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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Treading water....

Well i'm still stuck at the 8-10mile mark. After managing a 5mile easy run round my favourite route with Michelle and a 10mile gym session made up of bike, treadmill & cross trainer i'm starting to panic. But I know I will be able to do it on the day. Time's getting more and more tricky to organise and my training is becoming distinctly erractic. Although I was impressed with my 10mile session in the gym only a pitiful 5miles was on the treadmill, but in my defence it was absolutely swealtering, and the aircon was switched off :0( I was not impressed. I was so warm it was making me feel sick, I kept wrapping a wet facecloth round the back of my neck and then alternating it between wrists to try keep my temperature down. It was ridiculous, even at the Sunshine run outside in 30plus degree head I wasn't that hot. We know we can do it, we know were fit enough, its just mind over matter at the minute, both me & michelle are terrified of getting injured this close to the race so are avoiding pushing ourselves too hard, but at the same time I'm feeling guilty cos i'm not covering the miles. Its all too much pressure, and my social calendar and workload is absolutely choc-a-block. I barely have time to fit in sleep at the minute, its crazy. Going for a sports massage tonight - going to get them to work out my shoulders I think cos i've got an achey back which bugs me when I run.

The cake-making is going well, another 2 birthdays down and another 2cakes baked and iced within a 12 hour window, deadlines schmeadlines. oooh i've also managed to make an icing kangaroo and koala bear which are dusted in cornflour and wrapped in clingwrap ontop of the fridge to try harden up ready for the Australia leaving do cake on Saturday. I have no idea what that one is going to look yet. May leave the creative design to hubby and his rice crispy cake creating skills!

My friend Peter ran over a frog not long after he passed his test and was he's had frog themed presents ever since......
This is the frog made from roll out icing and with marzipan yellow spots.

The cake was carrot cake with half fat & half sugar - Peter's a bit of a healthy eater and I felt bad giving him a cake with that much sugar on top without cutting some calories from the cake itself. I used by plastic number shaped cake pans, iced with blue royal icing (the stuff you mix with water & food colouring). Then I cut out some lily pads with green roll out icing (I mixed some leftover blue and yellow and white scraps to make a few different shades of green). I had everyone looking everywhere for Jelly from sweets. Lizards, seahorses and crocodiles but no frogs - the only place I found them was inside a jumbo bag of HARIBO kiddies supermix, of course we only got a few in the bag and were left with all the other shapes - which of course had to be eaten!

I managed to recycle a cake board and some candles and en route to the birthday BBQ, Michelle stepped in with curling ribbon and cellophane to replace my carrier bag which was keeping the cake covered! He loved it, although so did my hubby - and keeping him from eating the big frog was quite a challenge.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

10miles & a piano cake

Well last night I got off my backside after using various excuses such as: hubby's not coming with me, the gym isn't open long enough to get a decent training session done, the weather is too bad. I did 5m on the cross trainer, 2 on the bike and 5 on the treadmill. Although the treadmill was on an incline I found it really hard going to motivate myself running whilst staring at a white wall only having my sweaty reflection by my side for company. Have decided i'm def much better running outside with scenery and a companion to keep me motivated. It was so warm in the gym I thought I was going to pass out. I kept wetting a face cloth and wrapping it round the back of my neck or round my wrists. Who in their right mind doesn't put the aircon on in an upstairs gym in summer. Stupid people complaining of the cold obviously aren't putting enough effort into their workout. My legs are fine this morning although my feet are a bit sore, I've discovered as well as my face & hands going all puffy & swollen when I overheat from running so do my feet. I had to stop and loosen my laces twice to stop the circulation from cutting off.

Another busy weekend (of non-training) managed, we got lino for the hutch renewed my cinema pass and managed to make a cake for Leah's birthday. I even roped in the help of hubby, who was very enthusiastic and managed to fashion a mold out of cardboard and greased clingfilm to make our rice crispy cake-style piano. I of course baked the cake and did the icing, but he did a very good job of spreading the buttercream - bless he's quite the perfectionist and wanted to trim the cake to make it perfectly level and square....til I pointed out there would not be much cake left if we did that. The sheet music was even made from sugar paper. Go us!!! Next mission is a 9mile run outdoors round our hometown - hopefully without a man threatening to jump off the co-op roof and forcing hubby & his mates to re-route half way through this time. (Dont ask). And cake-wise its my mam's birthday this weekend - she's getting a chocolate paw print cake, and my friend peter is 30. When I first met him at uni, and he hadn't been driving long he confided in me that he'd run over a frog and became traumatised and felt really guilty about it. So naturally he's had frog themed gifts ever since. Also one visit to one of our other friends at uni involved  us all camping on the floor, Peter not having a sleeping bag brought the spare duvet...which happened to be pink, frilly and very girly (as he was still living with his mum at the time). So he's been affectionately known as pink duvet or PD ever since. Im thinking a 30 cake with the "3" blue and covered in lily pads and frogs, and the "0" made to look like a bed with pillows and a pink glittery cover!, no surely not, its affectionate jest.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

