Thursday, 30 June 2011

Juneathon Days 28-30: Back to the future...

To my dear Readers,

As we reach the final day of June, I would like to take the opportunity to implore that you please excuse Maggie from her poor performance in Juneathon. When she signed up to the challenge of jogging, logging and blogging for a month she recognised that she may not manage to 'run' everyday, but she would certainly commit to some form of exercise each day instead. Unfortunately, her record in this area has been less than satisfactory, including many attempts to 'pass off' routine activities, such as walking the dog and visiting the supermarket, as 'exercise' as well as 'inventing' new forms of 'exercise' such as walking in heels around a race course and car dancing.

Maggie accepts that, in making the commitment to Juneathon, she should have have applied greater motivation and effort to achieve her goals; certainly she now realises that if she'd applied her time more effectively she would have had more time for exercise, rather than wasting it on the various ridiculous excuses.

However, despite having been unable to blog for a couple of days, Maggie has been in no way sitting idle; instead, as Juneathon draws to a close, she has seized the opportunity to try and redeem her lack lustre exertions in some way and consequently has been working very hard. In fact, as I write this, Maggie is currently jogging home from work after walking there this morning; making Juneathon Day 30 a nice, neat 10k round trip. As you can see, Juneathon has certainly not been forgotten. In fact, with the desire to make up for her inadequacies, Maggie mangaed to make Juneathon Days 28 and 29 the most significant of them all; not only will the following story adequately explain her absence from the Juneathon community for the past couple of days, but it will also reveal to you her most exciting discovery of a brand new, and exceedingly unique form of exercise, undertaken by no other Juneathoners in the entirety of the challenge.

It all began on the morning of June 28th. Arriving at work for the day, Maggie began her usual routine of planning, marking and catching up on unread emails. However, after about 20 minutes of working, she realised that, not only was she a little bit peckish and in need of her morning porridge but, she also rather desperately needed a wee.  Leaving her little cabin in the yard, she chose an alternative route to usual through the school and up to the staff room, knowing that there was a disabled toilet slightly closer by that she would be able to 'nip into'. Now, although she knew of this toilet on the far side of school, Maggie had never actually used it before; however, a toilet's a toilet's a toilet, right?


This toilet wasn't just any toilet. This toilet was a magical, time travelling toilet, and when Maggie re-opened the door post wee, she was met with a sight that defied belief: Gone were the drab green walls; gone were the cramped claustrophobic corridors; gone were rows of classroom doors. In their place stood a wide open space, banked with windows above, around and beyond as far as the eye could see. Students, gradually beginning to fill the space, calmly passed each other via the various tiered, floating travellators which seemed to disappear into nothing, the students 'vanishing' before her eyes. Maggie rubbed her eyes. Clearly she'd fallen asleep in the toilet and was now having some strange science-fiction dream. She pinched herself. She rubbed her eyes again. She tried all the clich├ęs. But the scene before her eyes remained.

Despite the bizarre nature of what lay before her, Maggie's natural curiosity soon took over so, leaving the 'safety' of the toilet she tentatively stepped onto a travellator and allowed it to glide her through the 'building'. Never had she seen such fascinating sights; A building encompassing floor to ceiling bright, open learning spaces; in every room happy, engaged smiling faces; all around her smart, stimulating technology not yet created.

And so, my dear friends, Maggie spent the rest of the day taking in the wonders of this new world until, at last, as the novelty began to wear off and the water she'd drank began to wear through, she was reminded of the tiny toilet by which she'd been transported to this amazing place and she began to make her way back. However, no sooner had she stepped onto the first travellator, than she was confronted with the most electrifying and energising discovery of them all. Immediately, thinking of her Juneathon commitment and the promise she had made herself to be more motivated for the final few days, Maggie was galvanised into action and within minutes she'd picked up the rules and was looking like a pro; 30 exhilarating minutes later, she was back at the toilet and back in her own time.

The next day, with the astonishing experience still fresh in her mind, Maggie, understandably, was unable to focus. Try as she might, she just couldn't keep concentration; her mind wandering back to the world she'd experienced. At the end of the day, as she was leaving school, she 'unexpectedly' found herself back outside the tiny toilet and, before she was even aware of it herself, she was back inside: back to the future.

My dear friends, I'm sure you would love to hear about that intoxicating second day; I'm sure you'd read on open mouthed in amazement at the wondrous events that occurred; and I'm certain you'd be intrigued to hear why she'll never be able to return again. However those are stories for another time. For now, I return to my initial request and, indeed, reason for writing: that you are able to find it in your hearts to please excuse Maggie from her poor performance in Junethon over much of the 30 days; for she really did redeem herself in the final few days of the challenge, when she perfected and became: a professional Hoverboarder.

With best wishes to you all,

Optimistimaggie. x

Juneathon Days 28 and 29:
Activity: Hoverboarding
Distance: 100's of miles that don't exist yet
Time: days and days of time that hasn't occurred yet!
Feeling: Futuristic

Juneathon Day 30:
Activity: 3 mile walk to work and 3 mile run home again
Distance: 6 miles
Time: 1hr 15 minutes
Feeling: Finished!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Juneathon Day 27: 1-2-345

1 - 2 - 3,4,5
I no longer am alive

6 - 7 - 8, 9, 10
'Cos I ran up hills again and again

Why - did - I decide to go?
'Cos now I ache in places so!

Which - bit- hurts the most tonight?
This little bum cheek on my right!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Juneathon Days 25 + 26: Each Jog, Walk, Run...

