Monday, 9 November 2015

Winning the lottery - my numbers

On Friday 30th October, I won a crate of Erdinger Alkoholfrei (whoop!)
On Monday 2nd November, I heard I had won some soup n some cheese (yum!)

Obviously, I was advised to buy a lottery ticket.
I had already bought my ticket. I'd done that on 28th October.
But I hadn't bought a ticket to win millions of £. 
I was buying the chance of a lifetime.

I had popped my name in the hat to complete Norseman Extreme Triathlon in 2016.  

I joined 3087 people who put their name in the hat.
Just 8% of us were women.
66 nations were represented. 
My name came out.

320 of the chosen ones will have the pleasure of leaping from the back of the ferry into Hardangerfjord.
Approx 250 will actually start.
This will happen on 6th August 2016
At 5am the horn will sound and echo down the fjord, signalling the start of the race. 

160 of those starting will hopefully make it to the coveted black finish at the summit of Mt Gaustatoppen (1850m above sea level and 226km later) - providing the weather and conditions allow.

The rest of the field will finish at Gaustablikk Høy[ellshot - a mere 1000m above sea level - distance traveled is still 226km. 

It is point to point and self supported throughout.
Support crews drive the course, the feed their athletes, ensure they are dressed for the weather.
They will then complete the latter part of the run - ensuring their athlete is safe on the mountain. 

Cut off for exiting the water is 2 hours 15 minutes.
Cut off for exiting T2 is 12 hours. 
Cut off for the black finish is 14 hours 30 minutes at 32.5km of the run.
Then another cut off at 15 hours 30 at 37.5km
Cut off for white finish is 17 hours 30 minutes at 32.5km - there is no further cut off. 

There are no medals.
It is difficult to compare results from year to year.
It is difficult to measure black times and white times within a single year.

Did I mention the 10% climb on the run up Zombie Hill?

I want black. 
I will work for black. 
I will work HARD for black.

But I don't know who will start on the day.
And I don't know what Norway will throw at us. 
(I do.... big climbs, moorland, hail so fierce it bruises, snow, big steep descents on open roads)

The water is generally in the region of 13*C - this year it was 10* and the swim was shortened.
Air temp on the bike leg can range from 5-20*C.
The 'flat' part of the run can have air temps between 12-28*C dropping to 2-12*C on the mountain. 

Previous competitors give excellent advice 

"Train smart, train long, train steep, train cold, train plenty.

Train swimming, train cycling, train running, train nutrition.

Then train some more."

I have experience Norseman.
I was support crew for Bear in 2014. 
There isn't a blog post about it, simply because I was never able to find the words. 
That's the kind of race it is. 

It absolutely stirs the soul. 

I am scared.
I am excited. 
I am focused
I am grateful.

I am so bloody lucky.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Glowing, Giggles and Ghoulishness

A while back, one of the Team Bear members who is newer to running found a Glow in the Park 5km event and invited other to join the silliness. By the time Friday evening rolled around, 14 Bears, some who had never met before, some who had never taken part in a run event, some who had run ultra's but fancied some fun and foolery, all assembled in the dark of Heaton Park in Manchester.

With the help of some glowsticks, tutu's and a liberal smattering on neon face paint, we were off.

Its safe to say that the times for the 'run' weren't great - we had to stop and have a dance at various stations, get shot at with luminous goop and get covered in foam, so that reduced the time.
The course had a constant stream of people taking part (1000+), but we were set off in a fairly constant flow. Lots were walking, some were jogging and it was really nice to see all ages, shapes and sizes taking part and joining in with the spirit of the event. I was a bit disappointed that there was no medal, but a jolly nice time was had by all.

It was a well organised event with a really lovely inclusive feel about it. 

Saturday morning saw a hand full of us who had been running on Friday heading to Salford Quays for the first polar dip of the year. We met up with other friends and fellow loons for some cold water immersion, swimming (bobbing) and cake.

We had already plotted that there would be witchy/festive hats for swimming (to stay in the festive mood and all that). It had also been discussed and agreed, as part of a long standing War of the Roses, that Yorkshire (me) would show how brave they were by leaping off the pontoon. Lancashire would match the efforts.
Anyone who knows me will know it takes me in the region of a week to get in, regardless of how warm or cold the water might be. Getting in when its 16* is as tough as getting in when its 8*
On the Friday, there had been discussions on Twitter about witchcraft and how inserting USB cables into the slot the right way round was indicative of witchy tendancies......

Three witches?
Clearly we were taking too long and needed a helping hand
Will they sink or swim?
Oh look. They floated.
Definitely witches.
A fab time was had by all. 
It was really lovely too friends old and new at the quays.  
Those who had traveled for squishes, new unexpected swimmers loving the skin fizz and solitude being in the water brings, as well as those making progress in being brave in the water and pushing themselves to go further, colder, do more bilateral. 

I have loved the quays for a long time. The water temperature on Saturday was about perfect for me.  I could stay in for around 40 minutes without feeling like I was becoming hypothermic, but still got the tingle and fizz that only certain temperatures bring.  I had been in sufficiently long enough that I couldn't fasten my own jeans. 

November will be super fizzy, maybe a little bit burny, the after glow and euphoria, glorious.
I'm excited already.

Quick run on Saturday afternoon before dressing up as a skelington* and kicking teenage arse at apple bobbing..... not that I'm competitive you understand!!

*deliberate spelling mistake and mispronunciation
you thought my gob was bigger than that.....
found a rhythm apple bobbing 
swimming breath helped....
I was convinced I would also be ok at the swinging donut eating too.... however, our time keeper knocked 30 seconds off the time we had versus the time everyone else had.

It was a great weekend, with far too much beige food and sugar, but it was worth it.
My face hurts from smiling and my soul is shiny.
I've had a great weekend which has included an awful lot of the people I love the most.
There were some who weren't there and they were missed.
But right about now, I'm feeling fairly content n more than a little bit blessed.
I've played hard.  Really hard.
I would highly recommend having a weekend of play and dressing up to anyone who has to adult on a regular basis.