8 miles - and no chainsaw wielding rappers in sight

Well we did it! Me & Hubby decided to do 7-8 miles yesterday as our next step up from the 10k (6.2miles). So along with his running buddy who is trying to get fit before travelling round Australia for 3 months and my running buddy who is also doing the Great North Run we clocked 4miles in the car from the Stadium of Light to the Souter Lighthouse and parked up in the nearest carpark ready to go. We ran from the Whitburn Lodge car park along to the Wearmouth Bridge (well the traffic lights at the bottom of it anyway).

The first part was fine, we even had a bit of a laugh running past the speed detector to see how fast we were going. Me & Michelle managed 6mph whereas the boys put a proper sprint on and got 8mph. Show offs. Me & Michelle stopped after about 10mins to have a good stretch and the boys really got away from us. We trailed them all the way along the coast practically upto Latimers where David dropped back a bit. We closed the gap on Gary leading alond the seafront at Seaburn and heading uphill towards Roker. However being girls we had a call of nature and had to dissapear into the public toilets next to the RNLI and the Roker cafe bungalow. We didn't think we'd have lost that much ground until we rounded the corner on our way past the harbour view and saw a little little black figure in the distance heading up towards St Mary's. We were both astounded how long it takes girls to pee!!! He lapped us just as we were passing St Mary's about 400m from the turn around point (the traffic lights at the bridge). On our return lap we passed hubby at practically the same point. He looked very determined and was jogging along at a steady pace. Although not exactly full of  beans I chirped up that we were half way and I wasn't flagging just yet. To be honest I was quite pleased with myself for not stopping (other than the toilet break). I did have to stop about what must have been the 5 or 6mile mark as I started to get pins & needles & then a numb foot so I loosened the laces on my trainers and the blood flow was restored - ah my lovely toes, welcome back. The return portion along the seafront was gently sloping back down hill so it went by quite quick and we were jogging along chatting and being distracted by how pretty the beach looked. Then we hit the row of restaurants on the seafront and the smells of garlic bread and other goodies were wafting towards us and driving us insane. Right at that point we hit the very long and gently sloping hill back to where we had left the car. As we passed morrisons supermarket  and a park on the way into Whitburn we decided it couldn't possibly be more than another mile. A steeper incline hit around the village centre near all the shops and I recognised a dentists surgery from the first part of the jog down and announced we had 2 more fields of horses and a housed area and we'd be finished. At this point my legs really struggled with the hill and it was like running though treacle. Michelle carried on ahead not daring to slow down her pace. As hubby would later put it, we could smell the familiar smell of horse poo and knew it couldn't be much further. I was really flagging and feeling faint and truly shattered and my knee was starting to ache, although on a positive note my teeny tiny compression shorts were managing to keep my hip from going nuts or giving up on me. The last dregs of my water I dripped down my neck and I was begging for the finish. I still saw michelle running on ahead of me and as I rounded the last corner she'd gone. I knew that meant either she'd sprint finished way past me out of view or the finish was within sight. I spotted a pub but couldn't remember the name of the one we'd parked at and was hoping praying as I caught a glimpse of my luminous yellow t-shirt in the relection of the pub window that this would be the one. I recognised the carpark and in the corner was the car with a waving gary and a pacing michelle.

As I slowed to a walk my knees went numb and I couldnt feel my legs to bend them properly, I felt like I was walking on stilts. We all paced and stretched and stomped around the car park to cool down and as not to seize up completely. I had just cooled down enough to put on my fleecy jacket along with Michelle in her joggy bottoms and towel (no jumper) and Gary wearing hubby's oversized blue superman hoodie, as we saw him trundle into the carpark. We compared satnav jogging gadgets (3 between the 4 of us) we had various distances from 8.2 to 8.8miles and Gary's time came in at 1.27, Michelle at 1.29 me estimated 3 or 4 mins after that then hubby at 1.40something. So all in all very impressive. Hubby said he had to walk a portion of the last 3miles and said he was completely exhausted and had nothing left. As shattered as he was I tried to get him to do some stretching cos I knew if he didn't he'd seize up and suffer for it later. He just kept saying he was running on empty and had nothing left. After a little few stretches and a bit of pacing he got in the car and I drove as my legs were starting to ease a bit. We all chatted about how hard it was but were quite chuffed with our bit selves for doing it. 9 miles next week I think were going to try, and I'm not working this Sat so I must have a little 5k run on the weekend to keep my training up.

