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....!!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

T is for time

There’s a very famous quote I have stuck to the wall of my laundry room/cellar /study/ place I like to hide when my kids are practising their wrestling moves on each other, and it goes like this: ‘Those who make the best use of their time have none to spare.’ Deep huh? In a bid to balance my time and the one hundred and one million things that are involved in: raising two well adjusted children (?!), writing, writing and writing some more, keeping the house clean-ish and toning a body that would make J-Lo physically sick with jealousy,  I have recently been trying to reduce the amount of time I sleep. Leading up to the half marathon, even I was sensible enough to realise that I needed 8 hours a night, but for the past fortnight I have reduced my sleeping hours to 6.
            I was referred to a new fancy method by a reputable website. According to this website, the method was advanced, 100% guaranteed and would leave you feeling as refreshed after 6 hours sleep as you would after 12. Excited and keen to start a whole new chapter of my life (which would have been entitled ‘Super- Mum,’) I read the instructions. And here they are: for three weeks, don’t go to bed until 12 o’clock. Get up at 6 every morning (if you’re a regular reader, you will already KNOW my feelings on rising before 7!) You’ll be tired for a bit but your body will adjust after three weeks. Life changing! I know!
            Because I’m a sucker who believes everything she’s told, I have followed the program for 2 weeks. Then last night I was hit by the mother of all headaches and slept from 7 o’clock in the evening until 7 o’clock this morning. Perhaps the reason I feel as refreshed as though I’ve had 12 hours sleep is due to the fact that, last night, I actually slept for 12 hours! What a revelation! Who knew?
            My non-running friends often ask how I find the time to run. I know that lots of runners get up really early in the morning to run, others go during their lunch breaks, some, like me, wait until night time- when it’s dark enough that no-one can recognise my spandex clad arse. Before I started running, I had no time to spare. I felt like every minute was spent doing something (even if it was just watching old re-runs of Friends on E4). I still don’t feel like I have any time to spare because I am always busy doing something… and running has joined the list of things I just do. Judging by last nights headache induced coma, perhaps sleeping should be added back to the list!

Thoughtful times x

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

6 miles in 60 minutes… it’s amazing what 90210 can do!

For once, dearest bloggies, I kept my word. Despite the crappy weather, despite the fact that my arm pit muscles (which I didn’t even know existed) were aching from yesterday’s encounter with the weight press thingies at the gym, and despite the fact that I simply didn’t want to… I ran 6 miles today. And I managed to get home in time for my daily instalment of 90210 on E4.
I haven’t really run outside since the half marathon and, as you might have read, I found that a teensy bit difficult. But I knew that I had to get over the hump and, as the old slogan says, ‘Just do it!’ So I just did it… then I collapsed on the sofa and spent an hour of unadulterated bliss watching unadulterated crap TV. While I was running, I realised that, in my half marathoning madness, I have been seriously neglecting my A-Z. Here is the latest instalment, look out for the full version, which should be making an appearance by the end of the week!
Good things about running
Bad things about running
Whatever your current standard, you were once a newbie! Do you remember the hill that used to leave you gasping for breath? The one mile marker where you got cramp in your calf and had to hop for half a mile because it hurt to put your foot on the floor? The tree at mile 3 that you used to pee behind because running 3 miles seemed a really long way and you weren’t sure you’d make it home to the toilet? Remember your mile-stones because they will keep you motivated when you are tired/exhausted/want to cry/ want to go home/ want an ambulance.
My name is Kelly and I suffer from a lack of motivation. Sometimes my sofa calls louder than my trainers and, before I know it, I find myself curled up with a good book rather than braving the wilds clad in illuminous lycra. I have noticed a change in myself though, during these past few months of running madness. These days, I 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 go. 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!

Happy times x

(A quick note to all of the lovely people who have commented on my blogs recently: I replied to all of your comments via e-mail, then I realised that the e-mail address I was responding to was ‘noreplyblogger.something.’ I hope that you did receive my replies. If not, thanks everyone for the congratulations, comments and giggles. I love them all! )

