Random bits and bobs about me

Last post before I go to Dubai, I thought I’d do a random one!

The lovely Allison from Running Princess nominated me for the Liebster Award. It’s basically a fun way to connect with other bloggers and gives you a chance to answer some random questions and get to know the blogger a bit better. Allison gave me some questions to answer so let’s get started. Prepare for some randomness!

What inspired you to start your blog?

I read a lot of blogs back in the day, but not as many anymore. I’ve certainly honed down the list and realised what I actually like to read about as well as other bloggers stopping writing or moving into territories I’m not as interested in. Anyway, I started writing one because I love running and I love writing and I was inspired by these other amazing bloggers. I actually didn’t care if anyone read it or not. I just enjoyed the process and love having a way to track progress, events and basically memories. I can flick back to older posts and, after cringing a bit, relive moments of my life.

Like when I used to upload a photo of my Garmin watch on my wrist to show my run as Strava wasn’t around then… Or when I used to make more exciting breakfasts because I thought people would get bored hearing about how I eat porridge Ever. Singly. Day.When I used to post photos of my outfit of the day (I still do this now, just on Instagram, for my shame #OOTD).And when I used to post actual recipes and upload photos of my meals more regularly. But what has always been consistent is my love for running and my love for cake 😉

An elevator pitch for your blog?

Oh blimey… “Do you like running?? Do you like eating?? Come and get them both in my blog! Terms and conditions apply, mainly: running isn’t always sensible, consistent, injury-free or decent. And yes I really do eat everything I say I do, and yes I am that much of a greedy pig.”

If you could have a conversation with anyone (real or fictional) from any time, who would you choose and why?

I found this question really hard. I posed the question to Twitter and it gave me a lot of inspiration: Morgan Freeman, David Attenborough, relatives no longer with us, Tony Stark, Eluid Kipchoge, Hugh Laurie, Bill Murray and of course… God.

I feel like I need to answer this in a poignant way but actually I really don’t know. My geeky side thinks having a cup of tea with Dumbledore would be amazing. My foodie side and the fact that I have a weird attraction says Jamie Oliver (he’s bring snacks). Maybe Graham Norton as he’s funny and would have loads of celebrity anecdotes I’m sure.

If you had a theme tune, what song would you pick and why?

Jurassic Park theme music. Not sure why. It’s good theme music. Dramatic and exciting, exactly like my life isn’t 😉

Where is your happy place?

Two places. First place: in bed with my super snuggly dog, Alfie, when he’s just woken up and is all cuddly and warm. Second place: the finish straight of a marathon and the walk to get the medal. No better feeling. Cheesy but literally the best.

Who would you most like to go for a run/cycle/workout with?

Weirdly, Jennifer Lawrence. I don’t think she’d be too fast for me to keep up with (she’s not a regular runner I believe, I’m not being mean) and I reckon she’d be hilarious. In this scenario I’m not a weird stalker running after her, but we’re friends 😉 I feel like we have a similar love for food and a similar sense of humour.

Flying or invisibility?

Now this will sound creepy… As good as it would be to fly, I’m pretty sure it would be really cold… and I’d get lost or fly into a plane or something stupid. I would however quite like to be invisible. I will unashamedly admit I do love a bit of celebrity gossip and would just love to see what someone like Victoria Beckham or the Queen (granted, not really a celeb) get up to when they’re away from the public. It’s a very creepy thing to admit, but admit it I have.

If you could learn one new skill, what would you choose and why?

To speak more than one language. I’d love to be able to go to different countries and just speak their languages. It would be so useful. The world would literally be your oyster. I feel like it’s such a good skill to have. As a country, the UK are pretty rubbish at this – probably because we start far too late learning languages that it’s just very difficult.

What do you want to achieve in 2018?

Just general continued happiness would be nice. I’m a happy person and I’d like that to continue. Running-wise…another Marathon Major (New York), more letters for my Alphabet parkrun challenge and solid running consistently with few injuries.

What made you smile today?

People being nice. The world needs more niceness. Nice might be boring but I think we need more of it in our lives. Just a smile from someone at the gym. A nice comment from someone. Simple things like that.

Go on, answer a few of the questions too!

Done being sensible

I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions or “new year, new me” mantras. But I do think it can be useful for people for motivation and some self-reflection.

I’ve definitely done a bit of self-reflection the past few weeks. There’s nothing like being single during Christmas that can make you think a bit more about yourself, I assure you.

In general, I’m quite a positive person. I don’t allow myself to wallow or sink into dark thoughts. I find other things to focus on and I have a solid family and friends unit who pick me up (or tell me to stop being so self-indulgent). I say this a lot and I truly believe it, I’m very lucky and have a fantastic life. I have a family who I can always fall back on emotionally and financially. My mum makes me feel beautiful, loved and boosts my self-esteem. My dad gives me sound advice, supports my crazy running adventures and will always be honest with me (he’s never afraid to tell me when I look rubbish, am being a pilock or need bringing back to earth). My sister is always there when I need those ‘girlie chats’ – boys, beauty and life, you know what I mean.

