Great South Run- a long recap!

(You have been warned)

Hey! Thanks so much for the best wishes- stick around for a very long recap of my weekend! First of all, despite getting out my race kit to take photos, for some reason I packed my mp3 player and Nike+ away when I put everything else in my bag, so they got left at home. Whoopsie.

So here is how the weekend went:

  • Drive to Southampton. Realise I forgot my Nike+ etc!
  • Get some lunch, then Andy went to the football while I did some shopping.
  • Got tired so went for a rest in Starbucks. Tried a soy chai latte (I had a regular one before and found it so sweet, and one of the guys working suggested it was the milk..) anyway- it is amazing!
  • Go for Nando’s with Andy (not sure if this is the best pre race fuel? I had a veggie wrap and sweet potato mash for some carbs!), then spend at least an hour wandering around IKEA- since when did they swap mini dime bars for their own version???
  • Go to hotel and get everything ready for the morning. Re-read the race information over and over.
  • Get up and dressed and leave with plenty of time (we were 20 mins away). Spend over an hour and a half in a queue of traffic. Eat breakfast (clif bar) in the car. Not impressed with the directions in the leaflets (follow the signs, er, what signs?? The only signs we saw were signs saying “Great South Run, congestion possible”, oh and one to follow signs for the waterfront which we could not do as the road was closed) then at 10.30 park in a town centre multi storey.
  • Run to the start- 2 miles away! We passed the 2 mile marker on our way (and the 3 mile, and the 5K, but they loop around a bit). Ask marshalls where the bag drop is- they don’t know. We can’t work out the map. I did get a bit worked up here and start crying as we heard the first wave get sent on their way and we could not even work out where to go- we were just in a field of cars.
  • Andy went to the bag drop while I went to the toilets, then had to find my way to the back of the last wave (I missed my wave as I was in the toilet).
  • At last the race started (I went over the start line at 11.20am)- I found it hard to judge my pace, plus loads of people walked before the first mile marker- sometimes due to congestion but other times just because these were the back wave so expecting to walk some of it.
  • It drizzled a lot so my glasses kept fogging up. At one point I managed to spill nuun all over my glasses when I was trying to clean them and juggle my water bottle!
  • I enjoyed the run, it was really flat, there was lots of support and some bands on the way around, although at mile 8 I could hear the tannoy announcing the runners who were at mile 9 which was a bit painful- especially as there was a fairly brisk wind blowing into our faces at that point.
  • 800m to go- start to sprint. Realise that 800m is a long way to sprint, so just try to overtake as many people as possible.
  • Cross the finish line- yay! No idea how long it took me? Apparently there were results available immediately but I could not see where.
  • Get my bag, put on my foil blanket. I have always wanted to have a foil blanket after a race- it seems hardcore you know? I did not even get one after my marathon!  Once of my life’s ambitions ticked off! Oh and put on my medal.
  • Eat an Eat Natural bar from the goody bag, then wander around and try to find Andy. Yup, in my panic we had not arranged a place to meet- he said “oh it will be like Stockholm and there will be a big finishers pen“- well, no it was not like that!
  • I wandered around for ages, then went to see if I could find the bag drop in case he was there- I could not find it still! I think after about 20 mins I found him! Phew. Seeing as neither of us had our phones and I had no idea of the way back to the car it could have been much worse!

  • Walk back to the car- still proudly wearing my foil blanket (and medal!)
  • Change in the toilets in the shopping centre (I did bring a towel and was prepared to do some in-car gymnastics to change as I did not fancy wearing my sweaty running clothes for the journey home) and here is where the fun began.
  • We got in the car at 2.25pm. We sat in a queue of traffic in the car park. Nothing was moving.
  • At 3.30pm I went to get us a Starbucks as we were both hungry (all we had eaten was a clif bar for breakfast and the cereal bar in the race pack).

