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.

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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.

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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.

Week’s Workouts

Howdy, howdy! Hope you had a great weekend. Ours was nice and quiet, which was definitely needed after last week’s London adventures.

Maybe it’s the sunshine pouring through my bedroom window or maybe I’m changing but honestly I never sleep in anymore. Obviously I can’t during the week due to that annoying but rather essential thing called work, but at the weekend I’ve been known to snooze in until 9am. OK that’s not a huge lie-in, but since university I haven’t been able to sleep later than that unless I went crazy with a late night. These days my lie-ins don’t go past 8am, but quite frequently I’m awake by 7am. Well, I’ll have to see when the lovely sunny mornings disappear I guess.

So this week gone has been crazy in terms of varied workouts for me. Who am I?? Previously I would just run five times a week. Not even a sneaky core or stretching session. Ergo, I got injured. But things are a-changing!

Monday: body pump

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In case you weren’t aware of what that might look like Winking smile

This kicked my butt. Literally I was an achy mess after this. My puny muscles quivered in pain.

Tuesday: for some inexplicable reason I thought running five miles would be a good idea the next morning. Just to ‘shake out’. I was running 30 seconds to one minute slower than normal. But I finished it and felt good.

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: running club in the evening (eight miles off-road). It felt tough but I felt like I was back on form. I’m definitely aware that my speed has diminished slightly. I’m still speedier than I was months ago, but definitely not top form like I was during the height of my races.

Friday: spinning. I was nervous about doing spinning in the morning considering I ran the night before. However, apart from being a bit tired I was fine. So much less stress on my legs. And I felt great for the day.

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Yep that’s a spinning bike

However, spinning was TOUGH. Jeeze I am so out of practice. The demon guy that was running the session was like “Come on! Push it harder! Get those RPMs to 125” and I was spinning as fast as my little legs could go and only reaching at most 110. Sweat literally poured off of me. One girl next to me was on fire. I was pretty sure she was going to cycle that bike off it’s stand if she wasn’t careful. Teacher’s pet.

Just shows really that you can be good at one thing and suck at something else. Fitness is not a universal thing. It can be very specific to the sport or workout you choose.

Saturday: Parkrun (5k informal race). I was nervous about it beforehand and did a little warm-up (new thing, let’s actually warm-up before racing. Well done, Anna). But once we got going it was fine. We were on the slightly harder course (only three laps with a hill, rather than a flat five lap course) so I knew PBing was very unlikely. However, I did beat my previous time for this course from a few weeks ago.

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I came second girl and 20th overall (out of 142). Not bad! And the best part was that I enjoyed it. It was tough and I felt the burn, but it felt like a normal run. No discomfort or twinges or feeling held back. The only thing holding me back was my stamina and running ability.

And check out Mr Volunteer doing his thing as he’s still sadly out of the game Sad smile

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Time-keeping – a very pressurised job

Ben was keeping the time of the runners finishing. Quite an important job, I think you’ll agree. I did try and bribe him to give me a good time. Haha, so joking. He wouldn’t be that nice to me!

Sunday: long run. Did I mention I’ve got a half marathon in about three weeks? 18th August Cheddar Gorge Half Marathon. We signed up to it ages ago. Anyway, this is not a race to even consider getting a good time for. We’re talking 1,600ft elevation. It’s on a gorge. It’s off-road. Help.

For the Reading Half Marathon (way back in March) I didn’t take any gels or fuel because I didn’t need them. I felt fine. However, for this half marathon it’s not just a simple road race. It’s hilly like you wouldn’t believe. So I plan on taking a gel at mile six as I know it’s going to be intense. This run on Sunday was therefore to practice what having a gel on a run would be like. I’ve never tried gels before and wasn’t even certain it would sit well with me <—never try something new on race day, always practice beforehand!

Long run survival guide

Long-run survival guide (my water bottle collapses – I love it)

My plan was to run 13 miles but make sure I do a route that if at 11-12 I felt tired I could cut it short.

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For whatever reason, the big Running God in the sky smiled down on me and I had a brilliant run (even notched on the .1 because it would be rude not to). Whether it was because I made sure I ran at a nice easy pace, or the gel at mile six, or just because it wasn’t so blinking hot: it was a great run. One of those highly coveted runs.

Like I said, I took the gel at mile six. Apart from the texture (like warm weird yogurt…yuck) it was fine and I honestly think it helped speed me up. The only annoying thing was despite passing a million bins before taking the damn thing, there wasn’t a bin in sight after taking it for like a mile, which meant I had to carry the empty sticky packet for a while.

Anyway, I felt brilliant after the run. After eating a big bowl of oatmeal, I quickly headed out (yes, before showering. I’m disgusting) in search of ice to have a nice ice bath. I went to four shops and they had nothing. I did buy apples though so not a complete fail Open-mouthed smile

Later I then had body pump again. I am crazy I know. But it seems Sundays are the only really good time for me to do pump (as I only managed on Monday as I had a day off). Strangely it was fine! Obviously afterwards I was quite tired and after finding ice (woohoo!) promptly went home to have an ice bath and do nothing all day. Fabulous!


So this week has been a great mix of running, spinning and pump. Alongside this I’ve tried to do my stretches and strengthening exercises three times a week. I won’t be aiming for two pump sessions a week but I definitely want to do one pump and one spin and only run four times a week.

How’s your weekend been?

What workouts have you been doing?

What’s your favourite gym class to do? I really want to try kettle bells soon but it’s always on a Saturday which is an issue for my long run the next day.

What’s your experience with gels?

Sun and Socks

Ahh British summer, thank you for making another appearance. I expect it won’t last but this weekend has been fabulous. So, thank you. We appreciate it.

I was so grateful for the lovely weather as it meant when my university friends came down for a quick visit we could enjoy the sunshine to its full extent along our local beach.

