Almost 30 and moving back home

I know so many people who would cringe and run in terror from such a thought. Moving back home after being free and independent for so many years. What am I doing?

After having now lived at home, yes with my parents, for almost four weeks now I feel like I can reflect and give some thoughts on this now. These thoughts might change after months of living there (dare I say after a year? Long-term plans are semi-hazy right now). I haven’t lived at home since I finished university. From there I saved up (with my then partner) to buy a house and we moved out. It has been five or six years since I lived at home. A lot has changed.

Firstly, no my parents don’t make me dinner. I buy my own food and, like being at university, have my own fridge shelf and my own cupboards. I don’t eat their food (unless they’re not going to eat it before it goes-off) and they don’t eat mine (my food never goes off, I’m the queen of no waste ;)).

I have my own bedroom and my own bathroom. Yes, I’m very lucky to have parents who are a) so generous and b) privileged in their life (they both have and continue to work hard to earn this).

They also don’t do my laundry. Or clean my bedroom or bathroom (though they do have a cleaner that does the bathrooms…again, my parents both work and decided a while ago to spend money rather than time on these things). I maintain as much independence as I can. I tidy up after myself, I do jobs around the house, I look after their dogs and they look after Alfie.

It goes without saying that I’m very lucky to have parents that I get along with and who are very generous and accommodating. I will add though that my mum couldn’t be more pleased that I’m home. My dad is as well but my mum… another level.

During the week I don’t really see that much of them. Four days a week I’m out of the house before 6am to go to the gym and I get ready for work there and I eat my breakfast at the office.IMG_1458When I get home I walk Alfie and then make my dinner. If my parents are cooking dinner, I’ll wait until they finish as it’d be far too hectic and chaotic in the kitchen. This just means I wait for a convenient time to slot in. I don’t mind and try always to give my parents priority.

Then they head off and do what they do in an evening and I head off and do what I do in an evening. That might be me going somewhere with friends (far more easy now that Alfie has company) or chilling in the conservatory with YouTube, a TV programme or blogging etc. before I head to bed around 9ish (I get up ridiculously early).

At the weekend I’m usually off somewhere seeing friends, out running or something like that, but on the odd occasion I’m not doing anything it’s actually nice to potter around the house and have company. Or go on a walk with all the dogs. Don’t get me wrong, I loved living alone and I don’t mind my own company but it’s actually really nice to be around my family again…I’d ring my parents probably every day so to speak to them face-to-face, even just about how their day went, is really nice.

So I’m very happy right now. Obviously there will be bumps in the road ahead but so far things are great. The small voice in my head that tells me I’m a loser or that I’ve failed or wonders about what friends I went to school with think has quietened down. It’s still there and I still get embarrassed when I say “I live with my parents” but do you know what? I’m a million times more happy and if someone thinks that’s laughable or silly or pathetic then I don’t have time for them. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff and not be happy.

When did you last live at home?

Could you live with your parents again?

Do you like your own company?

The consequences of being too greedy… ice cream and running don’t mix

The weekend after a marathon you want to basically do nothing. And well, that’s pretty much what I did! Well, sort of.

On Friday night a bunch of my running friends and I went to a very lovely Chinese in Southampton (actually my friend Mike’s stepmum’s) called Shanghai Bay. Now I’m actually not a big Chinese food fan. I’m more an Indian fan, but Mike assured me that this was not your everyday British Chinese restaurant. It was where the local Chinese community come to eat. When you see 90% of the customers are Chinese you know it’s going to be authentic and tasty!As none of us really knew what to order, Mike suggested he just get a selection of bits and pieces to share between us (cue Anna mini panic on sharing food. Needn’t have worried! So much food!). There was a large turning bit in the middle of the table so we could rotate the different plates round which was great for the sharing situation. We started with a platter of ribs, sesame prawn toast, spring rolls, crispy seaweed and peanut chicken skewers.Very tasty indeed. And obviously I loved the ribs. Then following this we had crispy duck pancakes followed by mountains of main courses… sweet and sour, black bean beef and another one (a pork dish, no idea what it was but it was delicious). Oh god, so much food… We barely made a dent! The above photo isn’t when all the dishes are out… I got too distracted eating to take better photos! So yes, we were quite full afterwards. It was also highly amusing seeing some of the “older” generation using Snap Chat filters for the first time. I don’t use Snap Chat either so it was quite an education for all of us!Then after those fun and games we all headed to the nearby Sprinkles Gelato for a bit of pudding… even though we were all feeling quite full. But as we know, there is a separate stomach for pudding.I ordered the Sticky Situation, which I’ve had before… basically a dessert in a jar. It was vanilla gelato with cookie dough, white and regular chocolate sauce, chocolate buttons, real cream (not the cheap squirty stuff). But yeah, it was FILLING. Mike and Kate ordered the peanut butter version of it and they struggled towards the end too… I guess a crepe, waffle or a smaller sundae might have been a more sensible choice (as the others had gone for) but that’s not how I roll!
I was SO full (as you imagine). It was delicious though. We all stumbled out of Sprinkles feeling very much in a sugar coma. I went to bed that night not feeling my best!

