September 19th 2011…A Run for Alice Pyne…

Session Time: 47 minutes
Distance Covered: 3.39 miles

Total Time: 27 Hours 44 minutes
Total Distance Covered: 132.27 miles

Today I woke up feeling great. Today I was on a mission.

I had a feeling that today was going to be a very good run…

…when I first got out of bed I had one song running on loop in my head – Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”

It seemed quite fitting as today I would be running for a very special teenager – Alice Pyne.

Alice is 15 years old and lives with her parents and sister in Ulverston in the UK. She has been fighting cancer for almost 4 years and now she knows that the cancer is gaining on her and tragically (in her own words) it doesn’t look like she’s going to win this one 😦

Alice Pyne

Alice Pyne

Alice has a blog which shows her bucket list, which she is trying to get completed before she has to go, even though there are some things on there which she knows she won’t be able to do now due to her condition.  If you haven’t already read it, please check it out here: http://alicepyne.blogspot.com/. Alice really is one of the most inspiring young people I’ve ever come across, in fact both Alice and her sister Milly have been nominated in the 2011 inspiration awards for women…please take just a couple of minutes and vote for them here http://www.inspirationawards.co.uk/voting/index.php

Alice and Milly (Alice's sister)

Alice and Milly (Alice's sister)

One of Alice’s passions is spreading the word of Bone Marrow Donation.

Now as a lot of you know, until very recently I had a complete phobia of needles, to the extent where (although it has been one of my lifelong wishes to give blood) the blood service actually asked me not to come as I got so woozy when I went along when my mum gave blood that they said that I would be more trouble than a help(!)

However.…thanks to my firewalking instructor training, I not only walked on fire and glass, broke arrows and bent bars with my throat, broke blocks of wood and paving slabs with my bare hands…I finally (in quite a dramatic fashion!) overcame my fear of needles (I’ll save you the details in case there are squeamish people among you…if you want to know PM me 😉 ).

Unfortunately due to the technique I used to over come this fear I have to wait 4 months until I can finally give blood (as I discovered when I arrived at my appointment all set and ready to donate!), so the appointment is booked for the 30th of November.

Having read Alice’s blog though, and followed the links she has posted I realised that this is not enough. Not by a long shot.

So when I go to give blood on the 30th I shall be requesting to join the bone marrow register (if you want to know more about joining then you can find out here: http://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/bonemarrow/qa/index.asp) I might not be a match, but knowing that I could potentially save someone else’s life means it’s a total no-brainer.

In addition I took 2 minutes to check that my MP has joined the #GET10 initiative (for each MP to get 10 fit young healthy men on the bone marrow register by November 2011. If you would like to give your MP a gentle reminder / kick up the @ss to get involved then you can do so here: http://www.anthonynolan.org/What-you-can-do/Grow-the-register/GET10/Contact-your-MP.aspx

So as you can see, Alice has had quite an impact on me already…so I thought it was time to do something to pay her back.

Today’s run was going to be for Alice….legs ready to lend…tunes ready to blast….Morning! Colgate Grin Combo ready to deploy.

As training buddy had to work this morning, it was down to Bubba and I to party on without him…so we grabbed our training gear, and hit the streets.

Now as you all know, when I do a run for someone I like to see it as just lending my legs to them for the session, so I like to do something on the run which makes it ‘theirs’. Having written to Alice’s team, one of them kindly replied and told me that I could wear her favourite colour (purple) to make it a real ‘Alice run’…and having seen several pictures of Alice (and knowing that she’s very excitedly waiting for the arrival of her new real-hair wig from Andrew Collinge!) I thought the addition of a bandana would be appropriate too 🙂

Even better, as I know that Alice is a fellow dog lover I decided that my virtual training crew would consist of my usual canine companion Sam, and that I would also visualise Alice’s golden Labrador Mabel joining us for the day.

Alice and Mabel

Alice and Mabel

Stretches complete we set off on our warm up power walk with the theme from “Legally Blonde”, the song “Perfect Day” ringing in our ears…and I had a very big smile on my face.

As we powered around the top corner of the road I suddenly realised….I had forgotten to put on my bandana!!

That wouldn’t do at all…so we pulled a U-turn and headed back to home (much to the confusion of everyone in the house!)

Two minutes later (with bandana in place)…we set off again…with a very big feeling of déjà vu! (In most sports they have instant replays…I figure this was just my version 😉 )

It was a lovely morning…early enough that the weather hadn’t quite made up it’s mind what it was going to do…meaning that the sky was covered with tiny little clouds, each with a yellowy-pinkish tinge to them…it was gorgeous.

I think someone somewhere must have known that I was running for a dog lover today…because I saw more dogs this morning than I EVER do normally! There was a collection – some of which I didn’t even recognise (and subsequently looked up when I got home!) – King Charles Spaniel, Doberman, Bedlington Terrier (which I’d never heard of before – I’ve included a picture below for others who have never seen one!)…the list went on, it was great.

Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington Terrier

So power walk complete it was time for our first run of the day…it was wonderful. Doing this run as if I were lending my legs to Alice really made me appreciate every single second of it. The teeny tiny tiggers were in full force and I even got a couple of ‘organic high fives’ from the trees over hanging the path as I ran.

