In which I vow to get back on track

So. Yes. Hello!

It’s been a weeny bit hectic. I took it into my head to run Basingstoke Half and Greensand Half on consecutive weekends. Both hilly – and I zoomed through Basingstoke half (4 miles downhill bliss at the end, and a lovely loop through a village which had a scarecrow competition. So many people out supporting, and Hatch Warren Running Club is brilliant ‘cos they cheer everyone). Knocked 5 minutes off my previous PB on the Greensand course, and was close to a PB on the hilly half. Both races highly recommended – small, good marshalling, loads of loos at Basingstoke, lovely medals, lovely tech tops, perfect running weather.  I didn’t know what to do with myself pre-race at Basingstoke, as usually I spend my time queuing for the loo several times over.

Since then….I’ve talked about miscarriages on Facebook.  That took quite some emotional energy out of me. It’s taken me over a year to “come clean” as it were. There was only one. It was very, very early, but, oh, the loss of hope, and I’ve not been quite the same since. So many of my friends have gone through something similar, I think we all felt a bit better for it. I’ve been ill-enough-to-go-home-from-work, had a housewarming, had a couple of very busy weeks at work, unravelled knitting and started something new, made a lurid green baby hat and booties (need to sew those up and send them on), been to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally, and tried needle felting on a whim (not going to take that up as a hobby. I cannot aim well enough and those needles are SHARP). I’ve had my flu vaccination, attempted to gain back some of the weight I lost (I overshot my goal from July, and, frankly, it’s easier to run without those 3lbs, but my female system did not appreciate it, so I think they need to come back). Kept up with Brownies. Seen my friends, and seen Funny Girl with Sheridan Smith. That was quite, quite brilliant. We think we want to see Kinky Boots next.

I have also both PB’d at parkrun (sub 25 minutes baby!) and done my 50th parkrun. I even achieved my stretch goal of 1st in my age category a couple of weeks ago: although, to be fair, this is more dependent on whether specific women show up or not, than anything else. I’d have managed it a week earlier if someone who’d only been to one parkrun 18 months prior hadn’t randomly decided to turn up.

Oh, and I learned a new pronoun. Thon.

This post is going up sans-photos. Photos will get thrown in when I get 15 minutes in peace with my phone.

In an effort to instill some discipline round here, I’m going to start up with my Saturday Lists again. Yes. Last year’s miscarriage had the unexpected consequence of my losing all interest in writing lists and trying to keep it all in my head instead. This just is not working, and I will get back into the habit.



N is going to Boston!

3:22:20 got him in with room to spare. 

It’s taken 16 months of slog and disappointment to get here. Three and a half marathons between us (we both did Berlin, then we were both meant to do Manchester, but only I did, as he had flu about a month before and was sooooo ill, then Tallinn marathon was scuppered by his Achilles and I did the half). It has been physically and mentally exhausting for both of us. 

And he’s going to Boston!


Tallinn Half Marathon

I wear short shorts!

Fast, flat, beautifully scenic and smelt like Southend on Sea at times. If you need a qualifying marathon, and fancy a short break with amaaaaaazing and cheap food, this is definitely the race to go for. The marathon course is the half marathon course twice over, and has the benefit of starting at 9 am, so you don’t get too hit by the midday sun. We halfers started at noon: and it was very warm, and there was a lack of shade from miles 3-12.  I still came within sniffing of a PB. 1:50:43 by the chip… Once I made it into the shade I was able to kick up 10 seconds per mile for the last couple of miles. Just imagine if I’d had more shade?! Or if it had been a tad cooler, like the day before and the day after… 21 deg C in the shade is no fun for running. 26 deg C in the sun is definitely a challenge. My heart rate (enhanced by ventolin) was about 180+ for the duration and briefly peaked at 200.

And, please remind me, when I get unsure of my running. Of 3216 finishers (1365 women, 870 in my age group, which was basically under 40) I was 844th over all, 137th female, 90th in my age group. By gun time… It took a minute and a half to get over the line from pen III.

And the food in Tallinn is sublime. And very cheap compared to the UK. We did fine dining and loved it.

I’m lazy: most of my photos are in the Instagram feed on the left.


Eridge Park 10 miles

In short: if you like a hilly trail run with a sense of humour, do this race. If you like cake, do this race. If you do this race: either drive or book a taxi from the station. 

I entered on a whim: my running club randomly posted that they had a couple of people going, I could get there via public transport (OK, that took the better part of two hours, but was still feasible), and it’s just the sort of terrain I like. Hills. Killer hills. Bog. Streams. Forest. Grass. All the sorts of things that are just enjoyable. 

I cannot remember anything useful about the actual route, other than lots of water stations, even more marshals, jelly babies and funny names for the different sections. I particularly liked “Watership Up” and “Bugger me that’s deeply steep”. “Cheeky’s Bog” was a particularly fine, deep, stretch of mud with a pair of legs and shoes sticking out of it. It was a loop, with chip timing (ankle bands, so we all felt like criminals on tag) although it was a gun time race. 

And afterwards there was beer, and cake (so much cake. And even more cake. And did I mention the cake?), and we came in third ladies team. Not too shabby for a Sunday morning. Tough going; I finished in 1:47:12, 12th in my age category 28th female, and 180th overall (field of 282). And golly, was I stiff the next day! Calves of steel, and not in a good way. Given that on a road, I can do a 10 mile race in 1:28:something, you can see how the terrain makes a difference. It also makes it much more fun. 

Definitely one to return to. 

Club Runs…

Oh my. I think I’ve found my new Wednesday thing – which means I’m quitting morris dancing at the end of the season (mid-September. So, about 3 weeks time, essentially). I’ve been struggling between morris and running for some time – but it is getting clear that I’m just not putting the effort into morris, and I really ought to stop.

Two parks, or three parks, with the Serpies. We meet at the club room, pootle half a mile down to the corner of Hyde Park (but not quite Speakers’ Corner), and then beetle round the parks at our own pace. Generally, someone is at more-or-less your pace. Last week, I was on a 9 min/mile. This week, 8:30 min/mile – it being about 10 degrees cooler, and less humid. There’s someone to talk to, or not, depending on how sociable you feel. There’s no chance of getting lost. Two parks is 4.1 miles by the Garmin (I think we missed a bit off, it was supposed to be 4.3 miles), three parks is closer to 7 miles (not been brave enough, or on time enough, yet, for that. Next time perhaps). Back to the club house, drink some water, go to the loo, scuttle to the tube, and then I’m on the 8:39 train home (as opposed to the 9:39 after morris, which gives me half a chance to see N, sort myself out for Thursday, and maybe watch some tellybox).

I intend to get organised, and start volunteering for the Club lunchtime last Friday of the month runs. Marshalling. I can’t get there and back to run in the lunchhour – but if I take a couple of hours volunteering leave either side of lunch (and we’re encouraged to take volunteering leave – we get 7 days each year), then I reckon it’s do-able. And you always need marshals. And it strikes me as being less convoluted than a lot of what I do Guiding-wise. No less useful. Just more peaceful.  It depends on what my boss says, but he is a runner, so I think he’d be OK. And – being out of the office for an extended period on a regular basis is much less disruptive than being out sporadically. Fingers crossed.




Two years!

We’ve been married for two years! And it’s brilliant….


(This is one of my favourite pictures of N).

N has bought himself a turbo trainer: Tallinn marathon definitely isn’t happening for him, as his Achilles is still niggling (but seems happier with cycling than running. And, if getting a bike ride in means he’s a happier bunny, I am Very Much for this. Even if it does mean a bicycle in the dining room. Grumpy husbands are No Fun at all).  His anniversary sweater is still a work in progress – it’ll be done by October. Knitting denim yarn involves getting black fingers. Black fingers come off on everything, but are impossible to clean. He says he can tell where I’ve been when I’m knitting his sweater as there are little fingerprints everywhere.  He’s been wiping them up.

I, meanwhile, managed a nice long run on Sunday (10 miles) and a slower parkrun on Saturday. I got quite upset by parkrun – a lass, about 9 or ten, was running, and struggling, and sobbing her little heart out. She managed to catch up with her Dad (aren’t under-10s supposed to be within arms reach of their responsible adults at all times?) who was really rather yelly and overbearing with her. So I suggested that she run and listen to my breathing (she sounded absolutely asthmatic), as I’m really loud at breathing, and that slowed her just a bit, so she could catch her breath, and she was OK after that – but, really, it felt like her Dad was pushing her for his own benefit of “my daughter can beat xyz” rather than making sure she enjoyed her running. It just wasn’t fair. You do not want to hear a child sobbing for her Daddy to stay with her. You just don’t.

We went to see The BFG on Sunday. We had free cinema tickets from the health insurance. I’ve now ordered bits and pieces to make glowing dream jars and whizzpopping corgis with the Brownies. I am so looking forward to this. I worked out the prototypes on the way homes from the cinema.

Monday we cleaned out the Guide Loft. Six of us. It took six and half hours, but you can now see the floor in there, everything is neatly in boxes and labelled, the tents have been consolidated, and we’ve binned about 10 bags of unused, sticky, broken, stuff. It’s all organised by theme, and we can Find Stuff. Totes amazeballs. I am slightly bruised, and needed a thorough sluicing down afterwards. I also made the mistake of failing to eat lunch, and having an inadequate (although tasty) supper from Marks & Spencer on the train home, accompanied by a gin-inna-tin. Those things are lethal. It took four hours for the thing to wear off. I am such a lightweight.

You can see the floor. This is what it was like:

So pleased that’s sorted. 


Things to remember

  1. Sometimes a cup of tea and a biscuit should be applied before anything else (particularly applicable if you’ve been trying to lose 2kg in the last month and have lost slightly more).
  2. I always fall to bits about a fortnight before a Big Race (length or overseas) when N is supposed to be running but may not be. I am perfectly capable of running whatever distance I train for. At a decent pace. 
  3. Talking to N generally sorts everything out where 1. hasn’t quite cut the mustard and I’ve forgotten 2.
  4. People are kind. Ask for help. 

As you were. I had chocolate yesterday. I may have some today as well.