And unsurprisingly I woke up not feeling my best. But I headed to Southsea to meet my marathon buddy, Joe, his friend Matt and Matt’s dad for the Southsea parkrun. I parked about a mile away (near The Tenth Hole, where we’d be going for a post-run trip after) and jogged down. A handy little warm-up – which I never usually do before parkrun.The temperature and weather were fantastic. It was lovely and warm and the breeze was fair minimal. The perfect time for a trip to Southsea parkrun!
Joe was planning on testing his marathon legs and I was just planning on surviving. My legs had felt fairly good post-marathon but I wasn’t expecting or really intending on attempting anything too fast or crazy.

We started far too far back. Joe should have been far more forward (being the sub 18min 5k’er he is!) so the first 100m or so I was dodging and weaving between people. Joe and Matt zoomed off and I just tried to get my legs going. Surprisingly things seemed to go OK as I got faster and faster. Southsea parkrun course is quite dull in that it’s a flat 1.5 mile run along the prom and then a turnaround and 1.5 mile run back. But it’s a quick one if that’s what you’re looking for. I managed to get my legs to go faster and overtook a number of people. My legs felt fine and my lungs felt fine… but my stomach was NOT happy. I felt incredibly sick. In fact, I was genuinely concerned I would BE sick. And the smell from the cafes nearby made things so much worse.

As we turned around and headed back I tried to maintain my pace (now with a very slight headwind, but you can always feel these things when you’re trying to run fast) and I remember several guys effortlessly gliding past me (or so it seemed). There was a very young lad sailing along just ahead of me and I tried to hold on to his pace. I did wonder where his “responsible” adult was though as he was very much under 11 and running solo. But that did help distract me from the sicky feeling to consider what you’d do if you had a very young child who could outrun you so much but wanted to join you at parkrun. You’d have to find someone just as speedy that he could run with I guess. Running parent problems!My official time was 21:44 which I was really pleased with. I was more pleased that I wasn’t actually sick. Though after finishing I had to take myself off to a nearby bush and breathe deeply for a good few minutes before I was in the clear. I wasn’t sick but good god I was close. Lessons have been learnt.Joe didn’t do as well as he’d hoped (19.30ish…so slow! ;-)) and Matt got a PB. Matt’s dad did very well as well and we all agreed our previous night nutrition (the boys had had chips and beer) hadn’t been stellar so our performance wasn’t too shabby all things considered!And then Matt and his dad headed off while Joe and I headed to The Tenth Hole for a post-run coffee. We had originally intended on having cake or breakfast but the reality was I felt so sick even the smell of food was turning my stomach. So we settled instead on a coffee and ordered cake to take-away.I knew future Anna would regret not getting cake! I also got three little cake’s for my parents (they come as a trio of cake selection). This way they’d still get cake but it would fit into their Slimming World diet being smaller cakes. I chose a s’mores Rolo brownie and a peanut butter caramel cake (sweet ‘n’ salty – there was more popcorn on top but I nibbled at it).They’ve gone into the freezer to stock-up my cake supply. I honestly couldn’t have had stomached them. Who even am I! In fact, I didn’t actually eat “breakfast” until 1.30pm as I really just didn’t feel right. That will certainly teach me and my greedy self. The coffee was lovely and it was nice to catch-up with Joe again post marathon. Then I headed to Asda to do some food shopping (best time when you really don’t want to be around food…) and had a very lazy day not doing much else.

