Wednesday, 25 February 2009

If you want the Ultimate Fundraising you have to pay the Ultimate Price...

...and here it is, Pen y Fan!

It's the one on the right, our route will follow the path you can see on the ridge to the right. This is steeper than it looks and will be a real killer after 69 miles! We descend round Corn Du (the summit to the left) before dropping down to the Storey Arms.

Sole Train

As has already been said, Saturday 21st February 2009 saw the Spa2Summit team attempt the first twenty miles of our chosen route. It took seven hours & seven minutes and we averaged 2.8 miles per hour, which is around the pace we were hoping for.

The training day achieved everything we had hoped it would - answering many questions we already had  and raising some we hadn't.

Here are a few things I drew from the experience. Firstly, the mix of characters in the team is a massive bonus, conversation flowed continually and morale was never short of excellent. Secondly, I was impressed with everyone's fitness. There were clear differences of pace when we started but after a short while we were pretty much in sync. In fact, the longer the trek went on the quicker and stronger everyone became. The mix of terrain along the first twenty miles was also encouraging - a potentially boring stretch of concrete jungle would be replaced by lovely soft grass for a while, and energy-sapping bogland would precede the foot-pleasing luxury of a country lane. This went a long way to helping us comfortably reach our goal. In fact, the hardest part of the walk seemed to be the final two miles, not because it was the final two miles but because it was a long undulating road of apparent nothingness. This may have been the reason why we spontaneously began to run it, which brings me onto my final positive point: when this group is faced with difficulty, instead of shying away from it we attack it, as if personally offended it could treat us that way. How often this attitude will be needed we will have to wait and see.

Even the one major negative turned out to be a positive. Blisters. How is this a positive? Because it's a negative we can control. We learned firsthand at the weekend that prevention is better than cure, and strapping up vulnerable areas beforehand and selecting the right footwear for our individual needs is paramount. For me that means lacing pillows to each foot.

A final note: I'd like to give special mention to Jonty, the Hero Of The Day. Jonty, as you probably know, is our support guy. He's volunteered himself to be our Jonty-On-The-Spot, driving our excess gear around and keeping us well organised. This means he won't be walking with us on the day. Yet here he was powering along with us, getting a feel for what we'd be going through. I think it's called "going above and beyond the call of duty," and is an inspiring characteristic to have in the team. Thanks Jonty!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Our First Donation!

A momentous day here at Spa2Summit HQ as we have received our first donation through our Just Giving page! Hopefully the donation floodgates will now open. If you can donate, then please visit the Justgiving page, they even take PayPal. If you are a taxpayer then you can donate using Giftaid which will increase the value of your donation by 28%!

Monday, 23 February 2009

Training day

As Jonty said below, Saturday was a good day, 20.6 miles in 7 hours and 7 minutes which is a pretty good time. I don't know what came over us at the end but we actually ran up the last hill so something must be going right physically or wrong mentally, not sure which.

Anyway, many thanks to Bev, Miriam and Lavinia who came and picked us from Mitcheldean, we know that many, many people and particularly long suffering family members and close friends will be doing a lot to support us in our fools errand so thanks to all of you.

Keep following our progress and boys, keep training!

Fantastic Day!

Well Saturday was a great day. Because of my hectic social life :) I didn't have time to do the whole 20 mile walk with the team, so I thought I'd just try the first 10 miles (fitness levels never came into it, *cough cough*). So my car was left at the half way point (a pub - funny how the walk ended at a pub too...) and we started from the center of Cheltenham.

Most of the group wore shorts, a pleasant surprise for the Saturday shoppers I'm sure, and off we went. Great spirit and good opening pace. I quickly establish my position at the back of the group, an important role I would maintain for most of the walk ;)

But I'm pleased to say no blisters, just legs like lead at the end of it; well the end for me, half way point for the team. I'm very proud (lump in throat) that the lads finished it, and in the dark, well done guys. I did a 2 mile walk on the Sunday just to take the lead out of the legs, then an all you can eat Chinese to undo any benefits of the walk ;)

Looking forward to the next one, so I'm now thinking of 'hearty' recipes that I can cook for everyone, as I suspect the next training leg (pun intended) will be a bit further. Time to test my skills in the support vehicle!! Though I may try to stroll a little of it!

