OK. Maybe a little running

52:48 by the Garmin for the London 10,000. 

Which, four weeks post surgery, is pretty good. Throughly enjoyed just running next to N. I had adrenaline and its a fast, flat course. Nearly managed entirely negative splits (mile 3 was a bit slow) and ran both further, and faster, than I have since the last bank holiday. I was aiming for 9 min/miles. I managed something closer to 8:30s. 

Rock on. I am a weeny bit proud of myself. 



The Liebster Award


Lovely Anna has nominated me for a Liebster – she thinks I’m someone to read! So, since both running and knitting have taken something of a back seat this week (I’ve run a whole 11 miles…which doesn’t feel like much at all, and most of it was a struggle. We’re at that time of year where humidity and heat combine to make it hard for this asthmatic. Add in recovery and, yeah. Slowly but surely is the motto), I’m taking the easy way out and Liebstering at you. Because it’s more interesting than contemplating the wear patterns on my shoes…

Or sharing my current James Herriot obsession. I’m in the midst of a re-read, and have bought a copy of his biography. The lovely story books he wrote are just those – stories. Very loosely autobiographical. But so nicely told. I went to The World of James Herriot with Dad when I left uni in York. I got so emotional, I actually started crying when we went  into Skeldale House and the theme music from the TV Series started playing. I am wet.  Fountains Abbey didn’t have quite the same effect, despite being vastly more beautiful.

I’m to answer 11 questions, then pose 11 more questions for some friends…


1. If you could have only one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

Mmm. Food. I’d start with an avocado and egg salad, with lots of greens, and balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing. Main would be spaghetti bolognese, made to Jamie’s recipe, because it’s glorious. And pudding? Phish food ice cream with raspberries.  I think that would suit both my sweet tooth, and be reasonably healthy. And allow me cheese and avocado as I go through.

2. On a similar note, what would be your last meal on Earth?

Starter: one of those all you can eat salads from the Harvester, with bacon bits. My Mum’s pasta carbonara recipe, which involves a lot of butter, bacon, and cheddar cheese. It is very un-Italian. We allow ourselves one dinner a year of this particular dish, as it involves about three days worth of fat, and two days worth of calories. It really is awesomely yummy. And a superbly rich chocolate ice cream sundae. Accompanied by a very good red wine, and then a dessert wine to go with the pudding. No. Dessert champagne. Utterly sweet that stuff, and perfect with pudding.

3. If you could have a superpower what would it be?

To do the Brownies and Guides accounts simply by thinking about doing them.

4. What annoys you the most in life that other people do/don’t do?

Oooooh. Not answering my texts, and emails, and phone calls, to my timetable….and then needing reminding/chasing up.

5. What’s your favourite movie?

Withnail & I. I walked up the aisle to Withnail’s Theme. The organist arranged it especially, based on a recording on the CD which came with the 25th Anniversary Special Edition. We also have the 30th Anniversary Special Edition. And I have a bog standard copy should anyone wish to borrow it.

6. If you had to dress up in fancy dress, who/what would you be?

Oh. Let me show you….


7. What’s your biggest weakness?

Chocolate ice cream. Or gin. I have a lot of gin – people seem to think I drink it more speedily than one a week (tops), and give me gin as a present. I do love me a small batch distillery.

8. Favourite exercise and why?

Trail running. I’m inherently lazy, so I feel like I’m really stretching myself while going slowly, and, because it’s hilly, I can go slowly on occasion, and still push myself. I’m weird.

9. If you could go back in time and tell yourself something when you were at school, what would it be?

Play in the lacrosse match you were offered a spot in. It’s the last one of the year, and you will never get the opportunity to represent your school on a sports team again.

10. If you could only RACE one distance ever again, what distance would it be?

Half Marathon. It’s my favourite (note, I still get to run more than 13.1 miles if I want to. Clever question). I think I’ve done 22 half marathons now. And my next will be High Wycombe.

