Thursday, September 26, 2013

Abortion Support Network September newsletter

As everybody probably knows by now, I'm training for a 10k race and raising funds for the Abortion Support Network while doing so.  Below is their September newsletter which explains why I chose to raise money for them, over other charities.

On the running front, I went out to the gym this morning and did 5k on the treadmill.  It was a mix of running and walking but i did manage to run at a speed of 10km per hour for some of it.  Go me.  I'll add another pound to my fundraising pot.  I'm rather tired now.

ASN September Newsletter: Autumn is for Activism!
  • #Sept28/#SafeAbortion
  • ASN in the News
  • Help us spread the word 
  • Women we’ve helped
  • Thank you for your support!
#Sept28 / #SafeAbortion
September 28th is the International Day of Action for Decriminalization of Abortion. While ASN is not a campaigning organisation, we have been so, so excited to hear about, and look forward to participating in, some of the events that are happening, including:

26 September, London, 6.30 pm
Consequences of criminal law on abortion: UK and Internationally
Panel discussion hosted by Reproductive Health Matters

26-29 September, Dublin
Choosing Choice: Packing Up Abortion Stigma
This exhibition, which includes a public participation piece, will feature photographic works from Rose Comiskey (Ireland), Emma Campbell (Northern Ireland) and digitised print works from Heather Ault (USA).

28 September, Belfast, 5.00 pm
Spaniard Bar Event
Alliance for Choice Belfast Social Activists will give out information on how to access a safe, legal medical abortion with pills in Northern Ireland, all over a few drinks and friendly conversation.

28 September, Dublin, 2.00 pm
2nd Annnual March for Choice
Gather as activists, as rabble rousers, as change makers - to enjoy each other’s company, to remind the world that Ireland is Pro-Choice and to remind the country that we will be here to work, speak and share until Ireland has free, safe, and legal abortion! Organised by the Abortion Rights Campaign of Ireland.

28 September, Dublin
March for Choice – After Party and ASN Fundraiser
Whether you do or don’t come to the March for Choice, there will be a knees-up in Toners Pub on Baggot Street right after the march ends! No entrance fees but there will be buckets going around for ASN, courtesy of Dublin Nights for Choice.

3 October, Cork, 8.00 pm
Public Meeting/Discussion “After the X-Case legislation – where now?”
Panel will include ASN’s Mara Clarke, Mary Favier from Doctors For Choice Ireland and Sandra McAvoy from Cork Women’s Right to Choose Group.

For more information on events happening around the world, you can visit the International Action Day to Decriminalize Abortion or the Global Day of Action for Safe and Legal Abortion.  

ASN in the News

The Nation
“Texas, Ireland, Abortion and Ross Douthat Round 2”
The wonderful Katha Pollitt plugs ASN in her piece responding to a NY Times columnist who held IRELAND up as a shining example of why Texas shouldn’t worry about making abortion illegal.

Education for Choice Blog
“Women with money have options, women without money have babies”
ASN’s Mara wrote a blog for the INCREDIBLE Education for Choice, a small non-profit that goes into schools across the UK and teaches sexual and reproductive health and education from the pro-choice perspective.

Help us spread the word
ASN is about to embark upon an outreach campaign to target the women who may be most in need of our services. Our plan is to reach out to rape crisis centres, women’s refuges and student unions in Ireland and Northern Ireland. We would also be interested in reaching out to groups helping migrants and asylum seekers if someone could help us to indentify organisations that can help these women obtain the documentation they would require to travel. If you work for or with these types of organisations, or have some names or numbers we should have, please get in touch!

Women we’ve helped

In August, ASN heard from 37 women, including:

A young woman whose family was pressuring her to continue the pregnancy . She is struggling to care for her existing children without sufficient support from her partner. ASN was able to both help with both funding and accommodation.

Three women from countries other than Ireland and Northern Ireland, seeking information on obtaining an abortion in England.

A young woman who managed to save almost £200 from her only income, which is busking on the street.

A woman who thought she would have enough money to cover the cost of her flights and procedure until her pay was cut as she couldn’t work the bank holiday.

A woman with MS who was warned not to get pregnant on her medication, who fell pregnant despite using hormonal birth control. As she doesn’t live close to a major airport, she also needed two nights of hosting and her partner had to take time off work to watch their children.

A breast cancer survivor terrified about what pregnancy hormones would do to her cancer treatment but too afraid to seek medical advice locally.

A woman suffering from depression and recovering from an accident that left her physically disabled. To add to her distress about the pregnancy, she was accosted by protesters outside her local family planning agency, who followed her down the street hurling abuse. She was able to come up with £70 extra towards the procedure by buying her kid’s school uniforms from second hand shops.  She said: "I can't make words to tell you how you have helped me. I was lying in bed, so depressed not knowing what to do. I prayed to God for help and God must have heard me because you rang."

A mother of four who came over for an abortion at 14 weeks only to be told her medical condition required her abortion to take place in a hospital setting, meaning that she’d wasted almost £500 on transport costs and had to come over again. “I used to have a job but it’s so expensive to have someone mind all the children. My partner has only been able to find work sporadically and we’ve been rationing food for the kids and have had the electricity turned off we’re so short of money. We borrowed money for the flights and that money will need to be paid back too.”  ASN was able to provide £375 towards the procedure as well as host her for two days.

