Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Light-Stream Photography

Long exposure photography can be a bit hit and miss so to speak. However, I've been capturing lightstreams for years now and have learned a few tips along the way, so I thought I might share a few with you..

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Break the Myth

I've been involved in the Meningitis Trust now for a few years and I was pleased when they got in touch asking me to get creative with their latest project. The trust actually turned 25 this year - so happy birthday to them! What better way to celebrate than to smash a glass... now, we are not talking about after a drink - no. We are talking about smashing the rash myth.. I'll let the guys from the trust explain what we mean..
It is a common misconception that a meningitis rash appears in every case of meningitis. This is not true. If someone has meningitis but not septicaemia, they will not have a rash that does not fade, but they can still be seriously unwell. Never wait for a rash!

So smashing the glass here is like smashing the myth - "Remember, the glass test is not a myth! It's just not the ONLY symptom of meningitis." Don't wait or it maybe too late.

The above photo was taken at 1/800 of a second - freezing the glass as is smashed throwing the blue liquid into the air. My idea is to make the frame STOP to make your mind STOP and think about what we are saying here. Maybe take the time to read a page on the subject to help save lives and realise the danger signs.. View the Meningitis Trust page HERE

For those of you interested I've also compiled a video of me making the picture you see above.. you only get one shot - you have to make it count and that's true about the signs and symptoms on meningitis.. STOP and act now.

I'm running the London Marathon 2012 for the Trust - you can sponsor me HERE

thanks for your time x

Add to stumbleupon

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Moving away from HDR..

HDR or High Dynamic range is using for many different things in post processing. Usually it helps with blown out skies and improve details on textures like wood.. However, when the shot is blown up and looked at closely, blotchy pixels can be seen - especially in the sky.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Competition Winner

I recently entered a photographic competition run by The Independent Hostel Guide and Berghaus. I'm very pleased to say that they have chosen my shot as their winner! Details on IHG website... .

Here's a view of the winning shot...

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Thames 21 Photo Competition 2011

It was nice to be selected as a finalist for this years Thames 21 photo competition again - sadly I did not win but I did not expect to and seeing the other entries I was not surprised - very high standard and some great original shots... Here's me with my image.

Thursday, 23 June 2011


Being scared of heights and also getting the odd spell of vertigo - climbing is not the first thing you might have thought I'd be trying out.. But that's exactly why I wanted to.
The last time I was climbing was up a tree as a kid and back then the height factor wasn't an issue. The fact is, I do a lot of walking up mountains and a bit of scrambling so I wanted to know about climbing and the ropes to become more confident.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Landscape photography for novices

"living life on the edge"

Landscape photography is a thing that at any one time in our lives, most of us will attempt. Whether its a job or just a memory for the holiday snap collection. If you are serious about it like myself, you will already know it's not as easy as it looks: early starts, patient planning and bad weather are just a few of the important things that go into the making of a good landscape shot.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Marathon des Sables: NUTRITION

Photo (C) Mark Gillett

I'm covering nutrition and drink here as both combine to give an important diet while in the desert. The MdS rules state you must have at least 2000 calories per day (7) which obviously totals 14,000 calories.. you can get stopped at any time during the race or at camp and spot checked - this means you ALWAYS have to have the minimum requirements for each day..

Having said this i'm going to cover fluids first.. you are given aprox 10-11 litres of water per day at various stages - this water is used for everything including washing, cleaning, soaking, hydrating foods, cooling and of course drinking. Because you sweat a lot you are actually given 120 salt tablets to take - thats about 18 a day and they are just swallowed whole - you can't taste the salt.. I also took with me my trusted Enduralites Powder as it is fairly taste free and mixes with water easy - I mixed one (tiny) scoop with 500ml of water at all check points.. on hot days (40+) I also took plenty of salt tabs and never suffered with cramp.

Nutrition in one tiny scoop (about a quarter of a teaspoon)

Sodium (as Sodium Chloride) 40 mg.
Chloride(as Sodium Chloride) 60 mg.
Calcium (Chelate) 50 mg
Magnesium (Chelate) 25 mg
Potassium (Chelate) 25 mg
Vitamin B-6 (Pyrodoxine HCL) 6.7 mg
Manganese (Chelate) 1.6 mg
L-Tyrosine 17 mg
Glycine 50 mg

I decided not to take any flavoured drinks as in testing i found the taste to get on my nerves after a while.. However, someone gave me one energy drink while out there and if going again I would take one for each day - but no more. A lot of people complain and wished they had not bought as many...

I went out to get my 2000 calories with just 2 products a day..

1) Expedition Breakfast - 2 portion (a whopping 1,300 calories)
carbohydrates 153 g
protein 30 g
fat 72 g

2) Pasta Bolognese - 2 portion (1,000 calories)
carbohydrates 150 g
protein 38 g
fat 25 g

One in the AM and one at night.. easy.. Ok so the breakfast was ok all week but as the week went on I couldn't eat the whole thing and was forced to cut it in half and lose the spare.. My stomach had obviously shrunk - however the food still tasted ok - even though I was having the same thing everyday! The pasta was perfect all week - I only lost one packet - the 7th day as when we got to the finish it was not needed.
To make either of these you just add boiling water and leave for about 6 minutes..

