The coldest day of my life …. so far !

10 11 2010

Woke up this morning with one thought on my mind – today was going to be the coldest day of my life so far!

It wasn’t encouraging that when I went out to get the newspaper from the end of the drive in a blisteringly warm 8 degrees – I actually felt cold! and shortly I was going to be nearly 40 degrees colder!!

Arrived at Bisham Abbey with plenty of time to spare and sat with Greg Whyte  (see pic – little ‘n’ large ?!?) prior to entering the climate chamber, who gave me my 4 point warning ….. any lack of feeling in the tips of my fingers, tips of my toes, nose or ‘other well known extremities’ were to be reported immediately as having an inch or so lobbed of any of them for frost bite was not that inviting !!

It was bloody freezing – we entered the chamber at -20˚ and this is where I begin to get amazed at technology – I was wearing thin thermal underwear and what appeared to be 2 thin ‘wick away’ layers as instructed, my specifically designed fell running boots and two pairs of thermal socks. The gloves were massive – thin innerds, second layer and an outer layer that looks like one of those hand things you wave at Wembley Stadium.

The problem as ever was getting started – the race at the North Pole will have a gap between us leaving the tent, lining up and actually starting to run. This can be as long as up to 10 minutes so we stood around and chatted for 5 and got very very cold.

I was then put on the cross trainer as in those temperatures a running machine could not operate and something remarkable happened … I got warmer and the longer the session went on the more the kit worked – toes were marginally cooler, hands and other appendages seem to be fairly snug.

There were a few issues that we will need to sort out … in covering my ears, mouth, and to a degree, my eyes I seem to be creating my own, slightly claustrophobic environment around my face, where breathing into my own thermal covering steamed up my goggles, made breathing that much harder and made the moisture on the outside of my facial covering turn to ice … not sure that Armani will adopt this look next winter !

Wind chill was fun. The chamber was at -20˚ with a wind chill factor added of – 11˚. I spent the last 40 minutes at -31˚.

In the words of Gloria Gaynor ‘I survived’ apparently with everything in good working order and then Greg and I went for a run around the grounds at Bisham on a beautifully sunny autumnal morning ….. it is amazing how this project seems to take me a million miles away from the rest of my every day life!!

They think its all over .... I was wrong - this is just the beginning !!


The KNEED to begin !!

7 10 2010

My physio team of Ed Blake and Peter Chum (those are his hands!) have performed miracles and in spite of various surgeons advice that this mission would not be possible with my sports battered, and particularly, badly injured right knee – I am up, running and relatively pain-free – its only five miles at the moment but that means I have only got to add another 21.2 in the next 6 months !!

I am also so excited that eminent Professor Greg Whyte (the man who got Cracknell and Fogel to the South Pole, Cheryl Cole et al up Kili and Walliams across the Channel) has agreed to take me on as a challenge ! He and Karen Williams at Sir John Moore’s University in Liverpool will be creating and supervising my training programme.

Greg ran me through the machines and all the aerobic tests last week and I am good to go !

Not going to add much today as the next event will be my visit to the climate chamber at Bisham Abbey on the 25th of this month which will replicate the North Pole and my first exposure to the realities of running in deep Arctic conditions – I purposely have kept the heating off in Hertfordshire to begin my conditioning!

Just a final note for today …. a very very big thank you to the four beautiful nurses at Hospiten in Estepona who sewed my toe back on in August when I managed to detach part of it near the beach !! They only looked about 12 but they were great at ‘needlecraft’ and I won’t even be able to feel the frostbite!

PS – Loads of causes coming in – thank you all so much … we are going to do some good work here. Will let you know as soon as we’ve sorted through so many suggestions.