Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Across the Java and Beyond

So we left Singapore and started our journey to our next port of call as we have some Defence Engagements to conduct over the next couple of  weeks. After a 6 hour period of special sea duty men to get out of Sembewang port and then through the Malacca Strait traffic separation scheme, we were on our way to Jakarta in Indonesia.

Leaving Singapore behind
This will be the most Southerly stop as it stands on our deployment (things may still change) but as it's our first crossing across the Equator, we must pay homage to the ruler of the seas "King Neptune". It's an age old Naval tradition that we carry out. I've done it twice before so this would be my third, however I was to be one of the "Bears" in the ceremony. Our role would be to carry out the punishment set by the Judge under the watchful eye of King Neptune and his wife the Queen. It would be a long ceremony, as 320 odd personnel would be getting punished for their first crossing.

Dressed as a Dodgy Bear (2nd on left) for the ceremony
In a timely procession, one after the other, the punishments were carried out with some having their crimes read prior. Some were punished more than others, some even tried running away but the King Neptune's Police Force soon chased them and and dragged them back. If they hid, they were found and punished more. By doing this we appease Kind Neptune and now we should have good favour for the rest of our journey.
Another one gets a good punishment
2 days later 20th April arrived and I got to celebrate it once again at sea. I spent my 21st birthday at sea out here in the Far East and now I get to spend my 40th birthday out here as well. Luckily some birthday post had arrived just in time in Singapore so I had some lovely birthday mail, including the latest Garmin Fenix 5 from my wife to open. I will be giving that a good test drive over the next few months whilst away.



My new Fenix 5 birthday present arrived :)
Some people feel down about getting older, but to be fair I'm looking forward it. I had some good times in my 30's, with many achievements. I ran my first marathon, I ran my first ultra, I ran from the New Forest to Land's End, I finished my last year in the 30's running from North Wales to South Wales. I also got married, had a son and bought a house. If I am to have a midlife crisis, it best involve some running! So now I am 40 years old, it does come with some perks, I'm in new age categories for races and also at work I have to do fewer bleep test levels for the Navy Fitness test hehe!

Finally we arrived in Jakarta in Indonesia, I've been reading up on running there. Now the trails are a bit of a trip outside of the city, so I'm not sure if I will get the time around work to get there Especially as it take a couple of hours in the traffic just to go 7 miles to the centre of the city. Obviously I can run around the city area, however the level of pollution doesn't sound great, but I've run in worse. I am hoping because I'll be in the port, the coastline will be more accessible. This is what I thought about as I crossed the Java Sea.

What better flavour for training in the Tropical areas?
It was a long day day after getting alongside with various Defence events and ships open to visitors, so I didn't really get a chance to take my legs for a stretch until the following morning. The trails are just a little too far away really to fit them in especially as I don't have long here and want to make the most of getting out and about. So I took my self and my GoPro out for a jaunt through the busy streets. Even at 7.30am it was stupidly busy, it was raining In good tropical fashion but in the stupid heat it was refreshing.The streets traffic starts building up from around 5am ish.

The traffic was constant
Although I didn't get into much stride it was a nice run, yes I almost got killed by the traffic just turning into you as you tried to safely cross at junctions, yes it rained, but I love running in new places and I had many locals saying hello as I ran passed. I was either going to get wet from the rain or drenched by sweat. Rain the much preferred option on that one.

Mid run selfie
I didn't have much of a route planned so it was a simple out and back type route knowing there would then little chance of getting lost on the way back. Looking forward now to doing more exploring of the city later on. Defo recommend this place if you fancy something a little different!  Sadly the coastline wasn't as accessible as I thought it could be.

Anyway back home in the UK whilst I was working (loosely put) in Jakarta, my wife Cathy ran her first ever marathon. According to the media it was the hottest London Marathon on record. I'm not going to lie, I had my doubts how my wife will cope with me being away, the weather, the training didn't go to plan as she hoped, her anxiety and panic attacks, that she would finish. She did finish, ok not in a world record time but she still finished where many may have given up. She found someone to keep her company from about 1 mile in. Which was nice to hear when I spoke to her after she finished. She really does struggle with her panic attacks whilst running due to the issues she has with running, so usually that's where I come in. The fact she found company pretty much all the way around is amazing and I can't thank her new friend enough. Seeing those tears at the end as she showed me her medal was amazing, it even got smokey in the room I was in using the wifi to track her progress from hehe!

Definitely proud of her! Will so do another one? She'll say no for now I know that, but who knows, when I'm not away so much and able to help her train and look after our boy whilst she trains, maybe she will try another to improve on her time. Maybe she will do an Ultra? Follow in my footsteps? We will see.

My wife (in Yellow) and her new friend with their well deserved medals
So it won't be long until I am in our next port of call. Will I get some trail running in? Fingers crossed!

Thank you to the continued support from Tailwind Nutrition UK, even my wife was using it during VMLM.

Owain
#GoTailwind #Tailwindtrailblazer

Monday, 16 April 2018

The adventure takes me to the heart of Asia...

Where the last blog left off, I was waiting at Port Said at the northern point of the Suez Canal waiting to go through. We did indeed go through the Suez and made our way South towards the Red Sea, soon enough we went from the warm Mediterranean temperatures to the hot and sweat temperatures of Egypt and the Red Sea.

Going through the Suez has changed a lot over the years compared to when I first went through back in 1999. Back then we were on the Forecastle of the ship in shorts and deck shoes working, now we have guys fully manning the guns in body armour etc and no one else is allowed on the upper deck. We were at an enhanced posture all the way down the canal.

After a fair trek, we eventually popped out. The canal is approximately 120 miles long, and all the way down I was thinking, I'd love to run it and try to beat the ship through (Well just get there and the ship pick me up at the end will do). Not do it on a treadmill and do the distance but actually run the length of the canal. Alas I don't think that will ever happen whilst I work within the RN.

So we are in the Red Sea, and my training continues either on the treadmill or around the upper deck. We were slowly sailing down as we were waiting for an American task group and French ship to come through with us. There has recently been attacks in the area on vessels so were were all going though the Bam el Mandeb known as the BAM the choke point of the Red Sea into the Gulf of Aden.

This time our posture would be further enhanced and we'd be closing up into Defence Watches firstly (a 1 in 2 routine) prior to the 12 hour BAM transit where we would then go to Action Stations which is our highest state of readiness, should we be unlucky and be attacked. Luckily we weren't and all was well. It was a long ass day though because some were unlucky to have to say on watch for another 6 hours or more after falling back into Defence Watches.

Bam el Mandeb choke point (pic taken off google)
As we go out of the other side and so forth rumours of where we were heading starting to creep around the ship. Eventually we got told the Far East, but still unsure of whether after Singapore we would be turning right to Australia or left northwards to Japan etc.

With thousands of mile to go across the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, it was going to be a long transit. Training sessions in the gym in the early hours when it was cooler although still very warm or on the upper deck when it was a little cooler either first thing or last thing before sunset. Sessions are now on running, cross trainer, bike and stepper. The stepper is in mind of the Arc of Attrition I have early on in the year next year.

It was also confirmed to us when we were looking at getting back and yes it is now pretty much 10 months away from home. I'm sad that I won't be seeing my family for pretty the whole of the year, but I have to find silver linings and going to the Far East, where I have been luckily with work a few times in the past, I get to go again to. Then the thought of running in some of these places makes me smile. We are just awaiting confirmation of the ship's programme so we can plan things, and for me to be able to see if there is any races I could enter.

Training in the gym
As time went on, we made our way across the Indian Ocean, seeing various things like Flying Fish leaping out of the water, lightening storms of great proportions and beautiful sunsets. We had flight sports and BBQ's in the lovely weather. Occasionally it would rain which was well need to 1. freshen the air and 2. wash down the upper deck of all the sand that built up from the sand storms.

Then we got told where we were going and finally we had a programme, the Government want us to left. So after Singapore left is where we were heading.

I can't tell you off all the places we are going yet, but as I visit them I will continue to update you on my adventure runs.

