Monday 27 August 2012

A bit more running

Well I'm really not keeping up with the blogging these days. But we are approaching the end of the summer holidays, so I want to make the most of time with the children before Robbie goes back, and Emma starts school. Last week we seemed to be quite busy, and there was a lot of meeting up with friends.

I have been struggling to get enough runs in. 'Enough' in this case is the amount which makes me feel fit and strong. If my mileage is too low - as it has been this month at times - I start to feel fidgety, and inevitably, grumpy. Obviously it's always harder to fit in a workout when there are 2 children home all the time and no childcare.

But I've found it harder than usual because Pete has started stealing my early morning running time to go swimming! A few weeks ago, he began a schedule of driving to the local pool at 6.30am, swimming for  30-40 minutes and coming home, before going off to work. He's been doing this 3 mornings a week, which leaves me with only 2 mornings to get my early runs in.

I'm not really complaining about this, as I'm really pleased for Pete that he's found a way of fitting in exercise that he really enjoys. This combined with school holidays though, has made it hard to run 4 times a week and get some longer runs in, especially as we've had a few busy weekends too.

Anyway, last week I did a bit better! I ran early on Tuesday morning (4.6m), then Pete was home early enough for me to run the following 2 evenings. I did another lovely longer run in the evening sunshine on Wednesday (7.5m), and some fast intervals on Thurs (4.7m). Then on Saturday, I went for a little jog in the morning (3.5m), all of which added up to 20.3 miles - my biggest week of this month.

I felt much better than the second week of August, when I only did about 11 miles. I've found that I really need those runs for my sanity, as well as my fitness.

I've also been doing the 30-day shred DVD, and after about 7 sessions, my arms feel a little more muscly, and I almost thought I spotted an 'ab' the other day! This may just be in my head of course...

Away from running, it was Pete's birthday last week. The kids and I got the train to his workplace to meet for lunch, and we went to a really nice pub/restaurant. I had an amazing chocolate torte with mango sorbet for dessert - it was one of the best puddings I've ever eaten... We also had a little tea party in the evening, involving homemade cake and sparklers.
Ooooo! Aaaaah!
The kids have been doing a lot of dressing up - basically every day at the moment. We have a limited supply of outfits, but they are being very creative and fair - taking it in turns to be the princess... Spot the difference:

Snow White and Ben Ten
Ben Ten and Cinderella
The weather has been ok too, and we've had many a trip to the park, usually with friends. I hope we get an Indian summer as we did last year, I'm not ready to give up the sunshine and warm temperatures yet!

Happy Days!

Friday 17 August 2012

Random thoughts

1. I'm not spending much time on blogging. Although the Olympics has sadly ended (boo-hoo!), it's still the summer holidays here, and we are busy filling the days before the kids go back to school. The weather has taked a turn for the hot and sunny, so I'm not spending too much time at the computer.

2. I'm not doing enough running. Last week we had to fit in a couple of trips to the Olympics, which trumped going for a run, and because of the holidays and complete lack of childcare, this week hasn't been much better. However, on Wednesday, Pete came home early, and I went for an evening run. It was FABULOUS! It was my first run over 4 miles in a couple of weeks, and I ended up doing 7 miles. It was utterly exhilerating, and I got so excited that I ran the last mile in 7m59s! Absence makes the heart fonder where running is concerned...

3. I had a much more frustrating run on Thursday. The kids got on their bikes and they cycled (I walked) to a park. I had to keep helping Emma, as she's only getting used to a proper bike. Then they played on the skate park while I ran circles round the park. This was fine for a while, but my run was punctuated with cries such as 'Mum, I scraped my elbow', 'Mum, I need the toilet', 'Mum, I want to go over there', 'Mum, I hurt my foot'...etc, etc. I was constantly stopping and pausing my Garmin, but we did have a few little races together, which was fun, and I felt better for getting some running done.

Not the best treadmill, but fun!
4. I've been back on the Jillian Michaels DVD again. Last time I did the 30-day shred was December 2010, when I was injured and we were snowed in, so there weren't many options. I thought it could help me feel like I'm keeping fit while I'm not running enough...

5. I can't believe there's only 3 weeks until Robbie goes back to school, and Emma starts school shortly afterwards. In some ways I'm looking forward to getting my freedom back, but in others I am dreading it. I'll really miss them, and it will be strange seeing Emma in her uniform for the first time, getting all grown-up! Until then, we have lots of fun stuff to do...

Sunday 12 August 2012

Days out at the Olympics!

I think it was some time in Spring 2011 when we entered a ballot for Olympic tickets. We selected a few sports that we liked - athletics of course, gymnastics for me, basketball for Pete etc, and waited months to find out what, if anything, we'd get. All we got was 2 tickets for the women's basketball semi-final. We had no idea which teams would be playing (and I don't know anything about basketball!) but  on Thursday we finally got to use those tickets, and had a great day.

