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. 


In which I have woe

Because it’s three weeks until Tallinn half marathon, because N is probably not running the marathon, which was the whole point of the exercise (his Achilles just is not playing ball).

So of course I don’t want to run it. I don’t see the point. I’m lousy at running. I’m rubbish. I’m slow. I look ridiculous. Why on earth would I want to travel that far to run a race that I never wanted to enter in the first place? Wouldn’t it just be cheaper, and less hassle, to stay at home and watch the Last Night of the Proms instead?

I also have woe because I don’t want to be in the position where the only hope of a baby is IVF. There’s been a massive spate of new babies on facebook this week. Two of my best friends are pregnant (and due within weeks of each other). My body is a failure. I am a rubbish gestational vessel. I am, frankly, old and past it. For running. For babies. For everything.

Next week we’ll have been married two years. Next week we’ll have been failing to conceive for two years. 95% of couples will conceive within 2 years….

Maybe I just need some chocolate?


parkrun PB!

Totally overexcited here, as I’ve knocked a whole 16 seconds off my parkrun PB! I was 40 seconds off last week, and had been partly stymied by getting stuck behind people (there’s a few bits on our route which are pretty much single track only, so you have to take it gently, and just enjoy the run and the canal): I knew I could manage the route quicker because I’d felt strong. However, this week – I put myself near the front, set off like a bat out of hell (is there any other type?) and managed to maintain something appropriate speed-wise  as I went round, and, crucially, didn’t get stuck behind anyone.


It’s still quite an uneven trace. I will one day get the knack of running evenly. Maybe. Perhaps on tomorrow’s long run – there’s three weeks until Tallinn half, with N doing the full marathon, and long runs are definitely a feature. After that – we have one race (Thames Meander, 5th November) booked in, and, frankly, that may be iffy from my perspective. We’re starting down the route of IVF – and all the indications are that it’s a really really bad idea to go running during the phase where it’s all about stimulating the ovaries to produce eggs. So, depending on the wait time (about 8 weeks from them getting the letter), there’s going to be a sudden drop in running and a sudden increase in walking and yoga. Walking and yoga are apparently OK. And, since the aim here is a baby – yeah, I can manage without running for a bit. And then, hopefully, I’ll be running like Mary again…

Two weekends ago, we went to Prague. We had the loveliest time – I really enjoy spending three days with just N, wandering round, seeing things, having a proper mental break from work and adulting, and just being US. 

Because N is hard training for Tallinn (although injured – so not as hard as he was for Berlin), I booked him, and me, into a running tour of the city with Running Prague (basically, I’d Googled Prague parkrun, and this is what came up – there is no parkrun in Prague, but I found something far more helpful). We both wanted to do 10 miles over the weekend – and I just reckoned it would be far, far simpler to have someone guide us rather than trying to figure out a route in a foreign city. This worked out brilliantly – on Friday, N went out with Martin, at a healthy 7:37 min/mile (his marathon pace. I know. So. Fast.) and on Sunday, Martin’s girlfriend Pavla took me out at a rather more reasonable 9:16 min/mile for more-or-less the same route. It was brilliant! She was recovering from a really fast race the day before (she, like Nick, has managed a Boston Qualifying time, but it turned out to be just too slow), so was perfectly happy to be pootling at my pace for 10 miles. I, meanwhile, put a bit more effort in than I might have done so that I didn’t entirely let myself down. We even did a hill. Pavla runs that hill quite frequently – and it’s showing in her form!

On the Saturday – N and I went out together, got hopelessly lost, stopped and started, couldn’t get into rhythm, and found the whole five mile experience somewhat stressful. Prague’s got no right angles to its streets, so it’s really easy to get lost.

Other than that, we bimbled, learned about Kafka, 

went up the tower that looks like the Eiffel Tower, ate an INORDINATE amount of pork – N ordered a pork dinner, and as we left the restaurant we saw two separate couples who’d ordered the same pork dinner between them. He ate pretty much all of his – I shared a little bit. It was very, very good. We lucked out and found an entirely gluten-free Italian restaurant, to which we went twice, and I nearly levitated with the excitement of a whole menu to choose from. We also found a traditional Czech restaurant which had a very well labelled gluten-free menu. It was heavenly. I had dumplings for the first time in I can’t remember how long. Awesome.