Monday, 10 October 2011

Back to the dreadmill

Today is Monday. Not Saturday. Saturday was two days ago. And I didn’t run. My reasons were plentiful and all exceptionally valid (it was raining and I had just washed my hair, there was a 90210 omnibus on E4, my sports-bra needed a wash… see… valid!) On Sunday, I felt a little bit sniffly. The kids and the husband all have bad head colds and I feared for my health. So I didn’t run. And, miracle of all miracles, today I didn’t have a head cold because I fought it off yesterday, whilst watching the Hollyoaks omnibus and the American X-Factor in my pyjamas! But today I ran out of excuses. Shoot!
            So I thought about going to the gym. Thinking about going to the gym made me feel tired so I watched morning television instead. After twenty minutes, I realised that there could be no pain on this earth greater than watching two simpering model wannabe’s pimping their new books on ITV. So I went to the gym. And I hit the dreadmill- hard!
            I haven’t run or done any physical activity since completing the half marathon last week. Quite honestly, after that gruelling ordeal, I expected a measly 4 miles on the dreadmill to be easy but, alas, (and as usual,) I was wrong! Because I HATE the dreadmill- it is SO boring. After only 0.5 miles, I was losing the will to live. I people watched for 0.4 miles but no-one hurt themselves or started kissing their biceps (which has happened before, I promise you.) They were just normal people who had come to the gym to get fit- nothing funny there at all! Even the television was broken so I had nothing to distract me from the miles and boring miles of boring boredom ahead.
            Then, about 2 miles in, my old friends the endorphins kicked in. And suddenly I remembered why I run. In fact, I was so overcome with hormonal imbalance that I immediately started to list the various other reasons why I bother with sports.
1)     I love endorphins
2)     I love feeling smug when people ask what I’ve done during the day and I can say that I ran 4 miles, did an extra 30 minutes of cardio then some core and upper body strength work then a 90 minute Iyengar yoga class (I felt smug just writing that, sport really is the gift that keeps on giving)
3)     I love feeling smug when I’m wearing my Bradford half marathon t-shirt
4)     I have signed up to 2 races in the next two months because I know that I am still a little bit lazy when it comes to rocking a body like Beyonce’s (minus the baby bump)
5)     I am racing against people I know and don’t want to look stupid in front of them (refer to number 4)
6)     I really like eating chocolate and doing sport is the only way that I can eat as much chocolate as I want to without looking like a sumo wrestler.
So as you can see, my reasons are thorough and plentiful. Of course, I also run for serious reasons (I run because I know I am lucky to be able to, I run because I want to see my children and grand children get married and have long and happy lives, I run because I want my children to see that I commit to something and follow it through, I want to be a good role model for them) but I am a Yorkshire lass so only the silly reasons get numbers!
      So, with the endorphins dancing a path through my nervous system, I managed not to crush myself doing upper body weight type thingies and then skipped off to yoga. After a happy 90 minutes being shouted at for going into my lumber and not doing down facing dog properly (apparently my dorsal fin was sticking out. I thought only dinosaurs and sharks had dorsal fins so I suspect that my yoga teacher might have lost her marbles,) I emerged into the soaking Yorkshire weather and drove home singing very loudly all the way. Tomorrow, I am running 6 miles. Promise! (But I’ll definitely make it back for 90210.)

Wind-swept times x

My December race is a Reindeer run in aid of the RNLI! Check it out at
Rookie the Reindeer

Thursday, 6 October 2011

C is for… checking in!

I might not be a virgin anymore, but I do have a confession to make… since the half marathon, I have not run… at all! Not even to the toilet, not even through a rainstorm to my car. Nope, I haven’t put one foot in front of the other in an energetic fashion since Sunday. Until Wednesday, I couldn’t run. In fact, I could hardly walk. Because I had run too fast and too far without stretching on Sunday, I spent a full three days feeling like I had been hit by a rather large, double decker, number 43 bus. My excuse today is the weather… and the fact that I have writing to do and cannot be bothered- it’s raining, it’s windy and I want to hibernate because it finally feels like winter is coming.

So what have I been doing with all of my ‘running free’ time? I shall tell you:
  • EATING! And eating… and then eating some more. Fish and chips, chocolate, stew and dumplings (followed by apple crumble and custard), chocolate, chocolate ice-cream and chocolate cake. (In keeping with tradition, I have also been drinking a lot of chocolate milk!)
  • SLEEPING! Last week, I managed about 23 minutes of sleep because I was far too busy tidying my house and making lists of lists. This week, I have more than made up for my lack of sleep. In fact, I have slept so much that I have already compensated my poor body for all future races that I might ever possibly run.
  • BRAGGING! To everyone and anyone who would listen- and quite a few people who were blatantly NOT listening! If wearing my t-shirt wasn’t enough to prompt the conversation of ‘Oh wow, did you do that this year?’ I casually asked, ‘What did you do this weekend?’ Then hit them between the eyes with a blow by blow account of my near death experience at mile 2. No matter how many times I tell the story, I never tire of hearing it (I’m not sure I can say the same for my audience though, even my Mum has stopped answering my phone calls.)

