The parkrun where I nearly gave up

I can’t believe the change in temperature and weather conditions from last Saturday, 1st January 2022, to this, 8th January 2022. Last week was a gorgeous 12℃ when we were running at 9am and we were all saying how it really didn’t feel like January but more like spring.

We spoke too soon! This week was icy, literally. We had to run on the mud for part of the course as the tarmac path/track was completely covered in ice. On top of that, although we don’t have our “Puddle of Broken PB Dreams” any more thanks to new drainage which was put in by the Racecourse during the lockdown, we had a couple of big puddles at and just after the start line. This was all in the first kilometre of the course and the course is one and two thirds laps which meant we had to go through it twice.

After we had got back on the tarmac, off the mud which was almost as slippery as the ice, I was debating whether or not to just finish the first lap and then peel off and run home instead of doing the second 2/3rds to finish the 5km. However, as we crossed the finish line, 2km in, I saw the coffee van and that persuaded me to run the next 3km rather than 1km to the start line and then peel off to run home. Adam wanted to finish the run as he wasn’t particularly phased by running on the muddy, uneven, grass. Also, there were a few people in the finish area, who were volunteering, who I knew and who I thought would get worried if they didn’t see us again before the tail walker finished.

So, even though I had debated not finishing, I finished my 2nd parkrun of the year in a slow, for me, 34:43. I’ve been trying to run a slower parkrun since we came back last Summer. All it took was freezing weather and a bit of ice/mud!

What a difference a week makes. The left and centre photos were taken on 8th January 2022. The right picture was taken on 1st January 2022.

It was also my 241st parkrun. So, another 9 and I’ll be able to order my 250 parkrun t-shirt.

Apart from this little, almost, slip-up, I’ve had a good start to the year exercise-wise. I have walked at least a mile every day as well as doing the yoga practice video published by Yoga with Adriene for her Move, 30 day yoga journey. I’m so glad I’ve taken the time out to do the yoga practice as it is really helping me to not feel so stiff and sore. It’s amazing how little you need to do to feel the benefits of gentle movement. I’m nowhere near as flexible and strong as I was but I’m seeing improvement and I will get there, if I stick with it.

Have a great week of loving movement, whatever you decide to do.

1st Crochet Project Completed

I did it! I finished my first big crochet project in 40 years. It didn’t turn out perfect but it’s not a bad effort. Even if I do say so myself.

My first wreath

I completed my last big project 40 years ago as a 10 year old Brownie to get my knitters badge. Yes, I was allowed to crochet rather than knit but I had to make a garment and chose to make a dress for my 10 year old self. I don’t have a photo of it but it turned out ok. After that project, I gave up crochet for a long time except for the odd granny square blanket. I made a wreath about 4 years ago (pictured right) as well as a scarf but didn’t really get back into crochet, even though I wanted to.

Fast forward to December 2021 and I decided that I needed to use up some yarn which I’d bought to knit a top with about 10 years ago but couldn’t get on with because it was too fluffy! I found a pattern for a granny square shrug and thought I could make that with the fluffy yarn. All I needed to do was make a large granny square and then sew part of it together to make the shrug. It came out OK but I ran out of yarn and had to use a completely different yarn, and shade, to finish it as they don’t make the original yarn any more. It’s not great but it’s good enough to wear at home if I need something to keep me warm.

After the shrug, I decided to try making a jumper. I bought some lovely King Cole Bramble DK yarn in mixed berries and, the company I ordered it from, offered me a free pattern for signing up for their newsletter. I thought I’d chosen a crochet pattern but, unfortunately, it was a knitting pattern. Ah well, never mind, I’d found a pattern on a different website which I wanted to try anyway.

This is the result:

The photo of me isn’t great, I didn’t set the timer for long enough on my phone and I was still moving when the photo was taken.

I love the colours of the jumper but I should have made the small rather than medium, it came up wider than I expected, and I should have added some length in the body. Ah well, live and learn. I liked making this pattern though so I will definitely make it again. I’ll try a different shade of King Cole Bramble next time or maybe I’ll try someone elses mixed “stripy” yarn.

