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

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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

 

Mindfulness: Falling for fall?

Summer has always been my favourite season, and so when Autumn arrives it can be easy to feel despondent. Whilst social media gets excited for crisp leaves, warm jumpers and Pumpkin Spice Lattes, but I often struggle slightly- I think that’s the thing with the British Summer- blink and you’ll miss it.  That’s why it can often be quite startling when Autumn comes around.

That being said, the colder months are generally much better for me than they used to be, and I think that has a lot to do with running all year-round. Spending more time in nature, getting that endorphin fix, and trying to run during the limited daylight hours- without any of this, I’d be lost. So whilst I’m not overly excited about the end of Summer, things are looking up. And here are the things I’m looking forward to:

 

  • Blanket scarves. These are basically a socially-acceptable blanket that you’ll always have to hand during the winter months. I can even get away with wrapping myself up in mine when I’m at the office.

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  • Chai tea. I feel about chai tea the way many people feel about the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I’m in love with it. Cannot get enough. I love super sweet chai tea when you’re stuck inside on a super grey and rainy day. Preferably wrapped in a big blanket scarf.

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  • Bonfire Night! This is my favourite “holiday” of the year. We Brits snuggle up, watch fireworks and build huge bonfires, in commemoration of the Gunpowder Plot- an attack on the Houses of Parliament that was foiled at the last minute. It’s such a community event, and I absolutely adore it.

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  • Crisp mornings. Whilst Autumn/Winter in the UK is generally grey and foggy, every once in a while we get a gorgeous crisp sunny morning. These are the best to be out running in.

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So there you have it. I’m not 100% on board for the colder months, but I’m a damn sight more positive than I would have been this time two years ago!

 

What’s your favourite thing about the colder months? Please, give me tips on how to survive!

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

5 tips for anxious people

I’m having a bit of a rough time with my mood right now. I’ve suffered with depression and anxiety for a while now, and whilst I’ve generally got everything under control, it comes in peaks and troughs sometimes. Sometimes you can find a cause, and sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason for it, and the latter is the most frustrating.

 

However I have a few things that help, and I thought I’d share them with you today- just for the next time you’re having a bit of an off day, or you’ve lost your mojo.

 

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1) A big, cosy jumper. For me, this is my University of Cambridge sweatshirt. It’s grey and probably has a few stains down it at any given time, but I love it nonetheless. There’s a story behind it: having finished my finals, a year of stress had culminated in a week of partying- and I was exhausted. So my friend Ben gave me his Cambridge sweatshirt, and let me sleep in his room for a week. We would burn relaxing candles, read our books, and get some well earned sleep. I have fond memories of those times, and wearing this sweatshirt helps me feel comforted.

 

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2) A candle. It’s no surprise that aromatherapy is really effective when it comes to stress relief, but I didn’t realise how much until I found myself without a candle. I just spent some gift vouchers on a gorgeous one by This Works – Lavender and Vertivert – and it soothes me so much. I think it’s a similar fragrance to the one my yoga instructor diffuses around the room during savasanah- it’s relaxing and slightly minty too.

 

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3) A quilt. My Granny made all her grandchildren quilts when they were born, and as a 21st birthday present, she made me an adult-sized one, and even embroidered my initials onto it. It has huge sentimental value, but also serves a really great purpose: it’s really heavy. I recently discovered that one way to treat anxiety is by the use of pressure, which suppresses the central nervous system, stopping it from going into overdrive. That’s one of the many reasons hugs help make us feel better. Anyway, the blanket is really heavy, and I can just crawl up under it when I’m feeling a bit shit.

 

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4) Tea. I love a cup of tea before bedtime, especially when it’s cold out and I’m feeling rough. There’s something so soothing about it, as well as the fact that making a cup of tea requires taking a moment out from your regular day.
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5) A notebook. Throughout my struggles with anxiety and depression I’ve been advised to journal, but it’s not until I started my training journal that I appreciated the value of getting things out on paper and out of my head. I don’t think I’ve ever written a longform entry in a journal about my emotions, but sometimes writing down a list of things that you’re worried about can be overwhelmingly helpful. I like to divide them up into Can change and Can’t change. Each has their upside.

 

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Do you struggle with any of these issues? How do you pick yourself up?

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

Monday Motivation: A Life Outside of Running

Morning! This week’s motivation is courtesy of Ashley Higginson and Saucony. Ashley is a steeplechase runner who almost gave up on her sport completely. In the end, it turned out to be finding a life outside of running, and a sense of balance, that rekindled her fire.

 

 

This speaks to me a lot. Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about something Lauren Fleshman said in a recent Running On Om episode- that running was the kindling for a lot of the joy in her life- but that’s scary and, at times, limiting- especially when injury comes your way. I think recently I’ve become increasingly consumed by running, and I’ve started to realise I don’t want to define myself solely as a runner. Anyways, tangent over.

 

What’s motivating you this week?

 

Lots of love,

 

Pippa