Saturday 27 April 2013

Marshall at the Bushy Park Run and my week.

The parkrun ( is a series of events globally of a 5 km run. Weekly on Saturday, free of charge.

I have done this before. I use the opportunity to take pictures. They are viewable @ . Not just mine, all of them.

Today I was at the first marshall point, as opposed to the last one first time. Today the first runners come through at about 4-5 minutes and the last ones 12-15 minutes after start.
This shows the event caters for all levels. This includes people with a baby trolley doing 5 min km's.

So why do I write about it. When the last person comes through at the first point, I cycled back and the first people finished.

The nice thing is people take time to thank you, they love the interaction. This is I part what running is about interacting with others but by yourself, if that makes sense.

For those of you not having done a parkrun, I suggest you join them. They are great fun. And don't forget to volunteer once and a while.

Earlier this week I started my SDW100 training and went down to Winchester. I will be back there next week. Most likely Tuesday.

I spend a lot of time mapping the route into my garmin, during the week. I been told it is worthwhile having. Now I do thanks to

I look forward to the SDW100, but it is scary, a little. Another comfort zone break. Which we got to love. Break the mould, build a new mould and break it again.

On Sunday some of us will be meeting up for an after the event training running Richmond Park. Gotta be good.

So the moral of the week. Don't know, make up your own moral.

Despite they say quality over quantity in training, a 3k run at not great quality is better than no exercise which clearly has no quality.

I need to put swimming back in my schedule, just not sure how yet. My usual lakes opened for early morning (Saturday or Sunday). But I think it may be near freezing. Will give it a few week.

At the bottom a little picture of the start of the event.

Monday 22 April 2013

My Nutrition - in the Marathon des Sables

A lot is written about a lot, I didn't write a lot about my food, but want to write about my snacks. 

The Marathon des Sables has a mandatory requirement for all participants to have a minimum of 2000 calories per day for food.
My personal split was:
800 calories breakfast freeze dried
400-600 calories per day snacks (split between Bounce Balls, Quest bars and Peperami firestick)
1000 calories dinner freeze dried food

During the day / the race it self, there is time to use freeze dried food, but it's not very convenient. This is when the "snacks" of which bounce balls was a part.

Bounce Balls was a choice as they have coconut, calorie to weight ratio is good, easy to eat and digest and texture is as I like it.

I had a variation of tastes from Bounce Balls and Quest Bars to keep it interesting.

It is very clear to me that the taste, convenience and texture of Bounce Balls was a main factor in being able to eat while moving. 

The unpack easily, they deal with the heat and don't take up a lot of space in the pack nor do they weigh a lot.

In any either mulit-day or ultra-event I would happily recommend Bounce Balls. Due to the variety of tastes and what has been mentioned before.

There have been more than one moment that I appreciated having the readily available energy from Bounce Balls available as a quick injection.

Important is a variation of tastes, textures and split between sweet and savoury.
Important is also weight to calorie ratio. You want as much calories as possible for as little weight as possible.

An important factor for me in choice was coconut taste. Bounce Balls and Quest Bars both have this.
Spicy - this is where the Firesticks come in.

However, nutrition and taste is personal so try it out, do not just take my word for it.

Friday 19 April 2013

South Downs Way 100 - Part 1

There is still time to give:

Of course to beat the post MdS blues one has to go to new adventures. One will be, the 15 and 16 June attempt to do 100 miles in the South Downs Way in less than 24 hours.

In no priority order:
Badwater 135 miles ultra marathon in Death Valley USA
Spartathlon 256 km in Greece.
Also it's 4 points for the UTMB.
Because I can (or will try).

I have also pre-registered for the 2015 (year 30) Marathon des Sables. This means nothing, it just means you will get an email saying at what time and day the MdS 2015 registration opens. It doesn't mean you are in.
For now, I'm interested.

For next year the Brazil Jungle Marathon is on the cards. And I may have two compadres (Patrick and Wayde). This would be good.

Means I can rest in Rio de Janeiro and Buzios (I hope) after wards.

I think I need to have a look at my therunningaroundmethod website. Needs some updating.

I'm also in process of doing somewhat more with regards to running events. More about this later. I'm excited but need to get my head around it.

On the 3rd of May I'm flying to Belfast to meet the people for the LostWorldsRacing event in the Giant Causeway.

This year in term of volume is quiet year. Just the Amsterdam Marathon (next to the SDW 100) and that is it.

