£1.50 a month…

£1.50 a month. It doesn’t sound a lot does it?

I don’t have kids myself, but I put £1.50 a month into the accounts of some kids who are special to me. I started it when my oldest niece was born in 2001.

That’s £18 a year for each of them, plus any interest they accrue if the money is left in there.

It started off doing it for family, and now I’m picking special little babies who I want to give to.

I’ll put £1.50 a month into their bank accounts for at least 18 years.

That’s £324 over 18 years, that I’m giving away, to 7 kids… and I’m hopefully about to do it for two more babies I know, once I get their bank account details.

Then if we add interest to that. Say they have a children’s bank account that has a 4% interest rate…

My £324 could turn into about £475… an extra £150 out of no where.

That’s compound interest for you (as long as the money is left in there, which it might not be!)

One of the kids is going to be 18 soon, and I can’t decide if I should stop the deposits or not at the end of her 18th year… we will see.

My kinda charity, to give little amounts over a long time, to those that I’m close to. See if I can help make a little difference for them.

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Wk7 into Wk8 / pain in the neck

Last week I had a good level of activity and some good sleeps too. I still woke up early a couple of mornings but managed to get back this sleep and I had some good sleeps this weekend.

Last week was three runs 14.5 miles in total. Not exactly ideal training for a half marathon in a just under a month, but it’ll do. I did three strength sessions, Monday, Tuesday Wednesday, and a bike tabata session on Monday too.

(Photo taken by Stevie Middleton on Friday morning when I was running)

Mon: Runners Strength & 20 min bike tabatas
Tue: 4M lunchtime & Full body strength
Wed: KB 80/20 Strength
Thu: Rest
Fri: 5.2M easy
Sat: Rest
Sun: 5.3M Glasgow Green

I had a good lunchtime run on Tuesday and s good early morning run with Debbie on Friday. I wasn’t really in the mood for Wednesday mornings Strength session, but got through it anyway.

Oddly after my run on Friday, but not connected to it I don’t think, I had an uncomfortable feeling that I’d pulled a muscle at the top right of my back / lower neck. It limited my movement of my head looking up and to the right, and it was sore.

I’ve had it before and it’s usually due to underlying stress at work. Something just pops, probably my body reminding me I’m not invincible. I know what to do to help it, some movement exercises / physio and pain killers.

I took some pain killers on Saturday, and they probably didn’t agree with me, so for the first time in years I was actually head over the toilet sick, then I had a nap to recover. Great fun, but needed.

I feel fine now on Sunday and the pain has subsided so no need for pain killers today, but I’ll keep doing my movement exercises and increase the range of movement I have. And it should wear off / recover soon.

This morning’s run was fine, I was still being a bit cautious with it and didn’t do a long run, but an easy 5 miler instead. It seemed to all ease off a bit.

Now the plan is to listen to my body and probably not so what I’m planning below, but this would be what I’d do if I’m feeling ok. Or I’ll have some rest days instead, or just run or do the bike.

Mon: Insanity max 30 & 20 min bike tabatas
Tue: Run
Wed: Full body Strength & 20 min bike tabatas
Thu: Run early
Fri: Runners Strength & 20 min bike tabatas
Sat: 10M
Sun: Rest

Since the start of the year with my training, my progress has been as below…

1 Jan: 139.5lbs / 17.2% body fat
24lbs body fat / 115.5lbs other
79.3% lbm / 110.6lbs lbm

17 Feb: 138.9lbs / 15.8% body fat
21.9lbs body fat / 117lbs other
80.6% lbm / 112lbs lbm

Not much change in weight, but a decrease in body fat of about a kg, and an increase in lean body mass of just under a kg, in 6 to 7 weeks.

-0.6lbs / -2.1lbs body fat / +1.5lbs other / lbm

I’ll keep a track of this to see what happens. Aiming to reduce my body fat down by about 1% a month, so I’m sort of on track. But I probably need to be better with my food intake to get anything drastic to happen here.

