Running with CHVS

Everywhere is within walking/cycling distance if you have the time

I’m now in the new place that is a 1 h walk from my office, so I started my new commute.

I had a meeting on Wednesday and had to wear smart things (my office is very casual: jeans & T-shirts, that’s the usual dress code) which meant walking rather than cycling as it would be a bit tricky to cycle with a dress in a bag and not get it creased.

The walk actually took me about 50 min including some lunch shopping 😀 Go me! I really enjoyed it and I think that people, who passed me by enjoyed the smart/sporty look:



On Thursday I had a physio appointment at the hospital and there was no way I would be walking there and then from the hospital to the office so I cycled. On the way to the office I took a shortcut through a field which turned out to me more muddy than I anticipated and I got to work covered in mud 😀

Fortunately I left some clothes in the office so that I could change into something that wouldn’t crumble mud all over the floor. The cycle made me quite hyper and happy (result!).


Someone asked me today if I will be getting a car… nah… I’m enjoying my new commute 😀


She’s a meat-eater

Make you work hard
Make you spend hard
Make you want all, of her love
She’s a maneater
Make you buy cars
Make you cut cards
Wish you never ever met her at all!

I used to eat a lot of meat. Part of it was because of the fact that I’m Polish and being Polish it’s not unheard of to have meat with every single meal that you have.

When I was able to decide for myself on what I was eating I would definitely go for a non-meat breakfast option (!) and then as the years went by, I would include more vegetable based meals in my diet. However I carried on eating meat. I would be the girl who orders a steak rather than a salad for dinner.

But then I realised that I haven’t been eating enough vegetables. I would buy them and forget about them and then had to though them away. So I thought that I should make an effort and start having veggies every single day (step #1: salad at lunchtime) 😀

I didn’t even notice when I stopped having meat. When I was going out I would choose something veggie or a fish. Then I had a few bad meat experiences which put me off meat entirely.

So now I’m not eating meat at all and I don’t miss it. I don’t even have fish and I’m not fussed about that either! This is very unlike me but I’m not complaining. I’m happy about my meals and don’t feel like I’m lacking anything in my diet. I’m enjoying the vegetables and I feel that my meals are not only tastier but also better for me.

You never know I may stay like this forever 😀

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to “sell” my point of view or start convincing you that this is the right way, I believe in freedom of choice.

Please do whatever feels good for you and share your experiences, I’m really curious.

This is my meal yesterday: baked sweet potato, spinach and mushrooms with chilli and garlic. Yum!


Oh yeah… and wine 😀

Too much to do & not enough time

You know how I said that life doesn’t get in the way? Well… It did a bit…

I decided to move and it’s been far more epic than I anticipated.

The place where I used to live was a studio flat, right in the town centre. Living in a studio flat, you need to have all your things quite organised… and I did. There were shoes and bags under the bed, all the clothes fitted in two small wardrobes, kitchen appliances were hiding in cabinets. It all looked relatively neat and tidy considering the amount of space I had to play with.

Then I started to take things out to prepare for the move and it was almost like everything grew, not only in number but also in size. Pairs of shoes alone went up to about 40 (I never knew I had that many)! And that was just the beginning :-O I was running out of boxes to put stuff in pretty quickly and needed to take them to the new place to unload to be able to pack more stuff. The old flat was on the third floor (no elevator) so I got quite a workout going up and down the stairs. Rounding down it must have been about a zillion trips. I practically didn’t stop until the end of the day and by then I was so knackered that I only had the energy for a takeaway Chinese 😀

In the meantime I’m also helping my BF in his flat which needs quite a lot of work. I’m in charge of painting, which my father taught me to do and I consider myself good at. All this put together means that I’m quite tired and usually have not enough energy to go for a run.

However it’s all about to change. As I mentioned my old flat was in the town centre. My ‘commute’ was a 4 min walk to my office (yes, not even 5…) 😀 My new place is going to be a 60 min walk away. This means that I’ll get more exercise by default as I don’t have a car. To be fair it would probably take longer to drive in the morning & the afternoon traffic so it’s all good. I will either walk or cycle which will get me out on my bike more often as well. Whoop whoop!
You never know I may even run 😉
And what an excuse to get a new T-shirt 😀


Running* on my own

*Replace running with dancing and listen to “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn.

I’ve mentioned before that I used to run on my own and after just over a year became brave enough to join a running club. I realised that there are a lot of friendly people there, and that we have at least one common interest 😀 I discovered that running with other people can be fun! But I’ve never ran with a friend…

I’ve been living in the UK for 6 years now and there are many people that I know here, which are all (with certain exceptions) lovely but they are not exactly friends… yet… if you know what I mean. I tend to take my time with friends and used to joke that to become a friend you need to fill in a form and wait 10 years to be considered 😉

I still have quite a few friends in Poland, whom I’ve known for 10 – 17 years and the connection that I have with them is quite special… This makes me wonder if it’s possible to make friends like that when you are over 30, move a country and basically start your life all over again.

