Monday, 31 October 2011

Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween everyone...

A spooky time was had by all at running club tonight; I think it's fair to say we brought a few smiles to some faces on our 4 mile run!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Dallas myth!

There are no big shoulder pads in Dallas. Fact. I'm quite disappointed that, once again, it turns out that TV has lied to me. Dad reckons its because Dallas is off of the 80's but I'm sure I found it on a sky channel the other day, so how can that be?!

Anyway, unless I see some this morning I will have to accept that the big hair and shoulder pads are simply a myth. I fly back today but before I do, we're going for a real American breakfast at Ihop; apparently this is the place to go for your pancakes and maple syrup with bacon... Sounds disgusting? Trust me, it's heaven!... Previously Mik and I have been to Denny's but the locals pull a face when you tell them this and recommend Ihop instead so I'm thinking I may be in for a treat!

Dallas has been everything I expected and not at all either! Everything is big and vast; they don't do thing by halves as proven by the Walmart I shopped in yesterday- it was the size of the Trafford Centre! Equally, everything is so new, even the 'historic' areas, which are really quaint and pretty, as you imagine little America to be! The malls are everywhere and people drive from one shop to the other it's that far to go (and most of them are quite large themselves!) and once again, as I've found wherever I've gone in the USA, everyone is so friendly. We stopped by a little town called McKinney yesterday and were greeted like old friends! I've bought clothes from A&F (my favourite store!) for less than a meal at subway! and had gel nails for less than that again; I've been thoroughly spoilt and had a fab time... I think I might just come back again... Maybe a shopping trip once every year??!

So, that's it for Dallas, I'll tell you something about running next time we meet!

Monday, 24 October 2011


Would you believe it? I've been in Dallas for 2 days now and not a shoulder pad in sight! I feel a bit let down if i'm honest!

However, I have seen a lot of Stetsons and cowboy boots so at least TV hasn't been lying to me about that too!

Yesterday, I went to the Texas State Fair. Amazing! This is the biggest fair I have ever seen. In fact, in England we just don't have anything like it; I think partly because we don't have the space like they do here; but also because we split our 'fairs' into separate entities. So, for example, this fair had exhibitions, museums, fairground rides, fried everything tents, music, dancing, theatre, circus, a bird show, horse riding, pig racing... Yep, you name it, it was there! The particular highlight of the fair seems to be the fried stuff; they are particularly proud of the variety of weird things they've been able to fry. Some highlights included: fried bubblegum, fried beer, fried cheesecake and fried s'mores (which are apparently a biscuity marshmallowy thing). I am pleased to say I didn't eat any of these things but I did have a Reuben and a funnel cake (donutty-pancakey thing) which I thought were keeping in the spirit of the day but without clogging my arteries instantly and causing a heart attack at the age of 33!!

It's fair to say that Texas does things big! And incredibly cheesy. I saw the best and most dorky bird show i've ever seen in my life, and I watched pigs race around a track. Only in Texas!

Today, we're off to downtown Dallas, where I think I'm hoping all the big haired, shoulder padded people live. I expect so.

By the way, if you're reading this expecting some running... Sorry, there is none... I haven't even bought my trainers! Normal service will resume next week... Until then it's yeee ha and howdy partners and I'll let you know if the TV Dallas is all really just a big lie!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

The excitement of travelling...

"what time are you meant to be getting up?"

Those words, as a sudden interruption to sleep, are never good are they? Inevitably they mean that something has gone wrong. It's a rhetorical question in a sense because the person asking has realised that the time you were supposed to have been awoken by your alarm has passed and instead of lying cosy and comfy in your bed, you should be arriving safely at the airport shuttle park!


This WAS how my day began. The time was 3.45. I should have been up an hour earlier; why wasn't I? Honestly? Ok, it's because I'm a complete tool and I'd set my alarm for 2.55... pm!!!!


Needless to say I hurled myself from my bed, threw myself into the shower and bundled myself into the car, just 10 minutes later!

'Ok', I thought to myself, 'you've still got plenty of time... And breathe...'

Silly Maggie. EVERYONE knows that it never runs smoothly when I travel somewhere... I'm always late... Just ask not-so-little-bro! So I was naive really not to have expected obstacle...

number 1: the closed motorway!

What?! Yes, that's right. The motorway... The route to the airport... was closed! At least, the bit I needed was; I won't tell you what I said, because I think it was a good job there was no one else in the car... It would have been a shock even to the kids I teach, and that's saying something! Thankfully, once my brain had emerged from the blind panic of fog this 'small' diversion had thrown it into, I was able to re-navigate myself towards the airport again, onto the necessary motorway, when I hit...

Obstacle number 2: the 40mph reduced speed limit!

Noooooo!!!! Seriously, do they know you're coming? The ONLY time this EVER happens is when you're in a rush... Isn't it?!! Once again, 'calm down Maggie, take deep breaths, 1,2,3... Ooooh, Take That on the radio... And relax...'

