Category Archives: Ramblings

Pimp My Goodie Bag

So, I have been super slack at keeping this updated and a lot has happened in a month

(1) I did the Bupa London 10,000 on a day that was HOTTER THAN THE SUN. It was a beautiful route round the touristy bits of London. The race gets 10/10 for goody bag and amount of free stuff – I more than made up my entry fee in bottles of Lucozade Lite and complimentary massage  which really helped with the post race legs situation. It was 29 C though and the course had to put spray showers. No record breaking times, but a lot of fun



(2) The Great North Swim. My Beeeyatch Amy and I headed the the Lake District for the Great North Swim late June. In true British style, the weather for the whole weekend was shocking. It actually led to the first two days being cancelled due to the wind, cold and sideways rain. I sweet talked my way into the Sunday mile though and had an awesome time. My theme tune for the weekend was Wetsuit by the Vaccines which I thought was highly appropriate. I learned that weekend that swimmers are super friendly, Lake Windemere is filthy and you can’t beat some Kendal Mint Cake after a big swim. Impressive medal and t-shirt as well

 

(3) Today I joined 25,000 other people in running the British 10k. Again the route was all round famous bits of central London. I experimented with the binbag chic look at the pre-race warm up stage given the amazing British summer weather we are currently experiencing

 

I was super chuffed as I sneaked in at just under an hour, meeting my goal I set for the summer of running a sub hour 10k (yes, I use phrases like this now – Keeno??)

The route was spectacular – running across Westminster Bridge towards Beg Ben and the Houses of Parliament was pretty special. 0/10 for goodie bags and general organisation though – who wants some green tea bags and some plant seeds immediately after you have just ran six miles??

Race metal is racking up nicely though

Next stop is the Great North Run in September. I’m into the third week of my training programme for that which sees me running, swimming, cycling or pilates-ing every day for the next three months. It’s gonna be a good’un.

This month has highlighted my shallowness – Screw fitness – I want me some bling and free stuff! Organisers take note – a goodie bag can make or break a race.

I won’t leave it so long next time – promise…..

Until Then

Peace Out

xoxo

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Jubilicious

Someone would have to be living under a rock not to notice that this weekend celebrated Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee. While I can’t call myself a huge royalist, I’m a sucker for nostalgia and being able to say ‘I was there when’…. Thus, my friends got dragged all round London this weekend as we soaked up the atmosphere

Union flags were everywhere and they seemed to make people happy.

This brass band started off my Saturday by playing the Muppet’s Theme Tune – is there REALLY any better way to kick start a bank holiday weekend???

Sunday saw the Thames River Pagent

Even though we got soaked to the skin and it took four hours to get home because London Transport in their wisdom kept a normal Sunday service despite over a million people flocking to the banks of the Thames (ok, enough ranting) it was pretty spectacular

Monday evening we headed to Hyde Park to watch the Diamond Jubilee concert. Ellie gets full brownie points for her themed picnic.

It was stunning watching some amazing acts over a beautiful London sunset. The lineup was pretty awesome and Stevie Wonder even got Rowan Williams grooving – legend

Finally this afternoon saw the Royal Family watch a fly past on the balcony of Buckingham Palace



This weekend typified all things British – namely Rain and Waiting.

We really are a nation that has a seemingly endless tolerance for queuing patiently. Some people had camped out for days to get prime viewing spots. While as I’ve confessed I’ve a soft spot for any big national event you can TAKE IT TOO FAR GUYS, ok.

Congrats Liz and thanks for the day off

Peace Out

xoxo

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Swimming Ettiquette

I’ve been looking a lot like this lately in preparation for the Great North Swim in June

Last post I promised twisted and cynical, and here it is. I really do love swimming, always have, but there are a few pet peeves which are garanteed to push my buttons and transform me from a happy soul into a grumpy old woman. In my defence, these rules only apply when the pool is marked off for lane swimming so these are for people who have come specifically to do lengths, not to just mess around.

(1) Poolside Stop And Chats

When swimming lengths, THE most annoying thing is when two or more people commandeer the end of each  lane for chatter meaning you can’t swim the whole length of the pool and push off from the  edge. If you want to gossip love, feck off to the the cafe upstairs – a swimming pool’s for swimming, not discussing. Will do a passive aggressive ‘I’m displeased’ death stare at Stop and Chatters, but I think it loses effect through my pink tinted swimming goggles lenses.

(2) People Who Make Up Their Own Swimming Stroke

These people are usually also excessive splashers. The most unusual bespoke swimming style I’ve seen recently can only be described as ‘The Turtle’, a painfully slow flapping of arms and legs resulting in virtually  no momentum forward and a plethora of splashage. Particularly annoying one to get stuck behind

(3) People Positioning Themselves In The Inappropriate Swimming Lane

If you’re not a fast swimmer, there is absolutely no shame in sticking to the slow lane – none at all. What is not ok though, is kidding yourself that the fast lane is for you. People who do this are also likely to be Stop and Chatters – all manner of wrong. As an aside, I aspire one day to be good enough to go in the fast lane.

If you find yourself guilty of any of the offences above, be rest assured that that your other swimmers DO notice and they DO mind!

Until Next Time

Peace Out

xoxo

PS. Oh, and Happy Easter

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The Heart of Life is Good

Warning: This post is sickeningly, nauseatingly upbeat

There’s a lot of rubbish we have to deal with in life. Every day we’re bombarded with sad news & stories of deplorable acts people do to each other. Sometimes it’s easy just to be cynical. However, when it comes to it – I think (in the words of John Mayer), The Heart of Life is Good. Here’s three scenarios from the past 12 months which will warm the cockles of your heart……

(1) Sport Relief

On Sunday I took part in the Sport Relief Mile in The Mall by Buckingham Palace. Over 1million people all over the UK took part in a one, three or six mile run to raise money for charities across the world. I was recovering from a 10 mile long run the previous day so I stuck to the one mile – well, that’s my excuse…. The day typified everything I’ve come to learn and love about running – people of absolutely all shapes, sizes and abilities coming together and doing their thing. There were people sprinting, walking as fast as they could and one amazing lady who took a few steps before resting for a while in her wheelchair before getting up and doing a few more. It took her ages, but she flipping did it. The buzz was great. I was shameless in my celeb hunting – among other things I’m proud to have achieved in my life, I can now say I’ve high fived someone from JLS and got my photo taken with Sir Steve Redgrave who stopped for a decent chat with everyone and is a thoroughly nice bloke. All in all over £54 million has been raised in the UK – who says we’re stingy…. Importantly, I got another medal

(2) The London Riots

Last summer, London went absolutely nuts. Buildings were set on fire, shops looted and people terrorised during a week of rioting. The day after a particularly bad night, I happened to be in Clapham, one of the worst affected areas. Following a post on twitter, Clapham residents came out in their hundreds with their own brushes & shovels and rather than wait for the council, set about clearing up the streets all by themselves. Messages of support were scrawled over burnt out shops and emergency scaffolding, children donated toys to other kids who had lost theirs in fires and people pledged to help shop owners whose buisness had been destroyed.

(3) Fundraising for the Half Marathon

Donations to the Brighton Half Marathon for the Alzheimers society have now reached £2030!! I’ve more than doubled my target and have received donations of huge amounts of money from people who I’ve never even met, but whose lives have been affected in some way by Alzheimers. On top of the very generous financial donations, people who I talked to about this endevour have been nothing but 100% positive about the most unlikely person in the world training and finishing a half marathon. The donations page will be open to May, so if anyone is still feeeling generous, feel free to click here.

So yes, there’s a lot going wrong, and but I reckon when we get to it, The Heart of Life is really is Good

Enough nauseating optimism – until next time when I’ll be twisted and cynical

Peace Out

xoxo

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Foot Watch

If you’re squemish, you probably shouldn’t read this post.

One week since the Brighton Half Marathon. My legs are recovered, I’m feeling smug. There’s only one problem – My feet are Fuct.

I mean seriously

*WARNING – Grossness Alert*

I got properly fitted for running shoes on that running machine where they take a video of your feet and you watch it back with popcorn AND I got fancy running socks AND I even wore preventative blister plasters before I ran but as you can see, that didn’t work.

Wanna see another one

This is a direct quotation from one of the people I live with “Please don’t make me look at them again”

I’ve been advised a hot bath with Epsom salts is the way forward, but does anyone else have any top tips for dealing with blisters? It’s been a week now, they won’t go away and they hurt!!

In other news,  I’ve had a few requests to keep this blog going even though the half marathon is finished and I’m only too happy to oblige! I’ve realised that booking into organised stuff is the best way to keep me focussed and keep this fitness malarky going. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to turn into a Keeno (Click here to discover why I NEVER want to be a Keeno) but I’m feeling well, have had a blast over the past few months, so it would be silly not to keep it going. So, over the next few months, I have booked myself into

The Sport Relief Mile in March

The Bupa London 10,000 in May

The Great North Swim in June

The London 10k in July

and

The Great North Run in September which is the worlds BIGGEST Half Marathon (super excited about that one)

It’s gonna be great. I’m gonna get me so much free stuff!!

So until next time, Peace Out – next time I’ll try not to write something that’ll make you vom.

xoxo

 

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The Final Countdown……..

So, one week until the Brighton Half Marathon- my first ever proper race. A few months ago running 60 seconds was a challenge so part of me can’t quite believe this is actually happening 🙂 It’s been a mixture of emotions this week – doing fewer and fewer miles in the week before a race is actually really difficult.  You can’t help but worry that all the fitness you’ve spent months cultivating will wilt away during a week of sloth. I’m nervous, but really exited and really pleased that some of my favourite ever people are coming along to share the day.

I was very sad to wake up to the news that Whitney Houston has died. I’ve spent many happy an hour dancing along to Whitney in ironic 80s bars. I’ve added One Moment In Time to my playlist for next week in her honour. I’m hoping that will spur me along in addition to the good wishes and donations so many people have sent. I’ve been genuinely stunned by how generous people have been – ‘anonymous’ – you know who you are – I don’t, but thank you – that was amazingly generous and also people who I’ve never met – e.g. Stephen Griffiths – thanks for the dollar! The Just Giving page is still open so feel free to take a look by clicking here and chucking me a few quid if you feel able / inclined

I’ll let you know how I get on – Wish me luck!
Peace Out
Xoxo

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Ok, So This Is Actually Happening

I had a minor freak-out just over a week ago. This arrived

I remember clearly sitting down and entering the Brighton Half Marathon one gloomy, rainy night in September. At the time, I thought it was 50/50 whether it would actually happen and I didn’t tell a soul about what I’d done for a month. Now with  three weeks to go, I’ve realised this really is actually happening, and I’m kinda excited –  very, very excited! Following on from my last post, things have been better. I ran 10 miles last Saturday which went well and breaking into double figures was a real psychological boost.

Yesterday, my new thing for the day was to take part in my first ever organised race – a free Park Run. I was really nervous beforehand, having visions of the park full of Keenos running the 5km in 6.87 minutes with me shuffling behind half an hour later.  Although I didn’t exactly win, and initially had flashbacks of horrendous school cross country, it was actually really lovely and people were super friendly. Before we started, Park Run Virgins (there were about a dozen of us) were asked to identify ourselves and we got a big clap and cheer from the rest of the 280 strong group which genuinely put a smile on my face. I ended up running 5K faster than I ever had before, didn’t come last and even passed a few people. It also helps when you’re running round places like this.

Don’t get me wrong, although the people there were mostly Normals, there were a few Keenos as well. I overheard things like ‘well, so, maybe Tim could run that 5k faster, but I totally feel like I could run that all again at the same pace – maybe even quicker. Bet Tim couldn’t do that’ That statement would be annoying even coming from a 13 year old, but this guy was at least 30. Seriously dude, get a (non-competitive) hobby. So, a lovely first race followed by a further 5mile jog back home. Will definitely be doing it again.

(WARNING, SOME SMUGNESS COMING) Without getting too dramatic, pressing ‘send’ on that half marathon application turned out to be one of the best, and most important decisions I’ve ever made in my life. I feel a million times better than I did last year and genuinely feel like a whole new world has opened up over the past few months. If you’re teetering about entering into your first race, in the words of Nike, Just Do It. I’m so glad I did.

Enough with the pep talk, until next time

Peace Out

xoxo

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Tales of a Miserable Run

I’ve been basking in New Years smugness recently (a la last couple of posts). I’ve been running, swimming or doing something active every day this week and it’s been going well. I’ve actually been enjoying myself – even the killer hill route I’ve discovered of which I partook four miles of on Thursday.

Today, however,  was just one of ‘those’ runs where every step was an effort. I did eight miles and, similar to what I do in my every day life, I decided not to make it easy for myself. Although the Brighton Half Marathon is pretty flat, I’ve decided to do all my longer runs in a beautiful, mahoosive Royal Park . Although it is beautiful, it’s also pretty hilly and my ‘try a new thing every day’ plan backfired when trying a new running route saw me faced with some pretty evil inclines. Normally, after a couple of miles, I get in ‘The Zone’ and although I’m not particularly fast, I can get along without too much effort. Today, that just didn’t happen even though the weather was stunning and I was running around a gorgeous lake – I just wasn’t feeling it. The last mile was particularly awful. Didn’t stop though and am pleased with myself that I finished. Hope next week is better – it better be – it’s a 10 miler!

