Tuesday, 13 December 2011

I is for I'm still here!

Hello everyone
You might have wondered where I've been... scuba diving in Bermuda? Mountain climbing in Canada? Rock climbing in the Grand Canyon? Actually, I've been locked in the local gym developing a very unhealthy relationship with a treadmill! How disappointing!
This is just a quick blog to say 'hi.' I hope you're all well and as soon as something interesting happens, I'll blog it immediately. Unfortunately, my fellow gym bunnies refuse to fall off treadmills, get caught in the cross trainers or fight over the abworker 2010... but when they do, I'll let you all know.
Longing for spring and the great outdoors- people are much funnier outside the gym!

Monday, 5 December 2011

R is for Reindeer Run! I is for Ice and B is for Brrrrilliant!

I booked the Reindeer Run on a nice, balmy September evening. I remember it well…the birds were singing their farewell to summer in the leafy trees, my vegetables were growing lush and green in their patch and I was intoxicated by the warmth of the sun. I remember thinking, ‘oh I hope it snows. Then the reindeer run will be really festive!’
Bacon butties ahoy! "Now how do I attach this number?" No matter how many times I do it, I can never remember!
On Saturday evening, the weather forecasters predicted the first snow fall of the winter… on Sunday the 5th of December! Great! Driving to Bramham Park in Leeds, we travelled through heavy rain, hail stones the size of golf balls and… you guessed it… snow! Flurries of the white stuff were whipped into a frenzy by an arctic wind. It’s fair to say that I didn’t exactly want to get out of the car. (In fact, I wanted to go home and return to the warmth of my duvet.)
            Then Santa passed in front of our car- he was wearing shades and running shoes but it was definitely Santa. Then we HAD to get out of the car because my daughter wanted to check that her Christmas list had reached the North Pole in good time! (It had… thank goodness!)
What's an even better fashion choice than a fanny pack? A PINK HAT! Oh yeah baby...
By the time I had registered myself for the 10K, and my husband and kids for the 5K Santa Saunter and collected our Rookie the Reindeer t-shirts, antlers and flashing noses, Christmas hits were blaring from the loud speakers. Yes it was still snowing. Yes it was freezing. Yes I was really jealous because my kids had bacon sandwiches and I was starving… and yes, I started to feel a little festive!

... and if you wear it WITH  a fanny pack! Enough said. Mrs Cool has arrived!
 The warm-up was held in front of the main house at Bramham Park- a huge stately pile which must have an enormous Christmas Tree! It was a fantastic setting and the 10K race was through the country estate. The last 10K I completed was in 55 minutes: a personal best on a flat, straight road. I had no idea what time to aim for with this 10K, but I knew that it should be more than 55 minutes!
            I haven’t run cross country since I was ten and had forgotten just how much fun it can be. I forgot all about the distance and the time because I was far too busy racing Santa and his reindeers up and down hills, splashing through puddles and squelching through muddy patches (I sank up to my sock in one patch!) Looking back, it was a tough course. Lots of people were walking but I just ploughed on. I didn’t walk at all because I was enjoying myself far too much and, as a result of this, I completed the course in 1 hour, 3 minutes! A Christmas miracle!
 If you had told me this time last year that I would be running my second 10K in the snow, having already completed a half marathon I would have told you to get lost and returned to my cigarettes! I still can’t believe that I can actually run… and enjoy it!
            Even better is the experience my kids had. My daughter and son had their photograph taken for the local newspaper then they set off on the Santa Saunter through the estate. After a couple of minutes, my 9 year old son grew bored of walking so he ran it. In snow boots and three coats, he came fourth! FOURTH! Obviously something’s rubbing off. (I won’t mention the fact that my husband- with the titanium plates in his back- had to carry our 4 year old on his shoulders because she was ‘tired’. It’s a sore subject- literally!)
            What an amazing experience for a worthy cause.
            I’m a little depressed now though because I have come to the end of my running season. No more races planned or booked (for now at least), I’ll just return to the Dreadmill and carry on increasing my pace. Then, come next Spring, I’ll be ready to take on the world!

Happy times xxxxx

Monday, 21 November 2011


Me crossing the finish line! (I'm the one in the fanny pack and base-ball cap... you know, the one with no fashion sense whatsoever!)

