Saturday, 23 July 2011

Just an Update.

Literally :)  a few bits about the past week and the exciting two weeks starting tomorrow!

First of all, going to start with a little moment that will never be replaced in my bloggin' days;

 Freshly Pressed.

Look!  It's me! ^^

My humble little blog made the front page of Wordpress!

I had just got back from a run when I went to have a look at things on le blog... 300+ views, 25 comments.. on First Race - Check? What .. the ..

My general blog views vary from 5 - 70, probably being the most. My stats had sky-rocketed and I honestly had no idea why. Maybe someone important on Twitter re-tweeted the link? Maybe... Maybe its on the front page!? *thoughts to self*

I was pretty shocked but super excited to see my bad haired, lycra pink-clothed self on Freshly Pressed!

Of all the posts, I'm happy that one made it. I don't know how Freshly Pressed is chosen, but it made me so happy to think maybe someone read it and thought it was worthy of such 'publicity'. Cancer Research & Maureen got their worthy recognition and more importantly it seems that the post inspired some people to run, or encouraged them to go further, and nothing made me happier than that.

So thank you to all that read, maybe even subscribed & thank you for all the kind words. It is unbelievably appreciated xo

The next thing that made me happy this week (today) -

I ran 8 MILES!

My furthest run - ever -  to date!

8 hard miles and 1hr 18 minutes (2 minutes faster than I expected) equals a very pleased me.

I won't lie, my running  for our Half Marathon the past week has been going a bit all over the place, missing runs, not hitting targets, generally giving up - but this run has just hit me in the face with a huge reminder of why I do this.

There is nothing that ever beats a running high.

I was in the zone, the pain of my feet was immense, but knowing I was kicking my own ass at my 6.2 mile past furthest run target kept me going. I ran continuously for longer than I ever have, my breathing as an asthma sufferer was the best it's ever been, I felt like throwing my hands in the arm and shouting "Woohoo!" when I got into the last mile... (but I didn't.)

I loved every sweaty, sweaty mile. It's about time I had a good run, and that was definitely it.


Tomorrow - Lydia comes to England for the FIRST TIME!


Lydia is a girl I met on my Year Abroad, she is lovely, and learning English. We had an 'intercambio' for an hour a week, which was more like drinking coffee & talking Spanglish, but out of it came a great little friendship. Her & her family made me feel so welcome, and it really made the last part of my year in Seville wonderful.

So, in these next two weeks we'll be heading to Cornwall, Edinburgh, York, London, & of course, the great British Seaside (Scarborough)!

I'm excited for her to see it, I'm excited for her to hopefully pick up some little bits of English & I'm excited to take my camera and finally get an excuse to really be a tourist in my own country!

It's going to busy, oh, and I need to fit in 3 runs where I can, but it's going to be lots of fun I'm sure!

And thats me!

How was your week?



Sunday, 17 July 2011

España, te extraño.

In true 'me' style, I'm suffering from a case of "want what I can't have."

I've had my nine months in Spain, and I know it wouldn't be the same if I went back, but oh my God do I miss that place.

Spanish people well and truly have the "work to live, don't live to work" motto down to a pretty fine art, something I have realised since being back in Leeds.

In Spain, no one runs around with their mobile strapped to their head. Everyone smiles. People stop to chat to others in the street; which doesn't piss people off. People don't run into traffic to get to wherever it is they're rushing to. People make eye-contact; acknowledge you're another human being, not a robot. People stop to take in what's around, rather than shuffling with their face facing forwards or at the pavement. Effort is made to meet up for lunch, its cheap but amazing quality...

Their lives aren't based on the materialistic things but on the quality of their life. There's no need to be bigger, better or more extravagant than anyone else and if someone is, there's no need to beat them.

It could be the sunshine, it could be the prices, I don't know what makes Spanish people so happy, but to me they really "live" and live properly.

