End of year round up

One of the things I love most about blogging is the ability to look back at the end of the year and reminisce over everything I’ve done across the past twelve months.  This year has been a bit of a tough one for several reasons, and so not everything has made it to the blog, but I still managed to scrape together 45 posts during 2017.  I’m hoping to have a number a little higher than that for the coming year though as things hopefully start to settle down a little once more.

My 2017bestnine from Instagram:

2017bestnine - A Healthier Moo

Medals, races and mud…that’s what we like to see! 😉

I actually started posting a few images up on a separate Instagram account this year (fromteachertomum) so that I would be able to share a few select images of Oscar’s adventures and Mum life without drowning my AHM fitness account with baby.  Just for fun, here’s my 2017bestnine from that account as well:

2017bestnine - From Teacher to MumHe has been a lovely little addition to our family.

January:

For the second year in a row I kicked off the New Year with a double parkrun, along with several other members from my running club.  In 2016 I had run Huntingdon parkrun followed by Peterborough which was one of only a few options of double day parkruns near to us at the time.  Word obviously got around though, because at the start of this year we had more to choose from and so I made the decision to head over to Milton Keynes to run the Linford Wood parkrun course, followed by a jog over for the Milton Keynes route a little later, and then a jog back to my car back at the first course again.

Milton Keynes parkrun on New Year's Day

In the New Year Oscar started attending swimming lessons at a local pool in Wellingborough.  He was an avid hater of bath time up until this point but he absolutely adores his swimming lessons.  Other than the 8 weeks where I returned to work in the Summer term, he has been going weekly for a swimming lesson and can now get in and out of the pool safely and easily, kicks and moves his arms to swim and blows bubbles in the water.  He usually gets really excited when he realises we’ve arrived at the swimming pool and one of my favourite times at the pool was when the instructor got us all to lay the babies on a tilted hand float so that their legs were dangling in the water and then whoosh them around the pool alongside us like they were paddling on a surf board.  Oscar thought this was amazing and shrieked so loudly and for so long as he was so excited!  He absolutely loves being in the pool.  A proper little water baby!

Dan made the jump from working in IT development within schools during January to managing IT systems within a Nationwide Solicitor firm.  With a new baby and a three month job probation to pass we debated for quite a while before Dan eventually made the leap, but it was a great decision and not only is he very happy in his new role but he is now working much closer to home, leaving much later in the morning for work and bringing home more money.  Much better all round!

I ran the final cross-country race of the season at Sharnbrook this month.

Sharnbrook cross-country trail

Dan ran the final Tough Mudder in Perton, Wolverhampton, which is the town his parents live in.

Dan at the end of Tough MudderIt’s not something that wildly appeals to me to be honest, but Dan really enjoyed it!

February:

I started to realise that fitting in runs around a new baby would be more difficult than I first thought(!)

I ran my first half marathon post baby at my club’s inaugural Welly Trail Races event.

Welly Trail races

March:

I had managed to enter the Hunny Bell Cross-country race held a couple of miles from my parents’ house in time to get a spot and so enjoyed a cross-country event outside of the Three Counties League I usually run with during the Winter months.  Both my parents were also able to see me finish a race, which was a first for my Mum.

Hunny Bell XC finish

I finally got round to ordering Oscar’s running buggy.  Something I had been avoiding until he was old enough to go in it, but something I knew I would order all along! 😉

Oscar in the running buggy

I had been lucky enough to win a Valentine’s Photoshoot on Facebook and so a couple of weeks into March we persuaded my friend Laura to push Oscar around Harlestone Firs in his buggy so that Dan and I could have some nice pictures taken.  There aren’t any photos of just Dan and I together from our wedding that I really like, but Maxine at Do You Realise? photography was an amazing photographer and she captured some lovely photographs for us to get printed.

Do You Realise photography couple shoot at Harlestone Firs

Dan and I sat down one weekend (after many many afternoons of talking about it) and worked out our living costs, realising that I would be able to leave my job as a teacher in order to bring Oscar up myself, rather than put him into a nursery full time, – and so I handed my notice in at school.

April:

I had entered The South Downs Way 50 before Oscar had even been born.  I wanted a big challenge to work towards as part of my return to running post-baby, and I definitely got that with running 50 miles!  Going into the race I definitely hadn’t completed enough training, but I was so, so ecstatic to finish well within the cut off times, and as strongly as I did despite having to stop on route to pump(!)

South Downs Way 50 medal

The following weekend, Dan, Oscar and I headed to Shropshire for a well-deserved weekend away in a lovely little cottage with friends.  We even managed to fit in some parkrun tourism at Ludlow parkrun whilst we were there!

Ludlow parkrun with Dan, John and Lynn

I made it down to London for my annual trip with friends to cheer runners along the marathon route.

Then I had my first weekend away from Oscar when I ran the Pembrokeshire marathon at the end of the month.

WDAC at Pembrokeshire marathon

May:

May was a good month running-wise.  I ran the Silverstone 10k in a quicker-than-hoped time, the Rugby 6 to a new PB and Corby 5 in a course PB, all as part of the East Midlands Grand Prix series.

Silverstone 10k

May was also the month where I returned to work full time (albeit only for one day before the start of the half term holiday).

June:

I ran Shires and Spires 35m for the fourth time at the start of this month, but as I returned to work the following day I never got round to writing a recap of the event.

Shires and Spires 35m medal

Oscar officially started nursery when I returned to school after the half term break.  Dan had my first week back booked as holiday from work in case there were any problems with Oscar in nursery during the day time, but all seemed to go well.  Dan spent most of the week making much-needed improvements on our house to ready it for guests we had staying in the Summer.

I had my name in print in Your Fitness magazine this month.

Your Fitness magazine

I ran the remaining races of the EMGP series.  The Harborough 5, Weedon 10k (to a course PB) and then Milton Keynes 10k to a full on new PB!

Milton Keynes 10k

I headed over with Oscar in his buggy to photograph our club runners at the Colworth Marathon Challenge on the Friday evening.  I’m hoping to be able to run the full three-day event again in 2018.

Sally and Jo at Colworth 5m

 

July:

I managed to type up (over several days!) a new Day-in-the-life post of a full-time-working-training-for-a-marathon-new-Mum.

Oscar tea

I had great fun swinging round the treetops for a friend’s hen do at Woburn, followed by some tasty afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea for Steph's hen do

I managed to gain a new 5 mile PB at our club annual pre-Welly 5 BBQ run, and then marshaled for the actual Welly 5 the following weekend.

Welly 5 winnersAt some point during the month of July, I was persuaded to stay on an extra month in September at school, due to lack of staff.  So luckily, I never had to give a leaving speech at the end of year assembly!  😉

August:

We attended our first wedding as a family of three, where Dan was also an usher.

Sarah and Treble's wedding - Oscar in bracesAnd I was outraged when somebody threw eggs at me from a car window whilst I was out on a run in Norfolk.  :(

We had a really busy August in fact.  I had been travelling back to Norfolk to spend time with my parents each week from February-time as neither of them were very well.  Somehow we managed to fit in a wedding in Birmingham, a first birthday party in Norwich and another first birthday party in Huddersfield over the Summer.  The two birthday parties even fell on the same weekend!

Dinosaur cake for Charles' birthday at the Dinosaur Park

We did manage to escape to Rutland Water for a few days for our third wedding anniversary though which was nice.

And we finally had carpet laid in all the upstairs rooms and on the stairs and landing.  I was so excited to finally see carpet down on the floor!

Oscar's nursery bedroom

September:

As I was looking back through my blog posts just now I realised that I didn’t blog at all during September!  It was a very busy time though.  Working as a teacher during the month of September is very different to the month of June, when half the students have already finished for the year and lots of kids are out on school trips.  Not only was I super busy with work this month but we had something planned in the calendar for every single weekend.

The first weekend was spent marshaling at Northampton half marathon where I was once again sector lead of the Great Houghton section.  For the fourth year I believe now?

The second weekend, I went to my friend Steph’s wedding.

Me and Laura at Steph's weddingShe had the best photo challenge, which Laura and I totally smashed and won!

