How I went from 4 milers to ultra running…. in 18 months

The first three months of the year are always busy for us at This Mum Runs – with lots of new runners taking their very first steps, others taking tentative steps towards their first events, or more regular runners taking on bigger personal challenges. Throughout February and March we will be featuring stories of TMR runners of ALL experience levels; we hope you find them as inspiring as we do.
Meet Nina. Mum of one, TMR Run Angel….and soon to be ultra runner.
Fearless Nina Peacock - Approved
My Mum was a runner and some of my enduring memories of childhood are being on holiday and driving to the middle of nowhere to drop her off so she could run home!  She was keen for me to run, but I tried it once and hated it!  Apparently, I was going to die!! My mother reminds me of this now often!  Mum had to have her knees replaced at 50 (a cautionary tale for us all) and had to stop running.  She found it really difficult and I think she now enjoys running vicariously through me.
I decided to start running about 12 years ago.  I can’t really remember much about why or how, but I did sign up for the Bristol Half and remember working in London and training running through Regent’s Park doing intervals.  I look back on this now and think I was very ambitious!  I did it though, and managed to finish in one piece.  Then I got pregnant and stopped running until about 3 years ago.
I run now because I love it.  I run with my dog and for me, it’s perfect Mum-juggling – getting the dog and myself exercised, getting some fresh air and getting that all important headspace and me-time.
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I had struggled since I started running again with the whole comparison piece – because I know a lot of people who run, and many of those are faster, fitter, ‘better’ than me, I felt inadequate and like I couldn’t compare.  I have now made peace with this and see *my* running for what it is, enjoyment, not a contest, even with myself.
That half marathon before I became a Mum was the furthest I’d run until last Spring, when I decided to run half marathon distance again.  Dave (my dog!) and I took off and ended up running 15 miles, slow, steady and with lots of photo stops!  I have decided I’m not a massive fan of racing.  When I was going through the comparison phase, I entered a 10k and decided I was going to run it in under 50 minutes (where the target came from, I have no idea).  I told someone this and therefore it had to become reality, even though when I looked at my previous 10k times, there was nothing under late 50 minutes.  Anyway, I ran the race, I finished in 49:58 and it nearly killed me! I hated every minute of it, and it really put me off races. I have taken part in 10k’s since, but running with friends and to take in the atmosphere and enjoy the event, rather than race.
I am also a member of a trail running club (although I don’t get out as much with them now that I run with TMR) and most of the lovely people in that club run ultras (and loads of them run super crazy distances, think 100 miles without a break!) Listening to their stories, it sounded like a great experience; very sociable, no pressure, no real race – about the experience rather than the time.  It sounded right up my street and after talking to friends in the group about a possibility of a trail marathon, I decided on the Green Man Ultra, as it’s around Bristol, on lots of the trails I already run.
I nearly entered last year, but couldn’t make the training commitments, but hearing about my friend Rachel’s experience last year, I decided it was on my bucket list and that I’d make time this year.  The fact that other TMR mamas were entering pushed me over the edge and that was it!
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Although friends have said to me ‘You’ll be fine, you can run that distance’ (30 miles), my OCD took over and I have a 10 week training plan, cobbled together off the internet.  I still hadn’t run more than 15 miles before the start of this year, so wanted to feel comfortable with the distance.  The plan is actually going well, although I haven’t stuck to it rigidly, but it works for me – especially around the planning, letting my family know what I’ll be doing etc, and therefore actually getting it done.  The long runs have been great fun.  There were 3 of us from TMR signed up as far as I was aware, and Rachel joined us as our official guide, having done it before.  I stuck a message on the TMR Facebook page, and we met 2 more lovely mamas who joined us for our first long run (17 miles) and one of those, Erin, is signed up and we’ll run together on the day – the beauty of TMR!!  I’ve now built up to 22 miles and the 30 mile distance seems achievable!  I am planning to go slow and steady, with lots of photo stops and walking up the hills, in true Ultra style!!
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I am amazed at how far I’ve come in the past 18 months – I was running 3 times a week, around 3 – 4 miles, but felt like I wasn’t a ‘real’ runner due to comparisons, trying to be something I wasn’t.
Now I’m loving it, running 5 days a week (sometimes more than once!) and having fun.  I’m looking forward to the challenge of the Ultra – an adventure – outside of my comfort zone, but in a completely different (better for me!) way than trying to run faster!  I would encourage you to give it a go – spend hours (4 1/2 for us last Sunday!) outside; running, walking, having fun with friends – EPIC!
This Mum Runs is a people-powered community-first organisation that empowers Mums everywhere to be healthier and happier. Through a network of volunteer Run Angels we offer free, social runs every Wednesday and Sunday across London, Bristol and Bath – with Cardiff and Brighton launching soon (and more to follow in 2019). To keep up to date with our plans – and for plenty of inspiration too – sign up for our weekly email here.