We also heard from a number of young teens who were making the decision to continue with their studies rather than their pregnancies. These girls, who ranged in age from 17 to 19, did everything from selling phones and electronics to borrowing from friends to help raise funds. Some were calling with the help of their parents. Others were able to tell a friend and a few were acting in complete isolation. Thanks to your generous support, we were able to help each one of them obtain the abortion they were seeking. This was from one of them:

“My boyfriend and I are students with no income. . .I am aware your services cannot provide financial support to everyone who needs it however at aged 18 I do not feel ready to continue with a pregnancy. At the moment I am severely struggling with the position I am in, I am feeling very depressed and unable to eat or sleep. Because it is only me and my partner who knows about my situation it is a hard thing to cope with and any other support you can provide I will greatly appreciate at this time. I hope you can understand the difficult place of my life that I am in and can consider me for your financial aid.”

And in August, we heard from a woman who we could not help:

We heard from a mother in a relationship with a partner who is both physically abusive and abuses drugs, including in front of their children. The day we spoke to her she’d come home to find he’d damaged the house. She has no family, so savings and no other support. We lost contact when her battery died and have not been able to reach her since.

We thank these women for allowing us to share their stories. Please note that all monies are written as GBP regardless of where clients are resident.

Thank you for your support!
Thanks ever so much to everyone who offered us their smart phones as well as all the amazing people who contacted us expressing interest in volunteering with ASN. ASN has now received two smart phones thanks to Alisa M and will have a third turning up next month. This is extremely helpful as we grow and add additional volunteers! Speaking of which, we’re thrilled to have found some excellent people to join Team ASN! We’re really excited about some of the things we have coming up and look forward to sharing them with all of you.


Thank you again for all your support. Without you, we wouldn’t have been able to provide financial assistance, accommodation and confidential, non-judgemental information to many women who have contacted us for support.

Call +44 (0) 7897 611 593 or email

Abortion Support Network (ASN) is a charity that provides accommodation, financial assistance and confidential, non-judgemental information to women forced to travel from Ireland and pay privately for abortions in England. The cost ranges between £400 and £2000 depending on circumstance and stage of pregnancy. While other organisations campaign for law reform, ASN is the only group on record providing women travelling for abortions with the thing they need most immediately: money.

Registered Charity Number 1142120
Copyright © 2013 Abortion Support Network, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in at our website or via an invitation from ASN.

Our mailing address is:
Abortion Support Network
LondonGreater London W4
United Kingdom

Couch to 10k: Week 11, session 2

54 min. Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 4 times.

Today's run was amazing.  It felt really really good and I could feel that I was going much faster than usual.  I did 4.14 miles in 43 minutes - that's with 40 minutes of running and 4 minutes of walking. That's a speed of 5.78 miles per hour.  That's nearly 6 miles per hour which is what I'm aiming for.

On the first round of running I found that I'd reached 11 minutes without noticing it so I had my 1 minute walking, then ran for 9 minutes the next time.  On the final round I went up a very steep hill and walked the final few metres, then started running again, so added another 20 seconds onto the 10 minutes of required running.

I feel really, really pleased with myself.  For this week's final round I have two choices of when to do it - I have a gym induction tomorrow morning so could try to do the final session then, or I could go after work on Friday.  I think I'll end up doing a bit of running on the gym's treadmill, then moving to other equipment, then doing my final running session outside on Friday after work.

My legs feel OK now - they feel tired, but clean and springy.  I am intrigued as to how they will feel tomorrow morning.

I'm back to enjoying running.  The feeling of actually stretching out and taking long strides at a fast pace did wonders for me.  I didn't even have to consciously try to extend myself, I just did it.   I knew I had upped my pace for two reasons - 1) I felt differently while running, 2) I found myself going through my route much faster than I usually do.  Honestly, I whipped round!  I feel really, really happy. :)

It's struck me that I am nearing the end of the training programme and it is now concentrating on maintaining stamina and fitness.  Session 3 of this week is the same as last week's session 3.  Session 1 of week 12 is a 50 minute run, then sessions 2 and 3 copy this week's sessions (sort of).  Week 13 is gearing you up for the full 10k run, which should comprise session 3.  However I will have an extra week between week 13 and my actual race, so I think I will make Week 13's session 1 a 10k route and try to do it all in one go.  Then I can do session 2 and 3 as for week 11 and 12, and do week 13 the week of my actual race.  Does that make sense?

A reminder that the running programme I am using can be found here.

A reminder that I am using this training as an opportunity to raise money for the Abortion Support Network who provide funds to Irish women so they can travel to England and access safe, legal abortions.  You can sponsor me here.

Funds raised to date:
£37 from me - I'm donating £1 for every training session I complete.
£153 from kind, wonderful, lovely, generous sponsors.
Total: £190, towards a target of £200.