Photo challenge at Steph's wedding

Our new sofas arrived!  The first time I have ever bought brand new sofas before and it was rather exciting!

New sofas in the lounge

I headed back to Norfolk to take part in the Round Norfolk Relay event.  Our club managed to find two teams of runners and crew and it was an awesome weekend that I can’t wait to take part in again next year!

Stage 5 of the Round Norfolk Relay

The evening after the RNR I had returned home to get some school work sorted out ready for work the following week.  The following day my Dad rang to say that my Mum had been admitted into hospital.  At this point (four years since being diagnosed with terminal cancer) this was no longer an uncommon occurrence and I asked Dad to keep me updated, saying that I would return the following weekend to visit her in hospital, or at home again, as she had so often ended up in hospital for just a couple of days at a time.

I finished school at 3pm on the Wednesday and it was only a matter of seconds after the final bell had gone when my Dad rang my mobile to say that I needed to get over to Norwich then.  That Mum was really bad this time and that doctors had given her just 48 hours.  After a call to Dan so that he could arrange to leave work early to pick up Oscar from nursery that evening I rushed off over to Norwich hospital and it wasn’t a very nice visit at all.  It was rather scary in fact.

I was supposed to be running Ealing half marathon the following weekend, but obviously this did not happen, and instead I spent the weekend at the Norfolk and Norwich hospital, as well as visiting several nights after work during the week.

It all ended up being a bit much and by the end of the month I had made myself very ill from the night feeds, school work, housework and constant travelling.  I spent the last two days of term laying in bed feeling pretty useless.  Made even more miserable due to the fact that I had really been looking forward to the Decathlon ambassador event I had been invited to but which now had to miss, and the fact that I was so poorly I couldn’t even hold Oscar on his first birthday.

Oscar's first birthday

October:

We held a birthday party for him the weekend after his birthday and had him Christened.  I was able to get up and about and put a face on, but I still wasn’t very well at all.

Mabel and MarthaMabel and Martha, checking out the Godmother gift their Mum was given!  (They have their own Instagram here if you want to check it out!)

As I had finished school by October I was then travelling back to Norfolk for four days a week.  After two weeks in hospital, at my Mum’s request, the doctors let her return home where she remained in a hospital bed in the lounge for the remaining weeks.  I usually headed back Monday afternoon-Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  A minimum of 12 extra hours in the car each week but often more than this due to roadworks and bad traffic.

Several of my visits were spent taking my parents’ dog Blue out for long walks and helping out with the shopping and cooking.

Oscar and Blue out on a walk

I was lucky enough to be chosen as an ambassador for Milton Keynes Marathon this month, which takes place in May 2018.  I can’t wait to run the marathon for the fourth time!

Milton Keynes Marathon ambassador

I had planned to target and run Chelmsford marathon in October for a sub 4h 30m, but this obviously went out of the window as I hadn’t been able to get enough miles in during the build up to race day and I had been suffering with a bad back for several weeks.  It was probably the toughest marathon I’ve run by the end of the race, and I’ve run several off-road events!

Chelmsford marathon mile 25

November:

November went by in a bit of a blur.  I headed to Gower with friends for the EnduranceLife Coastal Marathon as per usual, and the break was very much needed.

EnduranceLife Gower marathon 2017

The following week Dan was working away in Dublin, but I barely knew about it as I was hardly home anyway.

The last Wednesday of the month when I was visiting Mum Oscar bent down to kiss her for the first time and happily did his usual wave and “Bye bye” babble to her as we left.  She had been a little confused during our visit but we’d had several chats throughout the day.  That was the last time we spoke.

I visited the following Saturday for several hours but she was asleep the whole time, and when I rang Dan to say that I had finished running the Dunstable XC the following morning he told me that my Dad had been on the phone not long earlier to let him know that my Mum had just died.
Dan’s Nan had died hours earlier following a heart attack and we lost another family member to cancer later that week.  (A third to cancer in 2017 just yesterday.)

December:

After putting it off for the past few years I ran Bedford half marathon and was pleasantly surprised at my time considering how inconsistent my training had been in the build up to the race.

