Bleurgh!!!!

BLEURGH – that’s how I feel about today! I’m not feeling very inspirational I’m afraid, in fact I think it’s safe to say that I am in need of a big kick up the bum! I know it’s natural to have the odd ‘off’ day, so I’m attempting to keep things in perspective and hoping to start tomorrow with a fresh burst of motivation. But for now, it’s time for a good old moan!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I think my over zealous run on Sunday has sent my body into protest! I had a couple of rest days afterwards, then headed out for a slow 5K yesterday. I felt fine at the time, but today I have been hobbling about like an old granny – aching all over!ย  So, a run today might not be the best idea! Saying that though, after half-an-hour of a screaming toddler in my ear I am seriously considering a short plod around the block just to get some ‘head space’!

I get very frustrated with myself if I can’t run, which then tends to manifest itself as a ‘low mood’ slump! Which inevitably means raiding my little boys goody cupboard! Oh dear – there were some remarkably yummy looking flapjacks (my favourite!) and an interesting looking Cadbury egg and spoon chocolate thingy (which I can highly recommend!). So with my Weightwatchers points pretty much blown out of the water for the week, I am on rations for the next couple of days! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ It’s also taking all the will-power I can muster not to mooch round to Tescos and invest in a nice bottle of white wine! I’m salivating at the thought! But I am exercising what self-control I have left and hanging onto my diet by a fine thread.

Oh, and while I’m on one, did I mention I’ve got a verruca on my heel as well?! I’ve not had one of them since I was a kid. The joys of children – they share literally everything with you! Thanks Jack! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m attacking it early with some verruca treatment in the hope it will clear up nice and quick (famous last words!).

Right – that’s enough the whingeing for one day! ๐Ÿ™‚

On a plus note, I came across this great gal on my internet travels. She’s made a video of her journey losing loads of weight. I think she’s fab and just what I need to remind myself to pull myself together and get back in the saddle! ๐Ÿ™‚ Click on the picture below to check her video out….

A wee run …..

So, Sunday morning (not so bright and early) I decided to go out for my long run of the week. Last week I had a couple of runs which were just really crap! You know the sort – you’re having an off day and feel really sluggish, heavy and uncoordinated! I had mixed feelings about this run, hoping that it wasn’t going to be 12km of unpleasant plodding! I decided some good pre-run fuel might help to give me a little kick in the right direction – so I gobbled up some multi-grain toast and guzzled a bottle of Lucozade sport before I set off. Oh, I might have even decided to take out one of my new energy gels for a test drive too!!! 20140114_120729I know, I know … slight overkill! But I want to start testing out some energy gels in preparation for the Reading half marathon in March – and if I don’t try them soon, I’ll run out of time! There are a lot of people out there who wouldn’t use an energy gel for this distance. But as my last half marathon took me 3.01 hours to finish, I am in need of a few pick me ups along the way! ๐Ÿ™‚ So off I set, like an Energiser bunny, actually feeling full of life and strong legged for a rare moment. I think this might have been my downfall though, as it made me feel confident enough to go ‘exploring’ and take a new route! Needless to say, I got a little bit lost! ๐Ÿ™‚ So after a couple of stops for some directions, 17.35km and 2 hrs 43 mins later, I finally crawled through the front door (Much to the OH’s annoyance, having been stuck ‘holding the toddler’ all the morning!). I tried out of the SiS energy gel during this run and it had the most disgusting sludgy texture, but it did definitely perk me up a bit. I think I would have struggled a lot more without it! At least I clocked up some more miles than planned and am now at 30.32 miles year to date. Only another 969.38 more to go before the end of the year! Aaaah – now my legs are in need of a good couple of days rest!

Did I mention that I also did some strength exercises before I went for my run – all part of my mission to be able to do a pull up! Let’s just say, I think my little boy has more chance of doing a pull up before I ever do! ๐Ÿ™‚

Jack's attempt at some pull ups!
Jack’s attempt at some pull ups!

On a slightly different note; does anyone else suffer with bladder issues when running? I apologise for the personal nature of my blog at the moment (the other day it was all about my boobs!), but being a mum I don’t bother trying to retain any dignity these days – that went out the window right about the same time as childbirth took place!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Apparently my fascination with toilets started from a young age. My parents often reminisce about my ‘need to go’ to the loo at least 10 times everywhere we went! Nowadays, I still have a tendency to go to the toilet in new locations andย  can’t stop myself from passing comment on ‘how nice (or not) the lavatories are’! I know – I’m strange! ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, when I go for a run my bladder seems to go into overdrive. At one of my races, I went for 6 toilet trips in the space of 1 hour in the lead up to the start of the race! And on training runs I frequently have to do a ‘Paula Radcliffe’, though usually more discreetly behind some trees, because if I ‘need to go’ then I can’t concentrate on my running at all! I am dreading the day that the ‘need’ takes me mid-race (so far I have been lucky enough to avoid that!). Am I the only person who struggles with this? I can’t be alone surely?!

While I’m waffling on about my running! I thought I might share this great article I found on how to lace your running shoes. I never realised that it was all so technical. I struggle with pain on the top of my right foot quite often, which I have attributed to a spot of tendon trouble. It was only after a bit of research to see what I could do to help, that I discovered lacing my shoes in a different way may relieve the pressure! 20140112_135254I have now tried a few different methods, and so far the ladder method seems to be working for me and has made a big difference. Shame it doesn’t make me run faster too! ๐Ÿ™‚

I also managed to do one of my random acts of kindness this week! I stumbled across this great cause. Rachel Knowles is a 5-year-old twin. She was born prematurely and has cerebral palsy and is unable to walk without a walking frame. There is an operation she can have, recommended by Great Ormond Street Hospital, which will hopefully enable her to walk, but the NHS have refused to pay for it. If she can raise enough money, then she can get the operation early this year and hopefully be able to make her dream of walking come true (something many of us take for granted). Without the op, she will be destined to a life in a wheelchair and many more operations on her legs. I wasn’t able to help much – but I made a small donation to the cause and I am really hoping that if lots of other people help out too, with what they can afford, then she can get her wish. Good luck Rachel.

Rachel Knowles
Rachel Knowles

Call the Midwife ….

Those of you who have been following my blog, will know that one of the challenges I am undertaking is to ask 20 friends to recommend a book and then read them all. Well, I have just completed book 1 of the challenge โ€“ Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth – courtesy of my mate Janine!

call-the-midwife
I have personally been through childbirth once and I have absolutely no desire to remind myself of the sheer horror of it. People talk about this metaphorical ‘switch’ that must go off in a woman’s head after giving birth, allowing her to forget all the pain and torment she has just gone through. Otherwise, no-one would ever have any more children! I think my switch malfunctioned, cause I still remember vividly โ€“ and it hurt, big time! Whilst friends ‘coo’ over programmes such as ‘One Born every Minute’, I avoid them like the plague, as I honestly can’t think of anything more detrimental to my mental well-being! I did turn it on once, thinking I must be missing out on something, what with the way everyone rambles on about it. I lasted about 30 seconds, before I had to change channels; reaffirming that childbirth is definitely not my thing! That’s not to say it’s not the most magical experience ever. The whole process is quite remarkable and I have my beautiful little boy as a result of it. But once was quite enough!!!!

So, needless to say, when my friend started rabbiting on about this great book she was reading โ€“ a true story all about a midwife in London in the 1950s, I can’t say it inspired a huge amount of interest! The only saving grace was that it was set in the 1950s, as I am quite interested in hearing about what life was like back in the ‘good old days’ of my parents childhood. Oh, and I do quite like a true story. I was just hoping that there weren’t too many gory giving birth bits!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I was pleasantly surprised. It didn’t take me long to get truly absorbed. The writer has a great ability to draw you into her memories and anecdotes of times gone by. I think the best thing about this book though is how it makes you reflect on things nowadays that we take for granted. Life in the 1950s, and pre the introduction of the pill, would have been a very different life for today’s society of women. An incessant life of ‘knocking out’ children, cleaning, washing (without an actual washing machine!) and cooking in some of the most awful conditions is completely unimaginable for many of us. The slum families that lived in complete poverty, with their houses falling down around them, with no running water and some very basic shared (with the rest of the tenement block!) toilet facilities is imperceivable. Then there’s the woman who had 25 children!!!!! I wouldn’t even know where to put 25 children let alone what to do with them! But in those days large families were the norm. with everyone living in just a couple of rooms. And as for the story of old Mrs Jenkins โ€“ with her manky feet and nutty ways โ€“ well I was nearly in tears. The shocking reality of the workhouses, families torn apart by poverty and a gruelling life and death for many was simply heart-breaking. I couldn’t stop cuddling and kissing my little boy for days after; so glad that I would never have him torn away from me in that way!

 

But all of these awful conditions and the hard way of life never seemed to dampen the spirits of the hardy east-enders. I am amazed at the sheer will and determination of some of the people in this book. The strong communities and extended families held people together and in such tough times that support was their life-line.

 

Yes, we often moan about the loss of the family unit nowadays โ€“ which is sad in many ways, but we certainly have life a whole lot easier. The introduction of ante-natal care, contraception, the ongoing development of modern medicine make for a much safer experience for both mother and baby. Now women have the freedom to choose when to start a family, allowing them to pursue careers and other interests, to develop themselves as their own person; equal to men. This is a true luxury never had by the generations before us.

 

What can I say? This book is a real eye opener. It has made me reflect on things in a way I haven’t before. Yes, there were a few gory child-birth type bits in it โ€“ but to be honest the story is so riveting that I didn’t reel back in horror at them! A great read all round, and I was sorry to see it end!

 

Next up โ€“ Task Force Helmand by Doug Beattie MC (courtesy of Rob)!

My boobs are shrinking!

I stood on the scales this morning – and I have now lost a whopping 8lb in 2 weeks (woop, woop!). I am mightily pleased with this – long may it continue!!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks to good old Weightwatchers and a strict running regime, the effort seems to be paying off nicely.

indexDoes anyone else notice though that the first place the weight seems to come off is their boobs? I am a fairly hourglass figure, but in my pre-pregnancy slim days, I was a small handful of a 34B cup. Now, thanks to all those pregnancy hormones and increased calorific consumption I am now more of a 40DD (or thereabouts)! I’m not having a moan, but, there are plenty of extra love handles to go round at the moment – so why does the weight have to come off the bit I quite fancy keeping a bit extra of? After all, a few more pounds off the thighs, stomach and hips would surely make more sense! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Looking on the bright side ….. some smaller boobies (along with a new sports bra) will hopefully = less under boob runners chaffing at the Reading half marathon in March! Anyone who had the misfortune of putting up with my moans of sore boobs after my first half marathon (Mablethorpe) last October will know how super tender they were! Red raw springs to mind. Thank god for Sudocrem is all I can say. Having kids has it’s advantages – there is every cream and remedy known to mankind knocking around the house somewhere! I know, I know – never happy – I moan with big boobs, I moan when they get smaller! ๐Ÿ™‚ One things for sure though …. a spot of shopping for a heavy duty ‘over the shoulder boulder holder’ will be in store! ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe something a bit like this ….

largestbra

BUPA Great North Run – here I come (ooh that rhymes!)!!!!

Well, I am feeling mighty chuffed right now. I have managed to get myself a much coveted place at the BUPA Great North Run on 7th September 2014! ๐Ÿ™‚ It is actually a charity spot with Terrence Higgins Trust! Many of you who know me, know I have worked for them for quite a few years now (on and off!) and they are a charity dear to my heart! I think they do some fab work in the field of HIV and sexual health (a taboo and stigmatised subject for many!). I am really pleased that I am able to tie in some of my running challenges in with giving something back to this charity. I am even hoping to try and tick off challenge number 5 – ‘run a half marathon in under 2.5 hours’ (eeek!).

To get a spot at the gig (so to speak) I had to commit to raising a minimum sponsorship of ยฃ350! The event is still a little way off, but I thought I might as well get the ball rolling ….. If anyone would like to sponsor me and help out with this great cause, then come and find out more on my Sponsor me page.

