2015: The year of running!

I can’t believe that 2015 is almost at an end. 2015 really has been the year of running for us. We started the year having never even ran a mile. I hadn’t run any distance since doing cross country in school when I was 13 – and even when I did that I did it begrudgingly because I didn’t have a choice. This year, I had a choice. I could choose to carry on being a lazy couch potato, feeling sorry for myself, eating several bags of chocolate a night, putting on weight on constantly feeling under the weather, or I could get up off my butt and do some exercise!

It took a pretty big thing to get me into running – it took the promise of a trip to my favourite place (even if that meant I had to run around it whilst there). Gideon’s dream was to RunDisney and that dream came true this year! We RAN DISNEY!!!! WE RAN FULL STOP! The goal was the Wine and Dine half marathon… and whilst it didn’t turn out to BE a half marathon in the end (you can read about that here) we still RAN DISNEY!!! The dream still came true, and it was pretty awesome!

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We Ran Disneyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!

In 2015 we ran our first mile without stopping. We ran our first race – the Bath Two Tunnels 5k. We then ran our first 10k in Caerphilly… and then both PB’d during the Swansea 10k a few months later. Then we jetted off to Florida to complete our ultimate goal of running Disney! It’s been a pretty good first year of running I must say!

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This year, I ran 218.8 miles! WHAAAAAAAAAT?!?! Before the start of this year I didn’t think i’d ever even run 1 mile let alone 218.8! That’s an average of 18.2 miles per month!! I know that might not sound like a lot to some of you seasoned runners, but to me that is MENTAL! I went from running 0 miles EVER… to an average of 18.2 miles A MONTH! WHAT IN THE WORLD?!?!? I may even clock up a few more before 2015 is up! who would have thought?!?!

I’ve always dreamed of running a marathon, but it never seemed like an achievable goal – mostly because I loathed running. But somehow, i’ve grown to love running this year, and i’m not planning on stopping it anytime soon. I may even try for that marathon at some point before i’m 30 (so I have a few years) – it doesn’t seem so impossible anymore. I’ve come so far already, i’m sure I could go a little further.

Gideon and I still have our half marathon goal to reach (as Wine and Dine, through no fault of our own didn’t quite work out as planned) and 2016 will be our year for this! We are signed up to run the IAAF World Half Marathon in Cardiff in March, so fingers crossed that will be our race, and we’ll finally be able to tick that half marathon off the list.

We look forward to continuing with our love of running (and our love of Disney) in 2016 – who knows what the year will bring! I hope it brings more medals and more great memories!

 

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Bring on 2016’s medals!!! 
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Weekly training recap: Mon 21st Dec – Sun 27th Dec

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas! We have managed to get a couple of runs in this Christmas week which has been good, even in the rain! This has included our longest run yet since we got back from Florida in November – a whole 4 miles 😛 which we know isn’t that long but still… onwards and upwards!

Monday:

Rest day

Tuesday:

Moved todays scheduled run to tomorrow due to the crazy rain!

Wednesday:

Ran 1.20 miles with an average pace of 12’53” per mile. It was sunny! Woo!

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Blue sky…. I thought it was a dream!!!

Thursday:

Didn’t get around to doing this run on account of Christmas – the weather was not cooperating and we had much to do so we skipped it.

Friday:

Rest day

Saturday:

Rest day

Sunday:

4 mile run whilst visiting the family in Weston-super-mare. Average pace 12’13” per mile. This went well considering it is the longest we have ran in almost 2 months. My legs began to feel stiff after about the 3rd mile so we did slow down somewhat, but we managed to complete it anyway!

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Still so mild… the mid-run shower was a nice relief!

No trip to the parents would be complete without weighing yourself on their bathroom scales! I now weigh 10 stone exactly which is almost a stone less than I weighed before starting running, and as I still use running as an excuse to EAT ALL THE FOODS i’m pretty pleased with that.

Gid weighs 12 stone – which means he’s lost a whole 3 stone this year! Way to go Gideon!!

Hope you all enjoy the rest of the Christmas/New year period!

A winters run!

Finally managed to get out for a run this morning in the SUNSHINE! It was a proper crisp winters morning – probably the first and last of this Christmas season!

The sunshine made it so much easier to get out the door this morning. Just the fact that it felt bright – like actual daylight – rather than the muted daylight we have been having where it’s just been overcast and rainy all day.

