Ten Things Tuesday

A while back I used to post Five Things Friday posts on Fridays.

Well, today isn’t Friday, – it’s Tuesday and I feel like I probably have more than 5 things to share, so I’m going to try for a Ten Things Tuesday post instead…

  1. We’re still working on our house…I fear it will never be complete!

    We’ve actually been living in our house for three years now, which is insane!  Although our house felt almost instantly like home there is still so much that needs doing to it.  The work on our last property was completed much quicker as it was a much smaller property and we completed the majority of the larger projects before we moved in.
    This house came with challenges though.  A major update required – new bathrooms and a new kitchen, new boiler, new carpets, new radiators and skirting.  It seems like we’re taking forever to get through the list which we made, and whenever we do manage to cross something off, we always spot something else that needs improving/updating/changing.  I’m not sure that we’re in our forever home, but it is definitely the perfect home for our little family right now.  Dan and I upsized from a two-bed to a four-bed house in 2015, but had to compromise on a smaller garden in order to do so.  Having focused mainly on projects in the inside of the house over the past couple of years, our focus has now shifted to the garden ever since Oscar took his first steps and wants to be outside all day every day!

    Our back garden(Starting pic)

    I really, really wanted our garden done ready for Dan’s birthday next month but it’s unlikely to be complete in time.  We dedicated one solid weekend to trying to make some headway on clearing everything, but because of the heat it was impossible to work for too long in one go and one of us always had to keep near to Oscar as the garden has an open pond.  We also had help in the form of Dan’s Dad for a few hours that weekend and friends for a few hours the following one.  I can’t wait for the garden to be finished now – it will be so nice to be able to let Oscar out to play without having to spend two hours sat holding his hand by the pond as he stirs the water with a stick!
    So far we’ve cut down the giant monkey puzzle tree that was at the back of the garden, removed several walls and mini hedges, cleared the patio area and flattened the ground out ready for grass.  It’s definitely getting there but I’m looking forward to the day when I feel like I can finally sit down on a chair in the garden and get out a book and a cold drink to oversee Oscar playing on the lawn.
    Our back garden(Our garden in it’s current state)
    The plan is to turn the entire right side of the garden to lawn, pop a bench on the far left-hand side of the garden overlooking the pond and then fence this whole area off, then remove the wall and shrubs on that same side.  At this top end we’ll keep Oscar’s outdoor toys.
    It’s still very much a (slow) work in progress.

  2. I’ve totally had enough of this heatwave.

    We all like a bit of sun but this is getting ridiculous now.  It would be nice not to feel like I need to change my outfit every two hours during the day and to be able to go outside without having to cake Oscar and myself in gallons of suncream first.
    The one saving grace?  There is no way that this heatwave can last until mid-September when I attempt my next 100 miler…right?…

  3. I had such a good day out with the Decathlon Blogger’s Team on Saturday.

    …Like, the best day.

    Decathlon blogger meetup

    Other than when I’m out running (which I usually try to schedule for early in the morning before Oscar wakes) it’s rare that I have any me-time at all these days unless I also have a child in tow and it was so, so lovely to head out to the Decathlon Blogger event in London on Saturday.  I hadn’t met any of the other bloggers before in person, although have followed and chatted to several of them online now for a number of years.
    I’m waiting for the pictures to come through from the event before writing my recap post in full but will just say that we played some friendly team sports on the roof of the Decathlon building, headed over to the park for interviews and volleyball and stopped for a gorgeous lunch too.  Outside activities and good food – the makings of a perfect day!

