London to Brighton in 30 degrees of heat

Yesterday, myself Harriet and Aurore all took part in the London to Brighton cycle, in 30 degrees of heat. It was so difficult. I struggle with too much heat as it is, but fighting through the hills and miles on a bike was such a challenge. We set off from Ashford at 6.30am. None of the coffee shops were open that early and I can’t function early without coffee so I started to panic. Luckily there were a group of station staff all dressed in Lycra, on their day off, who were also doing the challenge. They each had a coffee cup in their hand and very kindly offered me a cup from the staff room coffee machine. I realised at that point that I actually have a real addiction to coffee.

Harriet and Aurore met me at the station and we got the train to Orpington, we then changed and got the train to Brixton. From Brixton it was about a 10 minute cycle to Clapham Common. We had just enough time to have a wee, take the ‘before’ photo and then before we knew it we were setting off.

London was quite congested because of the traffic lights. A lot of roads were closed off which helped but it did take a little while to get out of the city. It felt like quite a long time before we were pulling into the first stop at Mile 10. I kept thinking about a nice cold can of coke, it was all I could think about for the first 10 miles. You can imagine my disappointment when I got to Mile 10 to find they didn’t sell anything other than sports drinks and water. We sat and had some snacks and then we were off again, planning to meet at Mile 20.

Mile 20 was quite a big place to stop however there was no where to sit in the shade, so we decided to keep going until mile 30. There were no cans of coke at Mile 20 either, so I had given up hoping I would find one after this point. Harriet and Aurore both went off ahead of me and I decided to go at a slow leisurely pace behind. The heat was really tough to cycle in and I really didn’t want to exhaust myself too early on in the journey.

As I got to Mile 25 I heard the pop of somebody opening a can, it could have been beer, it could have been canned tuna, I had no idea, I braked so hard I think I almost caused an accident. I was so excited to find cold cans of coke that I didn’t even care they were being sold for £1.50 each(!!!)

I sat on the grass alongside the road and a group of 3 guys came and sat just behind me. I had no signal on my phone so I entertained myself by listening in on their conversation. They were saying that they each bought a bike 3 weeks ago and hadn’t done any training for this. One of them was wearing swimming trunks, so didn’t have any padding. Knowing how much us girls had practised and prepared for this cycle, it is absolute madness that others were so casual about it! I don’t think I could have completed yesterday in one piece if I hadn’t trained as much as we did. The guys all said they were not going to attempt the Beacon and that very few people manage it. At that point I decided I probably wouldn’t attempt it either.

I carried along to mile 30 where I had planned to meet the others. I didn’t have any signal to let them know where I was so had expected them both to have left by the time I arrived. The route from 25-30 was extremely hilly and it took me a while to do those 5 miles. Luckily they were both still there when I arrived. I bought a sandwich and another can of cold coke from the shop and we all sat on the grass for a while. The next stop we agreed to meet at was mile 45, so 15 miles ahead, this would be the last stop before the beacon.

I met Aurore at mile 45 and then we both saw Harriet fly past the stop, not realising we were both there. We set off again soon after and then realised we had gone to the stop just before the last stop, by the time we got to the final stop Harriet had already left. I stopped for a few minutes to have some water and cool down and then I went on to the beacon.

I expected the beacon to be a few miles down the road. I was cycling up a beastly hill which seemed to be never ending. A lady who was walking alongside me as I cycled confirmed that I was on the beacon, the adrenaline from realising I was cycling up the bloody beacon gave me enough energy to get 1/3 way up where I saw Harriet. Neither of us could believe I was still peddling and she seemed just as excited as I was about it which also gave me a bit of a push to keep going. I had no idea how long was left. I was really struggling to breath and all of the walkers were really encouraging me to keep going (but also really worried that I was about to collapse) At the top of the Beacon there was a guy with a megaphone encouraging people up, I had come so far, I felt like I was going to be sick or faint but I didn’t want to quit, so I kept pushing. I made it to the top and knowing I cycled the ghastly beacon was the best feeling ever. I met Aurore at the top who had also managed to cycle the Ditchling Beacon.

