Category Archives: Thoughts

Olympicality

The London 2012 Olympics have finally begun….

 

Like the Marathon a few months ago, the Olympics have felt like a shot of positivity and good vibes shooting through this fair city. Being a sucker for sentimentality, I’ve been totally engrossed right from the Torch Relay, stalking it several times as it made its way to the Olympic Park.

I watched the whole opening ceremony with a group of friends, during which I learned of at least four countries I didn’t know existed before (Comoros anyone??) I have to say, the ceremony certainly was, erm, interesting… While the lighting of the cauldron and forging of the Olympic Rings were truly spectacular, for parts of it, I can’t help but think Danny Boyle spent a hefty chunk of the £27million budget smoking drugs!  I also loved that it has been an excuse to make up some new words – Seb Coe slipped ‘Olympicality’ into his speech – I’m pretty sure that’s a made up word, but I like it 😉

I’ve already been to Old Trafford and Wembley to watch Team GB take on the footy and will be swinging by Beach Volleyball later on this week – seeing Horseguards Parade transformed into a beach is well worth a tenner! I’m kinda hoping watching lots of sports will translate into some vicarious Great North Run training since I’ve been super slack in my preparations. Not completely my fault since I’ve been struck down with the flu, but I really need to get back in the game. Until then, will continue to watch random Olympic sports from my sickbed (Handball is my favourite so far – brutal!)

GOOD LUCK TEAM GB!!!!

Peace Out

xoxo

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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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Egg-citing Adventures

My usual sickeningly optimistic demeanor has been shaken. Some geniuses threw eggs at a friend and I as we walked home from a party this weekend. Just in case you’re wondering, it’s NOT fun to travel across London playing find the egg shell in your party clothes. The next day I was still fuming. Rather than stew in my own juices, I wondered how the situation could be transformed to a force for good. My solution

Using eggs in the best way I know – Banana Pancakes – a Hug on a Plate.

I also thought I would try a special weekend run. Purely by accident I came across some fantastic runs around central London on the Serpentine Running Club website. This one takes you the whole way would Hyde Park, St James’s Park and Green Park passing shameless London tourist spots on the way.

Start at Hyde Park

Head to Kensington Palace


Learn some interesting facts about trees

Swing by the Royal Albert Hall

Which overlooks the Albert Memorial

Head towards Green Park saying hello to Nelson on the way

Swing by Buckingham Palace to say hello to Liz to ask her how Jubalympics prep is going. Unf she wasn’t in

Check in on her son at Clarence House while you’re there

Duck under Wellington Arch

Head back to Speakers Corner in Hyde Park past the Joy of Life Fountain

And finish at the Animal War Memorial


It was a very pretty, but very slow seven miles given the many stops I had to make to orient myself and sidestep tourists -btw, is there ANYTHING more annoying than a bunch of tourists with umbrellas. Even though I’ve lived in this great city for about 4 yrs now, there’s so much I haven’t seen – could be a good excuse to work through the whole website ……

Until Next Time

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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Foot Watch – The Sequel

Whenever I’ve seen friends over the past couple of weeks, before we even get to the hello stage, I invariably get asked the question – How are your feet?? This is followed up quickly with “By the way dude, your feet are gross – Who even puts pictures of their feet on the internet” What can I say – bite me… Three weeks post race and here’s how they’re shaping up

Extra cushioning for future races I suppose.

Life after completing such a big milestone is weird – you can’t help but feel there’s a bit of a void.  I’ve made a real effort to keep up with running 3 times and cross-training a couple of times every week. I’ve been going to a few of my local parkruns and can’t say enough about how good they are – free 5k races every Saturday all round the UK – super friendly people with absolutely all levels of running ability. I’m also seeing my 5k time come down nicely 😉 I’ve put my Half Marathon medal on the bedroom mirror – still smile every time I see it!

Next race is the Sport Relief Mile down The Mall in London which should be a lot of fun. 25th March baby – see ya there

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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Mission Acomplished

Every now and again, the universe pulls its finger out and things come together to make a near perfect day.

Perfect weather, a beautiful route, a city alive with supporters and my very own fan club made for an awesome, awesome day. I was running with my very good friend Amy and we both made it across the finish line. There was some controversy after the race finished – it transpired that someone put a cone in the wrong place during a turn around and we actually ran half a mile more than the 13.1 miles we were supposed to! Our times were adjusted so I managed it in 2hours 27 mins which isn’t exactly breaking any records, but I was chuffed nonetheless.