Snacks were important on the go also.. I took the following:

Trek Peanut & Oat energy bars (7) one for each day - each bar is 68g

Per 100g: Energy 1472kJ/352kcal, Protein 16g, Carbohydrate 49g, Fat 11g
M&M's Peanut flavour - 250 Cl per packet - and NO they didn't melt. even with temps over 50C
SIS Go Gel - Tropical flavour (4)
Cl 100 ; Carb 22g Protein 1g Sodium 10mg
ZipFit ZV7c energy gels (3)
Calories 200 , Carbs 51g per sachet!!
Super trail mix (3) 125g per packet
per 100g:
Energy 447 Cl, Protein 9g, Carbohydrate 41g, Fat 30g
all the above products went down very well apart from the ZipFit gels - they were too sticky and sweet.. very tough to digest on a hot day! I had to drink a lot of water with them - great for carbs but just too thick and sweet i'm afraid - however, that's just my opinion. Trail mix and M&M's complimented each other very well and I would change anything only have SIS gels only and maybe 2 per day or at least half as many more.

After the race I'd have two recovery products...

Peporami (7)
126 Cl Fat 11g Carbs 0.6g Protein 6.1g Sodium 40mg

Muscle & Size gainer by Precision - 1.5 scoops mixed with 350ml water
aprox 400 Cl, 65g Carb, 30g Protein

I wrapped the Precision powder in individual bags - 7 of them. Both these products were brilliant!.. The Peperami was especially good - eating when you have a dry mouth is not east but this is quite fatty and therefore easy to digest.. might think of taking more in similar circumstances..
In all my nutrition was very good - i'd change a couple of things - maybe take single portion breakfasts only OR mix my own and take that... leave out the ZipFit gels and I'm good to go.. Nutrition was never a problem for me - I believe it's a basic need to just stick to the rules of balance and the body adjusts as you go on... Salt and Water and imperative to having a good run - even more so in this climate - test your products first - know your body and stick to these rules like clockwork.

Monday, 18 April 2011

MDS: What worked and What didn't

When you take part in a challenge like the MdS you need to weigh up the pros and cons of taking certain items with you.. Remember, you have to carry EVERYTHING with you on route so you take what you need or might need only.. I've created two lists below of items I took - and underneath whether or not it was used and if it was worth taking etc... So first off the items you have to take with you as per MDS rules:

Compulsory Stuff!!

Backpack or equivalent (best suited to each participant)
I took the OMM 32l Classic with me and a Raidlight Front Pack.. I did find the front pack very useful but it didn't fit very well and gave me sore shoulders.. The OMM Backpack was excellent both for size and weight.. it was comfy too and what I had used most in training.. top marks!
Sleeping bag
Travelpak Lite - Snugpak Lightweight Sleeping Bag : Awesome.. light - cheap and with a base layer on was perfect for the night - it has a built in pocket and a net you can zip over your face to keep bugs out.
Torch with spare batteries
Petzl headlamp - had 3 settings, very bright, dim and flashing.. did well and used spare batteries also.
10 safety pins
don't get cheap ones as i did..
Compass with 1&degree; or 2&degree; precision
Easy enough - never used it though.
Used plenty.. I would take the camping matches next time though as a lighter is no good in the wind.
Attached to Rucksack, never used.
Knife with metal blade
Mtech Black Stainless Steel Blade Red Handle. Great knife - used plenty.
Tropical Disinfectant
Iodine.. used. worked.
Anti-Venom pump (insect poison remover)
Signalling mirror
One aluminium survival sheet

The rest is my own choice of equipment.
My Stuff...

