Thing I’m loving lately – June

*Whispers* I don’t want to speak too soon, but I have had a pretty decent streak of running uninjured.

I mean I had a blip after Tokyo with my ankle, but after a week off I was good to go again. It’s kind of all going…dare I say it, OK??Two marathons and now onto my next bout of marathon training, please let it continue to go as smoothly!

So as I’m in a pretty good mood with my running, I thought I’d continue these happy vibes with some things I’m loving lately.

The new series of My Dad Wrote A Porno podcast: If you’ve never heard of it or think it sounds weird, you really just need to give it a go. It is HILARIOUS. Like actual laugh out loud comedy. I binge listened to the first two series and now they’ve just started the third series. They have fans such as Daisy Ridley, Elijah Wood, Michael Sheen. I can’t recommend it enough.

Dogs of parkrun: I love how many dogs come out to parkrun. Not all of them run, but it’s lovely to see them ‘supporting’. I took a photo of some of the ones I saw at Netley at the weekend and made a collage.All so lovely. I know that dogs at races/parkrun can be annoying but I’m a big dog lover so to me I’m happy to have to dodge around them and their leads. I’d love to run with Alfie but I’m worried that as he’s a bit older (almost eight!) it might not be a good idea. He’s never run further than half a mile so I’d need to start very slowly with him, which at the moment I don’t really have time for. He loves racing about on his own though.

SIS products: I really love these products I’ve been sent. I don’t actually take the Overnight Protein Powder in the evening as it suggests but I have it in my porridge every morning (about 15g). I like to boost my porridge in this way to get some added protein and it adds a nice chocolate taste. It really isn’t overwhelming sweet.They suggest taking the protein powder in the evening due to the casein content (80% casein and 20% whey from the milk protein). Casein works while you’re asleep, stimulating muscle protein synthesis. It’s low in fat and carbs as well. Like I said, I like how subtle the chocolate taste is so it goes really nicely in my porridge (I add it to the oats before I microwave it). I’m not a huge fan of overly sweet porridge. It also makes a nice hot chocolate as well when mixed with hot water!

And as I’ve mentioned previously, I love the Go Caffeine Shots. These are going to become pre-race staples for me. I’d normally have a cup of black coffee before a race but I hate drinking too much liquid. This shot is only 60ml so is perfect, so I can still hydrate well with water.

The tropical flavour is definitely my favourite over the cola flavour though. The cola one is just a bit too sharp/sour.

Having a clear out: My drawers are currently bulging with the amount of fitness clothes and race t-shirts I own so I decided to have a clear out. I donated a load of tops from races that I wasn’t too bothered about (really old 10ks) and then separated t-shirts I wanted to keep but would no longer wear, such as marathon t-shirts.

I’ve decided at the end of the year I’ll get a blanket made up of my race tops as a nice way to keep the t-shirts and remember the race. I’ve found this website that does it. It’s expensive, which is why I’m waiting until the end of the year so I can add (HOPEFULLY) a few more shirts to it.

I’d like to do something with my bibs as well (I always save them as well as my medals) but I’m not sure what at the moment. A friend of mine put them on his wall and that looked cool, but I don’t really have the space. Maybe a big scrapbook or something.

What do you do with your race t-shirts and bibs?

Do you use any SIS products?

Do you have long running streaks or are you injury prone like me?

**Full Disclaimer: I’ve been sent the SIS products for free to test out for a review on my blog. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Rants and Raves #35

One more cheeky Rants and Raves before Christmas? Go on then… Though I do have some choice rants, in general I’m very happy at the moment. Life seems to be going quite well, if I do say so myself 🙂

Rant: Idiots who can’t park. Ahh parking and car-related moans. They really do bring out the best in us, right? I have to say, I don’t swear that much being the polite young lady I am (hi, mum!), but get me into a car on my own and some choice words can be known to fly out of my mouth during my commute when people don’t seem to know how to drive. And likewise, when people don’t seem to know how to park. Case in point in the village where my parent’s live.

I just don’t understand how anyone can walk away from a parking like that? Bizarre. That didn’t necessarily annoy me more than baffle me. What did annoy me was after going to the gym one morning and driving back into the enclosed shared parking area I noticed some knob idiot had decided to park two cars rather than one. We only have one allocated car parking space per flat and have our own designated space with our number on it. The way this person had parked – diagonally behind their first car (not a legitimate space) – meant I couldn’t get into my space.

It really annoyed me. How selfish. Before I calmed down and thought a bit more rationally I was about to do one of two things: start beeping my horn until they came out, but thought best not as it was before 7am, or park behind them and block both their cars in. But that seemed childish and I didn’t want to get keyed.

