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?

Those ribs though…

Marathon training has truly begun! I’m shattered. I did my first ‘proper’ long run yesterday and honestly I can’t imagine how I was able to run 16+ miles last year regularly!! But rolling back to Saturday…

I was really not feeling the parkrun love. This is really unusual for me as I’m a self-confessed parkrun addict. I sing its praises high and low, to runners and non-runners alike. I love it. But recently I’ve just felt a bit ‘meh’ about it. It’s likely that it’s a combination of some really rubbish weather, the winter course and the fact that I just don’t seem to be improving at all.

Saturday morning I was woken up by the bin men at 6.30am and my alarm was set for 7am and I just laid there thinking how much I didn’t want to go. Because I’d already said I’d help set-up and clear down I couldn’t just bail though, especially as sometimes they’re really stretched for people to help. I decided to put on some proper layers to stop myself being cold and miserable at least. I decided I’d much rather be overly hot for 25 minutes running but warm before and after. I could bring extra clothes to wear before we start (remember I’m there an hour before we run setting everything up) and then afterwards but it’s so much faff and I never have that much time from setting up and the run actually starting.

Anyway, basically I wore leggings and a long-sleeved top. Annoyingly it was actually quite a mild morning so I knew I was going to be very hot running but hey ho. Despite not really wanting to go, when I got there and saw my parkrun buddies (parkrun fwends! ;)) I cheered right up and, as always, enjoyed myself. I had to laugh as well as Geoff, one of the main Netley parkrun guys, had spent three hours cleaning the cones in the week.


They looked so shiny and clean… this did not last long!!

The run itself went OK. I still find the first lap really hard and the second one is more of a mental battle. I’m definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, a long distance runner. By mile three I was feeling more warmed up and I just want to finish and, similar to last week, put the pedal down and sped up. I’m getting good at these fast finishes!
Netley parkrun pace

My time was 23:40. Annoyingly still not getting quicker but quicker than previous recent weeks (not sure how I managed to get 22:59 in December!! Seems ridiculously hard at the moment).

I cannot wait for warmer and drier running as well. I get so muddy it’s ridiculous (and so does the inside of my car *sighs*). I also have to strip off in the shower otherwise I cover my floor with mud and dirt.IMG_7354The rest of the day was standard housework stuff and then I headed to my parent’s house. I had somehow managed to persuade them to go to Coast to Coast again (we went there last week). I know, I know, I’m a little obsessed. When I like a restaurant I tend to do it to death. I really fancied the ribs my granddad had last weekend and I literally could not stop dreaming about them. As my granddad was going home the next day it did seem a good way to say goodbye as he thoroughly enjoyed himself last week as well.

I went for the BBQ platter to share with my dad to start (same as I had here) and then I ordered the ribs for main. The funny thing is when I ordered them the waiter said to me, “I have to warn you, they’re a huge portion and it could be too much for you.” Erm, excuse me? I’m a whole-chicken-at-Nandos kinda girl, I think I’ll be fine thank you very much.IMG_7358I went for a dry rub rather than the BBQ sauce only because I really enjoyed it on the chicken wings I had and there was BBQ sauce on the table anyway. Out of all the ribs I’ve had (and I’ve had a lot) they were pretty damn good, but next time (which I’m sure there will be at some point…) I’ll go for the sauce as they weren’t as juicy as I like. Don’t get me wrong though, they were amazing. I was in meat heaven. By the time I got down to the last couple of ribs though I was really struggling. The meat sweats were starting 😉 But I finished them, much to the amusement of the waiter. Ha!IMG_7363We had a bit of a break and then decided on pudding. As I was ridiculously full I decided the carrot cake and ice cream that I was initially tempted by might push me over the edge and went for the brownie. The brownie was good but it wasn’t as dense as brownies normally are so it reminded me more of a fudge cake – which isn’t a bad thing! It came with chocolate honeycomb pieces on top and honeycomb ice cream, divine.

Then sleep needed to happen. Eating so much food is exhausting! I was slightly worried about my long run planned for the next day but the food was too good not to enjoy.

When I got up Sunday I actually felt fine, though I didn’t feel hungry (obviously) which I normally do in the morning when I wake up. I took Alfie for a walk and was pleased that the weather actually looked OK. Yes it was cold but there was barely any wind and no rain. Until 10 minutes into the walk and the heavens opened up. I decided it was time to get back home before both Alfie and I got soaked so I ran with him the last bit (I was wearing my running gear). I’ve never really run with Alfie before and he loved it! He was pulling me alone and really going for it. When I stopped, as I was worried I’d puff him out, he just kept trying to go on. And he’s speedy! I’m thinking he’s a 7min/mile dog (for at least a short distance anyway). He’s definitely more of a sprinter than me.

The rain didn’t seem like it was stopping any time soon and I wanted to get going so I popped my podcast on and headed out. It was tipping it down with cold rain and as I ran up the lane I seriously considered just giving up and stopping. I was soaked and cold. But I thought how much I’d regret not going and just sped up and got going. I was going too fast for my first mile but the incentive was to just get warm. Then the hail started and it seemed laughable. By the time I’d gotten a quarter of the mile up the road I was warm, into the flow and enjoying it. I saw other runners and cyclists and we all just smiled or laughed at each other at how ridiculous it was to be outside in such crappy weather – a king of “aren’t we mad??” sort of exchange.

11 miles

I had a different route from normal which actually took me along the Stubbington 10k route, which I’m doing next Sunday. It was quite nice to see what it would be like on my own.

Stubbington 10k is a local race I’ve wanted to do for the past two years but haven’t been able to because of injury. The start is five minutes from my parent’s house walking so it’s perfect. I won’t be racing though as I plan to run some miles beforehand and make it into a nice social long run.

Anyway, my long run was a dream. I felt smooth running and in the zone. I’m going too fast again I know but it felt natural. I also think that this is just how I do my long runs (at least these middle distance long runs anyway). I did most of my long runs for Liverpool at a similar pace and it worked well. I find it doesn’t become such a shock on marathon day when the pace is just a little bit faster or similar. I could be dancing with injury risks I know but the whole run felt fine and I felt fine afterwards, albeit tired and, well, like I’d run 11 miles. It’s ridiculous to me how I can get into the groove and run these paces so easily in a long run but when it comes to parkrun it just doesn’t happen. I ran a 7.30min/mile for mile 11 and I can’t seem to do that easily in parkrun!!IMG_7365

I felt fantastic after finishing. Really chuffed with myself and strong. Fingers crossed this continues! I have to say though it was a good while until I was hungry. Those ribs certainly did a good job!

What was clear though was how unused to long runs I am. I was shattered for the rest of the day and once I was finally hungry and had breakfast I was like a bottomless pit. But it’s all part of the process, my body will adjust and the miles will increase. I do love marathon training when it goes well!

What did you do this weekend?

What’s the furthest you’ve ran recently?

Do you ever get really strong cravings for certain foods or meals that you just have to satisfy?