It’s ok to cry….

….because I’ve found a mascara that can handle it!

I have naturally watery eyes and always have to wear waterproof mascara.

I’ve tried a few which usually cope with a normal day but after a drizzly 5k in February where I was told I looked like Gene Simmons and had to be cleaned up with a soggy tissue I had to find a good one.

A friend recommended L’Oréal Paris Double Extension Waterproof Mascara so next time I was in Boots I popped one in my basket

So how does it fare? It’s amazing! It’s super waterproof, I’ve just done a drizzly parkrun and I only have mascara on my lashes and it coped admirably with a post-half breakdown! It’s also cheap at £11(ish) and it also makes my stubby blonde lashes look long and separates them beautifully.

It’s a two stage mascara with white primer and then the actual mascara, but it’s simple and quick even for this ‘slap it on’ girl.

Definitely one to recommend!

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International Women’s Day

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Today is International Women’s Day with this year’s theme being #BeBoldForChange

The organisers are asking women to “articulate and explain that exact moment when they themselves took bold action to help improve or develop an aspect of their own livelihood, career or business – or that of another woman’s, or women’s status overall”

I wrote a couple of days ago about my bold moment in 2013 when I decided I wanted to run and joined Burnden Road Runners running club.

That decision has brought so many things to my life. From a running perspective it’s brought structured training, parkrun, races, trophies. But it’s the by products of running that continue to surprise me, other sports such as swimming and cycling, triathlons (me taking part in a triathlon!), volunteering, organising events, inspiring other ladies, fundraising and being part of something.

The biggest thing that being bold brought to my life was friends and friendship.

Never did I think that if I said ‘does anyone fancy a run’ on a cold, dark, often wet ‘school night’ that anyone would say yes! But they do and in fact they are tonight!

I’m lucky to have bonded with a group of ladies as a result of Burnden that I can run and cycle with (swimming is parked at the moment). I can go them with my rants and moans and also to share successes and good news.

My list of Whatsapp groups is endless with Ladies who Cycle, Ladies who Run, Burnden Muppets, Hampton Court Half Ladies (they’re even helping me with a bucket list item!), Longish Run Ladies etc etc lots of groups of ladies (and some where we let the blokes in!) who share the same interests and want to have fun whilst getting fitter and healthier.

People tell me ‘I couldn’t do that’, my reply, neither could I, but I do. What’s the worst that could happen; I might be last in a race – I have been, I might fall off my bike and break my wrist – oops I did, but I survived and I’m still having a go. So be bold, don’t be scared, join in, smile and have fun and you never know what opportunities will come your way.

Ann has written about running and family here https://bellesbikesandrunningshoes.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/runs-in-the-family/

parkrun, serious running stuff?

Three years ago I made the incredibly scary, but ultimately brilliant decision to try out the New Starter Group at a local running club. The aim of the group, to get us to run a continuous 5k over a ten week course.

After a couple of weeks Sue our coach told us we should try parkrun, a weekly, timed, 5k run round Leverhulme Park.

My friend Susan and I laughed at the suggestion and told Sue we’d wait until the end of the course when we were sure we’d make it round.  But Sue continued to push us; telling us it didn’t matter how slow we were and it would give us a base line time which we’d see improve over the 10 week NSG course.

So we registered at http://www.parkrun.org.uk and on 5 October 2013 Susan and I turned up at Leverhulme Park with our barcodes printed and ready to have a go.

I can’t remember a lot about the run only how horrified we were at having to run (walk) up the aptly named Cruella de Hill TWICE and on seeing the finish line we were sent away from it by the marshal for a final out and back stretch.

One thing I do remember is how social and friendly it seemed, people warming up together, groups stood chatting (who needs a warm up?), dogs (on short leads obviously 😉), children and adults of all ages shapes and sizes milling about. The scary bit, everyone knew everyone else! Well that’s how it seemed to us, how would we ever fit in?

Fast forward to March 2017 and the world of parkrun is a completely different place. Between us Susan and I have now taken part in 135 parkrun events, the majority at Bolton but we’ve had the odd spot of tourism at Burnley, Delamere, Worsley to name a few. Our first time of 35:33 has been reduced with both of us having a PB in the 28/29 minute region.

Most importantly we found our feet.  We know more people, we have our group of buddies to stand with, warm up with and run with. Sometimes we push ourselves and each other for a good time, sometimes we take a more leisurely approach (check out my time from yesterday as an example!).

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A spot of parkrun tourism
After a period of falling out of love with early Saturday alarm calls I made an effort last year to get back to regular appearances at parkrun both in a running and volunteering capacity and I couldn’t believe it when a few weeks later my co-blog author Ann and I were asked by the event directors to join the core team as run directors. Of course we said yes (or rather Ann said yes for both of us!) and in the last six months or so we’ve conquered public speaking fears (standing on a blue plastic step, holding a clip board speaking through a megaphone), we’ve made events happen in all kinds of weather and even mapped an alternative route when our beloved Cruella was out of action.

We’re now members of another fab group of folk,  although I think the musings of these two looney old women on the RD Whatsapp group have the rest of the RD team bemused!

