Latest Event Updates
As normal on a Thursday (whilst following the Hal Higdon Novice 2 Marathon Plan) I woke up at 6:15, brushed my teeth (always the very first thing I do!) and put on all my outdoor running gear ready for my 5 mile run. When I opened the curtains I was extremely pleased to see it was a lovely morning, not a rain drop in sight! I headed down stairs past the window and thought … “I am actually really not in the mood to run today, I’m tired”
Now I think I have mentioned before I am not one to easily give in and I do love a good challenge, but the thought of running 5 miles just wasn’t appealing to me today. So instead I ran back upstairs changed into less winter ready gym gear and did the following little workout …
5 sets of the following
1 minute SPRINT
1 minute skipping (30 seconds on each leg)
1 minute stepping
1 minute burpees
1 minute collapse, catch breath back, get water!
This was then followed by a lower body strength work out featuring split squats, deadlifts, supermans and leg extensions.
This work out lasted just over an hour (including stretching) and well I came out of the gym feeling great! Now I am sure I would have felt just as good finishing the 5 miles as per my plan but I just didn’t want to do it!?! It was just one of those days.
Now as I first time marathon “attempter” I have tried really hard to stick to the plan in order to train safely etc however, I think it sometimes is just as important to think about how you YOU feel, how YOUR body feels. I still managed to get my heart rate up and head to work with that smug “I have just worked out” feeling without doing something I don’t think my body wanted to do.
Do you ever have days were your running mojo vanishes ever so slightly? Or have you tried a different kind of workout to combat your mind and body’s refusal to run?
Sometimes you just don’t want to not run, you want to sit in a gym instead ;D!
This weekend was all about conquering the 17+ mark, all in preparation for the Manchester Marathon (which is under 8 WEEKS AWAY!)
For the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of running with lots of lovely ladies from Team Naturally Run. This has helped make the long runs feel more like a good old catch up with friends rather than a hard slog, pounding the pavement! The last few weeks has also given us bright and more importantly DRY running conditions…this week however, the BBC weather report was telling us it was rain, two raindrops to be precise!
So 7 of us TNR ladies, Charlie, Lissy, Leah, Laureen, Anne and Lucy set out at 8am in what appeared to be sunshine! With hopeful smiles on our faces we started on the north side of the river, heading out on our way to Greenwich! The Thames Path on the North of the river is a little higgledy piggledy with dead ends, hidden pathways, locked gates … all making the journey to Greenwich a bit of a guessing game! However, along the route we had the viewing pleasure of icons such as Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf and the Shard which looked like something out of the old Superman movies with the sun turning it into a beacon!
We also had managed to clock up a km or so in the Greenwich foot tunnel which was a nice little change of scenery and also brought us out at the pretty impressive Cutty Sark.
Now you notice at this point we are all smiling, happy runners steadily getting through what was going to go be our longest run.
HOWEVER, literally two minutes after this photo as we headed to tackle some hills in the gorgeous Greenwich Park the UK weather did what it does best … it changed! Lissy, Charlie and Lucy very cleverly left us at this point as they had other things to get to leaving Leah, Laureen, Anne and I to get through what I think I can safely say was the most challenging run we have all ever experienced.
Making our way back along the south side of the river we were confronted with gail force winds, torrential downpours and hail, actual hard, stinging HAIL. Now being a northern girl from a seaside town I have already had the pleasure of running in some pretty extreme conditions but this was grim. HOWEVER, instead the girls and I focused on something to get us through. FOOD. Cake for me in particular!
Anyone who knows me knows I have a serious sweet tooth and all this running gives me the perfect excuse to enjoy even more cake! After every long run I make sure I reward myself with a seriously hearty brunch and CAKE! So during the darkest part of this long run the girls and I spoke about exactly what we were looking forward to at our designated brunch spot (we always plan and book ahead – imagine a donkey and a carrot on a stick!) Now we each had different finishing experiences on this run and I would definitely recommend you go and check out the ladies’ blogs to hear their thoughts and feelings about it but for me … I finally passed that 17.5 mile marker and it felt AMAZING!
This was the most trying run I have ever experienced, also being a northern girl means I am pretty stubborn, particularly when it comes to physical challenges – I DON’T GIVE IN – but even I had thoughts about stopping and getting the tube when I couldn’t feel my hands, my feet were getting a little squelchy and I couldn’t look ahead as the rain and hail was so heavy. BUT I DID IT! And one by one the rest of the girls made it to Del A’ziz (full brunch report here) who I have to say looked after us incredibly well and provided us with the most gorgeous brunch whilst being extremely patient and understanding – we were a table of 15 as we all had plus ones joining and we all joined at very different times!
Now as mentioned if it wasn’t for the support of those ladies, seeing them powering through and the thoughts of food particularly deliciously, decadent cake I don’t know if I would have made it through those final miles which got me wondering what do you think of to get you through a difficult run? What’s your motivation when all you want to do is be back in a warm house on the sofa with a blanket and a cup of warm tea?
My fail safe motivation … CAKE!
