Saturday, 26 May 2018

Things I’ve learnt whilst training for a 10k

Before signing up to this 10k, I don’t think I had ran outside for anything other than to run for the ice cream van when I was desperate for a 99. People laughed when I told them I’d signed up, and asked what drove me to do it.
As a total running virgin, I decided to grab an app off of the App Store, find my swankiest pair of trainers and hit the streets to begin my 10k training. That was two weeks ago now, and I so far have not been hit by a car (yet), have not done myself an injury (yet) and finally have some muscle growth back in the twiglet legs.
I have learnt that the whole cast of Bugs Life is out in force around this time of year, and you will end up swallowing them whilst you’re gasping to get some air in your dishevelled lungs (yes, this may have happened to me). I’ve also learnt to breathe more through my nose for the above reason.
Elderly people will actually smile at you when you run past, though this may be in confusion at your garish, yet swanky, running trainers. Little kids will try to race you without looking obvious, and no, I will not let a child win purely because they’re a child – life is tough kid, so is running on little legs.
You learn to do a subtle nod at every runner passing by – you both know it sucks, there’s no need to be anything but delightful to your fellow runner.
There is such a thing as a super playlist to get you through everything in life. My playlist is now a delightful mix of Dj Khaled, Tina Turner and Skrillex, in that order. Need a pick me up? Spotify playlist. Need a ‘I think my legs are falling off’ motivation? Spotify playlist.
My polar watch has now become my greatest ally. I have recently been looking in to upgrading my Polar, as it is becoming slower and, quite frankly, not very stylish around the office. I love that it tracks all my movement, but the sheer size of it and its depleting battery life has had me looking elsewhere. However, when I run outdoors, it is incredible at tracking my movement, my distance, my calories used and my average pace per mile. 
Factor 50 and running go hand in hand. After one particular run, I ended up shuffling home the colour of a tomato, and it wasn’t just because of my running technique. It’s no secret that my natural skin tone is akin to Casper the Ghost, and if I don’t lather myself in Factor 50 sun lotion when the first sign of the sun appears, then me and my skin will have a falling out for the next couple of days. Now when I run, I spray myself liberally with as much lotion as my skin can handle, grab my hat and run through the streets with my mouth firmly closed shut.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Sorting My Sh*t Out

The irony of this post is that this came to me when I was sitting in the bath after half a bottle of wine. 
I felt energised, invigorated and raring to go. I pulled myself out of the bath, toddler over to my desk and sat furiously writing in my notebook until I got distracted by netflix and chips - getting my shit together. 
I woke up this morning, aghast at how messily my writing was and very nearly didn’t post this; but it’s a reflection of me, an extension of me, and drunk me had a LOT to say on this subject. So drunk Francesca, take it away: 

My life isn’t insta worthy, I don’t have abs of steel or a bum you can rest a drink on. I have a slightly podgy stomach, my makeup is half arsed at best during the week, and I swear enough to make even a sailor blush. 
I flake on gym trips, I would rather binge watch Netflix instead of socialise 80% of the time and my fridge isn’t filled with the content of Whole Foods. 
But I’m okay with the above. I’m fine with the above, because I am a human being and not a machine. Saying that, I do have some things I would like to change to become a happier and healthier person, both mentally and physically. It's Mental Health Awareness Week within the UK at the minute, and I have no shame in saying that I, in the past, have struggled with my mental health. A string of events when I was younger turned me in to an anxious and scared individual, that couldn't deal with their grief so turned to self harm and destructive thoughts to cope. This wasn't coping, this was building walls. Thankfully I got help, and whilst I still can become incredibly anxious and feel intrusive thoughts, I haven't acted on those thoughts in years, and that in itself is a mini victory for me.

Get back to the gym.
 I purchased the GF8WG months ago, half arsed attempted it and stopped when a man watched me in the weights area. I miss that little endorphin rush and fist pump when I hit a PB, and I’m gradually easing myself back in to exercising. Not only am I getting back to the gym, I'm also getting back to , shock horror, running. I signed up to a 10K for charity in July, and I'm taking my running schedule very seriously (I say whilst popping a Pringle in my mouth). I have downloaded a nifty app to keep me on schedule, and I am mixing both the GF8WG app with my running one to develop an all round approach to fitness over the coming months.
Find the positives in the day to day. 
Now I wouldn’t say I abuse my body, but I can become super lazy with simple tasks, especially on the work run. As I mentioned above, I have dealt in the past with anxiety, which rears it's head in regards to sitting in front of my mirror analysing myself before coming up with a list of things wrong with myself. 
I am slowly rewiring this outlook, and I am going to bed with a writing journal to write down things I am thankful for today, instead of looking for things to be sad about. 
I am so, so blessed to have a fantastic friend who I can ring morning or night, weekday or weekend, and I know she will be there for me. Not only will she be there for me, she will make time for me and not make me feel like my worries are stupid or blown out of proportion. She sits, she listens, she makes the odd comment, but she lets me vent and I honestly feel like she is my lifeline when I am stressed. Not only that, but she puts up with my drunk texts and doesn't chastise me for them the next morning - what a gem.  
Sort the shit out of my eating. 
Last week I had a McDonald’s for lunch and breakfast twice. Not only did I not enjoy it after, but the money I’ve been haemorrhaging recently makes for uneasy reading for my financial advisor. I was in a solid routine for months, and I lost it recently, picking easy food in the work canteen for breakfast and picking up pizzas for dinner. I have severe iron deficiencies, and when I stop eating correctly, I end up falling asleep as soon as I get home or looking so pale I go an off grey shade.
 Needless to say, pizzas and McDonald’s aren’t packing the iron that I’m lacking , and I need to pick up where I left off with my high iron diet.  
Learn to say no. 
I’m one of those people that will say yes to something they’d really rather not, for fear of offending someone. Random donation bag going round the office? I’ll contribute, no matter what the cause. 
Charity workers knocking on my door Saturday morning at 8:30am, I'll stand and listen, whilst thinking longingly about my bed. I am tired of being the Yes Man, and I am starting to become the "do I need to do this?" Man instead. I bought " The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving A Fuck" a while ago, and I am intending to apply this to more situations moving forward. 
And there we have it, drunk me putting the world to rights - lets just be glad I didn't try to take any photos after this. 

