#mims30by30 Thirty-minus-one


Saturday night I celebrated being born in the 80’s (definitely bringing crimped hair back in) and this morning I set the fire alarm off at work by sitting under the smoke detector with a cake that had relighting candles on! What a way to turn twenty nine and begin the 365 day countdown to the big 3-0. It also means I can start the #mims30by30 challenges. When I wrote the introductory post on New Years Day I had no idea how many people would respond asking to do some of the challenges with me, and offering help and ideas for how to do some of them. I’ve now got six things booked in, a few more almost there and dates to start some of the things that will take all year. I’m living the admin- dream with planning galore and loving getting as many people involved as possible 🙂 Today I’m going to kick off the challenges by opening up the first book… let’s see how it goes.

img_0619Keep a look out for facebook posts to see if you want to join me on a coastal walk, railway ride or anything else!

To see the full list of 30 things I’m doing, you can see the original post here.



Introducing #mims30by30

I know what you’re thinking… ‘here we go again, another ridiculous challenge’. Well yes, you’d be right. In fact not just one, but thirty. It’s time to introduce you to #mims30by30 – I want to try 30 new things I haven’t done before before I turn 30 next January (16th Jan, 2018). I already had a few things on my bucket list, I’ve asked some friends for ideas and along with consulting this helpful little guide, I’ve made my list of 30. Some are food/drink related, because that is always high on my priority list in life. Others are places to visit. Exercise/sports also feature (there’s a pretty big one in there) as well as a few skills to test out. I’m drawing up a plan for the year to make sure I can fit it all in, and will be inviting people to join me for various bits – so keep you’re eyes pealed and get on board!

Food and Drink:
1. Breakfast at Bill’s (completed 27/05/17)
2. Lunch at The Clink, High Down Prison (completed 22/09/17)
3. Dinner at Dans le Noir?, London (completed 18/02/17)
4. Faversham Brewery tour (completed 08/07/17)
5. Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery tour (completed 25/10/17)

Sports and Exercise:
6. Canoe on the River Stour (completed 01/06/17)
7. Start walking the Kent coastline (may take two years…) (completed 19/08/17)
8. Go to a live sports event (that I haven’t seen live before) (completed 14/07/17)
9. Go to a trampoline park (completed 07/04/17)
10. Try curling (completed 25/03/17)

Places to Visit:
11a. Whitstable Oyster Festival, Whitstable (unable to complete)
11b. Pick your own… (completed 05/07/17)
12. Ride on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, Kent (completed 20/05/17)
13. The Turner Contemporary, Margate (completed 01/05/17)
14. Houses of Parliament, London (completed 17/02/17)
15. Lambeth Palace, London (completed 08/06/17)
16. View London from the top of  The Shard, London (completed 23/12/17)
17. See a play at The Globe, London (completed 31/07/17)
18. Bath Spa, Bath (completed 23/06/17)
19. Sherwood Forest (see The Major Oak), Edwinstowe (completed 11/08/17)
20. Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes (completed 10/08/17)
21. The Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim NI (completed 22/09/17)
22. Go up the Eiffel Tower, Paris (completed 19/03/17)

Skills to learn/try:
23. Play an instrument (started 03/02/17) (completed 11/01/18)
24. Read 6 books (started 16/01/17) (completed 16/01/18)
25. Learn phrases in another language (completed 05/01/18)
26. Woodturning (completed 17/06/17) 
27. Candle making (completed 25/01/17)
28. Cook through a recipe book (started 15/05/17) (completed 22/12/17)
29. Charity challenge (completed 14/01/18)
30. Bake a Great British Bake Off showstopper (completed 31/12/17)

Go on then, what have I missed out? Probably an awful lot, but I *tried* to make it vaguely achievable in 12 months (okay, it’s pretty ambitious but it’s worth a shot). Feel free to comment with your own suggestions I should try in the future! Now to get the wall planner out and start fitting it all in…

34. Setbacks and staying positive

I’m terrible, I know. Two and a bit weeks of no blogs. Thing is, I’ve been putting it off because I didn’t want to scare you. I’ve had problems with my knee and I wasn’t sure what the outcome would be so thought I’d hold off till I knew – which I do more now, so I’ll reveal all in a bit. Things have changed slightly in the last few days, which will all become clear.

Gym 18 – Threw a bit of rowing in to the mix, I quite enjoy it as it’s sitting down 🙂 The resistance machines I’m getting used to using and can feel how helpful it is doing gym sessions as well as just running.

Run 61 – 8 miles. After a brilliant 18 miles the week before, I was thinking this would be fine. I’d go out slightly quicker as it was a shorter run, and keep up the intensity. Disaster. At 11 min 5 sec miles in just under 1.5 hours it was my fastest long run to date. Went out far too fast, and completely lost all rhythm. I also absolutely knackered my knee, and thought I’d completely ruined any hope of running the marathon. It’s a horrible feeling, thinking you aren’t going to be able to complete something you’ve worked hard for and have your heart set on doing.

