Lee-On-Solent parkrun, Beefy’s and YOLO

How’s everyone this morning? If you’re from the UK, then hopefully you’re not still damp from our rather soggy Sunday! Feels all rather autumnal to me. Winter is coming…

Friday night I stayed over at my parent’s house. I wanted to try out the new Lee-On-Solent parkrun that had started a few weeks ago and it’s about three miles from my parent’s house. It runs alongside the beach on the promenade and is really flat. It’s actually part of my long run route when I stay at my parents.

I hadn’t run since Ultra12 last Sunday as I was concerned about my shin/calf (I say shin/calf as I’m actually not sure where the ‘issue’ is – it’s just a general discomfort and tightness of my calf that then aggravates closer to my shin, if that makes sense). In the week it was feeling grumpy and niggly and the last thing I wanted to do was annoy it further. I ran 20 miles over 12 hours (and a parkrun a few hours earlier) so I’d definitely pushed it out of its comfort zone and I needed to give it time. Check me out being all sensible.

My plan then on Saturday was to drive down to the beach car park about a mile away from the start and run down. This meant that I could judge my leg before I got caught up in any parkrun buzz and adrenaline and could walk back to my car if it felt rubbish. At Netley my warm-ups tend to be very quick and I knew if I went I wouldn’t bail on the run as there were so many people I know there and I’d have been embarrassed to have dropped out last minute (stupid, I know).

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Annnnyway, I did some dynamic stretches and then began running down. Everything felt fine. I literally had the biggest smile on my face running to parkrun. Thank god.

IMG_2483 Beautiful blue skies and the parkrun start ahead

I got to the start in more than enough time and chatted with a fellow Hedge End Running Club member. It was nice to see a friendly face, though to be honest everyone was very friendly and lovely. But then all parkruns are welcoming! :-)

This parkrun is very flat and with few turns (it’s an out and back twice…you run along one way, then turn to go back, then run past the start/finish area, turn and run back) so it’s ideal for those wanting a PB, if the wind isn’t too bad. Because of my recent niggle I wasn’t looking to go crazy. I just wanted a quickish run to get the legs turning.

As I started I felt good and my legs felt nice and fresh. I was listening to music but not my usual “GO GO GO” music on my Running Playlist that encourages me to go faster. Instead I just put on music that was in the charts that I was liking lately as I didn’t want to get lost in the moment and push myself too hard. Basically I was looking to enjoy myself :-)

IMG_2579 Photo credit: AmandaLou Hall and Ethan Gee

The first mile was great. Despite not setting out with the ambition to smash the pace I felt very comfortable at sub-7min/miles. I just went with it. I noticed there weren’t any other females around me and felt quite content.

At the turnaround I checked to see if there were any ladies in front of me (I say I wasn’t racing, but it’s always nice to know your placing!). There was a young girl storming ahead and that was all. As I turned to go the other way the full force of the wind smacked me in the face. Ah so that’s why my first mile was so lovely. I was being pushed along nicely! The second mile was therefore a lot harder and a bit of a grind. My pace dropped but I didn’t mind (a completely different story to last week’s parkrun – what a difference a change in mindset makes).

At the next turn around point, where we would then head back to the finish, I passed the girl. She was really struggling. Again the wind was now behind me and it was suddenly easier again. I sailed nicely to the finish.

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I finished in 21:37 as first female and I was chuffed. A hard but enjoyable run.

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Sadly I’m an absolutely idiot (this might not be that much of a surprise). I sat down and caught my breath. I went over to the young girl who finished second I think and said well done. I chatted to a few people. Then headed over to the barcode scanner. Oh wait, where’s my finisher’s token?

Cue panic.

