It begins! Annus horribilis… or bliss?

This Saturday, thousands of runners will be bracing themselves to take on the epic Great Wall of China marathon.. after months of dedicated training, sacrifice and pain they experience one of the hardest marathons known to man! That will be me in one years’ time! what the heck!

Thankfully my runner fam picked me up from a confidence wobble the other day, where I contemplated the half rather than full marathon, they all have the confidence in me to bring home the bacon on the day and get the full 26.2 in.

My reasoning being that I could train and do the best job of a half marathon as possible, rather than go the whole hog which just seems so daunting right now, the huge elevations, thousands of steps and heat – it just all sank into me what a massive, epic challenge this was BUT, do you know what… they’re right… why bother flying half the way around the world for a halfie… why not just do my best at the full.. even if I am the last one over the line, I would’ve still completed the damn thing like everyone else.

Its time now to face my fears and really throw down the gauntlet.  Been speaking to some running coaches about training and getting my plan in place (I’ll share that here next week).  Also consulted the lovely Nicola who will taking on the ‘experience’ too, to pick her brains about the best nutrition and training plan.  Feeling much more positive now! I was honestly quite happy to do the halfie and hold the drinks and canapés for Nic when she finished the full… no chance now.

Even bought these… note the fake tan is to stop blinding people with my milk bottle legs ..I may sneak out the house while no-one else is up… not worn shorts since 2003!

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Overhaul of training and eating..

More details about a big event that I am training for will be released soon, mainly due to funds and some other factors mean I may or may not compete.

But what I am focussing on, is getting myself ready for this epic, once in a lifetime challenge. If not I will be in the best nick of my life. So its a win-win all round.

For this event, I want to train in the most sensible way I can, which means minimalizing the risk of injury and working on more muscle groups than the ones I just use for running.  Last year’s downward spiral in my running journey I think wasn’t helped with the monotonous plod on the pavement and boredom it created, so my new plan is more mixed, more trail-based and I am much, much happier in the first week of my new training regime.

So, taking into account my age,  44, and where I am at now in regards to weight, type of training and eating plan I have been looking in the below areas for improvement.

Abel & Colesmoothies and clean eating.  We have been getting the weekly ‘Simple recipe’ food box for quite some time now and really enjoying the meals.  Nothing quite tastes as delicious as organic food to me, and besides, its got me back into enjoying cooking.  We decided to add onto our weekly order the smoothie box, this week’s recipes were banana bread, kale zinger (oh boy, that was hard-core), and a mango one which I will have later today.  I am not one to jump on the scales every day, but I know  need to lose quite a bit of weight to be able to take on this challenge, so that my body isn’t spending unnecessary energy lugging around surplus weight.

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Jeff Galloway (Buy Jeff’s book here) – 3 minutes run: 1 minute walk – I bought Jeff’s book a while back and only got round to picking it up yesterday.  I decided that this is the way I will train for my event as its the best chance of protecting me from injury and conserving energy to ensure I can go for longer periods and more mileage.  Some of the stories in the book where runners have achieved PB’s in races using this technique is incredible.

Without Jeff in mind I have been doing this style myself on my runs last week on the trail hills, but now have set the run/walk programme into my Garmin and going to try this out on my run on Thursday and see how much mileage I can cover.  It will be weird as I know I will feel odd walking so early in the run, but I have heard so many good things about this technique that I must give it a go.

Hydration – aiming for 4 pints a day.  This out of everything, is the biggest challenge and always has been for me, something as simple as drinking water! At the moment I seem to be powdering my nose all day.  Apparently when you start hydrating more then this is natural until your body gets used to the new amount of water!  Some days I just seem to drink coffee – which is NOT good.  So, this I am hoping generates some energy for me, can’t do me any harm right?

Swimming – Adding in swimming to my weekly schedule, this is to help with breath and also to give my arms a good workout.  My first swim was this morning and I managed 20 minutes in the pool,  next week I am aiming for 30 minutes.  Next time I am making sure I put my goggles on and old lady swimming hat.

Next focus: climbing steps…. lunges and everything else to build the leg muscles.

Have a great week all xx

Spirit: Do you believe in ‘religion’

Warning an off-topic blog post… if you’re here for running updates then you might want to skip this post, as its fully loaded…

Religion.. are you a religious person? spiritual? Or do you find the idea of religion a form of outdated human suppression?

