Brighton Hove Prom parkrun and lots of food

So after I said goodbye to mum in London (continuing on from Monday’s post), I headed to meet my good friend, Charlotte, to go to Brighton to spend the evening and Saturday with her. I hadn’t seen her in a few months (far too long) and I’ve always been meaning to do a Brighton parkrun so it seemed a good time to do.

Let’s ignore that I also had the London Marathon on the Sunday… London, to Brighton, home, to London again. It was all rather complicated and dependent on me getting my train tickets correct and adult head on. Spoiler: I adulted well!

I love Brighton. It’s like London but better because not only does it have the sea but it’s less crowded and busy but still has the cool factor, funky shops and GREAT places to eat. Technically, Charlotte lives in Hove but it’s all walkable (as my dad and I found for the Brighton 10k…we parked at Charlotte’s so we didn’t have to pay ridiculous money).

And what’s immensely cool, but would be seriously dangerous for me if I had such an advantage, is the fact that their house has lots of Deliveroo options within the area. So that night we got some tasty burritos and chicken salad delivered from the Mexican restaurant, JQ’s Kitchen.I had smokey chicken and it was delicious. My friend also blew my mind by eating a pork burrito. Ever since I’ve known her (we’re talking over 10 years here) she’s been a veggie. And there she was, nonchalantly eating PORK like no big deal!

The next morning we had a glorious lie-in until 8am and then made a gentle amble (a leisurely 20 minute walk) to the nearest parkrun, the Hove Prom parkrun (Brighton actually have four parkruns!). She’s not a runner so she was there to support me, bless her, but I was still blown away by how close she lived to a parkrun! How convenient.I wore my Boston Marathon jacket and it contrasted nicely with the beautifully coloured beach huts. The weather was gorgeous. Barely any wind, lots of sunshine and just a very slight chill. Perfect parkrun conditions.

Hove Promenade parkrun is quite a simple course. You basically run up and down the promenade (surprise, surprise). Because of this, it’s very flat. There are four turnarounds though which can break the flow, but really it’s a very good PB-potential course I’d say. Not that I was aiming for that the day before a marathon!There was a lovely happy buzz about the place as the Brighton & Hove Albion football team had recently got promoted to the premier League (the first time in a LONG time apparently) so lots of people had worn the blue and white colours to celebrate. The Run Director was very funny as well so made the start an enjoyable experience. It’s always nice when it’s a bit more relaxed and jovial.

I had intended on aiming for the 24 minute mark but on a flat course and feeling good, I realised I would be aiming for a faster time. I wasn’t going to bust my lungs or ruin my legs, but I did want to blast it out. I’ve done this before marathons previously so I didn’t feel in danger of doing anything too stupid (or at least, stupid relative to my usual Annerisms).Charlotte stood on the sidelines cheering us on and snapping some photos. It was nice to see her a good number of times as we ran up and down the prom (you basically run up and down twice, with the start/finish in the middle).If I’m honest, the course is a little dull. The sea views are beautiful but it’s all on the flat concrete path of the promenade and you’re running up and down… which after about 10 minutes can feel quite monotonous. That said, the final finish bit is quite cool. Once you turn around for the final stretch, it’s about a quarter of mile to the finish. It’s a fair way but I had enough gas in the tank to power past several people and keep working until I reached the end. That final push really did take it out of me though and I had that horrible “oof feel a bit sick feeling”.

I got 21:40, which I’m so pleased with. I’m loving seeing these 21:xx’s at the moment. I feel in a good place. I know when I’m super fit when I’m hitting 20:xx’s though, but I can’t see that happening soon without extra speed sessions.

And EVEN better than the short walk to the parkrun was the short walk to the nearby Starbucks. What a luxury! I had a delicious SF hazelnut Americano as we walked back to Charlotte’s house. We stopped in a couple of shops en route where I clocked a pair of Nike leggings that began a mental battle in my head about whether to buy or not (I did not) and we overheard a bunch of runners talking about London, which made me rather nervous!

I quickly showered and we headed out again (skipping breakfast as it was now past 11am) and walked into Brighton. We were aiming for lunch at Food For Friends, which I’d heard sooo many good things about (especially from Maria). We got there in perfect time for lunch and they thankfully had room for us (apparently they get very busy).

