Advent 2017: 25th December

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas to you and your's!


Quickie Workout #110

Advent 2017: 24th December

Sunday, December 24, 2017

May your days be merry and bright because Santa comes tonight.

Quickie Workout #109


Today's not the last chance to use these codes.  Bookmark this post and come back in the new year.

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Advent 2017: 23rd December

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Safe travels to you this holiday weekend!

Quickie Workout #107


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Advent 2017: 22nd December

Friday, December 22, 2017

Tidings of comfort and joy.


Quickie Workout #106


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Advent 2017: 21st December

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmas is so close, I am taste it!  Only two more days of work, then I can hit the relax button.


Quickie Workout #105

It might be too late for orders to arrive by Christmas, but it is the thought that counts, right?

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Advent 2017: 20th December

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

One day closer to Christmas.  Don't let the holiday parties and indulgent food steer you away from your goals.  Aim for a balance.


Quickie Workout #104



Have you finished your shopping yet? Just a few days left to get it done.

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Advent 2017: 19th December

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Less than one week until Christmas is here.  Can you believe it?  Hope you have been completing the 15 minute quickie workouts each day this month.  There is a new one down below.


Quickie Workout #103


For you last minute shoppers:

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Advent 2017: 18th December

Advent 2017: 17th December

Advent 2017: 16th December

Advent 2017: 15th December

Advent 2017: 14th December

Advent 2017: 13th December

Advent 2017: 12th December

Advent 2017: 11th December

Advent 2017: 10th December

Advent 2017: 9th December

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Spread some sunshine wherever you go today.


Some shopping discount codes for the holiday season:
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Advent 2017: 8th December

Friday, December 8, 2017

Something different today. I have posted the workout below, rather than a link.  Enjoy!


Quickie Workout #125

As usual, remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please check out my How To posts, look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.  Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com).

Warm up:  1 min skipping, 1 min walking lunges, 1 min skipping
1 min:  Low pulsing squat- feel the burn!
1 min:  Push/Press ups against the wall
1 min:  Wall sit
1 min:  Push/Press ups on the ground (try on your toes first, then drop to knees if you have to)
1 min:  Leg lifts
1 min:  Supermans
1 min:  Plank
1 min:  Tricep dips
1 min:  Toe touches
1 min:  Squat thrusts
1 min:  Bicep curls with light weights or tins of soup
1 min:  Small arm circles, 30 sec each direction

Advent 2017: 7th December

Thursday, December 7, 2017

My soccer/football coach used to tell us this all the time during our ball handling drills.  Those who weren't losing control of the ball where staying in their comfort zone and not trying very hard.  Or maybe he was trying ot make me feel better.....


Quickie Workout #124 tabata!


Shopping discount codes for the holiday season:

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Advent 2017: 6th December

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Today is the last day to register for the London Winter Run.  I hope to see you at the start line.  At the bottom of this post is a discount code.  Read my review of the 2015 event here.



Quickie Workout #123


Still have Christmas shopping to do? Check out these discounts from me to you.

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London Winter Run Series, 10K in central London: £3 off with PTMOLLIE2018. Entries close TODAY

*Disclaimer

Advent 2017: 5th December

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Some shopping discount codes for the holiday season:

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London Winter Run Series, 10K in central London: £3 off with PTMOLLIE2018. Entries close 6/12/17

*Disclaimer

My December workout plan

Monday, December 4, 2017

Harvey writing up my homework
As you can tell from my lack of posting in November, it was a busy month!  I have continued to work with the team at Function360.  Just about every week, I meet with one of their corrective exercise specialists to develop my strength and flexibility for marathon training.  The pain I normally have when running is starting to subside and track is feeling a tad bit easier.  Function360 also squeezed me in for an emergency session when I pulled my hamstring (I really hate running for the train).  I went in for 30 minutes for some stretching and dry needling.  I took it easy the rest of the week and was running again after four days.  Previously, the only way I would have treated a pulled hamstring would be to rest it.  But now I know better!

Because I only visit Function360 once a week, I am making time to repeat the exercises at home too and even work on my breaks.  There are various movements to stretch my Achilles, open my hips and develop my glutes, so I do with best I can with what equipment is available.  Luckily, as a personal trainer, I have a lot of kit at home, such as exercise bands, yoga mats, dumbbells, and even a stability cushion.  I also have a coach who is always supervising my at-home sessions.