The first things I did when I got back to the UK were - joined a gym, spent a fortune on clothes, bought too much make-up and changed my phone from iPhone to Blackberry, all things that weren't important when I was in Estepa.

I don't dislike Leeds, I dislike who I become when I'm here.

I'm sure I still manage to annoy people while I'm shuffling at my own day-dreamer pace around the city centre, but I'm probably the only one who has looked up every once in a while to notice whats around, or has appreciated just what I've got.

A good quote I've found in El Alquimista // The Alchemist -  Paulo Coelho (that I'm still reading) 

"Cuando todos los días parecen iguales es porque las personas han dejado de percibir las cosa buenas que aparcen en sus vidas."

"When each day is the same as the next, it is because people fail to recognize the the good things that happen every day in their lives."

I think it's definitely true, and something I will remember if I'm having a bit of a down day/week.

Spain taught me a lot.

So stop to smell the roses this weekend :)

I'm sure that work/deadline/meeting can hold on just one second.

Love & Relaxation, Sam xo


Saturday, 16 July 2011

Music Fridays #2

A day late. Oops!

Another weekly tune I'm loving, but this is on my gym playlist to relaaaxxx, normally whilst shuffling home.

Kruder & Dorfmeister - Lamb Trans Fatty Acid

Free download ->  here!

What is your favourite song to relax to?



Friday, 15 July 2011

Just Breathe!

A phrase that is easier said than done when you're an asthma sufferer!

Rewind to when I was 15 years old, trying to sleep on a hot summer night when I was greeted by my first full-blown, asthma attack.

Ambulance, oxygen masks, thinking I was going to die - drama.

It may sound stupid to say, but I don't think you appreciate the everyday functioning of your lungs until they stop working.

Your chest gets tight, you panic, you feel like your throat is closing up, you panic some more, you start wheezing, feel dizzy and every second becomes a focus on the ins & outs of air. Oh, and if like me you also have hayfever and your nose decides to not function too - it's a pretty scary experience.

I take my little blue friend most places, there's one in my gym bag, one in my handbag and a brown horrible tasting one for big, bad emergencies, but it never quite takes away the fear of the "what if''s."

I've struggled on a lot of runs with asthma. My legs are going strong, my mind is focused, when all of a sudden - a slightly tight chest? Hm, try shake it off. Keep on going. Little bit of wheezing? Trying not to panic. Then the shit hits the fan and I've got to stop, normally bent over, trying not to cry, because that just makes the whole thing worse, all the while focusing on getting the thing that keeps me alive to try work again.

It's an on-going struggle and I'm still dealing with the panic that does sometimes ruin a run alone, but eventually that will go.

My point is this - a lot of the time, my runs go fine and I'll never even have to think about using my inhaler. If anything, my asthma has improved amazingly whilst exercising.  It's a scary risk every time I step foot outside if I've forgotten it, or if I go in the gym without it, but what I've used as an excuse not to exercise in the past has actually helped strengthen my lungs.

So if anyone is debating whether or not to run, exercise  or do sports because you have asthma, just give it a go, be prepared, but keep on going.

Run, Breathe & Be Happy!


And if you really want to make this all worthwhile, please sponsor us! ->


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The Running Diaries: Part "Run To The Beat Coach"

First thing - This coaching programme takes no prisoners.

This is the running schedule I'm following to be prepared for our Half Marathon. I'm two weeks in, and let me tell you, when I say it's hard - it's hard, but it's challenging and pushing me in all the right ways (without it actually *doing* anything)!

I've struggled to hit a few targets, some days my Tuesday / Thursday / Saturday don't go to plan, but either way its getting me out and running with certain miles in mind, at least 3 times a week.

This week is the start of weights & strengthening afterwards (which I genuinely love anyway), plus 'tempo runs' in the mix of the normal run.

I'm excited to give it a go. I've proved a lot to myself with this programme. I ran my second ever 10k on Sunday... Who would have thought? Definitely not me.

