Race Day

IMG_6420

I did it!!! Finally, after months of training (and just a few tears!), I can officially say that I have completed the Bristol Half Marathon 2014. My time was slightly slower than I was aiming for at 2 hours and 7 minutes but to be honest, I’m just pleased that I managed to finish!

I started the day feeling positive and with the view that I’d just try and enjoy the event no matter what the outcome… This positivity quickly dissolved, however, when after just one mile of running, I found myself with another one of my dreaded stitches which I’d been so determined to avoid. As a result of this, I spent the majority of the race in great discomfort not exactly loving life!! This discomfort wasn’t exactly helped by the fact that after a few slightly chillier days, the sun decided to show it’s face again making for a very hot and sticky race day.

However, despite the not so perfect conditions, I still managed to finish the race in a time I’m pretty proud of. Now to start training for the next big event…

IMG_6361

IMG_6360

The Big One

I realise that it’s again been a long time since my last post… Obviously I’ve been much too busy doing lots and lots of running (not!). It’s safe to say that the training plan I sensibly printed out and stuck on to my wardrobe all those weeks ago when I first started training, has not been followed. To be honest though, I don’t think a training plan is essential when training for a half marathon. Although they provide a useful guide for what stage you should be at in your training each week, they can also cause you to give up if you feel like you’ve strayed too far from the plan which is definitely not what they are designed for!

So, rather than sticking to my original plan, I have instead been carrying out a few shorter 7k runs every week with the intention of doing at least one longer run each week (although this ‘longer run’ has become something of a rarity…). I’ve got to the point now where I actually quite enjoy my 7k runs and find them relatively painless to complete. I do however, still find it extremely difficult to force myself out the door for a ‘long run’… Today, however, I finally succeeded…

With a little gentle persuasion from my Dad and a supportive sister volunteering to join me for the first few miles (I’m back in Devon at the moment hence the handy family members), I managed to run just over 11 miles (17.7k) in an hour and 40 minutes. I’m not going to pretend it was in any way easy, in fact I think I have may have gone slightly mad at several points throughout… But, despite this, I am extremely pleased to have completed the distance as I was beginning to doubt the fact that I would survive running 13 miles. I’m still pretty nervous about the actual event but today’s run has definitely encouraged me to keep at it. And, with only a few weeks to go now, it’ll all be over before I know it… no offence to running but I can’t wait!!

A Sunny Sunday

Sunday Breakfast

I must confess that I have been slightly neglecting my half marathon training (and blogging about it) recently. I’ve still been heading out for a few runs each week, however, due to a number of bits and bobs going on in my life at the moment, running has often been put on the back burner. It is now 7 weeks until race day so I am feeling the pressure a little, but am confident that come the 21st September I’ll be back on form and ready to run.

After heading out for a very hot and stuffy 6.5k run yesterday, I decided to give myself a day off today. I kicked off the day with a delicious and healthy breakfast of wheatbix, oats, yogurt and berries, before heading out to Wanstead Park in order to relax with a copy of Vogue in the summer sun…perfect! I had intended to venture over to Hampstead Heath, one of my favourite London spots, however, public transport was not on my side today and unwilling to take the overcrowded bus replacement service, I decided to settle for somewhere a little more local instead.

Not that I’m complaining… Wanstead Park is a lovely spot and it’s hard to believe you’re still in London when you’re sitting surrounded by the sound of crickets chirping as opposed to the tooting of car horns. One of the best things about London is that despite it being a massive city, there are endless green spaces to choose from if you need to escape for a while. I definitely plan to explore as many of these as possible before the summer is over and with the speed this year seems to have gone at so far, I’d better get a move on!

Vogue in the Park

Wanstead Park, London

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Rough Patch

Banana

Despite consuming a pre-workout banana this morning as recommended by the internet, I still developed a horrible stitch 20 minutes in to my run and in spite of my best efforts to ignore it, I was forced to stop and walk several times throughout the 45 minutes I was out. I definitely think I’m going through a running rough patch at the moment. Well, at least I hope it’s just a rough patch and not the beginning of the end of my short-lived running career…

It’s easy to get disheartened and very tempting to give up after a few unsuccessful runs, however the prospect of running 13 miles in 9 weeks is definitely keeping me going despite my general lack of enthusiasm. I fully recommend to anyone who is trying to get in to running to sign up for an event. It doesn’t have to be anything major, but it’ll really help keep you focused when the thought of yet another run leaves you cold. Anyway, I’m hoping that this rough patch in my occasionally rocky relationship with running will be short lived. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion this won’t be the end for us just yet!

