Rainbow Run 5km for Tŷ Hafan

My first medal!! Sort of. I’m excluding the Race For Life 2013 one because that was a disaster and I didn’t run much of it. This is my first medal as the new me. 

I had no idea what to expect. I had an inkling that some of the run was on the actual beach, and was pretty nervous about running on sand. It’s not easy to walk on! Turns out, the whole 5km is on the beach. All of it. In a kind of zig zag down to the sea and back up again, twice. It’s a boring route. It’s basically round and around the same area over and over. If it wasn’t for the paint throwing and the general atmosphere of so many people running at once, you would never choose to run that route. It was bloody hard work. Really hard. The first part was really soft, and my ankles turned over several times. One of the times was quite painful and slowed me down for a while. Then there were hard bits that weren’t too bad. But there were really wet splashy bits too! Despite being quite hard going, it was a lot of fun. There were colour stations dotted along the route, and each station had a bunch of volunteers throwing a different colour of powder paint over you. Some of them even had big paint blowing machines. It goes in your eyes and nose and mouth, and I found myself holding my breath quite a bit to avoid inhaling it!

I caught up with a couple of my friends right at the end, who usually run much faster than me but had struggled with an injury, and they started sprinting so I did too! I crossed the finish line completely exhausted and totally out of breath. The paint all over my face hid the fact that I was bright red though. I was actually mostly orange with yellow hair! 

I’d do the run again in a heartbeat. I had such a good time! We raised quite a bit for Tŷ Hafan too, which makes it all feel even better. I finished in 41:19, which is between my two Park Run times. I’m pretty pleased with it considering the sand was so hard to run on! 

We finished off our day trip with chips and a go on the waltzers! 
PS: check out this video of the run! 

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The first 5km 

It’s the morning of the 5km rainbow run in Barry Island for Ty Hafan, and I’m nervous as hell. I keep having to run to the loo, and I’m putting off slipping into my running gear. Instead I’m procrastinating by putting laundry on and writing this. 

I’m still quite a long way off running 5km in one go without stopping to walk, but I’m not going to let it stop me trying. I’ve done Park Run twice now and walked a lot less the second time. I can see and feel improvements with every run, and there have been many runs thanks to #OutRunMay for Macmillan Cancer Care. I set out to see how far I can run in just one month, and to be honest I didn’t think it’d be far. I’ve surprised even myself with how often I can run, even if I’m not running far each time. I’ve gone out before 7am almost every morning this month so far, and I’m actually really enjoying it. Ok, so I don’t actually enjoy the actual running at the time. It’s the afterglow that I love. I crawl through my front door as Trev and the kids are just getting up, and the smug feeling of doing over half of my FitBit step goal before most people wake up stays with me all day. To top it all off, I’ve raised quite a bit of cash for the charity too (you can click here to sponsor me if you want to!).

I find being a beginner hard. I know that seems a bit silly, but it’s the truth. When I’m on my second lap at Park Run and I see the fastest runners leaving the park because they’ve already finished, I find it disheartening. I should find it inspiring, because if I keep going I can be one of them one day. But I don’t. It puts me off. Talk of 10km races and half marathons don’t make me want to keep going. They make me want to hide. I’ve spent a lot of my evenings recently reading stories of overweight exercise-haters (just like me) starting off unable to run up the stairs and going on to run marathons. I like stories that start where I am. Right at the very very beginning. They remind me that we all start somewhere, and that being a beginner is ok. That’s the lesson I need to learn. It’s absolutely fine to be a beginner. It’s more than fine. It’s great! It’s way better than sitting in the sofa eating biscuits. I’ve been reading ‘No Run Intended’ and ‘Run Intended’ by Hannah Phillips (Hannah the Runner) and she’s really inspired me. She’s just down the road too, so the locations of some of her runs are familiar. Somehow this helps me relate to her. She replied to my tweet about today’s run on Twitter, and I feel like I’ve been encouraged by an actual running hero! 

