The Liebster Award 2016

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award 2016 is an award that exists only on the internet, and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. The earliest case of the award goes as far back as 2011. Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. The Global Aussie, Official Rules of the Liebster Award 2016

I was nominated by the lovely Andreea from Penny Plain Fit. Penny Plain Fit is a blog run by Andreea and Alin, whose incredible weight-loss journey has sparked a love of fitness and nutrition. Their blog is full of great tips, useful information, and brilliant race recaps (the most recent being the London Marathon!). If you need some inspiration, this is a blog for you!

10 Questions from Andreea

1. What’s one of the most weird things about you? My answer would be that I can’t straighten one of my fingers – and I have no idea why! I also asked my Mum to answer this, as she’s brilliantly, brutally honest: ‘Dad thinks I’m mean, but you have long skinny fingers and toes like a tree frog!’ Thanks, Mum 😉

2. Latest amazing discovery? No-tie laces from the Friendly Swede! Trust me, after a long run, being able to pull your shoes off in seconds without faffing with knots is SO GOOD.

3. Do you have any phobias? I wouldn’t say I have any phobias, but I don’t like the dark very much – especially after a scary film!

4. Last book that you read and you would recommend? I’d have to pick a book I’ve recently re-read: A life without limits, by Chrissie Wellington. Go grab a copy.

5. Did you have any song on repeat lately? Cheap Thrills – Sia.

6. If you could have one super power what would that be? I would love to be able to fly!

7. Cats or dogs? Cats. I love cats. I’m allergic, but it’s worth it.

8. How would you describe the perfect holiday? Somewhere beautiful, with lots to explore; like Iceland, or the Scottish Highlands, or Latin America. Plenty of hiking and lovely landscapes to photograph.

9. What’s your favourite way of exercising? I’m a runner, but I also love cycling and swimming. I used to surf when I lived in Devon, which I loooved, but I’m too far from the coast now.

10. Last thing you did that made you proud? I got a new PB at Barcelona Marathon last month!

Favourite Blog nominees!

I have so many blogs that I love, so I’m going to list a few that you’ve definitely got to check out 😉 I used Bloglovin for follower numbers.

AnnaAnna the Apple. A healthy mix of running, apples, and cake. Go and check out her Boston Marathon recap!
FionaScallywag Sprints. Blunt, entertaining and super interesting posts on sport, fitness, body image and realistic healthy living.
LucyLucy Lunges. A talented triathlete, blogging about fitness and healthy living. Currently training for her first half-ironman.
AutumnTiny Runner. A brilliant runner who loves racing and training across road, fell, trail, relays and cross country.
Cathyrunslikeadog. A hilarious blog all about running, cycling and swimming as she trains for her first ironman.

10 questions for my nominees:

1. Is there a sport you’d love to try, but haven’t yet? What is it and why?
2. Where did you go on your last holiday?
3. Who inspires you the most?
4. Why do you blog?
5. What’s number 1 on your bucket list?
6. What’s your happiest memory?
7. If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be?
8. Road or trail?
9. What’s your dream job?
10. What was your favourite race/event?

The Rules

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Images can be found at The Global Aussie.)

3. For the 2016 Liebster Award, write a 150-300 word post about your favourite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog, provide links.

4. Provide 10 random facts about yourself as provided by your nominator’s 10 Questions.

5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 200 followers.

6. List these rules in your post. Once you have written and published your post, you then have to:

7. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link for them to your post or The Global Aussie if you don’t have all the information so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!).

Advertisements

5 things to consider when picking your goal marathon

5 things to consider when picking your goal marathon

If you’ve been reading my blog for any time at all, you’ll know that I’ve been chasing that elusive sub-5 marathon for a wee while now. Whilst I came seriously close in Barcelona this year (and managed to bag myself a shiny 11-minute PB of 5h05!), I’ve learned the hard way that when chasing a time goal, your choice of marathon is almost as important as the training you put in!

If you’re looking for a goal marathon race, here are a few things that you might want to consider before you sign up:

1 What time of year will it be?

Do you like running in warmer weather, or does the heat sap your energy? Work out your personal preference, and plan accordingly. Personally, I find running in the heat quite hard; so whilst a late spring marathon allows me to train through the cooler winter months (which I find much easier!), race day is almost guaranteed to be hotter than what I’ve prepared for.

2 Where will you run?

Whilst a marathon-slash-holiday to Thailand or China or another equally exotic destination might sound like a fab idea, can you replicate the conditions in training? Consider the weather and the climate for the time of year you’ll be running. You don’t want to get caught out in monsoon season, high humidity, gale-force winds or blizzards! 😉 (Some of those may be less likely than others 😀 ).

3 What’s the course profile like?

The main question is generally ‘how hilly is it’? And whilst that’s a pretty important point, there are other things to look at, too. For example, are there any sharp turns that might cause bottlenecks? What’s the terrain like? (I’m not just talking tarmac vs. off-road here. Even road races can have unexpected obstacles – like the cobbles in Rome, for example!)

