Girls, Gin and The Great Escape

It’s been an up and down week really, I seem to have spent a considerable amount of time on the phone to various different people as we have appealed the result for George’s EHCP. For anyone not down with the lingo this is a plan that children with Special needs should have access to and it should be personalised for each child, it works in conjunction with their school so that everyone can work together to ensure they have the best access to education in order to succeed. As you can imagine anything set out and governed by the local council is never going to be a smooth process and after being rejected again for even an assessment we are appealing.

We are very lucky to have the most amazing support network around us of family and friends who are helping us at this time because I can tell you now it’s not easy. Every step of the way there seems to be something else to fight, another battle to have, more forms to fill in and more evidence to provide. Without the support of these people Andy and I would have probably crumbled by now, each day is a challenge anyway when you have a child with Special needs but to have all these obstacles thrown in the way makes it that bit more challenging, but we will get there and we will fight for George no matter what. Anyway sorry I presume you were intrigued by the title of this weeks blog not expecting a story of woe about the week!!

I felt so good after the half marathon, slightly sunburnt but I was able to walk on Monday even up and down stairs and my calf wasn’t in so much pain, my chest however was a different matter! I tried to run on Wednesday and it was so painful that I did a long walk instead. I presume most people who have heart monitors fitted don’t run half marathons 5 days later and I think I would now recommend it is not advisable!!

On to my title, this weekend was the hen party of ” one of the eleven” as we are affectionately known by my family and other friends. Steph was also my house mate for a few years and as we were all so fortunate to have been apart of the surprise proposal it was even more exciting. Starting with a gin masterclass is always going to be a winner though I have to admit neat gin is not my preferred way to consume the spirit!! Trying a variety of gins both neat and with tonic and additions was so much fun, I learnt a lot about botanicals and confirmed that I do not like liquorice in drinks! Lunch followed which was probably very well timed to mop up the gin and bubbles which were going down extremely well. It’s also so lovely to get together with the girls and I count myself the luckiest girl in the world to have these 10 by my side. We will celebrate our 25th anniversary next year, how many people can say they have 10 best friends they have known for that long?

We moved, some staggered on to our next activity, an escape room, divided into two teams I was lucky enough to be with the hen and our team entered “imaginarium” a room based around Alice in Wonderland. That is all I will say apart from the fact we escaped with 8mins to spare. So much fun and brilliant to work in a team. The evening saw more bubbles, lots of laughs and fun and games. We all did admit however as it got towards midnight that our stamina for big party nights is certainly lacking now!

Brunch this morning together was the perfect Sunday morning treat and a brilliant way to finish the weekend. Roll on the big day in June. Back Home to reality and my two monsters and Andy. George had the most amazing week at school which has meant a really tricky weekend, this isn’t unusual and Andy found a brilliant video that likened it to a Coke bottle and in school it gets shook up as the day goes on then opens when at home and explodes, poor Andy has had the explosion. I did however manage to get out and run on the treadmill this eve. Wanting to do 10km I started and was so pleased to not be in pain. I ran faster than I have ever run on the treadmill this evening, starting at 10km/hr up to 11.5km/hr for the last two km. Pulling the emergency stop cord half way through wasn’t the smoothest move ever but thankfully I still finished in under an hour and felt fab. Nice way to sweat out the gin!!

It feels odd not to have completed an event this weekend but I am pleased to say I have one next Sunday where I will be part of Team ICP at the Birmingham 10km and I can’t wait.


A Hot and Hilly Half

When you read the description of a half marathon and it’s says undulating, that just means hilly, as I found out yesterday. When the Reading Half was cancelled I decided I couldn’t let my training go to waste and within an hour I had booked Southampton! I didn’t think much of it when it gave that description, I don’t know Southampton very well, well that was until I ran 13miles around it!!

