Procrastinating over Crimbo…

13 Dec

I love Christmas. I really do. However, I find it increasingly difficult to combine crimbo and normal life.

An ‘all or nothing’ kind of girl anyway, I want to indulge in Christmas; revel in buying thoughtful presents, write all my cards in one enjoyable and timely session (accompanied by ageing but classic Christmas tunes) and spend cosy afternoons curled up with N and Reg in front of a xmas film while the perfect Christmas weather forms outside (bright, cold and a light dusting of snow, if you’re interested ;) ) However, life just doesn’t want to give me the time to do this this year and I find myself trying to squeeze Christmas into a packed schedule – grabbing 5 mins to pen a card, picking up a Christmas tree on the way back from a run (still pretty proud of my multitasking here though), hammering google for present ideas at the end of the day and, if I am not careful, the 27th Dec is going to be here before I know it and I am going to have missed out on my VERY favourite time of the year.

So, I have made a decision to stop waiting for Crimbo ‘proper’ to start, make time to get the important bits done and embrace the season as fully as I can over the next 10 days; ‘Crimbo Express’ starts here and now (well probably tomorrow evening to be fair as it is getting late) ;)

Tomorrow, we will find out the results of the Asics Target 26.2 competition. Whatever happens, it has been a great experience so far and I feel very fortunate to have been shortlisted and have met such a great group of people. If I was to be successful, then marathon training would start on Boxing Day. What better reason to make a commitment to enjoy the festive season with immediate effect!

Merry Christmas everyone :) x

Quick run, quick post…

12 Dec

Not sure where today has gone but, on days like today, it makes me glad that I try to get my weekday runs knocked out in the morning. I love running in the morning; that feeling of having brekkie knowing that, ‘exercise wise’, you are done for the day is great. My biggest issue however, is being able to push myself first thing.

I find much more pleasure in a long, slow run than in discovering my lactic limits. A fast twitch aficionado, N loves nothing more than pushing himself until a lactic wave washes over him – “…what is the point if it doesn’t make you feel sick?!”  Me? I’m a slow twitch kinda girl; sickness and exercise not a good combo in my world. I’d take a 10 miler over a sprint session any day. However, I have to admit the feeling after a hard run is pretty good, particularly when you make it home in half the time.

So this morning, in the interests of compromise, I mixed up my 4 mile run by adding in periods of speedier running. Averaged just over 8 min miles and felt really good on my return so maybe this is the way forward? Just need to find the desire and resolve to do this more often, particularly when it is dark and cold and the majority of South Birmingham are snuggled under their duvets.

Mixing up my running world is one of the main reasons that I would love to win the Asics 26.2 competition. In what has been one hectic week, I have fulfilled a commitment (made by me, kept by me) to post a short blog everyday and, I can assure you that I would bring the same level of dedication to the team and my own goals. If you fancy voting for me:

Register with runner’s world at http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/members/join.asp 

Validating your account through the email they send you.

THEN, visiting  http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/competitions/win-our-christmas-gift-guide-/374.html and vote for me.

P.s. for anyone following the fridge saga. New fridge secured and being delivered on Friday. Only 3 more days of garden refrigeration. Better stay below 5 degrees for the rest of the week! :)

Stretchy Sunday!

11 Dec

After a 13 mile effort yesterday, today is a ‘rest day’ for me . Well a rest from running anyway. It was, in fact, anything other than restful with a lengthy search for a replacement fridge and a new car. Progress is slow but I think that we are making headway on our refrigeration and transportation portfolio. Not the most inspirational way to spend the one day a week that N and I have off together but necessary none the less. The novelty of fetching in the milk from the garden is wearing a bit thin now!

Today had previously been reserved for the Christmas tree purchase and a lazy afternoon in front of Christmas movies - now that sounds more like it! Fortunately, half of this was covered yesterday when I managed to, almost literally, pick up a tree on my run home (running has SO many benefits) and so Target ‘Crimbo Spirit’ wasn’t a complete bust (plus Elf is now on Sky+ ;))

Aside from this, I mentioned to N that my lower back was quite stiff towards the end of my run yesterday; this immediately resulted in him checking the flexibility of my glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings etc and me recalling the great physio advice that Sarah Connors had offered at Bootcamp. As a Sports Science graduate and a regular consumer of physio for the last 12 years during his rugby career, N is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to physio and biomechanics. Much to his dismay however, I always tend to be more receptive to external advice particularly that which I have paid for! The fact that N’s and Sarah’s approach corresponded almost identically, made me truly appreciate that I am really lucky to have a fantastic and patient source of advice at home.

So here I am, on a Sunday night, with a new set of stretches (a combo of Sarah’s tips and N’s advice). I, like many other runners, probably don’t stretch enough and tend to get more focused on this only when I start to feel a niggle. So here’s to an early New Year’s Resolution – No. 1 – daily stretching…and this is one resolution I am absolutely going to have to keep if I am lucky enough to be voted through as one of the Asics Target 26.2 runners.

Under 48 hours left to vote now. If you haven’t already: http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/competitions/win-our-christmas-gift-guide-/374.html 

THANKS!! :)

“Who loves ya, baby?”

10 Dec

Support. Important, isn’t it? I think so!

I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that I have been running with Cocks Moors Woods Ladies for just over a year now. For many years before that I had wanted to join a running club but had been too nervous to bite the bullet. Was I good enough? Would I have to enter races? Would everyone be ‘proper’ runners? I can’t tell you how pleased I am that I eventually started running with this fantastic group of women.

They steadfastly supported me through my first marathon experience – VLM 2011 – gently building my confidence, offering me an outlet for all of my questions (I spent a good few runs simply debating the merits of a variety of gels!), and kindly tailoring our ‘group run’ routes so I could ‘add on’ some extra miles etc as necessary. All of this for someone who essentially they had just met. This not only made a massive impact on my marathon experience but also taught me how social running can be and how positive it can be to share a lone pursuit with others.

Being supported feels great and I am not only blessed to have CMW but I also have N, my amazing Mum and some good friends who really, really get my obsession with running; however, I genuinely get the greatest satisfaction from being able to support others. Over the summer, a small group from CMW were training for Berlin Marathon. OK, I’ll admit it, it felt good to run long again but my main motivation was being able to ‘pay back’ the support that they had so readily offered me. Suddenly, by being more focused on supporting their goals, I found a real freedom and flexibility in my approach to running, which I had struggled to find before. Did it really matter if I didn’t run non-stop? How much of a problem was it if my Garmin ran out of battery? What was the problem if our route changed from the one we had loosely planned? I hope that my contribution helped them and, in true karma stylee, I was rewarded by smashing my VLM PB by more than 12 minutes in Chester in October. My only regret is that it couldn’t have been with the girls in Berlin…

So here, publicly, I want to say a MASSIVE thank you to the CMW group. You have challenged me, supported me, inspired me and offered me the opportunity, at least twice a week, to truly indulge in my passion with a like-minded group of people. I only hope that if I get through to the final five, I can be an integral support for my Asic’s Target 26.2 fellow runners and, at the same time, bring my increased knowledge and enthusiasm back to the fabulous CMW ladies. PLEASE VOTE FOR ME…

P.s. Thanks for the run this morning Ladies; a great way to spend an arctic morning…and I’m particularly grateful you didn’t disown me in my special high vis hat. Probably not really necessary after sunrise ;) x

Why can’t every week include a day at ‘Running School’…I’m Missing Bootcamp!

9 Dec

This time last week I was recovering from the Asics Target 26.2 Bootcamp. Fairly randomly, it was held at the University of Birmingham (my regular workplace) but the day couldn’t have been further from my day job! For a running nerd like me it was a day of pure indulgence. OK, so it included a pretty nippy and tiring 5k timed run (which if I’m honest I still enjoyed) but the whole day was totally fab. I met some amazing people (a good number of whom have made it through to the final – good luck Jen, Emma C and Nicole – and some fab people who must have just missed the cut), obtained some brilliant advice, felt I represented my running well and was genuinely excited to be enveloped into a community that thinks and feels the same way that I do about running. Running nerds united!! :) 

It just felt damn good and I was on a high for the whole weekend afterwards. If I hadn’t got through to the final, I would have left feeling privileged to have had the chance to participate in the day and walked away with my head held high (and my nice new Asics rucksack on my back). However, I was fortunate enough to be chosen and now I want this. Bad!

Not just because of the opportunity that it represents – the training  advice, supportive cohort, racing package etc but mainly because when I am immersed in running, I genuinely forget about everything else. Even though essentially Running School was ‘at work’, my ‘to do’ list didn’t cross my mind once! Anyone that knows me will appreciate that this is quite a feat; ‘switching off’ is not something I do easily. Even on a lovely day with N last week, although I felt 100% happy to be there, I still found my Blackberry whispering to me from my bag. Sad I know. Maybe it is because I am in the zone or maybe it is because I don’t have pockets big enough for my BB, but when I am running I totally relax!

In my world, running informs life and life informs running. It is teaching me to be still, in the moment, and it makes me a better person to be around. Please vote for me so that I can embrace this new challenge and work on bringing lessons from ‘Running School’ into our home, the workplace etc. 

Wow, that got a little deeper than I expected! So back to reality, just off to scoff a lovely curry with some good friends – fueling myself up for a nice long early morning run with the Cocks Moors Woods Ladies!

Happy Weekend! :)

What a difference a run makes…

8 Dec

Things are looking up.

We have settled on N’s car and so now all we have to do is ‘go car shopping’, the fridge is undergoing some intensive treatment (long term defrosting), which we hope will be the tonic it needs and I have a shiny new battery in my car – so I am all sorted for those imminent sub-zero winter mornings. There is always a silver lining if you look hard enough ;)

I have just come back from a run and (without going all evangelical on your ass) I am constantly amazed by the refreshing and revitalising impact it can have; particularly when life is a little challenging. It was dark, wet and windy when I set off. It had been a busy day, I hadn’t eaten brilliantly (Xmas lunch season has started in earnest!) and I had fitted in a lot of walking etc. In essence, I was tired. With a busy night in store (mainly 26.2 campaigning – see below and vote for me!),  I knew exactly how long I was going to run for and my planned movements on my return – control freak, me? No! But then that magical thing happened; it flowed, and I ended up running a couple of miles further than I had planned and at a decent pace – 6 miles in just less than 49 mins. Not a bad effort!

I find this tends to happen as mysteriously as when you are up for it, the weather is gorgeous, you feel great, keen even, and then every single step is a mission. One day I will work out the magical formula for these ‘good’ runs; maybe it is a careful combination of hydration, time of day, temperature, fatigue etc or maybe they just happen exactly when you need them! This afternoon, a good colleague was extolling the virtues of ‘low expectations’ (“…you can only be pleasantly surprised”) and I think that maybe she is right. Tonight, everything screamed that my run was going to be tough and I was VERY pleasantly surprised to find the running Gods smiling on me! A cathartic end to the day.

And the biggest silver lining of all, tomorrow is Friday. The weekend is almost in reach…

p.s. if you would like to vote for me to win the fabulous ASICS Target 26.2 competition, then please follow the instructions below. It would make my week! :)

Go to www.runnersworld.co.uk

Sign  Up  (link found in the top right hand corner)  – you will need to be registered  on the site to vote but this will literally take a couple of seconds.  Just  put in your e-mail address and create a password. If for some crazy reason you are not interested in running, you might want to  uncheck all of the boxes so they don’t send you any further comms!
Runner’s World will instantly send you an e-mail entitled ‘member validation’ with a link back to the Runner’s World website. Click on that  hyperlink and you are in!
Visit the following page by copying and pasting the following hyperlink or clicking on the Asics 26.2 Target 26.2 Banner (No. 4) at the top of the page – http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/general/asics-target-262-the-vote/7748.html N.B. Do  not go to this page before registering otherwise it will not let you vote
Scroll to the bottom of the page, click on ‘PB Hunter’
Scroll to the bottom of that page and vote for JADE  by clicking on the button by my name and hitting the submit button

Bye bye Weds 7th Dec – you won’t be missed…

7 Dec

OMG – what a day!!! Today I have wrestled with the following:

•a day so full of meetings I barely had chance to breathe let alone get any work done – not good when my ‘to do’ list appears to be growing by the second

•a poorly fridge who’s health appears to be going downhill rapidly. I fear it could be terminal

•supporting my husband to claim on his insurance and find a new car (his car was written off last week after someone decided to drive into the side of him). We have now been a one car household for a week and it makes you realise just how much we use both of our cars. I dream of being much more sustainable, embracing a regular run to work and relying on one car but with all of our existing commitments the last week has been a challenge to say the least

However, all of this was bearable as it is Weds. On a Weds, I run with my fabulous running group – Cocks Moors Woods Ladies; a chance to destress, download on our respective weeks and look forward to plans for our Sat run. Perfect – just what I needed! Except, as I discovered when I returned to my car with *just* enough time to get to running, I decided that at 7.45am this morning that it would be a good idea to leave my lights on ALL day. Aaaaaahh!!

Cue..flat battery, long (hungry) wait in the cold, several desperate calls to N to work out how I could get home, abandoned vehicle (RAC wait of 3 hours was not appealing) followed by…

…a good friend coming to my rescue, a lovely stir fry cooked by N on my return home, a fabulously warm welcome from Reg and a few sympathetic texts from my running group. Time enough to count my blessings and focus on tomorrow when I will fit in the missing run from tonight!

Tomorrow is another day and one that will hopefully be full of votes…http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/competitions/win-our-christmas-gift-guide-/374.html as well as a run, a long walk to work and a xmas lunch so I promise a cheerier post ;) xxx

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