Hunkemoller sports backpack review

Last month, I was given the opportunity to review a sports backpack manufactured by a brand I hadn’t come across before; Hunkemoller. The sports backpack is part of Hunkemoller’s limited edition Caro E collection and as I needed a new bag for the gym, I checked out the collection, loved what I saw and accepted the opportunity.

A couple of weeks later a gorgeous pink sports backpack arrived in the post.

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Now that the backpack has accompanied me on a couple of trips to the gym, my local tennis club and a half marathon, I feel that I’m in a position to produce a hopefully useful review.

An introduction to the Hunkemoller Caro E collection

Caro Einhoff is a German blogger with a huge passion for fashion and beauty. In collaboration with Hunkemoller, Caro recently designed her own sports collection featuring a pink colour scheme. Combined with black, this sports collection aims to have a feminine but powerful look and feel. The collection includes a variety of sports bras, leggings, tops and other accessories.

The review process

When I first unpacked the backpack, I must admit that the first thing I noticed was the quirky and slightly unusual design of the backpack. It is definitely far more eye-catching than my current sports bag.

After spending a few minutes trying to work out how the clip lock fastening worked, I was ready to fill the backpack with my gym gear. As I like to take a lot of ‘stuff’ with me when I go to the gym, I decided to see how much I could fit into the backpack. Thanks to the clever design of the backpack, I managed to squeeze in everything I needed and more. The zip and clip lock fastening which allows for expansion when required, means that the backpack is far, far roomier than it first appears.

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On Sunday, I decided to let my Hunkemoller sport backpack experience the organised chaos of a baggage bus at a major running event. Although my existing sports bag has more interior storage compartments and pockets, the Hunkemoller backpack is so distinctive; I was able to spot it as soon as I stepped on the baggage bus. As a runner who was feeling a little delirious after completing a half marathon, this was definitely a positive.

The Verdict

All in all, I was really impressed with the Hunkemoller sport backpack. The backpack has quilted fabric and looks quirky and stylish, almost too stylish for a 38 year old runner. The inside of the backpack is fully lined and contains a small zipped interior pocket which is just about large enough to keep some change, keys etc secure.

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The only aspect of the backpack I’m not so keen on – this is more down to my own personal taste – is the colour; pale pink, a colour I don’t think is very practical. Unfortunately, after a couple of train journeys, a trip to the gym and a few hours inside a baggage bus, the backpack already looks a little grubby in places.

I’m quite clumsy, and can guarantee that the backpack will end up ‘wearing’ my sports drink at some stage. Luckily the backpack can be washed on a standard 40 degree washing machine cycle. This is a massive positive as it means I can continue to use the sports backpack without worrying about it getting dirty. I just hope that it survives the washing machine!

So thanks again to Hunkemoller for the opportunity to review the sports backpack. The backpack is part of the limited edition Caro E collection, is available from Hunkemoller and has a RRP of £32.00.

**Full disclosure: I was sent a Hunkemoller sports backpack for free in return for a review. I did not receive any payment for this review. As always all opinions and photographs are my own**

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Rants and raves #20

**Disclaimer: I’m writing my latest selection of rants and raves after spending the majority of last week unable to use my computer. Not ideal when I need to use my computer to search and apply for jobs. Now that my vision has more or less returned to normal, I’m catching up on all of my favourite blogs. As always all moans and groans and rants and raves represent my own views. Other (far superior) and less opinionated running blogs are available**

Rave: Women’s Running Magazine

I used to subscribe to Women’s Running Magazine but cancelled my subscription when the contents became really repetitive. Recently, my train to London was delayed (again) so I found myself killing time in WH Smith. While most of the running magazines didn’t make me want to part with my cash, for some reason Women’s Running magazine caught my eye. I parted with my £4 and got on my train.Womens Running MagazineI’m not going to attempt to review the entire magazine, but its contents – I didn’t realise it was a special trail issue – kept me occupied as far as Watford Junction. Not bad for someone with the attention span of a fly. I loved the interviews with Susie Chan, Cat Simpson, Tish Joyce and Mimi Anderson and found the 10k hints and tips quite useful. I wasn’t quite so keen on all the adverts but assume that the magazine wouldn’t survive without them. And as for the expensive kit recommendations. I don’t think I could ever justify spending £75 on a t-shirt.

