Thursday, 17 April 2014

Mens health Survival of the fittest

2 years ago I watched Ryan take part in this event and at the time (as mentioned in previous posts) I honestly thought it just wasn't possible for me to ever do something like it. I was so proud of him as it was the first event he did and it was the hottest day of the year. I watched people coming in at the finish line and thought they all looked as though they had been to hell and back - it was something I just thought I wasn't capable of!

This photo was taken and used to advertise on the website and in the magazine.
He finished his first race in 1hr 45ish if I remember correctly and he thoroughly enjoyed it! Since then he has done numerous events and I even did my first one (fright night) 2 months after this men's health. The following year came and he insisted he would do it again and he did - think he managed it in 1.22mins. At this stage I had competed in a number of events but secretly this is the event I REALLY wanted to complete - just because it seemed so impossible a year ago. So when new year 2013 approached and we decided which events we were going to do - this was a definite on the list but the prospect scared me!

Somehow Ryan and I ended up booking Tough Mudder just one week before this event! I know - STUPID! However it turned out to be great practice for the one event I had been dreading. I knew I had done enough training as Tough Mudder was 17k and Men's health was only 10k but it didn't stop me from feeling incredibly nervous on race day!

T-shirts were green again - same as his first year.

As usual we were in a rush to get there which didn't help my nerves! Ryan very soon raced ahead as I was keeping a steady and comfortable pace to start. At the second obstacle I managed to fall and hurt my ankle a bit which sucked but I knew I still had a long run ahead of me so I trotted on. Very soon after this I met a lady (I normally find friends on my runs) Rhian Edwards - her children were running a small section of the run with her and I thought it was so sweet! Very encouraging for her and kept my spirits up too!

The route was very flat through Cardiff City and the obstacles were minuscule in comparison with Tough Mudder so I didn't find it too hard however if I didn't have Rhian to run with me the rest of the way I probably would have found it incredibly tedious! Most of the events we do are in fields or forestry with different terrain but I found the city flat and samey. It was nice going through the river when that came around though- I luckily had a gel stuck in my bra which Rhian and I shared. I did get very thirsty during the run as it was quite a hot day and as I am prone to stitches I gave the half time water a miss.
refreshing walking through the river.
By the time I could see the finishing wall I was already feeling pretty proud of myself as I certainly didn't think it was as hard as I had thought previously. I'm not saying it was a complete walk park - as events go it was pretty tough but considering I never thought it was possible for me to do it, I was impressed. 

My favorite part of the event was toward the end when Ryan came to help (run with me) to the finish line - he never fails to do this and it gives me a real boost when I am really tired at the end. He even gave me a leg boost up over the wall at the end. Also my goal time for the event was 1.45ish (Ryan's first events time) and he said I was on track - instant motivation!

I finally finished at 1.48 and extremely proud of myself! I did it! The event I didn't think possible. I believe Ryan did it in 1.20 something (similar to his time last year) He always impresses me!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Tough Mudder 2013

At the start of 2013 Ryan and I decided we would book all our events/holidays etc and get everything more organised financially and mentally than we had previously. We were planning to book a holiday to South Africa so we needed to be a lot more constructive and 'picky' on what we were going to get involved in.
My definite s were 'Legends of Sherwood 10k' (my favourite event), 'Mens health survival of the fittest' (My big Goal) and ofcourse 'Nos Galan' (The big bang to start the new year). 

After a few months, Ryan had started researching 'Tough Mudder' and after hearing his friend in Scotland, was going to be taking part, he wanted to do the challenge and eventually persuaded me to get involved too. Unfortunately we booked the event without realising it fell exactly 1 week before Mens Health-so we knew it was going to be an intense time!

Tough Mudder is supposed to be 'one of the toughest events on the planet' and is a 17k obstacle course with pretty extreme obstacles designed by the special forces to test your all round strength, stamina and camaraderie (it says on the website).

I had started my training for this about 3 months early just to be sure I was fit enough I continued my usual weight training in the gym, press ups, practicing pull ups etc


I also got in a great routine of getting up early every weekday to get in a good run before work. I really struggle with motivation for running but I found you just need to push yourself and be miserable for a short time as once you start to see results or gain fitness you are automatically driven to continue..and I was!
My distance increased and I started to really enjoy it - the final long run and at the time, longest run I had managed was just a 12.3k which was motivated by Ryan cycling beside me :) I was very proud of myself and felt I was ready for Tough Mudder. Unfortunately the whole of the following week for some reason or another I wasn't doing so well, no motivation and barely did anything which resulted in a lack of confidence on race day.

