About Me

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Wife (to Shaun), Mother (to Danni), Dog walker of Archie the JRX, improving cyclist, reformed gym bunny, broken runner Collector of exercise DVDs & equipment. Cake is my weakness together with cider (Westons only thanks)and brandy. Noisy spectator of running & cycling events. Owner of Tribby the campervan

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas Came Early - New Shoes!

I have recently been receiving the New Balance News via email - it's a nice read, some interesting information about New Balance products, events for the running community and sometimes the offer to review  kit.   One newsletter offered a pair of stability shoes - New Balance 1260 V2.

First impressions were good - they are a lovely colour (Lilac & Silver) and feel quite light ( the New Balance website tells me they weigh 13oz).  They look quite narrow which was a worry to start with as I have "fat feet" but when I tried them on they felt fine.  I wore them around the house that first evening instead of my slippers and my feet didn't feel hot at all.   I did manage a quick jog around the block as I'd had to park Mum's Taxi in a different street.  They felt quite airy, I think they will be good at keeping my feet cool during longer runs.

This is the third pair of New Balance I've run in - my first pair I bought from a ladies sports shop in Brighton which were properly fitted and I had my gait analysed for the first time.   They were a great shoe and they did a lot of miles, more in the gym than on the road.   My second pair I bought from a well known sports outlet, which doesn't have the benefit of trained staff to fit running shoes, and I had a terrible experience with the shoes, spending an absolute fortune on blister plasters.  Since then, as regular readers will know, I have been running in ASICS and a pair of Sauconys!

So back to the New Balance..............

I decided to wear the new shoes for my run on Friday morning.   I was a bit worried about how they were going to stay on my feet as the back felt very low, but having sorted out the lacing actually they stayed on well.  As you are running you can feel the air flowing through them from the toes which helped to keep my feet nice and cool.  5 miles later and there were no blisters, no soreness on the soles of my feet and more importantly post-run I haven't had any aches in my feet,or further up my legs, which means the stability must be correct.  

I am really pleased with these shoes and New Balance seem to have worked quite hard on getting the feel, look, design and mechanics of the shoe just right.  Definitely a thumbs up from me ...... and my feet!  

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Toning & Running (in a Santa Suit)

I recently entered a competition to win some products from a new skincare company Nota Bene Skinkcare,

and am now the proud owner of a lovely bottle of May Chang & Camomile toner for combination skin, which arrived in a lovely gift bag with star confetti.

product thumbnail

It feels lovely on my skin, and there is a lovely light scent from the ingredients, Neroli and Bergamot water.   All ingredients are natural, organic and ethically sourced.    It's not at all astringent, which I have found with many toners and prepares my skin for moisturiser without any problems.   I'm sure this product works best with it's partnering ranges but at present I'm using another cleanser and moisturiser without any problems.

I'm looking forward to trying the other products that go with the toner.   Nota Bene are currently offering a free trial sample of moisturisers, all you pay is the postage and packing.

Well done to Nota Bene for a lovely product

I'm now well into Half Marathon training plan, although the weekday runs and cross training have been few and far between.  I have, however, managed to increase my long run distance without too much problem and am now up to just under 8 miles. 

Today was the YMCA Reigate Santa 5k Run.  I ran this "fun run" last year  and so we (brother Steve, his girlfriend Jo & running twitter friend Alma) decided to give it a go this year.   

This year's race had a celebrity starter - Shane Richie off the telly.  My daughter's reward for getting up early on a cold Sunday morning was a pic with the cheeky chappie himself

The fab four head off

Steve comes into the finish

Santa Jo coming into the finish

Santas Alma & Lesley get ready for a sprint to the line & a high five from Mr Richie!
I was really looking forward to setting a "running 5k in a Santa Suit" PB as I'm hoping my running has improved in the last 12 months; I'm pleased to report that whilst it wasn't the fastest 5k (due to running 3 loops - which I absolutely detest - in a "one size fits all" santa suit) I did manage to knock over a minute off last year's time.   

I was also supposed to be doing a long run - training plan required 9 miles so was going to take the opportunity of adding a few miles on to the 5k and run from Reigate to my parents in Horley.   Unfortunately we hadn't reckoned on Mr B going down with a nasty stomach bug in the early hours of the morning so he was left at home and my long run abandoned due to it being a logistical nightmare.