    I had a bit of a nightmare getting down to London though.
    My brother arrived late the night before to babysit Oscar for me. He came with his girlfriend and two stepkids who Oscar adores…resulting in lots of bed jumping and excited chatter until I finally managed to get Oscar to bed just after midnight.
    Oscar then woke again at 3am and stayed awake on my bed until 5:10am when he fell back asleep – giving me just 5 minutes sleep before my alarm went off! 😭  A quick rush round to get ready, but one of the kids had moved my purse the night before and I couldn’t find it anywhere. Luckily I had an emergency £30 stashed away upstairs which came in useful! It then took my step-niece and I ten minutes to wake my brother, by which point I was cutting it really fine to get to the train station on time.
    I made it to Bedford, missed the car park turning so had to turn around. Rushed over to the ticket machine. The machine I’d entered my registration number in only took cards as payment…then it wouldn’t cancel my registration number so I couldn’t use another machine! Finally I managed to select my car registration on another machine only to discover that the machines didn’t take notes, only coins!  I rushed inside, queued in Starbucks for change only to be told that they didn’t have any, but the lady on the ticket booth did, handing over a selection of pound coins in exchange for my fiver. I rushed back outside, got my ticket and rushed back in agaom. From my place in the queue (of two) I asked the woman on the turnstile if I would be able to buy my ticket whilst on the train. She started asking me questions about which train I was traveling on. Turns out I did have to buy my ticket from the ticket booth, so I turned around to re-enter the queue at the same time a group of about 12-13 other people all joined on at the back. 😭  I did have a little cry – literally everything was going wrong for me!
    With my train sat on the platform and just one minute left before it was due to leave, I forlornly turned around and headed back to my car, resigning myself to the drive.  How hard could it be?…!
    Turns out London isn’t the easiest place to drive and I was definitely feeling rather stressed out by the time I pulled up in a local Tesco carpark a while later.  Even more stressed out when I realised that I would only be allowed to park there for four hours, – at least an hour less than our meet up was due to last.  I started to spill out my tale of woe to the lady on the checkout at Tescos and she quickly reassured me that the Customer Services Manager would be able to add my car registration to the list which would have access to unlimited parking that day.  Luckily, after slightly more persuasion on my part, the CSM agreed!
    Coming home was a further nightmare as my phone died a death in the middle of an upgrade on my walk back from lunch.  I had my car charger with me so wasn’t overly concerned until 20 minutes of charging had happened and my phone still wouldn’t turn on.  I suddenly realised that I was in the largest city in the country in complete unknown territory with no satnav to direct me home, no phone to call for help and no money to pay my way out either!
    I made my way to the nearest phone fixer-upper shop I could find and spilled out my tale of woe once more.  Luckily after 30 minutes or so of poking, prodding and testing, the amazing guy behind the counter wished me a better weekend and returned my (now-working) phone free of charge!  My hero!

  4. I miss reading blogs.

    I try and keep up with social media and can usually catch Youtube videos when I’m doing the washing up so know roughly what most of the people I follow online are getting up to, but I’m rather particular when it comes to reading blog posts.  I like to sit upstairs at my desk in the office uninterrupted so that I can easily type a comment on a blog after I’ve finished reading it.  There’s nothing more faffy than writing a really long blog comment out on my phone!  There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in my day at the moment though, especially since Oscar has been much later going to bed since the start of this heatwave.  Hopefully, now that I’m cutting two nights from my working week I’ll be able to slot a few hours of blog reading back in again.  Fingers crossed.

  5. We’ve been spending lots of time with family just lately.

    …Which has been nice.  Oscar has four cousins (the eldest is six), four step cousins (the eldest is ten) and another baby cousin due at the start of September.
    Dan’s brother and sister joined us for a day out at West Lodge Farm Park a couple of weeks back with their four children.

