Monday, March 29, 2010

My Rules of Running

I've been meaning to write this little guide to running for a while...

1) You do not need 'someone to run with', why not just pull on you trainers and go alone ? That way you can run at your own pace (rather than someone else's), listen to your own music, rather than making converation, and you can run when you want to, and for as long as you want to.

2) Trainers. If you are not sure whether the trainers you have are designed for running, then DON'T run in them. Also, don't try and run in your casual 'wear-around-town' trainers. Get down to your local running shop, get them to assess your gait, find a pair that fits and feels comfortable, then either a) buy them or b) get a note of the make/model and research them on the internet and find out where you can get the best deal. With the right trainers you can avoid jarring your knees and hips, and save your shins from painful 'shin splints'.

3) Clothing. Yes, you can go out in your cotton t-shirt and joggers and after about 10 or 20 minutes, you will probably be freezing cold as the was-hot-now-cold sweat that has soaked into the cotton now begins to stick to your skin, and you will probably be in pain as the skin beneath the wet cotton begins to chafe against it. Don't believe me ? Do an internet search for 'Jogger's Nipple' and 'read all about it'.

4) Vary your route. There is nothing more tedious than running the same route every day. For the same reason I do not compete in races which consist of tedious loops around the same route. Mix it up, you'll see different things and different people which keeps things interesting which means the runs are not boring, which makes you want to go again. Or, at least, makes you not inclined to give it a miss 'because it's boring...'

To be continued....

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Quiche a la Tomate, Nicoise

Today I was going to cook Lamb Kofte after seeing a recipe in the book called 'Remarkable Feasts' by Leslie Forbes which I got recently in a charity store... Instead I decided to cook a recipe from the freebie book that I got with my Julie and Julia DVD. It's called Quiche a la tomate, Nicoise, and is taken from Mastering the Art of French cooking by Julia Child.

I had most of the ingredients and it sounded pretty yum, so I thought 'Why not?'. It was quite nice, Biscuit Boy and Jaffa Cake had it too with a nice green salad. As it's a quiche with pastry you don't need any extra starch with it. This was followed by chocolate trifle (not homemade) but yum all the same...

Although, I am wondering if this was made with fairtrade chocolate ? I guess not. At the moment, I am trying to boycott all chocolate that is not fairtrade as I do no want to support those organizations which have no idea of the origins of their cocoa. Chances are it was harvested by children who have either been trafficked, or whose parents are so poor they have no choice but to put their children to work and keep them out of school.

I would happily pay more for 'chocolate with a conscience'.....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


A touchy subject bereavement... for obvious reasons. At 36 I feel I have had my fair share of knowledge of this subject. Starting at 21 with the death of my uncle.. I never saw him often as he was in the merchant navy..when I did see him it was magical, the elusive uncle back from some glamorous trip and we would look at maps of the world together (no t'internet then ..) I still now find it hard to believe that I will never see him again.

I was bereavement-free for a couple of years, and then my husband's friend passed away, the victim of a cruel brain tumour, we went to his wedding, and a few short months later, his funeral. They say that each funeral brings back a little from each previous one you have been to. How true this is, the minute I saw the hearse, I was 21 again, outside my mother's house.. I cried like a baby for a man I barely knew and again for the uncle I had lost...

More recently my father-in-law has passed away, followed a few days later by my grandfather, so cupcake and I both lost our grandfathers in the same week - albeit that I was thirty-five when I lost mine, and she just six. Which brings me onto children coping with death. Cupcake has not coped well with her grandfather's passing and I don't really know how to deal with it, other than to give her lots of love and say 'Grandad wouldn't want to see you so sad...' which consoles her a little.

These days more friends and friends of friends are passing on.. cupcake had tea tonight with her pal whose Daddy died last year of skin cancer, both daughter and wife are coping with his loss, but I sense only just..

When I turned 30, I really didn't want to be 30, I don't know why, it was basically a mid-life crisis come early. I chopped my hair, I resurrected piercings I no longer wore.. and for every subsequent year after that I used my '29' candles on every cake that I blew the candles out on. Hard to believe that for six years I blew those '2' and '9' candles out absolutely refusing to accept my thirties. For some reason last year I chose not to, I finally threw those candles away... I don't know why, I think I just turned 36 and thought to myself' 'That's it you've got to face up to this thirties thing and now's the time..'

Which brings me nicely on to my final bereavement...Shortly after my birthday last year, I hooked up with an old school friend, it was SO great to see her, we practically went through the whole school year figuring out who was doing what now and how many children they had, all the little details, you know how it is... There was one particular friend I had been trying to trace on Facebook, Friends Reunited etc. I once contacted someone who I thought was her, but had simply gained the same Last name through marriage. It wasn't her and I never did trace her.. so this was an ideal opportunity.. 'What on earth happened to Rachael ?' I asked..'Does anyone know what she is up to ?' 'Oh ... ', replied my friend hesitantly, face changing. I knew before she even said the words. '.....Didn't you know... she died' ....

Well, what can I say ? Her words echoed through my head, I got a lump in my throat, the friend didn't know what had happened, just...a mish-mash of hearsay that sounded odd to me.. I went home and cried to my husband and cried myself to sleep for the beautiful friend I would never get to see, never get to share adult things with or laugh about our schooldays with again. Like, for example, the time we ran off together in the middle of Germany in our matching jumpers in search of chocolate at the age of 14 ! Or the evenings we spent getting ready for the local disco at her house, or the table/desk football we used to play actually during our lessons, behind our pencil cases. She would laugh at all of that. She was beautiful, funny and clever, one of a kind.

In the days that followed, I absolutely racked my brain for her parent's phone number, bearing in mind it had been 17 years since I had called it. I can't believe I remembered it.. I spoke to her mom, who lovingly gave me all the details and heard me gasp as she told me how she had lost her husband and then 4months later her daughter. My friend died in her sleep, a form of adult cot death I suppose. She was 29.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hastings Half Marathon

Today I ran Hastings half marathon. I was hoping for a time of anything between 2 and 2.5 hours. This was based on my Kingston Breakfast run result in October 2009 of 2:24 - Kingston Breakfast run was 16 miles.

The 13 mile course is described as hilly at first, which then flattens out and is downhill and flat for the final half. I would describe the course as more 'undulating' there were quite a few uphills. The worst part for me was the seemingly never-ending run along the sea front at the end. I was exhausted but fell into the rhythm of the guy in front of me who seemed to have a nice quick cadence going. Finally, I saw the finish line and gave the final push.. this is when I noticed the clock.. 1:59.. and counting... I finally crossed the line in 2.00.10 which is a personal best for me - this is know as my 'race time' with my 'personal time' eg from crossing the start line at the beginning (with the crowds) to crossing the finish line was 1:58:15 so I am very pleased with this result.

Obviously my legs are now aching and oddly also my lower-tum, maybe all that clenching or bobbing up and down has caused it.. who knows..

Now all I need to do is sign up for my next race.

Friday, March 19, 2010


I am over-pleased that it's Friday today, it's been a very long week. I feel like I could quite easily sink a bottle of red but I won't with the race looming on Sunday. I can do without the dehydration !

On the way to work I was debating my secret pleasure - Starbucks - or more specifically their skinny mocha - yum ! I texted the girls I work with to see if they were interested - oh yes, one caramel macchiato and one latte coming up - and all for eight british pounds - for coffee - yes.. I know.. just as well it's a once in a while treat or I would be bankrupt.

No training today, although the half marathon is now playing on my mind.. I hate reading the race instructions too far in advance, but I will dig them out at some point and scare myself silly. I have been told that the run starts with a hill that lasts several miles.. oh my, I am already running and planning that part in my head !

The weather of course has turned too, to drizzle and greyness.. why anything else in London ?? Again, I am thinking in terms of Sunday and will be quite happy if it stays grey and drizzly because at least then I will stay COOL.

So whilst I am trying not to think about Sunday it is obvious that it is playing on my mind... maybe I should have a look at which race I plan to do next...

Happy weekend !

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Usual Day

This post is to provide an insight into my life and what I usually do on a daily basis during the working week - at the weekend anything goes !

0515-Rise and Shine - up, washed, dressed and I'm gone !
0545-Leave house
0558-Train to London
0630-Arrive London. Walk to work, maybe grab coffee (Starbucks skinny mocha-yum!) on the way, but most often not, always grab a metro for Suduko challenge later..
0700-Arrive work
0700-1300 (or 1600) on Mondays -- work, work, work (in IT so no 2 days are ever the same which is *good*.)
1300-Leave work in gym kit.
1310-Take bus to train station (Not enough time to walk..)
1323-Train leaves .. Suduko challenge time !!
1400-Arrive at destination
1410-Locate car and drive to park
1420-Arrive park, begin jog
1500-Finish jog, drive to school
1520-Collect Cupcake from school
1540-Go to relative activity (Mon-work late, Tues- FREE! Weds-swimming, Thurs-dancing, Fri-dancing)
1600-1730-Arrive home some time between these times depending on day.
'til 1900-Bath self and cupcake, sort clothes/bag/gym kit for next day, make cupcake's school lunch, sort out my lunch, assist with homework, listen to cupcake reading, organize tea for cupcake and myself and biscuit boy, help cupcake practise piano, empty dishwasher, put washing on / put clean washing away etc.etc
1900-Emmerdale time ! Time to SIT DOWN.
1915-Biscuit Boy home
1930-2000-Cup cake bed time.
2000-Dinner time!
2200-Bed ! Only 7 hours til it all starts again !

Bed time later tonight... Eddie Izzard's final program about his many marathons in many days is on tonight - BBC3 - 10.30 - have already seen the previous two and must see the final one. He has been very dedicated to his cause and I think he has actually got quite 'into it', the running thing. It will be interesting to see tonight if he says he plans to carry on running once the challenge is over...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day !

Today I did a training run ready for the half marathon in Hastings ( this Sunday.

The course I take follows a 2-mile loop around a local park. The route is off-road, a bridle path too I think, as well as popular with dog walkers, so very undulating and rough underfoot. This is good because all those lumps and bumps strenghten the bones in the ankle and make for stronger calf muscles. However, this can also be dangerous ! A few weeks ago I managed to run into a tree branch that was hidden by other undergrowth. OWCH ! A(nother) nice bruise on my leg...

I did 2 loops of the 2-mile loop, so 4 miles in total. After this, I collected Cupcake from schoool and took her to her swimming lesson. I swam too which was nice after the warm run, the water was nice and cool.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hello and Welcome ...

... to day one of this blog.

I am a 36yr old female in the UK. Fulfilling many roles - including wife, mother of one, employee (schlepping into London every day...~), sister, friend, cook ! etc. I enjoy keeping fit through running, cycling and swimming and have been known to take part in triathlons (Stratford and Bananaman), run chest deep through water (Hellrunner 2008) and do any other activities and races that keep me motivated with my keep fit plan.

In this blog I plan to report on the various races that I take part in and also give details of the training that I carry out. This will be interspersed with other musings on subjects that I find interesting like cooking, latest sport gadgets, items in the news etc.

I hope somebody reads this....

Have fun and enjoy yourself.