Bedford half marathon

Most of the week had been working with my Dad on preparations for my Mum’s funeral.  She had been very definite about what she wanted, but there was a lot we were unable to put into place until she died.

The day after the funeral I began a new job working nightshifts at a large Tesco supermarket.  It’s not a forever thing, but the extra money will be handy to restock savings.

My brother and Dad came up to mine for a visit one evening so that I could attend the annual Running Club Christmas awards ceremony.

Running club Christmas do 2017

I came home marginally cleaner following the annual Christmas Eve run this year.

Christmas Eve muddy run

And then spent Christmas day in Norfolk with my side of the family.

2013 round up * 2014 round up * 2015 round up * 2016 round up

How would you sum up your 2017?
What have you been up to this year?

A day in the life of a full time working, training for a marathon Mum

This is an updated ‘Day in the Life’ post, as my routine has changed so much since writing my last one.  These timings are from one day last week, and this day is actually a pretty standard weekday since I returned to full time work back in May.

2:45am – Oscar usually (but not always) wakes me up by calling out to me at about this time.  He wants a feed and so I go and collect him from his room before bringing him back to the comfort of my bed where I can feed and play a quick logic puzzle game on my phone whilst waiting for him to finish drinking.  If he doesn’t fall asleep on me during this feed he still tends to be very sleepy, and after about ten minutes or so I can usually transfer him back to the cot in his bedroom where he drifts off fairly quickly again.  I try to stay awake in my bed until I can no longer hear him rolling around or chatting and then I turn my bedside lamp off before instantly falling back to sleep.  On a good day I might only be up for 15 minutes in total.  On a bad day, it could be an hour in the middle of the night.  On this occasion Oscar was fairly quick and I was able to switch my bedside light off 20 minutes after having initially woken.

5:00am – I set my alarm for this time to give myself a chance to get ready without Oscar in the morning.  I never appreciated in the past just how easy it was to get round when there wasn’t a baby around to slow me down!  I get dressed and grab my own breakfast at this point.  My go-to breakfast at the moment is stodgy porridge topped with blueberries, as it only takes three minutes to prepare.  Anything which is quick and easy at the moment is a winner!

Porridge with blueberries and raspberriesI also nip outside to water the plants in the greenhouse.

5:25am – If Oscar hasn’t already woken by this point, I push his door ajar and then chat to him quietly from outside his room so that he wakes ‘naturally’.  He won’t eat breakfast immediately upon waking, so once I’ve changed his nappy I take him downstairs, place him onto his playmat and pull out a selection of toys for him to play with.  (Nothing too noisy, as Dan is still fast asleep, and I’m nice like that! 😉 )  I spend a little time playing with Oscar so that he is nice and settled before breakfast.  He is usually in the best mood in the mornings and I resent having limited time with him before I have to leave.

Oscar playing6:00am – After feeding Bella (our cat), I make breakfast for Oscar and then pack up lunches for both Dan and I.  I try and vary Oscar’s breakfast every day.  On this day I cut up some fresh strawberries and spread them along with some almond butter over a warm slice of toast which I cut into thin strips to make it easy for Oscar to pick up.

Toast with almond butter and strawberriesOscar is going through a phase of hating being put into his highchair, and unhelpfully tries to make himself as spread out as possible with both his arms and legs, whilst squawking loudly at me.  Eventually I manage to strap him in and he spies the toast, immediately falling into line and reaching out for it.  Whilst Oscar is eating his breakfast I organise his nursery bag and a backup set of clothes for the day, pulling a bag of breastmilk out of the freezer to defrost if required.  On this day there is enough already expressed in the fridge, so I don’t need to defrost any more.  I pile up my lunch, phone charger, Dan’s lunch and Oscar’s nursery bag, milk bottles and coat by the front door, before expressing and placing fresh milk in the fridge for the following day.

6:30am – Dan emerges from the staircase and takes my spot at the table whilst Oscar finishes up his breakfast.  I kiss both of them on the head, confirm the dates for the milk so that Dan can let nursery know when he drops Oscar off at a little before 8am and then drive into work.  When I first returned to work I aimed to leave home by 7am each morning, but leaving that half an hour later resulted in an extra hour or more of travel time, so I gave that up rather quickly!  My journey in is rather dull.  I tend to listen to Heart radio most days as the radio presenters are Blue Peter presenters from my childhood.  (I actually met Katy Hill once!)

