This Week’s Goal + Training Log #9

family photo book page layout


Photo books 2010-2017

I did nothing this week. The husband was on holiday from work so it was a family-focused week with trips out and treats. Plus, I had a total hard drive failure, so it took me three days to reinstall everything and then download my 640GB back-up to get things back to normal (I really need to do a digital declutter). At least it didn’t happen in the middle of a work project.

My 2010 and 2011 books arrived in the post and I love them!

Photo of them so far, below. I’ll do some better ones once I’ve got them all together.

Time spent on goal: 0 hours 0 minutes


2010-11: Arrived
2012: Done. Awaiting ordering.
2013: To be started


The week started well with baby F finally over her vomit bug and starting to sleep a little better. We even had a single night of no waking, which was pretty cool. I did a great run+HIIT session on Monday.

But it all went downhill from there. Baby F came down with a viral infection that got steadily worse as the week progressed. Two nights of lots of crying with a really blocked nose were followed by five nights of fever, crying and general misery (for both of us). It’s now Monday and she’s still feverish and now croup-y on top of everything else. Two docs have checked her – she just needs to fight off the virus.

I’d planned to run five times, but managed three. And I am so worn out. I have been stuck at 30min 5kms for six weeks and I don’t think I’m going to level up until the sleep thing is under control as I’m just running on empty (literally).

Nevermind – as long as I keep doing something I’m doing good.

Mon – 30 min easy run, 8 min HIIT
Tues – Rest
Wed – 3.9km, 25:05
Thu – Rest
Fri – 5km, 30:55
Sat – Rest
Sun – Rest

This Week’s Goal + Training Log #8

Yearly family photo book


Photo books 2010-2017

I’ve had a bit of extra time this week as the boys have been at a tennis camp in the mornings. Totally random I know. There is a tennis club about two minutes from the house and they do games and other stuff as well as tennis. The boys have loved it – especially as they get to take money for the tuck shop (I’m trying not to think about how much chocolate they ate). Baby F did her normal 2.5 days at nursery, so I got a few hours here and there to myself.

Time spent on goal: 12 hours 10 minutes


2010: Ordered!
2011: Ordered!
2012: Done. Awaiting ordering.
2013: To be started


This week I thought up every excuse under the sun to stop this project and start something else. I thought a break would be good, it was too much to complete in one go, it was taking too long, and a million other things.

I’ve resisted signing up to a free trial at, and the temptation to buy several books on Amazon, on varying topics.

I’m not even halfway through and it seems like I’ll be doing this forever. 

Going to keep on plodding. Little by little I’ll get there.


The week started really badly. I was sleep deprived and I felt I was recovering really slowly from the 12km I did last Sunday. I didn’t exercise for the first three days of the week, and felt no better for it. 

On Thursday I dragged myself out for a short run, just to keep the momentum going, and it all got so much better from there. On Friday I went again and clocked my fastest kilometer yet at 5:48. Then on Saturday I tackled a hilly parkrun instead of the usual flat one and loved it.

It really helped that baby F has started to sleep a little better now she’s fully recovered from the sick bug, and that the insomnia monster has abated.

Hoping to level up next week and start adding more sessions to the week. I’ll be aiming for five.

Mon – Rest
Tues – Rest
Wed – Rest
Thu – 3.8km
Fri – 3.88km
Sat – 5km parkrun (a hilly one), 33:38
Sun – Rest

Toddler Sleep Update 20 Months

The fact that I am even writing a sleep update tells you everything, right?

But first, a quick tantrum update

I blogged a while back about the screaming from baby F that was driving us crazy. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point that has all settled down. She still has her moments, but the complete hysteria seems to have abated. We did actively ignore several massive tantrums, returning only to see if she was going to quiet down, so I think that might have been the key (ignoring also worked a treat when L was a toddler and he became obsessed with throwing things – it’s really hard to do, but it seems to be just about the best parenting strategy for horrible behaviour!).

So that’s good.

The sleep thing

Almost two weeks ago baby F picked up a vomiting bug, and as is so often the way with illness, her sleep routine has now fallen apart.

For the last few months she has been going down at around 8pm (late, I know. She hates sleep). Then, she might have a bit of a cry at around 12am/1am. Then she would sleep through til around 6 to 6:30am.

This wasn’t too bad – I tend to be in lighter sleep in the first half of the night and sometimes I didn’t need to go in, she’d just settle back down.

