A little bit of this and that

I was down to run the Great South Run on Sunday but I’ve decided not to anymore. I’m actually quite pleased about this considering how blooming windy it is at the moment! What is going on??

Ben’s obviously not running it either and we’ve been invited to a church ‘welcoming’ thing for our friend’s baby so we decided to give it a miss this year. And though my foot is feeling better I just don’t want to risk it. It’s such a faff of a race; so many people, difficult to park, crowded…and I didn’t enjoy it at all last year (I hurt my knee). Lots of people from my running club are doing it so it is a shame in that respect and it was £41 for entry!! And you can’t even transfer your bib to someone else or defer. *Grumble grumble*

Anyway, I thought I’d write a random post of bits and bobs that have been going on – a collection of titbits, if you like, that didn’t make the cut for a post of their own.

I often go for a walk every lunch time at work for about 20 minutes. Usually to the nearby  big Tesco or sometimes I mosey about a few charity shops. That might sound a bit sad but it’s a habit I’ve had since university when I was looking for cheap books or DVDs. But really any shop with this sign will pull me in regardless:

Charity shop selling cake Cake and charity, a match made in heaven 😀

Speaking of cake, Ben, our friend Nathan and I went to that lovely restaurant, Zippers, in Port Solent again. We went there a few weeks ago and I really wanted to go back because they had an amazing salad bar. Last time I went I just went for the salad bar as a starter which meant I could only visit it once (though I did pile it high to get my money’s worth). This time I decided to go for it as a main so I could keep going back as many times as I wanted (hello, I’m a salad machine).

Zippers meal There were chickpeas, feta, roasted vegetables and just a whole host of veggies. SO GOOD. I’m pretty sure they thought I was a bit strange having three monster plates of salad. But I love it! And the sweet potato fries on the side as well… and the chocolate fudge cake for pudding as it was so good last time. It’s a good job this restaurant is just that little bit too far to go back every week (unlike Nando’s).


It really helped get me motivated for a cycle the next day as well (a thick slab of chocolate fudge cake with chocolate sauce and ice cream has a good way of doing that). And I got to wear my new cycling jacket (from Aldi!! Cheap as chips but the quality is awesome!)

IMG_8280I haven’t cycled in over 5 weeks and I optimistically thought I could keep up with the guys from the club but after about 6 miles I told them to go on as I just couldn’t keep up. They were lovely and told me to not be silly but I just felt they’d get a better ride without me and I didn’t want to feel pressured to keep up. So I pedalled off for a solo slog. I got in 23 miles in the end but bloody hell it was hard. It’s amazing how quickly you lose it when you don’t do it regularly. I was puffing and panting all the way round and going a lot slower than before. But regardless, it was a good workout. My legs afterwards felt pooped.

Annoyingly it was quite muddy and wet on the roads and having a white bike is just ridiculous.

IMG_8282 Normally I wouldn’t be precious about this sort of thing. It’s a bike, it’s going to get muddy. It’s hardly going to win awards for what it looks like. But we keep the bikes in the living room as we don’t have a garage (only a car port) so we don’t have a proper place to store them (let’s not talk about the Shed of Death), which means I do actually have to clean it. Well, it was lovely and shiny afterwards anyway.

And related to cycling (smooth segue…?) in one of my orders from Wiggle they forgot to send my Haribo with it (they always send a packet of sweets with your order) and I Tweeted about it saying I was sad I missed out. They generously said they’d send me some and a few weeks later I received a post office slip saying I needed to pay £1.20 for unpaid postage. I had no idea what was being posted but paid it anyway out of curiosity.

IMG_8264 Then the next day lo and behold I received an envelope with two packs of Haribo in from Wiggle. It was very nice of them to send it to me, but for £1.20!? They needn’t have bothered! The sweets are probably worth 10p! Oh Wiggle, what a shambles. But in fairness to them they have given me a £2 Wiggle voucher to make up for it. Well play, Wiggle. Well played.