I'm really hoping that I can get the motivation going in the next few weeks to train properly during the week.   I'm struggling with keeping my weight down too and am in the never ending circle of lose & gain, which is really frustrating.   

I've just spotted that Janathon entry is now up and running, not sure whether this will motivate me to get out and train again, or whether I'm running out of time and will be motivated to run anyway!  Will have to think about it for a few days.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

A Busy Day - The Running Show!

Following a terrible night's sleep thanks to the disgusting weather we're currently experiencing Shaun and I went to The Running Show at Sandown Racecourse today.    It was a great day out for both us - a lot more cycling stuff for Shaun than we thought there would be and obviously a LOT of running stuff to take in.  Free pre-registration included a "goody bag" with some free gels and recovery powder - which I'm sure will come in handy.

The best part for me was the choice of seminars, there were two "theatres" with hourly talks.  I managed to catch most of the talk given by Sam Murphy from Runners World on training and completing a half and full marathon.  Listening to what she had to say made me realise my training is going to be ok, just need to make sure I fit in cross training and core/strength training too.

Also on offer were yoga for runners sessions (which were extra admission fee) and a 10k race.

There were some great products and services on show and some great deals on offer.  Some of my favourites were :-

Running Skirts UK  who as the name suggests sell some lovely running skirts 


who supply medal hangers - a great Christmas present idea for any runner/sports person with medals hanging on the back of a door or thrown in a drawer!

Sigvaris Logo

Both Shaun and I loved this supplier of compression wear who were very passionate about their products, and I think we will be ordering from the site after Christmas.

Workplay Bags were there too - and if I didn't already have a good running pouch I wouldn't definitely buy one of theirs.

Lots of nutrition and hydration suppliers too, with chances to sample and money off deals.

Shaun was particularly interested in this bike

but he won't be getting one in a hurry - we only visited this stand 5 times!

We had a great couple of hours and managed to catch up with Twitter friends Ian & Brian over a cup of coffee (thanks for buying Ian) and also meeting @MadeByElves.   Ian and Brian had taken part in the 10k race and both managed splendid PB results.

All in all a great event - I've got 3 new pairs of socks to try out and some free gels!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Lots of News & A Couple of PBs

Picking up from my last blog Shaun is now back at work having had 3 weeks off.  The early appointment with the consultant confirmed our worse fears - they hadn't removed cartilage or mended tendons, they'd actually removed a large piece of bone which had been damaged, and flushed out the joint.   The only option left now is for a whole knee replacement but because of the previous work done on the thigh bone, that will need replacing with a titanium rod as well.  A major op with some major recovery time afterwards.  So he's back to work in the meantime, struggling to walk much further than a couple of miles.  He has however set himself up for road cycling which he has been trying to get going for years.  He's bought a 2nd hand Carrera road bike, some cheap kit from Aldi, some shoes & cleats and is gradually building up the miles with a view to completing the London to Brighton Ride in June before he goes in for the op.  Apparently building up the muscle will help with controlling pain in the knee joint and obviously keeping his weight down will help too.   He's not happy about not being able to walk long distances with the dog, but hopefully getting out on the bike will be a good substitute.  He's already had his fair share of dickhead behaviour - being spat at, barrages of verbal abuse and had a McDonald's burger thrown at him.

On to more cheery news - on 10th November I went to Eastbourne for my 2nd Park Run.  It wasn't great weather, but not as bad as the previous two weeks and the course was extremely muddy.  I'd decided to wear my ASICS, I've fallen out of love with them now that I have my Sauconys so not too upset to get them muddy and soaking wet.  It was a great run and I managed a PB at 34 mins 22 secs.  There were only 57 people running - and I came in at 55th!

I've now started my Half Marathon plan - it's only a 12 week plan but I've added 3 weeks on to give myself some leeway.  It hasn't started well, and in the run up to Christmas I have a few weekends which throw it out completely, the Running Show next weekend, a visit to Essex for a boozy weekend catch up with Paula & Dave, and a 5k Santa Run when I should be doing 9 miles.   I need to tweak it slightly and I'm also hoping that Paula still has her dreadmill which I can jump on Sunday morning (hangover willing).

