Today: 13.1 Rules For My First Half Marathon

23 Feb Because I got fed up of Giving up

So i’ve reached that stage, the stage where I start questioning whether I’ve done enough to last long enough, or even to last the distance.

I know I can, I’ve been through this with myself. Intervalling your way to 13 miles isn’t the most efficient way to run your first half marathon, but after the not so great start to my year, and my foot still deciding to go numb at about 3 miles I’m left with little choice.

Over the past couple of months training, I have tried and tested different things to see if I can push further. Everything from the clothes I wear to the food I eat and even analysing which toe will blister first (right foot, toe next to the big one). I think I have come up with some (13.1) golden rules for your first race, or at least, rules for MY first race….

1. Talk to people who have done it before

This. You will hear everyone talking about their goals, and their sub 2 hour half marathons when you start your programme and you will feel so motivated! You shouldn’t kid yourself though, trying and extrapolate how long your 13.1 miles will take from the time your 10k run was will make you feel miserable.

My time prediction at best, if I run at my 5km pace, is 2 hours 40 mins. I’ve taken a step back from that and I know my running time will be around 3 hours, when intervalled.

I’ve accepted it, and haven’t thought too much on me being a failure or anything as I am going to do it.

Ask your friends what they did wrong. Giggle about it, you don’t even have to learn from it. It says a lot about making your own mistakes when your friends have done them too. You’re stubborn enough to go against the advice then you are stubborn enough to train for 13.1 miles

2. French lacy knickers are a no-no

I said I tried many different clothes, So I’m going to say one word: Velcro.

Go big, go small, don’t go wedgie.

3. If you’re a razor girl… don’t go crazy

Associated with the French knickers reason. It also itches with sweat, and ladies we do sweat. It doesn’t smell nice and when we’ve gone South American down South there is rubbing, and chaffing and itching and O DEAR GOD JUST DON’T.

4. Find a sports bra and stick with it

My Boobs jiggle, but if I wore a fully strapped-back-to-prepubescent-boy style bra I can’t breathe. I went through about 3 before I found my love… I jiggle during the first km because I’m full of beans but then they settle into a nice rhythm.

5. Get the best App for you

I’m a Nike Running Girl myself, I know those who use Strava, RunKeeper, Garmin stuff… I must admit I am using my phone for all my runs, but during training I’m getting annoyed at not knowing where I am, or how fast/slow I’m going. A Garmin/Nike sports watch may be my next best investment. I’m doing this AFTER my race… I know these things aren’t always accurate, but I don’t want to mess up all things inaccurate.

Consistent Inaccuracies please…

6. SOCKS

I never believed them when they said “get running socks”. Socks are socks, right? WRONG: running socks have taken my poor arches of my feet from trench-foot through to fine after a run. They will always be sore, but I don’t have an alien pod now growing on them! Best £6 investment ever.

7. Leave the Mascara at home

I’m guilty of this on so many occasions, I would even go as far to say that anything over an hour-long, wash your face off of makeup before starting. Even though you do just ‘sweat it off’ It can turn gunky and give you panda eyes and make them sting. Which will make you cry. Nobody like a runner crying for 25 mins on the treadmill (Trust me)

8. Hair length and style matter… But not to look good

I have boob length hair (most accurate description). Not massively long, not really short, and when I first started training I tied it in a ponytail. About 30 mins in the pony tail started getting glazed with sweat from my shoulders.. then started to get stuck under my armpits. So I was pulling on my own hair…

Next I tried a bun on top of my head, which was fine till my head got sweaty and the bun kinda fell off…

I stick with a plait now. Nice and easy and it doesn’t flick sweat everywhere either.

9. The Internal Runner Discussions

I’ve blogged about my arguments with myself before, even the ones when I’m running. When I was doing parkrun in Milton Keynes this past Saturday I was talking to someone who has the same discussions as me. We crave pizza, and talk to our knees, moan at our ankles and wonder if we’re entering a mild psychosis during our runs as we are almost 100% sure we are having both sides of the arguments out loud…

It’s normal (apparently) and helps pass the time, so if you see me having an ‘Andy Murray moment’, it’s self-motivation at its best!

