Thursday, 1 September 2011


School starts
Early sunsets
Picking berries
Trees transforming
Eerie mists
Migrating birds
Bonfires burning
Evenings snuggling
Rustling leaves

Danny MacAskill - Industrial Revolutions

I will never, ever get tired of watching this guy. I love the music too. Ben Howard - The Wolves.

Monday, 13 June 2011

I Run

Very much enjoyed this video. You may recognise the guy from the cycling video I posted recently...

Friday, 10 June 2011

Bike Lanes

This video is a truly brilliant response to attitudes to cyclists in some parts of the world.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Firewalking Fairies

I'm the one on the right. Alex recently dyed her hair and now we look quite similar. Oops!


Hot to Trot

Saturday just gone was the day I did my firewalk for charity. The Charity in question was Mouth Cancer Foundation and the firewalk took place in Ipswich as part of a bigger fundraising event. It was a chance for me to meet up with some friends and do something outrageous. Normal people just meet for coffee.

I got into the swing of things by donning a tutu and some wings to become one of the “Tooth Fairies” for the evening; a lot of the girls taking part work for a dental practice. 30 were meant to take part, 15 dropped out and 4 were recruited on the night. We had a briefing session lasting an hour and a half which really only needed to be 30 minutes, tops. The chap leading the session took us through a number of body language exercises that really wound everyone up. By the time we actually got round to seeing the firebed being lit I think we were all just itching to get on with things. Nerves were nowhere to be seen. Maybe that was his strategy. Another half hour of exercises including talking ourselves down such that we supposedly became weaker (raise your strong arm and someone else presses down on it) and then stronger and we were finally allowed to do the walk.

I had no fear, after the part of the talk that explained how it’s possible to walk on hot coals, despite the heat that was coming off the bed. It was 20 feet long and the part we walked on was only about a foot wide. I didn’t manage to get many good pictures but I have got a bit of video of me doing the walk. A couple of people got tingly blisters, and I did get a couple but I didn’t even notice them until much later that evening. A few of us wanted to do it again right away but they were a bit swift about putting it out.

Certificate in hand we made a beeline to the bar for a well deserved bottle of wine, a burger from the BBQ and a boogie to the band. I raised £221.66 through Just Giving and a few more pounds in the collecting tin at the local dental practice.

If you ever get the chance to firewalk I highly recommend it!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Grim injuries

Parkrun & Grim

I’ve not parkrunned for a while. Mostly this is because I’ve had other places to be on a Saturday morning but one occasion was due to the fact that Frimley parkrun got cancelled for a week. I’m still not sure exactly what’s been going on but Steve seems to have been asked to step down and it’s now being run by someone else. I was really upset and I’ve yet to go back there, even though I’m sure it’ll be just as friendly.

I have reached 22 parkruns now though which means I may just make the 50 by the end of the year. I signed OH up to parkrun and we both tried Basingstoke on Saturday for the first time. OH achieved what I have yet to which is 5km in under 25 minutes. On his first parkrun. Hatehatehate. I had a bad run and was convinced that I came in around 35 minutes. I was therefore disproportionally happy to discover my time was only 31 minutes. Still not good but better than expected. The course is 2.5 laps of rather undulating parkland. It's a pleasant enough course but not being familiar with it, it felt very long and I'm not good with hills (yet). So all in all I was in a fairly black mood afterwards which probably spoilt OH's morning a bit, sorry sweetie, I'll try not to take it to heart so much in future.

The last time I ran before that, and I use this word in the loosest sense, was at Beast in the East the weekend before. I was woefully underprepared having done precisely no hill training but my confidence was buoyed by my cheerleaders. I was in no way aiming for a time, just to get round. I fully expected it to take an hour and a half and surprised myself by crossing the line in 1:19. This was put into perspective by the winning time of 37 minutes, faster than the winner of the Frimley Park 10k! The course was brutal, 1.8km of motocross track start and end with gradients so steep I had to scramble up and slide down. My favourite part was the forest trail, a single track that was very peaceful, accessed after the cargo net which provided little challenge given that the marshalls were holding it up for us!

I did trip and fall on the single track resulting in grazes and vibrant bruises (photo to follow). My knees ached so much afterwards that I didn’t run all week afterwards.

I think this was one of my favourite races. The organisation was great and the sense of camaraderie was wonderful; lots of encouraging words and helping hands meant very few people didn’t cross the line. Every single marshall had a smile, a clap or an encouraging word. The announcer name checked almost every single participant and the motocross course was designed such that spectators (of which there were far fewer than at other races I’ve done, save the Forest 5) could follow the runners almost all the way round. There’s a lot of footage of me tramping round so I’ll try and put some up later.

The t-shirt was pretty cool and the goody bag as good as any I’ve had anywhere else. I didn’t expect it to wipe me out as much as it did and the afternoon was pretty much spent sleeping. I’m almost certainly going to sign up again next year although I don’t think I could hack the Winter version. This is mainly due to having chatted with a girl on the Monday who did do it… I’m going to try very hard not to let my competitive side get the better of me.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

PT2 and Surfing

Continuing with the updates, the week after the VLM I had my second PT session with Jo from Funkfit. I was thoroughly looking forward to this as the first one had been so much fun. I was anticipating a repeat session but it was all change.