Gift aid: £38.25
Total including gift aid: £228.25

Monday, September 23, 2013

Couch to 10k: Week 11, session 1

71 min. Run 40 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Run 20 minutes.  Run done on 22nd September 2013.

Oh my gods this felt AWFUL.  So awful I decided I hated running and if I wasn't asking for sponsorship I'd give it all up now.


I'm not going to give it up don't worry.

So what went wrong?
I had to keep stopping to cross roads, either waiting for a gap in the traffic or for the lights to turn.  This broke up my ryhythm and made me feel like I was walking or standing around for ages.
I fell over.  I was running on a grass verge and rather comically went splat straight forward onto my front.  I did not get hurt, just was a bit sore.
I wasn't familiar with the route I was doing and that always makes things feel harder.  Plus the road I was on seemed to go on forever and ever and ever.
At the 30 minute mark I had to stop and walk for a couple of minutes because it was too damn hard.
The one minute walk between the 40 minute round and the 20 minute round turned into a 2 minute walk.
On the 20 minute stretch I was running through town and pedestrians were getting in the way so I ahd to slow down and walk.
It just felt really, really hard.

I didn't even attempt Gas Hill again.  Running up that just wasn't going to happen today.

But then when I finished I looked at my endomondo app and I'd run (more of less) for 6.2 miles... which is 10k... I could have sworn I'd only done 5 or 5.5 miles...  Let me explain about how I record my running..:

I go out with two devices on me. One is my casio wristwatch.  I use the stopwatch in it to time when to run and when to walk.  So when I leave the house I start the 5 minute warm up walk and at the 5 minute mark I start running.  For today's session, I would then keep running until 45 minutes, then I would walk for 1 minute, then I would run until the stopwatch says 66 minutes.  Then I do the cool down walk for a further 5 minutes.
When I have to stop to cross roads I stop the stopwatch and start it again when I'm over and am able to run again.  If I have to have a walking break in the middle of a running round I stop the stopwatch whilst I walk and start it again when I run.  This means that no matter the amount of roads I cross, pauses I take or walking breaks I do, I know that run for the full amount of time in the the programme.  So today I ran for 60 minutes.

The second device that I use is the Endomondo app on my phone.  I start this either as soon as I leave the house, and stop it when I get home, or (like today) I start it after the warm up when I start running and stop it when I stop running, before the cool down.

So today I can see that although I was running for 60 minutes, I was out for 1 hour 10 minutes and I did 6.2 miles.  I estimate that with the falling over and hanging around waiting to cross roads, I was standing still for about 5 minutes so was walking for about 5 minutes.  According to the training plan I should have been walking for just one minute.  So OK, I didn;'t run for 6.2 miles, but I was covered that distance and I was running for the vast majority of that time.  This makes me feel a lot better.  The run may have felt awful, but I did what I needed to do.

The app says my average speed was 5.29 mph.  Now, when I was at the gym last week the treadmill was set at between 8km/hour and 9km/hour.  Sadly the treadmill doesn't show miles.. Now 9km/hour equates to 5.59miles/hour.  As I was running today it felt like I was going really slowly, much slower than I was on the treadmill.  I only really felt like I was doing a decent pace in the full 5 minutes before I fell over.  After that it felt really slow.  So I am very surprised by endomondo's average speed.  I must ahve been going faster than 5.29miles/hour when running, because the average has to incorporate the walking parts.

I guess this is a lesson that although I may feel awful about a run I may actually be doing OK on it.

Money raised:
£189.  That's £36 that I have personally donated and £153 from friends, family and anonymous sponsors.  Reclamation of gift aid has raised another £38.25, bringing the total to £225.25.
My target is £200 (without gift aid)  Please help me get there by donating on this website!

All money goes to the Abortion Support Network (ASN), who provide funds to Irish women needing to travel to England for an abortion.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Autumn Equinox

Today is the Autumn equinox, where the day and night are of equal length.  For me, it marks the starts of the literal dark time of the year and signifies the start of the hated cold period.

The weather has been a bit funny recently.  We had a long, hot summer, then two weeks ago it turned overnight and got very very cold, so cold that one day I thought it felt like snow.  Yesterday, however, was very warm, like a late Autumn day should be.  I have yet to go out, but today seems warm too.

The equinox is the second harvest festival in the pagan wheel of the year - the first is Lughnasa, the second is Halloween.  I suggest celebrating with lots of food.  Last night the boyfriend and I went out to a cheese and beer party.  This morning we slept in and we will be having minestrone soup for dinner.

Although food is abundant, and has been for the last few months, soon it will be come scarce again (or would be, of we didn't have a global food market).  Greek stories tell us that Demeter will very soon travel to the underworld to live with Hades until the March equinox, Ostara, which is why we don't get much stuff growing over the Winter months.

I've written before about how this year I felt Lughnasa more as a period of time, rather than a one day festival.  I've been eating fruit by the bucket load and collecting nuts and acorns from the woods.  We recently cut our blackberry bushes down as they weren't producing good fruit, but we're keeping the raspberry bushes.  I can see berries on the hawthorn tree at the back of our garden and I think I'll collect some berries later and add them to my decorations. It is most definitely spider season - I've seen so many interesting coloured ones in the garden, and a few massive ones in the house.  I've taken the Imbolc colours off our corn dolly and now she looks more Harvest appropriate.

