Sunday, 27 December 2009
Walberswick village shop
Trish and Ken Mayhew
Drew, Deb, Simon and Dash
Andrea, Simon and Amalie
Camilla, Jeremy, Thea and Esme
Chris Marcela, Jamie and Michaela
Helena and the Walker family
Jo and Matthew Guinness
Gil and Eddie Child
Luna and Mertz
Sonja, Trevor and Harry
Ian, Catherine, Lily and Daisy Salmon
Warwick and Caroline Comer-Stone
Tom, Sez, Flynn an Joe Hamilton
Christine and Spike Howell
John and Christine Fernihough
Robin, Mandy, Anna and Max Merttens
The Button Family
Nicholas and Victoria Muers-Raby
Gill and Becky
Mbili and her owners
And the kind anonymous donors.
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Saturday, 19 December 2009
In the words of Paloma Faith "Do you want the truth or something beautiful?' the truth isn't beautiful here, and I'm not about to say that it is, but seeing 20 families arrive in the morning to take their new found friends home was pretty amazing. I do actually have to make an admission too... I fell in love. No, not with the tall, dark, good looking bloke who leads expeditions across the arctic, who gave us the facts about what we have let ourselves in for, but with Millie:
It's not a great photo as she was so happy to see us, but she is just gorgeous, and not unlike our little Willow, who is titchy and brindle. The guide explained that brindle dogs are the least likely to be re-homed, the statistics prove this, but no one knows why. I can't imagine why! Who wouldn't want a brindle misfit like this?
Most of the dogs waiting to find home are Staffies, Lurchers or Collies. The Labs and Springers go straight away, as do the little dogs, and puppies are popular, so the 'sticky' dogs are usually older crossbreeds with brindle coats, like Leggit here.
Friday, 18 December 2009
It's been pretty chilly over here in East Anglia and whilst the snow doesn't really settle that well by the sea it was drifting badly on the A12 last night. I'm due to go to the Dogs Trust HQ tomorrow for our first 'Arctic Briefing', so I'm really hoping the weather clears up and that the roads are OK. I'm very excited about going as I can ask all those questions that have been on my mind, like 'does your snot really freeze?' and so on. Since my operation on my skull the whole nose blowing thing has been a bit of an issue as I no longer have the orbital wall to keep my eyes in the right place when I blow my nose, and they wander about for a bit - if it freezes, who knows what could happen. My consultant says it's quite normal and the really good news is that I don't have to have any more operations. I do, however, need to look after my eyes and Mertz has bought me a wonderful Christmas present - top of the range sports glasses, I can't wait for the sun to come out now.
Training is going well this week, and the girls love running about in the snow, eating it and throwing themselves about in the cold. I've discovered the joys of merino underwear and so no longer have to wear layer upon layer of fleece. I only realised this after the first time I wore the undies to run in though - nearly passed out from the heat. As part of the deal of undertaking this madness I get discount at Cotswold Outdoor clothing and now need to be held back as I am skint, what with it being Christmas and all that, but my Mother in Law is going to get me a toasty downy coat for my birthday present, so I'm really lucky.
Just looked outside and the snow is coming down again, lovely as it is, it would be ironic if I couldn't make it to the Arctic Briefing due to snow on the road....
Friday, 4 December 2009
I feel that this run of excuses needs to stop!
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
The biggest breakthrough was my new sounds though, normally I don't like to run with an iPod but I am ashamed to admit that I now have 'Men's Health playlist - mixed by Judge Jules' - it's actually just a continuous stream of dance tracks, for an hour. It keeps me going till I've finished the exercises at home too, I think I might suggest it to Mark - our circuit training instructor - as he threatened to take out the Christmas mix on Tuesday... please God, no.
Saturday, 28 November 2009
Mother found another balaclava today and also bought a brilliant beanie at an Aplaca farm - it's very, very warm. In fact it has been very cold on the coast today due to wind chill, so I test drove the merino thermals and yes, they do do what it says on the box, they are WARM.
