Steps In The Sand: My Marathon des Sables Journey - September
2 October 2023
Welcome to month three of my MDS training blog. For those of you new here; I'm on a daring quest. I’ve set myself the goal of competing in the Marathon des Sables in 2024, and I’m inviting you to join me on my journey. As I navigate my training and preparation for this daunting task, I aim to raise funds for three incredible local charities; Autism Guernsey, Jersey Hospice Care and Guernsey Society for Cancer Relief.
How can you help?
Primarily, by donating to the three charities, I'm raising funds for, here. At the time of writing, we're just shy of £1,000 of £10,000 raised.
Or helping me knock something off my Amazon wishlist, I've got a lot of kit to buy for the big week.
Sponsor a long run, I love my little island home, but racking up double marathons at the weekend in Guernsey is not fun, ship me off to England or France and I'll give you a big hug and a shout-out on my socials 🙂 Please reach out to via the contact us page on our website or message me on Instagram
Give me a follow on Instagram with some words of encouragement (or heckle me, whatever floats your boat).
So, month three by the numbers: 182km (-15% on August), 19h on my feet and 1,730m of elevation.
This was my hardest month yet and as I typed out the numbers above, seeing that they were lower than August (target was 230K), I actually felt a little sad and, admittedly, disappointed in myself. I'll always say that running is my free therapy; time away from the desk, technology and the comings and goings of life. I get time to be alone with my own thoughts and just appreciate life & nature around me without having to worry. Unfortunately, my neuro-divergent brain does two wonderful things; makes me take on too much and then heavily criticises me when something isn't perfect (see above). When everything gets a bit too much, I go into full shutdown and I can't function as a human being, thus my runs at the beginning of this month were either completely avoided or I only managed 10-20% of the targeted distance. Why am I sharing this in a public forum you ask? I find, as people, that we always shy away from talking about the struggles in life and if I just shared content about me smashing distance goals every day, I would be lying. So much of ultra-running is in the mind, battling demons and pushing through the immense pain as you dish out 8 hours on your feet without a break, the reality is, if your brain isn't healthy, no amount of physical training will get you across that finish line. 🧠
Anyway, big highlights this month, a quick trip across to Dielette in France, Manche Iles were offering a day trip (which I turned into an overnighter) - a 25KM very hilly and very hot (32°C) run followed by a 50KM cycle to Carteret and back. Honestly the entire region is just one big hill and it absolutely broke me 😂 but some very valuable training indeed.
And I set a new weekly distance goal at the end of the month crossing 80K for the first time and it felt AMAZING, I have really high hopes for October, it's going to be a good month 💪
Managed to get myself back out on Guernsey's cliffs this month as well and will spend a lot of October doing the same, which should see me get back to race fitness for the GUN31 next month. I did the GUN31 last year and whilst I made the halfway cut-off of 3h45m (with a few mins to spare), everything fell apart in the second half and I crossed the line in 8h50m, almost two hours after the medal cut off - I'm coming back stronger this year and I will get that medal.
So, what's on the agenda for October then? 300-350KM of training, with the first two weeks of October totalling circa 190K, it's going to be an absolute whopper and all of it will be done on home turf, no trips this time. So, if you're reading this and fancy a run, please come along and help me maintain my sanity! It's all slow easy stuff, from as little as 5K up to 40K, whatever takes your fancy.
I've had some great support from local media again, thank you to BBC Guernsey, I'm looking forward to seeing the finished piece.
I’m here to share my journey and learn from others. If you have any questions, suggestions or even some firsthand experience with the MDS, please don't hesitate to reach out on Instagram @fromtidestotrails. Every bit of advice and encouragement is invaluable to me!