I cycled up to the playing field to meet Jo who proceeded to put my through my paces with the ViPR and a BOSU ball. There was a great deal of flipping the ViPR and balancing on the BOSU ball whilst doing various exercises such as squats, deadlifts and bicep curls. The killer was the plank whilst circling the BOSU with my hands.

I was expecting a real hard sell at the end seeing as these were discounted sessions but Jo was terribly laid back about it all and it made me feel more favourable towards using the company again sometime. I probably wouldn’t be able to afford personal sessions very often but will try the fit camps for sure. I know that Jo will offer me advice if I need a boost or a kick start which is great.

I wholeheartedly recommend Funkfit if you live in the Reading area. It’s fun, effective and interesting. With my next spare £20 I’m buying a kettlebell!

It did all stand me in quite good stead for the Easter break when I took a trip to Cornwall with my mum. We stayed at the amazing Scarlet spa and eco hotel for two nights before moving on to Boscastle. In an attempt to combat the effects of all the delicious food we consumed (lunch at Fifteen was a particular highlight) I did some body boarding. We managed to get my board in the back of the car and my wetsuit withstood the 10 degree water well enough to allow me to mess around in the sea for several hours each day.

Wetsuits are so unflattering.

Friday, 20 May 2011

VLM Helpers medal

The pallets of Lucozade we gave out

Virgin London Marathon Volunteering

I can’t believe that it’s been over a month since I last blogged. That’s, frankly, unacceptable. I’ve not been idle though (heaven forbid) so I’d best give you a run down of what I’ve been up to over the course of the next few blog posts.

On the 17th of April I volunteered at the VLM which was hugely rewarding. I was assigned to the Blue start to hand out Lucozade to the participants. I was joined by a dozen hugely enthusiastic school kids and Jackie who I chatted to most of the morning. I bumped into my friend Sarah who ran last year and was aiming to improve her time this year. I’d not seen her for several months since we left the company we worked for so that was a lovely surprise. The atmosphere was amazing and I got to see the tail end of the Red start. It’s all very slick and once the runners are away you’d hardly know anything had been going on save for the giant balloons.

For a couple of hours of my time I got a Lucozade t-shirt and cap, a VLM Staff t-shirt, a volunteers medal and as much Lucozade as I could walk away with. The sense of community was astounding. On my way back from the station I got chatting to a couple who had also been helping out and the seed of an idea to run abroad got planted. Paris and Rome Marathons were sold rather well.

My mum had recorded most of the coverage so I got to see it later over a glass of something cool. Special thanks go to my dad who drove me to Blackheath that morning after my train got cancelled. Thank you Daddy!

Friday, 15 April 2011

FunkFit Personal Training

I have never had a personal training session before but it was one of the most enjoyable things I've ever done, fitness wise. I put this down mostly to Jo, from FunkFit, who is my trainer. She's great, down to earth and she put me at ease straight away. We met at the Pinewood centre in Crowthorne and found a corner near the balance beams to work out. We did a short warm up run and some dynamic stretches then got stuck into some proper stuff. I don't really know what I was expecting. Something akin to BFM possibly. Instead we took our time and I was instructed in the way of the ViPR. This unassuming bit of kit is used a little like a bar bell but is much more versatile. I did lunges, squats, clean and press and my heart rate rocketed. After that I used a kettlebell for the first time; swings and clean and presses. Finally I did some boxing which, after the day I'd had, was SUPERBLY liberating. The time flew by and I felt as though I could have done loads more. Two days later and I'm still aching in my glutes, hamstrings and shoulders. But you know what, it feels GREAT! The point of this is to get me stronger to get me faster (and burn a little weight in the process). I've got my second heavily discounted session next Wednesday and I'd love to continue afterwards but it's pricey. I may, instead, go to the bootcamps in Reading. I'm also thinking of investing in a kettlebell. The OH fancies a run tonight though I'm not sure if I can or want to do 4-6 miles so I may cycle beside him instead. Parkrun tomorrow and Zumba on Sunday after helping out at the VLM. It's going to be ab awesome weekend.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Frimley 10k

Wow, well quite a lot has been going on lately. The last time I posted was April 1st so here's what's been going on since then. On April 2nd I ran my 19th parkrun in about 30 minutes. I really thought I'd run faster than that so I was a little disapointed. This week will be my 20th! I feel slightly under pressure to get a new PB as Steve keeps telling me I run too slowly, plus I got a good time at the Frimley 10k which makes me think I could get a new PB, PLUS I had a PT session yesterday so I should be ever so slightly stronger... I will update next week.

On the 6th I ran 4miles with the OH as a last run before the Frimley 10k. It was one of the best runs I've done. I think it was for him too. We ran an average of 9:30 per mile and I kept up the whole way. I didn't even feel too puffed out at the end of it all - felt like I had plenty left which was exactly how I wanted to feel at the end of the last run before the event.

