Food and some mixed runs

Lets start with the food…

My Dad has been obsessed with making chocolate cakes just lately.  He’s unable to be as active as he once was so has decided to turn his hand to baking instead.  Just cakes.  Of the chocolate variety.  Obviously I don’t have a problem with this!

Dad's chocolate cake

It means every time I head back to Norfolk I return home again with a freshly baked cake!

And Dan has also been in the kitchen more lately whilst I’ve been busy with work.

Dan the chef doing the cooking

I feel like he should be wearing an apron in this picture!  Although look how much stuff is all over the work surface in the background.  What is it about guys having to use every single item in the cupboard when they make a meal?!  He has been remembering to add veg to the meals lately though.  I’m very impressed!


Curried sausage

Now onto my runs for the week…


They’ve been a bit of a mixed bag really.  Monday I had a rest day.  Tuesday was a steady run with my running club.  I forgot my Garmin – (don’t you hate it when that happens?!) but I think we probably ran about 6 miles.  Wednesday I had intended on getting to a 7 mile trail run with guys from the running club but at the last minute I felt pretty wiped out and just needed a break from all the rushing around.  This was when we decided to go on a Scarecrow Hunt instead, so at least I got a long walk in instead of the run.
Friday I had an AMAZING run!  I headed out for my regular five mile route planning to run at my predicted marathon race pace (11mm).  I ran a fab four miles struggling to get myself as slow as 11mm so when I got to the last mile I just let myself go ahead and run for fun.  Running for fun on Friday meant dashing off at 8:43mm pace.  To my knowledge I didn’t look like Phoebe from Friends, but there is a slight chance that I did and I know I had a stupid massive smile on my face!
Saturday I headed to Sheringham parkrun and then Sunday the aim was to run 10 miles at a strict marathon pace.  No fun running allowed!  I really struggled to keep motivated after about 4 miles though.  I had no reason for wanting to stop, – my head just decided that that was the plan.  Stupid head.  It had better not think like that at Mablethorpe this weekend!

I’ve been loving this Go Beyond top just lately.

Me in my Go Beyond topIt’s the one I got after completing my first ultra last Summer.  It’s absolutely massive, – a guy’s size large.  But it’s so comfy, baggy and loose that it’s been nice and cooling in the surprisingly hot end to September we’ve had.  Much cooler than wearing my running club vest as the air has a chance to circulate in this top!  I did worry that I look a little trampy because of how clearly it is not in my size, but I figure I’ll just have to run faster past people so that no-one sees it is an issue!

Who does the cooking in your house?
Do you ever wear baggy workout tops?

A parkrun tourist – (Sheringham, Norfolk)

On Friday night I was back in Norfolk visiting my parents.  I knew I needed to get a run in on Saturday morning and I realised I would be able to make Sheringham parkrun once more.  I last ran Sheringham parkrun back in March 2013 when I discovered it was a very different parkrun experience to running Northampton parkrun, my regular haunt.

The appeal of Northampton parkrun is that the course is flat.  One and a half loops around the racecourse and you can see the entire route from pretty much anywhere out on the course.  Although it’s nice to get a PB, I prefer slightly more challenging terrain and Sheringham definitely has that!

I didn’t want to push it too hard as I’ll be running Mablethorpe marathon next weekend so wasn’t after a PB but rather just a more challenging 5k route on a Saturday morning!

I sat in the car a little later than intended, not yet ready to remove my hoodie but this meant I missed the walk down to the start with the other runners…cue a quick sprint until I got them in sight.  Good job I had run the course before and at least knew my way to the start line!

Once at the start line a minutes silence was held for Darryl Davis, the runner who had died during the Round Norfolk Relay race not very long ago.

Because I had had to catch up with the runners headed down to the start line I was starting right at the back, although I quickly picked off several runners when we began.  It’s nice to run a parkrun where the route isn’t all on a pavement … although I must have crushed a thousand conkers on the first stretch of the run, followed by a hundred pine cones when we tackled the more sandy path along the next stretch!

I allegedly ran the first mile in 8minutes.  I say ‘allegedly’, because despite a large chunk of it starting off on a downhill slope I’m still not certain my legs moved that fast for an entire mile.  And my Garmin recorded the total distance as quite a bit over the 3.1 miles.

8mmI always prefer an undulating course to a flat one.  When my legs are planning on giving up and getting bored, the change in terrain keeps them interested. My second mile was a little slower at 9:25 – this was really the pace I had intended to run at throughout.  Mile three I unintentionally managed to pick the pace back up to 9:10 and my final nubbin of 0.47m (quite a bit over the 3.1 distance I should have run!) was recorded at 11mm.  Although the nubbin contained Heartbreak Hill, an incredibly steep hill with tree roots sticking out everywhere, close to the finish that had been in my gameplan to walk.  I really must go and take a picture of this hill one day!parkrun paceI’m pretty sure it was my Garmin recording the course distance wrongly that added the extra mileage onto my run.  This is something I need to be mindful of when I run Mablethorpe next week though, as my gameplan is based on following the pace displayed on my Garmin.  From memory, there were mile markers out on the course last year so I should be able to track the accuracy of my Garmin against these at least.

To get an idea of the speed differences of the two courses, at Sheringham this week there were 93 runners posting times between 20:57 – 43:17, with the quickest female running 28:15 (I’m not sure if this is similar every week but that is an achievable target for me to aim for in the future having run 29:40 last time, in the midst of marathon training.)
This week at the Northampton course there were 232 runners but the times ranging from 17:00-53:43, with the fastest female getting round in 17:46, a new course record.
My time for the parkrun came through at 31:44, and 12th female.  69/93 overall.

