Thoughts from the weekend

I think it’s about time I got some of my thoughts from the weekend into some sort of order and down in my blog before I kick myself for forgetting the details!

My initial plan had been to head to my friends’ house in London on the Friday night where they were planning on seeing the Christmas lights in Hyde Park.  Way too tired to drive to London after work I settled on heading to the cinema to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire with Dan instead.  Fantastic movie.  Really kept to the story and I’m glad to see that the same director is directing the final book (in two parts) over the next couple of years.  Although to be honest, I wouldn’t have minded so much if they altered the story a little towards the end of that one.

Up at 5:30am on Saturday morning to shower and get ready for Write This Run in Sandown Park.wpid-IMG_20131123_111428.jpg

Like last time, my favourite panel was the Inspirational Speakers panel at the very beginning.  We heard from Jennifer Bradley; the first woman to run across the USA.  Sophie Walker who runs as a way to help her cope with her daughter’s Aspergers and Simon Webb, who is currently in the middle of writing a book about the sights of the London Marathon.

I was most interested in hearing Jennifer speak.  It seemed that several of the speakers this time round had ‘ultra’ tendancies and that suited me just fine!  What an adventure she had had though!  80 days of running an average of 42 miles per day.  And it was mainly trail running!  She even ran through Idaho on Day 14, through some of the areas that I stayed as a teenager when I spent a total of four months out there.  (My best friend’s Mum found out that she was adopted and her real family lived in Idaho and I went over with them after my GCSEs to meet their family.)

Idaho rock climbing
Me climbing Marble Mountain in 2001.

Jennifer ran a total of 3302.85 miles over the 80 days at an average of 9-10mm pace!  As part of her training she ran 150 miles a week for the three months before setting off on her challenge and her handy words of advice were…

“You can only eat so much…even in America” and…

“Look after your feet!”

Jody Raynsford rushed through a super long presentation as part of the ‘Better Blogging’ panel in just 15 minutes, but made us all laugh along the way.  And promised to post a link to the full presentation on his website later that day.  True to his word, you can now download the whole presentation here.  He let us know that…

“Writers block doesn’t exist” and that…

“People care about people” and that…

“There are 200,000,000 bloggers out there…don’t be afraid to try something different!”

Clifton Bradeley was one of the speakers in the ‘Run Strong’ panel, who had belted out a sub 4 minute mile early in his career, before snapping his pelvis in the same race, thus ending his career.

Another speaker I was interested in hearing was Robbie Britton although I enjoyed his talk much more than I intially thought.  Robbie came across as very down to earth and genuine guy.  I was very surprised to hear that he tends to run weeks of 60 miles.  That’s not a huge amount more than a club runner.

“I got a 12 hour PB!” (on his second 100 mile race) and…

“Running an ultra around a mile loop…but then the following year running it round a 400m track!”

I had planned to stay at my friends’ Tom and Bradley’s house again that evening, to return to the Running Show on the Sunday.  No longer able to race the 10k I thought it would give me extra shopping time, and there were lots of seminars taking place that I wanted to listen in on.  However, when it took me nearly two and a half hours to get to their house just 16 miles away I was tired, grumpy and they informed me they were heading out for a friend’s birthday.  So instead, I got myself some chips, had a quick catchup with the boys and drove home to Northamptonshire, where I was asleep within minutes.  Still with my name badge on and Running Show wristband around my wrist.

Sleeping with Bella

I’m not sure why Bella was so sleepy.  Dan assured me she’d slept most of the day!

On Sunday I was then able to see a little of Dan.  We had a bit of a lay-in, followed by a lazy morning before sorting the house out and heading out for the Christmas light switch on in our town.

Christmas light switch on

I wore five layers and my coat would barely do up!  I didn’t get cold though!

When we came back we decided it was time for a hot chocolate, feet up infront of the fire and a board game.  Good end to a relaxing day!

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A lazy weekend and an upcoming marathon

Sometimes it’s nice to have a lazy weekend.

