Day #64 04.03.16

There’s nothing I love more than being outside. And being on top of a hill. It’s like being on top of the world, and there’s just something beautiful about sitting and gazing at the world below. I moved to Cheltenham for the hills (amongst other reasons) so I try to go for a walk up them as often as I can. Today was one of those days. Me and Louise went for a 5 mile stroll up and around Cleeve Hill having a good old catch up on life and marvelling at the views. Being outside in crappy weather isn’t in my top list of things to do but I still do it, mainly because it’s one of those things that makes you feel alive. And that’s a truly wonderful feeling.

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Instagrammed.

I went to London this weekend and took a few photos on my iPhone because I wanted to Instagram them into a little collection. I love Instagram and how it can make photos look cool or different just by sticking a filter on. These are my favourites 🙂

Oh, and technically I didn’t take the first one of Nelson’s column, but it was taken with my phone so still counts 😛

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Magical Lapland.

So last week I was on holiday in Lapland. I probably said before it’s not somewhere I’d choose to go myself. I don’t like the cold and I can’t ski or snowboard so generally any kind of holiday with snow is bottom of the list.

But, this was a holiday to go and see my brother and his fiancee get married. So not a hard decision to decide to go. I would have gone anywhere.

So what was it like? Fan-bloody-tastic. I had the most amazing week. It was just great. I’m still smiling when I think of it.

Lapland thought bubbles?

  • It was cold. But not too bad. I coped better than I thought I would. It’s a different type of cold, people told me, it will be better. Don’t worry, they said. You’ll be dressed for it, they said. I’m not sure I quite believed them. But, they were right. Wrapped myself up well like a ski ninja. I only ended up with cold hands which was inevitable. Not like here. As soon as were back I was cold. It felt colder here than it did over there. Bloody cold damp English winter.SONY DSC
  • A wedding in an ice chapel is as romantic, magical, special and icy as it sounds. The chapel was about -6 inside and felt icy. You could see your breath (we had to stop breathing when having our picture taken. Hard to pull a decent face pose AND hold your breath.). It was really quiet and serene, and lit in a way that gave it all a bluey hue. But, funnily enough we didn’t get really cold. Only our hands. Luckily the ceremony wasn’t a long one but by the time I left (I stayed after everyone else had gone as I was taking more pics of Matt and Tan) I couldn’t feel my hands at all, and was pressing the button on my camera and hoping for the best. Going from the chapel to the ice bar and downing a shot of Baileys helped me warm up though. I’ve had a quick glance at the official photos of their wedding and they are absolutely stunning.

