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RED January ~ The Good the Beyoncé and the Flamincorn (Days 7-13)

When I started this running blog back in January of 2018, I always wanted it to be an authentic account of my running journey. No sugar coating. No making things look better than they were. Just me, being myself and writing as if I were talking with a friend. So this week… let’s just say it’s uber authentic…

Also, after writing my post last week on Should Guide Runners Receive a Medal Too I’ve been thinking how I’d really like to get involved with helping blind people in sports so if you’ve got any tips or advice let me know!

Disclaimer: This post has affiliate links, which means if you choose to buy through my links I receive a commission at no extra cost to you! I’ll only ever link products that I absolutely love and use, thank you for supporting me.

TOTAL MILES THIS WEEK = 10
TOTAL RED JANUARY MILES = 22

RED Day 7 >>> 1.1 miles >>> What day/ year is it again?

I did not want to go out for tonight’s run, I left work later than normal and got stuck in traffic so I lost an hour of my evening. As is customary for me, I ate 4 Quality Street chocolates and a banana, put my big girl pants on and went out. I programmed 1k into my watch but I really wanted to make it to a mile so I did push a little further.

There I was feeling all accomplished and came home to eat dinner and watch Silence of the Lambs… Clarice sure is a good trail runner she needs to give me some tips!

I feel like I’m getting sick though (if you know me I’m always sick so this is nothing new). I feel hot one minute then cold and I have a runny nose and a scratchy throat… this can’t stop me from completing the challenge!

Managed another fastest mile! Only another 2:40 to take off my best PB… off to sew another button on BRB (I may or may not have stabbed myself in the hand many times during this challenge… 7 minimum).

Fastest mile of 2019 so far…

RED Day 8 >>> 1.5 miles >>> Sleeping vs running

I had a terrible night sleep last night and had a headache when I got home from work. I put dinner in the oven which gave me half an hour to go out and get back. Except I put my trainers on and sat on the sofa for 15 minutes and nearly fell asleep!

Run was uneventful, highlights included nearly being run over on a pedestrian crossing (because the rules of the road don’t apply to everyone), meowing hello back to a cat and running a little faster when I got it in my mind someone was following me (thanks to yesterday’s Silence of the Lambs).

It was on the chilly side again tonight but I managed my minimum mile distance. An early night is in order I think. Zzzzzzzz

RED Day 9 >>> 1.0 mile >>> Only 22 days left but who is counting

When it’s 2 degrees outside and it’s so so warm indoors, how do you drag yourself out to go for a run? What I do is procrastinate by doing many things I don’t want to do less than I want to go out for a run and finally run out of things to do and then finally get out there!

I decided to do my usual mile run route backwards. At first, it felt exhilarating like a brand new route! It wasn’t quite so exhilarating when I was running the wrong way down my usual pathway and because it was so dark and I didn’t know the path, I kept veering off into the grass. The lights from cars driving past were making me lose my bearings and my eyes were playing tricks on me.

I felt like I wanted to run a little further than a mile but my knees were really painful and I’d put the oven on before I left so I felt like I should head back.

In other news! I received my Flamincorn 5k virtual medal today and it’s so pretty and sparkly and I wanted to wear it on my run for some motivation but I was worried I might knock my teeth out! The medal was delivered really quickly, I ran my 5k on Sunday and submitted it that afternoon via www.virtualracinguk.co.uk.

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In even more news, I also received my race pack for the London Winter 10k, which is going to be a logistical nightmare to get to and I really didn’t think this through properly. I originally only signed up because I thought the medal was awesome (thanks Instagram for giving me medal envy).

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So, an unpleasant side effect that I’ve been experiencing since day 6 of RED January is stomach pains. They come on shortly after I’ve completed my run and continue through the evening until I go to sleep at night. Then by the next morning, I feel absolutely fine, until after my run again the next day.

