Let’s Play Never Have I Ever…

If you’re a regular around these parts, you’ll know that my Sunday posts are usually a roundup of the week in terms of what I’ve run.

However, this week I haven’t run at all. Not once. Not even a cursory run or a trot around the block.

So instead, I thought it might be fun to play a well known drinking game, Never Have I Ever, for you to get to know me a little better.

As this is a health and fitness blog, I would suggest that instead of taking a shot of an alcoholic beverage if you have done the thing I’m about to put forth, you take a wheat grass shot or perhaps a chug of your smoothie.

Rules: If you have done any of the things from the list below, take a shot!

Ok let’s get started…

Never Have I Ever… Been intimidated enough to leave a library

If you’re reading this and you know me in real life, I’m sorry I know I haven’t shut up about this!

Me: goes to the library to get some serious work done. Plan is to stay until the library closes at 7.30pm

Reality: 3 middle-aged men turn up at the library around an hour after I’ve arrived. I’m hard at work and managing to get through my to-do list.

When one of them arrives he exclaims “Management are in today then”. I can only imagine he was referring to me as there was not another soul in the library at the time. I was dressed in my work clothes so perhaps I looked like ‘management’ (there’s a first time for everything).

Another of the men says “we’re going to have to be careful what we say today lads”. Again, assuming they’re referring to me being sat there as there is no-one else around.

They then proceeded to have, what I would determine, inappropriate-for-a-library-conversations for the entire time I was sat there. I finally had enough and packed my stuff up and left.

Being ever the problem solver when I shared my dilemma, my work BFF suggested I work from Starbucks instead. What a brilliant idea!

So I headed off to Starbucks and spent a small fortune #SorryNotSorry on a 4 cheese toastie, a berry hot chocolate and a mango ice tea lemonade (all delicious, would highly recommend).

After awkwardly trying to work there for an hour, I decided it was probably best if I headed back to the library because it was likely if I didn’t, I wouldn’t ever return.

I can’t help but feel very indignant about this situation. Call me sensitive but I was very upset with myself that I allowed some grown men to intimidate me enough to make me leave when I had every right to be there just as much as they did.

I couldn’t shake the feeling that if I were a male in the same situation, they perhaps wouldn’t have made any comments at all to me being there.

And why would my being there have any bearing on the types of conversations they felt they could and couldn’t have (incidentally they continued to have them anyway).

A library is a public place where there are people from all walks of life and all ages. However, I felt like I had sat down to a table of guys in a pub.

Yes, I’m still mad about it. Yes, I’m going to keep going on about it. Yes, I feel that this was somehow done intentionally to make me feel uncomfortable. Yes, I feel like females have to go through this sort of thing way more than they should. I was embarrassed, and still am.

Yes! I too have been intimidated in a library: take one shot (healthy, not alcoholic). I’m also going to need some details in the comments below to make me not feel quite so alone in this…

Never Have I Ever… Accidentally dropped my phone in the bath

I spend way too much time in the bath. For some reason I always think that I’ll get much more done if I take a bath rather than shower because I can do two things at the same time… I can’t.

I’ll take all of my work in there, magazines, colouring books and pencils, my laptop to watch Netflix, my notepad in case I’m suddenly struck by inspiration. And I never do any of it.

Today was one of those days though where I was triple-multi-tasking. Bathing, reading a book on social media marketing (picked up at the library I’ll add, don’t get me started again) and trying to take photos of the pages that were of interest to me.

I left my phone on the side of the bath for a minute and it slipped right off into the water! Panic! Oh no, it’s gone right underneath me, it’s getting more wet!

I scooped it out and put it on the side… thank Apple for manufacturing the waterproof iPhone 7 plus. I’ve never tested it before, it works.

Yep, I’m always dropping my phone in the bath: have a nice shot of peppermint tea.

Never Have I Ever… Had vegan ice cream

I’ve lost some of you now haven’t I. I’m not a vegan preacher or a Twitter harasser when it comes to everyone becoming vegan. I’m just trying my best to save some pigs and cows – but that’s for another time!

