Gym? Who’s he?

Argh! I finally bit the bullet and joined a gym! My aim is to use my membership to build up some strength in my arms, legs and core and to use the treadmill when I can’t run outside. I’m hoping that the membership fee will pay for itself through improved fitness and running performance. I’m not necessarily concentrating on times but more on stamina and how I actually feel when I’m running. I tend to get tired easily and then get a poor posture when I run so a stronger core will help with that. 

I’ve been twice now since I joined end of last week and I’m starting to think I’m not cut out for the gym. 

  
I think I need to go on a diet too looking at this photo!! 

Yesterday I went with the intention of doing a quick 5k on the treadmill before I went to treat my mum and sister to afternoon tea. I put my running kit on and packed a change of clothes and shower stuff. 

I got on the only spare treadmill to find myself between two very fit runners! I sorted out the settings on my treadmill and set off. Less than 5 minutes later one of the fit guys is speeding up to the same pace as me and the other one is speeding up to be faster than me! About 3.5k in I was knackered but there was no way I could slow it down as I was wearing my running club vest and I didn’t want to shame the club ­čśé so I kept going! I did 5k but it was hard work. I kept worrying about what would happen if I fell of the end! Next time I’ll wear a normal top so if I can’t keep up the pace it doesn’t matter ­čśé On the upside I did manage my fastest 5k since I got my sub 30 last year. 

 
Happy with that I get in the shower to wash and change for afternoon tea. I get out and dry only to realise I’ve forgotten all my underwear!! No Knicks, bra or socks!! ­čś▒ I had left them all in a pile on my bed at home. Thankfully I had fur lined boots with me so the socks thing didn’t matter as much but I drove home so carefully praying I didn’t have an accident and therefore revealing my underwear-less position to the emergency services! 

Maybe I’m not cut out for the gym!!!

A tale of 5 parkruns

Number 90 on my Day Zero List is to Run 5 Different parkruns. My home parkrun is classed as Cardiff although a closer one has started since I joined up. To be fair, for the amount of time I’ve been signed up, I haven’t actually participated that many times. This is mainly due to the fact that Little Lady has always had swimming lessons on a Saturday morning which has clashed with parkrun. She’s now finished her lessons as the next step is competition which she isn’t interested in. 

This has opened up a lot more time for parkrunning so I’ve been trying to go more often. 

So which parkruns did I run?

1. Cardiff 

Cardiff is an out and back route and is very flat. It was here I got my one and only sub 30 5k  and the one that I am most familiar with.  

2. Porthcawl

Back last Easter we were lucky enough to be offered a caravan near the sea less than an hour away. I packed my running stuff in the hope of running along the shore line. Then Friday night I realised that there was a parkrun in Porthcawl. A few tweets later and I found out where the start line was. I decided to go for it. It was a lot different to Cardiff as it was so open to the elements but it was lovely running along the cliffs near the sea. 

 
3. Penallta (Caerphilly)

parkrun number 3 was the newly started Penallta parkrun. This one was the hardest one as it is quite hilly and has a lot of doubling back which I’m not keen on. However it runs through a country park and has gorgeous views. The cows and the ducks watch as the group runs past as do the fishermen on the lake. Little Lady and I ran this one to celebrate her birthday. I printed out race numbers and the volunteers were kind enough to agree to present her with a medal I had provided so that it could be like a proper race for her.   

4. Pontypridd 

That was pretty much it then as I don’t really like the stress of driving somewhere I don’t really know. Especially if there’s a deadline for getting there. New Year’s Day I went to Cardiff parkrun with a friend. She usually goes to Pontypridd parkrun but this was an extra one for New Year’s Day. She managed to persuade me to go to Pontypridd the next day. 

Little Lady came to run with me and it was absolutely bucketing down with rain. We spent 2 laps dodging massive puddles and the last lap we just decided to run right through them. We were already wet by then anyway and Little Lady absolutely loved splashing through the puddles! A few of my running club were also there and fair play to them they waiting to cheer us over the finish line. Little Lady thought it was brilliant.   

5. Newport

Which left one more for me to visit. The opportunity for some parkrun tourism came about thanks to the weather. Last weekend was so icy that most of our local parkruns cancelled. Newport however, is all trail so the icy conditions didn’t affect the course. 

Saturday morning was so cold as we set off

 
And I made sure I wore my woolly socks.   

The course itself was lovely and we ran loops around this rather lovely lake.   

Completing Newport gave me my 5parkruns and I get to cross off an item on my Day Zero List. 

Since then however I have heard of a few more within an hour’s drive. Can I make 10 different parkruns before the year is out? 

Roald Dahl and McDonalds*

To be fair, I’m not a fan of McDonalds and so when I got the email through asking if I wanted to take part in this promotion I was all set to say “thanks, but no thanks”. Until that is I saw they were launching a literacy campaign using books by the author Roald Dahl. 

I loved Roald Dahl when I was a child and we are currently working our way through his collection with Little Lady who has really taken to his books. So I said yes. 

