On a positive note….. how do you want to be celebrated when you go?

A final salute!

A final salute!

This week started with a sad day.  We had to say goodbye to a loved one and attend his funeral.

While it was sad; everyone sombre, dressed in mourning black and weeping for the loss of a much-loved member of the family; it was also something else.  A celebration of a wonderful life.  A life very much fulfilled and characterised by love, consideration and service for others.

This had Mr RgR, myself and teenR discussing the topic one evening at dinner.  Mr RgR realised we had never really talked about or even thought to plan what might happen for any of us.  With his view of life (…..it could always be around the corner, we just don’t know it yet….), I suppose quite an urgent and important one to have.

We have differing views on what we want in finality.

Mr RgR wants a burial, somewhere his loved ones can visit to talk to him.  I’m not so bothered, I think that place can equally be somewhere special or where an urn is interned.  But he is insistent we should be together.  TeenR’s whispered query : “Are you sure you want to spend the rest of eternity with him?”  made me chuckle.  So we have some thinking to do definitely.

Interestingly Mr RgR wants Christmas Carols played at his along with ” I did it my way”!  I think there is some valid concern that the congregation should know and sing along.  I think the idea of a bottle of Sambucca and upturned shot glasses made the cut too!

Ultimately though we all agreed that we did not want a sombre occasion, we wanted a celebration and party.  So one item on the To do list is to research and plan our “Rainbow bridge” parties.   I am still considering the Space option.  TeenR likes the idea of turning my ashes into a diamond.  Goodness – where to start……….

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Hecklers

Today as the weather forecasters were suggesting a balmy 18 degrees I was determined to get my running shoes out and go for a lunchtime run.

I vary when I run, but usually find running before I eat lunch works well for me (obviously making sure I’m hydrated well before starting).
Today was a nice steady 5 miler to stretch the legs and lungs. I love that a good run can take the stress out of my day, refresh me mentally and physically and shake me into a more positive place. I always sleep better too!

I set out and hadn’t completed my first mile before i got my first truck beep!
I have to point out although warm today I was not wearing shorts; which always increases the amount of heckling I get! So while enjoying the run, and temperatures my mind was pondering the runner’s dilemma of heckling.

Surprisingly it isn’t a female only issue. A quick search and you find multitudes of blogs and forums discussing this. Ladies do however tend to find it more intimidating.

So how should I deal with it?

Mostly I have my earphones in and can ignore most heckles. A word of caution though I don’t go for noise cancelling and always have enough background noise so I can be safe and hear what is going on around me. What it does do though, is give me the power of pretending I didn’t hear and ignoring the heckle. An unheard heckle is pretty unsuccessful! Also now I know why I get the beeps, I am less likely to be surprised or jump when they happen, so less unnerved.

I don’t even let the pedestrian heckling bother me….. you know the ones; who don’t look where they’re going. They’re either weaving side to side talking on a phone ahead of you, or staring at their feet as they walk. The elder generation who can’t see or hear to clearly and yet will step onto a pavement or out of a doorway into your path without looking first. So getting their wrath when you surprise them!

I take care where and when I run, I don’t want to being running through woods in the dark!

And I always have my phone with me and let someone know where I’m going and how long I expect to be. Mr RgR and teenR both have my find my phone details so they can track me if needed. It doesn’t have to be massively accurate but is reassuring if I’m on a 14 mile run that they can find me if needed.

On the whole I try to treat is as good humour and ignore anything unkind or intimidating telling myself that’s just those people feeling inadequate as they’re love to be able to do what I do and run.

Would be interested in any good one liners though………

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My “bucket” list

Each new year we have a little tradition. The RgRs spend an hour thinking back over the past year to remember something special from each month of the year. It’s a lovely way to remind of us of all the amazing amount we stuff in to every moment; and as age is starting to get to my memory, helps me think back.
2013 was the first year we started a “Happy Jar”. Actually writing memories down shortly afterwards, folding the slip of paper and popping into the jar.
New years Day 2014 we sat an opened them all – it made it so much easier and rewarding as we realised we do squeeze so much out of life.
2014 we did the same. The jam is so full now…..

Another habit when i start my desk diary is to try and capture some of those key things from the previous year and write a list of things I’d like to do in the new year. Anyone who’s read up before knows how important it is to Mr RgR and myself to really live the moment, cram things in and make it count. Life can change and we know that is coming, so this is always precious.

I have starting capturing ideas for 2015 already. I will definitely share that in the new year.

My most recent ‘attend a Star Trek convention!” DONE! More on that another time!

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Tantrums and Tears

How do I begin to describe running my first marathon?

