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.

All my spare time has been spent sleeping

It has been nineteen days since I last posted, and probably about the same amount of time since I last properly sat down and read a blog.  Life has really been rushing by at 100mph lately and although I’ve really missed checking in and capturing moments of my life each week, I have so appreciated the extra time that not blogging and not reading blogs has given me to enable me to do nothing mark a million ten sets of coursework each for one hundred and seventy students over the past nineteen days.

Friday was coursework deadline day for my year 11 students, and it marks the end of a long period of 3:45-4:15am get ups for me.  It takes on average somewhere between 15-30 minutes to mark each student’s folder and as I joined the school halfway through last academic year I was gifted six sets of lovely year 10s, of varying ability.  Fine as year 10s, but when the pressure mounts and coursework deadline looms it turns out agreeing to take on those 170 students through to year 11 is the same as signing your life away, and almost every waking moment is spent marking, remarking, updating marks for parents and creating individual ticklists for students to ensure they know what is missing from their folder.

My life for the past three weeks has been a constant cycle of:

  • Set a ridiculously early alarm (usually about 4am)
  • Drag myself downstairs to try and wake up a little with some hot porridge
  • Let Bella have a drink from the bathroom tap (awful habit!) before allowing her to curl up on my lap in the office (and dry off a little!)
  • Bella in the sinkMark until 6am
  • Shower and rush around like a crazy person to make sure I have everything I need for the day
  • Get chauffeured to school (thanks Dan!) whilst catching up a little with emails and social media
  • Mark until kids start arriving (approx 8:15am)
  • Teach until breaktime
  • Have kids in for detention
  • Teach until lunchtime
  • Have coursework catch up kids in
  • Teach until 3pm
  • Mark until Dan picks me up at 5, or help any students that have stayed behind to work on their coursework.
  • Get chauffeured home from school (thanks Dan!) Too tired to do anything on the journey home though!
  • Cook and eat tea
  • Mark until bedtime (often quite late)

Dan’s 89 year old Nan was also rushed into hospital three weeks back, following a series of severe angina attacks.  It has meant that some evenings Dan and I have also slotted in the two hour journey over to Wolverhampton hospital where she is staying, visited her for an hour, before heading home again.  Luckily, Dan has done the driving so I have been able to catch up on a little sleep during this time.

One day I even somehow managed to sleep through my alarm going off every 5 minutes from 4:30am right through until nearly 6:20am!  I knew that I had been pretty tired the evening before so had allowed myself a later alarm time, but still managed to sleep through the alarm going off for nearly two hours!Missed phone alarm

As you can see, I haven’t had a lot of spare time just lately!

This weekend, I am not marking.  I am having the weekend off.  Other than a baby shower yesterday afternoon, I have no plans apart from catching up with some TV series, seeing a bit of Dan (we’re heading out for a nice meal this afternoon), probably catch up on a bit of very neglected housework, have a serious blog-reading-binge, write a few posts myself and get a couple of runs in.

Even the last few weekends have been fairly busy for Dan and I.  I’ve headed back to Norfolk to meet a friend’s new baby for the first time, I also ran at both the Thames Trot 50 and the Charnwood Hills fell race.  All posts to follow this week hopefully.

Thames Trot 50

Despite this coming week showing as a half term holiday in my calendar I have resigned myself to heading in to school from 7-5 each day as per my usual working week in order to mark all coursework on the official qualification submission sheets and catch up a little with the classes that I have neglected in the build up to the deadline on Friday.  On the plus side though, my alarm will be set for no earlier than 5:45am and I will not be bringing work home with me this week.

…Roll on the Easter holidays!

So tell me, what have I missed in the last three weeks?
What is the first thing to ‘go’ when things get a little busy for you?

A soggy tourist!

