8 weeks until the half marathon.

54 days…. and this week i’ve done 0 miles of running. Yup.

The week started with a nasty bout of stomach flu/food poisoning (i’m still not sure which), continued with storm Gertrude; the remnants of the big snow storm that hit America a week ago but which just pelted us with extreme rain and insane winds, and ended with my feet being totally ruined because I walked 5 miles in un-sensible shoes and have developed the most horrific blisters on both of my heels. These are all excuses obviously – perhaps the stomach flu was a fairly valid one but we probably could have gone out in the rain if we really wanted too during mid-week and I certainly could have worn more sensible shoes for our walk on Saturday!!

 

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It was a pretty nice walk even if it did destroy my feet!

So how do we plan on getting race ready when the furthest we have ran since the ‘half-half marathon’ in November is 5 miles?? We’ll I’ve had to tweek my initial training plan a bit and it’s now looking like this (week 1 being the coming week):-

Week 1: 

2 x 30 min mid-week runs

2 x cross training

1 x long run – between 5k and 10k (depending on how we feel)

Week 2:

2 x 30 min mid-week runs

2 x cross training

1 x long run – 8 miles

Week 3:

2 x 30 min mid-week runs

2 x cross training

1 x long run – 5k

Week 4:

2 x 30 min mid-week runs

2 x cross training

1 x long run – 10 miles (we also have a 5k race this weekend!!)

Week 5:

2 x 30 min mid-week runs

2 x cross training

1 x long run – 5k

Week 6:

2 x 30 min mid-week runs

2 x cross training

1 x long run – 12 miles

Week 7:

2 x 30 min mid-week runs

2 x cross training

1 x long run – 5k

Week 8:

2 x 30 min mid-week runs

2 x cross training

Half Marathon!!

I do think this is an ambitious plan and inevitably we will fail on some of it (most likely the cross training) but at the same time it’s 8 weeks of intensive training, rather than months and months, and I think we might be able to get ourselves out the door if we tell ourselves that it’s only 8 weeks and then we can have a little rest!

In other news I have a week off work this week and tomorrow I am off for a spa day! Full use of the gym, pool, jacuzzi etc and full buffet lunch! I plan on having a good old relax before 4 days of intensive masters-dissertation writing. The spa does have a gym with a treadmill which I fully intend on using to get some miles in as long as the blisters on my feet are feeling a bit happier. I’m going to try for between 5k and 10k depending on how bored I get. Treadmills are a bit of a novelty for me as I don’t own one or have a gym membership so i’m hoping i’ll actually enjoy the change and get a good run in. The last time I used a treadmill was on our holiday to Greece and I ran a whole 5k so hopefully I can repeat that, and then i’ll definitely have earned my lazy afternoon by the pool and my buffet lunch!!

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The Nutrition Mission

It’s no secret if you read my blog regularly that the last couple of run’s i’ve attempted haven’t been particularly good ones. I’ve struggled since the Christmas period to get back into running and eating right. It’s been hard to kick the cravings that resulted from all the delicious things I ate at Christmas. I’ve been particularly bad at it and have found myself snacking more regularly than before Christmas – a habit which I had somewhat managed to kick last year.

So i’m on a mission now to fix my nutrition – in the hope that it’ll help both me and my training run’s feel more comfortable! I need to get back into the mindset of thinking about what I eat before a longer length run, so that my body isn’t bloated and full of rubbish when it’s time to lace up. I haven’t eaten the best meals before the last two bad runs (the sausage butty being a case in point), i’m hoping an improvement in nutrition will result in an improvement in runs.

What’s worked in the past:

The night before – Chicken and rice seems to be the best dish for me the night before a run. Plenty of carbs and protein, but doesn’t make me bloat as much as pasta can. We tend to get some marinated chicken breasts from the market and then cook them with rice covered in soy sauce along with green beans and sweetcorn. YumYum!

Breakfast fuel – if i’m doing an early run toast with strawberry jam has usually worked for me. The bread gives me enough fuel and the jam gives me a little sugary kick to wake me up and get me started!

Light lunch – If i’m planning on going out late in the afternoon for my run i’ve found that a poached egg and avocado on toast works well. It’s enough at lunch that I don’t start feeling hungry again until dinner time and therefore don’t need an afternoon snack which could mess up my digestive system during the run. If I am in need of a snack…..

