Back to my usual antics…

I cannot tell you how happy I am right now with my knee.

Things have improved so much! After spending so many weeks with a knee that either constantly ached, clicked, niggled and just felt uncomfortable to slowly seeing different symptoms disappear is just fantastic. To walk down a corridor without thinking about my knee is a relief in itself. I want to do a more in depth post on the things that helped and what I did so keep an eye out for that.

This weekend was full of good stuff. Friday night Kyle and I made rocky road ready for the morning as we would be going to Netley parkrun for his 50th. I do feel somewhat bad about how long this has taken because because obviously Kyle could have gone to parkrun without me or have me support, but when I’m injured we’re both a bit more inclined to stay in bed and make the most of not having to rush out the door on a Saturday. But now my knee feels better, we’re back at it.

We made the rocky road by basically melting a load of chocolate we had stashed from Christmas and random times with a load of butter and then mixing in marshmallows, chopped glace cherries, M&M’s and broken biscuits. SO GOOD.

The next morning we luckily naturally woke up earlier than the alarm and decided to get up and sort out the rocky road as it still needed slicing. Jeeze it was hard work! And I ended up eating lots of little pieces that fell off (“tidying up”). So much sugar so early, oops. It did not make me feel that great I must say… greedy Anna strikes again.

Kyle got a milestone shout-out in the run briefing which was lovely and then we were off. I ran a fairly easy pace with my friend Mike as I hadn’t seen him a while and it was nice to have a chatty run. He was running every day in January so he was happy to plod with me. Kyle had more in his legs so zoomed off ahead.

Photo credit: Ken Grist

We ran the winter course which is harder going, but to be honest I felt very comfortable running.

Photo credit: Ken Grist

In fact, chatting to Mike just took my mind completely off how my knee was feeling and when we finished I realised I’d just had a normal run!

My time was 24:55 which I was happy with.

We then handed out rocky road chunks and cleared down the course before heading to the café for tea, more rocky road and a slice of cake from someone else celebrating a milestone.

While I enjoyed all the delicious treats, I didn’t feel it did me any favours not having had anything substantial to eat yet. But it was worth it.

After lots of chores and boring life admin, Kyle and I went to Smith and Western for an early dinner. I mean, this really is our kind of place. Lots of ribs, burgers and, of course my favourite, chicken wings. It was nice and quiet though (it apparently gets very busy and loud later with lots of birthday shout-outs).

Of course I’d already checked out the menu and knew I was almost certainly having the chicken wing sharing platter… but just for me. Kyle was tempted as well. We asked the waitress what kind of numbers we were looking at because that would dictate if we would have one each, one between us or need to order something else alongside (yes, we are greedy people).

The waitress said it was 21 wings, 7 of each flavour (Southern Comfort, BBQ and Buffalo). That sounded like a reasonable number for us to have one each. The waitress laughed at us and said we clearly loved our wings. Yep! Kyle also ordered curly fries.

When the meals came out it looked massive. The waitress then told us that they’d actually just changed their ratios of chicken wings and it was now THIRTY per platter, 10 of each flavour. Wowza! The wings were so tasty. I definitely preferred the buffalo flavour though to the sweeter ones. The BBQ was nice and tangy but the Southern Comfort was really quite sweet if you had a few in a row.

We were well and truly stuffed afterwards of course. The waitress said she was super impressed. She asked us if we wanted pudding and I was like “we’re good but we’re not THAT good”!

That said, I did somehow manage to squeeze in a couple of pieces of rocky road later on as we chilled watched a film. A sweet end to the evening 😉

The next morning I felt well and truly fuelled to go to my personal training session. With my PT we just focus on leg strength. The idea is to get me strong for running so we do a lot of running focused exercises. It’s only been the last month or so I’ve been back seeing him due to my knee, but now I feel so much stronger. My squats are back up to where they were last year (75kg – not a huge weight I guess, but for me it is!), my hip thrusts are back at 90kg and I feel GOOD. I really like seeing my PT as he knows exactly what my goals are and understands my injury history and fears.