7:15am – This is usually the time I arrive at work.  The first 5-10 minutes after I’ve arrived is spent switching on the classroom computers and, at this time of year, opening the windows and turning on the fans in the classroom, before checking my emails and prepping for my lessons that day.  If I don’t have a high volume of lessons, I might be able to sneak 5-10 minutes of Twitter/blog reading time in, but this is very rare nowadays.  I don’t manage any blog time on this particular day.

8:15am – Students from my form start arriving from this point, so I bring up the activity planned for form time onto my computer screen and then jot down a list of notices which I need to share with my form.  There are two teaching periods before morning break, and this morning I am only teaching one of them – a year 7 programming lesson to a lovely group of students.  I love teaching, but I especially love teaching programming, as I find it so satisfying when students ‘get’ how to write the code.  Programming is like one big puzzle which you have to solve!

10:45am – As all year 11 and 13 students have finished for the year, year 8s and 9s have exams and year 10s are off out on work experience placements for the next two weeks I don’t have any further lessons today.  The time is needed to prep for the next academic year within the department though as there are so many changes being introduced to the school in light of the new 9-1 GCSEs.  (Grades A*-G and levels 3+ will no longer be referred to, and instead all of our resources and worksheets must reference the new 9-1 system.)  It feels like a lot of changes in paperwork for the sake of it to be honest, especially when the first set of files (out of hundreds of the resources in our user area) all mention curriculum levels and final grades, requiring an hour of checking and changes just to themselves.  With three new courses in our department next year, there are also a whole load of new resources to be created and with only a few weeks before the end of term I briefly wonder how we are ever going to fit all of the required work in before the holiday.  I really hope I don’t have to work over the Summer.

1:05pm – A quick ten minute break for lunch, – although I’ve already picked at most of mine by now.  It’s rather nice to have some adult conversation.  I did miss that whilst I was off on maternity leave earlier in the year.
Lunch is standard since returning to work.  My lunch ‘requirements’ are that it has to be something which will keep me full and something I can pick at for long portions of the day.  I am all about the variety…and picking!

Healthy lunchbox with salad, fruit and nakd barWe have two ‘work experience’ students with us this week (students whose actual work experience placements fell through at the last minute).  Luckily, as well as being Core Computing students, they also both take ICT as an option, and so I use the rest of the afternoon to help them improve their coursework in the subject.

3:00pm – As students start to leave the site at the end of the day I fight my way back upstairs to my classroom, where I give it a quick tidy, shutting all windows, turning off the projector and wiping the board clean.  The worst part about being a Computing teacher is that other teachers always use your room and they never leave it how they found it!  I used to stay in school until 5:30pm before having Oscar so that I wouldn’t have to take work home with me, but now I try to leave no later than 3:10pm as otherwise there is a high risk of not arriving back to pick Oscar up from nursery in time.

3:50pm – Traffic has been awful along the A14 just lately and I can often be seen rushing madly from my car to the nursery doors hoping that I haven’t interrupted the babies in the baby room during teatime (4pm).  When I collect Oscar he grins excitedly and starts chatting away, lifting his arms up high above his head for me to pick him up.  Nursery fill me in on his day, telling me that he had adored playing in the water table that afternoon (taking his sunhat and filling it with water over and over again!) and had also been out in the buggy to see the farm animals earlier in the day.  They also give me a quick run down of the times they gave him his milk bottles, what he ate for lunch and the fact that he had given them an explodapoo at lunchtime, so they’ve popped his dirty clothes into a bag inside his nursery bag.  I thank them, collect his nursery bag and lift him into his old baby seat in my car.  Because Dan drops Oscar off in the mornings and then continues on his way to work, it doesn’t make sense for him to return home in order to leave the car seat for me to collect after I finish work for evening pick up.  I’d never make it on time then anyway.  So Dan keeps Oscar’s current car seat in his car and his old baby car seat is strapped into my little Ibiza.  I think we’re going to get away with this arrangement for the remainder of term but when I return in September for my final few weeks I fear I’m going to have to walk the 2.5 miles home with Oscar in the buggy each night before then running back out to collect my car later in the evening.  (Our initial plan.)

