Friday, 1 May 2015

I've only gone and entered my first half marathon!

Yes your reading that right I've decided that it's time to enter my first ever half marathon!

Just 5 months ago on a cold December morning my sister came down to Cornwall for a visit and insisted that I tried out a local Park Run event. Struggling around the course through breathless running and lots of walking I managed to just about get around the 5km course.

Fast forward just 5 months and the fact that it's only a few weeks to my 30th birthday I'm having a mini life crisis and I've decided that it's about time I challenged myself and decided to attempt something a lot harder. I've just agreed to sign up to the Cardiff half marathon. Alongside over 20,000 other people I will be attempting to get around a 13.1 mile course around the famous city of Cardiff, that's just over 21km, a lot LOT further than the 5km I'm used to struggling around.

As if that's not enough of a challenge to be taking on with all the additional training that will be required of me I am also raising money for a great charity and that's the WWF. For anyone that knows me or follows my blog will know just how much I adore panda bears and want to help a charity that works to protect their future and their environment.

I'm now asking kindly for people to sponsor me and they can on my just giving page here, every penny is gratefully received by the charity but also means so much to me in believing that I can actually do a half marathon.

Thank You to everyone that's supporting me on this event.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Park Run number 15

Saturday morning saw me attend my 15th Park Run at Lanhydrock and I can honestly say that they don't get any easier!

On Friday night straight from work I went for a surf and spent the evening paddling around in the ocean watching glimpses of the sun setting between the grey clouds. It was a lovely evening as the weather wasn't great and this had meant that the beach was quiet and as the waves were considerably smaller than the previous few days of EPIC conditions it was ideal for a learner surfer like myself.

Once I had used up every ounce of energy it was time to leave the beach, get showered, fed and watered and off to bed ready for Park Run the following morning.

The weather forecast for this Saturday was pretty grim to say the least and although the morning was supposed to stay dry for Park Run the afternoon was sounding pretty horrific with lots of heavy rain forecast as well as thunder and lightening thrown into the mix.

When I arrived at Park Run I said hello to the familiar faces that I am beginning to see each week and with the sun just about shining through the clouds it felt a lot warmer than the previous weeks standing on the start line shivering. I decided that this was the week that I would leave my long sleeve top behind and run in just the T-shirt and hope that it doesn't rain and I was so pleasantly surprised that I wasn't cold at all and set off down hill alongside all the other runners.

I didn't feel particularly strong this week, I felt like I was already struggling and the start of the course is the easy section of down hill and flat patches but already I was getting out of breath and suffering a stitch. I continued pushing along but by the time I had reached the second of the giant hills on the Lanhydrock course I was walking. With some words of encouragement from the volunteers I had picked up the pace again and was back into a jog rather than a walk but yet again as the path got steeper I was struggling for breath and back down to a walking pace.

On the last of the 5km route at Lanhydrock the course goes downhill so with every ounce of strength I stopped the walk and started jogging to the finish really feeling the burn on this one today. Once I had had my bar code scanned in and got my breath back I headed back to the car, stretched and headed home. The sun was starting to disappear and the clouds and the rain were coming over and I felt proud that I had made it out of bed and enjoying the only good part of the day.

A few hours later my time for the course came through and I was pleasantly surprised that I had still managed to achieve a sub 30 minute 5km..... just! With a time of 29:18 it wasn't as bad as I thought even though I had walked rather more of the course than usual.



Sunday, 26 April 2015

Park Run number 14

At the end of March I attended a Park Run where everything hurt. It started with a little groin niggle to a painful knee to a painful calf but the 5km course was harder and more painful then ever to get around.

With three weeks off running, lots of stretching and a trip to Brighton and Essex later I'm back in Cornwall and back to my local Park Run.

As I hadn't run for three weeks, and was worried about doing more damage to my knee I decided that I would go to Park Run but would take it easy.

