Jam-packed active weekend

Wow where did August go? Did it even happen? It’s scary how quickly the year is flying by.

This weekend was jam-packed. Like non-stop. I love weekends like that but it doesn’t really give you time to relax and take stock. It started Friday night with me rushing home to meet up with some of my running club for a 20 mile bike ride. As usual I was the slowest of the group – and they weren’t even pushing it! I felt bad that I might be slowing them down but they were all lovely and waited for me if I got too far behind. This cycling business is tough work!

Then I got home, quickly showered, dressed and headed out with Ben to enjoy a nice night at the pub with Kyle (our sports massage therapist and running guru friend – he writes his own blog HERE) and his lovely wife, Sophie. As Ben and me weren’t going to parkrun the next day we decided to enjoy a bit of a drinking evening. We also had a cheeky Indian as well. Good fun!

The next morning we had a luxurious lie-in, had a lazy breakfast and then made our way to the swimming pool. Ben was going to do some lane swimming (he’s still injured) while I did my pool running. Ben’s a great swimmer and he does quite enjoy – unlike me who is a) rubbish and b) hates it.

Pool runningMy new flotation belt. It’s just not running 🙁

Unfortunately the swimming pool was having a “float time” and was heaving with kids. We’re not particularly child-friendly people so this was a *bit* of a nightmare. Ben couldn’t even swim as there were no lanes (we had rung up to check we could swim…clearly“swimming” can be interpreted in different ways). It was screaming mayhem!

IMG_7803 Check out those hotties!

I had piled my hair on my head to keep it dry as your head doesn’t go under the water when you’re pool running – bonus! I had brought goggles though just in case (that’s what’s round my next in case you wondered).

Ben attempted to swim but it was tricky due to the sheer number of kids so he mainly kept me company while I splashed about. I have no idea if I was doing the pool running right so he checked out my form underwater for me bless him.

I’ve watched a few YouTube videos and read a bit about it. So I was trying to master and maintain the correct technique. It was very dull though so to jazz things up I decided to do intervals. I sped my legs up as fast as I could for 30 seconds and then went bit easier for one minute. Suddenly things were a lot harder! I was puffing and panting away. It was tough but in a weird way. It was hard effort to keep my legs moving fast and my arms going, but there was no impact. All in all a good 30 minute work out I think. Some children started jumping in the area where I was floating and splashed me. I gave them the death stare and they never came back 😉

I’ll keep you updated how the pool running continues as I plan on doing it as much as I can in order to replicate normal running. When I get back into running after my mini break I’ll keep at it to supplement my gentle come back. Well that’s the plan anyway!

I did think this was slightly ironic in the changing rooms on the lockers…

IMG_7798Come on! Seriously? Mock me at every turn why don’t you, universe!

Anyway it didn’t feel like the hardest workout of my life but it felt like something at least.

Later we had a lovely meal at Ben’s mum’s that evening. Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I love spending time with my family and it was nice catching up. And the food was so good! We had a lovely choice of puddings as well – fruit, ice cream, meringues and homemade rhubarb crumble. Ben went for everything.

IMG_7827 Underneath the mass of ice cream and meringues there is a HUGE slice of rhubarb pudding I assure you.

The next morning we met up with our friend, Nathan, and went for a 41 mile ride on the bike. This is my longest ride to date! I did find it really tough from the start – my legs felt like lead and I had no energy (could this be from the pool running..??). The route wasn’t easy and it was really warm.We’d decided to not eat breakfast before going so half way we could stop for something to eat in a little cafe and then continue to the end of the ride.

Annoyingly I’d somehow started my Garmin 10 minutes before we actually started cycling and only realised when it told me my first mile was 14 minutes long. So I had to restart it.

It was a nice cycle as we’re all reasonably the same speeds so there was no pressure and no worries. There were a fair number of hills but we kept each other going. At 21ish miles we went to Lilly’s in Wickham (where I’ve previously been for afternoon tea a few times) and we had breakfast (at about 11am…).

The boys had waffles with bacon and maple syrup but I went for a full English as I was starving (no photo, too hungry sorry). Slightly regretted that decision though when I got back on the bike. I was so full! Thought I might be sick as we hit some up-hills. Foolish, Anna!


We didn’t break any speed records but it was hard work for us newbies. Definitely a tough long workout!

To keep our Sunday working hard we got showered and dressed and met back up with Nathan to go for a long walk in the New Forest with Alfie.