I’ve been running consistently now for about 2 years and I’ve trained for half marathons, trail runs, dozens of 10ks, I’ve done races back to back in one weekend multiple times and I’ve never experienced this before. To say it’s annoying is an understatement!

If they could just go away now, that would be great, thanks so much.

RED Day 10 >>> 2.5 miles >>> Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be… Beyoncé

What a great run I had tonight! I think it had a lot to do with my playlist which was an old running Spotify playlist I had and I forgot just how great some of those tunes were! Obviously, there was ‘Who Run The World’ which gave me the opportunity to run and sing at the same time!

If you’ve been running for a while you’ll know that some days are like this. Other days you’ll feel like the worst runner ever and feel like giving up but it’s these days that make it worthwhile. So I highly recommend if your motivation is a little low, throw on your favourite music and get out there I guarantee you won’t regret it.

This also lead to a January PB mile time of 9:34 which is by far the fastest mile I’ve run so far in this challenge!

RED Day 11 >>> 0.68 mile >>> Give me all the M&Ms

I didn’t finish work until sooooo late today and I accidentally ate an entire bag of M&Ms on the journey home. I’m sure this isn’t why you started reading this blog to hear about all of my bad snack habits but yet here I am sharing them anyway. Not the M&Ms they’re all mine I’m not sharing those!

Yesterday I felt like Beyoncé and today I feel like one of the lesser known ones in Destiny’s Child…

I think this is my shortest run EVER, including the time I took my Labrador out and she pulled me to the ground when she saw another dog just around the corner from my house and we turned around and came back home, but I didn’t get out until 9pm.

Today we had our first RED January event at work but it wasn’t overly successful, unfortunately. We played ‘Guess the Weight’ and had some fitness equipment for people to estimate how much it all weighed. The prize was a shiny gold medal (obviously 100% real) and we tried to put the emphasis on the awareness/ charity aspect rather than the ‘winning something’ aspect.

Next week we are going to run a plank and hula hoop challenge so fingers crossed we’ll get more people involved!

Later in the evening, even though I’m a proper grown up, I still like to learn the dance routines to music videos. I’ve done this as long as I can remember the first one being PJ & Duncan Let’s Get Ready to Rhumble but some of my most recent favourites are Justin Bieber’s Sorry and Kiesza’s Hideaway. What can I say, I love music and I love dancing and you’re never too old for that!

RED Day 12 >>> 1.0 mile >>> Sponsored by my pyjamas

Ok, so today didn’t go exactly to plan. I’ve been suffering this week, mostly while at work, with palpitations and no amount of Badger Sleep Balm and breathing has been helping. Here’s the link to the Badger Sleep Balm I absolutely love the smell of it as it’s very calming to me. In the spirit of RED January, I’ve been walking at lunchtime and I can tell you, it helps a ton.

Anyway, I didn’t go out for today’s run until 8pm and I ran in my pyjamas (they look like leggings so I feel like I could get away with it when it’s dark)! I pre-ran a bath before I left and made a cup of peppermint tea for when I got back so I had something great to look forward to.

I grabbed my torch and just went out and ran as far as I felt happy with. Obviously being January, it was pitch black but I feel pretty safe in my neighbourhood but I also love watching horror films which isn’t particularly conducive to happily running alone and feeling like I wouldn’t be kidnapped or some creature wearing a mask might kill me… You’ve got to pick your battles I guess.

RED Day 13 >>> 2.7 miles >>> It happened

Nothing much eventful about today’s run, I did a walk warm up for around 3 mins. My knees were giving me a little bit of trouble at the start but it soon eased off.

The worst part about today’s run was my calves. I did a little walk on an incline and it really knocked my calves for 6. I had trouble getting running so I had to do some stretches before I could get running again.

The wind wasn’t particularly in my favour on the last mile but it wasn’t cold so that was something. Followed up my run with a nice dairy-free butter crisp sandwich!

While I’m not particularly happy with my overall mileage this week I am happy that I went out every day even if it was at 9pm some nights! I want to try and avoid injury though so I think keeping the mileage low might be a smart idea.

