Archive | September 2014

Run or Dye…

On Saturday, I ran the Run or Dye 5km race in London. It was quite good fun and looked like this…




sunglasses are essential for this type of run…also loook I have dreadlocks (although they are sadly gone now)


lots of people queuing…this is England after all… (we got to bypass the queue woohoo)


look how clean we were!


not so clean at the end…



me (note to self...belt with phone etc under t-shirt is not the most flattering look...)

(note to self…belt with phone etc under t-shirt is not the most flattering look…)

it was a good run, as you may have already guessed I ran it with Rachel πŸ™‚ we decided we needed a few events before the (eeek) half marathon next year, and as Rachel had not run in an event before, it seemed like this was a good one to start with πŸ™‚ it was a 5k, it was fun and not intimidating and we stood a chance of being a long way from last πŸ˜€

In fact we were a really long way from last πŸ˜€ we finished it in (according to my phone) 36 mins…which is my fastest ever 5k time!! I do however think that my gps was a bit off in km 5 as it said we did it in just over 5 mins, however, the rest seemed ok and if we did it in the same time as the others (just over 7mins) it was still the fastest 5k I have ever done πŸ˜€

this surprised me somewhat!

my conclusion is…running with Rachel is good for both of us! She is naturally faster, so she makes me go faster, I can generally run for longer so I make her walk less…which all put together means we are good for pushing each other πŸ˜€

all in all a very successful experiment!

and…just as a reminder, to my self mainly, of how far I have come…this is a little comparison of this year with the last colour run I did…which was almost exactly a year ago!

what a difference a year makes!!

what a difference a year makes!!


Wordless Wednesday

Some shots from the wedding I photographed recently… click on any of them if you want to see more and it will take you to my flickr site πŸ™‚

Fun and Functional…

Ok…I confess to being rubbish at getting this post out when I promised I would…

annoyingly I started writing it, but then completely forgot to save the draft…I would love to blame wordpress, but really it was my fault!!

future fitLast Sunday I went on a Functional Equipment training course, which feeds in to my personal training diploma πŸ™‚

It was an awesome course which taught us how to use different pieces of equipment, but also how to adapt training towards different individual needs.

Functional training mainly deals with whole body compound movements with a particular bias towards training movements which have a function in the individual’s life. This could be a sports person who needs more agility or fast acceleration/deceleration or an individual who wants the ability to carry chopping, and pick up and play with children.

There is a vast array of equipment that can be used for this sort of training, along with bodyweight training and suchlike. It is more a way of thinking about training, moving away from isolationist single plane movements to multi-planar compound Β movements. This course concentrated on BOSUs, SAQ ladders, Medicine Balls, Swiss Balls and Core bags.

SAQ ladder

SAQ ladder

the first thing we got to play with try out were SAQ (Speed Agility and Quickness) ladders. I have no doubt that you have seen them in passing, even if you have never used one. They are often shown in articles about football training. they are, however useful for far more than football training! They are great for (obviously) speed, agility and quickness, but also coordination, reaction times, acceleration and deceleration. Surprisingly not only useful for lower body work either, you can so walking pushups along the length or walking planks or even burpees with a sideways jump…the list is practically endless πŸ˜€

and we spent a lot of time doing insane “fast feet” things to explore these possibilities!! (or at least some did…and some got confused part way along and made up random feet patterns half of the time…yes that was me…but not only me πŸ˜€

I can do this...apparently this is quite impressive!

I can do this…apparently this is quite impressive! (actually I was better than that…according to the instructor I was in a very straight line πŸ˜€ )

My new favourite thing is the combination of a BOSU and a medicine ball…which I fully recognise makes me sound like a crazy person!

I was made to demonstrate my plank capabilities just like in that picture. Although that is not me…there may be picsof me doing this online at some point as the official future fit photographers were in the class :-S

I also proved reasonable at standing on a BOSU and catching a medicine ball without falling over at all! ANd Squatting while on a BOSU! All of these things surprised me!

I learned too that BOSU is so called because it stands for Both Sides Up…who knew! πŸ™‚

core bags

core bags

Despite my ability to stand on a BOSU, the course was not without its slight mishaps, I managed in the middle of a demonstration to misjudge my balance and faceplant said BOSU (in the middle of a press up) I also managed to drop a 10kg core bag on my face. core bags still hurt despite being soft, 10kg is after all a lot for your nose to take!!