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  • Jumping in the snow in a bikini after a sauna is a bit frickin’ harsh. Apparently it’s good for you and what you should do after a sauna. So, I thought I’d give it a go. Instructions: 1) Sit in a sauna at 90 degrees plus for a while. 2) Run outside and leap into deep snow at -22 degrees. 3) Roll around a bit to get properly covered. 3) Shout at Dad to hurry up and take a picture because it’s COLD. 4) Shout some more when Dad replies he’s trying but the camera is not working. 5) Try to stand up and fall over in very deep snow. 6) Crawl through deep snow. 7) Fall over while crawling in uneven deep snow. 8) Drag self over balcony wall and fall into heap on balcony. 9) Run inside shrieking and flapping arms about. 10) Wrap self in towel and try to breathe. 11) Vow to never do that again.SONY DSC
  • Snowmobiles are awesome fun, and make you feel like James Bond. Only without being chased by any baddies. Imagine whizzing through the snow covered forests, using the snow banks on the corners for extra room because you’re going a little speedy (Snowmobile rental man: “Snowmobiles will do 100kph, but speed limit is 60kph”. Us: “Right, got it.” Promptly ‘forgot’ that bit of info.), sliding down a hill sideways next to a ski run and getting a little sideways action round bends. Awesome with a big fat capital A.SONY DSC
  • Lakes freeze in the winter there and you can walk on them. In the middle of the village there was a big lake we went walking on. Felt a little bit strange. Knowing I was walking on a massive frozen lake. It’s one of my worst nightmares to fall through a frozen lake and get stuck under the ice, probably since the one and only time I fell in our big pond when I was a kid was when we were mucking around walking on the ice. A bit scary at the time, even though it had broken up a bit.SONY DSC
  • The Northern Lights are something else. Yes, you can see pictures and videos but nothing compares to seeing them in the flesh. I saw them once in the week. You can’t tell when they will be out, so it’s pot luck really. We went hunting them one night by walking round the lake (great place to see as no light pollution) but it was too cloudy. But on our last night as we were walking back to our cabin there they were. They weren’t brightly coloured like you see on pictures, it was still a bit cloudy and hazy so they were more white/slight green tinge but it was a bit like a moving rainbow in the sky. It was just beautiful to watch. So pleased we got to see them.
  • Snow-shoeing is great fun. A bit like strapping squash rackets to your feet and tramping around in the snow. The snow was so deep if you didn’t have them on to balance on the snow you just sink/fall over (see earlier sauna escapade). So we stuck our squash rackets on and headed out into the forest. Hard work but worth it. It’s so quiet out there and you can just explore anywhere as everywhere is covered in snow. But, even with a snowshoe on you don’t always escape the deep snow. Ended up with one leg down a hole, snow up to my thigh once. Bit tricky to get out too. Flailed around for a bit. Would have been a classic comedy moment had there been anyone to see it but I was on my own that time.SONY DSC
  • Running on snow in -11 through the forest in the sunshine is pretty special. What better way to kick off my Runs Around The World series than that?20130310-120244.jpg
  • Underfloor heating is amazing. Our cabin had it and it was so nice to walk around in a t-shirt and nothing on my feet while looking at snow outside. I was so toasty. Not surprising, given the triple glazing and huge radiator beneath my feet. If I ever get the chance to have underfloor heating, I’ll take it.
  • I loved wearing ski wear. Not quite sure why. Maybe it’s because I felt all svelte and glam. Or, more likely, it was warm and comfy. SONY DSC
  • Santa’s some kind of celeb out there. He’s everywhere, even though it’s not Christmas. So much so that people want to BE him. A woman on the cross country ski track had a red snowsuit on, with a red hat which had a white trim. I did actually shout “Santa”. Yes, I know it was childish.
  • I can survive without wifi. The cabin didn’t have wifi or internet. The hotel down the road did, so I nipped there a few times to get online. It was nice having the break actually, because when I got wifi on the last day when we were in a hotel room for the day before we flew home I became Ms Unsociable. Terrible really. No wifi meant I spent time reading, chatting with the folks and watching a bit of TV. Must make more of an effort to do this. It’s too easy to sit on the internet lots. Will get me used to when I’m travelling too, as I’ll have limited internet I’m sure.
  • I caught up on my sleep. Hurrah! The last month and a half was hectic, hectic, hectic, especially the week before I went away. I was a bit exhausted so the break really did me good. I feel like I’ve had a holiday. A break. A rest. Tis a wonderful feeling 🙂

Would I go back? Or choose the same kind of holiday again? Not sure. It’s still not the type of holiday I’d go for, and I still don’t like the cold. BUT, I had a fab time, am really pleased I went and it gave me a chance to try something different. And that’s what I’m all about.

So thank you bro. Good call.

Runs around the world #1

On my travels I’m taking my running trainers. Not sure I could survive otherwise. While out and about I’m going to take a picture and write about them here, so I can remember them (my memory is getting shit as I get older). There’s something just ace about running in different places. Especially new places. Sights, smells, experiences. Exploring. Adventure.

Lapland, Finland

So run #1 has been done here in Lapland. In the snow. It was -11 degrees. Definitely the coldest run I’ve done. I layered up, stuck my buff and a hat on, laced up my trainers, put my ski gloves on and set off. I decided on a path on the way out of the village where there were fewer people and it wasn’t so close to the road.

There was hardly anyone around. So peaceful and quiet, the only sound was my trainers scrunching in the snow. The sun was shining between the trees; it was just magical. Amazing. If you’re into running you’ll know how peaceful and mind-clearing a run can be on it’s own, so stick it in that scenery and you can imagine how serene it was.