As I got off the bike my legs were wobbling like jelly, I couldn’t stand so fell to the spot next to Aurore where I was able to recover. When Harriet joined us we went to treat ourselves to an ice cream and then set off for the final 6 miles of the journey. Going through the finish line and hearing everyone cheer was the most amazing feeling. It was so emotional and I am so proud of us all for doing it. I would absolutely recommend London to Brighton to anyone.

My 7 top tips would be:

  1. Dress appropriately – Padded shorts are a must. I wore padded leggings and it was too hot so definitely wear padded shorts.
  2. Training – Get in as much mileage as you can before you go. Especially hill training.
  3. Take a decent bike – Strong tyres, good gears, a comfortable seat are all important.
  4. High energy foods – Bananas, protein snacks, energy gels, you need to be well fuelled along the route
  5. Hydration – I took x3 water bottles, two were attached to my bike and one was in my back pack. This was enough for half the route, after that I had to keep topping up.
  6. Sun block – I made sure my arms were protected but forgot about my face which is looking very red today.
  7. Take cash – I took my bank card and a bit of change but had to borrow some money from Harriet as most of the stops were cash only.

No regrets but there are things I would change

It has always been my motto to never regret anything in life, because it is the mistakes that teach us what we know, they make us stronger and make life less boring. I’ve made a few mistakes in life that when I look back I do wish I could change, but I try not to regret those things as best as I can because they have each taught me a thing or two.

The main thing I wish I could change was how little I looked after myself when I was younger. I was so unhealthy. I would eat so many snacks, fast food, chocolate etc. On a night out with my friends I would drink so many gross sugary drinks which didn’t really make me drunk unless I had copious amounts. I never exercised, I hardly walked anywhere let alone join the gym or go for a run around the block. I was overweight and unhappy and now I think about how much I’ve changed my life around I’m so proud of myself but also so irritated by the person I was.

The thing is, gym memberships, healthy food, a healthy lifestyle, it was all available to me. I just did a terrible job of utilising any of it. It’s only as I’ve got older and I guess more educated about healthy diets etc that I’ve started to listen and realised what I really want. I love my lifestyle now but it is a struggle to find the balance. I struggle to find time to go to the gym or do long runs when I work long hours in London. I run 7k at 6am most mornings, if I was to get up any earlier I would just be useless for the rest of the day. I’m training for some big runs but trying to find the time to get the mileage in isn’t easy at all. I think back to when I was at college and working minimum hours at a call centre and I’m so annoyed with myself for not using the free time I had to exercise and look after myself.

Up until about a year ago I would go on a night out with friends boozing and get through a pack of 10 cigarettes. I was not a smoker however I was a ‘social smoker’. Now I’m running and exercising regularly and so I want to look after my lungs better. It’s crazy because if you said to the Mel 5 years ago that her future self would be a regular exerciser, vitamin consumer and no longer enjoyed the taste of alcohol she would laugh and tell you to get out of here. I don’t know how I’ve become like this but I know I don’t want to ever be as unhealthy as I used to be. I wish I realised this all a lot sooner as I’d be so much further forward with my fitness.

To anyone who’s reading this and feeling unhappy within themselves, you can change it. You can change your life around and only you can do this. It takes work, effort and willpower and sitting around waiting for a miracle overnight isn’t going to get you to where you need to be. Find something you enjoy, whether it is running, swimming or even something like badminton, because hitting milestones in your fitness journey is the absolute best feeling, but what is even better is feeling comfortable in your own skin. To be able to wear a body-con dress without feeling uncomfortable, or to go out with your friends and not compare yourself, it makes all the hard work worth it. If you are not happy with your body, then you can change it.

Clearing Debt

The other day I wrote a post about my credit card debt. I have recently paid off £1,000 and still have quite a way to go. I have also closed my overdraft which was a huge weight lifted. Below is a list of things I have done to help me clear my debt and some suggestions you may find useful.

1. Put a payment structure in place.

If you have a few debts kicking around, decide which ones need paying first. Sometimes it is best to clear the smaller ones first and then go for the big ones. Have a look at which ones have the highest interest rates and focus on paying those ones first, but also look at what smaller debts you have kicking around as paying those off will take much less time and you’ll save the interest from those debts which can go towards the larger ones.

