Ok, so there's a huge exaggeration over there in this blog post title - I mean, I'm never going to love running, in fact, I can't see a day when I might even like it, so you're probably wondering why I'm writing this post.
If you know me in real life, follow me on Instagram or have read this blog for the last few months, you'll know that I'm really, really not a fan of running, but I really, really want to enjoy it.
In January of this year, as part of my Total Warrior training (read more here) I set myself a target to be able to run 10k by July. I went out for a run on average once a week, and regardless of the weather, my diary, my hangover or my lack of general enthusiasm I made sure I got out for a run every week, even getting out when I was away in London for a friend's wedding. Gradually, I upped my pace and my distance and by April (3 months ahead of my goal) I ran 10k. I was SO pleased with myself.
I kept up the weekly run for a month or so, and then gradually it stopped being a priority and I found excuses not to do it. Even though I'd managed to get up to 10k, and it was getting easier I definitely still wasn't enjoying it. I'd dread going out, I'd count down the kilometres, and I'd do everything I could to avoid hills.
Total Warrior is over now, and while I could give up my running, and just stick to everything else I'm doing, I'm not going to. Most people probably think I'm crazy, why carrying on doing something you so strongly dislike. Well there's a few reasons, I'm convinced if I stick with it, one day, I might get home and say 'I actually think I quite enjoyed that', I also think it will really help with all the other workouts I do, it's great cardio, it's good for burning calories and apparently it makes you happier, and live longer!
So, what am I going to do about it? Well, I've bought myself some new kicks, if these bad boys don't encourage me to get out and pound the pavement then I don't know what will.
I've also set myself a little (easily attainable) challenge. I'm going to run a minimum of 5k (in one run) every week. I'm not going to focus on speed and I'm not going to worry about pushing myself to go further. I'm just going to get out there, and I'm hoping, the lack of pressure will make me ease into it, if I'm feeling good, I'll keep going when I get to 5k, if I'm not, I'll stagger home but probably still feel pleased with myself for getting out there.
And that's my plan, my aim to learn to love running. If you've been in the same place, and have ANY tips of suggestions, I'd love to hear them. And if you're looking for more regular updates, then come follow me over on Instagram, as there's always lots of sweaty pics on there of me, with my running updates...
So a few weeks back, I won a giveaway on Instagram and a super exciting box of goodies arrived at my house. Included in the prize was a selection of Square Bars - which are organic protein bars if you haven't already heard of them.
Now, I don't count macros, I don't track my food anymore (I used to, but got a little obsessed with myfitnesspal) and I don't really know how much of what and when I should be eating. I tend to follow my own rules, not too many carbs, plenty of protein, and I should keep the sugar and fats down...but that ain't so easy!
In the last few months, I've started trying to up my protein intake and I'm quite partial to the odd protein smoothie here and there, but I've never tried any of the bars or anything like that, so I was quite intrigued by these chocolate squares.
Now, don't judge me, I'm not a nut fan, I know, I KNOW! I'm missing out on all the peanut butter goodness you guys rave about all the time, and I'd so much like to love it, but I really really don't, so I passed the almond and peanut flavours over to my dad...he's trying to put weight on at the moment so figured these would help.
That left me with mint, cherry, coconut and chocolate coated crunch, all of which sounded amazing! At (approximately) 200 calories a square, I wasn't totally sure when I should be eating these as I generally try not to eat things like 200 calorie chocolate bars (I really need some guidance in this area), anyway I decided to eat them as half before my workout, and half after. I'm still not really sure when the best time to eat protein is in relation to workouts, so figured I couldn't go wrong with that format.
Anyway, OH MY, these bad boys are goooood! Like so good, really chocolatey, really satisfying and provide me with lots of energy for my gym sesh. They taste as good as a full fat, full of crap, chocolate bars, but they're organic and full of allllll the good stuff. They also have a good protein content, (so I'm told- see earlier point about not really knowing this stuff) AND they're square, which makes a nice change from all the other standard chocolate rectangles.
So in a nutshell, these are good, like, really good, the only problem is I can't decide which my favourite flavour is, which just means I gotta keep eating them all.
And for the record, this isn't a sponsored post, I actually really enjoy them and I was pretty chuffed with how good this photo below is, so wanted an excuse to show it off...I'm fickle like that.
This week, the Mr came to a circuits class with me.
We didn't get off to a great start. I've been telling him he should come with me for months now, 'you'll enjoy it', 'it'll be a good change from your running', 'there's loads of guys that do it', and he's always said he would, and never has. This week I basically bet that he wouldn't come, but being a stubborn old chap, he came just to prove a point.
I find him outside the gym with a slightly sulky face, it then takes what felt like an eternity to get him registered in the system and signed up, it wasn't quite the romantic enjoyable start to the class I'd expected.
But not to be defeated, I filled him in on the way that class worked and promised to stick with him to keep him right.
All was going smoothly, warm up went well, we were working our way round the stations, he even looked like he was enjoying it. Then the teacher upped the ante, 30 seconds of HIIT followed by 30 seconds on the stations.
Now if you've been reading this blog for a while, you may know that I am a bit of sweat-er (read this post if you'd really like to know more about the topic!) and so by this point it's a-flowing, and I'm starting to get pretty knackered. You know what I mean, involuntary grunting as you try to keep lifting, excessive panting as you try to keep up the burpee reps and that sweat? Well it just keeps coming.
I see him glance at me, while I mop the sweat from my forehead and cleavage, and I'm sure I see a look of disdain, a look which says 'what happened to the girl I married last year?'
I'm not sure we'll be going back to circuits together any time soon...
So if you don't already know, a week and a half a go, I took part (and completed may I add) the Total Warrior challenge, if you don't already know, then it must be some kind of miracle because I've been banging on about it on pretty much all forms of social media, but, just on the off chance you didn't know anything about it - go read this post!
Anyway, back to the point and enough of my bragging, so the day before the event my 4 year old niece had asked if I was going to be wearing pink to do it, I wasn't because we'd already had white t-shirts printed but because her little face dropped, I thought I'd wear my brightest pink lipstick to try and cheer her up.
So out came the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet lipstick in Ole Flamingo, and prepared myself for the event. I didn't give my lipstick a second thought.
Three quarters of the way round the track, various swamps of mud waded through, pools of dirty river water swam through, ice baths ducked under and no doubt plenty of sweat to add to the mix, my sister who was spectating calls from the sidelines 'how have you still got your lippy on?'
I laughed, and carried on, more rivers to swim through, monkey bars into water to fall into, and a giant slide covered in fairy liquid we made it to the end. Exhausted, elated and pretty damn hungry, I sat down to drink my free pint, eat the protein yoghurt that had been given to us all, and tried to gain some kind of composure as my friends and family took photos.
I was only an hour after we finished when I was in the car, that I pulled down the mirror to look at myself, my face was caked in mud, in fact my whole body was caked in mood, and yet I was still sporting my pink lipstick. How? I have no idea, but I know which range I'll be heading for next time I want long lasting.
P.S. Excuse the terrible photos, I hadn't really been thinking lipstick reviews when these were taken!
So that's it, Total Warrior is done and dusted, I did it, I completed it, and you know what? I only bloody loved it.
It's true, I really did, after 8 months of training, a few days of panic, and a 10k 30 obstacle course ahead of me, I wasn't exactly looking forward to it when it came to Saturday. I woke up (after a pretty bad night's sleep anyway) early on the day, I did my hair and make up (I know, but there was lots of cameras!) and prepared with a couple of protein weetabix, which was forced down because my stomach was churning.
We arrived about an hour early to have time to register, and get ourselves organised, and then that was it, our wave time was due to go, and there was no turning back.
The first km was horrendous, talk about breaking you in lightly, it was all about the hills, up, up, and up, then down, then back up, then down, then back up. If you're a regular reader, you'll know hills are my nemesis.
We then had to jump over a row over fire, only for there to be a lovely big pool of muddy water which I managed to fully submerge myself in.
But then we found our pace, the obstacles were tough, but so much fun, even wading through 4ft of muddy water, swimming through an ice bath and clambering up 10ft walls.
I needed the loo for a good 3 kilometres, I was pretty peckish half way through, and the water stations couldn't come soon enough.
It's only when you get to around to 8km's that you start to have spectators, and it was such a great point to suddenly see friends and family and hear them cheering you on, and my 4 year old niece running alongside me for a good stretch.
Electric shocks, yet another cargo net, more hills, an epic slide, a tough rope climb, a heavy log carry and the end was in sight. And that final heave over a wall was the best feeling ever.
3 days later and I'm still suffering with post warrior blues, I can't believe it's all over. It's by far the best thing I've ever done in my life, and I'm so proud of myself for completing it. And on top of that., I've raised £2000 for pancreatic cancer.
A well deserved pat on the back, slice of cake, and a few days rest is required! But now I'm starting to think about my next challenge, any suggestions?
Well this is it, only 2 days to go until I take part in the biggest challenge I've ever done in my life, the challenge I've been working towards for 8 months, and the challenge that I'm fairly starting to shit myself about.
It's hard to believe on the New Year's Day I sat down and wrote this blog post, I committed to taking part in something that was like nothing I'd ever done before, and I was going for my dad, for charity.
So if you haven't read this post, I'll fill you in. In May of last year, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it's a horrendous cancer, which is incredibly painful and has horrible symptoms. After a few months of my dad living with this, I decided I wanted to try and do something to help, I wouldn't wish this cancer on my worst enemy so I decided to put myself through a physical endurance challenge, to raise money for the pancreatic cancer charity that would hopefully help towards research into this.
And here I am, 2 days to go, part of me is dreading it, part of me is exciting, and the other part just kinda wants it to be the day, to get going, and (hopefully) make it to the end.
I'm definitely physically fit enough, I've maintained a good workout regime, I aimed to run 10k by July, and I'd done it by April, and I've built up upper body strength.
So what do I do now? Well, I wait I guess.
I've got my kit sorted, my teammates are ready, I've signed a waiver form which states there is an above average risk of serious injury or death (great!) and I'm already planning my protein porridge breakfast.
So what's left? Well, I'd really like a little support from you guys, if you'd like to sponsor me then that would be pretty ace (head over here!), I've already smashed by target, but it would be awesome to do even better, because as they say 'every penny counts'!