Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
I am very relieved though to have our recent apartment move behind me. The stress of moving is really something that is better left unsaid, its done now. Pearl had a really tough time settling into her news digs but school started back this morning and routine is once again king. Dylan is also happy to be back to see his friends and tell them all about his holidays which consisted of unpacking boxes, poor kid.
Cheers for now.
Ray Zahab on "The Hour"
Thursday, April 14, 2011
As you will see Andrew is just an amazing person who really did something well out of the ordinary, his giving nature and modesty reinforce this. There are light hearted moments and times where he is hurting so bad that you can see it in his face. But he persevered and created history, not to mention a whopping amount of cash for the Yamaa Trust, last time I checked it had tipped the seventy thousand pound mark. More detailed information can be found at Scotland2Sahara.
Of course the first thing he did after finishing was have a photo of himself taken with a little banner for Pearl. Not sure most people would even do that after a marathon, yet he does it after 2,650 miles. Yes, that's just the kind of guy he is. So brew up a pot of something or grab a beer and check out this great adventure that is so inspiring you might just fly out the door in a sprint afterwards. (photo:Richard Else)
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Running for Pearl Mizen head to Malin head Press Release
Founded in 2009 Running for Pearl is a non profit organisation dedicated to raising funds and awareness for children and families affected by Autism. Since my daughter Pearl’s diagnosis I have chosen to push myself through endurance challenges in an effort to reach the hearts and minds of people and show them that Autism is not something to be afraid of. On Sunday
July 3rd 2011 I will attempt the greatest endurance test of them all by running from Ireland’s southern most point to its most northern: Mizen head to Malin head.
This run will see me cover a total of 570 kilometres in less than six days. To put it into perspective that’s two and a half marathons a day for a total of almost fourteen marathons back to back. This challenge is aimed at benefiting Autism charities in Ireland and France as well as creating a trust to further Pearl’s many therapies and education. You can help in many ways, first and foremost is through donations. Little amounts do add up and it is amazing how many different ways it can help, from teaching a child their first word to writing their first letter. Autistic people have done great things in this world and can continue to do so given the right guidance. Spreading the word through the Internet, at your place of work, at the gym or a run/football match is vital in keeping the momentum going.
I will need all the support I can get to make this happen. Major sponsors are very welcome to join our epic adventure which will be updated through our site, Twitter and facebook pages. The event itself will be tracked live and many runners have come onboard already to take on a chunk of the challenge themselves.
The clock is ticking and the excitement is building. Join us and be part of and event that will, quite literally, change lives.
Running for Pearl Mizen head à Malin head Communiqué de Presse
Running For Pearl est une organisation à but non lucratif fondée en 2009. Le but principal de l'organisation est de sensibiliser l'opinion publique à l'Autisme et les familles touchées par ce handicap.
Depuis que ma fille Pearl a été diagnostiquée comme ayant un Trouble Envahissant du Développement (autisme léger à modéré) j'ai décidé de faire des courses d'endurances en essayant d'atteindre par ce biais les esprits et le coeur des gens, de le montrer qu'ils n'ont pas à avoir peur de l'autisme.
Ce dimanche 3 juillet 2011 je vais tenter l'ultime challenge de courir depuis la pointe sud de l'Irlande jusqu'à la pointe la plus au nord: de Mizen Head à Malin Head
Je vais tenter de courir un total de 570 kilomètres en moins de 6 jours. Pour vous donner une idée plus concrête de ce que cela représente, ce sera l'équivalent de 2 marathons et demi par jour - soit 14 marathons à la suite pratiquement.Le but de ce challenge est d'une part de collecter des fonds pour 2 organisations / charités dédiées à l'Autisme, une en Irlande et une en France et aussi, je l'espère, de récolter suffisamment pour créer un fond pour Pearl afin d'aider à financer sa future éducation et ses soins. Le plus petit don sera le bienvenu, ou bien encore juste un peu de publicité et de support moral, vous pouvez aider les enfants et les adultes autistes de bien des manières. Les personnes autistes ont contribué de manière formidable à notre monde et pourront faire encore mieux dans le futur si on leur apporte le soutien et l'aide nécessaire à leur épanouissement. Aidez moi à répandre la nouvelle de mon challenge par le biais de l'internet, à votre traveil, à la gym ou votre club de sport, je vous en serais éternellement reconnaissant.
Je vais avoir besoin de tout le soutien possible pour parvenir à relever ce challenge physique et mental. Je serais ravis de sponsoriser ceux qui le souhaite et je vous ferai vivre la course en direct par le biais de notre site web, Facebook et Twitter. Plusieurs coureurs viendront se joindre à moi pour me soutenir pendant quelques kilomètres et je serais heureux d'en avoir encore davantage!
Les semaines passent et l'excitation grandit chaque jour, le grand jour va vite arriver. Rejoignez nous et participez à cet évènement qui va litéralement changer des vies.
Monday, April 4, 2011
On a sunny Saturday afternoon I headed down to Jouy en Josas with family in tow to pick up my race pack and get some fresh air running around the fields with my kids. The weather was a perfectly sunny 23 degrees and I could only hope that in twenty four hours time it would return and bask the trails with the same. If only.....
