Moving on

This is a bit of a random post. I just felt the urge to get some words down in a cathartic kind of brain fart, mainly triggered by the fact that I will finally be moving soon.

It’s been over eight months since Ben, my husband, told me he no longer wanted to be with me. Not a day goes past that I don’t think about it. Whether it’s wondering where the cracks began, why I didn’t see them or what my life is going to be like going forward. It’s not something I feel depressed about or cry about anymore. I don’t want sympathy or pity. That isn’t what this post is about. I actually don’t know what this post is about. It’s just a mental dump, forgive me.

I’ve been given a completion date for the flat I’ve bought (finally) so should be moving Friday 4th December. Ben lives in Switzerland and is enjoying his new life out there, with a new job and ambitions. I’m happy for him. We still keep in touch and this makes me both happy and sad. We’re still friends but it’ll never be the same.

I’m happy in myself and enjoying life. I will never regret the time Ben and me had together because we had so many good times and we grew together as people. But I do worry about the future. I have a ticking clock in the back of my mind which I’ve never had before.

I don’t want to get all Bridget Jones and Sex and the City on you, but I do worry that I’ll be that girl. I’m not outgoing and don’t thrive hugely well in social situations… I won’t ‘put myself out there’. Insecurities have cropped up that I never had before… What was wrong with me? Will anyone want someone as running obsessed as me? Am I boring? Nothing makes you face your flaws like the thought of dating. I was with Ben from when I was just 18 and was still ‘finding myself’ and growing as a person. Well, I’ve found myself and there’s not much I can do about changing now. This is me.

Thankfully I’m not really ready to look for anyone else. I feel exhausted and terrified by the whole idea. I’m happy on my own and enjoying the truly selfish aspects that that entails. No one to dress up for, no one to look good for, no one to try and make a good impression for. Just me, sat at home in my pyjamas, my hair a mess, eating too many apples.

I just worry that’ll I’ll get used that lifestyle. It’s so easy to just get stuck into my routines, my habits and introversion. I know what I’m like. I can become very routine-fixed and like things ‘just so’ and without anyone else there to mess up those routines they only become a bit more ingrained. But, like I said, I like my life at the moment and I like those routines. On to the next chapter!

But, still, that damn ticking clock…

If you’re with someone, how did you find your partner?

If you’re single, are you happy being single?

Do you worry about the future? I never used to. I thought I had my whole life planned out.

Grumpy running, good snacking and a leg workout

Brrrrrrrrrrrr!! It is cold! Sorry to state the bleeding obvious but it really is. OK we don’t have snow and I know we’re far better off than you warriors up North or in countries with lots of snow, so apologies for my pathetic moaning.

Saturday morning I optimistically put on my shorts for parkrun but after taking Alfie for a quick walk I realised this would not be a wise move. It was so much colder than it had been in the week – and very windy.

I had intended to wear all three of my new running tops and take one off on each lap (as I mentioned, jokingly, in a previous post – then people actually wanted me to do it) but it was too cold for short sleeves! Before realising how cold it was I did put them on with the intention of wearing them…IMG_6151Top layer was to be the Bournemouth finisher’s t-shirt, then the Marathon Talk t-shirt, then finally the parkrun 50 t-shirt.IMG_6153It was going to be so good… Then I stepped outside with Alfie and thought “yeah this isn’t going to happen”. There was no way I’d want to strip off any layers when I was running!! Instead I put on some leggings and a long-sleeved top.

I got to parkrun to meet the other set-up crew guys and we were all pretty miserable and cold. It was windy and wet as well as stupidly cold. As the minutes ticked closer to the start I started to feel more and more apprehensive and, well, moody about the whole thing. I was so close to just going home. My muscles all felt really cold, creaky and just niggly. I was worried about my knee and worried about needing to stop.

I did a quick warm-up with some of the guys and I just felt myself sinking further and further into a bad mood and was certain I couldn’t run the whole parkrun.

At the start my friend Mark realised I wasn’t in the best of moods and, bless him, he tried to pull me out of it by running with me and chatting. At first I just wanted to stop and give up – I gave him fairly blunt responses to his questions and conversation attempts. I was so cold and I couldn’t warm up. I couldn’t seem to run any faster either, and I was nervous to push it anyway because of my knee, which was feeling uncomfortable.