I must admit, i’m still not sure how to dress for these winter runs. The temperature certainly wasn’t as cold as it can be at this time of year today but it was pretty crisp. I layered up with a base vest, then my long sleeved wine and dine tech t-shirt and then my water resistant jacket (as it had been showering on and off), I was rather chilly when I left the house but I overheated fairly quickly once we started to run and ended up taking off the jacket. It also feels like i’m having to drag more around at the moment, due in part to all the layers. Perhaps the stuff I have is too heavy and I should get some more lightweight stuff, but it’s probably more likely that i’ve put on a couple of pounds in the last few weeks from all the mince pies, chocolates, twiglets ‘pre-christmas treats’ and i’m starting to feel it.

We are hoping to run again tomorrow, and then do 4 miles at the weekend. I’ll be happy if we can keep going over this Christmas period and actually get them done, and i’m sure i’ll feel better for it, as it means i’ll be able to consume more mince pies – guilt free!

Are you planning on keeping up with your running during Christmas, or are you going to enjoy a well deserved break? let us know in the comments, and Merry Christmas! 

My Disney Kitchen

So it occurred to me earlier – whilst eating king prawn and chilli rice from my Adventureland Tiki God bowl – that i’ve accumulated quite a lot of Disney kitchen accessories from the last few years of trips to Walt Disney World. My kitchen is slowly but surely turning into a Disney kitchen… and I can’t say i’m that upset about it! During our last trip there were several hundred Disney themed kitchen bits and bobs I could quite easily have brought home with me had I had unlimited suitcase space! So I figured why not share it with my fellow Disney loving blog followers, you never know, perhaps we have even have some of the same things!!

Coffee….

Coffee related Disney merchandise definitely takes up the majority of my kitchen. I have accumulated a large number of mugs during my trips to Disney – most of which are too large to use for everyday coffee/tea drinking and so get kept for soup or large winter hot chocolates.

Gid and I have matching Disney coffee mugs…

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I also have several Winnie the Pooh mugs (one of which has been relocated to my office at work and therefore hasn’t been photographed for you!)

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This minnie one used to be my work mug, and it used to have it’s own spoon with it that fitted in the handle, but that smashed fairly quickly!

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Then there is the most recent edition to the collection, which can form part of my Disney mug collection and part of my Starbucks mug collection (which is a whole other problem of mine!)

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For coffee’s on the go we have a couple of Disney thermos flasks…

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And of course the thing that makes the coffee… the Disney cafetiere!!

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Are you starting to think i’m insane yet?? I can’t blame you!

For eats….

On our most recent trip, I purchased these lovely pasta bowls which are ‘adventureland’ themed.

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I also couldn’t resist buying this toast press/stamp thingamabob whilst on honeymoon…. you press the Mickey into the bread before toasting and then when toasted you have a cool Mickey face on your toast! It cheers me up when i’m missing Mickey Waffles!

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Then there is the Mickey shaped “Sandwich Cutter” which I don’t use for sandwiches… but use instead for making baked goods (cookies, crispy cakes and the like)

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We also purchased some awesome RunDisney wine glasses during Wine and Dine weekend, so that we can enjoy some drinks with our eats!

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The fridge…

Finally, the most important part of the Kitchen – THE FRIDGE!! Our fridge is also sprinkled with some magic, in the form of a lovely RunDisney Mickey shaped magnet (which should technically be for a car) and our Disney shopping list pad!

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So there we have it! That’s my disney kitchen. What’s in yours?

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100 days to go!

100 days to go until the IAAF/Cardiff University World Half Marathon and how much running have we done so far this week….. none! There’s really not much excuse other than it’s been such rotten weather, which isn’t really an excuse at all it’s just plain laziness! We are off to a wedding in Lancashire this weekend so they’ll likely be no running – unless it’s running out of the rain of course – it’s going to be a wet one! But i’m confident that we’ll be able to get back on track next week – despite the fact that it’s Christmas – just because i’ll have time off work and so we’ll be able to run IN THE DAY!! Even running in the rain in daylight is slightly more appealing than running in the rain in the dark! I’m confident we can make it happen!

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Menu Monday: Butternut Squash Crisps!

I LOVE TO SNACK.

There. I said it. I love snacking, and you’ll be hard pressed to stop me doing it. Sometimes I just want to nibble something, and unfortunately most of the nibbles that tend to be in the house are either of the crisp or chocolate variety.

Packaged snacks are typically not the healthiest things on the market, or the cheapest. Whilst there are times when i’m well up for munching on a stick of celery or some cucumber, there are other times when things like crisps seem a much more appealing choice (most times, actually)!

