150 parkruns and a glamping experience

The weekend gone was truly fantastic. It was non-stop amazingness. The pinnacle of which was the Cakeathon race I did on Monday (there was a Bank Holiday weekend for most people in the UK so I enjoyed a long weekend). I will do a full race recap on the Cakeathon in another post because honestly it was just plain AMAZING.

My weekend started, as usual, with a parkrun. Originally the plan was to go to Southsea parkrun again with some running club friends but we realised it was Geoff’s, another running club friend, 150th parkrun (yes, 150) and he was running at Netley Abbey. So we decided to go there instead to help celebrate with him. Southsea can wait for another week! Geoff is one of Netley’s ‘core’ parkrun people and he is fantastic in his volunteering and general support – top guy!

He also brought 100 cakes to celebrate. All baked by his nephew (who’s a chef!). Each cupcake had “150” on them and they looked (and tasted) fantastic.IMG_0671

After setting up, I warmed up with a few guys and we discussed what we hoped to get that day. One wanted a sub-22, another a sub-23 and I wanted sub-21. I was so close last week. Also, different to normal, I had had breakfast and a black coffee before coming to parkrun that morning and wondered if this was the go-go juice needed to push the pace. Normally I don’t eat beforehand but I was having an early lunch.

IMG_0666Porridge, chia seeds, almond milk and a black coffee

As soon as the race began I knew I felt good. My pace was exactly where it needed to be and I felt smooth, strong and speedy. The second lap got tougher. I always find the middle mile the worst as you’re basically holding on for dear life and there’s still a way to go. On the last lap I could see Iwan Thomas (the Olympic 400m runner who’s hilarious on Twitter) ahead and decided to just stay as much with him as I could (well, behind him anyway).

My only problem was feeling sick on the last lap – which I put down to effort level and the breakfast I had in my tummy. But overall I did feel better; I could feel the energy in my reserves (OK this might have been psychological). My time was 20:34 and I was over the moon!! Fastest for the three lap Netley course (by a second) and eight seconds from my overall Netley PB (done on the flat cricket pitch course in 2013). Yesssss! But I was flat on my back at the end, pooped.

IMG_0669I obviously celebrated with one of Geoff’s cupcakes and a nice sit down in the cafe afterwards with the guys. The other two almost managed their goals but were still relatively happy overall. It was a hot morning!

From the results it said I was 2nd female, but I know I was third as my speedy friend Karen was first and I was overtaken early on by another girl. But she didn’t scan her barcode. Apparently she’s done this a few times – for what reason I’m not sure. I think this is a bit ridiculous. Why wouldn’t you? It just seems a bit unsportsman-like and makes a mockery of the parkrun. Don’t use the other runners for your run and then not go through the parkrun motions. If she doesn’t want to be on the results, don’t run the course. Simple. It also mucks up the results for everyone else.

Anyway Geoff force fed me another cupcake (who am I kidding?? There was no forcing…) and then I dashed off home to prepare (mentally and physically) for a camping hen do adventure…

My friend, Sarah, is getting married in July and she loves camping. In fact, she’s requesting for everyone to camp for their wedding (yes, really). They themselves are camping on their wedding night and where they’re getting married there are not hotels nearby. Madness. It was therefore no surprise the hen do would involve camping. Thankfully, it was more ‘glamping’ than proper camping. Though there was still no electricity, running water or toilets except for ‘on site’ a short walk from our tents.IMG_1267 I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the interiors of the tents were. Airbeds, carpet, duvets, pillows and a hamper full of utensils and cutlery. Very posh and swanky. And lovely fairy lights for the evening (battery-powered of course).

The hen do was going on until Monday but I couldn’t stay for the entire thing as I had the Cakeathon in Kent and was staying there on Sunday night. But I was able to do the Saturday activities at least. This involved hiring bikes and going for a nine mile cycle through the New Forest.

IMG_1266 There were 15 of us for this activity and we got three tandems as well. Cycling a tandem with someone is not easy – especially up hills! Initially when I heard the distance I was like “pffft! This is easy, I’ve cycled so much further!”. But with a load of excitable and non-cyclist females and three tandems…well, we took a long time!! It was bloody hard work cycling the tandem up hills I can tell you! And a fairly frightening process at that, especially for the person on the back who can’t see what’s going on.

Thankfully we survived. That evening we got dressed up (as best as you can really on a campsite) and headed to a local pub for some dinner.

IMG_1269 Initially everyone poo-pooed my chef salad selection…until they saw how massive it was and the size of the slices (wedges really) of brie I got as well. It was full of chicken, olives and the cheese. It was delicious. I also got someone’s unwanted goat’s cheese wedge. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much cheese before in one sitting! I also had a sneaky small bottle of Prosecco. The others were drinking, but not too heavily (that was Sunday’s plans I think) and I didn’t want a hangover so I stuck with one drink.

Pudding was a chocolate brownie with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. It was more a of crumbly cake…it let me down in the brownie department as I normally expect them to be dense and stodgy but I forced it down regardless… 😉 Tough times.

The evening involved just some girlie nattering and then falling asleep. It was cold though, but this is probably because in our tent we’d accidentally left a large air vent open which basically acted like an open window. The next morning we were woken by bright sunshine, children and birds. Nothing like being on a campsite!

Thankfully I could forgo the showers as I was leaving early and could shower at home. I also left having breakfast until home as well. They’d planned to go for brunch and I needed to get back to pack and get sorted for my next outing. But I did have a cup of tea using my friend’s camping kettle.


My mug of course

Quite a cool piece of equipment. I’ll have to invest in one of these if I intend to camp again…not sure when that’ll be though!! I’m a creature comforts kind of girl. Not high maintenance per se, just I like warmth and proper food.

After saying my good byes I headed home. I was able to shower, eat, pack, do washing and hoovering before being picked up by the lovely Laura, from my club, who was doing the Cakeathon too. And off to Kent we went! We live in Southampton so it was a good 2 hours 45 minutes away. Road trip!IMG_1271

Which obviously included a Costa stop to keep us going 😉

The Cakeathon (which I will recap properly soon) is a 3.2 mile lap race that you can complete as many times as you like within 6 hours. For every lap you complete you get a coloured wrist band.

One wrist band = one slice of cake

What a fantastic idea!! As soon as I heard about this race a few months ago I immediately went to sign up, but found it to be fully booked with a waiting list. I was devastated. But, due to high demand, they decided to run another event and those on the waiting list got first shot at applying, which I did immediately. I knew it was in Kent but, being the simple-minded geographically clueless idiot that I am, I thought that wasn’t too far away…Until I Google mapped it: almost three hours in the car! And it started at 8.30am. Riiiiiight. My friend had signed up too so we both decided to get a hotel for the night before. Hence the road trip!

And I shall leave it there…

How many parkruns have you done?

Do you enjoy camping?

If you run, what’s your motivation? Amongst many, many things, one of my reasons is cake. Simple!

Friday Randoms

It’s Friday! Woohoo! And it is really cold. Very frosty and chilly. But the mornings are lighter and the days are feeling longer. I thought I’d do a recap of the last few days and some random points I wanted to share.

Poor Ben, he pulled a muscle in his back on Tuesday evening…pulling on a jumper. Men! What are they like? He ended up being in agony. So the next day he took a day off work to try and recover but in the end he needed to go to the doctors. He couldn’t drive and I was at work so unfortunately he had to wait until Thursday when I could work from home.

I had a 5 mile run planned so got up early and did that Thursday morning and then we rushed straight out to get to the morning appointment. No time for a proper breakfast so this had to sustain me:


Black coffee and banana. It placated the starving beast within for a short while…

#1 Random Point – does anyone else detest the doctors? I appreciated everything they do, don’t get me wrong. But I feel at risk of catching something at the actual place. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit paranoid and OCD about dirt and germs, but seriously I will never touch those magazines no matter how much the front cover is screaming at me. And everyone there just looks depressed and ill. It’s not a happy place (which I guess is to be expected).

Anyway, after Ben had seen the doctor he came out looking a bit sheepish. His back just required a bit of time to heal as it was ‘only’ a pulled muscle and nothing serious. Ben did tell me he used his appointment wisely though.

#2 Random Point – Ben decided to talk to the doctor about a whole list of issues he’s been experiencing – back unrelated – to make his trip “worth while” (e.g. he’s had a sore foot for a while). Men hate going to the doctors, so when they have to go it’s almost like they’ve saved up a list of problems so they don’t have to go back for another 10 years.

We then went home and I got on with some work. Alfie was a bit confused with my presence and I think a little bit annoyed that I wasn’t sat on the couch with him enjoying some Alfie-Anna time.IMG_3818

I was sat at our dinner table trying to focus. Then this happened:


He jumped straight up on my lap as if to say “hellooo, remember me?” This makes using a lap top a bit tricky…

After giving him some snacks I managed to get him to fall asleep on the floor next to me so I could concentrate.


More coffee.

#3 Random Point – coffee tastes so much better in your favourite mug.

Oh speaking of mugs. I do have a mug at work which I leave in the kitchen. Now I know it doesn’t exactly have my name on it but it does annoy me when in the morning I go to make a coffee and find it’s not there. THEN later in the day I see that culprit with it and making their drink in it. Rude. I mean seriously, is it not clear?


Being at home, it was nice that I could have whatever I wanted for lunch. I had got myself in the mood for scrambled egg and cream cheese when I realised we only had two eggs, rather than my preferred three. So I rustled around and made myself a random combination of chicken, random veggies (carrots, mushrooms & spinach), plumbs, cream cheese and BBQ sauce.


The sweetness of the plumbs and BBQ went well with the creaminess of the cream cheese. Not a bad meal!

In the evening, after doing the food shop, I had my scrambled eggs so I was happy. I had cream cheese, mushrooms (again) and onion.

#4 Random Point – I’ve only just discussed a brilliantly easy way of finely chopping onions without being a whizz chef with an amazing knife.


By keeping one of the ends on it holds it all together so you can easily chop it. Many of you I imagine are now going “yeah, duh!” but I never knew this! [And I wanted to show off my favourite apple chopping board Smile]

#5 Random Point – we have so much cake still in our freezer it’s ridiculous.


This is pretty much the entire bottom drawer full of cake. Cake from our wedding, cake from last Christmas and cake from the Christmas before.

Speaking of cake. I had an attack of the munchies on Sunday and decided it was time to kill my mini bride.


This was the top tier of our wedding cake and it’s been sat just hanging around for ages .It’s fruit cake so it’s fine to last but those little people needed to go. As in, be eaten.


Ben had his groom as well. I was quite hyped up on sugar after that…but it was definitely worth it. RIP, mini bride.

Right, so it’s almost the weekend – hurrah! Tomorrow I have my 12 mile run planned for the morning, then I drive to Bristol to meet up with my university friends to celebrate one of their birthdays. Then I drive back Sunday. Busy busy but lots of fun I hope!

What are you up to this week?

If you’re married, what was your cake like? Ours was lemon for one tier, vanilla and jam for the middle tier, and then fruit for the top.

Do you have a favourite mug? I have a favourite coffee mug and a favourite hot chocolate mug (which is huuuge, I like my hot chocolates super-sized!)

Turn back? Never!

Dear Britain, please stop raining. It messes with everything. The commute is longer and more dangerous…


[Took photo while in stand-still traffic!]

…choosing an outfit (and shoes!) requires more thought [real-world issues here], Alfie has to stay in the kitchen longer after going outside… It makes for a very grumpy Anna. I wouldn’t mind if it’s really cold and dry. Rain is just so miserable. We don’t have it nearly as badly as others around the UK but it still sucks.

It also makes for very wet and muddy runs! I ummed and arr’ed about going for a run at lunchtime on Monday. I had brought in my stuff but I kept looking anxiously out of the window and watching the on-and-off rain. Also I knew the woman who had originally invited me to run with her group wasn’t in the office. So it would mean running with a bunch of guys I didn’t know as well…

In the end I sucked it up and went. The guys were still up for running despite the weather and sheer amount of rain we’d had over the weekend (“Rain? Pah! We are men!”). This time I’d decided to wear my shorts rather than leggings because my leggings just got covered in so much mud that it made more sense that my legs just got covered in mud instead and that I could wash them in the shower.

