Hardest run ever?

It’s not the hardest run ever but it will be for me… that trail half we did last year whilst we were camping in Wales… this year I’m back for the full marathon.  18 miles of undulating trail before the “main event”. Over the top of Mount snowdon, down and round and finishing at what I’ve been told is actually around 27 miles and 5500 feet of ascent later. I’ve entered the coniston trail marathon which is 4th June: 7 weeks before Snowdon. It’ll be a good test of whether I’ll be able to make it round. It’s not exactly flat either: it’s around 2600 feet of ascent. I managed snowdonia road marathon in about 5 hours 40 minutes but that was on the road so I don’t know how long coniston will take me on trail. And I can’t event guess how long for the snowdonia trail… I hear 8 hours is still a respectable time… But I’ll be ready. I’ve joined bowland fell runners. I’ve started doing as many of my runs as I can with BIG hills I them.  I’ve probably done more ascent in the last few weeks of training than I did in total for Snowdon all of last year. 

I have found entering some challenging events takes your mind off what is mundane everyday life. I do feel guilty for saying I need these challenges to keep me busy because I have a very privileged life: Taz, Evelyn and the rest of my family. A job with plenty of time off. A small mortgage and lots of holidays… I still hope that one day Taz just says “ok let’s take off and have an adventure”.

And whilst I’m marathon ready I’m fitting in the challenge of Snowdon because it’s quite possible I’ll be pregnant again soon, maybe this year.  So I want to achieve a few things first!

A year has passed, Evelyn is one :-)

So a whole year has gone by since Evelyn was born. Today she’s a year and 3 days old! My last post was AGES ago. I was struggling getting to terms with extreme sleep deprivation and a lack of exercise!! I don’t get lots of sleep but I manage it better now – we bedshare. And I’m used to it. I get enough exercise to keep me sane. I run twice a week and usually climb once a week with a new partner, Laura. Running has been great for me. I started needing to do something so in February I started legging it around the block for 20 minutes so I wasn’t away long from the baby. Then I got a little bit better and it’s just gone from there. For climbing I had to drive there, boulder alone or find a willing belayer and drive home, running was more accessible and didn’t take me away from home long. I have done a couple of “races” like the Rivington 10 mile trail race, the Hendon Brook half marathon and the Snowdonia Trail Half Marathon. Taz too. We’re both doing the full marathon in October in Snowdonia too. My sister Laura babysits and has been my saviour, as usual. All this without much sleep and while still managing to breastfeed has felt like an achievement for me, and a good 12 months. I went back to childminding 3 days a week in April. Taz’s business is doing well.

Those initial months with a baby though… tough isn’t the word. More details about that on the baby blog if anyone’s wondering. Climbing wise, Taz has lost his mojo completely and doesn’t go anymore. He’s very into his running though and his cycling and still like his open water swimming, so an ironman is on his mind, or at least more triathlons. Hopefully this winter he’ll get back on indoor climbing and be ready for some adventures next year in the summer.


We’ve had some little adventures along the way these last few months. We’ve been to Centre Parcs in Penrith for our first wedding anniversary, Greece with my lot, and camping twice. In 2 weeks we’re going to Germany for a week to see Craig and Doerthe, their 2 kids and the progress on their house build there. Then we’re off to the Isle of man just for a weekend where Taz is doing a big ride in memory of his cousin Luke who died at Christmas with a large group of cyclists. We’re going to Canada in September and will be there for my 30th birthday, for 3 weeks! 2 weeks later (please let Evelyn be good at managing jet lag) we’ll be in Snowdonia again for the marathon. Finally in November we’re off to Centre parcs with my family. We can’t do everything but I think we’re doing ok. The plan is still to spend some extended time in Asia next year… Planning to leave is the hardest part, once you’ve made that decision it’s easy.

Florida, Marriage, Babies

A lot has happened since we went on that camper trip back in August last year.

  • Taz cycled from London to Paris
  • We went on holiday to Florida
  • We got pregnant (I have a separate blog for the baby www.ablogforourbaby.wordpress.com)
  • We got married

Blogs about London to Paris (if I can get Taz to knuckle down and write one), Florida and getting married are still to come, but here’s the one about our baby! This blog post will probably be very very boring to people that don’t climb. DSC08257 I reached a point where a baby came up all the time in conversation with Taz. It sounds terrible to some people, but climbing was one of the main reasons I kind of dreaded ever having a baby, that and limited/awkward travel. Not just because it’s a sport I like but because it’s my lifestyle. Such a short break sets you back at least twice as long as you’ve had off, how long would a baby set me back? Would we be able to have random adventurous climbing holidays the way we do now? And what if something went wrong and I never went back? But I got over it with positivity. Lots of people carry on, lots go back and if worst comes to it, what’s more important in the grand scheme of things? I found my peace with having a baby through blogs about pregnant climbers and parent climbers and on youtube. And my mum did say having a baby was a whole new adventure!

Cimbing this autumn in Wales helping a friend with his photography project.

Climbing this autumn in Wales helping a friend with his photography project.

One of the first blogs I found was this: Crush Crux. This is where I learned about the first harness designed for pregnant people – The Mountain Mama. The woman who wrote it, Cate has the philosophy that “at the end of nine months, I will ask my body to do one of the most physically demanding actions I will ever ask it to do. So why would I spend the months leading up to that moment letting my fitness and strength decline?” I was also reassured to read that she shrugged off negativity about climbing pregnant and that there was a specific harness that would allow me to carry on safely and comfortably. If MadRock make maternity harnesses, climbing with a bump must be ok and becoming more common. I had visions of me hiding my bump and only climbing when it was really quiet, to avoid people voicing their opinions at me – our climbing hall is full of observing parents who sit watching while their children have lessons. I was worried about an audience of disproving looks. But they don’t climb, they don’t know about the good it does for your mind and body and how addictive it is. I dug a little bit deeper and found this on youtube: a professional climber call Carrie Cooper, who climbed right past her due date. Her relaxed attitude is cool. She has climbed for 10 years and didn’t intend on stopping unless her body said so because she loves everything about it so much. This cemented the idea that I’d be ok. As if this wasn’t inspirational enough, I saw another video shortly after of the same lady going on a climbing trip with another mum. Then I saw a very pregnant climber at my local wall, the only one I’ve ever seen climbing with a bump in the flesh. I took it as a sign. Normal people can do it too. Her husband had her on a tight top rope and she breezed the wall, clearly doing what she has always done. 10736005_10152880498103760_791500471_n A couple of days after getting back from Florida I went climbing. I was feeling lazy. After 2 full weeks off and only doing a couple of sessions prior to this with all the wedding planning getting in the way, motivation was low. So when I struggled to get up the wall and was easily tired I put it down to this. In the following weeks pure exhaustion set in, a constant head ache plagued me and I was finding getting through my working day with my eyes open really hard. Then I found out I was 4 weeks pregnant.

I was 9 weeks pregnant at my hen do:

Maybe the only time you’ll see Taz in a dress:


I was also really ill from the day after my hen party and this stayed all over Christmas: a flu bug and then continual raging morning sickness to go with it. I was in bed for 5 days solid, completely out of it. The thought of tea and coffee made me feel sick. I don’t know if it was the baby or the cut down from 10 brews a day to none that gave me the first migraines of my life. I have a separate baby blog.

We got married on 29th December, 10 weeks into growing a baby. Our wedding day was beautiful and I don’t think our ceremony could have been any more special. When we get our professional photo’s back, I’ll post a couple. 10906563_10153058270628760_4553543143758460738_n 10952362_10153101469353760_2232238196122654672_n We went away to Scotland for a mini break with the dogs where all I did was blissfully sleep the entire day. 10885377_10152443955326511_4440971759105877937_n I ordered the Mountain Mama from the USA to prepare for my climbing future. For those wondering how much it costs to get it to England, basically it was $120 to buy $20 to post and £25 in taxes at the UK side to pick it up, so it was a £120 investment by the time I got hold of it and it took just over 3 weeks to arrive. A tip from crushcrux though: ask your local wall if they’ll stock a MountainMama that you can rent, if you don’t want one of your own. 10950912_10153092228908760_1276876220_n I had to tell the children’s parents that I look after that I’d be having a year off from 17th July which is the start of the summer holidays. I plan to work every single day. I’m self employed, so if I’m off I’ve got to pay for the cover or organise refunds if I’m off and that’s just not practical when you’ve just paid for a wedding, as reasonably prices as it was. I also have my maternity to save for – you don’t get much being self employed but it’s nice that you can have some time off like most people. The MountainMama harness arrived so I will try this out – my ordinary harness still fits but for catching falls it’s better that it isn’t my waist taking the strain. I am hoping I’m still able to use this in Spring and early Summer when we go camping and and have the opportunity to climb outdoors. 10937435_10153103815143760_1636600530_n I’ll I’ll update the blog soon 🙂 Jemma x