So. Whom to tag? Well, there’s several people who’ve been very quiet on their blogs…. some for several years, so I’m not sure it’s fair to tag them.  Anyhow, the idea being to get to know more bloggers…

Lovely Mrs Spit.  Knitlet,  Frogspawn21 (whose newer blog I’ve misplaced…so I’m sure she’ll comment), TrexesAndTiaras, HotChocolateJuju.

And The Questions

  1. What is your favourite book?
  2. How long is your commute?
  3. Tea or coffee? Why?
  4. Who is the first person from the internet that you met in real life?
  5. How long have you been blogging?
  6. What is your favourite thing in the world to do?
  7. Where is your favourite travel destination?
  8. What is your favourite Disney film?
  9. If you can knit, what are you most proud of finishing? If you can’t, what would you like to knit?
  10. When was the last time you changed your email password?
  11. Fruit cake or sponge cake? Why?



The first runs back…

It seems like an aeon since surgery – but it was only 12 days. I’m back to work (to my new job!) tomorrow, and still struggling a little bit with energy levels. I just do not want to get up in the morning at all. Nor can I settle at night.

Anyhow. I spent most of last week trying to relax, and doing a fair amount of walking, and this week has been a little more hectic, with several trips into the centre of London to do Various Things and see Various People. Tuesday  night was somewhat trying on this front, as my uterus decided to stage a revolt, and I was collecting a supremely generous cheque from the Freemasons, so couldn’t exactly duck out. I think the photographs of this event will show me looking rather grey round the gills.

By Thursday: my innards felt more-or less normal! I can only describe the past week or so as having been like having done some rather strenuous core work combined with very mild period pains pretty much all of the time. Thursday and Friday? Normal. Normality. Rolling over in bed while asleep. Midriff that felt like it belongs to me again (and my belly button has shifted back to where it should be). Wasn’t quite up for doing the Mummy’s race at my Goddaughter’s sports day, but Auntie Coco stepped up to the mark, and came gloriously last – my goodness, some of those mothers are competitive. They were in full running gear. Auntie Coco? She was in studded ballet pumps. She rocks.

So, based on normality, on a uterus that had decided to behave again, and the fact that I’d not wanted painkillers for anything other than a slight hangover for 48 hours, I decided to try parkrun on Saturday.

Of course, I was running late as I left, so hit an 8:40 min/mile for the mile to parkrun. This was a mistake, as it left my innards feeling out of sorts. I held back for the actual parkrun, considered bailing part way round, decided that bailing really wasn’t necessary, and came in at the 29 minute marker – so about a 9:30 min/mile. Along with everyone else doing parkrun: honestly, the funnel was rammed with people. This is 3.5 minutes slower than usual – and the difference was amazing. 303rd instead of being about 130th. And, the queues for the scanners were pretty epic! The previous times I’ve been to parkrun at Frimley, I’ve just waltzed through without having to queue at all. I walked home. I’d done quite enough, and wasn’t in the mood to push further.

Today, I thought I felt perky, my innards were also feeling pretty chipper, and I decided to try doing 4 miles. I’ve managed 3. I can only describe it as the same feeling I had when jetlagged after our skiing holiday. Slow. Chuggy. 9:45 min/miles. Having to stop at the top of the hill. And, really, it’s hardly surprising. I’ve done lots of walking (I’ve managed at least 10,000 steps every day for the past week), but nothing particularly aerobic. Instruments and CO2 have been poked around my innards – the holes may be small, but they had a thorough rummage in there, and the bruises are yet to fade. It took me a good two weeks to settle back to proper running after 10 days of not really running while we were skiing – so why should I be back up to full form right now, when I’ve not merely had a relaxing holiday? I may be determined, but there are limits. I’m fairly confident that I’ll get round the 10k race at the end of the month (dammit, I want my ill-fitting tech-top and pink-Vitality medal. Or, rather, I want to feel that I’ve not wasted my money on a race entry!). But I know it’s not going to be anywhere near PB territory – it’s going to be “I’m having a nice run and enjoying the atmosphere” territory. What I feel is lazy running- but it genuinely isn’t.

