Poor little LK. She’s one of the few babies who reacts to her one year vaccinations (and there were four of the things!) by having mild measles. This last week has been a plethora of temperature, rash, grouchiness (so much grouchiness), extra days off work for me and generalised unhappiness. In addition to my compressed hour Thursday, I had to take Tuesday afternoon and all of Friday, as N wasn’t really able to not work – he had Disaster Recovery testing. Never mind that my entire job is essentially Disaster Recovery, he had to go to King’s Cross to sit in a windowless room while they broke stuff, and had a different sort of DR testing owing to DR testing breaking the live system. Which I guess is why you test. I digress.

LK has not been a happy bunny. I have not been a happy bunny. Between a grouchy baby and a sticky cold (this is finally on its way out – my resting heart rate is dropping again), it’s been challenging.

Emo baby was emo. And probably needs a t-shirt with ‘EMO’ written on it for days like this.

But, I keep reminding myself, this is better than the alternatives. 90% of people who are not vaccinated will get measles. 1-3 in 1000 of them will develop measles encephalitis (which, even now, has a 10-15% mortality rate). This is what killed Olivia Dahl, Roald Dahl’s daughter, when she was seven. She’s buried in the churchyard of the church N & I married in, and there’s a statue in her memory in the church. And it was all avoidable: they didn’t vaccinate in the UK back then (one year later, an effective vaccine was introduced), but they did have something in the US which worked. Olivia’s little brother, Theo, was given gamma globulin, which was effective. There wasn’t enough for Olivia and her sister as well. It’s heartbreaking.




Farnham Pilgrim Backwards

I love this half marathon. Utterly love it. Glorious views, a nice mix of surfaces to run on, lots of up, lots of down. Nothing too tricky, but the perennial potential to go flying over a tree root, which helps keep you on your toes (I didn’t fall over. I came very, very close). Cake and a brass band at the end, adequate loos, a changing room, and a rather nifty medal.

Mind you, on Saturday, I wasn’t entirely sure I’d be running it – and on Sunday, I still wasn’t entirely sure it was a good idea. LK has been very caring and sharing her cold germs. Both Grandpa and I were the lucky recipients of a really sticky, snotty cold this week. She’s been reasonably chipper about it. Well, other than two outbursts of inordinate tears, which is so unlike her that, actually, I had no idea what to do. We’ve twigged it eventually – snuggle next to her on the bed, but don’t try and cuddle her as she turns into a bucking bronco. Don’t try distractions, or singing, or a bath – just let her calm down in her own time with someone nearby. Having her vaccinations, finally, this week didn’t really help.

So. Back to the race. Full of trepidation, and leaving LK playing with Daddy (and not saying ‘Goodbye’ as if she realises Mummy Is Going then chaos may well ensue), I drove off to Farnham. Parked with plenty of time to spare, hauled myself up the hill to the start wondering if this was a Good Plan or a Totally Lousy Idea. Got my number, stood in the queue for the loo, changed, dropped off my bag, rejoined the queue for the loo a second time, and made it to the start with plenty of time to spare, and an idea of simply enjoying the race. No music. Just eavesdropping on other runners. I do like a good eavesdrop.

Practical upshot – 22nd in my age category (out of 61), in the top 25% of female finishers, 5 minutes faster than the last time I ran the race in 2017, although the route was backwards this year, 5 minutes slower than in 2016, when I was at peak fitness pre-Berlin Marathon. Didn’t need a loo stop (Hurrah! This is only about the second long run since having LK which hasn’t required a loo stop!). Saw one of my Guides marshalling, which made me feel all toasty lovely.

And a rather nice ice cream at the end of it all before I drove home for cuddles.



I can haz knitting? Oh yes!

I have finally finished my MiL’s socks: started several months ago. A tricksy pattern by Cookie A called Bex, with an awful lot of twisted stitches. This pattern eats yarn – I ended up giving the socks contrast toes.

With the leftovers, I’m making myself some Froot Loop socks. Much simpler. Perfect commuting knitting. The repeat was memorised after the first round, and they’re whizzing along.

I’m also happily faffing with some Sashiko stitching. Much simpler than the various samplers I’ve been doing. Embroidery is a Good Way to fill in those moments at work where I’m waiting 3 minutes for a process to complete, and if I go onto something else, I’m likely to fail to go back to check the process. A surprising amount of running stitch (or any other stitch) is possible in those minutes. I managed two embroidered pictures for LK’s birthday between returning to work in April and her birthday in July. All in snatches of time.

