Friday, 27 February 2015

Runstreak Day #453 - skipped one...

... still did two.  Runs, that is.  But I was just too tired to run to pick up my littlest from school, so ended up having a lazy-ish day with my running and just going to Sweatshop with him in the evening instead.  Knowing that although I was going to get a second run in, it really wouldn't be very fast or very far.  And that suited me just fine.

In fact, the morning run was a struggle too.  Not least because the weather was foul.  Itty bitty spitty rain that absolutely soaked my face.  Thank goodness for my waterproof running jacket... but even so, it was horrible out.  Plus, the pavement we use is being dug up in loads of different places, so it's a bit like an obstacle course to navigate our way to school.

The evening run was less wet.  My littlest was tired though and although he managed the first mile and a half without too much problem, by the last half mile he was definitely at the point of having had enough.  He'd got his new running water bottle with him, but even that wasn't sufficient to keep him from flaking out by the end.  He is enjoying it though and that's the most important thing for me.  I'm not prepared to push him to do more than he's comfortable with because if he ends up hating it, what would be the point in that?

So, I copped out a bit today.  Got some miles in.  But nowt more than that.

And sometimes, that's all you need for a running streak!

Runstreak Day #452 - things that seem like a good idea...

... deciding that I'm going to do a race each month in 2015 and then not finding anything to enter in February.  But having the bright idea to do a virtual race that month instead.

And then completely forgetting about it.

And all of a sudden, it's February 25th, you haven't done your 10k and you know that finding the time is going to be tricky in the last three days.

Which is exactly what happened to me!  Whoopsie!!  Just goes to show how fragmented my running is at the moment.  A little bit here, a little bit there.  But no long runs to speak of.  My marathon training is *not* going well at all!!

In the end, I found a friend to run the 10k with and without her, I definitely wouldn't have been able to do it.  I'd already run the 2.5 miles there and back to get my littlest to school in the morning, and I really wasn't feeling it in the slightest.  Knowing that I had to meet someone else put enough pressure on me to get out of the door.  Plus, I could say out loud 'I don't want to run particularly fast' and rather than then trying to kill myself anyway, I had someone with me to go 'I thought you didn't want to go very fast' and slow me down.

So, although it was a bit of a struggle and I really was too tired to do it.  I earned my virtual race medal.  I did my bit of the Miscarriage Association.  And the 'I didn't quite remember to run' guilts have gone.

Oh, and I also over-heated a bit which means... don't tell anyone... but the weather is starting to warm up!  YES!!!

Woooo hooooo!!

Runstreak Day #451 - three run day

Although I'll be running again later for run streak day 451 parts 2 and 3, I thought I'd just share with you my school run-run with my littlest. If anyone can spot the flat bit where I get a rest, that'd be dandy! It's also the reason why my weekly elevation total for my runs looks like I climb a mountain on a regular basis!

There really is no escaping them. And when you're faced with getting a child to school who's late, you discover the ability to run them at increasingly quick speeds! Now, I don't know whether or not professional runners do the school run as part of their training... I'm assuming not... but we mummy runners have to do whatever we can to get the miles in. Even slogging up and down stupid hills several times a day!

Anyway, thanks to my dawdling son, I managed my own version of a Chariots of Fire run, complete with a slice of feeling epicness and having an old lady yell 'you're making me feel tired just looking at you!' at me!  This obviously means my next couple of runs will be treacle runs but who cares? In your face hills!!

Mmmmmm... tea. Mmmmmm... ☺

PS  Runs 2 and 3 were great - especially run 3 with my Colwick runners.  They are such strong, beautiful, inspirational runners.  I love getting to run with them!  Plus, on run 2, I managed my fastest ever kilometre - breaking the 4 minute mark for the first time with 3:59!

Runstreak Day #450 - inspiration

Day 450!!  Bosh!!

Ran 10k today, split over two runs.  First was a run with my littlest to school and home again.  The second was with our Monday evening beginners' group.  Who were epic tonight!

After 450 days running each day, running can still surprise me.  Sometimes it's how gross I can be (yeah, I am *that* gross)... sometimes it's how fab I feel... sometimes it's how frustrating it is... sometimes it's just how peaceful I feel.  Today, I ran through my neck and shoulder hurting (damn prolapsed disc in my neck!)... but still managed to enjoy it.  Yet, on other days, a small stone in my shoe can drive me to distraction and take away any enjoyment at all.

I also got to be blown away by how brilliant our beginners are.  It was so cold and windy out, but they all ran for a minimum of 25 minutes.  The sound of chatting as they went was excellent.  And on a night when most people would be curled up on the sofa, our new runners were out there, braving the elements and being awesome.  Surprising themselves with what they achieved too.  Love it!

So, no particular celebratory run for 450.  Just another day of running.  Another good day where running featured in just the right amount.  A day where I had counselling and in talking through things realised exactly how important running is to me.  It's my link back to my old self.  It brings me fulfillment and proves to me that I can still *do* things, even when so much else is difficult.  I get company from inspirational women as I run.  It's not bad, is it?  Not bad at all.  :)

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Runstreak Day #449 - full day of NWR

This whole 'setting up a running club' thing seemed like such a simple idea.  We had lots of members of our Facebook group.  Plenty of willingness.  And oodles of enthusiasm.

The reality is that it's a LOT of work, taken on by a very few people.  In the last week, I've set up an AGM and promoted it, attended a meeting with the city council, I've drafted a club constitution, posted role descriptors ready for nominations, come up with a system for voting and prepared a load of posters for our new beginners and improvers' sessions.  As well as writing emails to my beginners group and delivering the session itself.  You have to really want it to happen to get it to happen.  Fortunately, I believe that it's the right thing to be doing and am happy to put the time in... but you sure couldn't do this stuff half-heartedly!!

So... today's run was actually two runs.  One was a run to my beginners' session.  Not particularly fast, but a nice steady pace which felt good.  The second was the 25 minute run with the group.  They did amazingly well again - some running a lot more than 25 minutes.  It blows me away to see their progress.  And I love their enthusiasm and passion for their running too.  I knew I wanted to run beginners' sessions when I decided to do the LiRF last year, but I had no idea exactly how rewarding it would be.  It is so much fun but it is such a privilege as well.  You get to see the difference running makes to other people's lives... and it's wonderful.

Simple ideas take a lot of effort.  Simple ideas can make a real difference.  And if you want to make a difference, you have to put in the effort!  If nothing else doing this runstreak has taught me is that you never regret finding a way to make time for the things you believe are worth doing.

449 days.  Yup.  Don't regret any of 'em.

Runstreak Day #448 - ownsome lonesome

Day 448, all run and dusted.  Yay!

For the first time in over a week, I got to run on my own.  While I really enjoy running with other people a lot of the time (and I'd never have said that a year ago when the thought of running with others was terrifying!)... I definitely feel like I'm missing something by not getting that headspace running can bring.  And every so often, I like a nice selfish wodge of time that's all for me.

As I set out on my run, the sky was clear and I glanced up at the stars.  It was so pretty.  And if you run when it's a bit later, the streets feel like they're yours.  Hardly anyone about.  Not much traffic.  And you really do feel the freedom of running.  It's a shame that lots of women are too scared to run at night on their own - because if you do it, it's one of life's little pleasures.  Cold crisp air.  Sparkly pavements.  Quiet so you can let your mind drift.  Really kinda delicious.

And in all that perfection of a nice gentle run... I got bloody well turtled.  Damn it!  And if you follow me on Strava, you can see the exact moment the turtling happened, because my pace went up to 6-7 minute miles as I dashed for home.

Turtle power!

So glam.

*head desk*

Friday, 20 February 2015

Runstreak Day #447 - daylight tootle

I have to be honest... I didn't really fancy a run today.  Don't know why.  Just didn't!  I hadn't had a good night's sleep - which is nothing unusual - but I felt wrecked and as sluggish as a sluggish thing!  I was almost going to ask if anyone else fancied going for a run with me this evening, but in the end, decided that I'd put on my big brave girl pants and go this afternoon.

It was nice to go out in the daylight... but I didn't go alone.  I got my littlest to come along with me.  Having company when you're not really feeling it with your running is *exactly* what you need to do sometimes!  Even if he is being a bit grumpy about whether to go on his bike or scooter.  Then debates the route.  Several times.  Still, we got out and it was good.  Got beeped at by one of my Colwick group who was going past in the car (yay for other runners!)... and arrived at the park to let him scoot around a bit while I ran round the park itself.

Y'know, it was nothing special, but I did quite enjoy it.  Then went to the physio and got my neck mangled which wasn't quite so enjoyable!  In a weird way though, I'm glad he's finally sussed what's the matter and the prolapsed disc in my neck will eventually get better... and waiting on muscles to heal which won't because the underlying problem isn't sorted... well, that's no longer an issue.  It *will* get better.  I won't have to have the pain and tingling in my neck and shoulder forever.  And maybe, just maybe, I'll actually fancy going for a run on my own tomorrow!

Until then?  There's tea.  :o)

Runstreak Day #446 - space for pace

Today was kinda crazy.  Good crazy.  But crazy.

Of all the things I thought I'd do, I can't say that 'nerdy girl goes to sporty people's meeting and presents on what she's doing with sporty stuff herself' would ever have featured.  In fact, if I think back to the hell that was sport at school, I know for sure that I wouldn't have done something like today.

