January started off grim, with the death of my main PhD supervisor.  It was pretty unbelievable.

I also travelled to Edinburgh for the Great Winter Run!

And Steph and I protested the Muslim ban at a protest in Glasgow city centre.



I went to see The Boys in the Band in London again.


I saw Stornoway on their farewell tour and I ran the Resolution Run.


Steph and I went to see David Tennant in Don Juan in Soho.


I took a solo trip to Mallorca.

I also submitted my final copy of my PhD to uni.


And Steph (and I) rescued Alonzo.



I ran the Women’s 10k in Glasgow, saw the Crucible, and graduated, making me officially Doctor Cindy!


I ran a lot.


I ran the OUTRun 5 miler and Steph and I went to Pride.


Lots of running in prep for the Royal Parks Half and I also went to Cardiff for a job interview, which I was offered and I accepted.


October was a whirlwind!  I went to London to run the Royal Parks Half on my 42nd birthday.  The following week I moved to Wales, first staying in Penarth in an AirBnB, and then moving to my flat at the end of the month!


I had a crazy 24 hour train trip when I returned to Glasgow to get Bailey and ended up staying overnight in Preston.  I also went to the theatre to see the musical Tiger Bay.


I ran the Cardiff Santa & Elf Dash.

Steph and I met up in London to see Hamilton!

I travelled to Scotland to spend Christmas with Steph and Alonzo.


So, that was my year.  Of course it goes without saying that overall, this year was a massive dumpster fire given what is going on in the world.  On balance, my personal year was pretty good, but it’s been overshadowed by the uncertainty of the world in the US and UK.  It’s frightening to live in a world where nuclear war could be started by a tweet. . .


Hopefully, 2018 will be a great year.

I never ended up posting training recaps for weeks 15 and 16.  They both were fine, but I was so busy getting ready to move to Cardiff (that will be another post entirely) that it just had to be skipped.

In all honesty, I was really quite stressed about the half, as it meant I was losing a long weekend at home packing, sorting and cleaning.  I seriously considered not going, but I’d already made all the arrangements.  I flew down on Friday, so I had plenty of time to rest and get acclimated, if resting means getting 27k steps the day before a half.

I was up early on Sunday morning, and made my way as early as possible to Starbucks first thing.  I had a flat white and muffin (a pre-run meal I know is ok for my stomach) and headed to Hyde Park via the Tube. I’d been a bit worried about finding my way (I went to Hyde Park on Saturday to get an idea of where I needed to be) but there were plenty of runners to chat to and follow to the park.

I stood in the queues for the portaloos twice (why are these queues always so long?) and made my way to the maroon corral.  There was a lot of standing around, and we didn’t cross the start until 38 minutes after the first wave.  By then I really needed a wee, but it was too late, and I focused on trying to keep a steady pace.  I managed to do so for the first 8 miles or so.

The first half of the race you are treated to the lovely sights of London, including Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben in the distance.  This was great and I felt strong, although my quads were a bit achy.  I took some pictures (most of them are on Instagram).  It’s really hard to run and grab a photo!

When I finally hit the halfway point, I was thrilled and I took a picture!


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The last half was a bit slower, and I definitely was feeling it in my legs, especially my knees.  If anything, this race has really made it very apparent I need to get the remainder of the weight off, do prehab work, and reincorporate strength training if I want to be a better and faster runner.

I also found the last half a bit boring.  You run through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, but that’s an awful lot of trees to look at (and not many of them in full autumn splendour yet!).  Somewhere, around mile 11 or so, something brushed past me (it was quite crowded on the course at that point, so I ignored it, but then realised I’d been passed by someone wearing a dinosaur costume.

I pushed on, and as soon as I saw that there was only 400 metres left, I gave it everything I had left.

I finished in 2:44:11, which is like an hour slower than every other race recap I’ve read.  While it’s a 21 minute PR over last year’s half, and a full half hour faster than my first, this time is pretty shit for someone who has been running for over 10 years.  I hadn’t yet shared my time with social media, because I feel a lot of shame over my time.  I know I could have done better if I hadn’t spent the past year spinning my wheels over losing the remainder of the weight I have to lose, so it’s no one’s fault but my own.  Hopefully, next year, I will have a better time to share.  I’d be happy with between 2:15 and 2:30, as age certainly is going to begin to be a factor.  😂

I forgot to have someone take a picture for me at the finish (I was alone for this trip) so this selfie will have to suffice.

