Sunday, 28 December 2014

New Year, New You? Nah!

I can't believe Christmas is over for another year already! Just as I was getting settled into sweets and cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and long hours in front of the telly, it's been cruelly snatched from my grasp.  That, and I'm running out of Haribo.  I've enjoyed properly (and by "properly", I mean "drunkenly") catching up with my family, and with friends that I only tend to see once or twice a year because everyone's off on their own adventures in pastures new(er than where we went to school). Also, in my excitement, I've been trying to make use of every single thing I obtained in my Christmas loot from Santa.  Example:

Me, looking like a potato in a tea cosy and slippers after taking my beautiful, new, pink Asics and 1000-mile socks for their maiden jog... and then managing to lock myself out of the house in the freezing cold until A came to my rescue and made me coffee. Not sure why am making that face.  Can only assume is frozen in place.

So, now that Crimbo-time is pretty much over, I'm seeing the gradual drip-drip of New Year status updates filtering through my Facebook feed.  So far, they seem to fall into two opposing camps:

Camp 1 -  "As soon as the new year hits, I'm going to be a new person! All skinny and living in the gym.  Also, I will learn French and how to change colour like a chameleon.  I will be UNRECOGNISABLE!!  I shall be skinny, French and occasionally purple!"

Camp 2 - "Ugh, here come the New Year, New Me. Statuses!  They're never going to change, and I won't be able to park at the gym, because I am the boss of the Healthy Lifestyle Club, and there's no room for anyone else!"

I might be exaggerating a leedle bit, but that's the gist of what I've been reading.  Some people want to change everything about themselves, whilst others who have admirably managed to  create a regime they are content with scoff at those who want to follow in their footsteps and do the same.

Whilst I agree with Camp 2 that improvements to your way of life won't necessarily magically stick just because it's January, I don't see any harm in resolutions.  As long as you are prepared to be flexible with them, and don't admonish yourself and throw in the towel the second you inevitably stumble back into old habits. Everyone does it. Habits become habits because you repeat a behaviour until it becomes something you do more consistently than whatever you were doing before.

I believe that the end of the year is a great time to take stock of what you've achieved, and what you want to get out of the next 12 months.  I probably think this because I'm one of those cool kids who has kept a diary since I my early teens, which means I have an overwhelming compulsion to document every single thing I do.  It makes for terribly exciting reading.

It also means that I can look at old resolutions I've made myself over the years.  Let's see if we can spot a pattern!  I would offer you a prize for finding it, but I've eaten everything in my house that's not nailed down.  In no particular order:
  • Lose weight
  • Bite nails less
  • Be less shy/incompetent around other people
  • Spend less time sitting around
  • Watch less TV
  • Be more selfless
Etc etc.  Nothing revolutionary.  The trend?  Everything has to be less.  I think this is a common thing, especially in women.  We need to spend less time relaxing, less time thinking about ourselves and eat much, much less until we become tiny, waif-like molecules living off lettuce leaves and self judgement.  Hurrah! The year ahead is going to be spectacular! So much fun! 

We start on the assumption that we're not enough to begin with, which the logical bit of the brain (the one behind the bit that likes watching Netflix for eight hours straight and believes that after 3 pints, money isn't real) knows is... well, just bollocks, really.  Everything you achieve throughout the year is achieved by the person you already are, in the body you already have.  Here's some stuff that I'm proud of having done this year:
  1. Ran 3 half marathons.
  2. Got into a decent routine with the superhero runners at Run4All.
  3. Maintained a blog, which I enjoy doing and am proud of.
  4. Got a secure, not-too-shabby job that I'm comfortable in. 
  5. Tried out and loved Outcast CrossFit, and made more friends in the process.  Impressively strong and speedy friends!
Did I need to lose half my bodyweight and become an expert socialite to do any of those things?  Noop!  I still have all my "flaws" from before - I decide that I'm terrified of socialising at the most counterproductive of times (until I forget to be), I still have a weakness for anything edible that's terrible for my health, and my knee jerk reaction to anything negative is to berate myself for it.  But, overall, I'm pretty happy with my lot in life.  Everything I've done this year has come with perks - made me fitter, slightly more fulfilled and busier.  I'm just the same as I was before this year.  Just... more!  I'm Becky Plus!  Becky.2 ... etc.  I'm like an iPhone.  I'm essentially the same, just with the occasional software update.  Or a simile that's a bit more imaginative...

Point is, there's nothing wrong with taking stock of what you have and creating a plan to push for more things that will serve to add to your life experience.  Just don't forget that it's only you who can get you all that stuff - You, exactly as you are right now!

Hmm.  I didn't originally intend for this post to be all motivational-y.  Here's my favourite terrible joke to distract you from the sentimentality of it all:

Man goes into a farrier's.
Man: Hello, do you have any jobs going?
Farrier: Depends.  Have you ever shoed a horse?
Man:  No, but I said "fuck off" to a donkey once.

Haw haw.   

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Holidays Are Coming, Holidays Are Coming!

Only a few sleeps til the fat man in red creeps into our homes while we're unconscious (no wonder my sister was scared of Santa as a kid.  Seems only logical if you think about it)! I'm just crawling out of the coughy, sneezy tar pit that was my annual winter cold/flu thing.  All limbs intact, but seem to have gained a cold sore the size of France.  I'm no festive fitty, but at least I got my manflu out of the way before Christmas, as opposed to smack bang in the middle of the holiday like last year.  Silver linings and all that.

