All the delicious Summer foods

School, (as it has seemed to do a lot just lately) has managed to get in the way of my running and blogging over the past few weeks again.  Although I will be starting my maternity leave at the beginning of October, leaving me less than nine working weeks left before I disappear until June next year, another member of staff within our department has actually handed their notice in and this has meant that timetables and planning and classes have all been up in the year for the 2016-17 calendar for the rest of us within the department.  I’ve ended up taking on several year 11 classes for next year, many of whom I do not teach at the moment, resulting in hours upon hours of marking their coursework to come over the next few weeks, alongside my existing workload.  And I thought all the coursework marking was over for this year?!

Shhhh I'm marking teacher mugThis mug was given to me as a thankyou gift by one of my current year 11 students on the day of her last exam and was very fitting, especially when I actually ended up getting up at 2:30am the following morning to finish marking year 10 folders for a marking scrutiny within the department.  My hard work paid off and I aced the scrutiny with an ‘Outstanding’ grade.  But I was tired and miserable for the next few days, and not the sharpest for the rest of the week.  Dan cheered me up with a ‘Bee Happy’ bee from Waitrose.

Bee happy bee cookie

Luckily, this is the half term of trips and with year 8 currently abroad so out of lessons all of this week, and year 10 soon off for a fortnight of work experience fun, my workload should hopefully begin to balance out once more…

And then it will be the glorious long Summer holidays!

End of term

My teaching timetable is much lighter at this time of year, as my six year eleven classes and two year thirteen groups have finished now, and I am lucky(!) in that some days I have now been freed up to mark or plan for three-hour stints without a break.  By the end of the school day though, I have been ready to head home and never look at a computer again.

Dan and I had talked about getting a second car for the Summer, so that I would be able to head out and visit friends/shop/stay sane whilst he was still at work.  With a friend’s wedding up near Manchester at the start of July though, and Dan needing to head up in the day on Friday, whilst I would still be at work, we started the great car hunt of 2016 slightly early and managed to find Dan a new car at the weekend.

Dan’s priorities were that the car had a large boot for the buggy and space inside for our future children.  How priorities have changed!  He was also rather excited to see that the car had cruise control as well!

Going back to a two-car family means that if I know I will be working on the computer for long portions during the school day I can pre-empt this the night before, arranging to drive myself into work and thus enabling me to leave at 3pm on the dot, instead of having to hang around, forcing work from my tired brain before Dan would be able to collect me at 5, before reaching home at 6pm, after getting stuck in the post-work traffic.  Home by 3:45 means all things running and blogging and brain-break activities can take place, before returning to work in the evenings when my brain is hopefully ready for it again.  I’m super excited to have the option to commute home alone once more, although we will be spending slightly more money on petrol and it will mean two hours less that I see Dan during the day.

Anyway, I’ve written more than 500 words so far and without a single picture of any delicious Summer food as promised in my blog title!

Here goes…

Beckworth Emporium afternoon teaThis…was…amazing…!  I’ve heard lots of fabulous things about the afternoon teas at Beckworth Emporium before, but have never had the opportunity to give one a try.  (Dan won’t touch half the stuff on that slate!)  The day after heading down to marshal at South Downs Way 100, I headed out for afternoon tea and a long-overdue catchup with two of my running mates.  Somehow we managed to make this delicious slate (and another, smaller slate for one) of sandwiches, crisps, scones, tarts and cakes last for nearly three hours over our catchup.  It went down very well!

Beckworth Emporium afternoon tea

This last weekend was a busy one too.  On the Saturday I headed back down South to Basingstoke.  This time for a friend from Uni’s surprise 30th birthday party.Dan and me at Rich's birthday

A long way to go, but I hadn’t seen him for one reason or another since my wedding nearly two years ago, so it was good to catch up over the birthday BBQ.

Check out this awesome bar that his girlfriend’s Dad had knocked up out of the old logshed over the previous couple of days.

