Hamstring Update

Not to dwell too much on the old hamstring situation because I’m trying to stay POSITIVE. But a little update in how it’s going.

So I’ve been strengthening it as much as I can at the gym. I would guess I’m in the phase of the injury where it’s more safe to stress it out a bit in order to strengthen it. I’m doing more functional and, well, “weighty” exercises. These include nordic curls, sled pushing, reverse box jumping, glute kickbacks with more weight and lying hamstring curls.

I attempted a mini run last night. I went out aiming for about 1km… it didn’t feel great I won’t lie. It didn’t feel terrible but it certainly didn’t feel like a particularly comfortable run. It niggled the entire way but stayed consistent in its discomfort rather than getting worse. Walking around afterwards and the next day didn’t feel any different either.

I do wonder whether that length of a run isn’t really much of a good test but I’m being super cautious because of Chicago (14.5 weeks away). I want to try another run soon, but longer. If I’m honest I’m not sure I’m doing the right thing at the moment but at the same time, I’m taking a very measured and gentle approach. Any set-back on my hamstring and I’d immediately stop. My thoughts are that I do need to stress the hamstring out a little in this very functional way in order to get stronger.

When I had this issue after Boston a few years ago (where I believe this is where it all started but has been low level hiding since) I ran quite a lot through the issue. I’m very fastidious with tracking my “training”. I have an Excel sheet that I track all my workouts, gym and running, and will write details about them. It helps me track what I’m doing at the gym (weights, sets, reps) and when I’m injured I can refer back and read about how that run workout, what I was doing to manage things etc. This is obviously super helpful now. Each run I did I would say things like “urgh hamstring niggled throughout” or “deadlifts definitely made my hamstring worse” and I can see how many miles I ran and when it started to get better.

From the looks of it, it took about 11 weeks to heal. 11 weeks. I actually feel sick typing that. What I quickly have to remind myself though is that I’m a lot more “educated” now. Like when the issue first cropped up then I continued doing heavy deadlifts and pushing my hamstring when I should have let it calm down before gentle incorporating very specific hamstring exercises back in (like I am at the moment). I was also super reluctant to stop running (I continued to run for 5 weeks).

So my hope is that THIS time around I’ll be back to comfortable running in less time. I’m currently on week 5 of not running and strength training diligently and sensibly. By dealing with my injury in a very controlled way and having this plan and focus I’m helping myself not fall too much into the Well of Darkness that often plagues injured runners. I have my down moments and I’m trying not to panic about Chicago but I’m only human after all.

Anyway, onto happier and more pleasant things…. sausages. I was sent some sausages and burgers again from the lovely people from Wild and Game.

They sent me some Premium Grouse & Wild Boar sausages.
I adore these sausages (to be honest I really really like all Wild & Game sausages).

They are SO fricking tasty. I made a really random meal for Kyle and I one evening – basically emptying the fridge of stuff that needed eating and I threw in the sausages chopped up with a load of vegetables and it was DIVINE.

Kyle was even super impressed – he loved them.

And they also sent some Pheasant & Venison burgers.

Again, these were so tasty. The sausages and burgers do have a rich and gamy taste but not overwhelmingly so. They just taste very flavoursome and meaty.

This is because there is 47% Wild Boar and 25% Grouse in the sausages (for comparison Richmond Thick sausages contain 42% pork). The burgers contain 40% Pheasant and 35% Venison. Good quality ingredients and less “filler”. And the products are low fat because of the meat they’re using (game is less fatty compared to traditional sausage and burger meat like pork and beef).

What’s your favourite kind of sausage?

Do you eat game a lot?

Do you think I’m doing the right thing with my hamstring?

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the Wild & Game products for free inexchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Wild and Game sausage review

I was recently sent some sausages to review. Yes this is quite random [and apologies to any vegetarians as this is probably not a post for you!]

