Sharing FIVE things that I have been doing/using/found this week that I think are worthy of sharing.
For clarity, none of the products mentioned have paid me to write this (I wish)
I feel like this little GEM may actually blow your mind just a little bit. I was just going to bed on Monday night and Susie Chan shared this on her Instagram stories. This just had to be shared. Watch and be amazed! Also, if you are not already following her – you need too!
I came across this blog post on LinkedIn and it is so thought-provoking. Well worth a read.
Titled: ‘If you are too busy for these 5 things, your life is more off course than you think’ Have a read here
If you are like me and love the festive period, especially all the decorations and lights, make sure that you are following Secret London Runs on Instagram. They have a run that takes in lots the Christmas lights, trees and decorations in London.
I have been taking part in the #ASICSADVENT on Instagram via Jenna Wilkinson. Each day both Jenna and Geoff open the advent calendar and behind each day there is an exercise to complete. Day 1 was 1-minuteplank, Day 2 and 2-minute wall sit, Day 3 3 x 30 seconds deadbugs, Day 4 was 4 x 1 minute high knees, Day 5, 5 minute meditation.
If you are not already involved, get involved now, you may have missed a few days, but starting now means you won’t miss any more!
Now that I have a little longer commute to work, I am loving listening to Marathon Talk again. I have listened on and off for years. But now they have more presenters and the additions have only added to the podcasts.
The interviews are really interesting and they always discuss relevant topics, so if you haven’t listened, go give it a listen.
So that’s it for Five things Friday Number 2. I hope you like the idea, please feel free to leave any feedback below.
If you missed last weeks Five Things Friday, check it out here.
I have been thinking about upping my game in the blogging world for a while now. Why? I like writing and if you have been following me for a while, I obviously like oversharing.
I am passionate about running and hope that some of the things that I write about and share, will help/has helpe people get into running, stay motivated or just resonates with them.
So, how do I up my game? I like keeping a weekly update when I am training for marathons. Reading what others are doing is good, isn’t it? Snooping on other people’s lives is popular, isn’t it? Isn’t that why things like Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity get so many viewers!
But, when I am not training as such, I struggle to know what to write. Mainly as I don’t really think I am in an expert in anything. I’ve been researching lots on blogging and I’ve started to realise that people don’t really turn to blogs for expert advice. So, I need to remember that my blog posts are just my take on things and my experiences.
If the post topic requires an expert take or advice, I’ll research and add links to the relevant sites for you. So, I have ideas like Five things Friday, where I can share Five things that I have found/seen/listened too and things are worthy of sharing.
After Christmas, I will be starting my training for the Manchester Marathon. So my weekly updates will be back; I do this for my benefit too, as I like looking back and comparing training cycles.
So if any of this interests you, please subscribe so you do not miss a post – by subscribing the post will be deleivered to your inbox.
Also, if you have any ideas of things you would like to read about, please drop me an email, or leave a comment below and I’ll see what I can do.
For now, I will leave with you some linked posts that I may be of interest; I have been writing this blog for FIVE years now, but it’s only now that I have the confidence to share more!! (And yes, for your information this scares me ALOT, but it’s time to step out of my comfort zone!)
“Do one thing that scares you everyday” Eleanor Roosevelt.
So awhile back my cousin Katie, sent me a link she had seen on Twitter about The Running Awards and a Bloggers Forum. Fancy this? She sent. My initial reaction was NO WAY, I’m not really a blogger or a ‘proper’ runner. I know how stupid that sounds, because I would be the first to write – if you run, you’re a runner, but I wasn’t sure I wouldfit-in at this kind of event. I didn’t tell her that, I think I sent an equivocal response like ‘that looks fun‘.
A few weeks later, Katie sent me more information about it, and it said that we get a free set of personalised Runderwear if we sign up. I have been a big fan of Runderwear for a long time, so this had me sold. I wrote about my love for Runderwear back in 2016 here.
Fast forward to the week prior to the event, an email is sent with all the details, and the run was taking place at 2pm. Katie sends me a message to tell me that she can’t get out of work, so couldn’t do the run, but we could still meet after and go to The Running Awards together. Oh no, oh no, panic sets in. I’m not a proper runner, I can’t go on my own. What if they are all super fast? What if we are expected to run in only the Runderwear? – I’m not really the shape that should do that! I consider missing the run too.
After deliberating for a few days, I decided to stop missing out and be brave. What could go wrong? I might actually enjoy it.
The night prior to going I posted the above photo, the caption exposing all my insecurities about not fitting in and not feeling like a true blogger. I am so glad that I did. The messages I got on that post where so lovely. Other runners that were going messaged me, and it felt nice to connect with people prior to getting to the event, and even knowing that they were nervous too.
