Imagine for a moment a life where you rise every morning for a pre breakfast yoga session followed by a simple breakfast of fruit and porridge and cups of tea. After a bit of light theory and some inspirational clips of African runners, you head off with like minded souls to run in some of the most beautiful countryside in the world. Through scented bluebell woods, up winding hills to gaze on stunning views and then you return home for more yoga to unwind and loosen those hill-worn limbs. The day is completed by beautiful, plentiful food cooked with love which you digest in peace and tranquility round a roaring fire, reading yoga and running books, sitting at the feet of the experts and chatting with others who share your obsessions.
And then you do it again the next day. Well it doesn't get much better really does it!
That just about explains what a group of us very lucky folk did at Nick and Mark's Chi Running Retreat at Lendrick Lodge last weekend.
I went to my first Chi Running weekend last September. It was great, but I have to say, this one was even better. From the moment we drove into the grounds of Lendrick Lodge those lovely healing vibes kicked in. Beautiful gardens scattered with statues and prayer flags; a friendly welcome; a roaring log fire in the sitting room.
The Yoga room was superb and beautifully equipped with plenty of mats, blocks, blankets. It was light and roomy with great views out of the windows. Just the right vibe for Marks' great yoga classes. Mark's classes are a treat. He hits just the spot for runners and effortlessly adapts to the different experiences in the class. I really enjoyed when we moved like babies as they learn their way about the world - something I've never experienced in a yoga class before and it was a fascinating experience to see the cobra from a baby's eyes!
The running sessions brought together Nick's coach's eagle eye as we went through our paces at the start of the run. I have to say I struggled to run after eating too much at lunch - my own fault as I normally run on as empty a stomach as possible - but that's no excuse for finding myself back running on my toes. I've got into some bad habits after wearing insoles and I've a way to go to get back into form. But that's what the weekend's about!
We ran through the woods and up a long slow hill to Glen Finglas. The views were spectacular. There's something about the discipline of doing hills that makes you learn regardless. I still see Jon Burdon when I run up hills, the small steps and the neat and effortless way he just goes up them - that's stayed with me since last year's Chi running camp.
On the Sunday we did our Yoga, ate breakfast and then all ran together. There was such a lovely atmosphere of camaraderie between us all that running together felt right. We headed back over to Glen Finglas and then across the hills above the Lodge running full pelt (and maybe a smidgeon out of form!) to the bottom carpark.
A fabulous lunch from the wonderful folk at Lendrick Lodge, a farewell chat and then we made your way home.
I'd like to thank Nick, Mark and everyone on the Lendrick Lodge Retreat for making it such a lovely time. It was very special and I'd urge anyone who loves running to book themselves in. I love yoga too, I love the way that yoga and running fit together in such beautiful harmony. Running is about the mind as much as the legs, it's about breath, form and alignment and focus - well that's Yoga. So the two together complement each other perfectly.
There was sadly one flaw - well lots of little ones. The warm and wet winter meant that those bl**dy midges were out. Thanks to Jill for sharing her midge spray (I think it was for dogs but it worked great!) and Celina for sharing her anti midge bite stuff. Mark had a rather unique approach to the midge problem!
Another great Chi Running and Yoga weekend, thanks so much Nick and Mark and all the chi-lights for making it a weekend to remember!