A mile to inspiration

Tags

, , , ,

It finally feels like winter is starting to lose it’s dramatic battle with spring.

On the first day that felt a little spring-ish I dashed out for a run during my work from home lunch break.  Just a mile along my home road in the clear air with bright sunshine.  Warm sunshine would have been better.  The weather was such that if I had gone another mile then the tedious extra layers of the winter season training gear would not have been needed.

The mile had to be quick enough to get home in time to scoff a bacon sarnie before getting back to the computer for a meeting.  10:30m.  A mile is all it takes, isn’t it?

Just like sometimes a date is all it takes to fan a spark into romance a mile is all it takes to ignite a runner.  To free that runner from the darkness of winter training and propel them into what could be considered proper spring training.  Having only managed a few miles a week since New Year I felt I needed a push of inspiration especially since I’ve been feeling fatigue free of late.

That first spring mile logged on Strava was all it took.  It’ll become easier to be motivated as the light returns.  Easier to tie those shoes up in the morning.  Time begins to free up as nights are brighter.  As someone that presently has no time or cash for a comfortable treadmill this has deeply effected my training abilities which has meant my only options have been dark drizzly mornings or weekends.  I’m looking forward to the bountiful fitness options that spring and more time in natural light offer.

XXX

Eleanor

Recreation and Resolutions

Tags

, , , , , ,

2018 has been pretty good to me so far.  In January I started a temporary position with the Forestry Commission for HR Events running 20 transitional events across England’s woods and forests.  It’s a lovely environment to be in and I really hope that the job lasts long term.  It’s refreshing to be working within recreation.

The funny thing is working in recreation doesn’t mean one has all the time for the world for it.  I often leave early and come back late.  This means my activity has fallen by the wayside a little.  I do have to focus on making the best of this assignment though as I know it’ll be beneficial in my future.  They liked my like with parkrun and that I run events in my spare time.

I love events because I’m passionate about bringing something to peoples lives that will leave an impression.  A slice of time that people will walk away with that you helped personally deliver in their timeline.  It’s a wonderful feeling to know something that you’ve put together can have that affect on a person.

I’ve managed the odd morning run since, I’m still running one run a week.  Last week was an exception because a bad fall on the weekend meant it took my arm a long time to get back into running shape again.  I know it’ll be easier to get back into it once the light returns.

MMushrooms

At the very least I’ve been managing to eat right.  Nutrition is something that can fall by the wayside in office jobs with all that cake.  I’ve been bringing in fresh fruit salads, yogurt and Graze snacks.  I’ve made a habit of Sunday or Monday meal prep lunches.  Please feel free to share your favourite recipes for meal prep in the comments! Above Moroccan Mushrooms and couscous.  Below Greek Salad.

GreekSalad

Another of my favourite Sunday tasks is to Bullet Journal for the week ahead.  I like Bullet Journaling because it blends art with lists.  One of my resolutions for 2018 is to parkrun once a month.  I made this parkrun tracker to help me keep note of my parkruns.

parkrunbulletjournal

Happy running,

xxx

Eleanor

2017 in Review

I’d hoped to finish 2017 with Portsmouth Marathon.  However, due to being let go the week before Christmas I had to shelve the idea of a weekend away which was emotionally battering for me.  I’d spent so much time planning Portsmouth even down to the trial race day and I knew that if I spent 26.2 miles worrying about whether I would get paid the following week that my head would not be in the game.  Being in a positive mindset is so important for a marathon.  The decision did not come easily as I’ve ran a marathon every year since I started running.

2017 was a year of fair weather running.  Running when it suited my pain levels.  The big benefit was getting Acupuncture in November which has removed the pain from my slipped disc allowing my long runs this half of the year to progress from 6 miles to 11 miles.  I just know I could go marathon distance in the right mindset.  I spent the lighter parts of the year on 6 mile runs creating a good endurance base. With more long runs than any other year despite the pain.