Coming down with an almighty case of the "eew, get away from me!!"s is all par for the course during the countdown to Crimbo, among multiple other things that it just wouldn't be Christmas time without.  Some people don't feel like it's Jesus-Is-Here-Oh-Look-Presents time until they've seen that Coca Cola ad with the truck in it.  Others don't feel right until they've erected their tree. 

Heehee.  Erected.

I've taken time out of my super busy schedule of emptying the fridge I just refilled and avoiding football noises from the TV to create my own personal list of stuff that has to happen in the lead-up to Wear-Something-Stretchy-Lest-You-Burst Day for it to officially be Christmas time.  Hope you enjoy!

1.  Compulsory viewing of Nightmare Before Christmas/Muppets Christmas Carol/Elf/Edward Scissorhands.  List gets longer every year.

2.  Abandon all intention of eating like a regular human up until the big day.  Instead opt to "sample" all available snacky items/gifts to ensure they are fit for consumption by the people you will be sharing them with come Christmas.  It's the polite thing to do! No one likes a disappointing snack.  

3.  Buy all of the standup comedy DVDs for self before even considering what to buy for relatives.  So far I've watched Lee Evans (meh. Not as good as his older stuff) and Jon Richardsons' (woo! OCD and neuroses! My kind of comedy) new ones.  Sarah Millican, I'm coming to get you next!

4.  Get even a minor case of the sniffles and hold off any and all forms of exercise for at least a week, telling yourself that it is for your own good.  

5.  Find self at end of said week sadly looking out the window, shoveling Nik Naks into face and wondering how you ever managed to put your trainers and go outside in that before.

6.  Go shopping for presents in real world, because it's much more festive than using the boring old internet.  All the smells and the lights and the trumpetty music and miserable faces, and stranger body parts digging into your body parts (not like that!), and the cold, and, and ... Abandon ship and order everything you need off Amazon from safety of car instead.  It's a bloodbath out there.

7.  Oh my God!  No hang over.  It's a Christmas miracle! This is AMAZING!! I have to get up and dance for jo- Oh, right. Still drunk.  Back to bed to wait for the pain to come.  Sigh.

8.  Convince self that not eating advent calendar chocolate for a few days and then cramming all of said days' worth into gob when feeling a bit munchy down the line is much healthier option.  Am saint.  

9.  Experience full-body rage twitches when the Christmas cards have fallen off the window sill for the billionth time because you dared to walk near them.  How fast do I walk?!

10.  Trawl Youtube for covers of classic Christmas songs =).  Here's my favourite.  Walk Off The Earth (they did that cover of Gotye's Somebody That I Used To Know where they all shared one guitar)'s cover of Fairytale of New York. May it give you the warm tinglies too!

Merry Christmas, you scum bags, you maggots!  Hope you have an amazing few days!



Saturday, 6 December 2014

I'll Be There For You (but not really)

The season of festivities is upon us.  I know this because I've spent the whole day nursing a hurty head that keeps ninja jumping at me out of nowhere just when I think I've finally rid myself of the bugger.  I've also spent more time horizontal than upright to allow ease of access for any cheeky naps looking to ravish me, despite the fact that I was tucked up in bed and snoring (probably.  Drooling too, should imagine) by 11pm.  

What? The party started at 3! Valiant effort, I reckon.  I deserve a medal.  Or at least a calming hug.  I'm so very tired.

So today's been a bit of a non-day, punctuated only by naps and frequent feedings.  I'm really craving a chicken kebab as we speak.  One with peppers on it.  And sweet onion sauce like the stuff they've got at Subway.  


Anyway, TV got me through a tough time.  I don't do it often, but I love the odd lazy day where I do sod all and let my eyes turn square.  Today, I've watched Modern Family, American Horror Story and Friends.  Comfort telly to go with my comfort food.  Apart from American Horror Story. Didn't know until today that I'm actually a little bit scared of clowns.  Especially murder-y ones with no bottom jaw.  Who'd have known?

Friends, however, will always be my go-to binge watch in times of sloth.  Even though everyone on the planet and their parrot knows the sitcom line by line (which is why they need to make that reunion movie, dammit!! Why haven't they done it yet?!), I still find it just as funny as the first twenty billion times I watched it.  Like many people, I grew up watching the show, fully believing that Friends is what adult life would look like.  

...Up until last week, when my sister and I were watching The One Where Rachel Turns 30, and sibling dearest pointed out

"Isn't it weird that when we used to watch this, we were teenagers, but now this is about people around your age?"

Naturally, I freaked the fuck out, because 

1.  Holy ballsack!  For all intents and purposes, I am an adult.  A grown-up.  Yuck!!
2.  I have been duped.  My life is nothing like Ross, Monica et al's.  What is this evil trickery?

I've since forgiven the Central Perk gang, though.  They still make me happy, even though they are pedaling filthy lies.  Here are just a few of the reasons why I believe that Friends is a touch unrealistic as a depiction of the lives of your "average" 20/30-something year old:
1.  It crudely suggests that people can afford to visit coffee shops several times a day on the average salary.  Why do you think Starbucks pictures are always being Instagrammed in real life?  It's because that poor hipster had to sell their nan for a cup of delicious twitchies, and the least they could do to mark the occasion was document it.