Skincare Survival tips for winter running

Corinne Thomas is a This Mum Runs Runner, Mum of two, Founder of Rare Beauty and natural skincare expert shares her Top Five Winter Skin Tips for us this week.

corinne running

As a busy mum myself I know how hard it is to look after your skin at the best of times. Winter can be a tough time for skin, as dehydration, lack of natural sunlight and possibly the odd over-indulgence starts to take its toll.

So here are my Top Five Skincare Survival Tips to get you through Winter Running, Christmas Indulgence and New Year’s Resolutions looking glowing and feeling positive!

1. PROTECT Before Long Runs

After a long training run on a cold Winter’s day, cheeks are burning, knuckles feel raw, lips are sore and chapped. So protect hands, lips and cheeks with a 100% plant-based natural balm or salve before going out on a run. The balm will act as a barrier, helping to protect skin from the elements. It will perform a similar action to petroleum-based barrier ointments but it also allows skin to breathe. Afterwards, skin feels
refreshed, nourished and less stingy.

Skin-soothing & protecting ingredients to look out for: Calendula; Chickweed;
Beeswax; Shea or Avocado Butter.

2. SCRUB UP Once a Week

This time of year our skin can get very dry. It stays under clothes a lot so pores can get more easily blocked leading to spots and things like central heating plays havoc with our already reptilian-looking legs!

A once weekly proper scrub down, either with scrub packed full of enlivening natural ingredients such as salt, sugar, coffee OR a dry body brush pre-shower will really help.

For the face, use a warm, wet exfoliating face cloth or muslin (an old baby one will do) to gently buff skin after cleansing. The old dry skin will be sloughed off and ingrown hairs or blocked pores will be dealt with.

Foaming scrubs can contain a foaming agent like SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulphate) which tends to strip the skin of it’s natural oils leaving it much drier than before and more prone to irritation. A plant-based oil blend or butter based scrub will properly moisturise dry, sensitive or even oily skin.

For a nourishing scrub look for: Coconut Oil; Cocoa Butter; Sea Salt; Coffee
Grains; Sugar Granules (great for the face); Oats.

corinneatwork

3. TAKE OFF Makeup Properly!

We’ve all been there, reaching for the face wipes (baby wipes?!) or just not bothering to take off make up before bed, especially after a night out. Unfortunately, it’s one of the most ageing things you can do to your skin which will really start to show in the long run.

One of the best cleansers for all skin types is a plant-based oil cleanser or balm. It’s a fact – oil dissolves oil – and it also does a wonderful job of removing all make up including waterproof mascara. Natural cleansers work with the skin’s natural oils, helping to re-balance and restore without stripping.

With a regular cleansing regime skin will visibly change for the better in just a few days – please, please step away from the dreaded face wipes!

Fabulous natural cleansing ingredients: Jojoba Oil; Shea Butter; Apricot Kernel Oil; Cucumber Seed Oil; Camellia Oil; Eucalyptus Essential Oil; Safflower Seed Oil; Vitamin E oil; Castor Oil.

4. RE-HYDRATE SKIN After Drinking Alcohol

You know that recommendation to drink a pint of water before bed if you’ve been drinking? Well, the same applies to skin. Alcohol is very dehydrating and skin will reflect this the next morning with dry patches, fine lines and dull skin tone.

An intensive facial oil or serum applied before bed will give skin a chance to re-hydrate, ensuring that it looks dewy rather than dry in the morning. Don’t forget to cleanse beforehand though!

Some of the best ingredients for overnight skin restoration are: Rosehip Oil, Cacay Oil, Carrot Tissue Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Argan Oil and Hyaluronic Acid.    

