Blood and Blogging

My week so far has been fairly uneventful. Though it is only Tuesday so what else can be expected?

I say uneventful but I did almost pass out yesterday after bending my thumbnail back half way down the nail bed, and after seeing the blood I lost consciousness for a few seconds and then could hear nothing but ringing in my ears for about a minute. So that was fun. But my nail didn’t break so I guess I have OPI Nail Envy to thank for that.

It’s annoying how I manage to cope with pain and stuff but as soon as I see blood that’s it, I’m gone. And it’s not even like seeing someone else’s blood does the same thing, or talking about blood, or seeing it on the TV – I only have that reaction when it’s my blood…. And thinking about it now I’m fine, and I know how odd it is. I can’t rationalise it. One minute I’m fine…. Until I’m not.

G and I have been feeling rather under the weather, him more so, but we’re both feeling incredibly run down. The weather isn’t helping. We’re being offered a smidgen of spring, and before we know it we’re watching snow falling outside. I’ve picked up some lovely new summer tops for my trip in September but I’d rather like to start wearing them soon, please.

Next weekend is a Bank Holiday, so a 3-day break, and we’ve got some stuff planned which is nice. I’m hoping the sun shines and it brings some of my happy back.

I’ve been really enjoying reading more blogs and seeing what other people are writing. As much as I love to read all about makeup and fashion, it’s great to see there’s still some intelligent and substantial blog writing happening. Sure it doesn’t bring in as many ‘likes’ or follows as the latest palette review, but I appreciate it. And I’m not suggesting that beauty isn’t an intelligent subject, but you know what I mean.

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I was listening to This American Life in the car on the drive home today, and they were talking about memories. The journalist hosting that particular part of the podcast was talking about how people she was afraid to forget parts of her life so much that she kept boxes upon boxes of memories so that’s she could look back and reminisce – she’d even lugged them to no less than 12 apartments over 10 years. That describes me perfectly (the memory part not the 12 apartment part). I’m so afraid of having an awesome time and forgetting it over the years – it’s petrifying.  I think that’s why I blog. It’s like a living journal – the living part being you guys, my readers. I love knowing you’re out there and that you like reading what I’ve written. My blog was started just for me, to memorialise parts of my life, but years on I now love how it’s an outlet to interact with like-minded people.

Over the years I’ve focussed on books, then fitness, running, food and now beauty. And a lot of you have come along for the ride. It’s nice to have you here!

So the rest of my week will be full of sweaters and chilly evenings wishing the heating wasn’t on. But if the forecast is to be believed things might be picking up by the end of next week. Until then I’ll keep my scarves out and curse the snow flurries. It’s April, Man. Give us a break!

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London Bupa 10,000 Race Recap (aka Never Run with an Injury)

On Bank Holiday Monday I woke early, shoveled down a bagel and hopped in the car, headed for London. Gary and I were heading off for the Bupa 10,000, a race which promised to guide you around some of the sights of London whilst pounding the streets with 12,000 other runners.

Confession time: I wasn’t 100% race fit. The previous 2 weeks I’d been having hip pain and after a visit to a sports physio it turned out to be a TFL injury. I had two massages in the space of 8 days and was able to walk without any pain by the time race day arrived. Great! But I knew I would probably still have some pain, having not run for two weeks.

We arrived at the starting area, nipped to the portaloo and took in some of the atmosphere. Gary and I were starting in different pens so we split up and went to wait for our starting times.

IMG_3101That’s Buckingham Palace at the veeeery far end of the Mall in the photo.

And then we were off! I was aware of my hip, but within about 1k I couldn’t feel any problems. I quickly spotted the Dementia UK (the charity I was running for) cheering squad on the other side of the road and gave them a wave.

IMG_3114I felt great starting off, and I can see from photos of early on in the race that my posture has greatly improved since last year’s races.

Then the sun came out, and I got really rather warm. I don’t run well in the heat but still felt good, only taking a little water from both water stations, which was all I felt I needed. There was a great atmosphere, people cheering me on by name and a lot to see. I can’t say I really noticed much of London around me though. By about 7k I could feel my hip again and I was in quite a lot of pain by 8k. I powered on, but photos of me from this point show the pain in my face. I still managed to smile for Dementia UK as I passed them on my way towards the finish. (And my posture still remained good despite the heat and pain! Awesome!)

IMG_3117Coming into the finishing area I went as fast as I could, but didn’t manage a PB. I ended on 1:06:42 – though my Nike app stated 1:04 and the route was longer than 10k. I’m still happy with either of those times considering I slowed right down towards the end. Not the sub 60 mins I was after, but I know if I hadn’t had the hip issue I would have made it! I’m surprised I finished at all to be honest.

The organisers had laid on free massages, but because they were free the line was huge and I knew if I stood and waited in it my hip would seize up. So I walked. I walked back to the car and then hydrated and fueled on the journey back. By the time I’d got home my leg had seized up completely. At time of writing I’m still pretty crippled and unable to put weight on my right leg at all. Foam rolling and yoga seems to be helping, but I have a race in 5 weeks so I hope to be back to myself then. However, no medal is worth this kind of injury and pain, so we’ll see.