Hubby and I caught the train into Cardiff with the kids which they loved and had a cuppa in a coffee shop as we were a bit early. We then made our way up to the McDonalds on Queen Street and were shown upstairs by a member of staff. We were given a warm welcome and our lunch orders taken. There were other bloggers I recognised there and we chatted while we waited for the event to start. We were asked to sign consent forms to allow them to use photos of the kids (as long as they were over 5) for promotional reasons. Little Lady was so excited and loved having her photo taken with the cast after the show. 

The show itself was fab. It told of a grandfather reading the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to his granddaughter.   

The story was full of actions and very colourful     The cast stuck around afterwards too for photos and both Little Lady and D were mesmerised by them.    

Each child was given a goodie bag which included the full set of books given away during the promotion, a Mr Twit beard and a Fantastic Mr Fox mask  

D also had a balloon which is always a winner!

The kids had a fabulous time and I was so glad I decided to say yes. 

*My family and I had a meal and all the items in goodie bag for free. Opinions, however are all my own. 

Cardiff Half Marathon 2015

Back in October I ran the Cardiff Half Marathon. If you remember I ran it last year and loved it. I had high hopes for this year and was especially proud to run with Lucy as part of her 13×13 challenge.

But what a disaster it turned out to be!! We left the house at the same time as I did last year and yet hit all the traffic in the world meaning the starting gun had already gone off as we were still fighting our way to the start! Thankfully we passed one of my running club watching the start, who took our bags off us and we finally made it to the start ready for our wave to be sent off.

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Smiles of relief!

Well then it went from bad to worse. I hated every minute of it this year and could easily have given up at mile 5 which is never a good sign. I really felt sorry for Lucy having to listen to me moan the whole way around! She deserves a medal just for that!

We stopped to use the portaloo and queued for about 10 minutes. While using the facilities I noticed that my water belt had rubbed my side raw. Once I had irritated it, it really hurt. Two months on I’ve still got a mark there!

We finally finished what felt like 5 hours later and I felt sick, I felt dizzy and most of all I felt pretty disappointed in myself. Has to be my worse race ever. My watch gave me 10minutes slower than last year but it might as well have been 100 minutes the way it felt.

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Finished!

I felt so guilty for spoiling Lucy’s race even though she was gracious enough not to show it. I need to run with her again to make up for it but I doubt that’ll be an offer she takes me up on lol!! Roll on next year ;)

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The Impossible Dream?

Last weekend brought D’s 4th birthday. Now let’s just take a minute to wonder how on earth my baby could be 4?? Argh! Time moves so fast!

Anyway moving on. So D turned 4 and he decided he wanted a party. With a bouncy castle naturally! ┬áSo I booked a hall and the bouncy castle but then my mind turned to the waste side of things. How little waste could I produce at the party? I knew I couldn’t go Zero Waste as it’s quite difficult to get ingredients without packaging here but I could at least try to reduce unnecessary waste.

The main culprit at parties are party bags. Plastic bags filled with plastic tat that break and/or gets thrown away the same day. I decided to make my own party bags out of fabric I already had.  

The bags were all different sizes depending on how much of that particular fabric I had. D wanted a dinosaur party and I did have some dinosaur fabric from a few years ago. Each child also got a toy dinosaur in their bag which seemed to go down well.

Food wise we tried to keep waste to a minimum and I made the birthday cake using items we already had to decorate it  

Cakes were made in reusable cases 

And all the food was placed on proper plates instead of disposable ones

 Drinks were served in plastic beakers we had borrowed from church so no cartons to throw out afterwards.  

Despite all this we fell down in a lot of places. I had surgery the week before the party and was quite poorly afterwards meaning I didn’t ┬áconcentrate fully on the zero waste aspect. I panic bought crisps and other party foods that have a lot of packaging at the last minute. We also used tea bags instead of loose tea as I wasn’t well enough to concentrate on a lot of things at the same time. I also panic bought sweets and surprise eggs to go in the party bags.

Next year I plan to start preparing early and make reusable napkins to wrap the birthday cake in for the party bags (we used paper napkins) I would also like to make more of the food myself.

Although my surgery didn’t help our zero waste quest we still only took away one small bag of rubbish at the end of the party. Which I was quite pleased about, considering.

My one sadness though is the one thing I cannot control and that is other people. Any tips on cutting down the mountain of wrapping paper we were left with?

Or is a Zero waste party an impossible dream?

Wiping up waste

We are slowly settling in to a bit of a school routine now, and thankfully I have had time to get some sewing done while the kids are in school. I have been trying to take a look at our lives and our routines to see where we can improve waste and environmentally wise. 

With 2 young (ish) children we have a lot of spills in this house and the easiest way to wipe them up is with kitchen towels. I also use kitchen paper to clean the worktops. I know it’s paper so it can technically be recycled/composted but I’m still using it once then throwing it out. What a waste. 

While decluttering the bathroom I found a lot of baby towels that are really no good anymore as they barely fit around my “babies” anymore but are too big for hand towels. So, one afternoon while D was in school I cut the towel into squares and overlocked the raw edges. I could have neatened the edges with a sewing machine or by binding them but I went for the quick and easy option of my overlocker. 

I folded them and put them in a pretty basket which sits on top of the worktop in the kitchen. They are then to hand when I need to wipe up a spill etc. Once used they go in the washing machine with my normal washing. No more paper towels in this house. Nice one!