On Mothering Sunday, 18th March, 2012, I forfeited my Mothering Sunday Lie in and pampering to do a 42 mile walk for charity, in under twelve hours.Steve Blethyn, a fellow Reading Adventurer, had done this walk a few years ago at night time, but decided to do it day time for a work colleague, diagnosed with Lupus. He spoke of this walk on our previous Quackathon and remembered him refering to walking the A4 as "souless and destroying"! So, I thought I would keep him company, and do what I do best- waddle long distance, raise the profile and awareness of another dreadfull illness. Lupus UK
isn't one of my Super Six
charities but I strongly believe in championing all causes. Time isn't always so readily given, like donations. Equally as important.My dear husband kindly got up at 3.30am to drive us to Buckingham palace, where our walk would start. Sadly, Neither the Queen or Prince Phillip came out with tea and bacon rolls, so after a few photos, we set off West.
The sun was our backs and a fresh light wind in our face.At this point I shall mention the weather and my pack. The weather did stay dry, with just a couple of scary black clouds to tease us. Only a few spots of rain in the wind at Windsor and Twyford.
I used my new nathan Elite pack which I am using for all my running events. Very light weight and fits snuggly into the back. I had just two litres of water made up as an Orbana
energy drink. I had two nak'd
bars, three 9seed bars, one Viper Boost bar, one Maximuscle protein bar, three Optima Sports jellies and Gummy Bears (which I ditched as hated them). I stole a cheese sandwich from Steve as I was craving something savoury! This light pack fueled me adequately and I certainly had enough energy to go some extra miles. Good training for my Forces March
!The walk itself was quite uneventful. The A4 was indeed long and blooming noisy! We could alomost touch the bellies of those airplanes when we were under the incoming flight path! Just past Hounslow I heard a strange bird noise. Thought it was a very cross magpie but no, it was a green parakeet! Thankfully it landed in a nearby tree for Steve to also see it and know I wasn't high on aviation fuel! We saw another one a few minutes later. Tropical times!Hysteria must have kicked in at 12 miles as we came across a hilaroius billboard advertising Hot Dogs. It read "Dong Dong! 12" long" I then spent a few minutes trying to get a photo of Steve lined up inappropriately next to it in a "bragging pose". This amused the traffic. I was close to corpsing and rendered useless momentarily. I then used Fibroduck for the pose. Much easier (and co-operative).At mile 16, after Heathrow Airport, we had a pitstop at Macdonalds
. Steve devoured a cheeseburger, I just had a hot chocolate. Oh, and "powdered my nose". The Manager came over to ask about our dress sense. I should explain here that we both wore Lupus UK t-shirts. But I had added some butterfly wings to myself and to the small duck on my hi-viz hat (that lit up). I also had hi-viz long sleeves under my Lupus t-shirt. I attracted a lot of attention. The Butterflies
are symbolic to Lupus. The Manager asked what were doing so I explained we were doing a long walk for charity. I am glad I didn't launch into a monologue as her reply was "I am getting my visa extended with Immigration tomorrow". Ok, time to go...Our next section was a little grim walking through to Windsor via Datchet. There is a lot of rubbish in the verges which was quite sad.
In other countries the rubbish is hauled out regularly. It was a real eye sore and a sad reflection upon the state of our country. This beautiful country side is also right next to the gate way of entry into England, Heathrow, and on the doorstep of our Monarch's residence.We greeted Windsor in a noisy fashion as this marked our half way point, both in time and distance. I had lost my little
Fibroduck so sadly I couldn't do any poses with it. So I had to stand in front of the great Gates. A lot of time was lost here as we waited for a journalist to show. One cheese sandwich later and after a row of compeed plasters were added to my right foot, we set off, as she didn't appear. We walked against a tidal wave of people out enjoying the beauiful spring day, and probably celebrating Mother's Day. One family did give us some loose change when they read our t-shirts, explaining they knew of Lupus and that it had affected a great friend quite badly. spurred on with this reminder of what we were doing we sped on t make up lost time.The section through to Twyford was a little fraught as there were no paths. The lanes had a lot of bends, and a lot of bumpy verges that hurt my tender blistered feet. One blister had popped and was agonising for five minutes. Time for a couple of Nurofen.
The signs out of Windsor had said that Twyford was only ten miles away. Excellent. So off we shot. However, after a few more signs, and a garmin check of distance, even after five miles, the signs started to lie. Twyford was eight miles away! Then for about another three miles it was always "Four miles" away. Gave up believing in the signs after that!I was thankful for my hi-viz colours as the fast moving traffic really did make me feel quite vunerable.
Steve and I had been tweeting on the hoof but it was too dangerous on this section.It was also at this point, and after a couple of Monster Energy drinks that Steve launched into the Shrek scripts of Donkey and Shrek, starting with "Are We nearly there??" Already dodging traffic, I was again rendered useless, and dangerous, as I laughed and fell off verges into oncoming traffic! Which made me laugh even more!Also enjoyed the oppulence of the country side. Huge houses with massive walls hiding shiny expensive cars and horses. Most of them had stable blocks as well as double garages. Heard some unusual noises and then came across a Drag Hunt. Everyone quite resplendant in their red jackets with shiny buttons. Very Sundayish. The hounds were baying and the squirrels were hiding in trees over head.
