Post Brighton – week 64, run 65!!! THE END IS NIGH!!!

Brighton blog

Well it has been a hard week. Working very long days at work alongside meetings meant that the revels diet (temporarily swapped to twix pieces and chocolate covered popcorn) made a very big comeback. Most days i managed to finish work, come home and eat rubbish, have a bath and go to bed. Almost forgot to feed the lovely kitten at onee point – all very stressful. OH, BY THE WAY – NEVER TRY TO WRITE A BLOG WHILST THE KITTEN IS SHARING YOUR DESK – THIS HAS TAKEN ME HOURS!

Any way, this all meant that i decided to get the train to Brighton as i really did not have the energy to drive. I was obviously a little the worse for wear memory wise as yesterday morning i rushed around like a mad thing, cancelled a meeting and rushed saying goodbye to Willow Pumpkin Seed in order to get to the train station by 12.30. I managed this with time to spare …..only to realise that my train went at 13.40 – i therefore spent an hour “relaxing” before the train actually went! Not the best start…

Fortunately things got better – i was picked up from the station by my lovely friend Sarah and her husband Geoff (yep the friend i haven’t managed to see in 20 yrs has now been seen twice – thank you Luca!) We went to see Sarah’s mam whom i hadn’t seen for about 20 yrs either which was totally fab and then we went out for dinner. I met the lovely Stefan and Lewis and had a cwtch with the rather cute Honey and with Willow (not of the pumpkin seed variety) and went to bed (rather late after some more reminiscing over school photos). Sarah’s mam had provided a bed and a quilt and pillow so i was totally sorted!

This morning i got tea in bed and then got driven to the start of the run. The weather was ideal for a run (especially if you are a proper runner appreciating such things – unfortunately i am still in the “i don’t like running” frame of mind – still 4 more runs to do so guess my mind might change?!)

Anyway – the run was lush – fast and flat – unlike me!!! I managed around 65 minutes which wasnt too bad although that was my last organised run for Luca so i never managed to break the hour mark. Geoff then drove me to the railway station and i wrote the draft of this blog on the train wending my way wearily home.

This weeked Luca was 5. The fotos look like he had an amazing party. He was 3 when i started this challenge and it is amazing how time has flown. He and his parents and brother have made such progress and it has been a pleasure to be a small part of their journey.

I have also realised how blessed I am to have such a lovely family (however dysfunctional we all are at times!) and also what a great set of friends I have always had but never truely appreciated.

This week the lovely Rhod Gibert also advertised my challenge for Luca on his facebook page – an amazing gesture by a very lovely man for an equally lovely young man – thank you xxx

http://www.justgiving.com/DeeClark

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Post Cambridge and Peterborough, week 63 runs 63 and 64!!!

Cambridge blog

Peterborough blog

Well i am obviously getting worse and worse at this time management thing! I am on the train home from having done my Brighton run and am just writing about Cambridge and Peterborough – am getting very tired and more and more disorganised!

This was the last long trip with my mam and dad and i have to say they were mostly very well behaved!!!

This was shown before we left when i went to the garage to pump up my car tyres and mam managed not to comment on the fact 2 of them had only 18 lbs of pressure in them – i spotted the look on her face as i was pumping them up and congratulated her on her self control a couple of miles later – Dad gave the game away by telling me that she had pointed it out to him in the quiet of the car before i got back in so she was found out though!

The journey to Cambridge was very slow and we were late leaving due to (you have guessed it!) work. We were a little subdued. Not sure why but I guess we are all quite tired by the challenge now. We had a last minute panic when we appeared to be going in the wrong direction to the hotel but this was sorted by a precarious stop on the hard shoulder and mam reassuring herself she had read the post code correctly. Our conversation ranged through the usual, including bizarrely this time mam reporting that she had bought me a tin of Roast Stoat for Sunday lunch. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this – it appears it is a variation on my usual Mock Duck (vege meat stuff) mixed in with a bit of MS interpretation………….

We got to the hotel which reminded me of one of those American motels in the middle of a desert with nothing else around for miles (only this was in the middle of the A14 so not quite the same – but you get the picture…)

The hotel was lush and even better we were allowed to get takeaway and eat it in the dining room which we did on the first evening. We then went to bed and we had a lovely lie in on Saturday morning, We drove to St Ives and then got the Busway to Cambridge – this was an exciting mix of a bus on the road and then a bus on a railway line (doesn’t take much to get us excited!!!)

We got off the train and we deposited mam and dad in Starbucks to have coffee whilst i legitimately changed having classed myself as a customer. I then ran by the River Cam and only got caught in the mildest rain. I made my way back and met Mam and Dad (via Starbucks for coffee and use of toilets to change – again) and we then ventured into Cambridge for some retail therapy. We bought crepes and a hot dog and stood eating them in a random doorway. We know how to eat in style our family !!!

I found some lovely new boots for work and tried them out in addition to my particularly fetching outfit of waterproof running trousers and puffa coat – again classy comes to mind!

We looked around Jesus College grounds and then returned “home” on the (exciting) Busway via M and S for a grand supper that we were able to heat and eat in the dining room – we couldn’t quite get over that fact!

It was an early ish night after Wales v South Africa featuring my amazing backer, Danny Lydiate – (iss you both dreadfully Danny!) and a bit of Strictly (especially for Dad!)

Next morning was a leisurely breakfast then a drive to Peterborough. I ran randomly round pretty much in circles (large ones) and ended my run with a “photo shoot” of me on the floor posing with the Peterborough map in a shopping centre (slightly difficult to get back off the floor I must say – knees and feet suffering badly these days!!!

We met a lovely lady called Jane who asked about my challenge (apparently lying on the floor for a photo is kind of attention drawing!) who turned out to be a massage therapist (really could have done with her) but who stopped to chat to mam re my challenge and Luca’s cause. Have met so many lovely people doing this challenge who have offered up time and money totally spontaneously – see how you inspire so many people lovely boy.

We popped into Asda for food and Pets at Home (also for food but of a different kind) and then made the long journey home.

Good things about this trip

1) Shared with mam and dad
2) Lovely hotel
3) Chance for a heart to heart with my lovely mam
4) Lovely people me
5) Mam and i have now seen the trees through all 4 seasons which has been pretty amazing
6) We had a final chat about the Michael McIntyre / Rhod Gilbert thing (see various previous trips) and mam proudly announced she had finally got the names right – this was brought on by seeing rows of traffic on the other side of the road – a part of a Michael McIntyre sketch – which was funny in itself but is even funnier when Mam puts it down to John McIntyre or Rob Gilbert or Bob McIntyre – the variations were endless and it was almost a shame that by the time we had come to the Croeso i Gymru (pronounced correctly first time!) and the Sir Fynwy (never pronounced correctly) signs, Mam had finally got both comedians named correctly. Far more entertaining the process than the result!

http://www.justgiving.com/DeeClark

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Post Leicester – week 62, run 62!!!

Tig-V-Quinnsdw049 dee

Well – I am now onto the home run. After a kind of rest (well one week off and a run at the beginning of the week rather than the end ) I had only done one 5k arkrun and eaten my own body weight and a bit extra in revels and welsh cakes (my new vice) This was not ideal preparation for what was actually a pretty scary run. This week I ran in Leicester – it was extra special for so many reasons.

My lovely brother in law drove us to Leicester and Kerry and I started our 10k at Kerry and Paul’s old house and ran into Leicester to Welford Road Stadium. We passed loads of great places – Kerry’s old Uni, Jorja’s old nursery and other memory provoking sites including a bus stop – don’t ask! (it’s not dodgy though!). Kerry ran very well despite falling over the kerb (twice!) and I found it hard to keep up (she wasn’t running deliberately fast mind) -I also kept looking at her easy running style very enviously! Mine is a whole new level of odd looking.

We then went back to our hotel and changed. Chris Rose (media manager at Leicester Tigers) had arranged for me to run a lap of Welford Road at half time during the Leicester Tigers vs Harlequins match – live on BT sport. It was an amazing gesture of his and the Tigers as they have their own charities that they work with but they thought enough of Luca’s cause to let me advertise it by running in the Stadium.

I have to say – I was absolutely and ridiculously nervous. I had warned Chris so many times that I was a slow runner that I think he became genuinely scared that I might be still on the pitch at the end of half time! I think he was secretly drawing up contingency plans in case I needed to be bundled off the pitch at short notice!

Luckily my gorgeous niece Jorja Grace came to my rescue – we not only did a timed walk of 4 lengths of the pitch (dodging supporters standing on the terraces) to make sure that I could definitely make it round the pitch during the 15 minutes of half time, but she also offered to run with me. At that point I knew I would be able to do it as I would have no doubt about who the 24,000 supporters would be looking at – and it certainly wasn’t me!

We stood freezing at half time and waiting to start. The other activities were finished and Jorja and I carried out our lap of the pitch. The supporters were amazing — clapping and cheering us both – it was really very emotional as all I could think about was that all these people would get to know about Luca! Pretty amazing thought!

Jorja and I finished on a high – we watched the second half in a bit of blur as we were so excited! After the match we went back to our hotel and had a fab supper. We all were exhausted and went to bed and had a lovely lay in on Sunday morning.

This did not stop us from falling asleep on the way home leaving Paul to drive to the sound of no conversation whatsoever – he is a long suffering soul!

Thank you so much to Kerry, Paul and Jorja for your company and support and also thank you to Chris Rose and Leicester Tigers for allowing us to publicise Luca’s cause. Finally thank you to all the Tigers and Quins fans who made us feel so welcome. Luca – we are coming to the end of my challenge for you so I am going all out to try and raise your profile

Until next week………..

http://www.justgiving.com/DeeClark

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Post St Albans – week 59, run 61 !!!

Well, keeping to form I am writing this super late = am sitting in the comfort of my aunty and uncle’s house enjoying my rest week and slowly getting round to writing my blog

I spent the week prior to St Albans busy at work and trying not to leave too much for my weeks annual leave. I desperately needed a break and was at the point of thinking I couldn’t face the train to St Albans and back and so decided to use my last “close to” City and run in Wells instead.

This all changed when my “non improved by my challenge Geography” realised that if I was driving to Oxford for a reunion on the Saturday then in fact I was only around 50 mins from St Albans and so I may as well run there before heading back home on the Sunday – this would also give me 2 whole days off to myself on the Monday and Tuesday – a total luxury!

I therefore set off to my reunion with my class of 1983 Nursing colleagues in the Belfry in Oxford – it was totally fab and so lovely to see all the girls again after over 20 yrs! I had 2 very late nights (completely worth it) and then drove to St Albans on the Sunday late morning. I got quite lost (surprise) and it took longer to find somewhere to park to run than I had thought – partly because the torrential rain made visibility terrible and partly because I couldn’t find any parking that was legal.

I eventually found a parking space next to a park and also close to the Cathedral and had to get out and actually run. I had hoped all the delaying tactics would have lasted until the rain stopped but it was not to be.

Guess what – it was slow and painful to run and I pretty much resented every second – the rain was constant and very wet and my knees hurt like mad (obviously the revels/fruit pastille diet recovery plan from the Cardiff Half was paying off!) I pretty much ran round in circles (round a lake – not on the spot= although tempting) until I finished 10k – thinking all the while about Luca and his baddies on his knee that are preventing him using his legs – this guilt tripped me into at least making the effort to run the whole lot however slowly, and to thank my lucky stars for my health and ability to chose to run and walk on my own legs at will.

I finished triumphantly, looking forward to my rest week and asked some poor unsuspecting tourists to take a photo of me outside the Cathedral. I got over excited about this and ran off in the wrong direction and lost my car. My happy mood got darker as I walked around for 30 minutes crossly looking out for the place I had put my car. My knees had both got quite puffy and every step was irritating me physically and mentally – good grief girl – I really need to give myself a big mental kick up the backside sometimes!

I tried to take a photo of myself that included a St Albans sign, my hand and me not looking too gruesome. Eventually a kind lady took pity on me (after admitting she had been watching my attempts with much amusement!) and took the photo for me.

I got wearily into the car and drove home. It stopped raining just as I finished my run and restarted in time for the journey home – it was a dismal day, run in a dismal mood but as always worth it for Luca.

I got home and spent the evening with my knees covered in bags of ice – I am hoping they manage the last part of my challenge.

As an aside, next week was supposed to be a fundraising party for Luca arranged by my amazing friends from my Kilimanjaro climb, and my sister.

For lots of reasons we have had to delay this party and I feel so bad as Gareth, Nigel and Kerry have put such a lot of work in. Anyway – my thanks this week is to them and I am off all week attempting to make these painful swollen knees bend enough to be able to sand and paint my front room ……………..

http://www.justgiving.com/DeeClark

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Post Cardiff – week 58 run 60!!!!

Cardiff half blog

Well what a week! work was very very hard and I have been tired all week. This weekend however was amazing. My best friend from school (and her hubby) came to stay after MY not seeing her for 20 odd years! It was so so so lovely to see them! We stayed up late chatting on Friday night then had the loveliest Saturday having a long catch up over breakfast, then lunch with my mam and dad (gorgeous food) and evening tea and Strictly with my lovely sister and her family (again fab food and company)

I was loathe for it to finish but I had to get a reasonable nights sleep which I did manage (thanks for waking me up this morning Sarah!!!)

Sarah and Geoff drove Mam and dad into Cardiff where today my 10k was the Cardiff half marathon! Now that was a mad and a brilliant idea. I met up with all the runners doing the half for Luca. Luca was there, Sian and Mo were there (Mo dressed as one of the five giant hands running for Luca and I met the lovely Nic Rodriguez who has been an ongoing supporter of my challenge. I started the race with the hands and Luca’s lovely Aunt Naz and for the first time in ages actually had a good run (not fast, but good – for me!) I felt really good until around 17 or 18k and then everything began to hurt- hips, knees, feet, everything! I managed to trot on and finished with only one stop to take ofF my undershirt as it was so hot. It was fab to see everyone there at the finish – Mam, Dad, Kerry, Paul, Jorja, Sarah and Geoff. We had a foto taken in front of Luca’s stand and Sarah and Geoff kindly took Mam and Dad home (Dad developed horrid back pain during the run from standing so long but managed to stay the course). Kerry got me to where I needed to be at all the right times and then got me home. Paul carried all my belongings and Jorja was lush as always. Kerry, JG and me had our foto taken with the lovely Colin Jackson after the run, which was quite a highlight – and fairplay to him – he was still smiling despite around 4000 PEOPLE having fotos taken with him!

I am back home, with my kitten, very very painful knees and feet (possibly swollen knees I think) and am staying on this sofa until bedtime.

Rest week next week – I think I may need it!

THANK YOU SO SO MUCH TO MY LOVELY FAMILY, MAM, DAD, KERRY, PAUL AND JORJA GRACE AND ALSO TO SARAH AND GEOFF – TRUE AND LOVELY FRIENDS FOR AN AWESOME WEEKEND XXX

http://www.justgiving.com/DeeClark

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Post Preston – week 57 Run 59!!!

Preston 10k

Well this post went the way of the last one (actually much worse as I have now completed run 60 so here is a quick run down of run 59)

1) Heavy week at work
2) Last trip with just my mam – it was very entertaining and rather sad – I shall miss our chats and our joint madness!
3) Arrived at hotel after loooonnnnng journey.
4) Hotel like something out of the twilight zone – greeted by reception who kept asking if we were in the right place (we began to think they must cater for a very specific clientele of which we apparently were not one! I tried to find out why they were so surprised I had booked (and paid!) but nothing – no conversation – I genuinely thought maybe we must just look genuinely dodgy! Any way, suddenly the receipt turned up and it was announced that they could put us in a room (not sure that reserving a room by payment meant the same to them as it did to us!) The room was……………interesting. And the TV didn’t work (remote powered by 2 crusted and squashed batteries).
5) We quickly went into town – bought obligatory milk and tea bags and took shopping with us to Nandos. Lush meal – and never ending frozen yoghurt = yum!
6) Went back to hotel and went to bed. Lets just say Preston has night life! A lot. Loud. Ongoing all night! Enough said!
7) The run was like being at least 58 races back! My target became just to run the whole 10k. It was also to finished in less than 70 minutes (abandoned that one and just stuck to the run one). I did manage it and was shattered. Look how far I have come……………not!
8) This was a special, special journey home as we stopped at my lovely friend, Lynn’s farm as she had found my kitten that I was going to have a month ago. We returned home with mam regularly chatting to Willow Pumpkin seed and he (and my mams chat – made the whole thing worthwhile- am struggling big time with tiredness. Hang on around 20 mins and you should be able to read about run 60 too!!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Post Carlisle Week 56 run 58 !!!

Ok sat in bed about night before week 57 run 59 and still not written last weeks blog so here goes

1) Had week off running after Lichfield
2) was supposed to pick up my 2 new kittens but they ran away (long story)
3) spent weekend off up to eyes cleaning house ready to redecorate
4) left old job
5) started new job
6) no exercise
7) revels diet (the winter equivalent of the summer fruit pastille ice lolly diet)
8) got up on Saturday and got on train to Carlisle
9) didn’t upgrade as feeling too stingy
10) got to Carlisle after 4.5 hours
11) lovely bar solo allowed me to leave baggage in their bar for free
12) ran/walked 15k as my half hearted prep for Cardiff half – took 2 hours – nearly died – hadn’t exercised at all for 2 weeks except sanding skirting board – over took a man dressed in full armour – that’s a first – staggered to a halt at bar solo and picked up my stuff to go home again
13) found lovely police lady who took my foto for me at Carlisle station
14) bought chips and cheese
15) got on train home – 4.5 hours- didn’t upgrade as feeling stingy and tired this time (oh and couldn’t find first class)
16) got home, had bath and went to bed
17) sunday came and went in a feeling of hangover (only with out having drunk) and the week started again

that was my story – I am shattered and getting fatter, slower and more tired by the week!!

see you next week – oh no, I mean tomorrow!!!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments