Back on the road

The most pleasing thing about my Friday bike is how quickly I recovered. Some might say that means I didn’t push it hard enough, but I prefer to think of it as conservation of energy for the rest of the weekend ahead, which as it turns out I needed to do.

Parkrun on saturday looked like it was going to be sunny but then it was pretty chilly down at the track. I didn’t really have a plan other than to pootle round, but when Mike turned up and said he was happy to run round with me I thought I would go for it and try and get him to pace me under 27 mins for the first time since November. He was up for the challenge and since I had forgotten my Garmin (ARGH) I left myself in his hands. He was really good actually, he didn’t expect me to talk all the way round and kept me updated when I needed to push on. Near the end I thought I’d blown it but found some effort from somewhere and finished in 26:55. Still nowhere near the heady heights of sub-25 but the fastest all year and it felt pretty good. I don’t have my splits but Mike reckoned we’d done the tricky middle mile the fastest, so I was pretty chuffed with that.

The rest of Saturday passed in a haze of cleaning, the sunshine is lovely but it doesn’t half show up the dust so we topped and tailed the place between us and it looked much better by the end of it. I also got a bit of baking in – a second attempt at Tiger Bread, this turned out really well and tasted AMAZING. I made it by hand rather than in the Breadmaker and used my new proving basket and both worked out really well. Will definitely be doing that again (after the wedding though, the temptation to eat the whole thing warm drenched in butter is too strong).

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Sunday saw my first 10k of the year – the North Tyneside 10k. I’ve not done it before but it is popular as witnessed by the large number of clubmates also taking part. The race starts in North Shields and heads up the coast before finishing in Whitley Bay. Rather unusually for a race of this magnitude there is no chip timing, so the start was a bit of a scrum. The beginning bit is downhill but then it climbs quite steeply up to the coastal path by Tynemouth Priory (I walked up that!) and then never really flattens out before you get to the end. My aim was to get round in under an hour, but my parkrun yesterday had spurred me on a bit, and apart from a niggle in my upper thigh (caused by cycling I think) I felt ok, so pushed on and came home in about 55 and a half mins. Again like parkrun it is some way off my best but represents an improvement on recent times so I was happy.

Or mostly happy anyway since if I thought the start had been a scrum then that was nothing compared to the finish where people were barging in the queue left right and centre. I don’t know if they just didn’t understand funnel etiquette or wanted to boost their finishing place but it was rude and made me quite cross, and coupled with a 45 min wait for the bus back to the start I think the organisers could think a bit more carefully about next years race. The nice t-shirt and socks helped though, as did some easter cakes baked by some clubmates and it was hard to be cross for very long.

After all this excitement there was still more to come on Easter Monday which saw a very pleasant round of golf in the sunshine and then back on the bike again (this time my hybrid which has yet to be named…) for 22 miles along the trail with some clubmates.

This leaves the last week or so with the following:

Sun: 12 mile fell race
Mon: 4 mile recovery run
Tues: 4 mile lunchtime run, strength and conditioning training in the evening
Weds: track session (4.5 mile total)
Thurs: 1 mile swim
Fri: 53 mile bike ride
Sat: parkrun
Sun: 10k race
Mon: golf and 22 mile bike ride

I make that nearly 110 miles of activity – not bad at all. Unfortunately this equated to a 5lb loss by Friday, and a 4lb gain from Fri to Monday so my diet needs some work this week, but that I can do.

This week is:

Tues: possible run (colleagues have wimped out though) and strength and conditioning
Weds: Relay race
Thurs: Swim

Then away for the weekend which scuppers most plans except maybe parkrun on saturday. Better go out for a run today I think…

Food Glorious Food

The blog has been a bit running heavy recently so I am ringing the changes and talking about food for a change. I am absolutely unable to stop eating at the moment, it is quite scary. I think I’m stressing about everything (work, wedding, you name it) and that manifests itself in a desire to eat my way out of the doldrums, but that in return just makes me more miserable when I weigh myself so I get caught in a vicious circle from which there is seemingly no return. This does have the bonus that I have plenty of food to talk about on here, but really I need to have a word with myself. And after the weekend I will. Honest.

Anyway, a mixture of food topics today – firstly my love for new chocolate bars knows no end. Last year I scoured every newsagent in a 2 mile radius to try and find White Lion Bars (I failed, but a lovely friend sent me some in the post), so now whenever I see something new I buy it immediately in case I can’t find it again.

Cadbury are a good source of new food, and I’ve found my local Tesco Metro an excellent place to find hidden gems, especially since they have a World Food section with US, Irish, Polish, Indian and many other foods, it is rather exciting (albeit pricey!). My first offering comes from there – Tiffin Dairy Milk (usually available in Ireland). It’s like Fruit and Nut but with biscuit swapped for the nuts (much more sensible) and is rather good.

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Next up are two further Cadbury newbies – Ritz and Lu biscuits with Dairy Milk. The salty/sweet combo is one I am not usually enamoured by and in fact I ended up eating the crackers and then the chocolate which is not quite as intended. The biscuit one is nicer I think, but I’d still rather tuck into a bar of Dairy Milk on its own :purist:

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Next up and finally some baking. Scones from our recent weekend away and some peanut butter squares made for the Sport Relief bakesale at work.