10. Music choices

DON’T MAKE A PLAYLIST THAT LASTS THE TIME YOU WANT TO RUN IN.

Make one that’s significantly shorter. That way you know your songs will have to repeat at some point, and you won’t be disheartened when you’re at mile 12 and your playlist finishes “I’ve still got 15 mins and I haven’t done it! O THE SHAME” Or other Drama Queen personality traits you obtain whilst running like a badass.

11. Training sucks… The goal doesn’t

Every training run, without fail, during km 1 and the final km. I’ve accepted it to the point that it drives me on!

12. The right shoes

I know I said in point one that you can stubborn yourself out of certain advice that is given.. Not this. Get proper shoes, trust me it saved my knees!

13. Be nervous

It’s a big thing, even if you are so calm until you start walking towards the start line. Nerves can carry you through that horrendous first km and push you past the final marker. Embrace the excitement!

13.1 You will finish.

Believe it. Say it to yourself. I’ve got it on my motivation board and I say it with every walking part of my intervals. I’ll finish, I may finish last, but I finished a half marathon.

Now I’m off to hydrate hydrate hydrate and eat a manageable amount of carbs!

You can follow me on Twitter @harriparf and Pinterest @harrietestyman

Today: Achievement and Gratitude

3 Feb

Yes yes yes I know.

Well you’re not in my head so you don’t know.

So, whilst I was out on my club run tonight, I got about a mile and a half in and I was getting a bit down. I was dead last in a group id never run with before, I was slower than all of them by at least a minute and I considered dropping out every errrr 16 paces?

But then I started thinking about all those ‘motivational memes’ and images you see on Pinterest, and you pin thinking “hell yeah that’s gonna be me!” When in reality, you get to the front door, start the car and question why you insist on doing this to yourself… Those memes.

Seriously, I was cursing them all in my head. I was like “fuck off I know I can grow babies but 13.1 miles will still hurt like anything” and then I decided to make my own achievements up.

This kinda links with gratitude here – bare with me!

So people stay motivated in different ways. I like showing off that I just destroyed 4 miles. Even if I hated every second of it, hitting that share button to 3 social media sites in one go is like my justification. I did it, what did you do? All that stuffs.

I think my first ever achievement was getting out the door. Cheesey I know, but seriously, finding a place for your keys, setting that app up and fiddling with your music till you find that right song… And bam. Achievement unlocked and you’re out the door!

I started to remember all the little goals I set myself: “Get to 1km” “round your running to 10mins” “why stop you’re over halfway!” It made me smile on the cold run from hell in the scary group.

Before I knew it we were 2.5 miles in, and I was starting to be happier with my achievements. I realised all my sharing and showing off may appear self centred and irritating to some, but I know to me, that I was finally saying “look I did it, I said I would”. Whether that is a stick it to the masses or what I don’t know. But I’m glad I do it!

It makes me grateful for my friends and family, they put up with my moaning and groaning and my “I ran 4 miles last night I’m gonna hurt today” and the best “I wish I could foam roller it all out in the office”. The latter because apparently it’s poor form to ask people to rub you down! Who knew. I don’t get judged, and sometimes I even get a well done. Which at least means they read my posts every now and then!!

My poor husband has had to deal with my drippy head, post run coughs and the large amount of smelly running gear that gets washed. But he does get to watch me stretch it out when I get home. Which I totally don’t play up to…

I was thinking all of this when suddenly I was on the home stretch. The tail runner who was with me had a Garmin that beeped for 4 miles and I was done. I felt good after a quick shake off, and say in the car getting my breath back whilst I uploaded all my info to facebook.

Because how would you know I was running if I didn’t tell you?

Tomorrow I’m going to not feel like having a panic attack and appreciate what I did tonight.

And tea. Drink tea not coffee…

What’s your next achievement going to be?

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Today: Training Sucks

26 Jan

Training sucks

Like really.

Especially when you have never done the thing you are training towards before. I’ll use my half marathon stuff as an example.

