Cars, bikes and a snowman

Oh man what a weekend. There were a fair few ups and downs I have to say!

Friday ended appallingly. I was driving home from work and just before getting on the motorway and I was stuck in the usual stop-start traffic. The roads were wet and the car in front put its breaks on a little sooner than I was expecting. I slammed my foot fully to the floor and watched as my car slid forward and knocked into the back of the car in front. My poor little Corsa didn’t stand a chance.

Corsa car crash

The other person’s car was fine – no superficial damage anyway. He was a nice guy but I felt terrible. So embarrassing and stressful 🙁

But anyway, I was fine, he was fine. The only thing not fine was my car. The damage isn’t too bad but I’m pretty sure it’ll be a write-off as it’s such an old banger. Ironically, I had spent some time looking at car insurance reviews on Consumers Advocate not too long before this happened. Ben and me came to the decision that a brand new car would probably be better for me considering my mileage to work everyday. I need something a bit more reliable, safe and economic. Every silver lining, eh? Fairly rubbish way to start the bank holiday weekend though.

Saturday we had a pacing event on at our local Parkrun. I had volunteered to run the 24 minute pace. I was quite excited about doing this as I’d never paced before. But I was very nervous as I was being relied upon!

Parkrun pacing My bib was huge. I looked sort of naked!!

As we headed to the start I was suddenly followed and surrounded by people hoping to achieve 24 minutes or there abouts. No pressure…

I had planned to run 7.50minute/miles as this would give a bit of lee-way for the ‘nubbin’ of 0.1 mile. I kept fairly consistent to that pace, though I slowed on the up-hills and then sped up on the down-hills to compensate. One guy ran up next to me and said “you do know you’re going slower than you should be for that target?” This hugely panicked me. I checked my watch. Nope, I had gone through the first mile in perfect time. I tried to say no I was fine but he didn’t believe me. He told me I should speed up. I didn’t, but I kept panicking.

My group dwindled a bit as the run continued and this made me panic a bit more but also feel bad because there was nothing really I could do for them. I had to stick to the plan whether they kept up or not.

I finished in 23.45 with a consistent pace. I got thanked by a fellow runner for helping him PB and other runners said they still kept me in their sights despite dropping off. This hugely boosted me. I was so chuffed! The man who had criticised my pace came up and apologised me afterwards as well, saying he misjudged my pace. Mmm, yes, thanks for stressing me out!

After Parkrun we got ready quickly and then headed out to find some road bikes with a friend. We went to quite a few different shops. Big ones, like Decathlon, and small local ones. We got some good information from the different salesmen (what gears were good, what frame sizes we should be looking at, price differences, etc.)

IMG_6557 We tested a few out as well. In the end, the price was right and the spec looked good (from our limited knowledge!) for two Carreras from Halfords. We’re not after all singing and all dancing, or top of the range. We wanted something in our price range that fitted well and met our requirements. It had good reviews on the website so we bit the bullet! IMG_6560

TDF for Ben, Virtuoso for me. Maybe these aren’t the best bikes in the world, but for now they’ll be fine I’m sure. We’re hardly going to use them every day or rock out a 60 miler on them any time soon!

On Sunday we did the Dorset Marathon relay race. I was part of a team of four ladies and Ben was in a team of four men. In our running club I think we had four teams in total? And we had several guys running the whole marathon. I’ll do a recap in another post. It went well though and was such a fun day.

Monday was my first ever riding experience on a road bike. Though we’ve bought our new bikes, we haven’t collected them yet so I was borrowing a friend’s bike and shoes. I went out with three other guys from the club and it was good fun!


I was definitely the slowest by far and probably holding them up a fair bit. But it was a fun, sociable ride. The weather was lovely. But it was tough, don’t get me wrong. Jeeze, you think you’re fit until you try something new!

imageAnd quite hilly. But the down hills were so much fun! Wind in the hair, crazy speed (for me), exhilarating fun!

image I don’t really know what’s fast or not at this stage, but what I do know is it felt more like a long run in terms of endurance rather than a speed session (which I guess you can see from my average speed). And I didn’t fall off once amazingly. I got used to the clip-on shoes and started getting the hang of gears and positioning on the bike.