Ps. Excuse the random banana image, I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to get that one in despite the slightly tenuous link!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Breakfast of the Week

Berrys, Yoghurt, Muesli and Oatbran

5) Oat Bran, Muesli & Natural Yogurt topped with Mixed Berries & Honey

So in case anyone was worried, no I haven’t just returned from my 11k run. Despite my previous concerns, I managed to successfully complete this distance in an hour and 5 minutes on Saturday morning, only losing the will to live a couple of times throughout! After a relatively painless first 50 minutes, my motivation quickly plummeted as it hit me that running for a full hour is long… I have a massive amount of respect for anyone that completes a full marathon as this must take major willpower and dedication as even running quarter of one feels like a huge achievement to me!

This week’s breakfast consisted of a few different elements. After hearing about the health benefits of oat bran I decided to invest in a packet. I can’t say it’s the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted (although I need to try using it to make porridge before coming to my final conclusion!), however when combined with a few other ingredients tastes pretty good. The main health benefit of oat bran is that it contains large amounts of fibre which is great for keeping you full throughout the morning.

I added a bit of muesli as well to mix it up then topped it off with some natural yogurt and mixed berries with honey to sweeten. I then proceeded to stir it all up in to the yogurty berry mush you can see below which may not look particularly appealing but looks can be deceiving! I actually think this has been my favourite breakfast of the week so far but then again I probably say that about all the breakfasts…

Healthy Breakfast

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Breakfast of the Week

Breakfast of the Week: Avocado & Scrambled Egg on Toast

4) Scrambled Egg & Avocado on Rye Toast

Continuing the rye bread theme, this week’s breakfast combines three of my favourite healthy ingredients; rye bread, avocado and eggs. Eggs are another great source of protein for vegetarians and avocados, despite being high in fat, are one of the most nutritious foods out there. They are a source of monounsaturated fat which is considered to be a healthy fat, and contain vitamin C which is great for boosting your immunity as well as your skin.

So far this week I have managed a grand total of one run… Not ideal but I am hoping to cram in several runs over the next few days, including an 11k run which I am just a teeny bit scared about. Although this fear is largely caused by the distance I’m going to have to run, it’s also a result of a slight concern that I am going to get lost on route and find myself unable to navigate my way home (you may laugh but this has genuinely happened to me before!)… I’m going to have to do some serious Google map inspection over the next couple of days in preparation. So, if you don’t hear from me again, it’s probably because I’m still out on a never-ending ’11k’ run, trying to work out why it’s taken me so long!

Healthy avocado

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Running Brighton

Brighton

Brighton

This morning I wound up the week’s running with the third unsuccessful run of the week. Reluctance to forfeit my first proper lie in since the previous weekend combined with the fact that I had been up late the night before scoffing garlic bread and houmous (blaming the boyfriend for that one) and had woken up with a severe food hangover, meant that I’d pretty much accepted that the run wasn’t going to be the greatest before I’d even left the house.

It’s a shame really that the run wasn’t more of a success considering the location was a whole lot prettier than the East London streets I’ve become accustomed to running along. Since my boyfriend moved to Brighton last year, I’ve become a regular visitor and have got to know the city reasonably well. I’ve always thought it’d be a great place to train for a half marathon. There is a whole variety of different parks and of course the seafront which provides the perfect setting for a morning jog.

As I wasn’t feeling particularly energetic this morning, I chose to run to the pier and back which is around 6.5k – not quite the 60 minute run that my training plan recommended however better than nothing I guess. I must confess, I did have a slight relapse in to my giving up ways and may have allowed myself to stop and walk a couple of times (obviously I just had to take a moment to soak up the view – nothing to do with it being too hard…) Oh well, with over two months to go until the half marathon, I’m not particularly concerned about one bad week. I’ll just have to work a bit harder next week to make up for it… Can’t wait!