2.   In Friends, everyone is thin and beautiful, despite not having a spare second in between "working" and coffee drinking to have a workout regime (except for Phoebe, with her beautiful flail-run that I believe I successfully emulate).

3.  Babies can apparently be had and then only feature in episodes where their presence is key to the story's plot.  When not required, they can be turned off and stored away, much like a Furby.  I'm looking at you, Rachel and Ross.

4.  Spells of unemployment are experienced by (I think) all in the show, but lack of income doesn't appear to be much of an issue.  They might be there for us when the rain starts to fall, but how long would they stick around if the bailiffs came a-knockin'? Hmm? 

5.  This one probably has more to do with me personally than the general public, but, much as I love my friends, if they were always in my house, eating my food and talking at me when all I want to do is have "shh, leave-me-alone" pyjama time, I would probably have violently turned on them and/or changed the locks.  I cherish my privacy, and have discovered as I get older that I'm programmed only to socialise a predetermined amount of time before I have to run back home to my cave and recharge.  I was on a busy, fun work's do last night, but I could probably cheerfully spend the next three days interacting with no one now that I've had my fill of merriment and talking and such.  Not even with Wilson off of Castaway, charming as he is.  It frightens me how easily I could become an actual hermit if society was a bit more accepting of it.  Hell, click and collect food delivery and Amazon makes it so easy these days.


I love you, Amazon.

What was I talking about again?

So no one told you life was gonna be this waaay-eee!

(clap clap clap clap!!)

Saturday, 29 November 2014

How To Make Running Suck


I mean, hello! Hope you've found this Saturday as relaxing as I have.  And by relaxing I mean: 
  • A morning spent at a women-only CrossFit session with Outcast Swansea. No smelly boys to slow us down!  Except for the coach.  Who wasn't smelly, and who refused to tolerate any slowing down.  At all.  And he tried to kill us with burpees.  Like, kill us dead.  It was touch and go for a moment there, as I wondered whether I'd ever get my breath back, but I loved it, and survived to tell the tale!
  • An afternoon unwisely spent in town Christmas shopping, which is a fancy term for spending 45mins parking and 10mins dodging elbows in the shops, getting too stressed and shuffling back to the car with tail between legs and a single pair of jeans.  Tis the season to be elbowed in the boobs by browsing strangers. 
Week's not been a bad one either for getting off my backside. I went to one other CrossFit class on Tuesday which featured a lot of core/ab/that middle bit where I keep my cookies work, and after several minutes of overly enthusiastic "fuck yeah, I'm NAILING this!!"ing and a smug night's sleep, I spent the following 3 days unable to pull myself up into a sitting position.  I hadn't realised how much I needed my mid-section until I tried to get out of a bath and nearly drowned myself;

"Okay, time to get ou-AAAARGH IS THAT A HERNIA?!!"

Needless to say, I don't suffer DOMS (stands for "death of muscles. Shit.") graciously.

On Monday, I went for a short jog that turned into a magical, hilly 10 miler, because I'd discovered that we've got one of those electric signs that detects cars' speeds on a hill near our house, and I childishly wanted to try and beat my time.  On one loop, 26mph flashed up, but it turned out that there was just a car behind me.  Shame.   Anyway, I figured out that if I run downhill with all my might and just a bit of arm flapping, I can reach a princely speed of... 7 miles per hour. 

My cheetah-esque abilities aside, I really enjoyed that run.  Distance in double digits (the name of my first album/book/autobiography...whichever comes first) is usually a daunting prospect for me.  I've done it, but not all that many times, and I almost always have to grit my teeth through it, at the very least towards the end.  There's something special about those runs, of any distance, that end up being much more enjoyable than you initially though it would be.  The more often I do this putting one foot in front of the other thing, the more handy little tools and mental games I'm picking up to help me pass the time and to get more out of a run.  

That being said, I have a WAY bigger list of things I've learned the hard way not to do when I'm out on my shuffles, so I'm going to dispense those findings to you instead.  So, here is my list of the multiple ways you can make a regular run completely suck balls.  Don't say I never give you anything.  

1.  Look at your watch/tracking doohicky regularly to see how far you've gone/how much time has passed.  I guarantee it will be less than you wanted, and you will want to cry.

2.   Expect the run to be easy, because you've been doing it lots now, and this is only going to be a slow one.  I don't think I've ever found a run easy, or that I ever will.  My opinion is that it never any less difficult (though there is a small chance I've just been doing it wrong the entire time...Let's not rule that one out).  You just learn to embrace being challenged.  Unless you're hungry, or it's windy out. Then it's totally okay to just sit in the house and eat chocolate spread on toast.  Especially because you've just discovered that Maltesers does a crunchy spread now, called Teasers and it's the best thing in the effing WORLD!  Beautiful, glorious, evil sugar-paste. Mmmmm.

3.  Eat something heavy immediately before you head out the door.  For energy and that. And by "that", I mean vomit.

4.  Worry from start to finish about how slow you are and how that elderly gentleman that whizzed past you on his mobility scooter was definitely smirking at you like he was in a convertible sports car and you were in a Morris Minor.  Whatever, guy.  Morris Minors are cool. 

5.  Make sure you have enough noisy change and keys in your pockets in order to be driven slowly insane.

6.  Forget to take music with you.  

7.  Try to distract yourself from the fact that you're running and that your legs/lungs/bum cheeks/entire body hurts.  It won't make everything seem ten times worse, honest.  Go ahead.  Try so hard to "engross yourself in nature" that dog walkers wonder why you're so angry at their pets.