Not only did I sign up for Southampton I set myself this next challenge, two events a month. This half was my second event in April and the 4th so far. I was really lucky to be going with our neighbour and we decided to stay down on the Saturday night to be able to have a little more sleep rather than leaving early Sunday morning. The hotel was lovely and a 5min walk to the start, brilliant, the hail, thunder and lightening before we went to sleep wasn’t so great! Nonetheless I still managed a good few hours though when the alarm went off it was a bit of a shock. I was so nervous going into this one, more so than any others. It may not have been helped by the fact I had my heart monitor fitted Tuesday in hospital and needless to say it’s caused a bit of pain, they said I could still run but I wouldn’t advise it!!

Breakfast consumed and off we went to the start, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the atmosphere in the race village was buzzing. My amazing parents had left Reading at 6am to come and support me which was just fantastic and so much appreciated. Having found them we sorted our bits and set off for the start. There were marathon runners mixed in with us half runners, I got talking to a fellow RMR (Run Mummy Run) member and it’s such a small world she was from Reading and went to Little Heath! Before we knew it the race started. 3mins to get over the start line and then we were off.

Well the hills started from 0.5km and they continued throughout the course, it also got hotter and hotter, I look like a beetroot in seconds anyway so this wasn’t the best temperature for me!!! As for the course who on earth built the Itchen Bridge?? Anyone who knows this particular bridge will know what I mean, it just seemed to go up and up, thank goodness for Jude and John to cheer us on half way along.

I was in quite a lot of pain at the beginning and did worry if this would continue but thankfully it eased after a few miles. I got into my stride and felt much better than I thought I would, we saw mum and Dad again at mile 6 which was so encouraging.

The best bits were the people outside their houses with hose pipes spraying at us and of course those with jelly babies and wine gums! The downside was the heat and the fact the water bottles had tops on! That wasn’t easy to open when running!! Looking at timings I was hoping to come in about 2hr 22 and I could see the end in sight, mum and dad were on the home stretch and I finished in 2hr 21

I was so relieved it was over as the heat was too much, the non alcoholic beer at the end was so welcome and of course the medal! Super happy with my time for this one.

The journey home did consist of an ice pack, chocolate buttons and squashies which was perfect. Time for a shower then Andy suggested walking to the pub to finish off the afternoon which I think was actually a nice warm down!

Pleased to report I can still walk this morning and feel really good. I will confess that even though it was hot and hilly I loved it, it’s such a buzz running in these events and I really enjoy them. Roll on number 5.

I was so pleased to be running in my ICP Support vest as that’s also the reason I’m doing this crazy challenge so if anyone would like to add to my page then please do. Thank you.

Month 2 begins

As April started I realised this wasn’t a small challenge I had undertaken. One organised event a month soon seems to have become two! So 10 in 10 has developed into 20 in 10! Once it was written in our local paper I figured I had better just get on with it. Today saw the first of the April events, a 10km in Woodley. I woke up this morning and I really wasn’t feeling it at all, tired, a pain in my calf and a muzzy ear….. but my amazing Dad picked me up and took us to the event. Dad is amazing and I know supports anything I do but particularly running wise as this is his passion. In the car over he was telling me his fastest times, a mile in 4mins 22, half marathon in 1hr 23 and a marathon in 2hrs 58. I can tell you now I will never ever get to that speed and I am in awe of all he has achieved running wise. Having his support means so much.

It was a cold start and I really was aiming for under the hour just. I went off with the 60min pacer who was so lovely. I stayed with her until 7.5km when I had finally got into a pace. Then there was a long stretch with a very slight decline so I went off. The last km was tough but I felt good and I am so happy to have crossed the line at 57.27 chip time. The finish photos are horrendous and how on earth I double that distance and some next week I’m not sure about yet!! George’s only question when I got home, did you win mummy?

Luckily I don’t have time this week to worry about next Sunday, soft play, two days in work, physio for Phoebe and a local anaesthetic and the day in hospital to put in my heart monitor means I will be kept super busy. I think the lady on the phone at the hospital thought I was a bit nuts when I asked whether I could run a half marathon 5 days after having the monitor fitted!!! Important stuff.

Oh and then I had lots of my hair chopped off this afternoon. I needed a change!!

So wish me luck for next Sunday, if you feel you would like to sponsor me then please see the link below. Remember I’m doing all this crazy running to raise money to keep our amazing charity working towards ensuring Phoebe doesn’t have to go through what I went through.

