Sunday, 10 March 2013


Not entirely happy with it yet so expect a lot of tweaking over the coming days, but my blog is now on my domain with Wordpress. (New domain name should hopefully be up and running tomorrow -
Click here to visit it!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

A little control

 This week I have been really hungry in the build up to lunch time.  Well, pretty much since leaving home in the mornings!  I guess this is due to the reduction of my breakfast meal sizes lately.  I was really not enjoying work earlier on in the year and often put off getting ready for the day by having a bit more at breakfast and staying on the couch.
I managed to wait until 12pm to have the rest of my pizza from last night and then my salad of sugar snap peas, mixed leaves and cherry tomatoes with ceasar dressing at lunchtime.

 It was a pretty busy day with lots of teaching followed by a fully booked year 8 parents evening from 4:30-7.  I had little voice left afterwards and was REALLY thirsty!
When I first started at the school they used to put on a range of bread rolls, different muffins and a glass of orange juice for everybody.  This year, they started providing a cooked meal (because it works out much cheaper and they can get away with serving on tiny trays that actually only hold three tablespoons of a dish!)  The first meal they served us was a curry heavy on onions.  The second meal contained a slice of garlic bread.  Luckily people spoke up and the meals have not been quite so smelly since!  We have to spend nearly three hours talking politely to parents...much nicer when not letting garlic spread through the air towards them!!!
Tonight though, the meal was lamb roulash.  I'm not a massive fan of meat anyway, especially anything as chewy as lamb.  I asked for the vegetarian option and was told I could get a plate of plain pasta in about 20 minutes and a cup of cheese to go over the top.  Rubbish choice, so I found one of the less hard cheese salad rolls from today's student stack and nibbled on this instead.

I had my running club committee meeting straight after at 8pm about 45 mins away.  The club secretary always brings in beautiful cakes which large chunks are taken from and munched during the meeting.  I decided, as I would not be able to photograph the wonder of Karen's cakes and as I had already gone nearly seven hours without anything passing my lips that as I was getting petrol I would pick up a muffin which would prevent me from getting drawn into the cake pile later on.  This worked.  I felt satisfied and in control!

SEVEN weddings!

Yesterday in the post we got this beutiful invitation to our friend Dee's wedding in May.  We had already had a Save the Date card so knew we were going to be invited, it wasn't a surprise.  The wedding details were on a lanyard and the invitiation was a ticket.  Her and her husband-to-be are big festival goers (that's actually mainly how we became friends) so this was a really fitting invitation!
 This now means that in the next two years we have a minimum of SEVEN weddings to go to!  This is my calendar for the next three months...
MARCH - Vicki and Alex's engagement party (they were the couple that went to New York with us for New Year and got engaged).  We also have Helen and Sam's wedding reception to go to (invitation in Dan's car) - they ran off to New York to get married at half term and are celebrating at the end of the month.
APRIL - Amy and Brett's wedding.  I'm witness for this one so also need to attend the rehearsal (and spa day!) two days before.

MAY - Dee and Ian
Is it just my age that all of a sudden I'm being invited to so many weddings?!?!
I had forgotten about the upcoming spa day as part of Amy's wedding.  I am considering starting Jillian's 30 day shred DVD on Saturday.  I have only heard good things about it.  I will take measurements and pictures on Saturday and try and complete everyday and see how I get on with it.

This morning's breakfast was take 2 of porridge for the week!  I took Maria's advice and let my porridge soak in milk overnight in the fridge and then cooked as normal this morning with a tad more milk.  She was right, looks a much bigger bowlful and am now nicely full!  :)

Busy day today - parent's evening after school, followed by running club committee meeting.  It will be a late one tonight especially after packing for Norfolk for tomorrow.

Things don't always go to plan!

 My snack this morning was a Salsa Fresca Graze box.  I do love Graze.  I have a box of four snacks delivered each week and it makes it really easy to grab a snack if I'm in a rush before school in the morning.  This box only has 51 calories in.  Great!
 I did sneak a puffy thing with vanilla inside at breaktime from the staffroom though.  Free food always draws me in.  :(

I had the same lush salad for lunch that I did yesterday but there wasn't any remaining goats cheese so I used a matchbox sized piece of cheddar cheese instead.  Why do they always compare it to a matchbox?!  The matchboxes we have at home to light the fire are HUGE!  (I just had a small regular matchbox sized piece of cheese!)
This is the super cute lunchbox my friend Vicki bought for my birthday last year.  I think she got it from Paperchase.