But, today, I got to present to Nottingham City Council's 'This Girl Can' workshop on what we've been doing with Notts Women Runners.  Isn't that mad?  It was great.  It totally wiped me out, not least because I had to walk to the venue because to be in a car to get there would have made me feel too stressed.  Aaaargh!  Running and being around positive people is such an antidote to the whole PTSD thing.  Anyway, it seemed to go really well.  It was lovely to be able to share with other people our NWR story.  I am so proud of all that we've achieved.  Funny to hear about people with pots of money trying to do what we've done with nothing.  A lot of it comes down to people, doesn't it?

As I said, though, I was exhausted afterwards.  I didn't fancy doing a hilly run, so I met up with a running friend and we did a 4-ish mile flattish plod round the neighbourhood.  Well, it wasn't so much of a plod, we managed a good pace together and it's the first time in a while I've run with someone else at that kinda pace.  Other than a 'stone in shoe' incident', it was great.  Stones in shoes are evil though!

First world runners' problems.  Gotta love 'em!

Crazy old day!

Runstreak Day #445 - Sweatshop sweating

This is my week of 'not running very much' after last week's busy one.  Mainly because the kids are on half term and running when everyone's home doesn't go down well!  So, today's run was Sweatshop with my littlest.  He loves running down the hill - doing a weird chicken-monkey impression while he goes - but when he gets to the bottom and realises he has to go back up... oh dear.  We had tears and everything tonight.  Until he got engrossed in a conversation about Minecraft and suddenly discovered he could run again, without even trying!

While we were running, the cold, as ever, made me want to pee.  Glam, right?  Which made me also think about how gross I've become through my running.  In fact, the longer my runstreak goes on, the more gross I get.  If I get back from my beginners' runs, for example, I'm really not sweaty at all... so I don't shower.  I body spray and change into my ordinary clothes.  And then I wear the same running gear for the next run.  Socks an' all.  Mmmm... stinky.  Plus, I snot rocket when I'm on my own.  I have peed behind a bush.  I may have not made it to the bush in the past...  I am not frightened to be burp-powered.  And a good travelling trump is always satisfying.  Unless you suddenly become aware of someone behind you and then it's all kinda 'bury me' embarrassing.

So, when my littlest is crying about a hill, I'm struggling with sympathy because I actually need a pee.  And all of the grossness above is a solo-activity.  And there will be no bush visits!  It becomes a matter of convincing him to get moving.  And stop climbing on walls.  Because the pee fairy is due a visit!

Anyway, I did have a bath after today's run.  I'm fragrant as a rose.

But I still have epic snot-rocket skills.  :o)

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Runstreak Day #444 - Tesco Tuesdays

I love my Tesco Tuesdays!!  About 25 - 30 from my beginners' group on a Sunday meet to repeat our Sunday run on Tuesday evenings!  It's flippin' brilliant.  Someone said to me this evening was I sad to see my little flock flying the nest as they ran their 20+ minutes... but that's not the case at all.  I LOVE seeing them able to run.  I don't think they have any idea how happy it makes me to see them flying along!  They have gone from my beginner group to being my newest running buddies.  It's awesome and I am the proudest proudest mother hen around!

I noticed this evening that in the first few weeks, while they were walking, they'd chat... but when they were running, it would go silent.  Now they run and chat at the same time!  How cool is that?  Everyone's comfortable enough with their running that they've got beyond the 'OMG immagonnadie' bit of the first minute of running... and now they're running.  They're properly running.  And chatting too.  WOOOO HOOO!!

It's just fabulous to see everyone from those who are at the front and can run a bit further to those in the middle who push themselves... to those at the back who are trying and trying with every step... it's wonderful to see what they can achieve.  I used to run on my own.  Always on my own.  I didn't realise that running with others could be such a privilege.  And when it's runners who you've shared such a change with.  It is the most incredible thing.

And on Thursday I've been invited to talk about our running group... and I can't wait to do that either.  It's a special community we've created.  I hope other people can see it too!

Runstreak Day #442 - Sunday beginner funday

Yay!  Today was a fab running day.  I got to run with my beginners' group again... we now have 96 runners registered at my Sunday morning sessions... isn't that mad???  I never thought when I did the LiRF last year that I'd get to lead such a big and amazing group.  Or that it would give me far more than I could ever have imagined.

My group did their first ever 20 minute run today and the atmosphere was electric.  Full of nerves before they started... and then... such pride at the end.  Lots of cheering when the 20 minutes was reached, high fives, hugs... it was awesome.  I don't know that many of them could believe they'd done it.  And done it in style too.  Full of ace socks and happy runners, chatting as they went and supporting each other brilliantly.

I could wish that when I'd started I'd had a group to run with.  It took me a year to brave running with other people and I was so nervous about being 'found out' that I wasn't a proper runner.  Yet, here is this big, fabulous group of women, running together round the park while other park users smile and watch them go.  It's just incredible to be part of.

Is it daft if I actually feel a bit tingly and teary when I think about it?  I am just SO proud of them and all they've achieved in the past few weeks.

I'm also a teensy bit proud of myself today... I've managed my first ever 40 mile+ week and have clocked up over 200 miles already this year.

Just goes to show, it doesn't matter if you're running for 1 minute, 20 minutes or racking up the miles in some other way - running gives you so much to feel positive about.

I <3 running!!

And tea.  And my running friends.  And awesome socks.  And my trainers!!  And being outside and feeling inspired, free and completely happy on a Sunday morning.

*happy dances*

Runstreak Day #443 - beginners at Bulwell

Another short run today, but a goodie.  With our beginners' group at Bulwell where I got to run with the faster group today.  I really like the fact that I'm not leading it, but instead get to assist where needed.  I often cover the back group, sometimes the middle... and today, up with the front.  It means I get to run with a whole new bunch of people, enjoy their successes and cheer them on when they need it.  But, above all, I get to be there with them when they're doing more than they ever realised they could.

It doesn't matter if I'm with the front, middle or back groups... success bubbles all around with our beginners.  Tonight, they managed a 20 minute run for the first time.  20 whole minutes.  From a group with whom we took those very first difficult running steps to being able to run with them for 20... and chatting too.  I love hearing how running is already transforming their lives.  What it's doing for their bodies.  Their confidence.

It's a very special, powerful thing.  I know that a lot of people don't get running or why you'd run.  I wish they could even get one tiny glimpse of the transformation I see happening week by week.  If you saw that, if you could be part of that, if you could feel the positivity... you might just start to get it too.

I am a lucky old me!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Runstreak Day #441 - hill love again

Day 441 all run and dusted!

It was going to be a parkrun day.  with my littlest.  Who then decided at the last minute that he wasn't going to go!

So I didn't either!

And then the rest of the day happened.  So, it ended up being 8pm by the time I had time to go.  Started out not knowing where I was running to.  Just ran.  Had felt weirdly anxious before setting out.  Hate it that it can seep into everything, even the thought of running, which is one of the most automatic things to do.  Sometimes it's just best to run through those moments... just gotta do up your trainers and head out of the door.

I vaguely ran down the hill, listening to whatever appeared on my iPod.  Then decided that I'd tackle a hilly hill route.  Mainly to distract myself from thinking about anything at all.  Hills are great like that.  Would never have caught myself saying that a couple of years ago!  Hills were to be feared.  Now, they're a challenge, sure... but they are one of the most completely absorbing, relaxing things to conquer.  Even if they make you sweat and swear a bit.  Today's hill was actually a couple of hills.  One long and grinding with an evil kick at the end.  The second goes evil-steady-evil-steady... and finally down.  Hooray!

And tonight... down felt good.  It felt aeroplane-arms kinda good.  It felt wind-in-the-air-free-and-happy good.  It felt just as it needed to feel.

And that's why hills are brilliant.  They zone you out with the tough uphill stuff.  And then rewards you with that feeling of 'woooo hooo' just at the right moment.

Ooooh... there appears to be a cuppa cha next to me.  Yum!

Friday, 13 February 2015

Runstreak Day #440 - prolapsed disc collector...

Post-physio Friday.  And I'm back to the slow, boring runs again.  Since the car accident I've been having physio on my ankle, back and shoulder... and while the other things have gradually got better, the problem in my shoulder hasn't.  Turns out to be a prolapsed disc in my neck.  Yup, I have managed to have two prolapsed discs in the past few months.  Gah.

Cue more yanking and poking of my neck.  More exercises.  More physio booked.  And me feeling fed-up... again.  Not least because it's been particularly bad today and I'm doing that awful stiff robot thing you do when your neck seizes up and you can't look side to side.  Poo lumps.

Thank goodness for Ibuprofen!

Anyway, it didn't mean that I stopped running.  Obviously!  I just did a slow hilly run and pootled about the neighbourhood, discovering a new route while I was at it.  Which is good!  I do like finding a new route or two.  Especially after so many days of running each day, it's good to get to explore now and again.

I also ran with my husband.  Well, I ran.  He walked.  He will *not* run.  Ever!  So, I walked a bit, then ran loops around him!  Fortunately (well, fortunately-ish!), the route was hilly, so I ran up and down the hills and he walked it and got a decent run in.  And looked a bit weird in the process, managed a disjointed conversation with him, but I didn't care because I loved having his company.

Robot neck an' all.

