A longer run and a walk around Wimpole

Last Sunday I headed out on my longest run for ages- 11 miles. It was beautiful weather- such blue skies- and the leaves were looking fabulous.

I took quite a few photos as I was running and really enjoyed myself. Well, apart from one incident. I was running along the old railway line- it’s a very wide path in some woods. I’d passed people walking or running in both directions, some with dogs. At one point a dog ran out of the undergrowth and in front of me- the people walking it apologised but it was fine as it didn’t trip me up or anything.  At one point I was running down the path and I passed a guy running in the other direction who had a dog running behind him.  As the dog ran past me, it doubled back and started growling at me. I stood still (I find that dogs seem to like the movement of running and think it’s a bit of a game, and also when the Dog’s Trust came into work they told the children to stand still if approached by a dog they don’t know), but the dog was lurching at me, running around me in small circles and growling. The guy who was running hadn’t even turned around at that point, so I called at him “can you please call your dog?”. He then turned around and called it several times before the dog started to go to him (he was around 20m away and seeing as he was out running I don’t know why he didn’t run back..)- I was about to go when the dog ran back to me again, growling and going around me in circles. I shouted at him “can you please come and get  your dog as it isn’t coming” but he just called it again. Eventually the dog ran back to him, so I shouted (I think politely) “if you can’t control your dog, it should be on a lead”. He said to me “sometimes he’s a bit naughty but he won’t hurt you” , so I called at him “you still need to be able to control your dog as that was really quite frightening”. I turned and carried on and honestly I felt like crying- I was really worried that the dog was going to bite me. There were a couple of ladies out walking a bit further down and they had been watching- they asked if I was OK which was really kind of them.

The rest of my run passed without incident thankfully, although it was a rather slow one (11 miles in around 2 hours).

After a shower and breakfast we headed up to Wimpole- we’d been there years ago (and I did the parkrun there a little over a year ago) but as it’s really our nearest National Trust place we felt like we should go a bit more often.

There’d been a running event there in the morning ( a half marathon and 10 mile) and we saw a few people wandering around wearing their medals, and the gazebos in the race village were being put away. We had a wander through the walled garden (getting ideas for our own garden) before walking around the fields- I think we walked most of the parkrun course but in reverse. It was time for a tearoom stop after that!

The tearoom situation was not the best- there was a restaurant with a hug queue and everywhere was busy but the tearoom was really a kiosk where you helped yourself (I really do not like that- especially when people do not use the tongs or jut breathe all over the food)- and there was no seating. I’d chosen a scone and I had to stand around for ages and ended up finding a bench so I could rest the plate on my lap. Must try harder Wimpole! Anyway, it was an enjoyable afternoon out.

Once we got home it was time to finish the last few bits of work before having dinner and watching some TV.

Also, I think I might be the only runner who has not only not applied to the London marathon ballot (not “The marathon”, because there are many more…), but is also not really fussed about it. Partly the ballot system is annoying- I’m not sure why they let you know so much later as the ballot closed months ago. But although I love watching it on TV, the huge crowds make it seem much more stressful. I think I’d rather run somewhere new and see different sights too.

The rest of last week was fairly normal, although we did a new route with the club on Tuesday night- our run leader is great at estimating route lengths and we were told “5 miles, ish”- well it ended up being a little over 6 miles, but a good new route (although we’d need torches for a bit of it). Yoga was great as always although there was a power cut so it started a bit later, and then part way through we had to stop because I saw a massive spider on the floor- they put it outside for me! On Thursday I popped by my parents and felt so tired by the time I got home so I skipped my run in favour of a walk, which turned out to be the right decision as when we got back from the walk my legs went all shaky, not sure why but I think I’d just been really tired.

Did you enter London? Are you keen on dogs? I don’t mind dogs, but I object to anyone telling me that their dog is fine when it is leaping up at me.

Happy birthday parkrun! And weekend incentives

So as I mentioned before, on Friday night (a week ago) I was off out with work. We went for dinner at Frankie and Benny’s- not somewhere I would choose (I’ve been to one twice before- we complained the first time as the service was so poor, and were given vouchers, and on the second visit we had to give the vouchers in straight away, and the service was still awful, and all the fried food isn’t really my favourite) but I had a nice wrap with goats cheese and avocado (at 9.35 I might add- our table was booked for 8- so service still ridiculously slow) and then a peanut butter cheesecake for dessert.

