Friday

| 2018 | 12 | 10 | why is batman not manbat? |

I find it a little odd we name animals without asking them first.


I might apply that principle to people around me. 

I shall call you

fluffy.

---

honest to god I'm sitting here asking the important questions

---

I think my favourite comment of the week was on a vegetarian facebook page I follow....

'why y'all doing so many vegetarian recipes. maybe consider something with meat in it'


AND THEN.

wait.

---

It's almost 2019. I've been doing a lot of planning.

I've also been doing a lot of thinking .



I was put on this earth to look. To have a really good look at things. While you're all out there seeing, I'm looking and doing a damn good job of it. It doesn't matter on what or which scale, the looking can be done in relative intensity, taking in every angle of a leaf or the breadth of the Thames.

Oh she's back to talking about that river again. Classic.

However, for me time passes so infinitely fast during moments of pleasure and catastrophically slowly during those of pain my timeline is confusing and flawed. I lose track of everything, quite often when I'm looking at leaf. The one marked point I can happily refer to is the river, flowing undoubtedly and without change toward the sea.

I know I go on about the Thames. I know that my hobby, my life, is found somewhere along its murky waters. Hours are spent staring into its depths trying to firstly establish the question I'm attempting to answer.


For sure it taps into something primal. Something instinctive. But also. It never lies. It never has a motive, just a journey. It does have secrets, but if you go looking then you will find them.

Here are some more points along that thread.

Time moving slowly. Never before have I seen it inch so achingly round the clock than at a recent funeral. A great man. An inspiring man. A man who in his absence occupies more space than he did when yelling in my face. A man who could, and would, not lie.

To draw parallels between a person, time and the Thames may seem tenuous. But in this wild old world, I actually think it makes sense. sort of. if sense is made without point and purpose. 

Saturday

| 2018 | 12 | 08 | baked bread and salted butter |

dear stranger I met eyes with in the post office



I wonder what you made of my hair, loosely acknowledging the tie i'd found in the pocket of the pair of jeans i'd pulled from the back of my wardrobe.

now i know why they were there.

I wonder if you could see the tired in my eyes or my frustration at my failing attempts to both hold up my jeans and hold the three parcels in my arms. awkwardly shaped.

I could see you were tired. not the kind of 'up til late partying' tired, but a serious, deep, dog tired. in that split second i could see you looked sad too - past the point of being fed up.

In a way, I wanted to reach out and offer the type of pat on the shoulder my dad so often does when he doesn't have a clue what to say. Like the time he came home from work, found me crying on the kitchen floor surrounded by coco pops and spilt milk (he had the perfect opportunity there too) and knelt down next to me. The sigh, the gentle hand resting on my shoulder then the immediate kettle boiling were the three ways he was telling me he cared, he loved me but it was time to crack on.

She bustled past, and the moment was gone. It's so stark when your bubble bumps with someone else's. We get quite used to overlapping bubbles, integrated bubbles, opposing bubbles, but rarely are they sympathetic bubbles. not as in proffering sympathy, but sympathetic in a way that would suggest they would get along. alike. similar.

- - -

people watching I think, in a weird way, is a very important way to learn.

It's not about judgement. but understanding.

It's about seeing rather than just looking.



meanwhile.

I just napped like i died and the whole world is looking a bit more inviting.

Friday

| 2018 | 12 | 07 | i'm very sorry |

So these photos don't really have a lot to do with my story. But. I spend a lot of time day dreaming. Probably far too much. I digress, but when I 'glanced' out my window I saw someone cycle past with his left trouser leg tucked into his sock. ABSOLUTE throwback to my dad teaching me to ride my bike. Which I now avoid. 


so this is the queen.

with mister bean. on her head.

i like her. she's some kind of rolemodel for those who were born into privilege which i'll have you know i was moderately. but i am aware of this so I expect the world to give me all the things I think I deserve. like pancakes. and mini waffles. and breakfast. mainly breakfast. did I mention I was STARVING.

I  make porridge because it's the right thing to do. not because it's the nice thing to do.


this is me. if i had ears.

Is anyone else getting the vibe that this post is a kind of show and tell written by a 5 year old. This is this.