I was perusing my little Tesco for something nice to eat that I probably shouldn’t (yeah, it’s a healthy blog but I’m human too) and my eyes happened upon some Magnum Vegan ice creams.

When I tell you what I’m about to tell you, you may wish to disown me. I don’t like ice cream! What the…. it’s too cold and it’s too sweet and just… give me cake instead.

So I was kinda hoping they didn’t taste too much like ice cream anyway to be honest! Actually, they do taste like ice cream but they’ve got a much creamier smoother taste and I enjoyed them a lot.

My hunt for more vegan treats ensues.

Yes, I’ve had vegan ice cream too and no cows were harmed in the making of them: take an apple cider vinegar shot.

How many shots did you take? Please tell me no more than 2 because I’m really hoping there aren’t a plethora of library-harassers out there that we never knew about!

Related Post: What happened to my mental health when I ran every day

Hope you’ve all had a great week and I’ll look forward to playing the next edition of Never Have I Ever with you all.

London Winter 10k Weekend

Snow! Why is there always snow when I have to travel somewhere?? The South West of England was hit with the first snow of 2019 on the Thursday night before the race and I was concerned we weren’t going to be able to travel to London via two busses on the Saturday morning.

After an early start to catch the 10am bus, we skidded and skated across the frozen pavements the half a mile walk to the bus stop. Only to find we’d looked at the wrong day for the bus times and had to wait a little longer than we’d planned.

Bus Stop Selfie

We made the journey into Bristol City Centre to catch the Megabus (very cheap way of travelling into London compared to the trains) and stopped off for a little bit of breakfast while we waited.

The bus journey was pretty uneventful except for the fact that it was ABSOLUTELY FREEZING for the entire 3 hours. We both had our coats over us and were trying to hide underneath them to get warm… it didn’t work. At least the sun was shining though and it was really pretty sitting at the front of the bus looking out at all of the snowfall across the countryside. That was until the window steamed up and we couldn’t see a thing.

Anyway, enough about boring bus journeys! We stomped into London around 3pm and had around a half an hour walk, past the Queen’s house, to get to Trafalgar Square. We checked into our hotel and went to explore outside for a bit. The wind was bitterly cold and there was nowhere really to escape the freezing temperatures so we stopped off and got a (very expensive) mulled wine for our meander. We walked around the London Eye, past Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament and arrived back to Trafalgar Square for dinner with the BFF!

The London Eye looking pretty at night

We left dinner pretty early so we could all get an early night for tomorrow’s race but I’d forgotten my pyjamas and because I was so cold and couldn’t warm up I ended up getting in bed and falling asleep with my clothes on (jeans and a jumper) which isn’t ideal night time attire!

I woke up around 4am and couldn’t get back to sleep so I wasn’t feeling very enthusiastic or energetic for the 6 ish miles ahead! Regardless, I jumped into my unicorn leggings, threw on my race number and added my gloves and hat to my race belt just in case it really was that cold out.

We took a leisurely walk from the hotel to the start (we could see the start from our hotel that’s how close we were) and they called out for my wave to make their way to the start line. That was quick! I chomped down a banana quickly as I hadn’t eaten anything yet hoping that it might give me just a little bit of energy to get around the course.

A very ‘London’ picture

The atmosphere was great and as I was walking up to the start line there was music and cheering and warm ups. The sky was as clear and as blue as it could be and it made for an even nicer atmosphere (even if it was super cold). We set off, apparently in the wave before mine, there were people with all sorts of wave numbers going off at the same time but it wasn’t overcrowded with people.

The London Winter 10k is a pretty much flat course (which always makes me happy) and they had huskies giving high fives, penguins giving free cuddles and choir singers!

Waiting at the start line but not for long

Right from the off I was struggling. I’d set my watch for 59 minutes and my plan was to stick to it as best as I could but if I couldn’t it wasn’t the end of the world. I hadn’t run a 10k distance for 4 months so I definitely wasn’t in the best shape for trying to get a PB but I was at least hoping for under the hour.