The next few weeks at work are likely to be busy, so I’ll need to get a balance with it and life / training / fun. I have a few challenges coming my way so I’ll need to get my cape on for it a bit so I can hopefully succeed.

Anyway, running wise … it’s…

3 weeks to the Inverness half.
6 weeks to the Alloa half.

Better get me some long runs in. 🙂

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Fortunate at the BBC

This week I feel very fortunate to work at such a great organisation – the BBC. I know some people have their own strong views about the BBC, but I’m happy and proud to say that I f*%&ing love the place.

In February 2017, the Director of BBC Scotland and the Director of the BBC stood on ‘the Street’ of our building and announced a massive and historic investment in our services, to deliver a new channel and news service.

The new channel ‘BBC Scotland’ launches on the 24th February, and a big part of the output with be our new Nine news programme.

Now, where the DG and Director stood to make the announcement, a new state of the art and impressive set is in, everyone is hired, and gearing up for the channel and programme launch. It’s very exciting.

In addition to our current output, the Nine will have weekday hour long news at nine, then coverage of Saturday and Sundays at 7, and an entertainment programme. And the channel will deliver new, existing and repeated content aimed at Scottish audiences.

Going back to when the DG and Director were telling us about the investment. It was a staff gathering and I was sitting with my colleagues… and I was honestly thinking to myself – I really want to get involved with this. ‘How can I get myself involved and help to deliver this?’

I had no idea how I could do it. Then it so happened that a great job in News came up – supporting the news management team to deliver and co-ordinate staffing and recruitment at the biggest time of recruitment in BBC Scotland’s history.

The job involved a lot more than that, but basically I’d be there to help News with their people. Ideal. In December 2017 I found out I got the job, and in January 2018 I started in my new role which would last for 15 months.

It was my role to welcome candidates in, and hopefully help to make their experience of the interview process a little less scary. Then if they got the job, it was my job to meet them in their first day and help get them settled in. And it was also my role to support existing staff and management and help them with everyday things too.

I had the opportunity not only to welcome in about 70 new people, but overall we hired people into 120 roles in a year (including business as usual recruitment). Helping to give so many people, from different backgrounds into what could be life changing career moves. Looking back it was a massive undertaking and it’s been magic to be involved in.

Here’s just some of the people we hired and some more detail about the programme and channel:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-47202970 (not to mention the every day business as usual bits and pieces we’ve been delivering too.)

Not only that, in the last year I’ve also been selected to:

– be on an ‘Interviewer Squad’ so I can be on panels for job interviews.

– go on a 6 month leadership programme for women (next session on Monday).

– have a mentor, and been provided with 6 sessions of career coaching (my first was yesterday).

Now I’m sad that my time in this role is due to come to an end. I was covering someone else on attachment who is due to come back at the end of March.

But even then, I’m so proud of what I’ve helped to deliver, and I’m very positive and confident about my future. I’ve been able to help and touch the lives of so many people. And it’s been a great experience for me, through and through.

Now, moving on a bit, my first coaching session at work yesterday, my coach helped me to come up with a plan to hopefully help me get to where I want to be. And it was nice to hear her reflections at the end saying that she thought I showed ‘great resilience and self awareness.’ Yahoo.

Anyway, whatever you think of the BBC, it has given me so much in the last 11 years working for it and for our audiences. It has given me so many opportunities to meet and work with so many great people, and to travel all over. It’s given me so much more than just a job.

You can judge the BBC as you will, but I love the place, what it stands for and what it has given me.

My Dad always held it in high esteem, and I’m so very proud to work there (I bet he’s proud too, and I bet my Granny would be WELL proud!). I look forward to working there for many years to come.

Ps: tune into the new channel the channel numbers in the pic above from 24th February.

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It’s never too late…

Today I met a lovely lady called and had an initial coaching session with her. The lady is 70 at the end of June, and ask for some advice to see if I could help. She’s run in the past, up to half marathons and had a running career of about 5 or 6 years.