So I did the next best thing. I wrote a passive aggressive note which I slapped on their windscreen. How very British of me.It made me feel a lot better I must say. There have been no more stupid parking. My work here is done.

Rave: I’ve been mixing things up on the porridge front (crazy, I know ;-)) by continuing to add protein powder to it. Protein is always important for me as I find it fills me up a lot more than just carbs and in general my porridge was a lot higher in the carb to protein ration. So I add about 15g of protein powder to my normal amount of oats and almond milk and it feels a lot more filling.

My current protein powder set-up that I’m loving is about half and half of a flavoured powder with an unflavoured as I don’t really like my porridge overly sweet. I have the PEScience Select Frosted Cupcake and the MuscleFood unflavoured whey. I definitely need the unflavoured variety to tone down the PEScience one as otherwise it’s incredibly sweet (but FYI great for protein pancakes). I’m loving my breakfast even more now – and you know how much I love my porridge if you’re a long-time reader! (No affiliation with either product, I just like them).

Rave: I pay the monthly fee for Audible which gives me one book a month for “free” (if you count paying £8 a month free…) and recently I’ve listened to some really good ones.

The Girl With All The Gifts  – M. R. Carey

I love an “end of the world” style story and this had me gripped. It slowly draws you in and you’re constantly wondering what’s going on, but in a good way not in a Lost series kind of way (i.e. here’s a polar bear in Series One that we’ll do vague some hand-waving explanation about in Series 8). And I loved how unpredictable (at least to me) the ending was.

Scrappy Little Nobody – Anna Kendrick

It’s always great getting an autobiography on audible as they’re usually read by the author, so you can really feel a connection with what they’re saying. I saw some good reviews from this book and while I didn’t know a huge amount about Anna Kendrick I’ve quite enjoyed some of her films and thought, “eh why not”. Initially I thought I was going to hate it as she has quite the nasal American accent (no offence to any Americans reading this, I’m almost certain my stupid posh British accent would annoy the hell out of you guys!) and she had one of those “I was unattractive and was never popular” kind of backstories which you struggle to believe because, well, she’s Anna Kendrick. HOWEVER, within a few chapters I was laughing out-loud and fully wanting her to be my best friend. She’s got a great self-deprecating and dry sense of humour it’s really difficult to not like her (damn it). It’s also got some great “behind the scenes” stories from her different films and some realities of trying to break it in Hollywood.

Rave: I was given some flowers and chocolates at work for doing well this month and it really made my day. I obviously don’t talk much about work on my blog but I’m really enjoying work-life at the moment and seem to be doing a good job, which can’t be a bad thing 😉 Those chocolates didn’t last long. I might have consumed a good number on the way home after the Christmas party.

Rave: It’s taken me a year to realise I haven’t been receiving my RunnersWorld magazine subscription every month. And I’m still paying for it! So I emailed them and they changed my address and gave me last three months, which is good of them considering it was my stupid mistake for not telling them.So I have some good stuff to read over the holidays 😉

Rave: Proud daughter alert. Both my parents are doing incredibly well at Slimming World.

My dad has lost almost 2.5 stone now (the above picture was for when he’d reached two stone – so 20% of his body weight). He seems to be steadily losing between 1-3 lbs a week. Obviously this will slow down the more and more he loses, but he’s doing it in a very measured and sensible approach. He still has treats and meals out, but he plans them in now and makes sure to eat healthily around those days. Though I feel incredibly uncomfortable when my parents talk about “Body Magic” when they’re referring to exercise…Slimming World has some weird terminology.

How Christmassy are you feeling?

Are you a good parker?

Do you have any good books to recommend?

SIS Rego Rapid Recovery Review

Hello! I’ve been missing in action this week because I’ve just had quite a few things going on..courses, moving house (which I’m doing tomorrow, argh) etc.

I really wanted to do a longer post to catch up but I need to crack on and literally move everything from upstairs in my house to downstairs to make the actual moving process easier, do lots of cleaning and just get everything I don’t need for the next day into a box. I’ve hired a van for tomorrow which I collect in the morning and then move all my stuff into the van before midday (contractual I have to be out of the house by then) and pray that before midday I’ll be given the OK to move into my flat rather than literally have to cram everything in the van and be in limbo. I’d rather be able to do a few trips! Oh the joys of completion…

Anyway, I have a review for you guys for a neat little protein drink sent to me by the ProBikeKit website. I’ve previously done a review for them before and I was happy to do another as they’re a great company. They have a cool site with lots of cycling-specific gear but also running as well, and a great selection of nutritional items.

I was sent some Science in Sport (SIS) Rego Rapid Recovery protein powder specifically designed for endurance athletes. There are obviously loads and loads of protein drinks out there but usually they’ll be more protein-heavy, whereas this baby has a nice balance of protein and carbs which is ideal for when you’ve done cardio, like running or cycling, rather than post lifting weights.

SIS Rego Rapid Recovery

The idea behind this is that you take it 30 minutes after you’ve exercised and it provides your body with high levels of easily digestible protein and carbohydrates in order to accelerate your recovery. It was developed with Chris Boardman’s, the Olympic cyclists, input and feedback which is quite cool!

There are four different flavours available: vanilla, banana, strawberry and chocolate. I chose the chocolate flavour as it was a no brainer for me.SIS Rego Rapid Recovery 1

You mix one scoop (50g) of the powder with water. Interestingly, unlike regular protein powders, you only mix the powder with water, not milk. It advises that if you mix it with milk it will slow down the absorption process.

The nutritional stats are really good as well:

SIS Rego nutritionSource

Though the ingredients list is quite long… But it is suitable for vegetarians.

SIS Rego Rapid Recovery 2

Thoughts? I was really wary of the fact that it’s just mixing with water… I thought this would make it taste watery and not very nice. But I was pleasantly surprised! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not Nestle chocolate milk but it’s not unpleasant. I quite enjoyed it. For me it was a problem-solver for when I run after work and then have a long commute home – basically a long time before I get any proper food. It’ll be really handy after races as well, when I find hours go by before I get any decent food in me.

I’m really happy to continue to use this, especially with marathon training cropping up soon and the fact that I’m still loving lifting weights at the gym. I don’t want my body to suddenly start eating away at the muscle I’ve strived to build over the past few weeks.

Check out ProBikeKit’s website for more cool nutritional products like gels, protein bars and drink mixes, etc.

Have you tried any of the SIS products?

Do you take any protein powders?

What do you have post workout?

**Full Disclosure: I was sent this product for free in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Rant and Raves #10 and a review of Osmo Nutrition

Happy Wednesday! I love Wednesdays because it’s the day I get a whole extra hour and fifteen minutes in bed and go running in the evening. Especially as we went out for dinner last night and I ate an obscene amount of pork ribs. Happy days.

Today I have some rants and raves and also a little review.

Rant: Ben is now an avid gym goer and so when he said he’d bought a big container of protein powder I was like “cool, whatever makes you happy”. Until I opened our bedroom wardrobe to find the monstrosity.

5kg protein powder

I guess it hadn’t twigged in my brain how big he was talking. There’s literally no way this bad boy would fit in our tiny kitchen so I’m pretty sure this is where it will live forever more. Oh joy.

Rave: I love using the slow cooker for meals. I’ll make soup, chicken meals, ribs…anything really. I love the idea that you can literally just throw a load of stuff in there and when you get home the house smells SO good and dinner is served pretty much (check THIS post out for some of my adventures). However our slow cooker was given to us by my parents who no longer wanted it. And it’s HUGE. So it meant when I did meals for two sometimes the sauce would dry up a bit. Or chicken breasts would be overcooked. So I decided to get a smaller  one and put the other one in the loft for the future.

Slow cooker comparison

I didn’t quite expect it to be so small but I’m actually pretty pleased with it. Two chicken breasts will fit nicely in there with some veggies and sauce and will hopefully stay succulent. It means I can’t slow cook an entire chicken anymore but that’s usually a weekend meal anyway and can be done in the oven.

Mini slow cooker

It also means we have a lot more kitchen surface space as it just sits so nicely in the corner.

Rant: Llike most runners, hills are not my favourite thing at all. But they’re really good for building strength in your legs. I try and do a hill session every week after work (I work in Basingstoke where hills are ten a penny!). I found a BEAST of a hill that works perfectly.

Hilly run Basingstoke

Mid-run photo so quite blurry sorry!

I try and do the hill twice at the beginning (it loops back to the beginning of the route) and then carry on with my run and then do it one more time at the end.

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Follow me on Strava if you want

They look like mountains and I’m sure my legs would agree. It’s quite a long climb (probably .4 mile?) and my pace drops dramatically but I focus on my form; pumping my arms, running tall and taking small steps (great articles HERE and HERE about hill running). As you can see, the other part of the run is also quite hilly so it’s a really good strength-building run (well I hope anyway!). But I am absolutely done for after the run! I suppose this isn’t a true rant as I’m hoping these tough runs are a good thing.

Rave: Delicious herbal teas. After seeing these on Tamzin’s blog I just knew I needed to try them.

IMG_0102

I love peppermint tea so I was pretty sure I’d like them. They taste delicious. There’s a very small hint of vanilla with the lovely minty taste – perfect for a cold afternoon! But I’m still sad that green tea out of a tea bag makes me feel very sick – what is wrong with me?? I’m missing out on so many lovely green tea flavours!

Rant: Having a moany husband when I ask him to take photos of me in my Helly Hansen running gear that I’ve been sent to champion for for Running Bug’s Running Fashion Week campaign. And then having him get bored between outfit changes and take random photos on my phone.

Ben outtake

I know it’s dull and I know I can get a bit vain if a photo makes me look like an idiot (more of an idiot?) and request him to re-take it, but come on, you’re married to me so that means fulfilling these silly blogging requests 😉

Helly Hansen outtake *sighs*

Though I do know Alfie is far more interesting to take photos of! He enjoyed the dress-up party about as much as Ben I think.

Rave: Obviously it’s clear I love nuun hydration products as I mention them a lot on my blog it seems… The nuun guys asked if I’d include one of thir videos on my blog and because they rock I agreed happily. The video shows some pretty hardcore races and sporting activities with an absolutely belting soundtrack!

 

[FYI: I did not get any compensation for featuring this on my blog – I just love nuun]

And lastly I have a review:

Osmo Nutrition – Active Hydration for Women (which you can find HERE)

I was sent a tub of the Osmo Active Hydration for Women powder to review by the guys from Pro Bike Kit (great website for cycling/running nutrition items and also kit and clothing).Osmo Nutrition

As a bit of a background, Dr. Stacy Sims developed the product specifically for women as she noted that the female physiological makeup is different to a male’s. For example, the menstrual cycle has big effects on the female body in terms of sodium loss, plasma drops and temperature change so this product aims to address those issues. It apparently increases power output and improves endurance by helping combat the premenstrual-related performance decline. There’s actually quite an interesting interview with Dr. Sims HERE.

image Source

The flavour of the powder is mango and the ratio of mixing is one scoop to about 250ml of water. The idea is to drink it before and during your exercise.

Osmo Nutrition (2) 

My thoughts? I’m not going to lie, when I first tried the drink I didn’t like it one bit. It didn’t taste of mango to me at all. More like weak squash. However I drank more and it grew on me. Let’s be clear, it’s no fresh mango juice but the flavour is quite subtle and once I got used to it it was fine.

Aside from the taste, I really like the concept. It makes sense to have something a bit more specific to the female physiology. I like the extra nutritional elements you get with this drink and the fact that it’s upgrading plain water in terms of hydration. Did I notice a difference taking a water bottle with a scoop of the powder in to the gym for my hour long session? Not hugely but I did find I wasn’t guzzling my water like normal, rather just sipping it occasionally which probably means I was getting more bang for my buck. I also didn’t feel at anytime I was flagging in my workouts.

I think on my longer runs it’ll really help as I want to avoid gels this time around but I will need something in terms of fuelling and hydration so this could tick those boxes together. nuun is always good but it has zero carbs which is good for a shorter run or post-run but not so good for the longer ones if I’m not planning to take any food with me. And I’m sure it would have been handy to have had a bottle of this on my long run on Sunday when I was so thirsty!

Have you ever tried any gender-specific nutritional products before?

Does you husband/partner/parents do anything that push your buttons?

What tasty teas have you had recently? Do you drink green tea?

[Full Disclosure: I was sent the Osmo nutrition product for free in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own honest ones.]

GoNurition Review

Today I have another review for you. This time it’s for GoNutrition products. GoNutrition is an online sports nutrition shop and have a range of high protein products to facilitate your sport goals. They kindly sent me a selection of goodies from their website for me to try so here are my thoughts.

GN Whey Protein 80 (find HERE)

Their whey protein powder contains over 19.5g protein per 25g serving and is rich in branched-chain amino acids (BCAA’s) and glutamic acid. I didn’t know too much about whey protein if I’m honest but after doing a bit of research it seems BCAA’s help stimulate protein synthesis and are therefore idea for muscle repair and growth. Basically it’s great for post-workout recovery.

image (Suitable for Diabetics, Gluten-Free, No GM, Hala and Kosher Suitable, No Artificial Colourings, Vegetarian)

  • Calories per serving: 96 kcal
  • Fat: 1.45g
  • Of which saturates: 1.1g
  • Carbohydrate: 1.2g
  • Of which sugars: 1.2g
  • Salt: 0.2g
  • Protein: 19.5g

My thoughts: There are loads of different delicious sounding flavours (maple syrup pancakes, jammie biscuit, key lime pie, etc.) available. I tried the triple chocolate flavour. You can mix the powder with water or milk, and the more you add of the powder then the more thick it is. I have to say I wasn’t a huge fan. I tried it with water first and it didn’t float my boat – I had to add more powder to stop it being watery and though the chocolate flavour was there it was still rather synthetic. Using milk made it a lot nicer though. Ben, however, really enjoyed it.

GoNutrition Whey Protein Powder I didn’t have a shaker so could only stir the mixture as much as possible

Original Protein Flapjacks (find HERE)

Again a high protein food, these flapjacks contain 18.6g protein and are made from oats so are low GI for slow-release energy. They have a chocolate-coating on one-side.

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(No GM, No Artificial Colourings, Vegetarian)

  • Energy: 310 kcal
  • Fat: 8.6g
  • Of which saturates: 4.3g
  • Carbohydrate: 38.1g
  • Of which sugars: 8.5g
  • Dietary Fibre: 2.8g
  • Salt: 0.20g
  • Protein: 18.6g

My thoughts: Nice and tasty, very soft and chewy with lovely dark chocolate chips. The ingredient list looks a bit dubious with a some chemically sounding items and “chocolate flavour coating” though. Three-hundred plus calories for a snack in my opinion is on the high side but, saying that, flapjacks tend to be quite calorific anyway because they’re energy dense. Plus if you’re doing a big gym or long run then this could be ideal to hold you over between meals (hello, runger).

GoNutrition Flapjack

Protein Balls (find HERE)

Basically they’re crispy little balls of protein flavoured with spicy sweet chilli. Each 30g bag contains 15g of protein. Hilariously on the bag they were called ‘soy puffs’ which just amused me greatly.

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 (No GM, No Artificial Colourings, Vegan, Vegetarian)

  • Energy: 124 kcal
  • Fat: 3.6g
  • Of which saturates: 0.3g
  • Carbohydrates: 7.7g
  • Of which sugar: 2.9g
  • Dietary Fibre: 0.5g
  • Salt: 0.78g
  • Protein: 15.0g

My thoughts: I actually really enjoyed these and checked the pack twice to see if I was only eating one serving because honestly there seemed a lot of, er, puffs for the calories (I’m a volume eater so this makes me happy). The flavouring was really good too, like finger-licking good. They sort of reminded me of those chickpea snacks. Very happy with these, very moreish.

GoNutrition Protein BallsA small sample of what you get 

Protein Cookie (find HERE)

This is what it says it is, a high protein cookie! A whopping 37.5g protein per cookie. To put that in perspective, there’s roughly 30g of protein in a chicken breast. 

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(No GM and No Artificial Colourings)

  • Energy: 320 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 19.3g
  • Of which sugars: 7.2g
  • Fat: 9.9g
  • Of which saturates: 3.9g
  • Dietary Fibre: 1.7g
  • Salt: 0.5g
  • Protein: 37.5g

My thoughts: I tried the triple chocolate flavour, other options are cherry bakewell and chocolate orange. It’s a very soft cookie so it reminded me more of a brownie. There are big white chocolate chunks in it. It’s very tasty, but you know when you’re eating it it’s not quite the normal sugar-coma cookie you can buy in a bakery, but it is very satisfying and filling regardless. Again, long list of ingredients.

GoNutrition cookie

Protein Puddings (find HERE)

These are basically chocolate mousse pots containing 15g of milk protein but are low in fat and sugar. Ideal little snacks to stop you reaching for a sugary snack between meals, or good for a nice little dessert.

image

(Suitable for Diabetics, Gluten-Free, No Gm, No Artificial Colourings, Vegetarian)

  • Energy: 109 kcal
  • Fat: 3.0g
  • Of which saturates: 2.0g
  • Carbohydrates: 5.0g
  • Of which sugars: 1.0g
  • Dietary Fibre: 1.1g
  • Salt: 0.45g
  • Protein: 15.0g

My thoughts: Creamy, rich and chocolaty. Again the ingredients look a bit scary with flavours and sweeteners but it is what it is being a chocolate mousse pot. I wouldn’t eat one every day but they’re great if you’re craving a chocolate pick-me-up that’ll fill you up while you wait for something more substantial.GoNutrition Protein pudding

Whew! Lots of good stuff there. If you like your snacks to pack a punch and keep you full then these are ideal. They’re not whole foods or entirely clean by any means, but they’re great to tide you over to your next meal or help increase your calories if you’re working out hard. I just wish I had more soy puffs in my life 😉

Have you tried any GoNutrition products?

Do you aim for high protein snacks?

Do you regularly use protein powder?

[Disclosure: I was sent these products for free to review. However all opinions are my own.]