I nervously walked past hoping no one could see my hi-viz duck. Steve increased his pace and left me for dust.Finally, at thirty four miles we arrived in
Twyford. Steve bolted into a shop for some much need liquids. Thankfully no more energy drinks. Shrek, Donkey AND Elma Fudd could be quietened down with a litre of Mountain Dew! We were joined by two pairs of fresh legs to walk the final stretch of eight miles into Reading by Darren and Shelli. They are both keen walkers and runners and getting their mileage in the for the 2012miles in 2012 effort on Facebook
. It was good to have some new conversation and different backs to look at. I had another couple of nurofen to ease the blister pain situation. The left foot had no compeed and was hurting. Just walked through it as mind over matter. They did finally pop at the fortieth mile. Major ouch! Dusk was upon us and I was ravenous. My left hamstring was tightening up. I had the daft notion that running would be a more comfortable option. I apologised to all for breaking into a light jog and assured them I wasn't showing off, just using different muscle groups. I was also landing on my blisters at a different angle and they were on the ground for shorter time! It was truly more comfortable! I ran the last five miles..oh get me! Running Duck after walking thirty seven miles!We were over taken going up Southampton Street by my husband driving to collect us from the Madjeski stadium. He offered us a lift but it was declined..of course! The Tease! My son was looking quite gobsmacked to see me running!
I had one of those out of body experiences. yes it must have looked odd - threee walkers and a running duck heading up the section of Reading half Marathon's course, two weeks early, at dusk.Finally, we approached the Madjeski stadium. What a sight. Steve works at a local school and the Welcoming Committe were children and parents from there. With a lot of cheering and applause we went to touch the walls of the stadium and turn for our photos. Magic moment.Time for home. A quick detour to drop Darren and Shelli off at Reading station, then home.despite being hungry I was actually too tired to eat. I managed a protein shake, two slices of toast with peanut butter and a yoghurt.
A warm bath, then bed! and oh boy, how I slept!Monday was a day of rest and recovery. I had removed the compeeds in the bath so they blisters could dry and heal in fresh air. I had to pop and drain them again, plus bathe them. The tightness in my left hamstring was massaged and stretched though out the day. I walk
ed to the shops and did a small dog walk. I just kept moving to easeout those hardworking ligaments and muscles. the best way to recover. I slept a lot and drank a lot. But still not overly hungry. I also wore my compression tights all day. Ankles kept ballooning so I spent a lot of time with my feet up the wall! The hunger kicked in on Tuesday!So, there ends my little ramble about a long walk for charity. I have spared you a lot of the thoughts that
I had. But suffice to say...more adventures and ideas may come to fruition over the next few months!Thankyou to Steve for allowing me to keep him company. Thankyou
to my husband for the lift to London and picking me up. Thankyou to my children for letting me disappear on the day they wanted to spoil me. A big thankyou to all of those who donated, retweeted and replied to our tweets, to high profile our walk and raise the awareness of Lupus. The biggest Thankyou is to all of you who continually show your support and friendship. Text a donation to LUPU55 £1 to 70070 or Just Giving Page.flagship blog
Our route and stats
Oh I had the best time at the Reading Race for Life events over the weekend of 16th and 17th July.It was held at Prospect Park and over 6000 women dressed in Pink to run for loved ones in the mini 48 hour Monsoon
we had!I attracted a fair bit of attention from a lot of visitors and participants - dressed in my Fibroduck suit with a pink tutu, pink vest and Duck Umbrella! It was a great icebreaker to chat to so many wonderful people. I quickly got over my initial fretting and grumbling of being cold, wet and stiffening up whilst standing out on my marshal post, as I saw reminders of what the race was for. Many women there were either starting or finishing
treatment for cancer, or in remission. One lady had just had her first cancer operation and was determined to still take part. There were also the beautiful statements on people's backs, some with photos, of why and who they were racing for. Even as I write this I am feeling quite overwhelmed with emotion, with goosebumps, as I was on that day reading the statements.I had also been admonishing myself for not being able to keep up my training, especially as I am due to do a 10km race for life at Clapham 30th July. But there were all shapes,sizes,fitness levels taking part this weekend that I realised its not about completing the event as a race, with personal best times, it's about the bonding and participation of being in such an event. It's raising awareness as well as raising funds. It rained, oh boy did it rain! But all you could see were the sea of smiles
. Those girls and women were the true rays of sunshine that weekend.I had been placed by the Duck Pond, at the bottom of a steep spurt of a hill. My mission was to get everyone up the hill safely and with pride at their effort. My mission was to hear those smiles and giggles as they dug deep to run, walk, slide up that hill. I whooped my Jessie (Toystory 2) "Wahoohoo" and jokingly welcomed all to "Killamanjaro". I encouraged everyone up letting them know they were nearly three-quarters of the way around and after this little hill they were on the flat homeward stretch. With laughs, smiles, enthusiasm
and gusto you could see everyone enjoy my commentary and push themselves to the top of that glorious peak! I was giving to them, what so many other Marshalls of other events, have done for me.. Loud Noisy Wild Abandonment Encouragment. This event wasn't about my own discomfort of standing in the rain for 2 days but making sure the ladies of Reading had a memorable day, as a tribute to why they were there, and hopefully come back again next year.Quote of the day - had to be when my soaked beak was pulling my head/hood over my face thus making vision and hearing difficult. I couldn't hear a man asking me a question. "Excuse me whilst I ring out my beak then I can hear you properly" had him rolling around in stitches. I really must engage brain before I quack!Thankfully the fabric of the duck suit, and the chocolate fish merino clothing underneath did not get water logged and I did stay relatively warm
. As did the secret stash of Nakd bars and Hot chocolate!There are lots of photos from the day and can be found here :-Heart FMReading Evening Post
Cor Blimey! who turned up the heat on Saturday for that event!!!This event was organised by Discover Adventure. The actual route was kept a secret until seconds before we were allowed to set off. So I was only able to have a look at map to get an idea of the terrain, hills and any other surprises anticpated.
