Thursday, 29 April 2010

Happiness is...

... a pair of earphones that stay in your ears for the entire run!

Have been up to London to do a bit of shopping. New trainers, Mizunas - a brand I haven't tried before, earphones with flexible earhooks that I can make small enough to stay on my ears, a pair of the most ugly running socks ever made (they will have to be stunningly amazing for me to wear them regularly) and a pair of Oakley sunglasses. (I also bought some pink FItflops and various other bits and pieces - but this is supposed to be a running blog!)

Lovely day, lunch with a good friend *and* lovely goodies to carry home. I was so keen to try out my new toys that I threw supper at the children and went out for a run. (7.1km in 38mins) to test them out. The trainers didn't give me any niggles, the earphones were fab - stayed put all the way, rather than me having to fiddle with them. I left the sunglasses at home as it was cloudy. Wish I'd taken them with me as there were so many bugs out and about. One flew into my eye and I had to try and fish it out, leaving my contact lens in place, while running up a hill! Don't know how many of the little critters I've eaten today.

Monday, 26 April 2010

London Marathon Day!

No, I wasn't running in the marathon, I didn't even catch any of the coverage on the TV, which is a first for me. It was a busy, busy day though! The two younger boys (5 and 8) had karate gradings that they needed taxiing too and from. The gradings are held in the most boring sports centre ever, no cafe, no play area, just some depressing chairs to sit and wait on. One child was grading at 11am and the other at 1pm, so with three other children to consider it was a logistical nightmare. Somehow it all went smoothly, and they now have a green stripe and a brown belt between them.

On our arrival home we found an old friend waiting for us - she'd popped in for coffee and a chat as she was home visiting her parents. She and Stephen took the children to the park and I went for a run. Weather was lovely, going was good until about mile 4 when the plaster on my blister (one of those expensive blister ones) started to rub as it curled up my instep, so I stopped to take off my shoe, my sock and the plaster, replace sock and shoe and carry on with a slight limp! At mile 5 the heavens opened! I'd taken a day off from my contacts so was wearing glasses, and had no cap on as I hadn't anticipated rain. At times I was practically blind and by the time I got home I looked like a drowned rat. Still, I managed 7.64 miles in 1hr 11mins, including my shoe stop, over an 'undulating' route. Only three people asked me if I had strayed from the Marathon route, but then again I only passed three pedestirans. I was very glad to have a hot shower when I got home. In the same way that you appreciate food much more when you are really hungry, a hot shower is so much better when you have been really cold and wet.

A consequence of running with a slight limp is that I have strained my ankle a bit. It is OK most of the time, but I decided to rest today, apply ice packs as and when I can, and will probably take it easy tomorrow.

In other news, oldest boy managed 3 hours back at school, before being in so much pain he had to come home. We'd seen the consultant this morning who is going to get him ultrasound scanned 'just in case.' But we think it is just going to be a long slow haul to get him well again after his operation. The consultant read his notes to us, impressing on us how seriously ill he had been before his operation, and how we are lucky to have him.

Sunday, 25 April 2010


It has been a while since I posted here. I find myself having to grab a moment here and there to write, never getting enough time to say what I want and invariably I post the blog and thing 'Oh I forgot to mention x,y,z!'

So, I've been to Bath with my husband, who was exhibiting at the Bath Antiquarian Bookfair in the beautiful Assembly Rooms. We went down a day early (and when I say early I mean early - we were there by 9am), and enjoyed a lovely, child free day just mooching around, met a friend I last saw at school (over 20 years ago) for lunch and caught a film in the afternoon (The Ghost - don't bother - not a patch on the book it was based on) and in the evening (Date Night - very funny)!

Stephen was up early on Friday to set up the fair, I went for a run. I've been watching what I eat recently, just 1 carbohydrate meal a day (porridge for breakfast) then protein, vegetables and a little bit of fruit for the rest of the day - it is a way of eating that seems to work for me, but on Thursday I'd missed the carb meal and had a cooked breakfast instead. I had no energy for running at all on Friday morning! I felt like I was dragging lard legs along the floor. I struggled to do 6.5k! The first 5k were in and OK time (about 26mins - nothing spectacular!) but the last 1.5k were little faster than a walk. I can't blame the hills of Bath either, as I ran along the path by the river. Shame really as it was a beautiful morning in a lovely setting.

The bookfair was quiet - damn this recession! Edward Bayntum-Coward (of the famous bindery in Bath) gave Stephen and I a fabulous tour of the bindery. Book binding is a real art as well as a craft, fascinating to see it in action.

On Saturday we met up for lunch with another old friend of ours, we hadn't seen Belles since our youngest's Christening, and we got to meet her lovely baby for the first time. Lunch at The Circus was lovely - I can't recommend that place highly enough. Other foody delights were to be found at The Bertinet Kitchen a glorious bakery where the bread sells out by about 11am. I had a lovely chat with M. Bertinet about bread making and came away with a book, a proving basket, a bag full of bready treats that I am going to suffer for eating (I don't eat wheat) but which will be worth it. Gorgeous bread!

