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Failure is not fatal

Two weeks on from our 7 Ironmans in 7 Days challenge and The FCG EPIC Week and the dust is starting to settle.

In the weeks leading up to the challenge Warren and I outlined in blog posts and talks to schools and businesses that this challenge had a high risk of failure due to the number of unknowns that we were unable to test during training, like the intense lack of sleep we would experience during the week. With the dust settling on the challenge I wanted to share my thoughts and experiences during each day of the challenge, and also share about the community impact of The FCG EPIC Week.

Day 1

Warren and I had set ourselves a minimum finish time on day 1, why would we do this? To avoid the excitement and adrenaline causing us to go out too fast on the bike or the run, this minimum finish time on day 1 was set at 15 hours. For me the swim went really well on day 1, I pulled out a personal best Ironman swim time of 1hr 8mins, I felt good and it felt a comfortable pace. The support we had on the swim was great. After the swim came our first nutrition test, making sure we would eat enough prior to the bike and stock up on food for during the bike. We were pretty unlucky with the weather on day 1 for the bike. Our route, laps of the west coast in Guernsey, meant we had 10 miles of a headwind and 10 miles of a tailwind. We had to make sure we weren’t pushing too hard into the wind and also keeping calm with the tailwind and not burning our legs out. The marathon on day 1 was a good one, Warren and I had slightly different strategies as we find that on multi-day endurance events you need to run at a pace that is comfortable for your running form and how you are feeling. We finished day 1 in 14hrs 45mins, just under our MINIMUM finish time of 15hrs. My stats from day 1 are below:

Day 1 thought of the day – “Body feels good, it’s the lack of sleep that we need to be careful of”

Day 2

5.00am alarm for breakfast…how was the body feeling? It was feeling ok, no niggles from day 1 and I felt ready to take on day 2. The swim again was really well supported with the Tri-Fitness team and others coming along for a paddle with us. The conditions on the swim again were good, the body was in a good place and I completed the swim in 1hr 15 mins. We were aiming for our transitions to be relatively swift but to balance that with ensuring we weren’t feeling rushed and we were taking on enough food before jumping on the bike. We were aware that the weather forecast on Tuesday was for rain later in the day and we thought we’d get away with it and complete the bike before the rain came. Again, the headwinds one way down the west coast felt brutal, and we had to manage the pace to not work too hard into the wind. With about 25 miles to go on the bike the weather changed, force 4-5 wind and driving rain, this gave us a choice. Continue at the steady pace and just accept that you’ll get cold or speed up and get the bike over with. Our decision was to accept that we would get cold and keep at the steady pace to avoid burning the legs. In hindsight this might have been the wrong choice.

The last 25 miles on the bike on Tuesday were cold and wet. We got back to our base and sat in our cars for 30 minutes with the heating on to just warm up and stop shivering. This was essential as it was still raining and we had the marathon to go and needed to go out as warm and as fresh as possible. Louise had done a great job on social media of getting support runners on such a grim evening, we must have had over 20 people run with us across the evening, a wet and windy 26.2 miles. Day 2 was finished in 16hrs 10mins, the impact of the weather on the bike and the slow transition from bike to run added a good hour to the day.

Day 2 thought of the day “There are some wonderful human beings in Guernsey, to come out in this weather and support us, incredible” 

Day 3

The number of hours sleep was gradually decreasing and days were getting a little longer. Yet again we had a wind that would be a challenge on the bike, however the direction meant that the swim in Havelet bay was calm. More support turned out again for the swim, day 3 for me was a 1hr 16mins swim, I was pleased to only be 1 minute slower than day 2, the body was going well. Warren had a really tough swim, he was pulled out with about 1000mtrs to go due to experiencing extreme cold and may have been on the verge of hypothermia. I put his down to the lack of sleep and the body / immune system starting to struggle to regulate the core body temperature in the sea. Warren’s condition meant we were about 30 mins late on to the bike, and with the headwind we would struggle to make up any significant time…it was looking like it would be a long day. I need to make a point here about Warrens’ mental strength, how he recovered so well from such a bad condition post-swim was very impressive. I was worried for the first hour on the bike but he bounced back to produce a strong ride. We sometimes talk about game changers during training, these can often be mindset changes or simple tweaks to the training schedule. On day 3 we had what felt like a game changer on the bike. After 36 miles we stopped for a coffee…caffeine was part of our nutrition for the week but sitting down for 5 mins in a cafe and drinking a coffee gave us both a mental and physical break. Day 3 weather on the bike was yet again headwinds one way on the west coast loop, and it was our longest day on the bike with a ride of 8hrs 20mins.  This meant we made it back to Havelet, our transition base, at around 5:30pm, we knew this could lead to a post 11pm finish that day.

