Sunday, 25 May 2014

Circa 2001

How crazy has the weather been lately? Take yesterday for example, it was okay in the morning when I went to park run, then it started to drizzle, then absolutely pour it down. Then about 5pm it brightened up! I was going to a BBQ at Phil's Mum and Dad's and we thought all day we should give up on the idea of a BBQ, but nope, it was cracking the flags by dinner time! I've kind of started to resign myself to summer wear now too. I don't want to be wearing coats and cardigans and my wellies. I'm ready for my summer uniform- summer dress, denim jacket and converse. You'll be seeing a lot of that combination over the next few months.
dress- Primark
denim jacket- New Look
converse- TK Maxx
necklace- Topshop
I mentioned in my last post that things have been a bit crazy around here. Sure there's the usual balance of full-time job/boyfriend/friends/family/running/choir/blog to cope with, but on top of that my Mum has been in and out of hospital over the last few weeks which has taken its toll on all of us. About a year ago we found that my Mum was having heart palpitations and she had an ECG. After not hearing anything for months on end, with each follow up appointment being cancelled, we assumed everything was okay. Until she finally got an appointment and it turned out the reason her appointments kept being cancelled was that she needed to see a particular Professor about getting a pacemaker fitted. This absolutely floored us, especially as we'd thought everything was okay. Fast forward a few weeks and there was a cancellation so her operation was booked for 28th May. Then suddenly a few weeks later, we found out it was going to be the 14th May. We ended up with only a few days to prepare. In the end, the day before the operation we were told it was going to be the Friday instead. Thursday night we took her into the hospital and Dad and I finally got back home at 11pm. I booked a half day to go see her but as her operation was at 9am, I could barely think straight at work. When I finally got to go and see her, we could tell something was wrong. It turned out that during the operation they had punctured her lung and it had collapsed. Apparently while this isn't common, it's not uncommon either. To cut a long story short, we've spent a lot of time in hospitals over the last week. She finally came home on Monday, only to have to go back in on Tuesday, and yesterday she had a panic attack so severe that we had to call an ambulance (she didn't know it was a panic attack, and as people who have had panic attacks will know, she thought she was going to die). It's been absolutely awful over the last few weeks and we're all incredibly upset about what has happened. After the panic attack yesterday she has been instructed to have lots of rest and we're all keeping our eyes on her. Our house also looks like a botanical garden at the moment with all the flowers and she is brightening up. It's just been a difficult time lately and we're all hoping everything will be okay soon.
Sorry to end on such a down note. Hope you're all having a lovely Bank Holiday weekend.

