Well it has been a long 18 weeks of training to get here but I can finally say that last week, I ran my first ever marathon. It was a tough 42km but I survived it mostly unscathed except for a couple of my toes which are still very sore. After the race, I was naturally a bit nervous to take off my socks in the big reveal of my feet. I have to say that frankly, they are not for the faint-hearted having been battered, bruised and now modelling a rainbow of purple shades. But I don’t care or even mind wearing flip flops in the rain. I am still walking around in a marathon-induced happy haze as I continue proudly sporting my new technical t-shirt. At moments like these, when everything is still fresh in your head it can be helpful to take stock of what went well and what didn’t. After a marathon effort, I thought I would share 5 lessons learned about how to run one well. Continue reading
It would be an understatement to say that we are living in uncertain times in the UK. As the countdown to the new Brexit deadline reaches its final stages, it seems unbelievable and quite shocking that there are still so many unanswered questions about the future. Like many people, I feel slightly overwhelmed every time I hear the latest Brexit update because the news seems to change with the wind whilst simultaneously contradicting even freshly printed headlines. Attempting to keep up to date by trying to follow the various Brexit flowcharts and timelines featured in the media is absolutely baffling. The evolution of how the ‘mad riddle’ that is Brexit will be solved is beginning to resemble the M6 spaghetti junction. Without a plan in sight, it is no wonder that our future can only be foretold by the possible outcomes of visual aids. Having said that, I’m not one to mock a good flowchart if it untangles the messy process of decision making. That is, as long as a 2D diagram doesn’t replace basic common sense when you reach a roadblock.
As mentioned in my last blog, I made a New Year’s resolution this year to run my first ever marathon in May. Now that I am officially signed up for it, it has finally hit me that I am going to have to go through with this. Which is slightly intimidating, to say the least…However, rather than trying to imagine how my legs can possibly carry me the distance of a full marathon, my strategy is to focus on the immediate task of following a training plan. Fortunately, I have been provided with one by my experienced husband who also happens to be training for a marathon taking place the week after mine. Yes, we are training side-by-side, sharing the triumphs and the failures as we tick off the days.
Although some may think this is controversial, I am just going to come out and say it. I absolutely love Halloween! I cannot help it. After growing up in a country that celebrates it and spending much of my childhood counting down the months leading up to it, it was sort of inevitable. I could think of nothing better than spending hours trying to decide what to dress up as or figuring out the most strategic routes for trick or treating. It paid to be prepared because the more candy you had, the more of an advantage you would gain in the next day’s sweetie trading wars. But Halloween wasn’t just about hoarding candy or even eating pumpkin pie. The night was filled with ear-splitting fireworks displays, the smell of sparklers, running around with your friends in the dark, impromptu parties, grown-ups acting silly and everybody staying up far too late whether it was a school night or not.
Of course, I haven’t mentioned the Halloweens when things didn’t quite go according to plan. Like when the Vancouver torrential rain destroyed our homemade costumes made of cardboard in minutes and we had to ditch them and trick or treat in wet pjs. Or when we managed to go to every house in the entire surrounding area that only gave out boxes of raisins. Or when we ended up trapped on a street between houses, in the middle of a standoff between older boys who were firing Roman candle fireworks at each other and hurling lit jack o’ lanterns.
Although the school year has started, like many families, I have also faced the trial of both my elder children leaving home to begin university last week. It didn’t exactly go off without a hitch and included some stressful last-minute shopping trips and meltdowns in IKEA, whist debating both the necessity and merits of various cooking utensils. But at least they both did all the packing, in that they crammed the entire contents of their messy rooms into every available suitcase and carry-on bag they could find.
Now that they are safely settling in their new homes, it has been a bit of an adjustment to get used to living with less people around. Of course, like all milestones in our children’s lives, there is always lots of advice out there about how to cope through it all. From self-help books to blogs, websites and even 8-step programs, ‘empty nest syndrome’ makes for some serious marketing opportunities. That is not to say there isn’t a need for such advice because some families go through a very difficult period of loss when their children begin to leave home. However, even if you are happily sailing by this milestone in calm waters, there may still be some unexpected trouble ahead. Because what nobody ever warns you about when your children move out is the effect it has on your kitchen. We have not only lost two children but two really massive eaters. As a result, our ever-empty fridge is now perpetually filled and the cupboards are full to bursting. As I struggle to adapt to shopping and cooking for less people in my house, my kitchen has become a battleground to fight food waste.