 Almost forgot to take a picture of my afternoon snack, but here is the remainder of my tangerine!  My stomach was growling for some reason at 3pm, so I grabbed this then.
 I was supposed to be tidying my desk, although I didn't get very far this evening!  This is how it started out.  That pile of folders on my desk is just one class of year 7s to mark.  I have four classes that each handed in large homework projects this week that I need to get marked before next week.  It's going to be a busy weekend!  Hopefully tomorrow I will have an 'after' picture that looks much better!
I left tidying and had a meeting at 4:30-5 before driving home to fit in a run before Dan got back.
I have two sports bras.  One was in the wash and the other has been rubbing on the front of my chest recently.  I couldn't find any vaseline in the house so decided to whack some sudocrem on the front to hopefully stop it rubbing when I got home for a run (it worked!)
I had a really good run again, although didn't get as far as intended - just 5 miles.  Tonight was supposed to be our night together and I had seen Dan drive past at the start of my run.  I felt a little guilty, as I dont seem to have seen him much just lately again so when my first loop finished at mile 5 I called it a day.
My legs had felt very tired at the beginning of the run, probably due to the speedwork we completed yesterday but I continued with an easy run.  Again, keeping with my recent tradition of not looking at my watch until returning home.  Again, I was surprised at the speed of a run I found easy, especially with such tired legs.
Mile 1: 11:07 (inc warmup)
Mile 2: 10:36
Mile 3: 9:55
Mile 4: 9:35
Mile 5: 9:58

My focus is obviously the upcoming MK marathon, followed by the Shires and Spires Ultra - although I'm not worried about time for this, just completing.  I would then like to complete the Summer season and get some new PBs for the shortest distances.  Fingers crossed!

On returning home I said to Dan that I would just grab a quick shower and then start on tea so we could go bowling (our pre-agreed night together).  I had actually been looking forward to tea all day.  I wanted to have another salad wholemeal pitta and experiment in making my first batch of sweet potato chips on the side.  Dan seemed confused though and seemed to think that we had planned both Dominos pizza and bowling.  I don't remember this!  The other day he had mentioned that we hadn't had takeaway pizza for about five years and I had suggested that one week we would have that as our night together.  I just didn't think he'd assumed the same night as bowling!
He went off to get two medium pizzas while I grabbed a shower.  I had the veggie supreme to still get lots of vegetables in.  I didn't eat all of the pizza.  Last year I would have sat there until I finished but I'm proud of myself for stopping (although probably should have stopped a little earlier!) and now have some leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
We didn't get to bowling.  I was too tired in the end, but instead we curled up on the couch together and chatted, and watched a bit of QI on TV.  Much better than going bowling!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Licking the lid!

The best bit about having yoghurt in the morning is getting to lick the lid right?!
I was looking forward to breakfast this morning.  I had picked up some tins of fruit on my shop at the weekend and this morning I poured out half a tin of pear halves with juice which I then topped with a Muller light vanilla yoghurt.  This was actually a lot more filling than I thought it would be and I'm now laying flat out on the couch trying to muster up some sort of energy to get into work today!
Tonight should see the first of my longer runs mid-week in the build up for the marathon.  I'm hoping to run 8-9 miles tonight after school so am going to drive myself in today with the hope that I can make it back while it's still semi light and not have to do three laps of town!  Dan announced yesterday that he is having friends up on Friday night whilst I'm away so tonight will also need to involve the tidying of the horrific mess we call our home!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

180 steps per minute

My mid morning snack was a Graze box Summer Berry Compote.  This was lovely and sweet and just what I fancied this morning.
 I was excited about my lunch all morning (because I'm a loser!) I haven't really had proper lunch at school for a long while because lunches were making me feel really sleepy in the afternoon, although I now know this is because I probably wasn't always making the best choices.  I also worry about eating too late in the afternoon when I know I'm running with club in the evening, I prefer to run with very little in my stomach.
This salad though, was extremely yummy and contained mixed leaves, cherry tomatoes, goats cheese and right at the bottom, which I had forgotten all about until I reached that far were a handful of sugar snap peas!  I spent ages looking for my balsamic vinegar pot this morning, but couldn't find it so had to settle with ceasar dressing.  Still yummy, but not AS yummy!  Didn't feel overly sleepy this afternoon from the meal and my stomach was fine with tonight's run.