Appreciated, this is a strong question..

Personally, I am a mixture of all three.  However, sadly, I think that the true essence of religion (Christianity in particular) has been distorted through the ages and re-written to suit whoever was in power at that time.  The true meaning, tampered with and possibly misinterpreted, has been lost in history.  These are my personal beliefs rather than statements.

What are my beliefs? Well, I definitely believe that Jesus existed and was seen as hope for many repressed people, I also believe in a Universal energy and various laws within that (will do another off-subject blog about that another time), but I also have a dislike of many religious constraints (these are personal beliefs and I won’t list them here).

I have no ill will towards those who have or seek comfort in faith (no matter which religion they follow), in fact I admire those who do have faith in their religion and know many times where religion has ‘saved’ people and given them hope in their darkest times.  Being from a religious family, Easter was always celebrated and still remains something special in my heart of which I am thankful.

Lately I’ve been watching a lot of travel documentaries and came across an amazing documentary about the Tibetan monks and I was lift totally in awe of their devotion.  Fascinated in their rituals and way of life, they truly are remarkable human beings who still practice now in the face of their ‘religion in exile’.

Buddhism is something that has always interested me, the epic Buddha statue, Tian Tan, on Lantau Island, Hong Kong is truly unforgettable.  I used to frequently visit it when I lived there… a beautiful, peaceful sight to behold.

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Buddhism’s philosophical style messages resonate with me,  they make the most sense. It’s something that I reach out to when experiencing challenging times.  I’m being drawn back to it at the moment, feeling the need to absorb its teachings and learn, to quiet my mind with meditation.

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. Buddha

As I am middle-aged now, I have seen ‘karma’ come back so many times, I know too that the ‘karma’ meaning has been very much ‘Westernised’  – see, adaptation, again!  But now I am going through a new chapter myself as you can tell from my previous blogs and I feel this learning too will benefit me so much and act as a great grounding for me.

It may or may not take me down a spiritual path, but I know for sure, it gives me hope.

Does religion interest you? Is spirituality nonsense?

Well hello!

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Well hello!  I have been a little quiet here lately.  Work has taken over my life plus some horrific exams which are now thankfully in the history books.    The stress it caused really wasn’t worth it, I was a horrible person to live with and life is too short to be that unhappy, all because of a tick-boxing exercise on an appraisal years ago.

I really do not care if I passed or failed. As I handed my answer sheets back I didn’t even ask how/when we would know the results… a poxy exam doesn’t define me as a person, the achievements that I have strove for in the past and overcome have made me the person who I am now.

One of my goals this year was to have more time to myself – which has happened, and at first seemed selfish, but I know now how vitally important it is to ones well being and peace of mind.  Having more time for me has allowed me to concentrate on what I truly want as a person and now opportunities are opening up and I feel I have returned to the person I was years ago.  The traveller. Who loved life and experiencing new things.  Something I want my daughter to experience too, a worldly person….

I’m closing the doors in many areas of my life and opening them in others, to suit me.  Being less available is how I am going forwards.

Running-wise I am back on the trails, just enjoying what I can do, when I can do it, no pressure, no stress.  Now I have more time I will be enjoying just a mile or two, or whatever time I can do it, it doesn’t matter.  Going to share some pix here of the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside when I remember to take some shots! We have been vlogging our countryside walks, which are here.. if anyone wants to take a sneak peek.  Been fun messing around with the camera.

Hope you’re all well and enjoying the winter… xx

 

Auld Lang Syne…

I’ve been reading a lot of end of year posts and felt compelled to write mine.. but now as I am sat here typing I didn’t want to reflect back and write about the crappy year called 2016 but fancy writing about my plans for 2017 rather;

