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 🙂

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!

Why I’m blogging again.

Two weeks ago I was asked by a fellow running tweep, @iPlodded, to contribute a little something to be included in his 7 days 7 runners blog post. The brief was to document my favorite run. I don’t have a specific place that is my all time favorite (around here there really have been numerous wonderful run locations) but I do tend to have a favorite day that I run on.

Hello to Wednesday. Feel free to pop over to Paul’s blog and read the posts – 7 days 7 runners , it will enable you to run throughout the UK and beyond without even leaving your home. I had great fun writing the post, connecting with 6 other running tweeps & being inspired by some amazing challenges people have been through. Thank you Paul for getting us all together & for motivating me to write about my running again.

Lara x