Sunday Post – Mini Marathon and Time In Dublin

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I was thinking of the best way to describe the last week and a bit and had to stop for a few minutes to think! Not because I’m sipping wine again while I post – I swear – but I’ve been thinking of how best to describe something that has been both relaxing and active, busy and calm all at once.

All things considered: it has been an invigorating past week and a bit!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen numerous pictures of Guinness and other Irish things which could only mean one thing: I was back in my hometown of Dublin for a few days! Catching up with my friends and family was just what I needed. My sister is sitting her final secondary school exams.  It was great to be home and spending some time with her and my family because I know what a stressful time it is, and if anyone has worked hard, it’s her!

I also had the pleasure of bringing my friend Beth around Dublin. I met Beth in Glasgow when I first moved here and although she has moved back to her home in Cornwall, we’ve stayed in touch. It was so lovely to see her and to bring her around Dublin for the first time. Of course I also got to see my old friends Eily, Lesley and Eimear. Time is always so limited but even a few hours with old friends can be just what the doctor ordered.

But it wasn’t all fun and games. Beth and I were on a mission! With Eily, we were running the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon on Bank holiday Monday.

It’s at this point that I will mention that Beth is an incredible runner. She ran a 15 mile trail race with me last year in 2 hours and she trains a group of girls at home. So naturally she was put in with the Elites at the Mini Marathon while I was hanging in the runners section! But how could I feel alone with the thousands of woman of all ages all around me? Even though the weather could only be described as dire (my parents actually came into town with dry clothes for Beth and I) it was, once again a great event to be part of. I have run the Mini Marathon in Dublin for the past 3 years and whole-heartedly want to continue that tradition. The Mini Marathon was the first race I had ever done so it’s always nice to go back to where it all began.

I flew home on Tuesday and had a very productive day off on Wednesday. So now I am back in Glasgow, feeling super invigorated and putting some exciting plans together for the next few months. First on my list: get to the 2 hour half marathon I promised myself at the start of the year (we’re half way through already!), marathon next year? Who knows?

How has your week been?

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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!

Yes Please, and Thank You!

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I do love a good book and when my brother gave me Amy Phoeler’s Yes Please for Christmas I was absolutely delighted, even though I did have to scold him a bit (I’d asked my friends and family to donate to charity instead of buying me gifts this year). However, knowing well how much of a sucker I am for a) inspiring women b) inspiring women who are funny and c) reading about inspiring women who are funny, I think he made a pretty perfect gift choice (which I told him, I wasn’t an ungrateful gift recipient or anything!). I’m in a bookclub and have had to resist the urge to pick Yes Please up until this week as I have been toiling through The Goldfinch (sorry to all who liked The Goldfinch, it isn’t personal, it just wasn’t for me) and wanted to see it through. However, last week I grabbed Yes Please and read about 80 pages in the first session! It’s brilliant, and I know that people probably don’t read this blog to hear about books, and this post is not just about a book but I will take this opportunity to say if you want to read something uplifting, unchallenging and laugh out loud funny, please read Yes Please!

The Carnage!
The Carnage!
Rumours Of Fleetwood Mac
Rumours Of Fleetwood Mac

I said “Yes Please!” to quite a few things over the last while including: Margaritas at Topolabamba and Fleetwood Mac Tribute gig by Rumours of Fleetwood Mac with my pals. It was incredible if you like Fleetwood Mac, which I really do! I entered the Flora Dublin Women’s Mini Marathon which takes place in June this year and will be bringing my friend Beth on her first ever visit to Dublin to compete in this race and see the sights! I also said Yes to competing in the Morrison’s Great Edinburgh 10 mile Run in April and to an invite to a swanky work event this weekend! My first Parkrun in (shamefully) over a year was also on the agenda, and I completed it last Saturday morning with a time of 29.01 minutes. And (finally) I can say that I am now moved in and unpacked in my new home. Delighted does not even come close!

Morning Parkrun!
Morning Parkrun!

The last while has been quite demanding with the move and at times, yes, the healthy lifestyle has taken a back seat. It isn’t really good enough but seriously, when you’ve been packing all day, Marks and Spencer ready meals feel like a godsend while the thought of cooking yourself is just hellish (and that’s from someone who likes to cook!). But while my performance lately has been lacking a bit, the plans are being put firmly in place. So, bigger and better things?
Yes Please!

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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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2 Years on – Where I’m Coming From

You may have been reading my last couple of posts and thought to yourself, who is this person and why is she so bothered about being a healthier? What the big deal about running a half marathon in 2 hours? In this post, I talk a little bit about what has gotten me to this point and will hopefully give some insight into who I am and where I am coming from.