On Saturday I was off to Ellenbrook Fields to celebrate parkrun’s 13th birthday! I was meant to be doing the new runners briefing, and had my sign and clipboard (and spoke to a few people informally about it as they had seen the sign)- anyway we then had to do a group photo of everyone in their apricot tops, and then the RD told me that there wasn’t time for the briefing any more. I went back to speak to the couple of people who had come up to me before, and another person came over so we had a sort of whispered briefing while the volunteers were being clapped. I felt like a bit of a fraud getting my thank you text later.

Here we all are on the start line!

Dad had cycled there and I managed to find him at the start just before it began. He was back from his huge cycle ride through Spain, and said as he hadn’t run since before he went he would see how he got on. We were chatting and catching up with life from the past two weeks, and enjoying the run. I am sure I have said it before but I love the Ellenbrook course as you do a little loop and a big loop, and when you finish the little loop you run past the RD, timers, token scanners etc so there are always lots of cheers and friendly faces.

Anyway, I didn’t feel like we were going too fast (and I never look at my Garmin) and as we neared the end Dad decided to go for a sprint finish- I knew I couldn’t keep up with him for that bit so I said I’d see him at the end. My watch beeped for the 3rd mile and I glanced at it, seeing 8.38 on the screen. “Hmm, that’s quite fast” I thought, and then saw 26 something on the watch. My pb is 26.33 at Ellenbrook and 26.29 all-time, so I put in a bit of a sprint for the final bit.

I got token 73, which seemed high for me, but I didn’t know my exact time until I got the text- 26.38! It’s my third fastest time ever, and I didn’t really feel like I was beyond myself until that final sprint. All my miles began with 8’s too (I think they would have to for that time I suppose)- 8.45, 8.42, 8.38- pretty close splits as I often have a much bigger difference between my first and last mile time.

One day I will actually aim for a pb but I was happy to enjoy the run with Dad. Perhaps peanut butter cheesecake is the key to a faster run?

I then drove home while Dad cycled, and we enjoyed a lovely breakfast. My brother (who didn’t run as he was playing football later) joined us, as did my sister, her husband and their baby. Mum has one of those chalk boards in the kitchen- I did love that she had written pancakes on it so we knew what we would be having!

We also had an email from my dad’s cousin Brian (we ran with him in Milton Keynes)- he has been loving parkrun and did his 21st run on their birthday, getting a pb too! We are trying to arrange for him to come down to us and run at Ellenbrook so he can be introduced to parkrun tourism.

After a very leisurely breakfast (which included us booking tickets to see Joe Lycett – he always has the funniest names for his tours- this one is “I’m about to lose control and I think Joe Lycett”) I headed home and had to spend several hours doing some work. Later I needed to stretch my legs so we walked the longer way to town, got our free drinks from Starbucks and then walked home, where I spent a couple more hours working. I did have an incentive as we’d decided to go to Wimpole hall (National Trust with lovely grounds) on the Sunday so long as I didn’t have much work left.

Did you celebrate parkrun’s birthday?

A long run in the autumn and a run cut short

Last weekend I realised that it wasn’t long before I would be running 10 miles in Brighton for the Bright10- one of my favourite races- I love 10 miles as a distance and I don’t need an excuse to go to Brighton! Due to one thing and another, I hadn’t managed a long run in a few weeks so I knew I needed to go a fair way on Sunday. It was a bit damp but not too cold when I set out. I was planning 9 miles so checked my Strava to see the last route I did, because I still don’t really have the hang of the longer routes.

At one point I join an old railway line- you can join it further up but it’s easier to go down these stairs which then join the path next to a tunnel- although the tunnel is horrible and full of rubbish and graffiti- it always makes me think of Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia as they have a bit of a think about “bridge people”. Thankfully I don’t need to run through the tunnel as my route takes me left and away from it.

I was enjoying the autumn colours and taking some photos when it started to rain quite hard- I was still about 4 miles from home so I tried to pick up the pace a bit.

Anyway, home for a very hot shower and then breakfast.

There are blackberries buried under the muesli- very tasty.

Then I did some work, walked into town and got my free drink (went for a green tea latte this time) and did a bit of baking (coming up later) and some pottering in the garden. All very lovely.

