Mindfulness: Podcast of the Month

I go through phases with the things I listen to, but right now I’m definitely appreciating podcasts as a genre. Do you ever think how cool it is to be able to browse a worldwide library of content, and download it at the click of a button? Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of information we have at our disposal- but that’s a tale for another day.

56f6b2cfe1b67715716370
My favourite podcast recently has been This American Life- these are the guys that produce Serial, my other favourite show. The premise of This American Life is very simple; each week they pick a theme, and present two or three features surrounding that theme. I don’t really know how they do it (aside from skilful journalism, obviously), but they create really fascinating and engaging stories on the strangest of subject matter.

tal
For instance a recent favourite of mine was called The Middle of Nowhere. The title is pretty self explanatory, and yet the stories were vastly different:

The opener: Captain Charles Moo telling us about an unintentional man-made island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean that consists entirely of thrown-away plastics.

Act I: Narau, an actual Pacific island somewhere vaguely near the coast of Australia- so remote that it’s turned to some pretty unconventional – and ethically dubious – means of generating income, including top-secret illegal banks and immigration detention centres.

Act II: We rounded up with the story of the show’s very own senior producer Julie Snyder, who was stuck in a modern-day limbo- the hold queue of her phone company, unable to resolve her issue and facing a costly legal battle.

I genuinely cannot say enough good things about this podcast. Give it a listen!

images (1)

 

Any podcast recommendations for me?

 

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

What happened to December?

This past week I took a well-deserved and much-needed break from pretty much everything- blogging included. My bad! But I spent a week run-exploring the countryside surrounding my parents’ house, eating lovely food and most importantly, snuggling with my dog. Batteries are recharged, and I’m ready for the year ahead.

 

This is where I got to go exploring- can you blame me?
If I’m being completely honest, December was a completely knackering month. Firstly, I got bored of being just self employed, so I went and found myself a full-time job. Now I have two jobs, which was an odd decision on my part. Better than being bored though, I hope! I then had a crazy few weeks of Christmas parties, drinks and dinners, and then a very important person in my life went through a serious medical crisis and we all rallied to his bedside.

You know they say it’s a marathon not a sprint? Well December felt like both. But thankfully, I made it to Christmas and promptly collapsed in front of the aga with my puppy, and we napped.

The star of my Christmas
That’s my update for now; surviving December was the name of the game this year. My running is going well, and I’m running relatively pain-free. I got to explore the countryside, free of music, distractions and expectations, and it was great to get back to basics. I’m going to use the next week or so to take stock, look back on 2015, and decide on my new goals for the year ahead.
IMG_2251
Muddy shoes = Time well spent

 

Lots of love,

Pippa

 

My First Time: Pacing

As I mentioned in my most recent rundown, I recently paced a fellow runner.
Whilst I’d been wanting to try pacing for a while, my reasons behind doing so this particular weekend weren’t entirely selfless. I wanted to run myself, but my injury definitely wouldn’t allow me to race (I could almost hear my physio’s disapproving voice in  my head). So in order to stave off my Type A competitive personality, that I knew would want to go all-out when surrounded by fast people, I offered to pace.

3

I asked around, and eventually got paired up with the lovely Michelle, who wanted to hit sub-60 minutes, but was lacking in confidence. We only met about five minutes before the race kicked off, but we said a quick hello, and got to discussing tactics. She explained she usually ran positive splits, and this was usually a problem. We resolved to try to run even splits the whole way through, and keep evaluating to see if the sub-60 was achievable.
iy1k9sjogging-running-winter-cold-seasonal-ecards-someecards
Pacing was actually a lot tougher than I expected; you have to keep a constant eye on your watch, make sure your pace is consistent, and act as chief cheerleader all whilst on the move. I don’t want to go into the details of someone else’s race, but my companion struggled slightly, and I don’t blame her. The racetrack was exposed and there was a howling wind; it was cold and truly miserable. The late start had also thrown us both for a loop from a fuel perspective. At around the 3-mile mark, we reevaluated, and decided that sub-60 just wasn’t possible under these conditions. So we resolved just to finish, and I appointed myself chief motivator, as that was precisely what was lacking.
tumblr_inline_mgkvysSzIX1ryf8if
Since even I was struggling to maintain motivation, I decided distraction was key;  we nattered about jobs, running clubs, and even my love life- anything to keep our minds off the the task at hand. As we neared the last mile I became annoyingly chipper, cheering my companion on whilst struggling myself to keep motivation.

 

In the end we finished in 1 hour 6 minutes. That was perfectly fine as far as I was concerned. I had a great time racing not for myself but for someone else, and I was just grateful that we made it across the finish line.
Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 15.15.02

 

What I learned:
  • Bring snacks! Since the whole race was a bit last-minute for me, I was woefully underprepared. It would have been nice to have my running belt to stuff snacks in, and offer to Michelle.
  • Motivation is key! So much of running is psychological and I don’t think I’d really appreciated that until seeing someone else struggle and desperately wanting to help then.
  • Everyone runs differently-I always run negative splits, be that on race day or a training run. It was really interesting having to take someone else’s needs and habits into consideration.
All being said I had a great day, and am really looking forward to pacing again…just need to finish converting some of my friends!


