Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Weight Of Opinion

This week I was horrified when a colleague told me that people she knew had laughed at her because she has recently been working through the Couch 2 5K program and is super excited to be running a Race For Life 5km. Not only that, she was able to skip forward on C25K because she was fit enough to do so. J is newly enthused with running and as the mother of 2 young boys has gained confidence in having some alone time as well as putting her money where her mouth is in advocating sports and activity to her children too.

Me, when I was just starting out with running late 2014/early 2015

It's not just sports. A few years back I interviewed for and was successful in a promotion at work. It's a little sad that it didn't shock me to later overhear speculation as to whether I'd screwed the manager to get it. Growing up with parents in business nepotism has always been another interesting encounter- knowing people wonder about who pulled strings for me despite working hard to build my own professional network wasn't the most encouraging thing to here whilst spending my summer breaks trying to gain admin, sales and other business skills.

The people who tell you that you can't, the ones who who think pursuing your goals, dreams or the best version of yourself is a matter of personal entertainment, the offhand comments judging you because of your choice of dessert, the colour of your hair, the car you drive or your favourite song. Why do we care so much about them? Why does the opinion of others matter so much to us?

I ask this question not because I can give you a psychological analysis as to why human beings, in particular young women, set so much store by what other people think of them (not least because there are people far cleverer than me who could) but because these contrasting situations have a common theme. The opinions of others say far more about the person expressing them than they do about the subject of their opinion and judgement- the ones of which they have these opinions.

The people who laugh at someone who is choosing to do something positive for themselves, even if it's difficult, they are frightened of failure.

The people who ridicule a person who puts themselves outside of their comfort zone are scared of change.

The people who assume that unexpected never happens do not dare to dream of grabbing an opportunity with both hands.

The people who assume nepotism or sexual favours are the only way to make drastic change in your own life do not understand the courage it takes to strive for a exceptional goal and cannot possible understand the bravery it takes to discard all your life and personal plans to pursue a dream. So what can you do about?

There will always be someone who says 'you can't' or 'why would you bother' or someone who will mock your ambition. There will also always be people people who will congratulate you, who will support you, people who will say- if you can, maybe I can too. Those are people who appreciate hard work, who understand courage, and just maybe some of them have been inspired by your own enthusiasm, passion and work ethic, something of which you should certainly be proud.

Surround yourself with people who don't laugh when you announce you're going to run a marathon when you can't yet run a mile, but instead offer to come with you for your ever increasing long runs.

Surround yourself with people who send you pictures of tigers when you're doubting yourself before an interview to remind you that you can roar (yes, Tom actually did that).

Be the person who says 'well done, this sounds like an incredible opportunity for you to get stuck in to'.

Be the person who asks if you can help someone in achieving their goal.

Be the person who's opinions of others says that you are strong, brave, courageous and that you are supportive of others.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

What I Wore: Floral Midi Skirt

2 outfit posts with proper clothes in the space of 2 weeks. I KNOW! Things are hella busy at my end at the moment with work stuff, running stuff, cycling stuff, fun stuff and all the gorgeous summer weather. It's also nice sometimes to make more of an effort than my usual very boring jeans and jumper routine, just because. The skirt is an eBay special, it comes in a handful of other colours and there are loads of stolen images of (the brilliant) Amber of Forever Amber out there too, but she really did inspire me to put green with it as I was struggling to know what to put with the off-white hues.

Skirt via eBay, shirt from H&M & shoes custom made in Vietnam

I actually have no idea what is happening with my face in these pictures- I'm pulling the most peculiar expressions- please tell me it's not just me?


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Month in Review: June 2017

It's halfway through July, but I'm finally getting around to talking about June which was both very eventful and a very quiet all at the same time!