The first debt I cleared was my overdraft. The £30 a month it was costing me to pay that off (it was only £500) now goes towards my high interest Capital One card. My other credit card has a 0% interest promotion for another 6 months, so it is not costing me anything other than my minimum payments at the moment.

2.  Look into all your options and where help is available

If you have various different debts, consolidating them could be a better option. This would mean you are only paying back one debt rather than multiple debts and you will find your debt will be cleared much sooner. Also see what help you can get from your credit provider. For instance, I called Halifax recently and told them my situation. They gave me an extra 6 months free interest, put a payment plan in place for me, cleared a recent late payment charge and blocked my card from future use (to prevent me from going back to square one).

You can also speak to the Money Advice Service who will help you look at all your options and provide you with guidance for moving forward: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en

3. Cut back on unnecessary spending

I have recently stopped buying coffee from the train station. Instead I invested in a Starbucks travel mug and I make a coffee before I leave each morning to drink on the train. This in itself has saved me around £50 a month (I cannot believe I was spending this much on coffee!)

I have also started bringing lunches in. I have found a lunch which I enjoy (tuna and cous cous) and I buy several tins of tuna and several packets of cous cous in bulk each month from B&M. This costs me about £30. Before this I was easily spending £20-£25 a week just on lunches.

4. Go for the cheaper alternative

I have been a bit of a snob in the past and splashed out on the ‘high end’ brands because they cost more, so that means they should be better right? Not necessarily. I have started to research things a little more so I can make sure I am getting low cost, good quality items. I was spending £20 on an eye liner, until somebody introduced me to Collection 2000’s £2.99, completely underrated, babe of a liquid eye liner. It is definitely the best I have come across and it costs 10% of the price!

It is worth investigating the cheaper brands. I used to use Tigi shampoo and conditioner and each cost around £20 a bottle. I am now more than happy with a ‘3 for £10’ bundle of Tresemme products which in all honesty, are just as good as the high end products you can find in salons. It is also worth shopping at places such as B&M, Asda and Iceland. Sainsbury’s and Waitrose sell the same products but will no doubt cost you a lot more.

5. Spend more time looking into your options

I have been spending A LOT of time on websites such as Martin Lewis, or voucher code sites. When I am about to buy something, or even go out for a meal, I have been looking into all options to see if there are any discounts available or special deals. My bank also does Cashback when you spend at certain places. I also have a Cineworld Unlimited card which comes with a lot of perks and discounts.

6. Spreadsheets

Google Sheets is my new favourite thing. It means I can keep a track of my finances and access the spreadsheet from almost anywhere. I have created an enormous spreadsheet which has a monthly chart for the next 6 months. I have plotted in certain things I have coming up such as work trips, gigs and holidays and worked out how much I need to set aside each month to cover those things. It also includes a budget for birthdays, Fathers Day etc so I have no surprises. I have also included a budget for things like food and transport.

I really don’t know how I got by before this spreadsheet. I suddenly feel like I have my life in order. Spend some time building a spreadsheet which works for you. It will honestly make things so much easier!

7. Cut back on expensive social events.

I am such a ‘yes’ person so this one hasn’t been easy. I have had to cut back on a lot of social events. I still make sure I see my friends though, just instead of going out I have been organising get together’s at home or doing things which don’t cost too much money. I already signed up to a lot of things earlier in the year which are yet to come, such as festivals and holidays so I know I have a lot coming up, I have just tried to not to commit to too much else.

8. Stop being so careless

I have recently started using only a small amount of washing liquid, or hair shampoo etc. I now use just the right amount, whereas before I would carelessly use more than I needed too. It is crazy how much longer products are lasting me as a result of this. I have also tried not to be so heavy handed so things don’t need replacing/repairing as often.

9. Claim what you are entitle to

A lot of employers will not promote schemes which are available to you, but it is definitely worth investigating and asking the question. For instance, my employer pays for my train season ticket for the year and then deducts this from my salary. This saves me £100 a month, as it is more expensive to pay monthly.