I found a map.

It's quite a relevant map to the current times (tee hee). no that's not funny. nor an in joke.


It is tipping it down outside and I'm not entirely sure my car is watertight. or watersafe. 

no that's just my phone lying face down in a puddle. 

can confirm bricks don't float.

Monday

| 2018 | 12 | 03 | bump into me and call me daisy |

I'm not sure you know why I'm like this but I am.

I'll be running seminars for these:
'don't touch that it's hot'
'we drive on the left'
'watch out for electricity, it's live 100% of the time'
'how to brush your hair and 30 other things you should be doing as an adult'

---

speaking of adulting.

I'm categorically failing to comprehend why everyone wants to follow the same rulebook.

I threw mine out my car when reversing through a gap that was, in fact, not the width of my car but around one inch less.

utterly delightful.


---

Anyways.

How do i begin to sum up my last month or so?

I don't really.

It happened. It wasn't very fun. I'm still not sure what's going to be done next but for now I'm allowed back doing all the things I love .

For example.

There is nothing I can think of that makes me happier than kayaking.

 I love it why? You ask. I know you do.

Because.

No matter how hard you try, no matter what you learn, there is always more.

 Because.

Well actually a fifteen year old said it better than I as we finished our 20 miles paddle together.

'wow. i love being broken. it's the best feeling'.

then she jumped out her boat and essentially napped in the back of a car.

that is what is so addictive though. the ability to push yourself beyond any reasonable level and keep going. nothing beats the k2 when it's flying, but equally the feeling after it's been down is something else too.

you're chasing shadows.






Tuesday

| 2018 | 11 | 06 | ice cream sundaes and a whole loada trifle |

okay. it's been a while.

hi.

hi there.


please just picture me carefully waving from whichever writing location you'd actually imagine someone would chose.

i've gone for the pile of bedding I can't bring myself to finish actually putting on my bed.

and my mum wonders why I sleep on the sofa.

---

yesterday. step count : over 10,000. word count: borderline 34875320394875. approx.

I think I might be out of practice so bear with me here.


there is legitimately more than I can coherently write down to write down.

within the ten minutes I've given myself the best I will be achieving is some kind of babble interjected with other obscurities.

wild isn't it?

point 1. I'm basically bed bound, allowed out as and when my guilt will allow.

It's hard being ill. I'm struggling with the lack of understanding from people. 'well you look fine' seems to be the most uttered phrase, along with, 'so when are you back to work'. haste is not going to be my friend here. it's hard enough battling my internal disbelief, let alone the raised eyebrows of the hardworking elite who have yet to take a sick day. do one tumbleweed.



next point. I have a house. and a housemate. yet to meet the third but we already have his cactus ready.


next?

there's now a mug of coffee where it shouldn't be. out of it's mug. I wonder if this is how my parents felt when i was younger and let loose.

frack,


Thursday

| 2018 | 11 | 01 | how to be okay |

sometimes i write posts today, to publish in the future. This is one of those.

The mind is a funny thing. The internal monologue that drives you forward can be both your  best friend and your utmost enemy. And you are stuck with them. You. You are stuck with you.

You can't switch you off.

You can only alter the course of the conversation inside and learn to accept it for what it is.

I used to be unable to let the little things go. They would run circles round my mind, a constant reminder of the failure I felt I had become. Repeating the same phrases, moments and thoughts, becoming a constant distraction from the present moment.

I remember, one evening I was so fed up with it I turned to the mirror and I yelled.

Just picture that scene, a teary eyed emotional human with bedraggled hair and penguin pyjamas - yelling at her own reflection.

'shut up! shut up! shut. up.'


But. The next day. I woke up to a sort of quiet. Not quite a silence but the voice in my head was taking a back seat to the part of me that wanted to wear my dungarees.

And I liked it.

No more would it be a one way dialogue. I've learnt to become my own best friend and whilst I'm not always sure I agree with the decisions I end up making, I stick with them to the end.

I'm driven by the understanding that somehow, 26 years of life have passed and I am still here. I am still functioning. I have everything I need and from the outside I might even look like a fully functioning adult.


