Running and Race

This post takes an uncomfortable but important turn so please stick with me even if you couldn’t care less about my running ?

There has always been a desire in me to run but since I was a kid I was always just a sprinter; anything more than the 100m on sports day would fill me first with dread and then with pain!
At uni I tried again to run for fitness and stress relief but was only met with knee and back ache around the 3km mark. I resigned to not being a runner, accepting I didn’t have the body for it. 
But then lock down happened and I was challenged to the ‘donate 5, run 5, tag 5’ and it re-ignited a spark in me. I couldn’t climb due to the restrictions so running (and cycling) became my medicine.

I have developed a very different relationship with running compared to climbing. For me climbing is unique, it’s more of a meditation, I don’t think – it’s all encompassing. Running makes me feel amazing but it allows me time to think. After gently building up from 5k over the last few months, last week I started doing longer distances. Maybe I just needed the time and space to think as my previous 7k longest run suddenly turned into 17km and today I ran my first half marathon. 21km of beautiful scenery across the Moors and just under 2hrs of therapeutic thinking time! 

This month has brought up some really challenging subjects for me ponder on.
LGBTQ+ month began with sharing my article about falling in love with Hannah with my Volume 1 community. Then the death of George Floyd hit us all and I had an uncomfortable, embarrassing realisation that my sheltered, white, privileged background has had the same effect on me regarding race as it did same sex relationships and ableism.

It’s hard to see things that we are not exposed to or educated in until it slaps us in the face. Well, at least that is the case for me and how my rather narrow, focused mind works.
I’m not proud but I’m also not scared to speak out as it needs to be said – I have never considered myself or my upbringing racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist… anything ‘ist’ but sheltered and uneducated, yes! 
I was bought up in a farming family in the country side, went to small private schools and did a degree where ethnic minorities were not only just under represented but not present! Now I am immersed in the world of climbing which is exactly the same… I was saddened to realise this week that I know just 5 black people in the climbing community. This is something we are passionately addressing at Volume 1 Climbing (www.volume1climbing.co.uk)

I didn’t know I could fall in love with a woman because I didn’t know anyone else in my position who had.
I didn’t know how prominent ableism was because I had never spoken in depth with someone who lives a life that is disabled by societies barriers.
AND I didn’t know I was racist because I wasn’t taught what racism really was and I didn’t spend time with black people to hear their stories.

Discrimination is not something I consciously saw before I started working with the Paraclimbing team and met Hannah. Now people double take every time I walk down the street holding her hand as she wheels her chair … BUT I know NOTHING of the life times of discrimination and growing up in a minority group. I am on the first step of a steep learning curve and I am willing to learn and open my mind to a world of things I don’t know enough about! I should have been taught these subjects along long time ago but I’m so grateful for experiencing it at an age where I can process and understand why people judge and don’t understand. The damage caused at a more vulnerable age can ruin lives and we must be aware of that.
Education is key – in every school and every avenue of life.

Learning to run further has reminded me of my potential for growth. We should not label ourselves or put limitations on our ability to change, adapt and learn! Our minds, bodies and souls are ever adapting and have endless potential for growth. Let it all in and ultimately be kind to everyone, including yourself! 
We are all in this together.

Vulnerability

Put yourself out there and don't be afraid to fail

I’m not sleeping as much as I need to at the moment and I now know that’s a sign things are bubbling up in me that I need to write down and eventually share. A middle of the night splurge of my thoughts was always imminent and now feels like the time to share.


This brain fart of mine spreads broadly, and is stinky and uncomfortable; including topics ranging from vulnerability to neuroplasticity. Things that I didn’t even know I knew and certainly didn’t (and still don’t) really understand at all. These subjects I talk about have been trickling out in my life for the last few years through my exposure to vulnerable, scary situations. I’ve never quite known why I do some of the things I do, why I put my self out there is such an exposing way- I’ve always just followed my heart and my gut. Yes this is scary, stressful and leaves me vulnerable to judgement, discomfort and potential failure…. BUT it also opens doors for unity, learning and fundamentally true happiness.


I first listened to Brene Brown’s Ted X Talk on Vulnerability a while back and it really resonated with me but last weekend (whilst driving to Font on a compete whim) I found a podcast of her talking to Oprah Winfrey and had even more profound ‘Ah Hah!’ moments. This next level of resonance was because it came at a time I was ready and needed to hear it. 


Firstly why was I driving to Font on a whim? Well bottom line- you only live once and “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” (Elbert Hubbard).
Things change all the time and what you do with that change is what defines how it influences your life. A swift change in my weekend due to a cancellation meant I was left with a very rare two days off in a row so Hannah and I decided to escape the rain and find summer again in Font, even if just for a day. We were not disappointed. 
For various reasons that I won’t bore with you with, I started driving to Font feeling sick to the stomach with stress, worry and uncertainty BUT I drove home a day later feeling alive and ready to fight again!



