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.

All aboard to Barry Island.

There are a few reasons why you should not flirt with men when your 4-year-old is with you.
There are the obvious reasons and then there are the reasons where, specifically, you shouldn’t flirt with men, with my 4-year-old in tow.
We’ve been to Barry Island today. Usually the mere thought of getting to Barry on the valley rocket is enough to send me straight to the gin aisle of Tescos pre-boarding. (Noted, one cannot consume alcohol between Merthyr and Pontypridd, which basically translates into hide your booze well, get the trip done, put the booze on the table, off you get!) But today, I felt fine about it. I felt excited to get some sea air and feel like I was on a little bit of a jolly.
You see, that’s what us valley folk do when we have a smidgen of sunshine and a free day to spare. Not a literal free day because a few hours in Barry, not only takes you the same amount of time as getting to mainland Spain, it also pretty much costs the same.
Anyway, off we pop. My friend Julie, (not my wife, despite the rumours or the fact we usually look like a very modern family of 4!) her little girl HR, B and myself.
B and HR have a beautiful relationship where they are either the most angelic, perfect, playing duo or they are scrapping.
If they are the latter, I knew the journey to Barry bloody Island would be a painful one. Luckily, between us, there was enough entertainment, inappropriate snacks and litres of soft drinks, which meant the journey was pleasant.
To be fair it was made even more pleasant by the most beautiful train conductor to ever grace the Merthyr to Bridgend service.
And I’m no connoisseur on these matters mind, I don’t often grace the 11.38 with my presence but to be fair, this one was a beaut.
And when he asked ‘tickets please’ in my general direction, I felt like the opportunity was far too good to be missed and I activated what I like to call, inappropriate Hannah.
Inappropriate Hannah has no real idea how to flirt, which is probably a good thing given I’m married and someone’s mother, but nevertheless, every now and then out she comes.
‘Do you like your job?’ I asked his arse. Now, this wasn’t as epic as the time I told someone beautiful that I really liked grass, given it wasn’t that random a question.
‘Uh, yes, why? Am I not smiling enough?’ he asked and I had no idea how to backtrack.
‘Well done, Han.’ I heard Julie mutter and I felt her colour rising without even looking at her face.
‘No, no, no.’ I stumbled. ‘These jobs came up on my Facebook the other day and I was wondering like?’
‘Ah.’ Beautiful conductor smiled and I’m not sure whether the train went over a bump or my earth moved.
And then he lost me at; ‘I used to be in the fire service.’
Oh fecking hell! If there’s anything a woman in her thirties likes to imagine it’s a beautiful fireman.
‘Where are you going?’ he asked, and then he asked again and whist I gaped open mouthed, Julie had to tell him.
‘Barry Island! Hannah! Barry Island, it’s not hard.’ And then I did it, out it came before my brain even had a nanosecond to say ‘Stop you stupid twat, think about what you’re about to say!’
‘I can’t stop thinking about him on a pole.’
What the flying fuck, like?
Beautiful conductor looked more mortified than me, Julie and the woman who had her hands over her eyes, opposite us, put together.
In fact, he was so mortified he cocked our tickets up and quickly disembarked our train in Cardiff Central before I had chance to say sorry I’m a knob!
Fuck my life.
Anyway, Barry Island was everything we’d hoped for, I had the best chips, cheese and gravy of my chip shop career and we made sand castles on the beach whilst watching Seagulls eat wrapped, whole Kit Kats being fed to them by some perverse child. We marvelled at how beautiful train conductor had been and I hoped he hadn’t noticed that my legs were probably 3 days over due a shave. We had a wee in the public toilets that you can under no circumstances wash your child or your feet in, then finished off with an ice cream and a look round the fun fair.
Then it was Valley Rocket round 2.
And beautiful conductor was no where to be seen but new conductor who was neither pleasant or not asked to see our tickets.
‘Tickets please?’
And my 4 year old, who’s tired, a little cranky, full up on Mr Whippy and the teacups says, in her loudest Gurnos voice;
‘Do you like your job, then?’
How am I going to explain this one?

Am I a tonic, without the gin?

