Cake and 17 miles

Happy Monday! I can’t believe we’re into November. Crazy!

This weekend was jam-packed. On Friday night Ben and me went out for our running club Christmas meal. It was so funny seeing everyone wearing their normal clothes, their hair done and without a drop of sweat on them! We usually just see everyone for a race or at the running club.

We enjoyed a very tasty Indian buffet. No photos, but basically I had a lot of chicken tikka (my favourite), butter chicken, salmon (I’ve never had salmon in a curry before!) and vegetable curry. Mmmm, with lots of poppadums.

Then there was the cake!

Hedge End Running Club Cake

Amazing. And it was made by one of the ladies at the club. It was very tasty but we only had very small slice. I’ve become a bit too accustomed to having huge slices of cake or multiple slices…so this was a little disappointing. I know, I’m just being greedy!!

Saturday morning came a little too quickly for my liking. I ran to Parkrun nice and easily:


Then we lined up for the actual Parkrun. Running to Parkrun my stomach was not feeling good – the Indian was not happy bouncing away in there! But I wanted to give it my best as I’m so aware of the lack of speed sessions I’ve been incorporating to my routine.

I found the run quite tough and even though it was on the flat course (PB potential) I just couldn’t maintain a decent enough pace to get anywhere near my PB.


A bit disappointing but, let’s be honest, very much expected. What with my annoying niggles and no speed sessions, getting back to my speedier times will take some work. But at the moment my main focus is the marathon. 5k times will just have to be side-lined for now.

Saturday evening Ben and me headed to my sister’s and brother-in-law’s for dinner. It was lovely seeing Ellie and Megan, my nieces, and also just having a good old chin-wag. My brother-in-law, Nick, made an amazing meal. Hungarian goulash from none other than my favourite chef, Jamie Oliver.

Hungarian goulash

Very tasty. This was very easily finished off! And then pudding was a slice of Bakewell tart with salted caramel ice cream and a dollop of what I can only describe as toffee trifle (…because let’s be honest, when is one pudding really enough??). I thought it best not to take a photo purely because I’m not sure I want to remember quite what a pig I was…

The next morning Ben left early to get in 5 miles and then left for a 10 mile race (he had a 15 mile long run on the plan). I had decided not to sign up to the race purely because I needed to get 17 miles in and though I could have done something similar to Ben I wanted to make sure it was a consistent pace and non-stop. I couldn’t trust myself to not be stupid and race the 10 miles and then hamper my following training week.

I was very jealous Sad smile But I got in my 17 miler.


I tried to keep my pace slow and easy as I’ve never run this far before. And though I have done 16 miles in a day, there were gaps in between as I sandwiched in a half marathon race in the middle.

Overall it went OK. Annoyingly I had decided not to take my gloves as it didn’t look too cold. But then the wind picked up and it started raining and my hands were freezing. Around mile 10 I stopped quickly at a shop to buy a drink and I couldn’t get my fingers to open my bum pocket. They were so numb. I must have looked ridiculous desperately trying to unzip the pocket without success. Thankfully I did manage in the end.

When I got home I literally laid on the living room floor for a bit. I was shattered. I enjoyed endured an ice bath after my lovely hot shower and I screamed the house down. In the summer it was so refreshing (sort of) and now it’s like torture. For the rest of the day I pretty much moved in slow motion.

Clearly I need my body to get used to running such long distances. I’m not too concerned because I remember when I was training for my first half marathon and how I was after my first 9 miler. I remember feeling exhausted. It’s just about what your body is used to.

For the rest of the day I watched the New York City Marathon, read some magazines and just chilled. Perfect.

What did you get up to this weekend?

What’s the furthest you’ve ever run? And what’s the most comfortable distance for your body?

If you could choose any sort of food for a buffet, what would it be? Indians are very tasty but it’s a lot of spicy food!

Solent Half Marathon (1:40:34)

So you know how I said I wasn’t going to race the half marathon on Sunday…well I didn’t technically race it, but I did go a lot faster than I originally intended.

To be honest, I had no idea where my head was at for this race. I went into it with absolutely no plans. In retrospect I don’t want to do that again. I’m not a big fan of not planning my paces or at least having an idea of paces before a race!

Ben and me arrived at the race (which was only 30 minutes away) with my dad who had kindly come to support us (he loves cheering us on and he was excited that this was the first half marathon he could actually come and see).

