My Cake Day, whoops I mean Birthday

Right, bare with me. I know I talk a lot about cake. I’m trying to tone things down a bit (talking about it and eating it). BUT it was my birthday…so I’ve got a free pass.

My birthday was last Thursday, and sadly I was at work so it was fairly nondescript. I hadn’t asked for anything from Ben as I couldn’t think of anything I’d want. In the end we agreed to go on a daytrip and do some shopping together and have a nice lunch out. But this will need to be sometime July as our weekend’s are so fully booked!

Just to rewind quickly back to Wednesday first. I ran the 10k Race for Life in Basingstoke with my newbie runner friend. She’s ran the 5k RFL before and she has done quite a bit of training so I wasn’t worried she wouldn’t complete it. She’d previously done a training run of 11k in 1hour 15minutes so I suggested we try and beat that and maybe aim for around an hour.

IMG_6950Ben, my mum, my dad and my friend’s husband and son came to cheer us on. The three of us girls were kindly bought a flower by our respective loved ones (*cough* let’s not talk about how I cajoled Ben to do this *cough*).IMG_6959I’ve never been to or raced a Race for Life before (if you’re not aware, it’s a women’s-only charity based event raising money for breast cancer – pink is a major theme!). It was completely different to any of the races I’ve been to before. There was a kind of party atmosphere and it was very informal. So many people had pictures of loved one attached to their backs for whom they were running and raising money for. It was very sobering.

The race was all on grass and through a very windy course completely off-road.

IMG_6968 We were running around 10-11 minute miles. I found this quite challenging as this is quite slow for me. I don’t mean any disrespect to anyone who runs at these paces, this is just something personally I found. It helped though as I could chat away and encourage my friend easily.

IMG_6977 My lovely sparkly pink nails done specially for the event

My friend achieved the brilliant time of 1:04! To be fair, she could have got a better time but we were held up a fair bit by walkers (it was a two lap course). She’s really getting into it now though: she’s going to Parkrun at the weekend and trying to improve her times. I’m so proud 🙂

Right, so back to Thursday and cake. Sorry, my birthday. I got into work to find one of my other friends had made my friend and me a Mars Bar crispy cake to celebrate our 10k.

Chocolate crispie cake

Ohmygawwwwd this was incredible. I could eat so much of this, it’s so moreish. I had about two…yeah let’s say two, pieces of this. Then at lunch I wandered over to nearby Tesco to by the standard cakes for the office. A weird tradition but one that I think is important to be upheld 😉

Office birthday cakes I tried to be good. I tried to buy things that didn’t really take my fancy. Except I picked up Smartie cookies. How can you resist a Smartie cookie?

When I got home one of our friends was over and Ben was being all sheepish. I wasn’t allowed in the living room. My friend (yo Nathan!) gave me some birthday goodies…err think he’s got me down to a tee!


Mini rockit apples (a variety I must say I have not been acquainted to before), some M&S sweets and muffins. Boom. Edible gifts are the best gifts in my book 😉

Then the piéce de resistance…I was allowed into the living room. And there on the table was the most phenomenal cake I have ever seen.

Paris Marathon birthday cake A Paris marathon birthday cake, made by a very talented lady at Ben’s work. I mean seriously, how absolutely fantastic is that?? There’s a little me on the top, even wearing compression socks! And the medal is very similar to my Paris marathon one – she got Ben to describe it!!

Needless to say I almost cried and then debated whether I should have dinner or just eat cake? Well, the sensible Anna implored the Cake-Frenzied-Anna to eat something sensible and then gorge on cake.

Alarmingly though I was only able to have one slice as it was so dense and sweet – but 10/10 in terms of flavour and consistency. And four layers?? Jam and butter cream? Heaven.

And I guess as we’re on the subject of cake I might as well mention the incredible chocolate cake I had a slice of (I say slice, more like WEDGE) at my other friend’s birthday party on Saturday. How dare she have a birthday so close to mine! 😉Chocolate birthday cake It was a bit of a shame considering after my cake-filled birthday I had decided to lay off the cake a little bit…then arrived at Saturday’s birthday BBQ to find this bad boy. How can you refuse?

