The Beast nears

Nine days to go till this beast of a race! I’d be lying if I didn’t say I get scared as well as excited when thinking about taking part. This is an arduous course, the weather is never favourable, and the tarmac relentlessly either uphill or down.

http://www.snowdoniamarathon.co.uk

Llanberis to Pen y Pass climb. 5km of pure uphill.
Llanberis to Pen y Pass climb. 5km of pure uphill.

49 miles put in this month so far…believe me that’s a lot of time to find and squeeze in around a life of work, university, family, eating and sleeping. As well as hockey, core work and events.

Recently I’ve been reviewing my running journey, the spiritual path that I’ve discovered, the therapy, the pain, the growth. Whilst I was out running yesterday – 20 miles over Welsh rugged mud-sucking farmers’ fields, rivers of rain flowing down the roads carrying the fallen autumn leaves, ever-growing puddles at each kissing-gate – my thoughts were bright, positive, determined, and completely focused on the task of being the very best runner I can be. I contemplated on the realisation that all of my running gear was at least three years old. My Saucony Jazz TR 14 trail shoes full of holes with the sole pulling away. My Skins leggings losing their grip on my legs with only the faded memory of their diamond pattern. My Montane jacket torn around the arms from too many rucksack adjustments and close-encounters with brambles.

After many hundreds of mountain miles and races, my Saucony Jazz TR 14s are on their last legs.
After many hundreds of mountain miles and races, my Saucony Jazz TR 14s are on their last legs.

But such is the nature of the beast. I am taking on this challenge and everything that comes with it, with the additional task of raising funds for a very worthy cause, and in contrast to the nature of the charity’s aim, I am a very lucky person indeed.

Help me to help Awyr Las, the North Wales NHS Charity for Cancer patients which is 100% reliant on donations to provide patients with comfort, transport, and all the other small things that we can all take for granted until we need someone else to provide them.
It’s a small charity so it doesn’t benefit from the massive campaigns that the country gets involved in, please remember the smaller ones who are in your community too!

https://www.justgiving.com/YvieRunsSnowdonia/

In exchange for one day’s brew, you can now donate towards the North Wales Cancer charity by text! Simply text EVRN79 £1 to 70070. And it will add Gift Aid too.

Magic!

To just put it out there, into the Universe, a new pair of trail Sauconys size 40 would be genuinely appreciated. And if you can donate them for my race, I will auction them off after the event to raise more money for the cause. I want to give back, and give BIG!

Thank you so much! ❤

A Zesty Refreshing Change

Marathon mileage is picking up, a fifth of the way through this month’s target, and if the weather is set to continue as it is….happy days!!
Of course, more mileage means I need to increase my hydration levels, so I opted for a refreshing change to just plain tap water.

Sliced fruits in water!

Arbonne have ‘designed’ a wonderful 1-litre water bottle where the second lid can be unscrewed to fit in those huge orange slices, and more besides.

By the second fill up, the juices have really seeped out, and it’s certainly zesty and delicious.
Some ice wouldn’t go amiss too.

Something that I did today was to skip on the music whilst running, and instead focus on my thoughts and strengthening my visualisations.

An hour and a half of talking to myself!!

Instead of just letting my mind wander and think up negativities, I intentionally focused on the positives, on my goals, on the future, on who I want to become, and I expressed thanks for everything that I have to date – the love, the lessons, the life.

At some points I was so happy I almost jumped in the air and kicked my heels with glee.

I’ve begun to visualise a ‘Happy Button’, meaning in case of emergency, hit the button! Like an anchor, I am instantly lifted in my thoughts, a smile spreads across face, and I feel wonderful.

Have you ever tried running whilst smiling? It’s physiologically impossible to feel negative when you’re running whilst smiling!

A weekend off running now, but core work still going ahead. Next week, mileage is up again, the long run session tipping the 14-mile mark will be my longest continued run this year! Each step will take me closer to my goal of endurance training, and that sub-4hr Snowdonia Marathon.
Actually, I’ve already visualised crossing the line at 3:44!

My nutrition for training?
80% rule:
Carbs = fruit, salad & veg
Protein = eggs and Arbonne Protein Shake (tastes too yummy, would drink it like juice if I could!)
Hydration = water, hot water with lemon & lime slices, water with fruit slices
Supplements = Digestion Plus (gut flora food), Antioxidant Immunity Booster (recovery)

20% rule:
Snacks – hors d’oeuvres, slice of chocolate cake

The Healing Mountains

In less than 8 weeks I will be pounding the tarmac around Snowdonia in order to raise money for Awyr Las Gogledd Cymru – Blue Sky North Wales.