When I bought my bike I also asked my employer about the Cycle to Work scheme which meant I could spread the payments across the year making the bike more affordable, I also saved on tax. It is also worth checking what your work can help with. I was paying for transport to meetings until I found out this is an expense I am able to claim back. Although this may only cost a few pounds here and there, it does all add up.

10. Gifts

I LOVE giving people presents and can be a bit too generous when it comes to Christmas and birthdays. I have recently set up a bit of a Birthday committee with my friends whereby we each put in a tenner and decide together what present we will get the person who we are buying for. This means we can all contribute towards a great gift and it only costs £1o per person. For Christmas my brother and I have also joined together to buy presents for a family which means we can spend less but buy more.

11. Sell unwanted items

For a bit of extra cash, why not sell unwanted clothing etc on eBay or at a car bootfair? You will be surprised how much some items sell for.

12. Are all your DDs worth having?

We sold our car recently. It was a tricky decision to make but it was just too expensive too keep and due to having two car incidents (not serious) my insurance went sky high. We live in the town and neither of us work somewhere which we need a car to get to so we decided to sell the car. We are now saving at least £150 a month.

My phone contract also expired recently and instead of rushing to get the latest handset I decided to go for a sim only plan which costs £30 less a month. As much as I would love the latest handset, my phone works fine and I would prefer to save the money. It is worth seeing if you can reduce any of your bills or cut back on some expenses.

Debt

A couple of years ago I was really unhappy in my job. I was driving 80 miles a day to get to and from work, my car was on the brink of dying and I was desperate for a new job, specifically in London. When I was offered a job working in Theatre and Music for an advertising agency in North London, I snatched it up, despite the fact my outgoings would be on par with what I took home each month.

I started the new job knowing it would be tight. The issue was that as the ‘newbie’ I didn’t want to seem boring, so I went along to all the events and chucked whatever drinks and food I bought on to the credit card. I didn’t think much of it at the time, in my head I thought it would be easy to pay off but that, of course, was not the case.

I worked at that job for just under a year. By the time I started my new job I had maxed out my credit card. This was only about £1,750 which to some may not seem like a lot and to others is a crazy amount. Due to having ‘poor’ credit (no credit history means poor credit, apparently) when I took out the card I had a ridiculously high interest rate. I approached my bank and asked for a 0% interest card. They gave me a 0% card and bought out the majority of debt on my high interest capital one card. This moved about £1,400 on to my 0% card and I had planned to pay off the remaining £350 within a few months…

Yeah, that didn’t happen. When I started at my current job, I accepted a more reasonable salary, the issue was that having had a tight few years, from being an intern, to having a job which involved regular car maintenance and then working for a job which didn’t pay me enough money, I was eager to y’know, live a little. I am in my early 20s and I hadn’t had a holiday or been to a gig or bought decent clothes in about 3 or 4 years and I was miserable. So I listened to the voice in the back of my head which was whispering ‘treat ya self’ and I went for it.

I went to Amsterdam, Budapest, Paris, loads of gigs, festivals, meals out with friends, clothes shopping, cocktail nights, all culminating on not one, but two maxed out credit cards. At the start of 2017 I was in £3,200 worth of debt , no remaining credit and I was miserable. So I made the decision to start paying off lump sums every month to clear it. I have just over £2,200 left to pay and it is depressing. It should take me until February for them both to be clean and it is extremely tight. I have absolutely learnt my lesson though. I have decided that once the credit cards are both paid, they are going in the bin and I am going to start saving money instead. Spending money is so easy to do but paying it off is very difficult.

I will upload a blog next week explaining how I have cut back on spending to be able to pay off the credit card. I am just so relieved I realised this before I got even deeper in debt.

An update on my running progress

It has been about 1 month since I signed up through the Pilgrims Hospice charity to run the London Marathon in 2018. I thought it would be good to write a post about how running is going for me so far. Last week I also entered for the ballot so I will find out in October whether or not I have a place either way.

Since I signed up I have also entered for a couple of half marathons. One of them is only 16 weeks away so I’ve really had to crack on with my training. I have received some donations for the half marathon as well, so there is absolutely no going back now! I am commited and eager and I want to be ready to smash it when the day comes.

