Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Behind again!

Oh dear, I seem to have got out of the habit of blogging for some reason. Must do better!

My 3rd event of the year took place in muddy old Ranscombe last weekend. It wasn't quite as muddy as back in 2018 but it wasn't far off. This time, as back then, I set out with the intention of doing an extra lap to get an ultra under my belt but this time, although I couldn't face another lap of the mud-slide, I changed into my road running shoes after marathon distance and headed out along the main road for an extra 5 miles to get to 31 miles.

Here are some photos to give you a feel - at least there wasn't quite as much flooding this year and there was no snow and the sun came out so it was much nicer:

There have been a lot of changes recently, the best being a lovely new mud-free car park and these rather impressive composting toilets (which cost a whopping £10,000 each).

Paul tried unusccesfully to take a selfie but was photo-bombed by us.

As Traviss had said that it wasn't as bad as 2018 I decided to try the first lap without my walking poles. This was after lap 1 so I knew that my poles were needed! Thank goodness I'd put my gaiters on as they make such a difference.

The next batch of photos will give you an insight into the extent of the mud!

From left to right: Debbie, Kirsty and Jo. Only Debbie went on to complete the whole thing as Kirsty and Jo had enough after halfway.

Thsi section got worse and worse after each lap and I ended up walking it after lap 3

After a few hours the sun came out which made everythign feel better. Some of the wooded areas were bone dry but large sections were still treacherous and I was very grateful for my poles.

There are some lovely views and Mike and I will be heading off there for a walk when the weather improves.

The highland Cattle were out grazing around the Darnley Mausoleum

He was all sleepy and chilled

I always take a photo of this tree as I love its shape.

There always has to be at least one photo of beautiful bark!

My time for marathon distance was 7:02 as opposed to 7:09 back in 2018. I love the new medal as it's got a bunny on it, along with a deer, a butterfly and some Highland Cattle:

A lovely medal as always from Traviss. It's the first in a series of 4 throughout the seasons and if you do all of the events you can join them all together to make a circle.

On the crafting front there's not much going on except for a bit of knitting and crochet but I have just joined a weaving bootcamp which I hope will kick-start my journey into the world of weaving.

I'm now into week 4 of the Six Pack Revolution, the Intensive Wave again, and I'm really enjoying it. I wrote about my first adventure here if you're new to my blog. This shortened version is great and I'm already seeing a difference in my strength and stamina and my jeans are looser which is a bonus! For me, this Wave is all about strength and stamina rather than weight loss as I've maintained my last results quite well.

The meal plans are full of my old favourites with some new things thrown in and Scott even launched an SPR cookbook last year which you can see here on Amazon, although I didn't buy it 'cos I've got all the recipes anyway. They're all quick and easy to prepare.

Exercise-wise it's the same format as my first wave in the link above with a discipline of daily exercises Abdominal exercises to be added into the mix on alternate days with different Challenges of varying duration which focus on specific areas of the body and are guaranteed to get you sweating!

Shelley's been helping enormously both inside the house and in the garage (which she's enjoying as there's so much to investigate):

Here she's helping me with Diamond Press-ups!

And here with Decline Press-ups (on the 4th step)

Exploring the garage is great fun whilst mum does silly things with weights and Battle-Ropes!

Next time I write I'm hoping there will some craftwork to show but in the meantime I"ll leave you with a photo of my beautiful Paperwhite daffodils which are filling the whole house with their amazing scent!

Monday, January 20, 2020


No, not the road surface, it's me resurfacing from the lurgy that caught everyone unawares.

Oh my goodness it was a really nasty blighter and it swept through our little village like a wildfire taking its prisoners at random. Mike succumbed just after Christmas and I really thought I'd escaped it until 2 days into 2020 it got me, big time. It completely knocked me out, going straight to my weak point, my chest (asthma) where it stayed, festering and getting worse and worse until a week ago when I suddenly felt as if it was on the way out.

Mike was getting really worried because I was coughing so much and he said he'd never seen me so ill and I have to agree that I don't think I've ever felt so ill either. A friend in the village had it for 5 weeks and is only just starting to feel better so I think I was lucky in the scheme of things!

As a result of the naughty lurgy I have missed 2 ultra-marathons in my training schedule but that can't be helped and I eased myself back into my training slowly with events on Friday and Sunday last weekend (as opposed to the 3 days I had planned). I took it nice and easy anyway.

Thankfully my recovery hasn't impacted the start of the Six Pack Intensive wave which began this week and I'm really enjoying. I've just finished the first Challenge which included 2 short runs of 1k, which I did on the treadmill, and I was delighted that I managed the second kilometer slightly faster.

I did a little happy dance afterwards to celebrate!

Then I had to wait to see how I coped at the weekend (with fingers crossed!).

I really haven't felt like doing much crafting but I did set up the little loom and started a bit of weaving on it. Of course Shelley appeared out of nowhere to help me:

Finally she'd had enough and went and rearranged the cushions so she could have a nap.

It's a wee bit fiddlesome actually but good for experimenting

You have to lift the shed up as you go across one way.....

Then press it down to go back across the work

Running wise, I did none for 10 days but when I finally felt better I trotted off for a gentle marathon last Friday. I had no expectations of how I'd feel so just ran it gently and power-walked the hilly bits and was delighted to finish under 5.5 hours. This was the first in a series of 3 events at which Id planned to do ultra-marathon distance, but I chose to just do the Friday and Sunday events as marathons to see if I had fully recovered.

Thankfully I was fine on the Friday and took it nice and easy to finish in 5:25:25. I went back on the Sunday and finished in 5:25:21 so was happy with that. So that's marathons 181 & 182 done and dusted.

Sundays marathon - the first time ever my Garmin has measured the exact marathon distance!

Onwards and upwards now into my rather manic training schedule for the South Downs Way 100 mile event in June - eek!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year

May 2020 be the decade that brings more love and kindness throughout the whole world.

New Year, new goals. I love making lists of things to do as Mike will attest!

* Of course I have more fund-raising for ARUK planned, with another 100 mile event in the Summer and lots of marathons and ultra-marathons as training runs.

* I also have big plans for the garden, which needs a major re-design.

* In early January I'll be embarking on another wave of the Six Pack Revolution (SPR) which has had a refresh and the orginal 90 day plan has been cut to 75 days whilst still achieving the same amazing results. I did the 'Intensive' plan during the time I was absent from here and although it was much harder physically I really enjoyed it.

* As usual I'm doing RED January (ie Run Every Day a minimum of 5k) and no alcohol until after SPR has finished.

* Knitting - I'm swatching for a lovely Kimono from Amirisu magazine at the moment.

* Crochet. I'm gathering colour ideas for the Kaleidoscope Cal which starts soon. I'm using Rowan Summer Tweed from stash and these are my proposed colours so far:

Interesting to see how much the colours change in artifical light and daylight.

I also started playing with the colours using the handy planner provided:

* But to start the year well I need to get out for a run now! I was supposed to be doing a marathon last week but Mike was unwell so I stayed close to home.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Last post of the year


I've always fancied having a go at paper-cutting but thought it might be too fiddly for someone as clumsy as me. Then an email dropped into my inbox inviting me to join a 3 day course in a gallery a few miles from home. It's a quirky little gallery almost in the middle of nowhere and I came across it by accident when I was out running when it had just opened 10 years ago.

The Black Shed Gallery is part a small group of old farm buildings which have been converted into different business units. Kenton, the gallery owner and curator also runs a picture-framing business from the gallery.

Now for the paper-cutting.  The short course was taught by Ian Penney who, I found out, lives in a neighbouring village! His work is extraordinary so please click on his name to see some of his amazing work on his website. His current exhibition is entitled 'Galapagos' and features pieces inspired by the travels of Charles Darwin on the Beagle. You can see some examples on the Black Shed gallery page until February but I took a few photos of his other work:

Imagine how patient you have to be to cut out all those individual leaves

Just look at the writing.  He cut it so finely and neatly!

The shadows form part of the pattern in this charming piece

Well I just had to sign up to have go now didn't I!

Each session was 2 hours long and the time went in a flash because it was so absorbing. Ian taught us all the basic skills we'd need and then it was over to our own imaginations. I really liked the idea of some writing but felt it was too advanced for a complete beginner so decided on a Christmas theme complete with a rabbit (bunnies frequently make an appearance in my craft work).

Once we'd drawn our chosen design we had to copy it onto paper. I dithered between green and red, both Chritmassy colours, but settled on a jolly shade of red.


Then it was time to start cutting and that was really nerve-wracking at first. I couldn't stay right until the end of the final session so Ian went through the mounting process with me and gave me the necessary pins to do it myself (gulp!).

When I'd finished my first round of cutting I then went back and tidied it up a bit 'cos my hand had been rather wobbly and hesitant when I started it but I grew in confidence as time went by. I used my patchwork-cutting board which was perfect for the task. It did take a while to get used to the feel of the scalpel and I found it strange to begin with, especially as I have shaky hands.

So here is my Christmas bunny just waiting to be mounted in his frame. I'm quite pleased with him as a first attempt and I've already chosen some more paper to explore paper-cutting in more detail.

I nearly forgot Yoda!

Forgetful, I am.

I had an email from my running friend Kirsty, who's appeared on here many times and will definitely be making another appearance in 2020 as we have a cunning plan bubbling away until Summer! She wanted something to cheer up our lovely friend Gemma who was really down in the dumps and had lost her little Yoda keepsake.

"Could you crochet one for her?" asked Kirsty.

Well of course I could so I scoured the internet for a suitable pattern that wasn't too big and came across this free amigurumi pattern on Ravelry. Perfect I thought, and rummaged through my stash. I showed Kirsty many different colour choices and we settled on some leftover Rowan Cotton Glace.

Shelley decided I needed her guidance

She helped throughout the whole process!

I used some old beads as I didn't have any safety eyes. I didn't give him much hair as putting it across the back of his head made him look like a Monk so I went for some of his stuffing stitched on using Kid Silk Haze. I stuffed him with some old pillow filling.

Super-cute pattern, although fiddly in parts as you'd expect, and Gemma loves the end result. He went for his first adventure as soon as she received him.

He now sits on her dashboard and goes to marathons with her