The trials and tribulations of a special bunch of people

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while (or know me even just a tiny bit) you’ll know I’m a bit of a mess at times when it comes to organising myself and being an adult.

There have been many times when I’ve done something stupid and, most likely, had to ring my dad for help, or find myself in an embarrassing predicament. Purely because I throw myself into things with both feet without looking – optimistic I like to say. Stupid is probably more accurate.

Recently it was forgetting to do my car tax… I only found this out after parking my car in Brighton (with the right parking permit and everything) and then enjoying a lovely weekend there, only to return to my car to find it clamped. Had I gotten there maybe an hour earlier I could have called the de-clampers but as it was a Saturday, when they close early, I was too late. By the way, this was two days before Christmas. Obviously.

It cost me £100 (and my car tax…). Kyle and I then had to walk to the train station (carrying EVERYTHING that I needed to take with me from my car), to then get a coach (a replacement service of course) where we didn’t have a seat and had to sit in the footwell, to then get a train, to then get picked up. As I was working Christmas Eve, my very patient father and granddad drove to Brighton to retrieve the car (after it had been unclamped). *Sighs*

But I have to say, I’m not the oddity in the family. I’m not this clueless black sheep. Ohhh no. I come from a very special pure breed of idiots it must be said. We’re nice idiots, but we are idiots nonetheless.

From the time my dad made mushroom soup… He cooked the mushrooms in hot stock, put the mixture in the blender, found the lid to not fit completely but nahhh let’s just hold it on with a teatowel, it’ll be fiiiine. Only to then have BOILING mushroom soup spray all over his arm. I mean, it was kind of funny for my mum and I watching my dad leap around the kitchen – doing the mushroom dance, if you will.

I’d like to say these things are out of the ordinary. But they’re not. My dad and me often laugh at how we haven’t been wiped out yet in some Darwin-esque manner. Driving to the O2 to see Stereophonics, only half-way there realising I didn’t have the tickets. They were at my uni in Cardiff. Or in fact, my parents driving me to Cardiff Uni only for us to have to turn around to retrieve my forgotten laptop. Oh it’s all very joyous being a member of our family. Me frequently getting onto wrong trains…

Most recently, yesterday in fact, while I was at work I got a phone call from dad to say he was heading to A&E with my mum. It turns out my mum had thrown my dad’s phone (over a £1,000 worth of iPhone by the way) up the stairs at my dad, only for her to catch her arm on a picture frame hanging on the wall and for it to break and impale her wrist with a shard of glass that not only cut her skin but also her TENDON.

Jesus. She’s OK now, but it was quite painful, as you can imagine. She needs plastic surgery on her arm now to sort it out. The jury is out, apparently, as to who’s fault this was… I shan’t get involved.

But basically, I am like I am because of the way I was grown. A little idiot seedling now fully flourishing into a full-grown, though not quite adult, idiot. But we’re happy idiots. We live optimistically, usually without contingencies. We fall often but we always get back up, ready to do it all again. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Are you like your parents?

When was your last accident?

Not the weekend I had planned

My plan for this weekend was to go to Liverpool on Friday night.

One of my close friends has just moved from Brighton to Liverpool, which makes visiting a little trickier. Happily though I live very close to Southampton Airport and I found that flying to Manchester and then getting a train from there to Liverpool was the quickest way. Driving would take over 5 hours and the train was £150+.

So on Friday after work I headed to the airport (handily my parents dropped me off as they were off to do some late night shopping in West Quay nearby). I was looking forward to catching up with my friends and also squeezing in the Princes parkrun that is very close to her house.

However, after being delayed the airline then announced that the flight was cancelled. Oh. And the next flight wasn’t until 8.50pm, which I’d be lucky to get on considering the great stampede of disgruntled customers to the customer services and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get a train from Manchester at the other side later that night. So in the end I cancelled the trip. It was really disappointing but we’re going to try again to catch up at some point. My parents were able to swing by and pick me up after their shopping, which was so handy! And I’ll apparently be refunded AND compensated for my cancelled flight, so there’s a silver lining at least.

On Saturday morning I met Kyle, his brother, his sister and his mum (who would be supporting, not running) to do parkrun at Portsmouth Lakeside instead. Because I wanted to still be cautious of my calf post-niggle, I decided to take it easier. I wasn’t in the right mindset to push the pace too much anyway so I was happy for a slightly faster than gentle amble round.

Kyle shot off and I was content to run on my own and concentrate on how my leg was feeling. Hmmm, not 100%. I tried not to let it bother me – i.e. not go into full Anna Panic Mode. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t feeling as good as it had during the week. Maybe because I was going faster than I’d run then? I don’t know.

Our friend Connor was also running so there were a good few people to smile and wave at as we went round. There are a few out and backs so you can see where people are through the run. Kyle was far ahead and I wondered how fast he’d do it in. He’s very much going for the shorter distances and I’m almost certain he’ll be hitting a sub-20 parkrun soon.