IMG_3103It is a darn pretty medal though!

I’ve raised £200.00 for Dementia UK so far – thanks to all who donated!

This Week I Have Been Mostly

this week i have been mostly

Wow, where did that weekend go? I’ve been super busy and before I knew it it was Monday.

Last week I:

  • Went to visit Amy. She’s just moved into a lovely little house with her boyfriend and even though they’d only been in for almost a week, it already looked cosy and homely.
  • I had dinner with an old friend and caught up with what’s been going on since it’s been years since we last hung out.
  • I went out with my sister-in-law, mother-in-law and niece for a meal whilst the boys went out in London.
  • I visited a sports therapist to look at my TFL joint as I’ve been in pain for a whole week since my last run. Some deep tissue massage later, I’ve been told not to run again until my Bupa 10,000 next Monday. That will have been two weeks off running so hopefully I’ll be okay for the event. Either way I’m still hoping for a PB!
  • Me and my Mum have been practising for a big concert on Friday, with Rock Choir, at St Albans Abbey.
  • I’ve been getting excited because two of the Book Club girls who have been out of the country for months are back in a few weeks and we’ll all be back together again!
  • I’ve been trying to understand lactose intolerance a bit more, and missing the food I used to eat with no problems. I had a big flare up this weekend and after speaking to some people who have dealt with LI for a long time, it seems the condition is really temperamental. You can be fine for weeks and then the smallest thing will set it off. So I’m going to try adding some dairy back into my diet to see what’s bad and what’s not so bad, and hopefully build up some kind of tolerance again.
  • Last week I drove to work and back on my own. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you may know how absolutely massive this is, since my fear of driving has prevented me from being able to drive on my own since I passed my test years and years ago. One day, whilst practicing, it just clicked. No anxiety… in fact no feelings towards it either way. Which is totally fine with me – the enjoyment will come with time, I’m sure 🙂
  • I’ve been getting fed up with the weather, since it’s still cold and rainy and windy. I want spring and summer now! I swear this time last year I had a tan already.
  • We’ve just finished re watching Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes again. They’re amazing shows, if you haven’t seen them before, you must!

And that’s what I’ve been up to. I have another busy week and weekend this week! I’ll slow down and relax one day 😀

That’s a Nice Bit of Kit

I was asked a while ago to write a blog reviewing the various bits of kit that I have been using on my new running adventures. I wanted to use it all for a while before I wrote about them, so I knew I was giving an honest opinion.

First of all, the most important bits of running equipment I own are my trainers.

New Treads

These are my Nike+ Air Pegasus 29s. And I love them. So far I’ve run 49 miles in them and they’re showing no sign of compression let alone wear and tear. I have a neutral gait so they’re great for me, though I may need to see whether you can get supportive insoles for my right shoe as my ankle has started rocking inwards when I get tired. I’m hoping to get a pair of Nike+ Free Run 5.0 at some point in the future.

I also have a Nike+ Sportband.

Nike+ SportBand

This is the reason I wanted Nike+ trainers. There’s a little oval sensor that you get with the SportBand which slips into a pre-made hole under the insole of your left trainer. This senses the band and allows it to read your pace and therefore your distance. The SportBand is not the same as the FuelBand (which you can use to measure all activity and sport types). This band has no GPS or heart monitor and can only measure running. It’s going to be good on the treadmill, but I still haven’t managed to correctly calibrate it because I haven’t yet run a known distance with it. I’m planning to run tonight with Gary (him using the Nike+ app) and then sync and calibrate it to that distance. The watch will tell you pace, distance, time and length of workout. You can wear it as a digital watch too. It’s comfortable and nice and bright. To work the watch you press and hold the button until it asks you to walk. You then walk a few steps until it tells you it’s ready for you to run. Another press of the button and you’re off. I find it easier to see my pace on this than if I’m using my phone because the screen is easier to see.

Recently, however, I have been mostly using the Nike+ App. I found that TuneBelt do an armband for the iPhone 5 and so was able to start running with my phone. The armband is great. Made of neoprene and has a little velcro section on the side to wrap your excess headphone wire on. The app itself uses GPS and maps out your run. You can use it with your existing Nike account so I can use both the app and my SportBand to add Nike Fuel to my account. You can sync it to Facebook and when someone ‘likes’ your run you hear a cheer through your headphones – that can be kind of motivating! You can also set Power Songs for when you’re flagging. I like that you can choose a basic run, speed run or a distance run. When you choose distance run you get audible prompts and motivation as you run. It’s not always reliable – I ran a marked 5k recently and my app only measured 2.9 miles. Kind of annoying. You can only calibrate the app if the GPS has been lost at some point during the run.

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I like the Nike community and the website is really great – gives you loads of facts and figures on yourself and others like you. You can set goals on the website and they will sync to your app. You earn trophies too!