I’ve been making friends over here with variable results… To cut a long story short: I’m not alone and I’m happy (most of the time).

My friends from Poland (Mr Magpie and Miss Pigeon) visited me last week and for the first time ever I was running with a friend.

I’m not a girly-girl and I don’t have many girlfriends, I don’t do girly nights or girly things but… maybe one just needs to feel really close to someone to be able to do that and feel truly comfortable.

One of the days Mr Magpie was doing his own thing and Miss Pigeon and I were left to do ‘girly stuff’. We started our relaxing day with a coffee and breakfast in bed, watching Girls till midday (partly because it was pouring it down with rain) 🙂 Then we got up and went for a run, it was lovely and sunny by then and unusually warm for November!



We finished our run and had lunch in a park, followed by a coffee at home after which we went to a hot yoga class.

I have to say, I haven’t had such an enjoyable day with a girlfriend in ages! It’s been fabulous 😀 I could definitely do that more often than once a year 😉



Miss Pigeon will probably visit me again in April and I’m counting the days already.

In the meantime… I keep running* on my own.

And working on turning people into friends over here 😉


Or lack of it…

I’m having trouble with motivating myself recently. It’s not one of those ‘life gets in the way’ things, because I simply refuse with life getting in the way. I believe that all of us have the same number of hours in the day and that it’s purely our choice what we decide to do with them. Some people spend 5 h in the evening watching crap on TV and then say that there’s not enough time in their day to exercise, read etc.

I know that I have time, I make time for things that are important to me. TV isn’t one of them, I don’t own a TV (it’s been nearly 10 years now).
Running is important and I’m one of these people who can get up at 5 a.m. to go running.
Or used to be… but not recently… recently running became harder and it’s difficult to get as much joy out of it.

This is where the vicious circle started and I’ve been running progressively less and I don’t know where my mojo has gone, it’s probably on the sofa watching TV.

How do I get it back?


Running is hard

And as someone once told me, it never gets easier. This is very true, it’s the most challenging sport (for me anyway) and you always push yourself that tiny bit more.

But what if it gets harder? We all have injuries, motivation struggles, you name it – we all know it.

So why did it get harder for me? It happened about a year ago and it got progressively worse since then. Within a few months I gained approximately 8 kg (which is 1.25 st or 17.6 lbs). This is a lot in terms of weight gain alone but in terms of running it’s a lot (of fat) to carry when you run. Therefore I got slower (ad sadder) and running became a very hard thing for my body to do.

This is an example of what I look like after a run… It costs my body so much effort that I’m sweating buckets (this is not an exaggeration!) 😦


I’m aware that usually these sort of posts appear when the narrator has shifted all the weight they said they gained (and potentially even more) and are now happy and fit and running is still not easy for them, but probably it’s not as hard.

This is not the case.

I still have the extra 8 kg, but I realised that it really is time to do something about it. And it doesn’t mean that I didn’t know it already, I did, I was just very miserable about it. You know when you are stressing about something so much that it prevents you to find joy in other things in your life? This is what was happening to me for the last year. My weight was paralysing me and my whole world was evolving around it. It was quite literally ruling my life, it was stopping me from running, from yoga, from meeting people, from going out, from everything really… :/

So I decided to be more relaxed about it, defocus a bit and try to change what’s in the center of my attention. Eat to live not the other way around etc. This is obviously easier said than done when you are used to filling your empty spaces with food.

I’m starting now (not tomorrow, or on Monday, or on the 1st) and will keep you posted on my travels.

Wish me luck and keep your fingers crossed for me 🙂

Yoga & running

After doing the Great South Run my legs were killing me. It was the first race during which I seriously put my ‘new running’ to a test. And it was a long race and a relatively fast one as well (for me)!

I have to admit that I wasn’t able to hold up the proper running technique throughout the whole race, but I was trying to keep it up for as long as I could and correct myself whenever I noticed that I dropped the form.

All this added up and my legs were aching in all the ‘new’ places, with the emphasis on quads and hamstrings.

On Monday I struggled a bit with walking 😉 so I decided to go to the Yoga for Runners and Cyclists class. It seemed weird at first and not as challenging as the other yoga classes I go to (e.g. Ashtanga), but then we started using rollers and tennis balls to massage our bodies and do various other stretches which really helped with easing off my stiff body.

The most exciting bit happened the next day, I wasn’t aching at all! Result! The class really helped and I was grateful that I decided to go (even though I really didn’t feel like it beforehand) as it was the last one in this semester. Hopefully the studio will include it in the schedule for 2015. I will definitely make it a part of my training and recommend it to all runners and cyclists.

This is a sign in the changing room that always makes me smile:


Have a great Monday everyone! 😀

The Great South Run

Last Saturday was very relaxing, we went to arboretum to take pictures of fabulous colourfulness of autumn. It has been very mild so far, very unlike the standard British autumn 🙂 I’m liking it!


