Last week I was reading a chain of emails on a women’s sports network that I am a member of. The buzz was all about a challenge called the Marcothon. I had never heard of this before and so I googled it. It turns out that this event was set up by Marco Consani in 2009 when he challenged himself to run every day for the month of November. His wife Debbie liked the idea and jumped onto the bandwagon for December and wrote about it on her blog. The concept has gathered real momentum and has become an annual event. The idea is now either to run 3 miles or to do 25 minutes of exercise for 31 consecutive days throughout December right through Christmas and finishing on New Year’s Eve. One of the women on the network I am part of said that she had started the challenge and had lost 1 stone in weight!

I am always looking for fun events and challenges and different ways to inspire and motivate myself to be active. Over 2015 the chosen method of inspiration has been to buy the brightest lycra possible, but as my attendance records at the gym and pool will prove, that idea hasn’t been a winner.

You may have read my previous blog post about New Years Resolutions. In the past I have used Resolutions  – usually ridiculously unachievable goals – to scare the bejesus out of me and into lycra. All that does is to demotivate me more when I fail miserably or history records a DNS.

The Marcothon got me thinking whilst the kettle was boiling in the kitchen at work. I was way too late for the Marcothon, but the concept seems so simple and actually quite do-able. A SMART goal in fact. So, I have decided that I’m going to do it in January  – the Janathon. And, because old habits die hard, I’ve entered a 10Km run race on 31 January just to seal the deal. I haven’t run further than 8km in 12 months or longer…

I’ve found an on line 5 week 10km training plan and I’ve printed it out and started plotting it in my diary. It looks sensible. It sets out three runs each week with a threshold run, a technique and speed run and a long run. In between the run sessions I will need to do one session of cross training, one session of strength training and a stretch/yoga session. in theory this gives me one day off each week, but as I can’t do that during January, I’ll add a swim or another yoga session. I’ve even got my lycra out and put it in my gym bag… and I’ve charged up my Garmin. Not only that, I’ve had buy in from a work colleague and we’re going to keep each other honest by going to the gym together every day. Blimey, I must mean business. I’m feeling SMART. I’ll post at the end of January to review the month.



New Year…New? or Same Old?

Its a little bit early, but I’ve been thinking and picking over my 2015.We’re just about to get into the circus of the end of another year. Once all the wrapping paper has been put in the bin along with the brussels sprouts we all start making promises to ourselves that next year we’re going to change, or change something about ourselves or our lives that we don’t like. I usually buy a lovely new notebook to record my Resolutions. Sometimes I write in it, other years the book stays in its clingfilm wrapping looking all shiny waiting to be used.

In 2007 a Bristol University Professor did an analysis – and I have no clue how, much less why – on whether we keep our New Year’s Resolutions. He found that 88% of all resolutions fail within six weeks.

The Resolution is a tradition that is most common in the Western Hemisphere but is an ancient practice. the Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year to pay back debts. The Romans made promises to their god Janus – after whom the month of January is named – at the beginning of each year, and in the Middle Ages, knights would renew their vow to chivalry.

The top ten most common Resolutions – and also the ten that are most commonly failed at are (and you know them already):

  1. lose weight and get fit
  2. quit smoking
  3. learn something new
  4. eat healthier and diet
  5. get out of debt and save money
  6. spend more time with the family
  7. travel to new places
  8. be less stressed
  9. volunteer
  10. drink less

I have personally failed more than twice at seven of these. I do want to change – be a better person if you like, but life always gets in the way. I know the path to Hell is paved with good intentions and I remember that every six months or so. So I get my combat bra and gym kit out, put it in my gym bag and then bring it back home again after work, unused…

I just tripped over this quote which seems so appropriate:

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

So even if you do want to get fit, or learn a new language, just putting your gym kit in your posh new gym bag or buying a language book won’t help unless you actually use them.

According to another study, this time by a professor of psychology at Carleton University in Canada, although people use resolutions as a way to motivate themselves, they aren’t actually ready to change their habits. It can also be considered a ‘false hopes’ syndrome. People make resolutions to say, lose weight in the hope that once they are slimmer then life will change for the better and when the hoped for result doesn’t materialise, they revert back to their old behaviours.

I’m feeling quite cross with myself at the moment, I’ve failed at my resolutions this year, so for next year, I’m going to live by this rule:

“Life has two rules: #1 Never quit #2 Always remember rule # 1.”

And I’m going to try these easy steps:
1) I’m not going to make too many Resolutions – just two or three

2) I’m going to make them SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.

3) I’m going to celebrate my achievements; no matter how small.

4) I’m going to remember those two life rules

Oh, and I’m going to buy another, nice, shiny notepad and this time I’m going to take it out of its wrapper and write in it….

I wish you every success with your goals for the New Year.






Can You Juggle?


Yup…. that’s me… I can’t juggle to save my life. Well, to be honest, I can juggle work tasks – sort of – and making sure I have clean undies to wear for said work, but what kills me is trying to make the time for myself to be able to go to the pool or the gym or even get half an hour to do some stretching ( I also need a big stick of dynamite to encourage me to do that one). This year has been a new low since I started to write this blog. I’ve really distinguished myself by doing very little. I’m definitely stuck in the ‘Ordinary’ bit of the blog title. Hurrumph.. For me the guilt factor of not getting in to work and getting loads of stuff done and my fear of failure professionally pushes me to donate generous amounts of my time and energy and wave “See Ya” to many dreams of climbing and walking and swimming. So, I have to learn to juggle. Or, if you like, re-balance my priorities so that I can move the needle from Ordinary to Extreme  – or at least to a bit less Ordinary.

If you can juggle, I’d love to hear from you.