A chapter nearly closed …

I did a bit of a strange thing on Saturday… strange as in something you maybe only do once in your life, and odd feelings have come from it. (This is a personal post, so if you don’t want to read it – stop here). ๐Ÿ™‚

– – –

Since my Mum passed away in November 2015, things have finally settled down. I’m down as joint executor on her estate, and we’ve finally sold her house and things are rolling or grinding slowly to an end with it all.

Almost two years after she passed away, it’ll probably all be over soon, but who knows when – hopefully by Autumn this year – it’s been a long haul.

If you know me, you’ll know I had a challenging time with my Mum from when I was about 11 or so, and the last year and a half have probably been the most challenging times of my life, dealing with the aftermath of her death. (But it’s also been getting easier as time has gone on, and people have helped immeasurably).

I’ve had to go through dealing with so much that I didn’t ever expect to, and coming to terms with who my Mum was, and with the fact that she’s now gone. But it’s nearly over now, and it feels very much in the past now.

All of a sudden over the last 6 months or so, the bubbles of upset and noise have seemed to have dissipated to hardly anything at all. And what was challenging, has faded more into the past, over all the bumps, and almost back to normal living.

For the new owners moving in, we needed a meter reading. So we can pay the bill, and they start afresh with theirs.

A simple task, to get someone – the estate agent, the new owner, or me, to go out to the property and take a meter reading as close to the new owners move in date. Simple. I didn’t particularly want to do it, in case it opened up anything again, but last weekend I decided I may as well. So it happened that I ended up just doing it. 

On Saturday, we took another few hours out of our lives again, with an hour / 36 mile round trip over to ‘Rosedale’ – the house my Mum ended her days in, to read the meter. Simple, right?

Never mind the traffic we got caught in, I knew it was coming – this was to be the last time I’d be there. And a challenging chapter in my life nearly being closed. I’d never be back to Larkhall in my life, ever again. It’d hopefully be a way towards closing this chapter once and for all.

And so the simple ‘Executor’s task’ was to be done – go in, take photos of the meter readings, send them on, have a quick check everything is ok, tidy up any mail behind the door – then leave. 

So that’s what I did.  When I was sorting through the mail I split it into four piles: 

– junk for the bin. 

– letters to be returned to sender to make sure she was taken off their list (including her voting card – I’d have thought the council would have taken her name off the electoral roll!), 

– electricity bills,

– and finally – hand written envelopes that looked to be cards (from people who presumably didn’t know, 18 months later that she’s gone).

This is the part I didn’t expect – cards – Christmas cards and birthday cards. 

A whole year and a half after she passed away. There were 7 Christmas cards (from Dec 2016) and a birthday card (from March 2017) – a whole 18 months since she died. Cards from people who didn’t know she was gone.

They wouldn’t have heard from her in over 18 months, they wouldn’t have got their usual Christmas card for at least two Christmas’ from her, and if they’d have tried to phone her, they wouldn’t have got through to her. I found it all a bit sad.

Three of the cards had return addresses on them, and one in particular struck me with the first few lines.

> ‘I hope you are well. We didn’t hear anything from you last year.’…

… then it went on to talk about how their family was and they were wishing my Mum all the best, and it mentioned that they’re keeping fit and well. 8-/

I looked at where they live and it looks like they’re not so far from where my parents studied medicine (Newcastle) so it could be that they trained in medicine together in the 60s. Or maybe they’re distant relatives I didn’t know about.

There were only a handful of people at her funeral, and we tried to get the message out, but clearly there are some who don’t know. Perhaps they’ll figure it out when they don’t get replies, which is a bit sad, but life, or death, I guess?

Now something that should have been transactional, a task, getting a meter reading so we can pay a final bill has opened up questions and decisions for me to make (again).

– Do I write to the three people I have addresses for, and let them know that she passed away in November 2015?

– If so, what do I write? (A short factual note, or one with more detail / emotion?).

– Will it make them feel bad that they didn’t know or find out that she passed away 18 months ago and they never knew or found out?

– Should I just leave it? (But then the new owner will continue to get cards in the future too).

All of these things (and many other things during the course of this whole journey), I feel like I have to make the final decision on.

I have my brother ( joint executor ) to bounce questions off thankfully, and my Dad to an extent (he might know who they are, but I have to remember his position in this too).

And I have a great support network who aren’t my family, who have pointed me in the right direction (thank you and you know who you are)…

… But it’s all stuff that takes up headspace, brain matter, emotions. It opens up pathways, thoughts and memories and questions… questions about who she was to me, and who she was to others up to 40 years before I was born, and after. (They mayve even know her longer than I knew her). Questions of why I should do any of it? 

The answer to that is, of course, because it’s the right thing to do. ๐Ÿ™‚

I think of my Granny and what she would have done, or what she would have wanted me to do. The simple answer is write to them, and be friendly and sympathetic.

Realise that it’ll probably be a shock to them, and then they’ll hopefully move on with their lives, and maybe cherish their life and loved ones even more.

So that’s what I did. 

On Monday morning, I wrote a factual but caring and informative letter to the three people who had written return addresses on their cards. Fully in the knowledge that this might open up communication, and thoughts and maybe even upset me.

Then today, Wednesday morning, very quickly, I received a reply from one of them in the post. They went to the same school, and said my Mum was ‘a good friend, very considerate and kind’.

I reached out and I got a reply almost instantly by post, from people I don’t even know, but they knew my Mum, probably three or four decades before I came into her life. It’s hard to even imagine. 

Their reply was so thoughtful and caring, what you’d expect to read from someone who cared. Someone who was being careful about replying to someone who was bereaved and lost their Mum.

Only this situation is so different for me… so different from the usual mother/daughter bond or relationship, so hurt and torn … and just as I expected, I cried a little when I read it. 

Just like others, they remembered her so differently to how I knew her – and it’s hard to have that brought back again. 

Never mind all that – all of this stuff I’ve done, that my brother and I have done, it’s been tough. You could say I didn’t need to do any of it, but for me, no matter how uncomfortable it was going to be, it was my place to do it. And I don’t regret it one bit.
For my family, for my Granny and for my Mum – being joint executor for my Mum’s estate has been my final act for my Mum, as a grown up – despite the past, despite who and how she was to me. (My brother and) I have risen above it all and done it.

Executor duties or simply things that need to be done or decided. From picking the flowers for her funeral, to deciding what to do with her jewellery other things and sorting it all out, and more, I did that. 

I did it all so that this all gets laid to rest – so that she gets laid to rest. And all of the other stuff, just needed to be done – my brother and I, we’ve got through it together.

I guess it’ll all be over soon, and when it is, I’ll look back and be glad I did what I did, and know that I’ve done my best. The chapter will close soon I’m sure.

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Sore today but ‘Motion is lotion’…

I remembered tonight why I don’t often make myself run ‘fast’. The after effect or hangover… on Monday I ran faster than I normally would – a 10k time trial in just over 48 minutes. (Faster than my comfy 55-60 minute 10k).

Before I ran, I noticed some shoulder pain in my right shoulder – perhaps a little stress or nerve pain. After the run, it was all loosened off and I couldn’t feel it.

My avg HR was 159, max 174, and I was working hard for most of the 48:28 minutes. Avg pace 7:49 min miles. Running into the wind at points I really noticed it and had to push hard to keep the pace up for the duration.

When my Garmin got to 6.2 miles, I gratefully stopped and recovered for a bit after it, and felt like I’d twinged a muscle in my lower right shin. It was ok, but it niggled for some of the day.

That run was on Monday morning, then I had a day at work, and did a recovery easy run on Tuesday morning…

Tuesday morning – my shin felt fine, so as planned another 10k, but this time just over 10 minutes slower… 10k in 58 minutes. Avg HR 134, max 151. Lovely and comfy. Much nicer than running fast.

