Janathon Day 31: First Day/Last Day

Today was the first day in three-and-a-half years that I left Hector in the care of someone other than Edward. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I took him to nursery this morning and started to feel sad when I saw the other little ones looking longingly at their parents as they left, some even having a sob. I quickly ushered Hector past all this upset and to some paint, to busy him with creative play. After a while he ventured into a small side room where there were some stickle bricks and he happily played with some other children and one of his teachers. For quite a while. I saw this as my chance to leave, but had really wanted to say goodbye instead of sneaking away so, instead, I was told I could make myself a cup of tea in the staff room (and pull myself together presumably!). As I sat there, I thought if I were to go in and say goodbye, he would become too upset, so I made the decision to just go. I spoke to Edward on the phone as I walked home crying and he told me to look in the bedroom because there was a card there for me. So I sat on the bedroom floor laughing and crying at the same time. I do have the most wonderful husband in the world, who knows exactly what makes me happy:

I’ve always wanted a utility belt, and now I have one for my ‘new job’ as gardener and decorator.

I busied myself with tidying and such like then was cheered up when our neighbour rang the bell to say she had seen Hector playing happily on the see-saw when she dropped her daughter off…and would I like to go round for a coffee. How very grown up!

The time came to collect Hector from nursery and I walked quickly, trying not to run and look like Mad Mum. It was a bit odd really, I expected him to want to hug me, but he was quiet and subdued. Apparently he had had a good time and hadn’t cried (phew), so I didn’t push him for information, and we just walked in the sunshine and chatted. I thought it fitting on this last Janathon day for us to go for a running buggy run and, as it was a special day, and so wonderfully sunny, we took a picnic to the park:

(the cheese muffins we made when Hector got home 🙂 )

So, Janathon is complete. I ran every day and blogged every day, as I did in June. This was different though. Most of my Juneathon runs were with Hector in the passenger seat, long meandering explorations with blackberry picking and sandpit stops. Most of my Janathon runs were run in the dark, either at the crack of dawn (eek!) or in the gloomy depths of commuter time. But I loved it all, really I did! There is something very special about this experience: there is no way I would have done some of those runs if it wasn’t for the support of my virtual (and some now real) friends, and that feeling of not wanting let them or myself down. I wish I could replicate that feeling at other times! In total I ran 130.7 miles, about 22 miles further than Juneathon 2010. I hadn’t set myself a goal other than to run a minimum of three miles each time, so I am pretty pleased with that. I know there are people out there who ran these kinds of distances in the first week, and I take my Nike ear-warming hat off to them, but there are also people out there who have started from scratch and have stuck at it in possibly the darkest, coldest month of the year – a bloody well done to them! I would also like to say a HUGE thank you to Cathy for keeping on top of it all, amazing, and all for the love of it.

So what next? I have a marathon to train for, so I will be easing back on this running every day lark and sticking to the plan. That’ll be sixteen miles this weekend then. Check back and see how I’m getting on, I look forward to keeping up with and in touch with the rest of you Janathoners in the future, and meeting some of you at the get-together in a few weeks. Pats on the back all round.

Janathon day 31:

Time: 32 minutes 47 seconds

Distance: 3.01 miles

Average Pace: 10.53

Best Pace: 8.35

Calories: 350

Total for January 2011: 130.7 miles

**Update!** If anyone fancies sponsoring my marathon effort, you can donate to the Guidedogs charity here. Thank you! xxx


Janathon Day 20: Power Pushing

I had, once again, intended leaping out of bed and bedecking myself with Lycra to endure enjoy an early morning run, but of course that didn’t happen (I’m soooo tired at the moment). Instead, I persuaded Hector to go for another running buggy run, with the promise of some remote control car fun at the end. So, into the under-stair cupboard I ventured once more, we really need to sort that arrangement out. I hadn’t realised quite how cold it was and, as he was feeling stubborn – ‘I am the boss!’ – Hector said he didn’t need his big woolly blanket, just the thin, smaller one. We soon paid the price when he started complaining of feeling cold after about five minutes. Bad mother. I kept it short and local, with a few laps around the park but, before we could enjoy the flat surface alongside the running track, we had to go over the ‘spirally footbridge’ that crosses the railway line. Oh my, it’s steep and I must have looked like I was going in slow motion on the way up, then like Laurel and Hardy on the way down!

I like running at this time of day, you see lots of women and older people plodding around happily and everyone is just getting on with their own thing. I did feel bad every time Hector said he was cold, and I did offer him my Grim T-shirt to keep him warm, but he took one look and said no. ‘Just once more up here, round here and back over the spirally footbridge and we will be home!’ I then promised to take him to the cafe for a hot chocolate to warm him up after I had changed. We both enjoyed that part of my run.

Janathon day 20:

Time: 32 minutes 32 seconds

Distance: 3.06 miles

Average Pace: 10.38

Best Pace: 6.51

Calories: 347


Janathon Day 19: Everybody Loves the Sunshine!

This morning was all about creating a ‘fantastic marble run’:

This afternoon was all about fitting in a run. I really didn’t want to have to run this evening again, so I persuaded Hector to climb into the running buggy and off we went. There is so much general faff involved in a running buggy run, far more than on a regular sort of run. First of all, I have to take pretty much everything out of the under-stair cupboard before performing a challenging and risky maneuver to dislodge the running buggy. Phew! Eventually, after discussion about gloves and sunglasses, we leave the house. It was a lovely day: bright, crisp, fresh, if slightly cold, and we just did an errand sort of run, picking some things up along the way. My ‘trainer’ was keen to get back and play, and I didn’t want to push it (and my knee is tender still. It’s a bit odd, sort of ok when I run, but painful when I go up and down the stairs, any ideas?).

Janathon day 19:

Time: 31 minutes 42 seconds

Distance: 3.27 miles

Average Pace: 09.52

Best Pace: 7.21

Calories: 284

Janathon Day 6: Running is for life, not just for January

I approached our house at the end of my run just as our neighbour was pulling up on his scooter. ”Have you been running?’ he enquired ‘That’s very New Year of you’. I put him straight on that one, dropping the Brighton Marathon casually into the conversation. Oh dear, I probably came across as a smug runner. He did say he had bought some running shoes for New Year, so I will look out for him as I avoid the mud in my own new shoes.

I started the day in my running gear, all set to go out for a running buggy run, but the rain just wasn’t stopping so we did a bit more of this:

Then spent lots of time building a fantastic railway line that travelled from our bedroom all the way to Hector’s room, encountering a step along the way. Then, having exhausted himself with all this building, Hector retired to his den:

We did have to leave the house this afternoon to go to Hector’s first swimming lesson at our new pool. He said: ‘Are we going to Crouch End?’. Ah, he can’t get his head round being south of the river! It was a great lesson, really well structured and challenging, and Hector seemed to like the teacher, who we had all to ourselves today. After getting wet again, but in the appropriate attire, we went outside to get wet in our inappropriate attire; I decided it was time I bought myself some wellies. I do have a problem with boots in general, having larger than average calf muscles, I simply can’t find a pair that fit (and don’t make me look like I also have huge ankles). Anyway, I found a pair that were cheap and cheerful (bright spots) and adjusted them to the furthest point on the buckle and made do with the tightness. I wore them home and we played the most exciting game of race each other to the next puddle and splash really hard. I recommend it.

My run was a dark, wet and quick one, while Edward and Hector made dinner 🙂 I kept to the roads, noting just how busy it is in the evening, compared with the morning. I really had to have my wits about me, with cars whizzing around at speed, their drivers angry and tired and not looking out for a darkly dressed figure passing briskly in front of them. I do feel the runs are easier after a few days, my lungs feel a bit more willing to join in and I actually enjoyed it, even if it was a bit grim out there.

Janathon day 6:

Time: 32 minutes 51 seconds

Distance: 3.16 miles

Average Pace: 10.24

Best Pace: 7.59

Calories: 352

Janathon Day 5: Down and dirty

It seems I made Edward late for work yesterday by running before breakfast, so I was dissuaded this morning. Knowing I would find it a challenge to get out after 8pm, I decided to shoe-horn the running buggy from the under-stair cupboard and head out with my co-pilot. Thankfully, Hector was really excited: ‘I love going running with you!’. It was such a bright and beautiful morning too, a real treat to be out there together, enjoying the diggers and mud in our local park first of all. There is a river running through the park and the diggers are working hard creating new paths, platforms and bridges to allow easier access to the river, even to the point of offering a great paddling spot come the summer. In the meantime, we do have to do a bit of wading, but it will be worth it in the end:

It’s been a while since I have run with Hector in the buggy, what with the snow and ice and everything, so I really did feel it today, especially when I had to take a hilly detour to avoid some really big mud swamps, talk about huffing and puffing! Today was to be an exploration of the Waterlink Way, a walking/running/cycle route that follows the river from Deptford Creek right down to Beckenham, passing very close to our house. It turned out to be a lovely route, if you forgive the section cutting through Wickes car park in Catford Bridge. I did find some spots a little secluded, but you always seem to be fairly close to life, even passing by the biggest Sainsbury’s I’ve ever seen. When I look at the map, it seems to offer quite a long run but, in reality, it’s not that far (the full length would, of course, be a good run!), but you could always add bits and loop here and there to extend the distance.

We went as far as Lower Sydenham, then turned towards home, churning our way through the mud on the way. I’d also forgotten how chatty Hector is when we’re running, asking questions, pointing things out, asking more questions and turning around to see where my answer is. I had to tell him I couldn’t talk right now because I was out of breath – we  paused to ‘have a chat’, then everything was alright again.

Janathon day 5:

Time: 48 minutes 03 seconds

Distance: 4.44 miles

Average Pace: 10.49

Best Pace: 7.23

Calories: 530

Indian summer

I’m so happy that the sun is out after all that rain in the past weeks, it feels almost like summer again, although I pull on a cardie and some socks in the evening… So, in the spirit of summer, we headed out to Finsbury Park this morning. I think Hector was glad to be back out in the running buggy, he does enjoy it whizzing along, telling me where to go and what to do. I can’t imagine where this bossiness comes from. We went via a different entrance today because I wanted to show him the outdoor gym they’ve installed. I was going to take a photo, but thought the people on board the machines might not be so happy about that. Every time I have been past this gym, there have been people using almost every machine, even before it was officially open. It’s a great idea because, before the outdoor gym was installed, people would use the nearby play area to do pull ups and so on, a bit intimidating for a small child! For anyone who hasn’t seen one of these gyms, they are a collection of heavy duty, brightly coloured machines to exercise various parts of the body. I imagine they use your own body weight to assist in the workout. One day I will have a go and report back (and take a photo).

We carried on up the hill, which I found far more difficult than on Sunday, with the running buggy ahead of me. We did pause at the sandpit and bumped into some friends, so it was a rather lovely morning/afternoon out.

Time: 46 minutes 28 seconds

Distance: 4.16 miles

Average Pace: 11.10

Best Pace: 8.27

Calories: 457

Last night I forced myself to go out for a run after dinner and after Hector had gone to bed, this meant leaving the house at about 8.30. It was dark. I am not a fan of evening runs around here, I had to stick to busy roads and loop around to make up the mileage. I also went on a bit of a detour to avoid a rowdy group of men on the main road. I think I should buy some reflective strips to make myself a bit more visible if I am to make a habit of going out in the evening – head to toe black is not a good idea.

Time: 32 minutes 31 seconds

Distance: 3.22 miles

Average Pace: 10.05

Calories: 318

Wild swimming

Oh, to be back in Wales with all that fresh air, the coal fire and the fresh, fresh river. Hector actually said, as we were leaving: ‘Can we bring our house here?’ We had a lovely long anniversary weekend in Dolanog with friends in a very special house, full of interesting bits and bobs and the  most wonderful fire to snuggle up to whilst playing cards after a delicious roast lamb dinner. On Friday it was our fifth wedding anniversary and we celebrated by going for a ride on the Welshpool-Llanfair steam train. The train was just like Ivor the Engine, poop-poop! At one point a stag ran across the track and we looked to the side and saw wild strawberries growing amongst the hedgerow. On our return to the house, everyone else was raring to go out for a walk to the river. It was pretty cold, almost autumnal, in Wales but Edward sneaked his shorts on under his jeans before we left.

We have the Wild Swim book and Edward in particular likes to try out the recommendations…and anywhere else he finds along the way. We also had fun skimming stones, and Hector got quite into it after a bit of instruction.

In the morning, I had gone out for a run. Edouard recommended a run up a hill, which he reckoned was about five miles, but I didn’t have enough time due to the steam train ride, so just stuck to the winding roads. For the first mile or so I didn’t see a soul, then the two cars and a tractor that did pass had friendly drivers who waved at me! This run was the hilliest I have done in a long time, I was gasping and wheezing like the pistons on the train, but it was well worth it for the incredible views.

And the breakfast to refuel…

Time: 30 minutes 35 seconds

Distance: 3 miles

Average Pace: 10.12

Calories: 322

I had hoped to get out and do the big hill run on the Saturday, but Hector was struck down with a stomach bug, so I was on cuddle and comfort duties.

I did a Crouch End run this morning, which broke the three mile barrier I have been stuck behind recently. Thank goodness because I have a half-marathon in just a few weeks!

Time: 49 minutes 42 seconds

Distance: 4.68 miles

Average Pace: 10.37

Best Pace: 8.21

Calories: 544