Pre-Solent Half

It’s a league race so we’ve got our running club vests on

Originally I was supposed to run 16 miles on Sunday but then I signed up randomly to this half marathon. So I decided to run two warm-up miles and then a cool down mile at the end to make it up.


My dad at this point had marched off to where he was planning on supporting from (around the 5 mile mark). And we headed to the start. The race was chip timed but we soon found out it was only chip timed for the finish. I was stood with the ladies from my running club and we were so far from the front. Very frustrating.

Anyway, we started running and I straight away found myself running with one of the girls from the club and we just matched each other nicely. I did get a bit concerned because we were starting quite fast (7.40mins.mile)…and we didn’t slow.

I’m not really used to running races with other people. I’m also not used to running such long distances WITHOUT MUSIC either. There was a ‘no headphones rule’ for this race as the roads weren’t closed. I can’t tell you how much this sucked. I get bored quite easily and feed a lot from music. Hey ho!

Solent half 3miles

This was around mile three

As we carried on running I realised that I wasn’t going to take this easy. It was nice to run with someone else. It was her first half marathon and she told me she’d “hang on” for as long as she could. But to be honest I don’t know who was pacing who! Then another girl from the running club joined us and we became a power trio, keeping each other going.


I saw my dad around mile 5 and he snapped a photo and cheered us all on

I found this race quite tough. There were a few nasty slow inclines and a couple of sneaky hills. I didn’t know what pace to keep to and constantly worried I was going to fast for our little group, or not fast enough. It was really hard mentally. I’m so used to running races on my own! But it was nice to have them there.


Finally the finish!

Physically, I didn’t breeze through this one like the Bristol half. Maybe because it was ‘undulating’, maybe because I hadn’t gone into the race mentally prepared to run fast, maybe it was the extra two miles before the race, who knows! Though I’d say I wasn’t properly struggling until around mile 11, then it became really tough.


My official time was 1:40:34. I came 9th in my age category and 25th female (173rd overall out 375). Ben helped pace a girl from our running club round and finished 2:08:48. He really enjoyed it.

After finishing and getting the goody bag I saw my dad and then headed off for a mile cool down. Oh man my legs were not happy to start running again. They were so stiff! So I kept it nice and easy!!

This was definitely not my favourite race. It pushed me mentally (no headphones, running with two others, no game plan) and physically (faster than I intended and hills). And the weather was pretty terrible. But I’m glad I did it. Not every race can be a great one! I’m happy with my time don’t get me wrong and it felt like a great work out. I just wished I’d have enjoyed it a bit more!

OH, and there were no medals. NO MEDALS. Shocking.

We did get one of those Choob scarf things though so that’s a slight consolation. It’ll be a good running scarf when it gets colder!


And as a side note, I love this photo my dad took on his walk to the five mile point:


It looks like the horse is about to charge him haha.

After the race, Ben, my dad and me were freezing when we drove back home. So wet and cold. I thoroughly enjoyed my shower when I got back!

And the cake I wolfed down Winking smile [from our Brighton adventures]:


I microwaved that beauty for a minute and thoroughly enjoyed just over half of it before feeling sick. Ben feebly managed a third of his. Pft! Poor effort.

Race + cake = happy Anna

How do you keep yourself entertained on a run? I always listen to a podcast on long runs or for races listen to music. It pumps me up and keeps me going. Though running with a group at running club is good too.

Who’s your biggest race supporter? My dad loves supporting us and he’ll always listen to me yabber on about running. He’s brilliant.

What do you like to get in a race goody bag? It’s all about the medal for me.

Positives and negatives

Happy Friday! We made it – almost time for the weekend. And apparently a wet and windy one for the UK. Joy of joys.

Yesterday was a slightly different day as I was working from home. There were several positives and negatives in my day so I thought I’d base my post around that theme.

Positive: No commute in the morning. Bliss. Also, getting up at 8am is heavenly. I think I had a full 10 hours sleep.

Negative: I was really sleepy and reluctant to actually get out of bed. Can’t I work from bed? No. I needed to get up, showered and downstairs at our table to get into ‘work mode’.

Positive: I had Cougar Town on in the background as I worked. I am so addicted. I think I love every single character. They’re hilarious. Also 20 minute episodes are perfect chunks.

Negative: I had to keep pausing Cougar Town when I needed to concentrate and think. I would have loved to have just sat there watching the TV all day but I actually have work to do and it required a bit of brain power. Boo.

