Running

26.2 marvellous miles, London Marathon baby!!!!

Well, today has pretty much been spent sleeping, hobbling, watching the marathon on iplayer and smiling….! I’m so so chuffed with myself that I completed my fourth race this year and my fourth London marathon 🙂 here’s my story!

The day before, was pretty much spent distracting myself from the task that lay ahead. I did some all important fundraising, a lot of housework, and got my hair done…. Got to look good for the finishing line! Then in the evening Matt and I went for a meal (Italian obviously). By the time we got back I realised that I had clearly been avoiding the fact that I had a marathon to run the next day as I had got nothing ready! Cue work to get all my stuff together and iron my name onto my orange vest 🙂

I went to bed about 2300 as knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep before that, nerves always get the better of me. Thankfully I fell to sleep fairly quickly and apart from a 3am wake up for 30 minutes slept until 6am.
You all know what comes next, it involves reluctantly eating porridge……

Onto the train station I went and the platform was packed! Mostly with runners and their supporters, along with the odd person here and there that were just going about their usual business. I took a slightly different route to what I am used to as there are rail works going on until January, and this change in routine did not help the nerves. Everyone getting off the train at Greenwich had the same look of “where do we go now?” But the answer to that is always simple, follow the 37,000 other runners!!!!!


Then came the all too familiar walk up the hill to the Red Start. There are three starts for the London Marathon, Green, Blue and Red. Charity place runners head straight for Red 🙂 I’ve always been in the Red Start, so not sure how I would feel should I ever get a ballot place and have to go to Blue!


Once in the Red Start area you can feel the tension and excitement bouncing around and off every single person. Some will be first time runners, others have run many many times before. One thing however is the same for all of the runners, we are all nervous, excited, proud to be a part of London tradition, and have one aim, to get across that finish line!

I was keeping my eyes peeled for other #teamorange runners but it was so so cold that we were all very much covered up. Slowly some of us found each other and we made small talk but it was obvious we all had the race on our minds!!! Group photo and it was time for us to all find our way into our ‘pens’ like a herd of cattle and to wait for the start.


The pens were getting full pretty quickly, and I always hate being at the back of the pen so I did a sneaky climb over the barrier and snaked my way towards the front. There was the hum of chitter chatter in the air as everyone bounced around trying to keep warm, stretch in the confined space and think about the task that lay ahead, 26.2 miles……..

A countdown from the International Space Station begun and we all joined in, then we were off! Well, kind of……

It took 25 minutes for me to reach the start line and I had to remind and reassure myself that slow and steady was definitely the safe option. Too often when I’m running I come across people really struggling, and I was really keen not to be one of them! There was a long way to go and I was definitely in it for the long run….


The first miles passed by comfortably and quickly. At 8 miles I felt strong and my pace was good. I was going comfortably quick for me and felt confident of a good finish time. Matt was only 2 miles away at mile 10 and with my all important wine gums!


Two miles came and went, then I was at mile 10, met Matt and it really lifted my spirits. It was so great to see him and get not only a sugar boost but a confidence boost too. He made me feel wonderfully like a winner 🙂 and spurred me on to continue strongly.

A mile or so later came my next reliable cheer point organised by a friend, Sabrina, and her family, they made a lot of noise and Sabrina even got a sweaty hug from me, lucky gal!

Not far away was Tower Bridge, and this is always a massive landmark in the marathon, by this point you are almost half way and you know this is where you have to start digging deep to keep feeling good. Also for Team Orange, this point comes in the form of a cheer point so loud you almost want to take off!


Not long after came the all important half way point and a little smile to myself as was still feeling rather good and managed this in well under 2.5hrs. I was hopeful of a good finish….


Miles 14, 15, 16, and 17 all good. Quick loo break and onto mile 18……. Damn! My horrid Achilles injury reared its ugly head and bit me in the ass. No no no!

At mile 19 Matt was again there to cheer me on and provide the all important sugar boost. I stopped here for a quick stretch (and moan) and bags full of reassurance. The last mile had been significantly slow and my ankle was very sore. One thing was for sure now, I wasn’t going to get under 5hrs but I would bloody finish!

