15 June 2014

What if people see me?

Something I hear from people talking about, thinking about, starting running, and something that worried me too, is the fear of being seen by people. I have news for you. If you go running, whether you're in the great, glorious outdoors, or treadmilling it in the gym, people will see you. Even if you go out really early, or really late or in shit weather. There's always someone about.

And I KNEW that, when I went out running, people who were about would absolutely, definitely, 100% be thinking "Gosh, I've never seen an arse bounce like that", "Bless, she's clearly not a proper runner", "Aren't those a chunky set of calves", "Who knew a face could go so red, sweaty and blotchy" and other unkindnesses. I mean it only makes sense. Because as soon as I walk out the door, I immediately become the sole focus of the attention of everyone around me, right? I'm sure it happens to you too so I expect you know what I mean.

Plus, whenever I see anyone out running, I always think, "Man, check out the state of"...


I almost never think mean things about people who are out running. In fact, I'm fairly sure that, before I even started with the blasted pursuit, I didn't even notice most runners. And now, when I see folk running, my main thought is "You're running just now and I'm not. You win AT LIFE". Beyond that, my thoughts are very much "Yeah! Good for you! This shit's hard and you are awesome." based. Because I'm still impressed when I see folk cracking on and doing it. It's a marvellous thing.

I will confess to one critical thought train though and that is in the "Ooft, you need a better bra love" vein. But that's just concern for mammarial welfare and owner comfort. Treat your boobs good when you run ladies!

So my conclusion has to be that, in spite of my absolute importance to everyone who is blessed with my very passing presence, people who happen to notice me when I'm out and about running, probably either think nothing or, if I'm lucky, "Aye, good one girl."

So my suggestion, if one of your fears is being seen by people, is that you, in the good words of Nike, Just Do It. Go out, give it a bash. A half cut dude outside a pub at 6.30am might even cheer you on. (That happened).

Just get a decent bra first...

4 June 2014

The Half Marathon: I did it

Love that I was in the gold starting pen. It made me feel like a winner from the off. In reality it meant "you're in the second slowest pen here" but, frankly, I didn't give a damn!

And while I didn't win the half marathon, I still completed it! For real! And I was nowhere near second slowest. I'd put myself down to do it in 2:40 and here's how I actually did:

I knew, from training, that I could beat 2:40 and, in my most optimistic moments, I hoped the 2hr mark might be possible but, as I wilted, it became apparent that wasn't going to happen. That said, I'm still beyond happy with 2:10!

It was, without doubt, one of the physically toughest things I've ever done. The marathon folk are NOT shitting you when they warn that "The Marathon is a serious athletics endurance race which requires a large amount of appropriate training and preparation in order to complete it safely." People, it is HARD.

I started strong - it felt like my pace was good and I was getting into my stride, enjoying watching other runners and soaking up the view (it's a really scenic run). But by about mile 6 my dodgy hip flexor (uh, how old am I again?) started playing up and by mile 10-11, I was fucked. Just fucked. My hip hurt, my feet hurt, my legs were HEAVY, I was hungry, my back was aching and I felt like I might shit myself. Even the amazing people handing runners jelly beans out of the goodness of their hearts (you people are ANGELS) could only lift me slightly.

Then, at about mile 10, the course doubled back. So all you could see was people coming towards you who you knew were faster and better and fitter than you and CLOSER TO THE END. Of course, in reality, they're probably just as fucked as you. They may even be slower than you and have just started in an earlier pen. They may have been aching/ill/despairing too. But, at that point, it felt like utter shite. Plus, the view sucked by then and it felt like the actual road to nowhere. It was at that point that I really got a sense of how an endurance event like this is as much about mind as it is physical ability. Like all the best cliches, that one is true. 

But I didn't stop once. 

Not to pee, not even to walk a little bit, not to stretch, nothing. And of that, I am very proud. One of my goals was to RUN the half marathon.

And eventually, you reach the end of the double back and you're the guy running towards people who still have the loop to do and you feel like a king. A wee bit. It might all be over soon. You also really feel like shouting "It's not that bad!", "It's not that far" and "You can DO THIS BITCHES" at the poor folk coming towards you. Cause you don't want to think that they feel as crap as you did at that point. But then you realise it's still going to take every fibre of your being to keep you going and get you to the end. So it's chin up and keep moving. By then, I felt a bit unaware of everything other than the weight of my legs. It was only when the crowds thickened near the end that I began to feel a lump in my throat and it kind of started to hit me that I'd almost done it. Then I became aware of what was going on cause they'd laid this shitty plastic flooring that was slippery as fuck and it took all my concentration not to plank it. Not cool marathon peeps! And finally I heard my name. Mr Llara (who already finished) and my pals were shouting! Yay! And waving signs!

I don't think I've ever had signs in my honour! It's unbelievable how much the sight of a friendly face buoys you on.

And then it was over.

And I didn't shit myself.

All that was left to do was to stretch, go home, wash and then get back out for beer, burgers and ice-cream!

Me, medal, beer

I guess my next port of call is to share what I learned along the way. That's quite enough for one post though...

24 May 2014

I guess I'm back

Ooft. It's hard to know where to start after a GIANT hiatus.

I guess a fair amount has changed since I last wrote anything here. And I dare say everyone's LONG stopped checking whether I've added a new post or not! It has been over a year after all. So let's catch up. Since I last wrote anything here:

  • I got a new nephew.
  • I got a year older. You likely did that too.
  • I've changed job/career.
  • I've swapped my heel obsession for a trainer obsession. Albeit one that, looking at my later posts, was somewhat burgeoning before I disappeared from the blogosphere. To be clear though, I'm still pretty obsessed with a good heel too.
  • I've been to Ibiza for a 'final' girls holiday 'before we got too old to go raving', and had such a good time that we're going back again. It transpires that you are never too old to go raving.
  • And, I've now run more than 5k. In fact, I'm doing my first half marathon tomorrow. Which I reckon is where I'm going to kick things back off here.

I got a bit fed up with blogging. I started at it to have somewhere to write but got a bit lost along the way and ended up with not much to say. It just all got too fashion/shopping related and I figure that, given that I'm an average size/shaped person with an average budget and average-at-best photography, it didn't make for much in the way of point of difference. If fact, the main difference I did see between other blogs and my own was the amount I swore. And I fucking stand by that.

I know from my last post (you should totally go back and read it. Read them all in fact. Marvel at my wit and average-at-best photography) that I was running a little back then. And, if my elderly memory serves me correctly, I was training for a 5k that got postponed until October. Safe to say I did not run that much between last April and October.

I volunteered at a 10k in the July and was in awe of every single person who ran past me. I cheered and wondered at how they were managing to do this. Then I went to watch Mr Llara and some others do the Scottish Half Marathon in Glasgow in October. Having never run further than 5k, and not very well at that, I was staggered to see people breeze and battle through 21k. It seemed like a miracle and one that I didn't think was possible for me.

Because, I'm not a runner.

That's what I always said. "Ooft, I'll do a 5k but I'm not a runner". I'm too heavy/pear shaped/jiggly/brunette/hungry/busy/insert current excuse here. I read the marvellous "Running Like a Girl" (even if you've no interest in trying running, this is a funny and sweet read that leaves you with the feeling you can probably do anything you put your mind or legs to), felt all inspired but still knew it didn't really matter because I wasn't a runner.

But for some reason, I decided that 2014 would be the year in which I cracked the running nut. So I signed up for a 5k at the start of January. Up a fucking hill. And I also signed up for a 13k in March, a 10 mile in April and a half marathon in May. And here I am. Tomorrow is the big day.

And one thing I've noticed along the way is people saying all the things to me that I used to think when I saw or heard about other people running - "Oh, I could never do that" "Wow, that's amazing" "I don't know how you do it" etc. So I'm gonna share my experience. Things I thought that were true. Things I thought that weren't true. Stuff I've discovered. And useful shit I'm either glad I knew or wish I'd known.

And I will absolutely still post pictures of shoes, clothes and jewels I've procured and cocktails I've drunk too. Cause old habits die hard...