So how can I turn my snacking habit into a slightly more healthy one? This is something i’ve been thinking a fair bit about lately, especially as it’s now all wintery and I tend to want to eat more at this time of year. One thing that seems to be “all the rage” in healthy eating right now is vegetable crisps!! They are ALL OVER my pinterest and they had them on the apprentice last week… lets just say that they have snuck their way into my brain and I started thinking “could they really be that good?”

Well this weekend I decided to find out for myself. The butternut squash in thats been sitting in the cupboard had been calling my name, so I figured why not see if a butternut squash version of crisps could really be all that good. I was rather sceptical!

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Yeah…sorry folks, they may taste nice but they don’t photograph all that well!

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with how they turned out! I think the key to these veggie crisps is that you do have to make sure you cut them extremely thinly if you want them to go crispy like proper crisps – which is difficult when your potato peeler isn’t big enough to do an entire slice of the squash, and your afraid you’ll chop your finger off with the sharp knife!

I decided to give our butternut squash crisps a spicy kick – coating them in chilli infused oil and sprinkling them in cayenne pepper before baking them, but you really could go a number of ways with these. I think they would taste great with a variety of herbs and oils, or with something like parmesan cheese – you can experiment and make multiple flavours – just like a normal potato crisp!

I left my crisps in the oven for quite a long period (turning them half way through). Around 20 mins either side on 190 degrees worked for us, but every oven varies, and cooking time will also vary with these depending on there thickness. So i’d just check them every 5 or 10 minutes and then pull them out once they have crisped up (but before they burn).

Obviously, you can’t actually mistake them for potato crisps – they aren’t that similar – but I wouldn’t hesitate to make them again, because I really did enjoy them as a guilt-free healthy snack and they make a nice change from cucumber sticks! I’m intrigued to see if other vegetables crisp up as well as the butternut squash did and wouldn’t mind finding out in the future!

Butternut squash crisps:

You will need:

  • 1 butternut squash (use the neck to make crisps and save the part where you have scooped out the seeds for something else.. like roasted squash mmm)
  • Olive Oil (or another cooking oil of your choice)
  • Herbs/Spices/whatever takes your fancy to flavour!

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees
  • Cut the squash in half width-wise separating the neck and the body (where the seeds are), put the body to one side to use for something else.
  • Cut off the very top of the squash and discard – peel the remaining neck of the squash
  • Slice the neck of the squash into very thin circles
  • Coat the circles in a small amount of oil and with any seasonings you wish to add flavour to the crisps (I used cayenne pepper)
  • Lay the circles out in one layer on a baking tray
  • Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes then turn over the crisps
  • Bake for another 10 minutes, or until the slices become crispy (check regularly)
  • Take out of the oven and transfer to a plate, leave to cool and then enjoy!

 

Have you ever experimented with vegetable crisps? What are your favourite vegetables to bake until crispy? 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly training recap: Mon 7th – Sun 13th Dec

So we ran this week! More than once! Yay! And that means we can do a weekly training recap!

I blogged last week about the plan I had made for us so that we could get training for the Cardiff World Half Marathon in March 2016. This week we started the plan, and all was going relatively well until this weekend when we were due to do our 5k, but the lingering cold i’ve had seems to have gone to my chest a bit and I just haven’t felt up to it, so we decided instead to skip the 5k and hopefully by the next one i’ll be feeling 100% again!

Monday:

Rest day

Tuesday:

Ran 1.23 miles with an average pace of 12’39” per mile. The wind was bitter so we kept it short and just did one lap around the neighbourhood. It’s been like it all week, and so Thursday’s run was much the same (though a slightly different route).

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Wednesday:

Rest day

Thursday:

Ran 1.15 miles with an average pace of 12’15” per mile. Much the same as Tuesday, but with an added chesty cold, so again shorter than it should have been, but still glad to have done something.

Friday:

Rest day

Saturday:

Chesty cold and hideous weather stopped us from doing the 5k yesterday – I was hoping it would have cleared up by now (the cold) but it’s still lingering on.

Sunday:

Rest day

So they may have been shorter run’s than planned, but i’m glad we managed to get out there and actually get some momentum going again.

On a total side note – we decorated the Christmas tree yesterday and so are feeling the festive spirit! We actually brought this lovely tree last year and threw him out into the garden in his pot last January. I re-potted him in the spring, and besides that have given him very little attention, but he survived the whole year and so we brought him inside again this weekend to enjoy Christmas for the second time!!

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We are off to Clitheroe for a friends wedding next weekend so I haven’t scheduled a long run as with the travelling and the wedding festivities I don’t think we will have time. Instead we will just do the two maintenance run’s in the week to keep us ticking over and then get back to building up our long run’s after Christmas.

Have a great week everyone!