Saturday, April 23, 2011

Whilst waiting for London marathon photos.......

I thought it might be a good idea to actually post a photo of some knitting for a change as I keep forgetting to record what I'm doing!

At the moment I've just started the second sleeve of Owls by Kate Davies (Ravelry link). I'm using Jamieson's shetland marl in amethyst just because purple is my favourite colour.

It's a quick knit and I'm using my lovely new knit pics needles. Aren't they gorgeous! I started this just last week, finished the body in a few days and knit the first sleeve sitting in the hotel lobby whilst taking a break on Press conference day. Several people remarked "so you do actually knit then, not just when you're running!" which made me smile.

I've been trying to crack this little blighter for the last couple of days - it's a Rubik's cube and was given to me by Uli who solved 100 of them whilst running the marathon!

I've just mastered how to solve one side.

Apparently it's all down to using algorithms. It's looking good so far but I've still got 4 more sides to do - I may be some time............!

The lawn mower broke the other day and had to go off for repair. Not the best time to break as the grass was due for a cut.

Undeterred, my lovely ladies are helping out.

I just fenced off around the patio and put posts and tape in strategic places so they can't get into the pond or the woods and they are quite happy and it saves on petrol too!

I should mention that ours is not the sort of lawn that is like bowling green and it has lots of daisies, buttercups and other wild flowers in which is just how we like it as it's in harmony with our surroundings.

Tinker decided it was too hot outside and hid himself away in the spare bedroom amidst a pile of stuff that's been dumped in there whilst we decorate elsewhere.

How do cats always find the best spots for a snooze? I only noticed him there when I heard the bubble-wrap crackling when he moved.

Last but not least is this tree. It's a Field Maple growing near my shed and the reason for the photo is the flies.

When I walked past, the whole tree was buzzing and I thought it was bees but on further investigation I spotted hundreds of these flies.

You can just make out the flowers which is think is what attracted them as the smell of the pollen was really strong.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Press Day, The One Show & This Morning

The instant camera I had to use on Press day on friday and on This Morning on Monday has now gone off to be developed so I won't have any photos until then.

In the meantime, here's a selection of passes from each day and a link to the This Morning 18th April where 4 of us marathoners had some very special foot treatments.

There are snippets of us all running upstairs (which sadistic so-and-so decided to make us run upstairs the morning after a marathon?!) with the main feature at around 11:15. If you are at all squeamish, please do not look too closely at Andy's feet (Mr Happy) as they are GROSS!

To give you a taster - here's what my feet looked like afterwards. They have never looked so good!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

London Marathon day

So here we go again. It's like a well-oiled machine really now - prepare everything the night before, early to bed, up at 4:30am, Alan the taxi driver picks us up at 5:30am and we arrive in Blackheath around 6:45. Into the Greek cafe for coffee and a chocolate croissant then get a newspaper before heading off to another coffee shop further up the road. Have another coffee and read the paper until 8am when I need to head off to the Green start to register with Guinness World Records.
The giant motorbike balloon was there again but I just snapped these few.

There didn't seem as many as usual nor were they quite as grand as in previous years - I suspect a tightening of belts perhaps in these tough economic times.

Then we have a slow walk over to the start where I nip in to register then pop back out to get into my kit.

Here's Uli Kilian who solved 100 Rubik's cubes and finished in 4:45 and got himself a Guinness World Record.

Well done Uli and apologies for practising my beginner's German on you!

Btw, don't you just love his outfit?

These men have run every single London Marathon since it began in 1981. Wow!

One of them was running for the same charity as me Alzheimer's Research UK whilst tossing a pancake!

Here I am again, bedecked with wool.

Is it just me, or does it look slightly odd to have 'Virgin' plastered across ones chest?!

The wannabe Guinness World Record holders gather.

The guy dressed as Dennis the Menace (Dave from the 100 marathon club) got his record and I think the Superman to his right did too.

By 10am I knew it was going to be too hot for me to beat my own record (1.62m) so I made the decision to just plod along with my knitting, not worrying about how long the scarf would be and just enjoy the day.

As always the crowd was amazing. Calling out, cheering, laughing, clapping. Lifting the spirits of those who wanted to curl up at the side of the road and sob.

All those runners on their own personal journey; some doing it for a charity, some for themselves but each with their own story to tell. It is the most amazing marathon and I love everything about it.

I saw loads of people I knew and chatted to many who I didn't know. Many people said they'd heard me on the radio or seen me on The One Show and had wanted to catch up with me which was nice. The knitting gives the crowd a good laugh but as many runners as spectators commented about it this year - the runners were so kind and generous with their praise as they appreciate just what an effort it takes to just run a marathon, never mind knitting at the same time.

Here I am at around mile 14, snapped by supporters from ARUK.I nearly missed them as I'd been looking at the wrong side of the road and watching for a mass of purple tee shirts, having forgotten that the new re-branded tee shirts are white! Thankfully I heard them screaming my name and managed to wave in time.

