Landscape shot in the Lake District

Sometimes there are just some things which happen which really make you appreciate the kindness in strangers. The other day I had that experience, I was on the train back from the Birmingham Half Marathon. It was a packed two carriage train from Birmingham to Rugeley and it was standing room only. Having already ran for 2 1/2 hours I didn’t particularly want to stand but there is no reason why I shouldn’t so I gritted my teeth and once the train conductor broke up two guys who were arguing about a whether there was room to stand down the carriage. We were off, I took a photo of the full carriage and tweeted it to London Midland and we all laughed as the conductor apologised for the overcrowding due to too many people getting on at the station (no s**t sherlock) as we pulling into Tame Bridge station I remember saying to my partner that I didn’t feel very well and the next thing I had fainted in the carriage.

The next thing I remember when I came too was a woman squirting water in my mouth. Everyone moved out of the way to let me lay down and I had a woman speak to me giving my glucose tablets (I chose the right day to faint for everyone had glucose tablets and energy gels left over from the race) and my mother (ex nurse) and a lady held my legs up to get the blood back to my head. The train conductor was lovely and had initially rang for an ambulance but I didn’t need one. Eventually I got onto the platform sat down and the train company paid for the taxi home. Funnily enough someone else also fainted on the platform.

I am really grateful for everyone that helped me and it just reminded me that there are lovely people out there.

Rebecca holding up her medal from the Great Birmingham Run 2017

I ran a half marathon.

I have officially joined the half marathon club!

On the 15th October 2017 I completed the Great Birmingham Run in a time of 2 hours 34 minutes. I am so incredibly proud of what I have achieved. I knew that I would be able to do it mentally but physically I wasn’t sure if my body would hold up. I know it is a cliche but I enjoyed every mile and it really didn’t feel like I had ran a half, it felt like a 10k! Today I am going to chat about my preparation leading up to the half, what I took with me, my thoughts on the day, how I am recovering and what my next challenge will be.

Why Brum?

I had decided on Birmingham for my first half, because it is a city where I live close by so there wasn’t much travelling involved. In the past year I had started spending more time in Brum getting involved in a couple of blogger events, a few concerts and eating out- so it seemed natural to try and run it. The Great Birmingham Run is run by the Great Run company. The Manchester 10k was also run by them and it was really well organised so I knew it would be well organised – large event (read here on my experience of running the 10k).

Preparation

Moving from 5k to 10k is a lot smaller jump than a 10k to half. When I had booked this challenge back in August, I was fully aware of this. I had the Stafford 10k and a Go-Tri Duathlon beforehand but knew I had to get the miles up. I started running in the week after work more but then I started to stop as I was getting a nagging feeling in my right knee and foot. Around the same time I also stopped going to circuits as my favourite circuit session was in Stafford and when you work in Wolves I was not just going through one town in one rush hour – I was going through two. It was just too much. As it was getting closer I was getting more panicked, the duathlon in Newcastle-Under-Lyme I completed in an 1hr 1min 22secs, I found it tough and my legs felt like lead.

In the final week going into the half marathon I decided to focus on my mind. I downloaded a brand new playlist (ironically called the survival playlist) memorised the route so I knew in my mind certain points I could work towards and just reminded myself that I could least to get to 10k as I had ran 10k before.

The day

With the race starting at 1.40pm I had plenty of time to get ready. I took with me my running belt, three race gels, my debit card, phone, headphones and two bottles of water. I had joggers and sports jacket over my shorts and race top. I took the gels every 5k and every water stop I drank all the water. I learnt a lot from doing the Manchester 10k earlier on in the year. I hadn’t drank all the water properly and I was so dehydrated at the end that I had a banging headache. So now I drink at every opportunity even if I don’t want any.

When I started I didn’t have a time in mind, I just wanted to complete the half. I started off a bit slower than usual because I didn’t want to start at full pace and knacker myself out.I felt so good all the way round, everyone was fantastic coming out of their houses and cheering people on. I always enjoy the local support.

I have heard that the course was difficult with the ‘hills’ but I didn’t find it that challenging at all. I personally think it is the perfect beginner half really.

The day after the run before

As I am writing this up my legs are stiff. I decided to take the day off so I could sleep and give my legs the chance to relax and I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel afterwards. I am weary that staying still isn’t healthy so I will be giving myself the fun task of cleaning the house.

Were you at the half marathon or did you run the full? Are you planning on running one? Let me know below.

Scafell Pike

So I have officially climbed up the tallest peak in England and have climbed up a mountain! I had to admit when my partner said to me that we were going to climb Scafell Pike I was thinking ‘really’ but I thought as I was here I may as well and also as I have the half coming up it is extra fitness! If you are thinking about climbing up Scafell Pike or are doing the Three Peaks challenge (you’re mad!) have a read about my experience.

Becky on the summit of Scafell pike

Before the trip

Like with most outdoor walks, you need to check the weather beforehand. We were originally going to go on the Tuesday but it was tipping it down. Therefore it is best if you build it as part of your trip rather than planning it on one day.

The path is easy enough to follow, however you should as standard bring a map and compass as if the mist comes over you (like it did with me) then it makes it very difficult to see anything too far in front. Also bring food and water to keep you going.

I would say you could walk Scafell Pike in good sturdy trainers, however walking boots is best. Especially if the rocks are slippery. I would also wear waterproof trousers and coat and bring a bag that you carry on your back (not a shopping bag like I saw one person doing!). A small first aid kit may be handy too. I had a little ‘medical’ moment myself, I slipped in the river and banged my elbow on the rock so hard that my body started to go into shock, I felt really faint ( I had fainted before and knew the warning signs), was boiling hot, felt that I was going to throw up and my hearing started to go. My partner helped me over on the other side where I got some water and laid down for five minutes and carried on as normal. Although I didn’t need any medical attention it goes to show things do happen!