We were both quite hungry by this point so decided on having some starters as well. The majority of our choices were influenced by what we saw other people ordering.For starters I had Goat’s curd, caramelised pear and hazelnut praline (yes I did copy that from the website). We also shared some paprika halloumi bites which came with a sweet chilli dipping sauce, which were incredible.We both went for the crispy sweet potato cakes for our main but we agreed we may have made the wrong decision. We saw so many delicious and varied plates go past us to different tables, so when our three potato cakes came out they looked a little bit…well, boring. Don’t get me wrong, they tasted really good and they were lovely and filling but there wasn’t much variety to the meal and a whole lot of sweet potato. I wish I’d have chosen a salad or something a bit more exciting. I did enjoy it though and the carbs were very welcome pre-marathon.

On the subject of necessary carbs, after lunch we moseyed about the cool vintage and unique shops while keeping our eyes open for a potential pudding opportunity. And lo! and behold, in the middle of one of the streets we spotted a beautiful array of delicious-looking treats.Straight away I knew I wanted the peanut butter and salted caramel cookie. It looked incredible. I’m actually not a huge peanut butter fan, but mixed with the salted caramel intrigued me. Plus walking around eating a cookie would be easier than trying to cram a slice of cake into my mouth (don’t get me wrong, it wouldn’t necessarily hinder me, but for the benefit of all those around me I thought it would be a nicer experience to just attempt to eat a cookie). Charlotte got a brownie, which had chunks of Oreo cookie inside (an “Oreo Mosaic” apparently). Usually I’m a big brownie fan, but I prefer them warmed up with ice cream (I know, such a cake diva). I also managed to persuade Charlotte to share a chocolate “crinkle” cookie as well. It was only £2 and it practically jumped into my hands I swear.

The cookie was really dense, soft and crumbly (the ideal cookie consistency in my humble opinion). Very tasty. The chocolate crinkle cookie thing was very dense and soft. It wasn’t dry but it did suck the moisture out of your mouth. I also tried (and then later finished off…) Charlotte’s brownie, which had a great texture of soft and crunchy. Basically I was in cake munching heaven.We walked around a bit more, saw some cool graffiti, and then after grabbing another Starbucks because wellllll, one must when with fellow Starbucks lovers, I headed to the train to go back to my parent’s house. I’d walked far too much and eaten far too much sugar, but I was very happy indeed.

What’s your favourite kind of cookie?

What would you choose as a vegetarian meal to eat?

Have you done any of the Brighton parkruns?

Brighton 10k Recap (BM10)

Now if you’ve been reading my blog for a while or know me at all you’ll know I detest 10ks. This is kind of amusing considering how many I used to do back when I first started running. I was doing a 10k every weekend it seemed. But it eroded my enjoyment of running as I was always after a faster time and was disappointed when it invariably didn’t happen.

So now I just stick to half marathons and marathons and any other race I do is usually just for fun, or if I’m in the height of fitness (rarely) I might target it to simply see how I can do or as a good speed session.

But I was contacted by Millet Sports to ask if I’d like a place at the Brighton 10k to do a review for 2XU, who are one of the main sponsors, and would include some free kit from 2XU. This is obviously a runner’s dream so I thought why not. I like Brighton, I’ve done the half marathon before and enjoyed it, it’s a nice day out and it might be a good idea to avoid doing a long run and do a slightly more tempo shorter run (my running mojo has been a bit duff recently – more on that in another post).

Initially I was going to get the train but theys weren’t early enough for the 8.30am race start. So this meant driving (and leaving ridiculously early). The Park & Ride was sold out but luckily I have a lovely friend who lives in Brighton and gave me a visitor’s parking permit. My dad, bless his heart, said he’d drive and support. But, ooof, a 5.30am leaving time was painful for both of us!My dad wanted in on the leg photo action too 😉 #dadsofbloggersWe got to Brighton just after 7am. Though it was super handy having the free parking space it was in Zone W which was just over three miles to Preston Park, where the race start was. We did know this beforehand but obviously the reality is something else! We got a stomp on and headed our way there. Can I just say, I’m so proud of my dad. This was basically a parkrun for him. We couldn’t hang about, we had to move quickly to get to the area in time (and I needed the loo somewhat critically and needed to find a toilet – a long queue at a portable loo in the race village was not going to cut it). After losing three stone, power walking three miles (and a fair portion uphill) was far easier than it used to be for him!As we got closer we started joining other runners walking their way to the start and the buzz of the race atmosphere became bigger and bigger. It was a beautifully sunny morning but boded to be a rather hot day. Perfect for the beach but probably not for the marathon that was starting at 9.15am.

