Taper time

Well, sort of.

I have not followed a training plan for this half marathon. I am feeling quite relaxed about it, although I am sure on Sunday morning I will be nervous. Not following a plan has been good- I have roughly worked out the long run distance each week but I have not been obsessive about ticking off the miles. The downside is that I forgot about cutting back a bit. I know that with a half marathon I don’t need a month long taper or anything, but I know I do better if I take it a bit easier the week before.

Anyway, on Monday I remembered and so only did a 3 mile run after work. It was one of those runs that felt so slow (it was windy and my legs were stiff) but actually was not that bad- around 10 minute mile pace which for after work is OK for me.

The Pump instructor is away this week, which again is pretty good timing as my legs take a while to recover from the squats and lunges.


After my Monday run I tried some of this coconut water- lemonade flavour. It is all £1 at Ocado at the moment so I ordered one of them to see. The verdict? I quite liked it. It was sharp and tangy (and not fizzy- phew)- it does have some added fruit sugar but only a small amount (2% I think) and I suppose it would have been too sour otherwise.

Photo: Picked a whole bowl of strawberries (plus a few raspberries) at the allotment on Sunday- have been enjoying them for breakfast this week.

On Sunday we spent time at the allotment and picked a whole load of strawberries and a few raspberries. I have been enjoying them with my breakfast since, and still have some left. I put some chia seeds in a bowl with a little almond milk, then add the berries, some muesli, sometimes a few almonds, and then top with more milk, and let it soak overnight. Delicious.

I am off to Sweatshop tonight and have been told we can choose between a shorter or slightly longer run, but I think I am going to err on the side of caution, especially as my back has been a bit stiff today. Then I can’t decide what to do for the rest of the week. I think I might have a short run after work on Friday, as I have a busy day on Saturday, plus I would rather be a bit rested before Sunday.

Favourite summery drink? I quite like elderflower, but I had some on Friday which turned out to be fizzy so I was not that impressed with it. Peach iced tea or mango coconut water are also on my refreshing list.


Not the best preparation

First up, doughnut peaches are back!

I normally find them in Asda but each time I checked they have not had any (and have not seen the label on the shelf either) but today I saw them in Sainsbury’s, and for only £1.50 for this big punnet! Exciting times folks.

So, next weekend I am doing a trail half marathon. I say trail marathon- it is through some woods, so it’s off road. I think trail makes it sound more hardcore than it probably is. But anyway, it is still a half and they should be taken seriously.

Over the past few months I have been upping my mileage again- I had a bit of a break after the Bath Half as I found that so tough, but I still managed a good amount of miles- in fact 72 miles both in March (Bath was at the start) and April. But since then my mileage has dipped. Partly I think this is because I was managing 4 runs a week, and this has gone down to an average of 3, and also because we went away in May. But life in general has been getting in the way a bit too…

For the last 2 weeks though I have only managed 2 runs per week. I had my lovely 3 run weekend and a sports massage on the Monday, but then when I got home I had the most awful headache- I took painkillers which did nothing, and in the end had to go and lie down and take some more a couple of hours later. This impacted my running in two ways:  I didn’t get any work done that evening, so I had twice as much for Tuesday. Plus on Tuesday I felt really delicate, so didn’t think a run was a good idea. Add on to that other meetings, and the need for a rest day after a long run and all I managed was Wednesday and Saturday.

I did manage 11 miles last Saturday, which has given me some confidence. Then spent about 90 minutes at the allotment on Sunday, and on Monday I was still aching. Plus I got home late and had work to do (as it was I worked until 9.15 and then had to get up early the next morning to finish as I needed to unwind a bit). On Tuesday it was baking hot but I managed 5 miles, which I was pleased with as I do want to make my midweek runs a bit longer. I had to stop and cool down for a bit after a few miles as it was so hot.

Then, on Wednesday I was going to have a short run, as we were off out (I knew I had no time for Sweatshop) but I didn’t get away until late so only just had time to mark some work and change before we were out (and then I had more work when we got back). Thursday was pump and then Friday I was out for dinner- again just enough time when I got home to shower and change before rushing out again.

On a side note, I had a delicious salad with lentils, butternut squash and goats cheese, and then we went to the fabulous Pudding Stop for dessert.

So many tempting things on their menu, but in the end I opted for a delicious lemon tart.

When they brought our food over, the guy told me that my slice was too small (something about it being the last ?) so they had given me two small slices instead of one large. Luckily they let me take half home as one slice was plenty!

I was up early on Saturday for a long run. I had mapped out an 11 mile route, but it turned out to be closer to 12 miles. The weather was cooler at least, although my face was still covered in salt after a few miles. Near the end it started raining, and at first it was just wonderful- slightly heavier than a fine mist, and really cooling. But for the final half mile or so it was very heavy, and so all the salt washed off my face into my eyes- I had to finish with just one eye open and when I got home had to stumble up the stairs with both eyes shut as they were stinging so much!

My run was slow (well slower than I would have liked I suppose)- I slowed a lot towards the end and the 11.8 miles took me 2.08. But with the heat, and being so tired, I am OK with that. Next week I am not aiming for a pb, I just want to enjoy the woods, and also raise some money for a local hospice charity. (If you want to help raise money my page is here)

I shall not be stressing anyway. I know by now that I don’t do well in the heat, and I love running though woods so I am looking forward to some pretty scenery.

Are you always after a pb or do you sign up for races for different reasons? I do look for fast and flat courses, but I also like more interesting off road ones, and I am always tempted if a technical t-shirt is on offer!

Laura’s amazing banana bread

So, you guys know that I have bought some coconut flour but have never got on that well with it. I did manage to have it in pancakes, which I quite liked, but I still prefer the buckwheat flour so tend to go to that.