Rant: Spiders and snails

While I’m not generally scared of spiders, a few have tested me recently. Last Sunday, I was about to fall asleep when I felt something walk across my face. I switched my bedroom light on and discovered that it was a massive spider. I exterminated the spider using my PhD thesis. I felt guilty afterwards, but there was no way I was going to get any sleep with a spider strolling around my bedroom.

I’ve got nothing against snails, but why do they take such pleasure in getting under my feet? If I was a snail I don’t think I’d loiter in the middle of the pavement. I’ve lost count of the number of snails I’ve accidentally murdered this year.

Rave: Find a Race website

I was recently contacted by the founder of a new event listing site – Find a Race – which covers the whole range of races from local 5K runs to multi-sport, multi-day epics.Find a RaceI had a quick look around the site, liked how easy the site was to navigate so decided to include it as a rave.

Rant: Expensive race photos

Last year, one of the major positives of the Lichfield 10K was the provision of free digital downloads of the official race photos. Unfortunately, this year the official race photographer is charging £12.60 for a single digital download. No chance!Race PhotoThis race photo is probably blurry, it’s difficult to tell from the tiny preview photo.

I get that cameras etc are very expensive and it takes time to sort and organise race photos, but surely it would make more sense to reduce your prices a little so you actually sell a few photos? I quite like the concept of bibsnapper and would love to see more people uploading and selling race photos.

Rant: Migraines

The majority of last week was a write-off. I felt fine on Monday, got through my interview on Tuesday and then woke up with a migraine on Wednesday. At one stage I felt so peaky I couldn’t even get out of bed. The blurred vision and flashing lights were particularly disconcerting.

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As I don’t want a repeat of last week, I’m now avoiding spending hours staring at my computer screen and am making a more effort to wear my specs when I’m watching the TV.

Rave: Sutton Runner

I think it’s about time I mentioned my local specialist running shop; Sutton Runner on my blog. I spent an enjoyable 45 minutes in Sutton Runner with my friend last week. The member of staff who was looking after my friend was incredibly patient, and was more than happy to answer the random questions my friend insisted on asking. I’m looking forward to returning to the store when my friend calls in to collect the trainers he selected last week.

Rant: eBay

Although I love eBay and enjoy selling my unwanted junk, I’ve had a few issues recently.  I’ve had people who have taken over a week to pay. When I buy bits and pieces on eBay I pay straight away and don’t understand why other people don’t. I hate having to chase people for money and find sending “do you still want item x” messages quite stressful. Having to make multiple trips to the local Post Office is also a bit of a pain.

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Last week, after I’d received and responded to the sixth message asking questions about a rare book I was selling, I actually asked someone to stop contacting me. I’ve now blocked the person in question and relisted the book. Seriously though, read the description! Also, don’t offer a seller £5 for a book that is virtually impossible to find and can sell for as much as £50.

Once again, if you’ve reached the end of my latest random selection of rants and raves, then thank-you!

What is the most amount of money you’d be willing to pay for a race photo?

Have you ever had any bad experiences selling on eBay?

I’m feeling like a runner again and Vieve protein water review

I hope that everyone has had a great week. I can’t believe that it’s nearly the weekend again.

After recently completing 65 and 75 minute training runs, I’m finally feeling like a runner again. It’s been a while. I’ve almost reached week 12 of my half marathon training plan and I’m starting to believe I’ll make it to the start line of the Great Birmingham Run next month.

I’m feeling so confident, I’ve started to look at potential races in November and December. Although I suspect that some of my revised running goals may well be unachievable due to my lack of pace, I’m still determined to run a sub-30 minute 5k and a sub-60 minute 10k this year.

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Once I’ve successfully completed the Great Birmingham Run – you see, I can be positive – I’m going to focus on running slightly shorter distances. I’m also going to incorporate some speed work into my weekly training. Hopefully my dodgy feet will cope with the fartlek sessions I’ve got planned.

Vieve protein water review

I recently received a press release about a brand new protein water drink; Vieve. As I was intrigued and love testing and reviewing new products, I asked if I could have some samples to review.

Vieve 1My samples of Vieve arrived a couple of weeks ago and I immediately put them in the fridge. The recent warm weather meant that they didn’t last very long.

What is Vieve?

Founded by entrepreneur Rafael Rozenson, Vieve is a new protein water brand which launched in the UK this year. As I’m a hydrologist and not a nutritionist, I’m not going to pretend that I’m aware of the benefits of protein to active women and men.

A recent report by Mintel suggested that I’m not alone and although in the UK we are becoming increasingly health conscious, we still lack awareness of the health benefits of protein, with 25 per cent of us unsure of how much protein we really need in our diet.

With no sugar, no fat, no artificial colours or flavours and 20g of protein in every bottle, Vieve is marketed as a refreshing way for active women and men to get the protein required for recovery, muscle growth and maintenance of healthy bones.

Vieve is the first sports nutrition product to achieve Sugarwise certification and is available in three flavours:

  • Coconut and Honey
  • Strawberry and Rhubarb
  • Citrus, Apple and Mint

I was sent one 500ml bottle of each flavour to try. Here are my thoughts on each of the three flavours.

Coconut and Honey flavour

Although, after a slightly rocky start, I’ve grown to like the taste of coconut water, I’ll be completely honest and admit that as I don’t like the taste of honey, I wasn’t looking forward to drinking the bottle of Coconut and Honey flavour Vieve.

I decided to drink my bottle of Coconut and Honey flavour Vieve after I’d completed a 20 minute recovery run in humid conditions. Unfortunately, I only managed to drink a quarter of the bottle as I didn’t like the combination of coconut and honey and started to feel slightly nauseous. I suspect that this may have been a result of the humid conditions rather than the drink.

Strawberry and Rhubarb flavour

I was intrigued and a little apprehensive when I saw the bottle of Strawberry and Rhubarb flavour Vieve. While I love strawberries and quite like the taste of rhubarb, I wasn’t completely convinced that the two would work well together.

Vieve 2I saved my bottle of Strawberry and Rhubarb flavour Vieve as a reward for completing a longer run. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to drink 500ml of Strawberry and Rhubarb flavour protein water at 6am on a Sunday morning, but it was very easy to drink and tasted so amazing I was disappointed when I reached the end of the bottle.

Citrus, Apple and Mint flavour

Once again, I was intrigued and a little sceptical when I saw the bottle of Citrus, Apple and Mint flavour Vieve. What would the combination of citrus, apple and mint taste like? Would the taste of mint overwhelm the citrus and apple? Would I manage to drink it?

I drank my third and final bottle of Vieve after a hot and challenging 20 minute run. I found the Citrus, Apple and Mint flavour Vieve natural tasting and very easy to drink. The drink left me feeling hydrated and refreshed. As an added bonus, I managed to avoid my usual post running in humid conditions headache.

Would I recommend Vieve protein water?

Yes! I would definitely recommend the Strawberry and Rhubarb and the Citrus, Apple and Mint flavour Vieve. Although I personally didn’t like the Coconut and Honey flavour Vieve, my friend Kate did. I found Vieve slightly easier to drink at 6am than my usual post-run drink; strawberry or chocolate flavour milkshake. I found Vieve quite filling, very refreshing and incredibly convenient. If I spotted Strawberry and Rhubarb Vieve in my local supermarket I’d definitely stock up.

Vieve protein water drinks are available from Vieve and costs £14.99 for a pack of six bottles.