As I was getting changed for the run I felt I had two options, the first was to run a comfortable marathon and finish the day at about 11pm or push the marathon a little and aim to finish around 10:20pm / 10:30pm in order to start the recovery process earlier. The legs were going to feel tired whether I ran a 5hr or 4hr 30min marathon so I decided to push on and pick up the pace on day 3. I never thought I’d say this but to have some mates run with me in y-fronts pushed me and inspired me to complete the day 3 marathon in 4hrs 20mins. Yet again it was humbling and inspiring that people were giving up their time to come and swim, bike or run with Warren and I. Whether it was 30 mins or 4hrs, this made a huge difference. Day 3 for me finished just before 10:30pm meaning I could begin the recovery process and get to bed before midnight!

Day 3 thought of the day “It’s ok to treat yourself and remember to enjoy it – that coffee stop was bliss” 

Day 4

After just under 5 hours sleep I’d woken up worrying about Warren…not something I thought would happen at 5am! Warren messaged me at about 4:30am to day that he was not going to swim on day 4 as this was the only way that he would get close to completing the week. This was a tough read, but for his own safety I knew he had made the right decision on day 4. After washing each mouthful of breakfast down with water (as the body was not enjoying eating breakfast at 5am for the 4th day in a row) I made my way down to Havelet. I was greeted with about 25 swimmers who had all come down to join us on the swim, the was incredible and a much needed boost. It felt like another good swim, in near perfect conditions, a little slower than previous days at 1hr 19mins but the body felt good. By the time the swim had finished Warren was as Havelet and was looking fresh, it was good to see him despite him telling me to get a move on and to get on the bike. We had also had a shift in the weather (only lasted 24hrs) and day 4 saw a drop in the winds to a force 2/3. It was a good day on the bike, we hit our target pace time of 7hrs 30 mins (averaging 14.9 mph) but looking back at the data we realised that the pacing was a little erratic. Rather than consistently hitting 14.9mph we found ourselves jumping up to 17mph for a period, then easing off to 13.5mph for another period – a lesson learnt in pacing. Yet again we had great support on the bike with cyclists joining us all throughout the day. Timings on day 4 were working well for us, we were on the run at 5:30pm, which meant if we ran well the finish time wouldn’t be too late.

I had a real mental battle during the first 4-5 miles of the run, I had to convince myself that I could complete the day 4 marathon. For the first 50 minutes it was literally one step at a time and to avoid focusing on 26.2 miles and to focus on small goals. I need to make a public apology here to Jim Mallet and an other runner that joined me 3 miles in, they were great and really chatty but I just needed to be quiet, to listen to conversations and focus on the next short goal. At mile 5 I poured a bottle of cold water over my head, realised that I had it in me to finish the day, had amazing support around me and I was back in the room. At the end of the first lap I apologised to the support runners and confirmed that the “lights were back on” and I could now think about enjoying the run a mile at a time and having some great people run with me. I completed the day 4 marathon in 4hrs 48mins, and thankfully finished the day before 11pm which meant I could get to bed just after midnight!

Day 4 thought of the day “Remember to break the challenge down to small goals, mile to mile, lamppost to lamppost”

Day 5

Ah, day 5…the day I call the hard butter day. My day 5 literally started with a meltdown. Up for breakfast at 5am, planning a mixture of toast, avocado, smoothie and fruit. As I go to butter my toast there is no butter in the kitchen, only a new pack of Guernsey Butter in the fridge…and it was harder than a brick. Now any human operating on normal sleep levels would have found an easy way to soften the butter…but I was not in that place. I began to breakdown and cry over the lack of soft butter for my toast. After recovering from the butter incident I made my way to Havelet, a song came on in the car and I began to cry again…what was happening. As I turned up at Havelet a good friend, Emily Bookless, asked me how I was doing as I got out of the car…I started crying again! Mike Ward, who was a star (and Mother Superior) during the week came over to me and explained that getting all emotional happens when you do multi-day ironman events. He explained that anything can set-you off and that was the exact position I found myself in. Warren was back for the swim on day 5 and it was great to have him back in the game on the swim. The day 5 swim felt ok but I had to adjust my route slightly as the further we got out of Havelet Bay the waters were more choppy and getting the arms above the chop was more of a challenge.

