I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo

For anybody who does not know the NaNoWriMo, the goal is to write a novel of at least 50,000 words within the month of November. Preparation work can be done before, but all the actual writing is only allowed to be done during the 30 days. In reality that means around 1,700 word every day of November.

NaNoWriMo was on my list of challenges last year and unfortunately it got left by the wayside when the blog fell into oblivion. However, the idea of writing a novel has always been on my mind, so I have decided to sign up for it this year. There is not a specific story on my mind so far, but I am quite sure that it will come, once I sit down to write. I have a general idea, but since I am not sure if the story will actually develop that way, I will keep that idea a secret for now.

During October, I received a prep email that prompted some serious reflection on my part. It contained a “Monthlong Novelist Agreement and Statement of Understanding”. This was a document to sign, in which the novelist agrees to stop all self-critique during the month of November and to basically just write and write and write some more. This struck a chord with me, because I think I am notorious for criticising myself and to never be satisfied with the result.

My plan for this month is to carve out time with my keyboard every day, write whatever pops into my head, and then, after the word count is noted down, to close the file and not read it again, until the end of the month. In a way this is quite different from the blogging process, since for this blog, I need to review every post multiple times before posting, to make sure that it is really what I want to publish out into the world. Since my mind is quite random, I am convinced, I will not write the novel chronologically, but rather start at different points in the story and then piece them all together in the editing process.

For every blogpost during November, there will be a little word count added as well to keep track of where I am. November is a notoriously busy month for us (Liana’s birthday and Robyn’s christening this year) so I made a great start, but am really lagging behind right now.

You can also follow me on Twitter under @mochroifiain, I will post the latest word count every day. Right now, I am on 10,428/50,000 words! I’ll have to work hard to catch up, once my mother has gone home again, since I am about 15,000 words short of current target. Basically from now on, target has to be 2,500 words a day.

My first 5k Race – WWWP 5K

Oh my, I am so late with this post :(

I found the WWWP 5K challenge right in the knock of time, and I think it was great timing that my first 5k run actually fell during the time frame.

As I said in my last post, I signed up in a local 5k Halloween Dash. It was my first race ever and my own little goal was to come in under 42 minutes, which I believed I would be more than capable of.

On the day of the race, I had butterflies in my stomach the whole day. I was careful what I ate, as not to upset my stomach.

The race was on at 4pm, with registration finishing at 3:30. We (Stephen, myself and the two girls) left home in plenty of time, but unfortunately the signing once we got there was a little poor (which is the only criticism I have!). While looking for the Sport Center, we accidentally actually drove around the track that I would be running soon after. It was cool to see the km markers, but at the same time I was a little more nervous than before, because it was a little on the hilly side and my training runs have all been fairly flat.

We thankfully found where we need to go with a good bit of time and after registration we slowly headed to the starting line. Once there, my nerves properly set in. Everybody around me was chatting away and I have to say, some of the costumes looked fabulous! I’m kind of glad I didn’t dress up because I would not have been able to compete. Next year though, I’ll make more of an effort.

Once the starting whistle went, I quickly found my cadence with the help of my favorite running song at the moment, Renegade by Michael Patrick Kelly. I had set my Runtastic to tell me my pace every 500m, and I realized that I was going faster than the 8min/km that I was aiming for. I kept trying to slow down a little but I pretty much kept up the same tempo. From 0.5km to 1.5km was quite a tough part of the run, with a constant up and down, and then came a constant slow incline for another 300m or so. After this I managed to settle into a good rhythm and when I ran past the 4km mark, I realized that I was almost done, and decided to pick up the pace.

I didn’t quite manage a sprint for the final meters because I was too exhausted (maybe I should try to pick up the pace a little later next time), however I was absolutely amazed, when I saw my time under 40 mins! Since the race was chip timed, I know that I came in at a great 38:38mins. I was absolutely amazed with that result. 

Me very happy with my awesome custome medal

 Since then, I have realized that I was actually the last person that continuously ran the distance, and that even some people ahead of me decided to run/walk. I have to admit, it put a little damper on my excitement, but really, this is my first race and I think I did great. I was not as fast as the others, but I was faster than I have ever been before, and that counts for something.

Me shortly before crossing the finish line, courtesy of John O’Neil photography

My 5K Training – Race Day tomorrow

When I went back to running just 5 weeks ago, I was looking for the right challenge to get me motivated, and decided on a Halloween 5K dash. I still have not completely decided if I will “dress up” (i.e. wear a batman face mask that I bought). I have run-tested the mask so I will just play it by ear on the day.

I found a 5K training plan online here, that I have been following quite closely (I might have skipped a day or two). I love analysing numbers, so I would love to be able to look more closely into my run data. Unfortunately I have a little issue with my Runtastic app these last few weeks (I’ll post more about that next week) so even with the correcting of the figures that I had thought of, this would have been an almost impossible task to actually determine.