One race which fitted very well into my Half Mara training plan was the annual Brooks Brighton 10k.  I ran this for the first time last year, and set my 10k PB at 1hr 9 mins 45 secs.   I haven't done much running in the last couple of weeks, lots of reasons/excuses so wasn't expecting much out of today.  It was a lovely sunny, dry day, and I set out for the first time in my running life alone - no support, no cheerleaders, no bagman and no fellow runners.   Lots of Twitter support though and memories from previous races!    After the usual queue for the loo, and dropping off my bag I walked up and down a bit to keep warm and then headed to the start.  Needn't have worried about being alone on the start line - lots of friendly people to chat to.   It's a strange route - head east from the pier to the Marina and then turn back to the pier & wheel and continue to the King Alfred (6.5k) and then run back to the start/finish line.  Quite a bit of argey bargey at the back of the field with fast runners starting at the back and trying to barge their way through the field!   The wheels kind of fell off between 8 & 9k but having given myself a good talking to and plugging my music into some fast tracks I reached the finish and managed a really good sprint finish (not sure where that came from) when I saw the time on my Garmin, I desperately didn't want to be outside my 10k time.  Another runner was bearing down on me so I somehow picked it up and tried to beat her - to no avail but I did manage to cross the line with my Garmin stopped at 1 hr 9 mins dead!   I collected my medal and bottle of water, went to get my bag & turned my phone on.  The message came over that my chip time was 1 hr 8 mins 58 secs!  Shame there wasn't someone there to share it with - but that came back to bite me on the arse a couple of hours later.   Having updated my status on Twitter and Facebook my Mum & Dad phoned me at home to "give me a gentle bollocking" for not telling them I was doing it alone - bollocking accepted, it won't happen again!

Today's reward :-

Next stop Santa Run 5k on 9th December and full throttle to Brighton Half Mara in February!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

RISE Undercliff 8k & Other News

Today I ran the annual RISE 8k Undercliff Run.   It's the third time I've run this event which is a women only event organised by a Brighton charity called Rise.  The last two I've run alone, apart from between 100 and 150 ladies of all abilities, but this year there were over 200 running, and people had come from far and wide including my friend Alma who I have run with before, and supported at races.  It was great to run with her again, the last time being the Spring Tempest 10 miler!  And, of course, my support team were there too although a little depleted by two and a bit members - Steve & Jo were marshalling at the Badger Half Marathon and Archie had been left at home because he gets a bit over-excited at running events.

Hubby has had his knee op, and whilst he "only" had damaged cartilage removed, he has been off his feet until he returns to see the surgeon next Thursday.  He was told only to return to walking when he felt ready - so I've been getting up at 5.30am to do the morning dog walk, going to work, coming home and doing the afternoon dog walk.   He has been  able to do the cooking and some cleaning and he has been doing odd bits of dog walking but is not quite ready to return to previous distances.  He was told not to drive for at least 2 weeks and no cycling for 3 to 4 weeks.  Anybody who knows Shaun will know that sitting down is not his thang - he has already driven the car and no doubt will be back on the bike before the 3 weeks are up, in fact I'd put bets on it.

So, training has been difficult, I've been far too tired to go out running and have only managed two 5k runs in 2 weeks.  Not the best preparation for any running event, but this is me we're talking about!

The weather reports during the week have yoyo'd from sunshine to showers on an hourly basis.  Saturday was a lovely day, a bit chilly early on but the sun came out in the afternoon and I had a lovely walk to the beach with Archie.  We even tried a little dog jog, although running in walking boots is not recommended!

Today we woke to perfect running weather.  Wasn't really sure what to wear so went for running top with event techy vest over. A bit of a panic as we got to the event with 15 minutes to spare - I hate arriving that close to a start, the queue for the loo always takes ages.  So panic over and chance to stand and calm down whilst waiting for the loo.  I completely missed the Zumba warm up (shame - with my Zumba history that's no bad thing)  This year the event has really taken off and with over 200 ladies running it was a much bigger field than in previous years.  Alma and I took our position at about 3/4 from the front and started off at a nice pace.

Once you hit the cliffs you lose any breeze and with the sun reflecting off the chalk it gets quite warm and I'm so glad I wore my new running sunnies.   There's always a great atmosphere and it's well supported - even members of the general public taking their Sunday constitutional clap and wish you luck, and there is always a samba band playing.   The course is a simple out and back with plenty of water stations and marshalls cheering you on at the kilometre marks and before we knew it the lead runners were coming back!  The samba band at the turnaround was a nice addition this year.   We hit 5k at 34 minutes which was OK, but had to stop somewhere soon after as I'd forgotten to use my inhaler and my breathing was a bit heavy.  A very short walk break and we were back on it.   6 and 7k seemed to go quite quickly and before we knew it we could hear the samba band playing near the finish line.  Alma said if we picked up the pace a tad we might get back before 54 mins so no idea how fast we were going but I was puffing like a steam train for the last 500m and as we crossed the line I looked at my Garmin - 55 mins 01 secs.   Not quite the 54 minutes I was hoping for but blimey with very little preparation beforehand and a knackering two weeks of early mornings I'm more than happy with that.  

