Landscape shot in the Lake District

Sometimes there are just some things which happen which really make you appreciate the kindness in strangers. The other day I had that experience, I was on the train back from the Birmingham Half Marathon. It was a packed two carriage train from Birmingham to Rugeley and it was standing room only. Having already ran for 2 1/2 hours I didn’t particularly want to stand but there is no reason why I shouldn’t so I gritted my teeth and once the train conductor broke up two guys who were arguing about a whether there was room to stand down the carriage. We were off, I took a photo of the full carriage and tweeted it to London Midland and we all laughed as the conductor apologised for the overcrowding due to too many people getting on at the station (no s**t sherlock) as we pulling into Tame Bridge station I remember saying to my partner that I didn’t feel very well and the next thing I had fainted in the carriage.

The next thing I remember when I came too was a woman squirting water in my mouth. Everyone moved out of the way to let me lay down and I had a woman speak to me giving my glucose tablets (I chose the right day to faint for everyone had glucose tablets and energy gels left over from the race) and my mother (ex nurse) and a lady held my legs up to get the blood back to my head. The train conductor was lovely and had initially rang for an ambulance but I didn’t need one. Eventually I got onto the platform sat down and the train company paid for the taxi home. Funnily enough someone else also fainted on the platform.

I am really grateful for everyone that helped me and it just reminded me that there are lovely people out there.

Rebecca holding up her medal from the Great Birmingham Run 2017

I ran a half marathon.

I have officially joined the half marathon club!

On the 15th October 2017 I completed the Great Birmingham Run in a time of 2 hours 34 minutes. I am so incredibly proud of what I have achieved. I knew that I would be able to do it mentally but physically I wasn’t sure if my body would hold up. I know it is a cliche but I enjoyed every mile and it really didn’t feel like I had ran a half, it felt like a 10k! Today I am going to chat about my preparation leading up to the half, what I took with me, my thoughts on the day, how I am recovering and what my next challenge will be.

Why Brum?

I had decided on Birmingham for my first half, because it is a city where I live close by so there wasn’t much travelling involved. In the past year I had started spending more time in Brum getting involved in a couple of blogger events, a few concerts and eating out- so it seemed natural to try and run it. The Great Birmingham Run is run by the Great Run company. The Manchester 10k was also run by them and it was really well organised so I knew it would be well organised – large event (read here on my experience of running the 10k).

Preparation

Moving from 5k to 10k is a lot smaller jump than a 10k to half. When I had booked this challenge back in August, I was fully aware of this. I had the Stafford 10k and a Go-Tri Duathlon beforehand but knew I had to get the miles up. I started running in the week after work more but then I started to stop as I was getting a nagging feeling in my right knee and foot. Around the same time I also stopped going to circuits as my favourite circuit session was in Stafford and when you work in Wolves I was not just going through one town in one rush hour – I was going through two. It was just too much. As it was getting closer I was getting more panicked, the duathlon in Newcastle-Under-Lyme I completed in an 1hr 1min 22secs, I found it tough and my legs felt like lead.

In the final week going into the half marathon I decided to focus on my mind. I downloaded a brand new playlist (ironically called the survival playlist) memorised the route so I knew in my mind certain points I could work towards and just reminded myself that I could least to get to 10k as I had ran 10k before.

The day

With the race starting at 1.40pm I had plenty of time to get ready. I took with me my running belt, three race gels, my debit card, phone, headphones and two bottles of water. I had joggers and sports jacket over my shorts and race top. I took the gels every 5k and every water stop I drank all the water. I learnt a lot from doing the Manchester 10k earlier on in the year. I hadn’t drank all the water properly and I was so dehydrated at the end that I had a banging headache. So now I drink at every opportunity even if I don’t want any.

When I started I didn’t have a time in mind, I just wanted to complete the half. I started off a bit slower than usual because I didn’t want to start at full pace and knacker myself out.I felt so good all the way round, everyone was fantastic coming out of their houses and cheering people on. I always enjoy the local support.

I have heard that the course was difficult with the ‘hills’ but I didn’t find it that challenging at all. I personally think it is the perfect beginner half really.

The day after the run before

As I am writing this up my legs are stiff. I decided to take the day off so I could sleep and give my legs the chance to relax and I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel afterwards. I am weary that staying still isn’t healthy so I will be giving myself the fun task of cleaning the house.

Were you at the half marathon or did you run the full? Are you planning on running one? Let me know below.

Podcasts I listen too

A little while ago I wrote about four podcasts that I listen too. Today I am back with four more cracking podcasts I also listen too.

Radiolab

When I was reading my previous blog post, I was surprised I didn’t include this the first time round. Radiolab, produced by WNYC studios and presented by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich. It is show that pulls together science, story telling, history and music in one compelling podcast. I originally found this podcast googling interesting podcast’s to listen too and some of the stories that are told are truly fascinating. Shows in the series that are worth listening too include Null and Void, Heneritta Lacks, Seneca, Nebraska and The Girl Who Doesn’t Exist.

Page 94, the Private Eye Podcast

I am a sucker for satire and Page 94 the Private Eye Podcast fills the gap nicely. Private Eye is a British political satirical magazine (think Have I Got News For You) and focuses on current British topics. It is not every week unfortunately but the back episodes are well worth a listen.

Radiolab presents More Perfect

Another WNYC production (I am not being sponsored by them, promise!) this show is about the Supreme Court in America and how this group makes the decisions that affect people’s lives. It is fascinating to learn about the American justice system and how they come to these decisions. Episodes worth a listen include Adoptive Person V Baby Girl, The Political Thicket and Object Anyway.

BBC Radio 5live – Flintoff, Savage and the Ping Pong Guy

I quite like Freddie Flintoff and watch League of their Own and Lord of the Fries and my partner recommended this. This podcast presented by Matthew Syed an ex English number 1 table tennis player talks about current issues in sport but with a psychological edge. I have listened to this and I enjoyed the honesty that Robbie Savage and Freddie talk about. Their mental health podcast in particular being honest about matches their team mates were playing and they weren’t and they wanted that team to lose because if they won they wouldn’t be part of this. Is so raw because I do not think anyone would admit to that.

Do you have any podcast’s that you would recommend?

 

Back in April I went on my (first ever!) girls holiday to Warsaw in Poland. I had never been to Poland before so was particularly excited to experience a new country. Read on about what I experienced below:

Where I stayed

My friend booked an airbnb. It was a cute place and perfect for what we needed even though the beds scared me as they were so high! The flat was in a building that had been around since the war (which is rare for Warsaw) and had a catholic shrine in the middle of the courtyard, which wasn’t surprising since it is a Catholic country but I had never seen before. It was my first time I stayed in a airbnb place and have booked an airbnb place for my second trip to Poland in July!

Where I ate

Nocny Market

Nocny Market Neon Sign

Nocny Market

This was a cute food market located west of Warsaw. It was a bit out of the way and is located down a rather dodgy road but when you get there it just feels like you are at a food market that all the locals go too. There was a variety of food from burgers to indian to greek. Oddly enough there was a barbers and a tattooist if you fancy a trim or something more permeant to remind you of your stay…

Stara Kamienica

This restaurant is so cute! It had a saxophone player there! This posh restaurant had a variety of polish and european cuisine at a very reasonable price.

What I did

Gestapo Headquarters in Poland

We managed to pack quite a lot in a short amount of time. We visited the Gestapo Headquarters. This building is very imposing from the outside. It is a very small museum which inside consisted of all the individual cells that prisoners were kept in and you could read all of their engravings on the wall. Accompanying this there were interactive displays educating you on the impact the Nazi’s had on Warsaw. It was very informative and certainly worth a visit.

Pastel buildings in Warsaw Old Town

Old Town in Warsaw is another place you must visit whilst you are there. Old Town is an UNESCO World Heritage site and had been completely gutted during World War 2 and had been restored to as close as the area looked like between the 13th and 20th century.

Mały Powstaniec

We just got a free map which showed us all the places and statues that you needed to see and had a wonder around. We also went to Lazienki Park which is the largest park in Warsaw. It is so beautiful and I couldn’t help but take lots and lots of photos of the palace and the amphitheater.

Palace Gardens in Poland

Finally, I couldn’t forget the bar crawl in Warsaw, for 60 zolty you got 2 cocktails or beers, a free shot and entry into pubs and bars. I am so glad we did it just because it saves having to google all the individual bars yourself, it was also a great chance to meet some new people. It reminded me of my times at Uni!

Have you ever been to Poland? Do you have any recommendations for Krakow? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Blue vintage caravan selling cocktails

I went along to the Birmingham Seasonal markets in Brum today. It was located in Digbeth at The Bond Company. I had been to the winter market before and although it was very cold I had an amazing indian fish and chips and spiced apple drink. Part of the reason I went to the summer one was the Original Patty Men was going to be there and I heard good things about them so I was eager to try one.

What venders were there?

If you have been around the street food markets in Brum then you will recognise the vendors, as well as the O.P.M there was Bournville Waffle Company, Pietanic, The Middle Feast, Buddah Belly, Leave it to Esme, Low ‘n’ Slow, The Jabbywocky and Banh Cuon. There was also The Little Gin Company and The Bus Bar Company.

In addition to this there was an arts and crafts and food market indoors. Lots of vendors selling cakes and postcards which is always a great addition as you can take something away!  The vendors included: Peel and Stone ,BAKE, Pip’s Hot Sauce, Jam Vs Custard, Sarah’s Feisty Flavours, Buzzards valley, Barrel & Bone, Baladee, and The May Bakery.

The crafts included: Sarah Ray, Known as Unknown, Kimberley Simone, Dotmoth studio, Stained and Fused Glass Art, Curate, Hannah Stevens Illustration, Automaton Ceramics, Lily & Giraffe, How Brave is the Wren, Rolling Roses, Upsydaisy Craft, Tatie Lou, Kitty & Min, Lulu In Stitches, PrettyPolitical, CraftyBun Studio, The Peaky Squirrel

What did I eat?

Original Patty Men Burger

I had a strawberry and lime cider and Original Patty Men cheese burger. This will be an unpopular opinion but the cheeseburger was ok. I really did not understand what the hype is about. They do have a restaurant which I have been told I need to try so I am willing to give it another go. I also had shared a brownie from Bake which I have had before and was lush. Overall, it really was worth going for the £2 entry as there was so much on offer.

People at the Birmingham Summer Seasonal Food Market