The outside bar at Rich's birthdayI made Dan take a sneaky picture so that we could recreate it at our house for next Summer…!

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to join in with the Pimms drinking, or the cocktail drinking, but I still made the most of the fab cocktail umbrellas that were out for use!

Cocktail umbrella in the shape of a peacockI’m really addicted to Raspberry lemonade at the moment.  This was also probably our first BBQ of the Summer?  I can’t remember having been to any so far in 2016 anyway!

We drove back on the Saturday evening, and I headed out for a long-overdue run in the morning.  Trail, out with friends and it was a gorgeous sunny day.  It was the best run I’ve had in a long while.  :)  More to come on that in my running round-up post later in the week though.

On Sunday afternoon we were off to Cambridge for Dan’s fancy work do.

His school had hired out Trinity College and welcomed all staff, along with partners and young children to a Summer Celebration.  There was a free bar, party food and a photographer doing the rounds to take group shots of anybody who asked.  For those not local to Cambridge, the Trinity College is in a beautiful setting overlooking the river and apparently is where the original copy of Winnie the Pooh is kept?  My school will give us each half a glass of wine on the last day of term and expect us to sing “We’re happy and we know it.” (!)

Finger food buffet at work doUnfortunately there weren’t many sandwiches I could eat at 25 weeks pregnant, as lots contained parma ham or salmon.  I made do with a cucumber sandwich instead, along with a selection of asparagus spears (never been to buffet where there has been asparagus spears as an option before!), cheese straws (these were the tastiest cheese straws I’ve ever had), bread, grapes, crackers and cheese (had to avoid the brie and blue cheese too.)  I’m not a fan of macaroons but wanted to know what the flavour ‘green’ tasted like.  (Playdoh if anyone is interested!)

Dan and Me at his work doThe highlight of the meal was the dessert though.  It’s got to be about berries and icecream at this time of year, and this dish of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries was perfect topped with toffee icecream.

Berries and icecream

Berries and BBQs…proper British Summer food!

What do you consider to be British Summer food?
Have you been to any BBQs yet this Summer?

Marshaling at the South Downs Way 100

Last weekend was the South Downs Way 100 mile Centurion event, which runs from Winchester to Eastbourne along the bottom of the country.

I had earmarked the SDW100 as a goal race for 2017 earlier this year, but I wanted to get a bit of an idea of the course before fully committing to run it next year.  When I saw that Centurion were still requiring marshals for the event and that all marshals working longer than an eight hour shift would be ‘paid’ in the form of a 2017 entry, I put my name down to help out…before really thinking about the logistics of marshaling an event right down in the South of the country between two working weeks at school!

A fortnight before the event and the first shift draft was emailed through to the volunteers.  There were a lot of volunteers on that rota!  I was down to be at the start on the Saturday, with a very early start time!  This was then followed with a stint at checkpoint 3 (Harting Downs – mile 27) out on the course.

A 4am start time down in Winchester on Saturday morning meant an incredibly early bedtime for me on the Friday evening.  I planned to get my head down as soon as I returned home from school, but ended up having about an hour of work to do before I nodded off – heading to bed around 7pm and setting my alarm for 1:30am the following morning.

By 9:30 I was wide awake though.  I tried getting a drink, going to the toilet, counting sheep, moving onto the sofa.  Nothing did it, so in the end I gave up and read until 11:30pm, before getting a further two hours of sleep.  Not ideal, but my body wasn’t co-operating, and I figured it was all good practice for lack of sleep at the event the following year anyway!

Unhelpfully the venue did not have a postcode, and equally as unhelpful were the couple of new roads along the way which my satnav didn’t recognise, resulting in a few eeny-meeny-miny-moe moments.  At one point, after having arrived in Winchester I stopped at a garage to ask for directions.  The guy inside the garage said he didn’t know where I was trying to get directions to.  I read the directions out from the set I’d received from Nici the week before, taking several minutes to do so, but he wasn’t even listening, just waiting to tell me he didn’t know where I wanted to go.  Feeling rather desperate by this stage, and very aware that the time had already passed 4am, and was heading ever closer to 4:30am and the time I was supposed to start my shift, I even brought up the map on my phone which had the venue labeled on.  He barely glanced at it before telling me he didn’t know where the garage was on the map!  Very exasperating!