Deep hip openers
Keeping my baseline fitness going, I am teaching indoor cycling one night a week at a local gym and hitting up Mile End track on Tuesday night.  Advent Running has officially started too, which gives me a goal to exercise for 30 minutes a day.  I hope to get a 5K in every day this month to complete this.  With the London Winter Run coming up in February, I am toying with the idea of a 10K PB which will have to be sub-50 minutes.  My PB is from years ago, so it will take a bit of hard work to get me speedy again.  I feel like I have the framework in place though with Function360, track, and now Advent Running.

Train #4, what I like to call the caboose
Finally, I am finishing up a 10 week program with Shannon Clifford's nutritional coaching.  It has been an interesting 10 weeks.  Two of them I was travelling in the USA, which meant calories were infinite.  It also took me about 10 weeks to get a grasp on portion control.  I am happy to say I am at my target weight and looking to focus on my macros now that I have calories in check.  For example, after I switched from porridge with chia seeds, banana, and honey to eggs, sweet potato and avocado for breakfast, my mid-morning craving have disappeared.  It just goes to show that you need to have some protein and fat in your meals to feel satiated (or at least I do).

I needed all this warm ki over the weekend.  The temp in London seems to have dropped.  Brrrrrr!
That's it from me.  Finishing up December with an overcommitted bang, as always!  If you want to work with Function360, use my referral code #F360MM15 for 15% off.  They are really some of the nicest people in the business. And you can get £3 off registration for London Winter Run with my code PTMOLLIE2018.  Entries close 6/12/17 though so book in soon.

Advent 2017: 4th December


Still have some Christmas shopping to do?  I included some of my discount codes at the bottom of this post for you to save while you shop.

Quickie Workout #121


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Elvie, your most personal trainer for kegals*: 10% off with PTMOLL

London Winter Run Series, 10K in central London: £3 off with PTMOLLIE2018. Entries close 6/12/17

*Disclaimer

Advent 2017: 3rd December

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Another new inspirational quote today!  How are you getting on with the workouts?

Quickie Workout #120


Still have some Christmas shopping to do?  Check out these discount codes:

Sundried, premium ethical activewear*: get 50% off with PTMOLLIE



London Winter Run Series, 10K in central London: £3 off with PTMOLLIE2018. Entries close 6/12/17

*Disclaimer

Advent 2017: 2nd December

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Keep checking back every day in the countdown to Christmas for a new quote and 15 minute 'quickie' workout.


Quickie Workout #119

Curing your eczema blues in the winter

Friday, December 1, 2017

My skin is pretty sensitive.  I have a skin allergy which NHS doctors say manifests as eczema.   I get little clear blisters that are itchy and eventually weep.  Over the last 10 years, I have used topical steroids on and off to help keep the symptoms under control.  At its worst, my hands are severely covered with open wounds and possible staph infections.   My skin is more sensitive when seasons change too so it is important that I take proper care of my hands when autumn turns to winter.

Last year, I had an eye doctor appointment to renew my drivers licence that diagnosed me with cataracts.  Everyone was surprised with the news as I am not even 40 years old.  My mom spoke to a few of her colleagues from the hospital and discovered that long term steroid use can potentially cause cataracts.  Since only the strongest topical steroid (Dermovate) heals my flare ups (along with special soaps, lotions, shampoos,  to avoid the ingredients I am allergic to), I am keen to find alternatives to help me manage the condition.  In fact, my current episode started over a year ago, and still persists.

Current state my hands

A few weeks ago, I as sent some samples of Dermalex Eczema.  It is meant to treat eczema by replenishing the moisture and healing the skin's natural barrier.  I was keen to try it out.  Since receiving the samples, I used the steroid cream in the evening before I go to bed as it will maximise the contact time.  When I leave the house in the morning, I apply the Dermalex.  It is very thick and doesn't have a fragrance.  It rubs into my skin easily without leaving a greasy or oily feel.  With the combo, my skin has been really good without any new flare ups larger than a 5p coin (stress sometimes exacerbates the condition).  There is another sample in my bag for application during the day.


