Friday, 28 December 2012

Most Muddy Run Ever?!

Well Happy Christmas one and all, it's been a long time, but this time of year is always busy for me, what with daughter's birthday in November and then Christmas, and I've worked a few extra days this year in the run up to Christmas too.

As some people know, I get a bit laxed with my running over the winter season, but try to keep it ticking over at the very least. This year I jumped at the chance to "book" in for a run over Christmas, and tried out the Stokes Scurry on the morning of Christmas eve. This is a free event, running either one lap (2miles) or 2 laps (4miles) around the fields belonging to farmer Tom at Stokes Farm, near Wokingham. Some friends had been before and I liked the look of it, but the dates (it it held once a month on a Sunday at 10am) had never been convenient, so now was my chance to do it along with some other fellow parkrunners, which meant we all had great fun together and I was lucky to be able to get a lift too (big thanks to Pete :-).

For some strange reason I was excited about using my new trail shoes for doing a "proper" cross country/trail run, and the extremely muddy conditions didn't seem to bother me as they normally would. Maybe because it wasn't actually raining despite being wet underfoot? Or perhaps because it was an "Christmas attire" opportunity and I love the chance to dress up a bit?! My friend Jo had kindly leant me a great outfit - can you guess what it is??

Yes, it really was that muddy all the way round!! This was probably the toughest run I have done to date... after about 2km my legs were really struggling. For someone who regularly runs over 5km relatively easily that was a real shock. Of course I am used to road running rather than running on grass, and the mud really seems to sap all the energy from the legs, not to mention feet and legs getting completely numb from being wet and cold! As a result it was a slow run, and I even had to walk a tiny bit.

But, after all that I did really enjoy the experience, and I don't suppose it will very often be quite that muddy again! After the run we all went into one of the barns for mulled wine / tea / coffee and mince pies /biscuits and chocolates, what a lovely way to spend Christmas eve morning - I highly recommend it, and I shall definitely be back at the Scurry in 2013, possibly on slightly firmer ground!

Muddy trainers AND legs!!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Oxford Half-Marathon report, one month on.

I've been meaning to write this blog post for ages, and just not managed to find the time! So it's now over four weeks since I completed my first half-marathon! It has taken me a while to appreciate that I should feel very pleased with myself simply to have completed a half-marathon, regardless of the time or anything else about the race.  On crossing the finish line, however, I felt quite differently about it, I was in fact feeling quite disappointed.

In the few days prior to the race I had felt a little under the weather, like I was maybe coming down with a cold. Of course this didn't affect my race preparation, as I was now resting after all my training runs had been completed. I did however also have a slightly uncomfortable stomach too, but nothing worse than slight discomfort so I was just pleased I hadn't come down with full-on cold virus or similar and had to pull out.

So, on race day itself, we left home in plenty of time and arrived and parked up at Kassam Stadium with lots of time to spare, and just before it started to get busy and people were then queuing in their cars on the road leading up to the stadium. It was a freezing cold morning which I didn't like very much, but it did warm up later on as it was clear and sunny. There were plenty of loos available near our car park which was just as well - my stomach clearly decided it needed to do something about the niggling discomfort and I ended up having to use the the loos 3 times, even before I went for my final wee wee trip right before heading to the start line.

My cousin Anna meanwhile was queuing to get into the car parks still at 9am (race start time 9.30am) so I went to meet her coming in. We headed over to the start area without really being able to see where the start line was, or being able to see Sir Roger Bannister who was to start the race, so we had no idea how far back we started. 

With my cousin Anna before the race

At the start of the race I hadn’t set up my Garmin properly so it was just timing but not measuring distance or pace – panic!! So I spent time fiddling then switching it off and on again to reset it and find satellites before it started tracking me about a third of a mile into the course! As a result it was tricky to work out my expected finish time, though I was still able to use it to check my pace which was the main purpose.  I found myself weaving quite a lot to get past slower runners at the start, so maybe if I had started further towards the front I wouldn’t have had this problem, or maybe I should have just sat behind them so that I paced myself better, as I'm sure I went out too fast which was probably a major contributing factor to my legs dying at around 10 miles :-/

I was aware that my initial pace was fast but I felt really comfortable and completed 7 miles in around an hour.  The few miles of the course along the towpath were particularly scenic, and through the residential areas the support was great. In addition there were about eight bands playing in different places along the route which was an element I liked. My parents, sister and her family, and my Aunt and Uncle were all supporting at various points.