Eventually I made it, pulling onto the car park at 4:29am!  At least next year I will have removed the problem of locating the start.  Hopefully it will be a nice straight-forward journey down!Marshaling at the South Downs Way 100

I was introduced to Nici, who had emailed over the rotas and was in charge of us volunteers, given a crew t-shirt and then placed out on the car park to help direct the traffic as runners made their way to registration.

Marshaling at the South Downs Way 100

All runners who were leaving their cars at the start venue overnight, to be collected the following day after the race were to park their cars up on the grass alongside the football pitches.  Everybody that was just dropping off runners or was just there to see runners over the start line were to park on the hardstanding tarmac car park out front.  Apparently last year Centurion had got into a bit of trouble with the footballers the morning following the race when their car park had still been filled with cars and they couldn’t access their grounds!  (Hence why so many of us had been placed on car park duty for this year.)  There was a guy at the entrance to the car park directing cars in, one at the far end of the tarmac and one up on the grassy piece of land by the football fields.  I stood at the far end of the car park and would catch drivers on their way in, directing them either to the far end of the tarmac, or up onto the grass depending on whether they were heading off again afterwards.  Fairly straight forward, right?

Marshaling at the South Downs Way 100

Thirty minutes into this and the guy at the front of the car park raced over to tell me I was doing it all wrong, that cars staying overnight were to park on the tarmac, NOT the grass.  I debated this with him for several minutes before agreeing to clarify with the guy who had been assigned grass duty.  The poor chap I had been in the middle of directing was redirected onto the tarmac by the other marshal but looked so confused as to what was happening!

I rushed over to the chap on the grass, who told me that he had been under the same impression as me, that overnight parkers were to go on the grass.  I confirmed with James, the Race Director and, we had in fact been parking people correctly!  Panic over!  A few minutes later, the runner who had been caught in the confusion trotted past again with a grin saying “So, it was up on the grass that I was supposed to park then?!”

It was tight, but we managed to fit all the cars in.  Car parking duty is stressful!

Marshaling at the South Downs Way 100We were finished up just in time to head over for the race start, where I got talking to another marshal who had recently run a 100k and was also looking to enter the race for 2017.  A major part of me wanting to marshal last weekend was so that I could chat to more experienced ultra runners and pick up some tips about the SDW, and also ultrarunning in general.  It was great that other volunteers were so eager to do the same.

Marshaling at the South Downs Way 100

The race set off on time and runners headed out on a large lap of the field so we were able to see them for several minutes before they all disappeared off into the distance.  Then it was all hands on deck to break everything down and clear up before marshals relocated to their next stations.

I was off to checkpoint three at mile 27, where I met up with Emma, who was managing the aid station there.  Another volunteer, David, arrived with bagfuls of food for the runners and between us we loaded these into Emma’s car while we waited for the van to arrive with our checkpoint supplies.

It wasn’t long before the other three guys turned up, along with the van containing our supplies.  We were eager to set up ready for runners, as we were very conscious that they could appear at any time now.  Us girls headed to the busy road junction to mark out ‘Runner Crossing’ signs, leaving the guys to erect the two large tents on the field by the side of the footpath.  Emma and I then got to work making sandwiches and laying out the food on party plates ready for runners to snatch on their way through.Marshaling at the South Downs Way 100The guys prepped the drink – a choice of electrolytes, water or coke from our aid station.Marshaling at the South Downs Way 100

Once the food and drink were prepped we had a proper chance to chat ultras and experience.  It turns out that the others had all run at least one 100 mile event before, with two of the guys having attempted the South Downs 100 the previous year.  I was worried that I would be shunned when they found out that my experience only amounted to two 70 milers but they were just as interested in my experiences and what I had to say, as well as offering loads of advice about their first hundred mile events and about the SDW100 course.