We made it down the Malacca Strait and finally have about 3 and half weeks we came alongside in Sembewang, Singapore. I've visited here 6 times in total, the first time in 1999 and the last time in 2000 pretty much 18 years ago. The wife had booked me into a hotel for a couple of nights so I could get some time off the ship, abuse their wifi to update my phone etc and so I could be close to one of the parkruns here in Singapore. They have two, 1 in West Coast Park and the other in East Coast Park. The hotel is near the East Coast one. It's an earlier start out here compared to back home, most likely due to the temperatures, they have.
Sunset somewhere along our transit in the Indian Ocean
I'm not going to lie, I'm a little excited to do it. I never thought I'd ever return here to be able to do one here so I'm pretty happy. I woke up early in the hotel my lovely wife booked for me for a couple of nights, and I got my self ready. I made my to the start of the East Coast Park parkrun, as the sun just started to rise. The start was at 7.30am here due to the humidity and the temperatures in the country. Even at that time it was still very hot and humid. Knowing this, I was happy to just go and enjoy the sights as I bumbled along as an easy pace. Soon enough plenty of other runners turned up and and we given the standard pre run briefing, and the tourists like myself had a really nice welcome. I wasn't the only person from the UK, there were about 6 or 7 of us in total. Some on holiday and others like myself there on work reasons.
At the start of the parkrun in Singapore
We walked down to the start and we were off, down the path along the coast. It's a very flat course much like Southsea in Portsmouth but much nicer scenery. Looking out sea you could see the 100's of ships at anchor. I also passed groups doing yoga, Thai Che, etc. It was a very busy park especially at that time in morning.

We soon hit the turnaround point, I high 5'd the marshal thanked her and made my way back to the finish. I crossed the line and scanned my barcodes. Thanking the team I soon left, I had a busy day sort of planned ahead so I didn't hang around to grab a coffee and cake at the nearby Starbucks with the other park runners. Shocking I know, but I had to make my way back to the hotel and get myself sorted. I'm so glad I go out of my air conditioned hotel room and ran it. It was nice to have a little organised event to go to as well. If you're ever out here you can't go wrong with a parkrun.
The view along the way of route of the parkrun
I nailed about a litre of tailwind not for the fuel but for the electrolytes, due to excess sweating thanks to the humidity and the exercise I wanted to make sure I replaced them. Lemon was my choice and it was quite refreshing.


Rehydrating
So my adventures went on into the evening in the various bars and clubs into the early hours with a friend off ship. I had a pretty epic time to be honest, I love it out here and my whole stay reminded me why it's one of my fav places in the world to visit. Highly recommended to be honest!

So we leave soon from here and continue our journey, so until next time when I update you all on my adventures away with work.

Out on the streets of Singapore

Thanks for reading

Owain
#gotailwind #tailwindtrailblazer

Thursday, 12 April 2018

As the adventure continues we move on finally.....

Sorry for the delay in publishing my latest blog, due to many reasons mainly to do with Operational Security I couldn’t just blab about where I was and what we were doing. 
Eventually we left the fine shores of Crete, we had one final weekend after a brief period at sea to get us back in date for flying, and I spent some of it driving around the beautiful but scarey mountains as me and some of my work friends went looking for a beach. It was worth the road trip! An adventure in it’s own right. 
Off Cyprus doing some flying with the RAF Chinooks

