The day after the weeks before

 

For the last two weeks I’ve been …. plain stinkin lazy a little more unproductive on the running side. There were reasons for the break, but I didn’t expect a two week hiatus!

 

Even when you have the most valid of reasons not to run, sometimes not going can feel like a cop out, or like you’re cheating. Even thoughthis was a semi-planned break for me, I found myself going on a bit of a ‘runners journey’ which I will detail here for your pleasure:

 

  • Days 1-3: decided to rest knee after Stampede. Felt good about my choice, and mature that I knew when to put my body first. Running positive rating: 4/5
  • Days 4-7: focused on cross training. Got some serious pole, metafit & abs action in. Kept my running crave happy via reading blogs, Born to Run and Runners World. Running positive rating: 4/5
  • Days 8-10: traveled with work (read early mornings, delayed trains, late dinners). Came down with a cold, and experienced knee pain after two days in high heels. Read my running stuff, felt frustrated for not going running. Consoled myself with KFC and cupcakes. r Running positive rating: 2/5. Comfort food satisfaction: 5/5
  • Days 11-13: got over cold, and mum came for the weekend (mothers make everything better). Started to wonder how I fitted running into my days. Read my running stuff for interest, knew I had to be careful not to lose the mojo in a serious way! Running positive rating: 3/5
  • Day 14: Went for a run! Did a small run with my dance/running group. It blew away the cobwebs, and …. SUCCESS! My knee didn’t ache. It wasn’t long way, or amazingly fast, but it was a pain-free run for the first time in months. Celebrated with some foam rolling and dinner out. Running positive rating: 4/5

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As you can see, it was deep stuff. I was pretty hard on myself when I couldn’t run, and started playing the comparison game (comparing yourself to every single runner who is faster/stronger/better than you). Believe me, it’s not a great game to play! As soon as I started running yesterday, my mojo came back. It reminded me of the pleasures to be had from running that weren’t related to your maintaining goal-pace, or trying to make up for lost training time: fresh air, those fabulous endorphin highs, and the knowledge that I can eat more cupcakes.

Quit Run

I’m going on a run tomorrow to make the most of this gorgeous Autumn weather. It won’t be a long one, or a fast one, but hopefully another pain free one……

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And finally, if you get the UK Runner’s World magazine this month, you may see someone familiar….. only my good pal George Nicholson!!

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SB has recorded The Shining and keeps trying to put it on. This is the third time he’s tried ….. I am going to see how long I can watch before I huge scaredy cat and run upstairs to watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians. A different type of scary family.

 

Monday Musings

Not having a long run and training at the weekend is weird; I don’t know what to do with myself! Have so much free time to mess about and see people. And not fall asleep at 8pm on a Saturday evening. It’s quite nice!

Here are my favourite picks from what I read this weekend.

 

How cool is this resume! I work for a large social media company and deal with the Talent side of our company so love stuff like this!!! Interactive Resume

 

You should follow this blog;  It’s written by Paul Shankman who consults with large companies and brands, is a well known speaker – TED talks etc – and a pretty cool guy.  This article gives you a feel for how he writes – get up early!!!   Some great ideas and lessons to be learnt from his blog both professionally and personally.

 

I love Granola, mainly as it’s sweet and you are allowed have it for breakfast. But I can never make it as good as I buy; I think that’s because I try to make it healthy. This article solves my never ending battle to get clumps: How to get clumps in your granola using egg white!  Who would have thunk it! Apparently some people don’t like clumps….WTF people! You may as well just eat oat flakes. FYI Food 52 is an awesome resource for recipes.

 

 

Source: Food 52

 

I am going to a wedding in a few weeks and we were told we need to wear wedges as it’s on grass! Horray for wedges. J Hard to find a dressy pair though – they all look very clumpy. My dress is red and I wasn’t sure what colour to go for.

What do you think of the following? Yes / No?

 

Interesting video clip from an interview with Martha Stewart and how bloggers aren’t experts. I imagine many lifestyle bloggers worship at the feet of Martha Stewart so would be keen to see their reaction. What do you think? Is there a lot of copying in blogs? I follow a few running blogs and often read the same stories around the same time.

 

 

 

Are you dressing up for Halloween? Celebrity Halloween Costumes. Also, Paris Hilton went as Miley………ah the irony!

 

 

The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders – an SNL skit about a Wes Anderson Horror Movie. Very funny….or do you have to be a Wes Anderson fan to enjoy?

 

Pole-to-pole divide

The Swansea University Student Union (SUSU)  has banned their student pole dance society. This has been a Hot Topic in the pole circles for a few weeks, but recently it’s also caught the attention of the rest of the world.

 

Their issue is that pole dancing is ‘inextricably linked to the multi million pound sex industry’, ‘upholds and bolsters sexist attitudes and behaviours’, and contributes to the rise of ‘Raunch culture’. They also claim that ‘women have been deceived into thinking this is a way to take charge of their sexuality and their own decisions’, and finally that it normalises ‘the practice to the wider group of young women and girls who see work in the sex industry as a viable option’. You can read their full explanation here.

 

Immediately all the polers were up in arms and defending the sport to the extreme. And it also seemed to cause a small sub-discussion about whether pole ‘fitness’ (ie in sports wear, no heels, minimal dance, focus on holds) is better than pole ‘dance’ (heels, more scant clothing, focus on dance and holds).

 

My two cents on the matter are this:

  • By banning the society, they only perpetuate the link between pole dance, women, and the sex industry
  • Believing that women aren’t able to make objective decisions for themselves on this issue without being ‘deceived’ seems to be damn pretty sexist
  • The Union makes good points that many people at university have the potential to be quite vulnerable, but they practice a huge double standard: the Union’s ‘Beer Pong’ society arguably contributes to the binge drinking culture in the UK, which costs the NHS approximately £2.7 billion per year, plus leads to the vulnerability of young people too. Each society should be measured by the same yard stick.

 

For me, this article tackles the issue really well and looks at the underlying issues. Many of us who actually do pole dance are insulted by the assumptions made about us from this act, and so our arguments contain an awful lot of passion!

 

Haha

If it’s on an e-card, it must be mainstream, yes?

And, as someone who has been a pole dancer for 5 years, this has been my experience:

  • It taught me to appreciate my body – not only it’s appearance but also what it can actually do
  • It counteracts all the other messages in the media that we’re not ‘good enough’ by affirming that you are strong, you are fit and you are beautiful (so corny I know, but so true!)
  • It played a huge part in my wider interest in exercise and keeping fit
  • The girls I’ve met from all over the world really celebrate each others bodies and are supportive rather than competing against each other
  • I feel like I have gained control over myself and respect myself – so if I hear sexist/mean remarks about my appearance I can shrug them off wayyyyyyy more confidently than I did before

Gorgeous

This is not me. I wish it was. 

For me, it’s been about ownership: I own my body, what it does, and it’s healthiness. I’ve found that how people react to it says more about them than it does about me. My family have all been supportive in their own way – they may not particularly like it, but they respect my decisions. And that seems to me to be where the SUSU falls down: if there’s demand for the society and they ban it, they’re not really respecting their members, their choices or their intelligence, whether they’re female or male.

 

What does anyone else think?

 

Summits of My Life

I’m not running much at the moment, I want to give myself plenty of time to relax and recover after the race. I’m not itching to get out for a run yet – I did a 10km on Saturday and it felt tough. However I did a boxing class on Friday which killed me! They put me in the ring and everything….I thought it would just be an exercise class. I didn’t realise until the other girl started hitting me! Anyway, I digress. In the absence of running I will do the next best thing for me and talk about my favourite runner. I am very fickle and this will change when I learn about someone else inspiring but at the moment I am all about Kilian Jornet.

I watched a movie called Unbreakable when it was first released and loved it. It’s a documentary about Ultra Running and the Western States 100, which is the oldest and one of the most prestigious and well known ultra-races.  If you haven’t seen this movie, it’s really worth checking it out. Regardless of whether you like running or not you will appreciate the challenge and the great story behind the movie. So put that on your to-do list; Rent Unbreakable. And try and pick the winner. Bet you won’t. J

Now that you are back and have watched the movie I won’t bore you by going into much detail about it here. Essentially it follows four guys looking to win the race. One of these is a young Spanish guy by the name of Kilian Jornet. If you watch the movie you will have been inspired by how young, humble and accomplished he is. He was brought up in the mountains of Spain and has it feels like he was genuinely “Born to Run”. He lives a nomadic life, running in the summer and skiing in the winner.