The next morning, after a deliciously long lie-in, I intended on heading out for about 8-10 miles. I felt so unmotivated and, weirdly, still tired. I just really didn’t fancy going. I took Alfie for a walk to get my head in the game and decided instead to head out for three miles and see how I felt. Well I headed out and within the first 30 seconds I was already feeling like I wanted to go back. But I thought the first mile is always the worst so give it more time. Nope, two miles in and I was already wanting to be home. Everything felt fine, no niggles or anything like that, but nothing felt right, if you know what I mean. I just felt very lethargic and not enjoying the run so I headed home. When I finished I just felt even more tired and not right. I wondered if I was coming down with something…

After getting showered and sorted my mum suggested a nice walk along the Lee-On-Solent prom and then a coffee. Well that sounded lovely. Sometimes you just need to spend some quality time with your mum!We had a nice coffee and chatted away before heading back down the prom to the car. Exactly what I needed! I’m glad I hadn’t tried to push my run earlier as I really didn’t fancy it and I’m not actually training for anything right now (more on that in another post). So for now I can have those days when I don’t fancy running and not run. Lovely. I might have also picked up a slice of coconut vanilla cake and a chocolate beetroot cake to join my other cake friends in the freezer… 😉

The rest of the day was spent chilling and catching up on life admin and Graham Norton. Some days you just need to chill. I still wasn’t feeling entirely well so the relaxing and care-free day did wonders. Especially as the coming weekends I’m going to be busy again!

How do you relax?

Do you ever spend one-on-one time with your mum? What do you like doing together?

Have you ever felt/been sick on a run?