Yes, I have run the Snowdonia Marathon before, three and four years ago, and I expect some of you will see this as no big deal for me.

The last time was incredibly difficult; a lot was happening in my life that needed sorting, in work, health, and relationships, and inevitably this messed with my race head. I also finished with a broken tooth.

A failed mission, I decided not to race long-distance after that. Too many demons had found their way into the system.

I took almost two years out of running, with the odd run training over the past year in between injuries, and once I’d found happiness and my bounce again, I knew it was time to do more. 

I’m now in a position to get back on the horse, and get my marathon+ legs back into action. After much ummming and ahhhing, passing the race entry deadline, I knew that if I was to go through this again I would need to support a charity to do so, and take on that challenge as well as training.

So I am very pleased to be able to support the Alaw Cancer Unit at Ysbyty Gwynedd!

Cancer affects everyone, and for me it has been prevalent in relation to my family, my friends, my teachers, and my colleagues.

I am running in the Snowdonia Marathon and raising money for the Alaw Cancer Unit in North Wales at the same time.

Over 4,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in North Wales every year and by 2020 nearly one in every two people will be expected to have cancer during their lifetime. 

The nursing, medical and support staff at the Centre are incredible, but extraordinary care needs extraordinary support.

The Alaw Cancer Unit relies on donations to fund basic but important extras, which help brighten patients’ days. Many people don’t realise that things like: magazines; transport for patients; counselling for patients and relatives; bespoke wigs; specialist equipment and complementary therapies are funded by donations through Awyr Las, the NHS charity in North Wales.

I know your support will make a huge difference to patients with cancer and their families.

I will have various events to encourage you to help raise money for this race, and my goal is the minimum of £200…but I know that we can raise so much more.

Over the next two months I will be hosting Arbonne Healthy Living Workshops and selling some of my artwork, with all commission from the events and artwork as your donation in lieu towards Awyr Las, as well as putting in the mileage to get a sub-4hrs. I know I can do it, and every encouragement will push me to do the unit and the supporters proud.

IMG_4327

Please help me to support the amazing work they do. 

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

Thank you!

Yours in healthy sport.

Yvie ★

https://www.justgiving.com/YvieRunsSnowdonia/

Love Yourself First

So I met a lady last night who reminded me that #TheSecret is working.
First she said to me, “Yvie, you have to love yourself. You have to love yourself first before anything great can happen in your life.”

Then she asked me what was I doing to make her interested in what I have to say…at first I thought she meant where and how was I being coached on public speaking.
Then as she asked more questions I realised she wanted to know how I was building up my ‘energy’, which was what she was absorbing.
I explained that since getting involved with my Arbonne business I have been on a huge development curve; reading, reading, reading, listening to audible, more reading. I’ve been taking self-development and philosophy lessons from the recent masters such as Jack Canfield, Jim Rohn, Eric Worre, Stephen Covey, Les Brown, Jeff Olson, Tony Robbins, and Dr Ro. as well as the old ones such as Napoleon Hill. I stopped myself at mentioning The Secret because it has only been a few days since I listened to it all, and have only recently started to apply it.

Then she said to me, “Do you know The Secret?”

And I pretty much fell off my chair.

We spent some time discussing it, she has known about The Secret for over thirty years, before Rhonda Byrne’s film was released, and knows people who know it, and apply it.
She finished with what can best be described as her ‘third eye reading’.
As she told me that she can see that I have a strong future and great and wonderful things are going to happen, inside I nodded, because I already know.
I know because I’ve learnt to love myself. I’m not talking about being conceited. By working on myself physically and emotionally, and my philosophy, I am better able to build up my self-belief, my confidence, my understanding of the world and my place within it, and to serve others.
With hindsight, I wish I’d come across Arbonne and this philosophy journey years ago. How different would the my former career in the police have been?!
But then, had it not all turned to rubble, I probably wouldn’t have accepted any need to build myself back up again, working on my mental health, my nutrition, my skin, and most importantly, my philosophy.
To quote Jim Rohn:
“I’ll work on myself, for you, if you can work on yourself, for me” ❤

And BOOM!
Insanity workout before the kids were up this morning 🙂

Connecting the Dots

DSC_6173

“Few understand that Smartphones were pioneered in the 1990s and it was only until Apple launched its iPhone in 2007, did this new Growth cycle hit its Momentum Stage. The key points to understand are that the growth is explosive, few people understand it and all companies have to innovate with the new cycle. Global mobile company Samsung moved with the times and now makes billions from Smartphones, Nokia did not.”

