24 November 2013

Bad attitude

Some days it is hard to force yourself out the door but usually once you do and you get that first mile under your feet then everything else falls into place. Today was not that day for me.  For some reason the not having anyone to share my long run miles with this morning hit me harder than usual and I just didn't want to go.  Yes, Elsie the Miniature Schnauzer Menace usually accompanies me on my easy runs but she doesn't talk back when you're trying to make conversation.

So today's suckfest included my feet hurting for the first 1.5 miles (think it's time to replace my Brooks PureFlows), Elsie getting harassed by a big black dog that kept running from its owner and charging at her repeatedly, a headwind on the return portion, I accidentally cut off a cyclist twice (he didn't let me know he was behind me until the 2nd time), last night's pizza coming back to haunt me, my back started aching, and my garmin lost satellite reception at mile 7 and never got it back.  Oh and I didn't have anyone to commiserate with! Mostly it was just my bad attitude causing the run to suck and I AM thankful I have the ability to complete 9 or so miles.  Bright spot of the day: a woman cycling telling me "Cheers, duckie" when I stepped aside to let her pass by.

I did stop and take pics of a bridge and church that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago

Quality is terrible but it was horribly overcast and my phone camera couldn't compensate for it

Looking back over the post I'm a bit ashamed my attitude was so bad, there really wasn't any reason for it but I just couldn't get into the groove with things this morning.  Maybe it's because I didn't have my usual cup of tea before heading out.......or maybe I'm just a grouch, lol.  Things could certainly be worse weather-wise, back in my home state of Arkansas it is a whopping 23.4F/-4.8C while it is 46.4F/8C here in the UK Midlands.  

23 November 2013

A permanent state of lost and I like it

OS maps and I just don't get along........my partner ordered a personalized one for me last month and despite all my studying of them and taking a copy of what my route is supposed to be I still manage to miss turns and get lost. Not lost-lost where I am doing circles but lost as in I end up having to improvise a fair bit. Each field looks pretty much like the next to me and it's rare that you come across a sign with an actual street name on it where I'm running.

Today I did my usual, look at the map, look at Google Earth, look at the map again and hope for the best.  I knew that I missed where I should have turned off but there were absolutely no bridle trail or public walkway signs pointing in the general direction of where I wanted to go so I did the next best thing and followed some other blue and green tiny arrow signs indicating pathways.  These things hide on poles, posts, the occasional gate and it is quite a scavenger hunt finding them sometimes. It can be even more of an adventure deciphering which direction they are pointing!

Example of an "arrow"

Crossed over the M1 once, followed a very narrow, picturesque lane then crossed back over the M1 where Elsie and I met a large group of walkers with their dogs.  Many sniffs hello later (the dogs, not me and the other people) and we meandered down a path that ran alongside a very posh looking stable where people were out working with the horses.  So far so good.  Then we hit another area where it wasn't marked and with an open gate that had a "Farm Access Only" sign.  Out with the phone to check the map and yes, for once I was headed in the correct direction but since I'm from the states, places that have signage along the lines of private, access only, etc mean you aren't allowed there.........those same "rules" don't apply here if you are on foot (the majority of the time, there are exceptions of course).  Fortunately there was a couple out walking their dogs whom I could ask if it was ok to use that lane and would it lead to where I thought it did. Whew.  

It's quite safe to say that Elsie the Miniature Schnauzer Menace and I are having some adventures, most of them muddy but we are enjoying ourselves immensely even if she doesn't like the cleaning up part afterwards.  

22 November 2013

#SaveTheDay fever and other stuff

If you are not getting caught up in the Doctor Who DW50 then I'm not sure we can really be friends! One more day!


Now back to my usual prattling.  Unpacking is proceeding and we are slowly working out options for storing all my boots, shoes, clothing, workout gear etc etc.  Bottom line is that I have too much stuff for the room available and we have what is considered a large house for middle class England (yes, an Americanism but not sure what the UK equivalent is for that term).  Like most older builds there are no built in closets so we are having to rely on wardrobes, bookcases, chests for clothing storage and that of course takes up floor space. There will certainly not be any more clothing purchases for a good while so I better keep my weight in check or better yet, a Tardis for a wardrobe ;-)

*this obviously is not all my boots nor does it include my running shoes

The group run went well last night, much better than expected actually considering that I hadn't eaten much the past two days and was flat out tired and stressed from the aforementioned unpacking.  I certainly needed the run to clear my head and it was more laid back than the previous week which was a good thing since I ended up wearing my calf compression sleeves for two days after.  Quite interesting finding out how many people here have family living in the states as well, there were three members I spoke to who had kids across the pond.

Ben the rescue mutt has had just over a month off of mostly no running and his arthritic hip shows no difference from when he used to go out with me for 3-4 miles.  The only changes are that he is getting fat and way too hyper so I'm going to ease him back into some 3 milers because the weight gain will cause more harm than the inactivity.  He loves to run and always looks so crestfallen every time Elsie and I head out the door without him.

I was considering a local 10k on Saturday but it went and sold out between the time I started looking at the entry page on Wednesday and the final decision to go for it on Thursday morning.  Note to self, don't wait to sign up next time! 

21 November 2013

Hanging out

It's currently sunny. I have just hung out some wash so this means it will be raining in 30 minutes.

Ben and Elsie 

The benefit to living in England is that the pics above and below were taken this month, yes in November and it has been cold. 
Lushness in overload.  

Outside the office window

Obviously not winter there:  Cold War Kids "Hang Me Up To Dry"

20 November 2013

Wednesday shakeout

Bonus points if you know what this is

After much procrastination I finally emailed and met up with a local running club--actually had emailed two and after I couldn't make the first run coming up for the second one I never received an email back when I explained and asked was there any other time that they met up for group runs without having to wait another week.  Oh well, guess the person was being uber-cautious and while I can understand that, I'm not too impressed with not receiving any sort of reply.  The closest one made me feel welcome and I'm hoping that I can find a few people that I can run with on other days of the week besides the official group meetups for some easier workouts.  On the bright side, I ran 6.29 miles in 53 minutes on some pretty big hills during the Thursday run--felt good to be pushing a little harder than what I had been doing but I still need work to get back to last year's condition.  I also now have an England Athletics number so yay to reduced entry fees on certain races!  

Elsie the miniature schnauzer menace and I ran 9.5 miles Monday while exploring a new route, about 2 miles longer than what it should have been because I missed the turnoff on a bridle trail.  I even had a small copy of an OS map that I stopped to look at twice and still managed to get "lost". I still got to the other trail that led us back home just slightly further out than I'd planned, lol.  You would have thought Elsie would have been napping the rest of the day but she came home and started playing and wrestling with Ben and the partner, who says little dogs can't run distance???

A dog and her girl 

Yesterday the household stuff finally arrived from the states and I'm sore from carrying boxes and unpacking--29 out of 35 boxes are empty and even if everything is not put away properly it is at least in the room where it belongs.  Needless to say I missed last night's run after being on the go from the time the driver knocked on our door at 0715, yeah, that was a LITTLE earlier than expected.  Surprisingly after sitting on a dock or being in a ship for 2 months and 1 week everything was meticulous and still smelled like the sandalwood incense I like to burn. My partner said I should mention that it was due to his super mad skills in box making and packing that everything arrived intact.  It was slightly hilarious this morning realizing after so long with very little choice in what to wear that it was almost overwhelming having all my clothes available again.

Stocked up on Brooks trainers before moving 

I'm still sore from yesterday and today's weather started out horrible but Elsie and I were both needing a shakeout run.  It was so funny, there was rain pelting the windows, the wind was howling and my partner asked if I was sure I wanted to go out when the weather was so bad--my reply was "It's England, if I stayed in every time the weather wasn't nice I'd only run 2-3 times a month."  Slight exaggeration but not far off.  Anyways, we were almost two miles into the run and the sun came out and the world just seemed to glow, so worth heading out when it was so miserable mere minutes before.

08 November 2013

Seen on the run

I don't always see a cow in the road when I run.........but it does happen at least once a week.  This bull was today's sighting.  If you look closely there's a cat on the left side of the right road fork just past the gritter bin as well.  

Mushrooms from a couple of weeks ago

Graffiti from last Sunday's run

I thought I escaped whatever bug my partner has but it waylaid me yesterday, feel better today but the run felt harder than usual and my legs are on the verge of cramping.  I miss my foam roller, wishing that I had made room for it in my luggage rather than shipping it.  

My Brooks' aren't looking quite as clean as this at the moment

06 November 2013

laid back

Runs do not get much more laid back than today's ramble around the canal trails, blissful stuff despite (or maybe because of?) the light misting of rain.  Elsie wasn't too happy about being leashed up and made to go after all the fireworks from the surrounding area bonfire night celebrations (remember, remember the fifth of November) but once we got moving, she settled in quite well.

I decided to take a slight detour from the normal path today that took me underneath a landmark viaduct and over a very rickety footbridge spanning the rail-lines.  There was a sign before entering that cautioned it was unstable and that no more than 10 people at a time should be on it--honestly I didn't feel that safe crossing it with just Elsie's and my weight!

Oh, I almost forgot but there was almost a running wardrobe malfunction last week, put on a pair of my 3 year old Nike running capris and fortunately took a look in the mirror before heading out the door.......they have become completely see-through once on, ooooops!  They are now a wear as a bottom layer under shorts or a skirt item of clothing. I'm just glad I decided to take that glance in the mirror before subjecting the public to that much of my arse.

This is pretty much the permanent state of my Brooks :-)
Run Happy y'all

6 weeks

Today is my six week anniversary of living in England, guess I should have done the one month commemoration post thing but that would mean me actually noting the date and then acting upon that info. Alas, remembering dates are not my thing and I'm a bit of a procrastinator.

