Wednesday, 30 December 2015

2015: A Year To Remember

Hello again,

So another year has almost come to an end and when I was thinking about writing a blog post to summarise my experiences and adventures in 2015, the saying ~A picture paints a thousand words~ came to mind. 
Here are my a thousand words and then some in the form of pictures. 

British Athletics Cross Challenge-Cardiff
Welsh Cross Country Championships
British Inter-Counties Cross Country Champs
A run along the coast path at St Davids with Dad
The forest tracks in Mid Wales are perfect for 
mountain running training

Buttermere 10 Mile Trail Race
British Athletics Mountain Running Training Camp
in Betws-y-Coed
My last ever Mini London Marathon and with it my highest ever placing: 4th
Luke hitching a ride on a deer

UK Inter-Counties Fell Running Champs
British One Mile Road Championships

A perfect day for a long run
GB Trial for Euro Mountain Running Champs
Natural Swimming Pools at Porto Moniz, Madeira
The Team GB team at the Euro Mountain Running Champs
Junior Girls at Euro Mountain Running Champs, Madeira
On the top of Pen-y-Fan
The view from the summit of Pen-y-Fan
A Welsh sunset
A damp hill session in the trees
A speed session
A post-run cool down in the sea
Fish and Chips at the seaside
Another Welsh sunset
GB World Mountain Running Championships trial race
Toby examining my Walsh fell shoes
Team GB at the World Mountain Running Champs
A jog along the sea front in Llandudno
Start line at WMRC
Feeling very tired after finishing 5th at the WMRC in beautiful 

Team GB junior girls post race at WMRC
Earning team silver at WMRC
One of the best things about mountain running is the amazing people you meet along the way
A very sleepy Toby
A bike ride around the lanes of Mid Wales
Touch-down in Italy
The Walsh PB Elites on tour in Italy
A stone in my shoe, resulting in a very painful and disappointing race
The British Girls at Trofeo Vanoni
The finishers of Trofeo Vanoni in Morbegno
A fab high terrain trail running weekend in the Keswick area
My Dad and I enjoying a long run around the area of Keswick
Fantastic scenery for trail running
Running to the summit through the snow and ice covered bogs during a long run at the trail running weekend
Racing at the British Athletics Cross Challenge in Liverpool
A windy long run around the hills of Mid Wales
A long cycle ride around the Elan Valley Dams
2015 has been a year to remember. A year of many ups and a year of some downs as every path in life should have. A year where many precious memories have been made and a year where I have learnt more about myself and life on this amazing planet that we live. The ups have allowed me to appreciate life through the wonderful experiences that I have had the privilege of being a part of, whilst the downs have also allowed me to fully appreciate the good times when they come along and made me more determined to reach success and whilst being happy along the path that life takes me. 
As always I would like to thank, Norman Walsh UK, The Metropole Hotel and The Ron Pickering Memorial Fund for the support this year.  Without the support, I am sure that 2015 would not have been as rewarding and meaningful.
Furthermore, I would like to give thanks to my family and friends that have made the year memorable by being with me every step of the way. Without you, I would no doubt not be where I am today.

Finally I hope that you had a very Merry Christmas and wish you all a Happy New Year.

~The best way to predict your future is to create it~ Abraham Lincoln

See you in 2016,
Heidi x

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Friday, 4 December 2015

The power of time


Just four letters, but four letters of deep importance to the human species.

Can you imagine a life without time keeping? A life where you don't know what year it is, the month, the day, the time to the minute or second?

As a species, humans are defined by time keeping. From the moment you take your first breath to the moment you take your last, your life is kept to a neat schedule by the continuous tick-tocking hand of the clock.

Arguably, time is one of the most important elements to becoming an accomplished runner.

We've all done it. Gone for a run with our ever reliable personal stop watches strapped to our wrists, recording our pace and comparing the time with previous runs, desperate to see some improvement. Or we've all ran races and taken an anxious glance at the timing clock, eager to discover if we've bettered our Personal Best. You've only got to run a local club road race and hear the simultaneous beep of watches around you at the kilometer or mile marks to realise that us runners can become obsessed with time and the implications that this will have on our satisfaction of our result and performance.

Nevertheless, the most precious and enjoyable moments within running are very rarely measured by time. To me, running is about freedom and allowing the body and mind to escape the monotony of time keeping in every day life. Running through the natural environment allows us to reconnect the mind and body to the incredible nature of the world around us; to a universe that forgets about time keeping and where moments seem to slow. It's only you, the path, trail or hill that lies in front of you. The mud and cold water seeping into your shoes and your ragged breathing as you feel your whole alertness and emotions sharpened with every tiring step forward.

It may sound like a cliche but running helps you to feel alive and come to realise that the universe is so much bigger than yourself as an individual and society as a whole.
Running is about freedom and feeling alive
(Photo courtesy of High Terrain Events)
Sometimes though, within running you will have the urge to come back to the enduring presence of the infinity of time. Only recently, I have found that a small time period of just 12 seconds has its powerful grasp over me and my ambitions within the sport. This year I have been 12 seconds short of a goal, two sets of 12 seconds away from a dream. Sometimes, just 12 seconds ahead in time feels like it may take a lifetime to reach. 12 seconds can be a blink of an eye or an eternity, but I know that I will get there in the end with my continued hard work and determination.
Chasing the 12 second goal
(photo courtesy of  Maggie Walby)

Time, like many things is just a matter of perspective. If Usain Bolt or any other able-bodied World class 100 metre sprinter was to run 12 seconds in a race, that specific 12 seconds would be deemed as slow. If any Athlete within the T54 Paralympic class were to run 12 seconds for the 100 metres, this would be a World Record and deemed as incredibly fast.

My 12 second loss has inspired me to appreciate time and what it feels like to be alive whilst also striving to get the uttermost best out of my body.

Your length of time in life is never certain, so you've got to be fully present in every moment you have the luck of experiencing.

Just four words. A continuous eternity.

Do what you can with what you have.