High-Fiving Palm Trees

Running, and other aspect of my life.


Yesterday was fab.  I absolutely loved marshalling at the Marathon. Unusually for a Bank Holiday Monday the weather was very warm and sunny, even at 08.00 when we had to meet up to be issued with our equipment and our positions on the course.

This was in complete contrast with last year’s race when it rained so much that parts of the course were flooded, it also snowed, and people were being taken off the course with hypothermia.

I was stationed relatively early in the race at 8.75 miles, but as the runners started to come past red-faced and drenched in sweat it was clear to see that hypothermia was not going to be a problem this year; no-one was going to have an easy time of it for completely the opposite reason.  The lead runner came past me at about 55 mins and was way ahead of the pack and did in fact win the race.  The last girl to pass me was  at about 2hrs 10 minutes but was still gamely pushing on.  In a field of nearly 2200 runners, there were over 100 DNFs and I should imagine that a lot of them were due to the warm weather.

Look out for Milton Keynes Marathon Day next year, there’ll probably be a plague of locusts.

Everybody was so good-natured.  Lots of runners actually bothered to gasp out “Thank you marshall.” which I thought was exceptionally nice of them as I was just standing there clapping, they were doing all the hard work.

I’ll definitely volunteer again.

So…The fat-busting!

That started yesterday as well.  When I arrived home, Mike was in the garden lying in the sun with a beer.  it was v. tempting to just join him, but instead, I headed up to the spare room which I have commandeered as my temporary workout area and did the first workout of the course.  It was an upper body workout with weights.

My arms are really my weakest thing, they’re like cooked spaghetti, so I just started with 2kg weights. Julia stresses that the workouts are supposed to be difficult and if they’re not then you should be doing more. At first, I thought I’d chosen weights that were a little too easy, but by the end of the session my arms were shaking and I couldn’t hold anything.

(Fortunately, by the time I’d got changed and went down to the garden, i was able to clutch hold of a glass of Prosecco without spilling a drop!)

We also had to do ab crunches which I can usually do quite easily, but today I can really notice the ache, which is I think because I actually concentrated on what I was doing instead of just knocking out as many crunches as possible, I made each one count.

Buster enjoyed doing the workout with me.  I had to hold a particular pose which involved my arm being stretched out  in front of me at dog height, so after high-fiving me a couple of times,  he helpfully positioned himself under my hand in order that I could fuss him while I worked.

He rolled around on his back while I was doing the crunches, didn’t really get the hang of the proper exercise, but showed willing.

My arms seemed OK this morning until I started to do the ironing, by the time I’d finished the pile It felt like I’d done a whole new workout.

Furnace…… That was today’s workout, which is short sharp bursts of intense exercise  interspersed with rest periods. I did it on the treadmill, which is in the conservatory, which was already like a furnace before I started.    After opening all the doors to let some air in, I did the workout and it was actually good to be running again and listening to my running music.

Achilles was fine doing the running so I’m going to do some proper stretches on it now and see if I can keep it at bay.

I haven’t looked to see what tomorrow’s torture  workout session consists of.  I think I’ll leave it as a lovely surprise…..IMG_5390


Don’t ask me why…..

I have a busy day tomorrow.  

Firstly, I am going to be a marshall at the Milton Keynes Marathon. This will be my first experience of marshalling.  

I get a t-shirt and a hi-vis jacket, plus a baguette a bottle of water, and a recyclable bag!

A (t)wit (you know who you are xxx)  asked if as a marshall I get a gun!  I would quite like to have had a gun.  It would certainly motivate some of the slower runners to up their game, but no, no guns are being issued tomorrow.

I have to report at 08.00 to be allocated my position.  All know at the moment it that it will be somewhere between miles 1 and 9.  I’d really like to have been somewhere in the last few miles where runners need lots of support and encouragement, but as tomorrow is predicted to be the warmest day of the year so far, I think they’ll need cheers and claps all the way round. 

The race starts at 10.00 and I’m really looking forward to being on the other side of the fence and helping rather than running.

The other thing I’m doing tomorrow is starting a 12 week fat busting course!!!

Before everyone starts, I know that I’m not the fattest person in the world, but I’m doing this so I don’t BECOME the fattest person in the world! 

Underneath the clothes there is a layer of flab that is not pretty and I want it gone. I’m dress size 12, and I want to be 10. 

I haven’t been able to run much since Christmas when I mucked my Achilles tendon up in a shopping-related incident, and the tone that I had has disappeared under what I think of as a layer of Pork Belly! My jeans are all uncomfortably tight, and Summer is nearly upon us.

