Exciting news!

Morning, morning! And how lovely that it is Friday today. Obviously because it is Wimbledon, the British Grand Prix and Glastonbury is it raining. But of course!

And I’m pleased to say I have spent the last five days not running. I mentioned previously that I was going to do some cross training on the elliptical machine at work this week.

IMG_4628

This archaic beast is like something out of a very old (and rubbish) alien movie

How long did I slog away on this machine? Exactly six minutes. Not because of any overriding pain or discomfort. Just plain and simple: I was bored to hell and back. Ambitiously I thought I could do 40 minutes (hahaha),but after being on there for two minutes I readjusted to 20 minutes. Four minutes later and I had given up. Jeeze, power to the people who can remain on one of those for a lengthy period of time!! I guess I’m just used to actually going somewhere and taking my mind of the monotony by having the outside world to look at. But each to their own!

Despite that epic fail, I have still been stretching, doing yoga and icing crazy amounts. My leg’s been a lot better. I missed running club last night as I thought that would be too intense as my first run back so I did a fairly easy 3 miles run this morning.

image

Most days this week I’ve been able to get up at the rather leisurely time of 7am as I haven’t been running. However, this morning I had to get up at 5.30am to fit the run in (and enough time to properly stretch, foam roll and ice after showering). And do you know what? I didn’t even mind! I miss my regular runs so much.

So in my last post I mention I had some exciting news…

Marathon_thumb2

I have entered my first marathon!!!! Both Ben and me have signed up to the Portsmouth Coastal Waterside Marathon for this year December 22nd.

I know it’s not London, Paris or Berlin but it’s about 30 minutes from home so the whole family can easily come and pick up the pieces afterwards watch. I always knew I wanted to do a marathon but it was planned for next year (probably a US based one as we’re looking to go there for a holiday).

But I’d been reading this book:

Book8

Really good book, loved it!

And honestly I was just itching to get out there and do one. And funnily enough the author, Phil Hewitt, comes from Chichester which is reasonably close to where I live and he got his first ever running trainers from the same shop I got my first ever running trainers (a tedious link, yes I know). And the other week I went there to have a mosey about for some running gear as I was in the area and I saw this massive poster for the Portsmouth Marathon. It was like my stars had aligned. I know this sounds like a ridiculous story but it was honestly just perfect. The book, the shoes, the location, my desperation to do a marathon…everything just pointed to do this.

I quickly checked the dates for the races I’ve got planned in the next few months to make sure I wasn’t being stupid and not giving myself time and it works out. So boom, we signed up. Marathon here we come, baby!

This weekend my uni friends are coming over and I’m so excited to see them. It’s always so great to catch up with them Open-mouthed smile But this means tonight I need to get all the housework done as tomorrow I won’t have time. No rest for the wicked!

Have you done a marathon before? If so, did you enjoy it?

If you haven’t, would you ever?

What are you up to this weekend?

Do you enjoy the elliptical machine? How do you stay motivated?

Week recap

Hi all! And it’s Friday! Honestly this week has positively zoomed by, which is always lovely. I’m glad to be back at home after going to Derby again! Here’s a recap of my week. This might be a bit long, so apologies in advance!

Monday I did a 6 mile run which as I’ve said previously was really hard as I was still tired from the long run at the weekend. I should have delayed the run until the Tuesday but foolishly didn’t.

image

Though I’m happy with those numbers, I’m not happy with the run. It was a struggle the whole damn time. I’d much prefer a slow and enjoyable run then a fast and difficult one.

Tuesday I decided not to run – good decision! I needed to let my body rest. I love running but I need to give it time to ‘heal’. In the evening it was my mother-in-law’s birthday so we went out for dinner with her and Ben. It was such good fun. We caught up and celebrated with good food and, because I was driving, they had a few glasses of wine. I’m not a big drinker so I don’t mind at all not drinking! I love a big glass of diet coke, such a treat.

The food was deeeeelicious. For starter, I had scallops:

IMG_3581

Heavenly!

Then for main I was craving something meaty, so went for half a chicken in a Mediterranean marinade with roasted vegetables.

IMG_3584

Though I usually hate the skin on chicken, this was so crispy and yummy it couldn’t possibly not be eaten. It was really infused with flavour.