Now I’m no economist, but wouldn’t it have been smart to foresee which trend was going to take off back in the nineties, and wouldn’t you be kicking yourself for missing that boat?

How many other examples of such waves are there out there at the moment?

In all my naïvety, I expect all of the financial people in the world – bankers, accountants, financial advisers, investors, stock brokers – to know to the letter which companies are going to boom, and why. But then, surely they would all be millionaires by now, right? So perhaps knowledge on a company isn’t enough. Knowledge isn’t king. Perhaps something else is also required to urge people onto those winning tracks.

What do a primary school teacher, a stay-at-home mother of four, a police officer, a dance teacher, an estate agent, a charity fundraiser, and an interior designer all have in common?

The foresight to get involved in a company that will soon see a boom of epic proportions akin to the Smartphone era, and has already turned them into household names in their company, and millionaires in their pockets, without an iota of an MBA between them?

Yes, my friend, I don’t expect you to get this one straight away, because the answer is they are all Network Marketing professionals who showed Sir Alan Sugar what he was missing out on.

Sure, it is possible to live a life exploring your own personal career choices to great aplomb – be that from teaching to creating, cooking to training – and yet still become involved in the Network Marketing Profession. But if so, why do so comparatively few do it?

Let’s call a spade a spade. Most of you will read Pyramid. Most of you will ignore ‘Profession’.

I started an International Business degree when I was eighteen years old, and before I was half-way through I vowed never to work for an international organisation. I didn’t trust the ethics of a multi-national company, the ground floor workers were treated badly in whichever country they lived in, paid very little, and found their native towns and villages tossed and trampled for the sake of making money for the big bosses at the top, while hot-suited middle men fought over the scraps to make a killing themselves, and mostly talked without using any real laboured-skill. That was my first impression of big business. What stood out for me was the pyramid shape it came in.

Fast-forward six years and I become a police officer – far from business, or so I thought. Unfortunately, the government has had its way and the police service in Britain has become more about running a business, a number-crunching-stats-equate-to-profit-and-loss model that has seen face-to-face policing disappear behind telephones, car windshields, and computer screens. Human crises now have a monetary value, with front liners taking on more work for less pay, whilst the office officers keep their bonuses and cars. Disillusioned, I made good my escape and vowed never to work for such a ‘pyramid’ organisation again.

I set my mind on working for myself, to be my own boss, answerable to no one, open-minded about growing and the direction I would build in, knowing that I didn’t want employees, I wanted business partners.

Suddenly thrust into the business world, with an open-mind, a desire to be challenged, a will to do good, to help others, to create, and to be democratic, the answer to a more stable business idea came in a Network Marketing-shaped box. And I never, ever thought that that would be the case.

Statistics and economics and business plans aside, what drew me in was the emotional energy. Not from anyone else, but myself! It felt right. It hit my heart like Cupid’s arrow finally landing on target. Here was a business opportunity that I could run myself, and with the support of others. Where I could help, and be helped. Where I could grow, and nurture. Where the title was not the be-all-and-end-all, but it was all about the person I could become, and the dreams I could shape, and the future i could move towards. This business sang my song. Suddenly those greedy hot suits became inspirational leaders, they were normal people who have found themselves on a journey of self-discovery and created millions in their pockets and a crowd of happy admirers around them along the way. Normal teachers, normal accountants, normal lawyers, normal hockey players, normal parents, normal pensioners. And in my mind those poor bee workers became courageous and brave dreamers who were looking for a better way, and daring to try something that they hadn’t been taught about in school, or had been advised by all and sundry to avoid like the plague, because it hadn’t worked for their father’s cousin’s boyfriend’s neighbour’s uncle. And they knew about pyramids, but they signed up anyway like a revolutionary wave of workers going against the mould of society.

What also dawned on me was that there are a lot of interestingly successful people who are recommending Network Marketing. But why does it appear that no one wants to listen? Why does the local salesman scoff whilst Warren Buffet builds three of his own? How can the knowledge gap be so wide? What was it that scared people, which surely explains the disheartening avoidance behaviour that most Network Marketing Professionals endure at some point in their quest to change the world?

