First Ultra…Race To The Stones

Never in my life would I have ever thought about doing an ultra, let alone sitting here writing about my first one! I’m still in a slight shock of what happened yesterday, but absolutely buzzing from the whole experience!

I first came across this race, when a couple of friends posted about it last year. I then came to realize there were two more of these 100km races dotted around the country and decided to do a bit more research. Spread over two days, or all in one if you are that daring, you can walk, run or jog your way through the beautiful countryside trails and endure everything it has to offer. In our case the heat and unshaded route….! Regardless of how you take it on, you are guaranteed to have THE best time!

My alarm went off at 6am and I nervously shoveled a bowl of overnight oats into me, along with water and a cup of green tea. My dad kindly dropped me off at the start, only a short car ride from my house. At 7am, the temperature was already 20oC, and I was getting nervous. I met Charlie and Martha, along with her husband Daryl and the legend that is, Andy! If you don’t follow him (you can here) and I suggest you do. This guy is the most inspiring, genuine and kindest person I’ve ever met. Gutted to have no gotten a photo with him, but so glad I got to meet him!

Charlie kindly braided our hair, we quickly ran to use the bathroom and then climbed into the start pen! We’d opted for the wave after our originally planned one, because we weren’t quite ready, but it didn’t matter. We were all super excited, feeling good and relaxed!
Once the gun had gone, we were off…oh my god this was ACTUALLY happening! 50km’s and the totally unknown, was ahead of us!

The first leg of the race, and to the first pit stop, was 10km. The sky was crystal clear and the views were absolutely stunning. We did a mixture of running and some walking, but with a pretty flat course, we thought we’d get ahead of the game a bit and we all felt good. Being in the Oxfordshire countryside, you are bound to meet many hills and we were greeted by our first one before reaching the first stop!












Here we were able to grab some snacks, fill up our hydration and water bottles, use the bathrooms and medical tent! I learnt a new trick here, from Martha, with regards to my hydration pack…if you fill it up with liquid, turn it upside down, and suck all the air out, it stops it from swashing/making so much noise when you run – legend!!!! After we’d sorted ourselves, we started off again and at only 9am, the temperature was rising fast.

The next leg was pretty long. Just over 8 miles to our second pit stop, up many steep hills, through the Field of Dreams and our favorite part, the woods! Only because it was shady and cool! Haha! We slowed down a little here, as it was getting very hot, but that was okay. We had no time limit, we took each km as it came and supported each other continuously.












We reached pit stop number 2, where we refilled our water, grabbed more food and I caked myself in suncream after another runner pulled me aside and said my shoulders looked extremely red and were burning! I definitely underestimated the sun and the route, thinking there would be more shade then there was. As we left pit stop 2 we soon bumped into Mel, Andy’s girlfriend and saviour, as she had a huge box of watermelon in the back of her car! Adrienne will understand my joy, as well as the other three, because I was craving it so bad during the second leg! Refueled, rehydrated and ready to go, we headed off on our third leg. Another 10km to pit stop number three!












Off into the field, through someones gorgeous garden and out onto the path that ran along the river. People were swimming, on their boats and dipping their feet in the water, something we all wished we could do! We passed the 25km mark, half way, YAY! I remember doing quite a bit of running along this part of the route, which unfortunately was unshaded, but bearable and the breeze coming off the water was heavenly! We came away from the river and into the village of Goring and Streatley. Familiar ground and one of my favorite places to come for a walk and coffee/lunch! I was very happy here, we’d also reached the 30km mark and I was feeling really good!













As we headed over the bridge, and into Streatley from Goring, we met Mel again! I caught sight of and sprinted to her, and before I knew it, she had the box of watermelon out waiting! A total lifesaver in my eyes! At this point we were only a mile or so away from pit stop number 3, and boy that watermelon was much needed! There was a long hill, that dragged on for ages, before the next stop.

Pit stop number threeee!!! I was quite glad to get here, only because I’d run out of water and needed to cool myself down. I was getting slightly worried as I’d had a headache for the past few miles and not used the bathroom since the first pit stop…so I loaded my pack with water and hydration tablets and grabbed more watermelon. I also had to pop to the medical tent to get my shoulder taped, as I knew some chaffing was happening and I could feel I was getting really tense.



























With more suncream applied, we carried on up a monster hill! This lead us out onto chalk/rocky covered ground, which was open and made us all feel like we were in a foreign country. It was boiling, we could feel the heat coming up from the floor and we’d all resorted to walking. It enabled us to take in the stunning views, rest a little, chat and make sure we were all okay. This part of the route felt very long, especially before we got to the last pit stop. We could see it, but it didn’t feel like it was getting any closer. We managed to entertain ourselves by finding “easier” ways to pass the km’s by skipping…which was a laugh, but yet it still seemed so far away!

Finally, after a sprint entrance, we’d reached the final pit stop! We quickly grabbed more water, loads of chocolate, Charlie had to visit the medical tent to strap her blister up and then we were ready to go. FINAL 6.9km’s to go, we had this!