I decided on a walk/run technique, and started to walk for 2 minutes at each mile marker before running on to the next mile marker. This worked amazingly well and surprisingly I never got to the point of feeling like stopping completely. The miles came relatively quickly to me (I had also decided not to chase the miles), and before I knew it the finish was in sight!


By this point I decided it wasn’t far and that running to the end was my only option. Nothing, and I mean nothing, beats the feeling of turning off Birdcage Walk, into The Mall, and seeing the finish line, I cried the whole way down the Mall and blubbered like a child once over the line 😂😂


My finish time was 5hrs 13mins, only 3 minutes short of my PB in 2008, not bad considering I was out of training for nearly two weeks with an injury and that it made an appearance with a fair few miles to go. Obligatory hobble to get the wonderful medal, and to find my bag, goody bag and husband. I collapsed into his arms and he helpfully assisted me put my jogging bottoms on 😂😂

Then a pose (trying not to look like I’m in pain)…..


From here we strolled onto the post race reception for a brief catch up with people, and the most important task of getting a massage….! The charity and other runners have been the most amazing support for each other throughout the whole marathon journey and without each other this journey would have been so much harder. The noise when you arrive back at the reception is rapturous and in all honesty I was a little embarrassed, but nice to know the miles are appreciated!


After the massage (thank of goodness for the massage!) and a quick chat with people I felt like I just wanted to go home, eat and have a long hot bath. I couldn’t wait to see my babies and my parents, for who this journey is equally as important. After all, I haven’t just run the marathon for me, every step and every breath is for Graham and others affected by MD. 4 years ago today we laid him to rest.

We decided to walk back to Waterloo as not moving wasn’t really an option if I was going to make it home without needing to be carried. Walking back to Waterloo is always worth it just for the view 🙂


All that was left to do was grab a burger and go home, to where I was welcomed home with hugs and kisses and congratulations…. And called a winner by my girls.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me during this journey so far. We are now 1/3 of the way through and almost £1700 raised. Only 8 races to go!!!! Not sure I can beat yesterday’s experience but I will do my best!

If you would like to donate to our cause then please visit

http://www.justgiving.com/Sarah-Phillips38

If you would like to know more about my 2016 challenge then check out my other posts!

Did you race this weekend and if so how was it??

Running

Tomorrow…. 26.2 little miles are waiting….

So, turns out I’ve been rubbish at posting recently. I’ve had a completely nuts times staving off injury, illness and working in my opinion too damn hard. But the knuckling down, concentration, meditation, and contemplation is all worth it, tomorrow is marathon day!

I promise you get you all up to speed on my training and my injury woes very soon, but today, as my children go off to my parents for the night and my husband enjoys some football, I wanted to briefly share how I’m feeling right now. Trouble is, I don’t really know if it can be put into words…..

This is my 4th London Marathon, and my 4th race this year. Still doesn’t make the challenge any less daunting. On the one hand, I have the experience and knowledge to make tomorrow oh so familiar, and the anxieties of a first time runner  around what the start is like, what drinks stations are like, toilets etc are not really bothering me. But these feeling of  excitement, nervousness, and “oh dear god it’s a long way” are no easier to keep in check…… How do you process thinking about running 26.2 miles?

I think it all really sunk in on Thursday when we took ourselves to the expo to collect my number. My children were just excited that it wasn’t an ordinary Thursday after school activity. We took a boat down the silty river instead of a boring old tube train. As we sped down the Thames, to Greenwich, I felt like I was taking in the route on a different level, and in reverse! Every landmark we sped past triggered my brain to visualise how the race looked from the road when running, and memories of marathons past, mostly good but some uncomfortable memories!

Once in the expo I withdrew into quiet reflection, taking in the tension in the room. The buzz of excitement, the questions people were asking others, the wealth of good luck messages on various platforms and people posing with their numbers for a wealth of photos. Every person on their own journey and every person a hero in my eyes.


Yesterday was spent at work, and I was grateful for the distraction. My kind colleagues who have been on my journey with me this year have been super kind in wishing me luck and telling me I’ll be fine……

So for today I practice the art of distraction. I have a kit to prepare, hair roots to be banished (got to look good for the finishers photo, although it may all fall out before get there) and carbohydrate to load. My legs are full of energy from the taper and ready to run. I don’t know until I’m pounding the streets of London how my day is going to go, or if I’ll reach my goal of beating my PB (confidence lacking in recent days) but what I do know is that I WILL cross that finish line and collect my 4th medal this year, and my 4th marathon medal. For that, my friends, I am awesomely proud of myself…….


