Go For It: RACE!

Race Numbers

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In front of Arthur’s Seat last week where the Great Edinburgh Run finished up. Races are also a good excuse to travel and experience a city or place in a novel way!

I’m a self confessed lover of running. It’s the one form  of exercise that I keep coming back to no matter what I try, it works for me. It isn’t for everyone. People can find it boring, or lonely, repetitive, not competitive enough…the list goes on! I’m not here to convince people to run if they don’t like it or suggest that it is the ultimate exercise, however, in the spirit of “Go For It”, I would like to make a suggestion to you and here it is:

Whether you love to run or could take or leave it, why don’t you sign up for a race?

Lack of motivation is a huge blocker for people looking to improve their fitness. If you have a race booked, no matter the distance, it gives you a target to work towards. Whether you care about times or not, you will know the race is coming and you will want to be ready. A lot of people , runners and non – runners alike, use a race as a starting point for their new push for fitness. From my experience and through people I have met, I can’t recommend challenging yourself to a race highly enough. Here are a few reasons why:

Races Bring People Together:

Competing in a race is an event in itself. Races draw all sorts of people from all walks of life. At last years half marathon in Glasgow I got chatting to a guy who went halves on a packet of safety pins with me, turned out he was a policeman and this was his first race! Races have a friendly atmosphere and are social in a safe and organised way. Most of the races that I have competed in have been with friends but when I am racing alone, I never feel like I’m on my own – probably because I’ll badger people for safety pins but there you go! – It’s a shared experience that you can celebrate afterward and a way to encourage the people you care about and rejoice in and appreciate each others success.

Races aren’t just about running:

If you are not much of a runner, why not try an obstacle race or a color run to get the benefit of the shared atmosphere without the potential monotony of something that you are not always keen on? Color runs are generally over a short distance and, we’ve all seen the selfies; they just look really cool! Obstacle races can also come in various physical ranges and engage you in different ways for the more adventurous and racer.

Compete With Yourself:

For people who like to jog, why not challenge yourself to a longer distance. I went from m first 10k to my first half marathon in four 4 months and even though my time wasn’t so hot, completing the half marathon gave me a great sense of pride and confidence. If running isn’t your go-to form of exercise, why not challenge yourself to a 5k. Racing for charity is a brilliant and worthwhile motivator but honestly, sometimes just completing something can be a reward in itself.

The thing about a race is, no matter the distance you ran,or the time it took you, or how many times you stopped, or how God awful the weather was – racing: the only time when sun can be worse than rain- once the race is over you have done it. You forget or laugh about the horrible hill or when you were caught downwind of someone’s spit (yeah…) and you remember it for what it was: an achievement, and one which will inspire you further in your fitness journey. Or just anything in life really.

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Chris and I last Sunday after completing the Great Run Edinburgh 10 Mile Race. It was tough, my time was 1hr 38 and the course had a very high rate of elevation. I am once again proud to have completed a race and have learned from this one just like every other.

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Be Kind

I started to write a Go For It Post about racing. I had written a paragraph. And then I stopped. There is something that I have to say first. I write this blog about living a healthy lifestyle. I write this blog about life. I am a 25 year old Irish girl living in Glasgow. Last week, a 24 year old Irish girl living in Glasgow was murdered. I did not know this girl, but her death has affected me. I am not a journalist and I am not writing to speculate or investigate. It was covered on the news and by the papers and I do not know the detail of the events of that night. But it does not feel right to let this event go unmentioned when it has occupied my thoughts and the thoughts of so many others.

The people of Glasgow are kind. This city, one of the most densely populated in the UK is filled with vibrancy, artistry, intelligence and youth of all ages. The architecture is stunning, the markets are varied, the streets are colorful and secretive at times but this is a city of people first and foremost.

It bothers me when people make assumptions about Glasgow being dangerous or rough because it isn’t really, no more than any city. I’m no fool, no city is truly safe. Does that come down to it’s reputation? Maybe. But there is a wider issue here. Since the news of the murder, I was out late on a few occasions. It felt like the whole city was on their guard. The kindness of Glasgow shows in the concern of my friends making sure that I get home safely, colleagues checking upon each other or a taxi driver dropping me right to my door and waiting till I was inside before driving away. I see that. I appreciate that. I love that. What is at issue here is why it is necessary. I spent 3 days at a conference last week and listened to stories about how women in some developing countries cannot go to the bathroom in safety and privacy. How their needs are not considered because it is culturally wrong for them to voice their opinions in a community setting. And here in the UK, a woman is murdered after going home with a guy after a night out. An intelligent woman, who has traveled the world and has the freedom to choose her actions, was murdered after making a simple choice.

