Step away desperation; here comes patience and gratitude


TDS of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc 2016  just before the heat stroke hit.


Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc or UTMB as it is called in the trail running world, has just taken place again with a super stacked field and some yet again amazing performances. Meanwhile in South of England I could not be further away from feeling like a true ultra trail runner. My last race was in March this year and what seems to be ingrained in my memory is the many Did Not Start:s (DNS) that has been significant for this year, rather than the two starts that gave me a win and a second place. It goes without saying that the lack of longer distance ultras has taken a toll on my running confidence. It started with a DNS in The Oner in April. Then I got over that and was happy and ready to roll in the Ultra Tour of the Lake District aka Lakeland 100 in July, but a cold put a stop to that. Then I tried to put in another race to use my fitness level, but a stomach flu put an end to that. Is this year of DNS or am I just being desperate and as such creating a bit of bad energy around my little racing universe??

While listening to some of the UTMB post-race interviews, I realise that I am not alone. Every runner suffers from lack of confidence when they get injured, or when they for one reason or another cannot start or finish a race during a longer period of time. I know that it is not the number of race podiums or race finishes that defines you as a runner, but to some degree you are never better than your last race. You cannot rely on old merits, and yes I will still believe that I get better every year, but unfortunately I am not getting any younger…alright, I really hate that expression with a passion! In all fairness, recovery takes longer the older you get, but on the flip side; I have fine-tuned my training and nutrition so I now know how to rock this ultra boat!


My playground! Not the mountains, but surely some nice stingy hills, in the Purbecks close to the sea.


Enough said about the past. What I really wanted to write about is that there is a reason to my inconsistent season. Let’s just face these facts:

I have just graduated from a 5 year Masters degree to become a chiropractor, I have successfully applied for and will start a PhD degree (kicks off in two weeks time!) and I have successfully found my dream job as a part time chiropractor at an awesome chiropractic and sports therapy clinic (take me there now; Davies Chiropractic and Sports Therapy Clinic). Surely this has to be ranked higher than any ultra success! After all, this has been my long term goal for the last 6 years which I had to prioritize above anything else. So I am very grateful that have completed these milestones. I am also eternally grateful to my family that have helped me to make this transition. Without you this would never have been possible in the first place. And also to my friends who have supported me throughout the years. THANK YOU SO MUCH, YOU ALL KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!

When I get caught up in a impatient state or feel unsatisfied with lack of results, I always ask myself the question; why do I run? The answer is that I run because I need to, I run because I love it, and I race because I love that too, but I have never aspired to become a full-time professional. For me running is a passion, an act of selfishness that gives me the freedom that I highly appreciate (although my surrounding will benefit from it too!). I also love my other jobs, and to be able to pusruit my passion as a runner, I need to take care of my body so that I can continue with this sport as long as I want to.


My Masters dissertation in progress. I wrote about compression gear of the lower limb in long distance runners. It has been submitted to a journal, and will be a poster at a chiropractic conference.


With this in mind, I am back in training and fingers crossed, I am aiming to start a 100 mile race in November, and if everything goes well I aim to nail it (yes finish it, everything else is a bonus). I am already all excited for next year where I luckily got a place in the Lakeland 100, and hopefully I get lucky in the TDS draw and hope to rejunite with Chamonix a 3rd time.

I made great plans to transfer this website to, however, so far I have not managed this. So until I get that sorted,  I’ll keep on posting here.

All in all; I feel very grateful for what I have achieved and will keep on practicing my patience for what lies ahead. Also a good reminder to all of us self-doubters out there; you got to believe in yourself!



Stay safe during the dark hours in the city lights

How does one stay safe when running in the dark? And how do you train when stuck in a hotel in a city, far away from your normal routine?

Linn UTMB dark.jpeg

Chasing darkness in Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. Far from city lights.


Since I have been living both very rural and in the city, I though I would share some of my routines when it come to running in the dark. It is something I absolutely love and something that you have to do a lot of anyway if you live on the Northen hemisphere. When visiting a city there are some simple ‘rules’ I like to follow.

The first thing I check in a hotel is: does it have a gym? If yes; good just use it and hopefully they have a treadmill? If this is a no, no reason to panic. Let’s just go outside, which I prefer anyway. As I always bring my running gear with me, this enables me to explore the city by feet. In my opinion, the best way to explore a city!

