When you tell me that you love me.

Day 4

I’ve always been laughed at. Not in any sort of spiteful manner, mainly, in an, I know how to see the light-hearted things, of things, so to speak.

I have only my parents to thank/blame for this.

I was the very much wanted child of, back in the day, what would have been classed as, older parents.

My mother was thirty-eight having me, which in 1985 was practically geriatric, so she says. Writing this as an almost thirty-four-year-old I’m now horrified at this notion.

But this isn’t about me.

Well, it is, but you know what I mean?

I was a very much wanted child, a miracle if you please. They’d tried, and tried pretty damn hard by all accounts, for yours truly. And just as they’d given up all hope of ever getting pregnant, a decade after they’d started, my mother came home from Menorca, marched herself into the GP surgery with the worst case of holiday sickness she’d ever experienced.

If this was a blockbuster movie, you’d all be shaking your popcorned stuffed cheeks wondering how in the hell she hadn’t realised she was four months pregnant, but this was my mother and the eighties, so anything was possible.

On the last day of April, smack bang in the middle of the eighties, I arrived.

All bug-eyed and brown haired and everything my parents had ever dreamed of.

My mother then had her first nervous breakdown four years after I was born whilst my father did his first dodgy deal approximately six months after that. Both occurrences that could be psychologically sourced back to me, Hannah Evans.

I’ll be honest, I had what one would describe as a blessed childhood.
I travelled the world, played in a huge garden in a huge wreck of a house, whilst Dad sold ‘cars’ and Mam kept my energy levels up with tins of salmon and boxes of Microchips.

It was idyllic and what made my childhood three hundred million times better, was, the old school marble mantel piece thing that ran the entire length of our very, very long living room.

This meant I always had a stage.

A stage that I utilised daily for various performances.

One of my personal favourites was my rendition of Diana Ross’s When You Tell Me That You Love Me, which made my nan cry. At the time I thought it was emotion but now, as I reminisce, I imagine seeing your six-year-old granddaughter, belting out a soulful, out of tune, love song, whilst parading on a marble top in an afro wig and her mother’s neck scarf, was hysterical.

Almost as hysterical as the time I refused to take goggles off and would only answer to Pilot Evans, whilst I told Top Gun like stories. Or, the many times I sold Avon samples whilst pretending to be a highly-strung woman called Janice, who bore a remarkable resemblance to my Diana Ross. (same wig!)

Janice was the most frequent, if my memories recall correctly. Janice and the newsreader that wold report off an ironing board, wearing a pair of glasses, minus the frames, about the terrible occurrences happening in Rassau.

If you know of Rassau or have ever been to Rassau, a small village North of Ebbw Vale in the South Wales Valleys, you’ll know there was a lot to report on.

Like the lamb that threw itself off the heads of the valley bridge onto the pavement, opposite the steps towards the welfare field. Or the time, Iva, the poor, harassed, bind bloke told us all to Fuck off.

There was the time a kid tried to get a dog’s sperm into an empty bottle of Fanta and the time Jodie whatever her name was rode her bike over the verge, off the square and convinced herself she’d gone blind.

There was, and I imagine still is, an awful lot to report on Rassau.
(For reference the whole dog sperm thing got reported officially, not via a kid on an ironing board but to the RSPCA.)

Anyway, what I’m trying to say, which could have probably been condensed somewhat massively, is that, it was probably in me way longer than the time I took to the stage to read a poem about a vibrator or got caught up in the remarkable world of stand up comedy, way before the time I went to the Senydd in yellow wellies and told everyone about how I went running in a balaclava and got picked up by the police.

It being the show pony.

I Hannah Evans, was a proper show pony from the age of birth until I went to secondary school.

Then there were many years of, still making people laugh, but in a way that didn’t really draw any attention to myself, not that I can remember anyway? You know, like most awkward adolescent girls.

And then a few years later, more comfortable in my own skin, married, a somewhat adult, I got asked to write a poem for the Great North Run that was put on live TV during the race. And it was up in Newcastle after ‘101 reasons not to run’ had been aired, when random people were telling me they’d seen me on the telly, I realised, I liked the feeling that came with the recognition. I’d liked the feeling of writing the poem and had bloody loved performing and recording it for the cameras.

A monster was born.

Well, not born, but the years I had been embarrassed about my shape, my nose, my entire general make up, it was that evening up in Newcastle, wearing dried, sweaty running clothes, that I realised a few things.
1. It doesn’t matter what you look like.
2. It doesn’t matter if people don’t like you, or what you do.
3. Some people wont like what you do or who you are.
4. No one should spend any time wondering whether they get on people’s nerves or not, or whether they are good enough or not, or if people get them, or, well, you get the drift, right?
5. If you really enjoy doing something, you need to do it more! (Apart from picking your scalp, apparently my dermatologist said I need to do that less.)