Snack – BANANA!! Definitely the best quick pre-run snack. If I eat it about 30 minutes before I run I definitely feel like I have more energy, and it stops my stomach rumbling whilst running which I hate (as it makes me want to quit).

What doesn’t work:

The night before – A BIG FAT PIZZA. We made the mistake of having a big fat pizza the night before our first ever 5k race. I still felt ridiculously full and bloated in the morning and it did not make for a nice pre-race experience. Thankfully when we finally started running the adrenaline made me forget about it, but in a training run which I probably don’t really 100% want to do anyway I can see it putting me in a real grump!

Breakfast fuel – Porridge. I know some people really like oats/porridge before they run, but for me it just feels like theres a stodgy mess rolling around in my tummy! Traditional milky porridge is just to heavy for me.

Light lunch – Sausage butty, or anything greasy for that matter. I love it when I eat it, but when I have to go for a run that sausage butty makes me feel about 5lb’s heavier!

Snack – Big bar o chocolate…. it’s just better saved for after – like a delicious chocolatey reward for your hard work!!

So those are my personal go to and no-no meals for before running. What are some of yours?? Let us know in the comments!

Weekly training recap: Mon 18th Jan – Sun 24th Jan

Can’t say we have done much training this week. Monday-Thursday was a self induced rest period to get rid of the chesty colds we have had. It seems to have worked, we are both feeling much less clogged up now. Hopefully it will stay that way.

We managed a run on Friday – though not quite as far as the training plan called for. I’m hoping we can do the 10k run in the next week some time to be back up to speed. The good thing is that our training plan had quite a long taper period so we can probably run a week behind without to much of an issue and still be adequately trained for the half at the end of March.

Monday – Thursday:

Rest and recover from chesty cold.

Friday:

4 miles using run/walk intervals of 5 minutes running 1 minute walking. Average pace 12’58 per mile. Found this to be another difficult run. Lots of headwind for the first half until we turned around.

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Saturday:

Walked 1.6 miles around Swansea Marina – we have been trying to go out for walks at the weekend, even if it isn’t very far, it beats just sitting around if we have nothing planned.

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Sunday:

Walked 1.21 miles around the local woods – have to try and burn off a bit of that roast beef dinner!

I think i’d like to try and incorporate some more mid-week strength building workouts into my plan. Last summer when I was doing the workout DVD’s with a group of friends and doing the 30 day shred video’s on youtube on a semi-frequent basis I did feel like this helped improve my overall fitness levels. I’ve been really struggling with the run’s lately, probably because it’s winter and i’ve fallen out of the habit a bit until now, so hopefully adding some extra actives through the week will keep things varied and improve my fitness/strength – making running easier. My plan is to try and do at least one aerobics/stretching session a week. We have an amazon fire stick now which means I can stream youtube from the TV which will be much easier than trying to follow a video from my laptop!

Another yukky run!

After a self induced rest period from Sunday through to today due to our chesty colds we decided to go out and try to run a 10k as per the training plan this morning. This was perhaps a little of an optimistic goal for 2 people recovering from chesty colds, and so we only ended up running 4 miles. It was another absolute killer of a run. We tried the 5 minutes running and 1 minute walking intervals again, but i’m starting to think they might not be the best combo for us. We started our run by running directly into a wicked headwind which obviously didn’t help matters. It sucked the air right out of my lungs and Gideon really struggled as his chest has been worse than mine with this cold. It was like trying to run against a wall, my legs were like bricks and just didn’t want to move. We plodded against the wind for just over 2 miles but then Gid felt a little light headed so we decided to turn around and go back. It was much easier going with the wind behind us, but my legs were still so stiff. I’m wondering if its my shoes – they have a very high arch support, which is apparently what I need, but until I get used to it I guess it’s going to feel like my legs are working harder as the shoes are trying to correct my feet from rolling inwards. I hope I can get used to it soon.

Anyway at 4 miles we decided to turn off the Garmin and walk the rest of the way back to the car. Overall it wasn’t an awful long run pace, averaging at about 12’53 per mile which isn’t terrible for us, but i’d still like it to be quicker.