So, here goes. My lift will be here soon. At 1:30 this afternoon I’ll be doing my first (not including Race For Life in 2013 because that was a disaster) race while being covered in powder paint. It’s also on the beach which means running in sand. Oh wow. I’m so nervous. Wish me luck! 

A diary of #veganuary – part two 

Friday 27th January 

I’m scoffing down pasta as I type this, completely unable to remember why I ever ate any animal products. A lot of the books I’ve been reading and things I’ve been trying to change since new year are starting to become connected to each other. Before buying or preparing food I’ve been thinking about what ‘sparks joy’ thanks to Marie Kondo and what ‘adds value to my life’ thanks to The Minimalists. I’ve realised that even the foods that do spark joy often only do so for a little while. A huge cheesy pizza is the only non-vegan thing I really fancy (thanks to a table full of it at roller Derby party tonight!) but as much as I always enjoyed pizza, I felt bloated, stuffed, lethargic and guilty soon after eating it. There’s no joy in that. We’re going to make pizza from scratch tomorrow, as the kids love doing that, and I’m going to give it a go with some Violife vegan cheese Trevor picked up for me. However, I know that even if it tastes amazing I’ll feel rubbish after eating it. If it doesn’t work out it’s no biggie. I can live without pizza. I never thought I’d say that. 

Saturday 28th January 

I’ve barely eaten today and I’m not hungry at all. I’m not sure what that’s all about. I don’t mean to skip meals, but I noticed today that I don’t snack constantly anymore and that’s a great thing! 

We did make pizzas this evening. After helping the kids with the dough and toppings, it was about 2 hours into pizza making when I finally got to eat mine. I didn’t really want it. Didn’t fancy it at all. Then the Violife cheese wasn’t all I’d hoped it would be and I couldn’t eat it anyway. I reckon it would have been nicer with just the sauce and vegetable toppings. I didn’t need the cheese at all. Next time I don’t think I’ll bother with it. Whilst the real cheese pizzas were cooking I had no desire at all to give in and eat them. I think I’m over it.  

A diary of #Veganuary – part one 

Sunday 1st January

I’ve woken up today after no sleep at all with horrendous period pain! I think ‘shark week’ is probably going to be my biggest hurdle (hello chocolate!) so I guess it could be a good thing that I’m starting with it. I often lose my appetite when I feel this rough, so I’ve only managed a couple of slices of toast today (with dairy free spread!) and can’t even face having a coffee. Squash and paracetamol are my friends today. 

Despite physically feeling rubbish, I’m excited for the month to come. We took the Christmas decorations down this morning, and it now feels like time to face the new year. I have been vegetarian most of my adult like with a few hiccups, so not eating meat isn’t going to be an issue at all. I don’t like milk, and switched to dairy free milk and butter substitutes quite a long time ago now. I can’t bring myself to eat eggs since having Astrid either. So my only hurdles really are going to be ingredients. Stuff that I eat and drink without worrying about it’s content, like cake and chocolate and alcoholic drinks, will need some thought. 

I want to use this as an opportunity to work on my dreadful eating habits, my health and nutrition, my organisation and my (in)ability to cook. So I’m meal planning. I’ve already planned evening meals for much of next week, and although Trevor and the kids aren’t going vegan with me they will be eating what I cook in the evenings. I think it’s going to have a positive affect on all of us. I’m a little bit worried about Iris who has become a real fussy eater lately and doesn’t have much of an appetite, but only time will tell. Maybe eating better will help her. 

My tummy is too unsettled for lunch today, and I’ll probably have something plain and light for dinner. I’ve just got to hide all of the Christmas chocolate that is lurking all around my house so that it doesn’t tempt me, and do some research into the best dairy free chocolates because I now it’s not something I can quit completely! 