I run my long runs on a Sunday. Last week I managed just over 5 miles in just over an hour. I was walking on Air, there wasn’t a parking ticket in the world that could bring me down. I was so elated that I was actually looking forward to running again on Tuesday, as Mondays for me are rest days.

Bring on Tuesday. I head to the gym, stocked with a plan: Running for three songs and walking for one, for an hour and 15 mins in total. 10 mins longer than the constant running I did the Sunday just gone.

But alas, my body had other plans. After 1km my ankles felt like they were strapped between splints. I normally can run through most things, as the first km of anything always sucks. It’s the mental game. You find your rhythm or you never get very far. I just could not find my rhythm. At all!

It got to the mile mark at 1.6km, and I had had enough, I couldn’t even stretch it out. It was clear that I was still suffering from my weekend run, and it left me SO dejected.

I felt like a huge failure, I was doubting whether I could ever run 13.1 miles when after one I was struggling on a treadmill of all things. It was clunky, it wasn’t smooth there was no easy rhythm found.

So I reflected again. Wenesday is a full on rest day, I have time set aside from 7-10 to do the least aerobic exercise I can think of (sitting around.. not doing much) and before that after work I tidy things up and set up for the rest of the week. I was hating myself, I mean, I’ve done more, why couldn’t I do that again?

That’s when it kind of hit me: Training sucks.

That was kind of an acceptance I think, I know it’s going to suck, so how could it get any worse? I Haven’t failed if I make it out the door, I don’t like failing so as long as I make it out the door I’m one step/mile closer than I would have been if I didn’t.

I’m not going to put my body through physical pain, I’m not going to injure myself because that’s worse. Injury sucks as much as training except you’re energised all the time and can’t do anything about it.

Training sucks for 45 – 90 mins a day. And that’s only three times a week.

So tomorrow I will do a steady pace timed run. If I feel good I will do 1:20, if not at least an hour – no matter the intervals. But I will make it out the door, because training only sucks when you’re doing it, and you’re never doing it for very long.

My achievement Saturday was to add an extra 2 miles onto my parkrun distance, my parkrun time sucked. But I finished. 40 mins… Which is actually the pace in aiming for! Just gotta keep this momentum up, especially after a slightly indulgent day off today.

Training can’t get worse than it already is, i mean, you could not be doing anything, right?

Today: Semi-marathon de Paris

11 Jan

Last year in November I signed up to the half marathon in Paris.

Not one for taking and easy option, really!

Why Paris? Well I’ve been there twice for work, I’ve admired document stir and pictures of the city, I’ve seen horrible stories about Paris and the way that it’s extremely dirty and segregated. So I thought I would see for myself!

Why a half marathon? Once my beginners group ended I’ve been a bit lost for motivation, I didn’t know what to do, and I’ve been really enjoying running and the community, that I thought why not go further?

I did a 10k at the end of November – Movember, in Milton Keynes, and it truly was horrible. Wet, cold, windy, hill swamped two lap course. I was 5th from last and genuinely hated every second of it. Then I finished. I had a friend surprise me as I crossed the rain soaked miserably grey finish line and I could have cried. Crying due a mixture of pain, cold, and joy that I had finished.

My hatred of running was soon over, and I just couldn’t wait to do another. It was like I had identified everything that had gone wrong and I wanted to fix it for the next thing. Thankfully I’d signed up for Paris!

13.1 miles isn’t much further than 6, is it?

Flash forward to the new year and I got struck with the crappy coughing headache, fatigued virus that’s been making the rounds. 3 weeks I’ve been out with it, no running had been done till today!

Only 8/9 weeks till the half marathon.. No biggie?

I know that if I can train up to 10 miles I will finish the race. I mean, the final 3 is just a park run right? And if I can do that final push in 40 mins I will be happy!

Today I managed to run in the gym, 6km running to songs. Two songs running and one song walking, just to ease back in, that took an hour. The advantage to running in the gym is that I got to watch the news whilst running, which just so happened to be on the March through Paris in remembrance and solidarity with Charlie Hebdo, and it was a big motivation.

