Category Archives: Fundraising

Not long now…..

In a weeks time the adventure which has taken over my life for the last year will begin!! clockTime has passed so quickly since I pressed the enter button last May. The training is mostly done – only two more training sessions in the heat chamber and a few saunas left!

Last Friday was the first session in the heat chamber. There are two treadmills in the chamber so we ran in pairs. John and I first with Fiona and Simon following straight afterwards. John and I have followed the suggested sessions from Mark Hetherington at the University f Leeds and so far so good.

1st session. 40 degrees centigrade. 20% humidity. Basic running gear only (no desert kit). 20 minutes steady run 1% wpid-img_337808566563912.jpeggradient. 10 minutes walk 6% gradient and repeat. The third rep we cut short to 15 and 5 in the interest of time. It had taken us a while to get set up. We had a thermometer in one ear and a pulse monitor on the other and  retro sweat band to hold it all in place. We were weighed before and after, as were our drinks. Our temperature, heart rate and speed/gradient were recorded every 5 minutes. I felt in safe hands. Total time on feet 80 minutes. No ill effects and feeling confident. To pass the time running in the big white box we watched the clock and our core temperatures like it was a competition to see who could stay coolest longest. I think JB won by 0.3 degrees!

Saturday we did 2 hours outdoors with 8kg back packs with 1 hour of that as hill reps over the trig point on Baildon moor. wpid-20150322_102945.jpgSunday was my last run outside and it was a stunning morning. Emma joined us for a Baildon Boundary Way recce for me to point out all the marshal spots (I usually organise the marshals for this fab race but it clashes with this running in the desert – Emma has kindly taken over!!).

Tuesday brought session 2 in the heat chamber. This time I wore my legionaries hat, race shoes and gaiters and a pack with 1kg and wpid-20150326_094213.jpgwater.  Same session – 40 degrees centigrade. 20% humidity. 20 minutes steady run 1% gradient. 10 minutes walk 6% gradient and repeat – this time 3 times. A full 90 minute session. At the end of the second walk I felt really hot! (even though my temp was lower than JB’s today!). Wearing the back pack was like having a little coat on! Slightly concerned I cautiously started the final run. Within minutes I felt fine again. 30 minutes later the session was done and confidence rising. Studying the results with interest I learned that my sweat rate (with a pack on) is 1.3 litres/hour. My heart rate settles about 166 after an hour in the heat. The walk breaks bring it back down slightly. Returning home I checked my garmin stats regarding my heart rate on training runs (I have been more interested in miles and time than heart rate in training). Average heart rate for my runs in the last 6 months 163bpm. So in conclusion my body isn’t stressing that much in the heat chamber (good news!)

Heat chamber session 3. Same set up but this time with 5kg in the backpack. We actually walked 1km/hr slower on the uphill walks this time. This worked really well, with my heart rate dropping 25 bpm during this time. By the end of the session I felt even better than the last one. I am again looking forward to the next session which will be with more weight in my pack and for 2 hours……

The last couple of weeks have seen a reduction in my training volume. The upside of this (aside from more recovery time) is that I have been able to catch up with some of my wonderful friends. Without the support of so many of my friends and my family, my preparation for marathon des sables would have been very different. I even have some mementos to take to the desert with me (weighing less that 1g each they are allowed in the bag and will no doubt make me smile!)wpid-20150325_193309-1.jpg wpid-20150325_193325-1.jpg

Friends, colleagues and family have all helped with fundraising too. We raised £240 in 2 hours at a cake bake last week. Incredible and the cakes donated to were so delicious! (no wonder I haven’t quite reached the race weight I might have liked!). Easter bunnies and lots of chocolate donated by my mum in law are being raffled (draw next week) and they have been so popular. Thank you to Nuffield Health at Shipley for the membership to help me in the final stages of acclimatisation by using the sauna. Beta Climbing designs have been super helpful this week in handling a mini MDS emergency when the buckle on my pack got broken. My mum was a star as always taking a day out to collect the bag from me and take it to Sheffield to get it sorted…..I await its safe return as I type.

