7 mile run – warm and definitely not as fit as I have been

Went for a brief run tonight because I’ve hardly since anything since finishing the C2C2C challenge and needed to wear in my new shoes. I had to stop at least 4 times which really disappointed me. There was a huge hill when I went clockwise around Yarrow Reservoir for the first time ever but my fitness was not there. My new shoes seem ok though and really cushiony with the gel soles and gel shoe supports.


I’m definitely not as fit as I was when I had completed the Insanity Workout and the swimming challenges. I really thought I’d continue my level of fitness or level off at the high level of fitness I’ve been at but I’ve slightly tailed off lately especially since the holiday in the Lakes after the C2C2C challenge. I only hope I’ll be ok for the Tough Mudder challenge and not let anyone down.

Gareth Macdonald, one of the guys doing it as well has been training non stop since the beginning of the year and lost between 3-4 stone in weight. Recently he’s been doing high intensity training sessions twice a day! I’ve not! It’s THIS I’m worried about being a dead weight for the team. We shall have to wait and see.

First run in a while and first cardio session since C2C – 11 mile run in hot sun

With the guilt of doing ZERO cardio or any training for Tough Mudder in 2 weeks due to the pains and repair of the C2C I knew I had to do something pretty decent this week. I must have put on about 7 pounds during the St Bees break after the C2C and I can feel it.

So I decided to go for a a run with decent distance rather than going for pace. I thought I’ll aim for the route my mate Johnny and I planned to do before the C2C challenge and see how I get on with my fitness and ligament issues I’ve had lately.

As I started I could feel the right shin and ankle feeling tender already… this was really worrying thinking that this might end up in disaster… but after a few miles I completely forget about it and it never became a problem.

The first 6 miles was OK apart from having to take a few stops due to feeling a little unfit and the heat was so hard to run in. But wow Rivington and especially Anglezark in the summer, incredible running through the trees, uneven terrain etc it was absolutely marvelous regardless of how many times I had to stop. I never went all of the way around Anglezark reservoir before and it was a really fun path to run through.

My Camelbak of water lasted pretty well until the end and I had an energy gel around 5 miles but after 6 miles I just hit a massive no energy slump and I just cruised home at a very slow speed. My muscles are this point were getting quite tight and I kept having to stop a lot for fitness reasons taking breathers which was surprising. But I’m not feeling down at all it was great to get out and get a pretty decent set of miles under me. I checked my Facebook running group and there were a few other guys who put in a similar set of miles and a bit slower than me so I felt pretty good about that too.

Surely it will get easier with the more miles I do. Today I feel very tender though as if my body is on protest with the abuse it got yesterday. Hopefully it will recover for tomorrow and I can get out again. 20140721_172717_Rivington Ln 20140721_174729 11Milers

Wrist support for sprain

Where this sprain has come from I have no idea. It was pretty sore last week but the pain went away before the end of the week. Now it’s here to stay and I could feel it through everything such as holding a cup of tea, changing gear etc.

So I bought one of these support braces for £18 and it seems to be doing the job. I don’t feel the pain as much so I hope this will allow my hand to rest and repair.

I don’t know – my body is just falling apart at the moment 😦

20140721_130512_Oakfield Rd 20140721_130521_Oakfield Rd

Saturday 5th July – Day Eight of Coast to Coast – Run – Keswick to St Bees (30 miles)

Alas, Day 8 – the final day of our epic voyage – right back to where it all started! We had our usual healthy breakfast… Fry Up and headed into Keswick. I had a spring in my step… well not really I was still really sore but it was like a spring with a kink which made each step make me look like I was stepping on a brick!

On our way out of Keswick and walking towards Braithwaite and UP towards Whinlatter Pass Aidy had a fantastic idea. I told Angela and family that we were arriving via Whitehaven and taking the main road towards St Bees caravan site via the village. Aidy suggested that when we get to Whitehaven we instead take the Coast 2 Coast path around the heads and surprise them. So when they are waiting for us on the promenade coming from the main road we’ll instead surprise them last minute with LOOK UP AT ST BEES HEAD! Aidy what a GENIUS idea!


