Never grow up

I honestly think I’m most happy when I’m training for a marathon. There’s just something about being in good enough shape to run a long way that makes me very happy. Pre-fuelling and refuelling is obviously a great part of the equation too…

Friday was another Wiggle Run day which is always good fun. I’d signed up for the 8.5 mile run with a few other guys and it flew by. It was nice to run with some new people and people who I don’t get to chat too much to during work-time. It was also nice to run with a guy who had done the same gym class as me that morning – so we were both feeling the jump squats and burpees!We ran down Hillsea Lines and then onto Farlington Marshes, which is always quite a scenic run, before heading back again. We followed part of the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon route which felt nice and familiar. I’ve signed up for that race again this year because I enjoyed it so much last year.The brand Lab Series were in as well so we got to try lots of their products (and sweets).I got myself a facial after the run! I did apologise profusely to the guy doing it about how sweaty my face was but he politely said it was fine.
And to end Friday nicely we went for a nice meal to the Meat and Barrel in Southsea for a work friend’s leaving do.I had half a chicken and stupid amounts of frickles and halloumi fries for my main.
Halloumi fries are honestly the business. The person who invented them need some sort of award. And frickles…god I love frickles.I followed this with a doughnut burger. It was good but a little disappointing. It was basically just a glazed doughnut split in two with a blob of ice cream and some strawberries, raspberry sauce, cream and sprinkling of chocolate flakes. It was just okay.I guess I have quite high (greedy) standards for puddings.The next day Kyle and I headed to Netley parkrun again. We were SO close to being late. It’s not like I haven’t been to Netley parkrun over 100 times to know how long it takes to get there. Jeeze I was stressed. But we managed to arrive literally within minutes of the start.

I ran with Kyle again (to be honest, I wouldn’t have run any faster on my own as my legs were feeling fairly heavy) and we tried to keep the pace slower but ehhh we really didn’t do well. We both got carried away and pushed the pace a bit more than we probably should have.I continually prove to myself that I’m rubbish at trying to run an easy pace – well, especially during shorter runs. It’s something I need to work at. I finished 21:37. I peeled off a little from Kyle towards the end but he sprinted back to finish just behind me at the end.We then helped clear up and went for a coffee with the gang. It had been one of our friend’s birthday the week before so the lovely Carol made a deliciously tasty Dorset apple cake. I had two slices. No one was surprised.Then Kyle and I headed back for a quick shower and then we headed to the Hamble Food Festival for a mosey round. I love a food festival.I rarely ever go to Hamble. It’s a lovely quaint part of Southampton. I’ve run around it a few times but never spent that long there. It was a lovely place and very scenic next to the water. We wandered around the different stalls in the sunshine loving life. There were food stalls cooking local sausages, a Jerk chicken stand, cheeses, quiches, bread, meat, Prosecco, gin…and of course cake.I won’t lie. I was most excited about the face painting. Yes the cakes looked amazing but we were planning on going elsewhere for lunch and I had had two slices of cake for breakfast… I tried to hold myself back a bit!

I’m basically a big child at heart and love face painting and I will unashamedly say that we waited for a solid 15 minutes so I could get my face done. It did give me good thinking time though because I was umm’ing and arr’ing between getting a dinosaur or a glitter design. Glitter won out as I thought that might look better at lunch later…I told the lady I didn’t want pink though. I have some standards 😉It was quite a cool design next to one eye of basically lots of glitter and sparkles. It was hard though trying to remember it was on my face and not keep knocking it and dropping glitter all over myself!

We also spotted the gold post box commemorating Dani King for wining the cycling track women’s team pursuit in the 2012 Olympics.Very cool indeed.

Then, as the two cakes wore off (and Kyle’s fudge brownie that he’d had at one of the stalls), hunger started calling, we headed into Southampton a bit further to go to Baffi Pizzeria for lunch (though it was past 2pm now…).I’ve been following Baffi Pizza on Instagram for a bit now (thank you @AnnaTheCake88) and Saturday seemed the perfect day to test it out. The pizzas are exactly how I prefer them: thin and crispy. I’m not a huge deep pan fan (though to be fair, I’d still eat it if it was there). These were Neapolitan-style and cooked in a fire wood oven.It was really hard to choose a flavour of the menu! The waitress was lovely and gave us some good recommendations and in the end we decided we’d each order one and half it so we could both try both flavours. Handily the waitress told the chef this and he halved it for us, which lessened my anxiety about sharing food A LOT 😉
We went for No. 3 (prosciutto crudo, ricotta, rocket, mozarella and parmesan) and No. 5 (prosciutto cotto, mushrooms, artichokes, olives and Parmesan). They were both SO good. We were both really happy with the choices.