BUPA Great NOrth Run 2013
BUPA Great North Run 2013

Keep an eye open for me on the BBC – see if you can spot me amongst the 50,000 odd people this year! ๐Ÿ™‚

Literary diversity ….

Well, challenge 21 is underway!!!!! Challenge 21? Ask 20 friends for a book recommendation each and read them all!

Book 1 of Challenge 21!!!
Book 1 of Challenge 21!!!

As it was my first day commuting to work in London for the first time in 3 years, what a perfect excuse to pick up a new book and while away my commute! So, thanks to Janine (who recommended and lent me the book) I am whizzing my way through ‘Call the Midwife’ by Jennifer Worth. And so far, I am pleasantly surprised. I have been glued to it for the whole return journey to and from work and am nearly half way through already! I’m not going to let the cat out of the bag yet, as I intend to post my ‘expert’ review on here when I finish the book! So you will have to live with the suspense in the meantime!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

I actually picked this goal after running out of ideas and seeing a suggestion on a random website somewhere! But, after getting a few suggestions and starting on my first read, I am starting to think that this is going to be quite an eye-opening challenge! I enjoy reading, when I get the chance to read, but I do tend to cling to the same sort of thrillers (and if there is a vampire or werewolf in sight, them I’m sold!) – so I’m not always very adventurous with my literary choices! This challenge is already taking me out of my usual comfort zone and I can see me getting to read some really strange and wonderful books – and I’m looking forward to it!!!

So far I have the following suggestions from friends:

1. Call the Midwife – Jennifer Worth (Janine’s suggestion)

2. Dracula – Bram Stoker (Sarah)

3. You Only Live Twice – Ian Fleming (Jame’s Bond fan Howie!)

4. Born to Run – Christopher McDougall (Kate – and to think I was relying on you for a good bit of Vamp Lit!!!!!)

5. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet – David Mitchell (which I fear is going to be far too cultured for me – thanks Adrian!!!)

6. Task Force Helmand – Doug Beattie MC (Rob)

So 6 down, 14 to go …… I am on the lookout for those of you who have a good read to suggest. Next 14 suggestions make it onto the list! ๐Ÿ™‚ I will be writing a little bit of my thoughts on each as I read them … so watch this space! I tell you what … as I’ve had a glass of wine and I’m feeling care free – the book I like best will get a box of choccies (the friend not the book obviously!!!!).

Anyway, all this commuting, means it’s time for a glass (or bottle!) of vino plonko! So I’m off … slurp, slurp! ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh, don’t forget it’s weigh in day on Saturday, so lets see how much of the vino has gone to the hips then! ๐Ÿ™‚

Ciao for now.

xxx

101 Challenges 1001 Days Facebook Page

Just a quickie … thought it might be fun to set up a bit of an interactive community, so we can share our challenges and successes together.

I couldn’t find an existing group on Facebook already, so I have set up a new page. Come along, check it out and if you like it, why not join in.

Hopefully see some of you on Facebook! ๐Ÿ™‚

Jantastic

Who’s signed up for Jantastic – I know I have! I really must stop finding running sites to sign up to, or I’m going to end up spending more time logging and blogging my runs than I do actually running!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

That aside, think it’s a great way to keep motivated through the winter months. I am aiming for 4 runs per week for January! It starts TODAY!

Come check it out … we can even be ‘rivals’!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

jantastic

Starting as I mean to go on ….

Well 2014 is well and truly here and to be honest I think the New Year has done something funny to me!!!!! It was like the New Year fireworks went off not just on the TV, but also in my head; kick-starting some weird motivational feelings that I have never experienced before! But it’s all good โ€“ I’m revved up and raring to go! 2014 doesn’t know what’s going to hit it!

scalesAfter the excesses of Xmas (of which there were plenty!), I was feeling bloated, uncomfortable, lazy, fat and generally pretty crap. I had also started neglecting my running a bit and I was starting to miss it, so I really wanted to get a grip of my whole diet and exercise regime. The big challenge for the New Year though is to lose 5 ยฝ stone in weight โ€“ so I have signed up to Weightwatchers online and I am underway. This isn’t the first time I have attempted Weightwatchers, but it is certainly the most motivated I have felt about it and I have been sticking to it rigidly for the past week. I was even seen snacking on carrots at a party buffet (much to Rob’s (the other half) amazement!) – how I managed to resist the cocktail sausages I’ll never know! But it paid off โ€“ first weigh in after week 1 and I am 4 lb lighter! Just gotta keep it up.