IMG_7835We were all feeling pretty knackered but it was a nice walk. The route said 10k but in the end it was almost 7.5miles!!


By the time we got home it was almost 6pm and I’d only had two apples since my brunch. Needless to say I was starving. Ben and me had lunch/dinner (?!) and collapsed on the sofa. Exhausted! Even Alfie was worn out bless him.

IMG_7847 Usually he hates car journeys but he was so tired when he got into the car he just laid down and chilled.

It’s funny because usually if I don’t run at the weekends it can seem a bit empty and not that ‘epic’, if you know what I mean? I adore running and I love my long runs, but it was really nice to do something completely different. The long cycle was epic and we felt so good afterwards. I fell into bed before 9pm and was asleep straight away. I had the beautiful exhausted feeling that my body had been worked hard in a good way. Obviously I don’t need running or cycling to make my weekends good, but I’m an active person and can’t just sit on the sofa all day long. That’s not how I relax.

And in terms of the impending marathon? Ben and me have agreed to take each day as it comes without thinking to far ahead. I can’t think about what ifs at the moment. I haven’t decided if I will do it or not yet. It’s very much up in the air, but I’m only thinking about the day I’m on at the moment, not the weeks that are coming. Otherwise I might be sick with panic…

How do you like to spend your weekends if you got to do everything you wanted?

Have you done a long bike ride before?

Do you enjoy going to the swimming pool?

Visit to North Wales

Hey, hey, hey. I am back from my long weekend in North Wales and back to the blogging world. I’m very behind on all my blog reading as well…this both stresses me out and makes me happy as I love reading blogs but hate getting so behind.

Last Thursday Ben and me were off work as we were heading up to visit my grandparents again in North Wales, Llandudno. Though the weather didn’t look to be amazing we were really looking forward to the trip. I decided to get a longish run in before we went (13.1 miles to be exact). It went OK and I was happy enough. I tried to keep the speed down but I wanted to try a faster finish.


Sort of anyway! Annoyingly my left shin has been niggling me. It’s been niggling for a little bit, hence why I have been lighter on the running side of things and not racking up any great mileage. But after attempting to run again on Saturday (3 miles) it just felt bleurgh. I saw my physio today and he’s not worried but he says it’s inflamed and I need to let it rest. I can bike and swim to my heart’s content but the pounding of running isn’t letting it rest and heal sufficiently. Not ideal at all during marathon training but I’m trying not to stress too much about it. I’ve come to realise that running and me is a bit of a messy relationship. I just need to get through Berlin and then I’m going to have a bit of a break to let everything in my body that feels the urge to niggle settle down.

Anyway back to Wales. Our journey was 5 hours of being in the car which was boring and stressful for my teeny tiny bladder. We did however see a giant dalek in Chesire.

Chesire DalekRandom!

We arrived and caught up with my grandparents and had dinner. The next morning we were up to do a gentle bike ride (just under 10 miles) with them. I love how cool my grandparents are – along with their mountain bikes that they often take out to the surrounding hills and mountains they have their Boardman road bikes as well! So we all had a bike.

IMG_7705  The weather was a bit dubious but then the sun peeped out and we all got very warm. We stopped for coffee and a nice walk in the RSPB enclosure.

IMG_7712There were lots of birds to see but I honestly couldn’t tell you what we saw as I am no bird watcher! But it was a lovely walk in the beautiful scenery. IMG_7716 Then we cycled back home, while having a bit of selfie fun on the way of course…

IMG_7769 We’re fairly pleasant people I assure you

Then we had some lunch. My grandparents are quite health-focused so we had a delicious salad for lunch (you know I love my salads). Ben and me quite fancied another walk as the sun was shining and I wanted to have a little mosey around some of the local little Conwy shops so my granddad gave us a route on a map and sent us on our way – he’s very good at devising routes being a retired mountain guide!

IMG_7722Ben point out the sheep

It was a bit of a trek up some hills but we saw some beautiful views and I got my retail urge out of the way, though I bought nothing. IMG_7725 The next day I got up early and went out for a 3 mile run in the pouring cold rain and it was just terrible. My legs felt tired, my shin felt niggly, the rain was AWFUL and I was soaked. But I had a lovely hot shower and breakfast and was ready for a nice long walk with Ben and my grandparents. The walk was going to be very long and would basically find seventeen lakes (yep, seventeen). We started together but my grandparents sent us on so we could find our own way using our map navigation skills following a route my granddad had once again written.