If you’re taking part in RED January, how have you found this week? What has been motivating you to go out every day?

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How I conquered Run Every Day January (Days 1-6)

Wow what a first week for RED January! I was smug for a day, then felt the opposite of smug, then totally broken, what a challenge this is! I also quickly came to the conclusion that I’d rather go out and run every day than sew a button onto my RED January t-shirt! I’m so awful at stitching, I thought this was going to be a much bigger challenge for me every day!

TOTAL MILES –> 12

If you haven’t heard about RED January yet, click link here where there’s tons of information on how you can get involved and what the aim of it is.

If you want to donate to this fantastic charity, please click the link https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/red-january-2019-57705432-194b-4cb3-b46c-8d38bd30bb81

In summary, it’s not just a January challenge, it’s been developed to improve mental health at a time when many people can feel low and money is tight after the Christmas period. In conjunction with the mental health charity Mind, it aims to promote physical activity by challenging you to run every day.

RED Day 1 >>> 2.78 miles >>> I’ve missed running

It’s been literally 2 months since I ran at all so my plan for my first run of 2019 is a steady slow one!

I did a nice long walk warmup for around half a kilometre and then got into what I can only describe as a gentle jog. Ooh this is nice, why haven’t I run for so long…?

Then my girl boss badass song came on Spotify (Demi Lovato’s Sorry Not Sorry if you’re wondering) and boy was I feeling pumped. I was singing along and having a great time and then BAM… crikey, I didn’t realise how unfit I’d gotten! This used to be my easy short route!

So, because I’m the sensible type (I’m going for the long haul here so cannot get injured!), I eased off the running and did more of a jog/ walk for the entire run and it actually felt pretty great. The weather was warm for January, the wind was minimal and I just enjoyed being outside and listening to some tunes.

Back at home I did a short stretch sequence which I’m terrible for neglecting usually.

I’m not sure whether I’m living in a parallel universe, a bit like Bandersnatch that I unashamedly played 6 times in 2 days, but when I completed my run it had logged it for 11.55pm on 20 December! Come on Garmin get it together! I did get a ‘night owl’ badge though so….. ok it doesn’t count but hey!

I’m learning Spanish so I’ve changed all of my devices to be Spanish!

Based entirely on this one run alone, I am thinking this challenge is going to be easy. Let’s see how it goes when I don’t have the day off and I’m back to reality and flying by the seat of my pants like normal!

Injuries: my right outside foot felt a bit off and by the end of the run the top of my right foot felt iffy too!

Not really an injury but my gosh we’re my legs and knees sore come the evening. Going downstairs, no thanks I’ll stay up here for now.

How I felt before: not too bad actually, I’d say I was in a good mood and felt happy and optimistic for the New Year.

How I felt after: mood stayed the same except I felt a little more badass than before. Tried not to feel too low that I’m starting from scratch again.

On the back of your RED January T-shirt there’s a calendar for you to ‘check off’ the days that you’ve worked out which is a nice idea. I intended to buy some iron on stars for each day but they were super expensive so I rooted around in my loft and found these really cute buttons which I’m going to sew on.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had to sew anything and this was much more troublesome than I imagined it would be!

RED Day 2 >>> 1.01 miles >>> no squats for me today

My legs… just… no stairs for me please I just can’t! Puts into perspective just how unfit I’ve let myself get, yesterday wasn’t a long run by any stretch of the imagination!

What a contrast to yesterday’s run! It was freezing cold and I ended up with a Rudolph red nose to go with my RED T-shirt. I’m going to try and make a mile my minimum daily distance but I’ll be happy getting out at all some days.

Also I’m getting better at sewing on buttons already!

I spent the afternoon and evening working and when I went to get up… I felt like an 80 year old woman… Yesterday I thought this challenge was going to be easy but I’m not so sure about this now. I read another blog post of someone who participated in RED January last year, who was a much more prolific runner than I am, and she said it nearly broke her! Eek!

On Instagram I’ve seen some people sign up for the 2019 miles in 2019 and I thought this would be a heck of a challenge! That’s 5.5 miles every day and I struggled to do one today! Perhaps I’ll leave that for the more seasoned runners…

Mood before: pretty good, if a little tired

Mood after: super cold but feeling energetic!

RED Day 3 >>> 3.04 miles >>> I feel broken already

I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I feel broken already with this challenge and I’m only on day 3! When I put my running shoes on, I felt a little bit of discomfort on one of my feet, a little like if you’ve been wearing a backpack all day and you put it back on.

The weather was overcast and so so cold today, what a grey depressing January day it was! I planned to go out for one short mile but, as oftentimes does happen, I get the idea in my head that I’m going to go further once I’m out there.

Not only that, but I decided I’d go up my nemesis hill (I’ve also affectionally nicknamed it the ‘Batman Hill’ because on Strava the elevation looks like Batman!).

I felt great… then awful… then great again all within 3 miles. Also, I found a new found appreciation for having a shower after a run… isn’t it glorious!

Mood before: a little bit drained

Mood after: felt happy that I’d gone much further than I planned and felt pretty great

Later on in the evening, I literally felt like I’d been stomped on across every part of my body. Wasn’t I the cocky one 2 days ago thinking this was going to be easy!

RED Day 4 >>> 1.01 miles >>> not quite as broken

I felt much better today, I didn’t feel quite so ‘stomped on’ which can only be a good thing! I’ve been reading other stories of runners getting involved in RED January and I’m so inspired by everyone it makes wanting to continue very easy.

I went out for a leisurely 1 mile but honestly even that felt difficult. It was freezing cold out again today which makes breathing in just that bit more difficult!

Mood before: a little exhausted

Mood after: tons more energy to get my chores done and warm up of course ✅

I think it’s easy sometimes to forget why we are all joining in with this challenge as you get swept away with the days and miles but I am very keen to keep promoting the mental health aspect of this challenge as much as the challenge itself.

So with that in mind (no pun intended) I took as many tips from as many different places as I could get my eyeballs on. I updated my company Yammer page, I helped get the incentive out into our workplace as much as possible, we ran mini challenges, I promoted it on Instagram, Twitter and my blog here. I told everyone that would listen, I joined the Strava group and updated my posts with ‘RED January’.

Of course there are people that don’t want to be helped for many reasons. You can’t force people into doing physical activity. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink as they say. I can’t make him drink, but I can raise awareness of this brilliant challenge and provide people with as much information and support that they want.

There’s a whole community of people out there who want to help themselves, each other and everyone else. My favourite community is the one on Instagram. Search for the hashtag #REDJanuary and you’ll find a whole host of posts to motivate you and make some friends along the way.

I saw on Instagram that there are 60k people signed up for RED January this year which is just absolutely amazing!

RED Day 5 >>> 1.03 miles >>> Looks like we’re running again today!

This is a short summary of my day > wake up late > work until 3pm > have a scheduled 30-minute snooze > have a really weird dream > get woken up abruptly by my house rabbit stamping > procrastinate for an hour > decide that it’s too cold to warm up on my run > have a dance party in my living room (I didn’t learn Drake’s In My Feelings dance routine for nothing you know) > feel like that was a workout enough > go out for a run anyway

The run was pretty tough I’m not going to lie, although it wasn’t as cold as yesterday, it still was difficult breathing in and I left it so late in the day it was dark when I finally went out. I managed to grasp a 2019 PB but I feel that I’m so far away from my old mile PB which was 8 minutes on the dot that I might never see it again.

Mood before: pretty down and lethargic. Even had the thought ‘would anyone even know if I didn’t go out for a run today’.

Mood after: after my little dance party and run I was feeling happy and energetic. I even had a little impromptu Mary Poppins sing along because Spoon Full of Sugar popped into my head (and now I have a sore throat, I’m no Julie Andrews).

‘The mile most fast’

 

RED Day 6 >>> 3.1 miles >>> Virtual 5k Run

This was the toughest run I’ve had so far this month. It felt difficult, I felt very lethargic and my ankles felt horrible. It probably doesn’t help that I had 3 Quality Street chocolates before I left, which I don’t recommend as a pre-run snack!

I had decided that today was going to be my 5k Virtual Run day with https://www.virtualracinguk.co.uk for the Flamingunicorn medal, which is so cute so I set my watch for 5k and just went out there and did the best I could physically do.

Longest run

I followed up my run with Yoga with Adriene which was a nice end to this week.

Honestly, I don’t feel great today so it’s a bit of a low note to end on but I did run every day and did a total of 12 miles so that’s the main thing.

How have you got on with your first week of RED January? My main goal for the rest of the week is not to get injured so I can continue with the challenge.

My sewing skills throughout the week!

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Getting REaDy for RED January

I first heard about RED January from people I was following on my Instagram account. I had serious FOMO (fear of missing out) and I wished I’d heard about it earlier so I could do it too!

If you don’t know what RED January is all about, let me tell you more. First of all, don’t be put off by the Run Every Day January slogan. The aim of the initiative is to support your mental health by doing something active every day, this could be walking, running, swimming, cycling, basically anything that gets you moving this January. They’ve also partnered up with the leading mental health charity, Mind, to help raise funds towards the vital work providing information and support.

If you want to donate to this fantastic charity please click this link

There’s no doubt that there are positive effects from physical activity on your mental health and we all know that January can be a challenging time. It’s cold, it’s dark, we’re getting over the Christmas season/ holiday lbs and we’re also broke!

Following RED January 2018, 87% of REDers reported feeling significantly better physically and mentally after completing the challenge.

I feel very strongly about encouraging others to get out there and be active and seeing others achieve great things too (this is one reason why I started my running Instagram account in the first place, it’s an actual online community that supports each other through the highs and lows of running, so if you’re thinking of setting one up, I’d highly recommend it).

I’m trying to also bring RED January into my workplace by doing fundraising and encouraging people to get out there and do more exercise. So far on the agenda, we have a plank challenge to see who can be the champion plank-er, guess the sports balls in a jar, hula hoop challenge and a quiz. Who out there doesn’t want a happier workforce and colleagues… no-one that’s who.

How am I getting involved in RED January? My plan is to run every day. That actually seems like a pretty terrifying prospect to me. Yes, I’ve run a lot in the past, yes I’ve done a total of 40 races in the last 2 years, but running every day! Sheesh! I’m pretty confident that I can do this though, I’m pretty determined once I put my mind to something. Not only that, when I signed up for RED January, I ordered one of their technical t-shirts for £10 so I can cross off each day that I’ve run. I’m going to purchase some little iron-on stars and stick one of those on every day to make it really pretty as some extra motivation.

This sounds great! How do I sign up? Visit https://redtogether.co.uk/ for more information and to register or https://www.mind.org.uk/redjanuary Both sites have tons of information, resources and ideas on how you can get involved. I’d love to hear about all of you that have signed up already and how you’re going to incorporate activity into your days and sharing this journey with you. I’d highly recommend following the hashtag #REDJanuary on Instagram so you can see other people who are taking part too and join the community.

I’m fully expecting to only run half a mile some days when I have a lot going on, and that’s fine with me, as long as I’m getting out of the door with my trainers on I’ll be happy with that. I have come across a stumbling block already though… my usual running shoes have been sabotaged by my house rabbit, Teddy, and he chewed one of the laces clean off! Luckily though, when you sign up for RED January, they send you a pair of beautiful red shoe laces so I’ll have to pop those on instead.

Here’s what you get in the full pack when you sign up.

If I haven’t convinced you already, go to the RED January or Mind websites, check them out and I’m sure you’ll feel inspired and look forward to January as much as I am! What a way to kick off your 2019 New Year’s Resolutions!