Event 17 - The Snowman Triathlon

I felt sick to the core and was petrified to be doing this triathlon. I have no clue why triathlons scare me so much. Each of the three components I love, put them all together and I am a jibbering mess. The Snowman triathlon probably was not the best triathlon for my first for thirty4thirty however the lovely people at Aim High Events wanted to support my year of challenges and gave me two free places on two of their events. What legends. 

 Great van location next to the start line

Great van location next to the start line

The start of the race felt quite civilised compared to some of the others. My start time wasn't until 8:35am. I had to get my bike into transition by 8:15am but other than that a lie-in considering we parked the camper in a field down the road! 

It was such a beautiful day and it didn't feel to hot; there was a slight breeze and clouds in the sky. When I arrived at Plas-Y-Brenin for the start and to organise my transition area the Legend triathlon (Half Iron-Man distance) had already set off and I was able to see them in the water. The view was spectacular, the lake is nestled below snowdon and the whole of the Snowdon horseshoe was in view. 

I managed to have another cup of tea and a banana whilst I waited for my start wave. There was a compulsory briefing at 8am; I was ready in my wetsuit and just wanted to get started. Already I had somehow managed to lose my Glide (a lubricant that helps take of wetsuits and stops rubbing), It seriously disappeared and confused me for ages. I never solved the case of the missing lube! 

Everyone was pretty friendly in the transition area and I managed to chat to a few people about what I was doing this year. Most people had done the Snowman triathlon before and were experienced in multiple triathlons. People wished me lots of luck. This may have been a bad sign as to how hard it was going to be!

 Giving Will a thumbs up to reassure him I was ok

Giving Will a thumbs up to reassure him I was ok

I just kept thinking one step at a time. Go for a nice swim. Get on your bike, you love riding and then run up a mountain...no worries. The first swim wave went off, my green wave then got into the water. It was surprisingly warm and muddy. A very different feel from the sea swimming I have been doing. I tried to scuttle around and give myself some room before the horn blew. Five, Four, Three, Two, One. We were off, luckily I didn't get kicked in the face but we all bunched up together and my arms and legs were impeded by others arms and legs. I was trying my best not to panic and focus. I had to get into a rhythm, at first I had to do 50 front crawl strokes and then breast stroke for a short time to relax and give myself some room. At the 500m half way point I was starting to enjoy it and felt a rhythm, I also realised I wasn't at the back which I assumed I would be. I think I should be a faster swimmer but I am just so slow! When I got out of the water I felt I had done the best I could be realised it wouldn't be a great time for a 1000m swim. 24minutes.

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Yay, now I was in my comfort zone, I get to go and ride my bike. As soon as I was on my bike my smile grew, I started to relax and I started to overtake all of the speedy swimmers. You are not allowed to draft on a triathlon but I decided to talk to everyone I overtook or people that overtook me. I realised it gives me strength and motivation to encourage others. We were all in the same amount of pain and were all doing the same race. During a triathlon everyone has their preferred discipline and mine is definitely on the bike. Snowdonia was showing all of its glory, it was truly beautiful, I could have been on my bike for ages. The 70km seemed to fly by, even the massive hills were a pleasure. Coming into Blaenau Ffestineog there was a water station, the marshals were really friendly and filled up my water bottle. It was hot out there and we were all getting through lots of water. The only thing that made my sad was that they didn't have any Jelly Babies for general moral. Oh well I had enough snacks to get me by. I was informed that there was a big hill to come; the hill was huge but that meant there was also a huge downhill; I reached my fastest ever speed on my bike of 48mph!!!!! It was amazing.

I was about 7miles from transition 2 and I had to remind myself that I couldn't be on my bike forever and I had a mountain to run up. I started to talk to my legs to get them ready. They didn't seem to impressed. 

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I felt ok at transition and didn't have the jelly legs everyone had mentioned. I was ready for the climb of 872m up Moel Siabod. All athletes ran for about 100m until it was realised the mountain was steep, really steep. It was quicker to power walk up than try to run. What is both depressing and inspiring at this stage were the runners already finishing the mountain phase and passing me to finish. I said well done to all of them and some of them wished me good luck back. What I tried to remember to motivate myself was that I will be the athlete just about to finish the mountain when people where still heading up. The mountain was hot, steep, very long and hard, my legs were screaming but I did not let myself stop. I reached the top, sadly ran out of water and then tried to run down the technical steep hill. This is where the jelly legs happened. I was over taken by a couple of ladies on the down, after a brief chat with them, both lived in the area and had practised the decent. This made me feel better, I tried to keep up but failed miserably, both of the ladies finished about 3minutes ahead of me. The mountain finished and there was about a mile to the end. I was willing my legs to run as fast as possible but to be honest I was really tired and wanted to finish with a smile on my face. This I did. I was so happy for it all to be over and to have finished this brutal and beautiful race. 

 Running out of water!

Running out of water!

Thank you for reading this event blog it means a lot to me.  I am doing all these challenges to raise money for the charity Young Minds so thank you of the support. You can support further by doing any of the following things:

Like, comment or share this blog. The more people it reaches, the better, and that will bring more awareness of the thirty4thirty challenge I am doing.

Follow my FaceBook page - Abbi's thirty4thirty Challenge -https://www.facebook.com/abbisthirty4thirty/

Donate to Young Minds via the just giving link below or through the website using the donate button.

Thank you so much x

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Event 16 - The South Downs way by Mountain bike

The main bulk of this blog with be written by my best support crew, number one fan and husband, William Naylor. He has been supporting me and others during thirty4thirty. Some of the events he has taken part in. This event was a huge challenge for me as I was so exhausted from an extremely hard mountain expedition just before the start. Will joined me throughout the South Downs way; it turned the arduous 100miles into an adventure. Will was there through the literal highs and lows and is able to write about his event from a different point of you. Thank you Will...

 The view from the top of Butser hill

The view from the top of Butser hill

 Some big hills

Some big hills

This event was always going to be fun but tough. Abbi returned from Elbrus in Russia late on Sunday evening knowing we were leaving at 0600 for Winchester to start the challenge. I prepped the bikes and kit ready for an early start although was completely distracted by Wimbledon and World Cup finals. We set off at 0710 on a warm Monday morning out of Winchester and straight into it! We said goodbye to our support crew (Abbi's parents) with orders of salmon sandwiches and pork pies with lime pickle for lunch. if you haven't tried pork pies with lime pickle, do it! You'll never look back! After 11 miles we met the support crew at Exton in a pub car park. The support crew were chasing us down the road to get there before us; we managed 37mph on a lane down hill! We were going well and, after circling the next meeting point on the map, we were off. Then it got hot, VERY hot! The heat made cycling very tough as you are slower on a mountain bike and create less wind. Also the high hedges made their own sun traps for us. There were a couple of brutal hills culminating with the summit of Butser Hill. We then had an epic downhill down the other side across open grass. The inner child was free once more! I was then brought down to earth again with the realisation that the point I had given the support crew was about 35 miles from the last one! Oops! Grumpy Abbi. We eventually got to the checkpoint just past Graffham and inhaled salmon and cream cheese, yum! Off to Washington next at the 54 mile point. 9 1/2 hours after leaving Winchester we arrived at Washington to some very welcome cold beers and a shower. We were both burnt to a crisp and in need of some rest before day 2.

 A rest after Day 1 in Washington 

A rest after Day 1 in Washington 

 The best village shop ever in Amberly

The best village shop ever in Amberly

 Tough Times 

Tough Times 

Day 2 was a little shorter but a lot more hilly. The checkpoints were planned out a little better this time and off we went at 0600 to try and beat the heat. Next stop Devil's Dyke for breakfast. After a huge climb in already hot temperatures we arrived at the viewpoint for coffee and breakfast. It was at this point I realised I was not bike fit... the legs were fine but my butt was killing me! Saddle soreness in heat is not fun, fact. The next stage was stunning with a rolling ridge-line to cycle along. We were so glad it was dry as it would have been a lot slower and more slippery in the wet. We took our time a little more on day 2 as we were more tired and the hills were a lot more regular and steep. We did however stop for a lovely ice cream! We had to take the inland route to Eastbourne which neither of us had done before. After 18 1/2 hours in the saddle, 100 miles of off road cycling and over 4000m of ascent (over 3x Snowdon) we reached the pier at Eastbourne ready for another massive ice cream! The South Downs is truly stunning but hard to do in 2 days, especially in the heat. A highly recommended adventure but remember 3 things: 1, easier over 3 days. 2, definitely one to do in the dry. 3, get bike fit and bring lube!!

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Thanks Will for writing the blog, it made me smile. It was a great adventure but as Will mentioned do it over a few days. Also if I was to do it again I would want to have fresh legs and not have Climbed mount Elbrus just days before. I had a very low moment where the tears were flowing and thinking why have a set myself this stupid challenge. Then I remember how far I have come and what an incredible charity this is all in and of. All of the donations and support are really making a difference. Knowing that all of these hard endurance events are worth it. 

Thank you for reading this event blog it means a lot to me (and Will).  I am doing all these challenges to raise money for the charity Young Minds so thank you of the support. You can support further by doing any of the following things:

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Like, comment or share this blog. The more people it reaches, the better, and that will bring more awareness of the thirty4thirty challenge I am doing.

Follow my FaceBook page - Abbi's thirty4thirty Challenge -https://www.facebook.com/abbisthirty4thirty/

Donate to Young Minds via the JustGiving link below or through the website using the donate button.

Thank you so much x

Event 15 - The Dartmoor Classic Grande

It is always an un-known whether camping before an event is a good idea. I tend to be a good sleeper wherever I lay my head but the thought of getting up at 4am to go and cycle 107miles made me more than a little anxious. The dartmoor classic is well known by all road cyclists; it is one of the ones on the to-do list. In 2017 I took part in the Medio Dartmoor Classic which was 67miles, I did it with a friend, I had only just started to get into cycling so had absolutely no expectations. This time I knew what I should be capable of and wanted to get around feeling good and having achieved a decent time. 

The sun came up and I was up and ready applying copious amounts of suncream due to the exceptionally hot weather. The forecast predicted a couple of light showers. I think all of the riders would be happy with a light splattering of rain amoungst the sunshine. 

I was ready to go at the start line when I realised I was the annoying person who was at registration before it had even opened at 5am! I didn't mean to be but I wanted to make sure I was in the first wave of 200 riders to set off at 6am. The Dartmoor classic is so well swept up, the staff are amazing and it is extremely well organised. A heads up from me, you really don't need to be there a full hour before you want to start. Luckily there is coffee available.

So there I was near the front on the riders ready to go, I had seen a few friendly faces, these faces I knew would would be a blur of speed as soon as we got to the start. The Dartmoor Classic starts at Newton Abbot racecourse however the official start is two miles out of town at Clay-pits lane. This is done rightly so for safety reasons through the town. Those first few miles are pretty flat and the pace is ideal then BOOM the bleeper goes and the hills start. Some riders are so inspirational, they fly past, it looks effortless as I was already panting with a maximum heart rate.

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Dartmoor is known for its hills, the grande has over 10,000ft of them to ascend. The first one gets you up high onto the moor, it feels great to be up and at it, then the Strava challenge happens. This is a killer, I have never gone for a record and have always been happy with my time, again riders race up the hill trying to get the fastest times they possibly can. At the top many people are sprawled out on the floor or retching, at this point we were only about 7miles into the route. I was glad to be taking it relatively steady.

The rest stops on the classic are at Princetown, if you complete the Medio you go through Princetown once, on the Grande twice. On the first time around I was feeling good, but I had pushed it a little to fast, 33miles very hilly miles in just over 2hours is way to fast for me. The rest stop is famous for homity pie; homity pie is a potato and cheese pie bourn in Devon and is amazing. sadly I couldn't face it at 8:30am but looked forward to it on my second time around. 

Up out of Princetown and into the unknown 40miles that I had never seen or done before. Then it started....the torrential rain. Showers my arse. The rain continued for the next 5hours. It was so heavy at times I couldn't actually see the road. My glasses needed windscreen wipers, the roads turned into rivers and all of the suncream I so diligently put on was now in my eyes. It was pretty dangerous on some of the downhills I was reaching 30mph without being able to see correctly! 

As I was pushing myself quite hard I started to get a horrible stomach ache, I sadly was struggling to eat or drink much and I was having a bad time. Cycling for that long on your own isn't really that fun especially in those weather conditions. I convinced myself to get to Princetown again for the second rest stop, see if I could eat anything, if I couldn't I would have to pull out. When I got there my stomach was at the worst it had been for the whole ride, severe cramps. Some tears and painkillers later I had to make the tough choice to continue or to stop. My body was telling me to stop but my pride and reluctance to let any of the thirty4thirty supporters down was to much. I continued, in pain but I thought it is only 35miles to go, I can push that out in pain. 

It sure was a painful 35miles but the sun started to shine again about an hour from the finish. I was exhausted but elated that I had pushed myself through that. I really needed to get some food and drink on board before the drive home that evening. My Parents were at the finish line waiting for me, it is always the best feeling to get a well needed hug and a hot chocolate ;)

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The Dartmoor Classic was a big milestone in the thirty4thirty challenge this year. Half way through the endurance events. 15 events down and 15 to go. 

Thank you for reading this event blog it means a lot to me.  I am doing all these challenges to raise money for the charity Young Minds so thank you of the support. You can support further by doing any of the following things:

Like, comment or share this blog. The more people it reaches, the better, and that will bring more awareness of the thirty4thirty challenge I am doing.

Follow my FaceBook page - Abbi's thirty4thirty Challenge -https://www.facebook.com/abbisthirty4thirty/

Donate to Young Minds via the just giving link below or through the website using the donate button.

Thank you so much x

 Finished  and happy 

Finished  and happy 

Event 14 - The Salomon Running Festival 20km Trail Run

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I was well and truly excited about this event. My recovery seemed to be going well from last weekends Ultra-marathon. I had a busy week at work so this festival of running was going to be a lovely stress reliever. I was meeting up with fellow runner and friend of mine Adelaide Goodeve to take part in all of the the activities that were on offer throughout the festival and complete the 20km trail run. We had signed up for a trail running workshop, yoga, a guided run with an athlete and also the timed 20km race. 

 Sam teaching us some skills

Sam teaching us some skills

The event was taking place at the foot of Box Hill in Surry. It was the most glorious sunny day and our first activity was booked in for 9am. We were heading out for about an hour with a small group of runners and a Salomon sponsored athlete to learn new trail running skills. He mentioned how much there was to learn and weeks could be spent learning all of the different techniques, he however had one hours to improve two key running elements - up hill and Down hill! Being an Ultra runner it isn't really very often that I run up steep hills; I take the opportunity to walk and change my muscle, I was therefore a little sceptical. However, I persevered and tried to be a great running student, listening to all that Sam (Salomon athlete) said and tried my very best to copy it. He just seemed to float up these hills, I am still more on baby elephant scale. I will get there, I just need to remember to be up on my toes, keep my head up, arms relaxed, chest open and breathe from the belly. Simples. We then started to learn about running downhill. This is something I have struggled with, I wouldn't say I am really slow but I defiantly hold back; I was listening in intently as I really want to become a demon at running down hill. This is when I realised I have been doing it all wrong! Again the body must be relaxed, the arms out further from the body, arms can be used like an aeroplane for direction if needed, slightly lean the upper body forward and then scuff the feet. This was a whole new technique to me, scuffing the balls of your feet everytime you take a steep down the hill allows you to keep control and also acts as a break. It was really fun to practise and feel like a bit of a wally having aeroplane arms. I liked the scuffing technique originally but then it starts to hurt my toes. After a long decent my feet moved forward in my trainers and I could feel them hitting the front. I don't think this would be the appropriate technique for an ultra-marathon but I will keep practising. 

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 One of the very big hills!

One of the very big hills!

It was becoming a scorcher of a day, I had my Salomon Slab vest on that I love and it holds just under two litres of water without really being noticed. I was trying to stay hydrated conscious that I didn't want to be dehydrated for the 20km run coming up. Just after the trail running workshop we were getting ready to run the guided 20km route. Again we were being shown the way by a Salomon athlete in groups of about 20. It was really lovely to be running with a small group and not in a 'race' situation. The pace was steady and the hills were big, my legs were heavy still from the Ultra marathon but I just kept practising the trail techniques, kept chatting and smiling and taking in the views; if I stay positive the kilometres seem to fly by. As it was a guided run the over all pace was slow as we kept waiting for group members and also taking lots of photos. This is a positive of trail running, it isn't all about the times and how fast you can run it is about the experience, taking in the views and being part of the natural surroundings. There were 7 big hills to run up on the 20km course, I feel like I know Box Hill well now. It is a beautiful place to visit and lovely to run around. 

At about 14km most of the group had run out of water; we thought there would be a water station at the half way mark but sadly that was not to be the case. We found out that the water stops would only be available in the timed race later in the afternoon. However, supplies were called for and a 4x4 turned up in the nick of time down a narrow lane to fill all of our water bottles. A couple of people had tripped over roots at this point so also needed a little bit of first aid. With only 6km to go and my water re-filled I felt like I was just warming up and getting into it, the last 6km were my most favourite, I felt good and strong and was having a great day running in the sunshine. As it was a guided 20km there wasn't a big fan fair at the end or medals but just a lovely atmosphere. A couple of people on the guided run had never run that distance off load before. It really felt like a nice community. By the end my legs were really heavy and it was going to get warmer throughout the day, I was glad to be finished and to be able to enjoy the rest of the day. 

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It was now lunchtime; there were loads of healthy options to try and some of the best juices and smoothies ever on sale, it was nice to sit down and re-fuel listening to some talks on the main stage from more incredible athletes. After a relax we went and joined in with the free yoga sessions to stretch our muscles. It is always lovely to be able to practise yoga outside in the fresh air. There was also massage on offer; I just couldn't resist. I went along to the massage to ask to get my very tight left calf looked at. I didn't think I would however get tortured by some strange compression devise! I am not sure if I would ever recommend it again but it was definitely an experience.

Throughout the evening there were the timed trail events and then a bar and music in the barn. :) An all round perfect day. This event I will 100% be going to again. The ticket prices were minimal, there was so much to do and it was great fun. 

 Relax...

Relax...

Thank you for reading this event blog it means a lot to me.  I am doing all these challenges to raise money for the charity Young Minds so thank you of the support. You can support further by doing any of the following things:

Like, comment or share this blog. The more people it reaches, the better, and that will bring more awareness of the thirty4thirty challenge I am doing.

Follow my FaceBook page - Abbi's thirty4thirty Challenge -https://www.facebook.com/abbisthirty4thirty/

Donate to Young Minds via the just giving link below or through the website using the donate button.

Thank you so much x

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Event 13 - The Wall Ultra-marathon

As I sit here and write this blog I have just had a sports massage. This has caused my brain to forget the pain of the The Wall as a very tiny size 6 lady manages to inflict more pain on me than any ultra-marathon ever could! 

