I had to have a think too.
I’m not sure I remember to be quite honest.
Back in September, I mucked about in mud with a bunch of strangers for Tough Mudder…which is kind of the same thing right?
Did you know that the 11th January is National Step In A Puddle And Splash Your Friends Day…I know right? Who comes up with this stuff.
It got me thinking though about splashing in puddles and how much fun it can be.
I often used to play outside in the rain getting drenched as a kid, not caring if I caught a cold or had to make a long journey home damp and uncomfortable..so when did we lose that sense of fun and spontaneity?
I remember around 17 years ago me and my sister went to a local music festival and it started raining and literally everyone packed up and went home…like seriously we were the only two people still dancing in a near empty park…ok so a little bit of alcohol may have been involved, but I will never forget how much fun that was or how free I felt.
And more recently we went to a music festival where it rained all day…we invented something called The Umbrella Game…where the goal was to get under as many strangers umbrellas without actually asking for permission. We had a blast. Obviously, we told them what we were doing afterwards…but the reactions were fascinating.
Some people were like “Yeah come on in” others were like “What is she on?” (Nothing just so we are clear). We went home wet to the bone but filled to the brim with good vibes and happy thoughts…it was a wonderful way of embracing the terrible weather and making the most of it.
So what has this got to do with you?
Well, on National Step In A Puddle And Splash Your Friends Day I am challenging you to live a little, to get wet in the rain, to have a food fight, to rugby tackle your partner onto the floor tickling them until the surrender or wet themselves (Whichever comes first). Wouldn’t it be great to reignite that sense of fun again, not to worry about who is going to clear up after, or having to rewash your hair?
Jump and splash in the damn puddles…I dare you!!!
OK…so maybe it’s not raining today…although rain was forecast for London, maybe you can just take the intent of this and just do something new with a friend, schedule something spontaneous. Ever do that with your mates?
Hey we haven’t seen each other for ages, let’s go out and do something off the cuff spontaneous
OK let me check my schedule…..
Erm…how does 3 months Tuesday work?
Spending quality time with your mates gets harder and harder as you get older and your life takes on more responsibility, and yes sometimes we do have to schedule the fun stuff as sad as that may seem. Holidays. Day Trips. Festivals. They all take a certain amount of planning and commitment to make happen. But god are they worth it. Our friends are the family we choose for our self and they are integral to our well being and ultimate happiness.
And because I am all about the happiness, I have a brilliant offer for you guys…but it literally is live for just 24 hours….so do not delay…get involved. Be spontaneous…and drag your bestie in with you too.
To celebrate national splash in a puddle with a friend day….
I will give a free place on my Living A Bigger Life 10-week mastermind for a friend of your choice to anyone who signs up for themselves. So not only do you get this at the super early bird price of £359…your mate gets to do it with you too…and because its online it doesn’t even need to be someone who lives close to you. How awesome does that sound, getting to hang out virtually with your bestie working on the shit that matters?
Come on take that jump!!
You can find out more about how Life Coaching could help you and the transformation you can expect here. Plus see what you get over the 10 weeks and beyond. If you decide to sign up, once the payment has been processed drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with the name and email address of your friend. Buy One Get One Free can’t get any better than that right?
I didn’t want to write this blog post today.
Today, I didn’t want to write anything.
In fact I am so exhausted by tapping on my keyboard I wonder if I will ever find the love for writing again.
Why is this you may ask?
Well for the last 21 days I have been steaming ahead with writing my latest book “The Fat Girls Guide to Marathon Running”
Now normally I give myself a good few months to complete my books, (I currently have 6 books on running and health on Amazon) but I only decided to write this one 2 and a half weeks ago, YES I KNOW while the internet was awash with talk about the London Marathon ballot, with pleas of
Help, I have a marathon place now what?
Holy shit I’m In
I realised in all of that turmoil and as women came to me for help that although there are tons of marathon training guides and books on the market, none of them were written by me, few of them (if any) were from overweight slower runners, so why not write one?
