Month in Review: Jan 2016

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Well, that's it. Month one of 2016 is done and dusted. Whilst I've seen a lot of people wondering how come January is so long, I have found it's zipped past really quickly. January is typically a slow month for the business and a time where we reassess what to do differently in fore the upcoming season and make changes to the 'back end' of the business like contracts and websites and strategies. It's also a time where I spend more time working from home and this year it has been the month of technical training. So, here we go, my January in review....

Really hope some cool stickers come my way before too long. My 2016 diary is very naked compared to 2014/15
New year, new diary. My 2016 one is looking sad and bare compared to my much loved and stickered 18 month one

Off to an 80th Burthday tea. Rock n roll lifestyle right here.
Dark lipstick obsession continues... Taken on my way to a family 80th birthday, I had another family member knock on the door of 80 and my great-grandmother turned 94 this month

I am a girl who runs. I am a girl who likes massive scruffy jumpers and a girl who likes snazzy nail polish. I am a girl who rides. But of all I am a girl who can, do not define me by my trainers or my lipstick, judge me on my achievements and my determin
I ran about 60km in January but best of all, I got into training a bit more technically with the goal of knocking some time of my 10km

L:2016 R:2015. I don't look that different but a marathon and 100km in races later... It sure feels different.
L: Jan 2016 R: Jan 2015

This January also marked a year since I started running. The right hand picture was taken Jan 20th 2015. It was Day 1, Week 1 of C25K and little did I know that wouldn't be where it ended. I started running because my bike wasn't always available to me whilst working away and I needed exercise that was easy to do anywhere. I'd never enjoyed running and it had been 5 years since I'd really put any effort into trying. You can read more about what I achieved in 2015 in my honest review of my year in running post HERE. The left picture was taken not far off exactly a year on. I don't think I look all that different (it's the same Helly running top) but I can't believe how much has changed in 12 months.

And so January ended with both a high and a low. As I mentioned earlier this week, we said farewell to our family Spaniel, Monty. He had 13 thoroughly spoiled years, and it's just a little too quiet without his clattering paws.

Monty, doing one of the 2 things he did best (sleeping, the other was eating)

Winter Run Series: London 10km 31st Jan 2016

And after a sad week losing Monty, I ended the final day of the first month with a massive grin on my face. After a very drizzle-y, wet 10km through central London on Sunday 31/01, I knocked a whole 5mins of my 10km personal best. My last race had been exactly one month before on New Years Eve at 1:06:47, and when my chip time came through for this one, I clocked 1:01:30. Personal bests are not the be-all and end-all of a race, but having put a lot of effort into training through the month, it's invigorating to see it bring results. A sub 60mins 10km is well and truly in my sights. Preferably before my birthday in June!

How was your month?

Farewell Old Friend

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Snoring his fat head off.

That's a geriatric Spaniel curled up in my arms laying like a human baby. Yes, really.

Last week we said goodbye to our geriatric (13 years old) Cocker Spaniel, Monty. It wasn't unexpected as his senses have been failing for a few weeks, but nonetheless we're all a little lost without the clattering of paws behind us or the trails of dribble on every set of clean clothes.

Monty was a very needy dog, and that got even worse in his later years- he was regularly cursed for whining incessantly when we wouldn't be in the places he wanted us to be, or doing the things he thought we should be doing at the time he through appropriate. He was like that.

But however much of a pain in the behind Monty was, he was our pain in the behind. Farewell old friend.


Had to bribe the little bastard with a pigs ear today. I don't hate animals but Monty is like have someone else's 3yo.

Yup. That's a 13 year old cocker spaniel snoring his little fat head off on his daddy's lap. Absolutely ruined.

5 Life Lessons I Learned Through Fitness

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I've learned a lot about myself in the last 10 years, and whilst I might now only be 26, there a lot of lessons I certainly wish hadn't taken me this long to learn. On a bi-weekly basis I wish I could show my 16 year old self what I'm doing right now- cheering on my team mates in an end of session relay race at running club when it's sub-zero temperatures outside, crossing the line of a marathon, being too full to eat enough calories in a day to meet my basal calorie needs, and not feeling guilty at all.

ÜBER PINK in @hellyhansen for a #winterduel run
January 20th 2015- Day 1, Week 1 of C25K

You're unlikely to ever see me posing in an Insta-fitness-guru style before and after of my squishy tummy next to me with shredded abs. I'm not a poster girl for marathon running (oh the things I wish I'd known...), and I'm not preaching. But as someone who gets down and dirty with her own sweaty self to exercise 4-5 times per week, I do think I'm pretty well qualified to tell you what I learned from embracing fitness, having been the teenager that found any and every excuse to skive PE at school and the one who thought that the very best way to maintain a weight that my peers thought was acceptable was to skip at least one meal per day.

