Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Super Sunshine!

By some miracle, I was freed from my desk shackles and released into the wild early today.  This is what I did with my unexpected afternoon.  Six slow miles in sunny Swansea (today's run brought to you by the letter S, kids!). 

It's unbelievably hot and I could have probably walked faster than I ran, but it's too flipping glorious out not to take advantage.

Am one very happy, sweaty bunny! Just wanted to put that out there =).  I defy you leave the house and not come back with a smile on your face and sweat blobs on your shirt.  Sexual. 

Happy summer, everyone!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

It's Gettin' Hot in Here...

It's so HOT outside! Much rejoicing.  And some panicking.  I'm due to run the Tenby Half Marathon (half of the Wales Marathon) in under three weeks, and to say I'm a bit apprehensive is like saying "that water's a bit wet, isn't it?" It's 13.1 miles of hills in the middle of July.  Current me would like to kick past me in the lady nuts for her terrible decision. 

I was all calm and poised up until this week - if by poised you mean gracefully placing slices of cheese into my mouth on the sofa.  We've had some freak weather in South Wales this week.  It was nice out! Holy shit!  I went out for a flat(ish) slow(..ish) 9 miler with Run 4 All on Wednesday, all up for a happy trot along a green, fuzzy-looking canal (the romantic waterways of Neath).  I was fine for about 6 miles, spurting sweat from my eyeballs and plinketty-plonking along with the group, until we reached the top of an "incline" (it was a hill, goddammit!) where my eyes decided to give me a spotty green light show, and I had trouble for a couple of minutes getting a full breath into my lungs (ed: what, Becky, as opposed to your arse?!).

Freaked out as I was, I continued - my little disco-spots panic attack didn't last long, and I'd been slurping away at my bottle of water all the way round, so I decided I can't have been dehydrated.  I had to walk-jog the remaining 3 miles, just in case my body decided "nope, am done!  See ya, cruel world!"  

I'm happy to report, I didn't die.  If I had, then typing this post would be pretty impressive, no?


And to end this exciting story, I finished my evening by staggering like a drunk around Tesco because I had an sudden urgent need for strawberries, drove home and promptly threw up said punnet of strawberries.  I felt too rough to be amused by the fact that my... err... projections... were luminous pink.  Like Angel Delight. Lush.

Long story short, I think I have some lessons to learn re: running in the heat.  I've not been handling it too well.  In the run(jog/walk/gasp/puke) up to Tenby, according to my reliable cross section of Run 4 All members, I will need to:

  • Wear a hat
  • Eat more before a long run (am not sure how I can add "more" to my current diet of all-the-food-ever, but I'll give it a bash)
  •  Drink lots more water in general, not just when you're out running
  • Don't expect personal bests in heat. Slow the fuck down.

Praying to Beyonce that these things get me round the course on the day.  Hopefully I'll acclimatise to the heat before then too.  Saying that, I do live in Wales, so July is just as likely to bring blizzards, sideways rain, falling sheep and gale force winds as it is to give us sunshine.  Who knows what I need to prepare for?

In other Becky-Secretly-Wants-to-Be-Superwoman news, I had a crack at that CrossFit malarkey I've heard so much about, thinking that I'd like to be able to open pickle jars with minimal effort on top of my running.  Perhaps at the same time.  I fancied mixing it up a bit and trying to get fitter overall, with a view to it improving my running and general well being.

Turns out CrossFit is sort of like circuits but tougher.  Lots tougher!  What A and I were put through this morning was a fraction of what we saw the regulars do, and by the end, I was grinning through a fringe of sweat and quite possibly tears (both salty, couldn't tell).  I LOVED it! I was in awe of the women who were there, and I want what they've got - lovely knotty arms and the ability to pick up big ass weights despite being barely over 5ft tall.  I want to be strong like an ox!  Albeit an ox with a weakness for Maoams and TV box sets.

Seems expensive though, so going to have to do a bit of research and shop around for the best deal, but I see a fun and painful new hobby on the horizon.  Bring it on! 

The only things these guns have been lifting of late is cans of cider.  Classy bird.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Festivals > Reality

Good moaning! I have much - well, sort of much - to share this week!  This is what I got up to last night:

 Super-flattering picture featuring birds' nest on head and one leg freakishly bigger than the other courtesy of James Taylor.  He is both faster and better at photography than me. Respect.

I ran the Swansea Bay 5k, and FINALLY managed to break the stubborn-as-fuck half hour barrier by doing it in 29mins, 22secs.  Might not sound like an impressive feat, especially when you note that in the picture, I am sprinting flat out, and the man next to me is walking, but I'm pretty chuffed considering I couldn't run a mile without stopping just over a year ago.  Progress, my friends!  Also helped that there were a bugger-ton of Run 4 All members there.  Yellow shirts everywhere. Proud to be one of 'em.

I also want to share a clip that someone I know shared on Facebook this morning, because it's bloody good and relevant to everyone.  It's only a minute or so of Jim Carey giving a speech at a graduation ceremony, where he speaks about risking failure to do what you love.  Very inspiring, and even if you don't feel like you are a magical unicorn galloping on a rainbow of potential afterwards, you can laugh at his silly cap.  It looks like a velor cushion swiped from a poorly decorated caravan.

Third bit of "news".  I have thrown all of my money at a Reading Festival ticket.  Again.  This is fast becoming an annual occurrence, and always leaves me eating bread out of the bag for three meals a day for months afterwards as I recover from the financial trauma of that one glorious weekend.  Also, I really should mix it up a bit - I hear that there are other festivals out there (this could be an elaborate lie.  Will report back when find out more). 

Regardless, I regret NOTHING!! Reading Festival is my mother ship, and I am likely to continue crawling back year after year.   I love the weekend long suspension of the everyday.  If you've never been to a UK festival, or if, like me, you seek justification for blowing all of your hard earned dollahs on four days of reckless spending and celebration, here are ten reasons why festivals > reality every time.

1.  If you wake up one morning thinking "fuck it, I want to be six foot tall fabric banana today", then fuck it, you are free to be a six foot tall fabric banana.  People will appreciate your efforts.

2.  It is perfectly okay to have cider for breakfast.

3.  Despite the drinking that stretches from day til early-the-next day, actual hang overs are rare.  I think during the five or so times I've been, I've only had one stonker of a bad head the morning after.  That was quickly cured by the friendly Dr Tubourg.

4.  Everyone is either in a manically good mood, or too knackered from dancing their little faces off to give you any trouble.

5.  The more hopelessly unkempt you are, the more successful at festivalling you are.  Fact.  Leave the GHDs at home, people.

6.  Taking off your headphones at the silent disco to hear hundreds of people singing your favourite songs like they've never heard let alone carried a tune before. Funny as.

7.  You may suddenly realise that you have been dancing to Dizzee Rascal next to Doctor Who (Doctor Who!! Matt Smith is one tall son of a moose!) ,  Nick Grimshaw, and Ron off of Harry Potter.  Despite the fact that they are much cleaner than your average festival attendee, celebrities sometimes decide to blend in with us normals like they're real people.  Occasionally they are successful.

8.  Unlike in real life, you can make new best friends by screaming lyrics into strangers' faces.

9.  It is perfectly acceptable to lie down and take a power nap in the middle of a field if so required.

10.  You learn that mosh pits, despite their outward appearance, are the happiest places in the world.  Inside the thrashing masses, there are grinning faces and willing arms to help pop the people who find staying upright a challenge (i.e moi) back on their feet and to helpfully shove them back into the sweaty throng.

If you're going along too, I shall see you in August! I'll be the one in the banana suit.

Photograph "borrowed" from A. Don't tell him.  All my photos of the stage are dominated by the backs of people's heads.  Am vertically challenged, and looking at this picture, you can tell that A is indeed 20 feet tall.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Welcome To The Pity Party

I. Am. Doing. It! Am....writing!! It was hard work getting here this week.  I've just pulled myself through a fortnight, more or less, of feeling so put-upon that it'd have been comical if I wasn't so sad/frustrated/angry/batshit crazy.  Think Eeyore, but angry... Angr-Eeyore. 

"What's up, Champ?" I hear you ask (in my mind, because I want you to call me Champ.  Makes me feel powerful.  And like I've got a big neck).

The answer is nothing. Naff, sod and fuck all.  My life is exactly the same as it was pre-two-week-sulk:  A continues to tolerate my presence, my job is still willing to give me money, and I haven't experienced a case of sudden onset alopecia. The latter has its pros and cons - I still have eyebrows, but, alas, I continue to shave my armpits and legs.

All that's changed has been my attitude.  I don't know why, but I woke up one morning in my double bed and warm house with the firm conclusion that my comfortable existence was out to get me. I spent my days at work wanting to cry because I had to exert effort to actually, y'know earn my living.  I was baffled by the fact that my house stubbornly chose to remain messy despite how obviously upset I was at it.  Inconsiderate house.  Unless I was out to tip cider into my face hole, any human interaction felt forced.  I think that my brain sometimes scans my situation for threats, and when it finds no real danger, it goes into martyr mode where anything and everything is bad and plain old mean.  Better than being bored, eh?

Basically, for no good reason other than "ooh, poor me", anything that involved doing over just being grated on me.  I felt sorry for myself because stuff wasn't going to just get done by itself while I took a week to lie down and eat cheese toasties.  Life was just such an obligation.  

Today, I feel  fine.  Good, even. Want to know how I manged to do a screeching u-turn into the glass-half-full club?  

Yeah, so do I.  Not a clue.  Just like everyone else (I hope, anyway!), how I feel goes through these cyclical phases all the time (no, not monthly...smart-arse).  I can live two identical days and feel like I'm living the life of something turds eat for breakfast on one day and like I've won the Life Lottery the next.  Makes little sense. But, what's a crappy time without some bite-sized epiphanies to stuff into your pockets and take away with you?  Here are some neatly gift-wrapped favours I've put together from Becky's Pity Party Fortnight.  I hope they make up for the total lack of cake and Pin The Tail On The Donkey:

1.  It's rarely your situation that affects you - it's how you choose to react to it.

2.  As soon as you decide something is an obligation, the fun is totally sucked out of it.  Leave it alone for a bit, and stop poking at it.  Come back to it when you remember that it's actually something you enjoy.

3.  Try to avoid seeing things as chores.  Just be grateful that you are able-bodied and well off enough to do them.  Laundry piling up? At least you have enough clothes to create a fabric, albeit slightly stinky Everest.  Don't want to go for that run?  Get off your backside, at least you can run!

4.  If you're in a bad mood and someone's rubbing you up the wrong way, bite your tongue.  You probably wouldn't care even half as much if you were having a better day.  If you're still pissed off when you feel more sane, then you can kill them with that hammer. Sleep on it.

5.  If you can do it yourself, just do it (insert Nike tick here).  It's not worth asking someone else, and then trying and failing to mask your frustration when they don't immediately drop everything  do your bidding.  You probably could have done the thing in half the time it took you to plead and chastise your prospective biddee into doing said thing.  Do it your Gee-Dee self, fool!

That's all for now, folks.  Hope your week has been a happier one than mine.  May your days be filled with snacks and mirth!