Rants and raves #35

**Disclaimer: I’m writing this post after having a stressful day at work. I lost count of the number of times my computer crashed and I ‘lost’ what I was working on at the time. I’m also feeling a little tired after spending a little too much time out in the sun. As a result, I have a feeling that although I’ll do my best to be positive, this blog may be more grumbly than normal. As always, all rants and raves and moans and groans represent my own views. Dozens of far less negative running blogs are available**

Happy Tuesday, I hope that everyone who reads this enjoyed the long Easter weekend. How amazing was the weather, I just hope it’s a little cooler this Sunday; two boiling hot London Marathons in a row would be a tad unfortunate.

Rave: ReRun Clothing

Apologies if you’re already aware that this company exists, but I thought I’d start with a quick rave about ReRun Clothing.

ReRun is described as a Community Interest Company aimed at prolonging the life of running clothes and equipment and saving them from landfill.ReRun ClothingAccording to the ReRun Clothing website, extending the life of clothes by just nine months of active use would reduce carbon, water and waste footprints by around 20-30% each. When my self-imposed buying running gear ban comes to and end, I’ll see if I can find anything I like on ReRun.

Rant: Wasting money

In February, I worked out how much I spent on running related purchases last year, the final total was a bit of an eye-opener.  I’m now monitoring how much I’m spending. Thanks to a persistently niggly right knee, I’ve had a frustrating start to the year. I’ve already missed three races:

  • Big Half £35
  • London Landmarks Half £55
  • Cathedral to Castle Run £25

So that’s over £100 worth of entry fees, and no memories or medals. I’m sure that at some point, the race t-shirt, kit bags and safety pins will come in useful… I wish more events allowed the official transfer of entries. I was offered £60 for my London Landmarks number but I didn’t want to risk it.

Fortunately, being injured means I’ve had a lot more spare time, so I’ve sold a lot of my unwanted running gear online.

Rave: The weather

I’m aware that the weather features in virtually every blog I write, but the long Easter weekend weather was amazing.

I lost count of the number of burnt Brummies I spotted during the weekend. In the words of Baz Luhrmann, wear sunscreen:

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
Wear Sunscreen
If I could offer you only one tip for the future,
Sunscreen would be it
The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists
whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…
I will dispense this advice now…”

I remember when I first heard Everybody’s Free, I was 21. Now I’m rapidly approaching 40! The lyrics to Everybody’s Free are pretty much guaranteed to make me cry every time.

Rant: Food shaming, the Easter edition

Apologies for another repeat rant, but I was disappointed but not at all surprised to see so much Easter related food shaming on social media. I can’t remember who shared this infographic, but I’d need to complete a lot of push ups after my Easter egg consumption.Easter food shaming 1

 Women’s Running Magazine shared this on Facebook…Easter food shaming 2…and subsequently deleted their original post and published this apology:

“We’re really sorry for our previous post. We want to promote positive relationships with food: after all, it gives us the strength and energy we need to run our best. Thank you for your feedback we’ll take more care with our posts in future.”

So, to summarise, you don’t ‘earn’ chocolate with exercise. Eat what you want when you want. I need to learn to love dark chocolate.

Rave: Boston Marathon 2019

Although I’m such an injury-prone plodder there’s no way I’ll ever get to take part, I still enjoy following the Boston Marathon. Unfortunately, this year I wasn’t able to watch it live because I was at work. I did manage to catch up with the marathon when I got back to my lodgings, so it wasn’t the end of the world.

I loved the sprint finish at the end of the men’s race; I mean how on earth can people sprint at the end of a marathon? It’s incredible; I can barley shuffle at the end of parkrun. I also loved the women’s race; I just wish they got a little more airtime.

I enjoyed watching one of my all-time favourite runners; Des Linden, in the female race. Although Des didn’t come first this year, she most definitely put in a gutsy performance. This interview with Des made me chuckle. When asked if she was tearing up near the finish line (as she waved to the crowds), Des Linden produced a humorous but blunt assessment:

“I’m going to be totally honest with you,” Linden joked. “That was me almost vomiting.”

Des Linden is one of the few elite runners I follow on twitter; she talks a lot of sense.

Quite frankly, the performance of Joan Benoit Samuelson blew my mind. Joan recorded a time of 3 hours and 4 minutes which was within 40 minutes of her 1979 winning time.

Perhaps there’s still hope for me.

Rant: Bad manners

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve completed a product review, have emailed the person I’ve been dealing with to let them know that the review is live, and have heard nothing back. I get that people are busy, but it only takes a couple of minutes to send an email. Where I work, if I failed to respond to an email, I would probably find myself having a conversation with my line manager. I’m starting to think that my product reviews are terrible.