After parkrun I headed into Holt with my Mum to pick up a few bits and spotted this road sign.  Clearly a sign that Dan and I should move to Norfolk!  :)Pearsons roadHave you ever spotted anything with your surname on?  My friends who are getting married next weekend have the surname Piper, so tweeted Piper’s crisps to let them know that they would be supplying Piper’s crisps as part of their buffet and the lovely guys at Piper’s sent them a batch of crisps for their day.


How did September go by so fast?!

I can’t believe how quickly this month has gone and that we’re almost into October already!  Tomorrow, Dan and I will have been married for SEVEN weeks!  How did that happen?!

October is already looking to become an incredibly busy month for us.  We have three friends turning thirty, two of which are having parties and also my thirtieth birthday at the end of the month (gulp!), and a friend’s son is turning three.  Then I’m also bridesmaid at a friend’s wedding (next weekend), followed by Mablethorpe marathon the day after with Dusk ’til Dawn 50miles at the end of the month.  My school has an open day on one of the weekends that I will be in work for and at some point I’m going to fit in writing out all of our wedding thank you cards.  It’s gonna be a busy one!

Yesterday was a lovely chilled out day, despite the driving.  (I hate the M6 and A14 with a passion!)  I headed over to Birmingham to see one of my friends, Amy, who has recently had twins.  A boy and a girl.  Now I have said it before but I am not a baby person.  I can’t make little cooing sounds and I’ve never even held a baby before (other than a brief Rachel from Friends pass years ago!), not even our nieces and nephews.  Children – that’s fine, – they interact with you.  But babies…what do you do with them?!

Luckily, with Amy having two of them, there was lots for me to help with so I got thrown into it all.

Me with baby Ava

Amy lives in a two storey house so when we were getting the babies ready to go out and to come back in again that’s a lot of baby carrying from the top all the way to the bottom of the house as well as all of their things.  I carried both babies numerous times throughout the day  and I guess anything with fingers this small can’t be that bad right?…
Baby Ava

…although her nails were pretty sharp!

I got caught in the M6 traffic on the way home meaning I didn’t make it back in time for my planned run and was pretty pooped from all the traveling.  I’ve moved my run from yesterday until today but my training has been very lax since running the Grim Reaper 70m at the start of August.  Obviously I took almost the rest of August off after my ultra (this was pre-planned), but since then long runs have been minimal and rather than stick strictly to my 6 day a week regular plan I’ve missed a few days here and there, some weeks only running four days.  Very unlike me, especially with a marathon penciled in for next Sunday!

Mablethorpe marathon

I don’t expect great things from Mablethorpe Marathon despite it originally being one I hoped to target a PB at.  When I ran London marathon back in April, my watch ticked over 26.2m at 4h 45m, a result I would have been happy with at the race, but the constant weaving around other runners across the distance meant I ran 27.9 miles in total, still gaining a new PB but I came away knowing I would have been able to achieve a much larger PB had there not been so many people on the course.

I also don’t have the best buildup week to the race.  I’ll be traveling back to Norfolk on the Thursday, spending all day Friday helping my friend decorate for her wedding on the Saturday.  The Saturday will be the wedding itself and then I shall leave my Mum’s house early on the Sunday morning to head to Mablethorpe ready to run the marathon.  Hopefully just 26.2 miles!

My aim on Sunday will be to start steady.  11mm+  I liked the tactic shared with the us from the pacers at London.  Always start slower than you would like.  Always feel like you could have run the first half faster than you did and then push it faster towards the end if you are able.  That is my gameplan.

Finally, good luck to everyone racing at Berlin this weekend.  Especially Anna and Lauren.

Have you ever gone into a race feeling under-prepared?

Scarecrowy Stanwick

Lately, I’ve been trying to come up with ideas for cheap date nights for Dan and I.  We’re still trying to fit in one date night each week where we get out of the house and laptops and phones are not allowed!
This week our date night was a walk to the nearby village of Stanwick, where there is currently a Stanwick Scarecrow Festival taking place!

Stanwick scarecrowsWhat is a Scarecrow Festival?  Several of the houses in Stanwick have given £2 to have their scarecrows displayed in their front gardens and included on the Scarecrow map.  For £1 you can buy maps from a couple of places in the village and go on a ‘Scarecrow Hunt’!

Stanwick scarecrows

There was a huge range of scarecrows to be found and we didn’t get round them all before the sun went down.
Stanwick scarecrows

This was one of our favourites…so inventive!
Stanwick scarecrows

The local junior school got involved and put together a scarecrow as well.
Stanwick scarecrows Stanwick scarecrows

And I loved the idea behind the black figure in the graveyard!
Stanwick scarecrows

Even Jeremy Clarkson made an appearance at number two!
Stanwick scarecrows

The large scarecrow and a slightly slimmer scarecrow sat outside the Weight Watchers meeting point made me smile as well.
Stanwick scarecrows Stanwick scarecrows

There were a couple of the scarecrows wearing the local school and playgroup uniforms.
Stanwick scarecrows Stanwick scarecrows Stanwick scarecrows

There was even a Great British Bake Off set of scarecrows in one garden!
Stanwick scarecrows

A poor paratrooper had missed his landing spot and was dangling off the edge of a roof.
Stanwick scarecrows

And we caught Spiderman making a web between two trees.
Stanwick scarecrows Stanwick scarecrows

Stuff like this always makes me miss living in a little village!  Does the town/village you live in do anything similar?