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Breathing in the forest air, my heartbeat and footfall are settling into rhythm as I climb the trail... The autumnal canopy is scattering bronze, copper and golden jewels like a carpet beneath my feet. Ducking under a spiderweb laced with diamonds of morning dew, I see the stag as he scampers deeper into the forest.... My muscles and heart are pumped as I push up and out of the tree line and onto the ridge. Climbing up onto the top of the world, and a panorama I silently soak in. A buzzard lazily flaps away from the cairn. Now the fun begins as I run down the trail, twisting, turning, feeling every contour of the earth beneath the soles of my feet. A log to jump, a branch I scoop under, my feet going quicker, quicker, dancing down into the tree line as a fox darts across my path.... This blog is based on tales of my trail and ultra running exploits. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Strive For The Summit Challenge

Strava's motivational powers!

Strava is a where I upload my GPS tracks from my training and races. The application then does all sorts of cool things with the data from elevation, pace, heart rate, training effect.... the list goes on and on!
It is also a social site, where I can see and comment on friends activities... I would describe it as a kind of Facebook without all the rubbish, and designed for athletes who take their running or cycling seriously.

So Strava's Challenge for May 2012 was called Strive For The Summit..... to climb as many vertical feet of ascent within the month of May. "I'll have a bit of that" I thought! Great training for the Alps in August...

Little did I know it would take over my life for a whole month!!!

I often think I have a rather addictive and possibly obsessive nature, but is "Obsessive"not a word used by the lazy to describe dedication? ;-)

No... I WAS obsessed :-D

The challenge was entered by thousands all over the world... most were in the States, but plenty of Brits too. The leader board was viewable anytime online and updated with each activity uploaded.


Just the names of the above sessions remind me of May's madness...
The womens competition basically turned out to be a battle between myself and a Californian girl.... we both went crazy. Every spare moment was spent running/walking and often crawling up very steep hills!




The time difference meant that whilst I was sleeping, she was running... and vice versa. So when I woke she would have overtaken me on the leader board and I would get in as much ascent to catch up and overtake.. whilst she was sleeping :-D
It was crazy... I trained a lot with my pal Andros, who also got bitten by the bug... it was a lot of fun!!!





So as the month passed I definitely got better at gnarly climbing and it acclimatized with a massively intense SOLO onslaught on the Brecon Beacons....

Mary pipped me to the post in the end :-( 

I climbed over 80,000 feet, was second lady, first Brit, and now had calves of steel!





It was a fantastic motivator and I was sent a Strava T-shirt and beanie for my efforts. I'm also pretty sure  Strava's May Madness set me up for my race in the Alps.