MARATHON TRAINING UPDATE

I'm currently training for the Lisbon Rock and Roll marathon on the 15th October. That gives me about 9 weeks to race day. You might be wondering how my training is going – the honest answer? Not great.

I've not been at the top of my running game for a while now. Working full time has meant that I have limited time in the week to run, various social activities see my evening runs go our the window and running the same route all the time can get you in a rut.

I've also already run a marathon this year. I've run 1 marathon a year since 2014, but this year I'm running two! Usually after finishing a marathon I need a couple of weeks (or months) off, because 16 weeks of training can leave you feeling bored of the activity!

Anyway, I was feeling in a bit of a rut, so I spoke to my dad about it (my marathon coach and general running guru). Not only had my runs been boring, but they'd also not been feeling great for a while. I felt sluggish, unfit and it was really unmotivating. My dad pointed out that I was just a bit stuck. I've been running in the same trainers for over a year now (something that's not recommended for long distance running) and I've not had a plan for a while.

So. In order to get back on track, we got me some new trainers and a plan. The trainers? Asics GT-1000. I've had the GT-2000 before and loved them, so I'm excited to try out these. The plan? To run 3/4 times a week – one of which being a long run (up to 20 miles 4 weeks out) and the others being either steady runs (at marathon pace) or easy runs (at a gentle pace).

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JULY CHALLENGE UPDATE

This months challenge was to stretch every day, and it was designed to give me a bit more time to look after myself, with the hope of increasing my flexibility. When I initially started my blog, I was at uni doing my masters a couple of years ago, and I had all the time in the world to create healthy and delicious meals, exercise daily and stretch / practice my yoga. Now I'm working full time I've realised I've had to neglect these slightly – I don't have as much time any more, so I wanted to try to make time, in the hope that it would work!
As anticipated, it wasn't a complete success! Meetings in continental Europe, long days at the office and general summer get togethers meant that July was a busy one, so I didn't manage to reach my goal of stretching every day. However, I did manage to do it a couple of times (maybe not most days but more than I used to) so I feel pretty happy about it. I also took some before and after pictures:

My hamstrings aren't as tight, my back is more flexible and my shoulders have loosened. This is one that I'm going to try to keep up.. 🙈
Next up: no chocolate in August. This is going to be tough as a) I'm a MASSIVE chocoholic and b) my birthday is in August. But hey – I said I'd challenge myself!

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MANCHESTER HOTEL: KING ST TOWNHOUSE

Last week Dom turned 25, so we went up to Manchester for the weekend to visit his family (who live nearby). One of Dom’s presents from me was a night in the most beautiful hotel I could find – and it truly was incredible!

On Thursday night (for one night only) Dom and I stayed in the King Street Townhouse hotel – and you can bet we’ll be back after that experience!

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The hotel itself is beautifully designed – and each bedroom is different. Ours was a snug room – and as Dom said “there aren’t many hotel rooms that you’d like to be your actual bedroom but this one you’d be more than happy with.” The snug room was more than big enough – with a spacious bed, gorgeous ensuite, minibar, wardrobe and a view to kill for.

We arrived to chocolate cake, brownies, macarons and beer – which was thanks to my sister and her boyfriend (thanks Beth and Sean!) to celebrate Dom’s birthday.

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Oh, and I’ve not even got to the best part yet – the spa. On the 7th floor of the King Street Townhouse hotel is the most incredible little spa infinity pool, with a gorgeous view of the beautiful Manchester City Hall building. The heated pool has a roof, so you don’t have to worry about being rained on as you look out over the city. There are also a couple of pool features – bubbles if you’re after that hot tub feeling, a waterfall feature and some under water loungers. It’s the perfect wake up call!

Next to the pool is another lounge area, in a wood-cabin style room. Again, the view is amazing and breathtaking.

I would highly recommend staying here if you have a special occasion coming up, or if you just fancy spending a couple of nights in pure luxury. It’s not a cheap stay (our night was £194!!), but if you’re looking to treat yourself with something cosy, relaxing and beautiful, then definitely check this one out!

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MUSCLE ACRE

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was asked to take part in and review an obstacle course race called Muscle Acre and I said absolutely straight away without any disregard for my / my nails safety. Having already done a Survival of the Fittest race and a Tough Mudder, how bad could it really be?

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Turns out this was the muddiest obstacle course I would ever do. I also dragged Dom along – sorry!

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You can choose your distance, from 5, 10 or 15 kilometres (we went for the 10) and we lined up at the start not knowing what to expect – all we could see from the start was the first obstacle – people running up and down a hill and climbing over piles of tyres. This was definitely not going to be graceful!

I managed to lose count of how many obstacles we did – although I was told there were 47! We crawled, jumped over, rolled in, and waded through thick mud (which literally came up to my hips at one point). We climbed over wood piles and scampered under ropes, we carried sand bags and logs, and threw ourselves down water slides and, most importantly, we had a brilliant time!

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Afterwards, we were rewarded with a medal and a beer, and we then went to try and clean off as much as we could before having to travel back to London.

The shower and change facilities weren't the best, there were 4 hoses tied to a scaffold that we could rinse ourselves under, and I really wished there were more private facilities. When you have mud everywhere – and I mean EVERYWHERE – a rinse just isn't going to cut it. I borrowed (not that she wanted it back) a towel-sized wet wipe from a lovely lady and did the best I could, but we couldn't wait to get home to wash!

I hope you enjoy the before, during and after photos below!!

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We treated ourselves to another beer and a Muscle Acre burger – which was well deserved and tasted incredible! Before hopping in our uber home.

One thing I will say is that it definitely lived up to its name – our muscles ached for DAYS after that event!

Would I do it again? Not in a hurry, but definitely! It was fun to do it with Dom and I can only imagine how much fun it would be in a big group of people!

https://youtu.be/fug2TD_PoUE

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LONDON BRUNCH SPOT

So if you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I have a slight obsession with brunching…
It's only taken us a year, but we've found our favourite brunch place right under our noses in Hammersmith, London – the Stamford Larder.
We've been walking past this place everyday on our way to the tube station and have only just discovered it – but I'm pretty sure we're going to be making the most of this little gem (we've been there the past two weekends).
It's a cute little cafe situated in Hammersmith, on King St but towards the Chiswick end of the road. When you go in, you're greeted by absolutely charming mismatched tables and chairs, mouthwatering brownies and other baked goods and a waft of caffeine.
While I'm yet to sample the brownies (although they look incredible), we have tried a couple of the brunches – and these are my 3 favourite meals (plus Dom's):

1. Poached egg and salmon on sourdough with wilted spinach – packed full of healthy fats and vitamins, this will set you up perfectly for the day ahead.

2. Cornbread and chorizo – (this is where being flexitarian is a massive benefit – I absolutely LOVE chorizo and it's pretty much the only thing I miss, meat-wise). Again, packed full of goodness, with cheesy cornbread – who could resist?!

3. Mexican eggs – if you're looking for something light to get you going, this is for you!

Dom's favourite? Buttermilk chicken, with waffles, maple syrup and a poached egg (apparently it's not weird!). It's not all healthy food here – there really is something for everyone!

So next time you're in Hammersmith / West London, and fancy somewhere to brunch, be sure to check this place out – it's absolutely DELISH.

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