Oxford parkrun – parkrun Alphabet Challenge progress

Saturday I headed up to the Oxford parkrun to get my ‘O’ for the parkrun Alphabet Challenge (there were multiple amusing titles I could have used but I’m keeping it a family show ;-)). For those who don’t know, the parkrun Alphabet Challenge is going to different parkruns beginning with different letters to hit all the alphabet – us runners love to collect things and tick things off.

But before that, I’ll roll back to Friday night. I went out for dinner with my good friend and running buddy, Mike (from New Forest Marathon fame). I hadn’t seen him since before Dubai and we had lots to catch up on. Our chats always feel like a warm hug in a mug – we must get back to our Thursday night runs again soon! We went to Coast to Coast as we both love that restaurant and Mike handily had a Taste card (50% off!).

I went for the chicken wings to start and the chicken fajitas for my main. This is such a boring meal selection for me as I’ve had it quite a few times, but I just really enjoy it. I’m *such* a creature of habit – as I’m sure you probably already know.And it was usual very tasty. I like an assembly meal – it slows me down! For pudding I had the cookie dough sundae which was good though a little small (how I managed to not order the chocolate fudge cake I don’t know). But handily it left enough space for pick ‘n’ mix at the cinema so you win some, you lose some.Hilariously Mike got a child’s snack box at the cinema because it was cheaper than a small popcorn and you got more popcorn, a drink and chocolate with it (no wonder child obesity is becoming an issue…). It was amusing to see him carrying it in with its little handles.We saw was Downsizing which was really good. It surprised me by going in a direction I didn’t expect. It was a totally different film to what I thought it was going to be, which was quite nice. Definitely worth a watch. All the characters were brilliant and I laughed out loud several times.

The next morning was a struggle with the alarm going off at 6.45am to leave for Oxford by 7.15am. I actually woke up briefly at 5.40am in a panic that I’d missed my alarm and was going to miss going to the gym before work – I was convinced it wasn’t the weekend! How bizarre. The journey was easy and I parked up in the car park of the actual park. Funnily enough before Saturday I’d done a bit of research in order to work out how to get there and parking. When I googled it I was surprised to see my own blog post pop up in Google haha. Completely forgotten Michelle had written this for me!

Anyway I was meeting my friend James, who was driving down from Birmingham. Handily Oxford is a half-way point for us. It’s always nice to see James, we can talk a lot abut nothing for a good amount of time. I feel like you need friends like that in your life! Our first stop were the loos. I accidentally walked in on a man having a wee which was fairly embarrassing. I guess the lock didn’t work and he didn’t seem to notice (I did back out SUPER quickly).Then we headed to the start which was located in the middle of a field. It was quite cold and a little drizzly, but thankfully not full-on raining. We realised our error of footwear fairly quickly. It was rather wet and muddy. Ah well, neither of us were aiming for a particular time anyway. James is a lot faster than me but he was aiming for a harder effort the next day so decided to take it easy and run with me. I was just aiming to run and see what happened (no change there then really eh…).We didn’t both with the briefing because we’re far too cool for that…ha! So when it came to lining up we had no idea where we were going, which direction to face or anything really. Our arrogance was not rewarded and we realised we probably should have listened to the briefing. The one thing about parkrun is, it doesn’t matter how many you’ve done, you still need to listen to a newbie briefing when you’ve not been there before. Lesson learnt.We lined ourselves up and realised we were awfully close to the front line and we shuffled back quickly (well I’m sure James would have fitted in nicely at the front but I was certainly not up for that!). The first part was a bit random as you run across the field. I always feel like running across a field feels a bit mental. But eventually we got onto the path and headed for our first lap of three. From reading the blog review of the parkrun, I believe we did a different route. But it was good fun though fairly muddy!