Lumix FX700... great for photos and video! Small & lightweight.
2 * Camera spare battery
used both
Camera spare memory
used but i don't think it was needed (16GB)
Took my Timex Ironman watch - it has a stopwatch and night light.. worked well and was used plenty too.
Used to blog only - everything else was turned off.. lasted week without charging.
ZipLoc Bags
Very handy and good for sealing out the air.
Stickers & Pen for bags
Didn't use this or take with.
Took 2 x Inji's and 2 x Wrightsocks for daytime and a compression pair for nights.. After day two I only wore the Wrightsocks due to feet swelling up.
Nike compression 2 pairs. - I'm used to them - they work for me.
Nike compression - 2 one day one night.. again these work really well.
2 pairs one for day one for night.. perfect.
Short sleeve t shirt
HH Dryfit..Day times just the one.
Long sleeve t shirt
HH Warm : For the evenings - slept in this - perfect!
HH for cool evenings.. didn't use but would take again just in case - as they are so lightweight.
Trek Mates desert hat.. did the job well - has cooling crstals in rim - this helped too.
Silk - Sandbaggers.. they worked well as they could - need to be a good fit though and doen't kick rocks with them or they will get holes!
INVO8 Roclites.. Great shoes for climbing and didn't let in sand - I might get something with more padding under foot though if i did it again - as they don't make good walking shoes.. 1 whole size larger worked for me.
Poloroid with Strap..worked well on windy day but didn't wear them much as we faced away from sun most of the time.
Antiseptic wipes
Work well but then you do have a medical tent....
Riemann P20 Suncream
Blocks sun completely and only one application a day! Expensive stuff but worth every penny.
Toilet paper
I took 3 packets of Kleenex Handy tissues - 8 per packet - usually for blowing your nose.. they were perfect for the bum and other cleaning uses.
Gaffer tape
Essential! I didn't take much but i got away with it.. very handy!!
First Aid kit
I'd cut down on this next time completely.. Use Dr Trotter instead.
Brilliant anti chaffing gel!.. worked very well - one application a day!
Water purification tablets
Didn't use but good for an emergency.
Cooking tin & lid
Used the Blacks mess tin - fairly heavy but did the job well - ate from it too and its fairly easy to clean.
Wind Buff
These are great as they have a few uses.. GET ONE!
Flip Flops
Took my Baffin slippers! BRILLIANT MOVE.. used as shoulder straps too..
Cable ties
Don't bother.
Large Needles and strong thread
Used on gaiters.. handy, light, so take it.
Toothpaste & Brush
Essential bit of kit.
Ground mat
I took a blue thin thing.. not again! Carpet is in tent but rocky underneath.. take something comfy for sure!
Ear plugs
Used one night but kept falling out due to sand in ear.. hmm.. take them they are light - you never know how is in your tent...
spray hand sanitizer
from the pound shop - Detol hand gel - alcohol based - does the job.
walking poles
I left these out and would do again.

I'll cover food on another day as it gets quite intricate ;)

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

MDS 2011 my story

It's hard for me to explain why i entered the Marathon des Sables... Ever since i saw a Channel Four program on it i was hooked... This looked like the ultimate test for body and mind- something different, something unique.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Mds update

Sorry to not write after race day 5.. I had to go straight to medical as my right foot had inflamed twice the size on the ankle.. Basically i had to limp the whole day which took ages, i had a few tears at the end and went off to doc's. Aparantly i have an infection so iwas given pain killers and antibiotics..
Today was the last day and although it was short it was long and painful again.. Ive limped thrw the last two days remembering your messages which have really kept me motivated, so thanks:)
More tears today as i passed about 10k and although i was in a world of pain i knew then that i would finish , and finish i did! Everything was worth it in the end,
more to come when i return home...

As you can see i have a rather swollen right ankle!

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, 8 April 2011

great day 5 & 6 for Ray

As all of you that are following Ray will notice he has rocketed up the race positions to a staggering 374 out of the 900 runners. Day 6 is a rest day for the quick runners, a girl from Rays tent is still running yesterdays 51 mile race that started at 9am on day 5, he says yesterdays race was his toughest so far, he managed to push through non-stop in temperatures of 45C.
Ray said there were a couple of dark moments during the race but he managed to push through and finish in a great time. check out the website for his times its quite impressive & he was second to finish home out of his tent group!!!. Ray states one of his goals is to finish in the top 50% of all runners, its going to take determination and a lot of hard work but he knows we are all cheering him on. He loved the suggestion from Al who demanded he sprints for the finish line & says he will try. lol
No news on his blisters but he does say his feet and ankles have swollen up quite badly.   :O(
he really appreciates the emails he is getting as it helps him through some difficult times and cannot wait to see everyone on the 15th for a well deserved party.
Its a great idea to check up on how he is doing and video links at :-
on behalf of Ray i would like to thank everyone who has donated, if not there is still time on :-

thanks for your time. GO RAY GO !!!!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Day 3 of Ray's MDS Challenge

Ray sent me a short email today as the queue for the emails was very long but here are the details.
"today was my best day so far as i ran 75% of the route", he said it was very tough with at one point climbing  1.6km.
 Bad news was it was ridiculously painful on his feet, he had to see the doctor 30 minutes into the race as both his heels blew up and he had 4 blisters all on different toes!!!  ouch
The volcano one from yesterday was a mess (a bit too much details here ) but he is hopeful they will be fine for todays 50 mile run. there may be no email tomorrow as he says he may be too tired to queue up again, he is over the moon for all the notes and emails he has been receiving so keep it up guys and gals as i think it is really helping him. You can send messages on the website below, select write to a competitor..
and don't forget the charity website
Ray is doing something really special here, its obviously not a normal thing to do so lets get behind him. He is taking lots of photos and video for his adventure.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

