The day before the Cheddar Gorge Marathon

Well I survived the Cheddar Gorge Marathon! I am so glad I did it, it was truly a fantastic race. I’ll do a full recap of it in another post but I’ll just say that it was tough, hilly but good fun. Marathon number four done!

Saturday I was quite chilled out. It’s funny because I’ve never felt this way the day before a marathon. I was nervous, yes, but more excited and strangely looking forward to it. With a vague finishing time of 4.30-5 hours in mind there was a lot of give so no pressures. I knew the terrain would be technical, hilly and generally tough. But while this was psychologically good to be fairly relaxed, this meant I was probably a bit too blasé when it came to proper preparation.

I felt I had the miles on my legs (though perhaps not enough trail running experience but I have been doing lots of hill work). What I mean by preparation is the food the day before. But I’ll roll back to the start of Saturday first.

I headed to parkrun in the morning to help set-up. It was a bit rushed and stressful as the guy who had the key to the shed where we keep all the parkrun paraphernalia was 20 minutes late. This meant we really had to get a move on to set the course up in time. Surprisingly though we did and it made us wonder what takes us so long normally – all the chatting probably!

Obviously with the marathon the next day I wanted to keep the pace fairly easy. Some people don’t like running the day before a race but I prefer it. I like to give my legs a good shake out, especially as the last time I ran was Thursday. My running club friend, Mark, and me ran together and pretty much chatted the entire way round. I always love parkruns the day before races because I know I shouldn’t push it and feel justified in taking it easy.

After packing things away I had to dash off to get home and sorted as my friend, Bhuvana, was hosting a garden party. She’s a (very close) friend from work so my mum and dad were invited too (my dad works at the same company as me) so they were pleased they could have a couple of drinks and get a lift there and back. I don’t normally drink anyway and it was hardly likely I would before a marathon anyway!

IMG_3266 I got to wear my new skirt again

There was a fantastic spread of Indian food (one of my favourite cuisines). Bhuvana knew I had a marathon the next day and was worried how the food would affect me so had made sure it wasn’t hugely spicy, bless her. I practically boasted that I had a stomach of steel and often had Indian takeaways the night before long runs. I’d be fine…!


There was chicken tikka (my favourite), chicken tikka masala, a chickpea curry, samosas, rice, naan bread, poppadoms, salad and dips. Well, I was in my element as you can imagine and went for pretty much everything.

IMG_3269 I’m not a rice fan but knew I needed something a bit more carby so I had a naan bread, which I’m usually not a fan of either but the sauce required something to dip in so you gotta do what you gotta do 😉

I had another plate and a half and was lovely and full. Pudding was an Indian ice cream but I gave it a miss as I knew it’d push me over the edge and I can always give or take ice cream (unless it’s with a chocolate brownie).

And what do you do after eating a large load of Indian food? Jump on a trampoline of course!


I love trampolines! I used to be in the trampoline club at school. It was brilliant. Though my tummy didn’t quite agree afterwards.

I had the usual conversations with a few non-runners when I mentioned about the marathon the next day. One said “how far is that? 25 miles?” and another “Is that in London?” which is always amusing. One woman said “I’m just happy to do 20 minute son the cross trainer every day and stay fit that way”. Absolutely fair enough – but to me that sounds unbelievably dull!

IMG_3274Bhuvana’s adorable little dog, Rain, who shakes her foot when she’s scratched 

After the party we headed back to my parent’s where I was spending the night. My mum and dad were coming to the marathon to support me so it made sense. [In the end my mum decided she would give it a miss as she wanted to stay with the dogs (three of theirs and my Alfie) so they wouldn’t be cooped up again all day and her back is still not 100% 🙁 I do jokingly call her a part-time supporter…anything more than 10k and she’ll flake on me (I am of course joking).]

As the evening drew in I knew I needed to eat something else, despite not feeling that hungry. I went for the safe option of porridge. We watched Still Alice (such a good film but prepare to cry for 80% of it) and then went to bed…

Do you run the day before a race?

What’s your favourite cuisine?

What’s your favourite curry?

The Scone Debate and dog selfies

My friends from university came down on Saturday for a visit… (*whispers* because it’s my birthday this week) Well we combined it with a sort of hen do celebration for my friend, Charlotte, who’s getting married in less than two weeks. She is doing a ‘planned elopement’ to Italy with her to-be hubby for a romantic ‘just them’ ceremony.

Sadly I couldn’t make Parkrun in the morning. It would just have been a nightmare to have got back in time and wash and dry the beast that is my hair. So many hours of my life wasted drying it…But I did manage a speedy 5k on my own earlier in the morning. Anyway, my friends arrived at 10ish. We had the usual hen do bits and pieces (penis straws are always standard, right?) and some cupcakes one of my friends had made to celebrate Charlotte’s wedding. We caught up and then headed out to my favourite tea shop


Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately perhaps) it is very close, about 2 miles. So we walked there chatting. Girls just like chatting don’t we? Ben joined as well and was an honorary girl for the day 😉

IMG_6916I’ll never get sick of afternoon tea. I had ham and mustard sandwiches, a fruit scone with cream and jam and a slice of LEMON MERINGUE sponge cake. Sorry for the caps, I got all excited. There were pieces of meringue on the top all crushed and lovely. Seriously good cake. Though I must say, the best part of afternoon tea for me is the scone. And there’s always the debate of jam or cream first. I’m of the opinion that it should be jam first, then a dollop of cream. Otherwise the jam gets all smeary? But this is a fairly heated debate. Ben is a cream then jam man – how are we together?? 😉

Then we had a good long walk back through some lovely countryside. The next day was a five mile easy paced run and then a 15 mile bike ride. I never feel the same love for bike rides as running but it was nice. I still can’t not break on downhill’s though. A cardinal cycling sin I hear.

We popped over to my parent’s house later on as it was Father’s Day. We all just sort of monged out in the conservatory relaxing. Can parents ‘mong’ out? Not sure. We had some selfie fun with their absolutely mad dog Lexi.


She is literally wired all the time. She’s the same breed as Alfie (Westland Terrier cross with a Cavalier King Charles) but she couldn’t be more different. She’s a beast. She’s eaten a bag of POTATOES before. And bitten through a can of beer, spraying it everywhere. What fun for my parents.

IMG_6927Ben doing his best ‘gangster’ impersonation. I think he’s been watching too much of The Wire…

Tonight I’m doing the Race for Life with my friend from work. She’s a fairly novice runner (and I mean that in the nicest way). She’s done a 5k race before and has now made the leap towards a 10k. She’s done lots of training and even went to her local Parkrun (ahh I’m so proud!) so I’m sure she’ll be fine. I’m going to run it with her and support her.

She told me last year she had no one to cheer her on or hug at the end because her husband and son didn’t really understand the importance of it and didn’t go (I think it’s a cultural thing, she’s Indian and in India running isn’t really done, or so I’ve been told). I found this heart breaking and said I’d sign up and run it with her. Ben is coming to support, my mum and dad will be there and she’s guilt tripped her husband and son into watching now so she’ll have loads of support. She’s hoping to run it in around an hour so finger’s crossed for her please!

Do you like a lot of support at a race? Both my parents and Ben’s mum love to come and watch and cheer us on. Though my dad properly likes to get involved – he likes to pre-read the course map, find a good spot, work out our paces of where will be when. He’s a runner at heart!

Do you have any pets?

The Big Question: jam or cream first?

Summer BBQ – WIAW

For this What I ate Wednesday, I thought I’d share the BBQ we had at the weekend. As I said in the last post, we turned up at my parent’s house and found they were thinking about having a BBQ…so we sort of just invited ourselves! I’m sure they didn’t mind really… Winking smile

Thanks, Jenn, for hosting as always Open-mouthed smile

I found my parents had bought some pink lemonade so I started myself nicely on that while relaxing in the beautiful sunshine in my parent’s garden.


The men folk did what men folk do best…play with the BBQ, drink beer and set fire to stuff. Supposedly cooking Winking smile


The women folk did what we do best…sit and relax!


I found a BBQ cookbook at my parents and also borrowed their mini iPad, score!

In the morning I ran 10 miles so I was definitely ready for a lot of food! And happily, my parents seemed to have bought enough food to feed an army…or at least a very hungry Anna Open-mouthed smile

BBQ July

I thoroughly enjoyed several glasses of pink lemonade and snacked on lots of carrots and cucumbers dipped in the amazingness that is avocado and hummus dip (seriously this is amazing) while the meat was cooking.


Whoops, caught red handed!!

For the meat I had a very large kangaroo burger. FYI: kangaroo is amazing. It’s like beef but slightly gamey. Really flavoursome. Ben kept reminding me I was eating ‘skippy’ though. My dad thought it was funny that I didn’t want a bun with it. To which I replied: why waste valuable stomach space on boring bread?? I had a lot to get through and I did not want to be hindered Winking smile

Next up were chicken tikka skewers which their local butchers make. Heavenly. I’m not going to lie. I ate three.

Then came the piece de resistance. BBQ ribs. Unfortunately I didn’t grab a photo. I was too eager to scoff them down and by the time I realised, my hands and face were a state. Two big chunky ribs. And my mum even had two as well – I never knew she liked them!

I was stuffed. But then came pudding.


I had a few scoops of rocky road ice cream and also millionaire shortbread ice cream (thank you M&S). It pretty much was as good as it sounds. I added fresh strawberries as well.

I then had to be crane lifted home. I was so full. I personally blame it on the pink lemonade Winking smile


Sam, Dylan and Lexi (my parent’s dogs)

I’m sure the dogs enjoyed the BBQ too…but they don’t looked amused do they?


I think Alfie really just wanted that avocado dip. I don’t blame him.

I have to share this photo. My mum, bless her, is not the world’s greatest cook (but is the world’s greatest mum). She was in charge of only one food-related thing.


Boiling the eggs for the salad. In the largest saucepan known to man. That’s global warming for you right there.


Anyway it was a lovely very chilled afternoon. And I’m not ashamed to admit that Ben and me got home and had a little nap. I don’t even like naps usually!

What kind of BBQ food do you like best? I’m all over chicken, ribs and fish. And vegetable skewers. And kangaroo now.

Favourite ice cream flavour? Usually I’m all about Ben and Jerry’s but Marks and Spencer’s was pretty darn tasty.

What’s your favourite dip? I didn’t even know they did avocado and hummus dip. It was so creamy and tasty. I also enjoyed a blue stilton dip which was very strong.