**Full disclosure: I was sent some samples of Vieve for free in return for a review. I did not receive any payment for this review. As always all opinions and dodgy photographs are my own**

Rants and raves #19

**Disclaimer: I’m writing my latest selection of rants and raves after spending the majority of the weekend on my own. I’m also experiencing BBQ #FOMO. As always all rants and raves and moans and groans represent my own views. Other (far, far superior) and less opinionated running blogs are available**

Rave(ish): The Weather

After a wet and generally miserable start, the weather improved towards the end of August. As an added bonus, the weather on Bank Holiday Monday was perfect. Untitled 1Not bad for a Bank Holiday Monday!

Although the weather is pretty rubbish in Four Oaks this morning, I reckon that now the summer holidays are over, the warm weather will make another appearance at some stage.

Rant: BBQs

The only downside to the return of summer has been the increase in the number of people having BBQs.

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The distinctive aroma of a BBQ is always guaranteed to make me feel really, really hungry. After a couple of cancellations due to wet weather, I’m still waiting for my first BBQ of the year.

Rave: Running

I’m still enjoying my half marathon training and *fingers crossed* my fragile feet are just about coping with the increased mileage. Last month, I successfully navigated 47 miles of pavement pounding.

Four Oaks EstateI’m making the most of being able to run. 

Not bad considering I only managed to run approximately 10 miles between February and June. I just hope that nothing drops off between now and the date of the Great Birmingham Run.

Rant: Drunk people on trains

Although, l definitely enjoy the occasional drink, I know my limits and know when to stop. Call me boring, but there is nothing worse than travelling on public transport with excessively drunk people. In the last four weeks I’ve witnessed ‘adults’ fighting, men being sexist, someone throwing up all over a train, kids attempting to set fire to a train and generally behaving like plonkers.Train grumpI can’t wait to start driving again.

Unfortunately, a minority of people act like muppets when they leave the pub. Last Sunday I ran near a couple of popular local pubs. I had to avoid smashed bottles and glasses, a half eaten Mc Donald’s, the contents of several overturned wheelie bins, a couple of piles of vomit and a pair of discarded boxer shorts. In my attempt to escape the smell of rotting rubbish, I bagged myself a Strava achievement. Every cloud and all that.

Rave: Decluttering and eBay

I’ve been decluttering the junk in the attic since the beginning of the year. I’ve discovered my school reports from primary school – I’ve always been a bit of a boffin, and the shirt everyone signed on the last day of senior school in 1995. Other random discoveries included my GCSE physics and chemistry notebooks – I hated both subjects – and my gymnastics BAGA awards. The majority of my childhood junk is now back in storage in the attic.

Thanks to eBay and a couple of local charily shops, I’ve been slightly more successful at decluttering my unwanted running gear and trainers. I’ve genuinely got no idea how I managed to accumulate so many pairs of barely worn trainers, but I managed to donate 14 pairs to a Birmingham-based shoe charity. I’ve got one more pile of clothes to sort through and then I’m done.

Rant: Royal Parks Half Marathon

Like a lot of runners, I’ve been unsuccessful in the ballot for the Royal Parks Half Marathon six years in a row. Last month I turned down three last minute charity places in the event. This year, it appears that quite a few charities struggled to fill their allocation of places. I suspect that quite a few places remain unfilled. Hopefully the number of ballot places will be increased next year. A runner can always dream.

Rave: Running Heroes

At the end of last month, I received an email with the subject – Ted Baker challenge winner! – from Running Heroes. At first I thought it was yet another dodgy email so I checked my Running Heroes account.Ted Baker

A running bonus.

It wasn’t a hoax; I really had been selected as one of 10 lucky winners. I can’t wait to receive my vest top and leggings from Ted Baker.

Rant: Wheelie bins

A rather random one to finish with, but the Birmingham bin strike is very much back on again and could continue into 2018. Awesome. As the bin collections never actually returned to normal after the last strike, I only got to enjoy one week of wheelie bin and smell free running. I was lucky. Residents in some areas of Birmingham have been waiting for their bins to be emptied for over eight weeks. I can’t begin to imagine how bad the stench must be. I’m already looking forward to running past piles of rubbish during the Great Birmingham Run next month. It will be a great advertisement for the City!