You could have been forgiven for not knowing that I was running a 10K yesterday. I didn’t spend all of last week frantically cleaning the house and having full ‘head-between-the-knees’ panic attacks at the prospects of eight thousand lyrca clad bodies in one place at one time. I didn’t make lists of lists of lists. Instead, I sat with my knees elevated watching trashy television. I also ate my entire body weight in maltesers- not easy to do when they are only 100 calories per bag! The reason for this reckless pre-race behaviour? Last Sunday’s run!
            Sure it felt good at the time. It even felt good for a short while after (see the ridiculously peppy blog I wrote for proof). Unfortunately, the day after and the day after that, my body had a little tantrum! Every single muscle in my body cramped and ached in protest at being forced to run 8 miles on a damp Sunday. As a result of this action, I could not move!
            So my race training was, well… non-existent! During the week of pain, lots and lots of carbs were consumed. I also drank lots of fluid (cups of tea count right?) as well as a few ‘extra’ fluids (beer, for pain relief obviously) I knew I should be worried, I knew I should be pacing the floor having crisis talks with my butt muscles but I found it really hard to care. My response to any queries were simply, “I survived a half marathon last month. I’ll be fine!”
            And do you know what… I was right! (Cue banners, dancing, songs and cheering!) I don’t know why! Whether it was the vast, gigantic calorific intake of the week prior to the race, the daytime naps and early bedtimes, the long, muscle soaking baths or the litres and litres of sugary tea I will never know. But on Sunday morning, after coaxing my reluctant body (and my three reluctant supporters) from their beds, I went to Leeds in the damp November drizzle and I rocked it!
            When I registered for the Abbey Dash (heralded as the fastest, flattest 10K in England) I was asked to give a predicted time. Now you might have noticed that I am a modest creature- so, despite the fact that I can run 10 minute miles (with the wind behind me on a good day) I plumped for 90 minutes. This meant that I was at the back of the pack. The pack held 8500 people. The queue for the toilets was insane.
            It took 15 minutes to get to the start line! Just as I set off, a cheerful voice over the tannoy informed us that the club and elite runners had all just reached the Abbey and were heading back into the city. I hadn’t even set off yet! The first 1K of the race went down a narrow road and then opened out onto a wide, flat dual carriageway and this was where the fun began. After being a little frustrated being stuck behind people, I could finally get going. I hopped onto the empty pavements and went for it.
            I had resolved after my near death experience at the half marathon, not to be a lemming and follow all of the other runners. To make sure that I stayed in ‘Kelly’s land of under achievement,’ I wore my baseball cap (it’s not just there to make you laugh, it had an actual, genuine purpose) and my headphones. Me and Christina Aguilera were best mates- I was Dirty, then I was a Fighter then I was Beautiful! And all in the space of 2k!
            At around 4k, I really found my va-va-voom, I forgot where I was entirely and just pushed myself forward. I remember rounding the corner at the Abbey and starting back towards the City and thinking, ‘Hey. I’m over half way.” And I felt disappointed! True, watching the ‘elites’ passing us on their way back was a bit demoralising. Being overtaken by a guy dressed as bananaman was also pretty distressing but apart from that, it was a really good run!
            Heading back into Leeds, I could see the Finish line. I could also see the hundreds of people lining the streets cheering and waving. I knew that somewhere in that tangled crowd of supporters were my kids, so I decided to make a sprint for it. Approaching the clock, I saw that it read 1.09… but I hadn’t set off until that clock read 15.00 which meant that I was on track for completing the race in under 55 minutes! Suddenly I was determined to make it. I launched myself forward. My legs were weak and I felt sick but I raced flat out through the finish line and had a grand time of 55 minutes! HURRAH! Best. Race. Ever!
            This morning my legs were sore so I took them to the gym for a relaxing stretch. While I was there I did some arm lift thingies and I have to say that I’m in danger of getting some actual muscle. The message of this story has to be that before a race, you shouldn’t panic. Just sit on your booty- eat, drink and sleep and come race day, you’ll be able to pull of a personal best worthy of an Olympic athlete!
            HURRAH! Reindeer Run 10K next! Can’t wait!

Hurrah! Now we can go and get some breakfast!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

