Monday, 29 June 2015

Running - Jedi Challenge

Hi everyone!
Who would have thought that I actually had 7 runs to blog about? It sure has been a busy few weeks... With all those runs, the total amount of kilometers I've run in events has increased exponentially, and I was closing in on 100K. With my next running event not scheduled until mid July, I really wanted to hit this amazing milestone before the end of June. So I turned to the net, and lo' and behold, I found some awesome virtual races. Some of them were too expensive for my liking or didn't have a nice medal, until I found the perfect organisation called Virtual Nerd Runs. They have decent prices and are a very friendly bunch. And best of all, they have nerdy medals!! When I saw their Jedi Challenge, I knew I just had to do that one. I signed up, and not even two weeks later, my medal was in the mail.

The Jedi Challenge was basically anything 5K and up, so I needed to run 8.5K to hit my total of 100K :)

Once the medal arrived, I had to complete the run asap of course, you can't just have a medal sitting around, especially a cool one like one from the Jedi Challenge! As I was busy that weekend, it would have to be a run after work. The weather has been improving and as there was no official event so no spectators etc, I had a lovely run along the canal and through Notting Hill suburbia.

The canal is lovely as a route, and now I know mostly which exists lead to which tube stations in case I really have to stop which is always handy. I spent a good 10 mins at the 5K mark taking pics of the medal LOL, I just hope no one was watching!

After I turned away from the canal and into suburbia, I got a little lost. I thought I had chosen the longer route while in fact I found a short cut, oops... I did, however, find this fantastic wall in Notting Hill. Usually these murals are blocked by market stalls, but with an empty road that evening I could see everything. They were amazing!

As I was going through suburbia, I really had to slow down with all the traffic lights etc. Having to stop for directions didn't help either. But it was really nice to have a run where I wasn't going for a PB but was just going for distance. 

This is by far the coolest medal I have EVER gotten :)

I had to run in style of course, so I wear my Darth Vader cookie tshirt on the run. It was a really nice one, and I arrived at yoga very pleased and was able to show the medal off to everyone (yes I am 5 sometimes). 

Right now, 4 days later, my toes are still recovering from running nearly 30K in less than a week. I;m not in pain or anything, just wondering exactly how many black toenails are bad for you ;)

Technically we're way past the 6 month mark as I started my 'Running Through 2015' event in December, but it's still a great feeling to have run 100K so far :) And this is only events where I have received a medal or a tshirt, so this total contains no in-between runs. I'm rather chuffed with myself here :) I am raising money with this event also, so if you like to share in my joy in having accomplished this, please donate to the MS Society by using my Justgiving page

Not to worry, I also have some crafty stuff to post shortly! You can't really run ALL the time, am not Forest Gump ;)

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Running - Runthrough Brixton 10K

Good morning !

As mentioned yesterday, I did two 10K in 2 days last week. For some of you this might not be a lot but I was a tad worried on how and if I was going to survive this. My original idea was to take it easy on the Saturday and really give it my all on the Sunday. I am so glad it turned out the other way around! 

 Here the weather also held off, it was just windier than the Saturday race.
I'd never been to Brixton and was so worried about being late that I didn't sleep very well and turned up waaaay early. They were still setting up! At least I made it though without getting lost anywhere :) Music was allowed this time, something I took full advantage of, and off went at around 9.30am, three laps of the park, up and down the hills. It's a nice park though and had it been my only run of the weekend, I would have enjoyed it a little more than I did this time as my toes slowly started screaming at me... 

I came in at 1:03:00, I was so pleased! Not bad at all for the 2nd race of the weekend! Yes, I could have been a little faster if it wasn't for the last hill (not a fan of hills when running) but you can't hope for 2 PBs in the same weekend ;)

Obligatory 'thumbs up' picture ;)

The medal was cute, I love that the girl runner is wearing purple trousers :) And did you notice that Saturday's number was 263 and Sunday's number was 326? Good omen? I like to think so!

One more quick selfie and off to yoga for some much needed stretching...

...and for our weekly post-yoga brunch where I ate these wonderful pancakes :) well deserved!

