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Breathing Space

Three-and-a-half-year old Bee is currently weighing up her career options and is torn between becoming a digger driver or a doctor. From the way she hurtles round the garden in her toy car, I’d say she needs to work on her driving skills, but she did receive a much-prized doctor’s kit for Christmas so I can confirm that she does very thorough examinations. She’s especially good at ears which is not surprising given that she’s on a long waiting list to have her adenoids removed and suffers with earache and hearing loss.

Shortly after my consultation with Bee, I take myself to my local GP because I’ve been laid low by the seasonal lurgy and a pain in my ribs which makes it hard to take deep breaths. It seems that I’ve coughed so much that I’ve damaged the intercostal muscles and the only cure is to take it easy for a while.

My first reaction is one of frustration; last year I ran 777 miles and my plan this year is to run 1000. With the Llanelli half marathon less than a month away, I’m …
Recent posts

The Beast in the Drive

How, I wonder, biting back the tears, did I let myself become so afraid? I’ve never enjoyed driving, but I used to drive my daughters to school, get myself to work, take my dad to the Royal Marsden and squeeze into some horribly tight spaces in the hospital car park. But in the last couple of years, a dislike of driving has become a full-blown phobia, one that’s made me feel horribly guilty every time I have to ask Tom to take me somewhere and something that’s made me terribly ashamed of myself.

We live in a remote spot which we love, but there’s one bus an hour to the nearest town and the nearest train station is 25 miles away… yet the more I told myself I had to beat my fear of driving, the worse it got. Until last week. ‘You’ll be fine,’ Tom assures me, having given me a refresher tour of various switches. ‘Take your time and go off when you’re ready.’ He heads back indoors and I take some deep breaths and repeat my new mantra, I am a calm, confident driver… and then I’m off. I hon…

Autumn Reflections

Ten years on from running my first Cardiff Half Marathon, race day dawns. It’s still dark as we leave the house to make the two hour drive and it’s bitterly cold. Eventually, pink light tinges the sky, glinting on the frost in the frozen fields but there’s very little wind which suggests perfect racing conditions.

In Cardiff, I kiss Tom goodbye and make my way through the chilly streets where I pass a very well wrapped up Gaby Logan talking to a camera. She’s teeny-tiny, very glam and rather spray-tanned whereas I’m wearing a manky old jumper over my running kit and my white legs are covered in goosebumps! Soon, I’m in my running pen enjoying the camaraderie as we wait for our start. An announcer begins to introduce runners and some wag observes that it’s going to be a long wait if all 25,000 of us are going to be named. And then, we’re off and the 13.1 mile journey begins. My first six miles go really well; the crowds here are always wonderful and I’m buoyed up by the prospect of see…

No One Comes Last

In what feels, at times, like an increasingly troubled and divided world, discovering parkrun has been an utter joy. Although these free, weekly, timed 5k runs - organised entirely by volunteers - have formed an integral part of my half marathon training, I’m no different to anyone taking part for the first time because everyone runs or walks at their own pace. As the event director said at Banstead Woods parkrun, where I was a visitor recently, ‘No one comes last because there’s always a tail walker.’

I’ve always found the running community to be friendly and supportive, but the atmosphere at parkrun is especially uplifting and encouraging. Llanerchaeron, our ‘local’ parkrun (some 15 miles away) attracts participants of all ages from the over fours to the over seventy-fives and everyone is warmly applauded as they cross the finish line. Of course, I always hope to shave a few seconds off my time and achieve a new personal best, but it’s the kindness of the parkrun community, the wor…

Ages of Discovery

I’m walking round our sprawling garden with my daughter Lily talking about our plans for the future when suddenly I find myself falling, falling into goodness knows where. When - covered in grass cuttings and soaking wet - I pick myself up, I’m hooting with laughter but poor Lily’s face is etched with concern. Have I reached the age when I ‘have falls’? On a personal level, I’ve had a pretty rubbish time of it lately with a couple of old health problems coming back to bite me and wretched nights of broken sleep with raging hot flushes (thanks, I’ve exhausted the ‘cures’ but I’m still in danger of spontaneously combusting several times each night). This time, luckily, it’s not my body letting me down but an enormous burrow, partly hidden by vegetation. Bee, our granddaughter, who is also staying with us, goes out with her daddy and grandad to inspect the hole. ‘It was bery deep,’ she confirms. ‘I throwed an apple down it.’ Comforting to know there’ll be something for me to eat if I …

Ten Years On. Cardiff HM 2018

In ten weeks time - barring any disasters - I’ll be taking part in the Cardiff Half Marathon 2018, ten years since I ran my first half marathon which was also in Cardiff. I finished that race in floods of tears and begged everyone never to let me put myself through such a tough challenge ever again. And then I got home and completed the entry for my next half marathon.

Over the last ten years, our family has grown...

My writing dreams came true.

And like everyone else we’ve had the usual share of trials and tribulations.

But running, and racing, has become part of my life; it keeps me sane and keeps me fit. Lacing up a pair of running shoes and getting outside was probably the biggest favour I ever did for myself. Now I’m asking all of you to do a favour for someone else.

My dad would have been thrilled by the additions to the family - adults and babies - but he never got to meet them. He never knew that I became a published author. He wasn’t there to give me a hug and tell me thi…

A New Adventure

As my stepson, Tom, and his bride, Amey, turn for the first time as man and wife to face their guests in the register office, tears spring to my eyes yet again. What is it about such a happy occasion that makes me cry? I’ve already blubbed at the sight of my stepson nervously adjusting his tie as he holds his small daughter and chats to his best man. I’ve wiped away tears at the loving looks the couple exchange as they make their vows and now it’s the first few bars of ‘I know I’ll Never Find Another You’ by The Seekers, a band my dad loved, playing in the background that’s making me weep.

I guess I’m crying because every wedding represents the start of a new adventure in a new world, but it’s also the container of so many memories. We’ve been based with Ma in Epsom since travelling from west Wales and one of the regular runs I do when we stay there takes me up and over Epsom Downs, past three houses where I have lived. As I run past the Victorian house which was home to me and Tom and…