The other challenge I faced during the swim was my mind starting to focus on the bike. Why the hell did I allow myself to do this? This is one of the major lessons we have learnt over the past few years, deal with what is immediately  in front of you and don’t think about the long game. With almost every stroke I was battling with my mind as to whether I could complete 112 miles on the bike. I finished the swim in 1hr 15mins, and as I made my way to the car to eat and get changed for the bike I said to Warren “I don’t know if I can do the 112 miles on the bike today”…his reply was just what I needed to hear. A simple “let’s just get on the bike, move forward and see what happens”. So that is what we did, we got own the bike, albeit about 30 minutes later than we wanted to be but we just started to move forward. I probably spent the first 60 minutes moaning about everything but then realised that I needed to snap out of it and get myself back to a positive perspective and enjoy the day. We enforced a full on meal stop on day 5, which meant 20 minutes of sitting down at Vistas Cafe and eating two sausage rolls and chips, crisps, chocolate and a coffee.

By about 70 miles into the ride Warren was really suffering from the lack of sleep. Some of our support riders could see that he was becoming a little unsteady on the bike. As we reached Pembroke on one of our laps Warren took 10 minutes out to have a power nap, he demanded that I carried on to complete lap 4 of the route. I was pleased to see Warren heading in the opposite direction after his power nap. With about an hour to go on the bike I could feel my mind going so I stopped off at a cafe for a double espresso to give me a much needed boost. Warren and I joined each other at about mile 85 and this is when Warren made one of the toughest decisions he has had to make, his challenge was over. Warren was looking shattered and was basically falling asleep on the bike, not a safe place to be in. Warren rode back to base and after composing myself I went on to complete the last 20 miles of the bike – this was tough 20 miles. Moving time on the bike on day 5 was just over 8hrs but with the food stop and the stops with Warren I didn’t make it back to base until about 6pm. I was greeted with a decent number of support runners and found myself apologising as I knew I needed some time before heading off for the run. I was further delayed when I had no running socks in my bag, so my wife drove home to get me some as I didn’t want to risk running in cycling socks! I eventually started running just after 7pm. What was the approach and target on the run? Chatting away to Jon Press (who was completing his own challenge of 7 marathons in 7 days) the aim was to complete the marathon that day, so a pre-midnight finish.

The support on the Friday night was amazing, at one point here must have been 35 to 40 runners in the group, a privilege to run with so many people. I needed two emergency toilet stops on laps 1 and 2, these were taken in the Red Lion pub, the Friday night revellers were amazing, cheering me in and out of the pub and handing me donations to the charities. One of my younger sisters flew into Guernsey to support the challenge and joined me for 10km on the run, the first time she had ever run 10km in her life, this type of support kept me going! Laps 3 and 4 began to pick a little in the legs, the pace slowed but we kept running and kept moving forward. One of the highlights was to have Warren turn up on the final two miles and play the Rocky soundtrack out of his car next to us…absolute comedy gold!  I finished the marathon on day 5 in 4hrs 34 mins, and got back to base at 12:10am. I made it up to see Paul Gosling and Guthrie Steer at about 12:20am, I wasn’t in bad shape at all physically and asked them to just get me to the start line for day 6. I got to bed at 2:00am and was already wondering what impact 3 hrs would have on day 6.

Day 5 thought of the day “People really don’t know how much the support helps us get through the tough times”

Day 6

This was probably the toughest mornings I have experienced since taking on endurance challenges. After 3 hours sleep I woke up feeling physically good but the accumulation of the lack of sleep was impacting me. I was slow eating breakfast, confused answering questions that Louise was asking as she was helping me get my kit ready and beginning to feel a little overawed by the day ahead. I had to shift my thinking back to just getting through each discipline, one step at a time. I arrived at Havelet for the swim just before 6.30am, again the support was immense, about 20 swimmers to join me for the planned 3.8km. The route was similar to previous days, 2 big loops around Havelet Bay or 3 shorter loops depending on the swell / chop as we went further out to sea. The first 500mtrs felt ok, I was just concentrating on my stroke technique and breathing. We stopped at a buoy and the support team and my wife checked on me, I was doing ok. As we set-off to the next marker something shifted, my body felt absolutely drained and concentrating on technique and just moving forward became a huge mental battle.

