An Evening with Dean Karnazes

Last week I was lucky enough to attend Never Stop London’s event An Evening with Ultramarathon Man Dean Karnazes. The whole event was in anticipation of the London Marathon, and was part of the promotional tour for Dean’s new book, The Road to Sparta.

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The evening took the form of an interview with Dean, followed by Q&A from the floor, and then wrapping up with a book signing. It was a great evening, all thing said, and here are some of the things I learned:

 

Dean Karnazes does not get muscle cramps

“Those things look really painful!” – Direct quote. This, I have to say, made me hate him a little.

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Running is all down to good biomechanics

I mean, at least as far as Dean is concerned. And whilst a lot of your biomechanics is genetic, there’s still a lot you can do. This comment in particular has given me a kick up the backside to work on my own…er, backside. Yoga and pilates can do a lot for runners, and I’m determined to complement these with strength training and mobility work as I make my comeback.

Fuelling an ultramarathon with dates will not go well for you

When Dean did the Road to Sparta, he decided to fuel “as his ancestors did”- and that involved a lot of dates, olives and bread. Sadly, it would turn out, dates are not great for the digestive system… let’s just leave it there.

Dean Karnazes has an insanely high lactic threshold

Dean has, like many elite athletes, been studied at depth by the sports science community. At one point, he was stuck on a treadmill for a lactic threshold test that should have taken 20-30 minutes. He was on there for over three hours, unable to reach the lactic threshold, and had to leave before the test could be completed…. he had to go pick up his kids. As Dean said, sometimes it comes down to good genetics.

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Keeping active throughout the day is just as key as having a “workout”

Dean not only runs almost every day; he has a standing desk, and switches up his work day with HIIT circuits, pull ups and core work. The idea of not just having an actual workout in the day, but just having that active mentality really hit home for me – it definitely fits with my whole Move your frame mantra for 2017.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how humble Dean was for a man of such impressive abilities. Later on I saw that during his London Marathon effort he decided to stop, on several occasions, to give out hugs and have a chat with supporters. Love that guy!

How did everyone get on at London?

 

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

 

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2016: A Final Recap

It’s 2017. Yay!

All I can say is, it’s been a rollercoaster. It was a challenging year all round, what with a slew of current affairs nightmares and celebrity deaths. Nonetheless, it wasn’t all bad- here’s one final recap!

crazyrunninggirl-oatmeal-2016-quote-768x768January:

January began with a slight lack of motivation that was swiftly and thankfully followed by  being given the all-clear to marathon train! And then came the training itself! I started the New Year with a determination to get dating and started seeing someone relatively early on in the year.

February:

Marathon training really took its toll on life and I learned a lot of lessons about maintaining balance in all aspects of my life including work, dating and a social life. The highlight of the month was a trip to my parents’ house, where I raced and took first female at The Golden Gallop

March:

I passed my 3 month appraisal at work, though it was a few days after breaking up with the guy I’d been seeing, and it didn’t go as well as I had hoped…oops. You live and learn. In other news, I completed my first ever 20 – miler which marked a huge shift in the way I perceived myself as an athlete. I’d just completed this amazing thing I hadn’t even thought myself capable of a few months ago!

April:

I ran my first marathon in Manchester! Even though it was tough, and I got my ass well and truly handed to me, I’m so glad I did it! The rest of the month consisted of recovery, a ton of gorgeous yoga classes, and spectating friends at the London Marathon.

May:

My birthday! I set out goals for the year of 25, which included putting myself out there more, trying new things and making a real effort to expand my social circle. I also cut all my hair off! Pixie cut for the win.

June:

The high point was Dorking 10 miler with the running club, followed by the horrific low point that was Brexit. Ugh. Come on England, what were you thinking?

 

July:

Training for Budapest Marathon began with a horrifically hungover 10 mile long run! I had been at a local festival the night before (hosted by my boss) and there had been tequila. Youch. In other news for July, I discovered yoga at Another Space, which has become my ultimate yoga class when in London.