MDS day 2

Ray completed his 38km race. First thingin the morning there was a huge sandstorm which made the going even more tough, it kept up all day. there is a video on the site to show how bad it was. Although he says he had a better day than yesterday and managed to finish quicker over a longer distance, his shoulder feels a lot better especially as he found a new way to use his Baffin slippers.... yep extra thick shoulder straps. lol
The not so good news is he now has a "volcano like blister under his toenail", he hasn't visited the doctor yet but it could be on the cards this morning if it hasn't gone down. (we all know ray, minor ailments are never gonna stop this guy from his goal.... madman).
He even talks about looking forward to the other 112 miles left to do. He says there are 2 girls in his tent who are also suffering really badly with blisters so he can soldier on if they can. Ray has now moved into position 500 of 860 people which is amazing.
remember you can check his times, the sandstorm and a brief update on:- entering his race number 880.
and if you feel inspired to donate do it on here:-  it would be great for him to come back and we have pushed the total to £8000

Monday, 4 April 2011

Day One of Ray's Challenge

Hi everyone, i'm Rob, a friend of Ray who right now is running the Sahara MDS for the Meningitis Trust.
He has asked me to update his blog with news of how he is doing so i will try to do him justice.  :OP
Day one went well having done 33km, through some rocky terrain and huge sand dunes up to 800m high.
Ray walked most of the way except for the first section, he says the temperatures were averaging about 33C so is drinking a lot of water. He is thankfully blister free but his shoulders are aching a bit from carrying the heavy rucksack, he calculates he will be losing about 800 grams a day with the food consumption and such.
He loved his first night under the stars and was looking forward to his 38km race today.

you can follow Ray by going onto:- enter his number (880) on the Competitors list to check his times or click on roadbook to get a better understanding of what he is going through each day.

If after you have checked him out you would like to donate or help the charity please click on this link. 
Thanks for your time.  Go RAY GO !!!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Follow 880...

Ok - I'm just a little bit excited about the Marathon des Sables.. I leave from the UK tomorrow and today is sorting out day.. I have a medical to attend , I get an ECG there and need to take the results to the MdS officials... Haircut - blatantly!! ... Rucksack and luggage packing - must not forgot anything... the lists have been made! Tidy up flat a little and do these last online bits and pieces for you guys... all done in a careful, slow paced and organised way so I don't panic!! ;)

So - when I am away you will be able to 'follow' me online at and my number is 880! This will be avaliable when the race starts and not before!.. The race starts Sunday 3rd April. Currently Morocco is 1 hour behind our clocks in the UK. There will also be video clips and photos on the site at the end of each day's session.

The race will also be televised although details at the moment are sketchy at best... Stations like TV5, Sky & Eurosport will be doing updates similar to the website... information about this can be found here:

I hope to get an email out every day which my good friend Rob will post on here and link to my various social networking sites... Otherwise I will be blogging every day and will upload that as soon as I POssibley can after the event - we actually finish on Saturday April 9th! And i'll be coming back to the UK on April 11th...

Party: For those of you who can get to it I'm have a fund-raising / homecoming party on April 15th.. It's at the Chapel Bar, 29a Penton St, London - nearest Tube, ANGEL. It's from 9pm til 3am and a fiver to get in ,,,, ALL proceeds are going to my charity - The Meningitis Trust! To raise the total a little more...

That's it!.. THANKS for all your support and generous donations - I'll be printing out ALL the comments from my photo on Facebook HERE and taking it with me to remind me how supportive you guys are so please add something on there... and see you on the other side X

Monday, 28 March 2011

Last minute things...

So I only have a few days to go now until my flight to Morocco.. Over the last few days I've been stuffing in some extra food and cutting down on my mileage.. Last weeks total miles was about 67 which is quite a dip - this week however will be hardly any at all!... Must rest those muscles! Mind you I am still taking the large rucksack to work with about 10kg of weight in it.
My impression of what my race number will look like

I had a slight scare - toothache on waking Sunday morning! So plans have changes a little.. I got it checked out today at the dentist but apparently (and hopefully) its just sinusitis.. Quick change of diet should put that right. Si I have three nights left in the UK... and tomorrow my last day at work! I'm so glad I put that extra day in because there are plenty of things to do in it.. Bag packing - hair cut - medical to name but a few...
So all the training - all the preparation is now done.. no more more time to fit anything in!.. A quick session at the gym tomorrow and maybe Wednesday but that's it! I keep looking at everything laid out on my bedroom floor wondering if I have forgotten anything... well... we'll soon find out!! ... LOL!
Charity donations at time of writing = £7,175!! Any amazing amount of money.. if you have not given yet and wish to - you can do so here: you can also read more about the Meningitis Trust here:

I'll be doing a LAST POST before I got with all the 'follow' details on it so please come back for more then - thanks for reading ...

Ray :)

Thursday, 24 March 2011

one week to go

Picture from my trip to Utah: Canyonlands National Park ~ Island in the Sky... It reminds me of the vastness that is the Sahara Desert.. 3,630,000 sq mi!!,,, I mean come on - that's HUGE!.. I'm only going to run about 152 miles or so - that TO ME sounds a lot better! lol..