I started off gentle and plodded through the down hill section of the course and so far things were good, no twinges, no pain, so I carried on. Getting to the horrible hill, anybody that has taken part in the Lanhydrock Park Run will know about the grueling last mile which is a solid up hill climb away from the river and it just gets worse every week.

Struggling to the top of the hill a fellow Newquay Road Runner was cheering me on and willing me not to stop. I did slow right down due to barely being able to catch my breath but as we raced towards the finish line I was pleased to receive a time of 30:19. Only 2 minutes off my PB and having not run for three weeks felt really pleased with my effort.

Onwards and upwards to hopefully get another PB soon.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Things to do before i'm 30!

I'm having a mid life crisis, or maybe a mini life crisis as in less than two months I will be turning 30! Thirty, the big three zero. It doesn't matter how I say it, it doesn't sound any less daunting that I'm soon to be over the hill. I've always been the younger one in my group of friends and the youngest colleague in my career but that is all changing.

I'm freaking out, there's so much i've yet to achieve in life, I don't feel like I have amounted to anything of interest in the thirty years of being on the planet. I'm not married, I don't have children, I'm certainly not a millionaire. I'm not poor but I run out of money well before pay day each month. I love dressing up in my panda onesie and adore disney movies and still feel very much like a child and not sure that i'm ready to be a thirty something!

In my panic of turning thirty i've decided that I need to achieve a few things that I keep meaning to get around to one day and have still yet to do.

SO... I want to enlist some of my lovely friends to achieve a few things on my 'Before i'm thirty bucket list' (p.s I'm not dying at thirty and I hope not to kick the bucket, but here's my list) So who is free over the next few weeks to tick these off the list?

1. Go roller skating.

2. Hire a rowing or pedalow boat at Trenance boating lake.
Newquay Boating Lake
image from http://www.cornishhorizons.co.uk/properties/newquay/2_harvest_moon
3. Sign up to a long distance race.... (OK so the furthest I've run is 6 miles and I've only been running a few months and i'm currently injured but I want to sign up to a half marathon!!! I'm only putting 'sign up' as I won't be nearly fit enough in less than two months to physically run a long race but I will at least fill in the forms and pay my money and train before my birthday.)

4. Try paddle boarding

5. Have a sophisticated dinner party! well it probably won't be that sophisticated and will more likely be a scenario of take out food and getting drunk with friends, but with my new found love of baking I can at least make a dessert for the occasion! Or maybe I should make flan...... Old people eat flan, right?

Landslide in Newquay doesn't stop local surfers

On the 5th of February nearly two months ago there was a land slide in Newquay. The road and access to Gt Western Beach now blocked by tonnes of debris, soil, rock and brickwork.

However two months on the council have yet to visit the beach and repair the crumbling cliff and have simply blocked access from the top and bottom of the beach.

However if you are a surfer and the waves are looking good at the beach you are likely to still want to surf at this spot. Like several surfers seen in the images below, they clamber over the fences with their boards, over the pile of land slipped material and onto the beach for a surf.

The benefits of risking your life for a surf are that not everyone wants to clamber over a pile of fallen debris, so the beach is relatively quite at the moment for surfers in the water. However as the easter holidays arrive and so do the tourists It'll be interesting to see how long it takes for the council to repair the road down to the beach, especially with summer just around the corner.
Landslide in Newquay Cornwall

Landslide at Gt Western Beach Newquay
The pictures above show at least four surfers in the space of three minutes all ignoring the signs and continuing past the landslide to get in the water. 

Fingers crossed the land is stable and no more debris falls whilst more and more people will ignore the warning signs and access the beach especially with the holidays starting and the arrival of the holiday makers. The longer the road is shut the more people will ignore the signs and continue to use the beach as they had done before.

Soggy sundays deserve the perfect roast dinner

What better way to spend a Soggy Sunday then making a beast of a roast dinner! Last week when I checked the weather forecast for the weekend I was a little saddened to see that the whole weekends forecast consisted of strong winds and heavy rain. Although I had taken part in the Park Run on the Saturday morning sadly I had injured myself whilst running and that meant that even if the weather was good I wouldn't be able to go surfing or cycling on a dodgy knee this weekend. 

