Weekly training recap: Mon 24th Aug – Sun 30th Aug.

So August is almost over and our next run isn’t scheduled until Tuesday which means our training runs in August are more than certainly complete (unless for some crazy reason we decide to just throw in a run anyway…. yeah… I don’t think we like running THAT much yet)! This month in preparation for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon we have covered 32.9 miles! That’s the most yet in a month and i’m pretty proud of that!

I blogged in depth yesterday about our 8 miler. There was a time after the Caerphilly 10k in June where I felt like we just weren’t moving forward with distance fast enough and that we would never get to a place where we could go above 10k. But patience and following the training plan has paid off and I feel good and ready now as we tackle these longer distances!

Next month we have the Swansea 10k on the 20th of September. I think i’ve neglected to mention this race on here until now. It’s sort of crept up on us but we aren’t too worried now that we are running more than 10k distances in training. I think we are sufficiently prepared for the race and it falls on a low mileage maintenance week in our Wine and Dine training plan which is ideal as we can run the 6.2 miles and not have to worry about going any further or doing any other long run’s that weekend.

In theory the Swansea 10k should be a great race for us. It’s in our home town and held along the sea front where we do all our long training runs. We are used to the route so there shouldn’t be any surprises. It’s also dead flat; perfect for chasing a PR and I fully intend to try to shave a couple of minutes off the 10k time I achieved at Caerphilly. I might tweak the training plan a little by skipping or shortening a few of the mid week runs that week as the weekend before we’ll be doing 9.5 miles and that’s not going to be a picnic for the legs! I’d like them to be sufficiently rested again so we can give it our all at the Swansea 10k.

This weeks training has been ok. We did skip and shorten the maintenance runs, but I’m proud that we got out there and tackled those 8 miles without any thoughts of quitting!

Monday:

Rest day

Tuesday:

We should have done our 30 minute maintenance run today but we had both had long day’s at work and just didn’t feel like running after dinner. It’s a poor excuse but it’s just what happened.

Wednesday:

On the recommendation of The Running Granny I tried the first level of Jillian Michaels 30 day shred which you can find on youtube. I really enjoyed this. It was 30 minutes of high intensity exercise and stretching and left me feeling very sweaty and a little sore but that’s great as it meant I worked hard. I had been doing yoga which I do enjoy but i’m more of an aerobic exercise fan overall so this was perfect as it included both stretching and aerobic exercise meaning I didn’t get bored! I’m going to try and fit one in a week (either Jillian Michaels or a yoga with Adrienne) for a bit of added cross training.

Thursday:

Ran 1.89 miles in just over 20 minutes with an average pace of 12’08” per mile. Didn’t use intervals for this run, just ran and walked when we felt like it. It should have been 30 minutes but I had to cut it short as I think we ran a bit to soon after dinner and my stomach was not impressed. Lesson learnt.

We also tried a new route on this run as i’ve mentioned before that we seem to be able to cover our old half an hour route a bit to quickly now (yay for improvement). We just ran down a few different roads in the estate to see where they would take us and got a little lost at one point!! The estate is so much bigger than It looks and is a bit of a maze in places! Still we got to the main road eventually and i’d definitely consider running the route again as it cut out a lot of the long hill that I hate (woohoo). Also got to see this fantastic sky:

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Friday:

Rest day

Saturday:

Ran 8 miles using run/walk intervals of 2 minutes running and 1 minute walking. Average pace of 12’39” per mile. Knee’s ached terribly in the afternoon but my feet felt better after 15 minutes in the foot spa. Generally the legs are feeling better today just a little achy whilst going upstairs etc. but that’s to be expected as we pushed further than we have ever before.

We did it!! Waayyhaaay!
We did it!! Waayyhaaay!

We rewarded ourselves in the evening with an ice cream (in my case) and a custard slice (in Gids case) at one of our favourite cafes with this gorgeous view.

This is the opposite side of the bay from which we start our training runs. In the not to distant future we will end up having to run all the way to here and back!
This is the opposite side of the bay from which we start our training runs. In the not too distant future we will end up having to run all the way to here and back!

Sunday:

Rest day (obviously it’s only just started… but we have no plans for exercise).

Next week is a rest maintenance week. This has worked out well as we are away next weekend but should still be able to fit in a short 5k without much trouble. Have a great week everyone!

We are running the Wine and Dine Half Marathon at Walt Disney World to raise money for Make-A-Wish UK. If you would like to sponsor us you can do so via our just giving page by clicking here! 

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The 8 Miler

So it’s done. Our furthest distance so far; the 8 mile training run has been completed! Gideon wanted to run early Saturday morning and get it out the way so we could enjoy the rest of the weekend without needing to worry about it. I reluctantly agreed. The prospect of waking up at 6am on a weekend is not one that appeals to me. Infact i’m sure the ONLY reason I agreed to this was because it’s a bank holiday weekend here in the UK which means I can sleep in on Monday instead. Hooray for bank holidays! Anyway the alarm went, i’d slept terribly. I said that to Gid and he was quite happy and said we could just stay in bed and run this evening…. but then I felt really guilty for some reason…. and so I then talked him into getting up instead?!?!?! How did this happen?!?! This was a nice bit of reverse psychology on Gid’s part I think!!

So by 7.15 we found ourselves running along the seafront. We were doing our 2 minute running and 1 minute walking intervals that we plan to use during the Wine and Dine Half Marathon. Conditions were great really. There was a nice breeze (but not to windy), the sun was still burning up last nights haze and fog so it wasn’t too hot yet. It was quiet with just us and a few other runners/cyclists and dog walkers. Much less busy that it would have been during the day or the evening, which meant considerably less people to dodge. We felt good. We’d had some toast and some water before we left. We’d eaten our favoured fueling dinner of chicken and rice the night before. Everything was going well.

At mile 3 we decided to take on some extra fuel. Two weeks ago when we ran 6.5miles we ate some clif bar mid run but since then we have purchased some clif shot blocks!

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The only way I can describe them is almost like a jelly baby but without the weird sugary coating. We had strawberry flavour this time. I felt the clif shot went down a lot easier than the clif bar did last week and I was able to run on without feeling like I was going to throw it back up. One was plenty for this distance and I had enough energy for the rest of the run. Perhaps in the half I may need to take another around 8-9 miles in, but I think that should do it.

We’d run further round the bay today than we ever have before; about 2 thirds of the way round. Soon we will have to go right to the very end! That seems a little less scary now as we were almost there today! We turned around at 4 miles and then along came MR SUNSHINE!!! ugh!! Sun just makes me fall apart! I hate it, I hate having it shine on my face, and the breeze was now behind us so it wasn’t offering any kind of relief.

At about mile 6.5 we went back into the nice shady part of the run – finally some respite from Mr Sunshine. We were both still feeling pretty good. I was getting slightly tight calfs but nothing too bad. Then all of a sudden it seemed we were on the home stretch! We finished the 8 miles in 1 hour 41 minutes and we didn’t skip a single run interval! I’m absolutely ecstatic!

We did it!! Waayyhaaay!

We chilled for 15 minutes when we got back to the car and ate a clif bar for some recovery calories. My post-run beetroot face was out in full force and I felt a bit rough on the car journey home, but I think that was just from the motion. The legs are still feeling generally ok as I type this, but the soles of my feet are burning! I wear decent trainer socks so I don’t really know what I can do to help with this – I think it’s just the result of an hour and 40 minutes of my feet pounding the ground and I guess i’ll just have to live with it. Still i’m glad my 14 year old self brought that foot spa all those years ago… it may finally come in useful!

Countdown to Wine and Dine! How will I cope with: The heat!

As the Wine and Dine Half Marathon is now only 73 days away I’ve decided it’s time to devote some blog space to thinking about how I am going to cope with some of the major challenges we are likely to be faced with on this run. These are generally going to be things associated with location, travel, distance and time, as running in Florida is probably going to prove to be a completely different experience to any running we have done in the UK for a number of reasons.

Sunshine state indeed!
Sunshine state indeed!

So first on the list:- How will I cope with the heat!

Florida is hot 99.99% of the time. I mean it’s called the sunshine state for crying out loud!! Wales on the other hand is not! Not even in the middle of August. Its wet and cold 99.99% of the time. But despite the small idealist in me that thinks sunshine and hot weather all year round would be great, the majority of me actually quite likes the fact that it’s a bit cooler in little old Britain. I don’t tend to function well in the heat. Anything above 18°C (thats about 65°F for my friends across the pond) and I’ll find my little shady spot and stay in it. Numerous holidays to Greece have been spent watching foreign TV whilst in an air-conditioned hotel room because though the idea of 35°C sounded appealing the reality is not! I’m sure the only reason we manage the heat in Florida when we go is because we are in air conditioned queues and rides for a large proportion of the day. Certainly on our last trip in June I remember a few grumpy moments when no shade could be found.

Thankfully for us, the Wine and Dine Half Marathon takes place at night. SO NO SUNSHINE GUARANTEED!! WOOHOO! However that doesn’t mean it won’t be hot as night time temperatures in Florida in November could well be similar to our best daytime temperatures in the United Kingdom in summer! Being November though, it could go either way. When we honeymooned in Florida in March 2013 we spent the majority of our trip wearing jumpers because (suprisingly) it just wasn’t as warm as we were expecting. I never thought i’d wish for another trip that required layers but i’m sort of crossing my fingers for some jumper-wearing whether right now!!

I do feel that we are somewhat prepared for the potential heat though, as the last few months in the UK have given us some warm and humid weather (though not always sunny) and as our long training run’s have often taken place in the middle of the day, this was perhaps good training for what it may feel like at night during the Wine and Dine half. I certainly don’t feel good training in the heat – but at least I know we can do it. We just need to be extra careful to stay hydrated and remember to slow the pace to account for the rise in temperature and extra strain this will place on our bodies.

The other side effect from heat that i’m worried about is that in the past i’ve been known to suffer from heat rash whilst holidaying in high temperatures. I find it to be a particular problem on my feet (where my flip flops often rub) and I’m worried that this is going to happen again when we go in November. The solution here, i’ve decided, is to wear my comfortable but ugly (there not that bad really) shoes for the first few days of the trip to avoid rubbing them and subjecting them to a potential heat rash. Once that half marathon is done I can break out the flip flops in all their beautiful glory!!

I've got a slight obsession with this style of animal flip flop and now have 4 pairs of varying colours/patterns! Pretty and comfortable... LOVE LOVE LOVE THEM!!
I’ve got a slight obsession with this style of animal flip flop and now have 4 pairs in varying colours/patterns! Pretty and comfortable… LOVE LOVE LOVE THEM!!

Friends in warm places, any tips for adjusting to the Florida heat before the half?? 

RunDisney announces a Star Wars race weekend at Walt Disney World!

With the recent announcement of a Star Wars Land to be built at Hollywood Studios and the success of the Star Wars themed RunDisney race weekend in Disneyland; California, the announcement today of a brand new Star Wars themed race weekend in Walt Disney World; Florida to take place April probably shouldn’t come as a major surprise!

Photo curtesy of the RunDisney Facebook page
Photo curtesy of the RunDisney Facebook page

The innagural WDW Star Wars race weekend will take place April 14-16 2016 and unlike it’s counterpart in Anaheim this race weekend will celebrate the ‘Dark Side’ of the force with a 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, Kids races and challenge medal for completing both the 10k and the Half Marathon.

I don’t know about you, but not being the most ‘princessy’ of persons I can definitely see myself considering signing up for the 10k (or maybe even the half) at some point in the future… though I would perhaps be inclined to wait until Star Wars land has finished being built to add to the Star Wars experience!

Star Wars Land concept art courtesy of the Disney Parks Blog.
Star Wars Land concept art courtesy of the Disney Parks Blog.

What about you? Would you consider signing up for a race at Walt Disney Worlds newest race weekend? Or would you have preferred a different themed event at Walt Disney World as there is already a Star Wars event in California? Let us know in the comments below!

Weekly training recap – Mon 17th Aug – Sun 23rd Aug

So I really need to stop thinking of these low mileage weeks in the training plan as “rest weeks” and start thinking of them as something else, because in my mind “rest” inevitably leads to the thought process of ‘it’s ok to skip this run as it’s a rest week’ and subsequently leads to an evening spent on the sofa eating chocolate instead of attempting scheduled maintenance run. That’s not to say that this hasn’t been a good week for exercise on the whole – because actually it has been a good week – it’s just not been quite as much running as it should have been according to the training plan.

There has been some running this week and we have also done some other fun exercise like a 4 mile walk (which made my legs ache more than last weeks 6.5 mile run and gave me a horrible blister) and some yoga. Plus I feel as if today’s 5k has made up for things in some way as it really did feel like the best run i’ve done in a long long time! hoorah!

Monday:

Rest day

Tuesday:

15 minute (ish) maintenance run. Covered 1.15 miles using run/walk intervals of 2 minutes running and 45 seconds walking with an average pace of 11’34” per mile. This should of been 30 minutes but we just weren’t feeling it and I can’t even remember why now which is pretty poor. The excuse was that it was “rest week” we’d just ran 6.5 miles 2 days previously so it was okay to cut it short… right??? hmmmm you can see where this is going can’t you!!