Everyone should have the right to  chose where they want to go, who they want to be with and at what time without that choice leading to their murder. Every woman should have the right to go to the bathroom without the fear of her privacy being invaded or her body violated. Men and women should be responsible for each other without having to police or protect each other.

This is not a Glasgow problem; it is a global one. Choose to respect each other, choose a life of love and empathy; not of fear and violence. Learn from the people of Glasgow: be kind.

If you got to the end of this post, please, please consider that.

My deepest and most sincere sympathies go out to the Buckley family.

Avocado Love

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Avocados. They’re damn good. In guacamole with a nice spicy kick and a dribble of crisp lime, as a soft accompaniment to toasted pine nuts in a salad, or just smeared over some whole meal bread; their creamy texture, cool earthy and ever-so-slightly sweet taste make them my favorite savory fruit. I find it hard to leave a grocery shop without one!

But have you tried one in a smoothie?

Yeah, not the most ground breaking ingredient, but definitely one worth sharing with you. I’d like to say that I came up with the idea myself, but it was my boyfriend who arrived at my little home office desk on Sunday morning with a class of green tinged juice – I am at a conference this week and I needed to get some work done over the weekend, I promise that I have a healthy work/life balance and normally value my weekends but I’ve been looking forward to this one and really wanted to be as prepared as possible!

Anyway, he was away for a run and didn’t want to have anything heavy, so he just took some food in our fridge that seem like it provide some energy for running; in this case, a carrot, an avocado and some orange juice; chucked them in the blender and made us a drink. As with a lot of Chris’ concoctions, it was delicious filled me up till lunch time (and I get hungry when I’m working!) and is just another use for one of my favorite things to eat. So obvs I made some more.

Avocados contain mono saturated fatty acids for a healthy heart, fiber and one avocado contains more potassium than a banana. Particularly in the warmer months of the year, they are a cool and fresh tasting addition to a meal. I hope you consider popping one in your smoothie too! Or if you are way ahead of me and have some awesome avocado smoothy or generally avocado related recipes, please drop me a comment and I shall be forever in you avocado-y debt!

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Go For It: Yoga

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Bring some colour into your day with Yoga!…Oh…

Generally met with enthusiasm, trepidation or some light eye-rolling, yoga is one of those activities that we have all had our preconceptions about. Western culture has embraced not only the physical teachings of the discipline but also it’s spirituality and lifestyle over the last 30 years or so. Everyone has heard of yoga, and I bet that, like me, a lot of people associate it with beautiful bohemian ladies displaying their awesome flexibility on a beach somewhere. Yoga is also associated with privilage, because folks; it ain’t cheap!

The truth is though, yoga is for everyone. You can be a blonde surfer in Cali or 50 year old accountant in Dundee, either way, if you have the go ahead from your doctor you can reap the benefits of yoga. Personally, I have practiced Hatha and Bikram over the years. I first came to Yoga when I was 21 and in the final year of my degree. I was feeling overwhelmed and wanted to do something to help me to relax and also improve my fitness. I found the physicality of Yoga to be challenging but soon began to notice the benefits including increased flexibility and higher energy levels. I also became increasingly more aware of my posture and this began to improve. But it was the relaxation and spirituality of yoga that has stuck with me. Concentrating the actions of your body rather than what happened in your day is something that you can get from any form of exercise; but Yoga also places the emphasis on your breath and on your relationship to the ground. It creates a direct bond between you as a person and the environment around you. The word Yoga is a translation from the Sanskrit to “Listen”. Listen to the world around you, listen to your body.