So June is my birthday month and this year, for my sins great and many, I spent a very sunny Saturday 3rd June on a first aid course so I could take on my British Cycling Ride Leader course in July. after some monumental screw ups with the venue, I eventually escaped at 3:30 to have drinks with Tom on a very sunny Southbank Terrace. By the time we stumbled home on Saturday night, we were starting to hear reports of a van driving into people at Borough Market. London is my city and I love it, but it was a sobering moment in many senses of the word to realise the people involved in the Borough Market attacks were doing exactly what we had been not an hour before.

On a happier note, the following weekend saw me take on a fairly monumental endurance race. I mean the clue should have been in the name Endure 24.... 24 hours of running 5 mile laps with my team- I covered a lot of distance between June 9th & June 11th- I drove home to London from North Cambs on Friday night, from London to Reading on Saturday morning and Reading back to London on Sunday morning before hot footing it to Stansted Airport after a quick shower and change that afternoon. And that's before we talk about 50km I covered on my feet on about 3 hours sleep in 36. I wrote about my Endure24 experience if you want to know more- click if you missed it, but suffice to say, getting up out of my airline seat once we'd landed in Spain for our holiday on Sunday night was.... challenging...

Running my first lap, event finish and a mere 24 hours later, adopting my favourite holiday position!

So next came a couple of weeks on the Costa del Sol. We essentially did nothing but eat, sleep, drink, repeat for just shy of 2 weeks and it was glorious. I'm not a huge one for doing loads of tourist attractions on holiday and that's why southern Spain suits us so well- short flight, great weather and an area we know well. I did however wear these amazing trousers having forgotten how brilliant they are...

'beachwear' by H&M, shortened to make them easier to wear as 'proper' clothes

Not content with letting our holiday go without a fight, I'd booked Zoo Lates at London Zoo for the Friday night we returned home and it was wonderful- seeing amazing animals with streetfood and wine- what's not to love on a balmy June evening? I'd definitely recommend it and I'll be keeping a beady eye open for booking it next year.

The really go to town with making the place look incredible as well as the main attractions, y'know, the animals.

I told you we didn't want to give up on our holiday without a fight, on the Saturday, we headed to Richmond to take part in a Prosecco Run... I mean what could possibly go wrong with letting a bunch of people in trainers loose on a 10km route that they don't actually know when you've been giving the prosecco before, during and you've promised more afterwards- want to know more? Click if you missed my race review of the Dead Drop Fitness Prosecco Dash...

Cheerfully shitface with a bunch of strangers!

And that was June! We entered July the week of my return from Spain and all the good times caught up with me- hello allergies, chest problems and snivels. It's taken me 2 weeks to shift it and really annoyingly it's had a real impact on my running which I was keen to get back in gear with as I'm running a whole load of half marathon events in quick succession this autumn, but there you go, life happens!

So, a few things I read this month that might be of interest and that I think are worth a share...

These 4 non-alcoholic cocktails. For whatever reason that booze isn't your thing, it's high time we started to see more interesting options out there that don't contain alcohol and all 4 of these look super tasty!

These 4 tips for running downhill by Run Like A Girl. Because it's so much harder than it looks...

One thing nobody tells you about with sports and activity is that it can wreak havoc with your skin in many ways, sometimes through no fault of your own. I've written about skincare for active women before- click if you missed it, but this TWC post on trying to prevent forehead breakouts from your helmet is excellent.

You need to go and buy this glittery little pin that Em has designed with SnowBird. All profits to the CoppaFeel charity which gets women educated on checking their breasts, and Em should know why it's important- her candid conversation about cancer and treatment should be gospel. FYI my pin is turning into a bit of a lucky charm, so go get one.

And for a bit of nostalgia, being born in '89 this post on growing up as a 90's baby still resonates with me and it was a fun read

And finally, a reminder that the #RunningDownDementia challenge is happening all summer long- pick 100km, 200km or 250km to complete over 20 weeks to help raise cash and awareness for Alzheimer's Research UK. I'm 106km into my challenge to go the whole way to 250k but remember 100km is just 20 parkruns...