I have always been a fan of the London Expo, and as soon as I knew I was going to be heading to London, I wanted to fit in a visit there too. Perfect timing, as Tina, one of my club mates is running London, and she was heading to the Expo on Thursday morning, so I asked if I could join her.
Heading to the expo, I am like a kid on Christmas Eve. It is such a special event, and even though I am not running it this year, I feel the excitement for those that are. Also, the London Expo is my happy place. It’s just full of people that love running as much as I do! I got to catch up with friends there and meet lots of new people. I was so lucky to win a £30 gift voucher from Sports Direct (My next raffle prize in MNDAD@70 is now sorted!). I didn’t get to spend as much time there as I would have liked – I reckon I could easily hang out there for the entire 3 and a half days that it is on, and I wouldn’t get bored!!
I left the expo and headed to meet up with the Runderwear and Secret London Runs group. This was the part of the day that I was most nervous for; attending on my own, being completely out of my comfort zone!
When I got on the DLR, I spotted and Paul from Pick Up The Pace Paul Great I thought, I can just follow him, he is bound to be going. I knew the train journey was about 20 minutes, so I jumped on instagram trying to share some stories, next thing I know we are at Tower Gate, I look up and Paul is gone! I cram everything into my bags and run of the train – I nearly miss getting off! Great start. I head out of the station and immediately spot another lady wearing a runderwear t-shirt. I hurry along to try and catch her up, assuming she knows where she is going. Luckily, she has to wait at the crossing, so I accost her. As I ask if she is attending the same event and can I follow her (Yep, weirdo alert!) The girl on the other side of her, says that she is going too, so we all walk to the event together.
I was so lucky that it was Lauren from Girl Running Late and Abby from Running Abby. Both of them were so warm and friendly and made me feel that I had made the correct choice attending on my own.
So, we met next to Millennium Pier, and most people were already in their kit, I was not, and pretty much realised immediately that there was no where to get changed. I was so relieved that I had at least put my Runderwear on in the morning, so it only meant I had to strip off my top and shorts. So there was me, worried about having to run around London in my underwear, and instead I was hid behind a van stripping off. Not sure why I hid, as the place was packed 360. At least it was a bit of publicity as I changed, as rularuns was displayed across my backside!
After changing, I couldn’t see Abby and Lauren, so I went and stood by a group of runners. Stupidly, I didn’t stride over and introduce myself, I just stood on the outskirts of the group, they looked at me, and that’s when I felt really awkward, and wonder why I was there.
Luckily, after what felt like an eternity, which, in real life was probably about 30 seconds, I spotted Lauren and quickly went and stood with her.
Some of the runners stripped down to have photos in just their Runderwear There was a part of me that wanted to strip down too! I would NOT have looked like them, but that was why I wanted to do it – to show that runners come in all sizes. I didn’t have the confidence, but I realised that I really should stop feeling like I don’t fit in, looking around the group there was a variety of ages and sizes – running really is for all! As London Marathon have hashtagged this year #everybodysrace
Secret London Runs and Runderwear spoke to us, and then we were put into groups. It started with, “anyone running under 7 minute miles, stand over there. I think 2 people moved; there were plenty of runners capable of running under 7 minute miles, but lots were running London Marathon on Sunday, so didn’t want to be pushing it now. That group was then extended to anyone running 9 minute or below miles, there was a middle group for 10-11 minute miling and then a 12+ group. I opted for the middle one, but then the groups were uneven, so I volunteered to go with the 12+ group. I had nothing to prove, so really wasn’t worried about what pace I was running.
I have never taken part in a running tour, but I am definitely keen to go back to Secret London Runs to complete another one soon. Vanessa was our guide and she was very knowledgable and engaging. Within a 2 minute run from the hustle and bustle of Millennium Pier, next to the Tower Of London, we were in the most tranquil church ruins that has be made into a memorial garden.
Within the 4k run, we were told things I had never even thought about in London and taken to places I didn’t even know existed. I am so keen to book another tour with them. Abby has said that the Christmas Lights one is lovely.
After finishing the run, my main concern was finding somewhere to shower. Many of the bloggers had booked hotels in London and were staying over. If I was to do it again, I would definitely be doing that. Instead I hit google maps trying to find a local gym. I noticed that there was a Bannatynes’s on Old Broad Street so headed there. I have a membership with them near where I live, and although I knew this didn’t give me access, I thought it may allow them to give me a discount on the day pass.
I used to be good at following directions, but for seem reason, I seemed to go round in circles for a while! When I got to Bannatyne’s eventually, the receptionist said that I would need to pay the £20 for a day pass – I didn’t mind too much, as I appreciate they are a business and I wanted to use their facilities, but I thought I’d try my luck and ask for a discount. She called her manager and it was agreed that I could use the facilities for free. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Bannatyne’s!
