Yesterday we had a young man knock on the door, say he’s not selling anything (of course not he just wants something) and ask if I’d heard about Gift Aid. I told him that I work for a charity so, yes I have. He then asked me which charity I work for and, as he hadn’t heard of it (I didn’t expect him to after all we are a small local charity) asked what we did. I told him that we provide out of school and respite care for special needs children. “Oh, that’s really good” he says before he goes into his spiel about how they are trying to get people to sign up to give, and gift aid, £2 per month. Did he not listen to what I said? I work for a small local charity and, while I agree there are other worthwhile charities out there (I even donate or raise money for some of them by doing the Swimathon and Race for Life), if I was going to donate a regular amount to a charity it would be the one which my son, and children like him, benefits from.
This is something I am going to try in the very near future. A friend of mine mentioned it to me just before Christmas and said that she had got about £30 from 6 bags of clothes, belts, shoes and bedding. So, I went on their website yesterday to find out more.
- They will collect clothes (including shoes and belts), bedding, soft toys and handbags
- They will give you 50p per kg of clothes etc.
- They will collect books and give you 5p per kg
- They will also collect mobile phones but the amount they give you depends on the type of phone and these are valued separately
When we fill a charity bag and leave it outside for collection, the charity only gets between 20p and £1 for each 10kg bag which they collect. That doesn’t seem right somehow. If we sell our bags to the Rag ‘n’ Phone Man we will get £5 for that same 10kg bag of clothes which we can then donate to the charity of our choice and not the charity named on the collection bag. Even if we only donate half of what we get the charity is quids in and, if we use a website such as Just Giving or Virgin Money Giving, they will collect the Gift Aid to add to your donation too. OK, before I get comments from people saying that companies such as Just Giving and Virgin Money Giving take a fee off the amount donated, yes they do but they will still donate more than your original donation to the charity and if the charity collect the Gift Aid portion themselves, not all of them do, they would be taking money off the donation through their administration costs.
The other thing I like about the Rag ‘n’ Phone Man is that they will arrange a day to come and collect your bags and weigh them in front of you so you don’t have to leave them outside to get wet or stolen.
I’ve tried this before and I am going to try again. I say that I am going to blog more about my healthy living journey and then I forget or can’t think about what to write. I used to write on my blog on SparkPeople about anything health and weight loss related but I’m going to transfer it to this blog as I can write blogs on my iPhone for WordPress.
So, here we go again with more training for an event. I have already done the Swimathon 🙂 and am now starting the training for the Race for Life. I will be taking part in the 5km run on Sunday 19 June 2011 and hope to beat my previous time of 37 minutes. In fact, I hope to break the 35 minute mark. I haven’t participated in the Race for Life since 2006, I think, as they keep holding the one near me on a Sunday afternoon and I work Sundays! I have booked the day off as holiday this year so that I can take part. I have run 5km since my last Race for Life event though. In fact, SparkPeople are encouraging its members to take part in Virtual Races. I took part in one during the week after I did the Swimathon and clocked a time of 38 minutes. I was quite pleased with this time as I hadn’t done any run training for a while as most of my cardio training had been done in the pool. I also ran the 5k on the treadmill and used it as a training session to gauge my running fitness. On that run I did a pyramid, starting at 6k/hr and increasing my speed by 0.5k/hr every 500m up to 9k/hr and then reducing it back down again.
I am starting the Race for Life’s 6 week training plan on Monday 9 May but have been doing a Couch to 5k training plan in the meantime. Last week I did week 2 (1 min 30 sec run, 2 min walk) and completed 4.35km in 35 minutes including the warm up and cool down. This morning I did week 3 (1 min 30 sec run, 1 min 30 sec walk, 3 min run, 3 min walk – repeated 3 times followed by a 4 minute jog at 8km/hr) and completed 4.37km in 35 minutes. My walk speed was 6k/hr and my run speed was 10k/hr. I don’t intend to be able to run at 10k/hr for the whole 5k but am using it for my intervals on the treadmill. Next week I am going to complete the other 2 days of week 3 and then start on the Race for Life 6 week training plan the week after.
My husband is also doing a 5km run on 19 June. Not the Race for Life as that is for women only but a run called R U Taking the P..2? which is an event organised by York Knavesmire Harriers for men only. It is an event to raise the awareness of prostate and male cancer and proceeds go to Yorkshire Cancer Research. My husband has never run a 5k. In fact, he doesn’t run at all. So, he is starting from scratch and, as he found it hard to do the standard 1 min run, 1 min walk, we have started him off at 30 sec run, 1 minute 30 sec walk. His run speed is 7.5k/hr and his walk speed is 5.5k/hr. Today, he felt so good at the end of 10 intervals that he ran for 2 minutes on the 10th! He completed 3k in 30 minutes which I think was great, considering 10 minutes of it was for warm up and cool down.
Due to another long weekend with my boy being off school for the Royal Wedding, May Day Bank Holiday and a teacher training day, I will not be back in the gym until Wednesday or Thursday next week.
However, I could have completed the 5,000m faster. I completed the first 100 lengths (2,500m) in 60 minutes which means that I came back in the second half in 52 minutes (8 minutes faster!). How does that work? Surely I should have been too tired to finish faster? I would say it was down to good pacing but it wasn’t. It was down to the fact that during the first half I had to keep stopping at the end of each length (or two) to let slower swimmers get further down the length before I started again. We had two swimmers in our lane who, I suspect, had over-estimated their speed and put down a faster estimated time of completing their swim than they should have. Fortunately, they were only completing 1,500m and 2,500m rather than the full 5,000m swim. Anyway, these two swimmers were quite slow compared to the other 4 in the lane (including me) but they would not stop at the end of the lane to let anyone else pass or if they did they’d only let one person pass and then the rest of us would be stuck behind them. In the end, we had to resort to trying to get passed them whilst swimming down the lane! Not a good position to be in and not good lane etiquette.
Also, one of these two slower swimmers also insisted on doing a tumble turn at the end of each length even though she was swimming breast-stroke! She also looked over her shoulder every time to check that she wasn’t going to hit anyone so would have seen the queue forming behind her. So you’d think. It all came to a head when two of the other swimmers were having a break to the sides of the lane, leaving enough room for swimmers to turn, when this woman did a tumble turn (having checked over her shoulder and seen me coming) straight into my path. I had to stand up to avoid being hit!
Now, going back to these two swimmers who didn’t let us pass. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that you will have swimmers of different speeds in a lane and I fully expect to have faster and slower swimmers with me. I actually don’t consider myself to be a fast swimmer (it takes me just under 30s to swim 25m). However, it is my understanding that, during lane swimming, if you are a slower swimmer and you see someone finishing close to you then you let them pass. If you are a faster swimmer, you can tap a slower swimmer on the foot to let them know you are there and they should let you pass at the end of the length. Most of what I have found regarding lane swimming etiquette confirms this, including the web articles below.
Anyway, all in all I had a great time and the event was well organised by Energise in York. My husband counted my lengths and my son was on hand to let me know when I had got half way, had 50 lengths to go and 10 lengths to go. I was also complemented on my technique by another swimmer who said I was an elegant swimmer.
I hope to do the event again next year but would appreciate it if participants would anticipate a slower swimming speed and finishing time rather than faster and learn about lane etiquette.
I am now in training for the next fundraiser. Running now as we are coming into the (supposedly) Summer. I am taking part in the Race for Life on 19 June 2011 for Cancer Research. I am doing the 5k as a warm up for my main event and fundraiser. The big one for me will be the Run For All 10k on 31 July 2011.