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My recovery is going remarkably well considering running for a full day along the stunning 69mile Hadrian's wall. As they say the mind is very good at forgetting pain and now all I feel is an overwhelming hunger I can not get rid of and a huge sense of achievement. I learnt a lot during this ultra-marathon, many positive and many negative things. I am glad that Rat Race's The Wall was on of my 30 endurance events of this year but quite frankly I have been part of better events. I don't want this blog to just be a rant but I will try to provide my honest opinion throughout and I would never discourage anyone to take part in this event; as ultras go it is a great one to do, my complaints regard the £200 entry fee to the organisers that provided at times pretty shoddy organisation...

The day before the event the little Mini was once again packed to the rafters with stuff that I probably wouldn't need but added "just incase". The dog was somewhere in the car, where I was not really sure. I had never been to Carlisle before, or Newcastle for that matter so it really did feel like an adventure. The journey up North took about 7 hours with many stops to stretch legs and find Tash (the dog) to let her have snoop around and a pee. Carlisle and the registration were easy to get to and we were welcomed by the beautiful sight of the Castle and the waterfall of poppies that are on tour currently. I met up with my running partner for the ultra, Kirsty who is a sessioned ultra runner and was taking it all in her stride.  Registration was swept up with no queues and soon we had our race number and very exciting tracking device which would enable our friends family to watch us throughout the whole run (or so we thought). 

Kirsty had booked us a cosy cabin (WigWam camping) to sleep in for the night just a couple of miles outside Carlisle which was just perfect and only a couple of minutes walk from the local pub! We managed to abstain from any alcohol but ate way to much pie. I knew I had to go to bed early to get a good nights sleep before the early start and a very long run but sadly I seemed to only sleep very lightly. The alarm went off and I was happy to be out of bed and getting ready to start the run. Bring it on. 

Due to having a mini support crew we didn't have any bags to drop off. We had got to the start line with plenty of time for the final nervous wee and still reach the crucial starters brief before the off. We headed down to the bag drop area as that was where the toilets were and the queue for the loos were around the car park. I had to go...waiting diligently in the line I kept looking at my watch ticking as it was getting closer and closer to the briefing. The staff then started to shout we all need to be a briefing...ahhhhhh. I REALLY need to go...I managed to get to the front of the line and go for a wee trying my very best not to get annoyed that not enough toilets had been provided. Right I was sorted. Up to the briefing, sadly I could not hear any of the briefing as the organisers microphone did not work. Looking around the National heritage site of Carlisle castle, trying to take in the atmosphere of the event and think of the history of the wall and I was confronted with men peeing all along the castle walls. This is just not acceptable, it should not be allowed, in any another situation would you decide to pee up against a castle wall? Just because it is a running event doesn't mean it is allowed. I truly think those guys should have had their race numbers taken off them. There would have been a riot if a  group of women pulled down the pants in the middle of everyone and pee'd. First rant over. Phew.

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700people started the ultra-marathon just as it had begun to rain. It was forecast and we were all prepared. The first few miles of the route instantly took us out of the city into lovely park land. It was a great introduction. For these first few miles it is always hard to get into a rhythm and find where you should place yourself within 700 people. An ultra-marathon is all about pacing, I wanted to start off slow and hopefully stay about the same pace through out the 69miles. This balanced out before we hit the first Pit stop at 15miles. Another toilet themed crisis arose here, there were only 4 portaloos! The queue was about 15minutes long, that is a long time to stand around when you are not even one quarter of the way through an ultra marathon and it it is raining. Most people at about 15miles need to have their morning constitutions. 

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This pitstop was the first point I saw our support crew, due to the nature of the route and the narrow roads the supporters are rightly advised only to meet up with the runners at four pitstops. The other 5 checkpoints should just be for the runners. Understandable. At that point I was sadly told that my snazzy tracker was not working and friends and family were worried that I didn't even manage to start the race. My tracker was replaced so fingers crossed it would work. It never did.

The first half of the course was hilly, notably two big hills, the clincher was just before Walltown quarry, but this also meant we were coming into another checkpoint and some seriously spectacular scenery. Also for me it meant I could rejoice in having some off-road terrain. It was probably my fault when I signed up to The Wall that I didn't read the small print. The Wall is 80% on road, that means a whopping 56miles on road so the 13miles off road I relished and loved. They were also the most beautiful. We had seen Hadrians wall a good few times by now but the sightings were limited. In essential event information we were asked to carry also did not provide us with distances for the check points or pits stops, for some that may have been positive but for me I quite like to know how far I need to run before I can pick up my next bit of cake! However, it was lovely to see my husband and number one support dog at unexpected points to boost moral. 

The big rest stop was a known distance of 45miles, we knew here we could get some hot food and change clothes after getting soaking in a rather heavy downpour. Th rest stop didn't 100% go to plan, we got told off by the staff for cutting the queue for food (I was very confused why there was even a queue!), I had been dreaming of soup as that was what was mentioned in the info pack but was then informed that there were meatballs or chilli to eat. Both in my eyes are not that suitable for running a really long way. However I tried to smile at the now very grumpy staff member as I had pushed in front of the line and I being bamboozled  by the food choices. Anyway, I went for broke and wolfed my chilli down hoping in would stay put. 

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Unfortunately for my team mate the chilli didn't stay put at all, with 24miles to go Kirsty started to struggle with tummy problems and a knee injury that reared its head. We had made really good time and it was sad to see that go to waste but after a lot of talking about the best options for our team we decided to stick it out together. Our running turned into an extreme power walking for about 18 miles of the 24 miles left but we were still racing along a over 4 miles per hour. Kirsty's determination to finish was amazing but walking took its toll out of both of us. The last check point at Newburn Tyne Riverside was at 61miles. Only 8miles to go. it seems nothing but also such a long way during an ultra. we were determined to finish this in the best time we possibly could, we aimed for two hours to the finish. An emotional goodbye to the support crew as we knew the next time we would see Will and Tash would be at the finish. The last 8 miles felt like an eternity. I was starting to get a blister on the ball of my right foot due to walking; I was trying my best to ignore it, I knew in the place it was there was little I could do about it until the end. The last 8 miles was all flat along the tyne and into Newcastle itself, the sun had gone down and slowly but surely we started to see lights from houses and then lights from the 7 bridges on the Tyne, the last bridge of which indicated our finish. From first spotting the Millennium bridge it was still a distance of about 2 miles before we plucked up the energy to run over it and then through the finish line. 

