January 31, 2013

At Least Two Halves Crazy!

I totally surprised myself last weekend and somehow ended up on another 13.1 mile run to add to my half crazy challenge to run 13 half marathons in 2013.

I was surprised mainly because I headed over to Lou's for a trail run that she estimated would be 'about 10 miles'. I should've known better because the two of us rarely manage a run without some sort of adventure. This week's 'adventure' included gale force winds, big hills, flooded roads (bbrrr snow melt water = cold toes) and getting (very) lost.
Our 'about 10 mile' run turned out to be 14.5 (ouch!)

Don't get me wrong, we get a bit lost quite often but it rarely takes us 4 AND A HALF MILES away from our intended route! Believe it or not we weren't actually lost in the photo above... we were just having a look at the trail we were going to run which unfortunately had disappeared under several feet of flood water!

This shows you what we were up against on a fairly regular basis....  Just as your feet were warming up from the last paddle, you'd be faced with another one! Then there was the wind; rough does not even come close to explaining the two steps forward three steps back feeling we had. And how is it never behind you??

I can't believe after the fairly challenging runs I've been encountering recently that I'd have another hard one so soon. I'm happy that I kept with it though (not that I had much choice.. I had to get back to my car) ;). Surely I must be due an easy one soon, but if not, I hope all these experiences might prepare me well for races in the future!

January 30, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday #6

Welcome to my sixth Wishlist Wednesday post for the awesome blog hop hosted by Dani at Pen to Paper

So here's my WW selection for this week... Chasing the Dime by Michael Connelly

Henry Pierce has a whole new life - new apartment, new telephone, new telephone number. But the first time he checks his messages, he discovers that someone had the number before him. The messages on his line are for a woman named Lilly, and she is in some kind of serious trouble. Pierce is inexorably drawn into Lilly's world, and it's unlike any world he's ever known. It is a nighttime world of escort services, websites, sex, and secret identities. Pierce tumbles through a hole, abandoning his orderly life in a frantic race to save the life of a woman he has never met. Pierce's skills as a computer entrepreneur allow him to trace Lilly's last days with some precision. But every step into Lilly's past takes him deeper into a web of inescapable intricacy - and a decision that could cost him everything he owns and holds dear...

The reason I've chosen this book this week is to get back on track! As part of my Day Zero Project I decided I would read all the books written by an author. I chose Michael Connelly and was making great progress but got a bit sidetracked (I think I needed a break from some of his regular characters). If I picked up again with something like this I think I could get back on track!

Want to join in??
  • Follow Pen to Paper as the host
  • Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get your hands on and read
  • Wrote a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of her post
  • Put a link back to Pen to Paper somewhere on your post with a note about the host
  • Visit the other blogs, follow and enjoy :)
What's on your wishlist this week? Comment below and share or share a link to your post :)

January 27, 2013

High Knees!

I wanted to post a couple of photos from yesterday's run just because it was so awesome! I hadn't planned to run locally but I couldn't make it to my friend's house as the roads weren't clear. I still really wanted to run though so I laced up my Cascadia's and headed out...

Several people took time away from snow shovelling to mention that they thought I was completely mad which just makes me smile and run further! I have to admit it was really hard work and felt like 5.5km of high knees to get through the snow but I enjoyed every crazy, stupid minute of it!

January 25, 2013

At Least One Half Crazy!

It's taken my almost a week to post this update but I've got here finally! Last Sunday I did my first 13.1 mile run of the year as part of my Half Crazy challenge to run 13 half marathons in 2013.

I hadn't originally planned to go that far for two reasons: Firstly it's been snowing making conditions a bit tricky and secondly I was wearing my Cascadias for the first time so thought a shorter run might be wise while I get used to them. But it's hard to stop me and Lou from getting giddy so 13.1 it was! We set off on the trails to make the most of the pretty scenery. It was a great route over open fields, through woods, over little bridges, past frozen lakes and by rushing water. Thank goodness for my trail shoes as I have no doubt I'd have fallen on my arse in my adrenalines!

