Run swim run sweat

It’s scorchio again, yay! Yesterday I decided it might be good to get out of the house sharpish and make the most of it. Eventually Hector came round to the idea and we got out of the door: a hot and sticky run to the swimming pool. For a change the pool was cool, but this was a welcome refreshment and we soon got used to it. We did lots of splashing and jumping and Hector played with one of those big tube floats, saying it was a giant hose as he ‘sprayed’ everyone with ‘water’.

As it was such a gorgeous day we made a slight detour to the park on our way back home and had some fun in the sandpit and watched children playing in the paddling pool – if the sun stays around a bit longer, we will pop over there again, looks like fun. I’m not sure if it was the heat or that fact that the running buggy was loaded down with wet swimming kit, but I found it quite hard going today, puffing and panting up hills and sweating profusely all the way – I guzzled a litre of orange juice when we got back and still felt thirsty! There was a question in this month’s Runners World Magazine about running with a buggy and apparently you burn around 20% more calories depending on the weight of your child – great!

When we set off initially, I was a bit annoyed to see that my Garmin had no power, but it did manage to stay with me for the first half of the run, so I guess I should just double those results.

Time: 23.04

Distance: 2.19 miles

Average Pace: 10.31

Best Pace: 8.40

Calories: 148

(so, same again for the return journey)


Thigh-busting weekend!

Two hilly runs and a hilly bike ride. Eek!

My First Ever Handicap Race

After running the frankly weird Crisis Square mile back at the beginning of June, I decided I would like to do a proper 5k race: properly measured, timed and with fewer runners, so we were up bright and early yesterday morning and on the tube to Cockfosters for the Trent Park Handicap. Not having run a handicap race before, I wasn’t sure what to expect, I knew it was something to do with everybody finishing at about the same time and, as it’s a series, you can try and beat your previous time the following month. We had taken Hector’s bike with us so we strolled along the long path through Trent Park whilst H whizzed along, stopping politely at the side to allow cyclists and runners through. When I found the Hockey Club I was asked by a friendly club member to fill in a form, handed over my £3 and was given the number 610, which I will have to keep for next time.

Before the race started a nice lady gave us newbies the lowdown, with a list of when we were all starting and a detailed description of the course (it is reversed each month and is marked out with arrows, no marshals). I was to start when the clock said 15 minutes. Even though it was very low-key and incredibly friendly, I still got a bit nervous. I had said I would probably finish in about 28/29 minutes, so had that in my mind, but just thought of this first race as a benchmark setter. So off I went. I was very quickly left behind by the group of men who were starting at the same time, and hadn’t appreciated that the people starting after me (mostly whippet-type men) would overtake me pretty soon after as well. Boo. This went on for a while and then I realised I was at the back, the last person!

The course is just lovely, running through the trees on tracks and paths and nice and quiet so you can really focus. I found it a real challenge: there were two long hills which I gasped up but I kept reminding myself it would be over soon, so I should just enjoy it. As I rounded the bend to see the final stretch I crossed the finish line in reverse while other runners crossed it the right way round. It’s a long straight road, so good for focus but tough when you can see exactly how far you have to go. When you get to the end, you run around a nice man who gives you some encouragement and then head for the finish line. It was here that I got a little burst of energy – and realised I was simply NOT going to be the last person crossing the line – so gave it a bit of a kick. I overtook three runners and leaped over the line in just under 28 minutes. Great!

Run Time: 27 minutes 26 seconds

Distance: 3.15 miles

Average Pace: 8.43

Best Pace: 7.29

Calories: 213

I have decided I would like to try and do this race every month and attempt to improve my times a bit. This calls for some serious hill training if I am to overcome those tough bits.

Today we were out early again, on the bikes up to Hampstead Heath. Arrrghghghghgh, my thighs! We tackled some serious hills on the way, the sort of hills where you feel like you might topple over on the spot or that you are going backwards. Once Edward and Hector were settled in at the playground, I went for a run…up some hills. It was lovely, I do love the heath. You get a better class of dog there, and a better class of owner – Simon Callow walking his beautiful boxers. After yesterday’s run and the challenging ride up to the heath, my legs felt like lead so I didn’t go that far but I did go for it on the hills. Towards the end, as I headed back down to the playground near Gospel Oak, I got to the bottom of the hill and decided to run back up it again. Yes, really.

Run Time: 42 minutes 41 seconds

Distance: 4.30 miles

Average Pace: 9.56

Best Pace: 7.01

Calories: 411

And a roughly 10 mile bike ride too.

We had planned to go for a swim in the ponds, but Hector is not allowed in, being under eight years old. I can see why they have to have this rule, but what an arbitrary age – many adults can’t swim, or would struggle in open water, and many young children would be just fine. Anyway, I said Edward should go in as he’s been wanting to for ages. He loved it 🙂

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

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

Another day another picnic another bike ride another run, oh and a swim too.

Do I get some sort of merit for the length of today’s title?

Today was the day I didn’t feel like doing my run. It’s been an action packed day and the run got left until last. This morning I joined the boys for their swim and it was really, really lovely. Hector was loving every minute and was being so adventurous and, as Edward was there too, I got to have an actual swim rather than bobbing about in the water doing squats. It felt delicious to glide through the water and I remembered how much I enjoy swimming. Just a quick ten lengths. When we got back we packed up the panniers and headed over to Hampstead Heath for a picnic to celebrate Hector’s friend’s birthday. I put the Garmin on and it measured 5.18 miles. It was blazingly hot, so quite a challenge. On our return journey though, I was defeated by a killer hill alongside Highgate Cemetery. It was so steep I actually thought I was going to go into a wheelie and tip up backwards (remember I have Hector on the back in his bike seat). I got off and pushed and found that just as hard!

This evening we had a lovely time around at Hector’s (and our) friends’ house, eating gorgeous food and catching up (what an incredibly sociable weekend we’ve had!) and then I had the challenge of getting myself out of the door after putting H to bed…and consuming a big bowl of rhubarb crumble and custard. Edward was playing devil’s advocate on the way home: ‘But you’ve been on a bike ride, you’ve been swimming. That’s enough!’ he knows that I would feel I was failing if I didn’t run now though, so was just teasing me, testing me. I told him it’s just that I’m determined, ‘stubborn’ he said.

And yes, I am stubborn and that’s what got me out of the door for a brief run. At the end of my run I entertained the lads in our corner shop by running in and buying a bar of chocolate. This is one brand that I feel counts towards Juneathon in some way: Ritter Sport.

Juneathon Day 14

(no sit-ups and press-ups today, I’ll double up tomorrow instead)

Swim: 10 lengths

Bike: 10.44 miles in 1.37.55 (this includes stops at lights and pushing up hills etc)


Time: 20 minutes 36 seconds

Distance: 2.03 miles

Average Pace: 10.09 miles

Best Pace: 6.45

Calories: 184

My Garmin was doing weird things on the run, saying I was doing a 55 minute mile at one point. I think I need a new one, four years it’s been going now!

Juneathon Week 2 Total

Runs: 7

Mileage: 20.62 miles

Sit-ups: 490

Press-ups: 160

Bike rides: 2

Distance: 14.44 miles

Swim: 1

Distance: 10 lengths

Post Paella Plod

I didn’t think it would be such a great idea to go out running just after eating a mountain of paella, but that’s just the way it is. We had Hector’s swimming lesson this morning, so no run (he was on top form, by the way, jumping in from standing, ‘surfing’ on a float…) and this afternoon he was playing so nicely it seemed wrong to disturb him.

I ended up running around the park, it was light enough and it turned out to be really busy, busier than in the daytime in fact. The BMX bit was packed with baggy-be-jeaned kids showing off their moves and there were numerous dog walkers showing off their Staffy mutts. Oh, and those really funny people who run after you for a bit and try to keep up, oh how I laughed. Just a quick jaunt to keep up my running streak.

Juneathon Day 11

Sit-ups: 70

Press-ups: 20


Time: 30 minutes 35 seconds

Distance: 3.27 miles

Average Pace: 9.21

Best Pace: 8.18

Calories: 364

Leaden legs

I decided to run to Hector’s swimming lesson – and back – today. Last time we did this he fell asleep on the way and it messed up his sleep for the rest of the day, but recently he’s been napping much later, so I thought we’d be ok. I was umming and ahhing about doing it, but thought I wouldn’t get a run in otherwise, so went for it. It’s a super bumpy ride, with all of the run being done on pavements with their uneven slabs and the ups and downs of the kerbs, so it felt like hard work. My legs in particular were really challenging me, talk about heavy! As soon as I set off I knew it was going to be a difficult one, I’ve not felt like this in a long time and I’m not sure why. As I struggled up the hilly bits, puffing and panting, I wondered if it might be because I didn’t have much of a carby dinner last night (chicken with salad then yoghurt) but I did have my usual porridge and honey for breakfast. Hmmmm.

Apart from the lead-limbs, things were going well and Hector was nice and lively…until we reached the road the swimming pool is on and he didn’t even respond to a digger. Arrghgh! I rushed into the changing room and whipped him out of the buggy, poor thing looked horrified and I seriously considered turning right back round and running home, but he soon picked up when he realised we were going swimming. I thought I might feel a bit better on the return journey but my legs still felt heavy and I also now felt really hungry! We were stopped along the way by a woman carrying a tiny baby, she wanted to know all about our buggy 🙂

When I do this sort of run with the buggy I really need to keep my wits about me, with cars coming out of nowhere and people at bus stops wandering aimlessly into our path. We very nearly mowed down a postie who stepped out in front of us from a side road. I was able to stop myself but he had the big front wheel between his feet and I pictured him falling flat on his face. Luckily he just stepped over it and we all carried on our way!

Hector didn’t catch up on his sleep and has only now gone down for a nap. This should be interesting: early hours rising and wanting to play maybe?

Oh, and it’s snowing again now!

Time: 54.02 minutes

Distance: 5.15 miles

Average Pace: 10.29

Best Pace: 7.37

Calories: 533