Cardiff in sight

Oh hello! Yes, my running has taken a sideline recently. I got into a good groove before we went away, running in the evening, doing sit-ups, stretching, that kind of thing, then we went to Cornwall for a week and I lost my mojo again. I eagerly packed my running kit before anything else, then promptly left it in the boot of the car for the rest of the week. I was having far too much fun playing in the sand, catching my breath in the sea and eating lots and lots of delicious cream teas. Drool. Oh, and quenching my thirst with this stuff:

I became rather adept at my new obsession, stone balancing, excellent fun and ever so satisfying when you manage a tricky one:

Anyway, that was almost a month ago, so I thought I needed to get back on course and took advantage of this Bank Holiday weekend and went for a couple of runs and three bike rides. The first run was a little tester to see if I was actually still alive. I was. It was windy and grey and felt more like October than August, but I managed about three miles and a bit (dodgy Garmin stats again). On Sunday I couldn’t find my Garmin anywhere (it turned up under the bed, as things do) so Edward said I could use his iPhone. I did comment that I find it irritating that you can’t just look down at your wrist to see how far you’ve gone, but this particular app tells you out loud when you’ve completed another mile. I did six. In October I am running the Cardiff Half Marathon, so that’s about six weeks away. I figure I could add a mile a week to the long run and things should be just fine, slow and steady.

I ran to Finsbury Park for this one. Again it was windy, but it felt nice to run around Finsbury Park outside the constrains of the Parkrun: there are hills, but I avoided anything as horrible as the one we run up twice during the 5k. On both of my runs this week I witnessed men peeing in parks, the first one I reprimanded, but this one just puzzled me. There was a fun fair in the park and he was one of the fair people who had obviously been spending the night amongst the lights and dizzying rides in his caravan. Now, I have very little experience of caravans, but I do know that they generally have a loo in them, don’t they? So why would you go outside and pee next to it? Dirty.

Time: 1 hour 4 minutes 45 seconds

Distance: 6.18 miles

Average Pace: 10.28

Calories: 932

How generous the iPod is with calories, I took advantage of this with an extra big bowl of my blackberry crumble.

Another reason for my lack of running is that I am slightly distracted by moving house. Our sale is going through now but we were having trouble finding anywhere to move to. We seem to have found ‘the one’ now and are looking forward to a smooth move. This has set me thinking about running routes. We picked our blackberries on Tottenham Marshes and I said I am going to miss them (as does Jogblog), this half marathon will be the last race where I will train on the marshes and canals, the routes that have seen me through two marathons and numerous other running challenges. I wonder if I will find anywhere as wonderful where we are moving to. One thing that does excite me is the possibility of being just minutes away from a running club, and running is the best way to explore a new area and find out where everything is.


Ouch! On Friday evening I went to my first Boxing Circuits class in about, ooh, five years. It was as if I had never been away 🙂 I was a bit apprehensive, knowing that I am fit but not that sort of fit and I didn’t imagine that I had an ounce of upper body strength left in me, but it seems all this picking up and putting down of a two-stone+ little boy is doing me some good! First of all I had to run the gauntlet of slimy gits on the way to the leisure centre. Do Nike do a T-shirt that says: ‘Hey! Just do it! Say something rude to me or just lick your lips as I walk past!’? No, I thought not, but I am pretty sure that’s what people were imagining was printed on my top. One bloke called out: ‘You can wrestle me any time love!’ this left me bemused, what do they imagine will happen when they shout out these things? That I will stop and ask them out on a date?