Off we set, running as much as we could when the sun went behind the clouds but again the trail felt long and was windy, with absolutely no shade. At this point I still felt great but was slowly starting to fade and my bum was so sore and had gone slightly numb! Charlie and I had gone ahead of Martha and Daryl at this point, which was totally fine, because they ended up being extremely close behind us at the finish, which I was very happy about!
I can’t thank Charlie enough for staying with me and pushing me to the end. We reached the 50km mark, and again we could see and hear basecamp, yet it felt like a million miles away. We climbed up the hill and through the carpark, where I saw my mum waiting for me.












I could feel myself getting emotional and pushed every ounce of power into my legs, that I had, to get me to that finish line. As we finished, I cried, got handed my medal and gave Charlie the biggest hug. I’d done it. I was an ultra marathoner…!












I absolutely cannot thank these three amazing people enough for one of THE best days! I’m beyond proud of myself, them and everyone who raced this weekend. The conditions were brutal, dare I say it, worse than during London, but we smashed it. The Ridgeway will forever be a special place. A place I made memories, new friends, laughed, cried and enjoyed the most stunning views. Thank you again, to everyone, who wished me luck, cheered me on and congratulated me. I am beyond overwhelmed and extremely lucky to have and to know you all!

I hope everyone who raced is recovering well and not feeling too sore! Massive well done!

Emma xx


F45 Training

I heard about F45 training classes from a few people, and after doing a bit more research into what they were all about and what classes they offer, I signed up for their free one week trial.
I booked my trial around the unfortunate time of my Grandma passing, so when I emailed to ask if I could change my week, they were more than accommodating. I can’t thank them enough for this, as well as their efficient and quick responses to my questions and emails.

My first class was on Tuesday morning, known as ‘Romans’. A resistance type/body burn class for 45 mins, based around 9 stations. We started with a warm up, projected on to 3 screens, that also showed how to do each exercise, the time of the exercise and rest period. Out of the two I attend, this one was my favorite. I left feeling strong but very jelly like and DOMS that lasted for days!!!

The second class was ‘Hollywood’. THE sweatiest Saturday morning class I’ve been to! I walked in to find 27 stations set up ranging from ropes and weights to box jumps and sprints on the bike. We had a set number of seconds on and for rest, completing the circuit twice.

I left feeling ruined and drenched but absolutely buzzing.

The one thing I really liked about both classes, was the team work side of things. I was welcomed into both classes with open arms, praised for the work I was doing and very much felt part of the F45 ‘family’.

So, thank you F45 for making me become addicted to your classes, welcoming me with open arms to your amazing trainers for their guidance and support and for making me feel damn comfortable in myself again – I WILL be back!

I can’t recommend these guys enough, and if you have an F45 studio near you, GO!

Emma xx

Green Park Royal Berkshire 10k

Since London, I’ve taken part in two races, both of which had extremely different outcomes. The first, and one I didn’t blog about, was the Oxford Town and Gown 10k. Three weeks after a marathon, and I thought I would be fine, everyone jokingly said I still had it in my legs but it was the total opposite. I wasn’t looking forward to the race, I hated every mile, it was hot (why I was even complaining about this, is beyond me!) and my legs felt empty. Luckily, I had the support from a lovely group, who I ran the race with, and the only highlight of the morning was the coffee and breakfast we had after!

The following weekend, I had another race, the Royal Berkshire 10k. I toyed with pulling out of it because of what happened the following weekend, but I’m really glad I didn’t. We were all dressing up as fairies to run for the Teenage Cancer Trust. A fantastic charity, and one I wanted to help my friend support.

As the weekend got closer, I saw the weather and temperatures were meant to be amazing, another hot run on the cards. I’ve decided I must have attract hot days and running races, this is the 3rd one in a row now!! Regardless of the weather, I was really looking forward to dressing up, seeing a few friends and running a new route.

We met quite early, but I’m glad we did as it was a bigger event than I thought. And, as always, there weren’t many toilets resulting in a quick dash to the start line moments before the gun went!
I started off at quite a good pace, not pushing myself and settled quite quickly. The course was good and the neighbors were out supporting us, but boy was it hot! There wasn’t a great deal of shade and only two water stations, both using plastic cups. It’s wonderful to see all these races ditching the plastic bottles and being aware of plastic use.
Half way round and I was kind of wishing I wasn’t wearing my tutu and compression socks, plus I started to feel quite sick. I ended up doing a bit of walking and running towards the end, being picked up by other runners encouraging me on. I crossed the finish line, desperate for water and to sit down!

I found a few fairies sat in the shade, so headed over to join them, have a chat and check my time! I had managed to shave 9 minutes off my last 10k and felt extremely proud and quite smug!
After a quick catch up, I said my congratulations and goodbyes, before heading to get a post race photo then make my way back to my car.

A fun race, for a great cause, with friends and on a lovely sunny day! One way to spend a Sunday and one I wouldn’t have any other way!

Happy Friday everyone, have a lovely long weekend!

Emma xx


Happenings 11.5.18

Inspired by the beautiful, Heidi.


Doing – Sitting at the kitchen table, watching mum sort ingredients for supper.