Utah: Canyonlands National Park ~ Island in the Sky
Originally uploaded by Ray Wise

A lot of questions have been asked just lately as people get the idea of what I am actually about to do - well there is a program on the Discovery Channel tonight (24th April '11)at 9pm that will explain everything!.. look here for a glimpse.... .
Training wise everything is on target now - little adjustments are being made as mistakes or missing items come up.. it's a mine of discovery for myself as I go into the unknown. I guess this might sound a bit dramatic sometimes but until you have actually prepared or taken part in something like this you will never really know. Truth is - I CAN'T WAIT! I'm really excited about the prospect of pushing myself to the limit and that bit extra that will be needed..CHARITY: I'm running for the Meningitis Trust - you can donate easily online from the following link :
Race information.. I am number 880 and can be followed or emailed from the organisors website :
Routine: I go away on 31st March to Ouarzazate in Morocco. Transfer to hotel and check in for the night.. 1st April we leave for the desert - possibly a 7-8 hour coach ride into the Sahara and the bivouac (campsite).. The race actually begins on Sunday April 3rd - and from when we wake on this morning we will become self sufficient !!... Race lasts until Saturday April 9th,, after which we are transported back to the hotel and I return to the UK on 11th April..

NEXT: After that I have arranged a party on 15th April at the Chapel Bar in Angel..
FB:!/event.php?eid=191174047575454 Address: 29a Penton Street,London from 9pm - 3am!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Packing the Rucksack

So hear we are with only 10 days to go until I embark upon my MdS adventure.. We thought we would have a little practice to see if everything would actually fit inside my rucksack and of coarse not be so overweight that i couldn't even lift it!!
So here we go... Everything has been minimised, packaging removed etc in the hope of making things lighter and sizeable... expect for the Beans - which I would like to take but are too bulky and heavy.... :(

All my hard work on nights before actually paid off! This meant separating pills from boxes, and making up small packs of items instead of throwing everything in together!! Not a great idea?!
I WILL be taking the front pack! There is not way I'm going to cope without it.. We also filled up with 2 litres of fluids so that I could feel how heavy everything was going to be...

Finished product above!! Here are the weights....

All bags & drinks weigh in at 12.7kg! OMFG! lol... I need a Sherpa!! Now you receive some extra items to carry including a heavy'ish flare.. so we reckon it'll weigh about 13.5kg on the first day!

HOWEVER.... Drinks weighed 2kg.. this will go up and down obviously ... PLUS each day I'll be eating my way through the food so that will go down in weight too :).. My main food meals weigh in at 4kg for the lot... aprox 570g lighter per day!.. I actually reckon on losing about 800g or so per day... Sounding any better?... Thought not... Ok - there WILL be pain but I am not going short on food just because I can't handle the weight!... Enter the double edged sword ;)

ps - some of you are wanting to know what I have taken with me- I will be doing a list before and after the race which I will post on here.

What have I learned by this...? UP the weight I carry to work every day for a start!.. It needs to be 10kg at least!.. The Front Pack HELPS!... it pulls the backpack up and balances out the load - I've kept it fairly light but it definitely helps distribute things more evenly... I've also learnt I may be walking for the first day or i'll be stretched out of that place in no

OTHER: In other news I'm running again - and touch wood - all seems to be back on track with the training.. I'll do another update later this week that will concentrate more on that..


Tuesday, 15 March 2011


So I'm back from the US.. back from a holiday I will never forget in a hurry. With its vast epic landscape Arizona did not fail to disappoint.. as Utah did the same and in fact - out of the two Utah for me came out on top with more to offer..

Arizona: The Grand Canyon

Most of Arizona sits on a platau of around 6,000 feet or so making it great for altitude training. Walking up and down hills was a hot and sweaty business - let along running! Unfortunately though I didn't get much time for running out there - but got plenty of hiking in and by the end of the week had done lots of walking up and down large elevations..
Needless to say I have about 2,000 photos to sort through now and some videos which i took for fun along the way.. The best of the photos will be posted on my Flickr account over the next few weeks..
As far as training for the MdS goes - I'm back on that starting from today! Can't wait to get into my routine again although the weekly mileage won't be as high especially in the last week as i taper down and 'try' to put on a little weight.. that'll be fun.

Please remember the run IS for charity and you can donate by following the instructions on this page : - every little helps either dollars or pounds, no matter where you are in the world..

..more to follow :)

Friday, 4 March 2011

Arizona here I come!

What a difference a day makes!.. After yesterdays 'worries' my visit to the gym went fine - in fact I did a long pain free session including 10km of running :) ...
One more day of work and then another short run in the evening... and then I'm off...