Marshaling at the South Downs Way 100Runners had quite the view as they ran past our checkpoint as we were up rather high, looking down over Harting Downs.

Marshaling at the South Downs Way 100Having a checkpoint of all ultra runners was great, and everybody pulled their weight into ensuring the checkpoint was super efficient for runners as they came through.  Although we weren’t one of the main timing checkpoints, we still needed to log all runner numbers and times as they came through, in order that if anyone went missing whilst out on the course we would be able to narrow down when they had last been seen.

The weather was incredibly muggy, with only spots of occasional rain during our time on checkpoint 3.  This meant that the majority of runners coming through were on the sweaty side, and they were coming through much slower than we had initially predicted.  Our top ‘seller’ on the feeding table became the fresh fruit, and runners could not get enough of the sweet melon and pineapple that I was constantly chopping up into bite-sized pieces.  I even heard rumours that there had been watermelon dished out at checkpoint 2!  We had mountains of tangerines on our table, and these also went down well.  I peeled the skin off from so many tangerines that my hands had turned into a dirty orange colour by the time we packed up!  Topping up the food supplies was my full time job and every so often I would call Emma over from her station where she was helping the timekeeper identify runner numbers so that she was able to help top up our supply of sandwiches on the table.

A fab day, an awesome team and I learnt loads from marshaling at the event.  I definitely recommend marshaling at an ultra before running it.  There is always so much to be learnt from other runners.

I was exhausted by teatime when I arrived home.  Quick few hours of power-napping before waking up to get some more school work done.  If only school didn’t get in the way of running fun…!

Do you have any tips for getting to sleep when you don’t feel tired?
Any tips to remain awake whilst running long distance events?
Do you tend to often talk to other runners you don’t know at events?

Prague!

Two weeks ago, during the half term holiday I headed to Prague for a few days on a city break with Dan.  (How is it that we’ve already been home for over a week?  Where did that time go?!)

We had debated whether or not to take a holiday this Summer since long before I fell pregnant.  Despite having been together for more than 9 years our holiday experiences have been rather limited.  We headed to New York for New Year a few years back, and we took our honeymoon in Italy in the Summer of 2014.

New York with Vick and AlexAlthough I also spent several months in Idaho upon finishing High School, and helped organise a school trip to Malawi in 2012, there is a lot of Europe that I am yet to see, and as we would be traveling when I was almost six months pregnant, we thought it best to stay relatively close to our home country for our proposed trip!

sunriseThe original plan had been to sort something for August, when our two year wedding anniversary will fall, but an early investigation online meant that we soon realised I would no longer be able to fly at that stage of pregnancy.  So instead, two weeks before half term we booked our flights to Prague during the holiday – a city Dan had visited previously, but one I had only read about.

We traveled out from Birmingham airport on the Bank Holiday Monday, and our hotel was then a 40 minute journey from the airport by taxi.  Everything struck me as being incredibly cheap very early on in the trip.  Our taxi ride came to less than £20!

We couldn’t believe our hotel ‘apartment’ when we arrived.  Our motto has always been to not use too much of our holiday money on the accommodation, but to save our pennies for the fun memories instead.  Our hotel rooms are usually on the small side, with just enough space between the bed and the wall that we are able to shimmy around to climb into bed after a day of adventure!

So after we had checked in at our Prague hotel and climbed the six(!) flights of stairs we were very shocked to see that our usually very tight holiday quarters was this time made up of several incredibly large rooms, with our own kitchen area, lounge, a bedroom that was twice the size of our own back in England and a nice sized bathroom.

It didn’t take long for us to unpack and head out for a little walk in the surrounding area.  Purchasing a large pack of bottled water was a must.  It was super hot and I was already gasping for a drink!

