We are married!!!

So on Friday 9th June we walked down the isle and said “I Do!” It was the best day of our lives

The day started early for Emma! Emma and her sisters arrived at the Olde Bell at 7.45am and straight away ordered a big fry up and pastries (perfect pre wedding food) Lottiey then arrived at 8.30 to start prepping for hair, Lauren and Zoe arrived at 9 for make up and Nat arrived about 9.15! Lottiey and Lauren did a great job of everyone’s hair and make up 😃 Mum arrived at 10 and looked very sexy in her gym kit 🙂 


After a mad rush at the end as everyone was eating we all got ready and had some beautiful pictures on the balcony.

Russell arrived at 11:00(ish) and the mad last minute organisation began…showing the venue what music we wanted, only to be told their stereo didn’t work. 45 minutes of frantic tweaking and some very direct instruction from a Russ and they went and took the stereo system from elsewhere in the hotel! In the meantime, the lads party went to get ready and ended up with some very flattering photos…ahem. Apart from some slight buttonhole based drama, all went according to plan and it was off to the bar for a couple of beers to calm the nerves!

After some slight technical hitches (the venue playing the wrong song twice), at 1.30(ish) Emma started walking down the aisle to the Jurassic Park theme Tune. Russ of course was in tears the whole time. The ceremony was beautiful, the registrar was great, Hollys speech was really good, it made Russ cry again, as too was Russ’ families, which again made Russ cry haha. 


After the ceremony we did the throwing of the confetti, had some drinks and Russ and myself went for a few photos with Alistair our photographer. I started feeling a bit unwell durning this 😦 stupid cold! 

Dinner started at 4, it was very yummy, goats cheese and caramelised onion tart, chicken with some yummy potato thing and crime brûlée. Now onto the speeches, Dads was really good, he got a bit drunk before and had to go for loads of wees and even some fresh air, but you couldn’t tell and it was really good! Russ’ was lovely too, right from the heart and made loads of people cry. Andy’s was quite tame, he was nice to Russ (thankfully) haha.

After dinner we went for some more pictures, again I started feeling a bit unwell during this and got the hump haha, but they will be worth it in the end 🙂 (stupid cold). Russ was very patient throughout this despite a lot of moaning on my part…


It’s now 7pm and the evening guests are arriving! Ahh this means it’s almost time to cut the cake and do the first dance! I started to get really nervous just before, but it turned out really well and everyone was surprised! Russ was ok nerves wise, he’d already had plenty to stress about throughout the day so this bit seemed relatively stress free by comparison!


The band then started after and were really good! We made a really good choice! Alistair set up his pictures on the tv and they were amazing, we made the right choice going with him! Can’t wait for all of them to arrive! 

Before we knew it it was midnight and time for everyone to go home 😭 the evening was great, most people were up dancing all night and we even had a massive conga line going at one point! The photo booth was a great hit and I’ve seen loads of photos flying around of people looking silly!


At 12, after it finished everything seemed to catch up with me and I was exhausted, I couldn’t want for bed, I was more worn out than after the 22 mile run we did earlier in the year! Weddings are hard work!

After a not very good night sleep, we got up and had breakfast with everyone who stayed over, and then went for a walk along the river, that was lovely!

I wish we could do it all over again…but maybe give me a week to recover first…

Soph and Stew came to stay…but they bought pizza so it’s ok

The weekend had taken its’ toll so Monday brought with it that much loved commodity….rest!

Tuesday kicked off the week of training in style and meant Coach P’s Hills of Doom with Tom and Tara followed by 4 reps of Lucozade hill.  It was a bit of a rough day of work but, we still made time for the gym on lunch to provide some much needed release.  Russ programmed the session this time and, as a result, this meant a lot of legs….jelly legs.

Wednesday was a “cross training” day (i.e. do what you want and just have fun) so off we went to the new Oakwood climbing gym.  A great session was had by all with everyone working on some tough problems and making great progress…although we did all leave with very sore hands and Russ had some pretty tasty blisters.  It also meant some more filming for the Power of Eight, this time starring Tom and Grace planking like crazy!

Thursday brought with it another morning run…and another hill session!  This time we followed Grace’s plan and headed over to the Lyon Valley and Tom’s Big One for continuous hill repeats.  It hurt, but was a great session all in all.  The afternoon gave us unexpected guests in the form of Soph and Stew who came to stay for the weekend.  To show off our culinary prowess we made homemade wraps 🙂

Friday was another rest day (enforced rest this time as we didn’t have time to train).  Soph and Stew were still here, but they bought pizza for dinner so all was forgiven and they were welcome.  We also had to bake a cake for Russ’ Mum’s birthday party….this did not go well.  Our first attempt involved a new recipe which, not only did not really rise, it was also very wet and semi-raw in the middle…so we went back to the old recipe!

