A few months ago I found a Groupon voucher for an online photography course and after a very kind donation of an old camera from Colin I decided to learn a bit about photography.
Here are some of my favourite photos I have taken so far and edited in Pixlr.
I realise I haven't posted in a while, I can only blame it on laziness and being constantly distracted by new things. So I need to update you on Warrior Run and my nemesis... the quarter pipe (boooo hissssss).
Instead of me rambling on about Warrior Run I shall leave our Go Pro video to do the explaining...
We had a fantastic time and huge thanks to Colin and Ann-Marie for asking me to run with them:)
You may have noticed that the quarter pipe doesn't appear on the video, sadly the microchip corrupted and I lost the last bit of the video which is a huge shame. But on the bright side, I am delighted to say that I conquered my nemesis and made it up the quarter pipe on the first go. Take that nemesis!
Although the video didn't work we did get a couple of pictures, including a rather embarrassing one of me looking super pleased that I did the pipe. Enjoy.
Everyone likes their comfort zone that's why it sounds like such a nice cosy place. But nothing new was ever learned from staying there.
The first mud run I did was Hellrunner, a 14 mile run through Delamere Forest with all natural obstacles like the Bog of Doom and Hills of Hell. Both running and obstacle courses were new to me, I'd never done anything like it before.
I was fine when I registered but the closer it got the more worried I became. It was a mixture of not knowing what to expect, people worrying about me and my over-active imagination thinking through all of the worst possible scenarios.
I was scared. At one point I even emailed Hellrunner HQ asking if I would be ok in the Bog of Doom as I'm only 5 ft 4 and I didn't want to sink in it! They basically replied with - stop asking stupid questions, it'll be fine. It wasn't the warm, reassuring response I had hoped for.
But race day came and after almost missing the last call for our wave we set off and from that moment on I had a fantastic time! There was all kinds of people taking part, the elites who legged it off right away, the outdoorsy types to do this kind of thing every other weekend, groups of friends who signed up after doing a Bootcamp class at the gym, three elderly ladies doing their very first run together and the obligatory crazy guy running in a mankini!
So what I'm trying to say is that what ever you are afraid of doing, you should probably give it a go, seriously, you wont be the only one :)
All the best discoveries are made when you step outside your comfort zone, and the best thing is that as you grow your zone grows with you. There will always be something new to try and new challenges to set yourself and knowing that I will always have the opportunity to surprise myself is a fantastic feeling :)
This weekend I will be back in my favourite city, Brighton, to take on the Warrior Run. It is a 14km run with around 60 obstacles to conquer along the way. The challenges will involve walls, pits, ropes, tunnels and mud... lots and lots of mud!
The other day Warrior Run posted this picture on Facebook as a sneak peak of what's to come...
Yes, that's right, it's a quarter pipe... my nemesis! This is not my first mud run and I have a score to settle with the quarter pipe obstacle.
In 2013 I completed the North West Tough Mudder which was incredibly fun, if anyone is thinking about doing a TM, do it! Seriously, do it, you wont regret it:) I enjoyed the whole day but I was particularly looking forward to Everest , I don't know why but it was the one obstacle I was most excited to try.
It was the second to last obstacle and we had been running for about 4 hours at this point so we were pretty tired anyway, but I was still optimistic and looking forward to giving it a go. We were given a couple of tips by the awesome volunteers at the bottom, mainly, run at it as fast as you can and don't stop until someone catches you. And then our turn was up!
Most of my group made it up after 4/5 attempts... it took me closer to 20! I couldn't believe how much trouble I was having with this obstacle! Try as I might I could not make it far enough up the slope to reach the waiting hands at the top. It was so frustrating!
Conquering Everest takes major grit and teamwork. Everest is coated in mud and grease, a combo that might send you right back from where you came. Suck it up and keep climbing. The view from the top is worth it.
My team mates were fantastic, staying at the top to try and catch me or cheering me on from the sidelines. There was also a lovely volunteer at the bottom who kept encouraging me and let me wipe my muddy hands on his shirt each time I didn't make it (sorry for the ruined shirt!).
I was crying and frustrated and getting weaker and slower but I eventually, somehow, got that extra foot up the ramp and grabbed someone's hand and made it up and over the top. I was so relieved! I cried even more.
So now that I know that Warrior Run is building a quarter pipe I am determined to defeat my nemesis and make it over this obstacle, hopefully with fewer than 20 attempts and with a few less tears:)
I'll let you know how it goes next week... wish me luck!
Here are some of my favourite pics from Tough Mudder.
You cant miss the new This Girl Can adverts out at the moment on social media and tv. The 30 second clips are of women running, swimming, dancing, spinning and generally getting hot, sweaty and dishevelled to the beat of Missy Elliott's Get Ur Freak On.
This Girl Can is here to inspire women to wiggle,
jiggle, move and prove that judgement is a barrier that can be overcome.
It's a celebration of active women up and down the country
who are doing their thing no matter how well they do it,
how they look or even how red their face gets.
I am a huge fan of this campaign by Sport England and the fact that they used real women as the case studies, it really makes it stand out over other 'get active' campaigns. Along with a great choice of music and branding it is instantly recognisable and the message crystal clear.
Sport is wonderful as it releases happy endorphins that give you that oh so fantastic feeling after doing exercise, if not while you are doing it (spin classes!) then definitely afterwards! It is the ultimate cure for the Monday blues.
This campaign aims to show that it doesn't matter what you do as long as you love it. It has lots of examples from cycling on the weekends, open water swimming, netball and even exercises in the lounge with the kids. It can be anything!
I love adrenaline sports and have recently started doing mud runs like Hellrunner and Tough Mudder, but from a glance at me you would never expect it being a small smiley girl with glasses. Its all about finding what makes you feel great, motivated and more you and then going for it:)
Along with the This Girl Can ladies I'd like to share some other women who inspire me as well...
Hazel is one of the world’s best trad rock climbers and was the first woman to climb an E9 route (which basically means really hard and really really scary! Watch her do it here). She grew up in Bristol and learnt to climb with her Dad from a young age, now she travels the world climbing and showing everyone just what small, blonde girls from England can do.
I love this video about her because she talks about how leaving her comfort zone feels just the same as anyone leaving theirs, hers is just higher off the ground! All the best things happen when you leave your comfort zone and find out what you are capable of:)
Alana Blanchard and Bethany Hamilton
Alana and Bethany are friends and pro surfers from Hawaii. I love surfing so these two were on my radar anyway but they both have something extra which stands out to me.
Bethany lost her arm in a shark attack while surfing when she was 13 and despite losing 60% of her blood she overcame the trauma of the attack and not only went on to surf again, she realised her dream of becoming a pro surfer.
She has taken this awful thing that happened to her and turned it into something amazing, along with her friends and family she created the Friends of Bethany Foundation to use her experience to help others. This NGO with Christian values at its heart is dedicated to sharing hope, love and supporting fellow amputees. It also runs the Beautifully Flawed retreat for young women with limb loss. Pretty amazing:)
A few years ago I read an interview with Alana where she spoke about how some people judged her for wearing skimpy bikinis when surfing instead of boardies. But she stood up for herself saying that it was what she was most comfortable in and made her feel confident.
I like this attitude because everyone is different and women should feel free to be who they are without judgement. For me it's eyeliner and I no longer worry about wearing it to the gym, while camping or on mud runs. It makes me feel more confident and that's all that matters.
Whether you get the confidence boost from bikinis or boardies, lipstick or lycra, or joggers and a jumper just be you:)
Last year Tegan won a touring bike (and she named it Charlie!) in a competition and took it on a month long adventure cycling from Bristol to Spain. And she has written the most amazing blog about it! Seriously you should go check it out right now.
Her adventures with Charlie are hilarious and brilliant and will make you want to go on a cycling tour of your own. It is great to see a girl set off on her own adventure and write/draw in such an engaging and funny way.
Now that her Spanish adventure is over she has persuaded her whole family to join her on a year long bike tour all the way up through Africa! How exciting is that?!
I'd never heard of American Ninja Warrior before but I pretty much watched this video on repeat for a whole day!
Kacy Catanzaro absolutely destroys this course, completing every obstacle and making it look easy and graceful. In doing so she became the first woman in the shows history to complete the course and make it to the finals.
If this isn't fitspiration I don't know what is. Enjoy.
The Microadventure is a concept thought up by professional adventurer (how cool is that job!) Alastair Humphreys. His idea is to encourage everyone to go on their own adventure and prove that there really isn't anything stopping you.
We all know that time, money, life can get in the way of living some of your wilder day dreams but who says that you need to travel half way across the world and spend lots of money to have an adventure?
Once the clock strikes 5pm set of on your microadventure, get on your bike, catch a train or hop in your car and go somewhere new. Set up camp and settle in with a cup of tea (gin is optional) and a good book. Cosy up for the night and wake up with the sun. The only rule is to leave your camping area as you found it.
Go on, say yes, go sleep on a hill, watch the stars, wake up early and cook breakfast watching the sunrise. You wont regret it:)
A Bit of Inspiration...
My sister and I went on a microadventure in 2013 which we called 'Wild Camper to Respectable Wedding Guest' (nice and catchy don't you think?). We got a train to the Peak District, wild camped on the summer solstice (... it rained) then got a train to Yorkshire, had a quick shower and turned ourselves into respectable looking guests at our cousins wedding.
All in all a fantastic weekend, despite being woken up at 2 am when our tree branch roof turned out to not be at all waterproof!
We made a little video, enjoy