S is for Soundtrack…

The weather up here in (rarely) sunny Yorkshire yesterday was glorious! The trees, naked of their leafy garments, swayed in a mild and gentle wind. Un-spoilt miles of undulating hillsides rolled into the distance, vanishing into an azure ocean of sky, upon which white feathered boats scudded and raced. It was the perfect November day.
I didn’t run yesterday. I ran today. And today it rained… and rained… and then rained some more. I try not to swear on the blog, but, I can’t think of a better way to say it… it pissed it down. All day.
My husband drove me eight miles into the undulating hillsides, which looked considerably less beautiful than yesterday. As we drove, the weather became wetter and wetter and wetter. The rain clouds were so dense that it was foggy, and at lunchtime all of the cars had their full headlights on. I really pick my moments to run!
Today was, without doubt, the worst weather I have ever run in. Because it was freezing, I had to keep running- otherwise I would have gotten hypothermia- and that would have severely impaired my ‘get a bottom like Beyonce’ plan. So I ran. I didn’t pass a single other runner- although I did pass one hardy cyclist who was nearly sucked under a lorry that obviously didn’t spot him (he wasn’t wearing his luminous clothing- the weather must have taken him by surprise, though not as much as the lorry did judging by the look on his face. I hope he carried spare pants!) As I ran, I listened to my ipod. It was set on shuffle, but the songs were strangely apt… so apt that I thought I’d share them with you. So, dear reader, here is the soundtrack to my rainy run.

What I was thinking
Mile 1:
Don’t stop me now. Queen.
I haven’t run for four days. I’m full of energy. Roar!  
Mile 2:
Feeling Good. Michael Bublee.
I feel awesome. I feel so good that I might just add an extra 5 miles onto the end of this run. Roar!
Mile 3:
Chariots of fire.
I might not be the fastest. Or the fittest. I’m the underdog! Feeling amazing- really into my stride now! Roar!
Mile 4:
Going Under, Evanescence
Feeling a bit wet now. And a bit cold. How far have I run? 4 miles? ONLY 4 miles? Need a wee. Oh dear.
Mile 5:
Way Down, Elvis Presley

Better stop for a wee. A bit out of breath now, I’ll just sit down on this bench and recover… snore...
Mile 6:
Dirty, Christina Aguilera
What was that? Crap, just ran through the biggest ever puddle of mud and what looked (and smelt) like horse pooh! Nice.  
Mile 7:
Another one bites the dust. Queen.
Endorphins have deserted me now. Might walk a bit… and a bit more… might as well just walk home. Don’t want to tire myself out, I’m racing next week!
Mile eight;
Everyday I’m Shufflin’  LMFAO
Wet. Cold. Tired. Muddy. Hurt.
Am shuffling for real now… can’t walk, can’t run… just shuffle. Like an eighty year old woman in her slippers!  

Yes! My musical tastes are THAT eclectic!
7 days ‘til the 10K. Praying for better weather!
Happy running x

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

T is for toenails and TV

It’s official… I’m down to 8 toe nails.  I lost one just after the half marathon, which was obviously due to the huge number of miles I had been running in preparation for my ‘life-changing/ near-death’ experience. I was quite proud actually- I paraded my deceased toe nail around the house as a medal of honour (until it disappeared- my husband swears he didn’t throw it in the bin but I have my doubts…). It was a product of all of my hard work. Then a second toe nail fell off on Sunday. And suddenly I’m worried.
            Not that I haven’t been working hard, you understand. I have been running. I am currently averaging 14 miles a week of mountain climbing/ hypothermia dodging outdoor runs with a further 8 miles on the dreadmill… but these are hardly record breaking distances. Which means only one thing… I have a severe disease which is causing my toe nails to fall off! Obviously I researched this fully on-line (I googled it- a valid and thorough method of research as we all agree) and there is no mention of a disease of the fallen toe-nail. So I can only surmise that I am the first sufferer the world has ever seen. I am a medical anomaly. A one off. I only hope that a cure can be found before I lose the remaining 8 toe-nails and am banned from ever wearing peep-toe sandals again. It’s a worry. Really it is.
            My dreadmill miles, I have to admit, have not been so dreadful for the past couple of weeks. I have not had to pinch myself repeatedly in order to stay awake whilst doing a vital 4 miles, nor have I resorted to swearing at the machine because it’s only registering 4 miles and it feels like 10. What could the reason be for this change of heart I hear you ask… well, it’s revolutionary… the telly is working in the gym… and someone has set it to a music channel… and I like it!
            It makes all the difference! Last night I wore one earphone and listened to the Archers on Radio 4, whilst, with my other ear, I listened to JLS, Rhianna and Beyonce. It was perfect! Can you imagine the Archers to a backdrop of ‘sucks to be you right now…’ Try it. It’s a revelation. But don’t blame me when you become addicted.
            I promised a couple of weeks ago that I would finish the A-Z but have been terrible at actually getting much done aside from running and writing (work style writing, not fun blog writing) so here is the next instalment. Hope you enjoy R-S. Happy running x

