Bits and Pieces

A patchwork view of life, some running, some knitting, some sewing.

Monday, April 2, 2012

In a heartbeat.......

Life can change for ever.              

On the 19th March 2004, my daughter gave birth do a lovely little girl - Kira Louise. I was so excited. I had other grandchildren of course and they are an unending delight to me. But they are the children of my son’s, this was the first child of my daughter, my youngest child. She was also at the time, the only grandchild that was local to me. The others live hundreds of miles away.

That weekend was also Mothering Sunday, so I with delight and excitement, I bought my daughter her first Mothers Day card and a little present from her daughter.

Eight years ago today, in the early hours of the morning, my daughter came into my bedroom crying for help “my baby’s not breathing” she said. I snapped out of my sleep and tried to resuscitate the baby. The rest of that night is a blur of panic, hope and then numbness and disbelief. The hospital could not revive her.

This was “cot death” visiting my family and leaving us bereft and looking for answers that cannot be fully answered.

The post mortem did not find any cause for her just stopping breathing. The subsequent inquest recorded a sudden unexplained death. This leaves so much unresolved grief, no one to blame, no one to explain how it could have happened. What do you do with those questions? What do you do with the natural anger and despair that follows?

This event has changed me, my daughter and the rest of my family in ways that could never have been envisaged. My daughter, as you can imagine sunk into depths that were so deep I was afraid I was going to lose her as well. Even now, all this time later, I can feel Kira snuggle up to me little nibbles into my neck as I gave her a good night cuddle, not knowing that this would be the last time I would have that delightful pleasure.

It was after this that I found the organisation The Foundation for the Study of Infant Death (FSID). They have been a source of help, comfort and inspiration to me and my family.  They have, over the last 40 years worked tirelessly, not only supporting the bereaved, but working with professionals to promote healthy and safe environments for babies. They also fund research into the factors and causes of Sudden Infant Death.  The incidence of “cot death” has been reduced by an incredible 65% over the past 20 years. An estimated 19,000 babies lives have been saved. Look at those figures again. Amazing isn’t it?

However, there are still 300 families every year who wake up to a day without their baby. 300 families every year whose lives change for ever in a (stopped) heartbeat.

Since that awful day 8 years ago, I have become involved in supporting the charity, both in volunteering, finding out more about the phenomena and raising money to help them with funding research, educating families and professionals as well as supporting the bereaved. This grief does not abate. I have met mothers who lost a child to cot death up to 40 years ago, they cry and show the pain of this even today.

This does not mean that we, the bereaved live in sadness and despair. Most try to do something to help to prevent others experiencing such devastation.

What can you do?

Well, in around 3 weeks time, I’m going to attempt my 7th Marathon. A little matter of a jog around London. You can help that effort by sponsoring me, any amount will do it, it doesn’t have to be large amounts, small ones build up. Knowing you care, knowing that my effort will go someway toward preventing another family being left wondering why....................

Please click on the link on the right side of this page to take you to my Justgiving page.

Thank you so much


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

well that’s that then!

Janathon is over for another year! I can’t say I’m sorry, I’m tired and it’s bliddy cold out there at 6:30AM! I missed two days of running (but did do a spin class on those days). One because my leg was threatening to develop from a bit sore to a full blown injury, and one because, quite frankly I was a bit busy.

I’m grateful to Janathon though, it gets me out there, even for a short time. Something is better than nothing, and I didn’t want to be not logging at least even the shortest run. I’ve done more miles this month than I’ve ever done in a month before! 133 miles (give or take a half mile or so). Although I’m a little tired I’m also pleased and proud of myself and grateful to the organisers of Janathon and the RW cousin the January mileage challenge.

I’ll be cutting back on the days that I run, but putting in some quality for the next month now, then it’ll be consolidating that for the marathon. I do so want this time to be a rather better experience than the last time!

I shall be popping in to update the training experience, but not every day.