20 minutes later (what? Speeding? Me? No, never...) I arrived at the airport, completely broke the law attempting to follow the directions on my phone to the car park, grabbed my stuff and RAN for the shuttle bus that had just arrived. Things were looking up; the bus only comes every 15 minutes but here one was ready and waiting for me... My troubles were nearly over... Oh. No, wait. Here comes ...

Obstacle number 3: my own ineptitude!

In fumbling around for the parking ticket, using my phone as a map, grabbing my bags and legging it for the bus, I had managed to drop my phone in the car... The very same phone with my electronic boarding pass on it.


I have never ran so fast in my life; no, not even in a race! Especially not in heels with a suitcase in tow! Grabbing my phone, flying back to the bus, I arrived just as it started pulling away.... "Nooooooo!" I shouted, "please wait, please". At which point, as if bu a miracle, the bus stopped. The doors opened. And voice from beyond welcomed me aboard "alright love? On yer get!"
I could have Kissed that bus driver, I didn't, but I could have!!

I'm now sat in the departures area at Amsterdam. I'm on my way to Texas to visit my dad; for some reason the plane saw fit to bring me an hour further away from my destination before we actually start the 'proper' journey. I've had 4 hours sleep, which was an hour longer than I should have had, I'm very grateful to Mik for waking me up in time and I've got my fingers crossed that the rest of the journey is far less eventful!

And if you're reading this Dad, your Christmas cake made it through passport control but only after the most prodding, weighing and scanning a cake has ever been subjected to, ever! I can only assume it's still edible, in fact, I'm quite surprised the guy at the desk didn't try that too to be honest!

Anyway, after all that excitement, I need a coffee... I'll see you in Starbucks!

Monday, 17 October 2011


Zombies... Aggghhhhhh!... Heeeeellllllp!!!... Agggghhhh... more zombies.






Peanut butter on toast... yum... cuppa tea... slightly human... only slightly.





Kids... Agggghhhh... Heeellllllp!!!!... Agggghhhh!!!... more kids...




Walk the dog.





Wet... cold... hills...

Running :-)

Hot shower.

Fluffy dressing gown... slippers... warm.


IOS 5... eventually.

Bed. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Running, Aliens and Essex


Running club was fun, fun, fun tonight! Mainly because it was easy!!! But to be fair I think that is just running karma from Monday night, which was long hill reps in the pouring rain! Surely, the gods of running appreciated the blood, sweat and tears (only minor exaggeration applied here) that went into each, tough hill repeat?!... Or maybe Coach Pete just decided to be kind for once... What?!... No, you're right... Don't be so ridiculous!... A higher power must definitely have been involved!

Whilst out on our 'fun' run, we saw a strange glowing shape in the sky with flashing, sparkling lights encompassing it. The strange lighted shape travelled over our route, before heading into the distance, over Manchester city centre. As I travelled home in it's direction, the shape of the unusual flying object became larger and clearer until it was evident that it had to be, without a shadow of a doubt...

an alien spaceship!

Well, either that or an inflatable airship; but personally, I'm going with alien life as I think that's far more feasible!

Following a hard running session, I always think it's important to relax, and tonight was no different, despite the absence of the adjective 'hard'. So, after a nice hot shower and a tasty curry, cooked lovingly by Mik, I settled down with my new favorite programme: Educating Essex. If I'm honest, I can't rationally explain why I like this programme because, in reality it is a very accurate representation of my daily life! Sometimes a little too much so; and sometimes, like last week's episode, that makes me want to cry a little because it's really sad! But mostly, I think I like it because it makes me laugh... And maybe because it's nice to see other people doing the same things as you do, if you know what I mean. The staff in the school are doing the same things with the kids as we do every day, and the kids are just as bizarre, odd and off their heads as our lot... It's quite reassuring that! A well as being really quite funny! And if you haven't caught an episode of this yet, you should; it's surprisingly well done, sensitive enough to be respectful to both the kids and adults concerned, whilst depicting the reality of working in a modern, comprehensive secondary school! If you work in one yourself, you'll recognise the characters, and if you don't, it's a nice eye-opener as to what actually goes on in a school! Hilarious!

The cat and the dog have finished the night off nicely for me as the cat has decided to forgo the litter tray tonight in favour of the floor; the dog decided to forgo her food in favour of the cat's 'offerings'; which caused her to promptly vomit all over the floor!

So it's been quite a night really what with running for fun, discovering aliens, educating essex and cleaning-up animal bodily fluids!

Zebedee's bouncing his way up the stairs, it's definitely time for bed!

Good night!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

There has been some running

Ok... So a quick update on activities of the running kind as we rapidly head through the the month of October:

1. There has been some running! This is an immense improvement on the month of August, during which there was NO running, and the month of September which saw only 1 day of running! So far, so good!

2. There has been running in NEW SHOOOOES!! sorry... Let me correct that... There has been running in gloriously PINK, fabulously FREEEE, bright and sparkling brand NEW shoooooes!! And, to repeat a theme: so far, so good!!!