It’s been a little while.  Sorry for my absence from the blog.  I have a lot to write about and a lot to catch up on, and I’m hoping to do just that this weekend.  I’ll start by telling you about my most recent parkrun tourism trip…
Not last Saturday, but the one before that (7th November), Laura and I headed off to Daventry for a bit of parkrun tourism. Daventry was the sixth parkrun course I’ve run, and was parkrun number 36 in total.
My usual parkrun courses are all a good thirty minutes away and Daventry showed as being 50 minutes away when I punched the postcode into the satnav.
After a week of 5am get ups, I had decided to set my alarm for 7:20am on Saturday morning so it ended up being quite a rush getting round, ready for leaving by 7:45am. I did it though…Only to discover that there were just 60 miles of petrol left in the tank of my car. I always do this…Leave buying petrol until the last minute and then not factoring in the time to purchase any on the way! Luckily I arrived with 10 miles to spare and there was a petrol station within sight of where I parked.
10 miles left
It was absolutely tipping it down when I arrived. I’d had my windscreen wipers going on full blast and after getting out of the car to change my trainers, I was soaked through within seconds. I’d arrived wearing road shoes, unsure of the terrain we would be running on.  I knew trail shoes would be a better option when I glanced up to see the muddy field in front of the car park where the finish funnel was being constructed though.
The reason we had decided to head to Daventry on Saturday was due to the first birthday celebrations that were taking place. Fancy dress and slotting in some parkrun tourism is high on the agenda this year and we both really enjoyed the Corby’s first birthday parkrun back in September.  The Daventry event was a black tie do and so there were plenty of runners in dresses and suits, slipping around in the rain. This included Laura, who arrived fully dressed up, including wearing accessories of a necklace and also clutching tightly onto a handbag, which she used to carry her parkrun barcode around in!
Laura at Daventry parkrun(Laura in her get-up post-race!)
There were some fab outfits, and despite the rain, loads of people were wearing dresses, full on suits, or like one guy who zoomed by me early into the race, wearing a suit jacket and dickie bow with running shorts on his bottom half!
Daventry parkrun in the paper
I bailed out of the fancy dress at the last minute, despite Dan intending on pulling out his tux tie for me the evening before. Waking up late, not feeling great, the horrific weather and the mad rush as I realised that the parkrun was actually 50 minutes away and I had limited petrol were all contributing factors to this decision. I felt a bit bad texting Laura to say I was just in regular running kit, but I think she let me off in the end!
When I arrived I was desperate for the toilet. I don’t think the noisy rain had helped. The rain, along with downing a pint of water just before leaving the house an hour earlier, meant that by the time I had changed my trainers, found Laura and asked where the toilets were,  it was 8:55, I was desperate for the loo and with no time to make it to the toilets and back before the start. Damn!
Not knowing the course, we lined up at the back and chatted to the other runners around us. I decided to keep my hoodie on as it was still really raining. It wasn’t cold though and I instantly regretted it when we started running.
Daventry parkrun
Although Laura had done her research and declared the route off-road, we weren’t sure if the course consisted of multiple laps or just the one lap.  We began on a pathway, gradually picking off other runners in front of us.  It was a proper Autumn day out there, with leaves on the ground everywhere you looked.  The heavy rain meant lots of mud to either side of the path, and there was a brief bottleneck near the beginning as runners slowed down to head through a water-logged gate one-by-one.
Daventry parkrunI really didn’t have a great run and realised early on that if you need the toilet before a run, it’s probably better to go, rather than to try and run with a short stride and ignore the sound of rushing water under the bridges you run across!
I hadn’t planned on a quick one, which was good, as it definitely wasn’t!  Laura and I chatted away for the first couple of miles, but I was even struggling with that towards the end.  I just wasn’t having a good day!  The course was just one lap in the end, and I really enjoyed the route.  One to go back for again for sure.
Mile 1: 10:46
Mile 2:
9:32
Mile 3: 10:22
Nubbin: 8:51mm pace
I removed my jacket and carried it after about a mile.  It was too warm and faffy to be wearing it AND run.
Daventry parkrunI told Laura to push ahead near to the end so she went off and left me for the last little bit.  I did the best sprint finish I could muster whilst needing a wee, and as soon as I crossed the finish line I thrust my barcode into Laura’s hand for her to scan so that I could nip off and find the loo!
Official time: 30:54
Position:
94/154
Gender position: 21/67
Category position: 4/7
A few minutes later, and with an empty bladder once more, Laura and I made our way to the post-parkrun cafe for cake and hot chocolate.
I did point out to Laura that it was looking like we were becoming the parkrun crashers – going from birthday parkrun to birthday parkrun and enjoying the birthday cake!  And it was good cake…
Guinness cake at Daventry parkrunAlthough not normally a Guinness fan, there was something about the density of the Guinness cake that appealed to me and I did not leave disappointed following a slice of this!
Laura and I stuck around for a long gossip after the run, and one of the main organisers came to chat to us about where we were from and ask if we had enjoyed our first experience of Daventry parkrun, which was really nice.  I do love the smaller events like this.  Parkrun is such a friendly community!

