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First half marathon! DONE!

I did it! Yesterday I took part in the BUPA Great Birmingham Run. A whole half marathon. 13.1 miles. It wasn’t easy but it was pretty amazing. It was a personal challenge of course but I also raised some money for Kerrang Radio’s Cash for Kids. You can still donate here if you’d like to top me up!

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Before the run. Nervous but ready.

The streets of Birmingham closed off to make way for over 18000 runners of all abilities. The crowds were so great and hearing strangers calling my name out and cheering me on was quite overwhelming. I had a few ‘moments’ as I was running around because there was just so much support. Small children holding their hands out to be high fived, students banging on saucepans, different bands all along the course of all ages. So many people! It made me very proud of Birmingham.

My first 10K (6miles) was pretty easy, I had metal in my ears to keep me going, in fact I could’ve probably run faster but after all the scare stories about the hill at 10 miles I wanted to conserve the energy in my legs. I told myself that once I got to Cannon Hill Park at 9 miles then I would be nearly done (I was wrong on that one!). As I ran through the park I had a packet of sport’s beans I had finished and even though there was all sorts of race litter like bottles of water everywhere I couldn’t bring myself to drop it so I ran over to a woman cheering me on and asked her to get rid of it for me. I hate litterbugs! Haha. My mother and father in law were in the park waiting for me to go past so it was pretty ace to see them.

Then things got a little more difficult. I was running through residential roads in an area I wasn’t familiar with, it was a little quieter and the impending hill made it bit more ominous. As I got onto the main road I could see an incline, I ran as much as my little legs could take and it was OK for a while although my language may not have been the most ladylike. Rounding another corner at about 10.5 miles it got steeper and although I kept my arms moving as if I was running my pace slowed right down and I started to feel the burn. I had to push myself to keep going and I was relieved to see the 11 mile marker. Even though I had run 11 miles I thought to myself, ‘I can run 2 miles easy’, so I went for it, down into the dip and up onto Broad Street, kept on going, then lo and behold in the distance I could see the finish line! A beautiful finish line.

200m from the finish line and the moment I saw my awesome man and family cheering me on. Amazing feeling.

At the 200m marker I heard familar voices shouting my name and I saw my man, my Mom, stepdad, brother, sister in law, Nan, Aunt, Uncle and cousin all cheering me.  Best thing ever. I ran over the finish line and my eyes started leaking. I couldn’t believe it was over and I had done it, I so was overwhelmed by the whole experience. There was quite a walk to get my medal and goodie bag before I could find everyone to get some hugs and I broke down, it was all too much! I felt so chuffed but so knackered.

Walking back to the car park near Moor Street station was a challenge. When we got home the bath was most welcome. I made the mistake of lying on the bed afterwards and then it was game over for a couple of hours. I woke up tired and still quite emotional. Then I heard the news of the runner that passed away at the finish line and I felt very sad.

So that was yesterday. I woke up this morning after a long sleep and it all seems unreal now. I had so many messages of support on Facebook and Twitter too and there have been some brilliant photos taken to remind me of my day. If you’re reading this thinking ‘I could never do that’ then think again. Look back at my first running post when I could only run for 1 minute at a time. Anything is acheivable. Literally one step at a time.

Thanks for reading and for everyone who has wished me well.

Love & hugs,
Stace x

Follow me on Twitter @StaceInspire


Progress & deciding on a charity

It’s all going well!

I got  a personal best  for 5K at Brueton Park Run a couple of Saturdays ago so that’s one of my August targets done. I’ve actually weirdly enjoyed my longer runs more than the 5K’s though. It’s been a hot couple of weeks and I find myself hoping that it rains when I’m running! On Tuesday I managed to run 7.5 miles, that’s 12K. Each week I need to improve by 1k. Well, I would like to. Apparently you only NEED to be able to run about 10 miles before the day but I want to get as close as I can to the 21K 13.1 distance! Seem like a big ask at the moment but then I just have to remember that a few months ago running for 5 minutes none stop seemed like a big achievement. Just got to do my best and hope all keeps going A OK.

Targets remaining for August:

Personal best 10k

Be able to run 13K by the end of the month

Do-able? I hope so.
In other news after much umming and ahhing I finally decided which charity I’m going to run for. I called a nice lady called Kerrie at Kerrang Radio and I’m going to be raising money for their Cash for Kids charity.

