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?

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!

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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Sunday Post: Blending In

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Welcome to Sunday!

It’s funny how weekends and days off in general are supposed to be restful, but often they are anything but! This weekend for example, I had a long over due wardrobe clear out to look forward to, oh joy of joys. As I mentioned in my last post, I have a move coming up in the next few weeks and, I’m in the process of getting my possessions packed up in the least chaotic fashion possible. To be honest, even though I have not been living here for that long I can still find clothes and things that I can give to charity! That might just be me though. I am not the most materialistic person and am very quick to say when I don’t need something. I can fit all of the clothes, shoes and make up that I need and want into one suitcase (although to be fair, I cannot say the same for books). That has it’s advantages and disadvantages. For example, my style could definitely be described as simple (read: boring) and there is a strong possibility that subconsciously I am just constantly preparing to make a quick getaway (I may have been some kind of fugitive or hunter gather in a past life). I’m just not a great possessor of things. If I no longer have use for something, I throw or give it away. Sentimentality only comes into a few, probably quite strange items that I own: postcards, my dads scarf which I wear nearly everyday, my race numbers and some pictures. That being said, though, I don’t believe in denying yourself something that you want. Life is for living and experiencing not for saving it all up for a rainy day! For some people that’s a new lipstick, for others it’s a holiday or just (we’re getting crazy here) a few hours of down time to do nothing at all.

IMG_20150126_182354Recently, I bought a Kenwood Tri-Blade hand held blender set. Calm down lads, I know this is getting a bit wild! Seriously though, I have been meaning to get something to make soups and smoothies with and was initially just looking for a simple single unit blender as they are reasonable priced and would really help me to pack some fresh fruit and veg combinations to my diet. I ended up going for a bit extra as there was a set on sale with a balloon whisk, shredder and soup blender, so for the sake of an extra £20 I figured it was, as Kevin Bacon would say, a no brainer, but the hand held mixer is what I will be getting the most use out of. Over the past week or so I have been trying out a few different concoctions including a kale, chilli and broccoli soup. I actually got a compliment about the smell of this soup from someone sitting beside me at lunch one day, which, for any kale eaters, made me rather proud as we all know that it can smell rather pungent at times! I also like cucumber and apple smoothies which are incredibly refreshing. I have found smoothies to be great with my breakfast because they make me feel nicely full and stave off hunger for a good while.

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The Blender set has been a welcome addition to our culinary collection. There is something rather satisfying in the act of blitzing things after a long day at work too! Another, slightly more strenuous health and fitness aid that has entered our home this week is the lovely pull up bar which my boyfriend has just purchased. Pull Up Bars don’t seem to like me and in the past have had a habit of falling on my head during an ill advised door closures. This guy is no different, our first acquaintance ended in half a pull up and copious swearing. But now that it is here, I am going to try to make some use out of it as I know that it will be an amazing way to build up my strength, and, tears and swearing aside, help me to achieve my goals as a runner.

When it comes to the things that you have, thinking about what you need is important from time to time. Getting a blender was something that I wanted and will make good use out of but the pull up bar is probably a challenge that I need. So that’s my brief chat on possessions and things. Truth is though, the best one that you will have is your body; yourself. Use it, test it, rest it and take care of it.

Take care of yourself.