The only race I did, the Bristol 10k, was sadly not a Personal Best but I did finish it.  There were also more parkrun’s than any other year.  Another parkrun highlight was helping set up Eastville junior parkrun.

2017 has been a bit of a mixed bag.  Yet the base I kept up will hopefully help me reach for better efforts in 2018 with a pain free body to work with again.

https://2017.strava.com/en-us/videos/6a7bc24f28535c744f68c4a989d1ad0fb78d70f5/

The Strava year in sport feature is lovely and includes all the stats I’d usually type up.

Distance 314.2 mi
Time 62h 7m
Elev Gain 17,014 ft
Runs 106

Lots to build on in the next year!

Happy running

Eleanor

xxx

Trial Race Day For Portsmouth Marathon

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Evaluating other attempts at running marathons I decided to change things up a bit and throw in a trial race day.  Not just a long run.  Basically, just a long run in which I pretended it was the Marathon.

It was the last long run before Portsmouth Marathon.  The morning of December 3rd (yeah, this blog is late).  It was the second longest run of 2017.  The run totalled 9.11 miles.

It went like so;

24068044_10160032766960001_966192014098185000_n
Woke up at 8am to breakfast and drink coffee,
9am volunteering as time keeper at Junior parkrun,
9:30am set off from that start line of sorts to run along the Snuff Mills trails,
2.5 miles in turned back due to a steepass muddy as fudge decline at a tremendous height that made brain nope,
5 miles in stopped at the fuel station known as the house for hydrate,
7.5 miles in best run snacks of Jelly Beans by the mega handful,
8.6 miles in … 8 point … 6 … fudge 8.6. Keep at it!
9 miles in. 9 miles. Sprint finish home. HELL YES.

I felt fantastic.  When I got home for a cup of tea, a hot lunch and a steaming bubble bath after showering all the mud off it was a relief having done it.  I know it wasn’t 26. miles.  Nearly 10 is a good bench mark of how I will feel on race day.  I felt like I could do more, indeed I considered a second lap but didn’t want to over do it too soon.

JellyBeans

I found Jelly Beans as a running snack worked better than gels with my stomach so I’ve stocked up on lots of these.

Now to rest and carboload before Portsmouth Marathon.  I’ve done nothing but walking and yoga in the evenings.  I’ve bulk bought soups and healthy snacks for my workday lunches.  Of course, the odd Cherry Bakewell is unavoidable this time of year.  However, it’s still easy to eat balanced and just add the Minced Pies in as your afternoon snack instead of because of it.

As I write this Portsmouth looms at the end of Sunday.  I haven’t chickened out yet.  There are no health excuses worth cancelling for.  The weather might be a bit of mischief.  Yet, adventure calls.  The coast and it’s gales, the roses and their dew, the Pyramid Center and it’s Expo.  The runners and their lycra.

This will now be a staple before any race taper going forward in 2018.  It’s helpful to find the zone that gets missed sometimes with ‘just another long run.’  Make your long run work for you.  Make it special.

Happy running,

Eleanor

xxx

Becoming Eleanorsendeavour.com

This website has been on such a journey with me since it started one Christmas Eve as a side project.  It’s now also my Freelance writing landing page as well as a place to document and share my running adventures/race reviews.  I decided to celebrate reaching 1000 + hits with a Domain name.

20171119_132942

I’m still surprised every time someone I don’t know likes or shares this page. It’s easy to forget there is an audience out there when speaking about your own experience.  Thank you to those who have enjoyed my blogging.  To those who’ve liked, shared, Tweeted and even returned for more because you’re all the reason I kept this going even through stages I’ve not run as much.

It goes to show how great a community running is whether that’s online or on the street we are all passionate about running together.