8.  Make your strides unnaturally long so that it's all over with faster, or so short that you're emulating that classic, British "trotting across the car park" run that people do when they see cars coming but are too civilized to break into a full on jog.  

9.  Constantly calculate how much further it is you have to go. Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?

...Are we there yet?

10.  Pick a completely flat, out-and-back route with no decent views.  That way, both your brain and body get a big, fat slice of boredom.  Yippee, hooray!

And there we have it!  Plenty more where that came from.  I am most definitely shirking my calling as a personal trainer, aren't I? Such motivation.  Much positive. Wow.

Happy running, peoples! =)

Saturday, 22 November 2014

It'll Be Alright On The Night(time run)

Firstly, I'd like to blame my absence entirely on Netflix.  Thanks to American Horror Story, I am now completely desensitized to gore.  I don't think I'd bat an eyelid if one of my limbs just decided to drop off and spurt blood all over the walls, Phoebe off of Friends stylee. Example:

Also, I have finally decided who I want to be when I grow up.  Jessica Lange.  I don't even care if her identity's already been taken - she is a bad ass.  

While we're on the topic of bad-assery, this week, I joined a group of runners from my local running club in a nighttime run through some woods for the first time.  Loved it!  This bunch of speedsters regularly seek out hills on Wednesday nights by strapping on some flourescent gear and trekking up towards the mountains. Nutters. 

On our run, I saw some cool, out-of -the-way houses and ruins, ran alongside what seemed to be Wales' loudest river, and chugged up some inclines like the stumpy-legged steam train that I secretly knew I was.  Choo choo! 

There was something really enjoyable about not being able to see much further than an arm's length in front of me.  Usually, as I start to get tired, I can get in the habit of staring balefully the horizon and inwardly lamenting how far I have left to go. When you can see naff all ahead, this isn't an option.  Not a bad thing!  The time flew by.

If you get the opportunity to sling on your trainers and go on a nighttime adventure (with company! There's no fun in accidentally falling over if you don't have witnesses to laugh at/with you... and maybe help you up), then take it!  It's an experience.  Plus, you'll have an excuse to buy a head torch, which means you can Snapchat lots of pictures of your face lit up at weird angles to freak your sister out....

N'much more to report than that this week.  It's hard to get much shit done when you're on a Netflix spiral.  I'm definitely not in Kansas anymore.

Later, gaters!

....Don't ever let me say that again.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Marathon Running For Mortals

As with anything I have the remotest interest in, as soon as I decided to sign up for a marathon, I've immediately started to ingest any and all information I can find on it like something hungry... that eats books.  Something more original sounding than "bookworm"... Knowledge Beaver? I don't know. It's nearly my bedtime, leave me alone.

Point is, for me, it's not a hobby if I haven't completely nerded out on it first. 

First book I've got my greedy mitts on on the subject is John "the penguin" Bingham (if you're a slower runner like me, look him up. Guy's an inspiration!) and coach Jenny Hadfield's Marathon Running For Mortals.  I've already read Bingham's No Need For Speed and enjoyed that, so made sense to seek out his waddly wisdoms first.

Devoured the thing in a couple of days.  It's rather good!  Full of memorable quotes and tips to do squiggly lines under in biro (not pencil.  Biro makes them super important).  Here are a couple of quotes that got the squiggle treatment from me:

"If you climb too slowly, you find yourself getting bored with the pace and the activity.  If you climb too quickly, you find yourself so winded that you can't enjoy the beauty of the experience... You should find the place between boredom and exhaustion."

"Long distance success is more about tenacity than talent."

"You may not be in the top tier of that race, but as a long-distance athlete, you are fitter,better trained and more disciplined than 99 per cent of the population who have ever lived. Remind yourself of that when you start to obsess about your pace or finish time."

And most importantly

"It's all about the medal."

Too right, Mr Bingham.  Too right!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

It Aint So Bad...

Happy day-after-Halloween!  I hope you're also suffering a food hangover from the excess Haribo you bought for the Trick-or-Treaters that never came.  I think 80 mini bags might have been a smidge ambitious.  Oh, well.

I read a bloody good book last week.  I'm partial to autobiographical essay books (Lena Dunham's Not That Kind of Girl, Tina Fey's Bossypants, anything by Augusten Burroughs and so on and on and on...), and while I was scanning my bookshelf for something to re-read until payday came around and I could buy something new/re-enter into society, I found that we've had one that I'd not read, sitting there for nearly three years screaming:

OI, DIPSHIT!! You bought me because you knew I'd be good, so just bloody read me already!!

...Or probably something a bit less crass, because it was by Derren Brown.  Confessions of a Conjuror is brilliant.  It's just one great, big, weird train-of-thought narrative where he meanders from card tricks, to odd habits and even at one point to instructions on how to poach an egg.  