After our first running stint it was back to a power walk…and a bit of a boogie as we went. The iPod was doing it’s thing and so we bounced up the road, with plenty of bum wiggling, grinning and a couple of turns for good measure. 😀

Then it happened…when doing my new ‘punching the air’ dance moves and smiling like a Cheshire cat…I got another in-car dance partner! There was an older guy in a car coming down the road and inspired by my rather ridiculous dancing down the road he started bopping from side to side in his car. BRILLIANT!

I waved to him as he went past and as he drove past me I got a grin and a wave back in return…I love it! 😀

So, energised again it was time for another run.

Taking a moment to appreciate the lovely morning we powered forward…and before we knew it we were at car-weaving central…with our best airplane moves we jogged in between each of the cars (getting a very curious look from someone pulling into their drive as we went!)

Now…this is where it got interesting.

Usually I run to the end of this road and then break for another power walk. Well not today.

Alice was really inspiring me. I imagined what she would do with this opportunity…I’m guessing she would make the most of it.

So, protests from my legs well and truly ignored we kept going…and going…and going…all the way to the park. No spatula required! Yay! 😀

Now given my canine theme today, I decided to extend my usual route and do a quick lap of the park where all the dogs go for their morning playtime. It was great. Looking across the park I could see at least half a dozen dogs all running, playing and chasing each other – now THAT will bring a smile to your face first thing in the morning! One of the little guys even came over to say hello 🙂

I left the park absolutely brimming with gratitude for my life and the ability to be able to do this.

Park lap completed (and a couple of conkers collected) we were back on our way…and back to our run.

(Sidebar…to other runners out there PLEASE remember to stay safe…this morning I was crossing the road and all appeared to be clear. I was momentarily distracted with my iPod and when I looked up there was a car coming my way. I had plenty of time to cross safely, and apologised to the very smiley driver (who had slowed down for me) with a smile and a wave but the mental note was reinforced…no getting distracted by ANYTHING while crossing the road. Naughty Puffin.)

Along our next running stretch we passed a young man in school uniform plodding along in the other direction…I was guessing that he was probably about Alice’s age, and he seemed thoroughly and completely fed up.

…but he was no match for the Morning! Colgate Grin Combo….with a cheery “Morning!” and my best 1950s Colgate advert grin (complete with the little ‘ting!’ and sparkle on my pearly whites!) his face burst into this fantastic smile. Yay! 🙂

Now, normally I run to the end of this road and then swap to another power walk…but Alice was doing her thing…there was no way I was stopping.

I ran all the way to the horses, with every intention of stopping to feed them.

Well…I stopped. But the horses were all the way over the other side of the field walking and running around in circles.

Hmm.

So I tried to call them over.

Nothing.

I tried again.

Still nothing.

I jumped up and down waving my arms in the air.

They stopped in their tracks and looked over at me with this “What on EARTH are you doing?!?!” look….and then went back to what they were doing.

Thoroughly amused at being judged as a little bit bonkers by a set of horses, I shrugged and decided to keep going (I’ll come back and feed them for you another day Alice! 🙂 )

So, having run further today than I usually do (and extending my route a bit as well) my legs really were wondering what was going on….but I was not going to ease off…we were going to run all the way back home.

My legs were a little bit wobbly and I was in danger of moving (momentarily) from my nice relaxed running style back into my uncoordinated lolloping…but we kept going.

Then something amazing happened.

As I came through the alleyway by the house I saw that training buddy’s lift for work had been early and they were driving off around the corner! I was hoping to be back to say goodbye and wish him a good day before he left, and was quite disappointed when I saw them driving off.

Then I realised something.

The layout of our road means that about 30 seconds after a car leaves the bottom of the road, it will actually pass the top of the road (as our road is a “P” shape).

If I sprinted REALLY fast I might be able to get to the top to wave as they went past.

Wobbly legs totally ignored, I ran as fast as I could to the top of the road…and got there just in time to wave and blow a kiss to training buddy as they drove past.

It just goes to show, when you think you haven’t got anything left…you’ve got more than you think.

So I walked back to the house with a smile on my face and finished off Alice’s run with a VERY happy and grateful dance on our front lawn…to Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”.

I jumped, I danced, I wiggled, I spun around…hello neighbours, your early morning entertainment has arrived.

Bubba and I were back, elated and very very pink in the face!!

Bubba and Claire on return from our run for Alice

Bubba and Claire on return from our run for Alice

So I would like to say a very sincere thank you to Alice for being my inspiration this morning. You are one of the best training partners I’ve ever had – I ran more today than I have in weeks…and just when I thought I’d done all I could, it turns out I could do more! 😀

…and in return I would like to ask each and every one of you reading this to PLEASE contact your MP about the #GET10 initiative…and to please consider signing up to the bone marrow register yourself, no matter where you are in the world.

This is Alice’s legacy…please do YOUR part to make it as successful as you can.

Another step closer x

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September 14th 2011…A Run for my dear friend Dorte…

Session Time: 40 minutes
Distance Covered: 2.99 miles

Total Time: 26 Hours 57 minutes
Total Distance Covered: 128.88 miles

Today was a very special day for me.

Today was the first day that I got to lend my legs to someone who I know personally. Someone who’s kind and loving spirit never ceases to inspire me. Someone who I consider a dear friend.