Back home now, in the thick of it all. Eldest child is back from Vermont, jet lagged, in quite a bit of post operative pain from the appendectomy in early March (thankfully he has a consultant's appointment tomorrow), and youngest son has to go to grading for his green stripe karate belt soon - so once again I have to dash off!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Back to school, back to reality

So... back from Paris, but oldest son isn't back from ski-ing! Children are back at school - one has moved schools, so while I still have 2 schools involved on the school run at least the three who can't walk home on their own are all together so I don't have to try to be in two places at once at 3.30pm every day. After 2 days back (middle child has moved back to the school he went to for Nursery) I think we have made the right choice - he is so happy to go to school, loves being with his old friends, is still happy when I pick him up, and eager to do lots of work for Mrs J because 'she doesn't shout at us all the time!' Probably easier not to shout when you only have 10 in a class rather than 30!

Went for two walks on Sunday, over 7k delivering leaflets/flyers for husband's shop and then 5k with the children across the fields. No idea how long the first walk was as mapmyrun can't really take into account walking up to every single front door!

Yesterday I ran 6.5k. I have to say that eating sensibly again makes the running much easier. I don't feel as though I am trying to run through oil. I am going to take it easy and not run today as I am off to Bath on Thursday and have decided to set myself the challenge of running the half marathon route (I'll be the person running with a map in my hands looking lost) so need to conserve my strength! Psychologically I think I need to know I can run that far - even if it takes (and it will) a long time. Then I can train in the knowledge that I can actually do it! I've been leafleting yesterday and today too, so active even if I don't run!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Too much food and too little running!

Got back late last night from a few days staying with friends in Maisons Laffitte, a lovely suburb of Paris. Weather was stunning, company fantastic, wine and food plentiful and good. I managed two 6k runs in the 4 days I was away, partly in La ForĂȘt de Saint-Germain-en-Laye and partly around the streets of Maisons Laffitte. The forest is famous for its prostitutes, but I didn't see any, running on the streets was interesting as the architecture is so different to home. No rows of cloned houses, lots of variety and boulangeries on random corners.

In addition to running, we had a lovely day out in Paris, walking around the sites before a quick visit to the Paris Bookfair (at the Grand Palais - quite a change from the Royal National Hotel in London). Lunch at Au Petit Riche (foie gras, very non PC, but very lovely) with another friend who was in Paris for the day. Friday (our wedding anniversary) saw us at Disney. My husband had never been to Disney before and was only going to humour me, if I say that we both left with annual passes will that tell you how much we enjoyed ourselves? Brilliant fun - think I may have whiplash though.

Meanwhile, oldest son is stuck in Vermont. He was supposed to be home this morning, but thanks to the ash cloud he is not expected home until 'Friday at the earliest.' The resort was supposed to have closed this week, but has stayed open as the children are back there and they are getting another week of ski-ing! Three days of snow are forecast too - so that should be lovely.

We were on Eurostar - so although it was very busy on the train we got home safely. Bit of a shame really, as it would have been nice to be stuck in Paris!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Feel like a cart horse!

Today I feel like a cart horse. My legs feel like lead, and even on today's fairly flat route I really felt I was struggling. Weather was warm and sunny, so it should have been a real pleasure to be out, but I felt as though I was plodding along. I guess I must start doing some speed work.

The rest of today has been spent getting number one son ready for his ski trip tomorrow. How many times does one have to prod a 13 year old to get him to pack everything he needs? Have to be up early tomorrow to get him to the bus.

Friday, 9 April 2010

My planned route didn't work out! If a pathway is known as 'Water Lane' in local mythology there is normally a reason. The path was a river! 4" bank down one side - but I didn't want to risk it so turned around went up Windmill Hill and had a loop around King's Pond instead.

I did a few fast intervals in today's run, and in general felt good about the run, although a bit peeved that I couldn't go where I wanted, and had to go across a dual carriageway and up a steep hill instead! Still slower than I'd like, but running on the roads is not like running in a race is it? I have to stop for traffic, avoid cyclists, jump into the verge to avert a collision with oncoming 4x4s and spend a wee bit of time scratching my head wondering which way leads home!

I ordered some cards with the url for my justgiving page for the Bupa 10,000m - they arrived today and I have to say the cards are lovely. Will be handing them out to all and sundry in the hope of attracting a bit of sponsorship! Also got postcard invitations for my youngest son's birthday party - each postcard has a different photo of him on it, so I've been able to do postcards with pictures of the recipient on them - very cool!

Heavy breathing, Easter Egg hunting and Titans!