But some how I haven't had a celebratory cup of tea.  Weirdness!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Runstreak Day #439 - a running sanctuary

Today has been a complete roller-coaster of a day.  Virtually no sleep and fizzing with stress when I woke up at the prospect of the inquest into the biker's death being held today.  Fortunately, I could splurge about it in RMR Heart to Heart and empty my head of that just a little bit.  That and running my youngest to school.  On the way there, we were late, so the task was about concentrating on getting him to keep a move on on his scooter while he was mid-grump.  And having arrived with one second to spare (go us!), I ran back up the big hill and down the other side to home.  It distracted me for a short while from the relentless anxiety of the day.  There's nothing like a long slog of a hill to make you focus on nothing but the hill.  It's weirdly relaxing!

On the way down the hill across the park towards home, a man said to me 'you put us to shame' as I ran past.  I smiled at him but then thought 'actually, you're out here, walking in the park on two crutches while I'm just lollopping along' - people don't realise that amazing efforts come in all shapes and sizes, do they?

Anyway, that was run 1.  Run 2 was the school run in reverse.  Yet again, I was late.  This time, because I just couldn't get myself out of the house.  I'd had a massive panic attack and taken a beta-blocker to calm it down.  Completely forgetting what a crazy effect it has on my energy levels / blood pressure.  Which is why by the time I'd picked up my son and he was scooting back up the hill, I was having to stop through sheer exhaustion and to prevent myself from fainting.  Plus, he was really upset by the inquest and the accident and ended up in angry, confused tears about it all.  Gah!

With 5 miles clocked up, there was just one run left to do.  This one with my littlest and was a Sweatshop run at a different location from normal.  He REALLY wanted to do it, and even though I was exhausted from a stressful day, thought that I should get out there with him.  He was full of the joys of running and it was lovely to see him enjoying it so much.  I'm glad we went.

The inquest verdict?  Officially no blame on my husband which is a huge relief (but I don't suddenly feel better which is frustrating!).  Plus, I also had an email inviting Zoe Blackburn​ and I to a 'This Girl Can' event next week, to 'shape future delivery for women and girls sport and physical activity participation in Nottingham' along with the proper sporting bods from our region - doesn't that sound grown up!!!

Running, yet again, provided a sanctuary from everything else that needed dealing with today.  439 days run.  I'm glad of every single one of them.

Runstreak Day #437 - 8 mile

Well, 8 miles split over a full day.  It's amazing how just running the school run adds up the mileage without much stress at all.  2.5 miles round trip in the morning.  2.5 in the afternoon.  And then with a beginner's run in the evening, it made a comfortable 8 miles.

I know.  Comfortable.  And 8 miles in the same sentence!

It's still feeling slightly scary to glue all those miles back together, but what with the various running commitments I have at the moment... interspersed with feeling crappy and other stuff, having the energy to do a big blob of a run is a challenge.  Plus, I'm enjoying the run to and from school with my littlest.  He loves scooting along with me and chatting about Lego, Lego and more Lego.  And Lego.  Of course.

Plus, then I had the sheer joy of running with some of my Colwick beginners.  I informally repeat our Sunday session on a Tuesday and there are about 25 of us running round Carlton.  A gaggle of chatting and happiness.  It's lovely.  And then there are moments such as seeing someone who'd been struggling not to walk in the run sections of the session, voluntarily running back up the hill to the supermarket where we'd started.  I felt so proud of her.  I feel so proud of all of them.  The mood is just so positive and happy.  When I don't feel 100%, it's things like this that remind me of how amazing things can be.  No matter how flat and low I feel, runs like that still sparkle.

And it always means I've earned my cuppa cha afterwards.  Hooray!

Runstreak Day #438 - short runs, big plans

Only a really short run today.  It wasn't going to be, but I felt just too tired to run again this afternoon, and with a busy evening, there wasn't time for it otherwise.

Well, when I say there wasn't time... actually... there was.  I just didn't feel up to it.  So, I didn't.  The months of little sleep have well and truly caught up with me!  Which leaves me listening to my body and collapsing in a heap for an old lady nap in the afternoon rather than pushing through it.  The run I did in the morning was just running my littlest to school.  Although it's short, it does involve a couple of hundred feet of climbing and that definitely works the legs in a morning.

This morning, I also had the pleasure of carrying part of my daughter's lunch with me... and my son's lunch... and her jumper... and... and... and.  All the stuff that was 'too heavy' for them to carry, but apparently fine for me to run with.  The problem is that my running back is great for light stuff... however, it doesn't quite fit tightly enough to my body and even with the straps done up fully, there's a bit of jiggle space kicking around.  When you have something heavy in the bag, that means it's a-rockin' to and fro... and drives you just a bit crackers!  It was so nice to get to school, get rid of their stuff... and then run home, light and free!

Also didn't do a Sweatshop run this evening as I had a meeting about the next sessions we're going to run with Notts Women Runners.  It's really exciting to be part of it and the potential of getting all those women running is huge!  The other thing that's good is having somewhere to point our current beginner runners so we don't just abandon them the moment they get into running and form a community.  Can't wait to get advertising and see what happens!!

Right.  Bed.  Insomnia... here I come!  *yawns*

Runstreak Day #435 - soxy!

Hooray!  It's me and some of my fab Beginners' group from this morning's session *points at photo*  ... and look... crazy sock wearing is spreading all over Nottingham!!   YAY!!!!

Beautiful morning for a run today. I could almost... almost start to feel that *whispers* Spring might be in the air.  Almost.  The sun was out and there was a teensy bit of warmth to it.  There was lots of happy chatting as we ran.  And I even managed to be outside without a bobble hat on for.... ooooh... seconds!

As seems to be the case at the moment, my running was broken up into smaller runs.  One run to the park - where I thought I was late and took a stupidly steep shortcut - and then arrived early.  Whoops!  One run with the beginners' group around the lakes... totally inspiring as ever.  I LOVE it!  And one run around the lakes again at the end looking for someone's keys which had been dropped!  A little extra bonus of a run right at the end.  Gotta love it.  Still, at least I wasn't standing around getting cold today.  I got to enjoy the company of a whole load of other incredible women.  And had moments with Zoe Blackburn​ which made me laugh my face off.

What's not to like about starting off a Sunday like that?  As I was doing my final bit of running to look for the car keys I was running thinking 'must concentrate on looking for keys... oooh... isn't it lovely to be running along in the sunshine... and look at the sparkly water... and oh, there's some geese... and a puppy dog... hello puppy dog... mmmm, running under the trees... soon be Spring... la la laaaa... Whoops!  Should be looking for keys... concentrate... concentrate... keys... right... look for them... oh, hello blue sky!  And snowdrops!  Oh and mind out for the puddle... doo be doo...'

I didn't find the keys.

Fortunately, someone else did.  Phewie!!

Day 435 - you were a goodie!  And I've finally brought my weekly mileage back up above 35 miles.  Result!!

Runstreak Day #434 - running with Raynaud's

Runstreak day 434 - and the day where I ran to parkrun... didn't run parkrun... then ran home again.

The middle bit involved me volunteering for the first time.  It was really good to be involved and my favourite part of all was watching all the parkrunners coming round the small lake at the start of it.  It's wonderful!  A stream of runners coming together.  Reminds you of the power of parkrun.

If only the power of parkrun could keep you warm though.  I was ABSOLUTELY frozen!  I'd got warm on my run there and had a couple of extra layers to put on once I arrived.  I had 6 layers on!!!  Unfortunately, as soon as I went to stand at the finish funnel ready to do barcode stuff... I started to get cold.  Standing on the frozen, muddy grass, I could feel the cold pinching at my feet.  I jogged on the spot a bit.  Jiggled about.  But the mud clagged more on my trainers and I got colder and colder.  By the time I'd dealt with the last barcode, I'd been standing around for over an hour and couldn't stop shaking.

Now... that's fine, if you can get yourself warm pretty quickly.  But if you can't and you have to run home, you're in trouble.  *I* was in trouble.  I have Raynaud's and really struggle to keep my hands, feet and face warm.  I'd got two pairs of gloves on, but my hands were painful.  The real problem, however, was my feet.  I had gone way past pain and I couldn't feel any part of my feet.  My leg muscles were stiff with the cold and when I went to start running with Katherine​ to get home... I managed a couple of minutes and then had to stop!  Which is completely unlike me.

I tried to get started again and managed a weirdly slow jog.  I rang my husband to see if he'd pick me up.  No answer.  I tried again.  No answer.  I *had* to manage it.  Now, if anyone else has tried to run with no feeling in their feet, it is the weirdest thing ever.  You feel the thud of the ground hitting them... in your legs.   But in your feet.  Nothing.  I had a big hill to run up.  I walked it.  I'd run the same route there and have run around there loads of times, but I was so disorientated with the cold, I couldn't recognise where I was.  Some how, I managed to get home.  I honestly don't know how.  Thud, thud, thud of my flat feet stiffly hitting the ground and the only way I could run was by trying to move my feet in time with me counting the steps, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4.

I was too cold to take my trainers off and had to have my husband help me into the shower... and then went to bed as I felt so horrible.  My feet were completely white from my ankles to the tips of my toes.  And my hands were agony.  Plus, my face was so numb my speech ended up slurred and slow!  Damn Raynaud's!!

So... much though I love parkrun... I won't be volunteering again until the weather is warmer!!  My impression of a human icepop is not one I want to repeat again in a hurry!

PS  Even a cuppa cha didn't help.  *shock horror*

Monday, 9 February 2015

Runstreak Day #436 - broken banana, broken me

That's it.  I broke myself today.

Ran just over 12 miles in a variety of blobs of running.  Plus, walked just over 6 miles to and from town.

