Head coach…

Hector. He did something today that he has never done before: he tried to climb into the running buggy! I took this as a sign and quickly threw on my running gear – though not fast enough for him, he was getting really impatient – and off we went, well, once my Garmin had decided to get a signal. I try explaining to him that the black bar needs to go all the way across the screen before we can go, but he just looks blank, sometimes I forget he’s only one year old.

When I looked out of the window this morning at the heavy rain, I didn’t imagine going running at all, but now it’s hot and sunny; I just don’t get this weather! This afternoon we went out to see some amazing birds of prey in the local park and I wrapped Hector up in his nice cosy hoodie and took the umbrella just in case. We were stripped down to our t-shirts and needing sun cream within half an hour.

Back to the run. As it was so impromptu I didn’t have a plan or idea of how long or far I was aiming for so just ran. It felt so much better knowing that it had been initiated by the little fella and I happily bounced around pointing out the dogs and giving a little kick as we tackled the hill. The other day my race number for the Flora Women’s Challenge came through the letterbox, complete with pins, how organised is that? For those who were wondering, it starts at 11am, reasonable. This has, of course, given me a little boost, a kick up the backside (in addition to the one from H) and I will aim to get out this weekend as well, no visitors or travelling to distract me.

As I said in a previous post, our telly is buggered, so I am watching snippets of the Olympics online, and what I do get to see is incredibly inspiring, we are really storming ahead on the medals table. Running Matters talks beautifully about it all here. I don’t know if it’s the Olympics effect or if more people are just taking up running, but there were quite a few runners out today. Maybe it’ll be like when Wimbledon is on and you can’t get near the tennis courts: they’ll be gone in a few weeks. I hope not because I like seeing more people out and I think I detect a competitive streak in Hector who seems to want me to catch them up; he is indeed a good coach!

Time: 26.06

Distance: 2.64 miles

Average Pace: 9.54

Best Pace: 8.05

Calories: 282


Back on track

I’ve been away…getting very wet in Wales. There’s a reason Wales is so deliciously lush and green. We went over to south Wales to meet up with Ben and Jackie who live in Pontypridd, then headed over to Pembrokeshire to go camping near St Davids. It is quite amazingly beautiful around there, breathtaking. We did have a lovely time, but our camping trip was cut short by a 5am storm which destroyed B&J’s brand new tent (they did get their money back, thankfully). Then off we headed up north to visit my parents. A wonderful time was had at the Welsh Mountain Zoo and watching Punch and Judy in Llandudno, but not much beach action 😦 We did manage to experience this incredible place on our one hot day:

The Blue Lagoon, a disused slate quarry with sparkling blue water. It features in a lovely book we have called ‘Wild Swim’ so we have now ticked this one off our list. This weekend we had visitors from the Netherlands and spent time showing Mirjam and Bas the sights of north London…here we are picking blackberries in Highgate Cemetary, naughty I know, but what a scrumptious crumble they made:

So, you might wonder when I fitted running in with all this, well I didn’t. I did pack my running kit, but simply didn’t get a chance, what with the dreadful weather and the tight schedule. Today I got back on track and headed out while it was dry – you really do have to time it well at the moment to avoid a drenching! I have looked into getting a cover for the running buggy, but at about 50-odd quid I will have to leave it!

Great joy was experienced all round when we turned in to the park to see a shiny red tractor (or ‘tat-der’ as Hector says) mowing the grass. This provided lots of entertainment as the driver whizzed it round in circles and sprayed cut grass behind him. We saw the usual group of plodders and dog walkers and paused to check out the pigeons and crows. It’s nice to be back.

Time: 30.43

Distance: 3.04 miles

Average Pace: 10.07

Best Pace: 8.30

Calories: 381

By the way, I am super gutted that our telly has decided to conk out on us during the Olympics, this means I am only getting to see highlights on the web…a day late 😦 I did think Paula Radcliffe should have given it a miss, she had a stress fracture for goodness’ sake!

Cough, cough

I spent a few hours in a smoky pub last night, supporting my football team, and what did they give me in return? It was very painful to watch as Manchester United played so badly when they needed to be on their best form. I so wanted to be part of an all English final; that would have been incredible 😦

Eric wasn’t sure about the pub environment either and was having a good old wriggle at first – I think the TV was too loud for him. I look forward to July when smoking is banned in pubs and bars in England: we enjoyed a drink (juice, of course!) at a bar in Cardiff over the weekend and it felt so nice not to have to fret about the fumes and to feel normal!

Unmissable viewing Thursday!

Set your alarm clocks this Thursday, and don’t miss ‘Wonderful World of Weird’ on BBC 2 at 7.30am. This episode features my work for my Bus Sculpture project as an example of how artists look at unusual things for inspiration. Have a look at the WWoW website for more information.

If you are up bright and early, you might also like to tune in to BBC Radio Suffolk to hear an interview with me about Trolley Spotting. I am being called at 5.50am, so should be on air sometime after 6am(!!) You can tune in online or on your radio: 95.5FM, 95.9FM, 103.9FM and 104.6FM. I’m not sure how awake I will be at that time though!

After enjoying all of this over breakfast, why not head on over to Lancaster for my Artist’s Talk? I will be giving an illustrated presentation about my work at St Martin’s College on Bowerham Road, Lancaster, LA1 3JD at 6.30pm. To find out more about this series of talks organised by Folly, look here.

So, tomorrow is going to be a very busy day for me and I won’t be able to make it to my lovely yoga class 😦 I am going to try and do my own version tonight and maybe in my hotel room tomorrow night.