A Pb and pasty in Port Isaac

So it’s still the Easter holidays and we decided to come and take a break in Port Isaac, a very special place to us both now after Andy introducing the village to me very quickly after we had met. Andy grew up holidaying here as it has a great deal of family history for him, his Grandad Dudley was a child here and it was down in this neck of the woods that he opened his first pharmacy. Andy bought me here about three months into our relationship. I remember it so clearly, I was still trying to impress him and be on top form obviously so when he said pack light there is a large hill to go down and up with luggage I just laughed and said I had spent years on holidays in the mountains so wasn’t scared of a hill. Little did I know it wasn’t a Hill but a vertical descent to the cottage we would be staying in! I had worn heels and clearly hadn’t packed light, I was determined for him not to notice the challenge this faced and wouldn’t let him carry my bag either!! Fast forward 9 years and I am so happy to say I can walk the hill with Phoebe on my front in record time now I’m getting fitter again. We also went out to dinner on Tuesday night and found the bench we sat at that first holiday so many years ago! Little did we realise back in July 2009 where we would be in April 2018!

Although holidays with two children aren’t quite the relaxing break you envisage time away from the normal routine is perfect, George adores this place and we are so lucky to have the house that is a home from home for him so he doesn’t worry about where we are staying. We asked him earlier in the year where he would rather go at Easter, Disneyland or Cornwall, he very quickly said Cornwall so who could argue. We have been even luckier with the weather, reports from Back Home of rain and grey skies etc have been met with us saying how sunny it’s been and Photos of blue sky, I will be the first to admit Cornwall is a whole different place in the rain!! It’s meant we have been able to do lots of walks, including being on the beach for 9.30am Sunday morning to see the lifeboat go out on exercise, George was able to get in the boat first and then watch it launch, I think that’s made his year! We have been able to visit the Eden Project and George’s favourite outdoor fun location of Crealys. I have enjoyed a scone with cream then jam (sorry Cornwall I’m the Devon way) and a pasty (for any of my fellow challenge mummies this was at the weekend before it started again!)

I needed to run this week and after a stressful phonecall from West Berks council regarding George’s EHCP (short story he has been rejected again because he is in a private school) they are messing with the wrong person as I’m ready for this next battle I decided to go for an evening run. Andy kindly volunteered to do dinner bath and bed for the children so I could escape. I drove to wadebridge and set off on the camel trail. It was a warm evening and the sky and clouds etc were stunning. I couldn’t take pictures I needed to concentrate! I set off and just ran, I set my watch to a predicted finish time and when I saw 57mins I knew I had to keep pushing: somehow I made it at 56.49! That’s a brand new pb for this distance ever! I was so excited and pleased with myself.

I’m all set for the woodley 10km on Sunday morning, it’s a 9am start which is crazy but then it’s done! That’s one of April’s events!

Since I last wrote I have been featured in our local online newspaper, very strange to see your photo pop up on the page! If you haven’t read it the link is below, it reminds me yet again why I am doing what I am doing. To raise money for the amazing ICP Support so if you have enjoyed my blog how about sponsoring me for my next two events:

April 15th Woodley 10km

April 22nd Southampton half marathon

Thank you once again for reading. I’m off to work on my next assignment, deadline of Friday!!

Rain and Mud

It’s 1.59am and I am currently sat downstairs with a wide awake Phoebe who is having a bad night, could it be the introduction of Soya milk, her cold or just a bad dream, who knows but why not use this time to update you on my latest run!

After a rocky start to the week where I had a few of my “episodes” shall we call them, people sneeze, I can pass out, you know completely normal occurrences! Don’t panic I am under a specialist to try and figure out what on Earth it could be! Anyway after a few of these at the beginning of the week I was feeling like I needed to get out and do something! When I started this challenge I was worrying I wouldn’t fit in something in March so I booked whatever I could find which happened to be Wednesdays event, the fact that in the mean time I had completed a 10km the week before is by the by!!

