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

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Respect The Run

Running races and distances requires respect. I knew this, had spent five years learning what works best for me in a race, how my body reacts and how to get the best out of my running.

Yesterday all this knowledge was blown out of the water. I had the worst race ever. I had failed to give my body what it needed to do the distance and had paid the price for it. A 2:22 off road half marathon was not the intention when I stood at the start line, I was using this race as a training run for the Grizzly in two weeks time, but I never expected this. With just an ounce of foresight, I should have seen this coming….

My pre-race fueling was atrocious to put it mildly. I spent the best part of the evening in a local police station identifying my property, which had been stolen from my home in a burglary earlier that week, in a warm stuffy room, dehydrating my body. I had eaten a packet of hula hoops for lunch whilst taking my boys out for the day and to top it off I had a breakfast that wasn’t big enough to fuel a 13 mile run.

My body didn’t take kindly to this during the race and by mile 7 I was run/walking the rest of the way back due to stomach cramps. Not my finest hour. I had not given my body the opportunity to perform at any level. Lessons have been learnt.

Rest and be thankful

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

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 🙂

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