Superheroes everywhere

I do love a bit of fancy dress, you might have noticed. I don’t know why, maybe because it’s good fun and a laugh. So when it was announced (though not too widely it seems) that for Netley Abbey parkrun’s 5th birthday they’d be a superhero fancy dress I was all game.

My friend Mike decided to go as Robin and my friend Geoff decided to go as Batman. Well, I’d been Batgirl before so I hunted online and found that superhero females were somewhat limited. I could be Supergirl or Catwoman it seemed. Catwoman’s outfit looked far easier to run in (streamline if you like) so I went with that.My friend, Tom, was also joining me for parkrun on Saturday so I skipped setting the course up and picked him up at 8.15am. So I had a bit of a longer lie-in which was nice. Tom is a fairly new runner and had been doing Lee-On-Solent parkrun so I was chuffed to be able to show him Netley. Though Netley is a harder course than the lovely flat LoS!We got there to find not many people had embraced the superhero theme, which was a shame but kind of understandable as a few people had asked where the notice of fancy dress had been posted as they weren’t aware. *Sighs*

Photo credit: Sheryl James

But I didn’t mind. I love fancy dress regardless. I was going to run with Mike as we’re kind of around the same speed at the moment, though I’m perhaps a little faster. I didn’t want to go to speedy so it would work out well. All week I’ve been being very careful with my ankle and though it was feeling pretty much back to normal I didn’t want to risk it. I say this, but really I didn’t fancy running fast and the ankle was a good excuse 😉

Catwoman, Robin and Batman

Anyway as we lined up I lost Mike in the crowds. Tom stayed with me and was planning on “hanging on” for as long as he could. His PB is around 25 minutes.

As we started I just decided to run as I fancied, which turned out to be a fair clip in comparison to what I’d intended. My other friend, Mark, caught me up with his buggy and ran with me which was nice. He’s a lot faster so running my speed with his buggy was probably a walk in the park for him.

Photo credit: Ken Grist

It was nice running with Mark as we could chat and I could take my mind off the fact that I was running faster than I’d planned.

Photo credit: Ken Grist

The final lap I stepped it up a gear… I was thinking of all the cake at the end. As it was Netley’s birthday a cake sale had been organised (that info had been far more widely circulated…) and I was keen to get a few pieces.

I finished in 22:43 which I was pleased with considering how windy it was. I scanned my barcode pronto and then headed to grab some cake.

Photo credit: Ken Grist

I love this photo because it shows me in my happy place 🙂 The cake sale was to raise money for the defibrillator that we’re trying to buy, so I was only doing my good deed of the day really.I had a slice of Victoria Sponge (exceptionally tasty I must say. I had spotted this cake on Twitter beforehand and was glad to be able to grab a slice!), a white chocolate fudge slice thing and a white chocolate cookie. Pretty good haul! Though nothing like the five slices of the week before. The cake sale raised just over £366!! This is fantastic. Well done to all the bakers! The real superheroes of the day.

Tom did really well, coming in around 27 minutes which he was pleased with given how much more hilly Netley is compared to LoS and how windy it was. He showed me the bottom of his trainer afterwards; the sole was coming off! I told him off for wearing such old trainers, tsk!

After parkrun, showering and all that jazz I met up with my dad later in the day for a spot of Nando’s and a cinema trip to see Logan. I decided to change my usual whole chicken order at Nando’s and be slightly more healthy and opt for half a chicken and a Mediterranean salad.The salad was delicious. It had huge juicy olives, lots of sundried tomatoes and good chunks of feta. But I was a bit disappointed with the size of the chicken (I KNOW, I told you I’m greedy). My dad had gotten half a chicken with a side salad and a cob so we both felt we could share five wings between us 😉

And then we headed to the cinema…where I met a few more superhero friends.Logan was fantastic. Very violent but really different to the normal superhero films. I mean, I love X-Men anyway but this was very different.

The next day I met up with Robin Mike and we headed out for a long run together. I’ve become such a fan of running with other people again. Normally I’m like a lone wolf but having people to run with is a nice change, especially my long run. Running a long run with Mike is also good because as he’s slightly slower than me it means he keeps my pace in check.

I ran about half a mile to meet him and then we did a 5 mile out and back route through some fairly quiet country roads. The route was quite hilly though so a nice challenge at times. It was a great run and the miles flew by, as they always do when you run with someone else. I must do this more! Then I added a little bit more on at the end as I ran home to get to 12 miles (8:38min/miles overall pace).

Happily my ankle felt absolutely fine (as it did the day before) and I enjoyed a normal run without issues. Ahh what a novelty eh!

As long as I remain running injury-free I’ve decided to do the London Marathon. I have a Good For Age place and was wondering whether to defer until next year as it was so close to Tokyo. But as Tokyo went well and, ankles aside, my recovery has been good I’ve decided to go ahead and do it. I’ll keep a watchful eye on any niggles that crop up or feelings of over-training but otherwise I’d love to do it. Again, no time goal but just to tick another Marathon Major off the list and FINALLY get London done.

How was your weekend?

What superhero would you choose to be?

Does your parkrun ever try and raise money?

Back to parkrun and training like a girl

Happy Monday everyone, didn’t the weekend just fly by?

Well, I’m back in the running game again after a bit of time off. I feel raring to go again after reigniting my running mojo and my shin/calf feeling a whole lot better. I ran three miles on Monday evening and then six on Thursday. Both of those runs felt really good. I’ve obviously lost a lot of speed and endurance, as is natural with taking time off, but it didn’t feel like I was really struggling or that it was such a shock to the system, which was pleasantly surprisingly.

This is probably due to the fact that I retained some level of cardiovascular fitness through using the (very dull) elliptical machine. I find this machine soo dull but I’d watch YouTube while I was on it and it definitely helped pass the time!

Anyway, so Saturday morning saw me at Netley parkrun for the first time in ages.   Ordinarily I’d have probably kept going but volunteering even if I wasn’t running but I’ve been really busy recently. I felt very bad when I saw the core team set-up guys and they jokingly saifd, “who’s this stranger, then?”. But they welcomed me back, thankfully.

Though it was very cold that morning! I do prefer it cold and dry then wet and warmer but it’s still tough to be outside walking around for an hour before you start running. I forget how easy parkrun is when it’s beautifully sunny and warm… the winter months are definitely a trying time.img_6765We’re now on the winter course, which is slightly different to last year’s winter course due to the construction work happening on the chapel. This means we run part way on the grass round the chapel. Huge piles of leaves cover the route though so we had to do a bit of improvising to clear the way…img_6764We used the signs as brooms to sweep away the leaves. Oh the things we do for the love of running!

I had sensibly worn long trousers and different shoes to set the course up, then headed back to my car to take them off and switch to my trainers. I wore shorts, which was very nippy! But I knew once I got going I’d be alright. I’d stayed over my parent’s house the night before and annoyingly had forgotten my socks so had to borrow my mum’s. She lent me some lovely sparkly ones (the photo doesn’t really show)…img_6767The start area is a bit more cramped and as I hadn’t done this course before and I wasn’t aiming for a fast time, I just wedged myself somewhere in the middle. This proved a little bit of a mistake as I was then hemmed in amongst a a lot of people not really my speed. But really it didn’t matter as I managed to get round them as we broke out into a bigger space.

The run felt a lot harder than my previous two runs and I guess that’s because it is a hilly course (two hills you do three times) and I was very cold going into it and din’t warm up until mile two. But mainly because I’m unfit in terms of running.img_6766

One of my friends said afterwards to me that he noticed I wasn’t in my usual area of the field – I was a fair way back from where he’d thought I was going to be. I’m not that bothered because, as long as my training goes OK, I can look back at this and see how far I’ve come. It’s always fun seeing the progression and working hard to get better.capture

 

 

 

My time was 23:59, so just squeaked a sub-24 which I’m happy with. I definitely hope to do some speed work this marathon cycle but I’m going to allow a few weeks of getting gently back into things to avoid re-niggling!img_6782So a successful parkrun! It was so nice to be back and see friendly faces again. Though it’s invariably cold and miserable in the winter, parkrun is definitely still worth going to!

The next day I went to the gym in the morning and got in a good workout. I did 45 minutes on the elliptical machine and then did a chest and shoulder workout. I imagine my strength workouts will have to take a backseat very soon but I was really chuffed to get a personal best for my bench press.img_6811Chest is not an area I used to train at all (“I’m a girl” was my excuse). But I soon realised that in order to be a more balanced athlete in terms of strength and muscle I need to train my entire body. I train my back so why not my chest? And I’ve felt it hugely help with my other lifts too.

After my workout I showered and got ready to meet my parents for a Nando’s and a cinema trip. We saw Allied which was alright…very, very cheesy but not a bad way to spend an afternoon after you’ve eaten a lot of chicken!

How was your weekend?

Are there parts of your body you either don’t train or hate to train?

Do you run during the winter?

More leggings, a cheeky Nando’s and the cinema

Last weekend went from, on the Friday, having no plans to then being busy both days. My mum asked if I wanted to join her to go to Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth for a little mooch. It’s always nice to go to Gunwharf around Christmas as their decorations are pretty and it always feels very festive.

Plus, they have an Adidas and a Nike factory shop which always deserves a little wander around. I hadn’t planned on buying anything. I’m quite up to date on my Christmas shopping, which is super organised for me, and I’m trying really hard to not spend unnecessary money as I have two rather large holidays coming up.

I popped to the gym in the morning, of which I was quite happy to do as it was chucking it down and parkrun didn’t sound appealing at all. I’m currently not running due to a shin niggle (same one as I always seem to get) and my physio advised taking a couple of weeks off to let it calm down. I’m actually feeling alright about this as I’m loving the gym at the moment and can really focus on my strength gains.

Though I am wary that marathon training should begin soon so I’ve been incorporating 3-4 elliptical sessions into my week to make sure it’s not a complete shock to the system when I do get running again in terms of my cardiovascular fitness. It’s quite easy to get these sessions in as I can do them in an evening after work in my work’s gym rather than take away any time from my strength training. But on Saturday I had the morning free to do both the elliptical and strength training which I really enjoyed (weird I know).

Anyway after than long meandering diversion… my mum and me went shopping. I ended up in the Nike changing room trying on a pair of leggings (the Epic Lux) I didn’t need and then boom! I’d bought them. It was like I blacked out for a second. I don’t know how it happened but it did…

Basically they are some of the nicest leggings I’ve ever worn. The material, the fit, the colour. So nice.img_6463I have zero regrets as they’re perfect. They survived the squat test, the lunge test and the “how does my bum look in these?” test – all that were confirmed my mum 😉 It was a lovely shopping trip with my mum, though the weather was rather grim.

For Sunday, again I didn’t have plans initially until I heard a review of Arrival on the radio and having seen the trailer I was really keen to go and see it.

I don’t often go to the cinema as I find it quite expensive and a bit of a faff. I’d rather watch a film at home in PJ’s with my own snacks, not the overpriced and ridiculously unhealthy snacks at the cinema (though let’s be honest, there is always a place for those occasionally!). But the film looked really good and it looked like it warranted to be seen on the big screen.

I thought it might be a film my dad would enjoy and wafted the idea past him, mentioning maybe a cheeky Nando’s beforehand? Though he’s still losing weight and is doing very well, a Nando’s can easily be accommodated as it’s basically just chicken. Don’t have the chips and have a different side, like the rice, sweet potatoes or the roasted vegetables, and it’s a perfectly reasonable meal. The invitation was of course open to my mum as well but she’s not a big sci-fi or Nando’s fan so…

Sadly though my dad was ill (you know he’s ill when he turns down a trip to the cinema with food). I was quite happy to go on my own because #independentwoman 😉 but I think my mum was distraught at the idea of me going alone. I swear my mother has visions of me dying alone and sad. If I ever bring up the mere mention of a male she leaps on the potential prospect, even if I don’t actually fancy them (“you could grow to like them”), they have a partner (“but not married, Anna”) or they’re a lot older than me (“age is but a number”) *sighs*. So the mere thought of me going to the cinema alone caused enough distress for her to join me – even if meant enduring Nando’s and a film she was less than lukewarm about. Mothers, eh!

That said, it was far nicer to go with my mum than on my own. Once again I went to the gym in the morning. I tend to do the gym fasted because I like to get up and go rather than get up, eat breakfast and wait a while then go (exactly like my running). By the time I met my mum though it was almost 1pm and I was HANGRY. Luckily we were seated straight away at Nando’s and I very much enjoyed my usual Nando’s meal (whole chicken with side salad).img_6478My mum had the Mediterranean salad with chicken and added avocado and halloumi.img_6479She said it was very tasty – I was actually quite surprised at how nice it looked. Nando’s isn’t exactly Michelin Star. It’s more close to fast food!

I felt very satisfied after the meal and in a very happy place. It was, as always, delicious. We then went to see the film with two large Diet Cokes (though Nando’s is very tasty, it is quite salty and I’m always very thirsty afterwards!) and I brought two very special snacks to enjoy as well.img_6481I did make sure to eat them during the trailers though as I realise they are not very cinema-friendly snacks (a lot of crunching!).

The film was brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was actually quite sad but very thought-provoking and definitely warrants another watch. Amy Adams is fantastic in it. A great way to end a really fun weekend – quality mum and daughter time 🙂

Do you spend a lot of time with your mum?

What have you seen in the cinema lately?

Do you workout fasted? I will in the morning just because it’s easier I like a big refuel afterwards.

A mixed bag

So this weekend’s weather wasn’t exactly great, was it? Well not for us on the South Coast – or I suppose many places in the UK.

Saturday morning I was up and ready to volunteer down at Netley parkrun. Though I wasn’t running I still wanted to go. I like seeing the usual faces and catching up with people and it’s always fun cheering people on. I was hoping to take Alfie with me but it was a bit too wet.

IMG_2072

I helped set the course up and then stood to marshal at the bottom of the hill that you go up three times. It’s a tricky area because you go up the hill and into the bluebell woods and then come back down the hill. When people go up the hill they sometimes forget the people coming down and it can be a bit of a car crash if people don’t keep right. So it’s a handy spot to marshal to remind people to keep to the side.

It was lovely because while I cheered and clapped, a lot of runners thanked me and said well done to me. Always nice to hear! I always try and thank marshals when I run because I know how much I like it when I volunteer. But it does hurt your hands all this clapping business Winking smile

IMG_2074My view from afar just after the parkrun had begun you can see the tiny runners in the distance

After clearing away and a quick drink in the cafe, I headed home to shower before heading to my parent’s house. My birthday is on the 19th June and this always falls really close to Father’s Day so most years my dad and me try and combine our celebrations because it just makes sense. This year we decided to go to Nando’s and then the cinema to see the new X-Men film. Though my mum was more than welcome to join she was fine to let us have our dad-daughter time as she a) hates Nando’s and b) wouldn’t want to see the film c) was busy anyway.

IMG_2078

I had my standard Nando’s: whole chicken with a side salad. And my dad had the more traditional half a chicken and chips.

IMG_2076

What always happens when I go out with my dad to Nando’s is they think my meal if for him…it’s always funny to see the server’s face when I say “the whole chicken’s for me”.

There was a slight issue as we headed to pick up our tickets that I’d booked on the Thursday. My booking reference wasn’t working and when I inspecting the email closer I realised I’d bought tickets for Thursday and not Saturday. What an idiot. I spoke to an usher and they said if I ring customer service (joy) they’d refund my mistake tickets but I’d still need to buy new ones today. *Sighs*. But the film was good nonetheless. I’m not a comic book/superhero fan but I have a soft spot for X-Men. I like the characters and actors. A good watch if you like X-Men!

I spent the evening at my parent’s and enjoyed their facilities while we waited for the football to begin.

IMG_2082

This helicopter chair thing is AMAZING. It just hangs there swaying gently. So comfortable. And Alfie quite enjoyed it too Winking smile

We watched the match and though I’m not a big football fan, felt a big disappointment for England. What a shame as we seemed to play so well!

The next day I was booked in to go rock climbing in the afternoon. A bit random but my friend, Tom, put the idea into my mind last week. I love stuff like that and thought it would be a fun thing to do as I’m not running at the moment. Plus my granddad used to be an amazing rock climber (he’s written two books about it!) so I feel I need to uphold the family tradition. Just before heading to bed I checked my emails to make sure I had the right time…and found it was for Saturday not Sunday.

Honestly, why am I such an idiot? Why am I incapable of making online bookings? Do I not own a calendar??? I was actually really disappointed and angry with myself. I had no other plans for the next day and I’d been looking forward to it so much. It really sucked. I’ll now have to wait two weeks before I can go to the next taster session. My own fault but really annoying.

So instead I went to the gym, did some shopping and got some really exciting chores done (ha ha). It was a nice relaxing day and I went on a few walks with Alfie. Unfortunately one of those walks was cut super short as it literally tipped it down just as we got out the front door.

IMG_2112

So we quickly headed back inside and tried again 30 minutes later.

Annoyingly I had hoped to have a great rock climbing adventure to recount but sadly not. In a few weeks I hopefully will. Then I can put to test all my upper body strength gains I’ve hopefully been making!! So it was a mixed bag of a weekend really.

Have you ever been rock climbing?

What did you do this weekend?

What’s your Nando’s meal if you go?

Putting it into practice

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m trying to up the calories and fuel myself better for running (and life). This is important obviously not only to my overall health but also because I’m still marathon training and want to continue to run healthily.

** Just to add: if putting on weight fails to do anything, then I’m heading to the doctor again and making my case fully heard, and to check there isn’t anything else wrong. I also know stopping running might be the easiest way to get things going again but I really hope it doesn’t come to that 🙁 **

The thoughts from my previous post haven’t just happened, I’ve been thinking about it for a while and have already been upping my nutrition. This was really important after my latest marathon as refuelling and recovering effectively would hopefully mean I could jump ease back into marathon training for Bournemouth (October 4th) without major tiredness, issues or injuries. So far so good, finger’s crossed.

