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Category: 13 in 13

(Cumbria) Way to go Kat!

For over a year I’ve had it in my head that I wanted to walk the first leg of The Cumbria Way. I live in Ulverston, the start point, and I couldn’t see why I’d never thought of doing it before. Yeah, sure, it’s over 14 miles – that’s probably one of the reasons! So, I had it in my head that I’d walk to Coniston, have a pint, and get the bus home again.

When I voiced this to friends a while ago, they thought I was mad. My husband helpfully jeered that 14 miles is a long way to go for a pint when we have perfectly good beer here in Ulverston. But the more people built it up as a crazy thing to do, the more I wanted to do it. It became a mission. Then I broke my foot and it was put on the back burner.

I’m in training for the Keswick to Barrow walk and I need to get my mileage up before I undertake the massive task of 40 miles in one day. Doing the Keswick to Barrow is one of my 13 in 13 goals and I’m hoping to raise as much as I can for our local Mountain Rescue Teams. What better way to train than to use what I have on my doorstep and undertake this classic route, I thought.

Yesterday I did it. Way to go me! Mission accomplished.
Here’re the stats…

20130424-235516.jpg The mileage is a little more than I expected, but I did it, and I feel great for having done so (apart from the sunburn. More on that later!)

We’ve had some interesting weather recently. Late dumps of snow, torrential rain and gale force winds have been a hinderance in planning walks and runs. Monday was dismal. It’s not like it was even raining, the air and everything it touched was just wet. I had Tuesday and Wednesday off work so I had two days to choose from when planning my mission. Tuesday morning came around and it looked quite bright so I thought hey, just do it!

I popped a sandwich, apples, home-made biscuits, an energy bar and a chocolate milkshake in my bag; filled up a couple of waterbottles; tucked my waterproofs in the bottom of the bag; and double checked I had my map, compass, bivvy bag and head torch (always best to be prepared). Then I donned my new walking trousers, a long vest, long sleeved dry-fit top and my softshell, although bright, it still seemed quite cold. Ready to set off, I dithered around the kitchen for a while, fuelling up on coffee and porridge until I could put it off no longer and off I set.

The route starts on some well trodden ground for me, it’s part of a route I run quite often. I’d decided before setting off that I’d stick to the official route, rather than taking any of the other myriad of footpaths that would take me in the same direction. It was on the first bit of ascent that I began to wonder why I hadn’t just taken the easier low-level path. I wasn’t even a mile into the walk and I was burning up. I just felt so hot and bothered. Then I remembered the big yellow ball in the sky, and the fact that we’re approaching the end of April, it was actually a warm, sunny Spring day, not something we’ve been used to of late. Onwards, and on the path leading out of Old Hall Farm, I stopped to take off my long-sleeved top but opted to keep on my softshell for a bit of wind protection and to have my iPod easily tucked into the pocket (I don’t normally walk with music but I wasn’t sure if I was ready to spend so much time with just my thoughts). I rolled up my sleeves and on I continued.

The Cumbria Way is a great route for seeing the lesser known parts of the county. By that I mean it is a glimpse into the lives of local residents. Quite literally. Before I’d left the boundary of Ulverston I’d walked through a couple of people’s gardens. No, not by mistake, the footpath actually goes through some very well tended gardens and over the pristine patios of some very nice houses. There’s something in me that always feels a bit naughty when I take these paths, it’s like I’m not supposed to be there, but at the same time the voyeur in me loves having a nosy at the lives of others.

Up and out of Ulverston, and into Osmotherly I traipsed through fields of ewes and lambs, keeping to boundary lines as much as possible so as not to disturb them if I could help it. Walking alongside one wall I saw a victim of the recent bad weather. We had some bad snow drifts a few weeks ago. They trapped a great deal of livestock as they tried to shelter from the weather. A decomposing sheep is an odd thing to see. The carcass had been picked away, leaving only a skeleton on a pile of wool. A stark reminder of how harsh the weather can be for even the hardiest of animals.