Im sore this morning but not bad, took some ibuprofen this morning just to ease the aching and according to the SatNav gadget we burned 1012calories, so after talking about biscuits for most of the run....i've managed to eat 8 out of the 12 bourbons in the packet I tret myself to on my way into work. nom nom nom

Here's a map of the looks really far and impressive on a map!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

5 Weeks! Aaahhh

Its only 5weeks til the Great North Run, and i'm bricking it! I went out last night and managed a rubbish lap of the estate with a bit extra added on, it must have been 3miles if I was lucky, and I was absolutely shattered. I'm going out again on Weds with Hubby and my running buddy Michelle. Hopefully a nice long run along the coast will help. I'm much better if I run with someone, it stops me from giving up and helps with constant pace. It was so hard last night I couldn't believe it I'm so out of shape, I know I was running on grass rather than road which for me is tougher but still. I had a doctors appointment and have discovered i've put on 11lbs in the last 6months. That's horrific (although for 3 of those months March-May I was having physio and barely able to walk). My clothes dont feel any smaller but thats a lot of weight to put on. I'm going to have to hit biscuits and sneaky sweeties on the head, plus no more cheese sandwiches and crisps when i've been on a late shift at work. I know I was going through a phase of eating half a packet of custard creams with each cup of tea on a night. oops. A cup of tea and a banana will have to do instead. I cannot stay at this weight, last time I was this heavy I went and signed myself up to a slimming club. I think my downfall is probably the fact I've stopped having breakfast and then eat biscuits or cereal bars at work. Its not really a good breakfast now is it? I'd be better off getting myself out of bed 10mins earlier and making scrambled egg or something. I will beat the scales and get them to say what I want them to - even if it means moving them round the bathroom til I get the spot which reads lighter.

Good news though, I managed to get all the cakes done in time for the birthdays. One delivered in a taxi in giant tupperware boxes to the restaurant. They brought it out lit with football shaped candles just before our dessert course. We had a fab meal apart from hubby ordering beef tartar for starter not realising "tartar" is not to be confused with "tartare sauce" but is actually raw.....but marinaded beef. Needless to say he was the brunt of all the cow/cannibal jokes all night.

And the other cake was taken over to my sister's (after the 3rd attempt) on Sunday. I went over and she wasn't home, so I went to the parentals, then picked up hubby from his mates house - hoping she'd be home after that....and wasn't. So third time lucky I went over and caught her at home - with the crazy dog, who was very good and didn't even try to eat the cake, the puppy training classes must be paying off. Although he's still a nuts dog!

Friday, 6 August 2010

Someone chuck a stopper in the sands of time!!!!

Cake Dilemma!
I'm rapidly running out of hours in the day. Anyone know of any way to make time go slower or find an extra hour in the day. I need to channel Hiro from TV series Heroes (which was brilliant season 1...then seemed to completely  lose the plot - so much so that I lost all interest after becoming addicted enough to actually learn how to use the sky plus function). If only I could stop time and zoom around getting things done while people and time stood still. Although things like ovens wouldn't continue to work would they - so that wouldn't solve my "where to find time to bake a cake" problem. Hmmm. It also doesn't help that i've ordered some cake toppers (sugar paper decorations) specifically for a birthday cake which is to be produced and eaten on Saturday night, and they've still not arrived.
Stupid e-bay, I emailed asking and double checking the delivery times and mentioned that I needed them for a specific cake for a specific date as birthday cakes the day after a party dont quite have the same effect. The delivery time was confirmed as 2-3 working days first class. Well its now day 4 and they're not showing as being email apologies....nada!! There had better be a sugar-paper filled envelope land on the mat this morning or someone will be getting negative feedback and demand for a refund. Grrr I'd planned the whole cake design around these, even bought £4 worth of other cake decorations. I've got some plain sugar paper but have never coloured it before.....and have no idea where sells food colouring pens, I know where I can get food colouring paste but i've never used it. I wonder if it will go on with a paintbrush? Hmmm might have to stay up til 2am devising that as a backup plan. I also am being eluded by chocolate foil wrapped footballs. They were all over the place a few weeks ago (world cup) and are a staple of pick n mix and mix ups in corner shops. I'm sure I've got them from the local supermarkets before......but now I need one. Yes ONE just the one all the supermarkets seem to be denying their existence. I've found somewhere on line that sells them but you have to buy half a kilo of the things plus postage and after the internet experience of trying to get the sugar paper design shapes i'm not going there again. Plus they'll def not get here in time now. How annoying I dont even have a plan B design....I suppose I could go with another alternative but it involves completely different sweeties, icing the lot. I'd also have to be creative and model some shapes out of fondant icing which I really dont fancy doing last minute or in the early hours of the morning when i'm sleep deprived. Pants! The best laid plans and all that.