Saturday

| 2018 | 10 | 06 | please thank you |

how many legs does a zebra have?

what do they do with the extra few?

would indianna jones benefit from a sidekick?

where's that bit in Africa where the buffalo cross and get eaten by crocodiles?

should we build them a bridge?

I've noticed that when some people frown they have wrinkles shaped like letters. Can I have one?

how many penguins can fit on a bus?

why aren't they there now?

Friday

| 2018 | 10 | 05 | hair tings |


I have been bleaching my hair for over 7 years now. As a result I have no idea what my natural colour is, or what hair type I actually have. I've grown used to it feeling slightly dry and tangled a few days after washing and adjust my straightening routine accordingly. 

There was one particular dyeing session that left my usually fairly resilient hair in a bit of a mess. My ends were all split, it was very brittle and sort of sad. After a brief but firm discussion with my hairdresser I was given a large discount and an apology, but very little in the way of compensation for my ruined locks. 

Boots was my go to on the way home and I spotted the Bleach London products a long way off - they're tailored for those who like to push their hair to absolute bleaching limits. 


Created to revive unhappy, colour damaged hair, the Reincarnation Mask seemed like a great place to start with my rescue attempts. 

Yeah I bought it for the packaging, and thankfully it paid off. 

Enriched with sunflower seed extract and micro wheat proteins, it should give great shine, strengthen colour vibrancy, improve elasticity and help reduce colour fade. 

For anyone who has bleached their hair, the post shampoo knottiness will be familiar. It's horrible - you feel like you will never be able to untangle it ever again - so a sign of a good conditioner is one that post application leaves you with the confidence your hairbrush won't take too much of a bashing. 


The instructions tell you to leave it one for 10-20 minutes - but I went all out and walked around the house for just under an hour prior to rinsing. It's a specially formulated pre-shampoo mask - extremely thick and with a salon-like smell. A little goes a lot further than you would imagine across your dry hair so it's good value for money too. 

I could feel the difference immediately - my hair was so much less brittle and much less snapped off during the drying process. I tend to wash my hair once a week when it's really dry, so it's nice to be able to deep condition at the same time too. 


My only criticism would be the packaging. Aesthetically it ticks many boxes, but functionality-wise it scores poorly - but this is something I can overlook given the quality of the product.

If your hair needs a little bit of love every now and then I would strongly recommend!

Thursday

| 2018 | 10 | 04 | here's another |

I remember writing this post because I had a new camera at the time so spent such a long time on the pictures.

2013 me. you pro.

---

As with every turning season, I like to treat myself to some new colours for my face. You know. Paint.

I decided to really try some new shades.

Revlon had a 3 for 2, in case you wondered.

Balm Stain
Just bitten kissable.

It took me a while to decide on the colour - they were all bang on.


The claims
Pampering balm fused with a lightweight lipstain in an adorable chubby crayon. Gives softer, smoother lips with a perfect flush of colour that lasts hour after hour.

The reality
First thing - the pigmentation.
I am in love.
Application - top marks.
Durability - so so, the colour is still there, but it's quite faint.


It might be something to do with my chronic lip biting, but I am never able to keep my lipstick on for more than a few hours.

This has the gel-like quality of a balm and the vibrancy and staying power of a fairly decent stain.

Once on the lips this product feels like a thin lip balm, it's smooth but not greasy and very moisturising.

I want romantic next. Please. So yes, would recommend, it's just easy.


ColorBurst Lip butter
Candy Apple

I wanted something more 'on the go' next.


The claims
Buttery balm and shiny colour to give you baby soft, healthy flowing lips
94% of women felt lips were softer, smoother and instantly hydrated
Hydrating mango, shea and coconut butter formula boosts lip moisture by 156%
sheer to medium colour.


The reality
This gives a beautiful glossy, semi-opaque colour. It's so moisturising.  




This product gets  a big thumbs up - it's more of a relaxed day wear product. I like it when I'm not dressed up but don't want to look like a tramp. If you get what I mean?

I'm always a bit skeptical about products that everyone raves about - but officially I have jumped on this bandwagon. 