Happy running,

Eleanor

Less is more because the mind will see you to the finish

Tags

, , , ,

In a slump of only running very minimally for most of 2017 I felt like a fair weather runner.  Some weeks would only be a 5k run or a 10k run.  I realise that still counts as running.  It still counts as being a runner.  It might not be fast, it might be a once a week visit to Southville Running Club, a few laps around the park and a parkrun but it’s still running.

Runners get so used to seeing elites with high weekly mileage.  Strava feeds full of Sunday long runs, breakfast runs, lunch sprints, distance challenges.  It’s cool to be seen to be busy on the roads and trails.  It can be inspirational at times.  However, it can also feel a bit daunting.  It can also be a tool to evaluate your own running.

Realistically when juggling family and careers or other hobbies there is only so much time the regular person without a sponsorship can put in to running.  We still need sleep.  We still need to eat.  We still need to put our kids to bed.  We still need to commit to other commitments and that to do list will still need to be done by the end of the week.

So, sure carve out that hour or two for your run.  But also don’t feel bad or guilty or less like a runner if you haven’t got out the door this week.  It’s never, ‘only a few miles,’ as a few miles is better than no miles.

When running a race training will only get you so far.  If you’re stressed out from your life balance because you haven’t got that permission slip to the school yet or paid that phone bill on your to do list you may not finish strong.  A race is part a mental battle.  Marathon runners understand this.  26.2 is a long time to spend with yourself and if you’re not happy with things demons will crop up to make that stop at mile 18 really tempting.  Prepare yourself by preparing your mind.

Mindfulness, yoga, priority mind mapping, bullet journal your to do list for extra colour.  Carve out an hour a day just for you.  Don’t let running take that time too.  This is your creative time.  Fill it with joy and make it worthwhile.  During mine I like to write or cross stitch.  I really notice it when I don’t have this hour.  Remember you are your own first priority.

Happy running,

Eleanor

Grazing on the Go

Tags

, , , , , , ,

20171005_113349

Running folk lead a busy lifestyle, that much is obvious.  We’re not just runners.  We tend to be trying to fit running around our day jobs, night jobs, weekend jobs, extra jobs, good will efforts, family commitments, friends and, well, eating.  A bunch of articles out there will tell you grazing is better than large meals, but finding a process that suits you is best, regardless of whatever diet is all the rage.

We like to do that.  Eat.  It’s hard to eat healthily though.  A lot of battle an emotional relationship with food.  As an ex bulimic I am no exception.  I have to battle the desire to down a whole packet or eight of Custard Creams in one sitting sometimes.  There are small things that can help such as a hoard of healthy snacks in the cupboard.

Enter the Graze box.  They’ve been sneaking onto the office desks of snack savvy workers for the past few years now.  Standard sized and bulk snack packs have even made their way to the shelves of Sainsbury’s so their popularity is on the rise.  I thought I’d reboot my subscription after another dip in my health meant that regular snacking was the only way I could really eat and I didn’t want it to be all chocolate since I couldn’t run as much.  Just some of it. 20171002_171851_001

I signed up for the Protein Box and it’s frankly lovely getting a box through the post every Monday.  Not a bill or a bit of junk mail.  A box of four snacks that you can carry in your handbag per day for your snack emergencies … we all have them.  That’s when that Kit Kat looks so pleasing.

A few favorites so far;

  • Cocoa and Vanilla Flapjacks – deliciously like rice chocolate crispie cakes with a
  • good blend of chocolate and grains.
  • Mississippi BBQ Pistachios – smoky and perfect for veggies that might miss a meat flavour, eaten in about ten seconds flat.  Shell first if taking for a run.
  • Salted Fudge and Peanut Cookie – suggest eating by the handful with a large cup of tea.  Delightfully moreish.
  • Cherry and Almond Bites with Green Tea – great combination.
  • Peanut Butter Dipper – great snack pack for studying, could use a larger box!
  • Honey and Lemon Protein Balls – fantastic for the on the run, just zip in a zip lock and go!