At the weekend (I think) Laura posted a photo of her grain free banana bread, which included coconut flour, and it just so happened that we had 2 bananas rapidly going brown. Of course I had to make it.

Well it turned out so well! Delicious! Because of what I had at home I made a few changes- I only had 3 eggs so used those and a little almond milk, and instead of blueberries I used dark chocolate chips and desiccated coconut.

I bought myself some pretty dessert forks, plus a matching cake slice that I have not used yet.

It has been keeping me going this week! I have been so busy this week- I have only managed one run (sad face) so far this week (I was home too late for Sweatshop on Wednesday)- on Tuesday I was home early (I had a course, and they usually finish early, plus no marking= bonus time) so I went on a 5 mile run, but it was baking- after a couple of miles I had to stop in the shade and cool down as I was so hot. I am not used to this! It was making me worry about my half marathon (next weekend) but I am not going for a fast time there as it is a trail run, I am going to enjoy the experience.

Anyway, when I got home Andy had picked our first garden strawberries! So after dinner I had them with a slice of the banana bread- they were so sweet and juicy- shop bought ones just don’t compare.

I went to pump this evening and managed to up my weights for the chest (10kg on the bar! Which is a lot for me), but now my arms are not liking all this typing!

What are your weekend plans?

I need to get up early for my final long run- I did 11 miles last weekend and want to do a similar distance this week. I need to make a cake as practise for my next cake club meeting (don’t want a repeat of last time!) and also a pile of work which I just won’t think about now!

Things I wonder when I watch Gogglebox

So, at first when you hear the concept of Gogglebox, you just wonder what is the point? We thought the same- we were flicking through channels and came across it and both thought “watching people watch TV- we can just watch the TV ourselves”. But then we watched for five minutes and became a bit addicted to it. Seeing how people react to different TV shows is just really funny (and can be rather worrying too). Now it has moved to prime time Friday night viewing it means I can look forward to it all week too.

So here is what I wonder:

  • How much alcohol do the B&B owners actually consume? Is he what we would call a high functioning alcoholic? And how red will his face get by the end of the episode?
  • How many tea cosy’s does the vicar own?
  • Does the vicar’s dog have a head? All we ever see are the legs.
  • How do the two girls from Brixton function with nails that long?
  • How much takeaway do two people need (again the girls from Brixton)? And was there really a mouse?
  • Is there anyone that Leon actually likes? (Although worryingly we often agree with him!)
  • How many times will the guy in Clacton fall asleep?
  • Most importantly, will that girl’s boyfriend ever speak?

Are you a Gogglebox fan? And if so, what do you wonder when you watch it?

PS. I started writing this a few weeks ago, but sadly now it is not on, so it might not make sense. If you are wondering there are some old episodes on channel 4 on demand. Go on, give yourself a giggle.

3 run weekend

Hey peeps, I hope you are all doing well. Last week we got back from Berlin on Wednesday evening (too late for Sweatshop!) and then on Thursday I was meeting someone at work early on, plus I was going to pump in the evening, so by the time Friday rolled around I was itching for a run!

I went out before breakfast- as I had been to pump the night before (and that was the first time for 3 weeks as for the previous 2 weeks I had late meetings for work) I had achy legs so took it easy. I went up to the field where the cows are, luckily they were away from the path, and I enjoyed being out in the cool air. 4.35 enjoyable miles.

On Friday night I could not decide about parkrun, so decided to see what time I woke up.  Saturday morning I woke early so after some pottering about I headed out. Because I had a long run planned for Sunday, and because my hip was annoying me on the train journey to Gatwick the previous Friday, I was going to take it easy.Famous last words eh?  I was pretty good to begin with- I flipped my watch around so I could not see the screen and just ran on feel. At one point my hip felt weird, so I told myself to ease off, but of course for the final bit I had to try to finish as fast as possible (although the gentle finish slope has never felt so steep!), and then when I stopped my watch and saw 27 something I wished I had pushed a bit harder (although as soon as I stopped I felt a bit sick so I had pushed hard at the end). Later on when I got my text I was surprised to see I managed 27.12- this is now the third time I have managed that exact time! I also managed a royal flush negative split, with every mile being faster than the previous one (I know that is easier with 3 miles than longer races!)- not really taking it easy! I ended up putting Deep Heat on my hip later on as it was a bit achy, but nothing too bad. 3.1 (mostly) enjoyable miles.

On Sunday I was up bright and early for my long run. Annoyingly, just as I was about to leave, I found that my Garmin had run out of charge. It would not normally bother me too much (although I am loving adding my runs to Daily Mile and tracking my monthly and yearly miles) but I hadn’t decided on a route, I knew I wanted to run 9 miles but could not remember which route I needed, so had to have it on so I would run the right amount. I charged it for a bit, and then headed out, but this was not so good because by then I was hungrier and the weather was hotter. I started off OK, but for the final few miles I was too hot and thirsty; I was annoyed with myself for not bringing any water with me, and by the end I was struggling. I managed 9 miles, although the Garmin ran out of battery at 8.94, a bit before I got home. 9 miles and lesson learned- charge my Garmin the night before, and bring a drink if it is a super hot day!

When I got home the first thing I did was have a coconut ice lolly- even more refreshing than some cold coconut water.

After that I had to pop to town, and then went to the allotment for a couple of hours of weeding and planting. I have some weed resistant matting, so I put that down with some new strawberry plants, as our own strawberry plants are really hidden in the grass now! I had a very sore back when I got home though. Perfect timing, as I had a sports massage booked for Monday evening.

Three runs in a row is really my limit- after that I just slow down loads and get really achy. I am always amazed at people who run 6+ times per week. Although I have found that I quite like a short run the day before a long run, but I know I really need a rest day after a long run.

Where do you like to have your rest days?