And now, I can barely move.  That's the way to start your week, right?  Didn't quite think today's running through.  I was just going to run my littlest to and from school - which would have been about 5 miles.  And then do the back marking job for the beginners' group we run on a Monday night, giving me another couple of miles.  Then... this afternoon my husband texts me and says he's got an appointment at 4:30 and won't be home before 6.  Which means that any chance of him taking me to the beginners' group has vanished.

And which also means that my quickest way of getting there is to run it.  Which would be fine if it weren't for the fact that the route there is flippin' hilly.  Up, up a bit more, up some more, down, up, up again, down a bit, then more upness, a smidge of down,  more never-ending upitude and finally a small down... before that last hilly bit.  Bleh!  I ended up being a few minutes late to the beginners' group.  Had chance to eat half a smooshed banana which had been destroyed during my run there.  And then set off with the beginners.  Naughtily, I know I didn't push the back runners as much as I might have.  Because *my* legs were broken!  I know it's not all about me and it's about what the group needs etc.

But... I am broken!  Properly broken.

One cuppa cha later and I'm still broken.  Bed beckons!  Day 436 and about 3,000,000 bits of running.  And my feet are cold.  Just in case you wondered!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Runstreak Day #433 - Light Night triple

My running day came in a 3 for the price of 1 style today... with three shortish runs to make up Runstreak Day #433.

The first run involve tricky negotiations mid-way through running my son to school.  He realised he'd forgotten his watch and wanted it NOW.  Which wasn't massively helpful given that we were already late and he had abandoned his scooter in an effort to look like a sullen teenager.  So, I ran a bit.  Waited for him to grumpily catch up.  Ran a bit more.  Waited.  Ran.  Waited... and so on.  The run home from school, albeit up a stupid big hill was bliss in comparison!

The second and third runs involved leading a run into Nottingham as part of the city's 'Light Night' - where all the buildings are lit up and there are loads of arts events for families.  We had glow sticks, armbands, glow maracas, glow tambourines, glow glasses... we were like one big moving Christmas tree swarming into town.  We got ourselves beeped at, waved at and generally smiled at the whole way.  Compare and contrast with the morning's grumpy run!!

So... fragments of running in what was a pretty tricky day generally.  But another day chalked up and my fitness is definitely starting to come back, which is a relief!!

Oh, and tomorrow I'm volunteering at parkrun for the first time ever!  Am really looking forward to it!!  Hooray for new stuff!

And hooray for running.  Running is awesome, if you were ever in any doubt.  :D

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Runstreak Day #432 - time to talk day

It's run to work day apparently!  But since I'm (still!!) signed off work, I have no work to run to right now... so... instead I ran my littlest to school (me running, him on his scooter).  That counts, right?  The route is easy.  Up a big hill.  Down a big hill.  Drop him off.  Back up the big hill.  Gratefully allow gravity to drag you back down towards home.

And all together it's only 2.5 miles.  Which is good because I feel absolutely exhausted at the moment!

Anyone fancy a PTSD update?  No?  Ah well... skip this bit...

In the past four days, I've managed a grand total of 5 hours sleep.  I've been prescribed sleeping tablets.  And *still* only managed an hour's sleep having taken them!  I've seen my counsellor - and blubbed my way through my session.  Again.  I've seen my doctor - and blubbed my way through my appointment.  Again.  I've been referred to (another) psychiatrist.  Managed to lose yet more weight.  And had nightmares every night and all the rest of that good stuff that comes with PTSD.  And most of the time when I'm around other people, I am pretty good at faking that I'm okay for a short while, because I want them to treat me like the normal Sarah.  Not the one who's writing this.

Why the PTSD update?  Because it's also 'Time to Talk' Day ( and I think I just want people to know that even if you feel consumed by mental health problems, you can still find positive things to do.  You can still get out there and run. You can still hold on to something that makes you feel good about yourself.

Your life can go from being perfectly fine one day, to an unrecognisable mess the next.  In my case, because of a fatal traffic accident.  Or it can be a slow slide into feeling unwell.  If you can, keep running.  Keep reminding yourself who you are and who you'll be again when you're feeling better.

Keep running.  It's worth it.  You're worth it.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Runstreak Day #431 - two run Wednesday

Neither run particularly quick... but as part of 'campaign build back up my mileage', every run counts.  I am finding that running the route to school is getting easier.  Up a big hill, down a big hill... and then back the same way.  Freezing cold out and hard to get going... but I run with my littlest and we chat as we go and it's a good way to start the morning.  Plus, he loves doing it.  I do like the fact that we get to spend time together being active.  Obviously we get some weird looks from people as we go!  And I had someone tell me I was mad as I ran home!  Nice!

They're not far off right to be honest!  What with PTSD, counselling, anxiety, medication and the like... without running, I'm sure I'd be far worse.  Plus, after less than an hour's sleep last night, I'm amazed I was able to move let alone run!

By the time I got home and warmed up, that was run one done.  The second run came much later when I did the Sweatshop run - also with my littlest.  I can't quite believe how much he likes going!  And he now says he wants to do parkrun on a Saturday too.  Yay!  Okay, so he much prefers running down a hill to up and moans about the uphill bits something chronic... but then... don't we all prefer a good run downhill?  And anyway, I didn't care as I was rocking my new stripy socks. I LOVE a good pair of groovy socks.  If only it were easier to track the pesky things down!!

Right.  All runs done.  Bed for me.


Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Runstreak Day #430 - the school run chaos...

Run one of today's 3-course menu of running delight for day 430... done.  And you can't beat a good epic sockage moment to start the day either.  What is slightly less epic is the chaos of a school run-run.  Now, it didn't matter too much that we left slightly later than normal as it doesn't take us as long when I'm running and my littlest is on his scooter.  So, that was okay.  My daughter had gone on ahead as she walks to school (she's 11 so loves being a bit more independent!) and once she's gone, we don't normally see her.

Today, we did.  We got to the park and done the first bit of the big hill with Boysie chatting away about Lego, things with wheels and stuff that explodes (standard fare)... and there she was, dawdling away.  La la laaaa... no rush getting to school... la la laaaa.  Well, I say to her 'get a wriggle on because you're going to be late' and leave her to it (the joy of attempting to foster independence!).  We carry on running and scooting to the top of the hill, I check that she's still behind me and in sight - she is... and we carry on down the hill.  At the bottom of the hill, there's her friend that she normally walks with, who's obviously given up waiting for The Girl and is heading to school.  I tell her that if she just walks a little bit up the hill, she'll meet The Girl.

And we scoot and run into school with about 5 minutes to spare.  Job done.  I say goodbye to Boysie, turn round and run back up the hill.  There's The Girl's friend.  With no The Girl.  My heart exits my trainers.  My pelvic floor is tested to the extreme.  Where is The Girl???  Friend of The Girl says she never saw her when she walked up the hill... but that's impossible as she was only a little way behind us.  I attempt to not panic and run my little legs off and back up the hill.  No sign of her on the first bit of the hill.  She could have been kidnapped.  She'll be on the front page of the newspaper.  Why did I trust her?  I should have stayed with her.  What about those guys with the dogs in the park... what have they done... and... and... and...

I turn the corner and nothing.  Then... there she is.  The Girl is still on the other side of the road and hasn't even crossed over yet.

Her dawdling has reached professional levels and I am so relieved my maternal nagging gene doesn't even kick in.

I attempt a slightly high-pitched but jolly 'oh there you are, we'd better hurry up', get her hand and run her the half mile back down the hill to school.  As fast as my daughter has ever run!  We get to school, only a few minutes late (and since my husband works in the school office, officially not late at all - tee hee!)...

And internally I collapse in a heap.  Then run home for not one but two cups of tea.

The epic socks have brought with them maternal super powers!

School run again later?  And another run with my beginners this evening.  Well... why not...  :)

Runstreak Day #429 - a 'rest day'-ish... with beginners

There should have been two runs today.  Possibly even three.

There was one.  And it was short.  And very slow.  Well, I nearly typed 'snow' then, because I did get snowed on!  The other two runs should have been one to pick up my son from school... and one to run home from the beginners' group.  The first I didn't do because I had a nap (yup, still off work with PTSD *sigh*) and overslept.  The third I didn't do because I was offered a lift from a friend who knows what I'm going through... and the exhausted version of me went 'yes please' and was in the car before the more determined version could object!

Mondays are always hard though.  I had counselling in the morning, doctor at lunchtime... and was shattered by the afternoon.  It really takes it out of you, especially when you feel like you're falling further into the hole that is PTSD and you can't seem to find the brakes to stop yourself from doing so.  It's one of those things though.  It's a few months after the accident now and I'm sure no-one could imagine that it would still be affecting me.  Y'know, I'm pretty good at faking being okay for a short while (we're talking less than an hour!).  And then, I crash completely.

I got asked why I felt the need to fake being okay - and all I can say is that I want people to treat me normally.  I *want* to feel a bit normal.  I don't want other people to know how bad it has been.  And I don't want to talk about it.  I don't want advice.  I just want to keep trying my hardest to feel better and get the quiet that my brain craves.  So, why am I writing this here?  I guess because seeing the words on the page is useful for me in trying to unravel how this has affected me.

I guess also I need to write it down because if you just read my blog and thought 'oh, she's running every day, she must be fine', then I would have faked feeling okay enough to pass for normal.  Just for a bit anyway.

