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.