Sunday 10th April was the aforementioned Frimley Park 10k. You can see the route here (with optional altitude graph). It was the OH's first race and we were both aprehensive. It was a good one to start at as it was relatively small but still extremely well organised. We both saw people we knew and it was a gorgeous day. A bit too hot perhaps but some kind soul had her sprinkler going just over half way round which was very welcome indeed. There were two longish hills at 3 and 5km which I opted to walk up. It was at this point that the OH decided to power up them and we ran our own races from that point onwards. I didn't mind at all, I wanted him to have a good race and I know I'd have been worse off for running those hills. The k's clicked past pretty swiftly and for the last one I almost passed a girl who was being coached by her OH. Instead of passing her he encouraged her to stick with me and I took advantage of his motivational words in the heat of the home stretch. We stuck it out and I crossed the line in one hour. OH beat me by 4 minutes. We were both pleased with our times and not too sore afterwards and now I have something to aim for next time :)

Tune in next time for news of my first PT session with FunkFit!

Friday, 1 April 2011

This morning I had my first session with Jo of Funktional Fitness. Thanks to an offer from Groupon she is my new, though perhaps temporary, personal trainer. We met in a coffee shop at 7am to discuss what I wanted to get out of the session and to go through my food diary. This session was all about nutrition and chatting. I was already armed with a Chai Latte (a real treat as I rarely buy anything from coffee shops) when Jo arrived and I realised that she’d been involved in the Reading Half coaching session at moti> in Reading. I was expecting someone super svelte and exasperatingly perky but Jo is really down to earth and we got on a treat.

I told her that my aims were to:

  • lose half a stone

  • run 5km in 25 mins

  • reduce wobble on my thighs

And she added:

  • run a sub 2 hour half marathon

  • improve strength (glutes especially)

  • complete a triathlon

Apparently this is all very do-able.

My food diary stumped Jo a bit in as much as there weren’t many tweaks to make. It was a real boost to find I’m already doing lots of things right. For example not bothering with “low fat” products, eating good cereals like porridge, shredded wheat and weatbix. Did you know that organic apples can potentially reduce cellulite? My nutrition improvements are:

  • Up my protein intake. Try to get some protein into every meal. This will include eating more things like quinoa and buckwheat.

  • Water down my morning fruit juice to reduce the acidity

  • Switch to full fat milk as it contains more protein and good fats. Raw milk would be even better.

  • Avoid cooking with nut and seed oil if I can

  • Drink more water (I currently manage around 1.5 litres a day)

I intend to also:

  • Eat more wholegrains. 50% of the pasta and rice I eat is wholewheat or wholegrain and I can switch to wholegrain cous cous too.

  • Pay more attention to portion sizes. 80g or the size of a fist is about right.

  • Limit my alcohol consumption to around 3 drinks a week. Spirits are best but white wine is better than red which is better than beer.

I’m having my first training session on the 11th. I have to find a location but we’ll be doing things like sprints, fartlek, and strength building. In the meantime I’m making a copy of my booster bar recipe for Jo and she’s digging out some more information relevant to the vegetarian diet for me. It’s been a real boost so far and I hope that I come out of this with a bit more confidence and the motivation to keep up the good work.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Surf's up!

I'm a member of Surfers Against Sewage, a charity whose focus is on raising awareness of the state of our oceans and improving cleanliness of our beaches and seas (and therefore the safety and health of those using them). I renewed my membership in February and won the draw for £100 to spend at King of Watersports - woo!

So I'm now the proud owner of a bodyboard and my very own wetsuit! As shown...

Can't wait for Cornwall in April and September!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Support and Grace

On Tuesday night the OH and I went for a run. Running with intent, for distances over 2 miles is relatively new to the OH and as such, and with his first 10k on the horizon, he’s full of enthusiasm and motivation, which is great because left to my own devices I probably wouldn’t be doing a lot right now and in almost every instance it’s him asking me if I want to go for a run. So he’d suggested a six mile run a couple of days ago and remembering what happened the last time we went running together (I kept up for 2 miles then ended up about half a mile behind him for a further two before heading home leaving him to do ANOTHER 2 miles) I was a bit nervous. Nervous to the point that I went for a 2 miler on Monday, just to see how I might fare.

When it came to it, I managed to keep up for just under 5 of the 5.5 miles we covered. I was absolutely thrilled. It was my most consistent fastest pace over anything over 3 miles in a long time. Yes I was huffing and puffing, but I found myself with a better, more comfortable stride than my oft-used shuffle run. I know that if I’d been running alone I’d not have gone as far or as fast. OH was really supportive, shouting out our pace, encouraging me up the hills at the end. I feel I should be the one giving HIM support and advice. Actually I think I do that whilst we’re not running, around technique and kit, just not whilst running.

It’s hard to get used to him having improved so quickly whilst I’ve hit a plateau because my competitive streak comes out strongly despite knowing all the genetic advantages he has but it’s a good exercise in being graceful!