We chatted as we ran and it became obviously to me that I was quite out of shape for the speeds we were doing to chat easily. James was fine but I was struggling a little and wondered if I should tell James to just go ahead and leave me. But luckily there were moments when we had to slow down because the path got narrow due to the mud so I could catch my breath. The course was super flat though.The laps did seem to fly by and we were getting faster so this was good. Though I felt a little out of shape I did feel strong which was nice. At the end I passed two girls as I trailed after James. On the final stretch back across the grass I could hear one of the girls try to catch me back up but I pushed the pace and held my position. As I went through the funnel I said well done to her and thanked her for pushing me to finish strong. She seemed chuffed with her finish too so that was good. My time was just under 23 minutes (22:53). Very pleased with that! And most importantly, my calf felt OK. I’m monitoring it very closely at the moment as I don’t want to trigger it again. More on this in another post I think.We were covered in mud. We’d brought spare clothes and I had a towel in my car so we headed to the loos to sort ourselves out. Though I love running in shorts rather than leggings I regretted it as I now had to de-mudify my legs before putting my jeans on.This was somewhat of a tough challenge considering the sink wasn’t a traditional tap but one of those automatic soap-water-dryer affairs and didn’t like to be made to work too often. I also had made the mistake of wearing my holey jeans and was paranoid I still had muddy knees and would look like an unwashed lout walking round Oxford. And in true Anna style, I’d also forgotten a coat. What an idiot. Luckily it wasn’t too cold or rainy to be a big issues (I had a lovely warm jumper on) but it was still stupid.

James led the way in his car and I followed in mine to a car park in Oxford where we then went on a hunt for a nice hot drink to warm-up. We had a nice coffee in Costa before moving on to one of two possible brunch spots. We had considered the Handlebar Cafe but on closer menu inspection it didn’t look like what we wanted. So we carried on to the Organic Deli cafe which was very small and simple, but lovely. We both ordered fry-ups – very tasty but annoyingly the beans were left to contaminate the rest of my plate… fry-up fail. We chatted about running while munching. James knows so much about running and is very good at training properly (whereas I just float along at the same pace and do my marathons all around the same times). He’s very focused and goal-orientated, which is completely different to me but nice to get some of his enthusiasm and think about things a bit differently.

After refueling, we then went to the Story Museum. It seemed like a fun and interesting thing to do. It’s basically a building full of different rooms celebrating different authors and themes of children’s books.I mean, it’s mainly for kids but we had a whale of a time. There was one room where you could dress up, which obviously I got involved with.

You could also create your own plaque (choosing the different adjectives and nouns) and then sitting on the throne. Amazingly a voice reads out your plaque – we had no idea how it did this! (Mine said “The Might Wizard of the Stars”).It was strange but thoroughly enjoyable. There were so many book and film references everywhere, from Lord of the Rings to Alice in Wonderland.Upstairs was more for really young kids but we had a look around anyway – in for a penny, in for a pound! There was a giant bed where kids could lie and listen to someone reading a story. And then a row of increasing in size dressing gowns on the wall – from the very tiny to full adult sized. It was just very clever the way the rooms had been set up. As a child I would have LOVED this place. I loved reading (still do) as a child. I had a very active imagination so I reckon I could have been there for hours in heaven.After that we headed for some much needed cake and hot drink. We chose Croissant Beurre where we both had a yum yum doughnut (I mean, all doughnuts should be upgraded to yum yums, it was incredible).And then headed back to the car park where we parted ways. I’ll be seeing James again at the Marathon Talk Run Camp in a few weeks which will be cool.

So I got my O. Seven letters left. The ones I currently have planned are D (Didcot), J (Jersey), U (Upton House) and then it’s I, V, Y and Z which will be trickier. So it’s going well!

Have you been to Oxford before?

Did you read a lot as a child?

What films have you seen recently?

Whiteley parkrun and a big breakfast

So this weekend was quite the busy one! Lots of running, eating and sleeping. Though I could have done with a lot more sleep it must be said.