Once again, if you’ve reached the end of my latest random selection of rants and raves, then thank-you!

Due to the overwhelming generosity of the running community, A Mile in Her Shoes is not accepting clothing donations at the moment. Does anyone know of any alternative charities?

Great Birmingham Run training week 8

Once again, I hope that everyone had a great weekend. I can’t believe I’ve successfully completed the first half of my beginners’ half marathon training plan. The second half of the plan looks slightly more challenging; it will be interesting to see if my injury-prone feet cope with the increased mileage.Collage 18Week 8 of my beginners half marathon training plan was described as a taper week – always a bonus – ending with a 5k time-trial i.e. parkrun. My training during week eight comprised of a 20 minute run on Wednesday, a 10 minute run on both Thursday and Sunday and a 5k time trial on Saturday. I switched around Saturday and Sunday’s training runs so that I could attend my nearest parkrun for the first time in 12 months. So how did my fragile feet cope with the eighth week of half marathon training?

Monday – Rest

Week 8 started with a rest day. I spent the morning completing yet another application form and then travelled into Birmingham to meet up with my music teacher at New Street station. Well that was the original plan. Unfortunately, another signal failure at London Euston – seriously Euston, please sort your useless signals out – meant that my music teacher’s train was cancelled and I had an hour wait for my train to London. Rather than loitering around the station, I walked to Up & Running and grabbed a copy of RunABC Midlands and bought some energy gels. The train journey down to London was awesome, as I got to chat about running for an hour with an ex Olympic long distance runner.Collage 19I arrived at Euston on time – train miracles can happen – and walked across to Regent Street for my meeting with my mentor. Seriously, how chaotic is Regent Street in the summer? I couldn’t imagine having to work there. A couple of hours later I found myself back in Hardy’s. The menu wasn’t as inspiring as usual and they had run out of Shepherd’s Pie, my alternative to fish and chips. In the end I ordered the Farmhouse Terrine to start, followed by fish and chips. There’s always next time!

Tuesday – Rest

The journey from London to Birmingham was uneventful. As an added bonus, the train to Four Oaks was so full of police, even the local troublemakers behaved. I should have completed a 20 minute run as soon as I got home, but I was hungry and couldn’t be bothered.

Wednesday – 20 mins steady

I must have subconsciously felt slightly guilty about skipping my run as I woke up well before my alarm. I contemplated getting my run done and dusted at 04:00, saw how dark it was and decided to wait until 05:30. Event though I felt tired I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I ‘enjoyed’ an extra long stretching and Pilates session. When I headed out the door at 05:30 I was well warmed-up and ready to run. The run itself was uneventful until I turned a corner and almost ran into an elderly man walking a dog. I’m not sure who was more startled, but the dog definitely made the most noise. I think I must have experienced some sort of adrenaline rush as I ran up one of my nemesis hills without stopping. Luckily I made it home without frightening any more dogs.

The rest of the day was so uneventful, I’ve decided not to bore you with the details.

Thursday – 10 mins steady

After my early (for me) start the previous day, I didn’t wake up until 07:00 and wasted the best part of the morning. I dragged myself out of bed, got dressed, worked through some of my PF stretches and exercises, had a productive loo visit, pulled on my trainers and headed out the door. My Garmin took ages to pick up some signal and then went into standby mode. Fortunately, it was a case of second time lucky and my Garmin decided to function as a GPS. I set out at a sensible pace and found the 10 minute run so easy, I found myself questioning the point of running for ‘only’ 10 minutes.

Friday – Rest

I spent most of the morning helping my friend take a couple of loads of garden waste to the local tip. He takes me to all the best locations. Once I’d recovered from the excitement, I caught up on my emails and printed out the job descriptions of a couple of hydrologist jobs I’d spotted. One asked for a basic CV so I spent an hour tweaking my CV and then hit ‘submit’ before I could change my mind. The second application took me over five hours to complete. At least I had a reasonably productive day.