Saturday morning Emma had her makeup trial, which meant I was left to fend for myself.  I baked the final cake and tidied the house (the rock and roll lifestyle that I lead).  During the afternoon, we started decorating the cake with a mascarpone cheese frosting…and it went surprisingly well.  The cake turned out beautifully and Mum had a great time at her birthday party 🙂

Finally, we capped off the week with a 7 mile run round Swinley with Andy, Jade and Paul.  Andy led the route with which meant it was unnecessarily hilly route.  It even included running up Surrey Hill just to run back down again…the pain!  Frosty enjoyed his porridge breakfast though 🙂

Hen parties, mountain biking lessons and a bank holiday 😃

Hello, this week its Emma writing rather than Russ so expect bad grammar and spelling mistakes 🙂

The week started off with a lovely run round the forest with Andy and Russ…it was boiling! Luckily we only did 5 miles, Andy went on to do 8!

Tuesday – I wanted to do a dualthon before work but Russ banned that (and I didn’t get out of bed!) 😥 so instead we did circuits at lunch. It was my session so it was a hard one, I think most people wanted to die at some point! After work we had a restful evening as we both had important work bits to do (boo)

Wednesday – Missed out on the morning session with Grace and Tom in favour of getting a good night’s sleep, instead we had a rest day and take away Prezzo in the evening, it was so yummy. Its good to be fatties sometimes 🙂

Thursday – It was a busy day at work but after work we went to the Look Out for a lovely bike ride, half the trails were closed though so it felt like we spent a lot of time climbing uphill to just ride down again, but still we got a few new PBs on the blues and found a new little drop to play on.

Friday –  We had half a day of work, which was lovely 🙂 In the afternoon we had a mountain biking lesson at Tidworth! I didn’t feel like I learnt too much as I didn’t click with the guy but Russ learnt the correct technique for jumps and drops. When we got home he taught me using simpler cues and it clicked, can’t have him being too far ahead of me!

Saturday hen party day!!! Saturday started off with a few hours of tidying and cleaning the house ready for everyone coming over at 3, I’ve never seen the house so tidy! After cleaning, we decided to go for a run in the Look Out where I picked the hilliest route I could think of.  We went faster than usual too and, therefore, the run was super hard and we both got super sweaty.

After a quick change and shower everyone arrived for the hen party at 3! Mum, Soph, Holly and Becca did a great job of making the house look the part and picked some great games. We had pin the Willie on the Russ, Willie twister and dress up toilet roll Mummy, Soph also made an amazing cake and different flavoured chocolate willies.

After the garden party we went to a Greek restaurant in Windsor, the food was yummy and after we had finished eating, we pushed the table to the side and danced all night to cheesy Greek music. Everyone had a great time. I even stayed out after like the cool person I am. Finally, at 2am Russ came and picked up Grace and I and we went home for what I hoped would be a really long sleep…..


Sunday – I didn’t get my huge sleep, my body clock woke me up at 7.30 wide awake (why can’t I feel that awake on a normal day?!) Dad came over in the morning and we went for a lovely bike ride round the countryside and into Windsor. It was Dad’s longest ride of the year after being ill since about Christmas. After the ride we made tacos and Dad popped off to Nans. We had a nap haha.

Monday – As its was a bank holiday I’ll talk about what we did on this weeks blog 🙂 Monday started with more house tidying (yay) after the hen party.  Once we had that all sorted, we decided to go for a mountain bike ride in the Look Out, It was boiling hot again and super sticky!  We decided to push it though and both got a few PBs and had the chance to practice the new skills we picked up on Friday. I even did some jumps I’ve never been able to do in the past!

The Race is on!

After a hard weekend of mountain biking, we decided to take Monday off and let the bodies recover 🙂

With the sun rising on Tuesday, it was time to get back on it…not until lunchtime though. Tuesday lunchtime saw a return to the usual gym sessions, with coach Grace leading this time round.  A mix of classic BBG and random leg exercises, followed by the classic Emma Bum Burner meant a healthy case of jelly legs was had by all.

