Running with Darkz and Venetia up and down, over and under bridges, lots of (fucking) banter banter banter (I hate that word) and lots of Nike+ Fuelpoints earned. This was a fun shoot and we’re on the UK Nike store site for the New Year Make It Count campaign.
HAAAAAAIIIII! I’M RUNNING. RUNNING ON NIKE’S HOMEPAGE! *waves* 2013….How will y’all #MakeItCount? I will be going hard with training! Happy New Year folks, hope it’s a good one! x
This man is a credit to the brand and the country he represents. I love man like Mo.
Here, he is congratulating Rene Herrera, Philippines, after racing in the 5000m heat. Herrera finished in last place but beat his own PB.
This says it all about Mo Farah as an athlete and sportsman.
photo by Diego Azubel-European Pressphoto Agency
Running (or the lack thereof).
It’s been a week since I put on running shoes to run in. I’ve just been wearing my new LunarEclipse+ 2 trainers around like they’re just a normal Sportswear trainer, wearing them at every opportunity. Other than Frees and LunarRacers, these are the first running model in the last few years that I’ve really, REALLY loved. I kind of don’t want to run in them so they don’t get dirty, I just want to wear them with jeans or shorts. They’re so summery!
ANYWAY. I digress. I haven’t done any running since last week at Run Dem. It’s not like I rack up much more mileage in between RDC sessions, but I’ve been wanting to. Last week I managed to hurt my legs. Real life hurt with real life pain. I have no idea what I did, but throughout the run (and the whole of the next two days) my lower legs were in agony. I don’t think it was shin splints as my calves were just as painful, but I’ve been taking it easy nonetheless.
It’s frustrating because since Berlin I’ve wanted to up my running game and enjoy this “summer” (WHEN IT STOPS BLOODY RAINING) at a considerable pace. The aim is to run the Amsterdam half marathon in October in less than 2 and a half hours. I’m pretty sure I can do this. With a few track sessions and (perhaps a couple of bridge running sessions in New York some time soon) I might be able to get it down to something below 2 hours and 15 minutes. Whatever. I’m not getting too ahead of myself. I just really want to be able to run strong enough to keep up with my friends.
On the plus side, over the past few weeks I’ve been trying out a new yoga class, stretching and breathing like a rhino while Denis and Jeggi stretch somewhere behind me, melting like AZN sorbets. I’ve also managed to FINALLY find a place to live and I’ve moved all my stuff and I’m settling in fabulously. I’m proper chuffed. After the stress of house-hunting and all the other crap that I waded through at the beginning of this year, I feel like I deserve living in such a nice flat. AND I’ve seen a(n amazing) physio about my knee pain. Barbara stuck me on a treadmill and then told me that my knees hurt because I run funny because I have a weak core. She gave me a bunch of exercises to do that I only remember once I’m at work and in no position to be planking and thrusting around in a studio full of bewildered people. I’m going to sign off and go and do some core work now.
That’s the update. Nothing
wildly remotely exciting, but I thought you should know. It was meant to be short and sweet, but that kind of failed once I started waffling. Soz. I also wanted to show you my new trainers. Best (looking) investment I’ve made this year so far.
Want some morning motivation? This video just made my day.
Finally running with Dem dat Run.
Aside from the blah attitude to training as a whole, I’ve found one positive light in the last two weeks which has been Run Dem Crew. My motivation took a major slump, but my stamina can now at least take a mile and a bit, so I thought I should take up Charlie’s invitation from Summer last year lest it go stale and crumble into regret. Nervous doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt two Tuesdays ago as I walked into Nike’s 1948 in Shoreditch. Jumpy, nauseous, exhausted, delirious, terrified, excited and exhilarated fit the description much better. It’s like walking into a room where everyone is super-cool and really good at sports and everyone already knows each other, and you’re the new dorky kid who’s shit at PE. Oh, wait…
I was anticipating an excruciatingly embarrassing introduction to the whole crew from Charlie and I wasn’t disappointed. So aside from the fact that 175 people, fresh from their post-work dash to 1948, which made the building toasty to say the least, my blushing was enough to melt the Nike+ Fuelbands being trialled by some of the Run Dem Crew runners. (Side note: Nike+ Fuelbands look so OSSUM in real life!) It didn’t help my burning cheeks when Bangs also pointed out to the crowd that “Mei could really do with everyone’s support because she really, really hates running”. So now everyone knows me as the girl who hates running but still showed up to the running club where everybody loves running. FML.