We also went to the zoo. And saw a baby elephant and got as close to a tiger as we are ever likely to get. 

We like Prague. We’ll be going back – but the next trip booked is Venice in December. I’ve long wanted to take N to Venice, and I finally got my act together and booked.
Today, N’s at football (#COYS) and I’m going to knit and knit and knit. It’s our second wedding anniversary in a fortnight, I am nowhere near done on his sweater (cotton), and this is an excellent opportunity. There’s not much Guidemin that needs doing, I’m on top of the laundry, and, while I might have a pootle into town for a Sticky Coffee at Starbucks, that’s about the limit of my aims for the day. Well. I might tidy up the sitting room a little more. I’ve been scattering my possessions again.





We are having a barbecue

Seems there’s little point in having a garden and a barbecue without using it. We have 4 burgers and ketchup, and mayo, and salad, and brown sauce, and buns. We did have exotic ideas about corn on the cob, but it had gone totally manky so we gave up on those. 

Yesterday I achieved 9 miles (parkrun oversleeping failure) and it was easier than the last time I’d done that route. Tomorrow I will be rushing to intervals training having worked from home – I thought N was working from home and would be in for the furniture people/Royal Mail/etc but I was apparently way off on that one. Still. Intervals last week was so brilliant, despite my being 14 minutes late, that I’m going again. I want to do Tallinn half some sort of justice in September. Now I’m not going to be heading to Indy, and thus not battling jet lag for a month afterwards, I feel like putting in some effort. 

I’ve finally finished the socks I starred in a state of woe in mid-April. I’d picked up the Metro on the way into work, stumbled across a familiar looking face, read underneath that someone had been arrested for his murder, and had to buy some emergency knitting supplies to get a grip on myself. Plain vanilla socks, repetitive motions to soothe the soul. 

Awful photo. 

I’m also knitting some Jaywalker socks for N

Love this pattern. 

In the interim, I have met with friends, admired the view from the office window, and painted my nails very sparkly. I am working on a cotton sweater for N for our wedding anniversary, but it is black ribbing and impossible to photograph and very boring once I have. 

I also went to Chessington, camping, with the Rangers, and had an excellent time. It helped that it was sunny. I liked the Bubbleworks Ride, then something involving laser guns shooting at spiders. And the pseudo safari. Did not enjoy dragons drop. Had to have some chocolate to recover from that. 

I left the upside down bits to the Rangers. Also, face paints make people smile at you. 

We have done a spot of gardening today, mostly clearing leaves from the ever shedding magnolia, and digging stuff we don’t like, or which is dead, out. We have a private blackberry patch behind the garage, and a massive bramble in the front garden. Massive. We also have a huge slug issue and some out of control roses. The garden hasn’t been looked after for a couple of years and it needs more attention. We’re not very good gardeners, but are gradually feeling less daunted as we make decisions. I think my next decision is a buddelia bush where the dead Rose was. And to jettison the hanging baskets. I have no idea what to put in them. Two are full of dead stuff. Two have some anaemic looking ivy. None gladden the eye. 

Tallinn first. I wasn’t going to bother to do anything bar get round because the previous trip to Indy whacked me out so massively. This week I’ve been putting more effort in, and I want to keep doing that and finish in a respectable time. 


Yes, I exist…

Yes, I will blog over the weekend. As my business trip (of 2 weeks – the second in 2 months) has just been cancelled.

The best thing about this is that I’ll be home for N’s birthday. The worst bit? I put a deposit on his birthday present while I was over last time, with the intention of bringing it back this time, and, um, yes. We have a birthday present in limbo. It wouldn’t fit in the case (I had packed ready to bring it back on this trip…).

