What to take to a race

Well I was up bright and early (due to neighbours mowing their lawn at 7.30am with a strimmer. Seriously.) and ready for the race. Even though I had done this race before I still had pre-race nerves! Silly. Anyway I got everything ready with plently of time.

My list is:

Sun-cream on

Mp3 player charged

Water left in fridge over night

Safety pins on race number

Timer chip on laces

Tissues in pocket

Sunglasses on

The race starts in the village of Wheathampstead, and there were car parks available only a short walk from the start. We had to walk through a field full of BBQ’s, bouncy castles etc (plus loads of sweaty children with their medals from the 2k race going back the other way). It has a good family atmosphere. Last year when I did this race it was my first “proper” race (e.g. a chip timer one, men competing, people with running club vests etc) but it was pouring with rain, and I struggled as that was the furthest I had ever run.

This year was the total opposite; waiting at the start there was no shade, so I was hot before we even started. The race is mostly uphill (I had forgotten quite how much uphill it actually was), and a lot of it was exposed as it was through fields. Some of it was in the shade, and occasionally there was a breeze. I started off hoping for a time of 60 minutes, but after half way I was a little behind (34 minutes) and it was so hot that I decided to finish without getting heatstroke (hopefully). There was no clock on the finish line, but I had managed to press go on my Nike+ as I went over the starting mat, and it said 63 minutes, so I was pretty pleased with that! Will have to see what the official chip time was, but I am happy with that as a time.

Once you finish there was a welcome banana ( I always love a banana after a race) and more bottles of water. The water in my hand bottle had got really warm, so I tipped it over myself and drank the cold bottled water.

After a little wander around the fields we headed home, and am now having lunch (wholemeal tortilla spread with light cream cheese, red pesto and sprinkled with sundried tomatoes= yum) after a nice cool shower. Phew.

National Vegetarian Week

Last night after work (well, really yesterday afternoon) after a little berry cheeky bar I had a quick run to stretch the legs. As I have my race on Sunday I didn’t want to be doing a long run on Saturday morning, plus after body pump they were a bit stiff and needed a stretch. I had the same new route that I did on Monday, which was mostly in the shade so good for a sunny warm day. I felt quite springy and managed the run a shade quicker than Monday. I was rather warm when I got home so I sprayed my legs with the cold shower. I have read that is good to stop the aches (I think horses get hosed down with cold water after a race)- the idea is that the cold water constricts the blood flow, and then once you warm up after the blood vessels dilate again and bring new blood to the muscles to help repair them. I like it in the heat to cool me down too.

I had a tasty dinner (Rachel Allen’s Sausage bake without the sausage and with added veggies- not such a catchy title!) and some home-made bread. I have had some rye flour for a while and have not been that successful whenever I have used it. I was looking up recipes online and reading the pack and it seems that rye is low in gluten, so not so good for springy loaves. So I did half rye flour and half normal bread flour, a little olive oil and then tried that. The dough did rise, not massively, but it is supposed to be a denser bread than usual. I also tried out home-made tiger bread (it seems to be a secret but I think the topping is maybe sesame) so I put some tahini on top before it cooked. The bread was tasty, nice and dense, but the tahini on top was a bit squidgy though. I think next time I will add the tahini to the dough (instead of the olive oil maybe) to bind it together and get the flavour going through the bread.

After that it was still such a nice evening so we went on a nice long walk (for nearly an hour) and then went to water the garden.

This morning we have been planting out all our plants in the new veg patch that was dug earlier in the week. We got some canes to tie the pumpkin plant to (it has already grown some tendrils for climbing), planted the sweetcorn, courgettes (some already have flowers), butternut squash and red onions (they didn’t look too healthy though). It looks pretty, much better than the paving stones that used to be there. Fingers crossed something will grow from it.

OK so next week I think I am right in saying is National Vegetarian week. So I am going to explain how I came to be a veggie (no preaching I promise).

Basically I have never liked meat or fish. When I was younger I would eat meat if it was chopped up and covered in sauce, but I never liked the texture or flavour. My Mum would never let me as she thought it was not possible to get all the proper nutrients from a veggie diet. But as I became a teenager I became more fussy as I just didn’t like the idea of eating something that was dead (and probably my diet was awful as I just omitted meat when I could instead of having a replacement). Once as a family we were walking and came across a dead sheep, all rotting with flies feeding on it. The image of that really disturbed me and made me even more determined not to eat meat. When doing Home Economics GCSE I had to do a project on a vegetarian diet, and I think this proved to my Mum that I could still be healthy. So since then (since I was about 15 I think) I have been vegetarian (and that means no fish, no fish oil capsules, no gelatine, no animal rennet, no wines made with animal by-products). As I have got older my diet has become much healthier. At first I ate a lot of carbs (pasta with tomato sauce was one of my staple dinners), whereas now I eat a lot more protein in the form of beans, some quorn, nuts, yoghurt, lentils, quinoa….I never used to like beans on toast!

I find it hard when on holiday (especially in Europe where they don’t understand it- like the royal family “what about wafer thin ham?), and I don’t like going for dinner at other people’s houses as I don’t want to be the fussy awkward one (plus I panic about what might go in- at one persons’ house they were making food and a bit bottle of Worcestershire sauce was by the oven and I didn’t know how to get it into the conversation that it contains fish and that I would not eat it- luckily it came up and I said I didn’t like spicy foods so it didn’t get added!). Plus I get annoyed in restaurants when they claim a dish is vegetarian but then it has parmesan (one of the few cheeses that is always made with animal rennet).