I’d love to know if any of my readers are running London tomorrow and if so, how are you feeling?!

If you would like to sponsor my 2016 efforts to collect 12 medals in 12 months for Muscular Dystrophy UK in memory of my brother Graham, then please click the link below 🙂 if it wasn’t for him I would never be embarking on this journey nor have the strength to run a marathon.

http://www.justgiving.com/Sarah-Phillips38

Running

It’s been 3 weeks now…..

My second go at writing this post! Wrote a really long post and lost it all! 😫😫😫😫

It’s been three weeks now since I last wrote on this blog, a serious case of life, work, sulking and injuries got the way. But after some quiet reflection and being on holidays I am finally back on top of things! I will update you on what has happened after the (three) weekly round up.

Weeks 11, 12, and 13

32.66 miles limped

Total 2016 miles = 187.42m

Donations received = £280.00

2016 total raised = £1110.00

Fundraising has gone really really well despite the lack of miles run. Thanks to all that have sponsored!

Following on from the Surrey Half Marathon which was just amazing, I carried on with my training plan, as scheduled, only to be bitten by a nasty little injury. All was going well until the day of my 16 mile run………

I woke on the morning of my planned 16 miler to feel a little discomfort in my heel, nothing major, didn’t need any painkillers, but just a niggle. My calves had been super tight previous to this and in all honesty I’m not the keenest of stretchers (naughty me!). I put it down to the tight calves and ummed and ahhed over what to do. After some gentle encouragement from husband I decided to go for it, knowing I could turn around if it felt bad.

Off I went, video documenting as I went, and I felt as grrrrreat as Tony, I even shaved off a MASSIVE 20 minutes from my 2013 16 mile time. I was on top of the world. But the next morning…… OWWWWWWWW!

I had the most tremendous pain in my heel, my Achilles to be precise and I could barely walk. Going in for two 12.5hr shifts at work also didn’t help. I had a choice, to train through it, albeit gently, or rest. I decided on the latter and didn’t do any running for 13 days…… Just huge amounts of stretching, foam rolling and massage.

By Saturday I had been pain free for 3 days and decided that was the day I needed to be brave and get back out there. Just 30 minutes, test the old Achilles out. I honestly thought it would be slow and painful, but I proved myself wrong by running a fast (for me) and bouncy run!

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Full of confidence I just had to decide what I was going to run on Sunday, traditionally long run day. Had all gone well I would have run 18 miles, and then begun the taper section of marathon training, but my team members over at Team Orange and my head said to scale it back and go easy. So I plumped for 10 miles, all of which I am pleased to report were comfortable and pain free, despite the hilly terrain around where my folks live.

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As long runs go it was also quick for me, quicker than I plan to run the marathon so I am again feeling more confident about marathon day. Dare I believe I may even get a PB??!!

More on my injury and recovery next week but for now I wanted to share a reflection with you.

Easter Sunday (Graham passed away on Easter Sunday 2012) has been and gone, and 8th April will soon be upon us, marking 4 years since Graham left for paradise. One of the reasons I have not written here is because I have been quietly reflecting, weeping and getting angry at times about our experience with DMD. This poem really helps my when I feel low and I would like to share it with you all….

The Lord saw you getting tired
, And a cure was not to be,
 So He put his arms around you
and whispered, “Come with me”

With tearful eyes, we watched you suffer
, And saw you fade away,
 Although we loved you dearly,
 We could not make you stay.

A golden heart stopped beating,
 A beautiful smile at rest,
 God broke our hearts to prove
 He only takes the best.

It’s lonesome here without you
, We miss you so each day,
 Our lives aren’t the same, 
Since you went away.

When days are sad and lonely,
 And everything goes wrong,
 We seem to hear you whisper,
 “Cheer up and carry on.”

Each time we see your picture,
 You seem to smile and say,
 “Don’t cry, I’m in God’s keeping,
 We’ll meet again someday

Graham, you were too much loved to ever be forgotten ❤️

If you would like to support us in our fight against muscle disease then please donate using the following link and endeavour to end pain and suffering for all affected.

http://www.justgiving.com/Sarah-Phillips38

Running

Medal 3!! Only 9 to go!!

