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

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Highlights: Running in 2016

This year has definitely been a mixed bag in terms of my running, but overall I’ve made some great progress and had a great time in the process. So without further ado, here are my highlights. As always, I love hearing about other people’s achievements, so do let me know your best moment from 2016.

Manchester Marathon

Now this is a tricky one. My first marathon- Manchester was a goal I hunted down for several months. I was excited, motivated and absolutely terrified in equal measure. It took up all my headspace, and allowed for little else at that point. Race day itself was a struggle. A real struggle. At Mile 6 an age-old hip injury kicked leaving me in pain, and by Mile 8 I could barely even walk. But whilst I went to a really bad place mentally, it never once occured to me to quit, and that’s someting I’m eternally grateful for. My day was absolutely made by my two closest friends coming to cheer me on, meet me at the finish line, and most importantly buy me a fried chicken burger. Now that’s love!

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Reykjavik Half

Reykjavik Half was the first Half Marathon I’d ever raced, and so it was a definite highlight! Prior to that, I’d always had a weird mental block about the distance, convinced I couldn’t cope with the combination of speed and endurance. But race itself was a gloriously sunny, crisp day in August, and I ran happily along, finishing with a time of 1:53, well under my Sub-2h goal. Not too shabby for a first attempt, especially in the middle of a training cycle!

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Budapest 30k

This was definitely a tricky race for me-I had originally intended do the marathon but an injury had led me to downgrade to the 30K distance. I went to a really bad space mentally within the first few miles of the race, but was completely uplifted and spurred on by my fellow City Athletics crew. Post race, the holiday itself in Budapest was fantastic, with plenty of good food, drinks and great company!

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Golden Gallop 10k

The Golden Gallop holds a special place in my heart. Whilst I didn’t get a PB (in fact, I matched my previous PB to the second), I placed first female! Whilst it was a small race field, how often does a first finish happen to anyone?! The aspect that I’m produest of is not giving into negative self-talk about the win- whilst I didn’t run at an elite level, and yes it was a small race field, I was running an unfamiliar course with a 13 miler in my legs from earlier on in the week. So I have no reason to be negative- and I’ll never forget that finish!

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Running in Reykjavik

The day after the half marathon, I popped on my running shoes and headed out the door with no plan, pace or expectations. I just wanted to run. I took it gently, running along the coastline and breathing in the fresh, crisp air, now filled with a fine mist. It was one of the most wonderful runs I have experienced all year- one that makes you truly grateful to be alive.

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Fat Run London

A few weeks ago I tried something new- a pop-up running and brunch club. It was a stepout of my comfort zone, both in terms of the food and meeting a load of new people. But I showed up with running buddy Clo and we took in a gentle, autumnal 4 miles through Regent’s Park, before heading back to the most important part- brunch. The food was indescribably delicious- all roasted veggies and gorgeous chicken thighs, with kale and grain salads to go with them. I’m so glad I took advantage of the opportunity and didn’t chicken out at the last minute- it was worth it!

Sri Chinmoy 5K

As with the 13.1, I’d always had a mental block with the 5k as a race distance. But one sunney evening in September, I finally faced my fear and raced with my Athletics Club in the gorgeous Battersea Park. If I’m being completely honest, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done- it was a find a pace and cling on for dear life kinda situation. I finished in 23.03, which I’m proud of for a first attempt, and managed not to throw up at the end. Winning!

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What’s been your running highlight from this year? 

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

Running and Racing

Whilst I love to run for fun, I also absolutely love racing, especially when it’s with my City Athletics crew. There’s something so fun about having a road trip to a random location, racing your heart out, and then going to the pub afterwards. So without further ado, here are my race plans for the tail-end of the year.

 

The Big, Scary, Audacious Goal…
 

 

…is the Budapest Marathon on 8th October. I’m not going to lie, I’m in it mainly for the holiday, but i also desperately need to avenge the horrific race day I had the first time I tried my hand at the marathon distance in April. After much umming and ahhing, I decided to just go ahead with it… I mean, I’d booked the flights months ago, so there’s that too!

 

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A Trip to Scandinavia
 

 

Courtesy of the Reykjavik Half Marathon, on 20th August. I had a lot of annual leave left over by the time it got to June, and so I panicked, and tagged along with what started off as a small runners’ jaunt, and has since gotten a lot bigger. I have no idea what to expect of Reykjavik, but I’m very excited for the hot springs which, I can imagine, are absolute heaven after a long race. As a side note, I’ve never actually raced a half marathon before, and I have a weird mental block about the distance. So this should be interesting!