What’s your top tip for pacing? Have you ever struggled with a really shit race psychologically? 

 

 
Lots of love
Pippa

Mindfulness: Podcast of the month

Recently I’ve been falling back in love with the podcast, so I thought I’d start sharing them with you. This really combines my two great passions, the reasons I began this blog; fitness and mindfulness. I listen to podcasts on train journeys or long runs, and I’m amazed at how inspired they make me. They give me insight into how to be a better person.

This week is all about The Tim Ferris Show. If you haven’t heard of Tim Ferris, he’s the renowned author of The Four Hour Workweek, in which he ‘hacks’ his life to optimize his life. He’s made his fortune educating people on how to be better, but is the exact opposite of a stuffy, self-gratifying management type.

d5ff4a5336b5480f17d8439124c697ed

In the podcast, he interviews world-class thinkers, leaders and CEOs-highly successful people- to pick apart what makes them great. Unsurprisingly there are common threads to what make these people successful, but they’re not necessarily what you’d expect. I won’t spoil it for you!

The podcasts range from 30 minute talks, to 2 and a half hour interviews with world class thinkers. I just pick the length that suits me best at the time.

My favourite episode: an FAQ with writer and blogger Maria Popova. I go back to this time and time again, usually when I’m lacking inspiration. She has great insights about the act of writing; the perception that doing what you love is “flimsy”; and even touches upon what Vonnegut’s blog would look like if he were alive today.

download

Hopefully this is interesting for you; I’d love to feature more podcasts on the blog; I feel so grateful that the medium of the podcast exists, and especially that it’s usually free.

If you have a podcast to share, please let me know in the comments! 

Lots of love

Pippa

The Rundown: Rockingham 10

Every time I race, I like to keep a log of what went on, and what I could have improved. It’s my best method to ensure I can be better every time. I like to avoid the term Race Report because 1. This is more for me; and 2. I’m not sure anyone could learn a whole lot from my ramblings. But this isn’t even that, because I didn’t technically race. This was actually the big challenge for me, but I’ll get to that shortly.
775c2b4c5b6f38829c09f9cc87c0b2d6
The whole weekend was a new for me; I was away with UKRunchat, who helped with the organization and promotion of the Rockingham 10- a Duathlon, 10 mile and 10k event at Rockingham race course.  This would be my first time racing away form home. Every time I’d raced previously, I’d had the luxury of sleeping in my own bed, and eating breakfast in my own kitchen the night before.  Plus, with a London race you just have to hop on the tube- that’s about the sum of the logistical planning!
images (4)
The weekend itself was great- I finally got to meet the rest of the UKRunchat team, and of course it was great to meet in person so many runners I knew via Twitter! For our pre-race dinner we kept it classy and (on my suggestion) went to the local Wetherspoons for dinner and a drink. I had the Superfood Pasta, which I must say was impressive for Spoons, although I could definitely have done with double the portion size. I ended up stealing half my next-door neighbour’s chips. No shame.1d2cd8b997c3dc8e6e3012b247942ca0
I shared a hotel room with a fellow runner and thankfully got a perfect night’s sleep. We overslept slightly, but that was just fine as the race didn’t kick off until 12.30. We went down to the buffet breakfast (again, a race-day first for me)- I had jam on toast, rice crispies with raisins, a fuck-ton of melon and numerous cups of coffee. It was weird knowing how to fuel for the late start; I felt a bit sick like I’d eaten way too much, but by the time I was halfway through the course I was running on empty.
Coffe-Humor
UKRunchat hosted a huge meetup, so it was great to meet even more runners. We nerded about gear and race day nerves, and even spoke to some clubs about Fitness Rewards, to get them rewarded for their running. Before I knew it, we were headed to the start line, and off we went!
FRlogo
I had decided to treat this race as a training run, and actually paced a fellow runner (more to follow on that). As a result so I have very little to say about splits, pace or elevation. One thing I will say is that the course was tough- despite being tarmac, it did have some undulations, and was exposed to the elements (aka: a fucking horrific wind). Nonetheless, I stuck with my pace buddy right till the end, and we finished in just over an hour.
running-in-the-wind
I made it quickly back to the UKRunchat area, where i was rewarded with prawn cocktail crisps and a cupcake. (Who says runners only eat salad!?) There were even sports massage therapists offering their services, so I hopped on and had my tight calves rubbed down. We spent even more time chatting to runners, before parting ways and heading home. All in all the weekend was a success: I met a ton of new people, ate some amazing food and most importantly overcame my biggest challenge; knowing when not to push myself.

 

Learnings from this race:

 

  • A midday start time means eating multiple small meals beforehand as opposed to a single big breakfast (for me at least).
  • Pacing someone is a lot harder than you think it’s going to be.
  • Remember to pack ‘real’ food for after the race; as much as I appreciated the post-run cupcake, I started to feel a bit woozy about an hour after finishing- luckily I made it to Tesco!
  • Going away for a race really takes it out of you: a combination of the train journey, the unfamiliar food and even meeting all those new people- I was knackered by the time I got home!
Still worth it tho 😉

 

Lots of love

 

Pippa