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!!! :-)