Sunday, 11 December 2011

Stockport 10 2011

When I ran the marathon in April, the first part of it included 10 miles. I have not run as far as 10 miles since. Until today.

The Stockport 10 is quite a famous local race, known for two reasons: it's hills and it's weird and wonderful goodie bag (which last year contained a meal worm, and this year a cod liver oil capsule... Amongst other things!). Today, those running - and marshaling - might well remember it for the water which fell from the sky in copious amount and - believe it or not - was stolen from the 5 mile water point along with the tables!! Seriously!

Despite the wet conditions, I gallantly (surely, yes?!) ran the full 10 miles and achieved a time of only 1.40.55, which I was very chuffed with as it was only 10 minutes slower than last year despite my 2 hour predictions!

But, that's not the only good news about today's race... There's more... Much more: 1. Stockport is technically in Cheshire so I have now completed the 4th race in my countyathon, covering Manchester, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cheshire; 2. The Stockport 10 is the 3rd race on the club calendar for this year and is therefore another tick on the list of club championship runs; 3. I am currently in the lead of the Ladies' competition... And I will take the opportunity to celebrate whilst it lasts!!

So all in all, braving the rain was more than worth it, and I have a shiny, bright yellow technical t-shirt to show off at club tomorrow... What could be better?!..

What's that I hear you say?

Stuffing your face with pulled pork sandwiches, waffles with maple syrup and a mug of mulled wine at the Christmas markets? Well, yes... I'll admit it, that was pretty good and, of course, completely guilt free after a 10 mile race...

I LOVE running!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Happy Birthday Blog!

'I'm sure I blogged about this race last year' I mused to Coach Pete as we drove back from Preston to Manchester, having earned our latest medals in the Best Preston 5k. 'Hang on, I'll have a look and see...'.

tap... tap... tap onto the Iphone and within seconds minutes I had discovered that I had indeed blogged about the Best Preston 5k last year - 28th November: a very, very frozen -4 degree experience!! Thankfully, today had been a very balmy 13 degrees warmer! - But I made another, even more exciting, discovery: that the chilly Best Preston blog post had been only the second in my blogging history... and therefore today... the 27th November 2011 is the official birthday of The Magathon blog! And I nearly missed it!

The Magathon blog began when my training started for the London Marathon last year. With 20 weeks to go, I decided that the added motivation added by airing my successes and failures in public might just do something to spur me on in my training. Little did I know then that blogging would become such a wonderful world to live in! This time last year, if you'd suggested to me that I'd be meeting up with people I'd only ever met on the internet, I would have suggested that you were a complete nutter and that I, on the other hand, was not! 

However, nutter I am it seems as the experiences of the last year have taught me the errors of my ways.  My Magathon Marathon training offered many difficulties along the way, yet whenever I wrote about them on here, there was always someone, often many, offering advice, sympathy and encouragement to keep me going. When I thought about giving up, I also thought about the shame of having to admit it on here; the guilt associated with possible failure is enough to get anyone going again! In January, I discovered the joys of running and blogging with a group of like-minded crazy people around the world when I signed up to Janathon. In April, I shared the success of completing the London Marathon with all those who'd been mad kind enough to read my ramblings and motivate me along the way. In June I shared my new found love of car dancing and supermarket aerobics as I attempted, and failed, to complete Juneathon. When I found myself unable to run in August, I submersed myself in running by reading the blogs of my online friends, and just last week, I met with 'Abradypus' to take part in a local (for me) parkrun. All this in one year. All via the internet. Who'd have thought it?

And it's not over yet. Just today, I've arranged to join Fortnightflo and a whole other host of 'athoners' for the Regent's Park 10k in January; and in doing so, I seem to have inadvertently signed myself up for another month of poor excuses disguised as running every day! 

A year ago,  this blog started life as a record of my running. Today, The Magathon and I are a part of a community of people who love running, sharing experiences and motivating others. Now who could ask for a better birthday gift than that? 

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Finale of The Festival of Running

And so, the Magathon's Weekend Festival of Running saw closure today in the form of the Leeds Abbey Dash. A 10k race and the first of the 2011-2012 club championship races. As a special extra twist, it was also the second of my Countyathon* races; and a very good race it was too.

The fact that it ended up as a 'good'- one might even be as bold as to use the word 'enjoyable' - race is interesting as when I woke up this morning, the last thing I was wanted to do was run. Warming up in Leeds, the last thing I wanted to do was run. Standing at the start line.. Yep, you've got it! But... And it's a big, huge but of a BUT, just 1 mile into the race, I was having a whale of a time. At 5k, I was feeling strong, despite feeling like I wanted to die at the exact same distance yesterday. And, with 2 miles to go, I realised I was definitely going to achieve my 10k pb of 2011!

Now, whilst most people don't court yearly personal best times, preferring to see them as cumulative across a running 'career', those of you who've been following my Magathon antics since the beginning, will be aware of my record of declining times this year; in fact, the last 10k race I ran was the Great Manchester Run which took me the grand old time of 1 hour and 2 minutes! Follow this with a summer of injury and no running and I'm not silly enough to be thinking I can chase previous bests of sub 50 minutes! No. Today was about running and finishing.

So, when I ran a time of 58.11, I was incredibly chuffed! In fact, I think it's fair to say, I still am! So chuffed that the festival of running was rounded off with a yummy - and moderately 'Diet for Crimbo Because Oh My Word Nothing Fits' friendly - skinny muffin in Starbucks! Mmmmmmm...

*Countyathon... The name given to my ongoing challenge where I aim to run a race in every county in England.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Festival of Running Part 2...

I'm the Oldham and Royton Harriers and AC Ladies Cross Country Champion 2011!

I know... It's a little unbelievable isn't it! Don't worry though. Everything you thought you knew about me hasn't been completely upturned and overthrown; as the old adage goes, you've gotta be in it to win it... And being the only one 'in it' does help too!!! Tee hee... Still, that's another trophy for effort, and you'll never hear me knock that - especially when I have a (not so) secret sneaky plan to win the Ladies Road Running championship with exactly that next year!!

Accepting my shiny new trophy has very nicely rounded off part 2 in The Magathon's Weekend Festival of Running... Watch this space tomorrow for part 3: The Leeds Abbey Dash!

Magathon's Festival of Running

Welcome to the Magathon's Weekend Festival of Running!

Or that's what this weekend feels like anyway! Part 1 of my running 'festival' began at 8.45 this morning, when I  met another 'Athoner and Blogger, Abradypus. A nomadic park runner, Abradypus has run over 40 different park runs; and not just in this country, her park run experiences stretch as far as Reykjavik; so much so that, at my local Parkrun, it was Abradypus who knew the most runners, bumping into another Reykjaviker also!

As if he knew of the festival of running, we were also graced with a local celebrity, Ron Hill, who was handing out the 50 t-shirts as well as running his fourth Parkrun at Heaton Park.

Dr Ron Hill... who even in his 70's is faster than me 
Unfortunately, I was unable to keep up with Dr. Ron in the race... no, don't be fooled by his age!!... however, thanks to the self-confessed sloth... no, don't be fooled by her name!... I achieved a very respectable time of 28.44.