 When I got home from school I grabbed another Graze box to snack on...Bounty Hunter.  This is the best one!  Chocolate, cranberry and coconut.  Picked at this for about twenty minutes whilst I was getting ready for club.
There were only eight of us in my group tonight, including Heather, the coach.  We're really lucky in Group 4 because the coaches are fantastic and always have a focus for our sessions.  Tonight Heather played a metronome sound at a speed of 180 beats per minute and we had to try and focus on getting our feet to hit the ground each time a beat was played, aiming for a quicker pace over intervals.  We ran a couple of miles out to a warehouse unit, which does not have much traffic, but a nice long curving road.  On the side of the road there are markings every 100m up to 1k.  Our session tonight was quick leg pace out and recovery jog back to the start.  We did 200m (and back), 400m (and back), 600m (and back) then a quick two minute breather before repeating the exercise again.  We covered 5.32 miles overall, with my fastest pace at 6m59s.  I knew most of my speed reps had been in the 7minute miles.  How amazing would it be to eventually get a 5k PB at 7mm?!  I burnt off 676 calories on tonights run.
 Dan had cooked a curry again tonight.  Another tikka masala, this time with prawns and rice.  No naan.  I wasn't really hungry when I got back from club, just tired but knew I had to eat.
This picture makes it look like I ate a whole bar!  I swear it was only two squares!
I also grabbed two squares of white chocolate whilst I was doing the washing up as I fancied something sweet.  Just looked back over my snacks though and realised how sweet they all were today.  I shall pull out some fruit for tomorrow's snacks before bed!

I am working on a Wordpress site currently.  I'm visiting my parents this weekend so hopefully I shall have a bit of time to work on it then and get the blog transferred over soon.  Exciting times!  :)

Weighing breakfast!

This morning I had decided I would have a small bowl of porridge for breakfast.  Yesterday in Runner's World I was reading about Raynaud's, which is when the blood in your body does not always reach your fingers.  My hands have always been quick to change colour in the cold and turn a sort of bluey-purple colour within minutes, but the last few months I have lost all feeling completely in the tips of a couple of my fingers.  The article in Runner's World mentioned foods that could help with this condition, and included oats.
I know my portion sizes have probably been a bit off-whack so I decided to weigh the oats before cooking them this morning.  40g was hardly anything in the bowl and I was really shocked how big the bowl still looked!

Plans scrapped for oats this morning and instead I had a toasted bagel with crunchy peanut butter and several glasses of water.
Now about to put together a salad for lunch...

Mum's birthday surprise!

 Monday the 4th was Mum's 66th birthday.  Coincidentally it was also the four year anniversary of me being offered my current job and my brother passing his driving test!  I had arranged with my brother Mark and my Dad to help organise a surprise birthday meet-up later on in the day...

Started the day with a mixed bowl of Jordan's raspberry crunch and Blueberry wheats with semi-skimmed milk.  This was a nice combination and I will definitely be having it again!
I had my snacks for the day quite early (11ish)...A herby box from Graze (I love these, but the garlic smell is really overpowering afterwards!)  And a festival fruits box.

 I was really hungry by the end of the day, and had two hours after work before Dan was picking me up to go surprise Mum.  I had to nip into town anyway to buy some wrapping paper, so headed into town (about half hour's walk away) and also picked up the first healthy-looking salad I could find.  When I got to the till I was shocked to find it cost me £2.40!  It was lovely, and I would definitely have it again IF it was on offer!  It had feta cheese in, and a sun-dried tomato sauce and blended together really well.  There were only 270 calories in the box and I worked out when I returned to school that I had actually probably burnt off more calories on my walk into town and back in the end!  The fact that I needed to eat this so badly made me think about organising proper lunches again for the coming weeks.  I wouldn't have had time to eat a proper meal yesterday as I had a meeting with an Educational Welfare Officer at lunchtime for a student in my form but this isn't an every day occasion and I need to think about the bigger picture.
I live about 2.5hours drive away from my parents so had suggested that Mark arrange a pub halfway between the two.  My Aunt is currently in a care home mid-way and I suggested that Dad take Mum to visit my Aunt earlier on in the evening, casually suggesting they stop at the pub for some food with it being late.  The agreement was that Dan and I would arrive at 7pm.  Mark would also drive separately up and arrive at this time and Dad would bring Mum in at about 7:15.
The traffic was pretty good so we made it by 6:30 and decided to get a pint in while we waited.  Mark was bang on time.
7:15 came and no sign of Mum and Dad...7:30...8pm...starting to get worried by this point so Mark casually called Dad who answered the phone extremely stressed out and very lost!  Mark directed him the right way but unfortunately it spoilt our surprise a little bit!
Dan and I took a photo while we waited and you can see how tired I am by this point!!!

