The truth about trail running

I have written about all kinds of running over the years.  The beautiful, the tough and the lost toenails (ugly).  A few weeks ago I got a text from my PT, the notorious Graeme Starkey.  He invited me to join him and a group of others up Corstorphine hill, Edinburgh for a trail run. My initial thoughts:

A – I ain’t a fan of running hills and avoid them as often as possible.

B – How will I keep up with all these pro trail runners he takes up there?

C – What’s the worst that could happen?  Maybe I should give it a shot?

Without thinking too much about it, I texted back and said “Nice one, see you there”.

It had been a hectic day as usual and I was tired.  Peace of mind is something many of us rarely experience as we are so often go, go go, work work, work, plan, plan, plan…..you get my drift.

If you are a runner you will know that it is a form of activity that allows us to be present. We can focus on things like our breating, our feet and the enviroment we are running in. What I loved about this trail run was that  I had to 100% focus on my feet.  It would be easy to go flying through the air like I did in May.  The trail can get slippy, there are hills and dips and different types of paths.  Some are muddy, some with gravel, some are smooth and some are grassy.

The views were breathtaking and I loved it.  I loved the fact I could be anywhere.  I was surrounded in trees and woodland.  The air was fresh.  I was present.  I was happy and at peace.  All the jobs and stresses and pressures were totally forgotten the entire hour I ran the trail.  I even ditched my music.  I was properly immersed in forrest life.

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I actually found the hills satisfying, albeit a little painful in the lungs.  Graeme runs a tight ship, having grown up next to the hill he knows it like the back of his hand.  He has nailed one beautiful, at times challenging and extremely fun trail.

My epic journey with running started on Corstorphine Hill in January 2015.  My 2nd baby was only 6 weeks old but I was determined.  I wanted to get fit so badly that my feet were burning and begging me to jump off that sofa and out of my comfort zone.  I left early one cold, Janaury Saturday morning and ran up the hill.  Despite such a scenic route, I sadly didn’t feel comfortable running it on my own.  It was so peaceful, but many of us female runners are wary of running alone in the woods.

 

This was one of the reasons that Graeme was inspired to start this group.  To give female runners confidence to hit the trails.  I have been to every trail run he has led since.  This short clip I made above encouraged one of my friends to come and join us.  She texted me the following morning to say she felt amazing and will be back.

It was also great to meet Mollie Hughes, Everest champion, and see her there. Graeme trained her over the winter for #everest2017. She said she has never felt so fit or strong going into an expedition. All their hard work paid off with her successful summit on May 16th.  Mollie is now the youngest person in the UK to have summitted Everest from both sides.  Just incredible!

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Trail running with the amazing Mollie Hughes

Exercise allows us to set and achieve incredible goals.  A sense of achivement is so good for our mental health.  Completing any workout provides feelings of accomplishment and establishes a healthy sense of control over our bodies.  It’s safe to say I felt extremely accomplished after the trail run.  I woke the next day feeling proud, stronger (that post exercise ache is always a sign of our bodies getting stronger) and on a runners high.

The positive impact running has on us filters into so many different parts of our life.  As well as the health benefits and lowering stress levels, running has given me confidence.  It has given me energy and a boost in my overall wellbeing.  I have more stamina and energy to go out and live life to the full.  That is what life should be all about.

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Graeme Starkey checking my water levels

Thanks to G for the text that day.   Who would have thought I would love trail running?! If you are Edinburgh based please feel free to come along and join us.  Monday at 730pm. You won’t regret it.  Oh and there is no charge #bingo.

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