What fabulous weather! Was actually quite warm as I went for today's little jaunt around the countryside! Around 19C! Lovely. Ran just over 7 miles, only had to answer the 'phone twice on the way - what the school uniform shop must have thought of me puffing away as I answered questions I don't know (was on a bit of an uphill stretch when they called!) Husband is used to my heavy breathing ;-)

I've been getting a bit hung up on speed, or lack thereof, recently, but figure as I've increased the distances I run by over 100% since the beginning of March then something had to give! I think I'll continue running similar distances with just the occasional longer run thrown in until after my the Bupa 10,000. Tomorrow I am off to investigate a new footpath, that should help me extend one of my current routes without being killed on a busy main road.

Had a lovely Easter Egg hunt at a friend's house this afternoon, and then yawned my way through 'Clash of the Titans' at the cinema this evening - I blame the prosecco consumed at the Easter Egg hunt for that!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Thirteen years ago today...

... I was holding my newborn firstborn child in my arms after 36 hrs of hard labour! He was such a wee scrap of a thing, reluctant to breath after the ordeal he had but us both through but instantly adorable.

Today he is a lovely, loud, confident boy. He is taller than me, has size 9 feet, but still dances with his old mum in the kitchen when no one is watching. One day he will get the hang of the length of his arms and legs and stop knocking things over, soon he will work out the volume control necessary with his new, deep voice. Despite the teenage angst, huffs, grumps and arguments I feel so lucky to be watching him growing up.

Time really does go by too quickly. In four years time he'll be able to apply for a driving license - how is that possible? And his siblings will be getting more and more grown up too. I thought I'd miss the baby days but there is always so much going on in a house with so many children that I just don't have the time to miss them. Oh, and watching all the mummies struggling with their HUGE buggies at RHS Wisley today convinced me that some things are much easier as the children get older.

Parties are easier too: after opening presents this morning he went off into the local biggish town to shop with three friends, returning home at about the same time I got back from Wisley. Candles were blown out and cake was eaten, but that was the extent of it. I suspect he will carry on celebrating on the school ski trip to Vermont next week.

No running today - no time available as birthday boy and his father are off to see 'KickAss' at the cinema. I know, I know - it is a 15 , but he has snuck in before and probably will do again.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Do you ever have days that just don't feel right?

I am down in the dumps because my university has not been able to find me a school where I can finish my PGCE. I have one more 10 week placement, then (assuming I can complete all the assignments etc.) I will be a teacher! The OU have been useless only contacting four schools in 4 months. I have been in touch with loads of schools, but they are all tied in to bricks and mortar universities. I am going to have to start looking for a job soon as I can't afford to continue being a student much longer. I should have been finished by now - they have been looking for a new school for me since the beginning of November!

Anyway, that's by the by, but may explain my not really appreciating the lovely weather today. Shorter run than normal, 4.8 miles and slow! I went on an expedition down a footpath and ended up in a neighbouring village. As we normally drive to that village I had no idea that it was so close. Ran up the hill we normally sledge down in winter. 'Ran' is an overstatement - it was so muddy I ended up slipping and sliding and staggering up the steepest bits. I will use this route again - or use the footpath to return home from having run to the village along the back roads as it will avoid crossing the dual carriageway. I love having GPS on my iPhone, even if I don't know where I am going I can at least see where I have been!

Feet are playing up - think it is time for new trainers as I have blisters on both insteps today :-( Must find the compeed before I run tomorrow and I think I need to go to a different running shop. The place I normally go to is good, but I suspect that the staff there know me as 'the woman who wears Asics' and don't look too closely at my gait anymore. It will be interesting to see whether a fresh pair of eyes makes a difference. That will have to wait until the children are back at school though.

In other news, my oldest child becomes a teenager tomorrow! Where did the years go?

Monday, 5 April 2010

I sometimes wonder!

At the beginning of March, soon after my oldest child got out of hospital I told my husband that I wanted to start running more seriously again. I looked about and found some races I want to do, as I need a goal to keep me motivated when training. The Bupa 10,000m on May 31st was the first one that looked like I could go to and where he could look after the children. I remember the conversation - he said that he couldn't have the children because it was the last Sunday in May, therefore he'd be at a bookfair, I said no, it was Bank Holiday Monday, and he'd be able to bring the children up if he wanted to (the older ones were quite excited about seeing me run in such a nice race), so he agreed that it would work. By this time I had missed out on all the public places and had to go for one of the few charity places remaining (got the last Cancer Research place!) which meant committing to raising £500. This fundraising target is far more stressful than the thought of running the race! I'm not worried about a PB on this race as apparently it is not well organised so has a very slow start.