So, the plan is for a pootle out on Tuesday night, for a couple of miles, and the same on Thursday. Parkrun on Saturday, this time trying to run both there and back (because I get a legit break between the two, and that takes me up to five miles), and then see how I feel about Sunday. I’ve eaten a fair quantity of cake in the past week, as going into London always seems to involve cake, so I need to balance my cake with some activity. I also need to keep it reasonable.

Now is not the time to compete with myself. Now is the time to enjoy running for the sake of it.


What I wish I’d known before lapraoscopy, hysteroscopy and adhesiolysis…

The NHS is wonderful – but it’s not very good at explaining (and I’m not good at listening when I’m in a bit of a panic). So here’s all the things I’d wished I’d known before I’d got going on surgery for endometriosis.

  1. You get paper knickers to wear under the surgical gown. And, afterwards, you get some extraordinarily comfy massive mesh knickers to wear, and a massive sanitary towel. They may or may not remember to stick the sanitary towel into the massive mesh knickers. They won’t warn you that it’s probably not stuck in. This will cause Problems when you go to try to do a wee so that they’ll let you go home. It will fall out and land in the pan, and then you’ll have to ask for another….if you’re still dehydrated at that point, and trying not to faint, it gets really complicated.
  2. On the subject of the Sanitary Towel – really should have bought some of my own, instead of having to send N out shopping.
  3. It is perfectly possible to be freezing cold in a hospital. Ask for a blanket. They have spares, and they’d rather you weren’t going blue for any reason.  Ask for help putting it round your shoulders. That was a waste of a cup of tea…
  4. You’ll go up a whole dress size, easily, with swelling. This does not make jeans a sensible post-operative option. Trackie pants. Or wandering round with your flies undone…(I only had the previous days’ morris jeans with me).  The swelling started going down on day one (the sticky bits of the dressings wrinkled), but I’m only now starting to feel like I’m “merely” pre-menstrual-bloat level on day 4.  Hardly surprising – I felt like I’d been steamrollered. And, internally, I had!
  5. You’ll sound like Ena Sharples for the first couple of hours after you come round. Your tongue will be white. Intubation is bloody brilliant for keeping you alive – but drying. At some point in the next 24 hours, you’ll start coughing up some gunk. Persist with this (stitches notwithstanding). You need to Get It Out or you will have a chest infection. Gunk in and of itself isn’t a chest infection (do not panic). But you don’t want it building up.
  6. If you’re asthmatic, give up on the idea of doing your peak flow for a day or so. I hit 360 on my first attempt, and the FEV reading wouldn’t work at all. It really hurt to do that, and I thought I’d ruptured something. Not worth it. Usually, my peak flow is 530. Getting the inhaler in will also be troublesome for a bit. But nothing like as bad as the peak flow.
  7. You will get a catheter during the operation. If you’re lucky, someone will mention it beforehand (in my case, it was the anaesthetist, in passing).  There are Implications. After surgery, everyone is obsessed with you going to the loo, and having a wee. OBSESSED. They fail to point out (and you’re kinda groggy), that your bladder, in addition to having been denied any liquid for some hours and having been emptied three times owing to nervousness before going in, has been completely emptied with the catheter. Which has then been removed. Result? One traumatised and bruised urethra, one bladder that feels like it’s full but isn’t, and one dehydrated body that will take as long to rehydrate as it generally does after a long sweaty run. If I’d realised that, I’d have taken on rather more liquid than two cups of water and a cup of tea before trying to wee. Then I probably wouldn’t have nearly fainted, and needed to be wheeled back to the recovery ward, and would have gone home sooner. My blood pressure dropped to 96/54 as part of that little episode and that was after I wasn’t feeling quite so faint.
  8. Drink. Lots. From the moment you come out and you’re compos mentis. Tea. Squash. Water. If the water’s not the sort of temperature that you like (it was lukewarm. I find that horrible. My Mother in Law hates chilled water and would have loved it), then ask for something colder. You need to get at least a litre in before you try to pee. Really.
  9. Also, it will be like peeing knife blades. For me, this continued at the beginning of every single attempt to pee for the rest of the day until, oddly, I removed my surgical stockings, at which point it all magically calmed down. I drank lots and lots of water and squash. That it was mostly just at the beginning of each pee suggested trauma rather than UTI.
  10. Check where the loos are on the way home. There was a ghastly section of the M25 and the M3 which had no services. I almost exploded. I’d taken the hydration too far. And I had this utterly traumatised bladder…every bump was agony.  Thank heavens for Cute Overload.
