The JogBlog Guide to Being a Wuss

As a child, I had no fear. I’d climb up to the tops of trees to get the shiniest, reddest apple – usually to find to my disappointment that some apple-munching-insect-git had got there first but, hey ho, I had fun getting up there.

Tree-top adventures

So, bearing in mind I spent most of my childhood up trees, you’d think I’d be the first to say ‘YEAH, BABY, BRING IT ON’ upon being invited to take part in a tree-top adventure. But now I have put away childish things and no longer spend most of my time up trees, walking along bits of string in the sky just doesn’t appeal.

I’ve been invited to take part in a tree-top adventure three times now: once a few years ago to review on my blog; a couple of weeks ago to go with a group of friends; and just yesterday, again, to review for my blog.

My answer has always been the same: Sorry, I’m a wuss. 

Even the chance to give it a go for free hasn’t tempted me (okay, I’m lying – I’m almost tempted to give it a go if it means if I really do faint or throw up or an unladylike combination of the two and don’t take part in any of it, I haven’t wasted my money).

The Three Peaks Challenge

Still, not all challenges have to involve walking on bits of string in the sky – some can be done land-level; for example, The Three Peaks Challenge.

Now, you may be thinking, ‘Hang on a minute, Miss JogBlog… Yes, you are walking on the ground, but doesn’t the Three Peaks Challenge involve mountains, and aren’t mountains – by default due to their mountainous nature – high up?’

Well, yes, they are, but it’s just walking up hills and I’m okay with walking up hills (I may have wimped out of walking up the steps at the top of Mount Snowdon – it was snowing and windy and the steps are narrow and there aren’t any handrails).

Here I am, cold and wet at the top of Ben Nevis. Sitting next to me is Lucy who a) despite saying she was really unfit, whizzed up and down all three mountains quicker than most of the rest of the 20-strong group; and b) remained glamorous whatever the weather was like.

Ben Nevis, Scotland - Three Peaks Challenge

At the top of Ben Nevis. It was cold.

I should probably point out that I did the more leisurely Three Peaks Challenge – completing it over three days, one mountain a day, instead of the 24-hour challenge. Although I think the 24-hour challenge is hardcore, I think it’s a waste of mountains and I’m not just saying that because I did the lightweight girly version.

The Nuts Challenge and Tough Mudder

You’ll remember that a couple of years ago, I took part in The Nuts Challenge. This was definitely a challenge I thought I’d wuss out of but, in spite of my fears, I absolutely loved it and threw myself into those muddy ditches with the best of them.

Water slide at The Nuts Challenge

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I’ve since then been invited to take part in Tough Mudder, which is similar to The Nuts Challenge but involves getting electrocuted and jumping 15 feet into icy water and, to be honest, I’m just not that stupid. (Yes, you guessed it: For ‘stupid’ read, ‘I’m too much of a wuss’.)

However, if you want to read the blog of someone who’s done Tough Mudder not only once but twice and even with a fractured elbow, head over to the inimitable Cat Henderson’s (aka The Running Goth) blog. She is Scottish though, and therefore well ‘ard.

If you’re worn out thinking about challenges that involve walking on bits of string in the sky, climbing up mountains, diving into ditches and getting electrocuted, don’t worry, there are plenty of challenges that involve sitting down in a comfy seat.

Driving experiences

Take driving experiences, for example. A few years ago, for Shaun’s birthday (or it might have been Christmas, I can’t remember but it doesn’t really matter) I bought him a Ferrari v Porsche driving experience. As you’d imagine, this involves driving Ferraris and Porsches. In the photo below is one of them and, no, I have no idea whether this is the Ferrari or the Porsche. My guess is it’s the Ferrari and that guess is purely based on it being red.

Ferrari driving experience

Brmm brmm.

It’s a good thing Shaun likes things like this because, for the last few years, his presents have mostly involved sitting down on things with engines. As well as the Ferrari v Porsche driving experience, I’ve bought him a quad-biking experience, for which I also bought myself a ticket but after about three minutes, decided it wasn’t for me, jumped off the quad-bike and went and sat in the office to play on my phone while waiting for Shaun and his brother to finish their quad-biking thing.

