On June 28th, myself and Mike completed our first ever marathon. As with most things that I do, I decided not to choose a nice, gentle, flat, road race but to enter a gruelling, rocky, mountainous, trail marathon! And I loved it!! After this incredible experience, between the two of us we have put together a list of our top ten tips for your first marathon.
1. Drag a friend along with you. There's nothing better than having someone you know to share the pain with you. Great moral support and someone to congratulate you immediately as you cross the line. And throw energy gels at you when you are looking weary!
My trusty little mountain bike has been completely abandoned and left alone in my shed for the past three or four years. When beginning to plan my ride to the Dolomites I was intending to buy components on ebay, and create an uber cool, retro and cheap touring bike. When I started to look at other bikes, I suddenly felt like I was cheating on my little, old bike. I felt deceitful, naughty and mostly guilty. So, after having a brief look at a few other long distance cyclist's bikes, I have come to the decision that I can adapt 'Mary' to do the job. Mary is my bike, a Marin, Coast Trail. I think almost everything is still as it was when I bought from the shop about six years ago.
When I began my run across Africa I was convinced that I wouldn't have any blisters, as I have never really suffered from them at all. I had a single blister when I ran across South Africa (which I nicknamed 'Peanut') and assumed that it was a one off. Well... I was wrong! From the first week in Namibia, I suffered with blisters and all kinds of feet/toe problems. I have put together two videos to give you a little insight into what your feet go through when running multiple marathons. One video per foot.
DO NOT WATCH IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH!!
AGAIN, DO NOT WATCH IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH!!!!!
Whilst going through some pretty testing times on my run across Africa, myself and Mike had to find positive things to occupy our minds and prevent us from killing ourselves or each other. We decided to plan an adventure for the next year (2015). Our main priorities were that it had to be stress free, and focused around doing things that we love and make us happy. Thankfully, me and Mike are both passionate about very similar things. Coffee, cheese, wine, rock climbing, adventure, the great outdoors, camping, cycling etc. It's a good job we aren’t passionate about diamonds, hotels and spas as we are both pretty skint also!
We decided that we should organise a climbing trip. Considering that we are both very short of cash, it has to be a budget climbing trip. As we are also after an adventure, what better way to get to a climbing destination than by cycling there. I have always wanted to try via ferrata, and from what I have heard, The Dolomites is the best place to go. So this is how our adventure has begun. Many hours of planning, brain storming and dreaming while running/riding across Africa.
As it stands at the moment, there are three main aims of our trip:
So far, the route we are thinking about taking will go to the Dolomites through Belgium, Germany and Switzerland and we will return to the UK going through France. We intend to keep up our climbing endurance on the way to Italy by doing multi pitch routes and via ferrata, hoping this will prepare us for the 29+ pitch climbs we want to get up. Then on our way back, head to some classic locations in France for bouldering and climbing.
Last year was a pretty stressful year for me all round. While pondering over 2014 I decided to make a very, very, simple resolution for 2015. No specific details of 'go here', 'complete this', 'buy this item', 'meet these climbing goals' etc.
Im keeping it really simple... live stress free.
I know that it is easier said than done but my hope is that as soon as I start to feel that my life is in any way becoming stressful, I will remember my aim for the year (or someone will kick me up the backside) and I will try to get back on track.
I want to lead a life full of fun and laughter. I don't want to be worrying about things that either won't actually happen or are unavoidable anyway, so there was probably no point worrying in the first place. So, another reason for starting this blog, is to keep me on target. I hope to write something on here at least once a month about fun and exciting things that have been happening with my life. If I start writing that I have been worrying about money or taxes or insurance etc, please give me a gentle shove in the right direction.
Happy new year. Bring on the fun and frolics!!!!!