  11. If you’re worried that you’re prone to UTIs (and I had a totally ghastly one in 2011, which needed 3 different antibiotics, so I am paranoid), have some Urine Testing Strips on hand. You’re looking for the presence of nitrites and leucocytes. The nitrites are what the leucocytes poo out. The leucocytes are the bacteria: so if you just have leucocytes, this does not mean you have a UTI. Your doctor will look for both. Do not worry about the presence of blood: it’s impossible not to have blood in your pee when you’re on your period/post operative bleeding. This gives you a nice indication as to whether you need to bother the out of hours doctor or not.  If you want to get really professional about it, pee into the loo, then into whatever you’re collecting it in, then finish off the pee in the loo. This is a mid-stream sample, and means you don’t get extra leucocyte readings from the bacteria that live outside the urethra. It’s more accurate.  If in doubt – go to the GP, or the out of hours. They will do the same test, and if you ask nicely, will explain it all to you.
  12. Obviously, you all know how to empty your bladder properly? Do it. Because it will help prevent a UTI.  Rock back and forth when you think you’re done, stand up and sit down – and there will generally be a little more. Repeat until there’s not a little more. Congratulations! Your bladder is now definitely empty!
  13. Your digestion will grind to a halt for about 24 hours (not a lot of food on operation day for starters), and then get all post-antibiotic on you (eek!). Have live yoghurt and acidophilus tablets to hand (I’ve got strawberry flavoured ones from Holland and Barrett). Have Canestan in stock if you’re often affected by antibiotic-induced thrush.
  14. Dressings can come off after 24-48 hours. The leaflet may say to bath and shower normally. My tame ob-gynae, Jo, suggests NOT having a bath for a week, as she reckon’s the bath is very much the easy way to introduce bacteria into your wounds. She is keen on leaving them uncovered. You can trim the stitches if they catch on things. Dissolving stitches apparently take up to 3 months to dissolve. And they itch.  Your GP can advise about removing them, and send you to the practice nurse if need be.
  15. Have sanitary towels in stock at home. If you don’t usually use them, Think about the order to remove the paper that protects the sticky bit. Big piece first, then the wings. Not the other way round. Muppet.
  16. Bleeding may be erratic. And has been much heavier than most of the periods of the last five years. My poor uterus. Sanitary towels need changing about every 3 hours (I use a mooncup normally, with reusuable panty liners, so the STs have been a shock to the system, and I need to remind myself of what any fule kno). Stock up on baggies, and if it’s hot, empty the bin daily.
  17. No-one will be able to agree when you can start exercising. I’ve been told a week (er no, not up to that), a month, 2 weeks, and “after the bleeding has stopped”. I’m getting ansty – so I’m aiming for “when I’ve not wanted to take any painkillers for a couple of days” with “and the bleeding’s mostly stopped”.
  18. (Mum’s idea this). Get some supportive knickers/tights – the type that hold everything in – but in a size or so up. Based on her experience of a caesarian, and the wonderful belt thing she bought from Mothercare – (some sort of girdle, I gather), this helps hold everything in place, and means you don’t panic about pulling anything. You also don’t put yourself in the position where you’ll pull your stitches out.  TK Maxx generally have cheap shapewear.
  19. Your bellybutton may migrate sideways. I’ve had more work done on my right side than my left. It’s a bit more swollen on that side. My bellybutton looks really weird (quite apart from the stiches). It’s also without its ring for the first time since 1998. I’ve not yet been brave enough to find out if the ring will go back in. I’ll give it a week or so.
  20. Bruises will randomly pop up. In all sorts of shades. This vindicates both the swelling and the feeling internally steam-rollered.
  21. Walk lots. Keep moving. It will help the CO2 dissipate. It will help the swelling go down.
  22. Energy levels will be all over the shop. Try not to overdo it. Rest as needed. Equally, don’t underdo it. Eat lots of protein and green stuff to keep energy levels up. Don’t ignore the carbs. Avoid the alcohol. It’s like training for a race.
  23. Emotions will be all over the shop. Poor N. Yesterday was very tough for five minutes in the morning, and the fallout took most of the day to wear off.  Many cuddles were required.
  24. You won’t roll about the bed at night. Sleeping on your back all night gives you backache. Memory foam toppers are the biz. And your partner will be thrilled that you’re not throwing yourself round the bed like you’re trying to run a marathon during the night.
  25. Your partner may be a gifted nurse. But they probably aren’t. So try to articulate rather than hoping they’ll guess from your grey pallor and general floopy demeanour.

