3 weeks and 6 days to go!!

The start of my JOGLE adventure is approaching fast. I have moments of ooh I cant wait and moments of ‘have I got everything’? Am I ready? And these last two weeks I’ve even had moments of ‘oh god will it even happen’?

The last thought was brought on by the need to sort out a mini medical thing (nothing serious) but something that none the less had to be sorted out preferably before JOGLE. I’ve been on the edge of my seat for days and finally I’ve got a date to have it sorted out mid August. I’ll need a week to two weeks to recover before running and thats literally all I’m getting before I need to head up to Scotland. Tight timing but what’s an adventure without a bit of excitement before hand?!! 😬

Since my Lake District weekend I had an easy week and a busier training week this last week. I’ve run or hiked 70km this week and had beautiful weather for most of it. I definitely feel a lot fitter. I covered some of this with my JOGLE weighted backpack and some with my smaller Salomon pack.

My coach’s advice for the remaining weeks is to focus on strength and nutrition. I’m to build a body that is more resistant to getting ill or weak basically. This has always been important but its now more important than cardio for the remaining time before I go. As he rightly points out I will continue to improve my cardio as I go along my journey but I will get tired, lose sleep, not get enough to eat and I need to be as strong as I can to minimise the impact of that.

I like the advice I should eat well over the last weeks and I’m happily going out for a curry tonight 😁. I don’t think thats what he meant though. I will need to eat lots but also well. I will try I promise.

My practice weekends were a reminder of how incredibly long the days can get and how tired I might feel. They were also a nice realisation that I end up a bit hobbly in the evenings. Sleep is magical though and I would wake up in the morning with new legs.

I will do a kit layout next weekend. There’s a last minute change as my water bladder broke this morning but other than that I’m all set to go.

In other news I’ve written another article for Ultrarunningworld.co.uk and I’ve been asked to do a talk at the Bristol running show in November. Just need to do it now!!

Oh and a lovely chap on WordPress and from Wasdale Mountain Rescue has offered to escort us up Scafell Pike. How nice is that 😁.

Below some photos of my runs/walks this week. Top ones are up on Jacobs Ladder/Kinder Scout and last few are up by Mellor Cross.

Raising Money – Jogle Run

I’m raising money for Mind and for The Menopause Charity. Both charities mean a lot to me personally. Mental health is incredibly close to my heart, I’ve suffered from depression in the past and know how much the right help can make a difference. I’m also incredibly passionate about the Menopause Charity – going through this myself now – I can appreciate fully its challenges. Climbing the three mountains will also really test my anxiety, which is why it’s so important for me to add this to my challenge.
I’ve never done anything like this before so I’m really nervous but incredibly excited and grateful to have the opportunity.

If you would like to support me then please donate to my just giving page, any donations are hugely appreciated!

Just Giving page – Mind

My Just Giving Page – Menopause

JOGLE practice weekend 1 – walking through fields of tufty bits la la la….

So I’ve just back from my first John o Groats to lands end practice weekend. 105km over 3 days and all in all it went really well. I definitely learnt a lot though about what works and what doesn’t work, which will prove really useful.

Day 1: Home to Chelford: On Thursday I set off just after lunch and ran 30km to my first campsite. It was insanely hot 🥵 and despite suncream I did get a bit sunburned.

At the beginning I didn’t really know what pace to go at. My bag plus waist bag weighted 9kg so it was always going to be slow but what should my jog/walk ratio be? For the first 2 hours I managed about 80% jogging and felt really comfortable with that.

Along the canal

On the way by the canal, I stopped for some lucozade at a pop up shop. There I got speaking to this couple. She asked me where I was going etc and I told her about JOGLE. She said ooh thats amazing and asked for the facebook page details. I’ve just checked today and she’s made a donation to Mind. It says ‘from Janet – the lady at the cafe on the canal’. How nice is that?! Awesome.

Happy in the sun

After that excitement, my run slowed considerably. I started to cross fields that were overgrown and where the footpath signs were a bit hit and miss……this became a walk.

Just diverting into the fields

After an hour or so of field meandering I rerouted and found a nice easy road to follow to a pub for tea. This added a few km but it was worth it. Full of a delicious salad and haloumi I walk/jogged onto my campsite for the night.