Time must have flown, because it's nearly the end of April and Bray Lake and Heron Lake are opening again for openwaterswimming. I will go and pick it up. There may not be a triathlon this year (can change) but I need to keep the swimming up.

Hot Bikram Yoga is over, will go standard Yoga and Pilates.

A view from the desert below. I loved it there and will go back.

Thursday 18 April 2013

MdS 2013 - Part 11 - closure of this episode.

There is still time

Thank you my tent mates and friends for live:
Zoe Salt, Wayde Edwards, Simon Martin, Simon Triscott, Robert Jones, Colin Brett, John Skinner.

Would we have ever met if we would have not signed up for the 2013 Marathon des Sables?

Was it life changing? No. Has it changed some of my thinking and what is important? Yes. It is hard to say that it was the most important event in my life. I have 3 beautiful children.

So what was it:

The suffering. The heat at the day with warm water. The cold at night on your head.
The friendship.
An intimacy that goes beyond the norm?
The country?
The people. - Let's stick with people: c.1000 people running through the desert. What do you run into, people who live there. Interesting and it makes you think.
The brotherhood/sisterhood and support.
Some people got their bags lost, they were better of after than before (matter of speech). Because everybody chipped in.
The honor to be in a tent - The Richmond Park Tent with like minded supportive friends. Whatever happens. They will be friends forever.
The support of family and friends who were not in Morocco.

As this blog is also for people who were not there let me recap:
Flying out of London Gatwick 04 April, arrival in Ouarzazate same day.
One night in a lovely hotel.
Than 05 April in a bus for about 6 hours to go 320km (or so) north to the camp.
The last 5k we were transferred in old US army trucks. Thanks to the Moroccan Army I believe.
Two nights in the camp. Clearly this is a french event. Dinner is cooked and there is beer and wine.
During the day, the admin activities start and you end with only having your backpack with most needed/compulsory equipment.

There is a book by Ted Archer, Carved by God and Cursed by the Devil. This is the best description you can think of.

Then Sunday 07 April comes and it is day 1:
Self sufficient. Means cook your own food and carry the water given.
A 37.2 km run/jog/walk through the desert as a warm up.
Hygiene (basic) and privacy (more basic) rule the camp.
But also friendship and respect.
At about 1930 local time the camp is sleeping.
For as much as that is possible.
Day 1 is over.

Monday 08 April 30.7 km.
The shortest in distance. But probably the hardest. Climbing mountains, dunes, more mountains ending with rope to climb the last part.
In between it is hot, sandy, stony.
Coming at the end you can see the bivouac. So close and so far (4km only).

Tuesday 09 April 38 km
It is hot. Very hot. So we get more sand, dunes and climbs. Dunes are not always high, they are sometimes just endless. But no climbs needed.
O yeah, and what goes up, must go down. It is the day we are in my memory in what the desert looks like in peoples mind. A large sand pit with Dunes.

Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 April 75.5 km long stage.
We have until Thursday 1800 to finish.
The race leaders (top 50 or so) starts 3 hours after us mortals.
At checkpoint 2, for me about 5 hours in, the 2 leaders come by. That is 2 hours for them.
Then a long nothing.
Finally a familiar face: Danny Kendall the best brit. But regardless who they are, the love it people people cheer for them.
Then another familiar face, Alex Visram.
Than between CP2 and CP3 the lady lead Laurence Klein (3 times winner) comes by. Followed, quite far by the ladies number 2 and 3.
Then I'm caught up by Zoe. Our own Richmond Park Tent champion and later number 3 of the womens. I run with her for about 10 minutes (could be 3 but felt like 10).
Going through CP3 and not to far from CP4 this lady catches up and we chat. She asks if I speak french, to realise it is Laurence Klein. She went to hard and 50 degrees has no mercy.
We arrive at CP4 and I decide to go on to CP5 which brings me 54.5km into the 75.5km.
I'm tired but following the laser it's doable. Shame the laser doesn't come any closer. :-)
At 2045 I arrive at CP5 and decide to make bed for the night. I calculate in my head (which isn't very clear) that it will take me 10 hours at least now for the last 20 and probably way less in the morning after a rest.
It's interesting in CP5. It's coming and going of people but I like the buzz.
Wake up at 0500. Take sometime and set of at 0600 for arrival at 0800 at CP6 to arrive back at base at 1000.
I wasn't the only one, some elite runners spend the night and had to walk,
So again 8 left, 8 home.
I wasn't well, I started falling asleep at 1600 feeling rough and only to look up for the cold Coca Cola.
Than more sleep.
Thank you my tent mates, you thoughts help me.

