A trip to London and Highbury Fields parkrun

Happy Monday! Back at it with another week. This weekend was a bit of a mad one.

I was sent an email invitation midweek to a blogging event in London on Saturday and made the snap decision to go. It sounded really cool and, though London is such a faff to get to and get around, I’m trying to be more of a “yes” person. I also wondered if I could squeeze in a London parkrun before as the event didn’t start until 10am.

I almost gave up on the idea as it seemed all the parkruns were about 40 minutes from the location of the event and just not doable… until I had a look at Highbury Fields parkrun and realised it would take about 15 minutes on the tube.

I’m terrible at anything to do with public transport or being organised in general so I was a bit worried of all the pieces falling into place. I jokingly said to my dad he should come with me to help and he said that him and my mum had been wanting to go to London for ages so they’d be happy to come. The plan was we’d get a very early train (6.40am) and then get the tube to parkrun from Waterloo, do parkrun, then go to Oxford Street where my event was going to be near and they’d go off shopping while I did my thing. Then we’d meet up later for lunch.

We had enough buffer time to get to the parkrun thankfully so that wasn’t too much of a rush. The tube station is very close to the park and we saw the familiar fluorescent jacketed people setting up the finish funnel as we got into the park. We headed over and they explained the course and start to us and pointed me in the direction of the toilet as well.

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The course was five and a bit laps around a smallish park and fitness centre (side note: I saw people running on treadmills which blew my mind as it was a beautiful day and there was a lovely park outside!). There was a slight long incline up one side of the parkrun and a gentle decline the other. I’d been previously warned about this by the lovely Helen that though the incline wasn’t steep it did become wearing as the laps went on.IMG_4275

I started off way too fast and the first stretch was going up the incline. My legs felt drained almost immediately. Today was not my day, I thought. My parents (my mum’s first parkrun experience) stood on the side-lines to cheer us on. My dad had brought his GoPro so got some cool photos.

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After one lap my only thought was, “I have to do this four more times?”. I really wasn’t in the zone and was finding it quite tough.

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I fell into step with a guy running a similar pace to me and that really helped. He was probably running slightly faster than I would have if I’d have run on my own so it was good to stick with him. We overtook people which felt encouraging.

IMG_4254One more lap

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My pace master friend was the guy in blue in the above photo. He encouraged me to keep going on the last mile and I gasped, “I’m trying!”. He helped me pick up the pace.

I finished in 22:06 which was quite surprising (though my Garmin has measured it as 2.9 miles so maybe that’s why!). It wasn’t the best parkrun experience (in terms of actual running) and that incline DID feel more and more horrific as the laps went on. I hugged the guy and said thank you to him as honestly I probably would have gone a lot slower otherwise!

IMG_4168Always smiles when you’ve finished!

Then it was a mad dash back to the tube to get to Oxford Street. On the tube I had to baby wipe myself and freshen up as best as I could. I took my trainers off and put my flip flops on and attempted to sort my hair out. I was sat there doing all this next to a seriously elegantly dressed lady and felt like a right mess! But needs must.

I got there just five minutes late and they were fine thankfully. The event was a Secret London event (partnered with Collective Two) and was to involve getting your hair done by Headmasters, then yoga on a stand-up paddle board (!) followed by some smoothies from Alpro. But I’ll talk more about that in another post. Thankfully I was able to properly change and freshen up.

IMG_4173Bathroom selfie for the win Winking smile

The event lasted around two hours and was super fun. I then caught the tube to meet my parents for lunch at Barbecoa, Jamie Oliver’s London steak house. I adore Jamie Oliver so was really excited about this!

I was still in my yoga gear so felt a little dressed down but my hair looked cool soo…IMG_4273

The restaurant was fantastic. It had beautiful views of St. Paul’s Cathedral and the service was incredible. Out waitress was so friendly and so helpful and made us feel very welcome and relaxed.

IMG_4274Top left picture is the view from the window

For starter I had chicken wings (I know, I know, so boring and predictable). They were very tasty. Though there were ribs on the menu I decided to try something different for once. I chose the pit beef which, if I’m honest, I didn’t really know what it’d be!

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It came with half a romaine lettuce, bacon crumbs and bacon jam. I also ordered a side of charred broccoli with almonds and some parmesan-y sauce.