Basically, I am going into the run a little blind as to my actual performance.

Day 1: Walk for 1 minute, then jog for 3 minutes. Repeat 7 more times. (Total workout time: 32 minutes) – In reality I just ran as far as I possibly could, because I only found this plan after the run. – 3.86km at 8:18 average pace.

Day 2: Walk for 1 minute, then jog for 3 minutes. Repeat 7 more times. (Total workout time: 32 minutes) – 3.70km at 8:43 average pace

Day 3: Walk for 1 minute, then jog for 3 minutes. Repeat 8 more times. (Total workout time: 36 minutes) – 4.61km at 8:01 average pace

Day 4: Walk for 1 minute, then jog for 4 minutes. Repeat 6 more times. (Total workout time: 35 minutes) – 4.95km at 8:31 average pace

Day 5: Walk for 1 minute, then jog for 4 minutes. Repeat 6 more times. (Total workout time: 35 minutes) – 5km at 7:51 average pace definitely not accurate!

Day 6: Walk for 1 minute, then jog for 4 minutes. Repeat 7 more times. (Total workout time: 40 minutes) – skipped

Day 7: Walk for 1 minute, then jog for 4 minutes. Repeat 7 more times. (Total workout time: 40 minutes) – 4.64km at 8:19 average pace

Day 8: Walk for 1 minute, then jog for 4 minutes. Repeat 7 more times. (Total workout time: 40 minutes) – 5.2km at 8:31 average pace

Day 9: Walk for 1 minute, then jog for 5 minutes. Repeat 6 more times. (Total workout time: 42 minutes) – 5.36km at 8:44 average pace

Day 10: Jog for 35 minutes. – 5.10km at 7:37 average pace this one is definitely wrong as well

Day 11: Jog for 35 minutes. – Skipped

Day 12: Jog for 40 minutes. – 6.45km at 7:19 average pace (as per Runtastic), really more just over 5k at probably about 9 average pace

Day 13: Jog for 30 minutes. – 4.11km at 8:33 average pace

Day 14: Jog for 30 minutes. – 4.19km at 8:11 average pace

That run on Day 13 was tough to the max, with rain, strong winds, a buggy that kept wanting to steer off my path and a fuller stomach than wanted. I’m thinking, if I managed to keep that at an average pace of 8:33min/km (with a 2 min walking warmup and cooldown included) I should definitely be able to run at least that pace over the 5k on Race day. So I have set my target as coming in under 43 minutes. I will report back once it is over.

A Wicked Witch for Halloween

I started asking Liana about her costume early this year, to make sure that I had enough time to prepare everything. It’s probably really silly, but I felt like I had something to prove to myself. I like making the costumes myself, because I very fondly remember my mom doing the same for me and my sister as we were growing. Sometimes only telling her a day or two before the event that we needed costumes, and what we wanted to go as.

The last few years, there were some definite high- and lowlights with the costumes. The first year, Liana was Supergirl (and there was probably never a chunkier version). All was self-made and self designed and I loved the outfit.

The next year, I started making a Rapunzel outfit, but my sewing machine broke in the middle of the process. As frustrating as it was, this meant we really had no other choice but to buy a princess dress for her. The fabric remains of the failed dress are still haunting my crafty area.

Last year, it was all about Doc McStuffins. It was a really enjoyable outfit to make, because it challenged a whole host of different crafts. I was sewing the doctor coat, knitting the stripy jumper and colouring existing shoes purple and adding glitter. It looked great, and was really recognizable, we had a few people sing the some of the Doc songs while we were waiting in line for our traditional visit to the local tourist attraction on the Halloween Bank holiday. At the same time though, I was acutely aware the entire time that the doctor coat was not sewn very well.

For this year, Liana requested to be the Wicked Witch, which gave me the chance to reuse the pattern that I purchased for the Rapunzel dress. I found a Simplicity pattern for the wicked witch online as well, but unfortunately my local sewing store wasn’t able to order it in. To be honest though, I am glad that I didn’t buy anything new, because, the dress really worked out pretty much the way I wanted it to. There were a lot of bits from the pattern that I left out (underskirt, fusible interfacing, the cords at the front etc.) to keep it simpler and to make it more witchy.

There were a lot of new skills that I learned while I was working on this and there are a few little things that are a bit fudged, but I can absolutely live with that. Liana is currently such a weird in-between size (height of an average 5 year old, but wears at least size 6-7 years in almost all clothes) I picked the biggest pattern size. Always easier to take away than to add, isn’t it? In the end, I needed to take a little away at the sleeves and take the skit up quite a bit.