This was a timed trial again back at Dinton Pastures. 6 hours to run as many laps as you wanted and let’s be honest it was the promise of a chocolate goody bag at the end which really attracted me. I wake up Wednesday morning to find it is pouring with rain and doesn’t look like it will stop any time soon. Knowing how muddy Dinton was the previous week I knew after another few days of rain I was in for an interesting time, I could have decided there and then to not go, I had done my event for this month really! But no, on what can only be described as the wetttest and coldest Wednesday this March I set off at 8am. Even when I was stuck in crazy traffic looking at the rain I still continued. I made it with minutes to spare, said hi to some lovely fellow Reading joggers (I keep up with the group on Facebook but haven’t been for so long because of the timing of training) pinned my number and bar code on and listened to the briefing. I looked around, everyone had waterproofs on, most had trail shoes and some looked like that had more layers than the Michelin man! I had a vest top, thin trousers and my normal trainers assuring someone and myself I get really hot when running!!!

We set off, it was clear a lot of people were there to run the marathon distance and some even more so I felt in awe of these and inspired. The mud was vile, when it splashed in my face after running through a puddle which felt like it came up to my knees I knew it was going to be a hard run. My feet were wet within seconds, I was wet right through within minutes and it was hard. I only had to do one lap (3.3miles) to get a goody bag but there was no way I could do that. I started the second lap, by this point as you had to double back you were constantly meeting people on their next lap running so fast!!! This didn’t put me off as I have learnt that runners are kind, caring and most of all encouraging to fellow runners so words of support were offered by everyone you passed. Lap 2 and I was getting into my stride, may have been the jelly babies at the turn around point that helped! I was soaked and very muddy and anyone who knows me well knows I don’t really do rain or mud or mess but this felt strangely liberating. I had paced myself well to be able to complete a 3rd lap, another couple of jelly babies and I decided I was going to go for the 4th to get the half marathon. I needed to do this psychologically after Reading being cancelled and also having signed up to Southampton half. I was also acutely aware I only had a limited time in the car park!!

I did it, 4 Laps, 13.2 Miles, 2hours 33mins. It wasn’t my fastest half marathon time but in those conditions I was so happy. I was soaked to the bone and I was cold!! I collected my medal and more importantly my chocolate goody bad (Cadbury’s too even better)

I got in the car (so unprepared was I, I only bought a jumper to put on!) the heating on high and the heated seats on. I phoned my mum and dad, those who know my dad well know he is a seasoned runner, cross country, athletics, marathons. When I first started running he helped me so much, he got me round my first half marathon though he still stands by the fact it was the hardest thing he has done running wise as a man who once ran a whole marathon in 2hours 58 had to slow down considerably for me! Nonetheless it was amazing to run with my dad, I know he is proud of everything I do but he gets running and therefore I always felt he may be slightly prouder of that! Dad on the phone sounded super impressed (not a fake impressed) a genuine disbelief I had run in such horrendous conditions but that I had gone on to do a half marathon and not stopped at the 10km which I said was my aim. With all the mud and wet I felt like a proper runner.

I celebrated my run with a couple of Gins with friends Wednesday night, a great recovery remedy. Pre children I would have spent the next day a bit more chilled etc now it was a trip to Legoland on Thursday instead! Kept my legs going I suppose and so I didn’t feel too warm and dry another day of being soaked through!

I’m really enjoying getting back into running, not only is it helping the weight loss it’s giving me some time to be me. Of course I have the best job in the world as mum to George and Phoebe but sometimes being Jen is fab too.

Well that was a long one today. It’s 2.24 and Phoebe is still awake. Andy has taken over so I’m going to get some sleep. Thank you once again for taking the time to read this. I am contemplating a 10km in two weeks April 15th and this time it’s not Laps! I need a change. If not I’m counting down to the Southampton half on the 22nd.

I’m going to enjoy lots of chocolate on Sunday as a day off slimming world and I hope you all have a wonderful Easter break.

If you feel inspired to sponsor me I would greatly appreciate that. Thank you.

One Down…..