But I’m a fan of sausages (and meat in general) and these sounded really nice and a bit special. They’re made by the company Wild and Game, a new non-for-profit food business. As you can probably guess from the name, they’re very focused on game products. The ethos being that it’s low fat, free range and tasty. So meat from birds such as pheasant, partridge and grouse are their specialty.I was somewhat apprehensive when quite a large number of different sausages showed up at my door. I mean, quite a lot of sausages. Now I like sausages, don’t get me wrong, but the sheer volume was quite something. I immediately froze a load and then decided to cook a batch up and take some to work, and then eat the rest through the week throwing them into different meals.They were easily cooked in the oven in about 30-40 minutes and unlike pork sausages left next to no fat in the baking tray. They smelt amazing. It took all my strength to save them for work the next day. I took them in, chopped up into chunks, for my work friends to try. Now that might seem weird and granted it kind of is, but people bring cakes in all the time so why not sausages!And let me tell you, these bad boys went down a TREAT. People couldn’t get enough of them. They went very quickly. Every person who tried them, honest to God, said how tasty they were. And they weren’t wrong. They were so moreish and flavoursome.

This photo really makes me laugh. I’m such a child

I’m not joking when I say I pretty much ate sausages every single night last week. I had sausage stir-fries, a sausage casserole, a sausage omelette, sausages and eggs… And I honestly did not get bored. If anything I just wanted more! They do taste gamy, but not in an overwhelmingly rich way. Just in a depth of flavour way. Like a lot of flavour compared to your bog standard pork sausages.

I was sent three different types of sausages: Pheasant and Pear, Pheasant and Venison and Pheasant and White Wine. I really liked all of them but I think the pear one was the most tasty. It had a slight sweet tinge to it which was lovely with the meaty flavour. The ingredients for the products are pretty solid as well. See below for an example of the Pheasant and Pear ones:

Pheasant meat 60%, pork belly 10%, pear halves in juice 15% (pears chopped, water, pear juice concentrate), rusk 10%(prepared from: WHEAT flour, water salt, e503(ii)).  seasoning, 3% (salt, sugar, stabilizer (e451 (i)) dextrose. Flavouring, preservative (sulphites). WHEAT flour, antioxidant (e300), sun flower oil, anti-caking agent (e551), honey powder. Filled using natural hog cases.

Not too shabby for sausages, which are notorious for being packed full of loads of hidden nasties. Basically, I love these sausages and would happily choose them over regular pork sausages any day of the week. I’m only sad that prime BBQ season is kind of at an end. That said, I’m happy to not have to share. I won’t be taking the rest of them to work! They’re all mine 😉

Do you like sausages?

Do you like game?

Do you ever bring food in to work?

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent a selection of products from Wild and Game for free to review on my blog. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Pudding stomach

This weekend fully proved to me that I have two stomachs: a normal food stomach and a pudding one. But more on that in a bit. First, as usual my weekend started with parkrun.

My two newly converted parkrun runners came down from Bristol for the day. They were keen to test out their 5k times on a flat parkrun course. Pomphrey Hill parkrun in Bristol has been good fun but ultimately a flat course is always nice to do to see where you’re at. Originally we were going to meet in Swindon where another friend wanted to do their first parkrun but that fell through so they came to me.

We chose Lee-On-Solent parkrun as it is super flat and also very close to my parent’s house so they could meet me there, drop off their pug, Doug, to hang out with Alfie and my parent’s dog and we could convoy together. My dad was joining but decided to forgo doing it as he hurt his shoulder.


:Look at that blue sky (and the Isle of Wight behind)! Beautiful. No one wanted to say what their targets were really…we all felt quietly confident that we’d do better than Pomphrey but we didn’t want to vocalise it and put silly pressures on ourselves.

I saw a few people from my running club which was nice and also finally got to meet the lovely Kerry, who I’ve been chatting with via Twitter and Instagram (aka UKRunGirl).