So we travelled past Braithwaite in good time and started to scale the steep roads of Whinlatter Pass. The steep road wasn’t too bad compared to the road we initially took on the other side when we cycled up. The views over Keswick were immense! I did a few Go Pro videos remembering that I did hardly any videos the last couple of days. I found a large branch on the road, pretending I was Gandalf and that it was my staff, screaming as loud as I could “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!… Whinlatter Pass”…. Yep I was a bit daft at this stage.

We arrived at the Whinlatter Forest visitor centre, had a little break here including a wee stop and started to descend Whinlatter towards the other side towards the West Coast. At this stage my feet were really sore again and started to think will my ignorance just get me through this final stage?

At this stage I was pretty miffed that we had only done 7 miles. I think the scale of Whinlatter made it feel more like it was an achievement plus my legs were as sore as a 30 mile walk.

We headed on towards Whitehaven but took a different route other than the Coast 2 Coast route. We passed High Lorton as we did on day one but then at mile 11 near Mosser we went South West between Mockerin and Branthwaite. The small paths were absolutely beautiful and the weather was beautiful. We started talking about the possibility of running past everyone at the bottom of St Bees Head and just running straight into the sea…. or running into the sea anyway and after a short discussion we decided against this.


We arrived at Whitehaven around 4pm and took a break here ready for the final leg of our 8 day challenge. The path back over the heads towards St Bees was the exact start of the Coast 2 Coast walk and in a way it felt quite fitting to end it in this way. But the going wasn’t easy, sometimes going down steep paths and hugging sheer cliff edges. I thought that this final stage would only take around 2 hours based on our normal walking pace but the going was slow work, but absolutely beautiful – again a fitting end to our challenge. To be fair I was just looking forward to getting back and stopping, not having to move anymore and staying still lol.

We passed the lighthouse and then passed down and out of Fleswick Bay. I’ve walked here many times, we were close now.

After 30 minutes at last we could just see St Bees promenade… where was everyone?? I called Angela to make sure they were waiting at the promenade as agreed and as our plan depending on…. they weren’t! They were instead all in their own caravans and they were preparing a BBQ! So I said to her so after all of this I’m just supposed to knock on the caravan door and say I’ve finished! Lol she said that my dad was having a kip but will wake him up!

At this stage I was just impatient and asked her to look up at the Head and asked if she could see a guy waving!… She said no…. What an anticlimax…. 10 long seconds later she said “OH WAIT I CAN SEE IS THAT YOU???” Awwww awesome feeling! Luckily at this point it still was another 10 minutes to the foot of the Head and enough time for Angela and family to get outside (and wake up) and meet us at the bottom. 

The bottom we arrived, the tide was in, I crossed the bridge next to the head and there was everyone Ang, Seb, Mum, Dad, Maria, Pete, Luke and Anna… and two random people sat there hoping for some peace… Oops.

Angela ran forwards and gave me a huge hug followed by Maria holding Sebastian. I then hugged everyone else and a Cocker Hoop beer was there waiting for me AND a bottle of champagne which I popped open and sprayed over everyone.

IT WAS DONE! The reality sinked in! Aidy was incredible throughout and I made sure he got as many hugs as I did!

Wow how do I begin to summarise the last 8 days. So many highs and lows! So many memories, laughs, moans, hills, roads, paths, sheep, beers ha oops!

A quick summary would be that the cycling part was a physical endurance test, doing it on mountain bikes in three days was a triumph! A great challenge with great memories and a great finish at Robin Hood’s Bay. The walk back was a torturous mental endurance test but still with great memories and an incredible finish at St Bees. I’d repeat the cycling part anytime but maybe on a road bike. The walking part? – Even with my new mega awesome walking boots would my legs still hold up? Maybe but I don’t think I’ll ever try to find out!


Friday 4th July – Day Seven of Coast to Coast – Run – Kirkby Stephen to Keswick (43 miles)

This was a very interesting day, as we knew that when we arrived at Keswick, and having the Friday feeling, we knew that we would be able to sink a few pints, watch the two World Cup games Brazil vs Colombia and France vs Germany and then head out around town!!!

We pretty much, again, were mirroring the cycle route from Keswick to Kirkby Stephen that we did on Day 1 – but my god everything feels much slower when you recognise everything around you and you’re walking at around 3 mph instead of cycling at 15 mph.