The meal was incredible. Literally every mouthful I was like, “this is so tasty”. It was very rich though and by the time I’d finished I was really full. I’d fully intended to have a pudding but I just didn’t fancy it. Who even am I, right?? I didn’t want to spoil the meal by feeling overly full so I decided to give it a miss (and hopefully find something sweet a bit later).

Then we headed to Covent Garden for a bit more shopping. Can we just talk about those stairs though at the Covent Garden tube station?! I saw a big queue at the lifts and then saw the sign for the stairs and thought that’d be quicker. I didn’t actually see the warning that there were 192 stairs (!!!). It just kept going and going and I thought I was in some weird tube station nightmare. Everyone around me was puffing and panting (as I was) and I was like “will this ever end!?”. There were two guys behind me and I kept thinking, don’t let them overtake you!

As I got to the top the security guard was congratulating everyone saying we were champions which was amusing. I assumed my parents had taken the lift. I waited for ages, seeing the people who had taken the lift all fresh faced and happy and the people who had taken the stairs on the brink of collapse.

Finally I saw my parents and they fell into the latter category. They looked like they were about to die. My mum, bless her, couldn’t even talk. I couldn’t stop laughing (I know, I’m very mean). I mean I was very proud of them of course but I couldn’t believe it – I’d found the stairs tough and I’m fairly fit!

I only had one shop I wanted to go into… Lululemon. Walking round that shop is DANGEROUS. Honestly I could have bought everything. I do find the whole Lululemon experience a bit odd though as all the staff are very American. NOTHING against them but American retail sales people are a lot different to British. They’re very chatty whereas Brits kind of leave you alone and don’t engage much in random conversation. But anyway, they were very helpful and in the end I bought a tank top, a gorgeous pair of leggings and a long-sleeved top. My credit card needed resuscitating thought afterwards!

FullSizeRenderMe in my leggings and top at the beach walking the dogs when we got back to my parent’s

Then I topped off my happiness quota by getting a giant tub of fro-yo with strawberries, raspberries and brownie pieces.

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It was delicious and perfect to finish the day with!

It was such a good day but it was a very tiring day. I was exhausted when I got to bed that evening and fully dreading my 17 miler planned for the next day…

What do you like to do in London?

What’s been your favourite blogging event if you’ve done one?

Have you done any parkruns in London? I’d have loved to have done Bushy parkrun but it was just too far away to have been feasible.

Rants and Raves #28

More raves than rants lately which is all good in my book. Marathon training is going well (*TOUCHES WOOD IMMEDIATELY*) and I’m in a happy place. For no specific real reason really (I’m still single…which I don’t particularly mind right now), just loving that the days are longer, the sun is brighter (or actually present) and I’m enjoying life!

Rave: I’m not a huge shopper (unless it’s to do with running/gym clothes, then I’m the worst) but occasionally I might splurge on non-fitness related items. I recently fell in love with a pair of Timberland boots. My mum has the same size feet as me and has a pair but annoyingly she has them in a deep raspberry colour, of which I wasn’t too keen on (otherwise I could borrow them). I went and perused a light brown pair on Saturday and tried a few different styles. They were quite expensive though so I left without buying them. But then ended up going back the next day as I couldn’t resist. That’s always the sign of a good purchase I think!

Timberland

They’re really good quality, water-proof and hardy. Though the worst of the weather seems to be behind us, I always need a good pair of ‘proper’ shoes that aren’t just trainers or slip-ons.  I also got myself two new pairs of jeans from H&M that were a bargain (£15!). They fit perfectly so I bought one in black and one in denim (in above pic). When you’ve found a pair of good fitting jeans, BUY THEM ALL.

Rave: OK I have a leeeeeeeetle thing for leggings. Most of my leggings though are more gym appropriate than running appropriate. They tend to be a bit more flashy or the material isn’t as good. I normally stick with either my trusty Nike capris or my slightly longer Helly Hansen ones.  I do have Puma full-length ones but I rarely wear them unless it’s super cold. Anyway, my Nike’s are looking a bit tired (they’ve been around for a few years now…) and I’d seen some cool compression-style ones at the Marathon Talk Run Camp. In the end I went for 2UX 3/4 tights.2XU Compression

I got them from Zalando (I had a £10 off voucher. It made sense. [Not an affiliated link]). They are expensive at £70 (without my voucher) but I know how long my Nike’s have lasted and I wanted a quality product. And let me tell you, they are fantastic. They’re compression so they’re obviously a bit tighter than my Nike’s but they feel great on. They don’t slip down, they’re water-resistant, they have a little pocket for a key and they’re lovely and smooth. And they have the compression technology in them. Fully recommend!