Friday 12 April. Last day, 42.195km
What can I say. The last day. Still hot, still sandy, climbing, dunes, mountains. But still in my dream land, the desert.
At about 20km in, I bump into Genis Pieterse. And we decide to do the rest together. It's not a run, but we have lots to talk about. I want to go over there and visit him (and Tanya his wife) as he's a great bloke with a bag way to heavy and big.
At the last 6k or so we bump into somebody who was into a bad state. Nurses and helicopter there. Genis and I decide and offer to take him under our wing so he can finish. And he did finish. Well done.
We come through a deserted (or something like it) village. And in the distance is the bivouac. Distance means 4 kg.
We walk happily the 3 of us. I'm beaten by the man in a cow suit, but who cares a man who can do the MdS mainly in a cow suit is tough as nails and deserves to beat me.
I run the last 1km or so. And when arrive my friends are there. It's more important for me to hug them (as much as possible) then to go over the line quickly Nothing quick about my times. See below.
Then the long awaited medal.
At least we get normal food and it is cooked, rather than a bag with freeze dried and luke warm

Saturday 13 April. 7.7k Fun/charity run/walk.
The time below is a guess. As shuffling is least painful movement. Once done, another 6 hours in a bus. To the hotel. A shower and cold drinks and food.

Sunday 14 April.
To the clinic for last blister treatment. To the shop for the t-shirt pick up and some shopping.
Zoe and I go to town to do some shopping.
Then we meet up in Kasbah des Sables. The nicest restaurant in Ouarzazate I believe, If not, I would love to go to the nicest. It's great and we have a 3.5 hour lunch or so.

Ouarzazate and Berbere Palace are interesting. They are gateway to the desert and lots of films made in the area. Happily go back there.

Time/Distance per stage.

Notable things.
Since I've pre-registered for 2015
A blind man finished the MdS (10th time)
The French Firefighters carried 3 kids across the desert. A different kid between CP's.
A man in a blade finished the MdS.
The winner of last year in both man and woman quit.
Some of the days were the hardest ever according to people who had done it before.
Some first time starters finished in the top 10.

It's worth going there and suffer.

So what is next?
You will notice in the future.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Part 10 - MdS 2013 why?

Yesterday we were all back from a lifetime experience, the 2013 Marathon des Sables  in or on our way to the countries we live in. Of course all excited and proud.

We then learn about the news in the Boston Marathon.  My thoughts and respect go out to all directly and indirectly involved. 

I am shocked and disgusted that anybody thinks this will support their case. Not knowing as I have no answers  I assume that this was not just an unfortunate accident.

Sunday 14 April 2013

Part 9 - We Are Back

Pictures and stuff will come. But we are back. What was considered an event with some of the hardest days ever in MdS history.  Mr. Bauer did a good job with some flaws to change. He should continue this.
Great tent mates. We had already met but a week in a tent sharing an small space builds something special. I did how I wanted to end.
My friends did better then I could have expected but maybe I under estimated them.
It is a place as the book says Carved by God, Cursed by the Devil.
It is probably one of the most breath taking places on earth. And the MdS will help take your breath away.
Feet have blisters, legs and ankles are swollen. But it is worthwhile going thru this pain.
It has changed some of my thinking and opinions.
Thanks all who supported me. Without you it would have been much harder.
I will come back soon with more.
Please feel free to donate via or search for me.

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Part 8 of 2013 - 2 nights.

Well, nearly there. What has been in the making for the best part of 2 years and introduced me to a lot of great people, is upon me.
Thursday 04 April we are flying to Ouarzazate. One or two nights hotel, then camp then it all starts on Sunday.
So far I can only think about the sun and the fact I am thankful for great support from family and friends and colleagues.

This weekend I had 3 runs on the beach in Sandbanks. Cold but fab.

So my last run was Monday. Weight session today and probably nothing tomorrow.

Doing last bits and pieces like getting Euro's and finish packing back.

I am ready to go and feel fab. However it will be a great adventure. I am going to a place I always wanted to go. The desert.

I will get picture which will go up. But not till I am back 15 April.

Hopefully I have more to say when I am back. Currently not much more as I have just been training. Which is running and weights. But that is not very exciting :-)
Not really sure what else to write.

When back I will get more involved and have planned next adventures. As they say, you will only regret what you have not done.

Speak again 15 April