    The Pearsons at West Lodge Farm Park

    It’s Oscar’s favourite place at the moment.  It’s still free for him to go until September when he turns two, and I got a season ticket a few weeks back so we intend to visit a lot over the next few months.
    Me, Dan and Oscar at West Lodge Farm ParkWe had a look around to see all the animals before spending time in the playpark, grabbing a barrel ride, eating our picnics and watching the pig racing.  Then we decided it was time to try the walk to the Witch’s House.  Dan decided to tell the kids that a real witch lived in the house and would cast spells on them if they were naughty that day, so they needed to behave.  An OK tactic in principle, but as the kids nervously talked about whether the witch would be in when we arrived, he didn’t retract his statement and continued with the pretence.  Dan’s brother had been left behind with his youngest child in their buggy when we reached a steep set of steps a few minutes away from the Witch’s House.  The other three children and Oscar eagerly followed Dan towards the house when we arrived.  Now in full character though, Dan told them all to wait back and that he would check to see if the witch was in first of all before letting them come forward.  They waited nervously in anticipation as Dan earnestly knocked on the door then peered into the window, updating them all the time.  When he peered into the window, his back was to the kids so Dan thought it would be funny to let out a loud cackle as if he was the witch.  Oscar and Isla remained stood where they were but Jenson and Georgia ran as fast as they could towards the spot where I stood with Dan’s sister.  Dan hadn’t realised that he’d frightened them and so let out a second cackle at this point and Georgia took off – shooting through the nettles and brambles, desperate to get back to where her Dad was in the wood, with me desperately trying to chase after her!  Dan got a severe telling off from me afterwards!
    Jenson, Oscar and Sarah at West Lodge Farm Park

  6. I am really enjoying running right now.

    I need to bring speedwork back into my weekly training schedule, but this should hopefully be easier now that I have dropped a couple of shifts at work.
    I was a little nervous about attending running club after my first 100 mile attempt last month.  My 10k time means that I sit just inside the qualifying time to run with Group 4, but I worried about having lost speed whilst ultra training.  In the end, on my first night back the club was a coach short and so Groups 5 and 6 were running together that evening.  I had been half tempted to run with Group 5 when I turned up to the club meeting point, but wasn’t so keen on running at the much slower Group 6 pace, so did run with Group 4 after all.  Turned out that I had to turn back and collect runners during the run – I wasn’t near the back at all!
    For about a year I was rarely able to attend club sessions.  Dan didn’t get home from work until 6:20pm and with club runs held 8 miles away unless I dragged Oscar out to club every week so that Dan could meet me in the car park and take O home, I just couldn’t get there in time.  When I gave up my position on the club committee in April though, Dan agreed to speak to his boss to see if they could work something out and he now starts and finishes work half an hour early on a Thursday so that I can run out with club and feel more part of things again.

  7. I don’t think I’ve processed the death of my Mum yet.

    I’m not really sure what to write about this other than just that.  I’m not sure if it’s because my life is so busy that I haven’t really allowed myself to stop and think about it but I’ve never really gotten upset and I feel like life just carried on when perhaps time should have stood still for a little while first.
    It’s already been eight months but I think because it was such a long, drawn-out process it feels like much longer.  I still visit my Dad in Norfolk every couple of weeks and speak to him most days on the phone.  I will be more concerned for him when Winter rolls around than now though.  He’s really thrown himself into the garden this Summer.Oscar and Grandad deheading the flowersIt’s absolutely beautiful and consumes a lot of time, but that’s a Summer activity and I think he might notice that Mum has gone more when Winter rolls around.
    IMG_20180718_181309

  8. I’m really excited about our upcoming holidays.

    Dan’s Mum bought a holiday place (I think a cabin/static home type place?) in the Isle of Wight at the start of the Summer.  She’s been down most weeks since, and Dan’s sister has visited several times but we’re yet to test it out.  We’re hoping to spend three days down in the Isle of Wight at the end of August.  We’re also planning on staying with my Dad in Norfolk for a further four days the following week.  There is always so much to do in Norfolk and growing up here myself, I know all the attractions to take Oscar to.  I am really looking forward to having a proper little break back in my home county.

  9. I seriously underestimated quite how hard life as a stay-at-home-parent would be.

    Oscar has just hit the ‘Terrible Twos’ and seems to be having a meltdown over absolutely anything at the moment.  Quite often it’s a food related meltdowns and it seems to have tied in with him dropping his daytime nap.  One super-tired, super-hungry one year old can often be found screaming at me or trying to headbutt me when he gets really frustrated.  His meltdowns are always over something completely unreasonable.