August:

Battersea Park 5k signalled my first ever 5k race one balmy Summer’s eve in London. I had the first nigglings of a calf issue then, which put me on rest from running right up until my trip to Iceland. Reykjavik Half was a gorgeous race day and a lovely holiday- my calf held up, the weather was beautiful, and I ran next to Christy Turlington, beating her by a matter of seconds!

August was a great month and my inspiration was at an all-time high. One of my favourite female ultra-runners Nikki Kimball left me a comment on my WCW postand I wasted a good afternoon intended for blogging watching the Rio 2016 Women’s Marathon in my favourite coffee shop. But hey, if you enjoyed wasting it, it wasn’t really time wasted!

 

September:

One of my closest friends left me! The fantastic Geni is off doing aid work in Kosovo for two years, supporting a community that desperately needs it- and in tough conditions too! She was my brunch buddy, personal therapist, cheerleader and coffee enthusiast. My plan is to go and visit her soon.

Training wise, I got into a total slump, but managed to dig myself out of it thanks to sage advice from Coach Andy, as well as just taking the pressure off! I started climbing again – a former love of mine, and rediscovered another way to move my body and feel empowered.

Oh, and a low point? My favourite podcast Running on Om stopped and I mourned. Still in mourning to this day!

October:

I was lucky enough to snag tickets to The OM Yoga show and zenned out for a full day, doing a multitude of free classes, trying amazing vegan eats, and most importantly getting free samples. I was saddened when I realised an old calf injury (see August) resurfaced, and it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to run the full marathon distance in Budapest. However, I ran the 30k, and had a great holiday with a huge contingent from City Athletics. I saw a city I’d never have found an excuse to travel to; ate great food, and drank many a glass of wine.

November:

I was made redundant right at the start of November, which started things out on a bit of a low. Nonetheless, I kept busy (my way of coping) with my new Gymbox membership, plenty of physical activity, and even a running and brunch pop-up! In other news, I was told that my landlord intends to sell my flat, so I’ll be having to move out in the coming months. Not ideal timing, but not a horrific situation either.

December:

December was spent wrapping up at work, and hitting the pavements on a job hunt. I met with some amazing companies and secured two job offers (which are still in consideration). I spent time with the people closest to me at many a Christmas party, and balanced it out with some great workouts. Then, a week before Christmas, I broke my ankle. Or maybe tore a ligament. We still don’t know. Cue going home to my parents’ house a little earlier than expected, for good food, a few glasses of wine, and snuggles with my puppy.

 

All in all, it’s been a year of ups and downs. Nonetheless I feel like I’m in a relatively positive place, in terms of my ability to handle the trials and tribulations that come my way. I have a great group of friends, including many a City Runner, and I’ve had some great experiences this year. If so much can happen in one year, I’m excited to think where I’ll be in 12 months time!

 

What was your highlight of 2016? Any favourite race?

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

Woman Crush Wednesday: Serena Williams

I love to share inspiration and motivation wherever I can, and I especially love championing fierce and fantastic ladies. This week I was inspired by Serena Williams’ open letter to women everywhere, and so I just had to share it. So this week’s post is a slightly different format; I’m going to let Serena’s words speak for themselves.

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To all incredible women who strive for excellence,

When I was growing up, I had a dream. I’m sure you did, too. My dream wasn’t like that of an average kid, my dream was to be the best tennis player in the world. Not the best “female” tennis player in the world.

I was fortunate to have a family that supported my dream and encouraged me to follow it. I learned not to be afraid. I learned how important it is to fight for a dream and, most importantly, to dream big. My fight began when I was three and I haven’t taken a break since.

So when the subject of equal pay comes up, it frustrates me because I know firsthand that I, like you, have done the same work and made the same sacrifices as our male counterparts. I would never want my daughter to be paid less than my son for the same work. Nor would you.

As we know, women have to break down many barriers on the road to success. One of those barriers is the way we are constantly reminded we are not men, as if it is a flaw. People call me one of the “world’s greatest female athletes”. Do they say LeBron is one of the world’s best male athletes? Is Tiger? Federer? Why not? They are certainly not female. We should never let this go unchallenged. We should always be judged by our achievements, not by our gender.