I am currently making another wreath, in pastel colours, to use up some small amounts of left over yarn, while I decide which project to start next. I have another jumper pattern to try, as well as a short sleeved top, and a few hats, fingerless gloves and scarf patterns. I don’t really need any more scarves but, being a Raynauds Syndrome sufferer, I can never have too many fingerless gloves!

I do have another project on the go but this one is going to take ALL year to complete as I only crochet one row per day. This is because it is my Temperature Blanket. This is my progress so far, all 7 rows of it.

I’m not sure how we started the year with a pale yellow for 14℃ and then finished the week with greys and blues, which are expected, for 3℃ to 5℃. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the month, and year, pans out.

I’m going to try to keep a log of my crochet, and cross-stitch when I get back to it, projects this year by posting a blog post regularly. Hopefully once a week, but it may reduce to once a month.

Anyway, that’s all for this week’s update. I hope you have all had a wonderful start to the year.

Take care.

Looking Forward to 2022

Welcome to 2022!

I’m not sure 2022 is going to be much different from 2021 but we can always hope.

I’m not one for “New Year” Resolutions or Goals because I believe that if you are going to set a goal or resolve to give up something or start something then why wait until the 1st of January? Or next Monday for that matter. Why not start now, today, instead? However, I do set goals for the year and review them at the end of the year. For example, I set a distance goal for running but I will then set individual goals each month and/or week and I didn’t wait until a “new year” to start setting goals for running, exercise, reading, crafts etc. In fact, a lot of my goals used to revolve around the school year rather than the calendar year as September always felt like a new start when Adam went back to school after the summer. My business goals are often reviewed in April when the tax year starts/ends so I have a full year’s figures to look at on my tax return.

So, what are my goals for this year?

Health and Fitness

Running

A good start to the year at York parkrun

After completing just over 700 km of running in 2021, following the amazing 1,000 km I completed in 2020, I have set a goal of 800 km which is 500 miles for 2022. That is an average of 15 km per week plus 20 km. Most weeks I will run 3x 5km runs so this is doable but as I know I will have some weeks when I don’t run at all – when on holiday or visiting family or if it’s icy outside – this will still be a little bit of a challenge. Let’s face it, the only reason I ran so much in 2020 was due to a pesky little thing called lockdown. Now that Adam is working and I am back to working 5 days a week running long distances is harder to do.

Walking

I walk, a lot. If I can, I walk every day. I don’t always walk 10,000 steps but I do walk at least 1 mile most days. I walk to work and to do the grocery shopping. My goal for this year is to walk at least 1 mile EVERY day. This may not happen as stuff may get in the way. If I don’t walk a mile every day then my secondary goal is to walk at least 7 miles a week or 30 miles per month. Let’s say that I am going to walk 365 miles this year or should I round it up to 370 miles? Hmm, I’ll have a think about that.

Yoga and Stretching

I try to do yoga or stretch after my runs but I’ve been very hit and miss with it over the past few months. I’ve told myself that I don’t have time but I’ve just been lazy. I shouldn’t be lazy about stretching. My body doesn’t thank me for it, especially my hip, and I’m too old to let my muscles seize up just because I can’t take 10 minutes to stretch them out.

So, this week I decided to go back to yoga. I stretched after both runs earlier this week as well as doing 10 minutes of yoga on the days I didn’t run. I’m feeling better for it already. I also stretched after parkrun this morning even though I was very tempted to just jump straight in the shower.

Of course, Adriene at Yoga with Adriene is doing her usual 30 day yoga challenge, it starts tomorrow, but this year it is a 30 day yoga JOURNEY. I love that she’s changed it from a challenge to a journey 😊. I’ve signed up and downloaded the calendar so I can plan when I can fit the sessions into my day. The downside is that the daily practice will be uploaded to the Yoga with Adriene YouTube channel at 5am EST which is 10am here so I won’t be able to do the day’s session before work on Monday, Wednesday or Friday, although I will be able to do it after my run on Tuesdays and Thursdays so … Yay! The upside, for me, is that looking at the calendar, all of the sessions are 32 minutes or less which makes it much easier to fit into my day after work. Previous “challenges” have included a few sessions of up to 50 minutes which I found really hard to fit in and would then just give up.

