No ordinary Tuesday

Running for the last two years has been ad hoc, fun and event free. Apart from an injury in spring this year, there was really nothing to write home about with regards to my running. Hence the blog silence.

No problem there then, well you’d think. But, I’m not one to plateau, I like the feeling of achieving more than I thought I could, improving technique or pace, generally bettering myself. I run regularly, weekly,with a group of like minded people through some stunning locations and have maintained a level of fitness. I think right there I have the answer to my running rut – the word maintained. I’ve definitely hit a crossroads in my running. Do I stay on the usual path or take myself on the road less travelled? Today has been the light bulb moment that I’ve been expecting for some time. Why today, who knows?

My love of running came from the initial challenges I set myself. From a post baby body where a mile was a hard slog, to my first 5K with two friends within my village, right through to my marathon and some awesome trail challenges that I’ve been on. All of these segments within my run history have been significant in that they challenged me. I had a training plan, I had a goal, I had a reason to get out there.

Today’s run was hard, I felt unfit and kept thinking “where did my fitness go”. My answer lies in the challenges I haven’t set myself, the events I haven’t trained for and the mundane maintenance I’ve let my body get used to. A very unexpected turn of events for what started out as a normal Tuesday!

I’m off now to get myself challenged…

Crossroads

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

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

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!