I knew I wasn’t going to be able to cope in anything but the slowest group, so I put two hands up when Charlie asked who was running in tortoises, one for me and one for my stomach which I felt I was going to leave behind on the bench. I have never been so NERVOUS! But here’s why I love running with people. Candice straight away told me that she would run with me, slower than her usual pace, and Bangs leaned over and said she’d be right there with me too. That is LOVE. Both of these women are working towards different goals, but they still chose to amble along with me.
Denny, Mubi and Dom were there with words of encouragement and niceness. Elles, George and Rhalou were being really excited for me. Peigh was there being Peigh. Chaka was being chatty. And I was there trying not to throw up.
There were other newmans in my group. Janet was one of them, an old friend of Charlie’s, and I felt relieved knowing I wasn’t the only one who wouldn’t know my way or know how things run at Run Dem with dose dat run. We did a four mile loop from Shoreditch, passing Liverpool Street Station, running over London Bridge and along to Tower Bridge, over and back up to Liverpool Street then dashed back to 1948 to push ourselves right at the end. Absolutely brilliant. I kept a good pace and managed to get my running mojo to resurface. There is NOTHING like running in a group of people who like running, have experience in running and want you to like running too but aren’t overbearingly patronising. There is fresh perspective from everyone. The group runs steadily, slowing down to support those who aren’t having much fun, but still maintaining a good pace to keep momentum going.I didn’t really struggle as much as I thought I would. And, you know what? It is liberating to achieve new successes with your own personal running-demon beat-downs.
Post-run, I got some good advice on how to stretch properly from Mark and spent the next half an hour rolling around the floor, stretching my legs past their usual capacity while I waited for Denis to be ready to grab pancakes for dinner because it was Shrove Tuesday which means it is the law to eat pancakes, or else.
Two weeks in, and I can already vouch for the fact that there’s a lot about Run Dem Crew that makes it so enjoyable. There is a real sense of community where everyone looks after each other, making it quite a self-sufficient group. The benefit of its huge range of members being so (cool and) diverse and based in London is that there is literally at least one of every type of person you would ever need to meet within the group. If something needs doing, someone can always do or provide or knows someone that can. Plus everyone wants the group dynamic to work, so you can literally see people’s commitment. Charlie’s passion and energy is second to none and it’s motivating to be around that buzz.
The feeling is obviously addictive, because I went back for Run Dem run nombre dos last Tuesday. This time, the nerves weren’t so nervy, I wasn’t such a spaz and I was super happy with the four mile loop we cracked out again. I squeezed in two sprints with Janet and we both agreed we’re ready to try Slow Hares this week. Fleur hung back from the faster group she was running with after tripping over a broken lamppost (SORT IT OUT, HACKNEY COUNCIL) and I got a good chance to learn about her experiences of running half marathons (and stare at her beautiful face) as we ran the last two miles back to 1948. That run was my best yet, aside from all the leery drunk men (there were SO MANY! Why do they all assume that by yelling, “OI, DARLIN’, YOU DON’T NEED TA RUN, YOU’RE GORGEOUS AS YA ARE!” that we’re going to turn around, laugh and flirt girlishly and exclaim that we’d just LOVE to jump into bed with them?). I’m really glad I pushed myself to pick up the pace. I’m nervous about running in Slow Hares this week, but we’ll see how it goes. I’ve got a half marathon to run in less than a month (OMFG!) and I’ve got so much catching up to do.
- Run Dem Crew @rundemcrew
- Charlie Dark @DaddyDark
- Bangs @Bangsandabun
- Candice @CandiceBrownB
- Denis @denisyong
- Mubi @MUMBI_CT
- Dom @dmyrcr
- Elles @broke_grove
- Rhalou @rhalou
- George @wordsoparadise
- Peigh @PEIGH
- Chaka @Chakabars
- Mark @Chopbot
- Fleur @FleurDeGuerre
Last Tuesday night I went to meet Ollie and Denis at the Nike Make It Count exhibition at 1948 in Shoreditch, London. This campaign has been one of my favourites so far and features some of my favourite athletes (Mark Cavendish, Mo Farah and Perri Shakes-Drayton) in a series of black and white images. I wanted to meet the photographer (I like to know what the person creating visuals looks like) and I heard there was going to be a surprise guest athlete (I was hoping upon hope it was Cav - it wasn’t. Bummer).
