In 2014 my whole life changed when I made the decision to have a Husky pup called Asher! Due to his high energy levels I spent a lot of time outdoors walking, (which previous to this I sadly admit I did very little outdoor activities. Bringing up my children and running my own business, there just didn’t seem enough hours in the day. A quick trip to the local gym was all I felt I could fit in to keep myself fit). I soon became board of the same local park walks, the same routes and paths. I started to adventure further and fell in love with walking the mountains and finding new places. When you have a passion for something you are certain find the time! In 2015 I rescued an Alaskan malamute called Marley who was 5 years old and that’s where our adventures began. We would walk for hours, explore new places and find new routes. I just wanted to spend all my time outdoors.
I have a competitive streak, so as I became fitter I started challenging myself, how quickly could I summit a mountain and then keep trying to beat my time. Push myself to see how many miles I could walk and how many mountains I could climb in a day. I’ve never really been a runner, I used to use a running machine in the gym before I started walking the mountains, but I felt that walking the mountains with Asher and Marley was more fun and challenging. The great outdoors is amazing! And free! Last year I started incorporating some trail running into my hikes and started to enjoy it.
Three months ago I wanted to set myself a challenge. I wanted to raise money for my local mountain rescue team and celebrate turning 40 this year too. So I decided to set myself a challenge of running a 40 mile route. My birthday was only 2 months away and early February, so the weather may not have been good to run on the day of my birthday, really didn’t want to run the mountains in the snow. Also needed time to train, how realistic would it be to increase from running 6 miles (which is about the longest I had run at this point without walking) to 40 miles! I had walked 20 plus miles in a day many times in the summer months, but running 40 miles was huge! So I set a date for the end of March, plotted my route, set up a just giving page and spread all over social media. I was now committed. I researched training and nutrition plans and ran most days increasing my mileage. Within 8 weeks my long run days were 20 plus miles and I was feeling great! Making the commitment and knowing people where behind me made me dedicated to my training. I’ve really started to enjoy running, covering so many miles in such a short space of time and Asher loves it too! I’ve started to become addicted to the feeling I have when finishing my run. Gives me so much energy, confidence and makes me feel so happy! Running is great! I have surprised myself over the past few months of what I have achieved not only physically but mentally. I have thought a lot more about my nutrition and fuelling my body correctly. Stretching more, looking after my muscles and practising yoga.
My 40 mile challenge is only a couple of weeks away and I want to continue trail running after this event. I want to continue with my long run days every week and increase my mileage even more. I want to improve my nutrition and become an even healthier and fitter me. However it can be so easy to slip out of routine and make excuses when life becomes busy, you feel tired or the weather isn’t great. People have inspired me and have motivated me at times when I am feeling less enthusiastic. Being part of the Black sheep family I know will encourage me to grow and find out what I really am capable of.
Please read Tracy's blog post about her recent Ultra Running Challenge 40 Miles for 40 Years!