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Prosecco and Running... What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

For someone who takes a fair interest in the food and drink they put into their body and a similar interest in physical fitness and sports, I like a drink. When I've attended blogger events (back in the day) it ended up being a standing joke that you'd always find me at the bar, but there are worse things in this life than a fondness for good vodka, a punchy glass of red wine or the first fizz in a glass of champagne...

It's not all that surprising then, that when I saw a 'Prosecco Dash' advertised, I thought it might just be my kind of running. 10k with prosecco before, during AND after. I mean.... what could possibly go wrong?

Deaddrop fitness organise all kinds of themed runs- a bank job heist, spy run, they have an upcoming Hunger Games run, you get the gist. The idea is that you start from a secret location- only revealed to the paid up participants a few days before the event, you follow clues and a basic map to get to the finish line and you can choose a 10k route or a slightly short 5-8km version. Tom & I booked as a two but if I were to do this again, we'd definitely book this as a larger team- we ended up running (I use the term loosely) as a group of 6 with 2 other pairs and it was way more fun than if there had been 2 of us.

In all our sweaty, slightly drunk glory

Because this event ended up taking place in Richmond, we ended up enduring the quirk of the tide coming in across paths outside the pub we finished at- hence the shoes in hand!

Prosecco BEFORE the run - we arrived at the start point on Richmond green to plentiful prosecco- as in take a bottle generous. We were impressed. This was about £40 per head to enter and I had visions of stinginess when it came to the booze, which let's face it, is why we signed up!

Prosecco DURING the run, and searching down clues from the map to unlock the code which gives you the finish destination. You also accrue extra points for selfies in specific locations or snapping other participants or taking part in certain tasks during the run- personally, I thought it could be a bit more straight forward and because all of this is very heavily reliant on a smartphone, battery death was inevitable!

Some of the stations during the run also served prosecco by the way. I cover just over 11km in between 'clues' on the day, and Tom & I reckon we drank about 2.5 bottles of prosecco each in 3.5 hours. We certainly felt it the next day.

And prosecco AFTER the run- these are basically the only pictures of me without a glass in my hand all day! It's a great idea to have a boozey run because the emphasis is on tasks and clues rather than actual running- I like the idea of a heist or more specific cast with a less frivolous back story- this one was something to do with a mythical creature stealing prosecco or something, I'm afraid it passed me by a bit as I didn't really engage with that- so overall- a good day out, a lot of fun, super boozey and I'd do another of their events as a fun day out with a group of peope or to celebrate something like a birthday- there was a hen party on this particular prosecco run which I thought was a good idea.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

What I Wore: Palm Prints

Well. It's been a while since I stood in front of a camera wearing proper clothes! Actually, it's not that often I wear more than jeans or shorts and a jumper or sports kit so that's part of the problem, and donning 'real' clothes was a as good an excuse to pose in my garden as any I suppose. And you're not losing the plot if you look at the pictures and think everything is on a strange leaning angle- the section of paving outside my door is not level....

The skirt is old one but a good one from George at Asda, the shirt is a Primark special earlier in the year and the shoes I had made in Vietnam last year and for once I have painted my toenails!


Monday, July 3, 2017


For anyone who hasn't seen the explosion of profanity directed at the image hosting site Photobucket this weekend, they have changed their T&Cs so that only members who pay for their $400 membership fee for their most expensive plan will have 3rd party image hosting enabled. This currently means the last few months of my posts have delightful error messages where there should be my (albeit amateur) photography and it may take me a while to rectify.

If anyone has any good recommendations for inexpensive image hosting for use with Blogger, I'd love to hear about it as I used to use Flickr but it wouldn't work with Pinterest AND they have any annoying overlay of their own branding when you hover over the images.

Catch you on the other side!

This Spanish sunset feels like a long time ago now I'm home. A bit of a cold coming on, allergy ridden, it's pissing down AND no midweek wineoclock.