“The only permission you need to dream, to explore your potential, and dare I say do what you love is from yourself.”
Rich Roll – Finding Ultra
A little on my journey….
For over 25 years I was a rock climber and sports boulderer and that affected my life growing up. I always loved nature, mountains and pushing the limits of what I could accomplish. I have always been involved in outdoor sports, from an early age, playing ice hockey and rugby in my teenage years and walking in Snowdonia, the Peak district and the Lakes. After a bad fall climbing a sport route in 2009 and injuring my shoulder, I wanted to be active whilst recovering so took up trail running. Having grown up with asthma, I hated running from an early age and avoided it where possible. I didn’t like the feeling of breathlessness, it made me feel out of control and although it got better it was always a challenge.
Man versus Mountain
Cut to 2014, and a chance discussion with friends and the challenge was set – The Man Vs Mountain race in 2015. A grueling running event starting at sea level at Caernarfon Castle, running up to the summit of Snowdon ending at Llanberis. It included a mid race abseil,a 25m swim across an extremely cold welsh lake in clothes and shoes, plus a lung busting “vertical kilometre” a 1000m ascent climb dubbed a “race within a race” by the organisers. 35kms in all – easy! How wrong I was!!! 7hrs 32 minutes later, after vomiting three times I crossed the line again with severe pain in my shoulder. Back to pain killers again then!
What’s broken can be fixed
I had done some yoga previously at a local climbing centre but I’m not the most flexible person in the world. I was persuaded by Julie to attend a couple of yoga sessions with her yoga teacher, not the most comfortable experience, but I enjoyed it. Julie ran through the basics after that and although I’m not fastidious at doing yoga every day I have seen the benefits to my overall flexibility and recovery. I have learnt more about alignment, how this has influenced my injury profile and how committing to the right work could repair and reduce the risk.
I have always had a passion for inspiring people to do things they thought they could never achieve, coupled with 20 years of coaching experience in my day job. I discovered Chi Running in 2017 and it just made sense, as I incorporated the techniques into my running I had light-bulb moments noticing pockets of effortlessness around the challenges. With the increase in popularity of running and the couch to 5k, 10k programs, there is very little or no focus on technique or the physiological side of running and it leads to a whole lot of discomfort and injury along the way. I’d see so many runners playing out the injury/fix/re-injure game, so I started training under the supervision of Master Instructor for the UK and Ireland – Gray Caws and certified in 2018 after completing my qualification and training at the Chi Running Headquarters in London.
A relaxed state…
Now running is for me a more relaxed state of affairs, I’m by no means perfect and will always strive for ways to improve my technique but its a gradual process, it’s my journey, which may never have an end destination. To be able to show people that there are ways to make this remarkable sport that bit easier and more fun is something I am passionate about.
Looking to develop my skill-set further, in 2019 and to enhance my Chi Running instructor certification, I will be training as an Oxygen Advantage Instructor with Patrick McKeown. Patrick McKeown is one of the world’s leading trainers of the Buteyko breathing method and developed the Oxygen Advantage program which we are lucky enough to be hosting one of his UK instructor programs in June 2019 in Manchester.
So where now?
We human beings are remarkable. In many ways we bury our head in the sand and resist change as much as possible. But when we take time to step into the uncomfortable and adapt we are capable of emerging better, smarter, stronger than when we began. Despite so much evidence of our greatness, so many of us still tie ourselves in knots doubting our ability to adapt and overcome life’s obstacles. That is my aim… to help people make small changes, in their running to achieve what seems out of reach, that it may inspire more change in all areas of their lives. It’s really amazing to see people reconnecting with their bodies and minds and being able to recognise what they are actually capable of.