Race Report : Mens Health Survival of the Fittest Edinburgh

This weekend we flew all the way up to Edinburgh from Stansted so I could take on the penultimate MHSOTF. Having already done London, Cardiff and Nottingham I had a good idea what was coming in terms of obstacles. But the hills took me by surprise! That and the steps! So many damn steps! I don’t think we ran on flat for more than a few hundred yards!

This event is definitely the most city centre based race of the series so far and as a result they couldn’t fit anything huge in. The travelator was only two lanes rather than three this time. The air jump being based along the royal mile was cool as it meant it had lots of spectators. We took in some amazing scenery along the way and I got to see bits of Edinburgh I have never seen before and a few familiar sights from when I did the marathon.

Check out the video to see some of what I took on!


And finally next week it will be Manchester!

Race Report : Mens Health SOTF Nottingham

Anyone who knows me knows that I love the Mens Health series of events. Road running plus obstacles! My favourite! Last weekend I took on Nottingham  Mens Health, I hadn’t done it before and this time unlike Cardiff I hadn’t checked out any videos for any clues as to what was in store! So it was all a complete surprise. I stayed in Nottingham the night before and had just a 10 minute walk to the event village. It was a crisp morning and I had originally planned to run in vest and shorts but whilst waiting around in the event village popped on my base layer! I am torn if I actually needed it or not, at times I was too hot and could have done without it but the few times there were queues it was beneficial.

Running alone didn’t bother me. I’m super chatty to strangers anyway so nattered to loads of people around the course and met some fellow Muddy Race runners too as I had my vest on.

The course itself had quite a few LONG sections of running which was quite frustrating as it meant the obstacles were all grouped together. We had the usual fun obstacles including the airbag jump and the water slide as well as the travelator which this time took two attempts and a helping hand from a marshall to get up! My legs just didn’t have anything left for that final push!

We also took in the steps of Nottingham Forests football stadium, how fun when you’ve already done 8km! NOT! And we ran around the Water Sports Centre but unfortunately were unable to do any water obstacles here due to water testing that week.

I won’t babble on too much as this time I video’d it and so I shall let the video do the talking.

Fitness Rockstars!

A few weeks ago an opportunity came up to work with Julia Buckley and her online gym. She has set up a group of Fitness Rockstars. But what are Rockstars I hear you ask, well:

The Fitness Rockstars are a collective of people with a mission to make the world a healthier, happier place.

We’re not professional athletes, or even what many would consider typical “fitness people”, but we all appreciate the privilege of having the ability to move our bodies and we’ve all experienced having our worlds rocked by the astounding difference fitness and health has made to our lives.

Neither are we celebrities, or in a position to spread our message to millions of people, but if something we post can help light the fuse that helps anyone to discover myriad of amazing benefits of doing what takes to be fit and strong which ripple out into all areas of life, then we’ll feel like stars for sure.

To help the fitness rockstars get to know each other and so that we can all find out a bit more about it each other Julia set us a little interview, heres mine!

1. For me, fitness is all about: Keeping me mentally sane. Staying active has huge benefits to my mental health, as I wrote about recently here. I get those feel good hormones when I do a workout, and the positive effects stay with me throughout the day. 

2. I get most excited to do my workout when: it involves pole! I love my pole workouts, seeing the progression I make, learning new moves. I was never good at any kind of sports but pole is something where I see myself improving and it makes me want to push myself harder in the gym because I know the results will pay off in my pole skills. 

3. When a workout really pushes me to my limit, I think to myself: ‘Thats going to hurt tomorrow’ – I am the sort of person that gets DOMS in a major way. I’ve learnt ways to try and improve them such as making sure I do stretch well and foam roller straight after a workout as well as taking on protein but sometimes those DOMS do still occur!

4. I’m most likely to skip my workout if: I haven’t had enough sleep. I need sleep. I can’t cope without it. Luckily for me I have a son who thinks 3.30 is a great time to start the day sometimes. Those occasional days are days I might skip a workout but its rare for me. I’m more likely to have a nap and then do the workout!

5. In a group fitness session I’ll be the one who: Is rolling their eyes when the instructor gives a extreme move! Like the other week when doing pump and at the end of the tricep track our instructor said their were 16 dips. My arms could have cried!

6. The item of exercise equipment I’d most hate to go without is: Now thats quite a tough one! My immediate thought is a pole! But its not very conventional. Aside from that I would go with my exercise ball as it can be used in so many ways, especially for abs.

7. The last thing I usually do before starting my workout is: Take a selfie? Hehe! Ok not always! But if you follow my snapchat chances are there could be a selfie there! But the one thing I do always do is checkout my plan. I normally have them typed up on my phone notes so I know whats coming.

8. My top 5 workout music tracks are: I actually rarely listen to music when I exercise so this ones quite hard. Because I do alot of strength work in the gym I just find the cord gets in my way! Maybe I should invest in wireless headphones! My tracks however would be as follows:
John Newman – Not giving in (One of my favourite running tracks!)
Mint Royale – Singing in the rain,
Bastille – Wild World,
Justin Timberlake – Can’t stop the feeling,
Fallout Boy – Immortals.
A bit of a random selection hehe!

9. If I start feeling meh about fitness I give myself a boost by: doing something different. This is where pole came from. I was getting fed up with the same old workouts, I get bored of routines VERY quickly and so pole filled that gap!

10. The most important thing I’ve learned about fitness in the last year is: don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone has a different ability and is at a different place. We all have different diets and sleep hours, different workouts. Nothing is the same so comparing yourself to that skinny girl in the gym is worthless. She might just have a fast metabolism. Or she might have worked her absolute butt off to get where she is now. 

If you want to find out about more of my fellow rockstars search the hashtag #FitnessRockstars on instagram/twitter/facebook and you will be able to find some of the other inspiring women!

*This post contains affiliate links*

Sport, Exercise + Mental Health

Today is World Mental Health day, as recognised by the World Health Organisation. October 10th. The same day every single year.

Any long term readers may remember me discussing my own battles in the past. But for those who don’t know I myself have had quite a rocky time when it comes to mental health issues. Luckily I am incredibly self aware and have secured a good support system around me and learnt my triggers and what I need to do to remain healthy.

One of the things that for me is incredibly important is exercise. I discovered running almost 4 years ago. I started out being unable to even run 3km without stopping and slowly but surely I built up my distance and the time and before long I was running 10km, then a half marathon and then even a marathon. Running gave me an outlet for my emotions.

When I got injured last year being unable to run left me feeling incredibly frustrated and lost, I felt I had lost a part of me. And so I stepped foot in a gym and started to overcome my fears of them! Starting out with just a few classes and then getting to know the gym floor itself I was soon hooked. Able to do low impact exercises that were better for me than running was at the time I was happy!

For me my time at the gym or out running is my self care. It does me the world of good and I feel so much better for doing it! Knowing I’ve worked my body and pushed myself, given my mind something else to focus on. I feel refreshed when I’m done.

The difficulty with Depression and Anxiety as well as other MH conditions is that they try to put barriers up to stop you doing these things. Depression wants you to stay in bed all day. Anxiety doesn’t want to be in a room full of people or looked at. But we have to push those things out of our heads and take baby steps. An induction at the gym, asking a friend to go for a run with you, or trying a class for the first time and sitting at the back. They are all a great starting point! It won’t all happen at once but overtime it will start to feel easier!


If you arent one of those 1 in 6 then bare in mind that could be someone in your office. Or someone standing next to you at the school gate. That could be one of your family. A lot of people still do not share openly their struggles with mental health difficulties as it remains a taboo. This year the theme for WMHD is psychological first aid and the support people can provide to those in distress. Check out some of the resources provided by the Mental Health Foundation.

It has become such a recognised thing that exercise can have a positive impact on mental health that Run England now have Mental Health Ambassadors to help “support people who are experiencing mental health problems to start running, get back into running, or continue running as well as to improve the mental wellbeing of their existing members“. If you want to find out more click here.
Some other important links to mental health charities who may be able to help if your going through a tough time include:

Other bloggers have also written about how exercise has helped them.
How many miles
The Style Dynamo


Doing an OCR Solo when your not an elite runner!

So I’ve been doing OCRs pretty much 2 years to the day now. And I have ALWAYS done them with friends. Be that close friends or friends I have simply arranged to meet up with through facebook groups etc and we have run on the day together and a friendship has developed. I’m generally not the most confident at some obstacles and I certainly lack the strength and technique to conquer many!

But this year I have a Rat Race Season Pass. And I LOVE the Mens Health event in London so I decided I would take on the whole Mens Health series! This year London was back in July when it was lovely and hot! And so the first of the ‘normal’ Mens Health series of events was in Cardiff two weeks ago. Typically it fell on a day after I had done Tough Mudder! Not really ideal but there you go! I made sure I stretched loads after Tough Mudder and I think it helped quite a bit!

On the Sunday I woke up and didn’t feel too stiff for someone who had done 11 miles the previous day! My wave was the 12.30 wave, one of the last. So we had a leisurely breakfast and then made our way to Cardiff city centre for the race. The car park recommended by Rat Race was easy to find. Registration was a breeze. The event village was quite compact at this event, I’m guessing due to what they were and weren’t allowed to use! It did get quite busy but not unmanageably so.

The first obstacle was as always the haybales 50m from the start and then we got a bonus lorry to climb through. After that we set off through the streets of Cardiff before coming to the first few obstacles, a wall, some monkey bars and a pool of water. We then went up and over a long bridge before taking in some riverside views as we headed to the White Water Centre. I have to admit I was anxious about this. Alone and without someone to pep talk me I had to make myself face my fears and get in that water! Once secured into my life jacket and with helmet firmly in place I waded out into the water to be taken downstream by the current. It was actually quite fun, I didn’t go under at any point and in fact at one stage I got stuck in the current and kept missing the gap to go down! The ending is the hardest where they say swim left and the current takes you forward! Thankfully a boat is there to catch you!

After the water section we went off into a park/green area where a few of the smaller obstacles were dotted around. Balance beams, cargo net crawls etc. Around this time they decided to take us to what must have been the highest point in Cardiff! I may have felt quite smug with my roclites as they offered a good amount of grip compared to those in road shoes sliding down the hill!

It was then BACK over the super long bridge for the last obstacle heavy sections. The giant water slide, the gym balls to crawl through, air bag jump, walls, travelators etc were all there.

The course clocked around 14km in the end and I have to admit I really liked it, other than one bug bear. At the end of the course, when you’ve already done like 12km there were a few out and back sections along the wharf which just seemed pointless. There was no need to add in extra distance like that when you’d already covered over 10km.

Aside from that I had a really good time running alone. I pushed myself more than I thought I would and conquered obstacles I’d quite often have a freak out at. I’m the kind of person not afraid to ask for help so I was more than happy getting to walls and asking for a hand, it did surprise me how many people looked shocked at my question though as OCR is usually so friendly but I eventually found people to give me a boost when needed.

Enough of a challenge that its not boring but still good fun for those who are new to OCR and want to give things a try!