Saturday – 5k race or time-trial

After several days of uncertainty, my friend finally agreed to drive me across to my local parkrun at 08:30 on Saturday morning. Slightly stressful. I think we arrived at Walsall Arboretum with about 5 minutes to spare, not ideal when I need to warm-up before I run. It took less than a minute for me to realise that I had started too far back and I was stuck in first gear. I’d forgotten how to increase my pace, so much for a time trial. After three enjoyable laps around Hatherton Lake, I eventually crossed the line in 32:49. I was disappointed I’d missed out on a sub-30 minute time by almost three minutes. At least I ran jogged the whole 5k.Collage 20After spending the afternoon tackling the mountain of washing that had accumulated during the week, I found myself travelling across Birmingham to the university for a violin lesson. Thrilling! I *may* have treated myself to a pint in one of my local pubs on the way home.

Sunday – 10 mins very easy jog

The sun woke me at 06:30 – so much for a sneaky Sunday morning lie in – so I decided to get my 10 minute run done early. As soon as I got up, I discovered that both my right heel and knee were feeling a little sore. I decided to head out on my run to see how my heel and knee reacted. Fortunately, the pain more or less went away after I’d completed some stretches, so I was able to complete my 10 minute run.

So that’s week eight of my half marathon training plan completed, only another eight weeks so go. I think my take-home message was that I’ve completely lost the ability to run at anything other than a ‘steady’ pace. I need to remind myself that being able to run is a bonus. I also need to stop comparing this year’s training with what I was doing last year.

Next week’s training schedule consists of four runs and is described as the second ‘building phase’. I’m not sure what I’m meant to be ‘building’ towards, but I feel slightly apprehensive. I’ve got to complete a 10 minute run on Monday, 35 minute runs on Wednesday and Friday and a 65 minute ‘long’ run on Sunday. I don’t think I’ve run for more than an hour since last year’s Great Birmingham Run. I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Training totals

  • Runs: 25
  • Time: 8 hours 35 minutes
  • Distance: 48.03 miles

 Races/time trials

  • 5 km: 32:49
  • 10 km: TBC during week 12

 Niggleometer

  • Right heel: 4/10
  • Right knee: 5/10
  • Left foot: 3/10

A slightly random question, but who is your favourite Olympian? Mine is probably Nick Skelton.  

Is your local parkrun getting busier and busier? Walsall parkrun felt so crowded on Saturday, I’m not sure that the course could cope with too many more runners.

Rants and raves #18

**Disclaimer: I’m writing my latest selection of rants and raves after spending the day feeling slightly peaky. I’m still experiencing holiday #FOMO. Spending over an hour looking at my friends Greenland photos made me realise just how much I *need* a holiday. Unfortunately, no job means no luxuries and no holiday funds. As always all moans and groans and rants and raves represent my own views. Other (far, far superior) and less opinionated running blogs are available**

Happy Thursday. I hope that everyone has had an enjoyable week. I’ve you’ve been away then lucky you. If like me you haven’t, I feel your pain. At least it’s not raining and it’s very nearly the weekend!

Rave: The Big Sleuth

I’m aware that I’ve already raved about The Big Sleuth so suspect that I’m cheating a little, sorry. Thanks to train delays, I had an hour to waste in the centre of Birmingham. As I didn’t feel in the mood for mooching around Grand Central, I decided to see how many Big Sleuth bears I could track down.

I walked the short distance from New Street station to Cathedral Square – I think I had to dodge six chuggers, I could very easily dedicate an entire rant to charity muggers – and discovered just how popular The Big Sleuth is. Hundreds of children and *ahem* adults were admiring the bears. It was amazing to see so many children outside having fun. I actually had to queue to get photos of some of the more popular bears.  Big SleuthUnfortunately, not everyone has embraced The Big Sleuth. One bear in Solihull was so badly damaged it has been permanently removed from the trail. Another bear in Boldmere has been vandalised a couple of times. I just don’t understand some people.

