Today, the 7th of April, is exactly three months until my next big running challenge and my toughest marathon to date. The new Trail Verbier St Bernard  marathon race takes place on Saturday 7th July between Liddes and Verbier, high in the Swiss Alps.

With four ascents (the largest two of which are at the beginning and the end) and four descents, this marathon climbs 3,570m over the course of the 43.21km route.

Back in 2014, I took part in the baby race of this series, a 2,500m ascent over 30km. Even the baby was a challenging experience (read all about the “Trails and Tribulations” here!), with the obvious key take-out being the need to build more endurance in the legs to tackle those mountains.

I’m quite used to building up the mileage to tackle a distance race around London but how do you train for such a series of climbs in a relatively flat area?

Over the last two years I have found balancing my running with HIIT workouts to be a great way to not only improve my speed but also my strength and endurance – seemingly the perfect complement to an outdoor running programme – and hopefully the answer to this quandary (coupled with as much hill training as I can pack in around Richmond and the surrounding areas).

With 13 weeks to go, I’m now a couple of months into my training programme. But as regulars to running will I’m sure sympathise, getting hill ready is currently the least of my worries, as I’ve recently sustained an injury to my ankle! I started physio this week and the problem is actually with my hips and glutes which are not strong enough (particularly on my right side), so my lower leg and ankle are having to compensate. I’m now tasked with a number of exercises which coupled with regular foam-rollering should hopefully see me able to build up the mileage more significantly over the coming weeks.

While I work through my physio exercises to improve my hip strength and technique, I’ll continue to complement my running with a couple of HIIT workouts a week focused on building more endurance in my quads, glutes and arms, to hopefully help propel me up those mountains come July!

There are a few morals to this story but the main one for me is accepting that nothing ever goes quite to plan when training for a marathon – in fact – when aiming for any goal in life… What’s important is how you respond to inevitable challenges along the way. Keep the faith that every mountain top is within reach if you just keep on climbing.

Wishing all those taking part in the Paris Marathon (a favourite) and other Spring marathons this weekend, all the very best! Enjoy, and relish every mountainous moment.

Welcome to #SundayTimes. Hope you’re outdoors enjoying this spectacular weather!

6 months ago I wrote a blog about my New Year’s Resolutions. At the time I also mentioned an article in the Metro which said that only 1 in 11 of us will have stuck to our New Year’s Resolutions in 6 month’s time

As a test, I committed my 5 resolutions to writing & promised to do a follow-up article 6 months later to see whether I was able to stick to them or not. So, let’s take a look & see…

  1. Get a PB (sub 1hr 54) in the Mull of Kintyre Half Marathon on 26 May 2013. I did take part in this amazing run, but completed it in 1hr 58, which means that my PB is still out there to be achieved… photo-58
  2. Take up Bikram Yoga – to complement my running, increasing my flexibility & reducing the chance of injury. I have taken up Bikram & will continue this more regularly after the summer. Richmond Bikram Yoga
  3. Do something new & different each month – Every month Luci & I take it in turns to organise a #MysteryNight for each other. Image-11
  4. Learn a new skillI have learned how to apply semi-permanent lashes & ‘graduated’ a couple of weeks ago as a Nouveau Lashes technician! photo-59
  5. Travel to a new country – I’m hoping to go to Lithuania in September, & possibly Russia in August… watch this space.

So, while I haven’t been able to tick them all off yet, they are still very much work in progress! It really does help you commit to things, if you write them down. How have you got on? Is it time to re-look at what you were hoping to achieve in 2013?

I can’t actually believe we are halfway through 2013. It has been a busy year so far full of new jobs, loves and experiences! What will the rest of 2013 bring??!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend & I wish you all the best for the rest of 2013.

G x

By Sarah Mayo

Afternoon! Welcome to #TheFridayInterview & today’s #TheChainofInspiration at 4pm to accompany that last cup of tea before the weekend…

Natasha Lakic, an international make-up artist was my 9th Chain of Inspiration interviewee two weeks ago. I’m delighted today to introduce Natasha’s chosen interviewee – Dalva Serrano, in Puerto Rico. Over to you Natasha!

Dalva Serrano

Dalva is working for the US government in Puerto Rico, but is also studying to become a canine nutritionist. She’s incredibly devoted to her dogs & is always helping owners by giving advice on canine care all over the world.