I finished in 22:53 which was good for an easier run. I didn’t feel like it was too much of an effort. Kyle finished first out of us, then Connor, then Zack, Kyle’s brother, then Lucy, his sister, followed by Connor’s girlfriend. Everyone but me managed a PB. I was made up for Kyle who got an incredible time of 20:31! Though I did say he looked far too comfortable and happy when I first saw him just after the first mile… 😉 He has more to give!

Kyle, his family and I then headed to Harvester for one of their epic breakfasts – the “All In”. This is basically all you can eat. You can have up to FIVE of each item – including unlimited toast and cold and hot drinks. I forwent the chips (!!) and hash browns and stuck with the modest portion (ha!) of four sausages, three bits of bacon, three eggs, two black puddings, beans, two tomatoes, two mushrooms, a slice of toast and a breakfast muffin.

The toast was done by one of those self-service conveyor oven things. I got it wrong by putting in my slice of bread twice as I wanted it a bit more toasted. Proper charred bread – which Kyle’s mum said she’d eat as she loved burnt toast. WHAT?! This blew my mind.

Afterwards I headed home and got loads of little annoying, niggling little jobs done and felt very productive. Kyle popped over later and we enjoyed a cheeky takeaway and an evening watching You, which we’re really enjoying. It’s creepy but absorbing.

The next morning Kyle and I were going to do eight miles together but after my calf felt a little niggly during parkrun I reverted back to my paranoid runner state. Instead we headed out for four miles. Kyle had just bought himself a Garmin 235. He had previously relied on his Apple Watch and using Strava and after Strava had cut off his run for some reason the day before he decided to push the boat out and treat himself. I’m still amazed by the fact that he ordered it in the afternoon and by 8pm he had it. The wonders of Amazon Prime eh!

It was so windy! Though it was lovely and sunny, that wind was both strong and very cold. I kept the route as much away from the seafront as possible to avoid too much blowing about. Though we did stop to take a photo on the small section we went along. Such a beautiful day.

My leg was feeling good so we decided to make it up to five miles. Nice and easy. I was sad not to have done eight but I’m happy that I was sensible (OK this did not come that naturally to me. It took a bit of Kyle talking to me to make me see sense…).

So not quite the weekend I had planned in any way but still a lovely one.

Have you ever had a delayed flight?

What watch do you use for running?

Does anyone else like eating burnt toast??

My first run in two weeks

So my first run back after my niggle was successful.

My calf and hamstring felt fine during the run. I did 10k, which is probably a bit too far for a first run but I was fairly confident everything would feel OK and I had back-up plans to drop to 5k, or 4 miles, or 5 miles if things went pear shape. It just felt SO GOOD to be out again.

I felt a bit like a coiled spring ready to go as I got into it. Having done some bits on the elliptical machine I don’t think I’ve lost a great deal of general fitness (though of course sharper end parkrun speeds yes I will have – I’m OK with that) but I could tell my joints were like “oh hey ground”.

I then ran another 10k two days later and it felt even better. YAY. I just now need to monitor things and be sensible on this comeback. Obviously I want to run ALL THE MILES IMMEDIATELY but I know from experience this isn’t a great approach. Must remain calm and not get overexcited.

I have the Barcelona Marathon on 10th March. So I’m about 6.5 weeks away. As long as everything continues to go as it is and the niggle doesn’t spark up again or get worse I should be fine. I’m the queen of the inverse taper. As long as I can get one long long run in (ideally 18 miles, amongst some 14-16 milers) I think I’ll be OK. I have no great plans to smash myself to pieces. Instead I want to have an enjoyable run and a lovely holiday with Kyle. Five weeks later is the Manchester Marathon (why do I do this to myself?) so maybe I should aim for a faster (faster but not PB) time there? WHO KNOWS.

I also have the Marathon Talk annual Run Camp again in February which I’m excited about. What I’m not excited about is the lonnnnnnng drive up to the Peak District (no longer is it based at Sandy Balls, wahhh!), but happily I’m driving up with a friend. Lots of lovely MT friends and I’m sure some new ones too.

I’m excited to see a different run camp location. Sandy Balls was great but having done it four times now it was getting a little samey. Plus the Peak District is just beautiful so it’ll be nice to run there. And do the Bakewell parkrun. As someone who adores cake (had you noticed…?) I think this is just fitting.

So lots of good running-related stuff to look forward to. But I’ll whisper that quietly in case the running god decides to smite me down again…

How do you come back after an injury?

Have you done either Barcelona or Manchester Marathon before?

Have you ever been to the Peak District?

More than just razors

I found the recent Gillette advert and all that came out from it quite interesting. When I saw the advert my initial reaction was “this is fantastic!”. To be honest, my thoughts haven’t changed. I think it addresses current issues very well. [As a way to advertise razors? Ehhh, I think the only thing it’s managed to do is get people talking about the brand, but not necessarily in a way that will increase sales.]