I got there a little bit early so had to do the chatting with other people thing, which was quite nice actually, and it seems most people were there for the first time, so I wasn’t alone in my newness. We were in a big sports hall, so I had visions of being made to run up and down and round and round…which was exactly what we did once the teacher had arrived. Before I left the house Edward said: ‘Take it easy, you’ve not done it for a long time’ but of course, once I was let loose in the gym I went for it big time. Up and down, round and round, press-ups here, burpees there (they are a killer). I was loving it! It was a good mix of people and levels of fitness, but I didn’t really notice what anyone else was doing, I was so focused on getting it done. I certainly haven’t lost my punch and really let out my pent up aggression when it came to partnering up and using gloves and pads. Poor bloke wasn’t expecting that. The – wonderful – class I used to go to had a lot of encouragement involved and you would hear shouts of ‘Come on! You can do it! Keep going!’ and so on, but everyone was quiet here so I felt a bit self-conscious when I enthusiastically yelled out: ‘Goawwwn!’ That chap will be avoiding me next time, I’m sure.

It was a very well-structured class, with a good balance of activities but I was conscious all the time that I needed to get back to put Hector to bed, so thought I would run home. A-ha-ha-ha! I ran as far as the car park then slowed to a gentle saunter when I realised my legs were not my own. Poor Hector was a bit upset by the time I got home, wondering where on earth I had disappeared to (he was with Edward, by the way, not home alone with a tin of beans).

Oh yes, and I had been for a run in the morning too, just for good measure.

Time: 34 minutes 25 seconds

Distance: 3.09 miles

Average Pace: 11.08

Best Pace: 8.24

Calories: 310

I didn’t really ache yesterday so was feeling quite pleased with myself but, of course, DOMS really only kicks in after two days, so my long run was cut short due to agony this morning. I don’t think I will go to Fridays’ class because I can’t see myself completing next Sunday’s half-marathon with legs as heavy as this. Now, after our run on Friday, along the canal, I noticed this article and began to feel a bit uncertain and unhappy about running along that stretch, but I have since put it in perspective. They are targeting men on bikes, trying to get the bikes off them, and mostly operating in the evening. The police are having more presence in the area (though I haven’t noticed any around, they must be very plain-clothed) so it should be safer in a way. It just feels sad and disappointing that an area that we love so much and have always felt safe in is being populated by scum like this. Let’s hope they catch them soon.

I threw caution to the wind and ran down the canal this morning, turning towards the rowing club where there are usually lots of people on a Sunday morning. I felt half-dead as soon as I set off, so it was a real struggle to get round. I had hoped to run nine miles, but it wasn’t to be, I don’t want to push it and injure myself before next week, so I cut it short at six and a bit. I did go down to where the cows should be, but they are still not there. Here I got stopped by some chavvy kids who asked me if there was a party down there (!). I had heard some loud music towards the Walthamstow end, so pointed them in that direction where they slowly headed, having a very loud row along the way. Odd at about 9am on a Sunday morning.

Time: 1 hour 6 minutes 23 seconds

Distance: 6.51 miles

Average Pace: 10.12

Best Pace: 7.56

Calories: 687

I am currently trying to work out which timing device is going to be best for my Finland project, where I will need to be able to keep track of distance and time when I go inside as well as outside. I’m on a tight budget as well. I noticed the Nike+ Sportsband and wondered if anyone has experience of using it and could let me know if it seems like the right thing for what I’m doing. Or has anyone else used something like a Garmin with footpod that is reliable and fits the bill? Thanks!

Over and out

I ran every day for thirty days!

I had hoped to get my final Juneathon run done nice and early but it was so, so hot I didn’t think it was fair to expose Hector (and my delicate celtic skin) to that sort of blazing sun, so ended up running in the evening again. It was quite lovely actually, a nice cool breeze to fend off the mugginess. I was determined to hit the three mile mark on this one to dash this two and a bit thing I’ve been doing for the past week or so.

Juneathon Day 30


Time: 28 minutes 26 seconds

Distance: 3 miles

Average Pace: 9.29

Best Pace: 7.05

Calories: 310

I thought I should give the sit-ups/press-ups a go so did as much as I could in one go.