Though, to be honest I could have waddled around in 40 minutes and still have had a great time, as it was truly a great morning: great to finally meet my first 'Athoner, great conversation, and a great morning for running.

The Magathon and Abradypus!

Part 2 of the festival begins at 7.30pm this evening: Club Presentation Evening. Apparently, I've won an award, no idea what... I'll let you know!  And then it's off to the festival finale tomorrow for the Leeds' Abbey Dash 10k for which my current PB stands at 49:49...

Ha ha... I'll let you know!!!!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Skechers ProSpeed SRR Review

'I believe in pink'. said Audrey Hepburn.

And do you know what? So do I.

More specifically, I believe in my pink trainers.

I've had my Skecher's ProSpeed Resistance trainers, that Skechers sent me as part of their seeding project, for a good few weeks now and have been wearing them for the majority of my running; so, I thought it was probably about time to give you a little more info on them and let you know what they're like.

Fit and Facade:

These bright pink little beauties do offer themselves up in colours other than the eye-popping bubblegum, however, I have to admit that this was one of the first things I liked about them. Making an appearance in other colours including silver, blue, black and white also, the ProSpeed trainers offer quite a wide fit so, unlike most other trainers, a normal shoe size will probably suffice. Despite fitting a feminine size 5 beauty on a night out, I always have to size-up to a 6 in my running shoes. However, the Skechers are very roomy trainers and I am having to pull the laces on my size 6's a little too tight in order to stop them slipping; with the virtue of hindsight a 5 would have been more than enough.  Saying that, this has not proved too much of a problem, and I should add that I do have quite narrow feet generally, however if  there was one thing I'd definitely offer as a suggestion to Skechers it would be to consider producing a narrow fit trainer also - I can't be the only runner out here with narrow feet and it does often prove a problem when choosing trainers.

Feel and Fleetness:    

One definite pro for the ProSpeed is the feel of them. Again, a little background information on me will help with this. Whilst running, my heel is rather lazy. In fact, where possible it tries to avoid all contact with the ground whatsoever. What this does mean is I have a nasty habit of running high on my forefoot; unfortunately, this eventually caused me injury and, consequently, I have had to adapt my style to land much more on the mid-foot than the fore. The Skechers trainers are designed to promote mid-foot running and give maximum return through here, rather than the heel. For me, as a mid-foot runner, this is perfect. The ride the trainer provides not only feels cushioned and smooth but it also feels energetic and fast.

Additionally, Skechers promote the trainer as a lightweight running shoe. At first, I was a little judgemental on this, whilst holding them in my hands, weighing one Skecher's ProSpeed against my normal trainers, I came to the conclusion that my current trainers were lighter; a very scientific approach, I think you'll agree. However, having run in them, I would agree with Skechers: whilst the trainers are on my feet, and I am running, they do in fact feel very light - offering a soft slipper-like quality... and of course, on my feet whilst I'm running is really the only place I should be judging these!

So, so far so good, I was enjoying running in the Skechers' ProSpeed and felt like I'd really bonded with my trainers; Surely, I was ready to write my review? Well, almost. Whilst reflecting on the trainers, I realised I'd been running in the ProSpeeds almost exclusively for the past month, and perhaps, for purposes of objectivity, I should be able to draw comparisons back to my (now long forgotten) 'favourite' trainers. So, swapping back to my Brooks Glycerin for Thursday's run, to give me a better sense of comparison, I put them through their paces on a hill training session. Whilst I still like the feel of the Brooks, one thing I did miss was the slipper-like feel of the Skecher's and the mid-foot energy return, which was particularly noticeable in it's absence. On reflection, I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the comfort of the ProSpeed, however for me, this would be improved further by a narrower fit.

Fumbs up or Fumbs down?

I don't know where my obsession with the letter F has come from in this review, however I've started, so I'll finish...

In summary, I have found the Skechers' Pro-Speed Resistance trainers to be:

Soft and cushioned slipper-like feel
Supportive yet light-weight
Good for mid-foot striking
Hardy in wet weather

Of course, these were gratis, so the big question is, would I hand over my hard-earned cash for a pair? Yes... I would.

Which all in all, gives them a 'fumbs up' and I believe in pink!

If Only I could have said that the trainers made me look like svelte, skinny woman in their banner... but they didn't... so I can't... maybe that's still to come!!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

I am a tortoise... And proud!

I had my best run for 6 months on Thursday at club when I ran out in 20 mins and ran back in 17.30 mins; technically I was aiming to arrive back in 18 but as I haven't managed to get back in under 19 recently, I'm not quibbling over 30 seconds!

I have to say, after being out of running for so many weeks, with my back, I'm enjoying being back now and as such, the times I'm getting are neither here nor there to me. In fact, with my garmin broken, I'm having to rely on other people to tell me what time I've run once we've finished anyway, which is quite refreshing! Running is purely pleasurable again and I think I've finally come to accept that I don't need to run fast: I am a tortoise, but I enjoy running so who cares if it's slow?!

That doesn't mean I've given up though, in fact quite to the contrary as in two weeks I have my first race since May coming up - Leeds Abbey Dash. This will be the second race on my Countyathon challenge (closely followed by Preston the week after) and will also be the first race on the club calendar for the 'new' year. Which leads me up to my very exciting second challenge I have set myself this year...

To run every race on the club calendar!

There are 25 races altogether ranging from 5k to 20 miles! This year, the club championship for the women was won, by Sara, with 25 points. Now, I had resigned myself to the idea that I would never have ANY chance of winning - I'm just not fast enough and to be quite honest have no interest in trying to be! No, as previously discussed, what I am is a plodder... But a plodder with determination! And a plodder who enjoys running... In fact, I love running races. In the past, I've missed races because I wasn't up to speed or thought I wouldn't do well in them; I've regretted that. However, in this plan, I only have to run. I don't have to run fast, I don't have to get a pb and I certainly don't have to win. All I need to do is turn up, run, and enjoy it!

And you never know, maybe the tortoise, with a little determination, could just well be holding the Ladies' championship trophy next year!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween everyone...

A spooky time was had by all at running club tonight; I think it's fair to say we brought a few smiles to some faces on our 4 mile run!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Dallas myth!

There are no big shoulder pads in Dallas. Fact. I'm quite disappointed that, once again, it turns out that TV has lied to me. Dad reckons its because Dallas is off of the 80's but I'm sure I found it on a sky channel the other day, so how can that be?!

Anyway, unless I see some this morning I will have to accept that the big hair and shoulder pads are simply a myth. I fly back today but before I do, we're going for a real American breakfast at Ihop; apparently this is the place to go for your pancakes and maple syrup with bacon... Sounds disgusting? Trust me, it's heaven!... Previously Mik and I have been to Denny's but the locals pull a face when you tell them this and recommend Ihop instead so I'm thinking I may be in for a treat!

Dallas has been everything I expected and not at all either! Everything is big and vast; they don't do thing by halves as proven by the Walmart I shopped in yesterday- it was the size of the Trafford Centre! Equally, everything is so new, even the 'historic' areas, which are really quaint and pretty, as you imagine little America to be! The malls are everywhere and people drive from one shop to the other it's that far to go (and most of them are quite large themselves!) and once again, as I've found wherever I've gone in the USA, everyone is so friendly. We stopped by a little town called McKinney yesterday and were greeted like old friends! I've bought clothes from A&F (my favourite store!) for less than a meal at subway! and had gel nails for less than that again; I've been thoroughly spoilt and had a fab time... I think I might just come back again... Maybe a shopping trip once every year??!