With the equal hours of day and night I find it good to reflect on balance in my life.  I've got a Harvest prayer which I will copy here:

Equal hours of light and darkness
We celebrate the balance of Mabon
And ask the Gods to bless us
For all that is bad, there is good
For that which is despair, there is hope
For the moments of pain
There are moments of love
For all that falls, there is the chance to rise again
May we find balance in our lives
As we find it in our hearts

Whether you are religious or not, whether you think the Gods have any place in seasonal festivals or not, I wish you a good day.

Super Silly Sunday

Well I think it's a precarious and silly plan.

From a 90s Uncanny X-Men comic.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Couch to 10k: Week 10, session 3

57 min. Run 20 minutes/walk 1 minute. Run 15 minutes/walk 1 minute. Run 10 minutes.

I did this on the treadmill at the gym.  It's the first time I've used a treadmill to run since I got fitted for my trainers, and that only involved running for 30 seconds.

I was concerned my elephantine step (I am not light on my feet) would cause the treadmill to judder and shudder and collapse, but it didn't, it survived.  My friend had warned me that running on a treadmill is really dull but I was fine with it.  I just concentrated on the minutes and kind of zoned out.  It's the sort of trance like zoning out that only happens when I meditate, or get a massage.  I just go on automatic and my mind might wander but my world just exists in my breathing, my muscles getting hammered or the movement of the running. am

Having said that, there were people using the treadmills either side of me and I found that quite distracting.  My rhythm didn't match their rhythm.  My eyes were digesting their movements and trying to convince my body to do the same, but I was going at a different pace and have a different gait so we weren't matching up.  I found that difficult.  I guess I'll get used to it.

I was running at a pace of between 8km an hour and 9km an hour.  The good thing about treadmills is you can set the pace so I can push myself.  When I'm running outside I don't push myself, I don't go fast, I drop back to a slow, easy pace.  I will be able to used the treadmill to run at 10km an hour, even if it's only for short periods.  Which will help me do the 10k race in as close to an hour as possible.

Money raised:
£188.  That's £35 that I have personally donated and £153 from friends, family and anonymous sponsors.  Reclamation of gift aid has raised another £38.25, bringing the total to £225.25.
My target is £200 (without gift aid)  Please help me get there by donating on this website!

All money goes to the Abortion Support Network (ASN), who provide funds to Irish women needing to travel to England for an abortion.

A reminder that I am using this training programme.  It's not always easy, I have found these last two sessions really tough and I am losing motivation, but it's good in that it gets you running without harm.

Skull faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaccce

Guys, guys, guys check out this amazing facepaint/makeup done by my friend Elizabeth Matisz:

How good is that?  She even did it herself on her own face!  I know when I looked at it I assumed she was doing Silver Banshee makeup, but as she's not a comic fan, it's not.  Anyway, I think it's wonderful and I just wanted to share.

Elizabeth also does a lot of really rather good photography, a lot of which are self portraits.  You can see them at her flickr page.  I really like this starry one, this mournful one, this couply one, this happy one, and this other happy one,

She's also on twitter @LillybetM.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Couch to 10k: Week 10, session 2

54 min. Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 4 times.

Today I tried to go up Gas Hill again.  I got further, but not quite to the top.  I also think I overestimated how far I got last time.  Maybe it was just halfway up, not two thirds of the way up.  I blame the blood rushing to my head while I run.  I will keep going up this hill until I can run all the way up!  I say run, I am doing a running gait but I'm going up it at a walking speed...

In better news, I definitely ran parts of today's sessions faster. I could feel my legs going quicker.  I've started using an app to record my pace and distance, and it says that I did 4.6 miles today.  As 10 minutes of that was the warm up and cool down walk, I'll assume I covered 0.5 miles walking, which means I did about 4 miles running.  Which I'm pleased with.  My average speed (including the warm up/cool down walks) was 5.06 mph.  Having said that, if I look at my previous sessions my average speeds have been 4.87 mph and 4.69 mph and 5.19mph.  So perhaps I have been going faster on other sessions.  Oh hell I don't know!

I really want to be able to do the 10k in one hour.  I'm going to the gym tomorrow and I will use the treadmills there.  I will test myself and see if I can run at 6 miles an hour for the last training session of this week.  Fingers crossed.

I heard some crickets while I was out today, and I scared a lot of blackbirds.

A reminder that I am using this training programme.  It's not always easy, I have found these last two sessions really tough and I am losing motivation, but it's good in that it gets you running without harm.

Another reminder:  I am seeking sponsorship for doing this running programme.  For every training session that I complete I am donating £1 to the Abortion Support Network (ASN), who provide funds to Irish women needing to travel to England for an abortion.  From their website:

Abortion Support Network (ASN) is a charity that helps people* who travel to England to access a safe and legal abortion.
We provide financial assistance and accommodation to women travelling from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Funding is available on a case by case basis depending on financial need and availability of funding. ASN also provides confidential, non-judgmental information to anyone who contacts us via phone or email who is seeking information about travelling to England for an abortion or accessing medical abortion via Women on Web.
Our helpline is busier than ever, and new Irish laws won’t make any difference to the women who call us every day. More and more women in life-threatening crises need advice, support – and money. Please donate today.

* ASN does not ask gender when communicating with clients; nor does gender identity influence grant eligibility.

The asterisk and comments about gender are there to make clear that transgender men who find themselves pregnant can also ask ASN for help with funds to access an abortion.

I am asking all my readers to consider sponsoring me in my running efforts.  To date I have raised £187.  That's £34 that I have personally donated and £153 from friends, family and anonymous sponsors.  Reclamation of gift aid has raised another £38.25, bringing the total to £225.25.

This is a wonderful amount, but I'd really like to raise more.  My target is £200, without gift aid.  Please help me get there by donating on this website!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Excellent article on DC's 'Normal Course of Business'

I just came across this article on Comics Alliance - it's really, really good and I would urge you all to read it.  Particular highlights are:

DC currently has a policy against married superheroes that extends across the line regardless of character sexuality.....
DC would have been smart to make an exception to their rule for a Batwoman marriage....I also think it would be extraordinary and wonderful to make Kate and Maggie the Reed and Sue of the DC Universe. It would make a positive statement about same-sex marriage, and DC could have sold the story internally and externally as exceptional; deserving of exemption from their anti-marriage policy precisely because of its cultural importance.
Here’s the way it’s supposed to work: The creative team pitches an idea. The editor comes back with notes. The creative team makes changes. The editor approves the idea. Sometimes there are no notes and no changes. Sometimes the idea gets thrown out completely and the creative team comes up with a new pitch. But once an idea is approved, it’s supposed to be the idea that sees print.
By all reports it is now standard practice for DC editorial to approve a story and let the creators start work on it, only to then “unapprove” the story and demand drastic changes at the last minute. That level of interference is why Williams and Blackman left. It’s why Jenkins left. It’s why PĂ©rez left. It’s why Rozum left. It’s the “normal course of business” at DC.
DC is not wrong to value and court its core audience, but the publisher has 52 titles to play with, and no-one in that core audience is reading 52 DC titles a month. There are other niches to crack besides “straight white men who like horror” and “straight white men who like westerns.” Straight white men who grew up reading comics and want to buy something for their daughters might be a place to start.

JLA vs Avengers: A tribute to George Perez

I found a great video from this year's Dragon Con. showing a JLA/Avenegrs fight:

The DC cosplayers seem to be older than the comic versions and I really like that.  The Hulk guy is also rather impressive.  It also makes me think that George Perez is a really good sport.  Anyway, go watch it and enjoy.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Couch to 10k - Week 10 session 1 (repeated)

Session 1 - 72 min. Run 10 minutes/walk 1 minute. Run 20 minutes/walk 1 minute. Run 30 minutes.

My last training report talked about how the surprise awful weather prevented me going out until Wednesday evening, and I talked about doing session 2 on the following Friday.

It didn't quite happen like that.  I wanted to go out both Thursday and Friday but leaden legs prevented anything happening on Thursday, and general tiredness combined with leaving for a weekend away in Edinburgh prevented me getting up in time to go out on Friday morning.  I considered taking my running gear away for the weekend and fitting in a session or two in Scotland, but two things stopped me:

1) the trip away was intended as a celebratory break for me and my boyfriend so buggering off for a couple of hours seemed very rude.
2) I don't want to go running somewhere I am unfamiliar with.  I could easily get lost and that is a scary thought.

So I hope you all can forgive me for not doing any running this weekend.  We walked a lot instead.  We were on out feet most of the day, visiting the castle, museums, climbing up Arthur's seat and wandering around the Old Town.  It was fun.  But oh boy did my legs feel sore each morning!

Anyway we returned home today and I decided to start week 10 again.

Today was kind of hard - my chest felt very heavy and breathing wasn't quite so easy, so I suspect I may be coming down with a cold.  Curses.  I don't mind (too much) repeating one week but I don't want to miss or delay any other sessions.  A friend said they would sponsor me if they ran up Gas Hill, the steepest hill in Norwich and site of the annual Gas Hill Gasp.  I attempted this today - I nearly did it, but about 1 minute away (running) from the top it was too hard and I walked the rest of the way.  I will keep this hill in my route until I have managed to run up it.

When I first started running it was the height of Summer.  It was so hot.  Now it is Autumn.  I didn't get rained on today, thankfully, neither did I get cold (exercise does warm you up!) but there are loads of leaves on the ground and the air is definitely nippier.  I joined a gym again last week so if the weather continues to be awful I shall go run indoors instead.  That will be  very very boring but it will keep my training up.

I plan to do my 10k race around the RSPB's Lakenheath Fen reserve on 19th October.  I have 4 weeks of the training programme left to do and 5 weeks until that race.  The week just before the race I will be away with work and although I'd like to try to fit a short practice run in, that could prove quite hard.