Thankfully I train off road and with some hills!The event was described as "tough"! The details are - The magnificent prehistoric stone circles of Avebury and Stonehenge need little introduction. We start in atmospheric Avebury, where we can get up close to the ancient stones before heading via the famous ancient landmark of Silbury Hill.We cross spectacular chalk downs dotted with ancient earth-works, burial mounds and enigmatic white horses carved into the chalk. Our route takes in the highest point in Wiltshire (295m) and goes through the most active crop circle area in the world, so keep your eyes peeled!This is a tough event over the high chalk downs and ridgeways of Wiltshire and Salisbury Plain. At 26 miles it forms a marathon for runners and an enormous challenge for walkers. You can run, jog or walk the route and we also offer a half marathon finishing point too. Our challenging day starts early at Avebury before heading via the mysterious landmark of Silbury Hill. Skirting a prehistoric long-barrow, we climb steeply up onto a ridge and follow this through beautiful country-side. Passing close to one of the white horses that make this area of chalk downland famous, we then drop down into the village of Alton Barnes and follow the Kennet & Avon Canal east on a welcome section of flat land dotted with farms and hedgerows.From there we head south and join the White Horse trail, crossing part of the large expanse of the MOD training area, we can now start to anticipate the finish line at the World Heritage Site of Stonehenge!My training partner, Phil Kemp, a marathon runner, and I had worked on a strategy to not just complete this course as a charity walk, but as a challenging endurance event. We wanted to finish in a good time and make our sponsors proud of our effort. Phil set a cracking pace from the beginning
. We left the other particpants eating our dust. Which amused me as a few had laughed at me in Duck suit and even dared to comment on how slow I would be. One man even said "I am not walking with you"! No mate, you didn't..you were an hour behind me ;0)I wore my Ducksuit with the head on for the entire event. I had a different base wear than usual. I usually wear a berghaus techy t-shirt and compression tights. But I know they get uncomfrotable and smelly esepcially when hot! I also have to use the modest toilet accessory called a "Whizz" which can be awkward if I have leggings and ducksuit on! Chocolatefishmerino
are a wonderful and friendly company that sell the best ever merino wool clothing. I cal it "huggable choclate!". Wool is often seen as a winter item, but I can assure you that the T-shirt
and freedom leggings
I wore kept me cool and comfortable for the entire event. Excellent wicking quality. Plus the freedom leggings have a suitable modesty opening for the "whizz". No chaffing or wetness endured. I was a sweet smelling Duck on completion. In fact I was able to eat at a Harvesters after the event in my merino t-shirt without any complaints!A few miles into the course Phil got a niggling blister and changed out of his trainers into his Crocs. he was only going to give himself some temporary comfort from his trainers. But he was so comfortable in them he actually completed the course in his crocs! The terrain was a little tricky so I admire his tenacity as there was no ankle support in those!I sustained a burning sensation on the ball/sole of my feet after 5 miles. I had to stop and change into a different pair of double socks, and apply compeeds to both feet for some comfort and hopefully stop any more blistering.
I had stupidly decided to not wear my usual sock combination, Bridgedale trek socks with Bridgedale liners, that has done me proud in the past. I was wearing some excellent wicking merino socks but sadly there was a "towelling" effect that seem to grate at my feet. I had worn them for running and they were fine. But not for this event sadly. Lesson learned..stick to what you know works and is comfortable. I tried to not grumble too much and just dug deep.
The terrain didn't help my feet. There was a 10km long track through military land that I am convinced was lined with red hot coals! The sharp gravel was really digging into my poor feet. My deliciously comfortable walking shoes, Exit 2 GTX,
were feeling very thin soled! But the excellent vibram sole kept my feet from turning and helped strenghten my ankles even more. I was walking a little awkwardly to overcome the discomfort on the blisters.The first half of the course from Avebury to Alton Barnes was beautiful. Lush green landscapes with rolling hills. The White Horse at Alton Barnes became a very good friend as we walked around it, away from it..always there in the distance whenever we looked bhind for the next 15 miles! The canal section provided a much needed cooling environment with a breeze to help revive us. Off the canal and up towards Manningford
Bruce was where we encountered the worst of the tall nettles and Brambles..and Snakes!!! At least I was fully protected in my Duck Suit but poor Phil had just his skimpy shorts and t-shirt on!I haven't kept a copy of the route map but it was from about here the course became quite tedious and dull. It was the 10km gravel track that took us through the military firing fields towards larkshill, then onto Stonehenge. Phil was always a few yards ahead of me keeping up his cracking crocs pace. The Event Organiser passed us a couple of times in her jeep and laughed aloud that the chap laying the markers was only 5 minutes ahead! They had never known anyone to keep up a fast pace. hehe ! they haven't come across the formidable team of ! Duck and her mate Crocs!Coming through the military housing estate near Larkshill we were joined by a small group of children. I broke out in a cold sweat thinking they were going to run alongside jeering. I had already had a couple of call outs from a young lad (7) using very blue language. I was now tired and not in the mood to have any more such nonsense. But these little guys were shouting the most encouraging things. "Come on Super Duck!". "We love Ducks".. "We know a short cut to Stonehenge.."! No, we didn't cut the route short! One little girl asked for her own fibroduck, which I gave to her. She squealed with delight and went off to show her Mum. They also took turns to take photos of themselves cycling along my side. Phil was starting to get further away; he wasn't hanging around to hear how super the Duck was! I had to call after him to wait up. The Little Guys also called out after to him "Oi Phil wait for the Super Duck!". They then cycled with me as I ran to catch him up. This was one of those moments that then gave me the energy and determination to really dig deep, and speed up! Mind over matter; ignore the pain!
As we left the housing estate in our wake, we came out on another open path. Another exposed path to cook us further as there was no shade or wind. But there was the refreshing sight of Stonheneg suddenly in our vision. Hooray! we sped up and marched towards the..the.. oh..where was the finishing line? A rev of an engine made us jump and move to the edge of the path quickly. It was the Discover Adventure Jeep again! It dissapeared off in a cloud of dust and stopped about 100 yards ahead of us. They jumped out, grabbed one of their flags, and a couple of medals, and welcomed us over the finish line as we rapidly caught up the dust cloud! 7 hours 23 minutes
, and we had almost beaten the Event Organisers to the designated finish area!! We finished in a record course breaking time! Power to the DucWe had to wait for a few people to finish before we could get the shuttle bus back to our cars. I changed out of my Duck suit after the photos had been taken with Stonehenge in the distance. I sat on path's edge drinking water and eating peanuts reflecting on what we had achieved. Final laugh was listening to the people finishing behind us "Oh, where is the Duck? Did we beat her??"Oh no! Super Duck was a good 40 minutes ahead of you.