So... today I ran once.  I ran with our Monday evening beginners' group.  I felt useful.  I felt their positivity.  I enjoyed seeing their pride and happiness at what they achieved.  And no-one knew that inside, I felt as flat and exhausted as ever.  And no-one suspected that life is still anything other than normal.  Which is how I wanted it to be.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Runstreak Day #428 - beginners are brilliant!!

Is it too early to be in bed?  No?  Oh, that *is* good!  Because I am wrecked!

I'm struggling to remember what I've done today let alone what number day of running this is.  Possibly day 428?  Maybe?  I dunno.  Anyway, this is what is called 'the run after the sleepover the night before'.  Which means running on even less sleep than normal.  *ya-a-a-a-a-awn*

Fortunately my runs today were amazingly positive ones.  First was a run to the local country park... a quick couple of miles or so, tootling along, listening to music and generally being in my happy place.  Second was my beginners' group.  We're now up to 93 people registered for our Sunday morning group, which is mind-blowing!  And today they were just so, so, so fantastic.  The very best bit is seeing how happy everyone is.  And how proud they are.  And after the run, we get messages to our Facebook group like this:

"I speak on behalf of everyone saying we are all buzzing off your motivation and support and it then helps us to encourage and support each other. Since I started last Sunday and including today I have clocked up 10.5 miles and that for me is a major deal"

"Today was amazing. It was so nice running back to a group of ladies clapping and cheering! Everyone's so friendly and encouraging. I felt so proud of myself after I had finished and though "wow I can run" Never done any running before since I started these sessions 4 weeks ago but I'm definitely hooked! I love the buzz you get after finishing a run! Already looking forward to next weeks session"

"so lovely to see so many ladies all together and encouraging each other"

"the support from Everyone is amazing,I love the fact I can be running along and turn to talk to anyone of you"

"Can't believe I managed it today but so chuffed with myself, as soon as I finish I'm thinking bring on next week. It really does help having everyone else around you, without doubt if I was on my own I wouldn't have got this far"

"Finishing the extra loop was amazing. Feeling so proud. Great sense of achievement!"

"So proud of how far we have come...thanks Sarah & team #thesegirlscan"

Isn't that just the loveliest way to start a Sunday?  I get tingles when I think about getting to run with them all.  I feel so lucky and so honoured to be part of them all making this change to their lives.  Two years ago, that was me, starting out running... but I was on my own.  Now, I get to share what running means to me and see the blossoming self belief and confidence in so many other women.  Who are all supporting each other.  It is a powerfully beautiful thing.

If anyone is thinking about doing the LiRF course and starting their own beginners' courses... DO IT!  It is by far and away one of the best things I have done in a really long time.  Running is a gift you give yourself... but if you can share that gift with someone else, it becomes something so incredible it'll knock your socks off.

Even when you're feeling dog-tired!

*happy dances off to bed*

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Runstreak Day #427 - chaos, cake and escape

Running your first ever minute is hard.  Running a 5k to bag a new PB is hard.  That first 10k is a real challenge.  And then conquering hills... well, that hurts.  Running a half marathon is hard.

But running a sleepover for 5 boys?  That is FAR harder!

Which is why it's not far off midnight and I'm sitting down to write up my day 427 run whilst barely able to keep my eyes open!

Sometimes when people hear that you run every day, they imagine that that's all you do.  That you just swan off for a run any time you fancy while they say 'I couldn't do it, I haven't time'.  Well, today was definitely not a 'swanning off any time I fancied it' day!  Today was a 'get up early, do the weekly grocery shopping, make lunch, make a birthday cake (my son helpfully said that he wanted a bumble bee cake to give me a change... a change from the easy cake I usually make!), sort out party food, listen to chaos of 9-year old boy party before dishing up food, doing party games with them all, doing birthday cake singing, cake cutting and getting the boys watching a film'... and... ESCAPE!!

And although I was absolutely exhausted, it was SO worth it.  A bit of space and quiet.  Bliss.  I didn't listen to any music, I needed silence.  The streets were calm.  There was no shouting.  No boys clomping about.  No mess.  No nothing much.  Just me.  Pitter pattering around the neighbourhood.  5k of 'me'.

Before getting back to a quick shower.  And then tidying up after a bomb had hit our sitting room.  And attempting to get a handful of 9 year olds to stop being a handful and calm down enough to get to bed.

I have aged 3,000 years today.

At least 3,000.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Runstreak Day #426 - snow + ice + ice grippers = no problem!

Snowy icy run done.  Well, run 1 of today done, but the next run will also be a school run-run and then off to physio... and an evening of preparing for my littlest's birthday party tomorrow.  I think the last bit is more scary than any run in the ice and snow, to be honest!!

Actually, the snow and ice weren't a problem today. I ended up buying some ice runner gripper thingies (not YakTrax but some much cheaper ones from Amazon) and they were brilliant.  No problem running up the icy hill... no problem running down the other side.  The only problem was that my son was insisting on scooting his way to school, so we kept having to stop while he cleared the snow from his scooter wheels and then grumbled about it!  They need to invent ice grippers for scooters!!

I did get a fair few 'you must be crazy' looks from people as I ran past.  I don't care though, I earned them!  You do look a bit crackers when you're running wearing 'only' running tights and a few bits of running clothing compared to everyone else who's wrapped up like the Michelin man!  Plus, I saw one of the runners from my beginners' group dropping her daughters off at nursery and got kudos points from her as well for being 'super motivated' as she said (even though one of the main reasons I'm running my littlest to school is that running home again means I get back quicker to my cuppa cha!).  Running in the snow earns you extra hardcore points!!

So, even if I don't run again today, I have run.  I can wear the smug pants for the rest of the day.

*twirls around in her smug pants happily*

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Runstreak Day #425 - freezing hill it's cold!

Another double-up-the-runs day for Day 425.  Which means I'm kinda knackered now... but it's definitely working in terms of getting my miles back up and not killing myself in the process.  Which is important - well, the not killing myself is important, getting my miles back up isn't quite as important as that!!

Anyhoo... I ran my littlest to school in the morning.  Braving him moaning about the cold on the way up the hill... and trying to keep up with him as he zoomed down the other side on his scooter, completely forgetting all of his moaning only minutes before.  That, and the run home again, added up to a 2.5 mile start to my day.  On top of that, I walked into town and back - a round trip of 6 miles... then walked to pick up my littlest at the end of the day... nearing 9 miles of walking...

... which set me up 'nicely' for a hilly run with Notts Women Runners this evening!  I couldn't even get out of it since it was me leading the run.  So, I schlepped out of the house in the cold and met up with everyone.  We ended up doing a simplified hilly route because the pavements were snowy / icy and it wasn't safe to do the normal run down the crazy lumpy bumpy hilly pavements, so we stuck to the main roads instead.  Which were still pretty icy!  And then we got snowed on.  Brrrrrrr!

Which is why I've gone and ordered myself some more crazy-coloured knee length socks.  And whoever invents running gear made out of duvet material is getting their first order from me.  I am sick to death of being a frozen lump at the end of my runs.

That and the fact that it being so cold makes my nose run and me want to pee every five minutes!!!  On the upside today, I went into Sweaty Betty today and learned that I qualified for a 20% discount card doo dah.  Which is a dangerous thing and will require even more lying to my husband about how much I spend on running gear.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Runstreak Day #424 - hotch potch runs

What a hotch potch of running today!  First was a 'school run', running my littlest to school while he scooted - in the drizzle and cold.  It sure does make getting him to school a lot quicker than walking!  Plus I kinda like the look on the other parents' faces when I'm running back up the hill.  And I bumped into one of my beginner group runners while I was dropping off my son - which was cool too.

The next run was a Sweatshop run... again with my littlest.  But he wasn't feeling it at all - even though he really wanted to go - and then my Garmin wouldn't play ball, not finding a signal for more than a mile of running.  Gah!  And then when we were as far away as we were going to go, little legs decided to turn up the volume on the moaning and it took every bit of parental game playing to get him to run back to the starting point!

Plus, I needed to pee.  And what with it being cold and a bit grim out... dealing with an expanding bladder while trying to be perky and encouraging to a reluctant 9 year old nearly finished me off.

Still, splitting my runs is allowing me to build back up my mileage and for the first time in a couple of months my monthly miles are back over 100 and marathon training isn't seeming like such a crazy thing.

And I earned my cuppa.  Several cuppas!!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Runstreak Day #423 - another double run day

Another double run day for day 423!  My legs are a teensy bit tired right now and the ankle I wrecked in the accident is complaining a tad... but every mile was a happy one.  And that's a good run day in my book!

Run one involved running to meet up with the local Run England bod to run the route we'll be doing in a week's time (we got asked to lead a run as part of the city's 'Light Night' - so we'll be running into town all lit up and glowing for the night!) and that was great.  She told me about something she'd like us to be involved in - yay for another exciting thing later in the year... and although it's all schtum about it at the mo, I can't believe the opportunities running has given me.  I love it!

Run two involved running with some of the women from my Sunday beginners' group.  It's completely informal and voluntary, I just say that if anyone needs a running buddy, I'll meet them at the local supermarket and repeat the Sunday session with them.  Well... tonight... 24 of them turned up!!  It was fab.  Chat, chat, laugh, chat... we got beeped at by several cars ('first time I've ever been beeped at!!!' said one of the group... 'you'll get used to it', I say... having already been beeped at several times on my first run today!)... but the group were ace.  I watched them voluntarily run back up the hill to the store at the end and felt so proud of them.  They could have walked it.  But they chose to run.  They were brilliant.