OK I’m 52, but frankly I’m just not prepared to give in and go middle-aged. I still want to have the choice of buying my clothes in Top-Shop and Jane Norman, as well as John Lewis and House of Fraser.

I WILL still wear bikinis and not one-piece swimsuits. 

If this means a bit of hard work, then so what?  I trained for and ran a MARATHON!  I can do ANYTHING!!!

(Am I convincing you yet? Am I convincing myself…..?) 

Yesterday I had to have a set of “before” pictures taken, wearing a bikini.  It is a shocking sight.  You can see the outline of where my body ought to be, but shrouded in a coat of lard.  As the coat does not have buttons or a zip, the only way of taking it off is going to be melting it with hard work and exercise.

I’m not doing it on my own.  I have signed up with Julia Buckley for her 12-week fitness programme. 

So far it looks great.  We have our own secret Facebook page that no-one else is allowed on, where all the people who have done the course before are being very helpful and encouraging. Julia has set us all up with private Dropbox folders where she has put the instructions for everything that we have to do, and where we have to upload our ‘before pictures’. I’m v. enthusiastic about all the Facebooking and Admin. One small problem will be the actual exercising…….





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I’m Garmin to get you Tom Tom

OK That was a really bad title.

I’d like some advice though.  I’ve lost my Garmin 610.  Completely.

I haven’t run for ages due to a niggling achilles, and the last time I did go out, in February, was only a couple of miles to see if it would hurt or not.  It did hurt, a lot, because I slipped over.

I was running around the park near where I grew up in Luton.  In the park is a museum, and other interesting relics of  ‘Old Luton’.  One of these is a Donkey Wheel. It’s in a shed, and you can’t get in you can only look at it.  I only went to look at it because it used to be a ritual that we always did whenever we went to the park as children.

I was running along the tarmac paths, then I swerved over to look in at the donkey wheel, and ran onto the flagstones outside the shed.  The flagstones were covered in invisible slime and I just went flying, at top speed.  I landed on my side and sort of bounced straight up again, looking around furtively and embarrassed, to see if anyone had noticed.

When I realised that no-one had, I had a little sniffle to myself because it had REALLY HURT!!!!!

I was decorated in slime all the way down one side and I was shaking.

Ran back to the car, wiped off the slime as much as possible and drove home.

I don’t really remember it properly, I think I was actually quite shaken up.

I haven’t seen my Garmin since.

When I come in from a run, I ALWAYS put it next to the laptop so I can download my run onto the website. (No fun running unless you have lots of statistics to mull over) but it’s not there and it’s nowhere else in the house either.

After a few weeks of searching I’ve put in an insurance claim and should get most of the cost of the watch back quite soon.

SO, the advice I’m after is.  Should I replace my Garmin Forefunner 610 with the same thing, (maybe in the new more girly White Limited Edition) or shall I wait for a month or two until the new TOMTOM Runner is released. ?

What I really like about the Garmin 610 is the vibrate alert so you don’t have to listen out for beeps.

What I have not liked about it is that the display is sometimes quite hard to read as you’re going along.


forerunner-610 HEADER_1_v2[1]_1


Janathon Day 28 – Yeah right!

Janathon Day 28, or shall we just call it what it is and stop trying to get out of it.  FAILUREATHON!


I’m sorry, I was rubbish!  I did nothing from day 17 to today. I did run today in the rain and miserable weather because I was so utterly consumed by guilt.

I’ve been using the snow as an excuse and now the snow is gone! No more excuses!

I really really want to go to the Post-Janathon Lunch on Saturday, but I don’t know if failures are allowed.

I’ll go to London anyway, and if I’m not allowed to play with the others, I’ll just stand outside the restaurant and look in through the glass, gazing in awe at the athletic Gods and Goddesses who completed Janathon and did it all properly.

This is the miserable rain-sodden trail I jogged along today. Oh, no it isn’t, failed at that too, picture won’t upload.  Doom & Gloom!

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Janathon Day 17 already.

Today I did Core exercises with the Wii. Again v. impressive and I worked hard.  

Then I thought I’d have a go at the yoga as I’ve never done that before and I thought it would be nice and relaxing.  

It wasn’t  relaxing  as I didn’t bother to watch the tutorial and so I had no idea what I was doing when she was telling me to do Monkey, Foal, Downward Dog, Plank, Crocodile and Cobra in fairly swift succession and it’s a bit difficult when you’ve got your face in the carpet to watch what she’s doing on the screen.