Hello one and all 😊 sorry I have been somewhat missing in action, as ever it’s been super busy with a few life hiccups along the way. However, I pinched my nose, closed my ears, held my breath and blinked three times and I’m through the hurdles. I’ve earnt my third medal today which I’m super chuffed about but first time for a catch up on training and donations!

Weeks 9 and 10 Round Up

41.22 miles galloped

2016 miles = 154.76m

Donations received = £115.00

2016 total raised = £830.00

So fundraising has been on the slow side recently. Managed to make a pretty penny from bake sales but haven’t had a single sponsor in 10 days. Time to change tactics!!!!

Also sadly, Matt has been horribly injured and hasn’t been able to run as much or as far as he would have hoped. Here’s my training for the last two weeks though ☺️






So! As I mentioned today was race number three and what a race it was!!!

For race three it was decided that we would run the Surrey Half Marathon in Woking. It’s a slightly undulating course (for me anyway, training in the flat London suburbs!), through countryside and pretty local villages. Around 4500 runners took part today and the atmosphere was brilliant.

We had to get a hotel for this race because although ordinarily we could get there in plenty of time for 9am start, engineering works soon put a stop to travel plans! We booked into a simple but comfortable hotel and honestly, I may do it more often! I slept ridiculously well and got an early night as there was not housework to faf around with!


We woke up bright and early and a gentle potter around the room soon told Matt that he wasn’t in the right place to run today so he took the difficult decision to sit this one out… Which meant I was running alone 😩 I couldn’t decide on my tactics for the run so we went down to breakfast which was wholesome and tasty, and for once I wasn’t forcing it down! We packed our bags and the nerves soon set in!


We walked down to the event village which was alive with runners, supporters, sponsors, music, adrenaline and excitement. Everything was well laid out and perfectly signposted, no way we could get lost here! A quick baggage drop, toilet stop ritual, stretch and small talk, and it was time to go to the start line. I had to decide on what my plans were and quick!

I had two choices, aim for a PB and to beat my Hampton Court Half time, or run at marathon pace and gain some confidence for the next race? I then decided there was no point in taking it too easy 😉 and plumped for beating my PB….

I tucked myself into the sub 2hr 20min group which was big! A lot of us runners that aren’t so fast but pretty fit to be able to go out and do this in the first place ☺️

Then just to wait for the starting signal


Suddenly we were counting down and we were off! And literally on time to the second! The tannoy announcer did a great job in getting people on their way and pointing out all the many different charities running that day. I noticed that today was a good day for Harrison’s Fund, Macmillan, and a local hospice, they had plenty of runners out there. Didn’t see any other #teamorange runners but hey, I like to be different!

The support on this course was incredible, the crowds were noisy when they came, and the locals did a good job in keeping up spirits when the crowds dwindled. Every pub we passed had a live band playing and there was music in the air at so many points. It really does make a massive difference.

The weather was fabulous and the scenery breathtaking. We really do live in a wonderful country, with so much unspoilt land.

The pacers were a super friendly bunch and I pretty much ran with them chatting for the first 10 miles. The pace was slightly ahead of 2hrs 20min and at 11 miles I felt quite fresh and decided that today was the day I would beat my best (albeit only) half marathon race pace.

The crowds towards the end were everything they should be, loud, excited, supportive and truly wanting to be there, the last half mile would not have been as tolerable without them!

And in I ran at 2hrs 17min 23sec, a whole 2min 13sec faster an Hampton Court

 

As ever, this journey is overwhelming and emotionally draining, but there isn’t a minute where I don’t think about stopping. For Graham I would run anywhere. For his memory and for all the boys out there that so desperately need a cure. Thank you all for your ongoing support and encouragement. It means the world ❤️ 3 down 9 to go and next it’s the big one….. LONDON MARATHON 2016!!!! 🏅🏅🏅


http://www.justgiving.com/Sarah-Phillips38

Running

I often ask myself why…….

Dearest readers,

If you are a regular reader then thank you so so much for coming back and reading again, if you are new then welcome! It really feels like the challenge is well under way now with some new developments this week, but you can guess what comes first!

