Tempted by Parkrun

Hey peeps! How are we all doing? Hooray for the weekend etc.

These were well and truly urgent to help me get on with my marking on Friday afternoon/evening!

So at the moment my running is going well. I have been gradually increasing distance and making sure I stretch after each run for a long time, and doing yoga each week. Only once a week but I have to start somewhere.

I was planning on doing my long run of 11 miles this morning, but yesterday we were watching the weather and it promised strong winds and heavy rain. Hmm, not so tempting. I have a bit of a cold (a child sneezed in my face the other day, the joys of the job!) so spending nearly 2 hours in the rain was not very appealing for that reason either. Plus Andy was off to the football and due to all the flooding had to leave earlier – he is running tomorrow morning and it is nice when we run together.

So then I started thinking, should I go to Parkrun in the morning? It is the off road course so I would not be going for a pb, just trying out my trail shoes in the mud. Then on Sunday morning I could go for my long run with Andy instead of on my own…

So this morning I pottered about before heading off. It was sunny when I left, so I was thinking that perhaps I had got the weather wrong and it was meant to rain on Sunday. My drive there was diverted twice due to roads closed due to flooding so my final route took me much longer- I got there at about 8 minutes to as it started to rain heavily- just enough time to get my parking ticket and try to listen to the race announcer (but it was windy, and also people near me were talking over here how rude). I heard the countdown and then jogged over to her to ask her what the route was (as they only put the normal route on the website)- I am fine following others but I wanted to know how many laps it was (3).

The normal course is super flat with only a small incline near the end, but this one was uphill on the way out, through a lot of squelchy mud, and then down hill on the way back. I feel I need to develop a technique for running on the mud- I felt much more stable in those shoes as they do grip better but still the mud is so slippery.

My shoes at the end with a good inch of mud all up the sides- I took trainers to wear on the way home so I would not be slipping all over the pedals

Anyway, I heard someone at the start saying they think the off road route adds about 2 minutes to your normal time. I didn’t look at my watch at all during it, I was concentrating on not slipping over! The rain stopped for the second lap but then started again with a vengeance in the third lap. You had to run past the finish chute which was a bit strange- and a little disheartening when people have finished ages ago and you are starting out on your final lap. But still, I enjoyed it- I think the great thing about Parkrun is that it is over in about half an hour, so even though the weather was horrible I got my fresh air fix. My final time was 30.36 (I was 124th/169 but only the 24th female out of 47- crazy that it is still so dominated by men)- a personal worst (well not officially as there was a time the results went wrong and we all got 59.59), but probably around the time I should have been aiming for.

I did a few stretches in the car park but it was cold so I headed home for some tea and muesli in front of the snowboarding on TV.

Now I have a little ache at the front of one of my legs, near my hip, so I have been feeling a bit paranoid, but hopefully it is just a normal post running ache and nothing worse.

I do like the fact that Parkrun is not too far either- I have enough energy left to get on with all the housework (I even cleaned the fridge but that was more to do with putting off my work than anything else), then got on with most of my work before having a break and walking into town for a Starbucks. Now I have a bit more work to do but hopefully I can power through.

Hooray for Parkrun! How I have missed it. Although I think to be sensible next weekend I won’t be going, will have to wait until March for my next fix.

How was your Saturday? How is the flooding by you? There are roads near me that always flood in the winter, so they of course are underwater, but there are so many roads between fields that are closed- driving back from town today even the roads that were open probably shouldn’t have been as the water was so deep and still just pouring off the fields. I am very lucky that our house is relatively high so even our garage has been fine.

Monday night chilli

Hey peeps,

How are we all doing?

At the moment I am very much enjoying our Monday night dinners. Andy has been making sweet potato chilli (based on this recipe)- he makes a big batch one week which we then freeze and have for the next few weeks which make for super easy dinners.

Yesterday I had mine with some spinach and an avocado- so tasty and filling. I had just been on a run (4.3 miles- gradually making my after work runs a little longer) and it was cold outside so this was just the ticket.

Last week I made some peanut butter brownies- they went down very well with Andy’s family so here is the recipe:


100g butter/ spread

160g caster sugar

30g dark brown sugar

125g dark chocolate

1 tbs golden syrup

2 free range eggs

100g plain flour

2 tbs cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tbs peanut butter


Easy! Put the butter, sugars, syrup and chocolate in a large pan and heat gently- keep stirring until they melt. Leave to cool for a little.

Preheat the oven to 170C and line a brownie pan with baking paper.

Stir in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder, and then finally the eggs. It will be quite runny.

Pour into the pan and then spoon over the peanut butter. Feather with a knife so it swirls about a bit. Yes that is a technical term.

Bake for around 20 minutes, depending on how gooey you like them. I check that there is a little wobble in the centre, as they will firm up as they cool (the chocolate will solidify).

Slice once cool.

Optional icing:

Melt together 2 tbs peanut butter and 80g white chocolate (I did it in the microwave). Drizzle over the top. You could do this with dark chocolate for proper chocolate hit but I wanted the colour of the icing to show up, hence the white.

Mmmm, slice into many many slices. This made 28 very rich and delicious brownies.

I had plenty of the icing left, so decided to make pb cups with it, of course. I chilled it in the fridge so I could spoon it into the cups more easily.

Melt some white chocolate in the microwave, spoon into paper cups, fill with a little tsp of the pb mix, and then top. I also found these super cute hearts (from Dr Oetker) so added them to the top of each one.

Yes the white chocolate heart does not show up that well on the white chocolate cup. But they taste pretty addictive- not something to make all the time! You have been warned…

On Sunday evening I did some yoga and it made me feel so much better after. It does have some challenging moves in there, but also some of the stretches just feel so good, almost like a massage from the inside if that makes sense? I must remember to keep up the habit.