Good things about running- HURRAH!
Bad things about running- BOO!
Relaxing. Some runners manage to achieve something called ‘flow’ which is basically when you are in the moment, your body is working like a well oiled machine and your mind is focussed entirely on running. For one moment, everything else disappears and it’s just you and the track. I experience a similar sensation when my kids lie in on a Sunday morning or I find kit-kats/ flumps on offer at the supermarket.
Runner’s high.
Exhaustion+ endorphins+ energy drinks = runner’s high!
Totally legal, totally free… makes you as giddy as a giddy thing on a giddy day.
Reading. Running gives you an excellent excuse to buy new books about all things running. If my husband is reading though, I haven’t bought any! Scouts honour. I borrowed all ten of them from friends J
(If you’re new to the blog, there is a list of the top running books somewhere in the archive.)
Restless legs
Have you ever been awoken by your legs running- in bed- completely of their own free will?
This tends to happen to me a lot before a race. When I first signed up for the half marathon, I woke up every morning for three weeks convinced that it was the day of the half marathon with my legs thrashing wildly around the bed and pure terror in my heart. I was worried that I needed an exorcist but my husband said I just needed to get a life. Maybe he was right!
Reasons to run
They HAVE to be convincing otherwise, when you’re shattered, you WILL call a taxi rather than running the distance. Make a list and repeat it in your head when you feel tired. (Important note: Enjoying wearing spandex is NOT  a reason to run, it’s a reason to seek psychiatric assessment!)
Sun-tan. Running is a great way to get a deep and even tan since you usually run in circles so, at some point you will be running towards and then away from the sun. Slap on the sunscreen and get glowing girl.
Support team. My children and I are so ‘into’ running that whenever we pass a runner or cyclist we wind down our windows and shout words of support. My 4 year old daughters current favourite is ‘go on with your bad self!’ So if you are traversing the wilds of Yorkshire try not to be afraid (actually, be very afraid because I don’t drive well when I’m shouting. Oops!)
Stretches- do some! The more stupid you look while you’re doing them, the more effective they are!

Monday, 31 October 2011

A is for ace run

I'm sure you were on tenterhooks: Did the rain let up enough for me to run? Did I have any deep and profound thoughts on the way around my route? Did I see anyone fall over/ picking their noses in their cars when they thought no-one was watching? What was my nap to run to wee ratio?
I did run, I ran for 6 whole miles and I hardly napped at all! In fact, I rather enjoyed it. Hurrah. No profound thoughts I'm afraid- it is Monday after all, but plenty of nose picking drivers. You know who you are!

H is for HAPPY HALLOWEEN everyone!

In aid of Halloween, I’m going to run 6 miles today and look really scary at the end; my face will be bright red, there will be rolls of sweat dripping from my chin and I will be wearing spandex… oh, actually, that’s how I usually look… unfortunately!
            Last week I had the wo-man flu. It was awful (though not as bad as when my husband had it obviously). But now I am back, bouncing around the house and waiting for a break in the weather so that I get outside and pound the pavements. You know the old saying ,’ feed a cold…’ I took that literally. I ate more carbs last week than I did when I was training for my half marathon. So I have high expectations of my six miler today!
            While I am waiting (very impatiently) for the deluge to stop, I will deliver the next instalment of the runners A-Z. Here comes L-Q. Enjoy x
Good things about running- HURRAH!
Bad things about running- BOO!
My top 3 running tracks for women are:
Fighter: Christina Aguilera (think about running past anyone who has ever annoyed you – ha)
Dirty: Christina Aguilera  (imagine you’re a Pussycat Doll- everyone does it, don’t be ashamed)
We will rock you; Queen (use the three beat on this to set your pace)
… oh, and LMFAO’s ‘Shufflin’’ but YOU MUST shuffle when it’s on. It’s the law! 
Remember them? The hill that you almost died running to the top of? The first mile marker where you got cramp the first time you ever ran? The bush you peed into at mile 3? Ah, the good times. Remember those when you’re running 13 miles and everything hurts… it will remind you of how much you have achieved and might trick you into thinking that you can achieve even more!
You’ll have some! The usual ones- abs, calfs, thighs etc will take on new definition then one day you’ll look in the mirror and see muscles that you didn’t even know you had emerging from the great mountain of spandex. When that amazing occasion arrives, wear your spandex all day just so that everyone can have the benefit of seeing your marvellous muscles (people might complain that you smell if you ran in said spandex first but they are simply jealous of your muscular physique- ignore them!)
If you can run a5K/10K/half marathon/ marathon, you can do anything! Go on then, what are you waiting for?
It can’t get GPS if you’re standing too close to the house. If you stop for a drink/ wee in a bush, it tries to end your workout, if you go too slow the voice gets stroppy (it’s not just my imagination, honest) if you go too fast it doesn’t register your pace… it has more faults than a tectonic plate.
Why bother? Who cares how fast you run? You’re out there, at one with the world, getting healthy, burning calories and releasing those all-important endorphins.
I suffer from a lack of motivation. In that, sometimes I can’t be motivated to lift my arse from the comforts of the sofa! These days though, I do get narky if I don’t run and I make sure that I have time to run even if I don’t really want to. So perhaps I’m moving in the right direction. Maybe this time next year I will need to run like I need oxygen i.e. I cannot live without it! A girl can hope!
New clothes/shoes/running gadgets
Running gives you the opportunity to shop. Not for normal, boring things like coats and handbags but really, really cool stuff like high visibility woollen hats (who knew that you needed one?), she-wee’s (don’t have one, honest) and fanny packs (enough said). And that’s BEFORE we get into super-duper watches that do everything short of actually running FOR you.
And if anyone complains about how much these gizmo’s and gadgets cose, you simply reply, ‘You cannot put a price on having a long and healthy life.’ Ha! Ha!