1. Thinking more isn't always a bad thing
Longer runs and cycles give me a lot of headspace- whether I'm doing those things with or without company. Many's the time I wish I could hit the shutdown button on my brain and stop churning through the endless lists, the concerns, the should I have done this differently doubts, but for mystical magical reasons unknown to me, the simple act of moving about a bit more usually gives me some clarity to see solutions, the anxieties I create for myself in perspective and I focus on things I can do, rather than the many, many things I can't.

2. Grown ups didn't start out grown up
That girl who always used to throw the netball really hard and high so I couldn't catch it, because my inability to catch a ball in normal circumstances, the ones who used to comment on how disgusting my fat legs were, the woman who cheers for me when she sees me putting in sprint effort at the end of my training run, the people I ask if they fancy joining me for a ride, the person who compliments the power I have in my strong legs.... they are a little bit the same. Those people who picked on you at school or laughed at you from a bus stop, most of us grow-up someday and that's not to say they were right to do it, but the sooner you can surround yourselves with the people who did grow out of judging and name calling and disdain, the sooner you'll realise that amateur or pro, most people who enjoy sports or fitness take sincere enjoyment in seeing others improve and reach their goals, regardless of their own level.

3. But don't hold everything up to the same measure
For every good experience I've had in gyms, swimming pools, whilst out running solo, running races taking classes or going to group training, there's probably been at least one bad one. the guy who jumped from foot to foot right behind me the entire time I was using a piece of gym equipment because, clearly I was taking too long for his taste, the overheard mutters of how tight my swimwear was, people yelling at me from vehicles. But it's worth it. It's worth it when you find a trainer who gets that you understand you need to be a healthy weight but you're not prepared to be defined by the number on the scale. When the people you see once or twice a week are the ones cheering you across a finish line, and they mean it. When you can ignore those nasty judgey little comments, because they don't know who you are or where you came from to get where you are. It might take a while to find these things, but go in open minded because not everyone or everything will be as bad as your worst experience, or as great as your best one.

I am a girl who runs. I am a girl who likes massive scruffy jumpers and a girl who likes snazzy nail polish. I am a girl who rides. But of all I am a girl who can, do not define me by my trainers or my lipstick, judge me on my achievements and my determin

4. The value is not in what you do, but how you do it
If you train, run, swim, cycle, play, tackle, shoot or whatever it is that you do, do it with energy, do it because you can and because you want to. Do it to improve, to encourage and to b able to do it as much or as little as you want. Don't judge people's achievements, don't judge at all, but the ones who give it everything they've got, they deserve a special mention because I can virtually guarantee they're getting the most out of it.

5. Every step counts
One of the most disheartening thing I've seen more recently is people's (mostly women) need to dismiss their goals because someone else is doing something harder, faster, further, longer or bigger. For everyone who is proud to run a mile, there'll be someone you know who's completed a marathon. But it isn't about them. It's about you. If you set yourself a target or a goal, and you achieve it, celebrate that. And remember that we all have to start somewhere, none of us were born running, dancing or scoring goals, and we don't all have the same priorities either- just because you can do something, doesn't always mean you want to.

ÜBER PINK in @hellyhansen for a #winterduel run

Things That Happen When I Wear Real Clothes

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Working from home or a home office gives me far more flexibility than I ever had in my more traditional management job previously. Gone are the days of 'no patterns' or 'must wear a jacket to attend meetings' and these days it's not unusual for me to wear nothing but my Sketchers memory foam boots (I call them my 'slippers' but they are in fact boots) and my trainers for an entire week. It's also not unusual for me to leave the house only to go running... This inevitably means there are two camps of people who react to me wearing 'real' clothes- the ones who see me wearing leggings and a massive jumper all day, and the ones who only ever see me in my running kit with my hair scraped back.

1. You look so... different?!
Usually from fellow runners. Because yes, not wearing running tights and putting make-up on (even at my low skill level) changes my appearance quite significantly. Especially with my current penchant for dark lipstick and regularly styling my hair.

I am a girl who runs. I am a girl who likes massive scruffy jumpers and a girl who likes snazzy nail polish. I am a girl who rides. But of all I am a girl who can, do not define me by my trainers or my lipstick, judge me on my achievements and my determin
What do you mean it's weird to just put a jumper on over my kit all morning rather than get dressed to get changed later? 

2. People realise I'm quite short
In another life, I wore heels every single day. Not skyscrapers, but heels enough for people to think of me as about average height thanks to an extra inch or two. Now I only wear them erratically, people notice I've suddenly gained those inches and subsequently realise that I am in fact, quite short.

3. Mirror mirror on the wall...
Well look who scrubbed up alright after all! Call me vain, but I do find catch myself glancing at mirrors as I pass when I'm wearing make-up and more than the denim leggings with a hole in them. A combination of disbelief that I don't actually look too rough and momentary thought that maybe I should just make more effort all the time usually precede my thinking that really it's all a bit too much effort for a normal day when I don't leave the house.

