Race for Life report

Well today was the day of my Race for Life. Yesterday I had a walk up to the shops in the afternoon, but mostly pottered around, made some caramel shortcake (for someone who sponsored me) and also fudge.

I didn’t sleep that well (I never do before a race, always worry about missing the start or forgetting something) but I was glad to see the weather when I got up; overcast, cool but not raining (thunderstorms had been predicted). I had put my water bottle in the fridge overnight, and this morning I added some ice cubes. I got together my kit (mp3 player, Nike+ band, water bottle, number and safety pins, tissue) and after my cornflakes headed out.

I met my friend there (we did it together last year too) and we did the warm up. I ended up leaving my water with my boyfriend so I didn’t have to carry it around. Normally on training runs I would only take water if my run was over 45 mins, or if it was super hot outside. Then I joined the runners section! So exciting! Normally I join the joggers bit, but I wanted to get round in 30 minutes (previous times are 34 mins for 5K) and seeing as this year I have already done a half marathon and a 10K race I figure I am a serious enough runner to go in that section. My friend hadn’t done much training this year (she has just bought a house so her time has been taken up by that) so I left her at the joggers. Normally it’s me who gets left in the slower race pens and my boyfriend heading up to the front! How novel!

It still surprised me that within 50 yards of the start line people were already stopping and walking- I know it’s all for charity but can’t they go in the joggers section?

Anyway, I didn’t see the 1 or 2km markers; it was so busy and congested at the start as it is quite narrow in places. I was overtaking people a few at a time, but also got stuck in a few places behind people holding hands and so on. At one point by one of the lakes I was worried about being knocked in as I was overtaking people on the lake side and a lot of people seem to veer from one side to the other without warning. Thankfully I stayed dry!

I got to the 3km mark in just over 17 minutes, so I was pleased to know that being stuck at the start hadn’t got me off track at all. There was a steep uphill bit, and I made sure I concentrated on breathing (last year I had a bit of trouble at that point- I can start almost hyperventilating and my chest/ throat gets all tight) and managed a good steady speed. After that it was generally flat so I started to push a bit harder (got a stitch then but I kept telling myself “only a mile to go, not far). When I could see the finish line I was so amazed- I started proper sprinting only for 3 kids to run out in front of me (from one side of spectators to the other)- one girl saw me and dogged out the way but I was so close to taking the other two out! Honestly what were they thinking??

Anyway I crossed the line- my time was 28.10 which I am super pleased with! That is way faster than any of my previous times! Yay!

My friend managed it in 33 minutes which was amazing as she was aiming for 45 minutes! I got to see her run over the finish line and cheered her in!

I do love these races; seeing everyone dressed up and the range of ages is amazing and inspiring. There were 2 girls running along handcuffed together (fluffy pink ones of course), so many people with fluffy bunny ears, fairy wings and tutus (kind of like a massive active hen do). I even had a pink top (normally I run in black tops but recently treated myself to a couple of brightly coloured vest tops) so I didn’t feel left out!

I have my medal now, and have had a lovely lunch  (wholemeal toast + almond butter + cherry spread, apple, cherries and also more banana “ice cream”- this time (served 2) chopped 1 frozen banana, about 150g low fat custard, 1tsp peanut butter and 1tsp agave nectar= mmmmm so creamy).

Now we are off for dinner at my boyfriends parents, so a lovely relaxing evening ahead is planned (plus the finale of 24).

Friendly running

To wave or not to wave? Or to smile or not to smile? Those are the questions I am pondering today. More on that story later.

Yesterday I went to Bletchley Park for the day (where all the code-breaking for WW2 took place- like the film Enigma). It was really interesting; the buildings are in lovely grounds and there is a lot to see. We went on a guided tour (along with 30 or 40 others- it was busy) which went all around and lasted nearly 1.5 hours. It was super hot there though, as none of the buildings had air conditioning, or even big windows, and lots of them had the machines running which added to the heat. It was so interesting to see though, and the volunteer who did the tour had a lot of interesting points to make.