My breathing and pacing are all improving, I'm liking the idea of a comfortable 4 miles today (again, who would have thought!?) and I love the gradual increase in miles. It's making it a challenge but achievable.

The only thing that ever gets in my way is me. My legs are strong, but my mind is stronger, and if my brain isn't in it, then neither will anything else be. So, for me it's all about finding the balance of mind & strength, and eventually I'll get there :)

This week has me doing 6k, 8k and 11k.

Fingers Crossed!


You can find the Coach programme -> Here!


Monday, 11 July 2011

Happy Mondays #2

My second weekly list of everything that I'm happy about at this moment in time & the coming week :)

  • Running my second 10k!

  • Shaving 10 whole minutes off my Personal Best.

  • Using my camera again.

  • Going to see "Bridesmaids" today!

  • Major night-out on Saturday for Leitara's birthday!

  • My challenging 6k, 8k and 11k running targets. Fingers crossed!

  • Starting a spinning class.

  • Trying out some new Ministry of Sound headphones! (Blog to come!)

  • Shop, shop, shopping on Thursday.

  • Preparing for my spanish amiga Lydia to come to Leeds for two weeks : )

  • Finishing El Alquimista!

  • Seeing my health improve, little by little.

How about you? :)


Saturday, 9 July 2011

My Week in Photos.

Since moving from Spain to Leeds I have neglected my camera hugely.

Not that I don't love Leeds, but I can't say it has that many 'pretty' things as the beautiful, uniqueness of a little village in Southern Spain did (not to mention the strange looks I would get walking around Leeds city centre with a Canon 550d stuck to my face. I can't exactly pull off the tourist look here.)

So, I've been trying to get back to grips with just snapping away at anything.

Every week I will try capture the every-day, ordinary things in my life, using my camera.

Unfortunately, this week had a lot of rain...

And I mean, a lot.

Rainy Leeds. Every - single - day.

Today being the only exception of the week, finally, some sunshine!

I got my paws on my first Krispy Kreme doughnut... x6 *cough*

The lemon meringue pie was possibly my favourite. But then Coconut Ice was pretty amazing too. Ok, I loved them all.

I've been reading this book, El Alquimista by Paulo Coelho most of this week. It's entirely in Spanish, and driving me slightly crazy but I'm loving how much easier it is than the first time I read it 9 months ago. Plus say hello to my old, trusty little dictionary that has seen me through all my Spanish exams starting in high-school.

Flat pack master! Another first - putting together furniture. Yes, me, clumsy me, managed to put together a set of drawers all - by - my - self. *beams like school kid*

Naturally, it was for my gym kit, which seems to be taking over the general amount of clothes I own.

...And then it rained some more.

Purchase of the week! - False Eyelashes by Shu Uemura (£18).

I betrayed my beloved MAC to give these a shot.

I really love them. They're natural looking when applied, easy (ish) to put on, the thick band at the top is flexible and easily shaped to your eye, plus they will even put them on for you in the shop (or Harvey Nichols, Leeds) if you're struggling!

They give an extra thick, lovely look to your lashes & I will definitely be buying some more!

Using said lashes with @Leitara!

And that was my week :)

Simple, but nice.

How was yours? xo


Friday, 8 July 2011

Music Fridays!

Every Friday I'm going to post a song that I'm loving that week.

I'm always wanting to expand my running/workout playlist, I love a massive mix of music so maybe this will be something someone can add to theirs & vice versa!

Let me know yours!

DJ Fresh ft. Sian Evans - Louder.

Download -> Here.

Trust me, just listen to it.



Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Check, check, check.

My personal checklist of do's & dont's before I run.

Every time I run, I seem to learn something. Whether it be a little thing to tweak, or a big thing to never do again, it's all a learning experience.

Here's a few thing I seem to religiously stick to before every run!