    Oscar: Oscar wants falafel.
    Me: Wait one minute while I put this away and then I’ll get you one…OK, here you go.
    Oscar: NO FALAFEL!  NO FALAFEL!
    Me: Alright, I’ll put the falafel back in the fridge again.
    Oscar: OSCAR WANT FALAFEL!  Banana!  Milk!  OSCAR FALAFEL!

    It gets quite draining.  It ends up being more draining staying at home and being frustrated at not being able to get on with anything (or have everything undone as you tick jobs off!) than it does heading out for a few hours though, so we do go out for the day quite a lot at the moment to take his mind off of things.

    No-one articulates quite how much hard work and how lonely bringing up a child can be, and without family living nearby I’ve found this even more so at times.

  10. Why did I not make the most of Norfolk when I lived there?

    I miss my friends and family, the beach, I miss how laid back Norfolk life is compared to life in the Midlands and I miss the memories of my childhood.
    Oscar is loving outside life at the moment and whenever we visit my Dad he eagerly helps dig up potatoes…
    Oscar digging up potatoes…test the raspberry crop…
    Oscar eating a raspberry…or just spends time watering the flowers…
    Oscar in the flowersMy Dad is known for making en epic salad.  Here’s the one he greeted me with at lunchtime today.
    Epic salad at Dad's houseDan doesn’t eat any salad items so we have it much less frequently as a meal choice than I would like.  Especially at this time of year.  Oscar eats a much better variety when we stay at my Dad’s, and he helps to collect the food from the garden – something my Mum would have been so chuffed to have seen him do.
    Oscar adores taking my Dad’s dog out for walks and insists on walking the whole way himself, even if it does take him an hour as he stops to look at every single plant and creature on the walk!
    Oscar walking with a flowerI took Oscar down to the beach for the first time last week and it is probably his new favourite thing.  He had so much fun running around with the children of two of my best friends and constantly wanted to be paddling in the water or digging sandcastles.  I can’t wait to take him to the beach with Dan when we both come to stay in August.
    Oscar at the beach

Any suggestions for places to visit/things to do on the Isle of Wight?
How are you finding this heat?
When do you tend to read/write blog posts?

All over the UK

When I first fell pregnant last year Dan and I agreed that it was time we stopped travelling around the country to see friends and family.  Instead we decided that it was time they came to see us, or that we met in a mutual location, we saw them less often or all of the above.

We do feel really settled in our little town in Northamptonshire, but when Dan and I took the leap of moving in together we made the unwise decision to move halfway between both Dan’s family and mine so that one of us would never be a four hour journey from their friends and family.  All it actually means though is that we end up traveling ALL THE TIME!  Every time one of our nieces or nephew has a birthday, it requires four hours of driving.  Each time we fancy going out for coffee or a beer (or in my case a hot chocolate or wine) with our best friends it becomes a proper long trek, normally tied in with an overnight stay at parents’ houses, fitting in visits to as many people as practically possible during the time that we are back.  The task is made much more difficult now that Oscar is on the scene too.

Of course we have both made fantastic friends in our new area, having lived here for nearly seven years, but that has added to our growing list of commitments!

Over the past two weeks we have attended a wedding in Birmingham, been to celebrate a friend’s son’s first birthday party in Norwich and then headed to Huddersfield for another friend’s son’s first birthday party…

Sarah and Treble's wedding - Oscar in braces(The Pearsons looking all smart for our first wedding of 2017)

Dinosaur cake for Charles' birthday at the Dinosaur Park

(Check out that cake for a first birthday bash held at the Dinosaur Park in Norwich!)