A while back she started off running with Jog Scotland and got hooked. She ran 10ks and halfs with her daughters and she competed the Glasgow half and the great northern run.

Now she was talking with her daughters before Christmas and it came up that maybe she could complete her medal set and get a medal for a marathon. So encouraged by her daughters and husband, she set herself a challenge of running a marathon this year as a celebration in her 70th year.

She and her daughter got in touch with me to see if I could help her to see if I thought it’d be achievable for her, to give her a plan and some running coaching along the way.

Today I got to know her, and learned that she had a dogged determination and a positive outlook on life. She came in with real doubts that she might be able to train for and run a marathon, and she even came up with a flyer for a marathon walk instead, in case I thought she might not be up to running a marathon.

She thought about her knees and her hips and how running might affect them. She also thought about how she’s need to get used to running outside again. All in all she came across as a very lovely lady who could probably do anything she set her mind to.

She said she’d been looking at possible marathons and she’s set her heart on the Dublin marathon at the end of September. And she was keen to hear if I thought it was possible for her.

I said I’d coached someone else who was in her 60s (the wonderful Janice) and she too maybe thought or doubted that she could do a marathon. But she trained for it, built up her mileage and training and she ran the London marathon.

Don’t get me wrong, it was hard for her at points and I don’t think she’ll even run another one but she too was determined and she trained well and completed it.

I told her a bit about me and my approach to running, coaching and marathons. And I asked her some questions to get an idea of her experience with running and some other bits and pieces like her health, support network and finally.

Ann came across so positively, wise and self aware. And once she got to know me, she placed a trust in me and my experience, and in the end she accepted a present of a (make believe) cape.

She asked if I thought she could do it, and I said I had every faith that she could. I said it might be hard, and it would be a challenge but that there was no reason I thought she couldn’t do it.

So here goes. I’m going to make her a training plan which will involve three runs (or 1-2 spin sessions), with one of the Runs being long. The long runs will progress. Starting from about 5 miles and build up to her doing a few runs of about 18-20 miles.

I will provide regular coaching and support and she will look at seeing if there is a jog Scotland group in her area that she can join again.

We’ll start off with her getting started running again, and in the first 6 weeks of so up to the end of March, her goal will be to get back into running regularly (3x a week) and aim to run at least 10k by the end of March. I’ll have a coaching session with her on the 16th of March. Then we’ll take it from there.
This lady will be my sixth current coaching client… along with … Susan and Tania, both training for the London marathon, amazing Audrey who’s training for the Alloa half and ahh others she wants to do after that, Sharon who’s keen to build her running up to be consistent, and Lisa who is also training for the Dublin Marathon.

And in March I’m hopefully going to meet a couple of friends who are looking for some advice or a training plan / coaching. So I’ll see what happens there.

It’s great to be able to help so many women to set goals, believe in themselves and achieve in running and in life. And I’m so glad that over six years ago I decided to become a running coach with the aim to share my knowledge so that others can enjoy running as much as I do.

It’s never too late to get running and I’m looking forward to seeing how Ann does, as well as seeing what the others can achieve.

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Dealing with injury in marathon training

One of my coaching clients has a knee injury… about 10 weeks before the London marathon. She’s thinking about it and taking the action that’s best, and tonight she did a good challenging interval session on my spin bike.

She has pain in her knee, which came on last week and she made a good decision to rest from running and see a physio for advice.

He suggested rest from running, ice and massage. With the option to do non weight gearing exercise.

She’s not panicking, she’s being logical, taking advice and focussing on other things whilst she recovers.

Here’s what we did tonight on the bike:

50 mins, including:
5 min warm up then
4 x ( 3 x (30 secs @100+ rpm:
2:30 mins @80 rpm) 1 min recovery)
5 min cool down

And she’ll take rest from running, focus on other things for a bit, and get advice from her physio (and running coach – me).