Jantastic week 4!

My how time has flown! I can’t believe that 4 weeks of the Jantastic challenge have already been completed.

The first month is all about being consistent, and I am so pleased to have managed 100% of my runs for the entire month.

This week on Monday I headed out after work. I have been keeping those after work runs pretty short, but I have wanted to increase them a bit- I just need to get home a bit earlier! I managed 4.1 miles on Monday, so creeping up slightly. I tried out my new trail shoes by running on the verges a bit- they are weird as the soles are so chunky so my feet feel very high off the ground. Anyway the grip seemed good which is the main thing- hopefully once the evenings get lighter I can use them on the fields a bit.

Tuesday was an evening of work, plus a little bit of baking for some respite:

Mince pie and marzipan slices and peanut butter brownies as alternative birthday cakes

On Wednesday we were going around to see Andy’s family so as soon as I got home I went on a run as I would not have had time for a shower and dinner if I had waited for Sweatshop. This was where Jantastic helped- it was tipping it down with rain and I didn’t really fancy it, but knew that I had to log 3 runs and would fancy it far less on Friday after work. Once I got out there I really enjoyed the majority of it. The first mile was hard as the rain was so cold it was stinging my face, but it then eased off, and I started to warm up and ended up going further than I had planned- 3.7 miles (was going to do 3 miles tops).

Thursday was Pump day- the instructor told us she had to be out on time, whereas usually we finish maybe 5 minutes late (takes a while to pack all the equipment back away) and she had voted to miss out the lunges track. I can’t pretend to be disappointed, but it did then mean we had the shoulder track (which I find the toughest) right after the biceps with no rest for the arms in between, so I really struggled with that this week.

On Friday I went to visit my Nan so was home quite late, and again it was torrential rain so I was very glad of my decision on Wednesday to get the run done.

Then on Saturday I headed out with Andy. I wanted to do 10 miles but he only wanted to do 8, so we did the loop together (eg me running a few metres behind him!) and then he headed home while I added a bit on to the end. My final couple of miles were much slower as by then my legs were getting stiff and I kept getting a stitch, which is unlike me. I used to get them sometimes if I had eaten too close to a run, but that morning all I had were a few dates before I got ready, so not sure what that was about.

Anyway, 10.2 miles done in 1hr 40 (100 mins)- even with the slower 2 miles at the end I was very pleased with my average pace- running with Andy really helps.

I had no eggs so made these pumpkin pancakes with Orgran egg replacer and the lovely buckwheat pancake mix- I think I only have a few servings left so might experiment with plain buckwheat flour as I really like them.

I got quite stiff yesterday but I think that is partly because I had a lot of work to do so spent 3 hours after my run sat at the computer, then I popped to town (had a Starbucks as a treat) and then spent another few hours at the computer.

Today we went out for breakfast.

This was a waffle with a poached pear, chocolate sauce and toasted pecans- delicious. Plus a pot of Earl Grey tea.

Then we walked around the lakes and gazed at all the flooding, and popped to see our families. Then we walked to the allotment (our shed had blown over, no idea how) and looked at yet more flooding- half the beds are underwater- one was about 6 inches deep as I stood in it (with my wellies on) and was amazed at how high the water came up! I think the walks have helped, and later on I shall do the yoga DVD again too.

So, Jantastic has been a success, onto Febulous. I have again decided to go for 3 runs per week, and then my long runs will be 11 miles next week, then 12, then 5, then 13 as that will be the Bath half- it is getting close now!

Also, Thoosa are having a flash sale. They are my favourite ever workout gear brand – I love their tights, their “Swift vests” are the most flattering and also cool (temperature wise as they are not tight) tops I have ever tried, plus they have some fab slogan t’s- I am just trying to decide which one to buy. So take a look!

Marmalade and ginger tea loaf (recipe)

Hey peeps,

I was contacted by Sainsbury’s asking if I would like to create a recipe using some of their Basics ingredients, as they are trying to help people make the most of their money and Live Well for Less (see their website for more details and lovely recipes). They kindly sent me a parcel with some products:

Seeing the teabags, flour and mixed dried fruit all together put the idea of a tea loaf in my head- perfect for a relaxing Saturday afternoon.


250ml hot water

3 teabags (I used 2 Basics- which are Fairtrade- and one chai)

4 tbs marmalade

175g mixed dried fruit (Basics)

3 pieces of stem ginger in syrup, chopped finely

375g plain flour (I used half plain and half wholemeal)

1 tbs baking powder

2 free range eggs

1 tsp mixed spice

Icing- optional- 2 tbs marmalade and 4 tbs icing sugar


Place the dried fruit, ginger and marmalade in a bowl along with the teabags, and pour over the hot water. Leave for around 10 minutes, then remove the teabags and soak for around an hour.

Preheat the oven to 150C and line a loaf pan (or use a paper loaf case).

Add the rest of the ingredients to the dried fruit mixture and stir well. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for around 75 minutes- test with a skewer; it should come out clean.

Leave to cool on a rack. If making the icing, warm the marmalade in a microwave for around 30 seconds, then stir in the icing sugar and spread on the cake.

It should keep for a week in an airtight container, or you could freeze slices if you left it un-iced.

I love any recipe that includes soaked dried fruit as I think it plumps up so well.

I went on a 10 mile run this morning, and this afternoon was feeling super hungry so had a slice with a cup of tea- perfect.

I love the slight bitterness you get from the marmalade, and the chunks of ginger add a warm spiciness to it.

 Are you a fan of tea loaf?