Now she is waking at least twice a night. She does the 12am/1am cry and then at 4am/4:30am she does a much bigger cry. I always have to go in, pick her up, soothe her, and try to resettle her.

On top of that she is getting ever more demanding at bedtime. She goes into her cot for 6:45pm. We follow a bath-teeth-pyjamas-story routine that we have done since forever. Once she’s down I start bedtime for C. He’s 5 and he needs to be down asap after 7pm because  he needs more sleep than average. He’s a great sleeper and is normally asleep within 10 minutes of being in bed.

However, Baby F meanwhile is crying on and off and calling for mama. This means every few minutes I pop in to reassure her, while also trying to get C into bed. She will be fine for a few minutes and then the crying starts again.

The husband has been coming home earlier since F was unwell, so we’ve gotten into the habit of one of us sitting with her to keep her from crying. However, it will take an hour, or sometimes longer, for her to actually fall asleep. We can see she is exhausted, as she’s rubbing her eyes and looks completely worn out. But she fights sleep for as long as she physically can. I swear, most nights, she passes out from sheer exhaustion.

Too tired to keep on doing this

The whole bedtime crying, followed by 1am crying, followed by 4am crying is taking its toll. My joint pain is getting worse as the days go by and I’m still struggling to recover from the run I did on Sunday (it’s now Wednesday). Not to mention that my patience and tolerance for everything is really low.

Last night I left her to cry at 4am, which she did for around half an hour before I finally got up, told her everyone was sleeping and came back to bed. And she went to sleep straight after I’d been in there.

It seems to me that she just has extreme anxiety about being left alone – either because she is unhappy being on her own, or because she feels she is missing out on what the rest of us are all up to in the house.

I don’t know how to solve this, and I feel awful today. All I can think about is how much I want to spend the next 48 hours in bed. Preferably sleeping and maybe watching a movie when I’m awake enough to actually have my eyes open. The lure of the soft blankets and the dark room…


Solutions, no solutions

So what shall I try? The rational part of my brain says I need to steel myself for a few nights of wailing and just ignore it. The fearful, guilt-ridden part of my brain wonders if I’m going to give her some awful sleep complex if I do this.

One alternative is that we move F into our room and see if her being in there helps. At least that might allow me to get some sleep. But then I have the problem of the cot being back in our room, which I don’t really want. And maybe going through all this again at some future point.

I know that she’s not hungry, and some days she will barely nap for 40 minutes, so she’s not sleeping too much in the day. I am certain it’s an emotional, not a physical issue. How best to calm it?

I have even thought of changing the room sharing around and putting her in with C or L to make her feel less alone (perhaps she wonders why everyone else shares a room??).

Maybe I should put all three beds in one room, and use the other room as a playroom?

I just don’t know. I am just so worn out and tired today, I can barely do the minimum required to parent three kids, let alone anything else.


This Week’s Goal + Training Log #7

Photo book cover 2010


Photo books 2010-2017

I had to overcome some reluctance to carry on with my current goal this week. I forced myself to sit down and do an hour’s dedicated work to get me through a boring sorting job in order to start the year 2010. Once I had all the photos ready to go my enthusiasm returned. In total I spent 7 hours 23 minutes on my current goal.


2010: Arranged up to December
2011: Done, awaiting printing
2012: To be started


It’s invoked some interesting emotions going through old photographs. There is something about creating a photo book that allows you to lay the year to rest. I became a mother in November 2009, and 2010 felt like a very long year. I had a traumatic birth and very little support either physically or emotionally after my son was born. Becoming a parent opened up a whole new perspective on my own childhood, which I found emotionally difficult to deal with.

I began the year with a 7 week old baby, a body I barely recognised, dreadful insomnia in the aftermath of my enormous post-partum haemorrhage (2.8 litres), and a whole torrent of emotions I’d never experienced before. I simultaneously found motherhood almost impossibly challenging and also the source of the greatest love I’d ever felt. This tiny baby I’d brought forth into the world instantly became the absolute centre of my universe, and I was terrified of anything happening to him.

Also, I put pressure on myself to carry on exactly as I had before. I wish so much I’d had a wise person to advise me that I needed to rest, and to stay at home with my baby. I wish someone had told me I needed to stop worrying about everyone else’s opinion and not feel obligated to join all the mother and baby activities and groups that everyone was always talking about.