I was saying to her that when trained for the belfast marathon a few years ago I was struck by a hip flexor injury and forced myself to take 2 weeks off running. I still managed to complete the marathon (in my second fastest time ever)… and the rest probably did me good.

Here’s a post I wrote about it at the time:

(Which includes the first link in the post to see another blog about how to deal with injury constructively.)

Injury happens and sometimes it can be our bodys way of saying slow down or stop. It’s important to listen, reassess and do what you can to recover.

Marathons are hard. And sometimes injuries pop up to remind us of that.

I’m pretty sure she’ll be just fine (and I think she knows that too).

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Wk6 into Wk7

Last week I didn’t manage to fit in any strength training through the week. A rather hectic couple of days at work on the Monday Tuesday, and then I didn’t pack my kettlebell or weights when going up to Aberdeen.

The weather was pretty bad in Stonehaven on the Friday so I didn’t venture out for my planned run. Rest days and time with my Dad and step mum instead.

I did however get some planning and action done in relation to my work, and spent some good time with my family, so I don’t feel bad about falling off track with training.

I had said I want February to be about strength training and building my long runs to ahead of the two half marathon I’m doing in March. But I’ll need to focus a bit on my work for a bit so I’ll get a balance between all three and the rest of life.

I ran on Monday and Tuesday, then Wednesday Thursday Friday we’re rest days. I traveled back from the north east on Saturday and went into the gym when I got back. So that’s me starting back on it after some good rest days.

Wk6 – Wc 4 Feb
Mon: 4M Run Coaching
Tue: 5k lunchtime
Wed: Aberdeen / Rest
Thu: Rest
Fri: Rest
Sat: Travel / Rest & kite fly
Sun: 9.3M Run negative split with last half at just under race effort

I also have to get my long runs in. Last weekend I ditched a 9-10 miler for a 4.5 mile run, which isn’t the best.

But I got up on Sunday and did an hour and half. 45 mins with my friend Debbie, then 45 mins at just under race effort. Nice and strong. The chat and company for the first 45 mins was a good way to get settled into it and I felt really good for the second half.

I should be back home and not travelling with work so much for the next few weeks. With my next trip to Inverness at the start of March, so that should help. (After Birmingham last week and Aberdeen this week).

Then next week I’m planning the following:

Wk7 – wc 11 Feb
Mon: Runners Strength + 20 min bike tabata
Tue: 5k + (4×6 Strength PM if time)
Wed: 20 min bike tabata + Full body strength
Thu: 6-7M
Fri: 20 min bike tabata + 4×6 strength
Sat: 11-12M
Sun: Rest

I want to get a good work life balance, and aim to be active most days if I can. And then here’s the plan for my long run training:

Wk8 – wc 18 Feb – 12-15M
Wk9 – wc 25 Feb – 10-12M (Coaching)
Wk10 – wc 4 Mar – Inverness Half
Wk11 – wc 11 Mar – 10-12M
Wk12 – wc 18 Mar – 8M (hols)
Wk13 – wc 25 Mar – Alloa Half

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Kite flying family fun

My Dad always told this story about how he made himself a kite when he was young. He got a piece of cane, broke it in two and split one in the middle so that he could make a cross. Then he got some string to secure it together and wrapped it in paper to make the kite.

The main challenge he had was getting some strong string that was long enough. His Dad was a miner so he asked him to get some string from the mines. And he did. So he finished his kite and flew it.

This weekend when I was visiting my dad, the wind arrows on the weather app were black and it said it would be about 50mph. I asked him yesterday if he fancied flying my kite and he said no.

I have a stunt kite (two in fact) that I keep in my car, just in case the wind is up and I’m out and I fancy flying a kite.

But then out of the blue without me printing him today he said – ‘right, so are we going to fly this kite then?’ So we went down to the park and got the kite out for a fly.

(He’s not as practiced or as good as me, but we still had fun).

After we flew the kite we went for a wee walk along the river and home.

Flying kites for fun must run in the family. 🙂

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