I heard of a really nice idea which Amy, and I tried out – we dedicated each mile to a different person(s) I’ve asked Amy to be a guest contributer on this post – I can’t guarantee that these are perfectly in order, but here’s a run down of our race….

Mile One –  We dedicated the first mile to each other – so mile one goes to Amy who was running her second half marathon and killed it despite being unwell all last week – we did it dude!!

Amy – Yooooouuu! Very proud of one of my favourite people and her new found running talents! I was very happy to share the day with you – and well done on your victory!

Mile Two – To Stephen who I work with who told me his Mum lived with Alzheimer’s before her death a few years ago

Amy – To your Nan – all the pain and hard work inspired by her, to a great cause too.

Mile Three – To Ellie – one of my top 3 favourite people – to her resilience for coping with a really tough year and her 100% enthusiasm and encouragement for this crazy idea I had last winter

Amy To Geoff – my favourite boy, thanks for the support despite knowing my lack of training. Wouldn’t have been the same without your shouts at various time points, and of course the kiss at mile 6

Mile Four – To Barcardi Ali my crazy Auntie who put on an event in her home bringing in hundreds of pounds and who is recovering from a nasty operation this week

Amy – To Mummy and Daddy – for all their support in my daft escapades and always checking I’m alive and well at the end

Mile Five – To Chloe who let me stay with her and the family all weekend in Brighton and made me a good luck hot water bottle the night before. Also one of my most favourite people on the planet and who I won’t see for months as she’s traveling with work 😦

Amy – To Grandma Love – what a rubbish couple of years and dedicating this warm up to the Great North Run which I am doing to raise money for the Stroke Association.

Mile Six – To Mum – the best role model a young woman could wish for – shining example of always putting family first

Amy – To Grandpa Love – for being a wonderful Grandfather and for all he does to look after a wonderful Grandmother

Mile Seven – To Grampa ‘The Don’ – this guy could write a book about the things he’s experienced. One of the most loving, gentle, charismatic people you could ever meet – plus, he’s 87 and can txt – legend!

Amy – To my legs! 2 miles of sheer torture followed this point – I should also raise a glass to lucozade and glucose at this stage!!

Mile Eight – To Dad who really excitedly got behind this whole endevour and for a whole host of reasons is truly a Dad in a Million!

Amy To Philip – my wonderful baby brother!

Mile Nine – This is where things really started to hurt! This mile was for Granny – a remarkable woman who is living with this bloody awful condition of Alzhiemers with such dignity and grace

Amy  – To Lisa – my favourite little sister in law

Mile Ten – To my brother Dee – the most genuine person I know. Great Dad, great brother, great bloke!

Amy – To Stevie B – my wonderful big brother, for all of his big brotherly love and guidance

Mile Eleven – To Trevor – a guy I’ve never actually met but who is a friend of my aunt. His father has Alzheimer’s and gave me £100 for this cause

Amy – To Katie – My favourite big sister in law

Mile Twelve – To my sister Caroline who has raised a little star in the form of my niece Hannah. Don’t know how you find the time to do all you do sis – ’nuff respect.

Amy – To Grandad & memory of Grandma Baraniak – what wonderful Grandparents, Grandma is still very much missed

Mile Thirteen –  I ran out of miles to fit everyone I wanted to in, so the last one was for my whole family – I’m incredibly privileged to have grown up with such cool people around who only want the best for me – I’m truly blessed. At this point, I started crying like a baby and continued until the finish line

Amy To Auntie Linda – well what can I say about her…for the laughter she brings to my life and her love of Lily the little border collie! Mile last .2 which was really a sneaky .7 … my fellow runners on the day who had to keep their legs going that extra half a mile!!


Additional good things about the day

(1) Beating Katie Price

(2) So. Much. Free. Stuff.

Was in a wall of pain the next day and have two feet full of blisters, but honestly, it was worth every last step.

Overwhelmed by the support I’ve received and will let you all know the final total in a few weeks time, but the Just Giving page is still open here if you want to drop by

Could probably write so much more, but for now, that is all.

Until next time

Peace Out

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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