At about 11 miles
In the last 3 miles however I felt really fed up. Suddenly my legs no longer wanted to work so it was as much as I could do to run at very slow pace, and even had to stop and walk for several seconds every now and then simply because my legs wouldn’t continue. This upset me as I’d always maintained that I didn’t want to run a half-marathon until I knew I could run the distance without having to walk at all. I was also rather upset crossing the finish line in 2:14, not realising that my chip time would a whole 5 minutes quicker because I’d started so far back from the starting line.  Needless to say I was much happier once I saw my chip time!  I think my poor pacing at the start and being slightly under the weather contributed to me not coming in under 2:05.  

With my friend Teresa after the race

With fellow Reading / Woodley parkrunners - was great to have support there!

After the race I did in fact come down with a full-on cold virus for over 10 days, so I was obviously not 100% fit when running, and that's just something I couldn't control or do anything about on race day.

So 2:09:18 for my first half-marathon, slightly under the weather, I know now that I did a great job. This time 2 years ago I was nearly 4 stone overweight and morbidly obese, and couldn't run 5k without walking bits of it. How times have changed....

Immediately after the race my first thought was, never again! Having had time to reflect, I'm still thinking that I shan't be rushing into my next half, as it's definitely not my favourite distance (at the moment lol!) It takes a lot of training, and I do love the 10k distance. I have however already signed up for the Great South Run 2013 (10 miles) in Portsmouth in October next year. I am keen to try a 10 miler and the GSR is supposed to be a good (and flat!) one.  I have even managed to rope in several friends who have now signed up too so it should be a fun affair.

In other news, as they say, I ran, for the second year running, the Halloween Nite Run 5k down at TVP. In contrast to last year, the weather and conditions this year were not great, it poured with rain before the event and plenty of rain in the previous days had left the ground soft and muddy. I found myself asking "why am I doing this??!" However, I once again got dressed up in full halloween costume and joined the 500+ other nutters to run in the rain and thoroughly enjoyed myself again! This race is well organised and great fun. Lots of people I know were also running, and the pumpkin soup afterwards was extremely tasty this year.  I clocked 28.24, slower than last year but very pleased given the extreme conditions! I didn't even bother with my Garmin as there was no way it was going to be a pb on this occasion, so I just ran, slipped around, and enjoyed :-)

Pre race - can you guess what I am yet??

Muddy shoes crossing the finish line!


Monday, 8 October 2012

Lone Runner

Essentially I am a Lone Runner. 

I have run a few times with friends, and I have enjoyed it, but on the whole I enjoy the flexibility of doing my own thing, going out when I'm ready to go out, working just myself with my Garmin, enjoying the green excercise and seeing and listening to nature. 

I like the solitary time. As a Lone Runner I can think clearly, puff and pant, and talk to myself without bothering anyone else.

On my last long run of my half marathon training last week I thought a lot. I concentrated on my pace (not too fast, so I would manage the whole 12 miles), and enjoyed what was around me as the weather was not unfavourable.

During my run I saw

A few minutes of rain
2 pairs of Jays
20 or so Magpies
River boats going through the lock
A pair of black swans
Several ducks
Cotton reel hay bales wrapped in black plastic
4 other runners
Dogs and dog-walkers along the tow path
Autumn leaves on the trees
Squelchy muddy patches
*And a heron standing still as a statue in the pond in the nature reserve...

Surrounded by so much. I don't live in the middle of the countryside, I live just 3 miles from Reading town centre.

But even in suburbia, the Lone Runner is rarely alone.... 

*edited 12/10 - nearly forgot Mr Heron!

Friday, 5 October 2012

I'm in "Print!"

I'm a big fan of Women's running magazine, both in print and online and via the Facebook page, and quite fancied writing a race review for the magazine as I think they can be very interesting and useful, especially for newer runners choosing which races to enter. They can also act as good motivational and inspirational reading, reminding you that other runners can be experiencing very similar feelings and issues sometimes during a race. Click here to read the review!