Straight after a marathon is a really tricky time because, like most people I’ve spoken to, I really don’t fancy anything to eat. You’ve just run for a ridiculously long time and your body is in a bit of shock and probably feeling a bit dodgy. But this is a critical time to refuel and maximise your recovery, and if you leave it too long you can end up doing your body no favours.

To combat not fancying food I bought a recovery shake from Tesco to drink straight afterwards. Drinking something is far easier than eating something. It’s also easier to put in your bag and carry with you.

IMG_3338

I’d planned to take just regular chocolate milk but I liked the sound of this one with it’s added nutrients (vitamins, calcium, magnesium, etc.) and high protein (40g). Plus it was on offer in Tesco. It’s fairly low in carbs (10g) which was a bit annoying but I knew I’d get that sorted soon so I wasn’t concerned (looking at their website I probably should have chosen the Recovery version but this one wasn’t on offer…). And it tasted nice.

I’d drunk a bit more water immediately after finishing and actually wasn’t thirsty at all when my dad and me were back in the car. And I needed to pee about an hour later. Usually after a marathon it takes a fair few hours to need the loo (sorry, here I go again with my bathroom habits!). I think this is a great sign that I hydrated well, despite it being a very warm day.

We knew that we’d have trouble finding a place to eat driving back home because it would be late afternoon on a Sunday and most places would be closed. The day before when we were planning I suggested to my dad something I have never suggested before to him. How about a KFC? They’re always open!

I’m not a big fast food eater. I don’t like McDonalds or Burger Kings (why have a teeny plastic burger when you can have a delicious proper burger from a pub?) and fast food in general isn’t really my scene. However, you all know my love for a cheeky Nando’s and chicken in general and the thought of a dirty KFC after a hard run just sounded dreamy to me.

We did have to make a detour off our route home but we found one eventually. My dad was pleased to be allowed to legitimately have a KFC without me moaning at him. To be fair he hadn’t had lunch and had walked a fair distance, plus it seemed only fair considering how much of a help he was to me in supporting me.

IMG_3340 Not my finest look I must admit

I haven’t actually had a KFC since I was about 12 so I stood gawping at the menu for a bit having no idea what to choose. Eventually I went for a Mighty Bucket for One. Normally I might have been a bit dissuaded by the 1,200 calories listed next to this meal (which probably doesn’t include the fries) but hell I’d just run for 4.5 hours and needed it! I will just add, there are far better and more nutritionally sound ways to refuel after a marathon or workout – but for convenience, high calories and sheer god damn tastiness this was the ticket.

IMG_3341

It took me a while though to actually eat the damn thing though. My stomach was cramping and I felt sick. After taking a breather I dove straight in though. I couldn’t eat it all (pretty much all the chicken disappeared but the chips were just too much for my delicate stomach – I prioritised with what I love of course!).

After arriving home and having the best shower of my life (I think I always say this after a race), I was a bit hungry again but the thought of cooking something was beyond me as I was so tired. Instead I went for the easy and tasty option of a lemon and blueberry slice of cake (thank you, Freezer Stock).

IMG_3350

I also had some fruit and called it a night. Not a sound day of nutrition I grant you, but easy calories into the system nonetheless. The days after the marathon I made sure to keep my calories up (and of better quality). My favourite current meal is a monster salad of tinned salmon with avocado, butternut squash roasted in lots of coconut oil (heaven), and lots of veg. That might not sound that good but I made sure to have a lot of avocado in there and use a big blob of coconut oil.

And on the Tuesday after the marathon, a Nando’s before seeing Inside Out at the cinema after work worked wonders.IMG_3361I think I did pretty well last week on refuelling and I’ve continued this going forward. Some days I do feel stuffed though and that I’ve eaten loads, but at the same time I know it’s doing my body good. My mindset is that this is part of running well. It’s like my strength training. Most of the time I find it quite hard to feel the same enjoyment as I get from running when I go to the gym, but at the same time I know it’s important to do so I can run. The same goes with increasing my weight. I might not enjoy my clothes feeling tighter going forward, but I’d hate to not be able to run a whole lot more.

Going forward I’ll be posting about how things are going, what I’m eating and the changes I’m making alongside my usual mumbo jumbo!

How do you recover after a marathon/hard workout?

What do you eat immediately after you work out/race?

What’s your favourite fast food if you had to pick one?