Monday, 20 April 2015

Work Out

Tonight after my evening run, I decided to stretch and workout on a bit of grass in the park where I run. Usually my post-run exercises are in the car park directly next to my car and are more of a structured routine rather than free time.   
It’s taken me all of this time to realise - that it’s okay to take a chance and be
brave.

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A self-timed photo.

Tonight I stretched, balanced and energetically star jumped in public.
I didn’t even notice the onlookers or passers-by.
Believe me, it was liberating!
Unlike my Year 7 self, there is no longer need to hide the fact I am doing something to keep fit
and healthy.

I don’t have any friends to run or exercise with – it’s
always been a solo sport for me, but sometimes I crave company. Tonight I took
solace in being my very own best friend.


Forever inspired by Sophie.


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Sunday, 12 April 2015

This Girl Can

Just over two years ago I was overweight, desperately unfit and worryingly unhappy with my life. I had zero confidence and often struggled finding ways to get by from day to day. 
Then I discovered running. 
What started out as a way to essentially lose a little bit of weight, completely turned my entire life around. 
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Today I ran the Plusnet Sheffield Half Marathon - a race I had my heart set on running for a very long time.

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Here is my heartfelt and honest account of today:
I was so anxious and nervous yesterday as nerves began to set in, waking up this morning I felt excitement and eagerness to arrive in Sheffield city centre. The fact I was running completely alone daunted me, especially as groups of people began to gather at the starting zone. I felt a little bit like a little fish in a big sea. But I knew, my passion for running would get me through. 

The pursuit out of the city centre upto Ecclesall Road was truly brilliant; I felt a thrill running past some of my favourite haunts. It was when approaching Ringinglow Road (dubbed the King of the hill) - I began to feel the pain set in. I have little experience of hills and the quite ironic gusty wind did not help. But, I pushed through and I spotted a work colleague in the crowd who eagerly spurred me on.

Once up the hill, the course really took me on a whole new experience - trail running, in the tip of the Peak District. I was absolutely in my element running through the amazing scenery, Sheephill Road was a breath of fresh air. It was after this point, I really struggled - coinciding with needing the toilet (really badly); I did have a moment in my mind wondering how I was ever going to get to the finish line.

The downhill pursuit back into Sheffield centre, was a little more relaxed, but on approaching the final 3mile mark - I ached, I pained, I felt absolutely drained and exhausted. I kept thinking I wouldn't be able to make it, and felt so disappointed in myself. I reminded myself how far I’d come and giving up was not an option.

I don't know how - but I found that final spur of energy in my gut, and that last 10 minutes seems a complete blurry image for me. Seeing the final finish line, I gave it my all. Ran passed the cheering crowds and passed the line literally into the arms of a paramedic! I was shaking, and could barely walk - this was definitely the most I have ever pushed my body. 
I did manage to walk after this and then eventually find my husband and family, after a little cry on the side of the street. Gosh, the emotion I cannot even describe.

It was every inch physically and mentally draining today. But, up until the age of 23 I had never done any sort of exercise, I dodged PE like the plague and never took part in after school activities – something I deeply regret. Running like I did today demonstrated that being physically fit is not a gift nor something you are born with – it takes time, dedication and focus to train and transform your body.

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Finishing the race was my ultimate goal, and as the pain had overtaken all my thoughts on a decent finish time. As you can imagine, I was completely astounded and shocked, when I realised I had finished in less than 2 hours - my absolute ultimate dream for the race originally when I applied back in January. 

This is a tale of hard work, determination and having your heart set on changing something. All I ever wanted was to find confidence in myself and happiness and fulfilment in life – running has undoubtedly provided me with that and I couldn’t ever be more thankful.

Literally, believe me when I say: anything is possible.

 
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Monday, 6 April 2015

Bohemian Dreams

As we are ever nearing our Asian Adventure, I am dreaming of bohemian style.
Bohemia to me is … freedom to completely dress as independently as you wish. For as long as I can remember I have had a longing desire to dress in as many charms, bangles and flowers as possible. I love the idea of magical folklore and hippy chic so to speak.
When I was younger I always kept a drawstring bag of worry people nearby, had incense burning in my room and a dream catcher hanging above my bed.  Embroidery is an art close to my heart, and I have lost count of just how many crochet tops I own.