After the briefing (which made me chuckle when the run director told the under-11s to firmly supervise their adults), we were off. I found it quite busy and hectic as it’s a fairly narrow promenade for us all to bunch together on but it helped slow me down. Another point that was made during the briefing was that there were lots of foot traffic from non-runners this morning and that we were to give them right of way and be courteous as we didn’t want any complaints to the council or reasons to cancel the parkrun. I noticed throughout the run that all the runners I saw took this to heart and gave walkers wide berths and moved out of the way quickly. It’s true, parkrun is a run not a race, as much as we’d all like to get fast times we still want parkrun to continue without issue!

My dad stood on the side-line cheering us on and testing out his new GoPro. He’s such a gadget-lover. I’m considering getting one myself but I want to test out using my dad’s first before I commit.

LoS parkrun AugustScreenshot of GoPro filming

I gave it my all and hilariously did not achieve a negative split after blowing my own trumpet last week about how good I’ve suddenly become at managing my pace, ha! But I did notice a wind against me during the second (and hardest) mile.

IMG_4023Photo credit: Ethan Gee

The last mile I was able to put the peddle down as it was a straight run to the finish.






I finished in 22:08 which I’m really pleased with. Yes it would have been fantastic to dip under 22 minutes but for where I am in my training and coming back from injury (yes, excuse excuses) I will happily take that!


Kate and Jamie smashed their previous Pomphrey times and their last Lee-On-Solent time too. Jamie got the sub-30 minutes he’s been aiming for too (Kate missed out soo narrowly!). We were all very pleased with ourselves!


We headed back to mine (quick stop at Starbucks of course) and got showered and sorted before heading to Casa Brasil for lunch.


Casa Brasil is an all-you-can-eat Brazilian Rodizio restaurant. Basically the waiters come round with skewers of meat and slice it up in front of you.


There’s a fairly decent salad bar as well. The staff are so friendly and attentive there and it was all decorated with Brazilian flags which felt very appropriate considering the Olympics has just started. Though I did say to one waiter if he was excited about the Olympics being in Brazil and he replied “I’m Portuguese…”.


It was amazing and right up our street, as you can imagine. When we were finished we were all very full. We didn’t fancy pudding per se but we did fancy just something sweet, you know? I was trying to think of nearby ice cream or frozen yogurt places… hmmm. Then I remembered so many people going on about Sprinkles, an gelato cafe in Southampton of which I’d never been to. It was only 10 minutes away and we had some time before we were going to see Suicide Squad at the cinema.

SprinklesYes that is a Jammie Dodger flavour!!

Well, we walked in and were greeted by so many different ice cream flavours and cakes it was ridiculous. We grabbed a menu and sat down. Oh dear. Sundaes, waffles, crepes, ice cream milk shakes… this was not a place for a small something sweet. None of us could bring ourselves to just order one or two scoops of ice cream. Feeling fairly greedy, I ordered a brownie sundae (as did Jamie) and Kate ordered a Nutella waffle.

Sprinkles (1)

To be fair, we didn’t think they’d be that big. It was OUT OF THIS WORLD. I’m not usually a big ice cream (she says after ordering the biggest sundae of her life). I like ice cream to have stuff going on, like Ben and Jerry’s with chocolate bits in etc., so this was perfect. It was chocolate, vanilla and caramel ice cream with brownie chunks (and I mean chunks), cream and hot fudge sauce to pour over. I couldn’t finish it. I was so full and feeling rather sick. But I bloody loved it. We all did.

It was a good job we literally just had to watch a film after this because we were so stuffed. Suicide Squad was really good. Yes it’s been slated by the critics but I genuinely enjoyed it (apart from Cara Delevingne who I found cringingly bad). We laughed all the way through and just thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We were fairly surprised that quite a few people didn’t wait for the end credits to finish for the sting at the end though – don’t they know!?