A few people were surprised that a chunkymunky in fancy dress could move at such speed in that heat and on that terrain. I thank Phil for being a fantastic pace setter. Plus my training, and the excellent team at revive
for making sure I get the best training to do these endurance events. Plus of course I was fueled by the delicious nakd bars
. What a team. Thankyou everyone!Plus a huge thankyou "QUACK" to all of the wonderful people who sent me lots of encouraging messages of support from Twitter and Facebook. I am doing these events to raise awareness and funds for Fibromyalgia. Your messages helped keep my spirits lifted and the mind focused on what I was doing and why. My discomfort was minimal and for a small time frame compared to what a Fibromyalgia suffer endures.
I have been doing a few tests with a variety of “power foods” and "power drinks".
There are a lot of ready made protein bars, energy bars, gels, drinks, must-have shakes.
But how do they all compare with being fuel-efficient cost effective or tasty?
Have we been sucked up into a world that we must use these commercial products for improved performance and recovery?
What ever did we do before there was just a glass of milk, porridge, scrambled eggs and steaks?
A month a go I started “running”. I have decided to chase my dream to be able to do long distance running, with a view of completing an iconic marathon. I have applied to do the Virgin 2012 London marathon. But the dream isn’t to just do that one, but to be able to actually run, preferably off trail, for pleasure. However, I need to pressure of a public commitment to actually get into the focus and discipline of running, or doing anything that great demands such dedicated training regime and programme. Competing in a publicised event for a publicised cause actually gets me on track and moving! I can not ever
do anything just for me. Hence my stating I will do the London Marathon, dressed as Fibroduck for Fibromyalgia UK.
I started reading a couple of magazines dedicated to running, Runners World and Women’s Running, for advice, motivation and general information. I also subscribe to www.fetcheveryone.com for the same support and advice, but its just an online magazine, or e-zine. There is a subtle difference between the magazines and the e-zine is that one has a lot of adverts for lots of different clothes, shoes, energy foods & drinks, the other doesn’t.
I like the fun banter, common sense from Fetcheveryone. People share their successes and failures in a positive way, and that includes their own experiences with all the different “Power foods” and “power drinks”. I feel these are more genuine as they are not involved with generating revenue for a glossy magazine. Although, I still enjoy reading about all the variety of gizmos, clothing, foodstuffs that are available out in Commercial World. It brings them to my doorstep and I get to read the "science" behind them all.
But, and I am slowly getting to my point, why does there have to be a science? For me it complicates what should be a pleasurable experience. When I go for a run, or power walk I want to switch off from formulas and reasons pitted against all these different foods and drinks as to why they will make me perform better, longer and out of pocket. Just relax with natural foods and enjoy the pleasure of eating sensible food choices to enhance performance and recovery.
I am not the only one who thinks like this but often can't articulate what my dilemma and issue is. This was put into perspective by a chap, Mark Cooper (@runwithmark), who wrote a brilliant and simple blog
on nutrition for his 40 mile training run. He also had that as a feature thread on his facebook. Nutella spread on bread, jacket potato and steak, glass of milk, chocolate milkshakes, cup of coffee, water, etc, all featured in what people have as their training and recovery foods. He also shares a few favourites as me such as the 9-bar
full of seeds and filling yuminess. Ideal gluten free food with natural sources of minerals,vitamins, omegas 3-6-9…ooo science again!
Now don’t get me wrong. There is a time and place for a lot of these commercial power foods and drinks. They are conveniently packaged so you can enjoy them on the go, especially if you are participating in an event. But, I have noticed a lot of people choose to have them as a regular daily dietary requirement. They are now like a glamorous "must have" each day. The “caviar and champagne” of the “athletes”. To be seen buying them, and including them as part of a daily diet, is perhaps one’s way of stating “I am an athlete” as I have these special foods. Great! If that is what helps with your motivation and mind-set. But I am suggesting that there are cheaper, nicer and fresher ways of getting those benefits. I, however, can’t afford all those commercial brands. I am also often poorly after the gels! The adverts encourage you to have them as part of your daily diet, and people have now got out of the habit of using Mother Nature’s resources. Successful advertising campaign and promotions by the magazines, plus top athlete endorsements, will always sell you a vision – my mind’s eye will have me think I am an elite athlete if I eat and drink all those commercial products. Hehe, I know better! So, now I have aggravated a few, but the point I am trying make is, just remember good old fashion real food and drinks.
I do have a favourite 'commercial' brand. My truly own favourite is the uncomplicated power food Nakd
bars. These are raw food bars. I eat natural foods such as nuts, seeds, bananas, milk, etc. Nakd bars are ideal little bundles of "energy food" and "comfort food" in a small wrapper that doesn’t give me sticky fingers, or make me thirsty when I am out running, power walking, or back packing. Easy to unwrap and nibble at when on the go, specially if running. I favour the Gluten free range when running as these bars are very moist and don’t need water to help wash them down.The Trek bars are higher in protein so aid s recovery and re-energises me when trianing and doing a Quackathon or two. The Nakd bars are great comfort food bars, and the little bars help me if I am having a sweet tooth moment. They also count towards my fruit and vegetable "one a day" quota. Uncomplicated raw food to power me forward further, and help with recovery.
These are all I take when I am OUT and about. They compliment my training and events.
Otherwise, when I am at home I eat real food
.Conclusion? - I don't think much to all the different commercial brands.
