Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Plans for next year...


For me this is post number 117 and a year and a month since I started this blog. I started really because I was getting old (in running terms) and felt I wanted to record the running events I was doing. Of course then it became more of a personal blog but you can't help that really. It's not a traditional running blog anyway because I don't really record how much I run (too much probably!)
Anyway I haven't been racing and that's because things have been busy and once you get out of the habit of racing it's hard to get back into it. I ran in the Dublin Senior Cross Country and the Gerry Franham and after that it was just the Duathlon. I've gone and entered for the Rotterdam marathon next April (and the snow race in France in January). My plan was to give the ultras a break for a while and try and do a fast marathon. I know I'm yet to do the marathon I'm capable of. I feel I can get close to 3 hours and now is the time to try. After that I'll go back to the ultras as I already miss them! I won't be running Connemara next year (my favourite ultra) and I'll probably not be on the mountains afetr my experiences this year. One of my ambitions has always been to try an ironman. Just because I've never done a triathlon doesn't seem to bother me (maybe it should). The day I decided to start running I wanted to do a marathon and that worked out ok so I'm hoping that it will be the same for an ironman. I'm in the gym swimming most days but I'm so bad I'm gonna get some proper lessons. I feel that with the kids at school I have the capacity to at least train for it. The UK ironman is in September and that gives me a number of months after Rotterdam. Friends have been encouraging me towards the glamorous ones in France, Austria etc., but they are all in the Summer and I feel that's too close to Rotterdam in April.
Anyway this isn't a post looking for pats on the back, it's more about wanting to get things out of my head.
This year was mad in terms of goals. I ran two ultras early in the year and trained for the Wicklow Round. Then ended up in the European and World Mountain Running Champs, not the most pleasant experiences and not ones I'm likely to get a chnace to run in again but they were totally unexpected so new expereinces are always worth a try. Jungfrau Marathon was probably the highlight but still felt I should have gone faster.

Anyway on the personal front the family has grown from 3 to 5 and that has been crazy, good crazy. Christmas will be completely different with a 5 year old lunatic in the house. He gets excited about having dinner every day so you can imagine how wired he is about Christmas! The house is lit up like the Griswalds and presents are wrapped and ready under the tree.

I've made new friends on other blogs: Team Geared Up and For Nine Pounds and of course our running group Wednesday Night Runners and of course the bloggers who comment here. Thanks for all your encouragement, it's been great to log on and realise someone has dropped by and said something, it's been a real lift.

Team Geared Up has allowed me to write lots about adventure kinda stuff. Things I wouldn't have written about here. I've loved every minute of it and the hard work put in by Robin over there has meant the blog seems to have changed recently and become even more vibrant. He's worked so hard at constantly thinking about what's needed to develop the blog and move it forward.

For Nine Pounds was something I came across via the lovely Midget Wrangler. I first commented over at MW's blog when she wrote a post about her new Party of 5. I loved the fact that she was the most un-traditional-Mummy type I'd ever read. It was hilarious and serious at the same time! She eventually dragged me into the For Nine Pounds cult and I haven't looked back. I don't write as much over there as I'm afraid I'm not as funny or witty or interesting as the rest of them! Anyway we all eventually had a meet up and a great night was had by all!!

WNR is our running group and we've become a very close bunch. You don't go through tough stuff without realising who you can count on and they're a great bunch. We're getting hoodies made up with our newly designed logo and we had a great run and lunch last week, even exchanging kris kindles!

Wow this turned into an epic post! I doubt anyone will read this far!!! Happy Christmas!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Happy Birthday Grace!


Grace is 16 today! Happy Brithday Grace!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Magic 4

I got tagged by toniimarie at Next to Last chapter. And since I'm so bad at blogging these days I thought I'd give it a shot.

What 4 jobs have I had?

1. Worked in a bar at the age of 16. Really liked it but so badly paid and not a good job if you're trying to get up for school in the morning.
2. Typesetter.
3. Architectural office: what I trained for.
4. Construction site work; best job ever. :-)

4 places I've lived.
1. Dublin
2. Dublin
3. Dublin
4. Dublin

4 places I've been on holiday:
1. Jamaica for the all you can eat holiday
2. Virginia/ Washington: the museums, war memeorials, what a place!
3. Italy for everything, food, history, sun, breathtaking scenery.
4. Paris, as a poor student with no money and the sheer romance of it all....

4 favourite foods:
1. Pizza
2. Shepherds Pie
3. Milka Chocolate
4. Duck

4 places I'd rather be:
1. Virginia, or somewhere in America with mountains and sun.
2. The Alps, with nothing but a bag on my back and nothing planned.
3. On the orient express.
4. Disneyland Florida on Thunder Mountain.

Can I tag Midget Wrangler? Cheers Tonii!

Friday, November 23, 2007

What I'm Up to......


I ran in Marlay park this morning and it was the most gorgeous morning ever. Stunningly beautiful. (A lot like that image above, that's not mine!) I had a few of those "great to be alive" moments! Although I'm still running in a little pain but I seem to be ok when I race and in pain when I train. The last thing I did was a duathlon.

Also had a sparkly dress occasion last week for the Athletics Awards of Ireland! Makes a change from mucky runners and tracksuits!

Tomorrow me and the girls head off on a little adventure on the ferry to the UK shopping outlets. Christmas shopping here we come!! Woohoo! I love buying presents!
Ugly Betty is on in a minute.....

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Dublin Marathon 2007

I was heavily involved in all things "marathon" last weekend. I've been blogging about it over at TGU and Wednesday Night Runners also.
Firstly there was the expo, then the international breakfast run, then the Kenyan athletes Ugale party in my brother's house, photos here, then the marathon itself. Baggage area photos here.
It's a great event, really professional and so many people give so much of their personal time and effort to make it that way. Tony ran a PB of 3:44, Rob ran his first in 3:42, Niall ran 2:43. I have to do it next year! Fatmammycat has a brilliant account of her first marathon here. Congrats to her!