3. There has been running in a heat wave, running in a gale, running in almost minus conditions and running in rain; to which my new Sketchers shoes held up very well... even when I plunged them into the second biggest puddle in the world - bettered only by the puddle Paula plunged her foot into which was THE biggest puddle in the world!

4. There has been running fast, running 'easy', running uphill, running down hill, running the same hill several times (like some kind of hill obsessionist!), running alone and running with club.

5. There has been NO running with Garmin because he will only work when he's plugged into the power source and despite desperate attempts to sort this problem, it turns out that running with a laptop is not an easy feat!

6. There has been back-pain free running and a discovery that the back is only a meanie if I sit down all day; thereby providing more perfect excuses for running, but not so many excuses for watching multiple episodes of Eastenders on catch-up! Dammit!

7. Finally, there has been much enjoyment of all aforementioned running activities and consequently there has been some signing up to races, some arrangement of future park runs and some planning of fancy dress for upcoming club Halloween and Christmas running events!!! :-)

After such an succession of successful running in the first two weeks of October, I'm wondering whether I'll be able to keep the momentum going; but with half term looming, some races to prepare for and a trip to Texas, I'm thinking I'm going to have a fun time trying!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

I'm so excited...


My trainers have arrived! they've arrived, they've arrived, they've arrived...


they're PINK!!!

Yes, that's right, totally, utterly and completely... PINK!

If you are unaware of what I'm babbling about, along with quite a few other running-obsessed bloggers, I've been selected to take part in the Sketchers Pro-Speed seeding project; which basically means that they've sent me a pair of their new, and first, professional running shoe... for FREE!!!

I know... there's not much that could be described as more exciting to a geeky runner than a pair of exciting, new and unique trainers! And at first glance they seem really good: very lightweight, designed to promote mid-foot strike and (did I mention it...) pink!

Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to donning them at running club tomorrow and putting them through their paces; and if you're interested in what the SRR are like, stop back here in a couple of weeks' time, once I've given them a real run for their money, and I'll let you know my verdict.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Running Renaissance

My running renaissance... term stolen from Abradypus because I loved it so much... has been mildly successful. I say mildly because I have been running - yay! However, only on Monday - boo!

I am being sensible (of course) that's why there has not been so much running in the running renaissance (honestly); however you'll be pleased to know that what running there has been has gone quite well... much better than expected actually... in fact, I might  even be bold and go so far as to say it was quite magnificent! OK... too far with the adjective 'magnificent' but it was certainly slightly successful and very enjoyable!

Thankfully, I wasn't the only one to be returning from injury on Monday - although I was the only one who hadn't run in a VERY long time - and so with others recovering from races on the Sunday and / or preparing for marathons in the near future, we set off on an 'easy' run. I have to say ' ' around the easy because it is an inaccurate use of the term, to say the least. But... and a big BUT here...  it wasn't half so bad as I thought it would be; yes, my fitness levels are much lower than they previously were, BUT they're not zero like I'd anticipated. And I managed to run 4.5 miles. And I managed to push the pace faster than I'd run the rest of the route in the last mile. And I felt like I'd finally recovered from all the little niggles I'd picked up in my marathon training. So, to surmise, I think it's fair to say that the Magathon's Running Renaissance is now fully switched to go and so long as I don't stay in work until 7.15pm again next week, I'll manage to run on at least Monday AND Thursday as well.

In other news...

I had a fantastic time on Wednesday night at a cupcake course in Manchester. Run by 'Hey Little Cupcake', in Spinningfields, I was booked onto a cupcake decorating class- bought for me by my lovely friends for my birthday - but ended up on their first ever jam and baking class instead due to a mix-up with booking. The class was fab! It involved a cupcake baking demonstration, followed by a tutorial on how to make jam. Then, we had a go at making mini-scones, followed by learning how to decorate 6 of the freshly baked cupcakes made in the demonstration at the start of the night. With only 6 people to a class as well, it felt really friendly and personal; if you live in Manchester, and you like baking, I would seriously recommend it. Of course, the only downside to this class was that I returned home with a pile of freshly baked, yummy scones, cupcakes and a jar of jam! Best get that running renaissance into the next gear!

Look at my pretty cupcake - should I admit
that was my 4th attempt at a rose?!
The first 3 were rather less rose-like!

And Finally, I can't write about this week, without saying a big WELL DONE and CONGRATULATIONS to my mum, who completed the Shine walk, in London, last night. Mum, and her friend, successfully completed the whole 26.2 miles of the marathon walk through the night; and in doing so she now has a whole new respect for the idea of running it, and will from this day forward have complete empathy with the inability to walk downstairs for 3 days! Well done, Mum!

So, this week's challenge is to make it to running club on Monday AND Thursday. If this goes well, I might even stick another cheeky day in there as well... Leeds Abbey Dash, watch out... here I come!