Let me entertain you with my mad running challenge

The Runnerd (or simply “me” if you think that referring to myself in third person is a sign of mental disturbance) is thrilled to announce a 13 x 13.1 in 13 days challenge starting on 1st of June!

I will (attempt to) run 13 half marathons (13.1 miles) over 13 consecutive days. All of them with a buggy. Let’s just call it the 13×13 challenge, shall we?

Before you ask, yes, I might be mildly bonkers.

Now, why am I doing it?

Trust me, this is a question I will be asking myself several times per day over the next two weeks. So I better write it down while it still makes sense to me:

Occasionally, people tell me I inspired them to do something cool (usually studying or exercising). We live in crazy times and we all seem to be getting a little bit mad (which is only natural) as if having our freedoms limited brings out (on occasions) the worst in us. I strongly believe that exercise is the answer to that. So I want to kick your bottom and energise you! Get up! Get moving! Go for a jog! You’ll experience endorphins rushing through your body which will make you feel happy; you’ll inhale some fresh air which will make your brain work better, and the sense of achievement you get will make you smile for the rest of the day. And if you lose a few grams of your lockdown weight (not that you need to) – well, that’s just the cherry on the cake. So yes, I am doing this to inspire you.

Secondly, I want to show everyone that excuses are lame and totally unnecessary. I am a single mum and have no childcare which means I cannot run, right? Wrong! I’ll shove the wee monster in a buggy and off we go. Whatever excuse you throw at me, chances are that there is always a workaround. Unless you are in a wheelchair and if you are, well, then I will run for you, friend.

If you have never jogged and/or are feeling self-conscious, then join me! If you are close enough to meet me in person, we are “open” between 07:30 and 10:30 7 days a week. I am happy to jog even the shortest distance in your company, no matter how slow, or just go for the (stop/start) first run attempt with you. Get in touch! And if you are not from the Windsor area then join me virtually and share your experience on Insta @the_runnerd or Twitter @JetJenny747. You don’t need these flipping £200 Nike shoes and crappy electrolytes drink to run your first mile. Just get out and do it!

Finally, if you are an experienced/regular runner and don’t need my silly attempts to motivate you, then I am here to entertain you! It’s going to be a laugh. 🙂

Look out for daily updates on this blog and @the_runnerd Instagram, or alternatively my Facebook. And if you don’t know what to do with your cash, feel free to buy me a gel or Lucozade here. Now get off your bum and put your trainers on! Chop chop!

Sod the pace!

I am traditionally fairly sensible / strict when it comes to my everyday life. Even on furlough, I get up at 05:30, aim to learn something new every day, watch what I eat, exercise…

Speaking of exercise, apparently about 80% of our training runs should be at an easy pace. I suspect I am not the only “criminal” out there who does most of their training runs closer to “tempo” rather than “easy” pace. The other day, a hot fast runner was telling me how he should try slow down some of his runs because apparently he does them too fast.

My response was: “Just have fun, sod the pace!”

I mean it sounds crazy trying to consciously slow yourself down when your body is ready to perform (especially since you won’t be racing for another few months). Equally, why would you be killing yourself to achieve the pace you’ve set yourself, when you are just not feeling it? Sometimes you have to let it all go, because those runs when you don’t check your watch tend to be the most enjoyable ones.

Today I set off into chilly but sunny morning. I did 6.81 miles because I felt rebellious enough not to take it to 7. My splits were all over the place. Some areas I felt like putting effort in and was flying, while some places I just jogged casually. I stopped numerous time to take about 57 selfies. I discovered a new path by the river. It was a great fun!

So I’m telling you – sod the pace! (At least once in a while.) Don’t look at your watch. Run because it feels good. Run because you can. Run because you are grateful you can. Run because one day perhaps you won’t be able to. Run for all the people who cannot. Run and smile at strangers. Run and admire the world around. Run and feel the joy!!

Are you a secret introvert?

I remember learning at school about introversion and extraversion. It appeared that to be perceived as cool, one ought to be an extrovert so that’s what I said I was when the teacher asked, not paying notice to my evenings spent alone reading and weekends wandering by myself in the woods.

The differences between extroverts and introverts have their foundations in dopamine, specifically how active the dopamine rewards system in their brain is. To explain simply – dopamine enables you to be excited by the possibility of a pleasure/reward. You may have already guessed that extroverts are those with a more active dopamine reward system than those of introverts. That is why the possibility of a pleasure (which can be anything from social status to food to money) is more appealing to extroverts and serves them as a motivator. Subsequently extroverts put more effort into pursuing these possibilities, while introverts take it a bit more easy. An extrovert is having a great time chatting to all sorts of people at a party (=> a possible reward of better social status, new acquaintances and relationships, perhaps even sex) while introvert just chills at home without much FOMO.

I grew up convinced that one gets nowhere if he/she isn’t a go-getter who’s always out there, and so I spent most of my life doing all the uncomfortable things (telephone job interviews, work dos, you name it) without questioning why I am doing all this when my dream job would be sitting alone in a room with multiple computer screens and no one to disturb me. When I used to fly as a cabin crew, I was quite creative at coming up with excuses why I cannot hang out with my colleagues downroute. I even remember this one time when they convinced me to come join them for lunch, but in the restaurant I got up before we even ordered starters, walked away and had a delightful meal on my own in another establishment. A right twat. But a happy one. At that point I was still 100% sure I was an extrovert.

What made me review things is the lockdown we currently live in. When they shut the country down (bars, restaurants, cinemas…) and introduced social distancing, a lot of people freaked out. They won’t be able to see their family, spend time with friends, get off their faces and go clubbing, have a meal out, go physically to the office or anywhere else really. Sounds awful right? Except to me it sounded (and still does) wonderful! It’s like I recieved an official license to be an unsociable weirdo who does not talk to people (especially not since being furloughed). A dream come true!

A work colleague organised an unofficial series of zoom catch up sessions. I dialed into the first one and spent an hour listening how people struggle not being able to hang out with people and how difficult this all is. I never dialed into another one again. As our lockdown progressed, I even started ignoring calls and messages from my friends and family just because I did not feel like talking to people. (If I am currently not replying to you, I still love you btw, just very busy enjoying some quality alone time.) In no way I feel like I am struggling due to the lack of social contact – on the contrary. I’m enjoying this new way of life tremendously, which makes me consider the possibility that there might be a bit of an introvert in my clearly extroverted personality. Or perhaps I have been a fake extrovert my entire life? Who knows 😉

Now let’s talk about you. Ask yourself: How do I cope with quarantine?

  • On a daily basis, are you struggling not being able to go out and socialise?
  • Are you constantly texting and facetiming all your friends and family members?
  • Do your usual activities (like going for a walk, exercising, or simply watching TV) seem way less fun when done on your own?
  • Do you get bored because you don’t know what to do with your time on your own?
  • Are you joining every silly zoom call, virtual wine session and pub quizz?
  • Do you prefer to fill your newly gained free time with anything, but self-reflection?
  • Do you miss engaging in small talk with random members of the public?

The more “no” answers to the questions above, the more of an introvert you are. If you (like me) answered “no” to all of them – welcome to the club and enjoy the lockdown because it won’t last forever. ❤

Armageddon Diaries 07 April 2020: Furlough

Yesterday it was my first official day of furlough! The fact that at about 5:30 am I realised I forgot to pay £18K to a supplier and since I am furloughed I am not allowed to log in to sort it out spoiled the start of the day a little… But then I went for my first (soaking wet) 10 miler since being unwell last week, and my life was great once again.

In our company, the majority of staff got furloughed on 80% pay until the end of May. Surprisingly, there was a mixed response to this.

You are given two months off on 80% pay. How can anyone be unhappy about this? Sure, 80% is not 100%, but realistically with events cancelled, pubs closed and no chance to travel, you might end up being financially better off.

My second point is – nearly two months off. OFF! No work! Remember how you always say you work too much? Well, now you don’t have to. Okay, I hear you – with events cancelled, pubs closed and no chance to travel, what is there left to do?

Well – everything! Remember all the things you always wanted to do? Your prayers have been answered 😉 You can now paint your study, start 30 days abs challenge, read all the books, do that marketing course, think about the meaning of universe and everything. This is your chance! Take it! Grab it by the tail or hair or horns or whatever body part you choose – just do it! Don’t waste this chance because it most likely is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

If anyone moans about being bored, I will come, break the social distancing rule and smack their face. Boredom is criminal. There are people who have been taken from this world far too soon. If you are sitting around bored, you are being a disgrace because those dying people would do anything to have another healthy day in this world. So do not dare to be bored. Get up and do something, even if it’s binge watching a TV series or cleaning the windows.

Whatever you chose to do, just feel alive doing it and be grateful for having the opportunity and the time…because many don’t, so you are very fortunate indeed.

Armageddon Diaries: 25 March 2020

Sleep: Higher likelihood of me getting a six pack before achieving more than 6 and half hours sleep.

Weekly mileage: 18. Running keeps me sane. That is if I am still sane.

Risk of redundancy: 90%

What is worse I wonder – uncertainty or unpleasant certainty?

These days we live in uncertainty, as well as unpleasant certainty. I am a numbers person. If I know I have about 15% chance of finding toilet paper on the shelves of my local supermarket, I won’t even bother going in, because the chance is too slim. If I assess that I have about 10% chance of still being in a job by the time this is over, the numbers are clearly not in my favour.

But those are just numbers. Statistics. Estimates. How about having a little faith? Faith which cannot be expressed in numbers. Faith that things will work out as they have done so far, despite uncertainties and hardships. When we do everything that is in our power, there is no point in worrying any more. All we can do is sit back, have a little faith and perhaps inspire others who desperately need it. Just close your eyes and imagine the whole universe working in your favour, because it does and it will, although at this moment in time we do not understand it yet. So just have a little faith because it brings us peace that we so sorely need.

Complainable compliments

Compliments! You may tell yourself you don’t care about them but secretly you love them. Everyone does. It’s human nature. I enjoy complimenting people and guess what – no one ever complained about receiving too many compliments. However…

It’s widely known I am a little weird and adore people’s weirdness (or uniqueness if you wish). This often means that I end up complimenting something no one else would find complimentable, nor compliment-worthy.

Imagine this scene: Monday 9 am work meeting. The programme manager (who is a man of perfect suits) walks in wearing a suit that is considerably different to his usual plain black, well-fitted, expensive and boring piece.

Me: “Oh your suit is so 90s!”

Him: *smiling confusedly*

He never wore that suit ever again, although I genuinely liked it and found it refreshing. Sigh.

Some of my other “legendary” / unfortunate compliments are:

I love the shape of your skull!

The chocolate stain on your uniform matches your eyes.

You pee as fast as you run.

Your jaw line is a genetic treasure.

I love your annoying work emails!

Your sweat smells lovely.

I swear to you, all of the statements above are positive and meant as genuine compliments. Some would (and did) disagree. Hence, recently in an attempt not to scare away this dude whom I called a caveman (a compliment!!!) I had to clarify:

If at any point in future, you are unsure whether I am insulting or complimenting you, it is always the latter.

And same applies to you gorgeous people! Whatever weird words come out of my mouth – they are intended as positive statements. After all, we live in a world full off nastiness and drama, so we should celebrate the little quirky things that make us special.