I am so proud of what they're achieving already.  And because it's a smaller group on a Tuesday, I try to make sure that I have a chat with everyone and it's ace.  And we still never leave anyone behind.

And for that reason, even though my legs are tired... and I'm shattered after a really terrible night's sleep and PTSD-ish day... I get to go to bed knowing that in at least one area of my life, keeping on running has kept that flow of potential for pure happiness coming.  Isn't that an awesome thing?

Monday, 26 January 2015

Runstreak Day #422 - more fun with beginners

... and another double run day.  Which means that I am now officially exhausted.  It wasn't actually the running which tired me out though.  Okay, a little bit, but not much.  It was the lack of sleep after horrendous nightmares and then an intense counselling session which left me feeling pretty drained*.  Compared to that, running is a little gift of happiness.

I have been feeling pretty darned fed up of the whole PTSD thing, so being able to run and feel a physical energy flowing is bloomin' brilliant.  My first run was running my littlest to school.  He was on his scooter... and I ran.  And secretly enjoyed the surprised faces of other parents as I ran back home after them clocking me not looking my normal maternal self, and instead, running up a flippin' big hill.  That is a nice feeling.

My second run involved running with our Notts Women Runners Monday evening group.  I back-mark that group and I really enjoy it.  You get to have a nice chat with the runners at the back, you get to see the difference a bit of encouragement and support makes... and you get to witness women pushing themselves and feeling proud of what they have achieved.  When you're leading a session, you get a bit caught up in trying to be all eyes, ears and organisation... assisting is a different story.  They're both good in different ways, but it is special to feel that connection with a smaller group of runners.

And bed is calling...

*falls asleep instantly*

* this isn't to say that counselling isn't a good thing, it's just that it is an intense process of working through things which is very tiring.

Runstreak Day #421 - hooray for Sundays

Today's Sunday was awesome!

Y'know though, Sunday used to be a bit of a bleurgh day. It's really Monday Eve and with a Monday hanging over you it always takes the shine off. But it's not like that any more because every Sunday morning I get to lead our Notts Women Runners beginners' session at the nearby Country Park and it is so fabulous it makes my toes tingle with happiness. Firstly, I get to have a laugh with Zoe Blackburn, Sion Bostock and other running friends. Secondly, I get to be with oodles of other women runners. And thirdly, we basically take over the park!

I'd run to the park to get my legs warmed up (and get a few more miles in) and arriving to a chatty burble of women all ready for the session was another 'eeeek - this is really brilliant!!' moment. Today, we had another 11 new runners join us. That means our Sunday beginners group now has 91 registered members. 91! Added to 41 at our Monday group and in the past couple of weeks we've started over 130 women off running. Isn't that mind-blowing?!

It is an incredible sight to see everyone setting off on the run. A sea of women doing something fabulous for themselves and all believing more and more that they can actually run. So many of them tell me how happy it's making them. How much they enjoy running with other women. How proud they are of themselves. How they are starting to feel fitter. How the running bug has got them already! I absolutely love it.

Okay, so my trainers needed a wash by the time I got home (that park is nothing if not muddy!), but I'd had a morning of sunshiney running happiness and that filled up my tank of positivity for the rest of the day. Plus, for the first time in ages my mileage is finally back up to being above 30 miles in a week... which makes me feel like my June marathon may not be such a stupid idea after all.

Sunday... you were a little bag of epic loveliness. Same time again next week? Don't mind if I do! Oh, and I get to run with our other beginners' group tomorrow! YAY!!!!


And tea. I really love tea a lot as well. :o)

Runstreak Day #420 - the gross stuff list

Right. That's it. Day 420. Run.

Didn't fancy going out in the cold today at all. I have had enough of wearing 3,000,000,000 layers every time I go out. And *still* coming back with frozen hands and a dribbly red nose. I am trying to build back up my mileage - since the whole 'fainting while running' and then prolapsed disc and chest infection things my weekly mileage has struggled to make it past 20 miles... and the last time it was more than 30 miles a week was November. The problem is that building up those miles again = more miles = more time = more time outside in the cold. And I DON'T LIKE IT!

So, I was a reluctant sulky pants when I went out this evening. I decided to plug myself into my iPod and run to some music to take my mind off it. About 2 minutes in, the battery on the iPod died. Aaaaaaargh!!! Do you ever get the feeling you're having one of those runs?

Weirdly though, without music, I kind of enjoyed it more. My running was better. It was quicker. I thought about how I was running more. And it wasn't bad. And while I was in that better place, I mentally wrote myself a list of gross stuff that runners do. For your delectation...

1. Snot rockets
2. Farting while running
3. A lot
4. Spitting
5. Peeing themselves while running
6. ... and being more worried about chafing than the social no-no of wetting yourself in public
7. Peeing in bushes
8. Pooping in bushes
9. Dashing into random shops, cafes, pubs etc... only to poop or pee in their loos before embarrassedly muttering thanks as they run out again
10. Sweaty hugs with other runners after a run...
11. ... then standing around chatting while stinking of sweat
12. Wiping noses on sleeves, gloves, t-shirts, leaving tell-tale snail trails on their clothing

I managed at least a couple of those this evening. *so proud*

And then got home, flung my stinky clothes in the washing machine and stuck myself in the shower. And now I smell all sweet and lovely and would never admit to any non-runner that I do anything off the gross list.

*polishes halo* ;)

Friday, 23 January 2015

Runstreak Day #419 - running the school run

I have a new first!  Yup... 419 days into my running streak I did the school run.  Literally.

Today has been a busy day and I was struggling to see where I'd fit in a run before my physio appointment at 5:15.  Plus, I hate going for a run after physio because inevitably... it hurts!

So, I decided that if I left to pick up my littlest from school twenty minutes earlier than normal, I could squeeze in a nice run before getting him.  And that's exactly what I did.  Was even organised enough to put a zip-up hoodie into my running bag (bought one the other day after having enough of attempting to run with non-running bags!!) as well as a bobble hat for the 'standing around waiting at school' bit.  Get me!  Organised to the max!  :o)

The run itself wasn't particularly planned other than at some point there would be hills because the kids' school is up a big hill and down a big hill.  I had a vague 5k-ish route in mind which would flatten the hills as much as poss... and off I set.  At about two miles in, I was almost all of the way up a VERY steep hill when I spotted that a truck was blocking the path completely.  Aaaaargh!  Having to cross the road and then cross back up hill while attempting not to die as the workmen blatantly stared at my puny efforts... well, that nearly tipped me over the hilly edge!  My legs felt like jelly.  By the time I got to school, I had a proper sweat on.

Then, I had the task of waiting, whilst looking like a crazy sweaty, stinky mess.  RMR socks in full effect.  I have never felt more lovely.  Oh, and don't sit down on a step whilst waiting.  Because when you stand up again, an embarrassing peach-shaped sweat mark will show where your bum has been parked.  *blush*

On the other hand, running the mile and a bit home again with my son scooting along beside me up another hill in front of the rest of the parents?  That earns extra parent-kudos points if you're an 8 year old boy.  And so, even though running the school run isn't especially glam, my littlest is insistent that we do it again!

Is it tea o'clock?  I believe it just might be.  :D

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Runstreak Day #418 - dynamite run...

Day 418 and it was a dynamite night of running.  Not because I was like dynamite... but because I required dynamite to force me out into the cold.

It was nearly 9pm by the time I got out there and I had to put my very biggest very bravest big-brave-girl pants on to get myself out of the house.  I have had enough of freezing my bits off just to go for a run.  I'm being really ploddy at the moment and taking it steady when I'm out there, just so that I focus on trying to enjoy the run rather than coupling being stupidly cold with trying to kill myself.

I know I've said this loads of times, but I really cannot wait for the weather to warm up.  Not to get stupidly hot... just warm enough not to have to wear (and wash!) 3,000,000 layers every time I go for a run.  In fact, thoughts of the warmer weather were obviously in my head when I went to Sweatshop at lunchtime and picked up my foam roller (hooray for the SRC loyalty scheme)... and some shorts fell into my shopping basket at the same time.  Funny how that happens, isn't it!  My husband always ends up looking at the bank statement and going 'I thought you said that x thing was free... there's a charge here for y pounds...'.  Tum te tum... innocent face... tum te tum.

Anyway, they're pretty darned short shorts - the boy-short tight sort rather than the flippy floppy ones I have been wearing.  I am going to brave showing more of my legs to the world come the summer.  Mainly because I'll have earned it through all this crazy running when it's icy, snowing, icy and snowing, slushy, grey, grim, wet, hailing, sleeting, dark, miserable... and generally most of the weather that happens between November and March!

Oh, and is it very sad if I heard that my department will be moving offices and my first thought was... oh... I can commute by bus and run the bits either end of the journey!  It is?  Ah.  :D

Too late for a cuppa.  Good job I've just guzzled one.  Hooray!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Runstreak Day #417 - to run two runs...

Day 417... and running when it's minus degrees sucks really badly.  You know why?  Not because I'm cold (I'm ALWAYS cold).  Not because the pavements are slippy.  Not because it's hard to get warmed up and into your run.  Not because when it snows and snow lands in your eye, it stings like a b*stard.

No.  Running when it's minus degrees sucks really badly because it's not just you that's running.  My nose, people, is driving me insane.  It is like an annoying dripping tap.  Well, it drips for a while, then goes into full on dribbly gross mode while I faff around tracking down a tissue.  Then realise that I have got one... it's just that it's been through the wash and is now a hard pellet of formerly balm-softened nose soothing.  And in desperation, I attempt to use the pellet of concrete sadness to stem the flow of snot.  Before giving up and using my sleeve.