Organising my life
On a positive note I have been very pro-active and booked my extremely overdue eye test - they've put me on stop and refused to send out any contact lenses til i've had the appointment. Which in hindsight is a stupid idea on their part because......I have to be wearing my contact lenses during the eyetest, and if they stop sending me them, that's going to prove a little tricky. I explained that I worked and had no more holidays to take so couldn't come in during the day and work part time on a Saturday so would have to either go first or last appointment so that I could jig around my Saturday shift so suit. Its 4 weeks for the next Saturday appointment they have i'll definately not have any contact lenses by then. Plus its the Saturday morning after an all-day wedding. Not good - my eyes are going to be red, tired and blurry from all the late night drinking and dancing!!! Thank you for your extreme lack of customer service Specsavers. Their excuse when I called was...we've been trying to get in touch with you to make an appointment since July (bearing in mind its only August now and they still wouldn't have had an appointment for 4 weeks had I called in July). And by trying to get in touch.....they sent me one letter to make an appointment then one the next week saying i'm "on stop" for my contact lenses. The logo should have "blacklisted for common sense"

I also changed my dentist appointment to a week when there wasn't just me in the office holding the fort, and an early one so If it over-runs and I am late back for work, I can just work through my lunch break. I never want to each lunch after having my teeth poked and prodded anyway. Plus if I need anything doing i'll be numb and sore anyway. Its really awkward trying to book something 6months in advance, Im already rapidly chocking up my diary with things I have to do up to November. The next part of the challenge is to try get there and back on public transport when I live 20mins drive away from the dentist, and home is a further 20mins by car in the opposite direction to where I work. Hmmm 40mins journey there & back on public transport, if hubby isn't on a late start or someone can be sweethearted into being my chauffeur for the morning i'm going to have to take a half day. Seriously a 40minute car journey on public transport is realistically going to take me about an hour and a half providing I catch all the connections and dont have to wait. I dont mind public transport....its cheaper than a taxi and doesn't take THAT long - once you're travelling. Its just the connections that really leave me struggling for time, because there's never a direct route and the individual buses only seem to run every half hour so if you miss one its a nightmare!

I have even booked a checkup at the docs tonight. I'm thinking since its a bizzare time on a Monday night, and I usually go running on a Monday night, I might jog down there and jog back. Two birds, one stone...and that way I cant get the usual raised eyebrows when I step on the scales or comments of "ooh you dont look THAT heavy, but you're still within BMI so its fine". Watch both eyebrows go crazy Elton John style when I tell them i'm training for a half marathon! I like to believe I have heavy bones rather than it being the blubber that moves the needle above what doctors consider is the "right" weight for me.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

4.5 Not bad but its not 13.1 now is it?

Well I went out last night straight from work and tried a different route with my running buddy. More scenic along the coast to coast route past some lovely fields and partly cross country. I thought around mile 3 I was getting a stitch but its a pain in my upper hip, lower abdomen. And its not on my "bad hip" side. I'm thinking its an over-compensating thing because i've got the one damaged hip.....or I shouldn't have given up on my physio exercises so soon. So i've wrapped the resistance band back round the coffee table ready for tomoroow morning when again I will do my exercises whilst watching the morning news. I've also started brushing my teeth on one leg again to stabilise my core muscles, and I did more of those hideous bridge pelvic exercises that we did in pilates to try strengthen the hip and leg muscles. I also did one 90degree squat against a wall and held as long as I could whilst gripping a yoga brick between my knees so that should give the muscles a wake up call.

I think the teeny tiny but very stretchy compression shorts may have to be used from now on, its either that or have my hips bound with shed loads of giant elasterplast tape again. I think it must be my hip/core muscles because I noticed last night if I held my tummy in while running and straightened up a bit the ache eased. Although once i'd sorted that out my right foot (the one with the bad hip) started to go numb. Now i've had numb toes before but after my £100 investment in fancy pants mizuno proper running shoes a size bigger than i'd usually go for.....that seemed to have stopped. I wonder if my laces were just to tight or my gammy hip had mis-aligned some nerve from tottering around in heels all weekend at the hen do. We'll soon find out when I have another go on friday morning. Yep the intention is to get up early on friday morning and go running even if it is just a few laps of the estate (only the criminally insane and dog walkers are out at that time in the morning and I dont want to be chased by either along a cycle track at 5am).

My work buddy who was going to try go to roller derby skating classes with me on Sun is working so is having to bail - gutted, although I did rain check on her last night cos I had a cake to ice, my run to do and had to go to the pub with the girls to pass on afore mentioned cake. Got another one to bake tonight ready to ice on the weekend. Too many things to do and not enough time. Wonder what the weather is supposed to be like on Sunday....I might see if anyone wants to attempt a boot sale with me to clear out all our crap and try get some money back. If the weather forecast is rubbish i'm going to go for a run and yoga instead.

Monday, 2 August 2010

TWICE the distance, HALF the motivation.

