Advent running – attempting a run streak

Until last Tuesday I had never heard of advent running. I read an article on my twitter feed about someone taking part in 2014 and as I had already done a run that morning (1st Dec) I was eligible to join in. I have always wanted to try a run streak but have only managed 2 or 3 days at the most before thinking that my body needed a rest or finding another excuse!!

Advent running is the brainchild of James Poole and Claudia Schroegel and it was ‘officially’ launched in 2014 – it initially meant running every day for 25 days during Advent and for at least 30 minutes (this year the ‘rules’ have changed and any 30 mins of exercise will count – though it’s not a competition, just a challenge).
To have the support and encouragement of others and social media groups compelled me to make the decision that I was going to do it. That wasn’t an easy decision, and I knew – that unless I got injured or ill then I would follow it through to the end – I don’t like to give up once I’ve started something.
Now I’ve said it – so I’m going to have to do it.

So here I am on day 6 having successfully completed six consecutive runs. I usually run three times a week and I always run in the mornings – on my days off or at the weekend. However fitting in 4 more runs means I have to run after work – in the dark. This is something that I haven’t really done before. I have plenty of bright gear to wear and I have found runs that are mostly covered by street lighting. The weather this week hasn’t been too great so I have been running in rain and wind, but hey – its only half an hour and hopefully I will reap the rewards by losing a couple of pounds (I’ve lost one this week) and getting super fit before Christmas. The hubby has joined me on a couple of my runs – having him there as a pacemaker makes me run a bit faster but it also means I have to to run further to make it up to the 30 minutes minimum requirement!!

My only worry is will my body hold out? I have various niggles and twinges at the best of times so running for 25 days consecutively does concern me a little. Today, I do have slightly aching legs and my 4-miler this morning was slower than usual. But I think I’m up for another run tomorrow afternoon. I have to make sure I stretch well and use the foam roller at various intervals throughout the day and hopefully i’ll get to book in for a sports massage next week sometime. That will be amazing.
I will check back soon and let you know how its all been going.

Are you doing the #adventrunning challenge, #runforsprouts #25in25? How are you getting on – do you have aching legs yet? If you’ve done it before do you know if my legs will start to feel better soon?  Any advice? I would love to hear from you.

Pic of the Weekend | Paris


I didn’t take this picture at the weekend – it was taken after the marathon in April 2015. Paris is a great favourite of ours and we have visited 5 times in the past 4 years.  I just felt it was appropriate to post a pic of this beautiful and complex city after the very sad events of Friday 13th November. 
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Pic of the Weekend | Fuchsias in November

Beautiful fuchsias still in full bloom on November 1st

Fuchsias looking beautiful and it’s November!

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Bristol + Bath Marathon

On Sunday it was the first ever Bristol + Bath Marathon. We’d had that extra hour in bed (sorry to anyone with small children!) but still had to leave home at 7.30am. This was Dave’s 5th marathon and his training had been brilliant (as usual) so he had no worries. Just a little apprehension about the course which looked pretty hilly on paper! No problems getting to the start near Queen’s Square in Bristol. The weather was pretty chilly at 5°C but the forecast was for a sunny day so starting in shorts was ok as it was going to warm up (easy for me to say – I had on 4 layers and a hat). Families and runners were milling about awaiting the start and there was a nice calm atmosphere.

I had already decided that I would watch the start of the race and then drive across to Bath to see the finish. I said my goodbyes, relieved Dave of his last layer of warm clothing and made my way to the one mile mark where I met son#2 who had managed to drag himself from his bed to support dad. We clapped through all 6,500 runners and encouraged them with the knowledge that there were only 25.2 miles to go.

At the one mile mark - Bristol to Bath Marathon


This is a very interesting marathon – apparently the only one in the UK to take in two cities. We could’ve watched the runners come past again just a little further up the road, but that would’ve meant waiting around for an hour or so and I wanted to pop across to Bath to see the leaders cross the finish line. Avoiding all the closed roads (I went via the M4,A46) I parked up at Lansdown Park and Ride and took the £2.60 return option into Bath city centre. It was nice that I didn’t have to rush so I could take in a few of the sights. Stewards and volunteers for the marathon were still preparing the road closures and getting set for the race to pass through. I settled myself at the final stretch – a fabulous setting just down the road from the Royal Crescent, and waited for first wave to arrive. 

The finish line - Bristol to Bath Marathon


The crowd were a nice mix of family and friends of runners and Bath locals who had just come out to get involved and have a cheer or wave a flag. The sun was shining and it really was quite pleasant. I imagine the scenario would not have been the same had the weather from Saturday (pouring rain) had continued into Sunday.

The winner of the race arrived at 2 hours 31 minutes – that is amazing – and he didn’t even look like he had worked very hard – a natural runner obviously! My hands started to ache from clapping but I always try to clap as much as possible – these runners have earned a good round of applause. I was tracking Dave on Find Friends so I knew when he would be appearing onto the finishing stretch. He managed the race in 3 hours 49 mins and 10 secs – pretty brilliant if you ask me. After some recovery stretching and a quick hamstring massage  courtesy of the missus we made our way back to the bus stop, continuing to clap and encourage the continuous flow of runners (or by this time for many, hobblers and limpers) on our way. Dave’s opinion was that the race was well organised and a good event (especially with the sun shining) but the course had quite a number of really brutal hills – which would not have been nice for any first timers, even fairly steep ascents in the last few hundred metres (now that’s really cruel) and this would put him off doing it in the future unless the organisers modified the route slightly. 

The park and ride bus back up to Lansdown seemed to take forever to come but on the plus side the driver was obviously in a celebratory mood as he did not charge the runners that were getting on – a nice gesture to recognise the effort and dedication of those who had run the 26.2 miles.

Post race coffee break!

Lots of apples, lots of cake

Lots of apples, lots of cake

I have been given a lot of apples recently by family, friends and neighbours as the crop this year has been fantastic.  I even salvaged a few from my own small tree. Having made apple crumble, apple cake and Eve’s pudding I was keen to do something that didn’t involve peeling – it is so time consuming and I’m sure removes a lot of the goodness. So I searched on Google and found many recipes – called ‘Grandma’s unpeeled apple cake’ or ‘Grandma’s one bowl apple cake’ – each one slightly different. I’m not sure if one grandma invented these recipes or just a generic grandma – however as I was following one of the recipes with my laptop open in the kitchen – I though what a million miles away this scenario was from the one that the ‘grandma’ had been in originally! And as I’m soon to become a grandma, I thought I would make the recipe a new family tradition!!
The cake was great by the way, especially with custard or vanilla ice cream, or both! You don’t even notice that the apples aren’t peeled. If you’d like to try it, here is my slightly modified version with UK units added.




4 cups (approx 450g) cored and diced, unpeeled apples
2 cups sugar (approx 400g – I used 350g as trying to cut down!)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (approx 110ml – I used rapeseed oil)
2 cups (approx 250g) plain flour, sifted
2 eggs
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
optional 1/2 cup of raisins/sultanas and nuts if you like

Sieve together the flour, cinnamon and bicarb and mix. In a separate large bowl stir together the apples, eggs, sugar, vanilla, oil – then add the flour mix. Add raisins and nuts if you are using. Pour into a greased and floured tin – a traybake tin is ideal, or two smaller round tins – though any tin will do. Bake at 170°C (350°F) for approx 45-50 minutes. (Since first writing this post I have made the recipe many times – each time reducing the amount of sugar. I have made it with 250g most recently and it was still delicious. I think it depends on how sweet or otherwise your apples are.)

Cool slightly, cut a slice, eat!


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