I was shattered though afterwards. My bum hurt (despite wearing new padded shorts), my legs felt tired and my wrists actually ached a bit as well. Then it was off out to look for new cars.


After going round different car dealers I’m pretty much 100% decided on a Fiat 500. A very iconic and ‘girlie’ car perhaps, but small and dinky enough for me (and very safe, economical and eco-friendly). We’ve spec’ed up what we want so it’ll be a wait yet. Ho hum. Well, I say ‘we’ spec’ed up. Ben pretty much did this for me as I literally don’t know anything about cars. Ben had a lot of fun though as you can imagine 😉

We then went to Nando’s and had chicken. Perfect day, really! Topped off only with an evening of lolling on the couch in a chicken-induced coma watching Frozen. Ben’s face when the characters started singing was hilarious. He’s very much a Disney novice and didn’t quite expect how much singing there would be. He did enjoy it though and I heard him singing “Do you want to build a snowman?” while getting ready this morning. Excellent.

Have you ever paced a race before?

What car do you have? I’m such a car novice. Ben did all the talking in the dealership!

What’s your longest bike ride?

Have you seen Frozen? I loved it. Disney doing what Disney does best. And any film with a Princess Anna (though said ‘Arrrrnnna’) is fine by me.

A little slice of a great weekend

Ahhh what an amazing weekend! I love weekends where you know the memories will last forever Smile I’ll have to split it into two because honestly this will be a beast of a post otherwise!!

Starting off on Friday, I enjoyed a ‘lovely’ hot and sweaty 10 mile run in the morning. I was so pleased with how this went as it was niggle free! I literally felt normal running; no discomfort, no slight twinges…perfect. The only thing hard about it was the heat. I can live with that! I even randomly decided to make the second to last mile a speedy one. I just felt the urge!


Then I ate a nice big bowl of oatmeal, showered and set out on my bike for a very leisurely 7 mile cycle to a local coffee shop/garden centre/farm shop to meet up with my mum, sister and little niece, Megan for a lovely coffee.


How cool do I look? I am rocking that helmet! Winking smile

We nattered and caught up and I even got to hold Megan for a little bit.


That, my friends, is the look of sheer panic. I’m not very good with babies or small children…or children in general. Megan is absolutely adorable…but I’m just terrified of doing something wrong. She did fall asleep on me which was lovely.

Anyway we moseyed about and I bought some more kangaroo burgers and also some wild board burgers. Love trying new food!

There were loads of baking, cooking and crockery bits and pieces in the shop and I couldn’t help but take a photo of this cool tea pot.


So true

Then we parted ways and I cycled back a slightly extended route to avoid all the hills I coasted down on the way there. In the end it was a 16.9mile cycle in total! I tell you what, I was pooped.

My lovely sister drove round a bit later and dropped the burgers off (as I had no proper bag on my bike) and she also had made an AMAZING red velvet cake for Ben and me….maybe because I’d pestered her obsessively for ages as she’s strangely got really into baking lately.

Red velvet

Unfortunately I had to wait until Ben got home from work until I could slice and dice that baby. It was tough. A real stretch of willpower I assure you. I can now report though that it was delicious. I’m not even embarrassed to say I went back for seconds.

The next morning, Saturday, we got up early and caught the train to London to meet up with my university friends for a little social gathering.

London Tube

I love seeing my friends but I’m really not a big fan of London. I find catching trains and tubes really stressful so I was glad Ben was there with me. We even had to buy and work the Oyster card machine. Hard times.

After meeting up with them all and catching up we headed to a lovely quirky pub for a drink and food.

London pub

The pub was really vintagey with bunting hanging from the ceiling and random old chairs and ornaments everywhere. It was cool! And the food was pretty darn tasty.

London pub food

I had chicken with roasted vegetables, couscous and a sour cream dressing. And for pudding? Well, let me just tell you. It was immense. It was a tough decision because there was a semi-freddo honeycomb dessert with ore cookie crumble. I was tide. I had a lengthy discussion with the waiter and in the end deciding on the dark chocolate tart with clotted cream ice cream. What pushed me over? He said the tart was bigger. Haha. What am I like??

Then we chilled out on the grass in a lovely park and just enjoyed each other’s company and the sunshine.


There did end up a massive grass fight as there was all this dried hay-like grass around where we were sat. Luckily I avoided being targeted!