Thankfully post-film we all felt a lot better having digested a bit! Then Kate and Jay headed home with Doug. It was a fantastic day! I then popped over to my friend Lou’s to see her week old baby. I’m not a baby person so I always feel a bit awkward with what to do but Tom, Lou’s husband, literally handed me the baby and was like “chill out, Anna”. PANIC. But no it was fine and their baby, Henry, is adorable.

Ehh, the next morning I had to run 15 miles. I was seriously dragging my heels. I woke up at 8.45am (already a bad sign), walked Alfie and just faffed about…I almost decided not to go. I just had no desire to go out running for over two hours. I’ll talk more about my marathon training and plans in another post but this training has been really tough as the ramp up has been quite sharp due to my injury and lack of running.

Just before 10am I was out of the door and actually felt surprisingly good (must be all that glycogen flowing around my system…). I took my dad’s GoPro and had some fun filming bits and bobs (lots to learn though, especially angles. When I tried to film myself I literally just filmed my boobs as I hadn’t quite got the angle right.!). I’ve also not mastered smooth filming so watching it back made me feel a bit sea-sick.

I wore my hydration belt this time so happily had some water to sip on as I went as though it wasn’t sunny it was very humid and warm. As my two hydration bottles are quite small (like 250ml each) I made sure to drink them both before I got to my favourite Dodgy Tap so I could then refill. The Dodgy Tap was exactly half way so this was perfect.


I took a photo of the tap when we took the dogs for a walk so I could show you and see what you thought… would you drink from it?

Anyway the rest of the run was a slog. A real slog. I was counting down every mile. I felt tired and hot. I reached 15 miles about 0.5 miles from home and ordinarily would have just run that extra bit but I stopped straight away and rang my dad to pick me up (I’d run from their house and I knew they were in). My dad didn’t mind thankfully, part of his “coaching duties” apparently Winking smile.











Then I spent some time in the garden stretching with an ice cold drink…and the dogs licking me because I was so sweaty. Nice.

IMG_4034My parents were building their swinging chair at the time, hence the stuff behind me

Then I spent the rest of the day doing the usual Sunday schizz. It was 1pm by the time I had breakfast…but this just meant I could eat lunch sooner Winking smile

Would you drink from that tap?

Have you seen any parkrun/non-runner clashes? We’ve occasionally had the odd complaint at Netley from dog walkers.

What’s your all-time favourite ice cream flavour or sundae combo?

Pomphrey parkrun take two and BBQ fun

Firstly a huge congratulations to my bestie, Lou, who gave birth to her beautiful baby boy, Henry, on Saturday! Everyone is doing well Smile 

This weekend was fairly busy but a good’un. I drove up to Bristol (again) Friday evening to stay with my friends, Kate and Jamie. They were hosting a BBQ the next day for a bunch of us and they’d invited me up early so we could do parkrun beforehand.

This is amazing as previously when I’ve gone to Bristol to spend time with my friends I’ve always done parkrun in the morning and then rushed to drive up straight afterwards. It’s always a bit hectic. So it’s so nice that my friends are now into parkrun that I can do it with them on their home turf without a big panicked rush afterwards to get ready.

Jamie cooked once again that Friday night and made some really good lamb koftas and Greek salad. It was pretty damn tasty!


After dinner we watched some TV, which included the most bizarre programme I’ve ever seen: Naked Ambition. It was like car crash telly. One person selected their date purely on the basis of their naked body. It was hilarious, cringy and unbelievably crazy all at once. Very odd.

Like last time I was in Bristol we did the Pomphrey parkrun, and Kate’s friend Katherine joined us again.


We all knew what to expect now having done it before. We knew the hill that awaited us and this made us all a bit nervous and slightly dreading it. We all had ambitions of doing it a bit faster than last time which added to our nerves. Though it was cooler and a bit overcast which was good.