Brighton

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Breakfast of the Week

Banana and peanut butter on rye bread

3) Peanut Butter & Banana on Rye Toast

Today’s breakfast was welcomed with open arms after an ‘easy run’ quickly spiralled in to a much less easy run! 35 minutes in I developed a severe stitch however, rather than give up (no way was I doing that after sacrificing an extra hour in bed for this run!) I decided the best idea would be to sprint home and get it over with as fast as possible… Cue extreme heavy breathing and an intense desire to get straight back in to my bed!

Luckily I had a delicious loaf of rye bread and pot of peanut butter waiting to soothe my pain! Rye bread is a great alternative to other less healthy forms of bread. It is 100% wheat free and high in fibre which helps you stay fuller longer. Bananas and peanut butter are also great for maintaining fullness whilst also keeping you healthy. Peanut butter contains high levels of protein which is great for vegetarians like me who often struggle to get enough of this in their diet and bananas contain potassium which apparently can prevent muscle cramp during exercise. Maybe if I’d had the banana before my run the stitch could have been avoided… next time!
 
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Escape to the Country

Bantham Beach

Barbed wire

Village Inn

This weekend, after several months away, I finally got round to heading back home to South Devon to visit my family. It’s always a relief to get back to the countryside after a long period away. As much as I love London, it can be pretty exhausting, and sometimes a couple of days in the country is just what you need in order to clear your head.

Although I didn’t get round to doing any running this weekend (too busy catching up with the family/ taking advantage of a cupboard filled with delicious food!), I did manage to get out for a couple of walks.

On Saturday morning we headed out to Bantham Beach which has to be one of my favourite beaches in Devon. I’ve grown up with the beach nearby and often in the past have been guilty of taking it for granted however, despite having visited it countless times in the past, a trip to Bantham on a sunny day still has the power to make me feel like I’m on holiday. Our walk took us up along the coastline round towards Thurlestone, finishing at The Village Inn where we all indulged in a pint – possibly not great for the body but definitely good for the mind!!

Beer

On Sunday we again ventured out to one of my favourite parts of Devon, Dartmoor National Park. The views in Dartmoor are incredible and again have the power to make me feel that I’ve left the UK behind in favour of somewhere much more exotic. Our walk took us around Burrator Reservoir and saw us clambering up a tor (well half way up!)… I might not have been running this weekend but the walking and climbing definitely made up for this!

I’d recommend South Devon to anyone planning a countryside holiday in the UK. Although I can’t promise fantastic weather (we did get drenched several times throughout the weekend!), there are plenty of amazing beaches and beautiful views that more than make up for this. Just make sure you pack a raincoat!

Burrator Reservoir

Trainers

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Giving Up on Giving Up

So this morning I finally ran 8k. I had already made an attempt to run this distance earlier in the week however, despite meticulously planning my route beforehand, I still managed to take a wrong turning which turns out to have significantly reduced the distance of the run. Despite this I didn’t actually realise that I hadn’t in fact run 8k until later in the day when I logged in to Map My Run and was disappointed to discover that my earlier joy at how quickly and easily I’d managed to run 8k had been slightly misguided (I can be such a numpty sometimes)!

Today however, armed with the directions written on my hand, I finally ran 8k (for real this time – I checked!) and it actually wasn’t too bad. Considering I haven’t run more than around 5k in several years, I was slightly concerned that my body would just give up half way round… Luckily this didn’t happen and I managed to complete the distance in just under 45 minutes which I was pretty pleased with.

I’ve discovered that one of the benefits of running in the city as opposed to the countryside is that it is much harder to give up and start walking mid-run when you have an audience. I say audience, I realise that the majority of people probably don’t even notice me jogging past but it’s easy to feel like all eyes are on you when you’re puffing and panting your way along the pavement. However, rather than seeing this as a negative thing, I am now beginning to use the slightly self conscious feeling I get when jogging past a busy bus stop or the cluster of smokers who gather outside the tube station to my advantage.

In the past I have been a notorious giver-upper, often giving in to the temptation to allow myself a quick (/long) walking break when running starts to feel a bit too much like hard work. However, since starting training for this half marathon my tendency to give up seems to be behind me and I definitely think that I have the busy London streets to thank for this. The transition from countryside to city running has been interesting at times however I’m definitely starting to come around to it!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin