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?

Virtual Virgin London Marathon support crew efforts

Last weekend seemed to be a fairly busy running weekend for the running community.

The Virtual Virgin London Marathon weekend was upon us and, while I wasn’t signed up, I was going to be helping my two friends complete theirs.  When I say “help” I mean that they were coming to stay with Kyle and I and do their marathon round Portsmouth. I had plotted a 13ish mile route which the plan was for them to do twice. But more on that later.

Cortney and Emma came over Friday evening and were staying until Monday morning. It was exciting having guests stay over as having only moved into our new house at the end of May, they were our first. We had our spare bedroom all set up and so were excited.

Saturday morning we ran just over 4 miles down to Southsea to get some brunch at the Southsea Beach Cafe. Handily the route was the start of the route they’d be running on Sunday so it helped give them some familiarity of the area. I wouldn’t be running with them on Sunday…this was somewhat of an anxiety for me of them getting lost and me ruining their London Marathon so anything that helped familiarise them was good!

Anyway we met my dad for brunch as well because he was at a loose end due to my mum being away for the weekend (bless him). The weather was pretty crummy (as I’m sure the whole of Britain was aware) but luckily we managed to miss any crazy rain.

Kyle carried a running pack so we could put warmer jackets in for when we stopped which definitely helped.

For brunch I had the kippers, something a bit different for me, and shared the chorizo burrito with Kyle as well (because we’re greedy people, we know this).

The food was very tasty, but a little on the small side so we were glad to have had 1.5 dishes! But quality over quantity and all that jazz.

My dad drove Kyle back to ours, while Cortney, Emma and I walked to grab some coffees and cake. We dropped into Bread Addiction and I picked up a cinnamon roll and a croissant-style doughnut thing (I want to say cronut).

The rest of the day we did a bit of moseying about some shops, picking up food for later and then me going through the route. I was so worried they’d get lost. We put the routes on their watches and I tried to talk them through it. As a failsafe I was going to run the route ahead of them and mark it out using flour that I had put into three water bottles and would carry in my running pack. As the loop was only around 13 miles I was happy to run just one loop and then they could repeat it for the full distance.

Emma was going to run with Cortney for the first loop and their pace was going to be around 11 min/miles, and I was going to be running around 8 min/mile so I would be comfortably ahead marking the route.

The girl woke up early and did their morning marathon preparations while I (luxuriously) got to stay in bed until 7.30am, 30 minutes before we were to leave. I wasn’t going to eat beforehand as I never do so 30 minutes was enough time for me to get sorted. Kyle was staying at home, ready to help if needed if someone got lost.

He took some photos of us before we left and then we were off.

The wind was strong, the rain on and off for the start and it was cold. I knew the wind would be favourable to us though as where the wind would be most strong would be along the seafront but we’d be running with it behind us. And where it would be against us would be more sheltered away from the front, so not as bad.

I periodically marked the “course” with flour where there were turnings or crossings, hoping the rain wouldn’t wash them off the road. But they were more nudges rather than actual signs because they’d have their watches with directions that would be clear (I prayed!). I did hope people didn’t think I was graffitiing as it looked a little odd me marking the pavements.

As I got down to the seafront the wind was exactly as I thought, right behind me. This was nice but my pony tail kept slapping me in my face which was annoying. But less annoying than running into the full force of the wind, which I saw a number of runners having to deal with. It was nice to see so many runners out and so many wearing the London Marathon bibs. I cheered them all on as I passed them and it raised some smiles. I felt a little like a fraud as I wasn’t running a marathon but I still felt somewhat involved, if only tenuously.

I quite enjoyed my run until I got to the last couple of miles and the wind and rain really were horrendous. In my short-sleeved top I felt very cold. I was intermittently worrying about Emma and Cortney as well. Were they OK? Were they lost? Was the route OK for them?

I realised I could get 14 miles if I did a little add-on at the end so I did that before heading back home and getting inside quickly. Brrr! It was cold! I was so grateful that I ran my marathon the week before and that I wasn’t having to run that loop twice. The weather was just horrid.

I realised I had a message from Emma asking if I could grab her a spare jacket and give it to her for the second loop. I found the jacket that I thought she meant and then ran back down to where she’d be. Unfortunately it wasn’t the jacket she meant but she put it on anyway as she was so sodden and cold. She had parted from Cortney a few miles ago. She decided to run down to Southsea and back as she mentally couldn’t face the loop again. I headed back home – now having added an extra mile on to my total distance.

I then had the best shower of my life – burning my skin to red raw I imagine, but so necessary. While I was showering I heard Kyle talking to someone. Turned out Cortney had come back for some spare clothes too and was heading back out again at a slower pace. Her foot (which had been problematic before the marathon) was hurting. She was in very good spirits though!

After showering and eating a steaming bowl of porridge, Kyle and I headed out to walk to cheer Emma on. Handily we had her on the Find My Friends app so we were able to find her and cheer her on as she headed back.

Now the rain was relentless and I felt so very sorry for them being outside – it was bad enough just walking in it.

Emma finished in just over 4hrs 30 and Cortney in 5 hours 50. Bless them both, they were cold, soaked but victorious. They did incredibly! I was sorry that the route hadn’t been better for them but I think the terrible weather had been the main issue (let’s be honest, Portsmouth is Portsmouth – not much I can do there).

After everyone had showered and warmed up we drove down to The Tenth Hole to pick up very much deserved cake. I went for the vegan chocolate strawberry cake which was DIVINE. I love The Tenth Hole for their very generous (Anna-friendly) sized slabs of cake. No issues for me finishing!

So a big congratulations to Emma and Cortney for battling not only terrible weather conditions but the streets of Portsmouth to complete their Virtual London Marathon. I was glad to be involved to celebrate their achievements. Doing a virtual marathon is something so crazy… no crowds, no amazing London sights, no aid stations, no big atmosphere, no volunteers to hang a medal round your neck at the end. But I think VLM did an amazing job in creating a community and doing the best alternative possible. So bug kudos to you all who ran it!

Did you run the Virtual London Marathon?

Have you ever run a virtual race?

Celebrating good runs with burgers

It’s incredible how different runs can be.

A couple of weekends ago I was knocked down by a bug. I feel like whenever anyone mentions feeling unwell everyone immediately assumes it’s COVID-19 related. Happily mine was just a bug that made me feel a bit lethargic and meh with a bit of a dodgy tummy. Alfie and Kyle actually had similar issues as well – can dogs get ill from you (or vice versa)?! It was very weird, for two days he kept sporadically throwing up, which was just lovely.

I didn’t actually realise I was feeling ill though until I got back from a very unwise long run. I woke up in the morning without being aware that I felt different, then headed out and it just felt so hard. Half-way through I had a little sit down on the curb and just had to take stock of the fact that I was 5 miles from home without any easy way to get back (Kyle’s motorbike had a flat battery and he can’t actually drive our car yet).  In the end I managed to claw my way home. On finishing I felt so drained.

After a few days though I was back to normal and my runs felt SO much better. I decided to leave the speedwork (check me out being all routine-like with my speedwork now) and just do some “whatever I fancy” running to make sure I wasn’t pushing my body when it was just back to normal. Then at the weekend I headed out for my long run without any real ideas of how far I was going to go. I have a great route that I can basically cut short very easily… from 6 miles all the way to 15 miles. I have easy points to add on and take-away.

As I headed out I realised I felt pretty good and decided to go for a longer run. My pace was strong and I felt full of energy. The weather was perfect with barely any wind (such a problem with living on the coast!) and it was relatively cool. In the end I did 17 miles which just felt great and has tempted me to consider running another marathon on my own in a few weeks… Rotterdam  Marathon is doing a virtual one in October so I’ll see how it goes. But I’m putting no pressure on myself.

After running the 17 miles, I got showered and Kyle and I walked down to 7Bone for some lunch. The fact that we can walk to 7Bone is dangerous indeed. I mean I love that we can walk to some fantastic favourites of ours but it can’t be good for our wallets and health!

7Bone were fantastic. They took our temperature before we went inside and had hand sanitizer EVERYWHERE – even on your table. We felt very well looked after and safe. The food, of course, was fantastic too.

Both Kyle and I went for the Winner Winner chicken burger and added an extra halloumi patty and had halloumi fries on the side too. Kyle went for loaded cheesy fries and I went for some Rasta chicken wings. It was a feast! The burger is honestly one of the best chicken burgers I’ve had. Though the chicken wings are always a bit disappointing. But then you don’t go to 7Bone for the wings.

We then walked home – which definitely helped our fullness.

The next day I went for a very gentle 5k and then headed to meet my mum in Southsea for coffee.

It was a lovely mum and daughter time. We had a drink in the Watkins & Faux, a tennis themed café, on the seafront and then walked along the Southsea parade. My mum had a tasty chocolate milkshake and I had a cappuccino.

A solid weekend full of good food and good times (and good health!).

Have you ever run when you felt ill?

Have you been tempted by any virtual races recently?