The campsite and facilities were fantastic. I had a field to myself with my own shower/toilet block that no one else appeared to be using – awesome! The people that ran the place were weird though. When I arrived the man in the reception area told me that he didn’t deal with campers and bookings. I would need to speak to his wife. Where is your wife? Oh she is driving that tractor over there. You’ll have to go over and speak to her. She was two fields away so I trotted off to chase down the tractor………

Once caught up we had this really bizarre conversation where I really felt I was inconveniencing her for wanting to check my booking, find a pitch and know where the facilities were. Tres tres odd!

Immaculate shower block and toilets just for moi

None the less I slept well in my lonely field and got up ready to run my longest day of 41km.

Day 2: Chelford to Wincle via Astbury

Delightfully, annoyingly my first 20km of the day were field, field, field, field….you get the picture. I’ve learnt that when you carry 9kg jogging on tufty, bumpy fields and navigating Styals and gates is very tricky. In fact I had to walk a lot of this as jogging was just proving a waste of energy versus the speed you could attain. This is a shame as this is normally the terrain I prefer but I guess its horses for courses and it’s really useful to know this now.

Another set of fields – pretty though huh

After this I found some lovely quiet runnable paths into Astbury (fun times). I ran through/past this huge house where the owner was out tending his garden. It was a public footpath I swear. We started a conversation and it turned out his stepson had run the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland doing 2 marathons a day. Yikes says I. I couldn’t imagine doing two a day. One was enough! Hats off to him. We had a lovely chat for a while and I continued on my way.

I stopped for a really nice lunch in Astbury and got to charge up my devices and cool down with an ice Coca Cola.

Nom nom nom

After lunch I went onto a canal for a while and got really excited as this was great running ground. Unfortunately I’ve learnt the hard way now that jogging immediately after a large focaccia cheese melt with chips is not a good idea. Ask no questions but lets just say the trowel on the back of my rucksack is handy.

The last 15km of the day started to go uphill and through woods. It was beautiful and shady. I really enjoyed this bit although jogging was impossible due to the elevation and tree roots everywhere. Still worth it for the views though.

Up in the forest

Finally I made it to the pub where I was camping in the field behind. I was so excited to have made it and thought I’d done about 44km but couldn’t be sure as there was no internet or Wi-Fi. I enjoyed another dehydrated meal. Yummy daal with spinach and went into the pub for a pint of Bosley Cloud (at least I think thats what it was called). Very very nice. Beer does taste even better after a run.

Yes! I’ve arrived – a pint please 🍺

Day 3: The Wild Boar Inn Wincle to Home

I got up excited knowing I was going to be running home today. I was also going to meet my husband for brunch so had an incentive to get a shift on. After the first 1km of field trudgery I discovered I had 4G and decided to replot my route to avoid fields.

More fields…. Beautiful day

Hurrah!! I felt elated after that – running well for 2 hours to meet my husband at Waterside Cafe in Bollington. I think I had pancakes but its hard to say for sure since I inhaled them 😋.

Back on the canal
Hubby arrivee! Time for brunch 😋

The last 16km was an easy flat run along a canal and local trail. My energy felt good, the bag felt fine too. My blisters were starting to become an issue so I need to look into how to avoid these/manage these better for next time.

I’m now looking forward to a well earned chippy tea with a beer. What else could a girl want? 😀

Other pictures from the weekend below:

Gorgeous views at Wincle
The start of the climb into the woods
Breakfast. Vanilla shake and coffee. The ‘shake’ was revolting 😂. I ended up having a few nuts for breaky.
Nearly at the Wild Boar Inn – just another 10% to go…
Ok so I’ve been really mean to fields. Here is a perfect one with a lovely runnable path and everything – bliss 😁☀️