  • My new-found love- a soy chai latte, plus a cinnamon roll. That was a rather late lunch and I do not think anything has ever tasted nicer!
  • At 4.30 we were still sat in the queue of traffic. I kept getting out to look but we had no idea, it really was a total standstill and it was meant to be shutting at 4.45pm.
  • Finally someone came to direct the traffic and we left the car park at 5.15pm. So we had spent nearly 3 hours in the car park- we were hoping to be home by then.
  • More bad luck- someone drove into the back of Andy’s car when we were sat at traffic lights waiting to get onto the M25- luckily it does not seem like they did any damage (poor him, he only bought it a few months ago).
  • Finally get home just before 8pm (dreaded Sunday evening traffic) – quickly make dinner and have a shower while it cooks.
  • Ah, that is better.

Later on I checked my time and I was super excited- I was aiming for 1 hour 50, but what with all the walking and ducking and weaving I was not optimistic- I had no idea how long it took me. My official chip time was 1 hr, 49.31- so I made my target by 29 seconds! That sprint at 800m to go was well worth it!

We got a pretty good goody bag- t-shirt, medal, that scary coloured drink, a few cereal bars, shreddies, mini toothpaste and mini deoderant (and you know I love mini things), tea (I love tea too!)…

Anyway, I am glad I did it- I think I prefer the smaller races, but the atmosphere at the start line and with all the people cheering was really good. Plus I managed to raise over £250 at the last count, all for Cancer Research. 🙂 Thanks for all the sponsorship 🙂

Today I had a rest day, as my hamstrings are quite tight- I did stretch a lot before I got in the car, but I suppose all that sitting down did not help that much. I have some yoga pencilled in for later.

Oh and tomorrow I will be announcing the winners of the giveaway!

Race kit

Hey peeps!

I am trying to make sure I have everything I need! (We are driving down today).

Tights, capris (not sure which ones to wear yet), top, Cancer Research UK vest, sports bra, socks…

Bottle, nuun tabs, Clif bar (for breakfast), number, timer chip, shot bloks, mp3 player (not sure if I will use it though), Nike+, tissues, face wipes (for after).

And the all important safety pins, hairbands and clips!

I am taking some snacks for after, and will try to change into some other clothes before the journey home.

What essentials do you have in your race day kit?

I am paranoid I am going to forget my trainers!

Wish me luck!

Maria 🙂

Last day of freedom

Is that a bit too dramatic? It is after all only the last day of half term, except for the weekend which I have anyway. Half term has been brilliant- really relaxing. I have had work to do (parents evenings next week so getting ready for those) but also had fun projects like making Christmas cakes.

Exercise has been good- I realised I have not done a Sunday recap for ages so I will do one now.

Saturday- 10 mile run

Sunday- walk to shops (rest day)

Monday- 6 mile run

Tuesday- yoga, Shred level 1 and 2

Wednesday- 3.6 mile run

Thursday- walk to shops, Body pump (and I kept the heavy weights for squats and heavier shoulders as of last week, and added a little to the lunges).

Friday- 4 mile run

Tomorrow will be a rest day (and I will be going shopping while Andy goes to the football) and then the Great South Run on Sunday! Getting excited now!

I had a delicious lunch today.

Roasted a little squash (a harlequin which is the smaller yellow one with the dents on it).

Mashed up half on a little wholewheat tortilla, crumbled on some herby goats cheese (thanks Delamere) and baked it for 5 mins.


Yesterday I had another delicious lunch.

Carrot pancakes! This time I used 35g spelt flour, 1 grated carrot, 1 tbs pumpkin puree and some milk (50ml?). With tahini and maple syrup yum 🙂

Also shhhhhhhh:

I may have bought some more tea. How cute are the piglets? I wanted to try the lemon ginger tea so getting a 2 pack is perfect. The chilli chai is for Andy for Christmas you see, plus he thinks we have enough tea at home already. You can never have enough tea.

I also popped to the shops today and could not resist a baby pumpkin (munchkin pumpkin)- for photos and also for eating later on! I also got some giant cous cous as I keep seeing it raved about- thought I would give it a try for lunch at some point. Plus some coconut water (this was a new brand on offer so I thought I would give it a go) and many tins of pumpkin. Although some are for a friend from work- yup I am branching out to pumpkin dealer.

Plus I have been practising with my icing! I decorated the mini Christmas cakes (the ones I made in the little loaf cases). I took photos as I went along, so at some point will post the how-to.