When we got home I decided on a short run. I have my race for life on Sunday so didn’t want to go out Saturday as I want to give my legs a rest. It was so hot, and although most of my run was in the shade the last part was in the sun so cue a red face for me when I got home. We were seeing friends later so as a last push for sponsorship I made them some peanut chocolate cookies (I added cocoa powder instead of some of the flour to make them super chocolaty).

But on my run there is a bit where I run out for a mile, turn around and come back. On my way out I passed a man running in the other direction, so I smiled at him (I like to be friendly and so normally smile or nod or something) but he gave me a funny look. Oh well I thought, never mind. But then on my way back I passed him again (he was doing the opposite of me and had turned around at the other end) and again I smiled at him and again he gave me a weird look as if to say “what are you smiling at?”. Honestly. It’s not like I run along with a manic grin on my face, but I do like to be friendly. I do find that I get more smiles during rubbish weather (more of a “what are we doing running in weather like this eh?”), and normally girls smile more at me (maybe us girls are a friendly bunch). Anyway, I will continue to smile at people I pass in the street.

Gardening and Body Pump

Wow wasn’t the weather yesterday lovely? I spent time in the garden, digging up weeds (so many dandelions), planting new plants and tying up ones that are growing- my pumpkin plant is getting really tall now, it needs tying up every week.

I had my home-made muesli for breakfast too (with an apple and the last of the honey yoghurt) and it was super tasty. It is fairly “soft” in texture- perfect for a bircher style muesli, and with the yoghurt it was a lovely combo. I think I would add more cinnamon as every now and then I got a little taste but would like it stronger.

Body pump last night was good as usual (but so hot). My face-pulling during the biceps track was giving everyone else much amusement!

When I got home I had my last 9 bar- this one was a pumpkin one. It has not got carob on top, and I was more apprehensive, but actually it was really tasty. The honey flavour (honey and a little vegetable oil holds the seeds together) came through much more, whereas with the carob ones it just tastes sweet. The pumpkin seeds were lovely (they make up 20% of the bar); I will look out for these bars. Yesterday I picked up a 3 pack of the original bars (3 for 99p what a bargain!) from Sainsbury’s, will have to go to Morrison’s I think to get the other flavours.

Off on a day trip now how exciting- enjoy the sunshine!

I made my own muesli!

I love the holidays!! This morning after some cornflakes I headed out on a run. I went up to the lakes and around both lakes. When I was near to the first one I was relieved to see one lot of geese and goslings on the river and not on the path, so I went past them no problems (I did almost get a massive stick thrown in my face as a man walking his dog didn’t see me coming! I am a blur when I run!!). Further around the other lot of geese were sat right by the lake so I gave them a wide berth and they did look at me but no hissing or anything. Phew. It was such a lovely sunny day, and I did get hot but as it is quite shaded by the lakes it was really nice. I also saw a rabbit very close to the path. I do love rabbits!

The run was just under 6 miles and it took me 61 minutes, so not the speediest (not my slowest either) and I did have aerobics last night so didn’t want to go crazy.

Once I got home I had a lovely carrot and apple muffin and then got on with work. But good news; I have finished all my work so I actually have the rest of the week off hooray! Lunch was the other part of the orange cranberry bread (reaping the benefits of my baking the other day) along with pear and yoghurt.

This afternoon I have tried my hand at making my own muesli. All the recipes I looked at were more like granolas, where the oats are coated in a mixture of oil and syrup and then baked. So I went freestyle!

I could have used them raw, but I decided that lightly toasted flakes are the way to go.

So on a baking tray I put 150g oats, 100g millet flakes and 100g quinoa flakes (I either got them from ethical superstore or planet organic, can’t remember) and sprinkled with cinnamon. I toasted them for about 15 minutes on a low heat (I kept on checking as I didn’t want them to catch).

Meanwhile I mixed together 50g cranberries, 60g raisins, 30g desiccated coconut, 25g almonds and 25g hazelnuts (I kept them whole as I prefer that).

Once the flakes were toasted I mixed them all together in a jar- I added the dried fruit mix slowly and mixed loads so the raisins didn’t form big clumps- and put the lid on ready for tomorrow morning!