I’m still feeling like running is a real struggle at the moment, and these difficult runs don’t help matters! It feels like we’ve lost a lot of the fitness levels we built up, and I expect it ‘feels’ like we have lost more than we actually have but even so, it’s frustrating having to build back up slowly when you feel you should be much further along by now!

 

Walt Disney World eats!

There are lots of great dining options at Walt Disney World, whether you are after a 3 course (or more in some cases) fine dining meal, a quick table service dinner, fast food, or a sweet treat!

Contrary to what you may think, it’s not all chips and burgers at Walt Disney World. You can get a massive variety of healthy and not-so-healthy options across the parks and resorts, and i’m going to share a few of my favourite ‘eats’ with you today!

Breakfast:

One of my favourite breakfasts to enjoy whilst at Disney World are Mickey Waffles! Deliciously sweet and thick American style waffles… shaped like Mickey Mouse!! If that doesn’t scream ‘your at Disney World’ to you then nothing will!

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Glorious Mickey waffles!

Another recent favourite i’ve enjoyed is the open faced poached egg, applewood bacon and brie sandwich from Be Our Guest Restaurant at the Magic Kingdom – it’s a delicious combination, and makes a change from some of the more sugary breakfast options typical to America (see above Mickey Waffles as a prime example).

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Comes with fruit so it must be healthy right?? right???!!??

 

Lunch:

There are tonnes of great places to grab a quick lunch at Walt Disney World. Almost everywhere sells burgers and fries, but for a slightly different type of ‘burger’ style meal, try a BBQ pulled pork sandwich from Cosmic Rays at the Magic Kingdom. Plenty of delicious pulled pork and flavoursome BBQ sauce make this a nice change from a beef burger!

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If you want to move WAY away from fast food, try Sunshine Seasons in EPCOT, which has loads of great healthier options for lunch! Our personal favourite is the Mongolian beef and rice, but we also enjoy the Turkey sandwich!

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Dinner:

There are so many great sit down restaurants at Walt Disney World that its hard to choose, but I can’t go think about Walt Disney World dinners without mentioning one of my personal favourites – Mama Melrose in Hollywood Studios! I’ve been lucky enough to have the steak TWICE – it comes with a four cheese pasta and an amazing red wine reduction – It was the best steak i’ve ever had. THE BEST I’VE EVER HAD!!!! And when I went back the second time it was just as good as I remembered, which is a testament to a good quality  restaurant I think!

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I have dreams of this steak!!!

 

Snacks:

No trip to Walt Disney World would be complete for me without eating a few sugary snacks!! I can’t go without a Mickey rice crispy treat – made to order at Goofy’s Candy Co. in Downtown Disney. I like mine covered in M&M’s but there are tonnes of toppings to choose from.

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I have also recently discovered the Ice Cream Macaroon Sandwich from the L’Artisans Des Glaces – Chocolate Macaroons with ice cream as the filling! Its a chewy, melty dream!!

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And of course, we can’t forget the old WDW cupcake. Or should I say GIANT cupcake! Seriously, these things are huge! About 3 times the size of a normal cupcake! There are so many varieties of cupcake being sold all across the parks and resorts, and they change frequently. My favourite was the Darth Vader cupcake – chocolatey peanut buttery goodness!

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Amy… I am your cupcake!!!

 

So there you have some of my favourite Walt Disney World eats! There is so much variety at Disney that what ever food you fancy, you should be able to find and enjoy!

Weekly training recap: Mon 11th Jan – Sun 17th Jan

This week has been another sniffly snotty one for me with the drop in temperature, but we’ve struggled on through and managed to get some running done. We’ve also been on some nice walks this week, and have made the most of a few dry (all be it cold) days. There has been no snow here like there has been in some parts of the UK – but I can definitely do without snow complicating my training so i’m not that upset by it.

Monday:

Rest day

Tuesday:

Rest day

Wednesday:

Ran 2.00 miles using run/walk intervals of 10 minutes running and 2 minutes walking. Average pace of 11’12 per mile. This was going to be our 5 mile catch up run from last weekend but the site of the below soon had us turning round early!!

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I don’t do rain!!