5. DE-CLUTTER for a New Skincare Regime

According to our recent natural skincare survey, 8 out of 10 women want to reduce their use of plastic when buying skincare products. In addition, 72% intend to check the ethics and responsible business practices of the skincare businesses they buy from in the coming year.

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Like we do when we run, taking a mindful approach to self-care can really boost skin and spirit – perfect for a feel good December activity. Consider a bathroom de clutter: switch to soap instead of bottled shower gel; seek out plastic-free skincare options and create a capsule skincare collection that really works – recycle the rest that doesn’t. Your skin, body and mind will thank you for it!

This week we are running a competition on Instagram with the chance to win a The Post-Workout Bliss Out Beauty Box from Rare Beauty.

Flatlay Giveaway Beauty Box

To enter:

Follow @thismumruns and @rarebeautyco

Comment on any of the competition posts using #blissmeoutTMR and give us your best reason why YOU are in need of some pamper time right now! You are very welcome to Tag a Friend who would love to know about this giveaway too. The winner will be picked at random on Friday 7th December.

Free Those Arms

As most of you will be aware, we are running a month long campaign encouraging women to free their arms and legs from long sleeves and leggings, shake off the fear of being judged and enjoy their bodies. You can check out the stories that are being shared across the This Mum Runs social channels using the tags #FreeYourArms #FreeYourLegs

As part of the campaign we asked Body Image Guru, and Global Body Image Movement Ambassador, Lisa Beasley to tell us what she thinks holds women back when it comes to body confidence. Here’s what she said.

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TMR Yearbook: Class of 2016 – Tina Curtis

My name is Tina and I have just completed the This Mum Runs 5K+ course in Keynsham.

Tina, TMR Mum

I am 55 and trying to lose weight and get fitter. I have 2 grown up children and one who’s 15. I run my own Sign Company in Saltford, making signs, lettering vehicles, printing T shirts and mugs etc.

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TMR Yearbook: Class of 2016 – Naomi Trentham

My name is Naomi and I have recently started the This Mum Runs Couch to 5K Absolute Beginners course at Royal Victoria Park, Bath.

Naomi, TMR Mum

I am married to James and have three children, Susannah (10), Judah (7) & Lois (4). I am a self-employed business administrator, working mainly for a church in Bath and looking forward to taking on new clients when my youngest starts school this year. My favourite day of the week is Thursday, mainly because I meet with friends for a full English, knowing I can burn it off with TMR in the evening!

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TMR Yearbook: Class of 2016 – Laura Wu

My name is Laura, and I recently completed the This Mum Runs Couch to 5K Absolute Beginners course on Clifton Down.

-I never knew that running can be fun-

I’m a stay-at-home mum to my daughter aged 3.5 and my son aged 1.5. My running experience before TMR consisted of training for and then running a half marathon when my daughter was 13 months old. The day of the race was the last day I ran until this March, almost 2.5 years later! Let’s just say that I endured rather than enjoyed that time of my running career! When I started the C25K course this March, I could probably run no more than 5 minutes without stopping.

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TMR Yearbook: Class of 2016: Harriet Hartley

My Name is Harriet and I have just completed the This Mum Runs Couch to 5K course at Clifton Down.

Harriet Hartley, TMR Mum (1)

I have 2 children, 1 2.9 months and 1, 7 month old. I am used to being fit but this has waned and I was struggling to get back to pre-pregnancy size and shape due to a slight like for chocolate. Otherwise my diet is pretty healthy. I’m a Social Worker but currently on maternity leave and dreaming of not having to go back, but sadly think that is not going to become a reality.

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Dear Winter, I’m Breaking Up with You. I think it’s time I started seeing other Seasons.

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I don’t know about you but it feels like we’ve had a the longest winter in the history of winters this year – do you know what I mean? Freeeeeeezing cold evenings, frost bitten mornings, dragging yourself to work in the gloom, trudging home in the dark. Grey days and that hideous incessant fog like drizzle that makes even my dead straight hair frizzy. It’s gone on so long we’ve started having genuine conversations about emigrating somewhere warm. Seriously now, enough’s enough.

So with the first day of spring looming on the 20th March, when we were asked to be part of British Military Fitness’s #SpringIntoAction campaign it felt like a sign. If there was a campaign about spring, springlike weather must surely be on it’s way too, right? So we jumped on the chance and prayed that it would be a good omen. And our brief was to ‘Get outdoors and muddy’. So far, so simple.

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