Address: 11 Bermondsey Square, London
Good for: French Toast! Vanilla Cream! Groups! Hungry Runners! Cake Lovers!
So of course being runners food is extremely high if not the highest on the list of important things in life, particularly after a half/full marathon training run. We find it paramount that a brunch venue is booked and ready for us after a long run!
Now Harry and I were doing our long runs separately this time as our distances were a little different but we still managed to meet up (of course) for brunch! This week it was all about De’Aziz. Now earlier on in the week I had sent a little tweet out to Del’Aziz pre warning them that a lot of seriously hungry and most likely soaking (look at our running recap (link here) to hear how true this was!) runners on their way to them on Saturday! They kindly played along and explained they would have towels at the ready. I wrote straight back to them and said even though towels would be nice CAKE would be better. Their response was this picture!
Now we were all excited!
We had booked a table for 15 as we all had plus ones waiting for us after the runs, considering the large number of people and only booking this two days in advance their Bermondsey branch said there would be no problems and looked forward to having us.
Our long runs always have a habit of taking longer than planned due to unscheduled stops, meeting people en route, stretching breaks and due to lots of other reasons this week our table of 15 all came in at very different times. Now normally you would think that this would aggravate and annoy a restaurant but not here, the staff were extremely friendly and understanding and all in all just GREAT!
Now to the food and drink! I ordered a “Yellow Banana” smoothie when I first came in to give me a much needed sugar hit (the start of many that day!) which included mango, banana and orange. It was a good sized portion and tasted extremely fresh! The girls ordered various different smoothies including a Purple Haze, Living Good and a Red Om – I wish I had a photo as the colours were reminiscent of a rainbow! Everything in this place looks GOOD!
FOOD time! I went for the “Scrambled Eggs w/Homemade Gravad Lax” basically scrambled eggs and salmon, my favourite and when it came out I wasn’t disappointed!
The toast was gorgeous, thick and grainy – exactly what you want after a 17.5mile run. The salmon was fresh and lightly seasoned and the eggs tasted like eggs! I have had a run of pretty full on eggs where too much cream or cheese has been used and I am quite an egg purist. I like the taste of eggs, eggs by themselves are just GREAT. Don’t get me wrong adding a little milk or cream is ok but sometimes I feel that places go overboard and its more everything else than the eggs themselves! Not here!
The only thing I wasn’t totally sold on was the Moroccan muffin, for me it was a little too dense. However, one of the girls had ordered an omelette which looked amazing too but obviously wasn’t enough to fill that #RUNger so when I offered my muffin she gladly accepted and seemed to love it with butter smeared on top! Maybe it was just a personal taste thing!
Now of course after a long run and a savoury brunch you have to have something sweet – it’s the rule! And this is why I Harry and I are best friends because we 100% agree, so we shared this …
The “French Toast & Fresh Fruit Salad” – IT WAS INCREDIBLE! The bread was fluffy, covered in sugar without being horrifically sickly! We actually pinched a bit of the vanilla cream from the “Berber Pancake” dish ordered by one of the other girls (this also looked amazing and a perfect amount of food for a hungry runner) which just finished us off nicely!
All in all Del’Aziz did not disappoint, between our table we enjoyed French toast, pancakes, omelettes, full breakfasts, royales, scambled eggs and vegetarian breakfasts and every single plate was cleared and definitely enjoyed! Sadly however, this did mean when it came to admiring the incredible cakes none of us could be tempted but we certainly stared at them for a good five minutes … at least!
THANK YOU DEL’AZIZ!
When I first started running 5km seemed like a great distance. It was far enough to feel like I had done a good bit of exercise but not to far to feel terrified at the thought of it! Plus it seemed to fit into my always hectic schedule!
As I got more and more hooked to running my connections to fellow runners started to grow and one thing that I always heard people talk about was “Parkrun”. Now back then being new to running and taking part in races the idea of a 5km race was really appealing AND apparently it was FREE!
So for those of you that don’t know about Parkrun here is it …
Parkrun is a free, organised 5km timed run that happens weekly all around the UK. From experience they usually happen in pretty lovely surroundings, organised by wonderful volunteers and are open to absolutely everyone no matter your running ability! All you have to do is register online here giving you your own personal barcode which you take with you to your chosen run destination and then off you go!
At the end of the run your barcode gets scanned and within 24 hours you receive an email with so many exciting running stats such as your time, position overall, position in your gender group and in your age range. It also logs each of your runs to work out averages and helps you see how your runs vary week to week!
Personally I think Parkrun is a fantastic concept and I have nothing but good things to say about it. I have managed to drag lots of different friends and family (my Dad has never run in his life and now he drags his friends along for a bit of “friendly” competition) along each Saturday morning as like I said initially 5km doesn’t seem like a terrifying distance!
Me and my new running demon Dad
Up and coming 10km’er Ceri
Plus its lovely to think no matter where you are in the country there is a group of friendly runners and a beautiful route waiting to be run :D!
My home Parkrun Sewerby, on the beautiful East Yorkshire coast