Then I headed off to Kyle’s dad’s to have a lovely pork roast dinner. I know, who would have thought I’d be hungry again after all those wings? But clearly my stomach is a bottomless pit!

Happy times indeed 🙂

What’s your favourite roast dinner?

Do you ever see a personal trainer?

Would you say you’re greedy?

The highs and lows

Christmas is close upon us, as is the delightfully aesthetic new year, 2020.

So I decided to do a little look back at the year – a review if you will. I want to keep it mostly positive because lord knows we need some positivity around here what with the election, Brexit and my own personal knee strife. But I’ll start with running, which will inevitably tumble down into a bit of negativity but then I’ll move on quickly to more happy affairs.

For running, 2019 has been a tale of two stories for me. The first half of the year I felt like my running was going really well. I ran a really strong Portsmouth Coastal Marathon at the end of 2018, then headed into 2019 and hit Barcelona Marathon (3:31:45) and Manchester Marathon (3:23:04) fairly close together with similar good results.

Good results for me basically means feeling strong in my running and finishing happy. I did both of those things for both of those marathons. Barcelona was quite hot and Manchester was quite boring, but asides from that they went really well.

I also managed to score a new PB for my 10k at the Manchester 10k (41:40). Considering I detest 10ks this hadn’t been a particular focus of mine but a happy outcome of some consistent strong running.

Then came the Hamstring Saga which stretched on far too long but eventually I was able to overcome this issue with a lot of rehab, support and whining. So much whining. I saw the end in sight as I hurtled towards the Chicago Marathon. The week before saw my knee blow up and I ran cautiously through the marathon (thank goodness painlessly) and here I stand over nine weeks later and my knee is still not right.

Regardless of the second half of the year stuttering to a rather sad running-less end, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. Three marathons – two very strong ones and one “victory lap” marathon. I got my Six Star Finisher medal. Of course I’m proud of that and happy I achieved it this year when so many times throughout the year the threat of my hamstring (and then knee) made me doubt myself.

But running aside… There have been so many good things this year.

Favourite food: Ah jeeze this year was bloody amazing for the food I ate. So many new restaurants tried and I even managed to go out of my usual habit of ordering chicken wings all the time (shock).

The top contenders are the incredible Jayne Salad from The Parade Tearooms as this speaks to my soul in a big way – I love salads but I HATE tiny portions. This is the perfect salad for me and my greedy personality.

The meal we had after I finished the Chicago Marathon was incredible. I mean, everything tastes incredible post marathon but this was really tasty. It had everything I craved: wings, rib bites and loaded nachos. Heavenly.

A recent addition was the meal we had in Brighton at MEATLiquor. The wings of course were awesome but it was the hot dog that I keep thinking about. It was amazing and opened my mind to ordering something different. I wasn’t sure if I liked it but not I just want to eat hot dogs all the time.

And top of the list must be the INCREDIBLE roast dinner we had in Bristol at Pasture. It was INSANELY good.

The meat, the vegetables, the gigantic Yorkshire pudding and of course the oh so tasty side dish of creamed leaks. It rocked my world and back.

Favourite books: I’ve read a number of books this year and a few highlights have been Ready Player One which I read in like two and a half days, I just loved it. It was so gripping! Way better than the film.

I also loved Big Little Lies – how I’d managed to avoid all spoilers is incredible because that twist at the end was really enjoyable! My favourite book though was the Cows by Dawn O’Porter.

I loved the feminist issues it brought up and it really made me think. As a side note, I’m currently reading Crazy Rich Asians and I’m loving how batshit it is.

Favourite films: Well Kyle and I have seen 40 films (so far) this year. Next week we’ll be adding probably four more before the end of the year. With our Unlimited Cards it has been AMAZING.

My favourite was Knives Out, followed closely by Green Book, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Long Shot, Beautiful Boy (that film destroyed me) and Us. On my dud list was Hellboy (horrifically awful), Detective Pikachu (I fell asleep) and Alita: Battle Angels (too much uncanny valley).

We also worked out we’ve spent about £180 on Subways (we always get a footlong to take with us to eat in the adverts) – that’s 480 inches of subway. The mind boggles.

