Week 24 of being pregnant – featuring a lot of chocolate!

Week 24 of my pregnant and how are things going?

Well, pretty well actually! I feel really good. My energy levels are good, I’m sleeping well (though still grumbling about now being a side sleeper… I miss sleeping on my back so much!) and I’m still running three times a weeks (roughly around 25 miles/week) and strength training 3-4 times a week.

Running is getting slower of course and I’m finding both my hips get achy towards the end. But I’ve had some acupuncture and massage which massively helped, as does the lovely long hot water bottle Kyle’s sister bought me. Lots of good stretches throughout the day definitely ease the discomfort too.

I love running so much right now. I like to go first thing and just seeing the weather getting better makes me so happy. I might not be nearly as fast as I was before but I still get the same enjoyment. And the podcasts I listen to while running are now not just about running, food and movies but sprinkled with a heavy dose of pregnancy and baby related ones too.

Who’d have thought this would happen, definitely not me! I especially like Made by Mamas (though the number of adverts and sponsors they have in each episode REALLY annoys me) and the Pregnancy Wellness Podcast.

Food-wise things have been very good lately. Kyle amazingly treated me to some INCREDIBLE millionaire rocky roads from the Instagrammer @Nickichanlam (I’ve mentioned her before – she’s so so good). They were BRICKS!

They had a layer of caramel and a top layer of chocolate and then were basically packed full of mini-eggs, biscuit and marshmallows. So fricking good! I had one at 11am one day and basically was full until dinner that evening – and for me that’s really something!

I was also recently sent a super tasty set of drinks, Super DC, from Gusto. They’re basically healthily pimped out soft drinks aimed to boost your immune system as they’re packed full of vitamins.

They come in two flavours: Super DC Blood Orange and Super DC Blackcurrant & Elderberry. They’re full of antioxidants and contain a huge boost of Vitamin D and Vitamin C, for only around 60 calories a can.

 They actually taste REALLY good. The blood orange flavour tasted like a posh Fanta (and I love Fanta).

I honestly wanted to guzzle all the cans, they were super refreshing. Unfortunately they contain a bit too much Vitamin A for me being pregnant so I could only do a taste test, but this was good news for Kyle as he really liked them too.

I was also sent a really cool gift idea – a CHOCOLATE themed gift idea. It’s called ChocFace and basically you choose the photos you want to go on top of Belgian chocolate, which is all edible.

You can personalise what you call the box too, which I love

They come displayed in a really lovely box. I was quite impressed – the photos looked super clear and the chocolate was actually really tasty. I yomped my way through the box fairly quickly, I’m ashamed to say! It’s such a novel and fun idea. Really good gift for someone I think.

Slightly vainly I chose photos of myself and Kyle!

And on the note of food, Kyle and I had Monday and Tuesday off and we spent one of those days having a lovely walk down Southsea seafront and got some takeaway food from one of our favourite spots, The Parade Tearooms.

My favourite menu item from them is the Jane Salad (which I’ve had MANY times). It’s ginormous. And the takeaway version is just as big – giving you a large box of the cold items (salad bits, cheese, coleslaw) and then a large box of the hot items (crispy bacon, chicken and crispy potatoes). It was so good!

Unfortunately  my eyes were far too big for my tummy because after finishing this enormous salad I also wolfed down a gigantic wedge of tiffin afterwards.

This was a BIG mistake as honestly I felt so full for the rest of the day it wasn’t fun. I can definitely see this getting worse the longer the pregnancy continues because my stomach capacity just isn’t going to be what it used to be. Greedy Anna is going to have problems!

What’s your favourite, rocky road or tiffin? To be honest I’m not entirely sure the difference! I think rocky road has marshmallows and tiffin has raisins…

What’s your favourite salad? I really love caesar salads (especially if there are anchovies in it).

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the Gusto drinks and the ChocFace chocolates for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Just keep swimming… or running

I realise my blog has suddenly become quite pregnancy focused. Somewhat understandable as that’s what’s currently going on right now for me, and let’s be honest there’s not much else happening anyway!

I’m now a couple of days away from 15 weeks and feeling miles better than I was during the first trimester.

Some days I get a little bit of random nausea early in the morning but mostly I’m out of the woods. Just general tiredness really. And other than the increasing size of my boobs, I pretty much look the same as before. I don’t currently have a noticeable bump. If I eat a lot in the evening (like when we get a takeaway at the weekend) it definitely pops out more, but I’m guessing this is mostly bloating and the food I’ve just eaten. By morning I’m back to “normal”.

Other than my pregnancy, Kyle and I are just pootling along through Lockdown 3.0… WFH during the week, Facetiming family and friends and then getting a takeaway or two at the weekend to keep us from going mad.

Last weekend was nice as my friend Mark was able to join me for a 10k run on Saturday morning. It was just so nice to run with someone else! I did used to run with Kyle at least once a week but he’s struggling a little with motivation (no races, no parkrun) and doesn’t particularly want to get up early in the week like I do. For me, if I don’t run in the morning I’d really struggle to go later as my motivation just dips completely.

So anyway Mark and I were able to run together and it just reminded me how easy running feels when you’re chatting away with someone. Hopefully we’ll do it again soon. He’s coming back from injury so my pregnancy pace was luckily not too slow for him! (He’s quite zippy normally).

I’m trying not to think too much about the coming months if I’m honest. Kyle and I deliberately didn’t take any holiday other than the Bank Holidays over Christmas so we could carry more holiday over to this year. The plan being that we could go on a little “baby moon” (hate that phrase) before the baby arrives.

We have to take this holiday though before the end of March and I’m panicking we won’t be able to go anywhere because we’ll still be locked down. Obviously I don’t expect us to go anywhere abroad, but I’d love to go somewhere other than Portsmouth right now! A little AirBnb, some walks, some time together just the two of us.

I’d dread that we’d have to take the holiday and be sat inside our house. I would go mad. And I don’t really want to take any holiday after March for the 2021 allocation because this is going to help boost my maternity leave pay. Argh. But it’ll be what it’ll be.

So we just work weekend to weekend and try to find little things to keep us going. Like ordering doughnuts from the local bakery. Or trying new takeaways near us.

Delicious cake from The Parade Tearooms

Or going for walks down to Southsea and getting takeaway coffees and cake.

Anything to just keep it from feeling too much like Groundhog Day.

How are you doing?

Are you planning any holidays this year?

A happy knee, a happy Anna

FINALLY somewhat of a positive update with ACTUAL running.

I don’t want to jinx anything, of course, but I genuinely feel like I’m (mostly) out of the woods with this knee injury. Obviously things could easily regress back and all go wrong again but at the moment things are looking very positive.

At the weekend Kyle and I went to Southsea parkrun. The week before I’d run a tester mile and another tester two miles and my knee had responded well. So three miles was my next challenge. I could have run the three miles on my own but I really wanted to do a parkrun as it had been so long and we could go for brunch in the amazing Parade Tearooms a short walk away.

Kyle’s mum, Sarah, came with us to support. She’s just started the Couch to 5k programme and was building up to do a parkrun herself. She wanted to see what kind of runners parkrun had and to reassure herself she wouldn’t be right at the back (she definitely wouldn’t be).

The great thing about parkrun is that firstly no one is ever last because of the tail walker and that the run is full of all different kinds of runners, of all different abilities, shapes and sizes. While she has seen a parkrun before, she’s never really watched with the interest of a potential runner.

I woke up and my knee was feeling amazing. It felt almost normal. The ever-helpful Steve Bonthrone had given me some great advice going into this run. He said I should try really hard to visualise and think about the best run I’ve ever had. This way it’ll keep me positive and stop me focusing on “how’s my knee?” or that I think I’m injured and will expect pain. This was fantastic advice.

There’s so much about having a longer term injury that’s in your head. The way you think about yourself, the issue and how much pain and discomfort you believe there to be – or expect there to be. Having Sarah there hugely helped as well as I could chat away to her about her running and her worries, which made me completely forget about mine.

It was very cold. But I do love a cold, dry and still morning for a run. You know you won’t be cold for long. We wedged ourselves within the middle – Southsea gets so busy! There were 657 runners, which is crazy. It’s a narrow area to start and a lot of bollards, fences and people to be wary of at the start so if you ever want a PB here you really need to be as much in the front as you can.

The first mile was an absolute dream. It was like the best kind of running – I felt smooth in my running and with not even a hint of difference between my legs. Through the second mile it started to feel a bit harder and I got a slight niggle just under my knee but it wasn’t concerning and it didn’t last. Whew! More than anything it was just tough on my endurance. Three miles is a long way, eh! 😉

We finished the run and my knee still felt good. Halleluiah! My time was 24:24.

To be honest, I could have gotten 28 minutes and I’d have been just as pleased! Times right now don’t matter (arguably, do they ever…).

Then we walked to the Parade Tearooms and met up with my parents for brunch. It’s lovely that Kyle and my family get on so well 🙂 My dad and Kyle ordered the fry-up while Sarah, my mum and I ordered the Jayne Salad, which is just a BEAST of a salad.

It has chicken, bacon, potatoes, coleslaw, beetroot, corn, tomatoes, berries, onion, carrot, lettuce AND a mid-way hidden layer of cheese. This salad is not for the faint of heart. The waitress even said “you can box it don’t worry”. Oh pahh-leeeease. I will be fine. The two mums however, epically failed and had to box over half for home.