Apart from today (when I spent an hour and a half wondering how I could have come up with such a stupid New Years Resolution) I’ve really enjoyed trying something new every day. Amongst other things I’ve found myself walking home from work (a mere 7.8 miles), grabbing a cup of coffee before catching my train (where I bumped into a colleague which led to a nice chat on our journey in) and a genuine revelation is that it’s so much nicer to travel round London on the bus rather than tube. So although today has mostly been spent being grumpy, it has actually been a lovely week. 2012 is still being good to me.

Until next time

Peace Out

xoxo

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Back In The Game

So this is the first week I’ve properly got back into preparations for the Half Marathon in February. I knocked out six miles this morning and everything feels good! So, for the next six weeks my life looks like this

Monday – Swim

Tuesday – Run 4 Miles

Wednesday – Pilates

Thursday – Run 4-5 miles up some hills

Friday – Swim

Saturday – Run 8-12 miles

Sunday – Curl up in a ball and die / Pilates

Sounds a peach, doesn’t it!! I’ve also been given a Wii Fit over Christmas so I’m gonna do a little bit of that every day to help with stretchy things. Not too sure how reliable it is though – yesterday it had my fitness age at 25 – today it was 36! I also got some new goggles for swimming – first time I tried them out they were way too tight and for a whole day it looked like I’d been punched in both eyes – good one.

I’ve also been trying something new every day this week – nothing huge – I’ve not found a new cure for the common cold or an answer to why you always lose at least one sock in a load of washing. I have, however, discovered two new places to get a nice cup of coffee, that I actually like Ryvita,  some lovely new places to run, a more interesting way to get home from work, that honey in my porridge tastes really good and that I actually prefer running at night-time. Nothing revolutionary – but lots of things that will make my day to day life a little nicer 🙂

So, until next time – Peace out – hope 2012 is still being awesome for you all

xoxo

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The Smug New Years Post

So, we are now in 2012. Outside my room, the rain is absolutely tipping it down – Good start 2012 – Must Try Harder.

I’ve returned to London following an amazing trip back home to Northern Ireland over the holidays. Times like this always make you take a bit of a pause. You meet up with people you haven’t seen for a year, you see what they’ve done, achieved or produced and it makes you take stock of how you’ve spent that last 365 days. While I was at home, my Mum received some sad news about an old work colleague. This lady had been overweight and unwell for years – she gradually became more and more obese until about six months ago she just gave up and stopped going out. She’s now in a coma and receiving palliative care. A few months ago she tearfully told my Mum she felt she’d wasted her life.  (WARNING – Here comes the smug bit) It’s a real cliche, but stories like that really make you realise that life isn’t a dress rehearsal – there’s no way I can go back and change past regrets, decisions or experiences. I’m running the Brighton Half Marathon for the Alzheimers Society and this also makes you think about bigger things like what it will like to grow older, look back over your life and what you will be proud of.

I met up with a good friend for coffee last week and we talked about how we spent this year and how I never thought in a million years I would be running a half marathon. It made me wonder what other things I’ve told myself I can’t do, what limitations I’ve put on myself, what experiences I’ve talked myself out of. I’m not a huge fan of New Years Resolutions (they’re usually abandoned by January 9th). Despite this, I’m going to try an experiment for a month. I’m going to try something new each day. Nothing major, nothing earth shattering, but to challenge the ‘No, that won’t work; You won’t like that’ voice that so often pops up. That’s where I think the exciting things in life happen – not in outlandish Gap Yah japes, but in the subtle shifting of new experiences from day to day – of eating something new, getting to work a different way, going someplace different in your free time. So January will be a month of newness – could be exciting…..

(WARNING – EVEN MORE SMUGNESS)    I started off this New Year the way I mean to go on – up and running. I made it to the lovely park near my house despite the hangover and the head cold I can feel emerging and felt amazing. This is definately NOT how I started last New Year. It’s incredible how things in life can change so quickly and so dramatically. I just cannot begin to describe how unlikely I thought this scenario would be as I embarked upon 2011 and I also cannot begin to describe how much healthier and better I’m feeling compared to this time last year. The hip is feeling good and I was able to keep up with all my cross training and stretching over the holidays. It’s going to be a real challenge over the next 6 weeks, but I’m really excited about the ride. Ok, smugness aside – the rest of the day will mostly be spent eating popcorn and watching trash. A very Happy New Year – I hope 2012 is awesome for you. Peace Out

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