As I bounced out of bed (the Tiggers obviously knew who I was running for today!) I had a great big grin on my face. Today I was running for my friend Dorte…and I couldn’t have been more excited about it.

The lovely Dorte

The lovely Dorte

The lovely Dorte is an inspiration. Amazing mother to a son who is battling health problems, in the last few months has been battling several health issues of her own (following a cycling accident among other things) and a wonderful friend. The main issue at the moment has been her breathing, and when she told me about the problems she had been having I instantly offered to do a run for her (her breathing problems would put my Labrador panting to shame! 🙂 )

When I asked her what I could do to make the run specifically ‘Dorte’s’ she told me “I normally listen to music with a fast beat or a powerful message – and I like to throw a fist in the air when I do well on my bike ride or just because I feel like it – because it makes me feel extremely happy and satisfied to do a good workout. I love music – I love to dance. Both things make me happy. I love nature – so I soak up everything that I see. I love the sun and I love the rain”

Perfect.

Training buddy had to work this morning so Bubba and I pulled on our training gear, set the iPod to “Awesome” and started our stretching.

The beauty of doing this run for someone I know is that I was able to imagine Dorte with us every step of the way..the two of us laughing and giggling as we went. It was wonderful!
So with “Jai Ho” blasting in our ears we set out for our warm up power walk with beaming smiles on our faces and a spring in our step!

It was an absolutely beautiful morning…the sun was shining, the sky was blue and as I appreciated all of the beautiful flowers and trees in the gardens that I passed (stopping briefly to smell an array of different coloured roses!) I was brimming with gratitude and genuine happiness.

One of the things that Dorte had asked me to do for her on this morning’s run was to appreciate the nature all around me as she is a big nature lover and likes to make the most of it when she’s out and about.

Well, in the spirit of Dorte’s appreciation of nature I managed to get nature to play a very active role in this morning’s run…

…as there was a distinct lack of people around this morning (for some reason) and therefore a distinct lack of opportunities for motivational high fives, I decided that I would take the natural approach…

…whenever I ran or powerwalked under overhanging branches I (gently so as not to cause any damage) used them to give me an organic High Five! It was fantastic! I’ve never had so many morning high fives before…this is definitely going to be implemented in my normal running routine!

So, morning high fives well in hand, I came across a rather amusing sight (yes another one!)

A guy who had obviously driven his dog to the area to take him for a morning walk was trying to..erm…encourage him to get back in the car…without much success. He was stood there with the car boot open, gesturing inside….the black Labrador (well it had to be really didn’t it?) just stood there on the pavement looking blankly back at him as if to say “Er…yes…and??”

After several rounds of nudging said dog a little closer to the car and receiving a further blank look in response (and many giggles from me), the pup finally relented and bounded into the boot 🙂

So we rounded the corner of the pub and broke into the first run of the day with the brilliant “Feel the Beat” ringing in our ears. As Dorte is another full fledged fan of the teeny tiny Tigger club, they were in full force right from the outset. As we jogged along the road all I could hear in my head was “boing, boing, boing, boing!” It was briliiant! 😀

We had a brief moment of Labrador-esque panting (I was obviously inspired by my friend from earlier) and a minor coughing fit…but knowing how Dorte has been suffering lately with her breathing I quickly shook it off and powered on through, finishing my first running stint with a Dorte inspired punch in the air! 🙂

It was time for another power walk…but I decided to boost the fun factor with a good dose of bum wiggling, boogying and ‘punch the air’ dance moves as I went. I was having a blast bopping down the road to my tunes when something happened which made my day.

In a van coming down the road the guy in the passenger seat (obviously inspired by my dance moves) decided to join in and started doing a punch the air dance as well…grinning at me as he did it.

Awesome.

We rounded the corner into the village, stepping it back up to a run again (pausing briefly to smell the most fragrant pink rose) and smiling at the view of the sun across the fields as we went.

Our usual airplane moves while weaving in and out of the parked cars completed we were determined to keep the running up to the end of the road. It was tough. My legs did NOT want to play. But it was for Dorte. It was not optional 😉 A very big celebratory punch in the air was required when we reached our goal!

Our next power walk stint was hilarious. Many more dance moves, of course, but as “Jump” blasted onto the iPod I had visions of being surrounded by bouncing Tiggers as we went…and of Dorte and I laughing all the way down the road together…it was so much fun!!

Bouncing Tiggers!

Bouncing Tiggers!

(Though I will admit that I got a couple of curious looks as i went!) 😉

As Gaga’s “Just dance” burst into life we burst back into a run.

We passed a guy on the other side of the road who looked genuinely fed up as he plodded along (presumably towards work)…but he was no match for the Morning! Colgate Grin Combo…and ended up beaming and laughing back at me…woo hoo! 😀

I noticed at this point that we were actually running towards the moon (which was clearly visible this morning) and as I powered on through to the end of the road (complaints from my legs being completely ignored) I had only one thought in my head “Shoot for the Moon and if you miss you’ll land among the stars”…beautiful.

And at that point the Bruno Mars song “Just the way you are” otherwise known as “Amazing” came on…this one was most definitely for you Dorte.

As I smiled at the lyrics I looked up and noticed just how HUGE some of the trees I pass every day are…and I’d never noticed before. (Thank you Dorte 😉 )

We passed the horses and rounded the corner ready for our final running stint of the day…and today the whole crew were there in force – Tony, Joe, Warrior Princess, Training Buddy, Sam, Tiggers…the whole enchilada…with me and Dorte leading the charge.

