Umborne Ug Second Edition

Umborne is a little village in East Devon located deep within one of the many mountain ranges we have here.

In June 2014 I did my first Unborne Ug, you can read about that here, last night I did my second Umborne Ug and you can read about it below!

Running is like child birth, with the passing of time you forget how tough something was and you sign up again. Unfortunately as I document things here it is easy for me to be reminded. I read the first Edition and gulped, all I remembered was that it was hilly, and contained cider I forgot it was muddy and contained a hill that was easier to crawl up.

Being a very local run it was well supported by the running club, it soon became evident that I would be the official club sweeper! The weather had been mixed in the afternoon, but the sun came out for the duration of the run, it really was a lovely evening. Official team photo was taken and then we were off.

The first part is up hill on the road and then more hill across the fields, then more hill up to the woods, then it flattens but gets muddy through the woods, then its mountain number one! Walking the only option. Then there is the most glorious down hill across the fields with simply incredible views, time for me to make up some time.

As I trekked up the last hill, I took solace in the fact that this was the last tough one and things would get easier, the down came but it was rocky and leafy and it was tricky to work out what was what and where to put your foot. With my ability to fall easily on a flat surface I ran this part scared witless with the mantra ‘stay up right shaz’. Very pleased to get to the bottom in one piece and the ankles not complaining too much. I could see a club member just in front of me and did my level best to catch him but alas he finished 10 seconds ahead of me, but least my role as club sweeper was full filled.

The main aim was to get a better time, happy to report that I knocked 4 minutes and 8 seconds off my 2014 time. And the Achilles issue that plagued by run this week had disappeared.

A PB, a nice evening, cake, BBQ and another shoe bag – cant get much better than that can it?

Posted in cross country, Devon, trail running, Training for an Ultra | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Cat antics

Both Madams slept through the night as babies by the time they were six weeks old. Some people would say I was lucky that this happened. I would argue that luck had nothing to do with it, it was sheer survival instinct on their part. I like my sleep, I need my sleep. Disturb my sleep and you live dangerously.

Unfortunately for me and soon to be unfortunate for the cat, Oscar has yet to learn this.

Now the warmer weather is here we leave a window open for him, the idea is that he can come and go as he pleases without waking us up to let him in or out. This  would work just nicely if he did just that, but reality is very different.

He goes out and does his ‘I once was a Ginger Tom’ thing and then lands back in the hallway at ungodly o’clock. If the thud from this does not wake us, the meowing that follows does, this coupled with the stomping all over the bed. Recently however he has really upped his game. Last week following the thud, meow and stomping, came much scurrying around the room, accompanied with a lot of vocal activity. Light on, dead mouse retrieved and disposed of. Thank you hubby. This week he went for a different approach, he flew through the window, charged through the room, like a bat out of hell. Light on, and a tiny bat was discovered by the wardrobe. I was detailed to get a container, whilst hubby stood guard. Container delivered, I seized the chance of a pit stop, shortly after there came a knock ‘you want to see the bat?’ the reply I gave contained the word ‘No’ and several others that I can’t print here. Apparently it was very cute and very small.

I am currently working on a ‘Cat Free to a Good Home’ Poster containing this angelic photo

while his lordship is sleeping soundly!

Anyways this blog is meant to be about the ups and downs of running, not feline antics. The running has been very much up and down this week not just because of the undulations here in Devon but what I assume is my body still recovering. It is odd, I feel fine, I feel I can run, I run and it is harder than I would like it to be and it certainly hurt yesterday more than it should. With the next Ultra (26.2+ miles is my definition of an Ultra) looming, the panic is setting in!


Posted in Devon, ginger cat, Running, Training for an Ultra, ultra running | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

How to run and train for an Ultra

Obviously now have I completed and trained for two Ultra’s, I am an expert, so thought I would share with you what I think worked and what didn’t, for me.


