| 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 


| 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?


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


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!



| 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.


| 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


| 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



| 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.


| 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.'