Winchester parkrun and 15 miles – restraint and control

This weekend was a weekend of two halves I feel, weather-wise. Saturday was beautiful and then Sunday… ehhh less so.

On Saturday morning Kyle and I headed to Winchester to meet up with the lovely Emma. We’ve become good friends since I met her when I went to New York last year.

She’s also going to Chicago and doing the marathon this year. So we headed to do Winchester parkrun with her and then have some brunch. Happily parkrun was actually on this time as the last time we tried to do this it was cancelled.

It was a beautifully sunny day. I’ve done Winchester parkrun before, but at the end of running there from Hedge End with a group of my running club and we managed 18 miles in the end. So I wasn’t quite as fresh!

The course is a two lapper, which is always good, and mostly on grass. It’s flat and scenic and the loops not too sharp – if you were aiming for a good time it’s a good course to go for.

As I was planning a long run the next day I wasn’t aiming for anything more than a gentle plod. I haven’t run twice in a row for many weeks now, but as I was feeling so much better and my runs were going well I decided it was time to get back into my usual routine.

We saw Emma, listened to the run briefing (which was so hard to hear over the crowd of people and the woman just using her voice) and then headed to the start.

Kyle, not being quite as fragile as me right now, decided to go a bit faster so headed closer to the front. As we started I remember just how much I enjoyed parkruns when I wasn’t blasting out for a time. I mean it’s the story of my running life to be honest, anything short and fast is just not my thing.

It was really confident boosting though to realise that running around 8 minute miles felt like a breeze. My breathing was easy, I felt strong in my legs and like I could run for miles. As much as I was tempted to speed up significantly at the end (which I’m sure would not have felt easy or quite as enjoyable!) I managed to just sail through to the finish, unbothered by anyone zooming past me in a sprint finish. Control, Anna, CONTROL.

Kyle managed just over 21 minutes (holding himself back a little as he was conscious of his own long run the next day) and I got 23:30. Then we headed for brunch at Josie’s.

Kyle and I have been to Josie’s in Bishop Waltham before but not this one. It was a 20 minute wait for a table, which was fine. It just showed how popular it was! My stomach definitely kicked into gear though watching all the food coming out.

I managed to avoid the temptation of a fry-up and ordered mushrooms, egg and feta on toast instead. I’m glad I went for a change because this was so tasty! And super filling, surprisingly.

I mean it did also help that I shared a stack of maple pancakes with egg, sausage and bacon with Kyle as well. Details, details.

The pancakes here are super sweet, thick and incredible tasty. I’m not personally a huge pancake fan but sharing a portion hit the spot (I can only share food if I know I have more than enough!).

After having a lovely catch up with Emma we parted ways.

The next morning Kyle and I were up at 8.30am to head out for a long run. My plan was to run 15 miles and Kyle was to run 12. I was fully prepared to run less miles though if things felt off. I’m being suuuuuper cautious. We walked Alfie first and I started feeling nervous.

I always feel so nervous now before running. It’s ridiculous I know, but the memory of the injury and the fear of it coming back definitely haunts my running at the moment. But I needn’t have worried because as soon as I started running I felt it all slot into place and I was feeling good.

It was tipping it down though so we were wet pretty much from the get out. To be honest, I didn’t really mind though. It was fairly warm and it kept us nice and cool. The only annoying moments were if you stepped in a big puddle and soaked your trainer and my pony tail sticking to my back. But otherwise it was a lovely pleasant run. We did feel like quite the super heroes running with people looking at us like we were mad.

We passed a couple of other runners and swapped smug knowing nods – we are no fair weather runners. We are warriors.

We got to eight miles, where Kyle was to head back, making up his 12 miles, and I was to head onwards further to get my 15 miles. We stopped briefly for a quick photo and I waved goodbye and popped my podcast in.

A jokey photo Kyle took of me running off

As much as I love running with Kyle I do really enjoy running on my own. Just managing my pace however I fancy, zoning out and listening to a podcast. I will never get sick of it. I just love it so much.

The rain came and went a bit and I found myself getting stronger as the run carried on. There was an annoying long road that I ran down where cars hurtled through puddles, splashing me time and time again, but really I was so wet by then it didn’t matter.