The assesment part of the day was also fun (believe it or not…) we had to spend time in groups thinking up as many wierd and wonderful ways of using these peices of equipment as possible. My personal favourite was the newly named “hop squat”…in which you progress along the SAQ ladder as if you were playing hop scotch, but when ever you landed on two feet you did a squat πŸ˜€

We then had to teach these to each other in the form of a mini circuits class…

Made me remember that I really really need to get a circuit class organised, I really like teaching them! I also have developed a new love of wierd and wonderful pieces of equipment, and have literally had to talk myself out of buying medicine balls and a BOSU and an SAQ ladder…

no new equipment until I have a class to teach!!

The other thing which surprised me was, despite most of the rest of the class already being personal trainers, I wasn’t so far off them in general fitness. everyone was variable, having different strengths and weaknesses. I know you will probably say that I shouldn’t be surprised, but there is a part of me that still expects to be out of my depth on these courses…

It makes me think that I am definitely doing the right thing with this training πŸ˜€

surreptitious photos of my course :-)

surreptitious photos of my course πŸ™‚

The last thing I have to say about this course, was although it was fun, it was about 7 hours of practical work…which didn’t seem so bad at the time, but in the morning, I had DOMs like you would not believe! It felt like I had never exercised before!! So if you want to hit muscle groups in new ways, get some of these pieces of equipment incorporated into your training!! πŸ˜€

Year 2 Week 12: compendium of ache making!

or to put it another way…work out summary of the week before now…last week I mean…

ok…shh..I’ll get on with it! This is going to be a quick overview as some of these things deserve their own posts πŸ˜€


Monday was a walking day, it was not a nothing day as I needed to keep my legs moving after the race. But the activity of the day was walking πŸ™‚
Walk 3km


no I didn’t take the chip timing tag of my shoe yet…shhh!


Tuesday was running πŸ™‚ no, for once it was not PT!! I ran straight after work, which means I don’t (yet) have to go in the dark and I don’t have to remotivate myself once I have got home…which is a tricky one!
it was an ok run, I went 6.5km around the area I normally use for my lunchtime runs, which was a little odd as I kept thinking it was the middle of the day. Apart from the fact that were lots of other runners about…all of whom said hi or smiled at me πŸ˜€
my legs were still a bit heavy from Sunday, but all in all not bad πŸ™‚


Wednesday was a good day πŸ˜€ on Wednesday there was both PT and dancing!! a good start and a good end to the day πŸ˜€ I am fairly sure the middle was good too…
PT involved such awesome things as boxing, deadlifts, snatches and the joys of tabata :-S
Dancing of course involved…well…dancing…lots and lots of it πŸ˜€


Thursday was deemed tricky…my legs were feeling the effects of PT and dancing, and I was as usual wiped out (I can’t work out why this always happens on a Thursday!) so I declared Thursday rest day. I am allowed those now, as long as they are not frequent…I have learned that sometimes they are the best thing for you!! It wasn’t a total washout energy expenditure wise…It was one of the few days at work that I actually spent standing for the whole day rather than at my desk, so that is something!!


IMG_4540[1]Friday was another run day πŸ™‚ I am slightly getting the hang of this…
as work now finishes at 1pm on a Friday, I made my way out to the downs link at Copsale and ran to just beyond West Grinstead station. This route is much less scary in the light πŸ˜€

I felt generally better than I did on Tuesday, but my legs were still mostly held together with compression leggings…

I also noticed that I am getting much more calf tightness again

this caused me to go home and investigate my running shoes, in comparison to my old running shoes that were condemned by the running shop…

and I discovered that they were more worn out than my old ones, which may explain the calf pain…and the fact that I can feel all the rocks on the trail!


this is what my feet look like now!

this is what my feet look like now!

Saturday saw an impromptu trip to the running shop in horsham. My plan to buy the same pair again from the interweb was foiled by mizuno discontinuing my shoe 😦
having flat, severe over pronating feet, gave me very little choice, I tried the replacements for the ones I had which had been changed a lot and felt too flat, I also tried the Saucony Omni 13…which is what I got!
I took them straight out for a run, against the advice of the running shop who said I should wear them at home first…

I felt like trying a new thing, and I didn’t want to be out all day, so I thought I would give sprint intervals a go…after a warm up of about 10 mins walking then jogging, I did 17 mins of 30s sprint 30s walk…
it was blooming hard work! I had jelly legs at the finish!


Sunday was a whole day of awesome! and is going to get a whole post all to its self…but for now I will say that it was my Functional Training training course, for a part of my PT course. I spent 7 hours playing with BOSUs, SAQ ladders, Swill Balls, Medicine balls and core bags. and when I say playing I mean learning and inventing new and crazy exercises to do with them πŸ˜€ It was hard work…and it was lots of fun, and I passed πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Something amazing happened…

and it is mostly in my head!

Following in the footsteps of Nancy fromΒ myyearofsweatΒ (yes I do that a lot…she inspires me often!) I have been doing a lot of thinking recently about my own interpretation of other people’s actions, and I have to admit there is an outside chance that some of the things I believe about people are really a form of projection.

Definition: Projection is a type of defense mechanism. In projection, a person experiences an emotion or thought that they aren’t able to cope with. So, instead, they perceive the thought or feeling as if it had come from someone else.

It is just possible that the “sympathy claps” I received as I was running my 10k were actually just claps of encouragement.

It is just possible that the looks of pity or the looks of derision are actually just people looking at the person who is passing them because the person is passing them and not because they are laughing.

It is just possible that even now after I have come so far that I still feel like I am not really good at what I am doing, that I still feel inadequate and like I am making a fool of myself running!

Could it be that the other runners are not looking at me and thinking “what the hell are you doing”?

Could it be that the people on the bus are more concerned with their own lives?

Could it be that I am projecting my own fears of ridicule onto these people?

well…when you put it like that, it is more than possible, i think it is highly possible. I am sure there are some people out there who do think mean things, but I am starting to believe it is not the majority. I am starting to believe that the people who cheer the slower runners on race day are being encouraging not patronising.

I don't normally do motivational quotes, but this seemed relevant

I don’t normally do motivational quotes, but this seemed relevant

I started thinking about what I would say to other people in my position, if I saw someone else in a similar position would I think them “not a real runner” would I think them unworthy of being in the race? I really wouldn’t, I wouldn’t say it, and I wouldn’t believe it! So if I can believe it about other people, why can’t I believe it about myself!

now for the amazing thing…

I am not saying I have lost all the negative feelings I have about myself, but realising that I am generating them has made me question them, which in turn has made me start to believe in myself a little bit more. I am starting to believe that you know what, I am a runner (albeit a really slow one) and I have as much right as anyone to be out there running πŸ˜€

and the really amazing thing:

Every other runner I have seen since I started thinking of this (3 runs) has smiled and acknowledged me and I have smiled and acknowledged them! This can’t be a new thing, it can’t be that runners have just this week decided to nod to each other. It can’t be a coincidence…people haven’t become more friendly in a week.

It might just be that I have started looking up more…

It might just be that I have stopped ignoring the world and started to run in it (as it were…)

People haven’t become more friendly, but maybe I have πŸ˜€

The other thing I have realised in the course of writing this, is that I only do this when running, I don’t walk around the gym thinking these things about other people, or when I am dancing or in a gym class… but you know what, I used to, and it is only as my confidence in these areas has increased that I have stopped assuming I have to prove myself to the world.

The only person in the world who has doubts about me, is me…and it really is time that changed!!

Wordless Wednesday (almost)

This one is dedicated to Rachel, my friend, new running buddy and long(ish) time model because I can!

Year 2 Week 11: Workout week of crazy!

It has been one of those weeks that started slowly, and got progressively more crazy as it went on…


I run noticeably slower when I can’t see where to put my feet!

well…Monday was crazy…and scary…but not in a lots of exercise kind of way, in an I shouldn’t leave my run until 8pm this time of year sort of way…

I wanted to go for a run after work, I needed to go for a run after work, I remembered that I had a 10k looming (it is Sunday if you want to skip to the end…) and I needed to get some more runs under my belt.

It started out ok…

But due to my not learning from last weeks “it is scary to run at dusk” episode, and my forgetting that is it now september and starting to get dark earlier, I ended up running in the complete dark!

this is bad for a number of reasons…
1) I have seen too many episodes of NCIS/CSI etc where people get attacked on dark country paths…
b) even if I hadn’t the shadows on the deserted abandoned railway line surrounded by trees look very scary
3) there are many potholes/tree roots/loose rocks on this path just waiting to loom up out of the dark and attack me!

that and it was getting foggy and I had Zombies Run! playing in my headphones…

not too bad a run although being scared does not lend its self to calm measured breathing!


Tuesday, unlike any other Tuesday, was PT day…

oh no hang on…I mean like every other Tuesday:-p

Regardless of the fact that PT day is (nearly) always Tuesday, it was still awesome πŸ™‚ We did more kicking than we have been doing recently, and as we have the past couple of weeks we have moved the boxing up to the start of the session.

Following that we did more heavy lifting, squats, deadlifts, overhead squats and clean and presses. We also returned to the snatch after a few weeks away from it to let my shoulder recover πŸ˜€

Talking of shoulders, we had to do some shoulder strengthening / rotator cuff stuff, to try to keep it all fixed πŸ˜€ Β and talking of things that need fixing, we did some more hip mobility work…because although they are better than they were, my hips are still fairly stiff 😦


torture feet!

torture feet!

on Wednesday I tried out my new brooks pure cadence running shoes…I thought ooh new lightweight minimal drop shoes…these will be awesome…also I have worn them once before and they were pretty good…

how wrong I was…they were little torture devices for feet that made my calves and arches hurt so much that It was like being back at the very start of my 365 c25k program!

I went about 3.5km (but the gps failed on me so I am not really sure…) and it was in as much running as I could intervals interspersed with hobbling!!

Luckily I made up for this with some dancing in the evening πŸ™‚ about 1.5hrs of dancing as we had to have an AGMΒ first πŸ˜€ it was the quickest AGMΒ on record!


IMG_4508[1]Thursday I wanted to make up for Wednesdays horrible running and get at least one more sensible run in before sundays 10k…

it had an advantage over monday in that I wasn’t terrified, and an advantage over wednesday in that I wasn’t in immense pain, but I still couldn’t actually get my legs going, they were fighting with me the whole way! still…it was better than nothing!




Friday there was walking…
nice easy day, don’t wreck the legs before the run… I know I’ll walk…and walk …and walk for the whole day round and round and across and back across an even call busfest. This is basically a giant meet up / trade show for VW Camper vans

It involved walking 12.5k steps, and going approximately 10-12 km…

and getting up at 6am to do it!

not as much of a rest as I thought…

maybe Saturday will be better…


Maker Faire Brighton

Maker Faire Brighton

yes, saturday will definitely be a rest. I was helping my friend sally out at Maker Faire, which is a show/meet up of lots of people who make various different things in weird and wonderful ways. Sally is an amazing knitter both by hand and by machine, and her stand was a huge showcase of this and of her magic software hack which allows you to draw a picture, scan it in and then knit it on the machine…so pretty awesome stuff!

But I forgot just how much standing there was, I managed to walk 10k steps and basically not sit down from 9am to 6pm… awesome day, but not a rest at all!! I always forget that standing on hard floors is worse than walking!

I went home and sat in a bath full of muscle soak-y stuff, then plastered my legs in my new hot ginger muscle rub and hoped that some miracle would happen and they would recover!!

Sunday morning arrived and when I dragged myself out of bed at 6am (I always have to drag myself out of bed if it is before 7am…ok honestly if it is before 8am…which basically means I drag myself out of bed every day…none of this leaping up all full of life for me!)

I can highly recommend this stuff!

I can highly recommend this stuff!

I was pleasantly surprised by my legs, they were not overly achy, they felt a bit on the lead side but not as bad as I expected so that was a plus!! I replastered my legs in the seemingly magic muscle rub and followed it with my 2xu compression leggings and hoped that this would hod me together long enough to run!!

At the start of the race, after walking up and down for a bit to warm up I got chatting to another woman who was running her first race for about 5 years! this was unusual for me as I am normally antisocial and grumpy…it did help me get over the whole “what the hell am I doing here” feeling I always get at the start of races mind you!

once I started it was ok, the middle of the race was a bit iffy, and around 6km my toes went numb which I considered to be a bad sign…

this was not helped by kms 5 and 6 being on a field and some pebbly beach!! not the best running surfaces I have encountered to be honest!

after that, things improved as we were back onto the sea front πŸ˜€

I started the race with about 5/6 min intervals, and by the end I was down to about 3 min intervals, but I hadn’t set myself a plan, I was just attempting to run as much as I could to see what happened…

what happened was I knocked 9 mins off the time I ran the 10k in april!! πŸ˜€

9 mins!!