Still love my Nakd bars and trying new recipes for lots of different meals and menus. Have a look at Melanie Ryding
's ( @nuuutymel ) website for lots of menu ideas. She is a teacher and triathlete, always training hard and conscious about gaining weight. She knows a thing or two about combining sensible food options with keeping body fueled, refueled and able to recover well from all her events and hard training.
I use Twitter as place to network. Not to just gain donations and followers, but because I learn so much from a large variety of people. What a random and eclectic group of "friends" I have from all around the world, and from the touch of a button! I learn so much from so many, and am truly thankful for all of them sharing their knowledge and being very supportive. Even today I “made a new friend” who has trained hard in the last year to run her first marathon. Thankyou @JoSmith ! Thankyou @runwithmark , @WayoftheWarrior, @MattWang83, @fatboychef, @nuuutymel, @rungeordierun, @IronmanTD2011, @Rubbish_Runner … oh so many! You are my true power foods for energy! Inspiring me and motivating me all the time!
In February I noticed a blog and facebook event publising Steve Blethyn’s
midnight walk. He is another Reading based Adventurer.
I sent him a message asking him if he wanted a Duck for company, as you do! Not sure if he was grateful for having some company, or mortified he was going to be walking with Fibroduck
. But we both have a passion for walking, adventures and fundraising. Our feet are focused on a very local and worthy cause.
We are doing the walk for the THE WICKED AND WACKY BREAKFAST CLUB
at St Mary’s School in Shinfield where Steve works.
We are also promoting the healthy option of Walking to school
We are starting at -
- A. Robert Piggott School, then going via
- B. Polehamton CofE Junior School,
- C. Willowbank Junior,
- D. Emmbrook,
- E. St Pauls CofE,
- F. Westende School,
- G. Oaklands,
- H. Gorse Ride, and then finishing at
- I. St Mary's, Shinfield
We’ll be walking past every Junior School in Wokingham Council's area, a total of 23.6 miles (38km). We will be starting at midnight, and finish at 7:30a.m. on the 8th of April. (That's the last day of term.) We'll be in time to join the children in the breakfast club for toast and a coffee.
Hopefully I shall be able to have a live tracking with endomondo
which can be accessed from their website, or twitter and facebook. Feather tips crossed I can work the technology!
So wonderful people we are asking you to dig deep and donate
, even just a pound or two - every little helps.
This is my Fibroduck suit layed out with my all the kit I will need for the 38km trekathon.As it is at night time I have got 2 flashlights to wear front and back, plus a torch. I also have a reflective vest.
GPS, compass and map of course are essential.In my rucksack I will have 2l of water, a small concerntrated beetroot juice
(energy), a coconut water (rehyrdation at the end), a small thermos of hot chocolate (energy and comfort). Plus my gluten free nakd bars
, jelly beans, mixed nuts and raisins and a slimfast (energy & food drink). I also have a small pot of baked beans to enjoy as my wheat free alternative to a sandwich.I always carry a 1st aid kit, my Whiz (for a whazz, lighter than a shewee), spare warm hat, gloves, fleece, bandana (useful at end of walk when temperature drops).Plus a few fibroducks to hand out - not sure who we shall see in the wee hours!Wearing my new beloved Salomon Exit 2 GTX shoes. Perfect for my arches; gives great cushioning and support. Love the grippy vibram soles. Goretex lined too for our British Summers! I always wear a pair of thin bridgedale inner socks, with my Bridgedale trekking socks over the top. I usually douse feet in a liberal coating of talc to keep them dry & friction free.I always use my Osprey rucksacks. They are very comfortable and have lots of stretchy pockets.I have tried many backpacks but this is perfect for my height, waist, shoulders and chest.
We were blessed with a warm and dry evening. It was mostly cloudless so when we weren’t watching where our feet were going, we could enjoy the gorgeous starry sky.
We arrived at the first school, The Robert Piggot School, at 11.45am. Parked up in a dark school car park. Then another car drove in! The chap pulled alongside, wound down his window and asked “Do you know anything about the charity walk?”
I answered “Oh yes!” Straight away, Churchill style.
Steve slowly and cautiously answered with a mumble. He was waiting for the chap to tell us to leave immediately, as we couldn’t park there!
The chap introduced himself as Ryan, a photographer from the Reading Guide
! He certainly pulled the short straw for this story! His Editor had told him there was a job he certainly couldn’t refuse to do tonight!
He hadn’t brought proper lighting so we improvised with car lights on full beam. He was given a little Fibroduck as a thank you for coming out to record the start of our Midnight Quackathon.
We said a goodbye to Steve’s wife, Ginny, who was driving back home, to a warm bed! She repeated this several times and that she was looking forward to a snore-free night of sleep! Well at least I would know when Steve was sleep walking. I’d hear him snoring in mid stride. Then off we set!
We did our best to twitter through out the night, uploading our photos as we took them at each school. A big thankyou to all of you who supported us through the night.The walk was tough. The body is used to sleeping at that time. I had made sure I had packed some nice sweet things to keep my body ticking over, spiking it with jelly beans, nakd bars and brazil nuts.
The worst sections were the country roads with no lights, or paths. We had to pick our way over/through/under potholes, drain hole covers, molehills (grass verges!) and a lot of debris. thankfully no accidents. But notably my GPS recorded a maximum speed of 6.8mph! It must have been one of the stumbles when dancing with some hidden twigs!
It was a mostly quiet and uneventful night, with a few funny moments. I can’t for the life of me remember timelines for all the incidents!
- We found Cinderella’s shoe (Steve has the photo to prove this) and it didn’t fit either of us. It was a very petit glitzy gold ballet pump.
- We only had 1 car toot, but then Reading and Wokingham drivers are respecting the fact that most decent and civilised people would be asleep and not want to be woken up.