Running wise – it’s been so up and down. So many runs in the middle of the day, when it’s boiling hot, and my strength feels utterly sapped. So much inability to run at a sensible pace, as suggested by my coach. I always set off too fast for intervals. Some nice evening runs (but I need to run them before supper, not after – even if supper is at 4pm and the run is at 8pm…), although the last one got darker and darker and I had to abort my planned route along the canal in favour of the road. I did not feel safe, from the perspective of being able to see where I was going, or from the perspective of meeting someone undesirable (although, frankly, who spends their evenings lurking on a canal to see if some random female runs past? I encountered cyclists, dog walkers and pot-bestrewn fishermen having a barbecue). So the run was half a mile short, and a bit slower than I might have liked, but it did happen and the part that happened during daylight was lovely.

It’s been ages since I’ve been outside after dark. Normally we’re in bed by about 9.30pm. LK likes an early start. Although this week she’s preferred to sleep in until 6.30am.


Well, that was quite the week

LK either had gastroenteritis, or spectacular teething poos, or both: the seventh tooth is now safely through, and the eighth is hot on its heels.

The washing machine broke down. The repairman has been out twice already, hoping not to have to fit a new pump. A new pump is now sitting by the washing machine, ready to be fitted today. Hopefully all will now work, and N will stop leaving coins in his trousers. Damn expensive, those 5 pence pieces. Damn expensive. Of course, a baby with an explosive bottom (twice in the bath! TWICE!) and a non-functional washing machine is such a delightful combination. The washing machine man is due again today. Time unspecified. This has interrupted running and general lifemin no end (I want to go out at lunchtime and take my laptop to see if a spot more memory can be fitted, as it’s just so slow, and maxing out its memory. It’s 9 years old, so it’s had a good innings – but I think it’s got a bit more life left in it yet). Utterly frustrating. I have little enough time as it is, without losing it to other people’s washing machines. The washing machine is currently running on a wing, a prayer, and a sealant-stuck filter. It may or may not hold out until the repairman arrives. I can’t do any laundry until he’s been and gone today – because he doesn’t need to be hanging about waiting for laundry to finish. Nor does he need to be hanging about draining half-done laundry. At least the nappy wash made it through before the thing went hatstand.

We had to drive down to Dorset for a funeral in the middle of the week. LK fell asleep about fifteen minutes before we arrived, then woke up five minutes after it started. Fortunately, there was a loo and a vestibule at the lovely natural burial site, so I could deal with the explosive poo, and then have a quiet space to play with her while the service went on. Hampshire (we’re practically in Surrey) to Dorset and back in a day is utterly exhausting, even with a well-behaved (albeit pooey) baby. She charmed the socks off everyone.  It chucked it down with rain (it chucked it down with rain at the last funeral I went to. Two funerals in the space of two weeks is two too many, frankly).

I have had nipple thrush almost constantly for the past fortnight. I though it had gone. It has not. Grrr. I am fed to the back teeth of dosing myself and LK with various anti-fungals. She seems to be symptom free. But I think she gave it back to me last week. Yes. Still breastfeeding. Wondering why, because of the aforementioned thrush. Never wanting an antibiotic again (although, oddly, my digestion is vastly improved since the antibiotics – I used to lie in bed at night and swear I could feel food moving through, and pockets of gas popping about. These symptoms have gone with the antibiotics. Makes sense. That all started after LK had a horrible vomiting bug in October last year, which she gave to me, and after which my digestion did not feel right. Nick had the same thing, but didn’t seem to have the longer term effects).

I did not manage to go for a run on Thursday (too knackered). So I did intervals on Saturday morning. Not the best preparation for a 12 mile run on Sunday. That was an epic plod after a brief lie-in (it is impossible to have a proper lie in when LK wakes and wants feeding twice in the first hour of the day. It gets a bit interrupted. I got lucky on Sunday, and N took her downstairs to play for half an hour between feeds while I languished in bed). Still. I am hoping that I am going to smash Farnham Pilgrim Half in a couple of weeks (by smash, I mean be slower than I was while I was training for Berlin Marathon, but faster than I was the last time I ran it. I’m hoping for 2:15 on an undulating course).

I’ve been feeling anxious and depressed: but using my CBT techniques so mostly holding it together. It is helpful to be so knackered that it’s impossible to manage the mindfulness techniques. Failing that, there’s always detective novels to read at 4am.

And I fell out with one of my friends on Friday night. I have apologised, but I have a supsicion that my text-message based overreaction (a combination of many things on Friday night, none of which I need to go into, all of which I feel somewhat ashamed about, some related to the aforementioned anxiety) means she’ll never speak to me again. Which is a huge shame, but probably calmer for both of us in the longer term.