But before I lace up and hit the tarmac and get to know the cities’ scents and sounds, I want to make sure I don’t get into trouble. I take a good look at a map to first, to find out where I am. Then I google the city and the area to get some curiosa about the area. I might also end up getting info about where not to go. Unsafe places. Then I map out a route I want to run. I can either use one of my devices (Suunto Movescount has a ‘plan your route’ feature where you simply draw your own route and download it to your watch) or if I am lazy I use my phone and ‘go by feel’. I have a mileage and an estimated time it will take me, in mind.

Then I make sure I have everything I need for my run. And let’s say we are in January, it is after sun-o-clock and I need to consider darkness. Also I never go anywhere without a little bit of cash (in case of emergency) and my phone. If I intend to stay out for longer than 2 hours, I bring water. Anything less than that, no need for it.

So here follows a list of how to run safe in the dark hours:

Number one: always bring your phone with you. It can be your life line. Literally.

If you can run with someone, do that. If you are a lonesome runner, tell someone you are going for a run. It may be a family member or a friend or via social media, just let someone know that you are out and about. (And let them equally know when you are back at home!)

Stay visible; gear up with visibility stuff such as a vest, gloves, cap etc. Most of the running gear today have refelctives inbuilt, but sometimes they wash out. Make sure you stay updated with your reflectives!

Use a headtorch. Even if you are in a city, you might end up on an unknown path and your torch can be your best friend. (YES, you will look like a complete dork, but then again, you are a runner after all!)

Do not run in parks that has no light, and if you are a woman, put your hair in a bun, or tie it under your cap. Be aware of the people around you and what is happening around you. Trust your gut feeling; if something feels dodgy, it probably is. Run away from it, and keep moving in another direction.

Also stay away from big crowds, such as ques to night clubs and bars. Drunk people and people under influence of drugs, reacts differently and are unpredictable. And remember, you might look like a dork! (Another reason to upset someone who is spaced out…)

Avoid using headphones, and listening to music. It is all about taking in the city, or country side, or wherever you are. You need to sharpen your senses and be alert to what is happening around you. See point above.

Again, don’t deviate from public areas into dark narrow streets, always think safety first!

And most of all; enjoy the ride!


2016 is behind. Let’s keep on moving.

Is is really yesterdays news, but a quick recap of the year we left behind, and some thoughts about what’s coming.


Unfinished business in the UTMB, TDS

My big aim for the year was without doubt UTMB and TDS. Everything was a build up. I had just begun my heavy weight lifting training and periodisation to be race fit for this A-race. Injury hit me early on in the year and when I did South Downs 50, I felt sluggish, but strong. I managed a 7th position and was happy to be within top 10. The UK and Scottish ultra trail running Championship in April, The Hoka Highland Fling, turned out to be a fast story, actually the most speedy race in history if I remember correctly. It was 50 miles on the west highland way and also the trial for the GB and Scottish national teams. I managed to get 3rd female vet in my age category and 16th lady overall, which has to be considered a good performance with that competition. I still hadn’t manage to do any longer runs, and this always fails me on race day. But all the strength training was paying off nicely.


Flying along the West Highland way in the Hoka Highland Fling

Then it was the TDS in Italy and France. And it was the heatwave and all that. Yep, I dropped out and there is no doubt that that was the right decision. I spent 5 weeks in Italy preparing and having the best time of my life with my old and faithful best friend Sir T. What I should have done on race day though, was to SLOW DOWN. But you learn as you go and now I know, that when heat strikes, slow down or you’ll burn out.


TDS with the massif of Mont Blanc in the background


La dolce vita

Returning to British soil, I quickly looked for races to do while still in the shape of my life. However it would turn out to be hopeless to even get to the startline of these. If it wasn’t a cold, it was a deadline for my Master project, or lack of logistic solutions that made me DNS. That is life too, and probably the hardest part. Especially if you train hard, set up goals, and never really get a chance to measure your capacity. But as a little comfort, I managed to cross the finish line as first women in a league XC race (only 5k!), in my club vest for the Bournemouth Athletic Club. And I got a PB in 10k when finishing on 43:40 (unfortunately the organisers lost me and this is not registered!). Onwards and upwards!