Am I a tonic, without the gin?
I thought, if I ever had a ‘drink problem’ so to speak, that I’d know things had got out of control.
I thought, I’d shake a lot, be drunk a lot, not functioning, blah, blah, blah. Alcoholism is perceived unromantically via the media, or very romantically via Instagram.
‘I’m a poet.’ I slurred the other night. Dylan Thomas had drank. He’d drank himself to death supposedly. I quite like the concept of being a tortured writer, even though the most serious things I’ve ever wrote about have been sex toys and that time I shit myself.
And on that note; ‘When was the last time I wrote a poem?’ I asked myself out loud, because as well as drinking too much, I’m now conversing with myself or the dogs a bit too often. To be fair, Tom Hardy, gives shite advice!
I haven’t written anything decent for some time.
I do have a fantastic collection of empty bottles in my recycling right now though. It’ still in my recycling too because I was so pissed the night before the recycling van was due, on Friday, I slept through the lads throwing everyone else’s boxes back onto the pavement.
‘I think I’m drinking too much.’ I finally muttered earlier today.
‘Well, you won’t be drinking tonight, will you?’ Scotty Boy asked me.
‘No.’ I said. ‘And that makes me feel sad.’
Oh how we laughed! But mine was a bit of a worried laugh. I cannot remember the last alcohol-free day I had?
It was probably when I did the 30 days sober challenge, when my eyes were sparkly and my head less cloudy.
I wondered, like I do, whether there’s a connection between the fact I’m off work, B is off school, there a 6 stone puppy ruining everything and my mood is particularly low.
And not for the first time I realised I’d become another fucking cliché.
ANOTHER FUCKING CLICHÉ!
I then started to wonder whether the recycling boys hate the school holidays as much as parents who rely on alcohol do?
‘Brace yourself lads, there’ll be a lot of glass over the next few weeks’
I wondered if there’s any massive correlations between gin sales and the summer holidays, I then wondered whether drinking some wine to make my head stop whizzing like it does is really that much of a bad thing and asked Scotty Boy to pick me up some Pinot.
Anyway, it’s a new week tomorrow. Hopefully my last week off work, my last week on my arse and the last week I drink wine by the gallon because I need to grip my shit and get on with becoming the person I want to be!

Mammy has to keep her bra on because of Tom Hardy.

That was the first thing my four-year-old said to the poor bloke who came to fix my washing machine this afternoon.
‘The dog.’ I mumbled. ‘The dog is called Tom Hardy.’ I gestured to the six stone lump that was trying to headbutt his way through our patio doors to greet the poor, ashen coloured, bloke.
‘What is it?’ frightened washing machine fixer asked. I refrained from telling him it was the biggest pain in my arse, I’ve ever experienced, and went into the whole French Mastiff, Dogue De Bordeaux, Turner and Hooch spiel, instead.
‘Is it friendly?
‘Is it friendly? It’s the reason I’ve got to keep my fecking bra on!’ I wanted to say but thought better of it. He didn’t seem like the type of person who would appreciate the fact I need a sports bra on to go within a meter radius of Tom Hardy because falling over braless, with the boys, bloody hurts.
Tripping over Tom Hardy without a bra, hurts.
Having Tom Hardy launch himself at you without a bra, hurts.
‘He’s a doll!’ I said sarcastically.
Washing machine fixer looked sceptical. ‘Did he break this?’ he gestured at the this in question and it clicked into place.
‘He’s broken everything.’ Four-year-old chipped in. ‘Daddy said we can’t have a new kitchen until we get a gun.’
I did that nervous laugh and pulled a, ‘isn’t she funny’ face and hoped washing machine fixer didn’t have links with the RSPCA or social services.
Of course, Tom Hardy had bloody broke the washing machine! And even if he hadn’t done it directly, I’d put my last Bonio on the fact that he had indirectly bust it.
He’s broken so much, including my soul, I’m starting to wonder what the bloody hell we’ve done?
For instance, I want to cook a chicken in the slow cooker, only the slow cooker is protecting the only three tea towels I have, in the only kitchen drawer I have left.
I’d like to sit in the garden, only we’ve had to barricade half of it off to stop him, both, ruining and jumping the fence.
I’d like to leave my recycling in the place its supposed to be only the bloody thing thinks every empty bottle of gin or Magners is for playing purposes. (and there’s a lot right now!)
I’d like to not have to sweep up four million stones, that he’s dug up, and spread through the kitchen for kicks but most of all I’d love to not have to wrestle the bloody beast every time I innocently enter my kitchen.
Making food has become hell on Earth and we all know I’m no Nigella as it is. (I once made a cheese and potato pie without having any potatoes in the house, and remember the time my oven actually leaked?)
I wrestle with the big one, trip over the small one, have to open everything above my head, and pray to god nothing gets swiped or licked, or slobbered on.
These are the things I definitely didn’t read about when Tom Hardy came home as small as a handbag and as sweet as a chocolate cheesecake.
I didn’t realise I’d always have to wear footwear and underwear.
I didn’t realise I’d have to hide EVERYTHING.
I didn’t realise he may knock my other dog up and I certainly didn’t realise that I’d be googling saddles for small horses and cleaning everything three times daily.
But the biggest (no pun intended) realisation of the entire, getting a dog that will ruin your life malarkey, has been, just how many places get hair in them!
I found a clump of it, ginger, mastiff, Tom Hardy fluff in between my arse cheeks, when I got out of the shower?
How the fuck does that happen?
How the fuck did any of this happen?