How do I begin to describe running the London marathon?

Do I use the clichés?  As much as I don’t want to, they absolutely fit…the usual suspects about digging deep, running through the pain barrier, the crowd carrying you along. 

The whole week running up to my first ever marathon; The Virgin 31st London Marathon, is a bit dim in my memory, but I know it was tough.  I was a complete bag of nerves and to cope went into my usual mode of organising.  Everything, what I was wearing, what running kit, which trains, oyster cards, hotel, meal reservations, timings, first aid supplies, chargers you name it.  The Friday before-hand felt incredibly surreal.  I couldn’t quite believe that the weekend was finally here after 8 months of training.

Saturday morning started well, all bags were packed ahead of time, good breakfast had, arrived at the station with enough time, parking no problem, ticket and travel cards all sorted with the luxury of sitting with a coffee waiting for our train.  The first wobble happened when I was on the platform; our train had disappeared to be replaced by a “re-timed” train including passengers from three other cancelled trains due to unforeseen last-minute technical difficulties!  Not so impressed having reserved seats to save my legs.  Jammed in with a large bunch of very tense passengers (at least 80% marathoners) with very few seats available and lots of train announcements apologising followed the next hour into Kings Cross.  I could feel a tantrum brewing.

In Kings Cross running an hour later than planned we headed for the tubes and on to our hotel.  We got booked in (despite the receptionist unable to find our booking straight away… another wobble) and dropped off our bags.  Mr RgR was more nervous than me as we marched off back to the tubes to head for the exhibition centre.  Mr. RgR struggled with his oyster card (not a city boy my man!) and after a heated exchange about the card not working, we swapped cards.  Another wobble!  At the next exchange his card wouldn’t work again aaaargh!

Time ticking on heading for the docklands light railway while Mr RgR played with his new gadget on his iphone (he could type in the tube he’s was at, where he wants to go and it’ll tell he directions).  We had another animated exchange about which stop we should get off at while a rather bemused Colin Jackson sat next to us keeping his head down. 

At Canning Town we then piled onto the platform along with a horde of runners and followed a slow snake of people moving into the ExCel centre.

Arriving inside the atmosphere immediately thickening up.  The queue to register for my number only had a couple of people in front of me and there my wobbles turned into a whole waltzer party going on!  I was finally here, collecting my chip and number, what on earth had I done?

Gulp

 

Mr. RgR steered me in the right direction and we headed around the centre marvelling at how much kit could be bought in every single shade you could think of!  Now that all I had to do was eat well, save my legs and wait for morning, the pressures was off a little, but the nerves kicking in, so we headed for a restaurant near to the hotel for a late lunch.  Bruschetta, pasta, and chocolate dessert, lots of flapjack and water all afternoon and a Pasta buffet at the hotel in the evening.  Not a drop of alcohol – roll on Sunday night!

All things considered  I slept really well.  Up with my morning call at 5:45am. into most of my kit and down on my own for early runners breakfast.  The hotel was geared up with a cauldron of porridge and a forest of bananas.  I added a couple of thick slices of toast and honey to my feast, not really feeling at all like eating.  I wanted to mull quietly on my own, but the nervous chatter through the restaurant at that early hour was playing on my nerves.  After brekkie, final few checks and kit sorted then down to catch the bus over to the start.  Another wobble… you’re on the wrong bus for the red start this goes to the blue start… we all got off and realising there was only one place to drop us all off, got back on again!  And as the bus pulled away the nervous tears started!  No one bothered me then!

We arrived at the blue start and strolled over to the red start, it was cold, promising to be a hot day, but this time in the morning very misty and cold!  Thankfully it meant the toilets were reasonable at this time in the morning.  By 9am there were queues 50 deep for all of them!  I found a quiet spot under a tree watching the video screen to eat more breakfast and chat with other folks doing the same, all very subdued! And after half an hour wandered off to find my charity co-runners, some of whom were so excited they were practically pinging.  We had photos and then via the toilets (again) headed our running pens.  Our runners started moving before we’d all cleared into the pen as the marshalls were being so pedantic about checking bibs, the frustration started to boil up and I was worried I’d be crushed at the start before getting a yard down the road!  So pen 6 turned into pen 9 probably for me!

Then spotting cameras above, helicopters and walking forwards we all started to lose clothing and plastic bags with a little bit of waving as we headed to the start.  It took about 20 mins to turn the corner to the start arch at which point men deciding they needed a last-minute wee were creating a river of urine down the barriers, that was more than enough to cure any urges from me!  And so finally breaking into a job setting the watch we headed off, me and another runner from KRUK Jenny!  Less than five yards and we got our first “go on Dawn and Jenny” Yay!  It had begun, nerves gone.. time to get on with the job in hand (or foot)!