It began with a lot of slipping and sliding in lots of mud, then sploshing through fields with lots of surface water…and then we got to the path that runs parallel to the local canal. Well, where it should have been. Normal people would have seen the sheer amount of water and flooding and would have turned around. Nope. We continued on – thigh deep in freezing water. Still running!

To be honest, it was good fun. It made for a rather interesting (albeit wet) run. My feet and legs were numb, very pink, wet and muddy by the end.Muddy run

But it was great! And 6 miles, which I was so chuffed with as I haven’t run that distance in a while. My Garmin died of battery though which really annoyed me.


But all the guys had their Garmins on so at least I knew in the end it was about 6 miles (we were all beeping away on the run it was quite funny).

Anyway, it’s Wednesday! So here’s my WIAW (thanks, Jenn. Check out her blog to see what it’s all about).

I’ve got a bit of a mix of meals from different days as I’ve been changing things up a bit lately.

Breakfast: On Saturday I tried my hand at some coconut and oat pancakes. *Sighs* Disaster. My first one was promising…

Coconut pancake

But then it got progressively worse. They just all crumbled. So I just gave up and threw it all into a bowl.Coconut pancake 2

Despite how it looks, it tasted pretty good once I’d jazzed it up with some toppings:

Coconut pancake 4

I added some frozen berries that I’d microwaved with some cinnamon and then a dollop of Greek yogurt. Not too shabby for a disaster! If anyone has tips for coconut flour pancakes, please let me know! I used 1 tbs. oats, 3 tbs. coconut flour, 2 egg whites, 1/4 cup pumpkin puree and a splash of almond milk.

I also made some rather delicious coffee that we haven’t been able to try until now. We got it in America but thought it was just instant rather than ‘proper coffee’. And we didn’t have a coffee machine or a cafetiere so we couldn’t try it when we got home! But we got one the other weekend purely to try this coffee.

Coffee 24.11 (2)

French Vanilla…and it tasted fabulous. Not like donuts as I think Ben was secretly hoping Winking smile

Lunch: I loved the sound of Laura’s cauliflower coconut soup so I made a variation for lunch for Saturday and Sunday.


I fried a diced white onion in coconut oil, then added some diced garlic and then several large florets of cauliflower. Once that had cooked for about 5 mins, I added 1.5 cups veg stock, mixed herbs, then 1 cup full-fat coconut milk and 3 tbs. Greek yogurt. I cooked it for 5-6 mins and then whizzed it up using a hand blender. Really yummy!

Alongside this on Saturday I made some cornbread using Kelly’s recipe.


A really quick recipe using the microwave. It was lovely and light and great for dunking. I used a funny mug hence the weird shape.

And then Sunday I had the soup with some butternut squash roasted in coconut oil on the side.


These were great to dunk into the soup. Nom nom nom.

Dinner: I’ve still be clinging to my salads despite the weather, but I’ve been adding in some ‘warmer’ ingredients.

With our usual feta salad, I added more of the roasted butternut squash.

Halloumi and bsquash

And added some roasted sweet potato to our halloumi salad…

Halloumi and sweet potatoe

And then a range of roasted veggies to it another night…

Halloumi and r.veg

One night I also had some smoked mackerel that had been sat in the freezer for too long. So I added some Greek yogurt, some spices, garlic, lemon juice and whizzed it up to make a very yummy pate:

Mackarel pate

Absolutely heavenly! And so easy Smile

Snacks: well, obviously banana bread from the weekend has been picked at…


Very yummy. Definitely need to make more breads I think. Devine.

And more of these very nice yogurts:


Basically, I’ve really had some great days of nice food (perhaps not the best looking food: pancakes, I’m looking at you) but food nonetheless.

Fitness: obviously my off-road runs have been great! And what perfect timing with the weather haha. I hope to do three of those a week with the group but it really depends on how busy work is. And Pilates on Saturday was brilliant. I’ve also switched up my strength training a bit so I’ll do an update on that soon!

Do you enjoy running off-road?

What’s your favourite pancake variation? Have you tried coconut flour?

Have a lovely Wednesday Smile