Weekly training recap: Mon 22nd – Sun 28th Feb

We did it!!!

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My ‘feet are dead and I look like a beetroot but I have a medal’ face!!

This weekend we have ran 13.1 miles – ok so it wasn’t all at once – we ran 10 miles in training yesterday and 3.1 miles for our race today, but i’m still so pleased!! It’s been great practice for our proper half marathon in a months time!!

We ran the St. Davids Day 5k this morning, and though there were no PB’s i’m still so incredibly proud of our efforts. We both ran the whole race without any walking – myself on incredibly painful blistered feet. Gideon finished in 32 minutes and 48 seconds and I finished in 34 minutes and 34 seconds! That’s still faster than most of our training run’s and on sore legs from our 10 mile run yesterday – i’m pretty happy with that. I’ll do a proper race recap later in the week.

My feet are now DEAD. I have what can now only be described as a 10p sized open-wound on the sole of my left foot now from where one blister has gone pop. So much for the blister plasters – they just rubbed right off as soon as we started! Still, if anything it just makes todays achievement even more impressive – to be in pain from the very beginning of the race and to still not do any walking – i’m pretty pleased with myself!! Now I just need to make sure it heals up properly before I attempt to go out running again and I need to watch that it doesn’t get infected, I definitely don’t want to still have it for the half marathon!

So thinking about our 2 runs this weekend – the 10 miler and the 3.1 miler – if I add our times for both together its roughly 2 hours 35 minutes. So this i’ve decided is going to be my half marathon goal. 2 hours 35 minutes. Well actually, anywhere between 2 hours 30 minutes and 2 hours 40 minutes would be amazing, but i’m sure it will depend a lot on the circumstances on the day – the weather, how well our fuelling has gone, how my foot is etc. So goal A is faster than 2 hours 40 minutes and goal B is just to finish! I think those are some good goals.

Monday:

Rest day

Tuesday:

Ran 2 miles using run/walk intervals of 3 minutes running and 1 minute walking. Average pace: 11:52 per mile. Went around the neighbourhood so quite hilly. But it wasn’t quite dark yet and it wasn’t raining or windy for once!!! Spring is on it’s way people – I can’t wait till its warm enough to just wear one layer of running clothing again!

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Wednesday:

Rest day

Thursday:

We didn’t run today because we knew we had a hard weekend of running ahead and wanted our legs to be rested.

Friday: 

Rest day

Saturday:

Ran 10 miles using run/walk intervals of 3 minutes running and 1 minute walking. Average pace: 12:06 per mile. Took a little detour into the woods to escape the crazy wind again. The whole run took 2 hours 59 seconds. Not to shabby.

Sunday:

Ran 5k race without any walking. Finished in 34 minutes 34 seconds. Average pace: 11:14 per mile.

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So next week i’m off to London to see a friend for the weekend who I used to live with at university. She used to run a bit back then (when I was still the kind of person that thought running was for crazies) and has suggested we go for a little run at some point on the weekend. I’m excited to run with her around the bit of London where she lives – it’s always fun to run somewhere new. Hopefully, I can get at least one maintenance run in during the week, but i’m going to see how my foot heals first. I can’t afford to make it worse right now, but hopefully with some tlc it will heal up quickly.

Happy running guys!

 

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10 miles down, 3.1 to go!!

So this morning we went out and did our 10 mile training run. It went surprisingly well – except for that i’ve destroyed my feet for tomorrow. Basically we got to around 7 miles and my feet started to rub a bit in my shoes. The remaining 3 miles were moderately painful, though I was able to run through it (perhaps stupidly). Anyway, when I got home to inspect them I can see that they have definitely rubbed. They have rubbed on the arch, where my shoes have the extra padding for stability. I don’t really know what I can do about this? They are fine on shorter runs but over a certain distance they seem to hurt. I wasn’t wearing the best running socks, so perhaps that has something to do with it. Tomorrow i’ll definitely wear my proper ones – and it’ll be off to the shops in a minute to get some proper blister plasters. Hopefully they’ll hold out for the 5k tomorrow, i’ll just take it steady and walk it if needed. If you have any suggestions to stop them rubbing then i’d definitely like to hear them!