I’m still reading the Mel Wells book, The a Goddess Revolution. It’s about having a healthy relationship with food and your body, and I’m really enjoying it. It very anti-diets, which I think is great. I do need to lose weight but counting calories just sucks all of the fun out of life and I end up rebelling and stuffing my face. 

Monday 2nd January 

It’s been such an easy and awesome second day! I’m not sure why I expected it to be hard really. We’re not shoppers in our house. We don’t do a big weekly shop and we don’t do meal planning. We quite often decide what’s for dinner as Trevor leaves work and he picks it up the way home. It’s disorganised and expensive, and I’m determined to change it. I wrote a big shopping list based on my meal plans for the week, and today while Trevor and the little ones hung out in the park I shopped. I know it’s such a stereotype, but it felt like such a break to go food shopping all by myself. Who needs a spa day, eh? About 90% of what I bought was fresh fruit and veg. I’m trying to minimise the amount of meat and dairy substitutes because they can get expensive, and frankly we could use a lot more fruit and veg in our diet. I did pick up some Oatly oat milk though, because it was on offer and I have wanted to try it for quite a while. I’ve never brought or cooked a fennel bulb before, but today I did both! I made a ‘super-veg’ pasta sauce from an online recipe, while Trevor played with the kids. I really enjoyed cooking (which was unexpected because I’ve always really bloody hated cooking) and the sauce was amazing. I love the lovely fennel flavour, and I feel really good tonight knowing I had more than my 5 a day today, and no animals suffered for a single thing I ate. Including the chocolate I’m currently munching on, guilt free. 

I have, however, discovered a downside! This is a bit tmi, but oh my goodness I am so windy. From reading the Veganuary Facebook group, it seems to be a common reaction to adding so much veg to your diet and thankfully it doesn’t last long. Phew. 

Thursday 5th January 

Wow, I’m really enjoying this! I’ve stuck to our meal plan every evening, and I’m really enjoying cooking. Iris has declared my food ‘disgusting’ a couple of times but she’s going through a phase of fussy eating and is the same with any food, so I’m not too offended. We’ve been eating a lot of pasta, and I’m a bit bored with it, so I need to have a think about alternatives. We’re not home from Breastfeeding Support Group in time to cook much on a Thursday, so tonight we had hoummous and salad wraps. So easy, and even Iris ate some. I’m still pretty windy (tmi, soz!) but I can’t quite believe how much better I feel already. I have so much energy and I’m managing to be pretty organised when normally I’m too tired to even keep up with the dishes. Go me! 

Sunday 8th January

We’re a week in, and I am having the best time! My tummy has settled now, and my craving for sugary stuff have eased off. Cooking from scratch every day is still really enjoyable. I’m utterly amazed by how much better I feel already. I’ve completely banned myself from using the bathroom scales (because I get obsessive and I’ve vowed not to give a crap what the numbers say anymore) but I’d be willing to bet that I’m a few lbs down. My clothes just feel better on. I’m less bloated and have lots more energy. 

There’s a vegan sausage casserole bubbling away in my slow cooker that has been making my house smell incredible and my tummy rumble all day. I’m hoping it’ll get Iris eating because she usually likes stews and casseroles. Fingers crossed. The little ones and Trevor aren’t going vegan with me (they had KFC yesterday!) but they’re having a vegan evening meal every night because I’m doing the cooking. 

I’m not missing anything. An old version of me might have really struggled with cheese, but I went right off it when I was pregnant with Iris and my love of it has never really come back. I like an occasional pizza, so will have to look into vegan cheese for that at some point. Dairy free chocolate or Snowconut ice cream are easing the odd sweet craving, or if I’m out of those I’ll have a vegan hot chocolate made with almond milk. 

I can’t really remember what the point in eating dairy and eggs is. I feel a bit repulsed by the whole idea now. I kind of hope that feeling lasts. 

Roller Derby – fresh meat

 

Monday 9th January 2017 

So trying something new wasn’t strictly one of my New Years resolutions, but I’ve been meaning to look into the local roller derby club for quite some time. I know a couple of people who go and who rave about it, so when they advertised a ‘fresh meat’ night I just had to. 

