Solitude

It’s ok to be alone and enjoy it.

Running allows me to do just that.

Regular snippets of time away, out on the trails or coast paths in the beautiful outdoors, makes me a better mum. The here and now, the changing weather and the fresh air all combine to make it a perfect place for me to enjoy that time. I come back refreshed and topped up with energy.

Time spent running is never guilty time, the boys would find it odd now if they didn’t see me get out on a run and come back rosy cheeked & stinking (their words!). Guilt doesn’t rear its ugly head when I’m out there. I do this in part because of my family, because I want to stay energised to keep up with my 9 and 6 year old boys, because I want to be a fun mum that takes them on fab bike rides and get mud splattered and because it makes me value the time that I share with myself.

I enjoy the strength I have to power on when I put my mind to it, I enjoy having thoughts that only appear when I have quality time away from the madness that is a family home and I enjoy the person I have grown into because of my family and my running.

This was highlighted to me when I watched this wonderful film about Kasie Enman in The Mother | Salomon Running.

A down to earth film that resonates with me. I’m no mountain running champion but you don’t need to be to GET this. Everyone has a way of finding their solitude, whether it is in a shopping mall, enjoying crafting, scrap-booking, surfing, whatever it is, you feel better for having had that time.

There are demands on all of us, be it as part of a family, an employee, a partner and knowing when you need a little me time is a completely healthy part of being you within your own environment. I just know that for me it will always be running that gives me that.

Here’s hoping you all get a little “me time” as well x

Crew running

After reading an article on Twitter entitled The Urban Running Crew movement, I decided that I most certainly can class myself as part of a crew. Quite possibly a Rural Running Crew but a crew nonetheless. Charlie Dark from Run Dem Crew summed it up for me when he was quoted as saying “crew is about supporting and elevating everyone in it, particularly newcomers, beginners, and making everyone the best that they can be.”

That is it. That is why I run with this lovely lot. That’s why I feel included, a part of something, a sense of pride as well as feeling closer to a group of people who were strangers just a few months back.

Caked In Mud crew

Check out that cloud formation! The Iron Lady was watching over us!

Squelch Mud running

We embraced new Caked In Mud crew this morning. Runners who were already doing great things on pavements & roads, who fancied a change. The cake at the end was mentioned a couple of times, it has to be said, but let’s face it, you wouldn’t run 9 miles in the mud just for cake…would you?!

Running with the group enables me to push myself harder – there was certainly one hill I would have given up on if Jess had not cajoled me up there with her encouraging words. We were climbing for what seemed like forever to enjoy views like this

Views

More of the same next week? Oh, go on then. Oh, by the way, it was Carrot & Ginger Cake today with Chocolate & Pecan Brownies. Now, ask me again why I run!!

Team Honk Relay – the Cornish way.

That was the day that was…..

….the first day of Team Honk’s Blogger baton relay from Lands End to John O’Groats

….the first day I had run a section of the south west coast path in the dark

….the first day I had met Fiona from Coombe Mill after a few years of following her on Twitter

What a day!

The morning was spent checking twitter to see how Pippa @storyofmum was getting on as well as getting my boys to swimming and rugby. Pippa’s leg of the relay started at Lands End at 9am, putting their best foot forward for a wonky walk arriving in Penzance.

After travelling through the county to Jackie Murray in Truro it swiftly made its way to Fraddon escorted by the Coombe Mill crew whose fancy dress & quad bike antics made for a great time. Fiona & team then hot footed it over to Camelford, tweeting all the way, to arrive in time for the next portion of the journey.

The clouds were looming heavily over us as we sat waiting for news of the baton’s arrival, indeed we even had spots of rain starting. Ok then, the man suits went on and we were prepared to get a little damp.

My husband, James from Trewin Design Architects and his cycling buddy Stu Mitchell from Bond Oxborough Phillips took the baton from the effervescent Fiona to start their 27 mile cycle from Camelford to Morwenstow, where they would meet myself & some Caked In Mud crew to take on the last leg of that days journey. It was wonderful to meet Fiona after months of chatting online.