I stopped again after 200mtrs, set-off again, made it another 500mtrs and then stopped. I took my goggles off and looked at my wife, she gave me a look that said “it’s over, you’re done” I told her to look away as I gathered my thoughts. I headed back towards the beach thinking that if I make it there then I can maybe approach the rest of the swim 100mtrs at a time. As I got to shallow waters, with half the swim completed I had nothing left to give. The accumulation of the lack of sleep had defeated me. A total of 20hrs sleep across 5 nights had pushed me to my limit. I turned round to my wife and just said “I have nothing left to give”. They were the words I feared during the last 6 months. Being open and honest, I felt devastated. To work towards something and sacrifice so much for 18 months of training it felt horrible to realise that the challenge was over after 5 Ironmans in 5 days. As I got to my car I decided to phone Warren as I wondered if he would have any words of wisdom that may help me get back into the challenge and finish the swim. As I explained the swim to him in tears he simply said “You’re done mate”…my reply was a firm “is that the best bloody pep talk you have mate?”. I knew, he knew, my wife knew it. Game over. Safety comes first.

As I sat in the car, on my own, reflecting on what the body was telling me I went through lots of lots of scenarios, including going back out in the water to finish the swim and to get own the bike and pedal. But I was told that I would have been a danger to myself and others had I made it onto the bike.

Day 6 thought of the day “Failure is not fatal”

Warren and I knew that this challenge had a high chance of failure, despite many thinking we would cruise through it due to our history with endurance challenges, this one pushed us to our limits, we found them and we were beaten by the lack of sleep. But thankfully failure does not define us and success for us was not defined by completing one, three, five or seven Ironmans, success for us was driven by what we wanted to achieve from our challenge and the community event – The FCG EPIC Week. We wanted to:

  1. Raise money for our chosen charities This Is EPIC and Guernsey Mind
  2. Inspire the local community to push themselves with their own 7 day epic challenge
  3. Get as many school children participating and active during The FCG EPIC Week

As we begin to take in what happened during the week both from a personal and community level it is helping focus on what we did achieve rather than what we didn’t.

  1. We are still counting but we have now raised over £25,000 for the charities
  2. We had over 160 people sign up to the FCG EPIC Week, and loads more join Warren and I each day own the swim, bike or the run sections
  3. We had three primary schools get fully behind the week, which meant around 1000 children were active for the week.

One thing that Warren and I talk about from our endurance challenges is to enjoy the process of taking on a huge goal and enjoy the journey of being the best you can be. During the FCG EPIC Week we simply gave people the opportunity to set themselves a new challenge for the 7 days. To have over 160 people commit to this challenge was fantastic. To have 1000 primary school children be active during the week with all sorts of challenges was amazing. Warren and I spent hours after our challenge catching up on social media posts, pictures and messages from peoples challenges. We are so humbled by what everyone has achieved. Well done Guernsey.

A huge thank you to everyone that made not only our challenge but the FCG EPIC Week possible, the team is too big to mention (and we’ll probably miss a name or two by accident!). A huge thank you goes to First Central Group for being an amazing headline sponsor and getting behind the event with such passion.

 

Roll on My EPIC Week 2018! 

 

Day 7 FCG My Epic Week – Final Day

This week has shown Guernsey at its best, the support that Philip and Warren received from everyone has been incredible. We loved Philips last marathon leg surrounded and runners and children on scooters!

The physical and mental strength shown by Philip & Warren has been phenomenal and hugely inspiring. However what has really made this week has been you, the FCG MY EPIC WEEK gang. We have loved seeing your challenges whether it is  2 miles a day or a marathon a day, you are all inspiring and your updates have made this week incredibly special! We can’t put them all on here, but here are a few photos of all of you. For those that have taken up a sport, we hope you continue an for those who have been running marathons everyday, we hope you have a rest!

Please continue fundraising to help Philip & Warren reach their fundraising target. Thanks again and see you at the next EPIC adventure!

 

Day 6 FCG My EPIC Week – Meet Charmaine Garrick

Charmaine is also new to EPIC Challenges – thanks for joining us, Charmaine! You’ve shown great determination to go ahead despite a nasty ear infection. Thanks for your perseverance and we hope you enjoy your week.

Can you tell us a little about you?

I’m 38 years old and have been married to Pierre for nine years, and have two wonderful boys, Flynn, 8, and Noah who is 5. I work for the Guernsey Border Agency, where I’ve been for 17 years. If I find any spare time I enjoy ballroom dancing, surfing and baking…. and have rediscovered my love of swimming!

