The Deserving Game

Day 1 had gone like a dream. I felt super fresh, super easy, didn’t break a sweat and was so happy to finish in one piece and set myself up for Day 2. I knew the strength I was going to need on Day 3 was going to be huge so my plan was to keep a lid on every bit of effort on Day 1 and Day 2 to fully utilise my hill strength on Day 3. Well that was the plan.

The Lighthouse

It marks not only the end of the 8 day 400km adventure, the most north westerly point of the United Kingdom, but is also a symbol. A symbol of safety, but also warning, a symbol of hope, but also of danger and risk ahead. I have thought of this lighthouse many times in training. How I will feel when I reach it. Seeing myself there, no doubt feeling the enormous satisfaction of finishing such a route, but also huge relieve that Im there, I made it, that all the work, sacrifices, time and money were worth the investment. But the lighthouse to me also symbolises many other things. I often call my husband my lighthouse (he loves that!!). He is the one person who gets it. Who understands this life we lead with three feral kids, in the mountains. Facing the weather, the challenges, the obstacles together. But its really him who we turn to when we question our path, are scared or not sure what or how to do something next. My kids are part of that lighthouse too. Drawing me back home, to sanity and rest when it all gets too much. Making me laugh, making me cry, showing such tenacity and gumption themselves. Its no doubt without my family I just dont think I would be as motivated to get up and get out every day. In someways it seems crazy that the busier life has got the more training, the longer races I have undertaken, but in other ways it all makes perfect sense. This sort of running requires total focus and planning, you just cant wing it, you have to follow the light and trust in the path. Sometimes that line is a bit wonky or requires re-navigation but thats all part of the journey, part of the process that makes life challenging and motivating.

The Inner Voice

My skis are balancing over the edge. I just need to push over the ridge and make the first turn. But, Im frozen with fear. Make the push, Make the push. I push over and slide onto the hill. I freeze again. ‘Make the first turn’ ‘Just make the first turn’ my amazing ski instructor is shouting below me. ‘Come on Eddie’ I urge myself. ‘You can do this.’ This hill is the steepest, roughest, off piste I have ever skied. But I KNOW I can do it, I just need to make the turn. Im still frozen.  Im frustrated with myself. Why cant I move. My mind is racing. My heart is pounding. Stop. Wait. You just need to believe…..

Pilgrims Challenge 2018

My whole focus of 2018 is The Cape Wrath Ultra in May. A mere 8 day 450km race over rough and unmarked trails. The fear of it eats into me everyday. I think of the mental fortitude its going to take to wake up on day 3, day 4 with a sore body, a tired mind and have to go out again, all day. I know its going to be both the best of times and the worst of times.

This weekend I made a whistle stop tour over to England to run in the Pilgrims Challenge a 33 mile trail run on the North Downs Way, a restful night on a sports hall floor and then get up and run back again.

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The Druids Challenge

This year my husband competed the Dragons Back Challenge. A 5 day race over 315 kilometres and most importantly 15500 metres of ascent over some of the most challenging terrain Wales can offer! I stuck a training on the plan on the fridge each week and watched him stick to it religiously. As the race approached various parcels starting being delivered of ‘essential’ kit, he quietly went about gathering everything he needed and off he went to Wales, nervous, but ready. Roll on a week later and I picked up a completely broken, shell of a man, who couldnt string a sentence together, was 10kg lighter and couldnt sleep for a week  as he kept waking up thinking he needed to keep running! Most normal people would be really concerned with the terrible state of their husband, but not me! I was jealous! I wanted some of that action! He had pushed himself to the absolute limit, beaten a lot more accomplished runners, handled the stresses and strains with such mental fortitude and was such a credit to the Sutton Clan! I know the race has changed him forever.

Finding The Rainbow

‘It happens to everyone.’ ‘Its how you handle it that makes the difference.’ Yeah yeah, I know all this I spout this all the time (well not all the time, but we have to face the fact that injury is the major downside to being an athlete, especially a long distance runner.) But I want to run, I NEED to run, I can hear myself whining, I can see my sulky face, my grumpiness and I cant stop myself.

Recovery Rules!

I rather foolishly thought that I would be able to race again this weekend and won’t lie actually felt guilty at deciding to pull out. I was really keen to do it as its my local race, I know all the trails like the back of my hand and thought it would be great for ‘business’ if I could come out with a good result.

Running for my family – Lakeland 50 report

I definitely find the easiest part of ultra running is the actual training rather than the racing!  Though a lot of it is in my household is like Groundhog Day. Get up, feed kids, run, feed kids, run, strength work, feed kids, clean up after kids, run, laundry, be a taxi for the kids, – you get the gist.

Making The Excuses

In my ‘spare’ time I write coaching plans for athletes wishing to normally accomplish something that scares them. They all come to me for different reasons, but underneath the different backgrounds, running experience and life commitments is one shared goal. They want to achieve the best they can do on that day or over that series of races.

A New Life

We sleep with the window open, we can hear the river running, the cow bells, the occasional dog barking, a bat rustling in the eaves and that’s it. Silence. Silence for some can be frightening. Time to be with your thoughts, to face your fears. I love it. Days in our house our loud, voices shout over each other to be heard, the mountains take no notice, at night we are shrouded in peace.