I shall also be writing one after the Oxford Half Marathon so look out for it in the reviews section, though I'll try to remember to post a link up on the blog too.  I'm pleased to report that I managed my 12 mile training run on Wednesday without too much trouble and in 1hour 55minutes, so I really hope that I can come in under 2hours 5minutes on the day and on a lovely flat course. I am still feeling the effects from Wednesday mind you, so goodness knows how long it will take me to get over the actual race itself with the extra mile!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

A good result

On Saturday I completed the Reading O2O 10K race for the second year running.  This is one of my most local 10K races which runs along the river at Thames Valley Park and along the towpath into Reading and back. It was a 9am start on  a fresh but dry morning, after I had had a rather poor night's sleep for some unknown reason.

I kept my fleece on until the last minute!

Last year my time was 54.40, which I knew would be a hard time to beat having been training for longer distances with slower pace, so I was just aiming to get under 55minutes. I felt the race was hard going to begin with  - though I nearly always find that - and towards the end I knew it was touch and go to get under the 55minute mark.

I gave it everything I had in the last hundred metres or so but it wasn't going to happen without me dropping dead or injuring myself, which I definitely didn't want to do before the half marathon in two weeks time.

So 55:20 was my official time, I'm pleased with that, still consistent, and I know I gave it my all. As usual my lovely loyal supporters came to give me a shout out :-)

Tomorrow I'll run my last long run before the half marathon, 11-12 miles. Fingers crossed for not too much rain!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

3 months on!

Well, 3 months on and I don't know where the time went! Over that time I have completed my 6th Reading Race for Life 5k (July), in 28mins 28 (slower than last year but this time it was definitely measured as a full 5k!)
been on holiday to Portugal and had a 2 weeks break from running, put on a few pounds and really struggled to get back into my running stride. Not to mention watching rather a lot of Olympics and Paralympics, including an amazing day watching Paralympics live at the Olympic stadium and Velodrome, inspirational.

Summer holidays can always be tricky getting out to run with children at home, and whilst I managed to go out whilst staying with my parents in Devon, at the end of August I just didn't know why it was feeling like such hard work. As a last resort, with just over 6 weeks to go until my first Half Marathon on 14th October, I looked for a training plan, with no idea whether or not it would work and get me up to hm distance, when I was struggling even to get up to my old 10k distance and pace.

In addition I started a new job at the end of August, so any plan that I found would have to fit in with my non-working days as training days, and my working days being rest day, given that essentially I can only run in the daytime in the week, and at weekends. 

So I found this HM training plan from Women's Running Magazine: 8 weeks to Half Marathon, and I'm amazed at how straightforward it has been. Because I didn't start at 8 weeks I had to jiggle it a bit but it seems to have worked. I won't say it's been easy, as I'm not sure I'll ever find running 8/9/10+ miles "easy!" but the improvements with every run have been obvious. I had never before tried speed training either and can say now that it definitely helps to strengthen the legs, as well as just adding variety to the weekly training.

On Sunday I did my longest run to date, which was 10.5miles, AND in pouring rain all the way! As I've said previously, I've never been keen on running in the rain, but it's always ok once I get out there. This time, however, it was pleasant to begin with but, after about 6 miles, my legs really started to feel cold. But I plodded on and was pleased to run the distance in 1 hour and 40.  I just hope that the weather is somewhat kinder in 2 weeks time!

Last night I took part in a Pilot run of the new Woodley parkrun which was great fun. I clocked about 27.37 which isn't bad for my current 5k pace, and it was great to be part of the new parkrun which is practically on my doorstep. I hope I might be able to drag myself out of bed on a Saturday morning sometime for a quick 5k.

This coming Sunday I shall be running the Reading O20 10k which I ran last year in a time of 54.40.  I think I may be slightly off the mark on that time this year, but it fits in with the training plan and will be good to complete another race prior to the HM. I am still struggling to shift the half stone extra that I'm carrying and I'm sure that can't help the running but hey ho.

Of course once again I haven't managed to fit in as much scrapbooking as I would have liked, but I can't complain as I have been on 2 Scrap Cafe crops, one Saturday and one weekday, which means I have nearly finished scrapping last year's Portugal holiday photos - phew!! Also managed to complete the mini album of Cameron's birthday party which I'm very pleased with.

