Posted in Vitality London 10,000

Happy Global Running Day!

I just found out that today is Global Running Day! An appropriate day to have completed my first run since last week; 3.52km in 30 minutes.

It’s been just over a week since I went to London and ran in the Vitality London 10,000. I already wrote about how proud I am of myself, but to celebrate Global Running Day today, I want to tell you about some observations I made about myself while I was doing it.

The major one was that rather than becoming tired, having expended my energy, I actually found that the experience, in particular the actual running, got easier as I went along. My total time was 1h22m19s but the timing devices on our shoes also recorded the time at which we crossed the 5km halfway point and it turned out that I completed the second 5km 8 minutes faster than the first 5km!

One factor of this I think is the breaking down of the mental barriers that had got me so nervous. In training I’d be getting tired and sore around 2 or 3 km and I’d think ‘I can’t do it’ and stop. On the day of the 10k though, giving up and going home wasn’t an option. I had to push through whatever I was feeling and just get on with it. Doing that, and finishing the race gave me the proof that actually – I can do it!

Another observation which was slightly less positive was that my ankles were BURNING. That’s part of what I had to push through and fortunately that got more bearable and less severe as I went along. I ran from the start line and the first time I felt like I had to slow down and walk was because my ankles were hurting. But as soon as I slowed down, they hurt even more! That was a pretty unpleasant conundrum. I’ve been to see a sports physio who suggested that the burning pain may be some irritation/inflammation of the tendons around my ankle joints. I need to take it easy until I’ve had that investigated a little further I think, because I was told that that type of irritation can increase the chances of stress fractures. But I’m not going to stop running and I’m going to aim to run 5k regularly now as part of a general exercise routine.

This newfound ability to run makes me feel like a kid with a new toy!

Posted in Vitality London 10,000

I Did It!

10 weeks ago I decided to take on the challenge of running 10 kilometres in the Vitality London 10,000.

In that time I’ve been through a range of thought processes from ‘Hell yeah I can run 10k’ to ‘Running is actually quite hard’ to ‘It’s okay, I’ve still got time to pull it back’ to ‘Crap, it’s in 2 weeks and I’ve barely run more than 3km’.

I stopped writing so much about it as the event got closer ’cause I became really scared that I wouldn’t be able to do it and I knew I hadn’t trained as much as I thought I would. This was down to a range of reasons including bad mental health days, family members in hospital and stressing about uni exams.

At the beginning of the process I felt really confident and was running in the gym every couple of days. Then I took my training outside and realised that running on the road is way more impactful on my ankles than running on a treadmill. Before Monday, I hadn’t run more than about 3km in one go.

And yet, I completed my first 10k in 1 hour, 22 minutes and 19 seconds! When I crossed the finish line I was so bloody chuffed with myself and two days later I actually still can’t quite believe I did a 10k!

I need to shout out my amazing boyfriend, Toby, for coming with me and waiting for me at the 8.5km mark to spur me on for that last stretch! I ran with my phone in my hand so that I could listen to music and he kept sending me encouraging messages along the lines of ‘Keep going! You can do it!’.

I intend to keep training and keep running, so it probably won’t be too long before I’m doing another 10k! I’ll let you know!

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Posted in May, Myself and I (2019)

May 12th – Storms

I do not like rain.

This is something that my boyfriend and I disagree on. If we’re out in the rain, I’ll inevitably whinge about it, and he’ll inevitably question why I hate it so much.

He loves rain. But there is one element of it that we can agree on and that is that the sound of it on the roof or the windows, when you’re snuggled up in your pyjamas with nothing to do and no where to go, can be calming and soothing. It makes me feel cosy too, knowing that it’s gross outside but I’m all warm and comfy inside.

I know a lot of people who are scared of thunderstorms. But I’ve always loved them and been fascinated by them (again, from within the comfort of my house with four walls!). In my old home, my bedroom had a window seat, and if there was a thunderstorm, it wouldn’t matter what time of the night it was, I would get out of bed and sit on the window seat to watch the lightning strikes and listen to the rain and thunder. I just think there’s something so beautiful about it.

Last year, when I was in Australia, I was near a town called Broome, on the North West Coast and I was there during wet season. The night I was there, the most fantastic electrical storm was occurring and I couldn’t take my eyes off it. It actually started as I was driving into the town and I sat in the car for ages, just in awe. For once, I didn’t try to take pictures that would inevitably turn out like crap, I just sat there and enjoyed the moment because I think it was the most incredible thunderstorm I’ve ever seen.