I don’t mind other people eating meat, my boyfriend eats meat and we cook it at home, so I never try to stop anyone eating meat. But to me the idea of something dead getting into me is quite gross, so we would always cook meat and my things in separate pots/ dishes as I don’t want any of the meat “juice” leaking into my food.

I do eat eggs (free range eggs or ones from my Mum’s chickens), and I have milk and yoghurt (organic because I don’t want loads of antibiotics in my system and the animals are cared for better). It does not cause many problems because now I know which products are veggie friendly (and lots of companies are happy to help- I recently had some goats cheese which didn’t say either way, so I emailed them and they replied to say they only even used veggie rennet)- the hardest ones are yoghurt because of the gelatine and also the cochineal. At the mo I am loving Rachel’s Organic Yoghurts as they are all veggie friendly, organic and super tasty!

So there you go.

Now I am off to do some baking to take into work in exchange for sponsorship to my Race for Life, and I am also going to be drinking lots of water ahead of my 10k tomorrow. The weather says it is going to be hot hot hot!

Recovering from body pump

Last night after body pump I was super tired (after a week off I am sure it is harder). Plus it was so warm in there. After work I came home and was very good- sat down at the computer and worked up until dinner (hopefully I can do stuff in the garden this weekend if I have less work to do then). I have a 10k race on Sunday and the weather says it is going to be hot- uh oh!

Anyway after body pump I had a 9bar with Flax and carob. Again it was nice, I think the nutty one was nicer than this one, but still filling and tasty with all those seeds. I only have one of my trial pack left now.

That is all as am off to work now- Friday woo!

Reasons to run

Ok so today I didn’t go on a run, I walked to and from the cinema instead (such a nice evening for it). I have been pondering reasons to run, I know a few people who have started couch to 5k programs, and a few more who need the motivation.

I originally started running because I wanted to run the race for life. I had previously walked it and been inspired by all the people running, all ages, all shapes and sizes, all raising money for a passionate cause. So I decided that the following year I would run it (it’s a year away, I kind of put it to the back of my head). Well I signed up and the time got closer and I had no idea how I was going to do it. I found a beginner runners guide (see my beginner runner post for the plan) and followed it to the letter. Fitting 3 runs a week around work and life seemed hard, and some days I had to get up an hour early (takes me ages to dry my hair after a shower) so I could run before work, just to fit it in. Each week I found the progression hard, but each week I amazed myself and managed it.

The race for life was looming, and I had managed two 15 minute runs with a minute walk break in between, and had convinced myself that I could take a walk break if I needed it. But one of my friends joked that she would only sponsor me if I ran the whole way. So run the whole way I did! I even bounced on the spot when I was waiting at the narrow places to get past! I found it very hard (it was a very hot summer day) and emotional, reading all the messages on people’s backs, but I was so proud of myself for accomplishing it.

I had thought I would stop, but I didn’t, I found that I enjoyed running. So if you don’t want to run for charity (my first reason) here are some other reasons!

  • When I am at work I look forward to some thinking time where it is just me and my thoughts.
  • I look forward to listening to different music.
  • I love the changing countryside and views.
  • I love running to different places (I don’t very often try out a new route but when I do I love it).
  • I love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I finish a challenging run.
  • I love getting outside in the fresh air.
  • I love the post-run feeling of tiredness and satisfaction.
  • I love that fact I sleep better after a run.
  • I love the feeling of making my legs, heart and lungs stronger.
  • I love the tasty treats I “earn” while on a run (and the fact I crave healthier foods usually).
  • I love having a challenge to train for such as running a race.
  • I love the feeling when I cross the finish line on a race (and the medal after!).

 

I am sure there are other things I love too, but those are enough for today. Now some people ask me why, as if it is a bad thing (these are the people who now believe that there is no point eating fruit and vegetables each day as some study said it was inconclusive as to whether they reduce cancer risk- don’t get me started on that!). These people say things like “it’s bad for your joints” (it isn’t, studies show no more knee replacements or other joint problems in runners compared to non-runners), “your heart only beats so many times in a lifetime to running makes it go faster so you should stop running if you want to live longer” (not sure if I believe that, but surely running reduces my resting heart rate so overall it will last longer!), “I don’t have time to run” (I make time to run- instead of coming home and having a cup of tea and watching TV, I go on a run, instead of laying in bed all morning at the weekend I go on a run- it can be done).

Anyway, I am not trying to convert anyone, honest! But if you are slightly considering it then I would say go for it, you will never look back (unless you are being chased by a goose).

Fun at aerobics

So today was another busy day at work (blah blah I won’t go on about that), so when I got home I had just enough time to have a yummy Trek Peanut and Oat bar (love these so much- I have a massive box of them on top of my fridge to work my way through- they are my fave pre-aerobics snack) plus lots of water before heading out to aerobics.

It was good fun as always, but really hard work, my legs felt very heavy still; I think the long run at the weekend is still tiring me out today. So I was going to have a run tomorrow but I think I will rest, and have a walk instead.

When I got home I was annoyed to find someone had parked in my space. This happens all the time and it drives me mad! Because I have a parking space (with a massive sign which I got put there because it kept happening) and not a driveway people seem to think that it is perfectly acceptable to park in my space. Well it is not- grr! So there I was all sweaty after aerobics going around knocking on doors trying to find out who it belonged to. I really would like one of those bollards that go into the ground (you know like in the bus lanes?) but I think that may be too expensive to pay for!

Anyway dinner was good- pasta with roasted vegetable sauce (home-made of course!) and later I am going to enjoy another pot of Alpro with granola sprinkled on top. Tasty.

That’s all folks!