My favourite bits were lists he'd made of his odd compulsions, many of which I found I have in common e.g When driving, he has an urge to just close his eyes and see what happens.  I've never acted it out, but on several occasions, I've thought;

"If I just locked the steering wheel right now, would I survive the crash?" Not even in a morbid way, just a kind of mild curiosity, knowing I'd never really act on the impulse.*  All the way through the book, I wanted to create some similar lists of my own, and I've settled on "borrowing" his idea of listing the things we find oddly pleasurable despite always avoiding doing them until the last minute (like cleaning the house and coming over all calm because the chaos around you is dormant at last).  Mostly because I felt more people are prone to procrastination over mildly pondering their own demise on a quick jaunt to Tesco.  Here goes:

Doing the Dishes

Just being in the house with more unwashed dishes than is necessary makes me edgy, but instead of just buggering on and doing them, I will huff and glare at the house's other occupants (cat included) and bore holes in their skulls with my eyes for not reading my mind and doing them for me.  The second I pick up a sponge, I relax.  Something lovely about having my hands all warm and knowing I'm actually getting shit done when I eventually get around to it.  Household chores are rarely as bad as I imagine they'll be.  Helps that I distract myself with Netflix on the iPad while I'm doing it.  I have to trick myself into chores.  Same goes for cleaning the house.  Anything's possible when Spotify's blaring and you're dancing around the house in your pants.


As is the case with anyone that claims running as a hobby, it's hard to love it all the time.  Despite what those smiley ladies on the cover of Runners World imply.  Sometimes it sucks balls and makes you feel like you're going to poop out your lungs.  These pant soiling runs are fewer and further between than the good, average and elated ones, but like a negative comment in a sea of compliments, it's always the negative memories that rise to the top -  especially when you're tired from work and it looks a bit icky outside.  It's easy to forget that the hardest bit is getting yourself in your stretchy things and out the door.  Again, the reality is nearly always better than the expectation.  That horrid drizzle turns into skin cooling "ahhhh"-ness (another scientific term, I swear), and your fatigue buggers off because you're body's way too busy trying not to fall over itself to remember how tired it is.  Before long, you're bouncing back in the door and chewing everyone's ear off about how great running is, having completely forgotten that just an hour ago you were hunched in the doorway with one trainer on, crying a bit about having to go out in the cold.

Remembering to Eat Like a Human opposed to a being that runs solely on Maoams and trifle. Sweets, cakes and anything else promising me an immediate sugar fix make me feel like crap.  If I'm not doing that thing where one leg bounces of its own accord in a bid to rid me of the excess energy I'm consuming faster than I can use, I'm sitting bolt upright and asleep, head thrown back and drooling because I've fallen into a mini, snack induced coma.  Brain knows that sweeties are the Devil incarnate and I can get naff all done on them, but it takes a long time for my body to catch on. It thinks it needs them. As soon as I chill out and start doing that moderation thing I hear so much about, I become able to stay awake for an entire day without unplanned naps, and people don't have to gauge whether I'm in my manically happy I'm-going-to-talk-so-fast-at-you-your-ears-will-bleed phase, or whether I'm going to start chewing on their fingers until they give me Haribo.  Better for everyone when I'm sweetie-sober.

...And there we have it! Seriously, though.  Read Confessions.  It's much better!  

Speaking of putting things off, I finally bit the bullet and signed up to my first full marathon.  I chose the Liverpool Rock 'n' Roll marathon.  Mostly because there's a band at every mile and I'll need as much distraction from the "what the fuck am I doing?!" thoughts I'm going to be having. I'm scared, confused about how I'm going to fit in CrossFit into a useable training plan that won't kill me, bewildered... but most of all, I'm excited!  I cannot picture for the life of me how I'm going to manage to keep moving for upwards of five hours, but I'll certainly give it a good crack!  No motion, no medal!  I'll keep you updated as my training progresses.  Wish me luck!


Bwaaaah!! =oO

* That reminds me of another one my sister and I share.  During conversations with people, we've both admitted to occasionally playing out completely inappropriate behaviour in our minds that we wouldn't dare do in reality.  These mental excursions usually worsen if the conversation is a serious one.  I find myself wondering things like

"If I just licked her on the nose and carried on as normal, would she react, or would she be too polite/freaked out to do anything?"


"What if I slapped him really hard for no reason?  How angry would he be with me?"  

These are conversations with anyone.  People I love. People I barely know.  I reckon (hope) most people have these funny little fantasies along the lines of what is the worst thing I could possibly do in this situation?  If no, at least it seems to run in my family, so I'm not totally alone!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Just For Fun

Hey hi hello!

Guess what? I done a real life article for a cool website I stumbled across last week.  publishes snippets from women all over the interwebs on all kinds of topics. My article is about how, as adults, we often forget that we can do things for the hell of it.  We don't have to be good at anything.  Unless you're a brain surgeon or something.  Some skill required there, I'd assume (hope).  Anyway, if you want to read my article (hee, I have an article.  Did I mention that?), have a quick click on the link at the bottom of this post.  And when you're done, have a  look at some of the other contributions on there.  Some very clever, funny and creative women writing for that site.  Chuffed I got to be one of their number this week!

Just For Fun - Rebecca Taunton

Ooh! Before I go, I want to give a shout out the the person that made my morning!  On Blogger, you can check your stats and sometimes see what searches lead people to your little corner of the internet... Guy/girl who Googled "Who sniffs panties in Taunton?", I'm sorry if my blog disappointed you in any way, and I sincerely hope you find who you're looking for, you adorable little pervert!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Winter Is Coming

Today, I have a day off work. I had a monster 10 hour sleep and have spent the day so far in a grumpy stupor, with the sense of purpose and I.Q of a single celled amoeba. Must nearly be winter.  

The only thing that's made me laugh once today was remembering the dream I had last night where I found out that A likes to dress up as Mrs Doubtfire at fairgrounds so that no one  discovers his severe addiction to claw machines and arcade games.