Today husband comes home from a fair he was exhibiting at (he sells rare books) to tell me he has signed up for a fair on the 31st May - and claims that I hadn't mentioned the race to him at all! He was a bit shamefaced when I recounted the conversation to him, and pointed out that the link to the race was in all my bl%dy emails - but really ARGH!!!! I know getting to London isn't a big deal, but I was counting on having him either looking after the children at home or looking after my car keys etc. while I race! And the start time isn't on the website so I can't even plan if getting a train would work! I am sure things will work out - but it sometime seems that my plans are of no value.

No running today. I know I need a rest day, but it means that I feel ansty - especially as the weather was beautiful today. Today involved making cupcakes for a fundraising event at school and buying school shoes for the children. Thankfully only two pairs were needed this time - so only a small mortgage required!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Easter Sunday!

Today I woke up expecting the children to clamour for chocolate eggs, but none of them seemed bothered. Instead we loaded up the car an piled off to Legoland. I think half the country had the same idea, but we splashed out for Q-Bots and the queues weren't too bad. The older two children went off on their own, keeping in contact via mobile 'phone. We had our share of tantrums, my husband does not understand that a trip to the gift shop (or shops in this case) is an integral part of 'a good day out!' The children and I would forgo lunch for the chance of buying tat to take home whereas lunch is an important part of the day for him!

Anyway, home at about 4pm, out running at 5pm. I love these light evenings. Had intended to take it easy after my long(ish) run yesterday, but ended up running quite a way - took a punt on a footpath to get me home, and ended up getting lost - the signs for footpaths are not terribly informative, they just say 'Footpath!' That's nice to know, but it really would be useful to know where they lead to, and I ended up walking around a deserted farm yard trying to work out where I was supposed to go! Thanks to the recent rain the going was heavy - slipping and sliding in the mud brought back memories of cross country at school, but at least they let us off games when it started to hail. Hail stones hurt - a lot! Most of the run was sunny though.

Back home to children who had belatedly remembered that they were supposed to get chocolate today - so were somewhat hyped up on sugar. Bed time for the younger ones, then Jonathan Creek and House for us grown ups to watch while I carried on knitting socks. Rather a good Sunday! Must remember to cook the beef, that I bought for lunch today, at some point soon!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

I didn't run yesterday due to grotty weather and equally grotty, not to mention snotty, cold, but spied a bit of blue sky through the bedroom window this morning and decided to see if a bit of fresh air would blow away the cobwebs.

Lovely run there seem to be a few more uphill stretches than I remember from last time, but slow time due to the need for a pit stop! This is when wearing a fluorescent neon pink running top could be a disadvantage, I had to go off off off road to ensure that I couldn't be seen! Oh to be able to pee standing up.

The roads were very wet from the recent rain - often flooded across the width of the road and several inches deep. Paddling through these probably slowed me down a bit too, (7.58 miles in 1hr 16mins) and meant I spent too much time looking at the road ahead rather than the stunning scenery - that is one advantage of the hills I suppose.

In today's other news - should I worry that my youngest child just ate an entire boiled egg including the shell? An if anyone spies a deep purple running vest please point me in the right direction!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Sun, sun, sun.

Well, the weather was glorious this morning - strange yellow thing hanging in a bizarrely blue sky - and as we had a busy day planned I decided to go for a run while DH did the school run. Made a big show of getting my old sunglasses out of the car before he drove off with them, put them off the top of my head so I wouldn't lose them, then took them off and put them on the desk while I took my hoodie off and forgot all about them until I got out of the house, down the street and couldn't be bothered to go back and get them! The sun on wet roads was quite blinding. I think I was a match for it in my brand new, bright pink running top though. Have to say that although it was sunny it was blooming freezing! I tried to concentrate on keeping my shoulders relaxed, but that made running really hard - so I decided to do 5 minutes concentrating on it and 10 minutes running as I normally would, it has got to be better than nothing. Ran for 60 minutes, and felt as though I still had a lot to give at the end - so am going to start incorporating a longer run into my training schedule - how long will depend on how lost I get. At least the 'Map my run' app on my iPhone will tell me where I have been when I get home! The rest of the day was taken up with middle child's much belated birthday outing (part 1) - a trip to see 'How to tame your dragon 3D' with two class mates. He needs to plan another trip with two other friends as they are on holiday - so he gets a very extended birthday. I love it now they are getting older (8th birthday) and will do civilised things like the cinema and eat at nice places (Wagamama today). Lovely hubby bought me a cherry stone thermal neck pillow, so that will be popped in the oven to warm up this evening and he has promised to massage my shoulders for me. Anyone would think he feels guilty about going out with his friends tonight! I've decided to run the British 10k in aid of my village school - they are fundraising for two new classrooms to replace temporary portacabins that were installed 20 years ago. Children deserve better learning environments than huts that are freezing in the winter and ovenlike in the summer. So have spent a while fiddling around organinsing a justgiving page for that. I'm also running in the Bupa 10,000m raising money for Cancer Research UK.