It didn’t take long for my watch to let me know I was 17 seconds behind and while I did catch up a couple of times I eventually ran out of steam and 17 seconds turned into a minute, then two, then two and a half. I was pretty disappointed that I’d lost my race pace but I physically couldn’t have given any more. I kept telling myself that I might never get to run in London again and did have a couple of spurts of energy but I just couldn’t keep up and ended up crossing the finish in 1:02:34.

While it’s unusual for me to talk to strangers, especially those dressed as animals, I did ask one of the volunteers on the finish line if I could take a selfie with them. I had to put down my Soreen, water, coconut water and protein ball first though, perhaps a goodie bag would have worked out better!

Looking atrocious but it’s not every day you get to take a selfie with a Polar Bear

Once the race was over, we headed back to the hotel to check out by midday and luckily I had enough time to have a shower and warm up a bit (I’ve never not wanted to get out of a shower that much before).

The Queen was home, I hope she likes my medal

We met up with the BFF again and took a couple of selfies and then made our way with a slow walk back to the bus station. We walked through Saint James’s Park which was so pretty with all of the birds and the lake with the London Eye in the background, and back to the Queen’s house again. Obviously, it would have been rude of me not to take pictures in front of all of the London landmarks that we passed!

Obligatory post-race selfie

We finally made it back to the bus stop (after getting a little bit lost) and we were super cold by now. We then had to wait for around 2 hours for the bus to arrive as it was delayed. Because we’d been waiting for so long, and sat down, a huge queue had formed for the bus and by the time it had come we ended up right at the back of the line. That meant we couldn’t sit next to each other for the journey home, which wouldn’t have been so bad except I ended up at the front of the bus again in the freezing cold, I also was sat next to a lady who had no ‘cold etiquette’ and was sniffing up her drippy nose every few seconds and then proceeded to spend the entire 3 hours elbowing me, turning the lights on and generally being a nuisance.

Hi there cute medal

To drown out the ‘drippy nose sniff’ for the duration of the journey, I’d put in my headphones and listened to Derren Brown’s Happy on Audible. His soothing voice made me feel much better about the cramp in my shoulder that I couldn’t get rid of, my cold aching bones and the niggling feeling that I 100% was going to catch a cold from the lady next to me. I kept telling myself that this was only temporary and I wasn’t going to feel this horrible forever…

Pelican shot

Our plan was to get back on the bus from town back home but after that uncomfortable journey we decided to treat ourselves to an Uber ride home. So I called the Uber on my phone and it was 2 minutes away, hoorayyyyy! Except he then messaged me shortly after to say he had arrived. He definitely hadn’t arrived! There was no other car around to be seen. He then called me and asked where I was. ‘Right outside of Blacks where the busses stop’ I said. ‘Ok, no problem’ he replied ‘I’ll need to turn back around’. So I watched on the app as he drove around the round about back towards our destination… and then drove right past us for the second time. I tried to cancel the journey but now they charge you so I couldn’t!

He then called me again ‘I’m here, where are you?’. ‘I’m across the other side of the road, you drove right past us again’ I said just desperate to get into a warm car. ‘Can you wave so I can see you’ he said. I did and he clocked that we were across the other side of the road and had to turn around again.

When he finally got to us he exclaimed ‘did you cross over the road!’. In my mind I was thinking ‘yes, we crossed 6 lanes of traffic across a busy intersection with no crossing and a barrier in the middle’. ‘Nope’, I said ‘we literally got off the bus right here and have been waiting here ever since’. I was absolutely incensed to learn that I had been charged 3 minutes waiting time!

By the time we got home I was grumpy, exhausted and in dire need of something to eat as the hot dog I ate in Saint James’s Park 6 hours earlier just wasn’t going to cut it.

Note to self: if I run this race again, please stay an extra night!

I hope you enjoyed this race weekend post (of mostly me complaining about my Uber driver) and hopefully see some of you there next year.

What Happened to my Mental Health When I Ran Every Day? RED January days 28-31

First of all, I wanted to say thank you to everyone that has followed my Run Every Day January journey and has spread the word, taken part and supported the mental health charity Mind.