My running took me back to training on the ship, the many laps of the upper deck isn’t with out it’s monotomy, but with the good weather it makes it much more bareable than running on the ship’s treadmills which are just about useable. 
As I plod around the upper deck, it does allow me clear my thoughts of work. As it currently is so unpredictable right now it doesn’t do morale much good. I think that is something I’ve learnt to do during my still short running career. To use it as a way of focusing, clearing my head of the negativity that I may be surrounded by. Even at sea, at work I am lucky to be able to continue my running in some form. 
Laps of the upper deck as the sun went down
We made our way to Cyprus and we sat off at Anchor in the bay just off Akatori. From here the place looks promising, and I await hopefully to spread my running legs along parts of it when I eventually get ashore. We eventually made our way alongside in Limasol. Sadly due to the political issues with another nation, we had very strict resitrictions on going ashore. We weren’t allowed to go ashore by ourselves and were only allowed in certain areas. The restrictions weren’t just due to political issues but also as the area was out of season the locals have a tendency of getting pissed off with tourists and they have been known to frog march people to cash points with guns to get money out for them as well as beatings and muggings. 
So I kept my training to on board, and only went ashore for a  bimble with people from the mess. 
Our programme has gone from a 5 month med deployment supporting NATO to a pretty much 10 month programme, as we were given the kind words of your going through the Suez and now heading east. How Far East, we still didn’t know but what we did know was we were heading to far warmer climates. Were we heading to the Arabian Gulf or Further East? At the time of writing this blog we still do not know the plans the UK Gov have for us. All I know is we won’t be back until the end of Nov and it’s going to get much hotter! Not the most idea training for the next year's Arc of Attrition. Training in the hottest places in the world for the UK’s pretty much nails Winter 100 mile foot race.

Our position at the time of writing this blog waiting in Port Said
In the meantime long time supporter of mine Tailwind Nutrition UK have made me on their official Trailblazers. I’m pretty chuffed with that to be honest, a lot of what I have achieved has because of their support and it will be good to give more back to them by being a trailblazer. 


Some of the goodies sent to me by my sponsor Tailwind Nutrition UK
So where will be my next leg stretch? Dusty deserts of the Arabian Gulf or further East in the humid Asian lands? 

Well by the time I publish this you will now the answer to this.Until the next blog.

Owain
#tailwindtrailbazer

Monday, 26 February 2018

Not How I Expected the Trip to Start

So I left home with work on 6th Feb, despite going away I was looking forward to the potential running grounds I was going to be pounding. There are places I’ve been to before and some completly new. It was the new ones which were really exciting me to be honest. I love the first runs in countries I’ve been visited before. Whether it’s a road run or a trail run it doesn’t matter, it’s all about the exploring and the adventures to go on. I already had a race place booked ready during our first stop in Istanbul. A 14km trail race just outside the city, it was pretty cheap so worth the gamble of booking it. I’ve never visited Turkey before, so to have a trail race going on at the same time as I am there with work is a mega bonus. I took with me a good selection of kit so I could run a small ultra or a parkrun.

However my luck wasn’t in, the second day into the deployment the little cough I had overnight suddenly went from my throat onto my chest. I had no energy, I was weak, I was coughing up green shit, my chest was tight. I thought this isn’t good, and not just a little man flu cold shit. So I went to sickbay to see if I could get some antibiotics. It wasn’t a chest infection though, my blood oxygen levels were really low and “just” on the boarderline “ok” level. I was then stuck in the ward having observations taken regularly, given an inhaler, antibiotics, paracetamol and stuck on oxygen. Having to pee into a container so they could monitor the water I am drinking making sure it’s coming out enough. I knew this wasn’t an ordinary cough. 
Gibraltar as we passed through
It was pneumonia, something I have never had before. It got that serious they were having to make a decision whether to fly me off to the nearest Spanish hospital as we sailed down the Bay of Biscay. When I heard that, I was a little worried to be honest. The last thing I needed was to be stuck in some random Spanish hospital while the ship carried on without me. Luckily they chose to keep me on board. Eventually I was allowed out of the ward and to my own bed to sleep in, where the medic was going to come round at midnight and take my observations.

I was feeling a lot better the following day than I was for sure, the antibiotics were doing their stuff, but I was stood down from work for another day. As I progressed to get better, it eventually turned to a frustrating cough, which I am only now 2 and half weeks later pretty much got rid of. It’s only occasionally I cough now.

We went past Gibraltar not stopping as per usual and continued on our way. I still hadn’t been able to go for any run at this point, treadmill or on the upper deck. It was the night before we were due to go through the straits to Istanbul and I was tucked up in bed. When I woke up the following morning, I hear the news we had turned around and the sun was rising on the other side of the ship. We were no longer going to Istanbul. I was a little gutted not because it lost me money. The race was only about £15 but because I didn’t get to run the race. Although I wouldn’t have been fully fit to actual race I was looking forward to just going round enjoying the trails and making a film.

