A vicious speed cycle

I feel like I’m stuck in a vicious cycle at the moment!   I want to improve my speed, therefore speed sessions must be done but I’m so nervous about getting injured again that I don’t want to push myself too hard.  My recent injury was on my foot, so extra pounding on my feet doesn’t sound the best of ideas!  How do you know when you’re pushing just the right amount?

I took about six months off from proper speedwork. Even though I’ve been back at club again since Christmas I haven’t really been joining in properly on the speed sessions. Since Christmas there have been so many new runners in our group at club we’re often running with up to thirty other people, making it incredibly difficult to complete a lot of the sessions that are run on pavements alongside the road. I knew I needed to start doing some speedwork of my own in the week rather than just relying on these sessions. I really enjoyed the progressive runs I ran whilst training for Operation Ultra last year. 15 minutes easy, 15 minutes steady, 15 minutes tempo. Maybe it’s time I started introducing progressive runs during the week again.
Since my last physio appointment I’ve planned in six runs each week, with the aim of completing five of them. Often one of the days in the middle of the week I end up too tired after work and head home instead of out with club. If I wanted to run six days a week I would schedule in seven runs!
I need to do speedwork though…if I’m going to be running more ultra events over the coming years I’ll need to pick my pace up otherwise I’ll miss checkpoint cutoffs!

With all this buzzing around in my mind yesterday afternoon I headed out for a speed session of my own at my Mum’s in Norfolk. I always love running when I’m back at my parents’… It’s nice having somewhere different to run and I don’t miss the traffic!
I set off for an easy mile and a half around the village before crossing the main road onto a farm track.  I felt that if I completed some speedwork on my own I could always drop back or slow down as and when required, so I kept the session simple and close to my parents’ house.  Almost opposite their house is a long farm track where we used to walk our dog.  It’s straight and flat and I knew I wouldn’t be disturbed by any traffic at all.  I decided to pick up my pace to the bottom of the track to just quicker than my old 5k pace (8:40mm), then head back to the start as a jog recovery.  Repeat x4.  I was pretty consistent with my pacing at 8:31 then 8:36.  As I began the third set I could feel that I was going quicker from the start.  My foot felt fine – no twinges – so I let my body pick up the pace and achieved a 8:17mm.  I repeated this with my last set and finished with an 8:13mm.

sprint workNice and controlled, my session gave me confidence again.  I love running with others, but sometimes it’s nice to have a session concentrating on just me!

What do you do for speedwork?  Love it or hate it?!  What are your favourite sessions?

I love craft and cake

On Sunday I headed to The NEC with Dan’s Mum for the craft trade show.
She makes some fantastic cakes and has offered to make our wedding cake for August. Here’s just a couple of her previous cake endeavours…

bdCake ChristeningCake

As well as looking at stock ideas for Dan’s Mum, one of Sundays aims was to get inspiration for our wedding cake… We’re still not really sure what we’re after. Well, I have an idea but Dan keeps saying “We’ll sort it later!”…Helpful! I want rusticy looking without fondant icing. Perhaps something that looks a little like this?…

Sunflower wedding cake

(source)

There were some very cool cakes on display, such as this lion cake to demonstrate air brushing…

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There was also a beautiful Christening cake which had taken sixteen hours to decorate and looked amazing.  We watched the lady that had made the Christening cake give a cake decorating demonstration which was very interesting.
As the show was essentially a trade show we couldn’t purchase anything on the day but instead were given a lot of freebies!  Possibly the best type of show there is!
This included the following magazines…

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…and all of the freebies that came with them…wool, needles, crochet hooks, stamps, a DVD, a tape measure, fabric sayings and lots more!
I was also given a fantastic stamp set produced by Mason Row.

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The stamp set came with six different designs and six different circle patterns for the outside.  With the free sample we could choose up to three letters of our choice.  I tested it out with AHM.

 

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I was really impressed with how clear the outside pattern was.

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I love how you slotted the letters into grills in the back of the stamp to keep them in place – meaning you could arrange them how you wanted yourself.

I also spotted a stand appealing for craft bloggers at the show. Blogging is taking over the world!

I returned home again to find this package waiting for me.Bridal pamper kit

A couple of weeks back I visited a bridal show in Kettering with my friends Vick and Alex whilst I was getting ideas for suits.  I had a horrific headache but was still insistent that I was going to chat to every exhibitor and get them to sign my sheet so that I could be entered for the Bridal Pamper prize draw.  My reasoning was that people would get fed up halfway round and not bother to get them all signed.  Vick thought this was a great idea and started out with as much gusto as me, only to give up after three of four stands and proving my point.  Despite barely being able to see straight by the end as my headache was so bad I ploughed on and was really excited when I got an email on Wednesday informing me that I had won the Bridal pamper package!

Bridal pamper kit

I won two bottles of wine, two candles, two DVDs, some hot chocolate and marshmallow mix and a shower gel kit.  I’ve been really lucky with wins the past six months.  I never used to win anything when I was a kid!

Anyone else had any exciting wins lately?  Competitions are worth entering!

Valentine’s dinner

This year Dan and I decided to stay in for Valentines.  We had a nice meal out a couple of weeks back and with the wedding and house move both coming up in the next six months we’re trying to save as much money as possible!Valentine flowers

(Flowers from the Mr!)

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from the Clip Group to see if I would be interested in sampling some Pidy pastries.  Of course I agreed.  Whenever food is involved, especially food that I can be creative with I’m in!  :)

I had agreed to cook our Valentine’s Dinner, but was at a loss for ideas when I knew it was likely I wouldn’t get home until 6-6:30 and would have to throw something together very quickly.  At the start of last week my parcel arrived containing 12 mini tartlets and 12 Spoonettes.  Perfect…I could use one lot for the starter and one lot for the dessert.