It was exhilierating.

I was exhausted but absolutely bursting with energy at the same time.

We ran all the way back to the house and with Dorte’s celebratory punch in the air we started the happy dance.

Actually…today it wasn’t so much a happy dance as a virtual dance party (to Party Rock Anthem) on our front lawn…in full view of the neighbours (they must be loving me!)

As the lyrics burst into my ears “Party rockers in the house tonight, everybody just have a good time, and we’re gonna make you lose your mind, everybody just have a good time”…that’s exactly what we did…we bopped, we boogied, we happy danced our little bums off! It was just fantastic!

I started my morning with a boost of energy like nothing else…and you couldn’t get the grin off my face!!

So thank you SO much Dorte for being the most fabulous inspiration for this morning’s run…it was an absolute blast! I hope that you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoyed running it…it was an honour to lend my legs to you for the morning my lovely!

Another (very bouncy) step forward! x

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August 25th 2011…A Run for Ron…

Session Time: 49 minutes
Distance Covered: 3.33 miles

Total Time: 26 Hours 17 minutes
Total Distance Covered: 125.89 miles

Well it’s been a little while since my legs have been leant out…and so I thought it was about time we rectified the situation.

Today’s candidate was the ex-husband of a friend of mine Isis, who I connected with via Facebook.

His name is Ron and he was 42 when he died (13 years ago) he was a kind, loving and very generous man. When I asked Isis if there was anything I could do to make this run especially his the response was clear “Have a cup of tea at the end, preferably Yorkshire Tea as he was a Yorkshireman and perhaps even a cake!”

Now THAT I can manage! 🙂

So I set out for today’s run with Ron in mind. For some reason knowing he was a Yorkshire man encouraged me to visualise a flat cap on my head while I was running…which made me smile a lot 🙂

Flat Cap

Claire's Virtual Flat Cap

Training buddy was unavailable this morning, so Bubba and I did our usual stretches and headed out with smiles on our faces and some great tunes on the iPod while we stepped into our warm-up power walk.

We had not gone 10 paces from home when a very extraordinary sight greeted us.

About 5 doors away from our house I saw a lady on her driveway. This was not the unusual bit.

This lady was (I’m guessing) around 60-65 years of age. This was also not the unusual bit.

The unusual part of this sight was the fact that the lady in question had one of her hands on the rear spoiler of her car (half of which was still in the garage) and was pulling the car (a mid-size saloon) out of the garage apparently single-handed!

When the initial bemusement of this sight had passed, I walked up to the lady in question and along with a good “Morning! Colgate Grin Combo” asked if she needed some assistance (something I would have done myself, but knowing what a kind and generous man Ron was I couldn’t imagine him passing by without offering to help!)

It was only at this point that I could now see into the garage where the lady in question’s husband was bent over double pushing the car with all his might from the other end!!

The lady seemed very touched by my offer of help and simply said “No, we’re ok, I drive the car and I’m always afraid of hitting the garage walls on the way out so we always do it this way!!”

So with a giggle and a wish for a lovely day going their way I was back on course.

Power walking on I wished a very befuddled newspaper boy a good morning (I’m not sure he really knew how to respond…clearly he’s not used to good morning wishes from local runners on their rounds!) and took the quizzical look on his face as a good morning wish in return 🙂

I rounded the corner by the pub and broke into my first run of the day.

Now, since I don’t know what Ron looks like (as I’ve never met him), knowing that his name was Ron and the fact that a flat cap came to mind reminded me very much of my Grandfather (whose name was Ron and who often wore a flat cap) which brought a huge smile to my face as I pictured him also running along side me (with one of his cheeky rolls of the eyes as he went).

As we jogged along the road, our first opportunity for a good morning high five came running in the other direction….another very pink-faced girl (I have a habit of sporting the radish-chic look while running) was coming towards me so I took my chance.

A warm Morning! Colgate Grin Combo (MCGC) followed by a request for a high five and she beamingly obliged…great stuff! 😀

As I’ve not been training as often recently, there were points where it was a little challenging, my breathing got a little Labrador-like and my legs started to complain…but knowing that my legs were being leant to a Yorkshireman I had a feeling that, in the nicest possible way, he would probably just tell me to get on and do it…so that’s exactly what I did 🙂

After a short walk and a moment to enjoy the beautiful morning and surroundings it was time to have another run when one of my favourite songs, Katy Perry’s Firework, came bursting onto my iPod.

But today I got the sense that this song was not for me.

I got the feeling that today that this song was coming straight from Ron to Isis…and as I stopped to smell the most beautiful pink rose the lyrics made me smile 🙂

I rounded the corner and did my usual weaving in and out of the parked cars before having another running stint.

For some reason this morning I felt compelled to deviate from my usual route (as you’ll be able to tell from the session distance at the top of the page!) and decided to go for a little power walk around the park in the middle of my party session.

So Ron and I did a circuit of the park enjoying watching the dogs and owners playing as we went 🙂

Back on my regular route, and back to a run we saw another runner coming in the other direction. This was our chance for another motivational high five!

