Tuesday, 29 September 2015

First Half Marathon

Ok, being honest here, possibly my last! But, it's a tick off the life list, I've done it, I'm proud.
 I ran in the most breathtaking surroundings :-)
 Journeying up the mountain to the start in a steam engine was great fun and meant time to relax!
 One of the members of my Running Club runs for Eryri so I grabbed a photo op!!
The day turned out to be a  gloriously hot sunny day, just perfect for sitting in a beer garden with a cold cider, not for doing a first half marathon.

The half I chose was a trail, I find it so boring running on the roads. I also find trail races more laid back somehow, I suppose everyone knows they're in for a toughie! I met some great people on the way round, found a fellow lancashire lass who I've since spoken to on Facebook and shared jelly babies with anyone who wanted one!

The terrain was.......different........different to anything I've ever run. At one point I was running up the side of a quarry with pieces of slate underfoot!! First 4.5 miles went well - warmed up nicely, I was pleased to get to the feed station where the tastiest flapjacks were waiting and cold water, some of which went over my head!! Next bit went well - I ran side by side with a Vegan Runner (yes I did offer her a Jelly Baby - whoops) - Nicola - asked her where we were up to and when she said almost 8 miles I was shocked!! However, just after that I suddenly became Bambi on ice - my legs just went - the girl's around me were so kind, gave me encouragement, offered me gels and then advised me to drink Isotonic at the next station, which I did.

From the 9.0 mile  station I only had 2 miles to the next feed station, those 2 miles went okish! I sipped Isotonic again and set off feeling good, strong even, enjoying the trail.

The last 2 miles were torturous - my legs were just aaaarrrggghhh - I hit the wall. It was so hard to keep them moving. The girl's I'd sort of been with right through started to pull away. 11.2 miles is the furthest I have ever run. Was it psychological? I don't know....

Eventually I had to go to 100 steps of walking, 200 steps running to get me through. The last bit was right along the Ffestiniog Railway line - the end in sight - my legs so weary, but I knew Mr.L would be waiting for me. I could hear him shouting from what seemed like miles away. He was so proud of me - he said "one because you were running and two because you were smiling". Haha, I'm thinking more good luck than good management!!
 Everyone I met on the day was shocked I'd chosen it as my first half. But as I said in this post, time was not on my side ;-) Things I learnt were;

  • How supportive women are of each other (I knew this anyway but wow, what a great reminder)!
  • Always drink Isotonic - it's there for a reason ;-)
  • Train more........
  • Eat straight away after you finish, otherwise you end up feeling sick like I did
  • After the above, then and only then drink alcohol!!
  • Listen to your body - it is always right
  • Stretch - every time, so important to avoid injury
  • Eat whatever your body tells you afterwards - my diet is mainly protein and that suits me, but since my race I have been craving carbs like you wouldn't believe!!

Thankyou for reading. If you want to know more about Trailffest and see the terrain, there's a short video here! Maybe it will inspire - who knows! :-)

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

So Long Summer

As the leaves start to fall from the trees, signalling the close of Summer, I thought it would be nice to have a look back at what Summer brought me this year. 

I'm grateful to have had many happy days which made for a relaxing Summer. Highlights include taking Sebby in the trailer on the back of the bike, a girly weekend away in Abersoch which was so good for the soul, finishing my Coast to Coast (from my life list!), paddleboarding on Lake Bala (another from my life list and one I will continue doing), outdoor concerts - Paolo Nutini - just wow & lots of beach days - I can sit and watch the ocean forever!

It was so lovely to have my boy home for the Summer and also to celebrate his beautiful girlfriend's Graduation! I kept running with the pooch and practicing Pilates. Visiting a deer park was a highlight - my favourite animal - so majestic. I finished painting my front door and we eventually got around to having a new driveway laid. Raising a glass to good times with friends!

As Summers go it's been a fabulous one!
How was your Summer?
Here's to Autumn - may she be bountiful!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Taking Control

This week I learnt I can't control what happens to me but I can control my response to it.

I returned from my wonderful holiday to be told the NHS team I work for has gone out to tender. A time now of uncertainty - who will 'win' and will they still want 'us'? My response is to try to stay calm and positive......and use the Headspace App - have you tried it? It's brilliant! :-)

I had decided earlier this year to diversify, the NHS, sadly, is not what it was. I had enrolled to start college this month to study Massage and in 2016 Pilates.... I had a plan - a dream.....

Then I went to see a Consultant following having a scan to be told I need a hysterectomy - in October (ffs)! My immediate thoughts were "Oh no - college" and then "I'm doing a half marathon in November".

