76 sunflowers

embracing the simple things

21 May 2016

Project 366 2016 #20

Week 20 of Project 366 2016 saw sunshine and showers and a happy me!


Day 136
5:30 start this morning for my boy and his sleepover buddy - we were not impressed. Luckily it was a warm sunny day so we lazed for the rest of it and I put my feet up and had a good reading session in the back garden.
Day 137
I decided to head down an unexplored lane on my morning run and found myself off road for a few miles running across beautiful fields. It made a very pleasant change to the usual pounding of pavements and I'm looking forward to exploring more soon.
Day 138
The front garden needed a bit of a tidy up so I tackled the hedge cutting it back to reveal the hidden peony.
Day 139
At work the rain returned and as I left the pink of this rose caught my eye.
Day 140
More flowers at work today this time a gift from the garden from one of my class - it is definitely the simple things that can put a big smile on my face. Later tonight I headed out for my first proper yoga class which was lush.
Day 141
Friday came around quickly again and tonight I did a bit of core work on the mat then had a look through my latest magazine.
Day 142
The rain returned today but before it got too heavy I set out for a morning run exploring a new route. On my return I finally stopped to take a photo of the local yarn bombing.

x x x

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14 May 2016

Project 366 2016 #19

Week 19 of Project 366 2016 has been a good week, oh yes it has!


Day 129
The day of the Hackney Half and it was hot. Around 25c towards the end of my run and it made me run with a completely different attitude. There was no point trying to get a PB so I chilled out, took on plenty of water and was chuffed to finish in 2:04:30 with no pain or heat exhaustion. Back home it was time to go barefoot in the garden and admire my latest race bling!
Day 130
A day to relax and I felt remarkably good getting out of bed today. I did the usual Monday chores and got on with hanging up the race bling from yesterday.
Day 131
I finally took the plunge tonight and went and tried out a local running club proudly wearing my Hackney Half finishers - it had to be done. It was a nice group of like-minded people and I pushed myself with a decent pace group on a 6 mile run. The sky looked ominous and not long into it we were soaked to the skin with heavy rain - good job I love running in the rain!
Day 132
I had a little look around the rather wet garden today after work and loved how the aquilegia held onto the raindrops.
Day 133
Early to bed with my book tonight following a secondary school taster session with my girl - I don't want to think about that too much!
Day 134
A lovely sunny day today with a definite sniff of Summer again in the air. Out on the patio the snails had met a grisly end after destroying our sunflowers. My heart rock seemed an ironic resting place for this one.
Day 135
A much welcomed lie in today - if you can call 7.30 a lie in! I took myself out for a much needed 5 mile run then it was back home to bake a birthday cake ready for the boy's belated birthday party. Outside the garden was warm and still with dandelions aplenty in the patches of 'meadow'.

x x x

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9 May 2016

Running Dairy {Run Hackney Half Marathon 2016}

After injury and illness disrupted my training plan, the day of the Hackney Half arrived. Not one for doing things alone I dragged my family cheer squad to London for the weekend - which was great timing as it was my boy's 8th birthday on the Saturday, brother in law number one lives in Hackney and brother in law number two was visiting from New Zealand. Both of whom were also taking part.
Putting the aforementioned illness and injury to one side, I felt as prepared as I could be having completed a comfortable 9 miles last weekend and a quick 5k Thursday evening. My legs felt good and my head was ready. That was until the British weather decided Summer was going to arrive early.
Saturday walking around London was hot.
Sunday was hotter. From my hotel room I saw that the sun was noticeably brighter and it was already hotting up at 7:45 as I made my way past Hackney Central and saw a snippet of the route under the railway bridge.
I walked the mile and a bit with my in laws towards the race village having made plans for the husband and kiddos to be on the course at two passing points. The village was buzzing and I said my goodbyes and good lucks to the brothers as they headed off to pick up race numbers and I went I did my pre race toilet visit. At 8:30 the announcements started to go out to join the starting pens and by 8:40 I was, optimistically with the heat, in the 1.45-2.00 starting group. The sun blazed down as the minutes ticked by. I topped up my water levels whilst I waited and chewed on a few jelly beans. The clock ticked past the 9.00 start time and I sipped more water - it was starting to get hotter now. A few more announcements were made and by now I knew that at mile seven there would be jelly babies aplenty and the delay was caused as it seemed the course was still being cleared. Finally by around 9:15 the horn went and we shuffled forward. Ten minutes on and we crossed the start line and the TomTom was started.
I didn't know the route beyond the fact it ran past my brother in law's road twice, where the family cheer squad would be waiting, and it went through Broadway Market which I had visited on a previous Hackney trip. I had a rough picture in my mind of the route as to where water stations were and when I would open up my gels - I learnt the hard way about fuelling during the Bath Half.
The first mile took us up a slight incline then around the bend I got my first sight of the family crew and gave them a big shout and I was feeling good. The first three miles were at a steady 9:10 mile pace, which was way off my PB but I started this race with no intention of going that fast due to the heat - I just wanted to finish and hopefully enjoy it. By mile 4 I need to stop for the loo - I never stop whilst running so found it strange but whilst waiting in the queue I had a quick chat with a runner in the same situation and we concluded it was obviously the delayed start and extra water sipping that caused it. Not worrying about beating my PB my only concern stopping was that my TomTom would stop and not restart but luckily a few minutes of a blank time screen and I was off and it carried on from where I left off.
The support was great along the course with clear cheering points to spur the runners on. At each water station I grabbed a bottle and continually sipped water and tipped it down my neck and back. The increase in water consumption was apparent and the course was soon littered with empty bottles - noticeably worse than Bath where the majority were disposed off in huge open bins along the route. The Hackney course was also significantly narrower than Bath and this wasn't helped by parked cars and at one point three inconsiderate drivers who decided they would attempt to drive their cars through the mass of runners. I seriously thought I was about to witness a mass runner's riot. I also noted a lot of non runners crossing the running route, some with bikes and pushchairs, and with the amount of runners this caused a lot of issues with some very near misses.
Back to the race and the miles ticked by - being in that runner's haze at times I missed some mile marker points so had a nice surprise when glancing at my watch and realised I was further on than I thought. I took my gels as planned and continued to top up the water. My pace was pretty steady throughout but I found the last 3 miles tough going when the course took us towards the Olympic Park; here there were no buildings to give any shade and the sun was getting higher in the sky and hotter.
At mile 12 the 2:00 pacer passed me and I tried for a few minutes to join his pack; my heart was shouting for me to give it a go to try and finish sub 2 hours but my head ruled and told me to be sensible and finish the race in one piece. Mile 12 ended up being my slowest mile, apart from the loo stop, and I was chuffed that the last mile wasn't my slowest - it was my second slowest!
As I crossed the finishing line I was happy but I didn't have the ecstatic feeling of when I finished Bath. However, later in the day, the emotions came over me when I realised how well everyone running in that heat actually did.
I was happy that I finished.
I was happy that I stuck to my plans and didn't go crazy looking for a PB in the heat.
I was happy that when my time came through later - having forgotten to stop my TomTom straight away - that I wasn't that far from a sub 2 hour and had I not took a stop en route probably would have got back in that time.
I was happy that I didn't hit a massive wall at 10 miles.
I was happy that there were no voices in my head questioning what on earth was I doing.
I was happy with how I felt, both physically and mentally, at the end.
I was happy when I got out of bed today and there was no hobbling.

I am a happy lady with a rather nice piece of bling now added to my medal rack!

Run Hackney Half Marathon:
TomTom time: 2:05:09
Official chip time: 2:04:30

Half PB (Bath): 1:56:49

x x x
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8 May 2016

Project 366 2016 #18

Week 18 of Project 366 for 2016 saw a change in the weather with less rain and more sunshine.
Which was good and bad!

Project 366 2016 day 122 - Bath Botanical Gardens WI // 76sunflowers

Day 122
A family Sunday was needed today so the husband switched his work day over and we all headed into Bath for a really relaxed wander. I bought some new shoes - the first non running related pair in a long time! - and we headed out to Victoria Park. In the Botanical Gardens we came across this WI bath tub within a small vegetable garden.
Day 123
Bank Holiday Monday meant rain and, following a comfortable 5 mile run first thing for me, the husband went to work. A lazy house day was on the cards then in the evening I headed into Bristol to meet a friend to see James at the Colston Hall. James are one of my most favourite bands from my teenage days and it must have been 25 years ago I first saw them. Tonight they did not disappoint with Tim Booth strolling through the crowd to do a pared down version of Sit Down singing just inches away from me!
Day 124
A day to myself today and the walk to and from school was under an almost clear blue sky. There seems to be a change in the air.
Day 125
Back to work with a skip in my step - I am sure the sunshine and warmth does wonders for my state of mind. After work we had a family bbq and I sat on the patio watching the sun go down.
Day 126
Final run before the Hackney Half on Sunday. It was just a 5k but it was hard work in the heat, and the weather forecast for the weekend is hotter! My route took me to the local village pub where I turned back, rested for a few seconds to take a snap then headed back for home.
Day 127
We safely arrived in Hackney this evening where the heat was hanging in the air.
Day 128
It was the boy's 8th birthday today and we headed into London to the Science Museum and chilled for a bit in Kensington Gardens. The children experienced the underground for the first time and there were mixed reviews! It was a great day though.

x x x

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