This week will be better. For a start, we don’t have to go to a funeral.




I do realise

That my declaration about deciding to buy British yarn does make me sound like a bonkers Brexiteer. Honestly. I’m not. It’s got more to do with reducing my carbon handprint. I have heaps of pretty yarn I want to knit up. I won’t stop buying local souvenir yarn when travelling. I am sure I will slip sporadically. I have one last slip-up planned.

N ran all six major marathons (New York, Chicago, Berlin, Boston, Tokyo, London). He has had socks knitted for every single one: for New York, we’d been going out a scant six weeks at that point and I sent him into Purl Soho to choose some yarn (he chose lurid green as he’d run the marathon to fundraise for Macmillan Cancer Support) for socks, demonstrating his knitworthiness. He gets an extra pair for the extra sparkly medal he got for completing 6 marathons, and he wants a specific colour scheme for that. My slip-up will be the custom dyed yarn. I want to use the same Etsy seller as I used for his Tokyo socks yarn, and she’s based in the USA. So that little package will travel a long way. But she’s fabulous and reliable. See how bonkers those stripes are? And they match the colours on the Tokyo marathon website menu perfectly when seen in real life.


All of a sudden you have a 1 year old

Actually, LK is 13 months old, near as dammit, now. And trying to stand, and wanting to walk, and crawling about like a speed demon. All those things that babies do when they stop being babies and start being toddlers.

In the meantime, we’ve had solar panels fitted (goes with the reusable nappies. Now it’s, well, when we’ve paid it off, more-or-less free to wash the nappies. At any rate, we’re not paying the electric company, we’re making our own!). N turns 50 next week. I’ve managed to run a half marathon – the Midsummer Munro. It took about 3 and a half hours, but, my, it was insanely hilly. I’ll do it again next year. My aims were under 3 hours, and to not be last. I was not last. There was one point where it all felt harder than when the first epidural didn’t work during labour, but that lasted about five minutes, and I got over myself. I really recommend this one as a race.

I am running. Three times a week. I’m somehow beginning to hit speeds I haven’t hit since 2016 – I credit Laura. She’s awesome. She used to coach my Monday night club sessions, and she now coaches me online, one-to-one (work has this amazing benefit that we get money towards health and wellbeing – which is then taxed at source – which means it’s affordable to have a running coach and enter the odd race). My pelvic floor mostly holds out, my core really could benefit with more work than my holding my stomach in sporadically (hey, it’s a start), and I have given up on the idea that I’ll ever fit into my old sports bras again. I’m only feeding LK twice a day now, but even just after she’s drained me out, there is still more boobaliciousness than there used to be. And my underband measurement (or whatever it is) has increased by 2 inches. There doesn’t seem to be any more fat lurking on my ribcage than there used to be….odd what pregnancy does to a body.

I’m also anxious, and worried: the usual. Climate change and Donald Trump and Brexit. Will LK have any sort of a future? What will her world be like in 40 years time? Will she have a family, a job, a home? Will she have enough water and food? Hopefully, a good enough future. Hopefully not on a destroyed planet. Hopefully, we’ll all be getting better at making small changes. Because lots of small changes make for big change. My lying awake at 4am worrying doesn’t help anything. My remembering my water bottle, eating vegetarian food as far as possible (my downfall is porcine goodness), taking public transport, driving a prius, making stock out of vegetable peelings, looking for plastic-free (or very much reusable) alternatives will help. I am lucky enough to have the wherewithal to do this.

I’ve also nearly finished N’s London Marathon socks, and his Mum’s ridiculously twisty cable socks (photos will happen). I’ve decided that I’m going to reduce my carbon footprint yarn-wise – concentrating on buying yarn produced from British Baaaas. Using the patterns I already have. And so forth. As far as possible (look. I’m only human).

(Gin and second sock on a plane. Yes. Am woman of contradictions. Was in Indy for 2 days last week…)



Zero Waste Runner

I think it’s almost impossible to run distances and be zero waste… gels, water bottles, shotblox, trainers, running gear, camelbak: all that plastic. Granted, we can reduce the single use plastic consumption – reusable bottles, bulk buying jellybabies from costco, making our own electolyte drinks (let’s face it, basically sugar, salt and water…we can get fancy and use tablets, but they’re still packaged in plastic), making our own gels in reusable pouches (messy).

So, I was pretty thrilled to get £5 off my entry to Basingstoke Half Marathon for being a “zero waste” runner. No water, no medal (bit sad about that) and no tech top! Because, I carry my own water anyhow, and I have more than enough running tops which actually fit me, without adding in another badly fitting freebie.

I wish more races would do this.