I’ll put my hands up and say that I haven’t always been the healthiest person. I dabbled sports at school, luckily enjoy the gym which has gotten me through my late teens and university. Growing up in Dublin with an Irish mammy, I have always been fond of the butterier things in life and of course, the food carnage that ensues after a night’s drinking. Other than knowing the basics I never really had much of a passion for fitness.

Two years ago, I started running. I signed up for my first 10k in January 2013. It was the Dublin Women’s Mini Marathon, which takes place during the June bank holiday. So I had 6 months to train. And I couldn’t run for 2 minutes. For some people that isn’t even a joke.

And I am one of those people.

Me, after running the Flora Women's Mini Marathon in June 2013
Me, after running the Flora Women’s Mini Marathon in June 2013

Why did I sign up for the mini marathon? I had never run before, I wasn’t particularly unfit (or I didn’t think I was until I tried to run for 2 minutes!) or unhappy with the way I looked. The reason I signed up for the Mini Marathon was because, honestly, I wanted to achieve something that year. Just one thing. As you may have read in my earlier post, I quite like to set goals for myself. In this instance, I had finished up at Uni the September before, I was working in the same part time job that I had been doing for the past 3 years all the way through college. I was desperately looking for other work, any work at all that would give me the means to move out of my parents house and eventually get to do what I really wanted, which was to travel to New York on a graduate visa (I fell in love with the place when I was there while travelling around the states in 2010). But by January 2013, that opportunity was slipping away. And I wasn’t getting any interviews. It is hard when you are literally calling and emailing agencies everyday. When you are constantly on recruitment websites and you don’t ever hear anything back. You go to an interview and you don’t get the job because you’re a lovely girl but they are looking for someone with more experience. And no one will give you a chance to prove yourself.

It is an all too familiar tale for a lot of people and it is not a nice place to be. I felt stuck. I felt like nothing that I’d have done up till that point mattered because it doesn’t fit in with this employers’ view of what I should be. So I wanted to do something for myself. I quite liked exercise, but couldn’t afford a gym at that time so I figured, why not? Entering a mini marathon would (hopefully) give me the motivation to keep at it, and running is free so what have I got to lose?

I entered the mini marathon that January. I went on a trip to Scotland in February and met my now boyfriend. It was slow progress but I managed a 5k run in March. I visited Scotland again in April. In May, still with no job on the horizon, I decided it was time to make a big change, I was going to leave Ireland. I ran the mini marathon on a scorching hot bank holiday in June. At the risk of sounding like that saddest person ever (if I don’t already), I nearly cried when I crossed the finish line. I was so proud.

I ran a 5 mile race in August and then, in my wisdom, I signed up for my first half marathon (13 miles) in August. I moved to Scotland on September 8th. I got a job 1 week later. 1 month later I ran the Great Scottish Run Glasgow half marathon.

My 1st Half Marathon Result
My 1st Half Marathon Result

The next year saw me run another 2 half marathons (well, one 15 mile race and the Great Scottish Run again) and a return to the Women’s Mini Marathon. Almost a year to the day since I started, I was promoted at work and what I had hoped would be a job to get me through has become the beginning of a career.

Waiting patiently to run the Balmoral 15 mile trail race, the furthest distance I have run so far
Waiting patiently to run the Balmoral 15 mile trail race, the furthest distance I have run so far

I miss my family and friends at home of course, but I have also met some friends for life here and honestly I’m just happy. The truth is, that I believe that pushing myself physically in terms of fitness, has also made me push myself in every other area of my life. It’s not that I had never made a change or done anything worthwhile before I started running, I just found that those major changes like moving away and starting off a new job, meeting new people in another country, all felt in some ways more manageable because I felt like I was making small achievements alongside that with my running. That gave me a lot of confidence. Fitness and my fitness achievements (however small) have become a passion for me. I will always struggle with some of my lesser passions – crisps and lie ins to name just two, and I have probably given in to them a bit more in the last while than I should have.

But I find, and I hope that you find this too, whatever your goal is, that once you start having little victories, even when you fail at something, you have the confidence to go back and try again. Because you know that you have the determination to get there in the end.

My parents were waiting for me when I finished the Flora Women's Mini Marathon for the second time. I'm looking forward to returning for the 2015 race, it's become a bit of a tradition with my friends and I!
My parents were waiting for me when I finished the Flora Women’s Mini Marathon for the second time in 2014. I’m looking forward to returning for the 2015 race, it’s become a bit of a tradition with me and my friends!