Camelford meet

Luckily for James & Stu, they had a tail wind all the way, ensuring they arrived dead on time to meet the lycra clad, waterproofed up runners. After saying a cheery farewell and passing the sign and the baton over, we set out on our journey, 9 miles of coast path running from Morwenstow to Hartland Quay.

Morwenstow handover Ready to run

A journey which as regular runners of this section of the coast path we knew would be a tough first half. With 2172 ft of ascents to take on in just the first 4 miles, it was a hard yet stunning first section. At this point the rain had not reached us, yet the winds were ensuring that we needed to hold on tight to the baton & the sign in case it decided to make its own way to John O’Groats via wind power alone! At times it very nearly did.

Air GuitarIt's a sign

The run itself was made all the more enjoyable by having a team of wonderfully supportive, fun loving runners alongside me. I would never have completed this one on my own. The weather started to take a turn for the worse at the half way mark & we really had to start putting some power into our running to give ourselves as many miles as possible in the daylight that was slowly fading.

We stopped off at Ronald Duncan’s hut to sit at his desk, take some much needed shelter and to mark our journey in the visitor’s book. It was tough to break away from the hut but we still had a journey to complete. We kept on running as the light would soon be fading.

The hut

The darkness hits you like nowhere else when you are out on the coast path. My ears became acutely switched on once darkness fell, the sound of the sea was incredible. We switched on our head torches and took it at a steady pace. One false turn and we would have been in trouble. Luckily Bridget and Roger, our navigators throughout, were past masters at coast path running, both in daylight & in the dark. I can’t explain how happy I was to see the lights of Hartland Quay.

We were soaked to the skin, cold, yet in such high spirits. We had been a part of something that started as a group of bloggers getting together to do something amazing for charity. The only part left to do was transport the baton to Jenny Paulin of Mummy Mishaps from the quay to Bideford. The story continues now with other areas of the country taking the baton, roller skating, swimming, walking and dancing their way through to the finale at John O’Groats.

The start (2) The middle (2) The End

What makes it worth it? Well, knowing that we are raising money for Sport Relief tends to spur you on, so please donate a fiver here as well as eating cake (the recipe for Divine Lemon Squares can be found on my EATS page) and finally sitting in a warm bath at the end of a busy, logistically challenging day tends to put everything into perspective. It had been a great day, now it’s over to the rest of the UK…..

Meeting Jenny at the very end of a busy day :)

Meeting Jenny at the very end of a busy day 🙂

Team Honk 2014 Relay – the Cornish bit!

teamhonkbadgeThis Sunday, I will be part of the Team Honk 2014 Blogger Relay, ensuring the baton makes the journey through Cornwall alongside fellow bloggers, friends and family for Sport Relief. Pippa Best from Story of Mum will be starting the relay off in style in Lands End at around 9am. The morning will involve a wonky walk with mums, dads & kids all donning mismatched shoes along the coast from Newlyn Green to Penzance. They then jump on a train to get the baton over to Fiona Cambouropoulos of Coombe Mill who will meet them in Truro. From there Fiona will be transporting the baton to Camelford with the help of a cycling Ted, after which I step in.

If all goes according to plan, the baton will take to two wheels from Camelford to Bude via a group of cyclists who will pass the baton over to the Caked in Mud runners. Putting our trail shoes on and our muddy feet forward, we will be running over the SW coast path to Hartland Quay, a journey of approx 15 miles with some lung busting elevations to take on! Head torches will be worn as the light will be going towards the end of the run. Once at Hartland, I may take a breather for a slice of cake and a cup of tea, well it wouldn’t be a Caked in Mud run if I didn’t! After refreshing the parts other hot beverages can’t reach, I will take to four wheels in order to meet up with our final Honker in Bideford who will then take the baton through border crossings to Somerset for the start of Day 2. A journey of approx. 41 miles will be achieved by cycling, running and motoring through the northern section of the county.

If you happen to see us on our travels through Cornwall this Sunday, do Honk!

To see how the relay will continue throughout the UK, please follow this link Honkers are still needed for various sections around the country so please check out how you can take part.

 

 

What makes a run a good run?

In my case, it certainly does not depend on the weather. In the last 18 months, I have shed my fair-weather runner skin and morphed into a bring it on kind of runner.