And if this amazing goody bag which also includes a banana and a bottle of water (both consumed rapidly post race!) ain't worth the entry fee then nothing is
Can't wait to sign up for next year's.   Thanks to all at Rise for another fantastic event.

Training is now going to have to be full speed ahead for Brighton Half Marathon, but first I'm running the Brooks Brighton 10k, unsupported.  Shaun will be back at work, Danni doesn't want to spend an hour "hanging" in Brighton and is now at a local firework event the night before, and it's not fair to expect Ma & Pa to come down just for me.  I will be taking advantage of the bag drop and running the race just for me.

Also coming up is Ma's 70th birthday on 10th October.  We are returning to our favourite country pub on the 14th for a family meal.

In other news I have given up with Weightwatchers.   The weight has stopped coming off, and I was skipping back and forth between 63 and 64kg.   Shaun finds it easier to count calories so I'm back to Weightloss Resources. It's not going particularly well but at least I've stayed the same at 64kg for the last 3 weeks.  Here's hoping that with all the Half Marathon training this will now start to work again.  I really need to get this last stone off, I don't want to be 10 stone for the rest of my life!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

I Did It On The First Day of Autumn! Or Don't Forget Your Barcode ..... And Your Running Shoes!

I ran my first ever Park Run today at Eastbourne.

I probably wouldn't haven't taken the plunge if it hadn't been for Park Run Tourist Steve who during September has been trying a different Park Run each week.

I was initially awake at about 5.30am but it was pitch black outside, I've recently found out that the street lights in the street are turned off sometime between 10.30pm and 1am which makes the street very dark.  Anyway, I properly woke up just before the alarm went off at 7am and got up, got dressed into my running kit and had some breakfast.  I gathered my paraphernalia together, including my barcode which I've been reminded about all week from various parties, and set off for Shinewater Park at Eastbourne.   It was a lovely sunny morning, and I felt quite excited to be heading out so early.   After I'd been driving for about 15 minutes I suddenly remembered I'd forgotten to pick up my running shoes - disaster!  So I had a choice, go back and get them and risk arriving late, or keep driving and just run in my clunky Adidas dog walking/general wear trainers.  I decided to carry on and run in what I had.

I found the school they use for parking quite easily and then pounced upon approached a young girl who looked like she might be heading to Park Run, which luckily she was!   We walked through to the start line to find quite a lot of people who had already arrived.   I was approached by a few people who obviously spotted the over excited newcomer.  Steve arrived just in time for a quick briefing on the course and then we were off.   Steve stayed with me for about half a kilometre and then whizzed off to get himself a decent time.

It's a lovely course, starting on grass and then onto mainly gravel and concrete path.   Shinewater Park is a well used park by people walking their dogs, runners and cyclists.  I got to about 4k and spotted Steve waiting for me at the crossover just before the end, and he ran back to the finish line with me, peeling off at the last minute having already finished his own run.  I was quite pleased to see my Garmin said 34 mins.

My official Park Run time is 34 mins 31 secs - happy with that for a first.

The only complaint I have about the location is there are no public toilets - not that it was a problem, there are quite a few bushes one could utilise if needed!

So, I've actually done it and I now wish I'd done it sooner.   I will definitely go back and do it again, not next week as I will be walking the dog next Saturday morning as Shaun is going in for his knee op on Tuesday and probably won't be mobile enough for dog walking for a few days, and probably not the following week as it will be the day before the 8k Undercliff - but I will be doing it again.

Monday, 17 September 2012

One Amazing Weekend

Sorry this post is going to be a bit long!

Great week last week, helped by the fact that I only did 4 days at work!

At the end of August I received an email on behalf of with an invite to spend a day outdoors receiving information on running/fitness and nutrition.  So having booked a day off work I toddled off to the Velodrome at Preston Park, Brighton. There were about 10 of us there for the morning session of running and fitness, including my good twitter friend Cathy (aka @jogblog) the first time we've met in the non Twitter/blog world, and it was great to meet Jody Raynsford (aka @jodyrunssahara).