Cute 🙂 Well I think so anyway.

And my first i-herb order arrived (I have been going to and from the website for ages)! After trying several Luna bar flavours, I have decided that the peppermint one is the best. I also got some mini ones to make up the weight (they are teeny and only 80 cals so good for when you fancy a sweet snack I think and come in variety packs) plus a free peppermint lip balm and some scary green powder. Not sure what to do with the powder?? Also you can get $5 off your first order by using code QOC914.

Also I got my rejection email today from the London 2012 Olympic run ballot- did anyone get in?

Any exciting weekend plans?

What do you like to do on your days off from work?

Raw cheesecake recipe

So after my success of making almond milk the other day, I was left with a lot of almond pulp. I scanned google for various recipes, but nothing took my fancy. I saw a few cheesecake recipes, where they used the almond pulp mixed with cashews and other bits for the topping, and I love the base of the raw pecan brownies. So I came up with this;

Makes 12 mini cheesecakes.


1 cup pecans

1 cup brazils

12 dates

1/4cup dessicated coconut

1 tsp cinnamon


1/2 cup soaked cashews

1/2 cup almond pulp

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

3 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

Directions (super easy!)

Blend up the ingredients for the crust.

Dates, brazils, pecans, coconut and cinnamon.

Spoon into cake cases (or make one big one)

Press it down firmly.

Then blend up the filling- leave it to churn a bit longer.

Cashews, almond pulp, coconut oil, honey, orange juice, vanilla.

Then spoon onto the base.

Leave these to set in the fridge.

And enjoy with some peach tea 🙂

I have put the rest in the freezer to be enjoyed at my leisure. They were very sweet so I think you could easily reduce the amount of honey further (most recipes I saw had more but I thought it sounded a lot!). Or sub with agave/ some other syrup to make them vegan.

Although I still have a lot of almond pulp left over- I have been trawling for recipes but so many need dehydrators (0r 12 hours in the oven- no thanks!) and it seems you can use it as a replacement for flour, so I might just use 1/2 pulp and 1/2 flour next time I make cookies and keep my fingers crossed. Any other ideas?

Rainy day baking

Hey peeps

Today is a damp and drizzly day- I did brave a walk up to the shops this morning (managed to pick up a couple more Christmas pressies) but it was cold- I wish I had gloves and a scarf as my raincoat is very thin.

I was meant to be going out for lunch, but it got cancelled. So I got on with some baking. I saw on Lucy’s blog a link to some amazing looking caramel apple bars, and there is a competition on the pink whisk for apple recipes, so I decided to make them. I weighed out the ingredients (well, most of them!)as the original recipe is in cups.

The Pink Whisk

First up, line a brownie pan and preheat the oven to 180C, then mix 1/2 apple sauce (I used 1 apple chopped in a food processor) with 1/2 cup pb (80g), 1/4 butter (30g- I used pure spread).

Then add in 2 cups oats (150g), 1 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup caster sugar (200g sugar in total), 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp vanilla.

Then add in 2 chopped apples (I used one russet from my box and one pink lady, but any you like are fine) and 1 cup white chocolate chips (forgot to weigh, maybe 100g?).

Spread the mixture into the pan.

And bake for 30 mins, remove and leave to cool for 5 mins.

Then make some caramel sauce (or use shop bought stuff)- this was 1tbs pure spread, 2 tbs sugar, 1tsb golden syrup and a splash of milk. I microwaved it for 20 seconds at a time, then stirred it (and near the end, 10 seconds at a time)- it bubbles right up. Put a tiny blob on a cold plate to check that it turns into caramel.

Then pour over the cooling apple cake.

Leave it to cool completely before slicing, and try not to eat them all at once!

Oh WOW is all I can say. They are amazing! Sooooooooo amazing. The apple is sweet, the peanut butter is rich, the caramel sauce is gooey…… need I go on?

Were you a fan of caramel/ toffee apples? I never found them easy to eat- I would rather have some sauce to dip slices into, for example;

Yum- a toffee apple dip from Graze.

Caramel and apples just go together mmmmmmm.