Week one of Elf 4 Health

Well, although I haven’t really been running lately due to my foot, I’ve continued to try and stay healthy and organised.  Part of that has been going to the gym daily for use of the bikes, as well as working on my core and arms in the evenings at home.  Another part of that has been taking part in the Elf for Health challenges, set by Lindsey over at The Lean Green Bean.

I’ve quite liked having something to think about each day and trying to challenge myself to make some changes…

MONDAY NOV 25th – Go meatless:

I’m not a big meat eater anyway, so this was relatively easy for me. If you work out a lot, rad140 may supplement it.

Blueberry danio yoghurt (the BEST flavour danio!) topped with real blueberries for breakfast…



This has become my favourite lunch just lately – roasted parsnip, potato, sweet potato, carrot, courgette and tomatoes, topped with wensleydale and cranberry cheese.

cranberry veg

And for tea…Baxters Stay Full Spiced Butternut Squash and Edamame Bean soup with a bread roll and butter.  This is genuinely the best soup I’ve had from a can before.  YUM!  I normally stick to Tesco value tomato soup if I buy any canned soup at all.wpid-IMG_20131125_120955.jpg

TUESDAY NOV 26th – Unsubscribe:

I was so certain I had more subscriptions I could get rid of, but I still managed to use Unroll.me to unsubscribe from 74 mailing lists and whilst I was there, tidied up my inbox somewhat.unrollMe

This is something I need to go through and sort thoroughly in the New Year, as I currently have my email address from high school days, my school email, my running club email, my joint email account with Dan and my personal email account, so they take quite some getting through each day!

I did however, also delete some old items on my laptop and then empty my recycle bin…it was rather full!!!

Recycle bin

WEDNESDAY NOV 27th – New Workout:

I had planned on heading to an Aqua-fit session at the pool, but when I rang up I was told I needed to book six days in advance!  SIX!  I was hoping that in six days time I could be running again.  Instead I headed to the Open Swim session and in between swimming 50 lengths I made up my own Aqua fit moves in the pool.  Luckily it wasn’t too busy as I attempted star jumps and similar at the top end of the pool!

THURSDAY NOV 28th – Make a Phone Call:

I rang my brother for a chat.  We were never close as kids, but whilst he was with his last serious girlfriend we hung out a lot more and one of my favourite Christmasses was when it was just Dan, Me, Mark, Jess, my parents and Great Aunt.  They broke up 18 months ago though and I’ve seen less and less of Mark since, so thought I would give him a call.

FRIDAY NOV 29th – Track Water Intake:

I had one and a half large water bottles full throughout the day and then three pints of water in the evening.  I drink LOADS throughout the day, often much more than this, especially when I visit my parents.  I have no idea why, and I’m forever heading off to the loo because of it!

Maxifuel water bottle

SATURDAY NOV 30th – Treat Yourself:

I did indeed treat myself and bought a Nexus 7.

nexus7The school I work at is run as a charity so there are limited resources, including the use of teacher computers or laptops – these are non-existant.  I thought it would be much easier if I could work and make notes whilst going round the classroom, rather than waiting until the end of the day to keep up with reports, marking, etc.  So far this has been worth every penny and I would already be a little lost without it!  It’s going to come in handy for blogging in the evening too!

SUNDAY DEC 1st – 100 Burpees:

Rather grateful I was unable to complete these due to my foot being out of action currently(!)  Instead I completed 100 situps and 100 (girly) press-ups throughout the day.

I’ve not been so great with the challenges this week as it’s been a REALLY busy week so far, but I shall get them all complete, even if they do end up being a few days later than planned!…

A plan for a week

The Healthy sELF challenge for yesterday was to…Make a meal and workout plan for the week.

These are my scribbled notes in the back of a notepad yesterday whilst back at my parents.

IMG_7183This is my plan for this week…!  Nothing is set in stone, but it feels good to know that I’m sorted an organised for the week.  Hopefully there will be no getting home at 8pm this week asking Dan what he fancies for tea!