Wednesday was race day (maybe we shouldn’t have trained legs the day before…) so after a far too large dinner for race day (whoops) we headed off to the Forest 5, cupcakes in hand.  Emma and I both started optimistically and had good races despite a couple of less than ideal situations (I felt sick for the first few miles because I was so full of dinner and Emma managed to choke on nothing and have to walk).  Despite this, I managed to bag a 20th place overall and with it a free t shirt from RunFace, whilst Emma absolutely smashed it and brought home 3rd lady!  I couldn’t be more proud of her and she even got a really cool trophy out of it (but no free t shirt, haha).

After a legs day on Tuesday and a race on Wednesday, the legs were feeling pretty sore so we decided to take another rest 🙂

Friday and we were feeling a little bit better and had recovered from running on super full bellies (it led to lots of cramps later on…stupid bellies) so off to the forest we went for a run with Tom.  Nothing overly exciting, just a really nice run to start the day off right and set us up nicely for the day ahead.

Saturday was cross training of a very different sort….after a slow start to the day it was off to our private ballroom dancing lesson!  If I do say so myself, we did surprisingly well and will be ready for Strictly in no time.  We haven’t mastered the big lifts yet, but we’ve got 1 or 2 more lessons so there’s still plenty of opportunity!

Finally, on Sunday, the weather cleared and we were off for a bike ride.  Being the supportive friends we are, we were accompanying Katy and Simon on Katy’s ironman training – this meant 3.5 hours in the saddle.  The longest ride of the year for me!  We had a lovely ride, out the back of Warfield towards Windsor, over towards Henley and back again.  57 miles later and we were home, having well and truly earned our BBQ later! I ate too much and got told off, no change there!! 

In other news, wedding prep is coming along very nicely and the last few bits are falling into place.  The postbox is built and ready to go and the bunting production line is running smoothly.  I searched all over the internet for a template for the postbox front but had no luck…the cheapest I could find was about £20 which is just ridiculous.  So I made it myself in Google drawings, I’ve attached the link below for anyone else who wants to take a copy and make their own!

Postbox Template

 

Northern Monkeys and Morning Runs

So…….we binned off ParkRun in favour of sleep.  So that plan didn’t happen and we did a bit of gardening instead, it’s important to listen to your body! We did go to HobbyCraft in the afternoon to get some more wedding based paraphernalia 🙂

Sunday looked like the best weather day, which meant it was a day for mountain biking.  We wanted to do something a bit different this time, so we headed off to Surrey Hills armed with the TrailForks app hoping to find some of the trails we’d heard about.  Needless to say, our efforts following the app led to a very frustrated and stressed Emma (“I can’t be bothered with all this stop start riding, let’s just go back to what we know”) and a bike ride that wasn’t going too well.  Thankfully, it was a nice(ish) day on a bank holiday so Peaslake was rammed and, instead of trying to be the self sufficient mountain bikers we pretend to be, we decided to be the hapless idiots we really are and asked for directions.  Thankfully, we ran into some friendly folk who were happy to let us follow.  We ticked off a number of the classic Surrey Hills trails including Northern Monkey, Summer Madness, Area 51 and Lovely Legs.  On the way home, we did the old favourite, Supernova, with both Emma and I managing PBs (woop woop)! Thank you to our tour guides (Colin, Paulina and other guy whose name I’ve forgotten) who managed to save a ride that was rapidly turning sour.  Now we know the way round, we can return the favour if we ever come across other lost looking bikers!

Otherwise, Tuesday was a legs circuit that left everyone walking a bit funny for a few days, Wednesday was a pre-work hill session (bleugh) and Thursday was the usual morning Swinley run (only with no Grace this time).

We have no grand plans of getting up early for ParkRun this week, but we are hoping to get out on the road bikes and continuing wedding craft (which is going great!)

Stupid Colds, Baby Animals and a Zombie Invasion…

Lucky us….we’ve both had the lurgy that’s been going round.  I had it for a week and now Emma has it….yay!

The lurgy stopped us from following our training plan, but we’ve still kept busy.  Easter  weekend continued with a lovely trip to the Miller’s Ark Farm lambing day which was amazing.  We managed to get hands on with loads of animals, ranging from massive sheep to tiny chicks (and the greatest ball head chicken ever) and, despite being “potentially” aimed at a more family audience, a good time was had by all 🙂

We then wrapped the weekend up with the usual Monday afternoon/evening spin round Swinley.  On this occasion, we decided to head off to the Crowthorne side and, after the mandatory several laps of Corkscrew, did some off piste larking about.  Trails were dry and running nice and quick.