Rant: When you’re one of the few people in an office who regular runs you become known somewhat of a ‘guru’ for all things running related. It doesn’t sound too bad I guess but it’s become more and more regular that people expect me to solve their fitness-problems. One fellow colleague started running with his dog and found after a few runs his knee started hurting. He told me this and then looked at me questioningly as if I could a) explain his knee issue or b) give him some solid medical advice. I’ve had my fair few injuries, don’t get me wrong, but I can barely solve my own let alone other people’s! I suggested getting trainers fitted and laying off the running until it felt OK…and possibly seeing someone about it if it wouldn’t go away.

Another guy told me how he was going to run the Reading Half Marathon which is in a few weeks time. I asked how his training was going and he said he wasn’t really training for it. OK… Yeah so plucked a random time goal out of the air, he then plugged that pace into a treadmill and evaluated how he got on. Apparently he lasted 10 minutes. Riiiiight. I told him normal half marathon training plans were at very least eight weeks long for fairly new runners, though ideally 12 weeks realistically (and that’s probably with at least some running experience behind them). He laughed and said, “Weeks?!”. Good luck, my friend. Good luck.

Rave: But on that similar note, it’s always nice people from other companies (we share an office block) coming up to you and saying they saw you running after work and asking what I was training for. They did London, they’re planning on doing this or that and the conversation just flows nicely. Running brings people together Smile

Rant: When I was in Bristol the other weekend Alfie joined me. This is a tad gross but Kate said when they took Alfie and Doug, her pug, for a walk in the morning when I was at parkrun she noticed Alfie’s poo wasn’t, er, optimal. She suggested feeding him pasta to help his tummy as that’s what the vet has always told her (Doug’s had a few sick times). She kindly cooked him a little bowl of plain pasta (fusilli if you’re interested) for him to eat. He absolutely wolfed it down. Now Alfie is far more a grazer than a wolfer-downer (I just leave kibble in his bowl and he has it as and when he fancies it). I was really shocked.IMG_8979

My little Alfie is a carb-lover it seems! However, when I tried to recreate this at home but with rice instead of pasta (as I never have pasta) he played around with it and then left it. I’ve now been finding rice grains all over my floor since. *Sighs* Thanks Alfie. Clearly he’s picky with his carbs. But his poo has become more normal so it’s all good (TMI?).

Rave: I’ve been doing so well in reducing the number of artificial sweeteners I eat in my diet. I’m really quite bad at this… Sugar-free squash, sugar-free jelly, Options Hot Chocolate. It isn’t pretty.

But I’ve managed to cut back on my squash successfully; only two glasses a day. The rest have been swapped for herbal teas (peppermint and raspberry & Echinacea are my two current favourites). I haven’t been able to stop the jellies (choose your battles). But I have been able to stop the Options Hot Chocolate. This is a big move for me as I literally have one every single night. Not now though!

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I now have real cocoa powder with Stevia to sweeten. Stevia, though yes is still technically a sugar, is far better for you than other more chemical ones. At first it wasn’t the same… Not as sweet, a little bit too bitter, but now I’ve adjusted. Cocoa actually has some great benefits for reducing inflammation and contains antioxidants. Win win!

Rave: Still loving the gym. I thought I wouldn’t be able to balance the two: strength training and marathon training but I listen to my body and go with it. When I’m tired or ache from a run, if I still fancy going to the gym I’ll lower the weights or do less reps. Or avoid some exercises completely. IMG_8726But I’m really pleased that I’ve managed to reach 75kg for my squats (six reps!). My depth probably needs to improve a bit but I focus on that on a different day when I do higher reps (12) with a lighter weight. My deadlift as well is coming on better. I had a break from it for a while as my lower back was bugging me (trampolining…). When I went back to it I needed to lower the weight again and work on my form but it’s all nice progress Smile

Rant: Easter eggs. They’re everywhere. How am I going to resist?!

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It’s just a nightmare. I love Easter Eggs – especially the ones with bits in the actual egg (Thornton’s do a great peppermint speckled egg and ones with fudge pieces in) .I can give or take the plain chocolate ones but anything that’s remotely a bit more exciting I struggle to resist. I do want one this year but I know that it’ll only goad me from it’s see-through prison and then when I break into it it’ll be game over. I just have no self-control.

Do you buy Easter eggs? What do you go for?

Do you eat a lot of artificial sweeteners?

What kind of ‘proper’ shoes do you usually go for?

Windy running and feeling content

I can’t begin to tell you how much I love my little home. I’ve gone from being all blasé about weekends and evenings to being really excited. There is so much to be done, organised, bought, arranged… I can’t wait!

To roll back to the weekend gone, I was shattered after moving in on Friday but I really struggled to sleep. I’m a very light sleeper (to the point I have to wear an eye mask at night) and any unusual noises will keep me awake or wake me up. It was just a whole different environment than I was used to and it took me so long to sleep, and then I woke up for AN HOUR in the middle of the night.

It didn’t help that I was ridiculously hungry either (as I missed lunch the day before and my body was only too happy to remind me. Apparently cake doesn’t quite work as a compensation for me in terms of satiety). The next morning the first thing I did was have breakfast. This is really abnormal for me as I can go a fair few hours without anything in the morning before I’m ready for food.IMG_6466

I would say I treated myself to breakfast in bed but seen as how I have no table or chairs this is how I’m eating all my meals right now

I would have given parkrun a miss on Saturday if I hadn’t have had the cones and the keys for the storage cupboard and gates… This meant I had to go in order for parkrun to go ahead. It was ridiculously windy and I was tired. I wasn’t looking forward to it. But it was the 200th Netley Abbey parkrun and it was a onesie and pyjama themed event so I’m glad I went in the end.IMG_6468

It was actually easier to find PJs to run in than actual running gear in my box-filled flat

I found the run easier than last week. I was slower but the effort was less and with that RIDICULOUS wind I was happy to get 24:58.

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I don’t think I can expect a huge amount of improvement on this winter course as it’s fairly gruelling with two hills you do three times. I hope to get close to 23-22 minutes as the weeks (or months!) go by.

PJ parkrunAfter a lovely little hot drink and a moving-in celebratory bit of a freshly baked cheese scone bought by one of my parkrun friends, I headed home to test out my shower for the first time. Shower quality is SO important to me because if they’re just a dribble then I’m looking at a future of bad hair washing experiences as my hair is so long. Thank God it’s really strong (stronger than my previous one!!) and SUPER hot. This is like the perfect combo for me with my asbestos skin.

My parents came over soon after and we headed to the Mecca of furniture that is IKEA.IMG_6472My mum had never been before (my mum, by the way, is the biggest snob known to man so I was interested to see what she thought). She LOVED it. It’s funny because they really only came to assist me but left with their own trolley stacked high. I defy anyone to leave IKEA without buying anything.

I had already done a bit of research beforehand to know what I wanted so I was quite focused, but I too found so many extras that ended up coming home with me.

IKEA salad bowl This giant bowl will fit my salads perfectly… I’m not joking

By the time we got home and got my chest of drawers up the stairs, unpacked and then semi-built it was almost 8pm (this was one of four items to build). I had missed lunch once again and was about to eat the cardboard it came in. My dad said they’d return the next day, bless him, to help build the other items.IMG_6480

I slept a bit better that evening (after a good dinner and another slice of cake from the freezer – this time a chunk of rocky road) but still struggled with noises. It’s not that my flat is noisy, I’m just very sensitive. Previously my bedroom had been looking out onto a school field, whereas now there are noises from surrounding buildings and occasionally bumps from the other flats around me.

Sunday morning I got up and did my first run from my new home. I’d planned to do six miles but as I got outside it was ridiculously windy and I was finding it really tough. So changed to five miles. Only to get my route wrong and do seven.

7 miles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus, it was tough. I almost gave up at six miles to walk back but realised it would take ages and my parents were coming over mid-morning. I stopped at seven miles and had a short walk back to my flat. How lovely to have this scenery so close to my home! This will be where I’ll be walking Alfie 🙂IMG_6484

I just hope he doesn’t jump in the pond!

The rest of the day was flat-pack hell. My dad and me got a great routine going. He’d show me how to do something (like build a drawer) and I’d just get on until he showed me something else.IMG_6488

I’m not a picture person when it comes to instructions so I was lost with working it out myself. I need demonstrations! This was apparent when my dad left me to build a bedside table while he sorted electronic stuff out and I buggered it up. Seriously. ONE THING.

My flat is still a work in progress, as you can imagine, but it’s getting there. I have so many ideas for it and I’m looking forward to buying all the little things to decorate it and make it into a proper home. I might take some photos and share them on my blog when it’s a bit more organised if you’re interested. My flat is tiny, but it’s all mine and it’s becoming home 🙂

Do you like IKEA?

For instructions do you prefer words, pictures or demonstrations?

How soon do you need breakfast after you wake up? At the weekend breakfast can be anything from 9am to 11am depending on what I’m doing.

Happy things…when I’m still waiting

I still haven’t moved. I wouldn’t mind but it’s hard to really plan ahead for weekends if I don’t know when I’m going to be moving… meaning I’m kind of in limbo. I know a lot of people have been in this situation so I’ll stop moaning. It’s just the negatives of moving house!

This weekend started really well with a Friday night movie and take-away evening with my friend Louise and her husband, Tom. They have a small person called Jacob and I got to witness the whole ‘evening routine’ with him which was quite enlightening. He’s around 17 months (I think??) old so is walking and babbling, very sweet.

The movie of choice for the evening (after Jake was safely in bed) was Silence of the Lambs. It came up in conversation a week ago that I’d never seen it so we arranged the movie evening. It’s an iconic must-see movie so I knew I needed to watch it, I’d just had a mental block on it as when I was little my parent’s had a VHS copy of it and the cover alone used to give me nightmares (I was a sensitive child…).

It actually wasn’t that scary or gory at all (the fact that it had a very 80-90s feel helped). I felt like I needed to watch it as I’m still so obsessed with the Hannible series and the film comes after the series in the time-frames. Anthony Hopkins does Hannible really well but I still prefer Mads Mikkelsen.

Lou is an amazing baker and she’d made a carrot and walnut cake for the evening as well. Look at that beast!

Carrot cake

Despite eating an Indian take-away I still had room for a slice (*cough* or two) of the cake. Superb!! She even cut me a huge chunk off to take home with me.

The next day I went to parkrun to volunteer again. My leg still isn’t better… a post for another time. I took Alfie again and headed down to set-up. Alfie absolute loves it as he races around off his lead while we set up. It’ll be a bit of a shame not being able to bring him when I do get back to running. I can’t run with him as he hasn’t run that far before and, no offence Alfie, but I’m not keen to go on one mile runs to build up his mileage. I’m not sure he’s suited to running anyway – he stops and sniffs far too often. I can’t leave him tied to a bench while I run either as he’ll get anxious and probably start barking. It’s not very fair.

It was my friend Mike’s 50th parkrun and he made chocolate tray-bake biscuit things (one Toberlone-style and one Malteser-style). I enjoyed a Malteser one while having a hot drink sat outside the cafe afterwards with a few of the running club guys (another pitfall of having Alfie with me means we need to sit outside).

Malteser tray bake

So tasty! I even got to take a few home with me! People just love to give me cake it seems hehe 😉

Then I headed to go shopping with my parents to pick up my new phone (iPhone 6s). I needed moral support as (and this is embarrassing to admit) but I haven’t really dealt with getting a new phone on my own in quite a few years. Ben had always dealt with the phone side of things. I pride myself on being an independent woman… but seems I need to get myself sorted in certain areas!!

And while passing through John Lewis I couldn’t help but look at the beautiful bags, in particular the Michael Kors ones. I am very much a saver. I rarely make large purchases (apart from holidays) unless they’re absolutely essential. Yes I have a weakness for workout clothes and good food but other than that I’d rather put money into savings, just in case.

That said, I saw a gorgeous handbag that just seemed to call to me. I was feeling down about not being able to run and not having moved yet and just thought “sod it, I’m going to treat myself”.

Michael Kors rose handbag

I have zero regrets. It’s beautiful and I love it. I do have a weakness for handbags but I’m very lucky that my mum does too. She often gives me her ‘off castes’ and I’ve been lucky to have some very nice second-hand handbags from her. But to buy my own and for it to be brand new… well it was just exactly what I needed to make me feel happier. Yes material things are a shallow way to gain happiness, but I can be sad now with a pretty handbag 😉

I’d love to say I had a jam-packed Sunday but the reality is… I didn’t. I packed, I cleaned, I walked Alfie and I rested my leg while watching TV. It was a lazy and dull Sunday, but I felt the better for it.