Other tips to keep your hands healthy as winter arrives:
  • Avoid an ethanol-based hand sanitizer as this will dry out your skin.  So will hot tap water when washing your hands.  Opt for warm water instead.
  • If you need to wash your hands, apply a moisturiser afterwards to keep the skin hydrated.  Keep travel sized lotions handy wherever you might wash your hands.  My Dermalex is only 30g.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day.  In the summer, we get hot and water seems more necessary.  We still need to drink it in the winter!
  • Protect to your hands from the cold by wearing mittens or gloves when you are outside.  The cold wind can dry them out and cause them to be chapped, which is a break in your skin's natural barrier.
  • If your house is very dry, invest in a humidifier to keep moisture in the air.  Or keep a ceramic or metal pan of water on the radiator (please be careful not to use anything flammable!)
Any cuts or cracks in the skin are not only painful, but also allow a place for infectious materials to enter the body.  When my hands were at their most severe, I found it really embarrassing to shake hands with people or to offer to cook food.  I was also scratching my hands a lot, which looked a bit mad!  Now that I have the knowledge and tools I need for proper hand health, I can be confident that a big flare up will not occur.  I think Dermalex will be a key part of this plan too.

One of my more severe flare ups last year

Thanks to Dermalex for giving me a sample to try.  All opinions are honest and my own.

Advent 2017: 1st December



It is the most wonderful time of the year!  Advent season helps us patiently count down to the holidays.  Whether you prefer the chocolate kind, the running kind, or something more unique, I hope you find wonder and joy each day this month.

Check back every day this month up through Christmas for a new inspirational quote and free quickie workout.  Many of the quotes are more adventure-inspired, probably due to my upcoming Kilimanjaro trip.  If you catch the wanderlust bug, there are still spaces left for women willing to take on the challenge.

Without further ado, here is today's quote and workout.





Quickie Workout #118

Race review: Chicago Marathon, WMM #3

Friday, November 24, 2017

Kit lay before the race.  Thanks to my husband for the card.

This year was the 40th anniversary race of the Chicago Marathon who took part in the first weekend of October.  There was a big opening ceremony with the press as the expo opened, featuring some of the more famous participants of the race over the years.  I met one of the eight men (pictured below) who has run them all, who said to start off slow.  While waiting in the start pen, I learned there was a lot of security because of the recent Las Vegas shooting which was a bit sad to think about- how we live in a day and age where that needs to be a consideration.

The eight gentlemen who have ran every Chicago Marathon.

Race entry and fees:
 There is a ballot entry, along with charity places, legacy finishers and time qualifier (good for age).  In 2018, it will be $195 for US residents and $220 for non-US residents.  I feel very lucky to have won a ballot for my first and third World Marathon Majors (WMM) so far.  Direct flights to Chicago are mid-price.  As I added a stop in Houston to my trip, mine were a bit more.  I also was lucky enough to stay with friends in the suburbs which allowed me to save a lot of money during my one week stay in Chicago.  There are hostels local to the start line though if you plan ahead (or wait till the week before the race for people to cancel, we learned).  I arrived Wednesday to allow my body to adjust to the time difference but it didn't seem to be too much of a problem.
Obligatory bib shot at the expo

Course and bogs:
 The course travels through 29 neighbourhoods in 26 miles of the race.  I really enjoyed Mexican part of town as it was one big party with lots of fun music.  There were lots of bands long the way too with varying genres of music.  The portal loos were deserted at 6:30am in the morning but as my pen time approached at 8|:30am, the line was probably the longest I have ever waited in for a race.  Along the way, loos were available at some of the drink stations but I only used them once (big improvement from Berlin)  There were 20 aid stations long the way, some with medical tents and/or Gatorade.  I was pleased to find the aid stations were not bottlenecks along the race route.  They were so long, as well as on both side of the road, that I was able to keep a constant pace.  To compensate for the warmer temps, wet sponges were distributed at a few points, along with fire trucks and sprinklers offering mist across the road for runners to cool down.

6|:30am portaloos without a line

Come start time, the lines were the longest I have every been in

Location: 
Throughout the "Windy City" in the midwest of the United States.  The city is easily accessible by most major airlines.

Such a cool display to get the runners going in the early morning.

Atmosphere:
I love Americans.  They are excited to be there and cheer for the runners.  There was rarely a lull in spectators along the course.  Signs were in abundance and made me chuckle.  Favourites included 'You are running better than our government" and "Make America chaff again". People were also handing out candy, donuts, pretzels and beer.  I even heard someone say "Who shows up to watch a marathon for four hours and doesn't bring beer?"