Exploring Prague

On the first night we headed out for pizza at the restaurant next to the hotel.  Our meal consisted of one large pizza each, two pints of beer for Dan, two bottles of ice cold still water for me and a dessert for Dan.  In total, our meal out came to the equivalent of less than £18.  My two waters actually came to more than Dan’s two beers in price!

Beer and water in Prague

Day two and we ventured right into the town, where we waited to see the figurines appear on the astronomical clock.

Astronomical clock in PragueWe arrived a little before the midday appearance, and the square was packed with tourists, also waiting to view the figurines circle around the top of the clock when the hour was chimed.  The square cleared afterwards as quickly as it had crowded and already feeling rather peckish we decided to pick up a mid-morning snack.

Dan had managed to see some epic donut pictures on LadBible from Prague the week before our trip and so we were on a mission to find the magic looking doughnut cones, with insides covered in chocolate spread, and then filled with strawberries and icecream, topped with chocolate sauce.  In his preparation, Dan had even written down the address of the bakery we could find these magic desserts, but there was no need.  It turns out that the doughnut icecream cone is Prague’s speciality and we were spoilt for choice when it came to finding one.

Prague icecream cone

Dan had a few issues when it came to ordering his though…

The woman on the stall didn’t speak the best English and when Dan tried to explain to her that he didn’t want strawberries, just the chocolate inside his cone, she didn’t grasp that he was also still after the icecream.  She selected a cone straight from the hot grill which didn’t meet at a point at the bottom, proceeding to coat the insides with chocolate spread before handing the warm cone to Dan.  Dan pointed out that he did still want the icecream inside, but rather than pick up another fresh cone to fill she continued to fill the piping hot cone without a bottom with icecream.  Even before Dan had collected his change the bottom of his napkin had started to turn soggy with the melting mess!

We quickly found a set of steps to perch on so that we could try and consume our cones whilst making as little mess as possible.  I turned to see that there was a long trail of icecream drips from the stand to where Dan was sat though, and he had managed to get icecream all over his hands, his face, his jeans and his jacket.  Funniest thing ever!

Prague icecream coneSide-by-side comparison of my icecream cone and Dan’s one!

Most of our second day abroad was spent exploring.  After purchasing our icecreams we headed up to look at the Cathedral on top of the hill.  It was such a steep climb up to the very top in the heat and it seemed like every other person was heading back down in the other direction!  We made it eventually though and were treated to some beautiful views and a walk through the slightly sheltered gardens.  The forecast had threatened thunder since we arrived and so I had brought an umbrella along with us.  Good job, as, when we began our steep climb back down the hill again, the sky turned rather black and we could see fork lightning around us in several directions.  We hurried down the hill to try and miss the rain and managed to make it with just a few drips on the top of our umbrella.

Thunder clouds in Prague

It waited until we hit the bridge before absolutely hammering down.  We could barely see the sky had become so dark and the wind was so ferocious I thought several times that I was going to go off the side of the bridge led by the umbrella!  We eventually made it to the other side of the bridge only to struggle to push our way through by the arch as it contained everybody that had made a run for it when the rain hit.

We squeezed our way through and found the Museum of medieval torture, so decided to pop inside and avoid the worst of the rainfall before heading back to the hotel.

We were soaked through!

Thunder and rain in Prague

In fact, somebody followed us round the museum with a mop we had brought that much water inside.  Whoops!  We were literally squelching with every step!  The museum was interesting, but rather gruesome in places!

We headed back to the hotel for a couple of hours in the afternoon to avoid the worst of the weather and got ready to head to the Hard Rock Cafe that evening for burgers and beer (and non-alcoholic cocktails!)

Me and Dan at the Hard Rock Cafe, Prague(Trying to see if my mouth would stretch wide enough to fit round my sweet potato and mozzarella burger!)Me and Dan at the Hard Rock Cafe, Prague

I love when cocktails come with a whole side of fruit on the glass!