Man, I feel good. I’m lying in the bath soaking my sore muscles and soaking away the sweat. I’m fairly sure I’m going to have a rather large bruise on my right buttock from a pretty spectacular fall, but I really don’t care. I had SO MUCH FUN. 

The club meet after bedtime, and both the little ones were asleep before I went out. Trev’s had a night to himself watching films, and the kids don’t even know I went anywhere so there’s no guilt. It’s win win, for everybody! But especially me. 

I haven’t really got anything going on that’s just for me, unless you count knitting. But mainly I do that while watching Grey’s Anatomy, chatting to Trevor and keeping an eye on sleeping babies on a video monitor. It’s not really all that relaxing. 

And actually, I didn’t really want relaxing. I wanted fun. 

It’s really physically hard work, and uses muscles I haven’t used in quite a long time, but so much fun that you don’t really realise. I’m addicted already and can’t wait for next week! I might even take the step kids to the clubs recreational skate session before that, if they fancy it. 

We mostly just skated, and got the hang of staying upright. With a little bit of stopping safely and falling safely thrown in. Just the basics. To be honest, I thought I’d spend more time on the deck than on my feet so when I only fell a handful of times (not including the deliberate ones for practise) I was pretty chuffed with myself. 

I finished the session sweaty, sore and tired. I’m way too pumped up to sleep though! I’ve found a thing! 

The pre-pregnancy jeans project {week 2} 

I can’t decide if this week has been a good one or a bad one. It’s been a real mixture of both. 

It’s been another tough one in terms of parenting. The little ones have colds and are grumpy, so we haven’t got out much. I find it so tricky at home. It’s so easy to settle down on the sofa with a packet of biscuits. 

Then at the weekend, my 7 year old step daughter became 8. There was dinner in Frankie & Bennys’s (she always picks there because they sing happy birthday to you!) and a huge chocolate birthday cake. I was quite good though, and only had a smallish piece. I’ve made up for it by being very good ever since. 

I haven’t gone back to eating a huge bar of chocolate every evening either, despite Trevor not believing me and buying it on his way home from work! 

I didn’t manage any dance classes at all last week, because of the grumpy little ones, but I did drag us all out of bed and out into the pouring rain this morning to dance. I’m so glad I did. We’re all soaked through, but I feel good. 

I got a bit of a shock on the scales this morning when I found out that I’d lost 8 whole lbs! Hooray! The jeans are still more important than the scales, but I’m nowhere near the point of trying those on yet. Hopefully soon! 

*last image cropped from a screengrab of the Happy Scale app* 

The pre-pregnancy jeans project {week 1}

It’s seems my timing with starting this was way off. It’s been a really tough week. Astrid has been upset, and really hard work. I haven’t made it to my dance classes, and I haven’t had a chance to exercise at home either. We have started taking the dog for a walk as a family in the evenings, which is lovely. I’m not sure it counts as exercise though, as walking at a toddler’s pace isn’t going to get my heart working! Especially as she wants to stop to examine every stone, and to count all of the horse poops. I did splash out on some very cheap workout clothes in Lidl this week though. They’ve got some really good bargain leggings! 

I haven’t lost any weight. I’m not too concerned about that. The next few weeks are more about changing my habits to healthier ones. I’ve eaten a lot less biscuits this week, and I’ve stopped sitting down once the kids are asleep with a huge bar of chocolate. Annoyingly Iris has a new hobby, and keeps asking to make cakes and biscuits. It’s been difficult to help with the baking but not eat all of the finished product! 

My challenge for the week ahead is to cook and eat some healthier meals. I’ve got a slow cooker and a spiralizer, so I’m well equipped. I just have to practise cooking while wearing a sad clingy baby. If anybody has any healthy but tasty vegetarian recipes to share please do! 

Here’s to a better week ahead.