That is not just because it is a flat course! I guess the training is working even though I don’t actually feel like I have improved πŸ˜€

I crossed the finish line in 1hr 24mins andΒ 7s according to the official chip time πŸ™‚ which put me 976th out of 998 (not last woohoo) over all! I still got the sympathy claps, but nothing like as badly as last time, and to be honest I don’t care because I improved so much that I am over the moon with the result πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€


Still Fighting Assumptions…

I have probably said all this before, but I am going to say it again because it needs saying.

It is time we stopped making assumptions about people based on appearance and preconceived ideas.Β 

Forget what you know about me for a second and look at these pictures…





Β forgetting anything you have read on this blog so far…which one of us is fitter, healthier and better at running?

I know what 99% of the world would say.

Now take into account this whole exercising every day for ever thing, and the fact that Rachel smokes, does no exercise (until recently)and took up running 1 month ago…

see that changes things a bit doesn’t it…

I am not going to lie and say I have never made an assumption like this, and I can even understand why it is most people’s first thought, but I would like to sow a tiny seed of doubt in peoples minds… a tiny spark of the thought that things may not be as they seem…

You may be wondering what has brought this up right now…well something happened a couple of weeks ago that made me realise that no matter how far I know I have come, I am still fighting against peoples preconceived ideas and their snap judgements.

look runners!!

look runners!!

anyone remember this run?

Rachel and I went out for a 5km jog/walk as part of the half marathon preparations.

I convinced rachel that instead of walking back we should continue with the intervals and run walk back…thus making her run almost double her normal distance. At the very end, just as we were starting our cool down walk, two things happened: 1) rachel decided to sprint for a minute, I was going to but decided not to and so started my cool down walk. b) we me a man who turned out to be from a local running club.

the first odd thing was he just started talking to me despite the fact that I was obviously in the middle of something but that is a different point. the really annoying thing was the way the conversation went.Β 

He started by asking if we wanted to come to the runnign club…ok so far, but followed it up with a lot of words which included:

“it is ok that your friend is more natural at running” to me


“I saw you struggling when you came round the corner” to me…no you didn’t you saw me stop when I was at the end…


“the club is really good for slower runners” which wasΒ said so often that it became clear that he meant fat runners who are not very good…

and so on and so on!

OK…from the first glance the assessment of the situation could be excused. but during the conversation we talked about the 5k and 10k raced i had been in, Rachel talked about how she had only been running about 3 weeks, and the assumptions and comments were still the same.Β 

no amount of talking, including meΒ assertively stating “look seriously I am better than she is!” (for which I did apologise to Rachel afterwards but she understood) could get this man to change his mind.Β 

In his head, the taller thinner person was fitter. no ifs no buts no nothing.

assumptionsI am not denying that this is sometimes the case, but I really want everyone out there to consider that once in a while it isn’t that way.Β 

Even more than that, I want people to listen to the people they are talking to and accept that their first assumption may have been wrong!Β 

To take the positive side of this, these assumptions didn’t make me upset as they once would have, they did make me cross, but they mostly made me glad that I am doing what I am doing. The more people out there running / swimming /lifting / climbing / whatevering of all sizes, the more chance there is of making the world realise that the world of fitness is not just the domain of the super stereotypically fit looking!Β 

I am still working towards not getting the sympathy clapping at the end of races mind you!

(by the way, I am not casting aspersions about Rachel in this post…she knows what I mean!)

Throwback Thursday: Full Circuit(s)

Hello all, as part of this Throwback Thursday malarkey I thought it would be good to look back at the (almost) start of this project. I was inspired by Nancy’s look back to the start of her journey and decided to take a little time to assess how far I have come.Β 
THis particular post seemed appropriate considering I am in the process of attempting to get myslef organised enough to run my own circuits class…If you had told me that on day 17 I might have laughed (or possibly considering what day 17 was like…cried…) Read More…

Wordless Wednesday

Β  Β  Β  Β 

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