Mark realised how cold I was and gave me his jacket mid-run which was nice of him and did help. Possibly because I wasn’t running very fast (for me) and how cold the wind was I just didn’t get warm until the 3rd mile. By then I had started to come out from my dark place and actually be a nice human being to Mark. He was very patient with me and I wouldn’t have blamed him to have left me!parkrun splits




In the end I ran 27:18, my slowest parkrun in a long while and possibly one of the worst in terms of enjoyment. We were also on the winter course which is worse anyway in terms of hills (and wind). I was so glad when it was over. My knee didn’t hurt but it was uncomfortable, but given the conditions I’ll take it!

I was in such a better mood afterwards as you can imagine. I was warmer, relaxed and just glad to have got it done. And there was cake made by my lovely friend, Sheryl, who was celebrating her 150th parkrun!!IMG_6154

Mar bar crispies and Malteaser bites

I was in my happy place once again :-) The hot drink in the cafe afterwards was much needed as well!

Later on my friend, Tom, was celebrating his 30th birthday with a Mexican and Cowboy themed party. His wife, my close friend Louise, had made some really tasty cupcakes and an immense Cactus cake. There was a spread of nachos and dips and a chilli slow cooking as well.Cactus cakeThere were churro cupcakes (with cinnamon sugar and a doughnut texture) and piñata cupcakes that had Smarties in the middle!! I can attest that both cupcakes were very tasty 😉

I also brought round some popcorn I’d found in Budgens.IMG_6156For 99p and buy one get one free I call that a definite bargain! Marshmallow popcorn?? Yes please! To be fair though, it actually just tasted like sweet popcorn with a slight marshmallow hint.1 I think I was expecting chunks of marshmallow stuck to pieces of popcorn (what an idea, eh??) and the salted popcorn was basically sweet and salty. But tasty nonetheless!

I didn’t do a very good job at the fancy dress by just having a checked shirt so Louise did my hair in plaits for me and lent me her hat 😉IMG_6167I couldn’t stay for the evening sadly as my parents had invited me over for a meal with some friends, which also meant I didn’t see the main cake being cut :( Lou, the lovely friend she is, said I could pop over the next day to pick some up. Always need friends like that in your life!IMG_6194After seeing Lou and Tom on Sunday morning, I headed to the gym for my leg workout. I don’t know if you guys care to see what I did but here it is anyway…

  • Squat: (warmup sets first): 4x 65kg, 6x 62.5kg, 8x 62.5kg x3, 10x 60kg x2, 8 x60kg
  • Box squat: 12x 60kg, 12x 65kg, 12x 70kg, 10x 75kg x2
  • Deadlift (warmup sets first): 6x 65kg x2, 8x 62.5kg x2, 10x 60kg, 10x 55kg x2
  • Hack squat: 12x 47.6kg, 12x 57.6kg x4
  • Sumo squat: 20x 10kg, 20x 20kg x4

Followed by some glute kickbacks/sidekicks on the cable machine and ab work. It’s a lot quieter on Sundays than Saturdays so it was nice not to feel crowded. The hack squat was a new machine to me, which focuses primarily on the quads. I prefer the leg press machine but it wasn’t working annoyingly. The hack squat machine was quite painful on my shoulders and left marks, despite there being cushions on it. It wasn’t a fun experience!

Anyway the rest of the day was same-old same-old: Alfie walks, housework and watching a new-to-me TV series, True Detective. The first episode was soooo s.l.o.w. I’m hoping it’ll pick up. My physio leant me the box-set so I need to get through it fairly quickly (I feel bad hanging on to borrowed things for too long).

What’s your favourite popcorn flavour?

What machines do you like to use at the gym?

What’s the coolest shaped cake you’ve seen (in real life, not on the Internet!)?

Calabrian preserves and running update

Right, before I get into any injury and running talk… I have a lovely little review of some Calabrian preserves.

I was sent a trio of typical Calabrian preserves from Artimondo.

The delicacies are produced by Sirianni, a family business founded by Agostino Sirianni in 1999 and located in Cittanova, a small hamlet in the province of Reggio Calabria, Italy.

Calabrian Preserves

The trio consists of (from left to right in the photo) Spilinga ‘Nduja sausage spread, Tropea red onion jam  and a black olive paté.

Spilinga ‘Nduja Sausage Spread

“‘Nduja is the most typical and traditional culinary delicacy of Calabria, Southern Italy. Its name comes from “andouille”, the French word for sausage, and it consists in a very soft sausage, so tender that it can be spread. Its unmistakable flavour is vigorous and piquant.Source

I made the mistake of putting a big blob on a teaspoon to try it out before using it in anything. MISTAKE. It is ridiculously spicy. Spicy in a nice aromatic way though. It’s lovely and flavoursome. I jazzed up some rather boring courgette spaghetti (courgetti – I hate pasta). I made sure to tame it down with a bit of cream cheese though as it was quite spicy. It’s apparently very good on bread and pizza (and of course regular pasta!).

