I’ve been a bit quiet lately. It’s because there hasn’t been any thing major going on and I’ve been struggling a bit for interesting content. For a long time, I was absolutely committed to the goal of writing at least one blog post per week, whether I had anything to say or not. This entirely self-imposed objective resulted in a lot of impersonal “how-to” type posts and while they’re great for SEO, they are utterly dull to write. They feel like work. My mental dialogue had turned from, “I want to write about…” to “I HAVE to write about…”
I think people read this blog because they want to hear about me and what I’m up to. While I may provide some nuggets of wisdom from time-to-time, my hypothesis is that the personal stories are more interesting to read than a how-to guide on how to wash your running shoes. They’re also a LOT more fun to write. (Though, to be fair, that post about washing your shoes has generated thousands of views over the years!)
Now, I could be WAY off, and you all love the fact-based, how-to stuff. Feel free to leave a comment and tell me otherwise. But for now, here are a few updates on what’s been going on over the last few weeks.
Yesterday, I went to a morning workshop on self-care led by Poorna Bell. Poorna is an award-winning journalist, author and former lifestyle editor for HuffPost. I heard her speak at a recent event on confidence put on by Balance Magazine and I thought she was the stand-out speaker of the group. We laughed. We cried. Her advice was so beautifully presented. It was the perfect blend of personal storytelling and practical takeaways.
I saw that she was doing a workshop on self-care in the beautiful Paper Mill Studios and I decided I needed to be there. I’ve been struggling with some low mood lately, driven in part by over-scheduling and stress. Her event was an excellent reminder of the importance of self-care. While partly indulgent, doing things to take care of yourself actually makes you better in all other aspects of your life. It is the antidote to burnout. The human capacity to ignore your own body’s warning signs is immense. I think mine is especially evolved.
It was a lovely morning. The space was perfect. It was cold outside and there was a roaring fire and hot coffee and cake. My happy place. I spent the rest of the afternoon doing things that made me happy. I feel a bit like a new person now.
On Giving Back
This year, one of my goals was to give back either through running, or to the running community itself. I’m really proud to say that I raised more than £1,200 for two charities this year and I’ve been regularly volunteering at my local Parkrun. I have also been helping support the upcoming Red Run for World AIDS Day taking place on 1 December in Victoria Park. I’ve been working with the organiser providing support and advice on race-day logistics. I’ll also be helping with registration on the day before the run. It’s set up to be such a wonderful event supporting 36 HIV charities across the UK. If you’re in London and are looking for a friendly 5k or 10k race next weekend, I would really encourage you to sign up. The 12:30 start time is a magical unicorn in the world of road races. Sleep in, have brunch, run for a good cause. The perfect day. You can register on the day, or online here.
All this giving back has made running feel really meaningful this year. It’s like that quote from The Grinch: “And what happened, then? Well, in Whoville they say – that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day.” Not that I was a Grinch before but I do feel like my heart has grown a bit through giving back this year.
Yesterday, I ran my 49th Parkrun at Highbury Fields. Before the end of this year, I’ll definitely be getting that 50th milestone run done. Yesterday’s run was also my fastest 5km time all year: 24:18, just four seconds off my PB for the distance. I’d love if my 50th was also a PB! (No pressure!)
Also, since I turned 35, I’m now in the higher age bracket at Parkrun (35-39) and am routinely first female in the category. This is a nice ego-boost and one small perk of getting older. My plans to take over the running world in my 60s are perfectly on track.
I have been in a bit of a running slump lately. The time change, the over-scheduling, late nights and a million other reasons has contributed to the slump. But today, I finally got out for a long run and it was glorious. I ran 11.5 kilometres, with a brief rest in Victoria Park to watch all the happy dogs and their owners frolicking in the autumn leaves.
I also ran with one of the guided runs from the Nike Run Club app. While the content is entirely American, there are some excellent stories from prolific runners. Today, I listened to the story of Joan Benoit Samuelson, a retired American marathon runner who was the first-ever women’s Olympic marathon champion, winning the Gold medal at the 1984 Olympics. This was the first year that women could run in the marathon event at the Olympics.
If you like podcasts while you run, check these out. They are a nice blend of story-telling and run coaching.
I’d be happy for any feedback on my blog content if you would be willing to leave a comment. What do you like to read about most? If you don’t like to comment on blogs, you can also DM me on Twitter or Instagram.