Marathon Training Week Three

Marathon Training Week Three

Week three and I’m definitely finding my rhythm with my training.  This week, I did two 5 mile run and a 10 mile run – my first ‘long’ run of my training.  My second 5 mile run was quicker than the first (and my average pace was 2 seconds quicker than the same run last week) so I guess it took me a couple of days to recover from my long run the previous week.  This is the first time I’ve run 10 miles since I was training for my first half-marathon back in 2012 – it took me weeks to work up to and I’m still not sure I felt as strong as I did today!  I started out nice and comfortable and had plenty in the tank for a couple of quick miles at the end.

I’m really loving the Tribe energy and recovery products.  Although I discovered I’m not a huge fan of the banana shake, there are so many choices to tailor the pack – one of my favourites is the Bogoya Banana Tribe 10 recovery bars.  They are delicious and a great way of getting the nutrients and calories I need.

Speaking of calories, I feel like I’ve very much earned my Sunday lunch with my parents today!

Miles run – 20.2

Average pace – 8.47min/mile

Listening to – Creative Mornings, The Guilty Feminist, The News Quiz, Analysis, Side Hustle School, Planet Money, and The Infinite Monkey Cage (plus some AC/DC and Guns’N’Roses for those speedy miles!)


If you would like to support my fundraising efforts in support of the women of Masaka, please head over to my fundraising page 🙂

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Marathon Training Week Two

Marathon Training Week Two

I’m really pleased with how training has gone this week – the first week of the ‘go faster’ phase.  Just between Tuesday and Friday, I managed to run 5 miles 3 and a half minutes faster – including two sub-8 minute miles.  This was also the first week in a long time that I have run for more than an hour.  I felt really strong and ran comfortably much faster than I had planned.  This was also my first run with support from Tribe – delicious all-natural whole foods sports nutrition.  I’m taking fuelling myself for these longer runs really seriously as I don’t want to lose any weight and the Tribe range of bars, trail mix and shakes for energy and recovery seem like a great option.  I’m getting a pack a week so I’m excited to see what options arrive next week.

I know it’s very early days of my training but I’m really pleased with how it’s going so far.  I’m fitter and stronger than I realised and I’m taking great pride in my body’s ability to do this.

Miles run – 18.5

Average pace – 8.49min/mile

Hours of podcasts consumed – 2 hours 15


If you would like to support my fundraising efforts in support of the women of Masaka, please head over to my fundraising page 🙂

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Marathon Training – Week 1

Marathon Training – Week 1

This week, I started training for my first ever marathon.  Not content with ticking a simple marathon off the bucket list, I will be running my first marathon over in Uganda in support of the Uganda International Marathon.  The marathon is on 4th June – 17 weeks to go!  I will be running more than 400 miles over the next four months – eek!

And week one has got off to a good start!

Miles run – 17

Average pace – 9.01min/mile

Podcasts consumed – 7

Flights booked – one 🙂

January’s Reading List

January’s Reading List

Love Warrior – Glennon Doyle Melton

What the Cover Says: Just when Glennon Doyle Melton was beginning to feel she had it all figured out – three happy children, a doting spouse, and a writing career so successful that her first book catapulted to the top of the New York Times bestseller list – her husband revealed his infidelity and she was forced to realize that nothing was as it seemed. A recovering alcoholic and bulimic, rock bottom was a familiar place to Glennon. In the midst of crisis, she knew to hold on to what she discovered in recovery: that her deepest pain has always held within it an invitation to a richer life. Love Warrior is the story of one marriage, but it is also the story of the healing that is possible for any of us when we refuse to settle for good enough and begin to face pain and love head-on.
This astonishing memoir reveals how internalizing our culture’s standards of masculinity and femininity can make it impossible for men and women to ever really know one another – and it captures the beauty that unfolds when one couple commits to unlearning everything they’ve been taught so that they can finally, after thirteen years of marriage, fall in love. Love Warrior is a gorgeous and inspiring tale of how we are born to be warriors: strong, powerful, and brave; able to confront the pain and claim the love that exists for us all. This chronicle of a beautiful, brutal journey speaks to anyone who yearns for deeper, truer relationships and a more abundant, authentic life.

Why I Picked It Up: This one has been on my reading shelf for a little while – I have to confess that the title put me off a little – so exactly where I heard about this is a little hazy.  I think it was through Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic podcast – I’m pretty sure both Liz and Brene Brown spoke very highly of Glennon.  The promise of discussion of cultural standards of masculinity and femiminity was enough to pursuade me to look past my judgements about what a love warrior might be and give this a go.

