Summer In The Alps

Already getting towards the end of August.  When I was both a school kid, and then a trainee teacher, this really signalled that it wouldn’t be too long till the ‘Autumn term’. End of summer.

Autumn. Wow, summer has gone so fast!

Since Tour du Môle, I have been busy working, and training. There have been good run days, and bad ones too. Bad ones tend to be either tiredness, or actually sometimes because it has just been ‘too hot’, and I’ve had some of those ‘stuff this’ moments. At the same time, there have been some pretty memorable runs – including a trip out with the girls one summers evening toward L' Aiguillette des Houches. I had come home from work, ate a considerable amount of pasta (it was a surprise to the others too, although this is kinda how I roll..) and then grabbed my backpack and headed out onto the hill!

A beautiful sunset and a descent in the dark made for a really great evening. It’s funny where you find the energy from – I wouldn’t have thought I would have it in me, after a full day at work to then be out and about for a few hours, heading home not long before 11pm. But good company and this kind of adventure definitely gets the blood pumping 

Photo: Nikki Barnard

Photo: Nikki Barnard

Last weekend I took part in the Trail des Haut Forts.  27km and a fair climb. Admittedly, I had been pretty busy leading up to this race, and while I had got the runs in, I didn’t know too much about the course. It occurred to me, when I started thinking a bit more about the race profile, that this was going to be a fairly fast and sharp race. The first 18km were undulating, followed by a big old climb towards the end.

The night before, I arrived in Morzine, and Chloe, along with her friend Ellie helped me suss out the situation in terms of the ‘hows and wheres’ for the next morning. Not so easy. Conflicting race event info meant that neither of the potential places for picking up the bibs were open, and considering the time of evening, I was not feeling massively calm. This soon resolved itself by the time I had made a phone call, watched some TV and, yes, had some pasta.

After this unexpected cafuffle the actual race morning went smoothly. I picked up my bib, had some coffee and did a gentle jog as well as a few hops. Then it was time to go.

Photo: Ellie Green

Photo: Ellie Green

Now, I am not a big fan of the start of races. The adrenalin, the pace…the fear. I always managed to pull myself together, but these are pressurising moments. What would be interesting with this race would be that the pace would probably be fairly relentless given the fact it wouldn’t really be particularly steep for quite a long time.  This was indeed the case – and it took me a while to get into it, and ‘find my lungs’, as my friend Ben used to call it.

The weather was hot. Very hot. I am so grateful for the stewards and checkpoint breaks that offered plenty of water at many stages of the race, so there was never a feeling of real thirst – and this makes a big difference.

I also had a bit of a hair ‘nightmare’.  At the start of the race I had braided my hair with the precision of a show pony, only for it to come out within seconds after beginning the race. There I ran, mane a ‘flowin. You might think “why didn’t she just tie it up again?”. Poles in my hand made this impossible for a considerable amount of time. Thankfully – I managed to sort it, so I could maintain a full field of vision. Note to self: next time, use a style that works when running, and not simply just guess work after a recent haircut...

I was happy to finish 3rd female, and pretty tired too! The last climb was quite relentless, and fairly steep, although my strides felt good on the up. My feet felt it on the down towards the end, and I had sore toes – something I am looking into a bit. All in all, a great day, and great conversations with people who took part.

The day after, I had a very lazy start, and then decided to shake my legs out a bit. I went for a very relaxed, short run, although my feet and quads were a little sore. It was another nice day of weather and it felt good to go out again. As well as working at Epic, I am vlogging a bit about my running too.

That's it for now folks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview: Howard Chambers, The Right Altitude.

Howard Chambers, is a keen runner, adventurer, and general life 'go getter'. Through supporting him through our imminent adventure to the Atlas Mountains for our running training trip, I have got to know Howard, his wife Jo, why he goes exploring mountains...and just generally, why he loves running a lot.

Running on our recent reccie trip. Photo: J.Roberts

Running on our recent reccie trip. Photo: J.Roberts

I asked Howard a few questions about his love of running, and how it became such a big deal for him. From running across the Peaks, being in the leadership of a significant Northern running club, to organising adventure trips across the world -  Howard is a very proficient, yet extremely humble, runner.

 

M:How did running become a passion for you?

H: I always loved the outdoors, and got into running through the Boys Brigade XC at the age of 11, but only every trained for the short season. I didn't join a running club till around the age of 17: Oldham and Royton Harriers. The BB took us out walking and camping in the Lakes at Easter, and I was blown away with the beauty and one day knew I would run in the fells. 

2) Have you got a favourite place to run?

There are no bad places to run - I have found so many lovely places travelling extensively in UK and in Europe especially. The Picos in Northern Spain is a stunning area and one often missed by the mass tourism market. Closer to home I love the Lakes and Scotland. But I'm so lucky living so close to the Pennines; such beauty on our doorstep.

3)What is it like being part of the leadership of a running club?

