Wine and champagne = bad

My stomach did not appreciate my need to have a good time with friends last night!  I woke up at about 9am (new time as the clocks went forward this morning).  We lay and nattered for a bit before the rest of the house rose.  There were five of us that crashed at Vick’s after the party last night.  My friend Al grabbed Dan and I glasses of water which we guzzled down and Vick made everybody bagels.  Everybody had bacon bagels and crumpets.  I’m not a big fan of bacon so just had a plain dry toasted bagel with a small crumpet with butter on for breakfast with some cranberry and raspberry juice.  The juice was just what I needed and I might have refilled my glass after this picture!

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When we arrived back home neither of us fancied doing much so we chilled on the couch and watched some more of Long Way Down.  It brought back lots of memories of my trip to Malawi last Summer and Ewan was even in Blantyre at one point, which is a place I visited.  I kept telling Dan little snippets of information about the country as the DVD brought things back to me.

Dan gave me an Easter bunny whose ears I nibbed on whilst watching the DVD.

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Afterwards I got my running clothes on and headed out for a run.  I had initially planned to run 13miles at 10mm average pace but knew that that was not really an option for today after last night.  I instead decided to run dependant upon how I felt at the time.  This was great and after marathon training I really must run more runs like this!  I kept setting myself mini challenges in my head and striving to achieve these as I went along.  I wasn’t even sure how many miles I was going to run when I left the house but after half a mile and realising that I had not brought out my water bottle I knew I would be limited as to how far I could go.  This helped with my decision to set out quite quickly.  I ran my first mile (as always, including my quarter of a mile warmup) in 10:39, but my next two were 9:02 and 8:53…almost 5k pace!  At 2.5 miles I could feel my tummy whinging at me following the alcohol from last night so I decided to head via the visitor centre toilets nearby.  Felt much better after my quick stop with mile four at 9:20 pace.  I decided to run to 4.7 miles (where there was a turn in the road at this quick pace before dropping back to a steady pace and then easing it off to an easy pace as I got closer to home.  Mile 5 was at 10:20, mile 6 at 10:59 and then I decided to pick the pace back up along the steep hill by my house to bring the last mile in at 9:30 pace.  I felt rather satisfied with my run and burnt off 870 calories in the process!

After a glass of milk (mandatory!) and a shower I was ready for tea.IMG_6690The plan had been to cook a roast chicken so that we had meat for the rest of the week but neither of us really fancied a very heavy meal.  Instead I threw together a pasta in sauce for Dan and I decided to be a little creative to use up some of the mango I bought at reduced rate during my shopping trip yesterday.IMG_6691

My dinner consisted of some sweet potato fries, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, half of the mango and the crust of a Hovis Best of Both loaf with butter on.  As an after thought I added a scrambled egg as I haven’t had any protein today and know this is something I desperately lack in my diet at the moment.  Sooo easy to do in the microwave.  In the past I’ve always been put off having egg as it involved getting out the frying pan and cleaning the hob down each time but it just took 90seconds in the microwave in a bowl and it was ready to add to my dinner.  I shall be having more egg with my breakfasts over the next few weeks now I know how easy it is to do!

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When I returned from my run I realised how scruffy I actually looked…hair falling out of my ponytail, last nights makeup from round my eyes still not properly removed and covered in salt stains!  My shower was very much enjoyed and I now intend on another lazy evening with Dan and Bella!  I could definitely get used to no work!  :)
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Better choices

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This blog has helped me to rethink the food I eat and although I’m still not a saint at choosing my foods I have noticed that I am now muchIMG_6687 more likely to really think about what I am eating.

After my Parkrun yesterday I snacked on an apple whilst doing the shopping.  Two years ago, this would quite likely have been a biscuit.  For lunch I then had a sweet potato with a can of baked beans.  This was very filling and kept me full all afternoon.

Last night was the engagement party of our friends Vicki and Alex.  They got engaged over the Christmas holidays when the four of us all visited New York for New Year.  Dan and I had actually known about the proposal since we booked the trip!  I will be one of the bridesmaids on the big day on the 4th April 2015 and Dan will be an usher.  Here is a picture of the four of us in New York.

