Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Ice run

We spent a few days over the festive period down in Broadstairs, so I plotted a 10K route along the coast towards  Ramsgate, in a vague effort to stay on track with training and work off some of the Christmas excesses.

I had intended to get up and go very early but slept through my alarm; in the end that did me a favour as it meant that I could watch the sun coming up over the Eastern horizon and it was a stunning day. It was also very very icy which is unusual on the coast (there was even frost on the sand!) and it made for a very slow run (I almost slipped over in the road 1k in, so the rest of the route was spent tip-toeing between path/ road/ grass trying to find the safest terrain.

I now have just 115 days to go until the London Marathon. It suddenly seems quite close!

The camera on my phone didn't do this justice at all

By the end of my 10K the sun was up but fog had rolled in.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Have Your 'elf a Merry Little Christmas.....

The Early Birds headed out for the last pre-Christmas run today. It was damp and drizzly, but there was a definite festive buzz in the air! We rounded off the run with some Bucks-Fizz (thank you Carolyn!) and some home-made sausage rolls. In a testament to the fact that running makes you hungry, we ate the sausage rolls even after Neil said he had rolled the pastry on his thighs. (Thank you Mrs Neil (Liz) for making them for us!)

So today marks the FOUR MONTH MARK! Exactly four months til April 23rd. Training will have to step up a gear soon...... but I think a break for Christmas Day is probably OK.

Massive thanks for the support so far in this crazy endeavour......Happy Christmas everyone!

Debbie, Penny, Andrew, Malcolm, Danny, Carolyn and Neil

Definitely dodgy....

Friday, 9 December 2016

You know you've joined the right running club when.... get back to the car park at the end of your run to find one of your running mates who couldn't join you has set up a breakfast bar. Orange juice, bacon rolls and a choice of sauce.

Seriously, what is NOT TO LOVE about Beginners2Runners Early Birds?
Yes, he even brought a table
Malcolm, Neil (chef), Andrew, Yvette, Elaine, Kim, Me - And Danny behind the camera
Training run aim for me today was an 8K, so I ran from home to our meet point and then onwards. We took on Westerhill, Barnes Lane and a bit of Vanity Lane before gettting back onto Linton Hill and home. It was a tough hilly route (we broke it up with a photo-shoot outside the church to try and get in the Christmas Tree!) and then back to the waiting Neil for breakfast. Sadly, I needed to carry on with my run to get home, so the solution? Put my bacon roll in my hat (not on my head by this point, as it was really mild again today!) and that kept it warm for me until I got home.

Perfect start to the weekend, and another run in the bag towards that marathon goal.

Andrew, Yvette, Kim, Me, Elaine, Malc and some very bright lights!

Not a bad pace given the hills!

As always, here is that all important link:

Monday, 5 December 2016

The BFG!

This evening I ran my first fundraising event beyond persuading people to sponsor me online. We made use of the excellent facilities at my place of work to run my regular Film Club event, and this time encouraged attendees to make a donation or sponsor me as part of the fundraising for Children with Cancer UK.

It went really well- we had a great turn out this time AND I raised £115 too! I'm so pleased, not only was it a fun way to spend an evening (it is a really good film and I can recommend it highly), it also made a huge step towards my £2000 goal. 

Massive thank you's to all who came along to support the event! 


Inside the auditorium at the end of the film
If you would like to sponsor me and help raise funds, here is the link:

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Running Therapy

The festive season is kicking in and the size of this undertaking is making itself felt; no more boozy parties for me on a Saturday night. I know I would struggle to run with a hangover (it is hard enough sober and well), so am the designated driver for many of our nights out these days.

As if the sacrifice of a glass or two with old friends is not enough, the cold snap continued this weekend and I got up at 7am this morning to a very hard frost..... and no central heating either. In attempting to get to our boiler, we also found that something had been leaking in the garage.... and has seeped into some of the packing for our new kitchen units, causing some damage. Bugger it.

So what better to do than defost the car, lace up trainers, find warm layers, and go running? There is plenty of evidence out there to suggest that running, and exercise generally, is good for mental health, and whilst I don't have any major mental health problems I can confirm that a run out across the Kent Countryside lifts the spirits and relieves stress!

We ran from the far side of Mote Park today along the A20 and through Bearstead before circling back towards Maidstone Town Centre and through Mote Park again to our start point to make it a 13k /8 mile run. It was very cold and icy underfoot in places, but a really enjoyable session this morning, and I am slowly feeling fitter as a result of the extra activity; I was ready to finish when we did, but not in a state of exhaustion either. Progress!