I am fairly sure that I could run 10k now - I was running for 60 minutes today going a little bit slower than 6 miles per hour.  Today I covered 6.32 miles which is just over 10k, but you need to remember that 13 minutes of that was walking, so I was probably only running for 5.5 miles.  However, apart from the heavy chest, today felt OK.  So yes, I could probably run 10K now, but I want to finish the programme.

I already feel quite bad about not doing much last week, which is where the sponsors come in - I've raised £176 of my £200 target so I *need* to finish the training.  If I skipped a week, or didn't finish the programme, I would feel unworthy of the sponsorship.  So everybody, I am so, so sorry I didn't manage much training last week.  I will finish this programme, I promise, and I will do the Lakenheath race.

Summary of funds raised:
£33 from me, £143 from sponsors, £35.75 in gift aid.  Including gift aid, that's £211.75 which is amazing.  I would really like to get the total up to £200 without gift aid, so please consider giving me a few quid.

All money goes to the Abortion Support Network (ASN) who help Irish women access safe, legal abortions in England.  You can support them by sponsoring me, or you can give direct to ASN by a one off bank transfer, or by setting up a regular standing order.  See here for details on how to do this.

What I have bought recently

So I mentioned I was going to lay off the comic reviews for a while, and that's true. instead you get pictures of my recent (ish) purchases!  Check them out:

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Super Silly Sunday - timelines

These did make me giggle.. timelines for Cyclops and Cable... 

No you;re not meant to be able to read them.. just marvel at the convuluted lives!!  These were 4 page foldouts int he middle of a couple of comics.  I love comics.

From a 90s Uncanny X-Men comic.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Forever Evil/Villain's Month round up

Spoilers ahead for:
Sexy Lobo, Killer Frost, Zod, Count Vertigo, Darkseid, Black Manta,  Riddler, Mr Freeze and Forever Evil #1.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Couch to 10k: Week 10, Session 1

72 min. Run 10 minutes/walk 1 minute. Run 20 minutes/walk 1 minute. Run 30 minutes.

This week hasn't been great for running..  I couldn't go out on Sunday because I had work to do.  Then Monday it rained.  Hard.  The temperature dropped.  It was cold.  I don't deal well with Winter.
Tuesday it rained.  I got in late. It was still raining.  I really wanted to go out but couldn't face the weather.
This evening I pulled myself together and went out.  I decided to wrap up in protection against the vile, vile cold and wore leggings under my shorts and a long sleeve top.  They worked, I wasn't cold and it was only mildly spitting so I didn't really get wet either.

It's been 5 days since I last went out.  I kinda assumed that I'd be much faster today as I should be much more rested.  It was all road running, no woodland, because I wouldn't feel too safe in the dark woodland (I hate feeling this way, especially as I know it's all down to stranger-danger-victim-blaming-crap). 

According to WalkJogRun I did 5.28 miles, which is about 0.88 every 10 minutes, which is, quite frankly, rubbish.  I expected to do 6 miles as when I went out last Monday, for session 1 of week 9 I did 5.5 miles in 55 minutes.  Then again, last Monday I couldn't speak or move when I got in.  Today I could talk fine and I feel refreshed and a bit energised.  How bizarre.

When I was out I could see my breath.  That's never happened before.  Part of my route took me up one of the steepest and biggest hills in Norwich.  I'm quite proud of myself for managing it.

I have tomorrow afternoon off and Friday I've got a weekend away.  I am considering catching up on my sessions and going out Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, but we shall see how my legs are tomorrow.

A reminder that you can find my training programme here.
You can sponsor me here - only £30 needed to hit my target of £200! Please consider donating.  Thank you.

Summary of funds raised:
Total: £192
Breakdown: £32 from me, £148 from sponsors, £34,5 in gift aid.

All money goes towards the Abortion Support Network who help Irish women travel to England to access safe, legal abortions.  As well as donating using MyDonate (link given above) you can give direct to ASN by a one off bank transfer, or by setting up a regular standing order.  See here for details on how to do this.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Review update

I'm bloody tired.  I blame the running.  My eyes are also playing up - looking at a screen for too causes severe eye strain and and inability to focus.  It's not fun.  So I'm going to slow down on the weekly comic reviews.

Good news for you guys though - I do talk about a couple of things I've read on Radio Bamf each week.  It's a comics podcast I'm co-host for.  Episodes are hosted on We Are Arcade here:

Go listen to me on that instead.  Although I'm not doing this week's show because of tiredness and eye strain.  Gahh.  On last week's show I talked about how much I enjoyed Trinity of Evil and Zita the Spacegirl.  Not together.  Even though it sounds like a crossover, that would be wrong.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Super Silly Sunday - adverts

America what is wrong with you... I ahve been assured that the beefaroni tasted foul.  Maybe it inspired these characters:

From 90s Uncanny X-Men comics.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Super Sexy Saturday

I watched Iron Man 2 recently and I realised that Scarlett Johanssen is absolutely breathtaking.  I could watch her all day.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Couch to 10k: Week 9, session 3

54 min. Run 10 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 4 times.