I was going to make this post about how much I hate the colder months. I have enough reasons to write a short, (and probably pretty boring) book. To name a but a few:

1.  Winter makes me miss the glowy, comforting feeling of sunshine on my skin. Because I'm numb to all sensation under a billion layers of clothing. 

2.  Running when it's windy makes me feel all warm (translate: furious) and tingly (murderous and/or stabby) inside.

3.  Lack of sunlight magically transforms me from a grinning, manic, outdoorsy type to a sniveling, manic hermit who hates everything and everyone. Taa-bloody-daa!

As you can see, this kind of list wasn't going to do anyone any favours (but who am I trying to help because I  hate you all and why is my nose so bloody COLD?!), so I've decided to turn my idea on its arse and dredge up some reasons why winter is secretly awesomeness in (very convincing, mind) disguise. Plus, I've just eaten a pork panini, and I thought I'd ride the temporary food-high to positive-land like a meaty unicorn made of bread.  So, here is why winter is [swallows. Hard] ... good:

1.  Despite its numbing qualities, it's fun to deploy the coat with the big, furry hood and imagine you're an Eskimo bear on an adventure whenever you go outside. Grr!

2.  When it's not windy, running in the cold beats running in the heat, hands down.  You no longer feel like you are sweating from the eyeballs.

3.  PUDDLES!!  If you live in Wales, then this also applies to summer, but hey ho.

4.  Aside from at Christmas time, cities become quieter havens where you and a select few of your fellow voluntary loner/would-totally-be-a-hermit-if-society-didn't-frown-upon-it types can enjoy magazines and blogging on the sly in coffee shops (Hello from Waterstones!  I'm going to buy some crisps now).

5.  Christmas is awesome, despite what the Scrooge-y types say.  How can you hate a season that permits the display of excessive fairy lights and mismatched tat?  Tis the season to be gleefully naff.

6.  Onesies.  I just bought my first of the season.  It's a men's dinosaur one, complete with dinosaur head hood. I win at life.

Look how ferocious I am.

7.  You can justify your out of control caffeine addiction as comforting beverage consumption that you need to keep you warm.  Because it's hard to stay cold when you've got the involuntary shakes.

8.  Laziness is encouraged.  How can you be expected to go out in that?!

9.  The chaos Britain descends into when a solitary snowflake drifts to the ground.  Don't moan about how rubbish we are in adverse weather on Facebook.  Embrace it!  Wear your emergency snow helmet (the one with the viking horns and tinsel on it) and knee pads to work and pray with all your might that today is the day you get to go home to your pyjamas and the cat at 1pm on a Tuesday.

10.  Slippers.  It's hard to stay angry when your feet are covered in a toasty layer of fluff.

So, there we are.  Winter's not so bad!  And if my list has failed to cheer you fellow winter grouches, I assure you that eating lots of food will  spike your mood for at least thirty glorious minutes - enough time to quickly bash out a blog post before you crash face first into your tea, weeping because you don't live in Australia, where it's always hot and there are koalas and other things that are infinitely cooler than what we've got in stupid, cold Britain.

Stupid winter.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Decisions, Decisions

Okay, so... in total contrast to my previous post, I have a confession to make.  I gave up my Cardiff Half place.  The decision wasn't taken lightly, and it was made while I was lady balls deep in mud.  I shall explain:

On Friday, I took my shiny new playlist out cruising (jogging), intending to bosh out at least 2 hours of pavement pounding.  I managed about an hour or so of trying to keep my lungs from lurching out of my mouth, and at around mile 5/6, I had to admit defeat.  Personally, I like it when my lungs are inside my body.  Trouble is, I still had 4 miles to get back to both my car and water (the latter because I threw my bottle in a bin in a tantrum because the sloshy noises it was making was getting on my nerves).  

Luckily, I live in glorious Swansea and was beach adjacent.  A 4 mile walk/sulk could be a lot worse without lapping waves and the adrenaline of walking by that seagull that always dive bombs me when I'm in the vicinity (it is the same one every time, I'd recognise that evil bird in a seagull line up any day!).  So, walked out to the wetter sand to get firmer footing for my journey back.  

Trouble is, the sand was so wet and so loose that with each step I sank further and started to fear that I was going to get swallowed up by quicksand like what they do in cartoons.  I threw a few panicked looks at a couple of dog walkers off in the distance, who didn't seem bothered at all that the lady in the shorts seemed to be getting shorter with each step.  No avail.  

Anyhoo, I did survive my terrible ordeal with only some very manky trainers, and didn't sink all the way to China.  Even though that would be cool, as I've never been to China.  I realised somewhere in between the lung spewing and the wading that I really wasn't enjoying myself and that if my fitness levels are at a point where 6 miles makes me want to cry, then maybe a half marathon is something I should take a rain check on.

Yeah, I probably could get around the route with a bit of weeping and hobbling, but I would hate every single bloody second of it, and that's not why I started running.  I want to enjoy it.