I have decided to give my body one more day of rest before testing the waters with a steady 8 miles on Saturday. As of Monday, I’m back to the gym, the yoga, the aerobics and running in the dark. Heaven knows, I’m going to need to burn off some of those calories!
Happy days x

Monday, 3 October 2011


I did it! Honestly, I did it. I ran/walked 13.1 consecutive miles and I completed the Bradford Half Marathon- which shall hereon be referred to as ‘hell on earth.’ It wasn’t stylish, it wasn’t pretty, heck, it must have been as painful to watch as it was to run but by jove I finished WITHOUT the aid of an ambulance (although I could do with one now, preferably the paramedic would be a Michael Bublee look-alike sports masseuse… a girl can dream!)
            Now, you might have heard me mention before that I am not a big morning person. In truth I am a horrible morning person- did you ever see the film ‘The exorcist?’ well imagine the haunted girl with crows feet, her hair sticking up like a haystack and a snarling top lip- that’s me if I ever, EVER have to get out of bed before 7am. The wonderful people at Pennine Events decided, with no consideration given to my fragile morning state, to start the race at 9am. 9am! 9AM! Which meant that I had to get up at 6am just so that I could stuff myself with enough carbs to get me through the impending 13.1 miles of doom. (I agree, dear reader, ‘13.1 miles of doom’ would be an excellent title for a Hollywood blockbuster movie. Dibs on the copywrite. Perhaps Gwyneth Paltrow could play me, she’s almost as gorgeous as I am)
            Because I am a cheerful, resilient, happy go lucky kinda girl, I got up, ate as many carbs as was humanly possible, drank so much water that I sloshed inside then started the ritual of the ‘hell on earth running clothes selection.’ Now it has to be said that I have a shocking amount of lycra in my closet, I fear that I many need to join a support group, ‘lyrca wearers anonymous.’ So it took quite a while to select ‘the outfit.’ But when I did, the grumpy fog started to clear- I even managed a smile… (make the most of this image of ‘smiling,’ there aren’t many more once the race photo’s start.)
     Attractive I know. Especially the bit where the leggings cut into my tummy, forcing my ‘second baby roll’ to poke through my t-shirt. Damn you lyrca! I felt pretty positive at this point. I had been told by many different people on many different occasions that the Bradford Half is ‘the hardest in the country/ Don’t do it/ You’d be mad to run that as your first half/ It’s all uphill.’ To all of these comments, I had simply shaken my head and replied, ‘I run up and down hills during my training… how hard can it actually be?’ If I had known exactly how hard it would be, I would have peeled off my lycra and returned to the warmth of my duvet!
      Do you see that smile? The one on the photographs? That is the smile of a na├»ve, enthusiastic runner. A happily swimming fish who has no idea she is about to be eaten by a shark. That is the face of innocence! I miss that face.

                                                     Ah, those innocent times!
                   At 8am (in the morning) we reached the Alhambra theatre in Bradford- a wonderful old building full of history, charm, period features… and 63 foot long queues for the toilets! In order to share the love, I had invited my parents to join with the frivolities (and because, if I have to get up at 6, I don’t see why everyone else should get a lie in!) Bless them, they were already there. My mum was more nervous than me… until I looked outside and saw this…

Look at all of those proper runners! They were prepared, they were organised. Some were doing star jumps, others were talking excitedly about personal bests and the easiest way to make a bin bag into a poncho. 
Suddenly I felt VERY insecure! 

               Walking to the starting line, I felt like I was having an out-of body experience. After months of training, I could barely remember how to run, all I could think was ‘Oh my God, what have I done?’ Some people were so keen to start that they actually RAN to the starting line- adding an extra 0.5 miles to the race length. I tried to absorb the atmosphere but my legs were trembling and my stomach was holding a gymnastics display- turning cartwheels and somersaults under my rib cage.

