Tag Archives: running

Bath Half 2015 – I did it!

I did it! I actually completed my first half marathon!

Bath Half 2015 - I did it!

And what an incredible experience it was to be in the midst of all these runners making their way round my home city ‚ô•

Bath Half 2015

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My ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots look the wrong way round as I started the race soaking wet and finished it dry. As we set off for Bath city centre, there was a cool breeze, the sun was shining and the sky was clear blue. I kept calling out to the family how it was the perfect day for running… no sooner had I uttered these words than the sky went dark and there was the most almighty downpour!

Bath Half 2015 - before shot

Stupidly, I hadn’t packed a waterproof coat or an umbrella, so I ended up soaked to the skin and freezing cold. Instead of heading to the runners village, I popped in Cafe Nero’s to try and warm up. At least I managed to stop shivering! Luckily, the rain stopped just before the race began and the sun started to peep out.

With thirty minutes to go until ‘the off’, I headed up Great Pultney Street to the ‘starting pens’. It felt surreal to be part of the running crowd. I couldn’t quite believe I was there! Suddenly the race started, and the only sound I could hear was the ‘pitter patter’ of thousands of feet. It was such a unique sound. I found it mesmerizing.

Bath Half 2015 - Bath Chronicle

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The first four miles went really fast, then it started getting tougher. I tried to keep up with ‘Pound Coin guy’ for a while. I did manage to say hi to him, but even his pace was too much for me. To ignore the fact my feet were screaming, I focused on the crowds and ‘hi fiveing’ all the kids I passed. Seeing their smiley faces definitely kept my spirits lifted.

Pound Coin guy

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Another highlight for me was being lapped by the winner, Paul Martelletti and runner up, Dean Lacey. I can’t believe how fast those guys can run! If I’d blinked I would have missed them! Paul was the first British guy to win the Bath Half in twelve years, finishing in 1 hr 5 minutes.

Paul Martelletti

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That’s a whole hour faster than me! I ended up finishing in 2 hours 5 minutes, which is quicker than expected. I even managed a kind of hobbled sprint finish ūüôā

Once over the finish line, my body pretty much refused to move. I could barely bend over to reach the time chip on my shoe. I hobbled my way through the exit pens and collected my medal, finishers t shirt and ‘goodie’ bag.

Bath Half 2015 Medal

I loved the t shirt but the ‘goodie’ bag was pretty dismal. I was kind of expecting a protein bar or energy drink. Something to rejuvenate me after the big run. But no, here’s what was inside…

Bath Half 2015 Goodie Bag

Dairy milk bars and a Dairyfine Titan. Glad to see they catered for the plant-based runners ūüėČ

But joking aside, I’m so glad that I took the plunge and signed up for the Bath Half. It was a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience for me, and one that I’ll never forget.

Bath Half 2015 - I did it!

The fact I got to run for such a worthwhile cause was the icing on the cake. Thanks to you guys, I’ve raised ¬£436 for Mercy In Action. I have been so touched these past few weeks by your kindness and generosity. I can’t thank you enough. As promised in this post, I’ll be picking three sponsors at random to win some of my home-made chocolates. Since donations are still coming in, I’ve extended the deadline until this Friday, March 6th March. I’ll notify the winners by email.

Thank you once again, to everyone that’s donated and offered words of advice and encouragement. I couldn’t have done it without you ‚ô• xx

 

 

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Filed under Fund-Raising, Out & About in Bath, Running

Bath Half Marathon 2015 and Mercy In Action

On Sunday 1st March, one of the UK‚Äôs most popular city running events is taking place – the Bath Half Marathon. With thousands of runners taking part, and thousands more spectators lining the streets and cheering them on, the city is literally buzzing with atmosphere and excitement on ‚ÄėBathHalf Day‚Äô.