Nipples There is a strong chance that your nipples might actually rub off during your training. Don’t say you weren’t warned!
Nutrition I’m beginning to realise that nutrition is actually important- weird huh. I’ve tried running 13 miles a few hours after eating fish and chips, I’ve tried a long run the morning after the big, boozy night before… sadly it doesn’t work very well. Sucks!
Other runners
They’re positive, they are happy, they love to share stories about running thirty six miles in the howling wind and driving rain- or maybe that’s just the other runners I know and love. When you’re feeling tired and lacking motivation, speak to other runners and try to absorb some of their positive mental attitude. If all else fails, look out for them when you are running: as they bound past you, feel your competitive streak burning… then GO FOR IT! Blast on past them (make sure you hide when you’re hyperventilating around the next corner though, otherwise it could be embarrassing!)
Over-training. Yes, this apparently is possible and can lead to all kinds of nasty diseases, culminating in your bottom muscles contracting for 8 hours solid- imagine how painful that would be! All the more reason to take a well deserved nap and snack break!
Positive mental attitude
My biggest stumbling block: when it’s raining, and I’m hurting, and someone drives past in a warm, dry car, I tend to feel a bit depressed and resentful. I remind myself that I too have a driving license- technically I could drive 13 miles instead of running it- and I could stay dry and warm at the same time. But then I remind myself that there would be NO fun at all in driving (whilst listening to the radio… with the heating on…) and I return to my A-Z or I look for something/ someone to laugh at… this usually puts me in the right frame of mind to continue!   
Pregnancy. Running is like pregnancy: during this ‘special time’ you can eat what you want, bitch and moan about what you want. When you are tired, people understand why and make special dispensations for you. Your body becomes more and more knackered then, at the end, you go through heaps and tones of excruciating pain for one glorious, life affirming moment. (The only difference is, your moment won’t keep you awake at night by screaming louder than you ever thought possible!)
Pain Stock up on the ibuprofen- you’ll need it!
Quotes- running ones
“I don’t think you’re ready for this.” My Mum when she found me lying on the kitchen floor covered in bags of frozen veg (I’d only run 3 miles!)
‘Running is the least attractive sport in the world- and that includes sumo wrestling!’
‘I’m a runner- I run to the car, to the toilet, to the living room when the phone rings. I deserve a medal too!’ My friend (who is definitely NOT a runner!)
‘Really? You’re running? In the rain? At 9 am on a Sunday? Really? REALLY?’ Cue ‘crazy’ look!
"In running, it doesn't matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, 'I have finished.' There is a lot of satisfaction in that."
-Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder (Kelly’s addition to this: Thank God it doesn’t matter where you finish… I came 678th in a race of 700 people recently- most of the runners were double my age! )
"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."
-John Bingham (And the courage to wear spandex and a fanny pack!)