Hovercrafting

He’s also been hovercrafting on land and in the sea, as the picture below proves (it proves the land bit, anyway. Actually, I made up the ‘in the sea’ bit and only added it in the unlikely event any Cardiacs fans read this).

Hovercrafting on the land

It’s a lot less bovver than a hover

Flying

If he ever gets round to booking it, he’ll be flying a little aeroplane next and I’m jealous because I want to go in a little aeroplane.

There are plenty of other experiences you can take part in – have a look at Into The Blue Experiences – they’ve got loads on there. Just don’t expect me to do any of them with you.

 

Juneathon Day 27 – Warning: Contains A Bit Of Swearing

This is what I posted on the Juneathon Facebook Page this morning:

Juneathon Facebook page screenshot

The clean version

When I said ‘scuppered’, what I really meant (and what David was referring to) was this:

Facebook status update screenshot

The slightly more Tourettes version

 

Yes, parkrun fucking well fucked up my fucking challenge that I’d been fucking looking forward to for fucking weeks.

*Non-sweary bit*

In case you don’t know what my challenge was, I’d challenged myself to run my local parkrun at 9am, then get to the gym in time to do a spin class at 10am. Although there are only two miles between the park and gym, given how slow I am at a) running; and b) cycling, an hour – although not impossible – would be cutting it fine but, as long as the parkrun started on time, my challenge would be completed successfully and I could spend the rest of Saturday walking around saying things like, ‘yay, go me and my successfully completed challenges’.

*End of non-sweary bit*

But, did it start on time? OF COURSE IT FUCKING DIDN’T. I got to the park with plenty of time to spare but the introductory talk thing didn’t start until 9:05 and instead of just getting on with it and starting the run, the bloke started doing the crappy clapping everyone thing and so I thought fuck it, this is going to go on for at least another five minutes, I’m going to the gym, as I don’t want to miss spin and so I fucked off from the stupid fucking parkrun and went to the gym and went on the rowing machine and treadmill instead before going to spin.

Stupid fucking parkrun fucking up my fucking challenge.

Bah.

Stats

Running: 0 miles because stupid fucking parkrun
Challenges completed successfully: 0 because stupid fucking parkrun
Cycling: 4 pointless miles because stupid fucking parkrun
Rowing machine: 15 minutes because stupid fucking parkrun
Treadmill: 15 minutes because stupid fucking parkrun
Spin: 45 minutes. Yay for spin

Helly Hansen Winter Duel

Six and a half years ago, Warriorwoman and I had a challenge within a challenge (sorry about the broken links to the pics). Salomon had asked us both to undertake personal running challenges and so we decided to make things more interesting by seeing who could complete their challenge first. My challenge was to run 100 miles in a month. I know that’s not many for some of you, but it was a lot to me then and I still haven’t run over 100 miles in a month since. Warriorwoman’s challenge was, I think, to run past each station on the Circle Line (this was when it was still a circle. Well, a loop, anyway).

I am far too much of a laydee and noble sportswoman to say who won that particular challenge (clue: IT WAS MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE) but now we’re having a rematch in the form of the Helly Hansen Winter Duel.

Participants in the duel download the app, sign up and the app will set you up with a duelling partner matched to the level of running you’re currently doing or you can choose a partner. I signed in with my Facebook account and there was Warriorwoman’s little face peeking out of my screen and as I think we’re probably on equal terms when it comes to fitness, laziness and can-I-be-arsed-to-go-out-for-a-run-ness, I challenged her to a duel, which she accepted.

We started off really well, as you can see.

Helly Hansen Winter Duel

Slacker? Who, me? As if.

The challenge lasts for five weeks and at the end of the five weeks, the participants with the highest number of miles recorded will get the chance to duel face-to-face at a Helly Hansen training event.

It’s simple to log your miles. You just click that big button you can see in the photo above that says START TRAINING and the app records your time and distance (as far as I can see, it’s purely a stopwatch and map, so I could, in theory, cheat and cycle thirty miles but that would be cheating and cheating is bad and Warriorwoman would never believe I ran thirty miles in one go anyway). When you finish your run, press stop and it shows you how far ahead or behind your partner you are in that current week.

Helly Hansen  Winter Duel

I hope sheep aren’t afraid of heights

As we’ve both got half-marathons coming up, I reckon this challenge will give us the motivation to actually do a bit of training. It certainly gave me more incentive to get out for the six miles I should have done on Saturday.

For more information, watch the video below, or visit the Helly Hansen website.

Nuts Challenge 2013 Report

nuts-challenge-2013-medal

So, just what exactly was I scared of? The Nuts Challenge was brilliant! Before we’d started and I was standing at the start with my fingers in my ears to drown out the annoying warm-up woman (then took my fingers out of my ears in case there were photographers around who could take photos of me being a killjoy), I was a bundle of nerves. My hands (when they weren’t covering my ears) were shaking. I felt sick and close to tears; I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to do any of the obstacles and I was going to have a 7k walk round a field.

Wrong!

As we got going, we had a couple of gates to hurdle (pah to gates, I live in the countryside, I can do gates) and I thought to myself, I’m not going to miss out any obstacles, I am going to make like Susan Jeffers and feel the fear and do it anyway. Even the ones with nets and water.

My first wobble was at an obstacle I can’t even remember now. But next to it was a narrow log with a thin rope above it and I asked the marshal if that was another obstacle or was it cheating if I used that to get across and he said it was another obstacle. So, that was okay then, I wasn’t cheating. And, anyway, slippery narrow logs above water with only a thin rope to hold on to is scary enough for me thank you very much. I get dizzy watching the contestants on I’m a Celebrity crossing the rope bridge to go and see Ant and Dec.

It didn’t take long for me to walk round an obstacle though. There were three sets of two narrow logs high above a watery ditch with thin ropes above them but, to give me some credit, I didn’t run away screaming and go back and get changed and hot foot it to the beer tent (as Shaun thought I might have done, he told me at the finish line), I did give it a go but I only got about three steps before deciding it wasn’t for me and I was going to end up falling six feet to a watery grave, so backtracked and walked around it, holding back the tears as I told myself off for being a failure. Then I gave myself a talking to and consoled myself that I did give it a go, which, in the days leading up to the challenge was more than I thought I would do.

I’m going to mention here (purely because it’s as good a place as any) that Betway* are the sponsors of The Nuts Challenge and they had provided mine and Shaun’s places. After the event, I got sent some corporate photos to go with my report and I’m glad I got them after the event and not before as I’d have had to sue them for mis-advertising or something. As it was, I found them hilarious. Here’s Betway’s version of one of the obstacles. See the nice clean girl with the nice clean hair and full make up? HA! AS IF!

betway

Here’s the real life version (taken from the Nuts Challenge Facebook page).

water-logs-mud

I’m not going to go through every obstacle as there are simply too many to mention but I’m proud I gave it my best shot and jumped into dozens of muddy ditches and crawled through tyres and climbed over tyres and crawled under barbed wire nets and pitch black tents and tents being shot at with polystyrene pellets and waded through chest high muddy lakes and jumped over wobbly boards in lakes and crawled over inflatables bobbing on lakes and – get this – I EVEN WENT OVER A NET THING! Not the first net thing as, when I got there, I thought of Travelling Hopefully saying ‘you can do it’ and I hesitantly started to climb when some knobber jumped on it making the whole frame shake which in turn left me shaking and climbing back down. But, later on there was a smaller net thing that I did conquer. I should probably admit that later on from that though was a really high net thing that I looked at and said ‘no chance’.

One of my favourite obstacles was Hamburger Hill – sheets of plastic constantly watered down by a man with a hose to make them into long slippery muddy slides. And what a slide it was. I whizzed down it and – yes, you guessed it – ended up submerged, head and all, into a muddy ditch. You can see how much I hated it by this photo (unfortunately the only one on the website – I’d love to see some of me doing the other obstacles).

water-slide-nuts-challenge-2013

Despite it being advertised as a military assault course, it wasn’t full of shouty army twats. The nearest thing to an army twat (and I feel bad calling him that as he wasn’t a twat at all) was the man at the bottom of a hill who handed me a tyre the size of a house to carry up a hill and then carry it down the other side. I’m pretty sure I gave him a look that said ‘don’t take the piss – do it yourself’, despite my mouth saying ‘thanks’ upon being given the tyre.

The only thing I couldn’t do, which looked simple enough, was climb through barrels. I don’t know why, I just couldn’t do it – everyone else could, but they were too slippery for me and I couldn’t get a grip to haul myself through them. Hey ho.

The atmosphere on course was amazing. Like any event, you get the competitive element (still haven’t forgiven the knobber on the net), but on the whole, it was just a ton of fun surrounded by friendly enthusiastic people giving everyone else a hand up the ditches or whenever they needed a hand. I even got accompanied by a 9 year old boy when I emerged from the lake near the end who asked if I was going to run to the end. I said yes, and he said everyone else I’ve asked was going to walk, can I run with you? So I said okay then but then he moaned I wasn’t running fast enough and so I said feel free to wait for someone quicker then and he said yes, that was what he was going to do and so I said goodbye to the cheeky little bugger my new little pal.

Because Shaun had been super-speedy and finished almost 1.5 hours before me, he was at the end to see me finish and managed to get a couple of photos of me going over the hay bales. At this first photo, he’s shouting at me to jump up as he thought I was chickening out, but I was merely waiting for a bit of space and a spare rope to hang on to (I’m in the red t-shirt being stereotypically British and queuing patiently).

waiting-bales

But as you can see, I made it to the first level (I’d like to thank the girl in orange next to me for making me look like I’m a size 6).

standing-bales

And on to the top.

top-bales

And over the other side.

down-bales

Then there were some tyres for me to gracefully tiptoe through, gazelle-like. Or, in my case, tread gingerly over hoping not to trip up.

tyres-in

And then that was it. The end of the obstacles and the end of a fantastic event.

tyres-end

All I had to do then was run through the finish line and pick up my medal. Shaun was there to greet me. He looked far too clean.

shaun-clean

He obviously didn’t put as much effort in as me, as I looked like this. Bloody muddy, bloody knackered but bloody happy.

end

Thanks to The Nuts Challenge for a brilliant event and Betway for the places; we had such a great time (you can read Shaun’s report here). I feel like I’ve barely touched on the event, there was so much to it. I haven’t even mentioned the gorgeous sunny weather, the festival atmosphere in the event village, complete with band and beer tent and even a Pimms tent.

It was so great, in fact, we didn’t stop talking about it for two days and as soon as I got home I immediately started recruiting people for a team next year. So far, we’ve got Travelling Hopefully, HelsBels, Fairweatherrunner and Fortnight Flo. We did try to recruit abradypus but she said ‘Good Lord, no!’ (still, we have a year to work on her). Who else wants to join us?

nuts-time

*JogBlog takes no responsibility for anyone gambling away all their money. If you have money to spare, give it to me. Ta.

Look what came in the post today

The postie delivered my London Duathlon race pack today.

London Duathlon 2013 race pack

I love the palindromic number, also 22 and 6 are two of my favourite numbers (7 and 13 are other favourites, in case you’re interested), so all is boding well for the race (except the lack of training but favourite numbers are better than training, aren’t they?)

So, I did the Nuts Challenge on Saturday (it was soooooo amazing, I’m almost tempted to use the word ‘awesome’ but I won’t, as it makes me cringe any time I hear anyone over the age of 18 using it) and I’ll blog about it later in the week. But here’s a taster of what went on:

water-slide-nuts-challenge-2013

With all these challenges I keep doing (well, two of them), will I be offered a TV show soon? They could call it Challenge JogBlog, although there’s no way I’m wearing a catsuit and jumping out of a helicopter (although, knowing me, if a PR person emailed me and said, ‘Hello Miss JogBlog, would you like us to arrange for you to jump out of a helicopter?’ I’d probably say ‘okay then’).

