Sneaky short one before breakfast

I woke up early this morning and straight away the thought of a short run crossed my mind. I did try to go back to sleep, but then I decided that I would fit just a short run in. I had a lot of water, changed and then headed out. By that time it was about 8.15am and I was surprised as to how many people I saw; it was lovely though because there wasn’t much traffic about so I didn’t have to stop at all when crossing roads (well of course I slow to look for traffic but no pushing the button or what-not). I decided to go quite fast, and according to my Nike+ I was just faster than 9 minute miles which is speedy for me. I did 2.65 miles and was home before the alarm went off! Result! It’s a great feeling to have a run right at the start of the day.

Aside from that I have been busy seeing family, not much else to report. Bye!

Perfect running weather

I think I am back to normal which is fab! This morning after breakfast I went out on a run. I didn’t want to do a super long run, (last time I did 9 miles on the Saturday following the half and it really knocked me out for the day!) but I wanted to feel like I had got a proper workout in. I went up to the lakes, around both lakes (no geese this time), around the park for a bit and then back around one lake. It was nearly 7 miles so a nice run, in 71 minutes, so I am still managing to keep up my new slightly speedier running. Running around the park was really enjoyable, it was nice to be away from the traffic although I did have to keep my eye out for rabbit holes and mole hills! It was cloudy and overcast but good weather for running as it kept me cool. I had on some new Capri pants from Nike, and they were pretty good. Although the site I ordered them from (she active) doesn’t have a size guide, so I went for medium but it turns out that is 12-14 which meant they were a little on the baggy side. They are supposed to be compression ones but hey-ho, at least they didn’t fall down. The downside is that they have no pockets (I was so sure they had a back zipped pocket and I spent about 5 minutes checking!) and I do like to fill my pockets with tissues, my mp3 player, raisins and other assorted items! Anyway my water bottle holder has a zipped pocket so the mp3 player went in there. I listened to the Lilo and Stitch soundtrack which was fab, very summery with a good measure of Elvis thrown in.

I have been out on a walk too, and also pottering about in the garden for a bit. I got very excited today, first of all because I picked my first strawberries of the year (including one being eaten by a baby slug eww- the joys of organic gardening!), and secondly because two, yes, two of my courgette plants have baby courgettes growing on them. Including some yellow ones! I have only ever had yellow courgettes (zucchini) in America before, and when I saw the seeds I decided to have a go at growing them. After my courgette jungle at home I was not sure which plant was which when they finally went outside. So I am so excited to see that they are growing! My pumpkin plant has grown loads too, I keep tying it to the canes but it seems to have finally worked out how to hold on for itself- the tendrils have wrapped around the canes too, and it has a few flowers growing too. The apples on the tree are getting bigger than golf balls now, and my potato plants are getting big. It’s all so exciting!

I was having a look online for some inrpiration for baking (it had to be something that could fit in my top oven as the big oven is broken. The top oven is smaller so cookies were out, or so I thought..). Anyhoo I came across a recipe for Oatmeal raisin bars on Carrots’n’cake (http://carrotsncake.com/2008/08/oatmeal-raisin-bars.html ), and they looked tasty (score) plus they cooked in a small glass dish (this would fit in my top oven, double score!).

I have changed the recipe a little (I like to weigh stuff out) into chocolate chip cookie bars.

In a bowl I mixed 120g oats, 50g wholegrain spelt flour, 60g brown sugar, 23g sunflower oil, 50g apple sauce, 1 egg, 1tsp vanilla extract, 1tsp cinnamon and some chocolate chips. I mixed it all up and put it into the dish which I lined with baking paper. This went in at 180C for about 30 minutes. I cut it into 10 bars once cool and it is yummy! One bar is about 140 calories and makes a pretty good treat!

I have also been looking into independent shops nearby and have found a nice looking “health-food” store which I will be popping to fairly soon. It is always nice to go somewhere new to get inspiration, plus it stocks a lot of delicious looking things that I normally order online.

Tomorrow I am having a super busy day (2 lots of family to visit for father’s day plus a surprise party shhhhh) so I am sure I will not be doing any baking. But someone is coming to fix the oven on Monday so hopefully I will be back to normal soon!

More recovery

Yay I got out for a run today! All day at work I was looking forward to it. When I woke up this morning my legs were still a teeny bit stiff, but not sore, so I knew I would be ok and a run would help. After work I had a yummy Trek peanut bar, and then headed home to change. I could not decide how far to go so thought I would see how my legs felt. My mind was wandering and then I realised I had already run past the furthest point on my shortest run. So I carried on down to the lake. Even though the sun was shining there was quite a strong breeze so I stayed quite cool (or I didn’t overheat!). Going around the lake was lovely, although I didn’t see much wildlife and got a rather sarcastic-sounding whistle from a bunch of guys packing up their fishing stuff. I like to ignore it and then think of replies in my head (my choice today was “I bet you couldn’t run a half marathon”- topical!). Once home I did quite a few stretches outside, then came in and had an apple sprinkled with cinnamon. Super tasty! More stretches before and after the shower just to be on the safe side!