Leaving the kids with my Mum and Dad, we headed up to London in the morning, and off to Hyde Park to catch the women's 10K swim in the Serpentine Lake. It was a beautiful day, hot and sunny, and the park was pretty busy.
In party mood!
The atmosphere was great as the swimmers set off, and then passed us several times as they swam laps for a couple of hours - incredible. There was a lot of support for Keri-Anne Payne, the British contender, but sadly she just missed out on a medal - by less than half a second...

That white foam is the swimmers!
After a lovely morning in the park, we crossed London on the tube. We were early as we approached our venue, so we decided to stay on the train to Stratford, where the Olympic Park is. Although you need tickets to get in, we thought we might see a bit from the outside, but it was hard to get close!

Olympic Stadium is in the background!
The Orbit tower

Aquatic Centre
 Then it was off to the North Greenwich Arena (formally The O2), to see the basketball.

Outside the venue

We were so excited when we got inside, it looked great! Although we were up in the cheap seats, the view was pretty good.

Before the game

The match was USA v Australia, which was great because they are probably the top 2 teams in the world. We decided to cheer for the Aussies, as they were the underdogs (sorry American readers!). It was really exciting, and the score was close up until the last quarter, when Team USA turned it on, and ran away into the lead. It ended up 86-73.

Penalty throw to Australia

After the match, we walked along by Westminster, went out for dinner, and got the train home. Amazing day.
London evening
Then today was the last day of the Olympics - sob! After some deliberation, we decided to take the kids up for the Men's Marathon so they could see a bit of live Olympics at last. We also met up with my sister, her husband and son, which made it even better!

All the family's here!
Ready to support Team GB!
Looking for runners
It was another roasting hot day - great for us but not so good for the runners. We got a good view, and saw tham run 3 laps past us. I was looking out for Ryan Hall, but never saw him, and read later that he'd sadly had to drop out. We saw the two British runners on every lap.

Bronze Medallist Kiprotich
Scott Overall (GB)
Lee Merrien (GB)
After the race, we had lunch and a wander through London before heading home.

With my sis
 What an amazing 2 weeks. We have been so lucky to have the games here, and to be able to be a part of some of the best times the UK has ever had. We British are a cynical grumpy bunch most of the time, but the country has really changed over the last 14 days, and it's been so much for the better. Let's hope we can hang on to this atmosphere! Roll on Rio 2016!

Wednesday 8 August 2012

July Rundown

With all the Olympic excitement, I nearly forgot to record my numbers for last month. In July, I tried to up my mileage while contending with a trip away for work, the end of school term, and a week in France on holiday.

3 places I ran in - my home town, Cambridge and Normandy, France. Running is such a great way to experience a new place.
Cambridge is a beautiful city

The house we stayed in in France

My running route in France
2 10-mile runs - I didn't manage to fit more of these in because I just didn't have the time between looking after the kids, but I tried to make up for it with more 4 or 5 milers during a week.
1 month of over 80 miles - in July I totalled 88.08 miles in 18 runs, making it my highest mileage month of 2012 - whoop!

Sunday 5 August 2012

Women's Olympic Marathon!

This morning I made it up to London to see my first bit of live Olympics! I caught a 7am train to get there for 9am, which was probably too early with hindsight. It was a lovely sunny morning though, so I had coffee and did some sightseeing.

Could have had a bit more time in bed...

St Paul's Cathedral on the route
 I found a good spot just before 10am, and sat down with a magazine to wait. Gradually the clouds got darker and thicker, and at about 10.45am, the heavens opened. It absolutely bucketed down, but I was stoic, and refused to leave my spot.

Getting soaked
Just when we thought the rain couldn't get any worse, it got worse. It was torrential for a while, and my jeans and bag got soaked. In fact I had a wet backside all day, even on the train home, which was not the most comfortable way to sit down.

Eventually, at about 11.30am, the leaders of the pack appeared!

Front runners

They whizzed past, and it wasn't easy to see through the still-quite-heavy-rain. I just about managed to pick out the two remaining British runners.

Claire Hallissey (GB) 2nd from right
As soon as they had gone, I gave in, and went under a roof for shelter. After a while, the rain turned to drizzle, and later it cleared up altogether and the sun came out again. I never really dried out though...

Before the second lap, I changed position, and for this and the third and final lap, I was so close to the runners! I could have high fived them, if they'd been willing. I didn't try though.

The lead group is lead by Keitany (who finished 4th), then Gelana, Jeptoo, and Arkhipova, who took Gold, Silver and Bronze.

A little further on was American Kara Goucher, who finished 11th.

And later still came British Claire Hallissey, who finished 57th, behind Paula Radcliffe's last minute replacement Freya Murray who was 44th (and who I saw several times, but never managed to photograph, for some reason).

You might be able to hear me shout 'Come on Claire' as Hallissey goes past. If you pause the videos, you can see the runners much more clearly. I could have done with a much more expensive camera to get good shots of these fast runners!

By the time I left, the sun had come out again.

St Paul's again, with more crowds

It was great to see it up close, and I'm glad I went, although it wasn't a great event for Team GB! We are going again next Thursday, as Pete and I have tickets for women's basketball (GB are out of that too). Can't wait!