Not such a pretty picture!

This is NOT a pretty picture.

This is a happy picture.

This is a picture of something I never thought possible.

This is me.

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My first race

So today was my first race.

I took part in the Action Heart 5, a 5 mile hilly run around Dudley, starting at Russell’s Hall Hospital.

I’d been warned it was very hilly, and made sure the training runs I’d done around my town took in some hills, and the area we run with West Bromwich Harriers in Great Barr is very hilly too, and this week we did some hill repeats up a very hilly road. Although I found that session tough, I was glad of it today!

Because I was aware the route was hilly, particularly mile 4, I decided not to worry too much about pace, just find a steady rhythym and get round, hopefully in about 1 hour.

It was a hilly route, but as I was running, I realised I wasn’t finding it tough, I was enjoying it! Especially when I realised that whilst going uphill I was over taking people, and then they weren’t over taking me back.

The marshalls around the route were brilliant – holding the traffic at junctions, and cheering, encouraging and clapping EVERY runner round.

About the two mile mark, I could see a flash of red ahead, and chuckled to myself “that looks Shabba Red!” And it was! Baz and his wife Annemarie had turned out to cheer on me, Chris and Greg (our fellow Shabba who was also running). It made my day to see them and I ran the rest of the race grinning like a loon!

It was great to cross the line with Chris, Greg, Baz and Annemarie cheering me on.

I stopped my watch at 54:17, and that delighted me as was much better than I hoped for. I haven’t had my official finish time yet, as I’ve been missed off the official results, however Action Heart are looking into it for me.

UPDATED: official result now in. Placed 394/440 with 54:19

Me, Chris & Greg got nabbed by the Express and Star photographer at the start, so there’s every chance we might make the local paper tomorrow – which would be a nice momento.

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Can’t Get You Out of My Head!

This week has been an odd one.

Some epic highs, and some head spinning lows.

Lets get the lows out of the way.

1. Missing the children while they’ve been on holiday with their grandparents.
2. Finishing hill repeats session with the Harriers and feeling utterly useless.
3. A shopping trip that left me feeling like I did when I used to go shopping for clothes when I was a size 24 – which led to a Twitter rant/meltdown, and me sitting on my own sobbing.
4. Realising that all my self-confidence had totally deserted me the night before Parkrun and two days before my first ever race.

Now the highs.

1. With the children being away, me and Chris have had some battery recharge time, we’ve managed to run together, we went out for a meal & generally enjoyed being together.

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2. I damn well did those hill repeats and I did not quit. It was the hardest session I’ve ever done, mentally & physically, but I did it!

3. The shopping trip may have upset me, but what I remembered is that I have good friends, who are there when I need them. They listened, understood, sympathised, made suggestions then made me laugh! Not going to embarrass them – but thank you girls!

4. I found my self-confidence. I didn’t do it alone. Chris is a great sounding board. And I’ve recently discovered what it’s like to have a big brother. Again, not going to embarrass him, but he lifted a weight off my shoulders.

So how does the week end?

Well today I went on a Parkrun tour with The Shabba Runners to Wolverhampton Parkrun. With a little help from fellow Shabbas, Marissa, Jon & Daz, I got a PB of 30:44. And more importantly I had fun!

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Tomorrow morning sees me & Chris running in the Action Heart 5 mile run up in Dudley. And I’m really looking forward to my first race.

Tomorrow afternoon sees the children coming home – and that will make the week perfect!

Juggling the School Holidays

It’s half term.

Me & Chris have to book our holidays from work for the year in October & November, and compete with our colleagues for time off that matches school holidays.

We have a fantastic crèche that the children adore, and take children up to the age of 12, so our back up plan is there if we can’t get the time off we want.

My parents live in Liverpool, Chris’s in Dorset, and although we have one aunt who lives locally, she works too, plus as our only local baby sitter, we don’t like to take advantage and only ask for help when it’s a really special event.

So school holidays normally mean one of us at home with the children having day trips & fun while the other works, or both if us working & the children having fun at holiday club. (In fact, the children often moan if we get time off & they can’t go to holiday club!). Occasionally, it works out that my mum and dad offer to have the children for a week – again the children love their holiday without mummy & daddy, and my parents get to spoil them rotten!

Getting time off at the same time so we can go on holiday is virtually impossible. We haven’t had a holiday since we went to Disneyland Paris three years ago.

This year we’ve managed it, and are going to Cornwall for two weeks in August – I can’t wait!

So what are we doing this half term? Well the children are over the moon as they have both of their favourite options!

They have two days of holiday club, then my mum is collecting them on Wednesday for a Liverpool holiday till Sunday. As you can imagine the excitement levels are through the roof.

Me & Chris are both working. But for us, we are going to get some time off as well. First words out of his mouth ‘we can go for a run together!’ We’re also planning a cinema trip out.

So I’m looking forward to an adult week, but also going to spend the week feeling like I’ve lost a limb.

There is a part of me jealous of all the Facebook & Twitter status updates about switching off alarm clocks & lie ins, I also know we’ve found a bit of a balance that seems to suit our family.