Old favourites and getting some structure into my running

A lot to catch up on recently…

So firstly, I’ve become a bit green fingered in our new house (and garden). I never thought this day would come. I’ve never been interested in plants or flowers before but now I’m loving that we have a beautiful little garden. I’ve planted some flowers, got some lovely little house plants and I’m carefully looking after them.

I’m trying really hard to not let them die, reading up on how to care for them and watering them as often as they should be. Who’d have thought some don’t like too much watering and some get very sad without it (my temperamental little peace lily drooped significantly when I forgot about him for a bit).

Well anyway, it’s bringing me great joy, much to my parent’s and Kyle’s amusement as I’ve never shown such an interest before.

The other weekend we also had a very lovely visit from my friend Emma. She popped down from Reading for a run and some brunch. Originally we’d planned 14 miles but when it came down to it neither of us were feeling it and decided to bump it down to 5 miles instead.

It was a lovely relaxed run and we were able to catch up whilst seeing the sea and enjoying some trails nearby to where I live.

Chicken, bacon, potato, cheese, coleslaw, beetroot, tomatoes, cucumber, corn, onion, salad, berries

We then walked with Kyle down to Southsea for brunch at The Parade Tearooms. I had the rather un-brunch-like Jayne Salad which was, as always, ginormous but so tasty.

We then walked to The Tenth Hole to pick out some cakes – it had to be done of course! The Bakewell slice was particularly delicious I must say. We are so lucky to live within walking distance to these places – though not close enough to be a real danger thankfully 😉

This weekend gone Kyle and I house sat/dog sat for my parents while they visited my grandparents in Wales. At first we were very happy because my parents have a hot tub (!!) and we were able to get a takeaway from our favourite Indian restaurant (honestly, I’ve never found as good an Indian as the Stubbington Tandoori).

But then during the middle of the night the happiness drained away as their dogs barked several times during the night and I had to stand in the garden at 3am while they did their business. This happened every single night we were there… it was exhausting. How my parents live with this I do not know. I couldn’t remember them being that bad when I lived there so perhaps they were sad my parents weren’t there, who knows. Either way it was ANNOYING. It also meant one morning we didn’t wake up until 10am!!

Anyway, despite these problematic sleeps, Kyle and I had a lovely 6 miles walk along the Titchfield Canal and Hill Head seafront. Thankfully we were sensible enough to put on suntan lotion as it was very sunny and warm. It was a lovely walk. Asides from running, I just really love to walk, explore and be outside (you might already know this I expect).

Sunlight making us squint

We also enjoyed a lovely 4 miles run down to the beach followed by a huge full English fry-up at the Penguin Café (another of our favourites in the area).

It was delicious. It was lovely to sit outside in the sunshine with the sea breeze and eat a ridiculously large breakfast. Then we walked the 2.5 miles back – which certainly helped the full stomach I can tell you!

Then the next day I got up and headed out for a solo long run. I really didn’t know how far I fancied going or where I wanted to go so just went with enjoying some of my favourite routes at random.

I listened to the new-to-me podcast RunPod which I’m really enjoying. Lots of good interviews with people about running and in the end did 10 miles. It felt exactly like what I needed. Not too hard, or too far, or too fast… just a nice gentle plod. I’ve started paying attention a bit more to my heart rate. I won’t say that I’m specifically training using my HR, but I definitely want to keep an eye on it. When I say I’m going to go and do an easy run I want to make sure this actually happens.

So much of my running is just one pace. I feel a bit of a fraud compared to other runners who do specific sessions. They run their easy runs easy and their hard runs hard. Whereas I just…run. Sometimes I go a bit faster, sometimes a bit slower. There’s no real rhyme or reason to it. And while I like to have a bit of freedom with my running and never want to go back to when I was going to the track every week, I do think a bit of structure would help. My motivation to run is never based on times or PB’s, but to some degree I know I need to have a bit more structure to at least keep me motivated and interested. With no races around the corner, my running is becoming a bit stale.

And on the subject of races… I was half-way through writing this post, about to say “guess what! I’ve just signed up for the Reykjavik Marathon – in like two weeks!” and was super excited. And then literally just got an email to say it’d been cancelled. That email came through mere hours after signing up.

I know I was probably too hasty to sign up with everything going on but it seemed like Iceland was fairly safe and they seemed pretty confident. *Sighs* guess not. I think Kyle and I will still go to Iceland (I was so super organised I’d booked flights and an Airbnb – yes, I KNOW, super keen). We’ll only go for a few days but hopefully it’ll be nice. I’ve been to Iceland on my own ages ago so it’ll be lovely to go back with Kyle 🙂

Are you going anywhere on holiday?

Have you got any races planned that are still going ahead?