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Vick and Alex had booked a room in a local pub, The Fox & Hounds in Peterborough.  It was good to have a catchup with everybody as well as meet new people.  I’ve known Vicki since I was 21 when we were at uni together and we got on from the very beginning.  Just clicked!  Most of my friends at uni were guys but Vick was the exception to the rule and after finishing my PGCE we have even ended up living quite close together when I was offered a job in Cambridgeshire.

I decided to dress up last night and plaited my hair in the Waterfall Braid Updo as shown on the Six Sisters website the other day.  I really liked this and will probably do my hair this way for my friend Amy’s wedding this coming weekend.  Unfortunately the only pictures I have are on Vicki’s camera so I will have to wait for her to upload them to Facebook.

Our friends Stew and Julie came down from York for the weekend.  We’re going to their wedding in December.  We were also at a table with Kate and Justice, who also got engaged last year, and sat over on another table two of Vick’s friends from school are actually getting married next week.  Three different people quizzed me last night on why I wasn’t married/engaged.  I hate getting asked this and normally try and avoid the question as best I can.  We should hopefully be able to avoid it a little more with Dan’s family now at least as his younger sister had a baby last year and his brother got engaged this week so hopefully it will all be about them for a while!

IMAG0552It’s not often that we go out with friends anymore so Dan and I made the most of it by leaving our car at the pub and having a few drinks.  I actually had two large glasses of wine and then two glasses of champagne for the toasts.  I chose a small side plate for my meal and picked up a quarter cheese and tomato sandwich on brown bread, a quarter ham and turkey sandwich on white bread, a sliver of garlic flatbread, a cocktail sausage and some lettuce with slices of tomato.  I avoided all pork pies, sausage rolls and other heavy items that several people were loading their large plates with.  I did however, also grab some cake action when that was cut!  As always, Clare, (another bridesmaid-to-be!) made a fantastic cake!

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I made sure to drink lots of water before bed and we probably got to bed around 2:30am (the new time!) on the pull out sofa bed in the lounge.

Parkrun tips

As I have mentioned MANY times now.  I love the Parkrun concept…just turn up any Saturday morning at one of 225 locations around the world (but mainly in the UK), walk, jog or run 5k and have your time recorded and submitted into a massive database online where you can keep track of your progress as you continue to complete the 5ks throughout the year!

I’ve only completed three so far, in two different locations, but intend on completing many more this year after my marathon training finishes.  Here are a few words of wisdom if you are thinking about signing up…

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1) Sign up online in advance – The way Parkrun works is you signup online for an account and then are sent a personalised barcode with your name on which you print off and take with you to the event.  Once you have run through the funnel at the end of the race you are given another card with a barcode on by a volunteer which relates to your finishing place.  You head out of the funnel and hand in both barcodes to be scanned to another volunteer.  This links your profile in the database with the position you ran that day.  There is also a clicker volunteer who will take note of when each person comes through the finish line.  They won’t know your name, but they will then be able to link this up when you hand in your barcode.

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2) Sellotape your barcode – the best place I’ve found to keep my barcode safe is in the back pocket of my running tights.  However, I can get pretty sweaty after running 3.1 miles so to prevent my barcode becoming a big mushy mess in my back pocket I cover it in sellotape.  This holds up pretty well.  The image above is actually my barcode after racing, and then having been dumped back in my pocket.  I forgot to remove it from my pocket before washing my running clothes and I could almost, at a push probably use this barcode again the sellotape has held that well!

3) Know your terrain – My local parkrun is Northampton which is a lovely flat park where you can see the whole course from the start/finish line.  Whilst back at my parents a few weeks ago I ran the Sheringham Parkrun.  This was completely different and I was 3 minutes slower due to the terrain and also my lack of knowledge of it!  At Sheringham you start in the middle of loads of trees heading on a sharp downhill.  That was pretty much the only downhill of the race and just before the finish there was the steepest hill I have ever run up!  You couldn’t see what was coming around each corner and there were tree roots sticking up everywhere.  A proper trail race!