My hamstring did niggle a bit towards the end, but manageably so, so nothing to worry about. I felt like this run was a lot more controlled and not quite as tough as the week’s before 15 miles. I sensibly didn’t blast the final miles which helped! So when I finished I didn’t feel quite as drained or broken.

The hot shower at home was so good. And the hot porridge and cup of tea went down a treat. Some things will never get old for me. Long running, porridge, tea… it just makes me a very content Anna!

So three weeks until Chicago now. I feel good… I mean of course I wish I had a few more week’s training under my Flipbelt and I hope the hamstring niggle eventually goes away completely but beggars can’t be choosers.

If I’m sensible in the lead-up and sensible on the day, I should be OK (TOUCH WOOD!!). I have no plans to blast the run or push myself too hard. I have nothing to gain from that. I want to be running after Chicago too and I don’t want to reignite any issues. I just want to gently and quietly tick this marathon off and then continue to run without issue afterwards. That to me sounds like perfection.

Do you enjoy running in the rain?

What’s your favourite pancake topper?

Running to Havant parkrun and double breakfast

This weekend gone was a busy but good one! Through work I’d gotten a place at the New Forest 10k for the Sunday, but as I’m currently marathon training I still needed to get a long run in so I decided to run to parkrun on the Saturday to make up to 16 miles.

I haven’t done Havant before and after checking how far away it was from my house it was an almost perfect 13.5 miles away. So I could run there and do the parkrun and get the 16 miles I was after. Kyle very helpfully offered to cheer me on and then drive me back afterwards. He’s sadly not running at the moment as he’s being super sensible and giving his leg some time to get over its annoying niggle. But it was nice to know he’d be there and as he’d done that parkrun before he was able to give me some pointers and inside knowledge on what the course was like.

My alarm was set for the delightful time of 6.20am and at about 6.50am I headed out into the rather chilly morning to begin my journey. Though I’d sensibly put the route on my Garmin the day before I forgot to start my run using the route…and only realised about a mile in. I didn’t want to stop and restart my watch so I decided to wing it. The majority of the route I knew but it was the last bit when I’d get into Havant that I was a bit hazy about but I could work that out later (the confidence I have in my ability to find my way is probably unwise I know).

My legs felt tired and heavy as I set off…having been asleep not that long ago! But it was nice to be out in the cool fresh air and see the sun rising. It was very peaceful. I listened to a podcast which embarrassingly actually made me laugh a lot out-loud as I was running (a review of the new Nun film… “quiet, quiet, NUN” is basically how the film goes apparently).The temperature was perfect for a long run. Started chilly and then I felt fine.The nice thing about these sorts of runs is that because you have a destination to get to it doesn’t feel like too much of a slog. You’re running with a purpose to get somewhere, rather than just a loop.I did have the dreaded Portsdown Hill to go up though, which I knew would be a bit of a grind. It lasted for a delightful two miles but the views at the top were worth it. You can see straight over to Portsmouth (some might say that’s not a great view but ehhh).I did have to take a lot of care though (selfie taking aside…) as there wasn’t a consistent pavement along the road and the cars do come quite quickly down. But thankfully they all gave me a lot of space and didn’t make me throw myself into the ditch.When I got to the top of Portsdown Hill it then became more of a gentle decline which was nice for the legs! As I ran down the other side to Havant I then had to start whipping my phone out for directions. There weren’t too many roads to turn down so it wasn’t a stretch on my ability to follow directions. I passed a little girl riding her bike in full princess regalia and her dad and her both clapped me on as I ran passed which was quite nice.

Then I finally arrived at Staunton Country Park, which is where Havant parkrun is located. As you get closer to a parkrun around Saturday morning more and more runners start appearing, which is always comforting when you’re trying to find your way! Just follow the Lycra.Kyle was already there which was nice. He’d also packed me a water which I fully appreciated! Lots of brownie points 😉
I had about ten minutes to stand and chat before making my way to the start. I really wasn’t looking forward to this. I was feeling quite tired and I knew this parkrun was a tough one. One mini loop, then two big loops with a steep decline and a fair amount of undulation all on rocky trail. Okaaaay.We got going and my legs loosened up again after the standing around and I instantly felt a wave of tiredness. Ahh three miles really wasn’t that long…but then actually, it was in reality to my now very tired legs.

