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

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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

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.

 

 

Team Honk Needs YOU for the Blogger Relay Challenge 2014

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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/