Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Mike Cudahy - Inspirational Words

I have just finished reading Mike Cudahy's book Wild Trails to Far Horizons - again. For those who haven't heard of Mike, he is one of our greatest "Ultra" runners whose achievements include being the first person to complete the 270 mile Pennine Way in under 3 days (on his 7th attempt) and he completed the "Coast to Coast" in under 2 days.

His book, "Wild Trails to far Horizons" is a fantastic tale of his adventures and achievements and his talent for running is matched by his talent for words. It was after completing his sub 2 day Coast to Coast run in what were challenging conditions to say the least and overcoming the mental battle to retire on a number of occassions that he wrote the following words which I thought captured the emotion and sense of fulfillment that I have shared on completing the West Highland Way. I hope he doesn't mind me quoting from his book.

"Never have I felt such sheer and simle joy at the end of a run. Moments such as these not only provide the answer to why one does things like this but why we are alive at all. One moment of such joy is worth far more than countless years of steady rational living. To have encountered hardship, discomfort, to have experienced one's physical, mental and spiritual limitations and weaknesses, to have found a path beyond them, not conquering them but accepting and yet transcending them, to have been supported, guarded and guided lovingly by friends represents, for me, a joy both sublime and supreme. I ask for no more."

If you haven't read his book - I would urge you to do so and see what running really is about.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Hill Reps

My training for Mont Blanc has begun in earnest and in an attempt to gauge my current "state" I thought I would head off last Friday and do some hill reps.
Now bearing in mind that Mont Blanc has around 29,000 foot of ascent, a few sprints up the hill from my house wasn't really going to cut it so I set off first thing in the morning to Rowardennan where there was a slightly larger hill to use.
It's been a long time since I climbed Ben Lomond but it all seemed very familiar as I headed up through the trees and onto the hillside. Four and a half hours later I returned to the car after two consecutive trips to the summit and back.
On the whole, I felt pretty good. As I suspected, my climbing is fairly solid and I can keep a good pace most of the way up. Where I struggle is on the descents, partly through being a wimp and partly due to my weak ankles but the path is generally pretty good and there were no mishaps.
I used my sons trekking poles for the first time and these were fanatstic for the climb and will be a very helpful addition to my kit list in August.
The main thing that came out of my hill session was that for the next two days my quads were really painful. This is down to the descents rather than the climbing and is something I need to work on over the next few months.
So there we go. The first of many trips to hills and and a taster of things to come. All together now - "Oh, the Grand Old Duke of York, he had....................."