You might know local ultra-runner Bridget Hunt, aka Sixpack Chick, from her ice cream shop on Richmond Green. In this blog she talks all things fitness, food and how she doesn’t enjoy a run until she’s 10k in, the crazy kid.
My fitness journey
I only really got into it once I was in my early 20s. Sport wasn't that inspiring for me at school and although I played in teams I never really enjoyed it. I realise now that I am much happier when I am responsible for my own performance - I hate the thought of letting anyone down! I was actually a rubbish runner years ago, I can remember school cross-country in the freezing cold that made your lungs burn with every breath. Grim. In my 20s I was really into Latin dance and finally found something I loved - it opened the gates to an exploration into other forms of fitness including running. I was hooked!
The longer the better
I am no sprinter. No seriously, I am rubbish. I swear through the first 5k of every single run. I have enormous respect for short and middle distance runners - in my head I look like Mo Farah when I try to run a short distance, but the reality is more like Mr Bean. I really get into my run after about 10k and enter this strange sort of meditative state where I feel like I could just run forever. I found this out quite by accident but I’m really glad I did. Ultra distance is my happy place.
Finding a balance
I am really careful with my time. I used to say yes to everything and now I have my non-negotiables, those things in the day that nothing may interrupt.
I schedule my time into my diary and set it in stone. I LOVE to run early in the morning after several cups of coffee - I use my runs as commuting to and from work to get the training mileage in. I only do jobs at work that I can't outsource and then sit down every evening with one of those old-fashioned egg timers and write for an hour on my book.
If I don't have that diary worked out I just surf Facebook, eat peanut butter by the spoonful and binge-watch Netflix in the evenings. I have to give myself a healthy dose of tough love!
Ice cream and fitness… seriously!
Everyone asks me this how these two go together. First they ask me how I stay so slim and own an ice cream and chocolate business, and then they ask what the secret is!
Yes, I am health conscious but I also believe in balance. Don't believe the Instagram feeds where people claim to live off kale and chia seeds. If we snuck round to their house on movie night there would be some popcorn lurking there. I have a healthy approach to my diet; I nourish myself with foods which help keep me healthy, strong and full of energy, but I also enjoy a treat, too. Right now I have an obsession with Gail's carrot cake (if you haven't tried it, you must!) A slice of it will be waiting for me after my marathon next week....
Mixing it up
Cross-training is very important. Just doing one form of exercise in the past has led to over-use injuries, particularly in dancing. I now strength train, do yin yoga at home and love love love to do a spin class every week. Cycling and running are a great marriage for me and I wish I had started spinning years ago. You never know, it may just make me a bit faster!
It’s not all run, run, run
Well I am an intensity junkie so I would have to say spinning! I have to make so many decisions in my working and running life that it’s great to go to a class and have someone tell me what to do. I like being pushed and encouraged.
Can I have another one too?! Last year I got into Yin Yoga. It’s the alter ego to the intensity-loving me. It’s a deep stretching yoga where you hold poses for what seems like an eternity. It also makes me swear (are you sensing a pattern here?) but has had enormous benefits to stilling my churning mind and lengthening out my tight muscles. Bliss.
Clearing my head on a run
Love this question. I used to drown my thoughts out by listening to a talking book or some music but now a lot of the time I just let my mind wander. I find I solve some pretty big problems out running, not world-changing ones but those niggly situations which need resolving suddenly become clear. I have come up with whole book chapters that I’ve spoken into a dictaphone, and I once rang someone who I hadn't spoken to in seven years as I suddenly recalled an argument we’d had and I wanted to say sorry. Running does that to a person.
I am past the point now where a hot body motivates me. Pretty to look at but meh, move on. Right now I am totally inspired by Ben Smith, who is running 401 marathons in 401 days. I can't quite get my head round what he is doing but it moves me to tears when I think about it.
My guilty pleasure
I sat and salivated over this one for a while. There are lots of options but I would have to say that when I am out on a long run I crave something salty at the end, so a bag of salt and vinegar thick cut crinkle crisps would have to be my ultimate snack. I allow myself them after every long race and enjoy every single crunch.