Here’s hoping that this will have the desired result. Any which way, it feels like a Good Thing to have sorted out.



So, on Sunday night, I trundled myself down to Deal. This took a great deal of time (ha ha, ho ho, oh, I’m such a wit…). I finally got to the train station at gone 9pm. Found the taxi office, which was warm, dry, and had a shagpile carpet with something alive in it, and got a taxi to the hotel.

The hotel was wonderful. There were two lovely runners from Ealing, Laura and Lyndsey there – and I managed to arrange to share a taxi with them the next morning before crashing into the bedroom, and into the bed. The room was clean, and lovely, the bed comfy, the bathroom with a shower (I didn’t bother – if there’d been a bath, I would have had a bath, knowing that after Tuesday, there wouldn’t be a chance for a bath until the stitches had healed somewhat), the room was warm, but right above the bar, so not very quiet until last orders. Still. It did the trick in every other aspect, and I’d love to stay there longer.

Monday, I was not in the mood for food (too full of pasta and late night cheesecake from the Gluten Free Bakery in Islington – I’d got takeaway. It was insanely good) – a bit of a mistake by the time I’d got to the race, but I disposed of half my porridge, drank coffee, managed to get everything packed into one suitcase and got myself down to the taxi with plenty of time to spare for checkout.

It was grey. Cool. Grim. Damp. But, being a Cakeathon, there was *so*much*cake*. We rocked up, managed to get in the queue just before a whole hen party from Tring Running Club (all in purple with tutus, including the chaps: very jolly), got our numbers and tags to be punched on each lap, and admire the cake. So. Much. Cake.

Then a trip to the loos (it really was a bit of a trek: the choice being the loos in the visitors centre or a bush – these are lovely small races, but they don’t have the budget for portaloos), a quick defrost in the visitors centre, back to the start for the briefing…and off.

I love this sort of race. Friendly. Relaxed. No massive pace. A nice out-and-back (with loop), which meant that for most of the race, you were waving at people going in the opposite direction, and, for the rest of the race, there was some lovely peace and quiet and solitude across the top of the loop. Just what I wanted.  No marshalls, but you’re back at the aid station every lap – and you’d never be more than 2 miles away from it (and everyone is just so friendly that, if there were a problem, you’d get help pretty quickly from another runner).
I rather wished I’d brought N – by my third lap, I’d twigged that not only was there a decent road cycling loop, but also some mountain bike trails marked “challenging”. He’d have loved it. As it was, he made the penultimate trips to the storage locker. We nearly have all our things in our house now. Nearly.

Anyhow, on my way out on my third lap, fuelled with a handful of jelly babies (I can carry 10 at a time, it seems), I bumped into Maria, which was lovely! And I have a photo of her ringing the bell at the end of her race!

Because, at the end, you get your card punched – and ring the bell to signal that you’ve finished, and you’d like your time recorded. My third lap was very leisurely – I walked the hills, took pictures of people who were trying to take selfies in front of sign posts, and enjoyed squashing some slugs…because someone on the radio suggested going slug hunting this weekend. Apparently there’s more than normal because they didn’t hibernate over the winter, and they’re bigger than they would be, because they’ve been getting jiggy with it early in the season.  What with all the socialising, meandering to the aid station, squashing slugs etc, I spent 2:09:01 doing the race (I had up to 6 hours), of which the Garmin reckoned 2:02 was spent moving. I considered a fourth lap, but decided I’d had about enough fun. Also, there was cake.

