My top 5 posts

Good morning! I can’t believe its Monday again, what happened to the weekend? As always, I hope that everyone managed to make the most of the weather and had relaxing couple of days. How amazing was the football?

Anyway, I’ve got something a little different today; a look at my top five blog posts. I got the inspiration for this post from one of my favourite bloggers; Alana.

In order to find out my top five posts, I delved into my all-time stats. My most popular couple of posts were quite predictable; the rest, a little surprising.

1. My tips for completing the Couch to 5K (C25K)

This post has received five times as many views as any other post I’ve written. I personally don’t think that it’s one of my best posts. I wouldn’t even put it in my Top 20.

C25K Post

The post was published back in 2016 and is still read by 100+ people a day. Rubbish stats for most bloggers but pretty amazing stats for my small corner of the internet.

2. Mental tips and strategies for marathon runners  

I published this post the month before the 2017 London Marathon and made slightly more effort than usual to promote it on social media. Predictably, this post was really popular in the lead up to the 2018 London and Brighton Marathons. I’m guessing it will be popular again next March and April as nervous marathon runners get Googling.

3. How not to raise money for charity – my London Marathon experiences  

This is another example of a not very good blog post that for some reason gets a lot of views. I can only assume that quite a few runners struggle to reach their London Marathon fundraising targets. I most definitely did!

4. FLEXISEQ Active review

This is by far and away my most popular ‘product review’ post. I’ve written what I think are far, far more interesting product reviews but I guess that at the end of the day, it’s all about the product.

knee-pain

Or perhaps people just like this rather dodgy photo of me trying to avoid throwing up after a challenging training session? I’ve still got no idea why I included it in  the FLEXISEQ post.

5. Thriva Lifestyle test review

And finally, in fifth place is a review post I published last summer. Thriva are constantly promoting their products on social media. Although I did very little to promote this post, I think that it’s popular because people like to read unbiased reviews before taking out expensive subscriptions. Well that’s my theory.

If you’ve reached the end of this somewhat self-indulgent post then thanks. At some stage, I might take a look at my bottom five posts. It will be interesting to see which posts ‘flopped’ and are now gathering dust inside my blog.

I’m quite nosey so I’d love other bloggers to share similar posts. Please get writing!

Advertisements

Rants and raves #29

**Disclaimer: I’m writing this post while watching the football. Apologies for the inevitable spelling mistakes and typos. As always, all moans and groans and rants and raves represent my own views. Other, less negative and far superior running and fitness blogs are available**

Rave: The Weather

After enduring a pretty disappointing first few months of the year, I’m making the most of the warmer weather. Walking to and from the office is no longer a chore, and I’m loving the sunshine and the blue skies.

Wallingford summer

I’m more fortune than most of my colleagues because although my office doesn’t have air conditioning, I have a window seat. This means that when I’m lucky, I get to sit in a breeze and don’t start to feel too warm until the afternoon. Thanks to my complete lack of ‘real-life’ commitments, I’m able to run when I want which really helps.

However, as a hydrologist, the lack of recent rainfall is getting a little concerning. If it doesn’t rain soon, work will be a nightmare so watch out for this rave cunningly turning into a rant.

Rave: Recognition as a blogger

I don’t like to blow my own trumpet but have been asked a couple of times to share this information so here goes. My blog was selected by Feedspot as one of the Top 10 UK Women Running Blogs on the web.

Blog awardHere’s the link to the Top 10. Although there are lots of amazing blogs on there, the site is a little confusing as unless I’m being really dense, there only appear to be seven blogs in the list.

So thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read and to comment on my running-related ramblings.

Rant: Flying and biting insets and nettles

I know I complained about this 12 months ago, but there is a downside to the warmer weather; flying insects, insects that bite and stinging nettles.Nasty things

[Source]

I’ve lost count of the number of insects I’ve swallowed. I’ve also discovered that tiny black bugs in Wallingford *really* like fluorescent yellow running tops. Not ideal last week when I realised that all of the running tops I had in Wallingford were fluorescent yellow.

Rave: Running

Another repeat rave but *touch wood* and *fingers and toes crossed* my fragile body is behaving itself at the moment. After a couple of disappointing races, I took a couple of weeks off from running and embraced the drinking scene in Wallingford.

The drinking didn’t suit me so I charged up my Garmin and pulled on my trainers. Although my run on Thursday evening felt quite challenging, my five mile run on Sunday morning felt effortless. Training for Royal Parks Half Marathon starts in three weeks time and I can’t wait

As an added incentive to run regularly, I signed up as a member of #TeamSouth – there wasn’t a #TeamMidlands or #TeamCentral option – for the Run Around the World Challenge  in July.

Run Around the World

Mind is an amazing charity and the medal looks awesome. If you haven’t already signed up, check out the website!

Rant: Fundraising

Apologies in advance for what I have a feeling is another repeat rant. A couple of weeks ago I spent the day with Geoff in the Royal Marsden Hospital in Chelsea. Witnessing firsthand the amazing work the hospital does and meeting some seriously unwell people left me feeling incredibly fortunate. I also came away feeling even more determined to reach my £1000 fundraising target.

I shared my experience in a post on Farcebook and my fundraising total increased by the grand total of zero English pounds. I emailed the link to my fundraising page to a family member in the hope they’d add a donation and they completely ignored me. This family member was cured by the Royal Marsden so they have a personal connection to the charity.

I guess I’ve got quite a few more months to encourage irritate my friends and family on social media. As I don’t want to irritate everyone, I’ve set up a dedicated page on Farcebook.

Rant: My sun repelling legs

My arms are nicely tanned but my legs seem to be determined to repel the sun. They now look so white I’ve been considering investing in some fake tan. I’m just a little concerned I’ll repeat the great fake tanning disaster of 1999.

Rave: Marathon Talk/Runr t-shirts

I’ll end with a bonus rave; the link to a Marathon Talk/Runr t-shirt  I treated myself to last week.Marathon Talk runr tee

So much for my ‘ban’ on buying unessential running gear. By the way, I’m not on commission and haven’t been asked to share the link to this t-shirt, I just thought I’d share it on here as a ‘rave’.

Once again, if you’ve managed to reach the end of my latest random selection of rants and raves, a massive thank-you. I’ve saved my major rant about Skimlinks and WordPress for another post. Anyway, I hope my rants and my raves were reasonable.

Have you been enjoying the heat wave or have you had enough of the hot weather? I love summer but wish my room in Wallingford wasn’t like a sauna.

Do you have any tops for cooling down after running when it’s hot? I seem to look like a beetroot for several hours after each run.

Brodie Skin Care Recovery Phase Rehydration Cream review

Although I love winter and enjoy running when it’s cold, my skin most definitely doesn’t. If you’d asked me to list my winter running essentials 10 years ago, I’d have said a hi-visibility running jacket, gloves and a head torch. A sports specific moisturiser wouldn’t have featured.

I’m not sure if it’s age related, but for the last couple of years my skin has felt really dry during the winter, especially after I’ve been running.

As you can imagine I was thrilled when I was offered the opportunity to test out and review a sports moisturiser; Brodie Skin Care Recovery Phase Rehydration cream.

Brodie 1

Now that I’ve been using the Recovery Phase Rehydration cream for several months, I feel that I’m definitely in a position to write a hopefully useful review.

What is Brodie Skin Care Recovery Phase Rehydration cream?

While exercise has many amazing health benefits, it can be tough on the skin. During periods of exercise, the amount of oxygen used by the body increases, raising the number of free radicals produced, potentially causing damage to the skin. The combination of heat, acidic sweat, oxidative stress and dehydration can result in dry, sore and sensitive skin.

Brodie Skin Care developed Recovery Phase Rehydration cream to help the skin recover quickly and effectively from the internal and external stresses following exercise.

The cream:

  • Is specifically designed to help your skin repair and recover after exercising.
  • Provides intense rehydration.
  • Promotes cell regeneration.
  • Balances your skins natural pH.
  • Cools, soothes and protects.

As a keen runner with incredibly sensitive and rapidly aging skin, the Recovery Phase Rehydration cream sounded perfect. After researching the potential benefits of the cream, I couldn’t wait to put it to the test.

The review process

As I’m a complete novice when it comes to skincare products and moisturisers, I decided to read the guidance Brodie Skin Care provided, and applied the Recovery Phase Rehydration cream immediately after my post-run showers for maximum absorption. I think it’s worth me highlighting that when it comes to applying this cream, less is more and a little goes a long way!

Brodie 2

I was a little concerned that my overly sensitive skin would react to the cream. However, thanks to the natural ingredients my skin felt completely fine.

The Verdict

I’ve been using Brodie Skin Care Recovery Phase Rehydration cream at night for several months. My skin definitely feels a lot better and the dry patches on my face have more or less completely cleared up. The cream is suitable for all skin types as it isn’t fragranced and doesn’t contain any ingredients that could irritate the skin. I just wish that this product had been invented a few years earlier.

So thanks again to Brodie Skin Care for sending me a bottle of Recovery Phase Rehydration cream to test out and review. For more information on Brodie Skin Care please visit.

Brodie Skin Care Recovery Phase Rehydration Cream is available from Brodie Skin Care and selected online retailers and has a RRP of £17.95. I personally think that this is amazing value for money.

**Full disclosure: I was sent a bottle of Brodie Skin Care Recovery Phase Rehydration Cream for free in return for a review. I did not receive any payment for this review. As always all opinions are my own**

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.

DSCF2920

DSCF2921

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.

DSCF2915

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.

DSCF2925

DSCF2928

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**

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.

migraine-meme[Source]

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.

eBay[Source]

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.

Learner runner[Source]

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**

Nutri Advanced Magnesium Glycinate tablets review

Back in June, I discovered that Nutri Advanced were on the lookout for people to review their Magnesium Glycinate tablets. I applied, was accepted and a couple of days later I received a large tub of Magnesium Glycinate tablets and some really informative supporting documents. Once I’d read through these documents, I was ready to start the three week trial.

nutri 1

Now that I’ve completed the three week trial, I feel that I’m in a position to produce a hopefully useful review.

What is Magnesium Glycinate?

Nutri Advanced has been providing healthy effective vitamins, health and nutritional supplements to a wide range of consumers since 1981. Nutri Advanced uses rigorous scientific research to make sure that their supplements use bio-available, active and preferred forms of vitamins and minerals to ensure maximum absorption.

Magnesium is an important mineral – it is essential for hundreds of reactions within the body. Magnesium is also known as “nature’s tranquiliser”, it has a calming effect on nerves and muscles and is also necessary for energy production.

  • Magnesium is essential for the production of energy within every cell in the body – it may increase energy levels and help reduce tiredness and fatigue.
  • Magnesium contributes to the electrolyte balance within the body.
  • Magnesium is essential for the normal functioning of the nervous system and psychological function – low magnesium levels may be associated with confusion or irritability.
  • Magnesium contributes to normal muscle function.
  • Magnesium contributes to the synthesis of protein.
  • The maintenance of normal bones and teeth need magnesium – it helps keep calcium within bones and teeth.

Nutri Advanced magnesium tablets use Magnesium Glycinate. This is a superior form of magnesium that is well absorbed meaning that it gets to work quickly and doesn’t have a laxative effect. Magnesium Glycinate is generally well tolerated, so the tablets are suitable for people with a sensitive digestive system.

Nutri Advanced[Source]

As a runner, I was curious to see if the Magnesium Glycinate tablets would help to increase my energy levels and reduce my tiredness. Although I must admit I was slightly sceptical when I started taking the tablets, I was also interested to see if the Magnesium Glycinate tablets would help to reduce the post-run aches and pains, random calf cramps and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) I’d been experiencing.

The review process

In theory, the review process was extremely straightforward. All I had to do was take two tablets two times a day with my meals and then report back on my experiences.

Nutri 2

It took me a couple of days to get into the habit of taking the Magnesium Glycinate tablets. While I’d describe myself as a world expert at eating food, it turns out that I’m not very good at swallowing tablets. I overcame this minor hurdle by closing my eyes so that I couldn’t see the tablet, and making sure that I swallowed the tablet with a lot of water. Other people have recommended snapping the tablets in half to make them easier to swallow.

The Verdict

After completing the three week trial of Magnesium Glycinate tablets, I can confirm that these tablets are gentle on the digestive system. Fortunately, my somewhat temperamental digestive system tolerated the tablets and I avoided any ‘toilet sprints’. I was experiencing quite painful calf cramps and DOMS at the start of my half marathon training, the DOMS and cramps almost completely disappeared when I was taking the tablets. I accept that this may be purely down to the fact my legs have now adapted to my regular training runs. It will be really interesting to see if the cramps and DOMS make an unwelcome reappearance now that I’ve stopped taking the tablets.

Although the Magnesium Glycinate tablets didn’t always completely eliminate my tiredness and fatigue, I did start to notice an increase in my energy levels towards the end of the trial. Although it’s only been two weeks since I stopped taking the tablets, I’ve already noticed my energy levels decreasing and levels of irritability increasing. This may be a result of me running more frequently and not getting enough sleep; it will be interesting to see if I continue to feel tired and quite irritable virtually all of the time.

What I do know is that after seeing the benefits of increasing my daily magnesium intake, I’m now actively trying to consume more magnesium rich foods.

Magnesium Glycinate tablets are available from Nutri Advanced and other online retailers and have a RRP of £17.95.

**Full disclosure: I was sent a tub of Nutri Advanced Magnesium Glycinate tablets for free in return for a review. I did not receive any payment for this review. As always all opinions are my own**