During the race briefing the run director once again went through the course and this time, now being seasoned Pomphrey pros Winking smile, we joined in on the “then you go UP PROMPHREY HILL”. It was less busy than last time so this meant the start was easier with people quickly spreading out rather than tripping over people behind and in front. The run went well. It was hard and I definitely felt like I was giving it some. The hill was awful as usual. I wondered briefly if walking it would be better than the slow plod I was doing but I kept running anyway not wanting to ruin my flow. Though the 100m post-hill felt terrible, like my legs were jelly, but I pushed through.





I’m amazed at myself that somehow I seem to naturally negative split during parkruns now. Previously I used to literally run like my feet were on fire for the first mile then slowly die during the next two miles until crawling to the finish. But now I somehow manage to just hold back a bit and then push hard at the end. Have no idea how or why I’ve started doing this though!

I finished in 22:40 which I am so pleased with! The last time (two weeks ago) I ran this parkrun in 24:01 so that’s quite a chunk I’ve taken off. And Jamie, Kate and Katherine all got faster times too Smile


We were all over the moon. We all agreed it was very tough though.

Kate’s parents had come this time to see us run and they brought the lovely adorable Lola again. She is just so sweet.


Though tricky to get a photo of when she’s bouncing around Winking smile

Then we headed back for the BBQ extravaganza. We showered and got the food prepared and then the others started arriving. I probably say this every time but it’s always so nice when we’re all together and just chatting away. It’s a great group and we always have such a laugh. And after my post last week about feeling left out (thanks for all the lovely comments and messages – it really did mean a lot to know I’m not a weirdo!) it just made me feel so much better.

We made up some delicious strawberry Pimms (only one glass for me as I was driving that evening) with berries and fruit in and lots of nibbles while we waited for the main event.


Of which Jamie was very much in control of.


He is the BBQ Master.


I feasted on pork belly, pork ribs and some insanely tasty chicken thighs and lots of salad. So good.

We then had the BEST cheesecake for pudding. My friend Charlotte’s husband, Paddy, always makes the most incredible cheesecake and this time it was blueberry, white chocolate with a STUFF OREO biscuit base. Be still my beating heart.


Paddy is a very talented baker!


He also provided fresh blueberries and a blueberry compote to go with it. Oh it was divine. Hilariously when they sliced me a piece it was a huge slice called an “Anna Slice”. Happily a few other people also requested an Anna Slice so I wasn’t the only greedy person Winking smile Let’s not talk about seconds either…

As the day went on and the feelings of fullness slightly dissipated, Kate lit the chimenea and we started toasting marshmallows and making s’mores. I’ve never had s’mores before so it was very exciting. It did take a little bit of a practice though – it’s quite a tricky thing! Especially with giant marshmallows and big chunks of Cadbury’s Dairy Chocolate!


But I did manage to perfect the art of toasted marshmallows. The s’mores, oh god, were so good. Very messy to eat and fairly sickly but oh so good. Definitely happening again! I now understand the craze in the States for them.

Eventually we said goodbye and I headed back home to Southampton. The next morning I had a 12 mile run planned and after taking Alfie for a quick walk knew it would be tough. It was very warm and sunny and I felt a bit lethargic (probably entirely due to all that yummy food). I wasn’t looking forward to the run.

It felt like running through porridge and it was really warm. I knew at seven miles I’d get to the Dodgy Tap again and planned to drink from there again after having no ill effects from last time. Yes it’s probably not hygienic at all but it’s far better for me than carrying water which I find so annoying. I also carried some cash with me so I could buy water if I got thirsty again. Well as soon as I got a mile from the tap I knew I would try and find somewhere to buy a drink. Luckily on my route there was a petrol station and this would be about three miles from home so not too far to carry a bottle.

I stopped and picked up a water bottle from the fridge section and standing in the queue cracked it open and drank straight away. I just couldn’t stand in the queue with an icy bottle of water staring at me and not drinking. I apologised to the cashier lady but she just laughed and said that was fine – I clearly needed it, standing there dripping with sweat.