And my little niece, Ellie, got a Junior parkrun PB!

Junior parkrun

Look at that running form – what a pro!

Her mum (my sister) and dad are split up so she did the Junior parkrun nearest to her dad which is some distance away annoyingly. I hope at some point I can take her to my local Junior parkrun. I saw my sister on the Saturday and Ellie was telling me all about how she wants to be just like me and do lots of running. I have never felt so proud! I won’t lie, I do struggle with young children and knowing what to say or do but it’s lovely to have something in common and something I can hopefully help her with. I feel useful!

How do you make yourself happy? 

Have you ever been to Junior parkrun?

What iconic movies do you love and recommend?

Lee-On-Solent parkrun, Beefy’s and YOLO

How’s everyone this morning? If you’re from the UK, then hopefully you’re not still damp from our rather soggy Sunday! Feels all rather autumnal to me. Winter is coming…

Friday night I stayed over at my parent’s house. I wanted to try out the new Lee-On-Solent parkrun that had started a few weeks ago and it’s about three miles from my parent’s house. It runs alongside the beach on the promenade and is really flat. It’s actually part of my long run route when I stay at my parents.

I hadn’t run since Ultra12 last Sunday as I was concerned about my shin/calf (I say shin/calf as I’m actually not sure where the ‘issue’ is – it’s just a general discomfort and tightness of my calf that then aggravates closer to my shin, if that makes sense). In the week it was feeling grumpy and niggly and the last thing I wanted to do was annoy it further. I ran 20 miles over 12 hours (and a parkrun a few hours earlier) so I’d definitely pushed it out of its comfort zone and I needed to give it time. Check me out being all sensible.

My plan then on Saturday was to drive down to the beach car park about a mile away from the start and run down. This meant that I could judge my leg before I got caught up in any parkrun buzz and adrenaline and could walk back to my car if it felt rubbish. At Netley my warm-ups tend to be very quick and I knew if I went I wouldn’t bail on the run as there were so many people I know there and I’d have been embarrassed to have dropped out last minute (stupid, I know).

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Annnnyway, I did some dynamic stretches and then began running down. Everything felt fine. I literally had the biggest smile on my face running to parkrun. Thank god.

IMG_2483 Beautiful blue skies and the parkrun start ahead

I got to the start in more than enough time and chatted with a fellow Hedge End Running Club member. It was nice to see a friendly face, though to be honest everyone was very friendly and lovely. But then all parkruns are welcoming! 🙂

This parkrun is very flat and with few turns (it’s an out and back twice…you run along one way, then turn to go back, then run past the start/finish area, turn and run back) so it’s ideal for those wanting a PB, if the wind isn’t too bad. Because of my recent niggle I wasn’t looking to go crazy. I just wanted a quickish run to get the legs turning.

As I started I felt good and my legs felt nice and fresh. I was listening to music but not my usual “GO GO GO” music on my Running Playlist that encourages me to go faster. Instead I just put on music that was in the charts that I was liking lately as I didn’t want to get lost in the moment and push myself too hard. Basically I was looking to enjoy myself 🙂

IMG_2579 Photo credit: AmandaLou Hall and Ethan Gee

The first mile was great. Despite not setting out with the ambition to smash the pace I felt very comfortable at sub-7min/miles. I just went with it. I noticed there weren’t any other females around me and felt quite content.

At the turnaround I checked to see if there were any ladies in front of me (I say I wasn’t racing, but it’s always nice to know your placing!). There was a young girl storming ahead and that was all. As I turned to go the other way the full force of the wind smacked me in the face. Ah so that’s why my first mile was so lovely. I was being pushed along nicely! The second mile was therefore a lot harder and a bit of a grind. My pace dropped but I didn’t mind (a completely different story to last week’s parkrun – what a difference a change in mindset makes).

At the next turn around point, where we would then head back to the finish, I passed the girl. She was really struggling. Again the wind was now behind me and it was suddenly easier again. I sailed nicely to the finish.

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I finished in 21:37 as first female and I was chuffed. A hard but enjoyable run.

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Sadly I’m an absolutely idiot (this might not be that much of a surprise). I sat down and caught my breath. I went over to the young girl who finished second I think and said well done. I chatted to a few people. Then headed over to the barcode scanner. Oh wait, where’s my finisher’s token?

Cue panic.

Arghhh, I’d put it down somewhere! Despite spending a good amount of time searching the area with the help of a few kind people, I couldn’t find it. It was very windy so I was worried it’d blown away. I spoke to the marshal in charge who took my name, my Garmin time and my barcode number and promised to sort it. I felt terrible though as I know they’ve had a few problems lately with tokens going missing. Long story short, after a few emails they managed to get me on the results on Sunday. I was mortified to have caused such a faff and felt suitably guilty. I donated £5 because I felt so bad. It costs them £70 to buy 100 new tokens (they can’t buy them individually).

I ran back to my car as a cool down, which was also a great way to check how my niggle felt post-run. Things felt fine! Hurrah. I still think I need to be careful and I’m now including calf raises into my strength training because clearly this is a weakness I have that keeps cropping up. I regularly change my trainers so I really can’t think what else I can do (apart from not go crazy with jumping up my mileage).

Later in the day I went shopping with my mum and decided to do something I’d been considering for a while. I’ve always liked the thought of having a tattoo but can never really make my mind up on what or where I’d have it. I also know I’d probably regret it later. And I’d just look stupid. Years ago I used to have my belly button pierced but I let it heal over. My belly button, I think, is really quite ugly so I thought what better way of improving things and doing something a little bit (for me) crazy.

IMG_2525 You can see where the plaster had been on my tummy

It didn’t hurt as it was numbed beforehand and it was very quick. I’m very pleased. You only live once!

I also splashed out on a new outfit that I could then wear to the meal my parents and me were going to that evening. I bought this beautiful long skirt from Monsoon, and then paired it with a very simple strappy top, a white cardigan and a necklace in the sale all from New Look.

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How pretty is that pattern and those colours? The skirt is of really good quality – there is a lot of material there and it fits beautifully.

The restaurant we went to was called Beefy’s in Southampton. It’s located in the Hilton hotel at the cricket grounds, The Ageas Bowl. It’s rather posh and very lovely.Beefys

The service was impeccable. They were so attentive, pleasant and friendly. And the food was gorgeous. Yes it is expensive (relatively so – mains are around £12-15 but can go up depending on what you choose, obviously. My dad had a steak for £30!).

Beefys - The Ageas BowlYou choose a type of bread to start (I went for olive bread) and then I had a sharing platter with my dad of hummus, feta, olives, bread, roasted vegetables and local watercress. For main I had a char-grilled sweet chilli chicken salad. My dad and me joked that we’d both expanded our culinary choices by me choosing that salad and not the Caesar salad and him having a Porterhouse steak rather than a rump steak. Small steps. For pudding I had sticky toffee pudding with ice cream. It all tasted amazing. Definitely worth a visit!

And then the weather turned and I woke up to stupid amounts of rain the next morning. Originally I’d planned to go for a long run with some guys from the club but I didn’t know if I was going to stay at my parent’s again or not (I did) and I was still being cautious about my niggle. The last thing I wanted to do was go for a long run and ignore any discomfort. I wanted the option of just cutting things short without feeling the need to explain things to people (I know everyone would have been lovely about it but I would feel awkward). So I went solo.

It was absolutely tipping it down and I only had shorts and a sleeveless top. It wasn’t cold per se but it was miserable out there. My run felt fine. There was an awareness of my niggle at the start but nothing to hinder me or make me feel I was “pushing through” discomfort or pain. Then for the rest of the run it felt fine. I actually felt really good and fresh (despite being soaked to my skin).

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I did get yelled at by a driver though. I was running along a relatively short road where there were no pavements and he pulled up next to me and yelled that it was a stupid place to run. There was more than enough room for the both of us (and cars the other way) and I had made sure I was in full view of any oncoming cars. *Sighs*

Rainy run

The run felt good but I still don’t know where my head is at for the Cheddar Gorge marathon in a few weeks time. I’m 90% certain I’ll do it. The only thing that will halt me will be if that weekend is really rainy (because it will just be a mud bath and I want to enjoy it) or if my niggle becomes anything bigger.

Decisions, decisions.

And I’ll leave you with the joys of running in the rain with long hair.

IMG_2587 I’m sure it’s so much easier being a man…

How was your weekend?

Have you got any piercings?

Have you done anything stupid at a race before? My life is full of stupid moments…