Arghhh, I’d put it down somewhere! Despite spending a good amount of time searching the area with the help of a few kind people, I couldn’t find it. It was very windy so I was worried it’d blown away. I spoke to the marshal in charge who took my name, my Garmin time and my barcode number and promised to sort it. I felt terrible though as I know they’ve had a few problems lately with tokens going missing. Long story short, after a few emails they managed to get me on the results on Sunday. I was mortified to have caused such a faff and felt suitably guilty. I donated £5 because I felt so bad. It costs them £70 to buy 100 new tokens (they can’t buy them individually).

I ran back to my car as a cool down, which was also a great way to check how my niggle felt post-run. Things felt fine! Hurrah. I still think I need to be careful and I’m now including calf raises into my strength training because clearly this is a weakness I have that keeps cropping up. I regularly change my trainers so I really can’t think what else I can do (apart from not go crazy with jumping up my mileage).

Later in the day I went shopping with my mum and decided to do something I’d been considering for a while. I’ve always liked the thought of having a tattoo but can never really make my mind up on what or where I’d have it. I also know I’d probably regret it later. And I’d just look stupid. Years ago I used to have my belly button pierced but I let it heal over. My belly button, I think, is really quite ugly so I thought what better way of improving things and doing something a little bit (for me) crazy.

IMG_2525 You can see where the plaster had been on my tummy

It didn’t hurt as it was numbed beforehand and it was very quick. I’m very pleased. You only live once!

I also splashed out on a new outfit that I could then wear to the meal my parents and me were going to that evening. I bought this beautiful long skirt from Monsoon, and then paired it with a very simple strappy top, a white cardigan and a necklace in the sale all from New Look.

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How pretty is that pattern and those colours? The skirt is of really good quality – there is a lot of material there and it fits beautifully.

The restaurant we went to was called Beefy’s in Southampton. It’s located in the Hilton hotel at the cricket grounds, The Ageas Bowl. It’s rather posh and very lovely.Beefys

The service was impeccable. They were so attentive, pleasant and friendly. And the food was gorgeous. Yes it is expensive (relatively so – mains are around £12-15 but can go up depending on what you choose, obviously. My dad had a steak for £30!).

Beefys - The Ageas BowlYou choose a type of bread to start (I went for olive bread) and then I had a sharing platter with my dad of hummus, feta, olives, bread, roasted vegetables and local watercress. For main I had a char-grilled sweet chilli chicken salad. My dad and me joked that we’d both expanded our culinary choices by me choosing that salad and not the Caesar salad and him having a Porterhouse steak rather than a rump steak. Small steps. For pudding I had sticky toffee pudding with ice cream. It all tasted amazing. Definitely worth a visit!

And then the weather turned and I woke up to stupid amounts of rain the next morning. Originally I’d planned to go for a long run with some guys from the club but I didn’t know if I was going to stay at my parent’s again or not (I did) and I was still being cautious about my niggle. The last thing I wanted to do was go for a long run and ignore any discomfort. I wanted the option of just cutting things short without feeling the need to explain things to people (I know everyone would have been lovely about it but I would feel awkward). So I went solo.

It was absolutely tipping it down and I only had shorts and a sleeveless top. It wasn’t cold per se but it was miserable out there. My run felt fine. There was an awareness of my niggle at the start but nothing to hinder me or make me feel I was “pushing through” discomfort or pain. Then for the rest of the run it felt fine. I actually felt really good and fresh (despite being soaked to my skin).

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I did get yelled at by a driver though. I was running along a relatively short road where there were no pavements and he pulled up next to me and yelled that it was a stupid place to run. There was more than enough room for the both of us (and cars the other way) and I had made sure I was in full view of any oncoming cars. *Sighs*

Rainy run

The run felt good but I still don’t know where my head is at for the Cheddar Gorge marathon in a few weeks time. I’m 90% certain I’ll do it. The only thing that will halt me will be if that weekend is really rainy (because it will just be a mud bath and I want to enjoy it) or if my niggle becomes anything bigger.

Decisions, decisions.

And I’ll leave you with the joys of running in the rain with long hair.

IMG_2587 I’m sure it’s so much easier being a man…

How was your weekend?

Have you got any piercings?

Have you done anything stupid at a race before? My life is full of stupid moments…

33Shake Review

As an endurance runner it’s important to fuel your body well, not only in terms of quantity but in terms of quality. I’m very lucky in that my running stomach is quite hardy. I’ve never had any issues with gels or liquids on runs.

I’ve tried loads of different ones and never had any problems during or after a run (directly linked to gels, my last half marathon stitch and sickness was purely self-inflicted food and alcohol related!). Out of preference I don’t do sports drinks though. They’re far too sugary and I don’t feel refreshed after them. I prefer water or water with hydration tabs in them (either nuun or High5 are my favourite).

There’s a lot out there in terms of fuel to take before, during or after a run. And a lot of it is processed and full of chemicals. I don’t necessarily take issue with this though as long as the ingredients are high quality and the research has been done. I assume the chemicals are there for a reason.

BUT it’s always nice to hear about a fuel that is not riddled with strange unpronounceable ingredients. 33Shake are a company championing this natural sports fuel nutrition. In their words:

“We went on a quest for healthy, high-performing, natural ingredients that delivered sustained performance and health…” with ingredients that are “100% natural. No additives, no preservatives, and nothing manmade: This is real food”. (Source)

They wanted a fuel that was chocker full of nutrients and beneficial to your training. They kindly sent me a selection of nutritional goodies to test out.

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I was sent All-In-One Endurance Shakes (Cacoa, Mocha and Original flavours) and Chia Energy Gels.

All-In-One Endurance Shakes

The shakes are designed to boost endurance efficiency, energy and recovery. They suggest it can be had as breakfast, before a run or afterwards to refuel. Further positives:

  • Contain sources of fat, such as flaxseeds
  • Contain antioxidants to fight free radicals
  • Contain natural alkalysers to support your immune system
  • Contain natural proteins, such as hemp seeds
  • Low GI
  • No artificial fillers, sweeteners, colourants, flavourings or preservatives
  • Only gluten in the shakes is organic spelt

I knew straight away that a shake would be perfect for my Ultra12 event, where getting in quality fuel between runs would be tricky. I remember at Endure24 I made the mistake of having stupid amounts of chicken and sweet potato and really struggling to run afterwards as all I could feel was food bouncing around in my tummy, consequently giving me a nasty stitch.

At Ultra12 I mixed an All-In-One Shake with around 200ml of cow’s milk (though you can use any milk) and had it a few hours before I was due to run.33Shake

They recommend you blend with a banana for maximum yumminess and effect, but obviously I couldn’t do this while camping. At first I was it unsure of the consistency. It was very bitty and, well, chewy. I wondered if I’d mixed it enough but when I looked at the ingredients I realised it was because it contained things like dried fruit and oats. Basically it tasted like chocolate milky muesli. Very tasty and went down very easily.

Nutritional Info (All-In-One Cacao)

image Source

Chia Energy Gels

Chia Energy Gel

These are basically ‘clean’ gels (I hesitate to use that word as it has such implications, but what I mean is that they’re free of processed nasties and junk). They’re to be taken during a run/endurance event.

  • Contain a blend of carbs, proteins, Omega-3s and antioxidants
  • 90 calories per serving (which is equivalent to other gels on the market)
  • Contain natural anti-inflammatories
  • Low GI
  • Gluten free
  • Contain a natural electrolyte blend including Himalayan Pink salt
  • No artificial fillers, sweeteners, colourants, flavourings or preservatives

     

    In order to consume, you add water, coconut water or fruit juice within the gel packet, mix well, and leave for ten minutes. It has a resalable top as so you can then take it with you for your run or cycle, etc.