Yvette, me, Nick. My hat is so unflattering, but I hate getting cold ears!
When I got home, Yvette's lovely husband (who had been planning a lay-in) had restored our heating and repaired a leak in the bath too, so after a huge bowl of porridge it was off to one of our locals for a quick lunch. Soooo hungry after running and enjoyed my steak and kidney pudding immensely!

Post-run recovery spot
Don't forget, I am doing this mad thing to raise money for Children with Cancer UK and for Oliver:

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Frosty Mornings, stunning skies

Today we faced the first hard frost of the winter, so time for our Early Birds group to find hats, gloves, long sleeved tops and brave the freezing sub-zero cold. Winter running has down-sides; hands and cheeks feel the sting, breathing can feel harder for those first few kilometers, and it takes a while to warm up and then just moments after you stop to feel the bite of cold on damp skin.

However, it has its plus sides too. When I set off to meet my Tuesday morning running mates, the sky was crystal clear, stunningly dark and littered with stars. Danny chose us a lovely route across the valley and we could see the glowing dawn on the horizon as we reached the end. There is something about clear, crisp, stunning days that really lifts the spirits!

And, as always, dragging ourselves out of bed and into the cold to meet friends and run and chat always makes us feel very virtuous. I just wish it had been light enough to see Penny's face when she realised that Westerhill really does come out at the bottom of Vanity Lane......

View from the Greensands Way
Church steeple against the sky-line (ok, iphones are not great for artistic shots - it was still quite dark)
Photographic proof that we braved this at silly O'Clock
Sun almost up by the time we got back to the start point.

My car was still frozen solid when I got back home

Today was one of those days where I would happily have done the school run (which is where I grabbed this photo) and then gone running again, rather than heading to work. I think that must be the effect of the Early Birds..... Thanks folks, really loved our run this morning!

As always, a reminder that this year I am even more determined to climb out from under that warm duvet and lace up my trainers in preparation for The London Marathon in Spring 2017......

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Sunday is RUN DAY!

Sunday is run day. No long leisurely lie-ins for the next few months, this is the day of the week to squeeze in those slightly longer routes.

Today I met with Nick and Carolyn, and we headed out on a route through Coxheath, East and West Farleigh and back, making up about 11.5k with the horrible Smiths Hill somewhere in the middle. As always it was great to get a good, well paced run ticked off for the week and to be out with running friends rather than slogging away alone.

Someone (Mr Davis...) does need to be more careful though, and focus a little more on the terrain (and those huge big lamposts) and maybe a little less on what Pokemon are hatching/ out for catching.....

I spent the afternoon eating..... these two went and put their feet up ready to run again at Running Club this evening. Nutters!
Post -run selfie... or should that be 'Run-fie'?

The route

The splits. Why does knowing you've burned 900 calories make you go and eat about 3000s-worth?
And of course, if you want to make a donation to the charity I am supporting by training for and running this mad marathon, here is the link:

Thursday, 24 November 2016

What your contribution means....

I have pledged to raise £2000 for the Children with Cancer UK. More than 70 children are diagnosed with cancer each week in the UK, and Children with Cancer  fund research, treatment, equipment, financial support, welfare and days out, hospice care,  and campaign to raise awareness. So if you sponsor me, what does that actually mean?

  • £5 pays for laboratory consumables used in the diagnosis of leukaemia
  • £10 pays for the analysis of tissue samples to help understand heart failure after treatment for childhood cancer
  • £2000 will cover the cost of MRI scanning for 4 patients taking part in a project to develop advanced techniques to identify high-risk tumour sub-types.
Thank you!!!
So far, in just a month, we have reached over £400 purely in sponsorship. That makes me feel amazing! Any amount that you can contribute to support Children with Cancer will be so well received. If you can spare anything at all and are happy to sponsor me, please click on the link. I will also be running a few fundraising events such as Film Clubs over the coming months, so look out for those too. Cheaper than the Odeon!!!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Stretch and Strengthen

Earlier this year I started attending a local Pilates class. My initial skepticism at how something so apparently slow could do anything to help fitness and well-being was wiped away at the end of the first session when I arrived home and felt like I'd been hit by a bus!! No so much the aches and soreness that you expect after a high impact session of some kind, but an all over sense of having worked very very hard without risking any pain or injury.

