Tuesday, 13 December 2011

I is for I'm still here!

Hello everyone
You might have wondered where I've been... scuba diving in Bermuda? Mountain climbing in Canada? Rock climbing in the Grand Canyon? Actually, I've been locked in the local gym developing a very unhealthy relationship with a treadmill! How disappointing!
This is just a quick blog to say 'hi.' I hope you're all well and as soon as something interesting happens, I'll blog it immediately. Unfortunately, my fellow gym bunnies refuse to fall off treadmills, get caught in the cross trainers or fight over the abworker 2010... but when they do, I'll let you all know.
Longing for spring and the great outdoors- people are much funnier outside the gym!

Monday, 5 December 2011

R is for Reindeer Run! I is for Ice and B is for Brrrrilliant!

I booked the Reindeer Run on a nice, balmy September evening. I remember it well…the birds were singing their farewell to summer in the leafy trees, my vegetables were growing lush and green in their patch and I was intoxicated by the warmth of the sun. I remember thinking, ‘oh I hope it snows. Then the reindeer run will be really festive!’
Bacon butties ahoy! "Now how do I attach this number?" No matter how many times I do it, I can never remember!
On Saturday evening, the weather forecasters predicted the first snow fall of the winter… on Sunday the 5th of December! Great! Driving to Bramham Park in Leeds, we travelled through heavy rain, hail stones the size of golf balls and… you guessed it… snow! Flurries of the white stuff were whipped into a frenzy by an arctic wind. It’s fair to say that I didn’t exactly want to get out of the car. (In fact, I wanted to go home and return to the warmth of my duvet.)
            Then Santa passed in front of our car- he was wearing shades and running shoes but it was definitely Santa. Then we HAD to get out of the car because my daughter wanted to check that her Christmas list had reached the North Pole in good time! (It had… thank goodness!)
What's an even better fashion choice than a fanny pack? A PINK HAT! Oh yeah baby...
By the time I had registered myself for the 10K, and my husband and kids for the 5K Santa Saunter and collected our Rookie the Reindeer t-shirts, antlers and flashing noses, Christmas hits were blaring from the loud speakers. Yes it was still snowing. Yes it was freezing. Yes I was really jealous because my kids had bacon sandwiches and I was starving… and yes, I started to feel a little festive!

... and if you wear it WITH  a fanny pack! Enough said. Mrs Cool has arrived!
 The warm-up was held in front of the main house at Bramham Park- a huge stately pile which must have an enormous Christmas Tree! It was a fantastic setting and the 10K race was through the country estate. The last 10K I completed was in 55 minutes: a personal best on a flat, straight road. I had no idea what time to aim for with this 10K, but I knew that it should be more than 55 minutes!
            I haven’t run cross country since I was ten and had forgotten just how much fun it can be. I forgot all about the distance and the time because I was far too busy racing Santa and his reindeers up and down hills, splashing through puddles and squelching through muddy patches (I sank up to my sock in one patch!) Looking back, it was a tough course. Lots of people were walking but I just ploughed on. I didn’t walk at all because I was enjoying myself far too much and, as a result of this, I completed the course in 1 hour, 3 minutes! A Christmas miracle!
 If you had told me this time last year that I would be running my second 10K in the snow, having already completed a half marathon I would have told you to get lost and returned to my cigarettes! I still can’t believe that I can actually run… and enjoy it!
            Even better is the experience my kids had. My daughter and son had their photograph taken for the local newspaper then they set off on the Santa Saunter through the estate. After a couple of minutes, my 9 year old son grew bored of walking so he ran it. In snow boots and three coats, he came fourth! FOURTH! Obviously something’s rubbing off. (I won’t mention the fact that my husband- with the titanium plates in his back- had to carry our 4 year old on his shoulders because she was ‘tired’. It’s a sore subject- literally!)
            What an amazing experience for a worthy cause.
            I’m a little depressed now though because I have come to the end of my running season. No more races planned or booked (for now at least), I’ll just return to the Dreadmill and carry on increasing my pace. Then, come next Spring, I’ll be ready to take on the world!

Happy times xxxxx