2017 goals

  1. Mindfulness/Mindset: I’ve downloaded Headspace again onto my phone and the motivation module – its 10 minute sessions at a time, so not a great commitment to have a moment of peace, its entirely manageable for me, so I’ve decided to do this every night for a while.  Thought this would help me with my other goals overall.
  2. Reading a book a month – I do not read enough at all and I want to get back into the habit.  I like old-school paper books, once where you can feel the pages rather than on a kindle or similar.  I feel a huge chunk of my life is already looking into a screen of some sort so picking up books again has been a pure pleasure.
  3. Zumba instructor course – this is in Feb, so I have a good 6 weeks of diet and strength training/Zumba/running to get fit for this (today I started T25 – which I will dip in and out of) – if I pass this module it opens up opportunities for teaching older adults and babies/toddlers too.  Purchased some Zumba trainers today as my running shoes have too much grip rather than dancing shoes.
  4. Project Management course – this I need to do for work and the studying for it is just mind-numbingly boring. However I need to get it completed for my year assessment.  My revising is going to be in the morning where I am the most alert, my plans are to drop Mia off at nursery and then do an hours study in Costa with the books.  The actual exam is in Jan, a long ass trip up London and a very long set of exam questions… groan.  I will just do my best/wing it as much as I can.  It would be handy to have this on my CV too as you can never be complacent where you work, as media moves so fast which technology.
  5. Trail Raider 2017 – picking up my Cotswolds trail running series again for 2017, and I will start again from the beginning.  Tomorrow I am off out with my Go-Pro and promise to upload my video.
  6. Enjoy running again – well, I think I am on the right path with this already, I have been slowing my pace right down and enjoying what I am doing.  My friend has been doing HR training and you can see the benefits its had for him, so slowing my pace down has made sense, and much more fun.  This also means too just one race booked for next year and my own trail runs to keep me motivated.  I can’t be doing with the pressures of racing any more, I don’t enjoy it and feel overwhelmed with everything work / home life and the lot without this adding to it.  Running is returning to being my pleasurable escape which is what it was always meant to be.
  7. More time for me – my daughter doesn’t sleep much and usually ends up in our bed.  At the sight of my huge eye bags the other day I noticed that I need more time for myself and to try and get more sleep.  We are aiming on getting her to bed earlier and in her own bed… I look ancient/worn at the moment and being squashed to the edge in my bed on most nights is not how I want to continue.
  8. Phone free evenings – yep, I am going to go phone-free for some evenings in the week, so I can watch a film without picking my phone up, or even having dinner with my husband without looking at it! (yep that happens)… I need to have a break from it.
  9. Save for Canada – after watching a fantastic movie about Canada at Walt Disney World, it reminded me how much I wanted to go there, specifically Quebec.  So thats the next savings fund for the next BIG holiday. Whoppee! Really can’t wait, it looks a fascinating place to go.

Have you decided what your 2017 plans are?

Whatever your plans, or just let things ebb and flow as they do, I wish you the very best for the New Year.    I can feel that its going to be a great year!

 

Running at Disney!

Well hello you fabulous lot!  Its been a while since I blogged – that’s because I have been soaking up the sun and getting some serious Disney miles stacked up, 80 miles!  over the past few weeks at Walt Disney World, Florida.  Not all of that was running, actually a very small percentage was running.  But I walked, and walked, and walked… for many, many miles around the parks and the whole Disney ‘area’ which is quoted as being the size of Manchester!

We left the UK while it was still mild, not really cold, but not really warm…and were then drenched in lovely sunshine when we got to Florida (the trip there was nasty via New York, which ended with me in tears on a bus, another story, another blog, another time).

We checked into the All Star Movies resort, one of Disney’s value resorts, which is located in the ‘Animal Kingdom’ area, first time we’ve stayed on site at WDW so to speak and it was utterly fabulous!  After a few days of getting used to the time difference, I tentatively went out for a short plod on their marked running trail which was a pathway running across the front of the 3 All Stars resorts which was a mile in length – it was a good chance to wear my running skort, probably for the last time for a while!  The route was heavily used by other runners which was great to see and in the absence of a gym in the hotel I guess this is how visitors got their workouts in each morning. Did the mandatory nods and thumbs up to the other runners, quite surprisingly with not much pleasantries in return…. All in all, I had three plods out over the two week period, I didn’t go far as I knew we’d have a mountain of miles to walk in the day, plus swimming too… just helped to fight back some of the Mickey waffle damage I was enduring!

The picture above includes a shot of shoes in a brilliant running store in Disney Springs, Fit2Run.  They have a brilliant collection of running items, including strollers, accessories,  supplements and more.  They had a Star Wars tech top – which I shockingly didn’t buy… may be next time.  I did purchase (or my husband did for me) a strap to hold my iPhone (my Garmin GPS is a bloody fail at locating me which is so frustrating).  I tried it on in the shop and it fit great!  Will report back after my first post-hols run this weekend, decided to start running with audio again – well Podcasts to keep me motivated as I am upping the mileage to train for the Bath Half HM.