Bath Half Marathon

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Every year, I stand by the barrier near the Holburne Museum soaking up the atmosphere and cheering on the runners. Come rain or shine (and especially when it’s freezing cold and rainy like last year!) me & Lil’ L are determined to stay right until the last of the runners finish their epic journey. I especially feel for those that have been on the course of hours. I can see in their faces how much they’re hurting when they turn that final corner and head onto Great Pultney Street. Hurting, but totally euphoric. We encourage them onwards by shouting that they’ve only got a few more metres to go. What an incredible sense of achievement they must feel!

Bath Half 2014 The Derby Telegraph edited

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In all the years I’ve supported the Bath Half runners, not once have I wished to be running with them. If anything, I feel a sense of relief when I see their faces on the final corner, glad that I’m not going through the agony with them.

But this year, things are going to be a little different as I’m hopping over the spectator barrier to join the 15,000 runners. Even as I type this I can’t quite believe this is happening! The longest I’ve ever run before is 10K so running double the distance seems unimaginable right now. It’s going to be tough. It’s going to hurt a lot. BUT, it’s all going to be worth it as I’m running to raise money for an amazing charity ♥

Mercy in Action banner
The Bath-based charity, Mercy in Action, was founded in 1995 by John and Allison Todd, following an unexpected encounter with five street boys during a trip to the Philippines. The boys hadn’t eaten for three days and were begging on the streets. Moved by the plight of children the same age as their son, John and Allison took them for a meal.

‚ÄúWithin the 30 minutes it took us to order the food and the boys to eat it, we both knew we couldn‚Äôt walk away from them, and so the seeds were sown for what has grown into a charity which to date has helped thousands of children and their families.‚ÄĚ John Todd

Mercy In Action Street-LIFE

John & Allison with children from the Street LIFE Project

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Mercy in Action is involved in numerous projects to help the poorest of the poor in the Philippines, and street children are at the very heart of what they do. The following are just a few examples of the valuable work that the charity does to support these vulnerable children:

Street LIFE Projects
Mercy in Action runs a ‚ÄėDrop in‚Äô where street children are able to shower, wash their clothes, and have a hot lunch every day. Social workers support the children and ensure they get medical attention if needed; a teacher provides lessons tailored to the children‚Äôs various abilities; and global volunteers assist with the lessons and plan fun activities for the children including crafts, sports and a weekly outing.

‚ÄúThe drop-in was challenging to see; children from about the age of 7 living on the streets. We were struck by the size of the children. 14 year olds looked like 7 year olds, as a result of stunted growth due to poor, or at times non-existent, diets before Mercy in Action started working in that area [‚Ķ] The children were still amazingly positive, despite living on the street or in slums. They loved doing arts and craft activities and would try hard in the hours of teaching each day. Perhaps what sticks out most was that despite their conditions, despite they were standing in a ripped t-shirt often with nothing else on, when they got some food they would share it around and even offer it to us before themselves ‚Äď such amazing, heartbreaking kindness, happiness, hope and generosity‚ÄĚ. Volunteers‚Äô Reflections on the Drop In

Mercy In Action - Street LIFE Project

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Mercy in Action also runs a community centre with a range of after school clubs and organised activities. Many of the children that attend the centre live in slum houses with only one room and no electricity, which makes studying very difficult. A new library and study area has been set up in the centre to help support the children and enable them to excel in their studies.

Education
Through Mercy in Action, over 400 children are currently sponsored to attend school. Click here to find out more about sponsoring a child.

Mercy in Action Education Programme

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Spring Village
The first of three family houses and a community centre housing a canteen, meeting place and volunteer accommodation have been constructed on a purpose built site. A routine of school, play, good nutritious food and loving carers brings about radical and lasting changes in the majority of youngsters – even the most damaged and vulnerable. The remaining houses will be built as soon as finances allow.

Mercy in Action Spring Village

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The Boys Home
In September 2012, Mercy in Action was able to rent an additional house near Spring Village and moved four street boys that they had been working with for five years into the new house. They were aged between 8-17, and all had drug addictions. The boys are all thriving in the home, and have been joined by four more. They are all off drugs, in regular education and flourishing with the help of loving house parents and counselling. The older boys volunteer on Mercy in Action projects, and are great role models to boys who are still on the streets.

Mercy in Action - Street LIFE project 2

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Chelo’s House
Through a partnership between International Justice Mission (IJM) and Mercy in Action, the first rescue home solely for male victims of trafficking in the whole of the Philippines has been set up called Chelo’s House.

Transforming Communities
The key to seeing lasting change in the lives of the children they work with is to support the communities in which they live. Recognising this, Mercy in Action sets up tailor-made programmes to meet the needs of individual communities. In the mountain village of Tapul where absolute poverty was preventing many children from attending school, Mercy in Action replanted an area of previously logged forest and gave ten fruit trees to each family to care for. When mature, the fruit will provide a much needed income. Until then the children on the programme receive a hot, nutritious meal each day, as well as having all their schooling needs met. The parents have taken responsibility for maintaining this innovative project.

Mercy In Action 1

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Mercy in Action recently received a grant for a small business fund. With this money they bought a fridge and other supplies to start an ice candy business. Some of the mums from a weekly support group called ‚ÄėSource‚Äô get together once a week and make batches of ice candy. They then sell it in their local communities and give half of the money to Mercy in Action to continue the business and the rest they use to feed their families.

Mercy in Action 4

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Several of the ‘Source’ mums have been on jewellery making courses provided by Mercy in Action. They then make beautiful necklaces and bracelets that are sent to England and sold in the charity shops. The women receive a fair wage for their work and all other profits are put back into projects with street children.

Housebuilding
Mercy in Action is committed to helping families realise their dream of living in a home of their own. Small native houses are quick to build and relatively cheap, yet offer stability and hope that can pave the way to a happy, healthy family unit. Over the years the charity has been able to provide more than 50 homes.

And much, much more!
You can find out more information about this wonderful charity on their website, as well as details of how you can support them or even become a global volunteer!

Mercy in Action

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Fundraising for Mercy in Action
So next Sunday I’ll be lacing up my running shoes, gritting my teeth, and heading out on that 13.1 mile run round Bath in order to raise as much money as I can for Mercy in Action. I‚Äôve pledged to raise a minimum of ¬£175.

If anyone would like to sponsor me, any donations, whatever the amount, will be so gratefully received. Just think, if everyone who read this post donated £2, I’d easily smash my target!

Prize Draw
As a small token of my gratitude, I‚Äôm going to enter all the sponsors into a prize draw to win a gift box of 6 hand-made chocolates (or a gift box of my favourite non-melty goodies if you’re currently enjoying summer in the southern hemisphere!) Three winners will be selected on March 6th and notified by email.

Chocolate Goji Almond Hearts

 

Thank you SO much for your support. It means the world to me and Mercy in Action ‚ô• xx

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WIAW – I’ll bring the Mediterranean Vegetable Crumble (with recipe!)


The lovely Jenn over at Peas and Crayons has set ‘Falling into New Habits’ as the theme for this month’s What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) parties. Maybe the first new habit I should ‘fall into’ for Fall is actually turning up at the WIAW parties. I’ve been missing all summer! Sorry guys! There was a serious lack of food photography going on in July & August as I was too busy (having¬†fun) with Lil’ L.¬†Now he’s back at school, there’s no excuses!

However, one¬†new habit that I have¬†taken up this month is¬†going for a¬†30 minute run straight after school drop off.¬†¬†I’m not a ‘morning person’,¬†but this quick run in the fresh air is making a world of difference to my day.¬†By the time I get back home, I feel really alert, and the fact that I’ve actually ‘achieved’ something before 9.30 spurs me on for the rest of the day.

My productivity levels have definitely increased since I made this simple change to my daily routine.¬†Let’s hope I continue with it!

I’m also enjoying the opportunity it gives me to spend an extra half hour outside in the¬†fresh air, enjoying¬†the morning sunshine (we’re having a great September here in Bath!) and¬†taking in the beautiful views.¬†Here’s my favourite pics¬†from this week’s runs.

I’ve always struggled to run in the mornings but I do feel like I’m getting a bit better at it.¬†I have no trouble running at night… it¬†feels effortless, like I’m flying rather than running.¬†In stark contrast,¬†in the mornings,¬†I feel like I’m glued to the ground,¬†and it takes¬†a huge amount of effort to pick up my legs¬†and run.¬†Weird eh? Does anyone else experience this or is it just me???

When I get back from the run, I’m¬†doing a simple¬†5 minute core strength yoga sequence,¬†then it’s time for breakfast.

On the subject of food, since coming back from the Summer holidays, I’m full of renewed enthusiasm for cooking fresh home-made meals. I just need to get into the habit of photographing them! For this week’s WIAW party,¬†I thought I’d¬†share my favourite breakfast, lunch and dinner from the past seven days. Fortunately, these were the three meals that I did actually manage to photograph!¬†I hope you enjoy them as I much as I did! ūüôā

Breakfast
Continuing with my recent chocolate-banana obsession, my favourite post-run breakfast has been a chocolate-banana energy shake. It tastes fantastic, is packed with goodness, and leaves me feeling full up all morning.

Here’s how I make it…

Lil’ L and M love this shake too. As well as being¬†great for breakfast¬†(and especially good¬†for those mornings when you’re in a rush), it also makes a great after-school or post-work snack.

Chocolate Banana Energy Milkshake

Lunch
I’ve had lots of¬†lovely lunches this past week, but my favourite was this Thai Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup.

So delicious!¬†I’ll write up the recipe and post it on Friday. I¬†promise!

Dinner
It was hard to choose a favourite dinner, as I’ve been cooking lots of our favourites this week.¬†However, this is¬†the one that I managed to photograph… Mediterranean Vegetable Crumble.

This is so yummy and can be eaten hot or cold. Any leftovers make a great addition to work lunch boxes.

Here’s how I make it….

 Dessert
My favourite dessert of the week has got to be the instant dairy free chocolate banana ice cream with chocolate sauce and nut sprinkles. Yum yum yum!

Time to head over to Jenn’s and join the party!

Enjoy the rest of¬†your week everyone ūüôā xx

This time last year…. my first appearance at Jenn’s WIAW party!!! ¬†WIAW Party – I’ll bring noodles

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WIAW Fun, Food & Fitness

Fun and Fitness

Since July is the month of WIAW Fun, Food and Fitness, I thought I’d begin today’s post with a quick rundown of my current exercise regime.

When I left salaried work a few years ago to set up my own business, I stopped my gym membership to save money. Ever since then, I’ve been exercising in the great outdoors. When I went to the gym, it was all about the exercise. Now it’s so much more. As well as helping me to stay fit, exercising outdoors gives me the opportunity to get some fresh air and take in the beautiful views. It helps me to feel connected to my local environment.

It gives me the opportunity to recite mantras and get connected spiritually.

I also love the opportunities it gives me to interact¬†with members of the local community. There’s lots of¬†smiles, ‘hellos’ and words of encouragement as I make my way along the road or tow path.¬†

 

For me,¬†exercising outside¬†has¬†had a huge, positive impact on my well-being, both physically and mentally. I used to love going to the gym. Now, the thought of being cooped up in a sweaty room, with no fresh air, and with only¬†machines and screens to look at¬†just doesn’t¬†appeal¬†anymore.

At the moment, I’m running on average twice a week. I have two favourite routes, one flat route along the Kennet & Avon¬†towpath, and a second hilly route up to St Catherine’s Court.

 

4-5 mile runs suit me perfectly and I run around 10 miles per hour now (a whole minute quicker than this time last year. Woo hoo!)

I also cycle 1-2 times a week. I love mountain biking at the weekends with the family, and tend to cycle into Bath once a week too.

 

I sold my car a few years ago (to cut costs) so these days  cycling, walking and running are my modes of transport. I love getting about this way, for the same reasons as I love exercising outside.

Over the past decade¬†I’ve found the optimum¬†level of exercise to suit my body. In my teens and 20s I was prone to knee injuries and seemed to always be at the physio. For the past ten years, I haven’t had a single injury. Long may it continue!

Fun and Food

For this week’s WIAW foodie party, I thought I’d show our eats from today.

Breakfast
A delicious bowl of porridge for me & M. In mine, I added ground cinnamon, mixed spice, almonds, walnuts, pecans, Brazils, ground linseed, shelled hempseed and goji berries. It was made with Alpro Original Soya Milk (the version sweetened with apple juice) and I lightly drizzled some Sweet Freedom Fruit Sweetener on top.

For some people, porridge is a winter breakfast but I can happily eat it all year round ūüôā

Lil’ L chose to have a mix of granola and Shreddies, and I added in some flaked almonds, chopped walnuts, shelled hempseed and ground linseed for a nutritional boost.

Lunch
The night before, while we were washing up, I quickly made some tomato pasta for lunchboxes. It only took a few minutes to prepare. While the organic wholegrain pasta twists were cooking, I finely chopped some veggies Рcarrot, fine green beans, mushrooms, red pepper, red onion Рand let them gently cook in a frying pan with a little olive oil. When the pasta was cooked, I mixed in half a jar of Seeds of Change Organic Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce and the veggies. I also added some sunflower seeds, shelled hempseeds, pine nuts and nutritional yeast for a nutritional boost.

Marigold Nutritional Yeast with Vitamin¬†B12 is one of my all-time favourite health food/vegan products. It’s got a delicious cheesy/nutty flavour which works really well in pasta dishes. I also use it for savoury crumbles,¬†pizzas,¬†pesto and, ground with raw cashews, as a¬†vegetarian¬†replacement for¬†parmesan.

It’s got an amazing nutritional profile. As well as being high in protein, it’s packed with B vitamins and zinc. Just one small 5g serving provides 220% of your B12 RDA.

You can buy the Marigold Nutritional Yeast from health food stores and online. I tend to buy mine from Harvest in Bath, or online from Goodness Direct.

Snacks
Lil’ L morning snackseeded flatbreads with home-made¬†humous
Lil’ L post-school snack – small bowl of raw cashews (he loves these!)
Lil’ L pre-swimming snack¬†¬†3 mini banana pancakes (leftover from Sunday)¬†with chopped pecans and a drizzle of Sweet Freedom Fruit Sweetener
My post-school snack – a mixed bowl of raw nuts (cashews, walnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds) and raisins.

 

I’m loving this snack at the moment, but I end up eating a pretty big bowlful. I’ve heard¬†that raw nuts are actually a negative calorie food but¬†I must check this out for sure!

Dinner
For dinner, we had one of our all-time favourite meals¬†…. Veggie Fajitas.¬†¬† This is my favourite kind of ‘fast food’ – it’s¬†ready in less than 10 minutes, only uses one pan (gotta love the ‘one pans’!), it’s really tasty and¬†healthy! I wish all ‘fast food’ could be like this!

You can make veggie fajitas simply by using veggies and seeds, but I also like to add in half a pack of Fry’s Vegetarian Chunky Strips for added flavour and texture. These can be bought in the freezer section of health food stores like Holland and Barrett.

 

¬†To make the fajitas, I simply stir fried some veggies,¬†seeds and the¬†vegetarian chunky strips¬†in a little olive oil. I then sprinkled on some fajita seasoning mix (not too much as Lil’ L doesn’t like his dinners too spicy). Once I’d removed Lil’ L’s portion I added some Linghams Chilli Sauce to add more heat for me & M.

Just look at all those beautiful colours in the pan ūüôā

The fajitas were served in Tesco wholemeal seeded tortilla wraps. We had two each, and Lil’ L took the leftovers to school the next day for his lunch.

Dessert
For dessert we had some fresh pineapple chunks and a fresh¬†strawberry jelly. Lil’ L absolutely loves these jellies…. and¬†I love the fact that they’re sugar-free, gelatine-free and contain real strawberries (which he normally runs a mile from!) Recipe coming very soon!¬†

After dinner Lil’ L and M tried one of the¬†raw chocolate-coated lime creams that I made yesterday.¬†¬†They got a big thumbs up ūüôā¬†

Here’s how they looked before I added the chocolate coating…

They really do make a refreshing after-dinner treat.¬† Both M and Lil’ L loved the¬†raw chocolate coating I added after the pic,¬†whereas I prefer them without. Lil’ L said that I’m¬†over-ruled so the chocolate’s staying!

Well, that was another¬†great day of eats. Time to head over to the lovely Jenn’s and check out the¬†yummy WIAW¬†food gallery.

Happy Wednesday everyone! ūüôā xx

Do you enjoy exercising outside or do you prefer hitting the gym? 

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Filed under Baking & Desserts, Biking, Breakfast & Elevenses, Dinners, Running

I did it!

I woke up this morning to the sound of heavy rain pounding on the windows.¬† “Great!” I thought. ¬†I hadn’t factored in adverse weather conditions!¬† Fortunately, the rain¬†eased off by the time the race started.

My strategy was to plod round the track in my usual, casual running style.¬† I’d never run 10k before so I didn’t want to burn out early on.¬† My friend D gave me some great advice, which was¬†not to¬†be tempted to set off at the pace of the others.¬†¬†It was only last night I realised that I’d accidentally entered a serious race¬† (part of the¬†Wiltshire Championship series).¬† When I entered online, I hadn’t read the blurb, but had just seen the words ‘suitable for beginners’.¬† I now think¬†this meant ‘beginner competitors’ rather than ‘beginner runners’.¬† I tried not to panic though and kept reminding myself that I was doing it for Jodie and Macmillan, and it didn’t matter if I came last.¬† In fact, I should expect to come last and any other place would be a bonus ūüôā¬†

So everyone sets off and I start my plod. 

Everyone soon¬†deserts¬†me.¬† It doesn’t matter though; the main thing is to enjoy it (this is what I keep telling myself!)¬† I do pass a couple of people that did set off too fast ūüėČ

Here I come for lap 2, cheered on by one of my¬†greatest supporters.¬† I’m starting to look like a beetroot now.¬† Still no one else in sight!

Already I’m being lapped by the guys.¬† I need to learn from their running stance because it’s far more effective than mine ūüôĀ

By lap 3 I’ve got a humongous¬†stitch.¬† A guy who’s running past me asks if I’m alright.¬† When I yelp that I’ve got a stitch, he tells me to “push it in”.¬† I’m not sure exactly what he means so I try¬†pushing my hand into my ribs¬†where the pain is.¬† It doesn’t seem to help much, so¬†I decide to just get on with it and use it as an opportunity to practise a bit of Tonglen ūüôā

I even tried to smile for the camera, although it was more of a grimace than a smile :/

I finished the race in 58.22 which is far, far quicker than I’ve ever run in my life.¬† You wouldn’t be able to tell from the photos, but I didn’t come last either!¬† I came 156th (out of 182) ūüôā¬† It doesn’t really matter where I came though, because this is what it was all about…

A big thank you to everyone that sponsored me and offered words of support and encouragement.  I am very, very grateful.  At last count, the total raised was £295 which has far exceeded my expectations!  Thank you so much for the very generous donations xx

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