Chapter 4 of my journey around Ireland to run, scramble, climb or die!
By looking for tougher routes with ridges, steep grounds and gullies not for the faint hearted!! Mapping out the routes myself using Osi mapping & on line GPS or Google earth I come up with great plans. And always have a PLAN B for safety like today's route soon as we made it to the top after the 1st ridge which had snow on it in places and wild winds not to be playing with...
We scrambled our way with myself leading a safer path for Nicola & Lynda as they never been on such grounds & I was teaching them to deal with such ridges for a skyline race were all doing this year. Coumshingaun Ridge was wild but I loved it... Not sure the girls loved it as much as myself.. Maybe to wild, cold for there bodies but I know there happy to be off the mountains self...
From ridge it was all go with navigation skills in the dense fog on the snow running on open mountains which as many know that's tough going. About 2/3km in we get to the point of cliff face so navigation skills were easy from there so just ran along side the cliffs decending down a beautiful mountain with lots of snow, icey patches and bog holes but fun.. Soon meeting the gap and then for a tough climb to Knockanaffrin summit again the fog was low and sure just follow the ridge line up and back down!!
We had a little rocky scrambling fun up top and then we was all go back down ( which u can see in my films) From there was out and back till 4/5 passing beautiful cliffs, ridges & amazing lakes again you can see from my photos... Ended my route with a ridge and a steep descent is always a full juju route...
Over all am happy in such crazy cold & wild weather conditions getting in about 21km with Iver 2000 meters in total climb with about 6hours moving... Not many stopping dues to how cold it was...
Hope you girls 👭 loved it all.., an experience am sure you never forget!!
A big happy adventure kids trail run for Oisin who was 7 today!
Wow, what a morning.
Well it rained and then it rained some more 🌧🌧.
It stopped some people from getting out on the hills, but not Derek and Susan!
The hike up to Brockagh East was misty, wet and cold but the colours were beautiful and we could make out the neighbouring mountains and hills. It was soggy underfoot with some icey spots but no snow.
We had a thoroughly enjoyable hike with great company 😁
Hey !!! 😜
What a amazing two days of running for us all! My back 2 back trail event went great!
1st day taking in 4 summits with many hills ( highest point 657meters ) & lots of lovely tracks & trails from point to point & a great challenge for those one day'rs let along the 2nd day'rs!
Super well done to you all! Sunny but not to warm & little clouds covering us up on our ways Saturday a good day on the trails for all really! A super good social! & take out on each summit! Some got bee stung from the ( shay Elliot ) bees which I don't think should be resting up on a fire road that 1000's of people pass everyday!! But anyhow we moved on & hope your all feeling better today!
So over all a great day on amazing trails picked & routed out by JuJu & everyone seemed to enjoys!
After a nice meal / beers at Glendalough Hotel Saturday night doe Nic's birthday & a lovely shoe cake everything went good! For some went to bed in rest for Sunday's runs & others stayed out later to party! 🍻 well it was Nic's b day!!!!!! But feeling super strong today for day two on my ( juju ) two day trail run! Today's route started @ 10am with only 2 summits but much tougher hills!
We had nice 2&half km flat warm up then the hills starts to Wicklow gap!😜and from here was tough going to Tonelagee summit 818meters & the over to Scarr summit & then the real down hill fun starts for most of us!!!
Again an all over great planned weekend ( sorry for those that didn't make it ) always next time... But for those that did well done with your nearly 2000 meters of climbing with 54km running & just over 8hours of running or power hiking !
What ever you did super well done!
Weather played a good part for us this weekend ! & just as we got back on Sunday the sky looked dark & the thunder done its thing !!! We were back in hotel just in time ( even tho juju loves running in that kind of weather )😜
Sadhbh turned 5 and we celebrated in style with all her friends 🎈🎂
We played cat & mouse, we stacked sticks, ran relays, jumped and had so much fun with everyone.
And just when we thought we couldn't have any more fun, we had a river dip and played skimming stones.
There was a big surprise when Sadhbh got back - her mum had a beautiful princess cake ready for all the boys and girls in the woods 🍰🍰
We hope Sadhbh had a wonderful birthday party and think everyone will sleep well tonight....I know I will 😎
It was great to be back out with The Adventure Kids this morning. We jumped, we ran 🏃and we learned lots of trail running drills!! There was also lots of midge swatting but that didn't stop any of our kids...