I've always been an organiser, I just love putting something back into a sport I have got so much out of. Although I have now moved away from the Exec side of things, I am part of the coaching team at Saddleworth which gives me so much pleasure. 

4) How did The Right Altitude become to be?

I had been asked to recce a trek for a hospice I help out at, so I went over to Morocco to test things for myself and was absolutely blown away by the place. It's not just the stunning location that makes it special, but the Berber people are so lovely and nothing is ever a problem. Working with Discover Ltd who own the Kasbah and provide our guides means we have something very unique to offer I feel.  

5) Why the Atlas Mountains?

It sounds a bit naff, but I feel at home there! The peace and tranquillity have to be experienced to be fully understood. There are numerous paths and tracks taking mules over 2400m passes into green valleys beyond; it's just a magical place. 

6) What trips , adventures have you got lined up in the near future?

I hear concerns about the safety of Morocco, which is just so very wrong, but I do know people are worried, so to accomodate for this,  I'm also looking at possibilities with Discover in the Massive Central, Southern France. I also operate a more traditional holiday company: The Right Balance,  which takes clients over to Crete. Personally, I am just happy to be still getting out running whenever I can, be it this country or abroad. 

After reccing the Atlas Mountains with Howard, and Nikki Barnard recently, to prep us for our upcoming trip ,I could not agree more about the beauty and tranquility of that part of the world, and I am excited to be soon returning and training at altitude. For any more info on future trips, do get in contact via my facebook page or The Right Altitude.  

What's next?

Happy New Year!

Already January is flying past! After a  great New Year with good mates in Germany, it’s been what feelt like a super quick month training, prepping and getting pretty psyched for the next adventures…

Recently I teamed up with Sophie from Hinturland and her sister Mary to be part of their running film entry for the BMC women in film competition. My friend Cat Slater and I had a great day in the Lakes, with laughs, good views, a bit of mud and a brilliant chance to film on a brisk winters day. Keep your eyes peeled for our entry, coming soon!

We all turned up in the same Salomon Speed Cross 3s!

We all turned up in the same Salomon Speed Cross 3s!

Now, I'm in the process of packing-  I tell you, it’s easier to get ready on a race day…

The reason for this strategic packing is that I am about to spend the next couple of months in the French Alps.  I am really excited to be heading to the Chamonix region while I spend some time interning with Epic TV. Epic TV produce as well as broadcast unique adventure and extreme sports footage online, as well as 'know their stuff' when it comes to good sports gear. I look forward to this time working with them and getting to know the team.

  Winter 2014 in the Alps

 

Winter 2014 in the Alps

Now the snow has arrived there, it will be very wintery and wonderful in those mountains, and I look forward to the travel adventure - a chance to also get some training in somewhere different :).

As well as being based in the Alps, both Nikki and I will be also travelling to the Atlas Mountains, to recce the area and then help The Right Altitude with a running training camp in March. I am really chuffed to go and explore and train in another set of beautiful scenery. I've written more info about this trip here and do check out their facebook page about future trips. 

My plans for races this year are in my head, and I'm excited for whats potentially in store - more to follow on these! I hope you are able to get out running at the moment and are excited about your exercise plans for year ahead.

Before I get back to the packing scene – hope you like the new blog lay out. I will post more info soon as I make my way on my travels :)

As Nikki, and many others have uttered before....."the mountains are calling..."

 

 

 

 

 

Sport talk with James Bishop: Part 2

Here is the second part of my interview with James Bishop! Last week I met up with James to chat through his youtube channel and to have a discussion of his running in December.  This week in our second sport talk, I found out whether James did the Iron Man he set out to do, what Goalhanger films has been up to recently, and what James wants to do in 2016. During the video, I also took the opportunity to ask James about his sports watch. I am on the look out for a new running watch (as much as I do love my forerunner 210) so I asked James about the super duper watch he has – take a look for yourself, and maybe add it to your wishlist! James has actually spoken about the Garmin 920 XT on his you tube channel here. If you can recommend a new watch to get - love to know your thoughts!

I can’t believe how quickly this year is going! Really excited to share with you ideas and plans for 2016  - bring it on! For now, enjoy your weekend, it’s nearly Christmas; get wrapping (if you need to), and enjoy the festive time.

Don’t make a wish this Christmas – simply formulate a dream. Then start encouraging yourself to make it happen.

JB interview Part 1: Fitness, running, Christmas.

I have enjoyed starting to film on Youtube, ‘vlogging’ and chatting about running, as well as lifestyle and fitness stuff. Learning to edit and film has been a cool thing to take on and I am enjoying the challenges that often pop up..watch on for more about that…:)

Yesterday  I caught up with James Bishop, athlete, entrepreneur and part of the team at  Goalhanger films – who have made some pretty immense sporting content.

James is also big into sport himself – taking on his own challenge for Christmas 2016 which we chat about here in Part 1.


More will be revealed in a PART 2 Blog coming very soon!

Click here for James' channel.