Custom sign from my friend, Pattie, who flew in from Atlanta for the weekend

Race bling and goody bags:  I might be a bit biased, but the medal is pretty cool as it means I am 1/2 way through my WMM quest.  Goody bags had various drinks and snacks.  Everyone got a free Goose Island beer too at the finish.  Unfortunately, I don't drink beer but I took one to share with friends or fellow finishers.  No one was up for it though so I ended up throwing it away.

So happy to be done
Tips if you want to take part next time:  I did a lot of research before the race to look for other tips.  The best one I read was that the GPS get confused in the city because of the tall buildings.  The suggestion was to keep track of miles as "laps" for your mile splits.  I found this a good distraction tool but did miss the mile marker a few times.   As I have found for many of these big races, there isn't a need to carry water as the aid stations are so frequent.  I decided to wear my Osprey Duro rucksack to keep a small amount of water on hand in the heat.  I sipped it along the way and took Gatorade on board at the aid sessions where I could.

Halfway there!

I highly recommend you to do the 5k the day before the marathon.  It was a lot of fun and can be something to do with your friends and family who are in Chicago with you but not taking part in the marathon.  After the race, there is an awkward/stiff walk to the park where you can get a free massage at the after party.  If you tend to be stiff after a race, let me warn you that the walk is long to get there.  It is worth it though as you walk by the picturesque fountain and there was hardly a wait line.  Plus the massage feels so good after your efforts on the course.   I didn't stay for the party in the park because we had dinner plans but it didn't seem too busy.

Line to enter the massage tent

Finally, the weather is unpredictable for that time of year so be prepared to give up a PB (PR) if it is hot outside.  I know it sucks, but you need to take care of you.

Start of the 5K with friends
I want to say thank you to my friends, Pattie, Lisa and Mel who came to Chiacago for the weekend.  Also, big thanks to Christian, Leigh, Mia and Moo for allowing me to move in for week and for a fabulous celebratory dinner.  It was so good to be back in my homeland.  I was lucky enough to earn three medals and a belt buckle in eight days in two different states.  It is a trip I will never forget.

Napping in Central London

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Central London has a new place to recharge and relax.  Pop & Rest is a new boutique studio in central London near Monument.  When they first contacted me, I was intrigued about the concept.  A place where I can nap?  During the day?  I was in.  At my new work building, I have yet to discover a secret place to nap on the rare occasion where I overcommit myself and sacrifice my sleep.

On Thursday morning, I made my way down to their building.  Unfortunately, I got a bit lost in Bank Station which made me arrive right at noon.  The building has a reception desk, so I suggest that you arrive five minutes before your appointment in order for the Pop & Rest team to collect you.


I was escorted to their space, which was dimly light with electric tea light "candles".  The room is kept at 20 degrees Celsius as that has been proven to be the best temperature to fall asleep to, according to the Pop & Rest team.  I was shown to my 'pod' which was made of cubicle walls enclosing a bed, nightstand with lamp, and a place to hang my jacket.  The door was an accordion door for privacy.  The walls did not go all the way up to the ceiling, but I was told this would be happening soon.  There was also a little booklet on the nightstand, giving some tips on how to make the most out of your time in the pod, whether it be for napping, mediation, or relaxing.

The host explained that he would wake me up in 30 minutes, all I needed to do was get into bed.  I took off my shoes and curled into the "half crawl" position recommended by the booklet.  I opted not to use the blindfold or ear plugs.  The bed was super comfortable, as were the pillows.  Even though I was in jeans and a hoodie, I was still comfortable.  My FitBit didn't record me as sleeping, and I don't think I did either.  I was too worried about whether I would indeed fall asleep, how the host would wake me up, and all the crap I had to do when I got back to work. 

Even though I didn't officially sleep, I felt very chilled out when the host gently knocked on my door to wake me up.  I took a minute to stretch out and put my shoes back on.  I admit, my main concern was whether or not they change the sheets!  I learned that it takes only two minutes to do so and yes, they change them after every booking.

Another service Pop & Rest offers is a shower facility.  There are four shower cubicles and lockers to store your items.  Towels and toiletries are provided by Pop & Rest, which means you don't need to carry around extra things with you.

The business model for Pop & Rest has does very well in Spain, and I think will do in London too.  Not only can freelancers or athletes use the space for catching 40 winks or cleaning up, but people travelling into and out of London can too.  I was thrilled to learn that Pop & Rest are looking to open another site near my work at St. Pancras station due to the proximity to the Eurostar station. 

I cannot wait to return to Pop & Rest the next time I have a long day of work booked in.  If you are going to try, my top tips would be:

  • Arrive 5-10 minutes early to check in with reception.
  • Wear comfy clothes if you plan on sleeping or pack some pj's.
  • Book in for 60 minutes rather than 30.  It just didn't seem like long enough, even though a 20 minute nap can improve performance by 34% (according to Pop & Rest).
  • They offer free coffee, tea and fruit.  Place an order before your nap for a pick-me-up on the way out.
If you decide to book in, please let Pop & Rest know you heard about them through me.  I really hope this model takes off because I love a good nap and you should too.  Having a place to rest without having to travel all the way back home is a great way to recharge without loosing time on a commute.  It is also much more economical than renting a hotel bed for a few hours.  People who work multiple jobs, students, freelancers, those headed for a night out and more will soon be seeking out a pod.  Hopefully, Pop & Rest start offering monthly memberships or multi-packs soon.  A 30 minute nap is only £9 and worth every pence.

Thanks to Pop & Rest for inviting me along for a complimentary experience.  All opinions are honest and my own.


Adventure at your fingertips

Monday, November 13, 2017


With Kilimanjaro coming up in March, I have been slowly accumulating the kit I need.  When I was in Houston in October, I found trekking pants, base layer leggings, and a down vest (gilet) at the outlet mall.  On the weekends, we have been taking longer dog walks in the park as I build up the time on my feet.

But the wanderlust is real and I cannot wait for the trip.  I am anxious to plan the next and the next trip after that.  To help satiate me, I have loaded up my Kindle with a few adventure and travel books.  I also reached out to my fitness blogger community for their recommendations too.  Here is a great list of books to inspire you to be more adventurous. 


Non-fiction



Wild: A journey from lost to found by Cheryl Strayed
I have yet to see the film starring Reece Witherspoon but this book is what got me thinking about going on an epic hike.  To help find herself, Strayed hiked the Pacific Crest Trail solo and met some amazing people along the way.




Africa Solo by Mark Beaumont
This book I read before we rode from London to Paris.  Beaumont set a challenge to ride from Cairo to Cape Town (self-supported) as a world record attempt. To do this, he would have to repeatedly have to ride over 100 miles a day in intense African heat.  This book was shortlisted as adventure travel book of the year.  If you are a cyclist, check it out!

Me and Dean at his book signing

Road to Sparta by Dean Karnazes
With the launch of this book, I was lucky enough hear Karnazes speak here in London and talk about his passion for running.  This guy is the original ultramarathon man, running 100s of miles on little sleep all over the world.  He doesn't even have a chair in his office, just gym equipment and a standing desk.  This book explores his Greek heritage and retraces the steps of Pheidippides.




Pants of Perspective by Anna McNuff
McNuff recently founded a Facebook Group called Adventure Queens and from the adventure told in Pants of Perspective, you can see why she wants many other women to go on a life-changing adventure.  It takes a lot of guts to pack up your things, fly around the world and commit to running across an entire country.  After finishing the last chapter, you will be ready to go too!




Cold: Extreme Adventures at the Lowest Temperatures on Earth by Ranulph Fiennes
Last weekend, I went to the European Outdoor Film Tour which featured Simone and Tamara climbing to the top of Kangchenjunga in Himalayas.  Winter is coming so I decided this is the next book I am going to read.



Fiction

End of the World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker
Many people, including Sarah from Dreaming of Footpaths, recommended this book. I actually found it on my own when looking for new running books last spring.  It is a post-apocalyptic thriller that has a out of shape man running through a demolished landscape without any laws to find his family.  This is a #1 bestseller.




Call of the Wild by Jack London
We had to read this in school and it is still a timeless classic.  Read the stories of a wild dog in gold-rush Alaska.  Perfect for animal lovers and those wishing for snow this winter.




Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Written in 1870, this book dives deep into the ocean.  Of course, as a fish nerd, I loved this book.  You will probably find many references from modern day television or film originated in this book.  There is a lot of details about the submarine, so get your engineering hat on.


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