Rants and raves #48
** Disclaimer: I am writing this post of rants and praise after spending most of the day staring at my laptop screen. Most sane people would probably give their eyes a break, but I'm not sensitive! I also had to spend the afternoon listening to my neighbor playing the piano, why do modern houses have […]

** Disclaimer: I am writing this post of rants and praise after spending most of the day staring at my laptop screen. Most sane people would probably give their eyes a break, but I'm not sensitive! I also had to spend the afternoon listening to my neighbor playing the piano, why do modern houses have such thin walls? As a result, this blog is likely to be more grumpy than usual. As always, all the moans are moaning, and the rants and praises represent my own opinions. Other running blogs, much less negative, are available **

I would like to start by saying hello, afternoon, etc. to anyone who takes the time to read my latest selection of rants and raves. I hope you all continue to face the present situation. Even though I had gotten used to it and adjusted to the new 'normal', I found the last few weeks quite difficult. The increase in local Covid-19 cases and the resulting local restrictions have been slightly troubling.

As always, I've done too much wrong already, so here is my latest pick of rants and raves. Hope you enjoy this little glimpse of how my mind has been functioning lately.

Rave: Top 10 UK Racing Blogs

With apologies for blowing my own trumpet, I was delighted when I found out that this blog had been included in Vuelios Top 10 Running Blogs in UK for the fourth consecutive year.

I neglected my blog a bit because my mojo blogging had become AWOL. To be honest, after spending eight hours a day Monday through Friday working on a computer, I didn't really want to spend even more time staring at another computer screen at night.

I have also had some not-so-positive experiences recently.

Rant: The less positive aspects of blogging

I estimate that 75% of the emails I receive are irrelevant to my blog, which is good. I will delete clearly spammed emails and reply to the rest. I don't know if this is the norm, but I have always answered emails. It may take me a few days, but I will answer you. I also always try to be polite, so I wasn't too impressed when a freelance PR included me in an email that I clearly wasn't supposed to see. The content of the email was not complimentary and I was wondering if discussing bloggers in this way was normal.

I recently posted a guest post provided by a PR representing what I would describe as a reasonably premium brand. That I subsequently found the same guest post on several other sites irritated me a bit, that the PR did not promote the guest post I posted. on my blog as promised irritated me more. A week later I was contacted by the same PR to see if I would like another guest post with links to a second premium brand. I asked if there was a budget available, this was part of the response I received:

"If you think the topic is of interest to your readers, we are happy to send it to you, but if payment is required, I'm afraid it's not for us."

It was told to me! While there are a few scenarios where working for nothing is an option - I didn't charge my mom for the two hours I spent figuring out her massive water bill as she 'paid' me 'with an epic roast dinner - that wasn't one of those scenarios. I love this `` Should I Work For Free '' flowchart by Jessica Hische.


I know PR was not working for free because I checked the company she works for. Despite that, I had to promote a second premium brand and spend my time styling and then posting the guest post to my blog for zero return. I wasn't even asking for monetary compensation, I just asked if I could have a product to review and keep as a form of compensation as it was something I would have found useful.

So if any PRs are reading this - I very much doubt this - don't expect bloggers to work for free. While I may "only" be a part-time blogger as I have a full-time job, I value my time as I'm sure you enjoy yours.

Rave: Olive and Mabel

I know Olive and Mabel were featured in a recent rant and praise post, but I thought I would highlight a few of their more recent masterpieces on YouTube. Hope if you click on the screenshots you will end up on Youtube.

Watching Olive and Mabel definitely helps me forget about the real world for a few minutes. I can't wait for their book to arrive later this month.

Rant: Time

I know it's October, but what the hell happened to the weather? Right now it's raining, it's windy, and frankly it's miserable outside. I don't feel like going for my usual lunchtime walk, but I know if I don't, I'll regret it. Fingers crossed, the weather is improving soon. If not, I will test all of my incident role training.

I could blame my failure to go 26.2 miles on the bad weather last Sunday, but I won't. Yes, the wet conditions clearly contributed to my blisters, however, I clearly didn't train enough and didn't stay within the marathon distance. If I ever mention going to another marathon, remind me that the half marathon distance is my absolute limit.

