Farnborough Half Marathon 2017

On Sunday 22nd January I ran my first Half Marathon, just 7 months after taking up running. It was an incredible experience, which I really enjoyed.

As I’ve written about in a previous blog post, I am training for the Brighton Marathon, this April, and wanted to take part in a Half Marathon to see how I was getting on.

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There are a number of ‘pre-London’ half marathons in March, but I was worried that would a be a little too late for Brighton (which is two weeks earlier than the London marathon). So I was incredibly pleased when I heard my home town, Farnborough, was hosting it’s first ever half marathon event in January.

It seemed almost perfect – my first year running, and Farnborough’s first half marathon – like it was meant to be.

So of course I signed up immediately, and was incredibly pleased to see that one of my favourite running routes (along the canal) would make up part of the course. I actually posted the picture below on Instagram back in August with the caption – ‘investigating some new running routes’. Little did i know at the time that would later set the scene for my first Half Marathon!

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When race day finally arrived I was a mix of nerves and excitement. I usually run alone, so being part of a big event gives me mixed feelings, but I’m very glad of the practice in preparation for Brighton, where there will be another 15,000 runners taking part!

i was rather impressed at how many people turned up to my rather boring home town to run, and hopefully the cobbles around the business park didn’t put too many people off coming back (those who ran it will know what I mean!)

Overall I really enjoyed the event. There were times when it was a mental battle – but I generally gave myself a stern talking to, and somehow pushed myself across the finish line at 1:58:50. A time I am very proud of, being a new runner.

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All in all I am hopeful I am on track for Brighton. I’ve been building my long runs up, and think my endurance is getting better.

Reading back on my old blog post I noticed my original hierarchy of goals were:
To finish
To run all the way
To finish in under 5 hours

Providing I don’t injure myself again, I think these are all now very achievable, and I may even manage a slightly faster finish (going by my HM time).

Fingers crossed all goes well!

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Top Things To Do In Tokyo On A Budget

Japan is a wonderful country to travel in, and I would recommend it as a destination in a heartbeat. However, unlike many Asian countries, it’s not always easy to travel on a budget. That said, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of free attractions, and cheap eating options available. These are a few of my top choices from Tokyo:

View From The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
FREE – I would highly recommend a trip up the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building to have a look at the view. I went up at night and it was great to see all the buildings lit up. You can see for miles, and it’s hard to belief it’s free. However, if you fancy splashing out, there is an international restaurant at the top too, which considering the location is reasonably priced. It can be a bit tricky to find the lift, but head for building 1 and you should find the queue. It was quite long when we joined, but moved quickly.
Metro stop – Shinjinku

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Shibuya Crossing
FREE – This famous crossing is a must see for anyone wanting to experience the hectic people traffic in Tokyo. It’s fun to watch, but also go back and forth a few times. There’s even a Starbucks nearby if you fancy people watching with a coffee. To get a picture, go into the station walkway – there is wire in the windows, but if you lean in and position the lens well you can have a go.
Metro stop – Shibuya

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Genki Sushi
After visiting Shibuya Crossing I would recommend heading to nearby Genki Sushi. This sushi restaurant delivers your order to you on a mini shuttle which pings around the restaurant. It’s a great place to try sushi as a new visitor. There is an English menu available, and you enter your order into an iPad (so no communication barriers). The sushi is made to order, so is fresher than most conveyer belt sushis (although they are definitely worth a visit too!) We found Genki Sushi really affordable, and there are lots of vegetarian options too.
Metro stop – Shibuya

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Imperial Palace East Gardens
FREE – Some lovely gardens which make for a great place to relax with a picnic, or go for a pleasant stroll. It’s an interesting mix of old meets new – the old palace walls next to modern skyscrapers. There is a ticket counter on the way in, but don’t worry its definitely free!
Metro stop – Tokyo

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Tsukiji Fish Market
FREE – This popular fish market is definitely worth a wander round. It’s a great place to buy fresh sushi, either from the vendors or nearby restaurants. We bought some a stall, as the restaurants were very busy (and quite overpriced), but apparently the restaurant sushi is very good here! Be warned it is very busy, and it’s probably the only place I experienced pushing and shoving in Japan.

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Other money saving tips include buying breakfast and lunch from Family Mart (or other convenience shops) – it saved a lot only buying one restaurant meal a day. And staying in a capsule hotel – a great experience in itself.

All About The Everest Base Camp Trek

It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since I set foot at Everest Base Camp. But I still remember it like it was yesterday!

To commemorate my one year EBC anniversary I thought I’d put together a post with all the information I’ve had to offer about EBC so far.

I really hope it helps others achieve their goal of trekking to Everest Base Camp (5364m)

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Vegetarian Okonomiyaki in Hiroshima

When heading to the Osaka and Hiroshima based areas of Japan, you’ll often hear the advice that you must try Okonomiyaki.

Okonomiyaki is a savoury pancake, consisting of batter (or noodles), cabbage, pork and a variety of toppings to add. It’s cooked on a hot surface, and flipped a number of times until to begins to take the shape of a pancake.

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The Kitten Went Out The Window!

We’ve had little Momo home for around 2 months now, and there have been a number of learning curves. How to cope with him climbing our legs, remembering to hide all the toilet roll, and constantly checking our feet while walking down the stairs.

There have been a number of minor ailments, including a sticky eye and a paw under the muscle roller. But thankfully nothing serious.

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Can you travel long term with a mortgage?

A lot of people advocate for “travelling while you’re young”, and often this is associated with a lack of responsibilities. For example, it’s best to go before you’ve settled down, bought a house, started a career, had a family etc.

I won’t deny that travel is probably in many ways easier before all these commitments. But there is another side to the debate.
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What Occupational Therapists Really Do

I went out for dinner with two close friends last night, and when talking about work one said “you’re a bit like Chandler from Friends.. No one really knows what your job is!”

I’ve been a qualified Occupational Therapist for over three years (and a MSc OT student for two years before that), and sometimes I still stumble when trying to explain what I do.

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Travel Budget – New Zealand

Prior to arriving in New Zealand my budget for this country was one of the big unknowns in preparing for the trip. This is because we were planning to buy a campervan (rather than rent), and had no guarantees how much money we’d get back when it came to selling. Additionally New Zealand is renowned for being a fairly expensive country to travel in, which given the amazing adventure sports on offer its not surprising costs add up.

Over the 72 days I spent in New Zealand the costs amounted to $5,336 total. And averaged out at $74.11 per day. (All costs are in NZ dollars btw not USD!)

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