Watch this space :0)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Do something every day that scares you!

Wow, what a wet one this morning! I ventured out knowing it was raining and knowing I would get wet. But how wet! It was dark (of course) and as careful as I was to navigate around the puddles, one ankle deep one was hiding in the shadows and caught me out a beaut! Then a lorry driver thought it would be good sport to drive fast through a huuuuuuge puddle and shower me with a couple of gallons of the stuff. Ok, maybe he didn’t do it deliberately, but, it certainly felt like it. To be honest, I didn’t mind, I knew I would be home and in a hot shower in less than an hour. There are many who don’t have that luxury, those street dwellers who have to just take what shelter they can get and put up with it.

To  the subject of this post. I had that saying along with something wise about going outside the comfort zone sent to me on facebook. It’s a useful thing to think about, and I have resolved to try this, maybe not every day, but at least once a week.

Now, running in the rain doesn’t scare me, running in the dark doesn’t scare me (I tend to avoid lonely places, but the kind of people who may try to do me harm are still tucked up at 6AM right?). What scares me? Bliddy great hills! Long steep ones particularly. On my usual morning route is a hill that I tend to skirt around. It’s one of those “omygodImgonnadie” hills. According to my Garmin, it rises nearly 250 ft in less than a mile. In order to avoid this hill and make up my mileage, I tend to loop around a couple of streets - possibly to the amusement of the residents. Today, I looked up at that hill and remembered that resolve of mine and set off. I may have walked lots of it, but less than I had anticipated, and guess what! I didn’t die :)

I got home after 6.25 miles feeling right proud of myself, that’s what happens when you face your fears and realise that the fear was only of fear itself to paraphrase somebody or other! I was wetter than the wettest of wet things, but glowing with a real sense of achievement. I may well tackle that one again this week - or I may think of something else that scares me and tackle that. Not spiders, they don’t scare me - they actually TERRIFY  me. There is only so much a girl can do after all :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lazy Sunday

For a change it has been rather a quiet lazy day, although I have achieved a fair bit.

I did my “long” run yesterday, no niggles, no pain. The RICEing and the new shoes seems to have done the  trick, and only one day of actual running missed, even then a good hard spin session made up for it.
My schedule says a step back week, so a step back week it certainly was. 7 miles said my list, but 8 I did. Partly because I’m a nosey soandso. I heard there was a fire that stopped the traffic on the dual carriageway near where I live, so I did a “drive by” so to speak. Sadly, an old chapel has been completely destroyed. It was empty and neglected, but even so, a piece of history gone. It was quite a big fire as well (there is rumour of arson), so it stopped the traffic on the main carriageway into the City from West Wales. Chaos ensued for those on wheels, while I smugly trotted along. It was windy but when out of the wind an ideal running day. Fresh and sunny, cool but not cold!

Today was an early dog walk with my friend, again windy (very) so a pleasant stroll through the sheltered woods. Then home and shopping for food for lunch, while I was in the shop the veg looked very tempting so I piled up with butternut squash, leeks, carrots and other stuff. I popped out for a quick 3 miles - hubby is not well again and he had gone back to bed.
An afternoon of making pots of soup, as well as lunch while watching telly then getting on with my jewellery making.

All in all, a day of relaxing domestic goddessery with some fresh air and exercise and a dollop of creativity.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Over halfway