Sit-ups: 100

Press-ups: 30

Totals for Juneathon 2009

Runs: 30

Distance run: 87.23 miles

Bike: approx. 26.44 miles

Swim: 40 lengths

Walk: 11km (although I walk a lot every day with Hector, but just haven’t counted this officially)

Sit-ups: 1536

Press-ups: 449

So, what next? I don’t think I am a running streaker, I like to mix it up and follow a schedule with a bit of variety: some long, some short and this running every day thing has made me do a lot of shorter ‘just get it done’ sort of runs. I am running a half-marathon towards the end of August, so I need to work towards that. I will, however, be keeping up the sit-ups and press-ups with an attempt at 100 press-ups by the end of July. A-ha-ha-ha-ha, we’ll see!

Well done to all the other Juneathoners, it’s been fun reading about the various challenges and seeing how people have overcome life’s obstacles to get it all done.

Running like a girl

Juneathon Days 26, 27 and 28 and 29

I am just emerging from a glorious weekend spent celebrating Hector’s second birthday. Friday was spent getting ready: preparing food, getting Hector’s hair cut, keeping him out of the way while Edward tried to get his birthday cake made, painting a big sheet of paper to make bunting, enjoying the sunshine, a chat with our neighbour over the fence about all the delicious smells wafting over (in both directions) and a little run to Tesco to pick up some forgotten ingredients. I have been keeping up with Juneathon, but certainly not with the blogging.


Juneathon Day 26


Time: 14 minutes 23 seconds

Distance:  1.36 miles

Average Pace: 10.34

Calories: 135

And onto Saturday. Party time! Another morning spent getting everything ready: putting up the bunting, blowing up balloons, making salads, tidying the house then having a jolly old time entertaining friends at Hector’s party.


It was just lovely. We had fantastic weather (a bit too hot for some), delightful children being very well behaved enjoying the sandpit and playing  nicely with Hector’s toys and some delicious food. To be honest, I think Hector found it all a bit overwhelming and even started crying when we sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him, so much to take in all in one go.


By the evening the weather had changed dramatically and we were treated to an almighty thunder storm – a few die-hard partiers stayed put in the garden, but we eventually decided we were indeed getting wet and came inside. Once everyone had gone we were exhausted and felt glad to only have Ben and Jackie to entertain and settled down to a dinner of left-overs and wine (mmmmmmmm). At about ten o’clock I jumped out of my seat and said: ‘I haven’t been running!’ At this point Edward said I had to go, but I was all set not to bother, I had been drinking and was well and truly knackered, it would be stupid to go out like that. But the others wouldn’t let me off, I was cajoled (bullied) into pulling on my running shoes to do a quick round the block…in my skirt and pearls…and in the rain. I felt so daft legging it up the road in my lady-attire, so much so that I took on some sort of girly demeanour, running daintily along as if merely dodging the rainstorm. I only had to endure this for a few minutes and was glad to get back inside away from my embarrassment. I didn’t bother with the Garmin for this one, it would have taken longer to get a signal than it took to actually run! Now this counts for Juneathon, surely, but it wouldn’t keep me in the ‘running streak’ community as you have to run at least one mile every day, and this was nowhere near that. Oh well, I managed 26 running streak days, not bad.


Juneathon Day 27


Around the block in a skirt and pearls. Quick but worthwhile.

Sunday was spent with the lovely Ben and Jackie, going to the Hackney City Farm, wandering around Whitechapel Art Gallery and eating yet more food. I did squeeze in a little run in the evening but still felt the incredible heat was slowing me down to a crawl.

Juneathon Day 28


Time: 19 minutes 34 seconds

Distance:  2.24 miles

Average Pace: 8.45

Best Pace: 5.21

Calories: 224

Monday – the big day! We were up early, excited about the little man’s big birthday. We had put his new bike in the living room so he would walk in and find it there. ‘What’s that?!’ he asked ‘A bike! A bike!’. He was a bit wobbly at first but had got the hang of it within the hour and was even trying a brief free-wheel! These bikes are amazing: they have no pedals and encourage the child to find their own balance and work  out how to combine steering and balancing at the same time, once a child has got the hang of this they can adapt to a pedal bike no problem and without the need for stabilisers. Oh, and it looks really cool too!