So, when I got asked to do some stand up in Merthyr last November, I was like, ‘oh lets give that a go then, is it?’

I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for having me x

Our Sophie

04.03.2019 – Day 1

So, here’s what’s happening in Hannah Land.

There are seven weeks and six days until I take my place, on a real stage, in front of one hundred and twenty-six people, and try and make them laugh.

That means, there are, if my maths is correct, which probably it isn’t given I failed my maths GCSE, twice if my mother asks, but it was only ever once, fifty-five days for me to get my shit together.

OK, so, somehow, in the mental realms of this universe, I have blagged a spot at the 2019 Merthyr comedy festival. At 5PM on Saturday the 27th of April I will perform twenty minutes of stand-up comedy, at an actual comedy festival, with an actual audience who have purchased actual tickets, in the town I now call home.

That’s insane right? I think its mental. I mean, granted, I’m not shy, and if you ask my parents (don’t mention the whole maths resit thing mind) they’ll tell you I was designed for the stage.

My mother would say something along the lines of, ‘we knew she was destined for bright lights only we thought she’d be a stripper.’ And my Dad would probably tell you I get it from my gran, ‘who was an actress, don’t you know?’

Anyway, what I’m saying is, this isn’t a shock, me, the personified show pony, getting on a stage and making people laugh is probably an obvious move to everyone who knows me, follows me virtually, or who has served me in a supermarket.

I like to make people laugh.

What isn’t so obvious though is, I’m doing this, being, this person, whilst I battle horrendously with OCD.

I’m not saying people with OCD can’t be funny. Some of the funniest people I know suffer immensely with mental health, that’s what makes a lot of us funny, but what I’m saying is, this is possibly the most frightening thing I’ve done, vulnerability wise.

I wrote the book, I document my feelings daily on social media, I put myself out there an awful lot, but to stand up and confidently announce that I think I’m funny, and that, so should a paying audience, makes my arse twitch.

Now, let me tell you a bit about my OCD is it? My obsessive, compulsive, disorder, also known as Sophie. (I’ve never told anyone that by the way, so, feel privileged to be invited into the darkest bit of my head for a wee while.

Before I go on, I name everything by the way. Cars, body parts, Scott’s body parts, the toaster, everything has a name. I’ve done this since adolescence because I read once that if you wanted to bond with something you needed to humanise it, and it’s worked well for me…

When Boris my car died it was awful.

When I told the doctor that Eric had thrush it was embarrassing.

When I asked Scott when did he get Kurt circumcised it was confusing, for him not me.

You get the picture?

Anyway, Sophie. If you want to picture Sophie, she looks just like me, OK, less like Yoda than I do, but like me. She’s highly strung, and she wears black clothes that have sharp edges. Basically, she’s a colder, cooler looking me, with perfectly filed, painted fingernails and eyebrows that are on point.

She never needs her lip waxed and her teeth are three times whiter than mine on the whiteness scale. She doesn’t have a flaky scalp like me, and her tummy is flat and she one hundred percent doesn’t pick her bellybutton whilst watching reruns of Love Island and eating Wispa bites.

Sophie likes to exhaust me. That’s her sole purpose. She is intrusive and somewhat mean and makes me doubt everything. EVERYTHING.

Here’s an example of Sophie’s dialogue, which is, obviously, internal, as in, in my head. It’s a tiny example of what wizzes around my brain by the second.

Sophie; It’s a nice day today, your arse is going to sweat profusely. It’s going to leave a mark on your jeans, people will think you are a sweaty, unfit for purpose, disgusting human being.

Arse; *begins sweating*

Sophie; see, it’s not even something I’m controlling. Its you. There is something wrong with you.

Head; tell people your arse is sweating, you don’t want them to think your arse is sweating and you don’t know it is, they’ll understand if you say it out loud.

Sophie; defiantly tell people how disgusting you and your arse are.

Arse; *ups the sweat ante*

Sophie; I wonder why you sweat so much? I think it’s because you are fat and disgusting.

Me; I am neither of those things, though, am I?

Sophie; you are also delusional then. A delusional, chubby, sweaty mess.

Me; nope, I think this is the OCD.

Sophie; you haven’t got OCD, you’ve made this up. You conned the doctor, you’ve conned yourself. You are a liar to add to the whole sweaty, disgusting mess mix.

Me; lets change the thought subject. Let’s think about green fields and blue skies and sunshine and happy lambs bouncing around the place.

Sophie; Lambs that have shit all over the field, probably eaten said shit, then have gotten

killed for you to eat!