I’ve run 3 marathons, an ultra marathon and hundreds of other races, I’ve also coached well over 100 women to run their first marathon, so I like to think I know a little bit on the subject…besides nobody has quite the funny stories I do.
I realised though at the end of last week, when I was like 40,000 words in and really struggling, just how much writing a book is actually like running a marathon….without the chaffing of course…although there is the repetitive strain injury to consider, but still.
With both, initially you think it’s a good idea and then within a little while you are like “what the hell was I thinking?”, but of course because you have started you have to finish. Especially if other people know you have committed.
So OK, one activity is done with your feet and one with your hands and head, but here are the 3 similarities between writing a book and marathon running that strike me most,
1. You will doubt that you can complete it – All the way through the process you will have a nagging voice saying you can’t do it, you have taken on too much, you’re an idiot, why did you commit to this. You have moments where progress is so slow, you feel like you are going backwards. And moments where the end point seems so bloody far away.
The trick with this is simply to focus on the next few hundred meters, the next few hundred words, because otherwise it’s just too overwhelming.
Marathon running is an endurance sport, is is never going to be over in a blink of the eyelid. Writing is the same, it takes time even if you don’t suffer from writers block and know what you want to say, the process of getting it into some kind of readable format will take time.
So just continue to put on your trainers, continue to sit at your desk. You will get there eventually.
2. You will be rubbish and brilliant in equal measure – There are some points of training for a marathon where you excel, and others where you feel like you have only just taken up the sport. Even while running the race there will be moments where you are completely flying and moments where you hit the wall.
I had days last week where I sat at my desk at 9am and realised at 4pm I hadn’t eaten or been to the loo, I was in my flow, I was in my zone of genius…it was brilliant. Then I had moments yesterday where I couldn’t remember how to spell “Was” like seriously?
Perseverance is key, taking a break, a walking one if you must. Onwards is onwards, by any means necessary.
3. Other people will support you – Most people are in awe of marathon runners, OK they think we are a bit crazy but mostly they are impressed. The same goes for writing a book. Both activities hold a mirror up to folk who say, “Oh I could never do that” or the perfectionists that say “I would need more time”.
I have had so much support in the last two weeks it’s been amazing, people checking in to see what my word count is, popping funny GIFs on Facebook reminding me to get on with it, and of course my wonderful editor who stops me from writing page long sentences.
You may also come across a few neigh sayers who tell you it would be better to take your time, or that you are crazy for trying. But when you have the drive to accomplishment, nothing can stop you.
So this morning, at 9.36, 68,222 words were sent across to my editor for her to work her magic, and I have sat on the sofa most of the day (almost like it was the day after a marathon) saying,
Well, at least never in that time span again.
The irony is, this weekend I was supposed to be running the Beachy Head Marathon, 10 days ago I made the decision to pull out, because in all honesty I hadn’t done the right kind of training and the logistics around travel and childcare had become to complicated.
This is the first race in more than 12 years that I have pulled out of.
I knew it was the right thing to do.
Anyways…I’m off to the Cinema tonight to take my mind of the book, and the fact I should have been racing this weekend.
The book is currently available as a download for just £6.99, and the paper version will be available from the 6th November, I hope you enjoy it.
Please download it and help me get in the Top 10 Running Charts
Please do share this post with anyone interested in writing or running marathons, hopefully they will find it of some use…I hold on to that fact seeing as I really didn’t want to write today.
Have a great weekend.
Oh and here is some evidence that I have actually run said marathons
Business is tough.
In fact, life is tough…really tough at times.
It doesn’t matter how much perceived success you have had in the past, or how much other people rate you, the fact remains you still have to get out of bed every day and do the work.
It is lonely too.
Well at least it is for me.
I am a single parent, and spend much of my time behind my desk in a corner of my front room trying to grow an empire. Tying to to convince women to buy into a sport that many believe should be free. Trying to support women who don’t prioritise their own health and happiness to do so. Trying to help PR companies and brands realise that this is a business and
No you can’t get to my audience of 50,000 women in exchange for a free sportsbra
So yeah, some days I simply can’t face sitting at that desk.