Because I ran from my parent’s house (sounds a bit dramatic doesn’t it?) my dad had asked how long I would be and I said roughly 1 hour 40 minutes. Well, I got back and my time was 1:40:10! Though I did stop my watch at the tap and the petrol station, but still fairly cool.


It was a tough run due to the heat and food yesterday but it felt easier to get to nine miles than my nine mile run last weekend, which I guess shows my endurance is improving. Happy days! The rest of Sunday was spent having a Starbucks, doing chores, walking Alfie, watching Breaking Bad (trying to get back into it after I gave up a few years ago) and just chilling. Perfect!

Do you visit friends often?

What’s your favourite cheesecake flavour?

Do you prefer to know what a course is going to be like before you run it? For example, knowing there was a hill and what it would be like?

Men drink beer, men bring back meat…

Sometimes during the week Ben might go out with some boyfriends (doesn’t work does it? – boy mates) to go do what men folk do…like drink beer and talk about whatever those men folk talk about. My delicate feminine mind couldn’t handle whatever goes on in those meet-ups I’m sure 😉

While he’s out this is usually my time to take charge of the television…catch up with the Kardashians or check in with the Housewives (both Real and fake – though likely the same thing). Maybe even have a solo-Anna family Guy sesh, who knows! Rock and roll.

Usually this is also the time I can have whatever I want for dinner without Ben turning his nose up (“how many vegetables are you having?” or the always pleasant “that looks like sick”). Very exciting. Anyway, I digress. So Ben went to the pub and very likely two hours later I went to bed (as I said: rock and roll).

In the morning Ben and me got up and were catching up, having not had the chance to do it the previous night, and he casually mentioned that he won some meat. Random but OK, that’s quite cool. What kind? “Beef something” he says.

Getting my breakfast ready I open the fridge door to find a rather large hunk of meat sort of crammed in among the yogurts and butter.

IMG_7225 A bit of meat he says?! This could feed a small family for two weeks!! I was stunned. We don’t even eat beef that regularly! Ben appeared rather sheepishly and went “yep that’s the one”. You don’t say…

Could have been worse, Nathan (one of said boy mates) won six pork steaks and woke up in the morning to find he had eaten half of them when he got in…

Anyway I carved that bad boy up (the meat, not Nathan) on Sunday afternoon and it literally took me 45 minutes. I cut some of it into chunks after my dad suggested using some of it for casseroles and slow cooker meals, and cut the rest into steak portions. All now safely in the freezer.

It’s mildly amusing that last week I cooked us some organic beef steak and Ben really wasn’t a fan. Probably me not overcooking it and it turning out a bit more chewy than we like.

IMG_7221 I sprinkled the steak with some steak seasoning (Schwartz) and we had it with vegetables and roasted sweet potato chunks (and BBQ sauce of course).

Well beef will be on the menu now for a fair while so I might have to get the cooking of it right! Well, practice makes perfect I suppose.

And while we’re on the subject of recent eats, we’ve also been enjoying pork steaks with a honey and soy sauce marinade served with a new-to-me vegetable/fruit (?): plantains.

Honey soy pork I fried seasoned slices of plantain in coconut oil. I’m not going to lie, they didn’t entirely rock my world. But they were a nicely carby addition to the meal. We were slightly disappointed that they didn’t taste a little of banana… 😉

And one last meat-related point. Probably the worst time to win a huge hunk of meat is when you go to Casa Brasil, the all-you-can-eat Brazilian rodizio restaurant. I think I ate gammon, roast pork, pork ribs, beef sirloin, beef rump (I think?), and another type of beef (more chunky but lovely and salty)…

So yeah, perfect timing when I can’t even look at the deli meat in Tesco at the moment.

Have you ever won a food item in a raffle?

Have you ever tried plantain?

Are you a big meat eater? What’s your favourite meat? I must admit I’m a very boring meat eater in that my favourites are chicken and turkey. Though I love ribs…heavenly.

**Psst! Check out Laura’s blog Wholeheartedly Healthy for a brilliant giveaway –> HERE ! **