21st September came and although we thought we were ready and organised for the event, as usual - Ryan and I were very late and actually ended up having to run to the start line (Not the first time!) We didn't make it and were almost told we won't be able to take part as the final heat had taken off. Fortunately there were 2 girls just behind us and the organisers decided to let us go. As this was not a timed event and would be the most physically intense few hours of my life, Ryan had agreed to stick with me the whole way (Thank Goodness for that!) 

We started off at a slow steady pace, knowing we had a longggg way to go and wanted to preserve the energy where as the 2 girls decided to start off very quickly and they had to walk every 200m. 
By the time we reached the first few obstacle, we had caught up to some of the slower mudders in the race and we were still fine and full of energy until it came to the Arctic enema!

Neither of us but good interpretation of how it felt!
I don't think my body has ever really been in shock until I jumped into this pit of ice - OMG it hurt, everything froze and stung and then went numb! You had to go under a wooden plank and fully emerge yourself into this pool of ice. Once I reached the other end I swear I was starting to experience heart failure - It was horrible and I begged Ryan to drag me out! Once out it took a while to regain all the feeling in my body but the running helped. It didn't seem too far between each obstacle and by the time we were half way we were speeding past a lot of people! There were plenty of water breaks with half bananas or bags of sweets to supply energy but we didn't seem to need it.

Most of the obstacles were not too hard, some were just jumping hay bails or running through mud. Actually I found this tough, without the correct foot wear and having a 'mud mile' to get through did prove tricky. I felt sorry for Ryan when it came to a 'carry your partner' obstacle! And he did without too much moaning!

After the mud mile came the first electric obstacle and Oh My God was it nasty!!! You had to crawl underneath the electric currents as low as you can to reach the other side in the hope of not getting shocked. Like hell! People were wriggling around like worms- the shocks were unbelievably painful, I would call them inhumane actually! I didn't get shocked until I neared the end and it completely wiped me out-I wanted to cry and when I did eventually break through and reach the end I experienced a panic attack and needed calming was horrible and I swore I wouldn't do anymore of those!

I was very proud of Ryan for completing the monkey bar obstacle which I fell off after 3 swings!

I can't remember every obstacle and unfortunately I can't find the exact set up online but the last half hour I remember very clearly! It was clear we were coming toward the end as we could see the large jump into a massive pool and we could not wait! It looked so refreshing as we had been running dry for a long time. I had smashed my PB for running and was starting to really tire so it was a joy to see. I started to feel a sharp pain in the arch of my right foot which was causing me to limp and really hurt more and more after every step, so knowing we were reaching the end was an exhilarating feeling. We climbed up (looked like 3 stories high) and leaped off into the most refreshing pool ever! 
That left us with the final 10 minutes which seemed to last forever! It was a fantastic feeling running past all these really fit looking men and women knowing we had started 20 minutes behind them and were kicking their ass :) We then had to go over the Everest wall which was HUGE! Luckily Ryan and another 2 guys helped me up on my first attempt. So I was pretty happy at this point, until.... I saw the final obstacle! Another electric shock course :(

I had already made up my mind I was NOT going to go through it again and had made up the excuse in my head - I have a metal hip! Ryan wasn't having any of it and after a second pause I thought I have to go now or I will never do it...and I did.

I don't even think JK Rowling could describe in black and white the pain we felt...Ryan used the analogy of being kicked by a horse on the base of your spine and I think that pretty much suits! It completely knocks the wind out of you and pulses through your entire body! But after just 3 seconds we had done it! Completed the Toughest event on the planet and I felt amazing! My biggest physical accomplishment and had been through the most pain I have ever experienced but I DID IT :)

Given a strongbow at the finish line - yuk avi!

I normally find a buddy on my runs but it was good to do this one with my best buddy in the whole world. I couldn't have done it without him!

To celebrate we had a wok to walk and went to see Paramore in Cardiff (they were awesome).


I haven't posted in such a long to time so I have decided to start on a light note...

I quite often get told I look a bit like someone people know or someone famous. But this weekend I had the best comment I have ever heard and I can honestly say that when it was made the person genuinely meant it!

I have been compared to Penelope Cruz;

Catherine Zeta Jones

Iv had a pakistan girl

And more recently I get A LOT of Kate Middleton;

Now obviously I don't actually LOOK like any of them and it all really comes down to the fact the we share similar features such as dark hair, eyes and olive

... Ryan has previously 'joked' that I look like the character Shelly in the TV series Hemlock Grove and last night he showed a picture of Shelly to his mom and said 'don't you think Sarah really resembles her' and with the straightest/serious look on her face she replies saying 'Actually, YES, especially the eyes.'