I have been running from my apartment to the station to get the train into London each mornjng, then from Kings Cross to my office (Tottenham Court Road), then I have been doing the same in reverse on the way home. I have been doing this every day for a few weeks. The distance is about 5km in total. In addition to this, I have been running a couple of mornings during the week and have also been doing Park Run every Saturday.

Park Run is the thing I’ve been looking forward to most. It is such a great atmosphere and every week I’ve been improving my time.

This morning was my 4th Park Run. So far I have managed to get a new PB every week. It’s such an amazing feeling when you can see yourself improving. It’s this which keeps me motivated. I do have some bad days where I think I am not good enough or not improving quick enough, or when anxiety gets the better of me, but looking back at the milestones and how far I’ve come in the past 4 weeks is what keeps me going.

I have also been much better with keeping hydrated since I started. I bought a HydrateM8 bottles which has been SO helpful during the working week. I also try to drink one bottle before I go out running (which is normally followed by a couple of visits the the loo). The one thing I do need to improve on is stretching, particularly after running to work or for my train as I just forget!

I don’t know if I am going to continue seeing progress so quickly, or if I will be fit enough to do my half marathon in August, but I am certainly going to give it everything I’ve got. At the moment I am only running 5km runs, so I need to increase the distance gradually. I have a 10km Race For Life in August, but I’d like to do a couple more before then. I will need to squeeze in a 10mile run before my half marathon too. Being a busy person makes it difficult to commit to long distance running, but this has to be prioritised if I want to be ready for the half marathon in August.

Anxiety

From previous blog posts I have written, if you have read them, you will know that I have suffered with anxiety most of my adult life. I go through spells of it being really bad and spells of it being ok. Weirdly, the bad spells normally arise when things are normal and I have nothing to think about, as opposed to when I actually have something to worry about. My mind seems to think that if everything is ok, then something is going to have to change that. It is probably as pessimistic as you can get.

When things are going really well in my life, I have loads to look forward to and I am busy working on big projects or something, I don’t tend to have the time for anxiety. When an anxious thought pops into my head I am able to bat it away because I just don’t have the capacity in my brain for any additional thoughts. It is just when things are a bit quiet and I guess ‘normal’ that my mind goes wild with paranoia.

If I am having a bad time at work or with money or just general human worrues, I normally don’t have dark anxious thoughts then either because my mind is too busy being worried about ACTUAL problems. I know so many people who suffer with anxiety issues. I guess this is just part of being an adult.

A few years ago I went for some CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) sessions. This really helped me to learn how to deal with my anxiety. Ultimately, I am in control of my own emotions though. CBT gave me the tools to know what to look out for and what behaviours to avoid, but it is down to me to use what I learnt in CBT to control my anxiety, It still takes a lot of energy to be able to deal with my own emotions.

So tomorrow is a new day. I have recognised that my anxiety is a problem again and I am going to deal with it. This isn’t an easy thing to do but the only other option is to not do anything at all. What will that solve?

There’s no need to try too hard for anyone

I’ve been in so many situations where I’ve gone out of my way for people and then been fooled or taken for granted. It’s taught me a lot of things though. The main thing I’ve learned is that you shouldn’t have to try too hard with anyone. If you feel like you’re really having to go out of your way for somebody, or having to change the way you behave to accommodate them then they are not somebody you need in your life.

I am the sort of person who wears her heart on her sleeve. I think that has its pros and cons. The pros are that I tend to get along with people really well. I get really close to people and have made some great friendships because of that. The con however, is that I do get a bit too close to people. By that I mean I tell people everything about me, I’m really quite an open book. I trust people with my life until they give me a reason not to. Unfortunately in the past this hasn’t helped when I’ve later drifted away from that person or had a big fall out. I’m left feeling a bit hurt because I know how much I did for that person and how much of my personal life I shared with them.

The sad thing about getting older is that you do unfortunately learn things about people that you’re not going to like. In school I had more friends than I could count on two hands. I now probably have 3 close friends who I trust not only with my secrets, but to support and encourage me, to be there and listen to me, to laugh until our ribs ache together and who will never let me down. I guess in hindsight, having friends in the past who didn’t do all of those things has made me appreciate the friends I do have. I do, of course, still have other great friends that I adore. But the 3 friends I trust with my life are the ones I couldn’t live without.