He sneaked in another 2 miler this morning after I’d gone to work and hit a new PB – I’m so proud of him!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Future Challenges

This year is going to be relatively light in terms of eventsas a lot of my time is committed to OU study, so I don't have as much time for training as I've done previously. I'm hoping to reach my target of 50 parkruns by the end of the year and so far I'm on track. I'm hoping that Shruti will continue to run these with me occasionally and it's likely that the OH will be able to join me on occasion too, should a certain lifestyle change come to fruition... I'm also struggling to get motivated for events I have signed up for. The OH is helping as I have somehow inspired him to run more often and further. We've both signed up to run the Frimley 10k in the not too distant future. I've never run a race with anyone before and I'm very excited about it. It'll be such a great thing to share. He is a faster runner than I am although arguably I can run further at the moment (this is likely to be shortlived) so I will try and keep up with him for as long as I can before he dashes off into the distance. I don't imagine we'll be too far apart over a 10k distance and seeing the other at the finish will undoubtedly be a huge smily motivator. I've got the postponed Grim challenge in May and the OH and I have signed up to a second event together, a 30 mile bike ride in the New Forest in aid of Marie Curie. I will soon be putting Just Giving links on this site (with much smaller targets than last year's Kilimanjaro challenge!). Although I love going out for a bike ride I'm not very skilled or practised. In fact when I did take my bike out last I ached a great deal so the bike ride will probably be more of a challenge than the runs this year. A few of his friends are also taking part and will probably bomb round in about 1.5 hours while I will likely adopt a more leisurely pace. Shruti and I enjoyed a walk on the Thames Path yesterday, dodging cyclists, and plan to ride/walk/run here on occasion for training. In between all this I will be walking on fire in aid of the Mouth Cancer Foundation. No training required so in the scheme of things it seems easier that anything else I'll be doing but with much more of a wow factor. Can't wait! And that's it. I'm anticpating that I may sign up for one more race later in the year, possibly with the OH again, if all goes well at Frimley.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Reading Half Marathon

On Sunday the 20th March I ran the Reading Half Marathon. Actually, "ran" is an overstatement. I did traverse much of the course at a speed greater than that of a walk but I did resort to walking pace at intervals to prevent injury (damn that right knee). The day was dry, with occasional sunshine (I'm still sporting short tan lines) and a slightly chilly breeze. The parking was not well signposted and the shuttle bus from our carpark dropped us so far from the race village we may as well have walked from the carpark instead. Likewise the walk to the Green starting area was stupidly long. In summary the start was a bit of a shambles, the warm-up was just about visible but there was no space to actually carry out the moves and there was such a long wait to start that I'd all but cooled down again. However once we were off the race was great. I was surprised at how many people lined the course all the way round. There were bands playing at ontervals and the water stations well manned. I do so hate the waste associated with them though. The course was relatively easy going although I totaly lost my sense of direction throguh town. I got cheered on at mile 6 by a friend, also supporting his other half, and by my own OH and parents between miles 11 and 13. My mother, bless her, even ran a small portion with me when I was flagging. I'm not sure she was meant to but it did help. I think my performance was hampered a little by a general lack of enthusiasm. I'd not trained as much as I'd wanted to and I knew my knee wasn't strong. Adrenaline was virtually nowhere to be found. The highlight, obviously, was finishing in the stadium. My father gave accounts of a few people taking a tumble down the slope and some heartwarming reports of other receiving huge applause and somehow managing to cross the line when it seemed there was nothing left in the tank. It was amazing. I got my first ever foil blanket and a well stocked goody bag. My time wasn't anywhere near a PB but I didn't really mind, for once. I could have done without the limp/trudge back to the bus and car but a slap up meal of eggs, chips, beans and sausages with a glass of bubbly back home quickly soothed the muscles. I'm very glad that I finally managed to run the Reading HM but I won't be tempted to do it again. Out of all the HM's I've run so far, overall it was my least favourite.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Movement and positivity

I love the song and I love the movement in the video. It's free and uninhibited.

REM - Überlin [Clip officiel]
Uploaded by Warner-Music. - Explore more music videos.

Success comes in cans, not cant's.

- Author Unknown

Monday, 28 February 2011


This past week has involved a certain amount of persuasion. Badminton on Thursday was great fun but persuading my muscles not to ache afterwards was futile, as was persuading myself not to eat cake. I persuaded myself to enjoy a gig on Friday and persuaded myself to do parkrun in the mud and rain yet again on Saturday. I wasn't able to persuade myself to run 10miles in the rain on Sunday but I did manage to persuade the OH that he really needed new running shoes. I would have classified his current ones as "fashion trainers" and it was not wholly surprising when he announced that a 4 mile run had left him with a blood blister the size of a twopence piece.

So off to Moti it was, followed by a second opinion in Sweatshop then back to Moti to actually buy a pair of Saucony Progrid Triumph 8's. This was followed by a trip to Decathlon to buy some sportsocks that didn't have holes in. I almost managed to persuade him he needed new shorts and a long sleeved top too but we couldn't come to an agreement on that. Apparently his Hawaiian shorts and cotton t-shirt will suffice.

Today's quote...

The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.

- Ayn Rand

Wednesday, 23 February 2011


I have really enjoyed the climbing and bouldering I've done (which isn't much) and am in awe of people who have this kind of strength and belief. I couldn't do this, I don't have the coordinated strength or lack of fear of falling. But I very much enjoy watching other people do this sort of thing.

Better Than Chocolate : quick peek from Haroun Souirji on Vimeo.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Old shoes

Old shoes are hazardous. I went for my long run on Sunday and frustratingly not only had to cut it slightly short at 7.5 miles but also had to walk a good part of the last mile and a bit home due to my trainers creating a blister under my left arch. Very sore indeed. The rest of the run was pretty awesome though, having people ahead of my to follow on my route, managing to run up hills/inclines I'd previously struggled with and maintaining a ten minute mile for the majority of the distance. I do wish I'd take a) a plaster and b) gloves. Next weekend I plan to do 8.5 or 9 miles.