Somedays, like yesterday I simply want to lay on the sofa, watch crap TV and have a bit of a cry.
Yesterday was a bit of a corker though to be fair, triggered by a busy few months culminating in 3 big races, in 3 different countries, in the space of 3 weeks. I have also launched a new life coaching programme, overseen the start of my Sport England funded year long pilot in Barking & Dagenham and currently have two other online running programmes to focus on too…so I guess I am just a bit tired and overwhelmed.
I’ve also had a whole heap of personal stuff going on, including settling my 4 and a half year old into BIG school, and trying to organise childcare for this weekends Proffesional Speaking Associations annual convention…which up until late last night I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make.
So yeah it’s been a tough few weeks.
Yesterday I think I needed some kind of release. A day at a spa would have probably done the trick, but instead a morning of rubbish TV and half a pack of stale digestive biscuits took me into a spiral of self pity and panic.
By 2pm it was getting really ugly.
I thought getting some fresh air might help, so I walked to the bank to deposit a cheque…the cheque however got stuck in the machine as I was paying it in, and as the assistant went to get the key to open the machine, with a bank full of people watching me, the tears started rolling again “Why me?, Why me?” yes it seriously was that embarrassing, I have no idea what that poor bloke must have thought of me.
Anyway, once home I knew there was only one thing for it, one thing which would get me out of this funk.
I needed to run.
Luckily Wednesday night is my new, once a week night of regular childcare…so I donned my new snazzy leggings which I am reviewing for an awesome company I have just discovered, and I made my way to the East London Runners weekly training session. I haven’t been in well over a year…and boy have I missed it.
I only did 5K, but it was a speedy (for me) 5K
On the way back to the station I walked through a cool looking urban underpass and thought, this would look good as a backdrop for a photograph so I spent 5 minutes or so trying to get a decent shot.
My sweaty puffy face couldn’t quite muster a smile…so instead I went for an intense “I don’t care stare”
The moral of my story. Sometimes life is shit. Sometimes it doesn’t pan out how you want it, even when you work your arse off. Sometimes you feel like packing it all off, selling up and moving to the outer Hebrides to milk goats. But mostly, sometimes you just need to take a day off, cry some ugly tears, watch a bit of Jeremy Kyle to remind yourself that it could be a whole heap worse and then pick yourself back up and find a way to energise yourself so you can live to fight another day.
For me running works for this every single time.
A few months ago I set myself the Big Fat Stupid Goal of becoming an International Speaker. I knew however that it’s a bit like chicken and egg, you have to start speaking internationally to start marketing yourself as the type of speaker who speaks overseas.
You have to start somewhere.
I had no idea how, but I did had a long list of WHY I wanted to do it.
- I love to travel
- I love to speak
- I have a message which needs to be heard globally
- It would be exciting
- I’d get to meet new people
- It would help grow my brand overseas
The very next day after setting this intention I saw a call for speakers for the PSA Southern Africa Convention and I nervously sent an email to the organisers almost immediately, offering my services. And guess what? My proposal was accepted!!!!
The problem was I wasn’t even sure if this trip was possible. The cost. The time away from my business. Leaving my daughter at home (obviously not alone duh)…and I guess the biggest worry…was I even ready for speaking at this level?
The thing is, the pursuit of the things you really, really want in life take a certain amount of faith. They require you to leave your fears behind and just move forward. You book your flights, you sort out childcare, you pack your bags and you go….simple right?
Yes and No.
It is easy to look at people who travel the world living their dream and think “Wow, what a life?” but the reality of it is often quite different, because remember you only get to see the edited highlights on social media. The champaign glasses, the sunsets, the all important stage shot…what you don’t see are the stresses about what to pack, the back and forth emails for months regarding logistics, and lets not forget about the hours and hours in transit.
Now I do love to travel, and I am a good traveller…I have endurance. I have travelled to the South America and the Caribbean, around South East Asia and to Australia…so I know all about long flights…I’m not sure I was completely ready for my epic trip to Cape Town via Dubai though.