The thing I don't recommend is doing all of this while waiting in the queue at the sorting office.  And then realising that other people are witnessing you being revolting!  The reason for being at the sorting office?  Run number 1 today involved literally running an errand.  I had to go and pick up a parcel (which a) wasn't even for me and b) definitely wasn't running gear - pffft!) and it was snowing.  Since I'm not driving at the moment (thank you, PTSD gods, for the gift of having to walk everywhere), my choice was walk there slowly, get frozen and cold for a longer period of time.  Or run.  I, obviously, chose the latter!

Run number 2 was a run with my littlest with Sweatshop.  He LOVES going to 'running club' and today we took along cake for everyone as it's his birthday on Saturday.  We managed to run just over 2.5 miles.  He belted back up the hill when he clocked some of the runners who'd gone a longer route appear in the distance (he's stupidly competitive!)... and then we witnessed the impressive cake eating skills of all the other runners as they arrived back at the leisure centre!  Runners love cake, so it seems.

Things I've learned today?  My nose needs to be sewn up for the winter.  Plus, where cake and running are concerned, it appears more is more!

Another two-run day done.  I *will* start to build back up my mileage for marathon training after a rubbish few months!  And if I have to split my runs to do so, then that's what I'm going to do!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Runstreak Day #415 - beginners, part 2

Runstreak Day #416 - to be turtled...

Turtle (verb), turtles, turtled, turtling
1.  to discover that the brown turtle of doom is interrupting your run

'There I was, running along, when I got turtled and had to cut short my run and find a toilet whilst running like a child with a swollen nappy'.

'The only thing that can stop my long run is a turtle'

'I always carry a few sheets of loo paper with me on a cross country run in case I need to sort out some turtling behind a tree in the woods'

And there you have it.  A new word to add to your runners' dictionary.  You're welcome.

Only, the brown turtle of doom definitely was NOT welcome today.  I'd planned my sneaky run this morning properly as well.  Got my running kit on under my top, skirt and coat.  Did my best 'la la la not going running this morning la la laaaa' face in front of my husband (because I'm planning on going again later as well!!).  Walked my son to school.  Walked home.  Did a superman-style change into my running kit, i.e. put on my trainers and took off my top and skirt (no telephone boxes involved)... and set out on my run.

I hadn't really planned where to go other than 'out'.  I vaguely ran towards the nature reserve... but then the railway crossing shut just as I got there so I detoured via the cycleway which runs alongside the tracks.  And then... the rumble started.  'It's okay', I think... 'it's just a bit of a gripey tummy'.  But no.  The turtle had other ideas.  I ran up towards the woods, thinking I might then head down towards the country park from there... but the rumbling thundered on.

And the turtle yawned... woke up... and decided to poke his head out to see what was going on (running is ALL glamour, people).  AAAAAAARGH!!  I was at least a mile and a half from home.  My gentle pootle was turning into a hobble of desperation.  I ran up a stupidly steep hill... kept running when I saw the postman as I didn't fancy the pitying postman stare which would arrive if I stopped running.  Then stopped just round the corner, out of sight.  The rumbling carried on.  There was no denying it.  I was being fully turtled.

As I ran down across the park towards home, doing some kind of clenched stagger, I glanced at my watch.  It said I'd done 3.89 miles.  And I decided that even if it wasn't at 4 by the time I got back, I didn't care.  The turtle had spoken loudly.

Fortunately, as I rounded the corner towards my house, my Garmin beeped that 4th mile (phew!).  I barged my way in.  And released the turtle back into the wild.  :D

And that, my lovelies, is what happens when you get turtled while out on a run.

Day 416... part 1... and I'm still going to go for a second run later.  Only, if my husband reads this, all of the above was a lie, and it's my first run of the day.  La la laaaaaa, do be doooooo...  ;)

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Runstreak Day #414 - running changes lives

Runstreak Day 414 - and another day which blew my (RMR!) socks off.  The second session in the beginners course I'm leading at the moment and after last week's amazing 62 runners... we had 18 new runners join our existing group!!  It was incredible!  Fortunately a brilliant friend of mine was on hand to assist... as well as another 6 of our experienced Notts Women Runners to help as those numbers are hard to handle and it's so important that no-one is left behind and no-one is made to feel that they're not welcome.

I'd run there so as to get a bit of a 'proper' run in as well as to check out how icy it was at the country park... but other than being sparkly and beautiful, the ice really wasn't a problem at all.  By 10:45 there were already runners turning up.  And then... wave after wave of them appeared.  It is such a brilliant atmosphere though.  Chatting, laughing and so friendly.  It makes me feel so proud to be part of how good running can be for bringing people together.  I love that there wasn't anyone standing on their own, looking lost.

We started with a warm up walk... then they got stuck into their run-walking.  It is *the* most wonderful thing to see a group of women running, talking, laughing, and being together.  All different ages.  All different shapes and sizes.  Taking over the park and doing something brilliant for themselves.  And when we'd finished all of the running bits and only had one last walk to do, one of the women said to me 'I feel so proud of myself, I never would have believed I could do that.' and I felt all tingly with happiness.  That is the gift that running gives you.  The feeling of pride.  The feeling of achievement.  And after only two weeks, our runners are already getting to experience that.

How flippin' amazing is that?  Even though it was hard work for everyone, we had comments such as 'I loved every minute of it', 'fab run' and so many others.   I really am so lucky to be able to run... and to be able to share that with other people.  A bright, sparkly, special morning, shared with an inspiring group of women.  Goose-bumpy stuff!!

If anyone's thinking about doing the Leadership in Running Fitness course... or thinking about setting up their own running club... do it.  Make it happen and a door into something more awesome than you can imagine will open right up.

Tea.  And happy dancing.  Oh yeah!  I love my Sunday mornings.  They're the best!!  :D

Runstreak Day #413 - slow but satisfying

I really am taking it steady at the moment.  After several months of not feeling very well following the car accident... and then a back injury and chest infection... I am not prepared to push it and end up feeling grotty all over again.  So, when I hit 5k on my run today, that really was enough for me.  And I just walked home and felt zero guilt about that at all.

The purpose of my run was just to go through my timings for tomorrow's beginners' session.  As long as I kept on running throughout, nothing else really mattered.  That's a nice feeling.  Just puttering along.  Yes, it was freezing out.  And wearing a woolly hat and gloves isn't the most glamorous thing in the world.  But who cares?  A gal's gotta stay warm some how!

I barely saw anyone else out either.  Considering it was 9pm on a Saturday night, it was weirdly quiet.  I am sure people probably think I'm 'that mad running woman' when they see me in my gharish kit on a Saturday night when the only other women out seem to be wearing 3 inch heels and make-up that's slightly brighter than my luminous yellow top.  They don't feel how I feel when I'm running though.  All swooshy and free.  It had been a busy day and a stressful car journey (being in a car is still a real trigger for my PTSD and that in itself is exhausting)... but I got my bit of time to just enjoy being outside.

And that makes it all worthwhile.  And it's why my running is as steady as you like at the moment.  If I push it too hard and end up not able to run?  That's just not worth it.

I'm always just aiming to run tomorrow.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Runstreak Day #412 - the imperfect annoying day!

Day 412 should have been perfect.  A bit like yesterday I had plans to run with someone else *waves at Sion* - but then the plans all fell apart and that didn't happen.  My lunchtime long run (would have run 3 miles into town, done 3 miles with Sion, then 3 miles home again) turned into my helping my in-laws to move out of our house.  Still, now they're gone, I get to strip off and dump my sweaty stuff into the washing machine as soon as I get in and waltz around like a naked floozy as I head to the shower!  Which for a gross stinky runner is awesome!  :o)

Anyway, I didn't get my lunchtime run.  And instead I ended up having to go for a run this evening.  After a physio session.  A physio session where he made me go 'f-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-uck' when he attempted to release a muscle in my back which is *still* in spasm.  As well as one in my shoulder.  Ouch!  He's such a nice bloke, but blimey he knows how to make me swear my socks off!!

So, I ran gently.  Had run a couple of miles.  Was being mildly annoyed by my armband light doo dah (does anyone know of a make which fits scrawny arms and doesn't fall down???), so stopped to adjust it.  Glanced at my Garmin... and it's reading a weird time.  AAAAAAARGH!!!  It was still in stopwatch mode from when I was timing my daughter doing some maths problems earlier in the evening.  AAaaaaAAAARGH!!!  In my head, that means my run doesn't count (yeah, I know it's not logical!)... and even though I'd already run a couple of miles, because they weren't recorded, my runstreak would be broken!!  So, in tortuous logic, I turned round and ran back the way I'd came.  This time recording it on my Garmin - and managing what seemed like a pitiful 2.1 miles.

Only it wasn't that simple.  As I got to within half a mile of home, the brown turtle of doom decided to visit with a vengeance... and I had to detour via Tesco to use their *ahem* facilities (every little helps an' all that!).  And then wobbled my way home back up the hill.

The short version?  Day 412, you were a weird annoying little pig.  It's best that we never speak to each other again.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Runstreak Day #410 - boy running...

410 days in a row... every so often I write down the number of days I've run and it blows my little noodle.  I think about me from two years ago... having only ever run three times.  Not three days in a row... three times.  Ever.  And now I've strung together a streak of 410 days of running every day with no rest days.