My Master project, about compression gear for long distance runners. If it works? What do you think?


My lovely ‘bakyard’, the rolling hills of the Jurassic Coast

Improvements and thoughts

During December I took on the Marcothon challenge. A viral event, founded by Debbie Martin-Consani and her husband Marco, to run everyday of December, at least 3 miles or 25 minutes, whatever comes first. So instead of resting as per usual, I geared up and ran 350km (218 miles). It was a great Christmas brake back in Sweden with running with friends on old nice trails where my running journey once started. I also took my mother out on the trails together with the dogs, and it was all very nice to have December as a starting point, instead of the opposite. So this triggered a thought; what if I could run everyday, for another month? Obviously the ‘rest days’ have to be slow jog with the dog but this would be a nice experiment. Just to bump the milage up a bit and to train the mental side of it. Right, rest days are super important, we all know that. But let’s face it; when I rest I still go out with the dog, so I might as well log my miles anyway and trot along instead of walking. Now the trick is to still have two gym days with strength training for glutes and core, prescribed by the coach, and to have two speed days with the club AND to handle the demands of life aka college and clinic. And listen to the body! One day at the time…

I am all game and next up is Endurance Life, Coastal Trail Series in Dover. 33 miles and loads of hills…

Yes, welcome 2017, I am ready!

THANK YOU VIATRGO UK for supporting me with the best carbs and protein available!





Flexibility, or be happy where you are


I am full on with projects, but my racing has come to an halt. It seems like no matter how much I really really want to race, I just don’t get there for the moment. First it was the DNF of the TDS of Ultra Trail de Mont blanc, then I felt ready and game for the Sky Running series 3 x3000 in the Lake District, but the freshers flu got the better of me so a DNS. In desperation not being able to perform while still having some good fitness left from the mountains, I got a late entry to Lakes in a day the 8th October, another 50 miler with 4000 meters of elevation with navigation, but now I have to write that one off as well. So another DNS…

But in all fairness, why complain? I will do what I can to save money so I can run the White Rose 100 miler in November (yes the financial hardship of being a student is real and race entries don’t come cheap!) and the Costal Trail Series 47 miler at the Jurassic Coast in December. Surely that has to be enough to satisfy my competetive side this year. Besides, my committments that prevents me from racing this time, is finishing my Masters dissertation which I really enjoy since it is related to something that I will use in my future. On top of that I am working on a new webpage about new exciting stuff related to my profession and my passsion as a runner… So very exciting times ahead indeed.

No, really I cannot complain. I have choosen to go down the academic route, my choice and no one elses, and sometimes it clashes with my intentions as an athlete. And sometimes you just need to moan a little to realise that what you’ve got is actually not that bad. Afterall, I am in this in the long run and in terms of that, my future looks very bright according to research! More about that in another post though.

So my plan for the rest of the year:

Dissertation deadline 24th October

5 November White Rose Ultra 100 miles

27 November Boscombe 10k

3 December, Endurance Life CTS, Dorset, 45 miles

Fulled by VitargoUK.


A long race reflection of a short race


Beautiful burning beast and how to survive a DNF

This race reflection has been my hardest one to write so far. But here it is.

A little mote than two weeks has passed since my DNF of the A-race for the year, TDS in France. Quite the opposite to what I had planned and hoped for. However, that is ultra racing in a nutshell; very seldom things goes according to plan (or in life for that matter.). I am not going to dwell over what happened because I am over it and I look ahead to new challenges. However I am going to give some reflections of the race itself since that is how we learn from our experiences. I will also try to understand what could have gone wrong, or try to find possible reasons to why I had to drop out after 48k. I am fully aware of that sometimes there are no answers. But HEAT was defintely one of them…


During the last two weeks of my training, I kept on sneezing with a runny nose and I was coughing for unknown reason. I did not have an increased pulse pressure which normally is a good measurement of ones state of health for the day. Therefore I assumed I was allergic to something, which I normally never am. Could it have been the flat? Or maybe hayfever? Or could it be an infection… I did have a bit of swollen glands in my throat, but I can have that on and off as well without it meaning anything. I felt tired yes, and I felt like I did not recover as quickly as I normally would expect to do. But I had 10 good days of hardly any training as tapering, just some weights in the gym and one short uphill run, which really got my heart rate up. It had been warm, around 34 degrees and I am normally very sluggish in heated conditions, but I thought I was well acclimatised to the heat. The last days leading up to the race I did not sleep well, but then again, who does?