I stood in the queue for the goodies, which, IMHO, sucked.  There was nothing I liked or wanted so, I made my way to the merchandise tent as I wanted a hoodie.  From there, I got the Tube back to the hotel (after a bit of stressing over the Tube being temporarily shut).

I would definitely run this race again (mostly flat, no hill to start like in Glasgow) and the weather was perfect, as you can see from my sunburnt and salty face! Hopefully, my next half will have another massive PR!

Please don’t forget that I’m still raising money for Switchboard!  You can donate here!


April was a pretty good month.  My hip cleared up and I had a total of 102.54 km (64 miles) for the month.

Early in the month, we went to London to see David Tennant in Don Juan in Soho.  He was truly outstanding as always and I am so glad that we got the opportunity to see him in the theatre again.

I was glad that my hip felt improved enough so that I could get my run in in London.

I drank a lot of nitro cold brew, ate too much gelato, and had a great time as always.

The rest of the month consisted of running, Pilates, and the never ending job searching.  I’m all set to graduate next month, and hopefully I’ll be able to celebrate also having found a job!

Hopefully May’s catch up will be more interesting as I’m off to Mallorca this weekend for some R&R (running and rest) so. . .

After we pet the kitties, we walked to the St. Paul’s area for lunch at Hush Brasserie.  I had a wine spritzer and a chicken Caesar salad, and Steph and I shared truffle fries with parmesan.

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Afterwards, I took a few pictures before we headed back to the hotel so I could get ready for Hamlet.

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Once I got to the Barbican, I got myself a water, a snack, and a program and sat down to people watch.  I missed breaking my drink tradition before the play but I was still worried with the random allergic reactions and the fact that I knew there was a long way to go before the interval, and booze wouldn’t help that.  I made sure to take a dorky pre-theatre selfie.

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Once we were allowed in the theatre, I went in and sat down.  I had been third row for Much Ado About Nothing, and maybe 8th row for To Kill A Mockingbird.  However, tonight, second row here felt, very, very close.  This was really emphasised once the screen went up and I could see the stage.  I was astonished.  It was the most elaborate stage I have ever seen.  I had a hard time taking it all in *and* watching Benedict, so I had to stop watching him and take a moment to take in everything I could.  Unfortunately from my seat, I couldn’t see the entire stage, especially the centre and where it went all the way back.  Luckily, this didn’t take away from the absolute brilliance of the performance.  I was completely transfixed and couldn’t believe how much time had passed once it was time for the interval.  I really hope that I get to see it in the encore performance in the cinema so I can get a different perspective.

After, I did go out for stage door, but I didn’t have any expectations (especially considering when I got there before the performance, people were already queuing up).  I did see Benedict as he signed for people across from us, but I was more shocked at some of the behaviours of the fans, to be honest.  I’m not going to talk about that here, but let’s just say I was not impressed by how some people were acting.

By that point, Steph had come to meet me and we walked back to the hotel.  She had gone to Whole Foods and got me sandwich fixings, which I hungrily ate as I checked my messages.  She got me this as part of my birthday present (so I had something to open).

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Friday was our last day in London.  I didn’t have any specific desires or plans, so we left our bags at the hotel and just walked around the Southbank area after getting another coffee at the Coffeeworks project.

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For lunch we went to Wahaca for fish tacos.  I had been craving them for days and I could have eaten twice the amount I had!

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After, we walked around a bit, poked a bit into Borough Market and then headed to Hummingbird Bakery for a birthday cupcake.

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My cupcake was delicious!  I wish I had taken a second one to bring home!

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After we went to pick up our bags before heading to Euston and the train home.

So, that’s it.  I wish the trip could have been a bit longer, so I could have done some things/seen some sights I have yet to see, but hopefully there will be time for that in the future.  I was so glad to have been able to spend my birthday this way.


No much to say about the train ride down.  It was a train.  I listened to Blake’s 7 Audiobooks and tried to doze.

We arrived in London mid afternoon on Tuesday.  We checked in and I unpacked, so my clothes wouldn’t be wrinkled.  And because we are grown adult women:

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I was still pretty sore from the half-marathon, so I knew I didn’t want to go galavanting about the city (until the following day).  We had an idea where we wanted to go to dinner, so we headed back out only to find the restaurant in question had a queue a mile long.  So we backtracked a bit and ended up at Brewhouse & Kitchen in Islington.  (If you know me, you know I was giggling.  I honestly, and I do mean this, had no idea that the hotel I booked was so close to Islington.  I really, truly didn’t.  I wanted to stay close to the Barbican, and that was really all I was thinking at the time I made the booking.  Nothing else.  I swear on Bailey’s life.)

