We had been planning this weekend for some time, and it was going to be special, not because ‘I’ was running, but because the rest of the family were running – in fact this was to be the first ever time that we had all run together at an event, so really a bit of a family milestone.
Edinburgh has for a number of years held a ‘festival of running’ on the weekend when the marathon has taken place, and it is advertised as a family friendly event, so ideal, we thought, to motivate the children with a tee-shirt and a medal as they arrange races at all possible distances from junior races of 1.5km and 3km, and then 5km and 10km races on the Saturday and half and full marathon races on the Sunday.
The boys were eager to try out their new bikes this weekend, and our normal ‘easy’ route consists of driving to Bramley, to the old disused Bramley and Wonersh railway station and then cycling towards Cranleigh, so we had promised them a long cycle as they are keen and we have to jump on any enthusiasm they show for things! (early teenage years)
First, we had to get Luke to a party though; only the first week back at school at we are into the party season already – roll on Christmas! Liz popped him over mid morning and then we all went to swimming with Savannah which she thoroughly enjoyed, given the confidence she had gained throughout the summer. The boys played outside while we attempted not to expire in the heat of the covered pool at Boxgrove which for some reason was more like a sauna, without the plunge pool 🙁 While the elder boys played outside on the new playground equipment, we chatted with Ros, a friend from Pewley and HT, whose son Nate had just started with Zelda. After that it was straight off to pick up Luke from Rowley, between Bramley and Cranleigh.
Three hours later we had got home, picked up the bikes, finished the last minute adjustments and tyre pumping, before setting off down the canal, to cycle all the way to practically where we had been driving past earlier in the day – much to the consternation of the children – “Why did we come this way? Why didn’t we stay where we were?”, etc, etc.
The route was quite a challenge for them and by the time we got to Shamley Green and our favourite hostelry, the Red Lion, it was just before 5:00pm and we were all ready for some supper. Make a mental note at this point to check when these quaint country pubs actually start serving evening food; 6:30pm in our case having finished the lunch session at 3pm. Finding ourselves in the middle of no-man’s land, our window’s of opportunity well and truly closed, we got a few bags of crisps and Liz got some further ‘incentives’ for the long road home.
They all did well to do at least 20km and we ended at about 6:30pm back home outside our other favourite pub, the Britannia!
Father’s day today, but no let up with the training – albeit still cross-training at the moment.
I was not up too early this morning as the alarm was set for just before 6:30am, but it was a bright and light morning, so it was difficult not to get up anyway! This is about the time that the children get up (at the weekends) so they were already downstairs playing by the time I’d got all my bike clobber together and was ready to get out the door. I was better prepared this week, as we’d bought some gels while we were out yesterday and my supply of isotonic drink seems to be lasting forever (I bought that back in July 2010!)
I wanted to get a few extra miles in today, so had a plan to augment the beginning and end of my route from last week. This is easy to do, but mean that I am heading (ultimately) for a two circuit route around the hills of Guildford. I’ll have to think about that as I’m not that keen on loops. In the end it was easy enough to get 10k in at the start and a similar amount at the end, with another couple of hills for good measure as well, without too much difficulty.
I have noticed that a couple of the roads that I run and cycle on have yellow sign boards up, indicating they are to be closed at the end of July. Upon investigation, it turns out that they are to be used for the Olympic Cycle route. That should be quite exciting – since 100 mile ultramarathons are not yet an Olympic sport; maybe I should start a petition 🙂 so I’ll have to see if there is a good place to watch from which is going to be accessible!
Still, back to reality and my 47 miles were done, but more to the point the uphills are great strengthening exercises for my quads and knee stability, which should hold me in good stead in a couple of months time. The distance and time was more than sufficient for me to feel I had earned my ‘Goodness Shakes’ today as well, which didn’t last long when I reached home.
The family returned home from church shortly after I had sorted out my ‘breakfast’ and showered.
We did another couple of additions to the you tube gallery before lunch, which Liz very kindly made for me for Father’s day; a traditional roast chicken with all the trimmings 😉
These videos are a little bit more like something they used to do in ‘Vision On’ or ‘Take Hart’ for those of you that remember children’s television from the seventies, and there is not a Lego character in sight. The beauty of this type of thing is that they have as much fun making them as they do watching them again afterwards, with shouts of ‘Mummy, always watch me’ and shrieks of delight as they see what effect their movements had in the finished product.
I have worked for the EBRD for the best part of seven years now.
In all that time my family have not ‘visited’ the office during normal hours to see where and how I work and meet some of my colleagues. That situation was remedied today, as they accompanied me on the final day of their half-term holiday to London.
A lot of my work colleagues, may of whom love closer to the office, seem to bring their spouse and children into the office regularly, so I felt it was high time that I also decloaked some of the mystery (from my children’s perspective) surrounding where I work and what I do.
It was to be an early start, but these things never quite work out the way you plan them, and after providing a hefty subsidy to the southwest trains profit margins, we eventually got the 8:15 train into Waterloo. As it was the end of the jubilee week, which many people had taken an extra few days out of, we all managed to get seats – almost unheard of, but they still got the idea of the normal crowding on this, and the Waterloo and City tube ride under the city.
They were all impressed with the ‘view’ from my office – down into the atrium from the sixth floor – but less impressed that I didn’t have any games to play in my office. Nevertheless, while everyone was excited and pleased to see the ready made ‘party’ I’d brought with me and an earlier snack had kept them going, breakfast was the first order of the day and with the little ones tucking in to a variety of delights from the fabled EBRD restaurant, disaster was averted shortly after our arrival.
They all disappeared after a few more greetings, to venture to the top of St Paul’s cathedral, which on one of the windiest days of the year so far, was perhaps not the best plan! Still, after a couple of hours they were all back down the stairs and through the tube again to meet me for lunch. Everyone was again very helpful and chatty, but their overwhelming impression was that the children were incredibly quiet, despite my protestations that they were seeing them on a good day!
Three bowls of pasta and a lamb burger later they said their goodbyes to my team, and then with a quick detour to the fourth floor to see a couple of model ships in the atrium, they were on their way again to the London Aquarium where they spent most of the afternoon.
At the end of the day I don’t think they will have much of a better idea about what I do, but at least they are now more familiar with my office, my manager, Marco, and many of the other people that i work with there.
They are also looking forward to the next time they can come up to have breakfast 😉
Dad was travelling up today and I was working from home, so a fairly quiet day all round after the normal school runs in the morning and afternoon.
The children have been looking forward to the weekend for some time and to seeing their grandad again, as it has been a couple of months since he was last up in Guildford.
Talking of Guildford, we have had an offer on our house, which has thrown us into a different stage of the moving process – i.e. we now have to consider where we actually want to move to and if the extra travelling time which I would have into town from Battle station in East Sussex, which we have been looking at, would be worth the benefits of living in the country. That’s a discussion for another time though.
In the meantime, the kittens have been settling into life in the house and have been practising for their latest theatrical appearance in the sequel to Puss in Boots, namely ‘Kittens in Tutus’.
Not sure quite how to title this one, but today would have been my Mum’s 82 birthday, and the first since she passed away last July, so a simple post of a few pictures today while remembering the good times we had together.
A final easy day to end the holiday and the final day of my easy running week as well.
Liz and I both had runs to do this morning, so Liz did her pace run first and I followed up with my easy run. A great day as it was beautifully clear, but a bit muddy and slippery underfoot, especially in Vibrams and it felt a bit slow as a result.
After that we tried out one of my Christmas presents, a waffle maker. Liz made some super healthy waffles from oats, which worked out as a really cool option and we’ll certainly be doing them on a regular basis from now on. The preparation of the waffle maker was a bit of a slep, so we ended up having a bit of a later brunch at 11am 🙂
Nevertheless, the children have been enjoying their holidays as well, and have been in no hurry to get anything done; just living from meal to meal, like their parents 😮 but are getting a bit stir-crazy now – school starts again on Thursday, thank goodness.
I’m off back to work tomorrow, as I’ve no doubt most of the population will be, so the long haul to Easter starts now.
This blog is mainly about my running exploits, but by it’s very nature it also records a snapshot of my life which, in the future when my memory fades or senility kicks in, I will be able to use to look back on my experiences in life, at least for the last four or five years. I always wished I had had the discipline to write a diary on a regular basis, but the association with school field trips and nineteenth century romantic authors was too great and it was not to be.
It is, then, not without a certain sense of irony that my obsession for running and more importantly the discipline that is essential for the long distant and endurance variety thereof has also spawned the discipline to match the desire for regular and periodic recording of my thoughts and exploits.
The question is, why am I recounting this now?
Sometimes things occur in life which are not related to our obsessions, and they have a way of resetting our perspectives on life in general, but I also feel that I must record the events of the last few weeks in my life for the same reasons I have been recording my training and races – so I can look back on it in the future, relate to it and at least be able to share those experiences with loved ones around me.
The reasons may be the same, but this is infinitely harder.
My mother has had cancer. She has had slow carcenoid growths in her liver for around four to five years, which were the source of unexplained pain that she had been having for some time. They were diagnosed as such around three years ago, and no matter what you think of the NHS in the UK, they managed the situation admirably, giving her injections which, while not curing her, at least slowed the growth of the cancerous cells and together with pain management allowed her to have a high quality of life. Continue reading Reality Knocking→