Rave: London Marathon World Record attempts

Yesterday, the organisers of the London Marathon released information on some of this year’s Guinness World Record attempts. Some of the 84 attempts sound more challenging than others, for example, the fastest marathon wearing ski boots and the fastest marathon wearing ice skates. My fragile left foot hurts just thinking about running in ski boots or ice skates; I struggle to run in trainers. Also, the fastest marathon dressed as a tooth sounds like a rather random choice.

I’ve shared this before, but if you do watch the London Marathon on the BBC, don’t forget to play Marathon bingo!Marathon Bingo


Rant: People who litter

Apologies for ending this post with a rant. After hearing that Saltaire junior parkrun was cancelled due to there being broken glass and rubbish on a large part of the course, I did a bit of online detective work (cross out) checked out facebook, and was shocked at what I saw.

Littering unfortunately seems to be on the increase. I’ve recently taken part in a couple of organised litter picks in Four Oaks. In a couple of hours, a group of five of us managed to fill 23 large bags with litter. While on the subject of letter, I’d love to see a few ShokzPlog events outside of London.

If you’ve reached the end of this selection of random rants and raves, then “thank-you”. I’m not convinced I would have made it to the end of my rather random waffle. I hope that you think my rants were reasonable. I do feel much better now that I’ve shared my moans and groans with you.

Did you enjoy the long Easter weekend? Did you manage to make the most of the amazing weather? I just hope it’s cooler this weekend.

Do you follow any elite runners on social media? I’m always looking to follow more inspirational female athletes.


Rants and raves #26

**Disclaimer: I’m writing this post with an ice pack balanced on my right knee. A knee niggle I picked up during the Cathedral to Castle Run has prevented me from running for two weeks. As a result, I’m feeling more grumpy than usual. As always, all rants and raves and moans and groans represent my own views. Other, far less negative running and fitness blogs are available. I’m hoping that I can run again ASAP!**

Rave: The weather

I’m aware that not everyone appreciated the recent mini heat wave, but after what felt like several weeks of shitty weather, I decided to embrace the sun. After all, we may well have just experienced summer 2018!

Summer in April

I spent Thursday on a training course in Reading. Looking at the sunshine through windows that couldn’t be opened was pretty frustrating. To make matters worse, the Reading office is located minutes from the Thames Lido. Luckily, I managed to escape the office at a sensible time and mysteriously found myself drinking a pint outside a pub an hour later. I managed to spend a bit more time in the sunshine on Friday and during the weekend.

Fingers crossed summer makes another appearance soon.

Rant: My right knee

After an amazing (for me!) run at the Cathedral to Castle Run a couple of weeks ago, a knee niggle has meant I’ve been unable to run. During the steep downhill section of the run I was acutely aware that my right knee was slightly unhappy. I could hardly walk the day after the run. The 1.5 mile walk into the office was a nightmare. Although my knee is gradually getting better, it still niggles from time to time.

Knee ebib[Source]

I’ve treated myself to loads of new running kit recently and want to wear it! I’ve already decided not to risk attempting to run the Treehouse 10k in Cholsey on Sunday. Although this is frustrating, it means that I’ll be able to travel back home for the weekend before my birthday.

Rave: Marathon season

Isn’t technology great? Thanks to the wonders of modern technology my slightly temperamental computer, I was able to watch both of the Commonwealth Games marathons several hours after they took place. I was also able to watch the Boston Marathon while ‘working’ on a conference paper.

After what felt like the longest build-up to the race in history – this isn’t a criticism, I loved all the pre-marathon tweets, photos and Instagram stories – I spent Sunday morning watching the London Marathon. A tiny part of me wished I was taking part, then my knee niggled and reminded me I was injured! #FOMO

At least I managed to play Marathon Bingo…

Marathon bingo[Source]

…I think I managed to tick off most of these during the London Marathon BBC coverage.

Rant: Living in a shared house

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m too old to be living in a house with six other people. There’s nothing wrong with my housemates – well not with most of them – I just need my own space. After three months I’ve reached the stage where I resent paying £110 a week to live in a house with no living room, no working smoke alarms, a front door that is never locked and noisy housemates.

I’ve been checking SpareRoom for better options on a daily basis and have realised that my options are limited. I could spend £100 more a month to live above a funeral parlour in a tiny box next to a building site. No thanks!  Renting outside of Wallingford would be cheaper but I wouldn’t have access to shops. I’d also have to pay £6 a day to travel to and from the office.

There’s also the small matter of me not really enjoying my job much. Some mornings I dread going into the office. I really can’t see myself in my current job in six months time. At some point I’ll update this post.

Rave: Making the top 10

Enough moaning! Last week, I was over the moon to learn that this little corner of the internet had made it into Vuelio’s top 10 UK running blogs for the second year in a row.

I was asked to answer a few questions for a blogger spotlight and took to opportunity to name some of my favourite running blogs.

Blogger Spotlight

I’ve genuinely got no idea how I made it into the top 10 but I’m pretty sure it’s mainly down to you, the people who read my waffle. Thanks!

Rave: Wolverhampton Wanderers

I’ve got a bonus rave; Wolverhampton Wanderers. After several slightly disappointing seasons, I was thrilled when Wolves were guaranteed promotion back to the Premier League. Sealing the Championship title on Saturday was incredible. It’s just a shame it didn’t happen at home.Wolves

I think the highlight of the season was when Wolves somehow managed to beat Cardiff at the beginning of the month. I just hope watching Wolves in the Premier League isn’t as stressful as it was last time. Seeing Wolves get beaten on a weekly basis wasn’t much of fun!

Once again, if you’ve made it to the end of my latest rather random selection of rants and raves then thank-you. My next rants and raves post will hopefully be slightly more positive.

Do you enjoy running in hot weather? Much as I love the summer and warmer weather, I struggle to run well when it’s warm.

Do you have any shared house horror stories? If you do, I’d really love to hear them.

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

As the date of the London Marathon approaches, there has been an increase in the number of articles providing runners with fundraising hints and tips. For the vast majority of runners, raising money for charity requires just as much time and effort as training for the London Marathon itself.

My marathon fundraising attempts haven’t generally been very successful. As I wouldn’t want other runners to make the same mistakes, I decided to write my own guide on how not to raise money for charity.

1. Overshare your fundraising page on social media. As soon as I confirmed my place in the London Marathon, I created a personalised fundraising page. I eventually shared the link to my fundraising page on Facebook. Within 24 hours my fundraising total stood at £10 and I’d lost 5 friends. Following advice from the charity I’m fundraising for, I shared the link a second time to correspond with the final Pay Day before the marathon. Several more friends unfollowed me. Another friend asked me stop oversharing the link to my fundraising page. Sorry!

SamaritansMy fundraising page has offended a few people!

2. Email everyone you have ever met. As article recently published in the Guardian suggested sending an email to everyone in your address book. This is potentially a really effective way of finding out who has changed jobs, got married, left the country and changed their email address. It’s not such an effective way of fundraising. Seriously, would you donate money to someone who hasn’t been in contact with you for several years? I’m not so sure that I would.

3. Leave it to the last minute to start fundraising. I didn’t start sharing the link to my fundraising page until February. The London Marathon takes place on April 24th. I have set myself a fundraising target of £500 and I’m struggling. If you accept a guaranteed charity place in the London Marathon expect that target to be substantially higher. If I had to raise in the region of £2000 I would allocate a minimum of six months to my fundraising.

4. Make assumptions. When I started fundraising I assumed that people I had previously sponsored would sponsor me. This hasn’t generally happened and has taught me not to make assumptions about people. I’d also assumed that the family member who sponsored someone £50 to complete a Race for Life would sponsor me a similar amount. My reasoning was that completing the London Marathon is far more challenging than completing a Race for Life event. I was wrong again.

5. Be unemployed. I’m currently spending most of my time searching for and applying for jobs. Being unemployed means that I’ve lost a large source of potential sponsors and supporters. When I worked at the Environment Agency the generosity and support of my work colleagues was incredible. I’ve really missed this support. In addition, many employers have fundraising policies and will match for fundraising up to a certain amount.

6. Have a history of getting injured and not making it to the start line. I have a history of getting a place in the London Marathon, starting my training, setting up and sharing a fundraising page, getting injured and then not making it to the start line. I can understand why people are quite reluctant to sponsor me. I’d be reluctant to sponsor me! Hopefully a few more people will sponsor me when I’ve successfully completed the marathon on April 24th.

Ill injuredI didn’t make it to the start line of the 2012 London Marathon.

7. Raise money for Samaritans. Like many other runners, I had a personal reason for fundraising for a specific charity. When I personalised my fundraising page I shared some of my reasons wanting to raise money for Samaritans. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that some of my friends and family don’t feel very comfortable discussing mental health related issues.

Luckily not all of my London Marathon fundraising experiences have been negative.

8. The kindness of the online running community. The majority of the money that I’ve raised has come from members of the online running community. I’ve never actually met most of these people. These people seem to understand why I’m running with an injury and why I’m raising money for Samaritans. Thank-you!

Have you ever made any fundraising blunders?

 Do you have any tips for successful fundraising?