The reason why this campaign resonates with me is because the imagery, in my opinion, speaks volumes about being an athlete and being a human. The sweat and expression on each of the subjects’ faces shows determination, pride, passion and success. The pictures, focusing on the subject, are gritty, unpolished and powerful and show a lot of integrity. It reminds you of the physical exertion each of the athletes put themselves through to push boundaries of human achievement.
I think the success of this campaign is the focus on the individual that is the athlete - the human part of them. Hopefully this campaign will further secure these individuals in the minds of the general public. I definitely believe that the vast majority of athletes do not get enough funding, especially when you consider the great lengths they go to to represent their nation, so more awareness of their talent and hard graft can only be a good thing.
Although most of the Make It Count campaign athletes are already in the public eye, they are seen from afar, through a great deal of media spin and journalistic flair. With this campaign I think it’s possible to witness something quite special. You aren’t looking at an image of obvious triumph, you’re looking at a close up image of someone who is physically recovering, who has just pushed themselves further than most are capable of. As Adam Hinton (the photographer) explained at the exhibition, their recovery is literally a minute or less (which didn’t give him much time to capture the shots he required), but for that minute that athlete is temporarily exhilarated and exhausted. It’s quite intimate. And you’re staring right into their faces.
The use of the individual’s own handwriting in all capitals further drives the intensity and passion to win that these athletes feel. It’s strangely motivating. I mean, they’re human and so are we, and we know how it feels to be sweaty and out of breath, so if they can push themselves to win medals for Britain, surely we (I) can roll out of bed and push ourselves (myself) to jog around the streets for a few minutes. There’s no medal, but there’s improved health which, arguably, is better than a disc of gold-plated metal on a ribbon.
With athletes such as London’s own Perri Shakes-Drayton, the loveable Mo Farah and my favourite firecracker, Mark Cavendish, representing Great Britain this summer, I know I will be taking more notice of sport than I usually do. If they ever needed one more ‘GOOD LUCK’, this is mine.
#MAKEITCOUNT Mark Cavendish.
His speed is nothing short of exciting and I’m looking forward to watching him win this year at the road race and with Great Britain’s Team Sky.
Also, great gurning there, Cav.
No miles clocked.
Guess who’s been slacking off this week? Oh… You don’t look very impressed. Hmmm.
I was supposed to run on Tuesday. Oops. Instead I went to the Nike Make It Count campaign exhibition at 1948 (I feel really strongly about this campaign - I think it’s really powerful). So I think because I went to a sport-influenced exhibition, I can let myself off. No? That excuse isn’t valid? Oh. Well, I was wearing Nike Free Run trainers - at least I was working the muscles in my feet and legs.
Boot Camp yesterday was fun. By fun I mean lots of pain but lots of laughs with the girls. I could never do this on my own, they really make this all a lot easier. The sit ups that I did on Monday night killed my abs and they’re still kind of aching. Add to that an intensive work out with lots of lunges and ab-focused strengthening exercises. FML. Then try a whole day of work. And THEN try going for dinner with a friend who makes you laugh so hard that you can feel each individual abdominal muscle tense and slowly disintegrate as you double over and wipe the tears from your eyes. Now THAT is a (very welcome) work out!
I didn’t run this morning either. Today has apparently been headache season and even after a pint of water, breakfast and Ibruprofen, there was still a dull ache that threatened to be a migraine. Plus it was wet and cold outside and I wanted a 30 minute shower. I forgive myself (that’s right).
This week has been nothing short of shit, if I’m really honest. I missed a dentist appointment on Monday (and I NEVER forget appointments) and then experienced such stress and worry that it has felt like a bad break up. Three days of this has left me feeling drained and all remaining energy is devoted to feeling angry. So please excuse my non-running. But I’ll run tomorrow. I promise.
Four-Miler to Mile End.
So… Guess who ran their first four miler today? Guess! GUESS!
Dahahahahaaa! That’s right, I did. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t this energetic immediately post-run. In fact I didn’t even manage a victory dance of any sort. I just kind of glared at Bangs for making me run an extra half a block to get back to the start point.