The feeling of finishing an ultra-marathon is indescribable and the feeling of finishing an ultra in the circumstances that we did and as a team was incredible. Our time was a good couple of hours slower than we wanted but in the end who cares; we succeeded. We were extremely shattered but so proud of ourselves. We had completed The Wall in 16hours and 47minutes. That time I will never get back but will treasure forever.

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As previously mentioned I wasn't impressed by the Rat race organisation but the Ultra itself was a delight. With a £200 entry fee I would have liked to have seen more toilets, friendlier staff, mile makers and motivation signs, better information in the essential event information that we had to carry and trackers that had a chance of working would be nice, more medical provision or self help areas and maybe a non-spicy option at the lunch stop (the grumpy lady may have only given me this choice on purpose of course). 

Things I have learnt: 

  1. Take two pairs of each type of trainer
  2. Have loads of spare socks
  3. I am able to eat chilli con carne and run! Bonus.
  4. If you are running with a team mate train with them
  5. Talk about scenarios with your team mate before the event, therefore if an injury or dropping out is needed then the conversation does not have to be made when you are tired and emotional
  6. Smile as much as possible because it makes you feel so much better even after running a ridiculously long way
  7. I feel really energised if I eat a small nibble of something every 20minutes (200-ish calories per hour)
  8. Melon is a must and Tunnocks tea cakes; they are easy to stuff in my face
  9. Read the route maps in detail before the event;  I think if I had done this I would have had more of an idea where all of the rest stops were located
  10. Talk to other runners, look at the views and have fun

Thank you for reading this event blog it means a lot to me.  I am doing all these challenges to raise money for the charity Young Minds so thank you of the support. You can support further by doing any of the following things:

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Like, comment or share this blog. The more people it reaches, the better, and that will bring more awareness of the thirty4thirty challenge I am doing.

Follow my FaceBook page - Abbi's thirty4thirty Challenge -https://www.facebook.com/abbisthirty4thirty/

Donate to Young Minds via the just giving link below or through the website using the donate button.

Thank you so much x

 Feet up finally

Feet up finally

 

 

 

 

 

Event 10 - The Dulux London Revolution

I was ready and prepared to enter the RAB (Ride Across Britain) bubble again. I had missed my little green tent to welcome me home, the other riders, the daily achievement, the sore legs and being able to eat copious amount of delicious food. September 2017 seemed like the distant past for me however, even though I have been training hard for all of the 30 endurance events this year for thirty4thirty I still was apprehensive of my riding ability, over the winter months I was mainly training on the turbo inside and before the event only a few longer rides. I may have been worried but not as worried a my brother-in-law Simon who agreed to take part in the event with me; even though a fit guy it would be his first ever organised event. I could just imagine the nerves he must have been feeling the morning we started. 

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Simon and I were also joined by another RAB veteran and friend of mine who is a speed demon on the bike, Michelle. It was lovely to have a little team of us to start. We were all there in plenty of time, but with all of the faffing it takes with a bike - layers on, layers off, bananas in pockets, dark sunnies or light sunnies, last minute tyre pressure checks - so we missed our original start time of 7am and ended up leaving at 7:30am. 

Even though it was an early start on a Saturday morning London was still busy, the first 10 miles took as about 1.5hours of stopping and starting at traffic lights until we reached Crystal Palace where it seemed to relax slightly. As there were so many cyclists on the event the London traffic wasn't as daunting as I would normally find it. 

Once we were into Surrey our speed picked up. We admired the lovely houses and quant villages being mindful not to fall down a HUGE potholes! Where have they come from? I am sure the beast from the East will be blamed for them also. 

The first rest stop is always a welcome sight. How many treats can I eat within a 5 minute period and how many snacks can I fit into my jersey? Many is the answer. My usual conundrum is going to the toilet before or after stuffing my face. Cycling gear is not the most attractive normally but when you pretty much have to be naked to get your bib-shorts off that is even worse. Sadly for me this means pee stops can really only be accomplished at rest stops, otherwise I am found to be naked on the side of the road and may get arrested for indecent exposure. 

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We were well on out way to the second rest stop, feeling good, Titsey hill was over. It was 12:46 and the heavens opened. The curse of the 2017 RAB was back. Please rain rain go away and come again another day. It really went for it, the roads turned into rivers, my very minimal waterproof jacket did nothing other than stick to my skin but on the upside at least we could no longer see the pot holes.

Just keep swimming (literally). The second pitstop came and went. At this point a feeling of ease always pass's over me. I know I can make it, another 31miles can be done no problem even if I crawl. The rain however didn't let up, it just kept getting heavier, luckily we didn't get cold but were dying to get to the finish and see that little green tent. 

Dulux and the Threshold team had created an amazing festival finish. Sadly the rain stopped most of the fun. However, our family who had come to support found a space in the big red Pimms bus! I have discovered that two glasses of PImms is the best thing for rehydration ever. (My coach my not agree).

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It stopped raining late in the evening just in time to snuggle up in my green tent and try to get some sleep. I am not sure about all of the other riders but I slept like a baby. A 5am alarm call is never lovely and putting on damp cycling kit is even worse. I decided to do it all as quickly as possible and get some breakfast. This meant I likely missed the epic line for food and was again filling my face. 

Our mini team of three re-grouped put on squelchy cycling shoes and started another day of cycling. It wasn't raining so that was a bonus. Day 2 is 86miles compared to day 1 of 101miles. However, it seems longer, it is hillier and I think tired legs can make it more of a challenge. We rolled into the Chillterns, the road seemed quieter and I think there were less potholes however, that could just be optimism. We then faced Kop hill. Kop hill is like the devil of the Dulux Revolution, it is talked and whispered about by the other riders. Yes, it is a big hill but it is manageable. Take it easy in whatever way suits you and you will make it. If you come from Holland maybe train on some hills first. Preparation is always key and to be good at hills you must ride hills. 

We had reached check point 2 on day 2 and I had to find suncream, unlike the day before I was starting to burn. It was super hot, what a difference a day makes. After a short stop we wanted to crack on and finish in a good time, we were aiming to finish by 2:30pm...

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We were getting closer to the end, up and over more hills, past a street that looked like it should be a new TV series called the "housewives of Enfield", we were only about 6 miles away at this point. even through my Garmin had died I could tell we were close just by the crazy driving, I had two close calls in the last 6 miles and I may have given out a couple of hand gestures also. 