Off to an 80th birthday afternoon tea. Rock n roll lifestyle right here.
Rock n roll baby- off out to.... an 80h birthday afternoon tea! 

4. Why do I have nothing to wear?
Well that would be because you are so obsessive when it comes to clearing things out that you don't wear regularly Chloe. And since you don't count going for dinner as a regular occurrence, yes, yes you were foolish enough to get rid of that nice top that makes your skinny jeans and ankle boots look sort of interesting.

5. See also... why does nothing fit?
If, by some miracle I have managed not to get rid of that dress in my wardrobe I haven't worn since this time last year, I always seem a bit surprised that it not longer fits like it used to. I haven't lost or gained vast amounts of weight in the last 12-18 months, but my shaped has changed quite a lot due to the running, cycling and other training I do. And those changes in size and shape seem to be a continuing theme. It's always a bit gutting to realise the much depended upon dress for every night out is no longer viable and the stressful process of replacement could easily take weeks!

Denim Dress & Tan Ankle Boots
Things you can't see in the picture- the excess 4 inches of fabric the belt has gather in at the back of the dress.... 

Whilst it's easy to think this is a 'work from home' problem, I can imagine this must happen to those of you work in uniforms or environments that require specialist clothing? Let me know what I've missed from this list if this happens to you! 

Goal Setting: Something New For 2016

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Goal setting you're probably bored witless of by now. But it's new for me. It's not something I normally enter into in the new year period, for someone who is quite obsessive when they take something on (see 2015 and running a marathon for details...), goals can be a bad thing as much as a good thing- there is a value in knowing when something is too big or too much in the scale you have set yourself.

I learned some hard lessons about pushing myself in 2015, I took myself from 0 to marathon in 8 months flat. I'm sure for some people that will seem achievable, for me it was stupid. From damage done from past injuries to time commitments, I took on too much and although I completed the marathon, it took me a month to recover and it wasn't the greatest experience I've ever had.

So, 2016. Firstly, why now? Well because contrary to the above, I very much enjoy having something to aim for. I'm a 'black and white' kind of a person, so having a clear aim or goal to reach and reaching it suits my nature. And because sport and fitness have become a part of my lifestyle and that goes hand in hand with setting some goals. Realising that at 26, unless I put some effort into being stronger and fitter, I could well see myself suffering serious health problems in the next 2 decades has been an eye opener.

Oh, and I have a shiny new Moleskine diary (which is begging to be stickered) and looking back through my last one before filing it away made me realise I set myself goals all the time and I'd be more effective if I planned them a bit better (cough *marathon training* cough).

Really hope some cool stickers come my way before too long. My 2016 diary is very naked compared to 2014/15
New vs Old... my diary is begging to be defaced! 

Onto the goals then...

1. Sub 1:00 10k
A running one to kick off with, unsurprisingly. My love of 10k distance came from the many races I took on last year for my 100k Cancer Research challenge. To keep it interesting, I'd like to see my personal best drop below 60 mins. I'm currently at 1:06:47 for my personal best, and am reaping the many benefits of more targeted running training from BRC (the running club I belong to) so this feels achievable and the horrible competitive bit of me is kept happy with a challenge.

I am a girl who runs. I am a girl who likes massive scruffy jumpers and a girl who likes snazzy nail polish. I am a girl who rides. But of all I am a girl who can, do not define me by my trainers or my lipstick, judge me on my achievements and my determin
10k... I'm coming for you! 

2. Complete a crossword
I love puzzles. The Times codeword is my absolute favourite and I can generally complete them within 40 mins. The crossword is another story and T & I even in a joint effort of a Saturday afternoon can rarely complete one entirely. I'd love to crack one, just one this year!

3. Stop buying clothes that don't fit
This might sound like an odd one, but I can't seem to get into the habit of buying the right size. I always seem to end up with something that's a size too big, or a bit too loose. I lost a lot of confidence in my early 20's and I seem to have taken to hiding in denim leggings and oversized jumpers. Now the New Year hype is over (you can read about why I don't do clear outs in January HERE), I am on a mission to lose a few things that I know are too big. They make me look and feel about as glamorous as a sack of potatoes, and there's no need for it. Sport and exercise have given me back some me that has been missing and it's time that translated back into my wardrobe.

Off to an 80th birthday afternoon tea. Rock n roll lifestyle right here.
I don't scrub up too badly really. Time to keep that at the front of my mind. 

There's nothing earth shattering here, but it's helpful sometimes to get things down in a format that means I have to use my words like an adult- it can be difficult to untangle this stuff in my head. Looking back on my blog is also something I really find fun at the end of a year. My blog has been and remains a personal blog- so it only seems fair to be throwing some goals and aims in here.