Needless to say I spent the rest of the afternoon on the sofa recovering. I wasn't in too bad a shape, most my feet really. When I tallied the official events so far (that's anything with either a t-shirt or a medal), I got really close to 100K so I just had to get there in style. And I found the best way to do that... more tomorrow!!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Running - Osterley Park 10K

Hi again!
These runs are a great way to discover new parks in London :)

Time for the Osterley Park 10K!

The Osterley Park 10K was held last Saturday. I was really nervous as I had very smartly signed up for two 10K runs that weekend and I really wasn't sure if I could manage two. The day itself started alright, rain was on the programme, but hopefully that would hold off for a while, and the race was only about 30 mins travel away so if I could survive today with energy for tomorrow, this would be a wonderful race. Only hickup, no head phones allowed. The City Mile didn't allow headphones but that was only a mile. The last time I ran 10K without headphones was at the half marathon and I wasn't doing too well with that (although that could have something to do with the terribly weather and severe knee pain at the time).

There were quite a few runners (I forgot how many exactly) and they slowly started pouring in for registration and the likes. As the crowds gathered, my spirits lifted and I was ready to go.

The park was gorgeous! I was in the first group to head to the starting line, in the back you can see the masses gathering also. The route ran past the lake, through the gardens, and partially over the payment along the main road. 

I didn't take any pictures along the route as I was having this interesting tempo and I just didnt have the time. As I don't like trails too much (am too clumsy), I took it easy on those roads and as soon as we hit the pavement or a 'normal' road, I would speed up and therefore making up for lost time. There were pacers in the race and at some point I ended up between two pacing groups so it was really quiet, you don't really notice that you're in a race actually... until you hear the stampede behind you of the next pacer group. Trust me when I say that is quite scary! Because at this point you're a little tired and even though you're having a very even split, this group will pass you no matter what. So I tried to keep up for a bit until I had a chance to let them pass. Interesting experience really... 

As I tried to race to the end (and was taking what I thought were giant steps), one of the spectators shouted 'go on 263!', and then suddenly I realised: I'M 263! So I ran, and sped across the finish line :)

In the end I had a new PB of 1:00:47!! I was so pleased :)

Someone posted a video on Youtube about the run as well (you can see what I mean with 'what I thought were giant steps' LOL), check it out:

Saturday's race down, Sunday's to go... more on that tomorrow!

Friday, 26 June 2015

Running - Amba City Mile 2015

....and we're back!
To continue to busy running month of June, I ran the Amba City Mile on 13 June. It's a fairly new race and only in it's second year. It's free to enter and only a mile. Last year this was my first run after my injury so it was the perfect distance. This year it was one of many runs in June and even though it was short, I was a little concerned about the time I would put down. This definitely had something to do with the weather as it was cold and rainy. And it's June!

At least this year I wasn't in the last group :) That totally cheered me up already. There is nothing wrong with being in the last group of course, being in an earlier one just means I must be getting a bit faster and I'll take that anytime.

My wave was at 10.40 so I headed off to the starting point just outside St. Pauls. 

I didn't take any pictures along the way, it's only a mile and it's a business district so there is not much time or much to see really... They didn't allow headphones so it was a music-less mile and sadly I 'crashed' at the same point I did last year, just before the bend in the road heading to the finish line. It's such a boring stretch... I was going really well and was convinced I could finish in under 8 minutes. Until that point... 

In the end I finished in 08:08 which is still not bad. Oh those 8 seconds! On the plus side, I was 48 seconds faster than last year and that is an amazing difference :)

There was no time to make it to yoga class, and after I had waited 45 mins to collect my bag (it was a bit of a drama, this is one point they have to improve on!) I went to Bea's of Bloomsbury to get some cupcakes. I hardly ever venture into the area and they're the best cupcakes in town so with the finish line being just outside there, it was a must :) 

The times are getting better, the runs are getting better... I'm far from finished yet as I try to Run Through 2015. More to come!

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Running - Colour Run 2015

Good morning!
I told you I had some fun runs lined up as well? It was time for the Colour Run earlier this month, the first run of June which turned out to have a LOT of runs. 

The weather was perfect again (shock!) and it was actually great fun!

 I was so glad I had changed my tshirt for this event, it was much more comfortable that way and still covered enough not to have too much colour everywhere.

Lining up near the start line, it was really busy! 

 Nearly time to start the run! I was all set in white, ready to be coloured up.

Just passed the pink station, I ran through the middle so I got out relatively unscathed ;) 

Oh it was busy alright! The finish line can be seen in the back there...

The tutu doesn't hold the colour so I'm normally fairly clean when I come out. And this year there were no crazy friends going nuts with the powder LOL

The usual colour bursts were happening at the after party, I hung out for a bit to take some pics and went home afterwards, Time for food after all, this race was late afternoon so I was starving.

I did have a hilarious comment in the tube. I came prepared this year by carrying an empty plastic bag in my running belt, stripping off the top layer of my outfit (I wore 2 layers) and then using that to get rid of any colour on my shoes and face. So when I got into the tube I was really clean and tidy. More runners came in and I heard someone whispering: 'she is so clean!'. It was so funny! It's just good planning really...

June is a busy running month, with some great achievements so far :) More to come soon!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Running - Bupa 10K

Hello again :)
After I had completed the Hyde Park 5K, I was confident in running the Bupa 10K the next week. It was to be run during the bank holiday and I'd signed up for it a while back, you have to plan most of these as they sell out so fast! Just image, a few years back I would have never run, let alone on a bank holiday when you can actually sleep in! The Bupa 10K is one of few runs where you can run along the Mall, and I always wanted to do that :) Since I didn't get into the London Marathon (and probably a good thing that I didn't!), this was my chance. So with the recent injury free 5K under my belt, I was ready to go.

Charity shirt on (I finally remembered to wear it now that it has been improved!), let's do this!

We arrived well on time, the weather was beyond perfect. So far so good!

This was taken on the way to the corrals, that's Buckingham Palace in the back! I was in the middle section of the third corral, so plenty of time to get there...

And off we went!! Along the Mall (yay!) and under the Amiralty Arch... 

All along St Pauls and many other London landmarks, even Big Ben! I just love this picture :) I took weeks deciding if I should get the event photos, and I am so glad I did. This is London at its best!

Around St. James Park and with the finish (and lots of people) in sight, I decided to go for it. Someone caught me sprinting to the end, clearly eager to finish with a good time...

And over the finish line I go in a personal best of 01:01:29 :) I was so pleased!!

There was a medal of course, and a very cool tshirt (yes which will also be girlyfied)

These are some photos I took with my actual camera before, during and after the run. I absolutely loved running this race, and with a PB to boot the day just couldn't get any better :)

We went for a lovely big lunch after this, it was a lovely Sunday. This running thing is way addictive! But you can't only have serious runs, I also had a few fun ones lined up... more on that tomorrow!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Running - Runthrough Hyde Park 5K

Good morning everyone!
I haven't posted about any running events in a while, but that doesn't mean that I haven't done any! In fact, I've done quite a few :) I wanted to have like a 'running week' with all my running posts back to back, which was actually supposed to start this weekend so I'm a little bit behind. No matter, we'll just start today :)

I ran this 5K in Hyde Park on 17 May. A friend of mine was visiting London and she had booked a flight home at 7am on Sunday morning, which meant having either getting up super early, or going to bed really late. I chose the latter so was in bed at around 2am I think. With a run looming at 9am the next day, that is quite late let me tell you.

I went anyway, and just look at the lovely weather we had :) It was the first run in the sun of the year!

It was REALLY sunny! I kept my jacket as it was still a bit windy, but just not having any rain was so nice!

The run went through Hyde Park (as the name already tells you), and you could either do one loop for 5K or two loops for 10K.

I was checking to see if I would be able to run a 10K race the week after, so I only did one loop as I didn't want to overdo it and ruin my chances for the next race. 

Obligatory mid-run selfie, I was SO enjoying running in the sun! :)

We passed the lake, it was a gorgeous view. Imagine being there on Sunday morning, it's really quiet then. Except for the occasional early-bird (see photo) it's virtually empty. That and us crazy runners hihi... The picture is a bit wobbly, I was running after all!

I crossed the finish line in just over 30mins, I was gutted! I really wanted to finish is under 30mins, but there was a tiny incline in the road just before the finish and I just hit that mental wall. Oops... I sure had fun though and am so happy I went to this! I managed to get a good time on hardly any sleep so I was impressed with that.
The official finishing time: 00:30:29.

Check out the tube station on the way back, it was a ghost town! Very freaky... 

The rest of the day was just like any other normal Sunday, I think I even made it to yoga! I had survived the run without injuries so I was ready for the next one. It was going to be a great one, so more on that later! 

