Old favourites and getting some structure into my running

A lot to catch up on recently…

So firstly, I’ve become a bit green fingered in our new house (and garden). I never thought this day would come. I’ve never been interested in plants or flowers before but now I’m loving that we have a beautiful little garden. I’ve planted some flowers, got some lovely little house plants and I’m carefully looking after them.

I’m trying really hard to not let them die, reading up on how to care for them and watering them as often as they should be. Who’d have thought some don’t like too much watering and some get very sad without it (my temperamental little peace lily drooped significantly when I forgot about him for a bit).

Well anyway, it’s bringing me great joy, much to my parent’s and Kyle’s amusement as I’ve never shown such an interest before.

The other weekend we also had a very lovely visit from my friend Emma. She popped down from Reading for a run and some brunch. Originally we’d planned 14 miles but when it came down to it neither of us were feeling it and decided to bump it down to 5 miles instead.

It was a lovely relaxed run and we were able to catch up whilst seeing the sea and enjoying some trails nearby to where I live.

Chicken, bacon, potato, cheese, coleslaw, beetroot, tomatoes, cucumber, corn, onion, salad, berries

We then walked with Kyle down to Southsea for brunch at The Parade Tearooms. I had the rather un-brunch-like Jayne Salad which was, as always, ginormous but so tasty.

We then walked to The Tenth Hole to pick out some cakes – it had to be done of course! The Bakewell slice was particularly delicious I must say. We are so lucky to live within walking distance to these places – though not close enough to be a real danger thankfully 😉

This weekend gone Kyle and I house sat/dog sat for my parents while they visited my grandparents in Wales. At first we were very happy because my parents have a hot tub (!!) and we were able to get a takeaway from our favourite Indian restaurant (honestly, I’ve never found as good an Indian as the Stubbington Tandoori).

But then during the middle of the night the happiness drained away as their dogs barked several times during the night and I had to stand in the garden at 3am while they did their business. This happened every single night we were there… it was exhausting. How my parents live with this I do not know. I couldn’t remember them being that bad when I lived there so perhaps they were sad my parents weren’t there, who knows. Either way it was ANNOYING. It also meant one morning we didn’t wake up until 10am!!

Anyway, despite these problematic sleeps, Kyle and I had a lovely 6 miles walk along the Titchfield Canal and Hill Head seafront. Thankfully we were sensible enough to put on suntan lotion as it was very sunny and warm. It was a lovely walk. Asides from running, I just really love to walk, explore and be outside (you might already know this I expect).

Sunlight making us squint

We also enjoyed a lovely 4 miles run down to the beach followed by a huge full English fry-up at the Penguin Café (another of our favourites in the area).

It was delicious. It was lovely to sit outside in the sunshine with the sea breeze and eat a ridiculously large breakfast. Then we walked the 2.5 miles back – which certainly helped the full stomach I can tell you!

Then the next day I got up and headed out for a solo long run. I really didn’t know how far I fancied going or where I wanted to go so just went with enjoying some of my favourite routes at random.

I listened to the new-to-me podcast RunPod which I’m really enjoying. Lots of good interviews with people about running and in the end did 10 miles. It felt exactly like what I needed. Not too hard, or too far, or too fast… just a nice gentle plod. I’ve started paying attention a bit more to my heart rate. I won’t say that I’m specifically training using my HR, but I definitely want to keep an eye on it. When I say I’m going to go and do an easy run I want to make sure this actually happens.

So much of my running is just one pace. I feel a bit of a fraud compared to other runners who do specific sessions. They run their easy runs easy and their hard runs hard. Whereas I just…run. Sometimes I go a bit faster, sometimes a bit slower. There’s no real rhyme or reason to it. And while I like to have a bit of freedom with my running and never want to go back to when I was going to the track every week, I do think a bit of structure would help. My motivation to run is never based on times or PB’s, but to some degree I know I need to have a bit more structure to at least keep me motivated and interested. With no races around the corner, my running is becoming a bit stale.

And on the subject of races… I was half-way through writing this post, about to say “guess what! I’ve just signed up for the Reykjavik Marathon – in like two weeks!” and was super excited. And then literally just got an email to say it’d been cancelled. That email came through mere hours after signing up.

I know I was probably too hasty to sign up with everything going on but it seemed like Iceland was fairly safe and they seemed pretty confident. *Sighs* guess not. I think Kyle and I will still go to Iceland (I was so super organised I’d booked flights and an Airbnb – yes, I KNOW, super keen). We’ll only go for a few days but hopefully it’ll be nice. I’ve been to Iceland on my own ages ago so it’ll be lovely to go back with Kyle 🙂

Are you going anywhere on holiday?