Photo credit: Martyn Garvey

I got to the very steep decline (it even had a sign beforehand warning runners) and tried to just let myself go but it was a tough ask. Bit of crazy pounding on the legs and feet… eesh. Just have to relax into it and not try to brake too much.

The first big loop really was a grind. It was nice seeing Kyle as I finished the first loop but it felt like such a slog to think I had to do that loop again – including the decline. I felt very much on the struggle train in terms of my legs. The ground was quite uneven as well which wasn’t comfortably underfoot. The marshals were lovely though, cheering everyone on and smiling away.

Photo credit: Martyn Garvey

As we ran round the final bit I turned my foot over which gave a sharp pain in my ankle and made me yelp out-loud. I tentatively  continued running and it felt fine after a few steps. I’ve actually done this a few times in races and it’s never amounted to anything. I must have strong ankles. The only part of me not injury-prone clearly!I found my footing and managed to sprint to the finish. Ooooof that was tough. My time was 24:04 and I felt every single second of it!I finished and sat down, glad to finally stop and chill.
It was nice to get another parkrun ticked off, even if it was a challenging one. There aren’t many nearby anymore that I haven’t done… except the Medina one on the Isle of Wight but that’ll take a bit of organising in order to get a ferry across. I foresee a day-trip in the future…

Anyway, after finishing parkrun I quickly put on some jeans and two layers of jackets ready for my journey home… on the back of Kyle’s motorbike!I mean, the epitome of cool right there yes? I’ve actually never properly been on the back of a motorbike so this was quite the adventure. I was a teeeeeny bit scared when we hit the motorway I have to admit. It was such a crazy experience being in the “open” going so fast (well, not silly fast but fast enough!). Kyle’s a safe driver though and I relaxed as the journey carried on.

After showering and getting sorted it was then on for some much needed refuelling. We went to Josie’s in Bishops Waltham. Now I’d heard great things about this place (there’s actually one in Winchester and Petersfield as well). I probably got a little bit too excited (and my grumbling tummy got the better of me as usual) when I ordered a fry-up……And also persuaded Kyle to share some fried chicken maple pancakes with me.The chicken pancakes were in the ‘savoury’ section of the menu but they were far from it! They were very sweet. The chicken was delicious and crunchy and the thick pancakes were fluffy and dense. SO good but very very sweet.The fry-up, of course, was delicious too. A very happy Anna!

Thankfully we went on a lovely long walk afterwards to help digestion. We went along the Meon Valley Trail in Wickham which was really pretty (and a popular running and cycling route).It was a lovely afternoon and definitely needed after all the food! We actually did quite a bit of walking that day as we headed down the beach to walk the dogs as well.Gotta get out while the weather is still nice!

That evening we went out for more food (I know, I know). My parents had invited us to our favourite local pub, The Osborne View, so we headed for dinner there.I had the chicken wings to start (let’s ignore they were a sharing starter)But balanced this with a lovely chicken and feta salad. All in the name of balance, eh?A solid day’s running, walking and eating! I was feeling good for the New Forest 10k the next day. On to that in another post!

Do you prefer savoury or sweet breakfasts?

Do you run to parkrun?

Have you ever ridden on a motorbike?

parkrun, a date and THOSE pancakes

Why is it weekends fly by so quickly? I was quite busy so this is probably why I guess!

Saturday morning saw me back at parkrun at Netley Abbey after a couple of weeks off of running. I hadn’t seen Mike, or any of the Netley parkrun crew, in ages so it was nice to catch up with everyone. I basically chatted the entire way round parkrun! I wasn’t interested in a fast time and just wanted to have a nice enjoyable run. I also got to showcase my Chester Marathon long-sleeved technical tee and my parkrun cow cowl.img_5974This photo made me laugh so much as I literally had no idea that Jim, the photo bomber, was behind me doing that. It was only when I looked at the photo I saw. Hehe.