And because it was so close by… we went to Sprinkles for pudding.Now I never used to be a big waffle fan but Kyle has turned me around on this. Damn him. It also helps that I’ve had the dessert in the jar from Sprinkles FAR too many times. This was delicious. It was a waffle with brownie chunks and melted chocolate with vanilla gelato. It was also supposed to come with banana and nuts but I subbed that for M&M’s. Can’t have it looking vaguely healthy after all… Afterwards we both felt the wrong side of full. Too much… I think I pretty much ate a sharing bag of M&M’s with that pudding!

Eating copious amounts of sugar and getting my face painted… well I’d say that was a good couple of days! I’ll recap my long run in another post…

Do you like getting your face painted?

Are you a sweet or savoury person?

Have you ever had a facial?

Basingstoke parkrun and a solid long run

Another weekend and another parkrun tourism with a friend. I do so love doing this on a Saturday. Sadly (well, not sadly really!) I’ve already done Basingstoke before so it wasn’t one to extend my tourism list, but it’s always nice to get out and do a different parkrun to your usual once in a while. I did Basingstoke parkrun over three years ago. This is crazy! So much has changed…except for me loving running and loving parkrun, of course.

On Saturday morning I woke up at 6.30am. It was great as I naturally woke up at 6.20am and felt very refreshed and well-rested, so snuggled in bed a bit longer just scrolling on my phone (terrible habit but there we go). I’d had a fairly late night the night before as I was out with co-workers for a leaving do (I get invited to leaving do’s! I have work friends, yay!) but I hadn’t been drinking so I was feeling good.

I got ready and drove to the train station to catch the 7.28am train to Basingstoke. It’s around a forty-five minute long journey, so the perfect time to watch another episode of Strange Things series 2. I don’t tend to binge watch television series as I don’t like sitting and watching episode after episode, so I’ve been slowly getting through these. I had a coffee and was very chilled. The weather outside however looked rather grim and wet.The train station is just less than a mile from the Memorial Park, which is where the Basingstoke parkrun happens.

It was raining when I got off the train and I wasn’t particularly over-joyed at the prospect of walking in the rain but handily you can walk through Festival Place, the big shopping mall, for a chunk of it. I saw two guys wearing running gear having coffee in the Costa. They looked like they hadn’t run yet and I wondered if they were keeping warm before parkrun. Sensible! But I had places to be. I was meeting my friend, Bhuvana, at the park before parkrun began so I had to get a shuffle on. I also couldn’t really run there as I had my bag with me which would have been awkward.I got to the park in good time and stood with the other parkrunners under a tree feeling a bit cold and damp. The park is a lovely park and actually has an aviary in it where there were loads of birds chirping away. Very unique!

Bhuvana arrived and we laughed at what a day we’d chosen to catch up. But it’s always nice to see her regardless of the weather! I take great pride in the fact that I helped her get into running (well, I just went on about too much I think so to shut me up she stated running herself!). She’s since done several 10ks and half marathons and she’s a fantastic runner 🙂 I do so love when non-running friends step over to the running side hehe.We eventually de-peeled our layers and headed to the start. Basingstoke parkrun begins on the grass in one great big line. And then when you begin everyone charges across the field to the path. This is my only slight annoyance about the course. It makes it difficult to get into a good spot to carry on running on the tarmac. When I say “good spot” I mean everyone around people of the same speed. There’s a lot of elbow bumping, hasty overtaking and knocking into people as everyone adjusts. But it helped slow me down at the beginning. It also weirdly reminded me of 28 Weeks Later when they’re running for the helicopter across the field with the infected running behind them. My mind thinks of weird stuff when I run clearly!It’s a two lap course which I’m pretty sure I’ve said before is my favourite I think. It’s long enough to not get bored but nice that you get two stabs at it and you know what you’re in for at the end. It’s partly on grass and partly on tarmac and relatively flat. There is a cheeky gradual incline at the end which does suck your energy a bit but it’s not too bad. The grass was tough though because it was so wet. It was quite muddy and difficult to get a good grip on. I was wearing road shoes which didn’t help. Though when I spoke to a lady afterwards she said that her trail shoes were great on the grass but then terrible on the tarmac as it became too slippy.

I did a bit of to-and-fro’ing with a man with a dog. He helpfully moved over and pointed to the side of him when it was clear I wanted to overtake. I don’t mind people running with dogs at all but it does help when they’re a bit more aware of other people trying to get past or where their dog is going! Especially if the lead is long. It can be a bit tricky when it gets narrower on the course.

I finished in 21:42 (31st place! Very happy with that considering there were over 400 people. And 2nd female which I didn’t realise at the time!). What I was more happy with was a negative split and a feeling of strength when I ran (7.10, 7.06, 6.57). Yes it was hard and I slipped and slid around the place on the grass but I felt good running and in control. Not like “omg I’m dying”. This is a really good position for me to be in starting marathon training! Long may it last. But I do get the sneaky suspicion that running is going too well at the moment and I should get injured soon. Just how it always works for me it seems.I also spotted a colleague I used to work with and it was nice to chat to him and how his running was going (and persuade him to do a local 10k in January…). He’s still fairly new to running as well but was doing fantastically already!After parkrun we headed over to Festival Place to grab a coffee (first “red cup” of the season!). Originally we were going to get some brunch but sadly Bhuvana had to rush to London to help a relative. It was lovely to see her, even if it is was brief! I moseyed around Festival Place a bit longer as my train wasn’t for about 50 minutes. I bought a few items from Primark (a Harry Potter jumper, yessss!) and then headed for the train. It was a nice morning spent. And another chilled train ride with two apples and another episode of Stranger Things. Bliss.

The rest of the day I did some odd jobs and… HAD A FACIAL. A deep cleansing facial. Now I really am not the person to do that sort of thing but honestly it was amazing. It was worth every penny of the £37 it cost me and my face has honestly never looked cleaner and clearer. It lasted an hour and I almost fell asleep. There was a brief painful bit where the beautician sort of digs in and scrapes away the dirt but it was TOTALLY worth it. It’s also given me a bit of boost to treat my skin better (i.e. not just wash it with cold water). Cleanse, tone and moisturise. These are my early New Year’s resolutions. I’m not being asked to review and I’m not sponsored, but if you’re in the Southampton area check out Elite Beauty. I can’t recommend more highly. I’ve been going for other beauty appointments (well, maintenance really if you get what I mean) and the beautician, Olga, is just fantastic.

On Sunday I was up at the fairly reasonable time of 7.50am to meet a friend to run at 8.30am (cut it a little fine… five minutes late. Whoops). The run was great. It was such a beautiful day, clear skies and sunny but very cold. I wore a t-shirt and shorts but my hands were freezing for the first few miles. Gloves are coming out I think! The run was great. We were aiming for 8min/miles which at first was tough as my legs still felt they were asleep but once we got going it was great. Tiernan, the guy I ran with, a running club friend, is an ultra running legend and was telling me all about what challenges he’s done and plans to do. Literally amazing. 100 milers, 70 milers (sounds familiar to the legend herself, Mary!). And some mad, mad challenges like who can run the furthest from Cheltenham – any route they like as long as they run. And they’re tracked with a GPS. I mean how cool but how mental. And mile repeats for 65 miles up a hill. What.

Our pace was pretty solid but we arrived near to our car at 12 miles and I managed to persuade him to run round the block with me to get our 13 miles we’d planned to do. We both grumbled a bit but we got there in the end. It was a tough run, hilly in parts, but I was very chuffed we managed it talking and not struggling.I was glad to have gone with Tiernan as I doubt I could have been as motivated on my own. I’m so pleased that my running is going well and injury-free right now. *Touch wood*

Then I headed out for another lovely walk with my parents and ALL the dogs (Sam, Dylan, Lexie and of course Alfie). We went to Alresford (where I once did the Alresford 10k round the watercress fields). It was a beautiful sunny, but cold, day. Perfect for a walk!It started at the Watercress line station which isn’t a real station at the moment (though it was) and there’s a restaurant and shop. Alresford is a beautiful place and we had a lovely walk along the river and the watercress farm bit.The dogs were pooped afterwards. It was nice to bring them along – though it’s always a bit manic with all four of them! A lovely low-key weekend. All that was missing was a big slice of cake…but eh, can’t win ‘em all!

Have you ever been to Alresford?

Have you ever done Basingstoke parkrun?

Have you ever had a facial?