Wednesday:

Rest day

Thursday:

30 minute maintenance run scheduled for today but we have been having some horrendous rain in Wales over the past few days so we pushed it back till Friday in the hopes of avoiding a soaking wet run. I did 30 minutes of yoga though!

Friday:

It was still raining…. need I say more??

Saturday:

Gid managed to do his 30 minute maintenance run at the gym after his physio session (he covered 2.6 miles on the treadmill). We then went for a 4 mile walk up to the local reservoir in the afternoon once the rain had finally cleared up.

Lliw Reservoir near Swansea! 10 minute drive from our house.... then a 4 mile walk lol!
Lliw Reservoir near Swansea! 10 minute drive from our house…. then a 4 mile walk lol!

It really felt humid yesterday afternoon during our walk. It reminded me of a summers day in Florida it was that crazy! Plus I wasn’t wearing the greatest shoes which have resulted in an awfully large blister on my toe! This has definitely made me realise that I MUST MUST wear sensible shoes around the parks at Disney in the day’s before the Wine and Dine Half Marathon or else i’m going to wreck my feet before we even start running!

Sunday:

Raining again this morning – but the poor week we have had meant we HAD to get out today and do our scheduled 3 miles NO EXCUSES. And actually as soon as we went out it brightened right up! We ran 3.12 miles in  36.27 seconds with an average pace of 11″39 per mile. We didn’t use run/walk intervals and ran the entire thing, only stopping for 3 very brief walk breaks. I’m really really pleased with this run as we both felt good and like we could have continued for another few miles. It’s reminded me that I can go further and longer than a couple of minutes without walk breaks and still feel good. Hoorah!

Finally some blue sky!
Finally some blue sky!

Next weekend is the dreaded 8 miler. The longest training run we will have attempted so far. I’m in two minds about it. I’m worried because it’s 8 miles and thats a long way, but i’m also excited to prove to myself that I can do it and to get a little bit further in distance ready for the Wine and Dine Half in November! Wish us luck!!

Running Q & A

A few days ago we were tagged by the lovely Viv over at runvivvyrun to do a running Q & A session! So here are our answers to the list of running related questions! We will tag a few people at the end to do their own Q & A – but don’t feel obligated to do it as it’s just for fun – and similarly if I haven’t tagged you and you want to answer the questions then go for it!

Would you rather run along a beach path or a mountain trail?

Definitely beach path (and we do quite regularly!)… mountains (or any hill incline really) and running = blugh! We are all about the flat!!

If you could choose the flavour of Gatorade at your next race’s aid stations, what would it be?

We don’t have Gatorade in the UK as far as we know so have never tried it… we’ll have to wait till after our rundisney race to comment on this one as I know they give it out on course!

If you are given a $100 git card for a running store, what would you purchase with it?

Without a doubt a good pair of running shoes. Decent shoes are not cheap but they are so necessary to make running an enjoyable experience that doesn’t involve painful legs and frequent injury!

Do you prefer to use a training plan or wake up and then decide how far or fast you want to run?

I guess whilst we like the idea of just being able to get up and run as far as we want, we prefer to use the training plan (especially right now) as we need something to keep us on track when working towards a race.

Would you rather start your run with the uphill and end with the downhill or start your run with the downhill and end with the uphill?

100% start uphill and end downhill… get those hills out of the way whilst we still have energy!

When you can’t run, what kind of cross-training do you choose to do?

I’m (Amy) into a bit of yoga at the moment, but you can’t beat a nice walk! Gid like’s to go to the gym.

What is your preference –> out and back, point to point, or loop runs?

It depends where we are really. We like the loop when when we are near home/know where we are well, but we’d rather do an out and back if we have driven somewhere we aren’t familiar with as there is less chance of getting lost!

If you could recommend ANY running related item to a new runner it would be?

A flipbelt! Great to carry around all your running related bits n bobs (phone, keys, headphones, inhaler, snacks etc) and doesn’t bounce around/ get in the way whilst running! Most of the time I don’t even notice its there!

Do you see any wild animals while out on your runs?

Only ducks/swan’s if we go to the lake. A pigeon flew out of a tree I was running under last week and scared the pants off me! Do pigeons count?

Ever gotten lost while out on a run?

Not yet. I did run further than I have ever walked down a trail once – but it was an out and back trail so I wouldn’t call myself lost.