Anyway I’ll leave it there with just one last photo…


Alfie avidly watching the telly. He loves getting involved 😉 and as you can see, my very clean bike in the background 😀

Do you often buy things online? Are you fan of Wiggle?

Are you a fan of buffets or salad bars?

Do you look for bargains in places like charity shops or cheaper supermarkets, like Aldi or Lidl? I’m not a shopping snob, I love a bargain as long as the quality is decent.

Jam-packed active weekend

Wow where did August go? Did it even happen? It’s scary how quickly the year is flying by.

This weekend was jam-packed. Like non-stop. I love weekends like that but it doesn’t really give you time to relax and take stock. It started Friday night with me rushing home to meet up with some of my running club for a 20 mile bike ride. As usual I was the slowest of the group – and they weren’t even pushing it! I felt bad that I might be slowing them down but they were all lovely and waited for me if I got too far behind. This cycling business is tough work!

Then I got home, quickly showered, dressed and headed out with Ben to enjoy a nice night at the pub with Kyle (our sports massage therapist and running guru friend – he writes his own blog HERE) and his lovely wife, Sophie. As Ben and me weren’t going to parkrun the next day we decided to enjoy a bit of a drinking evening. We also had a cheeky Indian as well. Good fun!

The next morning we had a luxurious lie-in, had a lazy breakfast and then made our way to the swimming pool. Ben was going to do some lane swimming (he’s still injured) while I did my pool running. Ben’s a great swimmer and he does quite enjoy – unlike me who is a) rubbish and b) hates it.

Pool runningMy new flotation belt. It’s just not running 🙁

Unfortunately the swimming pool was having a “float time” and was heaving with kids. We’re not particularly child-friendly people so this was a *bit* of a nightmare. Ben couldn’t even swim as there were no lanes (we had rung up to check we could swim…clearly“swimming” can be interpreted in different ways). It was screaming mayhem!

IMG_7803 Check out those hotties!

I had piled my hair on my head to keep it dry as your head doesn’t go under the water when you’re pool running – bonus! I had brought goggles though just in case (that’s what’s round my next in case you wondered).

Ben attempted to swim but it was tricky due to the sheer number of kids so he mainly kept me company while I splashed about. I have no idea if I was doing the pool running right so he checked out my form underwater for me bless him.

I’ve watched a few YouTube videos and read a bit about it. So I was trying to master and maintain the correct technique. It was very dull though so to jazz things up I decided to do intervals. I sped my legs up as fast as I could for 30 seconds and then went bit easier for one minute. Suddenly things were a lot harder! I was puffing and panting away. It was tough but in a weird way. It was hard effort to keep my legs moving fast and my arms going, but there was no impact. All in all a good 30 minute work out I think. Some children started jumping in the area where I was floating and splashed me. I gave them the death stare and they never came back 😉

I’ll keep you updated how the pool running continues as I plan on doing it as much as I can in order to replicate normal running. When I get back into running after my mini break I’ll keep at it to supplement my gentle come back. Well that’s the plan anyway!

I did think this was slightly ironic in the changing rooms on the lockers…

IMG_7798Come on! Seriously? Mock me at every turn why don’t you, universe!

Anyway it didn’t feel like the hardest workout of my life but it felt like something at least.

Later we had a lovely meal at Ben’s mum’s that evening. Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I love spending time with my family and it was nice catching up. And the food was so good! We had a lovely choice of puddings as well – fruit, ice cream, meringues and homemade rhubarb crumble. Ben went for everything.

IMG_7827 Underneath the mass of ice cream and meringues there is a HUGE slice of rhubarb pudding I assure you.

The next morning we met up with our friend, Nathan, and went for a 41 mile ride on the bike. This is my longest ride to date! I did find it really tough from the start – my legs felt like lead and I had no energy (could this be from the pool running..??). The route wasn’t easy and it was really warm.We’d decided to not eat breakfast before going so half way we could stop for something to eat in a little cafe and then continue to the end of the ride.

