Finally, a local parkrun! Kettering

I’ve moaned before about living a 30 minute minimum car journey from all parkruns in the area.  All those people living within running distance of their local parkrun don’t realise how lucky they are!

This weekend though was the inaugural Kettering parkrun – a mere 15ish minute drive from my front door.  Kettering on Saturday morning was my 11th different parkrun and 61st in total.  Continuing our parkrun Summer tourism stint, I met up with Laura at Wickstead park carpark a few minutes before the start.Laura and me at the first Kettering parkrunQuite a few minutes before the start in fact.  I didn’t realise just how little time it would take to get there and as there was a parking attendant filling one of the marshal roles, parking was a breeze.  In future I think I might even be able to leave my house as late as 8:30am to park up and walk to the start with time to spare.  Lie ins on a Saturday morning once more for me!

Kettering had a great turn out for their first event.  There are several running clubs local to where I live, all with runners currently traveling miles to their nearest parkrun.  Many of whom made the switch from Northampton to Kettering for the inaugural event.

First Kettering parkrunWe all received our pre-race briefing at 9am and were set off on our way.  The course is two and a half laps around the park, which has lovely wide pathways, lined with grass – giving even more room for overtaking and finding your place in the run.

Running Kettering parkrun at 39 weeks pregnant(I can no longer see my feet when I run!)

There was never any bottlenecking or feeling of being crowded out on the course though, despite the large numbers of runners at the event.

The course sets out on a slight uphill, before hitting a slight downhill and crossing over the (small) railway tracks.  There was a board in place over the inner bits of the track.  But, as I commented to Laura, it would probably be better to have a board going fully across the tracks, rather than just the largest middle area, as it could still potentially be a trip hazard when legs were tired on the second lap.

Once you reach the very bottom of the park, you cross a long bridge.  It’s one of those bridges where the vibrations of other runners heading across it causes the bridge to swing back up and hit your foot as you are bringing it down for your next step.  Very disorientating!  The second time I went to cross this bridge a dog ran in front of me, causing me to sidestep.  At nearly 39 weeks pregnant, sidestepping on cue was rather a hard task, and I was a little annoyed that the owner of the dog didn’t even apologise for not having her dog on the lead.  No harm done though luckily.

The final half lap is on a slight downhill and I found that I could really pick up the pace still.  So I did and came past several people on my way to the finish.  So nice to see a 7:36mm pace recorded for the nubbin and I wasn’t even out of breath at the end!

Mile 1: 10:40
Mile 2: 10:29
Mile 3: 10:35
Nubbin (0.2m): 7:36mm

I don’t think the course was actually long, but I ran on the right of the track the whole way round (on an anti-clockwise loop) and made no attempt to stick to the ‘race line’ as such, hence the extra 0.1 mile of distance showing on my Garmin.

Kettering parkrun Garmin time

Garmin time: 33:15
Official time: 
Gender position: 
Age category position: 

Fastest parkrun since the 2nd April, and still I managed to chat all the way round.  A time starting with 33:xx is never going to win any prizes, but I was very happy with how comfortable I felt running at that pace just a few days before having a baby!

Running Kettering parkrun at 39 weeks pregnantCar parking is free if you get your ticket swiped in the cafe following your run and leave the park before 10:30am, otherwise parking costs £3.

This parkrun is definitely going to become more regular on my parkrun list in future.

That’s it for parkrun for me for a few weeks now.  My caesarean is scheduled before next Saturday and the guidelines are not to return to any form of exercise for at least six weeks, with even walking 5k suggested as being a push until several weeks down the line.  I don’t want to overdo it and end up taking longer to get back running again, so I’m going to be sensible about things and just marshal for a few weeks instead.  (Although, probably not for the first couple of weekends!)

In the past I’ve volunteered as marshal, tail runner and photographer.
What’s your favourite marshal role?
Any suggestions for best role to volunteer in with a child?!

38 weeks pregnant

38 weeks 1 day pregnantThe size of a Pomeranian apparently (a tiny little dog!)  Fourteen days until my due date (or thirteen now, as I’m posting a day late again this week).


So Friday was my big appointment.  The one where they planned on giving me another scan to determine exactly how the baby was lying and whether or not they would be able to turn it.  The appointment was booked for the middle of the day, and luckily both Dan and I were able to get the day off from work, so that we didn’t have to rush straight over a couple of hours after starting at school.