My husband, bless him, was talking excitedly saying things like ‘You’ll be brilliant, just think how you’ll feel at the end…’ and all the time, I was walking further and further into the ‘pen’ and getting nearer to the front of the runners. And that’s where I made my first newbie runner mistake. In fact, I made a few newbie runner mistakes and I am going to list them here in the vain hope that no newbie will suffer as I did:

Newbie mistakes I made:
1)     I started near the front of the running pack. This meant that I started the race with the 5- 8 minute mile runners. There was no system, you simply stood wherever you wanted. This meant that when the race started, I was trying to keep pace with much faster runners than myself… not a good idea when you are running up a bloody big hill…which leads me to… 
2)     Stretching. I never stretch before I run. I run half a mile first, then I stop and stretch out once my muscles are warm. I had been told ‘not to do anything different on the day’ so I set off, chasing the enthusiastic ones, and after a mile I knew I should stop. My mind screamed stop. My thighs started to HURT! Not only had they been forced to be upright since 6am, they were now being pushed to travel much faster than usual without stretching. But I didn’t want to lose my place. I hopped onto the path, stretched for about 30 seconds, then jumped back into the sea of runners… which leads me to…
3)     Focus. As in, I couldn’t. I was overwhelmed. I was overwhelmed by the pace (I had run a 9minute first mile up a really big hill, I knew that I could not sustain this!) I was overwhelmed by the fact that I was with proper runners who weren’t even breaking a sweat yet. I was overwhelmed by the pain in my legs. All I could think was ‘I don’t like this, I want to go home.’ And I wanted to cry.

… For the first time in a long time, I seriously considered giving up- at only mile 2. I scoured the off roads for any sign that my husband would be able to reach me in his car. I spotted an idle ambulance and wondered if they would give me a lift- I had always said my only aim was NOT to finish in an ambulance, I could image how funny the photograph would have been if I HAD crossed the line with the blue lights flashing… to give myself time to think, I did something really sensible (for the first time that day), I walked. Well, first I stopped to properly stretch, then I walked.
While I was walking 165 people passed me. I know this. I counted. And I kept on walking. And, by the time all of the serious runners had passed me, I found myself with a group of people who were also moving at my pace. The first 7 miles of the Bradford marathon are up-hill, as Miley Cyrus would say ‘It’s the climb.’ I started to run walk-run and my confidence came back. Then I started a conversation with a lovely lady who was running next to me and the whole race changed. I had never met the lady before, but she was brilliant! We ran together and talked (in that kind of wheezy, breathy way that only runners and telephone sex pests do) for the next 10 miles, we even crossed the finish line together! 
The miles just disappeared. My running buddy and I covered everything: jobs, children, families, hobbies. I know more about my running buddy that I do about some of my Facebook friends… yet I never knew her name. By mile 8, I knew that I was going to finish the half marathon. I had never been MORE certain of anything. I knew I had run slowly. I knew I wasn’t going to break any land speed records. But I knew I would finish… and after all, that was my aim all along. Just to finish. And finish we did. After 2 hours and 26 minutes, we crossed the finishing line. Then my buddy vanished into a sea of well wishes and congratulatory hugs.
  Really attractive running there Kel! Crossing the finish line!

Things I learned from being a virgin half marathon runner:
  • People are amazing. I could not believe how many wonderful people gave up their Sunday mornings to stand outside their houses with cups of water, orange juice and oranges… people clapped, cheered and smiled. They wanted us to do well and it still makes my heart swell when I remember the kids who ran out of their gardens to ‘high five’ the runners and the really old lady who was offering water on her best tray. They restored my faith in human nature!
  • People are amazing. I’m pretty sure that my running buddy slowed her pace because she could see that I was struggling. Thank God for her. There were people dressed as bananas in pyjama’s, one man ran the whole 13.1 juggling… all for charity. People are amazing! 
  • People are amazing. This time last year, I got out of breath running up the stairs. I drank too much and smoked too much. Yesterday, I completed the Bradford half marathon. And if I can do it, anyone can. Like I said, people are amazing.

At mile 2, I thought I wasn’t going to make it and I promised myself that I would never, ever run again. As soon as I was able to move my aching body down the stairs to my office/ cellar (this morning... I am still walking like John Wayne), I booked 2 more races. Next month I am running a 6 mile FLAT race in Leeds and have signed up to a Santa themed run in December in aid of the Lifeboat appeal. I said a few blogs ago that running is like childbirth and I stand by that… at the time, the pain is unbearable and you never want to do it again. As soon as it’s over, you realise it was worth it and want to do it all over again! And, like having a baby, running will definitely change your life for the better!
Me in my race t-shirt, which I might NEVER take off!

Relieved times x