The Running Bug & Friends: Committing to my first Half Marathon

You may have heard, Katie Ferguson ran the Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 on Sunday. But she didn’t just run it; she smashed it. 3.33.24. For those of you who don’t know, that is a very, very good time.

Spot the happiest runner...

Spot the happiest runner…

I went to watch the runners whiz past at Canary Wharf  and found myself carried away on a wave of unexpected emotion. As I’ve mentioned before, I am not a fan of running. I’m quite bad at it and I don’t really understand the appeal of running for its own sake – except the fact that it is fantastically good exercise – but something about watching the London Marathon this year really inspired me. When I spotted Katie amongst the throngs I (a) screamed so loudly that I scared an old lady, and (b) honestly almost shed a tear of pride. What an outrageous and ballsy thing it is to set yourself the mental and physical challenge of running 26 miles. What sort of extraordinary person wakes up on a Monday morning, goes into work and at the watercooler utters the words “I achieved a GFA time at the London Marathon” in response to the question “How was your weekend”?

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Last minute marathon prep

Mentally? I don’t know where I am. I picked up 3.30, 3.35 and 3.45 pace bands and genuinely don’t know how it’s going to go. I’m not sure I’ve got the miles in the legs for the 3.30. I mean two years ago, March mileage, 182…this year…74. LOL. But that did finish off with a stress fracture whereas this year there have been about 4 or 5 full weeks off in my training cycle. After the Achilles faff I’m just shooting for a GFA which unless it flares up and/or I have a massive mental breakdown (entirely possible) should be achievable. 8.34s doesn’t sound that bad. But I know inside my mind I don’t want to ‘just’ GFA. 3.30 is going to be my nemesis and I’m going to keen having to take a bash at this marathon business until I get it (so the sooner the better really!)

I’ve had a couple of decent shorter races recently where I’ve really surprised myself with my grit but it’s a completely different ball game. I’m ambivalent about the weather – I’ve done a couple of my long runs in fairly grim weather (and hungover but that’s another matter) What I am worried about however is the hanging around beforehand in the rain. Bleurgh. Binbags it is. But apparently now it might not rain so WHO KNOWS?!

So here is what I got up to to take my mind off things!

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10 everyday things that are a total struggle for #fitnesschicks

Right, so Kate covered some Sporty Girl problems a few weeks ago…but I feel there are a few more that we have missed that are genuinely a struggle in day to day life. Note – I wrote this post whilst doing exactly what is mentioned in my first point….

  • Walking up escalators, particularly on the tube. Basically, you think that because you are super-fit that you can just float up the escalators. NEVER TRUE! You will get halfway up, realise you ran 15 miles the day before but have to keep going because you cannot be that person who is so unfit they had to stop halfway up the escalator to move to the right because PEOPLE WILL JUDGE. I feel like I need a sign above my head or something saying “I’m not lazy, my legs are just really tired because I bossed it yesterday”

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Dr. Weight Loss; or, How I Learned to Start Writing and Love the Pen

I have to admit, this post has no intention of cleverly satirizing the fad diet by drawing comparisons between burning belly fat and the Cold War… I’m just a massive nerd and have been wanting to crow-bar a blog post into Dr Strangelove’s title for some time. And now I have.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve lost about half a stone in weight (just over 3kgs, for those of you who deal in non-anachronistic units of measurement). I haven’t gone out of my way to do so – I haven’t gone on a calorie controlled diet, or gone mad in the exercise stakes, but I have started blogging. I am almost certain that there is a direct correlation between these facts.

Yes, I'm a nerd. No shame.

Yes, I’m a nerd. No shame.

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Workout review – Julia Buckley & Decathlon UK’s “kit-free circuit”

For those of you who don’t know what Decathlon is….HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING UNDER A ROCK?! Probably since I was about 8, I have been to Decathlon at least once per holiday. That’s a lot considering that we have often gone to France multiple times a year….like a lot a lot. We are fairly epic Decathlon fans. They have been over in the UK for a while, and basically have EVERYTHING you could ever need for sport under one roof, both big brand names and some awesome quality (and value) own brand stuff. A typical trip will usually involve at least two new pairs of shorts, some jodhpurs, a few of their incredible workout vests (I think I have 8 in different colours for about €5 each), various bike bits, socks (always socks), some water bottles, random bits of sports nutrition… But I digress. Decathlon UK have teamed up with Julia Buckley to offer a quick and easy workout that can be done anywhere, with no equipment. Continue reading

Foxtrot Oscar: When ‘Competitive’ becomes ‘Aggressive’

It’s confession time, chums. I played Touch Rugby with K-Ferg last night and did two things of note, neither of which involved scoring or assisting a try:

  1. Gave myself a touch of groin strain. Yum.
  2. Colossally overreacted to a man obstructing me by literally screaming “F**********CK YOOOOOOOOOU” in his face. Many eyebrows were raised.

I recently wrote a post (10 problems sporty girls will understand) where I stated that it annoys me when people, guys in particular, accuse me of being aggressive, when in fact I am just very competitive. My outburst last night however goes to prove that I can, on occasion, be quite aggressive, albeit contained to the sports pitch. But what I’m wondering is… why? Why does a competitive streak overflow from time-to-time and manifest itself as out-and-out aggression? Continue reading

10 things to do now the days are longer

So, the clocks are back and I’m finding it easier and easier to get out of bed to go running in the morning……

But the motivation to spring out of bed and pound the pavements isn’t always everyone’s idea of fun, so we have put together a list that provides you with a multitude of activities, some of which involve being active and some which involve a very very loose link to being active….

(Realised a lot of these also rely on it actually being warm, which in the UK is very questionable)

1. Wear fewer clothes. Go running in a sports bra (!) GET SOME VITAMIN D. Buy some snazzy new sunglasses to hide your running face of pain. All these are now totally acceptable given its not 2 degrees and drizzly.

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Moving back in with your parents…

So, I’ve just moved back in with my parents for a currently unknown period of time – and it’s something I am TOTALLY fine with!  I get on pretty well with my family and we do a lot together, so I decided to put together a list of the pros and cons, particularly from a training, activity and nutrition point of view. 

So here goes! (PS mum I promise I will do my washing and unstack the dishwasher and not leave trainers in every room of the house…)

-1 no more cycling to work. Can’t really do this any more. No unfolded bikes on London Midland and there is NO WAY I am leaving my bike at Euston overnight (plus that would be a grim cycle right through central London). Therefore less automatic bike fitness, more frustration for me of having to take the tube (because it’s too hot and people WALK TOO FLIPPING SLOWLY) and also $$$$$

+1 much nicer cycling at the weekends without having to battle round the Wandsworth gyratory to get anywhere. Plus a new chain gang (well the old ones are back)

+1 onsite bike mechanic. Thanks Dad. Now when things break I don’t have to guess or try and fix it by Facetime.

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Cycling safely in London

As you will know, both myself and Kate are keen cycle commuters and have been for a while. We’ve already written some bits and pieces that can help you out but these mainly focused on clothing, sneaky ways of keeping your hair neat and not forgetting essential items….but something we didn’t touch on was the actual cycling part.

I constantly promote cycling to work left right and centre, and the first question I always get asked is ‘but isn’t it really dangerous to cycle in London?’ And my response? It can be dangerous if you make it dangerous. Yes, statistically there are more cycling accidents and deaths in London compared to some other European cities, but part of my point is that (shock horror) cyclists can be and (frequently are) to blame……

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Escape to the Country: 5 Reasons West Wales is Brilliant for an Active Stay-cation

I admit I may be a tad biased, given I grew up there, but New Quay, Ceredigion, on the west coast of Wales really is the most beautiful place in the world.

Photo by Janet Baxter

Photo by Janet Baxter

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