Next post I hope to be able to blog that I've completed my first half marathon in a time of less than 2hours 10minutes!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Just a quickie

Been busy, busy, busy here what with half-term holidays, tired children etc etc...  but have been managing to get the runs in (in between the ongoing awful weather). At the end of half-term we went to CenterParcs, Longleat, for a family occasion, so I took my running gear with me in order to fit in at least one run through the beautiful and traffic-free terrain. 

The weather was not looking favourable except for on the Saturday, so I took my opportunity to go out for a long run whilst hubby took the children to the pool (hooray for a wonderful husband :-) Not only did I get glorious sunshine, lovely scenery and as much time as I wanted, but I also managed to keep going and complete what is my longest run so far - just over 16km in just over 6min/km pace, so I was very very pleased with myself :-)

I have to admit that my legs did really feel it that evening and a bit the following day, but the run really allayed my fears of not being able to complete 13.1miles as required for my half-marathon. Now I know I really can do it, and hopefully in a decent time too.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

My Garmin's first race, and finally a little scrapping too :-)

So despite all that rain that we though was never going to end, I had the Woodley 10k race to run on 13th May so I just had to get out there and train in the rain. Surprisingly, I quite enjoyed it at times, just not when it was cold as well as wet, and I really felt for my cousin Anna, who braved possibly the worst rainy weather of the year on the last Sunday in April to complete the Stratford-Upon-Avon half-marathon (her first HM) in just 1hour and 44minutes, still managed to say she enjoyed it, and as a result has signed up to join me in the Oxford HM.

During previous runs I had begun to have some problems with the GPS on my Mapmyrun app on my mobile, ie it was not correctly tracking my distance and therefore pace. Having wanted a GPS running watch for a while and been given some money towards one for birthday and Christmas last year, I finally took the plunge and bought a Garmin Forerunner 110, and I love it! So simple, and accurate. The only problem I have is remembering to switch it off at the end of a race!

I love my Garmin :-)

So Race Day arrived and I was pretty well prepared, training had been fine, and I was sure I could manage to improve on last year's time of 57:40. I was still nervous, as I always am at the start of a race.  I started near the front as I like to, and though I tried to hold back it was still a very fast first km, well under 5mins! From there on my pace slowed a bit and settled, but I could tell I would definitely beat last year's time, and I came in nearly 4mins quicker, official time 53:50, my 2nd quickest 10k (beaten only by my Dorney Dash 2011, a notoriously fast, flat race.) Needless to say I was very pleased :-)

My usual little mascot, my son, was at a party whilst I was running, so was unable to be with me for the post-race picture, so here I am without him, after getting back home:

Since then, I have been trying to run 3-4 times a week, with one run being a longer, slower one (10k+), to try to build my distance rather than pace, which is easier said than done for someone like me who usually likes to work towards time targets. Once I did manage to slow my pace though, surprise surprise, I was able to carry on running a lot further, simple as that! I have also been going to parkrun when possible, which I cannot "Big-up" enough.... a free timed race, lots of great people who also love running, but essentially just racing for yourself. I love checking the results and scouring the stats - where I have come amongst the other women in my age category, where I have come out of all the women, and also what my percentage age grading is - yes, I'm possibly becoming a parkrun stats geek!

With this weekend being the Diamond Jubilee weekend, at Reading parkrun we had not only the usual race on Saturday, but also an extra Jubilee run this morning. Lots of people wore red, white and/or blue, and some people brought along cakes for after the race. As usual there was a great atmosphere, so I really enjoyed it, and I am getting ever closer to my  parkrun pb of 26:04.

My final word today regarding running is that I have, at last, got my Race for Life 2012 website set up, so please, if you can, take a look and give a little to the great charity that is Cancer Research.

Finally scrapped!!!!

 As I didn't start scrapbooking until about 6 years ago, and I like to scrap most of my photos, I have a huge backlog of of photos to scrap which can be very daunting.  One scrapping friend suggested I try a different way, and start scrapping photos from some of the more recent events so that I can still remember them easily. So I have taken her advice, and have also started to scrap using smaller albums, which can be more manageable with my limited space and time.  I enjoy a subscription to Scrapbook Magazine, and the paper packs that come as free gifts with the magazine ideal for these smaller projects as they contain most of the components I need, so no need to get lots and lots of stash out on the table every time!