We were seen almost immediately.  In fact, Dan was still parking the car as I was called in to be scanned, despite us arriving in plenty of good time!  I knew that the baby was still head up and breech, although the head now felt much lower than it had done.  It only took a matter of seconds for the sonographer to confirm this, although she then had to take measurements of the baby for my pregnancy file.  She told us that the baby was measuring at approximately just under 6lbs and when I asked if this was about what it should be at, she told us that yes, it was spot on for 37 weeks (of which we were just over).

We were then sent upstairs to the Fetal Health Unit where we had a slightly longer wait before being taken into a room filled with beds.  Here we were spoken to by a doctor who went through our options for the birth now that the baby was confirmed as breech in the 38th week.  The room contained several other pregnant ladies, all with screens partially round their beds and who were strapped up to baby monitors, which were loudly beating away all at different rhythms.

Both the doctor and the two midwives who spoke to us whilst we were in this ward were lovely and explained in detail what was involved with an ECV (External Cephalic Version) because hospitals are rightly unenthusiastic about the complications which may develop when delivering a breech baby.  Therefore, the best option to encourage a natural birth is for a consultant to have a go at ‘turning’ the baby whilst it is still inside the mother in order to try and manipulate the baby into a more suitable head-down position ready for a natural birth.  An injection is given, in order to relax the muscles in the Mum and the consultant uses forceful hands to push the baby up and turn them into the correct position.  (All completed from the outside…I told someone about how the procedure worked the other day and they were horrified that a consultant was going to do it from inside me!!!)

The chances of it working are pretty slim.  I was given a 30% chance of them being able to turn the baby, but then of that 30% chance, there was a 30% chance that it would spring back into it’s current position again!  There was also something like a 10% risk of the baby becoming distressed, or the cord getting tangled, which would then result in an emergency delivery anyway.

Lots of things to weigh up when making the decision whether or not to try and turn the baby!
They left Dan and I alone for 10 minutes to talk it over.  Despite really not wanting a Cesarean, I had already come to terms with this option in my head.  To try and turn the baby, delay the birth and potentially end up with an emergency Cesarean was not overly appealing to me, but after a long chat with Dan we jointly came to the decision that it was worth a shot and I was assured that I could still change my mind right up until the day.

Next problem was the fact that I was already 37 weeks and 3 days pregnant.  The hospital only books ECVs in on Wednesdays, and they were already fully booked for the following week, the last Wednesday I would have available for turning before hitting 39 weeks (the latest they would want to schedule a Cesarean).  A few phone calls were made, another consultant brought in, and they managed to slot me in for a morning appointment the following week (today).

The consultant commented on the fact that our baby was rather on the small side when marked on the chart.  This is the first time it’s really been marked properly on the chart before, and you can see just how close it is to being on the borderline of the 10th percentile.

10th percentile babyThis means that my baby is currently among the smallest 12ish% of babies at this stage.
Had it been marginally smaller, it would have been regularly scanned throughout pregnancy to ensure it was growing enough.  The last two of my friends to have babies have had them measured at just over the 90th percentile (the top thick line)!

Whilst I was there, the hospital also scheduled the pre-op and Cesarean itself.  It seemed very weird learning of our child’s birthday 10 days before there were any signs of it being here!

It does mean another day off work for the turning, and finishing work a week earlier than I had initially planned.  I had planned to start maternity leave at the end of the month, but my last working day will now be the 23rd September.  Cue a busy week of trying to fit a two week workload into just four days!


No purchases again this week.  I feel like we’ve accumulated a lot just lately though.  We’ve had some lovely gifts from people, and unlike a few weeks ago when I worried about having to send our child home from hospital dressed as Santa, we now have plenty of options to choose from for their first outfit!  Many of which are baby boy clothes!  It seems everyone is convinced I’m having a boy, despite us not having found out!

Blue baby clothes, bibs and socks(How cute are those little socks though?!)

I was late home on Saturday night as I’d stayed in Norfolk at my parents’ the night before.  Dan was already in bed by the time I arrived back and as I crept up the stairs I realised he’d left the light on in the back spare room (the one we intend on using for the baby).  I opened the door to turn the light off and saw that he’d put together the furniture, put up the curtain rail and curtains, the lamp shade and started to put items away ready for use.

Baby nurseryIt’s still a long way off being ‘finished’ (skirting needs painting, ceiling needs boarding, carpet needs to go down…) but I feel like I’ll be able to find things now once the baby arrives, rather than sifting through mountains of bags of bits that we’ve been given or collected samples of.