On Monday we went to see Wind River, which was a film based on true events about a girl being murdered on a native reservation in the US (well, about trying to solve it and catch the people who did it)- it was a bit like a long episode of Longmire if you have ever watched that. Very gripping but a few things made me jump. I didn’t seem to be on in many cinemas but it’s worth hunting out if you like that sort of thing.

On Tuesday my run was rather rudely cut short. I’d got home too late for the club run, so went out on my own. I was planning 5 miles but 2 miles in I felt a ping on my shoulder- yes, my bra strap had broken*.

I could cut the run shorter by running the 2 miles home, but I had to basically run holding my arms across my chest- and I’d had a bad shoulder from Sunday (from probably doing work on my laptop on the sofa instead of in my office) so that didn’t help matters at all.

*It had in fact not broken, but worked its way loose, which was just as annoying as I could not fix it whilst running.

It does seem to be a flaw of the shock absorber run design that the bits that you adjust to make the straps the right length are only held in place by a small plastic hook- in some of my old bras I had actually sewn them in to stop it happening, but I have lapsed recently.

Coincidentally the next day Andy recommended this podcast episode for me (which was very interesting- about how the sports bra was invented).  I hadn’t even heard of a sports bra until I was in my twenties and read a few fitness magazines when I had joined a gym- no wonder I wasn’t keen on running at school as it’s very uncomfortable without one.

Yoga on Wednesday went some way to helping my shoulder- we did lots of twists and used the straps to get into poses more deeply, although we also did a lot of the warrior ones so my legs were a bit jellified after!

On Thursday I had a bit of a headache so just did 4 miles again (no malfunctions this time) and then on Friday after work I had a back massage to sort out my shoulder.  It was a bit painful at times, but the fact that after I finish I can actually move my shoulders and look over my left shoulder again is so worth it. And most of it is relaxing with some lovely scented oils in a diffuser and some zen like music/sounds going on.

I felt quite thirsty after so I wandered into town to get a drink- my phone is on Three and there is an app for customers with little deals and offers- there was a free Costa drink so I got one there. I had to get a few boring bits, and then went into Hotel Chocolat- they had chai latte chocolates, so of course I had to get some. When I got home my 10 mile number had arrived.

Then I was off out for bowling and dinner as a work social.

When did you first learn about sports bras? Do they mention them in secondary school PE kits I wonder? Do you have any routes with parts that you don’t like? On our club runs we sometimes go through some dodgy underpasses- I wouldn’t run them alone that’s for sure.

A cinema trip, nearly a handstand and a few parcels

Last week was a fairly normal week- walking on Monday, a club run on Tuesday (the route was great and according to my watch was 4.94 miles so I ended up running laps of a statue to make it up to 5- if I was further I wouldn’t bother but I was so close!).

Yoga on Wednesday was great, and I was so pleased as I was the closest I have ever been to a handstand. We were shown a new way to get up (we usually do them against a wall but you have to have your hands on the floor and jump your legs up, and I can never jump them high enough)- this time we stood with our backs to the wall, put our hands down on the floor and then walked our feet up. If my hands hadn’t been so slippery (I was nervous too) I think I would have managed to hold it!

These coconut goodies arrived in the post this week- of course the first flavour I had to try was the salted chocolate (basically coconut chips with a little coconut nectar, cocoa and sea salt);

They made my fingers all brown from the cocoa powder. Really tasty though.

I’m looking forward to trying the other flavours, although they don’t do a salt and vinegar one which would be the king of flavours in my opinion!

On Thursday we had booked tickets to see Borg Vs McEnroe, and happily I was home a bit earlier so I managed a quick run before a shower, dinner and then heading off to the cinema. The film was really enjoyable- I didn’t know the actual outcome which probably made it more dramatic, but the rivalry and their backgrounds were shown really well- it was a bit like the F1 films= you don’t need to be a fan of the sport to enjoy the film. We also had a load of good adverts- The Battle of the Sexes (another tennis one- again I don’t know the outcome so am going to avoid finding out until I see it) looks fab, the Armando Iannucci film about Stalin looked funny, and the Jo Nesbo Snowman film looked gripping (I have read some of the books but not that one I don’t think- good old Scandi crime fiction). It made me look forward to a few more trips. We’ve recently signed up for the Vitality health insurance (only a basic package, but there are things like an online GP which would be so useful) so if we earn enough points each week we will get a free cinema ticket and free Starbucks, and this was our first free trip.