But I’m only human. Being single is pants. Granted, I haven’t made a huge amount of effort to “get out there”. I’m not a clubber, I don’t go to bars, I don’t use online the free dating apps and I’m not quite at the point to pay for the more “quality” ones. And in this day and age, you won’t bump into your soulmate at the supermarket. Sometimes in my lowest and most self-indulgent moments I wonder, “what’s wrong with me?”. I know, I know, it’s pathetic and I’m not asking for pity or people to say “oh but Anna you’re lovely!” like my mum would. I’m just genuinely reflecting on the fact that I’m not a complete mess of a person and have a solid life, yet I’m sat watching everyone around me jump on a train I don’t have a ticket for. I don’t even know how to buy the damn ticket.

So this year I’m going to become a bit more of a “yes person” and stop following the straight and narrow road.

Basically, I’m a sensible person. [I say “sensible” here but I know a lot of past events have shown I’m actually not that sensible because I’m quite the idiot. What I mean is I’m not a spontaneous person]. I don’t really do crazy things (New Year’s Day aside…). I work hard and I save, something I’m very lucky to be able to continue to do now I live at my parent’s and have rented my flat out despite being on a smaller salary. I have goals and plans for this year but mostly surrounding running (Dubai… New York… Jersey ;-)). But I think a lot before I plan on going anywhere and over-analyse everything to the nth degree. I cost everything up, I work it into my budget, put it in my spreadsheet, ponder and hesitate.

Above all, I make sure my savings remain solid. Other than my unruly leggings habit, I really hate spending money. My father would call me “tight” but being single means you are your own means. If I lost my job I lose my income (well, not strictly true now that I’m renting my flat out but you know what I mean). I know my parents are there for me, but having a large savings is my safety net and cotton wool.

But I’m fed up of doing everything by the book and being sensible. I need to go and do something a bit “non-Anna” and throw caution to the wind. I don’t mean spend all my money and live life without a thought for the future of course…but I also shouldn’t sit on a pile of money that is essentially doing nothing. I don’t have any plans to upgrade my flat or move out, buy a fancy car, have a baby.  Without getting too morbid here, I could die tomorrow. What am I waiting for? Clearly I have no ties, no children and am armed full of independence. The time is NOW.

Basically what I’m saying is, I want to stop waiting for something that might not happen and just go and live life to the full. On that note (and trying, but probably failing, not to be have a stereotypical “omg need to find myself” moment), I’m off to Bali in April. A non-running, chill my mind out kind of holiday. Go alone but with a group of strangers. Find a bit of peace in my buzzing brain without using running as a distraction. But in general, for this year, I intend to take each day as a precious gift that I’m alive and I’m a strong, independent woman. My life is now and I’m not waiting for anyone or anything.

*Cue Beyonce*

Have you ever felt a bit… lost?

Have you ever been to Bali?

Are you a saver or a spender?

New year new me?

Someone at work asked me what my New Year’s Resolutions were. I jokingly replied, “to run a marathon”. They laughed, they know my marathon addiction well.

But it did get me thinking about my plans for 2018. What would I like to achieve, races I want to run, and ultimately the memories I’d like to make. For me, life is all about those life experiences, good times and memories. So what’s on the horizon for me?

Run some more marathons

What a surprise, eh? I plan on doing three… if all is well of course and I’m not injured. I’d love to run more than three but I think I’ve been very lucky this year to run as many as I have and I shouldn’t think this is the norm (I’ve run five marathons this year! For me this is insanely good).IMG_9289

  • Dubai Marathon

This is literally right around the corner of course. Friday January 26th. I’d LOVE to get close to my PB or even beat it (3:24:06) but I really don’t want to stress myself out and put pressure on myself. I’ve said this many times before but I don’t run marathons to achieve a certain time. I run them because I love the whole experience. That said, if I could be the shape I’m in or better beforehand then naturally I’ll be running faster than I previously have anyway so who knows what will happen. I certainly won’t be busting my guts for over 3 hours. That’s not how I roll.

  • Brighton Marathon

A jolly down the beach! This is what I intend for this marathon. Lots of my club will be doing it so they’ll be a fun atmosphere and I love Brighton. I’ve never done this marathon but I know it’s a good one for supporters as the course loops back on itself a few times. Also my best friend’s hubby will be attempting his first marathon so they’ll be there 🙂

  • New York Marathon

Continuing my goal to do all the six Marathon Majors (I’ve done London, Berlin, Boston, Tokyo and still need NY and Chicago). If everything goes to plan I will be joining some other lovely bloggers on a trip to the big apple for this one.

