I have been tagged by carpeviam, the inspirational goddess of marathon running and all round funny person, to list 10 things that make me happy. 1. Family – here we are this Christmas. Please note I have managed to avoid being in the photograph. I’m crafty like that.
2. Friends – this picture shows a small but very lovely selection. Yes, we had been drinking wine.
3. Tea. Kettle must be freshly boiled, tea must be decaf, milk must be put in afterwards and semi skimmed or whole, never skimmed (ugh). Yes, I really am quite fussy. You noticed.
4. Bookshops – until our lovely Borders closed, I was to be found hiding there as often as possible, drinking coffee and reading books, hidden in a corner. These are our kittens, Edward and Bella, who have inherited my love of books. Or maybe just small spaces.
5. My garden. Don’t be fooled by those hens. They might look cute, but they ate all 100 of my tulips last year, and they crap everywhere. They do lay lovely (occasionally tulip flavoured) eggs, though.
6. Skiing – I keep hoping my running experiences will end up like my skiing ones. My learning curve was very steep. In my first week, I went from lying in a foetal position on a nursery slope, weeping that I was scared I’d fall off the side of the mountain, to a red run. Now it’s my favourite thing in the world. Unfortunately I’ve yet to feel the same love of running that I have for skiing. That’s why you should all be impressed by me running a marathon, because there are about a million other things I’d rather be doing.
For instance, having
7. Baths – with a magazine, a glass of something lovely (Laphroaig will do nicely) and no interruptions from small people needing to go to the loo.
8. Wine – I know, I’m training for a marathon, my body should be a temple, etc, but a glass or two of red wine is good for the heart. Isn’t it? Oh, don’t tell me otherwise, I don’t want to know.
9. The wonderful world of the internet – for an arch-procrastinator like me, it’s a blessing and a curse. I spend far too much time reading the Runner’s World website for tips, when I could be doing something boring but constructive, like work. Or housework. Or running, instead of reading about it. Ugh.
10. Sleep. When you have children who get up at 5am sleep makes you very happy. In fact it’s the holy grail of the parenting world. Talking of which, I might have a little snooze before school pick up time.
Tomorrow: more about running. Today I realised I’m getting fitter. Hooray.
I’m torn between wanting it to snow (pretty, no packed lunches to make tomorrow) and wanting it to thaw (slid down the steps in the garden today when I was out feeding the chickens, need to train outside because the treadmill is no substitute). This is the longest time I can remember that we’ve had snow on the ground and freezing temperatures, and whilst the children are loving it I’m going a bit bonkers. I left the village for the first time in five days yesterday. The supermarket was full of people in woolly hats, panic buying bread and milk. Depending on which forecast you read, tonight we’re either due a thaw, or another four inches of snow.
I’m really hoping the children will get back to school this week so I can head out into the frozen wasteland with my lovely Garmin. Meanwhile, as the roads are still covered in slush and ice, tonight I’ll be on the treadmill for 80 – yes, you read that right – minutes. Run 3, walk 1, run 3, walk 1, run 3, walk 1…it’s exciting stuff.
The observant reader will notice that I haven’t written anything for a week. That’s because I’m up to my eyes in Christmas. Nativity plays, presents, school parties, decorations, baking, pre-Christmas cleaning…I feel quite impressed that I got out on Tuesday with Katie for another run round the 3.7 mile route.
It was an interesting run – I was determined to make a bit more of an effort than the previous couple of times I’d done it. Katie is pretty good at finding the balance between telling me to move my arse and being sympathetic when I can’t breathe and want to lie on the floor and weep in a feeble manner. What’s good about training with someone else (besides the chance for a chat) is that things which aren’t apparent to you are glaringly obvious to someone else. So Katie pointed out that after every walking interval I’d start off at quite a fast pace, then die because I couldn’t sustain it. So we kept the pace much slower, and I managed to run for much longer periods of time. My recovery rate is loads faster too – I can feel my heart and breathing coming back to normal really quickly. I’m really hoping Santa is reading, because what I’d really like for Christmas is this…
With my very own Garmin, I’ll be able to see exactly what I’m doing when I run, plus it appeals to my inner nerd – downloadable graphs! Things to compare with other things! Heart rates and recovery rates! Technology heaven! Yay.
In other news, um, there isn’t any. The children broke up from school today at lunchtime and I have to fit in running around school holidays, Christmas, and the eleventybillion other things I have to do by next Friday. Treadmill tonight, Olympia Horse Show for a girly day out tomorrow with my big girl, who takes after her mother and loves horses, then if the snow stays off I’m heading back out again on Saturday. Anyone local fancy joining me?
Got on the treadmill this evening, where I only had a short time to run by the time I got the children into bed, after they insisted on watching our wedding video and asked me to try on my dress. My children are bonkers.
I managed to stick to the treadmill interval programme for the first time ever today. Usually I die after about ten minutes and have to slow it down or risk shooting off the end and squashing the dog to death. So a 3mph warmup, 4mph walk, 5 mph running and I managed to do intervals of run 5 minutes, walk 2 minutes without dying. Having watched the marathon videos on YouTube has really helped – not the elite runners pounding round in less than 3 hours, but the people jog-walking with pain etched on their faces. Virtually all of them are doing it for charity, most of them for personal reasons, and knowing that I’m doing it for a good cause makes the pain in my legs seem less important.
Milestone no2 – this is a big one. So there I was in the post-run shower, musing on how I was going to fit in a run this weekend whilst fitting in ballet lessons, meetings, swimming lessons, and the general weekend chaos of life with four children. Then it came to me – instead of sitting in the car reading a book for 45 minutes whilst my daughter does ballet, I could run! So I’ll be driving there in my running gear, and doing a quick run along the country lanes. And if that’s not thinking like a runner, I don’t know what is.
Or, how the best laid plans can go wonky when children are involved. Having arranged for my mum to look after one child so I could run this morning, I was all set for my run with Katie. Unfortunately I had one of those nights where the children were wandering round the house deliriously and throwing up. So no running today, or at least not till tonight when I’ll have to do another treadmill trot. I was really looking forward to getting out, too. Luckily the children have made a miraculous recovery, so we’re having a lazy day at home.
Whilst I’m here, if you don’t mind, there’s something I’d love you to do: go to the National Autistic Society campaign page and have a read. They’re another charity who are very close to my heart.