Day Breakfast Lunch Snacks Dinner Exercise
Monday Grapefruit, yoghurt and cinnamon *Treats* (as Mike forgot them on Fri he is bringing them in on Mon instead) 2x tangerines Spaghetti bolognaise with peas 5k before school.  30 Day Shred Level 2 after school
Tuesday Egg and beans on one slice of toast 2x graze boxes Apple Pesto chicken salad Speedwork with Group four at running club
Wednesday Yoghurt, fruit and cinnamon Carrot sticks and almond butter None Vegetarian pizza and eton mess (heading out for a birthday meal with some girls from work) 5 miles before school
Thursday Egg and beans on one slice of toast 2x graze boxes Apple Pasta bake with salad Group five tempo run with running club
Friday Fruit, yoghurt and cinnamon *Treats* (my turn so I shall make them as healthy as possible) Grapes Remainder of pasta bake with roasted veg 5k before school. 30 Day Shred Level 2 after school
Saturday American pancake with fruit Jacket potato with cheese and beans Grapes Roasted veg and salmon 5 mile walk
Sunday Egg and beans on one slice of toast Salad sandwich Grapes Sausage casserole 5k walk and 50 crunches

How much sugar do I eat in a day?

Monday’s Healthy sELF challenge was to track the amount of sugar eaten throughout the day.  Here are my approximate trackings on my meals…These are approximate as I didn’t weigh any of my food and all sugar content details came from the Tesco website.


One portion of Tesco Special Flakes with Red Berries (6g sugar), two tablespoons of low-fat yoghurt (7.2g sugar) and a splash of pineapple and raspberry juice (4g)

TOTAL: 17.2g sugarIMG_7136


One granny smith apple (16g sugar)




A carrot (5.9g sugar), lettuce (2g sugar), one tomato (2.5g sugar), 12 grapes (12g sugar), one matchbox size piece of mild cheddar (0.1g sugar), half an orange pepper (3.1g sugar) and half a pot of houmous (0.6g sugar) One slice of chocolate fudge cake (23g sugar)

TOTAL: 49.2g sugar


One half of a french stick (9g sugar) with Utterly Butterly (minimal sugar) and two sausages (0.3g sugar) with a squirt of tomato ketchup (4g sugar)

TOTAL: 13.3g sugar



I found it quite interesting how much sugar there actually is in the fruit and vegetables I eat.  The apple I ate as a snack contained sixteen grams of sugar!  I had cake in the middle of the day which isn’t a frequent occurance but I was amazed to see that this contained 23g of sugar, not a huge amount more than the apple I consumed!  Stupidly I was surprised by how little sugar was contained in my sources of protein – both the cheese at lunchtime and the sausages for my dinner had hardly any sugar content, although they would have been high on the fat and protein had I been tracking either of these food types and it would be interesting to do this on another day in the future.

I found it difficult to find an exact guideline of sugar which I should be consuming per day.  The Tesco nutrition labels worked on a percentage to 100 grams of sugar but I found several varying guideline amounts on different websites.  This website panicked me a little when it started off by saying “40 grams is the maximum amount recommended…” Although on further reading, it was referring to added sugar and later on in the article also suggested that up to 100 grams a day was an appropriate amount, as long as no more than 40 grams came from added sugar.

I’m not going to change my eating habits as I feel that I do not consume excess sugar in my diet currently.  This was really interesting to look at though and I would also like to track the amount of protein/fat in my daily diet at some point and return to my sugar in about a years time to see if anything has changed.

Has anyone else tracked their sugar content before?  Were you surprised at the findings?…

THAT’S how much water I drink!

One of these…


And five of these…


Do you like my little tally going on in on the napkin?!  I ended up having two glasses before work, one after work before I left for running club, and two after my run. I would say that that was a pretty much average day.  Using a conversion website I worked out that I drank about 2.15 litres of water throughout the whole day yesterday, which is just over the daily recommended amount of 1.2 litres suggested on the NHS website.  I did go for an hours tough run in the evening though which would have increased my need for fluid intake.  It was quite interesting to see how much I drank over the course of the day.  I’d like to keep a tally next time I’m back at my Mum’s too, as I know I drink so much more when I am at hers.  This was all part of the Healthy sELF challenge over at Nutritionella.com.  I’m enjoying the challenges so far.  They pop up as part of my day every Monday, Thursday and Saturday.  I am already thinking through my options for Saturday’s ‘Try a new workout’ challenge.


