Two parkruns and some big news

Firstly, the parkruns.
Both at Northampton, both with the buggy.

Last week I headed over to run with Laura and Steph, who has been out with an injury for almost a year now.  Every runner’s worst nightmare.  Steph was hoping to run the whole parkrun and then intended on rewarding herself with a new pair of trainers if she succeeded in doing so.  Spoiler alert: a new pair of trainers were purchased!

We started at the back and kept things super slow so that we could catch up on the gossip.  I can’t remember the last time I ran properly without chatting at parkrun to be honest.  I’m due a proper hard run soon I’m sure!
Northampton parkrun with the running buggy

We used to regularly have a photographer at Northampton parkrun but it’s been a bit hit and miss for the last year or so and it was nice to see one out and about last weekend.  He was literally everywhere as well.  Popped up so many times out on the course!  According to a post he shared on the parkrun Facebook page, he took more than 2000 images during the run!

Garmin time: 35:37
Official time: 35:42
Position: 449/539
Gender position: 173/234
Age category position: 22/27

We obviously headed to The Good Loaf for cake afterwards, although for some reason I forgot to take any pictures.  Very unlike me!

As I was loading up the buggy back at my car again, a tiny little mouse came running out from underneath my car and just pottered around on the pavement.  He kept stopping and looking at me, but really wasn’t scared at all.

Mouse in Northampton

This past weekend, Oscar and I headed to Northampton parkrun again with Laura and this time Dan joined us too, although ran his own ‘race’.  Now that Dan has decided to give up football on a Saturday morning he thought it would be a good idea to get back out to parkrun for as many events as he can make, starting with the one at the weekend.

Dan, Me and Oscar on the way to parkrun

On the drive over Dan asked if I would like him to head back and collect Oscar from me once he had crossed the finish line.  I said that he could do if he wanted, although we may not be too far behind, depending on how busy it was that day.

Laura, Oscar and I at Northampton parkrunIt was pretty busy.

We got very stuck behind other runners at the beginning.  I’ve naturally got a very long stride and it’s very hard to keep clipping it continuously.  The paths are very narrow at Northampton and so I kept whizzing Oscar out on the grassy verges and over the bumpy bits where I was able, so that I could overtake runners who stopped or slowed as we went along.  Oscar didn’t seem to care though.  I get the impression (from all the fab smiling he does as everyone runs by) that he adores being in the buggy!

Garmin time: 31:40
Official time: 31:43
Position: 361/523
Gender position: 105/217
Age category position: 17/31

I was really surprised to see 31m 40s on my Garmin as I crossed the line, as once again I’d chatted the whole way round and we really had been going so very slowly (for us) at the beginning of the run.  Dan finished in just under 31 minutes and didn’t make it back to relieve me of the buggy!

We had a busy weekend actually as Dan, Oscar and I met friends, along with their 11-month-old baby at Beckworth Emporium for lunch.  Well, we met them at 2pm, and were seated a little after 3.  The queuing was insane!  Luckily, the babies behaved.

Beckworth Emporium queueI definitely deserved burger and cake for my lunch/tea by the time we were seated!

Burger from Beckworth EmporiumThat fudge cake was a killer though…I wolfed it down as Oscar needed feeding by that point, but by the time I got up I could barely move I was so full!

Chocolate fudge cake from Beckworth Emporium

On Sunday morning Dan managed a lay in, and then I got him breakfast in bed.  (I thought it was supposed to be Mother’s Day?!  Haha!)  We had planned to go swimming so that Dan could see Oscar in the pool, as, other than his first swimming lesson back at the start of January, Dan hasn’t seen Oscar in the water.

Oscar absolutely adores swimming.  Over the past three months his confidence has grown so much in the pool and he is now perfectly happy to dive in from the side of the pool, go underwater, and he kicks his legs and doggy-paddles with his arms.  He’s pretty easy to spot in the pool as he’s the one that will be shrieking with excitement each lesson!

We stopped in at Asda to pick up some coloured plastic balls and a plastic watering can for him to play with in the pool and although he was quite distracted by all of the other children in the public swimming pool, Dan still got to see him enjoying the water which was nice.

We followed our swim up with a picnic at Irchester Country Park, where we were going to give Oscar his first experience of the swings, but it was so incredibly busy as it was such a lovely, sunny weekend that we decided to give it a miss and headed out on a little walk instead.

Dan, Oscar and I out for a walk on Mother's Day

On Sunday I also handed in my notice at work.  I’ve been at the same school for the last two and a half years, although it feels like much longer.  Despite having been on maternity leave since the end of September, I still find myself logging in to the system every couple of days to work on resources for Year 11 (my subject responsibility), and I check my email daily.  I just can’t switch off as a teacher, despite not being in the classroom!

It was a huge decision for Dan and I to make, but ultimately I know that we have made the best decision for our little family.  I will still be returning to school at the end of May to work my notice until the end of the school year, during which time Oscar will attend nursery, but after that I will become a full-time stay-at-home/work-odd-jobs-from-home Mum.

