Fitness Journey, Health & Fitness

Fitness diary: Has anyone seen my mojo?

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Running quote

Following all the excitement of the last few weeks of trail runs and group outings, this week I’ve found it really hard to keep motivated.  Maybe it’s a sign of being back at work and the stresses that brings teamed with having less free time, but I definitely had to force myself out this week.

Whilst it has felt like I had lost my mojo, when I sit here and review how things have gone, I’ve actually done pretty well!  Tuesday club night was an out and back this week.  I actually really like out and backs, for those who don’t know, these are routes where everyone runs the same route for 25 mins then turns round and runs the same route back.  The idea being that the faster, stronger runners will run further but everyone should finish around the same time. This week, it was a struggle but I managed 5 miles which I was pretty pleased with.

I shied off speed and stamina this week – again because of lack of motivation but did make up for it with a 10k on Friday, my fastest so far!

Regina fastest 10k

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I set an ambitious target pace of 10:30 so was over the moon at 10:36 🙂

I guess what I have taken away from this week is, don’t be so hard on yourself.  Never loose site of the end goal, I run because I get a massive sense of achievement after every mile and it gives me so much joy.

This week is a jam packed running week with our clubs couch to 5k starting again this Monday which I’ll go down to help with and on Tuesday it is my one year running Birthday 🙂  I’m hoping to pull something amazing out of the bag to celebrate!

2015 mileage to date: 65.01

Miles to go to hit target: 634.99

Happy running

D x

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Food & Drink, Home & Lifestyle

Thai style chicken soup

The classic flavours of ginger, chilli and spring onions synonymous with Thai cuisine are some of my favourites so I love experimenting in the kitchen with them. During these winter months, I’m always looking for something warming and cosy so this Thai style chicken soup is perfect on a frosty day.

Ingredients:

  • One chicken breast per person
  • Chicken stock (I used two tubs of Tesco finest stock 300g each)
  • Spring onions
  • 4 Kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 red chilli
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Lemongrass
  • Soy sauce
  • Lime
  • Rice noodles
  • Pak choi

Regina Thai chicken soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Finely chop 2-3 cloves of garlic and a good chunk of ginger. Place in a large saucepan with the chicken stock and top the liquid up with the same amount of water as stock.  Slice the lemongrass and add to the pan with the kaffir lime leaves, try to keep it fairly large so it is easier to remove later.  Add the chicken breasts and place over a medium heat and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 20 mins.

Regina thai chicken soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Remove the chicken from the pan and using two forks, shred the chicken.  Also remove the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves and discard.

IMG_5677 IMG_5678 Regina thai chicken soup

 

 

 

 

 

3. Return the chicken to the pan with the chopped spring onions, sliced chilli, the juice of half a lime and a good splash of soy sauce. Simmer for 5 mins and then add the noodles and pak choi.  Stir well and simmer for a further 5 mins.

regina chicken soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Ladle the soup into bowls with a little extra soy sauce to taste.

Regina chicken soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy

D x

Fitness Journey, Health & Fitness

Fitness Diary: Running fun with mini me

This week has been a busy week for all things other than running 😦  I only actually managed to get out for three short runs this week.

I’m seeing this as good thing though, best that it happens now before my training plan kicks in in a couple of weeks. It has highlighted to me though how easy it can be to fall out of the routine.  I’ve actually been doing lots of fun things but at the same time, I’ve been dying to go for a run!

One of the things I finally did get round to this week was taking my six year old niece out for a run.  She did the Santa Dash with me in my local town and ever since then she’s been dying to join me for a run.  So after a quick trip to Sport’s Direct, I picked her up some cute little running gear from Karrimor and some little Adidas runners 🙂

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 14.14.56 Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 14.15.24 Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 14.15.38 Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 14.16.50

 

 

 

 

 

She absolutely loved running with me!  I didn’t want to take her too far, I’d read about how you should be careful with too much running for growing bones but she just didn’t want to stop!  She managed 2 miles and even had a little sprint finish at the end.  She is already bugging me to take her out again!

Regina della cucina

Focus is back on this week, the plan is two short runs, stamina training and a long run this weekend all being well.  My training plan start date is fast approaching and I’m actually getting really excited!

2015 mileage to date: 45.08

Miles to go to hit target: 654.92

Happy running!

D x

Fitness Journey, Health & Fitness

Fitness Diary: What a difference an insole makes

This week has been a mixed week.  Some real successes but a few blips too. Following all the trail runs we did over the Christmas break, this week it was back to road running.