Me; ha! I don’t eat lamb! Have that!

Sophie; of course, you do. You eat it all the time.

Me; are you sure? Oh god.

Sophie; you eat sheep all of the time. What you think is chicken is actually lamb, baby lambs with stomachs full of shit.

This is approximately three or four seconds of thoughts. Only I can decipher our Soph and only I can control her, which is the highly ironic and the desperately sad truth of the matter.

For reference before you misdiagnose me as schizophrenic, Sophie, is me, the dialogue above is played out by only me, an internal battle conversation that doesn’t go away.

As a sort of disclaimer, Sophie doesn’t tell me to hurt anyone, or myself, she just likes to play holy fuck with my nervous system. Like the time she convinced me I was sexually abused or the time she persuaded me I was a lesbian, had bowel cancer, Parkinson’s, racist tendencies, are you getting the picture?

Sophie is what you call Pure O. So, the compulsive bits of the obsessive compulsive disorder, are in fact, the ongoing, continual thoughts. I don’t wash my hands continuously, I don’t need labels facing the same way, I don’t clean obsessively nor do I need the volume on the TV on an even number. I do however have routines, things I must abide by, ways which may seem a bit quirky, or even cute, to the onlooker but ways that dictate every single move I make.

Its all a bit like superstitions on acid, if that makes any sense?

Odd socks. I won’t eat or drink anything red, I can’t wear earrings if I’m drinking because something terrible will happen.

I’m in constant punishment mode.

It’s the reason I run, the reason I drink and the reason I like to sleep a lot.

It’s the reason I had a troubled adolescent, the reason I have troubled relationships, the reason I like to be on stage, being funny.

And you know what? I’ve come to accept it. I’m not scared of stigma or the uneducated opinion, nor am I out to glorify something that is, a bloody horrible thing to endure. But I want it documented that it won’t stop me anymore.

Our Sophie is going to have to learn to stop heckling, I want real, actual humans to do that. Well, I don’t want them to, but you know what I mean? I want to stop fearing the worst, I want to not have to catastrophise everything, I want to live in the moment and start feeling free!

I Hannah Phillips, vow, to get my shit together. My mental shit, my comic shit, my creative shit, even my actual shit because my diet totally needs readdressing too.

So, that’s the plan.

I’m writing this Jerry Maguire style, getting my shit together, mission statement for a few reasons;

1. So, everyone can track my progress.
2. So, I can track my progress.
3. So, I can join the highway to well.
4. So, I can look back, after April the 27th and say, ‘bloody hell lads, I did it!’
5. So, I can have at least sixty thousand words written bloody down, after all, you must actually write to be a writer.

And on a final note, if you’ve read this in a Scottish accent, you get me, because that’s how I’ve read it back. Part Braveheart, part Amy Macdonald, Full Hannah the lunatic runner.

Stay tuned and thanks for having me x

Have a gin, go on.

You know what I discovered this half term?
How much more shit being a parent is during festivities.
Take Halloween for example. We took the kids pumpkin picking. How lovely, I thought, another American tradition for us lot to have a go at.
The pumpkin farm we went to had run out of their own pumpkins so had simply scattered someone else’s pumpkins sporadically around a field. They’d then charged us nothing short of extortionate prices for pumpkins that were smaller than my breasts. (I can scientifically prove this if you are wondering? I placed said pumpkins into my Bravissimo’s finest and there was ample room.)
Anyway, after explaining to our four-year olds that we’d have to reportage both ours and our parents houses if they wanted the big pumpkins, they lost interest and demanded to be pushed around the field in a trolley, which, quite frankly was a tricky damn thing to manoeuvre around sporadically placed vegetables, roaming dogs, other four year olds having tantrums and randomly, two pigs.
And of course, said pumpkins, that cost more than a night in our local Travelodge, for reference, remain uncarved on our sideboard, looking all depressed and reminding me that I am a shit mother for running out of time to carve out Peppa Pig or whatever wanker of a pup from Paw Patrol that B is favouring at the moment.
Then there’s the organised fun that us parents have to endure. The parties. Oh god the parties.
I know, lets all dress our kids up in shit, supermarket costumes that are incredibly flammable, and let’s feel bad for that notion momentarily and pray no idiot brings sparklers, then let’s pump them with sweets and undercooked hotdogs and watch them terrorise each other with roars and toy brushes. Let’s smother them in face paint which goes over you’re new Topshop jacket, the one, you shouldn’t have taken the time to shop or buy because you should have been home pumpkin carving or sewing a majestic handmade, fire resistant outfit for the child you so desperately wanted.
And all of this is in half term, you know? When one may like a lie in or a lazy day in pj’s which you inevitably get because your kid has eaten so much shit over the week she projectile vomits for twelve hours straight whilst repeatedly asking when she’s going to see the fireworks.
And fireworks, I despair. I’ve had to continually drug my two dogs and put Radio Four on a ridiculous volume to keep them content. So, they’ve been fed a cocktail of Greggs sausage rolls, uneaten decent food that child refused to eat, more tea towels, my favourite boots and a cocktail of narcotics that quite frankly, has done nothing for the little ones anxiety and just made the big one more stupid.
Then there was the obvious half term homework that I forgot to look at until about 7.45 last night, which has now resulted in B having no lampshade in her bedroom and me feeling ten times worse for not being more organised and a better mother.
And as we bumbled up to school late, with a lampshade that now loosely resembles an owl, I remembered, I’m doing my damn best, you know?
I’m keeping a job, house, humans and dogs in some sort of wonky order and I’m doing I the best I can.
So, if this half term has left you feeling wiped out, fear not, I’m here to tell you, you are doing a bloody grand job and if you want a gin tonight, I’m totally giving you permission!