    Nutritional Info

    imageSource

    I really like these and will definitely be saving a few to take with me for my Cheddar Gorge excursion (either half or marathon, I haven’t decided yet…). I love the concept of having more natural energy to fuel you (I’m sure if you’ve read Born to Run you were somewhat intrigued by the fuel used by the Tarahumaras). Because they’re a more natural energy source as well it might be easier for some people’s stomachs to handle on a run as some people really struggle with the chemically-based mainstream gels. I’ve often considered baby food in the past as a good source of fuel mid-run as it’s so natural but was put off by the fact that it didn’t have the ‘added extras’ that the gels had (e.g. electrolytes). So this is a win-win in my eyes!

    In conclusion, 33Shake get a big thumbs up from me. I love the concept, I love the products and I love the company. Also any company that has Chrissie Wellington as a spokesperson is definitely a good one in my eyes 😉

    How do you fuel your exercise?

    Do you use standard gels or prefer more natural energy sources?

    Do you have protein shakes or energy shakes?

    **Full Disclosure: I was sent these products for free to review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

  • Ultra12

    After my fairly rubbish experience at Endure24 last year (specifically the running part), I was reluctant to sign up to a similar event. But a team from my running club needed another person to make a full mixed team and I was tempted to revisit my previous demons in a better running shape.

    It was awkwardly timed with my visit to Bristol but it was doable so I agreed. It was also only 12 hours, rather than 24, so really it wasn’t as daunting. I’d planned to do three laps (each lap was just under 5 miles). Can’t be that hard, right?

    Ultra12

    We had a team of five and the race started at 7pm with Kate (furthest right) leading the first lap. I was to go second. The drive over from Bristol had really helped my digestion of ALL THE FOOD and I no longer felt overly full.

    Because I’m a control freak and stress out about these things I was keen to get a schedule of timings together so I knew when I would next be up. We worked it out by saying each person would take roughly 40 minutes to do a lap.

    The campsite was lovely and relaxed, with hay bales and a fire around the communal area and a few sport shop stalls (like CEP and Ashmei).

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    There was a catering tent to buy hot and cold food and drink and a massage tent (no set price, just donations – great idea!). There weren’t a huge number of portaloos (probably under 10) but we were only there for a day so it didn’t matter and to be honest no portaloo is ever going to remain rosy and delightful and by the end it wasn’t as bad as it could have been (urghhh, Endure…).

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    It wasn’t long before Kate was off on her first lap. We each had ankle bands holding our chip on so laps and timings could be recorded. There was also a live monitor screen you could view to see how teams were doing. It wasn’t just teams either, there were solo 50k runners and solo 50 milers. [Side note: One of our running club members was doing the 50k and she was AWESOME. She did it in just under 4.5hours!]

    Ultra12 start (2) The start

    As soon as Kate left I knew I had about 35 minutes to potter about and prepare, before heading to the change over area in enough time to be ready to go.

    You had to wear head torches after 8pm and most people were wearing them before then so for my lap I thought I might as well wear mine to be on the safe side. I was glad to be able to use my ridiculously expensive head torch again but as I tried to turn it on I realised what an idiot I was.

    IMG_2464 Thanks Mark for the photo!

    No batteries!! I am literally the biggest tool in the world. Who doesn’t check these things?!

    Luckily someone leant me some batteries so I was good to go. Kate made a storming start with a lap of 36:18 and I headed off on my merry way. My legs felt a bit heavy and tired and I tried to pretend my earlier parkrun hadn’t happened. My aim was to stick to 7.30min/miles as I didn’t want to smash out a ridiculous time (not sure that I could have though) and then be in pieces for the other laps.

    IMG_2424Thanks Mike for the photo! A rare bit of road running

    The course was mostly off-road on grassy trail and was quite picturesque running along the Thames river and through lots of greenery. It was nice and flat as well, though there were some sneaky rabbit holes and uneven terrain to be careful of.

    I passed a marshal and she called out to me to say I had the best hair she’d seen. What? I puzzled over this for a while as I continued to run. I did a quick check to make sure it was all kind of in its place…all seemed normal. Apparently, I later found out from Mike who was next to the marshal, it was because my pony tail was “swooshing” a lot. Cool.

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    My first lap was 36:51 which I was pleased with.

    IMG_2422 Smooth hand-over going on there

    As Claire had to leave ridiculously early in the morning she took my second slot which would have been just before 10pm. [Side note: Claire is literally a superwoman. She had to leave at 5am to head off home to lead a cycling group!!] So my next run would be before 11pm. It was time to get some fuel in. I wasn’t hungry at all as I’d just finished running and I’d eaten a fair bit for lunch but I knew I needed something to power me through the night.

    I’d brought with me a 33Shake (All in One shake) which was absolutely perfect. I didn’t want actual food as I would be running soon but I did need something and didn’t want to have to eat in the middle of the night (running is hard enough!)

    33Shake I added one pack of the Cacao All in One to 200ml of milk (you’re supposed to add a banana and blend but obviously this wasn’t possible out in the sticks). I’ll do a full review in another post, but it tasted good and had no ill effects. In fact I didn’t need anything else until breakfast the next morning.

    For my next ‘shift’ I was keen to do a double run as the effort involved in stopping and starting was hard going. It also meant that it gave the other guys a bit more time between runs to rest. Mentally though this was a bit daunting.

    I chilled out before the run by wrapping myself in a thick towel and having a cup of tea (cups of tea were just continuous throughout Ultra12!).

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    Our area that my club was camped at was right next to the start/finish so we could see runners running past and cheer them on, which was great. It also meant a nice boost when you ran past.

    IMG_2411 Hey there good looking 😉

    I decided to listen to a podcast as I wanted to treat it like any other ‘normal’ long run and I needed the distraction. I’m hugely glad I did this because a) apart from my head torching lightening a few metres ahead of me I couldn’t see a thing so it was fairly boring running and b) my head torch died on my second lap and I had to use my iPhone as a torch.

    It was very surreal running at that time and knowing I was to be out there for a good while. I kept my pace around 8 minutes and actually didn’t feel too bad starting running again. Mentally though this was a tough, tough run. I kept looking at my watch and seeing the time and just thinking “this is mental”. As I passed our camping area I yelled out that I was on to my second lap and got some cheers which was a lovely boost. There were other people out on the course as well but a lot of those who I passed were walking (most of them the ultra runners doing nine million laps – major kudos to them!).

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    I was so pleased to have got through the double laps (39:46 and 39:57 respectively) and pleased I’d done my three laps. I knew I’d be OK for a fourth lap as well as I felt good (albeit tired and a bit crazy). My next lap was to be around 5.30am and as I had finished around 1am I had enough time to get a quick massage.

    If I thought running in the middle of the night was surreal then getting a massage was even weirder! The masseuse was so lovely and we chatted away and it felt like the middle of the day (but in darkness of course). She really helped my calves feel better as they were starting to tighten up and my problematic one was being a bit grumpy.

    Afterwards I headed straight to my tent and tried to sleep. My alarm was set for 5am and it was almost 2am now. I literally put my hoodie on and pyjama bottoms on over my running gear and closed my eyes. Sleep didn’t come easily as I could hear people talking around the tent and the constant beeping of people crossing over the finish mat for their laps.

    By 4.30am I was just too awake and couldn’t sleep anymore .I think I managed just over two hours sleep in the end. I got up and headed out. What’s nice about events like this is that there will always be people awake because someone is out running and someone else is getting ready to run or just back.

    I got ready for my final lap and it had started to rain. Typical. I felt creaky, tired and just out of it. I was nervous about this final run.

    IMG_2410 Just over an hour and a half left

    As I headed out I listened to a podcast again. I just needed it. It felt like such hard work, more mentally than physically. Physically I felt like I was OK but mentally I was feeling slightly unhinged. It was now light so I didn’t need a head torch thankfully.

    On the second mile I slowly passed a young man. I was overtaking him and then he sped up. He said “right, you’re my pace now” in quite an abrupt way. I turned off my podcast reluctantly. It wouldn’t be so bad to run with someone else but honestly my mind at that moment was just wanting to GET THE RUN DONE. I didn’t feel up to making small talk or conversation. But to be polite I chatted away. He was a fairly new runner and part of a team of work mates.

    I was running a comfortable pace but I could tell he was struggling a bit. Now I know this might be awful and terribly mean but I wasn’t going to slow down. If he was going to “use me” as a pacer he would have to speed up. I wanted to get this final run done sharpish. This was not a social plod for me.

    Just before three miles he suddenly grunted loudly and stopped. Alarmed, I asked if he was OK. He told me to go on and he’d catch me up, he just needed a breather. Right oh! Podcast back on and I was outta there. Yes it was mean but honestly running at 5.30am with around two hours sleep does not make me a particularly friendly person. Incidentally he didn’t catch me up and finished about four minutes after me. I know this because when he passed our camp area to the finish I was already having a cup of tea. I did have the decency to look shamefaced.

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    My final lap was done in 38:09. And I was DONE. I tried not to celebrate too extravagantly because two of my team mates still had a lap to go, as did other runners around me. I did make myself some porridge though and enjoyed in immensely.

    Porridge camping

    Mike was our final runner and as he ran up the finishing straight we all (but Claire who had to leave early) ran along with him to the finish. The bell had already rung for the end of the 12 hours (but if you were still on a lap it counted – so effectively you could start a lap with one minute to go before the bell).

    Ultra12 (4)

    In the end our team did amazingly. Between the five of us we did 95 laps (all but Claire doing four laps each). We won the mixed team prize as well! Woohoo!

    Ultra12 (7)

    And we celebrated with some of Mike’s very tasty homemade sandwich bread thing. Basically he de-middled the inside of a loaf of bread and stuffed it with sundried tomatoes, cheese and roasted vegetables and then popped it in the oven (at home). It was delicious! Though we all joked it might have been more impressive if he’d have baked the bread too as effectively it was an elaborate sandiwch… 😉 A very tasty one nonetheless!

    Mike's bread

    I’m really pleased with how it went but honestly it knackered the hell out of me. Driving home from Reading (1.5 hours) I had to have the music up loud and the air con on super cold to keep me awake. I fell asleep after I showered – on my bed, still in my towel, soaking my pillow with my wet hair. Sunday was a rough day and I was in bed by 8pm. Out cold.

    Ultra12 (3)

    Have you ever done a 12-24 hour relay event?

    What would be your ideal running shift if you had to choose? I was very lucky as I got a late evening one and an early morning one so no graveyard shift. The other guys who did those times were amazing.

    What’s your camping essential (aside from a tent and sleeping bag)? I think a kettle and cooking utensil is a definite for me!

    Little Stoke parkrun and a Bristol BBQ

    Yesterday I was a walking zombie. I know I probably say this about most busy weekends but honestly this one takes the biscuit. Going to Bristol to see my friends and then completing the Ultra 12 relay race has just exhausted me. I genuinely feel jet lagged. I’ll recap Ultra12 in a separate post…but needless to say it was epic.

    I travelled straight from work (Basingstoke) to Bristol and arrived there about 7pm which was good going. I was the only friend staying over Friday evening so we had a nice low-key takeaway and caught up.

    I’d already done a bit of research to find that just over a mile away was Little Stoke parkrun, which is very flat. I was sold! I had originally planned to run there and back on Saturday but I was worried about the extra miles on my legs with Ultra that evening and I wanted to get back quickly to my friend’s. Plus I have a satnav in my car… Little Stoke parkrun

    Little Stoke parkrun had lots of parking at the community centre where it’s located but I wasn’t sure if it required money to park (and I didn’t bring any) so I parked in a nearby road and walked down. Lots of people (257) were there and it was lovely and friendly. We also got to see some of the new parkrun T-shirts by Tribesports. Very nice indeed. I should get my 50 T-shirt at some point!Little Stoke parkrun (1)
    Before I’d signed up to Ultra12 (which was fairly last minute) I’d planned to really go for a sub-20 for this parkrun. It was super flat, three laps and no major twists or turns…But after a humid 8 miler on Thursday with the club I was feeling tired and a bit concerned about Ultra12. Saying that though I was going to give it a good go.Little Stoke parkrun (2)

    (Photo credit: Harleyjonn)

    I made sure I got near the front and started really strong. I looked at my watch and saw around 6.30min/miles and felt comfortable. Ahh the joys of the first 0.5 miles of a 5k. The pain hadn’t quite started yet.

    Little Stoke parkrun (3)(Photo credit: Harleyjonn)

    Those happy feelings quickly disappeared into the second lap as it suddenly became so much harder. 7min/miles pace started appearing on my watch as Istarted to fade. I pulled it back somewhat in the third lap but as it was around a field I could see the finishing funnel so far ahead and knew my sub-20 was never going to happen. Not even close. To be fair, by the second lap I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I needed to be running 6.30min/miles strong for most of the run and I wasn’t. I gave up a little towards the end and consoled myself with the fact that I had been lead female all the way round and wasn’t in danger of losing it.

    Little Stoke parkrun (4)Finishing straight (photo credit: Harleyjonn)

    Nowhere near my PB or sub-20 on a completely flat course: 20:43, first female.

    Little stoke parkrun splits

     

     

     

    I think this tells me my marathon boost from Liverpool is over and I need to rest a bit. If I want to target a sub-20 5k I need to target it – as in, I need to train for it. I don’t enjoy these constant pain trains to try and get there and I was naive enough to think that after the marathon I’d be able to achieve it ‘naturally’ without too much trouble. This is not only an arrogant thought but it’s also unrealistic for me. So for the moment I’m putting that ambition to bed and going to focus on marathon training without distraction. If a sub-20 happens organically and through the process then hurrah, but I’m not going to worry about it anymore. parkruns will still be used for good speed training but as long as I put in a good amount of effort I’m happy. I don’t want to be disappointed after every parkrun anymore! parkruns for me are supposed to be fun.

    Little Stoke parkrun (5)

    After finishing I quickly headed back to the car and was back at my friend’s house for 9.30am. Pretty good timing!

    As the weather was so lovely it was a great day for one of my new summery dresses from H&M (such a bargain at £8!).

    H&M dress No it’s not a belt, that’s my skin – it’s a ventilation panel 😉

    Then the rest of the gang arrived. One couple came from Brighton and one came from Cardiff – so we’re all very much spread over the country (well, Southern UK anyway).

    The BBQ was ahhhhmazing. Because this BBQ had been in the pipeline for ages and I’d only really signed up to Ultra12 a couple of weeks ago I didn’t want Ultra12 to overshadow the food choices I made. In my opinion, the BBQ fun was the priority over having fast, speedy laps at Ultra12. Basically I didn’t want to go “oh I’ll just have a small plate of food to be sensible for running tonight”. That is not the Anna Way. Especially as Kate and Jamie, our hosts, had provided such an INCREDIBLE spread of food.

    Ultra12 was going to start at 7pm (I’d be arriving at 6ish). I was pretty sure I wasn’t the first person because of my late arrival – I thought I’d be like fourth or fifth so not running until at least 9pm onwards. So I ate what I wanted without worry.

    BBQ cooking

    Kate and Jamie bought two £20 packs from the butchers which contained sooo much meat: burgers, sausages, marinated drumsticks, lamb, peppered steak, pork belly and pork ribs. And my friend, Charlotte (a vegetarian), brought halloumi skewers and there were also veggie burgers and sausages.

    Halloumivegetableskewers_thumb.jpg

    With crisps and dips, my salad contribution and some incredible homemade salsa, mango chutney and apple rainbow slaw from Jamie’s friend, Tom, we were well and truly set.

    IMG_2355.jpgFried onions for the burgers as well

    The sun was shining, we were all chilled and the Pimms was flowing. Sadly not into my cup though as I was driving later.

    IMG_2357_thumb.jpgOne plate of many I assure you

    I stuck to my favourites and maxed out on those: peppered steak, ribs and pork belly (and a cheeky lamb skewer as well). With lots of salad of course to keep the balance 😉

    I was sensible enough to not eat until I was really full as I knew we also had some unbelievably tasty looking blueberry cheesecake for pudding made by Charlotte’s husband, Paddy.

    Blueberry cheesecake

    My one mistake was probably having two slices when I should have stopped at one, but it was just too good not to. I felt a little too full afterwards but it was worth it. And I had hours before Ultra12…I was really sensible though in wearing suntan lotion and drinking lots of nuun water to keep me hydrated. So that’s something I suppose.

    IMG_2363_thumb.jpg

    In your dreams little furry pug

    Kate’s pug, Doug, was adorable and I wished Alfie could have come as well (as I had originally planned) but because of Ultra12 I had to leave him with my parents.

    IMG_2412.jpg So so cute

    I was sad to be the first to leave but I was glad to have come the night before as otherwise it really would have been a flying visit. I got back into my car and headed to Reading. I got to the campsite for about 6pm and met up with the other Hedgies and my teammates.

    Ultra12L-R: Claire, me, Mark, Mike and Kate (another Kate!)

    The atmosphere on site was great. It’s smaller and more low-key than Endure24 was but still has a great buzz and lots of people camping and having BBQs. And thankfully NO rain, just beautiful sunshine and a nice temperature.

    After sorting my stuff out I sat down for a nice cup of tea before the madness began.

    IMG_2365

    Have you done many different parkuns?

    What’s your favourite BBQ food?

    How do you prepare for a race that’s in the evening?

    Trespass Summer Style

    It’s Friiiiiiiiiiiday! I have a little review for you guys today from the outdoor clothing shop Trespass.

    I was sent two items from their summer range (though this morning it has been raining and doesn’t feel much like summer…standard British weather *sighs*).

    Betty Womens Long Sleeve Top (£12.49)

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    Source

    The first item is a long sleeved base layer. It’s ideal for skiing or, for what I plan to use it for, before a race to keep your body temperature nice and warm. Though we are in summer, most races start in the morning and it’s still rather cool so rather than standing their feeling chilled this is ideal to keep me warm but not too hot. Obviously it’ll be great for winter as well underneath a jacket or coat for the extra added warmth (it’s all about layers!). It’s very soft and fits nicely. I like the zip as well as it means you can keep your neck warm skiing/walking, or if you’re too hot zip it down.

    Trespass long sleeved top

    Elesie Womens Floral Playsuit (£13.99)

    image Source

    I never thought I’d be a playsuit type of girl, but I love this! It’s so pretty and easy to wear and perfect for hot summer days, having a BBQ or picnic. And no worries about the wind blowing your skirt up or protecting your modesty while lolling around on the grass 😉 I like that it has a belt-like tie as well so gives a bit of definition rather than being sack-like.

    Trespass Playsuit

    It’s not something I could get away with wearing to work however (my work are very relaxed about clothing but not that relaxed). The shorts area are quite high (but not indecent!). The only thing I will say, and this is true for all playsuits and not this one specifically, is that it does make bathroom visits a bit of a saga as it’s a one-piece item.

    Trespass have a great range of summer items (I never knew they did ‘normal’ clothing and was pleasantly surprised by their selection – has quite a nice ‘festival’ theme) and obviously all the usual outdoorsy type stuff, like camping equipment and outdoor sports clothing.

    Do you buy anything from Trespass?

    Do you go camping a lot?

    Are you a fan of playsuits/jumpsuits?

    **Full Disclosure: I was sent these two items for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**