Go For It – Get Hiking

PicMonkey Collage

Right lads, it’s bang smack in the middle of summer. The weather is a little or a lot warmer depending on what part of the world you live in. Tell me, do you really want to spend this longer, brighter days in the Gym??

When people think of hiking, they often think of intrepid North Face/ Berghaus (or if you’re really serious: Arc’Teryx) wearers on journeys through bog and snow and desert.

In the same hike. In one day.

But I’m a fan of using the term hiking loosely. For me, once you’re off the road and into nature, that’s a hike. A hike can be as difficult or as simple as you want it to be. In the collage above I have some choice snaps of hikes I have done over the years. The terrain and the difficulty are so varied! I consider my local park to be quite hikey, Arthur’s seat in Edinburgh or the Dublin mountains are some nice intermediate challenges, and then there are the 9oo+ metre Munros here is lovely Scotland.

It doesn’t have to be difficult, it should just be refreshing and a little bit of a challenge, depending on your ability. So while it’s summer, why not break up the routine a bit and get off the beaten track, for an hour, a day or a weekend?

If you are thinking about going away for a nice hike, here are a few suggestions from me:

  • I joked about North Faces etc. at the start of the post, but seriously, always layer up even if it’s just a short  hike. Have some kind of rain gear, a zip hoody or  fleece and a vest or t shirt. It doesn’t have to be an amazing brand but make sure that what you wear keeps you warm and the rain off.
  • Bring food and some water. You are using energy, so keep yourself fueled and hydrated.
  • Wear appropriate shoes. Please don’t walk long distances in your Cons! At least have your runners on and don’t attempt anything mountainous without hiking boots. You really are putting yourself at risk of wet feet at the least and an injury at worst!
  • For longer hikes, get a compass and learn how to use it.
  • Have fun hiking, use it as a chance to unwind with friends. Hikes are more interesting and safer when you have a buddy. Some of the best conversations I have had have been out on a long ramble!

Where do you like to hike? Do you have any recommendations for me? Leave a comment below I love to get them 🙂

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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A Windy Weekend

Me Getting Ready
Me Getting Ready

I had thought that being March (already?!) and with the longer evenings ; maybe, just maybe the long awaited Spring weather would be here. Sadly, I was wrong and for those of us who like to be outside, the weather of Glasgow has brought us wind, rain and little else! However, we’ve got our goals to achieve and we can blame the weatherman all we like but that won’t stop those races, climbs and ski trips from looming ever closer.

After my Run
After my Run

On Saturday I had to forgo my parkrun in favour of a trip to town as I was off to a very fancy Presidents Award dinner for work! However, a 5k run was definitely on the cards and I got one in in a respectable enough 35 minutes on Saturday. I love getting a run in before a night out and will always recommend a bit of light exercise as part of getting ready.

After a night of dancing, Sunday saw me placed firmly on the couch and Monday has seen the winds rise again and I chickened out of a run I’m afraid! However being very conscious of the Edinburgh ten mile coming up next month I plan on getting two 5ks in before the weekend and then a long run on Saturday 6-8 miles if I can find a good enough route! Another event that I am rather looking forward to this week is getting my internet installed in the new place! I’ve been posting from my phone which really isn’t ideal so I’m sorry if my last few blog entries have seemed a bit akward. Come Friday all will be well again! Do you have any interesting plans for this week or recommendations for my ten mile preparation? Please leave a comment if you do I love getting them!

Just Go With It – Spring Is Here

Spring is in the air if it isn’t on the ground. Even with the snow, the mornings are bright again. I love to watch the sun rising over the river Clyde as my train crosses the bridge into Glasgow Central Station everyday. That view always stirs a smile from me, even if I’m just commuting into work. Seeing the quays lighting up with the day, the sun bouncing back off the river and the glass buildings makes me think of all of the possibilities and people around me.

Like most people, the last month has been a challenge for me. January is a notoriously tough month, isn’t it? It’s dark, the buzz of Christmas is over, money is always tight and everyone feels like they should be doing more to be a better person. Over the last month, making the commitment to get my act together when it came to my running and health goals has definitely made me more conscious of maybe a couple (of thousand) ways that I can procrastinate and talk myself into letting things slide. But it has also made me very proud of the little achievements that I have made, even if that’s just having breakfast in the morning! Starting this blog has been a big part of that. Not only in terms of thinking of my own little victories, but feeling like I can share them with other people has made me feel a bit more awesome about the little things that I have done. One aspect of this which I had never considered, was how much I would enjoy reading other people’s story’s by exploring other blogs. When I think of myself sitting on that train commute at the start of January flicking through the WordPress Reader wondering what the hell it all was, to now scrolling through the list of blogs that I follow, it’s like another world that I had no clue existed before!

Blogging has been a welcome outlet and motivator in what has been a month that has challenged me in other areas too. Outside of blogging, I have been adjusting to some changes in my life here. Just before Christmas I said goodbye to a great friend and flatmate Audrey who moved back to her home in California to pursue a Masters degree and her career. I have known Audrey since I moved to Glasgow and it was a hard goodbye as we had become very close through our shared experiences (and various disasters!) of moving to a new country. She is not the only friend that I have had to say goodbye to, our other friend from the beginning, Beth, left back in July and a lot of the great people that I have met here have moved on too. Only two weeks ago, Erica an amazing cook and sweet/hilarious friend, also made the journey back to the States. I would never grudge anyone for leaving to move on to the next adventure in their lives, it’s just that for me, moving on has meant staying where I am.

Beth, Audrey and I
Beth, Audrey and I
Erica and Audrey
Erica and Audrey

It hasn’t been all bad. My boyfriend Chris and I had decided a few months ago that we were ready to move in together, which we did just before Christmas. Chris and I have been together for almost 2 years and the last month has been our first real experience of living together, and even at that he was called away on a business trip for a week! Plus, but we have been looking for a bigger flat to rent.

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Me and Chris
Chris and I share a love of crisps!
We share a love of crisps!

This can be a bit of a challenge when you live so close to the city as the ones you want tend to get snapped up (which we have definitely experienced) and we have been waiting for something that we really loved to give us the best possible start. Just last weekend, we were lucky enough to be chosen by a landlord to rent a really beautiful place that I fell in love with the second I walked in. Have you ever been in a place and you can just see yourself sitting on the couch or cooking in the kitchen? That’s how I felt and honestly I cannot describe how excited I am to make it my home (sorry; our home, *cough).

Personally, I don’t like life to be easy, it should be full of plans and spontaneity and fun and challenges and craic (craic is Irish for fun in case you get any ideas). So January is done and dusted and we are all moving on to the next venture. Here’s to Spring.

As the Tears for Fears Lyric says: Welcome to your life; there’s no turning back.

Let’s Go!

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