It was a lovely morning, and I felt so happy and relieved that the run went well. And for the rest of the day and days after it still felt good. THANK GOD!

I had another run on Tuesday at lunchtime planned with Kyle. It had been so long since I ran at work. In fact, even people I didn’t know at work had been commenting on my lack of running! So it was so nice to don my gear and head out in the cold sunshine at lunch and go for a run. And while the run was hard work (my legs were feeling heavy from the gym) it was so wonderful to be outside in the fresh air. Yesssss!

A more sensibly paced run

So my next run is planned for tomorrow… long may this streak of good running and happy knee continue.

Do you enjoy running when it’s cold?

Do you find your parkrun getting busier and busier?

The comeback?

Well honestly, I can’t wait for a post that isn’t about my hamstring. It’s had FAR too much air time.

It’s been a highly frustrating process, I can tell you. I’ve felt a bit like I’ve been banging my head against the wall. Some days feeling good, some days feeling very grumpy. Some days the gym helped and some days it didn’t. I removed every exercise that seemed to aggravate it but still it wasn’t improving.

Long weeks of no running

So it was time for a second opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I really rate the physio I’ve been using and he’s helped me during many niggles in the past, but after seeing him three times and it doing nothing, I needed to do something else. Time is of the essence.

Handily someone at work recommended someone to me. A sports therapist who comes to your house – VERY appealing. (If you’re in the South Coast area –> Claire Bennett). She was able to come Friday evening after I got back from work which was perfect.

I explained my issues to her, she examined the way I stood and moved etc. and then told me that my pelvis was misaligned. I was twisted in the way I was standing. This was putting pressure on my hamstring – keeping it stretched – and causing my glutes to pick up the slack and overworking them. All the discomfort and feeling like I’m restricted makes a lot of sense now.

She worked her magic and, I kid you not, I felt better literally straight away. Not perfect or fully healed 100% but SO much better. The analogy I use is that it’s like I’ve been scuffing my toe for ages because it’s been moving wrong. After fixing it to move right, the toe is no longer being scuffed… but the toe is still battered from all the scuffing and needs a bit of time to recover and get back to being a normal toes (does this make sense??).

She even said I could do parkrun the next day – which I was so excited about! I cannot tell you how happy I felt after seeing her. She literally made my day. EIGHT LONG WEEKS of this.

So the next day Kyle and I headed to Southsea parkrun. I wasn’t going to blitz it and if it hurt or felt really off I’d stop. But it already felt so much better so I was feeling confident. The physio did warn that I would ache a bit and it wouldn’t feel perfect so I had to remember that.

Kyle was going to run with me and keep me at a sensible pace. After a bit of a delay due to some delivery lorries being in the way of the course, we began.

Yes it didn’t feel perfect, yes it still niggled a little, but my range of movement was so much better and it felt like it was better. It did feel achy and the run was tough going – fitness and the pounding on my legs. It reminded me how quickly you lose everything. Anyway it’s too early to tell for certain and I’m sure it’ll take time, but I’m feeling positive.

We did just over 26 minutes and I finished smiling. Kyle found it super easy of course and revelled in being the fitter and faster one of us (when we’re both at our fittest though there really isn’t much difference to be fair).

Then we celebrated by getting brunch at the Parade Tearooms. Brunch for me being the Jayne Salad. IT IS THE BEST SALAD IN THE WORLD.

It is ginormous. Roasted new bpotatoes, bacon, cheese, coleslaw, cucumber, tomatoes, salad leaves, strabwerries, sweetcorn, onion, beetroot and I added chicken… It’s wonderful.

Anyway, fingers crossed my hamstring keep improving and I’m able to actually begin training.

What’s your favourite thing in a salad?

How long has been your longest time off of running? I think mine was 11 weeks.

A missed opportunity, giant salads and refueling with cake

This weekend was fairly busy, but full of many of my favourite things.

On Saturday Kyle and I headed to Southsea parkrun to meet up with my running friends Michelle, Mark, Billy and Aaron. Unfortunately Michelle wasn’t going to be running as she’s injured (get better soon!) but the other guys were.

Kyle and I arrived a little bit late and as we’d parked a mile away we had to run quite sharpish to get there on time. We arrived with five minutes to spare and then spent too long chatting to the guys for us to realise it had started! Oops!

So this meant we were all pretty much dead last to start, which proved rather tricky. The first 30 seconds or so were us just walking and then trying to infiltrate into the crowd of 600 runners (when did Southsea get so popular??). But this helped ease me gently into the run. I then spent the first mile basically umm’ing and arr’ing whether to push the pace or just plod along.