With going out and exercising off the cards and leaving the comfort of the nice dry and warm house very doubtful I decided I would put my time to good use and make a full roast dinner for me and the man. 

I love eating roast dinner and to be honest I don't really mind making it but it's a lot of effort when there is just two of us to cook for so it's not very often that we enjoy one in our house. 

Slightly more grateful of the bad weather was my other half who got to stay indoors out of the rain, feet up on the sofa watching the formula one whilst I prepared a full pork roast dinner. 

Sunday Roast

Pork Crackling

Enjoying a sunday roastRaspberry blonde beer
And YES, there are Yorkshire puddings with our Pork roast dinner! So yes it is acceptable to have yorkshire pudding with ALL roast dinners.



Sunday, 29 March 2015

Park Run number 13, unlucky for some, Very unlucky for me!

Last weekend when the weather was glorious and the sun was shining I couldn't attend park run. I was pretty gutted and getting the e-mail of results later on that day I realised that it was a good run for a lot of people with loads of PB's so this weekend I was adamant I wanted to do it.

Checking the weather during the week it wasn't looking good, with the forecast suggesting that the whole weekend would be filled with gale force winds and lots of rain I still wasn't put off and wanted to run.

Heading to the pub on Friday night I made the decision that I would stay too long and wouldn't drink so that I could get up in time to attend park run in the morning. By 1am I was finally leaving the pub, although sober a lot later then I had wanted. I checked the forecast again and it was suggesting a dry morning followed by torrential rain around 10.00am.

I got up, ignored the wind howling outside grabbed the rain mack and headed to Lanhydrock park. Arriving there were lots of others who were also not put off by the wind and rain and everyone was warming up and although it was a little drizzly it wasn't all that bad. I lightly jogged to the start line and stood there yawning my head off. Maybe staying up so late was not such a good idea, I'm a girl of routine and a late night really messes with my body clock but I was proud I had got out of bed in such potentially horrible weather and was doing some morning exercise.

The run began and we were off and I was still half asleep and yawning and not wanting to be running but as we entered into the woods the flowers and the beautiful scenery took my mind off running and as we headed down into the steep down hill woody section that was it, I did some weird slipping, skidding nearly falling over but saved it moment. I didn't even think about it and kept running but I had immediate pain in my left calf. I continued to jog but it hurt a lot and I walked large sections.

By this time the drizzle had turned to heavy rain, my leg was really hurting and I was soaked through and not really enjoying this weeks park run. I'm pleased I took part and didn't miss another run but I think I might be on volunteer duty for a few weeks now whilst I rest my calf!
Lanhydrock Park Run in the Rain

Moral of the story is..... If you have a late night at the pub and it's raining outside, STAY IN BED, exercise is not good for you!!!!


Saturday, 21 March 2015

Lemon drizzle and blueberry cake

I love cake! I love making cake and I really love eating cake and it has become a bit of a habit to make a weekly cake. Recently I've made a carrott cake as well as a white chocolate and raspberry cake and multiple banana loafs but after suffering a few colds in our house I have a surplus of lemons that need using.

I decided to make a lemon drizzle loaf cake but wanted to add a few extra flavours and decided to add blueberries into the mix.

Once the cake was cooked it was drizzled with pure lemon juice and sugar yet even though I had pricked the cake all over the cake had risen quite a lot and the lemon juice just kept running off the sides rather than into the cake.

I need to find a better way to get the drizzle into my lemon drizzle cake! Once the cake was cooled it was time to remove from the tin and grab a slice. The cake was delicious however all the blueberries had sunk to the bottom and the lemon juice had barely made it past the top of the sponge. So I made a half/half cake by accident. Lemon drizzle on the top half and a blueberry loaf on the bottom half. It was all very yummy and had to be eaten quickly as a soggy cake can go off in no time at all... or at least that was my excuse my munching my way through a whole loaf of cake in just a few days!!!

If a cake has fruit or veg in it then it's healthy......right?

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Seriously naughty white chocolate and raspberry sponge cake

When we offered to host a dinner party at ours just a few days before a friends birthday we wanted to bake something really yummy. But with a very hectic day planned and not a massive amount of time a simple sponge cake was going to have to make do for dessert.

Adding my two favourite ingredients to the cake made a mundane sponge cake into an indulgent white chocolate and raspberry sponge cake.

Melting white chocolate into a bowl and adding this carefully to whisked cream cheese makes an absolutely devine frosting for cakes. then adding raspberries to the mix creates a gorgeous pink layer to sandwich between the two cakes. With the top then decorated with further white chocolate cream cheese mix. Then a few more raspberries and a random choice of marshmallows later I had a totally delicious moist, creamy, fruity sponge cake for the centre of the dinner table made from a simple sponge cake.
White chocolate and raspberry sponge cake

White chocolate and raspberry sponge cake
 I think If I throw together another cake like this I will make it slightly more indulgent by somehow blow tourching the marshmallows to give them a little colour as well as drizzling more white chocolate over the whole of the top of the cake to tie together the topping.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Park Run number 12 at Lanhydrock house Bodmin. Shaving 7 minutes of my time in 3 months.

Last week it was time for my twelfth Park Run at Lanhydrock House in Bodmin and I wasn't really feeling it. I had been out the night before only for a quiet one with a few pints but I was knackered and had had a terrible nights sleep and was wide awake watching the minutes tick over from 5.00am.

I eventually got out of bed at 6.30am and had my breakfast and thought to myself I might as well do Park Run as I was awake early but I felt shattered. Arriving at Lanhydrock house in Bodmin I was feeling wiped out, sleepy and yawning my head off. I warmed up by jogging to the start line and that hurt! My knees ached and I really did feel like I couldn't even achieve getting around the whole course today.

Meeting up with some friends on the start line we were chatting away and through yawning my head off my eyes were streaming with water and all off a sudden everyone started running. I was half asleep and hadn't even heard them shout go! I started running and thought to myself how hard it felt today, the first bit of the run is a quick down hill before a slight up hill and that first little section of uphill really did feel like a battle!

I wanted to get this finished, as I know the course I slowed down my pace on the flat section along the river in the hope of saving some energy for the long uphill slog. I am still yet to run the whole course and this weeks attempt was no exception. As I hit the steep muddy section through the woods, on the last of the uphill sections before the finish I could barely catch my breath and had to slow down to a walk. As I reached the gate I knew I only had a slight incline uphill to go before a dash downhill to the finish. Forcing myself to pick the pace back up I continued running very slowly up the hill to the brow of the hill and gave it everything to get to the end.

I crossed the finish line absolutely exhausted and got myself scanned in to receive my time and started walking back up the hill to the car park. At least after my run I was feeling slightly more awake now but definitely more exhausted.

Then to my surprise the results came through and I received my notification of my time and to my absolute astonishment and shock I had achieved a new PB!!! Yes a new personal best, clearly lack of sleep and cider has had a positive effect on my running. My quickest time up until now had been 29:11 and this was 4 weeks ago and I was proud of this time, I was sub 30minutes on a hard 5km course and that, I was happy with. After all I have only been running for 3 months now. Last week I had felt stronger, faster and a lot more confident yet I was 6 seconds off beating that time. This week I felt rubbish and smashed through knocking 28 seconds off my time and this week received a time of 28:43.

I'm so pleased that in just 12 Park Run attempts I have gone from achieving a time of 35:48 on my first attempt to now receiving a time of 28:43 shaving a whole 7 minutes of my 5km time since I began.

Massive thank you's go out to Park Run for turning my fitness around in just 3 months and to all the volunteers at Lanhydrock Park run who put on the event. See you all on Saturday for the next one.