Today was spent at the kids Dublin cross country and Dublin Senior Cross Country. I think I ran ok, second scorer for Clonliffe, which was a suprise so I'm happy enough. Photos here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Busy Weekend of Racing!


I swore I was gonna take it easy till about December but I couldn't resist! I did an adventure race on Saturday as a team of 4. A standard adventure race involves mountain biking, mountain running and canoeing (there are variations), all with navigation., You're given co-ordinates and you have to go find controls at them, like a treasure hunt.
Basically I'm no good at navigation, rubbish at canoeing and a complete wuss on the mountain bike and unfortunately for my team mates there was very little running but I really enjoyed it anyway. It's a team thing and you have to look out for each other and work together. We had some problems but that's all in the nature of adventure racing. I was blogging about it over at Team Geared Up and at Wednesday Night Runners.
I then did a cross country in Phoenix Park, well we had to go out there anyway as one of the kids was running a race so I thought "what the hell" I might as well give it a go.
So it was a hectic weekend despite my plans to take it easy.

Good things on telly tonight and tomorrow night about Adventure! Looks like they are well worth watching

Thursday, October 11, 2007

stack overflow at line 0

I was organising some photos in flickr (and it got real slow) and it said something like:

"stack overflow at line 0" or whatever.

I thought that sounded very Simpsons.......

Monday, October 08, 2007

Update!

Haven't posted in a while. Things have been busy.
I'm running slowly and painfully these days which doesn't matter much as I'm not training for anything. Be nice to be running better for the cross country season but I know I didn't rest up enough after my last big running events and I'm feeling the effects of it now. It's hard not to run at all, but that's probably what I should do for a week or two. Can't bring myself to do that though.

I'm doing Pilates on Monday mornings. Not finding that much use, but it's getting better.

The kids are getting on great at school, well the little boy is getting into litle bits of trouble but I think he'll settle down soon. He's not used to so much structure, sitting down all day etc. Grace is at Traffic school today! Not sure if that's what it's called but basically she's getting a driving lesson even though she's a year away from even getting a licence. The young girl is running in lots of cross countries and reall enjoying it.

Had a great time at the For Nine Pounds party! You can read all about it over there. It was my first time meeting the gang of bloggers and it was so much fun, I really need to get out more, I actually enjoyed myself.

Still having trouble with noisy neighbours in the holiday home in Wexford so will be avoiding that for a while.

The two girls and I are going on a shopping trip to Cheshire Oaks at the end of November. It'll involve an overnight stay in a hotel and the boat trip so should be good for bonding!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

High School Musical Party

Tomorrow night we're throwing a High School Musical party for the 11 year old (girl). Hopefully the new friends she has made in school will come and then they will know where we live and then maybe they'll call round and be lifelong friends. Easy.

We're busy making GO WILDCATS pennants and microphones and trying to theme things. The movie is apparently about basketball so we've bought little hoops to decorate the room and are making t-shirts and little party bags containing lip gloss and the like! I'm heading to the Square to try and get some red and white table cloths (Wildcats colours) and red and white streamers or ribbons but with all the shops taken over with Halloween stuff it's getting hard to find these items.

Any other ideas would be most welcome! (I haven't even watched the movie yet, that would probably help me with the theming.......)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

World Mountain Running Champs 2007


Just back from my second trip to Switzerland in 2 weeks! I'm glad to be home and get on with normality for a while as it's been hectic lately. The race itself went ok for me, would love to have done better but at the same time I had something to prove. I had debated pulling out of Jungfrau marathon in order to be fresh for the World Mountain Running Champs the week after. But I had trained for a few months for Jungfrau and was looking forward to it and really didn't want to not run. It's probably odd to some that I thought much more seriously about pulling out of the World Champs and allowing someone else run. But that was how I felt. I was looking forward to Jungfrau and dreading the other!

So I decided to do both.
So I had something to prove.
Because I was second in the Irish trials I wanted to be second Irish home.
And I was, so that initially made me happy and relieved.

But coming 69th in a race of 86 women wasn't going to make me happy for long, but maybe next year I would train properly for the trials and do better on the hills (and not run a mountain marathon the week before, if I did qualify!)

Anyway back at home all is good. Grace is gone to an adventure centre in Fermanagh. I miss her already. Grace is much more like an adult now and I can talk to her about the kids and what she thinks of certain things to do with school or whatever. When she comes home from school it's like another adult in the house, not a kid, and that's kinda reassuring.

The above photo is of me with Jonathan Wyatt, 3 times world mountain running champ, and winner of the Jungfrau marathon the week before. I must put it next to my Paula photo!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Off AGAIN!

Off to Switzerland AGAIN! for the World Mountain Running Championships! Woohoo! Back next week!

Junior Cert Results

Grace is getting her Junior Cert results today. Rather than giving them their results at 9am like every other school, her school have decided in their wisdom to make them sit through classes as usual all day today and give them their results at 3pm. I think it's a bit cruel. And unnecessary. The excuses given by schools for doing this is usually that they don't want the kids to be ceelbrating all day. Well for a start these kids are 15/ 16 and it's up to responsible parents to ensure they are not celebrating at all!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Jungfrau Marathon - the result!


Firstly I am raging I have no photos because the scenery at the Jungfrau marathon was absolutley breathtakingly beautiful. I took some on my phone the day we left, just views from my room but they don't do it any justice.