 

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Where the ‘El 
 

 

is Elmore? I have absolutely no idea, but as per usual, I signed up to the race pretty much as soon as it got posted on the City Runners Facebook group. It’s a 7-miler and forms part of the Surrey Road League, so it must be in Surrey somewhere. And as usual, I’ll probably have the night-before-the-race panic when I realise quite how early I have to get up to make it to the start line on time. Oh well, there’s always coffee.

 

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‘Ello Elmbridge
 

 

Again, another leg of the Surrey Road League…so Surrey I guess? This is a 10k, which I think still remains my favourite distance to race. It’s also a great indicator of fitness and helps me to keep track on where I’m at, and if I’m making any progress. That being said, there’s a risk I’ll pile the pressure on- so that’s something to be wary of. But still, a day out with the runner crew!

 

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What’s your running schedule looking like? Anyone been to Iceland or Budapest? Send me your tips! 

 

Lots of love

 

Pippa

 

Cross Training Focus: Another Space

I’m about to dive straight into the deep end of another training season, and my biggest priority is not to overtrain or get injured- that’s my biggest takeaway from training in Spring- I did way too much, and ended up paying the price on race day.

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I was recently lucky enough to try out Another Space; a new workout studio in Central London. Based in Covent Garden, the boutique studio offers a variety of workout classes including cycling, yoga, hot yoga, and HIIT classes. I got a free pass through my work- perks of the job! I’ve been trying to mix it up fitness-wise with more cross-training and less actual running, with a view to being a more rounded athlete. I decided to give a cycle class a go during a rest week from running, and even persuaded my fellow runner Ashley to come along for the ride- helpfully, I’d been given an extra credit for that exact purpose.

First impressions of the studio itself were great: the staff were friendly, and welcoming. As we checked in, we were given the option of ordering post-class smoothies ahead of time! Every little thing had been taken care of- the changing rooms were adorned with Cowshed toiletries, and handy essentials like cotton buds, spare hair ties, and even disposable razors. You literally didn’t have to think about any of this stuff.
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Now, to the class itself. I’d never been to a spin class before, and as I was shown to my bike, it was adjusted properly for me. Despite my experience with real bikes and stationary bikes in the gym, it turns out I’d been doing it all wrong in the past! It was a really great environment that felt more like a club, with blaring music and neon lights. The instructor was full of enthusiasm and, at times, aggression, and really pushed us to push ourselves. There was a mix of sprints, hill climbs and resistance work, all combined with ab and arm work. Then we broke for a weights session (still on the bike) that really got the arms working- and then back to sprints. We ended, 45 minutes later with a few stretches and shoulder releases, and I was thoroughly exhausted- it was the hardest I’ve worked at a class in a long time!

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Finishing up the class was a relief, and I headed straight to the lovely hot showers. Having fresh towels and lovely smellies made a huge difference, and I left the studio feeling clean and refreshed, as opposed to sweaty and still a bit gross, like when I leave my regular gym. So I’d highly recommend Another Space- if you’re based in London, it’s pricey but definitely worth a shot!
What’s your favourite way to cross-train? 

Have you tried spinning?

Lots of love,

Pippa

Mindfulness: On rest days

I’m coming to really appreciate the importance of rest days. During my last training cycle, I had so many days when I was overtrained, undernourished and most importantly, absolutely knackered. It caused me some real problems both professionally and personally- a unique combination of grouchiness and inefficiency that only prolonged endurance training can bring.

In an attempt to not fuck up my life in general and, more specifically, in my Autumn training cycle, I’m taking a ton more rest days and paying closer attention to what my body needs. This image sums it up nicely- oh, we love you Mindy.

 

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Mondays are my rest day. I get home from work, I put on my PJs, and I watch hours of TV whilst playing Candy Crush or Whatsapping my friends. It’s the exact opposite of what most people would call ‘healthy’, but it nourishes my soul and gives me time to recuperate for the week ahead. Hopefully, it will stand me in good stead for the training season ahead!

What’s your rest day routine? And any new TV shows I should try out?

Lots of love,

 

Pippa