JOGLE Schedule

DayDateDay of the weekRunning toKMMiles
Day 13rd SeptSAFrom John O Groats to – TBD4729
Day 24th SeptSUTBD4528
Day 35th SeptMCrask Inn4226
Day 46th SeptTTBD3219
Day 57th SeptWGreenacre B&B Stittenham3222
Day 68th SeptTBeauly3924
Day 79th SeptFTBD3220
Day 810th SeptSATBD3522
Day 911th SeptSUFort William4025
Day 1012th SeptMClimb Ben Nevis149
Day 1113th SeptTWesthighland Way3421
Day 1214th SeptWWesthighland Way3119
Day 1315th SeptTWesthighland Way4126
Day 1416th SeptFGlasgow4729
Day 1517th SeptSALesmahagow4629
Day 1618th SeptSUTBD – Find Wild camping4319
Day 1719th SeptMTBD – Ecclefechan maybe4532
Day 1820th SeptTTBD – maybe Dalston4230
Day 1921st SeptWWhinfell Hall Campsite4225
Day 2022nd SeptTWasdale Head Inn228
Day 2224th SeptSAClimb Scafell Pike106
Day 2325th SeptSUAmbleside3220
Day 2426th SeptMCarnforth5031
Day 2527th SeptTTBD3220
Day 2628th SeptWTBD – near Adlington (north of Wigan)4327
Day 2729th SeptTsomewhere near Frodsham4830
Day 2830th SeptFTBD4226
Day 291st OctSAConwy5132
Day 302nd OctSULlanberis4025
Day 313rd OctMClimb Snowdon2415
Day 324th OctTTBD3824
Day 335th OctWDolgellau3421
Day 346th OctTsomewhere after Machynlleth3723
Day 357th OctFLLangurig or Rhayader4528
Day 368th OctSATBD3220
Day 3810th OctMBefore Abergavenny4125
Day 3911th OctTTBD3019
Day 4012th OctWAvonmouth4528
Day 4113th OctTAxbridge3622
Day 4214th OctFTaunton5434
Day 4416th OctSUCadeleigh or Tiverton3824
Day 4517th OctMNorth Tawton3824
Day 4618th OctTTavistock4126
Day 4719th OctWBotelet Herodsfoot4226
Day 4820th OctTTruro5333
Day 4921st OctFSt Ives4729
Day 5022nd OctSALands End3318

12 weeks to go eek 😱!! 🏃‍♀️🇬🇧⛰

Well its officially 12 weeks until JOGLE whoop! Training is continuing following our Cleveland Way adventure two weeks ago.

This last week I did a double session at the gym on Monday, a loaded rucksack run on Tuesday, a bike ride and yoga on Wednesday, a run and strength workout on Thursday, a longer run on Friday, another run on Saturday followed by more yoga and finished with a long hike today with the weighted rucksack again.

I forget what this particular yoga move is called – comfier than it looks!

I’m starting to feel more confident and ready but the one thing I feel I haven’t done is run long days with the rucksack back to back.

So at the end of June and again at the end of July I plan to do long weekends of running with full kit to practice.

In 3 weeks time, for my first weekend practice, I will take the train up to Dalston (south of Carlisle). From there I will do 3 days of running/jogging/walking.

Day 1: Run from Dalston ca. 39k to Thornthwaite – camp over.

Day 2: Jog from Thornthwaite to Wasdale Head near Scafell Pike. Elevation is decent at 1100m over ca 22km so I expect a fair bit of walking in there too.

Day 3: Wasdale Head to a train station at Ravenglass – ca. 20km.

It’ll be interesting to see how my legs/muscles are and also how navigation over the fell near Haystacks is on day 2. Hopefully the weekend will give me that last bit of confidence I need.

Piccy from today. Training takes place in all weathers ☔️😁

The Cleveland Way – the Yellow Brick Road

Last week we walked the Cleveland Way. Well, technically the Cleveland Way stretches from Helmsley to Filey but we only had a timeline of one week and decided to cover the stretch from Sutton Bank to Scarborough in that time. This was first and foremost a holiday but had the advantage of being great training for JOGLE as we would carry everything we needed on our backs and camp along the way.

We started in Sutton Bank bottom left. This is just a few miles outside of Thirsk.

We set off on a Thursday after work for Thirsk and stayed over in a really nice Wetherspoons hotel/pub. I have to say I’d recommend these. Really good value. We slept well and ate well for very little cost.

Day 1 – Sutton Bank to Ingleby (23.55km – 543m of ascent)

On Friday morning we set off at a respectable 9am in a taxi from Thirsk heading for Sutton Bank. The starting point for us (and for most people would be Day 2 of the complete walk) is high up on a hill. The taxi ramped up the 25% winding hill to the top where we got out at the Sutton Bank Visitor Centre for our start.

We started following the signs for the Cleveland Way but also had the route on our Fenix watches. It’s incredibly easy to follow and there are regular signs with little acorns on. The weather was initially quite sunny but it did cloud over as the day went on. It made for a very pleasant walking temperature.

Excited we are on our way!

After a few km we came across a little cafe (High Paradise Farm) in the middle of nowhere (or so it felt). There, we were able to get some coffees and cake and make a fuss of the resident dog which came to visit each table.

The views were spectacular and although there was some gentle undulation, the majority of this day was spent high up on a plateau, taking in the views for miles and miles underneath rolling clouds and blue skies.

We followed the path which was nearly always a sandstone path, which wound its way along the plateau and which you could see for a mile or more into the distance. It looked like the yellow brick road. Follow, follow, follow…..

An hour or so into our walk we got hungry and decided to squat down in front of a stone wall to hide from the strong wind, so we could get out our stoves and cook up some noodles. We followed this up with a nice brew each and then set off again on our way.

I should add at this point that we both carried all our own stuff. I took my JOGLE bag. It’s 30litres. I also have a 3litre waist bag. I’ll do a separate post on my kit at a later point but I can fit everything I need to survive in these bags. Chris had a much larger bag but essentially had the same stuff. He had two additional things for comfort, but mostly had a much more organised bag with things wrapped up separately for ease of use. My bag was more ‘stuff it all in’. It’s simply a choice of functionality versus weight/size and I decided to go with the exact kit I will be taking for JOGLE.

We eventually started to descend towards Osmotherley and found a lovely cafe where we had toasted sandwiches and some cold drinks. There was yet another ‘live in’ dog who came round and made loving eyes at us with his favourite toy in his mouth. Aww.

After Osmortherley there was a climb upwards again and we started to walk though woodland past the first of many fields of bluebells. Finally we descended quite sharply through the wood and navigated a very narrow path through the trees and over muddy ditches. This bit was ‘off’ the Cleveland Way and was simply to get us to our campsite for the night. It was at this point that Chris stepped down into a ditch that was much deeper than anticipated. There was much swearing. Being behind him I was able to find a different way but then had to scramble up a bank and tripped over some sort of sharp plant entrails. I adorned the long scratches across my shins for the rest of the trip.

A km on and we made it to the Bluebell pub where we were camping in the garden. As we arrived we heard a cuckoo nearby making that distinctive sound. After some dinner and beers in the pub we retired early to our tents to read and get an early night.

Day 2: Ingleby to Chopgate (20km – 846m ascent)

In the morning we took advantage of breakfast at the pub and then set off to rejoin the Cleveland Way.

Back on the yellow brick road

Day 2 was probably the hardest. It started off straight up a hill and was steep enough for a mini scramble at the top. Once up, the day proceeded to continue with many ascents/descents, four of which were steep up/down. Many of the downs were man made stone steps, which I find not only scary but also quite difficult as they never make the steps deep enough for a full foot. So you find yourself stepping down sideways then shuffle over, then a few more sideways steps, negotiate a bigger drop, grab something (oh yeah there isn’t anything) and so on. For me this was mentally harder than physically. I had to stop and pause now and again just to get on top of my breathing (due to feeling uncomfortable with the drops).

One of the peaks

The views on this day were astonishingly beautiful though. This is often the way. The best views are achieved by making the scariest ascents and descents. In one particular valley en route we stopped off at a lovely cafe (Lordstones) and parked our bums in the shade as it was an incredibly hot day. The food and drinks were much appreciated as was the brief respite from the up/down day.

Closer to Chop Gate we saw a sign that pointed to the village and decided to follow this rather than our original route to get there. We think it saved us 1-2km. On arriving at Chop Gate we found the Buck Inn pub where we were staying and put up our tents in the back garden, Wolfgang and his staff are excellent and very helpful. There was only us camping there but there were other people walking the Cleveland Way and Coast to Coast staying in rooms in the pub.

Camping in the garden

We had access to a shower room and toilet and loved staying here. There was a peahen (we think) living in the garden. He made a noise that sounded like one of those foot driven pumps you blow up a paddling pool with 😂. Eee’errr, eee’errrr. We called him Mr Squeaky.

We had both dinner and breakfast in the pub and the food was excellent. There was also a choice of German foods and German music playing in the background, whilst we ate.

Day 3: Chop Gate to Kildale (17.6km – 440m of ascent)

Waving goodbye to Mr Squeaky, we set off on what became the easiest day of hiking. The weather was warm but there was a constant breeze all day that made it perfect for walking. There was just one up at the beginning and one down at the end. We spent the rest of the walk up on a plateau with beautiful views all around, surrounded by moorland and the yellow brick road. There were no cafes en route so we stopped and shared an adventure meal of mashed potatoes and vegetables around midday.

Up on the plateau you can see Roseberry Topping in the distance (the hill with the little peak).

Arriving at Kildale we were both pretty tired. On reflection the previous day had caught up with us and we probably hadn’t eaten enough.

We arrived at Kildale camping barn farm and found that the owners were away on holiday. There were some people there doing an archeological dig and they showed us where the kitchen, showers (although these required money which we didn’t have) and toilets were. They didn’t know anything about us camping though. We went ahead and camped there for the night in the camping garden and were the only ones there. It was great to have the kitchen to ourselves and we cooked ourselves some more adventure food. Unfortunately we’d run out of snacks and I admit we went to bed a bit hungry.

There was a bit of a storm in the night and the tents shook but they stayed in place as they should do. Despite this, we slept incredibly well and got up to make our one and only adventure food breakfasts (chocolate muesli). It was gorgeous so I’ll definitely be getting more of those. We met the owners son before we left who checked in to make sure we’d made ourselves at home. Yes we did!

Still feeling a bit peckish we set off on our way.

Day 4: Kildale to Saltburn (24.74km – 611m ascent)

We knew today was a long day but we also knew it would end with a stay at a B&B in Saltburn and I was looking forward to a decent shower. Chris was looking forward to chips by the sea.

I set off on this day in a bit of a low mood. I think it was just lack of food on the previous day combined with the knowledge we would be walking 25km, our longest day to date. Fortunately a few km into our walk my mood picked up. This walk was probably my favourite day. It was very undulating but I don’t mind ascents and the descents were much more Lorna friendly. We passed many beautiful view points and walked through Forests and moorland.

We stopped en route for some noodles but it wasnt enough and by the time we found a cafe at 16km we were incredibly hungry. We both inhaled some toasties, cake, coffees and soft drinks. The Chase cafe was lovely and played 40/50’s music and had pictures of 40’s/50’s stars on the walls.

Arriving in Saltburn we eventually found our B&B and immediately unpacked all our stuff all over the room to dry out our tents and air sleeping bags etc.

The shower was unfortunately not the best but I managed to clean myself, my hair and my top with hand soap. (I only took two tops which I switched daily and washed when it was possible).

Saltburn was very picturesque and we went to a chippy cafe overlooking the beach and had chips with curry.. sauce/gravy and I had the battered fish. It was all delicious.

Day 5: Saltburn to Hinderwell (17.64km – 459m of ascent)

Day 5 was a special day as it was the first day of walking along the coast line. I was nervous it would be all ups and downs (well worried about steep downs) but it was a fairly easy day made even easier by beautiful weather and stunning views.

Between Skinningrove and Staithes there is a sculpture by Artist Katie Ventress celebrating 50-years of mining at Boulby. The miner in the photo below is sat at a ‘bait’ table, where miners sit to take a break and eat lunch.

We stopped in the picturesque village of Staithes and had teacakes and ice cream.

The descent into Staithes
First ice cream of many

We arrived at the campsite in Hinderwell early due to it being a shorter days walk.

Serenity campsite has to be the nicest, plushest campsite I’ve ever been to. It had a shower/toilet block which was posher than the one we’d had at the B&B. I still only had hand soap to wash my hair (but hey it works). There was also a great kitchen and another lounge type cabin which had Wi-Fi where we spent the evening reading our books.

We went to The Badger Hounds pub across the road for dinner. It was easily the tastiest food I’ve had in a long time. I would give it 5*. You know when you just keeping saying mmmm. This just finished off a perfect day and one of my favourite days of the trip.

Day 6: Hinderwell to Robin Hoods Bay (27.11km – 609m of ascent)

We set off early as we had a long day ahead of 27km. We set off from Hinderwell, rejoined the Cleveland Way and dropped down into Runswick Bay. From there we had a tough climb out of the bay climbing many steps.

The I like the climbing bit face

This was the start of a day that encompassed a series of steps down and back up again out of small ravines as you went along the coast line.

We stoppped along the way in Witsends Cafe in Sandsend and I had huge toasted teacakes with jam and Chris had a vegan sausage butty.

Under the trees is another ravine. You go down another set of steps under the tree line where and then up again.

After many ups and downs we finally walked through a small tunnel and could see Whitby town through the clearing.

We dropped down and down into the main streets where we saw more people than we had for the entire trip so far. An ice cream, a stop at some shops for food to carry and we quickly left as it was simply too busy. We climbed the steps that up to the Abbey on the hill and from there left Whitby behind.

After Whitby there were more ravines and steps….utterly beautiful and I was getting used to them by this point.

In the last few kilometres my feet started to feel really sore. This made the going tough and I was glad to arrive at our campsite at the top of Robin Hoods Bay. It was yet another great campsite with shower block/toilets and a kitchen facilities. After a quick wash we headed down the fields to a pub for dinner and some beers. 😀

Robin Hoods Bay in the early evening

Day 7: Robin Hoods Bay to Scarborough (25.84km – 654m of ascent

This was the hardest day for me. I had already experienced quite a bit of foot pain the day before and had put it down to my boots and socks. I had then stupidly washed two pairs of socks the night before leaving myself with only one dry pair (which were too thin and inadequate for my boots and discomfort). I fashioned two mini extra socks out of some tubing which I cut with my penknife. However, it wasnt enough and i had to keep stopping because of the pain/discomfort. Finally my husband pointed out he had a pair of clean spare socks, which I immediately donned.

It was like magic and the pain eased significantly. This significantly improved my mood for a while. I was able to continue on and we walked 6km and found a lovely cafe in Ravenscar for breakfast. When we left, however, I suddenly got sharp pains in my right ankle and couldn’t understand what was causing it. I figured it must be just the boot chafing. I walked on through the the pain and thought maybe if I blank it out it will start to ease off. It seemed to work and I was able to cover another 6-10km in this way.

On the way I was helpfully distracted by the sight of two peacocks. One of them put on a beautiful show for us and we were able to catch this in a photo.

Eventually however, it caught up with me again and the pain went from a manageable 5/10 to an eye watering 9/10. At this point I was hobbling along and my husband pointed out that maybe we should go off the trail and find a bus to Scarborough. Noooooooo. I really didn’t want to do that. I made the decision to carry on as it felt like a test of my mental strength, something I will have to do for JOGLE.

After a dose of ibuprofen however, it started to become easier and I was able to walk the rest of the way to Scarborough and enjoy the views and the sense of accomplishment of being nearly at the finish. The sun was out as we walked along the promenade into Scarborough and we enjoyed the views and set about looking for our hotel for the night.

We did it!

Our final night was spent in the lovely Raincliffe Hotel in Scarborough. The room was great, they had a bar and a pool table and the pub where we got our dinner was shuffling distance. – perfect.

John O Groats to Lands End Running Schedule

For some time now I’ve been playing about with Komoot looking at multiple different routes to run through the UK that also take in the 3 peaks. The hope is to get me from John O Groats to Lands End within 6-7 weeks, averaging a marathon a day.

I’ve come up with the rough schedule below as I’d love for people to join me for the day, half a day or even a mile if they want to. However, I also want to have an adventure and be free to leave certain bits to the last minute. I’ve therefore, included a number of days that are to be decided ‘TBD’. In total I have 3 ‘wiggle’ days. I’ve kept these days free in case of insurmountable weather, illness or injury. If I don’t need to use them for these reasons (fingers crossed) then I will probably shorten some of the days proceeding the named wiggle room day. Sitting around in a tent or at a B&B for a whole day doesn’t appeal and from experience I’m more like to end up with a sore back or hips if I do so.

The plan was created using some hiking routes but also many mountain biking routes. It’s essentially off road where possible utilising the many miles of trails that cross our country.

So feel free to look below (please click on download) and if you would like to join me for a jog, full day or half day running or walking or a bit of both please message me and we can arrange where to meet and when etc. I would then do my utmost to meet any arrangements made with anyone. As I run, however, I’ll be tracked and also be updating social media so if I fall down a rabbit hole Alice in Wonderland style, you’ll hopefully know well in advance.

Two things should not change. I will set off on 3rd Sept (Saturday morning) and arrive at Lands End on Saturday 22nd October by lunchtime.

Hardest week yet. 14 hrs 40 training, 76km running/hiking and my first wild camp. 19 weeks to go to JOGLE woohoo!

It’s been a tough but amazing week in training. It was the hardest week in my training month but it was full of special moments like this.

One of those magical moments

The week started off with a full hour at the gym followed by a 11km run carrying nearly full kit. It weighed in at 8kg which was more than I was aiming for. I’ve tried all along to keep everything super light but I think the reality is that is light for ‘self supported’. Despite the weight, my Tuesday run went well and it’s definitely ‘doable’. I jog with it on the flat and downhill then I walk the uphills. I can just about jog with it if its a shallow uphill.

Photos 1&2 from Friday run and photo 3 from the backpack run.

Wednesday was an hour on the turbo. Its not exciting on a turbo but it’s serving its purpose as I generally feel better after. Spinning with a low gear eases my tired muscles.

Thursday I do a half hour run at a really slow pace. This is definitely a recovery run. I generally want to go faster but I know its good for me to keep it slow. After work on a Thursday I have a strength workout with my PT Emma. This week was mainly arms with some core. She had me dangling and trying to do pull ups using a box to put one foot on to assist. I really enjoy these workouts. She’s an excellent trainer and pushes me to get stronger.

Friday was my long run. I’m normally highly motivated. This week I wasn’t feeling it and had to push myself to go out and run 33km (which turned into 35km due to diversions). It was gorgeous weather. Perhaps too gorgeous as I was a sweaty puddle for most of it 🥵. I walked most of the uphills and ran the rest. It was hilly and quite technical in places so conserving energy on the tricky bits makes sense. By the end of it I was really enjoying it. Partly because it was flat in the last 5km 😝 and partly because I still had some energy which amazed me. It might of been the half time teacakes and Coca Cola – nom.

On Saturday my husband and I took a late afternoon train to Edale and hiked via Upper Booth, up Jacobs Ladder to the Wool Packs on Kinder plateau. It was ‘only’ 7km but it was all uphill, pretty warm and rocky. It was beautiful all the way and I really enjoyed hiking in the evening. The views were stunning (see some photos below).

Once we found a nice spot we started laying out our tents for the night. I was really excited as this was my first experience wild camping! I tried out a new footprint which was hilarious as it was so lightweight it kept trying to blow away. It also didn’t have any holes in it to pin it down (lesson learnt there). I had to put all my kit on top of it to stop it blowing away, then put my tent up on top and then slide out my stuff from underneath. 🤦‍♀️ 😆

Once we had all our stuff sorted we set about finding a nice spot to see the sunset whilst cooking our adventure meals on the stoves. Having one of these dehydrated meals was also a first. I have to say I’m very surprised and also delighted – it was really yummy! I had a creamy mashed potato mixed with vegetables and hubby had bean chipotle chilli. We will definitely be getting those again.

From top left clockwise: Our perfect wild camping spot, me making my way to Jacobs Ladder, me near the top of Kinder, the sun setting behind Kinder.

We settled down after tea for some chocolate and whiskey – great combination if you’ve never tried 😁. After a while it got too cold so we disappeared in our respective tents to read our kindles and shout out to each other about our books. I should add we have two ‘one man’ tents as we plan to go on separate adventures so this made the most sense.

Hubby nearly at the top, a quiet moment taking it all in

I got up in the night for a tinkle and the view was stunning – perhaps I should rephrase that!! The moon was so bright – it was gorgeous. It didn’t really get dark. I can really imagine it’s worth going up there with a good camera.

The view at night, Chris posing in front of the glorious sunset

We slept like babies 😴. In the morning it was amazing to wake up to the spectacular views. I think I’m a wild camping convert! We had porridge and coffees and started packing up for the days hike.

Our Easter Sunday hike was only 18km but it was really tough. On a physical level there was a lot of rocks, boulders, steps, technical ground etc. On a meditational level it was amazing. The views were utterly stunning non stop all the way. From a psychological perspective, however, the descent down William Clough dialled into my anxieties. I know I need to work on my fear of technical downhills since I’m planning to climb and descend the 3 peaks.

Today, however, was a reminder of how tough its going to be for me. It’s hard to describe how uncomfortable I get when staring down at a steep descent when it’s rocky and especially if the rocks are wet. I have to take my time, a step at a time and just try not to look too far ahead. One of the hardest things is knowing that others find it so easy. I wonder why I cant find it easy also. The positive to takeaway from this is that I did it. I walked down William Clough – ta dah. Hubby pointed out that I should probably do that kind of descent many times to get ready for the 3 peaks. So we will work this into the plan. I know it will get better. I will nail this – grrrr… 💪

Views from the hike today

21 weeks to go………

The last few weeks in training have been interesting…..