Sunset in Crete
It was just not meant to be, instead we were heading to Souda Bay in Crete. Our programme was up in the air for still unknown reasons, and were going to come alongside in Souda Bay that morning. I’ve been here many times before in the past, so it wasn’t exciting me as much as Istanbul. Because of this I decided not to run until I was ready. Despite having a very occassionally cough now I decided it was time. I had a new pair of road shoes arrive in the post and I wanted to stretch my legs. The views from where I was berthed was making me wanting to get out.

First run in a few weeks and what a view!
There are no immediate trails near where we were, so I stuck to a simple route and road it was. I went for a nice easy 5 miles. 1 mile of it was to the exit of the dockyard, 1.5 miles up a long hill and then back to the ship. When I got to the turn around area, I took in the stunning views for the moment and then made my way back down. It was a pretty warm day, and I went through 1 ltr of Green Tea Tailwind Nutrition I was carrying. I did run during the middle of the day so although although for Crete it was pretty cold, it was still a warm day. It was just nice to stretch the legs and get out there. It was just an awesome feeling to be back running again after my bout of pneumonia. 
Now I still don’t know where our next stop will be currently, so I can’t discuss anything as it stands. As long as I can get to go for my runs I really don’t care where we go. We shall see!

New shoes! Kinvara 8's
In other news, I’ve recently been made a Tailwind Nutrition UK Trailblazer. They’ve been supporting me for a while now, but to be made an official trailblazer is frigging brilliant. Also recently my blog made the top 75 running blogs in the UK out of the 1000’s out there. I’m pretty pleased as it was a shock to be honest. I was placed 56 and I am happy with that. There was no way I’d be no 1 against professional running magazines like Men’s Running Magazine and Women’s Running Magazine. To be finally recognised is amazing. I just enjoy writing about my running adventures and obviously people enjoy reading them. I hope whilst I am away people will continue to follow my travels. I plan on making some films too whilst out as well.

So until next time thanks for reading!
Owain

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

2017 - Plenty of Ups and Downs

It's been a while since I blogged, and to be fair my running has been a bit lack lustre too, so it sort of went hand in hand.

2017 started off pretty well to be honest, I hadn't booked in many events because I wanted to give a little bit back to the family as they were spending a fair bit of time chasing me around whilst I ran.

The year started with the Cousin Jack Classic II race. A 17 mile South West Coastal Path (SWCP) race from Cape Cornwall to St Ives put on by Bys Vyken Events. Throughly enjoyed this little tough race. The section of the SWCP isn't easy to run on for various reasons, however that didn't stop me enjoying it. Click the link for the Blog Cousin Jack Classic II. My good friend David has put on some good events and I go on to do another later in the year.

The final stretch to the finish at CJCII
The first big event I ran in '17 was Hope24. This was the 4th year I was involved with in some capacity. Again I helped set up and then ran solo once more. With weather interrupting us and it becoming a 17 hour race instead after postponement I didn't get as many miles in as I wanted. I did get to run/bimble alongside my wife for one lap which was great as it's something that doesn't happen often (sadly she twisted her ankle during her first lap but she did manage 3 laps with it strapped up in the end). Got a hug off fellow blogger and runner friend Sarah (see her blog here Sarah's Blog) so another bonus. She's great!

I was then due to run in the CQ44 again but sadly I couldn't run it this year. Not disappointed as I had run it before.  Soon enough I was getting myself ready for the biggest event of the year. The big adventure where I was to run from North Wales to South Wales via the Offa's Dyke and Glyndwr's Way then the following day after I finish race Mudcrew's "The Plague". It wasn't a complete failure in fact I still achieved from it. It just didn't go the way it was supposed to go. But then that's life really, It wasn't out of my depth, just things didn't go to plan and I had to adapt, improvise and over come. I still raised a lot of money which was the main goal. It gave me some amazing experiences and some fantastic memories. Like all my other adventures and races, I also learnt lessons to take forward. Here's the YOLO blog YOLO 17 and the Plague blog The Plague .