4:10pm – Depending on what activities Oscar was involved in at nursery that day he tends to be rather tired and irritable by this point.  A horrible whingey sound comes out of his mouth until I can get him into his sit-in walker in the kitchen.

Oscar in his walkerIt’s then a race against time to try and keep him amused whilst making tea as quickly as possible so that I can get him fed before he decides that he’s waited too long for his dinner!  He managed to make it until about 4:35pm today before the whinging begins.  I cut him a couple of small strips of cheese which seem to keep him occupied for a few moments whilst I quickly complete all tasks where I need both hands!  After that I pick him up and place him on my hip to finish the cooking.  It’s not ideal, but I can’t listen to him whinge all evening!

4:45pm – Tea time!  I have always had my dinner on the late-side since starting running.  Often it would be 9-10pm before I sat down to eat in an evening.  This obviously isn’t practical now that we have Oscar though, and I want to do my best to demonstrate good table manners when possible, so I now have my tea at this super early time with him.  I also get Bella her tea at this time.  Tonight Oscar has spaghetti with mushrooms, broccoli, sweetcorn, chicken and chopped tomatoes.  It all disappears rather quickly!

Oscar tea5:15pm – Once Oscar has finished his tea (usually indicated by sweeping his arm across his highchair through all the food) I get him out and roughly brush him down on the plastic mat we lay underneath the table.  He then walks holding onto my hands for support to the bottom of the stairs where I pick him up and carry him upstairs to the bathroom and place him into the bathtub.
Oscar loves bath time and any playing with water in general.  I always place a selection of plastic balls, a mini watering can and squirty animal toys into the bath with him and I am sure that he would literally stay in the bath all night long playing if I let him!

5:50pm – After drying Oscar down and getting him changed into a clean nappy, vest and sleepsuit it is time for a story on our bed.  At the weekends Dan reads to him and I love sneakily watching them from the doorway as Oscar is always so captivated by the book and the voices which Dan puts on.  My voices are never as good it seems!

7:00pm – After a little more playing it is time for Oscar’s last milk feed of the night.  If he’s had a busy day at nursery he often falls asleep during this feed and I can then transfer him to the cot in his bedroom.  Tonight it’s not so easy and it takes me half an hour to convince him to go to sleep.  Dan has the knack of always getting him to fall sleep within minutes.  I think I am often too impatient at this time of the evening as I know just how much I still have to fit in before bed!

7:30pm – Dan arrives home just in time to help me soothe Oscar to sleep and then I quickly whizz around the house trying to complete as many basic housework chores as possible.  During the week I stick to the necessities – mainly washing up and washing/drying clothes.  I also clear away Oscar’s toys from earlier in the day, clean down his high chair and mat, and sometimes hoover if it’s been a particularly messy meal!  Tonight I just quickly use a bristle brush to sweep the worst of the food away.

8:00pm – Anywhere between 8pm-9pm I head out on my run for the evening.  I aim to run 4 nights during the working week, but it’s much tougher to slot them all in than I first thought it would be, and I often end up running twice on a Saturday to make up for a run I missed out earlier in the week.  Tonight I get changed and am out of the front door by 8:30pm, but I only have a 6 mile easy run (10:50mm-11:40mm pace) on my training plan so this is more manageable than the days where I’m due to run 8 or more miles.  The run goes well, and although I’ve been finding it hard to keep my runs this slow and steady, these sessions have definitely been paying off and I can feel that my endurance has improved no end just lately.

10:00pm – I always grab a glass of milk on arriving back from my run, and take 5 minutes to upload my run to Strava and just chill for a brief moment before grabbing a shower.  I hate not showering in the mornings, but I just don’t have time at the moment, so I wash my hair and quickly plait it to sleep in so that it doesn’t look too wild in the morning!