I was a little dubious about wearing the full-length leggings for the race and had intended on switching to my shorts but having wore the leggings all morning I was quite enjoying the super tight compressed feeling they were giving my legs. And to be honest, the faff of changing was far too great. Yes I might be a bit hot, but at least I’d be super streamlined!I wore the new 2XU MCS Run Compression Tights which were really comfortable. Yes they’re tight but not in a “oof I need to lay off the cake” kind of way. More like compression socks but for your entire legs (obviously). And they didn’t slip down ONCE. Not ONCE. They kind of stick to you while allowing lots of movement. They also have these detailed bits on them which are apparently for “anatomical mapping for targeted support to muscles to reduce soreness and improve recovery” [Source].I also wore the 2XU GHST Short Sleeve Tee which was SO light and very cool. This was an ideal top to wear for the temperatures as it wicked away sweat and was very thin. It did pain me somewhat to attach my bib to it using pins!The race village was great. A number of portable loos – though I didn’t use any nor the bag drop. There were also a selection of food vans, one of which was a smoothie and oat-based one. I thought this was brilliant (and clearly very popular looking at the large queue). There were non-dairy options as well as a variety of smoothies. Great idea!

My dad said goodbye as he was off to find somewhere to spectate on the course and I headed off to the start funnel. It was all rather smooth and we started on time. It was fairly busy at the start so I had to be careful of not stepping on people’s heels but it stretched out after a bit. There were loads of people cheering from the sides which was great. There were lots of marathon runners walking to the race start so that helped boost spectators and cheering.Clearly doing a bit of window shopping while my dad was taking a photo of me! There was lots of crowds and interesting buildings on the course.Do you know what was really nice? A pretty much entirely flat course. There was no “oh god, mile X has that hill” to dread. Yes flat courses (especially for a marathon) can be a bit dull but it was just so nice to know the only thing really keeping me back was my own fitness and race strategy, rather than something external like inclines.

Having said that, it was warm and within a mile I was overly hot. The leggings were lovely to run in (no slipping down, no chafing, I felt very streamlined) but they were hot. But it was only 10k so really it wasn’t terrible.My aim was to take the first half steady. There was no PB going to happen today, not in my wildest dreams. I’m not particularly fit (I say this all the time, I really should do something about this if I do ever intend on getting PBs again). But I did want a good, controlled race. I felt good running around 7.30s so I stuck there. I was comfortably uncomfortable if that makes sense.Hitting the seafront (basically the second half of the race) things began to get hotter and harder. I tend to enjoy out and backs when they’re short as you can see runners coming the other way and it’s a nice way to take your mind off things. Though it is a long out and back and the whole time you’re thinking “I’ve got to come all the way back”.

But, as more of a long distance runner, it was easy to stay motivated with the hard effort because it was less than a parkrun to go now. I’d stepped up my pace to closer to 7 min/miles and it was less comfortable and more uncomfortable.

As we hit the last mile (and .2) we were turning around. So mentally I just thought “run to the finish”, which I vaguely knew was near the Brighton Pier. A blip in the horizon but a blip nonetheless.

There was a slight headwind (a mild breeze which is amplified about 100 times when on the last mile of any race – whether a reality or in your mind). I was steadily overtaking people which was nice and I prayed to hold on to the pace. I overtook one lady just on the finishing strip (the crowds were fantastic! So many people cheering!) and she pipped me about 50m to the line. I thought “fair play, you deserve that!” I had nothing left to counter it. She also came up to me afterwards and said she was grateful I overtook her as it gave her the boost she needed to up her speed.

I saw my dad on the sidelines which was great and he shouted encouragement. I saw the gun time on the finish as it was ticking towards 46 minutes and just hoped to finish under that arbitrary figure. I did 🙂

I’m really pleased with this time. Not a PB (my PB will stand at 42:50 for a long time yet I think!) but faster than I thought I would. It felt very controlled and manageable.

I met up with my dad and he told me he’d walked about 5k himself to get to the three locations he saw me at and then be at the finish. Bless him, I’m so lucky to have such an encouraging dad.
We then started the long walk back… another three mile walk to the car. I had a little post race photoshoot before starting the trek, of course 😉 What with such beautiful weather and views, it would have been foolish not to!My dad found it amusing the lengths I’d go to get a good photo for Instagram.And then the walk back to the car. There were lots of foodie vans on set-up which was cool, but as it wasn’t even 10am I avoided the temptation. We did buy a large Diet Coke from a soda fountain to share though (ahhhh my nectar). I liked the fact that they had water fountain areas for people too that had been set-up.My top supporter! It’s safe to say we were both fairly knackered when we finally arrived back at the car an hour later. We’d both covered quite a distance that day – and in some rather warm temperatures! I really felt for those who were running the marathon at that point. It would definitely be a tough one.

Despite the heat and it being a dreaded 10k, I thoroughly enjoyed this race.
Do you wear compression gear?

How far do you like to walk before a race?

What makes a good 10k for you?

**Full disclaimer: I received a free entry and 2XU top and leggings in exchange for a review post. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Random Life

Hello lovely people! I was going to do a Rants and a Raves post but decided instead my thoughts were more random and less ranty or ravy-specific. So here we go…

Spotted: one lone lunchbox on top of a car in my office car park.

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I would be really annoyed if this was me (food = my life). I decided to put the lunchbox out of its misery (though I wouldn’t mind lying/sitting on top of a car all day in the sun instead of work if I’m honest…with a book perhaps) and take it to reception so they could email round. The owner had realised he’d left it behind however and met me halfway. Apparently his work colleagues had told him about it – why didn’t they bring it in for him!?

Frozen custard: I’d only heard about frozen custard when I was in the States and you could buy it from a fast food place like ice cream. I never actually tried it though. Anyone had it?

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But anyway, there it sits in the Sainsbury’s freezer in the UK! I was very tempted to buy it it must be said but I managed to resist. Portion control and ice cream in my freezer is tricky Winking smile

Home decor: So this is my TV unit thing that sits beneath my TV which is attached the wall in my flat.IMG_9665

I just don’t know what to put on it though as it looks a bit bare! When I bought the unit I thought the TV was going on it but then I found I could put the TV on the wall which was actually better for where the sofa was going. So now I have this area of space and it feels like I should put something there…like photo frames or potpourri. Can anyone suggest anything? I’m so terrible with stuff like this!

If I were a dinosaur I’d be a T-Rex: If you’re a regular reader of the blog or you know me in real life then you know I’m fairly carnivorous. I could easily give up bread, potatoes, rice etc. But I would really struggle to give up meat. Yes I could get protein from more environmentally sustainable ways but I love it too much.

Instead I try and buy as much organic and free range or outdoor reared meat as possible. As that’s obviously a lot more expensive I’ve found a good trick is looking in the section of the meat aisle where meat is just about to go off and so is marked down in price. I’ll only ever buy free range chicken and it’s at least 1/3 of the price cheaper getting it there. I then freeze it so I have no worries about it being needed to be eaten straight away.

Anyway, last weekend my fellow meat-loving friends, Louise and Tom (and their toddler, Jake), met up for a Sunday meat fest. Instead of going out to Sadlers (ahh that epic meal…) which would have been tricky for them with childcare we decided to recreate it at home. I brought buffalo chicken wings, a HUGE rack of St. Louis-style ribs and salad (#balance). They provided sausages, pulled pork, lemon and herb chicken thighs, BBQ spare ribs and chips.

IMG_1474The chips were buries underneath all the protein

It was amaaaaazing. Clearly far too much for us (yes, even for me) but delicious nonetheless. I mean look at that rib:

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Jake had some cut up sausages and bread and seemed quite happy. It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon with friends.

Family time: For my mum’s birthday we went to Brighton at the weekend for a daytrip. We went by train which, for my family, was quite novel. We normally drive everywhere but we decided to save the hassle of parking.

IMG_1393Brighton train station selfie

The weather wasn’t great but we weren’t going there for the beach. We wanted to do a spot of shopping and have a nice meal.

Brighton

We hadn’t realised it was the Brighton Fringe Festival which explained why it was bustling with people and things going on. Though it was a shame about the weather the atmosphere made up for it. For lunch we decided on Browns. I had done some research beforehand to find some nice restaurants but, in true style of my parents, they made no decisions before rocking up to Brighton and then floundering around a bit trying to find somewhere suitable (*sighs*). Also, a few of the places I suggested probably weren’t what my parents would have wanted anyway…But I have a lovely friend in Brighton that I might be able to persuade to take me (especially to any of the cool sounding vegetarian restaurants.! Yes, I can eat a non-meat based meal occasionally!).

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Anyway Browns was lovely. Though the waiter was ridiculously incompetent. He took forever doing anything. We ordered drinks and saw them sat at the bar for a good 10 minutes before he brought them over, and even then he brought my dad the wrong drink (but he took it anyway for fear that he might die of thirst by waiting for the correct one). In the end though we came out well because he missed off our last drinks order which included a glass of champagne for my mum. The food, however, was delicious.

