Withering Heights and Wonderous Memories

My One & Only Grizzly…..

What is it about some of the toughest challenges in your life that keep you going back for more?

The Grizzly was an event I had been wanting to take part in for over a year now as I had to give up my place last year due to lack of training. This year, I was determined to get to that start line and understand what all the fuss was about.

Taking On The Grizzly

After my epic fail at preparing for my Lanhydrock half marathon two weeks ago I was giving my body a fighting chance at this one. For the week leading up to Grizzly, I was putting in the necessary amounts of nutrition and hydration needed, I was showing the race prep the respect is deserved. It was due to be a beautiful day, which only helped the positive vibes as I set out my race kit on the Saturday evening. My race vest and shorts were getting their first outing of the year and I felt ready for the day ahead.

The Grizzly start

It was an early start from Bude, being picked up at 7 am meant I needed to get some early morning nutrition inside me, taking some more to take during the morning. Many of the Caked In Mud crew had already experienced the Grizzly, I had ample exposure to what I was letting myself in for, somehow this never prepares you for the atmosphere once you are there.

Seaton, the gateway to the Jurassic Coast, is a beautiful seaside town in Devon which wholeheartedly gets behind its most famous of events. This year was the first where competitors needed to enter a ballot to get in, the popularity of the event is growing, I was lucky enough to get my place. The whole town gets behind & supports the runners, with many staying in the towns various hotels, B&B’s and discovering the beauty of this stretch of coastline and enjoying the Grizzly fest that happens throughout the weekend.

I have vowed to take the boys camping there this summer as I am ashamed to admit that this was my first trip there, living only an hour and a half away, I will be returning before next year for a more leisurely exploration of the area.

The route was marshalled by over 200 marvellous merry makers, with folk bands playing, drummers drumming on the beaches as well as hundreds and hundreds of supporters lining the route with flapjacks, cookies, jelly babies and other baked goods to help us on our way. The carnival atmosphere never waned throughout the entire 20 mile route.

The beach

My highlight? It would have to be the Valley of the Bogs, where I managed to acquire a new pair of compression socks! The bog managed to give my race outfit a whole new look. The squealing & choice use of the English language that I was witness to whilst slipping & sliding through this part of the route will stay with me for a while!!

The Grizzly is much more than a race, it is a life changing event, one which I hope to be a part of again and again!!!

Grizzly motivation Memory tree

On my mind..

This Sunday I am going to be on the start line of the Grizzly 2014. The winter training has been about this run, it’s been on my mind for over a year now and I am just two days away from meeting it. I am looking forward to making my acquaintance with “twentyish muddy, hilly, boggy, beachy miles of the multiest-terrain running experience you will find this side of the end of time.”

Withering Heights (Grizzly 2014)

By rolling sea and reckless sky
these Grizzly comrades gather once again
to trek across the countryside,
to ponder on the infinities of exactly how and why
that they must explore the very wilderness that hides
within each beating heart,
within the deepening mystery
of their disappearing parts.

Across horizons far and wide
surrendering to the vagaries
of restless time and surging tide,
through gateways of metaphoric song
compliantly they find a resting place
where they, at Peace, belong
and there – rest awhile within their fragile frames
with others of a like-wise, consequential name.

Running free across the land
to reach for what they cannot understand
they find a bond, a helping hand
transcend the awesome “Withering Heights”
past realms of purgatorial agony
and ecstasy delights.

By “cliff and Heath”
by rock and reef
the body is depleted
the challenge, for now,
acknowledged and completed;
the spirit rises forth
in joyful celebration
in annual, glorious revelation
that, despite the trauma and the pain,
the Grizzly flame is re-kindled
yet and yet again.

Beyond all possibility of doubt
still wondering what it’s all about
it has, once more
deep within the secret file,
across all borders of denial,
upon the Grizzly shore,
(where less is certainly much more)
proved the magical worth
in it’s own, re-consecrated birth.

David Kelf
Dungscribe Unlimited
January 2014

© DK (The Celestial Dungbeetle), Ever On Om

Grizzly training

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!