June…always a big month for me with kids and family birthdays, so with all the party’s and presents was there any time left for training?
A total of just over 19 miles of running (4 actual runs) and 1 cycle commute for week one, did not equal a great start. However the big story was of Run the Rock, a 10k trail run in Stokenchurch, a few short miles from home. I ran this race last year as part of my first ‘year of challenges’ and found it to be an excellent local event at a very reasonable price. It boasts 5 big hills and 11 stiles through farmland and over trails, all of which make this a tough course at the best of times but with it being a warm day it was going to be harder still. In terms of the race, running a sub 7m/m for the initial downhill section. From then on the hills ruined any sense of ‘steady pacing’ but I was feeling fast and thanks to another couple of runners, managed to share the load and keep the pace high. Thanks to a tactical early, strong sprint finish I managed to shake off the pack and gain another place – finishing in 14th place (out of approx. 150 runners) which I am really happy about. What a way to end the week!
With one solitary run, this week was a much needed rest ahead of what would be arguably my biggest challenge to date.
Week three and my second Miles for Wishes challenge of the year the Pure Three Peaks – cycling between and climbing up the three highest peaks in the UK, solo and unsupported. I spent the day on Tuesday (literally the whole day – 11.5hrs) travelling up to Fort William in Scotland ready to begin the challenge. Wednesday, day 1 of the 3 day challenge, began at 5am with a rapid climb of a fog covered Ben Nevis and then 141 miles of cycling down to my first checkpoint in Abington. This was one of those days when everything just seemed to click – the hydration, fuel and the technique all just worked and I happily spun along at an average 16mph. Thursday, in contrast, was a day of two halves – an initial 100 miles from Abington to Seathwaite and the base of Scafell Pike. As this was the middle of the day the weather was good, albeit windy on the summit, and the mountain was busy and the climb was very pleasant. The descent started to punish my kness but otherwise I was still feeling ok. A further 52 miles got me to Carnforth in Lancashire for a well deserved burger and chips for tea! Friday – the final push – 159 miles from Carnforth in North Wales was punctuated by an annoying detour around Liverpool (as opposed to the planned through Liverpool) to Warrington (next time check for bridge closures). I arrived at the base of Snowdon around 7pm and made what felt like a very long slow climb up to the summit. I was exhausted but the view from the top, watching the sun setting made all the pain and effort worthwhile.
3 days, 3 peaks, 150 miles of cycling and 27 miles of walking – 30 hours of effort all for one amazing Charity, Make-A-Wish UK. It was extremely tough, but getting 20 minutes to just stop at the top of Snowdon was everything I needed – a moment to stop and enjoy the journey I was on.
If you’d like to donate and help me reach my £5,000 fundraising target for Make-A-Wish UK please head over to my Just Giving page at
…and rest…I gave myself the week off exercise to recover from the challenge, although I managed to ignore all good recovery advice and paid the price. I spent a good 4 days eating fatty, sugary foods – just hitting what my body and mind was craving, however that combined with a real struggle to sleep properly lead to the inevitable crash. After a couple of days of feeling low, lightheaded and a bit sick I resolved to learn from that and stop messing about. Bottom rested I did manage to get a short ride in to end the month, taking Steel Wind on a planned 30 miles. I had to cut the ride short as one of the gear shifters kept sticking and not letting me change gear, annoying but guessing it just needs to be taken apart and properly cleaned.
I could reflect how this has been a very low activity / mileage month, particularly in respect to running which is a bit disappointing but I won’t. I’ve completed what was an epic challenge this month, one that will live long in the memory. More than that, knowing I can buzz out 150 miles and feel ok has given me a lot of confidence for the future challenges. A big learning point now needs to be on the training and ensure I eat right – in September I’ll be aiming to ride 200 miles a day for 5 consecutive days – so getting prepared for that is going to dominate the mind for the next few months.
Looking forward to July
Looking July is going to be a big push on bike training as well as running the High Wycombe Half Marathon. I’m also going to be running a few competitions – so keep an eye out across my social media accounts and get involved!!