For the sake of a few quid each week which is, lets face it, the cost of a pint, the delight of having a box of treats isn’t much of a cost.  If you’re low on funds you can always find small packs of mixed fruits and nuts in every good supermarket section and decant into small pots or zip lock bags.  It’s quite nice working your way through all the snacks with Graze as you get to rate them so your box shouldn’t contain any you’re not keen on over time.  It’s all trial and error, it’s going well so far.

Happy Running,

xxx

Eleanor

A run, not a race

Tags

, , ,

On Saturday 30th of September I actually felt good enough for a parkrun.

There was no Personal Best in sight.  I was happy to just be up and out in the glorious autumn morning without feeling ill for once.  It’s easy to get carried away with the idea of being fast, better or competitive.  I didn’t wish to risk any pain or not be able to finish so I kept a pace slower than usual with the knowledge that no one would mind.  There would still be runners at my speed.  There was no risk of getting left behind.

I met a runner indulging in some parkrun tourism and she noted a lot of people use parkrun/running to battle/manage their own conditions.

22045946_10159741853570001_6727745936405782934_n

The result was parkrun 13 was not a lucky fast PB.  It was in fact my slowest ever parkrun.  I have however reached my average yearly quota of four parkrun’s a year so any parkrun’s I complete after this for the rest of 2017 will be a bonus and contribute to my challenge of adding more parkrun’s to the schedule.

It’s ok to not be fast, and it’s ok to just do your best.

It’s a run, not a race.

Happy running,

Eleanor

xxx

Inspiration Required – Recycling Running Shoes

My first pair of running shoes that I bought in 2013 are, alas, on their last legs.  They’re uncomfortable for me to run in and give me ankle twinges.  I don’t want to get rid of them as they’re sentimental to me now but I’d rather not have a pair of shoes hanging about that someone else could get some joy from.

I’m researching some ways to get them recycled or donated.

Have you ever recycled or donated a pair of running shoes?  If so what would you recommend?  I’d love to hear from you and would be happy to include your thoughts on my next blog post after donating them.

Happy running,

Eleanor

xxx

 

Evaluating the Story

Tags

, , ,

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings.

In 2013, I was an 11 stone Call Centre worker, my mind a mess of charcoal gloom and my body a mass of health issues and I stepped on my road to running.  That road would take me to a brighter future.  Four years later I’m an 9 stone Graduate myth-waffler with a foot or two on the ladder of a Creative Writing and Marketing career.  I went from no exercise since my Secondary School days of hiding from P.E. to having 9 marathons under my belt.  Over the summer various interviewers would ask me where I saw myself in five years and I’d say, ‘I’m already there.  I saw myself with a degree, starting the career I’ve always wanted.’

I have spared a few moments thought to the reason I started running.  My inspiration was sparked by Kilian Jornet’s epic run up Mount Olympus and a desire to follow in his footsteps.  I wanted to one day run the Olympus Marathon combining my love of running and Classical Mythology together in a big peaked cake dusted with icing and the seat of Zeus on top (alas, no glacier cherries here).

If I stick to that 5 year plan idea I have 1 year left in which to achieve this goal.  It is highly unlikely that I’ll run the Olympus Marathon in 2018.  Due to a crop of different health issues (the saga of my well recorded Mystery Illness Book 1 The Slipped Disc and now a joyfully new Mystery Illness Book 2 As Yet Untitled)  It is more likely that I’ll actually get in to the London Marathon by ballot and we all know how hard that is, don’t we? I know, let us not hold our breath.

Instead I’ll set a more realistic goal of my fitness and health.  If finances allow I will hike up the Olympus Marathon for charity in the early autumn of next year.  Plans will be planned.  If you’ve done this thing do please get in touch and let me know your experiences.  In the meantime I’ll be trying to put my foot on the permanent bit of the Marketing ladder and try to make the freelancing side of things more profitable.

Happy Running,

Eleanor

xxx