Driving home last night we drove into a rain storm.  I love it when you can see where it’s raining in the sky ahead of you, but it’s a nice day where you are.  This picture kinda doesn’t show it as well as actually being there, but you can still see up ahead where the rain is coming down hard!  Eventually we did drive into it and had the windscreen wipers on full blast to be able to see to get home.

I was looking forward to Running club last night.  Despite having had some awful runs this past week and still not knowing fully what has caused them, I had a non-bloated belly (always good before a run of any distance!) and our old coach Andy had returned on Tuesday who I know would push me, without making the session impossible for me to complete.

Andy ran with group 5 last night and we had Heather again, who announced that we wouldn’t be running quite as far as normal, or as fast as normal tonight.  Lots of people are tapering for London or various other marathons at the moment and several other groups had planned to do something similar.  She told us the route and we headed off.  However, because of tapering and various injuries, lots of the slower members of group 4 had moved into group 5 for the evening, and the same had happened with group 3 moving into our group.  The pace was not ‘slow and steady’ and at one point my watch clocked that we were running at 8:15 pace.  My 5k pace is only 8:39!!!

I really, really struggled.  Heather ran with me for a little while and tried to get me to concentrate on my breathing, but my breathing was fine.  It was my legs that wouldn’t keep up with the quicker pace.  I’d set out too fast to try and keep up with everybody which then meant that I had nothing left to continue.  Normally at major roads or after each mile lead runners turn back and ‘pick up’ the runners at the back so that nobody gets too far left behind, but tonight that didn’t happen and instead, they just stopped and waited for me to catch up before zooming off again.  Not only did this mean that I felt awful for holding everybody up but it also meant that they started running again as soon as I reached them; they had mini rest breaks whilst running…I never did!  After a couple of miles I really could no longer keep up and had several walking breaks.  Two of the lovely guys in my group took it in turns to run at the back with me where they held my pace and chatted along to me whilst I was running.  Turns out they were still achy after our Tuesday sprint session too.  That was a killer!  Looking at my stats now, the fastest pace of each mile last night was 7:26, 8:30, 7:49, 8:12, 7:38, 7:23.  This should have been a steady 9mm on a Thursday night with Group 4.  I was annoyed at myself for taking walk breaks but I truely could not keep up.

After stretching out with the group I grabbed my keys and got into the car.  I really just wanted to cry.  I’ve worked really hard on my running this year and I so don’t want to end up falling backwards after my marathon again.  :(

I had to go to Tescos to grab some shopping on the way home.  When I got inside though I realised that the edges of my vision had gone fuzzy and blurry – the way they do when you are about to pass out.  I didn’t think I was going to pass out as I didn’t have the ‘swimming pool hearing’ I tend to get beforehand, but it worried me that I couldn’t read the backs of packs in the Supermarket because of how speckled the edges of my vision had turned.  I have a doctors appointment on Monday.  I have actually been trying to get one for about 6 weeks now and I either can’t get one that fits around work or they move my appointment.  I shall bring up my latest fuzzy spell then.  The feeling didn’t actually go away until I went to bed three hours later, which was quite a long while to not be completely ‘right’ for.  I guess it was brought on from pushing too hard during the run?…

When I got back, I had already rung Dan to pre-warn him of how I was feeling.  He rushed out the car and collected all of the shopping for me and then made us some delicious British pancakes for tea.

IMG_7121 IMG_7120

I had three thin pancakes with a big heapful of raspberries in the middle.  They raspberries were quite sour so I did sprinkle a little caster sugar on my last pancake just to sweeten it up a little before bed.  I’m driving in to work on Friday rather than grabbing a lift so the plan is to go for a run after work and then we are going out for a meal with our friends Vick and Alex when Dan gets home from work.  I really hope my run is more successful…