Training resumes – Great Eastern Half Marathon, week one

GETTING back into training after a wonderful honeymoon and weeks of wedding planning has been very difficult. I started with a few easy runs, which didn’t feel easy at all, then it was time to step things up.

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Training for the Great Eastern half marathon began last Monday. It was awful, utterly dreadful in fact. I did seven miles with Chris on the trans pennine trail. The 8.50 minute mile pace was hard work, and I huffed and puffed, but felt great afterwards.

On Tuesday the plan was a four mile tempo with friends, followed by a one mile faster. I set off gently up the hill on our usual route, but despite going much slower than I usually do, my body felt heavy. Half way up the hill, I wanted to stop and Continue reading

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I do I do I do

I do I do I do

IT’S been absolutely ages since my last blog post but I have a very good excuse. We got married, went on honeymoon and have been enjoying married life!

After eleven years together, Chris and I finally tied the knot on June 24th. We had an amazing day and enjoyed every moment. We wanted a small wedding with a party atmosphere, and that’s exactly what we got.

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We partied for thirteen hours. The dancing started Continue reading

When all you need is a slice of cake

CAKE is my answer to everything. Whether I’ve had a good day or a bad day, eating cake is what I do and what I love. But when I have a wedding dress to squeeze into in twelve days, eating cake is really not a good idea.

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Yesterday I was faced with a dilemma. I passed the diploma part of my master’s degree in writing, so needed to celebrate. Cake was calling. It was calling in a big way because I did surprisingly well. I was so proud of myself that I wanted to run down the road to the local cake shop and buy a great big double chocolate cake.

But I couldn’t.

Cake is off-limits.

I needed to think of another way to celebrate, a way that didn’t involve cake. Various options were suggested. A meal out? Would I be able to go to a restaurant and order salad? No. I wouldn’t.

The cinema? Would I be able to go to the pictures and not have minstrels to start before tucking into a large sweet popcorn? No. Not possible.

All day I tried to think of something that didn’t involve food. I was struggling, but then I had a lightbulb moment. Continue reading

A scone in the sunshine at Nostell Parkrun

A scone in the sunshine at Nostell Parkrun

Last Saturday, my first day of freedom after finishing my degree, we decided to take part in our local parkrun at Nostell Priory, a beautiful 18th century house and parklands.

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I was looking forward to it, but there was one problem. In the afternoon we had to brave Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield to get some essential items for our wedding and honeymoon. I’m not a shopper. I was only going because they were essential items.

There was no way I would have the strength to manage a parkrun and shopping. So I decided that rather than racing the parkrun flat-out like I usually do, and feel exhausted for the rest of the day, I would take it easy and enjoy the run in lovely sunshine. This would mean I had enough energy to survive Meadowhell (yes it really is my idea of hell).

I don’t do parkrun very often. Saturday was my 28th. I ran at a steady tempo pace, which I would describe as comfortably hard. I finished second lady, behind my friend Fiona, in 21:51. It was a lovely morning for a parkrun. Afterwards we headed to the café, sitting outside in the courtyard, where I happily munched a scone smothered in jam and butter. I’ve been watching my weight recently on account of having to fit into a wedding dress so treats have gone from two or three times daily, to being very rare.

We had such a lovely morning. ‘We should do this more often,’ I said to Chris and Fiona. I enjoyed the run and enjoyed the company. And, I have to say, I particularly enjoyed the scone!

 

 

 

Back into training and blogging

Back into training and blogging

NORMAL blogging service can now resume, because yesterday I handed in the final assignment for my English literature degree.

There was an awful moment late yesterday morning when I uploaded the essay, pressed send and then got a note to say it had been rejected.

‘Do NOT do this to me!’ I screamed at the computer. ‘Please.’

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In all my six years of studying for this degree, I have never had a problem uploading assignments. I needed to get the assignment in by midday and the clock was ticking. Frantically, I tried again.

When I got the same message, I almost broke down. I was going to fail my degree because of an IT disaster.

I had to stay calm. Continue reading

British Masters Road Relay Championships 2017

A FEW weeks ago I joined Barnsley AC ladies competing at the National Road Relay Championships in Sutton Park.

We were racing against some very fast athletes of all ages and abilities. I think it’s fair to say we were a veteran team, up against the very best in the country, most of them much younger than us.

I was worried we might come last. In fact, I was very worried about this. But we didn’t. Everyone in the team ran the best they possibly could. We finished a very respectable 31st out of 40-something teams.

Just being part of the race was one of the best moments of my running career so far. In fact, the best. The sun was shining. The ice cream vans were out in force. I even thought I spotted Mo Farah (I didn’t. I was hallucinating with the effort of five miles in blistering sunshine).

It was a great day, which is why I’m looking forward to returning to Sutton Park today, this time, for the Masters Championships, also known as the old folks’ races. Competing against people our own age, I’m confident we won’t come last (fingers crossed anyway). Even if we did, it doesn’t matter because these events are all about the team spirit, doing your best and enjoying the day. I can’t wait!

Racing or Wedding dress fitting?

Racing or Wedding dress fitting?

On Wednesday night I should have been racing. It was the Askern 10k, and after last year’s disastrous run, I wanted revenge. But no matter how much I wanted to run, things conspired against me.

The first mistake was not filling the entry form in on time. There had been several Facebook notices along these lines: ‘It’s the last running of Askern. Get your entry forms in early,’ and ‘Askern sold out last year. Enter now.’

Upon seeing these notices, I made a mental note that I must enter as soon as possible, and then no sooner had the mental-note been made, I forgot all about it. A few weeks later, I mentioned to Chris that we’d have to get organised and get our forms in. ‘People are talking about it selling out and all sorts!’ I said.

I turned on the laptop, went to the Askern entry page, and what did I find. ‘It’s full,’ I said.  ‘Look,’ I pointed at the screen. ‘FULL.’ I couldn’t believe it. ‘I mean, who wants  to run round Askern on a Wednesday night anyway?

‘About 800 people,’ Chris said.

‘I can’t believe it’s so popular. It always rains.’ Last year, I’d had a terrible mascara moment, finishing the race looking like Alice Cooper. This year, I wanted to run because it was the last running of the race. After this year, the Askern 10k will be no more. They are building houses on the site of the finish line or something, which is a real shame. I wanted to be there for that final race.

Not to be defeated, I put myself on a waiting list with the race organisers. I also started asking around. Surely someone, somewhere would want to give me their race number. After a few weeks, I’d had no luck. But then one Tuesday evening at the track, talk turned to Askern.

‘I’ve had a senior moment,’ one of the ladies said. ‘I’ve only gone and entered the race twice by accident.’

‘Twice?’ That meant she had a spare number. ‘I’ll have it,’ I said.

I was sorted. All I had to do was contact the race organisers, transfer the details, and pay my friend for the number. It was all looking good to make my Askern finale.

But then, I had a wedding dress fitting. My dress was too big, on account of recent weight loss. ‘You’ll have to come back for another fitting,’ the wedding dress woman told me.

I nodded. That didn’t sound a problem. Another chance to try on my lovely dress.

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Not my actual dress!

‘We only do fittings on a Wednesday evening,’ she said.

That didn’t sound too good. Wednesday is my busy day. My Wednesday evenings between then and the wedding were looking rather booked up. I looked at my diary. ‘Which Wednesday?’

She looked at her diary. ‘You’ll have to come back on Wednesday 17th.’

The evening of the Askern 10k. ‘No,’ I said. ‘I can’t do that.’

‘You really need to,’ she said. Continue reading