Anyhoo, turns out, the decision was the best one for me right now, for reasons thusly [clears throat]:

  • Friends were 100bazillion times less judgy and more lovely about the decision than I'd anticipated.  I often forget that whether I run or not has no impact whatsoever on what my nearest and dearest think of me.  It only matters, and only should matter to me.
  • I've been on 2 runs since the horrific Friday one.  I focused on maintaining a pace where I could feel calm and my mind could wander.  They've been so, so slow and punctuated with walking, but how I've felt after them beats the hell out of the guilt and physical discomfort of the ones I pressure myself to be faster-faster-further in.  I have CrossFit and sessions with Run4All for intensity.  My solo runs are my "me time" and so during them, I should enjoy them as I see fit, even if that means being overtaken by zimmerframe users.
  • One of my CrossFit coaches saw my offer to offload my Cardiff Half place and let me know that he's holding a course soon for people who want to learn how to balance CrossFit and distance running better. This couldn't have come at a better time!
  • Next Sunday, I can now go to the Cardiff Half and scream like a banshee at my friends who are running.  This will terrify them into running so fast that they overtake the elites and ultimately win.  Hurrah!
So, yeah.   Pretty happy with life and a more well-adjusted, sane and comfortable approach to running.  Aaaand...exhale! =)

And here is a link to a Huffington Post video in which Benedict Cumberbatch tries and fails to pronounce the word "penguins".  Enjoy!

Happy Sunday! 

Friday, 26 September 2014


Moooorning!! Rota'd day off work, and last (and only, really) long training run day before the Cardiff Half, which I am...well, I'm shitting my pants over it, to be frank ("Can I still be Garth?").

Got through the Swansea Bay 10K on Sunday by the skin of my teeth.  Had to walk parts of the last mile just to get to the end, which I normally wouldn't need to do during a race of that length.  Lack of speed isn't bothering me so much as enjoyment.  I'm never going to win any races, especially at my current level of "fitness," so my main focus should be fun.  And when my lungs feel like they want to escape out of my butt, it goes without saying I'm not going to be having the time of my life. Lesson learned: training is important, even if you aren't expecting to be Sonic the Hedgehog (fast - not blue and naked bar shoes).  Nevertheless... medal!


Pure terror of running anything further than "to the fridge for cheese" of late has forced me to get creative.  I'm easily distracted and pretty soggy willed when my motivation levels aren't high, so I needed something to get me excited about pounding pavements for 2hours +So, I'm currently putting together a Spotify Premium playlist to see me through the event.  I've not moved from my computer all morning.  I'm having a bloody blast!  As I type, I am currently bouncing to "The Bitch Song" by Bowling For Soup. 

I love clicking through the "related artist" feature and coming across bands I'd almost forgotten I loved as a spot ridden, angsty,  pasty skinned teen (not much has changed.  Slightly less spots, but I certainly haven't gotten any wiser, taller or less pale).  I don't know if most other people in their twenties are the same, but my taste in music seems to have stalled at around age fifteen.  I still LOVE American pop/punk. Love, love love it! I also seem to have developed a taste for shameless pop music, which is ideal for grinning to yourself while you have headphones on because no one bar you knows that you're secretly getting your groove on to 5ive.  I miss 5ive...

Can't wait to get off my arse this afternoon for a playlist test drive. I plan to bounce around Swansea to the musical stylings of Blink 182 and New Found Glory, Something Corporate... (remember them?! I didn't!)  Maybe in the spirit of regression, I will also wear eyeliner down to my chin and sport some black and purple shag bands.

Or maybe I won't.

Behold some gems from my Cardiff Half playlist for your inspiration/revulsion:

In Too Deep - Sum 41
Sk8er Boi - Avril Lavigne
My Favourite Game - The Cardigans
Hella Good - No Doubt
All Downhill From Here - New Found Glory
Punk Rock Princess - Something Corporate 
Dammit - Blink 182
Fatally Yours - Alkaline Trio
All My Best Friends Are Metalheads - Less Than Jake
She Hates Me - Puddle Of Mudd
I Want You To Want Me - Letters To Cleo
Sell Out - Reel Big Fish  

If you're on spotify too, you can have a nose at my debatable taste in music here:
cardiff half

..."Rock" on, honorable ones!
\m/ \m/

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

FINALLY, I think I've figured out how to host a PDF on this frigging thing without ripping out all of my hair.  Only half of it. I'll just have to try not to look left too often in front of cameras in the coming weeks.

As I mentioned recently, instead of slapping my newest bit of writing onto Amazon and begging for pennies, I've decided to host it for free here, so that anyone interested in having a read of my new short(ish... definitely not long.  I don't have the attention span to whap out a proper novel) can do so online.  

The story is a lighthearted, if slightly cringey one about a blogger called Charlotte and her account of being forced by post graduation skintness to return to her home town. It's written in a conversational bloggy stylee, so not too much of a  divorce from the kind of verbal diarrhoea you're used to reading up in here!  I hope you like it, and I'd love any feedback/love/sweary outbursts/sacrificial offerings you have for me in response to it.  Link to story below:

May I Be Excused? - One Blogger's Month In Her Home Town 

Shout out to Walter, who had held my hand throughout the creation of this project.  Whether I wanted it or not:


Back In The Shire (The Swan...shire)

I'm baaaack!! Spent the previous week on my back in a foreign country (Lindos, Rhodes).  

Not like that! Filth. 