A few ideas (based on empathy alone because these aren’t actually my own feelings of this profession) are that it’s simply something different to the norm and many won’t attempt anything new; that it’s not an advertised product therefore if no celebrity is endorsing it then it’s not worth it for any consumer; that it is illegal; that it’s hard work; that it doesn’t work because you don’t get rich within a month. There are probably many more, and I would be interested to know what reasons people have for objecting to a Network Marketing business but would happily ask the bank for a loan of £10,000 – £100,000 to start a company and wait up to five years to break even. For little me, with little business acumen (so I’m told), this seems silly, and a whole lot scarier than getting involved in a Network Marketing business with a low start up cost and free business training. Notice I haven’t used excuses here – I have no time, I have children, I can’t sell, I don’t know anyone, etc. Simply because excuses don’t count towards valid reasons not to start anything, they are just excuses.

Of course, it can all depend on the Network Marketing business that people come across. I count myself as one of those who have had the foresight to spot that opportunity boat when it was put in my lap. I agree, I’ve fallen lucky, the one company that I come across happens to be the one company that Network Marketing professional economists are raving about. Ed Ludbrook in particular. Read his company’s report here on the health and wellness company Arbonne, one of about 250 who are regulated by the DSA: The New Professional Boom of Network Marketing.

The comparison can be drawn for any company – if you’re offered a job then you will have likely done your homework, do most people consider their would-be employers to be building illegal franchises or to be involved in money laundering? If you don’t get on with the interviewer or the new boss, are you likely to take on the position? Due diligence is also business sense. If it doesn’t feel right, is that you, or is it that you’ve a nose for uncovering organised crime?

So would you recognise a booming industry? Would you smell, feel, and understand an opportunity if it passes under your nose? Do you have what it takes to grasp the power of the Apple wave when it’s there before your very eyes?

Just bear in mind one of the late, great Steve Jobs quotes about not missing that boat when you see it on the horizon, because you may just have to swim out to it:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
~ Steve Jobs


Ludbrook Research International [LRI] is a Direct Sales strategic research company focused on the Direct Sales industry and hyper-growth industries. Ed Ludbrook books explaining the ‘Pioneer Age’ of Network Marketing has sold more than 1.4 million copies in 20 languages. His new book explaining the new Professional Age is published in 2014. A summary of this book is available free at http://www.fantasticfutureofnetworkmarketing.com.

LRI or Mr Ludbrook has no financial involvement in Arbonne. The company or its representatives has not paid for or endorsed this independent report.

The Protein Shake that changed my life.

10500475_503007476467326_162225789368098728_n

I finally met up with ITU triathlete Ron Skilling and his guests tonight before a business opportunity event at the Tytherington Club in Macclesfield, and naturally we were discussing protein shakes and nutrition for managing the endurance training regime.

Sharing products that fit in and compliment a healthy training lifestyle, especially for athletes, is a big passion of mine. I’ve tried out a number of products over my 9 years of triathlon training and racing, and I believe I’ve improved my knowledge and understanding of what’s right for my body and my efforts along the way by becoming interested. Plain and simple.

A major and often underestimated key to training is nutrition, it is the foundation upon which winners win, and others, well, don’t win. Racing and training success is completed 90% off the course – in the mind, in the discipline, in the planning and preparation, and in the nutrition. This is a lifestyle course that isn’t taught in schools, or not the ones that I attended, and had this been key then perhaps my own sports at school would have improved more than they had, and errors of judgement avoided. But in retrospect, things were meant to go the way they did.

There was a brief moment in time, however, when I could have figured out the connection between these key areas and training success. It wasn’t until I had a goal and a mindset to achieve a place as an officer in the British Army aged 16 that my nutrition, my discipline, and my training kicked in, and, boy, did I change on the outside and in the head. All of a sudden I was a long-distance runner, even surprising myself; a girl who could bench press 100kg, do up to 50 press ups in one go, arm wrestle boys, and still find time to be Head of House and revise for A levels. A brief period in time of having a goal in sight was all it took for my body to change, without knowing it would to that degree.

Once that goal was gone, however, and I felt the pressures of exams, school plays, Urdd Championships, and sleepless nights take over, my weight went back on, my training decreased, I slowed down, and I was back to the old version of me that wouldn’t change until after children arrived on the scene some 6 years later.

Once the training bug was back, with my next goal to join the North Wales Police, I committed, I trained, my discipline was rock solid, and my mind-set was focused on success, and I backed all that up with what I thought was the right nutrition for an athlete in training. I didn’t realise that overloading on pasta, on potatoes, on rice, on dairy, and not getting enough varied vegetables, protein, fruit and nuts would cause my IBS from pre-baby years to come back with a vengeance. I blamed it on the stress, the shift patterns, the lack of sleep, but I didn’t look at my food. I was eating healthily. I was following the national staple diet.