Hearing – The tumble dryer and the television

Drinking – Green tea. A love of mine, especially in the morning.

Eating and cooking – Hmm, recently I’ve been craving fresh and colorful salads with a form of protein. After months of eating pasta and lots of bread, during marathon training, admittedly I’ve slightly gone off them. I’ve not been doing as much cooking at work, but I have been at home. I made the most delicious tofu burgers for my parents and I last night, which went down a treat. This afternoon I baked my dad his favorite ginger cake, which he’s already devoured a quarter of!

Wanting – More sunshine and warm weather, like we had over the bank holiday weekend. Wearing shorts and summer dresses was such a treat, and to feel the warm sun on my skin, made me feel like I was on holiday.

Wearing – My pyjamas. And yes, it is only 5.30pm here in the U.K. No shame! I’m pretty tired from a very hard week.

Looking – For somewhere to go away at the beginning of June. I am in need of a break, change of scene, some time to rest and regroup. However, with a few uncontrollable events happening, I’m not sure its going to be possible. Keeping my fingers crossed and my search on!

Deciding – What to have for supper…

Enjoying – Rest and a break from training/running. I have to say, I have loved not setting an alarm for 5am to get up and run before work. I’ve also enjoyed having weekends free and that don’t revolve around a long run. With that said, I am ALWAYS up for a run with Charlie, and am actually starting to miss my runs, now I’ve had a good rest period. I’ve signed up for a few fun runs and will keep my legs moving until training for NYC starts in August!

Watching – ‘Friends’ on Netflix but other than that, not much. I don’t really have time to watch tv. I sometimes climb into bed and think I’ll start a new series or put a film on, but actually, I’d rather go to sleep!

Reading – Charlie recently gave me The Tattooist of Auschwitz. Which I read in about 4 days. I couldn’t put it down, it was so exciting, sad and very easy to read, that I became excited to get into bed at 8pm and read as much as I could before my eyes started closing!
I’ve just started Still Me, by JoJo Moyes and I love it! I would also recommend, Me Before You and After You, which are a lead up to this one.

Buying – Not a lot…really trying to save my money, for a holiday, or my trip to America with my parents in August. As well as a house fund and general savings…I feel I have nothing left from my paycheck, anyone else with me?!

Planning – A holiday and lots of running!

Craving – Fresh, colorful foods, especially cold pink lady apples! Also really into smoothies at the moment!

Loving – Sleep…and lie ins!

Savoring – Moments with all my family.

Playing – Scrabble…strangely! My mum and I enjoyed a few games over the long weekend, sat in the garden with snacks and wine. I scored one of my highest games, but didn’t manage to win against my mum! Nonetheless, it was the switch off and distraction we both needed.

Feeling – Sad, emotional, tired and drained.


Emma xx

Tough Mudder 2018

I’m not sure many would enjoy spending a cold, grey Saturday morning caking themselves in mud, diving into freezing cold water and climbing over many wooden obstacles. A week after running the London Marathon, many people called me mad, but I couldn’t wait. I’d attended the event last year, so knew what I was in for and this time with new obstacles and course.

We arrived at the event filled with a mixture of excitement and nerves. Our wave was at 9.20am, so after meeting at the tent, greeted by the Black Tower Wines and Sonya (our Mudder tour guide!), we had a few photos taken and then headed to the warm up zone. Here we were made to show complete strangers our cat walk, completely embarrassing ourselves before starting.

With a pledge and a short cheer, we were off. Ready to take on whatever was waiting for us! The route, this year, took us through a lot more of the grounds/woodland and the obstacles weren’t as close together as I remember them being. Nonetheless, it wasn’t raining, we were all smiling and enjoying getting to know each other. We shortly came to our first obstacle – the Kiss of Mud! Sonia showed us the most efficient way of getting through, without getting attached to the barbed wire or face planting into the mud. However I failed at this and got trapped by it twice…!

Running on, we came to the Block Ness Monster! I openly admit I didn’t do this last year…however, I had no choice and I actually really enjoyed it. It involved plunging into chest deep water, climbing onto the rotating square shaped obstacle and letting it carry us over. It was FREEZING but a lot of fun and we all quickly got moving to stay warm!

Soaking wet and with stone and mud filled shoes, we said our temporary goodbyes to the camera crew and headed around the rest of the course. We met more mud, climbed over vertical walls, pulled ourselves through tubes, trekked up a monster hill and climbed a hay barrel tower.
We then went on to tackle our last obstacles, Everest and Pyramid scheme. Both of which were two of my favorites last year and was excited to give them another go!

With the finish line in sight, we all grabbed each other and ran. Soaked and freezing, we were handed our finishers t-shirt, a snack and made our way back to the tent for a few more photos.

Feeling very proud and full of smiles, we thanked and said our goodbyes to the brilliant camera crew and Sonya, for taking us around the course safely! Yes, we were all covered in bruises and I definitely felt like I had been hit by a bus the next morning, but I had the best time. Making new friends, supporting each other and taking on a new challenge together is what this day was all about and it was so much fun!

A huge thank you to Black Tower Wines and Charlie for an awesome morning!

Emma xx