Running in such a huge mass of people is quite extraordinary and difficult.  As we are all heading on one direction, there is no concept of the mass of people behind you.  You can see it in people’s expressions and other runners stopping to get a photo, and you get some sense when trying to judge space around you to move forward into, as there is so little.  The most difficult part of all is trying to find that running space for yourself when between two people they are running a touch too slowly so you have to back up and go around them.  Such hard work, no running simply in a straight line, quite a few extra miles I am sure going around people!

There were amazing views of people in mass in front, buildings like the Gherkin and the amazing costumes!  I cannot fathom the effort some of those runners were putting n to carry them around the course.  I was given the advice of not trying to keep up with the rhino, well there’s more than one silly!  I ran past at least four!  (I hope unless they’ve learnt how to transport), and it was starting to heat up.   I really, really felt for Mr.Starlight in his plastic star and wished him all the luck in the world as I ran past! 

Worrying over what to wear had been another wobble.  Having trained in at least three layers up until now, Silverstone was incredibly cold and here we were having at least 20 degrees in the sun!  I opted for shorts and vest combo which worked out well.  I did have a utility belt with backup drink, backup battery, plasters, cash along with my oyster and hotel card in my back pocket! 

The whole event was a huge street party.  Every pub along the way had throngs of people (with pints already at 10am), karaoke machines, barbeques going.  All picking out runners to cheer along the way.  Kids handing out chocolate, oranges, jelly babies, more drinks.  Fantastic if a little hazardous!  Rolling drinks bottles are one thing (I trod on at least two), but slippery orange peel.

Having agreed with Jenny we would head for eight miles before considering options we happily sailed past and any wee urges were gone!  I lost Jenny at one of the water stations and carried going.  I had finally learnt how to run and drink at the same time, so no stopping for me.  Grab a bottle, couple of gulps chuck away, repeat at next station.  Running over Tower Bridge brought more tears, I couldn’t believe I was doing this and how good everything actually felt.  I was spending a lot of time running a body check, legs, knees, ankles, head, hydrated enough?  sugar? 

Mile13

Mr. RgR phoned me just before 13 miles as he was at Tower Hill and how fantastic that he shouted me loudly enough from the other side of the road that I saw them and could wave! 

 

 

 

Running around the docks was the next challenge, everyone were pushed into smaller bottlenecked cobbled routes.  So now I focussed on 16 miles and then 22. 

20 miles and my quads were really feeling it.  If this is the wall then so far so good.  My head absolutely in the right place, focussed and determined to see this through.  So far I hadn’t walked or stopped at all.  The aches and pains were simply from the exertion no injuries!  22 miles, then I started breaking it down mile be mile.  Mr RgR phoned and was now waiting at mile 25 with the KRUK crowd!  Mile 23, mile 24 all starting to feel like a lot further and right at the end of all the charity groups I saw them shouting me to keep going.  Still running, the majority around me no longer were and dodging people suddenly stopping and walking was my next dilemma!

All the way around I had seen people keeling over and being picked up by the fab St.Johns Ambulance helpers and the last few yards was no different, except I wanted to go faster and finish!  Over the line I’d done it.  How did I feel?  So many things all at once.  Relieved, sad it was done, elated it was done, tired, emotional and thankfully not being sick! I knew deep down I could have run faster, but being nervous about keeling over before the finish had kept my early speed in check.  I also knew I will have to do this all again!

Lovely people steered my to lose my chip, collect my medal, goody bag and I headed to the meet and greet to find my lovely family who have supported me so well.  There was a mars bar in my goody bag with my name on it!

Cheers

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only 4 sleeps to go

Why I'm doing this

 

 My last blog was back at the beginning of March following the Silverstone Half Marathon.  I’ve been very tardy in getting any updates posted.  To be fair it has been frantic with work, training and fund-raising and now I am only 4 sleeps away from completing my challenge.

So what has been happening in my last few weeks running up?

Week 11 saw me managed a 24 mile run to get my training back on schedule.  A huge mental achievement far more so that physical, not least as my iphone went flat 16 miles in.  No music, no safety calls home.  All to test me and see me buy a powermonkey!  It also saw the VLM entry pack plop on the doormat  I am 36463!