Watch the video YOLO 17 Film

A week after my epic adventure across Wales, I ran my last big race of 2017 "The Madness of King George". A 12 hour strict ruled 1 mile laps of King George's Memorial Walk in Hayle, Cornwall. David of Bys Vyken Events again created something quite special. As it was only a week after my Welsh run I wasn't sure how this was going to go. Luckily it didn't go badly and I finished it! It def holds a special place in my memory bank this one. Madness of King George race


2017 also allowed me to host my first guest blogger. I was approached by a publicist to see if I would host an author who's book was about to launch. As he is a runner and it was about his record run around the Wainright's Round, how could I say no? It was good to do and I enjoyed his book to which I can highly recommend. Here is his blog There is no Map in Hell part 3 .

2017 also brought me some major downers as well, first of all there was a group set up to slag me off behind my back. Worse of all it set up by someone who was supposed to be a friend. They tried claiming it was "Banter" sorry it's not when it's behind someone's back. Then I got accused of cheating because Strava amended some of my race times and it made me look like I was an Olympic Athlete. Without talking to me about it went and started slagging me off at my local running club, and this then went out in public. I've never cheated, I've never amended any runs. I'm not exactly trying to win anything and my performances that are all noted down in the results show I'm not great. Why would I want to cheat with mediocre performances really? My Garmin files show nothing was amended. it just shows the type of people they are really. Especially fi they thing Strava is the be or end all. Then an American Running forum "Let's Run" (I'm not even a member of it) on a thread to do with another British Runner, I get mentioned (because I commented on the other runners FB status) as "too thic to be an ultra runner" Thic is urban slang for fat. Yes I am not a racing snake I know that. But body shaming is never on in my books. The recent "This is Me" song from the Greatest Showman film says it all really.

So as you can see a real mix bags for 2017 for me. 2018 hasn't started off well, I've had to defer my Arc of Attrition 100 mile place to 2019 due to now deploying. Sadly that is the way things go in my line of work. At least it give me even more time to get prepared for it, I am already looking at races at the places I am going with work and found on already so silver lining and all that.

I am looking forward to my running overseas, and I'm starting to plan my next big adventure run!

Thank you to all my readers, my wife and son and my sponsor Tailwind Nutrition UK!

Look out for my up coming blogs of my overseas runs.


Friday, 1 September 2017

Madness of King George - More Laps Than Lapland

When I entered this new event, I wasn't sure how recovered I would be from my recent adventure across Wales only two weeks prior, my body would be. So when it came to starting I wasn't 100% recovered but I was going to give it a go anyway.

The Madness of King George is a 12 hour running event set down in Cornwall in a town called Hayle. The course is 1.06 mile laps along the King George Memorial Walk. The out route was along the tarmac road which is closed to traffic on Sunday's and back along the gritty dusty footpath right next to the road. The two only separated by the odd bushes.


As the event got closer, I tried not to think about it too much, and just let what be happens. The weather was looking good and having parents who live down that part of the world allowed me to get a good night sleep without having to worry about a long travel prior.

The race was starting at 8am on the Sunday and we arrived just after 7am for registration and kit check. Kit check? Yep we had mandatory kit to carry even though it was just over a mile a lap. Why? Well it was one of the rules and it was designed to be annoying to make the event harder.

Pre Start
Other rules like - No leaving the course except for using the toilet or injury treatment. No drop bags or no pace runners. If you don't last the full 12 hours you DNF even if you stop at 11 hours 59 mind 59 secs.

Some time based events will allow you to have drop bags, etc and allow you to run as much or as little as you want. This event was no such event. But we knew that when entering and that's probably why only 15 of us entered. On the day though there was 1 DNS due to injury so 14 of us lined up. I was pretty lucky, I knew quite a few of the runners, so the event also became a bit of a run with friends. I was toeing the line with some pretty handy runners like Loyd and Kay from the At-Your-Pace Trail Team, as well as other local pocket rockets like Laura Milward, Sharon Sullivan and Mickee Jelf. They're bloody awesome people who kept smiling and miling (is that a word?) all the way around event.