Run a sub-20 parkrun

I say parkrun and not 5k because there really isn’t a chance in hell I’d sign up to do an actual 5k race. My PB currently stands at 20:06 but that’s from 2015. My closest attempt has been 20:18… can I crack it? I don’t know. Originally I was hoping to do this before the end of the year but, again, this is putting nasty pressure on myself for what is essentially a superfluous and pointless goal (no one but me cares about, it won’t make me a better runner, etc. etc.). I was on the ball with my speed workouts but then did a marathon and the fire has somewhat died a bit. I’ll have a crack at a few speedy parkruns and get back on to the speedwork next week but I’m not going to ruin myself over it.

Run a few more half marathons

My second favourite race distance. I have a few in the plan already and I’m quite excited. I have the Jersey Half Marathon in June (more on this later) and the Reading Half Marathon in March. I’ve done the Reading Half twice before and hadn’t really considered running it again until I got offered a blogger place, which obviously peaked my interest again. Reading is fairly near to me to make it quite a nice race to get to and it’s relatively flat. But most importantly it has a fantastic atmosphere and great support all round the course. It’s a huge event with I think around 15,000 runners. Yes it is running around Reading (not exactly the most scenic of the British towns) but it’s a great event with a stadium finish. After a few year’s break I’m ready to give it another stab.

As part of the Reading Half Marathon, I’m also taking part in the training day on Saturday 6th January. The training day (which you can be a part of too if you sign up! Check out their Facebook post for more info) has quite the line-up of exciting stuff for the day:

  • A group workout with the Townsend Twins
  • Pacing advice from Reading Half Marathon Pace Co-ordinator and fitness coach Ali Galbraith
  • A group run (to practise those pacing lessons!)
  • An injury prevention talk and cooldown from Jim at Berkshire Physio (I am MOST excited about this)
  • A Q&A at the end for any specific training/injury queries

Reading half training day - Twitter & FB no timetablePlaces are limited though, so you’ll need to be fast if this takes your fancy!

Parkrun Alphabet Challenge

This will be ongoing as I’m not sure if I’ll be able to finish it next year (due to that pesky Z being in Poland…) but it’s definitely going to be a focus for me. I hope to have ‘K’ ticked off in January and ‘J’ ticked off in June – which is the main reason I’m doing the Jersey Half Marathon, purely to get that J. It’s just time really for me to get around the place. But I do have a few friends to call in on to tick some off!IMG_0142So they’re my running plans for the year. Personal plans? Oh it might be nice to have a bit more success with dating but ehhh who knows. My motivation has dipped to a real low right now regarding that. I’m just busy with life and unless it happens organically (a word I detest) I’m actually going to have to put effort into it…more than I have been. It depresses me when I think too long about this situation, so I shan’t.

I think the MOST important goal is to have fun, enjoy life, run all the marathons and eat all the food.

What are your 2018 goals?

Do you have any races lined up yet?

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?

New Running Goals

After a surprisingly successful Bournemouth Marathon, I’ve now got my sights on the what’s next. Usually when I start to do any concrete forward planning (like entering races and building training plans) I get injured so watch this space.

My next marathon (there is always a “next marathon”) will hopefully be the Dubai Marathon at the end of January. It scares me somewhat to know that that’s less than 15 weeks away. But I’m not silly enough to be jumping back into super long runs for a good few weeks. In fact, I plan on taking the rest of October at a fairly languid pace. I’ll run how I fancy and won’t be looking to make anything feel too intense.

In terms of upcoming non-marathon races, I’ve signed up to the Gosport Half Marathon, which is in November. Despite this race literally being up the road from me, I’ve never actually run it. Though I have entered it FOUR times. Each time I was injured before the start. I genuinely feel this race is cursed for me and signing up to it again concerned me greatly…am I condemning myself? I really don’t want to get injured.

If I do somehow manage to get to the start-line, I won’t be racing it. Why not? Ehhh… I just don’t fancy going for it, if I’m honest. It’s a little too soon in my marathon training plan for that and the fact that there are no headphones allowed (not even Aftershokz) mean it’d mentally be a really hard race. It’s a very boring course, up and down the coast, and usually in atrocious weather. Yes, yes “great training” for Dubai but I’m one of those people who likes to do things they enjoy rather than torture themselves for the “good of training”. There will also be lots of fellow Hedgies running it so I’d rather tag along and just “enjoy it”. Again, if I even make it there.

I have another On The Whistle lapped race in November which will be nice. I enjoyed the last event they did but I was injured coming back from Austria so I could only do one running lap and one walking lap. It’ll be an ideal time (end of November) to use as a catered, friendly long run as well.

So the Dubai Marathon. Technically not a Major, but it has the feels of a major due to the number of elites who enter it (due to the rather larger price fund). It’s also in a part of the world that I’ve never been to before, and, if I’m honest, not really thought about ever going. This gives me a great excuse!

Now, I knew the course was dull. But on closer inspection it’s REALLY dull. It’s literally an out and back of one road. One very long and straight road. It’s also super flat, which of course can be a great thing but having a little bit of variation can really break up the marathon monotony.