Run Coed Y Brenin; The Anna Frost Big Trail Weekend

As a huge fan of Anna Frost (Frosty) I follow her on all social media platforms. I was stoked to see that she posted details of an event in Wales. Yippeee, I jumped with joy and bought a ticket right there and then. Afterwards, I checked out where it was and wondered how on earth I would be able to get my butt over to the middle of Wales. Public transport seemed to be somewhat lacking… Which led to my weekend beginning in style, with this sweet ride.WP_20150528_16_44_38_Pro

I picked this brand spanking new car up from the depot, quickly remembered how to drive (it’s been a while) and off I tootled. The views along the way were so goddamn pretty it was almost dangerous as I found my eyes wandering away from the road and over to the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons. Wales was certainly looking lush as always. I fall a little bit more in love with Wales every time I visit. I wound my way around the A470 and arrived at my wonderful campsite where I quickly set to work pitching my lovely new tent.WP_20150528_17_08_23_Pro

I scoffed some crackers and tofu spread, quickly changed and then hotfooted it over to the Run. Coed Y Brenin store for the Thursday evening run led by Anna. The centre is in the most beautiful forest surroundings you could imagine. What a dream it must be to work there. I was warmly welcomed by Matt and the runners in the group. Then it happened. I met Frosty! I was completely and utterly star struck for a wee while. I managed to say ‘Hey!.’ My brain thought of about a million things to say to Anna but I couldn’t choose a single thing that wouldn’t make me sound like a complete and utter stalker! That’s the funny thing about social media isn’t it. You can follow somebody else’s life online and watch interviews so you end up knowing intimate details about their life without ever having met them. Weird huh?!11289375_1619940011586158_5319602950195986198_o

Frosty led the run. We all warmed up as a group for about one mile. Then we did laps of the 400m animal trail which undulates over gently and very runnable hills for half an hour. After the midges had a good feast on all of us Anna took us over to the beautiful space in the conference centre to do some runners specific yoga and Tai Chi moves. The stretching felt amazing and is something I will try to incorporate into my daily routine. I am a super naughty runner as I never ever stretch after I run. My first thought on returning home is always food and my second can deviate between showering and lounging around.

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I headed back over to camp with a grumbling stomach. I quickly set about making some pretty top class camping food. I cooked spicy rice and tofu sausages and had this with my new favourite food – sauerkraut.

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True to Welsh weather, it rained incessantly all night. I quite enjoyed listening to the rain pitter pattering on my tent. My new tent was so good that I had to take off a layer in the night as I got too hot. This is something I have never experienced before when I have been camping! I awoke to a very bizarre noise. I poked my head out of my tent to find a herd of alpacas across the fence.WP_20150529_08_04_07_Pro

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I packed up camp and headed back over to the conference centre for the Women’s Day. The other attendees were all so inspiring. I met people who were training for all kinds of epic races; their first ultra, 140km mountain races and the UTMB. These women had some serious sisu.

To begin the day we had coffee and there was a really lovely relaxed atmosphere as everybody got to know a little bit about each other. Then Frosty gave a presentation about her roots and her running career. This included a showing of the film ‘Home.’ I was unable to keep a dry eye during the screening of the film. I really loved Frosty’s honesty throughout the two days and during the film. She doesn’t sugar coat things and I truly appreciate that. During the making of the film ‘Home’ she realised that running is just running. That’s it. It is not what defines you as a person, it is an activity that you do because you love it. Most importantly of all however is that you must love yourself.

We headed out for another group run. This time we practised hill techniques. Something I definitely need to work on. The scenery was so beautiful you almost forgot you were running. Anna gave us some expert tips and advice for uphill running, ‘Girls, you were blessed with strong thighs and big bums so use them!’ She coached us through how to run up hill without knackering ourselves out and how to powerhike correctly; hands on thighs, push your feet into the ground, keep your chest up and proud so you can breathe. Then for the downhill training. Anna claimed she was no expert at this so she let Matt take over. As we all tentatively stood at the top of a near vertical scree slope she piped up, ‘Come on girls just throw yourselves down there!’ I plucked up the courage and off I went. I wasn’t sure my legs would move fast enough to stop me from going tits up as it were, however my legs proved themselves to be trustworthy and I reached the bottom in one piece. It was both scary and exhilarating.

We headed back for some more yoga which felt so good. The session focused on sideways movement as we spend so much time doing forward motion as runners so it is nice to create some balance. After a great buffet lunch, Anna gave a really amazing presentation about women’s issues and running. Nothing was off limits, Anna would answer any questions honestly and openly which was very refreshing. We covered topics such as periods, diet, work/life balance, nutrition and training. Anna is really all about inspiring and empowering women and she wants us all to share the message with everybody that we should not be embarrassed to buy tampons! Every woman on the planet has a period so why is it still so taboo to buy sanitary products?!

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Before the day ended Anna launched the Sisu Girls book Fearless Frosty, The book is absolutely beautiful and I cannot wait to share it with a Sisu Girl to help inspire the next generation of amazing women.

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I had the best time in Wales and I still can’t believe I got to meet Anna Frost. I did get over my initial starstruck cat-got-my-tongue syndrome and chatted with Anna on the second day. Frosty is such a cool chick. She is so passionate about everything that she does and she really stands up for what she believes in. She is the most humble and down to earth person I’ve ever met, and such an incredibly talented athlete. DSC_0909

I returned home feeling sad that I had to give the car back 😛 and fully inspired to explore more, run more and move my body in different ways. I also had a blast running with everybody and am on the lookout for some trail running buddies in Bristol!

Here are some new and inspiring blogs for you to follow…

Frosty Footsteps

Runista

Eclectic Cake

Good luck to everybody running the Anna Frost 10km tomorrow

Olivia ♥

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