The first mile was uphill (snowy hill sprints anyone?!) and it was cold, so it was pretty hard work. But, it was so worth it. I didn’t get too cold, although my legs were a bit numb by the end of it. Rewarded myself later that night with a sauna and then jumping in the snow afterwards, when temperatures were down to -22. Now THAT was cold.

Oh, and the day was topped off by seeing the Northern Lights.

Pretty awesome.

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Hey.

Hey is hello here. So hey from Lapland. The land of snow.

I’m mainly here for my brother’s wedding, which was on Tuesday, but the whole week is a bit of a holiday. The wedding was in an ice chapel in the Snow Village, and I can safely say it’s probably the most unique and definitely the coldest wedding I’ve been to. But, it was absolutely stunning. In fact, the whole place is. Like a picture book, everywhere is covered in snow, many feet deep. We’re staying in a log cabin which looks out onto snow covered forests and mountains, and I can snow-shoe right out into the forest straight from my door.

The cold is better than I thought too – at the start of the week it was about -15/-18 but it’s warmed up over the week – it’s only -5 today and sunny. Bright, bright sunshine. In fact, it feels positively tropical! I’m dressed for it though, so that’s why it feels much better than when it’s cold in England. It’s a well known fact I don’t like being cold. I don’t actually mind it being -20 ish. I’m well toasty in my ski stuff.

I don’t have any pictures I can post yet (they’re all still on my camera) but I’ll put some up when I get home. The wedding ceremony was really quite special, and I have some great photos of us out having fun in the snow. I’m having quite a relaxing week, but I’m not used to sitting down so much. I’m getting twitchy. I’ve already used the gym at the hotel but it doesn’t have a running machine. So, I’m off to don my trainers and get out for a run in the snow this afternoon. I can’t WAIT. Then we’re off to do some more snow-shoeing. All good for the thighs 😀

Hey hey (that means goodbye).

Snowy hills. Who’d have thought it?

The weekly work run today. Some of the guys want to run the Lincoln 10K in April and I said I’d join in and do a bit of running with them (and run the 10K) so we go at least once a week. We started off just getting running and then getting the distance up, now we mix it up a little bit by adding in hill sprints, distance, sprints and off-road.

Tonight we added Snow. Our run was mainly on the common so included snow, hills and sprints. Off road. So uneven terrain and a bit slidey. No falls. I was surprised, I was sure someone would go arse over tit.

I hate running up hills. At least I thought I did. Running up that snowy hill today I realised that actually, I don’t anymore. I realised I actually like hill sprints. This is a revelation. It’s all down to The Marine. The guy who made me run fast and up hills at Christmas. The one who doesn’t see the point of exercise unless you give your all. The one who can carry me up a hill and then still beat me at a hill sprint straight after. The one who told me I could do it when I said I couldn’t (near the top of said hill). He’s changed my opinion and made me see how good hill sprints are for fitness. When our little running club did hill sprints the other week up Steep Hill the endorphins afterwards when we finished were amazing. Such a BRILLIANT feeling.

And that is why I love running.

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Dreaming of sun.

Oops, another post about the weather. Sorry. But, lets face it, living in England we have lots of weather stuff to talk about. I write this as I sit in bed toasty and warm. It’s cold outside my bed; I’ve just got up to feed the cat and put the heating on. I’m not a fan of the cold. I’d rather it was a bit warm. Not stupidly hot, sticky and unbearable, that’s pretty crap too. Just warm.

It snowed again yesterday, so we’ve got a fresh covering of the white stuff. My Facebook and Twitter feeds are full of people getting excited about going to play in the snow. Some with kids, some without kids. I’m NOT going to play in the snow. In previous years I’ve been out there with the best of them, making snowmen and having snowball fights. But this year I just can’t get any part of me to want to do it. Not sure why. I’ve just bought ski gear for a trip to Lapland in March (my brother’s getting married over there) so I could try that out. Maybe even should. But nope, no inclination to do that either. I might pop out to see a friend later, and so might get outside with them. But only if they want to. I’m not going to suggest it.