Annoyingly I’d somehow started my Garmin 10 minutes before we actually started cycling and only realised when it told me my first mile was 14 minutes long. So I had to restart it.

It was a nice cycle as we’re all reasonably the same speeds so there was no pressure and no worries. There were a fair number of hills but we kept each other going. At 21ish miles we went to Lilly’s in Wickham (where I’ve previously been for afternoon tea a few times) and we had breakfast (at about 11am…).

The boys had waffles with bacon and maple syrup but I went for a full English as I was starving (no photo, too hungry sorry). Slightly regretted that decision though when I got back on the bike. I was so full! Thought I might be sick as we hit some up-hills. Foolish, Anna!


We didn’t break any speed records but it was hard work for us newbies. Definitely a tough long workout!

To keep our Sunday working hard we got showered and dressed and met back up with Nathan to go for a long walk in the New Forest with Alfie.

IMG_7835We were all feeling pretty knackered but it was a nice walk. The route said 10k but in the end it was almost 7.5miles!!


By the time we got home it was almost 6pm and I’d only had two apples since my brunch. Needless to say I was starving. Ben and me had lunch/dinner (?!) and collapsed on the sofa. Exhausted! Even Alfie was worn out bless him.

IMG_7847 Usually he hates car journeys but he was so tired when he got into the car he just laid down and chilled.

It’s funny because usually if I don’t run at the weekends it can seem a bit empty and not that ‘epic’, if you know what I mean? I adore running and I love my long runs, but it was really nice to do something completely different. The long cycle was epic and we felt so good afterwards. I fell into bed before 9pm and was asleep straight away. I had the beautiful exhausted feeling that my body had been worked hard in a good way. Obviously I don’t need running or cycling to make my weekends good, but I’m an active person and can’t just sit on the sofa all day long. That’s not how I relax.

And in terms of the impending marathon? Ben and me have agreed to take each day as it comes without thinking to far ahead. I can’t think about what ifs at the moment. I haven’t decided if I will do it or not yet. It’s very much up in the air, but I’m only thinking about the day I’m on at the moment, not the weeks that are coming. Otherwise I might be sick with panic…

How do you like to spend your weekends if you got to do everything you wanted?

Have you done a long bike ride before?

Do you enjoy going to the swimming pool?

A busy weekend of all the things I love

Happy Monday lovely people. I hope you all had a great weekend.

Mine was bittersweet. Ben is sadly injured. He’s marathon training like me for Berlin (end of September, less than six weeks- PANIC). And, like I mentioned a few posts ago, he went to the Ultra 12 event and ran 4 laps of 5 miles over 12 hours. He was already slightly injured before going into it (although he hadn’t told me this – he’d only said he had a small niggle) and Ultra just pushed him over the edge. He’s seen our physio and the outcome is he’s sprained his knee and can’t run for a week and then see how it is.

This meant all plans for him running at the weekend dissolved and he was in a Dark and Shady mind space. I feel so sorry for him as I know exactly what this is like, being injured while marathon training. But he’s got so many miles in the bag already and if it’s only a week (even if it’s two or three weeks) he’ll be absolutely fine. Ben is determined and strong willed, even if he doesn’t get the training he wants he’ll still do Berlin.

But it meant Saturday I was off to parkrun on my own.

Netley Abbey August morningBen decided to have a lie-in instead which I could totally understand and I went down early to help set up.

Volunteering Parkrun It’s always a nice crew of people who volunteer setting up so there’s always a bit of banter and good conversation which helped with me being Ben-less.

Ben and me recently got Steve Way t-shirts so I wore mine to test it out.

Steve Way tshirtMy not-so-pregnant-anymore running friend was at parkrun which was lovely. Ages ago I posted about how she was still running while pregnant and doing amazingly (find it HERE). Well she had her baby boy about 10 weeks ago and has been getting back into running. So when we started parkrun and she was running a good clip I decided to hang on to her a bit – it’s always easier following someone doing a good pace than doing it on your own.Netley parkrun 16.08.14Karen, my not-so-pregnant-anymore friend, running next to me 

I felt good on the last lap so decided to speed up a little bit and managed to get 22:08 and third female which I was chuffed about. Nice tempo run!

IMG_7630 Then, after clearing down, it was back to the Wounded Soldier. I let him off housework duties so he could mope a bit more and then we had to dash for some coffee with Ben’s mum.

IMG_7637Alfie loves Ben’s mum as she always gives him doggie chocolates

Then I managed to persuade Ben to go for dinner at Nando’s for our friend, Nathan’s, birthday.

Nando's - Nathan's birthday Whole chicken and double salad = perfection

Chicken and beer, what more could you need? While chomping away on chicken Ben and Nathan planned to do a swim in the morning and then a cycle. I was planning a long run so decided to join the cycle afterwards.

The next morning I got up early and did 13.1 miles. It did feel like a hard slog for the first half and from mile four onwards I started getting very thirsty. I foolishly hadn’t brought any water thinking the temperature was cool enough. I started fantasying about drinks and wondered if I could beg for water from a shop as I had no money. At 7.5 miles I realised I was quite close to Ben’s mum’s house and as it was 9.15am it wasn’t too early…I rang her and she was more than happy with me dropping by to grab some water. Bliss! Bit of a strange experience to talk to someone on the phone mid-run though!


Ignore the fact that the mile numbers don’t make sense – I stopped to stretch after the first mile and randomly stopped my Garmin completely. So annoying! The run took just under 1:50 which I’m pleased with. I felt stronger towards the end so picked up the pace a bit. It’s funny because Saturday’s parkrun the work was all happening in my lungs and heart, whereas Sunday’s run my lungs and heart felt fine, it was all to do with my legs which is how it should be I think.

After getting back and foam rolling a bit I then had breakfast and quickly changed my top to get ready to cycle with the boys.


Straight away my legs felt like lead. It was a good cycle but it was tough. Usually our 15 mile route is fine and I can speed off along the straights but honestly I felt like an old lady. But it was nice to spin the legs. When we got home it took about 10 minutes for me to take my socks off though as I was so shattered.

As Ben and Nathan went to the pub to watch the football, I showered, reluctantly walked (shuffled?) Alfie round the block and then promptly collapsed onto the sofa with half a watermelon and chilled for a bit. Then Ben returned and we headed to my parent’s for the piece de resistance…afternoon tea.

Awkwardly Ben’s football team had lost and my dad’s football team had won (same match) but they were good sports about it (whew). It also helped Ben was four beers down by the this point and like a hyperactive child.

Afternoon tea 17.08.14We went to the same place we went last week (The Tea Rooms in Lee-on-Solent) and it was lovely. Roast chicken sandwiches, a beautifully tasting scone with cream and jam and carrot cake. Ben had coconut and lemon cake and my dad had Victoria sponge (my mum just had cream tea).

As we went for a walk along the seafront Ben spotted an ice cream shop and jokingly (or so I thought) said he really fancied ice cream. I called his bluff and he so he went and bought one!

IMG_7670 By this point Ben is both hyped up on alcohol and sugar. Bouncing all around the place, climbing walls and just generally being good fun. I’m glad he was feeling in a better mood (even if it was under the influence…).

IMG_7676 Finally a happy chappy with his ice cream 🙂

And then we headed home to crash, both from exertion and sugar, on the sofa. Another weekend complete.

When you’re feeling down, how do you make yourself happy again?

What’s your favourite ice cream? I really can’t stand the Mr Whippy ice creams, I like the proper stuff!

Have you ever cycled after a long run? Triathletes are just amazing! It was very hard.

A proud daughter and enjoying cycling

Last week was unbelievably busy. Mainly due to work but also life in general. I do love being busy and feeling the thrill of getting lots done, but it also means lots of other bits and pieces get pushed down the priority list.

I wanted to recap on a few things that have been happening round here, like the other weekend my dad completing his first ever 5k race. It was called Boys Against Cancer and was basically the male equivalent of Race for Life. Both Ben and my dad were taking part as well as a friend’s husband and their son.

Boys Against Cancer 5kMy dad has been on the quest for losing weight. He recently got a Garmin Vivofit (really want on of these!) and has been walking more and being a bit more conscious of what he’s eating.

It was really strange for me to get up early on the Sunday morning and watch Ben getting ready for a race I wasn’t taking part in (girls aren’t allowed). Ben was fairly nervous as he wanted to try and blast it and get a good time.

The weather was lovely, maybe a little on the warm side for running but perfect for spectating 😉 My dad was not going to run it but power walk it and was really keen to do it in under an hour. He was nervous so I said I’d walk round with him from the sidelines as much as I could and give him water if he needed it.

Support crew for 5k Got my bag full of water bottles!

I spied a guy warming up and we all bet he would win (he did – by a long way!). He just looked like that type you know? Then we were off. My dad’s pace was amazing. He is a brilliant power walker! He set himself targets of other walkers to overtake and did brilliantly. I saw Ben whizz past a few times (it was a crazy two loop course going all over a rugby field).

IMG_7441 He looked very speedy and comfortable.

My dad was so worried he’d be the last one to finish but in the end there were loads of people behind me and he overtook a fair number as he went.

5k Sprint Finish For the last 200m he started to run and did a marvellous sprint finish. I was so proud of him! Everyone was clapping and cheering, it was brilliant.

Dad Post-5k He was pooped by the end!

Ben got a new PB of 21:16. He was ecstatic. And my dad got well under an hour with 47:38 of which he was very chuffed with. Good times all round!

On another note, I’ve been getting a little bit addicted to cycling. I am obviously still training for Berlin but I felt a cut back week was needed (mentally and physically) so decided to go for some solo cycles.


Without trying to annoy any cyclists out there (this is merely my observation and purely my inability at being good at cycling!) but I do find cycling easier. I find that you can coast a lot more and an hour’s worth of cycling is definitely not equivalent to an hour’s worth of running – for me anyway. My standard 15 mile route goes up quite a few hills but there are also a lot of down hills where you can freewheel and speed along quite easily. My heart rate never peaks to what it would when running and I find this frustrating.

After talking to some more experienced and better cyclists, the solution is just to work harder, go faster, go longer and find more hills! In terms of my cardiovascular system, I’m fine with cycling but it’s my legs that seem to struggle to get going any faster. I guess it’s different muscles. But hopefully all good cross training for running!

And because it wouldn’t be my blog without a bit of running…we had a fun parkrun the other week. I cycled beforehand (19 miles) and then did parkrun with Ben and a friend, helping pace the friend. My legs, jeeze, were like bricks!! I am in awe of triathletes, seriously hard running and despite running so much slower than normal.

Parkrun selfies July We then enjoyed a lot of cake afterwards as it was our lovely friend, Sheryl’s, 100th parkrun (!!!!).

parkrun Cake Selfie#parkrunselfie

Such good cakes, especially the chocolate banana loaf. And then a 10 mile ride home. I was shattered! But great to mix things up a bit 🙂

What’s your favourite form of cross training?

Have you ever supported someone at a race?

How do you support someone who is trying to lose weight? My dad is the worst person when it comes to food and I try to be really firm with him to not eat rubbish. It helps I work with him so can keep an eagle eye on him (much to his delight I’m sure) but I worry so much and he knows I do it because I love him, but it can be very hard. He has the best intentions but the worst will power.

Week #1 Marathon Training

Morning all.  Don’t worry, I’m not planning on documenting every single week of marathon training (assuming I do manage to complete all the training without getting injured…there’s confidence for you). But as it’s the first week, why not.

