Gym Life – No More Running!

Oh hey everyone! How are you all? That break was longer than I intended!!

 

In the UK, we find ourselves in the middle of ‘Summer’ gearing up for the next batch of races. My Facebook feed tells me it’s one month till the Great North Run, with none other than Mo Farah, and I have friends training for marathons such as Berlin (Sept 27). On the other side of the world, my Dad has just run the City2Surf in Sydney and smashed his fundraising goal, and Gilly is all about owning Melbourne once more.

Good luck to all GNR runners. It's the best race.

Good luck to all GNR runners. It’s the best race.

And here am I – right now, sat in bed with a coffee and a belly. So how does a pregnant runner cope in this most exciting time of the year?

 

The answer is…. by not getting jealous. It sounds so so simple, but when it’s a gorgeous Summer’s evening and perfect for a run, it’s not! And when your imagination starts to run wild, and you picture yourself running the GNR, and bumping into Mo at the end, and becoming friends and training buddies and this would all totally happen if only I was able to run… you get the idea. #FOMO in the worst way (that’s ‘fear of missing out’ – I learned it from one of our graduates at work. I can still kick it with the youth).

 

This is what COULD have been. See how fast I am? ;)

This is what COULD have been. Best Buds. And see how fast I am? ;)

5th June marked the last outdoors run that I’ve done. It wasn’t meant to be the last run, but since then every time I thought about running, it just made me feel uncomfortable. It’s the bouncing mainly: Baby B got to a size where it would take a long time for it to settle down, and it didn’t feel great.

 

So I joined a gym! It’s less than 10 minutes walk from my house, and I’m in love with it. They have a gym, an indoor pool, outdoor pool, a creche/nursery, and a hair and beauty salon. It’s been a long time since I had a gym membership – Sex & the City was still a current show back in those days.

It's socially acceptable to take a gym selfie, right?

It’s socially acceptable to take a gym selfie, right?

 

 

The best thing about the gym is the variation. It’s like a buffet dinner! You can do classes, you can do weights, cardio, swimming, whatever your little heart desires. And you can mix and match. These days I’m partial to a bit of weights plus cardio, and then I jump in the outdoor pool for about ten minutes and pretend that I actually know what I’m doing. Here is my current workout of choice:

  • 25 minutes on the cross trainer on a random setting, level 8 (covers about 4.5kms apparently)
  • 3 sets leg extension – 12.5kgs
  • 3 sets leg press – 12.5kgs
  • 3x arm… weights…. Ok. Not sure of the real name for this machine, but you pull weights towards you to work out one side of your arm, and then sit down and push them out to work out your chest

 

None of the weights are very heavy, but it’s designed to keep some kind of fitness and strength level whilst also being a gentle workout of my core. My legs haven’t had any serious workout since November, and believe me, these weights are more than enough to start getting them back on track!

 

I have also taken up Aqua aerobics, as recommended for pregnant women by every. single. person. in. the. world. I was surprised at the resistance the water provides: my arms get pretty tired throughout it. I’m not sure of the cardio benefits, but it is really really nice to be in the water and jumping around. Even if it’s not the same as 25 mins on the cross trainer, it gets me moving and keeps me mobile.

 

So we’re in the home stretch, Baby B and I: it will be making an appearance in the very near future. And then I have six weeks to recover and get my life back in order, and then the training for London shall begin. Starting with making sure everything still works after what’s about to happen!

 

In other news, we went away for our last weekend sans-enfant. It was a golf weekend, so…. I was thrilled. Nah, it was fun: we went with three of SB’s friends and their wives/girlfriends. While the boys played golf, we went in the pool, had spa treatments, afternoon tea, drank wine (or diet coke) on the terrace… And then tore up the putting green, much to the chagrin of the boys.

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Ellie B

First Full Week Friday

Well – the first full work week of 2014 has ended, and it looks like everyone survived! Actually, my week wasn’t too bad, I was just being dramatic.

 

By the start of this week, I was definitely feeling twitchy: due to traveling and the busy Christmas period, I hadn’t been able to exercise much. And unlike most runners, I am incapable of getting up early for a run before the rest of the world wakes up. So I had to make my peace with that, and wait for this week.