 

WTF!!!

 

There are scenes of him bounding down mountains with vertical drops and he is just having fun not racing. It’s mind blowing. In the off season from running he is also a competitive and highly successful ski mountaineer. Check out his blog for an awe inspiring list of everything he has achieved.  Kind of makes you feel lazy right?

Just in case that he doesn’t do enough in his regular job of ultra-runner extraordinaire / ski racer he is also working on a project called “Summits of My Life”

 

 

“In addition to being an exceptional skier and mountain runner, we’ll now see Kilian Jornet as an alpinist willing to go the extra mile in an attempt to break the records set on some of the most breathtaking summits in the world It’s a multi-year project where he explores the world’s largest mountains culminating in his attempt to break the ascent and descent record of Mount Everest. He also tries to do it with the least amount of equipment possible, to better feel nature and the mountains.

They are going to make a number of films to document his journey and the first one is called “A Fine Line” which is available to rent or buy on the website.

 


 

It revolves around the first two challenges, traversing Mont Blanc from east to west and from north to south. Go and watch this movie. Now. It’s beautiful and inspiring and every other synonym I can’t think of for inspiring. You can see firsthand Kilian’s history, talent, drive and all the crazy risks they take. I was so nervous watching all the ridges and steep declines.  It’s an emotional film, too. Watch it to find out why. Although Kilian is still a runner and skier, this project is about a lifestyle. The website has a list of the projects values they live by.

 

He writes at the end We are not runners, nor mountain climbers, nor skiers, not even sportsmen. We are people” Awww Kilian, I definitely have a crush now. 

 

 


 

At the risk of sounding like his publicist, if you enjoy the movie or want to know more about him, he also has an awesome book called Run Or Die – really worth a read. http://velopress.com/books/run-or-die/ If you watch either of the movies, A Fine Line or Unbreakable you will buy this book.

Which runner do you admire?

Have a good one!

Gilly

Hello, pain….

At this very moment, I’m stuck in Edinburgh, as my train has been cancelled. So I did what any sane girl would do: re-camped to the nearest bar and got comfortable with a hamburger and a glass of wine. What else am I to do for the next two hours?

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I read this article today about Scott Jurek and how he handles pain. Well, actually it’s publicising his new book, but the bit that interested me was how he handled the toughest of the tough during his races.

 

In case you’re not familiar with Mr Jurek, he’s a bad ass in the world of ultra-marathons: and that’s a world that’s full of bad-asses to begin with. This is a guy who completes races which last 24 hours, and wins. He puts a lot of it down to his vegan diet (he would not approve of my current coping mechanisms).

Scotty

In this article, he does something that is very reassuring: he admits that he, on occasion, struggles with running too. In fact, he says that people almost expect that he doesn’t feel the pain as much because of his achievements, when he is just like everyone else.

 

What I like about what he says about pain is this: he walks towards it rather than pretending it’s not there:

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When I ran my PB in Run to the Beat in September, I distinctly remember that every time I checked my watch, and saw I was on target, I was elated for about a minute. This was followed by about 5 minutes of ‘I can’t believe I have to keep this pace up, my legs/side/arms/head aches’. Those 5 minutes were really tough: I was suffering, and knew I couldn’t go easy if I wanted to get my goal time. But, once I’d acknowledged what I was feeling, it wasn’t long before my mind had moved on and I was distracted by something else.

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I have also had runs where I spend so much energy trying to distract myself from the pain I’m feeling that I think it exhausts me more than the pain itself! You choose what you spend your energy on, and I reckon it’s worth listening to Scott when he says to acknowledge what’s happening, stay in the moment, and you’ll move on. Not doing so can be even more tiresome, and a huge waste of precious energy. Like worrying about exam results after you’ve taken the exam.

 

Personally, I can’t imagine running until I hallucinate, or until I have vomit running out of my nostrils, and I don’t intend to. Well done Scott, for breaking those barriers. Knock yourself out. But it’s nice to know that even the toughest ultra-marathon runner of them all still faces the challenge we all face: what do we do when the going gets tough? We should acknowledge the pain, feel it, and move on.

 

And I think his most useful advice is this: ‘try to keep it fun’ (FYI, Scott, if you’re reading this – I will never find hallucinations or vomit fun).

 

Ellie B