We had some more present and card opening then cycled over to Clissold Leisure Centre for a swim. The toddler pool there is great – the water level is just right for H to climb in and out himself, with the odd unexpected jump from standing to keep me on my toes. Lunch was eaten in the park then another cycle home. In the evening I lay with Hector as he went to sleep, at about the time he was born in just the same spot two years earlier. He was such a tiny, fragile little thing, and look at him now! Again, my run didn’t happen until the evening, once he was asleep, just another quickie to keep the Juneathon alive.


Juneathon Day 29


Time: 19 minutes 51 seconds

Distance:  2.29 miles

Average Pace: 8.41

Best Pace: 8.37

Calories: 205

Astute readers might have noticed that I haven’t been logging any press-ups and sit-ups, that’s because I haven’t been doing them. Shame on me. I just haven’t had time. I would like to incorporate them into my regular training ‘programme’ but have let them slip by the wayside in the past week. I really can’t see myself doing the prescribed 200 sit-ups and 100 press-ups by the end of today!

Please excuse the lack of stats in this post, my Garmin is being a complete bastard and not allowing me to read the totals for each run, I just have some odd laps and can’t for the life of me work out what’s what. I will try and get it sorted and update later. Damn it. EVENING UPDATE – SEE STATS ABOVE

Keep up! Keep up!

I don’t feel like I’m keeping up, not with the running, but with the blogging of the runs. So, I have a few bits and bobs to add to the Juneathon mix.

Monday was a muddle of a day, only managed a little one because the little one was not in the mood to be rushed about in a running buggy and we had to wait in for the arrival (and then quick hiding of) a certain birthday present.


It was one of those running errands/popping to the post office sort of runs. Tried to make up for it with some quality pressing and sitting. Up, that is.

Juneathon Day 22

Sit-ups: 75

Press-ups: 25

Yogi-press-ups: 6


Time: 19 minutes 20 seconds

Distance: 1.75 miles

Average Pace: 11.03

Best Pace: 8.35

Calories: 179

Yesterday was hot, hot, hot, so I decided to leave it until a bit later in the day and wanted to combine the run with a trip to the paddling pool. Now Hector and I have been to this particular park many times, but normally much earlier on and we often have the playground to ourselves so it was a bit of a shock to be there around school kicking out time and be surrounded by screaming kids, chavs and ice-cream wielding toddlers, high on sugar. Hector just looked around for a while, trying to take it all in, then I quickly put on his swim suit and kicked off my hot running shoes. It was delicious to dip my toes in the cold water but Hector wasn’t so sure and pulled his legs right up as I tried to put him in! He played for a while around the edge, pouring water from his watering can and eventually acclimatised and asked to go in properly. I spent a lot of the time feeling disgusted at the pissy smell around the paddling pool and feeling sad at the children playing with empty crisp packets and corner shop bags in the pool, but H seemed happy enough. After a bit more of this oddity we headed home…once I’d cleaned a big purple bird poo off the running buggy, those birds are rather colourful in their excretions at the moment!

Juneathon Day 23

Sit-ups: 70

Press-ups: 20

Yogi-press-ups: 5


Time: 22 minutes 16 seconds

Distance: 2.06 miles

Average Pace: 10.48

Best Pace: 8.01

Calories: 222

Still at it

Juneathoning that is.

On Saturday I am amazed to have got any running done at all. I have Edward to thank for getting out there: he was super encouraging after a long day, and at the point where I was ready to sit down and not run at all. We were up at 5am with a very lively toddler, not a great start, then had to catch a train to Leamington Spa for a family get together. So, we got there, walked to Edward’s brother’s place, went on what was billed as a two mile walk by Edward’s Dad and his dodgy map-reading, sauntered along the canal to a pub where we had a big lunch, then walked back and got on the train home. It was an 11km walk in total. One day Greg might get the hang of his GPS.