Week 12 A shake up at home.  Mr RgRs blood work all being checked along with some worrying results and a step-up in some of his symptoms; not least the debilitating fatigue  It’s a never-ending battle!  I managed a total of 48 miles in training and am starting top wind down towards the final date.  The fundraising continued with a girl’s night out to see the Chippendales helping me raise a fantastic £112.  There were no complaints at the end of the evening.  Thank you ladies great fun!

Week 13 Starting to feel my legs suffer again.  Very sore knees and calf problems.  I am wondering how much of that though was to do with wearing high heels at weekends, something I’ve not done a lot of recently.  I got myself papped by the local paper and other fundraising also included the www.cityofpeterboroughhockeyclub.co.uk supporting me with an End of Season Superheros Fancy Dress Party; helping me raise a brilliant £342.14 .

Week 14 a lower mileage count and starting to feel incredibly emotional, bursting into tears whilst running for no apparent reason.  Completely bonkers and no good for the hydration.

Week 15 Working away in Chesterfield.  A very intense week with long days for all involved.  Really enjoyed it and managed to get a couple of runs in.  While I had the best of intentions to run from the hotel on some very pretty routes recommended by some lovely colleagues; I panicked worried that having hills an injury this close might not be great and stuck to Brampton Manor with the treadmill like a rash!  Spending all week in work shoes not great on the legs though!

Week 16 – Mr RgR latest disease update is that it is carrying on progressing and while that’s not great the news is better than expected.  Unfortunately keener focus on diet is back on the cards – absolutely no salt what so ever, nothing with potassium.  Not a happy camper.

Well here we are up to date, my taper week.  Nerves very much in residence, but the mind currently in foreman mode making sure I’ve checked everything, maps printed, times sorted, taxi/train/hotel/food etc booked.  Every little muscle twinge is being treated reverently, antibacterial hand gel ever at the ready and superfoods/pasta stocked in the fridge.  Saturday morning I will be up early into London and over to ExCel to pick up my running number and no doubt a complete basket case until the next morning 9:45 start time!  Good luck all my fellow -VLMers and thank you to everyone who’s put up with me going on endlessly about running.

As someone put it.. why are you competing in an event that the first ever person who did died?  That is an extremely good question 

I am running to raise money for Kidney Research UK (KRUK).

If you can help support the research into these diseases which affect so so many people of all ages, please help me. http://www.kidneyresearchukevents.org/DawnRoberts

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Running in circles

 
my gps track
my gps track – running in circles literally

Weeks 10 and 11 are now out of the way and the worrying thought that I have less than 32 days to go is happily dancing around at the back of my brain!  Sometimes it’s formed a little Congo and having a party an other times it’s a voodoo dance!

Week 10 got me into March and was the run up to the Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon. 

 

Curiously I was excited and calm about this one.  I must becoming an old hand at this!  All preparations were in place.  While I was excitedly nervous on the drive over it was the good kind, not the gut wrenching terror I’d had for the Stamford event which to date has been the hardest thing I’ve done!

Saturday I made sure that although eating with friends I still had lots of pasta and bread, not too much wine and definitely chocolate melting pudding to build up the carb stores for Sunday.  I also got all my kit sorted, bib filled in and pinned to my vest, Tag attached to my trainer, weather checked, appropriate spare clothes, spare pins, tape, etc all packed. 

Sunday morning I was up early getting my porridge in but still all calm in RgR Towers!

 

Rallied my entourage and chauffeur to get us out to the door, as we had a two hour journey and was worried about parking and walking to the circuit (a good half hour from the car parks). 

 On arrival quite a queue coming in, but no problems getting parked and sorted.  The Race circuit itself is undergoing a major refit in preparation for the British F1 Grand Prix later this year, so lots of building works and no indoor facilities open (as they’re being re-housed); but the pit garages were all opened up for bag storage, Adidas marathon shop and lots of mobile coffee and food stalls available.   One great thing about the circuit is that there a tons of toilet blocks everywhere from each of the car parks and also around the circuit (both for spectators) and also along the track for the run.  So for the first time ever for me at a run……….no queues!

 

 It was cloudy, breezy and cold when we arrived and everyone was very well wrapped up waiting for start.  30 mins to go, I stripped down to running kit (which for me was still very much wrapped up compared to many hardened runners) and after palming off my kit bag to my entourage I headed down the sub-2 hour route down Maggotts towards Copse for the start.  Unfortunately the “celeb” runner Katie Price was late so start was delayed by ten minutes while we all hopped around keeping warm.  And then off we went!