I passed Tony, dressed as Tinkerbell and dribbling a football, at around mile 17 and I told him I didn't think I'd beat my record and I was also worried that he wouldn't get round within his time limit although I didn't say that to him.

Sadly I found out later that he missed his 6 hour cut-off by 1 minute 23 seconds and he was gutted. Not surprising after having survived 26.2 miles amidst a crowd of 36,000+ runners. He took a tumble quite early on and spent 5 minutes being patched up by the St John's Ambulance crew and this cost him his GWR. At least it's made him determined to come back next year and try again.

As the heat intensified it was really just a case of digging in and plodding on but sweaty hands and wool don't really work well together and I knew the scarf wouldn't be longer than my current record so at mile 24 I decided to up my pace and stop knitting to get in under 6 hours - I came home in 5:56:02 so couldn't have got much closer!

It was not a surprise when the guy from GWR said it was 1.52m and so was 10 cm shorter than my record.

Never mind, I've got 2 Guinness World Records already and it was another great day, garnering lots of publicity for Alzheimer's Research.

That was my 22nd marathon - who'd have thought I'd ever manage it!

A horsey interlude

Just look at my lovely ladies with their guests!

The jackdaws and rooks love to pick at their coats as they are moulting. The horses don't mind because they get all itchy when moulting and their hair makes a great nesting material for the birds.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Media madness!

The run up to London (pun intended!) is always a mad mixture of interviews and photo shoots and I'm certainly not complaining because the more publicity we can get for Alzheimer's Research UK the better.

Yesterday was the main focus of attention as it was Press Day which always takes place in a hotel in London so I was up with the lark. Actually I was up before the larks because I had to do a quick interview with Heart fm at 6:30. It was a lot shorter than I'd anticipated and I didn't get chance to talk about ARUK 'cos they focused on the knitting as expected. Anyway, They've asked me to go on air again on Monday to let them know how I got on so that's good.

I very stupidly forgot to take my camera with me yesterday. Thankfully I remembered in time to stop and buy one of those throwaway jobbies but that means I'll have to get them printed and then scan them in. DOH!

These 2 photos have come off Facebook and show, from left to right, Uli (most Rubiks cubes solved whilst running a marathon), Andy (fastest marathon dressed as a fictional book character), Eleanor (fastest marathon dressed as a bride), me, Chris (fastest marathon dressed as a star) & Steve (most money raised in a single sporting event - watch the news tomorrow, it's awesome!) who is replaced by Tony (dressed as Tinkerbell, fastest marathon dribbling a football - he just likes to dress up and his wife and kids choose his costumes!).

In the meantime, here are a couple of links to get a feel for how the Press Conference went: Report on the Virgin London Marathon page and Ceebeebies

In the afternoon I nipped over to the Excel Centre to collect my running number etc and then I came back and had a lovely hour sitting in the hotel lobby knitting and people watching.

The evening was taken up with loads of Guinness World Record wannabes appearing on The One Show. 4 of us from the photo shoot were on the list to do in-depth interviews but sadly that all went to pot. There were still plenty of moments of all of us appearing in shot so at least everyone got to see my ARUK vest then I was spoken to in passing right at the end but although they mentioned ARUK there was no mention of what we were all there for which was to try for our own GWRs.

If you check out the show on iplayer, I'm sitting next to Tony (Tinkerbelle), the Eleanor (the bride) and Andy (Mr Happy) appears behind us at some point. He actually managed to get an interview which was great because he's doing amazing work for Children with Leukaemia.

Full report to follow...........

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hot, Hot, HOT!

It was Brighton marathon last Sunday and the weather forecast was spot on - it was HOT! I knew it was going to be bad when the organisers sent an email the day before advising people to slow down their pace, take on more water etc etc and to confirm if I intended to run still (presumably so they could ensure that had sufficient supplies of water etc).

I decided that I'd start gently and see how hot it was by the 1/2 way point. I reached 1/2 way in 2:22 which was bang on target but by then it was already too hot for me and I knew that I should slow down or risk making myself ill - see, I can be sensible sometimes! So I just settled into a nice slow plodding pace and enjoyed the party atmosphere.

Sadly, I saw lots of people who hadn't fared as well and had collapsed and were being treated by the St John's ambulance crews. Out of the 15,000 entrants only 8,000 started the race and around 7,250 actually finished so that was a very high drop-out rate.

I crossed the line in 5:21 which is 25 minutes slower than last year. I must take a photo of the medal which was nice and there was a tee shirt too. Mike forgot to take any photos of me so there are a few to look at here

There are a few short video clips of me waddling along too. You will see that the finish time on the clock is slower than my actual time because it took 9 minutes to get over the start line which is not unusual in large events.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Twist Collective

Many months ago I did an interview with Lee Ann Dalton for Twist Collective. Herself a runner and a knitter she was interested in the benefits that we take from both pastimes. As she says, there are lots of runners who knit and lots of knitters who run!

The article is here - Twist Collective Spring issue