Race day


Race bib collected as the only runner to do so at 5 am on race day.


My race number happend to be left in Chamonix, so I had to do my kit-check and collect my race bib the same morning as the start, at 5 am, since the start was at 6 am in Courmayeur and by then my race number would be ready for me. Despite this I felt fine, and I was completely ready to trot along on the dark streets of Courmayeur after the sound of the start gun. To my surprise the streets were full of people cheering us at this hour before coffee o’clock. As always I am humbled by the audicence these races attract, afterall we are just a bunch of nutters who loves to run for silly distances at odd times in lovely surroundings…

I went out in a decent pace and tried to find my place amongst the crowd of excited racers. Everyone trying to claim their spot on the trail. When the sluggish uphill came I started to feel my heart rate elevate massively. Nothing odd with that and so early on and with added excitement, it was to be expected. When we came to the first climb, instead of taking the switchback trail in the forest, we went straight up on the dirt track road. I made it clear from the beginning not to go out at an insane pace, but to be the “macchina” I had trained to be, meaning that I could go out power hiking, feeling confident in my pace.


Early morning darkness. Love racing in the dark!


What happend next was that my heart rate never settled, like it should have done. Instead it kept on shooting sky high peaking at 90% of max sometimes, with me only fast hiking. I started to breath heavily and got that kind of heavy breathing you have in the last phases of a 10k race. I did not feel well, however I put those feeling aside, I was focused on reaching the first aid station of Masion Veille in one hour. And so I did with added two minutes. When the first climb was done, all in a stunning sunrise with the morning mist hanging over the Aosta valley, some less hilly sections came along, which normally means a breather. That never happened either. Even though I went for a quick toilet visit, my heart rate kept on spiking and I can see from my log that even on the downhill, I reach peaks of 85-90% of my HR max. Something that never happend during training and should not have happend now, being in the shape of my life and all. Obviously I did not look that carfeully on my watch but instead focused on pushing myself with the hope to settle into a comfortable pace. That pace was never found. Even though I had ran that same section 5 times in training, I never felt as wasted as I did now. Again, this was something I hoped would ease off. So I just kept on pushing up to 2500 meters at Arrete de Mont Favre.


The dirt track taking us up the first climb. With a weird smile I did enjoy the stunning sunrise and the view over Aosta Valley, seen in the background.


It was really alarming that I felt so rough so early on in the race. I could hardly enjoy neither the sunny face of Monte Bianco nor the helicopter that was hoovering above us for some video footage. I was still focussing on trying to get my breathing under control. With a burn in my chest I started to feel that I might have gone out too hard, and from there all kinds of thoughts came to mind. Since I knew that the brutal vertical that came after Lac du Combal would slow me down, I kept on pushing in a steady pace to get there. Afterall, this is what we do as ultra trail runners, we keep on pushing in hope for whatever discomfort we feel shall ease off, beacuse mostly it does. That is persistence. That is what we are trained for.

I did not hang around for long at the aid station at Lac Combal but just briefly filled my water flask. Already the heat was hanging in the air at 7 o’clock, and we knew we were in for some serious hot business for the day.


Arrete de Mont Favre. Photographer: Pascal Tournaire.



View over the valley and Lac combal towards the brutal wall up to 2600 meters. Photo credit Fullcoursetrails.


At the climb to Col Chavannes I died a little. I had absolutely no muscle power left. It was like the 8 months of rigorous training, and the last 3 weeks of mountains had left me with zero effect. I became really put down by this and let people pass me in hopelesness. Here the first mind battle started. I felt like giving up, seriously what was the point? But then that would mean giving in to your mind beacuse as far as I knew I still had loads of energy left, I just needed to tune into it… So I did the ultra trick; just make it to the top and then make a new decision.

After the gruelling slow snail paced climb up to the summit of Col Chavanne at 2600 meters, I took a few minutes to collect myself. I had been here with Tabor, this was familiar territory. Runners were passing me, but I took no notice. Many were the women who passed me, but I did not count them. It was like they got rocket fuel in their legs and they started flying down. For me the race was over, I told myself. Now it was all about surviving, to make it to the finish line. Resilience. But first I had to make it to Bourge Saint Maurice where my Aunt and ‘uncle’ would wait for me around lunch time. I could not let them hang around in vain, yet again..(they waited paintently for me 2 years ago when I did UTMB but had to DNF before I even met them!). But man did I feel battered! I was seriously worried how to manage but again told myself; just one step at the time, that is all it takes. No pressure. Easy, light, smooth and fast. Just one foot in front of the other.

So the long descent to Alpetta began some 30k in the race. We passed by the places where I and Tabor had been just weeks prior. I felt that I slowly got some energy back and could stretch out my legs and pick up some speed withouth my heart rate spiking too much. I visualised myself being in the rolling armchair, although I wasn’t feeling tired in my legs anymore, but I just wanted some rest after the rather hard start. I regained energy and laughed to myself about this mind game that an ultra event is. From dead to alive. From sad to happy. But was it only a mind game though?


The King of the mountains.


When I looked at the watch, I was going to be well within my average goal pace: 10 mins/km. Obviously, I had no intention to modify my pace yet, although I knew that I had to slow down later on. So far so good I thought, and all of a sudden a new race unfolded. I started to enjoy the surroundings and could push a little bit even on the uphill sections that now started towards the little Saint Bernard pass and the border to France. I felt grateful that I finally was able to use my strentgh. Sure I was still hitting 75-80% of my HR max, but I had my breathing under control. On the climb up to passo de Piccolo St Bernardo, people were cheering along the trails, and I fully enjoyed the moments of being in the spotlight, because ultra running is a lonely sport and your mind is your base fuel, but when the crowd goes crazy; you feed off from that amazing buzz and energy and simply run faster! However, the new player in the game had come to joins us; the heat…


Trotting with regained energy on the uphill.



Where’s the snow?


Just beautiful surroundings at the border between Italy and France. Here at Lago di Verney.



Happy again. Just soaked my legs in the water.


The good thing with all photographers is that you force yourself to smile, which makes the journey more pleasent…


It was around 11:30 and it was hot. It was very little if any, wind. Then the longest descent in the race, from the the small Saint Bernard pass to Bourge Saint Maurice begun. From an altitude of 2200 meters to 800 meters with a distance over 16 km, we were in for some pure downhill running. I had done my research so I knew it was a hard one, that it could take over 2 hours. I wanted to do it as fast as I my body could allow. I had just got some energy back! But the heat started to make me feeling uncomfortable. I had no problems with refuelling or drinking as far as I remember. I did probably not drink enough, because of stitches. But I kept on putting my head down in every spring I could see, just to cool down a little bit. It had some effect but now it was really really hot. Luckily downhill is my favourite and after the super sessions with coach Phill in the gym with all kinds of squatting, deadlifting, kettlebell session and circuits with Vannessa, I felt that my legs could handle the stress of some speedy downhill running. I passed a lot of runners during this section and started to feel that I was back in the game.


Hit by the heat and the struggle was on again. Just before the border to France.


Hells kitchen where fried ultra runners were served all day long

My split from the border of Italy to France was around 1,5 hour, which was fast. But I did enjoy the downhill section, I felt solid and strong and my Saucony Peregrine was super light and stable, and I finally got that flow that I had been waiting for. But. The heat. Was ON. Every time I passed a spring, I soaked my head. When I reached the outskirts of Bourge it was like hitting a brick wall of heat. The temperature hit 36 Celsius with aboslutely no wind. Bourge is situated at low altitude squeezed in between many mountains. It literally felt like I reached hell (not that I have been there before…). I had to walk many minutes and pushed myself to run-walk-run whenever I could think clearly, to get to the aid station. I was wasted. I could neither think nor run fast, I could only walk, run, walk. I needed to rest. When I came closer to the aid station you could here the whole town cheering and celebrating the runners. Again, like a vitamin injection it gave me new energy so I at least could run into the area looking like a runner, although I felt nothing like it. I saw my Aunt and ‘uncle’ and immeditealy threw myself in their arms. But there was no time to waste. They could tell I had been suffering. I might subconciously have known that I was dead meat. I gave myself 13 minutes to eat and drink. I still did not want to sit down in fear of me wanting to stay. The music was load, the spactators were cheering and the HEAT was on. I had no problems with eating my pizza slices and drink some Vitargo electrolyte and coke. More coke. And more coke. I needed the toilet and then off I went. I told my family that I could do this, but it was now the real race begun.

