in10 will change me. To say I'm going to do a big event is one thing, but actually completing it will be something else and I can't begin to imagine how significant it is going to be for me. Finishing the 52 miler last year was pretty major, and the Toad too - the self-confidence they both gave me was massive - but I'm sure this will have an even bigger impact, but let's hope that's not just related to the level of injury I sustain ;)

The 10in10 has also (already!) been a massive fundraising success for me, really as a result of the incredible generosity of my family, friends and work colleagues (if you're reading this and you've already sponsored me, or are planning to sponsor me, THANK-YOU!!). I've raised more so far than I've ever done before, and the run hasn't even started - I'm very hopeful that my sponsorship total will continue to rise too, particularly as everyone realises just how difficult I'm finding it to get up each day to run the next marathon ;) I think that running for Brathay has probably made the fundraising easier though - it's a really great cause that I think most people understand and appreciate and as well as wanting to support me, everyone does seem to also want to help the children that Brathay support. If you want to as well...and it would be hugely can do it via my justgiving link here:

So, now I need to sort out the practical stuff for the 10in10 - the clothes, the shoes, and the food. Unfortunately two thirds of the branded kit we're meant to be wearing doesn't fit me properly, I can't really afford to buy everything else I need, and when I wore my new (long coveted) Kayano trainers for the Bewl Water marathon yesterday, I got the most shocking blisters...but these are things I'm just not going to worry about. Although it seems that my fellow 10in10ers are all already packed and ready to go, I am treating this much like everything else I do...with last minute nonchalance ;) Although that might just be my way of dealing with the panic that's bubbling away under the surface!

Anyway, I'll buy a few final bits I need on Wednesday, pack on Wednesday night, and then I'm driving up on Thursday to get settled at Brathay before our first marathon on Friday!! Wish me luck ;)