A wobbly parkrun and my divorce party

Bank holiday weekends are such a gift. That one extra day just makes it seem to last forever.

I definitely needed it after a very poor night sleep on Friday. I was woken up at 2am by some bad hay fever, so took an antihistamine and eventually feel back asleep. Then at 4am there was a thunderstorm. Alfie hates thunder and lightning; he gets very scared and freaks out. For whatever reason he decided that sitting on my head would be the safest place for him. And then intermittently barking. It seemed to go on forever, so we were awake for quite a while.

When my alarm went off at 7am I felt like I’d barely slept. I’m normally the type of person who gets up straight away with their alarm, but it was the first time in ages where I desperately wanted to snooze. But parkrun waits for no one!

I didn’t feel particularly great or 100% when I got to Netley. I’d felt very sick the day before for some reason so wondered if that, with lack of sleep, just made me feel rubbish. The weather was very oppressive as well, humid and close. Anyway, I helped set-up and decided today was not the day to push it.As soon as I started running I knew it was going to be a bad one. I was running far slower than normal and yet the effort level seemed the same. People who I normally run with or ahead of were overtaking me and I just couldn’t seem to catch up. I would occasionally surge forward but then found this shattered me.

I also didn’t feel right in that I felt hazy and foggy and a couple of times lost my footing. It felt really quite awful. Several times I wondered if I should drop-out of walk. But being the stubborn idiot I am I just pushed on, trying to get to the finish-line as quickly as I could.As I got closer to the finish I started getting more and more foggy and when I finished and stopped running I completely lost my bearings and stumbled to the floor. I can’t tell you how embarrassing this was. I just suddenly felt so dizzy and out of it. Luckily someone helped me and got me some water. I was very grateful, though hugely mortified. A lot of other people were also feeling the humid and oppressive weather conditions too so I didn’t look like a complete loon. I should have just stopped when I started feeling off.I somehow managed 23:07, but it felt so ridiculously hard. I helped clear up and then had a hot drink at the cafe. I still felt quite hazy so sitting and taking a moment helped. I had quite a busy day ahead so needed to have my shizz together!I got back home and was so busy sorting stuff I wasn’t able to focus on feeling under the weather, which I actually think helped (tho I had a moment in the shower where I found myself exhausted and wondering if I should just go back to bed…). I had my divorce party planned for 1pm at my friend’s house and needed to get myself together. And as I was in charge of the food, I needed to have that together too.

The day before I’d made a beef chilli (I used this Jamie Oliver recipe and slow cooked pieces of beef shin for over five hours and it smelt amaaaaazing).I was also planning on making some guacamole and had lots of snacks to take too. After rushing around like a mad thing I eventually made it to my friend’s house. She’d made the most fantastic cake! Red velvet…divine!We got the food prepared and spread on the table. I made guacamole using avocados mashed with some spices and low fat Greek yogurt and lime juice – delicious! And we were ready to go.The reason for the party was just to have a fun little get-together to take light of the fact that I’m now officially divorced (well, I have been for a few months now but haven’t really been that free at the weekend to do something like this). Yes being divorced sucks (oh the failure I am, how sad and pathetic my life is, woe is me… blah blah blah) but I’m a half glass full kind of person and wanted to just have a bit of fun with it. You can’t sit in a dark corner and be sad about life events that happen, you just gotta pick yourself up and try and move forward. I think I’ve consistently tried to do that and Saturday was just a way to enjoy myself with cake. My marriage wasn’t a mistake and I don’t regret it, it just had a fixed time limit and that’s that!To be honest, I just wanted a reason to eat lots of food and have cake 😉 I made a divorce playlist (think N*Sync ‘Bye Bye Bye’ and Destiny’s Child ‘Independent Woman’) and a love/hate themed quiz (Round 1: Connect the famous exes…to Round 4: Connect the song with the singer – again themed as breakup songs). It was good fun. I obviously ate far too much (two slices of cake and copious amounts of chilli and dip).Now I know people hate this word…but the cake was so moist! It was very tasty. Louise, my amazing baking friend, did herself proud!