Whew. So there we have it. What more could a girl want? This week I’m trying to eat less cake. That’s my mission. It hasn’t gone entirely well but the motivation is there and that’s half the battle right?

What is your dream birthday scenario?

Favourite type of cake…? I’m not sure I could narrow it down. Each cake has its merits.

Do you like more formal or informal race events?

Week #2 Marathon Training

I loathe to write anything hugely positive about my running for fear that the sword of Damocles hanging above my head will drop…and injury will strike. However, I am trying my best to avoid that situation as you can manage!

I’ve pretty much followed my training plan but shifted some miles here or there depending on the time I had, though the overall week’s mileage remained the same. I’ve also modified the Ab challenge because I read a few articles about how it wasn’t that good for you…specifically crunches and sit-ups being bad for your back and neck, and rather than creating a nice strong core it’s actually just working specifically your abs. I’m not interested in getting a six pack or the aesthetic side of things but I do want a strong core.

So instead of doing the sit-ups I do Russian twists instead to work my oblique muscles (side abs?) and instead of the crunches I do bicycle crunches which I hear are better for your back and more dynamic. I’m not judging anyone else doing the Ab Challenge (Ben is sticking with the regular plan), just personally for me I didn’t want to risk anything. Everything else on the challenge I’m sticking to.

So last week, this is what went on:

Monday – no running. 45 minute strength workout:

– 100 weighted squats
– 4mins toe lifts
– 3mins calf raises
– 4mins crab walk (—> demo)
– 3mins bridge
– 1mins bridge pulses
– 10×3 bridge leg lifts

Toe lifts

Toe lifts

Tuesday – 5k at a fast pace. Not breaking any records here but I’m chuffed I almost fully negative split it (damn you 0.1 nubbin).


I also did a strength workout after work:

– 30 x3 (per leg) hip hikes
– 30 x3 (per leg) backward lunge and knee lift with ankle weights
– 5mins toe lifts
– 3mins calf lifts
– 24 x4 (per leg) clams with resistance band (—> Demo)
– 30 (per leg) bird dog (4-8 sec hold) (—> Demo)

Wednesday – 10k Race for Life in Basingstoke.


I ran this with my friend at her pace to support her in her first 10k. It was such good fun! More on this in another post, though I will say she smashed her target at got 1:04 which is brilliant (and she could have done better but we were held up by walkers).

Thursday – no running but a strength workout after work:

– 4 mins bridge
– 3x 10 (per leg) bridge leg lifts
– 5 mins toe lifts
– 3 mins calf raises
– 3x 1min heel taps (—> Demo)
– 5 mins crab walks

Friday – 4 mile run on feel keeping it easy. Another (almost) negative split run! I wear my heart rate monitor for my runs so I can make sure I’m not pushing too much. My heart rate was an average of 157 (my fast 5k on Monday was 172 average).


Saturday – 5k at Parkrun. In my plan I had said this was a speed session so I wanted to push it.Netley Abbey Parkrun selfieParkrun Selfie

I just ran as fast as I could basically. There was a girl in front of me the entire time and though I managed to overtake her twice she still beat me.imageIt was a bit frustrating but what are you gonna do! I should have kept to her shoulder and not wasted energy in premature over-takes and seen if I could pip her towards the end.


My time was 21:42 and I was third female. Not too shabby!

Sunday – I got up early and ran a 7 mile easy paced run. I found this run quite tough. Even though it was early (8.30ish) it was already very warm. I struggled to maintain a good pace and felt a bit rubbish. I don’t think what I ate the day before had helped… (BBQ and lots of cake).


From the get-go it just felt like a slog.

After the run Ben and me met up with our friend to go for a 15 mile bike ride again.