And this is my last rant because in a slight change from what I normally do, I decided to end this post with a selection of raves.

Rave Advent Calendar: ELEMIS Beauty

Even by my low standards it's a pretty hit and miss rave but please be indulgent with me. I'm sure most families have what I would describe as Christmas traditions. I always bought Mom the Archers calendar, perfume, and more recently the M&S Beauty Advent calendar for Christmas. Last month I contacted M&S to see if they would produce a beauty advent calendar this year. A few days later I got a reply they would not be producing a beauty advent calendar this year. I blame the Percy Pigs.

I then spent about an hour researching alternatives. The price of some of the beauty advent calendars that I found blew me away. I just wanted to find something that wasn't ridiculously priced and had products my mom was likely to use. I also wanted something that I could order now. In the end, I opted for the ELEMIS beauty advent calendar.


It was expensive, but I made some money back using TopCashBack and the calendar came with some amazing freebies that I kept. At 41 years old, I think it's time I started to introduce some sort of skincare routine into my life, so I hope Mom gives me any “rejection”. At least I have a sorted Christmas present.

Although M&S is not producing a beauty advent calendar this year, they have already redeemed themselves.

Rave: Percy Pigs

I enjoy the occasional treat (?) From Percy Pig. I blame the time I spent working at M&S, after spending the day looking at boxes of Percy Pigs - I worked in the warehouse - I ended up taking advantage of my downsizing to heal myself. When I eat Percy Pigs my self-control comes out of the window and I finish the bag and I feel a little unsure. A few weeks ago, I spotted a photo of a giant Percy Pig plush toy and a Percy Pig piggy bank. I looked online saw that only a limited selection of M&S stores would get inventory, saw how well they were already selling on eBay and agreed that I wouldn't be getting my own toy plush Percy Pig and my piggy bank. I mean, I'm 41, so it wasn't the end of the world.


Last Tuesday my cell phone rang during our weekly MS Teams meeting. A little unhappy but not a disaster. I sneakily checked my phone and saw a missed call and text from mom. Mom was at the local M&S, spotted a giant Percy Pig, and asked if I wanted one for Christmas. Let's just say that trying to respond discreetly to a text message in a team meeting was tricky. So, now I have a Percy Pig plush toy, a piggy bank, and an Advent calendar to look forward to. Someday I'll grow up but I think in these shitty times we all need a little fun.

Rave: Passion Planner and Stress Less Journal

I think I discovered Passion Planners for the first time while reading this post Last year. As someone who constantly writes things down, does (not!) Lists and enjoys stationery, the concept of a goal-based planner with a mix of weekly and monthly spreads seemed perfect. After spending a little time checking out all the different Passion Planners, I ended up buying myself a elite undated weekly planner and also pens. I didn't name my Passion Planner because I'm saving it for 2021 - next year must be better, right !? - So I included a photo from the Passion Planner site.


the Stress free journal is a bit of a mystery as I have no idea who bought it for me. Ironically, not knowing who to thank adds to my stress. Since this is someone who knows me well, I asked my family, I asked my friends and I asked my colleagues. Everyone I interviewed denied knowing anything about the Journal.

I haven't used the Stress Less journal yet because I'm a little worried that it was sent to me in error. I decided that if I hadn't heard anything at the beginning of December, I would start using it. That sounds good; the Stress Less journal is here to help you stay calm in stressful situations. With seven cognitive exercise chapters, daily habit and mood trackers, tips and journal pages, you can learn how to stay calm in stressful situations, strategies for dealing with your stress, and tips for dealing with stressful situations. symptoms of stress and anxiety. Perfect for me!

If you've made it to the end of this latest random selection of rants and raves, thank you. Spending the time writing this post was well worth it because I feel better about having had a good old rant. As always, I hope my rants were reasonable and that I didn't inadvertently offend anyone.