Using the lovely Teresa Collins Birthday/party papers that were a free gift with the magazine Issue 63, I decided to scrap my son's recent 6th birthday celebrations which included a bowling party.  The colours are just right for him and I'm using a Bazzill scalloped 6" album. These pages are the first 2 completed, which just involved a little bit of ink edging and journalling, and the first page shows the birthday card we made for him with a photo of his favourite soft toys on the front! 

Simple, but effective, I like to think :-) 

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Rain, Rain, Go away!

Just a quick hello, now that I'm back from a wonderful, long (10 days!) holiday with family and friends in Devon. Still with the cough lurking as a remnant from the nasty virus I had, I took my running shoes down with me, determined to fit in some training with the Woodley 10k date fast approaching!

I struggled with a run in Exeter, but kept going to reach the 5k mark, with a little walking up the hills. Then, once we were were in Kingsbridge (South Devon), I ran about 4 times over the whole stay, but not entirely satisfactorily. If anyone reading has ever been to Kingsbridge, you will appreciate just how hilly the terrain is. The hills just killed my legs - I am used to running gradual inclines, but these were something else! - and my walking up the hills rather than running of course slowed my overall average pace. But I continued to run every few days to keep my legs ticking over, even though I have now decided that I am really not keen on running in Kingsbridge, not only due to the hills, but also the traffic and lack of continuous pavement, sooo not enjoyable with the exception of Easter Sunday when it was lovely and quiet of course! Still I had managed to run up to 6k several times whilst away, and it had whetted my appetite for getting out running on one of my "usual" local routes once home.

We came home on Sunday, and even in the car I was thinking "we're going to be home early enough for me to go for a run whilst hubby puts the kids to bed!" The weather was ok too, so I got out there, decided on a 6-7k route in order to start increasing my distance, and lo and behold, on a route which is mostly flat but slightly undulating in parts, I managed 6.95k in under 39minutes, a great improvement. It felt tough for the first 2-3k, but then seemed to settle down. 

My plan was then to run yesterday or today, but alas, the rain has come, and is still here, and doesn't seem to want to go!! It's not warm either, so I'm not going out there running! I don't mind a little shower, but constant rain, wind, and cold temperatures, nah, that's not for me! Instead, my Nell McAndrew Cardio, Stretch and Core dvd has had my attention both days, and it does actually feel good to have stretched other parts of my body, that don't get actively stretched in the same way whilst running.Only 3.5weeks now though until my race, so as soon as the rain goes I'll be back out there :-)

As you may be able to tell, the scrapping has taken rather a back seat what with holidays and running. Back to school and work now so no lazy lie-ins except at the weekends, so by evening I am shattered, even though I would really like to get some scrapping done.... sigh. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I shall allocate some of my non-working daytime hours to treat myself to some scrapping time.

I hope some of you are managing to fit in some running / scrapping, I would love to hear if you have anything exciting to report!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Starting to run again - #Take2!

It's been a while. Since I last blogged I have run, and stopped, and am now hoping to run again very soon! A couple of weeks ago, six weeks after my breast surgery, I had a follow up appointment with the surgeon, just another check-up if you like. I had initially been told that 8 weeks is the "normal" time to wait before trying and "impact" activity such as running, so I was delighted when the lovely Mr. D told me everything was good and I could now do "whatever I wanted, as long as it's comfortable!" 

I was soooo pleased. We started having some sunshine that week, and the lovely sunny evenings were making me crave getting out in my trainers for a run in the fresh air - even a run/walk/run if necessary! So the following day (a Friday evening) hubby was home just before it started to get dark, and I went out for my "first" run. I was half expecting to feel a bit of soreness around my chest, but in fact I felt nothing there, ironically it was only my legs that found the whole 5km harder work than previously!! I ran 5km in about 30mins, so much slower than my usual 27/28mins, and I loved it, it was just great to be out in the fresh air and doing some proper cardio excercise.

Two days later, the Sunday morning, I went out for another run, but even as I ran out of the front door, I was already feeling strain in my upper legs. I pushed on, but only managed to push myself to a total of 3km. I was disappointed, but had to remind myself that my legs had done virtually nothing for 6 weeks. Although this signalled to me that I couldn't try another run too soon, I knew that I wouldn't have that option anyway, as last week I was working extra days (hence no time to run whilst the children were at school), and hubby is working long hours so no time available pre-darkness. Call me a big wuss, but I won't run alone in the darkness.

