Christmas gifts

Last weekend Dan and I sat down and bought the majority of our Christmas shopping online through Amazon. I had visions of me having lots of time to stroll around the shops to find the perfect Christmas presents for everyone this year. However, the reality is that getting Oscar in and out of the car seat for frequent stops and dragging him around heaving stores in the run-up to Christmas isn’t really ideal, so Amazon it was. To be honest, we didn’t end up spending a huge amount more than we would have if we had been in town, and it came without the time and stress of having to trawl all of the shops. Bonus!

However, my Amazon suggestions list now strongly features Peppa the Pig and Frozen thanks to my nieces and as the postman has now realised I’m currently a stay at home Mum, I have tended to collect a pile of parcels for the other houses on my street each day!  At least I’m getting to know the neighbours!

Dan is rubbish at shopping for others online because he ends up spotting a million things to buy for himself instead.  In fact, last year he bought a jacket for his brother’s birthday and ended up keeping it!

I like to think I’m much better, and I must be dead easy to buy gifts for, as I’m forever saying “Wow, I really like that!” but rarely do I actually buy anything for myself.

This is me going for the less subtle tact today…I’m loving all of these items and they would definitely be appreciated if they were  wrapped up and under the tree on Christmas morning!  😉

Christmas wish list 2016

Nike long sleeved top – Because you can never have too many long sleeved running tops at this time of year, and if they have thumb holes, that’s a bonus!

This Mum Runs – I’ve still not gotten round to reading any further than a few snatched paragraphs in Waterstones of Jo Pavey’s book.  The ‘Supermum’ who won the 10,000m at the European Championships just months after having a baby.  I’m hoping to pick up a few tips when it comes to juggling children and running though!

Koly Womens Sports Running Headband – It’s 79p.  You can’t go wrong with 79p and I really need something to keep my hair out of my face during training.

Parenthood Listography (Journal) – Another snatched glance in Waterstones but as a self-confessed obsessive list writer I love the Listography books.  So much so in fact, that there are quite a few heading out to friends in their Christmas parcels this year.

Hungry Healthy Happy – Fellow blogger and new Mum, Dannii had her first recipe book published earlier this year.  I’ve loved Dannii’s no-nonsense, easy-to-follow recipes on her blog but there is something about a loved cookbook on the kitchen shelf.

Runner undies – When I was younger I used to have two pairs of day-of-the-week knickers.  Thursday and Saturday I believe.  I have no idea why I didn’t have a full set though?!  I love the idea of laying out underwear in order at the start of the week relating to my training.  Never again forget what training is supposed to be that day!

Bluetooth Selfie Remote Keyring – Selfieme – I never took to the idea of the selfie stick, but as I’ve mentioned in the past, I have been rather frustrated at just how hard it is to get decent pictures which include me in for AHM.  This selfie keyring is a bluetooth operator for the camera shutter on your phone.  Awesome!  It also comes with a stand so that you don’t have to balance your phone against a tree with four rocks held up against it…:S

Cozy Toes fluffy socks – We’re still waiting for a plasterer to board our ceilings, and until the ceilings are done it makes no sense to lay down new carpet.  No/bare carpet = cold toes!

Runner’s wine glass – Also available in beer mugs, champagne flutes and lots of other designs!

Thule Glide Sports Stroller Pushchair – Undoubtedly a little too much money to receive as a Christmas gift, but I can dream…!

Don’t Stop Me Now: 26.2 Tales of a Runner’s Obsession – Vassos Alexander has run several ultramarathons, including the SDW100 which I marshaled at earlier in the year.

Tasty Book – I’ve followed the Tasty Facebook page for a while, but it was only the other day I saw that they had now also released a cookbook.  Another super easy to follow, throw all the ingredients in a big pan set of recipes.  When ordering the book, you order your seven favourite categories of recipes, so if you’re not a big dessert fan, no need to include them in your copy of the book!  (Although lets be honest, who isn’t a fan of dessert?!)

Moving Comfort Womens Ladies Juno Sports Bra – I am in desperate need of some new sports bras at the moment.  As I am breastfeeding my boobs are so much bigger and need so much more support!  I haven’t tried these bras before but they were recommended to me on Twitter and I like the idea that the straps can be adjusted accordingly from the front.

*Some affiliate links included.

What’s on your Christmas wish list this year?

My running club is like a family

On the 18th of November Mathew Hollis, coach and previous Vice Mens Team Captain from my running club lost his battle with a brain tumour and sadly passed away.