We set off early so that we could arrive in Keswick at good time and at 10 miles we passed via Orlton. The roads up to here were again country roads with no main roads to worry about. The feet were OK if not a little sore still but the shoes were holding out.

At mile 14 we had to join the A6 but thankfully the road had a pavement which allowed for safe walking without getting beeped at by 70mph lorries! We followed the A6 for 10 miles and unfortunately the road became pavementless and we were again back in the way of incoming cars which slows you down massively!

At mile 26 thankfully we were back in Penrith and we got some supplies. I was getting pretty excited here as I knew we were near Junction 40 which was where I always turn off from the M6 to go towards St Bees so from here onwards I was pretty much replicating my way there – but I was thinking about meeting Angela, Sebastian and family after not seeing them for at least 8 days!!!

Unfortunately for the next 16 miles it was the A66, one of the most dangerous roads in Britain and for most of it we again had no pavement and the cars here are stupid. How many times we saw cars overtaking and almost crashing into oncoming cars. There were sometimes little paths which I found and took us away from the A66 at times but they were rare and this was a slow and depressing route. I just wished my feet were better and that we could have taken the route via Shap as originally intended.

BOOM we finally arrived in Keswick around 7pm but my feet were REALLY bad! We found our B&B The Babbling Brook which was decent and got showered and changed. We then headed back out into Keswick town centre, got some fish and chips from the usual The Old Keswickian and then watched both football games, sat down on a sofa in a sports bar drinking plenty of Guinness. Afterwards we went to a pub (maybe Oddfellows) which had some live music in there. We must have sunk (well I did) about 6-7 pints of real ale – but not just any real ale – Jennings Cocker Hoop and Cumberland Ale – actual pints of the stuff whereas I’m usually used to just bottles.


I could hold my own though just – the singer looked like Paul Daniels so we kept laughing about that then we realised that a quite, pretty, lady was being harassed by an innocent but very annoying, very drunk punter. So I created a body dam between this girl and this gentleman and he eventually got the idea and buzzed off. I then carried on talking to this lady for most of the night whilst Aidy was talking to someone else (I can’t remember I wasn’t that sober at this point). At closing time I gave my best wishes to this lady and her friends then Aidy and I headed back to our B&B – staggering due to both alcohol and physical problems haha! On the way back Aidy started running circles around me like a hyperactive dog winding me up!


Thursday 3rd July – Day Six of Coast to Coast – Run – Richmond to Kirkby Stephen (38 miles)

OK we were in Richmond – a pretty decent sized town which pretty much has everything we need. So we destroyed our friend breakfast, thanked Jenifer for her kind and fantastic hospitality and headed off towards Richmond town centre… slowly. One of the things I knew I needed to purchase, before pain killers and blister plasters – was a decent pair of shoes/boots.

We went into a Mountain Warehouse store which sold proper walking shoes and equipment and as soon as I hobbled in slowly the lady behind the desk smiled as if she knew exactly what was wrong and how it happened. I explained/confirmed what had gone wrong and she pointed out the obvious that my running shoes were so battered that they were not providing any kind of support to my feet and hence why I was covered in blisters and injured. She also said that I was wearing cheap running socks and was a main factor for my blisters. She said that the moisture in my socks and feet had nowhere to go hence the blisters. She first of all gave me some different boots to try – BOOM what a difference!!! Straight away I felt my legs were supported and the pains were nowhere near as bad. I told her that a particular pair felt the best – some Grisdale boots. She said that she was not surprised as the insoles inside them are state of the art which provides better support. She said she normally sells them for £130 but will sell them to me for £70 which is pretty much cost price since I was doing the event for charity. What a diamond – plus Aidy was sweet talking her about when she went to Germany and Aidy has been all around the world and was able to hold a good conversation with her. She also threw in a pair of tall woolen socks – she said that these would help air out my feet and prevent any further blisters.