Now here is Shelly...


Sunday, 21 July 2013

Summer Lover!

Wow so far this summer has been amazing! British people are still complaining though - Its too hot blah blah. I do complain but only when its cold as I hate it! Because I haven't posted in a while I will do a run up of what I've been up to up until now.
1st June was a friends birthday and we all went to Essex for a night out to celebrate.

Bec, Tori, me, Lydia and Amy.
For most of the night it was good but I don't think it is somewhere I'd go out again, a bit disappointing.

Then it was my Beautiful God-daughter Maizie's 1st birthday where Lydia threw a little party for her which was good. I really can't believe she is 1 already - it has gone so fast!

Maizie Louise
Kathleen also came down for Maizies birthday and she came out into town with Amy and I - I drove obviously, I am boring like that :)

We went go-karting with Amy and her new 'friend' It was a great day out and so much fun. 

My training has been going really well and I am happy to say I have picked it up hugely this last 2 months. I have done a bit of a 6 week plan on exercises and I am slowly getting there with my diet! I have been practicing my push ups lots and am really trying on my chin ups/pull ups which I suck at but am trying by assisting myself up and lowering.

one day...
Ryan and I went on a lovely bike ride to Cardiff Bay with his mom and dad which was great - again another very sunny day and we ended up having a couple of drinks and sharing a burger at the bay. Another one of my favourite things to do!
Roy, Ryan and Lynda
Ryan and I
This Summer weather has been the best I ever remember in this country and really has made the year so far for me. Next time I will be seeing sun like this will be in South Africa in January so I am really making the most of it! With lots of sunbathing and a few trips to the beach. 3 weekends ago Ryan, 3 of his friends and myself went to Barry Island Beach - first time I have been and I was pleasantly surprised as I have heard horrible tales aout it - turned out to be quite nice!
Lots of sunbathing

Ryan on Barry beach

At Caerphilly castle getting an ice cream
So far so good. We spent a great weekend in Bristol last weekend but that's for another post - I'm off to bed!

North Wales for Ryan's birthday

Its been a long time since I last posted as I haven't really found the time so I am going to play catch up!

 We went up to North Wales to celebrate Ryan's 27th birthday and had an amazing time we left Wednesday night and got back on Monday! We booked the b&b in January so it was a long time coming and turned out to be the perfect break and definitely somewhere I would like to go again!

Had an interesting start when we arrived at the hotel at 10.30pm and I realised I had left my new I Phone 5 in the Tesco we went to - 1 HOUR away! Luckily when I 118 118'ed the Tesco they had kept it aside for me to pick up the next day. It is not unusual for me to lose my phone or keys or purse lol!

We stayed on a farm called Cae Gwyn farm - it was beautiful! Very quiet and they cater mainly for bikers so there was a good lock up for the bikes. The room was lovely - very modern and spacious. Even the lady that owned it was welcoming, although she did like to hang out and chat with us a bit much.
Cae Gwyn farm B & B
Beautiful, peaceful and very Welsh with all the sheep and mountains!
Ryan sunning it up morning 1
We arrived on the Wednesday 6th and Ryan's birthday was the 7th. I bought him a full face helmet for the bike, tickets to see The Rocky horror picture show in Cardiff and a downhill day at Antur stiniog which we enjoyed on our final day. The first day we decided to do Coed Y Brenin Trail center - which we have done before but we did different trails this time. Started on the Blue (bull) which we had down before.
Me with the Bull - Mascot of this trail
Me and Ryan on the route

 The weather was fantastic and it was surprisingly VERY quiet also weirdly enough the center shuts at 5pm even in the summer so that was a bummer! We also did the Temtiwr Trail which is a red one - It was a bit hard but very enjoyable! All in all probably one of my favorite trail centers out of all of the ones I have done. I also noticed how much stronger I am and more controlled on rocky sections and put that all down to my new upper body strength I have acquired from doing weights! Unfortunately Ryan did have a tumble which looked nasty! We put that down to his 'Birthday Beatings' :)

Ouch - Happy birthday babe!
We then went out for a lovely meal at a restaurant Ryan found online, the night was lush and food was good too!
Gorgeous Restaurant - cant remember name
The next day was Mount Snowdon - again weather was perfect for this! This is the third time we have climbed it and I think we beat the last time! We started climbing and I remembered how frigging hard the start of it is - I wanted to turn back haha - it does get easier after the first very steep bit.