- There were two young lads walking near the Winnersh Showcase cinema. As was my way with all the good folk we came across, I said “Good Morning, Quack!” One lad replied “Good morning” back, and the other said, “Bon Appetite!” Hmmm..could he see an orange in my beak or a bottle of hoisin sauce under my wing?
- Another young lad cycling with his hands in pockets looked, nay stared, at us in disbelief as wiggled his way down the road, near St Paul’s school. He was lost apparently and needed directions back to Reading! At 3.30am? He did say if he had some money on him he would give it us as “We were well good folk!”
- Scariest moment was when we could hear a police helicopter over our heads, and could see the long search beam. It took about a minute to come over to us, then onto us, then move away. Then come back, and linger! We took advantage and took some photos of ourselves out side Westende School. Watch Police! Camera! Action! For photos of The 6ft Duck and Bewhiskered man blinking in their main beam!
- Outside of Wokingham, near a Tesco’s we thought we could see the Coco Cola Christmas truck. A very clean and smart “People Carrier” had a front load of very smart lights! Didn’t need streetlights with that around! But as we had already seen a Christmas lights on around a Magnolia tree in Wargrave I was still waiting to hear a Christmas jingle.
We got back to St. Mary’s School at 6.45am. We joined the children at the Breakfast Club, for breakfast. It was fun listening to their banter and taking questions from them. I was stumped at the one “how old is the Duck” and “Why has the Duck got two heads?” Just love what kids will come out with next.
I thoroughly enjoyed my walk and chats with Steve that night. We shall do another adventure again.
A big thankyou to Ginny, his wife, for chauffeuring and staying up late night that. Plus thank you to Ryan, the Reading Guide Photographer.
Oh I wish I could eat it all without any problems!
Over the last couple of years I have been fighting a real battle with weight. I do so much walking and training you’d think I’d be skinny as a rake! Sadly not.
For some strange reason the weight just keeps sneaking on. I have tweaked my food and tried a variety of diets and ideas, with the help of doctors, dieticians and fitness instructors. I have foxed them all!
My regular intake of porridge, Soreen Malt loaf, and some Nakd
bars have now been crossed off my list as I am now trying the latest notion, at the request of the doctor, and that is to be totally wheat free. Not even oats or barley! Or spelt or buckwheat! Not even if it says gluten free! Nothing with the four wheat proteins, from the same grass family as wheat, is to pass my lips for three months. I haven’t been diagnosed as a coeliac, but there is the possibility that I do have a high wheat sensitivity, and my body sees wheat as a toxin. It stores it as fat cells on my body.
Being totally wheat-free is not easy. You only have to try giving up wheat to realise that it is contained in all of the foods I most enjoy, pasta, bread, cakes, biscuits pastries. Its in sauces, yoghurts, gravy..oh the list is endless. Wheat is in all processed and ready made food. Zimples..I think of my Nana and go back to basics and cook food from scratch. I was brought up on Lebonese/mediteranean style cooking. Hmm, just lacking the sunshine! I also have to plan ahead better. Cant do a wrap or sandwich for an easy lunch. Nowt wrong with a potato, sweetcorn & hard egg salad though. Just have to think, plan and relax. Food is to be enjoyed.
Wheat has a number of problems. Firstly, because wheat is so predominant in Western food, we tend to eat too much of it. When we eat a particular food too often we are in danger of developing a food intolerance. The reason why wheat and dairy are the most common triggers for food intolerance is because they are the most common foods in our diets. Eating a particular food too often can cause the digestive enzymes to be overwhelmed. When this happens the particular food is not digested properly. This is more likely to happen with foods which are not particularly easy to digest in the first place. Wheat is not an easy food to digest.
Wheat is highly sprayed and heavily processed. During processing wheat germ is stripped from the grain and this reduces its nutritional content. This means that the body is less equipped to process the toxins from the chemicals from spraying and from the refining process. The liver quickly becomes overwhelmed and stores the toxins in fat cells. Secondly, the wheat protein, called gluten, is very hard to digest.
When we become intolerant to a food eating it causes bloating and water retention making us appear overweight. When we cut out that food the bloating and water retention subsides.
Secondly, when we eat a food we are intolerant to it affects the efficiency of our digestive system. Poor digestion causes constipation which means we are not getting rid of waste products. This causes the toxin levels in our body to rise and the liver stores the toxins in fat cells. As the toxin levels rise, fat cells are created and maintained to assist with storage of toxins. When cut out the food we are intolerant to, our toxin levels fall and the body disposes of the fat cells.
I am having fasting blood tests each month for the next three months to monitor the effect a wheat free diet has on me. I am also living by a diabetic diet, as there is also the implication I may have diabetes 2. I also have a high cholestral which was lowered with the use of statins. These didn’t agree with me, and I often had cramps. I don’t want my biggest muscle, the heart, cramping out on me, so I came off those tablets. My cholestral is also being monitored to see if I need to go back on the tablets, as I may have a genetic issue, so diet alone may not help me.
I also have high blood pressure, and this doesn’t ever seem to go below 138/92 despite being on 160mg valsartan per day, walking a minimum of 10 miles a day, training and eating a sensible diet. So all the above tweaks should help too. I am also cutting out caffeine completely. I already drink 2 litres or more of water a day, and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, pulses and nuts.
Yes, I am a doctor’s conundrum at the moment. But other than that I am fit, healthy and well, with a cheery disposition. Hopefully my issues can be solved with a change in my diet; some people don’t have that option. Thinking of you with fibromyalgia, cancer, crohns… and so may other illnesses where research is still a long way off from finding a cure.Thankfully, Nakd do have a range of gluten free bars that I can still enjoy. When I am doing my long distance hikes and endurance training I like to have a quick energy fix of a delicious moist bar. There are 7 yummy flavours to choose from - Cashew Cookie, Cocoa Orange, Ginger Bread, Pecan Pie, Berry Delight, Cocoa Delight & Cocoa Mint.100% raw 35g bars that are all natural, no added sugar, gluten, wheat, dairy & GM free. Just raw fruit & nuts cheerfully smooshed together in Wales. Try them! You can order mixed cases of the GF bars here.