Having been to HRC in New York on our last trip, Dan and I decided that the list of Hard Rock Cafes should determine where we went on holiday next, and spent some time closing our eyes and pointing out random places in the list on our table!

By Wednesday we had already managed to see the majority of landmarks we had set out to see, so took our time wandering a little further afield and taking lots of photos.

Curved building in PragueCheck out that very twisted building we came across!

Photographing from the top of the bridge in PragueWe paid to go up to the top of the bridge tower and view out across the city.

Bridge tower in PragueIt looked so different from the day before when hundreds of tourists had been sheltered underneath it from the storm!From the top of the bridge tower in Prague

In the evening, we had managed to get tickets for a performance in the Rudolfinum and so we dressed up a little before meandering back into town again later that night.

Dan and me at the Rudolfinum, PragueUnfortunately, confused by the language once more, the seats we had managed to book were ‘poor visibility’ and I ended up sat right behind a pillar!

Our view at the Rudolfinum, PragueThis is the view from Dan’s seat, I sat one seat to the left, and wasn’t even aware there was a piano on the stage my view was that blocked!  Luckily, the people to the right of us never showed for the performance, so we scooched across and enjoyed clear views for the rest of the night!

Dan and me at the Rudolfinum, PragueThe building itself was beautiful and dressed up throughout with blue carpet and trim.Dan and me at the Rudolfinum, Prague

Our tickets were the equivalent of £7 each (although I’m sure would have been much more expensive had we not had quite such restricted views for the seats we paid for!)  The performance finished around 9pm and so we strolled back into the city centre to grab some al fresco dinner, just as the rain started up again.  Only a little drizzle though, and the restaurant we had chosen was under parasols.Eating out in PragueWe used our final morning to purchase a few souvenirs and gifts for people, chilling out with a twenty-minute horse and carriage ride around the city centre before lunch.  I wasn’t really feeling too hungry at lunchtime, but when I spotted this platter advertised at the Carte D’or cafe I knew we wouldn’t be leaving without ordering!Carte D'or icecream fondue

Our icecream fondue set came with four balls each of vanilla, chocolate chip, raspberry ripple and cookie icecream.  We chose milk chocolate for our fondue (although other types of chocolate were available) and we also received a bowl of nuts and platter containing apple slices, kiwi, bananas, cookie pieces and brownies.  This-was-amazing!  The icecream began to melt fairly quickly once it was out of the frozen counter, so the order of our selection was dictated for us, but there were no regrets!  The platter came to about £15 in English money, but if you can’t treat yourself whilst on holiday, when can you eh?!

Our flight ended up being delayed by over an hour on the way home, then we hit roadworks on what seemed like every single A-road on the way back, so it was fairly late by the time we arrived back in Northamptonshire.  As a treat, Dan let Bella sleep up on the bed with us and she then did not leave my side at all the following day!
Bella asleep on meHow do you decide where to head on your holidays?
Do you prefer sight-seeing holidays or relaxing ones?
Any fabulous local specialities you’ve found to rave about?!

Related Posts

A Shires and Spires marshal

Shires and Spires 35

Shires and Spires was my first ultramarathon back in 2013.  I went on to run the race two more times in the following two years and this year, 2016, was my first year of not running the event since entering the world of ultramarathons.

It did make me sad that the build up to race day this year wasn’t packed with recce runs of the route and mid-morning café stops for milk and cake along the course for me.  No sunny days filled with jokes and friends and beautiful scenery.  It was nice, however, to see things from the other side of the race tape and marshal for a change.

I’ve marshaled at nearly all of the Go Beyond events before.  (The Race Director runs with our running club) but never marshaled at a Go Beyond event that I have run beforehand or know as inside-out as I do the Shires and Spires 35mile course.  I was very capable of answering all questions directed my way by the runners on Sunday!

I was scheduled to work on the registration desk from 6:30am and then make my way over to checkpoint 2 to log runners on their way through the checkpoint in case of chip timing failure.  (To my knowledge, there has never been a failure of the chips during a race.)

A few days before the race I checked the forecast to see that the weather Gods had decided not to break the tradition of race day being super hot and sunny.

Lamport sunAlthough when I arrived at Lamport Hall a little before 6:30am to help set up the registration desk I was freezing, despite being bundled up in jeans and two layers under my Go Beyond crew hoodie.

Having worked at several of the Go Beyond races now, I always get runners coming up and saying hello which is really nice, especially those runners that come back year on year.  A couple even congratulated me on my pregnancy this past weekend although commiserated with me that I wasn’t running the event.

There were no pre-race issues and so at 8:20, ten minutes before runners were due to set off, I moved over to the edge of the hall to direct runners away from the car park and out onto the road at the start of the race.

The start this morning at the #ShiresandSpires 35m #ultramarathon #northants35 #gobeyondultra

A video posted by Mary (@ahealthiermoo) on

(Full video on my Facebook page)

I managed to remember not to cheer runners past as I stood filming behind the phone.  However, it is clear when the Wellingborough runners passed as the mad waving I did at them with my free hand clearly affected my filming abilities – the picture is all over the place!

It’s hard to tell in the video how foggy it was out there at the start of the race, but you get a bit of an idea from this picture taken by Adrian Howes, the official photographer.

Shires and Spires foggyI was the first of the marshals to arrive at checkpoint two – situated just before mile 9 on the course.  Even the van with supplies had yet to arrive, which made me a little nervous!  All I had to offer runners was two half-full bottles of water I found lurking in my car from previous events, a pre-packaged croissant that Dan hadn’t had for lunch the week before and two softmints at the bottom of my left pocket.

Luckily, the other three marshals soon arrived, closely followed by the Go Beyond van which delivered 21 packs of water bottles, a few boxes of jelly babies and a supply of GU gels along with two portions of the famous Go Beyond fruit cake.

Go Beyond fruit cake

I pulled a couple of the new Chocolate Peanut Butter GU gels from the checkpoint to try in the Autumn as the flavour sounds so yummy, but they are apparently not suitable for pregnant women so I have to hold off for now.  :(

I took charge of writing down the race numbers of runners which Kelly shouted out to me as she directed the runners to dib in to the timing device on their way through to the checkpoint.  Donna and Trevor were in charge of topping up the supplies on the table and helping runners fill up their bottles where necessary.

All runners made it through the checkpoint on time and we had cleared all leftovers back onto the van by 10:30 ready to head home.  I decided not to head to the finish line to see runners in this year as;
a) even the front runners were still three hours away from the finish
b) it was still very cold (although apparently the sun got out to really heat things up later on in the day)
c) I was starting to hear my belly rumble out loud after having only fed it a handful of jelly babies since leaving the house that morning
d) I didn’t want to have more race/medal envy from having not run the race this year
e) my parents were up helping Dan organise tiles for the bathroom and kitchen storage
f) Dan and I hadn’t returned home until gone 3am that morning so I had only just managed a little over an hour of sleep before waking to get ready for the race

The previous day Dan and I had headed to Manchester as we had tickets to see Coldplay.

Coldplay crowds

Saturday was super hot so we started the afternoon off with a walk into the centre of Manchester for lunch about 30 minutes away.

After lunch and browsing of a few shops we walked back alongside the canal and met up with a couple Dan went to uni with.  We had quite a wait until Coldplay came on at 9pm.  As we went through the turnstiles we were each given a wristband to wear which came in a variety of colours.  When certain notes were played throughout the night, different wristbands flashed in different colours, which was really cool.  It doesn’t seem to have picked up the colours or lights very well on Dan’s phone camera, but you can kind of get an idea from this video I found on Youtube just now…

ColdplayGood times, but very tiring.  After a quick lunch on Sunday following the race marshaling I napped all afternoon!

Have you been to many gigs?
Who is the best band you have seen live?
What is your favourite gel flavour?
Do you cope well on little sleep?