Half Marathon

On my original bucket list, I challenged myself to enter a 10k race.  At the beginning of this year that really was a challenge for me, and it took a lot of work for me to manage to complete it.  Owning trainers is still a fairly new concept for me, and when I started running I was running in borrowed Tesco trainers.  At school I didn’t attend PE after year nine.  Exercise does not come naturally for me!  This time last year I hadn’t even heard of a burpee.  When I went for a run I was aiming to one day be able to share my 6+ km run on Facebook with the caption “Fighting For Seven” which was the name of the band Steve was in when we met.  But it took me a long, long time to get past 5k.

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So after I completed my 10k race back in April (in fancy dress!), and then went on to run a further 7k that evening (in a different fancy dress outfit!) without actually dying, I thought that maybe a half marathon was not such a scary prospect.  I wanted a proper challenge to throw myself into.  I signed up for the Dartmoor Vale half marathon, bought myself some proper trainers, made some excellent fitness plans, and stuck to none of them!  But I did get out there running, mainly by myself.  I also started going to a Boot Camp on the beach with some Mums from school.  The more I trained the less confident I became.  A month ago I ran another 10k race for some more race practice, and it got me excited again.  Then a fortnight ago I ran 12 miles by myself, without even music to distract me (didn’t want to waste phone battery and not record my mileage!!) and felt good about it.  But then I barely ran after that.  When I did go out I was slow and uncomfortable and gave up after a couple of miles.  Confidence blown once again.

I got a little boost when someone pointed out that race day was after the clocks changed, so I’d get an extra hour in bed!  I had every intention of really cutting back on drinking before the race, but on Friday night I “accidentally” got drunk – it meant I rested up on Saturday though!!

Next thing I knew it was race day.  I warmed up with my friend Gavin, who had suggested the race in the first place, and he gave me some sweets to eat during the race.  These kept me going, as they helped me split the race up and have smaller goals – I was just trying to get to the next sweet stop rather than to the end.  I had them at 4, 8 and 12 miles and they worked a treat.

I ran with a girl called Bryony, who I’d met once before for a run.  We had a really similar pace throughout and made a good little team.  I would even go as far as to say that I enjoyed it.  The weather was nice, cold, dry, sunny.  I saw Steve at about 5 miles, and then my friend Laura was there to cheer me on, right at the bottom of a massive hill, exactly where I needed a boost.

At about 11.5 miles I was flagging so she ran on ahead, I managed not to stop until the end but WOW it was hard.  My hands were freezing cold and had pins and needles.  I felt sick and shaky and like I could not go on.  There was a nice moment when Steve drove past with the boys and they shouted out of the window.  In my head I was just trying to get to 13 miles and then to sprint the last 0.1 miles, but when that time came I had nothing more to give so I didn’t speed up at all.  For the last mile, people who had already finished were walking back to their cars, and they were all really supportive and that boosted me.

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Immediately after the race. I finished in 2 hours 19 minutes 12 seconds – pretty much bang on my target of 2 hours 20 minutes.

Turning the final corner, I saw the finish line, and Steve and the boys and knew it was almost over!  I crossed the line and felt…nothing.  I didn’t feel relieved or proud or anything, just so SO tired.  All I wanted was to go and sleep.  I had a headache and a sore throat and I was tired and hungry and just felt ill. I would compare it to when I had just given birth to Oscar.  I don’t really remember, but I wasn’t interested in him at all, just so exhausted.  All I wanted was a shower and lots of sleep.

I stayed in bed most of the afternoon, and dragged myself out of bed at 5pm so that my friend Jen could take me out for a celebratory drink.  I felt absolutely horrific, but a pint of shandy at the Ship soon perked me up!  We got pizza too and that sorted me out.

Of course, now I am already thinking about next year.  I will definitely be entering it again and trying to beat my time (though I can’t see myself ever breaking 2 hours!).  I think the trick will be to be more strict on the not drinking thing (I’ll be 30 and a grown up by then so that will be easy right?) and to eat more breakfast before the race.  In the meantime I am enjoying the revelation that if you own trainers, they can also be worn as comfortable day to day footwear – this has changed my life!

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Fifth Day

I ate some cheese today. It was left on Charlie’s plate and I couldn’t bear to let it go to waste. But I don’t see this as a complete failure (I’m certainly not going back to day one!), just a little slip, and an understandable one, because.. cheese. This is the longest I’ve ever been without cheese ever. The previous record was 18 hours.

This lack of competitive nature is what stops me from improving more at running. I can’t imagine ever teaching the point of injury or even tears. I’ve never had to break through “the wall” because I don’t get to it in the first place. At work we are putting together a team to enter the Great West Run, a famously hilly half marathon in Exeter this October. With that as my motivation I went out and ran 15k today.  

  It was a beautiful sunny morning and I ran a hilly route that I would never even have considered before, but I was rewarded with beautiful views. This was after having just a smoothie and some walnuts for breakfast.

I came home ravenous and started off with some rice cakes, before moving on to a sausage sandwich (yum!).  

  Dinner was a shepherds pie made with quorn mince and topped with sweet potato mash (and no cheese, apart from for the boys: my downfall).  

Not my most successful day, but a good healthy day, which can only be a good thing.

My Fancy Run

So yesterday was the big day of my 10k race. I was super nervous in my ridiculous nemo outfit – exactly zero other people were in fancy dress for the race and everyone seemed to be taking it very seriously! It really made me appreciate just how hard Eve’s challenge to wear nothing but fancy dress for year has been.  (www.myfancyyear.com) Despite my plan to take it fairly easy for the first 5k and ramp it up for the second, I made the predictable rookie mistake of doing my fastest km to date in the first km. Then my shoelace came undone (I am unbelievably bad at tying laces and really hope Steve takes on the job of teaching this skill to the boys!) which was probably a blessing in disguise as it got me out of the too fast crowd! But I was absolutely convinced that I was at the back of the race which was a bit disheartening. Later on, Steve told me that when he saw me at the back he also thought I was right at the back, but of course there were loads of people behind me really.

Anyway, I think I finished in about 1 hour 2 minutes, but the official times should come out tomorrow. I’m sure I didn’t reach my target of under an hour, but that’s ok – it was much hotter than any weather I have run in before.

But that wasn’t the end of my efforts for the day! On Saturday night, whilst doing their 21st 10k in as many days, Eve (of My Fancy Year) and her husband got into a scuffle with some teenagers, resulting in Eve’s husband being bottled and having to be stitched up! Determined not to let this put a downer on all their hard work, they invited all of Teignmouth to join them for last night’s 10k. There was an incredible turnout of people in fancy dress and they raised around £650 on the night. I ran 7.3k, half of which with Oscar, who was amazing!

My legs are aching today but I’m really pleased with myself and the sponsor money is starting to flood in – so far I’ve collected £112 but I hope to reach £200.

And now I’ve got an official PB I just want to race again to try and beat it. I think I might be officially hooked!

My Fancy Run

It’s getting closer! The first of my 30 things that I signed up for, a 10k run in Exeter this Sunday.

I have been training quite a lot and learning to love it! On Monday I finally managed to run 10k in under an hour for the first time, which has given me a massive confidence boost.

The run itself is in aid of Hospiscare but when I saw that Eve was going to run 10k A DAY for 100 days for My Fancy Year I decided that I would run my one race in fancy dress too, and collect sponsorship for her. Eve is wearing fancy dress every day for a full year and hoping to raise a fantastic £20000 for breast cancer charity Coppafeel!

I need you to decide what costume I should wear from the selection below – just write your vote in the comments.

If you would like to sponsor me you can send money by cash, cheque, paypal or bank transfer, or donate direct to Eve through her website. My paypal address is goslingbaby@gmail.com and please contact me if you need other details.

Thanks!