I’m sure there was a lot of grass in unwanted places by the end!! Haha.

Then after another drink in a pub, a few of my friends headed back to their respective train stations to head home. Ben and me were staying over at the flat of one of my friends and her partner as we were off to Stratford the next day for the Olympic Stadium 5 mile race.

We enjoyed a nice easy pizza, watched some Friends, ate some home-made cheesecake (hey, it’s carbo loading!) and went to bed at a reasonable time as we were up early the next morning. More on that in my next post Smile

Such a good weekend – and it’s not even finished yet!

What did you get up to this weekend?

What do you prefer: pubs/bars or cafes/coffee shops? I much prefer cafes or coffee shops as I’m not a big drinker. I like to have a nice cup of coffee of fragrant tea and maybe a sneaky slice of cake. But a pub is nice too when it’s hot and you can sit outside with a nice cold Coke!

Are you a baby person? Or a mum/dad already? I know I want to have a baby at some point but I am so clueless with kids that it really scares me!

What’s your perfect pre-race meal? I like a good pizza with not too much cheese as I find the cheese sits heavy on my tummy.

The highs and lows of a runner cycling

Hi guys, I’m ‘afraid’ that I am once again off from work today! Until Tuesday!

This weekend is going to be a busy one. Ben and me are off to London on Saturday to see some friends and then on Sunday I’m running the National Lottery Anniversary Run (5 miles).


I cannot tell you how excited I am about this. Why? Because Paula Radcliffe is running it!!!! I’m not aiming for a super fast run – this is one of those runs that you just enjoy. Take in the atmosphere and the scenery…and chat to Paula. Ha. I wish.

In other random news, my dear hubby found this hilarious comic strip by the incredibly funny (though rather rude Winking smile – I have warned you!) writer from the website It’s called The Terrible & Wonderful Reasons Why I run Long Distances. Since then I’ve actually seen it about on a few blogs. Here’s one segment from it:


It really made me laugh. OK I don’t treat my body like a fast-moving dumpster, but it just struck me as a great satire of a lot of bloggers out there (yes, myself very much included). Yay for spinach smoothies!! Winking smile

[Incidentally there’s also a HILARIOUS comic from the same website called My Dog, the Paradox]

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been dabbling with a bit of cycling. I feel like I’m cheating on my running when I say this…it’s not too bad. Let me be clear though, it’s not running (duh).

So far I’ve cycled twice this week. One almost 13 mile route and one 15 mile route (in just over an hour). I don’t think that’s too shabby (especially considering the mountain bike I’m riding haha). I made the rookie error of comparing my rides with a guy from work who, get this, went to France a couple of weeks ago to cycle some of the routes for the Tour de France. As you do.

I’m tootling along nicely at around 14mph and he’s zooming by around 19mph!! Up mountains! Jeeze. I got slightly giddy when I realised one of his cycles was 18mph. I naively thought, “Ok that’s not too far from mine” until I realised that was an easy recovery ride haha.

But it’s been a great relief for my little legs to not be pounding the pavement so often I must say. And especially after Sunday’s tough race.

Here’s what I’ve discovered about cycling:

  • They sell padded cycling shorts for a reason. Enough said.
  • I hate cars. I just love cycling along gutters…not.
  • Checking my Garmin to see my speed is not safe for me. I have limited balance so this is just an accident waiting to happen.
  • Speaking of accidents, what’s the worst that can happen with running? You trip over? It’s painful but it’s not usually life-threatening. Cycling accidents? Jeeze let’s not even think about it.
  • You have to cycle a lot longer and a lot further to get the equivalent to a run (and that’s still debatable).
  • You can slack of a lot more with cycling than running. You can coast along with cycling. With running you just stop.
  • Two words: helmet hair.

But hey ho, it’s something different! And I’ve got my first Pump class booked for Monday morning. My puny muscles are quivering in fear already.

And recently I’ve been trying these yogurts from Danone called Danio. They’re basically a thick yogurt over a layer of fruit at the bottom. If I’m honest I’m not a big fan of the fruit in yogurt…it makes me feel a bit ill.

Danio yogurts

But these I actually enjoyed! Ben was shocked (and a little disgruntled as he thought he’d be having them all, haha). I really genuinely enjoyed them. The flavours I was able to get were peach, cherry, strawberry and passionfruit (passionfruit hands down was the best – that’s the photo above). But I believe there’s also blueberry and raspberry.


The yogurts are described as “super thick” and they’re not wrong! They also have a good level of protein (11-13g) in them, so you’re kept fuller for longer.

They have no artificial preservatives, flavourings or sweeteners. In fact, the ingredients look pretty good for a fruity flavoured yogurt. And they’re between 120-150kcal per pot and most are 0% fat. Not too shabby. They are quite sweet and they do contain sugar but for a fruit yogurt it’s not too bad at all for a nice afternoon snack to tide you over until dinner.

Funny related story. I bought so many in Tesco (as the company had kindly given me a voucher to purchase them) I looked like I was obsessed.


They’ve take over half my fridge!!

Right, I’m off to indulge in a bit of coffee and cake with my mum and sister. Ciao for now!

Are you running any races this weekend?

What classes do you do at the gym?

Trying new things

Happy Wednesday! Hope you’re week is going well and the sunshine (if you’re lucky enough to have it) is keeping you smiling. Or at least stopping you from crying tears of frustration on realising that it is, in fact, only Wednesday Winking smile

I’m excited to announce that I have joined a gym. I know, I know, exciting stuff (ha). I have made the executive decision to balance things out properly with my running. I have been doing stretches and yoga poses in the morning but to be completely honest… it’s just a bit half hearted.

I just can’t motivate myself to do a proper session on my own. Seriously, at home there’s way more exciting things to do. Eat food, watch TV, stare at the wall. I need someone to kick my butt into gear and force me to do these things. So I joined my very local gym (open 24/7 – imagine, I could go to the gym at 3am. Why would I want to?? No idea). And the gym has loads of classes!


Don’t worry, I don’t actually do this. I use Twitter Winking smile

OK I suppose I could creep into the actual gym if I felt so inclined but really I want to go to a class, be shouted out to do this and that, and then leave sweaty.

I’m so keen to get into pump and kettle bells for the strength improvement (read: INJURY PREVENTION). And spin to work my cardio without pounding the pavements all. The. Time.

Speaking of balancing out the running – on Tuesday morning I actually went for a BIKE RIDE. Yep, I set out with my little helmet on and gave myself an hour to basically cycle as far as I could (with getting back in time to get ready for work). I managed 12.8 miles!


I actually have no idea how good or rubbish this is as I know nothing about cycling. After Googling a bit I think there is some consensus that cycling to running has a 3:1 ratio of miles. So my 12ish miles = 4ish miles running. Which makes kind of sense as it didn’t feel too tough a workout (though my butt hurt like you wouldn’t believe – seriously need to think about some better padding).

But moving away from fitness, I thought I’d share some tasty meals I’ve been trying lately in line with What I Ate Wednesday (thanks Jenn!).


So for breakfast…come on, of course it hasn’t changed. Even in the blazing heat we’ve had I’ll sit there sweating eating my piping hot bowl of almond milk oatmeal.


For lunch, at work I take in a zillion boxes of food. I’m like box lady.


It’s all good. Takes me ages to get through it all. I love it. Bloody pain when I get home and have to wash everything up though…

Dinners have been good. I’ve been trying new things. I’m the girl who swore she hated sausages.


But not chicken sausages! I love them! For this meal there’s only two but I split them in half to make sure I cook them properly (paranoid). I had cauliflower cream cheese mash with this and two eggs. Don’t get me started on how devastated I was when that second egg’s yolk popped.

I’ve also still been loving Skippy kangaroo burgers.


I had one with fried mushrooms and onions, and sweet potato and zucchini fries with salad. Love this so much.

And stir-fries are popular quick meal too.


Chicken, cashew nuts, loads of random stir-fry veg and zucchini noodles (and my stir-fry sauce). All I did for the noodles was use a peeler on a washed zucchini. No cooking, nothing. Plonk the stir-fry on top when it’s ready and enjoy.

And the usual million apples as snacks and cake. Always cake Open-mouthed smile

What new things have you been trying recently? Any new found loves?

Cycling: lover or a hater?

How do ensure your workouts are balanced? I have been so bad at this recently…

Do you go to the gym or do you prefer home/outdoor workouts?


Oh man. I am tired. Yesterday Ben and me ran the New Forest 10 mile race. At 11.15am. In stupidly hot weather. It was tough.

Let’s roll it back a bit to Saturday. I did the 5km Parkrun in the morning as a shakeout run. I took it steady and used it just as a nice easy run the day before hell a tough long race. Annoyingly, it was hot and hard work – it did not feel like an easy run. I managed it in 22.49 which I was chuffed with, and amazingly I was third girl.


Ben decided to marshal at the Parkrun instead

For the rest of the day we got the chores done and I persuaded Ben to spend a small fortune go to Halfords so we could sort our bikes out as they’ve both got punctures. I really want to balance things up a bit with the running and do some cycling the odd day in the week. It’s a half-formed plan at the moment so I’ll let you know how it goes later on.

Then my loving husband got to work.


He complained a bit to start with but then he got into it. It was all manly and DIY-ish so he loved it.

Then we chilled for the rest of the day had started getting nervous about the race the next day. We prepared ourselves by having a nice ice bath…


…and carbing it up with a good dinner.


Good old pizza. Chicken, stupid amounts of veg, BBQ sauce. A tried-and-tested meal that never fails me pre-race day.

Early to bed and early to rise. Ben and me both felt so nervous. It was hot. We drank lots of water (and coffee, sshhh!) and ate a good breakfast of oatmeal. Then my dad showed up and we convoyed over to the New Forest.


Over 800 people took part

It would have been a beautiful day for a BBQ, relaxing down the beach or in your garden with a glass of something chilled. Not running 10 miles.

I spent the best £5 I’ve ever spent on a 10 minute sports massage. It was so necessary. My IT band was tight. So tight it was almost agony when the lady dug deep on it. I now have bruises.

Then we lined up and three, two, one we were go, go go.

Mile one I took way too fast. I was optimistic and just enjoying the atmosphere and flow. But it was right in the sun. Mile two I was slowing down (the story of this race) but we were hitting some shade which was nice. Mile three was my first milestone to celebrate. I felt like I was properly into the race then. And we hit our first drinks stop. I threw two waters over myself and enjoyed the coolness. I had a water with me with an electrolyte table in it (Zero High Five if you’re interested) that I kept sipping slowly.


Mile four I was feeling the heat. The water that had been cooling minutes earlier had evaporated so it was back to being hot. My time was consistently slowing. Mile five I hit a low point. The course was pretty flat but there were the occasional gradual inclines and they felt like mountains in the heat. I felt extremely hot, a bit sick and I was tempted to stop and walk. Luckily another drinks point appeared and I was squirted with a hose (I almost stopped and said “can I just stay here now in the foetal position?”). Mile six and I was pushing through, still slowing, but I had come back from my darkest hour and celebrated another milestone (firmly over half way). Just before mile seven there was a stone path for a good .2 of a mile. So hard to run over.

Mile eight and I celebrated another milestone in my eyes – you’re almost at mile nine and then you’re almost finished (make sense?). I saw a man walking and I helped push him back to a run with some encouragement and that felt great. He thanked me and pushed on.

Mile nine just couldn’t have come sooner. I stared a little mantra in my head, something like “less than a mile to go, la la la”. Yep madness was slowly creeping in. Then we were on the home-stretch. I saw the finish. I pushed the speed and finished!


I pretty much dropped around 10 seconds per mile until the last mile – almost a perfect positive split. Whoops.

My official time was 1:18:24, fourteenth girl overall, fifth girl in my age category, 120th overall. I suppose it’s a PB as I’ve never run a 10 miles faster than 1:19 but I’ve never actually raced it. Considering the heat I’m over the moon with this time!

I then drank a gallon of water and queued up to be showered with a cold hose pipe. BLISS.

Ben and Anna

Ben came in a bit later (this was his first ever 10 mile and he was still recovering from an ankle injury).

NF10 medal

We got a lovely horse brass as our medal as well, which was a lovely touch.

On getting home I showered, ice bathed, devoured piles of food (and my body weight in watermelon) and then just relaxed. I couldn’t even be bothered to get dressed.


Alfie’s like “Girl, that is not a good look!”

I was pooped. Still am.

What did you get yup to this weekend?

Did anyone run any races in the crazy heat?

What’s your best/favourite medal you’ve ever got from a race?