I paid the lady and we went to Boots to get the strongest painkillers they sold, some ibruprofen and three packs of Compeed blister plasters. Before we set off we decided to have a quick brew in a coffee shop nearby and as I sat down the sceptical part of me couldn’t help but think that perhaps these walking boots were not what I needed. I have never purchased a pair of walking boots before – I never pay for any shoes over £40 normally – plus Angela will kill me when she sees that transaction on online banking. Was £70 too much? – They certainly felt pretty good on my feet so whatever I’m pretty happy. As we finished our brews we got chatting to two walking couples who were sat chatting about a particular European city they’ve visited frequently (I forgot – again it was Aidy talking to them) and then suddenly the guy pointed at my boots and said “Hey that’s those new Grisdale walking boots with the state of the art insoles.” I said I paid £70 for them and explained why and he laughed saying “They’re worth around £150”. BOOM HAPPY DAYS!

We set off and walking is OK – the boots and strappage was doing its job. At mile 5 we hit the A66 which we knew we would be following for half of today. Most of the road was horrible to walk on with no footpaths, walking on the right side of the road so that we could see oncoming traffic. I felt a little down and especially for Aidy as his legs were fine, the road and views were rubbish, we SHOULD have been taking the huge scenic route but my legs just couldn’t take it. Aidy, however, was still being a rock and cheering me up – playing his comedy podcasts as usual.


At mile 26 we were back on the country paths which was a huge relief. The legs were still sore but manageable – the new boots were doing their job – GOD what I would have done if I had could have gone back in time and given myself these beauties before I set off!


Up towards mile 30 we were really chirpy surprisingly and the feet were sore but OK. We passed Winton at mile 32 knowing soon we would be arriving at Kirkby Stephen which we already knew so well. When we got to Kirkby Stephen we were both relieved that we had simply made it so far today – surprised also that my feet made it.


We went to the shop and got some supplies and headed off towards our B&B, duplicating the route we took on our bikes but this time in clear daylight and not at night time in streetlight with no bike lights.


At this point the weather got a little windy but it was OK – we were in the absolute middle of nowhere – again. I made a funny video of me and Aidy shouting at the camera because the wind was that loud you couldn’t hear us. I then found a patch of grassland amongst some trees which looked very much like something out of In The Night Garden…. randoms!


We arrived at The Fat Lamb B&B (this time not at 1am) at 7:30pm. We got our supplies from reception, went upstairs to get changed and went downstairs for some tea and real ales. I sunk about four pints since I was in a celebratory mood haha. I then started getting a bit daft and competitive when some guys turned up who had cycled from Whitehaven… on road bikes?? Pah only fools would ride normal bikes – unlike us two idiots who had to do it on mountain bikes. I later learned that they didn’t even go via Whinlatter Pass! BOOM but I didn’t say anything. The four pints of Dutch courage would probably get me knocked out! HA!

20140703_215619_Townhead Ln


Wednesday 2nd July – Day Five of Coast to Coast – Run – Ingleby Cross to Richmond (23 miles)

I woke up this morning and assessed my foot – not looking good lol! It looks like bloomin’ trench-foot with the white saturated skin covered in a box of Compeed blister plasters. The walk to the breakfast room was ridiculous, I needed to hold onto the banister for dear life when going downstairs. My shin was really sore on my right leg and something needed doing before we even thought about setting off.

We had our hearty breakfast, which for me made me smile that I promised myself a healthy one every morning – I just wanted some home comfort before we hit the road again. When walking on an injured leg it’s probably irrelevant what type of breakfast you have as long as you have a good sized one. I wonder if extra sausages and bacon repairs blisters?

Before we left I decided to strap up my right shin are using my zinc oxide tape. I watched a YouTube video about taping up a leg with shin splints although I had no idea if this was actually what I had??

20140702_090139_United Kingdom

We set off from Somerset House Farm en route to Richmond – all I knew was this route was very flat and a lot shorter compared to the other routes. We stormed through part of this route when cycling through it – at least I’d be able to admire the beautiful little villages on my hobbled foot 😀

At mile 3 East Harlsey we started spotting things to do with the Tour de France which was due to take place next week and feature amongst the towns we were passing including this yellow taped bike.


We got cracking and after 5 miles near Welbury my foot was already sore, why the hell was I wearing these stupid old trainers? I should have invested in some proper shoes for this part – a real learning lesson for me.

Heading towards East and South Cowton between 10 – 15 miles our pace was slow and my right ankle was starting to become really sore. Aidy could see I was trying to avoid being pretty miserable so he got out his phone and played some properly funny Mitchell and Webb podcasts through it – it really was the tonic I needed and it really perked me up! At this point I was really popping the paracetamol and ibuprofen.