Thursday:

Rest day

Friday:

Ran 5.00 miles using run/walk intervals of 5 minutes running and 1 minute walking. Average pace of 12’16 per mile. You can read how this one went here. It was not enjoyable but at least its done – and the sun shone for what seemed like the first time in forever!

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Saturday:

3 mile walk along the seafront to mumbles. It was a cold day but it was nice to get outside and enjoy it! We also did a lot of shopping earlier in the day, which combined with the walk and general activities meant my step count at the end of the day was 12,704! That’s far better than the usual 3000 I manage on an inactive weekday, and even 1000 more than I managed yesterday with a 5 mile run included!

Sunday:

1.5 mile walk around the local woods – the plan was for a run but I’ve finally given in to my snotty nose and didn’t feel like making it worse, so we settled for an after-dinner walk instead!

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The waterfall is doing well at the moment what with all the rain we have had!

If you read my blog on it’s actual website, rather than the WordPress feed or email, you might notice that it’s had a bit of a makeover! I decided to freshen it up a little and add some more detail, so do let me know what you think! The menu has now got a page where you can find links to previous race recaps, previous Disney World posts and recipes! I’ll try to keep it up to date!

Next weekend we have a 10k scheduled as part of our training for the IAAF/Cardiff University World Half Marathon. I’m hoping we can get it completed and that it will be a better experience than the 5 mile run from this week. I also want to try to improve my pace a little on the shorter runs so i’m thinking of trying out the virtual pacer feature on my Garmin this week to see if it might be useful for pushing myself a bit – i’ll be sure to update you all on how it goes!!

Have a great week everyone!

5 miles on a sausage butty!

I learnt today that sausage butties are not good fuel for long runs. Remember that 5 mile training run we didn’t do last week? Well today we did it! But it was BRUTAL. Seriously. Worst run in a long time. 5 miles with a sausage butty bouncing around in your stomach does not make for a good run. And I could blame just the butty but it was a combination of many things that made it hard. We ran out and back around part of Swansea bay. It’s our normal route but today it was covered in sand! It’s been rather windy lately and the sand does blow all over the path, but it was pretty bad today. I find running on sand really annoying. It just makes everything uneven I guess. I certainly feel like i’m working harder running on a sandy surface than on a concrete one.

It was also bitterly cold. Now don’t think i’m complaining. I’d rather have cold and sunny over wet and windy any day but I still haven’t quite got the winter running attire down. I layered up – wore my headband to cover my ears, wore my gloves, and a windbreaker type jacket (as it was a bit windy). All was ok to begin with but then I started to overheat so I took off the windbreaker and tied it round my waist which wasn’t a problem. But then my head got really warm, so I had to take off my head band as well. Whilst this was going on, my legs (and bum) were freezing still! My top half had warmed up but my legs were still chilly…even though they were doing all the work! It was as if some parts of me were boiling and other parts of me were freezing and it was just miserable!

We ran intervals. 5 minutes running and 1 minute walking. I found it so hard to keep running for 5 minutes after about the second interval. I know I can run for 30 odd minutes without any walking so I don’t know why – I guess it was just a combination of all the other stuff feeling wrong. Anyway, the dear old Garmin data speaks for itself really:

Mile 1 – 11:01 – a little too fast

Mile 2 – 11:51 – that’s more like it

Mile 3 – 12:38 – starting to struggle now…

Mile 4 – 13:48 – forget it. i’m giving up!

Mile 5 – 11:59 – now i’ve walked for a good amount of time i’m ok again.

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So yea, as you can tell the intervals totally went out the window between miles 3 and 4 and I ended up sulkingly walking through a whole 5 minute run interval to avoid having a complete tantrum/breakdown because of how horrible this run was feeling! Thankfully I did manage to get going again and complete the last mile in a somewhat respectable (for me) time.

So all in all. YUK. But you know what, I wanted to do the 5 miler so I knew I could and I did! It may have sucked, I may have walked more of it than I anticipated, but I got through the distance and it’s done now and I can move on with it and move on with the training plan without feeling like i’ve missed it and worrying about any negative impacts missing a long run will have. It’s done.

So i’ll chalk this one up as just a bad run. We all have them. Not every run will be amazing, and I know not to let one bad run get me down.

And at least for once, the sun was shining!

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