On Saturday I ran 15 miles in the morning, then spent the evening in bed watching Season two of Dexter with Dan.  (It’s good!)

dexter2Sunday I went out for about 6 miles (including blocks at marathon pace) after taking Dan up to watch his football team in the morning.  He watched football, I read Women’s Running mag.  Happy days all round!


Occasionally I am in desperate need of a lazy weekend and this was one of them.

I did manage to clean my boots for the first time since I was seven years old and forced to at Brownies though…

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(Dan does a better job, but I can see a difference at least!)

And clear out my bag.  This was the pile of receipts I threw out afterwards!  Does anyone else’s bag get quite so cluttered as this?!wpid-IMG_20130930_212501.jpg

Next weekend won’t be quite so laid back.  Dan is off with his Dad and brother to watch the Wolves – Colchester game on the Saturday and then on the Sunday I shall be up nice and early to run Mablethorpe Marathon with a couple of others from my running club.  Phoebe has tacked on an extra four miles at the end of the marathon to make a nice 30 miles in total for the day.  A mini ultra before the big one!wpid-IMAG1229.jpg

My Mum rang yesterday to offer my Dad’s services of driving Dan and I over for the Dusk til Dawn race at the end of the month.  Dan tends to drive to my races as I frequently get lost and stressed out when driving but as his foot is in a cast until further notice this won’t be happening in four weeks time!  Despite being a runner for more than two years now, my Mum is yet to see me race.  Twice she has attempted to watch me – the first at a 10k three miles from her house, but I came through the finish before she’d even left home, and again at a half marathon last year which I unfortunately had to pull out of before she arrived as I wasn’t feeling right and actually ended up in A&E later that afternoon.  She’s rather excited about seeing me run and her and my Dad are hoping to watch me finish the race and provide some company for Dan whilst he’s up there supporting me.  I did point out that the second Dan leaves me he’s likely to head to the hotel room and bed, until I ring him the following day to say I’ve finished!  Dan has seen me run at plenty of races before and my Dad has seen me run at both races mentioned above.  There are 11 checkpoints on the Dusk til Dawn course, and with a start time of 5:46pm I am sure I can estimate my arrival time at some of the early checkpoints to ensure my Mum sees me come in to them!

The lovely Erin over at Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug nominated me for the Sunshine award so I shall be back later today with my answers.  :)

Girly spa day

I woke up in a much better frame of mind this morning after my weight melt down yesterday and packed for Amy’s hen do part two!  A day of relaxation in the spa followed by the wedding rehearsal in the evening.  I grabbed the remainder of my Jordan’s cereal (there weren’t actually many strawberry pieces left this morning) with four big spoonfuls of natural low-fat yoghurt.


I’d planned to leave at 7am but it was actually 8:10am when I left…oops!  I snacked on two tiny mini easy-peel clementines on the drive down.

There were sixteen family and friends all robed up for the day and working out/relaxing/getting treatments.  I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to it beforehand but really enjoyed myself when I was there.  I got a mud treatment with Amy and another of her friends, Vicky not long after we arrived.  I’ve never had a treatment done before and this one was a guy’s dream!  Basically we had to cover each other in thick mud and then go and get into a mini sauna-type room.  After 40 minutes jets came on to wash us down and there was a hose for us to hose each other down in the bits that hadn’t gotten washed!  Haha!  I realise how wrong this is sounding!

Afterwards I got changed into a different costume and hung out reading Women’s Running by the pool for a bit before jumping in to cool off and swim some laps. We then headed to the steam room before robing up again and heading to the conservatory for lunch.


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We each had some sparkling rose wine and I picked the Chef’s potato salad for my mains.  This came out with a chicken breast on top.  Still not a massive fan of chicken, especially chicken breast so I left it to the end planning on not eating it.  I had tried it and having to chew so much really put me off eating any further.  The salad was lovely and came with peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, olives and onions.  The new potatoes were lovely too.  Reluctantly I slowly made my way through the chicken breast after finishing my potatoes.  I really did have to force it down though, telling myself that I was supposed to be eating more protein and should have checked what was in the salad to begin with.  The salad was really filling, especially after having finished the chicken and I felt uncomfortably full afterwards.