As a woman it can be hard to explain to men just how media has rammed down our throats how we should look, act and be (sex symbols, unrealistically EFFORTLESSLY beautiful women, housewives seemingly juggling everything easily…). And the outright sexist adverts perhaps not as blatant as in the past, but still very much out there (heyyy Lynx). Not just on TV, but in magazines, music and pervading throughout culture.

Personally I didn’t see the Gillette advert as attacking men or painting all men the same way. I was actually quite shocked when I saw men reacting so vehemently against it. My view is that it’s just trying to promote consideration and highlighting how this can be done. I didn’t see it as attacking men’s masculinity but actually celebrating ways that men can still be masculine without sexism or aggression. I also didn’t see it as a pointing finger at ALL men.

But of course, as a woman I can’t comment on how it would feel to see the advert as a man. So in itself it might be sexist to assume my view is how they should view it. Of course not all men are fighting, or are in gangs, or being sexist to women. I know plenty of men who very much see the world made up as people, not genders. You should hold the door open for anyone, not just for females. This is something I feel very strongly about. Everyone should be treated how you yourself wish to be treated. It’s considerate and basically just being a nice human.

I know the men in my life are kind, not aggressive and not sexist… but that doesn’t mean to say that the Gillette advert doesn’t make a good point and isn’t an important message – in my opinion.

However there is a danger that we slip too far the other way. We create an “us against them” scenario of men against women, women against men. Along with male toxicity we have female toxicity. Women can of course be just as awful and just as sexist. Everyone is a human, and humans are all capable of horrible things.

So I think we need to be careful that we don’t put women on a pedastool of perfection and throw rocks to the men below. Feminism is important, but it shouldn’t be to give the right to make assumptions and insults across the board. We all need to be in the same glass house together.

Did you see the Gillette advert?

What were your thoughts?

Have you ever been the target of sexism?

A non-running update

So I haven’t been running for about two weeks.

It actually hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be. Of course I’ve missed it. I’ve missed my lunchtime runs with Kyle, my parkrunning at the weekend and the lovely long runs on a Saturday. It has been sad in that respect.

I had a hard week last week with my granddad not being very well. My parents dashed up to see him in North Wales, while I had to stay behind to look after all the dogs. It was hard only knowing what was happening through phone calls and WhatsApp but there wasn’t much else I could do sadly. He’s such a strong man (he’s on Strava regularly walking and cycling!) and very competitive and strong-willed, so it was upsetting to have things change so suddenly. But because he is so strong-willed I really hope that he can pull through and get back to a relative normal.

Running would have been a great way to kill off some tension and stress, but I had to remain sensible and not make the niggle worse. Instead I was rather over-sensitive and delicate through the week – tough for all those around me I’m sure!

But with regards to the niggle, I’d rather take a bit of time now rather than have that insidious injury cycle that I’ve known far too well in my time. Instead I went to the gym a couple of times after work and the weekend to use the elliptical machine while watching Roma on my phone (a slow, black and white foreign film. Very good but I’m glad I watched it in a place of limited distractions).

What is my niggle exactly? I’m not sure but I know I’ve had something similar before. I’m almost certain it’s to do with my hamstring which has always had a weakness and why I can no longer do heavy deadlifts, It causes my calf to become quite uncomfortable and stiff, and can even make my foot feel a bit off. It’s like a nerve thing rather than a muscle thing. It just takes time and TLC to calm it down, and luckily it pretty much has calmed down.

Kyle has been lovely and helped take my mind off of not being able to run. He even came to a gym class with my on Saturday. Normally I’d be missing parkrun and being a bit grumpy about that, but instead we had a lovely lie in until 10.30am! Though to be fair we had a very late night after watching Glass and then going to Red Dog Saloon for ribs and chicken wings.

We went to a midday circuits class. I love going to the circuits classes. Yes they are super hard and intense, but because you’re only doing one exercise for 50 seconds and then changing you can get through it. It’s so varied and there’s always a good atmosphere with the others in the class, I really do enjoy it.

It was Kyle’s first time going (and I won’t lie, probably his last!). Though he used to do a lot of strength training in the past with his brother, this was an entirely different kettle of fish. Without sounding awfully patronising, he did really well. But he was a little broken afterwards (and a day or so later too). It did make me feel somewhat good that I’ve conditioned myself to not find the classes ridiculously hard – I mean, I’d be pretty rubbish if I was destroyed after each class despite having gone for so many months now! Though I should probably look to challenge myself each class and push up the weights to make it harder…

So I’m going to attempt running today. My leg genuinely feels normal, so I’m feeling rather positive. But we will see. Fingers crossed.

How do you cope with not running?

Have you ever gotten your partner to run or do a workout with you?

What was the last film you went to the cinema to see?