What is your challenge and why have you chosen it?

I’ve chosen the 1000m x 7 swimming challenge. I chose this one as I enjoy swimming more than running or cycling! I used to swim a lot when I was at school (quite some time ago!), but aside from the odd Swimarathon, I haven’t done any distance swimming since leaving school.

What training have you been doing?

Unfortunately my training was stopped before it even started as I had an ear infection in both ears and strict instructions not to get them wet for as long as possible!…. However, it’s now cleared and with earplugs in place I’ve managed to get in about eight training swims. I’ve had company from my sister and husband on some of the swims and each one has been different in conditions and distance.

What inspired you to take part in the FCG My EPIC Week?

I’d love to say there was one thing that inspired me to take part, but the truth is I just fancied having a go to see if I could do it! However, since signing up and reading about the work of the two beneficiaries, This is EPIC and Guernsey Mind, and seeing what Philip and Warren are putting themselves through this week to raise money, I have been inspired to keep pushing myself in my training swims to make sure I’ve done the best I can to try and complete the challenge that I’ve signed up for.

Have you taken part in any previous EPIC Challenges?

No.

Day 5 FCG My Epic Week – Jon Press

Jon is a great supporter of ours and he’s taking on a pretty EPIC Challenge this week – the same as our first ever event, 7 Marathons in 7 Days! Best of luck, Jon.

Can you tell us a little about you?

I’m Jon, I’ve been running for about 10 years. I’ve completed 29 marathons and 8 ultras but this will be my first attempt at a structured multi day challenge.

What is your challenge and why have you chosen it?

7 marathons in 7 days. I want to step up to multi-day events off-island so this is a chance to test kit, nutrition and everything else which can crop up while having home comforts as well.

What training have you been doing?

Not as much as I should!

What inspired you to take part in the FCG My EPIC Week?

I love the ethos of This is EPIC, a hand up not a hand out, and what Philip and Warren are attempting is so amazing that being able to get involved in some fashion with this community event is great.

Have you taken part in any previous EPIC Challenges?

Two Moonlight Marathons and the EPIC 12 overnight ultra as a solo runner.

Day 4 #MyEpicWeek Challengers – Meet BDO

 

We have some amazing companies in Guernsey who have spurred on their workforce to take part in the FCG EPIC Challenges Week. Here we celebrate the sterling effort of BDO – thank you so much for your continued support and well done for what you have achieved so far!

 

 

 

 

The BDO team has supported Warren Mauger and Philip Smith in their last two EPIC Challenges and an impressive 30 members of the BDO team are taking part in My EPIC Week. They have set a target of covering a staggering 2,000 miles over the week, which is more than Warren and Philip are aiming to do!

 

What is your challenge and why have you chosen it?

Staff across the firm are fitting in their individual challenges around their normal working day and are geared up to hit their target by the end of the week. BDO have set an ambitious target for fundraising of £2,000 to match the target mileage.

To reach our target of 2,000 miles we will be participating in walks, runs, swims and cycle rides, with all ages and abilities taking part over the week.

What inspired BDO to take part in the FCG My EPIC Week?

MD Richard Searle says: ‘What inspired us? Warren and Phil’s crazy challenge and determination, of course! It’s all about the “why”, really – the causes benefitting from the week, being This is Epic and Guernsey Mind, both do really important work in their respective fields. Following the enthusiasm of the team joining the guys in the 48-hour treadmill run in 2015, providing monitors for the Guinness Book of Records and taking the graveyard shift on the team run, it was a no-brainer to invite people to support EPIC Week again this year. The team ethic and buzz from the guys and girls as they support each other in reaching our combined goals is contagious. People have given up their time to organise and drive this and it’s fantastic to see everyone getting behind it. Now all we need is cake to boost the energy stores…’

How is it going so far?

We are on track for our target and so far in total the team had achieved a massive 1,100 miles by Thursday morning!

Day 3: FCG My Epic Week Team

Resolution IT

We are really grateful to ResolutionIT for putting a team together for the FCC EPIC Challenges Week, with the impressive goal of completing at least 10 Olympic Triathlons. Thank you and congratulations on your 10th anniversary!

Completing 10 Olympic Triathlons is no mean feat, especially when you have to fit it in around the day job. Shaun Lane from ResolutionIT tells us more about the team’s fantastic effort.

