Monday, 15 April 2013

Talking the TORQ, Walking the Walk.

It's been a while since I've posted any news proving my writing is as inconsistent as my training and health, but what a difference a weekend can make.  

I have applied a while a go to be part of a new trail team for TORQ Fitness a specialist fitness consultancy who has also developed a complete range of sport nutrition products for endurance sports.  Freestak a social media marketing company for the running industry have joined their expertise with TORQ to develop a unique trail running team on inspirational (non elite) runners who will inspire and encourage others through sharing their wide range of achievements.

After submitting my application including what races I have done, what I love about trail running and my ambitions, I got on with work, training and life. A few weeks later when I got the email to say I had made it through to the selection day at Church Stretton you would have thought I had been selected for the Team GB, I was truely delighted and ran round the house so excited (probably the fastest I ever run)

So Saturday (13th April) was selection/assessment day at the YHA in Church Stretton but the weekend was extended so we could run and get to know the other candidates.

On Friday evening I met Carrie and we had the pleasure of sharing some time with Stuart Mills over a drink in the pub and meeting the other early arrivals.

Julie & Simon from Freestak

On Saturday we were made most welcome by Julie and Simon from Freestak along with Simon and Ben from TORQ, the day started with a presentation from Ben on the TORQ nutrition and recovery systems which gave us the chance to ask questions and importantly to taste the products. Who can complain when they they include yummy flavours such as Rhubarb & Custard or Banoffee gels or Ginger & Pineapple Bars The debates rage on to carbload or not, high protien diets, what to fuel on, myths and facts about the impact of hydration,  perspiration on performance etc. Ben was great and not phased by these ambitious high achieving runners firing questions at him and allowing us to learn from each other.
Lots of chat and getting to know you

Loves to chat running - Stuart Mills

Following this we were treated to a talk and presentation from Stuart Mills winner of the Lakeland 100 in 2010 and is a GB International Trail Runner with a string of impressive race results to his name. I have seen Stuart speak before and as usual his open approach, sense of humour and positivity was evident as he encouraged us to embrace a positive attitude, consider what effect negativity can have on your performance, how we percieve fatique and explains his own approach to racing. What is refreshing about Stuart is he challenges the common approaches to ultra running and is not afraid to review his own training regime change it up and develop a new approach based on his goals and ambitions, a lesson for us all.

What was totally brilliant about the weekend was the participants and their individual stories of why they run and what they have achieved, I was in awe around the pub table I was chatting to Carrie who has sumitted Everest - yes Everest to Rob? (sorry forgot name) running 160 continous miles the Ocean Floor in Egypt and that was just for starters. Rueben running the lakeland 50 along with me, to Mel who is a personal trainer and ultra runner and Amanda who has just completed the Paris Marathon last week and is a seasoned trail runner.

A straw pole of the room earlier in the day indicated that most had run 50 miles or more and whats more everyone loves it and I mean loves it and all are passionate about their chosen sport and so encouraging and supportive of each other and admiring of respective achievements. I left the pub on Saturday evening stating I need to get more adventurous, feeding off others motivation and adventures and a big challenge is needed - watch this space.

The tempting prize - trail training on
the Mont Blanc Mastif
 On display in the hostel was a reminder for all, along with being involved in a unique, innovative trail team you get the opportunity to train on the UTMB course. Despite having the qualifying points I didn't get through the ballot for the CCC so a chance to train on this iconic terrain would be awesome.

 Well what did I learn from this weekend:
Trail running is still awesome.
Trail running is an inclusive community
You can achieve in trail running whatever your level or ability
You can challenge yourself and go on a journey in a literal and emotion sense
 I want to challenge myself further
 I need to regain and improve my fitness
 You meet incredible interesting people and laugh
                                                        The concept of a non elite team is genius
                      and also
Mentally prepare as well as physicially train
Get your nutrition right by planning and testing before a race
More about Rate of Perceived Exersion and fatigue from Ultra Stu
Run hard and fast (I wish)

                      and on a personal level

I put myself through a lot to attend the weekend, I am lacking confidence in my abilities after a long period of not being at all well and a knee and back injury proved my worse fears on the asssesment run, and the old nagging self doubt hit me like a ton of bricks on the first hill all the reasons for leaving my old running club came rushing back by the truck load.

But I persevered with the weekend buoyed up by the fantastic crowd I was with and not wanting to leave the hub of enthusiasm and talent.

What is wanted from the TORQ Trail Team I'm not sure whether it is people that will generate publicity with their amazing back stories, heaven help the panel choosing from that lot or people who they can take on a new journey and improve their fitness to achieve new goals I'm not sure. What is clear they want ambassadors for the sport - what a difficult choice to make.
View of the valley from back of the YHA

 I am a slow runner I probably redefine slow especially as I have miss so much training recently but what I do know I can't give it up there's too many adventures to go on and as my granddaughter is 12 I hope I am some sort of role model that age, health status and gender is not a barrier to achieving.

   It's not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.

  Good luck to all involved - brilliant.


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