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I shared this platter with my dad which included calamari, chicken lolly pops, fish pâté, hummus and prawn cocktail. For my main I had a Caesar salad (so predictable) and for pudding I had a brownie. Not my favourite because it was so rich but nice with honeycomb ice cream.

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We then walked around the Lanes and did some shopping. This obviously included the Choccywoccydoodah Shop.

Choccywoccydoodah

My dad, a self-confessed chocolate addict, said it was torture as he wanted everything. But he’s trying to be good (and everything was rather expensive – though very good quality!). A good time was had! My dad was perilously close to falling asleep on the train and all our phones had died by this point – what on Earth would we do!? Make actual conversation with each other?? Winking smile Like when I was younger, we played some train journey games like the “yes and no” game where you have to guess what the other person is (literally anything, person, object, place) by them just answering yes or no. I felt like a kid again!

Do you play any games on long journeys?

Do your friends have similar eating tastes to you?

Have you ever been to Brighton?

Brighton, Ben’s nuts and nipple plasters

So things have been a little running heavy round here. Now I know the main focus of my blog is running but I like to liven things up a bit occasionally and talk about other stuff.

The other weekend Ben and I went to Brighton for a daytrip to see my uni friends and their partners. One of them, currently living in Brighton, had just recently got married…the cheeky so-and-so went abroad and didn’t invite anyone, how rude! 😉 We were very pleased for them regardless though.

We had a lovely walk to a local pub which serves the best monster pizzas, salads and Turkish-style pizzas. As it was the day before the Stansted half marathon I thought it best to go for a nice carby meal. For the good of the race of course.

IMG_7261 Seriously that thing rocked my world. It was filled with lamb (not usually my thing), beef and chicken with a tomato sauce and vegetables. It was as big as my face pretty much.

IMG_7262No issue in finishing that bad boy. What did you expect?

After that we all went for a lovely walk in the hot hot sunshine along the seafront. I may have even dipped my toe in the sea. Or got ridiculously splashed by a ginormous wave.

IMG_7264 This is the new dress I got from Oasis a few weeks ago (the only damn thing in my size). Suitably summery enough. Gotta wear these things as much as possible in Britain as you never know how long the sunshine will last!

We headed back to the flat and the new-husband brought out the most delicious blueberry white chocolate cheesecake known to man.

IMG_7270So thick and creamy. I do love a good baked cheesecake. I might have had seconds but we don’t need to dwell on that.

Speaking of food…Ben has been in a quandary recently about food and what to eat. He wants to lose weight but not lose the will live when he runs. It’s tough. I’d say he does eat quite healthy (for the meals I make him anyway…) but he doesn’t eat breakfast (the cardinal sin) and his lunch of choice would usually be a chunky white mayo-filled cheese laden vegetable barren sandwich at work. With no option really to buy anything else as his office just had a ‘sandwich lady’ and no shop.

I make myself lunch every day and it can be a faff but I do it because I like my salads and can go to town on all my favourite ingredients. But Ben, bless his soul, is not the type of guy to make a salad every day (show me the guy who is…).

As I’m a good, loving wife (no comments please, it’s true) I suggested I’d buy him a salad every day from Tesco as it’s just over the road from work for me (so is Costa and this is becoming an issue) and then he could take it the next day for work. A guess a better wife would make him a salad but let’s not push it here, people.

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Salad selfie

Alongside this I would also buy him little portioned pots of nuts. But this was getting to be ridiculously expensive – how much for a 25g portion of cashews? Are you joking? So I bulk bought a load of mixed nuts, salted nuts, dried fruit and chocolate covered raisins…

Ben's nuts 2 Now each day Ben gets a little Tupperware box full of nuts etc. to take to work with his salad. I think I’ve earnt a few Wife Points 😉

Now to work on his breakfast…(*cough* and wine *cough*).

One of my other wifely duties is buying Ben his nipple plasters (he has mastered the chafe issue whereas I have not for my HR monitor). But we have serious issues.

Blister plasters Uh oh. We’ve got problems. Tesco do the best ones! OK that’s a lie, Tesco do the cheapest. Who charges over £3 for four blister plasters (*cough* Scholl, are you serious?)?

So you’re prayers are required. Our stock at home will only last so long. Dire times indeed.

If you have a partner, what do they have for lunch?

What’s your favourite nut to snack on? I love salted cashews. Or pistachios because they slow me down.

Ever suffered from the dreaded chafe?