Positive: Unlimited access to all food.

Negative: Unlimited access to all food. Thankfully I had our weekly food shop delivered later in the day so we were a bit bare on the snacks until the afternoon. Then a huge watermelon came into my life.

Watermelon snacks

And then there was some serious watermelon massacre…Watermelon massacre

I couldn’t stop. It was so good.

Positive: I got loads of chores done in between working. Putting the washing on, hanging it up, etc. I love feeling doubly efficient..

Negative: Alfie giving me his big old furry “walk time?” eyes. All. Day. Long. No Alfie, you just have to go in the garden I’m afraid.

Positive: I had running club in the evening which was great because it meant I didn’t have to rush home and have a mad dash to get ready. I could even prepare dinner for when I got back (Ben was working late so it was just me for dinner). I could just shut down my laptop and amble upstairs leisurely.

I was quite nervous about running club as I hadn’t run since Sunday (all part of the ‘easier’ week). I was just terrified of any pain or discomfort. But I started running and it was great! Towards the end of the run my groin was slightly achy and I could feel it going downhill but otherwise I felt quite strong.


I got to the meeting spot to find my usual group flagging on numbers. In the end it was two speedy guys and me. It wasn’t too tough and we took it easy in the middle as it’s now a lot darker in the evening and we were running through some woods and had to be careful of footing. I managed to push it on my own for the last mile as I headed home.

Positive: I got to wear my new high vis’ arm band. It’s got LED lights all round it that you can turn on. Brilliant for the winter. One of the guys said it looked cool

Negative: That same guy said it looked cool…just like a Christmas tree. Excellent.

The run really helped me feel more confident for my goal pace for the half marathon on Sunday. Basically I’m going to aim for a certain pace (comfortable but not completely easy) and then as I hit 9 miles see what I think of pushing it a bit more. Who knows. I’ll see how it goes.

I’ve ummed and arr’ed about taking my hydration belt but I think I’m just going to go ‘naked’ (there’s an image!) and if I need water pick it up at the drinks stations (of which there are plenty). I don’t think I’ll need any gels either, but there are some available there.

After the run I got home and ate a mammoth meal of stir fry veg, chicken, butternut squash, courgette (zucchini) noodles, chicken and cream cheese.


You know when you go from starving to full really quickly? Yep I felt that quite strongly last night!

So tomorrow I’m off to Bristol to see friends, and then it’s the half marathon on Sunday…duh duh DUH (<– dramatic music, if you didn’t get that…)

What are your plans this weekend?

Do you switch up your work out gear for winter? Any high vis’ lovers out there?

Water, gels…how do you fuel during races? Unless it’s hot I won’t bother, maybe just water from the stations. Gels only if it’s really tough. I’ll have had a good breakfast so I’ll be fine.

Long weekend

I think I speak for most people…


And in the UK we have a Bank Holiday Monday. Woohoo, three day weekend! Well, four day weekend for me as I’m off today!

I have recovered somewhat from Sunday’s half marathon adventure…though my legs were hating me Monday morning. I did nothing on Monday in terms of fitness. Getting out of bed was hard enough! But Tuesday evening I thought I’d brave running club. I knew if I tried running on my own I’d really struggle with motivating myself from now just crawling along the pavement and having a nap in the gutter. It wouldn’t have been pretty.

So I ran the mile to running club at a nice and easy pace and was surprised that it wasn’t too bad. And as luck would have it it was an easy session because the club had a league run the next evening (ha! which I would not be going to – need a break from races for a few weeks!)

Anyway we did 5 x 1200m with 3-4 minutes recovery between each. I was faster than I expected! I was tailing behind the speedy bunch and ahead of the slightly slower bunch so I was all on me own running along which did kind of suck. But on the last lap the speedy bunch took pity on me and forced encouraged me to do a ‘snake’ lap with them (we run in a line, the last person then has to sprint past everyone to get to the front, and it continues like that until the end – there were 5 of us in total). I really appreciated the encouragement from the others so this worked a treat.

Then a two mile leisurely(ish) run home.


Definitely wouldn’t have done that on my own I assure you!