The forest was full of fun. We had quiet kids, loud kids, speedy kids and funny kids but everyone had a super time.
The kids all LOVE river dipping and today was no exception. They splashed, jumped, rolled, head dipped and lay in the water. Crazy kids but happy kids!!!!
Can't wait to see you all next time 😊
A super duper 6th birthday party trail adventure to Noah who had his birthday with us today. What a great trail party we had with all his friends. We had rolling, jumping, running, relays, tumbling, hopping & much much more trail fun in the forest. All the kids loved it. The adults rolled and tumbled down the hills too. Their smiles said it all and the kids loved cheering them on; "MORE...MORE" the kids were saying! Juju put the kids in teams, racing against each other. Each team had to play a mind game & then race off to the ladder where they jumped over each step of the ladder & then raced off again to the marshals who were the DADDIES! Then they had to race back to their teams! It was an all go race and only one team could win!!! There were two mind game races so everyone got to win! Happy kids! 😎 After this game juju had lots of more lined up....a non-stop 2 hours full of running drills & games keeping the kids happy all day! Not all the kids had the power to keep going so they took a break and stood to watch and cheer on the kids that still had the power to keep running 😎. We finished with the tug of war 'with a difference'... no-one gets to win in the "juju tugs". It's a fun game for all where everyone pulls and tugs. The rope is one BIG knot and everyone gets hold of it and pulls!!!! We can safely say all the kids will sleep well tonight😎!! So thanks for sharing your special day with us Noah. Your cake & birthday buns looked really nice... We found it hard to keep our hands off 🙃😃😜 See you all on the juju trails soon Peace Juju ✌
Today we had the pleasure of leading Nathalie and Mark on a looped walk starting at Oldbridge and heading up onto Kanturk and then Scarr. A real mixed day with sunshine and showers. Thanks for joining us today Mark and Nathalie we hope you enjoyed the walk as much as we did.
Transvulcania ultra 74km race.
Mountains of volcanos, beaches, forests, tropical island just like Madeira which I've ran before helping me with the training for La Palma but how to plan for the heat!!
La Palma is a beautiful little island with lovely natural beauty everywhere, Our race had it all with incredible mountains with a lovely backdrop of islands pecks near by.
This race had very technical tracks, tough & brutal but fun 😜 hills that never ended ( which I loved)
jagged rocks for miles, slippery downhill sandy paths that ripped our feet lots as well as the little stones from the sand lots of sand! Few people was wearing gathers but I went against using them "less is more" I kind of like the feeling of little stones in my shoes anyhow !! There was so much scree & hard on your eyes you really needed sun glasses on this route. We had to scramble up long brutal & tough hills!! But like all hills once up there's always nicer downs & I ripped down all the downhills😜🏃🏻😱
I started using my running poles about 25km in & used them till the end & they came in great I loved them as their were strong but light in my hands! they also helped me stay upright when I hit that wall from the heat! When Geogre had passed me out he looked back to see was I ok & said he you didn't look good as I was pending over on my poles trying to beat the heat😱
The hardest point on this race for me was the heat it really did kill me I had passed out from it & think I was like a zombie for 2-5mins stopping to rest from the beating sun / heat every now & then on the mountain! Not a good feeling at all I wanted to get sick! Lots of people were helping me & I got up trying to find any shade from that sun!!! I just couldn't breath ! The others from our team love the heat but not me am more a rain, snow & fog man!!!! Once I made it very slowly up to the shade & into the woods which I must say gave me my mojo back as I was about to give up about 50k in!! Nicola Cleary had passed me as well as David Turk & said the same you don't look good juju! I told all to keep pushing I'll be fine...That heat really killed me so much! Passing out isn't good for the body I was really sick!!
The race mountain rescue helpers came over to me at one point giving me the full testing & saying your not good to carry on !!😳💥☀️ & I said NO WAY am going to push on I think they tried to stop me but I ran off !! Hoping they didn't take my number down & give me a DNF at the end!! So known there was only 24k left my race started & had to push on & was super happy with myself at this stage as I was running like I always do ripper on the super techie rocky steep down hills just playing really I can't write how tough that track was but it was fun passing out lots of runners while they where walking downhill.
