Archive | February, 2012

20 Miles

27 Feb

I don’t think I need to say much more than that! But I will…

On Saturday, I ran 20 miles. OMFG. Especially as I skipped my 30-minute run on Thursday because I just didn’t feel like it. Take that, Thursday!

I decided to try out a different route as the one I had been doing was making me a little crazy on long runs. Ok, very crazy. I am yet to encounter the endorphin high. I tend to get exercise-induced rage. I have actually walked out of spinning classes because I build myself up into such a “this is so f-ing stupid! We’re on bikes and we’re not going anywhere! And we’re listening to really awful music!” So, the beautiful tunnels (see header) started to look very similar and I’d think I was closer to home than I actually was, and I’d start to get angry with myself for running, Meg for finding it so easy and not just running the distance I was doing but up and down the banks at the side as well, and Richard Beeching for having closed down the railways that meant I was running along this former railway line.

So, I tried out a new one along the canal. It was super pretty…

I’m really happy with the choice of route. I think I’d start a few miles further west, as the first/last 3 miles were a bit uneven, which was fine when starting out, but not so much when I was exhausted towards the end. I turned my ankle a few times, and my knees are feeling a bit dodgy. Being so inexperienced in the field, I’m quite nervous about telling the difference between a “man up and push on through” and a “you’ve actually hurt yourself”.

Choosing to run west along the canal was the most intelligent decision of my life. I started at midday, so the sun didn’t bother me too much, and then when I turned around it was behind me – perfect. The people I encountered, who were out enjoying their boats, were absolutely lovely – friendly to Meg and encouraging to me!

I’m still so nervous about this race. I am slow – see above – but I need to push that thought out of my head. If I have to run on the pavement when they start reopening the roads, that’s not the end of the world. I’ve started thinking about how I will feel if I am actually the last person to finish the race, but it can’t be that bad. I’ll have run a marathon! It’s a big thing for someone like me – someone who starts projects but doesn’t finish them; someone who gives up if I can’t do something perfectly. I have to ignore the many, many articles out there complaining about slow runners ruining marathons for the experienced ones and just focus on my own personal goals. As I wrote a while ago, the internet is full of people trying to create their own, exclusive club because they’ve been excluded before; but that’s 100% their own issue, not mine.

The biggest surprise of this training is how important the mental side is. I have been blessed with a mostly-functional body, and anyone with that can run as far as they want to. That’s a really cool thing to learn – so much more exciting than how my bottom looks in jeans, which is, incidentally, much better than it did before I started training.


Bed Head

19 Feb

My Mum commented last week that most of my Flickr photos are of Barney and me in bed. I swear I don’t just laze around in bed all day!

I just love the extra light in our bedroom. The big issue with new estates is that you’re all smushed in together, and so unless you’re on the very edge, it can get a little dark downstairs, even with quite large windows. We’re quite lucky that, over the fence, we can see the cornfield and the hill where a farmer friend of ours grazes his cows. Our garden, however, is less than ideal as it slopes severely and simply doesn’t see any sun whatsoever.

Another point is that general rolling around and cuddling and all those important things are just easier in bed. After changing his nappy, I’ll often have a few minutes of compulsory cuddles (I have to enforce these things while I still can!) Also – love you, Meg, but you’re less likely to come and sit on my head when I’m on the bed. I’m just sayin’.

Some favourites coming up. I swear I’m trying not to be a mummy bore. I can’t guarantee that I won’t fail.

Him and Mini-Him, wearing their t-shirts accordingly

Hand over the phone!

Mothers! Use your sleeping baby to kind of hide your double chin!


A little tenderness to make up for the Labrador-wrestling

I’m ready for my super-close-up


And yes, on that last one, you will see that I have started the indoctrination (mwahahaha) early, with the It’s a Small World iPad app. It’s awesome. And it teaches him that if he does stuff, stuff happens. That’s important, y’know.

It takes a lot of food to reach 6′ 5″

18 Feb

When you try and reduce the crazy somewhere, more creeps in. Here, I begin to agonise over weaning the baby. There are so many options and methods out there. Firstly, there’s the currently popular baby-led weaning compared to standard purées-getting-chunkier method.

BLW, as it’s called, is getting a lot of press recently after a self-reporting study of 155 parents of 20-month- to 6-year-olds revealed some differences in the preferences and weight of the children, depending on their methods of weaning. Parents were asked to rate their child’s food preferences by category on a scale of 1-5 (1 “loves; 5 “hates”, with BLW children having scores of 1.82, 1.83 and 1.89 for carbohydrates, savoury snacks and sweet foods respectively, and spoon-fed children having scores of 2.12, 2.08 and 1.81 for those same categories. 61.9% of BLW babies and 63.5% of spoon-fed babies were considered a healthy weight by WHO z-score standards. Because of our concerns about obesity in the West, the focus has been more on the fact that 25.4% of BLW children and 31.7% of spoon-fed children were considered overweight or obese by WHO z-score standards.

Naturally, the overall conclusions have been more well-publicised than the figures themselves (poor old BMJ – they just don’t get the readership!). Looking at the figures in detail, I’m more inclined to think “meh – there’s clearly more to it than just how a baby is weaned”. There’s the correlating factor that always comes into play whenever we look at methods of parenting that have been deliberately selected rather than followed simply because it was what everyone else was doing. It makes sense that parents who actively make decisions are more likely to see positive outcomes (I feel icky just typing that! Like we’re preparing for our final grade, or something we can put in the family newsletter), so it just doesn’t seem possible to strip out all of the gazillions of correlating factors there are. I’m sure that if any of us tried to submit such an experiment to our GCSE Science teachers, we’d be told to bugger off and do a lot more work. I guess that the BMJ is less discerning than Mr Lees.

So… My first conclusion is that the method we use to wean Barney doesn’t seem to matter that much.

Then we get onto the food. This is where I stress myself out a lot. I have read Annabel Karmel’s books with great interest, but have yet to brave any recipes, as I’m terrified of my carefully-prepared meals being met with disgust. I also haven’t really gleaned much information on what *actual* nutrition small people require, only a list of scrummy-sounding recipes.

So far, we’ve stuck to the following – batches of cooked veggies, meat/fish/poultry and starches frozen into cubes and quickly defrosted (in the microwave) with some herbs at meal times. This is punctuated with the occasional purée of whatever I’m having, although as a pest0 fan, hot sauce junkie and salt fiend, I’ve had to use this method only when absolutely appropriate.

Everything has gone down well so far, although the puréed celery took a few attempts. I have always taken the George’s Marvellous Medicine approach to cooking, resulting in slightly peculiar taste combinations that nobody seems to like except me. But if only they’d try Tom Yum and emmental toasties, I know they’d love them! Thankfully, Barney is a captive audience, and he hasn’t turned his nose up at many concoctions, despite one accidental turmeric-spill. After he devoured a bowl of veal biryani, I texted Patrick to let him know that I would treasure this moment when, in the future, he would refuse to eat anything but bread. Yes, baby brother, I’m looking at you!

I’m sure that it’s hard to go too far wrong, unless you start feeding your child puréed fast food – yup, that happened. It doesn’t stop me freaking out over him eating too many bananas in a day (more than two), or when I had a stomach bug and couldn’t cope with preparing anything more sophisticated than Weetabix for an afternoon. These are the days on which I plan to look back and laugh when the real challenges set in!

A Belated New Year Post

17 Feb

I forgot to share my resolutions with anybody. As I usually share them with people and tumble off the wagon anyway, I’m not too worried. I’ve been doing well so far!



1. Follow WeightWatchers. I have been documenting my food intake religiously, and with the assistance of two bouts of winter vomiting (yay!) and a lot of running, I am 7.4 lbs down since new year. It’s slow, but it’s steady, and it feels manageable. I’ve also enjoyed some pretty awesome meals out, and at least four curries, so I’m certainly not being deprived.



2. Stick to the Jeff Galloway marathon training plan. I’ve been doing extremely well at this, having clocked up 66 running miles so far this year. The delightful stomach bugs have meant that I’ve skipped a few, but I’ve got back on course with relative ease. With only two more long runs to go before the Brighton Marathon, I’m really starting to feel like it’s real. On the day, I’m sure I’ll feel like a kid on the first day of school, not feeling like I should be there. I’ve never run with another person before, so I’m not really sure how that’s going to affect me. I know that I am slow (averaging a 17 minute mile on longer runs – don’t laugh!) so I don’t want to fall in line with someone else’s pace and then be exhausted by mile 3!



3. This one’s a little different, as it’s not as SMART as the other two. There’s no “you either are or you aren’t” about it. I’ve been figuring out the stuff that drags me back into the unhealthy rumination and dwelling upon things I simply cannot control. Racists and homophobes; Daily Mail comment threads; dimwits with no understanding of basic economics; masters of self-promotion; “the only way is my way” mothers and many members of the Republican Party.


The Serenity Prayer seems to sum it up – 


God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.


There’s just no use in getting stressed about things unless I’m going to get off my behind and do something to change them. And frankly, I don’t know what to do about them. I don’t really think words have the power to change anyone’s mind. Nor do statistics – we seem to accept the ones that confirm our beliefs and disregard those who don’t. The only think that can make a difference is experience combined with the employment of logic, and people who lack either of those things simply cannot hear.


I’ve taken a step back. I’ve unsubscribed from stuff that stresses me out. The TV remains off. I have to confess that it has been a delight. I have no problem with having my ideas challenged and taking the opportunity to learn, but I do not need to be preached at by people with an extremely narrow world-view. I’ve even become skeptical of journalists who appear to share my opinions, simply for the icky taste that reading any kind of one-sided article leaves. Are there no writers who explore both sides of an argument any more?


And if I need any help lowering my blood pressure, there’s always this little guy…




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