I enjoyed this a lot more than last week. Not sure why but it felt nice to work the legs in a  completely different way. We didn’t go at any great speeds but it was just nice to be out in the sunshine, chatting away while moving the legs. I think we’re going to try and continue this every week when we can but probably move it to a Saturday as the long runs are going to increase and I won’t fancy a bike ride afterwards!

Total of 23 miles.

I’m pleased with the week. Feel like I’m getting faster and hopefully getting stronger.

How has your week been?

Has the sun been affecting your running?

Have you ever done the Race for Life?

The Scone Debate and dog selfies

My friends from university came down on Saturday for a visit… (*whispers* because it’s my birthday this week) Well we combined it with a sort of hen do celebration for my friend, Charlotte, who’s getting married in less than two weeks. She is doing a ‘planned elopement’ to Italy with her to-be hubby for a romantic ‘just them’ ceremony.

Sadly I couldn’t make Parkrun in the morning. It would just have been a nightmare to have got back in time and wash and dry the beast that is my hair. So many hours of my life wasted drying it…But I did manage a speedy 5k on my own earlier in the morning. Anyway, my friends arrived at 10ish. We had the usual hen do bits and pieces (penis straws are always standard, right?) and some cupcakes one of my friends had made to celebrate Charlotte’s wedding. We caught up and then headed out to my favourite tea shop


Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately perhaps) it is very close, about 2 miles. So we walked there chatting. Girls just like chatting don’t we? Ben joined as well and was an honorary girl for the day 😉

IMG_6916I’ll never get sick of afternoon tea. I had ham and mustard sandwiches, a fruit scone with cream and jam and a slice of LEMON MERINGUE sponge cake. Sorry for the caps, I got all excited. There were pieces of meringue on the top all crushed and lovely. Seriously good cake. Though I must say, the best part of afternoon tea for me is the scone. And there’s always the debate of jam or cream first. I’m of the opinion that it should be jam first, then a dollop of cream. Otherwise the jam gets all smeary? But this is a fairly heated debate. Ben is a cream then jam man – how are we together?? 😉

Then we had a good long walk back through some lovely countryside. The next day was a five mile easy paced run and then a 15 mile bike ride. I never feel the same love for bike rides as running but it was nice. I still can’t not break on downhill’s though. A cardinal cycling sin I hear.

We popped over to my parent’s house later on as it was Father’s Day. We all just sort of monged out in the conservatory relaxing. Can parents ‘mong’ out? Not sure. We had some selfie fun with their absolutely mad dog Lexi.


She is literally wired all the time. She’s the same breed as Alfie (Westland Terrier cross with a Cavalier King Charles) but she couldn’t be more different. She’s a beast. She’s eaten a bag of POTATOES before. And bitten through a can of beer, spraying it everywhere. What fun for my parents.

IMG_6927Ben doing his best ‘gangster’ impersonation. I think he’s been watching too much of The Wire…

Tonight I’m doing the Race for Life with my friend from work. She’s a fairly novice runner (and I mean that in the nicest way). She’s done a 5k race before and has now made the leap towards a 10k. She’s done lots of training and even went to her local Parkrun (ahh I’m so proud!) so I’m sure she’ll be fine. I’m going to run it with her and support her.

She told me last year she had no one to cheer her on or hug at the end because her husband and son didn’t really understand the importance of it and didn’t go (I think it’s a cultural thing, she’s Indian and in India running isn’t really done, or so I’ve been told). I found this heart breaking and said I’d sign up and run it with her. Ben is coming to support, my mum and dad will be there and she’s guilt tripped her husband and son into watching now so she’ll have loads of support. She’s hoping to run it in around an hour so finger’s crossed for her please!

Do you like a lot of support at a race? Both my parents and Ben’s mum love to come and watch and cheer us on. Though my dad properly likes to get involved – he likes to pre-read the course map, find a good spot, work out our paces of where will be when. He’s a runner at heart!

Do you have any pets?

The Big Question: jam or cream first?