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

Creativity for Creativity’s Sake

Full disclosure: This one ain’t about running. The next one will be though!

Since March last year, I’d been putting off writing on this blog because it was originally about my travels in Australia and I figured anything else I had to say was kind of irrelevant and not worth sharing. Then I decided to do the Vitality 10k and figured that that’s an adventure worth writing about and I can loosely tie it in to the travelling by playing on the fact that it’s a training ‘journey’.

But the truth is, running and travelling aren’t the only things I want to write about. I love writing. I’ve been privately writing fiction based on dreams or thoughts or things I overhear for years. I once started a blog under a false name which you will never find so don’t go looking. The point is, sometimes I want to do it for the sake of it and the love of it, not just because I have a specific thing to document.

I will still be writing about my Vitality 10k journey of course, and with four weeks to go, I’m going to be ramping it up somewhat. But I’m going to try something else for a while too.

In my first post about Vitality 10k, I cited Gi Fletcher as an inspiration. Well, her sister-in-law has long been an inspiration to me too, mainly because she’s a fantastic actor, but also cause she’s just really cool and interesting. She’s embarking on a project this month which she has coined ‘May, Myself and I’ where she creates a video for YouTube each day in May. It’s not as simple as just making a vlog about her day though; Carrie has a list of 31 prompts, one for each day’s video. She’s shared the list of prompts and encouraged her viewers and followers to join in in whatever way they feel like. So this is how I’m going to do it. I’m going to write a blog post each day in May, based on the prompts which Carrie has chosen to use for her videos.

Conveniently, she’s also running the Vitality 10k and her first prompt for the month is ‘running’… so watch this space for my latest update!

If anyone else is interested in joining in, I’d love for my friends to get involved so I’ve linked Carrie’s video below.

Posted in Vitality London 10,000

Best Day Yet at My Home Gym

Apologies for the quietness over the last week. I’ll be totally candid and say that it’s because I haven’t worked out. My mental health and fitness are fatally intertwined in the sense that working out makes me feel better but if I’m not feeling great, I can’t bring myself to workout. And I’ve had a week where I just couldn’t get myself there.

I didn’t beat myself up too much though on the basis that I knew I’d be coming home for the Easter break this week and would be able to use my favourite and original gym. And today I did! AND it was my best workout yet.

I followed the same workout structure but stretched it out to 40 minutes, alternating between running and walking. It was meant to be 5 minutes of each all the way through but I lost track of time at one point and did a six minute lap and a 4 minute lap. But that means I ran for a total of 20 minutes and my longest continuous streak was 6 minutes. And I felt good doing it! It’s true that the first run is by far the most painful and that the pain reduces with each subsequent go. Today I felt confident that I could push myself without it feeling like I might not be able to handle the extra.

Now, 4 hours later, as I’m sat at my computer writing this, my lower back and hips are aching so my next task is to find out how to reduce that side effect.

Now that I’m home for a couple of weeks and can use Parkwood Gym, my aim is to go at least 3 times a week and to make a small improvement each time (as I have done so far). Next week I have a PT session booked in with my lovely friend Charley at Parkwood, who I used to work with and who is so passionate about her job as a PT. I’m excited to have her input and will let you know how it goes!

Posted in Vitality London 10,000

Vacancy: Gym-Buddies Needed!

Part-time position, hours negotiable. Open to males and females of any age. Must be enthusiastic and reliable. Payment in smoothies and eternal gratitude.

I have never been good at self-motivation. If I don’t feel like doing something, I probably won’t do it. The only thing you can guarantee getting me out of bed in the morning for is work and that’s only because I’ll be punished if I don’t and the other thing I’m not good at is confrontation!

The fact that I’ve signed up for this 10k and have managed three workouts in a week is a bloody miracle! The excitement and sense of achievement is a big motivator, I won’t deny, and it’s certainly got me to the gym so far. But, what I’d love is for someone to come with me and shout at me about what a great job I’m doing!

Last week, when I did those first two stints on the treadmill, the people next to me must’ve thought I was nuts if they could hear me under my breath muttering, “Go on girl, you can do it, just 30 seconds left, yes that’s it, you got this…” etc etc. Much less embarrassing when someone else says all of that to you!

Teamwork makes the dream work; they said it in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and I’m saying it now. Whether it’s someone to motivate me through, or someone who’ll convince me to get out of bed when I don’t feel like it, or just someone who’ll join me in the sauna after a session, I’d love to have people support me on this journey. I’ve got friends who just like gyming and friends who’re doing or have done courses or degrees in sport/personal training/fitness. Whether you’re one of those or something in between, or if you’re a stranger reading this who either lives in Brighton or Salisbury – get in touch! If you’re a friend I haven’t spoken to in years but you want to help me on this journey, reach out!