Take me to church

There were a few key facts that highlighted the fact I was feeling lower than shark shit in the mood department.
I say lower than shark shit, because I’m pretty sure I drowned a few weeks previous, and in the world of metaphors, without being scientific, I’m sure shark shit is next on the scale of down in the dumps.
Anyway, the weekend, last gone, saw me convinced I was having a heart attack. I had a pain in my chest, in between my boobs to be precise, (a vast, sweaty area) it hurt to move, breathe, exist and I was sure the end was nigh. By the Saturday night, it still hurt to breathe but from behind the boys, sort of in my back.
‘I’ve sprained my ribs.’ I declared after extensive Googling and Holby City’ing. ‘I’m not dying, I’m juts anxious by all accounts.’
I spent the remaining weekend in bed or drunk. My go to coping mechanisms.
When Monday rolled around and smacked me in the head, breathing and moving still difficult activities, I felt the only thing left to try was some sort of divine intervention.
‘I’m going to spiritual church.’ I told Twitter.
I’d made this decision briefly after holding eye contact with a robin in the park, moments before B fell off Scott’s shoulders and moments after Tom Hardy bowled me over on the green.
My friend Hannah had been before and therefore promised to meet me in the car park, warned me that I’d have to sing and told me I’d enjoy.
What Hannah failed to mention was that I’d have to sing Annie’s song to a shaky CD player, that there’d only be twelve of us in the room that had been set up like an actual church and that I’d be scared shitless.
There were friendly greetings, I placed £2 into a wicker basket, took my seat second row back and watched five, very different looking individuals, sit in front of me like a judging panel off a reality TV show. Only this panel desk was home to jugs of water, artificial candles, a photograph of a woman, that I noted wasn’t in the room, and some leaflets on dead things.
There was an open prayer, I’m still confused about, there was an Acapella hymn and then Annie’s song and then an angry looking woman in a pale green blouse asked could she come to me and I was like, oh shit here we go.
I won’t patronise or pick apart what the spirit wold told me, I feel like that’s best left for the pub, or the stage, or some more appropriate platform where I wont come across as a heartless wanker but I will say;
1. I’m not a quiet person, spirit got that wrong.
2. I’m not a wall flower, I do walk into a room and command attention, spirit got that very wrong.
3. None of the women in my family wore sensible shoes.
4. If you keep rallying months my way I’m bound to find a connection with them, I once had a dentist appointment in September?
5. The name Harry did mean something to me, I saw ‘Harry has a penis’ graffitied in the park that very afternoon md tried to get my four-year-old to read it. (Homework purposes.)
6. I am an open book, I do talk too much to too many people, I now feel even worse about this character flaw. Cheers spirits!
7. I agreed that sometimes I feel ‘presences’ because I felt like it was easier to, the panel have intense eyes. I failed to mention that I ‘feel’ such things normally after I’ve eaten Super Noodles, though I felt it was inappropriate to say this given the setting etc.
8. I’m damn sure someone is talking behind my back, I’d be bloody disappointed if they weren’t, spirits, I was sent here to rock boats, I know, you know, let’s not make me paranoid in the process is it?
9. I genuinely thought my Nan had turned up in the room when, someone, passed me a tissue over my bloody shoulder! I needed the tissue for mopping my sweat panicked face, I promise there were no tears.
10. I didn’t get the answers I was looking for but I did have a jolly good time and that, my friends, made me realise I suppose that’s what life is about, right?

Tell me about your divine interventions, will you?

100 days of funny.

