Happiness is…..

Happiness is….

Seeing my sister for the first time this year, and falling asleep on her couch while she plays games with the children & Chris.

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Happiness is….

Arriving in Swanage to stay with my in laws, and having a view like this:

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Happiness is….

Waking up early & going for a run along the beach:

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Happiness is….

Watching the children have fun on the beach:

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Happiness is…

Walking to the top of a cliff with the family, with your son striding off confidently, while your daughter overcomes her fear of falling, to reach a view like this:

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Happiness is…

Running sub30 at Parkrun for the very first time, when you didn’t expect to yet!

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Happiness is:

Your husband saying “I knew you’d do it.” And the wonderful friends I have in the Shabbas, and the wider twitter running family sending wonderful congratulations messages that make you tear up.

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Happiness is….

Spending the afternoon on the beach, relaxing in the sunshine with Chris, watching the children do what children do, and having a 99!

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Happiness is…

Knowing no matter what, I’m surrounded by people that care.

Happiness is…

Me!

Stellian’s Superb Saturday! (Warning! Includes a swimsuit shot!)

So this Saturday was always going to be manic, but I was really looking forward to it.

The plan:

Whole family to Wolverhampton parkrun
Chris swim Sport Relief Swimathon – 5k at Wolverhampton Leisure Centre, while we cheer him on.
Parents arrive lunch time.
Me and daughter swim Sport Relief Swimathon 1.5k team relay at Halesowen Leisure Centre
Big family meal out.

For the most part, the plan happened, but a few extra things happened to make it even better!

A mid week chat on twitter with Lozza led to a suggested Tweet Up at Wolverhampton parkrun, along with a new twitter friend Cara.

The run was great fun, I was aiming to keep Lozza in sight, as she aimed for a sub-30 PB, to see if I could run as well as I did the other week with Marissa and Jonnie. I kept her in sight for a lap and a half, but she was flying round (I now know she was chasing a nice bottom!) and she smashed her goal of sub-30! It was great turning into the final straight with her yelling me on!

I’m really pleased with my time at wolves, 31:01 by my watch, 31:05 official time, as I did it all by myself, and my first mile was 10:02, so I’m making good progress towards my own sub-30.

Also really proud of my 6 year old son, who after a half the first lap in full on tantrum mode as he wanted to run with mummy, not daddy, finished the full 5k in 34:35 – I’m going to have to watch him!

The Tweet Up was brilliant, it’s always lovely to meet twitter pals in the flesh, especially when they are as inspiring as Lozza and Cara, both have worked hard to change their lives through running, and are now branching off into triathlons etc.

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It was fabulous to chill out after the run over a coffee and just relax. This did mean that Chris didn’t have his cheerleading at his swim, but he did brilliantly and I’m proud of him.

Then after all the excitement of the morning, it was scoot home to meet up with my parents. They’d brought daughter’s birthday presents, as she turned 10 this week, so there was much excitement from both children.

Then the best bit of my day happened. Me and daughter set off for Halesowen Leisure Centre to do our 1.5k relay. We’d deliberately joined as a team as she was desperate to take part, but had only swum 800m before, so the plan was she’d swim as far as she could, then I would finish whatever she couldn’t, therefore no matter what we’d be a successful team.

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What can I say, she was incredible! She swam beautifully and strongly, she was overtaking adult swimmers and with a bit of pool side encouragement from me, she swam the first kilometre all by herself, only leaving me 500m to finish off.

I swam my 14 lengths at full on full pace, just because I could! And when we got out to be presented with our medals, I realised we were the first to finish! We’d finished ahead of adults swimming in teams, and solo at the same distance! Not that I’m discovering a competitive side to myself or anything.

She’s followed our family rule to the letter and hasn’t yet taken off her medal, think she’s chuffed, and so she should be.

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We then went out and ate our way around the world at our local world food buffet. Perfect end to a fantastic day!

;

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.

A Bump in the Road

Well a crash had to happen.

I’ve been on a high for the last four weeks, there was bound to be a bump in the road.

I’ve been looking forward to today all week. We’d decided to bring the children to Walsall Parkrun so I could finally have a go at my home Parkrun.

But this morning did not go to plan.

It started with a 6am alarm call to finish sorting the kitchen out ready for the new fridge freezer that could be arriving anytime between 7am & 10pm. This was irritating as the old one had died the day before, and we’d had no choice but to get a new one. At this point my parkrun was already cancelled as I’d have to be at home to take delivery.

But then joy of joys, a text message arrived to say our estimated delivery slot was 12pm to 4pm.

Hurrah! Parkrun was back on!

Off we trotted as a family. It was great to see some of my friends from Black Country Running Fit and West Bromwich Harriers and if course the notorious Shabba Runners.

Just like that we were off.

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(Photo from @WalsallParkrun twitter feed)

And within 5 minutes so was my son. One minute he wanted to stop then totally run wild. He went into total meltdown. Daughter trotted off on her own & carried on while I dealt with the tantrum.

We finished the first lap and I made the decision to end it and concentrate on not allowing him to disrupt everyone else’s runs.

It took till 10am to get him calmed down. It’s been months since he went into meltdown and I’d forgotten how horrible it is to deal with.

Ironically, he then went and had a perfect swimming lesson.

And although the rest of the day has been perfectly pleasant, I’m left with a lingering sense of frustration & disappointment.

I know there will be other days & other runs, but still…

Going bonkers at Conkers

It’s the time of the year that I’m off work for two weeks to look after the children during thr school holidays. As hubby can’t get the same two weeks,  I decided our two weeks would be full of  day trips, bikes, scooters & picnics.

Our first trip was to Conkers , an outdoor adventure park in the National Forest near Ashby de la Zouche (that’s so much fun to say! ).

I packed a picnic,  put petrol in the car and we were off.

It was great!

Acres of space, fields,  woods & lakes for us to explore.

The children spotted a face painter,  daughter had a face paint flower ‘tattoo’ on her arm, and the boy decided to be Batman.

After this we discovered the Barefoot Walk. This was brilliant. Lots of different textures and materials for the children to explore. Each section reflected a different period of the history of the area. And of course – mud!

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Barefoot Walk

We also discovered the assault course, the train,  the amphitheatre,  the den making area, the adventure playground,  the sculpture trail (which included a tribute to Dunblane), and the log pit.

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The children loved all of it, and we walked over five miles!  The barefoot walk was the highlight, and we went back at the end of the day and they went round five or six times. Thank goodness for the foot bath & dryers!

There was so much we didn’t get to I’m sure we’ll be going back!