Rant: The weather

Whatever happened to the sunshine and warm weather? I’ve just looked out the window and it’s raining again. It was so cold when I headed out on my run this morning I could see my breath.WeatherI’ve had enough of the autumnal weather and would appreciate it if the sun could make an occasional appearance in Sutton Coldfield. I’ve also had more than enough of the rain. So much for the drought I needed for my research.

Rave: My right heel

I don’t want to curse myself, but I think my right heel is finally starting to feel a lot better itself *touch wood*. It’s still a little bit niggly first thing in the morning, but the pain is now 2/10 rather than the 8/10 it was back in February. I think the combination of wearing supportive shoes when I’m not running and the strengthening exercises I’ve been doing have made a big difference. My right foot feels far more stable when I’m running. Hopefully my right heel will continue to behave itself.

Rant: My left foot

Rather ironically I’m now more concerned about the pain in the top of my left foot. The pain is in exactly the same location as my metatarsal stress fracture a few years ago. The fact that I can still run makes me hopeful that my pavement pounding hasn’t somehow caused a second metatarsal stress fracture. I’m icing the top of my left foot after every run and looking out for any swelling or bruising. I don’t think there’s much else I can do at the moment. However, if the pain suddenly increases I’ll be heading straight to the minor injuries unit.

Rave: The running community

I know that I’ve complimented the online running community before, but I love how supportive the vast majority of runners are. Last Sunday I completed a 55 minute run. More experienced runners find running for such a short amount of time relatively easy, however, after not running for several months, I found running for almost an hour quite challenging. As you can probably imagine, I was left feeling rather deflated when my friend didn’t want to listen to me waffle on about my most recent running achievement. As a non-runner he just wasn’t interested.

Maria commented on my training run on Strava and left me feeling a lot more positive about my run. I’m now making sure I remember to give people ‘Kudos’ on their training runs and rides on Strava. A bit of virtual kindness takes a second and goes a long way.

Rant: Sainsbury’s Spaghetti Bolognese

I’m quite lazy, don’t actually enjoy cooking ‘for one’ and will occasionally buy ready meals to save time and mess. Sainsbury’s Spaghetti Bolognese was one of my favourite pre-run ready meals as I knew one serving was enough to fuel my long runs. As an added bonus my somewhat temperamental stomach seemed to tolerate Sainsbury’s Spaghetti Bolognese, always a good thing as a runner.

Last Saturday I treated (?) myself to a of Sainsbury’s Spaghetti Bolognese meal for one *sobs*in the evening. I noticed that the packaging had been updated and that the Spaghetti Bolognese was rather bland and tasted different. It definitely didn’t taste ‘off’ just different. The following morning I headed out on a 55 minute run. I spent the majority of the run trying to burp discreetly while ignoring the taste of Spaghetti Bolognese. Never again!

Rave: Hero the Hedgehog

Like many other sports fans, I thought that Hero the Hedgehog – the official mascot for the recent World Athletics Championships – was fantastic. As a runner, I loved Hero’s motivational signs.Hero the HedgehogIn my first job, I had the misfortune of having to dress up as Charlie Chalk and Brewster the Bear. I struggled to walk around a restaurant so have a huge amount of respect for whoever was wearing the Hero costume. I’d love to know the identity of the person underneath the costume.

Rant: Manspreading on public transport

I spend far too much time travelling on public transport and quite frankly, I’m getting fed up with men pretending to be cellists. Why do some men feel the need to sit with their legs wide open? Why do some men feel it’s acceptable to invade my personal space? And don’t even get me started on people who put their dirty feet on seats. There’s no need.

Once again, if you’ve reached the end of my latest random selection of rants and raves, then thank-you!

Do you have to dodge people fundraising for charities in your nearest town/city? The charity muggers got such a bad reputation in Birmingham; there was talk of banning them.