  1. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a home economics teacher or a chef.
  2. What are your 2013 hopes & dreams? I have so many dreams, including retirement, become physically fit & healthy & pursuing my studies in canine nutrition.
  3. What makes you get up in the morning/inspires you? My six beautiful dogs. They are my pride & joy.  Also achieving my dream of a big shore house.
  4. How did you come to work with dogs? I was so afraid of dogs. Lola, a miniature schnauzer was given to me to help cure my dog phobia. Because of her I got interested in dogs.
  5. What is it you love most about dogs? Dogs give unconditional love & I learned through them, to give & love without expectations.
  6. What advice do you have for anyone looking to get a dog? Do research the breed that suits your lifestyle & know that it is a full-time commitment.
  7. What other advice do you have for anyone who wants to become a canine nutritionist? Draft a plan with short & long term goals, do lots of research, identify people that can be mentors & use social media as a method of exposure.
  8. What other passions take up your time?  I love baking & reading.
  9. Who would be your fantasy 5 dinner party guests? Sean Penn, Anthony Bourdain, Anthony Hopkins, Anderson Cooper, Isabel Allende.
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, what 5 items would you wish you had? Insect repellent, water, a blanket, my i-pad & a flashlight.

Thanks Natasha & Dalva! I’ve recently heard about other therapy with animals, such as horses, & I’m not surprised it’s so effective.

Dalva now takes over the baton & will interview someone who inspires her for the next #TheChainofInspiration on Friday 28 June.

Have a lovely weekend!

G x

By Sarah Mayo

Afternoon! Welcome to #TheFridayInterview & today’s #TheChainofInspiration at 4pm to accompany that last cup of tea before the weekend…

Miranda Wilkinson, a PR and business owner was my 8th Chain of Inspiration interviewee two weeks ago. I’m delighted today to introduce Miranda’s chosen interviewee – Natasha Lakic, an international make-up artist. Over to you Miranda!

Doing something you love...

Natasha has over a decade of experience working on some of the best faces in the industry such as Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley, Sienna Miller & Kate Moss. She has created looks at shows for top fashion brands like Chanel Couture, YSL, Givenchy & Matthew Williamson.

  1. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? So many things, it would change from archaeologist, sculptor, artist to fashion designer & singer. I still want to be all those things!
  2. What are your 2013 hopes & dreams? To be healthy & to travel more. And I really want to learn to play drums! 
  3. What makes you get up in the morning/inspires you? Music.
  4. How did you become a make-up artist? I always used to do my friends’ make-up but never considered it as a career. I have to say that one of my friends inspired me to go for it.
  5. What is it you love most about make-up? The power to transform the face & with it, the personality. It’s fun but at the same time can be life changing.
  6. What tips can you give to any wannabe make-up artists? Find a make-up artist that you admire & like the style of make-up  & try to assist them if you can. You’ll learn so much.
  7. What other advice do you have for anyone who wants to set up their own business? It’s tough to follow your dream so you have to love what you’re doing. At the same time, it’s a real privilege to make a living doing something you love.
  8. What other passions take up your time?  I like to drive to new places & take walks with my dogs. I like reading & learning new things. Gardening. Also I spend unhealthy amounts of time talking to friends who live all over the world.
  9. Who would be your fantasy 5 dinner party guests? Dave Grohl, George Carlin, Kate Moss, Sheldon Cooper & Richard Branson.
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, what 5 items would you wish you had? Radio, sunblock, pack of cards, a hat & a knife.

Thanks Miranda & Natasha! You can follow Natasha on her blog here & if you’re getting married, why not hire her services?

Natasha now takes over the baton & will interview someone that inspires her for the next #TheChainofInspiration on Friday 14 June.

Have a lovely weekend!

G x

By Sarah Mayo

Afternoon! Welcome to #TheFridayInterview & today’s #TheChainofInspiration at 4pm to accompany that last cup of tea before the weekend…

Alicia Davies, a professional actress was my 7th Chain of Inspiration interviewee at the beginning of May. I’m delighted today to introduce Alicia’s chosen interviewee – Miranda Wilkinson, a PR and business owner. Over to you Alicia!

Be Healthy & Happy
Be Healthy & Happy

Miranda is from London where she runs her own PR firm called Brand PR, specialising in beauty, fashion & more. She’s brilliant & funny.