11:15pm – I like to be in bed by this point and on this occasion, I manage it with ten minutes to spare.  Rather than an extra ten minutes of sleep (which is probably what I should have used the time for) I scroll through my social media channels quickly before turning my bedside lamp off and waiting to hear Oscar calling out for me a few hours later.

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So that’s what I get up to on weekdays just lately.  I do wish I had a little more ‘free time’, but I get the opportunity to head out for a run most nights, so I can’t really complain!  I know that I definitely would not be able to maintain this lifestyle permanently though and I’m very glad that the end of term is now in sight.  I have returned as a full time teacher until the end of August, although after handing in my notice and negotiating some pay, my contract has been extended slightly until the end of September, so that I may help the new Second in Department to settle into the school and department.  Had the four weeks I am returning for been immediately on the back of the seven weeks I initially returned for, I would have outright turned down the extra work, but with the Summer holidays off in the middle, I hope that I will be able to muster up enough enthusiasm and energy for my final four weeks in September.
Major kudos to anybody who does manage to work full time and parent successfully around that whilst maintaining hobbies, seeing their partner (notice the lack of any time I get to spend with Dan during the week!) and keeping on top of housework!  I am hoping that once the Summer is here, I will be able to complete a couple of my easy runs whilst pushing Oscar in the buggy during the morning, so running won’t take over every evening during the week.  It’s so hard juggling everything and maintaining a healthy balance in life.  Is a healthy balance even possible any more?

Do you have any tips for fitting everything in to each day?!

A look back at 2016

2016 has been such a different year to any other.  Mainly because I spent nine months of the year growing a baby!  I love writing my look-back posts at the end of each year and rediscovering what I got up to throughout the previous twelve months, although this year has been made all the harder as I didn’t write many posts at all during the first trimester when I just felt so ill and tired at the time.

I shall do my best to sum the year up though, – starting with my 2016bestnine from Instagram:2016bestnineLast year my bestnine from Instagram were all running related, so it’s nice to see a ‘slight’ bit of variety in there with food and baby for this year too!

January:

The year kicked off with a super muddy cross-country course at Sharnbrook.

Bedford Harriers XC at Sharnbrook

I volunteered twice at Northampton parkrun as photographer whilst I was unable to run with a broken toe and also marshaled at the Country to Capital ultra. [Side note: I completely forgot I broke my toe again at the start of the year!]

Marshaling at CP2 of the Country to Capital

February:

I tackled the Thames Trot 50, choosing to pull after 20 miles due to my then unannounced pregnancy, before going on to run my first fell race the following day.

Me jumping at Charnwood hills race

March:

I didn’t seem to really write about much of anything in March it seems.  I guess morning sickness and tiredness was in full force this month!  Dan and I chose to tell both sets of parents this month about our pregnancy by giving each of them Mothers Day cards addressed to ‘Nanny’.

April:

One year I will enter the Stanwick 10k, but this year, once again I ran the route before the race, then cheered my clubmates home as has become tradition over the past few years.

Supporting WDAC on the Stanwick 10k

Along with many others I really enjoyed getting sucked in with all the parkrun April Fools statuses!

The two week break over Easter was really welcomed, and I did get out a little with a trip to MK Dons and Bletchley Park.  Although with six classes of year 11s, I spent one of the weeks of my holiday solidly marking.  Boo!

It was April before I finally announced my pregnancy on the blog following our first scan, and I was able to write about how I had found the first trimester.

Baby scan at 13w 3d

I also finally made it to 50 parkruns:)

parkrun traybake cake…and headed to London to support our runners at the London Marathon for the second year in a row.

May:

After several weeks where I wasn’t sure I would be able to continue running through my pregnancy, things started to get much easier this month and I even ran a 5k race followed by a half marathon the following day.

MK medalsI persuaded Dan to walk 25k for the Waendal Walk.  (He was sold at ‘pub stop’!)

Dan and I on the Waendel Walk

With a baby now very much on the way, this was the month we really started to get serious about working on our house and began adding our new kitchen and bathroom (amongst the million other things that needed doing!)

Dan and I were adamant that we did not want to find out the gender of our baby at our 20 week scan this month, so instead we decided to test out all of the old wives’ tales to try and predict the gender.  (Turns out most of them were correct!)