As I started this I was thinking how 10 minute runs now don't faze me at all.  I kept thinking this until about round 3 of running/walking and it suddenly felt quite hard.  Then on the final round my knees started hurting a bit.  I think this is down to a combination of things - Monday's monster run, only one day off inbetween training sessions and the half bottle of wine I drank last night.  I'm not worried.  I think I did 3.97 miles of running today, if my internet map based guessitmate are correct.

I am giving myself the weekend off and then going out on Monday/Wednesday/Friday next week, probably.  I've got a feeling Monday might destroy me...  It can't be as hard as last Monday's session can it??

I didn't see much wildlife today.  It has been drizzling all day which is probably why.  there were few insects out and only one bird or two.  There were very few people out too, which meant it was very peaceful.

I've only got 4 weeks left of training.  Blimey.  I'm so impressed I've got so far.  I never thought I'd be able to do this.  Give me a few weeks and I might call myself a runner.  Maybe.

Funds raised:
Total: £191
Breakdown: £31 from me, £128 from sponsors, £32 in gift aid.

How amazing and generous people are!  Thank you all!
You can sponsor me and find out about my charity of choice here.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Couch to 10k: Week 9, session 2

46 min. Run 5 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 6 times.

This was much easier than Monday's run.  It was merely incredibly tiring as opposed to murderous.  As I started my legs felt like lead - ideally I'd have gone out on Thursday not Wednesday but I don't want to mess up my schedule.  I'm quite looking forward to the final session for this week, which is run 10 minutes/walk 1.  I don't know if I'll do it on Friday or Saturday yet.

I realise I have been rather slack with reporting on wildlife.  I think this a combination of me being unable to think while I'm running and also there not being much about.  When I went out yesterday there were a few dragonflies, bees and moths but not much else.  It's not as warm at 6.30 as it was and by the time I come home at 7.30 ish the sun is setting.  Soon I'll have to start running in the gym.

Total tally of money raised is an amazing £190!!!!  That's £30 from me, £128 in donations from lovely, lovely, generous people and £32 in gift aid.  That's really nearly nearly my target of £200.  I never ever thought Id get this much.  Youre all amazing!  THANK YOU!!!


Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Couch to 10k: Week 9, session 1 (aka oh-my-lord-that-was-really-hard)

68 min. Run 10 minutes/walk 1 minute; Run 15 minutes/walk 1 minute. Run 20 minutes/walk 1 minute. Run 10 minutes. 

So yesterday I did what has been dubbed the evil run.  If you remember that the longest I have ever run before is 10 minutes at a time, you see why my friend dubbed it evil.

I had one unexpected break mid the 15 minute round as I went past my house and ducked in for one minute to use the toilet.  In total I ran for 5.93 miles, which if you take out the 5 minute walks to warm up and cool down, done at about 3.5 miles an hour, means that I ran for about 5.43 miles. I think it takes me just under 10 minutes to do 1 mile, which is good.  At this rate it will take me just over 1 hour to do 10k (6.2 miles).  I am happy with that.

Man, 15 minutes and 20 minutes is a realllllllly long time.  A realllly long time. I was checking my watch every 3 minutes.  Physically, it was hard work and I think I did most of it on automatic.  During the last 10 minutes of running my knees started hurting.  They are better today.

So when I got home I sat on the stairs and lost the power of speech.  I’d already lost the power of thought and I think I ran for 16 minutes instead of 15 because I couldn’t do mental arithmetic. I got home and the boyfriend gave me a glass of water and asked how it went and I just went blargh bleurgh wiffle.    It was not good.  He made dinner and I sat down and when I got up 1 hour later I nearly fell over.  That is not an exaggeration.  My legs didn’t work.  My move upstairs to bed was done in a crab like motion.  When I got out of bed this morning I went down the stairs nearly doubled over.  The walk to work helped stretch me out.  I didn’t do any stretches last night, I was too wrecked.  Also, once I’d ate dinner I felt sick.  I think I ate too much.

The next session is running for 5 minutes at a time.  Thank god.

Total tally of money raised is an amazing £126.50!!!!  That's £29 from me, £78 in donations from lovely, lovely, generous people and £19.50 in gift aid.  That's 63% towards my target of £200.  I never thought Id get this much.  Youre all amazing!  THANK YOU!!!

If you'd like to sponsor me you can do so here or give directly to ASN here - they provide money to Irish women needing to travel to the UK for abortions.  Abortion is incredibly restricted in Ireland, both the Republic and the North, although it is perfectly legal for women to travel to obtain an abortion.  The cost of an abortion, travel and accommodation varies between approximately £400 and £2,000, which means that less well off women often find it difficult to raise the necessary funds.  ASN also have volunteer hosts who provide a place to stay and meals for women travelling to the UK.  You can find out more about the women who need ASN's help by reading their newsletters.

Random stuff

Another link post from me.

What a week's worth of groceries looks like around the world.

Two Deaf men open a comic store.  What's most interesting is this line from the article:
They’ve chosen an exploding industry. Estimated overall comic shop sales in 2013 through June were nearly $250 million, up 12 percent from a year ago, according to data site Comichron (The Comics Chronicles)
Really? I thought comics were a dying product.