Anyway the race went well. I was very nervous before hand but that's normal for me; I get quiet and withdrawn the day before, can hardly hold a conversation and am forcing myself to eat. My stomach is usually churning badly the day before but I managed to force myslef to eat a little pasta at lunch and dinner. My phone hadn't been working in Interlaken but Tony phoned me on a friend's phone to let me know that he had to bring the 5 year old to hospital in the middle of the night because he couldn't breathe. Scary stuff, the other kids got a bit freaked out too so fair play to Tony for handling everything. Anyway all is good now and I tried not to think about it too much while I was there.

Race morning is always so nerve wracking, forcing breakfast down you at 6am when all you want to do is wretch! I get so nervous, I don't know why I do it!

Anyway we got to the start and dropped our bags off a few minutes before the off. I just walked virtually right behind the start line which is good because I hate being trapped in the crowds. The atmosphere was really good and like all races people just want to get underway. It wasn't too long before we were off! The race does a lap of the town first, taking up the first 4 or 5k. I think at this stage some people were feeling the heat. The race gradually continues on on roads with the odd hill at 10 or 15k, all the time you're waiting on the "big" climb which you know is ahead. I remember not feeling great at this early stage, still had a jittery feeling and legs were sore. I know that that happens from the sun though, your muscles dehydrate much faster and get crampy, no matter how much water you drink. There was a big town at about half way (21k)that I remember feeling I was tired but that didn't last, because I had some of my fastest kilometres after that.

It's always at this point in a marathon that I start to feel good and this one was no different. I really wanted to get on with it and eat up those kilometres so at this stage I knuckled down to ploughing through these flat sections, dying to get ahead and start the job of the big first climb. It wasn't long coming!

As we headed into the climb I noticed that I was running while those around me walked so that gave me a boost to keep going. It wasn't long before the hill was unrunnable as it got too steep and the turns were sharp as we ascended. It went on for a couple of kilkometres maybe until it eventually turned into gradual hills that were runnable.

I really started to sort of enjoy myself than, the views were incredible and the hills were runnable for the most part if I put my head down and just knuckled down. They start to mark the course in quarter of kilometres at this stage which I though was great because each kilometre was broken down into four maangeable distances and before I knew it I fell like I was heading for home. I can rememeber a feeling at about 35k that it was time to start racing, to take down a few more people ahead of me, to get past all the walking competitors that were now blocking my way. At the 35 to 39 k mark I remember that it was only myself and 2 other women, from those around us, who were actually still running. This is always a good mental boost and as the trail turned into a single rocky track I was skipping around all the walkers to get past! Great feeling! As it gets closer to 40k the track gets very steep and walking is inevitable but I knew I wasn't far from home. The steepness continues till 41 when suddenly you're on a downhill kilometre to the finish. I was flying at this stage and feeling great! I crossed the line in 4.19 with a big smile on my face and was so happy to just have enjoyed the whole experience. I really felt that for me I was only warming up and starting to enjoy myself and suddenly it was all over! Awww!

The finish area had hot showers, hairdryers, massage and was a bit crazy with people so I didn't hang about, the train down to where I had just ran from took two hours! So I only took twice as long to run uphill than the train took to go down! Ha ha!
I never bumped into Mick but I was thinking about his brother Tony along the way. When you're in the middle of something like this and you get those "good to be alive" feelings you realise how lucky you are not only to run but to experience something as incredible as this event. The views and the toughness make it unique, it really is one to do if you run!
After a marathon I usually try and pick out a "marathon moment" but it takes a couple of weeks for certain memories to stand out as the most unique so I will think about it for a while. Thanks to all the commenters who left support, it was great. I had been saying ovber at For Nine Pounds that I had a sore foot that was worrying me, well you know for those 4 hours and 19 minutes there wasn't a bother on my foot, so the sleepless night was for nothing, as they usually are!!

I felt fine afterwards and have had very little stiffness or soreness. I'm gonna make sure not to run too much this week because (and you won't belive this because I hardly can) I'm back in Switzerland on Thursday to run on Saturday in the World Mountain Running Championships so the green knickers get an outing again! I often get a bit low two days afetr a marathon, it's just coming down from the buzz afterwards I think does it, but I'm not feeling that today so all is good!
Interlaken wasn't a great town for shopping but of course, being Switzerland my biscuit box now looks like this:

Holiday Chocolate!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Away again?

I'm about to find out which is harder: looking after 3 kids or running 26 miles uphill.

I'm off here.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

His first day!


We're waiting outside! (I moblogged this but it kept saying COULD NOT PUBLISH). Then I get home and find that it has.....Anyway the two of them went off fine and all is good. I was so proud of the two of them, as if they were my own. I now have an hour and a half free that I don't know what to do with. I'm not running today so besides cleaning the oven or the rest of the house, I'm at a loss. This "stay-at-home-mommy" thing hasn't quite kicked in yet! Just kidding, I'm lovin' it!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

We are here!



Ultra Trail Tour du Mont Blanc 2007


Tony is, at this very moment, doing the Ultra Trial Tour du Mont Blanc. I'm getting SMS alerts sent to my phone as he passes through the various stages. But you can also follow the runners on line. Last year myself and Tony finished together in 43 hours.


Basically it's 160km through the Alps, through countries, around Mont Blanc. It's billed as the toughest foot race in Europe and it really is hard. The mental torture involved in just keeping going is incredible, never mind the state of your legs. Anyway he's doing great so far and I've been updating our Ultrarunners blog too as well as Team Geared Up.


I wish I was there.


Worrying about someone doing it is worse than doing it!! Well not quite but you know what I mean. Our account of the event last year is here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

What We're At...