On we peddled as fast as we could to Lee Valley Athletics centre, to the finish, to family and to a glass of prosecco. A massive achievement to cycle 300km and 360degrees around our capital. 

Thank you for reading this event blog it means a lot to me.  I am doing all these challenges to raise money for the charity Young Minds so thank you of the support. You can support further by doing any of the following things:

Like, comment or share this blog. The more people it reaches, the better, and that will bring more awareness of the thirty4thirty challenge I am doing.

Follow my FaceBook page - Abbi's thirty4thirty Challenge -https://www.facebook.com/abbisthirty4thirty/

Donate to Young Minds via the just giving link below or through the website using the donate button.

Thank you so much x

 

 

 

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Event 11 - Welsh running festival half marathon

This half marathon was an absolute delight. Not only was it super friendly but it was in the stunning location in Builth Wells. I was really looking forward to running in this festival but my body was very tired from an extremely physical week at work. I didn't have my hopes set high for a good time as it was so hot and super hilly. It was also a two lap course which mentally I struggle with. 

 Looking quite happy at the start

Looking quite happy at the start

The race start was at 1pm, I found it hard to get the correct nutrition as I didn't want to eat before but knew I would feel hungry if I waited until after. I snacked a lot before and made sure I was carrying yummy shot blocks with me to eat every 15 minutes. 

With a quick look around the Welsh show we made our way to the start line, lathered up in suncream and as hydrated as much possible. The race was full of runners representing their local clubs from all over Wales. There was great great atmosphere of friendly rivalry.

The gun went at exactly 1pm. The first mile had a very steep hill up and a very steep hill down, normally I love this terrain but my body felt slow. My muscles gradually started to loosen and I got into the race. It was a good course for ultra marathon runners like myself as there were some good hills to power walk up, this allowed my muscles to adapt and change. 

Everyone was super friendly and supportive. At the quarter water station most of the water was thrown over our heads to cool us down. By this point I was on a roll and feeling really good, the second quarter was beautiful, we were running through pine woodlands with a gradual downhill gradient. With about 1 mile before the end of the first lap you could start to hear the show ground, people laughing, kids playing and the tannoy announcing the agricultural shows. It made me think about life and how it goes on whether I was struggling at this point or not. 

The first lap was completed in just over a hour which was shock to me. I thought I would be at a lot slower pace. This gave me the determination to try and get equal split times for the next lap. The next lap flew by and for some reason did not seem as far or as steep. It was of course exactly the same but it is amazing what your mind can do to help your body. 

I seemed to hear the show ground even further from the end at this point. I was also in pure race mode as there was a lady in pink in front of me, we had been leap-frogging the whole race and I was not going to let her beat me. For the last mile I was flying and loving it. 

A very hot and hilly half marathon completed with very tried legs and a weary body in 2hours 7minutes. Pleased with that.

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It was now time to hit the food hall and raid the free samples. This was truly a really well organised event and one I would definitely do again. It is great for the whole family, the race price includes entry to the show and there is also lots of different running distances for all to enjoy is they choose. 

 Looking around the show

Looking around the show

Thank you for reading this event blog it means a lot to me.  I am doing all these challenges to raise money for the charity Young Minds so thank you of the support. You can support further by doing any of the following things:

Like, comment or share this blog. The more people it reaches, the better, and that will bring more awareness of the thirty4thirty challenge I am doing.

Follow my FaceBook page - Abbi's thirty4thirty Challenge -https://www.facebook.com/abbisthirty4thirty/

Donate to Young Minds via the just giving link below or through the website using the donate button.

Thank you so much x

 

 

 

 

 Having to use my finger s and toes to count the events this year!

Having to use my finger s and toes to count the events this year!

Event 12 - London 2 Paris

Cycling from London 2 Paris should be on everyones bucket list. It was most certainly on mine. When I created thirty4thirty I knew it had to be one of the 30 endurance events of the year. I did not however dream that it would attract the support of five other awesome ladies to ride the 300km with me. 

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This dream team made the event better in so many ways. If you are thinking about taking on the 24hours find yourself a dream team. There are many organised events out there; it doesn't have to be done in 24hours but can also be cycled at a much more leisurely 3 day pace. 

The team consisted of Eva (route planner), Rosalie (general cycling goddess and leader of the pack), Michelle  (involuntary mechanic), Adelaide (knowledge wizard), Alice (moral booster and most resilient person ever) and me! We were also very lucky to have the best support crew (Will and Jo) with Bertie the van. The support crew followed us the whole way, providing food, bananas, much needed water and general support. The van was like a Swiss army knife with spare parts, track pumps, picnic blankets, a spare bike and even red wine! 

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We started our journey from Tower bridge, the team descending on the South side of the bridge from many different angles and parts of the country. Many of us having a much more relaxed start than others, however we were there ready to go for our start time at 4pm. This would give us until 5pm the next day to get to the Arche de Triomphe. Here we go...

The first 10 miles to get out of London were led by the two resident Londoners. Riding in London is all about being confident and being a little bossy with the traffic. Get sassy! If I was leading the group at that point we would still be stuck in London as I am way to polite and kept letting cars and buses through. 

 Ouch. Alice's bruise.

Ouch. Alice's bruise.

Within the first hour the team sadly had an incident, Alice missed a cycle path and understandably tried to catch up and follow the rest of the team. She caught her peddle on the curb and took a big tumble. She was extremely brave considering her ripped shorts and massive bruise already appearing! Alice was up and standing but her bike was a little mangled; we thought it may be the end for Alice and her bikes journey but then Michelle came to the rescue. After getting very oily hands she managed to work out the brakes and back derailleur. Well done Michelle. All systems go. We were back on the route with about 20minutes to catch up.

 We reached the ferry in Newhaven

We reached the ferry in Newhaven

The first section of the route from London to Newhaven is actually the most time restricted. If you miss the ferry for whatever reason the ride is over. We worked out pace to be about 20km per hour on average. This gives lots of time for breaks and mishaps. Once we had reached Mytchett on the suburbs of London we were in my comfort Zone and our speed increased. The weather was perfect, cloudy but not cold. We were well on our way to the ferry. Check in would start at 9:30pm. We arrived at 9:10pm just in time for the support crew to deliver us Fish n Chips from Horaces fish bar. The best fish and chips ever!