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Review // Gymshark Slounge Wear

Ah Gymshark, my seemingly favourite brand if you look at my blog. Half my sport wardrobe is sectioned off to Gymshark, and I was beyond gleeful when I saw their campaign for the Slounge Wear collection. 
The collection comes / came (selling out seems to be Gymsharks mantra, which can only really be expected when everyone wants a piece of the action) in three colours, and I'll be honest when I say the colour I got was the last one I wanted. I logged in to the site four minutes after the release and was shocked to see the other two colours (grey and taupe) had already sold out in my size. 
I had seen several of the athletes advising to size down to stop the material from going baggy, so I opted for an XS and checked out. 
The Slounge leggings came to £28, which seemed pretty reasonable so I handed over my card details (again) and waited impatiently for the glossy grey package to land on my work desk (again - seriously postmen, don't judge my growing Gymshark delivery quota). Thankfully I wasn't waiting too long for the parcel to arrive and I rushed home to whack them on and give them a full test out.
The pro's are that they are incredibly comfy, flattering and are actually pretty squat proof (I wouldn't wear these to the gym, but if I ever wanted to then, you know, I could). I really like the subtle Gymshark tag on the side which is pretty understated for them, and I can confirm they are the ultimate lazy Sunday purchase.
I didn't realise these weren't full length when I purchased them so I was quite surprised when my pasty white ankles were on show in these, however I have decided to #OwnIt and have done many hungover supermarket trips in these and as far as I can tell, no one has judged the ankle situation thus far. 
A size XS on me is a bit snug on the waist (I'm a S in all other clothes, and a size 8 in jeans for reference), but I'm expecting them to loosen off after a few wears an washes. 
Overall I'm very happy with this purchase and it makes a nice change to the Gymshark line to having something a bit more casual within their collection. However having said this, will I ever stop buying the most garish coloured leggings that Gymshark have to offer me? Absolutely not. 

Thursday, 3 May 2018

My May Goals

(My first goal is to think of catchy slogans for my upcoming posts). 

Ah May, the month of bank holidays, semi decent weather and all of your neighbours mowing their lawns (shoutout to my landlord who does mine, you're the best). The evenings are getting longer and the after work drinks sitting in the sun are becoming harder to turn down 'i'm only coming for one', 'go on, another won't hurt', 'has anyone seen my bag?'. 
I felt a certain sense of relief when I hit May. I've secured somewhere to live until I eventually buy my own house, I'm starting to get back in to a routine with my exercise and I'm no longer waking up wondering if I've slept through world destruction and woken up in a new Ice Age. 
May is also the month of my first set of goals for the next 30 days. I often work best with having a long list of things to do, and feel incredibly smug when I tick them off with a neon yellow highlighter.

1. To be consistent
In work, blogging and exercise. For the past three weeks I've gone to the gym once a week, magically conjuring up a reason each evening as to why I couldn't go straight from work - oh no, i'm wearing the wrong trainers. Oh dear, I missed the bus which will mean I'm 10 minutes later than usual. My usually decent eating habits have taken a back burner as I've grazed my way through enough tubes of Pringles to start owning a share in the company. Then there's this ; the blog. My child. Which I've neglected (sorry). 
At the start of 2018 I vowed to upload content once a week on a Monday to coincide with my one rest day on a working week. Yeah, neither of those happened. My 'rest day' has become a rest week, and I frequently curse myself when I get tired running up the stairs at work. 
I've spent more time watching Suits than I have furthering my blog, and I am starting to switch back to a more focused approach to my little space on the internet. 

2. To have more 'me' time 
This may be a contradiction to the above, where I told you I spent a lot of time eating Pringles and watching Suits, but I am making an effort to have more 'me' time. 
Most evenings you will find me looking through social media, tagging my twin in Facebook posts or keeping up to date with my social media crushes through the medium of Instagram. I am a massive lover of my bath at home, and I have started slotting in more time of sitting in a bath with a good book instead of sitting in my towel and scrolling social media. 
Basically, I need to get the f. off of social media at every moment, and found myself rolling my eyes at a girl opposite me in a restaurant who was leaving her food to go cold so that she could take a better photo for social media. 

3. To be better with my finances
Like most millenials, I am currently saving for a house which is no small feat. There are fees upon fees, and checklist after checklist on my 'want / need' list. 
I've had meetings with mortgage advisors, and I've started to pull together an Excel sheet of all of my spending to try and figure out where I'm losing my hard earned funds (possibly Pringles. Pringles I'm looking at you). 
I have become incredibly bored of renting over the past year, and now that my long term housemate is moving down South, I am more determined than other to make my own nest which doesn't involve sharing my cutlery and frying pans (I'm OCD, what can I say??).