My Latest ‘little’ Challenge

I have been quiet on here but very busy in the ‘real’ world. I have continued with my running (that is a non-negotiable in my life), completed quite a lot of sewing over the summer (including my ‘happy dress’) and done a fair bit of knitting and crochet. I have also got a dedicated little sewing area which is lovely – if only I had more time to use it…..

I was unsuccessful in the London marathon ballot this year, which wasn’t unexpected but never fear, I am as mad as ever (probably even more so) as I have accepted a charity place. This means that over the next 5 months I will not only be looking after my wonderfully demanding family, doing a very busy day job and training for a marathon but also raising awareness and spreading around all the wonderful things the charity does as well as raising as much money as I can for them.

I MUST BE MAD??

Nothing like a little challenge to get you going.:)

 

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Who doesn’t like an interesting life?

 

A new adventure

On the 20th of August I was in Wales, on holiday. The reason for choosing Wales was easy: I was going to take on the challenge of Racing a Train. Sounds very different I thought. I like different. I signed up!Image result for talyllyn railway race the trainDoesn’t it look fab? My family would be on the train and I would run. Everyone would happy.

Unusually this race takes place on a Saturday ……. and in the afternoon. It turns out that afternoon races are not good for me. There is far too much time to get nervous. I was really nervous. It appears that I was stepping right out of my comfort zone with this race.

So lets put this into context….

I am a fen girl who is used to running on the flat with relatively dry weather. This race takes place in Wales which is wet and hilly. Gales were predicted on the day of the race along with rain. We had travelled down in rain on the Friday and it had continued to rain on Saturday morning. It was going to be muddy! The wind was not that bad for a town on the sea-side but would still be a factor when running the race.

As we arrived in the town where the race started we saw some runners completing the races from the morning. They looked tired and quite muddy. This just added to my mounting feeling of dread. I soon texted my friend saying that I just wanted it to start as I knew that I would be alright once it started.

Lining up at the start it appeared that I as slightly better prepared than my brother who had somehow failed to charge his watch! As the train whistle rang out to start the race we set off. My brothers words of advice echoed around my head: save some energy for the second half as it is more uphill.

Predictably I set off faster than I would have liked but we did have the wind behind us. I managed the first 6 miles in exactly an hour which I was pleased with as the terrain was uneven. I even got to wave at what I thought might be my family on the train as it steamed past! As we got to about half way the ground began to slip away quite steeply to one side – one poor man nearly fell into the bracken a couple of times. At this point I decided that safety had to  come first which was just as well as it got a LOT steeper after this point.

 

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An action – taken whilst running photo.

 

Just after the half way point the path became very narrow and steep. I slowed to a walk but was very aware of those behind me so at the first opportunity I decided to stop to let them past only to find that they were happy walking and ended up holding me up! (Trust me to be so thoughtful of others!)

Once we had passed this part we came to the next, unexpected ‘obstacle’ –  a bog.

We can’t go over it, we can’t go through it. OH no!  We have to go through it.

Squelch, squerch, squelch, squerch!

(Excerpt from the well known children’s book: We’re going on a Bear Hunt)

It was FAB!

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By now I was really getting into my stride. I suppose that I now knew that there was no time pressure, I was just here to enjoy it so I started taking photos.(There was a lovely marshal by this waterfall who actually took my photo with it but I shall spare you that image!)

I would just like to add here that the marshals at this event were the most amazing people ever. I may have been in a vest but these people had to stand in the driving wind and rain for a long time, in the middle of nowhere. They all smiled and were polite. They were nothing short of awesome, especially as a lot of them were not exactly young.

The 14 mile race took me 2 hours and 44 minutes. The elevation gain was 413 metres. Not fast, not flat and VERY MUDDY. I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT. Would I do it again? Definitely. Trail running rocks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day before

I ma writing this blog post mainly so I remember how I am feeling…… slightly on edge, stressed, excited, nervous, worried……all of those things and more. I cannot really relax and am wondering what an earth I have done….I know that tomorrow it will all be OK but today??? Not so.

I have done lots of distraction type activities that can also come under getting prepared e.g. painting nails:

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(A huge thank you to my wonderful friend nnotsogranny).

I have also painted my toenails in preparation for the day after where open toed shoes will no doubt be the only option! My tag is on my shoe, my label on my bag and some essentials packed. Then I have been on social media and made a little film 🙂

Devices are all being charged fully to ensure that nothing fails on me during the big day. I am, of course also eating and drinking well (chocolate and biscuits count right?) to ensure I have the energy for it all.

I really want this day to be over but to go on forever all at the same time. One thing that I have noticed is that I feel different to how I felt before the other long runs. I am not worried that I cannot do it because I know that I can. I am just dazed by the whole thing. It seems to be everywhere, on the radio, TV, everyone I meet wishes me luck.

The local support from family and friends is amazing. Yesterday I had a big donation to my fundraising page which brought me to tears. The worst thing is, that I don’t know who it is from so I cannot even tell them how much it has meant to me. I am humbled by everyone’s generosity and kindness.