Which also makes me chuckle because in the last week I've said to several people that they need to take a rest day.  And emphasised how important it is...

Tum te tum... hypocritical me... tum te tum...

Anyway, I definitely don't always run flat out and some of my runs are very definitely active rest days.  Which was the case today because my run was a Sweatshop run with my 8 year old - and when I take him along I always run at his pace.  And that pace can be 'flat out, I'm going to die' or 'doo be doooo climbing on a wall doo be dooooo just going to explore a wild patch over there... and am taking my sweet time over doing it'.  That's fine an' dandy.  As long as he's enjoying himself, I don't care.

On the way back we didn't walk... we were on 'a mission'.  It involved deflector shields.  Titanium bombs.  Fire blasters.  Hiding behind bushes.  Chasing around the edge of the park.  And running a whole lot faster than he'd managed during the proper run!!  It's amazing what turning running into a game can do for a boy.  All you need to do is to pretend to blast a fireball at him and then jump occasionally and act like you've been hit... and it's a recipe for running happiness!

So, that was today's run.  A teensy bit over 3 miles.  Lots of fun with my littlest.  And we get to be together for a bit of mummy and son time.  Nice.

Even if I am a non-resting hypocrite.  :D

Runstreak Day #411 - goldfish and planning...

The best laid plans an' all that...

Especially when you've got a nice hilly run planned with some other running friends... you've sorted the route... reminded everyone that it's happening... are all set to lead it... and are just about to change into your running gear... when...

Your 8 year old's goldfish decides to die.

And then you have to scrap the run, arrange at short notice for someone else to lead it... all the while mopping up tears from two distraught children, as they cry all over their dinner.  The joys of being a running mummy!

So, while everyone else was running at 6:30, I was in the pet shop with my children and husband discussing whether or not having another goldfish would be sensible, given that our remaining goldfish is an aggressive little sausage (the answer was 'no', if you're interested!).  And by the time we'd dealt with that and the children were less sniffly and sad ('this is the saddest thing that's ever happened to me', wailed my littlest)... it was gone 8:30 and all energy had exited stage right.  I considered not going for a run, but I needed the headspace and so I decided that as long as I met my two mile minimum that would be fine.

Except that running 2 miles when the wind is behaving like a crazy thing and you're basically being battered as it attempts to start raining too... well, that's damn hard work.  Not so bad with the wind behind you, but running into it while the rain spits insolently into your face.  That's pretty revolting.

As I ran up the hill and back home, into a wind that was attempting to blow me into the road, I doubted my sanity completely!  It was not a fun run.  It was a 'get it done' run.  So, I got it done.  I earned a cuppa and a warm shower.  And then I went and mopped more tears and dealt with sad children again until they fell asleep.

Yup, being a running mummy is a tricky old business!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Runstreak Day #409 - physically on the turn


I may just have had my first 'I'm not completely broken' run in ages...

Shhhhhhhh!!  Don't tell anyone... don't say the words out loud or I'll end up broken... again.  But... YAY!!!!!!!!

Since September I've either been recovering from the car accident (neck, shoulder, rib, back, leg and ankle injuries)... or my back injury (prolapsed disc)... or a poxy chest infection... and then flippin' chilblains on top of all that.  And although my toes are still sore and when I stop running I'll start coughing... I ran a lovely chatty 4 miles with a running friend, didn't have to stop, managed an okay pace and physically felt as good as I have done in ages.

Which is weird because I haven't felt very well at all today.

Go figure!!

Running is the antidote to a lot of stuff.  Including the aftermath of yesterday's counselling session which opened a particularly wiggly can of worms.  There's nothing quite like running with a friend or running on your own for getting you the positive space and calm you need.  And a day which starts off with sleepless headachy nightmares becomes one which has little sparkly bits, and that's all thanks to running.

Plus, yesterday I had the privilege of helping a friend run her first beginners' session - and with the 31 women who joined that session yesterday it means that in just two days, with the 62 we had at the session the day before, we had got 93 women running for the first time.  That's the sort of thing that stays in the back of your mind and when you're having a rough time can shine and remind you that life can be amazing and positive... and all those other things which can feel so far away sometimes when life is hard.

Oh, and when I was out on my run this evening, what did I see coming towards me from the other direction?  A group of 8 of our beginners run-walking towards us on the opposite pavement!!!  Out running together in the week!  Isn't that fantastic?  They're really doing it!  It's SO exciting!

Yup, running is a little slice of happy.  It really is.

Happy dance anyone?  :D

Monday, 12 January 2015

Runstreak Day #408 - short, slow but sweet

So, an even shorter run than yesterday... but since I also walked over 6 miles (and had a counselling session which is always a hard, emotional experience), I don't really mind!  Short and sweet can be exactly enough some days.

Plus, I had the fantastic experience of helping another 31 women do their first ever run this evening.  Today,  I was assisting rather than leading the session and ran at the back to make sure that no-one was left behind.  Even though it was so hard when I was first beginning to learn to run, that experience is just so valuable when helping others to start out.  You know how they must be feeling... that lung burning, leg aching body shock that is running.  You can encourage them through those last few seconds of their run... you can tell them how amazing they're being by giving it a go... you know what the voice in their head is telling them about whether or not they can do it at all.

I loved being the tail runner.  And I felt so proud of all of the women we supported today too.  31 runners, 1 leader, 1 assistant and 5 helpers.  Such a positive, fabulous atmosphere.  Women supporting women.  Brilliant stuff.  And all from that little Facebook group I set up with a couple of other running friends.  We now have over 260 members and between yesterday and today have started off 93 women on their running journeys.

Tomorrow, I'll run more, but today I ran with people for whom today's run was a long and hard one.  But it could be life changing for them.  Isn't that just magic?

Lucky old me!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Runstreak Day #407 - my first beginners' session

Something amazing happened this morning.  Honestly and truly amazing!  Probably my best running experience to date and it blew my little socks off.

Day 407 of my running streak and it didn't matter about the pace or the distance I ran... but I was leading my first ever beginners' session and getting other women active and starting running was what it was all about.

We'd expected there would be around about 25 women - and as we waited for the session to start, more and more kept arriving.  There was nowhere to park in either of the free car parks by the time 11am arrived.  In the end there were 62 beginners!!!!  62!!!  Plus 5 helpers, 1 assistant (who also took the photos - ta, Zoe!) and me leading it.  69 of us basically took over a country park in Nottingham!

 Even thinking about it now makes me smile with happiness - all of us women, doing something amazing for our minds and our bodies.  Making a start on a new adventure together.  Brilliant!  And overnight our Notts Women Runners group has grown by over 30 new members and there are now more than 240 of us!

If I could bottle this feeling, I totally would!  I never in a million years thought I'd be leading a group of beginners.  Two years ago when I was starting to learn to run myself, on my own, I just slogged away at it until I got there.  But helping other women to support one another while they go through that same journey is a fabulous feeling.

Y'know, when we first talked about putting on the sessions back in September / October, we hoped we might have a handful of beginners.  I can't quite believe how many people turned up, or how brilliantly hard they tried the whole way through - and more are wanting to come next week!  From those who were obviously regular exercisers to those for whom any exercise had been a long while ago.  They were incredible.  So inspiring!

Every time you see someone starting their journey to becoming a runner, you are privileged.  I got to be part of helping 62 people do just that this morning.  I feel like the luckiest runner ever.

And afterwards I ran round the park with a couple of running friends, and felt lucky all over again that I have so many great people in my life, and all through running.

Today was amazeballs.  :D

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Runstreak Day #406 - my runniversary!

Happy Runniversary to meeeee
Happy Runniversary to meeeee
Happy Runniversary dear meeeeeeeeeee
Happy Runniversary to meeeeeeeee!!!

Two years ago today, I went for my first ever run.  Well, when I say 'run' I mean 'near death experience'.  I had prepared well.  There I was, with Runkeeper on my phone, and the Couch to 5k programme sitting there, ignored.  When I suddenly decided that I would attempt Couch to 5k while out on a walk.

Yup, just like that.  I was obese, wearing a humungous white winter coat... and welly boots.  The app instructed me to run.  I did.  As much as anyone can do in big ol' green wellies.  And as much as someone who hasn't run anywhere in over 20 years can run, i.e. 45 seconds before lungs are burning, legs are close to collapse and the realisation that this is going to be bloody hard hits home.  And that was just the first minute.  I had to run again after only 90 seconds of walking.  And again.  And again.  By the sixth minute of running, I could barely breathe.  And the minute of running had trimmed itself down to 10 seconds of faster limping, 30 seconds of almost running and 20 seconds of slow desperation for the minute to be over.

Anyway, two years later and I'm on my 406th consecutive day of running every day.  I managed another 5k, tackling a couple of hills and generally coasting along... not wearing wellies... not weighing a shedload more... and despite the tail-end of a chest infection, not feeling like my lungs were going to explode!

But, you know what the biggest difference is between today and 2 years ago?  Tomorrow *I* get to lead my first ever beginners' group through a couch to 5k programme.  Me!  If you'd seen my first attempt at running 2 years ago, you would never ever have thought that was going to happen!  And yet... it is.  Plus, Notts Women Runners which I set up 10 months ago, finally became a registered Run England Group today and we now have over 200 members in our Facebook group.

What a difference a couple of years makes!!  I LOVE the difference running has made to my life.  :D

*slurps her celebratory cuppa*

PS  Wish me luck for tomorrow!