After much debating in my head I decided on a prawn starter, and then after much chat with my Mum, I decided the prawns would be laid in a cheese sauce on the spoonettes.  In the centre of the dish I placed a pot of garlic butter to dip some soft bread into whilst the mains cooked.  Pidy pastry with cheese sauce and prawnsThese went down quite well, although I probably should have squeezed a little lemon juice over the prawns as they tasted a little plain to me.  The spoonettes were great for adding toppings to though and it was easy to spoon the food right up into our mouths!  They had a slight crunchy texture and would have been sturdy enough to hold heavier toppings.  If only Dan was a salad fan I could have decorated this display much nicer!  Some colourful lettuce and cherry tomatoes would have been a great addition to the colourless plate!

Dan’s main meal was very dull and was actually duck, with pancakes and hoisin sauce.  I’m not a fan of duck (might have something to do with the pet ducks my Mum kept when I was a kid!) so Dan was on his own here!  It seems like a bit of a cop-out meal but he was in his element and I was declared ‘the best fiance ever!’  It still amazes me how different our tastes are.

Chinese duck meal

For my main I roasted myself some vegetables…corn, sugar snap peas, carrots, tomatoes and sweet potato.  Topped it with slices of boiled bacon and Wenslydale and cranberry cheese then poured over some tomato pasta sauce.  COULD LIVE ON THIS MEAL FOREVER!!!

My Valentine's meal

I actually made our dessert in the morning before going to work.  I whipped up some chocolate Angel Delight and spooned it into the pastry cases before popping them into the fridge to set during the day.

Pidy pastry

A quick squirt of cream on top before serving and some marshmallows on the plate to decorate and voila!  These were born!

Pidy pastry with angel delight

These were super tasty and wolfed down very quickly.  Dan never really fancies dessert but I always need something sweet just to finish off my meal.  These were just the right size for both of us.

I’ve had a look on the Pidy website and they have lots of other products, such as veggie cups and bouchees.  I also discovered that they had a recipe booklet, but I’d already made my dessert by then!  I’ve downloaded it for ideas for another time though.

Pidy recipes

I love canapés and tapas style dishes.  I’m someone that’s big on variety when I’m eating and I like to try a little of everything going!

[Thanks to food PR and marketing agency CLIP Creative and PR for the samples.  All opinions my own.  :)]

Running wise my week had a few less miles this week.  Monday I ran an easy 5 miles on my own after work, Tuesday I ran 5.4 miles during the speedwork session at club, Wednesday it was a 6 mile trail run, Thursday a 6.6 mile relatively quick run.  Friday – rest day.  Saturday I spent two hours at the gym – mainly on the bike but I broke up the session with 20 minutes of weights – concentrating on my arms.  Then today I ran just over seven miles easy, as I plan on getting my long run in in the morning.  There’s nothing better than a run after having taken two days off…#PostRunHigh!

Think before you speak

I did have another post lined up for tonight but something happened at school today (not for the first time) that made me angry and extremely frustrated and I had to vent about it online.
Our school was having a bake sale today and the kids in Year seven (all eight of them!) had put on a magnificent spread in the cookery room. When the bell rang for break possibly every kid in the school was queuing down the corridor to get at the cakes!

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I usually bake something to take along to the sale but didn’t have a chance after running club last night so toddled along with my purse instead. As I arrived and grabbed a teacher I needed to see, the head loudly said “Miss Moore can’t have any cakes, she’ll mess up her training!” I rather curtly told him I didn’t want any anyway and headed off upstairs to sit in my classroom until the end of break.
I had clearly wanted to buy one as I arrived with purse in hand, but the way in which he had said it to me indicated that I shouldn’t be buying any and resulted in me going back up to sit in my classroom. Yesterday he had jokingly stopped me from going to the staff room when he had brought in chips for all the staff, saying it ‘wasn’t part of my training regime’. I therefore told him I didn’t like chips.
This isn’t isolated to recent events either. Back on the last working day before Christmas when the trustees and governors had come in to school to wish us a Merry Christmas, all staff members sat around the large table in the cookery room which had been filled with Christmas goodies. He purposefully moved all trays away from where I sat commenting that if I ate anything I would become too large to fit into my wedding dress in the Summer. No effort was made to put back the trays of food and I felt like I couldn’t then eat any of the food on the table as I would have to get up and walk around the table in order to reach the trays.
I haven’t always had the best relationship with food in the past but I’ve never had an eating disorder. His comments over the past few months have made me feel as though I must eat away from others when at work. If he had spoken in this way to somebody recovering from an eating disorder, he would have destroyed them.
I don’t think he makes the comments with the intention of doing damage and he’s lucky I have a pretty tough skin.
At my last school a girl in my form was hospitalised twice with anorexia. As her form tutor I met with staff from the hospital several times to help plan her reintegration to school again. At one session I was given a list of words and phrases to avoid which I shared with teaching staff as words which might trigger her anorexic behaviour again. Such phases as “You’re looking well” and “That’s normal”. It was awful seeing her starve herself and lose several stone from what was a tiny frame in the first place. One of the sixth form teachers told her how well she was looking as a passing comment and she didn’t eat for four days. My brother also had what I would class as anorexic tendencies when he was at college going from an overweight teenager to a bobble head within months, skipping meals and obsessively counting calories on the back of comments made to him by others.
What you say to someone can often affect them more than you know, so please think twice before coming out with words that could potentially hurt somebody else and think hard about how that person would feel. My headteacher has only known me a matter of months and has no idea if I have had food disorders in my past, had this been the case his comments could have ended up much more damaging than a blog rant on Valentine’s Day!