Admittedly the very tall and rather focused runner did look a little confused when I requested a high five as I jogged past, but nonetheless, high five he did…and it was just the boost we needed to power on ahead!

Running past beautiful gardens and the same newspaper boy who I baffled earlier (I worked out on the second pass that a simple “Hey ” was much better received…) I was nearing the end of my route…but not without a very important stop …the horses.

This morning one of the horses came running up to greet me and was not going to be content until I stopped to feed him some of the long grass growing by the side of the road…which of course I was happy to do 🙂 One of his buddies then came over to join us and I stood for a moment stroking their noses and feeding them grass.

We were then on the final leg of our party session….running all the way home.

Happy dance danced, it was time to complete the final part of my run for Ron….a cup of tea and a piece of lemon drizzle cake…yum! 😀

Training buddy commented that I wasn’t drinking my usual herbal tea this morning, and my reply was simple – knowing that Ron was a Yorkshireman it would have just been wrong to have had a herbal tea in his name…so a cup of good old English breakfast was in order (I didn’t have any Yorkshire tea in the house unfortunately!). Training buddy had a giggle at my being a stickler for authenticity…but these runs are not mine, I’m just lending my legs (and in this case my taste buds and tummy!) to someone else…it’s only right to do it justice!! 😉

So thank you Isis for allowing me the honour of doing a run for Ron, and thank you Ron for being my inspiration today, it really was a pleasure and I hope I did you proud!

Another step closer x

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August 25th 2011…Firewalking and Globe-trotting…

Session Time: 35 minutes
Distance Covered: 2.52 miles

Total Time: 25 Hours 28 minutes
Total Distance Covered: 122.56 miles

Well.

It’s been quite a month or so.

As most of you know, I was unfortunately injured at an incident at an event at the beginning of July…and that was just the start of the fun and games!

The accident left me in bed for a week which actually gave me the opportunity to sit on the other side of my ‘leg lending’ concept. While I was stuck in bed unable to move, a couple of very kind people took inspiration from my runs for other people and kindly did a run or two for me – thanks especially to training buddy and Gary for the runs they did on my behalf! It was really lovely to know that while I was unable to run myself I was able to inspire others to enjoy their runs a little bit more.

Having spent a week or two recovering it was on to the next very exciting step on my journey…qualifying as a professional firewalking instructor.

The course was probably the most intensive training I have ever been on in my life, run by the Firewalking Institute of Research and Education (or F.I.R.E. for short) and involved training to run not just firewalks, but a whole range of extreme experiences. Over the duration of the course we learned to facilitate the following:

  • Firewalks (walking on hot coals)
  • Glass walks (walking on broken glass)
  • Board breaks (breaking a solid board of wood with your bare hands)
  • Brick breaks (breaking a paving slab with your bare hands)
  • Low Ropes Courses (team building exercises)
  • Arrow breaking (breaking a metal-tipped archery arrow against your throat)
  • Steel Re-bar bending (bending a 8ft piece of steel re-bar (the stuff they use to reinforce sky scrapers!) against your throat)
  • Trust Falls (falling and letting the team catch you!)

It was incredible! Once you’ve walked on broken glass, broken an arrow with your throat, bent steel re-bar with your throat, broken wooden boards and paving slabs with your bare hands AND walked on Fire there really is nothing you can’t do!! 😀

There are so many applications of these skills and ways that they can be used to help other people, and for me that was the reason for doing it.

When I did my first firewalk, I felt unbelievable afterwards. I felt totally unstoppable, like I could achieve anything that I put my mind to…and the thought of being able to bring that sort of experience to other people was enough to get me to sign up! We learned several ways of using these techniques to help people from Team Building, Advanced Goal Setting and Eliminating Limiting Beliefs through to Breaking through Fear, Overcoming Obstacles and Barriers and learning the Power of Focus.

The last night of the course involved doing 108 firewalks simultaneously (yes, that’s One Hundred and Eight, one immediately after the other!), the last of which was 27ft long…and done in complete silence. (My mum commented that it was an extreme way to solve my problem of consistently cold feet! 😉 )

It was a truly amazing experience, and the training was first class – I couldn’t recommend it enough (btw if anyone is interested in doing the instructor training just drop me a message and I’ll get you all the details!)

In the next month or two we will be doing our first test burn and having a firewalk for friends and family, as well as running our first public glass walk…and after that our new company “The Seemingly Impossible” will be launching to bring these experiences to a range of people to corporate companies to charities wanting a different means to raise funds! How exciting! 😀

…and then if that wasn’t excitement enough…shortly after we completed our firewalking instructor training we jetted off to the other side of the world for a fantastic Tony Robbins Seminar.

We spent two weeks in the Gold Coast, Australia meeting some amazing people, making friends and having a truly life-changing experience at Date with Destiny.

In case anyone is planning on attending the seminar themselves I won’t give any details away here, except to say that it was amazing, and that Team 9 rock!! 😉

So after the madness had subsided (a little bit!) it was back to party session central and time to get back into the swing of things.

Training buddy and I decided today that we would take it relatively gently to ease ourselves back into the party session groove so we hit the streets with lots of giggling and motivational bum slapping (no spatulas required!) 😉

Today’s session consisted of a combination of power walking and slow running…we did a slightly shorter circuit than usual..and my legs did send several messages to my brain along the lines are “what on earth are you doing?” and “please stop now, we’re not used to this!”