And well, a celebration isn’t a celebration without some pudding surely? Ben went for a knickerbocker glory.

IMG_3586

I think he was happy Winking smile

And Ben’s mum and I shared a PUDDING PLATTER. Now clearly these are not mini-versions of ordinary puddings. No, no. These are full sized fat boy puddings. And yes, of course we ate it all.

IMG_3585

Chocolate brownie, treacle tart, crème brûlée, apple crumble, custard and ice cream. Hello heaven, I have arrived. Though I must admit Ben took the crème brûlée off our hands as we both weren’t big fans. And let’s be honest here, people, there was some strategic planning that had to be done in terms of how much our stomachs would allow.

IMG_3588

So a really lovely evening. Good food and good company Smile

Wednesday I went running with two guys at work at lunchtime which went really well, despite being fairly windy. I didn’t feel that I had to run next to them the entire time so ‘sped’ off from them a bit towards the end as I wanted to make it worthwhile to me. Sorry if that sounds really arrogant, but they don’t run on a regular basis like I do so I had a slight advantage on them. I got a cheeky 3 miles in under 24 mins which I’m happy with Smile

image

Then in the afternoon I headed up to Derby with another colleague, arriving there in the evening ravenous for food. We picked the hotel restaurant for sheer ease and the fact that it was good the last time we came up.

Derby hotel

I had a haddock fishcake with a poached egg and mustard sauce with courgette parmesan frites on the side. Absolutely delicious. I was dubious ordering the fishcake as it sounded quite dull (hence ordering the frites) but it was so chunky and fluffy and the sauce, though quite rich, was a great accompaniment. Do I need to tell you how good the frites were?? Winking smile

In the morning I headed to the gym for the dreadmill treadmill. I made the below interval plan to follow beforehand as I didn’t want to just run aimlessly because I’d die of boredom.

image

I was a sweaty mess afterwards! It was just over 3 miles in 36 minutes in total.

After getting showered, I got into my smart stuff again. At work usually it’s all very casual, but when we’re on a customer site I wear much more smart outfits.

IMG_3598

Ohhh and I had such a hair-washing related disaster. I always take little travel pots of shampoo and conditioner with my when I go away. Just generic little pots that I fill up myself with whatever I have at home. I still had some left from last week so just topped it up. When I was in the shower after shampooing my hair I grabbed my conditioner only to find it also contained shampoo. Clearly at home I’d just mindlessly filled the wrong pots. Idiot that I am. But in the end my hair was alright. Just a bit less shiny! Really confusing for me in the shower though haha.

Then breakfast. Now last week I had bacon and eggs and though I did enjoy it, you know me…I love my oatmeal. So I asked the waitress if I could order some (as there wasn’t any at the buffet area, nor any menus) and, hurrah, she said that was absolutely fine.

IMG_3599

Obviously with a good mug of black coffee and water. Comparing to last week, porridge definitely fills me up for a lot longer than bacon and eggs.

Then a day full of meetings, with a brief stop for buffet lunch. Once again lots of ‘picky’ food and sandwiches.

IMG_3601

I had this and another ham sandwich (bit of baguette?) and a mini scotch egg. Not normally something I’d have for lunch but definitely filled a whole. By the end of the day, my brain was whirling with all the information and talking that had happened.

As a reward for our hard day, we decided to go to Jamie’s Italian again…well, if we must! Winking smile

IMG_3605

Sorry, bad lighting (again…). This was fish plank which basically was a board full of fishy delights: smoked salmon, a piece of bruschetta with mackerel pate, a slice of fontina cheese with a sweet jam on top, some shell fish, a salad of shredded carrots and pickles, and then a couple of sardines (pilchards?) in a breadcrumb with a tartar sauce for dipping. Ermmm, amazing! It sounds a lot but each thing was very small so it was like a tasting platter.

As much as I really wanted to eat the turkey Milanese again (I love, love that meal), I decided to try something else. Plus I was loving the fish!

IMG_3606

I had a piece of white fish baked in a bag with a tomato sauce and shell fish alongside. This was all on top of some amazingly fluffy bulgur wheat.

IMG_3608

I hated it Winking smile

As much as I was loving the meals, I’d now eaten out three nights in a row (each time two courses) and my tummy was feeling a bit worse for wear. I went to bed not feeling my best I have to say. Nothing against Jamie’s food OBVIOUSLY. But I think I was starting to get tired of all this rich and new food. Sometimes you just want some good old fashion chicken with sweet potato, you know?