I bought my cow cowl after I had successful done 20 different parkrun courses and am now on the Most Events table. It’s not a freebie thing like the milestone t-shirts or directly associated with parkrun, you do have to buy it yourself (but it’s like £7 so very cheap), but it’s a great way of identifying with other Most Event parkrunners.cow-cowlThe cowl (or buff) was actually really nice to wear as it was quite nippy at parkrun. Winter is definitely on it’s way 🙁 I’m really not looking forward to the cold morning’s of parkrun set-up and then running in the nasty weather. Hey ho.

My pacing at parkrun was all over the place as I was too busy chatting… parkrun-paceNot particularly consistent really and fairly slow in comparison to previous runs (25:39). But my legs felt alright post marathon (well, they would do I guess after almost two weeks off!) andI’m still trying to take things nice and slow. I want to be really motivated when I get back into proper training so I don’t want to ramp things up too quickly now. I probably won’t run a huge amount in the next few weeks if I’m honest as I also have my eye laser surgery coming up this month. (I will blog about that experience.)

Later on I had a date… we’d “met” through internet dating (Plenty of Fish – just that one tiny step above Tinder I think as I’m not ready to pay actual money yet) and after he cancelled on me the other week we finally rearranged another date. He lives 45 minutes away which, if I’m honest, annoyed me more than it should. After lots of nice reassurance from the Twittersphere that that wasn’t that bad I decided to go more positive than I was initially.

img_5975From my Instagram Story

We met at a pub for lunch. It went OK, he seemed nice and we chatted a lot but then it all fell apart when he said he was too full for pudding. Game over.

No, I’m joking (well, there was no pudding which was somewhat devastating after seeing the table next to me get chocolate fudge cake and millionaire shortbread cheesecake). In truth, as nice as he was I didn’t feel a huge connection and there were things that were fundamental no-no’s (who doesn’t like Harry Potter?? <– OK that is sort of a joke but it was one of a few things I found that didn’t work for me).

*Sighs* so much effort wasted. I don’t think I’m going to continue with the Internet dating at the moment as, in my opinion, the effort involved finding, messaging, working out if they’re not a psycho, meeting up, etc. is just not worth it. I’d rather pootle along as I am right now.

That evening I met up with friends for a house warming party and we had a lovely chilled evening of chilling and chatting. The host provided an amazing spread of Slimming World approved snacks (as she’s trying to lose a bit of weight). There were sweet chilli chicken bites, bacon wrapped asparagus, fruit, crudites and dips. It was fantastic!

I’m definitely starting to warm more to Slimming World – not that I’m going to start obviously but what I mean is that it’s not quite the product-pushing fad diet system I thought it was. It’s working so well for my parents (they’ve both lost over a stone each!!) and it seems to have some sound and sensible guidelines and support system.

Then the next day I headed to London to meet with my uni friends for lunch and catch-up. (Side note: I watched Money Monster on the train and it was really good – very tense. I thoroughly enjoyed it! The train journey flew by).

My friend, Charlotte, took us to an AMAZING spot for lunch called My Old Dutch and WOW. Basically the menu was just pancakes – both sweet and savoury. As I had to catch the train fairly early that morning (damn Sunday trains) I’d forgone a proper breakfast as I wanted a bit longer to sleep in the morning and I knew we were going to this pancake place so wanted to be adequately hungry. I had a banana and a couple of apples but by the time we got there I was starving.

Originally I thought I was going to go for sweet pancakes as I’d already checked them out on Instagram and the pancakes looked i.n.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.e. But because I was just so hungry I thought it would make me feel a bit ill. Bit of a mistake I think but I REALLY enjoyed the savoury pancake I had.img_5983It was full of halloumi, feta, olives and aubergine.img_5978Perfection. I did get enormous food envy though as one of my friends ordered the Willy Wonka Kinda special.img_5982I mean WOW. It looked amazing. She found it got very sickly (as you can imagine) so I was able to help her out at the end 😉 But yes, it was ridiculously sweet. She was in a sugar coma afterwards which was quite amusing (seen as how it’s usually me who ends up that way!).

Apart from a downpour we got caught in, the meet-up was lovely. Though it sucked it was a Sunday and not a Saturday like we normally do as it meant getting home at 6pm and still having chores and food prep to do… worth it though!