What's more, I then came down with a sore throat, which developed into a really nasty virus, from which I am still recovering, with a nasty cough to show for it. Physically, I probably could have tried running in the last couple of days, but once again I have been unable to as it's school holidays so I've been having fun with the children in the daytime. Tomorrow night we're off to Devon for not only Easter weekend but a whole 10 days, so guess what? Yes, I shall be taking my running gear with me and running the last remnants of this virus out of my system! 

I now have only 5 weeks to get up to 10k fitness, so I REALLY need to get some runs in and get my legs back to fitness. I don't want to run the race half-heartedly, that's just not me.On a more positive note, I LOVE my new boobs, it does feel lighter for running, and there is now a much reduced "bounce factor", so bring on the running!

Monday, 19 March 2012

My Simple Pleasures

THIS IS WHY I LOVE TO RUN! (ps. but I wasn't the first female runner!)
 I am currently trying hard to finish a simple 6"x6" album of photos of my run in the Dorney Dash 10k race 2011, which I really loved, and in which I achieved my 10k PB of 53mins 10secs. 

Today, whilst working on a couple of pages when I had a spare hour, I looked at these pages and it reminded me of why I love to run, and especially in good weather! I love this picture of the fastest female runner, way out ahead. For me it embodies what I love about being out in fresh air, the freedom, the views. The blue and green scenery of nature, and often the peacefulness too which allows thinking time, me time, practically therapy, if you like. It also reminded me that I scrapbook in order to safely and beautifully keep my memories of these wonderful experiences, in which I am so lucky to be able to participate.

The race route is a very flat course - hence also very fast and many PBs resulting - around Dorney Lake near Windsor and Eton. This year the lake will be the venue for the Olympic rowing events which, whilst very exciting, also means that sadly the Dorney Dash cannot take place around the lake this year at the end of July. The organisers are apparently looking for a different venue, but for myself, the route around the lake and the venue itself was probably the main attraction of this event. I would definitely consider running this race again though once it's back to its "rightful" venue at the lake, as it was well organised and highly enjoyable all round.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Happy Mothering Sunday

I've had to wait til tonight, the night before Mother's day to write this post. I wanted to show a card I made, but as it's been sent to my Mum for a Mother's day greeting, I didn't want to spoil the surprise. 

I don't often make cards these days as I generally prefer to spend any spare crafting time scrapbooking instead. I know, however, that my Mum really does appreciate the personal thought that people put into cards so I had no excuse not to make up a card that she would like.

I had also seen the Creative Craft World "Spring" mini challenge and fancied joining in the challenge, and had in mind to use some Nitwit Bumbleberry papers that I had received as freebies with my February (?) edition of Scrapbook Magazine, as they have a lovely spring-like feel to them. I also used some Creative Memories Fabulous purple ribbon on the edges, and Stickles and Glossy Accents on the flower and ribbon embellishments. Ok so it's simple, but often with these things, more is less. 

Happy Mother's day 2012 to all of you Mummies out there, including my Mum :-)

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Marathon task? (well, half maybe...)

Volunteering as Numbers assistant at Reading parkrun 10.3.12

This week began with my first time volunteering at Reading parkrun. Whilst I can't run I felt it a suitable time to do my duty and volunteer. parkrun is wholly run by volunteers, so everyone needs to do their bit when they can. It was a dry morning on Saturday so I enjoyed the fresh air, and also saw a new Reading parkrun course record being set and the 16minute barrier was broken - wow, the guy was fast!

In recent days I have started to feel that  I am now hardly feeling sore at all, and that I will be ready to start running (gently) again in a few weeks as is the suggested recovery time after my surgery. I am so keen to get out running again, especially now we are getting some sunshine and warmer weather, but still feel slightly cautious about how easy I will have to take it when I do get out again. I have been trying to walk lots and faster now, I've also been swimming laps a couple of times, and am back to doing normal physical household chores, but I still wonder: How far will my legs manage? How far can I run without feeling sore where I've had surgery? How fast will I be able to run without getting sore? Only time will tell I guess. 