Tropea Red Onion Jam

This is Italy’s answer to onion marmalade I think. It is SO good. I’m loving it. It’s lovely and sweet but does have a slight bitter twang to it, which adds to the flavour. It’s advised to have with grilled meats and mature cheese, so very much like a chutney on a cheese board or a ploughmans.TROPEA RED ONION JAM

To be honest, I’ve just been throwing it into stir fries and salads. It goes especially well with grated parmesan cheese (chicken, the jam and parmesan = SO GOOD). I have such a sweet tooth and love the savoury-sweet combo so this just rocks my world.

Black Olive Paté

I was a little confused about this one. It’s apparently a black olive paté… but I couldn’t see any black olives. And it didn’t seem like any paté I’m familiar with! It was more like an olive pesto. Again, it’s ideal for topping bread, pasta and pizza. I added it to courgetti again.Black olive pate

There’s a lot of oil in it but it’s so flavoursome and mixes really well with the ‘pasta’. It is quite spicy but not crazily so.IMG_5666

It went very nicely with tilapia (a white fish) and chicken as well. If you don’t like olives, you won’t like it as the olive flavour is very strong. I love the taste of olives so this really worked for me.

All three jars are £14.96 (inc. P&P anywhere in the UK). A nice addition to a meal :)

Now on to my run on Wednesday evening… I ran at an easy pace for three miles. In general it was quite tough. I’ve lost a lot of fitness and as I haven’t done any cardio (bar a few minutes of warming up before my strength workouts) or running for 6.5 weeks. That said, I didn’t need to walk and I wasn’t hugely struggling. Just the slower pace I was running was a lot harder than it used to be.

In terms of my knee and leg? Well to begin with everything felt creaky. Everything felt absolutely fine but as the run continued I just felt a bit off: tight and stiff, and towards the end a bit of discomfort cropped up. It left me feeling a bit unsure about how it went.

Post run thoughts

I was disappointed, I won’t lie. I felt 98% fine before the run so I thought that would translate into the run perfectly. Yes I know, rather naive! I got a bit grumpy and fell into a bit of a well of despair thinking I’d regressed. After the run my leg did feel worse than before but there was no pain, just tightness and discomfort. A niggly, slightly tender feeling basically. Though I was pleased to find walking downstairs caused no issue other than a bit of discomfort. Walking down stairs was the one thing when my injury was bad that would always hurt and cause me grief so the fact that stairs are no issue gave me hope.

I saw my physio the next day and he calmed me down. He said that the fact I felt no pain during or after was a very good sign. He said it was to be expected that it would feel uncomfortable and niggly. He worked hard on my whole left side and reassured me that the issue I had before (my internally rotated leg – because of the excessive tightness in different muscles) wasn’t there so I hadn’t buggered anything up. He even said a gentle parkrun on Saturday would be a good idea to see how continuing to run affected things. YAY!

I’m still nervous I’ll regress but I’m hopeful I’m on the path to recovery!

Do you enjoy Italian food?

What’s your favourite pasta meal?

What are your plans for the weekend?

**Full Disclosure: I was sent the preserves for free in return for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Rants and Raves #24

Hello Wednesday! And time for some of my ranting and raving…

Rave: I finally got Alfie into his long awaited Halloween costume. I had to cut the sides to make it a bit more roomy for him but it fits quite nicely.Halloween dog fancy dress

Alfie’s personality is that he’s kind of a push over. He doesn’t do much growling or get ‘angry’, rather he’ll just stand there and look daggers at you. That’s what happens when I bath him or try and put silly bright orange t-shirts on him. He’s also a huge wuss. When it comes to cats, he’ll be ready to chase them if they run but if they stand there and just look at him he doesn’t know what to do so cowers away. My little hero…

I did take the t-shirt off after getting  a photo of him though (which took so frigging long as he just wanted to race about the place).

In other Alfie news… when I have to pop to our local shop quickly I’ll tend to walk there and take Alfie with me and tie him outside. He tries to keep me in view in the entire time and has such a look of despair on his face it’s quite unbearable.
Dog outside shop

It’s almost like he’s saying “Are you coming back…?”. Bless him.