Do you chat to parkrun tourists at your event?  Our local event, Northampton, is so large I wouldn’t know who was a regular and who wasn’t.

Feeling guilty

The past fortnight has been a busy one…I feel like I spend my life saying that. It seems that every time I meet up with friends, the conversation always goes the same.
“Hey, how have you been? I’ve not seen you forever!”
“I’ve been OK.  Super busy though.”
…Is it just me?!
Work - I keep hitting the escape key but I still seem to be here!

(One of my birthday cards from last week!)

It doesn’t help that it is so dark now the clocks have changed either.  I leave for work in the dark and get home from work in the dark.  What does the outside world look like again?…!

Last week was the half term holiday and a week off from school. Unfortunately, with more than 220 GCSE / A-level students this year, including 170 year 11s, this meant that my week remained rather busy. Although I might not have been in school last week, I brought a large number of folders home from school for marking.  As a Computing teacher I only see students once each week, meaning that during each five day working week I see more than 500 students coming through my classroom doors. I’m afraid this means I don’t know all of my students’ names yet, and until last week it definitely meant that I hadn’t marked all of their folders.
I needed to catch up with my marking though and so half term was when I had set aside some time to do just that.  It was convenient that over the holiday the year 11 reports were also due.  Therefore, along with marking folders of coursework, I also wrote out 170 reports for students. I do know the names of all the students in my GCSE classes at least, it’s just the lower year groups I haven’t quite mastered yet!

I wanted to give myself an enjoyable start to the half term break, even if the rest of the week ended up being rather work-heavy, so I headed to parkrun on the Saturday and ran the home cross-country on the Sunday morning before kicking off with my marking the following day.

On Monday I spent the day organising all of the folders; putting student work in order, naming work, and adding candidate numbers where they were missing. Tuesday and Wednesday were spent sorting through and marking each of the folders in the pile that had accumulated in my office back at home.  Then on Thursday I managed to get the majority of reports written.
Where did my week off go?!

I did slot in a break on Thursday evening though, where I joined five friends to make a team for a Friends (the TV show) themed quiz night.  Pub quizzes I regularly come last in, but a Friends-themed quiz?…I owned all Friends videos as a teenager and was looking forward to the quiz for a while!  The six of us headed to Peterborough, where the quiz was held and joined 39 other teams for the charity quiz.  There are a couple of ‘Monica’ characters within our friendship group, so we had been throwing questions out in a group Facebook chat for weeks in the build up to the event, determined to win on the day!
Friends pub quiz
Unfortunately we didn’t win.  Although we were one of the top scoring teams on the night, we were just pipped to the post when it came to prizes.  Each team donated a raffle prize and I came away with a bottle of wine from the raffle though.  Winner!

Although I did complete a little work on Friday morning, my birthday was the following day and so just before lunchtime last Friday, Dan and I headed to a little village in the Peak District, where we met my parents and their dog, Blue, at a little cottage that they had booked out for the week. It was my birthday on the Saturday and my third attempt at running the Dusk ‘til Dawn 50m race. I’ll review this in a separate post when I get a chance as regular readers will know just how long my race recaps can become!  😛

On Sunday afternoon when Dan and I returned home following the race we spent some time removing the final wall of wallpaper in the last upstairs bedroom, throwing loads of washing into the machine and giving the house a tidy, ready for another full working week back at school.