Had anyone been watching I feel that they would have more than likely thought that I was just falling over in slow motion.

Buster thought it was fun though and “helped” a lot.

I will watch the tutorial and find out what I’m supposed to be doing before I have another go at Yoga. 

Off to my Dad’s this afternoon, Yippee.  Dad is living in squalor in a mouse-infested house and refuses to be moved. Got to make sure that he and the mice have enough supplies as the snow is forecast and I won’t be able to get over there for a few days. They all like biscuits best.



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Day 16 – Wot no Day 15??

Yes there was! I did Day 15, I just completely forgot to blog it. It’s me age you know luv!

So, I moved the Wii from the “bar” outside – too cold,  to the lounge, where I have previously  been forbidden to keep it. However, Lord Ivory is out far more these days playing with his factory, so I can use the Wii indoors without offending his sensibilities!!!!

The Programme/App/Game?? not sure what the correct term is, is called My Fitness Coach, and it is REALLY good.  

When you first set it up it gives you a thorough fitness test so that it can devise a programme to suit you, and as you work your way along it retests you from time to time so it can recalibrate to keep you working at optimum levels.

I haven’t used it for ages, so I got a mild  telling off from my “personal trainer” and some encouragement to do more.

I actually really enjoyed the 30 mins cardio workout and I did work hard.  Had to stop after 5 mins to go and put a sports bra on!!! I was v. Hot and sweaty at the end so I think I did well.  I knew it was going to hurt the next day, especially round my neck and shoulders but……OOOWWWWWWW!

This morning I was really sore, but I didn’t let it put me off.  If I’ve got to do something for Janathon, I’d rather be doing it in the lounge than out in the snow.

Buster LOVES My Fitness Coach, for about the first 20 mins he joins in with Squeaky, and gives it a good thrashing while I’m doing my stuff, after that he gets bored, and tries to help me as clearly I’m suffering and he tries to stop me.  Not actually helpful, but its the thought that counts.

I do want to go out for a run some time this week, but I don’t do early mornings I’m afraid and I don’t do running in the dark, and so it takes quite a chunk out of the daylight hours to get ready, drive somewhere to run, do the run, come home, shower/hair/make-up and then it’s almost dark again! 

It’s a tough life.




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Days 9-14 – Sort of fail really.

Well I said it was going to be difficult to keep to Janathon due to the travelling, and it was.  I started off really well.  When we arrived at our first stop on the 9th, I took the dog for a long walk, this was not something I’d normally do as it’s husband’s job, so that counted.  

ON the 10th I got up early and had a lovely run along the promenade round the the port then I found a park as well. I didn’t go far but it was over 2k so that was day 10 sorted.

Day 11, not so good.  Arrived in the  middle of France in the dark on day 10, it was raining, freezing cold and horrible.  It was the same next morning. I only had capris, short sleeved t-shirt, no fleece, jacket, long sleeved top, gloves, hat, or ANYTHING  warm, so I opted for the 250 sit-ups in the bedroom.  Not so easy when  a small white dog thinks that you are doing it purely for his amusement and that he should jump on your tummy and lick your face throughout.

Day 12 Similar to Day 11

Day 13 back at home, really tired from all the driving. Sorry – FAIL

Day 14 – Walked in snow maybe 2km, forgot to wear Garmin.

No blogging until today as limited internet access,

So I think generally I have to say that I’ve failed in the general spirit of Janathon for the past few days.

I ordered some new gear while I was away and have a nice longsleeved high-neck top from RunBreeze to try out.  I’m not too sure about running in the snow though, and unless it’s thawed a bit tomorrow I can’t actually get my car out, so if that is the case in the morning, I’m going to set the Wii up and do My Fitness Trainer, which is an excellent thing, like having a personal trainer in your house and it measures your fitness and really makes you work hard. 

I feel a bit of a wet drip for being so namby pamby especially reading so many other people’s blogs of going out running or  doing Brit Mil Fit etc. in the snow.  Sorry x


This is where I ran on the morning of Day 10 – Llafranch on the Costa Brava – Spain.




This is Buster looking surprised at my Janathon attempt Day 11



Buster’s general attitude to Janathon!



Day 8 – Runners Feet!

Did just over 6k today, Lovely run, beautiful weather. 

