New starts

With the imminent arrival of a new year, I am always amused (and probably a little a lot smug) with the comments regarding “This year will be my year” and the resolutions being read off with conviction. Fast forward a few months and that gym membership is going to waste, or the promise of learning Japanese has fallen at the way side because of time constraints and the CDs are sitting collecting dust on the shelves.

I think maybe it’s my upbringing but I don’t ever really remember making resolutions as a child, nor my parents. My mum as an example made changes all the time whenever she wanted to set goals, she did them there and then and I have always seemed to have done the same. I wanted to go to university and falling pregnant at 19 meant I went into full time work until I had him and went back after my maternity leave ended and worked full time ever since. But I always said I would go back when my son was old enough. Sure enough I saw a poster for clearing at the local University and went in to make an enquiry, found that there were spaces and wrote an essay and filled in the necessary paperwork and got my place.

I was in a job I hated surrounded by negative people and that in turn got me down, I decided I would leave and find another job. I had negative responses from my colleagues (go figure) but I stuck at it, and found a great job and left those suckers behind.

This running malarky was just for me to do once a year and I woke up on day in April and decided I’d set myself the challenge of running a whole marathon. Will let you know how THAT goes come the day after the Edinburgh Marathon in May and prior to that my ‘warm up race’ at the Silverstone Half Marathon in March .. but I am determined to tick those things off my list.

So what I’m saying is, it is nice to have goals and a time scale in which to achieve something but a whole year is often not realistic, why wait 365 days in which to hit that reset button? Make those changes daily, wake up every morning with purpose and a with a fresh start to your life.

With everything I’ve said – I do hope that the next twelve are fantastic for you, and those goals you set are met, you’re happy, healthy and be awesome, cos I certainly plan to be!

1 .. 2 .. 3 .. BUNGEE!!

How are you all today? Great I hope?! You are? Good!

So erm .. I took a couple hours out of my day today to go and jump 160 feet from a crane in the Greenwich Peninsula in the South East of London … thought you may want to have a look at some of the photos?

I have to say that it was the most surreal experience I’ve ever had. The moment the gate swung open and I stood up to see the crash mat below, I did think I would bottle out. I then snapped out of it, took a step out and that was it.

The first few seconds felt amazing, there was total silence as I came hurtling towards the people below and once that had passed it was sheer excitement and adrenaline. I was shouting, whooping and punching the air like a bad 80’s film, wanting to go up again.

THE best experience to date and I think I will be doing that again ..

Many thanks to my son, Mum, sister Laura, sister Charlene, Darren, Valeen and Christopher for coming and an immense hug of gratitude for the help of Richard who filmed today’s events and will be following my progress for the next few months as I prepare for the half and full marathons.

This page will be updated with all the photos and videos so you may want to bookmark it?

Oh and while you’re here don’t forget that as crazy as I am I am not just doing this for the ‘fun’ of it … the reasons are listed here with the link to make a donation, which can be as small as £1.

Without further ado, here are the photos … enjoy!!


Click here or the tab at the top to view the gallery

Love your Body: Cardio Workout


To start off the cardio element of the Love Your Body programme we are going to do the following:

20 seconds jump rope (if you do not have a rope running on the spot with high knees is sufficient)

20 seconds squats

20 seconds mountain climbers

20 seconds squats

20 seconds lunges

60 seconds side plank (30 seconds each side)

20 seconds burpees

20 seconds jump rope (if you do not have a rope running on the spot with high knees is sufficient)

30 seconds recovery then .. Repeat!

(Disclaimer: If you are unsure about any exercise, please consult your physician)

Play that funky music!

Music pretty much shapes my life: I listen to it ALL the time. Purists say that you shouldn’t run with music, I am addicted which maybe terrible, but hey that chocolate and cheesecake are my vices. In the grand scheme of things it isn’t THAT bad, no?

That being said, I do love a good tune to get my workout done without any hassle and I find as I’m singing along the minutes whizz by and the workout is done for the day. So maybe if you’re not finding your workouts as enjoyable as I do, why not try putting on your favourite songs to pass the time?