This time tomorrow it will all be over, I cannot decide if I will be excited, relieved or sad.

 

 

Running for charity

This post is a bit late in the day really but throughout the training people have been asking who I am raising money for. When I got the place in the marathon I decided that this time I would just run it for myself as I didn’t want to ask people for money again.

Following a week where I seemed to have rather a lot of enquiries I decided to undertake a quick pole on twitter. It  revealed that maybe I should sign up for a charity so people can give if they wish to. I decided that I would choose to run for Mind again as it wouldn’t cost them anything for a new vest (I already have one) and it is a charity that remains very close to my heart. There is no pressure to raise any money at all but if people feel as if they would like to give then they can.

Not a week doesn’t go by when you don’t hear of someone struggling with their mental health and my heart always goes out to them. My immediate response is that I want to help. Unfortunately I know that I do not have the skills required. Yes, I have suffered in the past but I have no qualifications. The charity does, so the best thing I can do is to raise money for the charity so they can help all these people that need their help.

Should you wish to donate then the link is here.

A bit of a booster

Just a quick post to say that I have just returned from my final long run. 7 miles. I really enjoyed it. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and I kept to my steady marathon pace. It was a great bit of confidence boosting before the next week. I wanted to do more but managed to restrain myself. Bring on next week🙂

 

The awful Taper

I cannot work out if I am sticking my head in the sand and avoiding running or embracing it full on. The mileage has reduced and the running has got harder. I am supposed to have more time on my hands, except I haven’t. I am buried in the cyber world of the computer, searching like a maniac for……I don’t really know.

To put it concisely….I am out of sorts.

I cannot believe that in a week I will be running the London Marathon.

The running has been happening but it feels hard. My legs feel heavy and it is all a bit of an effort. The idea of running 26.2 miles is unthinkable despite knowing that I have am probably fitter than I have ever been. I also feel like I could sleep forever and I am constantly feeling as if I am going to get a cold.

Oh the joys of the taper! Tomorrow I have my last long run of 6 miles. Then that is it.

Once I had competed the Oakley 20, 3 weeks before the marathon, I knew that physically, there was not a lot more that I could do to prepare my body anymore. Training takes 3 weeks to benefit your body so no last-minute cramming (despite the monstrous urges).

I have instead turned my attention to all spending:)

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I love a bit of post.

One day this week I received my one in a million t-shirt. (This year the 1 millionth person to run London Marathon will cross the finish line and everyone who has run it since the start can get a t-shirt with their finishing number on.) I also received my magnetic race pins that say ” I completed the London Marathon”. I love magnets as they don’t put holes through all my best t-shirts and hold running bibs firmly in place. Of course I had to get some for my running partners too. As you can see the company not only sent them through really quickly but also gave me a lovely hand written note. Now I call that brilliant customer service. (For anyone interested the company is called Pinrace. No I have not been paid.)

When it comes to races, I always have to have my nails painted and London is always a special race. My friend last year did my nails for me and has again volunteered. I recently saw on Facebook some ideas for nails and so went hunting online for transfers:

I found these and look forward to getting them on my nails.

This weekend I have been researching shoes to wear for after the marathon as well as gels and things to take with me to help me get around in the first place.

Anything to keep my mind off what I am doing!

My Handmade Wardrobe

Spring has begun to spring here in the UK and I have very much had spring cleaning fever (by that I mean clearing out all the junk that none of us needs). It started off as quite fun but I am now at the point where I have had enough and the house still does not quite look like I would like it to. Hey HO, I shall persevere.

With As part of my Spring clean I decided to tackle my clothes. To be honest I am a bit fed up with my clothes. I don’t know whether it is an age thing or I have not updated recently but I just don’t feel excited by many of my outfits now. Sorting through them I did notice that I have a lot of greeny/browny coloured clothes. I always thought that I was quite a colourful person but it seems not. This is something that I will have to consciously address over the next few months.

I did sort out quite a few things to get rid of (including some smelly running tops that my husband will be so pleased to see the back of). As May is rapidly approaching along with the challenge started by Zoe called me-made-May  where you pledge to wear your handmade and upcycled clothes as much as you  declare, I decided to take photos of the things that  I have made so that I can truly see what clothes I have ready for the May challenge. (Last year I thought that I would have made loads by now…..)

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This was my first ever knitted item that I made when I was a teenager. It is incredibly warm and only worn when I want a bit of comfort.

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This poncho was the first item I made on my return to knitting.

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This Angel wings ‘Bolero’ is a favourite of mine. Nice and warm but not too bulky.

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This falling leaves jumper looks amazing on.

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This is a wrap dress that is the first item of clothing I made from cloth as an adult.

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My first pair of trousers.

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A jersey top.

I also have 2 pairs of socks, a scarf and three shawls. I wear the shawls the most.

At the end of last year I thought that I would manage to make 1 item of clothing a month. I have failed on this target so far although I have a cardigan that is nearly finished (buttons and ends) and another one well on its way. I also have the pieces cut out for another jersey top so if I get my skates on, I am not that far off my target after all……I have just not finished one a month.