Down the road and crossing over to Broughton Beck I saw a road sign, ‘Ulverston 2miles’, My Garmin was showing 4miles and I felt a bit disheartened that my sticking to the official route was adding extra miles and I was worried that I should be saving myself for further down the line if ever I were to complete my mission. It was at this time that a cyclist stopped beside me. ‘You look like you might know where you’re going,’ he said.
‘Yes, I do, and I have a map if not.’ He asked for directions for Coniston and I showed him the way on my map, giving him visual pointers for the way, including the sneaky cut through that goes past what I call the Brain Tree (it’s a tree that looks like a brain). He didn’t look like a seasoned cyclist- no helmet, wearing surfer shorts and a crisp white t-shirt. And I couldn’t help noticing what looked like an axe handle sticking out the top of his school style backpack. I asked what he was up to in Coniston and he said he was off to do a bit of walking and trekking. Oh well, I thought, fair play to him, making the most of this lovely sunny day and I bid him adieu, hoping I hadn’t directed an axe murderer to his next victim.

The route up from Broughton Beck was a bit boring, not much to report: a few horses, flocks of sheep, some friendly cows. When I reached Gawthwaite, I have to admit, I was a bit down-trodden. Gawthwaite doesn’t seem that far away when I drive past it and I had been going for nearly 7 miles. Then I saw it, climbing up on the dirt road, I got my first proper view of the Coniston Fells. Bathed in sunlight with shadowy textures showing the full extent of the impressive mountain range, this view gave me a bit of pep to continue on, even with knowing that I had lots more ascent to come. I fuelled up on my home-made Choc-nut-oatie biscuits, ready for the next section.

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Passing through farms, up and down windy roads, I hadn’t seen another soul for a long time, but all the while I was walking over fresh boot prints – I was on somebody’s tail, and I wondered if I might catch up with them. A mile or so up from Tottlebank Wood, and on the way to Beacon Tarn, I caught sight of a wide brimmed hat atop a walker with a full pack, clutching a copy of the Wainwright guidebook. I was gaining on them quite quickly so I said hello well in advance so as not to startle them too much. The walker was a lovely lady from Melbourne, on a six week walking holiday in the UK. We chatted for a little while, and she explained that she was also doing The Cumbria Way, but only going as far as Torver today. I suggested she go to The Wilsons for food and she was very happy that I’d said so, because that’s where she was booked in to stay. I said cheerio, and off I continued.

I love Beacon Tarn. I often go up there for a picnic and a swim when the weather is good. With it being so much higher than Coniston it is always less crowded, but it is deeper too, so it takes a lot longer to warm up. While it was a nice sunny day, it will be a fair few weeks before I’d go for a dip! I relieved my pack of my ham and cheese sandwiches and fuelled up for the next section.The path beyond Beacon is my least favourite part. Bog. I really detest walking through bog. It is just so tiring on the legs. We’ve had a lot of rain so any dry patches to bounce from were few and far between. But I kept it steady and didn’t fall in so that’s an achievement (for me anyway).

I tootled along, legs tired after over 12 miles and the recent boggy navigation. Then I slipped. Seeing the main road, and knowing I’d come down off the path one turning too early, I lost my footing and slipped on the saturated ground. No worry, I was surprised it was as late as nearly 13 miles that I fell over (I’m really clumsy). A bit peeved that I’d gone a bit off course, I walked the little bit of road up from Sunny Bank to the turn off for Torver Woods and the lakeshore.

I very nearly thought of just dropping down into Torver, having a pint, ending my walk and getting the bus from there. The weather had become a bit muggy and my legs were tired. To get down to Torver I would’ve done 14 miles, that was the aim for the day. No! The mission was to walk from Ulverston to Coniston on The Cumbria Way!

So I continued. Scoffing my 9Bar as I went, I navigated the fallen beech trees, victims of last week’s winds. I’ve walked along the shore of Coniston a few times, but never after having already walked for 14 miles. It suddenly seemed a bit more technical! It was short-lived. I was soon on the well-made path that leads all the way into Coniston.

I did it, it was a bit longer than I expected but after 17 miles, five and a half hours in my own company and with over an hour to spare before the last bus, I settled down with a well deserved pint.

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So, the sunburn… Yup, I hadn’t put any cream on my arms. As a result, now when I cross my arms I resemble a slice of battenburg cake, a red and white checked pattern!