Saturday started off with a 6am alarm and me getting out for a solo three miles. I was meeting my friend Mike to run to Whiteley parkrun at 7.15am but I wanted to get a few more miles because my next few weeks are a bit all over the place and I’m not sure when I’ll get a decent long run in. I did 15 miles last weekend so the plan was to get 16 miles in total.My three miles went by without a hitch and probably a bit faster than I was planning. I never give myself enough time for anything (incidentally, I’m writing this on the train up to London today and I had to run the last bit to catch it on time, case and point). I basically leave no wiggle room for if things go wrong. So the last mile I started panicking I’d be late and sped up a bit.Happily I got to Mike just on time and we started our run. Mike had thankfully provided the route (another thing I’m not great at…navigation). We aimed to go a bit faster than his planned marathon pace and the miles flew by as we put the world to right talking about dating, work and life in general. I enjoy running with Mike as he’s such a good friend and he’s always willing to listen to my randomness. These runs are like therapy sometimes!The last mile or so of the run was uphill and I was feeling fairly tired by this point. It was a struggle. However the final stretch was a lovely downhill. We arrived at Whiteley though with enough time for a quick loo visit and a chat with our friend, Geoff, who’s recently moved from Netley to Whiteley as his regular parkrun. I don’t get to see him as much as I used to so it was nice to catch up with him again.The first two miles of the parkrun were tough. Though Whiteley isn’t hilly there is a sneaky incline at the beginning that just sucks your soul. And then as you get more into the wooded parts it becomes quite twisty turny. You do three laps so it’s not a fast course but there is potential if you’re in good shape. I was in no shape really to do anything other than count down the 0.1 miles.By mile three I got a second wind and decided to push on a bit faster – mainly just to finish quicker really! I finished with a time of 23:39 which I’m very pleased with. And 16.5 miles in the bag. We helped Geoff pack away parkrun after he guilt-tripped us into it saying he had a low number of marshals 😉At this point I was desperate for a drink, specifically an ice cold Diet Coke. Mike and I were going to celebrate the long run by having breakfast at Coast to Coast which was in the Whiteley shopping area just a short walk away. But we helped him pack away and it was nice to carry on chatting with him.

Mike, Billy (another running friend) and I

We finally go to Coast to Coast and I had to stop myself downing my Diet Coke within 10 seconds.I ordered a fry-up, though I swapped the breakfast potatoes that would normally come with it for black pudding (I love black pudding) and ordered sourdough toast to go with it. I was quite surprised the fry-up didn’t come with toast to be honest.It was a good fry-up but not up there with the best (the fry-up connoisseur that I’ve now become…). I appreciated them segregating my beans from my meal as I hate a big puddle of beans contaminating everything and the black pudding was delicious. It came with a sweet potato fritter which was OK but a bit soggy and not that crispy (also quite random). But the meal was tasty and did the job. I actually didn’t need to eat again until 6.30pm!

Mike had pancakes, bacon and maple syrup which he enjoyed. I’m personally not a big pancake fan (or a sweet breakfast fan in general) so this didn’t appeal to me. But it was a lovely breakfast and a great way to celebrate some solid mileage. It was also fairly cheap as they had a “two breakfast for £10” offer going on.

My dad picked us up, which was really nice of him. Originally he was going to come and do parkrun but we had a busy day planned for Sunday with lots of walking round London so he decided to save himself – but still offered to bring us home as we were a bit stranded otherwise!

The rest of the day I was very tired. The run had really drained me. I met my mum for coffee and we did a bit of shopping and then I had a cheeky afternoon nap. I needed my energy as I was heading out that evening for drinks with my friends to celebrate a number of our recent birthdays.The evening was great. It was so nice to see my friends and de-stress. This past week has been horrendously stressful and I haven’t felt quite my happy normal self. I definitely needed to see my friends to help me relax and feel better.

Unfortunately I had another 6am alarm the next morning to catch a 7am train to London with my dad so I didn’t get quite as much sleep as I would have liked. But we had a fun day planned of the Great Newham 10k (my dad really enjoys spectating and supporting my races) and then some tasty food afterwards as a delayed Father’s Day and birthday celebration. But more on that in another post!

How was your weekend?

Do you like to run to parkrun?

What’s your ideal post run breakfast at a restaurant?

Happy birthday Netley and weekend recap

The start of the week is always sweeter when you know you have a chunky four day weekend on the horizon, am I right? Knowing I only have four days at work just puts me in a happy mood. I like my job, don’t get me wrong, but I like not being at my job more Winking smile

Saturday started as most of my normal Saturdays do, at Netley Abbey parkrun. I walked Alfie before leaving and the weather was dry but chilly. I didn’t think it was that cold so went with my running skirt and long sleeved top. When I got to parkrun to help set up however it seemed far colder. Obviously I had a coat but I was suddenly really quite cold.

IMG_9262Setting up parkrun (Photo credit: Max Andrews)

As I had the Weymouth Half Marathon the next day I didn’t want to go too fast at parkrun. It’s always nice to turn up to a parkrun knowing you’re just going to ‘plod’ round. The pressure is off! Lots of people were volunteering and not running as there was the very popular Eastleigh 10k the next day too which is a local race for us that lots in our club and nearby clubs take part in. I’ve actually never done it despite it being so close by. It just didn’t fit in with marathon training and I hate 10ks…

It was Netley’s four year anniversary of setting up so there were a collection of awards given out during the race brief. I thought I was going to be third on the female points table but surprisingly I turned out to be second.

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Apparently the maths had gone wrong somewhere and so it was wrong on the website. I was over the moon. What was nice was that the first place female and third place female were all lovely ladies from my running club so we were quite chuffed to all be on the podium.

IMG_9263Receiving my certificate (Photo credit: Max Andrews)

Anyway parkrun was good fun. I ran with my friends Mike and Matt. Mike was also doing the half the next day and Matt is just getting back into running after an extended time off. It’s always nice to see people back at it after a break – and enjoying it again Smile

IMG_9264Matt (in green), Mike (in purple) and me (in black) (Photo credit: Max Andrews)

We went round at a nice conservative pace though I felt fairly pants running initially. But after two laps I perked up and decided to push the pace with Mike to the end. He went with me and we went back and forth overtaking each other before finishing – both knackered from the random bursts of speed.

IMG_9260Final stretch (Photo credit: Max Andrews)

I finished in 24:08 so not too shabby!

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I enjoyed a nice hot drink in the cafe after helping clear down everything. I’d been looking forward to it the entire run – a lovely hot peppermint tea! Then I headed home to quickly freshen up, have breakfast then head to the gym. I’d skipped my usual gym visit on Friday morning as I’d felt tired after my evening seven miler on Thursday and for once I had nothing really planned for the afternoon apart from chores so thought I’d have a quick visit.

I quite enjoy going to the gym at the weekend (despite it being a bit more busy) as I’m less rushed and more awake. I did some assisted pull-ups (still working hard at them!), chest presses, single-arm rows, press-ups, lateral pull-downs, narrow cable rows and some kettle bell swings. A nice hour of upper body work (apart from the swings). I didn’t go too hard as I was conscious about the next day.

In the evening I met up with a fairly dedicated triathlete I’d chatted a lot with on Twitter. His family lives in Portsmouth and he was down from the Cotswolds for the weekend and apparently I go on a lot about ribs and Coast to Coast (do I…? Winking smile) and he wanted to see how good it was.

It’s funny because he’s read my blog (careful what I say here I guess…ha) so I felt a little at a disadvantage of him knowing more about me than me about him. Though it was also nice because he didn’t think I was a loon (or so he says) for photographing my dinner despite initially me saying I wouldn’t as I’d been there so often. But Coast to Coast had changed their menu! My favourite St. Louis ribs were gone and they just had regular baby back ones and the dishes were slightly different, which therefore justified more photos Winking smile

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I had my regular chicken wings to start (still good and fairly similar to before), baby back ribs for main with sweet potato fries (which, though smaller than the jumbo ones, were still pretty damn tasty), followed by millionaire’s waffle (a waffle with honeycomb ice cream, honeycomb chocolate balls and chocolate syrup).

When I ordered the pudding the waitress informed me that there were no honeycomb balls left. I jokingly said (well, I was sort of joking) what else could she put on top then and she said how about Oreo crumbles? Sounds good. Then five minutes later she came back to the table with a little bowl of honeycomb chocolate bowls and whispered they were from the bar and used in the milkshakes but I could have them. Amazing! Great service!

And happily I wasn’t the only one eating everything on my plate for the three courses (and he even had a thick shake!) Major kudos there Winking smile All in all I lovely evening. Though I was stuffed.

I knew I wasn’t in a chance to get a PB for the half the next day so I wasn’t too worried about feeling so full of non-race ideal food. Though I did want a hard effort – ideally I was aiming for sub 1:40. I know I’m not in PB shape and that seemed like a realistic target, maintaining around 7.30min/miles. I’ve also done a lot of long runs having had a big meal (ribs included) the night before so I wasn’t stressed about it.

I’ll recap the race in another post, but all in all it was a great weekend.

How was your weekend?

Has a favourite restaurant of yours ever changed it’s menu for the better or worse?

How old is your local parkrun?

Long run company and an epic refuel

Living on the South coast of England at the moment is quite interesting with storm Imogen howling about the place. Last night it was crazy; ridiculously strong winds, lashings of rain, thunder and lightning. All very exciting, but not much fun for Alfie, my dog, who freaked out. Then he decided (by the way this was 1am) that the safest place for him to sleep would be on my chest. This slightly restricted my breathing I must say…

Luckily the weather seemed only to be terrible in the evenings over the weekend. Saturday morning was actually OK at parkrun, albeit very windy. Our new signs had arrived! So much lighter than the previous ones. IMG_8174This was great in theory (less effort carrying them along the course to the right spots) but it meant in the wind they were in danger of blowing away. They had to be stuck very firmly into the ground.IMG_8176

The ‘Keep Right’ signs are huge! And we have so many now. Because our course is three laps there are quite a few spots where people are overtaking or coming back in a different direction and some of the course is fairly narrow so it really requires people to be sensible and, well, keep right. We don’t have a huge number of people at our parkrun (150-250) but if it’s busy then it will become quite dangerous and collisions could happen. Happily though the signs seemed to work (previously we had two very small ‘Keep Right’s).

It was clear fast times weren’t going to be easy due to the wind. Part of the course runs alongside the seafront and the wind just blows straight across you making it very tough running in a straight line. Though it did push us up one of the hills which is always much appreciated! I took it steady (I think that’s always what I do now, I want it to be a good effort but not full-blown sprint). On the third lap I caught up with the usually very speedy Chris, who I used to be faster than but since my injury and him getting better and better he’s probably a 30-50 seconds faster than me overall, and Mark (very speedy). They’d decided to take it easy, rather than me suddenly become super speedy Winking smile Mark helped pace me to a fast finish which was tough but helpful.

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My time was 23:04 which I’m pleased with considering the wind and the effort I put in.IMG_8213

After clearing down I had to dash off to get ready for a lunch out with my mum and Di (Ben’s mum who I still keep in touch with).

We headed to Hayling Island where we had a nice walk along a coastal path (incidentally along part of the Portsmouth Coastal marathon route) and then headed inside, out of the wind, to have some lunch at The Ship Inn.IMG_8218

Between the three of us we shared a mezze board, which had a lovely selection of dips (hummus, tzatziki, taramasalata and an olive dip), feta, roasted tomatoes and pita bread. Very tasty. For mains we all had the fish stew, which was lovely big chunks of salmon, haddock and prawns in a tomato broth with sourdough bread on the side. We were all rather saintly and forwent pudding. It was a nice light lunch I must say, which is a change from my usual as of late!

During the week I’d received a message from a woman I used to know a few years ago, Shantha. She’s an awesome runner and had been chosen for the 26.2 Project for Women’s Running magazine in 2014. Through their very cool sounding scheme she trained and ran the London marathon in an incredible time of 3:19:20 (though her PB is around 3:14!). Anyway, she messaged me and asked if I fancied doing a long run with her as our paces seemed to be similar (she reads my blog: hi Shantha!). Normally I do most of my long runs on my own unless I’m combining it with a race so I was a bit nervous at first. What if I’m really slow? What if we have nothing to talk about?

I really needn’t have worried though. We met at Royal Victoria Country Park Sunday morning and straight away were nonstop talking. She’s training for the Race to the King ultra marathon in June (52 miles!!) and had previously run a longish run the day before and needed to run about 14 miles. I needed to run 17 miles so we agreed I’d add on the miles at the end. She’d planned a lovely route around Netley, Hamble and Burseldon. We were off-road at times in the mud and splashing through puddles and there was a tough stretch at the beginning on shingle and some testing hills throughout but otherwise it was a lovely relaxed run. The pace felt good though I did worry I was going too slow for her. I wasn’t sure I could have gone faster – not when the terrain was more varied than I’m used to on a long run. We even caught a little chugboat ferry to cross a small stretch of water (£1.50 and took less than 5 minutes – brilliant!).IMG_8219

Ferry boat selfie

It was such a nice change to chat away on a run instead of just zoning out. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a solo long run – mentally it’s just so refreshing. But it was nice to chat to someone so likeminded and at a nice pace. It was also really interesting hearing about her training for the ultra. The miles ticked by and soon we were back at RVCP and saying goodbye. Thank you Shantha for such an enjoyable run! Hopefully we’ll do it again soon.

In the end I had about 4.5 miles to find to get to 17 and I popped on my podcast to get me through. My legs were feeling fatigued and now I was on my own it felt quite tough mentally. I decided to just run a loop and do some of the Netley parkrun but it did feel like treading water in terms of not being very mentally satisfying. Running loops to get miles in never is. But I got it done and felt fantastic at the end. 17 miles done!

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Average pace overall of 8.30min/miles which I’m really chuffed with considering the terrain. Some good miles in the bag!

I got back in my car afterwards and felt on top of the world. Honestly if I could bottle that post-long run feeling it would sell for millions. I got home, ate my breakfast (I didn’t eat before I ran – though I had made sure I had a big meal the night before. I think this was pushing my capabilities of running fasted though. I’ll talk more about this on another post), showered, walked Alfie and then treated myself to a Starbucks. Starbucks is dangerously close: five minutes by car. I took it home, sat on my sofa, got Runner’s World out and fully relaxed.

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I was so chilled it was lovely. I did some odd jobs and just kind of floated around in a post-long run fatigue and satisfaction.

I met up with my parents for an early dinner at….Coast to Coast (I know, we’re obsessed). We were celebrating my dad’s birthday early (which is Valentine’s Day) and we all love that restaurant so it made sense! I was absolutely famished. I’d had breakfast (well, porridge for lunch considering the timing) and though I’d had some good snacks during the day I was FULLY ready for a big meal.IMG_8250

I went for chicken wings to start (delicious), then the St Louis ribs for main (with the BBQ sauce this time – which made them far more tender) and chocolate brownie for pudding. I felt quite stuffed but absolutely satisfied. Yum.

Then I headed home and had an early night. I was pooped!

Have you been affected by any of the storms recently?

 Do you workout or run fasted?

Do you prefer to run long runs alone or with others?

No parkrun and no race

Although I was looking forward to the weekend gone, I was a bit down that I wouldn’t really get a good lie-inI normally get up four times in the week at 5am to go to the gym and around 6am on the other day so I like to sleep a bit later at the weekend to ‘catch up’ (although I know there’s to much science to catching up on sleep but it feels good!).

My university friends were popping down on Saturday and as always I’d planned to do parkrun. But as I was meant to meet one of my friends at the station at 10.30am it was going to be a bit of a push, what with showering and getting myself sorted. It would also mean, to save time, I’d have breakfast before parkrun and this would mean a 6.30am wake-up. On Sunday I was doing the Stubbington 10k and wanted to run 6 miles beforehand, so again another early morning.

Luckily though I’d got Monday off so I knew I could at least sleep later then. But as I thought more about Saturday I realised it was causing me a lot of stress to make parkrun and meet my friend on time (and being on time is my New Year’s Resolution…). So to make life easier on me I decided to forgo parkrun. Sad times indeed. To be honest though, I probably did need a week off to reignite the parkrun love again.