Tom Hardy Is Ruining My Life.

Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d utter. Mind, to be fair there was the time Gary Linekar made me drop an age size in clothes and ruined my 100% attendance in primary school.

Gary was the fundamental reason we all knew something wasn’t quite right with me. Such was my obsession, the day I found out he was already married I refused to eat anything other than chocolate buttons and leave my bedroom. To put things into perspective my goldfish, Jenny Craig, had passed away in the same week, so, I’m pretty sure I was allowed to dramatically declare that my heart would never be mended.

My mother was both concerned and relieved. Concerned that her one and only had an unhealthy obsession with an older, married footballer and relived I wasn’t showing lesbian tendencies at a young age, such was her want for grandchildren back then, if only she knew what we all knew know, ey?

‘We knew with Wendy, see!’ She’d say. ‘It was obvious when she was a toddler.’

And don’t get me wrong she loved Wendy and her gang but she’d waited 10 years for a little girl to put bows in her hair and take to afternoon tea. She got me!

Anyway, back to Tom Hardy. Not the actor this time, but his canine namesake. Although, to be fair, it was recently announced in the press that the real Tom Hardy’s Mrs is expecting their second bundle of joy and that made my cheeks green for a few hours. (I’ve long since learned that survival based on chocolate buttons is idiotic and during times of heartbreak it’s best to quaff anything that’s edible in a 10 metre radius, including gone off cheese.)

But back to my Tom Hardy; the 6 stone, clumsy, wrecking ball of a Dogue de Bordeaux puppy, who is genuinely ruining my life.

And if my life had a bio right now it would read, Tom Hardy is ruining my life. A little bit of joy, a lot of chaos and 25 tonnes of shit daily.

Tom Hardy was a gift. He turned up just before the snow of this year and he was my hopes and dreams wrapped up in a smelly blanket.

My mental health, and reasons I won’t go into, were, how do the kids say it? Fucked.

Yes, without being overly dramatic how I got to the March of this year I still don’t know, well, I do, perseverance and gin but that’s a whole other story and one I’m not ready to write.

Anyway, after years of begging for a pug and alpacas, Tom Hardy was Scott’s compromise and my last hope of squaring my head up.

I’ve just written that sentence and laughed my actual head off!

Who in their right mind would think a slobbering, malting, massive, ginger speed bump like dog, would make things better?

And I’ve laughed because even though this monstrosity of a dog is causing absolute mayhem in my too small house, with my small human and even smaller, pigeon chested Staffordshire Bull Terrier, he is doing what we hoped he would.

He’s making me happy.

He’s ruining my kitchen, my tea towel collection, my patience and hope for a nice house but he’s bringing with him joy, some writing and some much needed fresh air.*

What I’m hoping he hasn’t brought with him is offspring!

Yes, you read that right. I mean, he tried to fuck Taggie’s ear when she was in season, not to mention their shared basket and anything else with a corner, he was that clueless at one point he was attempting to bang her head, and whilst he’s so tall and she’s so not, she was peeking though his balls with a look on her face that read; and still in 2018 these pricks get more money than our gender!

Anyway, on our daily hell hike yesterday (20 mins of the 2 of them trying to rip my arms out of my socket) I noticed Taggie looked a bit round. And when I felt her belly I noticed her nipples were, how shall I say it? Pronounced! Yes, that will do, pronounced.

I immediately googled ‘how do I know if my bitch is pregnant?’ And immediately regretted my choice of words. I retyped and prayed that I was doing that thing where I unnecessarily worry.

I’ve not slept.

I’m so concerned that Taggie is growing dogs the size of highland calf’s in her tiny belly that I’ve not slept, I’ve prayed a bit and then cried a bit.

Her poor vagina is the only phrase circling my tired brain.

‘We thought he was too young and far too tall!’ That’s what I’ll tell anyone who asks when I’m pushing a litter of huge, purple, stupid puppies around the park in a running buggy, whilst Taggie, complete with those wheel things that enable disabled dogs to go on walks, because lets face it her foof will never recover from something like this.

I’ll also wear black and weep.

So, vets for us today. My little overweight tribe and me.

Wish us luck!

* Fresh air, as in walks outside, the air near Tom Hardy is far from fresh. My house smells like a cross between a pet friendly Yankee candle and the arse end of a campsite.

Is there life on Mars?

David Bowie once asked was there life on Mars? Well, last night I dreamt, they, whoever they are, found a disused lido up there. I think this will tell you something about my current mental state.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to go into the whole dream scenario, because there’s nothing really worse is there, than someone bumping their gums about something that never happened?

Well, there is, having to look through someone’s cruise photographs. That was indeed sad times and the reason I am ever thankful that social media has wiped out the whole developed holiday photo thing. I’m not grateful that this has lead to the demise of jobs in the sector mind, but I am grateful that I don’t have to ‘ooh and ahh’ over cabins with balconies anymore. One click of the finger on a little thumb icon and my duty of ‘good person, who is glad you had a nice hollybob’ is done.

Anyway, back to my mental state. That is a dream scenario in itself but I’ll try and explain where I am, before I hit the gin. Because that’s another issue on my ever growing issue list at the moment. I’m drinking too much. Well, I’m not drinking too much, I’m drinking at inappropriate times. But that’s how it starts isn’t it?

You see, I’m off work, with a four year old, a pigeon chested Staffordshire Bull Terrier and a five stone, lunatic of a puppy that’s hell bent on both making my life a better one  and ruining it simultaneously.

If you don’t know what I mean by that, I urge you to go out, find a big, slobbery, malting animal, preferably a dragon or lion or even a wound up baby cow, let it into your home and then come and tell me how much gin you get through of a morning.

I’m not good at resting but neither am I good at wresting Dogue De Bordeaux’s. I am however, marvellous at recognising that this is possibly the basis of a carry on film script or the very beginning of another nervous breakdown! Hurrah!

I’m being dramatic of course, but things are tough right now. I’m going through some sort of weird, rhetorical, Nicky Graham, ‘Who is she?’ period, I’ve dyed my hair and grown my fringe out, I’ve stopped running, I’ve stopped watching that weird dog behavioural programme (because it just spirals my mood further) and I’ve lost a smidgen of my over confidence.

That’s the thing about being hit by a car, you question your immortality, your fragility, your absolutely everything and my head is a tornado of, what could have happened and why the hell am I even here, how strong is my arse in Strongest Women terms, given it took a car door clean off?

One thing I do know though is, I have to write. I have to trust the universe, eat Maltesers, and write my little hands off and maybe all will be well again? Or maybe I will have a breakdown, and my arse will get limp and maybe one day I’ll stop overthinking…

Anyhow, the point of this blog is to keep my toe in the ink so to speak, keep my brain thinking about things other than, what may happen if I can only ever converse in rhyme, or what if the Dogue decides to run away, or what if dentists get in bed with this warped government and insist we all have to start using electric toothbrushes, or, or, or… the possibilities are endless!

So, I wonder, is there life on Mars?

I just came to say hello.

Firstly, welcome! here we go again. another day, another blog, but this time, I absolutely promise, not one bit of Lycra will be worn during this chapter. Well, apart from some huge pants I may need to contain everything that’s growing now the trainers have been put away for a while.
I learnt of the word ‘gunt’ recently and I’d love to talk about that more in detail one day. Remember that time I said Camel Toe on Radio Wales? My mother does! I’m weirdly obsessed with wrongly shaped anatomy apparently… must be because I’m the proud owner of a lop sided vagina myself… anyway, I digress! So…
Obviously, we all know this no Lycra malarkey is a bit of a lie, aside from Hannah the person, I am Hannah the runner, I say that in a Russell Crowe- gladiatorial manner, and I’m sure when I’ve healed from my little ‘bump’ I’ll be pounding the pavements once more. (This is like a disclaimer type of thing!)
Anyway, back to the welcome. Back to the bump, the bump that gave me the massive shake up I’ve needed for quite some time by the seems. I’ve HAD to take a break from running, from work, from real life in general and this has had a bit of a ‘oh my goodness, something has to give’ effect.
So, those of you that know me, will probably know me because of No Run Intended and if this is the case, you will know that I’m an too honest, unstable, sometimes funny human being that has a penchant for alcohol and likes to write everything down.
You see, up until recently, like 24 hours ago, I assumed running had been the one consistency in my life, apart from gin and my love for Tom Hardy (both the actor and the dog) but I had it all wrong.
Before running there was a writer. OK, not a brilliant writer, but someone who’s words make people laugh and cry (I have the bad reviews to prove this!) and it hit me, much like epiphany’s do, like a full force punch in the face, that’s what I think I’m meant to be doing.
I genuinely think I was put on this Earth to, both, worry the shit out of my mother and entertain.
There I’ve said it, out loud, it’s out there and now the work begins.
I have a plan. A plan that’s all scratchy but with a fair sense of direction. A plan that needs work, because being funny in a book, on a tweet or a Facebook status, is completely different to making the so-called real humans laugh and cry.
So, you heard it here first, the Finding sexy, No Run Intended, Mother of Tom Hardy (not the actor) one woman show begins.
Oprah says, ‘Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life. You become what you believe’ And if anyone knows what they are taking about it’s our Oprah right? oprah