So, that's it for Dallas, I'll tell you something about running next time we meet!

Monday, 24 October 2011


Would you believe it? I've been in Dallas for 2 days now and not a shoulder pad in sight! I feel a bit let down if i'm honest!

However, I have seen a lot of Stetsons and cowboy boots so at least TV hasn't been lying to me about that too!

Yesterday, I went to the Texas State Fair. Amazing! This is the biggest fair I have ever seen. In fact, in England we just don't have anything like it; I think partly because we don't have the space like they do here; but also because we split our 'fairs' into separate entities. So, for example, this fair had exhibitions, museums, fairground rides, fried everything tents, music, dancing, theatre, circus, a bird show, horse riding, pig racing... Yep, you name it, it was there! The particular highlight of the fair seems to be the fried stuff; they are particularly proud of the variety of weird things they've been able to fry. Some highlights included: fried bubblegum, fried beer, fried cheesecake and fried s'mores (which are apparently a biscuity marshmallowy thing). I am pleased to say I didn't eat any of these things but I did have a Reuben and a funnel cake (donutty-pancakey thing) which I thought were keeping in the spirit of the day but without clogging my arteries instantly and causing a heart attack at the age of 33!!

It's fair to say that Texas does things big! And incredibly cheesy. I saw the best and most dorky bird show i've ever seen in my life, and I watched pigs race around a track. Only in Texas!

Today, we're off to downtown Dallas, where I think I'm hoping all the big haired, shoulder padded people live. I expect so.

By the way, if you're reading this expecting some running... Sorry, there is none... I haven't even bought my trainers! Normal service will resume next week... Until then it's yeee ha and howdy partners and I'll let you know if the TV Dallas is all really just a big lie!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

The excitement of travelling...

"what time are you meant to be getting up?"

Those words, as a sudden interruption to sleep, are never good are they? Inevitably they mean that something has gone wrong. It's a rhetorical question in a sense because the person asking has realised that the time you were supposed to have been awoken by your alarm has passed and instead of lying cosy and comfy in your bed, you should be arriving safely at the airport shuttle park!


This WAS how my day began. The time was 3.45. I should have been up an hour earlier; why wasn't I? Honestly? Ok, it's because I'm a complete tool and I'd set my alarm for 2.55... pm!!!!


Needless to say I hurled myself from my bed, threw myself into the shower and bundled myself into the car, just 10 minutes later!

'Ok', I thought to myself, 'you've still got plenty of time... And breathe...'

Silly Maggie. EVERYONE knows that it never runs smoothly when I travel somewhere... I'm always late... Just ask not-so-little-bro! So I was naive really not to have expected obstacle...

number 1: the closed motorway!

What?! Yes, that's right. The motorway... The route to the airport... was closed! At least, the bit I needed was; I won't tell you what I said, because I think it was a good job there was no one else in the car... It would have been a shock even to the kids I teach, and that's saying something! Thankfully, once my brain had emerged from the blind panic of fog this 'small' diversion had thrown it into, I was able to re-navigate myself towards the airport again, onto the necessary motorway, when I hit...

Obstacle number 2: the 40mph reduced speed limit!

Noooooo!!!! Seriously, do they know you're coming? The ONLY time this EVER happens is when you're in a rush... Isn't it?!! Once again, 'calm down Maggie, take deep breaths, 1,2,3... Ooooh, Take That on the radio... And relax...'

20 minutes later (what? Speeding? Me? No, never...) I arrived at the airport, completely broke the law attempting to follow the directions on my phone to the car park, grabbed my stuff and RAN for the shuttle bus that had just arrived. Things were looking up; the bus only comes every 15 minutes but here one was ready and waiting for me... My troubles were nearly over... Oh. No, wait. Here comes ...

Obstacle number 3: my own ineptitude!

In fumbling around for the parking ticket, using my phone as a map, grabbing my bags and legging it for the bus, I had managed to drop my phone in the car... The very same phone with my electronic boarding pass on it.


I have never ran so fast in my life; no, not even in a race! Especially not in heels with a suitcase in tow! Grabbing my phone, flying back to the bus, I arrived just as it started pulling away.... "Nooooooo!" I shouted, "please wait, please". At which point, as if bu a miracle, the bus stopped. The doors opened. And voice from beyond welcomed me aboard "alright love? On yer get!"
I could have Kissed that bus driver, I didn't, but I could have!!

I'm now sat in the departures area at Amsterdam. I'm on my way to Texas to visit my dad; for some reason the plane saw fit to bring me an hour further away from my destination before we actually start the 'proper' journey. I've had 4 hours sleep, which was an hour longer than I should have had, I'm very grateful to Mik for waking me up in time and I've got my fingers crossed that the rest of the journey is far less eventful!

And if you're reading this Dad, your Christmas cake made it through passport control but only after the most prodding, weighing and scanning a cake has ever been subjected to, ever! I can only assume it's still edible, in fact, I'm quite surprised the guy at the desk didn't try that too to be honest!

Anyway, after all that excitement, I need a coffee... I'll see you in Starbucks!

Monday, 17 October 2011


Zombies... Aggghhhhhh!... Heeeeellllllp!!!... Agggghhhh... more zombies.






Peanut butter on toast... yum... cuppa tea... slightly human... only slightly.





Kids... Agggghhhh... Heeellllllp!!!!... Agggghhhh!!!... more kids...




Walk the dog.





Wet... cold... hills...

Running :-)

Hot shower.

Fluffy dressing gown... slippers... warm.


IOS 5... eventually.

Bed. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Running, Aliens and Essex


Running club was fun, fun, fun tonight! Mainly because it was easy!!! But to be fair I think that is just running karma from Monday night, which was long hill reps in the pouring rain! Surely, the gods of running appreciated the blood, sweat and tears (only minor exaggeration applied here) that went into each, tough hill repeat?!... Or maybe Coach Pete just decided to be kind for once... What?!... No, you're right... Don't be so ridiculous!... A higher power must definitely have been involved!

Whilst out on our 'fun' run, we saw a strange glowing shape in the sky with flashing, sparkling lights encompassing it. The strange lighted shape travelled over our route, before heading into the distance, over Manchester city centre. As I travelled home in it's direction, the shape of the unusual flying object became larger and clearer until it was evident that it had to be, without a shadow of a doubt...

an alien spaceship!

Well, either that or an inflatable airship; but personally, I'm going with alien life as I think that's far more feasible!

