Wednesday, 25 July 2018

The Wild Women Training so far...

So we all know roughly how to prepare for most physical challenges, right? Going to run a race, prepare to run more. Research ways to improve and you're on the right path, it's all quite simple. But when you are faced with something like the Wild Women challenge, where an earth do you start? There are so many components that you have to prepare for.

This challenge is rapidly approaching and our ladies are gettting well and truly stuck in to their training, this is what a few of them have been up to... 

Sadie - Hiking

Sadie has stared hiking, regularly hiking the 300m, 6km hill behind her house and most recently the 725m, 11.5km hill Beinn Dubh. When Sadie isn't able to get out hiking you will find her on her treadmill on the hilliest setting and even working out whilst cooking - now that's dedication!

Susie - Swimming & Kayaking 

Susie Aka Diary of a Charity Chick is incredibly fit and active, recently she has completed the Big Welsh Swim and has also been kayaking as a part of her 
training for the Wild Women Challenge.

Toni - Coasteering

Toni has dived right into her training (get it?) by coasteering, tackling difficult terrain and even jumping off a 45ft cliff into the sea, being the only one in her group brave enough to give it a go! She has said that this will not only help her physical strength but her mind set towards the challenge as well.  

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

How to mentally prepare for a survival challenge...

The first thoughts for many that read about the Challenge these wild women have agreed to take on, are the physical aspects forgetting about the willpower they will have to sustain mentally to get them through.

"Preparation for a wilderness expedition, such as the one Caitlin and Emma will be undertaking, requires both physiological and mental preparation. Most people have a good idea of how to prepare physically for challenges, such as hiking up mountains, abseiling, or rafting. The internet is full of advice on how to increase your physical strength with weight lifting or your cardio-vascular health with running or cycling training plans. However..."

Dr Sarita Robinson has written a guest blog post all about survival psychology for wild women challenge. Click the link below to read more...

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Introducing Wild Women Claire & Carrie-anne

Claire Sceeny 
Age: 42
HG Heroes: Iris (8) & Dilys (5) 

I had HG in both my pregnancies.  In my first I was signed off work for the majority of the pregnancy.  I suffered dreadful insomnia because the nausea was so intense, and my eating was limited to one or two safe foods.  I vomited several times a day and retched constantly.  I avoided hospital in this pregnancy and was told I was lucky despite missing out on months of normal life.    I was not as ‘lucky’ second time round, the vomiting was far worse and I was hospitalised 3 times.  It took 7 different antiemetic pills before I could function at all.  I struggled to eat or drink and I was still mainly bedridden.   I missed 8 months of my older daughter’s life while I lay in one room, dehydrated and lonely.  My baby came a month early and she was underweight.  I found it very hard to come to terms with the guilt of this and the feeling that I had neglected my older child.  Almost 6 years later I can see how strong I was and this challenge with other inspirational women who have also suffered HG will be a fitting way to mark my recovery.

Until I was 21 I genuinely thought they turned the aeroplane engine off on aeroplanes after take off and glided over the ocean. I was very confused when this didn't happen the first time I went to America

The biggest challenge for me will definitely be the Kayaking and the cold at night! 

Name: Carrie-anne
HG Heroes:  Megan (10), Georgia (6) & Imogen (2)

My HG pregnancies were amongst some of the lowest times in my life.
The dreams of having glowing, healthy pregnancies long gone!

I had never heard of HG before I was taken to hospital with what we thought was gastroenteritis. At only 3 weeks pregnant (not showing on a pregnancy test) my blood work showed that I was indeed pregnant. I was hooked up to a drip, put in ward alone and told that it would pass by 12 weeks. How wrong that was! I was unable to stomach smells, swallow my own saliva at times and functioning day to day became a monstrous task.
My admissions to hospital continued throughout my entire pregnancy, I was often told it was in my head and that I should stop my medication for my unborn child's sake! I was too poorly to advocate for myself. I just managed with the help of my family to see it through. By the time my daughter was born I had lost my job, lost some friends and had put a massive strain on my relationship, but she was here and healthy... so we boxed up our experience and moved on to looking after our amazing baby girl.
Our story is pretty much the same for both my next pregnancies, and at one of my lowest points having our youngest, my local GP told me that here was nothing that she could do, and asked me if this was a 'Wanted baby?'!!! I lay on the floor in her Drs office in the foetal position and cried until she had to help me!
When our youngest was born, I knew instantly that I could never put our family through that again. We were now a complete family and that was that. Until all those experiences and endless months of feeling isolated and alone, not believed, guilty and sick caught up with me in one go! The experiences that we had suffered all felt too real, and was too much to process. I was eventually diagnosed with PTSD. HG doesn't just end when pregnancy ends, the effects that it has you and those around you are immeasurable.

I didn't know about PSS until after the birth of Imogen. I was trying to find answers on the internet for why I still felt the way I did even though I was no longer pregnant. I really wish I had found them sooner. I booked tickets for the next conference and forced myself to go. I was so scared; I had never met anybody else who had had HG before. I was so overwhelmed to finally be understood, that when I was asked to speak about my experiences, I started to talk and burst into tears! I managed to tell my story and be comforted by the most amazing group of people, who just 'Got it!' I signed up as a Peer support volunteer as soon as I got home that day.