Each Jog Walk Run(*)
I spy Juneathon
Juneathon's become a habbit
I spy Bad Wabbit
Bad Wabbit in the cellar
I spy Fairweather
Fairweather's on the move
I spy Marts2smooth
Mart2smooth out swimming
I spy Oldbagrunning
Oldbagrunning at a show
I spy Fortnightflo
Fortnightflo on the bus(**)
I spy Abradypus
Abradypus in a van
I spy the Runningman
Runningman o'er the bog
I spy jogalog
Jogalog on the go
I spy Shaz and Jo
Shaz and Jo in the buff (***)
They spy Fattipuff
Fattipuff writing her blog
I spy Jogblog
Jogblog in the sun
I spy everyone!

* Some might say a 'low-brow' pastiche; I prefer to use the words 'nostalgia' and 'popular culture'
** please apply Northern Accent 
*** I know, I know... and I do apologise, but you try finding something that rhymes with 'puff'!

Activity: Walking in heels back and forth under a racecourse to place and retrieve bets at Chester Races
Distance: I'm sure it was a very long way... did I mention it was in heels?!
Time: 4 hours in all - a long time in heels!
Feeling: Brilliant! It was Charlotte's 30th birthday celebrations and we had a great day!
Lessons learned: 1 - don't wear heels to the races!

Activity: A walk around Hollingworth Lake with Paula and Doris
Distance: 2 miles
Time: 1hr 30 mins (including frolicking in the lake - Doris that is! - and eating icecream - us that is!)
Feeling: much better for it, although very sunburnt with silly strapmarks
Lessons learned: 0 - I'd like to say 1 - wear suntan lotion - but I make this mistake every year so I don't think I can honestly claim that one!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Juneathon Day 24: Car Dancing

Hands up... who's tried car dancing?

No? Well you should try it... it's great fun!

And... yes! I can see your hand up over there in Essex... excellent! As a convert to the great art already, you'll be more than versed in its positive properties and calorie burning potential. Plus the many and varied opportunities it offers, on a drive home, to be caught enthusiastically embraced 'in the act' several times by the occupants of the cars in front, either side and, believe it of not, even behind you!

Wayne and Garth knew how to pull off a 'cool Car Dance'!

Activity: 'Car Dancing' to Take That on the drive from Not-so-Little Bro's house back to mine.
Distance: As the car is actually moving, I will count it as approximately 4 miles of Car Dancing
Time: 30 minutes (including some stationary traffic car dancing, offering multiple opportunities for Car Dancing Voyeurists.
Feeling: Not in the slightest bit embarrassed!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Juneathon Day 23: She's Back!

Waking up this morning, I knew. Before I even looked, I knew. Things felt different this morning. Even so, I still lifted my pillow a little tentatively to look beneath; my stomach  fluttering with butterflies as I braced myself for disappointment…

But there she was! I needn't have worried; She had returned to me. Optimistimaggie was back!

Optimistimaggie was under my pillow all along!

Clasping her tightly to me, I bounced out of bed and began preparing myself for the long day ahead. Unlike yesterday, with Optimistimaggie back on my shoulder, I was positively looking forward to it, and so, as I brushed my hair and applied my make-up, we chatted happily together; so much so Pessimistimaggie couldn’t get a word in edgeways – which is probably a good job, or we never would have had the opportunity to conjure our clever plan:

‘The problem is Optimistimaggie that Pessimistimaggie really doesn’t like exercise and she always talks me out of it when you’re not around. I’m not blaming you, but I really wish there was at least some chance I could fit exercise into my day today; but I’ve Parents’ Evening tonight, so I can’t even go to running club.’ Dejectedly, I looked away from her positive, smiling face, catching a wry smirk plastered across Pessimistimaggie’s as I did so.
‘Well, why not just work it into part of your day?’ Suggested Optimistimaggie, ‘There’s no reason why you can’t run to and from work, for example.
‘You’ll get too sweaty’ chipped in Pessimistimaggie.
Unfortunately she was right.
‘Okay, well what about riding your bike to work?’ returned Optimistimaggie.
‘It’ll take too long to set it up, you should have got it out the cupboard last night if you wanted to do that.’ Retorted Pessimistimaggie.
Once again, she was right.
‘Okay.’ Began Optimistimaggie, refusing to give up, ‘Why don’t you just walk to work then? You’ve plenty of time, it’s only 6.30am, you’ll easily be there in 45 minutes!’
‘ummmm, well, yeah… I guess…’
‘No, you can’t. It won’t work it…’ began Pessimistimaggie.
‘Yes! That’s a great idea.’ I interrupted, refusing to allow Pessimisitimaggie to have her way again.

So, today, I walked to work.

And what a lovely walk it was. I can understand why people like to get out and exercise in the morning, there's something about walking alone and just letting the world fade into the background for a while. Unlike driving a car, it didn't feel like a commute and before I knew it I had arrived at school feeling completely refreshed and ready for the day.

In fact, the positive feelings I gained from my walk to work stayed with me all day... whilst I wrote reports, whilst I waited for year 9 to 'settle', whilst I wrote more reports, whilst I 'dealt' with year 8... right up to the 40th, and final, parent interview of the night. At which point, I pulled on my running gear and jogged the 3 miles back home again. Perfect.

Activity: walk to work; run home again.
Distance: 6 miles total
Time: 1.10 mins
Feeling: Positive!
 "I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you - we are in charge of our Attitudes." - Charles Swindoll

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Juneathon Day 22: Bovvered?