I continue to be overwhelmed by sponsorship donations from so many different people. The messages I have received in cards, emails and on just giving are all really special to me. Thank you all. I have had a few little cries too! When I have said bye to friends who I won’t see till I am back, hugs have been a bit longer and stronger than usual, reminding me of just how epic this adventure is going to be!

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How many miles?

Many people have asked me what the format is for the Marathon des Sables – is it a marathon every day? Sort of…..The exact distance and route for this years Marathon des Sables is not announced until we (the competitors) arrive in the desert. To give you an idea, this is what the 2014 race looked like:

  • Day 1 – 34km (21.3 miles)
  • Day 2 – 41km (25.6 miles)
  • Day 3 – 37.5km (23.4 miles)
  • Day 4 – 81.5km  (50.9 miles)
  • Day 5 – rest day (but only once I have finished day 4 – which could be during this day!)
  • Day 6 – 42.2km (26.4 miles)
  • Day 7 – charity walk (!) Back to the bus 7.7 km (4.8 miles)

Total 152.4 miles!!!

mds

The 2015 route will not be the same but the format will likely be similar. Now you can all share the miles with me! My race number is 0414. Once the race starts you will be able to track me online (I will send all the details round again before I leave).

A couple of people have said that they would like to sponsor me by the mile for the Intensive Care Foundation. Just Giving cannot process this on their site – they can only take payment at the time of the sponsorship pledge. If anyone would like to pledge per mile, you could comment on this blog post and then donate via http://www.justgiving.com/michellemorris-mds when I complete the event. This way you can experience every mile with me from your pockets!

Please pledge your donation in the ‘Leave your reply’ box below.

Some suggestions:

  • 1p per mile = £1.50
  • 5p per mile = £7.50
  • 10p per mile = £15.00
  • 20p per mile = £30.00
  • 50p per mile = £75.00

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February 13, 2015 · 8:56 pm

Watch “Marathon des Sables – Training in Yorkshire” on YouTube

Marathon des Sables – Training in Yorkshire: http://youtu.be/fLSYyGaqnNc

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Filed under Fundraising, My motivation, Training

My Dad

2014-07-30 21.44.20 (1)

This is a hard post to write…..

I had 27 years with my Dad before he died in the intensive care unit in Hull Royal Infirmary the day before his 56th birthday. I wasn’t always the easiest daughter and he wasn’t always the easiest father but we had a really great relationship and I loved him. We shared a lot of common interests, the outdoors, nature, animals, learning and then later, the pub.

As a child he used to call my ivy as I would always cling to him. I enjoyed long walks with the dog just the two of us. He would tell me all sorts of stories. I remember one walk where he told me about the universe. Looking back – I have no idea how he knew so much about it. He could have made it all up, except that I remember it and now know it to be true.

My parents introduced me to the love of travel from a young age with road trips to Europe. There were lots of camping trips on the North Yorkshire moors with friends. As I grew up it was Dad that always had to have the difficult conversations with me. It was Dad that I would share a beer with in the Goodmanham arms.

My parents brought me up to be independent and ambitious.  Dad always believed in my crazy ideas so I know he would be right behind me with the Marathon des Sables!

On the 3rd January 2008 Dad called me to say he was being taken to hospital. He had driven himself to the local hospital for a chest x-ray as he was having difficult in breathing. They found a collapsed lung and transferred him to another hospital for treatment. There was no cause for the collapsed lung – this can just happen. He needed routine surgery to fix the problem. A few days after the operation his health deteriorated. It turned out he had a very rare allergic reaction to the surgery which resulted in him being moved to intensive care.

The condition was ARDS – Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome. This condition makes the lungs very stiff meaning that breathing for himself was not possible. After weeks in intensive care with a ventilator to help him breathe Dad’s condition continued to deteriorate and he died. It was an impossible time for my brother and I, but we did our best with the support of loving family and friends.

It is now over six years on and I feel ready to raise money in his memory. Please support me in this crazy adventure which I hope will raise lots of money for ARDS research by the Intensive care Foundation.

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Filed under Fundraising, My motivation