Bournemouth Marathon 2017

Like I’ve said, I had bad feelings about the Bournemouth Marathon since having such a disaster race the last time I ran it (two years ago). My main concern was that the injury I got during the marathon came out of nowhere, like a sniper shooting my knee. I had had no issues leading up to that race and then BAM injured for weeks afterwards (to be clear, I should have stopped as soon as I felt anything wrong. But I didn’t).Flat laySo going into this race I had bad feelings. I felt absolutely fine, but so what? It could happen again. To be honest, I get these sorts of feelings before every marathon because of that race now. It’s like I always say, you can NEVER guarantee you’ll even finish despite all the training you’ve had. That said, I felt relatively positive that from what I could control about the race, things looked to be OK.My friend Joe and I had discussed running the first bit together. He’s super fast (almost sub-18 5ker) but his training hadn’t worked out for him so he’d scaled back his expectations. We were going to be running around the same speed so decided to start together to keep each other company. This relaxed me as I always find the first 10 miles or so of a marathon quite dull, so to have someone to chat to would be nice.Pre race mealThe night before the race I had my standard pizza (and a slice of cake…) while watching Blade Runner (preparation for the new one) and had a solid night’s sleep. I woke up at 7am feeling fresh and confident. My dad was going to join me to support and we both got ourselves together. My mum was going to stay behind… until the LAST minute (literally we were about to leave the house) she decided she wanted to join us. Cue mini-panic that we’d be late but all credit to her, she was in the car 10 minutes later.IMG_0048Our journey was issue-free and we actually arrived earlier than planned (before 9am, the race started at 10am). I ate my porridge, drank my black coffee and Beet It shot en route. After parking, we got so distracted by seeing other Hedgies and Joe and his family we realised we’d walked away from the car park without paying for parking! So we had to hurry back to the car.
Bournemouth marathon race villageWe eventually got to the sports building where the start was near and I clocked the huge queue for the Ladies and decided to swerve that and go to the portable loos instead, which had next to no queues!Race loosI’m so past being a toilet snob now that portable loos don’t phase me. I was just glad to get in several toilet visits before the race begun rather than waiting for ages for just one visit.IMG_1030We milled around with a few of the guys from my running club (Mike was back for another stab at the sub-four) and I spotted my friend, Dave, from the Austria Run Camp. It was lovely to see him again and chat. He’s ordinarily an 800m runner and had only decided to do the marathon a few weeks ago – crazy!IMG_1024Then we were off to the start. I managed to squeeze in one more loo trip and then found my way to my pen. I spotted Joe and we got ourselves in the zone. We agreed to start around 8.15 min/miles. A tiny voice inside me pondered whether that was too quick but I decided I could reassess a bit later.IMG_1033Joe and me had the agreement that if either one of us felt good they could run off with no hard feelings. I spotted a few other people I knew and this made me far more relaxed.IMG_1034The race started on time and we were off. It’s a slight downhill at the start so we had to be careful not to get swept away and go too fast.IMG_1137Joe mentioned how it felt odd having so many people rush past us as we held our nerve and kept to our planned pace. But we both knew it was for the best. Mile one is a whole different story to mile 20.
IMG_1040After being really quite chilly at the start of the race it was nice to have the sun peep out and warm my skin. But by mile two I’d already started to feel too warm. This did not bode well. The start is well supported with lots of crowds so it was nice to be cheered along for the beginning miles. These miles zoomed past as Joe and I chatted away. We both felt very comfortable running between 8-8.10 min/miles. The perfect marathon start for me. Not out of breath, able to carry out a conversation.Miles 1-6As we got towards mile four we hit the first (of many) switch-backs. This was great as we could look out for people we knew. Joe had a few people from his club (Bitton in Bristol) and I had a fair number of Hedgies as well as some other friendly faces. It helped pass the time.IMG_1036I grabbed a water bottle from every water station (nice small ones) as it was getting warmer. Joe, bless him, is probably the politest person I know. When he finished with his water he’d either set it down very gently and deliberately out of the way of other people, or he’d announce his intentions to throw the bottle aside or apologise profusely to anyone nearby as he threw it over their heads. A role model to us all!IMG_1050We then headed out along the roads, with the beautiful scenery to our left and the flats looking out to the sea on our right. Lots of people were hanging from their balconies cheering us on which was nice. Miles 7-13There were a couple of cheeky elevations but otherwise it was quite flat. We spotted Joe’s parents and his brother and they cheered us on. What was nice was that Joe’s family were supporting throughout the course, getting to different locations, and so were mine. So we had a good level of coverage from both sides, along with my running club and odd people I knew – as well, of course, as the fantastic crowds and marshals. Though I failed to spot my dad around mile five until the last minute as I was too busy nattering away!IMG_1195At mile eight, when I’d usually take my first gel, I completely forgot as I was too busy chatting and taking selfies. When we got to mile ten and marvelled at how quickly and how seemingly easy it felt I realised about my gel. I decided instead to wait until half-way as I actually didn’t think I needed it yet. I still felt fairly full from my breakfast (not uncomfortably, but I could tell I had fuel in my body).IMG_1194Just before mile 12 I spotted my parents again and they cheered us on up the first of two of the well-known dreaded hills. Mile 12 hill is actually not too bad. It’s sharp but short. You just persevere up it. Some people walk it, and to be honest that’s probably a fair strategy because it’s not that much quicker to run it. I remember from when I ran Bournemouth before that I tried stretching my niggling knee at this point and hoping the change in elevation might help things… it didn’t. So it was nice to get to the top of the hill feeling strong and with no issues.Miles 14-20As we got past half-way we celebrated that we were now counting the miles down. I finally fancied my gel but I needed to wait for a water station as it was a thicker GU (salted caramel flavour, so good). It was handy having the bottles at water stations as it meant I could eat my gel while sipping water while still running.IMG_1104Around this point we also spotted the fantastic Hedgie cheer crew and I was really boosted by seeing them. And then Joe would tell me to slow down again as I’d get all over-excited. It was very handy having him as another pair of eyes to monitor our pace! I was also glad he was still with me and hadn’t dashed off. We were ticking