I have found over the months that if I mention a tight muscle group or slightly niggly thing to our instructor at the start of the session, by the end of it the problems are pretty well sorted. So, although my app tells me that Wednesday should be a running day, I go to Pilates whenever I can.

I'll switch my rest day from tomorrow to make up for it......

(I swiped these from our instructors pages, so they are from earlier in the year rather than last night, but you get the idea!

Don't for get to smile. And breath. And as for the pelvic floor....


And just in case you've forgotten, I am aiming to complete the London Marathon and raise essential funds for Children with Cancer UK:

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Raining? TRAINING!!!

Our local running club started an 'Early Birds' group in April 2015. About this time last year, as the days were getting shorter and the weather colder and wetter, our Team Leader Danny posted up a message that said:

"Options for tomorrow:
1- Run
2- Don't Run (valid excuses only)

In case anybody is wondering about the qualifying conditions for Option 2, these do not include complaining about any of the following....

It's too dark
It's too cold
It's too hot
It's too wet
It's too early
It's too fast
It's too slow
It's too...... anything"

So, on the basis that I still can't think of an excuse that is not on the list of invalid excuses, I get up at 5:30am, get dressed in the dark with the wind howling and the rain hammering the windows, and head out to meet this group of fellow running nut-jobs.

I know that once we get going, I will enjoy it. We chat, laugh, grumble, loop back for each other, moan all the way up hills, holler "Car Coming" warnings to each other, and even on days when we get soaked through to the skin, we know we will do it all again in a few days time.

Spring races mean Winter training, even when it is raining, and I am very lucky to have friends to get up and run with twice a week. It was still very dark when we finished this morning (so yes, we are posing under a streetlamp) but every cold, wet, dark run is one in the bag towards that marathon goal next year.

Thank you Beginners2Runners Early Birds!

(I've posted about the Early Birds before - here is the link in case you missed it 

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Storm Angus

Last night Storm Angus blew in, bringing high winds and torrential rain, so we woke to a blustery and gloomy day today. It is always tempting to stay in bed in the warm, but a 10K was scheduled, so a 10K is what we did.

I planned a circular route; the main problem with any circle round here is that we live on a ridge, so at some point you end up running down hills.... and what goes down, must come up. We tackled our local running nemesis, Vanity Lane. It is STEEP and also quite long, but we did it, and in the 10th kilometre too so we were pretty happy with that!

Yep, the marathon is flat. Yep, we all hate running up hills. In fact, running down them in wet, leaf-strewn conditions is not easy, but it all helps to build stamina for those 26.2 miles. Just over 5 months to go now.

Yvette and me, at the top of a hill, after which my face was a great match for her hat

A very imposing sky today; hills do at least bring stunning views

Yvette powered up Vanity Lane. I was flagging by this point!! 

Pretty much everything North/ South is a hill....

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Finding time, MAKING time....

The app I downloaded suggests 4 runs a week as training for the Marathon. Over the past two weeks I have been kind of ignoring that extra run that it is prompting me to undertake, three being my norm....

I'm too busy
I'll end up with an injury
It is dark
The kids have a lot on at this time of year
I'm tired
I'll build up to it eventually....

And then over the weekend, I was chatting to my marathon-mate Sarah who is also struggling to add in that extra session, and she very sagely said "It feels like an impossible ask to fit in another one, but it is only for 5 months, and we are only doing this thing once"

And of course she is right. The training has an end point, we don't need to find time to run this schedule forever, but we DO need to MAKE time to fit it all in over the next few months. So I set the alarm this morning and headed out for a 7k before breakfast, and as always I did enjoy it once I got going. I also spotted my daughters at the bus stop, which they were quite delighted about, so a hug and a kiss and two smiley faces to spur me home on the last 500m.

Chose a long flat route today

Love seeing the last of the leaves; it is pretty out there today!

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Phase 2

My app tells me that this week marks the start of Phase 2 - getting faster. I have been surprised and slightly relieved to find that this training app nags you for going too fast; it gauges your marathon pace based on the data you give it about your age and usual running pace and sets a marathon pace to suit that.

Phase 2 says I will run 243k over 9 weeks. Seems a long way, but one run at a time...... and the first is now ticked off, following a run with the Early Birds.

One down, 31 to go.....

Monday, 7 November 2016

It never gets easier, you just get better at it....