Charlotte x

Friday, 23 May 2014

Coming Full Circle

On Sunday, I ran the Great Manchester Run.
Despite having run a half marathon, this 10K was really important to me.
As some of you long-time readers might remember, this was the race that inspired me to start running. From nothing.
Last year I went to watch my friend Eve run it simply for moral support. I had no idea how much it would change my life for the better.
The atmosphere, the crowds, the excitement.
I stood right at the end and got to watch hundreds of people cross the finish line.
And right there and then I decided I wanted to be on the other side of the barrier next year.
You all know the rest. I started Couch to 5K, ran my first 5K, ran a 10K and then ran a half marathon. Running has become a huge part of my life. Something I get up at 5am to do before work.
And it all started with this race.
When my dad drove me down to Phil's, there were people all over the city walking to the race. I was absolutely buzzing with excitement.
I was actually giddy by the time we went down to the start.
It was even better than I had remembered.
Except for one factor: it was absolutely baking hot.
It was about 22 degrees when I was getting ready to run, and I'm pretty certain it hit 25 during the race. 
Because I signed up before I had even started running, I had no idea how long it would take me to run the race so I chose the maximum time estimate, which meant I was in the last wave, which was starting out at 12.30, in the midday heat.
When it was time for my wave to move to the start, I said goodbye to Phil and weaved through the crowd. I had to keep stopping my Garmin from powersaving because it was a good 15 minutes before I even crossed the line.
For the first mile, I was buzzing.
I was grinning with excitement, remembering yes! This is why I run!
I ran my first mile in 10.40, about a minute and a half faster than my usual pace.
However that was when it started to get hard.
My calves went as we run up a slight but long incline. My speed dropped. I was crawling.
People alongside me were walking.
The only thing that got me through was thinking "at least it will be downhill on the way back."
The next few miles were a struggle and a blur.
The heat was relentless and there was absolutely no shade.
It completely sapped every bit of your energy, making you feel like you were running through treacle.
I finally felt myself again after about 4 miles.
At 8K we were blessed with a cold shower. 
I shoved my iPhone into my pocket and raced through. It was glorious.
But I was dry again within minutes.
I was exhausted.
I knew I was losing time and edging further and further away from my time goal.
I felt stupid.
This was a 6 mile run. The kind of run I do nearly every Sunday morning.
I'd run a half marathon, 13 long miles, just weeks before.
Why was I struggling to do a 10K?
But 200m from the finish lines, I heard my name.
Phil and his friend Rosie, who had run the wave ahead of me, were screaming my name.
I absolutely zoomed past.
And across the finish line.
Where as usual, I started to cry.
My time was 1 hour 18, about 5 minutes slower than I hoped and the same as my Mo Running 10K. 8 minutes slower than my first 10K.
But I didn't care.
In fact I had stopped caring about my time about 2 miles in.
Everyone that I knew came in a good 5-10 minutes slower than expected due to the heat.
People were vomiting and passing out. Some people had to be carried over the finish line.
If it had been a normal weekend I would never have run in such heat.
But it was worth it to be part of Europe's biggest 10K with 40,000 other people.
And I'm so proud of how far I have come this year. 
From never having run before to completing a half marathon, to coming back to the place where it all started.
I can't wait for next year.
Rosie and I having a well-deserved post-race cider
PS. I promise a proper life update and outfit photos this weekend. It's been a bit crazy lately.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Pretty in Pink

Over the last few weeks I feel like I've barely been at home. I've been working late, spending lots of time with Phil, going out with friends, going to weddings and family stuff... it's just been really busy lately. I've just about been finding time to cook, eat and run. I think that things are going to calm down for the next few weeks, which is definitely what I need. Right now I'm sat in Phil's flat on my own, enjoying his Sky TV and blogging in my pajamas while he plays football with his friends. It's nice to get some time to relax on my own! Not that I've not enjoyed all the awesome things I've had going on lately. Friday I had dinner with Shaunagh and we went to see McBusted, and yesterday my friend Ellen came up to visit and her, Phil and I spent three hours in Teacup in Manchester drinking coffee and eating delicious food and cake, then last night I made fajitas and we watched Dead Poets Society. I'm calling that a good weekend!
dress- Jones and Jones
jacket- River Island
heels- Marks and Spencers
necklace- Topshop
So onto the outfit. I'm sure you'll forgive me for getting yet another Jones and Jones Audrey dress. My Mum bought me this one for my birthday a few weeks ago but I hadn't had a chance to wear it but when I started talking about buying it in baby blue (I did. I now have 6 Audrey dresses. Photos soon!) she made me promise to wear this to our family meal last Sunday. As it happened last Saturday I went shopping and for lunch with my Mum and I fell in love with this boucle jacket in River Island. I hadn't been physically shopping for ages (I do all my shopping online these days!) and I tend to search for the things I want, so it was quite exciting to just fall over something. It was a bit of a splurge at £50 but I absolutely adore it. I hadn't planned to wear it with this dress, but my pink leather jacket didn't look quite right so I just tried this on and fell in love with it! The only problem is the jacket is so gorgeous and delicate that I'm terrified of spilling something on it or the material pulling. The shoes are also my new favourites. Well, new to me. They're my Mum's but they're too big for her so she passed them on to me. They're really comfy and not too high. You know you're getting old when you turn down shoes because they're too high!
I've got a few quiet nights this weekend, which is good cause next weekend is another busy one! Phil and I are going out for a nice meal on Friday to celebrate 6 months together, Saturday I think we're spending the day with my parents and Sunday I have the Great Manchster Run! As most of you will know, this was the first race I ever signed up for nearly a year ago, before I had even started running. It's not as big as a thing as my half marathon, but it still means a lot to me. If I hadn't signed up for that race I wouldn't be a runner, and I can't imagine my life without running! After this I'm taking a break from racing til September. More of that to come- I've got a post planned on post-half-marathon running.
Hope your weekend is going well!

Charlotte x