If you want to learn more about Run Every Day January and how it can help you, I’ve put together this post which gives you information on the charity and how taking part can help your mental health.

To read my full RED January journey, here are all of my previous blog posts, no holds barred and 100% honest:-

Continuing the RED January Journey

As RED January draws to a conclusion I’ll be sad to see it go. But first, here are my last 4 days of the run every day challenge 2019.

Day 28 >>> 0.64 miles >>> Sponsored snoozing

I was exhausted when I got home. I sat on my bed for a moment and then accidentally slept for 3 hours! Obviously, this is a new habit that I’ve adopted for RED January, does anyone want to sponsor me do that every day instead?

So by the time I got out for my run it was 9.20pm which isn’t the ideal time to go out obviously.

Day 29 >>> 0.7 miles >>> Snow thanks

Today’s run did not feel good! I was short of time so had to whizz around the block but it was also starting to snow. My legs felt super heavy and I had a little headache so absolutely wasn’t feeling it.

I then spent the evening driving around Bristol City centre hopelessly lost because of the new bus lane restrictions to turn up to the pub quiz an hour late to then come probably last. If you can solve any of the below anagrams and what they all have in common I’ll hand out a prize…

Day 30 >>> 1.1 miles >>> That was not (n)ice

Possibly the coldest run of RED January! The paths were very slippery in places and it was so cold I couldn’t really feel my face.

While running in cold weather is my ‘thing’ when it’s too cold I end up with a chesty cough when I get home which really isn’t nice.

I’m absolutely over the moon that I have one run left of this challenge and that I’ve run. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! Who would have thought that I’d have been able to complete this challenge, certainly not me!

During today’s run I was thinking about next January and how I can hopefully take part next year too. It will be interesting to see where I am and what I’m doing in 2020, it’s all very exciting.

I had the day off today but I certainly wasn’t having much of a rest as I had so much to do so I planned in my run for a little later in the afternoon.

Day 31 >>> miles >>> The final day!

Wow what a final day! It was very windy and there was a promise of snow in the air. The wind made for a pretty miserable run, however, I’d resigned myself to the fact that I was going to get a January PB and smash out a 5k tonight using my training feature on my Garmin Fenix 5s.

I wasn’t disappointed, it’s not quite my 27 minutes all time 5k PB but I’ll take it! I feel kind of sad that the challenge is over but I’m definitely going to put my feet up and enjoy a girly cider and some chips to celebrate. The snow certainly came down this evening, I hope tomorrow isn’t a snow day although all of the street is completely covered and it’s definitely settled.

I’m running the London Winter 10k on Sunday which I’m looking forward to I just hope it doesn’t get snowed off! I need that polar bear medal in my sweaty palm whether there’s snow on it or not!

My RED January Stats!

Here they are in all of their glory, my total RED January stats for 2019:

Total distance | 45.1 miles
Total time | 511.74 minutes
Average daily miles | 1.5
PBs I achieved | 2
Times I ran in my pyjamas | Probably around 5
Vo2 Max Increase | +1 (this means according to my watch, I didn’t get any fitter)
Buttons I begrudgingly sewed on | 28 – at time of writing, I still have 4 to sew on. This was the real challenge….

What did I learn from Run Every Day January?

I feel like I learned a lot about myself during RED January. I realised that I’m actually a lot more determined and headstrong than I think I am when I put my mind to it. I felt sure that I was going to fail this challenge at some point due to illness or injury but I actually enjoyed running every day, even if it meant having to go out at 9pm!

I learned I need to work on my procrastination and to try and get things done in the moment instead of hesitating in starting. I am juggling many balls in the air at the moment so my free time is so precious to me and maintaining a good work-life balance, relationships and self care time can be difficult.

I often say I’m doing many things badly, which makes the overwhelm just that little bit more difficult to deal with. Running even for a short distance did make me feel like I’d accomplished something even if I hadn’t managed to tick off any of my other things to do that day.