  • Agua - First and most importantly, I try to keep as hydrated as possible before I run. It took Southern Spain weather to make me realise that if I dont drink water, even the day before, I will suffer whilst running. *The fact spanish water tasted like crud (sorry!) didn't exactly help. I do not drink while running / working out. I tried it once and got a major stitch, so I've avoided it ever since.

  • Inhailer - Unlucky for me (and millions of others) I was born with badly functioning lungs. I always make sure I have my trusty little blue friend tucked away somewhere when I'm out on a run. Asthma won't stop me from achieving my goals, neither should it for any other sufferer. *squirts puffer*

  • Hair - Let me get this straight. RUNNING IS NOT AN ATTRACTIVE SPORT. I look like a glorified egg head when I'm out. I've found that I need to rock the pineapple look including clipping any stray hair back as anything in my face / the swishing of a ponytail will just plain put me off. Yes, I really am that easily distracted.

  • Lipbalm - Again, not a vanity thing. When running outside I need my carmex, I can't even fathom to put one foot infront of the other without having some wind proof - never gonna dry out - lips. 

  • Socks - Even down to my socks, I need to be prepared. OCD? Possibly. Anyway, Nike Women Dri fit Left & Right trainer socks are - amazing. I'm kind of worried to ever run without them again. Very comfy, with extra padding on your tootsies / heel and parts that particularly rub when you're hitting the pavement. I LOVE them.

  • Nike + Sportband - I have a current love/hate relationship going on with this, but it is still automatically snapped to my wrist on every run. I'm addicted. Nike+, you confuse me, but I can't get enough.

  • THE POD - Last but not least, my single most important running item - my iPod. Oh, how I love thee. I'm pretty sure I couldn't run as far as I do without music. I have a running playlist and there are certain songs that will get me to the next mile alone. I've got into the (bad?) habit of holding my iPod in my hand whilst running... Yes, it gets sweaty / uncomfortable, but I've tried an arm holder thingamajig and simply no me gusta. Now holding it is like some kind of security blanket that I just can't let go of *although it has flown out of my hand on more than one occassion *pats ipod* sorry!

And thats it!

Obviously, there are things like bra / kit / trainers (my Nike retards), but thats all to come in a special lycra style post. Lucky you!

Having done / checked all these things - I'll pretty much feel ready to run.

I joke that I spend more time getting ready to exercise than I do generally day - to - day... But actually its not far from the truth!

Although most of these little things do almost guarantee me a worry & faff free, smooth run :)

Maybe some will help, or maybe not, what are your ways of guaranteeing a great run?

Let me know!


Monday, 4 July 2011

Happy Mondays #1

I don't think many people like Mondays, I can't say I'm really a fan, but to change that from now on every Monday I will make a list of very good things that I'm happy about, proud of, excited for & looking forward to.

I'm a big list maker (due to the fact I have the memory span of a very old, holey sieve) & I'm generally a positive person, but everyone needs a shove to remember what really is good about this moment in time and why you should be happy.

So putting two & two together I get this!

This Monday I'm very grateful for -

  • Health improvements! 

  • 3 mile run? No problemo.

  • Sunshine! Hurrah.

  • Amazing pilates class, hello core muscles.

  • T-13 days until my best friends birthday.

  • Being in the same country as family & loved ones again.

  • The fact there is an avocado in the fridge (...easily pleased)

  • Fitting into a size 14 dress, for the first time in 3 years.

  • The support of a wonderful Team & their great advice.

  • Being able to wear tops without cardigans.

  • Nike freebies! 

  • Doctors tomorrow, hand over the hayfever drugs.

  • Seeing my little cousin after 4 years.

  • Noticing my own strengths & dedication to our Half Marathon.

  • Summer sales!

  • Finding my MAC foundation brush again after mucho trauma (it was lost... in my gym bag)

  • Beginning to feel happy in my own skin

  • The big salad I'm about to eat.

What about you? :)
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