Today I woke up really not wanting to go to the gym. I dragged my bum there though and thought I’d just try a quick run and then see how I felt. I had planned to do some hill running. Ha. That didn’t happen. I watched some news on the TV while running and it helped take my mind of the dullness and the fact I didn’t want to be there. In the end though I ran 4 miles!

IMG_3611

Mind over matter and all that! Then I got myself showered and smart for the day.

IMG_3614

When I’m in a hotel room I like to make as little mess as possible – is that weird? I always unpack only the bare minimum and pack away stuff as soon as I’m done with it. I’m a bit OCD like that – I just like no clutter Anyone else the same?

Thankfully today was only a half day so we left at midday and I was home by 3ish. I’ve been on a mad tidying and washing spree as we’re off tomorrow skiing. I still need to pack and do some ironing but I thought I’d write my last post before I go on holiday.

I plan on getting up early tomorrow and getting in a 12 mile run. I’m panicking a bit that all the work I’ve done on my endurance in my long runs and general speed will disappear while I’m off skiing. I know this is ridiculous but I just hope skiing sort of maintains something! It’ll be fine. Stop being stupid, Anna.

Right, you lovely people, have a lovely weekend and week! Please keep your fingers crossed that I don’t break something – I’m so clumsy, if I was to hurt myself it would probably be falling over while walking to a restaurant.

What do you have for breakfast in hotels when you can’t have your normal stuff?

Do you like to keep things tidy when you’re away, or do you just relax and not worry about it?

Do you prefer wearing smart stuff to work or more casual?

Up ‘North’ on business

Happy weekend all! I’m so glad it’s the weekend. This week has been fairly busy. I left the office on Wednesday afternoon to drive up to Derbyshire as we had a customer workshop Thursday and Friday. Now I live in the South (of England), Southampton to be exact. I would class myself, obviously, as a Southerner. And I know Derbyshire isn’t actually in the North, it’s in the Midlands. However, anywhere past Reading is pretty much North for a Southerner. So it felt quite northern to me! I love the northern (and midland!) charm that people have – the more-willing-to-help and polite people seem to be. Southerners can get swept up in the rat race and become a bit impersonal. So it was nice to be there.

But anyway, we got there around 7ish, checked in and then headed out to find some food. I Googled the area and found there just so happened to be a Jamie’s Italian nearby… After a nightmare of driving around trying to find a car park nearby (literally seeing the restaurant but not actually being able to get to it). Finally after parking and walking in the FREEZING cold (it’s colder up north Winking smile) we made it!

IMG_3533

I straight away needed a hot drink so ordered a peppermint tea. It came in this beautiful heavy little tea pot. I asked the waitress where I could buy one but she couldn’t remember. Ahh well.

IMG_3536

Sorry for the terrible photos, the lighting was terrible and I only had my IPhone.

And then we were seated. I ordered mini chilli’s stuffed with tuna and herbs with the starter.

IMG_3537

Now call me boring but I already knew what I wanted for the main as I’ve already been to Jamie’s before for my hen do and I loved what I ate then. So I went for it again: the turkey Milanese.

IMG_3541

Again, appalling photo. Basically it was turkey with a light crumb topping with mozzarella in the middle and an egg on top. Ohhh it was just as good, maybe even better, than I remembered!

Then we went back to the hotel and to our rooms.

IMG_3531

Though the bed was lovely and comfortable I just couldn’t sleep. It’s really hard without Ben and without my usual home comforts. And what was really annoying was in the morning I could hear other people’s alarms going off, like the vibration and standard IPhone ringtones. I’m such a light sleeper it woke me up (30 mins before my own alarm). And what was worse was that one of the people was clearly having issues getting up as they kept snoozing it. I wasn’t happy.

The hotel had a gym so I thought I’d keep up with my running schedule and run on the treadmill.

IMG_3542

I am hugely impressed with anyone who runs regularly on a the treadmill, and for long distances. I forgot how much I hate it. I like to zone out and just run, occasionally checking my Garmin for pacing and times. I hate having the stats right in front of me. I find myself counting down either seconds or 0.1 of miles. Seriously I couldn’t run further than 3 miles, and that was hard work.

