Saturday, 28 February 2015

Park Run number 10

I'm really pleased to have made it to double figures for the number of Park Runs that I have now completed. Last week I celebrated my tenth Park Run and really pushed harder this week than I had before. The Park Run course at Lanhydrock is an interesting course, the first third of the course is a downhill race through the trees hurtling towards the river. The second third is a fairly flat trundle alongside the river but then comes the last section with the majority being an uphill slog.

I'm still yet to get the whole way around the course running the whole circuit but each week I try to run up those hills a little bit further before giving up and struggling for breath each week. Last week, run number ten was no different I pushed my body further and tried to get around the course without walking but the section of squishy sucky slidey uphill mud had better ideas and before reaching the peak of the hill I was walking and wheezing.

Although I tried to get a quicker time for my tenth run at Lanhydrock it wasn't going to happen and now I can't wait for the next one to see if I can go any quicker. It's slightly addictive but there are definitely worse things to be addicted to in life than running!
Park Run Lanhydrock completion times

Park Run number 11 for me, i've decided to give my time back to the event and i'm doing my first stint of volunteering at the run. The whole of Park Run is only possible due to volunteers so every ten runs I would like to volunteer and thank those volunteers for my first ten runs and getting me back into running after many years away from the sport.

Lets see if Park Run 12 holds a new personal best? I'm crossing my fingers for rock hard frozen ground light winds and no rain to be on my side to help me along after I'll miss running a week but i'm not sure we will be getting any freezing weather in March.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Pancake Day 2015

As many of my regular blog readers will know I live a fairly busy life, I have a full time job and add a healthy dose of keeping fit and a sprinkling of hobbies thrown in on top. This results in some events slipping by without notice. However when we were both too busy to celebrate pancake day on Tuesday the 17th of February we were not letting that one pass us by.

In 2014 we missed our traditional British pancake day as were away snowboarding in Bulgaria but did manage to find a place on the mountain that served us their version of pancakes. It might be several days after pancake day but we decided to celebrate in style and go for a double dose of pancakes and have a main course savoury followed by a dessert sweet course of pancakes.

In my traditional style I decided not to use a recipe but to simply throw together whatever I could find in the cupboards, after all isn't that what shrove Tuesday is suppose to be about and using up all the left over ingredients before lent?

With a stack of regular pancakes made it was now time to make them into a meal. With a tin of ratatouille, a tin of hotdog sausages some spinach and cheese I made an enchilada inspired dish using pancakes. Popped it into the oven to heat through and created a really delicious dish.
Pancake day in Cornwall
For seconds it was time to dish out the sweet pancakes and for this decided to cook up a batch of american style pancakes that were fat and fluffy and the complete opposite to the savoury ones. Topped with some homemade apple and cinnamon sauce they made the perfect end to a pancake day even if it was after the main event!

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Valentines Day dates in Falmouth and review of the Shed

The 14th of February, Valentines day a day to celebrate love. Reminiscing back to your school days worrying if you would or wouldn't get a card and then receiving a card with that illusive "from ......??" is a thing of the past. As you get older things change, you go from looking forward to Valentines day and the mystery of whether or not you will get spoilt by a new boyfriend to being in a steady relationship and thinking that Valentines is no more than a money making scheme by the card companies and retailers to get you to increase their revenue after the January sales have been and gone. After all Christmas was only a few weeks ago and we spoilt each other rotten then!

On Saturday I was fortunate enough to spend my 7th Valentines with my lovely other half and he really didn't disappoint. Producing a small gift bag even though we had agreed no gifts. I looked inside and was super excited to receive a new lemon juicer!!! Romantic? maybe not but something I keep moaning about missing in my kitchen and very useful? Yes indeed. I do seem to remember last year buying my other half a new griddle pan for Valentines! Who ever said romance is dead? Romance is just extremely practical in our house!
Valentines Day gift

Starting off Valentines with a bit of true love, I jumped out of bed and headed up to Bodmin to complete the 5km Park Run. On arriving home I was delighted that my other half was going to spend the day with me. That might sound like a funny statement considering we live together but we are both rather independent. I will often fill my weekends with running, cycling, surfing, baking and sewing whereas my partner prefers tinkering with cars or building our house and doing DIY so quite often we spend weekends doing things that we love just not together.

On Valentines day all that changes, although I sneaked in my Park Run it was a day that we were going to spend together and this year that meant a romantic day together in Falmouth. Perusing the quaint shops, walks around the harbour and a spot of lunch. Falmouth really is the perfect place for spending the afternoon and one of the first places we went together before we started dating so even more special for us.
Valentines Day in Falmouth

We headed to The Shed for a bite to eat for our Valentines lunch which is a small cocktail tapas restaurant near to the maritime museum. On arriving the restaurant was fairly busy but we were lucky enough to get squeezed in. The service was exceptional and our waiter extremely friendly, polite and helpful. With a drink each we perused the menu and I decided that after my extremely healthy morning of running 5km I would reward my self with a dirty great big burger! There was sadly a slight mix up on my order and they had added blue cheese to my burger which I didn't want but the staff were fantastic and not only swiftly re-made my meal but also bought us complimentary drinks to apologise for the mix up. When the food arrived it really was very yummy and a huge portion that did feel less guilty once consumed with the knowledge that I had at least earned a few mouthfuls of it with my earlier run.


Friday, 20 February 2015

Cycling in Cornwall, The Pentewan Trail, St Austell and Roach

Each weekend I love to utilise my time as much as possible and in the winter these means squeezing in exercise that I would usually do in the evenings during the summer. If the waves are learner friendly then i'll be in the sea learning to surf if the waves are too big and scary but the weather nice then you'll find me out on my bike. Even when the weathers terrible I've recently got into the habit of attending the Lanhydrock Park Run 5km each Saturday morning.

Last weekend was glorious, it was cold but super lovely and bright and so I stated to plan a route to complete on my bike. I've mainly been doing bike rides that consist of a circular route and normally to the north coast and back but this week with an offer of picking me and my bike up I decided to head in the opposite direction and cycle to the south coast of Cornwall.

With the first few rotations of the peddles on my bike my legs were feeling pretty stiff from the previous days Park Run but I wanted to push on and reach my goal of seeing the sea on the south coast. Previously i've managed 20+ miles on my bike and this week I was attempting to achieve 16+ miles to reach the coastal village of Pentewan but i've not yet cycled any distance the very next day after running.

Leaving my house I headed straight to the Goss moor trail and enjoyed the relatively flat off road cycle which finally got my legs warm. However I had forgotten just how high Roach is and slowly peddled my way up hill to reach Roach Rock. It was definitely worth the effort as on such a beautiful day as from the top it really did look stunning. With a brief stop, a quick photograph and a slurp of water it was back on the bike to continue pushing my way up the hill towards Stenalees. Once I reached the roundabout I knew the next section was going to be worth the long uphill burn as the next section was pretty much all down hill towards St Austell.
Roach Rock Cornwall

Roach Rock Cornwall Bike Ride

Cycling in Cornwall
I whizzed down the road, catching my breath and letting my muscles rest I hunkered my body down trying to avoid the wind in my face. Within seconds my eyes were streaming from the cold wind in my face but it felt exhilarating. I've recently started to track my exercise using the Endomondo ap and this is great as over a distance it will tell you just how far you've gone, where you've gone and how fast you achieve each mile. With an average pace of around 6 minutes a mile I was suddenly hearing via my headphones that I had just completed a mile at a speed of 2 minutes 58 seconds for the mile with a top speed of 27.14 miles an hour!

As I was cycling towards Trehowel I saw people using the clay trails and thought to myself that looks like more fun than being on the main road with the traffic speeding past so headed onto the clay trails.
The St Austell Clay Trails

It started off pretty well passing other trail users but then it all went very wrong. The path split quickly into two with no sign-age of where to go. In my head I flipped a coin and decided to take the path to the left, heading down the path I soon realised this couldn't be the clay trails. The path soon became a struggle to cycle along so I took to walking with my bike. Then the path became littered with remnants of an old railway system and then before long the path came to an abrupt stop!
Train Track remnants in Cornwall

Turning around and heading back the way I had just come I took the path on the right, but again not before long the path split into two and yet again there were no sign's on where to go. I took a path and it was a physical impossibility to cycle along. The path was deep with boggy mud in places and big rocks and not to mention very steep up hill. I pushed my bike through the mud and struggled over the big rocks and stones with my feet sinking into the mud and getting my clothes caught on brambles. I started thinking to myself why didn't I just stick to the road? I was heading up hill on a footpath that I had no idea where it ended, although the views were quite nice my feet and my bike was now lagged in mud. As I approached the brow of the hill I arrived at a farm, this turned out to be Boskell Riding Centre.but the good news this was on a minor road.
Cycling around St Austell

I got back on my bike and realised that my brakes wouldn't work as were caked in mud so I tried the best I could to scrap off the mud and get back on my way. I sped down the country lane and even got a bit scared at one point as I was going faster than I wanted and got a bit of a skid and a wobble on. At the bottom of the road I reached the road that I was on 20 minutes earlier but now covered in mud, brambles and shattered after my slog up a boggy hill for nothing.

Back on the main road I headed towards St Austell and through the town centre and out the other side where I joined the cycle network which took me back off the main road and along the Pentewan trail all the way to Pentewan village.
Pentewan Trail St AustellPentewan Trail cycle route
As I reached the end of the trail I arrived in the village of Pentewan headed straight down to the beach to see the sea. I imagine that the damage to the beach had been done in last years storms and that it once looked a lot prettier but even with the slight damage to the sea wall the beach is still a beautiful place.
Pentewan Beach Cornwall

Pentewan Beach Cornwall
It was a beautiful day and even if I did get a bit lost i'm pleased that I managed to cycle to the south coast, my next challenge will be to increase the distance again and attempt over the 25 mile mark. For now i'm looking at a map of Cornwall and working out where my next adventure with me and my bike will take me,
Cycling the Pentewan Beach Cornwall

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Park Run Number 9

Back in December 2014 I joined in the Park Run movement and If I'm completely honest it's rather addictive. Last weekend I bounced out of bed at 7.00am on a Saturday morning and kitted myself out in my running gear, had my breakfast and started to contemplate, whether on Valentines morning I should really be up and out of bed and heading to a National Trust Park to run around a 5km route, rather than stay in bed or even produce breakfast in bed for the other half.... After about 3 seconds of thinking I was clearly not going back to bed nor making breakfast in bed and was in fact in my car heading to Lanhydrock.

As I drove into the Park the heavens started to open and the rain poured down, I didn't bring a waterproof coat for running in and contemplated running in my ski jacket but knew I would be far to warm so sat there for a minute debating whether to simply start the engine on my car and turn around and head straight back home. I had been running in torrential rain a few weeks previously and it wasn't the most enjoyable run I have taken part in. I reluctantly took my coat off as other runners were arriving and jogging down to the start of the run and thought I really couldn't head back now.

With my warm snugly coat now on the back seat I pulled the thin hood up on my running top and headed to the toilet block for my pre run wee. The wind was really quite cold and the rain was still coming down. As I got to the toilet block to my horror the toilets were all locked up bar one disabled loo and there was a queue a mile long for this one loo. I queued for a bit but realised there was no way I could stay in the queue and be at the start of the run at 9.00am and I wanted to get a time after all that effort of actually taking part rather than heading home.

As more and more runners arrived it looked to be a pretty busy Park Run this week and as we huddled under the trees for shelter from the rain we were called to the start line, briefed by the volunteers about the conditions and all cheered the tourist runners that were taking part in this weeks run as well as thank all the volunteers for putting on the event each week.
Lanhydrock Park Run
Image from
We were off, and almost immediately I had forgotten about how cold I was and how the weather wasn't particularly lovely. Heading into the narrow paths of the wooded section of the run I realised that it was in fact a pretty busy week as I was usually jogging along pretty much on my own by this stage as all the fast runners disappear off into the distance but this week there was still lots of runners jogging along beside me.
Park Run Cornwall
Image from
I must admit I felt like I struggled this week, the wind was strong and cold, the ground was back to it's typically boggy deep sludgy mess unlike the previous week of sunshine and frozen ground but I pushed on around the course. I tried to keep up with other runners around me and attempted not to get too upset when people went speeding past me.

The last mile of the course is an uphill battle and as fast as my feet were pushing forwards up hill the mud had other ideas and I was sliding back down. The muddy uphill section was zapping my energy and the wind was also pushing me back. I pushed on through and was relieved to hit the downhill length to the finish line.
Bodmin Park Run
Image from
Once finished I scanned my barcode in to gain my time and headed back up the hill towards the car park, Runners were still pouring down the hill towards the finish line and I thought back to my first run where myself and my sister were the last two runners around the course and there it was. That overwhelming sense of achievement. Getting up early on a cold, wet, dark, muddy, soggy Saturday morning all forgotten. I headed back to the car and began the journey home and with the law of sod clearly at play the sun started to burst through the clouds and the strong wind that was keeping me so cold started to blow the clouds completely away.

Arriving back home, showering and returning to the bedroom I find my other half still asleep he grunts a good morning and suggests, with the sun now streaming through the curtains that we should make the most of the lovely day and head out for lunch together. After all it is Valentines day!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Winter Surfing In Cornwall

Learning to surf is an addictive past time that really does take over your life. You love and hate the sport at the same time. When the waves are on your side there's nothing better, you paddle out back, you make the drop, you stand up on your board for longer than two seconds, you catch a glimpse of the sun glistening on the water and for a brief moment you are in a euphoric state.
 Then you have a day where the waves are perfect, everyone's catching lefts and rights and you paddle out and catch nothing. Everything you go for you mess up, nose diving, drinking mouthfuls of sea water and spending most of your time washing machined around under the waves rather than riding them.

As you begin to get frustrated and your energy dwindles you go to give up and catch a wave back in... but that wave you caught in was amazing so you go back out for more. Surfing is a constant battle between your own strength, courage and bravery and mother nature throwing different sized and shaped waves at you every time. When you think you've managed to surf the following week it's all changed and keeping on side with mother natures ripples is addictive.

In the summer I get to practice my surfing a lot, perhaps 2-3 nights a week plus both days at the weekend, my arms get stronger, my confidence on the bigger waves (when I say bigger waves anything more than 3 foot still scares me) and it all starts to fall into place and I feel that I'm getting somewhere. Then the winter rears it's ugly head and the evening sessions are non existent and if your lucky enough to get in at the weekend it's a bonus as most weekends are filled with storm swells and gnarly weather,
Summer Surfing
Surfing in the summer

This weekend things were on a learners side, beautiful weather, small clean waves and a quiet beach. Although their was frost on the ground this wasn't going to stop me from getting in the water. Sadly my fitness in the water has dwindled a lot over the winter months and my paddling and popping felt pathetically weak. Still getting in for a bad surf is better than not getting in for a surf at all and I'm more excited now about what the summer will bring when it finally arrives as each year my surfing does improve little by little.
Surfing in the winter

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Why do we get so excited about snow?

This weekend saw the second time this year where we were on a weather warning for the white stuff in Cornwall. Yet for the second time the snow was a no show. As Monday morning reared its ugly head and another working week commenced the hysteria and excitement was felt all over Cornwall with the sight of the first few flurries. Although I should point out that there had been weekend flurries of snow across higher ground in places like Bodmin moor, but Bodmin moor pretty much has it's own eco climate and in the middle of know where. The rest of Cornwall however rarely see's snow and snow on the beach is such a rare sight it's enough to intrigued most people.
Snow in Cornwall

For most of the folks in Cornwall yesterday was an exciting day, especially for a Monday and although there wasn't enough snow to build a snow man, go snowboarding or even create a widespread snowday it was enough to get most people excited.

Cornwall Snow 2015
Since yesterdays flurry twitter has been alive with people sharing their pictures of the snow and here I'm going to be no different in sharing mine.

Cornwall Snow 2015  

Cornish Tin Mine in Snow

Now there wasn't nearly as much snow as has previously fallen in Cornwall but it was enough to get excited over. But why?

Children, Yes, I get that, their young they may or may not have seen snow before. The excitement of getting a day off from school or nursery and the chance to build your very own Olaf can be extremely exciting. But for us adults working in an office jumping up at the window with the slightest flurry. What is it that excites us so much? Is it simply because it looks beautiful and even the dodgy council estates look lovely which a thick white coat of snow. Or is it the mystery of whether you'll get an unannounced unplanned day off work where the roads are far to treacherous to leave the house.

Sadly yesterdays snow through the night was neither of these, it was more of an inconvenience clearing the car of snow before setting off. Roads gridlocked as over cautious drivers commute at 10mph even on the gritted and cleared roads. Not to mention that in Cornwall a massive amount of the daily commute use back roads and country lanes and when the snow falls these are no go areas so with all these additional drivers on the main roads it causes gridlocked misery and suddenly the snow day isn't so exciting.

Cornwall looks beautiful in all weathers and it is such a rarity that we even get snow, so for now I'm joining in with the majority and squealing with excitement and joy over the small flurries of snow that not only fell last night but also settled. Until the next time, how ever many years it might be, I'll cross my fingers and toes for another few inches and hope that there'll be enough to go snow boarding and sledging on the hills of Cornwall.
Snow in Cornwall

I'd love to know whether you love or hate snow?
Share your views in the comments below.