Oh this was a magical day!
Many had travelled from afar for this wonderful event. I shortened my journey by staying over with a Twitter friend, Nancy, as it was an early start.
We had the excitement of donning our special T-shirts, with duck feet all ready pre-printed into the Marsden March logo, and then wear it over my Fibroduck Ducksuit, then drive to Sutton Hospital, to catch our coach to the Chelsea Hospital.
It was a cold morning, despite the sun shining, and we were pleased to be able to get on the coach fairly quickly. It seemed such a very long coach ride to the Chelsea Hospital. I was convinced the coach driver had added on some extra miles to make us all feel we were doing an exceptionally longer walk!
We got off the coach and headed towards the lively exciting sounds, and wowed at the colours of the balloons as we arrived at the “Starters Village”. There was a beautiful arch of balloons to walk through as the starting line.
However, just before that was the more welcoming site of the portaloos! Both Nancy and I headed straight for those. It took a wee while to peel off my Fibroduck Ducksuit and T-shirt though! I made sure I was very empty before dressing up again and was certainly crossing my wing tips I wouldn’t have to do that again in mid-March!
We bumped into Team GIST
, some great girls (and boyfriend) we had got to know through Twitter prior to the event. Twitter has been a wonderful forum to keep in touch with the event details and updates; plus to make new friends before and after the event.
Without lingering too long in the cold we were under way fairly swiftly and set off at a good pace keen to complete the 14 mile March in under 3 ½ hours. I let Nancy stay a stride ahead of me for most of the March, setting our pace, as she was anxious she wouldn’t be able to do it at Duck speed, and without another Pee stop. Tis a good ploy, used previously on my sister on the Moonwalk (26 mile midnight walk for Breast Cancer) as it worked psychologically, lulling her into thinking she was “beating” me..hehe! It also meant Nancy couldn’t see my face as I was in a bit of pain as my boots failed at mile 5. But I kept going! Thank goodness for the comfort and energy giving Nakd
bars! Cashew Cookie is my new forever chocolate!
The March was initially along a lot of busy pedestrian areas until we got to Wimbledon Common. I had never been there before so loved the novelty of seeing the Windmill and singing a variety of Wombles songs. I was also able to check twitter to see who had sent messages of support. There was a message to call up Redshift Radio
, a community radio station in Crewe, and do a live link up. This we managed to do, so it was fantastic to think that despite Marching in London, all folks tuned in from around the country could also share our experience. Thankyou to Liz and everyone at Redshift for your fantastic support, and suffering the whimsicial twitters of a daft Duck!
I also had the fun of being interviewed by Royal Marsden Radio at the start of the walk, and again as we left Wimbledon Common. I puffed out my Duck chest with pride as not only was I supporting a very worthy cause of raising funds for two excellent cancer hospitals, but raising awareness of Fibromyalgia and Fibroduck. Listen to the interview here.
I am about 51mins into the programme.
Nancy and I managed to complete the March in just under 4 hours, and certainly welcomed the orange squash from a nearby pub before we got to the finish line; then the bottled water and goody bag as we crossed over/walked under the balloon arch.
The March Village at the end was alive with music, face painting, bbqs, drink stalls, Marsden Charity merchandise shop, and the wall of memories.
What really brought it home for me, as to why were all there, was seeing the obvious signs of recent cancer patients who had undergone chemo. Plus one patient who was on walkabout with his medicine drip bag stand. When I got home, I tried to explain the day and the finale to my husband. It was as I mentioned this man with his drip bag and stand, I burst into tears and was quite overwhelmed with how lucky my family and I are truly are. Plus, there was the feeling of euphoria of having walked in such esteemed company, on a beautiful March day, on the most memorable March ever. The first Marsden March will never be topped, but there will be many more successful ones. The Duck is signing up for 2012!You can too, here for 25th March 2012!There will be an official video and more photos from the Royal Marsden site shortly.You can still donate to this walk on my Just Giving Page
A little bit about The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity Work
The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity supports this pioneering work. Thanks to our supporters, we are able to help The Royal Marsden continue to push boundaries and raise standards of excellence.
When people donate to the charity they support everyone who benefits from the work of The Royal Marsden. Scientists searching for cures. Doctors who depend on the latest treatments and technologies. And, of course, cancer patients and their families.
Together, we can keep making life better for people with cancer and keep striving towards a future without it.
Recent appeals include: Europe's largest centre for children and young people with cancer Doubling our capacity so that more children with cancer can receive the best possible care and treatment.
Medical Day Unit at our Chelsea hospital A bright and spacious environment that improves patient comfort and reduces waiting times.
CyberKnife – the latest in radiotherapy treatment Treating the most hard to reach tumours with concentrated doses of radiotherapy. (from the Royal Marsden website)
What a fantastic day to remember!
I set out at 6.30am to arrive at the Green Park Village for 7.00am. It was a rather breezy chilly morning and thank goodness I had my Fibroduck Duck suit to hang out in! Sure the warming carnival atmosphere helped keep us all bouyant and happy but didn’t keep the Goosebumps at bay!
I was doing the event with my work colleagues, Reading’s Family Link Team. We were supporting a young person, Luke, who wanted to complete this mini marathon under his own steam, no one pushing him. This was the first time he had ever done this. He is just starting to become more independent proving to his peers he could live with minimum support. He is a very determined young man and indeed he kept us in our places!
I insisted on running/dancing this event. Who could not resist bopping away to the bands that lined the course. I loved hearing “High Way To Hell” played by a young rock group, and the Steel Drums. Everyone else walked 3km, I danced at least 6km, at Luke’s pace in 40 minutes. He is determined to beat that time next year! Mmm had my beetroot juice and Nakd
bar to munch on for much needed energy. I had the Peanut & Oat Trek bar and the Chocolate mint flavours.My own Reading Half Marathon place has been deferred until next year..my big challenge to concerntrate on!