So to end this opened on the subject I opened with, why should we go out of our way for anyone? If you have a few close friends who you trust with your life, then that’s all you’ll ever need. The rest are just a bonus.

How I plan to get fit for the 2018 London marathon

If you’ve been reading my blog posts recently, you’ll know that I have applied to do the 2018 London Marathon. Something I absolutely would not be prepared to do tomorrow, or even in 3 months time. I run about 3 times a week but the most I do is 5k as it is usually in the morning before work. So I have an awful lot of training ahead of me if I want to be marathon ready by next April. I won’t know until October if I am going to be running but I need to allow as much time as possible. So I am preparing myself now. This is what I am going to be doing over the next year to get myself ready.

1. Regular road running
As I said above, I run 3 times a week. Most of the running I do is on a treadmill at the gym, so my aim is to start boosting my confidence and running outside more often. I would like to do this Monday to Friday if I can. Most of the running I do is in the morning, but I will be aiming to do at least one evening run a week.

2. Workweek running

I also used to cycle to work (with the addition of a train journey either way) but for the past couple of weeks I’ve been jogging instead. I’ve been setting little challenges each day to give myself something to work towards. I can really see the improvement each day.

3. Park Run
I have signed up to my local park run and have so far done two. It is 5K in length and you are timed each week so you can try to improve your speed. I will be aiming to do park run every Saturday. My first time was 32.41, this Saturday I beat that by 3 minutes and did it in 29.42. I was so excited that I managed the entire thing without stopping.

4. Hydration
This is something I should be doing anyway but I am really bad at it. At work I always forget to top up my water bottle. I have decided to set phone reminders to drink more water. I will set this hourly so that I remember to drink, regardless of how busy I am. I often get a stitch whilst running so being well hydrated should hopefully prevent this. I have also invested in a Hydratem8 bottle, so I can make sure I am drinking the right amount throughout the day.

Check them out here: https://hydratem8.co.uk/

5. Diet
Cutting back on food is no longer my aim. It is important to not run on an empty stomach. I am going to be making sure I eat enough of the right foods. If I am going to cut back on anything it is fast foods, fizzy drinks and cake.

6. New trainers
I am on the hunt for some new running shoes. I will be going to my local sports centre in the next few weeks for a foot examination. They watch you run and look at your feet and tell you the right shoes you should be wearing. A good pair of shoes are really important for running and I’m not sure if my current shoes are the best ones for the job.

7. Good night’s sleep
I’ve recently stopped planning so much for the weekday evenings. It makes it really hard to get up in the mornings if I’ve not had a good night’s sleep. I would like to be asleep by 10.30 each night which gives me almost 8 hours sleep, if I am waking up to run the following morning.

8. A good playlist
I am going to put some running playlists together. I find good music really helps me to run. If I am starting to slow down or get tired and a good song comes on, usually it gives me the boost of adrenaline I need.

9. Fitbit and Strava
I record all of my running on my Fitbit. I am now also using the Strava app. Following other runners helps to keep me motivated.

10. Challenges
I am running a 10k Race For Life in a few months time. I am going to try and run the entire length without stopping. I also will also be participating in the London Landmarks Half Marathon in March. This is quite close to the marathon, if I get in, so I would like to squeeze in another half marathon before this one if I can.

11. Documenting progress
When you have a goal, it is so important to not forget how far you’ve come. I will be documenting my progress on this blog and also on my Instagram page. If I am feeling a bit low, I can look back and see how far I’ve come and that should lift my spirits.

12. Walking
Walking is still really good training for your legs. I will be walking 5k on my lunch breaks, at least 2 times a week. I am also walking the London Marathon in September with some friends which will be a fun challenge. It is called the ‘Shine’ walk and I will be walking through the night.

13. Structure

I am going to incorporate more structure in my running over a period of time. So to begin with it will be about increasing my speed and stamina, then I will gradually focus on increasing my endurance. A slower pace but for a longer time/distance is really what I’m aiming for.