Nuts Challenge 2013

nuts-challenge-logo

I don’t know why I kept it quiet, I must have been trying to convince myself I hadn’t really said ‘yes, I’ll do it’. I mean, seriously, why did I think I can do The Nuts Challenge: ‘one of the longest military assault courses in the world’? Why did I think I can do a challenge that says in the disclaimer, ‘skin abrasions, bruising, sprains and hypothermia are common and there exists a strong possibility of bloodletting and broken bones or worse during the event’. That scared me. Well, it scared me until I realised most of that has happened to me during gigs over the years.

I’m scared of everything. Of most things, anyway. I’m not scared of mice, unlike my friend Tracey who I didn’t know until Tuesday night in the bar in Charing Cross Station is VERY scared of mice. Two titchy teeny tiny mice were scampering around the skirting boards and Tracey did that girly screaming thing and even jumped up on the chair like women do in cartoons when they see a mouse. I just sat there saying ‘aaaah, they’re so cute’.

But I don’t think this is a I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here type challenge (I hope not, anyway, as I’ve had some horrific things in my mouth in the past but none of them has been a witchity grub or a kangaroo penis); this is more of a climbing under nets and climbing over nets and getting wet and muddy type of challenge. I watched a bit of the video on the website this morning and there’s a man wading through muddy water that’s up to his chin. UP TO HIS FUCKING CHIN! No way, José.  There’s over 100 obstacles on each lap. That’s a lot of obstacles.

I only looked into it properly today. And it’s not like I didn’t have any notice, as I was offered the place over a month ago. I emailed Shaun this morning and said ‘THERE’S A MAN ON THE VIDEO WADING THROUGH WATER THAT’S UP TO HIS CHIN’ and Shaun said, ‘didn’t you watch the video before accepting the place?’ Um.

Shaun is also doing the challenge. He was going to be hardcore and do two laps but that was full up so he’s doing the 7km lap with me. He said, ‘shall we do it together?’ and I thought, ‘yeah, that would be good’ but then I thought ‘no, it wouldn’t be good, it would be really crap. He’d start shouting at me for being a wuss when I’m standing at the bottom of the net thing crying and then I’d start crying even more and then he’d start shouting at me even more’.

Honestly, I am scared of everything. I’m scared of being in cars, I can’t cross the road, and I can’t walk down the stairs without holding on to the banister. If I have two things to take downstairs, I have to make two trips so I’ve got one hand free to save me from falling down the nine not-very-steep steps we have here.

Anyway, that’s what I’m doing tomorrow. Wish me luck.

The Great Barrow Challenge

great_barrow_challenge_poster

I’ve been trying to think of a challenge to do this year. Shaun and I have considered cycling from Cornwall to Kent (getting the train down to Cornwall, then cycling back) or climbing some more mountains with one of our Three Peaks Challenge mates but we didn’t come to any decision yet.

Then I got an email telling me about The Great Barrow Challenge. I REALLY WANT TO DO THIS.

It’s a four day challenge taking place over 19 September to 22 September and you can choose between:

Walking
Running
Cycling
Or a combination of the above (eg run one day, cycle one day)

Then you choose your distance:

Walk – 6,10,15 or the full 26.2 miles per day
Run – 6,10,15 or the full 26.2 miles per day
Cycle – 30, 60 or the full 120 miles per day

The best thing about this is you can adapt it to whatever you fancy, i.e. you can walk on two days, run the next day and cycle the next day. Or you can do a marathon a day for four days, it’s up to you. Personally, I think I’d like to run the 6 mile route one day and cycle the 30 mile route on each of the other two days and maybe walk a marathon on another day, aarrgghh, too many decisions!)

This is so cool, I really want to do this – anyone else up for it?