After the 30 day journey, I am not going to say that I will practice yoga EVERY day but I will complete a minimum of 3 sessions every week, even if it is just the 10 minute post-run cool down stretch, but will aim for at least 5 sessions most weeks. I’m hoping that if I can complete 30 days it’ll start to be a habit and I will continue with a daily practice. After all, 10 minutes when I get up or before bed isn’t that hard to do especially with all the short yoga sessions available on Yoga with Adriene’s channel and via the FitOn app which I discovered during lockdown.

Other Exercise and “Dieting”

I need to start incorporating strength training back into my lifestyle again but, at the moment, I don’t have the “want” to find the time to do it. So, at the moment it is going to continue to take a back seat. However, some of the yoga practices will assist with building up some strength as does carrying the shopping home from the supermarket.

As for dieting, I have been a member of a “slimming” club for a number of years as a target weight member but, due to changes in work and not having a session when I am available to go, I have stopped going. I can’t say that I’m bothered about this as I didn’t “follow the plan” anyway and was struggling to stay in the target range, thanks to hormone changes, and didn’t want to pay to go to group knowing that I’d struggle to get the weight back down. My body measurements haven’t changed since putting on a few pounds and I’m still within a “normal” BMI range. I am happy with the nutrition choices that I make and I am happy with my body. Sure, I have times when I will cut back because I feel sluggish when I put on too much weight due to making not so healthy choices – chocolate over Christmas/New Year break anyone? – but that is because I know what I feel like when I am a certain size/weight and not because someone is shaming me into it.

Craft Projects

During lockdown I signed up to receive the Disney Cross Stitch partwork to create 4 samplers, as well as other projects, as I love Disney and really enjoy cross stitch when I actually take the time to do it. However, about 1 1/2 years later I still haven’t finished the first character on the first sampler! I am going to get there though. I have decided that I am going to complete one character a month during 2022. As there are 8 or 9 characters on each sampler this means that I will only finish the first sampler and get half way through the 2nd sampler by the end of the year BUT at least I’ll have completed something. You never know, once I get into the swing of it I may finish even more.

As I said in my 2021 review, I recently started crocheting again and am really enjoying it. so much so that I keep buying yarns and patterns. I even bought a kit for a “temperature blanket”. The idea is that you crochet a row for every day of the year in a different colour depending on the temperature that day. So, at the end of the year you will get a blanket that looks a little bit like the temperature settings on a weather map. I love the idea of this and decided that it was a great project to keep me crocheting through the year.

My yarn stash for 2022

I have also bought wool for a couple of jumpers/tops as well as some sparkly christmassy wool which I am going to use to make a bobble hat and wrist-warmers. I can’t have too many wrist-warmers/fingerless gloves.

I think that’s about it for my goals for 2022. Have you set any goals, or resolutions, or are you continuing to work towards goals which you set during 2021?

End of Year Reflection for 2021

Yes, I know we aren’t quite at the end of 2021 yet but as I haven’t written for almost 12 months I felt I needed to get in while I have time. This is going to be a long post so you may want to get comfortable.

After a funny 2020, with numerous lockdowns and furlough and having Adam at home 24/7, the begining of 2021 seemed to be more of the same. I was working from home most of the time as we were in another lockdown and Adam was still at home most of the week. However, there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

Running

We started the year off well with a couple of virtual challenges from See York Run York and a “Conqueror” challenge which I’d signed my husband, Adam and me up to to complete as a team. I completed the East Coast Classics challenge in July 2021, with Adam and my husband both finishing the challenge in August – a total of 644 miles of running and walking. If I hadn’t counted the walking, I wouldn’t have got anywhere near finishing the challenge.

East Coast Classics Medal and T-shirt

We also ran the distance of all of the London Underground lines, a total of 346 km. I didn’t include any walking for this challenge, only runs, and Adam and I completed this challenge in June 2021.

Finally, the 3rd virtual challenge we had this year was the Route 66 challenge. We completed this as a team and included walking and running. I thought it would take us a year to complete but we managed it in just over 7 months!

Of course, we were allowed back to in-person events this year too and we completed the York 10K, the Elvington Flyer (5 mile) and Four Seasons 10K. I loved being back at the York 10K and even managed a course PB and just missed an overall 10K PB by about 30 seconds! I thought Adam and I were taking it easy after losing a lot of pace during the lockdowns and lack of events in the previous 15 months but we went really well. The only downside was that the medal says 2020 as the event wasn’t run last year and they changed last year’s t-shirts to read 2021.

York 10K T-shirt and Medal

Next was the Elvington Flyer 5 mile which, unfortunately, came up short and I was a little bit gutted as I was on course for a 5 mile PB. Ah well, there’s always next year. Of course, we only ran for the amazing medal and fabulous cake, anyway.

Finally, Adam and I decided to enter the Four Seasons 10K. Now, I’ve always steered clear of the Seasons 10Ks with See York Run York as it is 10 laps of a 1K track and I really can’t think of anything worse than running round the lap 10 times. Anyway, as we hadn’t done the Chocolate 10K this year, we volunteered instead, we decided to do this one. I’m glad I did because … I got a 10K PB! So did Adam as our PBs are the same for 10K. Oh, and it was over 10.3km as we didn’t run the racing line.

Finally, we got back to parkrun in July although we didn’t actually run until about week 3 or 4 after our event re-started as we volunteered for the first couple of weeks and then other things got in the way which prevented us from running at parkrun. However, we are back and loving it! We even volunteered on Christmas Day and will be running on New Year’s Day this week.

We haven’t run much in the past couple of months due to one thing and another but we will get back to regular running once I get myself, and Adam, into a better routine on the days when we are both at home in the mornings.

Adam

As restrictions started to ease in April, Adam got a new job coach as his previous job coach went on maternity leave. Adam’s new job coach has been briliant. As it seemed increasingly unlikely that Adam would be able to go back to his work placement due to the length of time he was away AND the fact that he no longer qualified to be part of the supported internship programme, due to being too old, Adam’s job coach took the time to get to know Adam and ask what he would like to do.

Firstly, just to get Adam out and working and gaining experience, Adam’s job coach asked if he would like to work in a charity shop. Adam’s job coach has done a lot of work with the people he has supported at a charity shop in Acomb which has a little high street with lots of cafes, charity shops, bakeries, a butchers, small department store and a small supermarket. Adam said he would like to try it and they went to see the manager and have a trial. Adam started volunteering in the shop in June and was supported by his job coach for the first few weeks. However, since about August, he has been going on his own for a couple of afternoons each week. As well as volunteering on his own, he is also travelling on the bus to and from Acomb and even getting off the bus at a different stop on the way home so he can come and meet me at work (this means I can go into the office and work my full afternoon instead of doing part of my work at home). So far, Adam has volunteered over 130 hours. He is awesome!

Adam is also attending his social care placement one day a week and, although I drop him off, he is getting 2 buses to get home.

Finally, and this one is HUGE … Adam has a paid job! I am so proud of him and he has worked so hard. Again, it is thanks to his job coach who took the time to get to know him and know what he is capable of. Adam went for a trial at a local independed hotel in July and was all set to start work before the summer holiday season kicked in but, with one thing and another, that didn’t happen. However, the hotel contacted Adam’s job coach at the end of August and asked if Adam would like to come for another trial shift at the beginning of September to see if he liked them and the housekeeping team liked him. They offered him a casual contract 😊. Due to Adam’s disability, he has been offered the same days every week but, as it is a casual contract, these days can be cancelled if the hotel don’t need the housekeeping staff.

Adam is loving it and has worked a couple of shifts without his job coach due to his job coach not being available. However, he does still need support to travel to the hotel as the road it is on is a busy main road (40mph speed limit) which he needs to cross from the bus stop.

I am so proud of Adam and what he has achieved this year, and every year, and know this is only the beginning.

Other Stuff

More has happened this year apart from running and Adam’s achievements but they, as usual, are the main things.