Anyway, the 10 miles. They were good. And fast! We completed them in 2 hours and 59 seconds. I was hoping that it would take us about 2 hours so i’m really pleased with that! Most miles were between 11 minutes and 13 minutes with the first being 11.27 and the last being 11.38, so almost as fast as the first! Crazy! There was one slow mile (mile 4 – 13.17) which was only slow because we walked through a run segment as we were trying to de-layer, take a clif shot (cherry – which was beyond disgusting) and hydrate. Apart from that, we stuck to all our intervals (3 minutes running and 1 minute walking).

We decided early on to take a little detour from our normal route on account of the very cold wind which we were once again having to run into! So instead of going right around the bay from one end to the other, we went half way around the bay, then up through the woods and back for 4 miles, and then back around the bay to the car. It was good – it kept the run feeling fresh and got us out of the wind into the shelter. The path through the woods was pretty much deserted apart from the odd runner/cyclist so we didn’t have to weave in and out of people very much.

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I was thinking back to the last time we ran through the woods whilst we were running. We have only ever done it once before and that was all we did. I remember I struggled so much on the way out because its a very slight but continuous incline all the way until the turn around point. Last time we ran it (which was a good 8 months ago probably) I really found it a struggle to get up that long incline, but today I found it so much easier, so all that hill work around the neighbourhood must really be paying off. Plus, when we turned around it meant two miles of downhill running and we all know I love downhill!!

Anyway thats 10 miles done from our crazy weekend of running and all we have now is our 5k race tomorrow! We are running the St. Davids Day 5k in Cardiff. It takes place in Bute Park and starts at 10am so it will mean an early morning (as Cardiff is a good hour to drive to from us) but afterwards I shall reward myself for my efforts with my favourite lunch from when I used to work in Cardiff – a magic wrap!! It’s basically a great big chicken filled wrap with whatever other fillings you want to put in it (like halloumi, sundried tomatoes, salad, olives, and all manner of sauces) I literally cannot wait!

So I suspect I shall be hobbling around the course tomorrow, but thats ok. I’m proud of my effort today, and i’m happy just to enjoy the race tomorrow and go into it without any expectations or goals! I’m going to make it a proper fun-run!

 

Reflections

On Sunday night before I feel asleep I was thinking about the day and how we didn’t manage to get our 10 mile training run done that weekend. I was kinda bummed about it. I mean we did 5k and that was ok but it wasn’t 10 miles and we need to do 10 miles. Then in my sleepy haze I suddenly stopped and thought to myself, wait a moment, when did I become a person that thought 5k wasn’t a long way?!

5k is a long way. 5k is 3.1 miles. 3.1 miles is from my house down into the city centre – which is far. It takes me 20+ minutes to drive that in my car sometimes when its busy, and i’ve never considered walking from here into town, but the fact that I can run it in loops around my neighbourhood, or out-and-back along the sea front isn’t a bit deal anymore?! I think I need a change of perspective! Since early 2015 i’ve ran approximately 249.7 miles. Thats the equivalent of 9+ marathons. ME. I’ve ran that. Not all at once but still i’ve done THAT many miles. The distance between Swansea to almost-Leeds by road according to Google maps. ME.

And I know I can go further than that – i’ve done it. But just because I can go further doesn’t mean I should stop seeing 5k as a big achievement, or any ‘little’ distance for that matter. This time last year I could barely go a mile, and i’d never ran 5k. I ran my first 5k on 7th March 2015 according to my nike+ app, and now that distance doesn’t even seem a big deal. I have come so far, and i’d almost forgotten just how far. Lots of people will never attempt to run a 5k or a 10k or a half marathon like I have/am. I pound the pavements putting pressure on my knees and feet and raising my heart rate and making my face turn beetroot multiple times a week and my body lets me do it. I keep pushing it a little bit further as time goes on and a little bit faster and it lets me. It does want I want it too. I should be grateful for that – not everyone has that luxury.

As running becomes just a normal part of my life, i’m glad I am able to look back and still see the extraordinary achievement it is for me. I need to remind myself sometimes that 5k is still 5k. It’s still 3.1 miles and 3.1 miles is still a bloody long way and I just ran it. ME.

Menu Monday: Twice baked butternut squash with cheese & bacon!

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So I seem to have this problem at the moment that if I see a butternut squash in the supermarket I must have it! It happens every time… even though I often have nothing else in the house that goes with a butternut squash! When I was shopping this week the butternut squashes were only 39p. 39P!!!! FOR SOMETHING ALMOST THE SIZE OF MY FACE!!! It had to be brought!!

Now I LOVE a good roasted butternut squash, but I think i’ve eaten a fair bit too much of it in recently so I wanted a new way of eating my squash this time! Extensive internet searching brought up this recipe for double-stuffed butternut squash by Taste and Tell and I knew instantly that this was the one!! Cheese, bacon and butternut squash! Sounds pretty darn tasty to me! I had to miss a couple of ingredients out because I didn’t have them in the cupboard but the version we were left with was still extremely tasty!

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It’s probably not the healthiest of recipes on account of all the cheese and the bacon, but at the same time you can definitely make a whole meal from this. We had ours with a small side salad but it probably wasn’t necessary, although it did balance out the masses of cheese in the dish quite nicely.

You can also eat the skin of the butternut squash as well as the insides, just like a jacket potato. I have to say I tried a little (having never eaten the skin before) and well it wasn’t for me – but if you like it then that’s great as it means less waste!

If you don’t eat a lot of butternut squash it’s definitely worth adding it to your diet. This article by Tara Gidus explains why when it says “Low in fat, squash provides an ample dose of dietary fiber. Squash’s tangerine hue indicates its most noteworthy health perk: carotenoids. Beta carotene has been shown to protect against heart disease as well as help as a deterrent against some cancers and macular degeneration. This isn’t the only nutrient or health benefit butternut squash provides.” 

So butternut squash – full of nutrients, low in calories and really tasty! Have I convinced you to give it a go??

Twice baked butternut squash with cheese and bacon

You will need: (serves 2)

  • 1 x Butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese shavings
  • 100g Bacon Lardons (or bacon rashers cut into small peices)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Spring Onions for garnishing

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius
  • Halve squash length-ways and scoop out seeds from middle – discard seeds
  • Place halves skin side down on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season with Salt and Pepper and then bake in the middle of the pre-heated oven for approximately 45 minutes or until squash is soft (cooking times may vary depending on oven).

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  • Take squash out of oven and set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 190 degrees celsius.
  • Whilst squash is cooling, cook bacon lardons in a frying pan on a medium heat until browned. Remove once cooked and reserve on a piece of kitchen roll for later.
  • Once squash is cool enough, scoop out the middle and place into a bowl. You want to leave around a 1/2 – 1 centimetre’s edging so that the squash retains its shape.

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  • Add the Ricotta cheese to the bowl of squash, along with half of the cheddar cheese and half of the parmesan cheese shavings. Mash this all together and season with a little more pepper.

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  • Add the cooked bacon to the bowl and mix together. Then scoop the contents of the bowl back into each butternut squash case.
  • Sprinkle the remaining cheddar and the remaining parmesan cheese over the top of the stuffed butternut squashes and return to the oven for approximately 20 minutes (or until cheese is fully melted).

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  • Remove squashes from oven. Sprinkle over a couple of pieces of spring onion to garnish if desired and enjoy!!

 

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Yum yum! If you give it a go do let us know how you got on!!

 

Weekly training recap: Mon 15th Feb – Sun 21st Feb

Not much to recap this week. As I explained yesterday, i’ve had a horrible cold all week so training has once again been on hold. I’m really getting battered by colds this winter, not that thats anything new really!