Super Lustrous lipstick
Rich Raisin Frost


The claims
High shine and sexy feel. With an exclusive blend of moisturisers and vitamins. SPF 15
Lusciously glossy lips plumped with instant moisture.
Formula with a moisturizing complex of vitamin E and Avocado oil conditions lips and ensures no tackiness
Non irritating formula boosts hydration




The reality
This is my more 'adult' lip product. It's a dark beautiful colour and takes a bit of guts to wear it out (I smear things across my face). But if you are feeling sophisticated - please, go ahead.

I re-apply post lunch and the colour lasts the full working day (I actually have to remove it for the gym because I don't want to be one of those girls). You can increase the pigment by applying more than one layer, but personally I'm happiest with just the one.

Thankfully there is no colour bleed or scent - it's a really easy to wear product.





Next season, who knows?

Wednesday

| 2018 | 10 | 03 | i used to do this full time?! |

there are a few of these review posts hanging around the internet and my various blogs. in my attempt to bring everything together I thought I'd do an homage to what was. 

---

These are my new favourites. And totally worth the hype (late again much?)

I'm seriously going through a lip product phase - I'm known as the girl who always has lipstick on at the gym (it's the only bit of make-up I wear to workout).

I can't work out if I like the slightly off centre alignment. I really want to just push the top one round.

I burn through lip butter - as I've mentioned before I'm a horrendous lip biter and just seem to eat the stuff.  I've also been making a conscious effort to move away from vaseline and use products that actually soak into my lips rather than just coat them.


The claims
Buttery lip balm with a shiny tinted finish and a combination of Shea butter and Rice wax for deep hydration and softness.
A shiny, juicy pop of colour which is ideal for dry lips. 

The reality
With such great emphasis on softness, there's a lot to fulfil - and the answer is yes.

They small incredible, and the cover is sheer - so they're easy to just whack on whilst you're on the go (lipstick is a nightmare sometimes!). 

this photo is far from how they look now. all are messes. 
They're more of a glossy balm,  so don't expect a matte look, and there are sufficient shades (or scents) to suit everyone. I really like the packaging too - it's not too much, but just enough to look a little bit special.

I really want to try the Quince one next - and knowing me it won't be long!

I also have my eye on some more Revlon Colorburst Lip Butters; Peach Parfait, Fig Jam and Berry Smoothie. What a healthy wish list. Okay. I actually want them all. Okay and Lollipop, Macaroon, Red Velvet, Sugar Plum, and Pink Truffle.

Tuesday

| 2018 | 10 | 02 | today. the day before yesterday |

it's not sporty spice, it's not baby spice, it's not even mild spice its actually exceptional spice.

charlie added too much chilli again and as always I put more in my mouth than is probably necessary.

I started reading 'to the lighthouse' over the weekend and I realise now that I don't want to know if they make it there.

I don't want to know the ending of the story, just the long, meandering road to get us there.



This will forever be the photo I am most proud of. Running 69 miles was the most physically and mentally challenging process I've had to overcome, and I have to be honest I could have dealt with it so much better.

I'm currently training for something bigger, technically more difficult and potentially more dangerous.

Sorry ;) .



 Morning runs are the best way to start your day.

there's no pressure.





I've done so many things I'm really proud of. 

but today my foot is bleeding all over my shoe and I can't make a plaster stick. 

Sunday

| 2018 | 09 | 30 | marshmallow pie |

I realised something today.

It struck home.

I haven't been paying attention.

I've been letting the small bits through.



I'm going to start slowing down.

Savouring every second.


Savouring every person.


Giving them my time because life can sometimes be so short and you never know which will be your last. Or theirs.

So make eye contact. Smile when they speak.

And don't take people for granted.

People aren't forever.

They're so temporary.

---

Tomorrow morning. I'm going to wake up early. And I'm going to paddle. Slowly. Because I can. And I'm going to enjoy the sunrise all the more for those who can't.


Monday

| 2018 | 09 | 17 | day 29 |

Henley Hasler.

The speedbump.

The one I'm glad we survived.

---

That sounds super dramatic but we could have both very easily collapsed in on ourselves and had a really rough ride.