No blog on Monday as I'm going to Arizona for a week. I've missed my photography A LOT during the last couple of month's and I need to get out there and get some shots.. I've always liked the landscape this place has to offer but have never been,, so it makes sense to combine a bit of training (walking / hiking) with a bit of tourism.. Arizona - the perfect place..
It may not be that hot at this time of year but it's not the heat I'm going away for.. I need a break too.. all the MdS stuff is taking over my life - from when i get up till bed time.. I need to get away and put my mind to a different use.
I'm looking forward to seeing the Grand Canyon and some other National Parks that mould the AZ landscape - looking forward to photographing them too - who knows I might even go for a cheeky run or two alongside the crater ;) ...

Thursday, 3 March 2011

injuries and other annoying pastimes

It's actually about 6 weeks since i had a full weeks running... that was a problem with my left achilles that started it all off.. I gave that plenty of time to heal - then there was an issue with left foot again - this time my ankle on the instep (right side)... pfftt!... Anyway - I ran last week for 5 miles and it still nagged a little so I left it until last night to run again..
So yesterday morning I went to work - walking as always and on the way home found a new pain in my right foot this time.. at the front of the ankle!.. WTF!... Anyway - it didn't seem serious and I went for my run all the same.. as you do ;)
The run start ok but as i got to half way the pain began again and by the end i was ready to give up anyway.. indoors RICE treatment, but the pain still was there - even waking this morning in bed i could feel it.. oh no - what heck , am i falling apart?.. To work I walk - pain all the way even limping a little, now I am getting a little depressed. BUT..........
However, I got to work and at my desk something strange happened.. my right ankle 'clicked' - I was doing some heel raises at the time under my desk - yes - i do this at work.. ;) .. Now the weird thing is the pain has GONE.. as quickly as it arrived.. ok - now this is just freaking me out! So I am going to the gym as planned tonight and might even get on the treadmill - if the walk to the gym is ok...
NB: A similar thing happened about a year ago - i started to run - pain in front of ankle - so i stopped.. woke up in the morning and no pain pain - went for a run that evening and no pain..
THOUGHTS: I'm thinking this could be some sort of nerve issue.. if so I guess everything fits - you can get creams for this sort of thing so i might try that.. will also report back after tonight's gym... very strange though - maybe I'm getting all MdS'ish ?? ;)

Monday, 28 February 2011

what do you wear in the desert for a week?

Good day peeps.. hope you are all well. So I only have a one month to go until the Marathon des Sables.. 31 days - that's all!.. So last week was a good weeks training - I managed to log 100 miles and 53 of those miles were walked.. I can honestly say my body is starting to complain now but the injuries are not - which is even better news. This week will be fairly light before I go to Arizona on Saturday 5th.
So this will make you laugh if you haven't already .....

Yeah that's me in pretty much my desert clobber.. So let me go through the numbers and explain what's what.
1) Trekmates Cool Sahara Cap - with that sexy looking mane going down the back of my neck ;) . This one comes with a special lining that once wet will keep it cool for 2-3 days.
2) Polaroid Oxyquatic P7006A Sunglasses - they have a strap round the back for windy moments and are fairly tight to the face without being uncomfortable.
3) Cobber - this neck-tie will, like the hat, keep cool for days once it has been submerged in water.
4) OMM Classic Marathon 32L Backpack - although i have tested many this is by far my favourite one - I have a front pack too but i am not sure yet if i will need it.. testing packing this week! (stay tuned for more on that)
5) Nike Pro Compression Vest Skin (under t-shirt) - this collects sweat and helps keep you dry - it also prevents rubbing.
6) Helly Hansen Dry Stripe Tee Shirt - worn loose to wick sweat away again - obviously white to reflect some of the suns rays.
7) Timex Shock Ironman Watch - not taking Garmin with me - this watch will do everything I need - the timing chip that MdS give me will do the rest.
8) Adidas Multi Sport Shorts - NOT the ones in the photo.. these will be white to reflect heat and again are very much like the t shirt, loose and quick drying.
9) Nike Pro Compression Shorts - tight and comfy to keep everything in place and prevent rubbing ;)
10) Sandbaggers Silk Gaiters - to keep the sand OUT of my trainers and off my feet.. They have been stitched to velcro and velcro stitched to the trainers..
11) INOV-8 Roclite 315 trainers - one whole size too large..
11b) Injinji & Wrightsock Socks - 2 pairs to start with - the Injinji's will go on first to stop my toes rubbing against each other and then the Wrightsocks over those until my feet swell up in the heat and i'll lose those.
This clothing list is by no means the best form of everything.. these are items that have worked for me and in some cases hopefully will work.. ie the gaiters... When I get back I'll let you know what did and didn't work as I won't really know anything until i'm dropped in the Sahara wearing pretty much what you see here.... Hmmmm... the fear begins to creep in ;)
NB : People reading this regarding desert races - please read my about what DID and DID NOT work for me during the race..