If you’d like to sponsor me for the Keswick to Barrow walk and help me raise vital funds for our Mountain Rescue Teams then please do head on over to the Keswick to Barrow site and search for Kathryn Kelly, or view my profile here.

13 in 13 – April begins…

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The overall goal for April is to increase my walking distance in preparation for next month’s massive undertaking of the Keswick to Barrow walk – a 40 mile walk from North Lakes to South Lakes.

Anywho – how am I going to get there? Lets set some goals…

1. Go for four walks over 8 miles
To keep the walking miles in my legs, I’m going to go for 4 (or more?!) walks that are over 8 miles. Last month I walked back to Ulverston from a friend’s house in Barrow; it was a nice 10miler and I did it in less than three hours so this goal is definitely achievable, and it’s something I need to do if I’m going to finish the K2B!

2. Walk to Coniston
Why so specific? Well, living in Ulverston I’m on the doorstep of the Cumbria Way. Ulverston to Coniston is the first day of the route and something I’ve always wanted to do. Also, there’s a bus service between Coniston and Ulverston so I can walk there (have a pint) and get the bus back. It’s around 18 miles too, which will be good training for next month’s epic undertaking.

3. Run three times a week
This never used to phase me, three times a week was easy to fit in to my 9-5 Monday-Friday working week. I’m getting used to a new work schedule and with the walks I want to do I’m going to have to be a bit stricter with making a running date with myself and sticking to it. I’ve a couple of races this week and with my marathon as the big goal overall, I need to honour my runs with greater weight while also increasing my walking distances. It’s all about the plan – and sticking to it.

4. Spring clean!
April is a busy month and if I’m to stick to my plans I need to clear down, clean up, and make my environment as hassle free as possible. I’m a compulsive cleaner but if my mind is untidy my environment stacks up (literally, with piles of ‘stuff’) which perpetuates the cycle and leaves me very depressed and anxious. It’s a fitting time of year for a Spring clean so I’m setting aside some time from training to have a bit of zen cleaning and sorting.

5. Keep up core work
I’m not going to be as strict with myself on this one. The aim is just to keep it up, a little bit here and there, no time targets; just do it when I can to keep it on the back burner. It could be yoga, it could be Kinect, it could be a circuit session. We’ll see how I get on at the end of the month.

So, there we have it. The plan for this month. A plan which is, essentially, about planning.
Many thanks to Weight Wars for the drive to plan – and stick to it!

13 in 13 – March ends…

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Looking back, I’ve said it at the beginning of most of my 13 in 13 posts, the month has flown by. March has been no exception to this. It did seem to stick around a bit longer, but it is longer than February so that makes sense! There’s the old wive’s tale that, ‘if March comes in like a lion it goes out like a lamb’ and vice versa. I love this personification of the weather, and, true to this, the beginning of March was certainly like a lamb. All bouncy and Spring-like. Then it all went down hill from there – snow, bitter wind and a dramatic drop in temperature. Around my area we have a similar saying, ‘if you’re swimming in the lake at Easter then you won’t be over Summer’. There was no chance that your everyday bod (ie, someone without a wetsuit) would be outdoor swimming this Easter! This fills me with hope that we’ll get a bit of Summer this year and have many days on the lake to look forward to.

Anyhow, back on topic, the overall goal for March was to get back to comfortably running 10k. I’m signed up for a couple in April so let’s see how I did…

1. Run 10k by the end of March
Nailed it! Twice! While my weekly mileage hasn’t increased (new job, still getting my head around when to fit in my runs) I’ve made it out the door and hammered a couple of 6 mile runs. On the first of these missions I battled through the wind and rain and thought, ‘f**k it, I’m already out, I’m already freezing, you’re not going to beat me’. The second saw me nearly turn around before I even got to the end of my warm-up walk as the horizontal blizzard tried to etch its way through my windbreaker and into my skin, piercing me with icy flakes of uncomfortable and spiteful trials to my resolve. I persevered and bravely took a new route so I had further to get home even if I did turn around. But I didn’t! I’m really chuffed with this, and coming in at 1:08 I’m on track for the 1:10 I’ve set for myself in my first road 10k on April 14. Although, I do need to keep up my mileage and work out a training plan to fit in 3/4 runs a week, a goal for next month I think.

2. Increase core workouts
Again, I’m going to blame a new job and work timetable. I did manage 8 days of the 30 Day Shred, so over the course of the month I did achieve an average of 2 core sessions a month, I just happened to do them in a row… Yeah, again, something I need to continue to work on.

3. Yoga workout 3 times a week.
Meh. I suppose if I’d done 3 runs a week then this one would’ve been achieved. But I didn’t, so I didn’t. I did get some of the routines in after the runs I did do, but nothing focussed, more of a tag-on to my usual stretching. Must try harder – or rather, plan my time better (I see a theme developing!)

4. Read more
I’d not even noticed, until my reflection now, that this has been achieved with very little conscious effort. I’m back in the habit of reading! It’s come back so naturally, I’ve finished a couple of books and I look forward to settling down and reading. Goal achieved!

5. Eat new things
We’ve not really pushed the boat out with this one, rather than ‘new’ things we’ve just started to rediscover dishes we haven’t had in a long while so we’ve been a lot more varied which is good. Something to build upon.

So, that was March, and, as ever, many thanks to Weight Wars for spurring me on to keep this up (I promise to be less tardy with my post next month!).

13 in 13 – March begins…

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Well, February didn’t stick around for long did it! And March seems to be on a mission to ‘spring’ past as well (b’dum cha)! Anyway, enough with my awful puns, lets get to business and outline some goals before I miss the month all together.

The overall goal for March is to get back to comfortably running 10k. I’m signed up for a couple (one road and one trail) in April so I need to nail this one. My mini goals for the month are…

1. Run 10k by the end of March
Sounds easy enough but… I have never actually run more than 6 miles before. I’ve done a couple of 10k trail races but at some point (or, more specifically, some hill) I walked. I’ve been increasing my distances, and increasing my stamina so, continuing on the same path, I want to be able to run for a full 10k by the end of the month. Longest run to date is 4.6 miles so watch this space!

2. Increase core workouts
Yeah, I know I said I’d do this last month, and I really did want to, but when it came down to it I couldn’t be bothered. Thing is, I want to be bothered. I really miss the bootcamp sessions I used to go to. There’s nothing like a 7:30am Saturday morning gruelling workout and the following pain to make you really feel the progress. The class isn’t running anymore and no-one else wants to do it with me so I’m left to my own devices with this one. Must try harder!

3. Yoga workout 3 times a week.
I’ve been doing a yoga workout with routines for runners after my long run each week, I want to increase this to after every run. While I do stretch methodically after each run, there’s something really satisfying about taking to the mat and working through it all. Call me a junkie but it really does prolong the ‘runners’ high’.

4. Read more
I love reading, but I rarely make the time to sit down with a good book. I have two on the go at the moment and I aim to finish both of them by the end of the month. I will read each evening before bed, which, in turn will help me with last month’s sleep goal which I have yet to improve upon.

5. Eat new things
My diet is great at the moment and the weight is coming off nicely but it can be easy to fall into a rut. I’ve been baking something new each weekend but I want to try adding a few new savoury dishes to my repetoire. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Well that’s the plan, stay tuned for how it goes, and, as ever, many thanks to Weight Wars for spurring me on to keep this up (I promise to be less tardy with my post next month!).

13 in 13 – February ends…

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Better late than never…
Well, the overall goal for February was to improve fitness following injury. It’s flown by, barely seems like there was enough time to fit it all in! Here’s a little run-down of how I got on with my mini-goals this month.

1. Run three times a week, gradually increasing pace and distance.
Done and Done! My slow pace now is what my fast pace was pre-injury so I’m quite chuffed. While it’s not quite as fast as I aim to be, to complete a marathon in 4h30m, I think I’m on the right track. I’ve maybe pushed too hard on my long runs but it’s felt good so I don’t think I’m doing myself any harm increasing by more than the recommended 10% a week. I think this is because I’ve been varying my running and not increasing my weekly mileage much more than 10% each week. My long run to increase distance is a solo effort, I can really listen to myself and vary my pace accordingly. Then I take one of my runs with a very active friend of mine, this pushes me to keep up the speed. I’ve also been doing a short run with my Sister-in-law at a slower pace which has been helping to increase stamina, and also keeps my HR in the ‘fat burning’ zone, which is all good!

2. Go for a walk every weekend, gradually increasing distance.
Unfortunately haven’t managed every weekend due to some plans falling through but 2/4 ain’t bad so I’m counting this as a success. Also, while the distances haven’t been increasing, my husband and I have been taking advantage of the lengthening evenings and getting out twice a week after work for a few miles.

3. Work on core fitness and stability
So, this is where I fall down. Slap handies, I just haven’t been that arsed with circuit training. I’ve done a couple of sessions but nothing sustained, this will have to be a rollover goal.
Stretching on the otherhand has been a great success, after each of my long runs I have been doing a good session of yoga with sequences particularly aimed at runners. I really enjoy this so will endevour to find the time to keep it up.

4. Keep on top of diet and hydration
I am so very happy with myself on this one. Over February I lost half a stone 🙂 and I have baked every week! Keeping my meals regular and planning my treats really works for me… must keep it up. Hydration is still going well but I still really have to think about it or I get to the end of the day and realise I haven’t had any water, or ‘corporation pop’ as my mum used to call it. However, my tea-pot and I are never far away from eachother, I’m having at least 2 pots of herbal tea a day so maybe I just don’t need the water?

5. Sleep
Erm… Getting there (she says, in bed but very much awake, and not likely to turn off the light for another hour or so when it is already gone half eleven). Must try harder on this one.

All in all, not too shabby. Big shout out to Weight Wars having goals to comit to is spurring me on no end!

13 in 13 – February begins…

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Well, the overall goal for this month is to improve fitness following injury.

The good news is, (great news actually) I’m allowed to run! After four months consigned to the sofa, I am finally allowed to run again! The Consultant has said to build up slowly, keep it flat (that’s the trails ruled out for a while) and to wear a cushioned but supportive shoe (I have shiny new shoes!). Baring this in mind, here are my five mini-goals for the month.

1. Run three times a week, gradually increasing pace and distance.
When I got the go ahead on being able to run I took myself for a, very slow, mile run. It went well so I doubled it, at a faster pace, the next time I went out. Still no pain so I think 2 miles is a good point from which I can start increasing my pace and distance. I’m aiming to go out on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday so I have good recovery time between runs. But what to do on my days off…

2. Go for a walk every weekend, gradually increasing distance.
Over the last couple of weekends I have increased my walking distance from 3 miles to 6 miles. While it would be great to double it each week I think I might just take it as it comes and see what I can fit in given the weather and company. I’m wanting to get out more with friends and my Husband; we all have different levels of fitness so that will determine whether I’m being pushed or doing the pushing. Stay tuned for where we get to this weekend!

3. Work on core fitness and stability
While I did do some upperbody work in the first couple of months of incapacity, I let it all go, had a huff and just stopped doing anything. I was by no means a muscle power-house before the injury but I had improved drastically and I’m hoping it won’t take too long to get some of it back again. My aim is to do circuit exercises twice a week on a Tuesday and Thursday and to dedicate more time to strengthening exercises during my post-run stretches.

4. Keep on top of diet and hydration
Following on from last month I want to keep up my good eating habits and safeguard myself from subconcious sabotage. For this, I aim to have three meals a day and to drink at least a litre of water each day. I have a litre bottle to keep with me so I can keep track of my intake and I’m hoping my last goal will help me to fit in my three regular meals.

5. Sleep
Yes, sleeping is one of my goals. Although, there are a few conditions to this sleep.
For five nights out of seven I aim to be in bed by 11pm each evening, read for half an hour and be asleep by Midnight… Sounds simple but we’ll see how I go. This could be a hard one. Following sleep I want to get up in the morning and have breakfast… This means getting up in time to have breakfast rather than clutching to the bed like a moody teenager. Again, I’ll have to see how I get on with this one. I do like my bed, a lot.

So, that’s this month’s gauntlet. I’ll let you know how it goes at the end of the month!

13 in 13 – January ends…

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Where did January go? It is usually a month that drags on, but this year I seem to have blinked and missed it; a bit of a whirlwind.

While it has flown by, a lot seems to have happened. Or rather, just slotted into place. Some of my January mini-goals have been easy to achieve, while others have had a varied approach to say the least. Here’s a progress round-up of my ‘Detox’ month:

1. Drink no more than two cups of coffee a day.
Quite proud of myself here, I’ve only slipped with this goal twice, and then there have been days where I had no coffee at all. That’s right, NO COFFEE! I think my subconcious lent a helping hand by breaking the glass of my caffetiere while I was wahing-up. I was gutted at the time but it has limited my intake, partially due to my apathy to instant coffee and also my laziness in not yet buying a replacement glass jug.

2. Drink more herbal tea
Maybe it’s because of the cold weather, this has been really easy to achieve. I’ve nearly always got a cup on the go when I’m in the house and when I’ve been out I’ve opted for tea instead of coffee. I think I’ve won on this one and can only aim to keep it up.

3. Drink more fluid
While my fluid intake has increased with the amount of tea I’m drinking I’m not sure I’m achieving my aim of a litre of water a day. I’ve definitely increased my water intake but throughout February I’m going to make more of an effort to drink more water- this is a rollover goal.

4. Go back to slimming group
Well, I braved the scales and the reality of the whole 10.5 lbs I had gained between 20 November and 8 January. As of 29 January I had dropped 4lbs, not the loss I’d hoped for but a start at least. I know where I have been going wrong, which leads me to mini-goal 5

5. Get my eating back on track
For the most part I’ve got back to eating healthier again. There’s been the odd day I’ve missed breakfast which has thrown the day out of whack and while I’ve recouped it most of the time I have fallen back into a really bad habit… If I don’t eat first thing I can go ages without food; I just don’t get hungry. But then when the hunger pangs I need to eat straight away or I turn into some sort of Monster! When it gets to this point I stay hungry for days (or at least I think I’m hungry, despite eating mammoth quantities of food). February is going to be about putting some safeguards in place to avoid getting to this point and to regulate and sustain my weightloss.

All in all I am happy with my achievements this month. It was by no means an hardcore detox but it has been a step in the right direction and I’m reinstating good habits that can only support me in the overall mission to complete a Marathon this year.

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I know that most people usually commit their resolutions before, or on, January 1 (as the beginning of the New Year) and I’m all for it- but New Year fell on a Tuesday and it just felt like an odd day to start something from fresh so this Monday is the first week of my […]

13 in 13 – Goals

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So, here goes… Time to set some goals.

As I said in my last post, I’ve signed up for the 13 in 13 challenge with Weight Wars

For each month I will set myself an overall goal and then five mini goals to help me achive the aim for the month.
Alas, I’m not a fortune teller and I’m not sure what will be happening each month, so for now I will set each month’s title and update my five mini goals at the beginning of each month.

First of all, my biggie… my big goal for the year is to run the Loch Ness Marathon on 28 September 2013. I have only run 10k before now and I have been out of action with a broken foot for nearly four months now, so it really is a big goal.

January – Detox and get back on track

February – Improve my fitness following injury

March – Get back to comfortably running 10k

April – Increase my walking distances and bag some peaks

May – Walk the Keswick to Barrow

June – Improve my running times, particularly aiming for Grasmere Gallop PB

July – Run a Half Marathon off road

August – Run a Half Marathon on road

September – Marathon Month!… Otherwise, the goal is to look after myself

October- Bag more peaks

November- Try a new sport/activity

December- TBC… But it’s bound to be Christmas related!

13 in 13

Well, no posts for ages and then two come along in one day!

As part of my kick up the posterior, I am taking the 13 in 13 challenge with Weight Wars

The aim is to complete a personal challenge each month throughout the year, and one really big challenge to top the lot. I like lists and goals so this sounds right up my street.

While I haven’t finalised what my challenges will be each month, I have a start point and my biggie already in place.

January will be my detox month to get my body back on track. I want to get myself back down to two cups of coffee a day, lay off alcohol for the month, drink more water, watch what I eat and refrain from cake.

My 13th challenge will be to run the Loch Ness Marathon in September 2013.

Watch this space to see what challenges pop up each month. A lot will depend on how my foot is getting on as to when I can realistically do some of them but so far I’m thinking: the Three Peaks (possibly four if I can fit in a trip to Ireland); a couple of half marathons as part of my marathon training; bagging a few more Wainwrights; doing the Keswick to Barrow Walk; and getting down into my healthy weight-range.

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