Finished off, got cake, got my wonderful medal, and goodie bag, had a cuppa tea in the visitors centre, mentally thanked Anna for bringing the race to everyone’s attention, and then worked out how to get to Deal station. Initially I thought I’d walk the three miles, but after 13 miles run the day after a day’s dancing, and with a suitcase, and it was cold and damp and windy, and there was no pavement on the A-whateveritis, I walked to the roundabout, thanked God for a phone signal suddenly appearing, and called a taxi. Fell asleep on the train in my stinky gear, failed to refuel remotely adequately until suppertime, and checked into the Travelodge in Euston ready for the disgustingly early start for Surgery on Tuesday.  N joined me for supper (hurrah!) and to be able to look after me after the General Anaesthetic.

The Travelodge didn’t have a bath either.  Rotten thing. I managed to get ketchup on the sheets after a late night trip to Burger King for chips. Revenge is tomato flavoured.




Where was I?

Oh yes. Cakeathon tomorrow! There are two in May, and I bet everyone else is doing the late May event when I’m purportedly down to do the Vitality London 10K (we are a bit sad that BUPA no longer sponsors it, as it means yet another pink themed medal to go with Bath, Reading, Hackney, North London etc). Purportedly, as I have no idea how Tuesday’s surgery will go. Most friends’ experiences have been good, but one did have a nasty reaction to the anaesthetic and had to stay in. And I am worried about losing fitness while everything heals up. I’m going to ask for super fast healing stitches. If they exist. This is the first time I’ve needed surgery: the worst I’ve done is lacerate my thumb on a baked bean tin. That involved steroid trips and not washing it for a week. Thumbs get surprisingly stinky. 

Anyhow. This weekend, like last, has been Morris heavy. It’s that time of year. St George’s day, then May Day. 

Today involved less dancing than last week. Last week I got up the next morning and my calves were insistent that stairs were not their thing, and as for running? Nah. Forget it. I tried, I bailed early and left N to run on his own, I pootled home slowly, I had 3 days off.  This week has been very thunderstormy: so when I got back it to it yesterday, I promptly had short sharp asthma attack. Rather than stop, I decided to run to heart rate (160-165, chosen at random) I can control my heart rate by controlling my speed, and that takes the edge off. N said he was struggling a bit, so it was hardly surprising my lungs objected. I get so annoyed and frustrated when my legs are going fine and my lungs aren’t (and this happens every year, round about early May, and it is falling when I know I’m perfectly fit!). Running to heart rate is now on the list of things to research. I ought to work out how to do it properly rather than guessing. I should actually run to the correct rate! 

So, now I am sitting in Carluccio’s, having concluded that delaying getting on a train for a two hour journey in order to eat is a Good Idea. I’ve had my usual pre race menu: a chicken liver pate and then pasta luganica with a small glass of red wine.

I know. Wine the night before a race! Shock! Horror! Jane, you are not doing it properly! I have run various PBs on wine the night before. It makes no difference. Gin, however, has a detrimental effect and leaves me very heavy legged. I love the stuff, which is why I have several bottles (mostly gifts) at home. The effect on my running is also why I have several bottles at home..

Otherwise, I’ve been finishing up at work. I was still doing something reasonably technical 10 minutes before my leaving presentation. Five minutes before the presentation I was trying to hide…I did actually ask that everyone stop looking at me. I’m just a DBA. They’ve employed a new one who starts in a fortnight.

Me? I just started the temporary unemployment by arranging all my hand knitted socks on the bed (forgetting about two pairs). 27 pairs in total. I’ve made 7 pairs for N, about a dozen for other people (no. More. Probably 20 or so, now I count up quickly!). I’ve got two pairs made for me: both part of sockapalooza exchanges. And the practical upshot of this photo? Going to knit a pair for a former young leader…