nicely along still around 8-8.10s (only diverting from that when we’d hit an up- or down-hill). Our conversation was still flowing and we were working out milestones and where the course was taking us. It was still nice and relaxed.IMG_1053A couple of times other runners would comment to us about how we were still chatting or laugh at what we were talking about (Joe explained how beer was made to me…random but interesting, and I waxed lyrically about all the foods I love to eat post-marathon). We also ran with my friend Ben for a little while before we moved on (he was wanting to run slower in order to be in good shape to pace the Birmingham Marathon next week – mental).IMG_1087What made me laugh consistently through the race was the fact that people would cheer me on using my name (because it was printed so large on my vest) and Joe would jokingly shout back “and Joe!” which would make people laugh. Also Joe doesn’t take gels but he does use Jelly Babies and throughout the first half he’d apologise to people offering them saying “bit too early for me yet” (super polite) and then at about 16 miles it was suddenly “Jelly Baby time” and he would literally get Jelly Babies at every available moment. It was like a switch was turned on.IMG_1065I spotted my parents again before we headed out along one of the piers. I took a selfie and Joe laughed at me when I realised I’d taken a selfie just as the camera guy was taking a photo – oops!IMG_1197At mile 17 it’s a rather awful moment where you literally run past the finish. It’s a tough realisation that though you’re SO close you actually still have nine miles to go. At mile 18 we hit the second dreaded hill. And I’d forgotten just how bad this hill was. It’s almost two hills. I struggled a bit here. Joe pulled me along, shouting behind him to keep me going as I grunted and moaned my way up (he seemed to effortlessly glide up it). I so wanted to walk but he told me firmly no. OooooK then. But we did maintain a fantastically consistent pace! We barely lost any speed.IMG_1062I mentioned to Joe that I possibly needed a wee but that he didn’t have to wait for me. My worry was that while I needed the loo I was reluctant to drink more water, but because of the heat I did actually need more water.  So when I saw a sign that said, “Toilets Ahead”, I told Joe to keep going and sprinted off ahead, dashed inside the public toilets and did the quickest wee of my life. I didn’t even lock the door!!! I was in and out so fast. And then I quickened my pace to catch up with Joe. Whew! As I got back next to Joe he told me to slow down and relax again. I was a bit out of breath and flustered!Miles 20-23And then we hit mile 20. Generally it’s fairly flat from here to the end, maybe a couple of inclines but nothing drastic. We were under the shade of trees now which was nice, in more residential and quiet streets. We both agreed that we weren’t ready to make any pace increases just yet but to maintain the speed we were at. We also agreed to stick together till the end as it was clear that we were both still feeling good and strong and, dare I say it, out of the woods. I did stress to Joe though that if he wanted to have a sprint finish I wouldn’t hold it against him – I’m more of a builder of speed than a sprinter! But he assured me that he’d much rather to finish with me as we’d come so far together. This was lovely. Joe’s such a nice guy and we had had, up till now, a very strong race so it did seem fitting to finish together. Though we still had a way to go yet though!IMG_1083The surroundings were getting far more familiar to me as we were coming to the area where, in my previous race, I’d had a lot of “stop and walk” moments. I remembered a roundabout that is basically where you get to around a “parkrun to go” and where at the time a lovely guy, Mark, from my club had stopped and asked if I was OK as I was sullenly hobbling along (I remember him saying it very gently because it was clear I wasn’t OK and I think he thought I was a ticking bomb…it was also clear there was really nothing he could do and that he should continue to run on and leave me. I remember the look of pity on his face). So now to get to this point and be feeling strong and ready to increase the pace was just fantastic.IMG_1088Joe kept reminding me not to push too soon yet – wise words – as we headed back down to the Prom for the final stretch. These last few miles are great (if it’s all going well, of course) as they’re flat and the crowds are out in force cheering you on. The wind was on our backs and we both still felt good. We gently pushed the pace and started overtaking people as we got stronger and stronger.IMG_1107It was hard now. The mental and physical effort of maintaining the sub-8 minute pace we were hitting stopped all conversation and selfie-taking had long since ended. I remember saying I just wanted to see the purple barriers that were the final few meters to the finish. We got to the Mile 26 sign and pushed harder. Joe was ahead and encouraging me on. IMG_1125I was grunting and possibly swearing at this point desperately trying to keep up. I did a bit of glory hunting by raising my arms up (got to be done) and the crowd cheered us in, finally, to the finish. IMG_1124Whew! Thank God because honestly the last mile really made me feel quite sick!Miles 23-26My official time was 3:32:45 (4th in my category, 198/2034) and interestingly my first half was 1:47:24 (which is a negative split)… it’s interesting because my first half from when I ran in 2015 was 1:48:03, so fairly close but obviously the 2015 race had a spectacular positive split as I finished 4:11:19!IMG_1126And as we received our medals and very swanky little goodie BOXES I spotted my friend, Dave, on the floor catching his breath.IMG_1127He’d finished just under the 3:30 time (incredible!!). I was so pleased for him. What an inspiration eh – an 800m last-minute marathoner.IMG_1101And as we came down the steps (ah so cruel, Bournemouth Marathon organisers) I spotted my parents and then Joe’s. I also spotted another Austria Run Camper, Karila, who’d come down to support. I mean, it was just lovely having all these lovely people about to hug and celebrate with. Joe and I were bouncing off the walls (metaphorically I assure you) with happiness at how well it had gone. At how consistently we’d controlled the pace and the race itself.IMG_1113After much chatting, laughing and photos we all parted ways and I headed off with my parents to find the car. IMG_1099I spotted some massages happening (for donation) with a very small queue and decided to get myself some of that action. I was also keen to know how Mike had done (I’d seen him a few times in the race and the last time he wasn’t doing great, saying his sub-4 was off) so figured that the massage might pass some time before he’d appear.IMG_1199The massage was a DREAM. What was not a dream was having to take my compression socks and trainers off to get said massage. Compression socks at the best of times are a ball ache to get off but post sweaty marathon? Hell no. As I was clearly struggling the sports therapist offered to do it for me. What a luxury! The massage was great. And surprisingly there wasn’t anywhere in particular that really ached. It was more a general ache all over (though my glutes were probably the worst – which surprised me!). In fact, I felt pretty unscathed.