Read this page all about it.

I’ve set up the Just Giving page too so start me off if you’d like : )

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Stace’s Great Brum Run
Stace x

Follow me on Twitter @StaceInspire

Keep on running – Half marathon?!

I haven’t posted about my running in a while. I have kept up my running although in the month after my first 10k race I found my motivation was affected by not having a goal and I just ran the odd 3 or 4 miles here and there.

At the end of July it was my birthday so for my present I asked my Mom to register me for the Bupa Great Birmingham Run half marathon in October!

Bupa Great Birmingham Run

Now I have another goal set I’m back on the case. My plan is to fit in three or four runs a week and each Sunday do a long run and up my distance 1k  further every week until I can get close to the 21k distance required for the half marathon. It seems like a big task at the moment but then it seemed that way to be able to run 5K and then 10k and I did it so I may as well give it a bash.

Last week I wasn’t too well so my mileage went right down but I’m determined to make up for it. I even got up early Monday & Tuesday to run 5k. I’ve also got another sport’s bra so now I can wash one wear one rather than not running because my bra isn’t dry yet, haha. Now I have a Shock Absorber and a rather nice one from M&S which was a bargain.
I’ll try and keep my blog up to date as it’s another thing that will keep me motivated.

So here are my goals:

Personal best 5k & 10K

Increase the distance I can run to 13k by the end of August.

I’ve typed it now so I have to do it.

Fingers crossed!
Stace x

Follow me on Twitter @StaceInspire

Twitter is a form of SOCIAL Media – A Rant

Twitter overtook my love of Facebook  nearly two years ago. After being asked by lots of people for help I even run workshops and one to ones for people to get them cracking with it for their work. There are a couple of things I need to get off my chest though.

Automated tweets

Lately it has been brought to my attention that more (lazy/busy/far too important to interact) people are using automated tweets constantly. If you use Twitter youself you’ll notice the type of account. Endless repetition of the same posts, the same marketing messages over and over again. Yawn.

Now of course there are times when I will post something more than once but I don’t schedule for the same things to be repeated time and time again. I’ve seen accounts where there is hardly any interaction with anyone, just dry boring accounts that show no creativity or personality.

Followers for the sake of followers

There’s plenty of sites you can go on and add your Twitter handle so you get lots of followers (or false followers as I like to call them). Surely it’s better to have people following you because they are like-minded and interested in what you have to offer? I am much more likely to respect  genuinely organic accounts based on their ability to engage, interact and provide great content.  This applies for individuals, organisations, and businesses alike. Some do it really well, others not so much. Also if I tweet or follow someone, I don’t want an automated response. I don’t want a one size fits all direct message. I want a SOCIAL, friendly reply. You can’t do this if you automate all of your tweets at the beginning of a working week and just use it as tickbox marketing exercise.

Credit where credit’s due

If you see a tweet and like it, retweet and share it. Try and credit the account by using the RT facility, it’s a nice thing to do. Try not to steal other people’s ideas because that’s not very nice. If you want to make it more likely that someone will retweet you, try and keep your tweets to approximately 120 rather than the allowable 140 characters (depending on the length of your Twitter handle). You can work it out exactly if you count the characters in your Twitter handle and add 5 characters (RT plus two spaces and the colon that is added when you RT. So mine is 18).

RTspace@StaceInspire:space  = 18 characters

For example for someone to RT my tweets easily I know that I would have to keep to 122 characters.

Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the interesting people (sing to the tune of yellow brick road obv).

Follow accounts that interest you and people will follow you too if you are tweeting things they are interested in and content that is relevant to them. Don’t expect everyone to follow you back and don’t feel the need to follow everyone who follows you. You may not necessarily be interested in their content or vice versa.

TASBO – Twitter Anti-Social Behaviour Order

After the success (snigger) of Anti Social Behaviour Orders or ASBOs as they affectionately known, I would like to introduce TASBOs. Twitter Anti-Social Behaviour Orders. For the bores, for the over-automated accounts, for those that create an account and never interact at all unless they want to sell us something.

Ooh, that reminds me….If your Twitter needs a spring clean use Twitcleaner, it produces a report to tell you who is worth keeping and who it may be worth clicking on that unfollow button for. Nifty.