When the food arrived it was absolutely lovely.  I wasn't really very hungry by the time we ordered so ordered a starter vegetable soup instead.  I knew I would be getting Dan's green veg from the side of his plate, so topped those in the soup too.  The veg were so fresh, really crunchy and tasty.  Glad on this occasion that Dan doesn't eat them!  The soup was thick and really warm.  The bread was mediocre, but that wasn't the important part of the meal!
As we finished up our meals, the pub cat came to join us!  It was very friendly, and later on curled up between Mark and Dad and we forgot all about it!
I was absolutely exhausted after dinner and when Dad suggested dessert, none of us could face it so at about 9:45pm, we parted in the car park and headed home.
I highly recommend this pub, if anybody is ever out by Downham Market in Norfolk.  It is called The Hare Arms and everything was really good, right down to the service.  We actually ended up moving tables twice because when Mark arrived he fancied a different corner, and then when Dad got there, he did the same!!!

Monday, 4 March 2013

A more relaxing Sunday evening

I was a little hungry mid afternoon.  I took a nap after lunch and when I woke up felt like I needed a little something to keep me going until tea.  These are my favourite muller light yoghurts...vanilla with dark chocolate sprinkles.
Snacked on a Tracker bar when making tea to tide me over.

When Dan got back from footy I made my casserole dish.  It had chicken breast, potato, sweet potato, carrots, peas and three dumplings in.  The carrots had loads of flavour today and were really nice.

We sat down and watched Argo last night, but I didn't think a huge amount of it.  Dan made me this large strawberry flavoured hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows on top.  Hot chocolates on a Sunday night used to be a tradition, but we have been pretty busy lately.

This is how Bella spent her evening!  The white is my dressing gown, - she pressed herself between me and the edge of the sofa and stayed snuggly and cute all night!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Marathon training: week 9 Long run

Today it is NINE weeks, one day until Milton Keynes marathon and THIRTEEN weeks until Shires & Spires 35.  Getting close!

Breakfast was a toasted bagel with almond butter.  I had this about 2 hours before setting out in the end though.  I'm loosely following the Runners World Sub 4h30m plan, although without intentions of finishing sub 4:30.  Today I was down to run 8miles at 11mm pace, followed by 7miles at 10mm pace.
I knew I would struggle to keep as slow as 11mm to begin with.  I have found pacing with my watch really tough.  As my last few runs I have focused on not looking at my watch whilst running, but instead running by feel, I decided I would do the same today and see how I got on.  8 slow miles, followed by 7 at a slightly quicker pace.
I didn't get on too badly!...
Mile 1: 11:17 (included warm up)
Mile 2: 10:51
Mile 3: 10:54
Mile 4: 10:55
Mile 5: 11:05
Mile 6: 11:10
Mile 7: 10:56
Mile 8: 10:58
Pretty much spot on for 11 minute miles!  I was desperate for the toilet at about mile 5, so turned back on my route to jump into the local visitor centre toilets at my sixth mile.  I couldn't go before I started my run so planned a run with a loo stop as knew I would need it before the end of the run!
From mile 8 I began munching on a few Lucozade jelly beans each mile.  They are very sugary sweet and I can never finish a packet on a run.  I accidentally swallowed two whole today whilst running as well!
My run started to go downhill from here.  I had told myself that as long as the second half of my run was faster paced I would be happy, but I possibly tried to pick up a little too much speed, and was constantly checking myself back.  It didn't help that most of the second half of my run contained hills either!  The rest of the miles are as follows...
Mile 9: 10:23
Mile 10: 10:12
Mile 11: 10:04
Mile 12: 11:59 (I had a stitch this mile, possibly from too much water?  It was quite hot out and I was drinking a lot so walked 0.4 mile to get rid of it.)
Mile 13: 10:15
Mile 14: 10:39
Mile 15: 11:06
1927 calories burnt and just short of 15 miles with most of it run so I treated myself to a glass of cold milk in the back garden with Bella, where I played 'throw-the-leaf-into-the-wind-and-catch-it-in-a-leap-with-your-paws'.  Bella's favourite game!

