Throughout October I shall be quacking out about the DEBRA Big Breakfast
! This is a fun way to help raise vital funds to help research and provide the best social care for all those with genetic skin blistering condition Epidermolysis Bullosa
(EB). It is also EB Awareness week 25th - 31st October. Why not bake some breakfast muffins to sell to collegues at work or friends at school
or cook a full fry up for a reasonable donation! Think big, have some fun! Register for your Big Breakfast Pack
and let the DEBRA Team know what you are doing. Together we can all help to make a world of difference and help eradicate such a terrible and painful condition.The Big Breakfast campaign is supported by actor and presenter Christopher Biggins, "Get together with friends, family or colleagues and tuck into a DEBRA Big Breakfast and help us with the fight against EB. You could always serve porridge!".
A noisy quackout as the Duck prepares to shake her tail feathers at the It’s A Late, Late Big Breakfast Party!with free orange juice and a croissant, kindly donated by CostcoZUMBATHON®
Charity event benefitting DEBRA
and the DEBRA Big Breakfast
A charity registered in England and Wales (1084958) and Scotland (SC039654)
3pm – 5pm
Edgbarrow Sports Centre
Grant Road, Crowthorne, Berkshire
£10 entry fee plus sponsorship
Contact: Janine Lewis for more details and to register 01344 771961 firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Licensed Zumba Instructors are Jackie Cullen, Michelle Legg and Emily LucasZumba Fitness logos are trademarks of Zumba Fitness, LLC, used under license
Our Zumba instructors Jackie Cullen, Michelle Legg and Emily Lucas are guaranteed to insure you have fun and an exhilarating work out!
Come with a smile, a bottle of water and a towel!
The more money you can raise through sponsorship and donations will make a big, big difference to people living with the painful skin condition Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).
I look forward to seeing you there. Please do arrive early for registration and to hand in your sponsorship form, sponsorship money and donations. If you raise £50 or more there is a free DEBRA t-shirt as a thank you.
Please also do make sure you are in the best of health, without any aches or pains. Zumba is a strenuous activity. Your health and safety must come first, and is your responsibility.
"I have supported DEBRA for a number of years, after meeting a little boy who lives with severe EB. This really is the most distressing condition I have seen and I believe it is vital that we do everything possible to ensure tomorrow's children do not have to suffer the agony of EB. Leaving money in your will to DEBRA will ensure that the charity can continue to give people with EB the best possible quality of life and fund research which will hopefully find a cure for this horrific condition. Please support DEBRA." - Anthea Turner
A few weeks ago I decided to change my running style. There were a variety of reasons for doing this. The main one was to improve my running style and avoid some niggly injuries so that I could run further. I would like to do more long distances, or ultra marathons.I have not been taught how to run. I just speeded up my walking style. Most of us walk by putting our heel down first. So I have been running by doing the same. I went to my local running shops to get kitted out in the appropriate foot wear. I was advised I run with a heel strike so a pair of well cushioned trainers would be appropriate. I also "overpronate" so trainers to support the arch and provide better stability would also suit me.So for the past year I have been bouncing around on my heels. I have done all the training required to compete in a variety of distances from 5km through to a marathon. I have also done all the cross training to strengthen knees, hips, back and all the major muscle groups. I have learned the art of stretching, yoga, pilates and free weights to strengthen and make me supple. All this to be the "perfect" runner. So why did I always get a pulling niggle on the inside of my knee on the left leg, achille pulls on the right ankle and a weird sensation crossing from lower left back down to my right outer calf?
These were the constant weak spots that the brilliant Vanessa, masseuse extraordinaire
had to constantly work on. All the muscles and ligaments were in good shape with only small knots to ever work on. At no time did I ever question the running shops about why I over pronated? Why were they giving me shoes to cushion rather than correct? This wasn't a holistic approach to running just fire fighting. That's because I knew no better until I did Run 24 and had a chance to mingle with so many different runners in an array of different running shoes. In fact, some wore no shoes! My curiousity got the better of me and so started the the insatiable quest of learning about the different running techniques, shoes, no-shoes, minimalist shoes
, etc. I wrote my blog
about wanting to run hard and happy! It was to set me off into the unknown about running!I shared with you the journey of my changing from heel strike to midsole running, plus the different shoes I bought. But it would seem I am not the only one who is changing running style. Julia Buckley,
a wonderful fitness trainer that I follow on twitter
has also been dabbling. She has enjoyed running and training in the Vibram FiveFinger shoes. I just love the look of those! Along with other manufacturers they take the transition to minimalist running seriously, to avoid injury, and so also offer running clinics. Julia has enjoyed some of those clinics and shares her journey through a variety of informative and easy read blogs
Vibram FiveFingers are hosting free minimalist training clinics
across London until 12th August so why not check one out if you are up for the Olympics!
Minimalist running isn't for everyone but why not give it a try. Feel the freedom and run as Mother nature intended!
I have now been walking, power walking and done a couple of short runs in my shoes. I am enjoying the feel. I am enjoying the freedom and being in control with my body. I will pop into Altimus
, Reading, to check out the Vibrams. The knowledge and expertise of the guys in there are second to none as they even rock climb and run ultras in their Vibrams! But they have also taken their time to build up the "wear" time. Check out their footwear when you pop in! It is always good to enjoy choice and variety. We practise it all the time with our food, drinks, hairstyles, fashion, etc. So why not our running shoes. Late edit add-on - As always I do love to share views, opinions and journey's and this blog resonates with what I am trying to say about slow transition into minimalist running. Thank you Paul!
@RobStarbuck is running 132 miles in 36 hours, from Ilfracombe to Bulford Camp, August 30th and 31st, 2012.
This is the Forces March route
that 60 of us did over 5 days as 5 marathons, in May. That's a whole lot of hills, wriggly blind bended roads, annoying hip wrenching cambers and a menagary of animals who may try to steal his thunder! Plus inconsiderate speeding drivers. This has to be run in the road, and into the oncoming traffic. He will be doing it during peak holiday season so will have to contend with additional hazards of caravans, camper vans, and a higher volume of drivers holidaying in the gorgeous South of England. Plus tractors, artic trucks ..
He took part in the 2012 Forces March
so he knows the route, the dangers and the very difficult terrain that will challenge his body. This is an extreme endurance ultra distance. He will be running through the night and in the dark! He has to get his fueling, hydration and footing just right, to safe
and energised. This is not just a physical challenge but an enormous mental one too. He may have a car to support for health and safety reasons, but he is out there on his own, willing his body and soul to run the distance.
Rob is inspired to help our veterans and raise money for The Veterans Charity
. It is also to commemorate 70 years to the day of the legendary march by the 6th Airborne Division in early training for D-Day in 1942 from Ilfracombe, N Devon to Bulford, Wiltshire.Please show your support of him and our veterans by making a donation.
You can text donate 70070 RSFM70 £10 (or any amount) or
justgiving.com/Starbuck-2012-Challenges With YOUR support WE can change Veterans' lives.
PLEASE DO IT NOW - GO ON.
Please share this .. let's go viral and hear the coffers rattle loud!
I have just had another incredible weekend and a second 24 hour endurance event in seven days.An event were I took part as a team of die-hard fun participants, with a group of teams from our running group Reading Joggers. Run 24
was a local event at Aldermaston, near Reading. 8km laps through woodland, with a few mini hills, a little bog and peat, mixed in with tufty grassy, some asphalt.. yes multi terrain! It was for mixed abilities and you could run as a team or solo. There were fantastic facilities to accomodate us all as campers too. Excellent toilets and showers that were maintained regularly. A marquee with food, beer, a band, the Sweatshop and Clif Bars, plus Mizuno were there to for sales and advice on footwear.Reading Joggers pitched tents close to each other, and we had also pitched larger tents to have a massage tent (we had a wonderful team helping us!!)
, catering tent and Communications gazebo(s). We started as a team, we worked as a team, we camped as a team. Each running team had a captain and plan of action. All the months of preperation, thought and training finally came together and we were Awesome! Now this piece is going off in many tangents as once again whilst running, observing, mingling and chatting to others, the Duck Brain went into overdrive and the imagination was fueled!I learned this weekend that my body is a lot stronger than I give it credit for. It got me through a second 24 hour event in 7 days. Second time I have mentioned that, as ultimately it is something I am proud of. Plus it was all on the back of the Forces March a couple of weeks previous to that! So, three endurance events in four weeks!
I now know my mind is strong enough for endurance. I would now like the body to step up to the mark and be just as strong. It can go the distance slow and steady, but now I'd like to be faster and sleeker. I would like to be a Paul Ali and do some real endurance events!
I mention Paul because he did Run 24 as a solo, and despite a calf and groin injury he dug in, and was 1st man having done an incredible 22 laps in 24 hours. It wasn't just his strength of mind and focus to complete, in some pain I imagine, but that he was such a gent and smiled when ever he came past or came in to top up supplies. I never heard him complain, and always remembered his Ps and Qs! Even after 24 hours! I also watched how other solo runners worked their way through the 24 hours and have been enormously impressed with their tactics and resiliance. This has whetted my appetite.This weekend also showed me how much a running club CAN help me. Until now I have been a little intimidated. That is my own fault as I hadn't really got to know any one, and due to work, it was hard to really find the time to go. I now know I must and will insure Tuesday Child is returned home safely, on time and no longer hold me back! I also know that there is a lot of support and no patronising so I have nothing to fear
. Ask, speak out, but never worry! there was also the joy and education in being part of a team of diverse talent, energy, characters and running ability. I was hungry for more of each person (their running experiences!) so was constantly asking questions and listening. This is the key to my developing into a better runner. Better in mind, body and soul to train efficiently and focus on a goal, not many! I have also finally realised that like many things in life, there are many varities and styles of most things, and the same can be said of running. Running is the generic term; I know I am happiest running in my local woods or along the river bank. I love off road and being outdoors; the greenery, the soft ground, the changing terrain, the smell and sights of Mother Nature! Having done three endurance events back to back I have also realised how in my enthusiasm to try and dabble in so many things, my body would never be able to taper and recover properly to be any good at any one thing!
In my quest to become a person that a few close family members could be proud of, plus to maximise on challenges for raising funds and awareness for a few charities, I have not really been able to excel at one thing. I have done quite a few challenges and with many ulterior motives and spread myself thin! However, the experience has been invaluable, the fund raising succesful, and I now know where I would like to focus. Until you try something you wont know what you like! I have never shied away from the fact that I hate running. It has been tough for me to motivate myself, to do the training, to compete in the events I sign up for that puts me under the constant pressure to run! I have even come up with the quote "Running is my new chocolate"! Binge on it and you will be ill! Avoid it, and I get withdrawal sypmtons! I came across this quote today,
“Running has never failed to give me great end results, and that's why I keep coming back for more!” . Never a truer word said! And so this now brings me full circle to where I would like to go for the next year. I need to focus on a couple of events. To train hard and not spread myself thin
. Have a goal and purpose. To do these events for Me! I must learn to not want to emulate some one else. I am special in my own right and capable of so much. I can be my own hero! But I must learn to not jump before I can crawl! I must go back to basics, start simple and not over complicate anything. Listen to my body, and the sound advice of others. Rein in the enthusiasm! Start small then as I get stronger, think bigger! The ideas I have means I will be involved more with Reading Joggers so I shall be in good company, which I have missed a lot in the past. Plus learning from their experiences and not relying on my limited knowledge and google!Initial thoughts are to do an ultra event and there are two that appeal - The Thames Trot Ultra 50
, 2nd February 2013 and to be a solo entrant for the next Run 24 UK
, 30th June 2013 (tbc). So much for thinking small! But it is not impossible with all the current training and challenges achieved! I am also doing the Forces March, May 2013. Barely decent recovery and taper time. But by then the miles will be in the legs, and in theory, apart from injury, possible. Thames Trot and Run 24 are also local so my family can be involved in many ways. Something they have not been able to do. There will be minimal training costs, entry fees and travelling and accomodation costs. The last few years have cost me a small fortune to run for charity! The appeal to do the Run 24 solo is it will be like my Dreadmill challenge.
Just an outdoor version. Round and round on laps of 8km. Oddly enough, 8km sounds better than 10km! Don't know why! I like the challenge of coping with the boredom factor of just being like a hamster on a wheel. Endurance of mind AND body. The Thames trot 50 is a long event along water with beautiful scenery. I am soothed by water. Plus I am hoping it is an easily navigable flatter route than most so will minimise risk of getting lost and on familiar territory. The important thing here too is that these are not typical road marathons. The Forces March is on the road, but
this will be done as a powerwalk (with a twist!) and is not your average challenge. I do not like road events. I love cross country and multi terrain. In an unfocused almost random frenzy of "needing" to do some "commerical" and "high profile" running events, I signed up for Brighton Marathon, plus Windsor, Maidenhead and Downton Half marathons, and Great South Run. If these do not fit into the training schedule for my ultra runs, or I just can not summon up the enthusiasm and motivation to do these road races, I shan't do them. My training has to be fun and doing things I love as it will be tough and hard. As I said a few times over the weekend to a variety of people at a variety of events, and during my own Run 24, "Smile hard, run happy"! I must practise what I preach!My ultimate challenge will be to run the isle of Wight in under 24 hours. I am hoping to do that next summer when the days are longer!Now, I must focus on resting for a few days....
Daily Duck Quote - you never know how far or how much you can do, until you try it. Just do it!
Well, I certainly tested that quote out to the max! I then also did something else quite amazing! I listened to my body! It said "BROKE" at 20 hours and 60 miles! I didn't listen to my ego, pride and stubborness, for a change. It was to save me from spending the night in a hospital bed!I knew I was in for a tough challenge on so many levels. The Longest Day Run Challenge
. The Longest day of my life! I was going to do 24 hours non stop on a Dreadmill, in my Ducksuit. Possibly even aim for 100 miles total. Think big! So, with that in mind, what were going to be my issues?
So, having given all that some thought I made sure I had a strategy in place to make sure the challenge was as painless and fun as possible!
- I hate dreadmills.
- I hate working out indoors
- Dreadmills are a confined space that will restrict body movements so there will be more wear and tear on certain joints - hips, ankles, knees in my case!
- Motion sickness - balance is compromised when you move body about!
- Boredom - go figure! On a road to nowhere, except hell and back!
- Unknowns - I actually had no idea how far I could run/walk or how long my body could last working out and staying awake.
- heat - I was in the Ducksuit and that is not a cool suit. Plus the aircon in the gym isn't great and windows could not be opened (safety and stops aircon working)
- Gym TV & Radio - I am in a gym being used by others so I can not comandeer the programs or volume.
- Food and drinks - I was at the mercy of others to top me up with supplies as this was a non stop event, except needing a pee.
- Mind over matter strategy that worked so beautifully for the Forces March.
- Stare out of the window or go into a daydream about countryside.
- Avoid moving head around.
- Had an iPod loaded with music and audio books
- Just crack on and go for it.
- Mind over matter.. I survived the Marathon des Sables conditions of The Forces March!
- Use iPod, engage in chats, get over the BBC Extra annoying program! Learn from new music!
- Ask! there were lots of people who were happy to chat and eager to help. I actually lots of visitors who were happy to make up a protein drink or energy drink. Some even came bearing food and thermos flasks of tea (Thankyou Liz and Ken!)
But until you actually do a challenge like this you have no idea where all those strategies will take you!I had a good selection of wheat free snack size bites, savoury and sweet, wet and dry. I also had protein drinks, liquid superfoods (Peronin), energy drinks in abundance! I had a thermos of tea! But after 8 hours I lost my appetite. Nothing appealed. Ken brought in a peanut butter wrap and that was wonderful!
But I couldn't bring myself to eat the 2nd one about 4 hours later. I had also stuck to protein drinks and Peronin in the first 4 hours and was happily running/jogging at between 4.5-5.5mph. I then had a dizzy moment, and checked my heart rate. That was at 180! I then eased down to a slower walk at 3.5 mph for about 20 mins. The family had arrived and they realised I wasn't looking good so cakes and chocolates were forced into my hand, then into my mouth. Instantly I was revived! Doh! When will I learn that this is not the time to impose weight loss frame of mind! The body needs fuel and REAL food!I had visits from a variety of people from nearby and afar! Sarah with Adam and Nick (neighbours), Liz with Lotty and her own little darlings
, Angela and Jamie Liu (who was doing his martial arts grading and was succesful!), Sharky, from Bridgewater (@sharkyontherun twitter fame) who had just run a full marathon outdoors with Tracey Moggeridge (@traceymoggs twitter fame), Ken, from down the road, (who was then sweet talked into being a part of Team Pegasus
), Graham Saxby, from Crawley (already sweet talked into Team Pegasus) and dear Matt Robinson (@mattrobinson32 on twitter)! He had also run 5 miles with Tracey, then joined me to do a 15 mile run for his Longest Day Run challenge, so a grand total of 20 miles! Derri, my son also joined me for the night and walked a wonderful 7 miles on the treadmill. He doesn't do exercise! Jackie and Gary came at 9pm straight from a huge dinner, and the tried to do some miles without getting a stitch! Ryan came to see me from Southampton, at 8am, just as I was leaving the gym! So he came back for a cup of tea and natter. Tricia Watkins came in at 7am and cheered me on that final looooong hour! you are all my heroes! Oh my, I also forgot to mention my very good friend Chris Hilson who popped in after a visit to Sweatshop! I have persuaded him to do Shine
and hopefully be a part of Team pegasus. Glad to know he has purchased training kit at last!These people all came to give me smiles and moral support. I am truly blessed! Ken, the tea and peanut butter wraps were delicious!From about 12th hour I was struggling with motion sickness and loss of appetite. I was also struggling with the pain from my right foot. I could feel the bruise as if I was walking on a mountain! I took 3 paracetemols to kill the pain. It dulled it.In the 13th hour the blister between my toes erupted. It felt like red hot pokers being rammed through the core of my foot and up my calf into my stomach. I took 3 more paracetemols. The pain eased a little.In the 14th hour I felt as if my foot was going to split into a million pieces, and the pain went up through calf, into my stomach and into my head. I was struggling with mind-over-matter
-die-hard-duck philosophy. In the 15th hour I took 3 more pain killers to ease the stomach cramps that had started and dull the pain in my foot, shin and calf.All the time there is a fun banter and antics from Ken, Graham and Matt
. Their laughter and commentry for the JML rubbish adverts were a distraction but my smiles got weaker. The motion sickness was compounded by trying to read the text subtitles to the TV, and the gross Chicken Rotissery JML ad!I am also trying to read the messages on Twitter and Facebook. Again, the motion sickness made it hard to read and digest! I then saved myself to just tweet the updates of time and distance!I was growing acutely aware that my body was really starting to have problems. From the 14th hour I was unable to get anything in my body. I tried to have the protein drinks, but they just went straight through. I tried nibbling at cakes and the 2nd peanut butter wrap. But stomach rejected it either by sickness or the worst, the runs.From 4am I had no energy. I had not been able to eat
, or refuel. I was keeping up fluids, just. The Lucozade lites were just about ok as not too sweet or heavy. It was at this point my tweets were starting to show signs of failure. I had messages back saying stay strong, and that I could manage 24 hours on the treadmill.This was now the Dreadmill to Hell! My mind was in a spin. What to do? Would I be a failure if I had to throw in the towel, admit defeat? It was just Matt
and I now. Everyone had gone home, Derri was fast asleep on a stretch mat. Matt was tired and really couldn' think how best to comfort or motivate me. Just to say only I could decide.Fran, the Gym Manager had come in with a cold, to keep the centre open all night for me. She was giving up her freetime. With her cold she should have been in her bed. Not a small sofa in the foyer. I didn't want to let her down. I had trumpeted the challenge through all corners of twitter and facebook! The Duck never quits! The Duck raises the profile of charities and raises money. On this occasion it was for Whizzkidz. I didn't want to let them down or the children needing wheel chairs.
I didn't want to lose credability for other events or charities I am associated with. My brain was in a turmoil, and now I was getting tired. Thoughts were jumbled and not lucid.But I wouldn't be any good as a broken Duck, or worse. The drama queen inside my body was screaming out I was going to die! Then the voices started! Oh my, it was a right party going on in my head!I then put out a tentative tweet that I wasn't doing very well. Mixed tweets came back suggesting listen to body, others to carry on regardless.This Duck loves a challenge. I had no other idea what I could do so had no boundaries. Challenges are about pushing the boundaries.
If it is a boundary I needed then I redefined it there and then. I was going to make a final push to a nice round figure and finish at 20 hours. I was on empty, I had no right foot, but I still had attitude, inflamed by trying to get that new target and goal.I had about 6 miles to do in a couple of hours. I had a focus. I gave it all I had left. I did it. And what was it?Well, yes I did manage to get some big miles on for the Longest Day Run.
I ran/walked/jogged 60 miles in 20 hours. But I also learned a few lessons. That not finishing what I set out to do is not always called Quits. I listened to my body and not my ego, pride, stubborness, nor my critics. That was a far bigger challenge. I will not attempt to do this challenge to conquer a potential Nemesis, to chase those elusive missed hours! I done good in my books. I over came a lot to get to 20 hours. If I had to, I would 24 hours outdoors!When I got home I had the shakes and an awful stomach. I suspect the motion sickness, physical activity beyond tiredness inhibited my appetite. That was then compounded by overdosing on paracetemols. In the words of a dear friend and of the medical profession, I was nearly in a hospital bed
. No challenge is worth that in my book. It is not fair on my family or me. My foot was cleaned up with some iodine and leviated rest, it will recover.Reading through the tweets and messages on the comments board for the Longest Run you can't help but be moved by the stops people were pulling out to push themsleves beyond their own boundaries and ability. Some had never run yet did a half marathon! The weather was dire yet many went out on flooded
, dark, roads. One person was running their first marathon, and had also got her family to run a mile at each stage, which they had never done before! Teams ran, individuals ran.. oh my! Simon Walkden (aka @mazymixer) be proud of yourself for getting so many people involved with your Dream! Sign me up for next year!My other true hero is Fran, the centre manager. She has been rewarded with a box of Hero Chocolates and Champagne and a promise I won't subject her to that again!Thank you to everyone who kept me company and supported me through the challenge
. Plus your kind donations. Still time to doante, if you have "enjoyed" or "endured" this blog. as always, I write from the heart and with raw emotions. You always get the first write, and never a re-read and tweaked! probably why so many typos!And significantly, this is the last Duck Suit Challenge! it will be washed and kept as a momento; a reminder of the fun 3 years I have had in it! So many challenges, events and fun! There will be more challenges from me, just not dressed as a Duck! Now, I must go and buy something girly and pink, not yellow!
text donate 70070 DUCK88 £amt
There are not many photos of me in my running gear unless I am in a ducksuit. So here I am, a naked duck so to speak.
There are not many of me getting quite this excited about running either!
I often quack out that running is my new chocolate. This is my way of staying positive to do something I actually hate! It is the way I am. I approach everything, no matter how hard or tough, with the same positive mind over matter happy spirit of heart.
Running has always been about running for fitness but especially charity. I raise funds and awareness for those that are less fortunate in so many ways, and quite often of very poor health. I push myself out of my comfort zone and into a degree of pain. It's temporary. It's the least I can do and endure to help raise funds to make a different and hopefully improve some one's quality of life.
Now, I will continue to run, despite recent out-of-sort quacks. I will do it for fitness and to keep up my training for the Forces March in 2013. I will resist running for charity as much, as this increases the pressures and pushes me back into a weakened and emotional state.
The training will be outdoors on terrain I love. I will do it for me. I will run with a desire to improve, slowly. I can continue to develop the speed and technique as I train, and be a part of the Reading 5km Park Run and Reading Joggers. I have nothing to prove or seek approval, or impress any one. It is all for me. This is what I have finally learned and accepted during and after the Forces March 2012.
Training will also include my other favourite sessions of Zumba, swimming, backpacking (15kgs) and singing.. oh wait..I do that with all the other bits!
Work pressures have now been resolved. Family Life has returned to normal. My brain has finally quitened down. I can now concerntrate on career, health, fun and hobbies. A big thankyou everyone for your support, your undertsanding, patience and kindness over the last couple of weeks.
Janine is now in the trainers, not the Duck.
This has been the most exhilarating and humbling experience ever!
5 marathons in 5 days .. 132 miles of waddling from Ilfracombe to Bulford in 5 days with the most incredible, selfless, inspiring bunch of people.
This chunky munky overweight, underfit, working Mother of 2 of gorgeous children, can finally lay claim to being an endurance athlete of mind,body and soul.
A quote/statistic stolen reads -
Only 10% of nearly 300 participants over 3 years have completed all 5 stages, (132.5miles) of the "Forces March", I am VERY proud to now be a member of the very small group.I was also awarded the Sarah Byrant Trophy for most outstanding female
, presented by General Pascoe, the President of The Veterans Charity.I held it together and didn't cry at this point but my goodness did the flood gates open when it sank in
what I had achieved over the last 5 days, and indeed over the last two years. It is a very humbling experience to have received this award when everyone has been truly tested and as equally outstanding, if not more! Rita, aged 62, ran every day, and not once did she visit the physio, or grumble.. even when there was no vegetarian option on the first night! Alice with her latticed work K-tape that kept her bound to run another day despite such bruising and pain. Debbie who had her hip displaced from the constant running on cambers. Brenda, from USA, learned the art of Tabbing with Graham Povey, a baptisim of fire! Kaja who every day just got in there to do her run thing on just rice-refueling initially! She had some tough battles to overcome through positive focus and mindset. This account can go on for every individual. Everyone should have their hand on that award.
My strategy for the week was run/walk the event. I had trained hard for hills and really trained hard for the mental attitude of long slog days, so when the going got tough this Duck just got tougher.
The first 2 days I had many hours on my own marching through lanes with fast moving vehicles who paid little regard to pedestarians. I did a lot of hedge diving, and trying to not get caught too much in the right hand cambers!
My focus was to pick on a target ahead, pick up speed, over take. The team from RAF Odiham, nicknamed "My Boys" were always ahead. I could only over take when they took a rest stop with their support crew. I would then waddle through as quickly as possible to make it harder for them to catch up. Most of the time, they did. Just. The last 4 days I beat them back. In my mind, that was a huge powerful motivating factor and kept me powered. Yes, they were carrying 20kgs in their bergens and wearing those goddam awful military boots whilst I skipped through with my dinky Nathan Hydration pack with just 2 kilos of water and my duck gold bling asics! On the last 2 days I was able to overtake on the waddle... and they just couldn't up a gear to take over.
I should like to give them a special hip-hip-hooray for selflessly always looking out and caring for me by offering water, electrolytes, snicker bars, pieces of chicken.. anything to make sure I wasn't underfueled or dehydrated. It wasn't just about them, their team, but about everyone finishing safely. This was one big team effort with lots of cogs supporting the Forces march.
This photo is taken at the end when they presented me with a Golden Egg! How on earth did they source that months after Easter?!
The 5 days were filled with some extra adventures for me. The Duck seemed to attract a fourth dimension no one else experienced.
Firstly, I must thank Danny for finally plucking up the courage to allow me to wear my ducksuit. I think he though I was a gimmick initially, but hopefully I have proved my weight in gold that not only can some one physically and mentally take on this endurance event as a serious challenge up there with Everest Ascents, round the world solo sailing, Marathon Des Sable (oh, wait, we just done that from Ilfracombe to Bulford!), but you could also have some fun in fancy dress.
I wear the suit as part of my other charity work and challenges. The focus was always on The Veterans Charity this week and I attracted a lot of attention to be able to verbally express my dedication and admiration for this charity. The suit became my albatross almost as I said I would wear it every day. I had not imagined that after unseasonally wintry conditions the previous week, the thermometer would jump up a few thousand centrigrades and be so relentlessly hot! I did promise to not wear it if I felt my health was at risk. But I over came the heat and discomfort and just carried on regardless.
In fact, I was getting a little cheeky with my replies when asked "Aren't you hot in that?"! Erm ,yes..ducking hot!!! So I would humour people and say "It's OK, I have aircon"! Oh the looks on peoples faces! Especially those that believed and asked how was it powered? "Solar energy and kinetic energy from heel strikes with every step", was my answer. If there had been any more techncal questions I would have crumbled!!!
Day 1, mile 5, I had an encounter with a Jack Russell that took exception to a 6ft Duck invading his "space". I had seen him on a leash in his garden, held by his flag-waving owner. I gave the gateway a wide berth, but it's "Little man syndrome" still gave it the courage to lunge at me, and there was enough length on that lead, to make sure he nipped me in the ankle!
I was checked over by our marvelous St John's ambulance crew, a mile away when I realised I really could feel some "pain". There were 2 little slash marks where I think the JRT claws must have scratched down the sock and into the trainer. In just the wrong place to be rubbed raw! The JRT must have had a mouthful of feathers, so I got off quite lightly!
Day 2 I had an encounter with a dairy herd and an alpacca! The Alpacca had spotted me waddling along a road, and it was up on a hill. It must have got whip lash the way it's head came up suddenly from grazing, then strained forward to check me out. A split second later it came galloping down it's field, scooby-doo stopped at the 5ft hedge and spat at me. Quite a feat as it missed me by a foot and I was at least 20 feet away!
The dairy herd were being held back in their field by a piece of string. I was coming down a lane ready to turn left into another lane, where a Farmer was sitting in a tractor, on the corner. A member of the Navy was just in front and said to the farmer "Oh let me through, and there is a Duck behind"!
Not sure what thought processes were going in either of their heads but the farmer turned around, saw me, winked .. and just as I rounded him and the corner, and was adjacent some string and cows, the Farmer dropped the string. I was then in the middle of the Milk Run. 12 cows heavy with milk, bolting across the narrow lane from their field to the milking shed opposite. I stood still, not bothered by this little tease until I questioned why was I getting wet? I was being covered by milk spilling from heavy swaying udders! Oh, and a little something extra brown!
I had 2 miles to go and I was due to meet with the locals at Crowborough Station, although I missed the last steam train leaving. I was a tad smelly with the milk quickly going off on me!
The photo above is me coming in to the station, and I do hope Rob wasn't laughing at the Hum!
I did rinse the suit off when I got back to camp! I had left the suit to dry over night in the barn and hoped I wouldn't wake up to see it up a flag pole or worse! I actually woke up to hear the support crew quacking, and they were chatting to it as if I had lost weight and humouring me! Erm boys..when have I ever been that quiet or not replied? I am actually also quite surprised nothing worse ever happened to the Duck, or the Ducksuit...especially in the middle of the night!
Another incident involved a talking hedge. Long story cut short, I was singing. I didn't dare put my ipod on as I needed to keep an ear out for the traffic from front and back! So I amused myself by singing and making up songs. This Hedge added in some extra lines as I sang the Yodelling song from the Sound of Music! The voice belonged to an invisible some one at the allotment!
I also made a pig jump out of it's skin when I "quacked" and it looked up.
I had my bluff called by Danny on day 4 when I was at the front of the queue to head out from the leisure park. I jovially said did he want to give everyone (the runners all queued up) a head start on me, and let them go first?
Danny said, "Let's give the Duck a count down to get away first, and ahead of you all..."!
After 5, I ran up the village. I was surprised I was ahead for so long. Did he give me a half hour head start? The poor horse trotting down the street towards me really didn't know what to make of the yellow spectacle moving quickly towards him! So he skidded sideways to a stop and reared! Luckily his owner stayed seated, laughed and thanked me for sidling past quietly!
So, 5 days of the most fantastic scenery and challenges. I know there were a lot of hills, and some very very tough hills, long roads, and some very very long roads. I kept to the positive outlook that I was traversing from A to B and occasionally the incline changed. Mind over matter.
I thought cooling thoughts whilst I became a boil-in-the-bag Duck in such heat.
In my head I constantly thanked Adam, Chris, Lauren and all the Physios for their strapping of my blisters so I could march another day.
I sang songs to keep up my morale - 6 RAF Squaddies marching on the road..and if 1 RAF squaddie should accidentally fall... (yes only 2 made the last day ;0) )
5 days of being looked after by the most excellent support crew, and in particular, Sarah, Ross, Porky, Danny (RAF) and the Navy Driver.
5 days in the company of initially strangers, but now people I would happily call my extended family, I feel quite priveleged to have been a part of this character building, awe inspiring endurance challenge. I had some great chats with Paul, Pete, Graham and Andy, who I did spend a deal of time walking with, at different times. But I don't want to single out any one person who really made this all so much more "do-able". Although Ross gets a special mention for making a poached egg without a ladle, just 2 wooden teaspoons! Plus Dan, who upon hearing about my hallucinations of Chucky The Clown bringing me a box of maltesers whilst camped in Cow Pat Field, went out and bought me a bag. Heroes!
2 years ago I signed up to do something quite fantastic to prove my doubting Thomases wrong. I was hoping to do the North Pole Race. The £25,000 entrance fee crushed that dream. I have no inclination to ever need to chase that dream, or regret I couldn't do it, as I did something far more challenging. I did the Forces March. Will I do it again? Oh yes, because still my husband has not voluntarily said he's proud of me. He acknowledges the endeavour but just the words have not been uttered. Perhaps he will learn to say it to stop me signing up for a third ;0)
I know my kids, Mother, sisters, friends and work colleagues are proud of me. But equally important, I have finally learned to recognise my achievement and be proud of myself.
The Forces March 2012. The most wonderful people, ever! Thankyou
Reminders and awards of the most incredible personal and physical journey - the Sarah Byrant Trophy, the Forces March medal, Gold Foil (all that is left of the Golden Egg), Champagne to celebrate and a Ducksuit and Hat to Treasure
Life is a funny ol' show.
So many twists and turns.
I have known I have felt like an empty shell for a few years. Wasn't quite sure what form I should take.
I have been lost in a few quotes, people, ideals, challenges and quests.
Essentially I should be grateful with my lot that I have loving and kind husband (despite our differences) and two beautiful happy inspiring children. What more could I want?
Well I am mostly a greedy materialistic person who thinks the grass is greener on the other side of the fence and that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Yesterday I realised that not all of that is necessary. That a lot of the experiences of the past few years have hindered not nurtured me.
I am taking note of some pearls of wisdom I preached to a new friend. Stop letting the dust settle on me and suffocate what is the real me. Stop searching for words and quotes that will prophesise or fulfill.
I have a heart of gold but feel I am underloved, undervalued and unappreciated. Ok, kick butt and resolve.
I have been seeking what I need in the wrong corners, and most of the time the answer has been there in front of me. But I have overlooked it, undervalued it and unappreciated it in my selfish search for more of what I can't have or think I need.
Yes, riddles and rhymes here.
I have blamed my past for things I don't have or I am not. Well, let's unburden me of that negative albatross and set me on a path which makes that history fade and become inconsequential.
The quote above is that destiny. The path will be walked,run skipped and/or jumped, hand in hand, with true dear friends who also share my passion for charity, living, living life to the full, and sharing it with those that care. We nurture and support each other and become stronger for others.
I am Me; I am what I create myself to be, not what I was born to be. I am Me because of You. You are the true friend who stands by me to support me with critique, hugs, humour, tears, comfort, teamwork and unconditional friendship. And it is shared and valued both ways.
People have walked into my life for a variety of reasons. Some for selfish gain, some for misguided reasons.. but most don't stay because they can't give a quality unconditonal friendship both ways.
If You have stayed then it's You I should like to hug and thank for being there. Let's enjoy our journeys together.
I have left behind the empty shell. I am addressing my issues, my problems, my skeletons.
Today I become the real Me.
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I came across another "invisible illness" today.Polymyalgia - poly-many, my-muscle, algia-pain = many muscle pain
s.How do doctors know all the differences and different names? How can you treat so many chronic illnesses with so many overlaps.Google to the reach and in lay man terms I shall do my best to educate you.Polymyalgia -
Under the umbrella of arthritis are more than 100 different types of arthritis, some more common than others. A rarer form of arthritis is called Polymyalgia Rheumatica, which affects the muscles rather than the bones. In Polymyalgia the joints or bones will not be affected but instead the muscles will become sore, tender and inflammation will cause them to be stiff. The common areas affected are the lower back, thighs, hips, shoulders and the muscles of the neck. Some sources attribute the pain due to the swelling of blood vessels in muscles.
Symptoms can include severe stiffness and pain located in the muscles, but there should be no associated weakness just pain. The pain is found in the thighs, hips, lower back, shoulders and neck. Accompaining the pain can be low energy, fatigue, sweating at night, slight fever and loss of appetite. Also commonly associated are anemia and depression. The onset is often in the 5th decade of life and more common in females.
A condition that is often associated with polymyalgia rheumatic is giant cell arthritis. The arteries of the temple area of the head start to narrow and can become occluded, this can affect vision. This is usually in people over 50 years of age and affects both male and female.
Some early warning signs of giant cell arthritis include the skin around the forehead and temple area become swollen, the blood vessels in temple area becoming visibly swollen, visual disturbances like blurred vision or blind spots, and discomfort with chewing movements of the jaw.
The cause of the disease is not really understood. There may be a genetic component but lifestyle factors have been heavily implicated. Most people can recall a preceding stressful period or event before the onset of the disease.Symptoms
- People with fibromyalgia have widespread muscle pain and "tender points" on various parts of the body. Many will also have problems such as sleep difficulties, IBS, headaches and cognitive issues. Polymyalgia also presents pain throughout the body, but there is more stiffness and flu-like symptoms.
- The only drug currently approved for fibromyalgia is Lyrica (american sourced fact), but the condition is also treated with anti-depressants and painkillers. Since polymyalgia involves inflammation, it is often treated with non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). If the symptoms continue or become more severe, corticosteroids are prescribed.
- Fibromyalgia is found to occur in more than one member of the family, and the large majority of patients are women. Polymyalgia patients are rarely younger than 50; the average age when the condition presents itself is 70.
- Fibromyalgia is most often a permanent condition, though symptoms may improve for a period of time. Polymyalgia usually goes away completely, usually within a year or two.
- There is no danger of fatal complications from fibromyalgia. In a small percentage of patients, people with polymyalgia can develop giant cell arteritis, a dangerous condition that involves inflammation of the arteries that supply the head with blood.
More information can be obtained from Polymyalgia rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteris UK PMRHCAuk
Other chronic illnesses are Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
(ME) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Lupus, Crohns,
Today is May 12th which is the birthday of Florence Nightingale who has been thought to have fibromyalgia and / or ME. This was one of the main reasons for today becoming International Fibromyalgia Awareness
day. It is a day that support groups and people with fibromyalgia around the globe come together to raise awareness of fibromyalia. Working together like this does and will make a difference for our tomorrow's.
Raise awareness today by talking to people about your fibromyalgia. Friends, workmates and strangers on the street are all people that could learn more about how we cope with this debilitating condition from day to day.
If you are on Twitter you could join others by using #fibro or #fibromyalgia hashtags or changing your status to tell people that it is International Fibromyalgia Awareness day.
For Awareness day we wanted to create something new. We have a challenge for you this year, it's one everyone can do, even from your bed.
The 'Because I want to'
campaign is born.
Since getting Fibromyalgia we all have something we used to love doing but due to our health we are no longer able to do it. The challenge is to get as many people as possible to join in. Your families, friends and workmates can also join in.
We want you to print off a copy of our poster, in the space provided please write the one thing you'd really love to be able to do again. Friends, family, workmates can write what they want to see you doing again.
You can be standing up, sitting down or laying in bed. You can be dressed in a super hero costume or still in your pj's, it really doesn't matter.
Then get someone to take a photo of you holding your poster. Upload your poster to Twitter or Facebook and tweet/share the slogan that's on your poster. Don't worry, we'll give you full, easy to follow instructions further down. We are raising £26,000 for research into fibromyalgia. Currently there is no research being done into the cause let alone the cure.
There are no charities lobbying for medical companies or medical professionals to start that research. There are many charities providing invaluable support and documents for those with fibromyalgia or those needing guidance and education. Fibroduck Foundation
has put together many resources to supplement that support but, more importantly, we will fundraise and campaign for research.Read Claire's story and you will understand why this is research must happen.
She has been robbed of her original life but started a new with many challenges because of her illness. Living with an "invisible illness" is a mental battle too. There are no clues such as a wheelchair, crutches, hearing aid, white stick for you to know she has a disability. Yet she has to make apologies for her lack of stamina, constant fatigue and pain, to be able to do or complete the most basic of of chores, let alone earn a living. "I support Fibromyalgia research because I want to see you smile and make no apology"For those who have no printer access:
Send us a pre paid stamped addresses envelope and we'll send you back a poster:
Fibroduck Foundation Po Box 575, Kemp House, 152-160 City Road, London, EC1V 2NXInstructions:
1) Download our A4 sized poster free from our store, then print off a copy. http://shop.fibroduckfoundation.com//index.php?route=product/product&product_id=74
2) In the space provided on the poster, fill in what you'd like to say. Then ask someone to take a photo of you holding your poster.
If you can manage to get your fibroduck in on the photo as well, then we can use the photos on both websites. Then:Twitter:
Attach your photo to a tweet, then add this wording to the tweet box:
I support @FibroduckFound + #Fibro research- because I want to .......... (fill in with the same words you put on your poster) #spoonies #may12th #fibroduck www.fibroduckfoundation.com
Please use the whole tweet and see if we can get trending again whilst raising awareness worldwide. Facebook:
Post your photos to our walls and attach the following wording to the photo:
I support the Fibroduck Foundation and UK Fibromyalgia research. Because I want to ................ (fill in with the same words you put on your poster) ) #spoonies #may12th #@FibroduckFoundation www.fibroduckfoundation.com
You can start sending in your photos now. This campaign will continue running once awareness day is over, we hope many people will join in to help us show exactly why we need research here in the UK. Happy May 12th Fibroduck Team