Friday, 19 June 2015

Running T-shirt Beautifications

Hi everyone!
It's not technically upcycling as these are not in fact old or broken so I think it's more 'beautification'. I've been doing a LOT of runs recently (more on that later), and you know how some of them give you a shirt well in advance to wear for the event? I usually leave it too late to make changed, but this time I really wanted to make an effort with one of the shirts. Another one I wanted to amend was my standard MS Society tshirt, that I try to wear when I don't have an event shirt to wear. I really had to change it as the only reason I didn't wear it at the half marathon was because it was just too heavy and annoying for such a distance.

Let's start off with the MS Society tshirt. I forgot to take a 'before' photo, but if you've read my blog for a while, you may have seen the shirt worn at several events. It's just never really comfy so I just really wanted to change it. I used the same idea as the last post I wrote, and turned it into a vest. I overlocked the edges with black thread, and added some ribbons to the slits in the bottom I made to give it some more room around the hips. 

This is the end result. Just click on the image to enlarge it. It's not the official vest, you only get those when you run the marathon, but it definitely comes a close second and it has cute details now :)

Another race that is on the list is the Color Run, held in Wembley. Here they sent a normal tshirt as well, and I really wanted to change that too. I think I have enough vests for a while, so I used another option of 'girly-fying' as I had done with this one a while back. I just put the other girlyfied shirt onto this one, pinned around it, and sewed it up to make it tighter. I also cut the neckline into a boat cut to make it more comfortable. I didn't use the shirring for the sleeves, that was mainly because I'd cut too much off and there was no more room to do that. The good thing was that this fabric naturally rolled so that gave a really cute effect. 

I looked so much better! And I think I will also wear this outside of the run as it is super comfy material. :)

So if you plan in advance and take the time to make some quick changes, your running shirts can become amazing! I'll be posting on where I wore these soon so I hope you'll keep checking for any new posts! :)

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Quick Overlocker T-shirt Upcycling

Hello again!
This post has been a while in the making... Just before Easter I treated myself to an overlocker. My first ever! Months of researching and doubting, do I need one, would I use it, etc etc... Then it arrived, and it took another few months for me to actually start using it. But once I'd started, the end was nowhere in sight ;) I had projects lined up that would have taken ages with the normal machine and would have come out nowhere as nice, so yay for my shiny new overlocker :)

I loved the look of this one so I tried it at one of the shows and my decision was made. The previous model was purple, such a shame they changed that ;)

When I bought a stack of tshirts for my family's Christmas presents, there was a rack of damaged shirts also. Of course I had to have a peek :)

I found this one that I had my eye on for a while now, but as it was a proper tshirt I never bought it. The man from the stall knows me (I buy presents from him all the time) so he offered it to me for free with my purchases. So sweet! It only had a small hole near the sleeve, something I could easily fix if I in fact wanted a normal tshirt. 

A good few months back I bought a great top and I wanted more like it, but with cooler prints. No time like this one to test out the new overlocker and see if my creation would resemble the original. I used the original thread in the machine, it was white so very handy, and copied the top.

The tshirt was a bit smaller but it still came out well. I have a feeling this will be worn a lot in summer and/or at yoga ;) And it has R2D2! Nothing can look bad then ;)

I had another 'proper' tshirt from the Colour the Coast run last year, which I've never worn since. So I did the same to this tshirt. Funny detail: one of the spools with the white thread ran out just after I'd finished the inside of the top. It was after all the thread that came with the machine and they never supply complete spools. No matter, as it was a 'Colour the Coast' top, I didn't think using another colour would be an issue. As the lettering was kind of pinkish purple, I replaced the empty white spool with normal purple sewing thread (I hadn't looked into buying overlocker thread yet, and it really worked! 

The purple gives the top just that extra highlight :)

I am very pleased I invested in my overlocker. Yes you can do lots of things without it, but some things are just so much quicker and look so much better with one. This is also slowly turning into another Mending Week with all these upcycling projects am going through! Yes, in the end it is still a top, only a different kind so not sure if it really is upcycling as such. These projects are so much fun, and they're quick and easy so the instant gratification that all crafters need is right there. The best thing is: it's re-using, repurposing, and not throwing stuff away and that is the best part:)
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