 

So this is how my week looked:

  • Monday: 1 hour pole class (as a student, not teacher). Woke my arms and back up after three weeks off!
  • Tuesday: 8k/5 mile run in 44 mins, with 200m sprints
  • Wednesday: 6k/4 mile run in 30 mins, with 200m sprints
  • Thursday: 1 hour stretching, 1 hour pole class (student)
  • Friday: rest day

By today, my legs were pretty frickin tired. Right now is the time to be careful: the New Year’s enthusiasm is a great way to over-train, and soon find yourself struck down with injury. So even though my distances aren’t crazy-long, I’m planning to build up gradually.

 

It’s been ages since I did ‘What I’m Loving Friday’! Here are some things that I’ve been loving recently:

  • Books: My favourite Christmas present will always be books. I lurve the sight of a stack of books ready for me to attack. Out of my Christmas stash, I read Mo Farah & Jennifer Saunders in 4 days. Both really good, and both have been added to my ‘Fantasy Celebrity Best Friend’ list. This is what I accumulated this Christmas:

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  • This article. If I could kiss applaud Harris O’Malley from a respectable distance, I would. I have definitely had a few of these terms thrown at me, and it’s so frustrating to have to defend yourself before you can move on. It’s time that stopped. I bet that women everywhere are forwarding this link on to every man they know. And as for SB, I’ll be listening very carefully to what comes out of his mouth… 😉

 

  • Sweaty Betty Running Leggings. I got them for Christmas, and have practically lived in them. They are so comfortable: I’ve worn them to stretch in, and they’ve kept me nice & warm during my recent runs. The only bad thing about them is the price tag – Sweaty Betty stuff is pretty expensive, and I’m not sure I’d spend the money myself (I think these cost about £60?). But I’m absolutely happy to keep receiving them as gifts because I love them!

Stardust

  •  Jantastic. This is designed to get you moving!! You sign up, and enter the number of runs you’re aiming for each week during the month of January. Then, you log each run and make sure you hit your target! You can enter in teams, or individually. I have joined a team, which is keeping me motivated. It’s not too late to sign yourself up and get running!

 

I hope you’ve all had a good first week back at work. Or just a good week. This weekend I plan to both dance and run, and at some point get a coffee at my favourite coffee shop.

 

Happy Friday Y’all!

 

 

2014: Practically Perfect in Every Way

So here we are again, at the start of another year. My email inbox is flooded with sales promotions (damn you Asos!), fitness suggestions, and the excitement of other bloggers for their New Year running goals.

 

I too have jumped on the New Year bandwagon, and based on what I’m planning, 2014 is shaping up to be quite a year. It includes a marathon, a sub-1:40 half, and a new dance routine. I have also signed up to Jantastic with my running club to get the year off to a perfect start.

 

It is exciting to reflect on your achievements over the past twelve months, both great and small, and to think about what you’d like to do with the twelve months ahead. Even thinking about it gives you a sense of achievement, and as Mary Poppins likes to say, ‘well begun is half-done’ (After watching ‘Saving Mr Banks’ last week, I re-visited my favourite childhood film and remembered why it’s so awesome).

 

poppinsgod

She flies with her umbrella. Need I say more? 

 

2014 has been really chilled so far. For the last two weeks, I heartily embraced The Big Eat 2013, so yesterday some splits stretching eased me back into the frame of exercise. Today will be my first run since Christmas Eve, and I’ll be in some new shoes. I can’t wait! I blame driving from Durham to Birmingham to Devon and back for my lack of Christmas running (772 miles in total), but it could also have been all that chocolate and cheese I ate too.

 

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I received some amazing presents for Christmas, which I can’t wait to try out:

 

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Nike Free 4.0s, Sweatty Betty leggings, ‘Twin Ambitions’ by Mo, 2014 Lorna Jane Sports Diary

 

Thinking of last year, I pretty pleased with what I was able to do. As I mentioned last week, I hit some pretty big running goals, and here is how my splits looked at the end of the year:

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Prettttty close! Just need to straighten the legs a little more, and to creep further down to the floor. It’ll happen….

 

This month I have a 10k run with some friends from school. I am beyond excited because:

  • I will be running with my best buddies
  • We’ll be running around the town where I spent my teens. I might take a time out and hang by the war memorial with the other 14 year olds. Except they won’t be awake at 10am on a Sunday.
  • Winter runs are ace. You have to battle hard, but you feel so fresh at the end
  • My 2014 running calendar will have kicked off!!