So, anyone who knows me well, knows that I don’t do things by half. In fact I could probably be described as a bit obsessive at times! ๐Ÿ™‚ So when I stumbled upon this whole 101 challenges in 1001 days it was right up my street. Rob nearly fell off his chair laughing at the mere idea of it โ€“ but as I pointed out to him, I have already completed 1 challenge off the list already โ€“ I have set up my website blog! So, ha! Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ And I’m sorry to say Rob that your suggestion of a blow job a day for a month didn’t make it onto the final list!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ (Typical man!)

I will apologise now to those who have little or no interest in running โ€“ but I am afraid it is a bit of a passion of mine, so there will no doubt be a few bits of running orientated waffle along the way! I’m feeling good about being back out pounding the streets again, and am feeling very hardcore as I have braved the rain and winds to get my running fix! I am also signed up for my first race of the year and have booked into the Reading Half Marathon in March. My friend Rachel does it every year, so I thought it was about time I tagged along.

Me coming over the finish line at Mablethorpe Half Marathon 2013
Me coming over the finish line at Mablethorpe Half Marathon 2013

My first half marathon (Mablethorpe, last October) nearly killed me โ€“ so I am determined not to underestimate this one and put plenty of miles in beforehand! Also, with a grande finale finish in the Majedski Stadium with thousands watching โ€“ I don’t want to be crawling over the finish line like a complete fat knacker! ๐Ÿ™‚

So I’ve clocked up 12.22 miles this week (which all helps towards the challenge of 1000 miles in 2014) and I’m feeling good for it. I’ve found some great community forums as well โ€“ all full of other like-minded runners. A few of them (Tribesports, Facebook page ‘run mummy run’ and Facebook page ‘1000 miles in 2014’) are just fab and the people are so friendly. I feel like I am part of the community already after just a few days, and it is so nice to see other people just as passionate about their running โ€“ saves me boring all my family and friends quite so much! And Tribesports is great for challenging yourself. I have just completed the challenge of 10 push ups a day for 7 days and am underway with the 31 day challenge to do a pull up (I think I might wee myself with excitement if I ever manage to succeed on that one!). For those of you who haven’t heard of Tribesports โ€“ they are not only a community forum, but they develop community designed running clothing and have a really interesting concept going on. I might have sneakily treated myself to post-xmas pressie of some of their running capri pants. They arrived the other day and are lush โ€“ simply the best fit and so comfortable. I might have to get a few more goodies from them in the future (don’t tell the OH!).

So, the planning has started โ€“ although Reading is booked, there are so many more races I am hoping to do this year. My super organised spreadsheet of what I want to do and when is underway โ€ฆ. so watch this space! Just need to see what other mad souls I can rope in as well!

I also wanted to say that I am quite chuffed by how many people have dropped by the blog to take a look already. The support has been great and means so much in helping me along the way. So thank you and I hope you keep following.

xxx

CHALLENGE COMPLETE – Set up and publish blog

A little introduction ..

Hello,

You’ve made it to my blog …. so a big fat welcome! I hope you will join me on my journey and be interested in some of the news I have to share! I apologise now if anyone is yawning already!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

I just wanted to write a quick introductory post to introduce you to my new blog – which aims to track how I get on trying to achieve 101 challenges over 1001 days (that gives me until 28th September 2016!). I hope you like the blog and if you would like find out more, then check out:

What on earth possessed me?

The 101 challenges list

I will be popping in frequently with posts on my progress, so please do follow my blog to keep up to date!

I hope you like what you see and will be back for more!

xxx

Time for some goal setting ….. can I do all 101 challenges in 1001 days?

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