Bournemouth MarathonFinally happy to wear this t-shirt with pride. And a good fit!

Sadly I didn’t spot Mike… he rang me later to say he’d crossed the line, threw up, fainted and was then wheeled off to the medical tent. Oh Mike!! But he was OK. Frustrated, but OK. Time for a marathon break for him for a little bit 🙁

Weirdly I didn’t have the “OMG feed me” feelings that I’ve been having previously. I still felt a little sick – probably due to the final pacing and the heat. What I really wanted was an ice-cold Diet Coke! As the finish line is about three miles from the car park where we started we’d already planned beforehand to get a taxi back. I mean we could have walked but realistically this would have been fun for no one (bear in mind my parents had also walked almost 10 miles in the day). The shuttle bus back (which had to be pre-booked) was around £8 each so a taxi that was under a tenner was a steal!

As we waited for it I got a Diet Coke and continued to smile in my post-race buzz. My buzz was somewhat diminished as it took us so long to get out of Bournemouth itself due to traffic (and the fact that my mum wanted to pick up some groceries from M&S…) before we EVENTUALLY got to Coast 2 Coast for food. I’ve been here SO many times I know, but I had a 50% off voucher (again!) and it was an easy option close to home. It’s not the best restaurant in the world but it does tick all the boxes that were required for then!

IMG_1133I love the medal. It came with a small 26.2 keyring too

Funnily enough the waiter who served us was the same waiter who served us after the New Forest Marathon and asked, “done another running thing?” when he spotted me in my running attire (yes, still not changed yet…). IMG_1110I went for exactly the same thing as I had previously – if it ain’t broke! Chicken wings, chicken fajitas and chocolate fudge cake. My tummy didn’t feel 100% great still but it was glad for the food. Though I was stuffed!

After a gentle dog walk down the beach and a fantastically hot shower, I was done!

What do you crave for post-race?

Do you enjoy a post-race massage?

Big thank you to everyone who took photos (Sheryl, Joe’s brother, my parents and Bournemouth Echo!)

My favourite B’s – brownie and BBQ in Bristol

This weekend was my annual uni friends BBQ. We’ve been doing this for 11 years now, which just blows my mind.

It hasn’t always been a BBQ (one time we did a picnic in a park, though I didn’t listen properly and still brought raw food much to everyone’s amusement. Another Anna Stupid Moment), but invariable it is. The weather is usually always good, but annoyingly this year it rained. Ah well, can’t win ’em all.

I drove to Bristol on the Friday evening. It also happened to be the worst time to drive anywhere because there were so many family’s who’s kids had just finished for the year and were off on holiday. So my hour 40 minutes drive turned into 2.5 hours. Joy!

The evening was lovely. We had burritos (steak and chicken). Then followed by our amazing brownie.We’ve been making this brownie since our university days. It’s basically our way of throwing out the rule book and eating pudding exactly how we want (i.e. being a bit piggy and greedy). Straight out of the oven, with a spoon. I blogged the recipe before if you’re interested… this time we added lots of white chocolate and a KitKat Chunky. The KitKat didn’t really work, but it was still AMAZING.

I promptly went into a food coma. We then watched Naked Attraction (if you’ve never seen this programme it’s hilarious but also unbelievably cringey; people choosing dates based entirely on their naked bodies). There was actually a really sweet couple who got together and are still together post-show. Normally they never really work out but this was really cute how well they got on and liked each other. Ah romance 😉 It was a full-on rock and roll evening clearly!

Normally Saturday morning Kate, Jamie and I would go to one of the Bristolian parkruns but as I’m still  injured and Kate and Jay haven’t been running much we decided to have a lie-in instead. I did attempt a little run to see how the knee felt but it still pulled so I turned back after half a mile. Frustrating. Instead I walked to Starbucks with one of the others, Charlotte, and we enjoyed the nice weather (which was soon to turn) and a good old natter.

Then our other friend’s arrived with their newborn baby and the BBQ could commence! It was WEIRD seeing my friend with a baby. She’s the first in the group to have had one and it was just bizarre. She’s a proper grown-up now! The baby, Eloise, was very cute (that’s all you’ll get from me on babies). It didn’t change the dynamic of the group at all, which was nice. Eloise just slotted it like the new addition she is. Though babies do, in general, terrify me.I just don’t know what to do with them or how to speak to them… I held her once and then quickly gave her back. Whew. We survived. It was great hearing all the gory details of the birth though. You do need a close friend to tell you the truth about these things I think. Like I said, terrifying.

Then Jamie got ready with the BBQ. Check out the bag of meat!So. Much. Food. This is why I love going to Bristol. They feed me so well 😉There was a selection of chicken thighs and drumsticks, peppered steaks, lamb ribs, pork ribs, pork belly, sausages and burgers. Pretty damn good!Though the weather wasn’t great it was still a fun BBQ. We ate inside around the table which was nice, so we could all easily chat. And they no longer laugh at me when I take photos of food 😉

Obviously I ate too much, but what’s new? We followed the BBQ with Victoria sponge and salted caramel cake (it was recently Shell and Charlotte’s birthday – yes I had a slice of both…and maybe another later) and then BBQ bananas with chocolate sauce. YES.I’m not a huge banana fan but this was really tasty. The banana had gone all gooey and sticky and the chocolate sauce melted into it. SO good. Just slice a line into a banana, roll it up with foil and pop it onto the coals for 15 minutes).

I went home later that day very happy. I mean, ridiculously full but very happy.

The next morning…ah how I’d loved to have joined my friend Mike in his 20 mile run (I’m trying not to panic, trying not to panic) and instead went to the gym where I did 65 minutes on the cross-trainer at a quick clip. I was a sweaty mess by the end and somewhat satisfied with my workout. But not as happy as I’d have been having just done 20 miles! But hey ho, it is what it is.

I’ve found the perfect way to keep entertained on the elliptical machine; watching YouTube and films. I watched To The Bone on Netflix which was interesting. I’d heard about this through the Blogosphere and also on a film podcast. It’s about eating disorders, which isn’t an entirely fun subject but it was actually really good in a weird way. An interesting take on the subject and I thought Keanu Reeves in it was really good. The main female did annoy me a bit but I don’t think she was meant to be entirely likeable. I thought it addressed the issues well but it’d be interesting hearing from someone with more experience on the matter.

Anyway, it’d be nice to run again. My knee does seem much better so it’s frustrating that when it comes to running this isn’t translated. It feels fine in every other aspect but running. So who knows. Cross training is the way forward right now!

How was your weekend?

Do you have any annual traditions with your friends?

Have you watched To The Bone?

Double BBQ and the first proper long run

This weekend was another busy one. On Friday evening I headed to Bristol to stay over my friend’s house. I was quite stressed out and in a bad mood as I left but after chilling out to some music I got back into a happy place and was ready for a weekend of fun.