 

My plan for the next few weeks is:

  • Speed/hill work at least once a week
  • Ease my feet into the new Nikes – I’ve never run in barefoot-esque shoes before
  • Dance at least once a week and stretch twice a week
  • At least one 7k run a week, and at least one 10k+ run a week

So that should leave one rest day a week!! A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and a plan of attack helps you hit the streets. Not quite as catchy, but just as true.

 

Here is a view from a walk we did when visiting my Mum.

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How is your New Year shaping up? Do you have plans to get out there and get running?

 

Why Kiprotich isn’t as famous as Rooney

Today I read this article. It’s so true that running has never been more popular – here I am sat on the train and I just saw a blur of multicoloured running vests running down a country lane. Forget tractors – running groups are the car’s new nemesis.

If I think about the distance runners that I know, I run out pretty quickly: Mo Farah, Paula Radcliffe, The-Olympic-Winner-Whose-Name-Begins-With-K…. Sally Gunnell …(ok, I know she’s not a distance runner. And there are way too many English names on that list – my Aussie subconscious is so mad right now).

Australian Jessica Trengove, 39th place in the 2012 Olympics. She means business. And I am proud.

Here’s an Aussie: Jessica Trengove, 39th place in the 2012 Olympic Marathon. She’s having a ball. And I am proud.

The article says that there are three main issues: money, the ability to relate, and the distinction between a hobby and “serious” running.

I googled "serious running" and got this. I like it!

I Googled “serious running” and got this. I like it!

I agree with money. Footballers’ appearences in the media are fuelled by their money as much as their skill. Not a week goes by when we aren’t reading about new hair transplants, or he who is meant to have had an affair but we’re not allowed to talk about it.

And I agree with being relatable. Being able to relate to our heroes is important, or else they might not be our heroes. There has to be something that we spot and think “that’s like me! I do that!” I have a sneaky feeling that when we watch the successes of the African champions, many of us are thinking “yeah, but long distance is part of their lifestyle“. As if our lifestyle is so alien to long distance that it’s all we can do to shower each day.

Personality comes into it as well. When I think of Mo Farah, I see his face when he realises he’s won. Tennis is the rivalry between the four Big Guns*, and their different approaches to the court. In particular Andy Murray’s misunderstood grumpiness. And who can forget Muhammad Ali’s charismatic taunts?

Which country had the T-Rex on their team? Isn't that cheating?

Which country had the T-Rex on their team? Isn’t that cheating?

For me, it’s a combination of all, so I think the writer has done pretty well! There are some awesome pole superstars out there, but at least you can learn an isolated move that you’ve seen your hero do. In running, there’s the distance – and running your target distance is an amazing achievement – but for me, the pace will always mean I view our running champions as different specimens to me. But in the 2012 Olympics – I was gripped by the end of the marathon when the Ugandan Kiprotich pulled away from the Kenyan runners, so it does exist if we have the opportunity and the desire to get behind the sport (I may have Wikipedia-ed his name. Whatever). 

2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Stephen Kiprotich, Uganda

2012 Olympic Gold Medalist for the Marathon, Stephen Kiprotich, Uganda.

Earlier on in the year, I read this article in Runner’s World, and it really struck a chord with me: Julius Achon‘s running story and subsequent work with orphans is more commendable than anything I could hope to achieve in my lifetime. There are times when there are definite cultural/lifestyle differences between athletes, and these shouldn’t be ignored but celebrated and highlighted.

And now that’s done with, let’s talk Wimbledon. I am extremely upset that Nadal is out already.

Poor Nadal yesterday :(

Poor Nadal yesterday :(

He is my favourite of the top 4 because he is so serious, and is a great defence player. Plus, and this is obviously low down on the list, he has nice arms. Now I don’t know who to cheer for – the tortured Murray or the smooth Djokovic?

Ellie B

Click here to find out more about Julius Achon’s Uganda Children’s Fund. 

Who is your favourite Athlete/Sports person? 

What do you think about Runners in the world of fame and sports?

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Hang in there Nadal! You’ll be back!

* The tennis four Big Guns are: Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and Federer. But the biggest of these is Nadal. Apart from right now.