In other news, I have started crochet again after not doing much for 40 years, apart from the odd giant granny square and a wreath which I made a couple of years ago. I made myself a granny square shrug which isn’t as big as I would have liked as I ran out of wool and the wool I used isn’t made anymore. I am now making a short-sleeved top which is most definitely the most complicated project I’ve done since I was 10 and made a dress for my knitters badge at Brownies (yes, I crocheted for my knitters badge).

I had a good exercise routine going in the Summer, I actually got up early enough to do yoga every morning as well as the running and walking, but that fell by the wayside when the mornings started getting darker. I find it so hard to get up in Autumn/Winter when the mornings are dark.

Menopause – it’s definitely here, the perimenopause that is. It’s not just irregular periods, although that is fun in itself, and I don’t have the physical symptoms of hot flushes and night sweats. For me, it’s more the psychological symptoms like brain fog, which Adam finds hilarious, and irritability. I am being completely irrational, I know I am and yet I can’t seem to stop flying off the handle about the smallest thing. Also, hair loss. I’m surprised I’m not bald with the amount of hair which falls out on a daily basis. I finally went down the route of HRT a couple of months ago and I think it has saved my sanity. I’m still irrational and have a little bit of brain fog but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was.

I think that’s about it. I would say that I hope to write a bit more in 2022 but going by this year’s track record I’m not sure it’ll happen. You never know though, I may get back into the swing of it and build some time into my week for blogging. Maybe I’ll have to make an appointment with myself to write.

I hope you all have a wonderful new year and see you in 2022.

Running Challenges for 2021

Unlike a lot of runners I know, we don’t do a lot of “in person” events because I don’t like having to get up early to travel too far, or too long, so most events changing to virtual in 2020 was great for us. I think Adam and I earned more medals in 2020 than we did in the previous 5 years. Wait, I’ll just need to work that out now …

Yearmedalyearmedal
2020Elvington Flyer 5 mile2019Elvington Flyer 5 mile
2020York to London (virtual challenge – 237 miles over the year)2019Interstellar 10K
2020Lockdown challenge (set your own challenge for the lockdown medal)2019Ribbon Run 5K
2020Run2York virtual runs – North Yorkshire2019Chocolate 10K
2020Run2York virtual runs – East Yorkshire2019York 10K
2020Run2York virtual runs – South Yorkshire2019Yorkshire 10 mile
2020Run2York virtual runs – West Yorkshire2019Gunpowder Plot 10K
2020Run2York Seaside Series – Blackpool2018York 10K
2020Run2York Seaside Series – Bridlington2018Yorkshire 10 mile
2020Run2York Seaside Series – Saltburn2017York 10K
2020Summer of Running 10K2017Yorkshire 10 mile
2020Ribbon Run 5K2016York 10K
2020Day of the Dead 10K2016Yorkshire 10 mile
2020Chrimbo Bingo challenge2016Disneyland Paris half marathon
Total medals in 202014Total medals in previous 4 years14

Not quite 5 years but we equalled the number of medals we got in the previous 4 years. Our previous best was 7 medals in 2019 and 6 medals in 2015 which is not on this list. it’s all thanks to See York Run York.

Anyway, on to this year’s long virtual run challenges. See York Run York have created 2 challenges which you can do by counting your distance over the course of 2021. You can also choose how you want to make up your distance – run, walk, cycle, swim etc. I entered Adam, The Man and myself in to both of the challenges and created gift vouchers for them to give to Adam and The Man for Christmas presents.

We even got a downladable number

The first of the See York Run York challenges is a 644 mile virtual run (and, in our case, walk) from the start of the Boston Marathon to the finish of the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC. Along the way you run 5 different marathons, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and the Marine Corps marathon, as well as running in between. As this is over 1,000km, we are going to include our walks, as long as I record them in Strava/Garmin, if Adam and I walk together. Otherwise, it will all be running. If I run without Adam I’ll be counting those miles too. For the Man, I’m going to include his steps, as long as he has done more than, say, 5,000 steps in a day as he doesn’t get out running as often as he’d like.

The second challenge from See York Run York is to run the London Underground. This is split into the 11 lines of the London Underground network. The total distance is 346km and we are going to only use running for this challenge. The longest line is the Central Line at 53km and the shortest is the Waterloo & City Line at 2km. We have decided to complete these in alphabetical order so have started with the Bakerloo Line which is 22km.

I have also entered us for another challenge but this one we are doing as a team. We are walking and running Route 66! This one has been entered via My Virtual Mission/The Conqueror Virtual Challenges and, thanks to being able to link our Garmins/Fitbits we are including all steps taken to contribute to the distance. We are aiming to complete all 2,280 miles (3,669km) in a year. We started on Christmas day 2020 and aim to finish by Christmas Eve 2021.

We will, hopefully, be doing the York 10K this year as our entry from last year was transferred to this year. I’m also looking at 3 events which See York Run York have planned, as actual “in person” events, for later in the year. Here’s hoping we will be able to run with our running buddies soon.

Run2York Challenges – Round Up

As I stopped writing this blog in June (28th June was my last post before 31st December!), I thought I’d do a round up of the Run2York challenges.

Here’s a quick re-cap of the challenge(s):

The wonderful people at See York Run York set up a number of virtual running challenges for us in 2020 and one, or four, of them were the Run2York series which involved running, virtually, from a town or city in each of the 4 Yorkshire counties to York. When I stopped writing, Adam and I had completed North and East Yorkshire runs from Whitby and the Humber Bridge and had just started the South Yorkshire leg from Sheffield.

Fortunately, I did keep a weekly photo record of the South and West Yorkshire runs, as follows:

Amazingly, South Yorkshire only took 3 weeks to complete!

When I planned the challenge, I’d thought we’d struggle to finish each leg in one month as 50 miles (80km) was a tall order for us back in April when I signed Adam and me up. Somehow, thanks to lovely weather and not working, we ran further each week than we ever had before and finished all 4 runs in 3 months!

After the success of the Run2York challenge, See York Run York released the Seaside Edition of the challenge. This time, we were running from 3 seaside resorts, Blackpool, Bridlington and Saltburn. So, needing another challenge, of course I signed Adam and me up.

Unfortunately, I stopped creating the update posts for Facebook after the Saltburn Week 1 picture due to lack of time as I had gone back to full hours at work. However, we completed the full Seaside Edition of the Run2York series on 29th October 2020. That was another 188 miles in 3 months!

Now for this year’s medals. I hope you agree that they are amazing and are one of the reasons why I keep on signing up for See York Run York events.

This year Adam and I have completed the following events, unfortunately all of them were virtual runs:

  • Elvington Flyer 5 miles
  • Run2York (Yorkshire series) – 200 miles in 3 months
  • Lockdown Challenge – set our own challenge of running 500km during the first lockdown. From 23rd March to 27th July 2020 we completed 502km.
  • The Sean Coxhead Ribbon Run 5K – raising money for Macmillan Cancer
  • Summer of Running 10K
  • York to London – virtual run starting at York Minster and running to the start of the London Marathon and completing the London Marathon course for a total of 237 miles
  • Run2York Seaside Edition – 188 miles in 3 months
  • Day of the Dead 10K
  • Chrimbo Bingo – a challenge for December 2020. Choose your own challenge to complete a line or two or go for a full house.

I had an amazing year of running in 2020 year and am looking forward to the new challenges which I have already signed up for in 2021.


Still Here and Plodding On

Oh dear, I’ve done it again. I started writing regularly and then … stopped. I don’t know why I keep doing that because when I write, I enjoy it. I guess it’s because it takes up time that I don’t always have. Anyway, you can tell when I went back to work after being furloughed because the writing just STOPPED!

Anyway, I am still here and I’m still running with Adam. We even finished the Run 2 York challenge and added the Run 2 York Seaside Series on to it. If I have time I’ll write a post or two about all of the running challenges this year.

It has been a very strange year, as it has been for everyone. One day Adam was doing really well with his work placement at a local café 3 days a week, having a job coaching session with his coach once a week and going to a social care placement once a week and then, like most people, nothing. He was at home full time and I became a full time carer overnight. There is more about that in my Carers Week post in June.

I returned to work after furlough in July. It was part time to start with but I have been back to my full hours (still part time) since either September or October. The weeks and months have all merged together so I’m not entirely sure.

Adam went back to social care for one morning and one afternoon session in September and will be changing to 2 morning sessions from next week as my working hours have changed. However, he is still at home the rest of the time as his work placement, being in a café, has not restarted.

There have been some positives to come out of this year though:

  1. I have spent a lot of time with my husband and son.
  2. I have run further in one year than I ever have before, thank you See York Run York and your virtual challenges!
  3. I have eaten less takeaways and cooked from scratch a lot more. I’ve always cooked at least 4 or 5 meals a week from scratch but now it is at least 5 and sometimes even 7.
  4. My husband has learned to cook more meals. He’s added Toad in the Hole and fish cake dinner to the burgers which he learned how to cook last year. The fish cake dinner is just putting pre-made fish cakes and potato waffles in the oven and cooking peas to go with them but it saves me having to do it!
  5. I have started reading regularly, again.
  6. I started cross-stitching again.
  7. I was one of the lucky few who had their annual holiday before lockdown and the restrictions which came with it.
Here’s to a better 2021

Run2York Challenge – South Yorkshire

Last weekend Adam and I finished the second of our Run2York challenges, from the Humber Bridge to York Minster. We started our third challenge, South Yorkshire, which will take us from Sheffield Station to York Minster last Sunday but I decided to have an extended week 1 rather than a one day week as I did previously.

The run for the South Yorkshire leg is 52 miles (83.2 km). This week, we ran a total of 28 km (including 3.6 km last Sunday).

Last Sunday was a short, slow run as Adam and I are supporting The Man on his couch to 5K. This means that some weeks we will do extra runs and some weeks we will include the couch to 5K sessions in with our runs. So, last Sunday was a bonus run for us.

This week, Adam and I ran on Tuesday and Thursday with The Man so our routes were a little different. We started off with a run round the estate, which is flat, for The Man’s couch to 5K and then continued our run to Acomb (and the bakery) on a slightly amended route. The Man was on week 5 so this included 2x 8 minute intervals on Tuesday and a 20 minute continuous run on Thursday. In the heat we had this week, it wasn’t easy.

Thursday was hot and sweaty!

Saturday was a cooler run, thanks to the light rain we had when we started running. Saturdays are supposed to be a short, parkrun length run but, thanks to this challenge, I keep making them longer. I even made Adam run the length of our street so we could make it up to 8 km!

This morning was a bit of a bonus run for us as we took part in another little challenge from the See York Run York chat group on Facebook. At the beginning of the month we did a 1 mile time trial and today was the day we had to run it again to see if we could improve.

Well, we did improve, by 13 seconds. Not a lot but considering that I didn’t put in any specific training to ensure we got faster that was ok. Also, it was windy and Adam was still talking to me and there was a car coming along the road every time we needed to cross one. It was 9.30 on a Sunday morning, I wasn’t expecting that many cars. Well, those are my excuses for the not much quicker time and I’m sticking to them 😂.

So, here we go for another week. This week should be good although, again, slightly different as I am back at work, albeit part time, from Wednesday. I’ll be working from home and still working as Adam’s full time carer so we’ll still be able to go out running.

We are taking part in the Run2York 200 challenge to raise money for the Snappy Trust.

Run2York – East Yorkshire – Completed!

Oops! I forgot to post an update last week.

Anyway, we have completed the East Yorkshire leg of the Run2York challenge in just over 3 weeks. I have records for 4 weeks of running because day 1 was on a Saturday and my week runs from Monday to Sunday.

It’s been a mixed bag of running over the past couple of weeks, weather-wise at least. We’ve had rain, we’ve had sun, we’ve had cloud. Usually all in the same run. Although this is Yorkshire (or this is England, or this is the UK) so what do we expect?

We’ve stuck, predominantly, to the same routes for our Tuesday and Thursday runs but have changed up the Saturday run a little bit so that we are only running a short section of the service track of the York Racecourse and then running behind the stands and down a path which skirts round the Racecourse. This has proven to be a little bit quieter and the users of the path seem to keep left, and single file, a lot better than those using the service track.