Hmmm - well the GNR training was going so well, but since the 10k a fortnight ago my training has slowed to a complete halt. Not all my fault, we had our anniversary we had a very sickly bunny (see post below), a hen-do (also see below) and various other activities and events  such as our 4-year anniversary that just knocked my training all to pot. My last training attempt was a poxy 2miles exactly a week today. Rubbish! But i'm determined, i'm going to go out tonight and try add an extra loop onto our local 10k loop we've been practicing on. May need to rope in my running/gossip buddy for some company & support. She's running for macmillan nurses, and i'm running for guide dogs so we'll be advertising the charities whilst training if nothing else. Our route takes us up past the local wildfowl park and through an industrial estate up beside Nissan so we usually run past plenty of trucks. I'm going to try print out all our photos and see if I can scrap-book or chuck everything in a photoframe of  our races as a bit of motivation. My little training plan (well my little personal goals week by week) says I should be upto 7.5miles by now and i've done sod all since the 6.2 2 weeks ago.
2006 - First Race for Life
I started with a 5k race for life the year of my wedding - a little extra keep fit to get into the dress and we did it with a group of the girls to make it enjoyable. But having been the little porky kid with asthma who always ended up last in whatever PE lesson we had.....I didn't dare run it. I walked, my exercise was muscle toning and light aerobics (aquafit, yoga and the odd bit of swimming despite the fact I swim like a stone, which I dont understand cos I have plenty of buoyancy...sadly on my legs & backside rather than upfront). The following year after seeing young girls walking along trailing drips (bearing a sign with a message for the other patients on her ward), mothers powering pushchairs up hills, and being overtaken by quite a few nanas and women considerably larger than me belting past running I felt ashamed. The next year I was working like a loony so didn't do the race but regretted it and was determined to RUN the next year.


2008 - Race for life....steps up a gear
So in 2008 I ran it with my new sister in law and managed record breaker but I was chuffed. I actually did it and ran most of it. My sister-in-law who despite a slim figure.....doesn't do exercise and her diet consists of mainly mcDonalds & creme eggs was also thrilled at completing it. My husband and mother in law were there to cheer us on which was so encouraging.

They were handing out leaflets for a 10k run in the same area so I signed up. I never realised it was 6 and a bit miles, but thought to myself....well a year ago I wouldn't have been able to do 5k at all and i've managed it. If I double my effort I can double the distance.
2009 - The Great North 10k Sunderland (plus accidental extras)
I built up my treadmill time minute by minute until I could manage the full 10k, I was determined to put in the training as this was a proper run. Looking at the route it looked so far.....and I started to realise how much of a distance it actually was.....I had never driven that far around Sunderland before, never mind tried to run it. I decided to get sponsored (to make sure I actually completed it - no excuses) and ran for Diabetes UK as my dad was diagnosed after displaying symptoms and suffering with it for a few years. Leading upto the race I didn't sign up for the race for life as I thought it was cheeky asking for 2 lots of sponsor money. I was going to support the girls running it this year and cheer them over the line. However fate had another idea
Herrington Park Race for life friend Ann was rushed in for an emergency appendicitis 1 week before the race for life and couldn't do it. So as I was training already, I volunteered to take her place so she didn't lose all her sponsor money and all her hard work wasn't for nothing. I managed to run all the way round no stopping at all, and even managed to beat my previous time shaving off a good 4 minutes! My husband promised I could have a pet rabbit if I beat last years time - so that was the real deal breaker.
My friend Michelle ran it with bad knees and my friend Ali who try as she might never could get a running pace going without messing up her breathing also ran it. The feeling of sisterhood was very strong that day. Although hubby did enjoy pointing out that Michelle wasn't training for a 10k and managed to beat me by a good few minutes. Grrrrrr, the competitive green eyed monster glared back at him.
Then literally 2 weeks later my sister, having heard all the good experiences of others doing the race for life signed up for a work team at a different location - same race though. Her employer Warburtons (the bread people) were also going to match whatever the ladies from her office raised in sponsor money so long as they wore company t-shirts for the race and let them use photos in their newsletter. Fate decided to stick its nebby nose in for this one too......
Saltwell Park Race for Life 5k
One of my sister's team sprained her ankle while training and had gone to the doctor's who said she couldn't run it, keen as she was she insisted she wouldn't run....she would walk instead, all bandaged and supported. The doctor was not impressed at this and ruled her out of it altogether. In I step.....of course wearing the Warburtons t-shirt and being honarary member of their team. My sister walked it as she also has a history of knee problems. But I was going to run this one especially after my hubby's comment a few weeks before. Sadly everyone failed to tell me that Saltwell Park is on a really steep hill! The first 2k was fantastic, beautiful park....jogging on the grass, downhill....the remaining 3k was a winding uphill drag back to the finish and was so steep those walking up the hill were overtaking those who couldn't stop for fear of never being able to get going again. I was in the first group. I managed a sprint finish and was absolutely shattered, I looked up and to add insult to injury i'd only managed 37mins because of my walking on those hellish hills. But I couldn't dwell on that. I had a 10k to do, and at least i'd practiced for all gradients!!!