Quarter of the way…

So I’m a quarter of the way through the year, and I’ve done 6/30 things and started lots more, so I think that puts me just about on track!  Time for a general update on what I’ve been up to…

I’ve put together and had printed a children’s book for my boys, and they both love it – they definitely feel famous when they read it!  Not only that, but a photo of them that I took at Christmas-time made it into Devon Life, so that’s my something published.  I wrote a crappy poem for Steve’s Valentine’s card too.  But the best thing about doing these bits of writing are that they inspired me to write a short story for grown ups, and I massively surprised myself!  I’m not quite ready to share it publicly yet, but I’m sure I will before the year is out!

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I even dusted off my sewing machine and made a couple of skirts and a dress.  My pink and blue jersey dress looked great, but my plan to do bias binding on the hems didn’t work at all on the sleeves and I ended up cutting the dress up after I’d worn it the once!

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But the thing I am really excited about is the 10k run I have booked for Sunday 12th April and will now be doing in fancy dress!  Up until now I have not been the biggest fan of exercise (my thing was always that we should do enough exercise as part of our daily lives to not need to exercise for the sake of exercise – and I do pretty well on this as I walk back and forth across Shaldon bridge several times a week for the school run) but I think I’m hooked!  This year as part of my 30 things I have already done three hours as part of a Spinathon, and walked the Templer Way.  I’ve also started exercising with some of the Mums from school.  I am, by a significantly long way, the slowest in the group, and when they plank for a minute I basically just lie on the floor, but I go and that’s what counts right?!

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Recently I read somewhere that it’s much easier to start a new habit before you’re 30 than it is after, so I’m determined to really get into exercise this year!  Yesterday I downloaded an App called Zombies, Run! and last night I went out on my best run ever.  It was faster than I’ve run before and it felt totally different to my previous runs.  The app made it really good fun, I was very close to shooting my invisible gun many times!

I’ve got a tattoo planned out and have just started reading 100 years of solitude.  I’m keeping up with my blog (though not necessarily that regularly!) and my diary.  My hair is getting longer by the day, and now that I’ve gone “no poo” it looks and feels better than ever and is loads more manageable.

And finally, the thing that prompted this post – I am hatching a plan for treating someone less fortunate to dinner.  Today I met a lovely man who told me about a trout dish his wife used to cook.  Before she died she taught him to cook, but he can’t remember how to do this one dish.  So that is what I will be treating him to!  I can’t wait to do this one!

My Fancy Run

There is a girl from Teignmouth called Eve who, last summer, gave all of her clothes to charity. She is wearing fancy dress every single day for a full year. She’s done 265 days already and raised an amazing £10000 for breast cancer charity, coppafeel! For her last 100 days she is not only wearing fancy dress but also running 10k EVERY DAY. What an amazing lady! 

I have followed her journey with interest, there have been lots of ups and downs – some days you just don’t want to dress as a parrot to go to the supermarket! In an effort to support her I have decided to run my 10k race on 12th April in fancy dress. She is going to lend me a costume (watch this space to see what I’ll be!). If you would like to sponsor me please get in touch, every penny counts!  www.myfancyyear.com

The Templer Way…on Mother’s Day

Yesterday I did one of the thirty things I have most been looking forward to – The Templer Way.

The Templer Way is an 18 mile walk from Haytor on Dartmoor that follows the old tramway and canal that used to transport granite from the moors down to Teignmouth.  (That means it’s all flat or downhill – hurrah!).  Although I didn’t spend Mother’s Day with my babies, I did spend it with my Mum, so I don’t feel too bad!

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It was SO misty and cold.  Despite being stood within metres of Haytor we didn’t actually see it at all!

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Here we are at the beginning of the old tramline.

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This is walking through Yarner Woods, probably my favourite bit of the walk.  Super Carol pulled out a surprise bottle of rose cava at our Stover pit stop, a definite highlight!

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Some interesting looking fungus along the Stover canal.

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Saying goodbye to some of the more conscientious Mums at Newton Abbot!!

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We didn’t think the tide was going to be in our favour, and it was a close call, but we made it along the beach from Newton Abbot to Shaldon!  We had a nice stop en route at Coombe Cellars.

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Having a celebratory (half) pint at The Ship, before heading home for dinner, snuggles and an early night!

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What a lovely Mother’s Day!