Life without limits…

 

It’s done, BOOM!

Half Marathon mission accomplished.

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Team #inspiredbyzahra

 

(See  here for more on why I ran).

The weeks of build-up, training, injuries and fundraising came to a heady finale on a cold and dry Sunday morning when myself and hundreds of other mad runners slogged up a few hills, pounded down yet more hills and just about managed to keep going on the flat!

 

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Spot the numpty?

 

 It was an amazing experience and the first longer distance race I have fully enjoyed (training does actually help!). And I am so thankful for these things;

1.       I achieved my personal goal and finished in 1hr 55 minutes, sub 2hrs and a PB.  This is 6 minutes faster than my last half when I ran 2hrs 1 minute and was so cheesed off at that minute!

2.       I actually enjoyed it! Last time I ran this distance I couldn’t catch my breath on a long hill near the end and had what felt like a panic attack. I had serious beef with this distance!

3.       I didn’t poo myself – not outside the realm of possibility when running long distance after 2 traumatic births!

4.       The amazing ladies Amanda and Sarah whom I ran with. Just wouldn’t have been the same without them and their friendship.

5.       The support of friends and family who came to cheer us on. Seeing familiar and loved faces, smiling and cheering you on means so much. Also random strangers shouting ‘go girl’ and handing out jelly babies, oranges and strangely beer! The atmosphere was great and you are buzzing for hours afterwards.

6.       The generosity of people inspired me. We were running for a local charity ‘Chestnut Tree House’. After this event the current total is over a thousand pounds on our group Just Giving page.

So what’s next I hear you ask!

Well you’re probably not actually, but I’m going to tell you anyway!

 I am thinking of dipping my toe into the unique and exciting sport that is Triathlon. That’s right TRI baby! I’m going to dabble in some lake swimming, a bit of lycra clad cycling (eeek!) and finally some more foot pounding running! It’s a totally new thing for me, so I’m looking forward to being outside of my comfort zone and trying new things.

My non-fiction book for February (see previous blog) was ‘A Life Without Limits’ by Chrissie Wellington.

She is a multiple Ironman World Champion and has set numerous world records as one of the greatest triathletes of all time. Her story is seriously amazing though. She shocks everyone by winning her first World Championship in one of the most gruelling single-day sporting events, as an unknown thirty-year-old from Norfolk.

It is such an inspiring story and I really recommend it, even if you are not into running. She has such a positive attitude and talks a lot about the mind and how we are capable of so much more than we can imagine. She talks about testing the limits;

“For a start there’s the importance of keeping an open mind. The brain is programmed to protect us, and that can mean imposing limits on what it thinks we can or should do. Constantly push at those limits, because the brain can be way too cautious. Not so long ago I would have laughed at you if you had suggested I do an ironman. Imagine if I had allowed that attitude to persist. It is up to each and every one of us to change ‘I can’t’ into ‘I can’.”

Many of us have hopes and dreams, things that we would love to try but are often too scared to try, too scared of failure or scared of what other people will think. Writing was one of those things for me among many others! But one of the things running has taught me is the truth in not accepting your limits.

When I first started 5k felt like a marathon, 10k felt almost unachievable. Then each race, each small goal I realised I could push my body further, 10k under 50 minutes, running 13.1 miles. I also know there is so much more in me, but I don’t really like pain, and that is the battle of the mind that Chrissie talks about. She says we should relish pain as it shows us how hard we are working! She is one of those people that is like ‘PAIN, I laugh in the face of pain’! I’m not sure I’m fully on board with that yet, and that’s why extreme endurance is not so much my bag. But it is so inspiring and who knows if I’m still writing this blog in ten years, who’s to say what new challenges there will be!  

Never imagine anything is impossible and never stop trying new things!

It’s certainly a challenge.

 

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Life Changing Magic? (The KonMari Method of Tidying)

book

Since writing my first blog post about my New Year resolution to read one non-fiction book a month I have noticed two things;

  1. Part of the reason I find non-fiction more challenging to read is that it often requires a response or provokes taking action and quite frankly it’s hard to find the time. It’s not the simple escapism of a good novel, when it’s finished all you need to do is pick your next book. January’s book ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying’ gave me a lot of tidying homework to do! I kept delaying writing this blog so I could finish tidying and report back!
  2. There are so many more people out there interested in tidying than I would ever have imagined!! Reading a newspaper on the weekend Marie Kondo’s book was in their top ten books this week. I have also come across her book on other blogs and quite a few of my friends and family said that they had read her book or were about to. So it is not just me that’s geeking out on this one!

Untidy?

I absolutely loved the premise of the book which is that if you do one good, humongous tidy up you should never have to tidy again. Do it once properly and you won’t have to do it again.

Now I know what you are thinking, this lady is living on cloud cuckoo land, and yes she does talk to her belongings, but her theory makes sense if you give her a chance! Untidy people fall into two categories or often both:

-they have too much stuff

-they don’t put things back after they use them

Discard by category

SO you start with one almighty clear out and you do it all at once, not by room or location but by category in a specific order. The last categories are harder to be ruthless, so you leave them until you have perfected the art!

-clothes

-books

-papers

-miscellaneous

-things with sentimental value (photos, letters etc)

Say clothes for example, you gather all your clothes together, from all around the house and you pick up each item in turn and ask yourself ‘does this give me joy’ or ‘is it useful’? If the answer is no you discard or donate. You then do the same for the rest of the categories.

Everything has its place

Once you have only the possessions left that give you joy or are useful you find a place for everything. Simple storage is the best. Now the idea is if you use something and then put it back in its place, you won’t spend your life tidying.

Magic?

I has taken me a few weeks to go through the house and discard by category. It gave me a bit of a buzz and discarding became a bit addictive. I tried to disperse my donations among various charity shops so I didn’t seem like a crazy lady! I also had to reign myself in with my husbands and daughter’s possessions as they wouldn’t have thanked me for it! For a while if I picked something up my eldest would look at me with a panicky look and beg ‘don’t give it away mummy’!

The feeling of having less stuff is liberating and it is definitely easier to keep the house tidy with less stuff in it. The hardest part was sorting out things that weren’t my own. For example my daughter’s mountain of stuffed toys definitely does not give me joy but they do give the girls joy. Also I was discarding a load of photos and my husband caught me sorting them. He got all soppy looking through them and has stashed a pile in his bedside drawer!

Putting things back after you use them is simple if it’s just me but try telling the girls that! For example yesterday afternoon they were playing libraries and this mainly consisted of emptying a whole bookshelf and stacking them under the table! Bless them it took them so long to put them all back! I think like with anything you have to find a balance. Your home has to feel liveable for you. Perfection is not the aim, but instead having more time to focus on the things that are important.

I found it a really interesting book and surprisingly easy to read. Some of it I think you can take with a pinch of salt, for example believing your possessions have feelings! But she has some real gems in there too. Here are a couple of links to other blog posts about the book if you want to read more. And if you give it a go, let me know how you got on?

the simplist

thoughts by Natalie