My Diabetes UK running vest came, hugely massive as apparently women don't run...only men, so all the tops were sized for men. My medium although did fit, also had armpits down to about my last rib and gathered around my bum as it was made for narrow manly hips, something I have never and will never have -short of having my backside lobbed completely off. So I found a t-shirt that would fit underneath, blend in and save me the embarrassment of flashing lots of my hot and clammy flesh on the race day! I was also sent some SCAREY HAIR...and it was....bright pink and black 90's troll style hair attached to a headband. Team this with my bright pink leg warmers and I was set!!! The race number arrived and I knew there was no backing out. The start was segmented with fun runners at the back - i'd based my time on about an hour and a half (2 lots of 39mins, my slowest race for life time plus a bit extra incase I started to flagg).
Great North 10k, Sunderland 2009
The atmosphere was brilliant and we jogged away, as we were going through the town strangers clapped and cheered and fancy dress runners smiled and waved at everyone. It was only as we looped back round the city centre to head along the coast that I really started to struggle and had to have a walk break. As others slowed then started again, them picking up the pace encouraged me to drag my feet that bit wider and run on. As we rounded the corner after the bridge there was a steel drum band playing songs to motivate people on and just as we hit the 4k mark I was feeling confident I could do it. Until all the club runners filtered past us on the other side of the road - they were nearly finished!! I struggled along to the water point and through the shower spray tunnel and jogged along side another flailing runner for a while telling her she was running for a brilliant charity (British Heart Foundation) and how my Grandad had died of complications after a heart by-pass operation. She thanked me saying that was just what she needed, someone to spur her on and give her a kick up the backside she needed and off she went. I was struggling past the 8k mark still smiling although through gritted teeth, but as mean as it was I was encouraged that there were still a few on the opposite side of the road with all that journey i'd battled through still to go. I was now trudging & power walking to the 9k mark when it started to rain, and it was lovely! Again I picked my feet up round the last corner as all the crowds of people were shouting at people not to give up, a fellow runner powered up the last hill with me into the car park offering encouraging words then as soon as we got to the barricaded area the crowd got louder and were screaming for people to make it. I heard one unfamiliar voice shouting....."c'mon sprint finish" and surprisingly the sight of the finish line made me realise I wasn't actually ready to keel over and die, I had just about done it, the sooner I got to that finish line I could stop. So I sprinted for the finish line and heard (didn't see at all) but heard my mam screaming my name as the finish line came closer and closer into view. As I got nearer I also could filter out my sister & husbands voices cheering me on. I threw my arms up and grimmaced a smile as I ran over the finish line. 1hr 17 and I was completely knackered. Diabetes UK had a stall at the event and I went over to buy some goodies and show my support. It was a brilliant day and I raised about £270. Hubby decided he wanted to do a race after absorbing all the atmosphere, although i'm betting he took one look at me and thought...she managed it surely it can't be that hard.

2009 Encompass Health Care 5k
This one was described to us by our friend as a local fun run "a walk in the park" literally as it was a 5k course through the local park organised by the doctors surgery she worked for. I should have known something was wrong when she never took part herself and was just acting as a steward. So our little pub quiz team signed up and went to collect our t-shirts, after all i'd done a 10k - this should be easy. My evil arch-nemesis the hill had returned, with a vengence!!!! Running along with one of the guys (who we later discovered used to run for the school team) I thought we were a little faster paced than normal but hey-ho we must be quite fit by now and it was slightly sloping down hill, for most of the course so far. Then we hit the first hill and we both started to run out of steam as our pub friend just bounced on ahead like a kangaroo across a flat stretch - how did he get over that hill so effortlessly? This monster hill just about finished hubby of whereas I ploughed on at my own slower pace and passed skippy the bush kangaroo just before the "turn around point" then as I looped back round I came across hubby and tried to will him on with "nearly half way". The rest of the way was a slow jog followed by a catch-my-breath-before-starting-again paced walk.