Wednesday

| 2018 | 09 | 12 | day 23 |

Ah the good old time trial.

5km of bliss and fun.

Well in fact it was, as myself and Mark achieved a storming PB of 23:32, despite switching seats in the K2.

In fact, after some discussion we realised that there was little significance in the time being quicker as a result of Mark being in the front, more that, either way round we go about the same speed, and the boat feels good.

That was after I borderline had an existential crisis over the fact that we were quicker without me driving. It needs to sink in that there are two of us paddling, it's not that I'm an addition to Mark's effort. I must at somepoint be shifting my bodyweight + half the boat. It's science.

What is it going to take to realise that I am contributing.

I guess that's the struggle with being a part of a team, especially one that amounts to two.

You're equally as reliant on yourself as you are on each other. We can't get through races without the other one in the boat, and we damn well won't finish the DW solo.

what are the chances. 
I had a moment of realisation earlier today.

This is all weirdly falling into place.

What are the chances of finding a K2 partner who is basically the same height, same leg length and same gait. Paddling style perhaps not but that's borderline impossible anyway.

What are the chances of finding a K2 partner with the same mindset and level of dedication to training. With the same openness to try new approaches in the hope it may make things easier.

I feel like this is my first real stab at the biggest race of my kayaking career, and if played well we'll definitely have a good experience. There are a lot of races in between to learn from. To prepare for. To keep working toward.

But this also won't happen again. We've got a window of opportunity which we have to take. And we have to do it properly. No half measures. We can't rely on it coming around again.

I don't want to look back on these eight months in ten years time and have the question - what if? Whilst the components are down to chance, what we do with them doesn't have to be.

Every time I put my paddle in the water, I have a choice. I either do it properly or I take the easy option. I can either improve, or be a passenger.

---

We didn't go to Pangbourne to win. We went there to learn. And as a result of our training were in a position to take first place. But we didn't win by giving our all. It was giving our all in the first place which just so happened to take the win. It's a different emphasis. That was my most, and Mark's too. It wouldn't have mattered if we were 6 lengths up, or the same number down. That race would have happened the same no matter what.

We went there and did our best.



---

that's the same with every session. Every bit of training.

Your best is the only thing you can be sure of.

Tuesday

| 2018 | 09 | 04 | day 16, training for the dw |


Today we smashed the time trial and I laid down my personal goals and aims. 

It's going to be a long 8 months. 

The current kit list:

Tops.
Craft Women's Active Extreme 1.0: https://goo.gl/SRbTBx
Craft Women's Active Exteme 2.0 LS Baselayer - https://goo.gl/rzNW27
Craft Women's Active Extreme Short Sleeve Base Layer: https://goo.gl/L6ZGZv
Icon Performance Gilet: https://goo.gl/3GEqz7
Under Armour Sports Bra: https://amzn.to/2MHmMy4
Palm Short Sleeve Cag: https://amzn.to/2PIxu4e

Bottoms.
Under Armour Shorts : https://amzn.to/2BVB7Sp

Extras.
Under Armour Women's Visor: https://amzn.to/2BZZ234
Inov8 Race Ultra 270: https://amzn.to/2PR4pEL
SunGod Classics: https://goo.gl/fkk26y
Marsport drinks bottle holder: https://goo.gl/fER1Cs
Inov8 Race Ultra 270 - https://amzn.to/2PR4pEL

Boat stuff.
Trestles: https://amzn.to/2NwOo5h
V-bars: https://amzn.to/2PeXt2W-

Nutrition.
Nakd Lemon Drizzle Bars: https://amzn.to/2NwEWyD
| review | zero waste | coffee | keepcup: https://amzn.to/2LGVuSQ 

| 2018 | 09 | 04 | day 13 + day 14 + day 15 |

I have always wanted to be an explorer. Ever since I was younger.


The paddle this morning was the chance to do just that - 7.5 miles of un-paddled territory with a lot of new and exciting bits and pieces. This was it. The moment to prove myself.

I was also trialling my Vibram's, the newest addition to my kit. I was so against shoes. Sophie against shoes. 