Following a hard running session, I always think it's important to relax, and tonight was no different, despite the absence of the adjective 'hard'. So, after a nice hot shower and a tasty curry, cooked lovingly by Mik, I settled down with my new favorite programme: Educating Essex. If I'm honest, I can't rationally explain why I like this programme because, in reality it is a very accurate representation of my daily life! Sometimes a little too much so; and sometimes, like last week's episode, that makes me want to cry a little because it's really sad! But mostly, I think I like it because it makes me laugh... And maybe because it's nice to see other people doing the same things as you do, if you know what I mean. The staff in the school are doing the same things with the kids as we do every day, and the kids are just as bizarre, odd and off their heads as our lot... It's quite reassuring that! A well as being really quite funny! And if you haven't caught an episode of this yet, you should; it's surprisingly well done, sensitive enough to be respectful to both the kids and adults concerned, whilst depicting the reality of working in a modern, comprehensive secondary school! If you work in one yourself, you'll recognise the characters, and if you don't, it's a nice eye-opener as to what actually goes on in a school! Hilarious!

The cat and the dog have finished the night off nicely for me as the cat has decided to forgo the litter tray tonight in favour of the floor; the dog decided to forgo her food in favour of the cat's 'offerings'; which caused her to promptly vomit all over the floor!

So it's been quite a night really what with running for fun, discovering aliens, educating essex and cleaning-up animal bodily fluids!

Zebedee's bouncing his way up the stairs, it's definitely time for bed!

Good night!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

There has been some running

Ok... So a quick update on activities of the running kind as we rapidly head through the the month of October:

1. There has been some running! This is an immense improvement on the month of August, during which there was NO running, and the month of September which saw only 1 day of running! So far, so good!

2. There has been running in NEW SHOOOOES!! sorry... Let me correct that... There has been running in gloriously PINK, fabulously FREEEE, bright and sparkling brand NEW shoooooes!! And, to repeat a theme: so far, so good!!!

3. There has been running in a heat wave, running in a gale, running in almost minus conditions and running in rain; to which my new Sketchers shoes held up very well... even when I plunged them into the second biggest puddle in the world - bettered only by the puddle Paula plunged her foot into which was THE biggest puddle in the world!

4. There has been running fast, running 'easy', running uphill, running down hill, running the same hill several times (like some kind of hill obsessionist!), running alone and running with club.

5. There has been NO running with Garmin because he will only work when he's plugged into the power source and despite desperate attempts to sort this problem, it turns out that running with a laptop is not an easy feat!

6. There has been back-pain free running and a discovery that the back is only a meanie if I sit down all day; thereby providing more perfect excuses for running, but not so many excuses for watching multiple episodes of Eastenders on catch-up! Dammit!

7. Finally, there has been much enjoyment of all aforementioned running activities and consequently there has been some signing up to races, some arrangement of future park runs and some planning of fancy dress for upcoming club Halloween and Christmas running events!!! :-)

After such an succession of successful running in the first two weeks of October, I'm wondering whether I'll be able to keep the momentum going; but with half term looming, some races to prepare for and a trip to Texas, I'm thinking I'm going to have a fun time trying!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

I'm so excited...


My trainers have arrived! they've arrived, they've arrived, they've arrived...


they're PINK!!!

Yes, that's right, totally, utterly and completely... PINK!

If you are unaware of what I'm babbling about, along with quite a few other running-obsessed bloggers, I've been selected to take part in the Sketchers Pro-Speed seeding project; which basically means that they've sent me a pair of their new, and first, professional running shoe... for FREE!!!

I know... there's not much that could be described as more exciting to a geeky runner than a pair of exciting, new and unique trainers! And at first glance they seem really good: very lightweight, designed to promote mid-foot strike and (did I mention it...) pink!

Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to donning them at running club tomorrow and putting them through their paces; and if you're interested in what the SRR are like, stop back here in a couple of weeks' time, once I've given them a real run for their money, and I'll let you know my verdict.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Running Renaissance

My running renaissance... term stolen from Abradypus because I loved it so much... has been mildly successful. I say mildly because I have been running - yay! However, only on Monday - boo!

I am being sensible (of course) that's why there has not been so much running in the running renaissance (honestly); however you'll be pleased to know that what running there has been has gone quite well... much better than expected actually... in fact, I might  even be bold and go so far as to say it was quite magnificent! OK... too far with the adjective 'magnificent' but it was certainly slightly successful and very enjoyable!

Thankfully, I wasn't the only one to be returning from injury on Monday - although I was the only one who hadn't run in a VERY long time - and so with others recovering from races on the Sunday and / or preparing for marathons in the near future, we set off on an 'easy' run. I have to say ' ' around the easy because it is an inaccurate use of the term, to say the least. But... and a big BUT here...  it wasn't half so bad as I thought it would be; yes, my fitness levels are much lower than they previously were, BUT they're not zero like I'd anticipated. And I managed to run 4.5 miles. And I managed to push the pace faster than I'd run the rest of the route in the last mile. And I felt like I'd finally recovered from all the little niggles I'd picked up in my marathon training. So, to surmise, I think it's fair to say that the Magathon's Running Renaissance is now fully switched to go and so long as I don't stay in work until 7.15pm again next week, I'll manage to run on at least Monday AND Thursday as well.

In other news...

I had a fantastic time on Wednesday night at a cupcake course in Manchester. Run by 'Hey Little Cupcake', in Spinningfields, I was booked onto a cupcake decorating class- bought for me by my lovely friends for my birthday - but ended up on their first ever jam and baking class instead due to a mix-up with booking. The class was fab! It involved a cupcake baking demonstration, followed by a tutorial on how to make jam. Then, we had a go at making mini-scones, followed by learning how to decorate 6 of the freshly baked cupcakes made in the demonstration at the start of the night. With only 6 people to a class as well, it felt really friendly and personal; if you live in Manchester, and you like baking, I would seriously recommend it. Of course, the only downside to this class was that I returned home with a pile of freshly baked, yummy scones, cupcakes and a jar of jam! Best get that running renaissance into the next gear!

Look at my pretty cupcake - should I admit
that was my 4th attempt at a rose?!
The first 3 were rather less rose-like!

And Finally, I can't write about this week, without saying a big WELL DONE and CONGRATULATIONS to my mum, who completed the Shine walk, in London, last night. Mum, and her friend, successfully completed the whole 26.2 miles of the marathon walk through the night; and in doing so she now has a whole new respect for the idea of running it, and will from this day forward have complete empathy with the inability to walk downstairs for 3 days! Well done, Mum!

So, this week's challenge is to make it to running club on Monday AND Thursday. If this goes well, I might even stick another cheeky day in there as well... Leeds Abbey Dash, watch out... here I come!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Hello Strangers!

Hello strangers!

I'm back... back like a thing that's come back!

Well, almost...

I've still only been running once in the past 9 weeks and that was really a run / walk if truth be told; but it felt OK and I thought it might be time to get back into things again. However, I also started a new job three weeks ago which has caused spare time and any excessive energy to take a holiday for a while so despite all good intentions, 12 hours plus in work and an ongoing battle?... stand-off?... cold war maybe?... with teenagers, who currently despise the new 'prison officer' on the block, has meant that those pre-mentioned good intentions are falling asleep before I do... and that is early!

I have not given up though... no, in fact I have a new plan which involves a short 1-2 mile run tomorrow, followed by a swift kick up the backside into running club on Monday night.

