Just the six days of my challenge left to go! Eeek. Are you as excited as I am?
This week I received my provisional uni results and.. I got a First for my dissertation! And for Psychology! Plus a 2:1 for Performance Analysis and for Physiology. I won't receive my overall official degree grade until 21st June, but as the dissertation counts double plus I got a First in my Biomechanics module before Christmas, I'm hoping I will sneak a First overall which would be incredible! Fingers crossed. The week started up in sunny Scotland after Sunday's Edinburgh Marathon. I woke up without any DOMS at all, which was the best news ever!
Coralie and I went for a run to shake off the legs and then we spent the rest of the day being tourists - the highlight was definitely Arthur's Seat. Hiking up a volcano the day after marathon may not sound like a great idea, but the view was spectacular. At the top there were also a group of Mormons, who spent pretty much the whole time hugging and/or singing. It was without doubt the most American thing I have ever seen in my life.
I did a couple of interval/fartlek sessions with the rest easy running and resting. After spending Saturday in London where we went for a scenic run through Syon Park and along the river, and getting lost in West London on my Fartlek this morning, today has been spent working for British Athletics at Birmingham Diamond League event at the Alexander Stadium.
I was collecting some more biomechanical data during the events so you may have spotted me in the in-field at various points on the TV coverage! I was working on Pole Vault and High Jump and it was such a beautiful sunny day. The calibre of athletes competing was well and truly world class, featuring Mo Farah, Sally Pearson, Asbel Kiprop, Greg Rutherford and David Rudisha, so it was a really enjoyable day and great experience for me to gain some more applied sports science work now that I am firmly on the job hunt.
I've had a few people contact me recently regarding some coaching and training plans. I would love to coach runners! I am actually qualified as an England Athletics Coach so if anyone is interested in me coaching you, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn here.
This coming week I am filming a documentary for CNN - on Tuesday and Wednesday we are going to shoot some cool running footage and an interview, so hopefully the weather will be kind. And then on Thursday the journey the journey to Wales for my final race begins! Number ten is Man v Horse next Saturday 11th June. You are probably sick of me banging on about it, but in my defence it looks flipping awesome. YouTube it if you don't believe me!
The race organisers sent out the official course profile and I have absolutely not doubt that it is going to be the toughest physical challenge of my life. This year's course is 21.5 miles, with an elevation gain (the amount of running uphill) of 4,880 feet and 4,600 feet of elevation loss (downhills). To put that into context, the London Marathon has 490 feet of elevation gain, meaning next week's race is ten times hillier than London, but over a shorter distance!
Then add to that the fact the terrain is grass, muddy trails, bogs, rivers and hills, it is going to be so demanding on the body - particularly the quads from running downhill. I wouldn't say I am worried or scared, I would say it was more apprehension. On paper it looks and sounds horrendous, but I think once we get there and see the countryside, it will be easier to picture what it will be like.
I've been on the lookout for some fell running (fell is basically a northern word for a big hill) tips this week. I know the basics eg lean forward when running downhill and stay tall going up, but this is a totally different ball game. Some advice I've been given is to run down the hills with my feet pointing slightly out so as not to overwork my quads, and another tip for going uphill was "If you can't see the top of the hill - walk it, if you can see the top - run it" which seems to make sense.
However, any hardened northerners out there who have any advice or tips (no I'm not drinking gravy), I would really appreciate any tips!
I really hope that you have enjoyed following this experience and all the comedy moments like losing teeth, forgetting shoes, falling over in mud, wearing a kilt, lots of wees, finding Etch-A-Sketch, the list goes on. I've certainly had a blast. However, one person recently told me that doing this challenge is very selfish, and that I should stop acting like a victim.
Obviously everyone is entitled to their opinion, but ultimately my main goal when I came up with this idea to run ten marathons was to show people that yes eating disorders are very serious mental illnesses and the experience for sufferers can be mentally and physically cripplingly, lasting decades. But you know what? Actually WE CAN recover. And WE CAN go on to find the happiness, success and good health in life that we all deserve. And I think that's pretty cool.
Assuming I don't get eaten by a horse or get lost in a Welsh field I will see you all next week for the very last time!
You can follow me on Twitter here, on Instagram here, or on Facebook here. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn here. I am running ten marathons to raise money for Beat, the UK's leading eating disorder charity. You can also sponsor me via my Justgiving page here. Thank you!