Gym 19 – Almost 5 miles cycling before work isn’t a bad start to the week. Having done 8 miles on the Friday, this is Monday and knee still feels bad. Usually it’s gone in a few days with rest but I’ve had ibuprofen gel all over it, knee support, ice, you name it I’ve done it…and it still isn’t right.

Run 62 – Hills: I managed to run 1.88 miles in 21 mins, but then had to atop because of the pain in my knee. Ahhhh so frustrating. I also wore a long sleeved top, but got too hot – clearly I hadn’t learnt from last time. I need to embrace the chilly morning air!

Gym 20 – I focused on upper body conditioning as my knee was playing up. Arms are definitely stronger than they have ever been. Yeah, that’s right, I’m getting stronger!

Run 63 – This week is a bit all over the place as I’m away for the weekend with my church without enough time to get a long run in, so today (Saturday) is a short run of just under 2.5 miles before Monday’s long one. I ran in the forest around the house which I’m not used to as it’s very uneven ground, but nice to be out in the sunshine. A group of friends were out for a walk and I met them half way round. My laughing problem returned (I laugh when I see people when I run) and I creased up as I ran through the tunnel they made cheering me on. It was a great moment, and a bit of a taste of marathon day… 🙂

Run 64 – 20 miles. Well, let me set this straight, it was actually 13 miles. I’ll explain. It was awful, frustrating and not in the plan. I got to 6.5 miles fine, having covered my knee in ibuprofen gel. And then the effects of that started to wear off and I could gradually feel the real pain from my knee. It got worse and worse and so intense but I just kept going. I desperately wanted to get to 20 miles – after all, that was the aim for the day, I’d carb loaded and I was yet to stop before I reach a target distance. But at 13 miles I had to go down some steps and I had to hold on to the rail to do it, and by the time I got to the bottom my knee completely seized and I couldn’t move. It took a good few minutes for it to relax enough to hobble to a bench in the park and sit down and hold back tears. It was horrendous. Mainly because I felt so good running. I had loads of energy and it had been a good pace until the pain had started creeping in. Absolutely gutting. A very lovely friend came and picked me up and I realised I had to get to see a physio quick to work out what was going on and if there was any hope of competing 26.2 miles in a months time.

Physio 1 – Two days after the failed run, I saw a physio. Advice to anyone going to run a marathon: whether you think there is anything wrong with you or not, see a physio before you start training. They’ll be able to tell you what to watch out for. It turns out I have lax ligaments on the outside of my knees and so my thighs have been doing all the work to support my knees and now my leg muscles are really tight and can’t cope. Rubbish. But I’ve been given loads of exercises to do 3 times a day to strengthen it all as much as possible. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I’m still going to run the marathon, I just have to do all my training on a bike or cross trainer now. Not what I hoped for the last few weeks of training but hey, I’ll just have to go with it.

Gym 21 – A couple of days later I made it back to the gym and busted out time on the bike and cross trainer. Man I am so uncoordinated on the cross trainer, it’s really weird to use. Not a fan.

They say ‘no pain, no gain’. I think in this case, that will apply to marathon day, but any training until then is strictly ‘no pain, more gain in the long run’. If Davina McCall can cycle run and swim 500 miles in 7 days with 3 months training, I can run this marathon.

Gym 22 – Im currently typing this blog whilst cycling on a bike in the gym. It’s so boring not actually going anywhere, so I thought I’d alleviate this by multitasking for the first hour and a half. The song ‘Happy‘ by Pharrell Williams just came on in the gym and it’s reminded me to stay positive. It’s not the end of the world. I’m still going to run the marathon in 3 weeks time! Right need to stop typing and start focussing, Bargain hunt has come on the gym TV.

*watches Bargain Hunt, Top Gear x 2 and 4 Music chart countdown (One Direction came on so it was okay)*

So this session was 4 hours 15 minutes and I cycled 60.34 miles. Mental. The bike will only record up to an hour and then 5 min cool down at a time, so I kept taking photos on my phone to record each hours work. It seems multitasking makes me a lot slower as the second half of the cycle was much quicker! I’ve genuinely never cycled this much in my life. Knee is okay, aches a little bit, but a good call to cycle not run. I have to protect it as much as possible.
In case you wondered, this has been my view for the last few hours (the bike records in km not miles!):


To sponsor me for this pain, you can donate at www.virginmoneygiving.com/mimsmission

29. Fight for it

Very often when everything is going right we don’t realise how good it is. But then sometimes things don’t quite go right, in fact they feel like they are going very wrong. I’ve been fortunate that so far my training has felt like it has always been on the up, even if there has been varying degrees of improvement at different times. But now I’ve come to face the reality of training when it feels like it’s all going horribly. And this is the time when I spend entire sessions repeating ‘fight for it, fight for it’ out loud over and over to myself.