W found that out the hard day the first day Liana wore the outfit, as I had only shortened the skirt with some provisional stitches, which she walked on and ripped right out. Those were fixed by the next outing and she was having some much fun. We still have the Trick or Treating to go on Saturday, but I can already say, the outfit has been a success. What do you think?

What a scary little witch

What a scary little witch

Mid-night musings

*updated some bits that I didn’t think of in the middle of the night*

This blog has been dormant for an eternity, but right now, lying in the middle between my two snoring daughters, I am feeling the urge to put my words to paper (or rather iPhone…)
My last post is about my C25K, which is really fitting. I finished that in March last year and the in October started training for a 10K in March, which I never ran. Life got in the way in the form of a wonderful surprise pregnancy in November, which zapped every little bit of running energy that I had built up. 

My daughter (Robyn) is now 9 1/2 weeks and I have been running again since the day I was cleared by my GP when she was 6 weeks old. I signed up for my very first 5K race on Halloween which is giving me the boot up the backside that I need to actually go out and train. So far I’m taking it really slow and it’s not too enjoyable yet, but I know that soon I will start to enjoy myself again, like I did last year. 

Because this post is so random, I’m going to commit to my current goals, both fitness and personal. The order is just how they popped into my head. 

  1. Run my first 5K on Halloween (I’m loosely aiming for under 45 mins, but my main goal is no walking)
  2. Complete the Run Clare event next year, which has a 5K in January, 5 Mile in February, 10K in March and 10 Mile in April. I’m signed up and have paid, so there is no backing out. I’ll put together more detailed goals for each around Christmas depending on Fitness level. 
  3. Get back to eating healthier. Breastfeeding is making me ravenous, I eat everything in sight. I’ll have to make a more conscious effort that the items in sight are healthy. 
  4. Blog! I want to write 1-2 posts a week, about workouts and other things. 
  5. Finish Liana’s Halloween outfit. She’ll be the wicked witch of the west and the costume is almost done. Talking about that might be the topic for one of my next posts. Now I just need to figure out something small and cute for Robyn for our traditional outing on the bank holiday. 
  6. And probably the biggest one: Figure out what exactly I want to do with life. I mean, I like my job, but I don’t want to be doing it forever. It’s a job that pays the bills, not one that I am passionate about. That’s what I really want, to find my passion and get paid for it. I wish staying at home with children paid better!!
  7. A big one: I’m all signed up for NaNoWriMo. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days. If I ever have a chance to complete this, it’ll be this year, being on maternity leave and all. 

That’s me for tonight, hopefully with this post off my chest, I can now join my daughters in their slumber. 

The feeling of accomplishment, I feel …

… Can only mean one thing: My C25K challenge is completed!

It was the one that I was most hesitant to even start, because anybody that knows me, knows that I am just not made for long distance running. And yes, I am aware that I am using the term “long distance” quite loosely for 5km.

I have to admit, there might have been a few training sessions in the first 30 days of this, that I skipped, because it was much more appealing to stay on the couch, than to get up, get changed and get running. There was a point though, around the time, when the intervals became longer, that I knew I would not get away with skipping sessions anymore (apart from maybe possibly one, that I replaced with a long dog walk over some hills the next day but pshhht don’t tell anybody).

Then yesterday, the big day had come (way too soon), time to run 5km without stopping, no matter what. Luckily I had support in the form of my marathon-running friend who ran next to me the entire time and kept my mind busy by chatting away. There was that wonderful moment, at around 4.2km, when I had officially been running longer, than I had ever managed in one session. A little moment, that had to be celebrated … with running some more :).



My 5km run for C25K

A tiny bit slower than I had hoped, but I suppose I should be happy I finished, right?


For the first time I deviated from the training plan that C25k give you, in so far, as that I did not do a 5 minute brisk walk as warm up, but instead used a youTube video my fried suggested. It was so funny doing the exercises at home, because Liana decided, that she should be doing everything I did. So when I was hopping on the spot, so was she. And when I was standing on one leg, kicking the other back an forth, she was trying to do the same. Only lucky that the dogs were hiding at that moment, I am sure somebody would otherwise have gotten a random kick with all the legs flying through the air.


So now I am giving my body a few days to relax, in preparation to my next 30 Day challenge, which starts on Sunday. This time, I will be re-tackling the 30 Day Shred and am definitely planning to make it further than the first time I attempted the program. Back then, I made it to 4 days, and then decided that I did not want to be fit. That seems to be a thought I have a lot at the moment, particularly in the middle of a run, when my whole body is aching, but this time I am smarter and know that I feel great after the workout.

