20 Questions with...

20 Questions with: Alice Rimes-Bowen, one super-fit Somerset mama!

Alice Rimes-Bowen the messy runner bristol 4
Young mama Alice pictured out hiking with her son in Somerset

Bio: Alice Rimes-Bowen is a 28-year-old vegetarian, wife to one, mother to one, living in Taunton, Somerset.

She has exercised all her teenage and adult life, trying lots of different sports and activities in her time, from indoor and outdoor climbing, horse riding, canoeing, and all kinds of cycling including track, road and mountain, to running, swimming, pilates, CrossFit, gym, orienteering and beyond.

She says: “I think for now I’ve settled on a fun mix of running, cycling, CrossFit and Pilates.

“I run and exercise because it is my mental and physical release and it makes me feel happy and healthy.”

1: How long have you been a runner?

I started running was I was about 14 and ran all through college and my university years. I stopped running for a period when I graduated from uni because I was bought a road bike as a graduation present and that really took over for a while. Fast forward about six years where I did all kinds of exercise in between and I started running again regularly about six weeks after my son was born (16 months ago).

Alice Rimes-Bowen 2 running the messy runner bristol 2
Expert multi-tasker!

 2: Why did you start?

I started running as a teenager for the very simple reason that I was chubby and lazy. Up until this point I avoided exercise at all costs. I rode horses, but even then I was lazy and did minimal effort horse maintenance. In fact I used to ride my pony bareback up the hill to his field because I was too unfit to walk! So I basically woke up one morning, decided enough was enough and went running. I can honestly say that since that moment of clarity I have exercised in some form or another every week of my life since.

3: Do you remember the first time? How does it compare to your running now?

When I first started running I was so embarrassed about how slow I and how laboured my breathing was, because I was unfit, that I would only run at night in the dark. I did the same 20 minute run, the same route on my own in the dark for a long, long time!

4: How often do you run and what sort of distances do you do?

Nowadays I run twice a week, cycle once or twice a week, plus a CrossFit session and a Pilates session every week. I run 10k every Monday on my way home from work because my husband does our baby’s dinner and bath routine that night and then I try to run one day of the weekend too, either 5k parkrun on a Saturday or a run on my own or with family or friends of a distance (never any more than 7-8 miles).

Alice Rimes-Bowen 1
Alice and baby tackle Taunton parkrun

5: How do you prepare to go for a run?

I always have to have eaten a snack about an hour to an hour and a half before going out, I have to have my insoles in and I have to go for a wee!

6: What is your favourite part of the running week?

On Mondays after my running home from work I arrive just as my baby is getting in the bath, so I have been known to jump in and join him for a splash!

7: What do you do when you can’t go running, to keep yourself motivate, i.e. if you don’t have time or if you need to lay off for a bit?

Oh I hate not being able to run or do exercise. It makes me a stressy, stroppy person…however, juggling a baby, working, running a house, being a wife, owning a dog etc. means time isn’t always on my side like it used to be pre-kid so if I really can’t get out of the house to exercise I will move all my furniture in my living room and do a YouTube workout from Fitness Blender or Pop Sugar.

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8: Have there been any challenges or misconceptions you feel you have overcome with your running?

I would say challenge wise it has been readjusting after having a baby. I went from loving my body, enjoying my body and seeing it as a source of strength and something I worked hard to make me look and feel good, to something that grew and birthed a baby, so consequently was very different to the one I’d previously known.

I hated having stretch marks, lose skin, wider hips and no more abs. During pregnancy and immediately after giving birth I genuinely hated my body. It just looked and felt alien to me as someone who thought being a size 8 was the most important thing ever. However, exercise is bringing me back to myself and although my body now looks and feels different I was running six weeks after giving birth and I haven’t looked back since. I’m definitely fitter, faster and stronger than I was and every week I train I get better. So this is the new me and I now view my body with pride for what we have achieved together rather than something to despise. My priorities have changed and my son is now the centre of my world … and my world won’t collapse if I miss one run to stay home and cuddle him.

9: Which running achievement(s) are you most proud of?

I recently did Killerton 10k an off road trail run. It was hilly, wet and muddy but I came 46th out of 192 runners in a time of 1hr 10 mins, despite walking up some of the hills and even down a very steep descent!

10: Can you sum up your running and/or training style in three words/phrases?

For the fun of it!

11: And explain what you mean by them here?

Well I’m never going to be fast or competitive, I run for the fun of it, for the scenery and to feel fitter and stronger. I run with my dog so she gets exercise, or I run with my boy in our running buggy, take him to the park and then run home again. I just try to incorporate it into my daily life as much as possible so its always a pleasure not a chore.

12: Who or what inspires you?

My mum, my twin sister, my late step father. Also my Dad and his partner. Basically my whole exercise-mad family!

13: Do you have any particular niggles or injuries you have to watch out for?

Ugh yes …. runners nemesis of bunions, which can make running in the wrong trainers or for long periods of time horrifically painful, and for days afterwards too. I wear insoles in my shoes to manage them and I guess later in life I will have to have corrective surgery. But that fills me with fear and dread. Pain and taking time off exercise are not good things in my world!

14: What running kit is in your essentials?

Innov8 trainers, my insoles, Garmin watch, a decent sports bra and, in winter, a light-weight head torch.

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15: What would your advice be for someone in your position, to encourage them to try running?

Put your trainers on and go out the front door. Run a bit and walk a bit, but just make that start. And if you exercise in the evening or straight after work always do your meal prep and packing your kit the night before, because if you go home first you’ll make a cup of tea, sit on the sofa and then never leave! If you have your kit in your bag it’s much harder to make excuses…..

16: Do you take any running tech (e.g. watches, tracking apps, heartrate monitors, music) out with you while running, or do you prefer not to? Why is that?

Yes I have a Garmin VivoActive watch, which I’ve only had about two months. It was a birthday present and I use it purely to track calories, know distance and time and to monitor my progress. I have a few core routes that I use to get home from work or as my regular runs and I am already beginning to see that I am getting quicker or able to go further now compared to some of the runs I was recording previously.

Alice Rimes-Bowen the messy runner bristol 6
Alice’s snacks of choice

17: How do you keep yourself fuelled before/ during/ after a run?

I don’t really run far enough at the moment to require fuelling during runs as the furthest I’ve ever run is 8 miles, but I will always have a snack before or after. Peanut butter on Nairns oatcakes are a fave. As is one slice of buttered toast or malt loaf with butter on. My guilty food pleasure is popcorn or very dark chocolate.

18: What’s the best running advice anyone has ever given you?

Rest days are part of the training plan too.

19: Do you prefer running with friends or solo?

Both equally, however more often than not because of timings I generally run alone and if I don’t have a babysitter then I will run with dog and baby in the pram!

20: Finish this sentence: ‘To me, running is…’

…the way I keep my mental and physical health in the best shape it can be.

Find Alice on Instagram @alicelrimes, and follow The Messy Runner on Facebook!

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