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So now we enter PDD (post Disney depression), but and with a big BUT, Disney have just released their races for next year including Spring 2018 with a Star Wars dark side race… this is very, very tempting, and the husband DID agree to leave it a couple of years till our next Disney visit (it is 2 years really, in terms of numbers….).  lets see!

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In terms of other training, I have my swimming kit packed, plus have been doing Pilates and strength training this week, hello DOMS!  So lets see how I fare over the winter with training – I am in a much happier place, with the family healthier and a sense of renewal for the new year, I’m in good spirits…

Here’s a shot of the non-tech Star Wars top, I had to get this as it had 77 on the back… I’m an old Star Wars fan…. 🙂

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Do you listen to any podcasts while running?  Any recommendations?

BRxx

 

 

 

Sweet R&R…

Since my last post listing my strategies to bring my life back into balance more, I have managed to successfully start implementing this and can report back that I am feeling much better for it already.

Limiting my social media engagement has given me much needed freedom and space!  I am spending less but more quality time on Facebook and Twitter, if you haven’t done this already yourself, I highly recommend it.

It had come to a point where I was struggling being the admin of my running group, as much as I love it I began stressing about continuing to create a community (which had been successfully established months ago) and really feeling like I didn’t want to post anything on there (even my own runs) as 1) not to cause me anymore work to do and 2) I felt like I didn’t fit in any more due to my lack of running or have anything to offer.  Not cool.  A break is what is needed to re-focus, come back to centre, and be able to offer a lot more.

Not being able to run much through one thing or another, lack of sleep, back pain, man flu and a multitude of other things has challenged me so much this year.  However I am not prepared to throw 2 years of training down the toilet and thousands of miles.  In fact I am a woman with a plan…and a goal, that I am not sharing until its completed.

Man flu is now leaving me, so I am going to attempt a short trot out this weekend when I can fit it in around my husbands ever changing shifts (aside from clearing the garage out, the leaning tower of Pisa of ironing piles plus packing for Disney). Going to hit some trails and have some much needed me-time and I can’t freaking wait!  Will upload some pictures here which will re-boot my trail raider series…

Learning how to rest and recover is as important as training itself… however frustrating this can be.  I have had to learn this the goddam hard way, but thankfully I have learnt it nonetheless.  Going to stock up and remember to take on a daily basis zinc, iron and vit C tablets as a base to building a better immune system.  I seem to come down with every bug at nursery, so have been mindful to keep putting on the antibacterial gel on my hands after I have dropped Mia off and picked her up.  If this can save me from one cold then that’s one or two runs saved!

The Poppy challenge starts Tuesday and I will be logging in the KMs for this charity virtual race, I will be clocking them in both in the UK and with my Disney walked (and run!) miles.  Will be good to see how many steps I have taken each day.

Haven’t weighed myself for ages but I am still four pounds heavier than what I want to be… so going to be very good from now till my holiday and see what happens, I think regular weighing on the scales keeps me more in check, although I seem to have got out of the habit of this recently.  I keep forgetting!  Four pounds isn’t the end of the world, and if after walking around Disney for 2 weeks I don’t shift a couple then I really cant be assed and will accept those extra four pounds as staying put for a while.

My latest running buy has been this SiS Energy Drink  (£14.99) as recommended by a running friend.  Its instructions are to drink before exercise as a way of low bulk carb loading and during for fast sustained energy, its recommended to take 4 servings a day prior to a race ever with or between meals to achieve elevated carb intake. So lets see if this helps at all.  Will report back if it made any impact on my running at all… will need all the energy I can after such a dismal running performance of late.

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My holiday book just made it through the door too… Brain Training for Runners by Matt Fitzgerald… (£13.20) this has been highly recommended by a few runner friends now, so I am going to read up on this on the plane/by the pool and may be take my training in a new direction.  Will keep you posted.

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A big epic sorry too that I haven’t posted much running stuff in here, but this will be different next week when I upload the trails, and also in the coming weeks my Disney runs which will be epic.

@BoudicaRuns xx