A first DNF

Saturday I had my first ever DNF. 

It wasn’t a spectacularly hard race that mentally challenged me. It was all obstacles I’d done before. 

It wasn’t that I wasn’t physically fit enough. 

It wasn’t because I was injured. 

I was a bit poorly but really it was because mentally my head just wasn’t in it. 

Thoughts of ‘you already have two hats you don’t need another‘ and ‘it’s just a piece of metal on a string‘ combined with being a total hormonal wreck and just not being able to stop crying led to me pulling out after 3 miles. I was ready to pull out a mile in and stupidly I pushed on a bit more. I ended up with my head in a really bad place by the time I did walk back to the car. 

Am I gutted I didn’t do it? No. It wasn’t a race that meant enough to me for me to care. I’ve lost my love of OCR. And truth be told I’ve lost my love for running. I was so relieved to get back get my kit on and snuggle on the back seat and doze until the girlfriend finished. 

I only have two events booked for 2017 at the moment and I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do about those. Both are long distances. 

The rest of this year is going to see me do man v mountain. Could be interesting with my current feelings about running. Then I have a tough mudder, colour run and the rest of the men’s health series. I did have Bournemouth half marathon but I have taken the decision I won’t be doing that (space still for sale). My heart isn’t in running at the moment and that just makes it to hard. I’ve always been an advocate of do what you love. For a long time that was running. But now it’s being in the gym, hanging upside down from a pole and spinning in a hoop. 

What do you do that you love

7 years of blogging!

It occurred to me last week that I have had this blog for over 7 years now.

Officially it turned 7 on the 15th June. Thats pretty mental.

7 years of memories.

7 years of growing up, evolving, changing, adapting.

In 7 years I have:

shared posts about why I so passionately champion the give blood campaign.

written about my grief for friends who departed too soon, friendships that ended too soon, loved ones we have lost

used the blog as an outlet throughout my Open University Degree

opened up about my birth trauma and the slow journey to acceptance and moving on

269898_10150703397605374_8251497_n

written a regular diary throughout my second pregnancy

shared the difficulties of losing weight

PicMonkey Collage

my journey into discovering a love of running from the early days

the highs and lows of my first half marathon

my first marathon

subsequent brighton marathon

wpid-20150412_153942.jpg

injury woes last year

discovering the gym as a way to keep fit

beginning my journey with pole fitness

Gemini

I think one of the biggest things to come out of writing this blog and being part of the parent blogging community though was the fundraising I was part of following the sudden death of Edspire’s beautiful daughter Matilda Mae.

The year she passed away we did a skydive and continued to do them for two years following as well as last year running 24 events to mark the 24 months since she had passed away. The first two years raised over £10,000 for The Lullaby Trust as a combined group of bloggers. And last year I added another £700 on top of that.

PubSkydive7 (copy)

And so – so much more ranging from events to reviews. Reading back over 7 years of posts shows me just how many fantastic events I have been a part of and how many brilliant brands I have worked alongside. I’ve made friends and been inspired by many.

This blog for 7 years has been my space on the internet. Where I have been able to talk about whatever it is that is relevant to my life at the time. The things that matter to me. And hopefully it will continue to be that way for many years to come!

Snapchat vs Insta Stories

I’ve used snapchat on and off for the past few years. I used to have a friend that I spent all day snap chatting. It was pretty much how we talked most of the time. Sending each other stupid pictures and having conversations with them. Then I went off it for a while and recently I came back to it to see what the filters were all about.

Not only filters but I discovered that there were stories. And little stories from magazines and websites such as buzzfeed and Mashable that changed every day. I also love watching the stories of some of my favourite fitspiration like Carly rowena, Cat – Imperfect Matter and Fitcetera.

13925153_10157379778280374_6941378595354814550_n

14054035_10157379778335374_2020573528195252864_n
Filters hiding the bags under my eyes and all the spots!

I also love how depending on where you are in London you get different filters. And how you can make a story of your whole day and save it. Little things like that make all the difference. It’s relevant. Updated daily and always relates to he latest trends and news.

And then recently one morning I woke up to discover Instagram were copying! Mind blowing! Suddenly Instagram was no longer just photos or short videos but now it was also snapchat too.