Stace’s final thought…

Schedule a few tweets if you wish but please, constant automation, repetition, unresponsiveness and anti- social behaviour should not be tolerated. Twitter is SOCIAL media. If you can’t be bothered to be sociable go away and use something else. It’s too good an opportunity to make some great connections both personally and professionally.

Here ends this evening’s Twittery rant…

Peace out tweeple.

Stace x

Follow me on Twitter @StaceInspire

7 Twitter tips to inspire new tweeters

After a lot of requests for help using Twitter I’ve been running workshops which are going down really well. You can see the upcoming dates here.

Here’s a quick free guide I put together for Twitter newbies.


Follow me on Twitter @StaceInspire & @InspireHandM

Metal gigs weekend December 2011

After months of waiting, these two gigs were finally upon us.

Trivium at Wolves Civic – Friday 2nd December

On arrival I looked on with my confused face at Ghost whose lead singer seemed to be dressed as a scary Pope. Never one to judge a band by it’s cover (see also The Defiled) and coming from a huge Slipknot fan it would be silly to do so. They’re music was quite good but I didn’t catch enough to  fully get them. I need to take time to listen to them but due to their name it’s a bit difficult to track them down. Googling Ghost wasn’t very helpful!

In Flames were ace and just what I needed to get going. I’ll be checking out their latest album for sure.

Trivium kicked off with In Waaaaaaaaaaaaves, the title song of their recent album.

They played Departure from Ascendency which was a first I think. Matt Heafy still looks too young to be that good but he still is. Gutted I missed out on Corey’s pick which landed right next to  me but was quickly snapped up by someone younger and more sprightly than me.

Full Trivium setlist

Machine head – Sunday 4th December – Birmingham NIA

A big group of me and my mates got together to go to this.

Where's Wally (Stace)?

Some of my boys. (Bro Ricky 2nd left, my man Ban far right).

After catching half of the mighty Devildriver we retreated to the bar whilst Bring Me The Horizon were on. To be fair their music was good, the screamo vocals were not our thing at all though. I fail to see the point in people who watch the supports just to moan about them. Seems people try too hard to be cool not to be cool. You could see the older metalheads jeering or putting ther fingers in their ears. A bit unnecessary I thought. They obviously have a big following and as I often say I would rather our ‘youth’ get into (versions of) metal like this than be at a some charty shit pop band.

Anyway, onto Machine head. We’ve seen them loads of times, maybe into double figures now and they are always awesome. A good mixture of songs old and new. Stand outs from the new album were of course Locust, I Am Hell and Be Still and Know was good for a singalong. I always get very excited at The blood, the sweat, the tears live.

Full Machine head setlist

You can see some photos from the gig here courtesy of Danny’s Concerts Captured.

The best thing was despite messing my neck up at Trivium moshing all night to Machine head seemed to stretch my neck back into place and I was fine in the morning. Bargain.

So on my to do list include trying to find some Ghost to judge them properly and getting the In Flames album.

Cheers for reading.

Stace x

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The use of Emotional Freedom Technique for Recovery

This week I had the opportunity to introduce EFT to a group of service users at Park House residential treatment centre in Birmingham with great feedback. I was able to quickly help with the thoughts and emotions they were dealing with there and then including Cravings, Frustration, Stress and Agitation.

Here’s more about how it can be used and be especially beneficial for people in recovery.

Various complementary therapies and talk therapies have been used historically within drug treatment. Some work on a physical level to help people feel more relaxed and to aid the detoxification process. Others work at an emotional/psychological level. Emotional Freedom Technique does both.

EFT is an Energy Psychology which combines a talk therapy with tapping on meridian points on the body similar to the points used in acupuncture.

The tapping begins to move energy around the body. When this shifts it helps to free and clear any blockages and therefore the issues.

EFT also works on a psychological level as it is combined with a talk therapy with the use of affirmations and statements helping to tune into specific issues.

I used to use auricular acupuncture which I always felt worked well to get people in a relaxed state and feedback was always positive about better sleep, less anxiety, reduced cravings etc.

After I became a trainer I missed my one to one work and looking back on it felt that more could be done to address the emotions that were leading to drug use. By fluke I discovered Emotional Freedom Technique which helped me personally immensely with a phobia I had.