4 How busy is the race expected to be?

I’ve always opted for bigger events, as I’m on the slower end of the spectrum and prefer to have some company in the latter stages! But it has to be said, large-scale events have their good and bad points. The atmosphere is definitely better with more runners, as there tends to be more crowd support; but more runners can mean a lot of crowding, especially in the earlier miles and around the aid stations. 26.2 (or more) miles of dodging and weaving isn’t ideal when you’ve got a time limit in mind!

5 What’s the race start time?

As a general rule, European races have a pretty standard start time of around 8h30/9h00, whilst American races and those in hot countries (UAE, Thailand, etc.) can start quite a bit earlier; but there are plenty of exceptions. In Paris last year, I was quite surprised to find that my wave wasn’t due to cross the start line until well after 10am! More extreme examples are events like the Midnight Sun Marathon (Tromso, Norway) and Bilbao Night Marathon (Spain), which both have pretty unusual start times! Always check the event website carefully before you register.

– – –

Which events are on your list? What do you consider when picking them?

Handy tips for goal-setting and staying motivated!

This weekend was a bit of a special one, as Dad laced up his running shoes and joined me for his first run since his heart operation last year. We headed out into the cold and the drizzle (standard Devon) on Sunday afternoon, and managed a whole mile – up a couple of nasty hills, too! And all after a hilly 3.5-mile country walk the day before. What a legend! We’re already planning some autumn races, and Dad’s got some ambitious time goals – which my brother (bit of a fitness guru!) will be helping him to train for.

My parents have always inspired me to dream big and push myself, and seeing how far my Dad has come in the past few months really shows just how much you can achieve if you’re determined enough.

Devon Walk and Run with Dad

My lovely Dad – and a successful mile 1! Onwards and upwards from here!

It brought to mind a motivational talk I attended last month, which was all about goal setting and motivational techniques. Pretty fitting for a marathon runner, eh? 😉

The speaker – Marcus Child – raised some very interesting points, so I thought I’d share a couple with you. If you’ve got a goal or an aspiration in mind, or want a little inspiration, read on!

When you’re working towards something for weeks, months, even years on end, it’s easy to lose sight of where you’re going. For me, it’s marathon training – months of solo runs in the cold and the dark, and constant thoughts of ‘why are you doing this to yourself again!?’

To keep yourself on track over a long period of time, it’s important to keep your goal in the front of your mind. To remember why you’re doing what you’re doing – what you want to achieve, and why you want to achieve it. And the best way to do that is to visualise it.

In order to achieve big, scary goals, you need to convince yourself that you CAN. This is where visualisation comes in. But what does that really mean?

We were advised to do more than just picture ourselves achieving our goals. We were told to see it, hear it, and feel it, as if it’s already happened. To tap in to all of those senses and paint a vivid picture in our mind.

Take a marathon, for example. See the finish line, the crowds, the smiling faces of your supporters, the timing mat. Hear them cheering you to the finish, hear the commentator over the loudspeakers, and think about how it’ll feel when that medal is slipped over your head. Feel the satisfying ache in your legs, your heart pounding, the salt on your face. And if you’ve got a time goal in mind, what will that clock display as you cross the line? How will you feel when you stop your watch and catch your breath, and know that you’ve DONE it?

Remind yourself of that goal before you go to sleep. Wake up to that image each morning. Put a picture on your wall, write your goal on a post-it note and stick it above your bed, or on your fridge – wherever you’ll see it. Tell yourself you CAN, and imagine that you already have. Secure that image in your mind, and replay it over and over, as if it’s a memory.

Maintaining that purpose, that vision, that mental image over time is crucial. And whilst it can be difficult, a very simple piece of advice we were given is this:

Sleep on it.

How many times have you heard that little nugget of wisdom over the years?

But there’s a definite theory behind it, and it’s based on your ‘left’ and ‘right’ brain. As the speaker put it, your left brain asks the questions, and your right brain finds the answers.

How many times have you tried to work out a solution to a problem, only for the answer to come to you as you’re drifting off or waking up? When do you feel most inspired? For most, it’s when you’re not actively thinking about something. Drifting off to sleep, standing in the shower, running or cycling or driving or ironing…

And what do all of these situations have in common? Answer: The ‘right’ (subconscious) brain is fired up.

Based on this left/right brain theory, if you set your intention(s) before bed, your brain will then secure that image in your subconscious. By the time race day rolls round (if it’s a race you’re aiming for!), you might still feel a bit nervous, but you’ll also feel a little bit more confident, capable, and excited. (Hopefully!)

We all live under our capacity, which means we never know what we’re capable of until we push ourselves. Dare to dream big.

In the words of Nelson Mandela:

It always seems impossible until it’s done

So go do it.

– – –

My big scary goal is to run a marathon in every country in Europe. (Gulp!)

What’s yours?

– – –

Do you have any big goals on the horizon? How are you keeping yourself motivated?

If you like the ideas in this post, be sure to check out Marcus Child’s website – and download some of his MP3s! He presents it all far better than I do, and will have you fired up in no time!

A little wander along the North Devon coast

Last week, I headed back to North Devon to visit my parents for Christmas. And having moved away from the coast a few years back, I obviously insisted on heading out for a beach-based walk 😉

There’s something so lovely about being on the coast outside of the busy summer season, and I definitely took it for granted when I lived there!

Devon Walk 1

We headed out a few days after Christmas to work off some of the holiday indulgence, and the weather was perfect. Cold, sunny, and a bit breezy (becoming VERY breezy by the end as the storm rolled in, but it’s all good fun!)

My parents live just a few miles inland, so the coast path really is right on their doorstep. And the views NEVER get old.

Devon Walk 2

We started at Croyde beach, and walked around the headland to Putsburough and Woolacombe (where I used to surf, back in the day!) and then back along the country lanes to Croyde. It was only 3 miles or so, but it was just what we needed!

Devon Walk 3

It’s easy to overlook walking when focusing on running all the time, but it’s so good for cross training and really works the little stability muscles that I tend to miss out at the gym.

One of my resolutions for 2016 will definitely be to get out on the local trails more – especially living in the middle of the Surrey Hills! (Route recommendations welcome!)

Plus, a decent walk is a great excuse for a pub lunch 😉

– – –

Do you like walking/hiking? What are your favourite places/routes?

My Vitality health check results might surprise you

As part of my Vitality health insurance plan, I get a free health check at a local Lloyds pharmacy. The check is fairly high-level, and will give you a breakdown of your cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugars and BMI (though I don’t take much stock in the last one). If the results are good, you earn lots of points which means more goodies like free Starbucks drinks, cinema tickets and half price running shoes at Sweatshop – win!

For a bit of background, I’m 25 years old. I’m fairly fit and healthy, if I do say so myself. I don’t eat many takeaways, I’m not smoker or much of a drinker, I work out multiple times a week, and I’m not overweight (unless you go by my BMI, which is always completely skewed thanks to my quad muscles. Tall, I am not). I have a relatively low resting heart rate, I do lots of cardio, and day to day I feel absolutely fine.

Most people like me wouldn’t really bother with a formal health check without the added incentives. It seems a bit irrelevant when you’re young and active and pretty healthy, right? High cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar is for older people, surely. Smokers, drinkers, people who are overweight?…

Vitality Health Check

Or at least, that was my thinking. But despite all of this, in light of what happened with my Dad a few months back, I recently took the plunge and made an appointment. I can honestly say that if my Dad hadn’t fallen ill, I probably wouldn’t have bothered. In fact, I had the same opportunity last year, and never took it. Just goes to show, really!

Due to a family history (recently discovered as it was) of heart disease, I was advised early on that I was at higher risk of developing heart disease myself, and got my cholesterol checked out independently by my GP a few weeks ago.

I’ll tell you what, trying to wangle free blood tests on the NHS was an absolute faff – but 100% worth it, and if you have any doubts or concerns, make sure you speak up and ask for a check-up.

The Viltality check was far more straight forward. I logged in, picked my appointment time, and my friend and I headed up to the pharmacy one afternoon. The pharmacist took us into a little office, did us at the same time to save us waiting around, and was lovely and friendly and informative. The experience was pretty positive, although the results were less so. (In fact, they kind of blew my mind, and if I hadn’t been checked out by my GP beforehand I think I would have been fairly shocked).

Vitality Health Check Numbers

Due to the stereotypes associated with these sorts of results, I was a little bit embarrassed – and maybe ashamed? – to share them, and I’ve been in 2 minds as to whether I should publish this post. But I wanted to share my experience as it really goes to show that if we spend our time focusing too much on the outside – comparing ourselves to others, and obsessing over aesthetics – we overlook what’s really important.

I’ll admit that it’s a little unusual to have these sorts of issues in your twenties, and my readings are heavily influenced by my genetics – but whoever you are, and whatever your lifestyle, it’s definitely worth being mindful. We’re not invincible, and we need to look after ourselves.

That doesn’t mean we should all start running marathons and lifting loads of weights and calorie counting and loading up on kale and smoothies and cutting out every ounce of fat and salt and sugar… Hell, I’m not! If I want a black forest hot chocolate from Costa (because OMG, heaven in a cup), then I’ll flipping well have one – but I’ll also think twice when I find myself looking at the Chinese takeaway menu because I’m feeling too lazy to cook the food in my fridge, or I feel like skipping a workout because there’s a new series on Netflix.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a size 8 or a size 18 – if you treat your body well, you’ll reap the benefits. But whilst I’ve accepted that numbers on a chart aren’t the be-all and end-all, the reverse is also true.

Be kind to your body, treat it as it deserves, and it’ll reward you. (I’m working on it!)

– – –

What do you think about health checks/body MOTs? Have you, or would you ever have one?