Today’s playlist shuffle was as follows

If I Had Words – Scott Fitzgerald & Yvonne Keeley

Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars

Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen

Under the Boardwalk – The Drifters

Ever Fallen in Love – Fine Young Cannibals

Fantastic Day – Haircut 100

Amarillo – Tony Christie

Let it Flow – Audiofuel

I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor

U can’t touch this – MC Hammer

I want you back – Bananarama

Free Brazilia – Audiofuel


Later on I went to the chiropodist.  I don’t do this often and I only went this time because my husband went yesterday and decided to make me an appointment because she was so good.

It was only at the beginning of December that I finally had a full complement of toenails since losing many of them during the training and running of the London Marathon last year. 

About a month after the marathon I did go to see a chiropodist in England as the condition of my feet was worsening  to the point where I began to believe that I had in fact contracted leprosy.

He wasn’t a very nice young man, he did not really approve of runners, and particularly disliked runner’s feet.  I chattily mentioned that I had thought about going for one of those “Fish Pedicures” where you put your feet into a bowl of little fishes that nibble the hard skin off.  “Huh,” he snorted  “No Fish could do anything for these feet.”  then added, rather unneccesarily “Except Pirhannas maybe!”

Throughout the flip-flop months I kept using stick-on nails from the pound shop, which I have to say served me well, and now I have 10 slightly wonky real nails, nearly full length.

Today’s chiropodist was LOVELY!

She is Norwegian, and is the spitting image of Agnetha out of Abba, (maybe it is her who knows what Agnetha is doing these days??) She was v. impressed with my running exploits.  She herself lost both her big toenails at her own wedding last September, due to too much dancing in tight-fitting shoes, and was therefore v. sympathetic.

Apart from the stunted nails my feet are in v. good condition.  She’s filed and polished my nails and they all look pink and shiny now and she says they’ll finish growing nicely and be back to normal within a few weeks!!!  YaaaaYYYYY!


Leaving Spain tomorrow morning, 3 days drive up the coast then through France. I will try to do the bare minimum for Janathon although it will be a bit tricky, and I may have to do the blogs then post them when I get home depending on internet access.

I could post a picture of my post marathon feet today , but I don’t think you’d like it!






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Janathon Day 7 – Wot no iPhone?????

When I go running I

1)decide where to go

2) park and get out of the car

3) hang my headphones round my neck

4) strap on a little waist pouch

5) start Nike+ on the iPhone

6) while it gets a satellite signal, plug in the headphones

7) and we’re off.

I did all of this today as usual until I got to number 5. No iPhone!!!!!!  I actually left it at home!  I hate running without music, I nearly went home again, but couldn’t be bothered.

Did what I know is a 5k route and I’d love to say that I had a Damascene moment and realised the error of my ways and will never run with music again, BUT I DIDN’T !!!!

One week down HOOORAH!!


IMG_4952Here is a picture of a man giving our Palm Tree a haircut this morning!

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Day 6 – Artichokes and Janathon do not mix!

Casting our minds back to day 1 of Janathon we will recall that the lock on our front door broke and I was nearly stopped from participating as I couldn’t get out of the house. My husband effected a temporary repair though so I was out of excuses.

Since then the proper locksmith has been round to fix it and with him he brought a crate of Oranges, Lemons and Baby Artichokes. (Don’t all locksmiths arrive bearing fruit and veg?)

All these things were most welcome.  Mike always makes fresh orange juice in the mornings , lemons will never go to waste in this house with all the G&T we get through, and I love artichokes, although I usually only have them on pizza not as a dish in their own right.

With 15 baby artichokes to deal with though, I decided to make a meal out of them, and concocted a dish that used all the artichokes, plus, garlic, olive oil, sherry, white wine, lemon, anchovies, parsley salt, pepper and breadcrumbs.

Pretty nifty if I do say so myself.

I loved it, Mike wasn’t quite so keen, but it’s not really his type of food, however he still ate it all up.

Artichokes are very good for you, especially if you’re doing a detox (which I am not). They support an overworked liver, and I suppose at this time of year most people’s livers have been a little overworked. (Health Benefits of Artichokes).

These Artichokes took their job seriously.  They got inside me, took one look around, and decided they were going to detox me whether I liked it or not! 

Without going into any gory detail, I spent more of the night in the bathroom than in the bedroom.

Janathon Day 6 dawned and I realised that it was not going to be a good idea to run anywhere  in the opposite direction to the bathroom for some time.

So my effort for today has been 200 assorted ab crunches which were in themselves not such a great idea, but I did them and I’m afraid that’s going to have to do for today.


This is a picture of some artichokes and walnuts I painted a few years ago.