IMG_7736The weather was strange. It rained a bit, it got sunny, it rained a bit more. But otherwise it was a lovely cool temperature, perfect for walking up very steep hills!

The first half of our walk went well and lasted about an hour and a half covering 3.8miles. We met up with my grandparents and had a packed lunch in the sunshine on a bench which was lovely. Then we went off again for the second half. We didn’t do quite as well this time…we missed a turning and got ourselves a bit lost.

IMG_7776 This was the ‘path’ we missed – doesn’t look much like a path does it!?

In the end it worked out fine as we met up back with my grandparents and we all decided to cut the walk short as we were feeling a bit tired (3.6miles in just over an hour and half).

IMG_7735 Serious navigation going on here

But we did get to see some very beautiful lakes.

IMG_7741 That evening we headed out for an Indian. Can’t beat a good Indian! The family loved that I was happy to be the designated driver and they could enjoy a pint (or three). I was just happy tucking into copious amounts of tasty food!

The next morning we had a shortish walk planned, then lunch out and then Ben and me would make the long drive home. We drove to Parys mountain, in north east Anglesey. Parys mountain used to be a very large copper mining area, which was quite clear as we were walking around.

IMG_7743 Huge quarry area

Sadly Ben’s leg had been quite painful the whole weekend but he was soldiering on. Looks like we’re both off running for a little while. Least we can mope together! What are we like??

IMG_7754 We made it to the summit. Our walk was under an hour and 2.1miles, with lovely views and lovely company of course.

We’d worked up a fair appetite by this point so headed to Anglesey to a fantastic restaurant, Dylans. I loved it! It reminded me a lot of Jamie’s Italian with it’s decor and food options. They mainly specialised in fish and pizza but did a wide range of different meals. Ben and me shared a huge sharing platter called the Forager’s platter which had roasted vegetables, olives, bread, goat’s cheese and cheddar. I let Ben have most of the bread and cheese so I could have all the veg (we work well together in that respect).

Dylans Restaurant I had Caesar salad…what do you expect really? It was lovely. Good thick Cesar dressing, crispy bits of bacon, nice chunks of chicken and crispy lettuce. However, no anchovies (not that they were on the menu). Point deducted.

Ben got a fiorentina pizza (spinach, mozzarella, egg & parmesan). He loved it.

Pudding though…ohhh pudding. Originally I was like “nah, nothing really calls to me”. But Granddad and Ben were ordering pudding and the blueberry pancakes sounded quite nice.

Dylans puddings

Honestly the best pudding I’ve had in a while. Perfectly fluffy, good amount of blueberries and the best butterscotch sauce EVER. I could drink that stuff. Ben had a rhubarb sundae and he was equally impressed.

And that was our long weekend in Wales. I love spending the time with my grandparents. They’re such good company, so easy-going and so very active! I’m sure I’ve said this before, but we hope we’re like them at that age. Such great role models. Use it or lose it!

Do you enjoy active mini-breaks and holidays?

Is your family active?

What’s your favourite pudding?

Adventures in North Wales

Ben and me are back from our adventures in North Wales. We left Thursday afternoon and after around five hours of driving we got to Llandudno to see my grandparents.

I don’t know about you but I get so bored on car journeys. I need lots of drinks, lots of snacks and a few stops to stretch my legs and empty my tiny bladder.

Car snacks Essential snacks!

Anyway, we got there safely and had a lovely meal before heading to bed as it was quite late by this point.

My granddad is a very experienced mountain climber, mountain guide and seemingly all things outdoorsy. They both regularly still go hiking, walking and mountain biking. Considering my granddad is in his 80s this is amazing! This was not going to be relaxing weekend and that was fine by us.

The next day we headed out for a walk in Conwy.

image We started in Dwygyfylchi and walked over a rather large hill…it was great fun!

Conwy walk The views were fantastic. And it felt great to be outside in the fresh air on a beautiful day. My granddad knows so much about the area and about walking we were just like sponges trying to learn as much as possible.

Conwy Walk 2

We walked from there back home and did a total of over seven miles. Not too shabby at all! We had a lovely lunch of salad with ham, cheese and avocados and then headed out for a walk along the Llandudno promenade.

Llandudno promenade We had a mosey around the pier where there were all your usual sorts of British seaside bits and bobs, like trinket shops and arcades. We also found a great old fashioned sweet shop where we bought some chocolate honeycomb and buttered popcorn flavoured lollies (think I got one piece of the chocolate honeycomb before Ben ate the lot!).

Then we met up with my grandparents again and had a little spot of tea and cake.

Cake in Llandudno Well it wouldn’t be a proper trip without cake after all! I enjoyed carrot cake whilst everyone else had lemon sponge. It was delicious.

The next day we got up early and headed out to walk up Snowden. It was only about 30 or so minutes from my grandparent’s which is just amazing. To live so close to such beauty is brilliant. Ben and me were green with envy.

Snowden walk Ben and me headed off with a challenge set in our mind. We wanted to get to the summit in under two hours. My grandparents were taking a more leisurely walk and the idea was that we’d walk up and then walk down and meet them wherever they were on the path.

Snowden walk 2 As you can imagine the views were incredible. I was just awestruck the whole time. Because we’d started quite early (just before 9am) it actually wasn’t that busy at all. Though we did see quite a few runners running down. I was both amazed and shocked. No doubt if I’d try doing this I’d injure myself stupid. Speaking of injuries, my hip is much better! I ran Thursday morning before we left and it felt niggly but not too bad. I actually think all the walking helped strengthen it because it just felt better and better as the days went on. Yipee!

Snowen walk 3 Well we made it to the summit in 1:51.


The last mile was really tough. Finding good footing, the steep gradient and just maintaining a good pace. We were over the moon to beat our target though.

Snowden summit And what views! It was fantastic.

After reaching the summit and admiring the view, we headed to get a hot drink and something to nibble in the cafe (yes, there’s a cafe at the top!)

IMG_6839 Ben had a flapjack and a hot chocolate while I had a cappuccino and two apples (but of course). Can’t beat eating an apple in such a beautiful place with the one you love.

Then we headed back down. Obviously downhill was miles easier and we got to the bottom in 1:30. Piece of cake! We met up with my grandparents and then enjoyed a little picnic of smoked salmon sandwiches and fruit. Perfect!

Then we took a little drive along the Snowdonia marathon. This is definitely one for the bucket list. But when they say undulating, they truly mean undulating. There were a crazy amount of slow inclines, sharp hills and long steady up-hills. One for a couple of years time I think!

Snowdonia marathon This is part of the route towards the end. Fantastic views but a punishing course.

That evening we enjoyed a very nice Indian for dinner. We’re are huge Indian fans so this was just perfect. A nice end to a great day.

The next day Ben and me ambitiously decided to go for a run. My hip felt pretty damn good (while the rest of me felt fairly shattered). We ran together and decided to keep a fairly easy pace. We ran down to the Llandudno promenade. It was so warm, even before 9am. We stupidly didn’t take water and were devastated when we found a water fountain on the prom that was broken.







We actually struggled quite a lot on this run. Both our legs felt so heavy and tired and we were very hot and thirsty. Also, I haven’t run properly for almost two weeks and depressingly my running fitness has once again gone down. I can’t tell you how much this really frustrates me. I could whine on about it but I’ll spare you 😉

We finished on a sprint because my grandparents live on a hill and we decided to just go for it (as you do). So we were shattered at the end.

For our last adventure my grandparents took us to the Great Orme for another walk. Ben and me have absolutely fallen in love with hiking and walking and just want to keep at it and tackle new challenges. But we realise how very inexperienced we are in terms of map reading, navigation and just general knowledge. My granddad offered to give us a quick map reading 101 on this walk. He printed us out some maps and guided us along the walk, often stopping to ask us questions and give us advice.

Map reading on the Great OrmeBen showing off his map reading skills

image It was brilliant! You can really tell he was a guide and a teacher because he was very patient with us and explained things really well. Great Orme Walk1It was just under 4 miles and we walked for about an hour and a half. It was great. I felt afterwards a lot more comfortable with map reading, though I must say I think I have a fair bit to learn! So this is our challenge at home now, to get out to places like the New Forest and local walks and try some map reading of our own. Maybe this sounds boring, but we think it’s fantastic. We can’t wait to be able to do bigger mountains and other challenges but we need to be prepared first.

We had such a great time in North Wales and hope to come back soon. My grandparents are just brilliant – we hope to be as active as them at their age. It really is quite inspiring. It just shows that growing old doesn’t mean your life ending or having to become inactive. Use it or lose it. They have a great quote that they bare in mind all the time: make the days count, don’t count the days.

Have you been to North Wales before?

Are you a fan of walking, hiking or mountaineering?

How do you cope on long car journeys? For me it’s having lots of do (podcasts, books, magazines) and lots of snacks (sometimes healthy, sometimes not…).

Who is your fitness inspiration?