However, in addition to my entry into Race for Life, about which I blogged last week, I had been umming and ahhhing (sp?!) about entering the Woodley 10k this year. This is my local 10k road race which starts only a 5minute walk from my house, and was my first ever 10k race when I completed it last year in 57mins 40, much to my delight. I have run the route or part of the route many times in training, so it is very familiar territory for me. My indecision was due to the fact that the race takes place on 13th May, just 5.5 weeks after my return to running, and I would not want to run the race but have to walk or not complete it. Since the race entries sell out fast I couldn't enter last minute, so I have taken the plunge and entered - if I don't feel race fit nearer the time I shall try to pass on my place to someone else who wants one.

And last but not least, the title of this post gives a clue as to the longer term target I have set myself - to run Oxford Half Marathon on 14th October. Following my 3 10k successes in 2011, I had been thinking about whether or not I wanted to step up to a longer distance. To me 10k is a great distance, it can be run in under an hour and it's not too tricky to fit in the training. Also did I want to spend 2hours + just running, maybe needing a wee half way round, getting hungry perhaps, maybe even getting cramps? So I hadn't been keen to jump up to the higher distance, and I guess that, knowing I would have an obligatory break from running altogether after the surgery, I had decided I would just see how I feel again once back in the swing of the summer running season. But all that consideration went out of the window the other day when a friend, a fellow parkrunner, told me she had entered the Oxford half (in her home town) and would I like to join her? Like myself, she has been through a weight loss combined with fitness effort in the last year, and come to love running just as I have, so how could I refuse? A mostly flat course, the first time it's been run (with the exception of a pilot run last year), it should be a pretty route, starting and finishing at the Kassam stadium, so I'm hoping for a great welcome back at the end! But first I shall look forward to just getting out and running - and soon!!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Race for Life and say Boobs to Cancer!

This week I got ever so excited when my long awaited envelope from  Race for Life 2012, having registered  back in January. Not only was I awaiting my number (32!) but also, for the first time in my 6 year Race for Life history I was able to order a size 8 t-shirt, so I had gone the whole hog and ordered a girly, pale pink, sparkly vest, plus a bright pink RFL sweatband :-)

New vest over new boobs!

This is the first (clothed) photo I have of my "new" boobs (I have taken a few before and after pics unclothed just for the sheer "wow" factor). It is 4 weeks tomorrow since I had my breast reduction surgery, which means I haven't been able to run, and won't be able to for probably another 4 weeks. I do have to wear a sports bra, but that's as far as it goes lol. I signed up for Race for Life again knowing that by then (July 22nd) I should be able to run 5km again without a problem, and it is such an amazing atmosphere and a great cause to support, Cancer Research. I can't wait to get running again, and it's always good to have a race to aim for.

What's more, this year I feel highly emotionally affected by the experience of a good friend, Carrie, who is currently undergoing an aggressive regime of chemotherapy for breast cancer. Carrie is younger than I am, and with 3 girls age 7 and younger to care for, I can only imagine how difficult a time it is for her and her family at the moment. Fortunately she has some great friends as well has her husband and children to support her.  As well as being a wonderful mother and friend, she is also a wonderful writer, and I would highly recommend her blog at My Bad Boob, but make sure you have the tissues ready!

Since Carrie is the other side of the country from where I live, I decided to surprise her by putting together a little album of the times we have spent together with our children.  I used a Creative Memories Paper Album Kit "So Chic". I've always thought these kits are somewhat underrated - yes, some may say they're a bit of a cheat but as you can see there's still plenty of scope to personalise them. I was so pleased when it took Carrie by surprise and she said she was really touched.

Front cover - I love this picture from the last time we met up in October.
On the right-hand page is a photo of a 12x12 layout that I made as part of a challenge during a scrapping retreat!
Back pages with positive phrases.

Monday, 27 February 2012

This is me.

Ok, so I set this up months ago, and have only just got around to posting, so here I go with my blog! I don't expect to show my life story or any great intellectual information on here, just things I'm proud of and like to share, in particular my two hobbies: Scrapbooking and running. A strange combination it would seem, but I try hard to fit them both into my busy life as a mum of  two and really enjoy both activities. 

Combining both hobbies :-)

I chose the name for my blog as I started both hobbies several years ago, literally starting from scratch, and you could say I've come a long way since! I hope you enjoy seeing what I post .

Jenny x