Climbing Toubkal and Exploring Morocco

Who goes to Morocco to climb a mountain? When most people think of Morocco, they think of the desert. And to be honest, after reading about mountaineering for the first time, I definitely considered doing a camel tour instead… But climbing the highest point in the Atlas Mountains was way too intriguing.

The Atlas Mountains separate the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert and spans over three African countries: Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. The highest point is called Toubkal at 4,167m above sea-level, located in southern Morocco.

Amina, who grew up in Casablanca took charge and planned the whole thing, which was amazing. We knew we wanted a guide, a night or two at the refuge and that we’d want to relax afterwards to recover and enjoy the warm weather. We were in Morocco for 5 full days (28-Apr to 3-May) with an epic itinerary: 2 days in the mountains with Toubkal Voyages and then 3 days by a lake to relax and recover.

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Brighton Marathon 2017

THE SUMMARY

I signed up for the Brighton Marathon with the intention to train for a “Good for Age” finish time so I could race the London Marathon in 2018. Good for Age is sub 3h 45m in my age group, so that was my target. I finished the Edinburgh Marathon in 2013 with a time of 3:55 so I knew that with some dedicated training, sub 3:45 was within reach.

I built out my training plan and in January I was ready to hit the ground running – literally. Unfortunately in week 2 of training I managed to fall down a set of stairs and sprain my ankle…. I tried walking it off but there was no walking this one off. My ankle took 6 weeks to fully recover. I got running again at the end of February and managed to develop runner’s knee (too much to quick). All this, and I am convinced I can qualify. I knew I was stronger and faster than I was four years ago, and I figured that if my fitness fails me I’d at least have the mental toughness to make it through.

The result? I TOTALLY miss judged how tough a 42km race is. To my surprise (and probably me only), I am disappointed to report back that I didn’t get sub 3:45 as planned. But all things considered, I am actually really happy with this race. Here’s the breakdown…

  • 10k split: 52m 56s
  • Half marathon: 1h 50m 37s
  • 30k split: 2h 41m 25s
Total Time: 3h  55m 02s 
Gender Position: 350 of 4825

Eat Sweat Play – Why our twenty-first century obsession with exercise is all wrong

Anna Kessel’s book, ‘Eat Sweat Play’ covers everything from gender stereotypes and the societal view of women in sport to common sporting taboos such as periods, pregnancy, motherhood and menopause.

It is jam-packed with facts; to the point where I found myself flagging pages that had interesting viewpoints and writing down athletes names that are mentioned throughout the book so I wouldn’t forget to follow them on Twitter and read more about them afterwards. Eat Sweat Play covers so many different angles and aspects of women in sport but the topic that resonated with me most discussed why our twenty-first century obsession with exercise is all wrong.

The twenty-first-century notion of exercise being the whole #fitspo fashionista image where expensive juice bars, gyms and classes result in picture perfect toned legs, arms and abs.

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My first DNF in Triathlon

The Monster Triathlon just isn’t my race. Two years in a row… Year 1 – DNS (did not start), Year 2 – DNF (did not finish)…

IMG_6039Last year I came down with the flu a few days before the race and was unable to compete. This year I planned on racing the Monster Triathlon as my main focus race and my last triathlon of the season… There’s nothing worse than dedicating time and effort in training and then ending up with a big fat DNF!

The last time I got a DNF was in rowing when I raced at the Royal Canadian Henley with Becca. We were in the under 25 women’s double final and the collar on my oar wasn’t fastened properly; it slipped right off at the 1250m mark leaving us unable to finish the race; equipment malfunctions are the worst!!

So what happened this time? Well here’s the very short race report and a few silver linings from the experience…

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Run London – Racing the 2016 British 10k

In preparation for the British 10k this year, I wrote a post about setting executable goals. Personally, I was worried that I would approach the race with an expectation to finish faster than last year, and for it to take just as much effort as I recalled it did last year (recalling effort is rarely accurate… a tough race always seems easier in hindsight).

But it turns out this was the least of my worries as there is one crucial thing this year that I didn’t do last year and which I totally underestimated… Crew the Race Across America. I was knackered for about two weeks after RAAM and only started feeling myself again by the weekend of the British 10k. So having an expectation to feel the same during the race as I did last year and finish in the same time or faster was no longer a concern. I do love racing though, so I approached the British 10k last weekend with an open mind and figured it’d be a good test to see how fit I am given the circumstances.

To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised with my result! Only 30 seconds slower than last year I finished with a time of 45:41. I was pleasantly surprised that is, until I saw my potential…

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Crewing the Race Across America

2 weeks, 2 flights, 5 time zones, 3000 miles on the road and countless Red Bull’s crushed… where do I even start? Crewing the Race Across America was an experience unlike anything else.

I thought I set my expectations fairly well going into the race, but there are something’s in life you can’t prepare for without first hand experience… and RAAM is one of those things.

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Thorpe Park Sprint Triathlon Race Report

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THE SUMMARY

I had a disappointing swim performance but because of it, I was really motivated to push myself on the bike and run. Overall, I am so pleased with the result — I finished third of all the women which is a major milestone for me, my first podium in triathlon!

Total Time: 01:21:07
Gender Position: 3 / 42
Category Position: 2 / 15
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More detail on my race below and on what’s coming up next!

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