There were a lot of moments were my legs morphed into the lesser-spotted wobbly lead variety, and the lolloping Princess Consuela returned, but we kept going and they managed to keep it together.

The MCGC (morning, colgate grin combo!) got dusted off and sent out in the direction of anyone we met…and achy legs aside it really was great to be back. 🙂

After a little dance jog, I found my stride again (courtesy of the teeny tiny tiggers of course) and my legs had a moment of “Hmmmm…..I vaguely remember something like this…”, so maybe there’s hope for me yet!

The main thing is that I’m pretty much healed now and back on the party session express…and looking forward to my next dedicated run (I thought after such a break it wouldn’t do my dedicatee justice to do the first one for someone else!)

Oh, and of course we celebrated with a much deserved happy dance at the end…oh yes neighbours, I’m back!! 😀

Another Step Closer x

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July 19th 2011…Still in recovery…(a run for Adore)

Unfortunately I’m still in recovery from the incident a couple of weeks ago – although I am now feeling much better than I was, with the firewalking instructor training just a couple of days away I can’t risk doing myself any more damage so I’m having to hold back on my training again 😦

However, I do still have one last blog post from before the incident happened to share with you, and it was one of my favourite runs to date – a run for Adore.

June 29th 2011…Partying with Adore…

Session Time: 46 minutes
Distance Covered: 3.34 miles

Total Time: 24 Hours 53 minutes
Total Distance Covered: 120.04 miles

So…who is going to be joining me for today’s party session I hear you ask?

Well…having put the word out to ask for people to send me through the details of someone that they would like me to do a party session for, I was delighted to be able to do today’s party session inspired by a good friend’s Aunt.

A lady called Adore…short for Adoracion (what an exquisite name!)…who is currently battling breast cancer.

When I asked the person who had put her forward if there was anything in particular that she would like me to do on the run, something that’s very ‘her’, the response was: “High fives would be great. a prayer would be good actually… she’s super into that.”

Well that is definitely doable! 😀

So today was all about Adore.

I jumped out of bed and pulled on my running gear…but today I made a very special addition.

Today, in honour of Adore’s fight with breast cancer, I decided to include not only my super scaffolding sports bra under my black vest top….but also a hot pink bra OVER THE TOP of it. It seemed only appropriate.

…and here is a photo to prove it 🙂

My training attire for Adore's run - Claire Brummell with a hot pink bra over her running gear!

My training attire for Adore's run

So, appropriately attired for the session, I headed downstairs to begin my stretches…as the theme from Legally Blonde “Perfect Day” came blasting into my ears…a film about another blonde with a passion for hot pink…perfect.

As I went to head out of the door, with Adore in my virtual training team (all warmed up and ready to go!), I glanced down and saw the title of the book I’m currently reading.

It’s called “Creating Magic”…something told me, that was going to be the order of the day. 😀

…and with that in mind, off we set.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day – sun was shining, blue sky, no clouds in sight. Perfect for a party session.

I left the house and was at the end of the road before I realised I’d not said the prayer requested to give this session extra Adore-factor, so I took a pause to send a few words and then was back on my way.

The warm up power walk with extra Adore-inspired boogying was well under way when I bumped into Joy and Blue, the inspiration for yesterday’s run. I was delighted to see them, and stopped to tell them all about my new mission and dedicating yesterday’s run to them. Although not quite sure what to make of the babbling blonde in front of her (complete with hot pink bra as external wear), Joy did seem pleased with the news, so having thanked them for the inspiration they provided me and wished them a lovely day I was back on my way.

We kicked it up to a run, bopping along to the music, enjoying the sunshine when I spotted someone running some way ahead of me. I had only one thought “High fives would be great”….knowing how sporadic my experience of other people on my early morning runs can be, I was aware that this might be my only opportunity for the high five I was going for. So I made it my mission to catch him.

Now, given I’m not the fastest of runners, and this chap was obviously a regular party session person, this was a REAL mission. I’d closed the gap significantly when my legs started really complaining and my breathing was getting a lot more panting labrador-esque…but this was for Adore…nothing was going to stop me.

…and then to compound matters he turned off my usual route!! Well, in for a penny, in for a pound…off I followed him!

When I was finally within a distance where I could call to him, I managed to babble a 30 second explanation for my pink bra and high five requirements…and he obliged me with a high five in return.

Result!

On my way back to my usual path I passed a businessman who commented that it didn’t sound like this workout was doing me a lot of good (the panting Labrador was at full volume now!) and I explained my need to obtain at least one high five for Adore that day…to which he provided me with a second. Thanks George! 😀

Voila Adore…two high fives, just for you.

On we went, throwing a MCGC (Morning! Colgate Grin Combo) to the other people we saw…and continuing the scientific experiments regarding rose bush scents (you’ll be pleased to know that although the reds are still on top…the pinks are gaining!)…with a lot of bum wiggling boogying as we went. 😀

Half way through the run an ambulance passed with it’s lights flashing and I sent up another prayer for them to reach their destination on time…as I thought this is what Adore would do in this situation.