Favourite song: I’m still as obsessed with Billie Eillish as ever. I’ve been listening to her music for years and was a fan before she sort of exploded this year. I’m so happy she’s so successful of course but part of me is a little bitter that now I have to share her 😉 She’s so talented (with her brother of course) and her voice is INCREDIBLE. Yes she’s a bit weird and quirky, but I love it.

So 2019 was a pretty solid year. I have made so many amazing memories, with both friends, family and of course Kyle. I’m a happy Anna right now, despite my sad knee.

What’s been your favourite movie of the year?

What food have you really loved this year?

What’s been your favourite race?

Keeping Fit and Living a Sustainable Lifestyle

Hello! I have another collaborative post today while I’m out in Toronto. I’m a HUGE fan of trying to live sustainably so this is a topic close to my heart 🙂

It’s all well and good living a healthy lifestyle, but what about the planet? Considering we are in the midst of a climate crisis with protests and demonstrations happening all over the world, it’s time to think about how you can make a difference by balancing your healthy lifestyle with a more eco-friendly one.

Get Outside

What better way to contribute to a more sustainable fitness regime than by ditching the air-conditioned and machine-populated environment of the gym? Taking your workout outdoors and into the lush, colourful scenery of nature gives you a change of scenery and some essential fresh air.

Whether you’re going for a run through the park or just doing yoga in the backyard, the energy you’ll save by not driving to the gym nor using electricity on the equipment is a small but positive step in the right direction. Plus, you don’t have to deal with everyone’s least favourite gym members. You know who they are.

What’s Old Can Be New

While it’s nice to buy new clothes once in a while, it’s not good for the environment, and considering how quickly avid athletes go through running shoes and spandex running shorts, they often spend more than the average person each year.

Most people will chuck their shoes and clothes into the bin once they have run their course (a little pun intended). However, what’s better is if you research local recycling plants and programs in your area to make the practice more sustainable. These items will either be repurposed or have the materials separated to use again with the next pair.

At The Gym

While exercising outside is good for the mind and soul, it’s not always possible. This is especially true if you live too far away from a beautiful exercise area or if the weather is too treacherous to get outside. With this, the gym is the only solution, but just because you’re forced to go to the gym doesn’t mean you can’t still do it sustainably.

If you’re concerned about the environment, you can avoid electronic machines altogether, such as the treadmill or Stairmaster. Instead, work out only on machines that operate using dynamic motion. However, if you don’t have any option but to use the treadmill, set it to incline to make you work harder without using as much electricity.

Some gyms also offer eco-friendly workout solutions, so look into that to get the most from each session.

Greener Eats

Healthy eating and exercise go hand in hand, and you can maximize your sustainability potential by eating even healthier than you do currently. Not only will doing this help the environment, but it will also fill you with the nutrients you need to have your best workout every time.

Depending on your workout needs, consult with nutritionists over how to get the most from your diet while still ensuring sustainability. If you rely on protein powders, you can look into vegan options instead of the standard whey products. By investing in cruelty-free products, you do more for the planet while still getting all the vitamins and amino acids you need to build strength and endurance.

A Different Commute

One of the critical issues facing the environment now is the emissions from cars and motorcycles. You can counteract this by taking a different type of transport to get to the gym. Public transport and ride-sharing with gym buddies are a great way to minimize personal carbon emissions. But there are other even more economically friendly methods to help you get into better shape.

Opting to take a bicycle over petrol- and diesel-based transport eliminates exhaust fumes from your commute and gives you a workout all at the same time. If you live close enough, you can also walk to the gym, which will also help you stretch the muscles before starting your workout.

Reusable Containers

With a terrifying 8 million tons of plastic finding its way into our oceans every year, there has never been a more critical time to consider sustainable containers. Instead of purchasing a new bottle of water from the vending machine every session, you should find a reusable container instead.

Products such as the keep cup is a fantastic choice that’s large enough to keep you hydrated on a long run but also not too bulky that it cramps your hand after you convince yourself to go for one more mile.

(Re-)Cycling Towards Succes

We know that one person cannot change the world, but making all the changes you can to help ease the threat of climate change means the planet is one step closer to healing.

Do you think you live sustainably?

How as a runner do you wish our sport was more sustainable?

5 Easy Keto Breakfast Ideas For Weight Loss

I’m still in Chicago but have an interesting post for you today from a guest writer. I’m not looking to lose weight and I don’t really follow any specific diet but this might be helpful or an interesting read!

A lot of people around the world have chosen the keto diet for weight loss due to its effectiveness. As a matter of fact, a keto-er can expect to lose between 2 and 10 pounds just in the first week. If you think this it’s too good to be true, you are wrong.

The secret behind its success is the type of foods consumed while on the diet. Namely, you can consume only high-fat, low-carb, and moderate-protein foods which put your body into ketosis. That means that you can eat plenty of foods, from vegetables to meat, to eggs. Plus, you can eat delicious snacks, such as a keto strawberry shake. If you don’t believe, here are 5 keto breakfast ideas you can try.

Copyright: Pixabay / author: RitaE / I License: CC0 Public Domain

1. Strawberry Chocolate Crepes

Ingredients

For crepes:

● 3 eggs

● 3 tbsp coconut flour

● 1 tbsp psyllium husk powder

● 1 tbsp stevia or another low-carb sweetener

● 1/3 cup boiling water

For filling:
● 1 oz (28g) dark chocolate

● ½ tbsp. coconut oil or butter

● ½ cup diced strawberries or raspberries

Instructions
● Mix eggs, coconut flour, psyllium husk powder and sweetener in a bowl.

● Add boiling water and mix until all ingredients are well-incorporated.

● In a nonstick pan, add 1 tbsp coconut oil and turn the heat to medium.

● When the pan is hot, add 1/4 to 1/2 of the crepe liquid and cook until the edges become brown. Then, flip it over and cook until it becomes golden brown. Repeat this until you make all crepes.

● Melt the dark chocolate with coconut oil or butter.

● Fill the crepes with a handful of berries and a spoonful of chocolate.

● Fold each crepe and add more berries and chocolate on the top if you want.

2. Egg Butter With Smoked Salmon And Avocado

Ingredients (2 servings)

● 4 eggs● 5 oz (142g) butter

● 2 avocados

● 4 oz (113g) smoked salmon

Instructions

● Boil the eggs in simmering water for around 8 minutes.

● Put them in ice-cold water to cool.

● Once cool, chop them into small pieces and mix with room-temperature butter.

Copyright: Pixabay / author: ExplorerBob / I License: CC0 Public Domain

● Place the mix in two plates and add 1 avocado and 2 oz of smoked salmon in each plate.

3. Keto Breakfast Smoothie

Ingredients

● 1 tbsp flaxseed meal

● 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

● ½ cups frozen mixed berries

● ¼ cup cottage cheese

● 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

● 1 tsp vanilla extract

● ¼ cup crushed ice

● Liquid Stevia as you wish

Instructions

● Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until the mixture becomes smooth.

4. All Day Keto Breakfast

Ingredients
● 1 large egg (organic or free range)

● 2 large Portobello mushrooms

● 5 thin/2-3 regular bacon slices

● 1/2 avocado

● 1 tbsp butter or ghee

● pinch ground black pepper
● sea salt as you wish

● fresh herbs

Instructions

● Roast the mushrooms in a pan with their top side down.

● Heat half of the butter/ghee on medium-low. Once heat, add the mushrooms, sea salt, and black pepper and cook for 5 to 8 minutes until they become tender.

● Fry the egg and the bacon in another butter-greased pan.

● Serve them on a plate and garnish with fresh herbs.5. Keto Burrito Bowl

Ingredients
● 1/2 pound lean ground beef

● 1/3 head riced cauliflower 

● 2 tbsp chopped cilantro 

● 3 beaten eggs 

● 1 tbsp keto-friendly taco seasoning

● 1 tsp ghee

● sea salt and pepper as you wish

● 3/4 cup water

Instructions
● Brown ground beef in a large skillet and remove any fat that appears while cooking.

● Add the taco seasoning and water in it.

● Let it cook until it’s boiling. Then, lower the heat and let the dish simmer for a couple of minutes.

● Put the taco meat on one side of the skillet. Then, add the cauliflower, cilantro, and salt on the free side.

● Cook the cauliflower for 3-4 minutes. Then push it to the meat and add the scrambled eggs. If there’s no room for the eggs, scramble them in another skillet.

● Melt ghee and pour it in the eggs. Then, whisk the eggs and shake the skillet while cooking.

● Once the egg is scrambled as you like, mix it with the other ingredients in a dish.

● Add salt and pepper as you wish.

Do you follow any specific diets?

Do you like smoothies?

One year anniversary and being exceptionally greedy

Asides from managing a run this weekend, Kyle and I also had an enjoyable couple of days eating ALL the food and celebrating our one year anniversary.

After parkrun (and brunch) we got ourselves showered and ready to meet up with my friends Mike and Hannah for some very entertaining mini-golf. It was nine holes, Kyle and I versus Mike and Hannah and honestly it was hilarious how bad we all were. I think I was probably the worst, but it was a close call.

It was good fun and the weather, despite being a bit rainy and overcast in the morning, was lovely in the afternoon. Kyle and I lost! We then popped into the Tenth Hole cafe for some tea and cake afterwards.

Anyone who’s been to Southsea will be aware of the Tenth Hole and their amazing selection of cakes. To be fair, the Parade Tearooms (where we went for brunch) is also amazing so really you’re spoilt for choice.

Because Kyle and me are greedy creatures, we both ordered a cake each and a cake to share as we couldn’t make our minds up. Why do we do this? Normal people order one cake. Or normal people SHARE a slice, especially the size that Tenth Hole serve.

But we are who we are. So I ordered a slice of the raspberry and coconut cake, Kyle ordered the flake cake and we shared a chunk of rocky road (our absolute favourite). In retrospect this wasn’t sensible. We absolutely didn’t need the third cake. But you only live once (a short life at the rate I’m going ha).

The slice of raspberry and coconut was GINORMOUS. The chunk of rocky road was rather large too. I could neither finish the raspberry cake nor my half of the rockty road. But you know what? It was nice to have the two to try!

I did take the rest home for my parents so it wasn’t wasted.

The next day was a special day for us as it was Kyle and my one year anniversary. I won’t go into too much cheesy mush as that’s not quite my style, but I’m very lucky and feel very loved 🙂 We’ve had a fantastic year and look forward to many more.

To celebrate we decided, of course, to go out for food.

We chose 7Bone Burger, which is one of Kyle’s favourites and then Sprinkles for pudding, which is one of my favourites. Don’t get me wrong, I do really like 7Bone Burger but I’m not a huge burger fan (whereas Kyle is) but I know their chicken wings and halloumi fries are awesome.

So we headed their for lunch on Sunday. I ordered two portions of the buffalo wings (technically they were sides…) which came with a blue cheese dip (and I got the buffalo sauce on the side as it’s super hot) and halloumi fries. Kyle got a burger and halloumi fries.

It was delicious! I decided to eat strategically and made sure to leave a few wings and halloumi fries so I wouldn’t be *too* full later for Sprinkles. I’m good but I’m not THAT good.

After 7Bone we did a bit of shopping in West Quay (hugely helping to let things digest and go down a bit) and then walked to Sprinkles.

I went for my absolute favourite, the Sticky Situation. This is basically vanilla gelato with white and milk chocolate sauce and buttons with hot cookie dough at the bottom of a jar. It is INCREDIBLE.

Kyle ordered two milkshakes (a peanut butter one and a hazelnut chocolate one) because he couldn’t decide and wellllll we were celebrating.

We both felt very full but satisfied afterwards (*cough* slightly sick). Yes we are clearly very greedy but we don’t do this that often. We certainly enjoyed ourselves. Plus guys I ran THREE MILES the day before. That’s a lot of calories burnt (you know I’m joking).

So a fantastic weekend of running (yesssss), good times and good food.

What’s your favourite ice cream related dessert?

Are you a burger fan?

Are you good at golf? (Mini/crazy/”proper”)