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This might not be a beach of white soft sands and flawless turquoise waves, but it’s pretty good for a 15 minute drive away.

Let’s roll back a bit to the stress of trying to get all the housework done before they arrived Saturday morning. Yes I’m a perfectionist. Getting in late Friday night didn’t help much either! And having taps which really show up the marks kills me every week.

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Seriously people, I have to polish the damn things otherwise it looks rubbish.

But anyway, I managed to get everything done and dusted (ha, pun intended) by the time they arrived and then we got to catch-up, which is always lovely. And they got me some lovely birthday pressies as well. I feel very spoilt! They know me so well… special G&T glasses, a chopping board, a running book, beautiful scarf and a lemon chopper/bottle opener…

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Seriously, how cool?

And then we headed to to Osborne View, a local pub right on the seafront.

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I had a very tasty meal of butternut squash ‘crumble’ with feta cheese and chips.

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Amazing. It all went down very nicely!

Then we had a lovely walk along the beach and checked out the very cool houses (which probably cost a small entire fortune).

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Nice, right? But not very private considering all those windows!

Sunday morning was time for a long run. I was planning on doing at least six miles but really wanted to do nine. I have a route where it gets to four miles and then forks to go back home for six miles or goes on for nine or ten. I was going to decide at four how I was feeling (due to my niggle in my leg).

It still feels uncomfortable and not 100% and I don’t feel like I’ve got my speed back up to scratch BUT it didn’t hurt and as I got into the run it became easier. Hurrah!

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I’m not going to start celebrating just yet though…I’m planning on running again Tuesday and I think that’ll be the big test to see if it’s still OK.

After running, Ben and me headed off to a local running shop so Ben could replace his NINE YEAR OLD trainers and get his gait analysed. Seriously.

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I also got some compression socks. I’ve been wondering about compression socks for ages. I think the jury’s out whether they make you run faster but apparently they’re great for recovery. My calves tend to ache a bit after long runs so I’m hoping they’ll improve that and I might even try them during long runs. I got CEP run compression socks. I’ll let you know what I think.

The rest of Sunday was walking Alfie and this:

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Perfect Sunday afternoon in my eyes!

Have you ever tried compression socks? Do you wear them when you run? Do you find they help you’re running or just recovery?

What’s your perfect Sunday afternoon?

Do you go to the beach when it’s sunny? To be honest, I’m not a huge beach fan but I do like the occasional day to walk along the beach and eat an ice lolly. I couldn’t lay in the sun all day long though. I like going for walks in the sunshine.

Random Tid Bits

Hi guys. I hope your week has been whizzing by as quickly as mine has. Missing out Monday does help!

My week hasn’t been that exciting I must admit…same old same old. I thought I’d do another post of randomness…

1. We’ve had a lot of rain round our parts so it’s been pretty depressing. Kind of ironic that as soon as the long weekend finishes it begins raining. Though rain sucks (hello stupidly long commutes because people forget how to drive), I do love going to bed hearing the rain outside. It sounds so cosy!

2. Last night I went to running club and it was TOUGH. The usual guy who leads the faster group was on holiday and so one of the other guys led it. He took no prisoners. Usually the other guy keeps a nice speed up but will stop to wait for the people at the back and let us all catch our breath. It’s more relaxed that way and not so intense.

However, last night the leader just wasn’t keen on stopping or waiting. We kept having to tell him when someone dropped behind and he just sighed as if irritated and then doubled back. So it was relentless with limited stops. I was shattered by the end.

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I wasn’t too impressed with him to be honest. Yes OK he said we were going to do 7.30mins/mile pace but at least two of the guys struggled and he should have pulled back for them.

3. Does anyone else get seriously bothered by this??

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I hate it when my music doesn’t have proper track names, artists or albums. Gahhh. It means I need to listen to each track to figure it out. It’s on the to-do list…

4. Alfie apparently likes watching TV. He goes mental though if there’s any windscreen wipers. I think he had a bad experience with them when we drove him home after first picking him up. It was raining and we had the wipers on and he really didn’t like it.

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I also fed him a bit of an apple on the journey home as well (probably the one and only time I’ve ever willingly shared an apple). He gobbled it up quickly. Only to throw it back up on me an hour later. What a waste *sighs*

5. In other Alfie-related news, he loves to sit by the window in the sun and get a fur-tan Winking smile

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6. I’m loving my running socks. They have little bits of padding on them in nice places (how vague is that? I won’t lie, I don’t know foot anatomy…) and they have “L” and “R” so you know which foot they go on. It might be psychological but I really think they help my running.

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7. I love having customers in the office. We get exciting fruit platters and delicious food. OK it’s supposed to be for them but there’s always left-overs.

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There is no easy way to eat a massive slice of watermelon at work. It’s messy and un-ladylike. And I love it Open-mouthed smile

8. This is the amazing red velvet cupcake I got from the Swallow Bakery at the weekend. I realised I hadn’t shared a photo of it.

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HEAVENLY. It actually makes me sad that it’s gone.

9. After my running club runs on a Thursday night, I always find I’m just not hungry for dinner at all. But I do have dinner because I know otherwise I’ll die of hunger a few hours later (slight exaggeration perhaps). But it’s just never that appealing when I get in. The day after though my hunger goes into overdrive. I always need more food than usual. Which works perfectly today because tonight we’re off out with friends to the amazing all-you-can-eat Brazilian restaurant we went to before. Amazing.

And that’s all folks! Have a great weekend Smile

If you have a dog or a cat, what crazy things do they do that make you laugh?

What’s your favourite flavour of cupcakes? I love lemon flavoured ones and red velvet. I’m not a big fan of chocolate (weird, I know).

Do you have any fitness clothing/gear that you find really helps with your performance?