Around Scorton at mile 18 my right ankle was getting really sore and I was beginning to worry if I wouldn’t make it. Yesterday my leg muscles actually seized up due to not resting after the cycling. This was different – my actual tendons and bones in the shin was getting so sore. I decided that I needed to strap up my right ankle. I stopped by a grand entrance to a farmhouse with a huge driveway and looked around – no one was about – no cars on the driveway – so I jumped onto one of the pillars at the entrance, took off my right shoe and sock and began to strap it up around the ankle. As I finished and put my sock back on a car turned off the main road, turned into the grand entrance and gave me a horrible look – WHAT I’m only sat on top of the pillar of your drive entrance…. ooops. And off we went – ankle feeling better supported.


At mile 20 and after Brampton on Swale I was beginning to feel a bit depressed with the leg. I honed onto that mile 20 was the finish line and when we got there I realised that we had at least 3 miles to go. I kept saying to Aidy “We’re almost there now – when we go over this hill we’ll be able to see Richmond” even though I had no idea what we’d see or what Richmond would look like.

20140702_181327_Gatherley Rd

Eventually AT LAST Richmond came into view…. WOOOOWWW…. Richmond is beautiful! It’s like a mini York to me! I was properly impressed with it and by eck they love their hills here.


One Steep Hill straight to Bridgedown House B&B and we arrived for about 6pm.  Jennifer who ran the B&B seemingly on her own with her daughters was lovely! She showed us to our rooms but what was great was that she just left us to it. She could see that I was a mess and I asked if she had some ice which she was very happy to get for us. I then stuck as much ice as I could in a sock and placed this over my ankle & shin hoping that it would do something.

20140702_18495120140702_184928_Station Rd

We got changed and got freshened up – I had a shower and stupidly starting thinking that removing the tape was a good idea whereas now I know you should leave tape on. Tearing off the tape which was stuck to my hairy legs was absolutely agonising! I’m shivering now as I type this remembering each ginger hair plucking away from my stupid legs.

After the shower we decided to go to get some food and luckily there was a restaurant just outside our B&B about 200 yards away. Unfortunately for me I couldn’t even move without the help of Aidy and I was moving about one footstep every two seconds. It took a good 10 minutes to get to the restaurant that would take me not even a minute to reach with good feet. Nethertheless we got inside the restaurant which was a refurbished old train station. I had a burger and a couple of beers and then we decided to head back to chill in our room.

Tomorrow is an interesting one – 38 miles to Kirkby Stephen when I’m walking 1 step every 2 seconds. Meh it’ll only take me 3 days to do tomorrow’s little walk 😥


Tuesday 1st July – Day Four of Coast to Coast – Run – Robin Hoods Bay to Ingleby Cross (39 miles)

So Aidy and I arrived back at Robin Hood’s Bay where we arrived yesterday afternoon. Going downhill into the village we could feel our quadricep muscles absolutely killing from the cycling, but I was glad of it, no more saddle soreness.


When we got to the bay, Aidy said not to dip our feet in the sea (as is customary for the C2C walkers) because we’ll get blisters, but I went to just dip the edge of my shoe in the sea and then a huge wave washed up and over our ankles. Never mind we’ll be ok!???

Aidy and I said goodbye to Aidy’s mum and thanked her then headed up and out of Robin Hood’s Bay. Already up the steep incline which takes you out of the village we could feel the aches in our muscles.


The weather was hot and sunny and our pace was good. On our way out of Robin Hood’s Bay and up the Cinder Track we came across a walker aged in his 60s. He was asking what we were doing and we told him humorously that we were walking to St Bees, like it was nothing. He gave us a grave stare and asked us if we were ‘army boys’. He indicated that he’s done the C2C many times and knows his stuff and advised how tough it would get. At this point I was still thinking ‘nah it’s only on foot it’ll be fine’. Even mentioning that we’re en route to Ingleby Cross made him stare on a scared state. Ha we’ll be fine pal but thanks for your concern… although the last time an elderly man gave us advice, when we were on Day One at the pub for our tea and he said we’d arrive at Kirkby Stephen after 11 when we said it would be around 10, he was right. Again in sure we’ll not hit any problems.