14. Talking

I’m probably going to bore all my friends and family over the next year but I find talking about running really motivates me. It makes me remember how proud I am of how far I’ve come and every time I talk about it I just want to get back out there and run some more.

So that’s my plan. If you have any advice please do share below.

Thanks for reading.
Mel x

I’m proud of myself

A couple of weeks ago I published a post (Marshmallows to Marathons) where I spoke about how far I’ve come with my weight and fitness since 2011. I mentioned that I had applied to the London Marathon. Click the above link if you fancy reading the whole post. Anyway, I thought I would write a post today about how important it is to remember your journey and where you began. Today I participated in my second Park Run, which is a 5k run that takes place in my local park every Saturday. You are timed each week so you can track your progress.

Since I entered for the 2018 Marathon, I’ve been taking training pretty seriously. At the moment I am nowhere near ready to run a marathon, but I have 1 year to prepare myself, if I get in. This morning at Park Run, I hit a milestone with my running. I ran the entire distance without stopping, 4 minutes faster than last time. The thought which kept me going was how far I’ve come. I was thinking back to when I first joined the gym and I was running on the treadmill for about 10 seconds and then having to stop to catch my breath. I never thought I would be able to just keep running without stopping. I think it is so easy to get disheartened with exercise when you have to stop because you got a stitch or your chest hurts. It’s so easy to look in the mirror and get annoyed that you’ve not toned up as quick as you thought you would. But it is important to document your progress and to be proud of each milestone.My journey and goals have really changed over the past few months. What was once a goal to lose weight and ‘be skinny’ is now not my priority. If anything, having a slim waist and bikini body is just a secondary bonus for me. Now I want to be healthy, fit, strong and athletic. I love exercising. I love how amazing it makes me feel and when I have a bad day I want to read back over these blog posts and remember how proud I am of where I have got to. I never dreamed I would be applying for marathons, or running a few times a week and I am so proud of where I have got to. I still have a long journey ahead of me and to be honest, my goals are going to keep changing, but I am so ready to commit to this.

I looked in the mirror this morning and I couldn’t believe how slim my waist had got. I suddenly have so much definition and my stomach is just so flat. I’ve never seen it so slim! It’s funny because this made me realise how I had not been paying attention over the last few weeks to my image at all. I used to look at my stomach daily and wonder why it hadn’t slimmed down yet. With running, its crazy how quick you tone up! The main thing though is that it is no longer my main focus. As mentioned above, this is just a bonus for me. My focus is to be healthy and fit.

I have entered the London Landmarks Half Marathon for March, I have a 10k Race for Life coming up and I will continue to set these challenges until I am ready to take on the mother of all challenges, the London Marathon.

At risk of sounding like a wise old lady, be proud of yourself and remember your journey along the way. It’s important. The pride is fuel which keeps you going. You’ve got this!

Thanks for reading!

Mel x

Stop wasting time and energy

I saw something the other day which made me think and so I thought I would write a blog post about it. It was a picture on the internet which said something along the lines of:
‘If you are upset, say what’s bothered you.
If you want to go out with someone, ask them.’
Etc etc etc

Too many people don’t speak their minds and it’s just wasting everyone’s time. Time is too precious to be wasted on wondering something. If you ask someone and you don’t get an answer. Such as ‘is something wrong?’ if someone is being a bit off with you, then you get a response of ‘nothing’. Move along. There is no point wasting your time wondering what their problem is because at the end of the day… It’s their problem, not yours.
You don’t NEED anyone. I have, like anyone, had friends in the past who I thought I’d be friends with forever. Then we go our separate ways and guess what? You make new friends. There is a reason certain people walk out of your life. If you needed them there, they would stick around.
Same goes for if you like somebody, don’t waste time wondering if they like you back. That is time which you could be spending getting to know somebody else. Ask them out. If they aren’t interested, it wasn’t meant to be and move on.

Looking back on my life I have absolutely no regrets, except for the things I didn’t do that I wish I’d done. The amount of times I was annoyed about something and I didn’t say. This is something I am now avoiding. Sure, it might be awkward at the time, but people will respect you more if you’re honest. Say what you are thinking. Say what you want because you’re only wasting your own time if you don’t do it.

Thanks for reading!
Mel x