This morning I had a one hour sports massage that I got through Groupon. Ahhh I love it. I hate it. It’s painful. It’s good. As well as my legs, the lady did my whole back and as she started I was like “pfft like I need my back doing – it’s my legs that are the issue”. Jeeze clearly I have back issues. It was PAINFUL. I had to grit my teeth to stop myself from screaming. I think it’s part of being British and maybe my personality that I don’t like showing pain or making noises of pain. When she asked how it was I could only squeak.

Now we’re off to Essex to visit Ben’s dad. We’re planning on engaging in a bit of Parkrun tourism by doing the Chelmsford one, and somehow manage a 10ish mile run around where Ben’s dad lives…errr I see trouble ahead. Or at least a phone call to Ben going something like this “Ben, I’m lost. Come pick me up please.”

Right, time to go!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sports massage: love it or hate it?

Are you OK with showing you’re in pain? Even when I stub my toe or something like that I don’t like showing I’m in pain. I get embarrassed.

How long does it take for you to recover from a race? I’m feeling pretty much back to normal now thankfully. Well, let’s see how the Parkrun goes I guess!

Do you run when you go away to different places? I love seeing new places this way but my navigation sucks.

Good times all round!

Hey guys! How are you doing? The weekend has gone and we’re back to it.

All last week my fitness-related aim was: beat last week’s Parkrun time. I needed some validation that what I was doing was going to pay off. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve found that I’m really loving spinning twice a week, and I always feel such an accomplishment after the interval session I do with my club on a Tuesday night…but they’re painful sessions. I feel like I’ve been through the mill after them! But it’s all about balance for me at the moment and focused training to keep improving without getting injured again.

I’m still doing body pump once a week and every other day I’m doing my stretches and foam rolling. And, well, everything seems to be going quite nicely! I smashed my Parkrun time by 25 seconds from last week’s time which I am over the moon about.






I have absolutely no game plans when it comes to 5ks. For me it’s just go as hard as can for as long as you can. There’s a sneaky hill which we have to do three times and it’s tough to not let the pace drop but I blasted on the downhill to make up for it. I placed second lady so I was very pleased indeed.

The rest of Saturday was getting the jobs done around the house and then chilling. My dad was over once again to watch the football with Ben in the afternoon so I got myself nice and comfy with a magazine, the iPad (with the World Championship athletics playing) and watermelon. Ahh perfect.


I’m reading the Empire magazine, I do love my movie reviews…

I might have also indulged in a slice of cake in the evening while we watched some Friends… I do love Saturdays!

Sunday morning I had planned either a 10 mile run or a 12 mile run. I was going to decide how I felt as the run went on. And from the get-go it felt like a great run. I had Marathon Talk on my iPhone (can’t recommend this podcast enough to runner-lovers out there) and it was raining on and off. Made a lovely change from the heat.


So I made it 12 miles and just really enjoyed it. One of those runs you kind of relax into. The miles flew by. I decided to pick up the pace towards the end just to challenge myself a bit as well. Now fingers crossed next Sunday’s half marathon goes that way! I’m thinking that’s unlikely considering the hills…(“super challenging terrain” says the description. Oh joy).

Despite the rain in the morning, it cleared up beautifully to be a lovely sunny day. Alfie and me went for a nice gentle walk after lunch.

Walking the dog

We’re so lucky to live within a five minute’s walk from these lovely trails. Though considering Britain’s usual weather we don’t get to utilise them as much as we’d like Winking smile

So this week has been great for my workouts. One of my best in a while.

Monday: Spinning

Tuesday: Interval session with running club (2 miles warm up, intervals, 2 miles cool down; total 7 miles)

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Trail run with running club (9 miles total)

Friday: Spinning

Saturday: Parkrun (5k)

Sunday: Glorious 12 miles and body pump

Amongst this, as I said, lots of pre-run stretches, post-run stretches, foam rolling and my strengthening stretches. I’m like a stretching machine. And it really isn’t that much hassle. I used to be so blasé about the whole warm-up and warm-downs, but now I’m like the golden girl of following running best practice. I’m boring myself talking about this sorry!

Hope you all have a lovely week Smile

What has been your favourite workout this week? Mine was my long run. PBs and great speeds come and go, but that mental peace you get from a slower, longer run is just incomparable to anything else I find.

Do you have a dog? Or enjoy going for walks? Like my long runs, I enjoy just popping a podcast on and taking Alfie for a lovely walk to just chill out.

What magazines do you love to read? Empire magazine, BBC Good Food or Runnersworld are my favourite!