I've returned with a smile on my face and have also changed in colour from transparent white to a more opaque beige.  Closest thing to a tan I've ever had.  Might even be able to pass off as a human for a little while.  Needless to say, I'm gutted to be back in reality, where all the cooking and cleaning isn't done for me while I'm busy pickling my liver with local beers and cocktails. Also, it's hard to leave behind something that looks as pretty as this:

Pretty surroundings not own back/backside, but thanks for saying! ;)

 I had a go at that "relaxing" thing I'd heard so much about, and I think that for a couple of days, I think I even managed to crack it!  Burned through two really bloody good books:
  • Maya Angelou - I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (suggestion courtesy of if you're looking for summat to eat with your eyes.  Handy blog!).
  • Karen Joy Fowler - We Are All Completely Beside ourselves
Came to the conclusion that for me, food + booze + books + heat = complete and total bliss.  Who'd have thought?  Only trouble is, all the fooding and the boozing has only served to reinforce how much I love fooding and boozing.  Which is making my resolve over last post's grand announcement about going sober for October go a bit wobbly.  Much like a drunk person's.  We'll see.

Another side effect of all the relaxing I've been dabbling in is that I seem to have further hindered my ability to run.  All the focusing on CrossFit and sitting on my backside in between sessions has rendered my cardiovascular fitness all but fucked.  I tried to run three miles yesterday, and had to walk even during that, which rarely used to happen unless I'd hurt myself.  Seems I'm back to square one-and-a-bit on the running front.  I have a 10k to do tomorrow along Swansea's sea front and Cardiff half marathon to do in a couple of weeks.  Daunted isn't even the word!

On the other hand, I find my new total lack of aerobic fitness strangely encouraging.  Because I now know that my recent inability to run very steadily or far is more physical than mental, it feels much more fixable.  Fitness is simpler.  You just do more of the thing you find yourself crap at until you're not as crap anymore.  I got complacent with running, and my sudden onset rubbishness has given me a point to start from all over again, so I'm able to make it a priority without hating every single second of it.  If that makes even a blob of sense.

The next two races I'm going to do are going to be a nightmare, but I know I'll finish, whether it means crawling around the route and weeping for my mummy.  But by jove, I'll be doing it!  Cant wait to tell you about them =).

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Still Alive!

Gah! I haven't done this for over a fortnight. What am I supposed to do?! Um, um, um... Here's a picture of what I looked like the weekend before last:

No, I didn't get bad dentures.  I saw my heroes live onstage at Reading Festival for the third time (Blink 182).  Fart jokes and power chords abound! I love that trio so much that, as I sat on A's shoulders and took in their iconic flaming "FUCK" backdrop sign over a sea of thousands of heads, I may have done a little cry.  In my pants.

Only joking. Out of my eyes.  But I was three days deep into field dust and day drinking, so it seems normal that my face chose to malfunction in such a way.  Had a great weekend, as ever.

What else, what else... Ooh! I got some sweet, sweet ink done on a whim while my sister was getting her first tattoo.  In true big sister stylee, I obviously felt I had to at least borrow some of her thunder by asking one of the tattoo artists if they had any cancellations.  They did. Hurrah!  Here is the result:

Hell's Angels membership card pending.

I did write a little (10,000 words or so) story to publish the other week, as I mentioned in my last post.  Like my last verbal creation, it's another attempt at "the funnies", but this time, it's fiction.  That sounds like the world's shittiest movie tagline.

 (dun dun duuuuuuuuhn!)

Instead of hosting it on Amazon and making people pay their hard earned 77p's on it, when I've figured out how to host PDFs on a blog (poking screen with a stick doesn't seem to have worked so far) and actually bothered to proof read the thing, I will put it up here for downloading at your leisure.  Watch this space and all that.

In some attempts-at-fitness news, I'm still bumming the living daylights out of CrossFit - novelty very much alive and not worn off yet.  I seem to get a kick out of making myself waddle with pain most days of the week.  Only detrimental result of my new addiction (apart from making my blog title Rebecca Writes & Runs look like a big, fat fatty of a lie) is that I've barely run due to my permanently heavy legs, and when I do, I can't seem to break the  6 mile mental barrier I've put up for myself.  I feel every. Single. Step.  It's like my brain won't let the handbrake go, which isn't great when Cardiff Half is in a few terrifying weeks.  Going to attempt somewhere between 8 and 10 miles today, which frightens the bajeezus out of me.  We shall see.

Last bit of my exciting update now.  Drumroll, please.

I came to the conclusion on Saturday morning that I have spent a big ole chunk of August pissed as a newt.  This has left me poor(er than normal) and given me the energy levels of an old, crumpled towel.  Much as I love the demon drink, it don't love me back! My hangovers are reaching nuclear level and only seem to be getting worse with age.  I've had some great days and nights out this month, but I'm ready for a break now.  And I think my friends deserve a hard earned rest from beauties like this at 3am:

No, Drunk Becky.  Spelling obviously isn't the issue here.  Go home.

So, in a bid to replenish my bank balance and general well being, I intend to have a sober October next month (can't not drink this month.  Going abroad for a wedding next week, and my willpower is about as strong as soggy paper).  I know Macmillan are doing a sponsored month of sobriety, but I feel a bit odd asking my friends to fork out money for me to stay at home on Saturday nights, catching up on The Walking Dead (zombies!! Guns!! ZOMBIES!!!) and eating snacks for a month, so I'll probably make a donation to the charity and go on my merry way without pestering those who tolerate my actions enough as it is.  Only reason I'm slapping my decision up on here is so that I can't back out.  It's out there now, on the interweb, so it's official.  Like a relationship status on Facebook.
Yes.  So.  That's us caught up for the last few weeks.  I like your new haircut, and that's a snazzy top you have on there.  See you sooner rather than later later this time!