I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Vitality London 10,000

First Week Round-Up

If the next 9 weeks go by as quickly as this one has then I’m gonna blink and it’ll be race day!

I’ve always been fairly on top of my fitness but as a runner, I am a complete beginner. When deciding whether this was really a good idea, I had to tell myself that if I could run around the athletics track in Year 11 to warm up before a PE lesson then surely I can still do that much and work up to this 10k. The fact that that was 5 years ago is but a minor hitch!

Despite my nerves, I’ve done 3 runs this week, and I am so proud of myself.

Run the First

I got home from uni last Monday (before posting the first blog about this – I wanted to make sure there was some chance of this happening before I committed online!) and before I could change my mind, I put on my trainers and headed back out the front door. Opposite my house in Brighton, there’s a little cul de sac so I decided to head in there and give this running a go. The residents probably thought I was staking the place out for a burglary; there’s not far to go in a cul de sac other than round in a circle! I was out for maybe 10 minutes and I didn’t even run for all of that, it was part walking. But the first step is the hardest to take and that’s the one I knew I needed to get on with. I just wanted to see what, if anything, I was starting with.

Run the Second

The second attempt had a bit more structure to it. On Thursday afternoon, I went to the Gym and got myself on the treadmill. One of the reasons I’ve never done much running is because of a problem with my left knee where my patella (knee cap) doesn’t track in a straight line, as it should. Basically, I’m wonky. It’s been okay for a couple of years but when it was at its worst, the impact of running was unbearable and I got into the habit of using the cross-trainer instead. It’s been my best friend for cardio ever since. Alas, when gearing up for a 10k, one must make amends with the treadmill. So, on I hopped, and started with a walk to warm up. I’d checked out some of the advice on the Vitality London 10,000 website and there’s a beginners 10 week plan on there which I’m using for inspiration. Interspersing running with walking is the main gist of that, so I experimented with my own little routine, which ended up as follows:

5 minutes walking (to warm up)

3 minutes running

2 minutes walking

3 minutes running

4 minutes walking (Guess where I started to get tired!)

3 minutes running

5 minutes walking (to cool down)

A total of 9 minutes running out of 25 doesn’t sound like much, but for me, it felt like a massive win! I did a little bit of weight training after that, and headed home feeling victorious.

And what did I do the very next morning? I got up and went to the gym again (don’t get carried away, it was 11am – I am still a student!). I did the same thing but managed to push myself a little bit. The second set of 3 minutes became 3.5 and the third became 4 minutes. That’s a minute and a half increase!

I took the weekend off to let my body recover and tomorrow I intend to be back at it. Week 2, let’s be ‘aving ya!

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I have no shame about taking gym selfies!
Posted in Vitality London 10,000

10 Weeks to 10k

On this day a year ago, I returned from my amazing trip to Australia, all 3 months of which, I documented on this blog.

Today, I’m going to start documenting an entirely different, but (hopefully) as exciting and fulfilling journey…

But first, a word of context. Someone who really inspires me in the area of body confidence is Giovanna Fletcher, author, actress, wife of McFly’s Tom Fletcher and mother to three adorable (according to Instagram) little boys. Giovanna, who tends to be known as Gi, knows that even though her body may not look ‘perfect’ according to society’s ideals, it’s done so much for her and deserves to be loved and taken care of. One of Gi’s body’s achievements is giving birth to her three children and if you’re familiar with any of her work, you’ll know this is what she’s most proud of.

I haven’t been all that happy about my body in the last few months. I’ve always had issues with my back and my knees, I regularly see a chiropractor to keep my spine from crying, and recently I’ve felt so lethargic and lacking in energy. Things like exhaustion, headaches and lack of sleep come as symptoms of my poor mental health. And while they won’t officially diagnose me with asthma, I use a Ventolin inhaler to keep me from wheezing when I exert myself a little too much. My body may be keeping me alive but sometimes I feel like it doesn’t let me do much more than that.

I want to do something to remind myself how amazing my body actually is and what it’s capable of, and give myself a chance to nurture it while also giving it a gentle push to get its act together!

Obviously, bearing children is not part of my immediate plan, so I can’t use the same approach as Gi Fletcher, but I can attempt something else. I’ve decided to run the London Vitality 10000; a 10k race, taking place on 27th May.

I think it will be an important and challenging experience for me, plus I miss writing something that isn’t lecture notes, so I’m going to write about my training journey on this blog (Pipe down, I never said it would be exclusively a travel blog!).

The run is in 10 weeks, so I’ll be starting from scratch and publishing plenty of posts about how I’m getting on. Also, if you’ve done anything like this yourself (Mickie, I’m looking at you), I’d LOVE your advice. As someone who doesn’t usually run unless it’s for a bus, I’ll be needing as much help as I can get.

(Featured image courtesy of https://www.vitalitylondon10000.co.uk/)