Now 2 days after my fast run, I’m sore. The pain in my shoulders is back. My shins, my calves and my thighs are sore.

I need a morning off running / a lie in – and I’m going to get a massage tomorrow too. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s funny how a little change in training can have such an impact on your body. (I’m not quite running like all you amazing people who ran the Stirling Marathon at the weekend)…

Hopefully it’ll mean something is working for me / making me stronger / more used to running fast.

I’ll get some good sleeps for recovery too, and as Sandra Beattie said to me on Sunday (with one of her big smiles):

> ‘Motion is lotion’

…so I’ll get some walking in tomorrow too.

(Thanks to Sandra for sharing that great phrase with me on Sunday!)

Mon: 10k time trial
Tue: 10k easy recovery

Here’s the plan (just over 30 miles to do to get to ๐Ÿ’ฏ mile ๐ŸŽฏby end May):

Wed: Rest (walk) + Coaching PM 5M
Thu: Rest
Fri: 5-6M
Sat: 15M
Sun: Rest
Mon: Rest
Tue: 5-6M (intervals or 10k TT)
Wed: Rest

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Wk19 into Wk20

This week has been a little light on the running… just over 12 miles across 3 days in total and 4 rest days. Maybe I can say it’s been a good rest week. ๐Ÿ˜‰

As predicted, I haven’t been forcing myself to do intervals or temp runs, but next week I’ll make an effort to step it up.

We had a long weekend away, and did a short half hour run across the Forth Road Bridge on Monday, then Tuesday was a day off and Wednesday was back to a busy work week. If I didn’t work I’d probably be more motivated to get my feet and body out the door for a run!

We came back from our travels to our 10k numbers through the post. 2 weeks to go now, so I’ll spend the next 2 weeks getting my running up to scratch hopefully.

This week someone I used to coach got back in touch with me for more coaching. I’m going to call her Vegan Teacher (because that’s what she is). She’s also a very determined person who seems to be a very all or nothing person (a bit like me)… and she’s training to do the Glencoe Marathon, and 2 half marathons before that.

I met her on Thursday for our first session and helped her with motivation, her training plan and did a short run with her. I think she’ll do great, she just needs to get back into it and give it some focus. It’ll be great to help her along her journey.

My own other target is 100 miles a month, and I’m doing ok for that. ๐Ÿ’ฏ miles ๐ŸŽฏ

I’m just back from 6 miles with Fit Girl this morning. Up to Kelvingrove and back.

After today’s run, I’m at 57.2 miles run, with 10 days to go from Monday – that’s 42.8 miles to go:

Wc22 6.2,5,5,4,15

Wc29 6.2 + cool down

I’m coaching in Wednesday Thursday next week, which will be run the runs in bold, then on the Mondays I’ll do tempo or 10k time trials. Putting a bit more effort into it.

I’m doing an easy long run with my ( crazy ) friend Lesley on Sunday – running from Balloch and back. That should be great fun, as long as she doesn’t push me in a river or a canal for my cheek. ๐Ÿ˜‰

This month has been consistent enough with my running, but I need to pick it up again for more consistency next week. Out the door for 630am unless I’m coaching that day (evenings). Just do it. Get it done.

I’ve also bought some new books that I’m gong to make an effort to read daily too. ๐Ÿ™‚

After the 10k is done I’m looking forward to mixing my running in with building in my strength training again. It’ll need some focus for me to get back into it and make it a habit, but I’m hopefully going to do it.

I’ll leave you with these lovely scenes I saw when I walked home on Tuesday night at 9 after my 3rd evening class at the science centre – the Universe for Beginners.

It’s ยฃ50 for 4 x 2hr sessions, but I’d highly recommend it. Last week it was a bit mind blowing, telling us all about our universe and how much of a tiny speck it is in the solar system. It’s enough to make you go a little crazy if you think about it too much.

The last class is on Tuesday next week and it’s all about the Big Bang apparently. It really makes you think how small we are, but also how special every single one of us are or can be, too.

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Wk19 into Wk20

Last week I did just 3 runs, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday – runs with others including a coaching session on Wednesday and two runs in the Southside the other days. A lazy day on Monday, a long day (and a rest day) in Edinburgh on Thursday and a weekend of rest too. I must have needed it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

(I’m 44.6 miles into the month and I’ll be at about 48% of the way through the month – on the 15th – and will do 4-6 miles on Monday so I’ll be up to date with my monthly 100 mile challenge).

I’m a bit off track with my 10k training – no interval training – but I had a feeling that might happen. I prefer social runs over speedwork, so hey ho. I’m ok with that.

On Saturday I worked to nearly finish the Garagym … we got some white units which we might try in there, but I’m not sure it’ll all fit in so we might go back to basics and not use them.

We got light and electricity in anyway, and it’s nice and bright. I moved my weights in on Saturday… (and luckily I’m not sore from moving them – phew!).

I’m going to get a smaller bar (5ft instead of 7ft) and get a few more black gym mats (squares which fit into each other). FB funky flooring, 4 squares = 16 square ft.

My plan is to start strength training again in June after the 10k. I’ll still do 3-4 runs a week and do 2 strength sessions – on Monday or Wednesday, and on Friday or Saturday.

I might do ‘Insanity’ on a small DVD player, or I might do bodyweight intervals and kettlebell circuits (from my phone) to start off with (25-30 min sessions).

Back to running next week and my plan for training is as follows:

Mon: 4-6 miles easy
Tue: Rest
Wed: 52 min threshold – 10 min warm up, 15 min Z4, 2 min recovery, 15 min Z4, 10 min cool down. Thu: 4 mile easy (coaching).
Fri: 12 miles (or rest)
Sat: Rest (or run 12 miles instead of on Friday)
Sun: Rest

That’ll be 71 miles for the month by 21st (68% of the month), so if I do all that I’ll be ahead of my 100 mile target for the month.

Looks like I’ll be running across a big bridge tomorrow. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Top Thursday

Today was a good day. Some days it just happens, things all fall into place, and it works. If Carlsberg did Thursdays at work, this would be one of those days. ๐Ÿ™‚ When you get to be good at your job and deliver good outcomes – it feels good.

I was up early for the train to Edinburgh to do interviews for a role at BBC Scotland, interviewing people I know through booking them to work on Radio Scotland. Giving them the chance to tell us why they’d be best for the role, hearing their stories, and learning more about them. 

Recruiting through a fair process and hopefully getting the best from them in the interview. 

I got the early train to get into the office about 9. On my way to the station I got a message from someone who asked for coaching and motivation, maybe 2 years ago. That time wasn’t right for her, but now she’s looking for my help.

I got back in touch with her, and I’ll meet her next week to start coaching her to help her be motivated and hopefully achieve a good challenge of completing the glencoe marathon.

Even the guy on the train hogging two seats, one with his bag, didn’t get to me. I posted it on Facebook and watched rage ensue at him from my friends. ๐Ÿ˜‰ that was quite funny.

He ended up getting off after half an hour so I grabbed his seat and was forward facing on the way back.

After the interviews I made it my mission to tell all of the candidates what the outcome of the interviews had been and offered feedback.

I had another meeting at 4 I had arranged and had a good chat with the person, before getting back to all the candidates. I thought it would be good for them to know tonight if they could, rather than them waiting for tomorrow. They all seemed to take the news positively.

I ended up being able to offer a couple of bits of work today, plus some more from other parts of my job. It reminds me what’s important, and how much I like working with people. I caught up with the emails I’d missed all day, then started the commute home.

One of the last to leave the office, but a really good day at work.

Now on my way home on the train, it’ll be over a 12 hour day door to door – but I’ll have met all my steps and Apple activity goals. ๐Ÿ™‚ (even on a ‘rest day’). And the weather is pretty nice too – blue skies and sunny.

When I get home I’m hopefully going to get to open a present Fit Girl ordered me – a new Rainbow Ring from Sheila Fleet jewellery – an early birthday present and a replacement for a rainbow gem ring I got in San Diego a few years ago (and most of them gems have fallen out of). Lucky me, can’t wait to open it and put it on!

And finally, we got light and electricity into our Garagym today too!

All good and like it was all meant to be. Even a nice sunset on the walk home. 

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Wk18 into Wk19

Last week’s running was a little more consistent with 4 runs including one interval session (on my own) on Friday morning. I still had three rest days, on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

Just over 26 miles in a week will keep me well on track for doing 100 miles this month again. So all good.

Here’s what I did:

Mon: Rest
Tue: 6M easy
Wed: Rest
Thu: 8M long / easy
Fri: 47 min intervals
Sat: Rest
Sun: 7.1M easy

The weather has been really nice, nice and sunny but not too warm first thing. Today was the first time it felt hot, and it warranted shorts and a vest for the first time this year.

Other things I got up to last week was getting on with the Garagym … the floor is dry, the bikes and shelving are up, I’ve got a couple of temporary lights in there, along with 1.8 metres x 2.5 metres of gym flooring, a step and other bits going in there.

A TRX, and a step, some exercise mats, resistance bands. We have an electrician coming soon, and he’ll fit a long bright led light, 2×2 sockets and a light switch. Then once all of that is in, I’ll love my weights in and add some more bits and pieces to finish it off. ๐Ÿ™‚

On Tuesday night I went to my first evening class about The Universe at the science centre. The planetarium was busy an the host did a good two hour session and the stars, and planets. It’s good being reminded of what I know, and learning more. 

I might be looking out for Jupiter snd it’s moons some time when I’m up late and the sky is clear. 

Friday morning on my run this week was good – the sun was splitting the sky…

The endorphins from my speed / interval session must have been affecting me as I took a smiling run selfie after it. It’s nice living and working where I do. 

Anyway, here’s the plan next week. I’m in Edinburgh with work on Thursday so that will be a rest day. I’ll probably finish the Garagym on Saturday, and Sunday will lead into a few days off work.

So here it is:

Mon: 55 min threshold – 15 min warm up, 15 min HR 148-166, 15 min HR under 140, 10 min recovery.

Tue: 60-90 min easy

Wed: AM 55 min intervals – 15 min warm up, 10x 2:1, 10 min cool down. PM run coaching

Thu: Rest

Fri: 2×2 mile intervals: 10 min warm up, 2M fast, 10 min recovery, 2M fast, 10 min cool down.

Sat: Rest

Sun: Rest

(A bit of a change from below, but still 4-5 runs in a week).

The workouts are all set up in my Garmin so I’ll just select them from my training calendar, or simply start my Garmin for easy run.

And I’ll create a new one for coaching on Wednesday night with Audrey:

45 minutes:
10 min warm up
3 x 5 mins fast: 5 mins recovery
5 min cool down

Aside from running, I’m thinking I’ll start strength training again after the women’s 10k in June – Use the Garagym to mix it up a bit and do some body weight and weighted workouts along side my running hopefully.

This last week we also saw some nice sunsets … more to come I’m sure… ๐Ÿ™‚

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8 years since my best choice

My best friend is 38 years old today…maybe not significant in itself, but if we go back to her 30th birthday, 3rd May 2009, it marks the last time I had an alcoholic drink.

One was never enough, and I’d go through periods if binge drinking which wasn’t good for me, so I decided once and for all to give it up.
Now 8 years on and giving up alcohol is easily the best choice I’ve ever made. I’m stubborn, so I don’t think I’ll ever drink again. I’ve now spent over half my life off it, and I feel great for it.

I’ll raise a glass of soda water to that! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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