Orange raisins?

Today my throat got better during the day, so after work I had a packet of Nak’d Orange Raisins. They are basically raisins infused with orange flavour, so they are like sweets! The pack was 75 cals so not bad for a bit of sugar for pre-run energy. They tasted really like orange ice lollies; quite a strong orangey flavour but tasty.

Then I changed and went out on a short run (just under 3 miles in 27 minutes) although it was muggy out there so I got much hotter than I thought I would!

When I got back I was hungry so I had a small 30g Nakd Berry Cheeky bar; this was really yummy. It is made of dates, oats, raisins, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, apple juice, raspberries and strawberries all “smooshed” together. It tastes sweet, but not overpowering, and I think that the addition of nuts means it isn’t giving your blood sugar levels a massive spike due to the dried fruit. I think you can get them in 4 packs so I will look out for them.

I am looking forward to reading my new Women’s Running magazine which arrived today. I am already looking forward to my long run on Saturday (is that sad of me?) but I have been told that rain is on the way-grrr! I don’t mind a bit of drizzle (helps cool me down) but I really do not want torrential rain- can I put my order in with the weatherman now please?

9 bar parcel!

Today has not been such a good day. Work was fine but I had a long meeting which went on and on and on….. so I got home rather later. I usually have aerobics but all of today my throat has been feeling sore, and getting worse, and when I got home I felt so tired (plus I only had about 10 minutes to change and no time for a snack to go down) I decided to have an easy evening instead. I want to have a 3 mile run tomorrow, plus body pump on Thursday so I decided that if I took it easy this evening I might make it to them later on.

My Trek Cocoa Brownie bar was going to be my pre-aerobics snack but as I didn’t go I will have to try it another day.

I was a bit excited as when I got home I had received a little box of goodies from the lovely folks at 9bar.co.uk. I will post reviews on here as I try them. I am looking forward to them; they are a little high in calories (around 230 cals per bar) but there are some days (like when I do my long runs) that even though I eat a lot I have loads of calories left over, and need to find healthy options to eat instead of just more chocolate.

I had a nice walk in the evening sunshine before dinner, and have spent the rest of the evening relaxing. I am hoping to finish the book I have been reading; “ Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down”. I found it in the library and it has made me chuckle so many times. It’s a bit silly really (even though I read bits out that make me giggle my boyfriend can’t see what’s so funny!) but light-hearted and an easy bed time read. I do like a nice cup of tea so all the chapters about tea etiquette, making tea for other people and so on has hit home! In fact I may have a cup of tea and a sit down right now!

Nak’d= running fuel!

The weather had forecast rain but I wanted a run after work so kept my fingers crossed and it worked! I had half of my Nak’d Apple Pie bar when I got home for some energy, as I had 6 miles planned and lunch seemed a while ago.

The Apple Pie bar was delicious (one of my favourites)- it tastes like a cross between fresh apple juice and dried apple slices with a bit of cinnamon sprinkled in. They are a similar texture to the other bars; nice and soft, like a soft baked cookie or something. It has 221 cals and 4.6g protein per bar, not bad for a snack. Thumbs up for top running fuel! (I had the other half when I got back).

My run was hard work but I decided that as my legs were tired I would take it easy and not look at my watch at all (normally I look at each mile so I can up my pace); when I got home I had covered 6 miles in 67 minutes, so not my best time but not my worst either (thanks to the apple pie bar?). It was lovely to be out there after work, the sun came out and there are a few more flowers out now.

When I got back I had such a yummy tea- it was a recipe in the Asda magazine which I adapted a little bit for Mexican bean wraps. I chopped and browned one red onion and one red pepper, added some paprika and a tiny bit of lazy chilli (that stuff is spicy!), added a tin of kidney beans (meant to be pinto beans but they looked weird in the tin plus I have a lot of kidney beans to use up) and mashed them up a little bit. Then added a little tin of sweetcorn and put the mixture into a multigrain wrap, folded it up to make a parcel and baked it in the oven for 10 minutes. Served with a lovely salad and some grated cheese; delicious (that mixture made 4 wraps-full but I only had one).

Off to relax in front of the TV in a minute.

P.S. Those Hummingbird Brownies were delish! Nice and gooey in the middle, with a sugary crust on top; great for a treat!

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).