I have the freedom to run where I want, what would I do if someone tried to take that away? Someone tried to scare me away from it? Much like Boston and the reaction to that terrible attack I would run. I would show defiance and strength in that I was born with the strength to run, the strength to enter these races, to run for a charity, to run for myself.

It was motivating. It kept me going from my ” 20mins little intervals” to a full hour seeing how far I could go.

Now I feel I can say: #JeSuisCharlie

I’m still nervous about running this half, especially as I will probably not have a trailing couple of weeks of distance, and I will have to run at the peak. But I will run, I will go. Why should I let a cough stop me? Why I should I let my worry stand in the way of a truly AWESOME feeling?

I will be spending 4 days in Paris, exploring and taking everything in. And I will not be frightened or intimidated.

I will be a runner.
Continue reading

Today: Begin Again

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Well I finally admitted that I needed help with my running.

So I got it!

About 8 weeks ago I completed a beginners running course (like a couch to 5k) with a 5k graduating time of 36:05 (according to the Nike running app!).

I’ve been hooked since!

I’ve now become a regular at the Redway Runners in Milton Keynes, whacking out a 5k every Monday and up to 8 every Thursday. I now also regularly take part in park runs as well. It’s a great feeling.

I really do enjoy it a lot, so much so that I’ve even signed up to do a 10k in November, and a longer event in March next year! Very exciting times for me, as it means I have something that I can work towards again.

I completed my first solo training run for it this Sunday just gone, and it was a killer. I’d only planned to do about 7k, but I needed up getting lost and then a bridge was closed and it was all a bit of a mess. So I ended up running 8.77k… No I wasn’t running my 5k split times but I was maintaining it, I averaged under 8min a km and If I didn’t have to stop to keep trying to figure out where to go, it would have been done quicker as well.

I know Nike does it pause run when you stop, but it adds about 15 seconds onto your time… And I got very lost….

Brilliant way to explore the new area though, and it’s a good excuse to get me out the house. Fighting all the mental knock backs and all that. It really is a brilliant medicine, exercise, personal development and the outdoors!

I have to get over running in the rain… I’ve sweated hair dye down my face so I must be able to cope with a bit of drizzle. It is England, after all.

So this week? We’ll long run Thursday again, I’m getting up early to push I out a morning exercise routine. Gently waking up a bit earlier everyday to get to the gym and do it… Imaging a morning swim and an evening run! Glorious!!!!

Night time now though, glass of water to sleep on and an early alarm….. *yawn*

Today: Canada 2013

9 Jun

Well, some may have found that the most edge of seat racing, but I personally, found it to be strained and average.

There were great moments, Paul DiResta making it up 10 places from where he poorly qualified was certainly a highlight, and as a Mark Webber fan, seeing him go forwards and not backwards at the start was a great thing!

I must say that if it wasn’t for DRS and KERS then there would have been a lot of waiting around for very few battles to happen. Some have been saying that it is very artificial, but I would have to disagree, it’s an evolving sport, one that thankfully is moving forward with current technological advances. Instead of writing stuff off all together F1 does like to investigate and then either implement or ban a certain new development. KERS and the F-duct are two prime examples of each of these.

I have previously written about the sporting regulations and the technical regulations, granted now a few years old now, but all this rubbish around artificial racing makes me want to investigate what is illegal, as it points to previous developments on other cars that may or may not have given advantages (holes in the floor etc).

But alas I currently have no time! Maybe for the 2014 season, over christmas, I will read through them again. Just to make sure I can nit-pick appropriately for next season.

ANYWAY as I was saying, I’m still trying to think of race highlights, VDG not quite holding the door open? Hulkenburg not quite having suspension damage (at least it didn’t look like it to me!) and retiring prematurely? Maldonado not having any depth perception? The fact that Romain Grosjean made it to the end of the race, his car fully intact?

I dunno, maybe it was the amazing weather tormenting me, but I just couldn’t really get into this race. Silverstone now has a lot of pressure to deliver!

Today: The Sun, Tan lines and the dress fitting

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Today was a very exciting day in the wedding Calendar.