I use Nigella’s recipe for Lily’s Scones as it really is the best – light and fluffy and very quick to knock up. We have a little ritual where before we leave for the weekend I rub the butter into the flour before we go and take the flour mix with me, then add the milk and mix the dough and get them in the oven while J is unpacking the car when we get there. J is fussy and likes plain scones whereas I like cherry so I usually have to halve the batch but at least that way I get an even number to myself! Serve with jam and clotted cream, preferably when they are still a bit warm out of the oven, utter bliss.

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The peanut butter squares are a source of frustration to me since they taste better than pretty much anything on earth, but it is a Lorraine Pascale recipe and I have to admit I am not one of her biggest fans. Anyone whose cookery book contains more pictures of them than the actual food is just wrong, and she really annoyed me on My Kitchen Rules as well. However her peanut butter squares are absolutely to die for, so I just try and not think about her while I am shoving them in my face at a rate of knots.

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Anyway, I am off to mull over the unwiseness of writing a blog article about food and cake when I should be thinking about lettuce and celery, hopefully there will be some book talk tomorrow since I have finished a couple recently. Who says I can’t be well-rounded (literally and metaphorically…)?

Downhill – but in a good way

My legs were still a bit battered on Saturday morning so parkrun was a bit of a struggle, I finished in well over 30 mins but the sun was out and it was definitely easier than previous weeks where I’d done my long run on the Friday. It was then straight off to XC on the club bus – last fixture of the season for me since I can’t make the final race in two weeks time but I think I’ve done enough to get my t-shirt, hurrah! The League had definitely saved the best for last, the location was absolutely beautiful with views of Alnwick Castle wherever you looked.

The course was rather nice too, no steep hills but instead a long drag up to some woods, then a short, sharp bumpy downhill to end the lap. I ran round with a clubmate as we’d done the previous week at Wreckenton and it really helped, she’s an excellent motivator! Despite dead legs and lack of mojo by the second lap I was hurdling trees and running downhill like a mountain goat and ended up really enjoying it. Some excellent cake afterwards too and my creme egg brownies (or rather the ones I pinched from this excellent recipe) went down a storm, much to the littlest one’s annoyance as he was hoping they would be unpopular and there would be plenty left for him – not so much!

Back home on the bus and out for dinner at our local, I was good and had steak and salad but then finished up with an enormous waffle and ice cream, just reward for a hard week’s running though I think. Sinking over a bottle of wine in the ensuing evening along with some drizzly cold weather the following morning put paid to any cycling thoughts I had been idly entertaining and I ended up doing housework, writing the parkrun report and watching Sunderland lose the Cup Final on Sunday, but I feel a bit more refreshed today so it probably did me some good. This week’s training schedule is as follows:

Mon: Swim (1 mile, and I’ve remembered my goggles this time, hurrah!)
Tues: Lunchtime run and Strength & Conditioning in the evening
Weds: Club-run night but I’ll probably do track instead I think
Thurs: Away for work in London so day off, might try and sneak in a morning swim though
Fri: Work meeting in London. Debating a run by the river beforehand.
Sat: parkrun tourism
Sun: Cambridge half

Will see how I go…

Road to nowhere

After the disaster of Snake Lane and the necessity of a work trip down south I haven’t run much this week apart from a quick 5k blast on tuesday lunchtime with some colleagues. In my Jantastic over-enthusiasm I have committed to a long run of 15 miles this week though so to avoid having to get up at the crack of dawn on Sunday and to avoid the awful awful dirty treble of a long run on friday night followed by parkrun and XC on Saturday (did that the other week, NEVER AGAIN), it means today is the day.

I am complaining internally (well, on here) though since doing a long run on a weekday evening is HARD. I’m tired anyway from my work trip and somehow never get my nutrition right for an evening run, plus it is dark, plus I lose most of my evening, plus poor J has to have yet another evening where I am not home until late so he is on dinner duty again. Fortunately (or unfortunately?), I work about 15.5 miles from home so will be running home tonight which at least mitigates some of the issues since I get home at a more reasonable time than if I went home and then went out, I’d have to walk some of the way anyway and the evenings are getting lighter but still I find myself wishing it wasn’t so. But I will enjoy it once it is finished, and I have remembered to bring my portable radio so can listen to 5live on the way home – it is quite soothing to run along listening to someone chatting and makes a change from my usual dance playlist. Roll on 4pm…

In other news I have obtained the last Divergent book so will give it a go and report back. On my kindle at the moment is JK Rowling’s detective novel which I am really enjoying, and I’ve also just finished Life of Pi (about 100 years after everyone else). I enjoyed it until the island bit where it just got weird and never really recovered. Next up is the Goldfinch I think.

In baking news I need to create something for XC on Saturday so am debating choices. I might do some mini-sandwiches for a bit of savoury, but cake is really the main event. I might stick with tried and tested malteaser traybake for an easy life but plan to ponder other choices while on the road tonight – 3 hours should be more than enough time to cogitate!