For everything I’ve achieved in my life, I am profoundly grateful to have experienced the highs and lows that come with success. It is my hope that my story, and yours, will inspire all young women out there to push for greatness and follow their dreams with steadfast resilience. We must continue to dream big, and in doing so, we empower the next generation of women to be just as bold in their pursuits.

Serena Williams


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I’m constantly in awe of how Serena handles herself in the face of ignorance or naivety from the media or the sports industry itself. She shines like a beacon of self-confidence, self-assurance and empowerment, and I think we could all do with being a little more like her.

So tell me, how do you strive for excellence in your life?

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

The Runner’s Wishlist: Part 1

As Christmas draws closer, I’ve been finding more and more gorgeous gift ideas either for myself or for others. There are so many great products on the market at the moment that I just had to share some of my favourites with you. These are perfect for the runner in your life… hint hint!

Believe, Achieve Training Journal

Hands down, this has been the single purchase this year that’s had the biggest impact on my training. I have so many good things to say about it that I don’t know where to start. It’s a journal designed by pro runners Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas , and it’s a combination of training log, journal and training guide. There are sections on nutrition, drills, stretches and – most importantly in my opinion- the psychological side of trianing. It encourages a daily journaling practice, and I’ve found the dividends to be well worth the investment!

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This Works Lavender & Vertivert Candle

This year I’ve really discovered the true value of aromatherapy, and this candle has been instrumental in that! It’s got an absolutely heavenly scent that’s strong whilst not being overpowering, and it really helps me wind down at the end of a long day.

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Matcha Green Tea

As someone who gets sick relatively often, I’ve found incorporating matcha green tea into my daily routine to be invaluable. It gives me a nice boost of energy without leaving me buzzing the way coffee often does. My favourite way to drink it is with hot water and a spoonful of honey- especially lovely when you’re feeling a bit poorly.

Garmin 735 Multisport Watch

If I could only have one thing from my wishlist, it would be this! This multisport watch allows tracking for running, swimming and cycling, and even has a heart-rate monitor built into the wrist strap- no more itchy, annoying chest strap! I mean, I know it’s a stretch that anyone will buy me this on a whim, but a girl can dream!

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Soap & Glory Goodies

I’ve long been a fan of Soap & Glory products, be that cosmetics or bath and pamper treats. I absolutely love their shower gels and body scrubs, and it makes me feel so pampered when I have the matching set!

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Sweaty Betty All Sport Backpack

This backpack is absolutely gorgeous and so so practical if, like me, you’re constantly dragging workout kit to and from work, the gym and anywhere in between. It’s available in a variety of colours, but knowing how bright most of my workout kit is, I thought black would be a safe option. If you’re reading this Mum, hint hint!

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Sarah Marie Design Studio Sweatshirt

I’ve been somewhat obsessed with Sarah Marie Design Studio for sometime now, and bought myself her Elite Marathoner Tee after completing my first marathon. However she’s really outdone herself for the holiday season, with gorgeous gilded sweatshirts that just make you want to cuddle up in front of a nice warm fire.

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The Obstacle is The Way

This book quite honestly revolutionised the way I think about life, its struggles, and how to overcome them. It has a lot to say about the power of hard work, as well as the value of humility. It’s not new age or airy-fairy by any stretch of the imaginaton- author Ryan Holiday does a great job of rooting a philosophical approach into everyday problems that you might encounter.

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What’s on your Christmas wishlist?
Lots of love,
Pippa

Monday Motivation: Question Madness

This past week, I’ve been contemplating why we do the crazy things we do. Why do we push ourselves to the limit, experience so much pain and frustration, and potentially risk failure?

We do it because we can.

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Being able to take on challenges, try new things and ultimately reach the limits of what we think is possible? That’s a gift. And it’s a gift we often take for granted. The failures, the stumbling blocks, the anxieties and the grind- it comes with the territory, and we need to remember that. Whenever things go wrong (which they invariably do), it’s so easy to rally against the world, and get frustrated that things aren’t going our way. But the fact that we’re even able to attempt such feats is a testament to our privilege.

Big, hairy, audacious goals are one of the biggest luxuries out there, even if they don’t feel like it at the time.

 

What’s inspiring you right now? Do you have a challenge coming up?

 

Lots of love,

 

Pippa