Monday, 23 November 2009
My Mother has been amazingly generous in my Father's name and I am so very touched that the money that she has raised from selling his engineering equipment has helped me to reach this target, he's still supporting me and/or bailing me out, even though he's been dead for a year now...
Also thanks so much to Harry and Inga Edwards, John Ormerod and my dear friend Lindsey Gray, who has always felt the need to set a good example to her kids, our godsons:
Now the task of sourcing all the equipment starts. Underwear I'm buying, but everything else is beg, steal or borrow. The outdoor shop in Norwich is having a sale so I snapped up some merino wool undies - not attractive in any way whatsoever, but very, very warm, even the fact that the box says WARM on the front fills me with reassurance. No-one I am likely to see at any time outside the Arctic shall see me in them however.
I couldn't believe my luck when I met someone at a party on Saturday night who had been to Iceland recently and had to buy some -60 kit, which she is going to lend me, in return for my knitting one of my strange neck garments for her. This is a relief as I tried on some neoprene face masks (on my kit list) in the outdoor shop and they are the most uncomfortable things I've ever worn, so I don't really relish splashing out on one.
Thursday, 19 November 2009
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
A week in the warmth can do wonders for the soul, mine's been well and truly simmered in the Canarian sun for long enough for me still to be well thawed. This will be the warmest I'll feel for some time, and now I have a thermometer in my head the mercury will soon start to fall steadily towards the coldest February of my life so far, but I suspect I may get a taste for it. I am still feeling verywarmclaire
It didn't start well. We arrived to be picked up by our 'VIP collection service' which turned out to be a shared people carrier with the owner of our Finca on speaker phone having a heated discussion with his wife about who had payed what and who should have been responsible for what, but sadly not what the status of the accommodation was. A bottle of £2.50 Cava was handed round the truck but its benefits didn't last as having been up from 4am, the last thing we needed to find was that our yurt was still occupied by a family who had ended up in hospital overnight and had not been able to check out. We felt for them as they had not even been able to get back to pack and gather they things, but being told that we'd have to go and wait on the beach because 'check in wasn't till 4pm' (even though we had been collected by the owner at 12) wasn't really what we wanted to hear.
Tila, our host, did everything he could to get the situation sorted and once he had stopped panicking and being told to fob us off, the yurt was blitzed and we were taken back from the beach to our home for the next 6 days. It was love at first sight.
Yolanda the yurt - our haven with views of the stars, a comfortable bed and cool marble floor for lying on after a run. She's a bit like a tardis, looks like a little tent on the outside but the space inside is wonderful.
By the time our host had taken us to the supermarket to make up for the fiasco and we had poured our respective glasses, everything seemed to fall into place. Before I knew it Mertz was scheduling the whole week, planning meals, working out where he could get fresh bread and wine each day and to my surprise and delight, promising to cycle with me on my run in the morning. We feasted on home made tapas and paella with the left over Cava before collecting our solar powered lights, Moroccan storm candles and retiring to the womblike structure which was going to be our haven. She looked even more gorgeous at night.
We did discover, on this holiday, that Mertz and I have been on a food
motorway, traveling in different directions for the last 15 years. When we met he didn't have any interest in food, and consumed very little other than Consulate menthols and Barcardi and coke, and I was obsessed with eating and cooking. Now we meet in the motorway service station, but how long for, I wonder. I feel the drag of the other carriage-way and feel sure that his interest may soon become an obsession, how that will leave us I don't know. It bodes well for my weight, as he weighed less than me when we met (he's over 6ft), but planning our new kitchen is down to me - perhaps I should hand over the reigns?
He promised he couldn't find a smaller glass.
I ran slowly to start with as the sand was quite tough, but once I had a feel for it it was quite thrilling as going down the slopes was a bit like treading water. When we got back, having stopped for a stretch for me and some fresh bread for him, Mertz had to have a bit of a lie down. After breakfast we found 2 bikes and set of to explore. I was quite nervous to start with, especially coming down the tracks, but was great to be able to go across the lava rocks and get to the cliffs.