Windsor for Mathew shoes

Mat was the first coach I had after joining the club following the beginners course I took up back in 2011.  He was the coach that awarded me the Group 5 Coaches award for 2014 and one of the coaches who was always interested in runners’ lives outside of running too.  He was also the first person I knew in real life to find and start reading my blog.

Group 5 winner

Running was part of Mat’s life and so as a club the decision was made that something should be done to recognise this and remember him the week that he passed.

Last Thursday evening, a huge turnout of runners collected at our usual meeting point in Wellingborough to run Mat’s go-to route around the town, which for the evening was dubbed the ‘Hilly Hollis’ due to the immense number of gradual hills out on the course!

The Hilly Hollis(I’m on the right in bright orange, trying to work out how to make the heart with my hands!)

Although with so many runners in attendance it was necessary to separate for a portion of the route for safety reasons, we all collected at the bottom of the final hill and became a sea of bobbing headtorches as we made our way back up towards our cars again.  I imagine that we were a sight to be seen in Wellingborough that night!

The Hilly Hollis

After having had several months away from running formally with the club on clubnights, heading back to run the Hilly Hollis felt like the right night to return and it was lovely to see so many members; both past and present turn up to run Mat’s route, which we followed by a visit to the pub to raise a glass for him.

Supporting our members and being there for every single person at the club is something which our club gets very, very right.  I hope that Mat was able to see how many people turned out for him last week, because I think that he would have been rather touched.

Test driving with Running Buggies

I was initially unsure as to whether or not I wanted to run with Oscar when he is a little bigger.  (The advice is to not run with a baby before they are able to hold their head up on their own – at approximately 6 months old.)  However, although I would like to keep running primarily as ‘Me-time’ and the thing that I do on my own/with my friends, I am definitely coming round to seeing the benefits of purchasing a running buggy so that I may bring Oscar out on my runs…

  1. I will be able to train during the day, whilst it is still light so no need to pull out my headtorch each time.  (Oscar will turn 6 months old just before the clocks change next Spring so it will still be fairly dark in the evenings when I’m able to start running with him.)
  2. I won’t be restricted to running only when Dan is around to look after Oscar.  (Work meetings and football training on weeknight evenings and football matches on a Saturday afternoon mean that I’m pretty limited to when Dan can have him at the moment, and if I get an opportunity to run I’ve just got to go with it!)
  3. I’ll be able to train whilst spending time with Oscar. (Even if he does end up sleeping through the run!)
  4. Oscar and I will both benefit from being out in the fresh air each day.
  5. I will hopefully be setting a good example to Oscar in that exercise is good for you but can also be fun.
  6. Running without the buggy will be so much easier than running with it and, therefore, hopefully Hello PBs come race season!

The week before last a friend messaged to ask if I was aware that Wendy, of Running Buggies would be visiting Stanwick Lakes with a selection of running buggies and a wealth of knowledge regarding the different models available.

I hadn’t been aware and, at a time when I had only driven with Oscar in the car once before, I quickly added the event to my calendar and messaged Wendy to find out further details.

She immediately messaged me back asking what my requirements for a running buggy would be.  I told her that I would like to be able to run long distances and off-road with ease and that it didn’t need to be a buggy that I could have for every day use.  Wendy informed me that the key to off road running buggies is suspension and big wheels, and suggested two models for me to test drive based on my requirements; the Out n About Nipper Sport V4 and the Thule Glide.

Thule Glide and the Out n About Nipper Sport V4I got out of my car on that Friday morning to what felt like the first proper cold snap of the season.  The wind was brutal – really ice cold.  I’d layered Oscar up as best I could.  He was wearing a vest, sleepsuit, trousers, super thick cardigan, hat and was wrapped up in a blanket.  Despite being 9 weeks old now (7 weeks at the time), the majority of his 0-3 clothes still hang off him and he’s still wearing newborn size with ease.  Everybody said it would only be a matter of days or weeks before he would grow out of newborn outfits, although we didn’t find that happened for us.  I know some of my friends’ babies weren’t able to fit into newborn sized clothes at all!  (Luckily the smaller of his 0-3 snowsuits now fits without losing his legs so I have been able to put him into this for walks in his pram over the past couple of days.)

As it happened Wendy was more prepared than I had been for the sharp cold snap and pulled out a spare fleece blanket enabling me to double-wrap Oscar, and holding him so that I may try out the buggies she had suggested.

There were a couple of other parents there, all with children much older than mine who they were able to test out in the buggies.  As Oscar wasn’t big enough to go in one yet, I just had to pretend that I was pushing a child around the path at the lakes as I jogged backwards and forwards testing them out!

Before trying the running buggies out I had no idea how they differed from regular buggies and would have not had a clue where to start looking for one if I had been left alone in the shops.  I wasn’t aware that running buggies should have a fixed wheel (so that if you hit a bump which lifts the wheel up off the ground whilst running, your wheel doesn’t spin off into every direction upon coming back down to land) and that you actually steer by pushing down on the back of the buggy to lift the front wheel up.  It sounds like it should be really hard to steer but in actual fact, when I tested both buggies with 90° turns, it was much easier than I expected it to be.  The buggies all have handbrakes within grabbing distance of your hands for downhill running as well.

The Out n About Nipper V4 comes with a smaller price tag but Wendy pointed out that the sun could often become a problem at certain times of the day and she had often hung muslins over the front of the canopy to try and resolve the issue.  The Thule Glide comes with a higher price tag but consistently seems to help runners break records and definitely felt much smoother to drive.

Wendy was incredibly knowledgeable about all of the running buggies she had brought with her for people to try and was able to answer all of the questions that I had.  When asked which ones she had chosen to use with her children she informed me that depending on what she was doing, she had used them all, which definitely makes her qualified enough in my eyes to advise on the pros and cons of each buggy!  She also recently shared her knowledge with Women’s Running magazine on things to look for when buying a running buggy.

I shall be looking to purchase a buggy at some point in the New Year but for the next few months at least, whilst he’s still so small, if Oscar has to come with me to parkrun it will be in his regular pram and we will be walking around, having a good old gossip with others at the back!

Dan, Me and Oscar at his first parkrun at 4 weeks old

Here he is at his first parkrun with Dan and I when he was four weeks old.

What are you wearing to run in now that it’s so cold out?  My tights and long-sleeved tops have definitely made it to the front of my drawers!

Late night reading #1

Breastfeeding is fantastic for so many reasons – but it’s also incredibly limiting, especially at night time when I can’t put an episode of Dexter on in the background to keep me entertained without waking Dan!  (Although to be honest, as he seems to be able to sleep right through Oscar’s cries, I should probably give up tiptoeing around the room in the middle of the night!)

I’m exclusively breastfeeding Oscar at the moment and although I no longer dread the cry indicating that he needs feeding, the time goes by much faster when I can read articles on my tablet during the night feeds whilst I wait for him to be done.  (This sometimes takes up to 30 minutes, and in the early days it could take him up to an hour at a time!)

Here are some articles I have found interesting/funny/entertaining/relevant/disturbing over the past couple of weeks and thought I would share…

I’m not the person you married – This article rung very true when a friend shared it on Facebook last week.  During the week when Dan comes home from work I hand over Oscar, before cooking tea, washing up and then getting on with all those tasks I couldn’t do during the day because I required two hands and to not have a crying baby on my shoulder!
On Friday night we actually sat down to watch a film once Oscar had settled down to sleep and all I could think about was ‘I need to get the washing up done whilst he’s asleep, and I also need to make sure Oscar’s changing bag is restocked for our trip out in the morning!’  Needless to say I left Dan watching the film alone, although he assured me that he didn’t mind.  (I think he was probably annoyed at how fidgety I’d been during the first 15 minutes anyway!)

The 6 easy graphs of parkrun – Some fabulous graphs displayed on a whiteboard illustrating ‘findings’ from those who enjoy parkrun.

Parkrun graphs

Points league announcement at parkrun – For those who haven’t heard, parkrun have decided to stop the points league generated on their website.  Although I can see why some people might be disappointed, parkrun have always ‘prided themselves in breaking down barriers to participation and welcoming people no matter what their background or ability’, and I personally think this decision is a great one that truly fits with the whole ethos of parkrun.

Exercise and postnatal depression – I spent six weeks feeling trapped in the house with a new baby that I knew nothing about!  Although I have learnt so much about Oscar now, and feel that we have established a solid bond, I was more than ready to get out and about and exercising again once I was given the go-ahead from the doctor.  If only there had been a photographer about to capture my grin as I completed my first run back post birth.

Does treat food always have to be unhealthy? – I find it pretty horrific as a teacher (and now also a parent!) that 26,000 children in the UK had to have rotten teeth removed in hospital last year!  I fully intend on providing natural food choices for Oscar as far as possible, but restaurants are making things harder and harder for when you want to eat out as a ‘treat’.

And lastly, not an article, but check out this awesome PB tee* which came up on my Facebook feed the other day.  It comes in ten different colours with both child and adult sizes, and has space for you to add your current PBs for all to see!

PB t-shirt