“The last freedom we have is to chose the meaning of our circumstance” 

This is one of my favourite quotes of all time and I’ve probably shared it in previous ramblings but it’s a game changer for me and worth saying again. I can choose the meaning of my circumstances- I can’t choose how I feel or my gut reaction but I can choose to not act on my angry- I can choose not to act with hate towards someone- I can choose to act with empathy and kindness. It’s not easy and yes it’s scary because it’s vulnerable to let down your guard but I believe it’s the only way to truly be happy. 


I’ve not really experienced many negatives yet but I know being a business person (especially a business woman) is scary- it’s exposing and there is fear of the unknown, people’s judgement, others in your industry watching, waiting for you to fail. But I know those people are very few and far between and ultimately any one with negative feelings towards my endeavours are just reflecting their own experiences and insecurities- it’s actually nothing to do with me. So I keep pushing forward, keep putting myself out there and accept that to live the full, exciting life I want to live I’m going to get some scars on the way… but hey why the hell not! 


Lastly a word to those also putting themselves out there and feeling like they are banging their heads against a brick wall, getting nowhere and fighting through resistance and self doubt… it’s going to be ok. The haters are going to hate but they are just afraid and reflecting their own insecurities on you. Its hard to not feel resentment back but I don’t think that makes those ‘haters’ bad people they are just struggling too.
Everyone is different, no one is perfect but we all have feelings and we are just doing our best to survive and protect the people we love. 
I find it hard to believe anyone is inherently bad or deep down wants to hurt others (maybe some are dangerous and they need to be in prison to protect others) but are we not just a product of what we have been exposed to in our lives? How we perceive the world and any given experience is based on our prior knowledge and experience. If we can see the world through each other’s eyes or at least try to be empathetic to each other’s feelings it’s allot easier to be kind and patient. Because fundamentally we only bring hurt and anger on ourselves if we chose to respond and act with hurt and anger. If we chose to be kind, loving, grateful and empathetic those positive feelings will eventually fill our lives. 


I’m am not saying by any stretch of the imagination I have nailed this because I am far far from it. But the more I think about it and the more I share it the stronger it becomes. Yes sharing this is scary and I am opening up to the world for criticism; there will be people with far greater knowledge than my ‘brain fart’ on this subject that might snigger at me or think I’m naive but I don’t care- this helps me and sharing it might just help someone else too.


If you got here, thank you for reading till the end. Like I used to, this time I am not going to apologise for rambling on for so long because I’m not sorry ?

Climbing / Yoga Retreats October 2018

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Climbing coaching (bouldering, sport and top rope), morning warm up yoga sesssions and accommodation in a beautiful villa with pool and mountain views….

IMG_8314Be Climbing presents to you the ultimate climbing experience in Spain 🙂
A good friend of mine Nat Tanzer is a very tallented yoga instructor and owner of the beautiful Spanish villa, Casa Lomita. Together we are offering a bank holiday retreat that includes 3 days of climbing coaching (two half and two full days), pre climbing yoga classes as your warm up and accommodation in the beautiful Casa Lometa.

Dates:  There are two long weekends available this Autumn:

Friday 19th- Monday 22nd and Friday 26th- Monday 29th October 2018.

To make the most of the 4 days we ask you arrive by 3pm in the afternoon of the 25th and leave from the crag on the 28th after climbing.casa lometa

Cost: £295 p/p

Location: Casa Lometa is a beautiful villa set on a terraced hillside above the village of Benidoleig in Spain.

Accommodation: 

The villa can sleep six people.

There are two double bedrooms and one twin, two bath
rooms, a spacious kitchen diner and lounge with balcony.

For more photos and info please see their website:

https://casalometa.wordpress.com

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What’s on the agenda:

Friday: Arrive at the Villa by 3pm in time for a quick climb (for those who don’t have the energy, a swim and chill by the pool) then evening BBQ and socialise!

Saturday: yoga 9am, breakfast then full day sport climbing

img_6398Sunday: yoga and trapeze from 9am at the house in the mountains followed by bouldering in the river bed (and then more sport climbing if we have time)

Monday: lead climbing until you have to catch a flight!


Who is it for:
Beginner- Intermediate climbers.
From those able to belay and tie-in who just want to top rope up to those leading 7b.

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Not included: flights, transfers (hire car recommended) and food. The villa has facilities to cook your meals and prepare packed lunches for the crag.