For today I got to have the final check on my wedding dress to make sure it still fitted and I still liked it.

I had my chief bridesmaid come with me, for an emotional reaction test, I knew she was excited to see what it looked like, and I had some bits and bobs I wanted to try with the dress.

I had bought my veil online from www.lightinthebox.com, more as a test than anything else, for not nearly the price that veils were being sold at in bridal shops! And I loved it. I would have to attach the beads on more securely, but that’s something to do in the week leading up to the wedding, and it was the perfect length for me!!

I also tried out the glorious bridal shoes I bought from Debenhams, with associated heel grips to stay on!

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I seriously couldn’t love them more, as when I tried on the dress, try we’re the perfect height for my toe to just poke out the bottom of the dress as I stepped forward. Couldn’t have picked a better pair!

And my CB was also ending the right emotional signals, almost crying at how pretty and beautiful I looked. It’s not often I get to blow my own trumpet at such, but I think there is a requirement on your wedding day! And I loved how I looked. And it just felt amazing to wear.

Today was also the day Charlie got his groomsmen suits sorted. It’s all coming together now! 60 days :-) and we have just signed our contract for temporary accommodation here in Cheltenham before the big move to Milton Keynes.

Today has been a good day. An exciting day.

I’m regards to the tan lines comment in the title, I became very aware, just as the weather perked up enough for me to consider leaving my hoodie at home, that I had a strapless wedding dress. Where the only part of my skin visible would be my shoulders, arms and head. The bits that are very sensitive to THE TSHIRT TAN. Now, not to be dramatic, but I’m now doing a rain Dance. Every morning, after I clean my face.

I have wisely invested in some strapless tops to wear if I know the jumpers will be coming off, I also wear no bracelets.

The only tan line I don’t mind being visible now is the one my engagement ring will make when I have my wedding ring put on my finger, but I think that’s an ok one to have on your wedding day!

That’s me done for now I think. Chat soon readers!

Today: The wedding skincare

5 Jun

Hello!

Well I’ve suddenly got the wedding prep panic with just over 60 days to go (Ah!)

For the past few days I have been religiously sticking to a facial plan, to try and keep breakouts down, and make my skin as clear and pretty as I can make it!

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Here are my tools of the trade as such, the full shabang! I don’t use everything once a day, but I use some twice a day.

Here is my routine:

Step one

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This is my face wash (not scrub) and a scrubbing pad, step one! Ive never had an experience with a scrub that didn’t end in something going in my eye or me using half the bottle to feel clean, so the face wash and the scrubbing pad allows me to be as gentle or rough as I like, depending on if I’m wearing makeup or not. Once I’ve scrubbed the day of my face, I use a flannel to clean off the soap, none of this splashing face stuff! Luke warm water, and wipe off. Means I don’t miss anything.

Step two

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Step two is the face mask. Not to be done everyday, but once a week. I love this No.7 mask! Simple and warming, I put about half a brazil but size blob, and rub in from the nose out, round the eyes, forehead and t zone, before doing cheeks and chin. Then again with the flannel and warm water and wipe off. Skin feels soft afterwards. I would avoid using it if you have any broken skin, as it can cause irritation.

Step three

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Step three is the seaweed cleanser from the body shop. I use this to cool my face after the scrub and the face mask, I put a pea size amount on a cotton pad and work from the nose round the eyes, t zone, cheeks and chin. I will brush lightly round the eyes to take the flaky bits of eye make up and dust off. This is a very gentle clean and I would recommend if you are feeling a bit flustered and hit after being in the sun!

Step four

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Step four is the camomile eye make up remover. Less is more with this product from the body shop, a couple of drops on a cotton pad and ensure you clean up and down the lashes. Works gently and well. Key purchase in my book!

Step five

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Step five is the good old Clearasil deep cleansing toner. Gets all the nitty gritty dirt out, try not to go over the eyes as it stings a bit! Make sure you follow just below the jaw line as well and a sweep over and behind the ears wouldn’t go amiss as well! Only about 3 drops needed on a cotton pad again. A little goes a long way.