My pace was good and I was trying to follow the Runners World pacing group board for 8min/miles (1:45) for as far as I could.  While the route could definitely not be described as scenic (we were running what was once an old air field after all) it was challenging in the group running quite tightly around the course.  At one point I did have to duck as the 6ft(and then some) gentleman running past me was swinging arms at my head height!  Quite a skill planning your route/gaps and ensuring you don’t get taken out, or take anyone else out with you!

 

I managed to get 10 miles under my belt before needing a drink.  I had very little concept of where I was, at which point in the course with no real landmarks and found the parts where the leading runners are running down the course opposite you disheartening.  Finally then the last three miles which I absolutely found the hardest as I Could see club and thought finish was coming up, but  then go around the bend and can see Stowe still bit more to go.  Finally up Hanger Straight into Becketts and I could see the finish at last.  But when to push the final sprint at two miles, one mile?  When I could see the clock ticking and I realised I could try to get under 1:50 I put some serious effort in to power myself over the line.

The last quarter mile putting the power down for a strong finish

I finished 1:49:16  18th in my category – result!

Got my medal

 While my tag was being clipped off, the lady asked was I pleased with my race.  Bless her, through little sobs (of joy at my time) I mumbled yes then stumbled off to get my medal and (oh dear..XXL) t-shirt. 

 

 unfortunately Mr RGR was finding it difficult to spot little me and had to settle with taking photos of Katie Price instead.   Bit easier to spot someone running with their bodyguards.  Think I need to take up some tactics!

I am running to raise money for Kidney Research UK (KRUK).

If you can help support the research into these diseases which affect so so many people of all ages, please help me. http://www.kidneyresearchukevents.org/DawnRoberts

and for those who haven’t got tickets yet, please join us for the PTSC Superheros Charity Disco http://www.facebook.com/?sk=lf#!/event.php?eid=187623911270926

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I earnt my lovehearts

…thank god they gave out jelly babies at the stops

It’s been a bit of a lazy week for me this one.  Week nine of  training and I really couldn’t be asked.  Also breaking new trainers in so of course this was a great excuse for taking it easy and slow.  So today I definitely felt guilty and the need to put some miles down.  Lovely and sunny when I set out and I also had my first social run…. met up with another local runner so we ran 9 miles together before going separate ways.  And then 12 miles in the rain started… so I was rather wet when i got home.

Week Eight was also a wind down week for me training wise as I completed the Stamford Striders Valentine 30km on the Sunday at the end of week seven.

Very friendly and well organised, but have to say I was in bits before I started.  Weather was awful, loads of wind and rain.  Added to that the rather professional look of all the running groups in matching gear sent me into a panic tizz with a few tears!  I really, really felt out of my comfort zone that day!

Headed out wrapped up watching in mortification at the front-runners in only shorts and vests strided off into the distance!  One woman next to me at the start was turning blue….so I have no idea how they do it.  The run was difficult.  Lots of ups and downs to contend with and country roads, so lots of annoyed older drivers too!  My fantastic fellas popped around the course cheering me on which was the absolute best.  Along with the cheeky signs held up …loving the “toenails are over-rated anyway” one especially!  Well done to all the helpers.

The worst… getting up the last hill and seeing people give in and start walking….nooooo that nearly killed my momentum.  So much easier to try and keep up with someone.  And as I ran into the school gates all psyched that the end was near, realised the meanies made us run a complete lap of the school field before we could finish. Sadists! 

Still grabbed my banana, drink and Lovehearts (I earnt those and am enjoying one while typing here)

I still rounded week eight off with a long run, hoping to break my 20 mile mark.  Which I just about reached.  Bizarrely my watch tells me i used more calories for that run than my 22 mile one today!  I also learnt a valuable lesson in plaiting my hair before a run as last week, I had such a huge knot when I got home I had to have a hunk of hair cut off!

So week ten of training underway and heading for the Addidas Silverstone half marathon this weekend.  My first without my security blanket…water bottle…will be relying on the drink stops.  Hope to see a few other familiar faces amongst the runners …good luck everyone!

I am running to raise money for Kidney Research UK (KRUK).  In the course of the past two weeks a few interesting developments.  One friend has a relative who has become seriously ill with kidney failure (love and hugs there), and bizarrely met someone who has IGa nephropathy for the first time ever…the same illness Mr. RGR has.  This lad is in his early twenties and just diagnosed, so was able to calm his girlfriends fears a little.  Twenty years on, with good diet, exercise and regular checks…so far all things looking as good as they can for us!  Take a look at Isambard Wilkninson’s account which makes interesting reading  http://www.kidney.org.uk/perceptions/isambard.html

If you can help support the research into these diseases which affect so so many people of all ages, please help me.  http://www.kidneyresearchukevents.org/DawnRoberts

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