Now my first Instagram issue at the moment is the fact the time line is no longer a timeline. Like what hell Instagram? I can’t log off for 3 hours then back track to where I last was anymore. It sucks! The new way of doing Instagram is pants. I don’t know what the algorithm is but it was quite telling this morning when after unfollowing about 100+ people last night my timeline was suddenly totally different today! Faces u haven’t seen in weeks suddenly reappeared.

And secondly Instagram stories. So they only last 24hours…. Like snapchat. You can comment on them but it sends it as a private message which personally isn’t a feature I have ever really used on Instagram that much other than with close family and friends! So it just feels a bit weird to comment on someone’s story for it to go as a private message! The filters are just a bit meh!  So you just look rough as hell rather than pretty with a bunch of gold butterflies around your head or like a dog. Literally.

13906719_10157379778175374_3779635781295989550_n

13920705_10157379793150374_5536047566618526164_n
No pretty crown?

Viewer wise though there’s a distinct difference. Now obviously followers on both will make a difference but I have over 1000 followers on Instagram and a lot less on snapchat. When I look at how many people have viewed the snaps a significantly higher amount are viewing the Instagram stories than the snapchat ones but I just prefer snapchat!
So for the time being I think I’m going to primarily stick with snapchat on the most part and occasionally use insta stories if I feel like using them!

What do you think? Snapchat? Insta Stories? Both? None? 

You can follow me on instagram at:

@Simplyhayleyblog

Or on Snapchat at:

hales.g90

(Or if your really into snapchat add me via my snapcode!)
14053959_10157379799895374_8039678821379563693_n

Exercise self consciousness

It occurred to me yesterday that I am incredibly self conscious of people close to me seeing me exercise. Now this is a bit strange seeing as I will quite happily go to classes such as spin, body pump, boot camp etc and workout with strangers and with friends. And I will go to the gym and workout with my few gym buddies quite happily.

It’s also strange because I will often post selfies when I am either post workout or when I am working out. Sometimes il even include a little video although these are usually timelapse do they are so fast you can’t really see the form etc!

But I’ve noticed I have a reluctance to do it around my friends and family and I’m not really sure why!

The first morning of our holiday I did a quick workout in a quiet corner of the cottage whilst my mum was in the shower and the kids were busy playing. And last night I did my circuits when the kids were outside playing with their grandad and my mum was engrossed in a book!

This morning I did a workout in the back patio. Little man was watching me but he’s only 5. He’s not going to comment on what I’m doing. But I knew my dad was in the kitchen and I felt aware of that. And it turned out he took some sneaky pictures without me knowing!

But I think that’s exactly what the issue is. I’m concerned about people commenting. Whether good or bad I guess. I know I don’t take compliments well so they scare me and equally I worry about being told I look awful or what I’m doing isn’t going to work etc and so I don’t want to hear that because I worry it will put me off!

The reality is no one has ever passed comment on anything bad. PTs I’ve worked with have always commented on good form etc so it’s not like I have anything negative to go on. PE at school I always just kept my head down and tried to not get noticed.

Man V mountain training update

So a while ago I mentioned that I was training for man v mountain. We are now into the final third of the training plan so I thought I’d do a little update on how it has gone so far.

Honestly it hasn’t gone great. I’ve struggled to stick to the plan. Being a mum means the final few weeks of school were filled with assemblies, sports days, cake sales etc as well as meetings it was hard to fit the training in around these. That and July saw a few events including Newham 10km, Mens health survival of the fittest and Runstock! I have managed to do a couple of long runs and a few of the hill sessions but I don’t think I have done a single week where I have managed every run on the plan.

I did one hill session out in windsor great park and that worked well although I was self conscious of the people walking past wondering what the heck I was doing! But I’ve since done two in the gym and tbh on the treadmill it was somewhat easier as I had to keep a steady pace. Unless I sneakily hit the button to slow it down!

This plan is to time and that’s been tough mentally as I don’t feel I’ve been going far enough. For runstock last weekend it was the day that I was due to do a 2.5hr run so I ran that and a bit more. In the end I did 18 miles. That feels much better for the length of man f mountain than the 15ish I was at around th 2.5hr mark!

I’m anxious about the race as its one I am doing solo. And it’s more of an ‘adventure’ race so to do it solo feels s bit odd. It’s the sort of thing I’d usually do with someone and instead I’m going to be spending s day pushing myself up Snowdon!

It’s  coming around fast now and I still have things to buy from my kit list! Namely a taped seams raincoat!

Pre Race Sleep!

Anyone who knows me knows I love my sleep. I don’t function at all well without it, to the point that it can have a huge impact on my mental health. Therefore when it comes to racing and training I always make a point to get a decent nights sleep the night before (child dependant!).

For that reason when I’ve gone away for races the past couple of years I have always slept in a hotel rather than camping! Rat Race Dirty Weekend has a brilliant reputation for camping however it doesn’t sound like many people get much sleep! And ahead of a 20 mile 200 obstacle race I couldn’t function like that!

When the RunStock race was announced I decided that being July I was keen to give camping a try! We ended up getting a double air bed which was certainly better than sleeping on the floor or a camp bed. But pillow wise I wish I had taken my own, camping pillows just don’t cut it! The actual campsite though wasn’t a problem, possibly because it was full of families and the way we pitched our tent meant we had cars on two sides, a huge gap on another and one tent the other side so we weren’t on top of anyone else!

Am I camping convert as a result? No absolutely not! I woke up numerous times during the night because I was uncomfortable and I certainly didn’t feel rested. Will most definitely be sticking to my tried and tested method of sleeping in my own bed or in hotels in future!

Race Report: Rat Race Runstock

A couple of months ago Rat Race announced a new event to their listings, a off road running festival! 5km loops with optional ‘fun stops’ for as many as you wanted for maximum of 8 hours! There was also the chance to camp as well.

I decided that seeing as it was going to be late July I was happy to risk the camping option. Not cheap and to be honest a hotel would have been cheaper as you are not only charged for your pitch but per person too, totalled up to over £75 for 2 of us! The campsite was small and seeing as how small it was it felt like the toilets and showers were put quite some distance away but that might have felt worse after I had run😉

Friday night entertainment was in the form of a few comedians, one was funnier than the other and one pushed the line so far that apologies had to be offered due to the young audience members! Once that was over we headed back to our tent to get a good nights rest (well as much as you can on an airbed!)

Saturday morning was nice and leisurely as the course didn’t open until 10am. We arrived down to the event village just as the large group were setting off at 10am, I finished applying suncream and bodyglide before setting out shortly after 10.

My original plan was to maybe see if I could manage 50km and get the gold medal. That plan involved running 3 laps without any fun stops and then the remaining 7 with one fun stop each time. However after my first lap I knew the fun stops were pretty much zero appeal to me as running past them all I had no interest in them.

The training plan for the weekend was 2hrs 30 of running. So plan A was to reach that. That took me to 20km. I then did a lap where I did enjoy a couple of the fun stops, namely the slip n slide, assault course and stunt jump. The inflatables were zero appeal for me, the water section saw people coming out covered in pond weed and I wasn’t feeling the messy tent. The last zone the funfair zone was also unappealing for me. Maybe if your running with friends and family it would be a giggle but alone I just skipped it.

13900243_10157318728890374_2347440326488515752_n

On my lap 4 I had a brief chat with ‘Panda Man’ who ended up being first to the 50km and he went on to do 75km! He said to me always do one more than your comfortable with. My comfort zone was the end of 25km. I was tired my energy was sapping and I was starting to walk more than just the hills. I sat down had a bite to eat and had to mentally push myself HARD to get back out there one last time. But by then I knew the course like the back of my hand and I just kept pushing myself on until I got to the 30.

I knew if I went over 30 I would want to keep pushing until 50 and I wasn’t sure I could manage the 50 in the time I had left which is why I decided to cut the ties at a point I was happy with rather than end up not completing it and being upset. For me it felt right.

13879461_10157318728895374_7067070709519052353_n

When I was done I exchanged my timing chip for a medal, curly whirly, buff and bottle of water before heading back to camp for a much needed shower and nap!

Saturday evening we wandered down to the event village again for the evening entertainment and some dinner. The pizza stall was lovely and tasted amazing! We managed to grab a table in the tent and watched the presentations. I may have been slightly envious of the 9 year old who had done 45km! I wish I was her! And as for the male and female who both did 75km I was just in awe of them! We then spent a couple of hours waiting for the evening entertainment, watching lots of sound checks and not much entertainment. Eventually ‘Avatar’ took to the stage however neither me or the girlfriend were a fan and after 45 minutes of listening to what sounded like the same beat, no breaks just blending one song into another we decided it was time for bed!

Overall it was a lovely weekend, pricey but well organised for a first event as you would expect from a rat race event. Would I go back and do it again? Yes! Would I camp? Maybe/Maybe not, depends on if I was attempting 50km and if I was taking the kids with me!

Great Newham 10k and Family Run

Last weekend bright and early we set off for East London. Parking at Westfield for the day we then had the fun of trying to find our way out and to the Olympic park! Easier said than done! Why can’t they have a big sign saying ‘THIS WAY!’

Eventually though we found it and sat in some of the lovely shady bits whilst I waited for Mark to arrive. The morning was already blisteringly hot and wasn’t giving me much faith for a PB, I’d already pretty much written it off. I know I don’t run well in the heat.

Once Mark called to say he was there and we had located each other we dropped bags at the bag drop which was pretty much an unsupervised one, but free so thats kind of ok! Dashed to the toilets and then squeezed our way into the white wave. Our wave was 2nd and then the 3rd and 4th were set off an hour after us!

We started late and already just stood in the heat I could feel the sweat dripping down my back! They kept announcing for people to take it easy and not chase PBs and stood there I knew I wouldn’t be. I’d run as much as was comfortable I decided.

Once across the line we set off for an out and back past the little fun fair they have constructed before taking in an outer loop of the park, passing the bag drop and toilets before making our way up some lovely bridges! In that heat they felt like hills!

The route headed around the Copper Box arena before taking in some of the lovely (#Sarcasm) east london buildings and decor before returning into the Olympic Park at 5km. We then had a few more out and backs before going around the velodrome. At this point I started to feel a bit queasy from pushing myself in the heat and munched a couple of dextrose tablets and soon I felt alright again. Eventually we made our way back to the stadium and on running through the tunnels, thinking at this point we would then be turning into the olympic track, but NO! Instead they were mean and they sent you off round a track on the outside of the stadium! I could have cried!!!!! But eventually we were running back into the stadium and suddenly around the olympic track! I found a bit of a sprint before realising actually 400m is a long way when you’ve already done 10k! So had to ease off a bit again before reaching the last 100m and going for it! Mark grabbed my hand and dragged me along as we sprinted the last stretch across the finish line. I pretty much collapsed at the side trying to regain my breath before we had a long saunter out of the stadium to find the water and medals! In that heat they really could have done with handing some water out inside the stadium!

13716196_10157254752090374_7902167186467638633_n

The medal was really cool other than it not mentioning the 10k anywhere on it and so I quickly twigged that there was a chance we would get the same medal for the family run!

13707681_10157254752315374_709242293623040082_n

Later that afternoon I lined up with my boys, girlfriend and mum and we set off round the family run, totally unsure of the distance. The website had said 2k, the guy at the start said a mile and the actual distance ended up being 2 miles! It was super hot with next to no shade, alot of kids were struggling in teh heat but we made our way around with Mum and my eldest power walking and youngest alternating between running and being carried on mine of the girlfriends shoulders before they got their turn to run around the olympic track which they were super excited by!

When we finished there was an absolute MEGA queue for the medals and water, something that really could have been organised a lot better but they seemed to lack volunteers. Annoyingly it was the exact same medal I’d got that morning which I have to admit is frustrating and a minus point for me. I like different medals for different events, even if it had been the same medal design and just a different ribbon colour!

Overall it was a good day. Its a novelty to run around the olympic track thats for sure. I think the route could be better planned out though in my opinion. There has to be a way to avoid taking you out of the stadium once you are inside it!

Would I do it again? Probably. Would I do the family run again to get the same medal, less chance but possible. Worth the money? Probably not. Its on the pricey side for a 10k but I suspect they get away with that because of the ‘olympic stadium’ pull!

Mens Health Survival of the Fittest – London – 2016

Its no secret that I LOVE the Mens Health London event. I first did it in 2014 with the lovely Elle and it was pretty much my first ‘proper’ OCR. I did it again last year on a freezing cold November day which saw snow across wembley that morning as we stood unwrapping medals as part of our volunteer shift before running it in the afternoon.

This year it was announced they had moved the event from November to July. I have to admit I did find this quite exciting. Running my favourite event without losing feeling in my toes, fingers and other extremities was quite an exciting prospect!

So that I could run it with my buddy we went in a later wave as he was volunteering for the morning so I rocked up about 12 to the event village, zero queue at registration, not the most helpful of ladies giving out T-shirts, and then proceeded to mark up my ‘headband’ which I have to say is the most annoying thing rat race have ever come up with! I didn’t wear mine and just wrote my number on my arm. Wasn’t fancying a white tan line across my head or round my arm!

I had a wander around the event village whilst I waited for Mark to finish his shift and could tell there just wasn’t the atmosphere there usually is at the November events. I watched a few obstacles for a little while and then Mark arrived and we got set to run. They had a free drop for valuables which involved providing a password and then had to pay £2 for the bag drop which they call unsecure and yet there are people manning it to pay the £2 to!

Our wave set off on time and we were soon facing the familiar obstacles that are a standard part of MHSOTF events such as the hay bales a few metres from the start line! Running around the stadium, up the stairs, down the stairs, up the stairs again! Up the stairs with a cone, down the stairs with a cone!

Then off into the industrial park for a length of running which is most definitely ‘trying to add distance’ part of the race! As usual we went down and through the storm drains which were SO much shallower at this time of year than they are in November! It was like a puddle rather than a wade!

TUNNEL_7608
Having a natter in the storm drain lol!

Then out into some obstacle heavy areas with space hoppers, crawls, bounding onto stiles, over walls, an irish table, breeze block crawls and much more! We then crossed the road back into Wembley car park and hit the final obstacles, containers to clamber up, cargo nets to cross, the jump onto a huge air bag, the water-slide and finally the travelator.

Screaming when you've had laryngitis for the week doesn't work!
Screaming when you’ve had laryngitis for the week doesn’t work!
Again lets not discuss the face LOL!
Again lets not discuss the face LOL!

We got there and there were no queues so I took one look at it and sprinted with the last bits I had left in my legs and surprised myself with getting up it first time! Last time it took me a few attempts and a helping hand, this time I did it completely by myself, was very pleased!

TRAVELLATOR_5496

The goodie bag was sorely disappointing this year and definitely something that has got worse over the past 3 years. The medal was decent enough and the ribbon has London on it so I assume the medal design will be the same for all the events with the ribbon just changing on them!

There was much less of an atmosphere than there usually is at MHSOTF events and I found that side of it quite disappointing but I still loved the course. For me its everything I love, road running and obstacles so its by far one of my favourite events!

‘My way or the high way’

Has anyone else noticed how judgemental people in the fitness world are about people who don’t train the way that they train?

I was reading some instagram posts today on various topics, weight training, pole fitness etc and the key theme that often came up was the opinion that people believe their way is right and they aren’t prepared to hear anything different. I’ve noticed this comes down to trainers as well as individuals. They will explain all the reasons why any other form of exercise is the worst possible thing someone could do because their way is the only way forward! Why can’t people just accept that everyone trains in a different way? What works for some doesn’t work for others? What some people like others don’t like? Its like marmite, you love something or you hate it.

For me I hate anything like yoga thats calming and you need to lie still and ‘calm’ your mind with because I can’t do that, thats not me. But I love going all out hard in a spin class. Equally the idea of being in a small more ‘masculine’ weights gym terrifies me, I’m much more comfortable somewhere big where I feel invisable!

I admire crossfit participants I don’t feel it is something that would work for me personally but that doesnt mean I shout about that being ‘wrong’ to people who do crossfit, infact I’m usually found admiring their physique and strength, like the lovely Georgina who looks absolutely stunning and can lift some awesome weights!

Some people only cycle, run, walk, dance, swim, row, play a sport etc. They don’t do anything other than that because they believe that is what works best for them, or because that is what they enjoy. Theres no way you’d catch me  running around a hockey pitch or in a rowing boat but that doesn’t mean I think thats wrong.

So why is it the fitness industry in general can’t just accept that what is ‘best’ is different for everyone?