My marathon training plan is HERE. Alongside this I’m also doing the ‘Ab Challenge’ which I started on the 1st June. This includes, every day (except for a few rest days), sit ups, crunches, leg raises and a plank. Each day the number increases (for the plank, the length of time increases). It’s no joke now having done Day 15.

Monday – no running, but I did a 45 minute strength workout after work.

This included:
– 100 weighted squats
– 3x 10 weighted calf raises
– 3mins toe lifts
– 2x 20 of kick-backs, leg swings and hydrant lifts

Tuesday – 3 miles easy run in the morning. For my easy runs I’m trying to keep to around 8.30mins/mile which is a comfortable speed. I also did another strength workout after work.

This included:
– 3mins calf raises (no weight)
– 3mins toe lifts
– 3x 1min side planks
– 2x 1min plank with leg touches to the side
– 3x 30 Russian twists

IMG_6898 Wednesday – We had the RR10 that evening. This was an off-road 4.5mile race (the RR10 is a set of league races with all the clubs in our area).

I really wasn’t feeling motivated. I was in a bit of a bad mood anyway. Then they delayed the start by 15 minutes and that just furthered by lack of motivation. I ummed and arred about whether to run with Ben or on my own and push it. I decided to push it. Within the first mile I knew it wasn’t a good run. My hip was niggling (possibly because of the unstable terrain?) and I just felt tired.

RR10 #5 One of my team mates who wasn’t running cheered me on but at this point (maybe mile 2) I was considering dropping out. She shouted “just enjoy it!” when she realised I wasn’t feeling it. This really helped. Suddenly I realised, “hey, yeah I can just run this as slowly as I want and it doesn’t matter. Just get the miles in.”. My whole mood changed and I dropped the speed and just ran comfortably. Loads of people overtook me but I didn’t care. Eventually my friend Matt caught up (I was hoping Ben would catch up and I could run with him but he was having a rubbish run as he was exhausted (*cough* and hungover *cough*) after getting back from Bucharest earlier that day). So I ran with Matt instead and helped push him along (well sort of, I’m not sure who was pushing who!)

RR10 #5 2

I finished 39th or 38th position (can’t remember) out of the females. Previously I’ve been 10th and 11th but I actually didn’t mind. I’ve also come to realise I don’t like the RR10s one bit. They’re heavily competitive (you aim for position not time), they’re in the evening, they’re always a very short distance and they’re off-road so there’s a big chance of turning your ankle (which a guy at our club did). To me it’s not worth it during my marathon training. Sure it’s a good speed session but I’d rather do that with the club Tuesday night on road or on my own where the pressure (that I put on myself I hasten to add) is less. I know I sound extremely ‘sour grapes’ but the relief and weight off my shoulders felt when I decided not to do anymore was huge. I felt so much better.

Thursday – another after work strength session:

– 2x 1 min side planks
– 3x 30 heel taps
– 3mins toe lifts
– 3mins calf raises
– 3min bridge
– 10x 3 bridge leg lifts

[I’m focusing on areas that I know I’m weak and also making sue I have strong shins and calves as I’m terrified about getting shin splints – because let’s be honest, that’s the next thing I’m bound to get]

Friday – another easy 3 mile run in the morning.

Saturday – I didn’t get to Parkrun because my uni friends were down so I went for an earlier 3 mile speed run. I was chuffed with this. Not my fastest but on my own not too shabby!


Sunday – 5 mile ‘long’ run (fairly amusing but it will get longer later) I really enjoyed this.


I ran very comfortably, rarely looking at my watch and was happy to see my paces were around 8 minutes. Bodes well!

Total run miles: 18

After getting back from my run and Ben returning from his, we had breakfast and then (without showering – yep we’re that gross) we headed out for a 15 mile bike ride with our friend, Nathan. It was fairly hilly and we didn’t blast the speed so it was quite nice.

I was fairly shattered for the rest of the day. Onwards to Week 2!

Do you put pressure on yourself to the point you stop enjoying something?

What workouts have you enjoyed this week?

What workouts have you hated?