I had caved into ordering some Bluebird tea- I was going to wait until we go to Brighton in a couple of weeks, but they posted that a lot of their pumpkin spice teabags had already sold, and I needed some more gingerbread chai teabags (an evening treat as they are rooibos) so I ordered myself a little top up- the marketing clearly worked on me!

They included a couple of recipe cards for banana bread chai loaf and a gingerbread chai latte- I am sure I will be making them soon!

I also ordered myself another one of these hairbrushes- they are totally brilliant for de-tangling hair when it is wet or dry. One of the things I struggle with used to be de-tangling my hair after a run in the rain as my hair would get so tangled (and I can’t plait it for running as it is too heavy and bangs around on my shoulders- I’ve tried it once and learnt never again!). Anyway, I think my hairdresser mentioned it to me once and so I got one and it’s been a revelation! You can use it on wet or dry hair and it’s so gentle- so I got myself one to keep in my bag (as the other one lives in the shower).

What are you looking forward to seeing in the cinema? Could you do handstands and cartwheels when you were a child? (I never could!) Which is your favourite crisp/ crispy snack flavour?

* I was sent the coconut snacks for free, but all opinions are my own.

A Waffle House trip! And other weekend tales

Last Saturday, after Thetford parkrun, we headed off to a couple of National Trust places in Norfolk.

First up was Oxburgh Hall, where we had a look inside the building, went up the spiral staircase to the roof, wandered around the gardens and enjoyed a hot chocolate in the cafe. Then we headed to Blickling which had an RAF museum (as it was an air base in WW2), and lovely large grounds to walk around. We knew we would be heading to The Waffle House early in the evening, so we shared a sandwich in one of the tea rooms for lunch.

By late afternoon we were ready to head to Norwich (where Bush were playing later)- we had a little wander around the shops but I had a headache and didn’t feel great (probably not had enough to drink in the day) so we mainly sat outside in the fresh air with a cold drink, before heading to dinner.

As you may well know, I do love to go to The Waffle House in St Albans. The original is in Norwich, and personally I think it’s better, as it has a bigger range on the menu, plus you can have small or large sizes. I love both the savoury and sweet waffles, but having two is a bit much so I have to choose each time (tough choices). I’d explained to Andy that we would be sharing a sweet, and so in the end we both went for the small for our mains (still a perfectly good portion size).

I went for my favourite- the hummus and avocado- the one in Norwich was slightly different as it had sundried (not cherry) tomatoes and was sprinkled with poppy seeds. It was so good. Andy had a bolognese one which wasn’t on the St Albans menu- good to try something new.

We decided to have a dessert that we couldn’t get in the St Albans one, so we opted for a waffle with mixed nuts baked into the waffle and sprinkled over the top, with chocolate sauce and then added a scoop of ice cream (meant to be pistachio but they had run out so we had vanilla). It was so good.

Then we were off to see Bush- we had a slight fail here as we thought they would be on stage at 9 (this is the normal time for London gigs)- we turned up just after 8 thinking it was the support band playing, only to realise Bush were already on! Whoops! It was a great gig though, in a very small venue so we were really close to the front without being squashed by anyone. The bonus was that it ended earlier, and as we had a two hour drive to get home this was no bad thing.

On Sunday we went to Crews Hill to get some bargain plants for our garden (including a little crab apple tree for £3!). We were meeting Andy’s parents there and I’d woken up too late for a run before, so when we got home I headed out, but it was hot and I was hungry as I hadn’t had lunch, so I didn’t manage to go as far as I had originally planned. Andy spent the time putting most of the plants in the garden (I think I planted one when I got back).

Bottom right is where the huge patch of weeds was- the one I started tackling a few weeks ago- so nice to have some plants in there now instead of five foot tall thistles!

Are you often late for things? I hate being late but I also often underestimate the amount of time it takes me to do things (e.g. dry my hair) so I often end up rushing and feeling stressed. Do you often have a dessert if you go out for a meal? Although I have a sweet tooth, I find that often desserts are the most disappointing as they are from the freezer, and Andy would usually rather share a starter (plus if I order something like a brownie I will then feel like I could have made a nicer one myself and for less money). The main exception is The Pudding Stop in St Albans which makes the most amazing puddings (the clue is in the name)- you can go somewhere else for a meal and then head over for the pudding= perfect.