We've been coming and going from Wexford/ Dublin for the last few weeks. I must be brown, people keep asking where I was on holidays (strangers in parks ad petrol stations) and when I say Wexford they're shocked. We've had good enough weather to warrant lots of beach trips. We're right down on the South Coast as opposed to the East and I think we got it slightly better down there than the rest.
We've had trouble there all Summer with noisy neighbours, who have made the weekends miserable with all night partying and sometimes well into the next day and afternoon, beer bottles and cans all over the street and about twenty cars permanently parked in a street of only 5 houses. Makes it difficult for the kids to play with all this going on. The noisy neighbours are renting and we've complained enough to the two landlords (there's two houses involved, they're all mates), so we're hoping their leases will not be renewed when they come up in the Autumn. If they are, we've made a decision to sell the holiday home. Life's too short for that crap. And it's meant to be somewhere to go and relax etc. Not to be avoided. The trouble with all this is that the trouble makers appear to be making it into an anti-Dublin thing. I've noticed this with parts of Wexford now, and we're in a very small village, that there is this feeling of resentment towards the Dubs. They want your business, they want you drinking in their pubs and spending money in their shops and tourist attractions and even want you in their mobile home parks. But if you have a house it's reason enough for resentment and we've been sensing this for a while now.

Anyway while there we've done all the touristy stuff with the kids and they've loved it. Fota, Splashworld, JFK Arboretum etc. etc. Back in Dublin last Tuesday we went to Dun Laoighaire and the sun was shining and there was music in the park and it was just gorgeous! We might head there today and tomorrow for the start of the Festival of World Cultures. Lots to do!

The foster kids are settling in great! Having fun and enjoying themselves. Let's hope the fun doesn't end next week when they're back at school. I've been enjoying getting kids ready for school, doing Mammmy stuff! Me and the 11 year old girl have been getting along terrifically, spending lots of time baking together and doing nails and preparing meals; she loves to cook and bake and she also loves to run!! Hopefully she'll make new friends in the area at school, she could do with having people to call into. The 5 year old boy is still just mad as a brush and loving life (can see him on a serious mountain bike very soon)!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Happy Holidays

I'm away now to the sunny south east for a couple of weeks. Happy holidays!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Good Service


A post by Bock just reminded me about this: we were all sitting eating lunch in our kitchen on Saturday. In my house every door and window is permanently open for kids to wander in and out etc. etc. Anyway next of all a DOG arrives into our kitchen and Tony nearly jumped out of his skin roaring and shouting and the dog bolted and headed for the front door which he had just come in. But instead of the door space which was wide open he went straight through the glass panel next to it smashing it into a gzillion pieces. Jeez he must have hit it some bang. Although it's probably not toughened glass as it's quite old it would still be tough enough to have taken many previous bangs from footballs, basketballs and the like.
Anyway we rang a glazier this evening at about 5pm. He called to the house at 6pm. He returned with glass at 9 and had the job done and dusted in about half an hour. No bother at all. Poor dog is alright but he has his paws bandaged. And no he didn't make a dog shaped hole in the glass either...

Great Quads Exercise



Get on a see saw with someone a third of your weight (a kid will do) and proceed to try and make their feet hit the ground each time until your quads ache. Never fails....

Friday, July 20, 2007

I'm back in Dublin for a couple of days and it's so miserable and wet here. I took the covers off the deck furniture yesterday and it has rained and rained (except for about 2 hours yesterday evening).

The kids are settling in great. We've done lots, been to the beach lots, been to forest parks, been fishing, been cycling, playing Buzz, all fun stuff! They had a traumatic day yesterday seeing their mum for the first time in months and the 11 year old girl was upset. We were going out last night to celebrate the Wicklow Round success so I was a bit worried leaving them. It worked out really well though cos I got my niece over who managed to give them a great evening making their own pizzas and playing games and they had much more fun than if I had stayed at home. It was great to come home and see a big smile on the girl's face. The 5 year old boy was fast asleep, happy as Larry.

Like I said we went out for a meal to celebrate Tony and Gary's run and thank the helpers and all involved. Photos here.
We're back in Dublin because Grace is heading to Killary adventure centre on Sunday for a week.
It's mad being at home all the time. I still haven't got used to not being employed. I think it still feels like I'm on my holidays. I'm sure that in September when they've gone to school I'll feel differently! It has been challenging already. The kids are brilliant, they are so good and happy and no trouble at all. It's just that the things that upset them are bigger than anything kids should have to worry about. I know the 11 year old worries about her mother all the time. We are constantly reassuring her that she has nobody to worry about any more, that her mum is getting help and all the siblings are being looked after. I think she is getting a little happier about this by the day.
If only the rain would stop and we could get out and od more stuff!!!!! Being indoors baking cakes is no fun for the 5 year old, he just wants to cycle all day long and play on his big tractor! It's mad having a boy!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Blogging Away

I'm off to a land far, far away where blogs and broadband don't exist. I tried to catch up this morning on them all and this is the last blogpost I'm writing.

So far today in case you're interested:

Team Geared Up
Ultrarunners
For Nine Pounds

And I squished all the photos out of the camera and phone (except the ones of the kids) onto my flickr page. Job done. I'm off to Wexford in the rain. Back Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Back to Blog

Thanks for all your comments about the trip to France. I was disappointed with my run but glad of the opportunity to be there. It was a great bunch to be with and we enjoyed it. I had been unwell last week and maybe that took it's toll a little but who knows. If you're legs don't move fast enough that's all there is to it, no excuses.

Fiona, Aisling, Trish and Alwynne
That's me, no. 132 with Fiona, Trish and Alwynne. they're clouds below us, the photo was taken at the finish after the race (God I look grumpy!)