Most was walking down due to its steep slippy & rough rocks but for me it was jujus playground & loved it all!!! passing all out again the shock on people's faces as they all thought I was well gone & passed out!!! I passed Nic out too ( sorry I didn't stop ) I was going to fast! Then passed Dave think he said WOW you recovery fast !! Thanks for your hugs dude!!
That DH was the steepest hill I ever ran down in my life very dangers and I did see many hurt them selfs on it!! 😱 I was very lucky!!
I'd say the pain in their legs wasn't a nice feeling anyhow I met a lovely couple who we all ran with each other by REALLY they knew how to run fast down them rocks which I loved the most!!!
Soon we came to the view of sea & WOW that super rocky zig zag path all the way down think about 15k maybe less not sure but I loved it so much racing it all jumping everything & just letting go no fear tap tap tap it's my the best fun all day!!!! Juju was back & feeling stronger then ever before!!!
And then when you think it's all over its not as the ultras had 5k left UP HILL & it was SUPER TOUGH & virtual too!!! But pushed on in pain my body had hit its max of running so 4-5min km pace down hill with lots of champs but knew if I stop I will never start again! Lots of people on the streets had water for us but I couldn't drink it & had it dropped over my head to cool me off! It worked too😜😎 last 3k or so was flat & it was my race so time to give it all & pushed on passing lots of people all in so much pain ( I felt the same ) trying to help a few people too as they fell over in pain!! But needed to keep moving & soon came to end last 1k to see 1000's of people everyone outside the cafes pushing us on at this stage I was crying lots as for my pain of such a very tough adventure with that dam heat !!!!!!!! & then seen that lovely mat & gave it socks push push push I was very happy that I could push that fast on my forefoot staying nice & light tap tap tap to the end of the race!!!!!
GREAT to see My friends George & Sam at the end...
My GPS moving time 13hours 7mins over all race time 14hours 22mins 26secs!! Not the best but happy I didn't give up!!
Thanks for reading peace & juju hugs to you all..
Big thanks to the MSR team Greatoitdoors for everything..
Transvulcania 2017...Wow! What a race from start to finish. We set the alarms for 2.40am, went to bed and dozed until the beep beep started. Up we got, all our gear ready from the night before, got dressed quickly & set about trying to eat something (not an easy task at that hour of the day). We left our apartment to join the other The Walking Dead dressed in running gear heading to the bus stop!!The buses arrived promptly and we were off. A 40 min drive to the bottom of the Island. A quiet, nervous, slightly tense journey.
The bus stopped at Faro de Fuencaliente lighthouse. It was pitch dark as we made our way to the 1,000's of runners waiting to line up for the start of this epic race. We saw some elites lit up in the front row like they were in a shop window. Us mere mortals went to our spot and lined up ready for action. The atmosphere was electric, over 1500 people queuing up for their mission. I got a little emotional looking around, thinking this is it, this is really happening!
Because that's what it is, it's a mission and a very personal one. Only you can make it up that mountain & only you can decide that you really want it. The mission was on! At 6am we started, a trail of lights snaking their way up towards the mountains. It was straight onto a single technical trail, queues to get started and eager legs to get running.
There wasn't much running for the first 14k...all uphill with approx 2000m elevation😲...it was going well though and I had no issues with the climb...Juju's training was definitely paying off. Once we could take our poles out it got easier. That was about 7k in after passing the first aid station. Another emotional moment going through that village...I felt like a superstar, everyone cheering you on. Amazing!
As we climbed the black sandy trails, the higher we got the more trees there were. The ground was a mix of volcanic rocks and sandy stones. It was hard going with little stones getting into my shoes...I was conscious of hitting the check points before the cut off times so I pushed on, tap, tap, tap with my poles, getting more comfortable with them with every step.
Looking ahead, all I could see was a trail of people all getting higher and higher so it was a case of mind over matter...just move, the legs will do what they do. I kept climbing, reached the check point with time to spare so all good, I was relieved. I felt like now I could be part of the experience, that I belonged here as much as anyone else. That's the thing with me, sometimes I feel like an outsider, like I'm not as capable or experienced as these Ultra runners all around me. But I was starting to really feel like I belonged now.
Pushing on, up in the forest, it got foggy and a little misty rain was a very welcome feeling! The lushness of the surrounding were superb and the colours like a painting. It was beautiful. There were hairy trees and beautiful wild flowers. There was still more climbing to do but I felt good so I was happy.
More climbing, it was hot again and it was becoming relentless. I saw Jay up ahead and thought there must be something seriously wrong for me to catch up with him. It was really nice to see a friend. I hadn't talked to anyone in hours and that's tough going for me!! He was not doing good, the heat was killing him and he was a little delirious. We talked for a minute and he said to push on...so I did. I really hoped he would be ok. I said good bye and pushed on.
Heading higher, I felt like I was on top of the world, high above the clouds with amazing views. I couldn't believe I had climbed that high. We still weren't at the highest point!! I kept saying to myself once I get to the 50k aid station I will be ok...☺
The Roque de los Muchachos, (the highest point) and near the 50k mark took what seemed for ever to materialise! You could see where we had to go but never seemed to get closer! I was beginning to get tired and my knee was starting to give me trouble now. I got to the aid station at 46k, sat down beside a guy who was crying, sobbing like a baby. I couldn't handle it....I was going to start too unless I got out of there. I knew how he felt. I gave him a hug, got a quick fill up of my bottles and moved on. This was going to be great (or so I thought)....all downhill from here and I was nearly at the 50k mark. Tap, tap, tap...
It wasn't to be, my knee couldn't take the downhill at all. It was starting to hurt. Even if my knee was good, the downhill was so steep & technical I would have found it difficult anyhow. At the 50k mark I decided to go with the flow, try to ignore the pain and get on with it. At this point I was thinking if I can get to 60k, I'll do it!
This was when Jay turned up again.....big smile, bounding down the trails, loving the terrain, jumping rock to rock, not a bother on him. He had his mojo back. I was delighted for him and a little envious of his energy. It was great to see him though ☺
"Keep on moving, don't stop now...keep on moving" was singing in my head, I plodded on, still sore. Singing was the best thing to do...ignore the pain!!
The next aid station and I had a brainwave, I could get some ibuprofen, that would at least give me some relief. And it did...I did what I do with my kids, timed 20mins and I was like a new woman. I still couldn't run the hills and my toe was sore now too but I could get down the hill faster and without too much pain.
My head was good, my body was ok considering and it was becoming a reality that I might just do this. The downhills were becoming relentless, more so than the up hill had been, sharp rocks the whole way. I caught up with two girls who spoke English...I was so excited at the prospect of talking to someone. We chatted about how the race was like child birth...once you start you just have to see it through, how we were lucky to have had tough long births as this wasn't as hard...funny 😅
And then we got to the zigzags above Tazacorte.....well I never!!! I got dizzy looking down, remembered that I don't like heights and began my descent. I was trying to be light on my feet and not clench my toes, doing what I was told to do but I found it hard. My body did one thing, my brain telling it to do another. It was a huge relief to get back to sea level and again the cheers and shouts from the spectators were amazing. There were only 170 women in the race so people were really supportive of us.
Not far to go now, running along the path feeling good, a flat path...heaven!! For about 2 mins and then we were routed onto the beach, more bloody sand!!!! And then up through a rocky river bed. It felt like someone was laughing hard when they mapped the route for the race, an evil laugh!! This was cruel. My watch said 64k...I had 10k to go or so I thought. Then there was a b##ch of a hill to climb. I thought I was tied for time so I motored up that hill passing 10 people on route. I was going to get back before the cut off if it killed me. My watch still said 64k! At the top of the hill the Marshall pointed to a sign that said Los Llanos 1.6km
It took a few minutes but I then realised my watch was wrong and I got a mojo moment and I ran, smile on my face and tears in my eyes, high fiving so many kids and cheering along with people cheering me on.
I'm proud to say I ran over that finish line, mission complete - 75km and 4350m climbing. My training paid off big time (big love and hugs to Juju ✌)
I feel I belong now. 🏅