  • Back to back long runs in training, time consuming, but essential
  • Train on similar terrain to course
  • Changing my trainers and socks at the half way point was tricky (could not reach my feet) but words can not express the absolute joy my feet felt. Dry socks, dry trainers, bliss.
  • Set an alarm on your phone for every 50 minute, this will remind you to eat. Warning it may annoy those running near you.
  • Eat early on, when you don’t feel the need, later on you will need to but wont be able to.
  • Experiment with food on training, what can you chew, what sits nicely in your stomach and lets you run, with out pits stops or comfort breaks!
  • Mini cheddars, peanut butter wraps, battenburg cake, babybel cheese, coke, diet coke all worked for me
  • Stop for five minutes to eat, running and chewing towards the end is impossible, and very messy.
  • Pack a change of clothes, dry sweat free clothes are worth their weight in gold
  • Fill your hydration pack up at every point you can, you can guarantee else that you will run out of water mid way between check points and this can be a long way.
  • Commandeer friends and family to be at designated support with supplies
  • Find someone brave, that is also good company to run sections with you. Be nice to them.
  • Buy these when your mouth feels like the bottom of a budgie cage they revive it and your tastes buds.

Not recommended

  • Creating a training plan in January, then looking at it after to see you have missed so many runs due to injury and tumbles.
  • Getting your feet out in front of your family ‘your feet are minging Mum’ are not words you do not want to hear with 30 miles to go.
  • Changing in to your road trainers from you off roaders before the muddiest part of the course!
  • Swapping the Buff on your head for a cap just at the point the wind picks up
  • Assuming the water in your pack is enough and not checking
  • Sit down at any point other than on the toilet
  • Trying to squat behind a tree, your legs will collapse
  • Telling support crew you will see them at the next point and not giving them a time. Otherwise you will be greeted with phrases such as ‘we have been sat in this car park for 4 hours’ and ‘don’t ask me to do this again, I would rather poke my eyes out with a sharp stick’. At 55 miles you don’t want to hear about their pain, all you can feel is your own!

So there you have it, things to do and not to do, now take that knowledge go forth and enter an Ultra.


Posted in Running, trail running, Training for an Ultra, ultra running | Tagged , , , , | 25 Comments

Giving Back

Today was the first Women Can Marathon, held just 10 minutes away from my house. When I first heard of it I obviously wanted to run it, but then the 100k came up which threw in to doubt as to whether I would be fit enough to run. I sat on the fence so long that entries were closed. Sometimes I think these things happen for a reason, so although I was disappointed I decided to get involved by marshalling.

Let me first tell you about Women Can.

Back in the 1960’s the furthest women could run in the Olympics was 800 metres. We could bare (or is it bear?) children, run a household and have careers, but deemed not strong enough to run more than two laps on a track. In 1967 Katherine Switzer, completed the Boston Marathon, but officials tried to drag her off the course. It took a further 17 years for women to be able to run a marathon in the Olympics. The thing I find most shocking about this is it happened in my life time. Not in the time of suffragettes, no nearly 50 years after we got the vote we were still considered as ‘fragile’ . This Women Can marathon was created to celebrate the 50 year anniversary and to raise money for a local playing field. Full, half and 10k options were available, Women only! (incidentally Katherine re ran Boston marathon just 20 minutes slower than she did 50 years ago!)

Today I gave back to a running community that I get so much from.

Back last December a lovely runner from Cornwall, took me from the end of a run to the start, a perfect stranger. Today I repaid that favour by picking up a perfect stranger who had come down for this marathon from Skye! I took her to the start, ensured she was registered and at the start, I cheered her on from my garden chair and deposited her back to her B&B. Debt paid in full.

The lovely lady from Cornwall was also on the run today, so pleased to see her, exchange a hug and send her on her way for the final 7 miles. Running community I love you.

Last week I was joined on my epic run, by fellow club members, their support was invaluable. Today I was support, I provided the jelly babies, carried the gels, did the cheering, took the photos and posted on social media. Support reciprocated.

This little blog reaches all kinds of people, some I know, most I don’t. Some are friends, some are friends of friends. The support I have received cyberley both before and after events, through good times and bad times has always been fantastic. I was totally thrilled to be greeted in the woods today by “Its Shazruns” totally stunned but so over the moon to receive a sweaty VLM Finisher 2017 (love that shirt) hug. Fantastic to meet a reader. Lovely to encourage her on to the second part of her half.

All in all I have had a lovely day, sat on a chair in the woods, telling people where to go! I am sure I would have loved the run, but it is important to give back, and today I have to say I had a blast.



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Ultra Aftermath

Well as it happens, the aftermath is not pleasant at all. In fact it was positively UGLY

Firstly there was the vomiting. Fortunately I gave hubby warning and he managed to pull over while I retched out the car door. This is a first for me, as a child I famously puked in to one of mother’s rain hats as this was the only thing she had to hand with last minute notice, but if truth be told it was the best thing to happen to it! I was thankful I did not disgrace myself in the car but I would imagine not as grateful as hubby.

Then there was the desire to eat nothing at all, not helped my the acidic paint stripping puke that seem to have left me with the feeling that I had burnt the whole of my mouth with mozzarella cheese. Even eat nice soft chips hurt.

I went to bed as soon as I could because I really did not know what to do with myself. In bed I laid side ways, front ways, back ways, left ways, right ways and diagonally absolutely no position was comfy, basically I hurt. My knees ached with every part of my being.

My septum currently looks like I am a heavy cocaine user (incidentally I’m not), 16 hours of wiping it actually has not done it any favours at all. So sore.

DOMS, now I was expecting them to visit, but oh my this time they were something else. Sunday morning I stayed in bed till 9 am, too scared to get up, terrified the stairs would do for me. The family were sympathetic of course with hubby offering to find me a part in the next Zombie movie and to fetch me a zimmer frame home from work. Madam well she just copied my leg dragging lurch. Oh yes feeling the love.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday I was awful, in fact I was never going to run again, ever. Wednesday I climbed out of bed and positively pirouetted down the corridor. The DOMS had packed their bag and left. Hooray.

Maybe I can do that 100 miler after all!

Posted in Devon, Running, ultra running | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Jurassic Coast 100km

Well it all is a blur now. Last night  I completed the 100k Jurassic Coast Ultra (61 miles according to Garmin), never at any point did I think ‘I’m a knackered runner get me out of here’ and I didn’t fall over so I think I can count this as a success.

Friday night hubby took me to Exmouth to catch the coach to the start. We sat in the car waiting for it to arrive. There was a gaggle of Hi Vis bodies loitering nearby, eating Pizza and watering a tree! I scanned the group. Not too many beards, that’s good (FYI serious ultrarunners all have beards-fact) but hang on a minute I can only see a couple of females, oh dear and not a white hair in sight on anyone. At this point I could have run for the hills. Shaz what have you done? Whatever were you  thinking? You are out of your league with this one? ****!

I slithered reluctantly from the car and boarded the bus, shut my eyes and got some kip.

On I arrival, I peed, registered, listened to the pre run briefing and peed again. 2:07 we were off.

Obviously it was dark and the trouble with that is you can’t see anything and I find this means I listen to my body’s complaints. Oh my did it complain. The right Achilles spent most of the first 10 miles moaning. It kept ouching and I persistently told it to shut up and then it would behave and the knee would start. I settled in to a nice rhythm behind a gentleman who was running a consistent pace. I am sure this was really annoying for him, but it was working for me and the group behind me. This lasted for about 4 miles until he needed a comfort break, slightly embarrassing when I almost followed him!

I was very glad when the sun started to make an appearance

Not sure what the sunrise was like after this, which is the trouble with running West in the morning!

The first part was pretty much flat, but some of the terrain was tough, slippery wooden bridges, narrow paths, tufted grass and then we came to the shingle beach………..

1 mile of this, tough but actually gave my legs a break as only walking was possible. Please note, not a soul out there, spent most of the 100k unable to see any other participator! This was at a quarter the way through, then the hills started to come, with the hills comes the scenery

The way Forward

Looking back

Down to West Bay (Broadchurch)

Then it got tougher

Yep up and over this one!

Finally at Golden Cap the highest point on the South West Coast, but surprisingly not the hardest hill! Still can’t work out why this is! Fantastic view, but unfortunately, I thought it was drop down from here in to Charmouth then Lyme Regis just beyond. It seems not some blaggard had moved Charmouth 5 miles away! Nooooooooooo.

Finally I was at Charmouth, from here a mile on the beach on these

not sure how I got to the end of this section with my ankles still in one piece. Madam joined me on this stretch for a bit which was such a boost. Half way mark on schedule ish at 6.45 hours. Here I changed my shoes and more importantly my socks. Grabbed some food, a coke and then headed off towards Seaton.