We also used the half term holiday as a chance to grab a babymoon to Prague.

Dan and me at the Rudolfinum, Prague

June:

In June I marshaled at both the Shires and Spires 35m (my first year of not running the event since 2012. :(  ) and the South Downs Way 100m.  I also missed out on the muddy Colworth Marathon Challenge weekend this year, choosing to photograph it instead.

Mud at Colworth 5(I do hope 2017 is just as muddy!)

A lot of this month seems to have been spent marking coursework and eating fine foods…no harm in that! 😉Beckworth Emporium afternoon teaJuly:

I got in a little parkrun tourism during July, with a trip to Bedford, and also a visit to the new Linford Wood course.

Linford Wood parkrunI completed the Houghton Hall Race for Life with my Mum for a second time on what was possibly the hottest day of the year and also marshaled at Pitsford Triathlon.

Houghton Hall Race4Life 2016 with MumJuly is the month of our club race, which I marshaled and photographed at.  I also helped with the timing at the club recce run of the event the Thursday beforehand.

Pre Welly 5 BBQ runAt the end of the month I went to the Grim 40/70/100 mile event to support runners from my club who were attempting the 40 and 70 mile distances.  Although disappointed I wasn’t able to run and retain my title of Ultra Queen for the club, it was lovely to be able to help support and provide supplies for those out running the event this year, just as I had relied on support from others for the previous two years when I had run the 70 miles.

August:

I volunteered to act as tailrunner at Bedford parkrun.  Why do I always get so nervous about volunteering?!  I went on to run the Huntingdon parkrun course a couple of times and also headed out on the trails round Castle Ashby to take some photos of the course for an upcoming club trail race.

Wellingborough trail race at Castle AshbyThe 9th August was my second wedding anniversary.  How have we already been married for two years?!

Anniversary cardI logged the 14 things you should know about running during pregnancy and marshaled at another triathlon – the Go Tri event.

On the bank holiday weekend I was given this amazing piece of bling from the guys at Saxons, Vikings and Normans for completing 17.6 miles at the Cakeathon event.  I was 35 weeks pregnant at the time.

Medal at the Cakeathon race

I managed to crank my parkrun course total up to 10 different events when I headed over to Market Harborough for a run.

September:

September ended up being ridiculously busy once I returned to work – madly attempting to complete my workload and handover to my replacement before heading off on maternity leave at the end of the month.

Somehow I managed to fit in crewing at the Round Norfolk Relay.

Timekeeper marshal vest for the Round Norfolk Relay

Dan and I headed to Stanwick to get our annual scarecrow fix

Stanwick scarecrows

…and I managed to make it to the inaugural Kettering parkrun

Running Kettering parkrun at 39 weeks pregnant…before returning to Kettering just three days later on the 27th.  This time to the hospital, where I was booked in for a Caesarean section to have Oscar.

Oscar's legs

October:

October was pretty much just spent attempting to recover from the C-section surgery.  You can read all about how horrific recovery was in part one or part two.

Me with Bella and Oscar

Oscar did make it out to his first parkrun at four weeks old though!

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

November:

I was finally given permission to run again by the doctor (and Dan!)

Wendy, of Running Buggies came to Stanwick Lakes so I made the most of heading down to test out a few models one Friday morning.

Thule Glide and the Out n About Nipper Sport V4It was a sad end to the month when one of my coaches passed away.  Our running club honoured him in true WDAC style.

The Hilly Hollis

December:

I ran my first Magic Mile in December, and hope to make many more in 2017 as I believe it would be an excellent way to track progress across the year.

As always, I put in several hours creating Runner of the Year videos for my club awards evening.

WDAC Christmas do party table

And I made it out for my first cross-country race post-baby.

Christmas Eve wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without the standard club muddy Christmas Eve run…

Christmas Eve club run

…which took place before traveling back to Norfolk to spend Christmas Day with my parents.

Oscar and Me in front of the Christmas tree

Another super busy year!  Now I’m looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings!

2014 round-up  *  2015 round-up

How would you sum up your year?

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?