Add to stumbleupon

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

a day in the life - training for the mds

A few people have asked me how do i fit everything in my life at the moment,, the truth is, its not easy - my friend Rob is helping me organise things and we have weekly meetings so that nothing is forgotten. Work has to come first but apart from that - right now - everything revolves around training. That's not easy when you remember that 'daily tasks' like cleaning washing and eating you have to do... So right now, every day is a training day and everything i do is just that.. here's an example of a weekday at the moment.
05:15 wake up, 20-25 minutes of stretches and exercises . after which i have a large breakfast and then get ready for work..
06:30 leave for work - I always walk to work, its a little over a mile from my flat - just lately I have been putting extra weight in my rucksack from 8kg up to 12kg.
06:50 arrive at work - start at 07:00 and I work until 16:00... While at work I have to find time to do any orders for equipment or food online - its better this way and leaves me more time to training - although it can be more expensive - some items have been acquired through ebay which balances it out.
16:00 leave work - walk to gym.. its about a mile again so another short workout.
16:20 arrive at gym... sessions can last from two to two and a half hours.. longer over the weekends..
18:20 leave gym - walk to shops - i need to do some food shopping - can't do this online, prefer to choose my items..
19:15 arrive home - make a sandwich.. I'd eaten a larger meal at work midday - I've been swapping my meals around depending on what I'm doing after work - but usually the main meal is eaten at midday now.
19:45 time to catch up on the social network - I update throughout the day from work and my mobile but my main writing and updating is done around this time - some days I get more time than others..
20:15 press shots - I tried on my kit and Rob took some photos for the press and social networks.. all good fun.
20:30... rest.. I usually get time to watch a film and relax about here. Although some days i have been going out for late walks with a heavy rucksack, so it does depend on the day.
23:00 bed.. I TRY to get to bed by 11pm, its not always the case but what you save on one day you gain on another.. after all - I'm up at 05:15 again tomorrow :)

And that is basically it - not every day is gym day - some days I'll be running instead or on the cycle..I do mix it up... weekends do differ a little and it is possible to get out and socialise a little more. If that happens in the week, training has to go around it.. either before, after or both.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Marathon des Sables in 38 days..

Actually I hope to do it in 6 but given that it is only 38 days away my thoughts are now up and down the scale like you wouldn't believe.. ie - one minute I am full of confindence and the next worries start to creep in.
Running for instance - I managed 30 miles last week - not bad but I am so missing my long runs.. the achilles strain is fine but I have another niggle in the inner left ankle.. gait issue I think - so I have renewed my shoes in hope that is what the problem is.. The funny thing is 3 or 4 monthes ago a niggle like this would not have bothered me but now so close to the race it feels like much more.. I know its not and then I change my mind - lol! So for the hell of it i'm going to take a few days off running and reduce the rucksack weight for walking... So another large mileage week passed - not as large as the week before - just 86 miles logged and again cycling was the main contender... good to be back running though.
In other news most of my kit has now been bought and is ready for the off.. only a few items left to trial and test or to buy.. I'm also compiling a food list - menu sort of thingy for each day.. I've asked a couple of companies to provide some test samples also so lets hope they come though... buying all this equipment and food is expensive business!
A few people have asked "how do you fit it all in".. by this i think they mean training,,, hmmm.. so i'll be doing a midweek blog with a diary of an average day for me - watch out for that.. take care y'all!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Good and Bad news

45 days to go now and training takes a hike up and an Ultra let down! Firstly the good news that my goal of 100 miles was achieved last week - in fact I managed 105. The distance was put together by sessions including walking, cycling and running! Yes I'm running again - although not far but the achilles strain is holding out - so far, so good. It's been a bit annoying not being able to run however, I don't want to spoil the good work by running too far and injuring it again...

With the injury in mind I have pulled out of the London Ultra on the 20th Feb.. I could possibly walk it but that also may be a bad idea,, I know i'd make the distance ( 50 k) but in the long run my fitness is important as i go into March.. So I have deferred to next year on that.

Did some different and more intense training Saturday morning as Rob put me through my paces at St James Park. He made do various things including some work on steps and with weights.. it was fun although tiring after a hard week - in fact my arms are still aching now ;)
Equipment wise I am still waiting on quite a lot of items to be delivered. My first aid kit is nearly complete and the testing of food, should finish by the end of this week..

I had pasta with cheese and ham to try today - tasted nice but a a bit OTT on the onions.

TIPS: You are supposed to add boiling way to the packet and re-seal it for 5 mins.. I found this difficult to mix and some of the food was still not re-formed after five minutes. So I have mixed a few (as in the photo) in a separate airtight bowl - this is very good and the perfect way to go.. However, using this method will add an item to my list (the bowl and lid) and also require some sort of washing.. the cons may out way the pros on this and I think the packet solution could be the way to go in the end..

Facebook group :

Monday, 7 February 2011

A run free week!

52 days to go now and it still has not really sunk in as to what awaits me on the MdS. Sure, I'm planning like crazy but the reality of it all is yet to strike.. I'm guessing that will happen when i get back from Arizona.. i'm going there from March 5 - 12.
So this week training has continued but without any running at all - I've still managed to log 82 miles by mainly walking and cycling although that does it include a few other workouts... It all adds up at the end of the week and miles and endurance counts. Walking with weights has encouraged me a lot, after all, I'm not kidding anyone that I'm going to run the whole distance - far from it!
I was going to bring my Sand test report to you today but I cancelled the visit to Camber because of my injury.. that will or should take place NEXT Saturday now.
The weekend after that is the London Ultra.. a 50km foot race which i should be taking part in.. if I do decide to go for it - you can be sure I will not be going as fast as planned or my heal will flare up again... so this is yet to be called whether or not I'm going to do it.. More next week.

Facebook group :

Ray :)

Monday, 31 January 2011

59 Days to go!

So it's now less than 2 monthes until we fly out to Morocco.. woot to that!.. So what's been happening?..
So as promised I recorded all my miles last week and managed 61 all together.. that includes 38 miles of running,., On Saturday I got a strain on my achilles.. had to walk the last bit and it's going to put me out of running for a while.. that's bad news but not the end of the world - i have to do lots of walking anyway so i've upped the weight in my rucksack and started to go on some long walks.. I've been asked to do some cycling too so will do that tonight also.
Testing wise I have had one of the larger sleeping bags out and tested it in temps of 10C.. It works fine - no chill factor even with no clothes on ;) .. More food has been tested this week and also some socks!.. These are the socks in question...

Injinji socks have slots for each toe - rather like a glove for the foot.. some of my toes are not the straightest and can cause rubbing and blisters.. these boys will sort that out and are very comfy too.. the plan is to wear these as a base layer then the Wrightsocks over the top of them.
We also had a laugh testing my blood group at home the other night - its actually very accurate... I hope!
REMEMBER I am still on the look out small corporate sponsors.. if you think your company might be interested - please let me know!
We've managed to raise over £6,000 now for the Meningitis Trust - if you have not donated yet - every pund or dollar helps.. you can do that here:

ATB Ray x

Monday, 24 January 2011

66 Days till MdS

So Rob and I have got together and he thinks it would be a good idea to blog weekly, right up until I leave for the MdS on March 31,, M Day! Every Monday I will be letting you know what's gone on over the past week and bring you up to date with fund-raising etc..

Jan 24.. 66 Days to go till I leave for the Marathon de Sables.. Nervous>? A few friends have asked.. no, not really - I'm more worried about forgetting anything rather than being nervous just yet.. So we have put together a calendar for the kitchen wall to let Rob and me, know what we should be doing and when!

the calendar in all its glory ;)

For those that missed my last blog - Rob is a great friend who happens to be my flatmate as well.
So this will help when it comes to organising and remembering things - hopefully , so I won't forget to test or try anything and then re-order it if necessary..

This last week has been very productive - mainly I have secured a bar for a party with the help of another great friend - Amanda.. All the details are on Facebook and the small fee collected on the door will be donated to my charity..

Speaking of which, there has been a few significant donations to the sponsor page this week and the total now stands at £5,837.00 - you can see the page for yourself and make a donation HERE.

Most of you know I have been supporting the Meningitis Trust now for quite some time - the work they do is quite amazing but you can help too. Just by reading a little about the signs and symptoms, you might be able to spot it in someone before it takes hold - if you want to learn more, please see this LINK to their website.

Finally, I've had to put the camera down for a bit as the running and organising start to pile up.. last week I did about 39 miles.. which is about average - I'm going to start counting my walking miles also, just to see what sort of distance I cover over a week.. more of that next week.. and much more..
catch you then - and thanks for reading.


Tuesday, 18 January 2011

72 days til the Marathon de Sables 2011!

So with just 72 odd days to go to till I do the Marathon de Sables, I thought I'd let you know briefly as to what's been happening and what will come over the next two month's..
November and the beginning of December last year were bad times - being ill and injured took me out for a little over a month.. Gladly I'm back on track now and it's nice the miles are ticking over again. I'm looking looking to over-do the mileage but between 30-40 miles a week should do me just fine - there should not be any major distractions now either so that's good news..
One of my best pal's; Rob, will be helping me get organised also, I think it's important i take a step back sometimes and the best way of doing that is ask another person's advice.
So over the next few weeks I'll be testing out food and equipment and adding some more miles.. the next and in fact only race before the MdS is the London Ultra - on Feb 20th.. perfect date as it still leaves me 5 weeks till I leave for Morocco on March 31. The London Ultra is 50km long (aprox 31 miles) and starts in Streatham and finishes in Wembley... Should be a good test.
5th March I go away to Arizona to do a LOT of walking - again out there I'll be testing equipment and food, plus testing my own sense in a remote place.. Of coarse I'll be taking my camera too ;)
When I return I'll have about 3 weeks until I flight out to the MdS in Morocco!! March 31!! Can't wait!
I return back on April 11 and with the help of another good friend (Amanda), will be organising a fund-raising party - which will hopefully be also a celebration of me completing this challenge...
More details of these points to come...
Regards, Ray ~xo