Have you spotted any truly random Advent calendars this year? When I was researching beauty advent calendars, I spotted Advent calendars containing socks, gourmet popcorn, candles, bottles of wine, bottles of gin, tea, coffee, and luxury chocolate. I can't wait to open my Percy Pig advent calendar.

What do you think of virtual races? I have seen a range of opinions online. Some runners think they are excellent; other runners openly laughed at the participants on social media. Personally, I couldn't understand why some runners were so worried about the virtual London Marathon. Maybe I would have a different opinion if I was a faster runner, I don't know. I know some smaller races will likely only survive thanks to runners entering their virtual races.

Most people think of course as a solo venture. And while runners appreciate ( read : need ) quality “me time, ” there’s something quite powerful about running in a pack.

“Most of the time people join groups for the social experience, but the cool thing about a course group is that you can be a part of it without saying a word, ” says Scott Miller, founder of the Boulder Trail Running Breakfast Club. “It’s a great opportunity to connect. ”

Here, Miller plus five other course club founders, share tips for building—and sustaining—your own running club.

Jessamy Little, who founded the Cass Runners Club, a 100-plus person running group in London comprised of her business school classmates, suggests asking potential members what days, times, and locations work best with their schedules. Some groups may favor an early morning sweat sesh, while others may prefer meeting after work. “A recommendation for a newer club is to have two set running days, ” Little says. “One during the week that is more focused on ‘getting it done’ and one on weekends that can have a more ‘fun and footloose’ vibe. ” For Little’s group, the weekend runs were geared toward exploring new areas of the city.

“Don’t get discouraged if not a lot of people show up at first, ” says Marnie Kunz, founder of Runstreet, an NYC-based company that leads art runs—urban runs that pass by street art in cities across the U. S. When Kunz held her first art run in 2015, just one person came : a guy on a bike. Kunz was disappointed, embarrassed, and considered canceling the whole thing. But the next week a few more people showed up, and then a few more. Soon, word got out. Runstreet has since hosted more than 200 runs in cities around the country “Realizing that everyone starts from scratch really helps, ” Kunz says.

Kunz stresses the importance of having your own website that houses all information about your runs along with photos. “Social media platforms can change—and not everyone is on every platform—so it helps to have everything in one place. ” Keep your communication consistent across platforms to help create a streamlined brand.

Let people know what they are getting themselves into, Miller says. His Boulder, Colorado-based group of 100-plus members meets every Saturday for a long trail run ( anywhere between two to six hours ) followed by a group breakfast. Because the group’s runs cover a wide range of terrain, he wrote several articles explaining the general variétés of conditions runners can expect and the group’s approximate pace along with safety tips.

The articles are published on the group’s MeetUp page, and when a new person signs up, Miller sends them the reading material. “If your group is not a beginner group, you need to make that clear, ” Miller says. “You don’t want people to show up and have a bad time. I try to be really descriptive about the time, distance, and elevation of our runs so people know what they are in for. ”

Many members of Miller’s group take photos during the runs and post them to the group’s page. He says it helps draw new members. “When people are looking for a course group and they see pictures of runs in amazing areas, people smiling—both men and women—they see that it’s a mixed group that likes to be social and have fun. ”

Frankie Ruiz, cofounder of the Miami Marathon and founder of the Baptist Health South Florida Brickell Run Club, a free, once-a-week, Miami-based group of about 400 runners, can count on one hand the number of times he’s cancelled runs throughout the program’s nine-year tenure.

“Our main message is that we don’t cancel, ” he says. “If it’s really rough out, we’ll go to a parking garage or go indoors and do a core séance. ” He says this has helped build the club’s reputation as a consistent amenity offered by the city. “Even if a runner doesn’t show up, I think there’s a comfort knowing that there is something in your city that doesn’t stop. ”

“If you have new people coming in, you can’t assume that they know the rules and guidelines, ” Ruiz says. “Communication needs to be all the time. ” Even though the group’s “weather-proof policy” may be well understood among current members, every time the skies get gloomy, the club blasts their social channels with reminders that the runs are still on. It also helps to communicate the planned route, distance, and pace in advance so that new members can plan their mazout and attire accordingly.


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