We had a quick dip and as the waves were up and the sea was full of surfers Mertz decided to bring the boogie board down tomorrow. He said he would check with Josh, the resident surf expert about tides or rips or whatever they are and I wished him luck with that, as although he's ranked 4th on the island, Josh is only 14 and already has the blond tousled long hair and the blonde tousled look in his faraway eyes.
Day 3 etc.
It just got better and better, I fell into a routine of run (with personal trainer Mertz), yoga, breakfast, cycle, swim, eat, read, eat, drink, read, with various trips, activities and pleasures as the week wore on. Each day we met a wonderful old boy and his dog, he shouted amusing anecdotes at us, at least we assume that's what they were as he assumed we were German, but he seemed to be suggesting that I might have left my bike behind, and on the third day he offered me his. One one occasion we had to hand over our track to the boys though.
Inspired by their speed and ability to get up the mountains, we hired a car to discover Cesar Manrique's houses, gardens and art. It was quite humbling to see what in impact he has made on the island, in fact impact is probably the wrong word as he has managed to work with the island to produce work that can only be from the island, as well as laying down guidelines for what can and can't be done, architecturally.
Jameos del Agua
The Cactus Garden staircase
It was awe inspiring and although Brian, my wonderful architect friend, recommended we went, I think he might regret it when I start planning a white swimming pool with black and white rocks.
By the end of the week I was running down the hill, past the first stop of the fresh bread and around the village, where the local police hang out, watching surfers and polishing their ambulance, trying to look cool in their Raybans and uniforms. On the last day one of them finally said hola. The last day was certainly our hottest and I was grateful for the marble floor to lie on after the run, and for the pool just below our yurt, which I hadn't felt the need for till then. It was really, really bloody cold. Apparently it is fed from the well, which would explain it.
The shape of the pool was actually perfect, why are private pools usually so big? They don't need to be, this was great for lengths, but also parties - which there was one of on our last night, but we were just too happy, tired and wanted to have our last night in out wonderful yurt. It may also have had something to do with the fact that I had started the second Stieg Larsson in the trilogy that morning and had got to page 356 by supper time....
Having had a rocky start we left the island planning a return. The Finca is wonderful and Tila's charm won us over after the first day, regardless of the glitches its a fabulous experience; sleeping in a yurt, open to the stars and cooking outside either on the barbeque or the outdoor kitchen - just like posh camping really...
On my return I found that I had had some very generous sponsorship for the trip, thank you so much:
The Salmon Family, Warwick and Caroline Comer-Stone, Lizzie Whittenbury, Barney Andrews, Neo Stefanou, Julie Button, Anna Coleman, The Hamilton Family, Christine AGAIN!, John and Chris Fernihough, Dayami Amador-Espinosa and Anna Swann. I shall be running for you all tomorrow!
Friday, 6 November 2009
Up at 4am tomorrow to fly to Lanzarote, to stay in a yurt, run on the black beaches and read.
Thursday, 5 November 2009
In an effort to keep the training up and deliver cards I did so at a run, around the village, and distributed the first pack in about 40 minutes. In a village like this it's often hard to know which houses are holiday homes and so I asked a couple of local oracles and worked on Hazel's maxim that if there is a car outside, then someone's there. Slightly embarrassingly I bumped into people I knew, but was able to help one couple load a bookshelf into a truck, which made me feel less guilty about handing them a 'begging card'. Another couple, who are raising funds for the Cystic Fibrosis charity were keen to take books, which I had not sold at the boot sale - they have a really good bookstall which is on the road down to the river in Walberswick, if ever you are passing and the weather is fine, you are bound to find something interesting there.
The village shop team have been wonderful and the governors have already, very kindly, made a donation as well as allowing me to have a collection envelope behind the counter. The staff have been so encouraging too, and have displayed one of the cards in pride of place. The Anchor Pub has also offered to display a poster and I hope they will take a collecting envelope too.
I'm getting carried away with the whole idea and thinking t-shirts, flags, hats, mittens - all branded verycold claire.com, perhaps that's over doing it... stop me please
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
Monday, 2 November 2009
Friday, 2 October 2009
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Running by the sea is not only more pleasurable, but apparently training in the sand dunes is particularly good for snow running. The hounds are loving it here and they are getting better at running to heel, although they know, as well as I do, that here there is little risk of traffic as there are no through roads.
Today we had 4 miles of running, a short yoga session, then borrowed Mother's bike for a cycle of about the same distance. I'm looking into getting a bike of my own but I have no idea where to start. Must ask the bike oracle.
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Back out with the Girls this morning - what a beautiful start to the day - nice and cool, slightly misty on the drive over to the forest and then the sun came up slowly, perfect for training. It was just warm enough not to have to wear gloves.
Monday, 27 July 2009
Generally the running is getting much better and I no longer feel any aches and pains on the morning run, which varies between 2 and 4 miles now. I'm aiming for 5 miles a day next week, once I can work out a road free route for my dogs. I'm going to have to get some heavier weights as the 3 kg ones I have are no longer a challenge and I keep flinging them about, so I suppose that's a good sign. The whole press up thing is sorted and I am doing 3 x 12 each morning after my run. Cutting down on food was going quite well last week, but the weekend went a bit pear shaped after watching Rick Stein and having to try the duck braised in orange juice etc...
Sheyne gave me courage as well, thanks Sheyne, by taking up yoga, having listened to me blah-ing on about it, so my morning sun salutations have begun anew.
I'm looking forward to training with the Girls this week, in the hope that this weather will turn a bit dryer as it should be nice and cool for the huskies. I've learned how to harness and attach them to the line, as well as releasing the line although I am still a bit nervous of getting it wrong as the consequences could be dire, but I've got the hang of the rest of the routine: watering, face cleaning, feeding, removing harnesses and getting them back into the truck.
Hoping for a dry morning of training tomorrow.
I've been really encouraged by the fact that some people have already sponsored me, and I still have 7 months to go, thanks guys, much appreciated.
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Monday, 6 July 2009
(The 2008 Amundsen Omega 3 South Pole Race was the first since Scott and Amundsen's historic race nearly 100 years ago.
Roald Amundsen completed the trek on December 11, 1911, with Robert Scott finishing on January 17, 1912.)
Hoping for a call from the Girls this evening as the weather has really cooled down here and it should be OK to go out with the huskies either tomorrow or Wednesday, hopefully both, so I'm going to get a nice early night tonight.
Thursday, 2 July 2009
This weather is not good for large, hairy, excitable dogs, and so the huskies are having a little break until the weather cools down, even at 3.30am temperatures are in double figures and it has been very humid in the forest too. I spoke to Ali again yesterday and she had taken the puppy to the Norfolk show, he got second place, but they had to spend all the time in the shade with lots of other hot dogs. Apparently the pack are going out for playtime really early, digging holes and charging about, and then just resting in the shade, that is the great thing about their home being in the forest - lots of shade.
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
I've not been able to go training with the huskies as I've been away, but looking forward to seing them soon.
The whole 'Justgiving' experience has not been great over the last few days though - friends have had problems giving - isn't that just crazy? The problems arose from thier recent upgrade I hope it's all sorted now...
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Friday, 12 June 2009
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
Tuesday, 9 June 2009
The most important exercise aspect of training for dogs sledding is exercise recovery, being able to run or kick
to help your dogs up hills, through deep snow or because they just need help. They are machines but even machines need help; you have to work just as hard as the dogs to be able to explore this snowy wonderland. That’s why fitness is such an important factor with this trip.
You need to train your heart, lungs and muscles which will allow your body to recover quickly. This will mean that when you are dog sledding and may need to work hard every ten minutes for one minute it won’t be a struggle. The training below will also allow you to strengthen your body, allowing you to hold onto your sled at all times over various terrains.
Most importantly this training will allow you to really enjoy the experience of dog sledding – the fitter you are, the easier the trip will be, and therefore the more enjoyable.
N.B. Access to a gym would be the best for training but if you have no access and do not wish to use a gym we will give you an outside option.
RPE – RATE of PERSEVED EXSURTION (how hard to work)
RPE is the easiest way to gauge how hard you are working, and can be used anywhere without the use of technical equipment.
2. NORMAL BREATHING, NO EFFORT
3. WALKING, BREATHING CHANGING
4. CLIMBING A SET OF STAIRS, BREATHING INCREASED
5. STARTING TO SWEAT, BREATHING INCREASING, MUSCLES CAN FEEL EXERCISE
6. ONLY ABLE TO GET 3 –4 WORDS OUT BETWEEN BREATHS
7. TOUGH ON LUNGS, PULSE INCREASING A LOT, 2 WORDS BETWEEN BREATHS
8. WORKING AT YOUR MAX, CAN’T TALK ABLE TO MAINTAIN ONLY FOR 1 MIN
9. BECOME LIGHT HEADED, VERY OUT OF BREATH, MUSCLES FATIGUED
10. UNABLE TO CARRY ON EXERCISE, DUE TO GROSS FATIGUE
Training Program Month 1
CARDIO 30 MINS 2 x A WEEK
Week 1 & 2
15 mins – walk / jog – RPE 4, 2 mins –RPE 5, 1 min RPE 7 (walk / run complete this 3 x with 1 min rest in between)
2 X A WEEK RESISTANCE 30 MINS -
3 x 15 squats
3 x 10 – 15 half sits
3 x 6 – 8 press ups
Plank 2 x 30 secs
Week 3 & 4 15 mins – walk / jog – RPE 5, 2 mins –RPE 5, 1 min RPE 8 (walk / run complete this 3 x with 1 min rest in between)
3 x 20 squats
3 x 15 – 20 half sits
3 x 8 – 10 press ups
Plank 2 x 40 secs
Training Program Month 2
CARDIO 45 MINS
2 X A WEEK RESISTANCE 30 MINS
Week 5 & 6, 20 mins fast pace walk RPE 5 – 6. 25 mins walk RPE – 5 1min, then 1 min run RPE 7 – 8
2 X A WEEK
3 x 25 squats
3 x 20 – 25 half sits
3 x 10 – 12 press ups
Plank 2 x 50 secs
Week 7 & 8
20 mins fast pace walk RPE 5 – 6. 25 mins walk RPE – 5 1min, then 1 min run RPE 7 – 8,
3 x 30 squats
3 x 25 – 30 half sits
3 x 12 – 14 press ups
Plank 2 x 50 secs
Training Programme Month 3
CARDIO 45 MINS
2 X A WEEK RESISTANCE 30 MINS
Week 9 & 10
15 mins Med pace Jog RPE 5 – 6. 35 mins walk RPE – 5 1min, then 1 min run RPE 7 – 8,
2 X A WEEK
3 x 30 squats
3 x 35 half sits
3 x 14 press ups
Plank 2 x 50 secs
Week 11 & 12
20 mins Med pace Jog RPE, 5 – 6. 40 mins walk RPE – 5 1min, then 1 min run RPE 7 – 8,
3 x 35 squats
3 x 35 half sits
3 x 16 press ups
Plank 2 x 1 min
• Run or Walk -can be done in side or outside use the RPE to gauge how tired you are, if you do not
wish to walk or run, other CV machines can be used ie: Versa climber, stepper, rowing machine, but
some running / walking must be done at some point.
• Squats – keep your back straight, hands on your back of your head, bend from your knee’s and
hips… working your thigh, push your bum down toward the floor making sure it goes no lower that the
level of your knees, and then push back up, this is one complete squat exercise.
• Half sits - lying on your back, with your feet flat on the floor, hands resting on your thighs finger tip’s
resting near knee cap , looking over the tops of your knees, keep your arms straight and locked, tense
your abdominals squeeze up and push your palms up to you knee caps, lower back down that is one
• Press up – on knee or feet, hands on same horizontal line as shoulders, slightly wider than the
breadth of them, body in a straight line resting on either knee’s or feet, lower the chest down to the
floor keeping the body straight, bending at the elbows, then return the body to the straight arm
position one complete rep.
• Plank – Elbows resting under the shoulders, palms together, push the body up into a straight line so it
is resting on the toes and the elbows, tense your abdominal, if your lower back hurts, push your bum
slightly higher in the air.