Small waterfall at Scafell Pike

How long will the trip take?

It depends on your fitness levels. I am quite fit but struggle with anything that is on an incline so it took about 3 1/2 hours on the way up and 2 1/2 on the way down. There was one person who I spoke too that took 5 hours just for the way up!

Gravel path on Scafell Pike

What is the terrain like?

Being as it is a mountain, you’re going to expect rocks! The route starts along in a right of way footpath in a field fields you start heading up almost straight away. Then it turns into a rocky/ gravely type of path for a while. After you cross this small river it turns into rocks for a while until it settles out into this gravelly path. Half an hour before you reach the summit the path is just entirely rocks.

James, Becky and Lbs on the summit of Scafell Pike

Extra tips

Start in the morning or around midday at the latest if you are a novice. I saw people that were clearly novices walking up at three o’clock as I was on my way down. It is dangerous because you are not leaving yourself much time if you get lost or if the weather suddenly turns bad. The mist was really bad when I went and personally I felt it was too dangerous for anyone trying to reach the summit after us.

There are two main walker routes up but you need to make sure you get the same route back. This is because you can’t get to the other start point without it being a near two hour car journey.

There are toilets at the beginning where I started (Wesdale Head) the start of the trail isn’t well signposted.

I have to admit it has given me the bug to at least walk the other two summits in the UK, so I am going to try and do that next year. Snowdon will be easy enough for me to get too. Ben Nevis will have to be a holiday as I live quite far away from the place!

Have you climbed Scafell Pike? Have you done the three peaks challenge? Let me know in the comments below!

Rebecca at NASA

People who know me wouldn’t believe me when I say that I have an interest in space. I have visited the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida and have a done a lot of reading up on shuttle launches etc. So when I saw that the BBC had a new programme about people going through the astronaut selection programme I really was excited and watched in interest. As I was watching, I thought I wish I could have a go. Then I thought actually I could make my own so here is my no budget version of the BBC’s astronaut programme.

BBC Astronauts Do you have what it takes image of the contestants in blue uniform

Firstly a little bit about me, I am terrible at maths (I had to retake my GCSE!) I do have a degree in Geography (2:1) and I work in Marketing. So in this case I would already not be accepted onto the astronaut programme.

Hovering an helicopter

Since I have no budget (and I don’t think anyone would let me lose near one) I found an online game! I did quite well to be fair winching all the animals and people.

Reciting all the numbers

For this I decided to ask my partner to call out long string numbers that I didn’t know beforehand and stand up and down on a step on the stairs.

I did terrible I got the four digit number (I thought I’d better have a test try) but after five I failed miserably. I am not surprised really since numbers are not my strong point.

Staying enclosed in a small space for 20 minutes

For this I decided to shut myself in my downstairs cupboard amongst the skis and shoes. I came out at 16 minutes and 55 seconds and was really chuffed with that. I didn’t count in my head or anything like that I just thought about the latest book I had just finished and what I was having for tea and things like that. I didn’t feel claustrophobic.

Putting a syringe in my arm and drawing blood

I did draw the line at drawing my own blood! So I found this awesome game online where it was like operation, so I decided to play it. I played the heart surgery game and it was quite cute.

Saying one thing I regret

This was something I found hard and didn’t want to film it. I guess my biggest regret (which is nothing really in the grand scheme of things) was not picking the right A-Levels.

The Beep Test

One challenge I did at school! I measured out my garden and it was 10m long. I thought I may have a good chance at this as I am fairly fit. However I was awful, I only managed to get to level… 2.2!

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog on the first episode of the Astronauts: Do you have what it takes programme. I am looking forward to the second one. What did you think of the programme?

 

Podcasts I listen too

A little while ago I wrote about four podcasts that I listen too. Today I am back with four more cracking podcasts I also listen too.

Radiolab

When I was reading my previous blog post, I was surprised I didn’t include this the first time round. Radiolab, produced by WNYC studios and presented by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich. It is show that pulls together science, story telling, history and music in one compelling podcast. I originally found this podcast googling interesting podcast’s to listen too and some of the stories that are told are truly fascinating. Shows in the series that are worth listening too include Null and Void, Heneritta Lacks, Seneca, Nebraska and The Girl Who Doesn’t Exist.

Page 94, the Private Eye Podcast

I am a sucker for satire and Page 94 the Private Eye Podcast fills the gap nicely. Private Eye is a British political satirical magazine (think Have I Got News For You) and focuses on current British topics. It is not every week unfortunately but the back episodes are well worth a listen.

Radiolab presents More Perfect

Another WNYC production (I am not being sponsored by them, promise!) this show is about the Supreme Court in America and how this group makes the decisions that affect people’s lives. It is fascinating to learn about the American justice system and how they come to these decisions. Episodes worth a listen include Adoptive Person V Baby Girl, The Political Thicket and Object Anyway.

BBC Radio 5live – Flintoff, Savage and the Ping Pong Guy

I quite like Freddie Flintoff and watch League of their Own and Lord of the Fries and my partner recommended this. This podcast presented by Matthew Syed an ex English number 1 table tennis player talks about current issues in sport but with a psychological edge. I have listened to this and I enjoyed the honesty that Robbie Savage and Freddie talk about. Their mental health podcast in particular being honest about matches their team mates were playing and they weren’t and they wanted that team to lose because if they won they wouldn’t be part of this. Is so raw because I do not think anyone would admit to that.

Do you have any podcast’s that you would recommend?