Back to basics

Day 2, 2018.

So yesterday I set myself some ground rules.

Today was about working out how to make them work.

I had some activity choices:

  • Run early morning
  • Run after 2 plus hours in the car, the day after running 2 back to back parkruns
  • Go to the gym and cross train.

The early morning run was crossed off my list as my running kit was muddy/wet/smelly from doing the New Year’s Day parkrun double the day before.

The fun when I got home was crossed off as well. I haven’t run further than 5km since October, and although I’d felt fine running 10km yesterday, having had a stress fracture, I’m hyper aware of upping the intensity too quickly.

The parkruns were great fun though. Meeting up with some of the Walsall parkrun crew, and Neil & Pilla made for some happy, splashy running.

So gym it was!

When I was injured/rehabbing, gym and cross training were a huge part of my routine and I enjoyed doing it and the results I got.

So I dug out my old notebook with my go-to session in and hit the gym!

Man I had fun. At one point I realised I was dancing in what was supposed to be a rest interval.

I did a 5kin warm up on the bike, then 30x30s HIIT exercises with 30s recoveries. My go-to list wasn’t long enough, so I threw in some physio exercises I’d been given and a few bits I remembered from my circuits days.

Had to scribble it down when I got home so I can replicate it!

And my excuses about ‘evenings are too busy’?

Pah!

I have everything I need at home to do this session in the lounge.

My other ground rule I’ve worked on today is the ‘home organisation’.

As soon as we got home, we unpacked, sorted laundry, I packed some bin bags for the tip, and had a five minute blast at clearing my floordrobe.

Somehow, still, got time for a bath, do a basket of ironing and do some knitting too!

Back to work tomorrow, and working from home. Let’s see how sticky my resolve really is!

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2018: the year of progress

Day 1 of 2018.

I’m not into ‘new year, new me’ type resolutions. Life is an adventure and setting too many goals can restrict your opportunity to take a chance if it doesn’t fit the mould of what you’ve set yourself.

What I do like to do is set myself some ‘ground rules’ to start the year well and work on improving the good habits I’ve learnt over the years.

So here’s my thoughts/plans for what I’d like to find/build/grow this year.

  1. Keep building a routine that means the home we live in is tidy and clean. With all the family chipping in and helping.
  2. Find a balance in the routine we have at home that means all of us get to do the fun stuff. Regular parkruns, going on parkrun tour with friends (I’m at 39 unique venues, it would be nice to get to the 50). And I’m going to try a running club out to see how that feels. I also want to restart the habit of one activity a day (Run, walk, swim, gym, class).
  3. I’m determined that this is the year I reach a healthy weight. I’ve come so far since I made the choice to change my lifestyle, but I’ve never quite reached that moment of saying ‘yes, this feels good and this is healthy’.
  4. Take time to read books and knit. They are hobbies I enjoy, but don’t do enough of. I’d also like to learn something new this year. I’m considering sign language or quilting (I like the idea of a race t-shirt quilt for keeping memories).
  5. Be generally kinder to myself. I’m good at seeing the positive in others, but the first to criticise myself. So this year I’m going to find a way to change that. And writing is one of the ways I find this space, so I think there may be more blogs to come this year!

I think 5 is enough! And they’re all based around things I’ve been working on anyway, so I see this as a work in progress, not a new start.

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!

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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!

R.I.P Uncle Roger

I’ve been fairly quite on social media recently (well by my standards).

As a family we’ve been dealing with an issue that I couldn’t articulate without appearing mawkish or attention seeking.

My husband’s uncle was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year. This uncle has been a second father to my husband, and a third grandfather to my children.

About 4 weeks ago we had a call that told us his time left was going to be extremely short.

At that point we chose to explain what was happening to the children, it felt wrong not to explain and have him suddenly disappear from their lives. My 9 year old daughter understood immediately, the 5 year old understood in a way that five year olds do. We also made sure the school were aware. The school has been amazing, their school mentor has spent time with both children to help them.

Last night, uncle Rog was taken to hospital for some treatment to help with some side effects of the cancer. Unfortunately, he wasn’t well enough for the treatment to work, and this morning we got the call to say he’d died.

We made the decision to tell the children after their swimming lessons, and we’ve been honest with them.

This morning has been full of tears, hugs and questions, and I’m sure there’s more to come.

Roger was an amazing man. He was an athlete all his life. He represented Great Britain at the 1972 Munich Olympics, and has passed on his experience as an athletics coach, in 2008, he coached the Team GB women’s 4 x 100 relay team to the final in Beijing, and has continued to coach professional athletes until a month ago, and was delighted when one his athletes (Annabelle Lewis) qualified for the World Athletics Championships a few weeks ago. And was part of the bronze medal winning 4×100 team. After the event she paid tribute to Uncle Roger, and Gabbie Logan, Denice Lewis & Michael Johnson continued the tributes following her interview.

He was a great dad, a loving husband, uncle and made the room light up with his singing (usually Andy Williams or Dean Martin), equally he could clear the room by finding a Western or war film to watch – preferably in black & white, or a home video of the holidays which always included a tour of the hotel bathroom, and heaven help you if you changed channels when the athletics were on!

We’ll miss him terribly, but we’ll remember him with smiles & laughter.

Goodbye Roger Walters, Running Wizard.

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Scooting round Sandwell Valley

It’s a bank holiday in May.

The weather is glorious.

We packed the scooters & the children into the car and headed off to Sandwell Valley Country Park

Sandwell Valley is a council run country park, with a working Victorian farm, acres of open space, an RSPB nature reserve and nature trails galore. There’s free parking, and the majority of the facilities are free (there are rope walks, golf, mini golf & mountain bike hire that you have to pay for – but even that’s reasonably priced).

We decided to go for a long walk around the valley giving the kids plenty of space to scoot to their hearts delight.

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I rather liked this sign post’

The boy was fascinated by the bridge that crosses the motorway:

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I always marvel at how close to ‘civilisation’ you can be whilst exploring a ‘wilderness’

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We then stumbled across some ruins. There was an information board, so we stopped to have a look.

Sandwell Priory was a Benedictine Monastery built in the 11th century and then closed by Cardinal Wosley during the Reformation. Tudor history right on my doorstep!

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History aside, we got on with the serious business of scooting

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Whoops! He wasn’t hurt though.

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Our route took us around the edge of Swan Pool, where we found one lone swan, plenty of mallards & lots of little piers to bird watch & fish from.

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Both mummy & daddy had a play on the scooters too!

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After our walk, we took the children to the Adventure Playground to blow off steam – they had a ball!

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We decided to move on at lunch time, and so glad we did. It had been busy when we arrived at 10.30, with one overflow car park open already. When we left, the queue of cars was enormous and the second overflow car park appeared full too.

With such good facilities I’m not surprised it was busy, but next time we go, we’ll probably get the metro and walk!

If you’re interested the below picture is the route we took around the valley.

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The rest of our bank holiday will consist of chilling, housework, sunshine & more scooting.

Hope you enjoy yours!