Rant: Sometimes I wonder how I can ever get through a day on my own. I believe I’m an intelligent person (I went to university and got a first class honours degree from the very respectable Cardiff university in Psychology for what that’s worth!) but common sense? Severely lacking.

The Iceland passport debacle for example. Who puts their passport in the washing machine??

Anyway, so I was working from home last week and, as I mentioned in a previous post, I have no furniture so need to use the kitchen counter for my laptop. When I decided to break for lunch I just pushed the laptop to one side and went on my merry way frying up some bits and pieces on the hob.

Instead of the yummy smells of food cooking there was a horrible acrid smell. Thankfully I quickly realised that my iPhone cable was directly in the flame of the hob and whipped it away while turning it off at the plug. Jesus.iPhone cable burn

Luckily it didn’t cause any crazy electrical fire… but it didn’t work afterwards (yes I did try it, see above about common sense).

Rave: Getting a lovely new lot of coconut oil.Coconut Oil

I use coconut oil for all my frying and roasting purposes. The only annoyance is having to melt the coconut oil before I can coat vegetables/potatoes in it. But it’s a small price to pay for this delicious and nutritious source of fat.

Though I have to say, nothing quite beats onion slowly and gently fried in a load of butter. Literally heaven.


Don’t fear butter! Yes it’s high in calories and fat but when had in moderation it can easily fit in a healthy diet. A tasty healthy diet at that. And when I say ‘diet’ I really mean lifestyle, not the ugly connotations so prevalent in women’s magazines.

Rant: I currently have three running tops that I desperately want to wear but haven’t been able to… yet. One of those is my parkrun 50 top.parkrun 50 top

It’s so soft and lovely and fits perfectly. But I received it after I got injured so haven’t been able to properly wear it yet.

The same goes for the Marathon Talk t-shirt I ordered.

Marathon Talk tshirt

In ‘classic black’ of course 😉 and I received a free Marathon Talk buff as there was a delay. Again, it fits lovely! Made by Xempo.

And, obviously, my Bournemouth marathon finisher’s t-shirt has been left unworn in my running drawer as well. Now I feel like this week is the week that I can get back to running (PLEASE!). I thought I’d wear all three t-shirts to parkrun and on each lap whip one off to get the maximum effect 😉

Rant: When I was at the gym on the busy Saturday I was just minding my own business doing my squats and there were two men near to me using a bench to do dumbbell presses, taking turns while the other rested. When one of them finished his reps he just threw down his dumbbells (very heavy dumbbells, over 20kg/44lbs each!). They bounced away from him towards me – like literally almost hitting my legs.

I understand people want to do a tough workout and want to be near failure on reps but throwing dumbbells down in exhaustion is dangerous in a busy gym! What an idiot. I glared at him after he did it multiple times but I was too intimidated to say anything. I really should have though. To me that shows a lack of control rather than good weight lifting.

Rave: This is a rave for me and a rant for my bank account. I mentioned in my last R&R post (oooh it has an acronym!) that I’ve been buying lots of gymwear… well here are a few more of my items.Gym outfit

The ridiculous bright yellow shorts are from Nike Pro (from Zalando – in fact, I bought those and a pair of bright pink ones too for £25 in total which I thought was a steal as Nike is always such good quality). Top left is another muscle tee from Forever 21. These are perfect for weight lifting in the gym but not for cardio or running because they’re not technical material. But I love the freedom of muscle tees as the sides gape. The funky leggings are from Boohoo and, again, they’re not technical material but they’re perfect for upper body days. And they were so cheap. I bought a few items from Boohoo as they had a good deal on shipping for next day delivery – £1.99!

MASSIVE RAVE (or potentially MASSIVE RANT): So tonight is the night. I’m going to test out running (3 miles, nothing crazy). I haven’t done a single run since Bournemouth. My leg feels absolutely fine walking and taking stairs so I’m really hopeful. Obviously if anything does hurt I’ll stop but I’m really really praying it’ll be fine. I’m seeing my physio tomorrow so I figured this was the ideal time to test it out. Originally I was going to use parkrun as my tester but realistically I need to run on my own without any external factors… just the road and me. I don’t want to be tempted to push through anything or be embarrassed if I have to stop. Plus my dad and me are driving in together so if the run fails I can emotionally collapse onto him on the way home (what fun for him). FINGERS CROSSED!!!!!

Do you have a lot of common sense?

What kind of oils and fats do you use? I’ve heard gee is supposed to be really good but I’ve never tried it in my own cooking… I keep seeing it in Tesco and I’m very tempted.