IMG_3543

So I pretty much ran 3 miles, starting at a pace of 8.30mins/mile and then jumping it up to 7.30min for around 1-2mins throughout to get some intervals in. Normally I find this absolutely fine outside, in fact I tend to run faster intervals. But honestly, I just couldn’t bear it.

Then it was shower and, because we were with a customer, time to look smart!

IMG_3552

And then breakfast time.

IMG_3553

No porridge for me. All they had was the makings for a full English, cereal, toast and fruit. So I had a plate of bacon, scrambled egg, tomatoes, mushrooms and a cheeky bit of black pudding. And then had a bowl of fruit salad afterwards. It was good but it definitely didn’t fill me up as well as oatmeal usually does.

Then on to our meeting in the world’s warmest room. I’d much rather be too warm than too cold but even I was starting to get a sweat on in this tiny room where 12 other people were crammed in. And then a buffet lunch. I hate buffets. I love them, but I hate them. I like to have a plate full of food and leave it there but with a buffet you go for a little bit and then a little bit more and before you know it you’ve had about two large platefuls! Well, maybe you have more restraint than me?

IMG_3554

This is the only photo I could sneakily take without my fellow colleagues looking at me like I’d lost my mind. Believe me when I say this really wasn’t it…I said last post I’m more of a protein lover than a carb lover and I felt quite bloated and uncomfortable after eating so much bread as I’m just not that used to it. OK the above doesn’t really show much of a carb fest going on, but bare in mind this was one of the plates I had…

Then after a long afternoon of a continuation of the long, warm meeting we headed back to the hotel and decided to just eat there as it was a lot easier than venturing out into the cold again and going through that painful process of parking and walking miles.

For starter I had salt and pepper squid with a chilli jam sauce. Again poor photo due to trying to be inconspicuous.

IMG_3555

And for main I had a Moroccan chickpea stew with couscous.

IMG_3556

Both courses were really good, surprisingly good actually as I usually find restaurants at standard hotels aren’t that good. I was missing my normal food from home though. I know that sounds silly but though I enjoy eating out and eating different food from usual, I find it quite taxing (maybe not the right word) when it’s every single meal. I don’t usually eat a big meal in the evening and so when we parted to go to our rooms I needed to stay up to just digest. Which actually wasn’t an issue considering my room had Sky! What a luxury! Actually my room was pretty darn good. All the coffee and tea was Starbucks! So obviously I took some home with me…

IMG_3568

How generous is that??

I wasn’t planning on doing another run at the gym the next morning but just wanted to mosey around at the weights and maybe do some rowing as I quite enjoy that and I never usually get the chance to go to a gym. However, I woke up raring to go and jumped on the treadmill (OK maybe not jumped) and did some really good intervals (7min/mile!) for three miles with a warm down. Still boring as hell but I had the energy to fuel me (all those carbs I expect).

IMG_3558

Though I wasn’t in the gym mega early – only 7am, it was still a surprise to see so many people at that time in the morning. Normally in the week when I go out to run in the morning no one is about and it’s dark and quiet. It was a shock getting into the gym and it’s practically pulsating with all this energy and movement going on. I just wasn’t prepared. I barely say good morning to my husband at this time in the morning let alone have full on conversations about what I go up to last night.

I had some time so I thought I’d have a look around as it was quite a big gym with loads of equipment. I found myself a Power Plate! I’ve never used one before but had always been intrigued.

IMG_3559

It was the strangest feeling, all that vibration going on and trying to do squats and lunges. Not entirely pleasant I must say. I managed two sets of squats and lunges and called it a day. Maybe I’ll try again some time but I just wasn’t sure about it.

Then another day of meetings (and another buffet) then a long drive home. I was so glad to be back home with Ben and Alfie. I just made myself a quick omelette for dinner and went to bed.

I do enjoy going away for business and staying in hotels and eating out but it gets tiring. You miss the comforts you’re so used to at home…that night-time hot chocolate, good night kiss from the husband and the furry dog lying on your chest in the morning staring you down waiting for his walk. You forget how lovely home until you’ve been away Smile

Do you go away on business a lot?

Do you enjoy staying in hotels?

What do you prefer: running outside or on the treadmill?