Myself and Tony had a great day together, just the two of us, on Monday. Half the day in bed half the day eating out in a quiet pub reading the paper, what could be better? ;-)

While I was away Tony and good friend Gary were making histoy by being the first people ever to complete the Wicklow Round; a journey of 27 peaks through Wicklow taking them 33 hours and 56 minutes. Our previous attempt had not been successful and I was sad to miss out on this one but so unbelievably delighted for them. I know how hard it was. More blogging about that here.
I haven't heard how the wedding cake went down but hopefully all went well for Audreys big day! It was great the L* (the 11 year old) was able to help me with it and she was there when Audrey came to pick it up so she saw how happy Audrey was with it.
The big moving in day for the fosterinos is tomorrow. I actually think it will go well with very few tears because the move has been slowly staged and well managed. I think the biggest tears will be from the other foster mother!

I'm just catching up with all the blogs now. Loving reading them all, getting round to writing stuff yourself is the time consuming bit isn't it?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Trip to France!


I'm off to France tomorrow for the European Mountain Running Championships and I haven't even packed yet! The wedding cake is made and iced and gone so I can at least relax about that. The kids have been milling around all week! Despite the rain we got to do some stuff including a visit to Dun Laoighaire pier last night which they loved, followed by ice creams from Teddy's.
I have to be at the airport for 5am so it's an early start for me. Better get started on the packing!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Catching Up with Myself

Audreys hen night was Friday. Photos to follow when flickr or my phone company get their act together. At least I got to go to the hen night. (Was blogging before about missing the wedding, small matter of a race in France).

We drove down to Cork on Saturday to see They Never Froze Walt Disney as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival. It was a two person play and the man in it had one of thos faces that could portray emotion with the slightest movement. He was incredible, you could watch him all day. He also had one of those voices that you could hear a mile away even when he whispered. We both loved it.

We headed to Cork City Sports then, I haven't been able to post photos to flickr from my phone yet. Don't know what's up there but I'd say it's flickrs' fault as it's never happened before. Anyway Saturday night we had a Chinese in Wexford and spent the night there. Oh to be kiddy free and spend the weekend in white jeans.

All is moving along really well with the "fosterinos" as Midget Wrangler has christened them. they had their first overnight last Thursday and that was fine. We fully expected a few strops from the 5 year old. You know the kind of strops that two year olds have just to see what they can get away with and we seemed to survive them so the visits since have been easier. They stay for two nights later this week so it's getting closer to full moving in day, July 12th. They seem happy in general. The 11 year old loves doing things that are crafty and project based which I think is brilliant. It's great that not all kids are obsessed with MTV and computer games!

And today involved getting wet and mucky in Marlay Park as we tried to play in the playground for the 25 seconds between each torrential shower. They also met Tony's Mum and Dad who are lovely and the kids thought they were great so all is good so far.

Not gonna blog about running this time....

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Today.....

1. Last day at work.

2. New kit for Europeans.

3. Kids spending first night in our house.

4. It's stopped raining. Momentarily.

5. Grace is going to Spain with her friend's family on Saturday.

5. We will be childless all weekend so we're going to Cork to see this.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Are you a List-Maker?



I make lists.

That's what I do. If I have something to do I will break it down into smaller pieces and write it all down until it gets done.

This is my second last day of my job and I've only just today realised that that's what I do for a living. If a job has to be done on site, I develop a list of sequentail checks in order that that item of work gets done correctly and then I go out to the site and tick it off.

In real life I do it cos I'm so forgetful. Take for instance this evening I am race director for the mountain race in Tibradden. There are lots of duties for a race director and the organisation involved has the duties on their webiste. But there are always other things to remember in a practical sense so I've been busy making lists this morning of all I have to remember. They're not always neat and tidy lists, I quite like it when they look a bit scruffy.
The busier I am the more I need the lists. I'm useless at remembering things like what day Grace has home economics at school or when Tony will be away. But there are other things I never forget such as numbers. My husband calls me "Rain Man" as I never forget numbers; credit card numbers, RSI numbers, hotel booking references etc. If I say a number once it never leaves my head. Kinda useless in this day and age where we can store everything in our phones but Tony finds it amusing....

Monday, June 25, 2007

Zoo Day

Day 3,456,674 of miserable, wet weather. The greyness continues. But we got a semi-good day Saturday so we spent it at the zoo with the kids. It was brilliant! All went well and by the end of the day the shyness of the 11 year old had begun to dissipate a little bit. It's lucky I run around so much cos it was my job to stick like glue to the 5 year old who just flitted around everything like a giant blond butterfly! We had a picnic , which was the only time it rained but it was actually ok under a tree! Really! You have to be thankful for the small stuff!
We got home and printed out all the photos we had taken and made a scrap book for them, the 11 year old loved this.
The 5 year was buzzing around the house like a tornado! He loves his room! Thursday night will be their first sleepover which should be fun. They have no school so we will plan something. All suggestions welcome, bearing in mind the little boy won't sit still so a movie is out.

This is my last Monday morning at work. I have some stuff to do but can't get motivated cos I know I'm leaving. I better go do something besides blogging!

Funny things the 5 year old has said so far: "Where did you buy your hair?" He said this to Grace whose hair is so beautiful people think it's extensions, I guess he does too.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday fluff! Woohooo!


Thanks to Midget Wrangler I've decided to become part of the group blog For Nine Pounds! Go and have a read, it's a great laugh. I haven't written anything yet! What to write..what to write....?

Only a few more days of work for me....ever....oooh that's scary! This is my last ever Friday as a builder!