I soon got myself on the courses to become a practitioner and due to my experience in the substance use field realised how beneficial it could be. I have now been using EFT for two and a half years both on others and on myself. That is one of the other beauties of it. As well as getting to the root of issues with a Practitioner it can be used as a coping strategy day to day whenever negative emotions including Anxiety, Fear, Stress and Sadness arise and more importantly to alleviate cravings.

I set up EFT for Recovery as a Community Interest Company in order to give more people the opportunity to experience and learn the technique and whilst it’s great for everyone I knew that it could be valuable for people with goals around their own recovery.

You can see more info on EFT for Recovery on my website here. It can have really amazing results.



An Audience with Corey Taylor – The Man, The Legend!

It’s been a while but  I felt the need to post about An Audience With Corey Taylor at HMV Institute, Birmingham last night.

For those of you that may not know, Corey Taylor is the lead singer of one of my favourite bands Slipknot and also Stone Sour.

Now non Slipknot and metal lovers will probably think of the cliche  that metal vocals are just a screaming noise into a microphone but Corey Taylor is an amazing and diverse vocalist. This event was a bit different to usual gigs as it was to promote his new book Seven Deadly Sins.

In the first half he read excerpts from his book and really connected with the audience answering their questions with banter and  honesty. Inevitably he spoke about the death of Paul Gray, the Slipknot bassist who passed away last year.

In the second half it was just Corey and his guitar performing an acoustic set which really showed his vocal talents off.

Highlights for me included this cover of Pearl Jam’s Black…

…and an unforgettably funny rendition of the well known Slipknot song SPIT….. IT….OUT!!! This is the real version which I go loopy at when I see them live.

and this is the version Corey sang….

Brilliant. All in all well worth the ticket price and reaffirmed my adoration of the man, the legend Corey Taylor!

We are not worthy!

Stace x

Gig Review – She Screams Murder plus support @ The Old Wharf

Gig Review –  SHE SCREAMS MURDER plus support

The Old Wharf, Digbeth, Birmingham 11th March 2011

Having missed out on them last time due to my usual tardiness, going along to see them at their second headlining gig turned out to be a very good plan.

Supports were Incendia, Come The Light and Sanctified Torture.

Incendia from Stourbridge started the night off well, the singer was pretty damn good and there was plenty of hair flying around.

Come The Light had some good melodies going on and were much better than my initial presumptions.

Death Metal band Sanctified Torture received mixed reviews from my comrades, but that could just because we don’t usually choose death metal bands as a genre. I would have liked to see the band a little more connected. It was a bit like watching a solo vocalist with his backing band, the bassist being the stand out member.

And so to She Screams Murder….

Originally this was to be the launch night for their EP ‘Chronicles of Sanity’ but it has been rescheduled (date tba) so the band can get it just right.

Frontman David Woodhouse really knows how to get everyone going, encouraging the moshing, clapping, sing-alongs and generally getting the crowd involved. The camaraderie and banter between band members was refreshing to see.

Highlights included a new song which has one of those chorus lines that will hunt you down and follow you around all day.

‘Never be alone, never be alone, never be alooooone!’

Some bands don’t have that gift of making their songs stand out and memorable enough and I do like a good sing-along. They also more than managed to pull off covers of My Last Serenade and Rose of Sharon with these, and quite a few of their songs benefiting from the backing vocals of the other band members. In particularly those of bassist Andy Weaver who maybe could get up front with David more as their voice styles do complement one another very nicely.  Which brings me on to Tom Wills, also on backing vocal duty but man, he can play some mean riffs! One of the best guitarists of the local bands I’ve seen recently I reckon.

Promising one more became two more after some coaxing from the crowd. I did get rather excited at the suggestion of a possible Trivium cover but the random finale of ‘Beat It’ was bloody good…and I’m not a Jacko fan…and much better than the *coughs* Fall Out Boy version because it had more balls to it. The band were playing their hearts out and looking like they enjoyed it too. What would be the point otherwise? Go see them.

Stace @StaceInspire

Gig Review -She Screams Murder, Adust, Abandon The Faith, Warlord UK @ The Old Wharf, Digbeth

Check out my gig review for Crave Metal here.

Gig Review


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