However, as the year progressed, I can remember those feelings changing. I remember getting back to feeling a little more like myself, and a deep contentment at being a mother.

As soon as 2010 is finished I’ll be starting 2012. That was the start of a three year journey to have my daughter, involving many miscarriages. I’m sure that will be emotional, but there is still much to celebrate in that time with my two boys growing up through baby and toddlerhood to school age.


It’s been a bit of a bare week. Life gets in the way, often, of our plans to exercise and be healthier, and this week was a good example. Baby F’s bout of vomiting and diarrhoea coincided with the start of the school holidays, so I only managed a 5k race on Wednesday evening. At the weekend however, I ran my planned long run – a 12km jog around Southsea seafront.

My joint pain has been bad. This is mainly down to interrupted sleep, as it plays havoc with my arthritis.

Now I’m three months into regular running, I’d like to start exercising 4-5 days a week, perhaps with shorter runs and more hill/sprints. I’m still pretty sore from Sunday, so I’ll hold off on that for now!

Mon – Rest
Tues – Rest
Wed – 5km race 30:07 (mis-recorded, I think, as 30:17)
Thu – Rest
Fri – Rest
Sat – Rest
Sun – 12km long run

Race Update

On Wednesday I ran the 4/5 race of the Lakeside 5k series. I won’t hold you in suspense – and if you follow me on instagram you will already know that I finished in 30:17.

Am I pleased?

Well, yes. It’s a PB, so I am. But then again…

Things didn’t go quite as planned right from the start. I realised after about a kilometer or so that my Garmin hadn’t started recording the run. No problem, I thought. I know more or less what 6min/km feels like, I’ll just wing it.

3 kilometers in I was so tired. I was really feeling the lack of sleep and I just wanted to sit down and give up. I was in last place too. Why am I doing this?

Then, I got a bit of a second wind, and I pushed on. Slowly I caught up with another runner. It was a woman who looked as tired as I felt. I wanted to tell her she was doing great as I passed, but I was worried she might think I was being patronising. I felt horribly guilty as I overtook her.

As I reached the 400 meter countdown, the marshall had already taken down the signs.

Anymore behind you? He asked.

I really must have entered the wrong 5km if the marshall couldn’t even be bothered to wait half an hour to see the last runners through before taking the signs down.

The final corner approached. I knew there was a clock on the finish, so I’d be able to see my time at about 80 meters from the end. However, when I got there, there was a boy sat on a post in front of the clock. All I could see were the last two digits. It was xx:44.

I sighed inside. With the times I’d been running recently (around 30:30), I reckoned it was at 30:44, so no PB and no sub-30.

I eased off a bit and ran on to the finish, trying to get a glimpse of the clock to no avail.

I was almost at the finish when the clock came into view.

It said 30:03.

I couldn’t believe it. That meant it’d been at 29:44 when I rounded the bend. If I’d known that I’d have sprinted like mad to make it before it ticked over to 30 minutes. My heart dropped as I crossed the line at 30:07. “Seven” said the timekeeper to the person with a clipboard.

I actually felt like crying. If only that boy hadn’t been sat there! If only my Garmin had worked when I set off!

I downed a free bottle of water and headed back to the car. When I got there, my initial upset passed and the elation kicked in. I may not have broken 30 minutes, but it was a great PB for me, and a great surprise. On balance, I decided, I was over the moon.


The results for the lakeside 5k series usually come out the same evening. You can imagine how I felt when I opened the email to discover my time had been listed as 30:17.

I stared at the results for ages and decided I must have misread the clock. I collapsed into bed after a big dinner and thought no more of it. However, a couple of hours later I was wide awake. I’d eaten too late and my stomach wasn’t happy, but most of all, I was absolutely convinced that my time had been recorded wrong. I would not have misread 30:03 – the time when the clock came into view. It was such a distinctive number and so important to me.

I sent the race organisers a very polite and friendly email saying that I was certain I’d crossed at 30:07. I wasn’t really expecting them to do anything, but it eased my mind. Three days later I haven’t even had an acknowledgement from them. Not even a Sorry, results can’t be changed, but we appreciate you getting in touch.


It hasn’t left me feeling great about the race to be honest. The marshall packing up and asking me if I was the last one is probably the most hurtful thing. Running is usually celebrated for being such an inclusive and friendly sport.

There is one more in the series, the final race, on the 30th August, and I have already paid for my entry. The way I am feeling at the moment though, I don’t think I want to run it!