If you could have one meal waiting and ready for you each time you got home from a run for the next 30 days… what would it be?

A big bag of chocolate doesn’t really count as a meal does it?

Capris or short? What do you run in most?

Gid run’s in his shorts unless it’s winter where he wears running tights. I (Amy) am about 50/50 depending on how hot it is outside.

At what mile (or how many minutes) into your run does your body start to feel like it is warming up and ready to go?

Probably around a mile into the run… it doesn’t take long for it to go from ‘ready to go’ to ‘ready to give up’ though! 😛

What do you do with your key when you run?

Put it in the flipbelt!

If you could re-live any race that you have done in the past, which one?

We really enjoyed the Bath Two Tunnels 5k because it was our first race and we really felt we had achieved something afterwards! Plus we did far better than we were expecting which is always good!

What type of run is your least favourite?

Anything involving hills! Ugh hills!!

When you go for a run, do you leave from your front door or drive somewhere to start?

We do both – for our shorter mid week runs we tend to just run from the house but for our long run’s we like to drive down to the lake or the beach or somewhere less hilly!

When running in daylight, are sunglasses a must or an annoyance?

We both wear normal glasses all the time so always wear these when running. My (Amy’s) sunglasses are prescription ones, but they are not as comfortable on the face as my normal glasses and tend to bounce around so I never wear them running.

When you get tired, what keeps you from quitting?

We both keep each other from quitting… (or we both quit lol!)

So that wraps up our running Q & A… i’ll tag a few people below, but again, don’t feel you have to do it! It’s just a bit of fun at the end of the day! Happy running guys!

♦ liveloverunlikeaprincess really not a runner ♦ running not racing ♦ The Dude Run Run ♦

Menu Monday: Mickey Shaped Shortbread!

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So the Great British Bake Off is back on our screens in the UK (for my non-UK readers bake off is a show where 12 bakers compete weekly in a number of baking related challenges and are judged by two top celebrity bakers, one is eliminated each week until the final). So naturally i’ve been getting my bake on a bit lately… you can’t watch the bake off without having some baked treats to hand am I right??!?

Last week on the bake off it was biscuit week, so I set about making myself some shortbread! Biscuits are not my strong suit… I cannot get them right they just fall apart when they come out of the oven or stick to the pan. But I am nothing if not determined, so I decided to make them regardless of the fact that they would probably end up being a complete disaster!

I was reminiscing about all the delicious cakes and biscuits they have in Disney World when a thought crossed my mind… this could be the perfect time to use my Mickey shaped cookie cutter! YES! Mickey shortbread for me… and why not dip it in chocolate whilst i’m at it! How badly can it go!

It's actually a Mickey shaped sandwich cutter according to Disney.... not in this house!
It’s actually a Mickey shaped sandwich cutter according to Disney…. not in this house!

Well pretty badly to be honest…. not the worst biscuits i’ve ever made (i’m improving YAY), I sort of forgot that they would expand slightly in the oven so a lot of them mushed together a little bit… but I managed to get 5 that vaguely looked like Mikey (after several fell apart as usual upon transferring to the cooling rack)!

squished together Mickeys!
squished together Mickeys!

They tasted pretty darn good though and I guess that’s the main thing, even though they weren’t the most aesthetically pleasing Mickeys in the world!

Now these are definitely not healthy snacks, they are buttery sugary chocolatey goodness! So if your a runner like me you might be inclined to save it for after your run when you have burned off the calories so you can enjoy it guilt-free!

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Chocolate dipped shortbread:

I used a combination of elements from different recipes I found online to create my recipe.

You will need:

1 cup butter

1/2 cup caster sugar

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 100g bar of milk or dark chocolate (for melting)

Also needed: food mixer

Instructions:

Add butter, sugar and vanilla extract to a mixing bowl and cream together using a food mixer

Add flour to the food mixer a little at a time until a dough has formed

Roll out dough on floured surface to approx. half an inch thick and cut using desired biscuit cutter or knife.

Transfer to a parchment or foil lined baking tray and bake at 170 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes or until biscuits are just starting to set and edges are just starting to brown.

Leave on baking tray for 5 minutes to cool slightly then transfer onto wire rack for 30 minutes or until completely cool

Meanwhile melt chocolate (either in a bowl over boiling water or in microwave).

Once chocolate is melted, dip cooled biscuits in melted chocolate and then place on foil or parchment paper for chocolate to set.