However, I could not resist the eton mess I had ordered for dessert!  This is the first place I have seen these served in 2013.  My favourite dessert ever!  And I was very happy to see that it contained not just strawberries but also raspberries and blueberries too!

When leaving the spa we headed to Amy’s to meet up with the boys and then to the church for the rehearsal.  I am going to be a witness at the wedding on Saturday so needed to see where to go!  The groom has four ushers so lots of jokes were made and messing around done, probably taking us a lot longer to run through the service than it should have done!

When I finally got back to mine it was nearly 10pm and I was hungry again after my lunch at 2 so grabbed a quick bagel before catching up with the day’s blogs.


I had planned to stay up in Birmingham tonight at Dan’s parents so that I could help set up for the wedding in the morning but Amy assured me that they are pretty much done with organising and to be honest I am looking forward to having another day at home without rushing around.  I’m becoming so lazy…how will I ever go back to working 60 hour weeks?!?!

A lovely lazy day!

IMG_6665This morning was great!  I woke up at 5:40.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep straight away, so caught up on some blogs for about an hour from bed before heading back to sleep just before 7am and sleeping through until 9.  Lovely!  Dan brought me breakfast in bed.  I’ve run out of blueberries, but I had half blueberry wheats and half Jordan’s crisp cereal with strawberries and semi-skimmed milk.  We then stayed in bed to finish watching the ENTIRE first disk of The Long Way Down before getting up around midday.  I hate laying in, but I desperately needed to after the past couple of weeks.  Bella watched us from her vantage point on the windowsill!  IMG_6674

We decided to head to Beans for a relaxed late lunch.  I was quite hungry by this point IMAG0550and I swear my belly had flattened and shrunk due to lack of food!  IMAG0548I grabbed a goats cheese, rocket and tomato wrap with a child size vanilla milkshake, no cream.  You can see Dan’s milkshake in the background loaded with cream!  I also grabbed the side salad from his toastie when it arrived.  Whilst we were in Beans, two club runners came to say hello.  Beans is the place to hang out if you go to my running club! Everytime we’ve been I’ve recognised somebody!  They were eager to tell me that they had just completed a 20 mile training run.  Didn’t have the heart to tell them I’d just gotten out of bed before slurping on my milkshake!

When we got back I started the fire and had a sit down for quarter of an hour before heading out for a five mile easy run.  (Much easier than the ‘easy’ sections of our run at club last night!)  Mile 1: 11:01 (inc warmup), Mile 2: 10:36 Mile 3: 10:10 Mile 4: 9:40 Mile 5: 9:45  I also bumped into another club runner who I ran with for a while when I was in group 5 just after the Summer last year and who has recently moved to my town.  I bigged up the route I was running as a nice 5 miler that had quiet roads.  At about mile 4 I was stopped by an old couple (one with a zimmerframe) who wanted to know where the road I had come from went.  I told them that it looped right back round to the town again.  When they asked how far it went and I replied “4.7 miles” the woman’s eyes literally shot wide open!  Not sure if it was because I knew exactly how far it was or that I had come that distance?!

IMG_6677I had bought some new running trainers a couple of months ago with the intention of breaking them in to run my marathon.  I keep forgetting to take them out on my short runs so pulled them out of the box today to discover they were a half size too small so I’ll have to take them back and exchange.  Hope I can do this and still have enough time to break them in before the marathon!

After my run I snacked on a heated up chocolate chip cookie before I showered while Dan made tea.


We had breaded fish, chips and peas…it is Friday after all…fish and chip day!  I’m not a massive fan of chips and don’t think I had ever cooked them until Dan and I got together!  I always keep some in the freezer spare for him now as he likes to have something quick and easy when he makes tea.


We watched Django Unchained tonight (with a second cookie) on the sofa.  This was a really long film.  It’s Quentin Tarantino and reminded me a lot of Oldboy and Kill Bill, neither of which I’m a great fan of either to be honest.