How did Resolution IT’s employees react to the suggestion that you get involved with My EPIC Week?

They were apprehensive initially, but also excited. There was an air of confidence about fitness levels but when we wrote down what we’d have to do we realised it wasn’t going to be easy and we’d better get out and do some training!

What is your challenge and why have you chosen it? 

Ten of us are taking part, all doing different distances due to different fitness levels and other commitments. The target is a minimum of 10 Olympic Triathlons. Ideally we’d like to achieve nearer to 20 but we’ll be content with 10. People are doing different activities each day and then recording the distances.

We have to schedule it around work: going out for early runs and cycle rides, swimming at lunchtime and going out late in the evening. I’m not a morning person myself but some of them are getting up at stupid o’clock to do a run – it’s really quite impressive!

What inspired ResolutionIT to take part in the FCG My EPIC Week?

It’s our company’s 10th anniversary so we’re doing 10 challenges throughout the year to raise money. This Is EPIC was one of the charities we had chosen, as we’re big supporters of This Is EPIC and of Warren and Phil themselves, having worked with them over the years. This week coinciding with our anniversary has made it a company challenge as well as helping the charities.

How is it going so far?

After Day One it’s looking like we’ll go way above our original target of 10 Olympic Triathlons so it’s going really well. As a team we achieved about double what we’d aimed to do in a day so we’re hoping we can continue like this. There’s a buzz around the office and everyone is excited to get out and do their bit.

Day two of our FCG My EPIC Week. Meet our Mark Smith!

This is Mark’s first EPIC Challenge and it’s a big one! Philip and Warren will still be sleeping when you start your cycling each day, so you definitely deserve a high five for that! Welcome to the fold and good luck, Mark.Mark Smith Day 2

Can you tell us a little about you?

I’m a 45-year-old father of twin girls, married and a self-employed Customer Service Consultant from Guernsey. I’m a keen cyclist and a member of the Guernsey Velo Club. I’ve been cycling competitively for about 13 years but recreationally all my life.

What is your challenge and why have you chosen it?

I’m going to be doing 100 miles on the bike every day. I first heard about the EPIC Challenge from Warren and, having done several endurance events previously, it piqued my interest. I knew, however, that to make it challenging I would have to do a long ride every day.

What training have you been doing?

My normal training for the racing season started in January so aside from a few longish rides and a 100-mile time trial in June I haven’t done any specific training, which is probably why I feel a bit underprepared.

What inspired you to take part in the FCG My EPIC Week?

Being self-employed I didn’t think I could fit it into my schedule, so decided I’d do it next time it came up. I was then at a conference where one of the speakers talked about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone; this talk really resonated with me and I decided that if my schedule doesn’t give me time then I will make time. I’m planning on starting my rides at 3am, so I can then fit in a full day of work too.

Day one of our FCG My EPIC Week. Meet our EPIC Challengers!

 

It’s Day One and we have already heard from some of the fantastic people taking part in the FCG My EPIC Week. We’ll be hoping to keep you inspired in your own challenges by sharing their stories.

Our first post comes from Dawn Sealey. Thanks for your support, Dawn, and best of luck with your challenge!

Can you tell us a little about you?

I’m a working mum with a three-year-old boy, Jack. I started running after he was born. I’ll never be the fastest runner (in fact I’m frequently at the back of the pack) but I appreciate the good health and good friends running affords me. After a traumatic start to my son’s life, running also helps keep me sane and my husband has been known to gently suggest I go for a run when I’ve got a case of the mean reds! As an extra challenge, and so that I might participate in triathlons, I decided to learn to swim properly earlier this year and just over a month ago swam my first ever full length of front crawl (well a type of front crawl anyway!!). I’m doing a couple of swimming lessons a week now and it’s slow progress but a great feeling of accomplishment to be learning a new skill at this old age.

I’m also inspired by my son – there is nothing more heart-melting than when he puts on his trainers and announces to me he’s off out for a run (don’t worry I never let him get too far).

What is your challenge and why have you chosen it?

My challenge is to complete a half Ironman distance across the week. I wanted a tough challenge to push myself but also one where I could involve and inspire as many people as possible to join me on either a run, swim or cycle and fit it around work and family. I have colleagues, friends and family joining me throughout the week on various sessions and I’m hoping Jack will do a few with me too. The organisation alone of fitting in all these sessions is one of the biggest challenges.

What training have you been doing?