First on the agenda was a dynamic warm up with the instructor for the day, Neilon.   None of the usual static stretching but a good 10 to 15 minutes of instruction on how to warm up properly using knee lifts, star jumps etc.   After the warm up came the chance to be fitted with a new pair of Saucony running shoes.  Thanks to Ken and his able assistant, my gait was analysed and I was fitted with a very nice pair of Saucony Glide.  Once fitted with new shoes I was ready for the next session with Neilon - strength training.   He went through the correct positioning for squats and added various amounts of weight, plank/press ups and various other strength training techniques.  

As soon as the whole group had been fitted with their Saucony shoes the part of the day I had been dreading arrived - a Kin Run.  None of us really knew what to expect from this but once we got going it was great fun.   The run took about half an hour through Preston Park itself.   After the run we did pairs stretching. 

Here's a video  from

Lunch followed and then a talk with nutritionist, Lucy McCrickard.

Following the nutrition chat we got the chance of a Q&A session with Kevin Betts (@52marathonman)John Shippey and David Bradford (a partially sighted Club runner who is also a guide to another partially sighted runner & was an Olympic torch bearer).  All of the panel were inspiring and it was great to hear their stories.

After the Q&A we headed to Yellow Wave for a session of volleyball (too much for me!) and a delicious BBQ to round the day off.

I had the most fantastic day and huge thanks to Sophie for the invite.  Massive thanks also to the experts that gave their time too - you've given me some great ideas on how to take my fitness and weightloss goals forward.

On Saturday we took the dog & wayward teenager to my parents so that they couldn't get into any mischief whilst Mr B and I ventured on to Guildford to watch the final stage of the Tour of Britain cycling race.   A great chance to see some of my cycling heroes in action on home soil.   Unfortunately Brad Wiggins had pulled out due to a stomach bug caused by consuming cow muck probably on his water bottle and Tyler Farrar who literally crashed out on the first day.   Still in action though were the rest of the Sky Team who although had had a great start to the week with a stage win from Luke Rowe and a couple from Mark Cavendish weren't having the best week.   Jonathan Tiernan-Lock, by this stage in the leader's gold jersey has had an amazing week, and "local" cyclist, Kristian House was King of the Mountains.  Ivan Basso and Samuel Sanchez were luckily still in the race - two more faces I was hoping to spot.

We were booked into a lovely hotel - The Angel which is right on the High Street. 

 It's extremely old and currently under renovation.  We had a lovely room - the bathroom was 3 times the size of our one at home.  Very luxurious though with fluffy white robes & slippers provided.  The bed was a bit soft and unfortunately the pillows and duvet contained down - an asthmatics nightmare.   Luckily one pillow each had a synthetic filling which I swapped so I had both and the duvet had to stay away from face!  Not a good nights sleep but it was OK.   We had a lovely Italian meal in the Positano restaurant in the evening.

Sunday morning we got up early and checked out.   We walked back to the car to put the bags in and then back again to Wetherspoons for breakfast.  After breakfast we wandered up and down the High Street, which by now was beginning to look more like the finishing straight of a bike race with barriers going up and signs, and found the spot we would need to be in for the rest of the day - right by the deviation for the support cars and motorbike outriders!  

Once the barriers were set up people started to arrive and at 11 o'clock they started a hill sprint competition which featured the retired footballer Graeme Le Saux

He's a great amateur cyclist!  After the initial heats we then waited for the first pass of the main event.  The build up to the riders coming through is always something special, although not quite the same as the Tour de France.  The leading riders came through, slowly enough to get some shots.

After they'd gone through the hill sprint challenge continued and although Graeme Le Saux did a great job he didn't make it into the final.  The two Tour of Britain mascots, Yeti & Toby had a race too 

Just after 4 o'clock the build up started again and we eagerly awaited the arrival of what we had been told could be a bunch sprint finish - and by god it was one of the best things I've ever seen with Mark Cavendish leading out the bunch and winning the stage.   The atmosphere was amazing and the whole crowd erupted when he crossed the line.

This photo was taken by Nic Stevenson  who stood next to us all day - thank you Nic for allowing me to use the photo!

Shaun did get a couple of the finish!

All in all a fab weekend.  Back to the running now for me with the 8k Undercliff looming large on 7th October.