Yoga for me is like a favorite book, I can forget about is for a while and move on to other things, when I need it to go back to it’s teachings they’re right there. Only enriched by time and experience. Nothing can beat the attention of a trained yoga teacher in a class environment and I recommend it. However, if you are like me and want to come back to something that you already know, or would like a bit of a taster session, or just don’t fancy the classroom environment; our good friend the internet has provided some brilliant resources for Yoga training. Here are my favorites:

Morning Routine: The Yoga Solution with Tara Styles – this video is perfect for anyone who wants to wake up well in the morning but really doesn’t have time. I tried this out yesterday and today and found it energizing and relaxing too (if that is possible?!). It will be tough to pull myself out of bed, but I really am going to try to get this into my weekday morning routine a couple of times a week.

Yoga with Adrienne – I only became aware of Adrienne’s 30 days of Yoga through another blog, Style Sunrise (it’s awesome btw, link here) but it’s seems that I am rather late to the trend! How great is it that you can get a brilliant and completely free introduction to Yoga just by checking out these videos?

Jayne Becca Yoga – Jayne Becca provides both video content and a blog for Vinyasa Flow yoga. I found her on a random blog search and she is actually what is what got me thinking about getting back into yoga if truth be told. Well worth checking out.

I hope that you enjoyed this post and would love to hear your Yoga stories.

After all of this relaxation, I’m going to get out for a long run today; the 10 Mile Edinburgh Great Run is coming up next Sunday, not sure where that time went, but this week is going to involve some prep work! I’ll catch up with you soon and let you know how I’m getting on. I promise that I will also try to have less back to back Go For It Posts, the last couple of weeks have been quite demanding and I’m planning to get back to a better routine with writing and photographing too.

‘Till next time,

Jen

Go For It: Let’s Go Trampolining!

Sorry about the lack of pictures and the quality, we were just having too much fun to take more and it wasn't the kinda place to bring your new Nikon!
Sorry about the lack of pictures and the quality, we were just having too much fun to take more and it wasn’t the kinda place to bring your new Nikon!

Here in this part of the world we are lucky enough to get some time off over the Easter period. When I was living at home, this would always be a time when we would do something as a family, usually involving some kind of light exercise and the subsequent consumption of a LOT of really good food. I haven’t been back in Ireland for the Easter break in the last two years, however, the old habits stick, so food and fun were high on the list for this weekend. Which leads me to write this weeks Go For It post on Trampolining! A little while ago, my boyfriend told me about an indoor trampolining park called Airspace which had recently opened in East Kilbride, and could we please go because it sounded awesome.

Well, I didn’t need to be asked twice!

Having only ever done a little bit of trampoline work during PE at school and of course bouncing about on friends back garden trampolines in my childhood, I’m a total novice when it comes to this. But the idea of a massive floor with over a hundred trampolines sounded way too exciting to get put off by a little matter like that. We booked a slot and went to Airspace on Saturday morning. When we arrived we were welcomed at the door by a member of staff who told us a little bit about the venue and where to go to sign in etc. which was nice and helpful. By the time our slot came around we were itching to get on the trampolines. There was a safety briefing before going out where the presenter used video examples of do’s and don’ts on the trampolines which was good because it told us what we needed to know but didn’t take too long; and then we were let loose.

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There is trampoline dodgeball, basketball, airbag jumps, and then a space towards the back of the area with wall to wall trampolines (and I’m actually talking trampolines on the walls here). My favorites were the trampoline basketball where you can bounce as high as you can to get a slam dunk (I didn’t manage it, but it was still awesome and Chris and I got quite competitive) and the wall to wall trampoline area where I tried a few twists and bouncing from my bum to standing (again, with varying degrees of success).

Jumping around on trampolines for an hour is pure joy. The second we got on them we were smiling and laughing like a pair of children (although we were far less talented at trampolining than all of the children there, we discovered) and we didn’t stop until it was time to leave. Trampolining is high intensity exercise so it’s a fantastic workout, and the fun aspect of it makes you keep going for longer than a more boring or repetitive activity. It was tiring and I recommend taking a couple of breaks, but the hour slot is more than enough time to have a lot of fun and try all of the things that you want to try. I was a little bit stiff on Sunday so stretching afterwards is a must. If you want to give something new a try, get a group together and go trampolining, it is so much fun and will make you feel happy and silly and all of the good things. I’ll be back next month, hoping to get that slam dunk!

There are trampolining parks all over the world, but in my little corner Airspace is the closest, you can find out more about it here.

Have you tried something like this before? Let me know how you got on.

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Tired out after all of that bouncing!