And despite the lack of running, all has been good; although difficult, the new job is fantastic: challenging, different and thoroughly enjoyable. Even better, less than four weeks ago, I was in holidaying in the big NYC where we experienced an earthquake AND a hurricane... both of which were disappointingly uneventful; particularly if one was to compare the News coverage with the actual experiences! I do LOVE American news, they really know how to hype a situation! Of course, from a tourist perspective the hurricane was brilliant (or tropical storm as it was downgraded to by the time it did hit the city)... just take a look at our photo of Times Square; I can pretty much guarantee that you've only got a picture like that if you were in New York City on the weekend of 29th August 2011!

Times Square, NYC and Hurricane Irene!
At the Rocky statue,
To look at things from a fitness perspective, the bonus of the hurricane was the consequential closure of the whole New York transit system which meant we had no choice but to walk EVERYWHERE, which turns out to be further than you first think and causes bruised heels... seriously - big black bruises on my heels for at least a week afterwards... lesson learned: Don't walk 4-5 miles in flimsy, cheap-skate ballet pumps by George!  As an added extra on our hols, whilst over the waters, we also hired a car and took in the sights of Washington and Philadelphia... running (well, as close to it as I could manage at the time) the 'Rocky' Steps, Sylvester Stallone stylee!

Seriously one of the best holidays I have ever had!

A MASSIVE Reuben!!

Of course, in addition to all the walking, there was also A LOT of eating and, since returning to England, I seemed to have taken on board the American sized portions... and free breakfast at work on a Friday doesn't help when I'm incapable of avoiding the bacon sandwiches!... so getting back into running is definitely in order. 

Hopefully, if all goes to plan, I'll be running in the Leeds Abbey Dash on November 22nd; I'm also hoping that the time off running has ensured that Marathon recovery is now fully behind me, so I can simply concentrate on bringing my fitness back up to speed and my speed back up to PB level!

Fingers crossed anyway... I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Fame again... kinda!

Mik has described me as a 'Media Whore' - his words entirely (obviously!), not mine - I think he's probably right, but I'll let you decide...

I bobbed into Manchester City Centre, at about lunchtime today, with the intention of returning some leggings from Primarni that were sadly lacking in adequate waist-band elastication (new word) so that I was unable to get them any further up my legs than my knees, unfortunately I have a terrible habit of telling complete strangers far too much information so that when the nice man at the desk asked me why I wanted to return them, I told him this; I also told him that I didn't think I was so obese (yet) that it was my chunky, chubster legs that were the problem, but rather there was a fault with the leggings. 'So, to put it simply' he suggested, 'it's not you, it's them?'.
After a quick reunion at the till next door with two former students - how bizarre! - I tootled off down Market Street to continue my shopping. Sidetracked by Zara - all too easily done - I nipped in for a quick browse, just in case, only to reappear on the main shopping concourse to now find it full of people clutching 'I Love MCR' Posters.

For those of you not 'in the know', these posters have absolutely nothing to do with My Chemical Romance (Gosh, how trendy am I to make that connection!) but rather MCR is short for Manchester. Following the riots, there's been a whole campaign of civic pride throughout the city from this wall:

to what I walked into this afternoon; apparently a big, warm, Manc show of love for our great northern city. To cut to the short of it, it turns out that the politicians were (naturally) a little disappointed with the recent marketing images of Manchester and wanted to 'set the record straight' so they'd organised a little get together of people and posters which looked something like this:

So, naturally, I took a few pictures and listened to what was being said and was about to toddle on my way when 'It Must be Love' by 'Madness' began blaring out the speakers.
'Come on Manchester...' Councillor Pat Karney (a little concerned I actually did recognise that 'local celebrity'!) shouted to the crowd 'Let's dance to Madness in Market Street...'.
Thinking how lovely and strange that was all at the same time, I turned to go when I made the mistake of catching the eye of the teeny tiny little lady stood next to me (honestly, she was really tiny... you'll see in a minute, there is no hyperbole here!) who promptly grasped hold of me and began dancing.
Well, what was I to do... her little smiley face beamed up at me, she was loving it. Could I let this lady down? No, I couldn't. So really there was nothing I could do when the TV camera came up and started shooting us; and equally, I couldn't ignore the question put to me by the nice lady, who accompanied the camera man with her over-sized fluffy microphone, and so as it turns out, I inadvertently became a part of the crowd of happy, proud, prancing people and have been imortalised in Granada TV's VT history as a consequence.

So, 'media whore' - Mik's words - or simply a willing participant of circumstance? You decide...

Click here for Maggie's Grand Granada TV moment!! (For those of you that don't know me by sight... I'm the one dancing with the teeny tiny lady, and then the second one vox-popping (can you verb that noun? hmmm... you can now!) with lazy sunday make-up and I'm going on holiday tomorrow - so all my best items are in the wash - clothing... best to get the excuses in, especially when I'm currently incapable of wearing leggings because I can't get them any higher than my knees!)

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The REAL Manchester

If you have been watching the television for the last few nights, you may be mistaken in thinking that Britain has gone mad. That we've descended into riots, looting and anarchy and there are no decent people left. But that's not true.

Miss Selfridge on Market Street
Watching idiots (that's the politest term I could find for them) caught on camera ransacking my home city last night was heartbreaking; it also made me exceptionally angry. What gives them the right? I know many felt the same way.

The Manchester 'Wombles' gathered at 9am
Today, those many were out in force in Manchester city centre and it was a scene to behold. One young girl (only 15yrs herself) commented that it's something like this that shows the very worst and the very best in people; and she was right. Last night, the very worst people were out in Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool, today I saw the very best of Manchester gather in Picadilly Gardens; people who voluntarily turned up because they were available to do so and they wanted to clean up their city. Thanks to the work of the Manchester City Council night team, the city already looked much improved from the 'bomb site' we'd all seen on TV last night and so, after just an hour, we were heading back to base to find out what else we could do to help. by 10am there were 500 people helping with the clean up and the organisers reckon that all in all around 1,000 people turned out to clean, support and brew tea!

If you're looking for good news in the midst of everything that's happened over the last few days, that's it right there: The spirit of the people.

I can't run at the moment (my back's still out) but I felt very satisfied with today's exercise - conducted with broom and bag in hand! - More than anything, I was glad I could give something back to my community and stand up there with the good guys. As for what will happen tonight? Well, the city council have invited us back tomorrow in case of further trouble but it's raining outside so finger's crossed it'll be all quiet on the western northern front!

Ed Miliband even stopped by to say hello!

Monday, 8 August 2011

My words (of wisdom?!) in Running Fitness!!!!

Excitement... excitement... excitement...

My 'Guru Maggie' words have made it to the September issue of Running Fitness Magazine!! Woop Woop... My name in print... 15 minutes and all of that!

To take you back to the beginning of the story, a couple of months ago Midgie Thompson, mental performance coach and writer, interviewed me for an article she was writing for Running Fitness Magazine; she was writing a piece on the power of positive thinking and when asked to try and include a little more on the experiences of the 'ordinary runner', she very strangely thought of me. The reason for this isn't completely random, but instead links back to Janathon when I was running and blogging everyday in the name of a mental breakdown running competition whilst also being in the early throws of my marathon training. What I discovered is neither rocket science, nor new, but for me made such a difference, particularly to my early training, that I coined a new phase and called it Positive Running Belief, or PRB for short.