By the time we got home Hector had fallen asleep on the Tube and we were both well and truly knackered. But, in true Juneathon style, I pulled on my kit and out I went. Short but sweet (and quite fast!). I was stopped in my tracks at one point when I heard the most amazing bird-song and, on the railing ahead of me, stood a song thrush at full blast. I stood still for a moment and took it in before the bird caught sight of me and headed up to the tree tops.

Juneathon Day 20




Time: 20 minutes 15 seconds

Distance: 2.23 miles

Average Pace: 9.04

Best Pace: 6.15

Calories: 250

Yesterday was an active day all round. After a big Father’s Day breakfast we got on our bikes and headed over to the swimming pool in Crouch End. Hector was really going for it, showing Edward all his new tricks and, while they played, I did 20 lengths. We then went with some friends up to the farmer’s market in Alexandra Palace and ate more delicious food. To counteract this we got back on our bikes and headed up some seriously steep hills to Highgate Woods so Hector could burn off some energy in the lovely playground. After enjoying the woods a bit more we rode along the Parkland Walk back home. I then went for a run after eating a massive roast dinner. Talk about heavy-legged!

Juneathon Day 21

Bike Ride

Approximately 10 miles


20 lengths


Time: 19 minutes 9 seconds

Distance: 2.25 miles

Average Pace: 8.31

Best Pace: 7.26

Calories: 204

Press-ups: 20

Sit-ups: 70

Juneathon days, two of ’em

Oh well, I was doing so well on the blogging on the same day as running thingie, but lost track yesterday so now feel all behind and befuddled. Anyway I did run yesterday, just a little local parks effort after feeling dreadful on Wednesday (no idea what was wrong, just felt awful). I did, however, tackle the yogi press-ups whatnots that Nadine told me about at the weekend. Hmmm, how to describe them…Get yourself into a downward dog position (triangular, bum in the air) but with your weight resting on your forearms instead of your hands, and have your hands clasped together. From here you exhale and do a press-up – of sorts – and inhale as you ease back into the starting position. Oh my! I felt it in my triceps, abs and thighs. Nadine said she uses this on her students as a build up to/preparation for headstands. I shan’t be going that far.

Today I eventually got out of the house. Hector really loves playing in the garden, well, I suppose we have made it truly special for him with all the space to ride his ‘bike’, push his trolley and run up and down and then there’s the wonderful sandpit. It does mean he takes some persuading to get out of the house. We did get out though, but not until about 4pm and it involved a trip to Ambala to get some savoury deliciousness to accompany the curry I made for dinner. Oh, if you haven’t tasted Ambala’s samosas, you haven’t lived! They are melt in the mouth gorgeous. This did mean negotiating the plodding pedestrians on Turnpike Lane, but we managed just under three miles.

When the curry has gone down a bit I will attempt some more of those Yogi Press-ups. Not sure if I’ll get to blog tomorrow, maybe late on, as we are meeting up with some family types.

Juneathon Day 18

Press-ups: 20

Sit-ups: 60

Yogi Press-ups: 5


Time: 30 minutes 35 seconds

Distance: 3.27 miles

Average Pace: 9.21

Best Pace: 8.18

Calories: 364

Juneathon Day 19

Press-ups: tbc

Sit-ups: tbc

Yogi Press-ups: tbc


Time: 29 minutes 30 seconds

Distance: 2.77 miles

Average Pace: 10.40

Best Pace: 8.08

Calories: 336

No cows

By golly it’s hot again after that storm last night! So what do I do? Go running in the midday sun. I had been out in the garden with Hector since 8am, playing in the sandpit and he didn’t show any signs of going to sleep so I thought: ‘today’s the day we go and see the cows’. Jogblog’s cows. So we put on lots of suncream, sunglasses and hats and packed some supplies and headed down to the canal. My co-pilot got a bit anxious when we didn’t turn off for our usual playground stop, but I reassured him that we would soon be enjoying the company of some beautiful furry creatures. ‘Where are the cows?’ he kept saying. Over the bridge we went, along the bumpy track, around the bend and there was no sign of the cows. We did, however, see a tractor with the biggest wheels I have ever seen, but no cows. We carried on a bit further, in the hope that they might be around the next corner, but no cows. I guess we are just too early.