This came up on my Facebook memories today and reminded me of how far I have come in three years. When I started running and asked a friend if it ever got easier, she said 'Nope - you just get better at it.'

She was right, of course. The first few kilometres of every run always feel hard, but the distances have got longer and the recovery a little faster.

Just need to keep pushing now....

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Rugby Run

I needed to drop my son off in Aylesford today, so plotted a route through East Malling and Ditton. It is harder running long distances alone, but it was a stunning sunny (cold!) morning, and I chose some good music to run to. When I started running I tried listening to 'Running' albums, but it is not really my sort of music. Then I read an article that said choose music you love and that makes your spirits soar, so that is what I do. Doesn't do much for pace setting, but it does distract me and keep me going!

There is always time for a selfie :)

Blue skies!!!

Happy enough with that today

Thursday, 3 November 2016


Each and every time someone sponsors me via Virgin Money Giving, I get an email notification. Today's notifications told me that Mum and Dad have both donated a large sum to this amazing charity. Their support made me cry (selfie taken and sent to poor Mum to demonstrate what they had done to me!)

I don't need everyone to donate so much - anything you give will contribute to the total and enable Children with Cancer do continue their brilliant work.
Totes Emoshe

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Last of the sunrises

For the past 18 months I have been running with the Early Birds branch of our running club. We meet twice a week at 6am for a 5/6K run. We are a mixed bunch of speeds and abilities and it is simply the best way to start the day. During the summer we get up at 5:30am in the light, run in the light and get home in the light. Spring and Autumn give us stunning sun-rises. Winter is a slog, getting up, running and then getting home in the dark. One thing we know, though, is that even though it is SO SO hard to haul yourself out of bed in the cold and dark, you never regret it. Not ever. Even in the rain or frost, it sets you up for the day.

The clocks going back at the weekend has given the Early Birds a bit of a reprieve, and this morning we were treated to a sunrise again. By the end of next month we will probably not be seeing another and then that will be it until the end of the winter.

This morning's running mates

What is NOT to LOVE about scenes like this? So worth getting up for

Sunday, 30 October 2016

We gained an hour!

The clocks went back last night, so what better to do with the extra hour on a Sunday morning than get up and go running? Today I met with Nick and Yvette for a 12k run around the Maidstone area. Nick is also marathon training and running for Teenage Cancer Trust, and Yvette is slightly mad and loves running!

Nick plotted the route - it was quite tough, uphill for most of the first half and then 'undulating' along the Pilgrims Way before a downhill run back, so we (well, me and Yvette) moaned a lot but were ultimately pleased that we had done it once we were back and feeling rather smug!

A good training route and one in the bag for next year. It is so much nicer to do the longer runs with running friends!

Sunday, 23 October 2016

The Great South Run

This weekend we headed to Portsmouth to take part in The Great South Run. Sarah and I booked it in February, after we had run my first 10K in the CRUK Winter Series and wanted to ride on the euphoria of completing it by booking the next challenge up quickly!

Funny how this amazing 10 mile challenge has turned into a 'training run' now that we both have places in the London Marathon (Sarah is running for Prostate Cancer for her Dad and I will share her story and her details on here soon!)

We had a wonderful weekend. It was amazing to take part in such a big race - 22,000 competitors and thousands of spectators too. It was a cold but stunning day along the coast, the atmosphere was amazing, and we enjoyed it immensely.

Some lessons learned from the event, though:

  • Allow plenty of time to do bag drops, last wee, reach the start line. Running before the run because you are late is not great prep (although we were well warmed up)
  • Take spectators; seeing our husbands and the kids and then my parents in several places made more difference than I ever imagined. You may only see us for a moment, our lovely supporters, but we carry your cheers and encouragement in our hearts for miles.
  • RESPECT THE CHALLENGE: This was the GSR organiser's advice and they were right. We had a brilliant weekend, but we did too much, and I realised that on top of being tired before we started, I had not trained enough to enjoy the moment. 

Waiting at the start

With Sarah, Marathon Partner

Seeing our husbands and kids

Seeing my Mum and Dad and their red flag

Prosecco? Oh ok then!

This time I ran for Scoliosis

The all important runners' bling
As we finished up our roast lunch in the pub and sipped our bubbles, we realised that in EXACTLY 6 months time, we will still be running around the streets of London. 6 months to train and prepare for this amazing event. Scary.....