Sunday, July 26, 2015
I have challenged myself to run 100 competitive kilometres on one year. I started off training for a 10km in the spring of 2015 from nothing, but suffered a pretty grim ankle sprain/fracture which really set me back until my birthday in June. Following another family cancer diagnosis (Cancer 3:3 My Family) I felt the need to *do* something. And I'm an all or nothing kind of person.
Over the course of 12 months I'm running several 10km races, a marathon, a couple of half marathons and I have also applied for a London Marathon place with Cancer Research which would add a bonus 42 kilometres taking it over the 150km mark. Of these assorted races, some of them are Race For Life, which seemed appropriate for the cause.
It started with Hyde Park- a 10km RFL which suited me both for it's date and it's location. And then came the big one. The marathon. The Race For Life Marathon on 4th October is the first ever, it'll be held at Lea Valley Showground and I'm running it. EEEK! But with my entry, I was also given a code for free entry into a 5km and a 10km Race For Life to help me with my training. And so off I went to Blackheath on Sunday 5th July. Smashing 12 minutes off the first ever 10km time I'd set 2 weeks previously and coming across the line in 59:46. a few days later, Tuesday 7th July I headed to Peterborough 5km and the opportunity to get to know a few people as I went along with some ladies I met at the running group I've been attending. Screwed up my intended pacing exercise but still finished with my fastest ever 5km in 34:46.
Hyde Park, 3rd race in as many weeks and I'll be honest and say the 10km races have actually made me more nervous and uncertain in my marathon training. 10km doesn't stretch the distance far enough for me to call it a 'long run' but I can still kid myself that it's a big deal. And it is a big deal. Since 3rd June 2015 (that's 9 weeks FYI) I can now comfortably run 10 whole kilometres and I've seen continuous improvement. I'm running a bloody marathon in 8 weeks time and in under 6 months I will have completed 6 races. Having never completed one before. Ever.
Running is hard. It challenges far more than cycling which is now something I'm having to make time for in the training schedule- it's my 'crosstraining' and it's a rediscovered joy. I've not been able to cycle so much in the early months of 2015, but having a valid excuse and a new partner in riding crime (I'm on a mission to drag my dad out regularly) has been the best thing for getting back out there. I'm still wondering what I was thinking when it comes to this challenge- I'm not a natural runner and so far this year there have been injuries, recurrence of an IT band issue from 8 years ago, blisters caused by heels and aggravated by trainers and a whole lot of beating myself up about not getting better. What is keeping me going thus far is the cause, because cancer, we're coming for you.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
I run, cycle or train 5-6 times per week. This is mostly thanks to the lunacy that is signing up for a marathon, but I'd still consider myself an active woman. I'm also an active woman who sweats- yes I said the 's' word, and I have quite oily skin. As such, the following have been stand out saviour products.
1. La Roche Posay Serozinc & Effaclar Duo [+]
This is kind of like a spray toner, but contains all kinds of things which are good for your skin- zinc as the name would suggest in particular is good for healing and is common in acne treatments. I spray this on my back & chest every morning and evening as it helps keep the oil under control, as well as after cleansing my face pre-run/workout- I figure it helps if I can start off clean at least! The Effaclar Duo I use a bit like a moisturiser because it helps to keep breakouts under control, it contains all the usual acids you'd expect in an anti-blemish solution but it doesn't feel harsh and it helps keep the oil on my skin under control without drying it out.
I spend a lot of time in shorts- cycling shorts, running shorts, pj shorts... It means I put a bit more effort into epilating regularly and this scrub not only helps keeping my legs smooth and preventing ingrown hairs, but it's incredibly moisturising and smells divine. Perfect prep for gradual tanning moisturiser too!
3. Boots Tea Tree & Witchazel Exfoliating Pads
Whilst I'm a great fan of chemical exfoliant a to keep my skin clear(ish) sometimes I need a harsher manual scrub, especially if it's been dry in the fens (because it's dusty), or if I've been cycling and have dead bugs stuck to me (I'm sexy and I know it). These are the perfect pre-shower solution, with little exfoliant beads and a slightly medicinal smell that I really love and do the job in removing some of the grime.
4. Mitchum Antiperspirant
I'm an active woman and that means I know how to sweat. This is the best antiperspirant I've found - it doesn't have an overpowering scent, last well, and does what it says on the label. It's also reasonably priced and regularly on offer. What's not to like?
You might consider this a cop out, but hydration is just as important for your skin as it is your insides. I get through 4-6 litres per day (depending on how hot it is) And I try and keep my caffeine to 1 or 2 cups of strong coffee each morning. I'm not saying your skin is going to become miraculously clear, youthful and smooth, but hydrated skin has better elasticity, looks brighter and good hydration generally keeps everything going on beneath the skin in all round better working order.
Sunday, July 19, 2015
1. La Roche Posay Serozinc
Yeah, yeah late to the party. I read about this with intrigue when it launched for the UK market (FYI Caroline over at Sparkly Vodka is super good at putting all the relevant science behind skincare products into plain English!), and waited for some deals to come around. I sweat a lot when I exercise, and this stuff is helping my skin keep a little clearer as I use it on my face, back & chest before exercise. Especially those of you who exercise hard, this has the potential to be a game changer for you- as the name suggests, it contains zinc- which is good for inflammation and sebum regulation.