Today’s run was evidence of this change. Storm clouds were brewing as I layered up this morning, getting ready to hit the coast paths and trails around Millook, North Cornwall. It looked like we were in for more storms towards the latter part of the day, so getting out in the morning was sensible.

Starting point

View at the start – Millook

An hour into the run, the group were under no illusions that the wind was picking up, the proximity of us to the coast path made us first hand witnesses to the changing size of the waves breaking onto Chipman Strand. At this point we diverted and made our way inland – a sensible option it was duly noted! I think the wind had whipped us all into a crazy frenzy as we had a giggle for the duration of our 8.5 mile run. The wind at times made moving forwards a sport within itself. We really did have added resistance today. We slipped & slid down many a muddy track, screamed like girls (me) and landed on our posteriors (Sarah), climbed every stile, choreographed the Morecambe & Wise Bring Me Sunshine dance through a field and stopped for some amazing views & photo opportunites.

Sunday Run

The Crew

 

I always look forward to running with a group, not always the same people but always good to chat with, who encourage you up the hills, pass you a fruit pastille or three or arrange to take on certain events with.

What makes a run a good one for you?

A good run for me incorporates being out with people, chatting, laughing, enjoying the space I am in, feeling strong, getting fitter, eating cake with the crew and of course, coming home with a little mud between my toes.

Going for goals.

Well, that’s Christmas wrapped up for another year. Hoping you all enjoyed a very merry one.

This time of year sees many of us taking stock of the year just about to leave us and the new year ahead of us. 2013 was a fairly slow year for me in terms of my running. I kept race entries down to a minimum as life got busy! This coming year I am rectifying that as I found myself missing the goals that racing gives me and felt I was plateauing instead of achieving.

Saying that I enjoyed the events I did take part in and had great fun along the way. The first being the Commando Challenge 17K endurance event in June 2013 where a group of us took on the sheep dip, the black bog and dark tunnels to come in as the 4th female team in 1:59. Great fun and plenty of bruises!! In September 2013 I was again part of a team in the Bude Sea Pool Channel Challenge. I swam a mile of this gorgeous tidal pool in order to make up a proportion of the 21 miles our team was due to swim to complete the challenge. I am lucky enough to live just 5 miles away from the pool and have used it to train for my triathlon in 2012 as well as taking my eldest to train there for his Surf Life Saving Club trial swim. To find out more about how we are trying to save the pool, please see Save Bude Sea Pool. Finally in November 2013 I participated in the Drogo 10, an off-road race around the grounds of the National Trusts Castle Drogo, taking in 10 miles of undulating trails. A tough one but enjoyable as I traveled down with many other runners from our local running club – Bude Rats.

It feels like a clean slate. I don’t do New Years resolutions but I do set some clear goals for myself with regards to my running. I like to look back on what I enjoyed throughout last year, what inspires me to do better, the people who help me get there & how I can challenge myself a little more. No-one knows what the future holds but with a little bit of luck & a very real spoonful of motivation I can get myself to the goals I want to.

My run goals so far are the Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service Half Marathon on 23rd February 2014 swiftly followed by the Grizzly, a 20 mile off-road race which tests each & every participant which I am due to take part in on 9th March 2014. With a new bike as a Christmas present I am also looking forward to getting bike fit again. I have entered a triathlon in June and enjoy the cross training this will involve as well as mixing up the training plan, it gives me a chance to get all over fit again.

I love reading on my twitter timeline how all the running tweeps I follow are setting themselves up for their challenges in 2014. Some taking on Ironman events for the first time, some running their first 5K after years of believing they were not a runner. These people inspire me to get up that hour earlier to get a turbo training session done, to get out when it’s blowing a hoolie or to rest when I know my body needs it.

Whatever goals you are setting yourselves this New Year, I’m hoping you achieve each & every one of them and most importantly enjoy the end results it brings.

Wishing you all a great, fun filled 2014 x

The Commando Challenge - Black Bog

Getting down and dirty – Commando Challenge

Commando Challenge FINISH

The Commando Challenge – DONE!

Trails and Tinsel

Tomorrow will see much excitement in my household, with presents spilling open and Christmas cheer flowing. With my two boys being at an age where Christmas is still so magical, I am looking forward to capturing their faces as they see the “snowy” footprints on the floor around their sacks, spending time with family and friends over a prolonged meal and having a day when I very much overindulge.