Out bound section
The countdown started and soon we went on our way, just the 14 of us. Being a such a small lap you could see the turn around point pretty soon. In the middle they had marshals and at the turn around point they had an aid station well stocked with the usual drinks etc you'd expect.

Every time I got to the turn around point I made the point of tapping the top of the turn around cone. This to me was a mental thing to myself to say well done that's another turn around ticked off. It was the same as the cone at the start. I did it every lap at each end.

One of the few morale boosting signs
I decided I was going to get a few comfortable good laps in and see how it went from there. The course was flat (except for the speed humps) so there was no hills sadly. It makes the race game different to a hilly course for sure.

It wasn't long before the temperature rose, and we all started to fee the heat as we made our way up and down the course. You were never alone on the course, you either had someone on your side of the course or going to down the other side. Thumbs up were given or words of encouragement each time by all! That never stopped even in the darker periods (mentally) and that is just something that made the event special.


Mid way through pic taken by Jelly bean
After about 20 miles my wheels started to come off in the heat and by 27 miles I was almost close to throwing the towel in. I'd would be wearing a Jesters Hat if I did DNF'd. So I decided I was going to sacrifice my target and get some treatment on my legs. They were very tired from recent events and with the heat also. So I got a massage that was provided for free. Boy was it needed! I had two people working on my legs so they could speed up the process.

I got back out there and god my legs felt almost brand new. They were no longer calling me a stupid twat and were back in the game. With my target mileage gone I decided just to go and enjoy as many laps as I could, just to keep going round and round.


Well needed treatment! pic taken by Jelly Bean
Each lap got tougher and tougher as the heat continued. The marshals were superb, as you came through the finish of each lap they were offering all the runners food, bottle top ups, dunking their buffs in cold water etc.

I was lucky to have my wife on support for me, as we could have stuff given to us on course, she had my spare bottles so all I had to was swap them over so wasted little to no time waiting to get them filled up.

My wife who often supports me is just pretty amazing even if she gives me a lot of tough love on the courses.

Not that it was need but route signage to stop you getting lost lol
Eventually the time ticked away and as we approached the last hour the temperature slowly started to cool down especially as the sun was no going down behind the houses on one side of the course.

Me and Loyd on our last lap together
The last lap soon arrived for me and I decided enough was enough. So I took my time getting to the turn around point and took a seat on a rock as I drank some water cheering on those going past. I made my way back and saw Loyd doing a similar thing on a bench so I sat with him as another runner joined us and we clapped those going past. We event did an arch for one runner. The three of us made our way back to the finish, 12 hours had finished and we were done. With our swagger on we crossed the line to the cheers and clapping from everyone who had finished already, the marshals and the supporters. Loyd had crossed the line as the winner, putting in a top 73 miles.

We got our swagger on!
Me I had come last for the first time ever if you don't included the DNS entrant. I had managed just over 41 miles in the 12 hours. I can't be too disappointed though, if I was running on fresh legs, injury free I would have been go for over 50 miles and maybe pushing towards 100K. However it wasn't meant to be this time but I am not sad, I finished the 12 hours, and I enjoyed myself despite it being flat and tarmac. I was surrounded by some great runners, friends and family. What is there to be sad about?


I earnt that huge medal! Hand Made and weighed a lot!
For the first time of running this event, it went from my view on it pretty well. David the RD did a great job. Is it an event I would attempt again? Yeah of course, I only repeat events that are worth repeating.

So because if work that was my last event of the year. I will now be training for the Arc of Attrition 100 mile race next year. It's going to be interesting especially as most of my training will be done on a Warship at sea.

I'd like to thank Tailwind Nutrition UK for their continued support, it got me through a tough 12 hours.

My wife for being just an amazing support crew once again. I'm nothing with out her support.

So thank you for reading, until next time!