I know I’ve not blogged for a couple of days, but it’s a bit busy around here at the moment. Besides, I’ve not actually run for a couple of days. I’ve spinned and gymed, but my lower left leg has been objecting strongly to all this training! I did get some spanking new shoes yesterday though (thanksWiggle), so I went to the gym this morning and did what I call my maintenance while injured session. Can you tell I’ve been here before? Yes, more times than I care to remember!
I tend to, when embarking on a project go at it hammer and tongs so to speak. This happens no matter what the project is, whether work related, academia or hobby. My running had been going well and my weekly mileage was higher than it had ever been! Then - wham! it started with a background niggle and worked it’s way up to pain even when walking!
I think I probably strained the ankle muscle a little when my foot got stuck in the cleat on the spin bike on Friday. I took no notice. After my 14.5 mile run on Saturday the niggle started, a short 3 miler on Sunday made it worse. Monday spin and a short 15 minutes on the dreadmill and the background niggle was still there. I iced and massaged it and put some Wiggle bought Nature’s Kiss cream on it, and it was pain free on getting up on Tuesday. “I’ll pop out and do a short loop” thought I, but, it was a lovely morning for running, really lovely. After nearly 6 miles. I hobbled in to the house and slapped more ice on the offending leg!
No run yesterday, more ice and massage. Today, as I said, a maintenance session at the gym, which involves 20 minutes on the cross trainer, 20 slow and easy minutes on the dreadmill and 20 minutes on the bike. then lots of core work and lots and lots of stretches.

So far, so good, no pain, but I think I’ll do the icing thing again and the magic cream to be sure. Tomorrow is spin again, so I may do the dreadmill again, or I may even be sensible and leave after spin and stretch. I really want this leg to recover asap so I can get on with the VLM training, but as it’s still the middle of January, my head is trying to convince me that I have plenty of time!

Right, where’s that back of frozen fruits of the forest (no peas available)........

Monday, January 16, 2012

niggling achilles - oops!

Yesterday I did my short and slow recovery run, but I now have an achilles that is not happy, not happy at all.

I did my spin class this morning as usual and a 15 minute run on the dreadmill. This past week, for whatever reason, I can feel that I have gone up a notch in my fitness. This was reflected in my spin class and then on the dreadmill. I was working well, but my heart rate stayed within a good working level. I didn’t over push it, but was going heavier on the bike and faster on the dreadmill than I have done previously. “Faster” is all relative you understand, but my 15 minutes put me a tiny bit further than the last time I did 15 minutes with a lower heart rate.

That’s the good news, the not so good news is that my lower calf/achilles is niggling away, I’ve had the frozen forest fruits on it (didn’t have any peas) and have a support on it. My heart is telling me that I should try a run in the morning as per schedule, my head is saying “have a day off for goodness sake!”.

I’ll see how it is in the morning.............

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fundraising and weekend plodding

I’ve spent much of this morning sorting out my fundraising page. I’ve added a widget here so you can see for yourself what my project is. I have lots to thank FSID for, training for a marathon and raising much needed funds (they get no Government help at all), will never be enough to demonstrate what I owe them.
I’m not very good at asking for money, so any suggestions would be helpful. I don’t get a great deal of time but I did think that I would make some jewellery and cards and other things to raffle off in work. There are only 20 or so of us in my place and they have been so kind and generous over the years I don’t want to pressure them too much, after all some of my colleagues themselves do various charity events.

But, on to running matters. I’’m not absolutely sure what has happened this weekend, I’ve been feeling a bit tired and wishing this Janathon would soon be over. However, yesterday in the RPM class, I felt strong and fit and went for it. Pete, the instructor announced that the ‘pocket rocket’ is back!! In respect for Janathon, I then went for a short slow trot after work through the Marina and along the seafront. Again, once I was in the rhythm I felt strong and fit and was marginally faster than I had intended, or even thought I would be capable of.

Today, I faffed and fiddled, but eventually got out of the door into a very cold and frosty January morning. The thought of 14 miles as per schedule was daunting indeed. Again, I travelled faster than I should have according to the schedule, but strong and fit (apart from some tummy trouble - but that settled around halfway). My last couple of miles were quite slow, but it’s a long drag uphill on tired legs.

Now that I’m fed and bathed, I’m feeling a little more human and quite optimistic that this London trip is going to be such a blast! I’m going with some dear friends (who will all be in the pub before me - but that’s ok, they can pay), and my training (touch wood and turn around three times) is going better than it ever has.