Make room for Silence

 

Ever since I morphed into a trail runner (from a road runner) I can safely say, hand on heart, that I have never come home without having benefited in some small way from making the surrounding countryside my playground.

I benefit greatly from making time for silence in what is fast becoming an ever connected world. I wrote a post entitled Solitude, which details what time alone offers me on my jaunts around the coast and countryside of North Cornwall.

Do you use running as a way of getting away from everyday noise?

Enjoy the silence x

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

Oh The Places We Go

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Today’s run coincided with St Piran’s Day, the national day of Cornwall, named after one of the patron saints of Cornwall. It was a stunning morning, the plan was to take to the coast path around Hartland with much excitement … Continue reading

Nature Nurtures.

This morning’s run was spent being nurtured by nature.

The view from my kitchen overlooks the countryside that I run in and is always goading me in with its green pastures and muddy trails. I can see my route out over the common that leads into the woods and this morning I was itching to get out there. Pancakes were made and the boys were off to school…this was my chance.

It was T-shirt weather out there today, which always makes me a happier runner. It certainly feels more like spring now. The still air, the muddy but not sodden ground, the protective ewes with their lambs, the pheasants that I startled and of course the spring flowers in the hedgerows & churchyard.

I have survived a winter of run training with all of it being completed in the great outdoors, the promise of spring has been long awaited and I’m one happy trail runner.

Towards the ocean

Moss covered wall image Tree lined route

When does running get easier?

Oh, that old chestnut!! How do you equate easier when it comes to running?

The result of “easy” changes as your running improves. While it gets easier, the more you tend to accomplish, your running will improve and you will start to make it harder for yourself!! When you write it like that, it seems we are a crazy bunch doesn’t it?!

What used to defeat me (that dreaded hill) now challenges me. I make it, I recover and then keep challenging myself. When I look back to those days when a run round the block tested me, I know it has got easier.

In answer to the initial question, running got easier once I got my mind set on a certain challenge, race or result. The mental challenge is a constant source of focus for me. It’s very much a head game at this point in my running. If I head out with the initial expectation of having a hard run, I tend to have already talked myself into walking that hill before I’ve given my body a chance to prove itself.

This is where running with others helps me achieve bigger & better things. Just being around others who are challenging themselves on their run, others who are encouraging you up that section of coast path or simply because I want to show myself I can do it, enables my brain to switch tactics and push itself when, if I was running solo, I may well have given up or given myself the opportunity to give up.

The mental game is a cunning one and, so far, the number of years running has not stopped this from playing it’s wicked games with my head. One day I’m feeling great after accomplishing a run, the next it beats you down with an “I told you so.” There are 3 words which our run leader keeps reiterating on our speedwork sessions. Don’t Cheat Yourself. This helps me. If I’m taking time out to improve my running, why then would I want to cheat myself of the results I want to see by just saying “Nah, ok, I’m hurting a little now, I’ll stop.” I’m not going to do that. This is where a consistent routine can help in order to avoid that, one week on it like a super sonic rocket kinda running ninja, followed by a ahhh I can’t be arsed to go out this week, I just don’t feel like it kinda sofa lover. Consistency, routine and patience play a big part in it all.

Consistency and routine makes running become part of what I do rather than what I feel I must do. If I run with others there is very often a specific time that suits us all, this becomes part of my day, which becomes part of my routine. That’s how I managed to incorporate running into family life and I’ve stuck with it.

What helps you achieve the challenges your running gives you? Any hints or tips would be greatly appreciated!

I’ve always loved this short film, it takes me on a journey that most runners will appreciate. It’s not always easy but wouldn’t life be boring if everything was easy? Happy running x

Soaked but stoked

This would have been the best run kit to have worn last night for my technical session with the Friday Nighter’s in Holsworthy.

Image

Another great group workout, wonderful encouragement for each other & best of all another 5.5 miles banked whilst getting stronger.

Hill repeats were on the menu last night. With my Grizzly run in a little over 6 weeks time, I have to know that I can take on the hills and recover faster from them. This thought and this thought alone accompanies me up Whimble Hill as I climb, in the pouring rain. Chasing the leaders, with my calf muscles burning, I would not let up. Grizzly, I’m coming for you!!

The double episode of Breaking Bad that I slumped in front of after having a lovely hot soak was even sweeter for having been out there and survived!

Happy weekend running x

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

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.

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