It had all the main things we needed; a chicken sandwich for me and beer for Steph.  I had the fried chicken sandwich, chips, and a huge salad.

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After we ate, we did a bit of shopping/browsing and then headed back to the hotel.  The hotel had a pool/hot tub and we wanted the chance to relax.  I was still exhausted from the half and getting up early, so I was glad to spend the rest of the night soaking and relaxing.


Wednesday, we started the day with coffee at the Coffeeworks Project.  I had a latte and Steph had a flat white and a sandwich.  I couldn’t make a decision and ended up going to Tortilla after for chicken tacos.

Steph's flat white

Steph’s flat white

Afterwards, we headed to the Royal Exchange, where I went to Tiffany & Co to buy my 40th birthday present.   You’ll see it in my selfies from the next 2 days.  Then we headed into Soho/Covent Garden and wandered a bit.  Steph bought some tea and then we went to Amorino for gelato.  Mmmmm gelato.

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We stopped for a drink at the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs.  I wasn’t in a coffee mood, so I had a ginger beer.

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It was then time for my blowout.  In an attempt (that failed) to have something go right for something, I thought it would be nice to have my hair done.  It looked great immediately after the blowout, but wind and moving about flattened it by the time I needed it to look good.  Oh well, lesson learned.  It was nice to get pampered anyways.

From there, we went to dinner.  We went to Homeslice for some pizza.   And then it was time to head over to Southbank, but there was enough time for some selfies first.

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We headed over to the National Theatre and I got myself a gin and tonic, per usual.  And then things got a bit weird.

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For the duration of this trip, I kept having allergic reactions.  I have NO idea what caused them; I didn’t eat anything I hadn’t eaten before.  So of course, right before it was time to be seated I was as red as a lobster.  My face was numb and my neck was swollen.  I was completely panicking.  I did ask for assistance, which I normally wouldn’t have done but I didn’t have any antihistamines on me.  Of course, they didn’t either, but I was more worried about missing the play (of course I was).

Three Days in The Country was absolutely fantastic.  Granted, it’s the second time I’ve seen it, but it was just as hilarious as the first time.  Actually no.  It was even funnier the second time.  Mark Gatiss absolutely killed the proposal scene again, crawling about the stage like a crab as he tried to unsuccessfully get to his feet; at one point he looked how I am certain I had looked the week before in Pilates class.  And once again, John Simm played the unrequited lover with the utmost brilliance.

And I bet you can all guess what happened next?  🙂

I’m really, really very lucky.  There was a lot of waiting as Mark didn’t come out for almost an hour.  When he saw us all waiting, he did a doubletake and then pretended to go back inside, but he came out and was once again so generous with his time.  I was third to speak to him and Steph piped up, telling him it was my birthday.  He wished me a happy birthday and then asked me how old I was.  He must have thought that was the wrong thing to ask, because he was like you don’t have to say, and then asked me to whisper it in his ear.  (OMG!)  He had to bend down so I could (Of course; if there is a next time, I need to wear heels!)  I told him and we had a giggle, and he signed my copy of the Vesuvius Club and took a picture with me.  He wished me a happy birthday again, and I thanked him again, and Steph and I headed off/got out of the way, so that the others who were waiting could have their turns.

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Of course I was totally giddy afterwards as we headed back to get the Tube to the hotel.  We stopped to take a selfie and some other pictures.

My Gwen Cooper tooth gap is getting pretty serious here.

My Gwen Cooper tooth gap is getting pretty serious here.

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I was still pretty giddy when I got up, and excited for Hamlet.  We went to Friends of Ours for breakfast.  I had scrambled eggs, toast, and a cold brew coffee with cream.

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We wandered around a bit before our next appointment, which was an hour to spend at London Cat Village, petting cats!  It was a fun hour and a completely different way to spend part of my birthday.  I think many of them were tired when we got there, and they didn’t all want to play, especially this one, who slept nearly the entire time!

Sleepy kitty

Sleepy kitty

A very soft cat

A very soft cat

So cute!

So cute!

I was going to try to cram the rest of the trip into this post, but it’s gotten pretty long.  Part 2 will feature Hamlet and fish tacos.