A girl ahead of me in her trendy sports gear, perfect make up and slimmer figure was struggling....she was walking, and she looked so much fitter than me. I was constantly behind her and everytime I managed a burst of energy she also got a move on. Another killer hill that I had to take a run at and I was almost home, just one straight section then about 200m through a few trees and I would see the finish line. Yet just ahead the "looks fit, but clearly didn't buy the sports gear to wear in the gym" girl was walking again, the little podgy kid who was ridiculed in PE got a bit competitive and decided this was the chance to take her! I owed that poor girl, i'd been force-feeding her ridiculous quantities of chocolate most of her life. But that girl started running as soon as I did. Well I wasn't having that!! So I turned by laid back jog to keep up into a flat out power-run and the wanna be wag also had a spurt of power. Well this was just the popular girls ignoring the podgy kid allover again, and that riled me. So I pounded, trying to use my arms to power me and I swear my feet left the ground my stride had grown so much. I just got level with her about 5m from the line as I heard my in-laws, skippy and some of the other pub guys cheering. That girl obviously felt my breath on her neck and I swear the force she used to get away from me could be seen on the back of her head, I knew she was wincing. But she pulled past me. Cow....she had effectively turned on her heel and swished her hair at the fat girl. She couldn't allow someone the chance to pass her at the last second. grrrrr.

Hubby came by a few minutes after me followed by an injured, hobbling and clearly in pain sister in law who had pulled something and was in absolute agony determined to finish even if she had to walk. Hubby then decided that was way too hard and he'd need to sign up for another run to keep his training up in order to join me for the 10k next year. So we signed up for the Great Winter JANUARY!!!!!

Great Winter Run 2010 Edinburgh 5k
It was the most horrific weather i'd ever seen in the Christmas period, and stayed that way for the New Year too. I'd even invested in wellies and had been using them to trudge through the snow getting to work. Roads were closed, people were snowed in, buses weren't running. The gritters were facing a shortage of salt. But we had our race numbers and timing chips and the email saying that the race had been cancelled/postponed never arrived. My friend got engaged and arranged her party the same night of the race. But we were going to do everything in our power to do it. Hell, if we got there and it was called off, we'd run the route regardless. So on the Friday night after we'd both finished work we packed up the car and drove to Edinburgh, despite the severe weather warnings, 12" of snow in Alnwick which literally covered parked cars upto their wingmirrors, -7degrees reading on the car's thermometer at Berwick and a dodgy stretch of driving on re-frozen slush in the pitch black. We got to the hotel and passed out as soon as our heads hit the pillow. Next morning armed with base layers (the tightest breathable lycra you can get) plus wooly hats and gloves we met up with my cousins at Holyrood park and carefully walked through the snow to get to the startline. It was like running on sand - almost impossible, and although the route had been altered and slightly shortened it was still hard, the temperature was still -2, the elastic had decided to give up on my trousers (so I ran it all with one hand on my trousers) we were still only fun runners. We did it in a decent enough time and apart from one point where I was sure I was sliding backwards trying to get up the hill when hubby had to wait for me, and the down section where I had recovered and hubby had used up all his energy reserve battling the hill...we kept pace with each other. Proud that we'd done it but dissapointed that we'd not trained hard enough we signed up for the Great North 10k as soon as the reminder email came through and entered the ballot for the Great North Run.....why not?

2010 Race for Life 10k, Herrington Park
After the 5k in freezing Edinburgh, I decided I needed something between then and September if I was ever going to manage training for the Great North Run and my sister mentioned that this year they were doing a 5 and a 10k race for life. So we signed up for the 10, she was just going to walk it as it was quite a distance and I was determined to run as a practice for the Great North 10k in July. Sadly this race was the day after my 30th birthday so drinks would have to be kept to a minimum, and italian (pasta) would be on the menu for the birthday celebration meal. Around mothers day I pulled the muscles in my hip and could barely walk or lift my leg. After about 4 weeks of intensive private physio (couldn't get a doctors appointment and was convinced they'd send me home telling me to rest and take painkillers which I obviously couldnt do). Thankfully it did the trick, it was agony at times and I had lots of exercises to do every day to aid the recovery but my fab physio and my determination meant I could move!! I would just have enough time to re-start my training and providing I took it easy not to injure myself again - would be able to do the GNR. I was advised to walk the 10k if I felt upto it and to keep up with strengthening exercises from my physio all the way through and to just put loads of ice on after the race. I managed it, achey and ended up having to sit with icepacks on my lap all evening. But we did it with a smile - in ridiculously hot temperatures for May 28degrees in the open sunshine and were slathered in suncream, with sunglasses and hats (mine a massive spongey 30th birthday cake hat). I was gutted I couldn't run it, but relieved as I would never have managed it in that heat!