…In our house we’ve managed to touch up final coats of paint on ceilings, doors, architrave and walls, and move furniture to have the carpet laid upstairs.  (Finally.  No more floorboards!)… Oscar's nursery bedroom(Oscar’s nursery when we first moved in)Oscar's nursery bedroom(And Oscar’s nursery now!)

…We’ve bought a new sofa and armchair set for our lounge and we’re about to take up the carpet in our lounge/diner to reveal the parquet floor underneath.  (Please let there be nothing wrong with it.  I want this house to be DONE!)… Angelic sofa from Dfs(Angelic sofa from Dfs)

…Dan and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary on the 9th August.  I bought Dan a new leather wallet and he gave me a gorgeous leather-bound notebook for my writing.  We stayed at Rutland Water for a night the following week with Oscar, who we took on a walk to Bugtopia the following day.Leather bound notebook for our third anniversary(It’s so lovely I’m not sure I want to spoil it with my handwriting!)

…Oscar also managed to knock my phone off the bed a fortnight ago and I have been phoneless ever since.  It has been sent off for repair, but I’m not sure how much longer I will be without, especially as it has been away during the Bank Holiday weekend.

The first time my phone failed to turn on I shrugged it off and was like ‘Meh.  I’m due an upgrade in November.  I can last until then.’  But actually there’s been several times I’ve wanted to take pictures and not been able to, I’ve fallen madly behind with my emails again and I haven’t read any blogs for days.  I could really have done with my phone over the weekend when Dan and I spent eleven hours in a car over three days attending childrens’ birthday parties!
I hope I get it back soon.

Our home computer is all in pieces at the moment as well, as we moved everything out of our office so that the carpet could go down and I’m waiting for Dan to put up our new desk before constructing the computer again.  I’ve still been out running, but the computer isn’t there for me to sync the runs from my Garmin to Strava at the moment.  I’ll have to do a big batch of them all next week.  Then I can add stats to a post about my snail-killer run, my all-the-paths-with-streetlights run and the run where I ran the same one mile loop on repeat for an hour.

Can you tell I’m about done of lonesome night-time running?!

How long could you survive for without a phone?!
Have you had a busy Summer?
When was the last time you bought new furniture for your house?

Five things Friday

1. Five years a runner!

One day last week my Timehop alerted me to the fact that I had joined my running club five years ago.  I’ve been a runner for five years! Although some days I think it feels like I’ve been running for so much longer now. I really cannot remember life before running.  What did I even do before all my spare time was spent planning runs, running and blogging about them?!

Running club poster

2. Living on a building site

Despite having moved into our house last July, there are several remaining unpacked boxes in the garage and we’re still waiting to unpack several of the larger items like bookcases and cabinets until after the house is more complete and new carpet goes down.  I did get desperate for storage in the kitchen though and had to move the TV cabinet in as a make-do larder as there was nowhere to store food!

We have been making much more progress just lately and my parents have travelled up to help over several recent weekends.  The aim is to have our house more or less complete in the way that we want it before the Summer holidays is over.

Working on the houseI’ve pretty much accepted that until the Summer there’s a good chance I won’t see my lounge floor as it’s been completely overtaken by tools.  Frustratingly, lots of the jobs that have been completed during recent weekends have been ones with small impact on the overall look of the house.  Between them Dan and Dad have added extractor fans, changed light fittings and fixed creaky floorboards.  All necessary, but very insignificant-seeming in the grand scheme of things!

Dan and I began the task of knocking through and clearing the archway leading from the lounge into the dining room last night.  I’ve convinced Dan to let me have a dresser in the dining room, but to make room we first need to knock into the wasted space taken up by the archway, a task that has been one of many on our to-do-list since moving in last year.

Dan knocking through the archway

Dan knocking through the archwayThe archway is still a work in progress as it begun to get late before we could finish last night.  Another job for the weekend!  The list is so long!