 Cabin life

Cabin life

There are many ways to sort out the ferry logistics, as we had the support van all bikes went inside the van for the crossing and the riders went over as a foot passengers. This is the cheapest way to do it as a foot passenger ticket is around £23. The ferry leaves at 11pm and reaches Dieppe at 5am (local time), this gives riders up to 4hours sleep. I highly recommend buying a cabin. Cabins fit four people and cost £55. They also have a shower in. Such a great feeling to feel clean again. Even with only 4 hours sleep it feels like a new day of riding. 

The very loud ferry alarm went off at 4:30am. I jumped out of my skin and was so confused as to where I was and what I was doing. This soon became clear as I put my cycling shorts back on and anti-chaffing cream! Yuck!

The morning was glorious, the sunrise was beautiful. We met the support van just off the ferry where we got our bikes back, had a cuppa and a porridge pot. By 6am we were on the road, the sun was up by this point but actually it was pretty chilly. We all lost feeling in our fingers but knew within the next couple of hours we would surely be boiling again. 

 Avenue Verte for 50km

Avenue Verte for 50km

 Look at those roads. Bliss

Look at those roads. Bliss

The route then took us through a beautiful village and along the Avenue Verte; this was a cycle path of pure delight. It felt like a magic carpet for 50km through farmland, amazing scenery and beautiful villages. I never wanted that cycle path to end. But as they say all good things must come to an end - but for us at the village of Gourney-en-Bray we met the support crew with the most tasty almond croissants I have ever eaten. My cycling dreams had come true, bikes, friends, croissants and smooth roads. 

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Our next stop would be at about 230km for lunch where we would meet the support van again. The roads became slightly more undulating, travelling through the French villages. I am sure they are deserted as we rarely saw a soul! Where are all of the people?

The support crew came up trumps for lunch providing the best picnic ever. Loads of bread, cheese, ham, tomatoes. The picnic blankets even had flowers on! Bliss. Lunch sadly couldn't be that long, I could have happily stayed there all day. 

We had less than 70km to go at this point, everyone was feeling pretty good, loving the scenery and working off all of the cheese from lunch. We were truly on our way to Paris now and heading in the direction of Versaille. Our route took us through the woodland of the Palace which provided restpite from the sunshine and gave us a perspective of how big the estate must be. With under 30km to go we were in the town of Versaille; all of the peace and tranquillity was lost. The town was manic, tourist every where, cars abandoned, buses reversing into us, bike paths covered with obstructions, pedestrians taking up the road and well groomed poodles running in front of the bike tyres. Versaille also had many traffic lights, the team started to get slightly disjointed at this point and it seemed to take an age to get out of the town. At the this point the panic started to rise that we may not make it to Paris in 24hours. We were peddling as hard as we could and trying to navigate in now a much more built up area. We crested a considerable hill and there it was...the Eiffel Tower in all her glory just five miles away. I must say I did have a little tear here. In my heart we had made it whatever time we reached the Arch de Triomphe did not matter.

 Our only bad route choice on the GPS. Slight cross country for 2km!

Our only bad route choice on the GPS. Slight cross country for 2km!

The last five miles into Paris the sassy-ness had to come back out as we battled the bustling city. The clock was ticking but we were on Place Charles de Gaulle looking onto the roundabout madness of the Arch. One...Two...Three...go. We were all of the round about risking our lives to get to the Arch. We made it. 23hours and 42minutes. Phew. Much celebration and champagne followed before we had to risk our lives once again to get back off the roundabout. 

What a 24hours. A bucket list event ticked off. 

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10 pieces of advice for London 2 Paris in 24 hours

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  1. Service bike before the trip
  2. Research routes - I would recommended London - Newhaven (97km) Dieppe - Paris (200km)
  3. Pay for a cabin on the ferry to get a shower and sleep
  4. Get fish n chips at Horaces fish bar. So good!
  5. Have a support crew if possible - if not factor in the stopping time
  6. Eat loads of snacks - real food works best for me such as trail mix, oat bars and sandwiches 
  7. Drink lots of water plus eletrolytes
  8. If you have the time stay in Paris on the night of arrival
  9. Do it with people
  10. The 24 hours of endurance is so worth it in the end

Thank you for reading this event blog it means a lot to me.  I am doing all these challenges to raise money for the charity Young Minds so thank you of the support. You can support further by doing any of the following things:

Like, comment or share this blog. The more people it reaches, the better, and that will bring more awareness of the thirty4thirty challenge I am doing.

Follow my FaceBook page - Abbi's thirty4thirty Challenge -https://www.facebook.com/abbisthirty4thirty/

Donate to Young Minds via the just giving link below or through the website using the donate button.

Thank you so much x 

 

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Event 9 - The Wolf Run

A feeling of excitement and nervousness took over me as soon as my alarm went off. I was excited to be doing another event, ticking them off is an incredible feeling. However, after the last horrendous obstacle course event I was dreading that it would be the same horror. 

The support crew and I crammed into to little Mini with take away coffees in hand to drive the couple of hours to Pippingford park. Just enough time for my emotions to go up and down. We arrived at the park with no drama but were stopped at the gate to pay for car parking. We were all slightly outraged considering the high price of the event itself but needs must. Instantly the atmosphere was fantastic, music blaring, friendly competitors, others looking nervous, others looking highly confident, first-timers and pro obstacle course runners all getting ready for the start. 

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The starting area was electric, it was extremely well organised. Snacks were given out, your race number was written on your face and instructions being bellowed out by a very loud tannoy. Will and I were in the first wave of racers starting at 11am. 10minutes before the start we were asked to go not the starting pen for a safety brief and then a warm-up. The warm up was given by very fit looking personal trainers. They had us running around, jumping up and down and crawling all over the floor. The warm up was hard! All runners were now very warm and already muddy. I suppose if you were not happy with the mud in the starting pen you probably were in the wrong race. 

The start was announced by a few famous faces; Mike Tindall, Will Greenwood, Neil Back. Thanks lads. We were off into the swamp. The swamp was a lot warmer than I had anticipated; a positive start. Then straight into a river crossing; a this point I lost my gloves I was wearing, luckily I didn't end up missing them for the next 10km. 

This event was much more about the natural terrain rather than the obstacles themselves. This made me feel in my comfort zone. The next big task was a huge hill. I LOVED it. I got my power walk on and overtook a lot of people. Then onto the high rope wall, these were my nemesis in the Nuts run because I could not feel my hands or feet, however I felt confident climbing over them. 