We had our second meeting with the 2 new arrivals yesterday and again it went very well. They came to our house and saw their two new rooms. The little boy was thrilled, kept asking, is this mine? is that mine? Like all 5 year olds there was questions every ten seconds being fired at us! He's so funny. He has this permanent cheeky grin on his face, never stops smiling! He got very excited by his school uniform that I had gotten for him, he even brought it home to show his other foster family. I had completely forgotten the simple things that excite 5 year olds, like seeing a train; he nearly leapt out of his car seat, or even an airplane, we passed the airport a couple of times.

The 11 year old was much quieter, but seemed very happy with her room. It's all girly and pink with lots of places for possessions and photos and things, so she spent lots of time there fixing the things she had brought over to our house, the stuff she was planning on leaving there. Circumstances have probably affected her much more than him and she has spent years raising him so it's now her time to just look after herself and eevn act like a child herself for a while. It was a very tough day for her as it was her last day at her old school and she loves her teacher, so she was quite sad about that.

Next visit with them is Saturday for a whole day. We had planned on going to the zoo but the weather is craptacular (thanks Jothemama) so I'm not sure. Big moving in day is getting closer: July 12th.

On a completely different topic: this time 17 years ago I finished my Leaving Cert and headed to Glastonbury! And the world cup was on and life was completely different and I had a brill time and saw things I'd never seen before and never have since and it was brilliant. I don't know what Glastonbury is like now but back then anybody of any age could happily walk round the dozens of tents with all different types of music. There was food from every corner of the world not just overpriced burger bars. There was even lots of kids there. Now I wasn't exactly roughing it because I was working in a beer tent (yes we got free beer and cider) and we had proper showers but my Glastonbury experience is still one of those memorable times I think of and smile :-) . Not like my experience soon after of Irish festivals which seemed to consist almost entirely of very drunk 14 year olds in comas on the side of the street.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Be Careful What You Wish For.....


If it wasn't for blogging I don't know how I'd sort out all the mush that goes on in my head. I have so much going on at the moment that at least when I sit and write some of it down it kinda straightens out a few of the issues.
I ran last Sunday in a trial race for the Irish team for the European Mountain running championships and managed to gain a place. Luckily for me it wasn't downhill (just 3 miles uphill) or I'd never have managed it but uphills suit me. Anyway gaining this place has left me a slight feeling of sadness of what I will be missing out on by accepting this place (which I have accepted BTW). First let me say that an opportunity to run in an Irish vest is a HUGE honour and I am very pleased and grateful to be able to run and will be very proud on the day itself. But this is a personal blog not a running blog so here are some of the issues: I will miss out on my best friend's wedding.

We've been friends since school, she's one of those people I admire most in the world, she's getting married in her own unique and special way and I am going to miss it. I phoned her yesterday, than called up and broke the news. She was very understanding, as all good best friends are, but I am so disappointed. So disappointed was I, that I have offered to make and ice her wedding cake. Never having done anything like this before, you could think this was a huge pressure but I'm actually looking forward to it. As long as the cake is unique to her and doesn't poison anyone I actually know she will be happy. So all is good, but if you have any helpful suggestions post them here. She just wants a sponge cake (I know I know it means it has to be cooked right before the wedding and not weeks beforehand but I'm off work) and (rough) butter icing, 3 layers. This gives me something to think about other than the lifelong happiness of 2 new children and a race in France in which I will likely be last!

The second thing I'm missing out is running related. The next attempt on the Wicklow Round is planned for 30th June. So I miss out on being in the first group of people to complete it. And Tony will have to be without me.

The third thing I will miss out on is the next few Wednesday night races on the mountains which I was growing to love but I need fresh legs for France so will have to ease up and I was doing quite well and the competition was heating up!

Anyway the cake is the issue now. I better get googling......

Monday, June 18, 2007

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Happy Days


Just back from meeting the two kids we're going to tbe fostering. I wasn't half as nervous as I thought for some reason, don't know why cos I spend half my week being nervous before every single race but today I wasn't too bad. Myself and Grace drove down and Tony followed on.
We walked into the house and met the little boy first. He was so cute with beautiful blond hair and cute smile! He looked healthy and happy (they're with a foster family with other children) and initially he was shy and quiet. The little girl arrived home from school then with some of the rest of the family and the house was full! The two of them are gorgeous and appear to have settled into their short term foster family well. The plan is for them to be with us long term.
The little boy soon loosened up and was the centre of attention quite quickly! He was showing us his photo album and was quite chatty and asking us questions. The little girl was much more reserved, I tried asking her lots of questions and telling her about us and what we're like. It's hard for the five year old to understand what's going on. He took a real shine to Tony so that's a great start. I can see Grace and the girl getting on great, I'd say they will have music and clothes in common so that's a good start!

The other foster parents were lovely and gave us lots of advice and direction. They've been fostering for about 6 years and have done a great job, they have a lovely family; some their own kids, some fostered.
I hope it'll work out just as well for us, there's a lot at stake and I don't mean for us. These kids have had a hard life and they deserve to be spoilt rotten, but we can't do that either. I'd love if they were with us for a long time and were just like as if they were our own. Maybe that's selfish of me but I just want them to reach adulthood with happy childhood memories of raucous games of Monopoly and picnics in forest parks and summers in our holiday home and Christmases with hundreds of family members around them. Simple stuff....I feel happy now so I hope it continues. Another meeting next week in our house and a sleepover the week after. The moving in day is July 12th.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Another Week Off

brigid and andys wedding 025

Cracking weather we're having and I still have a week off work! Woohoo! Because of the sun I'm spending more time flat on my back soaking it up in the garden than doing all the work I should be doing round the house but hey, you have to make the most of the rays when you can eh? (As soon as the exams are over it'll start lashing right?)

I have done some work though: I've been trying to sort out school places for the new arrivals. We'll meet them for the first time on Thursday. Pretty nerve wracking! Have to get some gifts for them and for the foster family they are currently with.