The next 7 miles were on the undercliff, I did not enjoy this part at all, mud, tree roots, hills, steps, humid and airless among the mini tropical rain forest! In a minute I will be at the golf club I kept saying to myself! Finally after what seemed like hours and yes probably was I got to the Golf Club and as I crossed the course I prayed I would not get taken out by a rogue Golf ball! That would be my luck, survive the undercliff get killed by some one in check trousers!

As I dropped down in to Seaton hubby drove by, he had been loitering in a lay by. (I’m sure there is a law against that) More fuel taken, and off I trotted to meet my hero and new best friend who had foolishly volunteered to run the rest of the course with me! Such a lift to see him oh and to use the loo and pop some painkillers.

Then off we plodded, my new running buddy and I. The trouble about the last part is we knew what was to come, the positive part was we knew what was to come! So passed the next few hours, up and down to Beer, up, along and down to Branscombe, up and down to Weston beach and then up and down to Salcombe Regis, before dropping in to Sidmouth where I was thrilled to see my Metafit instructor, friend, fitness guru and sports massager! With her lovely black lab Indy. 75K done.

On we plodded my companions and I, chatting. I’m not 100% certain I was making any sense! The hard part was over now, just a mere matter of getting to the end, and trying to fuel. I was incapable of eating anything so relied on gels and masses of water and coke to get them down, far from ideal.

Next stop Budleigh Salterton, my poor family had spent hours in this car park, poor hubby he was with Madam who had no 3G signal! I am surprised he didn’t throw her in the sea with some rocks for company!

Now I knew I could get to the end, 10k to go, but not going to lie, everything hurt, especially my knees when on stony terrain, much walking done, every hill sapped my energy. I willed the Geoneedle to appear and finally it did. We dropped down on to the Seafront, Madam joined us for the last 1 mile. The wind picked up, blowing against us, I wanted to walk, but refused to be seen struggling, where is the finish?

Finally I was there. 61 miles done. I was greeted and congratulated by the organiser, I apologised for my sweaty snotty hand shake and hoped he had some hand sanitizer nearby! I sat letting it sink in. I felt rough. I wanted to cry but absolutely no energy left even to do this. I gave my hero a big sweaty hug, thanked his wife for the loan of him and sat some more.

So I got the Tshirt-very nice it is too

oh and the medal

It is starting to sink in that this was an accomplishment, especially when I have just read that out of 200 entries 157 turned up (walkers started 10 pm Friday night) 7 of them were part of a relay team. 95 got to the end! I was one of those. Wow

A well run, organised event by Climb South West, it must be a logistical nightmare but all ran smoothly. Checkpoints full of friendly marshals who filled my pack and tried to feed me. Well done to the organisers.






Posted in cross country, Devon, Photography, Running, trail running, ultra running | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Ultra Eve

Tomorrow is Ultra day!!!!!!!!!!!!

So as you can imagine things are in a turmoil here. I swing from ‘can’t wait’ to ‘OMG what have I done’, seriously having more mood swings than a teenager and I should know as I live with one, who can be all 7 dwarves in an hour!

With one thing or another training has not been as I intended but right now I am working on the theory that it would be tough even if I had made every training run, and seeing as its not a race I shall be taking it easy, snapping pics and eating copious amounts of peanut butter and cake en route but maybe not together.

My main concerns are

  • The two am start!
  • Running with the back marker and needing a comfort break
  • Falling over
  • Carrying everything-the mandatory kit is heavy, to say nothing of the food
  • How much will it hurt!

Hubby and Madam are meeting me at half way point so I can change and stock up on some food and then will meet me at points along the way from there, which will be nice and something to aim for and look forward to. Then yesterday a new club member has offered to run some of the distance with me which is so nice and I shall welcome the company. Just hope I am on my best behaviour!

So this is the route map

keeping the sea on the left and following the coastal path Weymouth to Exmouth, doesn’t like that far on the map does it?

Really looking forward to it, a new adventure, I’ve not run any of the first half and only walked a little bit of it so lots of new scenery to see and am hoping for a cracking sunrise.




Posted in Devon, Running, Training for an Ultra | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments