Exmoor CTS 10km

The dramatic scenery of the Exmoor national park coast certainly lived up to all the hype at the Endurancelife organised Coastal Trail series race on Saturday 9th April. It was the perfect opportunity for me to put my personal resolution NOT to get so stressed about it being a race into practice. Instead I wanted to enjoy this opportunity to run in a new place on a course chosen specifically to showcase the best that area has to offer. This race certainly did that with views so stunning it raised a new problem of trying to take it all in whilst keeping at least some focus on foot placement. The narrow little path hugging the cliff face that we were following didn’t leave much room for error!

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR SUMMER

With temperatures rising, lighter nights arriving and the trails finally starting to dry out, what better time than now to set yourself some summer goals. Goal setting doesn’t always have to revolve around racing or beating your Strava time, there are many other ways to enjoy your time on a bike. For many a good goal may be just to stop for one minute, once a ride, to enjoy where you are and what you’re doing.

Stopping to enjoy the view, much to Mawlis great disgust! 

Goal setting as an idea however is a good one. It can aid us with motivation, progressing our skills, pushing our own personal limits and creating opportunities to try new things.

Here are my 8 best suggestions to help you build your own personal list –

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WHY DO I RUN?

How many times as a runner have you come across the incomprehension of non-runners upon announcing your intention to head out for a long run or intervals session. They screw their face up tight, frown and bark out WHY??? Or better yet come out with the cocky “Where’s the lion?” Coach Kevin Smith has the perfect response –

 

“People ask why I run. I say if you have to ask you will never understand. It is something only those select few know. Those who put themselves through pain but deep down know how good it feels.”

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Giving something back

I am willing to bet that almost all of the readers of this blog will have at some point benefitted from the kindness of volunteers. They fill a vital role in the running of every event we all enjoy so much yet do we take them for granted? I have recently been unable to participate in a couple of my planned trail running races due to injury so I took the opportunity to gain a different perspective and volunteered instead.

I felt volunteering would be a worthwhile way to combat my initial frustration at being out of action. It gave me a way to still be involved in the excitement of race day and meet other like minded individuals that share my love of running.

sheep

Proceedings at the start line of the Hameldown Hammer were                                                    supervised by chief marshall – Mrs Ewe

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Strongher ladies shred Forest of Dean

On the overcast, drizzly morning of Saturday 20th February I joined approximately 30 other female mountain bike fanatics for a day on the trails at Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. This excellent opportunity to meet not just other like minded ladies but also the talented 2014 Downhill World champion Manon Carpenter was the brainchild of the team at Strongher.

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Devon by Mountain bike

Now I’ve been back in Devon a few months I’m beginning to accumulate a good list of fun places to ride. Though most trail centres have their own website it can be hard to find somewhere with all the information in one place. I often find myself wasting a lot of time looking for postcodes and comparing trails vs distance vs facilities. So here I have a round up of, in my opinion, the best places to go for a spin. They are all off road routes but I’ve tried to be clear what type of riding and skill level each is best suited for.  Continue reading

How I keep my mad collie sane (ish)

THE BENEFITS OF A TRAIL DOG

 

It comes to my attention that I have now been accused on several separate occasions of having an obsession with my dog Mawli. Having given it some thought, I freely admit that they are right, she is my best friend and I love her to bits. Needy by nature, fortunately it is a mutual obsession. Mawli is my constant shadow, ever ready for the next adventure. In return I value her companionship above all others, her constant energy and verve for life can lift me from my darkest mood.

ready

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Is a Grooms life for you?

 

 

3, 2, 1 UP! I hold my breath and fight the impulse to tuck my own knees in. He lands, the poles stay up. I stay transfixed as he bounces his way to the final fence, his head is held high yet tucked in soft to his rider’s hand, his big neck arched proudly to ears stretched forward, focused on the next fence, he so clearly loves his job. Instinctively I count the final strides again then half cover my eyes as I see he’s slightly off, I hear the whole crowd gasp with me as White Star puts in an almighty leap and sores high above the fence kicking out his back legs in an incredible show of athleticism. As they land Justin pushes him on hands up his neck like a jockey, they thunder through the flags and the whole crowd roars, they’ve won! Tears come to my eyes and pride wells in my chest as I watch them gallop around the arena waving to the crowds. The horse looks a million dollars, almost blinding in his whiteness as the sun shines on him, muscles rippling just under the skin as he comes back to a trot and practically dances back towards me such is the power in his every stride. When you see him perform you have no doubt that this is a star of the future you’re watching. As they leave the arena my boss catches my eye and gives me a huge smile, a smile that says a thousand Thank you’s because it’s moments like these that make all the hard work worthwhile. Continue reading