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Some of the RD team and our loyal volunteers
I look back to October 2013 with a smile and like Sue Booth would encourage anyone to come down to parkrun. Don’t wait until you can run 5k, come and walk run if you need to, you won’t be last as we always have a lovely tailrunner

So is parkrun serious running stuff? Yes,to many it is (sometimes, even for me).  I’ve results processed and know from post event e-mails how important seconds can be but it’s not all about times and PBs, it’s not even all about running, for me it’s all about friendship, being part of something good and just having a great time on a Saturday morning.

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Never blow your nose when there’s a photographer around. Courtesy of Ali McArthur Bolton parkrun

Today went swimmingly

Training has been a bit up and down lately, and definitely more down, as that’s how my mood has been! I’m not sure whether it’s the winter blues or an age thing, but this little black cloud that keeps following me around is getting a little bit tiresome.
So today I was on a mission to lift the spirits once again, and what better way than a parkrun with all the joy that a Saturday morning run with a couple of hundred like-minded people can bring. Meeting up early with Louise and Diane added a few extra miles beforehand, so completing our weekend ‘long run’ in the most pleasant of ways.

Early afternoon saw an impromptu organising meeting for our upcoming Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM)Women on Wheels event in our local Costa after collecting the very generous goodie bags donated by the Bolton Decathlon store.

If you haven’t checked out TfGM website, it really should be on your ‘to do’ list. There’s a whole host of different cycling courses, from beginners cycling and maintenance courses, to an intermediate course I went on a few weeks ago which taught me how to replace my brake cables and fit a new gear cassette and chain! And to think it was all considered a Dark Art this time last year.

Saturday ended with me pulling my big girl pants up and finally getting in the pool for the first time since last September. It had become a massive issue, with me almost feeling scared of getting back in the water. Swimming is the weakest of the three disciplines for me, but bizarrely my favourite! I’m still not ready for the intense Tri club sessions but it felt so good to get back in the water and not have to resort to arm bands ( which was my fear!). Swimming somehow feels even more therapeutic than cycling or running; you’re just alone in the water with your thoughts, concentrating on tweaks to your stroke to make it easier to pass through the water. It’s almost mindfulness whilst training.

Saturday drew to a close with my black cloud, whilst not having disappeared completely, having definitely been shown who’s the boss.

Organising, with our honorary belle

Check out TfGM here http://cycling.tfgm.com/Pages/default.aspx

And just in case you’re in the market for something cycling related, do check out the lovely folk at Decathlon Bolton. All their products have lengthy warranties, money back options and are great value for money. You’ll get some really top notch advice too.

Festive fun

On the eve of the first day back to work of 2017, I wanted to reflect on the last two weeks which I’ve spent as a staycation with family and friends. As I coughed, spluttered and swallowed the antibiotics towards the end of last term, I vowed I was going to spend a part of every day over the festive break having fun! In Louise and Ann world, this fun usually takes the form of running, cycling, walking, or parkrun.

The break started on the Friday night, when at 7pm I met a hardy group of 10 fellow Tri-clubbers on an unlit reservoir car park, bedecked with Santa hats and headtorches for a festive 10k darkrun, finished off with coffee and mince pies from the boot of the organisers car.

What then followed was:

Five trail runs

Four parkruns, including Christmas Day and ‘the double’ on New Years Day

Three cycle rides

Two baking sessions of flapjacks for post-run refuelling

One filming adventure for ITV

All spent with our positive and like-minded group of friends.

Photo courtesy of Bolton parkrun

My home isn’t as clean as I’d like, I know we both have ironing mountains that would take an intrepid explorer much effort to scale, and the work I brought home still lies in my bag unread. But I can safely say that I haven’t any qualms or dread at going back to work tomorrow. Rather I will spend the next six weeks to the half term break planning our next staycation full of fun.

It’s a new year and the fun keeps happening

So here we are in 2017 and the first few days have vanished in the blink of an eye.  Thankfully both Ann and I have been off work and have been able to fill our time with family time and fun stuff.

We’ll start this blog with New Year’s Day where we both started the year with parkrun.

For me that meant the short trip to my home event at Bolton where I started as I mean to go on by actually running! I found it far too easy to volunteer in 2016 and much as I love to help make the event happen I need to run more this year.

Ann smashed my efforts by travelling with Team Butler to do a New Year double at Pennington and Haigh Woodland parkrun.   This followed their Christmas weekend double where Ann celebrated her 50th parkrun whilst running for the first time for the recently formed Ramsbottom Running Club.

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Team Butler doing the double

We both agree parkrun has brought so much to our lives and we were delighted to join the core event team at Bolton in 2016. As you’ll see in future posts it’s even brought a new running club into our lives!

For anyone who hasn’t heard of parkrun basically they are FREE 5km timed runs around the world. They are open to everyone and are safe and easy to take part in.

The events take place in pleasant parkland surroundings and people of every ability are positively encouraged to take part.

If you’re interested in finding out more have a look here. Make sure you register and print your barcode and bring it along when you run and that will generate your time on the results.