So for now I’m going to stay in bed a bit longer, fanny around on the internet, give the cat a cuddle, decide what I’m doing today, read some books and dream of the sun. Soon, we will have sun. Until then, I’ve got my blanket.

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A picture or two.

I haven’t posted many pictures on this blog so far. My last blog was a photo a day for 2012, so I posted one photo every day and the story behind it. I kind of miss that. Finding things to take photos of, seeing things in a different way, capturing moments. Especially things that would probably just pass by unnoticed otherwise. A view, a sunset, the look on someone’s face. And I love photos, I always have. You’ll often find me snapping away. Or asking someone to snap a photo of me.

Photos are more than just pictures, they’re memories. Not only can I remember what’s in the photo, but I’ll have memories of taking the picture, like where I was, what was going on and what I was feeling. Today I took two pictures. One at sunrise and one at sunset, from different places in Lincoln. I took them because I thought they were pretty.

Sunrise:

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Sunset:

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It snowed.

Yes, I know. a post about the weather. How dull. But, it’s about snow. Snow is acceptable weather to post about. You just have to look at anyone’s Twitter feed or Facebook timeline, they’re full of posts about or pictures of snow. So, it snowed more today.

I’m really pleased I don’t have to drive to work anymore. My car is pretty crap on the snow (rear wheel drive, mid engine) so it pretty much just slides about, so I used to dread having to drive anywhere in snow as I’d just end up sideways. Which is fine, and actually a lot of fun, but only if you’re nowhere near any other cars, kerbs or buildings. So now I walk I only have to worry about damaging myself, which, knowing me is pretty likely (I’m fairly clumsy), but, if you fall over in snow there’s a soft landing, right?

I walked home past Lincoln Cathedral tonight. It was so pretty, all lit up and covered in snow. Then it started to snow as I was there. ‘Twas a magical moment. All too often when we walk we look down at the ground, or straight ahead. How often do we look up? But if we don’t look up, we miss out on so much. Tonight looking up I saw the cathedral in it’s full glory, as well as all the snow settled on the telephone wires and the trees, and the top of the castle walls. Pretty and peaceful.

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Sunny, snowy Sunday run.

Woke up to snow this morning. The sun was shining. So I leapt (well, not quite but the thought was there) out of bed and into my running gear. No particular distance or aim in mind, just to get out and run. I ended up doing 13.2 miles. Half marathon distance. At not far off my half marathon race pace. So theoretically I should be able to run faster at my next half marathon race (whenever that is), because you always run faster in a race. And today’s pace was fairly comfortable. I shall try that out at some point. No half marathons entered this year yet.

Running such a long way/time means you do see quite a bit on the way round. I get to day dream a lot. And think.

Highlights:
– lovely scenery as I did the first 9 ish miles off road
– having a little chat with the same people walking their dogs each time I passed them (I was on a loop)
– the feeling of getting to the downhill bit each time; my legs were in heaven
– great feeling of running on snow
– the helpful man who told me to be careful on the pavements as they were slippy (he told me this as he struggled to stay upright, I thanked him and trotted off, as sure footed as a mountain goat)
– the feeling of running back on pavements after 9 miles on uneven ground. My ankles thanked me.
– acknowledging other runners with the special runners nod/smile

Lowlights:
– the amount of dog shit I saw on the pavements in Lincoln. Clean up after your pets people, especially where people walk.
– at about 9 and a half miles my hands started to get cold. Really cold. I had gloves on but they are only thin. I could just about use my keys to get into my house when I got home.
– at about mile 11 my legs started to get weary. The last couple of miles felt like I was running through treacle. This is when you have to use mind over matter.

I was telling someone how my legs hurt after doing some hill sprints the other day. They said to me that the pain is my legs thanking me for using them to their full potential in their own special way. I liked that. I’ll remember that when I’m running up Steep Hill again.

I also saw this quote the other day (it’s from T.S Eliot): Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go. You can apply this to anything really, but definitely applies to running.

You’ll find out how far you can run when you can run no more.

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