I’m still running a couple of times a week and in addition to the swimming lessons I’ve been trying to fit in some cycling, mostly commuting.

What inspired you to take part in the FCG My EPIC Week?

I’ve followed Phil and Warren’s challenges over the least few years and they did a talk at my offices (GFSC) which inspired many of us to push ourselves but also explained how the charity was benefitting communities in a real way. This is EPIC and Guernsey Mind are both amazing charities and myself and my colleagues are always happy to support them in any way we can.

Have you taken part in any previous EPIC Challenges?

I took part in the Kings Mills run and the Y-Front Run and my husband and I did the family run with the buggy before EPIC 12. It is starting to sound like I’m stalking them!

Standing shoulder to shoulder

When I stood in front of group after group of This Is EPIC, village savings and loans members in January with Philip in the depths of rural Uganda I promised to stand shoulder to shoulder with them to do what I/we can provide the tools/education so they are empowered to improve their lives. At least it’s what I think I said – you could never be too sure with Joseph our director in Uganda who was translating not sure he ever actually said what we said!

 

Those words have kept me honest and been my rocket fuel when training got tough (which has been a lot) or listening to those people who thought this fundraising attempt was too hard and ambitious. I am accountable for those simple words which means I have to do everything in my power using the few skills I possess to raise money to keep the groups going and start up new ones.

 

This isn’t a challenge or holiday for me, which “happens” to raise money and awareness for charity. It all starts with the charity as that is the primary purpose for doing this. This has been such a hard journey to just get to the start line, but surely it can’t be harder than the daily struggle the people I met in Uganda face just to get through each day and survive.

 

I will remember the joy in their hearts and their songs of hope for improving their children’s lives. The children’s faces as they looked at us as someone with the power to change their lives.

 

How could I give up when so much hangs in the balance?

 

I need to remember these moments and the purpose because there will be times when I feel like it’s not worth it and I have taken on too much. But if Philip and I and everyone else taking on their own challenges in The FCG EPIC Week are successful it will be so worth it for the positive impact it will have.

 

Hopefully this will be our butterfly moment, which will cause a hurricane of positivity.

 

Watch this clip to see the joy from the people we met when they saved for the first time after joining a This Is EPIC savings and loans group

 

 

 

Topowa (#NeverGiveUp)

A high chance of failure…

Orchard PR - 2472 - Epic Challenge

One thing we have noticed in recent conversations is often people talk to us about our 7 Ironmans in 7 Days challenge as if we have already completed it or that it’s a guarantee that we will complete it. On one side we’re humbled that we (appear to) inspire confidence in people about our ability to take on endurance challenges, but on the other side we want people to understand that this challenge carries with it a huge chance of failure.

With previous challenges, which have been all based on running, we knew things could go wrong, and they did, like broken treadmills, sore knees, sore ankles and kicking door frames. But we learnt to suck it, breath it in and keep moving forward. With this challenge we are bringing in two completely new disciplines and the mechanical element with the bike.

To recap the distances, an Ironman distance triathlon is:

  1. 2.4 mile swim (152 lengths of Beau Sejour Pool) 
  2. 112 miles on the bike (a long way 🙂 )
  3. 26.2 mile run (a marathon)

Each discipline has some big risks associated to it, and as the week goes on we have the accumulation of fatigue and likely to be operating on approx. 4 to 6 hrs sleep each night as the week goes on. Whilst we have completed thousands of hours of training over the past 17 months, this challenge has only been completed once by someone in the UK. What we have been unable to test in training is the level of fatigue combined with the lack of sleep. We have been extremely detailed in our training and that has contributed to us going through the past 17 months completely injury free, and whilst we have been training for circa 20hrs per week for the past 6 months, each ironman has the possibility of taking us 15 to 18 hours each day!

We believe this challenge is going to push us to our limits…and possibly beyond them. Each day we will be completed 140.6 miles. To put that into perspective, our first challenge of 7 Marathons in 7 Days was a total of 183.4 miles FOR THE WHOLE WEEK.

Are we confident? I’m not sure its confidence, but we have sacrificed so much over the past 17 months and believe in the causes we are supporting that this will drive us on and will push us over the finish line each day. The support from the community and the donations will also drive us on. So when you see us during our EPIC week we really would appreciate a cheer, a toot, a high-five and to have some money thrown at us towards our causes.

You can read about how the money raised will change lives and donate online via DONATE HERE

#NeverGiveUp