This week has been a bit mad, both George and Phoebe have colds, I left a lot of my assignment for my distance learning course until the day before deadline, my poor mum ended up back in hospital with cellulitis and I had to make an Easter bonnet for George’s Easter parade, anyone who knows me knows I’m not arty in the slightest, thank goodness for Pinterest! See the photo for the finished product with help of course from my amazing mummy (before she went back into hospital I may add!)

Finding time to run while juggling the two children is tricky, thankfully I have a very understanding and hands on husband who encourages every run I do and does dinner, bath and bed times on his own at times so I can run. He probably thought that once the half marathon was over that would be it, surely he knows me properly by now!!! Pleased to say he is on board with this challenge, will report back on his enthusiasm in July, 5 months in!

Today saw me take part in the first event! I only signed up in the week thanks to a friend pointing out I had read the date wrong, I say thanks, not sure that’s how I felt when I got up this morning after losing an hours sleep!! Who does that?

I will let you into a little secret, I have completed all my training runs on the treadmill, hours I’ve spent in the garage watching trash on my iPad in order to run and run, I even ran 12miles on it the other week. This meant I was actually really nervous about today, the first run outside since October and this time on my own! Stood at the start line the butterflies were taking over and I was freezing!! The gun went and off we did too, it was a very busy run in very muddy conditions, I’m not good in mud especially not running in it!! There were 5km runners mixed in with those of us stupid enough to then do another lap! Every km was signed with the first and second lap distances so at 3 when I saw 8 also I nearly just bowed out and did the 5! But no I continued, got muddy and crossed the finish line being cheered by an amazing friend and Hubby, George and Phoebe. 1.00.38!! Those pesky seconds but do you know I’m super happy with that, it was a hard course and my first “real” run! It was made even more worthwhile when George comes up to me and said mummy you were brilliant before running off to the trophy table and stealing one to give to me! Such a cute thought and we said how wonderful he was before putting it back in its place! Bless him.

So that’s one down and 9 to go though I actually think some months I’ve got two events planned. I’ve had some amazing comments from fantastic friends and it’s all of you who keep me going, thank you.

So it begins again

Last Sunday 18th March I was supposed to run the Reading Half Marathon. My cousin had persuaded me to do it back in November after I had completed the Great South Run. I thought why not, it’s only another 3 Miles! Well Christmas came as did life and I didn’t start training again until 8 weeks ago! I found a training plan and for once I stuck to it running 4 times a week and completing all the distances it recommended. I felt ready.

Imagine my frustration when it then started snowing, surely it wouldn’t settle, two lots of snow in two weeks never happens. My cousin had travelled down from York, we were ready.

We woke up Sunday morning, one look out the window confirmed my worries that it would be cancelled as there was a lot of snow! Sure enough at 7am we had official confirmation. I didn’t realise until I wasn’t eating my porridge (which I detest but convince myself on race days is the best) that I was actually really gutted this was cancelled.

Having once again suffered with PND after Phoebes traumatic birth the running has really helped my mental health while helping me lose the baby weight. So rather than sit around and be happy it was cancelled I decided I needed another challenge!

As many of you know I am also a trustee for ICP Support, a charity close to my heart as I have them to thank for the safe arrival of both my gorgeous children. I know some friends and even family still don’t get why I am so involved with the charity but anyone who has faced a diagnosis where there may be a risk to your much wanted and unborn baby will realise why I do what I do. Not only this we know now through research that Phoebe will be likely to be affected by the condition. So while I have my perfect family I’m working hard to ensure Phoebe doesn’t suffer the same and for all this women who will also be diagnosed.

This brings me back to me sitting here last Sunday in my pjs not running a half marathon setting my next running challenge. Those of you who followed my 500km feat three years ago will know I am stubborn and determined. Not happy with just entering another half which I have done in April I have decided I will compete in at least one event per month for the next 10months. I’ve created my fundraising page (see link below) and I intend to blog throughout.

Thank you if you have read to the end! I don’t profess to be good at writing (in fact this was probably my weakest subject at school) I’m no comedian either but if you want to follow me then that would be amazing.

Jen xx