Paint your own blue sky!

Oh, how wet it is out there today. My school run run was a drizzly one which I decided to prolong for my own benefit: I could have run straight home, had a shower, jumped on my bike and got wet again cycling to the paint shop but, instead, I decided to run home via the paint shop and complete my run with tin of paint in tow. I wouldn’t recommend it, I had it nestling under my arm – which I had to keep swapping – and was slightly worried that I might drop it and have a blue stream trailing behind me. As it was, the paint got a little extra shake which I figured could only be a good thing.

'Brighton' blue for our kitchen wall

There has been is always a lot of talk over on Twitter, between Travelling Hopefully and myself mainly, about the baking god that is Dan Lepard. Now Cassie is on some sort of baking mission and working her way through his marvellous new ‘Short and Sweet’, whereas I sat and leafed through  my copy last night with a cup of tea and couldn’t even begin to decide where to start (I did have some bread baking in the oven as I did this, so I’m not entirely bake-averse). This morning I did brave the rain once more to go out and buy today’s Guardian which features some lovely ‘comfort food’ recipes by the lovely Dan himself:

Comfort and joy

There’s no question on where to start there: Marmalade Chelsea Buns anyone?

Distance: 3.82 miles

Time: 37 minutes 47 seconds

Average Pace: 9.53

Best Pace: 6.33

Calories: 412


A Wild Life

I really wished I had my camera with me this morning. Not only did I enjoy the view of the female kingfisher dipping between branches and diving in and out of the water, I saw the silhouette of a day-time fox slowly slinking past in the background. All this in South East London! Other than this, my run was quite uneventful, with a few loops here and there to make it up to three miles. I am noticing though, that when I reach my front door and flick between the screens, my heart rate seems a bit lower than it was when I initially started training with an HRM, I will try and look at my data in a more scientific way, but for now that’s enough for me!

Distance: 3.08 miles

Time: 31 minutes 10 seconds

Average Pace: 10.06

Best Pace: 5.59

Calories: 336

And I know it’s gonna be a lovely daaaaay!

(that’s me being all positive again, see?)

This morning Hector managed to run into the handrail at the bottom of the stairs and has a real shiner brewing on his cheekbone. Oh my.

I had daydreamed about doing a longer run today, getting past the three or four mile barrier I am hovering behind at the moment, but it wasn’t to be. I put on some music to see me though, a weekend treat. Susan has been talking this week about what she listens to whilst running, and really shouldn’t feel ashamed of her disco playlist, whatever it takes, I say! My iPod Shuffle was offering up my limited collection of run-boosting tunes this morning, starting with ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ by The Cure (oh how ironic!), followed by some Florence and the Machine then a bit of Morrissey before we moved over to anthem corner with ‘Empire State of Mind’ and Amerie’s ‘One Thing’, yes, there you go, I can veer from tasteful to cheesy in one short run. I need to update my shuffle and any suggestions would be very welcome.

Distance: 3.09 miles

Time: 30 minutes 14 seconds

Average Pace: 9.47

Best Pace: 3.32

Calories: 319


That’s me, trying to be upbeat after a shit day. Well, it wasn’t the worst day ever, not life-changingly crap, just crappy in a ‘I was looking forward to the weekend and now my Saturday has been spoilt by lots of small things and it’s almost dinner time and I have to salvage what’s  left of it’ kind of way. My run was alright, just a Waterlink Way run to Deptford to take Hector to his swimming lesson (irritation number 1, he freaked out and wouldn’t get in with a new teacher and we had an audience as we dealt with this parental challenge). I noticed at least five shopping trolleys in the river – but no camera handy – and figured it must be due to proximity to Tesco and the high concrete sides that limit access to retrieve them. So, it was just over four miles, in the rain, with a break – not a relaxing one – in the middle and a full-on cold to boot.

A hearty a re-energising lunch of baked beans and poached egg on toast was had and a plan was made to go to the library and find a DVD to watch tonight and sit and have a read. Here irritation number 2 took place: Hector became a mischief-causing whirlwind and I ended up storming out with him under my arm. Ahem. He promptly had a really long and messy nose-bleed and we all calmed down while we dealt with it (not really an irritation, just a challenge). A kind lady came over to offer advice: ‘If you want his nose to stop bleeding, you need to tip his head back and apply ice’. The ice was a great idea (there is a cafe at the library), but tipping his head back is wrong, we’ve dealt with these nosebleeds many times now, and know the score, so we had to not make eye-contact with the lady as we ignored her advice. We returned to the children’s section once the flood had subsided and enjoyed a cosy read and all was well again.

To redeem himself, Hector is doing his special pizzas with Daddy and I can smell red pepper roasting and hear that goat’s cheese is also on the menu…mmmmmm! And breathe.

Distance: 4.21 miles

Time: 40 minutes 34 seconds

Average Pace: 9.38

Best Pace: 3.38

Calories: 435

School run

Day two of the new plan. It’s the end of the school week and I expected Hector to be tired and a bit unwilling, but he jumped up at six o’clock, ran to the window and said: ‘ I want to see Mercury!’ I might normally have turned over and tried to ignore such an early request, but I was so delighted by this enthusiasm that I too went to the window and we quietly watched aeroplanes and clouds. I need to get some sort of star chart so we know which way to look on a clearer day. After a great deal of cajoling, he got into his uniform and we strolled to the bus-stop. Unlike yesterday, there were a few tears and numerous kisses – which always seems to surprise onlookers, maybe they are uncomfortable with such public displays of affection – and he eventually went into class.

After yesterday’s realisation that the run home is not quite three miles, I added a loop at the beginning and a hilly bit in the park, pausing to look out for the kingfisher. I can’t help myself but let out an audible gasp when I spot him, resplendent on an overhanging branch, darting swiftly into the water and back out again, breakfast wriggling in his beak.

Distance: 3.02 miles

Time: 29 minutes 40 seconds

Average Pace: 9.49

Best Pace: 5.52

Calories: 325


Looping the loop

I’m sorry about yesterday, what an old grumpy pants I was! Today is just as grey and even wetter, but my morning start was far more positive than yesterday due to a compromise between me and the little fella: I have offered to take him on public transport then I run home. The situation at school is unique at the moment – due to a rebuild of the original school, the children are being bussed out to a temporary site until after the Easter holidays and it is this bus part of the day that is really upsetting Hector. I decided that, if I remove that factor, then he will be more positive about school, and he was. Just a few big tight hugs, kisses all over my face ‘Mummy, I forgot to kiss your left cheek!’ and off he went, no tears. Phew.

The run back home was wet, but followed my usual route anyway, I was slightly disappointed though that the journey is not quite three miles and I ended up doing some looping around the park to make  up the distance. It didn’t matter, there was hardly anyone about to see my loopy behaviour, it was just me and the ducks!

Distance: 3.09 miles

Time: 30 minutes 41 seconds

Average Pace: 9.57

Best Pace: 3.13

Calories: 345


Today is a grey day. Grey sky, grey mood and a very grey moment dropping Hector off this morning as he was shouting: ‘I don’t want to go to school!’, not how I want to start my day. I waited momentarily to allow the drizzle to subside and felt the positive effects of my run about one mile in as I waved at the bird-watching man and a team of volunteers who were carrying out some kind of river clean-up on the opposite bank. On my return I did some clever mirror positioning and confirmed my suspicions: I am going grey from behind, with the little fluffy wisps at the back of my neck creeping in a silvery line amongst the curls. If I had those lovely greying temples or a shock of white through my fringe I might embrace it, but this is just plain odd. To dye or not to dye…?

Distance: 3.12 miles

Time: 31 minutes 01 seconds

Average Pace: 9.56

Best Pace: 1.35 (eh?!)

Calories: 277