It has to be said, I’m surprised I didn’t cause a traffic accident today. It was only too easy to forget my less-than-usual lingerie display…until another driver drove past and gave me a major double take. Even funnier were those driving away from me who I could see frantically trying to get a glimpse in their wing mirror as they went…just to verify that it really WAS a nutty blonde woman with a pink bra over her clothes singing and dancing down the street. Priceless. 😀

I felt that in her younger days that Adore would have appreciate a good bought of skipping along playing airplanes…so the car weaving today had extra bounce…I was beaming…so much fun. 🙂

Around this point I started to realise that I was really in pain. The muscle behind my left shin bone had been acting up for a few days now (mainly, I think, because it’s being worked again!)…but this was now REALLY painful.

So what?

If anything, it spurred me on. I can only imagine the pain that Adore has experienced on this battle, and my little leg spasms were nothing in comparison. I embraced the pain. I let it fuel me. And on we ran.

As we ran along, being so grateful for this beautiful day and all of the gorgeous surroundings we were experiencing as we went I noticed something for the first time ever. We past a house with the name “Que Sera”….”What will be”. Interesting. It reminded me of a saying a good friend used to repeat often…”If God brings you to it, he’ll bring you through it”…I smiled, and kept boogying along. 🙂

After a quick feed of one of the horses, Katy Perry’s “Firework” came blasting on my iPod…but today I felt compelled to change the words and sing out loud as a I ran along:

“…You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine, just own the night like the 4th of July…’cause Adore you’re a firework, come on show ‘em what you’re worth, make them go “oh, oh, oh” as you shoot across the sky-y-y, Adore you’re a firework, come on let your colours burst, make ‘em go “oh, oh, oh” you’re gonna leave them all in awe, awe, awe…”

I got some REAL interesting looks…but I didn’t care 😀

Nearly home, I discovered a couple of fans watching me boogie down the road…I had gained the interest of a couple of dogs on their morning walk. I popped over to say hello to Fay (their owner), Pablo and Wilma…and while Pablo was incredibly interested in getting lots of fuss from a strange boogying blonde, Wilma was not at all sure…I don’t think she approved of the pink bra..she’d obviously have gone for a more traditional colour. 😉

On the final stretch I decided to take my headphones out and just enjoy my final stint au natural…with a final rose bush experiment conducted, I looked around as I ran and took in the lovely day…the birds singing, the sunshine, the flowers around me as a I ran.

….and before I knew it, one very grateful Claire was back on her doorstep.

Today’s happy dance was done in the spirit of that which I’m sure Adore will be performing once she’s won her battle…with a good punch in the air and a final little prayer to finish it off. 😀

By the end of the run, my face was the same colour as my bra (photographic evidence below), but I was lit up from the inside. My leg was in a lot of pain, but I didn’t care.

My face matches my bra!! Claire Brummell with a hot pink bra over her running gear

My face matches my bra!!

Thank you Adore, for allowing me the honour of doing this run with you as my inspiration – your strength and bravery in the face of a challenging time is what real inspiration is all about, and I hope I’ve brought a smile to your face with my boogying shenanigans!

So…who’s next for a ride on the party session express? 🙂

Another step closer x

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July 11th 2011…While in recovery…(a run for Joy)

Those of you who read the guest blog written by training buddy will know that I’ve spent the last week in recovery having been trampled at an unfortunately incident during an event the weekend before last.

Unfortunately although I am healing it’s very slow progress and as such I haven’t been able to do any training in the last week, and it’s looking like this week will be much the same….I have too many exciting things coming up to risk doing myself even more of an injury!

So thanks to everyone who has sent me good wishes, get well soons, love and hugs from around the globe…I really appreciate them and feel very lucky to have such a wonderful network of caring people around me.

Luckily I have a couple of blog posts stored up from before the incident for me to share with you until I’m up and running again….

June 28th 2011…A run for Joy…(and Blue)…

Session Time: 42 minutes
Distance Covered: 3.34 miles

Total Time: 24 Hours 07 minutes
Total Distance Covered: 116.7 miles

Unfortunately yesterday my alarm didn’t go off meaning that I woke up a little too late for my morning party session…no sweat (literally)..I just postponed it to today.

So the inspiration for today’s run came from my chance meeting with Joy and Blue on Friday’s run.

For those of you who missed Friday’s update – here’s a quick recap:

I saw an elderly lady walking her dog along…having thrown her a winning MCGC (Morning! Colgate grin combo) and stopped to pet her dog briefly she said to me (half joking I think) “would you like to run with him?”

Well…people should know better than to joke about things like that around me…and I’m sure that Nick would have grabbed the opportunity with both of his borrowed hands.

So we did.

The next thing Blue (the dog) and I were running full pelt down the road…with a quick round turn…and then straight back to a beaming Joy (the lady in question).

“Well that certainly woke you up!” she joked to her panting pup, before looking at me and commenting “I wish that I could run like that”.

Noted.

I wish I could run like that.

Well Joy…you’re in luck…you happen to have expressed this wish to the fairy godmother of running experiences.

Bibbity-Bobbity-Boop.

Today’s run is for you.

I began my stretches with a very grateful smile and headed outside to the beautiful morning that awaited me.

It was warm and bright…and I was in the mood for a party.

As we began power walking up the road I imagined Blue bounding along beside us.

Now not knowing a lot about Joy…I had to have a bit of a think about how she would make the most of this experience.