Fast forward to January 2013, following a period of career and relationship ups and downs, racing successes at regional, national and international level, and periods of mental health issues, I conducted my own research into food. The only thing I could think to do to get my depression under control. What I did was educate myself, to cross-reference my patterns of illness with events in my life, with my nutrition and with my training. Key words were cropping up time and again – dairy, soy, whey, refined carbs, sugar, caffeine. I came across the Paleo diet, and I decided to give it a whirl. What did I have to lose? Some weight would be good, but the medication I had finally succumbed to would hinder any progress, so that too had to go.

Within two days my IBS had decreased, I physically felt less bloated and lighter. Within two months I was feeling ready to increase my training efforts as I was feeling less sluggish, more confident, more motivated. And two months later again, I was introduced to Arbonne, a botanical, Vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free company. They pretty much ticked every box I needed to put my body and mind on to the healing path.

Now I strongly believe that finally understanding my own nutritional needs – cutting out refined carbs, lowering sugar, lowering caffeine, reducing dairy to minimal, avoiding whey and soy at all costs, and increasing fruit, vegetables and water – also put my mental ill-health onto the road to recovery. I effectively still have IBS, but I know how to control it. I know that that little sandwich, that little biscuit, that cup of lovely, fresh coffee, that slice of pizza, will induce a bowel pain that makes me feel like I’m carrying a rock around with me. And I have to constantly wonder if it’s worth it? The additional benefit of finding a training fuel and training supplements that do not induce my IBS, that do not induce a breakout of spots across my back and neck due to the high fructose/sucrose sugar content, and that assist in keeping my training body topped up with the optimum stores of nutrients, even whilst not training due to sporting injury, also gives me peace of mind. I am healing, and strengthening my body from the inside out.

In June 2014 I was able to get back to training after a 6-month knee injury from playing hockey, something I’d started back up in 2013 after a 15-year interlude. I decided to do the International Snowdon Race as a goal to get my running back to pre-illness and injury level, or near to it. Bearing in mind I hadn’t run any more than 6 miles since October 2013, and no more than 10 miles since September 2012, due to a shoulder injury and that cursed mental ill-health. I only had 6 weeks to train for the 10-mile, 3500+ft event, and the first attempt up Snowdon was an abysmal fail to the Halfway House. Mentally, I knew I could do it, I had been running in the Snowdonia Mountains for years, over marathon distances. A week later I came back and I reached the top in about 1hr 30. I came back again, week after week, and my timings got faster, and faster. My nutrition? Paleo. My carbs? Vegetables and fruit. My recovery fuel? Arbonne Vegan protein shake (yummy Chocolate or Vanilla) and Antioxidant Immunity Booster (equivalent of 4,500 calories in one shot of plant goodness). My body prepping and muscle help? Cold water lake dips, Renewing Body Gelée, and Detoxifying Rescue Wash.

The week before Race Day I was asked to step in for the Police Snowdonia Sevens team, a 22-mile race over 7 mountains. I did it, with just 48 hours notice, and completed that in under 8 hours. I was the strongest on the team of experienced mountain runners that day.

My Snowdon Summit time had dropped to my near PB of 1hr 16, and on Race Day, 19th July 2014, my time up to Clogwyn Station (where the event was stopped short due to an electric storm), was the fastest since 2011 when I was PBing at 1hr 06 to the summit. Now how can that be possible in just 6 weeks, with a 22-mile event, repeated injuries, almost two years out of long distance running and training, and mental health illness? By simply getting my nutrition under control and using training supplements that improve my results without hindering my body’s ability to cope with the waste by-product.

I felt that I had kept my body primed with the correct nutrition, with the correct, positive mindset, with the belief of someone who knows that it is possible to do whatever I want to achieve, as long as I look after my body on the inside.

If you want to know more about Arbonne nutrition, take a look at what’s available in their shop, and take a look at this document – Vegan Protein vs whey and soy Jan14 – which outlines the difference between whey, soy, and vegan protein.

What are your top tips for athletes maintaining a stable diet without succumbing to the sugar overload? Are you a ‘real’ carb loader or refined? Have you turned to paleo and then returned to the staple diet?

Which food or supplement has changed your life?

Everyone is different, I know my partner can get away with eating anything he wants, for now, and still have outstanding results in the sports field. I don’t really envy him, because I believe that my holistic approach to my nutrition is also a reflection on my approach to life. Eating and Training Clean, in body and spirit.

This is an interesting article on an athlete’s approach to protein

[Photo courtesy of Gwynfor James SportpicturesCymru who agreed to assist in the #FindArthur campaign.]