Sunday, 22 February 2009

The Team Works!

Yesterday was our first walk as Team Spa2Summit. We have decided to train on the actual route that we will use in June, so yesterday we set out to cover 20 miles from Cheltenham to Mitcheldean. We are using these walks not only to gauge our fitness but also to try out different combinations of kit etc.

All in all, we had a really positive day! The weather was awesome for starters, with scarcely a cloud in the sky and really comfortable temperatures for walking. What is particularly interesting when you walk cross-country is that you get to see places that you either whizz past or round when in a car. The countryside between Cheltenham and Gloucester is really pretty and the stretch out from Highnam was stunning, yet these bits of land are no more than half a mile from the A40 and it's hurtling masses.

On the plus and minus sides of our walk, minuses include some blisters (We probably went through 2 blister kits!) and some weariness on the final stretch. Pluses include a great team spirit, good pace with everyone taking a turn pulling from the front and no problems with navigating the route.

I felt pretty hammered when I got in last night, but after sleeping soundly I feel a little achey this morning but nowhere near as bad as I thought I would.

Certainly yesterdays walk has given us a taste of what we're in for in June. We have a clearer idea of what our training needs to focus on and what kit would make the walk easier. We're planning a 30 miler as the next part of our training regime, probably towards the end of April and that will be when we can put this knowledge to the test!

Friday, 20 February 2009

I may have possibly overcooked it.

Building up to the 20 mile practice walk which is this weekend. So I decided to again walk the 3 miles home from work. When I got in the house, it became apparent that if ever I was going to go for a run this week, now would be the best opportunity, and so got my running gear on and went. However, the route I'd planned in my head wasn't that far..... or so I thought!!

So after another 4.5 mile jog, I wake up this morning to find my legs feel like jelly!! I only have tonight for them to recover and then onward and upward to our long Saturday afternoon practice walk. Folks, this should be interesting!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

I'm finally blogging maybe i should be training...

Hello All,
I have finally (after much badgering by Ken) decided to post my first blog. For those of you who don't know me i'm the daft looking one on the left hand side of our team photo. Although my training is leaving much to be desired I have been doing stuff for the website that should be up and running soon thanks to our marvellous techie types Chris and Jonty.
I'm sure that a 20 miler will certainly concentrate my mind to further training...

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Point us towards the challenge and we shall go!!

Right, many developments occurred over the weekend as we had our first team meeting, down Ken's local (photo below!). We were all there, apart from Simon, who at the time unfortunatley was either busy saving lives or spending time with his new-born (pff! like that's an excuse!.... oh no wait, it is!!). Many S2S things were discussed and I'm sure we'll see the results of the good points shortly.

What I wasn't expecting was to be told that in two weeks time our first practice walk will take place. And people.... it's a biggun! A nice 20 mile stroll (or slip, depending on what the snow is doing) on a Saturday afternoon. I'm not sure where the route will be exactly, but I'm sure Ken will post shortly and set out the plan. With this in mind then, I should tell you about my current training "regime". As planned, I am regularly walking home from work, usually four nights per week, so along with lunch-time walks, I estimate that it can be up to 5 miles per day. Additionally I am now arriving to work early, so that on every Wednesday Lunch, I have arranged to go for a 3 mile run with my team manager. This sounds like a excellent plan, until I inform you that he is a club runner, and therefore is usually keen to blast out the run at a constant 9mph rate the whole way round! Which is a fair ol' pace!! So there is me, doing my best to keep up.... wondering if it's this hard work doing 3 miles at 9 mph, what will 70 miles at 3 mph be like?!?!

Right must go, and remember, if you can't get to work because of the snow... it is your solemn responsibility to build a snowman for everyone else!! Okay?

Monday, 9 February 2009

Testing, testing!

Quick experiment to see if I can post from my phone...

Saturday, 7 February 2009

The Team!

Those of a sensitive disposition, look away now...

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Spa 2 Summit or Summit 2 Spa - The Public have spoken

Results in from the poll:
54% in favour of Spa 2 Summit, 45% say Summit to Spa, which leaves a floating 1% somewhere...?

We must obey!