So that’s shoes and my run monitors. I seem to have become an Adidas only kit girl too – all my clothing is Adidas and it mostly matches. What can I say? I like to look good!

When I’m running with my SportBand, I’ll use my iPod to listen to music. My iPhone 5 headphones have given me no problems whilst running but I don’t have and armband for it. I also need to carry lipbalm, tissues and sometimes a house key with me. So it’s time to tell you about my Spibelt.

580678f5987a7142c839c778cd491814This bad boy looks like it wouldn’t hold a thing but it expands to fit my iPod or iPhone, lipbalm, key, tissue and would probably hold some gels in it too. It’s not massive but it doesn’t need to be. I wear it backward (pocket on my lower back). The strap is stretchy but tight and it doesn’t bounce when I run. I fact I forget I’m wearing it. There isn’t a hole for headphones to come out but I just make sure I put my iPod in the relevant way around and leave it unzipped the tiniest bit so the cable can come out. You can buy pretty colours and patterns but I figured black goes with everything, and also Gary can borrow it if he wants without it making him feel like a girl!

My last bit of kit – but by no means least – is my Mueller Knee Strap.

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This beauty is the reason I’m still running. After pushing it too hard too soon I realised I had an issue where my knee cap was rubbing on the bone below it giving me terrible scraping pains after my runs. I was living on painkillers for a week and the pain wasn’t subsiding. I did a little self-diagnosis and realised I was suffering with runner’s knee. When I saw this product on Amazon and read the reviews I was hoping it would be as miraculous as others had found it. I bought a yellow one – who knows why, and strapped it on. I now run with zero pain. It’s amazing. The strap has a hard but flexible tube inside and sits just below the knee cap. It prevents the patella from lowering when I run and therefore there’s no rubbing. Sorted!

As well as these bits of kit I have discovered the wonders of coconut water after a run. I loved the stuff anyway, but it’s amazing to glug after a long run. I’m also still on the search for the perfect running bottle – suggestions anyone?

So that’s what I’ve been using lately. As I get more into running I may find better things, but these suit me for now!

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This Week and TMI

I shall prepare you now, that parts of this post are going to be a bit grim. I’ll refrain from posting pictures but I had an injury that wasn’t pretty. You have been warned!

So this weekend was the first of two whole weekends I’m working and also my penultimate weekend working in retail. The weather meant that it was a heap quieter than normal but still busy as my shop had a sale on. Early on in the day I dropped a metal bar onto my left big toe and it made an amazing bruise immediately. Sunday was agony but it didn’t throb so much and Monday was less painful – I could almost walk on it. But I had to cancel two planned runs because I could barely put my foot down let alone put a trainer on. On Monday I went to the pharmacy and bought various different toe covers, convinced I would be able to run in a few days. Tuesday was my day off and I managed to stick on a pair of old loose trainers and mow the lawn. Thinking my toe was fine I was willing to just wait it out and prepared for the possibility of my nail coming off. Ick! After my stint in the garden I came inside and realised that the pressure in my toe was still increasing.

I was starting to worry hard by this point and decided I needed to do something about it. So I called my Mum and she was able to re-arrange her day and take me to the local NHS walk-in centre. I was seen really quickly. The nurse told me my toe wasn’t broken but that she would need to bore a hole into the nail and let the blood out. It took 45 minutes – she said she couldn’t believe the amount of blood that came out. The release of pressure was amazing and my toe became toe-shaped again! The procedure was totally painless which was great because I’m a total wimp! Thank heavens for the NHS! – and for Mum for taking me!

Home again and I could stand and walk on my toe – which was very bandaged up! That evening Mum took me to her Rock Choir class as they’d been told they could bring guests for their end of term session. I’d seen them sing once before and heard Mum practicing but didn’t have any idea of what it would be like to take part. I had a blast! We learned a new song and then sang some old ones, which I just had to pick up as they went along. It took me back to my school and Gospel choir days when I was younger. I’m so glad my Mum has a ‘club’ like this to take part in.

Back to work yesterday and I was able to walk properly on my toe (bandaged up a little of course) and today it’s still weepy but I’m hoping to run on it tonight.

Incidently, Gary has done 7 runs since he started training and last night he ran a full 5k without stopping – and felt great! I’m so proud of him! I wonder whether he’ll decide to sign up for the 5k Fun Run I’m doing in a week and a half. I think he should 🙂

I worked until 10pm last night doing a new season launch – my Visual Merchandising is ropy at best so I’m expecting changes to be made when the store manager comes back but it was planned and executed well and hopefully the decisions I made were okay….. I’ll find out next week!

I had an email this week from RedBubble letting me know that they have featured one of my photographs in their latest blog. Take a look! There’s some amazing art featured in there alongside my photograph.

Today I have another day off because I’m working the whole weekend again. Plans for today are rest and relaxation followed by a house viewing and then hopefully a successful run! Wish me luck!

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