We paused on some grass so H could eat his lunch and who should run by but another woman with a running buggy! She even had a red top on like me, sunglasses like mine and a lovely dog. Oh well, no dog for me 😦 Her buggy must a new model because it was all bright colours and fancy bits, not like my third-hand faded green one. It was odd seeing someone so similar prancing along the canal.

Once we had got over our doppelganger shock and the disappointment of not seeing the cows, we carried on our way, pausing to watch two chaps kayaking along the water, Hector was really rather taken by their smooth gliding and synchronised arm movements. As we headed home he called out: ‘Hector’s tired’ and promptly nodded off. It’s the fresh air.

Juneathon Day 16

Sit-ups: 100

Press-ups: 20


Time: 1 hour 6 minutes 39 seconds

Distance: 6.45 miles

Average Pace: 10.20

Best Pace: 8.17

Calories: 754

Severe weather warning!

That has to be the longest, most dramatic storm I have ever experienced! It just went on and on and one and all the time Hector and I sat there saying ‘Poor Daddy!’, imagining Edward on his bike on his way home, but somehow he managed to avoid getting wet, just good timing.

My run hadn’t happened today: Musical Mondays this morning and hot, hot weather this afternoon with a big, grey brooding cloud threatening to open up any minute. This did mean that I have had to muster up a bit of energy just now and take the storm head on. Edward very kindly lent me his running jacket, well he calls it a running jacket but he only really uses it for five-a-side. It did the trick but I was totally swamped! I was doing pretty well avoiding getting wet until I did that thing where you place all your weight on a seemingly stable slab only to find it is floating on a pool of water. I ended up with a gush of icy cold muddy water up my legs.

As it had just stopped (paused) raining the park I ran around was deserted so I decided to give our nearby park a miss and settled for a quick two miles. As I neared our house a bloke said: ‘Keep it up, marathon next year!’ I do wish I could think more quickly in these situations: ‘Already done it mate’ would have given him something to think about.

Juneathon Day 15

Sit-ups: 5×20, 100 in total – bear in mind that I had Hector sitting on top of me for most of these, shouting ‘Do ‘it-ups Mummy!’

Press-ups: 20


Time: 19 minutes 58 seconds

Distance: 2 miles

Average Pace: 9.58

Best Pace: 6.15

Calories: 242


What a lovely day it turned out to be! As usual I was up early, looking out at the gloom and feeling saddened by the rain but, lo, the skies cleared and out popped the sun! We spent a delicious afternoon in the park with Nick and Nadine, being treated to culinary delights prepared by Nadine’s fair hands (with some onion caramelising help from Nick)…


And after we had feasted on these scrumptious morsels, Nick disappeared on his Brompton and returned not long after laden down with a whole tub of gelato!


Yum, yum, yum.

To balance out our feasting, we had ridden there on our bikes (around four miles in total), and then had fun trying to catch a frisbee for a while. I also found myself playing a run-up-and-down-the-hill game with Hector.

All this festivity meant my run got pushed back until this evening, probably a good idea given the heat, and I went for a quick one around the parks. I am now becoming familiar with the characters that emerge from the bushes of an evening, but never fail to be amazed by some of their antics. At one point I was very nearly driven into the hedge by an idiot riding around at top speed on a mini motorbike, ‘monkey’ bikes I think they’re called. That’s not what I called out after him. I got a bit of pace on and tackled ‘the hill’. I decided to use a technique I read about in Runners World, where you look at the ground and imagine you are running on a flat surface. It works! Really!

Juneathon Day 13

Sit-ups: 70

Press-ups: 20 – Nadine – who is a yoga teacher – showed me some very cool and very testing press-ups, I shall show you tomorrow.


Time: 26 minutes 24 seconds

Distance: 3.04 miles

Average Pace: 8.41 (woo-hoo!)

Best Pace: 7.33

Calories: 278