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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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

Kate and Katie go on the Rebound – Class Review of Rebounce London

Last Wednesday Katie and I went rebounding. No, I don’t mean we hit the dating scene of SW11 hard… rather, we were invited by Missie Frank (dancer, choreographer and founder of Rebounce London) to try a new quirky, sweaty, bouncy exercise class. Being the intrepid explorers that we are, we duly signed up and ventured to Fitness First at Clapham Junction (I say ventured, one of us lives in Battersea and one in Balham so it wasn’t like we had far to go).

Both of us had trampolined before, and there is still a trampoline in the back garden at our respective childhood homes (though, admittedly they are mostly now only used by visiting younger cousins or for sunbathing), but Rebounce is something quite different – it’s fast, choreographed and done to the beat of a pumping playlist!

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So, I’m pretty sure we shouldn’t scrap school PE…..

What are your memories of school sport and PE? Bitchy netball cliques, gym knickers and being forced to run around a cross country field?
Mine were anything but. Teamwork. Fun. Pride. Patience. Frustration. Ambition. Emotions, experiences and qualities that rounded my education and my personality. So why is it causing so many problems? How is it being allowed to fall by the wayside as the first ball to drop? You don’t let people skip maths because they just don’t like it or aren’t particularly good at it. So why are we frequently letting this happen with PE?

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How to fuel for a day’s skiing (properly AND practically)

DISCLAIMER: I’m not a nutritionist, nor do I claim to be – yes I have a vague academic background in it but please take everything I say with a pinch of salt from someone who wrote the majority of this in Chamonix with a raspberry and passionfruit Fanta in one hand and a prawn cracker in the other after eating approx half a cake and 32 gummy crocodiles.

Skiing is a toughie. If you do it properly (yes, you may define this differently to me, but I do not mean getting on the slopes at 11, having a 2 hour lunch and stopping at 3 for après) then you burn through a heck of a lot of calories. I ski hard. I choose to go skiing with people who ski hard and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If I’m going skiing, I want to spend AS MUCH time as I can on the slopes, I want to push myself, ski fast and get out of my comfort zone or I get bored.

So how do you eat enough for the energy you need….whilst being fairly conscious that the typical Alpine meal consists of cheese and bread, cheese and potatoes, or cheese, bread AND potatoes (not that there is anything wrong with that in my mind, but it’s not always slow-release carbs….) I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered it, but I think I’ve got enough experience to give a fairly good perspective of what works and what doesn’t, making sure you’ve got enough energy to power through some 4.30pm slushy moguls AND enjoy the finest that the Alps (or your destination of choice) can offer in culinary delights.

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Fit Mammas: A day isn’t enough to celebrate our mothers!

Let’s face it – neither of us would be where we are now without the most important women in our lives – and we probably wouldn’t have the same attitudes towards health and wellbeing that we do without our mothers playing the laundry lady/taxi driver/#1 supporter/ role that they do!

So, on this rainy Mothering Sunday, when neither of us actually have the fortune to be with them, we’d like to celebrate the top women in our lives and what makes them so freakin’ awesome

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Laughter: The best medicine

I totally subscribe to the notion that exercise is a ‘miracle cure’ or, more accurately, a miracle preventative. It’s well documented and widely reported that the NHS would save millions of pounds annually if we all just got off our wobbly bottoms for a saunter more often (and if we PUT DOWN THAT NUTELLA SANDWICH, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STEP AWAY FROM THE REFINED CARBS, but that’s a different story). I love the way exercise makes me feel – maybe not at the time or immediately afterwards, but within half an hour there’s a real, physical warmth, along with a sprinkling of smugness, that tells me I’ll sleep well tonight. And god knows a good night’s sleep does wonders for one’s state of mind.

One of the big draws for Girls, and Boys, that ‘do’ is the sense of wellbeing that exercise brings. Levels of ‘happy chemicals’ like serotonin rise and a sort of non-awkward post-coital glow envelopes you. Who doesn’t love feeling good? There’s a hedonist in us all, it’s just that some of us get out kicks in our trainers rather than under the sheets or through a hypodermic needle. Each to their own though, of course. Here, I will make my confession. I have another love. One that pulls my attention away from sporting endeavours by tempting me with feel-good factors that even Mr Grey’s Red Room could only fantasise about. The name of my mistress? Laughter. Continue reading