Quick shower and operation look presentable, and I was out the door heading to meet Katie. Luckily that was pain-free and we were back down to Millennium Pier with 30 minutes to spare. I had spotted a subway close by earlier, so we headed in there. I knew that there was food on the boat, but I hadn’t eaten all day and I just needed to sit down!
I was a little apprehensive about attending the running awards and bloggers forum, as I just didn’t know what to expect. The invite had said, Smart/Casual, so I had a dress on with trainers, which I worried may have been too casual, and when we arrived there were some very glam people, but I decided to just feel confident in what I was wearing, there was not much else I could do!
The Running Awards were everything I wanted them to be and more. The Bloggers Forum took place on the lower deck and the main awards upstairs. We had some inspirational speakers present, (which I ought wrote about in a another post) and then the awards were shown on a TV. There was plenty of free Prosecco being handed around, we had a meal and then lots of desserts were brought around. Our table seemed to attract the dessert waiters a lot!
So what did I learn from this day! I still ❤️ running and the running community. I need to say yes to more things. Life is too short to say NO, you miss out too much. If you say yes and it goes wrong, then you look at it from another viewpoint, and work out what you have learnt from it!
Thank you to Runderwear for the gifted pants and bra, to Secret London Runs for the run and the Running Awards for a great evening. For transparency I paid £15 for a ticket for the Running Awards, but the run and Runderwear was gifted. We were gifted some other items, but I will do a separate post on them.
What things have you said yes to lately? Are you glad you did? Let me know in the comments below.
My race: I was so nervous about this race! I would even say that I wasn’t really looking forward to it – dreading it! After last week’s race, read here, I just didn’t want to hate it. I didn’t want to ruin my love for this race.
It was a slightly later start than normal, so I didn’t have to get up ridiculously early, so a 7 am breakfast was very pleasant. I got to the race at about 8:45, went for my traditional cup of tea from the place on Madeira Drive. The queue there was quite long and I did worry about being delayed getting to my pen, as its usually VERY busy, but once I had my tea, it was surprisingly quiet and calm getting to the pen. I must say that I was glad to be staying close to the start, as the toilet queues did seem horrendous.
I took the sensible option to move back a pen, as I originally should have been in the sub 2-hour start. Whilst waiting in the pen, one of the volunteers asked me about my connection to MND, and without warning, I started to well up! I told him about my dad, and we discussed the disease, he had run London many years ago for the MNDA. He wished me well, and I stood waiting for the start gun. I felt so emotional, I had to hold back the tears many times prior to starting the race!
The excitement nerves kicked in when Fatboy Slim was played over the speakers, and then we were moving forward. I was excited as I knew The Welsh Runner AKA Matt Rees was starting the race, so I stayed on the left, so I could high-five him!! Proper fan girl moment! hehe
The start felt very crowded, and I was unsure if this was because I started further back, or I just that I hadn’t taken part in a big event for a while. The start to mile three was spent trying not to run into the back of people. This was good as it kept my pace sensible. I then spent a lot of time trying to spot people who I knew were running it. To my surprise, I managed to see all of them. I love spotting people and giving them a shout, it motivates me too.
All was feeling good as we finished the first out and back and headed into town. The roads were wider and there was more room, so my concentration was really on not running too fast at this point. As we headed back on to the seafront, I knew my husband was around mile 7, so I just kept pushing, making sure I was looking like a runner, as I had told him to take some photos! I had set that as my targets earlier that morning – I wanted to finish the race and get a race photo in which I looked like a runner haha. I think I was pretty successful!
I think I smiled all the way down the King’s Road. The support was amazing, the sun was shining, and so far all my miles, bar the first were sub 10 minutes. Life was good!
You turn to head back after the Hove Lagoon, around 10 miles. I had to walk the water stations as the water was in paper cups. It was warmer than it had been in a while, so I was making sure that I took on water.
Walking this water station meant that mile 10 was a 10:04 minute mile, I was NOT happy. Running along the seafront, you can’t help but think only a Parkrun, but I was worried that I would push too early. I tried to relax, and take in the surroundings. The sea looked amazing, the support was loud and motivating, shouting everyone’s names. With a mile and a half to go, you join the King’s Road again, and it was now head down and work. I felt like I wanted to run faster, but my legs were having none of it. Luckily having run this race many times before, I know that when you turn into Madeira Drive, there is still a bit to go, so I didn’t push too soon. My finish line was made even more exciting by finally getting to meet Kelly from Kellogs on the Run, and I had another fan girl moment!
Lesson learned: I still love this race. I think this run, made me love it and the running community just that little bit more!
I still love out and backs! I love watching the speedy runners, and dreaming that one day I might be a little faster!
The weather was AMAZING!
The support in Brighton is AWESOME.
I loved my pacing and sensible approach.
TRAINS!!! We had to drive, as yet again replacement buses were in place from Three Bridges to Brighton. They seem to do work on the same weekend every year!
Hotels are expensive in Brighton
Water in cups are so hard to drink from when running.
So, my fifth Brighton Half means, there is very likely to be a sixth. I just seem to really enjoy this race. If you want to read my previous experiences, they are here, here, here and here (for some reason I don’t seem to have 2015!)
Has anyone else run Brighton? Do you love it as much as me?
I booked this race about 2 weeks ago. I only heard about it as my cousins were running it, and I thought it would be nice to join in with them. I left it till last-minute to book as it was the start of half term, and we hadn’t made up our minds if we were going away or not. I booked it and then didn’t really think about it.
At training last week, someone had said to me, you have enough time to race it and still recover for Brighton Half the following weekend. So then I started think about seeing how close I could get to my PB. I have been training, and working fairly hard, maybe I could surprise myself.
Well, I did get a surprise, but not of the nice variety. I obviously think I have been training hard, but yesterday showed me, that maybe that isn’t the case. For the first time yesterday, I thought about whether running was really for me anymore!
Date: Sunday 17th February 2019
Weather: Bright sunshine, not too cold.
Course: It was two laps, as there was a 5K happening at the same time. It is sold as a flat course, but no race in Milton Keynes is ever flat. You start at Willen Lake, and immediately head up hill, then there are bridges over the canal, and bridges over the road. All not that bad, but enough to make you notice and make you work hard. It was mainly on paths, but there was part on what I can only describe as wood chipping(it was very soft under foot). It was pretty running along the canal, through the open spaces at Willen Lake, and along the lake side. There was water just after the 5K finish and the marshalls were very encouraging.
My race: As I have said above, I decided to go for it. I didn’t really make this decision properly until about 100m in to the race. I started nearer the back, as I never have enough confidence that I can start further up the field. What if I latch on to a fast runner, and then have to stop and walk at 1k!
The start was very congested, so starting towards the back, meant that I had to run on the grass at the side to get past people. It was really quite difficult to find a pace, due to the congestion. I knew I was working fairly hard, but then I always find the first 3 miles of a race hard.
I kept trying to relax and concentrate on my running technique. My watch beeped the first mile in 9:31, and I thought, that’s ok. So I carried on pushing, weaving in and out of people. When the second mile flashed up as 8:41, I panicked, but tried to blame the downhill section. I tried to slow myself down, remembering I was doing the 10K, not the 5!
Mile 3 was 9:04, but coming past the finish and setting off for lap 2, I just wanted to give up. When I got to the water station, I took water and stopped to walk and drink. I don’t know if I stopped because the water was in cups, or stopped as I needed to give myself a talking too!
I set off and headed up the hill, but I just kept thinking about giving up. I felt like I was shuffling along. There was another hill, that I walked up, I just mentally wasn’t tough enough to battle up it. I was getting more and more frustrated with myself, and wondering why I do it. Mile 4 was 9:35. I managed to settle a little, and just kept thinking, when my watch beeps again, it will only be a mile left. Lap 5 was a 9:06 mile, and from here I really wanted to push on. I felt like I was working hard, but the last mile was a 9:10. I finished in 57:45, which is a good time, but I hated how hard it was.
I was disappointed, as I thought I had been working hard in training, but maybe it was the wake up that I needed. I have Brighton Half Marathon next weekend, and now I know I need to be realistic and pace well, otherwise I could be walking quite a lot.
Looking at the race photos also depressed me, will I ever look like a runner?!!
Lesson learned: I need to have a good look at my training, and decide what I want from running. If I want to get faster and run better, I need to work harder and smarter! Not just in the running part either. If I fuelled properly and lost weight, I’m sure running would be a little bit easier. If I want to plod along and enjoy it, then what I am doing is fine, but I can’t expect miracles at races!
Meeting family members at the start and end, and sharing the race with them.
Local-ish race, so not taking up the entire day.
Lovely area and surroundings.
The wake up call that I needed – stops me crashing and burning at Brighton Half!
It’s not flat.
Two laps are a killer, when you have not paced the first lap well.
There is no short cut, if you don’t put in the hard work, running will let you know!
So it looks as though my Friday Finds have become bi-weekly now – Sorry! Last week I was busy getting packed for Endure 24 (A race recap is on its way, but a sneaky preview – It was EPIC!)
This first blog post that I am sharing, I actually found last week. But the message has stuck with me, and it is all so positive and true. Take a read and see what you think. I love the message Liz sends out through her blog and her honest, often humorous take on things.
2. Another inspirational runner to follow on twitter and read her blog, is Alice Carter. I met Alice last year at the #Extramile training that we took part in (Read about it here) Alice ran Manchester Marathon this year, and is about to start marathon training again, preparing for Berlin Marathon (I would love, love, LOVE to do Berlin!) Follow her on her journey to Berlin.
If you can’t wait to read my write-up from Endure 24, here is one to get you started. 🙂