Have other gym goers annoyed you recently?

That boring gym person…

First and foremost, my thoughts are with all those affected by the devastating events on Friday in Paris. I woke up Saturday morning and couldn’t believe what had happened. It’s very sad and terrifying time.

Prayers for Paris


Saturday morning was very sombre. I headed to parkrun with Alfie where it was cold and overcast. No one was really in that jolly a mood considering what had happened the night before. Alfie though was carefree as anything and raced around the place and dove into as many puddles as he could.

Again I wasn’t running this week. I had seen my physio on Thursday and both he and I could tell there was a marked improvement from Sunday when I saw him for an hour and a half. On Sunday he assessed me completely and rather than finding anything wrong specifically with my knee, he said it was a combination of a tight calf, a tight hamstring and a tight back that was causing my left leg to internally rotate and aggravate my knee. On both Sunday and Thursday he worked into those areas and released so much tension. Now it feels like a bit of a niggle rather than the sharp and eye-watering pain I felt just last week.

I was tempted to run at parkrun but he advised against it, saying just take one more week. He showed this very cool Tensegrity model to demonstrate what was happening.


All the wooden sticks are held together by elastic bands and when he pulled slightly on one elastic band on one side you could see how the entire shape changed due to that small amount of tension. He said this is what was happening in my left side. As I was still tight my body would have to change its biometrics to compensate and I wouldn’t be doing myself any favours. Great visual representation!

Anyway, back to parkrun where it had now started to rain. My friend Mark was supposed to be time keeper but he hadn’t shown up so I was asked to take over as I was otherwise just a marshal. Cue immediate panic as time keeping is not a job I’ve ever done before and a lot rides on it!!

parkrun time keeper

Mark did turn up in the end (and took the above photo of me, thank you!) but I kind of wanted to give time keeping a go so he kindly let me do it. At the start of parkrun, just before they sounded the whistle, we held a minute silence in respect for Paris. It was very moving as everyone stood there in silence. And then they were off.

Annoyingly I’d lost Alfie’s lead (I’d put it in the wrong parkrun bag that had got taken away to someone’s car) so I had to time-keep while also making sure Alfie didn’t trip anyone up when they finished. Mark took over at the end so I could help start clearing away the flags etc. with the other guys. I didn’t mess up, hurrah!

After clearing everything away I was cold and wet and though people were heading to the cafe I thought it best to just go home as I couldn’t take Alfie inside and it would be mean to either leave him outside or make people sit outside in the wet. I was sad to miss the hot drink but I got home and had some lovely hot porridge instead.

Alfie once again got a bath as he was covered in mud and then I got myself together and headed to the gym for my ‘legs day’.


Lift, selfie, repeat 😉

Legs day is my favourite day. I just feel really strong and can feel myself getting stronger. It’s my escapism at the moment while I can’t run. Though I have to say midday Saturday is peak time! The weights area was packed but I was lucky to have a squat rack to do my thing.

I did:

  • Squats: warming up with 12 reps of 45kg a few times then one rep of 65kg, then seven reps between 4-10 from 55kg to 65kg.
  • Box squats: Five 6-10 reps 65kg-70kg
  • Deadlifts: warming up with a few 12 reps of 30kg and one at 62.5kg, then six reps between 4-6 from 62.5kg to 67.5kg.
  • Leg press: warmup of 20 reps of 46.7kg, then 8-12 reps from 67.7kg to 112kg
  • Sumo squat: warmup of 20 with 10kg, then four reps of 20 with 20kg
  • Ab work: hanging knee raises and then parallel bar leg raises

This took two hours in the gym! As I a) wasn’t moving and b) wasn’t going to Cardiff anymore I had some time on my hands and I really enjoyed just going through these exercises, listening to music and zoning out. The next day (and still today) my legs are feeling some serious DOMs.

Foam rolling

On Sunday I spent a good amount of time rolling my aches and tightnesses, which was both painful and strangely enjoyable. While rolling and stretching I watched the film Margin Call, a tense drama about the financial crash. I know that sounds quite dull but the acting was really good (Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Paul Bettany, etc.) and I was fully engaged the entire time (no iPad/phone distraction at all – just the foam roller).

So my weekend was fairly low-key. I’ve become that boring gym person I’m afraid, but it makes a change from that boring injured runner…or that boring runner 😉 Hopefully next week I’ll be running. I have another session with my physio and finger’s crossed…

What’s your favourite muscle group to work on at the gym?

What fims have you watched recently? (New or old)

How do you recover from a hard workout?