Fit Not Fed Up: Motivation for the Festive Season

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Brrr! December is certainly living up to it’s seasonal reputation – it feels like I’ve been in a permanent state of wet feet and red nose for weeks! Not only this but with all of the festive merriment going on, our health and fitness priorities have a little habit of going out the window don’t they? I’ve been thinking about what’s been keeping me motivated lately and thought I’d share it here.

Get Yourself a Buddy: I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, having a partner in crime is a must if you feel your will power slacking. I recently joined the same gym as one of my friends. Having someone there who to laugh through the pain of Pure Abs with made the torturous nature of side crunches just that bit more bearable. Even if we’re not going at the same time, it’s good to be around people are are pushing toward similar goals to you. So look at who’s around you and encourage each other in these dark days of Winter!

Do Something For a Good Cause: There are tons of sponsored walks, runs, hikes, swims and dives at this time of year for so many good causes. Although Winter events tend to have a higher risk of cancellation – which myself and Chris fell victim to a couple of weeks ago when our BHF 10k was cancelled due to course flooding- when they do go ahead it’s a great day out. I ran the Glasgow Santa Dash 5k in aid of the Prince and Princess of Wales Trust Glasgow 2 weeks ago. It was a fantastic event with Santas of all ages – and a couple of dogs disguised as Reindeer – running through the streets of Glasgow on what was a beautiful mid Winter’s day. With all of the parties and days out this season, you could do worse than having a day out in the fresh air planned where you can meet people and generally have a bit of good clean fun. It’s great for the body, soul and you’re helping someone who needs it!
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You Don’t Need To Party All Night: I love a good night out but with the sheer amount of Christmas festivities right now I’m finding it impossible to have a late one every time! When I went out the pantomime last week it was a great night but I decided to take the last train home instead of face the queues in the cold for a taxi later. Committing yourself to public transport or a lift home may not be as glamorous but for some reason I enjoy the night more when I do it! Plus you can get a cheeky hot chocolate on the way back too if you’re hear a late opening Greggs too! Win win .
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If You See Some Good Weather…Go!:
Beautiful days can be few and far between so if you see one get the runners or walking boots on! Even in the depths of Winter nature is beautiful especially covered in frost and lit by pale sunlight. Dress warmly and make sure your footwear has good grip. It my be an antiquated notion and I do think gyms are great but you can’t beat some fresh air especially in these dark days.

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The Scottish Half Marathon

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It feels like a long time since I sat down to write. The past two weeks have been so busy with plans and work and getting ready to go on my holidays, it just feels as though this month has been a whirlwind!

Last Saturday I achieved something that I am proud of and I wanted to share it here. I completed the Scottish Half Marathon. The Scottish Half is my 4th half marathon so far but this one was a little bit different. It was the first half marathon that I was really pushing to improve my time in and it was also the first race that I’ve ever done completely alone. The race was out in Prestonpans on the East Coast of Scotland and finished up in Musselburgh Race course. It was worth the 6am start to get out there…just!

The day was beautiful. This year we’ve had a dire summer in Glasgow so the last thing that I was expecting in mid September was the cloudless blue sky that I was met with as I walked to the Meadowmills sports centre from Prestonpans Station. It was just stunning. In fact, everything about that race was perfect. From the spacious and brightly coloured starting points along the track at the sports centre, to the ample space for warming up (I mean, how many races do you get to run where there’s a whole field and a track to warm up on?!), to the gorgeous route along the coast with families and residents out to support the runners. We were really spoiled!

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Having said that, it was not an easy race by any stretch. It was a hot day and coming from a relatively cool summer I could see a lot of runners suffering. I was pretty worried about getting dehydrated even though they had water stations well placed and some of the locals were also out with drinks for the runners…and their garden hoses! I kept a steady pace through out the race and although I could feel my body cramping up toward the start of the 12th mile I pushed hard and finished on 2 hours 7 minutes. For some people that time is pretty crap but I’m very proud because that is a full 9 minutes faster than my last half marathon. We finished up in Musselburgh Race course and the atmosphere was like one big party, I could tell that people would be hanging around for a while in the gorgeous weather soaking up the sun and the achievement. Not for me though, after I collected my medal (my favourite so far, it’s a huge majestic lion so what’s not to love!), I was straight back to Glasgow so that I could head out for my friends birthday – well after getting a bit lost in Waverly station….

To be honest, it was a little bit lonely doing a race all by myself but I had lots of messages of support from my friends and family and my boyfriend. Although I’m no stranger to going it alone, it was liberating to do this by myself but it did reinforce how much fun it can be to have someone there to share the experience. After a little nap and some pampering Chris and I headed out for my friends birthday and I had a well earned and much appreciated pint of Guiness! It was a lovely evening and although we didn’t stay out too late it was a great end to the day and nice to be surrounded by people who congratulated me on my little run!

I recovered really well afterwards which I’ll put down to doing a Yoga With Adrienne video every day of the week before and on the Sunday morning too – sadly although the Guiness was great I somehow doubt that that was the miracle cure! Although I discovered some pretty bad sunburn on my back the next day! I did wear suncream but it was a lesson not to miss out on my back in future…d’oh!

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All in all it was another great race experience and I’m grateful for the day and the support. Sometimes you have to just give it your all even if there’s no one there to cheer you on!

Sunday Post: September Walk

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It’s so important to take time out to appreciate what’s around us. Our various newsfeeds are about to be bombarded by Autumn appreciation and images of hats, pumpkin spice lattes and leafy footpaths, and, well I thought I’d get right in on that! Seriously though, what better way to kick off my first September Saturday than a nice reflective walk with my camera.

This week I have been feeling particularly grateful for the comfort and security in my life when I see images of the immigration crisis and the hypocrisy surrounding the tragedy and waste of human life. Autumn is a season when life bursts forth from living things which know that they are not long for this world in a whirl of colour. It’s a reminder make as much as you can out of each day that you have. The short lives that we live are determined by so many huge and minuscule factors. We can’t ignore that some of us are incredibly privileged with the lives that we have. We should use that privilege for good and not ignore those who have absolutely nothing. Take the time to take a walk this month, appreciate what you have, who you are and what is all around you.

Getting Ready for my walk camera in tow
Getting Ready for my walk camera in tow

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Sunday Post – Weekend Stretch

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After a period of intense exercise we need to wring the intensity out of our bodies to allow ourselves to recover. It’s like anything in life, you need some time to rejuvenate after working hard. I’ve certainly been doing that over the last couple of days. I took some annual leave from work and I’ve been enjoying a bit of me time as well as getting some much needed life admin out of the way. There was plenty of good craic involved too though: bittersweet fun with cocktails on Wednesday to celebrate my friends last day in our office, a photography seminar on Thursday and spending Saturday night with my boyfriends family to celebrate his grans birthday. Chris’ family all live in a seaside town on the West Coast of Scotland which is about an hour away from where we are in Glasgow. It was nice to go away somewhere different for the night even if it isn’t too far, and, as always happens when I’m in Ayrshire, the weather was stunning – I’m actually a bit sunburnt!

Stretching for me is such a relieving part of my exercise routine and I really enjoy doing it. This morning when Chris and I were our for a run by the beach in Saltcoats I thought that I’d get him to document some of the stretches that I do at the end of my run to share with you, as well as the beautiful location and weather – and some pretty awkward facial expressions on my part!

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Did you have a nice weekend? Leave a comment below or if you have any good post run stretches to share with me, please do!