Activity: What activity? I can hardly count walking the dog again can I? It's just pathetic!
Distance: practically zero... hardly did anything... should have gone of a run. Didn't. 
Time: No idea
Feeling: All alone with pessimistimaggie.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Juneathon Day 21: I'm not obsessed, but...

'I think I saw someone famous in town at the weekend' I announced to my year 9 class who were diligently attempting to get quietly on with the essays I had set them.
'Oooh, who?' one mildly curious student questioned, only just able to tear herself away from the pages and pages of work, already completed, in front of her.
'Well, that's it, I'm not sure exactly who he was but he was definitely famous because...' And I recounted my story to the eager ears of my students.

Not that I'm obsessed or anything, and it very definitely hadn't been playing on my mind - no, of course not! - but as the thought had passed through my mind, fleetingly, I thought I might as well ask, you know, just in case. Providing the students with a full re-enactment of my stalking of encounter with the possibly famous man in Paperchase, I also provided a full description  him with as much dedicated detail as I had given my own friends: Tall, dark hair, wearing sunglasses in doors and those big massive silly headphone thingys that everyone seems to be wearing these days. My main thought behind this was that my friends are now as old as me - some of them older even - and perhaps this was a possibly famous person who appears on popular teen shows such as Hollyoaks; and although I religiously watch the omnibus every weekend don't watch this programme at all because it is aimed at a demographic half my age, I may have seen him on another more cultural show such as Loose Women The One Show or equivalent.  Unfortunately the response was hardly useful:

'What do you mean that's not a very good description of him?' was my response to their outburst, which might I add was rather inappropriately accompanied with laughter! 'It's a great description!'
'I hope you never have to report a crime Miss' sniggered one, 'they'd never be able to draw one of those photo thingy's'
Puh! what does he know, the child doesn't even know what a photo-fit is called!
Unfortunately, however this conversation was acquiring a severe atmosphere of deja-vu about it!
'Where were you?' another eager student questioned.
'In Paperchase'
'Oooh, I LOVE Paperchase'
'It does have fantastic stationery in it, doesn't it!' I agreed, 'That was when I realised I recognised him - when I was over in the magnificent stationery!'
'Was he in Coronation Street?' A new voice piped up.
This time, I was prepared: 'No, I've Googled the Coronation Street characters and he isn't one of those; I've also Googled Emmerdale, and I watch Eastenders all the time, umm, well occasionally anyway... you know when I'm not reading War and Peace and similarly cultural canonic literature... so I know he's not in that one'.
'Is he in Hollyoaks?'
'I wouldn't think so, I don't watch Hollyoaks lie lie lie so I couldn't be sure, but I don't think he was good looking enough! Also, when I saw Darren from Hollyoaks in a restaurant a couple of months ago, I recognised him straight away!'
'Miss? How do you know who Darren is if you don't watch it?' Oooops....
'Ummmm... so, any ideas then?'
'No, Would you like me to Google it for you?'

You see, even the next generation rely on Google for all the answers (particularly when their teacher doesn't have them!)... they are going to be SO disappointed when they discover the real truth of the matter!

Unfortunately, all this means is that I am still no nearer to knowing the truth about who the possibly famous man was; and unfortunately the image of him is rapidly disappearing, by the minute, in my ageing brain to the point where I fear that even if I did see him again, I would have forgotten that it was him I had seen in the first place. If you know what I mean!

And just to make things clear, I'm not obsessed about it... I'm not! really... I'm not!

Activity: A walk around the park, a chat with a very young lady who thought Doris looked like a 'fluffy cloud' and a sprint after my dog to prevent her from being
A: never seen again or
B: eaten,
when a local Chav Dog chased after her.

Distance: about 1/2 a mile - total estimate, and although this doesn't seem like much, it did include a little interval training if you include the Chav Dog racing.
Time: 15 minutes - cut short you see, by the Chav Dog.

Feeling: Like my coach decided to do some new-fangled, fancy London running yesterday which has left me incapable of moving!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Juneathon Day 20: New-Fangled Fancy London Running

Today I discovered what it's really like to need all your stamina, strength and staying power. Sod the marathon. This was circuit training!

Something happened to Coach Pete whilst he was in London, and he came back with some new-fangled, fancy 'London' ideas. He claims they are neither new-fangled, nor fancy 'London' ideas, but he didn't have them until he spent the week there, so I disagree.

We should have foreseen what was to come when he started tonight's session with a very mysterious introduction: 'We're going to do something a little different tonight' he announced, 'Something we've never done before.'
We all looked warily at him.
'First of all, we're going to run up to the park; when we get there, I'll explain the session'.
Very cunning you see... he doesn't tell you the sadistic details until you're a mile from base, which ensures that by the time the revelation has occurred, you're too far from your car to leap back into it and make a quick escape!

As it turned out, the session involved: a football pitch; squats, burpees, jumping jacks, lunges, press-ups and sit-ups; with a lap and a bit of the footy pitch in between each set! Seriously!... I know!

During the session, I discovered that my stamina is not too bad - better than expected anyway - and that I have zero upper body strength! In fact, I was incapable of completing the burpees due to my demise into a fit of giggles at quite how weak I really am - strength of a gnat - actually, that's unfair to gnats, they manage to fly around places so clearly have quite good upper body strength... perhaps the strength of an amoeba.

Regardless, the session nearly killed me - actually killed, not some metaphorical use of hyperbole to highly over-exaggerate the situation which in reality was really just a little hard - no, really nearly dead.

I hope you're reading this Coach Pete... and you consider this before you start introducing any more new-fangled, fancy 'London' ideas! I nearly DIED tonight!