4) Head towards the front – If you are runner, no matter how casual, head towards the front half of the race start pack.  I made the mistake in my first parkrun event of heading towards the back as I would in a road race and spent the first five minutes overtaking and winding around people.  Lots of people sign up for parkrun to get themselves out there and moving each Saturday morning or even run it as a family event with the kids.  There are still several club runners and people that are aiming for PBs but I found it very difficult to judge people the first time I went.

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5) Concentrate and avoid other park users – If you get too zoned out during the run you are bound to fall over a spectator’s dog or worse!

6) Volunteer every so often – Parkrun suggest that you should try to volunteer about three times a year.  Parkrun is run by volunteers, so if people don’t make the effort to volunteer then the races will not be able to go ahead.  I definitely plan on volunteering over the Summer on dates when I know I will be able to commit.

7) Encourage others to take part – This is a FANTASTIC scheme for ALL members of the family.  Lots of people always seem to be looking for activities to take part in as a family group and I think this is ideal.  30 minutes on a Saturday morning, completely free, good exercise and having fun with your family.  Definitely spread the word!

Parkrun #3: Northampton

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Not a new PB but I wasn’t expecting it today.

I got up at 5:10 this morning.  Oops!  A little early for the holidays!  Last night Dan had been going through the freezer to see what we could have for tea when he found four end pieces of bread in four separate bags!  I told him to get them out to defrost and remind me to have toast for breakfast before the parkrun.  This didn’t really work because they ended up being rather soggy!  I ate two slices anyway though!

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Dan was heading back to Wolverhampton today to watch the footy so I was on my own for this Parkrun.  I didn’t think I would PB as I haven’t been running great lately, but I still wanted to run the best that I could today with the aim of running sub 9mm.

As I was lining up I realised that there seemed to be more people than last time and I was a little worried when I saw several children and a man dressed as a large dog infront of me but when the whistle went luckily I didn’t have too much weaving to do and the field spaced out pretty quickly.  We had been warned that there were some areas which still had a few inches of snow and several areas of ice on the course today.  It was not too slippy at all, but rather just meant that we had to give some corners a much wider edge than we would normally have done.

As last time I was concerned about my breathing which seemed quite heavy to begin with.  This quickly evened out though and I was on track with my panting!  When I glanced down at my watch at about half a mile into the run and realised that I was running at 8:15mm pace I knew I was going too fast and tried to slow myself down a bit.  As I came round for the second loop I started to get a pain in the left side of my chest.  I broke into a walk for the distance between two lamp-posts, just to get myself back into check and then continued at a slightly slower pace.  I knew I would be OK to finish strong that way so pushed on.  I had overtaken quite a few people at the start but as we got closer to the three mile mark there seemed to be several people adopting a walk-sprint routine.  They kept surging past me only for me to then overtake them a short distance later.  This has worked for quicker times for me in the past but I much prefer to run a steady race and feel good at the end of it rather than like death as I’m sure they did!  One woman overtook me literally with meters to go at the end with a quick sprint, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to match her at that late stage.  She apologised as soon as we got through the finish funnel!

Below are my two Northampton Parkrun pace graphs.  The first is from my Parkrun PB of 26m 55s on 2nd Feb.  The bottom graph is from today.  Check out how well paced my first Parkrun was compared to today!parkRun comparison

I wore my Stamford 30k top which is one of my comfiest long sleeved technical tops.  This prompted a conversation with another runner that had completed the race this year.  Runners really are a friendly bunch of people!

My watch time was 27m 55s.  1min slower than my current PB on the same course.  Overall I’m not disappointed with my race today as I know that my energy levels have been zapped just lately from work.  I have learnt (again!) that starting out too fast is my downfall and I’m going to try and wear my heart rate monitor more frequently over my coming runs so that I can track the effort I am putting into my runs rather than the speed.  I would like to do Parkrun more regularly…as I’ve said before, I LOVE the Parkrun concept and it will definitely help keep my pace quicker whilst I am training for my marathon/ultra over the next couple of months.  Watch this space for more Parkrun results over the coming weeks!