Currently, I feel guilty for not marking each of my student folders every week. I feel guilty for not knowing all of the student names, I feel guilty for not volunteering my name forward for any extra responsibility tasks within my department, and for not spending as much time with the non-naughty children, the kids that actually need or deserve my time each lesson.

Despite struggling to fit everything into each day just lately I am really enjoying my job at the moment.  It is so satisfying teaching students how to complete tasks using the computers, especially so when it is something they are really interested in (creating mobile phone apps or video editing), or when they are working towards qualifications in the higher years.  I have an optional class of year 10, who are mainly lower ability students.  Because they are a class of students who have chosen ICT as an optional subject I have just 17 students in the group, who I see three times each week.  This has helped me to build up a really positive relationship with the class, and and I love overhearing them telling teachers or other students in the corridor about the high grades they have worked hard for in my subject.

I also do a lot of the IT based work behind the scenes for my running club – updating the website, adding race results, creating graphics for upcoming events and setting up and resetting user accounts amongst other things.  I try not to spend more than 5-6 hours a week on club admin stuff, although some weeks it can get a little out of hand.  Having so many members is great, targeting certain races as ‘club races’ is great in theory – until it comes to entering all of their results each Monday evening!  This week I spent three hours on Monday evening alone catching up with club admin stuff.  Coming up later this month I shall be creating the club ‘Runner of the Year’ videos.  A task which usually takes me in the region of 30 hours.  I absolutely love creating the videos, and whilst I’ve considered giving up my committee role before, I wouldn’t want to pass over my video making role!

Because I have been so busy with club stuff, marking and school work just lately, it has also meant that I haven’t had much time for blogging or reading blogs and my absence has made me realise just how much I really miss it.  I feel so behind with things!  Add to my guilty list the following; not responding to blog comments, being slow to blog about my ultra attempt last weekend, not keeping up with posts from other bloggers…

Healthy eating has also dropped down my priority list over the past few weeks.  There were a few days I forgot about breakfast and lunch completely before the holiday, and dinner has quickly gone from being carefully planned out a week in advance and organised in the mornings to being something I raid the cupboards for when I realise we haven’t eaten that night!  I feel guilty when I don’t home-cook our dinners and on days when I haven’t organised myself enough in advance to ensure we are eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables.  I feel guilty when the washing is left until the weekend and the floor is left unhoovered, or I miss a night of watering the plants in the greenhouse.

Bella was very sulky last Friday morning – she knew that we were going away and sat very quietly up on the bedroom windowsill, refusing to move and silently watching us drive away from the house from her vantage point looking out onto the road.  I had arranged for a friend to drop in and feed her on the Saturday whilst we were away and worried that she would pine and be off her food.  I needn’t have worried though, as all of her food had been eaten when we returned home and she threw herself at the front room window – her little tail vibrating so fast – something she has always done when we return home after a day away.  Her little way of showing us just how excited she is to see us!
She promptly fell asleep on my lap and stayed flat out until I moved her!
Bella on my lap
I felt guilty for leaving her, and for all of the times I ignored her whilst trying to get my work caught up during the holiday.

One of my year 13 students today was telling me that I just didn’t understand how hard things were as a seventeen year old.  I’m sure I felt the same at seventeen, but the pressures of being a decade older are so much more!  One of my optional year 10 students earlier couldn’t believe I’d marked 500 folders over the holidays, and announced that he never intended on becoming a teacher if that is what you had to spend your holidays doing!

I’m hoping that things will start to calm down again until Christmas now that my batch marking session and largest set of reports are over.  I miss writing, and the blogging world in general…

Have you ever been to a themed quiz?
What do you find yourself feeling guilty for?

How do you manage to fit blogging in when times get busy?