Despite the gorgeous and varied scenery, it was by far the hardest 13 miles I've run in a long time! I think the churned up mud that had frozen and then been covered in snow made such an unstable footing that I was constantly fighting to keep my balance and not go over on my ankles. Add into that a few hills and hey presto... ouch!
It was totally worth the effort though and I'm happy that Lou and I could keep each other going and encourage each other to do the full 13.1, especially when there was a short cut that would have got us home in 10!
We made sure we rewarded our efforts with a hot cup of tea and some cake afterwards along with cuddles from all of these sweet puppies!! And who can resist puppy cuddles?!
Especially 5 week old puppies... 

All in all it can't have been that terrible as I've arranged to run with her again in the morning! Wish me luck!!

January 24, 2013


Oh my word what a frustrating (and scary) couple of hours I've just had (you know... that scary moment when you think you've seriously done something to your blog that you don't know how to fix?)!

I've noticed recently that the Disqus comments on my blog are, shall we say, temperamental... basically it would show up as and when it felt like it, and more recently, just not at all. It'd email me to notify me of your comments but when I'd look at my blog the comment section (i.e Disqus) was nowhere to be found! Cue frustration!

The final straw was when someone actually took the time to message me and say they'd like to leave a comment but couldn't.
Next step... migrating existing Disqus comments back to Blogger comments. There's a button for this on the website so you'd think it might be quite an easy process. But then after it's not worked a few times, if you look really hard there's also a blog post by Disqus saying 'oh yeah, this doesn't work. sorry'.

I then had to make a choice... not be able to see the comments that have been made on my previous posts or continue to work with Disqus which means that some people can't comment when they want to (and I have no idea how many people this has affected but I know it's happened several times when people have bothered to tell me, not to mention those that didn't). So the decision was made. I've disconnected my Disqus account from this blog.

Cue more frustration... the reason I use Blogger is because I'm not practised in HTML. I've dabbled but just with the little things. Could I get a comment link to show at the bottom of my posts? Could I heck!! Well after a load of stressing I've found that I can add it back into each of my old posts individually. The good news is that from here on in I've come back to Blogger's own system. In fact in the time I've been away they've installed the feature I left them for (i.e being able to respond to posts!).

So here is my apology to all of you that have taken the time to comment on my other posts but can't see them now. Believe me I have read and appreciated all of them and I promise not to mess with it again in future! I can't cope with the stress of thinking I've broken my blog!!

January 23, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday #5

Welcome to my fifth Wishlist Wednesday post for the awesome blog hop hosted by Dani at Pen to Paper

This week I'm adding The Ophelia Cut by John Lescroart to my wishlist...

Here's the Amazon description...

Brittany McGuire is the beautiful, twenty-three-year-old daughter of Susan Weiss and Moses McGuire - and the niece of defense attorney Dismas Hardy. Popular and pretty, Brittany has always moved easily from one boyfriend to the next, but her most recent ex, a young man named Rick Jessup, can't seem to get over her. His abuse escalates, culminating in a terrible night when Brittany is raped.
Within twenty-four hours, Rick Jessup is dead, Moses McGuire is the prime suspect in the investigation, and Dismas Hardy has been hired to defend his old friend  Making things even more complicated, this case threatens to bring to light old secrets that could destroy the careers of Hardy and the police lieutenant Abe Gltsky.
As the overwhelming evidence against Moses piles up, Dismas Hardy focuses on planting doubt in the minds of the jurors - until, in a feat of legal ingenuity that is staggering in both its implications and its simplicity, Hardy sees a new way forward that might just save them all. But at what price?

I like the sound of this book as I love good legal dramas. The Ophelia Cut hasn't been released yet and I've never read anything by this author before but it's the 14th in the Dismas Hardy series. I'm assuming if he's still writing about this protagonist that he's fairly popular so while I'm waiting for this to be released, maybe I should start at the beginning!

Want to join in??

  • Follow Pen to Paper as the host
  • Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get your hands on and read
  • Wrote a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of her post
  • Put a link back to Pen to Paper somewhere on your post with a note about the host
  • Visit the other blogs, follow and enjoy :)
What's on your wishlist this week? Comment below and share or share a link to your post :)

January 19, 2013

Finally Some Snow!

I couldn't help but post a couple of photos from my walk today. We have had such a rubbish winter so far with a lot of rain and drizzle so it has been a relief to finally have some proper cold weather.

Unfortunately it's not great for running as the pavements are very slippery so today I opted to go out and get Chloe running instead of me...
It made for a very happy (but very slobbery) pup!
I've arranged to run tomorrow with a friend so fingers crossed it's not too icy and we can find a nice snowy trail where I won't end up on my arse! Wish me luck!!

Book Review #1: 'A Cold Day For Murder'

I don't write many book reviews (as you may have noticed from the post title) but I thought I would start to give a few a go.  I have to admit my variation in genre is fairly limited as I mostly read crime thrillers and courtroom dramas, though I'm hoping to adventure out of this shortly as I work my way through my enormous wishlist of books.

The first review I'm going to write is for A Cold Day For Murder (Kate Shugak #1) by Dana Stabenow

Here's the official blurb:

Somewhere in the hinterlands of Alaska, among the millions of sprawling acres that comprise 'The Park' a young National Park Ranger has gone missing. When the detective sent after him also vanishes, the Anchorage DA's department must turn to their reluctant former investigator, Kate Shugak. Shugak knows The Park because she's of The Park, an Aleut who left her home village of Niniltna to persue education, a career, and the righting of wrongs. Kate's search for the missing men will take her from the self-imposed exile back to a life she'd left behind, and face-to-face with people and problems she'd hoped never to confront again.

I have to be honest, when I first started reading this I almost gave up before I even started. I'm all for scene building but there was something that I just couldn't relate to and the writer's style was not working for me. However I have an agreement with myself that I always have to give a book a fair chance so stuck with it and I'm glad I did as I eventually got used to the style. Unfortunately there was quite a bit of jargon used with no explanation which would often slow me up a bit. However the book did lack a depth of plot, not much more information ever came out but rather repeated itself several times. I also guessed 'whodunnit' which means it was fairly obvious because despite reading a lot of crime thriller type books, I am terrible at guessing :D

All in all a good descriptive book of Alaska but all in all not enough of a mystery and the plot was rushed to the end. I'm glad I tackled something set somewhere different but I'm pretty sure I'll not be buying any more in the series.

January 16, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday #4

Welcome to my fourth Wishlist Wednesday post for the awesome blog hop hosted by Dani at Pen to Paper

This wishlist Wednesday I'm adding two books in a series by Mari Hannah. The first book is The Murder Wall  

Eleven months after discovering a brutal double murder in a sleepy Northumbrian town, Detective Chief Inspector Kate Daniels is still haunted by her failure to solve the case. Then the brutal killing of a man on Newcastle's Quayside gives Daniels another chance to get it right, and her first case as Senior Investigating Officer. When Daniels recognises the corpse, but fails to disclose the fact, her personal life swerves dangerously into her professional life. But much worse, she is now being watched. As Daniels steps closer to finding a killer, a killer is only a breath away from claiming his next victim....

This book is followed up by, Settled Blood, which has the same protagonist. I can't say for sure until I've read the first if I will want to read the second but it has been well reviewed and again is in the right genre with an interesting plot.

When a young girl is found dead at the base of Hadrian's Wall, it's not long before Detective Chief Inspector Kate Daniels realises her death was no ordinary homicide. She was thrown from a great height and was probably alive before she hit the ground. Then a local businessman reports his daughter missing, has Daniels found the identity of her victim, or is a killer playing a sickening game? As the murder investigation team delve deeper into the case, half truths are told, secrets exposed, and while Daniels makes her way through a mountain of obstacles time is running out for one terrified girl.

I like the sound of Mari Hannah's books for several reasons. It's going back to my usual genre of crime and police investigation and she's had some great reviews. I haven't read many books that are set in the north of England so I'm interested to see how I feel about the settings being familiar to me. Finally the protagonist shares her name with a friend of mine though I'm not sure if that's going to help or hinder as I imagine my teacher friend solving crime!

Want to join in??
  • Follow Pen to Paper as the host
  • Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get your hands on and read
  • Wrote a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of her post
  • Put a link back to Pen to Paper somewhere on your post with a note about the host
  • Visit the other blogs, follow and enjoy :)
What's on your wishlist this week? Comment below and share or share a link to your post :)

January 13, 2013

Choices, Choices...

Such is my busy day that this is the biggest dilema I've got! 
I'm buying some Brooks Cascadia 7 Trail shoes online for some of my muddier runs 
but I can't decide... Red or Blue??

Please comment below on which you think will suit me most :)

I'm Only Half Crazy...

Thanks to Heather at Diary Of A Running Mom I've signed up to another challenge!

To be honest I really wanted to do something like 12 half marathons in 2012 but I never signed up because I wanted to go without any pressure to run for a bit after doing the 2011 in 2011 challenge. (It's a good job I didn't as between my ITBand injury and (unrelated) surgeries I wouldn't have been able to do it).
However it's a New Year and I'm feeling pretty good again. There are two reasons that I didn't announce that I'd run 13 races on the 1st January...
  1. I wasn't sure that I could afford 13 half marathons in a year. 
  2. I don't know if I could sign up for 13 races because I don't know when I'm going to be in England or Texas so making plans and signing up for races is difficult

This challenge sounds great to me as Heather is keeping it pretty informal and more achievable. The only deal is that you must run 13 half marathons in the year. Here are her rules:
  • You must run 13 half marathons in the year 2013. They don't all have to be official races. These could be training runs too (that can be an run 13.1 or over). We know that races get expensive
  • Keep track of your races/runs and times. Email Heather them at the 1st of each month (heather.m.winkler@gmail.com). She'll post them along and link to your blog/race recap. If you don't have a blog that's fine too!
  • Post a link to her blog on your blog. She'll post links to bloggers who are participating
  • Have fun and at the end of the year you'll get some type of award - or at least bragging rights!
How do you enter?

Leave a comment on Heather's post with a link to your blog. That's it! Happy halves everyone!!

January 12, 2013

Liebster Award

I am pleased to say that I've been nominated by Nicola from Only On A Sunday for a Liebster Award! 

This is an award for upcoming bloggers with less than 200 followers to help raise interest in their blogs and help them connect with other bloggers too. 
(I have to apologise for the delay in me getting around to this but you know what it's like at Christmas then I went on holiday so this is the first night I've had to sit down and focus! tsk excuses, excuses eh?!)

So here's the deal:
  • Each person must post 11 things about themselves
  • Answer the questions that the nominator set for you, plus create 11 questions for the people that you've nominated to answer
  • Nominate 11 people and link them to your post
  • Go to their page and tell them
  • No tag backs!
11 Random Facts About Me...
  1. I've never been camping
  2. I LOVE Simon Pegg films, especially Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead
  3. If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life it would be Tom Yum Soup (*drools*)
  4. I love the beach but am scared of the ocean
  5. I have THE most terrible memory
  6. I have 32 stitches in my face from an accident but only 2 are visible
  7. I can't draw for shit
  8. I don't know my blood type 
  9. I would love to be more organised but can never quite sort everything
  10. I'm a tea monster 
  11. My favourite band is Blind Pilot
Here are my questions from Nicola....

What made you first start blogging?
I first started blogging when I ran the 2011 in 2011 challenge as a way for me and my family /friends to track my progress. I started this blog when the challenge finished as I realised I missed the process of writing and being creative.
Your must-have beauty product?
Eyeliner is my best friend, plus I can fix my brows with it if pushed ;)
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I think Switzerland would be awesome. All those beautiful mountains and lakes plus proper seasons (you know... snow in winter, sun in summer type thing rather than the constant drizzle that we have here)
What's your dream job?
If only I knew! I've never known and don't think I'm going to figure it out any time soon. The basic criteria would be that it's something active or on my feet (desk jobs don't suit me) and preferably somewhere sunny.
And your favourite chocolate?
Oh my word I love Dairy Milk. I have to take supplies of it to Texas with me when I go because their chocolate just isn't the same. 
Biggest phobia?
Eek! heights!! I never used to have a  problem when I was younger but I'm getting really bad with them!
Cats or dogs?
Definitely dogs! I have 5 beautiful black labradors... Holly, Millie and Chloe in England and Paughco and Kiki in Texas <3
Your worst habit?
Tidying everything. Mess stresses me out so I'm constantly organising or cleaning. 
The most expensive thing you have ever bought?
My convertible... a Peugeot 307cc. I've had it for years now and we've been on some great adventures together ;) 
What is currently top of your wish-list?
My visa to marry Paul! 
The last music album you bought?
The Lumineers Album. I'm really into that sound right now, similar to bands like Blind Pilot and The Head And The Heart. 

The questions I'd like my nominees to answer?... 
  • What is your biggest goal for 2013?
  • What are you proudest of in your life?
  • Do you have a nickname? And how did you get it??
  • What is the most played song on your ipod?
  • What 3 words best describe you?
  • What is the most unusual thing you have ever eaten?
  • What is your favourite quote?
  • If you could choose an age to stay forever, what age would that be?
  • Tell me something that you've learned in the last week
  • If you could have one superpower what would it be?
  • Do you believe in ghosts?

And last but not least, these are the 11 bloggers that I'm going to tag.... (in no particular order of course!)

Bang @ Run Bang, Run
Melissa @ In Her Boots
SugarMagnolia @ SugarMagnolia
Lyndsay @ Fizzy Peaches

Please link your Liebster post back to my comments so that I make sure to have a look!

I hope you can take a minute to check out these guys' blogs (and don't forget Nicola's too) and follow them if they're your kind of thing. 
Thanks again Nicola for nominating me!

January 11, 2013

No Excuses...

I really enjoyed my run this afternoon as the temperatures started to drop. As long as it's not too icy underfoot, I plan to run this weekend too. A conversation with a twitter friend about it reminded me of this picture I saw last year...

Get up and get out this weekend. Embrace the cold and enjoy it!

January 10, 2013

Focussing On Positives

Today has been an incredibly sad and emotional day as my gorgeous fiancĂ© has flown back to Texas as his visit to England for the holidays has come to an end.

My instinct is to just sit. Alone. In silence. And feel sad. I feel incredibly empty when we're apart and I'm finding it hard to motivate. However I have a lot to be thankful for as we have so much to look forward to in the year ahead. I have to be strong through the next few weeks (and months) as we wait for my visa to be processed.
With that in mind I feel the need to focus my energy. I can't let sadness overwhelm me when in reality our futures look very bright. I am going to work hard on the things I enjoy and am committing myself by telling you, the blog fairies, what I plan to do!

Firstly I plan to blog regularly as well as reading other's people's blogs as I find I learn a lot in the process of both writing and reading them
source www.blogussion.com

I love to crochet... I think I need to pick something challenging like a top to wear over vests in the summer which I'm sure will challenge my abilities and improve my pattern reading skills.... Something like this is what I'm fancying...

I have SO many cookery books it's redonkulous but I'm not going to be able to take them to America with me as they're not the best way to spend my baggage allowance. I have promised myself that I'll try to add as many recipes to my ipad as possible so that I have plenty of inspiration when I get there.

Reading is always important to me so I'll continue to try and read as much as possible. I'm determined to get though the backlog of books I appear to have collected on my kindle!

I need to take the time to focus on Yoga again. It was really helping my flexibility when I was doing it regularly and it helps me stay positive and balanced.

And last but not least... the runner in me is going crackers and can't wait to get going again. I've had a good rest and am raring to go!!