Slow Progress is still progress

I am making progress (albeit slow) with my 30 projects for this month. So today is a picture post for your enjoyment of the status of the projects that I am currently working on. If you click on the pictures, the link will take you to my the Ravelry project page for each item. (And while you’re there, how about you add me as a friend? My profile is here)

I have fallen victim to a knitting block! Everything I start, feels silly and gets frogged within a few rows. I just cannot decide, what to do for the rest of my 30 projects. Quite frustrating, especially because I usually have way too many projects in my head and in my queue.











Challenge No. 5

As you may, or may not know, I am starting my fifth challenge of 2014 today. This one is going to be a big different than the other challenges I have done so far, because instead of starting something new, that I haven’t done before, this time I am picking something up that I love doing, but commit to actually finish it. I am talking about my bad case of knitting startitis. I have gone through all the UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) in my storage and have compiled a list of of all that I want to finish. There are one or two that I will not finish, because they are waiting to be frogged.

Even though I have the startitis quite bad, I am not able to make up 30 projects to finish, not even close. So to make it a round number, and to make it properly challenging, in addition to the 10 projects that need finishing up, I will have 20 that I will start new and finish during the next 30 days.

The best way to follow my progress, apart from what I post on here of course, is through Ravelry. All 30 pieces will have their own project page, once they are cast on, and they are all tagged with “30fos-30days”. I will of course post picture updates of everything I finish.

For the moment, I will focus on doing some more knitting, as I need to go out and buy a few buttons for most of the items that need finishing. I cast on my first ever sock during the last week and I am looking forward to finishing the pair as part of this challenge. It is my first time knitting with yarn that thin, so my hands definitely need to get used to it.

I will leave you for today with a glimpse of some of the items that will be finished in the next 30 days, you will see them again with better pictures:


The big 20 minutes later

As you all know, Fridaywas the first of my big days coming up with my C25K. 20 minutes continuous running, I know I have talked about it before and how much of a challenge that is/was for me and to be quite honest I had very little faith that I would actually be able to finish it. But …

… I DID IT!  And I am more than a little proud of myself! I have to admit, I would probably not have made it anywhere near the finishing line, had it not been for my wonderful friend, who ran with me and kept talking away. For her it was a walk in the park, I doubt that she even broke a sweat! For the next continuous run bit, I will definitely see if she can run with me again.

This is what my stats look like when I run non stop for 20 minutes

This is what my stats look like when I run non stop for 20 minutes

Since it has been a little bit since I updated, I can even show off the next day as well. Tomorrow I am going out for day 39 of my C25K, you can see here exactly what I still have left to do.

The next day, back to intervals

Day 37, back to intervals

Is there anybody else doing the C25K at the moment? How are you all getting on?

Into the second half of my C25K

I am getting serious now about my C25K Challenge. So far, I can’t say that I am really enjoying it, but I always kind of knew that running/jogging would not be my favorite pass-time, since I have hated it ever since I can remember. When I was younger (and fitter) I liked to play sports and as part of them, I accepted that I had to run every now and then. During a match for example, it was fine, but as soon as we got to track running during training I lost my interest, and as such my motivation was severely lacking.

For the C25K Challenge for me it is all about running 5km in one go. The program seems to assume that those 5km should be run in 30 minutes, but I know that is as far out of my reach as fitting into a size 14 in 30 days. It should be in the realm of possibility, but I would really need to torture myself/my body to reach that goal, and that is not worth it to me. So, my goal will not include to run the 5km in any specific set time, but just to be able to complete them on April 22nd.

Yesterday I properly started the second 30 days of my challenge. As you can see here, I had to jog 8 minutes, walk 5 minutes, jog 8 minutes. If you are interested in my progress, and you are a member of Runtastic.  let me know, and I can add you as a friend. I have been quite impressed with the Runtastic Pro app, which I was lucky to be able to download on a day when it was free. I must admit though that while I am running, I frequently feel like punching the woman who keeps telling me “Your target pace it too low, please try to speed up” followed 5 seconds later by a “Your target pace is too high. Slow down!”. Not her fault, I seem to run too close to the water, which can easily interfere with the GPS signal.


This is what it looks like when I run too close to the water and keep confusing the GPS.

This is what it looks like when I run too close to the water and keep confusing the GPS.


As I mentioned in my last post, I am slightly terrified of the prospect of running for 20 minutes non-stop on Friday. That is pretty much 12 minutes more than I have run continuously in at least 8 years and probably even before then it was only on rare occasions. I am sure I will be very thankful for the encouragement that I will be getting from my friend, I just have to make sure to tell her that she is not allowed to let me give up, no matter how much I whine. In return I will try to keep the whining to a minimum.

Does anybody have any tips on how I will be able to make it through this challenge? The next one is starting on April 7th and I will keep you updated with details on the challenge in the coming days.