Have you got any races planned that are still going ahead?

Things I’m Loving Lately – June/July

My blog has gotten so behind. I’ve just been a bit mad busy lately and haven’t had the chance to actually sit and write about life… I have a lot of notes on my phone and posts that I’ve been intending on writing but ehhhh just time has gotten away from me. Excuses aside, here’s some stuff I’ve been loving.

Football: I was really enjoying the World Cup. Handily at Wiggle we had the TV on all the time so we could watch (while working) the matches that went on throughout the day so I felt quite on top of what was going on.And it was so much fun watching the England game against Croatia in a packed out pub. I’ve never watched a match like that before and hearing everyone chanting was just such a thrill. I’ve never felt so emotionally invested in a World Cup before and that match was both a fantastic and devastating experience. It was sad that England got kicked out but I’m so proud for how far we got.
What really made me laugh though was in the pub two girls were doing their nails. I mean, seriously.

Love Island: Yes, yes judge away. I’m aware it’s potentially showcasing everything that is wrong with our society and it’s vacuous and pointless. That said, I enjoy watching it. I’m not ashamed and happily admit I tune in for every episode. I assume it’s why people enjoy watching horror movies. They obviously don’t want to be in a similar experience but they enjoy watching it. I don’t need to engage my brain, I can switch off and just let the ridiculousness play out in front of me.

My mum watched an episode with me and it was beyond hilarious. The comments (“Anna, do they have nookie on TV? In the same room?” and “Are they wearing bikinis or knickers?”) just made the whole experience another level of entertainment. It was like my very own version of Gogglebox. She quite got into it by the end – Team Danni and Jack all the way!

Cinema Visits: Speaking of horror movies, I saw Hereditary the other week. Why oh why did I do this to myself? In my mind the rationale went like this: I’ve never seen a horror movie in the cinema and people say that it’s a thrill to watch it amongst lots of other people reacting similarly to you… plus I knew I’d never watch it at home and it had had some good reviews (Mark Kermode aside). I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever felt so stressed, terrified and unhappy in the cinema before. I spent a vast chunk of time trying to embed myself into the seat, trying to escape, and then hiding my face with my hands. I’m not lying when I say that that night I had to sleep with a light on. GENUINE levels of fear. The movie Tag however was very funny and I enjoyed it immensely. There was one joke that was a bit distasteful but otherwise it was genuinely laugh out loud. I really enjoyed it.

Nachos: I have quite a weird obsession at the moment with nachos. I literally can’t stop craving them. I don’t know where this has come from but I just keep wanting them. I go through these weird food crazes where I obsess over a certain type of food and eat it to death (though apples, cake and porridge are long-standing fixtures in my life and have never grown old to me).The standard would be tortilla crisps covered in melted cheese, a sprinkling of jalapeños, a bit of sour cream and some salsa. The pinnacle of heavenly nacho experience however is added pulled pork/beef chilli, big blobs of guacamole and maybe some refried bean action. But this is just me being extra picky. God I love it.

Paul Sinton-Hewitt’s parkrun talk: I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned this on the blog yet! So PSH, the parkrun Founder, came to the Southampton Solent University to do a talk on how parkrun got started. I was on it like a car bonnet. Obviously I love parkrun so this was right up my street.My friend Joe and I went together and we met up with the lovely Rebecca (from Lee-On-Solent parkrun fame) and her husband and we had a thoroughly enjoyable evening hearing all the inside scoop on parkrun.I had never properly heard how it had started – and never knew it had been originally called Timetrial before someone advised him to change the name. And I never knew that Coca-Cola have attempted three times to sponsor them (with an “open chequebook”!) and they’ve turned them down each time because the ethos of the company doesn’t mesh well with parkrun. How cool is that??PSH was very inspiring but I also saw a side of him I didn’t really know about before (not that I know him properly at all… just bits and pieces I’ve heard). He’s quite ruthless and has a steely determination. I mean, I guess he had to be in order to keep it going and to make the hard decisions that needed to be made. But still, what a guy eh!

Frank the plant: And finally… I now have a desk plant. I’ve wanted one for ages weirdly (mainly gorwing out of a dinosaur plantar pot if I’m honest) and then our office building had some plant people in and they were giving away free plants. I hot-footed it quickly to grab myself one and I named it Frank.Apparently it’s a jade tree plant, which is essentially a “starter” plant for idiots. It’s tough to kill it basically. This is ideal for this gardening novice!

Do you enjoy gardening?

Do you have a current food obsession right now?

Do you like horror films?

Ready to go and an epic fail

This weekend made me realise that I’m getting a bit tired of marathon training now. I’m so close to the end but I’m still not there. I’ve been training since February (about 17-18 weeks) and I’ve really loved it but now I’m tired. I feel drained, both physically and mentally. This could perhaps be due to the amazingness of the Cakeathon last week and running at a tough pace which left me tired, with heavy legs and then still three weeks left to go. But it’s easy going now so hopefully nothing will go wrong!

The weekend was jam-packed. On Saturday I was at the Netley Abbey parkrun. A few of us had tried to persuade the Netley parkrun gods to do the cricket pitch course (boring but flat) but after almost convincing them someone piped up to say it was their 100th and they really didn’t want to do the cricket pitch, which is fair enough. The cricket pitch is really only good for a fast time as it is so boring (five laps) whereas the other course goes up a hill through some woods and is generally more interesting and only three laps. The next cricket pitch parkrun will be the week after my marathon so I really hope I’m not broken so I can give it a good go!

I didn’t have breakfast before parkrun this week but did have a black coffee so I was curious to see how I would do. It didn’t feel quite as gut-bustingly hard as last week (and I didn’t feel sick either) but I did feel that “running on empty” feeling. Half-way through though I did want to give up, mentally I was just not feeling it. But I spotted the lead lady who had overtaken me at the start and decided to try and catch her. At the start of mile three I got past her and then pushed on harder to prevent her coming back to me. It was tough but a good motivator to keep pushing.

On the final mile someone shouted to me that the second lady was just behind me so I floored it (well, I increased my pace slightly but in my painful state it felt like flooring it) and managed to finish 15 seconds before her. I got 20:42, so slower than last week by eight seconds which I’m happy with. Still sub-21!

After a drink in the cafe with some friends from the club, I headed home to get cleaned up ready for a nice lunch out in Chichester to celebrate my mum’s birthday. It was a place called Amelie and Friends and it was lovely!IMG_1290 I went for melon with coconut sorbet to start which was really refreshing but sweet. To be honest it wouldn’t have been out of place on the pudding menu but it was tasty. And for main I went for the lamb kofta skewers with hummus, tzatziki and chips. Very tasty.


It was a lovely afternoon spent with my mum, dad and sister, Rachel.

I spent the night at my parent’s so I could have a nice run along the sea front the next morning and I was going for lunch with friends who lived nearby to my parents, so it made sense. Plus it also meant I could leave Alfie with my parents rather than leaving him on his own most of the day.

Unfortunately the weather was terrible the next day. I woke up to rain and wind, which always seems to happen when I want a nice run along the coast!! I felt miserable before I even started. I was dragging my feet getting ready and a big part of me wanted to just not go. But I thought how well I’d done so far. I haven’t missed one long run yet and I should be grateful that I’m running without injury at the moment so I needed to suck it up and get out there.

But it was a miserable run. I felt de-motivated, tired and it was cold and wet. As I ran past the sea the waves were huge. I saw lots of kite surfers in their wet suits apparently loving it and thought how different people were. You couldn’t pay me to have been in that water! But then I suppose they looked at me in my shorts and single layer and wondered what the hell I was doing (but then I was currently wondering the same…).

At nine miles I was fed up and wanted to be done. There was no way to cut the run short as I was past half way now and I could only run the rest of the way home. I honestly did consider ringing my dad though to pick me up. The rain, which had stopped for a while, started again and I got cold. I was so thankful for the run to be over when I got home!IMG_1295

I really enjoyed the hot shower I can tell you!


Average pace of 7.54min/mile.

After showering I had a bit of time to chill and eat something before I was going out so I sat with some partially frozen berries and Greek yogurt and RunnersWorld magazine. I almost napped, I felt that drained and sleepy.


Not my usual breakfast at all but lunch was on the horizon shortly and I didn’t fancy anything huge. I would have had a smoothie but my parent’s didn’t have many ingredients…can’t get the staff can you? 😉

Lunch was amazing. We went to Ranchos Steak House as my friends are fellow meat lovers too. I enjoyed a half rack of ribs to start and then two racks for main – I love that this is an option there. I know, I know, I’m obsessed. But I just love ribs!


And runger was in full force! It was so good. After lunch we did a bit of shopping and I bought myself a lovely blazer from Dorothy Perkins in the sale. It was only £24.90! And then I had to head back home to deal with my garden.

I don’t do gardening. I’ve never mown a lawn before. I decided I needed to get things under control this weekend as we’ll need to start the process of selling the house and, well, the garden looks awful. It’s a jungle out there! And the front of the house there’s a bush and it’s just grown ridiculously huge and almost taken over the pavement. I know my neighbours will be looking down their nose at me as I’m letting the side down and it just makes me look sloppy. Of which, I assure you, I am not! The inside of my house is lovely and tidy and clean…it’s just the garden that’s awful.IMG_1312

My parents thankfully came to help me but to be honest it was a bit of a lost cause. The lawn mower (a budget one bought three years ago) couldn’t cope with the sheer length of the grass (and the fact that it was still damp from the morning’s rain) and started smoking. Epic fail! We couldn’t even do one third of it.

But we did manage to tame the bush. Though I shouldn’t have left my dad alone and unsupervised with the clippers as he hacked a big chunk out of it! Honestly, I could have cried. I was so tired and stressed by this point. Well we managed to do what we could and the bush is now a lot smaller…it just looks a bit crap from one angle. At this point though I couldn’t care!

I’m planning on seeing if I can hire someone to cut the lawn at the back and make it look presentable. I think that’s the only way forward…

How good at gardening are you?

How do you motivate yourself when you’re really not in the mood to exercise?

Are you a big meat lover?

Observations at the gym

After my annoying experience on Monday with She Who Did Not Show, I started thinking about what else has been bothering me at the gym lately (hey why stop at one moan after all! Winking smile).

I’m not a complete gym newbie by any means. Before getting into running I used to go to the gym four times a week before work…not classes, just the gym. How I managed to maintain motivation I have no idea as now I can barely stay on a cross trainer for more than six minutes. But anyway, I have (sort of) recently re-joined a gym in order to get involved with the different classes, such as body pump, circuits and spin.


I think with going to the gym it’s easier to be bugged by fellow gym goers because you’re in one place for a lengthy period of time. Whereas in running, you can, er, run away from people who are annoying you. Does that make sense?

So here we go:

1) Smug spin lady, just because you can almost peddle yourself off the spin bike does not mean you’re the best at spin. No need to look so smug because you don’t have a drop of sweat on you. I think you’ve missed the point. There’s a resistance dial on the bike: please acquaint yourself with it.

2) Sweaty man, heard of a towel?

3) It is never acceptable to wear a boob tube playsuit at the gym. Especially at 6.30am in the morning.

4) Walking on the treadmill while using your phone is pointless (and dangerous?).

5) Spin instructor, please stop shouting excessively loud. I can hear you over the music. In fact, the guys lifting weights at the back of the gym with ear phones on can hear you too.

6) Scary overly-muscular man, please don’t goad the instructor to work us harder. I’m finding the workout tough enough. No I don’t want to do sprints on the toughest resistance.

7) Pump instructor, please give me chance to at least grab my new set of weights before you jump into the next routine.


7) Lateness. It’s rude. It’s your job as an instructor to be there on time – preferably before the start so we don’t have to watch you setting everything up while it’s eating into our allocated class time.

Maybe I have the world’s worst gym? Potentially. I do pay peanuts in comparison to some places. Maybe I’m used to having space in my working out zone…who knows. Really not much of the above truly bothers me (apart from the lateness – that does get my goat). I guess it makes things more interesting to be able to people watch while you’re dying sweating working out.

On a more bright note…check out my blueberry plant!

Blueberry plant

There are actual blueberries on it. You’re probably thinking, “yeah duh, it’s a blueberry plant, big deal”. But seriously this is a monumental thing for me. I pretty much kill anything plant-like. Not intentionally…well, I just sort of forget to water things. It’s all the way in the back garden…I’m tired…I can’t be bothered…

But my lovely husband Ben has been looking after it and giving it some TLC and voila! Blueberries ahoy! OK so I can’t take credit for this obviously, but I’m still chuffed. I haven’t tried one yet but when I do I’m hoping it will be bursting with vibrant flavour and antioxidants Open-mouthed smile

What are your annoyances at the gym? Am I being over-sensitive and/or mean?

What funny observations have you had of people working out, or people in general? I see the funniest sites on my commute to work – women actually doing their make up in the car for instance.

Do you grow any of your own vegetables and/or fruit? In an ideal world I’d be like Jamie Oliver, planting my own produce and whipping up meals using the fruits of my labour. Ha.