Goals 2018

This year I’m keeping it simple and hopefully effective!

1. Eat veg with every meal.

If you asked me, I would say ‘yes, I eat 5 a day’. But truthfully I don’t think that I do. Not every day. It’s quite possible to have eggs or toast for breakfast, a tuna sandwich for lunch and a ready meal say a lentil curry with rice for dinner. No veg there! So simple task, fruit or veg with every meal. That should get me much nearer the 5a day, every day.

10,000 steps.

Again, I would have thought that I did 10,000 steps per day. Hubs got me a fit bit for Christmas. I had one before, a clip on one but I lost it. I’ve always avoided the wrist ones because we have a ‘bare below the elbows’ policy at work so I can’t wear it. However, hubs being the innovative person he is he bought me a large one so that I could wear it around my ankle. Ok I look like I’m wearing a prison tag, but as I usually wear trousers it’s not noticable!

I was going to insert a picture of my ankle with said tag, but it’s too ghastly!

So it turns out that my usual step count is about 8,500.  When I was running a mile per day (average) that would have taken it up to 10,000. So my plan is to get up to at least 10,000 steps per day, walking or running doesn’t matter.

Continue the good habits developed last year.


Getting 8 hours sleep per night (hot flushes permitting!)

Resisting the temptation to take on too much work! Seriously, I’m a recovering workaholic!

Maintaining my mindfulness and Buddhist practice.

Having a social life, with people I like doing the things I like.

Doing some writing.

And that’s it! Simple!

Happy new year to everyone. I hope that you too have meaningful and achievable goals!


Posted in running | 13 Comments

Rainy day run

With Christmas out of the way I now get my reward- a day to myself! So what’s on the agenda? A little run of course! I haven’t been running for weeks so I’m a bit apprehensive. It feels cold, I can hear rain spattering on the window and I know  that I’m carrying an extra stone in weight compared to last year.


Fortunately I do have some goretex ‘windstopper’ tights which I pop on now, a long sleeved tee and my trusty old goretex cagoule. I feel cold in the house, but I know that I will provide my own heat once I get going. I start off with a downhill run.

Before long I’m absorbed in the beauty of the world around me. Rainbows, clouds, colour. Raindrops on the twigs of hawthorn sparking more beautifully than any artificially lit Christmas tree. Sadly despite my best efforts my camera phone does not replicate what my eyes can see! And the rainbows, cheekily appearing in the less scenic parts of the run! 4 in all!

What with all the stopping to take pictures and a bit of walking uphill I did three miles in an hour. Not amazing but it’s a start!


Posted in balance, fitness, fun, garmin, gore mythos running tights, habits, hills, holidays, low intensity, middle aged women, positive mental attitude, running, slow run, walking, weight loss, work life balence, working mum | 16 Comments

End of year reflection.

In the past I have raised the question, why wait until new year to start a resolution, why wait until the end of the year to reflect? Now I realise that the answer is simple, it’s because these events, holidays that come at the same time every year give us an anchor for our memories. Whether or not we keep a journal or a blog, we can manage without it at times like Christmas or birthdays (or whatever festivals occur in your society) because our memory will fix certain dates and events.

This time last year I had taken annual leave to prepare for Christmas, and I remember how disappointed I was to be ill! I had a horrible chest infection and spent 4days in bed coughing and feeling miserable because what I had hoped for was to get some lovely daylight running miles under my belt! I’m actually sitting in the same bed in the same room, which I suppose brings the memory back but this year I’m grateful to be well and just in bed because it’s warm and comfortable!

2017 hasn’t been a good running year for me though.

IMG_0446Less than 200 miles total and almost no running through the autumn and winter! In the previous 4 years I have averaged out at about a mile per day. Not much, but in all honesty not bad at all for a previously unfit un sporty non running woman!

So is/has running been good for me?

Certainly it has helped me to maintain a healthier body weight and lower body fat percentage. In the last 3-4 months with less running, I have regained quite a few unwanted pounds and along with them a few aches and pains which had disappeared with the weight, oh and the night time reflux.

I’m less sure about about the link between mental health and running. Regular readers of my blog will know that I have had some issues over the last year or so with stress/depression/anxiety. Coincidentally over the last few months I have finally started to feel more like my old self. Just a recognition that sometimes I feel quite content. Dare I say it, happy? For no good reason, just that my underlying mood is one of happiness rather than sadness, anger or anxiety? Also, I have regained my ability to disconnect myself from emotion – in a good way. When people tell you about things that upset them, it’s about being able to acknowledge and understand what they are feeling, but without getting caught up in the emotion yourself.

On review though, I can see that my issues with stress started when I increased my mileage, trying to train for a marathon, and have finally resolved at a time when I’m not running much at all. Does this mean that running is bad for my mental health?

Well I think there’s a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation going on there in that actually I might have increased my running for the ‘wrong’ reasons – a sign that my mental /emotional health was deteriorating.

Over the last year I have done an awful lot of exploration into issues about mental health, positive psychology and so on. I have read a lot, thought a lot, talked with friends and spent quite a bit of time practicing mindfulness meditation and chanting. What have I learned?

I have come to realise how much my sense of self worth has been tied up in achievement. The external recognition isn’t necessarily important (although it helps) but deep down inside there is a part of me that is always on the lookout for evidence for things in which I am ‘better’ in some way. I realised how ingrained this is when one day I was chanting with a group of Buddhist friends and I found myself counting how many ‘Nam my ho renge kyo’s’ I could do without taking a breath, comparing it with everyone else and feeling quite pleased with myself because I could do more……… seriously, what is that about?

In light if this it is easy to see how I got hooked on running- how great it felt to do something that I never thought that I would be able to do and to see the improvements – which come easily in the early days. At the same time I was able to accept that this was something in which I couldn’t compete with other people-  although I could compete with myself!  I wanted to be ‘better’ than I was last week, Last month, last year. I went to park run and noted with amusement what it was like  to be someone who was always at the back, no chance of being a ‘winner’. There wasn’t anything else that  I voluntarily did in life where I didn’t want to be one of the elite.

But even competing and comparing yourself with yourself can be dangerous. I wanted to do better, run further, run faster and when I didn’t  achieve this I criticised myself.

There were good runs. The days where I enjoyed just being outside. Fresh air and freedom and occasionally the pleasure of getting into a steady paced run. The occasional endorphin rush on the treadmill, singing along to my favourite music. Now I’m not running, that is where the nostalgia is. In the good runs. Even in some of the rain lashed dark runs, the late night frosty runs there have been good moments just because they were good moments.

I suspect that achievement is like food. We all need food, we all need a sense of self esteem and achievement. But in the same way that some people have a bad relationship with food and can’t recognise when they are eating for the ‘wrong’ reasons, so it is with achievement: it is possible to greedily consume it, without savouring the pleasure, without realising it is doing you more harm than good. In the same way that you can’t just give up food, you can’t give up achievement, you need it on a certain level in a certain way to keep you healthy and happy. You can’t just cut it out of your life, you need to rebuild that relationship into a healthy one.

So moving on from this, what comes next?

Yes, I will be running, but it will be for fun and fitness. I will still want to set goals and achieve them, but I want the feeling to be ‘I enjoyed that’ rather than ‘job done, tick the box, what’s next?’. It will be difficult, because sometimes you have to push yourself to make progress, to be able to get the genuine, intrinsic enjoyment factor. So the skill will be in recognising a pleasurable ‘push’ from a ‘drive’ where the motivation is fuelled by anger or insecurity.

Similarly in life, I’m trying to work out what I genuinely enjoy doing for its own sake. Which achievements are the gentle push of stretching my abilities, which are driven by the need to ‘prove’ myself, to purely boost my ego.

This has been a very candid blog. I sometimes worry that I over share, that I leave myself vulnerable by revealing what I think. Unusually for me I have sat on this post for a few days trying to decide whether to share it, so why do it?  Because some of you readers are my blogging friends, who understand, who give me support who may have been through similar things. To you I am giving back, sharing my trust. Thank you! Some people will find solace from reading this because maybe they are alone and it helps to know that someone out there is in the same boat. To you, you are welcome, I hope that it helps. Some people are blog voyeurs -you know what I mean – well, knock yourself out!

I pinched the image below from ‘who are you really, the surprising puzzle of personality’ by Brian Little. An interesting book which explains how what we choose to do in life interacts with our inborn personality traits. I like the book and I particularly liked this image!

IMG_0449Happy Solstice to you all!  If you are in the northern hemisphere like me, yay, it gets better from here for the next 3 months at least! If you are in the south, enjoy your long summer day!

Posted in balance, blogging, book reviews, change, fitness, middle aged women, Motivation, positive mental attitude, running, Stress | 22 Comments

Catch up!

1130BBDE-8763-4EF9-956F-B6B314DAFD2EHere’s a picture of Friday’s lovely sunset to tantalise your eyes! Otherwise I don’t have much to say, particularly about running and fitness!

But this road isn’t far from our new home and I’m looking forwards to running down it at sunrise in the future! We will probably be moving there mid January.

Building a house, even if you aren’t physically doing it is time consuming and demanding- it’s like having an extra job! It takes up all your evenings, weekends and conversation. We have been so busy-This weekend I made it to the hairdresser for the first time since April!

however, enough is enough. The end is in sight and I’m looking forwards to living in our new home instead of thinking about it!

So what will life be like?

For the last year I have taken Friday afternoons off in return for working a couple of 10 hour days. I’ve used the time for site visits but I am hoping that in future I will devote that time to my health and fitness and not be tempted to take on more responsibility at work.

I’ve made a start this weekend with my diet. Over the last few months we have slowly slipped into more ready meals, take aways, and for me sugary snacks. Inspired by cee jay I decided to kick the refined sugar. On Sunday I bought and prepped lots of veg, some meat and got the slow cooker out!

I also bought some frozen berries- (much cheaper than fresh) to have with my breakfast yoghurt.

The first 24 hours was fine, but at 5pm tonight the cravings set in whilst I was still at work.  Womanfully I resisted the biscuits and cakes in the office and tucked into a healthy chicken and veg casserole when I got home later! So 2 days down…. and I have prepared some boiled eggs and veg batons for tomorrow as emergency snacks.

Sadly I didn’t squeeze in a run this weekend, but I’m working up to it!!

Just watching the news. Donald Trump is now making inroads on the national parks. Sadly I fear he is going to cause damage that can’t be undone.

And so to bed. Wishing you all a healthy and happy life! Jx

Posted in running | 10 Comments

I run to burn off the crazy  — FIT & FAB MOM

I saw this blog and liked it! It looks like a new blog so I thought that I would share.

Night before my first marathon of 2017, and I am beat, mentally and physically. As I sit here on the couch begging my self to have energy for tomorrow and drinking a gallon of water to keep hydrated, I think about why the heck do I keep signing up for these half marathons. It’s been […]

via I run to burn off the crazy  — FIT & FAB MOM

Posted in running | 1 Comment

The return of the wi-fi!

It isn’t just teenagers who are dependant on wi-fi – 2 weeks without it have shown us how dependant we all are!

Hubs had organised a transfer of phone line for our planned day of house move, but a delay in said move meant that our line here was cut off even though the new line wasn’t installed.

Hubs very bravely tackled BT ( the Brits will know what means). After days on the phone to call centres all around the world, just like a caveman bringing home a woolly mammoth for dinner he finally succeeded in getting us re connected. he has proven himself as the alpha male to our teenage son.

So the blog is back.

What next? Well I’m considering my options. ? Joining crossfit to build up my strength. ? Signing up for a bargain 3 x10k for July, August and September next year, at the Black Friday price of £59. Is this a bargain?( Black Friday hasn’t really caught on in the uk- it’s already being stretched to include the weekend and ‘cyber Monday’)

I’m not sure if there are deluded day dreams or actual possibilities!

The first step is to get out for an actual run this week🤔

I hope that you are all doing better with your running schedules!

Posted in running | 17 Comments


In my part of the world ‘bellyaching’ is a word that describes the action of complaining and being generally miserable. I’ll try to avoid doing that! However I may be coming close when I explain that I haven’t run this weekend due to, well bellyache! Constant epigastric pain to be precise.

Discussions between hubs and I have decided that it may be an ulcer or cholecystitis.  I took some OTC Zantac which may have helped as I’m feeling a bit better now.

Its a shame because it looked like a beautiful day for a run.

So I’m thinking about getting a scan done to see if I have gall stones and hubs has offered to pop a camera down to check my stomach for ulcers.

He asked who I would want to do my op if I needed my gall bladder out, given that as my husband he isn’t allowed to operate on me. He wasn’t impressed when I told him that I would consider a low fat diet as an alternative….

This middle age thing leaves something to be desired on the body front. Wisdom and maturity is great but you simply have to make a priority for health and fitness.  I want to be an active old person in the future!

I’ve even been thinking about joining a cross fit class, in acknowledgement of the importance of strength training in addition to cardiovascular fitness and keeping the weight down.

Only thinking. And watching the you tube video from the local ‘box’.

Posted in running | 22 Comments

Best day of the week for running?

What is your favourite day of the week for running? I know the die hards  will say ‘every day’! Some love Saturday, thanks to parkrun, But for me it has to be Sunday.

Sundays are good because I usually sleep well on Saturday, so I wake up refreshed. If there’s no where to go, I have time for a bit of breakfast and pottering ( aka a bit of a tidy up, get some laundry in) maybe a little read of something and then I’m ready to go.

Today was a beautiful autumnal day. Crisp and bright.



One of the great things about Sunday is the lack of traffic. Most of the shops in the village are shut, so there are hardly any cars and so the village becomes more ‘villagey’ and a much nicer place to run through.

Today I thought that I would run from Wiswell to barrow, then to Whalley and back.

Wiswell to Barrow is a nice downhill mile, but being out of the running habit and fitness for a couple of months I still had to walk for parts of it. When I got to the T junction at Barrow, instead of turning left to Whalley I made the impulsive decision to go off road and take the public footpath which seemed to be heading in the direction of Mitton. Unfortunately there is yet another building site there. In the last few years planning permission has been given for 6,000 homes to be built in the Ribble valley.

I hate to be a ‘NIMBY’ (not in my back yard): after all everyone has the right to make themselves a nice home, but a lot of the building is on the green fields and open spaces that make it such an attractive place to live in the first place!




Anyow it was a lovely little path that brought me out at the far side of Whalley just before Mitton with a reasonably flat run through the village. Needless to say there was a bit of ankle deep mud involved ……..

So 4 miles done. Six hours later and I have aching in my glutes ! Nice to know that they were working!

I was quite cheered this morning to read an article in ‘runners world’ about CEO’s who run marathons. I’m not a CEO, but I do have a moderately intense job, so I wondered about these super achievers. How pleased I was to read this quote


I used to run like that, but felt that it wasn’t ‘right’ not enough frequency and all my runs clustered together.  I used to beat myself up about it. But as I get older and hopefully wiser, I’m starting to understand the value of ‘good enough’  and ‘doing your best’. I’m not a professional athlete, so just doing what I need to do to meet my own needs is just fine thank you!


Posted in balance, fitness, fun, habits, middle aged women, Motivation, positive mental attitude, running, work life balence, working mum | 12 Comments

Fall back in.

Today my husband pushed me out for a run. Obviously he’s had enough of me complaining about my fat belly and possibly dealing with my stressy hissy fits (I don’t care what colour the front door is -you choose!)

I had no excuse – the clocks went back last night so today was effectively a 25 hour day so I couldn’t complain that there wasn’t enough time!


I just made it before the sun went down, just 30 mins.

Posted in running | 17 Comments

It’s all gone to pot (belly)!

Back in April I decided to ditch my low carb diet.  I started it in October 2015. I felt lots of benefits from giving up sugar. Not being hungry all the time. No hypoglycaemic crashes and a pleasing fat loss (5% of my body fat).

Then I read somewhere that low carb diets could cause depression. As I’d been having a few problems with my mood, I decided to eat more carbs. I thought that I already got enough carbs from eating lots of veg, sweet potato and the like but I decided to give it a go, just in case. However, re introducing carbs could have been just brown rice, I’d have got most of my B vitamins there – it didn’t have to be cake did it?

However, cake crept in.

cake is addictive.

At the same time life got busier. currently all our free time is taken up researching bathroom furniture, kitchens, tiles, carpet, light fittings. Every weekend, any annual leave: all those free bits of time get soaked up with house business. And what do you do if you need to discuss your recent tile viewing   (and reward yourself for all that effort)? Pop into a coffee shop for a nice latte and a slice of cake!

There’s no time left for regular exercise, or even the usual shopping for and preparation of  healthy meals. I’ve eaten quite a lot of ready made food recently.

This is the result:


So disappointing  when I worked so hard to lose that weight and I enjoyed being slimmer! I’m back where I was 2years ago. 😖☹️

What to do next?

First of all, don’t panic!

I think that I just have to accept that things are going to be difficult for a little while longer (another 2 months to go until we move).

In the meantime, I’m just going to do what I can, stop the cake and try to get a little bit of walking /running.

I’m already looking forwards to a new start, New house, new running routes! I have a feeling in my water (it’s an idiom, I haven’t got an infection) that 2018 is going to be a good running year.

Is anyone else preparing their New Years resolutions yet?


Posted in balance, change, fitness, habits, healthy diet, middle aged women, Motivation, Nutrition, positive mental attitude, running, Stress, time management, weight loss, work life balence, working mum | 12 Comments