By the way - if you have youtube do let me know and I will check out your channel!

Kendal Mountain Film Festival 2015

New Week!

I'm really excited for this week, as on Friday I will be making my way to Kendal Mountain Film Festival! This is definitely a highlight in the winter calendar, as it it the chance to see some really awe inspiring, jaw dropping, totally captivating films in various adventure sports.

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 09.20.05
Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 09.20.05

Highlights for me this year will be heading to the Adidas Endurance Night where James Thurlow will be interviewing Nicky Spinks and Sean Conway - two incredible endurance athletes in the field of long distance running and swimming. Also looking forward to hearing from Tommy Caldwell, an incredible climber of pretty extraordinary heights, and to head to the BMC Breakfast morning on the Sunday - chance for films, banter, bit of breakfast and lots of other goodies, with the legendary host Niall Grimes.

It's going to be one great weekend that's for sure!

Last year our film 'Running Wild' was shown; still takes me aback to think of how special that running experience was, and how I never would have imagined, upon signing up to that race, that we would end up at KMF. Just goes to show, that when you go to events like these, you get really inspired, and that anything is possible.

That's how I am motivating my start to the week - thinking ahead to this year's Kendal Film Festival, where I will have the chance to listen to some motivational people in adventure sports. I could not recommend this weekend enough.

Do tweet me if you are going - would be great to say hi!

10 Runner's Secrets Revealed

I write a lot about training, running, racing etc, but thought it would be a laugh to also tell you a bit about some of the things that make me 'me'. I think friends would say I was a bit quirky, I love to laugh as well as run (often while I run!). So here are 10 runner's secrets revealed...

Things you might not know about me.

  • 1. I'm not keen on spiders. Interval hill training occurs by just bolting up the stairs, leaping over the the creepy crawly.
  • 2. Once in a while, I will be overcome with an urge for a greasy burger. #noshame
IMG_5373
IMG_5373
  • 3. I have a Masters in Philosophy.

 

  • 4. Despite skiing at significant height, and running in mountains, I can get quite daunted by climbing high / multi pitch climbing. I'm working on it.
Photo: John Roberts

Photo: John Roberts

 

  • 5. I talk to myself on runs. I sing
  • 6. I am the worst company on a long car journey. Mainly because this happens:
Photo: John Roberts

Photo: John Roberts

  • 7. I have developed a moving technique going up hill and also prevalent while ski touring known to others as the ‘Noel’ - #oasis
  • 8. Despite running like a fiend these days, I was never known for this at school. I really enjoyed drama.
Photo by @johndmason

Photo by @johndmason

  • 9. I love pugs. I really love pugs. Unfortunately they are not the ‘runners dog of choice’ (for reasons too obvious to explain) but I’ve considered the possibility of fitting one in my running pack.
  • 10. I never ever dreamt I would be competing in ultra-marathons.
  • FullSizeRender3
    FullSizeRender3

    Via Ferrata in Arco

    The bad news - unfortunately I was ill on holiday with a flu bug which meant some serious rest and having to be wise with pushing too much exercise. But I am getting better at learning to just 'go with it'  - listening to the body and not fighting when it needs to rest. The good news - the sun shone, a lot. When I did feel a little better, I did a via ferrata.

    This means 'iron road' and is a method of travel by the mountains. You travel up the rock by an iron cable. There are different types of via ferrata, from those that are fairly technical, requiring a great deal of climbing, to via ferrata that is more of a walk/scramble. My first via ferrata was basically a gentle walk, and my second via ferrata involved more climbing. For via ferrata you need sturdy trainers underfoot with good grip (recommended) to place your feet on the rock, or the iron rungs/ ladders. You wear a rock climbing harness with a via ferrata safety kit attached, and clip the two karabiners to the wire as you ascend.

    When we reached the top, we were able to just walk our way down the beautiful trail on the other side.

    Although it was disappointing to be unwell on holiday, I was glad to have the chance to try a new sport!

    Travel: Arco Italy

    I write this currently poorly - oh no! Since I am resting up I thought I would take the time to blog the first few days of my trip to Italy! I love to travel, and I am currently spending some time in Arco, which is a really stunning part of Italy set by the panoramic backdrop of the Italian lakes. I find the place a wonderful oxymoron - snow topped mountains accompanied by leafy palm trees - everything I love!  The views are really stunning (I shall put more photos on during the trip!) and there is SO much to do here. From coffee and gelato moments to rock climbing, trails  - hard to get bored. It is a nice time of year to travel here actually, as the weather is fairly crisp yet it is pretty warm in the sun.


    I have had a chance to do some route climbing, which is a nice change from my usual bouldering preference - climbing with friends who are also really skilled climbers means I am picking up good ideas when it comes to climbing, as well as having a really good laugh!

    Been a little under the weather with a cold/fluey symptoms, but never mind  - hardly a bad place to recuperate!

    I hope everyone has had a Happy Easter! More updates of the trip to follow!