2. Topshop Lipstick in Beguiled
I've 'gotten into' lipstick this year. I wear make up perhaps once per week, so when I do, I've taken to enjoying it. This lipstick is a little hard work in that it's not the smoothest/most even application ever, but I'm in love with the colour, so I'm persevering.
3. Mizuno Wave Inspire 11
My first ever race in June this year was the City of London Mile, and one of the perks was the mobile Mizuno fitting unit. Having realised that I needed some trainers more focused on stability post injury, I saw a golden opportunity to have some put my feet in a fancy scanner. These are the result, although I actually waited and bought them online because the green is last seasons colour- if I can get trainers that help me and they come in green, I'm having the green! After a £50 Amazon voucher, these babies were the rand total of £2.50. Score!
4. All the kit
Running is taking over my life at the moment (you can read the reason for that right HERE) so I'm glad I already have quite a lot of running /active-wear kit- some of which was gifted to me by Helly Hansen earlier in the year, it's just not been quite warm enough to enjoy it. The grey long sleeve top is perfect for the days (especially early morning sessions) where the breeze has enough edge to cover my arms. I love that the hem is longer at the back to keep everything covered even when bending or moving about. The tank is great for warmer days, a super flattering loose fit and what's not to love about the strappy detail at the back. This top is part of the 'X-Cool' range designed to keep you cooler and drier when you're pushing yourself to the next level. You can see the full Helly Hansen women's training collection here. I also made full use of the Fabletics buy one, get one free deal and came out with these awesome shorts amongst other things. The customer service with Fabletics is horrendous, but the lure of discounted kit in cool prints leaves me pondering their site every so often. Next purchase has got be BodyGlide or similar though, because the chaffing has been REAL.
5. June Nails
Flying the flag for our business with blue glitter when I treated myself to a gel manicure done by a proper professional for my birthday. It's the small things.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
1. I started a running page in my Project Life album
I started Project Life earlier this year as my parents were able to bring me back some materials from the States where it's a bit cheaper. I wanted to find a way to collate the saved tickets, postcards and pictures (I had LOADS of my Instagram pictures printed) from the last couple of years and have decided to carry it forward. I don't do it by week month or year, but by event or 'section' of my life, from new jobs and homes to partying hard and and places I've been.
2. After getting injured in May (you can read my whining about it HERE) it's been a slow start to June trying to incorporate proper strength training into my routine for rehab and prevention of further injury. It was stupid of me to ignore it in the first place so now I'm paying for it.
3. I joined a 'Running Club'
I spend a lot of time working up in Cambridgeshire and in a bid to meet some new people and get out a bit more I signed up for a 6 week course that focuses on strength, balance, pace and speed as opposed to going out for a run once a week. For £20 it is great value for money and also a pre-requirement for the 'Club' which is coming in September (1 skills session, 1 run session per week for the year).
4. 11.6 down, 88.4 to go!
I did the Amba Hotels City of London Mile this month, which was fun, if wet and the Nike #werunlondon 10km at Victoria Park in blistering sunshine as one of 10,000 women. The 10km was... enlightening. I wish I'd had a friend with me, as they were trying hard for a party atmosphere, which as a lone ranger, I struggled to get into. I followed my training app of 4:2 mins run:walk and came out a little disappointed because I'd aimed to be able to run the full 10km, but was undertrained thanks to injury. So overall- a mixed experience.
5. The trainer conundrum- post injury, I realised I needed to invest some time and effort into finding *the ones* -the right trainers. My foot rolls inwards a little bit when I run (over pronation) and therefore started the hunt for a pair of trainers to help. Whilst I LOVE my Helly Hansen trainers, they weren't quite right, so when the opportunity to have a completely free fitting done by the Mizuno team recently (part of the Race Village at the Amba Hotels City of London Mile), I went and had my feet prodded and poked and ended up with these babies. They even came in green!
Lastly- on Monday my grandfather had surgery to remove the tumor from his jaw and subsequently reconstruct it with a bone graft. It was a long day for all of us as we waited to hear news but we were delighted to hear that the surgeons were very pleased with the whole process and they are confident they got everything whilst in there. It's the beginning of a long road to recovery for Roger, but with the first hurdle cleared it's a huge reminder of what I'm running for. I believe that research is the key to even better survival and detection rates for cancer and if you would like to sponsor my challenge to run 100 competitive kilometres in 12 months in aid of Cancer Research, you can do so HERE
Monday, June 15, 2015
Look who forgot to wipe the bowl clean before taking pictures- rookie error, my chef dad would be disappointed!
Whilst simple to make, this took WAY longer than expected so this would be best either prepared in 2 sessions or a day off when you are at home.
1 large aubergine
Large handful spinach, shredded
Chopped tomatoes of choice- I had plum tomatoes in the fridge
Large spoonful of cream cheese
Seasoning to taste
1. Prick aubergine to avoid explosion and bake in the oven for 40 mins until soft all the way through- if you're short on time, this could be done on a prior day.
2. Slice into the aubergine length ways, leaving a couple of cm each end so the aubergine becomes a bit like a boat
3. In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, spinach, tomatoes, half the feta cheese & seasoning (I like dijon mustard or a hint of Habanero chilli sauce or harissa paste), spoon the mix into your aubergine
4. Sprinkle the remaining feta cheese onto the top of your creation and put back into the over for 15-20 mins (or until the cheese looks done)
This isn't pretty food, but it is tasty and full of lovely vegetables. If you wanted to lighten this up, try scooping out the aubergine flesh once cooked and using in place of the cream cheese.