I’m always fed so well at Kate and Jamie’s. I never stress out that I’ll be hungry or I won’t like what the make as they know me quite well 😉 The next morning I had a lazy lie-in until 8.30am and then we got ready for yet another obstacle race, the Rough Runner 10k. I love doing these kinds of race with Kate and Jamie because they’re such good fun.The races are very relaxed and we go into them just looking to enjoy ourselves. We run as a group and tackle each obstacle together, motivating each other and of course laughing when someone face plants or falls off an obstacle. It’s really not that serious and doing races like this is a nice change and something that keeps me from getting fed up of road race after road race. I love my “normal” races but a change is always needed once in a while!

I’ll recap that in a separate post as it deserves it 🙂 After the race Jay manned the BBQ while Kate and I popped to the supermarket to grab some salad bits and pudding. Normally we’d go out for a meal after a race but as it was such a nice day (oof I got sunburnt during the race), a BBQ seemed like a far better plan. Jay is like the BBQ master. They always host an annual BBQ every year (coming up in July, whoop whoop!) which I always look forward to so I was really chuffed to have an early taster session.There were sausages, burgers, chicken pieces, ribs, pork belly and lamb pieces. I was in heaven! They really do do a great spread.By the time we sat down we were all ravenous, having had breakfast over five hours ago! I ate a bit (*cough* a lot) of everything and felt well and truly refuelled and restored. But obviously a bit of pudding was required too to fully finish the meal off nicely.Ooof such a good pudding. A salted caramel cookie topped with brownie and salted caramel ice cream. It was delicious. And so I drove home in a very content state of satisfaction. As always, a fun time had been had in Bristol!

I’d originally planned on getting up super early Sunday to get my long run in before it got too hot but actually the temperature was a lot cooler and it looked to continue that way the next day. So I treated myself to another lie in (8.15am) and headed off for my long run at 9am. I always walk Alfie beforehand to help wake me up and warm my legs up. I never usually have breakfast before either. I just make sure I’ve eaten enough the day before (see above…) and I like to run fasted as when I race I do use fuel so the boost is so much more pronounced on race day. This might be rubbish but psychologically it works for me.

I started off the run actually feeling pretty pants. I felt tired, my legs felt heavy and I was fairly demotivated. I was doing a usual long run route around the seafront area of Hill Head and Lee-On-Solent and I was genuinely dreading how far I had to go. Being so familiar with the route made me just dread it even more.

But I was listening to a really interesting TED Radio Hour (a podcast which looks at a few different of the TED Talks with an overriding theme). The one I was listening to was about robots and how that might affect the future of jobs and the economy. So it kept me amused and the miles ticked by a bit easier. As always, after the initial few miles I felt better. It wasn’t as hot but it was very windy but the wind was mostly coming across me so wasn’t too bad and kept me cool.

I carried some water with me and filled up at my usual dodgy tap on the seafront promenade (it looks suspect but doesn’t have a “no drinking water” sign… I’ve drunk from it several times and never had an issue but I always refer to it as a dodgy tap as I’m not entirely sure) which is at about half-way.I felt good after finishing the run but very tired. It’s the longest run I’ve done in a while and I think it’s on of those “ahh this feels like marathon training” runs. Glad to have ticked it off!

And then I had another BBQ with my family. My sister and her fiance came over so it was nice to them as well. My sister was lamenting that she’s put on weight. She’s the person who has never exercised, smoked and always eaten fairly badly (a diet of pizza and cereal would be an accurate description) but never had weight issues. She’s always been quite slim (I think my sister and me are quite lucky in that respect. I know I exercise a lot but I’ve never had an issue with weight even when I didn’t exercise and ate terribly at school). But recently the medication she’s been on has caused her to gain a bit of weight and she’s facing a situation she’s never had before (bar when she was pregnant). I tried to give her some advice but seen as how she hates exercise and, in her words, “likes cheese a lot” it might be tricky! It’ll be interesting to see her change her eating habits… 😉 (I’m allowed to say this as she’s my older sister!)

The food and family time was great. But I’m shattered now!

How did you spend the weekend?

Do your friends ever cook you dinner?

Do you carry water on long runs?