2010 Chronicle Sunshine Fund Run 5k
We didn't get a place through the general ballot - apparently 150,000 people had applied and there were only 40,000 places. So we applied to all the charities asking if anyone had a place and if we could both run for them. We both wanted to run for the same charity, but realised this may be virtually impossible as spaces were hard to comeby. Diabetes UK offered me a place since i'd fundraised for them before but there was a minimum sponsorship amount and no mention of a place for hubby. Anthony Nolan Trust also contacted us about a place but again a minimum sponsorship amount was needed and realistically we didn't think between us we'd raise that ....never mind EACH especially considering we'd be asking the same circle of friends & family. My father-in-law sponsors a guide dog puppy, has for we thought we'd try guide dogs. It was £300 each sponsorship per place and they would give us both a space.......perfect, that was the lowest minimum amount we'd come across so far. We could do that. So we organised a tombola, dressed up in a giant dog outfit and shook a collecting tin at a local pet shop, set up a justgiving page and handed a box of pinbadges round for people to sell at work. My parents also collected using a guide dogs tin in their pubs for us. We're already upto £1260 with all our paper sponsors too!!
One of our friends works for an IT company that were sponsoring the Chronicle Sunshine Fund Run, it was 5k along the Quayside a nice flat race, only £10 to enter and 2 weeks before the 10k. Perfect. So we donned our pink t-shirts and went to run that on one of the hottest days of the year 32degrees this time - urgh. Hubby kept up with me for the first 3k then had to have a walk break, and I kept my pace steady all the way back, constantly being overtaken by a larger guy in expensive sunglasses running with a team of solicitors. He would walk and i'd overtake him, then he'd run and overtake me but end up having to walk again...I couldn't be bothered with that so I just kept on at my own speed. Hubby's wedding ring jangling on my necklace as I ran (its loose and falls off when he runs so I hung onto it), it really helped me keep pace the jingling and reminded me that I sort of had was the next best thing to having him run alongside me.
Now as the finish approached I was dreading it, but had smiled all the way and was managing at a good leisurely pace. But I have a phobia of bridges and am terrified of the millenium bridge. Because it is made to MOVE, it has HOLES IN IT you can see the water underneath and it MOVES and RATTLES when you walk across it. So as soon as I approached the bridge, a small group of after-work drinkers were clapping on the crowds I told them I wanted to be in the pub instead then launched into my sprint finish as I legged it past everyone on the bridge to the finish line. 32 mins....wooo hoo, personal best. I managed to get photographed and was most impressed when I was offered sweeties with a bottle of water when I finished. They were the tastiest packet of fruit pastilles i've ever had and probably devoured as fast as I ever had. I trundled back to the finish line to cheer on hubby and passed him a bottle of water as he flew past me only 5mins later.

A Quacking Hen do

A "Quacking" Hen do

Well this weekend was my friend from Uni's Hen weekend in Edinburgh expertly organised by her lovely sister. Unfortunately her sister had spent so much time planning and organising other people she sort of had a few catastrophe's of her own. For some bizzare reason she's been training to climb mount Kilimanjaro (my spelling is horrific but hey thats how I spell it and its my blog). Because of all this training she's basically done her back in. No amounts of trips to A&E, physio or chiropractors seem to help, to plagiarise Chris got bad eyesight they give you eye operations, glasses and even a guide dog! You break your leg they can pin it together so it looks like a bit of mechano, cover it in plaster and give you crutches. You knack you're back and they just throw painkillers at you. So to enable her to drink she was off said horse tranquiliser strength pills and relying on alcohol for pain relief....this combined with bubbly on the train journey at 9am, a cocktail making class which saw mother of the bride confined to the toilet cubicle and sent back to the hotel to bed and lack of sleep since the back incident meant she was slightly hammered by 5pm. She had also forgotten to bring her horse tranquilisers for when the alcohol did wear off and she would need them.

All the expert organising of decorate a duck competition (the hen has a bit of a thing for ducks) party bags, plastic cups for bubbly, how well do you know the hen quiz, booking trains, hotels, a ghost tour, cocktail making lesson, meal and paraphernalia to cover the hen in for the weekend.......somehow managed to distract cheif bridesmaid from remembering to grab her party dress from the back of the door on her way out of the house. I was gutted for her especially since the rest of the weekend had gone so smoothly. The effects of the alcohol and sitting eating her meal dressed in her clothes from earlier (which were lovely and she still looked fabulous as always) whilst everyone was in party outfits and big shoes was just a bit much and she pulled out of the rest of the evening in favour of trying to sleep off her injuries and cocktails.

They were all a lovely bunch of girls and we had a fantastic time, although I think the key to our un-doing was the fact that we're all a good 5-10 years past our prime party years, couldn't face the monster hangover and were more keen on getting to know each other and female bonding the sensible way that we only managed a 15 hour drinking sesh with only 3 casualties and ending the night with sore feet and being super chatty rather than minging drunk. We shuffled rather than stumbled back to the hotel and the deciding moment for calling it a night was when we were sitting in a bar all nursing feet crippled by very pretty but painful shoes, struggling to finish our mojito's when someone realised the conversation topic had moved onto "cleaning the sofa"!!!! Oh dear, I'm so old!

I love my cocktail glass souvenir and was so happy we almost made the bride blub with appreciation when she saw the effort we'd all put into decorating our ducks. We had a Baja beach duck (my entry from our clubbing days), a school duck decked out in the bride's !