Mark dashed off ahead and though I attempted to follow for a bit I decided to instead just to run on my own and see how it went. For the first mile I weaved in and out of people and after a quick sprint to get in front of a crowd I realised I didn’t feel so bad and decided to maintain the faster pace.

We got to the turnaround and as I headed back the way we’d come (Southsea is an out-and-back course) and I realised there was no wind. Usually you get one direction being really good and then you turnaround and you’re suddenly hit with the full force of the wind that you didn’t realise was there (such are a problem with the straight out-and-back promenade parkruns).

However, there was no wind. I mentally kicked myself. What a missed opportunity for a flat wind-less 5k! Ahh well.

I managed to get my pace a bit quicker towards the end (God the pain of a hrder 5k…urgh) and finished 22:01. Just shy of a sub 22 minute parkrun. I was pleased anyway to have put a bit of a burst in towards the end.

After finishing, we all lamented at what a shame it was that none of us had gone out with a fast time in mind. I mean, we hadn’t set ourselves up very well by not paying attention at the start of course!

Then we walked over to the Parade Tearooms to have some brunch. Predictably it was quite busy (it’s so popular there) but after a short wait we got a table.In true Anna style when ordering Kyle’s brunch I decided to hear what he wanted and then order something completely different. No idea why! I quickly had to change the order with the lady on the till (who didn’t look too pleased at first but I managed to explain what kind of idiot I was exactly and she seemed to soften a bit and find it funny).

So Kyle did in fact get his pancakes (and not the full English) and I got my beloved Jayne Salad. An epic salad of proportions I’ve seen no where else (bar maybe America where portion sizes are RIDICULOUS).

This was my kind of salad! Chicken, cheese, coleslaw, potatoes, tomatoes, beetroot, carrot, cucumber, fruit (yep) and lettuce. You needed quite the strategy to eat this without it toppling everywhere. A Jenga salad if you will.

The next day I got up a bit later than I would have normally as I really wanted a solid lie-in and having lost an hour from the clocks going forward it meant 10am. I felt really well rested and ready to hit my final long run before Manchester a week later.

I headed out with the intention to run 13 miles, but with some wiggle room if I fancied going further. Generally I’ll run 13-16 miles the Sunday before depending on how I feel. I’d given myself enough time to do up to 16 before I needed to back to shower and get ready for afternoon tea with my mum for Mother’s Day. So no pressures, just relaxed running however I fancied.

It always takes a few miles for me to get into a run (which is why I think I much prefer long distances than to 5ks or 10ks when I’ve basically just warmed up), but as I got into it I realised I felt good. Not just physically but mentally as well. Like it was good to be outside, good to be running. It was fairly warm so I was glad to be wearing a vest and also happy I’d put some sun cream on my face.

As I got to 7.5 miles I stopped at my trusty dodgy tap for a drink before heading on. I was listening to the BBC 5 Live movie review podcast and was chuffed to hear the review be so good for Kyle and my next planned movie, Us. I know it’s going to be scary, but knowing that Simon Mayo is a big horror movie wuss and still enjoyed it has hugely helped calm me a bit. I really enjoyed Get Out so fingers crossed it doesn’t traumatise me like Hereditary did.

When I got to the point of making a decision between 13 or more miles I decided to push on. It was partly me feeling like I was good to run further but also down to the fact that the 13 mile route was a bit rubbish whereas the longer route was nicer. Though it was more into the wind annoyingly.

I finished the run feeling strong and happy. An ideal last long run before a marathon! Then I quickly got myself together ready to go for afternoon tea with mum.

Handily it was just a 20 minute walk to the village to Donny’s where I’d booked a table for us.

We were quite excited as we hadn’t had afternoon tea for a while and it’s something we both love to do (ALL THE CAKE).

We’d both gone for ham and mustard sandwiches and they were crustless tiny little things. I mean they were tasty but very small. Now for a reasonable human being that’s fine – afterall, you’re having a scone and cake afterwards, but for a greedy person like me they were quite dinky and didn’t really touch the sides. I’m not a fan of cutting crusts of bread either – such a waste.

Such a lovely mum x

The scone was delicious. A little pot of strawberry jam and clotted cream – divine.

I mean, again the portions were fairly small and the scone wasn’t warm, but these are MINOR details from an afternoon tea connoisseur like myself 😉

The slice of salted caramel cake was so divine. Very sticky with a rich flavour to it. My mum had lemon drizzle and she loved it too. Handily I got to eat her icing as well as she’s not a fan (I love this about my mum – I’ll always get her icing, especially good for Christmas cake).

Happy Mother’s Day!

Do you like afternoon tea?

What’s the last long run distance you’ll do when you’re tapering?

What’s your favourite kind of salad?