Adjustment continues, in some ways it feels like I have been here forever, at other times it feels like an extended vacation which I'm sure is exacerbated by still not having the majority of my belongings.  There were two moments of pms-induced homesickness last week that had me hiding out in the back garden and crying, I am sure there will be more of those to come.

Would have been helpful if I hadn't packed these in the boxes to be shipped

The exploration of the canal paths and area via running is amazing, I surprise my partner (and myself) at times by pointing out places and landmarks that I've discovered.  Monday I found a site where people write about their memories of various villages and it was incredibly cool to be able to say "Oh, I know where that is" in reference to the local area.

Feed us or move on

Culture Shock

Not really a culture shock because at least we sort of speak the same language but sometimes the little things that are different here will throw me a bit.

Like not being able to get liquid flavored coffee creamer........yep, no more Italian Sweet Cream.

Yes I know it is bad for me but it is so darn delicious. A search has turned up a few homemade recipes so I may give that a go because not having my favorite creamer or my beloved Keurig has caused me to switch from coffee to tea in the mornings and while it is lovely, it is just not the same.

The thing that got me today was the unavailability of this handy little tool in the UK:

from Amazon

aka a grass whip, weed sling, weed cutter, or from when I was growing up--weed whacker--which has a totally different meaning now as I found out when I did a search trying to find one to buy online in the UK. Looks like I am going to have to settle for a scythe of some sort to tackle the jungle that is the back half of our garden and hope my klutziness stays at bay.  It's a shame the US style weed sling isn't available here, they can be quite therapeutic to use once you get into the swing of it.  An anger management tool combined with something useful, what more can you ask for?   

*I do NOT get any affiliate benefits from the links in this post

03 November 2013



I want one of these Detroit Bikes, you can never go wrong with flat black.  Wonder if they will ever be carried in the UK, will probably be best to buy one on the next trip to the states.

Simply gorgeous

I got caught out on the vitamin pronunciation at Tesco (as if I already wasn't with my accent!) during a conversation with the checkout girl about coconut-pineapple juice--the American versus British pronunciation had her laughing. Then I turned around and pronounced tomato "to-mah-toe" at a different shop without thinking.  Weird, I feel somewhat pretentious if I say things the UK way.  

This week's running ended up having an unplanned pattern: 4, 6, rest, 10, 4, 6, 10.  

Considering starting a running log for Elsie the Miniature Schnauzer Menace, she's ran with me on nearly all my workouts since we moved here.  This week she has done close to 28 miles.

The fashion magazines here on the newstands almost always have free things!!! These are not one time use samples either but actual sizes that are useful, I'm undecided if this is a good thing for a product junkie like me, lol.  

My favorite pub meal is gammon steak with pineapple and egg. Something about that combination just works and is becoming my new comfort meal.  I'm also not sure why everyone thinks British food is bland and horrible, it's rare that I've had a horrible meal here and of course there are the real ales.  Last week I had a Gangly Ghoul ale that was amazing, too bad I could only drink a half pint of it.

The pink hair from the summer is gone--well except for one bit I missed next to my right ear. Loved the color but not the upkeep and I was ready for a change again.  There was also the little thing about seeing every other woman my age with the funky colors as well that made me want to go back to brunette.  

Still hard to believe that I get to run in places like this without having to drive somewhere. There are downsides--the rain, cold, and gloom but this kind of view makes up for much of that.  It's rare that I don't come back from a run grinning like crazy and covered in mud.

Life lesson

So my cute new to me Mini? She got nicked almost 2 weeks ago.  Yep, stolen from right out in front of our house in what is a very common crime in the UK.  Fortunately we knew within moments of it happening so were able to notify the police immediately--the officers were absolutely brilliant (although I did get the inevitable questions about gun-ownership in the states, lol) and my car was located within 1.5 hours of it being stolen.  Even better, there was zero damage to the car, the only thing missing was the set of keys that had been taken out of the back door of the house.  The missing keys necessitated a series of lock changing and beefing up security which we had gotten a little complacent with--in this case I had taken the dogs out and then forgotten to lock the gate and back door behind me after coming back in, something that is not happening again after this "little reminder".  


I am so impressed with the Mini dealer we used to get the keys, locksets, and car re-programmed.  They asked us to drive the car there so that it could be kept in a secure place while insurance was sorted out (which we ended up not using because of their idiocy when dealing with the claim), it came in under what they quoted and much sooner than initially stated plus they detailed the car inside and out meticulously (yay, on not having to remove the fingerprint dust!).  One word of advice, price the different dealers before committing to a place even if they are authorized because another Mini dealer that was slightly closer wanted to charge what ended up being the total cost of where we used on the labor alone! 

There will be a modification added to the Mini at some point, it will certainly make it stand out a bit more ;-). What do you think, won't my baby look cool with this applied to the roof?  

*Guitars not included