There was almost a disaster then because half way through dinner the oven stopped working. Somehow it had tripped the fuse, so luckily dinner was saved! It was my rainbow dinner too- not sure how many veggies were in it- spinach, courgette, red onion, red pepper, tomato, basil, lentils, quinoa, served with green beans, butternut squash and beetroot! Woah!

I also had a peanut butter blondie (the ones made with apple sauce and agave) to top up my reserves!

I had a look at the photos today from the half marathon. It’s the first time I have seen any- other races have never photographed me before (or it never shows up in the searches) but this time there were loads of me- all in the last 5 minutes so I was looking rather pained in some. I was pleased though as there are a couple of action shots (yes I am actually running) plus my face is nowhere near as red as I thought it looks after a run- super impressive as these pics were taken after over 2 hours of running!

Recovering after the race

Right. Yesterday I was so very stiff and so very sore. Even putting my socks on hurt (well the standing on one leg bit did). It was lovely at work because all the children brought in their medals to show, and they were so proud of themselves.

After work I had a nice walk (well, a hobble) and did begin to feel a little better. I was ok if I kept moving but if I sat still for a while and then moved I was so sore!

Anyway today I normally have aerobics, but after the last half marathon I went along to aerobics and was in agony, and then I took ages to recover. Even the weekend after I tried a 9 mile run and I was totally exhausted. So I decided to have another walk instead, do some stretches, and I will have a run tomorrow. I feel I am missing the runners’ high as well- the excitement and adrenaline from the race has definitely worn off and now life is back to normal so I think a run tomorrow will sort me out.

On to other things; I tried a new sandwich filling (well it went in a little wholemeal English muffin)- basil tofu. I have never much liked tofu before, I think mainly because it tends to be more oriental flavours which I am not keen on. I saw this in Waitrose the other week and have been looking forward to trying it. I had it with cherry tomatoes and some basil (yay the home-grown stuff that I have finally eaten!) and it is so delicious. I would thoroughly recommend it.

Half Marathon Report

So today was the St Albans Half Marathon. It was only my second half marathon, my previous one (Berkhamstead which has evil hills!) I did in 2.32. So I was hoping for 2.30 to beat my time. I got there about half an hour before, and went to the schools’ bit to see all the children getting ready for their fun run. Then off to left luggage before going to the start line. No time for a toilet trip as the queue was massive and by that point I had ten minutes left. The line of people at the start was so long, I think the limit was 3000 people and they had no on the day entries so I am guessing they sold out. I know people who signed up on Monday and got numbers in the 2500’s. Anyway I set off and was keeping a pretty good pace- I reached the first mile marker in just under ten minutes (which is fast for me) so I was not sure I would be able to keep it up. There was a very steep hill after mile 3 (not as bad as Berkhamstead though) and a few other shorter steep hills. The 6 mile mark passed at 61 minutes so again I was a little fast for my final estimate. The day was overcast, it even spat with rain when we were parking the car, and there was a bit of a breeze so that definitely helped. I was doing ok; each time there was a hill I did some good old fashioned positive thinking (yes you will get out of breath but you will get it back on the flat). I had my cherry raisins (thanks Nak’d) after mile 8, as I was beginning to struggle a little. By mile 10 I was feeling tired and getting a bit stiff. My water in my bottle had basically run out (save a dribble which I kept for emergencies!) so I had to stop at the remaining few water stations. I really find it hard to drink from a cup, so I had to slow down and walk at the last 3 stops to get some drink. That is when it got really hard- I almost get a head-rush to my legs once I start running again- I much prefer to keep on going. But anyway the last mile was thankfully downhill, then the last little bit was along the flat. I crossed the finish line and my chip time is 2.19.17- so I beat my time by 13 minutes! One minute per mile quicker! So I am super pleased! I walked around for a bit before giving my chip back, getting an ice lolly (I do like a banana but it was quite warm so the lolly was nice), some lucozade light- summer berries stuff (which was weird and odd tasting), a t-shirt and the all important medal! The race was really good- it has been going for 29 years now so they learn from the past. There were so many marshals all around the course, they were cheering everyone on, there were water points every 1.5 miles for the start, then more than every mile by the end. The left luggage was good too (I have only ever seen unattended ones before)- you got a tag with your race number on and left your bag, then when you collected it someone matched up your race number to your tag and went to get it.

I have not done much for the rest of the day! By the time I finished I was covered in salt, so I made sure I drank all the lucozade to help re-hydrate me. Once home (and after a shower) I had some Vita Coco coconut water (do you know apparently this can be used in emergency blood transfusions as it is so similar in makeup to human blood?), as well as a quesadilla which I made with 2 mini wholemeal wraps, red pesto, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella. Plus a nectarine and some yoghurt. Boy I was hungry!

Later on we visited some family and I am now planning on having a bath this evening in the hope of stopping me being quite so stiff!

It is weird now though as I have no more races that I am signed up to. There are a few 10k’s in the autumn which I have my eye on, but for the moment I am looking forward to running the distance that I fancy, instead of knowing that I have to run, say, 11 miles at the weekend as it is in my training plan. I have enjoyed it but sometimes I have felt under pressure to do a certain distance. I have really enjoyed 8/9 mile runs, so I think when I have the time I will aim for them, and then other times a 5/6 mile run after breakfast is perfect because I still have loads of energy left for the rest of the day. But for now I am having a few days off!