I made a mistake of going to bed after midnight, which isn’t ideal before a race. I have difficulties sleeping and I was hoping to be tired enough to sleep through the night rather than tossing and turning in bed for ages from all the excitement. It worked… -ish. Waking up was hard work and I didn’t know what day it was and was thinking it was Monday and I can just skip yoga and postpone the alarm. But it wasn’t Monday/yoga day, I had to get up and get ready quite quickly as I was meeting the running club at the station in an hour.

The train journey was fun, there were 9 of us going together. We got to Portsmouth and did all the pre-race faffing (bag drop etc.).

The runners were starting the race in waves, in order: orange (elite), white (little slower? Not sure…), disabled runners, green wave (seemed random and not based on abilities, I wasn’t even asked about my timings when signing up). So I was in the green wave, starting last. Fortunately I wasn’t running alone but with one of the girls from the club, so I decided to run with her. I know it’s sort of an obvious thing to run together when you know each other, but she is much faster and I wasn’t sure whether trying to keep up will break me or not. I decided to keep up with her for as long as I could.

Being in the green wave, we were waiting to start the race for over an hour, during which time we were getting cold. It was about 16 C but when you are standing still in your running gear, 16 C is not ideal and you start to feel really cold really quickly.

Finally it was our turn and our aim was to catch up with the white wave. We started a bit too optimistically, which was my fault as I got quite hyper with all the people cheering and kids high fiving.

We started to catch up with the white wave around mile 5 and it was becoming more busy and more difficult to stay together. I tried to keep up until mile 6 but then gave up and carried on alone. I lost hope at mile 7, thinking that I won’t be able to finish the race and I knew that the last 2 miles by the seafront will be challenging with the wind not working in my favour (at least that was the review from people who did the race last year). The last 2 miles were a struggle but it wasn’t too windy, so at least that was good.

I finished the race exhausted but extremely happy as my time was much better that I expected.

I was hoping to do the race in 1:30:something but that was when I though the race was 15 km… but 10 miles is 16 km, which would mean that I could do it potentially in 1:35.

When I saw 1:28:something I was extremely happy and proud of myself. I had my phone with me and I was able to track myself with both Endomondo and Strava (I usually have both applications running on my phone at the same time). Here are my results:


After the race I met up with the club and we all went to indulge ourselves in post-race treats (lunch + beer + chocolate). The train journey back was a bit more quiet than the journey there, we were all too exhausted to have a conversation 😉

The time that I did the race in is a bonus, it was a great day out and I’m looking forward to more social racing 🙂

Keep calm and run

The date of the Greats South Run is getting closer and I can’t help but feel a bit stressed about it.

I haven’t done a ‘race’ since the beginning of July. To be fair I never really race during a race, I always just run. A race isn’t a motivation for me as such, because I can’t predict how I will feel on a certain day in the future… and I run because I feel like it and race only when I feel like it.

Before I did the 20K off road race in July I did 4 half marathons by myself – 2 on road and 2 off road ones. I don’t need to race other people, it doesn’t really motivate me that much, I’m my own hardest competition.

So why am I suddenly nervous if I don’t really care? Why is there suddenly an expectation of… something, which I can’t even name?

Is it because for the first time ever Miss Do-It-On-Her-Own is entering a race with a group of people? Maybe… but this group of people is the most friendly and supportive bunch. So what else?

Is it simply the distance? The race is 10 miles which is 16km. This shouldn’t be a problem considering the fact that I did 12km the other Sunday. I know that I can do it, so what’s the problem?

Is it because of the race number (which is by the way a pretty cool number)? Is it because this is an actual race? Because I have a date that I’m committed to? Because on Sunday I may not feel like running and therefore not feel like racing and not do as well as I would like to?

This is the most likely option. Weird, isn’t it? The fact that a run being a race suddenly changes everything for me and makes it stressful.


I shall keep you posted on how the stress affects my performance when I complete the run on Sunday 😉

New toy

I went for a longer run last Saturday morning. There’s this new route I discovered with the running club, which I really enjoy so I wanted to run it last weekend. Unfortunately as the mornings are getting darker and darker I am only able to run it during weekends. It’s a really good off-road route, with just a couple of road crossings, it goes through a nature reserve (which I will explore a bit more next time) and then along the river, which is always quite picturesque 🙂


Running in the morning makes such a difference to your whole day. I always feel like I’ve already done so much and actually accomplished something. It can make and keep you happy during the whole day, at least that’s the idea… it doesn’t always work like this, but you can’t blame me for trying 😉

Saturday started well and ended even better, I got a new bike. It’s quite exciting getting a new thing that is both functional and pretty – result! The idea for Sunday was to go for a long ride by the river, I wanted to do ‘some distance’ and get used to the new bike. But that’s boring isn’t it? So we ended up going into the woods and cycling through some mud. And it was amazing! I absolutely loved it! It gave me such an endorphin rush that I couldn’t stop smiling, even now, when I think about going through the woods I’m smiling to myself.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a technical, high speed ride with back flips and all the bells and whistles but it was enough for me.

To be honest it probably looked more like this:


But it did make me sooo happy and I can’t wait for the next time 😀