Parkrun on Saturday was at Reading, despite Shruti wussing out because it was "raining and muddy". It wasn't raining but it was muddy. I managed to come 95th with a time of 34:37 compared with 111th with 28:18 previously. Running on grass does leave me feeling rather as if my energy has been sapped. I feel that I at least get some of it back from pavement. I slipped around and got horribly muddy though. My trail shoes and running socks are actually still in a bag in the boot of my car because I've not been brave enought to deal with them yet. Shruti was kind enough to let me get her shower temporarily muddy before we went out for brunch though.

So my runs have left me feeling a bit frustrated as I've still had energy left at the end. Also feeling bloated. I blame the OH's chocolate and ginger cookies yesterday. The food diary continues to be enlightening! I shall leave you today with this quote...

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, 14 February 2011

This week I have mostly been eating...

I've started keeping my food and exercise diary, in paper format, since I went to the Moti session last week. It's quite eye opening. I wouldn't say I eat badly but there are certainly things I can cut out that will help matters. For instance I probably eat a couple of biscuits and/or a piece of cake everyday. I could cut those down and eat more fruit. Easy! There are things I eat that aren't bad but could be better. It's an exercise I shall be continuing.

Speaking of exercise it was the Frimley parkrun anniversary and Valentines event on Saturday. It was also my first OU tutorial in Reading at 10.30. It takes an hour to get from Frimley to Reading. The announcements at FLP took until 9.20. You can do the maths. I wasn't able to run. I go to hear all the announcements and see the crowd, witness the lanterns being sent up, see the prize giving but I'm unable to run 5km in 10 minutes. If I'd known it was going to be like that, sad as I'd have been to have missed the event I'd have run at Reading instead so as to clock up one more in my tally towards the 50 marker. I did do intervals when I got back from class though.

On Sunday I went with mum to a Zumba class. It was my first ever but I've some history in dance so I found I was able to follow the moves pretty well, and although I got pretyty hot, I didn't feel exhausted in the way I do after running. It was great fun and best of all the mirrors in the studio made me look thin! I do actually think my thighs are getting slimmer which makes me very happy (I know I'm not fat by any stretch of the imagination but there are parts of me that I don't like).

So this week I'm planning intervals, hills, parkrun (my "tempo run") and a minmum 6, possibly 8 mile run. Let's see how I manage.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011


Last night I went along to the Reading Half Marathon coaching session at Moti. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, whether there'd be a proper run involved but I went kitted up in case. Just as well as there was about 20 minutes of technique coaching at the start which involved us running around in the space outside the store and concentrating on exaggerated arms, upright bodies and cycling legs.

After that we had advice about injury prevention, types of training we should be doing, nutrition and stretches. We got the chance to ask questions and chat to the team afterwards about specific things. I asked for more advice about my knee which was really helpful. I came away with a little goody bag of sports nutrition and leaflets, some stretches and exercises to address my knee and the idea of keeping a written food and training diary. I've started these before in soft copy but I like the idea of using one of my many many lovely notebooks for the task, especially as they were trying to flog skinny versions for a fiver last night.

I've written in my stretches and technique notes at the back and am dedicating a page to a day for food and exercise notes.

Tonight I did my 6 miles. OH came over and ran too but he doesn't reckon he can tackle that sort of distance yet so we set off at the same time but in opposite directions. Felt a bit strange doing that. On Sunday I ran possibly the darkest run of my life so tonight I took my head torch. It's pretty bright but I didn't think it was bright enough to blind motorists... in any case a couple of them flashed me. I Audiofuelled with Adrenaline Junkie and then Rollercoaster and for some tracks I tried practicing the techniquies from Monday. It did feel a little odd but I'm pretty sure it helped. I got home with an average pace of 10:12 and feeling as if there was a little more in the tank which is exactly the sort of run I *really* enjoy.

Even better OH had made dinner!

Monday, 7 February 2011


Last week was a bit of a non-event in terms of exercise. Apart from the run with OH I didn't do much despite having signed up for 3 lunchtime classes at the gym. Due to weekend plans I didn't do parkrun but did go out for the darkest run of my life last night. It was only about 6.30pm but it was cloudy and so even though I was running on main roads, in the areas where there wasn't any street lighting it was pitch until a car passed, and even then that was sometimes unhelpful, blinding as opposed to illuminating.

But it was an excellent run. I did about 4.3 miles and plugged myself in to AudioFuel's Rollercoaster. Or Rocks Off. I can't remember. It's the one that has two sprints in it which I didn't do. Anyway I was going to try and do 6 miles but my leg started feeling sore so I didn't carry on after the first loop (I have a second I add on to form a figure of eight). I did my minimum though and I felt so zen. If it hadn't been for the leg I'd have gone on for ages more.

