Just Running

Howdy howdy! Ahh happy days: the sun is back and the weekend has been great!

On Friday night I rushed home from work to go out for dinner with our couple friends. I was a little bit later than I’d hoped but I thought I still had time. Wrong. Ben opened the door for me and I found my friends had already arrived! I dashed in to say hi and then headed upstairs, noting that my girlfriend, who was just chilling on the sofa, was wearing a really pretty dress. Ah ha! Dress time it is then Smile However, when I came down in my dress looking quite posh (if I do say so myself) I found, when my friend stood up, the dress I thought she was wearing was actually a top and she was wearing quite casual cut-off jeans. So back upstairs I ran to change. They thought it was a hilarious.

We went to the Brazilian all-you-can-eat ‘Rodízio’ restaurant again. This is where they bring round skewers of meat and carve it there and then at the table for you.

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Why yes that is a glass of sangria you can see Winking smile

And this time, I had a food strategy. This time I was not going to be foolish and try everything. This time I knew the food I wanted to eat. Why waste valuable food space on meat I’d had last time and wasn’t massively fussed about? Not me!

I made careful selections at the salad bar buffet; nothing too heavy to fill me up. There were a couple of meats that I was dying to have again and wanted to fully enjoy without feeling so uncomfortably full like I did last time.

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Some meatballs (which I remembered were amazing), corn on the cob, Greek salad, veggies and some random prawns. And BBQ sauce of course.

I turned down a lot of meat (sausages, steaks & lamb) in my patience to get what I wanted. I did however try wild boar which I didn’t get last time. And I am so glad I did because it was amazing and now one of my favourites. I had lots of gammon as well.

When I turned down consecutive meats in a row, the waiter looked at me and said “Is there something in particular you want?” I nodded and said “Ribs”. He smiled and said “I’ll be right back”.

And back he came with the pièce de résistance.

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I made Ben get a couple of ribs as well so I could steal his! I am not ashamed to admit that I ate five large ribs. Finger-lickin’ good.

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Unfortunately my food strategy wasn’t as good as I hoped as I still left feeling stuffed. But not as stuffed as last time. Progress.

Saturday morning Ben and me woke up feeling a little worse for wear. A few too many sangrias and a lot too many platefuls of food. I was not feeling particular ready for a 5k Parkrun. But we got ourselves together and headed out. The sun was shining and it looked to be a beautiful day.

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I definitely was not feeling that it would be a good run. I started getting worried and stressed. I know, stupid pressure. Ben could tell I was getting nervous and he said “Just run with me. Help pace me to get a good time.” And I thought: do you know what, that’s a great idea.

Instantly I was less stressed and ready to enjoy the run. We got to the start line and instead of moving straight to the front like I always do in races, I headed to the middle with Ben. We had discussed the  ‘best case scenario’ (around 8mins/mile) and ‘worse case scenario’ (9mins/mile) paces if he wasn’t feeling it. I’ve never paced before so I was quite excited.

Ben did amazingly. He kept his pace up. I tried to take his mind of it by talking rubbish to him and tried to encourage him where I could. He didn’t quite get a PB (6 seconds off! 25.16) but he finished the race on a sprint. I mean, seriously, this is the guy who ate just as much, if not more, than me last night and had an extra beer to the jug of sangria we shared. Massive props to him!

I enjoyed my easier run so much so I even decided to run home. I was just really enjoying running without care for pace. I said goodbye to Ben, popped a podcast on and ran home (4 miles) at a lovely relaxed pace just enjoying the sunshine.

I’ve realised that with all the races I’ve been doing I’m missing out on my long runs at the weekend. And they’re my favourite runs. A completely chilled out, no care for pace, run. I loved it! All my runs lately are all about the times and pace and it’s been hard-going. So mentally, this was so refreshing.

I mean, I do love races. I love the adrenaline. I love pushing through when it’s tough. I love the stretch on my brain as I try and work out what times I need to do for a certain pace (this is a lie, I’m rubbish at maths). I love the sense of achievement.

But that’s not everything. Running to me is also a time to switch off and just run. When I’m racing I’m constantly thinking about the race, my strategy, and the people around me. Sometimes it’s just nice to put your trainers on and get outside and run without a target. Get lost in great music or a podcast. And come back physically and mentally fresh for the day.

For the rest of the day Ben and me got the jobs done around the house. Then my granddad came over (he’s staying with my parents while he’s down from Stoke-on-Trent). We don’t get to see him that often so it was nice to catch up.

My granddad is an amazing man. He goes up to Scotland twice a year to help with The Cairngorm Reindeer Centre as a volunteer. He takes his caravan and then spends his time helping out with any jobs they need doing. He built them a shed while he was up last! He used to be carpenter so he has a lot of skills to offer. My granddad is in his late seventies!!

So he popped over to talk to Ben about doing some work in our garden (like extending our patio). He’s just brilliant! For our wedding present he floored our loft (attic) and made shelves so we could use the space as storage as there was nothing up there when we moved in.

So I let the men discuss things like levelling and paving slabs…

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My granddad also brought over some delicious treats for us that he’d whipped up.

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Meringues with melted dark chocolate and strawberries. This is clearly a man of many talents!

So I had one of these bad boys after dinner. And let me tell you, it went down a treat Open-mouthed smile

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Sunday was another race day, this time a 5mile race. I’ll do a recap on that soon but for now I’ll say it was a great race. And cake at the finish line!!

After the race, we came home and chilled. We walked Alfie in the lovely sunshine (we ambled along very slowly) and did not much else!

Hope you’ve been enjoying your weekend Open-mouthed smile

Meat-eaters: what meat would you choose out of all the meats in the world? I love chicken but nothing beats ribs for me. And I really enjoy gammon as well. I love the saltiness.

Vegetarians/vegans (or meat-eaters!): what non-meat protein-based food would you choose over everything else? I love chickpeas – hummus wins my heart as a dip every type.

What do you prefer: running/working out for a target in mind or just enjoying it without any goals? I need a balance in my life. I love the races but I need to have those ‘just running’ times too.

Do you see your grandparents as often as you’d like? I don’t get to see my grandparents nearly as much as I’d like as my granddad lives in Stoke and my other granddad and step-gran live in North Wales. So it’s always nice when they’re here.

18 thoughts on “Just Running

  1. “Sometimes it’s just nice to put your trainers on and get outside and run
    without a target. Get lost in great music or a podcast. And come back
    physically and mentally fresh for the day.” – I can TOTALLY relate to this, this is pretty much the only reason that I run – although the fitness and calorie burning benefits are an added bonus. Running is really my ‘me’ time, where I can think and mull things over and switch off. It’s lovely. Sounds like you had a fab weekend – those meringues look amazing!

  2. What the heck?! — to that giant towering skewer of meat. You seriously know how to pick fabulous restaurants. That looks mouth-watering-good.

    I bet you are a great pacer. That was such a good idea for you to just run with him! I’m sure it’s 10x more fun than running by yourself 🙂

  3. Good for you for just having a run for yourself. I love running to clear my head. I haven’t raced for a while, due to accidents and injuries preventing me from running as much as I would like to. I’ve been wanting to go for a run in the lovely sunshine we’re having at the moment, but know better than to go out at certain times, as I don’t want to die, lol. I should get my butt out of bed earlier and go for one. I managed to get a little sunburnt yesterday, as I didn’t put any sun cream on before my horse riding lesson. Oopsie.

    Your granddad sounds like an great man. Can I go help him with the reindeers? I would love that. And oh my, the chocolate covered meringues with strawberries…um, yes please!

    • Ahh sucks about the injuries 🙁 My worst nightmare! As lovely as the sunshine is, it is a bit of a killer for the runs and races.
      Yeah remembering suntan lotion is a must – I forgot and got so burnt on my chest.

  4. Your Granddad sounds awesome! Good for you eating those ribs, they look amazing and the restaurant sounds like my kind of place! I have to say I love tofu. I don’t each much nowadays in case it could interfere with my hormones but it’s delish!

    • I need to eat more tofu as I haven’t had it in so long. I just never know what to do with it really and I know Ben would never go for it 🙁 One day I’ll trick him into eating it haha.

  5. I agree with you about the running- I really love Parkruns but I am limiting myself to once a month approx, as I love my long weekend runs, and I love doing other races too! I can’t have it all 🙂
    And I agree with you on the hummus!

  6. THOSE RIBS!!! Swoooon. You definitely saved room for the most prized item – well done. 😉 Everything else looks absolutely fantastic, especially the Greek salad. Yum. Speaking of delicious food, the meringues your granddad made are gorgeous! They look like they came straight from a bakery – really impressive (and yummy)! He sounds like quite a man – so full of energy for being in his late seventies!

    I know I’ve said this before, but I think it’s so great that you and Ben run races together! Congrats to him for finishing so strong (and to you for helping him keep a good pace). I can totally empathize with your feelings about running…When I competed in high school, it was all about time and PRing; I certainly didn’t find much joy in the process. Afterward, I took some time off, and when I started again, I just ran to run. That period – before I got obsessive about it – was my happiest running “season.” No pressure, just freedom to move. And it was SO satisfying. I think it’s great that you’re acknowledging that racing every weekend might not be right for you, and I’m sure that in time you’ll find a balance that feels right.

    Favorite meat in the entire world: tough question!! I ADORE barbacoa! Non-meat protein based food: I’ll go with chickpeas, too…but only in hummus form (my stomach doesn’t like whole beans!).

    Hope you’re having a fantastic week, Anna! <3 xoxo

    • I know, I’m so proud of my granddad 🙂
      Exactly like you said, it’s hard when you’re so focused on competing. But I have to always go back to the basics and run for the sake of enjoyment. PBs will come and go!

  7. I loooove those Brazilian restaurants!! They are soooo delicious. Also great idea about running with Ben! It seems like the long and casual run really helped you to put things in perspective. I have to say my favorite part of the half marathon I just did was the training leading up to it- having those long runs on my weekends was so wonderful!

    • And you had such a great scenery to run around – you made me jealou with all your cool pictures of famous landmarks. We have a small lake. That’s about as exciting as it gets haha.

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