Find that tune that gives you a boost and use that as your ‘power song’ and see what a difference to your exercise it makes! (I mean, look at the sheer joy in my face in the photo above. Let’s not mention that was BEFORE I ran 5km shall we?)

If you are running, be wary of the surroundings, blasting out your music when you’re out is not advisable. There are cars, dogs, people etc. and if you’re running when it’s dark and/or in quiet areas PLEASE be careful! (if possible try not to run alone and have your phone with you.)

Time to get a workout in, grab your iPod and get at least 15 minutes of cardio in …. GO!!

Love your body!

I have been listening to a few of you asking for help with various aspects of your fitness and decided on these posts.

While I am of the frame of mind that if you’re not happy with something in your life you should change it, I am also in the camp of becoming confident in yourself and who you are. After a discussion on Twitter it is very clear that a lot of you (mostly women) are conditioned to not think like that and it is quite frankly upsetting. Almost as if you’re conceited if you are seen to be happy with yourself or don’t have ‘that problem area’ on your body as ‘we all have them.’

I’m here to say no we don’t all think like that and so we shouldn’t.

With that being said, I am posting tips on ways to get your fitness regimes up and running, to improve on them if you are already keeping fit as well as remind you that you are fabulous and that rather than seeing exercise as the devil, to use it for that moment to yourself away from work/uni/children/partners etc. to enjoy it, and feel more happy with yourself. studies suggest that exercise helps beat depression, as a sufferer I can definitely say it is the truth!

I will never be talking about weight loss, counting calories or dieting. If that is what you are looking for, I can only apologise. Just be sensible with what you’re doing, okay?

As with all exercise if you are unclear, consult a physician and more importantly enjoy this! Start small if you are coming back to exercise and build that momentum as your confidence grows.

It’s time to Love Your Body … are you ready?! Click Subscribe blog at the bottom right of this page, ta!

Must give a shout out to Bangs of Bangs and a Bun as although I was already thinking about a weekly post, her highlighting this topic on Twitter prompted me to get this project up and running quicker and also to Melissa of the 30 Day Ab Challenge over on her thrutheblue blog.

Putting my money where my mouth is (or should that be abs?)

As you’re probably well aware of by now I have been concentrating on getting stronger while I rest my knee after an injury. The challenge is over now but I am carrying it on as part of my strength work while I train for these marathons.

Melissa asked if a few of the challengers would document their progression by shooting a video, which I agreed to. Here is is below, and I know my technique needs (a lot of) work, but hey, I’m not perfect … yet! Video quality isn’t the best, bite me!

For more information on the next twelve months have a look at my 2012: Year of the Unstoppable page and donate if you can! x

There is no finish line ..

Yesterday saw me complete my 30 Day Ab Challenge as set by Melissa at the beginning of November and initially when I woke up and did my workout I was glad it was over. But my euphoria faded pretty rapidly and I wondered “what next?”

I have incorporated weights and attend Nike Training Club on a Saturday and the abdominal workouts I was doing before were basically stepped up when I agreed to the challenge, but by finishing this it was going to leave a massive cavern in my weekly routine.

So guess what? I am going to continue this at least until January. While it has been good, I feel I can get a little more definition. The obliques have definitely seen a vast improvement, but there is room for more I think.The photo above isn’t reflective of where I wanted to be by now .. *sigh*

Ignoring the very ignorant and poor grammatical comment I had on Facebook about “women not wanting to be as defined as that” I actually do. So I will seek that and reach that goal. *massive side eye*

As my post it note here keeps reminding me, “There is no finish line.” So onwards and upwards!

Strength work

Now that my back is getting stronger with all the core work I’ve been doing, I have turned to getting the rest of my body strong in order to get myself race fit. I am now going to be incorporating weights into my regime in order to do this.