For some reason I had it in my head that she would be a ‘gardens’ person…not really sure why, but it just felt right..so I went with it. 🙂

So as we bobbed along we made a point of appreciating the gorgeous gardens along the way.

Well…I’m ashamed to admit how many times I have passed some of these horticultural works of art on my morning party sessions and not even noticed them.

Some of them are absolutely exquisite, full of gorgeous flowers in a rainbow of colours.

Luckily Joy and Blue changed all that.

We picked up the pace about 5 minutes in and began running.

The light breeze on my face, imagining Blue bouncing along next to us (I think he may have had teeny tiny tiggers on his paws), it was lovely.

It was a gorgeous morning and we enjoyed each and every single garden along our path.

Now as you know, I would normally be one to bop, jiggle and wiggle my way along on a morning party session…but I had the feeling that Joy may have been a little more reserved, so today I toned it down a bit and just enjoyed the moment.

HOWEVER…it has to be said that when we rounded the corner up to the village (where there was nobody around) it occurred to me that a little (more reserved than usual) boogie might be in order.

Guessing that Joy was probably around 70ish, I worked out that she was probably at optimum bopping age in the 60s…which gave me the inspiration for a little hand-jive as we power walked along… 😀

As we jogged along I stopped and smelled even more roses as we went…I have (through scientific experimentation) determined that the red ones seem to have the most incredible and powerful aroma, followed closely by the pinks…with the whites bringing up the rear…further experimentation will be conducted to verify these findings… 😉

We wished everyone we saw a friendly MCGC (Morning! Colgate Grin Combo) and everyone we saw was happy to respond in kind.

Heading down another stretch of road which didn’t have as many cars along we snuck in another little hand jive as we enjoyed the view of the morning over the fields.

This was the part of the run where I had previously met Joy and Blue for the first time, so it seemed only appropriate to have a sprint in honour of our first meeting, so we picked up the pace and ran with blue the little circuit we had completed on Friday morning – complete with the loop around and back to the point where Joy had been.

Sidebar: I do think that the guy who was walking along the road a little bit behind me might have thought that I’d lost my marbles when he saw me running up and back along the same bit of road…but hey…at least he probably had a laugh about it!! 🙂

I had the feeling that Joy would have rather just watched and appreciated the horses, rather than feed them, so we just watched them graze as we ran past enjoying the gorgeous morning, the blue sky and the sun that was trying to peek through the clouds.

With a few more MCGCs and smelling of several more rose bushes (the current results are still holding true) we were on the final stretch…and for Joy I made sure I ran the whole way.

Well Joy, I hope I’ve done you proud…you said to me that you wished that you could run like that…well today, as part of my virtual party session team, you did.

…and once again I’ve found that by having someone else along for the party session ride that the experience again was unique, eye-opening and beautifully enjoyable.

So thanks to both of you for joining me for the ride…

…who’s next?

Another step closer x

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July 5th 2011…Guest Post By Training Buddy…

Hello Everyone, it’s Training Buddy here with a rare guest blog post.

If you have been following Claire’s recent updates you’re probably already aware of her idea of dedicating her party sessions to someone who cannot run for themselves.

When she first told me about the idea I thought it was simply brilliant. The vicarious running serves both people who can run, but perhaps need a little external motivation or validation for their run, and those who are currently unable to run.

As someone who has suffered from a some poor health recently, the inability to run was really highlighted. It’s not just the health benefits of the run that I missed but the emotional enjoyment and feeling of freedom as trainers hit tarmac, exploring and enjoying the world one stride at a time.

Little did I realise that I would have an opportunity to run for someone else so soon…you see Claire, I and a number of friends attended a fantastic 3 day long seminar in London with such luminary speakers as Sir Richard Branson, Anthony Robbins and Lord Sugar.

The seminar started with a bang courtesy of Tony Robbins and all was going well up until an ill thought out Freebie Frisbee throw caused a mini stampede on top of Claire! The net result of several hours in the Emergency department was a diagnosis of Severe Sprains to her neck and shoulders in addition to a lot of bad bruising and damaged muscles 😦

Fast forward to this morning and Claire is bed-ridden with pulled back muscles and the neck and shoulder sprains all conspiring to keep her in bed and, unfortunately, in a lot of pain.

So, it was my turn to do something for Claire, following her inspiring idea and example. I would lend her my legs and complete her regular run for her.
iPod charged, running app initiated, a few quick stretches stretched and Claire’s virtual run began…

Up the street, round the corner, two right turns and left and my first morning encounter (I’ll ignore the bicycling paperboy who ignored me as I tried to get an initial Hi-Five and hello from), a little old lady out walking a lab. Fuss made of the bouncing canine and the run continued…

Keeping true to the inspiration for this run, I (vicariously for Claire) made a fuss of two standard poodles, a King Charles Spaniel and a Beagle carrying a small toy beagle in his snout.

Unlike Claire my Hi-Five attempts were far from successful, though I think this has a lot to do with the probably imposing visage of my bulky self barrelling down the street, red-faced and sweating like a politician at a public enquiry 😉

Still, my legs were lent, Claire’s marathon training log inched another 5K towards her target and I was blessed with the opportunity of doing something special for someone special, someone who is a daily inspiration to me.

So this run was for you Claire! While the recovery continues I imagine there’ll be one or two more runs completed for you too.

Training Buddy 🙂

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