On running – it sends me crazy and keeps me sane.

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I could never understand those people that said ‘running changed me.’ I just didn’t get it. How could the sound of your pounding elephant feet, the feel of your tight burning lungs or the look of your blotchy red skin possibly be a part of something that made you feel good?

So yeah, it turns out, running changed me.

Now this might seem dramatic (dramatic? me? no way!) but because running is more of a mind game than anything else, it means the more you run, the more you realise how powerful your mind is, and more importantly that you can control it.

You thought it impossible to have an argument in your own head, with yourself? Try going for a run.

Good brain: You are doing so well!

Bad brain: You’re not going very fast, you might as well give up.

Good brain: You can’t give up now, look how far you’ve come!

Bad brain: Your legs hurt and you’ve done a bit now so you should just walk the rest.

Good brain: It’s OK to go at your own pace, just whatever you do, don’t stop!

Bad brain: You’re rubbish and it hurts too much – you should definitely stop!

So this imaginary conversation fills my mind with just about every step unless I’m lucky enough to stumble across a distracting shape in the ground or something (ANYTHING) equally as distracting, or, until I decide to take control of my thoughts.

I think about where I was this time last year – jogging a slow 1 kilometre on the treadmill, with every breath feeling like a dagger at my chest – and I compare it to where I am now, running along at a faster pace, for a few kilometres more, and not feeling (as much) as though I might die. I think about how far I’ve come, what I’ve achieved, what I can do, and spur myself on to bloody well get on with it.

And in the same way that I’ve learnt to control my thoughts in this way while running, I’ve started to introduce this technique to everyday life.

You see, in real life, one minute I’m full of optimism and confidence and feel as though I might just be able to conquer the entire god damn world, and the next minute I’d really like to remain under my duvet for the rest of eternity and never speak to another living soul again. (Hey, I told you I wasn’t dramatic!) So when the latter thoughts creep in, I’m working on remembering that my optimism and confidence and world conquering attitude is in there somewhere, and that I just need to find it – in the same way that when I’m on a really rubbish run, where I feel like I’m literally taking one step forward and two steps back, where my lungs could quite possibly burst at any point and my pounding head might just explode, I force myself to remember that I’ve run further and faster than this before and that I can do it again, that it’s in there somewhere.

Now by no means am I saying that I love to run these days, because the physical act of running is something I’m not sure I’ll ever enjoy. But, what I do love is the way that every time I run, I’m constantly reminded that I can do something that I never ever considered I could. With every step, I’m reminded that if I put my mind to something, and push myself, that I can do it. With every gasp for breath, I remember that a little dedication and a lot of self belief is all it takes to get better at, well, anything.

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Becoming ‘YES’ girl – 30 new things for 2013

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This year has been one for lots of new things in my life.

I’ve changed, I’ve grown and I’ve become a lot happier as I’ve tried my best to constantly challenge and push myself  – I have accomplished things I’d never dreamt of and have  had a year full of great experiences and all because I’ve started saying ‘yes’ more.

I’ve started to believe in myself and it’s been really rewarding.

I may not have been bungee jumping or skydiving or white water rafting (yet), but I’ve made a start in realising that just saying ‘yes’ to a few more opportunities, and opening my mind to different things, has had a really positive effect on my whole life.

Here are my top 30 ‘yes’ moments of the year (so far…):

1. Became someone’s first love ❤ (Thought I’d get the soppy one out of the way)

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2. Got a promotion. My first ever.

3. Ran 10K

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4. Ran 2K, 3K, 4K, 5K, 6K, 7K, 8K & 9K – they were all new distances to be honest!

5. Travelled to Thailand (what an experience this was!)

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6. Travelled to Dubai

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7, Rode a camel

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8. Rode an elephant

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9. Held a monkey

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10. Went tubing down the river

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11. Went sand dune bashing in the desert

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12. Joined a running club

13. Completed a wolf run

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14.Helped raise over £6,000 for charity

15. Travelled to Dublin

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16. Auditioned for a drama group

17, Joined a drama group

18. Won a team voted award for ‘Most Positive Outlook’

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19. Escorted a Magazine Editor on a tour of the company I work for

20. Travelled on a long haul flight

21. Got a real tan   Oh no, sorry, that definitely didn’t happen!

21. Drove through London City Centre and survived

22. Travelled on an overnight train

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23. Attended the filming of a TV advert

24. Read a whole book in 24 hours

25. Had a henna tattoo

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26. Swam through a lake with my clothes and trainers on

27. Thought about the concept of being with one person forever as perhaps not the most terrifying thing in the world – for a teeny tiny millisecond anyway

28. Attended the wedding of a close friend

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29. Made plans for longer into the future than a month

30. And of course…started a blog!

This is just the start of my ‘bucket’ list – I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!

Because, after all, life is too short to say no.