Running every day definitely improved my mental health without a doubt. I’m the type of runner that can go out with a jumbled mind and come home with complete clarity. I do a lot of my best thinking when I’m pursuing another activity (such as driving or in the shower) so running is perfect as I’m getting fit while sorting my thoughts and feelings.

Some days I went running in my pyjama bottoms and I’m ok with that. I sure was generating a lot of washing during this challenge so some days I went in whatever I was wearing around the house and some days this was pyjama bottoms if it was dark enough for me to get away with it!

I’m not the type of person to get emotional from nowhere but a few times while running I felt this sudden sadness or uncontrollable upset creep over me. I never felt that this was a bad thing, I felt like it was an opportunity for me to address any feelings that may be bothering me and doing this every day perhaps was forcing me to address them sooner than I would usually. I’m 100% an overthinker and I’ll analyse every word I’ve said that I think may have upset someone or play back in my mind something that I wish I’d done differently.

One thing I really embraced as part of RED January was the community aspect of it. I enjoyed the fact that loved ones and colleagues and even people I’ve met online had been inspired to take part and everyone was automatically welcomed as a REDer with words of encouragement and motivation.

A surprising thing I’ve learned from running every day is that my fitness did not appear to improve at all… I’m wondering how this is possible??

My watch stats (while I know they are not exceptionally accurate and only a general guide) suggest that I didn’t improve my fitness levels at all during the whole month of January.

I also didn’t feel any fitter from the first day to the last day. I’m quite surprised how much fitness I’ve lost from taking those couple of months break, I can usually get back into it but couldn’t seem to the entire month.

I’m going to be doing some more cross training next month where I can get some great cardio and strength training in.

Running every day definitely took a toll on my body and I had quite severe side effects about 6-8 days in.

I had terrible stomach pains that I just couldn’t shift and they continued on and off throughout the month. If I had done more miles one day, I seemed to pay for it in the following couple of days.

Towards the end of the month this pretty much disappeared but I think all that jumping around and using core muscles that I hadn’t used for a few months was a little bit of a shock to the system!

Another thing I learned, not necessarily about myself but about people in general is, some people don’t want to be helped and that’s fine too. By forcing someone or harassing someone to take part in the challenge, they’re not going to necessarily gain anything from it as it will become more like a chore than a pleasure.

I want to take part in Run Every Day January, how do I do it?

I picked up some tips and tricks I learned along the way from RED January that will help you to conquer the challenge yourself and also motivate you along the way.

  1. You’re in this for the long-haul. This challenge is going to take determination to complete but don’t forget there are 31 opportunities for you to prevail so you need to keep your fitness up to last the entire month. Keep your mileage low! We’ve all got different fitness abilities so you will have to tailor this to your abilities but don’t go out all guns blazing smashing out 10ks every day. You will burn out and you’re likely to get injured if you aren’t conditioned to run these distances. My own personal goal was to get out with my trainers on every day but I soon upped the challenge slightly by challenging myself to a mile every day when possible.
  2. Sign up for RED January at https://redtogether.co.uk/. Here you can get lots of great advice on how you can get involved and how you can support the initiative. You can also purchase a Run Every Day January T-Shirt to tick off those days you were active.
  3. You don’t have to run every day! The community encourages you to do some form of physical activity every day but this doesn’t mean you have to run, this could be swimming, walking, yoga, tennis, anything that gets you moving.

4. Join the RED January community by following along on social media and make friends along the way.

Follow along with RED January with these links: –
Instagram | https://www.instagram.com/redjanuaryuk/
Twitter | https://twitter.com/redjanuaryuk
Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/redjanuaryuk/

Follow the mental health charity Mind with these links: –
Website | https://www.mind.org.uk/redjanuary/
Instagram | https://www.instagram.com/mindcharity/
Twitter | https://twitter.com/mindcharity
Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/mindforbettermentalhealth

Conclusion

I really enjoyed this challenge and I’m so glad I signed up for RED January. There are more resources, more people willing and able to help you and ways you can improve your own mental health than you could believe.

I hope that this post has inspired some of you to take part in next January’s challenge but you don’t have to wait until then, you can start today! I guarantee that if you put in just a little bit of time and effort every day you’ll feel the benefits because I did and there’s no reason why you can’t too. So get out there and start today!

Thank you to everyone that has supported and sponsored me this far on the journey. If you want to donate to the charity Mind, click here.

running every day | mental health and running

RED January Trail Run, Canicross & Wind Days 21-27

This week I ran my first race of the year, realised that my calves hate me, wrapped up RED January at work with a plank challenge and hula hoop challenge and met some cute puppers along the way!

If you don’t know what Run Every Day January is, check out this post here which will give you information on how daily activity can help your mental health and how you too can raise awareness of the positive benefits to help others.

To read more of my blog posts for my RED January journey check out these posts below:

Day 21 >>> 2.5 miles >>> My calves hate me

I feel like I’ve been taking this challenge a little too easy by doing a mile minimum every day so I decided to ramp it up a bit (not too much I’m not crazy) and try for around 2 miles.

Today’s run was brutal too. It was pretty darn cold and the wind was almost unbearable. I tried to put my head down and run through it but I felt like I was running in custard. Which would be awful because I HATE custard!

I’ve realised some very important things about myself during this challenge (I’m going to share them all in my RED January summary next week) but here are a couple for now.

1. I’m actually scared of my own shadow. There’s one stretch of path I run along where there are lots of streetlights which gives me around 4 shadows and one of them is right behind me. EVERY TIME I run this section I have that couple of seconds of panic where I think my own shadow is someone about to grab me. I’ll never learn.

2. My calves hate me and I need to stretch more. During today’s run, my calves were absolute agony it’s a wonder I managed to run at all they were so tight! I had to stop about 3/4 a mile in and try and stretch them out but I felt like I was hobbling more than I was running.

3. I’m really proud that I’ve made it this far. While I am a very determined person and I am my biggest competition, I was sure there were going to be days that I actually couldn’t get out and run or I was sick or I felt I hadn’t eaten enough etc. I’ve shared in the previous RED January weeks how much of a procrastinator I am and while that has been an issue some days getting out of the door, I’ve gone (some days as late as 9pm) eventually!

It sort of makes me feel like I need to continue with this streak once the challenge is over because I’ve resigned myself to doing something every day no matter what and fit it into my daily routine.

Speaking of being a procrastinator, I am terrible at getting up for work on a morning especially in the winter. It’s cold it’s pitch black and my bed becomes 200% more comfortable after my alarm goes off (is this some kind of physics?). So after I got into bed I decided to look for an alarm app that was going to get me out of bed when my alarm went off.

I’ve used alarms that you have to solve maths problems and crosswords before they’ll turn off but my maths is terrible and I wake up grumpy enough! I found one called Barcode Alarm which works by scanning a barcode of something in your bathroom or kitchen and the only way to cease the alarm is to scan said barcode!

I chose a small bottle of shampoo in my bathroom cabinet to scan and it worked a treat! If you’ve got problems getting out of bed I’d highly recommend this!

Day 22 >>> 0.7 miles >>> No time

I had a hair appointment not long after work tonight so I came home (zero time for procrastination) got changed and went around the block. It was super cold though the temperatures have definitely taken a dip!

Day 23 >>> 1 mile >>> Bambi on Ice

The pavements had frozen in places on tonight’s run so I was trying to run light-footed and try not to slip over.

Something very curious has happened since I’ve been doing RED January. I’m constantly in fear that something is going to sabotage my ability to complete the challenge! My first worry right at the start was an injury so I knew I had to keep my mileage low because I hadn’t run consistently for a few months.

Since then I’ve had the following thoughts while running:-

“That dog just barked at me, what if he chases after me and bites my leg and I can’t run”

“What if I slip over or trip and I break my ankle and can’t run for months let along finish the challenge”

“That child is going to step out in front of me and I’m going to injure them and myself”

“What happens if I get sick. You’re always sick and it would only take the mildest of colds to put you out of action”

I’m clearly taking this challenge very seriously and don’t want to fail but I need to chill with the worrying!

Day 24 >>> 0.6 miles >>> Oh my knees

I’ve been very lucky so far that I’ve not suffered from too much of an injury this month. I have had some old flare-ups of some foot pain but it’s not unbearable and I can comfortably run. But today… you know when you don’t realise you have something until that something is giving you trouble.

Like your ears. You know you have ears but you probably rarely think much about them day to day. Then you have them pierced and all you can think about are your ears!

Well, I can tell you I definitely have knees and they were definitely telling me they were there every single step of the way! I’ve never experienced knee pain before and I think my not doing a proper warm up and cool down every day hasn’t helped.

I wasn’t feeling too good tonight, I felt very tired and like I was getting sick! I felt a little strange before I left work and felt hot with a scratchy throat. I came home and sat on my bed and before I knew it I was tucked up under my blanket freezing cold and feeling awful. By the time I’d had a snooze and dragged myself up it was gone 9pm. It’s never too late but let’s face it no great distance was going to be run tonight.

In sewing news, does anyone want to come and sew on the 14 buttons I’ve procrastinated sewing on?? I’ve got a race on Saturday and want to wear it for that so I have to add them all on by then!

Day 25 >>> 0.5 miles >>> RED January fundraising

We rounded up our final RED January fundraising day today with a hula hoop and plank challenge. While we didn’t get a huge uptake of willing participants we did have tons of fun and we made a little bit of money in the process for the charity Mind.

It turns out hula hooping is harder than planking! Our gold medal winners achieved a 5-minute plank and our hula hoop champion broke 33 seconds.

We thought it would be fun to let participants know the world records for both challenges just to inspire them but no one wanted to, or was capable of doing an 8-hour plank or a 70-hour hula hoop!

I did have two attempts at the plank challenge and not having done one for must be coming up to a year I was pleased with my 2 min 9 seconds time while listening to the Rocky theme tune!

Really short run tonight because I didn’t go out until 9.20pm! My knees felt much better today but I didn’t feel too well in myself.

Day 26 >>> 5k >>> Warmley Forest 5k Trail Run

I wasn’t really mentally prepared for this race today and I was concerned that I might fall over especially after they announced at the beginning that it was ‘technical’. Technical translates to me ‘you’re going to fall over’.

My favourite part about today’s race was the Canicross participants. We got to ‘awwwww’ over lots of cute puppers who were raring to go running in the mud!

On the short journey to the run, the weather was awful and bleak with rain. I had to contemplate the possibility this might be my first race ever in the rain! But sure enough, it cleared up and we stayed dry.

The dogs set off first on both the 5k and 10k and the main event went just after. The course was 90% on mud or grass and in places, the mud was very thick and very slippery, I’m so glad I had my trail shoes on (this is only their second outing).

I managed to stay upright the entire race which I was impressed with myself for but I did suffer with my calves which were on fire with all of the hills and mud running.

A couple of lovely people commented on my RED January T-shirt and asked if I had really run every day. I kind of wish that there was more on the back to promote Mind because that’s the whole reason behind it.

White button for race day!

Mum, being the pro race photographer she is, asked one of the Canicross finishers if she could take their picture with him wearing his medal…

The cutest finisher

Really lovely race, a great way to end RED January on the last weekend. Getting to see all of the dogs just made it all that much sweeter.

One of the young marshalls around the 4K mark was one of the kindest marshalls I’ve ever had at a race. He was so lovely and wished me a great rest of the race it really made me smile.

Day 27 >>> 1.42 miles >>> Wind sucks (or blows)

I felt great today! Considering I had a tough race for my legs yesterday I had tons of energy, my legs felt fine and I was enthusiastic. There were blue skies and it was cool but not too cold… except the wind. My enthusiasm was short-lived as step by step the wind stole all of my energy.

This wasn’t what I wanted for today, I wanted to try and do 2 miles but I feared that might feel like 9 miles running into the wind. Give me rain any day but wind, no thanks.

If you’re taking part in RED January too well done, we’ve come so far, only 4 more days left you’re doing amazing!

Belle's Running Blog (3)

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.

img_2671

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).

img_2686

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?