This week I will do a 6miler by hook or by crook (and possibly by headtorch) plus parkrun at Frimley on Saturday as it's the anniversary run. Wet wipes, fresh t-shirt and school books at the ready to dash to my first OU tutorial of the year directly afterwards.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Must try harder

Well Janathon is over and the winners have been announced, congratulations to you all, I'm most impressed. I'm not regretting having dropped out. There's no way I could have run enough to have got a prize and really think it would have been very demoralising to have run every day and not stood a chance of getting anything. It's not as if the winners were anywhere the same league as me.

I'm really happy for those people who exercised every day, that was a sterling effort and I know that the motivation for a lot of people was to lose weight or hit a personal achievement target but I couldn't find my motivation there, not strongly enough. In fact motivation all round is dwindling at the moment.

I went for a run with the OH last night and did ok seeing as we both got stitches and I was still quite sniffly. I ran in new shorts (Howies) and discovered the pockets NOT to put my keys in. We were only a bit slower than the last time we ran. I'm scared about distances still and I know I have to get over this and back up to substantial miles. I think the thing is that I lack time to just take my time. I've got training runs on Sunday and Monday so I'm really going to make an effort with those.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


Well that was horrible. Last night's ViPR class totally wiped me out. I clearly had my expectations all wrong. For those of you not in the know, ViPR (or at least the version they run at my gym) is like circuits but using these weighted tubes to do exercises with. You get a rest from those only to do gazillions of pressups.

I sweated buckets and worked through the oh-my-god-I'm-going-to-faint feeling. I do ache quite a bit today, but not quite as much as after LBT. Or maybe it's just more distributed. I had intended to do hills on the treadmill last night but I was too wiped out after the class. I may try and drag myself out after work for a run tonight.

I'm signed up to classes every lunch time this week now which is good and although it doesn't look as though I'll be parkrunning at the weekend, I have time for a medium run on Sunday. Rock on!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Buck up your ideas girl

Well here we are at the start of another week. I failed to go to the training run on Sunday and instead met friends for lunch, which was lovely but not really helping matters with regards to races. I stayed out much later than I intended to on Saturday night but did remain sober. Also cooking experiments haven't resulted in increased speed or weight loss.

I came into work to the news that N ran 13 miles at the weekend. Bummer. Tonight I am going to my first ever ViPR class at the gym and might do some additional hill work on the treadmill before going home to a healthy dinner of reasonable proportions and an evening of study.

By the end of February I want to have completed at least one 10 mile run and be down to 60kg. That's uppping my mileage by about 6 miles and 3kg to lose... as I appear to have put weight on this week. Bummer.

Weight 63kg (bummer)
Fat % - 25.7
Water % - 54
Muscle % - 70.2
BMI - 19.8 (boo)

Saturday, 22 January 2011

New adventures in parkrun

This week has, once again been fairly light on the exercise front. Work has been manic, leaving little time for lunch breaks until Thursday when I did a legs bums and tums class that left my glutes aching. They're still aching, for the record, and prevented me doing reverse curls in the lounge last night.

However this morning was a parkrun morning and Shruti made the decision to come along and see what it was all about. I probably bore her to tears about it! Actually I probably bore most people to tears about it. Anyway she lives near Reading so it made sense to try that one for a change. I felt horribly disloyal to Frimley as we wandered to the start line but the crowd were friendly, slightly more in number than Frimley, and I really enjoyed it. The course is a little easier than Frimley, there being less inclines, less narrow parts and less dogs and buggies. It did start raining half way around but thankfully stayed a drizzle rather than anything heavier.

Shruti ran in 34:49 (great first effort) and I managed 28:18 (woo! still in the 28 zone!) With any luck and a bit of work I can push into the 27 range in a couple of weeks. I think I have a spa day next weekend so won't be parkrunning (sorry Shruti - but go anyway, be brave) but will be back to it as soon as I can.

Going out for dinner with Shruti and friends tonight so must try not to consume too many calories. The jury is still out on whether I'm actually going to make it to the training run tomorrow (alcohol will NOT be a factor).

Monday, 17 January 2011


I've been following the Janathon Bloggers with some interest but haven't really been keeping up with my end of things. I did do parkrun on Saturday which I thoroughly enjoyed. The course is still pretty muddy and slippery but the rain held off and I ran in 28:15. Not a PB but close enough to it to feel happy that my average times are improving despite unruly labradors, head winds and narrow courses.

I gathered up all my 170BPM Audiofuel music and chose a chap who seemed to be running at a good pace and tried to keep feet to the beat and keep up with him. I'm not sure he entirely approved but it really helped me. I wasn't running with my Garmin but there's a particular volunteer who shouts out your times as you approace the halfway point which is dead helpful and meant I knew I could possibly get a PB. I always run the second lap slower though. Steve gave me a shout out mid way as well, claiming that I was getting faster (I might just about believe him now).

They were handing out fliers for the Frimley 10k in April which I'm tempted to sign up for as it seems like a nice little event. Especially as I'm going to be rethinking Tough Guy. Don't ask. I've still got Grim and the Reading half. One year I'd like to do the Chicago half as it falls near my birthday. And the Vegas one would be great as I think I've mentioned before. Not in the same year. Lots of finding pennies to be done before I can think about those.

I've tasked the OH with limiting the amouont of things I sigh up to. In the course of one weekend I talked about swimming lessons, a running club (he wants to join one so why can't I?) and getting back into cycling. There just isn't time for all that PLUS study PLUS actually having a relationship. I just need to spread it out a bit :)

This week's stats!
Weight: 62kg
Fat %: 25
Water %: 54.5
Muscle %:70.8
BMI: 19.5

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Easy does it

I got looked after by the OH on Sunday night, after declaring myself out of Janathon. Lots of water, blankets piled on my on the sofa, soup, DVD and some good quality sleep. I know I'm not going to win one of the prizes for Janathon now as I missed a day (not even a press up, I'm not going to lie. I can't possibly count "wandering around Bath in the morning") but I'm still going to try and do something each day, as much for the weight loss as anything.

Unfortunately I'm not managing too well. It's all excuses of course. I was meant to do a ViPR class (first ever) on Monday night but a meeting seriously overran and I missed it and I was tight on time to make my evening plans so couldn't fit in a run either. I did run yesterday though. The OH has suddenly gotten all keen on running (we were going to go on Sunday) and thought we could run my 2.3 mile route in under 20 minutes so that was the challenge.

Whereas I was the pace setter last time I could barely keep up with him this time, lagging behind almost all the way. If I'd been out on my own I'd have had a walking break or not run so fast. I set off a bit too quickly, a fault of mine if I don't have "feet to the beat". Garmin reported 20.04! So close! But something's still not right with the GPS as it only reckons we ran 1.73miles, and not the 2.3 I know the route to be. It always *used* to record it as more. Anyway, we'll crack it next time.

Need to get over to the gym and sign up to a couple of classes. I'll attack the abs when I get home tonight.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Day 9 - All out

WellI've felt the last 36 hours feeling decidely rubbish. I've felt tired and run down beyond belief. I normally get a B12 jab every 10-12 weeks and I'm due but the way I'm feeling seems to be more than just tireness from that. I've been feeling queasy and unsteady and foggy in the head. This sounds like a lot of excuses but I'm not generally one to be beaten or wuss out.

The OH came over about an hour ago ready to go for a run, which would have been great but I think I'd either fall over or throw up.

Bottom line is I've not done anything today and I therefore I guess I'm out of Janathon.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Day 8 - Mud, mud, glorious mud

Well we're into the secnd week now! I'm quite astonished that I've managed to run every day for 8 consecutive days. I'm not sure I've ever done that before. I need to watch out for my right knee though, it's feeling a bit wobbly.

This morning was parkrun. My 12th I think. The results are yet to come through but I'm not anticipating an PB. There were several points where I couldn't overtake people and the mud and headwinds made for a bit of a battle. The trail shoes were great though. I know if I'd have run in my normal trainers that my feet would have been cold, sodden and very miserable by the end of the course. As it was I stayed mostly dry, allbeit with large amounts of mud splattered up my legs. I managed to step in a very large puddle on the way back to the car though, resulting in very wet feet indeed. Typical.

There were more people at parkrun than I've seen before. All those new years resolutions. I saw Stefan who is a regular there, he's now done 25 runs and keeps improving my his PB. I didn't see my pacer friend but Steve the organiser said hello and asked if I was geting any faster yet. Regrettably I had to say no. Although that's the aim this year I know it's going to be a real struggle. I chose to run with music today, as I have all week. Yesterday I ran to Audiofuel's Juneathon track from last summer. Will we get a Janathon track? Please?

Here's my vitals after week 1. Improvement all round but there's still a way to go to shift the Christmas weight (regardless of whether my mother reckons it shows or not).

Weight: 63kg (hmmm, I'd like to get to 60)
Fat %: 25.6
Muscle %: 70.3
Water %: 54
BMI: 19.8 (improvement)

Friday, 7 January 2011

Day 7 - Head, shoulders, knees and toes

Or day sevERRRRN! As some would say.

Thankfully the only parts of me that ache from the above list are my toes (although my shoulders ached when I ran yesterday). After the treadmill session on day 5 my feet were feeling a bit sore. I've also noticed that my toe nails are looking a bit delicate. Not a nice thing to discuss but there it is.

Yesterday I ran with the other half and got one of my best times. Could possibly have pushed harder but I'm quite sure I worked harder than normal because I didn't want him to think I was rubbish. Apparently he thinks I run quickly, which is nice. I think he'd run with me again and he reckons we could do it in under 20 minutes. I was so thrilled that he was so supportive, even going as far as to say that he would never have tried to "win" because it was my "arena". I did wear the Garmin but there was some sort of malfunction and although it recorded the time correctly it didn't record the distance and hence lap time properly... it skipped half a mile at least.

Today it was raining, raining, raining and I thought it might be a treadmill evening. But I was brave and went out for a run round the block. I've found the key to going running when you really really don't want to is to not give yourself time to think about it. Parkrun tomorrow. Meh.

I'm glad I've been able to run at least 2 miles everyday, my mojo's returning and I've started to notice physical improvements too. Next week I will try and increase my overall distance a bit. We start with parkrun tomorrow morning and new trail shoes. I'm not expecting a PB, I anticipate being a bit groggy and achey. I'm also expecting it to be wet. It'll be a short post tomorrow as I'm off to Bristol as soon as I'm run and changed.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Day 6 - plus one for two

Well I managed the 4 miles on the treadmill last night, by hook or by crook I was going to do it. Quite a few brisk walking breaks but I covered the distance and I'm glad. I even got a few words of congratulations from a woman in the changing room afterwards. I'd have chatted longer but I've never been very good at talking to women in states of undress...

Was absolutely exhausted last night, especially after taking the decorations down. Down but not packed away... that was too much effort. Managed to whip up some noodles and veg with Nigellas sesame noodle dressing (peanut butter, soy sauce, chilli sauce, sesame oil, garlic oil and lime juice) - bliss. Left overs for lunch today!

The OH has said he'll come running with me tonight. He's a "seasonal runner", from about May to September usually. I'm really nervous because I have only ever run with someone once before (excluding races) and I don't know what it's going to be like. Also he will be seeing me at my sweaty, lycra, out-of-breath worst. He's nervous because he thinks he won't be able to keep up with me (HA!). Our relationship may not survive the trauma. I plan to take him on about a 2 mile run. Of course he may wuss out if it's raining.

I've clocked up 14miles so far this month. Rock on!

Also, Robert Palmer's Greatest Hits make for a good soundtrack to core work.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Day 5 - feeling positive

Feeling very good today. My energy levels are rising and I'm feeling totally capable of running the planned 4 miles on the treadmill after work tonight, hopefully I'll do even further. There will also be situps etc. I'll detail it all on running free this evening.

All my team are back in the office and we had a bit of a chinwag this morning about running. Four of us run at the moment. G and I are the "runners" (he did 10k on the beach on boxing day) and N and J are the "triers". N, J and I are running the Reading Half in March. I know I'm capable, having run 4 before but I've got a way to go at the moment. J does lots of gym work and cycling and N has a personal trainer. They're both ahead of my in the miles stakes at the moment; N admitted to having run 8 miles the day before yesterday in the morning and then a further 4 with her PT in the evening. 12 miles! They still think I'll be way ahead of them though which is nice :) I brought cakes in today to sabotage them ;) Orange and cranberry muffins... seem to have been a hit.

I think it's great that so many people have got new cook books for Christmas. My OH is most enthused... he's a big fan of food and my cooking. I tried a new soup last night (not from River Cottage) that tasted delicious and virtuous (and was only so by virtue of being packed with veg): Spicy spinach and chick pea soup. I'll definitely be making that again.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Day four - Hullo Jim

First day back at work today. Somehow I managed to drag myself out of bed at 7.30 (yes I know, the shame of getting used to sleeping late over the holidays) and get into work. I can't believe I used to get up at 6 some days just to get into the gym. I seem to be developing into a nocturnal creature which means getting up early is a real struggle. Think I'll have to change that.
Aaaaanyway. I almost feel as though I've not had a holiday. We've got a new starter who is a lovely girl, I've been eased into work itself and I'm devouring a punnet of grapes. I feel semi-healthy. I had lunch with the new girl so I went to the gym after work instead and did a gym session with intervals... Was ok but not a patch on where I was before Christmas. Also did 70 crunches on the swissball with 2.5kg, 20 jack knifes and 30 pressups on the swissball. Oh and some leg extensions and back extensions.

I was reading through my new River Cottage Everyday cook book last night and getting very excited about the new recipes. The smoothies and breakfast ideas particularly excite me. One of my resolutions is to cook something new at least once a fortnight and though I won't be starting with this book I think tonight will either be a new soup or a noodle concoction. YUM!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Day three - slowly but surely

Had big plans today. Then I woke up at 10am. I am building my distances very slowly. I'm trying, honest I am. It's just so much more difficult than I expected it to be. I guess the extra holiday weight and the lack of exercise before Christmas has just decimated my fitness levels.

Hey ho. Almost 3 miles today. Tomorrow, to ring the changes, I'll be going to the gym after work. I'll do a bit of weights work and try and do my intervals session. That's 20 minutes, 1 minute at 6.7kph, 1 minute at 13 kph, repeat. Before Christmas I was doing 3 of the recovery periods at 9.5kph. Let's see if I can do that tomorrow.

It tried to snow when I was out today. Blimmin' weather. As I was running down the hill before I turn into my road I got to thinking how cool it would be if someone managed to take a picture of me as I pass the automated "slow down" traffic signal, just before a car comes into shot... just a thought.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Day two - ooof

Dragged myself out first thing this morning and did the same route as yesterday. I'm clearly an evening runner, somehow it felt even more difficult this morning. How is that possible? Will do more miles tomorrow. Today I'm off to wander around the grounds of waddesdon manor.

Have fun!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Day one - Bleurrrrgh

I think the first day of Janathon has got to be the hardest. You've partied hard the night before, maybe drunk a little too much, had some sort of sleep and woken up at 1pm feeling sluggish, hungry, dehydrated and not in the best of spirits for stepping foot outside into the cold day.

Or was that just me?

I finally dragged myself out at 5pm for just over two miles. I was happy with that quite honestly. It's a fair start. I ran the whole way at my normal pace (so not slowed down by last night's festivities). I'm sure amongst the 170 odd of us taking part, there will be some mentalist who ran 14 miles or something. Basically this is the shortest run I do and I intend to build it up over the month.