Whew, check that out for a title! This weekend was pretty damn awesome, if I do say so myself. On Friday I worked from home so when I was finished I popped Alfie in the car and drove to Bristol to meet up with my university friends. We stayed with Kate and her husband, who I went on holiday with last year to the US, as it was her birthday the other week.
Kate is a little obsessed with pugs and has her own pug, Doug, who’s adorable. For her birthday I bought her PugOpoly (a pug themed Monopoly) – how cool!?
One of my other friends bought her a pug welcome mat.
Hehe, I think she was pleased! Alfie, though he didn’t enjoy the drive up (he’s a bit of a car wuss) did appreciate me taking his bed with us so he could chill out a bit when he got there.
Kate and Jamie had made us fajitas which were very tasty and we chatted and chilled before picking up another friend from the station. Then we were all there and ready to go with our usual tradition of making brownies…
I’ve blogged about the epic brownie tradition previously, but basically we just make a huge brownie and then eat with spoons (we kind of cook it so it’s still quite gooey in the middle – a bit pudding-like). It’s a ridiculously indulgent tradition but we love it.
The key is to crumble up some Milky bar and Mint Aero and mix through the mixture just before it goes into the oven. You won’t regret it
The next morning I got up early and headed to the very nearby Little Stoke parkrun to quickly get in a parkrun (I’m now on 92! So close to 100!).
It looks rather wet and grey but it didn’t rain thankfully and actually wasn’t that cold. I did a lap warm-up and then headed to the start. It was a different start and finish to when I’ve previously done it. I’m presuming this was because it was briefly on the grass which was very wet so they sensibly kept it all on the path: three and a bit loops of the field on the pavement, nice and flat and barely any wind. I didn’t go crazy as I was conscious of doing a long run the next day (18-20 miles in the plan) but I still wanted to see what I could do. I know I wasn’t in the same shape I was in when I was last there where I got 20 something minutes but I wanted 21 something.
I was pleased to find out there was a pacing event on but disappointed when they only had 20 minutes and then 24 minutes and above. Hmm. So I kept a way behind 20 minutes but in front of 24 roughly.
As I got to the final lap I saw a woman in the distance and planned to try and overtake her. Part of me wanted to sprint to do it straight away but I knew that would be stupid so I just patiently increased my pace slightly and caught her up. The advantage of overtaking is that they’re unaware of it happening until it happens. The over-taker has all the control. I finished in 21:35 and third lady so I was happy with that!
Then I rushed off to meet my friends at the very nearby Starbucks (her house is so well situated) as they’d gone to walk the dogs. I grabbed a quick coffee with them (outside with the dogs) and then dashed back to get showered and breakfasted so I wouldn’t be holding anyone up.
We left late morning to go to Kate’s main birthday event. It’s called Locked in a Room and basically you get locked in a room for an hour and have to solve a load of clues in order to get out. It was so much fun! Honestly, I fully recommend it.
There’s a whole backstory and theme and inside the room is full of different objects and boxes with locks on and combinations so you have to work out what the codes are to find more clues. There are other teams in other identical rooms doing the exact same thing so it’s a big race against the clock and against them. There’s also CCTV cameras watching you and if you start to get super stuck they give you more clues via a screen (otherwise I guess it would be rather rubbish to spend a huge chunk of time having no idea what to do).
It’s very frantic and you have to think carefully but you’re obviously keen to get it done quickly so to get out in time. You’re racing around the room looking at different objects, reading a clue you’ve got and trying to make sense of it. Really good fun. And we won! We escaped with seven minutes to go and before any of the other teams.
You come out into another holding room where you can then watch on the televisions the other teams trying to solve their clues. Quite amusing.
We then walked through Bristol to get to our restaurant of choice. We saw a couple of Banksy’s and we walked through the area that had been the race village for the Bristol half marathon (that I did a number of years ago).
We then arrived at Spitfire for lunch.
Spitfire is a restaurant that pretty much calls to my heart. My friend Kate is very much on the same page as me with food and meat so she had suggested this BBQ/meat smoking restaurant.
Bless my vegetarian friend, Charlotte. She took one for the team as there really wasn’t a huge veggie choice for her, but she did enjoy her halloumi burger she said!
Oh my god, the menu. Jamie’s husband (a huge rib and meat fan like myself) recommended the spare ribs so I was set on that. I’m quite glad for the recommendation as honestly I wouldn’t have known what to have gone for! So many tasty sounding things. For starters Kate, Shell and I shared some pork rashers to start.
And then we all (apart from Charlotte) had the spare ribs.
Good lord they were good. Literally heavenly. They came with a cranberry and apple glaze and were just so tasty. I had sweet potato fries with them (a superfluous item to be honest that probably wasn’t necessary… though of course I did have some of).
For my shame I was the only one who finished theirs (let’s be honest, I’ve had a fair bit of practice). I left some room for pudding of course though (hence not finishing the sweet potato fries – pick you battles!)
More brownie! It was very tasty but to be honest it wasn’t anything special. It wasn’t all that hot and not really that gooey but it was tasty nonetheless. I’d probably just been spoilt the night before…
Then I rolled myself out of the restaurant. Standing up I sudden’’ly felt extremely full (what a surprise eh). The problem was my friend needed to get to her train rather sharpish so I was required to walk slightly more quickly than the snail’s pace I wanted to. Ooooof that’ll teach me for being so greedy (but will it?? I never learn!).
Luckily she got to her train on time and it was time to part ways. It was lovely, as always, seeing my friends and I had a great time. I drove back to Southampton listening to the audiobook version of Room. Oh god that book. It is incredible – so good but also very unnerving.
Surprisingly I didn’t need dinner that evening… I woke up the next morning fairly early to meet my friend, Shantha, for another long run. I didn’t have anything before the run because I was pretty sure I had enough inside me to keep me going!
We had a lovely run around her area (Hamble and Netley) which was great. It’s nice to go somewhere different from the usual routes I always do on my long runs. It was quite cold but the sunshine was bright and I was warm fairly quickly. We chatted away about this and that and the miles flew by. I hadn’t been that worried about this run because I knew I’d get at least 10 with Shantha and that would break it up so it wasn’t such a huge mileage on my own.
Our pace was nicely matched (though I always do worry I’m slowing her down as she is quite speedy) and it was nice to leave the route-planning to her. I’m awful though as I have no sense of direction so she did have to keep guiding me as I’d randomly turn off or miss hear her directions! But I was grateful for a lovely route
As Shantha had to get back for her Mother’s Day service fairly promptly we only ran 10 miles together before parting. My plan was to run 18-20 miles but I’d decided to run 18 unless I really felt the urge to go further or if my route ended up that way. I had a vague idea of where to go. I put my headphones on and listened to more of Room. It was actually quite stressful at points listening to it while running because the story got quite dramatic and I was so absorbed. But it did help the miles fly by.
I didn’t feel like the run was that tough in terms of speed or pace but I could feel a tiny glimmer of my foot niggling so I stopped at 18 miles to be super safe. Happily my route also ended up back near the car then anyway and I only had to do a small run out and back from it to get up to 18 miles in total.
I had a small casualty of a bramble attack during the run which had caused my leg to bleed. It looks worse than it is. I did have a few people give me worrying looks and one man tried to stop me and point to my leg. I patiently explained I was aware and it was OK thank you.
I quickly got back, had breakfast, got presentable then headed to my parent’s to celebrate Mother’s Day with them. My dad cooked steak (rib eye for me, rump for them), sweet potato wedges, roasted veg and salad.
We were meant to have a baked camembert to start but my dad had put it in the oven but only turned the light on, whoops…so we had that after the steak. Still good though!
No pudding as my mum and dad are trying to eat sensibly and, let’s be honest, I didn’t need anymore pudding either. The whole meal was delicious. And I actually felt pretty good for the rest of the day in terms of tiredness and hunger. My body seems to be adjusting to the miles
So a huge happy Mother’s Day to my lovely mum. She’s always there for me and she’s pretty damn special. And so the weekend was finished off nicely!
How did you spend Mother’s Day (for those celebrating it!)?
Can you eat more than your friends? Embarrassingly I just have the hugest appetite out of most people I know…
Would you enjoy the Locked in a Room game?