So Saturday morning I slept in until 8am which was just glorious. Then I got my running kit on, walked Alfie and then got on with my lonely 5k round my block.IMG_7541

It was VERY cold. I’d decided straight off the bat to attempt to be speedy, which was ideal considering how cold it was. I put some music on and just focused on finishing. My hands, despite wearing my Nike gloves, were freezing. My face was numb. I know we’re very lucky to not have any snow but it was very cold!

I’m really pleased with my splits. It was a pretty flat 5k with a few turns and a couple of sharp (but short) inclines at the end) so the fact that I was able to do a negative split is really encouraging. My time was 22:41 and I came FIRST overall (in the race in my head… haha).5k

I was able to then sort myself out and get ready and be on time to pick my friend up without having to stress or rush. Obviously I missed parkrun and everyone there (especially as it was a couple of friend’s 200th parkrun!) but it had to be done.

 

It was lovely to see my uni friends, as always, and they got to see my new flat. Then it was time to head off for some lunch. So, er, this is embarrassing. We went to Coast to Coast… this was my fourth time in pretty much as many weeks. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you probably notice that when I like something food-related I’ll just keep eating it or keep going there again and again until I’m sick of it. Jamie’s Italian for example… Porridge for breakfast (this has been happening now for over 10 years – no toppings, just plain; yes, I am that boring)… Apples… Cake.

So apparently because I raved a lot about it they wanted to go. What can I say, it was their choice! 😉 And they all loved it and said they wanted to go again. Success! (Also, I’m not the only re-offender, I know several people who have gone back a few times… *cough* Mark).Coast to Coast

This time I went for chicken wings with a BBQ rub for starters, which was simply divine. Then I decided to try the baby back ribs for main with sweet potato fries (last time I had the St Louis’ ribs which were huge) and then finally the carrot cake. The baby back ribs were far more tender than the St Louis ones but smaller (I’m the greediest person alive so for a normal person they’d be just fine). The carrot cake was delicious and on par with the brownie I had last time.

After my friends left I headed to my parents’ house which is just five minutes from the start of the Stubbington 10k, the race I thought I was signed up to. I realised from other people’s posts in my running club’s Facebook group that I was missing a confirmation email and my bib number. After scouring the entry list I realised I had in fact not signed up at all. What an idiot. I’m not quite sure how I had assumed I had!

So my plans of running 6 miles, then running Stubbington 10k were scuppered and I planned a long run instead on my own. I wasn’t too sad as I wasn’t planning on racing anyway and it saved a lot of faff in the morning of getting my bib and getting to the start in the morning. My parents didn’t have to come and support me so they could have a chilled morning – though my mum, bless her, did ask if I wanted them to come and support me somewhere on my long run! Haha, could you imagine?12.6 miles

I did run about 4 miles of the Stubbington 10k route anyway, just about an hour before everyone else did. I saw the 1km markers and the drinks station with the bottles all stacked up neatly and a few marshals. A friend from the club also ran with me a little way as she was warming up before the race which was nice. Then I veered off the route and carried on with my run. I felt really good running. I rarely look at my watch on long runs and just run at a speed I’m comfortable at. This will slow down when the long long runs happen though I’m sure.

Better than last week was how I felt post long run and for the rest of the day. I had no headache and didn’t feel drained. I ate well through the day and actually felt pretty normal.

Though I did have a nice relaxing evening of watching one of my favourite films, You’ve Got Mail. I literally smiled the whole way through it. It’s such a classic and I just love Tom Hanks.

IMG_7582Post run

As I said, I also had Monday off and had another lie-in. It’s quite amusing that on Friday I thought I’d be struggling with no lie-ins and I actually got three solid night sleeps and lie-ins! I went to the gym in the morning and then had a reflexology appointment at midday (more on that in another post – but, spoiler alert, it was amazing). And I got my hair cut, which happens pretty much once a year. My hair was so long it was driving me up the wall with washing it and blow drying it. Now it’s a lot more manageable and a lot neater, but pretty much exactly the same. I’m not one for huge changes to my appearance 😉 So a standard good weekend for me: friends, running, good food and cake!

Do you have restaurants and food you always go back to?

How has the weather been round you? I much prefer it being cold and dry than wet and mild.

Have you ever thought you’d signed up to something to find out you hadn’t?