2013 Review

Happy Christmas!! I hope it was a fab day for you.

2013 has been a big year. We bought a house! Nothing else quite signifies adulthood like buying a house. Now we can say things like ‘the fence needs replacing, but it’s their fence‘, and ‘this mortgage won’t pay itself’. I feel well and truly in the club.


In terms of sport, this year has also been a biggie for me. I made the Half Marathon my race of choice. I competed in a pole competition. I got the splits. Well, I will get the splits by 31st December! I was thinking what I was most proud of from this year, and here’s my list:


  • Proudest running experience: getting my PB of 1:41 at the Run to the Beat half marathon in September


Sprint finish!

  • Most challenging experience: continuing my pole dance routine in front of the judges and audience at the competition, when it was no where near as good as I wanted
  • Best dance experience: capturing my routine on video in rehearsals. You can see it here: it’s almost perfect!
  • Most fun running experience: doing my first 10k obstacle course at Total Warrior in August

Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 15.48.56

  • Proudest dance experience: seeing the students that I’ve helped teach compete in our studio dance competitions
  • Favourite running experience: doing a 10k trail race with SB in the Lake District in June


  • Favourite race of the year: Great North Run


Next year I’m planning on tackling the Marathon: it’s (sort of) been my white whale for too long now. Other goals include:

  • Putting a dance routine together with all new moves from 2013-2014
  • Doing the Great North Run again!
  • Getting a sub-1:40 half marathon
  • Getting my over-splits

I mean, you can see there’s a few recurring themes here. Hopefully it will be interesting blog-fodder so you keep returning!!


I hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas, and enjoy the New Year celebrations.


See you in 2014!!!


Ellie B

Let it rain! Let it rain! Let it rain!

That doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as the Dean Martin classic, does it?


This post comes to you from my mother-in-law’s cosy house, filled with decorations and good food. We have arrived for Christmas, and The Big Eat 2013 has well and truly begun! Today I had a plan to run at least 6.5k, but it’s awful outside. The rain is coming in horizontally, and the wind is howling even through the tightly closed window. Well, it actually sounds like a witch’s cackle, and there’s no way I’m going running if there’s danger of witches. That’s not being wussy, that’s just sensible.


So instead, I’ve been planning my running calendar for the first half of 2014. The Edinburgh marathon is on 25th May, and I’ve found a 16 week schedule which looks good. I counted back to the start date for the schedule, which is ….. the Sunday morning whilst I’m at a hen do. Fantastic timing. I guess there’s no better time than the very start of training to get used to saying no to all the fun stuff the unhealthy stuff!

 Just Say No

Until then, my aim is to build up my mileage so that I can comfortably run a good distance whilst being able to run throughout the week. I’ve lost this somewhat due to having no imminent goals, and it being really uninviting outside, but I’m sure it’ll come back! I also want to find a half marathon to run during the training period so that there’s not just one scary goal at the end.


So. Double Trouble Wednesday might have been a bit ambitious after all. I arrived at the athletics track ready to start round two of running, and this was the view that awaited me:


And then it started to rain. Hard. We had to run around the track doing the following:

  • 2 mins hard, 2 mins recovery
  • 1 min hard, 1 min recovery
  • 30 secs hard, 30 secs recover
  • repeat x5 (with no breaks I might add)

The 100m stretch where the wind was at your back was amazing. The 100m where the wind was in your face was not. We were in the middle of the second set, when a little SB-shape apparition appeared on my shoulder saying ‘don’t get a cold before Christmas, it won’t be very much fun’. In my mind I was thinking ‘yeah, but I’m not actually running that far…. I wrote I was going to do it on the blog…. and look how fast I’m going now! Some of that is me, not just the wind!’. In the end, I stopped half way through. I’d done 6 miles in total that day, my legs were tired and to be honest, it wasn’t any fun running in that weather!


Over the weekend, SB and I went to Stratford-upon-Avon and saw all the lights. This made me laugh: even the kebab shops in Stratford are in 500 year old buildings. Britain’s nicest Kebab shop!


And finally, it distresses me to tell you all that Kate Winslet has named her third child Bear. His name is Bear Rocknroll. She has always been such a role model, and I hate to see her finally losing touch with reality. Remember when she had bangers & mash at her wedding reception? I think those days are well in the past.


Does anyone know when is a good time to do a half marathon when you’re training for a full?


Ellie B




Double Trouble Wednesday

Today I am supposed to do two runs in one day. I’ve read that it can be a great way to split up your mileage and make sure you can do it: it could be easier to find time for 2x 5-miles than 1 10-mile chunk.


But tonight, as I’m sitting listening the wind howl outside, and can see our Christmas lights reflecting in the windows as it’s so black outside, going for a run is the last thing I want to do! I am supposed to go to a track session with my Striders club.