I was blogging here and here about our all female Clonliffe team of super mountain runners. The Wicklow Way relay (120k over 8 legs) is a great event, nothing like it on the running calender. Some photos here.

Just back now from a visit to see my Dad in his nursing home. One can go from crying to laughing in seconds on one of these visits. They sometimes keep him in a chair when his level of aggression is up. It's dreadful to see him in it and also this aggression is something that was never there his entire life and is only there now because of frontal lobe damage so it's not nice. There are some funny moments too, usually involving the other residents. One of the younger ones was asking my Dad if he ever smoked a spliff, if he was a dancer, if he knew the words to "Young hearts, run free..." Luckily for us this place is a million miles from Leas Cross and is really nice actually.

Next race for me is the trial for the European Champs, which I have little chance of making but it's also a Club Championship so will give it a go. It's uphill only which suits me down to the ground because I'm not one for the downhills!

I'm just watching Bear Grylls on Discovery Channel scree running down a hill and eating a zebra which looks like it could still have a pulse. I love his programmes, he's just amazing! Right now he's getting a warning from a hippo!

Oh and the wedding was great last week. Tony's sister got married last Thursday and it was a brilliant day. I had to run out an hour and a half before the wedding and buy a new dress but at least I got one I was comfortable in.

brigid and andys wedding 031
Me and Grace and the beautiful bride.

Grace's exams are going well, thanks to everyone who sent good wishes! She'll be finished Friday!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I'm still off work and the weather is good......

Grace started her Junior Cert this morning and so far she's happy. She doesn't like English so at least she has that out of the way first. (Second paper this afternoon).
Thankfully she'll still be going to the wedding tomorrow after her exams, as she only has CSPE on Friday morning (that's Civics to you and me).

And I got my nails back this morning, thanks to the wonders of gel technology. Oh I feel so girly again, short nails just aren't me, I can now type again!

I was blogging over at Team Geared Up about the fact that's it's the perfect time to start training for this years Dublin Marathon. The beginning of June is roughly twenty weeks from marathon Monday so if you're thinking about it there's training plans in this months edition of the Irish Runner magazine.
It's 4 years since I did my first.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, June 04, 2007

We're+in+dun+laoighre


Now!

Bee's/ Wasps nest in our Shed


Found this funny looking item in our shed today. There was life in it (bee or wasp)!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Moving On

I'm trying to get back into a positive frame of mind again after our disappointment with our Round Attempt. I tried to exorcise some of the demons by running the Wednesday night mountain race last night and it went well considering I had almost 20 hours of running in my legs from last Saturday so "all is good" as Grace likes to say.


I bought this dress on line (the one pictured above) for a wedding Thursday week. My first clothing purchase on line I think. I can just about squeeze into it and considering I'm tiny I was a bit surprised! Now all I need are accessories. I'm considering green shoes. I also have gold sandals which look beautiful with the colour but cos I have muscly legs I can look like I have pole dancer legs in very high heels (you know when people who wear heels all the time develop muscly calves?). Anyway enough of that.....

Speaking of on-line purchases I made my first e-bay purchase too. I bought 45 metres of this sisal rope stuff for our newly built deck. The intention is for it to look like this:




I have two weeks off now from work after tomorrow so intend making the most of the time and trying to sort out the garden.

The kids we're going to be fostering are meeting with their social worker today and she should be showing them pictures of us and our house and the rooms we've done up for them. We should be meeting them for the first time in the next few weeks with them moving in early July. I've handed in my notice to work, which was easier than I thought, so finishing up at the end of June.

Anyway no racing for me this weekend, I'd love to be heading off to run Carrantouhil but with Grace's exams starting on Wednesday I need to be at home this weekend and not heading to Kerry. Good luck to anyone doing the Women's Mini Marathon!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tuesday Stuff

Reading Omani's blogpost about liver got me thinking about the cost of certain food/ grocery items; something Grace mentioned yesterday.
Why is it that the 1 litre bottles of Volvic usually cost more than the two litre. I know there is the convenience of 1 litre, you can't carry two litres in a normal size bag (unless it's cider in which case it'll fit neatly under your hoodie). I love those 1 litre bottles cos I drink tonnes of water and they're real handy...anyway. Also if you buy a whole chicken it's always cheaper than just buying a couple of chicken breasts, it doesn't make sense to me.

On a seperate topic I was reading Midget Wranglers account of a nice Sunday morning in Dundrum Town Centre and I thought it was great to see a nice post about Dundrum. Why do people normally slag it off so much? As I said in the comments you'd swear Dudrum was the centre of all evil the way people go on. Now I'm not a Drummy Mummy or a Lady who Lunches but I just thought the need to defend Dundrum a little bit. Probably because I spent a couple of the most stressful years of my life on the construction of it that I feel sensitive. I also have one of those 15 year olds who likes to hang around Starbucks or BT2 or whatever but so what? Grafton Street doesn't put up with half the slagging....

And while I'm pointing to other bloggers; head over to Bock's and encourage him to produce another fairytale, the last one was classic. You'll really enjoy it.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Wicklow Round

Unfortunately the round attempt had to abandoned due to sever weather. We were unlucky. I'm gutted and the tears are coming fast and furious but I know tomorrow I'll have gotten over it. And considering we spend 20 hours on open mountain my legs are surprisingly ok today. My feet I think have "trench foot" cos of the rain; lovely image that isn't it? Bet you're glad I didn't post a photo! I plan on posting properly about the attempt tomorrow.