Obviously I’m still running.  Surprisingly it’s still going very well too.  (Touch wood!)  I still ran my 6-7 miles of trail on Tuesday night, and at a slightly faster pace than I had done the week before.  I’m pretty sure I’d still be able to keep up with the trail group on a Wednesday evening, but I don’t want to take the risk in case something goes wrong, or a bunch of super speedy runners turn up for the session one night.  I think most people stop running before this point because their bumps have grown out so far and have left them unbalanced and wobbly on their feet.  My bump still isn’t massive and I struggle to remember I’m pregnant for a lot of the time.  Now that baby has dropped slightly I’m much more flexible than I was a couple of months back and can happily stretch and bend and reach things on the floor again, causing me to forget even more frequently!

I know that it’s likely that my booked Cesarean will go ahead, so I’m hoping to get in a few more runs this week before I have to take six weeks off completely to recover from the op.  I’m hoping to still make the new Kettering parkrun this coming Saturday.

I didn’t make parkrun again last weekend as I was off helping to crew at the Round Norfolk Relay instead.  Post to follow about this – a team event that circles the border of Norfolk and at nearly 200 miles in total it’s definitely a race I’d like to be involved with again next year.

Have you been involved in team relay events before?
Have you had to take time off from running/another sport due to a planned operation?

You can read all of my previous pregnancy posts here.

Savse smoothies and Monty Bojangles truffles

I had gotten myself into such a regular posting routine over the Summer months that I was sure I would be able to continue once work started up again.  I completely underestimated just how much work I would have to do come September though, and posting has been very minimal once more.  Boo!

Because of my scheduled caesarean, I shall be beginning my maternity leave a week early, starting this Friday though and I’m hoping to get back into a better routine again.  I’m missing the blogging community!  I’ve got so many posts buzzing around in my head at the moment, including the Round Norfolk Relay I helped crew at this weekend, batch cooking, caesarean thoughts and marshaling at Northampton Half Marathon, as well as a review of some recent products I’ve been sent to try… This page talks about the topic in detail.

First up, I was sent a huge batch of Savse smoothies to try.Savse smoothiesIt has been so hot this Summer and they arrived at literally the best time – one of the hottest days of the year, so it didn’t take me long to pop the lid of one to try.  Obviously enjoyed best in the garden, straight from the bottle after having chilled in the fridge for a few hours first.

Savse smoothies - Super GreenI love that there is such a variety of fruit and veg in every bottle, all with no added sugar.  There are approximately six different fruits or vegetables crammed into every bottle.Savse smoothies - Super Red

Super Red was one of my favourite flavours (enjoyed whilst marking a big pile of year 11 coursework over the holidays!)  It was cool, fruity and satisfying.  Just the boost I needed to get me through another stack of papers!

Some of the flavours really don’t sound like they should be included in any sort of drink…broccoli, celery and kale in a red smoothie anybody?…!  But, mixed all together and chilled, the flavours compliment each other really well.

Now I like broccoli and celery and kale, they just don’t sound like they should be part of a drink, if you know what I mean?!  I like most fruits and vegetables to be honest, but two I’m not overly keen on are banana and coconut.  Even though these two aren’t my favourite flavours, there was the perfect mix in the banana and coconut blends without the flavours becoming overpowering and domineering and even though they wouldn’t be items I choose to consume normally, they tasted lovely in the smoothie bowls they featured in.

Savse smoothies - Protein PunchEach bottle contains approximately 100 calories, so is unlikely to tip you over your calorie allowance for the day (if you’re all about the calories, which I’m not particularly), and all of the drinks contain at least one of your recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables, with many of the drinks counting as two portions.

I’m not someone who usually tops up my fridge with smoothies, often preferring to sip on plain water (boring, I know!), but having one of these smoothies to look forward to over the past couple of weeks in the heat has been nice!  They’re the sort of drink you can look forward to after a long run too.  (I can’t wait to get back to heading out on long runs!)…

A few days after receiving my batch of smoothies, the postman knocked on the door once more.  This time to hand over a box of Monty Bojangles truffles.

Monty Bojangles truffles

The ‘Milky Mischief’ variety!Monty Bojangles truffles

I do love a good truffle (who doesn’t!)  Since falling pregnant though, (and I’ve mentioned this a few times on the blog now) I haven’t really gone crazy over sweet foods and, whereas in the past I might have wolfed down the whole box of these in one go, I was rather restrained and kept them in the fridge, opening the door just once each day to enjoy.

Monty Bojangles truffles

The truffles themselves definitely looked the part and were very much melt-in-mouth, the way all truffles should be!  Soft on the inside, with a slightly firmer coating on the outside, and then dusted in a layer of cocoa.

