Sunday, 5 March 2017

Challenge 8 - Cambridge Half Marathon

Challenge number 8 – to PB at the Cambridge Half Marathon.

Today was the first of my physical challenges which was to get a personal best time at the Cambridge Half Marathon. I hadn’t run a half marathon since 2012 and felt confident that I could get under the 2hours 3 minutes that I achieved last time.  Everyone that had run Cambridge before told me what a lovely course it was and after an early start I felt optimistic as we drove down the A11 especially as the sunrise was beautiful and the weather was perfect.  We got to the start area with plenty of time to spare and it was as if somebody had flicked a weather switch, the clouds came over, the drizzle started and the wind felt arctic.  I had messaged Phil last night to ask him to get some bin bags to wear once we had handed in our bag so we looked especially glamerous in our pink bakery waste bags labelled ‘not for human consumption’!  I wore my bag until the very last moment and reluctantly shred it just before crossing the start line.  The first few miles were very congested and my average pace was over 9 minutes per mile which worried me a bit but I was running with a fellow Gazelle Andrew who told me not to worry as we would make the time up.  I really enjoyed the first half of the half and felt really strong, I remembered why I love running and the encouragement from the crowds was fantastic.  It started to hurt as I got towards mile 10 and I started to panic that I had gone too quickly but kept telling myself that it was just a parkrun to go and dug deep.  Mile 12 was horrible, up over an overpass into a headwind and everything felt like lead but I knew that finish line was coming and the last half mile was flatter and I knew my support team of Jess, Eddie and Tom were in the crowd so pushed hard and crossed the line just before the clock ticked over to 1:55.  I felt quite emotional as I collected my medal that I had achieved my PB and my chip time came in at 1:51:55 which gave me an 11 minute PB.

Worryingly this was the easiest of my physical challenges so I now need to get training hard and get out on my bike for next months’ duathlon!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Challenge number 35 – go vegan for Lent!

The 1st of March 2017 Ash Wednesday and the start of our family challenge to go vegan for Lent.  We have been eased in gently as Phil started in January so most of our meals have been mainly vegan with cheese added!  Everyone who knows me knows how much I love a nice cup of tea so it was with a sinking heart that I sipped my mug of tea with soya milk this morning and, although not completely repulsive I did not enjoy the experience.  It reminded me of the horrible little pits of UHT milk you get in your room at the Travel lodge!  My second cup at prayer breakfast was black went down surprisingly well.  My third cup of the day was an experiment with coconut milk which I strongly advise again trying!  Cup of tea number 4 was made with wheat milk – it probably didn’t help that I forgot to shake it before pouring in and the emulsion produced looked less than appetizing but tasted ok.  I made a pot of Jazmine tea with leaves brought back from China which was lovely so I look forward to 45 days of Jazmine and wheat milk tea!

A friend’s leaving do meant lunch out and a carvery is really not the place to go as a vegan – salad without dressing and chips was about all that I could have and I did miss my mayonnaise but luckily we don’t eat out very often and there are some amazing vegan restaurants to try.

Being Saint David’s day I made leek and potato cakes with smoked vegan cheese with lots of veg, followed by vegan welsh cakes which went down very well.  Shopping may take a little longer having to read the ingredients on everything for all those hidden animal products, but once we know which products are vegan it should all get much easier and we are all looking forward to trying lots of new recipes.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Challenge number 20 - watch 40 tom hanks films

Most of my Blog posts so far have been about this challenge as watching Tom Hanks films seems to have been the most interesting thing that I have done!  There has been lots of training going on and I even took the bike off the turbo trainer and did a whole 10miles on the road!   My swimming is progressing slowly and my front crawl looks less like I’m being electrocuted and more like a swimmer, I just need to work on my stamina. Just a few weeks now until my first running challenge with the Cambridge Half marathon looming.

The chosen film was Saving Mr Banks which I had heard about but didn’t really expect to enjoy as I thought it was a documentary about the making of Mary Poppins, a film that I loved growing up.  This film totally blew me away, it switched between the early years of Mary Poppins author, Mrs Travers and her negotiations with Walt Disney and his team about the making of the Mary Poppins film.  We found ourselves singing along to the classic songs and willing Mrs Travers to sign the paperwork as we went on an emotional rollercoaster throughout the film and slowly we and Walt Disney understood the complex Mrs Travers!   We all loved this film and I would really recommend it as a great family film.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

How can it be February already! January has flown by and all the big challenges are creeping nearer.  I have been focused on my training and am now running increasing miles each week, swimming at least twice a week and have started cycling on the turbo trainer.  I will get out on my bike once the weather improves but for now indoor cycling seems so much more civilised!

We have really enjoyed our film nights and the most recent Tom Hanks film was The Man with One Red Shoe.  This was yet another film that I don’t remember ever hearing of and as the children said, was set in the olden days having been made in 1985!  By getting off a plane wearing one red shoe, Richard Drew (Tom Hanks) an eccentric violinist becomes a person on interest to the FBI who follow him, sabotage his apartment and cause chaos.  The film is an effortless comedy as the lead character has no idea he is being followed.   This is another film that would recommend as a nice easy watch with fantastic 80s fashion and technology!

Friday, 27 January 2017

Challenge number 20– Watch 40 Tom Hanks films.

It seems to be becoming a very nice habit that the occasional evening that we are all home together, to draw the curtains, delve into the box and find a Tom Hanks film to snuggle down together to watch.  I was really pleased when this weekend's choice was The Da Vinci Code as it is a film I have always fancied watching but never quite got around to seeing. 

I am no film critic but I was really disappointed by this film, it felt all the way through like a book that couldn’t be condensed and I had guessed most of the plot before the ending.  It was fun spotting the places that we had been to but I was never really drawn into the film – maybe because I was expecting so much more.  We still have the sequels to watch and I will try to have an open mind but this film unfortunately did not live up to my expectations.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Challenge/treat 18 - "What to wear to change your life!"

This challenge came with Trinny and Susannah’s book and my challenge was to sort out my wardrobe.  This proved surprisingly therapeutic and with the children back at school I emptied my wardrobe, draws and all the clothes stored in the washing pile onto my bed and started the process of deciding if I was really going to wear it again, if it still fitted and if I still liked it!  The charity bags started to bulge and I was able to fit everything back into my draws that I really wanted to keep!  I know I am a hoarder and promise to try harder this year!

Monday, 2 January 2017

Starting treat/challenge number 20!

I started today preparing for my running challenges by going for a training run with some hill efforts thrown in for fun!  I was then persuaded to go for a second run when Phil came home from work as he wanted some company and Tom joined us for a few miles along Marriotts Way.  We all felt that we deserved a film night so ticked off film number one of the 40 Tom Hanks films that were given to  me as treat/challenge number 20.

The Terminal directed by Steven Spielberg was the first out of the box and I have to admit that a film about a man being stuck in an airport terminal did not appeal and would not have been one I would have chosen to watch.  I was soon drawn into the story of a man who arrives at JFK airport only to find that the government of his country have been overthrown and that he is stuck in limbo unable to return home but also unable to enter America.  He carries a tin of peanuts with him (which I thought were the ashes of somebody!) but instead they hold a promise and are the reason for his journey.  This film is about survival and also highlights how caught up in our own world we become that we don’t see those around us.  I`m pleased to report that this film was a treat!