PRB got me up a set of 8 hill repeats; to those of you that regularly run up 8 hills and then add on another 8 for fun, this won't sound like much, but for me this was massive. I had never, ever, ever managed 8 in the regular session that we do at running club, and to add to the difficulty, I was half way through a month of running every single day - something else I had never, ever, ever done before (or since, as Juneathon was a massive month of made up exercises used as excuses on my part) and it was bloody knackering! I won't repeat how it all happened as Midgie has talked about my 'epiphany' in her article, and I also wrote about it once before HERE

 It's actually Maggie of  'The Magathon Blog', but I'll let them off! :-)

In the end, it was PRB that got me through my marathon training; shifting my thoughts from I can't to I can. Sometimes this shift in attitude would happen before I left the house like when I planned to run 16 miles for the first time HERE; sometimes it would happen whilst running; and sometimes it would be instigated by a well-timed, magnificent piece of music blaring through the headphones of my I-pod which would cause me to run like an idiot and achieve PRB LEVEL 2 as happened HERE.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a completely changed woman and I still often lack confidence and feel as though I can't do things; but from my marathon training, I've become more aware of the thought processes I go through and the way I approach things. Recovering from the marathon has perhaps been even harder than training for it as I've been slow and sluggish, achieving far slower times than a comparable level of exertion would get me pre-marathon training. Also, I've been a little unlucky with injuries (I'm suffering from torn muscles in my lower back at the moment - and for a change, not achieved through running!). Not being able to run is incredibly frustrating however I am applying some of what I've learnt from my PRB epiphany to this and I am finding alternative ways to exercise and keep moving; consequently, the Kinnect Dance game is getting a lot of attention at the moment, and I have a dog that hides under the sofa when she sees the lead... again!

I learnt how to apply PRB from my own experiences in running, but also from those of others. It was reading everyone's blogs in Janathon, that helped me realise that there is so much we can achieve, if we put our minds to it and we're passionate about it. If you want a little bit of PRB inspiration yourself, check out these people who are all currently completing amazing challenges for charity:

- @RunGeordieRun, otherwise known as Mark Allison. In order to raise funds for St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation, he has run from California to New York in 100 days! As I write he's on his last 30 miles!

- @Runningthetube, aka Stephen Wright who is running 400 miles across London to 'get people talking about stillbirth and pre-birth trauma'.

- @100maras100weeks, Simon Buckdon, an Ex-Soldier with PTSD who is running 100 marathons in 100 weeks (a marathon a week over 2 years!) in order to raise funds for Help For Heroes as well as awareness of PTSD.

- @running_dan_w, Dan Wymer, who is now half way through his 800k, in 12 months, running challenge in aid of Maggie's Centres. 

...and they're all on Twitter, so why not go and find them and pass on some positivity their way!

Running Manifesto?... Go on then!

Where bandwagons are concerned, I'm like a Lemming off a cliff, so here is my Running Manifesto to join the ranks of K, Lazy girl Running, Nosomuchofarunner, Fortnightflo after the idea was initiated by Run Dem Crew.

Running is… an addiction
Running is not… just exercise
I run… because I'm incapable of controlling what I eat!
I run for… enjoyment
I run because… I love it so much
I run when… I feel like it
I run with… Oldham and Royton Harriers and on my own
I have always run… wearing a bra!
I run in spite of… being incredibly slow and an appalling runner!
I don’t run… when I'm injured (like now)
I should run… another marathon - but I won't
I might run… Until I die!
I will run… Until it's physically impossible

Why not jump on board the ever-growing bandwagon... it's fun... What's your running  manifesto?

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Happy Birthday...

To me!!!!

Yes, I'm not shy to tell you, it's my birthday today!

Original plans had been to go for a birthday run this morning, however the 'old' back is still playing up, so I went shopping instead!! Oh well, how awful!

And this afternoon I'll just have to go to the pub I suppose! Dammit, life is tough!

Ah well,  it will give me time to recover from the £25.50 tariff I had to pay for the car park in Manchester because I lost my ticket... £25.50... seriously?! Thankfully, I'm taking painkillers for my back, otherwise that would have hurt!!

Oh well, only way forward is to get drunk and forget about it!

Thanks to all of you who have wished me happy birthday on Facebook and Twitter... I am having a lovely day and I intend for it to get even more lovely! Happy Tuesday everyone... and happy birthday to me!!! :-)

Friday, 29 July 2011

Shameless Request for Sympathy

Let's get this straight from the start. I am writing this post purely for sympathy reasons; i.e. for me (the writer) to gain sympathy from you (the reader). Therefore, following the reading of this blog, I expect lots of sympathetic comments posted at the bottom. If you can't manage sympathy, i.e. because you just don't care, then at least do the decent thing and offer a small amount of empathy. Why? Because I deserve it of course!!

So, why am I shamelessly asking for sympathy? Because I've hurt my  back :-(

I know... awwww... poor me (honest, I did say this would be shameless... if you're still reading, it's your own fault because you were clearly warned from the beginning!). To be precise my back seems to have completely given up on me; no longer wanting to function like a normal back,  it has decided instead to forthwith restrict all movement up, down, sideways or forwards with accompanying pain; The only way to move around the house is to waddle, very carefully, in a fashion akin to that of a pregnant woman.

Something tells me that it might be punishing me for working it too hard recently (sorry back). I am not sure whether it is upset from the 10k race on Sunday, the hideous fun-filled BMF-style boot camp at club on Monday, the packing and moving of 7 years worth of rubbish on Monday, Tuesday AND Wednesday (seriously... 7 years of crap stored in a cupboard... I gave myself a serious talking to, it will not happen again... maybe...) or whether it gave up because I suggested to it that we might join the local gym for the summer; or maybe it was a combination of all of that. Whatever reason it has (it's not telling me, I presume the silent treatment is also a part of my punishment), it caused me to come home early from running club last night - imagine how upset I was to discover that I missed out on a run that combined 5.1 miles with 22 hill sprints(!) - and has imprisoned me in my own home today as I grunt and groan with discomfort every time I attempt any form of movement!

Of course, it might be sympathy pain itself, as Mik is also poorly... awww, poor Mik... suffering from terrible stomach pains. I suggested that his stomach pains may be sympathy pains for my back but he disagrees with that theory saying he has no sympathy for  my back whatsoever! Nice... that's enough sympathy for Mik then! Although I might go and buy him a bottle of Lucozade later as suggested by his balder elder brother.... Lucozade does, after all, solve every illness!

Anyway, I'm off to tempt my back out of hibernation with a long, hot soak in the bath, whilst you get started on those words of sympathy...


Monday, 25 July 2011

A letter to Orbana Healthy Energy Drink

Thank you and sorry!
Let me begin with the sorry; back in June (which feels so long ago now!) you sent me a sachet of Orbana Healthy Energy Drink to try out. I opened the envelope, smiled and then put it in the box of doom (the box which all of the post goes into and generally never comes out of). This could have been the end of your powder, rarely does anything emerge from the box of doom as rooting around in it scares me too much, I have no idea what to expect from it!

However, on  Sunday, I ran my first 10k race in the past 2 months and about 1/2 hour before I was due to head out the door, your I was reminded of your delightful gift, very carefully I placed my hand into the box of doom and was lucky enough to discover that the sachet was still there. Making it up into my sports bottle, I tentatively took a sip...
Thank you, for sending me your DELICIOUS energy drink! I have to say, I was quite impressed. I also have to be honest and admit that I wasn't looking forward to tasting it, it is quite rare that I like the taste of sports drinks, either finding them too sweet, chemically, or bitter. However, yours is really quite tasty. I would even have to agree with your own marketing that it tastes natural.
Of course, taste isn't the most important element with a sports drink, which is why I have suffered many I can't stand the taste of, performance has to come at the top of the list. I can't lie, I have no idea whether it improved my performace in the race - I ran very well, but I can't say that wasn't down to me rather than your drink! - however, what I can confirm is that it settled very well on my stomach and did not have any of the usual - ummmmm, should we say - side effects that other sports drinks have had on my digestive system.
I will certainly be buying some more of your product. However, I won't be using it for all of my runs, and that is simply because it is very high in calories... I understand the point behind this of course - calories equal energy - however they also equal fat if I'm not burning them off. Of course, if you were to introduce a lower calorie version that was equally as tasty and effective, I would be more than willing to try it out on my shorter training runs... more than willing!! :-)
And so Orbana, I would like to say once again, sorry - for not trying it earlier! - but thankyou, for sending me a sample of your yummy drink. I like to think it played some part in my best race performace of this year, so far!

From Marathon to 10k

A marathon is a significantly greater distance than a 10k race: Fact. What is also a fact is that since running a marathon, I have been almost incapable of running, let alone accomplishing 6.2 miles! Okay, so that's a slight over-exaggeration - for dramatic effect of course - yet, I have struggled. Everyone talks about the difficulties of training for, and actually running, the marathon distance but very few people discuss the difficulties that can occur afterwards. I wonder if this is maybe because the post-marathon - should we call it - trauma - too melodramatic?... Okay - difficulties don't affect everyone in the same way. In fact, in my observations, I've been able to categorise post-marathon runners into two distinct groups:
Mmmm... Chris Evans!
Group A - those that train for the marathon successfully, run it successfully, and recover quickly. They don't find it 'easy' - that would be impossible because it's very definitely not easy, I don't care who you are, even Superman would find it hard... although perhaps less so Captain America, he's very fit - in both senses of the word... anyway - no, they find it the same challenge as everyone else but there's something about it that means the whole process has perhaps felt more natural, perhaps they were lucky enough not to encounter any pitfalls along the way, or if they did perhaps they were just more capable of coping with it. Consequently, this group of runners also seem to benefit in their long term training from running the marathon; they become faster, stronger and better.

Group B - also complete the marathon. However, their training may not have been quite so successful; perhaps they picked up an injury, or they discovered that raising the distance was much harder than they thought.; for some reason, running at this distance didn't come 'naturally' and every step along the way presented yet another obstacle. yet, they persevered and conquered the distance. They are also within a select group of people who have taken on the tough challenge and succeeded. However, post marathon, they have continued to struggle; running feels difficult, sluggish and they haven't felt quite the same since.
I've been told by many people that full marathon recovery can take up to 3-6 months and certainly, I've seen that recovery affecting the people around me in many different ways. As a first time marathon runner, it's been hard not to compare myself to my running partner, someone I started out with, someone I ran my first official race with, and someone I used to cross the line practically holding hands with. She now lives in Group A: faster, stronger and a better runner as result of her first marathon. She's applied to London again next year, and if she doesn't get in, she'll run Edinburgh. Whereas, I am sitting very comfortably in Group B; In training I'm now a full minute per mile slower than my former training partner, struggling to control my breathing, to push my body and ultimately to regain my fitness and confidence.
However, I'm just as proud of myself; I don't always remember that - when I'm far behind the rest of the group at running club, or I finish a 10k race in over an hour, when my previous best time was under 50 minutes - but I am, I'm proud. I'm also frustrated. But I know what I need to do, I need to channel that frustration; pick up my running, enter more races and keep training until I'm back where I was... and maybe I need to pay a few more visits to Jo (the evil lovely physio). And as I persevere, I'm beginning to enjoy running again.
On Sunday, I ran the Moonraker 10k. Nothing at all to do with James Bond... although I have always quite fancied life as a spy... the Moonraker is a friendly, hilly and enjoyable local race organised by Middleton Harriers. It was great fun. I loved it. It was also the first race of my offical running 'Come Back'. Despite the hot day and the first 5k of the race being entirely up hill, I managed to beat my previous 10k time at the flat, Great Manchester Run; I also managed (with the help of Coach Pete) to out race another runner in the final 1k, leading to (if I might say myself) a rather magnificent finish! And all of this sans-Garmin as I managed to leave it on the side in the bathroom when I went for my pre-race wee before I left home!
During January I coined the phrase 'Positive Running Belief' when, during a hill session, I discovered that if I truly believed I could conquer the hills, then I could. Since then, I've struggled to take my own advice. During the Moonraker race, I found it again. Throughout the race, I set myself little goals and I achieved every one. I'm now going to apply the same strategy to my training as I still have some way to go before I'll be completely happy with my performance; I was a full 10 minutes slower this year, than last on the same course. However, it is with small, achieveable goals that I will achieve my next post marathon PB, and that ensures that this time next year, I have a whole new, shiny and magnificent Moonraker 10k PB.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

'Art and Emotion' ... and a really fast Mother!

Lewis Hamilton had nothing on my mother yesterday as she threw a racing red Ferrari 360 around the Three Sister's track at Wigan.Of course, it's a strange comparison to open with as other than the close proximity to which they were born (Hamilton born in Stevenage, just down the road from Letchworth where Mother has spent most of her life) they clearly have nothing else in common - in fact, Lewis Hamilton wouldn't even be racing in a Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz might have quite a lot to say about it if he did! But we shall ignore all of those points, accept the comparison as the metaphorical hyperbole that it was intended as, and quickly move on...

Mother turned 60 in February and to celebrate her increasing years, yet youthful demeanour, we (her children and partners) bought her one of those driving experiences, where you fling yourself around a track for 6 miles attempting to get faster and faster in the process. If you like driving and you've never given it a go, you should! I was bought one for my 30th a few years back, and it is still one of the best experiences I have ever had! There is nothing quite like the thrill of sitting behind the wheel of a super car, that effortlessly reaches adrenaline inducing speeds; of course, if you're sitting here reading this thinking:
'I know. I own a Mercedes-Benz and drive it super, adrenaline-inducing, magnificent speeds every day of my life'
then 1) Hi Lewis, thanks for visiting! or
2) Stop! this can't go on... sooner or later you're going to get arrested!

Of course, I do completely believe that the whole point of these things is to drive as fast as possible. Yes, it's nice being a super-car, but I'm not a car geek - I own a Nissan Micra myself, says it all! - And as much as the car can be appreciated, it's the speed that counts! So, as Mum got in behind the wheel of the car (sporting a very pretty plastic blue cap beneath an even more fetching helmet), it was this point I pushed: 'You drive fast. That's the whole point! Don't let me down now!'
And she didn't! She went whizzing round that track. My 60 year old Mother embarrassed the young lads out on that track yesterday as she overtook them one by one, leaving them trailing in her dust! Lewis Hamilton watch out; Mother is coming to get you!

Of course, as exercise goes, I count watching Mother throw herself around a track in a racing red Ferrari as exercise in itself as there's a fair bit of adrenaline involved in that too, I tell you! However, I'm quite sure the number of calories burned is rather measly and I've a wedding to go to in August and therefore a dress to fit in to; so today's exercise will (hopefully) set the precedent for the rest of the week, whereby each day I will walk to work, and run home again. Only today is slightly different as I intend to walk to town to pick up the car I left there last night, and then go and eat a HUGE Sunday dinner... hmmm, maybe I'm going to have to expand my exercise plan next week to incorporate more exercise... ah well, I'll worry about that when the dress doesn't fit! Live in the moment I say... :-)

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

I'm Mr(s) Brightside!

'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life...'  wrote Eric Idle in 1979, and do you know what, he was right; however, looking on the bright side of life can be really difficult sometimes, particularly when we're feeling tired and run down. On days like these it can be all too easy for the dark side to creep in. I realised today that this has been happening to me too much lately and so I have decided to bring a little bit of positive thinking back into my life. This, I have achieved through making simple 'swaps'; changing the 'dark side' thinking to the 'bright side'.

I am also taking practical steps to make simple 'swaps' in other areas. So far this week, I have swapped the following:

And on another positive note, I have been sent (as I know have others) some healthy Orbana Energy drink... If I had been feeling more positive (and less ill) earlier today, I would have run the Rochdale 10k race (well done to all those at club who did run it!) and tried it out; as it is, I shall ignore the fact I didn't and instead think more positively: Next week I will run the Royton Trail Race... because it will be fun!... and it'll give me the perfect opportunity to give the Orbana drink a whirl.

For now, I plan on relaxing in the lounge for an hour in front of the tv for a bit of 'Man Vs Food' where I shall feel very virtuous as I swap a late night chocolate bar for a cup of tea, whilst watching someone else gorge themselves on disgustingly bad food... Mmmmmm... deep fried mars bars with mac and cheese wrapped in a taco!...

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Juneathon Days 28-30: Back to the future...

To my dear Readers,

As we reach the final day of June, I would like to take the opportunity to implore that you please excuse Maggie from her poor performance in Juneathon. When she signed up to the challenge of jogging, logging and blogging for a month she recognised that she may not manage to 'run' everyday, but she would certainly commit to some form of exercise each day instead. Unfortunately, her record in this area has been less than satisfactory, including many attempts to 'pass off' routine activities, such as walking the dog and visiting the supermarket, as 'exercise' as well as 'inventing' new forms of 'exercise' such as walking in heels around a race course and car dancing.

Maggie accepts that, in making the commitment to Juneathon, she should have have applied greater motivation and effort to achieve her goals; certainly she now realises that if she'd applied her time more effectively she would have had more time for exercise, rather than wasting it on the various ridiculous excuses.

However, despite having been unable to blog for a couple of days, Maggie has been in no way sitting idle; instead, as Juneathon draws to a close, she has seized the opportunity to try and redeem her lack lustre exertions in some way and consequently has been working very hard. In fact, as I write this, Maggie is currently jogging home from work after walking there this morning; making Juneathon Day 30 a nice, neat 10k round trip. As you can see, Juneathon has certainly not been forgotten. In fact, with the desire to make up for her inadequacies, Maggie mangaed to make Juneathon Days 28 and 29 the most significant of them all; not only will the following story adequately explain her absence from the Juneathon community for the past couple of days, but it will also reveal to you her most exciting discovery of a brand new, and exceedingly unique form of exercise, undertaken by no other Juneathoners in the entirety of the challenge.

It all began on the morning of June 28th. Arriving at work for the day, Maggie began her usual routine of planning, marking and catching up on unread emails. However, after about 20 minutes of working, she realised that, not only was she a little bit peckish and in need of her morning porridge but, she also rather desperately needed a wee.  Leaving her little cabin in the yard, she chose an alternative route to usual through the school and up to the staff room, knowing that there was a disabled toilet slightly closer by that she would be able to 'nip into'. Now, although she knew of this toilet on the far side of school, Maggie had never actually used it before; however, a toilet's a toilet's a toilet, right?


This toilet wasn't just any toilet. This toilet was a magical, time travelling toilet, and when Maggie re-opened the door post wee, she was met with a sight that defied belief: Gone were the drab green walls; gone were the cramped claustrophobic corridors; gone were rows of classroom doors. In their place stood a wide open space, banked with windows above, around and beyond as far as the eye could see. Students, gradually beginning to fill the space, calmly passed each other via the various tiered, floating travellators which seemed to disappear into nothing, the students 'vanishing' before her eyes. Maggie rubbed her eyes. Clearly she'd fallen asleep in the toilet and was now having some strange science-fiction dream. She pinched herself. She rubbed her eyes again. She tried all the clich├ęs. But the scene before her eyes remained.

Despite the bizarre nature of what lay before her, Maggie's natural curiosity soon took over so, leaving the 'safety' of the toilet she tentatively stepped onto a travellator and allowed it to glide her through the 'building'. Never had she seen such fascinating sights; A building encompassing floor to ceiling bright, open learning spaces; in every room happy, engaged smiling faces; all around her smart, stimulating technology not yet created.

And so, my dear friends, Maggie spent the rest of the day taking in the wonders of this new world until, at last, as the novelty began to wear off and the water she'd drank began to wear through, she was reminded of the tiny toilet by which she'd been transported to this amazing place and she began to make her way back. However, no sooner had she stepped onto the first travellator, than she was confronted with the most electrifying and energising discovery of them all. Immediately, thinking of her Juneathon commitment and the promise she had made herself to be more motivated for the final few days, Maggie was galvanised into action and within minutes she'd picked up the rules and was looking like a pro; 30 exhilarating minutes later, she was back at the toilet and back in her own time.

The next day, with the astonishing experience still fresh in her mind, Maggie, understandably, was unable to focus. Try as she might, she just couldn't keep concentration; her mind wandering back to the world she'd experienced. At the end of the day, as she was leaving school, she 'unexpectedly' found herself back outside the tiny toilet and, before she was even aware of it herself, she was back inside: back to the future.

My dear friends, I'm sure you would love to hear about that intoxicating second day; I'm sure you'd read on open mouthed in amazement at the wondrous events that occurred; and I'm certain you'd be intrigued to hear why she'll never be able to return again. However those are stories for another time. For now, I return to my initial request and, indeed, reason for writing: that you are able to find it in your hearts to please excuse Maggie from her poor performance in Junethon over much of the 30 days; for she really did redeem herself in the final few days of the challenge, when she perfected and became: a professional Hoverboarder.

With best wishes to you all,

Optimistimaggie. x

Juneathon Days 28 and 29:
Activity: Hoverboarding
Distance: 100's of miles that don't exist yet
Time: days and days of time that hasn't occurred yet!
Feeling: Futuristic

Juneathon Day 30:
Activity: 3 mile walk to work and 3 mile run home again
Distance: 6 miles
Time: 1hr 15 minutes
Feeling: Finished!