I was so worried about sending the email with my resignation that it took me more than two hours to write the message, and then nearly another 30 minutes before I felt able to hit the send button!  The response from my Head of Department summed up how I was feeling though, and I’m sure she won’t mind me sharing this paragraph…
“I know that you won’t have made this decision lightly.  I also know that you couldn’t possibly be just an ‘OK’ teacher and just an ‘OK’ Mum, so it’s about priorities.  It’s so important to be happy in life Mary.”

I want to be the very best Mum that I can be to Oscar, and I don’t feel like I would be able to do that with 60+ hour working weeks and without any down-time to run or write.  I don’t know quite how things will work out come-September, but I do know that we will adjust just fine and our new way of life will become the new normal.  I’m looking forward to the next chapter!

Just recently there have been several things that I have wanted to write about that I feel don’t really ‘fit’ this blog.  AHM has always been a) very run-focused and b) written more like a diary.  I feel like at the moment there are quite a few ‘topics’ I want to write about.  Some of them baby, some of them just life-things, and they don’t really fit here.  I hurriedly set up a new baby blog back when I first announced my pregnancy online, although decided to continue writing on AHM as my pregnancy journey often had a running-focus.  I think I’m now ready to start running the two blogs alongside each other though, so if you would like to read about a slightly different side of my life, then please visit me over at From Teacher to Mum.  It’s very new, I haven’t played with the design yet and I’m not sure how often I’ll post at the moment.  Getting long blocks of time in front of the computer with a six month old is pretty tough!  I still intend on writing about Oscar-things here when it is running related though.

How did you spend Mother’s Day at the weekend?
Did you learn to swim as a child?
When did you last hand your notice in at a job?

Another week, another parkrun, same pink top

Because the pink top is just one of two which fit me right now, and it always seems to be the one not in the wash basket on a Saturday morning!

Peterborough parkrun at 36 weeks pregnant

As we headed to a new-to-me parkrun (Market Harborough) last week, it was time for a new-to-Laura parkrun this week, and so she drove over to mine for 8am so that we could make our way over to Peterborough parkrun, held at Ferry Meadows.

I knew that the course had changed slightly since I had last run the event, although I wasn’t sure what changes had been made.

The walk to the start is now much shorter, and we began much closer to the cafe than the long walk to the start line that we used to have to take.  I was a little confused when we ran past the finish line on the way out though as it appeared to be in the same location.  Where was the course going to lose the extra metres that we had added on at the start of the event?…!

Peterborough parkrun is run around the lakes and is another lap-course.  Last time I ran, we completed a mini loop around one lake, before two large loops around both lakes and through to the finish.  This time, there is just the mini loop followed by one and a half large loops around both lakes, before runners turn off and head back along a slightly different route to the finish (part of the same way you head out on the starting mini loop but in reverse).  Although the Peterborough course isn’t hugely congested, it meant that faster runners weren’t having to dodge so many other runners as they were lapping people on their way to the finish and it allowed the rest of us to run as larger groups along the track.

As Laura and I ran over the second bridge on the first lap, we spotted a lady who had fallen over who was now sat on the side of the path.  There were a couple of other runners with her and she appeared to have just fallen and knocked herself.  As there wasn’t a lot we could do and everything appeared to be under control, we continued running.  The bridges can be a little slippery at times, but the worst part about running over the bridges is the sensation when they bounce up underneath you to meet your feet as you run along!

Just like last week, the run felt super comfortable throughout and I easily ran another Royal Flush Negative Split:

Mile 1: 11:02
Mile 2: 10:25
Mile 3: 9:55
Nubbin (0.23m): 9:00mm pace

Peterborough parkrun Garmin time

The course clocked up a fair way over on my Garmin – guess I must have weaved a fair amount out there!  I was just two seconds slower than my run at Market Harborough the week before, but had covered more distance, so my pace worked out faster overall.

Garmin time: 33:23
Official time: 
33:24
Position: 
366/494
Gender position: 
80/123
Age category position: 
117/195

Peterborough parkrun - RUN HQ sign

(Love this sign at the start!)

This past week was super busy with the Cakeathon on Monday, lots of final GCSE coursework marking to do ready for school on Thursday, and then with returning to school on Thursday for the first two days of term.  Throw in the fact that my parents were staying over Wednesday-Friday to help with fitting the kitchen (along with a million other odd renovation jobs that still need doing to our house), slotting in a running club committee meeting on the Thursday evening, being back to a 5:15am get up for work each morning, and I was very ready to meet the trail run gang at the pub for dinner following their run on Friday night, and then slot in a parkrun on Saturday morning to escape from the madness of everything else.  Maternity leave cannot come soon enough, despite not being scheduled to begin until October 4th (unless baby decides to come early).

Did you start your weekend with a parkrun?

All the delicious Summer foods

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

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

Bee happy bee cookie

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

And then it will be the glorious long Summer holidays!

End of term

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

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

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

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

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

Here goes…

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

Beckworth Emporium afternoon tea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Berries and icecream

Berries and BBQs…proper British Summer food!

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

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.