I had booked the cheapest flight I could find (mistake number 1) and on reflection I realise that my time and wellbeing is far more important than the £700 or so that I saved…but in this case it was the only way I could make this trip happen.
So while sitting in the lounge in Dubai I started to reflect on the similarities between long distance travel and long distance running.
It’s all about preparation, mindset and clarity over why you are doing it in the first place.
So here are some of my top tips for staying healthy and sane during extended trips…especially if you are not at the point of being able to fly first class…YET!!!!
- Stay hydrated. So easy to indulge in all the free alcohol on board your flight and in airport lounges. I tend to have a glass of wine with dinner, and maybe a beer or two, but that’s it. Then it’s as much of the clear stuff as possible. It also encourages you not to sit down for extended periods as you will need to visit the loo frequently too.
- Think about nutrition. I was always told to eat what you are given…but you really don’t have to. So I only eat the stuff on the plane that I actually like and that is going to be beneficial to me. I bought I wonderful green smoothie during my 14 hour layover and a glorious sandwich stuffed full of avocado, sundried tomatoes and chicken. Carrying the type of snacks you enjoy is a good idea too…energy bars, nuts, dried fruit.
- Carry supplements with you. I take a general multivitamin and a joint support pill each day. But when travelling I also include a vitamin c tablet and an echinacea pill to support my immune system. I have one of those plastic pill separator things so I don’t forget to take them.
- Get some exercise. I did a whole heap of walking in Dubai…I’m not a shopper really, but the shopping malls provide an excellent walking circuit.
- Have something to do. I had a book proposal to write during the week I was away, and always kept a journal at hand to make notes about future talks and blog posts. I also carried a book but wasn’t in the mood for reading so opted for an audio book instead.
- Get a massage. Lots of airports now have mini spas or massage places. After about 8 hours in Dubai on the way out I felt awfully tense so paid for a 30 minute chair massage. I told the lady what time my flight was so she didn’t wake me once I dosed off…I slept undisturbed in that chair for almost 2 hours…it was glorious.
It has taken me 3 days to get over the jet lag, fatigue and excitement of my trip to South Africa…and so today I am finally taking some time to reflect on my travels and catch up on some of the action points from the convention.
It was a long old way to travel to give just a 30 minute talk, but it was never just about that talk.
These trips are life changing in ways you can’t describe. You create shared experiences with people who are now set to become acquaintances and maybe even friends for life.
The things you see and experience in these new places, the new person you are able to experiment with being while there, these things are truly transformational.
The standing ovation I received after my talk, the comments of support and the business cards exchanged, yes of course these things play to your ego and give you a thirst to do more…but this is not why we do it, well it is not why I do it.
I was only in South Africa for 5 days and 5 nights but in that time I managed to squeeze in a 5K parkrun, an 8 mile beach walk, a sightseeing bus tour, an evening out to a comedy night (where I was pulled up on the stage to do some of my own comedy set), lunch with a friend I know from an online group, a visit to a women’s empowerment programme in one of the townships, plus dinner at the home of a lovely lady I met called Huni, where we chatted for hours and I got to meet her wonderful family….and this is alongside the 3 day convention and all that entailed.
So I say it again…it wasn’t just about my talk.
As speakers we arrive home from these trips tired and energised in equal measure, and those memories drive us to reach for even bigger and more exciting goals, and to think about where next we would like to speak but we never forget the effort they require, the leaps of faith, the fears we have to overcome, and the endurance of both body and mind it takes us to actually get there.
You may think you are ready to start reaching for those Big Fat Stupid Goals, but you also need to start considering whether you are ready to go the distance in order to achieve them, ready to make sacrifices in order to reach your dreams.
Just like running the marathon…the going across the finish line and receiving your medal is the easy bit…it’s the months of preparation, the weeks of stress and worry, the days where you want to give up and the hours and hours of running you have behind you that make you the winner in the end.