Running, family time and fro-yo

How nice was the sunshine this Bank Holiday weekend?? Normally when there’s a long weekend we get a lot of rain. I realise not everyone gets the Bank Holiday in August (sorry Scotland) but hopefully everyone had a nice weekend anyway.

I had a really good one. I didn’t go anywhere or do anything too crazy but it did feel a bit jam-packed.

On Saturday morning I was finally back to my home parkrun, Netley Abbey. I went down early as usual to help set-up and jokingly re-introduced myself to everyone as I haven’t been there in over a month! A couple of weeks before I went to Austria… and then I got injured and last week went to Lee-On-Solent parkrun, so yeah quite a while!

A few days earlier I’d been suffering with a random flu-like illness (I had stomach cramps, was hot and cold, achy and super tired). I had to skip my run on Thursday night annoyingly but this was clearly the best thing to do because by Saturday morning I was fine again (whew!). It was very warm and the sun was shining but I was looking forward to running.

Photo Credit: Glen Tyreman

I felt myself get stronger as the run continued and gave my legs a bit of a turnover on the final lap. I saw a few of my running club friends ahead and tried to catch one of them but they got away at the end. It was nice though to have a burst of speed! My knee felt fine as well which was great.

What was not great was my friend Terry, who was celebrating his birthday, grabbing me in a big bear hug and drenching me in his sweat. I was rather disgusted but let him off because he said it made his day, ha! He’s a lovely guy, but yes rather sweaty post-run. I had to take off my top and let it dry on a tree!! Thank you very much, Terry! (I had a jacket with me)Afterwards I grabbed a cold drink in the cafe with my friends and we chilled outside in the sunshine.

Later on I met with my sister, Rachel, for Nando’s and a cinema trip. She’s 2.5 years older than me and we don’t get to see each other as much we’d like as she often works weekends. It’s nice to see her one-on-one as, though we’re SO different, we just slot into place and have a good natter and a gossip. She has so much more common sense and adulting skills than I have so it’s always nice to hear her take on something or just to have a laugh and a giggle.

We enjoyed some Nando’s chicken (she’s not quite a glutinous pig I am and had a far more reasonable order of a half chicken with some sides compared to my whole chicken and salad…).Despite eating stupid amounts I really fancied some pick ‘n’ mix for the film. It’s been a while since I’ve had some. You can’t beat some super cheap sweets in my opinion. Yes they’re full of awful ingredients and so much sugar, but sometimes you just need something basic.The film we saw was Logan Lucky and it was brilliant. If you like Ocean’s 11 then you’ll love this. It was quick, quirky and hilarious. Daniel Craig is fantastic. It’s one to see twice I think.

Sunday morning I had a lovely lie-in until 8.30am before meeting my friend Mike at 9am for a long run. I’d managed to persuade Mike to go a little later as I knew I’d have a late on the night before. Yes it’d probably be a little cooler an hour before but not hugely. It’d probably been best to go at 6ish if we’d have wanted to have beaten the heat but sometimes sleep wins!

The plan was to run 12 miles together and then I’d go on and run four on my own. Mike is now tapering down for the New Forest Marathon (that we’re running together) but I’m building up again as I missed so many runs when I was injured. It’s not ideal but it is what it is!

We both sensibly took water as it was so warm outside. Mike wanted to do the first six miles around 9.20min/mile pace and then the last six 9min/miles. I was happy with whatever! I was glad we weren’t going to be running much faster than that as my fitness isn’t in it’s best and I had a long way ahead of me to run.

Luckily where we ran there was a spot to refill our water bottles up as it really was a hot one. And Mike’s route (yes I’m fully blaming Mike here) was quite undulating as well. Oof the run was not an easy one at all!We struggled a little at the end. Mike was starting to feel a bit dizzy. I was now dreading my four solo miles, wondering if I should just call it quits after 12. It was very tempting. But I decided that when we stopped I’d run up to my flat, drink some cold water and grab my phone and headphones so I could keep motivated by listening to a podcast.

When we stopped Mike looked a bit concerned about how the run had gone. But I tried to convince him that it was ridiculously hot and he’d run TWENTY MILES the week before. Marathon training really does play with your head. When you’ve had good solid training, like Mike has over the past few months, it will catch up with you when you start to taper down. You just have to remember you’ll feel a bit more fresh come marathon day and everything you’ve done before will come into play on the day.My four miles went well. I suddenly had a second wind and was able to zone out to my podcast and focus on just getting the last bit done. I told myself just do three but went a route that meant I had to do four (oh the games we play to get through tough runs). I felt really good when I finished. Gave me a bit of confidence for the marathon!

I quickly got showered and sorted (how I DETEST blowdrying my hair when I’m still super hot from a run) and then grabbed some porridge to eat while my mum drove us to Southampton West Quay for a bit of retail therapy. I must admit, I felt shattered after sitting down! You forget how hard long runs are when you haven’t done one in a while. This is why it’s so important for me to do a couple before the big day.

We had a lovely day shopping (though a big disappointment when we found that the West Quay Starbucks had disappeared!). I got some nice things from H&M, my favourite clothes shop, and we had a cheeky frozen yogurt to finish the day. By this point I really was drained and had a terrible headache. I was staying at my parent’s house that evening (I haven’t moved in yet) and couldn’t seem to work out if I needed a nap, food or water. I was probably quite dehydrated. I camped out on my parent’s outside furniture with a Starbucks I’d bought on the way over, but also made sure to drink water as well.I text Mike and he said he had a bad headache too. I reckon we both caught a bit of sunstroke, being out in the sun for 2.5 hours. I’d never sunbathe for that long! Even after taking some headache tablets the headache still lingered. The next morning it had thankfully disappeared but god my legs ached. I am definitely not in peak marathon running shape!

That morning I headed to the gym for a bit of strength work and then my dad and me walked to the butchers to get some BBQ meat. We thought it’d be about a mile and a bit but it turned out to be almost 3 miles! And it was really warm. But it was a nice walk, and it helped shake my legs out a bit.

So I finished Monday up with a lovely family BBQ and feeling a little more confident for the marathon…in two weeks!

What did you get up to over the weekend?

Do you ever get headaches after a long run?

What’s your favourite clothes shop?

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?

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.