I have grabbed very light weights for now and will worry about heavier ones later, the 1.5kg are sufficient enough to do what I need. My light weight training of 20 minutes twice a week will consist of 20 reps each for the following:

Side Raise

Bicep Curl

Tricep Kick Back

Plank Row

Pull Over

Chest Fly

Top l-r: Side Raise/Bicep Curl Bottom l-r: Tricep Kick Back/Plank Row

Top: Pull Over Bottom: Chest Fly

With all of these exercises it is important to ensure good posture throughout and engaging the core area at all times. It is also important to not swing the arms vigorously, to remain in control whatever size weight is used.

Just a quick rundown of the technique:

Side Raise

Standing with feet confortably apart, palms should face thighs. Strong core and abs tucked in.

Slight bend at the elbow (don’t lock the arms out) when lifting the arms out horizontally until arms are in line with shoulders. Hold for a few seconds and then return arms to side of the thigh.

Bicep Curl

Standing with feet confortably apart with hands in front of the thighs, palms should face forward. Strong core and abs tucked in.

Tuck elbows slightly to sides, bend elbows as you lift weights towards the shoulder. Hold for a few seconds then return arms to start position.

Tricep Kick Back

This can be done kneeling on the floor or with one leg kneeling on a bench, chair. Safety first.

Back needs to be straight with core strong and abs tucked in. One arm on the floor, arm with weight needs to have the elbow slightly higher than back.

Straighten arm slowly and hold for a few seconds, return arm slowly to starting position.

Plank Row

Get into plank position and rest on weights (if you prefer a half plank, go for it!) Strong core and abs tucked in.

While keeping elbow to side, lift arm to chest and hold for a few seconds before returning to plank position. Change arm.

For a more difficult set, raise opposite leg.

The next two sets are better with a bench, if not use the floor and keep arms off the floor.

Pull Over

Lie on your back, strong core with abs tucked in. Bend knees and keep flat on the floor, back should not arch at any point.

Start with arms up, palms facing forward away from head.

With a slight bend at the elbow, slowly lower weights behind head until arms are next to the ears and do not let hands/arm touch the floor. Hold for a few seconds and return to start position.

Chest Fly

Lie on your back, strong core with abs tucked in. Bend knees and keep flat on the floor, back should not arch at any point.

Start with arms up, palms facing toward each other.

With a slight bend at the elbow, slowly lower arms out sideways until weights are level with chest. Do not let hands/arm touch the floor. Hold for a few seconds and return to start position.

Rolling in the deep

So following the post on the injury I picked up, thought I would let you know I’m not sitting here stuffing my face with chocolate while watching the TV resting on my laurels. (This is just a fantasy at the moment, I will be doing lots of this come the 28th May 2012 post Edinburgh Marathon and trust me you will ALL know about it .. I will probably post a blog including a photo too!)

I have indeed been resting the knee, but my 30 Day Ab Challenge has been going relatively well. But following my initial consult with the physiotherapist at Crystal Palace Sports Injury Clinic, I have added rolling to my repertoire.

Just a quick run down to the injury istelf first and then I’ll let you know what rolling is.

I have strained the Iliotibial Band where it joins the knee cap (see diagram below) which turns out after speaking with Amy my physiotherapist and the usual ‘let me check this out on Google’ thing is a common runners injury.

I was quite happy to hear this. Not the injury mind you, but the fact that I am classed as a runner enough now that I picked up that type of injury. Sad, I know! It is fully repairable and with rolling plus a couple of visits I should be running faster and stronger very soon. Hurrah!

Now onto ‘rolling’ – I have many songs and phrases that come to mind now but I won’t bore you with them. After having a go in my session and remembering Melissa’s recommendation on the apparatus, I rapidly purchased a foam roller (below) which was under £15 for a large one and have been working on my ITB’s (sides of the thighs,) quads, hamstrings and calves.

Am already noticing that the extreme tightness in my quads is getting better and my right calf is feeling a lot less stiff already so although this injury has set me back running-wise, in the long run (pun intended) my overall maintenance will be much better. Hurrah again! I highly recommend this if you’re a runner, need help with troublesome muscles or as a cheaper but just as effective replacement for a sports massage (Amy even said so herself..)

Thanks to the CPSIC for their help. For some foam rolling exercises have a look here.