After the day has drawn to a close, I will be going into a deep, alcohol induced sleep that night looking forward to a run the next morning to refresh my body & hopefully release that fuzzy head. Through the reading of my twitter timeline it seems I will not be the only one. With marathon training plans starting, I am looking forward to hearing how you all spend the festive season whether on trails, roads or otherwise.

It just leaves me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Lara xx

Image

I didn’t recognize you….

Ooooh, I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on!

Sounds odd right? Especially when someone says that to you in a supermarket!

I’ve had this happen a couple of times now, the most recent one being yesterday. The connotations within this statement are obvious, the comment that always follows is; “I mean, I don’t recognise you without your running clothes on!”

Being clad head to toe in synthetic garments made to wick moisture away from my body obviously makes me look different to that of my day to day clothes. Maybe I should take a leaf out of the fashion forward bloggers books and continue the theme through into my daily wear. It would make quick changes from work to play even more simplified. With the compression technology that many active wear brands are using, it also creates a very flattering silhouette. Not to mention how much more comfortable my sports bras are than the under wired contraptions that I wear!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article from Lunges & Lycra about how fashion and fitness are fusing and I will happily admit to being partial to staying in my Pilates get up (Sweaty Betty) after a session just because it is so darn comfortable. I have also looked into how I can re-mortgage the house so that I can purchase Jennifer Lawrence’s training kit in the Hunger Games from Lucas Hugh!! Gorgeous pieces just slightly out of my price range and let’s face it, I would be dodging each muddy trail path if I ended up training in it!! Although I think I may need to add a pop of colour to my run wardrobe after seeing a photo of my festive run today!

Festive run

Can definitely see me taking some of that gym wear on to the dance floor though! Perfect for those killer disco moves that are so much part of my repertoire! You have been warned 😉

What are you running away from?

How many of us have been asked this question or invariably ask ourselves this question when we are out on the lonely roads/trails at all hours of the day/night?

I don’t ever think of it as running away from anything in particular but I do see it as a way of me gaining some quality time with me. I need me to be energised and content to help keep my family happy and healthy. I need me to be energised and focused to get on with my work and I need to feel that I am nurturing me. I also have a very real need to be out in the countryside. Some of my best running moments have been on an early morning run in the summer, with not a soul around, to witness the sun rising – yes sometimes I am THAT early!

I started running to get a little “me time” after my second son was born. It was a run around the block with two friends, that was back in 2008. A total of 3 miles at best to begin with, we encouraged each other to meet in the early hours to get our runs in before the rest of our households were awake. Even sleepness nights didn’t stop us, it was starting to become more than just the run! You learn a lot about a person when you run with them regularly, needless to say these two people are now some of my closest friends.

Now I run because it is what my body wants to do, it is what gets my endorphins sky high even when I can’t imagine they will. It’s the time I spend with like minded people, the conversations we have, the friendships that have been nurtured through running and ultimately the relationship I now have with myself. I value myself enough to know that I need to give myself time to be there, out on a run. I value the strength running as given me both physically and mentally and I value the challenges I come across.

Ultimately, it’s become part of what I do.

So, what makes you get out there? I would love to hear why all you lovely people are still out there running. If you feel inclined to tell me, please leave a comment or tweet me. Would love to hear why you run.

Happy Running x

Why I Run Viewpoint

Team Honk Needs YOU for the Blogger Relay Challenge 2014

Image

Fancy joining me in helping #TeamHonk in their non-motorised Blogger Relay Challenge from John O’Groats to Lands End?

So far I have hooked up with Hayley from Downs Side Up and Fiona from Coombe Mill Farm Holidays to do our bit within North Cornwall.

Take a look to see what part of the route you could run/cycle/skip/dance your way around and keep the baton moving, alternatively if you can offer help with making tea, baking cakes, offering accommodation then every part we all play will make a difference.

Please go over to Team Honk to register your interest & get involved via the Facebook pages for your area.

http://teamhonk.org/2014-blogger-relay/2014-sport-relief-bloggers-lands-end-to-john-ogroats-relay-route/