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

I is for ILL... and B is for BACK SOON x

It's finally happened. After weeks of being very smug and running/napping on park benches/ peeing in bushes whilst my husband has suffered from a severe attack of man flu, his germs have infected me! I have officially been invaded by the man-flu virus! And it sucks. Big time.
The only running I have done for the past few days has been to the bathroom for more loo roll for my nose (my husband used all of the posh Kleenex... men. How selfish.) On the plus side, my nose has done a lot of running - and is possibly ready for a marathon.
Hopefully normal service will resume very soon x

Thursday, 20 October 2011

I- L and some SERIOUS booty shaking

No running today- boo! But I did spend two and a half hours last night dancing my booty off then stretching and toning said booty in time for Christmas! Yes, you heard right- Christmas. According to my yoga instructor, there are only a few ‘toning’ weeks left until the silly season. So that we don’t all become beached whales in that one week of festive over-indulgence, we worked extra hard on our core and butt muscles last night.
            Now my core is pretty hard core. I can do the plank for, like 30 seconds! (I have been practising). I also do sit-ups every day because having a strong stomach helps me to run (it also makes me look half decent in a bikini, but hey that’s a whole other season) but oh my goodness! We toned and tensed and flexed muscles I didn’t even know I had… I know they are there now though, they are making their presence felt by tightening and cramping every 30 seconds or so. I am a mum of two (who wrote their Christmas lists at the end of August just in case there’s an elf postal strike in the North Pole) so I’m already expecting to be frazzled by the 15th of December.  Add the ever growing present list to the tough demands of my yoga instructor and I’m not sure I’ll make it to the festive season- let alone through it! Even worse, January is de-tox month which apparently is even harder! Yey (cue sarcasm!)
 Enjoy I- L! x

Good things about running- HURRAH!
Bad things about running- BOO!
Innocence. Do you remember when you could walk up the stairs without warming up first? When you didn’t start crying at the mere sight of a goo pouch? When you had NEVER seen 6am on a Sunday morning? Ah…. Those days of innocence. I miss those days!
Internet. An amazing place to meet fellow runners/ park bench nappers as well as a mine of dangerous information for hypochondriacs. Got a niggle in your shin? Type it in Google and you’ll be amazed at exactly how many life threatening diseases you actually have!
Ibruprofen.  My best friend! It goes everywhere with me. Just don’t try to buy too much. When I first started running, the local supermarket had a half price sale on pain killers so I trotted down and loaded my basket with pills and heat creams, cooling creams etc. When I got to the till, a spotty youth confiscated most of it because he said there I had a dangerous number of harmful drugs …what the? He obviously thought I was intending on ending the pain on a more permanent scale- though how I could do that with a tube of cooling rub is beyond me!  
I’m every woman! You’re a strong, independent woman- ready to tackle the world head-on. You are fierce, a tiger… go on, roar! Then sing, ‘I’m every woman…’ (or man, although it doesn’t fit the song quite as well.)
Insanity. Kicks in at around mile 7 on longer runs. I usually ward it of with a healthy dose of Alled’s Sunday worship or Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs. Just don’t sing aloud because people stare (and laugh)
Injury. (unfortunately) You’re pushing your body really hard. The collagen is being pounded out of your face. Your boobs are bouncing so much you fear that they might actually bounce OFF your body and land in the middle of the road… and that’s before we even get to your back and legs. Stretching is the best way to avoid injury but sometimes it still happens… and it sucks!
Ice baths. Some runners actually immerse their whole bodies in ice when they get home from running. In my imagination, these are the ‘Hob Nobs’ of runners, aka marathon and ultra-marathon contenders who push themselves to the limit, then push themselves that little bit further just to see if they can. If you are one of these runners, I salute you! If you are not, welcome to my world J
Jelly beans. I ran a whole race with a lovely lady who kept her jelly bean sugar hits stashed inside her bra. They sure beat goo!
Just do it. Before I actually started running, I read lots of books and magazines about running. I spent a lot of time thinking about running and a lot of time watching re-runs of Friends whilst thinking ‘I should be running.’ The only way to be a runner is to run! You gotta Just Do It- unfortunately no-one can do it for you.
Kudos. You get up two hours earlier than everyone on the planet to pound the collagen out of your face. When you tell people this, you deserve some kudos, some respect. Perhaps even a medal, a certificate of attendance and a t-shirt!
Kudos… are you kidding?! You know that open-mouthed look people give you- and each other- when you tell them about your pre-dawn escapades? I’m afraid that it isn’t the look of kudos. It’s the look of crazy. People think that you are off your rocker. 
Laughing. Have you ever heard that ridiculous statement: ‘You burn 50 calories every time you laugh?’ (Often given as an excuse not to run i.e. ‘I laugh 8 times a day, burning 400 calories in the process. Why on earth would I run?) Runners burn way more calories than that, and continue to burn calories AFTER they have finished running!  You should laugh about this when you’re heading towards the family sized bags of M and M’s. Guilt free chocolate- yummy!
Lame. You might be by the time you’ve finished running the marathon.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

A is for A-H- and it’s long over-due!