3. Off on holiday!

A few weeks ago when the first of Dan’s many upcoming stag dos took place I got a bit of holiday-envy.  Dan and I haven’t been away since our honeymoon nearly two years ago and with the impending arrival of our baby this coming Autumn I wasn’t sure when we would next get to go away again.  Luckily, Dan is always up for a holiday, and despite already having plans for three weekends away this year (two of them abroad!) he agreed to head away for a few days with his wife as well! 😉  Initially thinking that it would be nice to head away for some time in the Summer around our anniversary in August I was shocked to discover the other day that with most airlines I wouldn’t be able to fly after my 28th week of pregnancy.  My 28th week falls before I begin the Summer holiday from school!  So, we panic booked and are now off for a few days in Prague over the half term holiday instead.  I’ll admit that work has been so busy since we booked the trip that I haven’t even thought since about going away or what we need until now and I’d like to have some sort of plan for the few days we are away.  At least I’m not so big that I won’t be able to enjoy it yet though.

4. My Nephew turned four

Last week our only nephew Jenson, turned four.  He starts school in September which is a really scary thought.  Although we have two nieces who are slightly older, they are not blood nieces, as they are from Dan’s siblings’ partners’ previous relationships.  (Still follow me on that one?!)

As Jenson was having a birthday party in a village hall in the Midlands, Dan and I found ourselves Midland-bound last Sunday.  May birthdays are plentiful in our family and close friends list, and so we arrived in Birmingham a little before shops opened in order to rush round to find cards and presents for all before seeing them that afternoon.  I literally felt like I was a candidate on The Apprentice.  We had a list, we had a time limit, we each had a credit card and on the drive into the city we worked out our game plan for when it came to collecting the items on the list.  Throughout our mad rush round town we repeatedly phoned each other with updates and caught rushed conversations in passing as we bumped into each other between shops!  No day trip from Lord Sugar at the end for us though!  Instead, just a very bad stitch for me and whinging from us both that we were hungry!

We arrived to the party in time to see a stream of superhero dressed four year olds filing through the village hall doors, excitedly handing Jenson his presents.  Jenson wasn’t a fan of the ‘Happy Birthday’ song and clearly did not enjoy the extra attention!

Jenson's fourth birthday party - superheroes

 

An afternoon filled with seventeen children running around a hall was very loud!  I don’t remember friends’ parents attending birthday parties when I was younger, but all of Jenson’s friends’ parents remained sat around the edges of the hall.  Clearly the etiquette has changed since I was a child.  I made it clear to Dan that when our child is born that he is to accompany said child to all birthday parties.  I had a headache by the time we left on Sunday night!

It was rather entertaining to watch the children interacting though, and I had to stifle my laugh as one Batgirl wearing a lot of leather-look clothes appeared to be doing some sort of interpretive dance to ‘Let it Go’!

No birthday cake this year but I did bring home almost a week’s supply of leftover caprese salad and miniature cheesecakes to take to work with me.

Caprese salad

5. Still loving the ultras

So, even though I can’t run ultras at the moment, I’ve managed to keep involved with one or two…

I am gutted that I am not able to run at the Shires and Spires Northants 35 mile ultra next weekend.  This was my very first ultra back in 2013 and I’ve run the race every year since.  As the race is organised by Go Beyond, I have put my name down for marshaling duties instead this year.  Although I’m not sure if that will make me more aware of the fact that I am missing out?… :(  If you are running next Sunday then look out for me on the registration desk and also at checkpoint 2 out on the course.  This year the design for the medals is looking pretty awesome too…
Shires and Spires medal

…medal envy!

My big target running-wise is still the South Downs Way 100.  I’ve volunteered to marshal at the event this year on the 11th June to get a better insight of the event and hopefully chat to lots of more experienced ultra runners too.

I’d like to think that I will be able to recover from childbirth and return to training quickly, ready to attempt the event myself eight months later in 2017.  Obviously though, I’m still several months away from giving birth so if that becomes an unrealistic target then I will adapt my dates accordingly.  A 100 mile event will still be on the cards though.  And anyway, I hear that women are supposed to be much stronger at running over long distances after having had a baby! 😉 After powering through uncomfortable baby kicks on Tuesday night’s run I figure I could probably power through any stitch I got from running now!

