1 week left for my 200k in May challenge

deering woods pluckleySo it is a bit less than 1 week to go now (just 4 days) so I better get this blog in quick.

My running challenge for May is nearly at an end. It started with such enthusiasm and drive but the middle has been hard. I have kept pretty much on track of 50km a week except for a couple of weeks where I have fallen behind 5km here and there. This has had quite a negative effect, it has felt like there have been so many km’s ahead of me, in a glass half empty kind of feeling. I have been told so many times by my run rural running coaches that running is all in the mind. So I needed to change my attitude.

smarden lambs

I decided to go on a 10km run to get closer to my target. Slightly oblivious to where I was going (a bit distracted by a tractor) I took a wrong turn, instead of going back I decided to run a different way, I had a certain point in mind. I got to that point and thought I feel alright, I am going to try to run to see my partner at work. Up a hill I went. I had the most amazing run. The fear is that getting there is the easy part but you still have to come back again. I took it slow and even went a longer way home. I felt like I could keep on going. I did 17.2km that run and it felt good. I felt pleased with myself.

So I had racked up a nice chunk out of my target and had a couple of days off. I still had 35km to go and I was desperate to not fail my challenge being so close. I thought I had better go for another run. Again my legs took me further than I had planned. I am starting to feel like I can just keep going, I have really got into my rhythm and I have found a comfortable running pace where I can keep going. I did another 12.8km.

I have 22.2 to go and 4 days left…

edgerton hill


200k in May – day 15 update

It is the 15th May 2018 and I am half way through May and therefore halfway through my challenge. I thought this makes it a good time to check in and let you know how it is all going.

It has been a crazy month of extremes in weather, motivational peaks & troughs as well as a near death experience!

I am trying to keep it to 5 running days and 2 rest days (Tuesdays and Saturdays). Sometimes I am going for 2 or even 3 runs some days to get those K’s up. Several shorter runs a day (morning run, run rural running club and dog jog) work better for me than 1 long run but I am trying to do these too. I guess it is all about variety!

pluckley woods after the bluebells

Week 1&2: The motivation was fresh and so was the enthusiasm.

I did have a minor wobble early on when I had a rest day on day 2 and my challenge buddy had clocked up a few runs and I felt that I was now behind. I did have to remind myself that this was no competition and something we were doing for ourselves. It is not the first one to 200k (but the first one 200 can buy the cakes!)

All of a sudden at our local running club they have decided to train us in other ways like circuits, bleep tests, running backwards, running with a mouth full of water, hitting tyres with sledge hammers and all other manner of strenuous, sadistic things and it is seriously hitting my weekly km intake. We were doing 7ish km at run rural we are now doing 2.5 – 4 on some days. This is why I am doing 3 runs a day!


Friday night out with the girls was not a night of prosecco and high heels but running 15km, which is the most I have done at once since the Headcorn half marathon in Feb. The ladies tricked us into running further by telling us we were on significantly lower milage than we thought. They had some things (gently) thrown at them when we realised.

hot runner of smarden
my face melted off


It has been a couple weeks of very hard running weather. HEAT what is with that, wonderful when your feet are dipped in the kids paddling pool and you have a cornetto on the go but running in it?! I struggle in the heat, sweat so much it burns my eye balls, I get an unquenchable thirst and I each time I get to a stile I slightly drape myself over it to catch some rest before enduring more HEAT! Running makes me hot and very red in the face, heat makes me hot and very red in the face the combination of the two is purple. I had a torrential rain run (kinda like those, it doesn’t lead to purple.) I also want to mention the extreme weather that was running through a flood but this was last month, gah…

melissa dawkins runner smarden
flood run

The near death bit. This was exciting and quite beautiful. Usual run out to the Screaming Woods of Pluckley (the most haunted woods blah, blah, blah) and I took a different route around it. Each I run through it though I think I have gone a different route because it changes every time I see it (not in a trees moving supernatural way but in a seasonal way and I have not been running through it for a whole year yet). So it was all beautiful and green a slight breeze and I watched the tree tops swaying a bit and then a bird jut stopped in front of my dog and I, so I took some photos it was really close and then it just walked off. We ran on for a couple of minutes and I heard what sounded like a shotgun firing close to me. I turned around and watched this giant tree fall down crushing other trees as it went and spluttering broken branches all over the path a few feet away from us. We investigated, I took some bark, we ran on.

I am on 100.1km


May challenge

I need a new challenge. My running is getting sporadic, I am losing my focus and motivation. So it takes 66 days to form a new habit and just 21 days to break one. I am not sure exercise falls into the habit category because I can lose the ability to get running in a couple of days. I need to sign up to something. I need to have a reason.
I managed to do a half marathon in February. It was hard work but good. The training was so much fun though, I really bonded with the other people taking part on the weeks leading up to the half. (You kind of have to bond with people when you go out for a 2 hour run with them.)

pluckley woods running mud

I saw an advert for my marathon, my way which meant that you could run a marathon in smaller chunks or even walk over the month of May a total of 26.2 miles (42.2km). Which is a brilliant way to motivate people to do more and I think it is a fabulous way to achieve a marathon. I however average between 30 – 40km a week so this kind of distance in a month is no challenge for me and even in a week it would be easy and what is the point of that?

I decided that I would try to do 200k in May (124.3 miles). Now a real challenge. I will have to run 5 days a week and one of those runs will need to be a long run. I am lucky that one of my running buddies has agreed to do 200k too and others are aiming for 100km this month too.

Now for some discipline and dedication… Wish us luck!


Finish for Matt

After the very sad news of the death of Matt Campbell 3.7 miles off the finish line of the London marathon loads of people put on their running shoes and went out to finish his race.

I went out on Sunday afternoon after a bout of running lethargy for the week previous spurred on because I really wanted to finish Matt’s marathon because  I still could.

I ran 4.4 miles (because it made my loop) and finished the marathon for Matt.


I have also donated £5 to the charity he was running for, The Brathay Trust who endeavour to improve the life chances of children, young people and families by inspiring them to engage positively in their communities.

To find out more about the Brathay Trust click here.

To donate to Matt’s Brathay trust donate page click here. 

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Starting over

3 weeks of injury recovery done. I had rested… I had rested totally. Even though it was just my foot I hurt, I was of the opinion rest meant total rest. My evenings quickly got bunged up with work and the release from work – booze. My rest had taken me back to the beginning, a lack of motivation, a feeling of total unfitness, bad lifestyle choices and not in the best shape mentally. 3 weeks 0 days, I put on my running shoes.

Continue reading “Starting over”

My Introduction

Running has changed so much for me over time, the reasons why I do it, when I run, what tools I use, who with, pretty much everything about it. I think it really began for me in the good times of my youth (I was probably 10-12), I would run with my dad across Herne Bay sea front (he was a keen runner). I remember those sunny, seaside days so fondly. Then it kind of got lost for me for a long time but after I had my daughter I decided to do the couch to 5k. I think my sister was doing it and she had lost lots of weight running and that motivated me so I peeled myself of the sofa armed with my ipod (literally on my arm in one of those day glow arm bands which my phone did not even fit in) and thought I can run this too. Except the music on that couch to 5k nhs playlist was terrible and I had bad running shoes totally not fit for the impact of my size 16 self on my feet. I got plantar fasciitis quite quickly so I stopped. I started again some months later with new trainers and a new app which played my music (amazing). I was able to bust out 30 seconds of jogging and then 90 seconds of “fast” walking (which was actually slow walking, maybe even really slow walking). I progressed steadily and thought I was going really far (in hindsight not so much). Then I fell pregnant, got plantar facilitus again, stopped running.
Continue reading “My Introduction”