Do you have to avoid eating certain types of food before you run? I’m gradually running out of meals I can eat the evening before I run.

Rants and raves #17

**Disclaimer: I’m writing my latest random selection of rants and raves after spending the day in the university library trying to concentrate on a slightly overdue academic paper. I managed to write 500 words in six hours so not the most productive writing session. I’m also experiencing exotic holiday #FOMO as my friend has just returned from Greenland. I can’t wait to see all the holiday photos. As always, all rants and raves and moans and groans represent my own views. Other (far superior) and slightly less opinionated and negative running blogs are available**

Happy Thursday! Once again, I hope that everyone has had an enjoyable week. If your week hasn’t been that great, the weekend is approaching.

Rave: Running

Although having running as a rave for the third time in a row is probably cheating, after complaining about being injured and not running for almost six months, I feel I need to balance out my blog a little.RunningSmiling Grimacing at the top of one of my nemesis hills.

At the moment, my dodgy feet are still *touch wood* coping with my half marathon training. As an added bonus, after struggling for five weeks I’m now starting to feel a little bit fitter. Hopefully my fitness levels will continue to improve.

Rant: Having to enter races months in advance

When I started running, it was possible to turn up and enter the majority of races on the day. Perfect for injury-prone runners. Fast forward to 2017 and a lot of races are selling out within hours of entries opening. While this is good news for race organisers, it’s not so great for runners who pick up a lot of injuries. I’ve recently entered two races several months in advance because I was aware entries would sell out almost immediately. Hopefully I’ll be fit enough to run both races.

Rave: Blogging

After several years of intermittent blogging, I think I’m finally starting to see the benefits of sharing my random running-related thoughts online. Writing about running also seems to help me with my academic writing.

Rant: Wheelie bins

Perhaps the most random rant ever, but like the majority of people living in Birmingham, I’m not a huge fan of wheelie bins at the moment. Unfortunately, the refuse collectors (I’m not sure that the correct term is!) in Birmingham have been on strike for six weeks. This means that in addition to wheelie bins for household waste, gardening waste and mixed recyclables, the pavements in some areas are covered in overflowing bin bags, cardboard boxes and rubbish. Residents have been instructed to leave their bins and extra rubbish at the side of the road. Unfortunately, some people have abandoned their bins in the middle of the pavement.

If I can’t squeeze past a bin when I’m running, I doubt someone pushing a pushchair could get past.BinsI actually had a dream about wheelie bins last night. 

Although the situation isn’t quite as bad where I live in Four Oaks as it is in the centre of Birmingham, the bins haven’t been emptied for a month and the smell is getting quite bad. Apparently the strike could continue for another four weeks. As I’m not very good with ‘smells’, I’ll have to dig out my old BA mask.

Rave: runABC Midlands

After I somehow managed to win an Ultimate Direction hydration pack last year, runABC Midlands has been one of my favourite running magazines. A few weeks ago, I received a message via my blog asking me if I’d like to review one of my favourite local races for runABC Midlands. I said yes (of course!) and answered a few questions about the Lichfield 10k. Hopefully my article will be published and will appear in the August-September issue. I can’t wait to see my race review in print.

Rant: Drivers who don’t indicate

Can someone explain to me why so many drivers don’t seem to know how to use their car indicators? I’m not a mind reader and I don’t have a crystal ball. Seriously though, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve needlessly stopped running to give way to cars at junctions. Apologies for the f-word but I love this meme.Did you know

[Source]

Finally, don’t get me started on cyclists riding on pavements. I don’t mind children riding their bikes on the pavement, but adults dressed from head to toe in Team Sky kit should be able to ride their Cannondale bikes on the road. Having to dodge wheelie bins, drivers and speedy cyclists is making my running quite stressful at times.

Once again, if you’ve reached the end of my latest selection of rants and raves then thank-you.

Do you find having to enter some races months in advance irritating?

Should more race organisers offer full refunds or the option to transfer your entry if you can’t run?