Owain

"We'll never truly find our limits until we try something we can't do"

www.ultrarunningmatelot.co.uk

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Mudcrew's R.A.T "the Plague" 2017 - to be infected or not to be? That is the question.

In 2016 I had to defer my place in Mudcrew's "the Plague" 64 mile coastal path race due to an injury I incurred attempting to play football with work colleagues.

I helped out at one of the CP's that year and it was then when I realised my own event YOLO 2017 (see blog) was due to finish the same weekend as the following years Plague. It was one of the RD's and a friend of mine Andrew Ferguson who suggested I moved my event left and do both.

That was exactly what I decided to do. Now leading up to it lots of people were calling me crazy for even contemplating it. Maybe I was but I didn't want to waste the entry money. It could end being the most heroic performance I have ever done or the most expensive mile I have ever ran.

The time came and I had made it (just about) to the start line. Despite having a swollen Extensor Digititous Longus Tendon from my YOLO 17 adventure which finished only the day before, I was determined to give it a go.

Yay I made the start line!
Before hand I had set some goals. The first was to make the start line, which I had done, the second was to complete the race under the cut offs and the third was to finish the route. Now the third I had kind permission to do from the RDs who knew what I was doing. I had my own support crew still from YOLO 17 following me so I had no need for CP's or medical cover so basically my support crew was my insurance. So if I got pulled from the race for missing cut offs, I'd hand my number in and carry on.

I registered, got a hug from Jane one of the other RDs and tried to relax before the race. I caught up with friends who had come from all over and then tried to get some sleep in the van. It wasn't going to happen though. My mind was all over the place.

I got my self changed and prepped ready for the race. It was soon time to go listen to the elites that were invited to the race. This year GB international Jo Meek was giving a talk and she was then joined by friend's Paddy Robbins and Sharon Law (GB 24 hr Elites) for some Q & A. It was great catching up with them.

Some of my friends setting up their tents
The weather had slowly gotten worse over night with the rain coming in. It wasn't going to get any better until later the next day.

We were soon briefed by the RDs and medical team and in minutes few after we made our way to the start line. It was an early morning start, starting at 0005 Sat morning. I was pretty nervous now, all the waiting beforehand made me just want to get on with it.

A count down was shouted out and we were sent on our way. Everyone soon took off and I was passed pretty much by everyone except the sweeps as we headed down the hill to the South West Coastal Path.

All ready to go!
Knowing the SWCP well, I knew it wasn't going to be easy and with the added pressure of the cut offs I definitely was feeling the pressure and my so was my tired legs. Down the steps I went and up the steps I went. I saw the head torch lights go in the distance.

Luckily the sweepers were two friends of mine and I felt very honoured to be running with them. Already though I knew I wasn't going to be able to keep up the pace. I was struggling with the descents my tendon was in pain and I wanted to cut my leg off. Before I made the first CP, I had decided enough was enough. As Simon said to me I had to think of the future events I have coming up. So I did, I made CP1 under the cut off time but I handed my number in and called it quits. I didn't want to go on by myself either.

Me, Simon and Paul (the two sweepers).

After 155 miles of running I had knocked it on the head. Another 59 miles was not worth it.

So that was the end of my Plague attempt and I am still infected. It didn't matter though, I didn't need the bling, and I didn't need the invite to the Arc of Attrition 100 mile race as I was already qualified and entered for next year anyway.

I can not fault the event though, the organisation was spot on, and everything ran like clockwork. If you read all the other reviews you would be mad not to attempt one of the 4 distances you race during the R.A.T weekend.

We have some of the best events in the South West and I can recommend them all to all my Northern friends it's worth the travel.

Again I'd like to thank Fergie, Jane and Andy the RDs for accommodating my needs for the race, even if it didn't go the way I wanted. My amazing support crew (Wife Cathy and son) who did so much from the start of the week until I stopped and Tailwind Nutrition UK for their support.

Next up is Madness of Kind George 12 hr race on 27th Aug. Fingers crossed I'm recovered in time.

Thank you all
Owain


"We'll never truly find our limits until we try something we can't do"