I’ve been using my new runners which I bought from Sweatshop over Christmas along with some customised insoles.  They had a hefty price tag at £45 so was expecting really good things from them but unfortunately after a couple of 3-milers at the beginning of the week I was feeling a little pain in my ankles, so I swapped them out for my old Sole insoles.  I’d been sent these a while ago to review but due to my injury and break in blogging, I never actually got round to it.

Sole insole

 

 

 

 

You can pop these in the oven to help mould them to your foot shape or just pop them in your shoe and they will over time adapt to the shape.  I opted to just pop them in and go and thankfully, I’ve been injury free since using them for the last 5 months.  I’ve been out in my new shoes with these insoles in a couple of times now and my ankle pain has gone again.  I think it’s because I have high arches.  The Sweatshop ones don’t seem to support my arches sufficiently but the Sole ones are much more supportive.  I’ll be sticking with them for now and returning the sweatshop ones – that is the great thing about sweatshop, the customer service is fantastic!

So what didn’t go so well this week?  I ran a quickish mile before speed and stamina this week and then started the one mile loop sessions.  Aiming for 3 in half hour, I actually only managed just under 2.  I think a lot of it was to do with the ankle pain and I probably went out a little fast on the first one!

Successes this week, Tuesday night we had a 5k time trial, my first proper road run since before Christmas.  I didn’t get a PB but I did come in just over 30 mins so that’s not too bad for me.  My biggest success was today when I ran my first proper 10k attempt in 1.09:50. My aim is to get under an hour by the end of this year so I’m pretty proud of that.  Hopefully I’ll soon shave off those 10 mins with a bit of stamina training – my legs felt really good and I probably could have carried on.  I actually found the first 3 miles a lot harder than the second three.

All in all a good week!

2015 mileage to date: 33.79

Miles to go to hit target: 666.21

Happy running!

D x

 

Food & Drink, Home & Lifestyle

Recipe fave: My spaghetti & meatballs

It’s a classic, and one of my favourite meals of all time.  I’ve tried several different recipes for meatballs and in the end I found no individual one quite gave me the flavour I wanted so I began to experiment a bit.  I tried all kinds of different herbs, spices, and ingredients before settling on my tried and tested version below.  It’s definitely one of my favourites so let me know if you try it out too!

My recipe is based around this one by John Torode but adapted a little to suit my tastes.  That’s the great thing about meatballs, you can put pretty much anything you want in them depending on what you like.  I always serve mine with home made pasta. I learnt to make this on a cooking course I went on a while back and you can read how to make your own here.  For this recipe, rather than cutting it through the pasta machine, I rolled it out and cut it into thick strips to make papperdelle.

Regina homemade pasta

For the meatballs and sauce you will need:

  • 500g beef mince
  • 500g pork mince
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 5/6 slices of pancetta chopped into small pieces
  • 4 slices of bread, slightly toasted then blitzed into breadcrumbs
  • A good handful of parsley, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 red chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Grated parmesan
  • Salt & pepper
  • Italian herb seasoning
  • Red wine
  • 2 x tinned plum tomatoes
  • Olive oil

Here’s what to do:

1. Fry the onion and pancetta until the onion is transparent. Add the chilli, garlic and breadcrumbs, season with the herbs and salt and pepper and cook for a further 5 mins.  Mix in the parsley then put the mixture in a bowl to cool slightly whilst you prepare the meatballs.

IMG_5655       Fry the breadcrumbs

 

 

 

 

2. Put the beef, pork, parmesan, egg yolks and half of the breadcrumb mixture in a large bowl and using your hands give the mixture a good squeeze to mix it all together.  You want to make sure all the flavours are mixed well through out so every little ball is packed full of flavour.  Some recipes recommend putting the mix in a blender but I find this method much easier.

IMG_5658    Meatballs

 

 

 

 

3. This mixture will make a lot of meatballs – about 30-36.  I always double up when I make them so I can freeze a batch for a quick midweek meal.  Roll the mixture between your hands into small balls no larger than the size of a golf ball.

IMG_5662

 

 

 

 

4. In a large frying pan, brown the meatballs on all sides and then set aside.  In the same pan, add the remaining breadcrumb mixture and a good splash of wine to deglaze the pan.  You want to get off all the bits stuck to the pan from the meatballs to give the sauce lots of flavour.

Meatballs Meatballs

 

 

 

 

 

5. Add the two tins of tomatoes and a tin full of cold water and bring to the boil.  I then carefully use a potato masher to mash up the plum tomatoes to make sure they break down properly.

Sauce

 

 

 

 

 

6. Season the sauce and add the meatballs.  Leave to simmer for around 20 mins, stirring regularly.

Meatballs

 

 

 

 

 

7. Prepare your chosen pasta in the meantime and serve the meatballs with lashings of sauce, a sprinkle of parsley and parmesan according to your taste.