Week 8 Round Up

20.23 miles hobbled

2016 miles = 113.54m

Donations received = £110.00

2016 total raised = £715.00

  

  
This week has been what is known as an adaptation week, so although the long run run milage has increased there was no speed work involved and just two level one/easy runs to do mid week. You all know how I love speed work and so will know how GUTTED I was to read there were no hills or intervals this week 😂😂😂😂

Adaptation weeks are usually thrown in a couple of times during a 16 week marathon training plan to allow your muscles the necessary time to heal and repair and thus become strong and adapt to the additional mileage they are having to endure. For me this week has gone well, and came at the right time, it allowed me to revel in my joy of last week’s race a little longer without thinking about heavy training.
Just for fun, this is me at mile 11 last week 🙂 #teamorange vest worn proudly!


And with just 2 weeks until the next race I felt dizzy when my race number came through!


AND, just tonight, we have registered for race number 5 in May, just two weeks after the London Marathon, a nice little ten mile race in Alton, Hampshire, through the lovely countryside. The special part of this race, it starts and finishes at college Graham attended, Treloars College, before he became too unwell to attend.

Sometimes during training, when the runs are dark, cold and wet, my knees and hips are broken and my social life is non existent, it can be difficult to keep up momentum, and be motivated to train. I often say to myself “Sarah, what were you thinking? You just couldn’t leave it could you?” Of course the answer is no! I couldn’t! And then I remind myself of my primary driving force in this challenge, Graham. With this force I am able to use my muscles in a way that both Graham never could and many boys/men with Duchenne MD never will, without a cure. I can use the muscles that I have been blessed with to raise much needed funds for Muscular Dystrophy UK, and join the fight against muscle wasting conditions.

Tomorrow, 29th February, is rare diseases day, and I thought this week that it might be good, and hopefully interesting, to share with you the charity that is closest to my heart. I also hope to help everyone understand where their kind and generous donations are going!

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Muscular Dystrophy UK (previously known as the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign) was founded in 1959 it’s mission is to bring individuals, families and professionals together in the fight against muscle-conditions.

MDUK brings together more than 60 rare and very rare progressive muscle-weakening and wasting conditions, and together these conditions affect around 70,000 children and adults in the UK. They are leading in the campaign to get essential emerging treatment for families in the UK and tirelessly support high quality research to find effective treatments and cures. MDUK are without a doubt committed to finding a cure for all muscle wasting conditions.

MDUK ensure everyone has the correct specialist NHS care and support they need, when they need it, regardless of their postcode, which historically was once a challenge. Like many charities the provide a range of services and resources to help affected individuals live as independently as possible, and help their families to support their loved ones.

By sponsoring me you are helping not only to keep Graham’s memory alive, but also helping this amazing charity continues its essential work for other families affected by DMD. Ultimately, nothing is better than a cure, but as about a quarter of the charity’s income is raised by fundraisers like me I thought it might be of interest to demonstrate how much their vital work actually costs (it’s staggering) and why we are aiming big this year! Here is what our fundraising go towards should you decide to sponsor –

£35 – funds an hour of research that could lead to an effective treatment or cure to improve and lengthen people’s lives.

£50 – gives parents one hour with a specialist physiotherapist who can show them the valuable muscle stretching techniques that could keep their child walking for longer (I remember my mum doing many hours of physiology over the 16 years from diagnosis! Many many hours!)

£148 – funds the MDUK Freephone Information Line for one day so staff can provide vital support to families and healthcare professionals on a wide range of conditions and issues.

£500 – allows the nationwide network of young people with muscular dystrophy and related neuromuscular conditions – known as Trailblazers – to get together in their local area, to discuss how best to get jobs, socialise and live independently (something most of us take for granted!)

£900 – allows the charity to make a grant towards the cost of a child’s powered wheelchair.

£2000 – covers the running cost of a Muscle Centre for a week, providing diagnosis and multi-disciplinary care.

£30,000 – funds a PhD studentship for a year.

£100,000 – supports a research student through their PhD, encouraging the brightest young scientists to stay in the field of neuromuscular research.

If you would like more information on this  amazing charity then please click the button at the top of my page. If you would like to donate then you know what to do with this link 😉

http://www.justgiving.com/Sarah-Phillips38

Feel free to press the all important follow button!

Over and out!

Running

2 medals down, 10 to go!

Good evening one and all!

It’s been a great day 😀 and I can wait to tell you all about my second race for 2016 tonight, but as always, let’s start with the weekly round up!

Week 7 Round Up

19.81 miles dashed

2016 miles = 93.31m

Donations received = £145.00

2016 total raised = £605.00

 

Really pleased with Tuesdays Threshold after work, the longest threshold I have ever managed!

 

Could only manage a staedy run on Thursday in my ever so hilly home city.

 

 

Todays half marathon, and a bit.

Training this week has gone well, as has fundraising, people are so amazingly generous and with any luck our end of year total will be through the roof!

So, onto today’s half marathon event…..

We chose to run the Hampton Court Half Marathon for our second medal of the year. Luckily for us this half marathon event is a short walk from home and takes in a good amount of our usual long run route! Perfect for the first half marathon of the year! I tried to think of it as a training run for the marathon in April but with a well deserved medal at the end!

I spent last night getting all my stuff ready, in my usual crazy way (see my last post for my silly running rituals!). By 9pm all my kit was laid out, my bag was packed and I started to relax (if you call lying awake thinking about the race relaxing!)


The morning came and I did my usual “force my porridge down my throat”  routine because I was so hyped/nervous/excited. It’s funny, for any other long run I can eat no problem, but on race day I do literally have to force feed myself!

The walk to the race was pleasant, the mornings are starting to get lighter and the mile and half stroll to the starting line was a good time to sort my thoughts outs. I was impressed to see the Marshalls out at such an early hour too, helping non locals reach the start line and making sure the route was ready to be run.

Arriving at race HQ was pretty awesome, there were far more runners there than I imagined there would be, nearly 4000 in total. HQ was impeccably organised and every thing was easy, plenty of loos, quick baggage drop and funnels for you to file into depending on your pace.  I decided to have a little stretch, toilet stop, stroll around and to keep warm.

Some time was spent deciding which funnel to go into. I’m not a fast runner and hate being with people who outrun me, it makes me feel slow and rubbish 😂 I was aiming for 2hrs 25mins, and so put myself in the 2hrs 30mins group. I’m usually quite a slow starter and don’t find my pace well until 3 miles into a long run so figured this was a safe option.


The start time was slightly delayed, mostly due to the popularity of the park and ride, a good few hundred runners had not arrived by the start time and so quite sensibly the organisers decided to wait for them to arrive, I think I would cry if I missed the start of a race!

The time came to run and and the pacing group were a terrifically friendly bunch but after two miles my legs felt good and so I broke away. The conditions were just perfect, a nice breeze, overcast but not raining, and mild but not hot. The route was largely flat and fast and I found my pace on the familiar route quickly.

The water stations as ever were run by the local scouts groups and volunteers, God bless those volunteers! I walked to take on water at mile 3 and then carried on at a good pace for me. There were more water stops at miles 5, 8 and 11. I walked through each station, partly because this is a technique I am aiming for this year in London, but also because I defy anyone who can drink from an open cup while running!

My favourite part of the route had to be miles 8 through 11. This is where you run along the ever scenic tow path from Kingston Upon Thames to Hampton Court Palace. It’s traffic free, and for today only was cycle free, and takes in much of the grounds of my favourite royal palace.  Also, who else would you expect to be cheering you on but Henry  VIII and Anne Boelyn?

Once past the palace you really are on the home straight and it wasn’t until this point I realised how fast I had run (for me anyway!). I began to realise my pace was much faster than planned and the I was going to comfortably beat 2hr 30mins. With half a mile to go I pushed myself to go  faster than was comfortable to be honest but I wanted to then beat 2hrs 20mins. Before today I didn’t even dream it was possible but………..


2 HOURS 19MINUTES 36 SECONDS – Sarah Phillips, position 3254 out of 3818 runners.

Once I’d sprinted over the finish line I joined in the obligatory hobble to the chip removing stand (confidently places foot on upturned bucket for attendant to remove *wobbles*)

Then of course comes the medal and the goody bag, which this one was welcomingly full of food!


Home, bath, food, drink, sleep, and Facebook updates for my ever supportive friends 🙂


Two down, ten to go! Next race in three week so! Not sure how long this pose will last before I have to use two hands!

As every, here is the kinky to donate if you so wish to 🙂

http://www.justgiving.com/Sarah-Phillips38