Songs to make you feel good

At school I played guitar and recorder. We’re talking ‘Going To The Zoo’ and ‘Hot Cross Buns’ respectively, but still. My iTunes library is non-existent and I’d strongly advise you against ever inviting me to a pop quiz team. But I love music. I love how it makes me feel and perform. I love how it can change the spirit of many occasions (for better, or worse) at the mere flick of a switch / skip of a track. Is there anything better than a drive in the sunshine with the radio blaring?

There’s probably a truckload of research I could dig out on the health and wellbeing benefits of music but that’s not what this post is about.

The lovely Lindy has tagged me in her Desert Island Discs themed post this weekend.

Desert Island Discs is an institution, isn’t it? In case you missed the memo:

You’re going to be marooned on a desert island and all you’ll have with you are 8 songs, one luxury (can’t be anything practical or useful), the bible and another book.  

And so to the discs

Somehow (Gawd only knows how), Barry White’s “You Are The First, My Last, My Everything” made it onto my marathon playlist. During Edinburgh, I was on course for a killer PB but I was starting to lose it with four miles to go. I didn’t think I could hold on. Then, there he was, the man that had supported every 5.20am training alarm call (and helped with many a sports bra malfunction in the dark), travelled length and breadth of the country for training races and not once moaned about the all too regular appearance of sweet potato mash at dinner time. He yelled something (probably, “I’ll be so glad when this is bloody over!”) and then Barry’s deep, deep chords filled my ears. I finished that race 44 minutes faster than the one I ran the year before.

Proud as punch with a new PB and a shiny medal

Marathon medal
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Let Her Eat Clean’s year in review

The clock struck 9pm. “Happy New Year” we bellowed. There was no way Fi was making it to midnight. There was no way she was missing the last toast of her life. We adapted to accommodate her wishes. We shared a thimbleful of champagne.

2013 – it was the worst of times; it was the best of times

Year in review Collage

January notoriously sucks, doesn’t it? Losing a parent in January double sucks, believe me. But here’s the thing, you can wallow in that kind of suckiness or you can go on to do great things, you can live the life that person would have wanted you to. You can make every effort, every day to do something that person would have been so proud of.

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Don’t work out when you’re sick

It really is that simple. There is nothing complicated or scientific about this. You feel unwell? Exercise definitely isn’t going to make you any better.

It’s actually taken me years to realise this. Years. And years. And years. I understand how hard it can often be to rest up. Exercise is addictive. Exercise makes you feel awesome. Exercise is about the community of people you work out with. Sometimes it’s the only chance you get to see them. So when you’re already feeling down on your uppers, why on earth would you want to stay away from the gym when usually it’s the one thing to pick you right back up again?

It’s as good as a given that your recovery is going to be a lot slower if you’re attempting a work out when you’re plagued with a fever. You’re also going to bust out a totally rubbish session – sorry. Also, you owe it to your fellow gym buddies not to infect them / leave your snotty Kleenex about the place.

Don’t work out when you’re sick it’ll do more harm than good

Annie equipment

If you don’t believe me, here’s some facts and figures: this year I ran a marathon having missed six consecutive weeks of training due to a hip flexor injury; yesterday was my first CrossFit session back after nine missed work outs owing to the dreaded lurgy. At tonight’s session I hit a new 3 RM Deadlift PR at 92.5kg. Go figure…

So train when you’re at your best. If you’re not, take a rest. Don’t work out when you’re sick. Simples.

This post was inspired by friend, mentor and epic coach, StreTch Rayner who has been fundamental (during our many years of working together) in helping me finally see the “rest is quite often best” light – I also hope he’ll be proud of my new 3 RM DL PR 🙂 

This week I (went freelance)…

A special edition that captures what freelance life has brought with it.

I read some awesome things (started with that Guardian cover article  and chose Jay Rayner’s offering from my summer reading pile), I worked out (twice a day in some cases) – two of which were new work outs (spinning and a kettle bells session), one of which was a series of agonising hill sprints in the rain; I pulled together some proposals (top secret), I opened a ‘I’m now a freelancer’ bank account, I got my name added to my husband’s account (woo! / better later than never…), I upgraded to an iPhone (white. Petrified of getting it a. dirty b. the inevitability of me smashing it), I earned some money, I spent money (*whispers so the husband doesn’t hear* in the Boden & Cath Kidston sales), I got invited to write two guest blog posts here and here, I met new people, I bumped into old acquaintances, I visited my Grandparents, I spoke to former colleagues as we found our way together through the freelance jungle, I volunteered for some summer house sitting, I tightened the screws on my nutrition a bit (too many weekend visitors of late…), I got to bed earlier. I smiled. I smiled a lot.

Freelance Friday Collage

This is definitely what the new life, the good life is all about. Here’s to the promised heat wave ahead!

What’s in store for you this weekend?

Let food be thy…repair

Admittedly not quite how the Hippocrates saying goes but food is certainly a way to help our bodies repair.

I’m more or less now fully back up and running after Sunday’s marathon and it’s probably the quickest I’ve got on my feet following a 26.2 mile effort. I promised I was going to tap into some valuable lessons learned from previous marathons this time round and nutrition has been a really big focus as part of that. Here’s just a selection of the things I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this past few days – with some guidance on what makes them tip top choices – whether you’ve run a marathon or not.

On crossing the finish line I made my way to the bar. Large bottle of sparkling for one, ice, fresh lime and a protein shake. This one specifically was Maxitone’s Definity Chocolate Toffee flavour mixed with coconut water (for fruit sugars and electrolytes) and some organic milled flaxseed (for fibre and to stop too much of a spike in blood sugar from the coconut water).

PWO nutritionThe post marathon cheat choice of champs followed – some protein and carbs if nothing else… Washed down with two glasses of champagne. A truly divine end to the day.

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The London Marathon 2013

I’m sat in the biggest bed in the world, currently finding any excuse not to crack on with the recovery session I have promised myself I will complete at some point this morning.

So, instead I’ll tell you all about yesterday’s marathon. If you haven’t got time to read on, this pic tells you all you need to know: three medal wearers with big smiles and a bit of a suntan:

Champs  For a bit more…

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