Running wise, we’ve kept it short and sweet the past couple of weeks (stupid colds) with some hard efforts and a surprising amount of pre-work runs.  There was a gentle run to continue our exploration of the Bracknell Rambler’s Route (it continues to be a lovely way to get out into the countryside without going far), a jog round the local nature reserves and bluebell woods to admire the flowers, a hard(ish) 5k lunchtime effort, “Coach P’s Hills of Doom” and a Thursday morning Swinley run….I’m told that Windsor AC athletes will be familiar with these….Along with the running, we’ve thrown in a few circuits style gym sessions for good measure (and to keep the sexy) covering pretty much anything and everything (they haven’t been especially structured…but it keeps the muscles firing).

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In other news, wedding planning is coming together nicely.  This weekend marked my stag weekend away with some very old friends and we had a great time.  Beer was consumed, gin was consumed, wine was consumed and pizza was consumed.  No strippers though….In addition to vast amounts of general consumption, we also went to a zombie bootcamp provided by Ram Training and it was brilliant.  Basically, the Rage virus has broken out and the world is turning into zombies and it was up to us to stop it.  After some rudimentary training in Close Quarters Battle (clearing rooms in pairs with paintball guns) and restoring public order (using riot shields ad batons to “restore” order) and a trip to the medical kit by yours truly (due to somewhat closer than planned interaction with said riot shield) we were ready for our missions.

First of all, a research facility was overrun and it was our responsibility to “restore order”.  So, we got our battle gear on and bundled into the back of the van for deployment.  We were ready for the zombie horde and it was far more intense than I had anticipated!  The zombies do not hold back and we were all thrown to the floor at least a few times….it even resulted in another trip to the medical kit for myself (another cut on the same finger, well done me).  After a short (but incredibly tiring) battle with the zombies, we had regained control and returned to base. Whereupon we were informed that the facility we had just secured had survivors in it and we were to use our CQB training to clear the buildings and rescue any survivors.  Once again, we bundled back into the van and we were off.  Operating in pairs, we systematically swept the rooms clearing them of zombies as we went….though the pesky undead have a habit of coming back to life so many had to be “re-killed”!  Once we had rescued our survivors it was back to base for a final debrief.  We then headed back to the cottage for some more beer, gin and wine…saving the world is thirsty work.

Whilst, I was pursuing the noble cause of saving the world, Emma was being far more selfish and finalising some wedding plans being generally pampered!  Nails done, makeup done and a hair stylist found for the wedding.  We are all ready to go now – just need to get the homemade bunting production line back into operation and we’ll be ready for the big day!

That’s all for now, hopefully, once the lurgies are gone we can get back to a more structured training plan!  First even Parkrun on Saturday 🙂

2017…..A Failed Marathon and Tidworth Freeride

A failed marathon, but a trip out on the big bikes instead 🙂

So 2017 started off with a grand plan in mind, Paris marathon.  We put the work in and, fairly rigidly stuck to a gruelling training plan which contained far more running than we had anticipated!  So after 350 miles over the course of 3 months….life had other plans.  From about 4 weeks out a string of injuries, topped off by tonsillitis 5 days beforehand forced our withdrawal and, with that, we were able to get back on the bikes!

 

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After a short period of mourning for our failed marathon plans, we decided to celebrate by getting back to the bikes which had been left sorely neglected by our marathon training.  So we loaded the big bikes into the car and off we went, starting the season with a day trip to Tidworth Freeride.  Tidworth is a downhill specific bikepark run by B1KE in the South East of England (just outside Salisbury).  It has a variety of graded downhill trails ranging from blues (comfortable and flows) and reds (rideable with avoidable suicidal features) to blacks (unavoidable death).

A period of unseasonably dry weather meant that the trails were bone dry and even a little bit dusty (a rare novelty!).  We started off on the blues, with General Berminator being our first descent.  This promptly resulted in Holly (future sister in law) crashing on the very first corner…great start Holly.  Thankfully, with the first crash of the day out of the way, everyone started to warm up and relax into the day.  We proceeded to tick off the remaining blues and a couple of reds (including some remarkably successful jumping from all involved) before lunch.  This time last year, those wheels would have been kept firmly on the ground!

The facilities on site are very limited (it’s a car park at the bottom of a hill) so bring your own lunch!

The afternoon was more of the same, ticking off the remaining blues, a few more reds and even a go down the jump line.  However, the pants wetting terror that ensued meant trips through the jump park were short lived.  Overall, a fantastic day of riding to start the season with the general consensus being that “River Flow” remains a favourite trail!