We have also been out a couple of times with The Man who has started to follow the Couch to 5K programme and has just finished week 4. We will be keeping him company on his runs as he progresses further with day 1 of week 5 tomorrow. This coming week his runs will be on the same days as ours so there won’t be any extra mileage for the challenge but on weeks where his running days are different we can definitely clock up those miles 🙂

So, for week 3 we completed 23.3 km to take our total up to 51.9 km. We needed to complete 24.9 km this week to complete the challenge and we ran 25 km!

We have now completed 98 miles of the 200 mile challenge and will be moving on to our 3rd leg – South Yorkshire – which will be a run from Sheffield Station to York Minster. I don’t think this one will take us just over 3 weeks. I’m aiming to complete the 83.2 km in 4 weeks.

We were originally aiming to complete the Run2York 200 mile challenge by 31st August 2020 but I am now changing that to 16th August 2020 which gives us 8 weeks to complete the remaining 102 miles (163.2 km). We have set a deadline for the challenge as we are raising money for The Snappy Trust who are continuing to provide much needed care for disabled children and their families.

Carers Week 2020

As a Carer myself, I know how hard it is to care for someone every day of the year. Those who choose to go into a profession where they are caring for other people on a daily basis are amazing and I take my hat off to them. I couldn’t care for a stranger the way they do.

So, firstly, THANK YOU to all of the employed Carers out there who are still working and caring for those who need it.

However, Carers Week is about the Carers, like me, who are unpaid and do what we do for love. To be honest, I’ve never really seen myself as a “Carer” as I am just looking after my son, and that’s what parents do, even though my day to day parenting role has gone on a lot longer than most parents.

This year, I decided to write a post in support of Carers Week due to the times we find ourselves in. We are 12 weeks into lockdown and Carers, like parents of school-age children, have found themselves having to care for the people they care for 24/7 without any respite or assistance from outside sources. In many cases, we are trying to work from home as well as the additional caring duties.

In my case, Adam is usually out of the house from 8.15 am until 4 pm-ish Monday to Friday. He was doing a work placement on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. He was at a day care centre for adults with learning disabilities on Thursdays and then had another placement on a Friday. He also had English and Maths lessons within this timetable. Then, on 23rd March, we were told that everything was stopping and he couldn’t carry on with any of it.

When we become, or continue to be Carers, we do it knowing that we should be able to get some support and respite during the week so we can have a little bit of time to ourselves to go to work, do the shopping and maybe even have a date night. It’s the same for parents, when you have a child (or children) you know that you are likely to need to look after them full time until they are 4 or 5 but once they get to school age you expect to have school hours free to either go to work, meet up with friends, do the shopping etc. We are now caring for our children, trying to encourage them to do their school work and keep them busy while not being able to go out and about as much or see family. We are having to do this while, in some cases, also trying to work (either our paid jobs, from home, or running our businesses from home) and having distractions from ALL family members being in the house at the same time 24/7.

We are lucky in that Adam isn’t hard to care for but that doesn’t mean that it has been easy. Twelve weeks, and counting, of lockdown has seen lots of frustration and shouting but it has also brought with it a lot of family time and laughter. Fortunately, we have been able to go out as we don’t have to shield or isolate due to medical conditions. So, we have been out running and walking when we’ve needed to go shopping. We have been to the shop (cafe) where Adam was doing his work placement each week to keep him in touch with the people he was working with. Hopefully, he will be able to go back when the cafe connected to the shop opens again. Adam has also had a weekly Zoom call with his Job Coach and has recently started having his English and Maths lessons via Zoom too. We tried doing the English and Maths by having the work sent though to me and then I attempted to go through it with him. That really didn’t work well so we changed to having Zoom lessons instead. That is working so much better and it means that I get a little bit of time to sit at my computer and do some work while Adam is doing his lessons in the kitchen.

So, to finish, to all Carers out there you are amazing! As are all the parents who are now finding themselves trying to be all things to all people. Take care of yourselves and don’t compare yourselves to others. You don’t know what they are going through behind the smiles or the tears.

Take care and be kind. Sending hugs to anyone who needs one.

One final thing, I thought I’d share a blog which I wrote for parkrun last year when they were asking for Carer’s parkrun stories.