I never felt well rested from the most important aid station of the race. I knew that this section was the hardest one in the race up to Fort de la Platte and I had seen parts of it with Tabor, so I sort of should have known what was coming. I started off in a good pace, determined that the ones who never gives up, is the one who wins. I tried all kinds of mind games while I was passing people who were resting on the side of the trail. Some looked more exhausted than others. Then I saw a female runner coming back down in a quick pace. I concluded she was one of the top ladies as I hadn’t seen her before. Then more and more runners were coming down. This rasied questions in my head, and although I did not think about it at the time, I know it had an impact of my own decision later on. After 20 minutes and when coming out from the forest into the open, it was insanely hot. I had to stope several times. I had no energy left and I started to feel extremly fatigued. So bad that I had to sit down every 10th meter. I started to get dizzy and no fuel seemed to help. I was stumbling and feeling tight around my chest. I don’t remember if I got any weird sensations in my arm but generally I felt weird. I was exhausted. I had turned into a zombie. In this pace I would loose my ranking and it became a question of IF I could make though the cut-off times. I had to do something. But I continued to snail pace myself up the punishing wall towards Fort de la Platte. Then I felt the cramp in my heart. Immediately I lied down to rest. I called my Aunt and told her what happend. She told me to quit. I said that I would try just a little bit, just to be sure that it was not all in my head. So I tried to go a little bit further, but now it started to cramp even more. A very focal cramp. Could it have been my pecs? Any referral from my back muscles considering my heavy back pack? I quickly analysed the possible causes for my chest strain. Since I have experienced this before, I know that a heart muslce can become tired. There was no doubt that this was very much the same I felt. I called back and said that I was done.

The end

Now I just needed to walk the same trail down, meeting all the runners on their way up. Luckily my sunglasses covered the tears that I couldn’t stop from falling. So much emotions flushes thorugh when you make a decision like this. You feel that you are letting the crew down, the very ones who have helped you in one way or another to get to that start line. It felt like I was a scam and not a true athlete. It is an aweful feeling.

In order not to break down completely, I started to cheer my fellow competitors, it helped to ease my dissapointment somewhat. At least temporary. Now there were more runners behind me who joined me on my road back to Hell’s kitchen.


Another cut in the race bib stating the premature end of a race.


Summa summarum

When I reached Bourge Saint Maurice before I headed up to Fort de la Platte, I was in 196 place overall, after 6 hours and 48 minutes with an average pace of 9:35 mins/km. That is good, really good. I have no clue about the ranking amongst the females, but considering half of the top seeded women dropped out where I did or the next aid station after that, it doesn’t really matter. There was a 40% drop out rate during this UTMB. This was just one of those days were the heat was killing us all. Maybe I had some late stages of an infection as well. Either way, when your heart is hurting, you stop. The game is only a game. And life is life and worth living. After all, there are so many more places I want to explore and so many more races I want to do. I might not return to the UTMB specatcle for many years, but I am happy to go back to the mountains as soon as I get a chance again.

A big thank you to everyone inlvolved in helping me out in this race; you know who you are! Let’s look forward now for next years big race; Matterhorn I say…

Post race status

I feel good and recovered and have started to train for another adventure in the Lake District on the 24 of September. A 80km/50 mile race with over 4000meters of elevation.

Hopefully I will be able to get to the start line and hopefully I can finish that one.

Meanwhile, thanks for reading!


Recovery with a view. Guess which summit is Mont Blanc? (Not the one you might think)



Days after, more energy to spare. A climb to Glacier d’Argentiere was as beautiful as I remebered it from last time. Photo: Sir T.

Keep on moving and kick ass!

Fuelled by Vitargo UK.