Octoberthon. It’s like Oktoberfest but without the beer.

Well, maybe the odd glass on a Friday evening.

I am feeling a bit sluggish and porky around the middle at the moment and, after my BIG walk last week (which I will write about when I get a chance, really I will), I feel encouraged and inspired to push myself a little bit further than I have been doing of late. So I have decided to take decisive action and commit to a daily activity. Remember Juneathon? Well, this is just like that but it’s in October and doesn’t necessarily involve daily blogging, which I found more challenging than the daily running (look, I’m making all this up, so I can make up my own rules and do what the heck I like). I will attempt to run every day, with a limit of no fewer than three miles and, as I will be perusing the Venice Biennale for a few days towards the end of the month, I will make up for those lost days at the beginning of November (as I said, I make up the rules ok?).

To start you off, I ran to Hector’s swimming lesson and back yesterday and boy did I look like some sort of lardy, asthmatic (yes, I am) beginner! I gasped up Hornsey Rise like a steam train, pausing at the top pretending to look at a digger and roller combo. Coming home was a little easier, but I still felt totally out of condition. Here are the stats:

Time: 52 minutes 59 seconds

Distance: 4.92 miles

Average Pace: 10.46

Best Pace: 8.53

Calories: 512

This afternoon I popped Hector in the running buggy in a desperate attempt to get him to have a sleep. Of course he slipped into gentle slumber within minutes of setting off and I enjoyed a saunter along the canal. There is a lovely new cafe near the playground at Markfield Park, so my longer runs will be full of temptation as the delicious-looking carrot cakes call me from the path of righteousness.

Time: 35 minutes 58 seconds

Distance: 3.47 miles

Average Pace: 10.21

Best Pace: 7.55

Calories: 377

So, does anyone want to join me? I found Juneathon a great motivator and this could be just what we need to get back on track for the dark months ahead. Has anyone heard about a place in the VLM and needs a bit of a kick start? Go on, you know you want to!

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Up and out

Thankfully today’s run felt much easier than the last two, I just seemed to have more energy and less sluggishness. It was jolly cold though, so I donned my tights but left my arms exposed, don’t want to appear to be a complete wuss in October! Maybe it felt easier today because it wasn’t as windy, or maybe it was the porridge I had for breakfast (I normally have muesli).

We set out quite early to get back in time for our Wednesday morning swim. After last week’s almost tropical temperatures, the pool was freezing again so we didn’t stay in that long, even I was feeling it and that’s unusual. There was a schools gala going on in the main pool and the noise was incredible – Hector kept wanting to be picked up  to see what was happening. In these days of inclusion, there was a section for competitive floating and also competitive splashing, this made Hector say ‘Wow!’ for the first time, it’s been a week of new words: wow, dumper, ball and goal!

Time: 30.44 minutes

Distance: 2.98 miles

Average Pace: 10.19

Best Pace: 8.05

Calories: 372

Danger, boy racers!

This morning’s delightfully sunny saunter was hampered somewhat by the presence of three idiot kids on a scooter – they were careering around the park – including the children’s playground and the duck pond – at great speed, no helmets, no sense and three of them piled on the seat. Fools. I felt quite intimidated by them and a bit concerned that they seemed to have little control over the bike. Thankfully we managed to keep out of each other’s way.

So, this is day three of my 5k schedule and my legs are feeling a bit achey, nothing painful, just a nice ‘ooh, I have muscles!’ kind of ache. This was the first time that Hector has objected to being in the buggy and I felt a bit bad calling out ‘not long, nearly there!’ whilst trying to get to my three mile goal. We did spend lots of time afterwards in the sandpit (once the pikey scooter yobs had moved on) and have just come back from the swimming pool, so not an entirely selfish outing! I had intended on giving the lido a go on this hot, hot day, but the queue was out of the door and you could hear the noise as you walked up the street, so we chickened out and went inside, where it was still rammed but slightly less so. School holidays, tsk.

Time: 32.44

Distance: 3.06 miles

Average Pace: 10.41

Best Pace: 8.51

Calories: 378

The long way home

Yesterday was a walking day. This wasn’t what I had intended but that’s how it ended up. I locked us out of the house. We went swimming in the morning and Hector did his incredibly confident rubber ring lengths whilst I squatted nearby to help him if he needed it. After lunch I decided to pop to the shops to try and find a top to wear for the wedding we’re going to on Saturday. I put Hector in our new sling and off we went in the sunshine – yay! We walked through the park and enjoyed some creatures along the way. After traipsing around the shops getting hotter and grumpier, I decided we should go home and chill out for a bit. By this point Hector was hungry and tired and was getting more and more impatient as I tried to find the house keys…but they were not in my bag. I tipped it out three times but for some reason this didn’t make them magically appear. Oh, what awful timing: Edward was off at his new job all the way over in Chelsea and wasn’t going to be back until very late and our friends who have our spare set are in Cornwall – aaarrrghghg!

After doing some texting and ringing to try and work out a plan of action, I sat down on the recycling bin to feed Hector; it’s surprisingly comfy. Anyway, no responses were forthcoming and Hector was getting bored of wandering around our tiny front garden, so we headed back to the park. Eventually Edward rang back and we decided that we would go and meet him part way and collect his keys. This was one of those moments where you have to take a deep breath and muster up enough energy to cope with the next leg!

It was lovely to see him, all bright and breezy in his high-vis jacket and cycling gear, and he persuaded me to pause and have a cool milkshake before heading back home. The homeward journey was pretty stressful with a very tired and upset baby crying most of the way 😦 Obviously I didn’t have my Garmin on for the trek, but I just traced the journey on G-Map and it came out as six miles!

Today I decided to get out early and make the most of this gorgeous weather before it gets too hot, so we were out before nine. I thought it might be interesting to muddle things up a bit and go a different way, so we started off with our usual two parks, then headed out towards Green Lanes – we were dropping off a birthday present for Hector’s very good friend Max, who is now one. From here we negotiated the bumpy, uneven and busy pavements until we reached the lovely new Chestnuts playground. This has just been opened and had that weird spongy flooring and lots of great climbing frames and swing things (unfortunately none of these swings are really suitable for a baby, so we did the ‘baby on mummy’s knee’ swing). As the ground was so forgiving, I decided to encourage Hector to take a few more steps unaided and he really went for it – he did 30 steps all on his own! I do wish he’d slow down though, and think about it, I suppose he sees me running everywhere though…

The park was interesting: there was a large group of Muslim women and their children, the women wearing full veils and long black, flowing outfits. At one point all the women were piled on top of a see-saw thing, going up and down and laughing their heads off – I said it would make a great picture and one of them said ‘What if our husbands saw it on You Tube?!’. Two women were also swinging really high and squealing with delight, a funny sight with their clothes flapping about in the wind and their faces obscured! This run was quite sociable as we bumped into two fellow mums and babies – I feel a bit odd when I see other mums when I’m running, they give me a funny look, but then ask about the buggy and seem to be impressed/supportive.

So, once Hector had had enough fun and challenges, we headed back home for him to have a well-earned nap (and for me to grab a cup of tea;)

Number of Juneathons: 5/5

Total miles: 18.21

(I let Edward use my Garmin yesterday to record his first cycling commute to his new job – 24 miles!! This does mean it was allowed to run down though, so it died on me after about a mile. I traced today’s run and it came out at about 3.84 miles)

Juggling Juneathon

I have committed myself to the Juneathon challenge – to run (or cross train) every day in June, but I haven’t got off to such a fantastic start. Yesterday it didn’t really occur to me that it was June and that I needed to get out and run, so I will count the walk we took across Green Park and the ‘energetic’ game of petanque we had during our picnic. Can I count Saturday’s activity? We cycled to the swimming pool and back and I did ten lengths in the middle, along with the squatting bit in the baby pool. I guess we did about five miles or so on the bikes – I did feel nervous at first but much more confident on the return leg. I think we might go on the bike to our swimming lesson now, far nicer and quicker than the stinky bus.

So, to today’s run. Remember a few weeks ago I mentioned being stared at by a man when we were at the paddling pool? Well, he has raised his grubby little head again. We set off around park number one and it started pouring down – great – so we stood under the weeping willow for a bit and watched the squirrels. When the rain eased we headed over to park number two with the intention of doing a couple of circuits, but Hector seemed a bit fed up so I cut it short and walked over to the duck pond. We were crouching down watching the ducklings, having a lovely time when someone approached us from behind. I moved out of the way and apologised for blocking the path. I noticed it was slimy man and decided to walk on. As we moved around the pond I could see that he was touching himself as he watched us, not exposing himself, but definitely doing the business. I felt quite sick. Ok, these perverts are probably in every park, preying on lone females, but I was there with my baby and this is simply not on. I kept an eye on him to make sure I wasn’t imagining things then decided to leave. As I neared him I knew I had to say something, let him know that this was not acceptable so I said ‘I think you should keep away from us. I have seen what you are doing’. He shrugged, as if denying it.

We often hear stories of ‘flashers’ in the park, men making lewd comments to women and it gets laughed off, but this man is hanging around a duck pond, which is next to a children’s play area and paddling pool; he needs to be stopped. So I came home and called the local police station. Two very nice (and incredibly big!) officers came round just now and took some details. I felt quite reassured after talking to them – I had initially felt like never going to the park again, but I feel kind of empowered by having reported it and knowing that they will look out for this man.

Time: 27.41

Distance: 2.73 miles

Average Pace: 10.08

Best Pace: 8.08

Calories: 321

Juneathon running total: 2.73 miles

Juneathon cross training total: one session

Look no hands!

I often go swimming but don’t write about it on here: I don’t really count bobbing up and down in the water with Hector as a swim (although I do get a good quads work-out with all the squatting!). On Saturday we went out to the pool early and took Hector’s rubber ring…he loves it! He was just going for it all on his own, turning, kicking and covering quite a distance all by himself 🙂 I’m so pleased he is so confident in the water – not such a surprise when you consider I was swimming right up until the day he was born. As Edward was there, I was able to pop into the main pool and do a few lengths, oh how delicious this felt. As I was swimming I remembered how I used to complain on here about all the irritating people I encountered at the pool, but now I barely even notice them as I just don’t have time to get worked up any more!

There were, however, some entertaining women who appeared from the sauna. It was just like that Galvanise video with the painted faces: they had face packs on and the wildest hair you have ever seen. Arrrrghghghg!!

The weather over the weekend was well and truly crap, typical Bank Holiday. I can’t really go out with the running buggy in the rain because we don’t have a waterproof cover – I’m not a fan of those plastic covers anyway, can’t be very nice for the baby. Anyway, today we have been treated to a little bit of sunshine again so we popped out to make the most of it. I started running but felt all wrong: my body felt sort of misaligned. I think I must have ‘slept funny’ as my head would only turn in one direction and my lower back felt all tight and twisted. I was also incredibly wheezy due to spending a few hours in the company of Nick and Nadine’s cats yesterday; they really got my asthma going for some reason. So, that’s all the excuses out of the way 😉 Once I got going these niggles all started to ease and iron themselves out and I was able to enjoy myself.

It was an all round enjoyable trip, with plenty of birds to point at and a few friendly dogs to pat.

Time: 40.57

Distance: 3.87 miles

Average Pace: 10.35

Best Pace: 8.58

Calories: 488

I need to work very hard at the moment to work off the mountain of cakes I consumed on Saturday at the Tottenham Ladies’ Bake Off 2008.

Begin again, begin again

I sneaked a little run in this morning 🙂 Hector has not been fooled by this clock-changing malarky and was awake at 6am as usual (in ‘old’ time terms, that’s 5am, remember!). I managed to entertain him for about half an hour before he ‘said’ ‘right, get up, I want to play!’. I thought it was Edward’s turn, since he was out playing/watching football last night, so let him do the playing. As I lay there I thought ‘Oooh, I could just leap up and go for a run right now!’, so I did.

It felt very odd being out of the house without Hector, but it was only for twenty minutes and this time I had my – charged up – Garmin on, so could see how fast, long and far I was going. As I had suspected, I was going quite fast, no wonder my lungs were aching! But, for some reason, I found it very difficult to slow down. Before I had a baby I had reached a point in my running where I didn’t feel I had to prove anything: I had conquered great distances so felt valid in my running, but now I feel like a beginner all over again and set off way too fast as if I’m saying ‘Look at me, I can do it!’. I really do need to get over this and pull back a bit when I run or I’ll end up injured.

So, here goes, here are the stats for my first run with my Garmin since starting back:

Time: 22.17 mins

Distance: 2.21 miles

Average Pace: 10.04

Best Pace: 7.16

Calories: 240

Minus the to and from home, the run looked a bit like this:

Run view

After breakfast, we went swimming, so I got my upper body workout whilst bobbing Hector up and down in the water and squatting low in the shallow end.