My Thailand wardrobe (or shall we say suitcase), is coming together now – there’s some of my favourites from our Honeymoon last year, but I am slowly adding a few more to the mix. I’m determined to pack light, and only take the bare essentials – but that being said, those essentials need to be the 'ones'.

I have been incredibly lucky in finding is some jewels – all second hand, mostly from my local charity shop...
 
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 Earrings: £1.00 charity shop
These earrings are bohemia in a heartbeat! I love the neon tassels, I have a feeling these are going to be my favourites whilst there.

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 Necklace: 50p car boot sale
This necklace I have had nestled at the back of my wardrobe for a couple of years now, I have never felt an occasion suited to wearing it – but I’m determined to wear it whilst in Bangkok.
 
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Necklace: £2.00 charity shop
This one caught my eye – I wouldn’t usually find myself drawn towards statement necklaces, but something about the colourful beading really swayed me.

I still have the mammoth task of sorting my clothing, footwear & bikinis (now that’s a whole other issue), but I’m pretty pleased with my jewels – especially as I will only be taking costume jewellery on the trip (besides me wedding bands).
To be continued…

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Sunday, 5 April 2015

Hummingbirds & Teddy Bears

This Easter I had one burning desire… and that was to have ourselves a picnic - in the woods.
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The Hummingbird cake is from Jamie Oliver’s glorious Comfort Food series, and contains a dreamlike set of ingredients – Pineapple, banana, pecans & edible flowers. Of course I wasn’t just content baking, eating, and devouring the cake – I had to do the cake justice and photograph it arched on a woodland log in the middle of the woods. Just because...
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Since receiving a Fortnum & Mason picnic basket for Christmas I was counting down the months until appropriate picnic weather.  Coinciding with my baking of a cake I had admired from a far and finally got around to baking this Easter, it was the perfect excuse to eat cake in the woods! Literally.
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It was our first Easter together as a married couple – visiting church this morning cemented the fact that we are still very much new to married life.  And brought back a lot of memories, especially of our service.
Easter for us – has been about spending time together, relaxing and enjoying one and other’s company. Today was about spending Easter together, and it just so happened to be the perfect day for a picnic. 
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Merlot
Was my wedding gift from Simon. May I say he is the most treasured bear that ever was. 


Happy Easter Folks.


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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Pieces of April

Today marks the start of April, a brand new month and the promise of a glorious Easter and four-day weekend. (I think we can all take a moment to appreciate just that).

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One of the best days of my life - setting off on a uplifting run in New Zealand
OUTFIT: Nike
 
There is something, which has been in the planning, pipeline for a long time now…  I am running the Sheffield Half Marathon on Sunday 12th April and I couldn’t be more excited. I have pretty much wanted to take part in this race before I started running, I remember a few years ago getting caught in horrendous traffic and marvelling at the runners pounding the streets of Sheffield, nearing the then Don Valley Stadium.

In sight – I wanted to compete last year. I was so close. But the daunting reality of our wedding took over and it was just not possible with the time frame. I felt sad, really sad and a little lost on the day wondering if I could have made it there. 
But, I knew that there was a reason I couldn’t take part, the hunger was there and it wasn't going to go away. I was running this race in 2015. 

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As January rolled around – I made that split second decision. I signed up, and I was away. I have clocked up quite a series of distances. Hitting 100k in February was remarkable, but surpassing 150k in March has completely marvelled me. I have given this my all, my everything. 

12 Days away and I am genuinely looking forward to the prospect of blissfully running my heart out on the streets of my own city. I’ve chosen to run completely by myself on the day – which for once isn’t scary. I began my journey alone and figured running this race is what I know best. 

Finally, I am running on behalf of a very special cause. I have never, ever done anything like this before, but feel so humbled to be raising money through doing something I love for an incredible cause.
Amy’s Retreat work with families who are dealing with children with cancer. They are a truly admirable cause. You can visit my Just Giving page, if you would like to donate or find out more.

All your support, is forever appreciated.
This race means a lot to me, running is a part of me and I don't think I could ever be more grateful for discovering a whole new life through it.
   ♥

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