That’s why I'm here, and doing this challenge! To raise awareness and funds for this amazing charity. Should my daughters need the help of PSS, it will be there, continuing to do the amazing work it does. Helping women through the darkest of times.

I have a MASSIVE phobia of Tomato Ketchup!!!

My biggest challenge will be dealing with the heights! Eek!

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Wild Women Challenge - The Kit List

This week we are sharing the kit list, these are most of the items that our Wild Women will have to take with them. When you read through it you can tell just how hardcore this challenge is going to be! 

-          Walking boots
-          Walking socks x4
-          Gaiters
-          Hiking Trousers
-          Thermal Long johns
-          Waterproof trousers
-          2x T-shirts (merinowool or synthetic)
-          2x long sleeve thermaltop (merinowool or synthetic)
-          Fleece pullover
-          Fleece/synthetic insulated jacket
-          Waterproof jacket
-          Thin liner gloves
-          Thicker ski gloves (preferably waterproof)
-          Warm hat
-          Sunglasses
-          20-35l Rucksack
-          Waterproof bags for equipment
-          Small gas camping stove
-          Water bottles 2 litres
-          Pot
-          Knife/fork/spoon or spork
-          Mug/bowl
-          Expedition meals – 2x breakfast 1x dinner
-          Sleeping bag
-          Small tent/bivi bag & tarp
-          Sleeping mat
-          Small first aid kit
-          Sun cream
-          Toothbrush
-          Head torch & spare batteries

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Introducing Wild Women & Trustee Susie Nicholas...

Name: Susie Nicholas 
Age: 45 
HG Heroes: James (11) & Charlotte (7)

Why I am doing this challenge?

One of the most difficult aspects of HG was that it stripped me of my ability to function normally. Things that we take for granted, such as getting out of bed, having a shower, getting dressed or going to work became impossible and this left me feeling pretty useless as an individual. Having HG has made me appreciate being healthy and what this enables me to do. It has made me even more determined to challenge myself physically and never to take my health for granted.

For me, HG was a bit like climbing a mountain shrouded in mist.  I remember week 9 being a particular low point in both my pregnancies. It felt as though I had a mountain to climb but I didn’t know how far it was to the summit. So it seems appropriate (and a bit terrifying) that I will be climbing an actual mountain not really knowing what will be expected of me or what obstacles we will have to deal with along the way.

Why raise money for PSS?

I didn’t know about PSS when I was pregnant. Vomiting constantly was physically debilitating but I also felt very isolated and alone which was really tough emotionally. My experience would have been very different had I known about PSS and been supported by one of the charity’s volunteers. This is why I’m passionate about raising awareness of the charity and fundraising for it - so that it can continue the amazing work it does supporting women through an extremely difficult time in their lives.

I unintentionally dived with a shark - the diving part was planned the shark definitely was NOT!

What will be the biggest challenge?

It’s hard to pick one as there are so many aspects of the expedition that I will find difficult. In fact, I expect it will be the hardest thing I have ever done - apart from having HG, of course!

There are the obvious physical and mental challenges. The route is not an easy one but a direct route from A to B, taking in all the natural obstacles on the way – cliffs to rappel down, rivers to cross etc., and this will definitely push me to my limits, physically and mentally.

Wild camping is also a long way out of my comfort zone. My idea of camping (or should I say “glamping”) involves home comforts – comfy bed, log burner, shower and toilet - and so coping without any of these during the expedition is going to be a major challenge. (I’m trying not to think about the lack of toilets and what this will entail although I’m told that a She-Wee is an essential piece of equipment!!) We will also have to deal with whatever the Welsh weather throws at us at the end of October - quite possibly torrential rain and freezing temperatures – which could make for a pretty uncomfortable and difficult couple of days and probably not much sleep!

Finally, it’s pretty daunting that I’ll be doing all this with a group of women I barely know. But I can’t think of a better and more inspiring group of women to do this challenge with. I’m sure that working as a team and supporting each other we can conquer the Wild Women Survival Challenge.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Introducing Wild Women Anna & Amy

Name: Anna Davis 
Age: 32
HG Heroes: Elodie (3) Non Hg pregnancy & Saorise (8months)