Gym 6 – I usually like doing the gym sessions as it breaks up pounding my poor feet on the pavement and gives them a bit of a rest whilst still being active and working out. I can’t say I think the gym and I will ever be best of friends, but our relationship is certainly better than I ever expected.

Run 49 – Time for the long Friday afternoon run – this week was 12 miles. Trouble was I was feeling physically exhausted from a very busy week, and with no let up in training, I was feeling the effects. I got ready to run, sat down on the sofa, and before I knew it I shocked myself awake having dozed off for five minutes. I really wasn’t feeling very up for a long run, but knew it had to be done and the light outside was starting to fade. I’d worked out a rough route, beginning with what has become quite a standard first 5 miles now – twice round a lap which is a long slow incline up one road and long slow decent back down the parallel road. I like this because it is familiar, which means I can mix up the last half of the route and make it more interesting when I need something different to keep me motivated. 12.13 miles later, and after 2 hours 22 mins 7 secs I was absolutely shattered but pleased I’d done it.

Gym 7 – Evening netball training meant a rare lie in, wahey! Was good to run about and do some sport with other people, having fun. Brings a bit of light relief to the intense isolated training I’m doing for the marathon.

Run 50 – Hills: This is what I wrote as soon as I got back from a 2.5 mile hill training session. ‘Ugh that was horrible on a whole new level. Whole body was a dead weight from the first step- and that was going downhill. Arms ached. Legs wouldn’t move, I had to drag them round. It was hideous. Felt like I had already run 10miles before I started. Probably didn’t help that I forgot to eat till I got to the door to leave. BBC weather was saying it was raining. I’ve never been more pleased that the BBC were wrong. Half way round I stepped on the edge of a paving slab and a ton of water came up and soaked my feet, contributing to the draining enthusiasm for the morning. Having said all that, the loop was longer than I thought it would be but felt shorter. Which is always a good thing. That was the worst I’ve ever felt running. Glad it’s over.’ Get the picture? Now you see why I spent the whole session saying ‘fight for it’. Somehow I still did it in 29 mins (though it felt like 29 hours), and averaged 11 min 38 secs – ironically, better than some other ‘easier’ runs.

Gym 8 – Thursday’s workout was frustrating as it felt harder to lift lighter weights. In my mind I would always be improving; I’d never get to a day where I struggled with something I previously could do. I soldiered on and got through it all, and just have to keep reminding myself that some days are going to be harder than others.

Run 51 – I was away at a work conference in Eastbourne over the weekend so the normal long Friday afternoon run became Saturday morning. It was a drop back to 6 miles, so I ran for 3 miles along the very windy South coast and then back again. Regretted wearing a t-shirt under a long sleeved top to begin with, but by the end I was rather glad I had the extra layer. Gloves were a lifesaver – I usually get annoyed after two mins and shove them in my trousers, but again, I’m so glad I had them. Being the coast meant the route was pretty flat the whole way. I’ve not run that far with no breakfast before- not the best idea, won’t be doing it again in a hurry. I was able to get into a rhythm and stay consistent through it, averaging 11 mins 43 secs a mile over 6.5 miles. 1 hour 16 mins 31 secs later and I was ready for a cup of tea.

Gym 9 – As it was a match night for our netball team I did a gym session in the morning. I’m totally bailing from playing in a match until after the marathon – by which time the season is over, but I’m cool with that. Right now, my legs are too precious to risk injury! Was quite good actually, cycled for 18 minutes then did some upper body resistance. There’s something odd but relaxing  about cycling on a machine whilst watching BBC Breakfast.

Run 52 – Intervals: 2.5 miles covered, but with some hard intervals in the middle. Again, ‘fight for it’ was on repeat.

If anyone comes to see me at the marathon and I’m looking like I’m loosing the will to live (which could well be for most of the way round) just shout at me. Don’t worry, I’ll fight for it the whole way.

21. Hallelujah

I heard a quote last Sunday in the morning service which struck me, and has been on my mind all week:

‘A Christian should be a hallelujah from head to toe’
Augustine of Hippo

What a great image. Joy and praise, looking to Jesus all the time. It reminds me of some of the songs I sing as part of a gospel choir. There can never be enough hallelujahs in gospel music, praising God and lifting His name high. Every Christmas time we sing a song in Canterbury Cathedral as part of Christ Church University carol service. The very first year I did this we sang a gospel version of Handel’s ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ – there were quite a few hallelujah’s to sing in that one! And just so you can see, the photo below taken in the service this year shows how beautiful the Cathedral looks lit by candle light.

Two weekends ago our gospel choir took part in a flash mob in Canterbury high street. Check out wikipedia if you want (some sort of) a definition of what a flash mob is. It was great, if a little *too* obvious with us all standing around waiting for it to start (confusion with another group already doing something didn’t help!) It was all for a bit of fun – you can check it out here. That’s another thing ticked off the bucket list.