It took only a hundred metres or so before a left hand turn out of the stadium turned asphalt into rolling single track. It made for a slight bunch up as everyone shifted gears to find their rhythm, mine was an easy tempo with no designs on anything other than enjoying the moment. The first climb came shortly afterwards and it was welcomed like an old friend, I have always loved the uphill and its hard to explain why. Some people see it as a curse but I tend to embrace it and shorten my stride to punch out the steps at a higher cadence. There is a sense of connection with the earth, of working with it and not against. The undulation continued in a relentless fashion for the next five km and the twisting descents were a how-to in staying upright. Every five minutes the sound of bird song and sloshing feet would be punctuated with a yelp or a barrage of French swear words as yet another runner either slipped or hit a tree. Once the pack strung out though after around ten km it became much easier to navigate a the trails and this was where I decided to ratchet up the gears a bit. I thought I could push on a bit harder and left the ten or so guys I had been with, one decided to come with me and I was glad of the company. He was probably in is fifties but a really graceful athlete with a smooth, metronome stride. I never did catch his name as chatting was off the menu it seemed, but we took turns in working to extend the gap on our group. The leaders at this stage would be well away but that did not concern me, I was here to learn and to enjoy. After half way we came to the only aid station in the race, they do not issue cups at the refuel for environmental reasons which I can really appreciate, instead you carry your own chalice or you get an eco-cup at the start. I was finishing my hand-held and getting a top up whilst taking on a salt tab to keep my sodium levels in check. It was the first time I experimented with them and can see the benefits from them after just one race. So after bidding adieu at "Rue de la Soif" it was hammer-time.
With the mindset that I am halfway and another aid station looming somewhere before the end I start to pound a bit harder. Its around here that I merged with the twenty km runners (who commenced after our race) and it messed my cadence up a little. I had to shout at people to move over, politely of course, and find a way to keep the groove consistent. Luckily the routes split before long and I was back to having the trail to myself, my running comrade having sloped back just earlier. I knew this stretch extremely well and as its pretty much my back yard and could see that I was gaining on a group of guys who had gone out way too fast at the beginning. After a brief chat and helping one of them to his feet after he slid on a mossy, grimy bridge and almost ended up in the river, I took off with gusto (I found out from a friend only yesterday that the guy broke his shoulder and still finished) I was knocking off the kilometres and feeling pretty good until my stomach started to rumble at the twenty seven km mark and my confidence was further shot down when I asked a roadside volunteer when the next aid station would be. She informed me there was none. So with barely any water and the prospect of no fuel to see me through I was going to have to scrape the barrel to stay going. I was still feeling pretty able-bodied considering I had burned about three thousand calories but had taken on none. And at the five km to go (or so I thought) I reckoned I just had to stay steady and focused and I would make it. It was soon after this hollow self diagnosis that I started to fray. Dizziness and lack of concentration stared taking the reigns and I was fighting it to the best of my ability. My gait became sloppy and my posture limp. 'Hold on', that's all I kept telling myself, just keep the movement simple, minimise energy expenditure until............... "Allez, just five km left" This was the bellow that snapped me from my catatonia. I checked my Garmin which read thirty four km done and asked the guy what was going on. He informed that there was still five to go and that it was uphill and then a flat final km around by the lake. I was completely demoralised at this and had no idea how much time I would lose on the final stretch. I thanked him a ploughed down the hill to the tunnel where I was met with two hundred metres of knee deep river, darkness and a guy at the end with a torch shouting at me to come his way. Now, this tunnel may have been the thing that saved my ass. It has been said that it's only when you see the light at the end of the tunnel that the roof caves in, I was praying this would not be the case...... I jumped off the bank and into a freezing current. The cold immediately revived my senses and I dipped my head in to further the pick-me-up. Climbing out was slow and laborious but my Speedcross drained really well and back to a trot I went, the climb that followed was the cruelest of natures stair masters and I power hiked with my hands upon my knees all the way up. With just three km to go I caught two guys who were shuffling along as was I and that gave us all a boost to be there for each other, I would feel bad for a minute or two and receive amazing words of encouragement only to be the one egging-on the guys moments later. I think the person writing this a year ago would have said that this is the part where I walked, the part where listened to the voices saying quit and threw the towel in. But that was not on the agenda today and against a body that was depleted of all the nutrients necessary to propel me to the line I found a place where I had never been, not even in a 100km stretch. A place of total calm and ease, as if my legs were not part of the equation and I just took off. I don't recall much of those last thousand metres except for crossing the line and slumping beside a wall trying to search out of the corner of my eye for a food table, a coke or a piece of chocolate, anything to get me moving again. I eventually had my timing chip cut from my foot as I lay on the ground with the rain continuing to beat down. I had no dry shoes, no dry clothes to change into and my body felt busted but I did not care. My day had been an extraordinary one, a day I had not expected but that's usually the way the best ones are. I could say that with better planning I could have done a faster time or finished higher up blah, blah, blah but that's pointless in my opinion. Every experience is unique for many reasons and that's the allure.
See you round the bend,
Note~Top three photos-moi, race photos copyright-Running Cafe/Pierre de Meerler.
Race Stats~Garmin Page, Official result 45th place-time 3:38:45
Special thanks to Pierre for the kind use of the photos.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Dress code for the day was blue and friends all over the world joined us in solidarity. Thanks to all. Off to eat a pile of pasta and chicken ahead of tomorrows trail race.