The terrain was pretty rugged through streams, jumping over logs and wading through swamps but it was also pretty beautiful. The course was covered in a blanket of bluebells and the views from the high points were just stunning. Throughout the course there were really encouraging marshals, great signage to lead the way and also kilometre markers. The kilometres were flying by for me, I was smiling and my body had warmed up. 

From quite a long way away I could hear splashing and running water. We had to climb over a high ledge. At this point I realised that we would we sliding down into the cold lake. The slide was great fun, the cold shock wasn't such great fun! I like swimming but then having to swim across the lake made it all a little more taxing. As I got out of the lake one of the marshals mentioned that was the first lake of three. Better to know I suppose.

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The other two lakes came in quick succession, the second was a very deep long lake to swim across. Some people needed help from the safety kayakers. The third lake was yucky; we had to crawl through the lake due to the mud and weeds, if you tried to swim or walk you would sink into the bottom. The lakes were interspersed with a few other obstacles, some natural and some man-made, the hardest for me was the 20 meter long monkey bars. I am proud to say I got over half way before I fell off. 

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There now wasn't long to run before the end, the camaraderie was really strong at this point, some competitors were really struggling so we all provided many jokes about beers at the end. The last obstacle before the finish sprint was a steep slippery wall and then cargo net, I was worried with the crowd I wouldn't be able to get over it, however I managed to haul myself up and jump down, the last 100m's are always my favourite. The feeling of achievement and pride is huge. I crossed the finish line happy. The Wolf run was great, really well organised and worth the entry price. I was so pleased with myself I even brought a Wolf Run Dry Robe to keep myself warm and toasty before and after all of the events. 

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Thank you for reading this event blog it means a lot to me.  I am doing all these challenges to raise money for the charity Young Minds so thank you of the support. You can support further by doing any of the following things:

Like, comment or share this blog. The more people it reaches, the better, and that will bring more awareness of the thirty4thirty challenge I am doing.

Follow my FaceBook page - Abbi's thirty4thirty Challenge -https://www.facebook.com/abbisthirty4thirty/

Donate to Young Minds via the just giving link below or through the website using the donate button.

Thank you so much x 

 

 

 

 

 

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Event 8 - The ABP Southampton Marathon

April the 22nd was hyped up to the max as it was the London marathon. It was also set to be the hottest London marathon on record. But hey what about us? What about the poor 10,000 London Marathon rejects that were taking part in the ABP Southampton marathon on the same day?

Throughout the week leading up to the marathon I spoke to lots of people about it, I told them it was my 8th endurance event this year out of 30 and how thirty4thirty was going really well. My nagging back pain was a worry and I was unsure as to how I would feel. If I would stride around the two lap course or if I would crawl. Many people would comment "it will be ok as you are not as crazy as the people who are running the London Marathon"!! I realise that everyone can associate with the London marathon as it is well publicised and is on the TV but come on people a marathon is still a marathon, the UK weather is still the same and we are still running 26.2miles in the sunshine. 

So whether you were in London or Southampton it was hot. So hot. I was feeling really excited for this marathon, my back was a problem but it actually gave me an excuse to slow down if I needed and also to walk if required. I was running with my husband so it was always going to be fun however deep I would have to dig.  The atmosphere as we got off the train was incredible, people everywhere, the sunshine always makes everyone smile. I also had a great thirty4thirty support crew (my parents) for the event so they were able to help me get ready and take loads of great photos. 

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As usual I was stuck in a portaloo toilet right up until the last minute. I rushed to get to the start line. The start gun went off but it took nearly 8 minutes to get over the start line due to the mass's of people taking part. The first few miles are always about jostling for a good position where you can run at your pace but also not being dragged along to quickly by the crowd. This is where a lot of runners fall short as they run far to quickly for the first hour or so and then can not keep the pace. 

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Due to my back problems and endurance event after endurance event my aim was to finish smiling and hopefully get under 4hours 20mins. This would have been a steady 10minute mile pace on average. The plan was to take the first lap steady and see if the pace could be increased. I felt really strong and the atmosphere was great. The first lap of 13.1 miles seemed to fly by, Southampton in the Sunshine was lovely, bits of the course went through the centre of town, past the docks, over the Itchen bridge, along West Water, through the football stadium, through some beautiful parks and then then back to the centre. It was so much hillier than I ever expected it to be. At the 13.1mile marker the crowds went wild the music was loud and the elation was high. At the point the majority of the runners went through the finish line as they had just successfully completed their planned half marathon. The rest of us poor marathon runners got ushered off down a side street to start the course all over again! This was mentally tough, the course went from having thousands of people to a few mental marathon runners. At first it felt like the ABP Southampton marathon was a Half marathon with a few insane marathon runners thrown in who decided to do the course twice. Sadly the street support dwindled but the people who did stay out to support were magnificent. Sweet were given to us, loads of water, people throwing buckets of water on us, people in residential areas holding out spray hoses. 

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At this point I was running well, still at a fast but steady pace and I felt good. There is always a worry at around 18miles that the dreaded metaphorical WALL is going to be hit. It never came, we just kept on trucking. It was hot, our heart rates were much higher than they should of been due to the heat but we kept each other motivated, kept eating and drinking every 20minutes and the miles slowly counted down. The last 4 miles always seem like an eternity and even worse the last 0.2miles seems like the last 20 but gradually we got there. We rounded the last corner and even managed to up the pace to run into the finish to the sound of thousands of cheering people. I definitely did not feel like a London Marathon reject at this point in time. We crossed the finish line in 4hours 12minutes. I am super happy with my time.

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To have a support crew at every 6/7mile point is a huge boost so a massive thank you to them. To have someone to run with makes the whole experience better, having the mental support of my coach telling me I can do it and when and how much nutrition to eat makes everything easier. This event is my 8th of the year out of 30 but it really felt like everything was starting to come together. I feel strong, happy and healthy (other than my back) and I am really looking forward to the next 22 endurance events as they start to get much harder, longer and more arduous. 

Thank you for reading this event blog it means a lot to me.  I am doing all these challenges to raise money for the charity Young Minds so thank you of the support. You can support further by doing any of the following things:

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Like, comment or share this blog. The more people it reaches, the better, and that will bring more awareness of the thirty4thirty challenge I am doing.

Follow my FaceBook page - Abbi's thirty4thirty Challenge -https://www.facebook.com/abbisthirty4thirty/

Donate to Young Minds via the just giving link below or through the website using the donate button.

Thank you so much x