What I Thought:  And I am so glad I read this book.  It’s heartbreaking at times – thanks to the blurb on the back (it’s actually called ‘blurb’ – I checked!), you know that her husband was having an affair and so the first half of the book is waiting for the other shoe to drop!  It’s the second half that really got to me – reading about Glennon discovering herself, her true self and not the self imposed by society and culture, is truly inspiring.  Through therapy, yoga and meditation, Glennon learns to love herself, to accept herself and to reunite her mind and body.  What’s really beautiful is that she realises her husband is going through the same journey, that they have been speaking different languages throughout their lives – slowly, they learn to understand the other and to fall in love with themselves and each other.

Tools of Titans – Tim Ferriss

This book felt quite overwhelming at times – there are just so many different tips and tools, it’s hard to know where to start.  The book is divided into sections on healthy, wealthy and wise  Tim’s focus in health and fitness doesn’t quite match with mine, although I loved the Mindful Training 101.  Overall, I preferred these round-up, non-profile pieces, as they are more focused and I found it easier to identify things I wanted to do more/less of.  That said, this is a great book to dip in and out of and just read a couple of pages whenever you have a spare moment.  What really struck me by the end was actually how similar all these top tips and tools are when you break them down.  It gave me hope and inspiration as well as some concrete actions to get closer to my dreams.

Key Takeaways:

  • Tim’s Morning Rituals (page 143) – remarkably similar to my morning routine so I’m clearly onto something!  Seeing what Tim’s morning journal looks like (pp225-227) also inspired me to journal more.
  • Coach Summer – The Single Decision (page 160) “The secret is to show up, do the work, and go home…learn to enjoy and appreciate the process”
  • Chris Sacca (p169) “be your unapologetically weird self.”
  • Derek Sivers (p188) “You can do everything you want to do.  You just need foresight and patience.” (there was so much that resonated with me in this section from Derek that I downloaded his original interview www.fourhourworkweek.com/derek to get some more)
  • Tim’s 8-step process for maximising efficacy (p200) is a great way for overcoming procrastination.  My favourite line, though, comes right at the end “Don’t overestimate the world and underestimate yourself.  You are better than you think.  And you are not alone.”  ‘Successful’ people struggle too!
  • Tony Robbins on ‘priming’ (pp212-213) – the importance of being in the right frame of mind before attempting anything
  • “There are no real rules, so make rules that work for you” – Tim commenting on Seth Godin’s approach to quantifying everything (p241)
  • “Perfectionism is the ENEMY of the idea muscle…it’s your brain trying to protect you from harm” – James Altucher (p247)
  • “Creativity is an infinite resource.  The more you spend, the more you have.” Chase Jarvis, paraphrasing Maya Angelou (p281).  If this resonates with you, you might want to read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic.
  • Dan Carlin’s response to being asked for advice to his 25- or 30-year-old self on p286is basically not to give his younger self advice because he wouldn’t be where he is now without doing the things he did then.  A great perspective and reminder to be grateful for your journey, exactly how it went.
  • “Don’t try and find time.  Schedule time” – Noah Kagan (p327).  Book time for anything you think is important.
  • “Are you doing what you’re uniquely capable of, what you feel placed here on earth to do?  Can you be replaced?” – Tim as part of his chapter on how to say no (pp385-6).  I love the idea of finding the things where you aren’t interchangeable.  Later in the this chapter (p396), Tim’s guide on having a breakdown or a breakthrough is a great way to make the obstacle the way (Marcus Aurelius and Ryan Holiday).
  • “Don’t believe everything you think” – BJ Miller’s answer to what would you put on a billboard (p401)
  • “Discipline equals freedom” – Jocko Willink’s billboard slogan (p413).  Like Tim’s analysis, I am a great fan of habit and routine to provide structure to your day and to reduce the number of decisions you have make every day.  Willpower and decision-making are finite resources and you should keep them for the things that really matter.
  • Caroline Paul on encouraging girls (pp461-2).  She comments on the way girls are often raised, unintentionally, in a paradigm of fear, that they are fragile and need help and protection.  Tim’s response – that courage is a skill that take practice, that you have to develop – just hits the nail on the head, whatever your gender.  Tim’s fear-setting exercise (pp463-9) is a great place to start.
  • “Happiness is wanting what you have” – Bryan Callen (p483)
  • “Life is too short to be busy” – Tim Ferriss, Lazy: A Manifesto (pp489-494)
  • If you need to get unstuck, do the smallest thing possible – Rick Rubin (p505)
  • Check out the writing prompts by Cheryl Strayed on p516 if you’re looking for some inspiration to kick-start your writing
  • The most important thing to be is you, not your inner actor – Andrew Zimmern (p541).  This really reminded me of Glennon Doyle Melton’s coping strategy of sending her ‘representative’ out into the world to protect herself.
  • “…I would ask people to dig deeper.  We can make the world a better place.  We can ask more of ourselves.  We can do more for others.  I think that our life is a journey…Dig deep on your journey and the world will benefit from it” – Rainn Wilson (p545)
  • You only ever have three options in life: change it, accept it, or leave it – Naval Ravikant (p548)
  • The Jar of Awesome (pp570-1) – another version of gratitude journaling.  You put a note in every day of something awesome that happened – I didn’t die today totally counts if you can’t think of anything else – to give yourself a record for the dark days when nothing feels awesome.

 

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

There’s something about the changing of the year that brings hope and light to an otherwise cold and dark time.  Whether you are into making resolutions or just breaking them by the time you get back to the office, it is often a time to reflect and learn from the year gone by.  My goals for 2017 are still a work in progress and are centred on the small things I can do daily to get closer to the big ambitions and to create a life full of love and joy (and yes, that will include blogging more regularly!).  In the meantime, I want to wish you all so much light and love in your lives for 2017 – may it be the best one yet xxx

“May Light always surround you;
Hope kindle and rebound you.
May your Hurts turn to Healing;
Your Heart embrace Feeling.
May Wounds become Wisdom;
Every Kindness a Prism.
May Laughter infect you;
Your Passion resurrect you.
May Goodness inspire
your Deepest Desires.
Through all that you Reach For,
May your arms Never Tire.”
D. Simone

Books I Read in December

Books I Read in December

December has been a pretty light month for reading for me.  Partly because it’s December and life is busy, and partly because the lure of Christmas TV has been too much to resist!  But there were still a couple…

Creative Schools – Ken Robinson

What the Cover Says:  Ken Robinson is one of the world’s most influential voices in education. In this inspiring, empowering book, he sets out a new vision for how education can be transformed to enable all young people to flourish. Filled with practical examples and groundbreaking research, it will inspire the change our children urgently need.

Why I Picked it Up:  This was December’s Rebel Read on an education theme.  I don’t have a particular interest in education so this wouldn’t have been something I would normally read, exactly the kind of book I joined the Rebel Book Club for.

What I Thought:  A must-read for anyone who cares about how our children are educated – I’ve already recommended this my sister who’s already thinking that conventionally schooling might not be right for her family.  I really liked Ken’s analysis of how modern education developed for an industrialised society and economy and how we now need to move towards a system that is more organic and individually tailored.  He draws on examples of innovation from across the world to bring his points to life.  Our education system is focused on achievements and metrics rather than the journey and joy of learning – perhaps there is a lesson in there for all of us.

The Yoga Mentor – Celest Pereira

What the Cover Says: This book covers everything I share with newly qualified yoga teachers when they come to me for advice on how to get started in their careers.  In addition to having my own successful yoga career I also offer mentoring to yoga teachers who are just starting out. For newly qualified teachers the transition to the world of teaching can be tricky. So it became a desire of mine to see more teachers gain classes, build a solid client base and organise successful workshops and retreats. I have seen many teachers thrive on the advice I gave them, and it inspired me to share my knowledge in this book so more people can experience this progress. In the space of a few short years, I have seen my career as a yoga teacher take off: I run fully booked classes in top yoga studios, have become a brand ambassador for international companies, been flown to exotic locations to teach workshops and privates, and I earn a passive income through online video downloads. I am not telling you this to impress you. I want you to know that if I can do it, so can you! I do not think of myself as a finished product, but what has worked for me, I want YOU to know too. In this book I share everything I did to get to where I am. I can’t wait to see you happy and fulfilled in your yoga teaching career!

Why I Picked it Up: My sister (who is also going to be a yoga teacher @somewhat_rad) recommended this as I start to teach alongside my ongoing training course.

What I Thought: There were lots of great, bite-sized tips on developing a business around teaching yoga, from how to market yourself and what to charge through to how to take of yourself and make sure your teaching is sustainable.  It’s a book I’m sure I will keep dipping into as my teaching practice develops alongside other resources and one I would suggest other budding yoga teachers have on their bookshelf.

The Science of Yoga – William J. Broad

What the Cover Says: The Science of Yoga draws on a hidden wealth of science, history, and surprising facts to cut through the fog that surrounds contemporary yoga and to show – for the first time – what is uplifting and beneficial and what is delusional, flaky, and dangerous. At heart, it illuminates the risks and rewards. The book takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of undiscovered yoga that goes from old libraries in Calcutta to the world capitals of medical research, from little-known archives to spotless laboratories, from sweaty yoga classes with master teachers to the cosy offices of yoga healers. In the process, it shatters myths, lays out unexpected benefits, and offers a compelling vision of how to improve the discipline.

Why I Picked it Up: This was another book recommended to me, this time by one of my fellow trainee yoga teachers.  It seemed like a useful thing to read alongside the work I am doing for the course.

What I Thought:  This book was so interesting and a great complement on my training course.  Broad gets into the history of yoga and how its emphasis has changed over time.  He looks at the risks and benefits of yoga and some of the very poor science around it.  The bottom line is that yoga on its own will not help you get fit – it actually lowers your metabolism – but it can help boost your mood and brings all sorts of positive mental and emotional benefits.

So that brings my total number of books up to 40 for 2016 (I’ll let someone else work out how many pages that was – Sapiens and Homo Deus were big books!).  That number doesn’t really mean much to me as I’ve never kept a record of how much I have been reading before.  What I have noticed is the diversity of books I am reading now, which is largely thanks to the Rebel Book Club influence.  Reading brings me such pleasure and I hope some of these suggestions have brought joy into your lives as well.  We’re kicking off 2017 with Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss so I think it will be another powerful year of reading.

What I Read in November

What I Read in November

#GIRLBOSS – Sophia Amoruso

What the cover says:  In the space of ten years, Sophia Amoruso has gone from high-school dropout to founder and Executive Chairman of Nasty Gal, one of the fastest-growing retailers in the world.  Sophia’s never been a typical executive, or a typical anything, and she’s written #GIRLBOSS for other girls like her: outsiders (and insiders) seeking a unique path to success.  Filled with brazen wake-up calls, cunning and frank observations, and behind-the-scenes stories from Nasty Gal’s meteoric rise, #GIRLBOSS covers a lot of ground. It proves that success doesn’t come from where you went to college or how popular you were in school. Success is about trusting your instincts and following your gut, knowing which rules to follow and which to break.  Inspiring, motivating and empowering, #GIRLBOSS will give you the kick up the ass you need to reach your potential.

Why I picked it up:  This was this month’s Rebel Read.  The theme was Women, Leadership and Work – right up my street!

What I thought:  Despite being really excited about this month’s theme, I am remarkably ambivalent about this book, although I was rather vocally against it at the Book Club meetup (this book seemed very popular, however, amongst the 30-odd year old men).  I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it.  I read it quickly enough but Sophia’s story and voice just didn’t quite seem to resonate with me.  The only thing I really took away from the book is a realisation that people start things without ever really knowing where it’s going to end up – you don’t have to have a grand plan to be successful and taking small steps every day can be just as effective as big leaps of faith, which is quite reassuring for someone who has no idea where she’s heading!!

Homo Deus – Yuval Noah Harari

What the cover says: Yuval Noah Harari, author of the bestselling Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, envisions a not-too-distant world in which we face a new set of challenges. In Homo Deus, he examines our future with his trademark blend of science, history, philosophy and every discipline in between.  Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century – from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo DeusWar is obsolete – You are more likely to commit suicide than be killed in conflict.  Famine is disappearing – You are at more risk of obesity than starvation.  Death is just a technical problem – Equality is out – but immortality is in.  What does our future hold?

Why I picked it up: I absolutely loved Sapiens.  I devoured it whilst I was on holiday back at Easter so I was very excited to go and see Harari speak at an Intelligence Squared event a few weeks ago.  I hadn’t bought Homo Deus at that point and ended up ordering on my phone within about five minutes of him starting to speak!

What I thought: Unsurprisingly, I totally loved this book.  It wasn’t quite what I expected having heard him talk about the ideas in the book, which almost made me enjoy it more.  Harari discusses the science behind consciousness, whether we have a soul and what that means for our current beliefs in individualism and liberalism.  He examines our relationship with animals (he is a passionate vegan, which is evident from his descriptions of the awful conditions many domesticated animals are kept in) and how this could read across to the treatment of normal humans by the new ‘super humans’.  It’s another hefty book – the kind you have to be sitting down for and using both hands – even so, I read it in a little over a week, I just couldn’t put it down!

Night School – Lee Child

If you’ve been reading these posts for a while, you’ll know that I am a huge Lee Child fan so will not be at all surprised that I had this on pre-order!  Devoured in three days – work rather annoyingly got in the way – this is another classic Jack Reacher thriller.  Exciting plot twists, action, and Reacher saving the day; sometimes, you just need to read for the simple fun of it!