I came out from my consultation and within an hour had deferred my start date for college (not to January as I hoped but April) however I will be doing some study during my recovery.

I then found a half marathon to do next week!! I know, eeeekkkk! Training has started in earnest, I have to pull this off. I have been working up to this all year, I didn't want to just think "Oh well" and accept I couldn't do the November half.

Also this week my gorgeous pooch got really really sick and was not expected to survive; very hard to control my emotions, but I believed in him, believed that he would be coming home.....and he did, I'm so grateful! I just need to rethink my training runs as he is my ultra faithful running buddy! :-)

Sometimes it can be so difficult to motivate oneself when faced with difficult times, so easy to just accept and feel powerless, to not take control of a bad situation. This week I feel I did! I just need to stay positive. I am fit and strong, hoping to tick a couple of things off my life list, recover quickly and 'get back on it'!

Many thanks for dropping by!
Have a wonderful week, XX.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Ilse Crawford At Ikea

I recently took a trip to Ikea with my Son and his girlfriend having recently moved into a new home together. I wanted to buy him a desk for his study. He chose the light cork desk from the Sinnerlig collection by Ilse Crawford. So tactile, it brings real warmth to the study. I did joke that maybe we buy a piece of wood and stick cork tiles on top.... but, mmmmm, definitely not quite the same effect as Ilse!!
I love the range,  the rawness and natural qualities of the materials used. The range consists of rugs, cushions, lighting, furniture and pottery. I particularly liked the dark cork desk top - if I were buying I would team with this chair to make the lighter areas really pop.  But,  I have my own desk,  with its own stories. 

This desk,  I've told him must go with him wherever in the World life takes him. This desk is to gathers the marks of the everyday - it's not to be precious about, the marks of different time periods, where all nighters have been pulled,  deadlines reached, coffee rings and stains,  a desk that shows the journey of time, the journey he's taken as he starts his Masters in mathematics and later his PhD. I'm one proud Mama!

Anyone been to Ikea recently? Did you see the Ilse Crawford range? Did you like? XX

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Back To It....

............work that is, after spending last week with 17 friends in this beautifully converted barn in Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant, Oswestry.
With sumptuous bedrooms, cosy cushions and throws, it was a perfect home away from home (this bedroom pictured as we were vacating) with quality fittings and gorgeous home accessories.
A huge dining kitchen for leisurely meals, lingered over with a glass of wine - I loved these light shades that look plain unlit and then patterned once lit :-)
Lovely large lounges to chill out and recover from the days activities, fires lit if a little chilly!
It was a fantastic week as the close of Summer inches slowly nearer....a perfect opportunity for a lot of this.....
The weather was good and bad in equal measure but that didn't stop the fun. we walked, cycled, ran, explored, visited, played board games - Jenga and Scrabble, read and WATCHED TV - and I felt really chilled, I am now going to be watching the X Factor on a Saturday night - maybe I need some mindless television to completely switch off?

Anyone looking for somewhere to stay with a large group of friends should definitely check out Castell Courtyard!

Now, to look forward to Autumn and new opportunities!

Monday, 7 September 2015

Girl on the Train #TheYearInBooks

As I am trying to think and consider before I buy, I have a self imposed ban on buying any books until I have read most of those 'waiting' on my bookshelf!

However I've been desperate to read Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. Cue a Facebook plea and I was offered this proof copy.... result!! Now hoping it lives up to the hype.

July's book was The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling. A great book that elicited every response from me. Some character's I loved,  worried about and even hated!! Sign of a great book!

So grateful to Laura at Circle of Pine Trees for getting my reading mojo back.
Why not join in??


Sunday, 6 September 2015


"a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view"

My cycling holiday was a challenge, something I've wanted to do for a few years. 
Now I've done it.

Riding was interesting. I would see a mahoosive hill in the distance and think nooooooooo, I'm never going to get up that, no chance!! 

As I drew closer and started the ascent it just wasn't as hard,  as steep, as difficult as it had looked.
The perspective looked far harder further back.

The more hill's I did, the easier they became. Some of the hills I couldn't have tackled a few years ago, but I found the strength I needed to power on.

It got me thinking about life. That sometimes things look too difficult to even bother trying. 

But, we take a step, then another and something that felt too hard to achieve,  too difficult, just a pipe dream starts to become reality.

Those steep hills became humps in the road.

What would life be without those steep bits? They're there to make us stronger.

I've done something I thought I never would. Now I wonder..........
Could my pipe dreams become reality? Can what seems too steep become a hump?

Have you ever set yourself a challenge?
What did you do?