Though if I'm completely honest, it was really good fun, and although it was incredibly hard work, I have to admit (very quietly) that I did enjoy doing it. Shhhhhh... don't tell Pete!

Thankfully, I didn't die... as you can tell - writing a blog is not the actions of a dead person - but instead have two rather achey legs, which I'm going to take on their way to bed, whilst I continue to contemplate who the possibly famous person was that I saw yesterday! I'm not obsessed about it... I'm not (really!). However, if I haven't managed to dig his name out of the distant reaches of my mind by tomorrow morning, I am going to take Fattipuff's advice and ask the kids... kids know everything! (BTW Oldbagrunning... he was in his early-mid thirties...ish!). Any suggestions, more than welcome; I'm not obsessed... I'm not, I'm not!!

Come on legs... off we go.

Activity: Running and silly new-fangled clever London circuit training thingys
Distance: 3.89 miles
Time: 50 minutes
Feeling: Nearly dead!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Juneathon Days 18 + 19: Google it!

Sometimes Google can't give you all the answers; which is a shame because I like to think that there is nothing I can't Google and find out the answer to these days. In fact, I love the fact that 'Google' is even a verb. But then 'Googling' is a true technological testament to the modern world in which we live; and of course with the rise of the smart phone, it is on very rare occasion that my brain is called on to identify an answer to something for me as, without even a second's thought, my hand has whipped out my iPhone and is 'Googling' before my brain has even had time to notice.

Alas, yesterday I discovered that you cannot Google everything and as a consequence I have been haunted by my brain's own inability to search out the answer I require.

As part of yesterday's Juneathoning (another excellent noun-verb transition!) I walked into Manchester city centre for a spot of shopping (I also count walking around as, although I didn't GPS this part, I know I walked a very long way because my feet hurt by the end of it!) Whilst shopping in Manchester, I popped into Paperchase and was leisurely perusing the card section, when I noticed a couple of teenage girls next to me becoming quite excited. Taking a closer look at the girls, I ruled out that the excitement wasn't from seeing their teacher shopping in Manchester (the excitement of the day for some teenagers, who naturally believe that teachers live in the stock cupboard of their classroom and only venture out for the odd cuppa tea and to buy those brown leather patches we all have on our favourite tweed jackets) but that instead their focus was on a very tall man who was wearing sunglasses indoors and those oversized headphone thingys off-of the 80's that everyone's wearing these days. Stalking him around the collections of cards,  eventually they built up the courage to ask him if they could have their photo taken with him, to which he kindly obliged.

'Oh.' I thought to myself as they stood there posing next to the quirky 'you won't find this in Clinton's' brithday card selection. 'He must be famous.'
I sneaked a little look. Glancing askew, he didn't look in the slightest bit familiar, and not wanting to look like a sad 30-something woman who gets excited over seeing someone 'famous' in Paperchase, I quickly retreated behind the Father's Day section with a definite air of innocuous browsing about me.
However, a few minutes later, glancing over towards the till from my new position within the collection of completely useless but 'oh isn't that cute' stationery that had cunningly distracted me on my way out, I caught a glance of the tall, dark haired, possibly famous person again, and realised that he very definitely was (and still is I imagine) famous and I very definitely did know who he was.

But who?

And this is the question I have been unable to answer. I couldn't bring myself to go over and ask him; even if we take into account my apparent ability to constantly embarrass myself in most situations without trying, and therefore that I am generally the sort of person who is not easily embarrassed, that would have been highly humiliating even for me; I couldn't ask the giggly teenage girls as they'd already left the shop, no longer speaking to each other but hastily sharing their treasured image on every social networking site that ever existed. I stared for as long as was reasonably possible, and then a little longer, hoping that my brain would drag the name out of the darker recesses of my mind; but no, it wasn't to be. I left Paperchase still pondering.

Now, don't get me wrong, this is not a question that I have been agonising over for the past 24 hours or so (except I clearly have!), but it's irritating me; like a song you've forgotten the artist of, or a place you've been on holiday that you can't remember the name of.

Last night, whilst sat with my friends in the pub, I attempted to describe the man to them to see if they had any idea who he might be. With a very accurate description: 'Quite tall, dark hair, wearing sunglasses and those big, silly, oversized headphones like off-of the 80's that everyone's wearing, average looking, no - not as famous as Colin Farrell'; you'd think that at least one of them would have given me a name that rang a bell.

'That's a great description Maggie' was the sarcastic offering I was given as a reply, 'tall and dark haired! 'cos there's not many of those around!'. I quickly forgave them for the sarcasm, realising at once that it was due to a realisation in their own brains that they were going to struggle without the support of Google on this one - a survival reflex, we could call it!
'He may be on Coronation Street.' I offered, but then realised very quickly that I don't watch Corrie, so all the people that my friend was now suggesting, were not going to be him, because I didn't know who they were, but I DO know who he is... kind of'.
'Is he a footballer?' Someone else suggested.
'I don't think so, as I only think I'd recognise someone like Wayne Rooney and it wasn't him, he was much taller and his hair was much darker.
'Was it Julian Clary?' my friend persued.
'What? Julian Clary?'

So, at the end of our discussion, we had managed to establish two things:
1. He was not Julian Clary and...
2. Unlike the boy in the Sixth Sense who does see dead people, I - don't- see- famous people! (Although I do see dead squirrels, but that's a story for another day!)

So, sitting here now thinking about it, I realised that the one thing I hadn't tried, that usually comes so naturally to me when I need an answer, was 'Googling'. However, it seems even Old-faithful can't give me the answer to the question: 'Who was the tall, famous man I saw in Paperchase Manchester yesterday?'

I think you'd agree with me that the first option that question pulled up was highly unexpected and a little disturbing considering what I asked!!

I'll be honest, I feel a little let down by Google; I'm used to this sort of disappointment from my own brain - it's common knowledge amongst my friends that I don't see famous people - but, in the past, Google has always been there to pick up the pieces and fill in the gaps. Sigh.

Anyway, to take my mind off it, today I went over to Bradford and paid a visit to Murgatroyds: 'Britain's Best Fish and Chip Restaurant'. One HUMOUNGOUS plate of fish and chips later and I feel a lot better. For my Juneathoning today, I have counted eating the enormous place of fish and chips, accompanied with bread and butter, curry sauce and a good ol' cuppa tea... really, it counts, look how enormous it was...

... that took effort! However, for those 'purists' of you out there, I have also counted taking Doris on our favourite route down Boggart Hole Clough. All of which has successfully taken my mind off random famous people and my inability to 'see' them... although maybe I typed the wrong words, maybe if I just tried Googling... ... ...

Juneathon Day 19
Activity: Walking 3 miles to town, then shopping. (I should also point out here that due to time constraints, I had to get a bus back; as a self-confessed complete and utter snob, this was a highly distressing situation and consequently caused me to consume copious amounts of alcohol to recover from the ordeal later that night!)
Distance: 3 miles + at least another 2 I reckon!
Time: 45 minutes
Feeling: happy, obviously - I was shopping!!

Juneathon Day 20
Activity: Eating an enormous plate of fish and chips and walking Doris (Who asked me to say how very grateful she is for all the lovely comments and should anyone wish to Dognap her for a while she is a very sociably animal and will be more than happy to offer equal levels of excitement on any run!)
Distance: A whole plate full then 2.3 miles
Time: An hour of so in the restaurant followed by 35 minutes walking!
Feeling: Completely stuffed. And a little let down by Google.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Juneathon Day 17: I LOVE Running

OH my, oh my, oh my! Today was the best- best-best-bestbestbest!

I went for a run... running running running all the way! It was sooooo much fun... Eeeeeeeeeeee I'm still soooooo excited!

We ran down the road and then we ran around the corner and all the time we were running and running and running and running and then there was another road and we kept running and running and it was the best thing in the world!

It was the most fun thing ever until we stopped at a road and a big red car went whoooooooshing by and I stuck my tongue out at it! Then, when it had gone past we ran again and we didn't stop running until we got to the park - I LOVE love love the park. Isn't it the best

I ran LOADS in the park - I ran up and down and round and round in little circles and BIG CIRCLES and it was the most fun ever until it started raining...

 I LOVE rain - love, love, lovelovelove rain and I got so excited that I had to stop and have a little poo.

I was at my excitement peak now and I thought I might bURst;  I really didn't think that I could have any more fun and but there was even more! There really was because I ran all the way round the park. All the way! Running and running and running and running - Oooooooooooh and there was so much stuff to see and smell and hear - so much -  so much fun!

The best bit though - the best bit had to be - the best bit was the stream! I LOVE the stream... love - love - loveloveLOVE it! I Whooooooooshed into that stream so fast I was a blur, making the water splash, splash SPLASH all over. It was the BEST! I got so wet that when I got out I had to shake and shake and shake and shake all over and it was so exciting I had to have a little excitement wee.

Then, just when I thought it was all over because we were turning for home, I realised that we had to RUN home too! We just had to... yes- yes- yes!!! It was Brilliant! And all the way home we ran and ran and ran and because I had been so good... cos I'm good - I'm so good me - all the time - I am... we did a special extra lap around my favourite park in the world right behind our house - a special treat! because I'm soooogoooood!

Awwwwww... I just LOVE running! Love loveloveloveloveloveloveloveLOVE running! It's brilliant!

Oh my, oh my, ohmyohmy... Can we go out again?

Doris x

Activity: Running
Distance: 2 miles
Time: 20 minutes
Feeling: Fun!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Juneathon Day 16: Rain, Shine and Sparkle...

'Wet Wet Wet'...

...A band formed in the 1980's, particularly popular in the 1990's and fronted by Marti Pellow; which, at the time, I thought were a band whom perhaps understood me and my tortured teenage soul better than anyone else; whom I believed made beautiful, soulful music solely for my ears... Now of course, I fear that their name was, in fact, eponymous of their music...

However, it is not wet behind the ears band of that era in our history that I am referring to in the above statement, but rather the weather outside. So wet in fact that I'm sure I saw fish swimming past the upstairs window at one point... or was it a flying pig? Either way, I was very comfortable working at my desk and not in the slightest bit eager to pull on my running gear to 'swim' to running club!

Unfortunately Fortunately, I have recently discovered the delights of Twitter and consequently was bullied persuaded into pulling on my running kit and joining the 'hard core' runners at club! (Well, let's be honest, I wouldn't have mentioned it if I hadn't been looking for a little kick up the bum!)

And am I glad I did! Apart from the fact that I actually managed some proper exercise today, rather than a measly shopping trip and a jaunt round a field the size of a postage stamp, I was also witness to my friend Natalie's new PB!

Absent Coach Pete (who is this week braving it in the distant, southern lands of London) had set us an 'out and back' session. With a slightly larger group of hardcore runners turning up today (but notably with girl power still ruling - in fact exclusively ruling if we are to assume the reappearance of Dom(inique)!), we set off under a suspicious looking sky, all of us absolutely convinced that at some point, if not in the 20 minute run away from the track then definitely in the 18 minutes back, we would be soaked, drenched and battered with rain.

However, it was not to be. In fact, all in all it was a fantastic run in which Natalie and I not only hit a perfect 38 minutes round trip but, as I mentioned previously, she set herself a brand, new sparkling PB for the 5k distance! Superb.

And so, the soundtrack to my run tonight was not the 'Wet, Wet, Wet' that I expected as I headed out the door, but rather 'Sunshine on a Rainy Day'!

Activity: Running
Distance: 3.1 miles
Time: 38 minutes
Feeling: like sunshine on a rainy day - what? I'm liking that one, I can't say it twice?!

With Big Congratulations to: NATALIE!!!!!
And thanks to: Absent Coach Pete, Fairweatherrunner, Psycojog and Runningman856  

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Juneathon Day 15: Great minds!

Happy Half Way Juneathon everyone!

Thank you to all those of you who commented on my blog yesterday and completely validated my Supermarket Slimnastic exercise for the day. In fact, not only validated but were happy to admit that you too, joined the basket carrying cause yesterday in your Juneathoning - There must have been something in the air! - However, I have to admit that I am in awe of notmuchofarunner and Carrick "Pyro" Armer who even went to the extent of activating their GPS devices within order to officially record the activity, with notmuchofarunner answering that age old question (of course it is!) of how many calories does a supermarket dash burn? Answer: 6...which I am under the impression he used to treat himself to a slither of chocolate!

We are certainly a creative bunch and I think the challenge is surely now out there as to who can complete the most creative Juneathon activity as we enter the second half of the competition!

Additionally, as we are clearly not alone in our creativity I propose that we should also take the suggestion of  Fortnightflo (who notably also took part in some Supermarket Slimnastics yesterday - although at least she walked there and back!!), and lobby RunningFree to get Supermarket Slimnastics added as a activity; It is a travesty that we are unable, at the moment, to log this increasingly popular (surely soon to be) sport as part of our official Juneathon. More needs to be done people!

As for today's Juneathon, after the strenuous pursuits of yesterday, today obviously had to be a rest day. So, in the true spirit of Juneathon, I still got out there with Doris and I completed a gentle mile stroll round (and round and round and round) the small field behind my house. In order to complete a mile, I did have to complete several circuits of the field (it is particularly tiny) and add on a walk up to the high street and back again. However this was very useful, as I was able to creatively combine my exercise with some social networking, enabling me to catch up on the tweeting and facebooking of the day - Well, I am a social butterfly  you know!

Activity: walking and tweeting
Distance: 1 mile
Time: 19 minutes (social networking whilst walking slows you down apparently!)
Feeling: very social

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Juneathon Day 14: Supermarket Slimnastics

Finding it hard to fit your Juneathon activity into your busy lifestyle? Me too. In fact, today I found it so difficult, at one point I had convinced myself that I had failed and hadn't actually managed to do any exercise at all. I couldn't believe it. Surely this couldn't be right; after all, in January I managed to run every single day even when I had to fight my way through the thick, deep snow!

'You've failed' said little Pessimistimagathon on my left shoulder.
'Don't listen to that witch' said teeny Optimistimagathon on my right shoulder, 'She's no idea what she's talking about; you've not failed... you don't fail... you don't even know the meaning of the word, you couldn't...'
'Of course you've failed.' rudely interrupted Pessimistiagathon. 'You've not done any exercise today; so you've certainly not succeeded have you?'

Certainly, this was a dilemma; desperately, I wanted to believe the lovely Optimistimagathon flitting happily and positively at my right hand side. Her enthusiasm and determination for my success was truly inspiring, something I just didn't want to ignore. Yet, at the same time, I knew it to be true. I had done no exercise at all, I still hadn't completed my work, I could hardly take time out for a jaunt around the park, when there were more serious, pressing matters.

'I could go out now...' I told myself, looking at the failing light outside the window. I stood up to give myself a closer look. Moston looked the same as usual: The vicious looking dog ravaging its ball in the park, the ominous gang of 'hench hoodies' 'hanging' menacingly at the park gates, the swaying gait of the old man as he crossed the field clutching desperately to his can of 'Red Stripe' fighting to remain upright....
'Hmmm... maybe not then' I reflected. 'Oh well, time to admit it then. Clearly, I've...'

'No! Wait!' Cried Optimistimagathon, very cunningly interrupting my thought process at just the right moment,
'I've got it!' You HAVE exercised today. In fact you spent at least 20 minutes doing so.

Quickly, I thought back over my day: I'd driven to work - no exercise there; walked around school - can that really count as exercise? unlikely; I'd driven to the supermarket - nope, still can't see it; I'd walked around the supermarket...

'That's it... that's the one! Your workout at the supermarket!' Exclaimed Optimistimagathon.

Really? Can it be true? Can I really count my trip to the supermarket as exercise? I mused. I pondered. I deliberated. And yes! Lo and behold of course I could! And here are the reasons:

1. I walked around the supermarket at a constant and steady pace for 20 minutes;
2. As I walked, I used a resistance device, more commonly referred to as a basket, to tone my arms and add extra difficulty to my overall cardio workout;
3. As the workout progressed, I added weight to my resistance device, thus increasing the difficulty and intensity of my workout;
4. During my workout, at regular intervals, I added squats to condition and tone, intensified also by the increasing weight of the resistance device;
5. At the end of the workout, I cooled down by transferring the weights from one device to another, finishing the workout with a brisk walk back to the car.

All of which, I think you'll find, creates a perfect session of Supermarket Slimnastics. Excellent. And, if you're in any doubt as to how you can work a Supermarket Slimnastic Session into your daily Juneathon schedule, then take a quick look at this brief video for more ideas on working out in your local supermarket:

Activity: Supermarket Slimnastics
Distance: Must be at least a mile around all those aisles!
Time: 20 minutes
Feeling: very hungry by the end of it!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Juneathon Day 13: Dear Coach...

Dear Coach Pete,

I hope you are having a truly wondrous time in the land of Big Clever London, where the streets are paved with gold and the sun always shines.

We, of course, missed you at running club tonight. Well, I say 'we' but I'm sorry to say that it is only a small, dedicated band of your speedy side-kicks that can be included in that exclusive group tonight. And exclusive it was. Yes, Pete, I'm proud to say that I am now in an elite group of 'The Hardcore Runners'. And it's fair to say that 'Girl Power' rules!

Roy Castle would have been proud of the bantam band of X chromosomes who held the fort in your absence  tonight; and your praise, indeed, should be showered on the following devotees of The Oldham and Royton Harrier's Road Running Club:

Angela, Sara, Natalie, Lindsay, Candice, myself and Dom(inique)...

A group of your runners who, tonight, demonstrated the same commitment, enthusiasm and dedication that you, yourself, have given to running.

Following your training schedule, our (clearly hardcore) gaggle of girlies set off on a figure of 8 run, or 5km route; completing the routes with the motivation and ardency, you would expect from a (clearly hardcore) group such as ourselves.

However, despite the energy, eagerness and earnestness of the whole group tonight, one special mention must  go out to someone who went above and beyond the call of duty, demonstrating the true nature of our club by supporting the other runners: Dom(inique), who thanks to his her strength, support and assistance to others tonight, earned him herself an honourary position in your band of 'Hardcore Runners'... Go Girl Power!!

Coach Pete, we hope you're as proud of us tonight as we are of ourselves, and indeed,  as you muse on what to set us for Thursday's session  we also take this opportunity to let you know how proud we are to be your dedicated, driven and devoted band of (truly hardcore) runners.

Best Running Regards,

Maggiee (One of the dedicated and devoted band of clearly hardcore runners!)

Activity: Running
Distance: 3.1 miles
Time: 40 minutes
Feeling: Hardcore!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Juneathon Day 12: Running Releases...

'Running releases more than just sweat'
... thank goodness!

Activity: Running
Distance: 10 miles
Time: 1hr 54.
Feeling: much lighter!!!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Juneathon Day 11: Some sense of purpose...

Today I went walking with Doris and Mik...

And then I had lunch...

And then I started marking...

And then I fell asleep whilst marking...

And then I went to the shop and bought yummy stuff that will make me fat...

And then I ate too much yummy stuff and felt sick...

And then I carried on marking...

And then I fell asleep again...

And then I blogged...

And then I marked my own writing

And I only gave it 5 out of 18: Clear communication of ideas with more sense of audience and purpose. Uses some organisational devices appropriately with occasional conscious selection of words. 

And then I thought that was not good because I am an English teacher 
and people will judge me 
and they will think that is bad and that I am not very good...

And then I thought maybe I should change it 
and write a better blog rather than this blog 
which would only be marked 5 out of 18 
if I was being marked by a GCSE examiner...

And then I realised that I'm not writing in a GCSE examination 
and I'm already a teacher 
and an examiner so it doesn't actually matter.

And then I said to myself 'you should stop writing
 because this is getting ridiculous and long'.

And then I realised that now my writing wasn't even a 5 out of 18 any more 
because I had written too much and had lost awareness of my audience 
who had now probably stopped reading 
so now it was only 4: 
an occasional sense of audience and purpose. 
Ideas sequenced simply.

And then I thought 'I better stop now because there is no sense in what I'm doing'.

And then I did.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Juneathon Day 10: Round and Round...

Round and round the garden,
Like a teddy bear,
One step - two step - 
It's for Juneathon... I swear!
Doris loves a Dressing Gown Dash too!

If you were familiar with JogBlog back in Janathon, or you're following Notmuchofarunner during Juneathon, this dressing gown business will make perfect sense... If you're not, you probably think I've gone bonkers (Okay, more bonkers?!)... I have; paper 464 is now done... I have no stamina, no skills and no brain left... 'nuf said!

Activity: The Garden Dressing Gown Dash
Distance: 0.04 miles
Time: 30 seconds
Feeling: Oh my... so very tired!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Juneathon Day 9: Catching up...

Today I...

Didn't catch up with the pile of marking I'd set myself to do;
Nearly caught up with reading some blogs... but not quite;
Enjoyed catching up with some friends at running club (metaphorically, not physically, they're far too fast for me!);
Caught up with last night's Apprentice (Oh yes... good decision!)

And now I'm going to...

Catch up on the sleep I missed last night...

Night all!

What 5th member? There's only 4 in my dreams!!

Activity: Running
Distance: 4.6 miles (intervals)
Duration: 55 minutes
Feeling: sleepy... yaaaaawn....

Juneathon Day 8: Take that Juneathon...

As I was a dirty stop-out and arrived home at a quarter to midnight last night (and on a school night too!!!), I've struggled to 'Shine' today so decided to leave this post until later!

I managed to get in a sneaky Juneathon exercise when I suggested to my friend that we should walk to the Take That concert yesterday evening. Of course, she clocked what I was up to but ultimately we both agreed that it would be a better idea than paying an extortionate tenner for parking. As it was, it worked out well as the traffic was a nightmare at the end of the night; I have a feeling I'd still be there now if we'd tried to get home in a car and I'm not sure I'd have had the 'Patience'.

However, it did mean that they ended up 'keeping me up all night' and we arrived home rather late. I'm not sure how Paula has coped today, but I've been half dead... I might be still at an age where I can dance all night, jump up and down and scream like a banshee at 4 grown men on a stage, but my body now screams back at me the next day!

Needless to say, we had the best time in the world... ever! and I would gladly have stayed 'up all night' for the show they put on for us; not even the rain could dampen our spirits. It was certainly a concert I will 'Never Forget'.

Anyway... I'm making very little 'Progress' here and I'm 'Sure', to be honest, 'I've said it all'. I also am in desperate need of a pick-me-up before I take on Juneathon day 9; so I'll leave you for now whilst I hunt down copious amounts of caffeine to consume before running club begins at 7!

Activity: walking and dancing!
Distance: 5.25 miles
Time: 1.39 (including walking around the stadium for a bit and putting the bin out once home as I forgot to press pause!)
Feeling: Like I could 'Rule the World'!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Juneathon Day 7: The worst blog ever written...

Six days of exercise I've done,
made up to seven with today's run;
I only went a mile quite slow,
because I had my dog in tow,
but at least I'm in the game
to drop out now would be a shame.


this might be the worst blog ever written
or it may be cute - just like a kitten!
However, I feel I must explain
why it's so bad like the crash of a train;
I've been up since 6 - with work - you see
no, not because I needed a wee!
And now I'm home, I'm marking papers
and eating very salty capers.
(that last bit really isn't true
But I struggled to rhyme it... wouldn't you?)
And so the reason this blog is crap
Is because my brain has gone...

Image by James Callahan

Monday, 6 June 2011

Juneathon Day 6: Looking for Inspiration?

Then use this man...

I went to running club this evening, I ran and it was lots of fun.

But I'm not going to tell you about that; instead I want you to read about Eddie Kidd, the ex-stunt rider who suffered brain damage, in 1996, when his bike crashed. Eddie started the Virgin London Marathon on April 17th, with every other participant, and completed it this evening, raising more than £72,000 for Children with Cancer in the process.

Today, Eddie Kidd, with the help of a specially constructed walking frame, crossed the finish line at the Mall, 50 days after the starters gun was fired. I also started in the London Marathon on April 17th, and completed it the same day; It took me 5 hours and 46 minutes: it was really tough! And still, I think I only have a small insight into the strength, will and determination it must have taken Eddie to complete the Marathon as he did.

I am amazed, inspired and motivated by people like Eddie; real people who have such a zest for life, despite the odds; people who challenge their bodies, and minds, at unbelievable levels. I take my hat off to anyone who is willing to test those boundaries; to set a challenge and overcome it; to identify a personal goal and achieve it, no matter how big, how small or how long it takes. After all, it's only when we challenge ourselves - when we really test the limits of what we think is possible - that we realise how capable we actually are of achieving so much more.

Now, who fancies a run?

You can read more about Eddie on the BBC News website.

Activity: Running
Run Saturday

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Juneathon Day 5: Kinnecting with Sheila

Today didn't start well, when I stupidly did this...

... and discovered that the 5lbs I'd lost in the last two weeks had been reduced to a much more minimal number as, this week, I'd put 3 back on again! Hmph.

So I promptly got off the scales and went for a run. My intention was to run 1 mile but I chose to run with my new Iphone and its Nike GPS app which has a nice lady that talks to you... Sheila... and although she's nowhere near as motivating as Chad, she does help by whispering words of encouragement in your ear every mile. Sometimes those words are encouraging because they're what you don't want to hear; for example, on completing my mile, Sheila announced I had ran it at an 11.33 min mile pace... a what??!!! How was that possible when I'd been running so hard? Hmph - again. I knew that was never going to burn the dreaded calories that so eagerly want to wrap themselves tightly around my waist and hips, I would have to continue running.... and up the pace. 

Eventually, Sheila and I completed just over 3 miles and we'd managed to raise our pace to an average of 10.33; I felt much better for it, so much so that I remembered my 'don't be a slave to the scary scales' plan which meant that I was also supposed to be tracking my weight loss with my trusty...

And would you believe it... I'd lost inches... well 1 whole lovely inch... from all the different measured areas of my ever decreasing body! 

Comforted by the thought that all my hard work for the past 3 weeks had not been entirely for nothing, I got on with some marking. However, I couldn't concentrate because in the back of my mind was a niggling desire... a desire to burn more calories but, more importantly, also a desire to play on my new game... Kinnect Personal Trainer (bought at a super sale price, in a well known supermarket with a bright green sign, yesterday).

Tick.... tick.... tick... 'Go on Maggie, go and play on the kinnect'... tick... tick... tick... 'Go on, it's way more fun than marking'... tick... tick... 'you know you want to'... tick... 'kinnect, kinnect, kinnect kinnect...' 
'Oh, right fine!' I gave in, slamming my pen down on the desk, 'I can't concentrate with you wittering in my ear anyway. 

So, giving up, and vowing to have words with my motivation later about his recent poor performance (hiding when I need him, and a complete pest when I don't!) I hurried down the stairs to play my new 'game'.

half and hour later and I can barely move! That was hard work!! But, good news...

I burnt 123 calories! bonus!

So all in all Juneathon Day 5 has ended up better than expected: Not only has there been successful shrinkage of The Magathon, but I've also taken another step towards my goal of introducing a wider range of exercise into my routine. Excellent.

Activity: Running and Kinnect Aerobics
Distance: 3.05 miles
Time: 1hr (or so)
Feeling: that exercising made me feel better!
Run Saturday