1 April 2013

Impractical shoes

As you can perhaps tell from the marvellous bags under my eyes, I'm still recovering somewhat from the weekend. I partied hard on Saturday. And, as a result, suffered somewhat yesterday. Sometimes you need to really blow off some steam though and what better than a night on the dance floor for doing it, eh? Plus, I totally won a dance off with a dude dressed as Lady Gaga - you should know that I OWN any given dance floor. When I really get going, I bust moves you'd think I had not the flexibility, strength or dexterity to pull off. It's quite incredible.

And so to Monday. I'm not gonna lie. I still don't feel 100%. I think the hangover passed but the sleep pattern messery, along with not enough fluid has taken its toll so here I am at home (instead of hitting the gym - oh dear) writing this and drinking chamomile tea. And necking Easter treats. However, this morning, in the interests of putting on a sunny face, I decided it was a day for wearing something awesome and cracking out the impractical shoes. I had a bit of a sore foot around Christmas/New Year and have been in flats and trainers a lot more than usual since then. Today, I went for towering Charlotte Olympias...

They're so epic and they haven't been out for so long! I'm sure they feel neglected. Poor things. Speaking of things that haven't been worn for so long, I got a diamanté encrusted jersey pencil skirt in Topshop late last year and, so far, I've only worn it out once: dancing one night. Today, diamanté encrustment just felt work appropriate.

Who doesn't love a dazzling bum, after all? To keep it from being too OTT, I added a cosy jumper.

Jumper: H&M, skirt: Topshop, shoes: Charlotte Olympia, necklace: Suzywan Deluxe
And a serious face! I had a banging sore head when I took the pics (don't you dare say I don't love you). Now that I've chewed some pills and had some dinner, it seems to have abated. Hopefully that's it over with cause I plan to go for a quick run tomorrow evening. When I say quick, I mean not long in duration, as opposed to running in a speedy fashion. I dare say I shall slowly schlep. Run. Pah!

Have a swell week everyone. This is my ONLY full working week in April - I have coming up this month a weekend away at my pal's caravan, a long weekend in Amsterdam AND a long weekend in Berlin! I'm so flash!

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29 March 2013

Dr. Martens and diamantes...

I'm sure I don't need to ask, but is anyone fed up of this perpetual winter yet?! I mean, I'm lucky: we've had a few hairy days but nothing at all compared to the poor folk on Arran and in Western Scotland and North West England who lost their power and everything. That must have been so miserable. However, to return to the utterly superficial (oh, come on, this is a fashion blog), sartorially, all the snow means one thing: it's back to the Dr. Martens!

Dr. Martens boots from schuh
They're cosy, they keep my feet dry and they're a sticky, grippy treat on the ice and snow!

The sunshine in this ensemble comes courtesy of my bargain sale dress from River Island. I love the sunset graphic on it. It should be all wrong - it emphasises my widest parts, both in imagery and cling  but who cares, eh? I hope to sweat it out in it in the clubs of Ibiza this summer, having watched the glorious sunset there, mere hours before! On the beach, with a bottle of wine, ideally.

And how better to further cheer things up than with a splash of diamanté  If ever it's a toss up between the classy and the trashy, I'll always opt for a dash of the latter. It's just more fun.

Diamanté shoulder jumper - Topshop
 And why limit the shimmer to the shoulder, when you can fire on a twinkly necklace too? This necklace was a cheeky wee Primark bargain but, as is so often the case, I see it on someone's neck most days now. Ah well, it still looks good!

Have an ace Easter weekend, whatever you're up to!

18 March 2013

A walk, a burger and signs of spring

Mr Llara and I both totally caned it on the exercise front this weekend (I'm talking I did back to back RPM and Combat both Saturday and Sunday morning - insert smug face here) so, on Sunday afternoon, we felt it only appropriate to stretch our legs with a wee walk and feed our bellies with big burgers!

Mt gym trainers smell heavily of feet...
It chucked it down when we first went out (literally, I had a soggy bum-cheek by the time we got to the pub) but had cheered up super loads by the time we came home, so I stopped for a quick snap of a snowdrop. A sure sign that Spring's trying to, well, spring!

My feet in my EPIC leopard hi tops.
His feet in his perfectly acceptable (but soggy) trainers.
So, when we arrived at the pub, I was most happy to get the soggy coat off and leave it by the radiator to dry. The one bonus of the giant sack-like parka that I was wearing is that it does dry really quickly. I had to make do with parking my damp arse on a seat and hoping it'd dry out...Anyway, all wet bum concerns were forgotten when a nice wee glass of red wine and a H-U-G-E pulled pork burger arrived!

Look at that - what a beast! There was so much meat and the seeded bun was nicely toasted on the inside. Plus, the chips were just the right side of not-quite-burnt-yet and were light and fluffy inside. And look at his burger - two burgers in one bun - and that's just their standard! Both were super tasty. His gherkin got rejected though...

It looks like a slug! Ew! Finally, as we were at Lebowski's bar and they have an extensive White Russian menu, we decided it would be rude not to finish with one each. I went with an amaretto twist...

Well, when at Lebowski's, one really should do as the dude does, shouldn't one?

14 March 2013

Up London town

Well, I guess it's about time I actually put something up here, eh? My time of late has mainly been taken up by selling my worldly belongings (AKA a shit load of shoes) on eBay and, last week, a wee trip down to London. For a mini holiday, NOT work - yay! And hereby, I shareth the experience with you by way of phone photos. Proper good.

We stayed at the Easy Hotel on Old Street. I stayed at one last summer and it was the smallest darn room I've ever been in (and fully bright orange). This time, I went posh and got a 'standard' room'. And look how much space there is! I can't even touch the walls! Granted there's still only ONE hook by way of ANY storage and your feet are in the shower when you pee, but when you plan to spend almost no time in the room and aren't fussy about being a bit rumpled, these things matter not!

jumper: vintage, bag: Cambridge Satchel, necklace: Hannah Zakari
Look at the EPIC Nike this dude in the lobby was wearing. I want them SO bad.
 We were going to see Sigur Ros in the evening and Mr Llara wanted to go to a particular restaurant (more in a mo') near Nottinghill, so we headed up that way and took a potter down Portobello Road.

I want a rainbow house!
I love Scrabble! And, er, international coaches.
I had the faithful New Balance from schuh on my feet the whole time!
Did I mention that I'd like a rainbow coloured house?
I loves me a blossom tree.
This shop had millions of vintage jewels. I wanted the giant Gaultier leopard cuff but didn't dare ask the price.
A blue house would do...
And so to the restaurant. It was the oddest place: The Churchill arms. It was a right old man pub full of random Churchill memorabilia and it claimed it was where Churchill gave his addresses during the war... 

And then you went through a wee archway and came out in the attached Thai restaurant. And it was like some kind of plant filled, fountain adorned, butterfly strewn Nirvana!

And, it had this tremendous picture of the 'woman of the century', the Queen Mum. What a ledge.

The woman of last century being pointed at by the woman of this century. Natch.

Sigur Ros were good. They're more his cup of tea than mine and he loved the gig. So I was happy about that. I'll tell you this though: if you're a single chick, you wanna get yourself along to a Sigur Ros gig cause it was a giant man fest (ok, ok, I called it a sausage fest, when I relayed the info to my pals)! As in a fest of many men, not a fest of giant men - they were all sizes. There was a queue for the boys loos and not the girls. Madness!

The queue outside

I also ate some epicly yummy breakfasts at the Breakfast Club, an ace kitschy, hipster (but nice) diner in Hoxton. One of my favourite bits of it (apart from the food) is the loos - there's a tiny vestibule on the way in with a sign that says "toilets. And world smallest disco" and the lights are down and the music cranked up to ten. I always make a point of making sure no-one's about and stopping for a tiny dance. Then the toilet cubicles themselves are completely wallpapered in kids' TV show wallpaper - He-Man, Fraggle Rock and Strawberry Shortcake - it's like going back and peeing in childhood! I love them!

Pancakes with berries, vanilla cream and maple syrup and a side of bacon. I didn't eat again until about 7pm that day...
Oh deer. Put Llara in a diner with props and she WILL have a good time...
Smoked Salmon and scrambled eggs on thin crusty granary toast - SO good!
Let's round up with some more touristy snaps...

Shoes over a wire over a street in East London!
AWESOME cocktail at Happiness Forgets at Hoxton Square
Either I shrank or that bike is GIANT.
OK, so this is only in Niketown but it made me chortle!
Roll on the next holiday!