Spaghetti and meatballs

 

 

 

 

 

Delicious!

D x

P.S. I was lucky enough to bump into the man himself a while back so here is my shameless celeb snap 😉

Me & John Torode

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fitness Journey, Health & Fitness

Fitness Diary: Where we are now

So with the long break in blogging it’s been a while since I did a diary update.  Things have moved on quite a bit since I last posted so thought I’d start with a little stat update from last year and some highlights for what’s in store for 2015.  I did end up taking about 3 months out with an injury from May – July but since August I seem to have found my mojo from somewhere and am loving it!

2014 achievements

  • Completed 3 x 5k events, each one a little faster.
  • Ran 1 x Santa dash
  • Ran approx 241 miles (70 of those were in October)
  • 5k PB 29.46
  • Furthest distance: 10.5 miles
  • Was voted runner of the month at my running club in November 🙂

2015 goals and whats to come

  • Run 700 miles minimum – hoping to beat this, it’s a little under 60 per month (So far, 4 days in and I’ve done 17)
  • Complete 12 events – to date I’ve booked 5 x 10k, 1 x half marathon
  • Finish 10k in under an hour
  • Complete at least a 15 mile distance
  • Trail running – make the most of all the lovely routes we have locally. I’ve done a few trails this week and actually really enjoyed them (and the mud).  Looking forward to the spring and better weather to do more!
  • PB’s – lots of them at all distances!
  • Push myself to achieve but remember its all about having fun too!

I’m really looking forward to smashing all of the above!

2014 running
2014 running

Happy running

D x

Fitness Journey, Health & Fitness

New Year, New Gear

Like any girl, I couldn’t resist a trip to the sales this year but times have definitely changed.  This year it wasn’t about LBD’s and bargain sandals, it was all about new running gear!  I have a bit of an addiction to say the least and my running attire is quickly taking over my wardrobe.  There has been a bit of a spree so too many to mention all of them, but here are my top picks.

1. Garmin Forerunner 220

Garmin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I actually purchased this towards the end of last year so not technically a new year buy, but a key part of my daily running gear now.  Still being fairly new to running, I opted for a mid-range model and it does everything I need it to do, I am a bit of a data addict so love analysing all the stats.  My only complaint is that it can sometimes take a long time to find GPS signal but I tend to switch it on and leave it on the window sill about half hour before I head out to be sure.  I’ve been using the pacing function quite a bit recently to as I’m awful for going out too quick and not having enough left for the end!  A must by for any keen runner.

2. Shoes, Shoes, Shoes!

Nike Zoom New Balance Trails

 

I was happy with my Adidas runners but I was keen to get a proper gait analysis done to start the year off on the right foot so to speak.  Good sports stores like Sweatshop will carry this out for free and recommend shoes suitable to your foot type. After some scans of my feet, a run on the treadmill and running around the store trying numerous different shoes, I opted for the Nike Zoom.  I have big old man feet and these mens shoes just happened to have a little flash of pink which made them feel a little more feminine.  I’ve recently been talked into a few trail runs with my running club which during the winter months is obviously a slippy-slidey experience, and despite my hatred of mud, I’ve actually been loving it a little bit (shhhhh…don’t tell anyone!).  So that I have a better chance of staying on my feet, I invested in some New Balance trail shoes.  The shape of your foot is less of an issue with trail shoes as you want something that is comfy but that your foot can move around a little bit to cope with rocks/tree roots/rabbit holes etc. Both have been out for a test run and so far so good.

3. High-vis wear

Nike Flash Nike Vapor

I’m totally addicted to high-vis wear at the moment! The more reflective the better which just so happens to be great for all the winter evening running I’ve been doing lately.  I’m a bit of a Nike fan so I love their current range.  The Nike Flash tights look amazing and are super reflective so great for keeping me safe on the roads at night.  I also recently got the Nike Vapor jacket for my birthday (best present ever) which has thin reflective lines woven throughout. You’ll definitely see me coming!

4. Proper running socks

Hilly socks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been running with just normal socks up to now and they haven’t been too bad but I have noticed that since I’ve been running longer distances, I’ve been getting more blisters and my socks have very often fallen down at the back. The running socks seem to be much more supportive and so far, my feet feel better.

5. Warm layers

Under Armour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s always handy to have lots of thin layers during the winter months as the temperature can be a bit unpredictable.  I previously bought an Under Armour jacket which has been fab and I have been wearing it to death so thought it was about time I added another one (and it just so happens to match my new trainers).  It a really comfortable soft touch, stretch fabric – perfect for layering up.

Happy running!

Dx