I think we clashed a bit - he insisted on that lime green shirt!!
The first half of the climb seemed to go very quick where we stopped for a couple of minutes then continued up. 

The views are amazing and we havent really benefited fully from them on previous walks as it was always in winter and the fog always blocked the view but it really is amazing!
Ryan was so helpful and did give me an arm occassionally and gave me some competition (people to beat) as he knows that drives me haha. And of course I WON! haha
Me taking a photo of Ryan NEARLY at the top - I WIN I WIN!

Me looking rough at the summit.
We managed to reach the top in 2 hours - I think we did it in 2.15 last time. It was so nice and sunny at the top so we grabbed some food me water and soup, Ryan a HUGE Oggie Pie and 4 beers!) and sunbathed. Then I walked back down and Ryan Wobbled!
Job weldone :) 
Sunday we spent at Antur Stiniog Downhill course. I hadn't booked myself in and intended on only going on once, depending on if Ryan thought I could manage it
Ryan going on the uplift
Me wearing Ryan's new helmet about to go down the Blue route

I had a mini heart attack after Ryan took AGES to get back down to the bottom on his first go as I had pictures of him falling off cliff with a broken neck in my head - It took about 20 minutes for him to get down when it shouldn't even take 5! Turns out he stayed at the top to help a guy out with a puncture and give him an inner tube- I was really proud of him for this, really kind :)

After Ryan had a few goes and it was nearly time for them to shut up I went up and did the Blue run - It was great and no where near as scary as everybody made it out to be. Next time I want to pay for the day and have more goes!

When we got back Ryan decided he wanted a chinese - so we went into one of the towns, somewhere by the beach and had a chinese - The WORST thing I have ever eaten! I felt rotten after it - was so GROSS! Then we took a walk on the beach before going home - neither of us feeling so great!
Chilling on beach after disgusting food!
Next day (last day) we decided to go back to Coed Y Brenin and do a longer harder route (Tawr - which is a black route) before heading home. I was very apprehensive as everyone we spoke to said it was really hard. Nah I thought it was good - although I did leave out the last long uphill drag as I knew the final decent was a bit pants (same one as we did on another trail). 

Small section which was a lot steeper than it looks. Ryan being a great teacher as usual!
So that was the end of our fantastic weekend in North Wales - it is somewhere we will go again and I think the time of year we went was perfect too!

Song of the weekend - Dear Darling by Oly Murs as it was on CONSTANTLY.
Injuries - Ryan 1 Sarah 0  for a change 
Squirrel count - hmm I don't remember seeing any??

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Moroccan BBQ

Had a fab weekend In Lincoln with the family. It was my Aunty Viv and Uncle Con's 50th Anniversary! For some reason Aunty Sandra decided on a Moroccan theme - at first a bit skeptical but it turned out to be fantastic and very unique!

Amy and I drove up on Friday after I finished work - hit the rush hour traffic hard! Instead of a 3.5 hour drive it took about 5! When we arrived they were all in the pub (ofcourse). It was so nice to see them again - always great seeing the family (Moms brothers family) but nothing better then being surrounded by South Africans again!
Amy and I with some biltong
Amy and I were staying in a caravan (spider infested!) Which was right outside the house.
Our home for 2 nights
The Saturday morning I woke up at 5.45! It was such a long day, setting up the marquee, getting food sorted, getting dressed etc! But I loved every minute of it. Aunty Sandra's brother, Robert let me drive his Range Rover and I must say I believe it was made for me!!
Such a nice car!
The idea of Moroccan style didn't strike me at first but it made the day soooo much funnier! We took ages setting up and deciding what worked but in the end it looked brilliant!
Amy having a laugh 
Low tables, cushions and puffs on the floor
It did look great! Unfortunately, I got last choice f what Kaftan to wear so I got stuck with a brown dull one but I didn't mind, it was all a bit of fun!

The food mainly consisted of LOTS of Lamb and plenty of chicken - I love lamb so I was happy!

I think there were 8 legs of lamb and 1 shoulder eaten 
Then there was plenty of alcohol and profitorols for after! :) We even had a delicious milkshake liquor which had Kahula and Ice cream with flake crumbled on top - amazing!! But no photo.

The Bride and Groom were so lovely! Poor Aunty Viv started crying when she saw Amy and I, having not seen us for about 8 years! It was really beautiful and I am so glad we were able to be apart of their day!

The couple dancing to their favorite songs from 1963
                                                  Here is some for pics of the others outfits.

Uncle Rick and Aunty Sandra


James - this one is questionable!
And last but not least - cause I know she will kick my ass for not having put loads of her pictures up!