Friday

| 2018 | 08 | 31 | day 12 |


I promise that once I'm back from holiday, the real training will begin

We have already compiled a kit list and I am desperately googling reviews and alternatives to certain items. 

Running has been my go-to this week and will still feature in the training plan next week, but not as predominantly. 

I need to be really careful with my protein intake. It's challenging. 

Current wish list:
- Short sleeve lightweight cag
- Heavy duty cag to handle the cold
- Hat
- New leggings
- Buoyancy aid
- 8kg dumbbells 

Thursday

| 2018 | 08 | 30 | salt of the earth crystal deodorant |



Buy yours here.

I'm a bit worried I'm turning into a bit of a health
nut (everything that I put in and onto my body is coming under scrutiny) but I'm not about to change that just yet.

I should also clarify - anything is better than what I'm currently using, however I'm pleased to say that this solution isn't just better, it's great.



Deodorant and antiperspirants are there in probably 99.9% of the populations routines, with multiple applications across the day for many.

Deodorants stop the smell, anti-perspirants act to prevent the natural sweating of your body.

Now I've cleared that up. Lets get on to why you should re-consider.

the why::
Antiperspirants typically contain aluminium chlorohydrate or aluminium zirconium (or even aluminium chloride) which plug your pores by forming a gel like substance.

Ammonium Alum and Potassium Alum are large molecules of natural minerals which will stay on the surface of the skin and prevent body odour in the first place.

Complicated. I know. It's also important to note than an antiperspirant is considered a drug rather than a cosmetic.

It's this kind of confusion which is why so many consumers are wary of anything 'alum' containing.

Other ingredients to be wary of:

- Parabens. A type of chemical in many products, used as a preservative, but they're one of the most harmful additives. They've been associated with a lot of side effects and are just generally something I'm starting to want to steer clear of. They can disrupt your hormones and remain within your cells for a long time, and have recently been found in marine mammals [1].

- Triclosan. Another questionable ingredient, this is used to kill bacteria and has been shown to not be so good for us after all [2].

- Propylene Glycol. This can affect the central nervous system, heart and liver. It's also been known to cause skin irritation, and aids the penetration of the skin for the other active ingredients.

And then.

So I haven't even covered the environmental impact of aerosols or the production of any of these ingredients, but the above alone should make you wary.

the what::
Okay so I am probably the greatest sceptic when it comes to something that is a rock.

I mean who wouldn't be?



Seriously.

It leaves an invisible layer that you can't see which will stop you smelling?

Hah.

No okay there's a little more science behind Salt of the Earth

It's a piece of mineral salt in plastic casing (damn it) - however against the alternatives this is much more 'earth friendly'. From production to consumption it will win hands down - now I just have to go verify that. [I did actually send them an email and was assured they're taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint.]

\\ it is vegan

\\ made from natural minteral salts and plant extracts - so kind to your skin

\\ no white marks

\\ affordable and less harmful to the environment.

Also. aesthetically pleasing. It's quite adorable.

the how::
you need either it or your armpits to be damp, go a little crazy with the application and then allow to dry.

seriously though, application takes a few more seconds than you might be used to - it's not a spray or a simple roll on.

the water is used to dissolve some of the top layer off the rock and leave it as a residue on your skin - hence needing to allow it to air dry. it's completely colourless and will not leave any mark on your clothes (I tested this too).



my thoughts::

well this was unexpected.

truly, I expected there to be a proper downside to it. I'd read about some people experiencing a 'detox', as with all changes there will be a transition period - but for me mine was minimal if at all noticeable. I think that's purely down to having phased out the anti-perspirant, so I wasn't having a sudden increase in sweat.

there isn't. I'll admit that during the first few days I was basically smelling myself all the time, but this soon stopped.Seriously. I was caught by a group of builders outside my neighbours house, which I then felt the need to explain myself.

I dunno. Age has changed me.

I wish I had found this product sooner.

I've already convinced three friends to purchase it, and they've all agreed, there's no going back!

[1] https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.5b03601

[2] https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm205999.htm

| 2018 | 08 | 30 | day 10 + day 11 |


So as you can tell, this has been a particularly lethargic holiday.


We clocked up a decent 15,000 steps on Wednesday taking in all that Avignon had to offer, before making our annual pilgrimage to the mountain. 'The Mountain'. Which is just a glorified hill with a spectacular view at the top.

However to 'climb' said 'mountan' I was wearing a pair of quite possibly my favourite trainers to date.

These trusty trainers.

They work.

Introducing.

| 2018 | 08 | 30 | Inov8 Race Ultra 270 |


The Inov8 Race Ultra 270's. 


Pair of off road trainers by the swimming pool in the sun

Having completed an ultra-marathon, run a number of halfs, not quite completed an ultra and been hitting the road consistently for over 8 years I feel qualified to speak as someone who knows which trainers work.

I've worked my way down from a high 12mm drop (I KNOW) to zero, and then dabbled around in between.

the why::
I originally bought these shoes in anticipation of running Rat Race's 'The Wall' - a 69 mile ultramarathon run across tarmac, trail and off-road. It is so tough to find shoes which can handle these varying terrains, all whilst the runner themself is slowly losing form and strength.

Pair of purple and grey trainers at an angle in the sun


the what::
Specifically designed for high mileage runners, these trainers can handle trail and tarmac.

The 4mm drop is ideal for forefoot runners, but provides enough cushioning for fatigue during the later stages of a run. It's generated by a 17mm height at the heel and 13mm at the toe.

They're standard fit, with a slight allowance in the toe box for any during race swelling. I remember when I purchased them I was sceptical of the claims about the flatter outsole with better grip to help again when you get fatigued and to increase stability.

It's also designed with really hard wearing rubber on the outsole to ensure it can handle the tougher off road runs.

Close up of off road trainers

the how::
These shoes took the longest of any shoe I've ever worn to break in.

In fact, they took so long I hated them. My feet would blister, my ankles would ache and my outer foot (the bit which was meant to be getting extra stability) would feel fatigued.

Pair of trainers in the sun

I read some articles online about 'how' to adapt to certain shoe types and I was so confused. I was doing the same I had done for every other pair of shoes I'd owned, but something wasn't clicking.

I realise now looking back it's because I was coming from my X-talon 212's, the dreamiest off road shoes - but essentially polar opposites to the Race Ultra's - oh and recovering from a dislocated metatarsal. So nothing was going to feel great. I was also giving them no more than 3 miles each run, not really sufficient time to see them in action.

They just had completely different rock-plates, the fit allowed for a lot more lateral movement across the forefoot and these were designed to be shoes rather than lightweight racing grips.

With that in mind, I went for a 13 mile slog. Initially it was uncomfortable and unfamiliar but as the miles crept up my feet felt great. There were no blisters to speak of and I'd actually managed to hit a fairly decent time. I was also enjoying the additional space and padding in the shoe, something the X-talon 212's toughen you against.

From that day on. They were my absolute favourites. Once I realised what they were actually there to do, they became my go to shoes.

I've worn them on the road, off the road, on trails, through obstacle races, in the gym, on long walks, up 'mountains', on the beach, in the snow - I'm running out of terrain types here but I think you get the picture.

Side on view of Trainers in the sun

Another thing I noticed, the low heel cap. This gives just enough support but doesn't push up into the back of the ankle and give that horrible chafing.

I'm really sad because these shoes are going to need retiring soon.

Whilst the sole has held up the whole time, I can feel the support is failing on me. I'll be looking at the Trailroc 270's as replacements. We'll see.

Close up of Inov8 logo


Tuesday

| 2018 | 08 | 28 | day 8 + day 9 |


So as you can see, I'm in France. 

I feel I should also explain that when on holiday, I do not wear make-up or do anything fancy with my hair. 

The extra sun I think is enough stress on my body without the added impact of chemicals and whatnot. 

So sorry. 

I think I look fab. 

Temp: 30 degrees
Wind: 1mph
Distance: who knows

---

Sunday

| 2018 | 08 | 26 | day 7 |

So if you can't already tell, my identical twin is taking part too....


[i don't have a twin]

This was a great great day.