Do you have any plans for the long weekend?
How long have you been running for?
Any suggestions for places to visit/eat out at in Prague?

Running at 20 weeks pregnant

I’m thinking about starting up a second blog.

There are a few things I want to write down about pregnancy and potentially baby musings after having the baby, but I don’t feel like this blog is the place to do that.  This blog is my current baby (along with Bella-cat of course!) where I can chat all things running and doing my best to fit in a healthy lifestyle around the madness that is my life.  I don’t want pregnancy or being a Mum (Uggg! That makes me sound old) to take over from that.  The second blog isn’t in place quite yet, but I very definitely do not want to change AHM from what it has become, so watch this space!…

Having said that, at times I know that pregnancy and baby will cross over into this blog, as they are quickly becoming more and more part of me and the madness that is my life at the moment.  (I have no desire to stand on the scales anytime soon, but when your belly struggles to fit under the desk at work anymore you know you can no longer deny your pregnancy!)
For example, today I want to write about running at 20 weeks pregnant.  That, to me, still fits in with where I see this blog.

Technically I’m actually in my 21st week now, with my final scan taking place next Monday morning, but for the purpose of this post, I am writing about week 20.
This is what I looked like at the start of my 20th week…

19 weeks pregnant

 

(Yes, the horrific wall colour in our dining room is one of the items on our current house-in-progress list!)

Week 20 was when I started to feel BIG.  Not just that my clothes no longer fit and I was a little tired, but big and incapable of completing silly little tasks that I had always taken for granted before.

On Saturday my parents came to visit for the day.  I say ‘visit’, but my Dad can never just ‘visit’.  His visits always have a purpose and this weekend, like the one a fortnight before was to help us sort out some of the jobs that needed doing on our house.  We moved here last July and although entirely liveable, there were lots of areas of the house that needed improvement.  The bathrooms being one.  We’ve had a plumber round on and off for the last month fitting a new boiler and replacing our old suites for new ones.  (It is so nice to finally have a bath that I can sit down in again…Simple things!)  Anyway, the plumber being in kickstarted a whole host of other jobs that needed doing, including the need for extractor fans, new light fittings and re-tiling of the bathroom.  It was some combination of those tasks that saw my parents arrive bright and early on Saturday morning at our doorstep.  Dan disappeared upstairs to help Dad and my Mum soon settled in the garden to pot up some of the flowers she had brought over for our garden.  My task was to make the drinks and fill the watering can.

Apparently I’m not supposed to put my hands in compost as it contains some element which is not very good for pregnant women.  I also couldn’t lift the heavy pots up to move them across the garden.  I felt a little guilty when I shot out at lunchtime to meet Steph at the Northampton Food Festival, but it was something I had told my parents about before they had arranged to visit.  And besides, several portions of tasty cheese and fudge could only cheer me up, right?!  I could be useful selecting tasty cheeses to bring home!

Lynn Bank Farm cheese from the Northampton Food FestivalI thought the Tomato & Basil was my favourite, but then I tried the Garden Herbs and Garlic one, was torn between the two and ended up coming home with four cheeses!

There was lots going on at the food festival (mainly cheese and fudge!) and Steph and I nibbled on lots of samples on our way round the event (again, mainly cheese and fudge!), stopping to watch a couple of demonstrations taking place.  Luckily, most of the cheese samples were cheddar, so I didn’t have to forgo too many of the offerings.  Although I did look rather longingly at the Prosseco and Baileys shots that were being handed out in one tent.

The weather was rather miserable which was a shame, but it didn’t rain whilst we were there.