He wished us good luck and we went on our way up and off the Cinder Track, past Whitby and up towards the hills of the Yorkshire Moors. But this was our first problem, the huge road downhill from the top of the Yorkshire Moors to the coast was now uphill, uphill for a long long way. It was now when we realised our first niggle – walking takes a long way to get anywhere over long distances, especially when you’ve already covered the same track by bikes averaging at times between 10-20mph when we were walking between 2-3mph. We were taking about as soon as we scale The Yorkshire Moors but after 3 hours we hadn’t even got anywhere near them! – just this huge uphill road! Is was soul destroying.

At one point I had an ETA on my phone on what time we’d arrive at Ingleby Cross and changing the pace ever so slightly meant finishing between 3-4 hours later. The tiny fractions of pace resulted in huge changes in arrival time. At this point I upped the pace and we could eventually see the hills we needed to scale in the far distance.

My feet started to feel sore, get very warm and feel sticky. I was wearing my hardly used Aldi running shoes (already falling apart) which cost me £20 and I had already tied the laces too tight, resulting in zero space for my feet to move about and breathe. Luckily Aidy’s mum, who has decided to hang about in Robin Hood’s Bay drove past us and I decided to wear my sightly better Karrimoor shoes which saw me through the cycling part. I also relaced the shoes to provide more space for my feet but at this point I could feel blisters starting on both my stupid wonky little toes where they were squeezed up against the other toes the whole time.

We started to scale The Yorkshire Moors and after 5 hours of walking we were still pretty gutted we could still see the East Coast sea. Haha so jubilant to see it the day before, now wishing it would do one. We knew though we’d be soon decending The Yorkshire Moors and we’d never see it again, or at least for this challenge.


At this point not only was I stopping occasionally to put on suntan cream but I was checking my feet for the damage report…. Not Good! I went through a whole 7 pack of Compeed blisters plasters just in my left foot. The walking became more and more painful but I just plodded on. Aidy was really supportive ensuring that I was ok.

We started scaling down the Moors and through the villages taking our time. At this point it wasn’t just my toes and blisters causing me problems but my muscle aches in my legs… it was bloody agony. I pushed as hard as I could until it got to a point where the if I stopped my muscles just seized up and took a while fit them to become movable again. It got harder and harder each time and then when we got to about 5 miles from our destination when we came to a pub where we needed to get water – Disaster!! – my legs had completely locked up and I mean I couldn’t move on them. At this point after a short chat we decided to get a taxi from our location to the B&B. I felt a bit cheated but I had no other choice. To be fair, the final 5 miles was over a busy main road with no pedestrian pavements etc, just grass verges which would be agonising to walk on. Also any more walking would result in massive damage to my muscles.

The taxi arrived and we arrived at our B&B in Ingleby Cross at about 6:30pm. It wasn’t as amazing as Park House but it was pretty and clean and the room was modern and nice.
We got to our room and I checked in detail the extent of the damage. Both my little toes had blown up like balloons the blisters were that bad! I washed and changed into my evening clothes and we decided to head to a pub nearby for food and well deserved beers.


Even though the pub was about 300 yards away it took a bloody long time to get there with my stupid feet. We arrived and ordered a pint of Black Sheep and ordered some burgers. The Black Sheep made me think about the time I nearly flew into a sheep on the way up to the Fat Lamb on Day One. I thought How Far are we away from there!!! How am I going to do this with these feet?

At this point we were cheered up at bumping into Mike from the Park House B&B also having a beer. We updated him on our progress and he said he was sorry they couldn’t fit us in at such late notice. He had to nip back to the B&B and we had a couple more beers to cheer us (me) up. At 9pm we decided to get back for an early night and on our way out with me limping outside we bumped into Mike again and he offered to take us back to our B&B – Plus when he told Beverley about our arrival in Ingleby Cross she passed onto him two of her homemade cake for us to enjoy – Still Legends!!!

We’ve got back to our B&B for some early shut eye straight away. I’m hoping my body will miraculously recover overnight and in time for tomorrow’s Ingleby Cross to Richmond trek. I can’t tell you how worried I am 😦