The whole mix made 510g- probably the grains lost water when being toasted so they weigh less, plus I did manage to spill some on the work surface! But still that’s a good amount to make (nearly the size of a pack of Dorset muesli) and should last me a while as usually I have 30-40g along with an apple and yoghurt.

Tee hee making my own muesli I am a “proper” veggie now!!!!

Oh I tried Rachel’s pouring yoghurt with honey this week and I will not be buying it again. I love the natural pouring yoghurt, and the strawberry stuff was delish too. But the honey flavour is so sweet, not good for breakfast. I will finish it but will be looking out for the other flavours from now on.

I was thinking today about exercising inside or outside, and what I prefer. A few years ago I used to go swimming a lot, and so I joined the local gym as swimming was included so it worked out cheaper for me to join. I then had to had the gym induction, and had “phase” where I went to the gym after work and at the weekends. It was ok; you could watch TV while on the machines, but each machine had a 15 minute time limit so would be no good for running or anything. Then the gym built a studio and classes were included- result! So I began aerobics and loved it (down to the instructor, as when she has been off it has not been anywhere near as good). Later on I tried body pump and loved that too. I had also taken up running, and so was running out of time to go to the gym, and had found that running outside was so much better than plodding away on the machines. The fresh air (even strong winds!), sunlight, rain, everything made me feel awake and invigorated. The convenience of being able to come home, change and head out the door within ten minutes also won be over. Having to drive to the gym, find a parking space, change and then hope that the machines I wanted were free was losing it’s appeal. So I cancelled my membership and go to the classes each week, and supplement that with running outside. Usually it has been fine. Normally at the weekend I do one long run so I tend to watch the weather and choose the best day (unless I am busy one day and then it’s tough on me!). I have 2 classes a week indoor so I know that whatever the weather I will get some exercise done. Unless the rain is torrential I don’t really mind it- it is cooling, plus when I get home I’ll have a shower so I will get wet then anyway. The only time I fancied running on a treadmill was during all the snow this year. I did try to go on a couple of runs, but by me the pavements were not cleared of the snow; it just melted and re-froze all lumpy- just waiting to break someone’s ankle. I tried running on the grass verges but there were so many patches where there was pavement (no verge) and I slipped quite a lot so I decided that I didn’t want to break a bone and would wait the weather out. The thing is my local gym had the 15 minute time limit on all cardio machines (although some people conveniently “forget” this and hog them for an hour) so I wouldn’t have managed much anyway. Plus the treadmills are always the busiest so you always have to wait for a bit to get one.

So really I am happy running outside and am glad I am not a member of the gym any more. I think it is good for some people but I love the freedom of running, of trying new routes and of getting straight home and into my shower!

Now I have finished all my work I am going to pop over to see my Mum and Dad, before dinner. Enjoy this fab weather while it lasts!

Palm oil reply

So I got my reply from Sainsbury’s today (about the palm oil). I was quite impressed really, they say they are going to be palm oil free (or only get it from sustainable plantations) by 2014, so a few years to go but I know these things take time. They said that in 2002 they met with WWF, Unilever and some palm oil growers to discuss how they could make it ethical (as it is much needed income for those areas too). They also have said they don’t hide it under the name “vegetable oil” on the ingredients and do list it as palm oil so at least customers can make the choice themselves. Plus the sustainable palm oil is now used in their fish fingers, soaps and some biscuits.

So I am glad they took the time to reply so quickly, and I am glad they are sorting it out, I suppose it takes time.

Other things from today; due to the rain I stayed in and worked (maybe a day out later on this week if the weather gets better).

I met some friends for a relaxing lunch (had a yummy flatbread with roasted veggies and basil), and am off to aerobics in a little while. I love having lunch out, it is such a treat and something that I never get to do during term time. Going out for dinner is nice but then it’s a late night, whereas after lunch you can sit and chat all afternoon and it doesn’t matter. Pus you can have dinner out after work but lunch out is a total holiday pastime. It was so nice to catch up with them, some of them I had not seen for a few months, a couple of them had their children with them which is always good for some entertainment. A lovely relaxing time.

Also I know a few people have had trouble leaving comments on here, and I have been getting loads of spam comments (so annoying, all about cars and whatnot) but I think it is now fixed so hopefully you can leave comments without any problems.