This lunch time, I went for a run with my friend, and we were discussing how to stay motivated during these darker months. I know recently I wrote about how to run in the cold, but today was more about keeping the ‘want’ going. This is what we came up with:

  • Plan to go with a friend to give you that extra commitment (and didn’t we feel satisfied once we agreed that on our friendly run!)
  • If you can, go at lunch in the daylight. It’s much nicer than going in the dark. Plus, you might find a different route if you’re running from work rather than home
  • Once you decide on a time, keep it on the schedule!
  • Just get out there and try it for 10 minutes. See how you feel once you’re out there – I bet you don’t turn back!
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t go. We thought that once a week over Christmas is enough so you don’t lose the taste for running, but this is also a time for traveling, seeing family, and as my friend pointed out, eating!!
  • Try something new. This week I’ve re-discovered my love for dance again when it was too bleak to go running. There’s not just typical gym stuff, you could do adult gymnastics, netball, swimming, hockey…. What will you try?

To be honest, writing those points was as much to encourage me to go tonight as it was to ‘put the vibe out there’!!


We tried for ages to (unsuccessfully) get the Cathedral in the background!

A quick side note: some people have written against people taking photos while running. My habit of doing this started in 2011 when my New Year’s resolution was to have a photo from every day. And now that I live in England, I’m grateful for all the regular running views that I can refer back to with fondness. So I have continued to do it, and one day when we don’t live in Durham, I’ll easily remember what running by the river was like.


My friend and I did 7k/4.3 miles today, and then she gave me some lamingtons that she had made. These are an Aussie cake which I have not seen here! They were delicious.



One final thing: Jennifer Lawrence is in the press for saying that it should be illegal to call people fat on TV. Besides the fact that she is generally brilliant in every way, I think this is a great way to draw attention to this issue. Making it illegal is pretty extreme, but it is a clever way of getting it on people’s radars and in newspapers. I think her point that fat is a euphemism for being lazy and not taking care of yourself is valid, and it feels like the weight-factor is definitely more of a female problem than male. It makes you wonder what would happen if other actresses took a similar stand. How she is so together at the age of 23 I’ll never know!!


I’m off to get ready for my track run. Fingers crossed that the wind doesn’t blow me away!




Monday Night Pole-a-Rama

Tonight I re-kindled an old flame. A firm favourite. A reliable old pet. The Pole.


Honestly, I don’t know how we’ve only got 1 week left in 2013. Since June, it feels like time has been on double-speed, and I’ve not had time to catch up on Keeping up with the Kardashians let alone wave goodbye to the whole year.


Since the competition in July, pole has taken a backseat, what with my races, knee troubles, a little lack of confidence, and just…. you know, life. However, tonight the stars aligned: the studio was free as classes have finished for the year, SB is at a conference, and my head was brimming with ideas. I wanted to get back into the groove I’d fallen out of, and in particular work on two things: 1) getting my head round some moves that I’d seen, but not had the chance to practice properly, and 2) doing some freestyle, because my freestyle is the worst needs a little brushing up.


It was 90 minutes where form, technique, and rhythm weren’t important (and the latter was highly questionable!). And it was a success! I achieved two new moves, and did some improv to an Artic Monkeys song – where technique was definitely not a priority! 😉 And then at the end I did some splits work.




Soooo close….. Come on!!!!


It was a great session, and I’ve come home in a cloud of endorphins. I may even have put a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #beastmode. When you’ve just spent your Monday evening upside down, sometimes #beastmode is the only way to describe it.


That Friday Feeling

This is the penultimate (work) Friday in 2013!! Pretty exciting stuff if you ask me.


And so another week draws to a close. When I look back at what I’ve done this week, I’m pretty pleased:

  • Monday: 7k/4.3 miles with Tempest Runners in 41:27
  • Tuesday: splits & core training
  • Wednesday: track session with the Striders
  • Thursday: Christmas par-tay!!
  • Friday: 9k/5.5 miles around Durham in 46:35


Today it looked grey and bleak outside, and rain was on the forecast. I dragged myself out during my lunch break so that at least I could run in the light, and was pleasantly surprised: it was 13C!!  For those readers in Australia/South of England/anywhere warm, 13C is very unusual for the North East of England at this time of year. If anything it was too hot.


Mid-run, blurry, grey Durham. Still pretty though

On Wednesday I tackled the track. We did 0.5 mile warm up followed by 2 miles at a threshold pace. Then we did 4*200 metre repetition pace (R-pace: short, quick intervals) with 200m recovery. My 200m r-pace was 44 seconds on average. Track in the Winter is ace because it keeps you warm, and the changing paces etc occupies yourself from running around and around and around. Which, let’s face it, is not that exciting. One thing I need to work on is identifying the different feel of each pace, and track is a huge help with this.


Tonight SB is at his Christmas party. So I’m eating pizza, drinking beer and watching Dr Who. I know, I know, such a rock’n’roll life I lead. Does anyone else watch Dr Who? I used to watch it when I was little, but not since the modern ones. Like everything else (Harry Potter, gin & tonic), I’ve found this 7 years after everyone else, and will most probably make up for lost time with all the exuberance of a bull in a china shop.


Hope you’re all having a good Friday night!