There was a great 32k run carrying a small amount of kit, stopping to make a brew with my new kraku stove in the warm sunshine. This run also included my fourth time filtering river water using my mini Sawyer filter which filters out 99.99% of all bacteria. It doesn’t filter out viruses (but you wouldn’t unduly expect many in UK rivers) and it doesn’t filter our chemicals (simply dont use river water near factories).

Photos from the beautiful 32k run

The day after this run I became ill – very ill. Probably the worst case of gastroenteritis (assuming thats what it was) I’ve ever had. Following the initial gruesome bit (details spared here) I carried on feeling sick, a bit dizzy and generally rubbish for several days. Was it the water? Or did I just eat something dodgy? Or did I make contact with something undesirable on my run and then eat my sandwiches. 🤔

To say that this experience made me paranoid is an understatement. I’ve been second guessing everything I’ve read about water filters. However, I’ve regrouped and done some more research. Well I contacted an amazing Adventurer on Twitter and she advised that she uses purification tablets on top of a filter unless she is high up in the mountains. Following my mini ‘hiccup’ I’ve decided this is also what I shall do.

After my “recovery week” I intended to cautiously step back into training for week 1 of my new workout plan. My coach at North_Endurance sets out a new plan every month. Week 1-Week 3 build up gradually with week 3 being the hardest. Week 4 is then a recovery week where sessions are halved or made easier in terms of intensity. Each four week plan might incorporate a new element or goal and will generally also include a new strength workout.

This months plan includes the following new elements:

  • One weekly run including the rucksack with full kit and weight
  • A longer gym session to test muscular endurance
  • A 3 day weekend of aerobic endurance. Fri is long run, Sat long (well ish) bike and Sun long hike.

My long run will build to 21 miles by the end of this plan. Next month the coach will put me on back to back runs Sat/Sun but reduce the distance (then rebuild it again).

I’ve been very impressed with my coach. He’s kept me injury free so far (my own attempts to poison myself aside). Long may it continue!

I absolutely loved this last week of training, although I will admit it left me shattered by the end of yesterday and I’ve had today off to rest with another rest day tomorrow.

On Monday I did an hours workout at the gym. I’m really enjoying the gym and strength work so this was all about the fun for me.

On Tuesday I ran with my rucksack for the first time. Well technically speaking its not the first time I’ve run with a weighted bag but it was the first time with this particular bag and the first time its been that full. I managed to pack it with 6kg. In reality it’ll be more like 7-7.5kg for JOGLE as I will pack adventure food, a tracker and yet more water in a bladder. I simply don’t have these things yet but I should get the bladder soon at least.

I was pleasantly surprised to find I was not only able to jog but to keep this up for a full hour quite easily. It felt really comfortable on the whole. The only issues to resolve are getting a bladder as the pockets at the front are not large enough for soft water bottles and finding a way to stop the small ridge in the back of the rucksack from rubbing me and causing chafing when I run.

Wednesday and Thursday included a turbo session, a short run and a death by Emma session with my PT 😬😆. She worked me seriously hard but its good to feel I’m getting stronger.

On Friday I ran 23km, mostly on road. It’s amazing how easy road running feels when you always run on hilly trails. Having said that I was still slow as a) I got lost (as always!) and b) I was bollocksed 😆.

Lovely view from Broadbottom just before the getting lost episode

On Saturday I went on a hike with Emma and some of her friends. It was a really lovely day and we walked through beautiful places on undulating trails. We parted ways at the top of Jacobs Ladder and they continued onto Castleton finishing a long day of 24km and I finished my 19km in Edale meeting up with hubby who had also hiked 22km from a different starting point (so clearly I was the laziest that day 😆). We were both carrying full kit and camped in Edale at a lovely place called Fieldhead Campsite. I can highly recommend.

Top left and clockwise: Vegan brownie after a long hike, stopping for lunch with the ‘girls’ on our way up Kinder Scout, me first thing enjoying a cappuccino in my tent, two of us having a good natter on the hike yesterday.

Thankfully my lovely husband brought me a second sleeping bag as it was -1 degrees and my season II sleeping bag just doesn’t cut it in those temperatures. I was toasty warm and had a lovely sleep listening to the sounds of a nearby stream as I drifted off. The pint of beer and nip of Martell brandy at the Nags Head helped though. A lovely finish to a lovely week.

Beautiful photo from the hike