This has been a little bit of a rambling post but my point is, I don’t like being in the rain, but I do like watching thunderstorms. Fin.

Posted in May, Myself and I (2019)

New Plan!

Since the 3rd day of ‘May, Myself and I’, life has thrown a whole bunch of crap my way. And here we are a week later and I haven’t managed to write a single other blog post! *sigh*

I haven’t even actually had time to watch Carrie Hope Fletcher’s M,M&I videos on YouTube. I’m not giving up completely cause I do like the prompts and it’s interesting and challenging to write about something that hasn’t come from within my own head. To let someone else go ‘what’s your take on this?’ rather than going ‘what do I feel like talking about today?’.

I don’t quite know how I’m going to proceed though. I’m thinking maybe I’ll aim for 4 blog posts a week and pick and choose the prompts I want to do. That makes it a bit more manageable than 7 a week while also trying to juggle revision, running, work, family stuff and my own mental health.

Tomorrow’s prompt is Storms and I’m going to give that one a go as soon as I’ve published this. Wish me luck!

Posted in May, Myself and I (2019)

May 3rd – Donut

This is going to be a Brighton appreciation post.

As most people who know me personally will know, I moved to Brighton (UK) in September 2018 to start my degree in Pharmacy at the University of Brighton. As soon as I discovered that Brighton Uni offered the course I wanted to study (MPharm with Integrated Foundation Year), I knew it would be my first choice uni.

My Mum was born in Brighton and although she later lived in Essex before flying the nest, both my Grandparents ended up moving back here which means I’ve been to Brighton a few times a year ever since I was a child. I’ve heard people say that it’s like London but friendlier. I can’t get on board with that description because I don’t see any resemblance to London in it at all. That may be because Brighton holds a lot of unique childhood memories for me though. One of which is going down to the pier and getting fresh, hot donuts (there’s that prompt!) with my Mum and whoever else we happened to be with on the day. Wandering through The Lanes and along the seafront are classic Brighton things for anyone but for me there was my Mum’s favourite restaurant, Terre A Terre, family dinners in the fish and chip restaurant at the Marina (which unfortunately no longer exists) and getting to push my Nan’s wheelchair when I was a bit older which I loved because it made me feel helpful and grown up.

The house I’ve ended up living in this year happens to be across the road from the cemetery where my Nan and my Great Aunty’s souls are resting. I’ve been thinking about my Nanny a lot recently; she passed away in 2010 and although I was relatively young at the time, I still have vivid memories of some of the time she spent in the Hospice. She would have been 80 this July. She was a wonderful, selfless woman who had been dealt a pretty tough hand in life but who never in my lifetime complained or felt sorry for herself. I think her grandchildren were the light of her life. She’s been gone for almost half of my life but I still love being in Brighton and feeling close to her, knowing she’d be so proud of what I’m doing and so happy to have me nearby if she was still alive.

This post is intended to be thoughtful rather than maudlin. I know it seems a little sad but as soon as the prompt word ‘donut’ came up, it made me think of hot donuts on Brighton Pier and all the memories associated with that.

Oddly enough, I don’t find myself on the pier all that often (something I need to rectify!), but when I do, I always make sure to get a hot donut for old time’s sake. It’s important to live in the present and to look forward to the future, but sometimes remembering the past, in the people in it, can be a joyful and uplifting experience.

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Me and my Mummy on Brighton’s Palace Pier, 12th March 2017
Posted in May, Myself and I (2019)

May 2nd – Stars

This is a little bit of a cheat post in terms of May, Myself and I but I’m still shoe-horning the prompt word in there and you can’t fault me for trying!

It’s my post for May 2nd, the second day of May, Myself and I, but I’m actually writing it late in the evening of Friday 3rd May. I’ve had an unexpectedly busy couple of days involving mechanics, hospitals and lots of driving. I won’t go into detail about the hospital part other than to say that one of my relatives was rushed to hospital on Thursday evening but I saw him today and for the most part he’s okay.

As for the mechanics, oh boy do I have a story to tell. I’ve just realised this actually feels a little like deja vu, as it was a little over a year ago that I was writing on this blog about car troubles I had back in Australia.

A little while ago, my beloved Mazda 2 called Bex started making some funny noises when I put my foot on the brake pedal. If I was sensible and a bit more with it, I’d have phoned the garage as soon as it started but as it happened, I carried on tootling around, doing my thing and ignoring the noise. A few days ago, I noticed it had gotten worse. I phoned up the local dealer (not a branch I’ve used before, as I’ve not had any issues with it since I’ve lived in Brighton), who said they could book me in to have it looked at on the 10th May.

“The tenth?” I questioned. “I was really hoping you could see it before then because it’s the brakes and they’re obviously quite important..” I was told that the 10th was the earliest they could see it, but being the trusting person I am, I figured that if they were happy to make me wait that long knowing the problem, maybe it wasn’t as concerning as I had thought.

Fast forward to Thursday when I phoned up the dealer in Salisbury, knowing that I was coming home that night for an impromptu visit. I explained the situation to them and asked whether they could squeeze me in whilst I was home. At this point I was told not to drive the car (and certainly not to drive it 90 miles down the motorway) and to call roadside assistance for someone to have a look at it. The upshot ended up being that my brakes were knackered, the fact that I’d been driving with them like that was “very dangerous” (quote; the mechanic, 2k19) and it needed to be sorted ASAP.

Somewhat ironically, it ended up going to the same garage that I had initially phoned and they saw it and repaired it the very same day! 24 hours and £370 later, I have a new set of brake pads and discs and a much safer car.

What does this all have to do with stars, you ask? Well, in hindsight I realise how lucky I was that nothing went wrong with the brakes whilst I was driving. The whole situation was a faff and a pain in the arse but I’m thanking my lucky stars that it cost me money and not my life. Moral of the story guys; contact a garage as soon as something dodgy starts going on with your car, especially if it’s to do with the brakes. And if they fob you off for a booking in two weeks time, call someone else! Don’t take risks!

Posted in May, Myself and I (2019), Vitality London 10,000

May 1st – Running (Shoes)

Look, I know it’s the 2nd of May and only for another 4 minutes (at the time of writing – it’ll probably be the 3rd by the time I publish this). But some unforeseen car-related troubles took up my attention today and I’ve only just sat down and had a chance to write.

The first prompt for May, Myself and I is ‘running’, which is convenient, since that’s what I’ve been writing about anyway! I am not making all that much progress honestly. Since I announced/decided 6 weeks ago that I would do the Vitality 10k, I’ve been unwell TWICE and I know that to have run during those times would have made it worse. I know when I need to let my body rest and recover and not distract it with unnecessary effort. Add to that my very up-and-down motivation and I really don’t think I’ve run as much as I should’ve done.

What I have done however, is go out and buy myself a pair of proper running shoes. The trainers I’ve been wearing up until now are the ones that I bought in Chicago in January 2017, when I was on holiday and had forgotten to take my trainers with me, but had all the rest of my gym kit. They are not specifically running shoes and they’re not tailored to my feet.

At the recommendation of my Aunty Sara, who’s been running for around 10 years, I went to a shop called Runners Need to get a gait analysis done. They have a few branches around the UK, I went to the one in The Lanes in Brighton. In this free service, they put you on a treadmill and ask you to run at a steady pace and film you for about 15-20 seconds. Their trained staff then watch back over the video frame by frame to see how you run. The staff member who served me (I think he was called Terry), was super helpful and really knowledgable. A runner himself and a coach at Lewes Running Club, I felt like I could trust his advice. Have a look at this link to find out more about gait analysis. https://www.runnersneed.com/expert-advice/gear-guides/gait-analysis.html

I was told that I have a ‘neutral’ gait, which means my ankles don’t roll in too much or too little. Excellent news really! This means that a pair of neutral shoes is suitable for me, rather than anything with a lot of corrective support, and I invested in a Swiss brand called ‘On’ (although in their logo, the O looks like a Q, which Toby [my product designer boyfriend] would say is poor logo design). The shoe is called ‘Cloud’ and it’s super comfortable and really lightweight. I haven’t tried them on a proper outdoor run yet but they always let you do a test run on the treadmill in the shoes before you buy them. I was hoping to take them out for a spin today but other events took over. My new plan is to go tomorrow and I’ll let you know how I get on with them.

One other thing I’ve liked from Runners Need is their online material. They have an ‘advice and inspiration’ section on their website which is kind of like a blog/selection of articles about a range of subjects, from training tips and injury recovery to nutrition and gait analysis. If you’re a runner, I’d recommend checking them out because they’re pretty interesting and could be useful to you!

Check in in about 30 minutes for my May 2nd post! And keep watching out for updates on my running!

(NB: I don’t really need to say this ’cause I’m definitely not important enough for this to be a concern, but I haven’t been paid or given anything by Runners Need to say nice things about them.)