Temp: 16 degrees
Wind: 5mph headwind
Flow: 13.3 m*3/s
Distance: 12.5 miles
Locks covered: Cookham, Boulters, Bray, Boveney, Romney

So we set off from Marlow after a quick shuttle run to Windsor. That's the bit of this process which is going to get tedious, the shuttle runs.

When I say tedious, it's a part of the process, and if it's the only tedious part then I'll take that. I'm okay with it. I'd also like to point out that driving with a K2 on the roof is just ridiculous. but I managed, and I'm very happy with that too.

The focus of this particular session was to try to settle into a pace without necessarily stressing over speed. We're trying to get tidiness and 'togetherness' sorted before we work on anything too mathematical.

I'm honestly so pleased with this run, nothing went wrong, the boat felt like it was moving through the water and best of all? Nakd's Lemon Drizzle bar is the bomb.

Delicious. Nutritious and slightly suspicious.

I still don't like bananas.

Thursday

| 2018 | 08 | 16 | blatman |



I'm not sure if playing this during a meeting was my best idea. 

However they got the point. The sentiment. the real deal. 

i'm snoozy.
Sometimes I take a sleep aid.

I'm categorically, famously, the worst sleeper I know.

Some nights I'll survive on two hours. Some nights even less. Broken into 5 minute periods of sleep.

I've now cracked not picking up my phone, turning on the TV or distracting away the bored, however. That makes lying in the dark a very boring affair.

-----

I did however, find my GCSE fiction submission which is quite something.

This is old content. Still don't know. 

---


'Jeanette! Jeanette ... we've got another ... one!'

He was out of breath, embarrassingly so given the proximity of his desk to the kitchen... though that was probably part of the problem. 

'Nigel take a seat you fool. I don't know how on earth you expect me to take anything from that sentence. It's really quite unhelpful.' 

She'd been smoking again, indoors. It had been an undisclosed mystery for them both as to why the smoke detector hadn't been set off - until he'd had a peek underneath the plastic cover and discovered the words 'DEMO - Do not use'. As the one in charge of all things safety related, he'd decided against replacing it, for that would involve a risk assessment for the use of a ladder. Not worth his time. She was just grateful her bad habit could remain within the confines of the building. 

'Right Jeanette.' He took a long pause, slowly raising his hand as if to emphasise the point. This gesture was missed entirely by his co-worker who had turned to acknowledge the freshly boiled kettle. 

'Jeanette if I could just have your full attention please?'

'Look Nigel I'm gasping for a cuppa. It's been at least 56 minutes since my last and you know how I get when it creeps over the hour!' Her voice was terse, a reflection of how she felt she would feel if she still relied on caffeine. It meant nothing that the tea in question was peppermint and she didn't drink it anyway because it was quite frankly disgusting. Beside the point. 

He lowered his hand. The dramatic effect would be achieved based on the merit of his words alone. The woman would listen.

They both mulled in silence (brew time is at least 3 minutes) before she nodded, a clear indication the story could continue.

'Right Jeanette. That's two in the past month. I think we're onto something here.' He grinned, waiting for her exuberant response. 

'Right Nigel. I really have had enough of all this mystery. Two what?' She pretended to take a sip, before grimacing at the taste she could only imagine. And who would want that anyway. 

He stood and clapped (another attempt at drama).

'We have found another obscure-ee!' The word hadn't quite rolled off the tongue in the way he had imagined, but secretly Nigel was quite pleased with how it sounded. Especially when coupled with another clap (for dramatic effect). 

'Well we're hardly going to get someone who could be described as anything different, are we Nigel? When you do insist on calling us 'The Agency of Obscure Skills'. If they were quite useful we'd send them packing.' She wasn't happy. This wasn't news. He was stating the obvious. 

'No, no, no Jeanette. you're completely missing my point. We now have more people on our books than we have ever had at any one time. Or even, ever had. I think it's time we go for it.'











Tuesday

| 2018 | 07 | 03 | tuesday | mopeds and butterflies |


Where have you been?

I have been here. Doing all the things which make me busy. And happy. There has been a lot of busy happiness. 

This is such a stark contrast from the events of last year I can't even comprehend. But equally. I don't really care. That was a long time ago.