Great picture of a swallow in a house, by @oatleyvineyard on twitter.

A great Supergirl image, taken from this Supergirl Comic Box Commentary blog post:

Alternate universe version of Supergirl from  Superboy #61 volume 3:

A news article about how village sign languages are disappearing fast.  Include sinfomration about the  Martha's Vineyard deaf community.  If you don't know what I mena by that, PLEASE go read the article.  It's only short.

The American Captain webcomic.  Steve Rogers writes a diary comic in the 21st century.  It's made me like Cap.

Aquaman's Rousing Song of Heroism. What. The. Fuck.  It goes a bit Disney.  Arthur I love you, but what the fuck.

Female sci-fi actors do panel at SDCC.  Audience members tell them women talk too much.

An interesting fact I found out from twitter:
A 'smell-feast' is someone who comes uninvited to share in a feast; a parasite, a greedy sponger. (Very common term c1540–1700.)

Geraldo Borges sketch of Mera from SDCC:

 Miles Morales cosplay at SDCC:

Monday, September 02, 2013

Comic Reviews - more catching up

Reviews coming up for:
Aquaman 19 and 20, Justice League 20 and 21, Last Stand of New Krypton volume 1, Captain America: Man out of Time.

I won't hide these behind a cut because they are all pretty old.

Aquaman 19 and 20
Got round to downloading these from comixology.

19 was alright.  The new king is scary.  Orm talks about how the surface world doesn't even register Atlantis as existing and is overwhelmingly sneery about surface politics and customs.  Fair enough.

I don't like how Topo is now this giant brooding octopus monster.  Enough of making everyone a badass, please.  I like Tula's new 52 costume, but I wished she hadn't been aged.  I guess this is so she appeals to the 18-45 demographic.  Le sigh.  Mera gets ambushed by her husband - a bearded redhead.  Ooh err.  The art was pretty lovely though.

20 was rubbish.  Ya-wara needs to be given some clothes.  I care nothing for these Others.  I read Aquaman to read about underseas or other water based adventure. Bah.

Justice League 20 and 21
So the first 6 issues of this was great.  Then it got really shoddy.  Then it picked up again.  Trinity War is suprisingly enjoyable.  These issues are form just before Trinity War and I picked them up for the Shazam backup.

Goddamn I'm enjoying the new Marvel family.  I know they've now been changed so it's all dark and miserable and Billy started off as a bit of a brat, but if you read on he's not all brattish, and by the end of issue 21 you know the Marvels area  family again.  I really really love this.

Last Stand of New Krypton volume 1
This trade was an impulse purchase at the LCS last week.  I'd read all issues in it apart from the Legion ones, and damn I am now enjoying the Legion.  I really enjoyed this.  I'm intending to get the whole WONK saga in trade. 

Captain America: Man out of Time
This was recommended to me as I like the movie Cap'n A.  Its' great.  Really really great.  I think I'll be doing a New readers.... post on it.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Comic reviews - only 1 week old!

Reviews and spoilers for Wonder Woman 23, Supergirl 23. Animal Man 23, Justice League Dark 23, X-Men 3, Revival 13,Adventures of Superman 3.

Couch to 10k: Week 8, session 3

Easy Recovery Week: 46 min. Run 5 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Do this 6 times.

I did this on Friday but was too busy to write up the report then.  This was far, far easier than Thursday's horrendous session.  I have decided that it is easier to run for 5 or 10 minutes straight than it is to run for 3.

Although this was meant to be an easy recovery week, I suspect I have done it wrong.  I went out Tuesday, Thursday and Friday which didn't give me much recovery time.  However, due to upcoming-going-away-plans, I now need to switch my training days to start on Monday each week, and not Tuesday.  I knew I'd be too busy to go out today (Sunday) so I went out Friday instead.

I will do the next session tomorrow, and I am a little apprehensive.  It goes like this:
68 min. Run 10 minutes/walk 1 minute; Run 15 minutes/walk 1 minute. Run 20 minutes/walk 1 minute. Run 10 minutes.

From now on the training sessions are all of 43 to 72 minutes in length, so will require far more of my time.   On the plus side, I only have 5 weeks left.  Or is that a plus?  It doesn't seem like very long.  When I go out tomorrow I think I will be running about 5.5 miles, which is 1.2 off what I need to be able to do.  That makes it seem OK.  I really, really want to be able to run 10k in 1 hour, but I'm not sure if that's possible.

I'm sorry I don't have more to say about Friday's training.  I was in London all Saturday and have been out today and I am very tired and Friday now seems very long ago.  I shall try to make the report on tomorrow's session a bit more detailed.

Total tally of money raised is an amazing £88! That's £28 from me, £48 in donations from lovely, lovely, generous people and £12 in gift aid.  My goal of raising £200 actually seems possible now!

THANK YOU to all who have sponsored me!  You are amazingly kind, generous, wonderful thoughtful people.

If you'd like to sponsor me you can do so here or give directly to ASN here - they provide money to Irish women needing to travel to the UK for abortions.

Super Silly Sunday

No Archangel No.

Not the mullet... no...

From a 90s Uncanny X-Men comic.