Brownies and marathon pondering

I got up this morning to rain! What a shock! I am very glad that I did my long run yesterday and so today is a good old rest day. Alongside my cornflakes I had a yummy smoothie from Innocent for breakfast (Honey, lemon and ginger). It had a free packet of bee friendly seeds which I may plant later if it stops raining.

I have been watching the London Marathon on TV; I do enjoy watching events like this (Great North Run, New York Marathon and so on). It’s so amazing how fast they go! Seriously they finish the marathon quicker than my half marathon time. Some of their miles are on the 5 minute mark! It is so impressive that they can keep up a sprint pace for the entire distance.

It got me thinking about my own running “journey”. This time last year I had run a 5k race, and signed up for a 10k (my first) and I was so nervous about not being able to finish. When I ran the 10k the last mile was really hard and the backs of my legs felt like they would give way and I did think that after that I would not attempt any other longer distances. But then During the summer I did two more 5k races and had started naturally increasing my long run to 5 miles or so each week, so I decided to sign up for another 10k in the autumn. As I knew I could finish I had almost less pressure on myself. After that my long run was getting even longer (7 miles) and so I decided to sign up for a half marathon. Again I was so worried about finishing but one of my training runs (by mistake, I mapped it out wrong before I left) ended up being 12.3 miles, so I knew I could make it. To my surprise I really enjoyed the race, it was probably my most enjoyable race so far. I ran most of it with my younger brother, but we finished separately, so maybe having someone to run alongside helped (although I normally run with music so I cant hear my breathing and I kept my music on the whole time). It was such a massive achievement for me, I think I was on a bit of a post run high for the following week!! Even so that was going to be the only half for me, but I have again been persuaded to do a local half this summer! My Dad has been interested in doing a marathon and has been researching different ones. I think it is achievable, but what worries me is the amount of time for training; even if my longest run was 18-20 miles that would take me nearly 4 hours, so the time commitment would be huge. I could do a long run at the weekend but doing longer runs after work would be hard to fit in. But anyway it’s something to think about; who knows what the future holds?

I suppose for the people running today at least the rain will help to cool them down a bit, and they won’t be right in the sun as they would be on a clear day so may stay cooler.

I am seeing family later so decided to make a batch of brownies. I have a brilliant tried and tested recipe from a really old book (think I got it from a discount book shop years ago) but I still like to try new recipes. I used the recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and it does smell pretty good! Although in the book they dust it with icing sugar but that really annoys me (when you inhale you end up coughing all over the place!). The ingredients are simple; butter, dark chocolate, sugar, plain flour and eggs (no baking powder or cocoa or syrup or anything). It was easy to make and is now cooling in the tin before I slice it up.

Feeling hot hot hot!

Ten miles planned today and the weather is hot! I had a yummy breakfast (cornflakes and Dorset Delicious Muesli, plus half a banana) and then made some dough before I went out. By the time I left it was half ten which wasn’t so great as I knew I would be ending my run in the heat of the day. Oh well, I need to get used to it as my next half marathon is in June, pretty sure it will be hot on that day! I felt good on my run; my legs had recovered from body pump and I managed to keep up a consistent pace, finishing the ten miles in 109 minutes (so about one mile per 11 minutes); if I manage that for the half marathon I would be very pleased with myself. I was brave and wore my vest top with running trousers; it takes me a while to move over from taking my jacket with me- it’s a bit like a security blanket and having it tied around my waist doesn’t bother me. I feel quite exposed with bare arms as I would not normally wear vests, especially at this time of year. But I got no horrible comments or looks (one car toot but that tends to happen on most runs and doesn’t bother me- today it was when I was a few hundred metres from home so I had a bright red face!) and I was cooler than I would have been in a t shirt.

To combat the headaches as soon as I got back I had some water (but it felt like I had too much in my tummy as I had drank on my run), the other half of the banana and half a Trek Mixed Berry energy bar. I also sprayed myself with cold water after my normal shower; not quite an ice bath but I find it does help my muscles. After my shower I made some more foccacia bread with sundried tomatoes and basil (I didn’t take a picture as it looked the same as last weeks one), and had it with Covent Garden Butternut Squash soup, yum. Plus the other half of the Trek bar.

Those people at Natural Balance Foods were so kind to send over all those samples so here is my review:

The bar has a good short list of ingredients; dates, oats, soya crispies (soya, tapioca starch, salt), raisins, apple juice, maize starch, raspberries, strawberries, ginkgo biloba extract, ginseng extract, natural flavours. The bar is 68g and had 204 calories, 11g protein and 38g carbs, so a good balance of nutrients. The bar is fairly moist but not squidgy, and has a nice berry flavour that is quite sweet. You can see little flecks of the strawberries and raspberries all through the bar. Compared to a flapjack it has way less fat but still moist (due to the dates I suppose). I definitely recommend you to try one if you haven’t already.

As for the rest of today I have made some pasta sauce (roasted vegetables; I make a big batch then freeze it in little tubs to defrost when I want it) and might potter about in the garden. Even more of my courgettes need potting on, plus the tulips are flowering so I might cut some to have in the house. If I do any baking I will post later on!

I may have a nice afternoon snack to try and keep a headache at bay; my Graze box came today. One of the mixes (Aztec gold) has green raisins, almonds and dark chocolate coated cocoa beans- sounds amazing so I may have to try. (Code KKJX34J for a free box).

Magazines

Today was back to (full time) work with a bang! I have invented a new favourite breakfast- a chopped up apple (jazz or pink lady are my faves), 40g Dorset Cereals Delicious Muesli, and 100ml semi skimmed organic milk. It is so tasty and summery, and also very filling; kept me going through ‘til lunch as I rarely have a break in the morning.

I was thinking today about magazines; I do have a bit of a magazine habit although it’s nowhere near as bad as it used to be (now I read lots of blogs instead!). I like Zest as I think it has useful features and lots of the advice is easy to implement (although I am not so keen on the ‘mind’ stuff). I quite like Runners World and buy it maybe every other month; I look at a lot of the articles on the website too. I recently got into reading Women’s Running which has loads of useful articles in it. Last month it had a whole piece about headaches after running (by the way after my previous long run I managed to not get a headache the whole day- my head got a bit hot but no headache). I think although for me it maybe sometimes due to dehydration, I think it’s also that I am so hungry that I often eat something sugary so am trying to eat “proper” recovery foods instead.

During the holidays I also bought Running fitness but I found it not so good. It was a bit off putting and demoralising because everyone in it was running a marathon, or running really fast times. I just run slowly and I am proud of myself for running at all; I am sure my speed will gradually improve but my half marathon time of 2:32 is only a bit less than some people’s marathon times.

Anyway, after work I had a yummy Nak’d Cocoa Loco bar and then was off to aerobics for an hour of fun with my friend. I am now going to put my feet up and watch Damages.

Don’t fall over!

Back to work today- boo! (I love the holidays – I can occupy myself for hours pottering around). I had lunch at work (including a lovely Rachel’s Organic yoghurt- the one I had today was from the garden fruits selection and it was soo tasty. I always get organic milk but for some reason, mainly cost, I haven’t started getting organic yoghurts yet. But these were on offer in Sainsbury’s and are suitable for veggies- so many yoghurts have either gelatine or cochineal – so I decided to give them a try and I am very glad I did).

As it was only a half day I got home at half 3 and decided to go on a run (then I can go to the cinema on orange Wednesday- normally that’s my midweek run day!). I had half a Trek peanut and oat bar (yum) and lots of water. It looked like it was about to rain, so I took my rain jacket with me, but the weather was fine so I ended up running with it tied around my waist. I find it so hard at this time of year to decide what to wear; in the winter it’s easy- as many layers as possible! In the summer its sun-cream and as little as possible, but now the weather is still quite changeable; a breeze can pick up and suddenly get quite cold.
My run was ok but felt quite hard; I had stiff calves and also kept getting a little stitch which got quite annoying after a while. By the fifth mile I had to slow down as I noticed I kept dragging my feet on the ground. Last summer I fell over while running (I think I was tired; I tripped on flat pavement- nothing was there to trip me up)- I ended up going to hospital to have it cleaned and bandaged as I had scraped a lot of skin off my wrist due to me holding my water bottle. I still have scars now! So I didn’t want that to happen again. I didn’t beat my beat time but it was over in 65 minutes (including some stopping to cross the roads etc) so it wasn’t my worst time either.

I had the rest of my Trek bar and then had a lovely warm shower (plus lots of stretching- I don’t think I always stretch enough) and am off out to Zizzi’s tonight for dinner for some yummy pasta.

9 miles in the sunshine

This morning I had 9 miles planned and woke up to lovely sunshine- hooray! But recently I have been getting headaches after my runs so I made sure I had a lot of water to drink before I left. I had my breakfast and then made some foccacia dough. I bought a book called “The I diet” (I for Italian) recently and have made a few things from it. It has quite a few veggie recipes and the veggie chilli and pizza recipe ( I leave off the ham) are really tasty. But it always takes ages to make bread (well, to wait for it to rise) so I started first thing.

On my run I took a bottle of water with me, but it felt like such hard work, plus by the end I could feel all the water sloshing around in my stomach- not so good! Also half way I had to stop and loosen my laces because my feet had gone numb- I think perhaps that feet swell a bit in the heat and so they had made my shoes too tight.

When I got home I was starving so I had the other half of a banana (had half on my cereal) and a Nak’d gingerbread bar (amazing- have not had one for ages).

After my shower I finished making the foccacia- in the recipe book you basically make a pizza dough, cook it in the oven then top with cherry tomatoes and basil. But I didn’t have any tomatoes (I thought I did) so instead I took it out the oven 5 minutes early, spread it with some sundried tomato paste, a little basil puree, and some chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and then warmed it through for another 5 minutes. It tasted so lovely (just what I fancied after my run) and went well with Covent Garden Plum Tomato and Mascarpone soup (I do normally make my own soup but it was on offer!). Delicious!