Winter has officially arrived in Yorkshire- the howling wind threw one of my poor little plant-pots against the shed last night and smashed it to pieces. Not wishing to meet the same fate as my perennial, this morning I reluctantly went to the gym. It was absolutely heaving: I had to wait in line for 20 minutes just so that I could run on the spot for ages… in the same place… looking at the same damp patch above the cross trainer whilst working out which celebrity it reminded me of (Paris Hilton.)
            I’m sure I should know exactly what I lifted and how many reps I did on the weight machine thingies. I’ll try to be as precise as possible just in case anyone is following my (very strict and scientific) training regime.
            Running: 4 miles. 40 minutes, 10 seconds.
            Sit-ups: 100 ish
            Weights: Pulling things – I stopped when it hurt
            More weights: Pushing things – I stopped when I got bored
Even more weights (it was raining outside and I didn’t want to get my hair wet running to the car): Pushing a dial thing round in circles- I stopped when I thought my arms were going to fall off.
Phew, it was hard work as you can tell. The GREAT news is that, during my 40 minutes and 40 seconds of pointless pounding, I finally finished my A-Z! HURRAH!
            It’s so HUGE that I have decided to post it in instalments. So today is instalment number 1: A-H…H is for - Hope you like it! x

Good things about running- HURRAH!
Bad things about running- BOO!

Abs. You know those people you hate- the ones with toned and defined stomachs who can eat what they want and never gain a pound? You’re one of them now! Hurrah! Your abs look awesome and you should definitely start to wear low slung jeans and/or crop tops to show off your well deserved, hard fought for definition. Even if it’s cold, Hell, even if it’s snowing crank up the thermostat and sit around in a bikini… just because you CAN!
Ambition. In your pre-running life, you spent many happy hours watching Friends re-runs with nothing but a family sized bag of M and M’s for company. Now you crave more… try eating two family sized bags of M and M’s and if that’s still not enough, I’m afraid you’ll have to go running. There is no other cure.  
Arses who masquerade as experts. There is always someone who has better abs/ has run more miles/ can do it faster etc. Ignore them all!!! I happened to mention to a guy in my yoga class that I was training for a half marathon and he replied that, in his younger days, he had been able to run a 3 minute mile. Thinking this must be normal, I tried to run 3 miles in 9 minutes… I collapsed after 0.5 miles and am still convinced that my Nanna (who died 2 years ago) appeared and told me to walk towards the light.  
Booty. Your booty will be pert and gorgeous, it will be toned and muscled. You MUST take photographs of said booty and keep them in a frame so that, when you are too old to run, you will always have the fond memories of when your derriere looked like it belonged to one of the Pussycat Dolls. Go out in a short skirt, go out in a bikini, go out in a thong…but be sure to show that booty off ladies. Work it!
Battered, bruised, boobs which will bounce out of your bra and either give you black eyes or attach themselves firmly to your knees and refuse to bounce back.
Boils! On your bum, on your face, where your bra straps have rubbed… everywhere! It’s a bloody good job that your booty is so toned because it takes the attention away from your zits!

Calories. As in, you can have loads and loads of them… fill your boots. The only other time you can eat this much without feeling guilty is when you’re pregnant. The good thing about running though is, while you are wolfing down your third pepperoni pizza, you can look in the mirror and STILL see your abs. Running really is the sport that just keeps giving!
Carb loading. It IS JUST AS GOOD as the name suggests! Move over Dr Atkins, you’re blocking my path to the pasta- BURN!
Change. I’m sure that you, your sofa and your remote control have enjoyed a long and happy relationship but lately, you’ve changed. And the changes might not stop at you deciding to run instead of nap. They might extend into other parts of your life too- you might suddenly find yourself brighter, happier and feeling more in control of your life. You might meet every day with a beaming smile and bound to work whilst bluebirds encircle your head twittering happily…  
Okay, I admit it. The last sentence is probably rubbish (and I think I might have stolen it from Disney). Running is a sport not a miracle worker. Jeez!  
Collagen. Apparently, running literally pounds the collagen out of your face. This is always good to remember when you’re 6 miles into a 10 mile run and everything hurts- NOT!