Luke will also be doing 1km, using his walker, around Prospect Park, 1st April from 1.30, with Reading College. Please do show your support.
“Reading's Family Link Team took part in the Green Park Challenge to promote Share The Care Week, and to recruit more short breaks carers & befrienders for disabled children & young people. If you would like to find out more about becoming a carer, call the team on 0118 937 3740 and make a big difference to disabled children!' “ There is more information here.
Photos printed by kind permission of Reading Council
Team Dogface met for their first training walk on Sunday 23rd January.
There are four of us and one dog, Shaun (who the team is named after).
The team are doing a 40km trekathon across the South Downs on the 7th May, 2011.This will be the first ever long distance walk partaken by Sarah, Neville and Paul. It will also be their first charity event. The have been inspired to do something like this by the enthusiastic quacks of a Rambling Duck who is always asking if anyone wants to do a “big walk”?
Initially Sarah and I had looked to do the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker
on the South Downs. That was a daunting challenge, with a high entry fee and an even bigger minimum sponsor request. So after a little surfing on the net, Sarah discovered a group called Across The Divide
. They do a multitude of different events in the Uk, Europe and worldwide to appeal to anyone; from a hike to a sledge ride! The entry fees are more realistic, to pay for the equipment and support, plus you choose your own charity, each event has a small sponsorship minimum or none at all. It is here that the South Downs
walk was found. And the birth of Team Dogface
! As we are a team, then it was joint decision as to which charity will be benefit and it was agreed that as Shaun was rescued through Dogs Trust, then they would be our beneficary!
Our first team training session was a short walk of 9km. We hadn’t all met so it was a good opportunity to meet, chat, learn about each other, and above all get a feel for our fitness level. I had my Rucksack packed with yummy Nakd
bars and the photogenic, publicity-seeking Fibroduck
, plus all the essential items I would actually take on any hike. Train with the weight! Neville was our designated routemaster and Satnag. Armed with maps and the machine to record our stats he then pointed North and shouted “Team Dogface is Go”! Of course, Fibroduck joined us, but just the Littel guy, not me in my suit..this time!
We put in a steady 4.3km pace, on mostly sticky muddy but flat terrain. It stayed dry, and we warmed up quickly so had an early pitstop to remove our arctic layers. Well it was only just 2 degrees when we set off! The walk was one chosen for its easy locality to all of us, close to junction 12 M4, around the Sulhamstead, Berkshire, area. Farmland, towpaths and a little tarmac, all with some great scenery. Most memorable for me was to see the early arrival of snowdrops, mostly squashed on a well trodden path, plus a graveyard who’s church had been removed, bar the porch,,gate and church door! Quite bizarre to see!
So, a little exercise, a little fresh air, some nattering and laughter! What a great way to spend a couple of hours – away from TVs, computers, kitchen sink and the vacuum cleaner. Who said getting fit and healthy had to be so much trouble? As the old Turkish proverb goes – “No road is long with good company”
Has this inspired you to get out?
I wanted to find some hilly fun places to do a lot of training in, without having to go to far from home in Berkshire. Also, it beats the gradient-training programme on a Dreadmill! I invited good friend, Graham Smith (He is a better map-reader than me) to join me. He is training to do the South Downs in the Whitsun break, so he was certainly up for some extra training, so long as I didn’t wear my Fibroduck Duck suit. But I took the mini version instead. Fibroduck gets out on all our walks.
Graham and I are all-weather kind of people and have sufficient outdoor clothes to make sure we don’t perish. He wasn’t amused by my choice of hat, but it sure kept my ears warm! The weather was very blustery but dry. We were blessed!
The adventure started in the car trying to find the Walbury Hill carpark. Satnag was struggling to locate it so we resorted to a good ol fashion ordnance survey map (174) and found it before Satnag could say “Recalculating!”
The walk itself was a very easy 9 ½ miles that took a very leisurely 3 hours. We lunched at a rather heavenly pub called the Jack Russell, in the village Fraccombe (oh we had such fun playing with that name, especially when we spotted the Village Hall!!). It was a circular walk along a section of the Wayfarers Walk, from Walbury Hill
to Pilot Hill
, then southish to Fraccombe, turning southwest to return along a road back to the car park. Had to cut out some of the more fun paths as it was getting dark very quickly. Thank goodness I had packed the hi-viz stuff! Certainly a lot more exploring to do there. I feel me a Wild Camp long weekend coming in soon.
I had an 8kg rucksack, purposely heavy for training/fitness purposes, but also I wanted to carry a few essential items – 1 litre of water, 1 small flash hot chocolate (Galaxy is perfect), camera, purse, map, compass, Garmin GPS, first aid kit, spare waterproofs (montane featherlight), spare hat and gloves (fluorescent), lightweight ripstop groundsheet (has many uses), potty bag (small trowel, hand gel, shewee, tissues, lighter), small torch, swiss army knife, emergency whistle, 2 Nakd bars, 2 Trek bars,
Firestarter (a small sparky thing ideal if lighter or matches fail), Rab storm bag, Hi-viz cycling vest….. This is my Bare Minimum List!! You must always be prepared..anywhere…anytime….
Poor Graham had to endure 6 hours of my company rambling on about the Rambling Duck idea from conception through to current status. As I spoke, and explained all the rationale, a few other ideas began to take shape..shame I didn’t have pen and paper in my Rucksack…must add that into the Bare Minimum List!!! However, despite my chatting, I felt that in such space of time I had really achieved so much; from a pressure bearing decision to finish Team Awnty to a regenerated new project that still had same goal but a lot more ambition and more fitting of Me. So, the walk was a much-needed stretch of the legs as well as a Pat on the Back.