  1. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be lots of different things, it changed every month, but mainly a ballerina.
  2. What are your 2013 hopes & dreams? To be healthy & happy – if you have both those gifts you can do anything.
  3. What makes you get up in the morning/inspires you? My Mum – she brought me up single-handedly & gave me one of the most privileged, diverse childhoods anyone could wish for.
  4. How did you become a PR? I fell into it, I started helping out my neighbour when I stopped dancing and I thought I can do this!
  5. What is it you love most about being a PR? The variety. It covers so many areas, writing, strategy, planning, events & meeting many different people which is always fun!
  6. What tips can you give to any wannabe PRs? Be prepared to work hard!  PR isn’t all glamour, there is a lot of hard graft that goes on behind the scenes.  Prove you can handle it & you will do well. 
  7. What other advice do you have for anyone who wants to set up their own business?  Go for it! But make wise decisions, don’t try to run before you can walk & be objective.
  8. What other passions take up your time?  Reading, foreign cinema, fashion, art & my Dad!
  9. Who would be your fantasy 5 dinner party guests? Margot Fonteyn, Cary Grant, Julia Margaret Cameron, Joaquin Pheonix & Joni Mitchell.
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, what 5 items would you wish you had? Sunblock, notebook, pencil, wind-up radio & a pillow.

Thanks Alicia & Miranda! It’s a delight to showcase another brilliantly inspiring female & fellow communications professional!

Miranda now takes over the baton & will interview someone that inspires her for the next #TheChainofInspiration on Friday 31 May.

Have a lovely weekend!

G x

By Sarah Mayo

Afternoon! Welcome to #TheFridayInterview & today’s #TheChainofInspiration at 4pm to accompany that last cup of tea before the weekend…

Karen Munnis, a UK fashion stylist & brand consultant was my last interviewee 3 weeks ago. I’m delighted today to introduce Karen’s chosen interviewee – Alicia Davies, a professional actress. Over to you Karen!

Love it with your Heart & Soul
Love it with your Heart & Soul

Alicia is from West London & has been a professional actress for nearly 25 years. She is currently on tour around Australia with The National Theatre, playing in ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’.

  1. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I always knew I wanted to be an actor. I started as a child actor aged 7, so I grew up with it in my blood really.
  2. What are your 2013 hopes & dreams? That Dominic Mohan of The Sun remove naked pictures of women from Page 3. I passionately support the @NoMorePage3 campaign.
  3. How did you become an actress? I started doing small parts in TV shows, commercials & movies, worked in theatre at 11 & later trained at LAMDA drama school.
  4. What is it you love most about being an actor? To change an audience in some way – to make people laugh, cry, remember an old love & forget the stresses of life for 2 hours.
  5. Which actors inspire you and why? Diane Keaton – a true comedian, Mark Rylance – a chameleon, Anne Hathaway – for making musical theatre work in Les Miserables & Amy Adams.
  6. What tips can you give to any wannabe actors? Only become an actor if there is nothing else that could make you happy. It’s a hard path to choose, so you need to love it with your heart & soul.
  7. What other advice would you give to someone who wants to be an actor? Educate your mind, travel, listen to people’s stories, become secure in who you are… THEN go to drama school. Life experience is the best tool at an actor’s disposal.
  8. What other passions take up your time?  My friends & my huge family first. Singing, walking, dancing, museums & I like a good biography.
  9. Who would be your fantasy 5 dinner party guests? Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Dawkins, The Pope, Germaine Greer & Amy Winehouse.
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, what 5 items would you wish you had? A Swiss Army knife, Lucas Paw Paw ointment, a fully loaded iPod, a pencil & a note book.

Thanks Karen & Alicia! One Man, Two Guvnors is one of my fave shows, so it’s an absolute honour to feature Alicia today.

Alicia now takes over the baton & will interview someone that inspires her for the next #TheChainofInspiration on Friday 17 May.

Enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend… the weather’s looking promising!

G x

By Sarah Mayo

Welcome to #WellbeingWednesday! While winter seems to maintain a firm grip on the weather, it can be easy to get down in the dumps.

Happiness image

So today’s #5aday aims to help you bid goodbye to that bad frame of mind with these 5 steps to beating the blues & boosting your mood! 

  1. Exercise – For an instant boost, release those endorphins by taking some exercise. Running is my therapy followed by Bikram Yoga!
  2. Dream – Take positive action & plan how you will achieve your dream today. Reignite your passion for life & forget about your woes.
  3. Challenge – Set yourself a physical goal – a half marathon or the 30 day Bikram Yoga challenge & feel a real a sense of achievement.
  4. Talk – A problem shared is a problem halved. Spend time with friends and family, talking through problems & plotting for the future.
  5. Give Back – Increase your sense of purpose by doing something for others – volunteer in the community or donate to a charity.

5 simple ways to perk yourself up. Just remember that there are lots of wonderful opportunities out there, all waiting to be grasped!

See you back here on Friday for #TheChainofInspiration – who will Krista Watters be interviewing next?

G x

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