My diagnosis of HG came late, I was 16 weeks pregnant and had been excessively suffering with nausea and sickness since week 3. Doctors were unsure what was wrong with me as I hadn't had it with my first pregnancy, so were reluctant to give me medication, I was told that over the counter travel sickness meds, ginger and pressure bands would fix it. It definitely didn't. I saw several different doctors through my constant and persistent turning up to the doctors surgery every other day, demanding to speak to someone about how ill I was feeling. They did urine test after urine test but there were never any ketones so clearly I wasn't dehydrated. Eventually a doctor said to me hyperemesis gravidarum, I had never heard of it and wasn't exactly sure what it meant. I went home relieved that my illness was a real thing and that finally someone had heard me. that was when I found PSS on a Google search. My sickness became manageable around week 20, I didn't completely stop being sick but it was down to about once a day, but the nausea never let up and didn't until I had given birth. The first 20 weeks of my pregnancy had already taken its toll both physically and mentally. My partner became my carer and I missed my daughter, my triggers were clean smells, water from the tap, clean clothes but by far my worse triggers were the smells of my daughter and my partner and of my own skin and hair. I lost weight, muscle tone and suffered severe hair loss, I looked in the mirror and didn't recognise myself. I flitted between anger and misery, it felt so unjustified, why had I got this condition? My family and friends disappeared, those that knew didn't understand the condition and many didn't even know I was pregnant, we had gone into survival mode and lived within the four walls of our house and never went out. I spent the best part of 12 weeks confined to my bedroom, apart from my hospital visits. Having suffered with anxiety and depression before, I saw the warning signs coming but that still didn't stop the darkness from entering our lives. The isolation was very hard for me, I thrive on social interaction and love being around people. I was also referred to consultant led care at the hospital at week 18, as me and the baby were below the 10th centile, I was told that HG shouldn't cause this and my baby was small because there was something else wrong, I then had growth scans every 14 days and was told that unless I started eating and gaining weight they would deliver my baby early. I was devastated. I slowly started to gain weight and finally at 39 weeks the consultant agreed to sign me off his care, I wanted to deliver at a midwife led unit that I was recommended in Lichfield -  in a different county to where I live. I was put in touch with the midwives there by my own midwife, as they had experience with HG pregnancies. This was the only place I felt understood and safe in my entire pregnancy, I managed to get in to see them three times during my pregnancy for assessment and treatment, but by that time the worst of my HG had passed. I'm 8 months post HG now and still feel the repercussions of the condition, I still struggle to verbalise my experience without crying, my mental health has vastly improved but I feel as though I now have scars that I will carry with me forever. Unfortunately irrevocable damage was done to some relationships with friends and family which is a tragic shame but one thing I learnt from suffering HG is who my people really are. 

Before mummy life I worked security in the VIP area at VFestival which meant I looked after the celebs & met the likes of Kings of Leon, Paul Weller, David Guetta & Jessie J

The biggest challenge for me will probably be the cold, I struggle to sleep if I'm cold and also suffer with poor circulation so cold weather is always hard. 

Name: Amy Armstrong
Age: 32
HG Hero: Luna (1)  

I first started vomiting from four weeks. By eight weeks, I was bed-ridden and vomiting about 80 times a day. It was isolating and really violent vomiting, I was throwing up blood. Finding out I was pregnant was the best news I ever received, but eight weeks down the line I was considering an abortion. My first visit to the doctor he said it was common morning sickness, words which felt like a death sentence. I felt there was no other way out, I felt like I was not going to survive. I thought if I didn’t have an abortion, the pregnancy could kill me. I didn't find out I had HG until I was taken to A&E. A family friend put me in touch with Pregnancy Sickness support and I saw a different doctor from then on. I got put on medication and then on my good days I would now vomit between five and 10 times, and those days would be two to three times a week. On my bad days it was absolutely horrific, and I would need to go to hospital. The HG went once she was born but the after effects haven't.
My daughter is now a year old but I am still suffering with PTSD and get help for this every week. I get anxious and panic about situations/things that used to trigger vomiting when I was pregnant. I am terrified of vomiting and of getting pregnant again. 

I have a pet pussy (cat), my pet sphynx Walt  

I will find the rappelling/abseiling most challenging as I don’t like heights.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

3 stretches to include in your warm up before running...

This month at PSS it is 'choose your distance, raise money & run'. 

We all know  about the importance of warming up before running (well any physical exercise). Personally I am awful at warming up or cooling down properly, I just want to get on with it and maximise the time that I have. This puts me at a much higher risk of getting injured.

I thought I'm probably not alone on this one, so I have researched some stretches to do before you start running, these target specific muscles that will be used and will put you at a lower risk of injury and could even potentially make running a better experience. Hopefully this will inspire you to do a proper warm up, or if you already do some fresh ideas about what to include.

1. Walking lunges 

How to: Start with your feet together, take a long step forward bend your front leg to a 90 degree angle with your back knee almost touching the floor. Hold this for a few seconds, then push up with your back leg until both legs are straight, repeat on the other side moving forward, continue this for about 10 lunges. 

2. Side Stretch 

I'm sure we have all experienced stitch before, this stretch will help to avoid getting it. 

How to: Stand with your feet a shoulder widths apart, put your arms above your head, keep your abdominal tight and simply lean to the side bending at your waist and hold for a few seconds. Keep alternating sides and repeat about 10 times.

3. Calf Raises 

How to: Stand on a step facing in, with the balls of your feet on the edge of the step and your heels hanging over. Lift your heels up (like you are on your tip toes) then slowly lower them down until your heels are slightly below the edge of the step and you can feel the stretch in the back of your calves. Hold for a few seconds and repeat around 10 times. 

So there you have it, a few easy and simple stretches to include in your warm up routine.