Going on the last few weeks of training I think my targets for MK second time round are BRONZE: Sub 5h SILVER: Sub 4:50 GOLD: Sub 4:45.  I am definitely capable of all three of those targets and do not want to set myself too strict a target that ends up with me panicking and pressurising myself on race day.  I have to remember I want to run the ultra just four weeks after and running the marathon last year drained me for weeks.
 After a quick stretch and a shower, I came downstairs to see Bella getting some quality time in with Dan in front of the footy before I put together lunch.  I had been looking forward to this lunch all morning as I picked up lots of nice ingredients whilst food shopping yesterday.
I had some wholemeal pitta breads, and filled Dan's with tuna and cheese, sneaking a piece of cheese for myself before filling my pitta with mixed leaves, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas and goats cheese.  Yum!
Maria pointed out on my post where I compared out and backs and circular routes that the worst runs are definitely runs with repeating loops!  I have to agree...My run from last Sunday was good, but I did wimp out at mile 13 instead of following through to 15 miles partly because I couldn't face adding the two mile loop onto the end and running it again!  There's a lady at my running club who has a park near to her house that is a mile all the way around.  When she's building up her distance for marathon training she runs round and round this park to make up her mileage.  So a few weeks before the marathon she's running around this park 22 times non-stop!  I would be extremely bored and definitely duck out of runs if that was how I had to train!  I love that I can go and explore new places and see things.

Onto Saturday...!

 I had the longest lay-in, and my body clearly needed it after the hectic week at work!  I got up at 6:15, but went back to bed at 8, and although we both woke up at 10:30, we didn't get up till gone midday.  It was nice to actually have time to have a conversation with Dan again!!!
Breakfast was what is becomming my standard bagel with Philadelphia and two ham slices.  I'm almost out though.  Might get on the cereal next week!

Because we didn't have breakfast till really late I wasn't really hungry at lunchtime.  Dan wanted something really filling as we were going out to a party tonight where there would be vegetarians and it was a bring-your-own-dish party so he worried about not having anything he would like (the only vegetables he likes being carrots and peas!)  Therefore he felt it vital to get a meal at KFC for lunch whilst we were out birthday present and food shopping!  I have never liked fast food places but did in the end get a Krush'em milkshake thing.  Shouldn't have bothered.  I hate bits in icecream (like Ben & Jerry's) and Krush'ems have lots of little bits of chocolate inside.  Didn't really enjoy it.
Bella spent the entire day laying on Dan's suit on the bed.
 Because I still had to put together a salad and finish off my cake balls I ended up without time to run which was really frustrating, but I didn't want to rush and stress myself out.  Instead, I put together this beautiful salad, and finished off the cake balls before showering.  The salad is mixed leaves, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes and goats cheese.  I've also bought some cranberries to add to my salads in the week as I have lots of lettuce left over.  Yum!  :)  I love, love, love salads.  They are my absolute favourite meal to have in the Summer, but Dan doesn't like any of it so I don't get to have it very often.  :(

I drove, so that I could not drink, and just had one small homemade pina colada on arrival which I followed with lots of glasses of water throughout the night.  I had said to myself before going I would only eat homemade food at the party and only items I really fancied.  I was very proud of myself and didn't go back for seconds.  None of the food was very healthy apart from mine so I took a big scoop of salad, one small slice of toad in the hole and then three mini pastry rolls - one with goats cheese and rocket, one with feta and spinach and one with sausage and cheddar.

The cake Claire made was amazing!  I did also have a slice of this later on and Vicki packed me a slice to take home which I demolished in the car on the way back!  Really tired towards the end of the evening and knowing I had to get up to run 15 miles in the morning on very little sleep!  Good night though!