On returning home I made another round of teas and offered out slices of fudge before scrubbing the garage door and then waving my parents off as they returned home to Norfolk.  I attempted to help Dan tidy the mess from the drilling upstairs but the task he set for me was to bend down to pick up items from the floor of the hallway, walk to the airing cupboard and place them on the floor inside the airing cupboard door.  Bending over and me haven’t been getting on very well this past fortnight and my belly is now at a size that makes bending over forwards incredibly difficult.  In the end I sat on the floor by the airing cupboard and Dan passed things down to me.  So I did play a part in tidying up, even if it was rather a small one!

Last week at work was a busy one.  Friday was the deadline for the majority of GCSE and A level coursework marks to be sent off to the exam boards by.  Having taught 170 year 11s this year, along with a handful of A level students I had rather a lot of paperwork to be filled in towards the end of last week, meaning that I didn’t manage to slot any evening runs in at all.  With my parents down on the Saturday and the 25k walk on the Sunday I didn’t even get a run in over the weekend either.  This meant that most of Monday at school was spent thinking about where I planned on running that evening and planning some nice easy miles outside in the sun.  I changed into my running gear the second I got home, snapped my watch on my arm and tied my trail shoes in place.

As soon as I got out of the door I knew it wasn’t going to be a good run.  I felt big, I felt blundery and my stomach just felt uncomfortable.  It seemed like my stomach was moving all around inside yet the outside of it was still pretty solid.  I’m at the stage now where some people have started realising that I am pregnant, although nobody apart from one year 10 boy in my ICT option class has mentioned it to my face.  I just see the odd person glancing down to my belly from time to time, and the question silently pass over their face.

Knowing that some people are now aware of my pregnancy has meant that what runs I have gone on I have headed out on the trail or out-of-the-way roads, as I don’t want people to a) assume I am much slower because I am overweight or b) judge me as I have decided to run through my pregnancy.  Both very vain remarks I know, but that is what runs through my head when I’m out with my trainers on at the moment.  I had a few judgemental comments from people (non-running people!) that knew I was running the Milton Keynes half marathon the other week.  I am not someone that is able to just sit in the house and not get out and exercise.  I pity the poor women all those years ago when that was what was advised as best for them for 9 months!  There is every evidence now that in the majority of cases, it is better to be out and gently exercising than sat on your bum for 24 hours of the day!  My midwife even allowed me to start at the Thames Trot 50m event back in February!

So yeah, I managed to get about 3/4 mile on Monday before realising I needed to cut my losses, turn around and head for home.  I’d already walked by this point.  I wasn’t tired, or out of breath, it was just super uncomfortable in my belly and I knew that the walk would do me just as good, probably more so as I wouldn’t overstress my body on a day it clearly wasn’t ready to run.  I reckon my body is having a super workout every time I do run anyway, as it’s now carrying so much extra weight! 😉

Rubbish run

Like last time I posted, sometimes the running is fine and just like pre-pregnancy, but other days I have no chance of completing my planned session and really need to play it by ear.  Annoyingly I’ve felt like I’ve had to avoid my regular club and trail runs with friends for the past couple of weeks for this reason.  It’s frustrating, as I am already starting to miss my running buddies and there are several weeks to go yet!

May steps

To try and make up for my poor running days I have been trying to ensure that I hit 10,000 steps on my Vivofit every day.  I find that this target still gives me an achievable focus even if the baby is lying in an awkward position and making running near-impossible on that day.  There have only been one or two exceptions where I haven’t hit my target since very early on in my pregnancy and I find I feel so much better afterwards for having got out there and moving rather than curling up in a ball on the couch like I find I want to do on some days.

Bump at 20 weeks pregnantThis is me at the end of twenty weeks.  Squinting in the sun, with one foot missing and Dan’s shadow over the top of me.  I got Dan to take several photos for me and this was seriously the best one!

Have you ever chosen to run away from where people can be seen ‘judging’ you?
Do you feel lost when you have to miss out on running sessions with friends?

You can read all of my previous pregnancy posts here.