A few years ago, I participated in 100 days of happy.
Basically, for 100 days I had to name one thing that made me happy.
I documented this on my social media platforms and the whole experiment, made me happy!
OK, it made me happy sometimes but very grateful for the entirety of the project. It’ crazy how we take the small nuggets of happiness for granted and how we miss things that are potentially happy triggers, if that makes sense, because we are caught up on the big stuff.

Apparently, it takes 30 days to make or break a habit, and I genuinely believe that after a month, happiness became easier to find.
A good friend told me once, that we can’t strive for constant happiness, but if we are grounded, happy is easier to see, feel, achieve and I’ve been trying to live by this, and it sort of works.
I’ve had a rough few months, physically and mentally. I had a bump back in the summer and it’s made me readdress, pretty much everything, especially, what makes me happy, what I want from life, who I want to be… and so on, so on.
The consistent thing, apart from Blossom, is that I like laughing.
I like making people laugh and I like the emotion that comes with finding things funny, so, a week ago, I started telling jokes.
Awful jokes! Terrible jokes! But jokes that have made me laugh and within the week I’ve felt, dare I say it, but, well!
I feel well.
I like finding a joke, I like recording the joke and I love, love, love the responses I’m getting from the jokes and for the first time, in about 3 months I’m feeling like Hannah again.
So, with all this in mind, I’m taking on #100daysoffunny
You get it right? 100 days of jokes? 100 days of laughs? 100 days of light-hearted nonsense?
100 days of who blinking knows, ey?
Anyway, I’ve made a little vide of week one’s buffoonery and that’s over on my Hannah the Person Facebook page, if you want to follow this little journey I’m over at @hannah3phillips on twitter or @hannah_the_person on Instagram.
Here’s to the giggles and shits ey?

Happy 3rd Birthday No Run Intended

I cannot believe it, but, today marks No Run Intended’s Third birthday!
Three years have passed, since my friends and family received my ramblings on their Kindles at midnight.

So, it’s three years and two months since I woke in the middle of the night, on a hospital ward, in Prince Charles Hospital and realised that I couldn’t put my family, my body or my mental health through another pregnancy, ever.
I’d been hospitalised after my cervix had gone into shock from loosing baby number three.

I’d had B, B was perfect, I needed to pull myself together and stop ‘trying’ to get pregnant again. I needed something to focus on and a marathon seemed like the best idea ever whilst I was connected to a drip, listening to an elderly lady snore.

‘I’ll run a marathon, I’ll raise the money, I won’t get pregnant. I won’t get pregnant because I’ll be far too sleepy for sex, right?’ I said to a nurse who looked partly scared, partly amused.

I spent the next hour or so applying for a charity place, for London Marathon, with Bliss, on my mobile phone.

I spent the next two months writing No Run Intended, I wrote it whilst grieving for a part of my life that I’d never replicate, I wrote it whilst appreciating my perfect one year old, I wrote it whilst working out myself.

And then on October 3rd 2015 a little bit of my soul got put out there.

Then… my life completely changed.


And, over the last three years, I’ve made friends, found a brand-new tribe, I’d like to think I’ve helped people, showed people that anything is possible, but most importantly, I was brave, brave to think that me, Hannah Phillips, with the wonky vagina and shaky hands had a story to tell.

No Run Intended has taught me so many things over the last three years, I couldn’t possibly begin to convey it in a blog. What I can convey though, is that, I’m so bloody grateful that 90% of you have loved it, that most of you have identified with parts of it, that you’ve recommended it, that it has played a little part in your journeys and that it’s still teaching me, showing me, and heling me.

The next part of the chapter see’s me take it on stage, which both terrifies and amazes me!

Anyway, I couldn’t let this day go unmentioned, could I?

Happy Bloody Birthday NRI! Here’s to many more!

Alpaca the medication next time

On the very last bank holiday of the year I decided, that there obviously wouldn’t be a better way to spend the day, than herding my family up and heading off to an alpaca farm. Because, if truth be told, I bloody love alpacas!
(In fact, Tom Hardy was Scott’s compromise between a pug (a thing I also bloody love) and an alpaca! Makes sense that we’d go for a part dog, part lama, part ginger speed bump, right?) Anyway, I’d sourced this ‘alpaca open day’ like I source everything else; on Facebook, and surely if the open day had its very own event it was bound to be good wasn’t it, or at the very least an alright way to spend an hour?
Now, I felt dead alternative with my purple tights, yellow wellies, wearing a moon cup after brushing my teeth with a bamboo toothbrush, but let me tell you now, if you want to see real alternative, make your way to an alpaca farm!
I obviously smelt the chickpeas in cardboard boxes before I saw the vegans and the fact more than one person was wearing an ‘ I heart my alpaca’ sweatshirt meant, for the first time ever, I sort of felt posh, not to mention a bit out of my depth.
‘What’s that terrible smell?’ B asked.
‘Where the fuck have you brought us this time?’ Scott asked.
Whilst internally my stomach churned with something that felt like unease.
On the left was a field full of uninterested alpacas. To the right was a make shift car park filled with make shift camper vans and the odd Nissan.
‘I’m sorry.’ I muttered as everyone took in our surroundings.
‘Can we go to the pub now?’ My four year old asked upon plonking her welly in what one could only assume to be alpaca shit.
‘Let’s just…’ I snapped, anxiously gesturing towards some sort of log cabin, where I was sure the free tea and homemade cake would be.
Now, I have an overactive imagination, I mean, I spent years convinced that Guy Fawkes and Elvis, haunted my childhood home, because obviously these iconic men would choose a village in Ebbw Vale, South Wales, to creep about. I’d force myself to run through our hall way after dark, desperately trying not to imagine fireworks or lip curling, because I didn’t want to conjure any bonfire or Wonder of You, spirit things and I’m telling you this for a bit of context. So, when I say that within seconds of eating the homemade brownie and drinking the tea pot tea in the alpaca farm, surrounded by people calling their kids Tabitha and Fabian, I convinced myself this would be the last thing we’d ever do.
‘There are drugs in here!’ I whispered to Scott, trying to keep my shit together. ‘They have drugged these and they are going to sacrifice her for her curls!’ I point at our Afro-blessed-offspring, who was holding her nose and asking a woman with silver hair and sporting a weird bridesmaid headpiece and nose ring whether she was American or not.
‘Calm down.’ Scott said slightly amused, mainly embarrassed whilst I scanned the crowd for Inspector Morse or that Bergerac bloke. ‘Let’s just go and see these bloody things because a pair of socks is £20!’ he had had enough. ‘Soft though to be fair.’ He added obviously devastated we wouldn’t be taking a souvenir home.
‘Should we check in on Facebook?’ I asked, now utterly convinced we were about to be lead, firstly to the field of alpacas and secondly to the cult induction part of the farm where they’d dress us in alpaca made robes and place B in some sort of stew pot.
Alpacas are actually my spirit animal.
Nervy, a bit funny looking, fury, loves food and hates being touched, but will tolerate a pat if you have nibbles for them.
And as I watched baby alpacas, in the cutest little coats, and Mammy alpacas looking generally pissed off I momentarily calmed down only then to hear some bell ringing and; ‘Ok, follow us for a walk around the valley!’ From An I heart alpaca-jumper-wearing -woman and I snorted out of pure fear and chest contractions.
‘We’ll never return.’ I whispered to Scott, who now, really pissed off with my, what did he call it? Overreacting? And the fact B wouldn’t take her hand off her nose, had already asked Google where the nearest pub was.
In the pub I had a large white wine. We both ordered the steak and ale pie whilst B pleaded for ice cream but compromised on some crayons (not to eat) and chicken nuggets.
‘Better now?’ Scott asked as I inhaled the Pinot and continuously stroked my child’s head whilst promising to the universe that I’d never put her in that type of situation again.
And then the pie came and the pie was salty and after enquiringly gently to Scott, discovered his was salty too and that tipped me over the bloody edge.
‘They are all in on it! Like in Fucking Midsummer, we are doomed!’
The drive back to Merthyr was, not surprisingly, conversationally quiet as I wept a bit and B sang Jess Glynne songs very loudly and Scott tried to unassumingly enquire, in about 5 words, whether the bank holiday gin consumption might have affected the OCD medication which made my weeping full blown crying and B’s singing more dramatic.
I only calmed down yesterday, but only because, the three of us had the shits and that makes my theory slightly plausible, right?
Anyway, I don’t want to put anyone off. If I hadn’t been so wired and tired I imagine going to an alpaca farm in the back of beyond would be a jolly good day! Definitely go! And if anyone knows where I can buy an ‘I heart Alapca’ jumpers do let me know!

Hannah the Embarrassment

Not to be outdone by my running embarrassments, and the fact I’m trying to remind myself that I’m not just a runner, (and I mean that in the loosest of terms) I thought it would be a great idea to share 10 of the most embarrassing things that have happened to me, when I haven’t been wearing Lycra. (Granted, these are the 10 most things I feel comfortable to share with my parents.)

In at number 10; the time I saw my friend’s ex-boyfriend and he said; ‘Hi, Han.’ And for some god only knows reason, I replied with, ‘I like grass I do.’

Number 9 has to be the time I tried to kiss a boy in Walkabout, back in the day, and he defiantly didn’t want to kiss me! I still have no idea why I tried to ram my tongue into the general direction of his face, but I think it had something to do with the fact Wales were playing rugby.

Number 8, I’d say was the time I pissed myself on a night out in Abertillery and then thought it may be a good idea to sit in a puddle to justify it. ‘You are going to start to smell.’ My friend Lee had kindly pointed out, so I spent the remainder of the night asking if anyone had a spare bottle of Febreeze on them.

Number 7 is the time I thought it would be appropriate to take all my clothes off in the back of a taxi. To be fair to me, I took my kit off, folded it up really tidy and didn’t utter a word. The first everyone knew of it was when I got out. The first I heard of it was when I had to apologise to the taxi driver in the Baili Glas the week after.

In at number 6, 100% the time I got my arse waxed for the first time. Tucked behind a thick curtain whilst the very chatty girl, who had the honour of removing my hoop fluff, advised me to go to a salon in Cardiff next time, ‘because, they are totally used to doing Pakistani hair removal, babe, like this.’ I genuinely thought things couldn’t get any worse but as I was paying, in a pretty rammed salon, she asked her supervisor, way too loudly for my liking, ‘how much do we charge for an arse wax now , babe?’

Number 5 has to be the time I was utterly convinced the DJ in the rugby club fancied me. ‘Why do you say that?’ My friend Amie asked, the morning after the night before. ‘Because he gave me a Mars bar.’ At the tender age of 17, I was sure a Mars bar was a definite sign of love. Amie thought this hysterical. ‘Han, he tried to give that to everyone, you were the only greedy bastard to take it.’ Oh how I laughed.

Number 4, the time I fell over a pumpkin, dressed as a mouse, pissed myself and broke my wrist.

Number 3, obviously the time I phoned my Dad from my university digs to tell him he’d absolutely love Bath, because they did fish on the steak menu in England. ‘What do you mean?’ he’d said. ‘Well, last night I was in a pub, it was steak night, and they had gammon on the menu!’ he hung up on me.

Number 2 has to be the time in Mexico my friend Jenni convinced me shave off everything downstairs. It was the first time, Eric (My Banana man namesake vagina) had been bald, so, it was the first time, I realised that I was the very proud owner of a lopsided piece of anatomy. ‘What’s wrong with it?’ Jenni had asked. I spent the remainder of the holiday using the hotel computer to research wonky foof’s.

Number 1, the ultimate, hands down, most embarrassing thing to ever happen to me. The time I shit myself, in the communal living room of the apartment I was staying in Turkey, with the girls. For a bit of background, I’d been out the night before and drunk our entire 90 euros of kitty money, I’d not been sober since we’d been there, and the time ‘that’ happened was in the latter part of the second week. I’d felt a rumble in my tummy and then what I can only describe as, my arsehole actually burst. ‘I think I’ve wee’d myself.’ I tried, knowing full well I was lying on our sofa in my own shit. There was heaving, open mouthed gaping and mortification, and then there was panic that we’d be charged for the sheets! How I smuggled those sheets, out of the room, past poolside and into a bin three streets away, I will never know.

There’s more obviously, god there’s more…

Hannah the Embarrassed Runner

I was, as I do, having an inappropriate conversation with my friend the other day about my running disasters. I ploughed through some of the absolute worst things to happen to me during my running life and such was my mortification, and the fact I’m about to start this journey all over again, I thought it best to share these ‘moments’ with the world.
So, in at number 10 would be the time I saw my friend, Amie, through thousands of spectators at the Cardiff half, and such was my excitement, I began to piss like a hyperactive spaniel. Just like that.
Number 9 looks like the time I got shouted at to ‘go back to my own fucking country.’ Granted, the idiot in the white van should be the one that’s embarrassed about that little gem, but it certainly made me question my 90’s retro running gear.
At number 8 we’ve got the 8 mile hashtag blunder. I hash-tagged #8mile on ole Instagram after a …ta da 8 mile run, and was inundated with messages from American rappers, Straight Outta Crawley idiots and men who liked to take selfies whilst holding their balls. Nice that.
Rolling in at number 7 we have the time I got pink milkshake thrown at me via a moving car. Again, I’m not really showcasing my embarrassment here, more the oversized, over made up idiot in a Vauxhall Corsa who told me to ‘Fuck Off’ then lobbed her drink out of the window. Although to be fair, jogging back with pink dairy debris down my crotch wasn’t my finest hour.
At number 6, I’ve decided, was the time my little butty Adam had to do my bra up in the college car park before a run. The poor boy shook a lot, there was definite sweating which meant he had slippery fingers, which meant I flashed more than once. In the end it took Adam, our friend Michelle and a bloke that happened to be walking past to get the boys in order and the bra done up. (Adam hasn’t been right since!)
Number 5A, continuing with the boob theme, this little gem happened not so long ago, in my zip up Marks and Sparks suffocation device. That’s how tight this bra is, one cannot breathe in it, so you can imagine my utter dismay when half a mile into my run, there was an awful lot of flapping going on. Out they were, undid it was…
5B (Because there’s more mortification to this tale) then, determined not to lose momentum, so to speak, I paused the Garmin, turned my music off and tried to get the lads back into my £25 hammock. Only of course I couldn’t. It was like getting toothpaste back into the tube. So, I did what any, half exposed woman with a straight-jacket, sports bra, hanging breasts out would do, I took a selfie, only to realise that there was a poor, minding his own business, dog walker aimlessly crossing my path. Obviously I apologised.
Number 4 was the time I got stuck on a fence. Another aimless dog walker tried to assist me in my bid to cut short my run, and as the poor bastard tried to move my wedged leg free, I farted.
Number 3 was the maiden buggy run. I was absolutely tamping that heads looked like they were about to spin off their necks. ‘What is people’s problem?’ I asked my gurgling baby. If it was good enough for Nell McAndrew the people of Merthyr were going to have to get used to a mother running with a buggy. It was only when I got home, and glanced in the mirror, did I see that a pair of my questionable knickers were stuck to my calf.
Number 2 has to be the time the police tried to arrest me for running in a balaclava. It was my first ever run. You can read more about it in No Run Intended if you really want. I still think its one of my finest moments!
And in at number 1, the hands down most mortifying thing to ever happen to me running or otherwise, was the time I shit myself in Gavin Walker’s car after the Cardiff half marathon.
‘Gav, I’ve shit myself.’ I wanted him to know, that I knew I’d shit myself, I didn’t want him to think that me, the poor, breathless dab, didn’t know that I was sat in my own shit.
And that ladies and gentleman is it. My top 10 mortifying running palavers.
Can’t wait for the next 10!

Run to walk, walk to run, here we go again.

‘Do not be afraid of being a beginner.’

Now, I know I said there’d be absolutely no mention of Lycra on this blog, but given it’s kind of running that got me an audience in the first place, I thought I’d just let you all know where I’m at.

Apparently, in terms of psychology, there are two major good times to take up a new habit.
There’s January. Which is the obvious one, but then there’s September, the one that makes more sense.
September is nice. Autumn brings with it change. It’s marks the start of a new academic year, the start of leaves falling, warmer clothing, less sweating and generally an easier time for us parents who have just scraped through six weeks of our little darlings being home!
When I started to run, way back when, I was overweight and childless and somehow, I found it tricky to find the time to get my trainers on. Granted I was working full time, had a geriatric dog to take care of and a social life to contend with. These are hysterical notions now.
Now, I have a job, a child, a dog and a puppy that’s probably more like a cow than a dog, time is spent referring animals, wiping my child free of paint or chocolate or more recently, lipstick. There’s a never-ending washing basket, a floor that always needs mopping, an email that needs answering, not to mention a reality TV show that needs watching.
Yet, I know I have to start again.
I have to leave the house, in a pair of trainers and start to run again after injury, after nearly two months out, after weight gain and loosing my mojo and the vulnerability that comes with being out of action for quite some time.
So, where do I start? How do I start? When do I start?
Luckily, for me, being a Run Wales activator means I have the resources to run. But it’s not always that easy, is it?
I could download the couch to 5k app this afternoon, put my trainers on and see what happens? I could go to the gym and see how long I manage on the treadmill before declaring that I’m ready to go to parkrun! I could just turn up to parkrun on Saturday and see if I’m even capable of a 5k, or I could look for a new walk to run programme, commit to ten or twelve weeks of running with people who also want to start or start again.
Luckily for me, and for you if you want to begin running and are in the Cardiff area, Whitchurch Social Running Group are starting a brand-new walk to run, commencing September 18th which, not only gives me some time to get my gait re-looked at, practice putting my sports bra on again and maybe buy a cheeky new pair of shorts, but it gives me a bit more purpose.
It’ll have structure and a plan to follow, which means I’ll be heading back into running the absolutely right way, there’ll be support, it’ll be social and hopefully ten weeks later I’ll be able to run Cardiff parkrun comfortably and celebrate with the gang that’s starting this journey with me!
So, if you or anyone you know is interested in starting to run, or starting again, please check out the Facebook event page or alternatively drop me an email on Hannah.phillips@runwales.org.uk
I’ll be there, every step of the way to hold your hand (not literally, unless you don’t mind a sweaty palm) every step of the 5k!
And if you’re curious to how this pans out, but not quite brave enough, keep an eye on my updates via the Run Wales social media channels.