Step six

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Step six, and the final one is the moisturiser, I used to be a garnier girl until I found this! Feels a bit thick to go on at first but the after effect is really really nice. Simple replenishing rich moisturiser. A good investment!

I tend to use the toner when I wake up as well, especially when it’s hot! I will only use a tiny bit of moisturiser in the morning as well, if I’m only wearing mascara anyway. If I decide on a full face of makeup I use the body shop primer. But the makeup will be for another blog post :)

In regards to showers, I will do my routine, except the moisturising. I have an old face scrub (boo), seaweed from the body shop, that I use to wash any shampoo and stuff off my face that may have got there. Just to try and stop my skin from drying out.

My skin feels amazing right now and I’m sure I will update you if I discover any other stages. But out of all the prep that’s going on, it’s nice to have a bit of routine to go on, which, when it comes to wedding nerves, can be very reassuring!

Today: 3 to go

17 May

That’s pounds not days, 1.1kgs until I hit my first goal!

Feeling alright :) it’s been a bad week this week for eating, but I did do 3 different classes so I think that’s ok?

Anyway, still got alot on my plate, wedding planning, moving, job hunting. But we have seen a couple of short term lets around, so it’s not the end yet!

If all else fails I’m sure we will be taken in by some family (we hope….)

In regards to wedding planning, I am trying to slowly complete the names for the place settings, and the table names. Just trying to look at examples and to try and not make them look rubbish. Got some favours stuff going on as well, and the table centre pieces are coming along, we have to tell the registry office all our details for the ceremony in the next couple of weeks, so that’s a job for the weekend!

Off for a factory tour around Lotus F1 tomorrow, so we are very excited! Then back to chelters where we are planning a Nandos. :-)

Looking forward to tomorrow! And the weekend, we get to pick wedding music for the bit when guests are arriving. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Anyway, signing off for now! TTFN xx

Today: Well It’s Not All Going To Plan

9 May

Don’t get me started.

O you’re here reading? Fair enough, I’ll enlighten you on a few things:

  • Charlie is starting a masters in Milton Keynes in October, I’m starting it the year later [YAY]
  • We have to move to Milton Keynes between now and October [EASY]
  • We are getting married in August [YAY]
  • Honeymoon in September [YAY]
  • Need to find a new job [NO BIGGIE]
  • We have to move out of this flat by June 21st [OK THATS MANAGEABLE]
  • Our invite RSVP deadline is June 21st [FORWARD IT YOU IDIOT]
  • Charlie finishes his current course on June 21st [OK..]
  • Nowhere in Cheltenham does a 12 week let that isn’t a holiday let or a bedsit [AWKWARD]
  • It’s currently 7 weeks till we have to move out [GETTING CLOSE]
  • We have to move out on a Friday [ARGH]

All of this would be fine if our landlords weren’t the worst organisation on the planet. They are not registered with any governing body, nor do they seem to understand that people live in the flat, hence it may not be in ‘pristine conditiong’ upon inspection. All their staff are miserable with horrific customer service/relation skills. As soon as we get our instructions for never having to talk to the poor excuse for a letting agent, they will be getting a complaint. I don’t care that we have to move out, it’s the owners decision to want to sell on. But we have been patronised and bullied to the point that I got ill I was so stressed out.

Apparently forgetting to hoover and using the toilet is grounds for them to inspect us again? UGH. Now wonder there were no agency fees, I would feel sick having to pay for any of their services.

They are Northwood letting agents in Cheltenham. This is their website: http://www.northwooduk.com/

NEVER USE THEM.

—————–

Right. Onto more positive things:

WE ARE MOVING TO MILTON KEYNES AAAAAHHHHHHHHH

Most of the wedding stuff is now organised! It is literally just minor details, and paying! We are getting RSVPs in and all is well :) I have just found out as well that I can get ready at the venue, which is a massive load off my mind!

It is just our living arrangements now, if I had a job we would just move to MK sooner, but interviews/applications and everything take time.

Anyway, I’ve just made banana cake! AND it’s just cooked. tarra!

 

 

 

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