Delicious male runners. You’re half way through a 10 mile run, you’re hot, sweaty and sticky. Suddenly a hallucination of pure perfection approaches you: six foot three, dark haired, designer stubble…you get the picture. He’s gorgeous. You straighten your shoulders, instantly energised (and have a cheeky look at his bum as he burns past you- nice!) Running certainly has its perks!
Diet. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE ON ONE! YIPPEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Delicious male runners
I forgot to mention that your face is the colour of beetroot and your hair is jutting our at random angles. You are also wearing spandex and a fanny pack. Can you see how fast that delicious male is running? That’s because he’s terrified of you!
Drinking. Apparently you’re not supposed to run when you’ve drunk too much alcohol. I learned this when I ran a mile (my fastest ever) in pumps when I was more than a little worse for wear. I couldn’t walk for almost three days. Lesson learned!  
Driving license. I use mine to drive myself to places like the canal. Then I get out of my warm, dry car and run in circles in the rain for 12 miles. Then I get back in my car and drive home. Perhaps, I should just drive 12 miles with my Micoach app thingy on and save myself a whole lot of trouble and pain!

Energy. You’ll be like a cross between the Energiser bunny and Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. Don’t be surprised if people start to avoid you because you keep saying weird things like, ‘hey, let’s go for a walk/jog/run at lunch-time or ‘Kayaking, that’s something I’ve never done. Anyone fancy it?’
Endorphins. They are awesome! They make you feel high in a completely legal way (although I do think that short shorts should be made illegal). Do be warned though that they are addictive.
Endurance. If running teaches you one thing it is that, unless you are ill, you can improve your body. Your body will endure miles and miles of pounding, it will get soaked in autumn showers and burnt by the sun but it will still be there, ready and willing to go ( as soon as you’ve peeled the ice packs off your knees, shins and thighs) .
Enthusiasm. You’ll be dripping with it, unfortunately, not everyone shares your love for the noble sport. Don’t be offended if people run away when they see you coming (please refer to ‘energy’ for further details!)

Flow. You’re running along with the wind behind you. Suddenly everything looks beautiful, the birds are singing, the experience is sweet! That’s, like, totally ‘flow’ man!
Flumps. Have you EVER tasted such a delicious, mouth watering, sugar injected, soft and scrumptious, life affirming treat. They are only 30 calories each: which means you can eat HUNDREDS of them in one sitting and you will gain absolutely no weight…at all… Genius x
Forums. This has been the biggest shock to me since I became a virgin (half marathon runner just so that we are clear). I’m a member of four running forums and all of them are absolutely amazing. I’m pretty sure that picking my favourite is as morally wrong as saying which of my 2 kids is my favourite so I definitely won’t- I’ll run my Daily Mile instead (nudge-nudge-wink-wink!) If you want to moan or need someone who’s going through exactly the same thing as you to tell you that you’re awesome and to keep going, find a forum and make some friends.
Fanny pack/ bum bag/ thing you strap around your waist and then hope fervently that you don’t see anyone you know. Yes, you can fit all manner of things in the handy little zippers. Yes, ‘proper runners’ wear them and you feel a bit more professional with it strapped around your waist. But a FANNY PACK? Come on people, have you no shame?! 
Fear (otherwise known as ‘The Fear.) I had never experienced The Fear until I stood on the starting line of my first half marathon. Then my blood started pounding in my ears, my palms became sweaty and I felt a little dizzy. Funnily enough, I felt like that at the end of the half marathon as well- even though The Fear had disappeared at mile 2!
Glucose. Fill your boots people!
Glutes. Otherwise known as butt muscles. I’ll bet you didn’t even know you HAD muscles in your butt, did you? Well, you do and once the donut donated insulation has been run away, you will start to see a whole new side to your delicious derriere!
Games. If you have free head space for an hour each day what should you do? You should play games! Play runners ABC, pedestrian chicken- Hell, play ‘I went to the shop and I bought…’ but play something otherwise you might just go insane!
Goo. Yep, that’s it’s actual name. Manufacturers create a gloopy, foul and nasty tasting product then charge you through the nose for it. Apparently it enhances your performance- all it does to me is enhance my nausea at around mile 8!
Gym. I hate the gym. I hate it because it smells funny. I hate it because I have to wait… in line… for the privilege of running in one place and getting absolutely no-where for hours and hours.
Humiliation. You may think that this should be on the other side of the table but hear me out. If, like me, you humiliate yourself every-time you go running you develop a thick skin. This means that, when humiliating things happen in real life, you are better able to deal with them! Do you see my logic?
Hero. As in, don’t be one! If you need to walk, walk. If you need to sit down, sit down. If you need to duck behind a hedge for forty winks… well… what are you waiting for?
Hecklers. Yes, cider-swilling, smoking teenager, I'm sure you think I should 'keep running' Gosh, I would never have thought of it without your words of encouragement....!!