So I also explained yesterday that we were still debating whether to do the 10 mile training run. Basically we had thought to bring this run forward a week so that we didn’t have to do it next weekend on the same weekend as our 5k race. However what with the cold and the horrific weather this weekend we were in two minds as to whether we should stick with that or just leave it and do it next week. In the end common sense won and we decided to postpone it until today and then review. However Gideon woke up with the sore throat that started my cold this morning so it was swiftly off to the shops for more stocks of lemsip and strepsils. Common sense again has won out. The weather is maybe 10% better than yesterday but still really not good. Here is a picture from my window to show you just how horrible it looks:

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Yeah, not great is it, and it’s incredibly incredibly windy. So we made a decision (probably somewhat stupidly considering) to go and run the 5k that was originally scheduled for this weekend instead of the 10 miles. Could we have gone and ran 10 miles yesterday? probably. But does it really matter than we didn’t? probably not. I’m still confident we will be able to do the half marathon even though training has been all over the place. It probably won’t be an amazing performance, but we’ll do it non the less. Anyway, it’s our first one so it’ll give us something to improve on later in the year!

So todays 5k. HORRIBLE. Just as horrible as I was expecting! We decided to run down the hill to the park, round the park, back up to our housing estate and round the houses to finish it off. Down the hill to the park was great – we did that mile in 10:45. The wind was behind us, the rain had eased a little. I was lured into a false sense of security that this might actually be a good run. Then round the park… we’ll there were lots of puddles and when we were back facing the wind it was a nightmare! My legs just didn’t want to move. It was like they were made of wood, and it stayed like that for the whole remainder of the run, with both miles being so much slower at 12:19 and 12:29. It didn’t help that these miles were back up hill.

I’m proud of Gid because he very nearly gave up and went home at the end of mile 2, but he pushed on through despite having the sore throat and feeling generally run down and we both completed the 5k.

So thats that basically. No need for me to go through the days of the week as that’s all we have done. Next Sunday we are running the St. Davids Day 5k in Cardiff. I wanted to push myself in this run and really try for a good time, but as we have to do our 10 mile training run on the Saturday i’ll see how the legs feel. I think i’ll be quite happy just to amble around enjoying myself if the 10 miler goes well the day before!

Happy running everyone!

To run in the rain today or not to run in the rain today? That is the question!

Since Tuesday I’ve had a horrible cold. It started with a sore throat and then progressed to a full on head cold complete with runny nose, stuffed up ears, headache and horrible cough. I’m now feeling better, although I have that horrible post-cold phlegmy cough you can sometimes get, which every now and again makes me feel like i’m choking! So needless to say I haven’t ran this week.

I said last weekend after we did our 8 miler that we’d try and get the 10 miler done this weekend to save ourselves from having to do a 10 mile training run and a 5k race in the same weekend. We’ll its Saturday today, and i’m just not sure what to do. A part of me really wants to do the 10 miles, just so Its its done and out of the way, but its another horrible horrible winters day here with non-stop driving rain and a cold wind. I’m just not sure that 10 miles is a good idea when i’m still not fully over my chesty cold – but it could just be the weather putting me off.

We decided yesterday that we would plan to do this 10 miler at race time so that we can try to work out the best way to fuel for the half marathon. The IAAF/Cardiff University World Half Marathon starts at 2pm. That is a weird weird time to start a race. The 10k we did in Swansea last year started at 1pm and I remember hating that race! I’ve looked online for fuelling ideas for an afternoon race and I can’t find very much. The only real advice was for evening races which seem a tiny bit more common that afternoon ones, so i’ve tweaked that advice and we’ve fuelled accordingly for this afternoons run to see if these would be good foods to eat on half marathon day that won’t leave us feeling bloated or with dodgy stomach’s. Last night we had chicken and rice (our standard pre-run fuel) then this morning for breakfast we had porridge and we are planning on eating lunch at about midday and having a bagel with jam (peanut butter for Gid) and a banana. However all this prep is useless if we don’t go and run at 2pm because of the horrible horrible rain!

The forecast for tomorrow is looking about 10% better than today. A little better, but not enough that it seems definitely worth it to postpone until tomorrow. But then again, i’m wondering if an extra day to get over the cold would be a good idea. We could do the same fuelling again tomorrow morning so it wouldn’t be too much of an issue in that sense, but if the weather is terrible and we don’t feel good we risk not getting it done at all. So the question really is to run in the rain today or not to run in the rain today??

I’m having a really hard time calling this one.

Our Disney Experience: Mama Melrose Ristorante Italiano

For my latest Disney World post, i’ve decided to tell you all about what has become one of my favourite restaurants at Walt Disney World. Mama Melrose at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!!

Mama Melrose is an Italian Restaurant that’s based in the backlot/muppets section of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I have dined at this Restaurant twice – once in 2014 and once in 2015. It’s a really under-rated restaurant but has fast become a favourite of mine – mainly due to their amazing steak – which I know is not very Italian – but its totally worth coming here for!

I will base this review on our most recent visit in November 2015, but I have to say that we experienced the same level of service and the same good food during our previous visit, which is why we wanted to return!

Atmosphere/Service:

  • We arrived slightly early for our reservation, but were told on arrival that they were running slightly behind schedule and we were given a pager and told to come back once it buzzed. We actually ended up entering the restaurant about 20 minutes after our reservation. This was probably the only downside of our whole experience here, but I get that they were very busy. If I had plans that the late dinner would have impacted I may have been tempted to kick up a fuss, but as we were just having a relaxed day with no fixed plans it wasn’t much of an issue for us. I guess the secret that is Mama Melrose must be getting out because it seemed to be very in demand!
  • Once we were buzzed, we were taken through to the lovely dining area. It’s got a very homely feel to it – with twinkling fairly lights, and cute gingham curtains to separate off dining areas and make the experience more intimate.
  • Our waitress was very helpful and checked on us throughout the meal to make sure everything was ok. Our food also came out without too much delay, which was good considering the restaurant was jam packed!
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Fairy Lights at Mama’s

Food:

  • We were brought bread, butter and olive oil with herbs for dipping. I love the Mediterranean tradition of dipping breads in oils so I really enjoyed these!
  • We both ordered the steak for our main course. It was a charred strip steak with four cheese macaroni with Pancetta, aged basalmic shallot butter and a Chianti wine reduction. I cannot tell you how much I love this Steak!!!! When we came in 2014 it was so good that it became the best steak i’ve ever eaten. It continues to hold that award – the whole dish is absolutely delicious!! I think the shallot butter and red wine reduction makes the steak so flavoursome and the cheese pasta it comes with is the perfect combination! Steak and pasta… who knew?!
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Oh Steak… I dream of you!!
  • For desert we had a trio of mini deserts – Amaretti Cheesecake, Tiramisu and Cannoli Cake. Each of these were really delicious, but my favourite was the Cannoli cake!
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Pudding Trio! YumYum!

 

Price:

  • We used the disney dining plan during our trip to Mama Melrose, which meant we could get a main course and desert for one table service credit. However if you are paying out of pocket I don’t think the prices are too unreasonable (for Disney World) considering the quality of the food. Main courses range from $17.99 (approx £12.50) up to $32.99 (approx £23) which is the Steak (and its well worth it!). You always pay a premium of sorts whilst eating at the theme parks, but compared to some sit-down meals i’ve had at Disney, i’d say this was pretty good value.
  • Mama Melrose is also part of the Fantasmic dining package which means that if you book the $44.99pp package you can get an appetiser, main course, desert, non alcoholic drink and reserved seating at the evenings Fantasmic show!

 

We really enjoy Mama Melrose, and have been worried about recent rumours we have heard that it may close to make way for the new Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land that are being built at Hollywood Studios. No closure has been confirmed yet though and we hope the restaurant stays because it really is a hidden gem! Fingers crossed it will be around at Disney for a while yet!