With luck, the cancelled trip will happen later this year, and it’ll be a Christmas Present. In the interim, I think it might be new trainers for his birthday.

Proper post, with some knitting pictures, somewhen soon.


Handy Cross Runners Grant and Stone Wycombe Half Marathon

The only, only thing wrong with this race was my epic lack of preparation. 10 weeks post op, I have gained about 2kg, and utterly failed to do any meaningful running since, well, the referendum (and the only thing that I did do was the Vitality London 10K). I’ve been too busy trying to keep units running, getting over jet lag, and losing weekends to guiding. I really am not on form: there have been two “long” runs in the run up to this. 10 miles last Thursday, and 8 miles while in Indianapolis. Neither of which involved hills. Mid week runs have been 2 miles at best and speed work has not happened. I cannot wait for term to end so I can get to running club sessions.

Oh wow. The hills (N tells me a total of 1000 ft climbed. And, looking at the race profile on Strava, I can well believe it). I walked most of them. A muggy July day, and I was most determined to keep moving. This I achieved. N ran with me, and we got round in 2:16:59. The last couple of miles were mostly downhill and flat (we’d run up those hills on the way out), other than something described as Hell Hill. Nothing like as steep as the one at the end of the Leith Hill Half, but it went on rather longer. There was motivational music half way up it. I didn’t feel very Rocky at that point, but it actually helped.

And I loved this race. It’s got a really friendly atmosphere. It’s very hilly: the pressure is off. It was trails in places (could have done with my trail shoes, really), and road. It went through West Wycombe Park: one of the landscape Gardens of the 18th and 19th centuries, purportedly designed around the female form. Not quite Stowe, you know. Bit more base. Moving on from the Italianate terraces that Pope adored, but still full of symbolism.

“What’s that?” Asks N, as we jog through some sheep and past a sort of temple thing.

“I think it’s supposed to be a representation of a clitoris…fairly abstract.” Not exactly what you expect to discuss mid race. I wrote an essay about English Landscape Gardening at uni. Unsurprisingly, given my occasionally gutter mind, that bit stuck.

So. Aside from lack of preparation, it was great. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I got to spend 2 hours with my husband without having anything to worry about. We got nifty medals, and bananas, and a Mars Bar, and masses of water, and nothing really peculiar in the goody bag. The last mile lacked the beauty of the rest of it, but given the difficulties of finding anywhere to host the race (and the football stadium had way more loos than Wycombe Rye, so there was no need to queue, which was a massive improvement on last year), I’m not sure that really matters.

So. Back next year but with more training. Because it was all down to me that I didn’t do better.

I did well enough.


Well, that was a shock

I don’t think anyone seriously believed we’d leave the EU. But there it is. 

I’ve been in Indianapolis with work this past fortnight. I am terrified that come two years, I’ll be being encouraged to relocate (multinational company) But, then again, I can do my particular job anywhere. And the company still will want to sell in the UK as well as Europe. So perhaps panic is overrated. Certainly a 24/7 database needs admins in multiple times ones. 

Sitting alone in my hotel room, watching the results come in, was horrible. Much of family has

 voted to leave and seem unconcerned by stock and currency volatility (and how long will it last?). So many friends have a knee jerk reaction of wanting to leave, to seek other passports. I don’t have that option. Elderly parents and all that goes with them. Mind you, since getting back this afternoon, even my Mum has conceded that it was going to be unpleasant for a while.

There will be photos when I’m home. Because this was an awesome trip, and I’m looking forward to coming back. Indianapolis is great, and I can see why Dad has such fond memories of visits in the 1980s. And I’m not just saying that because I was 5th female home in the Color Run (29:39. It wasn’t a fast race, despite the flatness!). It’s really been awesome. We use that word a lot at work. 

I learned lots. I learned how much more there is to learn. It is like starting out all over again…. It’s exciting and scary. 

The world is exciting and scary. Orlando. Brexit. It was a tough fortnight to be away from N. But it’s ok with the good people round you. 

Here. Have some photos. In no particular order.