What would you choose: savoury pancakes or sweet?

What would be deal-breakers for you for relationships?

Do you judge people on what they order at restaurants? 😉

So excited

The weekend has just flow by. I can’t believe how close to Christmas we are now! And how close to Ben and my next holiday – wooo wooo!

At the end of January we’re off to Florida to go and do some theme park craziness (though missing out Disney World as it didn’t rock our world at all the last time we went) for 8 days, and then travelling to Dallas for 6 days. The first part of the holiday we’re going with a couple friend of ours, Kate and Jamie, and they are literally obsessed with theme parks and Florida. They’re going for two weeks which was just too hardcore for us, which is why we’re then going to Dallas.

So this weekend gone we went up to Bristol to stay over at Kate and Jamie’s house on Saturday to get down to the Holiday Master Plan, i.e. where we want to go, what we want to do and more importantly what kind of restaurants and food we like and want to go to. Jamie is a HUGE food enthusiast and loves all the American-style food and, well, food in general. Jamie is like the male version of me basically. Food is important to us!

They cooked an amazing feast of food. Honestly it was incredible.


There were tortilla chips with dips, oven-roasted hot and plain chicken wings, corn on the cobs, home-made burgers, crispy bacon, ranch dressed slaw and regular salad and my personal favourite RIBS.


Ribs are one of my favourite meals in the entire world. I adore them. It was such a good spread, but it didn’t end there.




Home-made brownie, hot fudge sauce and Hagen Daaz vanilla ice cream. Oh my life. All in a special Mickey Mouse bowl (sink?). The photo above really doesn’t do it justice but as you can see there was a HEFTY amount of ice cream there – a slab I would say.

We all stumbled to the finish line in states of absolute fullness and severe feelings of sick. We literally sat there in silence (I’d like to say a satisfied silence, but it was more a silence of necessity as movement in general was painful at that point). I regret nothing though 😉

What was really fun was we took Alfie with us and he got to meet their pug, Doug. They seemed to get on well – though Alfie refused to allow Doug to sniff his bottom. Not sure what that means in Dog Code. But Doug didn’t mind Alfie having a sniff. I like to think that this is Alfie asserting his Alfa male status 😉 Or just being grumpy!

IMG_8805We had such a fun evening, ending in a random Harry Potter quiz to get us ready for the mayhem ahead. We’re all huge fans of Harry Potter, roller coasters and general silliness that it will just be like being a kid again I think. And we’re staying in the same hotel which is a walk or a short bus ride from Universal Studios so it’s perfect. And we’ve got tickets to an ice hockey game!! It should be mental 😀


The next morning we all went for a walk with Alfie and Doug to their nearby park and had a nice long walk – the conversation never veering far from the impending holiday. We are all SO excited.


We got back and Jamie did a fabulous pancake breakfast for Ben and Kate. I brought my porridge (what did you expect?). My friends know what I’m like (apple obsessed, porridge lover…) so they didn’t mind. Ben was in chocolate chip, cream and syrup heaven though.

IMG_8811He stacked up his three pancakes (first batch) with white and milk chocolate chips in between each layer, coated with golden syrup and then finished with cream. He loved it. I’m actually not a massive pancake fan (or crepes for that matter) so America in that respect is a little disappointing at breakfast for me. I’d much prefer just my regular porridge as the idea of lots of sweet stuff in the morning doesn’t do it for me. When we last went to Florida we had a villa so I could satisfy my porridge need by making it myself but this time we’re in a hotel. It might be time for me to branch out. Watch this space…

And then we were on our merry way back home. It was such good fun and I now have a list of restaurants that I’m subsequently going to peruse through. Does anyone else do that? Find restaurants beforehand and then look through their menus? It gets me really excited about what’s to come!

And so we drove back home, Alfie on my lap. He hates travelling in the car but when he got to look out of the window he was more impressed.


What do you eat for breakfast on holiday? Do you branch out and have something different? Any recommendations for a pancake un-enthusiast?

What’s the most exciting part about going on holiday for you? For me a big part if trying new foods. But going with friends now is going to add a brilliant new element – and we’re all similar to each other in different ways so it makes things very easy.

Do you enjoy roller coasters?

MyProtein and MyVitamin review

Happy Friday everyone. The cool people behind MyProtein and MyVitamin (The Hut Group) sent me a couple of products to review.

Before now I have never tried protein powder. To be honest, I didn’t see the point. I love my food so why on earth would I drink my meals or the extra calories I need?? Don’t get me wrong though, I’ve been tempted when I see so many protein pancake or protein cookie recipes. But again I was like “why not just have a regular pancake instead?”

So I jumped at the chance to try the whey protein power to see what the fuss was about. I chose True Whey in the Chocolate Caramel flavour. It actually took quite a while for me to choose the flavour because there were several very tasty sounding ones (like chocolate mint, strawberry delight and velvet vanilla).

From the website, it notes the key benefits as:

  • Highest quality protein source
  • New fantastic flavours
  • Includes Lactospore® and Digezyme® (aids digestion)
  • Rich in BCAA’s and Aminoacids

I must say this all sounds very foreign to me! Apparently it has the “perfect blend of the highest grade whey protein concentrate and isolate” And “contains very little fat, zero added sugars and a only small amount of carbohydrates, but it is packed with the most biological available protein available and also contains a high amount of branch-chain-amino-acids (BCAA’s).”

MyProtein Whey Protein Powder It comes with a little scoop which portions out one serving. You can mix it with water or milk. I decided to go for milk because the idea of mixing it with water didn’t really appeal to me. I tried it with both cow’s milk and almond milk. Cow’s milk worked a bit better in terms of how well it mixed. Almond milk needed a bit more stirring and still it wasn’t fully dissolved. (You can buy those shaker things which I’m sure would help, but I was mixing using a spoon).

IMG_6904 Also, the less milk you put in, the thicker it gets (like a thick milkshake). The taste is pretty good, very much like a chocolate milkshake. There is a very slight chemical taste but nothing horrendous or off-putting.

I’ve also tried blending it with frozen banana as well (Ben absolutely adores this and often has it after running).


It mixes really well in the blender

Roughly per serving it’s 98 calories (without milk) and almost 19g of protein. Needless to say that when you have one of these you feel quite full afterwards.

Clearly I’m no body builder or have huge intentions to put on a lot of muscle weight so I’m not drinking this everyday. One of the reasons I was originally put off by protein powders was just knowing when to have it – I fill my day nicely with the food I need. However, there is a key time when this is very handy. When I go to races I usually have a stupidly early breakfast, then race and then finish. The time between breakfast, finishing and then getting myself together and finding food can be quite a few hours. By the time I do find food I’ve often felt very weak. Making up a good portion of this and taking it with me would be ideal to have straight after the race to fill that gap. Especially as I never fancy anything to eat after a race, but having a drink that would keep me from feeling faint is perfect!

We also made protein pancakes using the following ingredients:

  • 40g rolled oats
  • 1 scoop of protein powder
  • 2 eggs (or 4 egg whites)
  • Dash of milk if batter is too thick

Blend all the ingredients together and then fry batches on a heated oiled frying pan. Should make three decent sized pancakes.

Protein powder pancakes We did have three but Ben ate one before we could photo all of them (*sighs*). Add lots of great toppings, like maple syrup, fruit, peanut butter, etc.

I also tried some supplements from MyVitamins. I thought considering all the running I do and how injury-prone I seem to be I’d try the Joint Plus MSM Glucosamine and Chondroitin multi-nutrient blend.

IMG_6907 Basically it’s a combination of the three “widely recognised” join care nutrients. Each capsule contains 300mg MSM, 250mg Glucosamine HCL and 200mg Chondroitin Sulphate. I take one one every day with breakfast. Finger’s crossed it’s making a difference. I don’t feel any different but I can’t imagine you would! A bit like any supplement you take I guess.

All in all, two decent products that I will continue to use!

HERE is a link to their voucher code page, full of discounts on a wide range of supplements if you’re interested 🙂

Have you tried anything from MyProtein or MyVitamin website?

Do you use protein powders?

What supplements do you take?

***I was sent these products for free to review but all opinions are my own***