FitArtist goes a-travelling

I am still here, really I am. I’ve been too busy being away or preparing to go away. Last week we had a bit of family quality time down in beautiful Dorset. We camped on a cliff right next to a beach so it was a tad windy at times, but the weather picked up towards the end of the week and we got to do a bit of this:


We saw lots and lots of these:


Ate plenty of this:


Met the neighbours through the mist:


And even did a bit of this (I’m being brave putting this one up!):


It was lovely to have a little break and lots of fresh air, even if we did feel we might be blown away at times. I did run on one of the days and I would say it is one of the most beautiful runs I have ever done. I ran up, up, up through the cows’ field, saying hello along the way, pausing to watch what I think was a seal bobbing around in the incredibly calm early morning sea, then tackled the biggest hill I have ever run up. I say run, but it was more of a hoist, heavily forcing each leg up to the next sod of earth I could get a grip on. The view was well worth the effort.

So, this week has been spent catching up and getting ready for the next big adventure (I haven’t run I’m afraid, so nothing to blog there, I’m feeling slightly lacking in the running mojo area…). On Tuesday we shall be catching a plane to Helsinki then travelling across country to the lakeland area of Kuopio for my performance as part of the ANTI Festival of Live Art. I’m ever so excited.


Click here to read all about what I will be doing next Friday.

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

Early rising

Hector woke at 5am and climbed out of bed, so I dutifully followed and entertained him with various books through the fog in front of my bleary eyes. This set me thinking back a couple of years to a time when I was working with students up in Manchester. I would get up once a week – for a few months – at about 4.30/5am to catch the train up north; I used to find this a real challenge. One morning I had bought a Virgin trains cuppa to wake myself up a bit and absent mindedly poured the little milk cartons into the paper bag instead of the cup, quickly looking around to see if anyone had noticed. Bleuurgh. This is an everyday state for me now!

So our run was taken quite early as we hit the streets at 8 o’clock. It’s a good time to see dogs as lots of dog walkers like to get out early and one man even did a two-dog shift, first of all wandering around with a black Labrador then later with a golden (unless I was imagining things). He was very chatty and Hector was happy as he let his dogs come over and give him a sloppy kiss. He was asking how many times we go round and saying it’s an unusual sight then later, when we stopped at the swings, he called out ‘you’re a good mum!’, thanks! It was reassuring the have such friendly encounters as I had run straight past the pervy creep on the way in, sitting right by the children’s play area.

On a previous post Highway Kind made a suggestion that could help me vary my pace, so I did a bit of pace changing, slowing down then picking it up again, but mostly going a bit faster than usual. It is possible with the buggy, but I guess I don’t feel as if I have as much control over it. I had decided to take the hilly direction and pushed hard up the little hill each time round…then puffed and panted along the next section to recover! I did feel I could go further at this pace too, which is good.

After a few laps we stopped to have a good look at the grass-mowing tractor, which seems to be following us (great!) then looked at a digger/lorry thing and had a wander around the swings, playing with those little ‘helicopter’ leaves (sycamore I think). What fun we have on our runs!

Time: 28.39

Distance: 2.92

Average Pace: 9.49

Best Pace: 6.10

Calories: 323

The green, green grass

Was mown. We had the pleasure of a tractor mowing the grass in the park again today, and a red tractor at that! Once I decided to go out for a run and started getting into my running gear, I really had to speed up to satisfy Hector’s wish to be outside in a flash. He bought me my running shoes and tried putting them on my feet. Ah.

I feel good every time I run at the moment, but I do find it hard to change my pace, I would probably put this down to pushing the running buggy. I really should try and get out on my own sometime and test this, see how fast I can really go. In a couple of weeks I have the Women’s 5k Challenge so it would be great to see how I am getting on beyond the 10 minute mile.

Towards the end of the run we stopped by the local sixth form college, where they are resurfacing the car park. It was lovely to watch the team of men in their hi-vis vests working quickly while the tarmac was still warm and soft. Hector was transfixed by the little digger that scooped up the tarmac and poured it into the back of a big spreading machine. I rather liked the smooth, steady movements of the steamroller which gave the surface a clean, black flatness which I would have rushed to roller skate on as a child.

Time: 35.11

Distance: 3.53 miles

Average Pace: 9.59

Best Pace: 8.24

Calories: 432

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!