As Lou and Tom, the hosts, had a wedding party to get to that evening we all vacated and reconvened later for, er, more food and some drinks at Portsolent. Some of the friends hadn’t eaten (or eaten as much as me) whereas I, unsurprisingly, wasn’t that hungry but I still fancied going out. We went to Wildwood and I ordered the lightest thing I could find. Just a “superfood salad”. On any other occasion it wouldn’t have been enough, but it was just perfect.I also enjoyed a nice refreshing Sol beer and then Bud Light at the next bar (I love Bud Light!). It was a great evening of chatting, laughing and generally just chilling out. I don’t tend to do much drinking but it was a nice change.

I’ll leave my weekend recap there!

What’s your favourite cake? I keep changing mine, from carrot cake to red velvet to lemon…

Have you ever been to a divorce party? It’s quite an obscure thing, granted!

Have you ever felt a bit dizzy or odd at parkrun/running?

Pudding stomach

This weekend fully proved to me that I have two stomachs: a normal food stomach and a pudding one. But more on that in a bit. First, as usual my weekend started with parkrun.

My two newly converted parkrun runners came down from Bristol for the day. They were keen to test out their 5k times on a flat parkrun course. Pomphrey Hill parkrun in Bristol has been good fun but ultimately a flat course is always nice to do to see where you’re at. Originally we were going to meet in Swindon where another friend wanted to do their first parkrun but that fell through so they came to me.

We chose Lee-On-Solent parkrun as it is super flat and also very close to my parent’s house so they could meet me there, drop off their pug, Doug, to hang out with Alfie and my parent’s dog and we could convoy together. My dad was joining but decided to forgo doing it as he hurt his shoulder.


:Look at that blue sky (and the Isle of Wight behind)! Beautiful. No one wanted to say what their targets were really…we all felt quietly confident that we’d do better than Pomphrey but we didn’t want to vocalise it and put silly pressures on ourselves.

I saw a few people from my running club which was nice and also finally got to meet the lovely Kerry, who I’ve been chatting with via Twitter and Instagram (aka UKRunGirl).


After the briefing (which made me chuckle when the run director told the under-11s to firmly supervise their adults), we were off. I found it quite busy and hectic as it’s a fairly narrow promenade for us all to bunch together on but it helped slow me down. Another point that was made during the briefing was that there were lots of foot traffic from non-runners this morning and that we were to give them right of way and be courteous as we didn’t want any complaints to the council or reasons to cancel the parkrun. I noticed throughout the run that all the runners I saw took this to heart and gave walkers wide berths and moved out of the way quickly. It’s true, parkrun is a run not a race, as much as we’d all like to get fast times we still want parkrun to continue without issue!

My dad stood on the side-line cheering us on and testing out his new GoPro. He’s such a gadget-lover. I’m considering getting one myself but I want to test out using my dad’s first before I commit.

LoS parkrun AugustScreenshot of GoPro filming

I gave it my all and hilariously did not achieve a negative split after blowing my own trumpet last week about how good I’ve suddenly become at managing my pace, ha! But I did notice a wind against me during the second (and hardest) mile.

IMG_4023Photo credit: Ethan Gee

The last mile I was able to put the peddle down as it was a straight run to the finish.






I finished in 22:08 which I’m really pleased with. Yes it would have been fantastic to dip under 22 minutes but for where I am in my training and coming back from injury (yes, excuse excuses) I will happily take that!


Kate and Jamie smashed their previous Pomphrey times and their last Lee-On-Solent time too. Jamie got the sub-30 minutes he’s been aiming for too (Kate missed out soo narrowly!). We were all very pleased with ourselves!


We headed back to mine (quick stop at Starbucks of course) and got showered and sorted before heading to Casa Brasil for lunch.


Casa Brasil is an all-you-can-eat Brazilian Rodizio restaurant. Basically the waiters come round with skewers of meat and slice it up in front of you.


There’s a fairly decent salad bar as well. The staff are so friendly and attentive there and it was all decorated with Brazilian flags which felt very appropriate considering the Olympics has just started. Though I did say to one waiter if he was excited about the Olympics being in Brazil and he replied “I’m Portuguese…”.


It was amazing and right up our street, as you can imagine. When we were finished we were all very full. We didn’t fancy pudding per se but we did fancy just something sweet, you know? I was trying to think of nearby ice cream or frozen yogurt places… hmmm. Then I remembered so many people going on about Sprinkles, an gelato cafe in Southampton of which I’d never been to. It was only 10 minutes away and we had some time before we were going to see Suicide Squad at the cinema.

SprinklesYes that is a Jammie Dodger flavour!!

Well, we walked in and were greeted by so many different ice cream flavours and cakes it was ridiculous. We grabbed a menu and sat down. Oh dear. Sundaes, waffles, crepes, ice cream milk shakes… this was not a place for a small something sweet. None of us could bring ourselves to just order one or two scoops of ice cream. Feeling fairly greedy, I ordered a brownie sundae (as did Jamie) and Kate ordered a Nutella waffle.

Sprinkles (1)

To be fair, we didn’t think they’d be that big. It was OUT OF THIS WORLD. I’m not usually a big ice cream (she says after ordering the biggest sundae of her life). I like ice cream to have stuff going on, like Ben and Jerry’s with chocolate bits in etc., so this was perfect. It was chocolate, vanilla and caramel ice cream with brownie chunks (and I mean chunks), cream and hot fudge sauce to pour over. I couldn’t finish it. I was so full and feeling rather sick. But I bloody loved it. We all did.

It was a good job we literally just had to watch a film after this because we were so stuffed. Suicide Squad was really good. Yes it’s been slated by the critics but I genuinely enjoyed it (apart from Cara Delevingne who I found cringingly bad). We laughed all the way through and just thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We were fairly surprised that quite a few people didn’t wait for the end credits to finish for the sting at the end though – don’t they know!?

Thankfully post-film we all felt a lot better having digested a bit! Then Kate and Jay headed home with Doug. It was a fantastic day! I then popped over to my friend Lou’s to see her week old baby. I’m not a baby person so I always feel a bit awkward with what to do but Tom, Lou’s husband, literally handed me the baby and was like “chill out, Anna”. PANIC. But no it was fine and their baby, Henry, is adorable.

Ehh, the next morning I had to run 15 miles. I was seriously dragging my heels. I woke up at 8.45am (already a bad sign), walked Alfie and just faffed about…I almost decided not to go. I just had no desire to go out running for over two hours. I’ll talk more about my marathon training and plans in another post but this training has been really tough as the ramp up has been quite sharp due to my injury and lack of running.

Just before 10am I was out of the door and actually felt surprisingly good (must be all that glycogen flowing around my system…). I took my dad’s GoPro and had some fun filming bits and bobs (lots to learn though, especially angles. When I tried to film myself I literally just filmed my boobs as I hadn’t quite got the angle right.!). I’ve also not mastered smooth filming so watching it back made me feel a bit sea-sick.

I wore my hydration belt this time so happily had some water to sip on as I went as though it wasn’t sunny it was very humid and warm. As my two hydration bottles are quite small (like 250ml each) I made sure to drink them both before I got to my favourite Dodgy Tap so I could then refill. The Dodgy Tap was exactly half way so this was perfect.


I took a photo of the tap when we took the dogs for a walk so I could show you and see what you thought… would you drink from it?

Anyway the rest of the run was a slog. A real slog. I was counting down every mile. I felt tired and hot. I reached 15 miles about 0.5 miles from home and ordinarily would have just run that extra bit but I stopped straight away and rang my dad to pick me up (I’d run from their house and I knew they were in). My dad didn’t mind thankfully, part of his “coaching duties” apparently Winking smile.











Then I spent some time in the garden stretching with an ice cold drink…and the dogs licking me because I was so sweaty. Nice.

IMG_4034My parents were building their swinging chair at the time, hence the stuff behind me

Then I spent the rest of the day doing the usual Sunday schizz. It was 1pm by the time I had breakfast…but this just meant I could eat lunch sooner Winking smile

Would you drink from that tap?

Have you seen any parkrun/non-runner clashes? We’ve occasionally had the odd complaint at Netley from dog walkers.

What’s your all-time favourite ice cream flavour or sundae combo?

You can never have too much cake

This weekend past was pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. It was a great balance of being ridiculously busy and then nice and chilled.

Friday night was a casual Christmas drinks evening with some running club friends at the pub. Annoyingly this pub was walking distance from my new home but I had to house(dog)-sit for my parents while they were in London over the weekend, which meant I had to drive instead. Anyway it was a great evening with most people wearing Christmas jumpers and just having a nice natter.

Christmas jumper

There was even a Michael Jackson tribute singer so a few of us had a boogie. Don’t blame it on the sunshine…

The next morning, as usual, was parkrun at Netley Abbey. The weather was ridiculously mild, albeit a bit windy. We decided to get a photo of our usual set-up crew which was lovely. A few us had our parkrun Volunteer 25 t-shirts on as well which worked out nicely.Netley Abbey parkrun volunteers

I love setting up parkrun with these guys. They’re all just so lovely and we have a good laugh. They were all really supportive when I had my rough times earlier in the year as well. There’s something about running that just brings people together in a good way.

There were loads of guys from the running club running as well because it was our club’s Secret Santa. It was great to see so many familiar faces. At the start I was quite concerned that I was stood next to my super speedy friend, Michelle, but she assured me she was taking it easy having run eight miles already. I think I stayed with her for all of about 100m before she was like a blip in the horizon! Even my friend Chris who I used to be faster than pre-injury zoomed away despite being hungover having not left the pub last night until 1am. My ego got a bit of a kicking 😉

Even splits

However I was really chuffed with some very even splits. I got 22:59 which I’m over the moon with. I really kept my mind focused on the effort. It’s funny because I’ve stopped listening to music at parkrun now. I’ve found it distracts me and makes me feel claustrophobic. I think if I was really pushing for a specific time I might wear some motivating music, but at the moment I’m enjoying ‘naked’ runs. I’ve taken a minute off my faster time from a few weeks ago. This is definitely progress!

I did do some investigation on Strava to see what my fastest time on this course was and found it’s 21:57 in March this year. Jeeze that’s a challenge! Maybe in a few months…

Secret Santa was good fun as well. We all crammed into the café and exchanged gifts.Secret Santa

Thanks again to my official blog photographer, Mark, for the photo 😉

My label said Anna Jayne Smith (*sighs*) so the person didn’t know me that well but they knew me well enough to get me very posh Strawberry and white chocolate cake and a Christmas pudding shaped chocolate slab. Very pleased!!

Afterwards my sister, her fiancée and Meg and Ellie, her two daughters, met up with me so Ellie could run a children’s fun run which was happening in the park at 10.30am. It was a charity race for Ben’s Heroes and entry was £3. Such a good cause. Ellie is almost six years old and has been doing Junior parkrun quite a bit lately with her dad. I’d love to do it with her but it’s a fair distance away from me and I haven’t been able to get there so I was really excited that I was finally able to see her (and join her!) running.

My heart melted when Ellie said she wanted to be a runner like me and run marathons. I’m beyond proud. Obviously this might be a passing trend but for now I’m over the moon she’s so into it. For Christmas I’ve got her some really funky purple Nike leggings.IMG_6852

I’m jealous! I want a pair! But they are TINY.

Back to the race, Ellie was really excited and kept sprinting off and showing me how fast she could run, bless her.Children's raceIt was two laps of the cricket pitch (our usual fast summer course) and the race organiser said the kids could run one or two laps depending how they felt (there were some quite young children). She held my hand and chatted the entire way round. She even told me that running was good because it made you “live longer”. I’m not sure Ellie should be worried about her mortality at this point in her life but it made me chuffed that she associated running with being healthy. I was careful not to run too fast and kept to her speed andsaid we could walk if she needed to, but she was adamant to keep going. In the end we did the two laps (her choice) and she did an amazing sprint finish at the end.IMG_6850

She got a little goodie bag and a lovely medal. She was really pleased with herself and looked like she had so much fun. I was also so proud of her when she offered her goodie bag to a little boy who didn’t get one because they ran out.

The rest of the day was a mad rush of getting myself sorted, checking on my parent’s dogs and then getting back to my flat to have a catch up with my friend Louise and her husband Tom. We’d arranged a kind of afternoon tea gathering as I said I had a panettone I was reviewing for the blog that would be great to share with them and Lou said she might bake something.

Well, they turned up with some very nice artisan bread, loads of different filling choices for sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, jam and a huge freshly baked carrot cake! Afternoon tea indeed!
Home-made afternoon tea

I had a delicious brie sandwich with onion marmalade, a pallet-cleansing slice of panettone 😉 following by a clotted cream and jam scone and then finished nicely with a slice of carrot cake. All washed down with tea obviously. They brought their little one, Jake, over and we had a lovely time stuffing our faces and chatting away. I’ll do a full review of the panettone in another post but honestly we were all pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was. It was the perfect level of sweetness for such a sugar-frenzied afternoon.

I then had to rush to an opticians appointment and then rush to my friend Mike’s surprise 40th birthday party (honestly, there was not one single thing I was on time for the entire day). I took with me some sticky garlic and honey chicken wings and breaded paprika chicken tenders that I’d rustled up earlier. Mike was really surprised when he got home and saw us all there after being told he wasn’t allowed in the house until 5.30pm. It was lovely to see how chuffed he was (I might be over-using the word “chuffed”…).40th birthday party food

Sheryl’s photo of her amazing cake and my own poor quality photos below (chicken wings bottom right)

Now you might think that considering all the food I ate earlier would hinder my process in making a dent in all of the buffet food on offer here. You would be wrong. My capacity to eat a lot of food still astounds me. Sheryl made this amazing cake and she let me have a taster piece before she sent out slices to everyone – you know, just to make sure it was tip top quality 😉 I then proceeded to have another slice afterwards. As if I hadn’t already eaten enough cake for one day…40th birthday party

The birthday boy (Photo credit to Sheryl)

It was a lovely evening. Towards the end after some people had left, there were just a few of us and we just sat around chatting about all things running and funny stories. Such a great party!

That night I woke up in the middle of the night not feeling well at all. That’ll teach me. I never learn though. I regret nothing! If you can’t enjoy good food with good friends then something is very wrong.

I was going to recap Sunday but this is far too long now!

Have you ever been to a surprise birthday party?

Are you good at being on time? I am awful. I never leave enough time or contingency time when things invariably go wrong.

Have you ever run with a small person?

Rants and Raves #14

I don’t have a huge amount to rant about this week. How can you when the weather is so fantastic?? I thought I’d also tie-in some updates from what’s going on with my living situation going forward (sounds rather illicit…but I assure you it’s not that exciting).

Rant: *Sighs* I am so accident-prone it’s ridiculous. I think I’m genuinely lacking in the eye-hand coordination department, especially when I’m rushing around. This is mostly happening in the morning before work; sorting out my breakfast, tidying, and getting my lunch together. I take my own home-popped popcorn to work (I just put kernels into a plastic box, add salt and pepper and then microwave with the lid on until the lid starts opening). In my haste to get the pepper on it I dropped the grinder.


And all those little pepper corns went EVERYWHERE. Alfie thankfully turned his nose up and wandered off. Clearly not his snack of choice!

What was most annoying was this when I was a) already running later and b) had someone coming over to view our house later that day to possibly buy it. GARGH. I had already  hoovered and tidied up everywhere but now had to sweep (and bin the peppercorns – what a waste!).

Sometimes speed isn’t the best way forward when you’re late!

Rave: It’s been very busy around here lately with all the house stuff. A few weeks ago we got the ball moving to value the house. They valued it substantially above what we initially paid for it which is MARVELLOUS obviously, but we still needed to get it sold at that price. As the house was a new build when we moved in (3.5 years ago now) it’s still in very good condition. I also regularly clean it so I didn’t have to do anything crazy before people came to view it apart from just general tidying things away to make it look more minimalist and hoovering.

At the same time I needed to look for a flat to move into. Juggling lots of balls from viewings of our house, viewings for my flat, mortgage appointments and solicitors…it’s all fun and games I assure you not.

Long story short, our house went on the market on Friday (my birthday, happy birthday me…). Our first viewing was Monday and they put an offer in for our asking price. Within this time I also found a flat I loved, put an offer on it and got it accepted. WOW. Luckily the guy buying our house is an investor so has no chain his side, and the person I’m buying from is also an investor and I only need to wait two months for the current tenant to move out (I’m buying, not renting). So actually things are looking (finger’s crossed) to go quite smoothly.

AND (this is like an UBER rave) my flat is still within the same area, still close to my gym and even closer to my running club. Fabdiddlytastic.

Rant: The flat is tiny. Really it’s a studio. I call it my Carrie Bradshaw (but smaller) apartment. One bedroom…But it’s well within the budget I have, meaning I can still live quite comfortably and enjoy my current lifestyle, and it’s in a nice, nice area. I looked round two bedroom flats in not so great areas and it just didn’t feel right – plus it added so much time onto my already long commute. The flat in itself is lovely – it’s only three years old, and funnily enough the kitchen is bigger than my current one and it’s just beautiful inside. There’s more than enough storage as well. So despite it being very small, it’s actually perfect for what I need at the moment and my day-to-day life won’t change vastly.

Rave: The day after the Liverpool marathon I had the day off, as did my parents. So we decided to go for a Nando’s and cinema trip to see Jurassic World.


A whole chicken really hit the spot post marathon. Runger? Adequately defeated.


And a whole screening to ourselves for Jurassic World (for about 15 minutes until a few others came in…damn them!)

Rant: Well not really a rant, more of stating the obvious. Jurassic World is not Jurassic Park and is no where close to being as good. It’s good for mindless enjoyment but there was no ‘pizzazz’…no rippling water, no Ian Malcolm, no goose bumps…I could go on but I shan’t bore you (the Empire Jurassic World spoiler special podcast does a great review).

Rave: After reading Claire’s post about her buying colouring books to relax I promptly decided to do the same. During university my friends and I, for a laugh, bought some colouring books as a way to have down time between revision and exams and found it was very addictive and a great way to relax while still being able to chat to each other or watch TV.


I got one from the post office, one from Amazon (called Indian Summer <— not an affiliate link) and some colouring pencils. Honestly, I am fully addicted. In the evening I watch TV while colouring and I’m so relaxed. Normally I’d be on my phone or iPad and wouldn’t really be relaxing my mind. I also wouldn’t be able to concentrate on what was on TV. But with colouring I can now watch TV as well. I even took a book with my on the train. OK people did give me a few funny/curious looks but the time flew by.

Rave: I was in the paper for the Southampton Echo for the Romsey 5 mile Beer race (bit delayed on this one as the race was a good few weeks ago now…). What was nice was that it mentioned me being part of the top three females the previous two years and now finally securing the first place this year (top left paragraph).


Needless to say my parents are very proud 😉 Sorry bragfest over.

Rave: I hate going to London in general and I especially hate going for work, which I had to do for a big meeting on Tuesday (funnily enough I’m going to London again on Saturday to meet some fellow lovely bloggers – but I’m sure this experience will be far better!)

The one saving grace of it being in London was the amazing catering at lunch time.


It was a buffet and there was just so much food. And not a chip or fried food in sight. It was all fresh, good ingredients and lots of vegetables and salad. I sort of went overboard…but then buffets are my weakness.  The bottom left sweet potato and lentil curry was VERY nice indeed.

What are your plans for the weekend? (Yes I know it’s only Thursday…) I’m off to London on Saturday and then doing a 10k race (which I’m racing but not looking forward to – going to be riding the pain train!)

Do you go anywhere exciting for your job? In a previous job the best place I went was Sweden.

Colouring – yes or no? I’m not creative at all so this works well for me as it requires no real skill above what a five year old could do.

Marathon Talk Weekend – Part 2

Hello! Hmmm I did say I wouldn’t focus solely on Marathon Talk for a post…but I kind of did sorry. I won’t be offended if you skip this if you’re not interested!

To catch up, check out Part 1

So after breakfast/brunch and getting showered and sorted we headed to meet up with everyone for 1pm.

IMG_5936 I tried to discreetly take a photo of Martin talking

They did a little “hello” sort of welcome chat (some people had only just arrived as they couldn’t make the Friday night or Parkrun). I have to say that Tom and Martin are so friendly and so lovely. There was lots of banter and they were exactly like they were on the show. It wasn’t like an “us” and “them” experience – it felt very relaxed and they were very easy-going and ‘normal’.

Then there was the Marathon Talk quiz. We were split into teams (by our birth month). Tom ended up in my team. The quiz was solely focused on Marathon Talk. It was great – Tom knew a lot of the answers which helped, but I was surprised at how much the rest of the team and I knew and that he couldn’t remember!

Marathon Talk quiz Tony was the quiz master and he was brilliant. He’s exactly like he is on the show – hilarious, witty and fun. The quiz was such a laugh.

And we won!

Winning quiz team In true runner’s style, we won cakes

Everyone on the weekend also got given (for free) a very swanky running T-shirt with “Run Camp 2014” printed on it. These were from Adidas (who sponsor the show) so they were of very good quality, and in a range of sizes. My T-shirt actually fits for once.

Marathon Talk weekend We’re on the far left (as our Tom and Martin, Tony is hiding at the back)

Then we were told the next part was an interval session. 6x3minutes with 3 minutes recovery. As jubilant as my Parkrun was and as desperate as I was to take part in this I didn’t think it would be sensible. I’m trying to be gradually get back into things and a hard Parkrun in the morning followed by a hard interval session (because let’s be honest, I’d never do it half-hearted) and then a long run the next day…probably not sensible for me.

Ben and our running club friend decided the same. Ben is only just getting back into running after his hip issues (marathon recap will happen – I am still pestering him). So we wandered over to Tom and asked if we could help out. He was more than happy for us to help him keep the timings as the entire group would be split into two (the speedsters and the not so speedsters). Another lady who had hurt her ankle also wanted to help out.

Everyone got ready and then ran to the interval location (about two miles away). Whereas we followed Tom’s car in our own car. Hilariously Tom took us the wrong way and then had to do a crazy dodgy 7 point turn on some steep dirt hill track. It was so funny (and quite scary…). Ben had a lot of jokes with him about that haha.

After some explaining of the time-keeping and lapping of stop watches (my god my tiny little brain really struggled) we each headed out to a certain distance away from the start.

Marathon Talk interval sessionThis is us heading out to our spots – Tom in the bright cap, Martin next to him//There’s the log I stood on to watch the runners pass

I’m glad I’m not great at maths as I didn’t realise I’d be stood there for 40 minutes in the cold!! Every three minutes the speedsters would zoom past me and then back.

IMG_5947The lead runner is Steve Way – stupidly fast! 

Then three minutes I’d be on my own again so I did a lot of pacing to keep warm!

Then we were done. Everyone ran back and we followed Tom back again. He seemed really grateful we helped so I felt chuffed despite how cold and wet I was.

After getting back and sorted we then headed to the meeting spot again for a buffet meal. It was quite funny because I was chatting to one of the other runners and we were wondering what we’d get. I jokingly said “probably sandwiches and pasties”. The other runner laughed and said “nah it’ll be a hot buffet of course.” Famous last words.Cold buffet monster meal Everything was cold. I hadn’t eaten since my brunch in the morning (11am) so I was absolutely starving (it was now 6.30pm). As you can see, I had everything and lots of it.

After our very cold but filling dinner, Martin did a sort of interview with Steve Way (an 100km ultra champion).IMG_5953 I had no idea who Steve Way was before the interview began. But I can now say I’m a big fan. He started running at 33 – going from an overweight smoker to an almost elite athlete; just seconds from qualifying in the elite category for a marathon. He “dabbled” with training for his first marathon and ran a 3:06. This blows my mind. Then after putting in some ‘proper’ training he got down to 2:19. Jesus.

I could say a huge amount about this interview – a lot of useful and interesting information –but it would take up a lot of the post. Unless people are very interested I’ll leave you with just a few tidbits:

  • He said though he gave up smoking, he is still a smoker. He just doesn’t smoke because it would “affect his running”. He has a cigar after every marathon to celebrate though.
  • He can run up to around 150miles a week.
  • The average pace of all those runs (recoveries to speed sessions) is 6.30mins/mile.
  • He talked a lot about knowing the limits of his body – knowing he couldn’t go over 150ish miles a week as he’d start to break down or become over-trained.
  • He takes his HR every morning. It sits around 30 beats a minute.

It was very inspiring but a little ‘out there’, you know? Like all I kept thinking was “how can I relate this to myself?”. But you sort of can – the focus, perseverance, the drive…though it was beyond most of the people’s ideas of a usual training week we were all nodding along. It was inspirational.

After the interview (which went on for a good hour with us being able to ask any questions), Martin explained what was happening for the long run the next day. IMG_5954He handed out maps and explain that there was an 11 mile route, a 16 mile route and a 19mile route. We needed to decide what distance and what pace we’d like to do so the next day we could get into groups. I already knew I’d be doing the 11 miler. No way would I be attempting more at the moment. Especially considering the terrain was off-road, challenging and the route was, in Martin’s words, “f***ed” with all the rain water. Haha.

Then we headed back to the lodge where I had a lovely hot chocolate in bed and a fairly early night.

Early night We fell asleep fairly quickly. We were shattered!

I will save the next day until another post (another interesting interview, long run, carvery and Q&A session with Martin and Tom).

Do you listen to Marathon Talk? Would you want to go on a trip like this?

Do you know your limits for exercise? Number of days, level of mileage?

Do you do interval sessions? I will be incorporating intervals in my training soon but for now I’m just doing regular runs and tempo runs to not stress my body out too much –> interesting article on exactly this: Returning to running after injury