BIG HUGE GIANT thanks for all the comments/ support and good wishes on all the various blogs.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Duvet Day


I'm spending the day in bed in preparation for our Wicklow Round attempt. I will move only to eat and blog! You can follow our progress here. Kick off is at 2am.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I Heart Blogger


I was explaining over at Wednesday Night Runners the problems I was having with flickr, wordpress and three and my mobile blogging. It seems mad that you can't mobile blog direct to wordpress without going through flickr? I had so many problems with various things, not all about wordpress or flickr or three but a combination of all of them.

So I'm sticking with blogger. All I did was take a photo on my phone, send it to blogger and they set up the blog and the whole lot. Completely painless. I'm about a week trying to sort it out elsewhere. There's also no issue with titles and the text of the post with blogger whereas flickr just seemd to disregard all the text that I sent with the photo.

So here's the new website for our Wicklow Round attempt.
Lots of test photos will follow until our attempt on Friday night begins. Then I will hopefully be sending photos live from the wicklow hills and friends and family can track our progress!

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Complete Wuss!


Well I gave the rock climbing a shot but I was a complete wuss. The fear as I got higher just got hold of me and I kept thinking "if I go higher I'll freeze so I should just come down now"! I'm really glad I gave it a go. I might even have a go on an indoor climbing wall. When I can trust the ropes a bit more I might feel better.

Photos of the group here.

And I got my new phone which means I'll be moblogging all over the shop. Well not really but I'll be testing the principle over the week over at Wednesday Night Runners with the intention of moblogging our Wicklow Round attempt over at Team Geared Up starting this coming Friday night/ Saturday morning.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Worried Sick


Sunday: Rock climbing.

To do: Cut my nails.

Me: crapping myself (not just about the nails, it's more to do with the-hanging-off-a-rock-face-by-a-rope-and-being-afraid-of-heights kinda thing)


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Party of 5


We have a meeting with our social worker again tomorrow morning about the fostering. With her will be the children's social worker as we move one step closer to being a 'party of 5'. The whole process has been going on for almost a year now and it looks like we will have progressive meetings with the two children through the next 6 weeks or so and them finally moving in with us at the end of June early July. We're lucky in the way it's all happening as it's not been an emergency situation where children are pulled from an unsafe environment and just landed with us. They've been in short term care, so now the long term care (i.e. us) can be planned properly.
The social worker had a look at the 2 new rooms we have done up for the kids. They'll have 1 each, which will be a big bonus for them as they have been sharing. It must be incredibly scary for these kids. Being landed with complete strangers. The good thing for them will also be that they will be closer to their other relatives when they come to us, right now they're a bit away and don't get to see them much.
So in the immediate future I have to hand in my notice to work, which is hard. I've worked in construction for years and absolutely love it but I want to do the fostering thing much more. I will so miss all the lads and their filthy sexist jokes, really, They're a great bunch. I find their sexism quite sweet! Construction is such a tough, honest days work, I have so much respect for those on the ground. I worked in a drawing office for years and that was so full of shite. Drawings mean absolutely nothing compared to what actually happens when concrete, timber, blood, sweat and tears come together on a site.
Anyway better get back to work....

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bright Ideas


I didn't really see the point of twitter when I first heard of it but then a light bulb went off over my head! What a great idea for my Wicklow Round. I could text in where I am and on what summits throughout the 24 hours. I'm going to also try sending photos (as suggested by Robin over at Team Geared Up) so I may just go shopping for a new phone ;-)

On second thoughts maybe I'll just stick to the photos. I'll probably have enough to be thinking about already!

Monday, May 14, 2007

A Long Weekend of Mountain Running


Look at those sexy pins! How could anyone resist? And as for the footwear...aren't gaitors just the sexiest things since support tights? The photo was taken during our last serious training session before we attempt the Wicklow Round. I was blogging about our entries being finally in over at Team Geared Up. Flickr photos from our training session here.
They're not hairs on my legs by the way. I believe I'm tough but I'm not male. They're multiple scratches from trying to bushwhack my way through burnt gorse and being stupid enough to wear shorts. I also fell down a bog hole, well one leg fell down it and the other hit the side so pain, pain, pain (for about 2 minutes).
Well we're entered now and it looks like we'll be the first to give it a go. Fingers crossed firstly that we complete it, all being safe and well. And secondly that it takes no longer than 24 hours. The big day begins in the early hours of Saturday 26th May.
Yesterday was spent runing legs 3 and 4 of the Wicklow Way relay. Again more blogging about that over at Wednesday Night Runners.

There's so little time for anything these days with all that's going on. Since the start of the year we had the Snow Race, the Connemara Ultra, the Adventure Race and coming up we have the Round and the Relay. I'm taking two weeks off work while Grace is doing her exams. Luckily for us she is studying while we're doing all this running so she doesn't mind that we're not around.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Banana- Oat-Walnut Muffins


This recipe is especially for Eric from Journey to a Centum who is just over 6 weeks away from doing something incredible.

Aisling's Banana-Oat-Walnut Muffins

2 bananas mashed up
40g of shelled/ chopped walnuts
1 cup of oat flakes
2 and a half tea spoons of baking powder
350g flour (plain or self raising)
100g of castor sugar (ordinary sugar will do also)
115g butter
2 eggs
250ml of milk
a little pinch of cinnamon and salt

1. Heat the oven to 200 deg celcius, 400 far., Gas Mark 6
2. Sift the flour and baking powder together into mixing bowl and add sugar, cinnamon and salt.
3. Melt the butter gently in a sauce pan (pot).
4. Remove from heat and whisk in the eggs and the milk.
5. When it's all mixed, fold in the flower with the mashed bananas, oats and walnut pieces.


6. Spoon the muffin mixture into greased muffin tins or else cake cases for bun size.

7. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
8. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes (if using cases, put cases on wire rack to cool).



This will make about 12 muffin size or 24 bun size. Enjoy!