The packaging was really decorative and all of the truffles were contained inside a sealed silver bag to maintain freshness.  At just £4 from Tesco they would make a lovely, inexpensive gift for someone.

Monty Bojangles truffles

* I received the smoothies and truffles for review.  All opinions are my own. *

Are you a smoothie drinker?  What about a truffle muncher?!
Have you tried either of these products before?
How many different varieties of fruit and vegetables do you get each day?

37 weeks pregnant

This week was a big one in terms of baby, so expect a long post below.  Life has been absolutely manic just lately and with taking on 190 year 11 students for these first few weeks of term, alongside still renovating the house, trying to keep up with running, managing to fit in a wedding and christening at the weekend (both in different counties)…it’s been a struggle this week and I’ve really been looking forward to my bed each evening!  I’m desperately missing blog reading, and the cathartic process of blogging itself, but there literally have been no spare hours in the day.  Perhaps once my maternity leave begins I can have a proper catch up!

Once again, imagine that I was super organised and had posted this on Tuesday morning, not Friday morning…

37 weeks pregnant

First off, I am now 37 weeks pregnant.  Baby is apparently the size of a striped skunk.  (I gave up hunting for fruits that measured the same size as baby as there didn’t really seem to be very many towards the end, so I moved onto the animal kingdom instead!)

21 days until my due date, although my delivery date may be much closer.  More on that to follow though…


Last Thursday was a busy day for me with both my Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) in the morning, followed by a midwife appointment in the afternoon.  I didn’t believe that I had gestational diabetes, despite a trace showing up twice.  The baby has always measured as small, and I don’t eat a huge amount of sweet items on a day-to-day basis anyway, but I really went off chocolate and dessert in general when I fell pregnant at the start of the year.  To be on the safe side though, the midwife booked me in for a GTT following the two appointments where my samples showed a trace.

A GTT involves fasting from 10pm.  You then arrive at the blood centre the following morning to have a sample of blood taken.  This blood is used to measure the baseline level of sugar in the blood.  After your blood has been taken, you are given a sugar-based drink to consume.  Speaking as someone that barely strays from water or milk when it comes to drink choices and who had been dreading downing a sickly, sugary drink on an empty stomach, it wasn’t actually that bad.  I did have to sip it slowly though and it won’t be anything I rush off to stock up on in my fridge!  You’re then moved into the waiting room, where you have to sit still for two hours until they can take another sample of your blood.  Sitting as still as possible whilst baby feels like it’s squirming around in your stomach – high on a sugar rush – is very difficult and I felt rather squirmy myself by the end of it!

37 weeks pregnant

I returned to school for the afternoon following my GTT, only to rush back after my final lesson for a midwife appointment at 4:30pm.  I felt much better at this appointment than I had done at the previous visit.  My sample showed no trace this time, and when questioning my blood results from that morning, I was told that my iron levels had increased marginally from 105 to 107.  Still a lower number than they would like, but heading in the right direction.  The midwife wasn’t able to confirm the results from my GTT at the time, but I have since had confirmation that I do not have gestational diabetes.

I told the midwife that I was pretty sure that the baby was still head up, despite my attempts to turn it with bouncing on my gym ball amongst other things.  She confirmed almost immediately that this was the case, and the baby’s head was in fact still very much lodged up in my ribs. She located the heartbeat with ease and everything sounded healthy from that respect, before measuring bump at just under 33cms.  For the first time she commented that this was rather small for the number of weeks that I was at.

After returning to my seat she told me that she was going to refer me to a consultant at Kettering Hospital.  Baby should not still be this way up in the 37th week and Kettering Hospital would not let me deliver naturally if the baby was to remain breech.  She explained that the procedure would be to head in for a scan at the end of the following week (today) where they would determine the exact position of the baby and establish whether or not attempting to turn it would be an option.  Attempting to turn can itself become a problem if the waters break or the umbilical cord becomes tangled.

If turning was an option, then they would offer it to me, and if not/if turning failed, I would be booked in for a caesarean at 38.5-39 weeks.  NOT the news I wanted to hear, and I was rather upset on Thursday night following my midwife appointment.  The midwife was so sure that the baby wouldn’t turn at this point and that they would also be unable to turn it manually, that I do not even have any more midwife appointments booked in following my scan.

I have come to accept the decision over the course of the week and obviously know that if ultimately the decision is made by the hospital that I require a caesarean, that they know best, and it will be best for both me and baby.  But it still wasn’t the easiest to get my head around.  (I will blog about my feelings on this at some point in more detail.)


Not a purchase as such, but the midwife handed me a Labour Information Pack at my appointment.

Labour pregnancy pack from the midwife

To be honest, it was a bit of a kick in the teeth after literally just having said she probably wouldn’t see me again before the baby as I would need a caesarean so I’m not sure what use she thought a ‘labour’ pack would be if she didn’t think I was going to go into labour!

Labour pregnancy pack from the midwifeI didn’t open it straight away as I took time to get my head around the possible caesarean first.  It contained the usual though – lots of small samples of baby products and a booklet on what to expect during labour.  One of our upstairs spare rooms is pretty much full with samples now!


Although work has been manic Monday-Friday once again, Dan and I still made it to the pub quiz on Monday night, where the regulars all questioned me on how I was doing.

On Saturday we were at a wedding in Norfolk.  Dan offered to drive luckily (on the condition that I was to drive home afterwards so that he could have a drink).

Dan and I at Mike and Jo's weddingUnluckily, this meant that Dan was then free to drink quite a lot of the red wine (of which we ended up with four bottles on our table?!) as we were sat with friends – quite a lot of them who had kids.  Moment of the evening: when Dan fell over our friend’s 16-month-old at the table and poured an entire glass of red wine over the top of her, covering her and her white dress.  She just looked up with wine dripping off her from everywhere!  Luckily her Mum was prepared and had brought a spare dress.  Before swapping them though, she quickly opened up a new bottle of white wine and started dousing her child in that as well!  Apparently white wine eliminates red wine stains!

The wedding was for one of my friends from uni, and it had been quite a while since I had seen several of the crowd that were there on Saturday.  In fact, having not made large announcements about my pregnancy on social media, and not being one to rush to text people when we got our positive test, none of them actually knew I was pregnant until I saw them at the weekend.  It took a friend’s partner to say “Oh congratulations, Al never told me you were pregnant!” following the service before everyone else uttered noises of “I’m so glad you said something!” to her and began asking me questions about the pregnancy.  It was really good to catch up with friends who I had spent all my time with at uni and find that we could just pick up where we left off.  Nearly all of them have young children now, and so I heard lots of birth stories and was asked lots of questions about things Dan and I hadn’t even considered yet!

Wedding food…(as that always gets photographed at weddings!)

Roast dinner…

Wedding roast dinner…followed by a trio of desserts (cheesecake, sticky toffee pudding and brownie), all adorned in flowers (which no-one on our table were brave enough to try…were we supposed to eat them?  Or were they just for decoration?…!)

Wedding trio of desserts

We stayed at my parents’ house in Norfolk on Saturday night, before making it back to a different friend’s (also from uni) Christening for her daughter.

Dan and Me at Vicki's kid's ChristeningDan and I were both knackered and had to really put a face on for day two.  Getting in past 2am is not an everyday occurrence for us nowadays and we both struggled to function the next day.  Plus, Dan’s car alarm had gone off three times during the night.  Not ideal!


Just the once this week as I couldn’t make parkrun on Saturday due to the wedding, and any other spare evenings were spent working on our house or completing work for school.

I still managed to slot in what has now become the regular-10k trail run on a Tuesday night with a  friend though and despite feeling a bit rubbish during the day (the hottest day of pregnancy so far!), managed to surprise myself by running at about the same pace that I have done for the majority of my pregnancy.  I’m quicker to slow to a walk up inclines now, but other than that I’m still running fairly consistently and at a chatty pace, which is nice so that I don’t feel too out of the loop from the running crowd.  Although I stopped running the group trail runs several weeks ago now, I feel a bit safer running with just me and a friend as I am able to dictate the pace a little more if necessary and don’t feel pressured to have to keep up with the group if any faster runners turn up.

For the first time my legs felt a bit stiff following the run, and stiff again the following morning, although the feeling soon faded.  I don’t know if this was perhaps because I only ran the once this week?  I’ve only just been hitting my 10,000 steps a day challenge over the week as well, purely because of the amount of work I’ve had on and the lack of time to head out on a specific walk each day.  I’m still fairly active at school though, easily ticking off 5,000 steps during teaching hours at the moment.


Other than leg cramps through the night, I could easily forget that I was pregnant quite a lot of the time I think!  The baby feels as though it has moved down slightly now.  Although it’s head is still up, not down, it no longer feels like it is wedged in my ribs and I can do my sandals up again once more!

You can read all of my previous pregnancy posts here.

Could I have eaten those flowers on my dessert?!
When was the last time you caught up with old friends?
Have you been to any weddings/christenings lately?