On Friday, after Boot Camp 1.2 (week 1, session 2), Bangs offered to run with me for my Sunday long run. I thought instead of doing my usual routine of running around near where my parents live, giving up far too often, and yelling abuse at my brother, that I would take Bangs up on her offer and called her on Saturday night to arrange everything.
Fab. So, she said we’d do a morning run. As I’m trying to get my early morning groove on now I have this training schedule, I agreed, and when Bangs suggested a 10am start, I suggested an 8:45am meet time and a 9am start.
What really happened is that I woke up at 8:30am and inhaled a bowl of Weetabix (I have mine with honey, what do you have on yours?), washed and threw on my running uniform (I’m still resolutely calling it that). It was like minus four million degrees this morning and I managed to twist my ankle falling off the kerb as I ran laps round my car, spraying de-icer wildly at the windows and scraping off a thick layer of frost. I then got lost on the way to meet Bangs and ended up being almost an hour late. However, that didn’t mean we were cutting any time off our run.
The night before, on the phone to Bangs, I said I was aiming to do two miles, but could probably stretch to three miles, and as long as she didn’t tell me what she was doing, she could trick me into running more. I fully believe that sometimes ignorance is bliss. If I had set out to do four miles this morning, I would have cracked and walked more than I ran.
We basically ran from Westham to Mile End and back. Now, there’s nothing really exciting near where my parents live, but let me tell you what we saw this morning…
The first thing I spotted was a pool of dark brown syrupy liquid that was on the edge of the pavement, spilling over the edge of the curb and spread about a foot into the road. It took me a while to realise that it was blood. No dead man in sight but I definitely vommed a bit in my mouth at this point.
The next thing we came across was a substantial amount of actual vomit on the pavement. Bangs kind of went “weeerrr-oooaaahhhh” and I grabbed her arm and yanked her to get us round it whilst clamping my jaws shut and swallowing the second bit of my own sick. (I should probably mention that I feel nauseous 99.9% of the time when I run so it doesn’t take a lot to throw me over the edge).
The letchy men deserve a shout out. We encountered three fine specimens this morning. I’m telling you, nothing makes you think ‘husband material’ more than an unwashed middle aged man leering at you, saying “hey sexy lady” as you jog past, holding your breath so you don’t catch their lurgies. They do make you run a bit faster to get rid of them though.
There weren’t a great deal of people out at just-past-ten this morning, but there were like a BASPILLION runners. It dawned on me that we are still in the ‘New Year Resolution Mission Get Fit’ period though and a lot of people are also training for the London Marathon and other runs this Spring. Still, that’s a lot of Lycra for a Sunday morning. Yay for you if you did your long run today though! Did you see @RunDemCrew’s callout to the masses to get up and get the week’s long run done?
Anyway, just as it was getting super tough on the way back from Mile End, Bangs said there was something good coming up. I panicked, thinking she was being sarcastic, and expected her to make me run up a steep hill over a flyover. Not so. We came up to a bus stop with the Nike #MAKEITCOUNT campaign poster featuring Mo Farah. I yelled “Mo!” like he was an old friend and it kept me going for another hundred metres. Similarly, a billboard with the Megan Fox for Armarni Code advertisement kept me distracted for a full minute until we had run past it (that new short bob and fringe is hot on her, non?). Last, but not least was the Mastercard advert with the slogan “PRICELESS LONDON”. That made me smile. There’s nothing quite like living in London. And running through it is always entertaining.
Bangs and I finished our run with tea, toast and talks about running and life. As much as she joked on Twitter about distracting me with “unicorns and rainbows” her company and brilliant conversation kept me well entertained and she kept me focused when I needed help. Bangs has taken on a mentoring role to coach me and many others and I bombard her with running questions all the time. She is an asset to my life!
I also had a great chat with Charlie Dark (Run Dem Crew founder and general OG) and got some great advice about my attitude to running and doing this half marathon. There’s nothing like a healthy dose of perspective to get you rolling.
I drove over to my mum’s afterwards for that hot bath I promised myself. I saw a boy jogging up Shooters Hill on the way. WTF?! He was like NINE and he was in a tracksuit and running trainers. What a little G.
Anyway, enough of being talky and boring you senseless. Here’s something for you: