Update #26

How are we already half way through the year?!

I know that I tend to mention a lot about how time seems to fly by, but it really is true. The older you get the faster time whizzes by! I mean it’s already been just over a month since I started my new job.

May was well and truly a foodie month for me. I went to a cheese festival and most recently the StrEAT food festival in London. Both events were very enjoyable and I got to sample some tasty food.

Last month I also ran my first parkrun in almost a year. It was good to see some familiar faces again and run a fairly gentle route (expect for the steep hill halfway through). My 17th parkrun was the slowest one I’ve done so far, in a time of 36 minutes and 50 seconds, but I’m sure that I can get back up to speed again. The fastest I’ve completed a parkrun in so far is 32 minutes and 1 secondΒ which I achieved in March last year.

I know that I’ve been quiet on the feminist front recently, I just haven’t had the chance to write about it. The most notable event that’s happened recently is the Northern Irish referendum which saw abortion being legalized. Abortion is of course a controversial topic, but I believe that Northern Ireland has taken a huge step forward. Northern Ireland has now given women choice over their bodies, especially those whose pregnancies are life threatening and now they can terminate it without having to travel overseas to Great Britain.

Another recent news story outlined the ‘excuses’ made by male bosses about why women aren’t hired as directors. It sickened me to hear some of the reasons why many companies have no or very little women in senior positions, such as ‘Women don’t belong in the board room‘, ‘Most women don’t want to the hassle or pressure of sitting on a board‘, and ‘I can’t just appoint a woman because I want to‘. With the move towards gender equality, sexism is still glaringly obvious within the workplace and the majority of senior positions are held by men. I’m sure that one day we will reach the point where equality is achieved in businesses and it won’t matter what gender you are.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear πŸ™‚

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parkrun #17

What a coincidence that I’m writing about my most recent parkrun when I did my last one a year ago today!

It had been far too long since I last did the Braunstone parkrun, so I was determined to run my 17th parkrun on Saturday. I was awake in plenty of time (thanks to my adjusted body clock due to starting a new job recently) and had a free Saturday morning. It felt great to be back at the parkrun as it was nice to see some familiar faces with many of them dressed up in style (for the royal wedding) and the sun was shining.

I completed my 17th parkrun in 36 minutes and 50 seconds, just two minutes shy of my last parkrun (which was 34 minutes and 47 seconds). I came in 419th place out of 467 runners. My latest parkrun is my slowest time so far, but it doesn’t surprise since it had been a while. There are a couple of alternations to the route but otherwise it’s still mostly the same, so that didn’t affect my running too much. It was rather warm as well on Saturday morning, so I’m glad that I had plenty of water with me.

I have many reasons for why it had been almost a year since I last ran 5km. This time last year I was very focused on training for my first half marathon, so when I had free time at the weekends I’d usually go out for a long distance run. Some Saturdays I simply wasn’t up in time and other Saturdays I already had plans which didn’t allow time for going to the parkrun first.

I’d like to get back into parkruns again, as 5km is a nice short distance to run when you don’t fancy running longer distances. I guess I could incorporate the parkrun into my second half marathon training by running to the parkrun, completing the parkrun and then running some more afterwards. I’ve seen many people making their way to the parkrun by running there.

I promise I won’t leave it so long until my next parkrun!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear πŸ™‚

 

P.S. Sorry that it’s been a while since I last posted on my blog! I’ve not forgotten about the cheese fair I went to in Melton Mowbary, I’ve just not had time to write about it yet. I may have to mention it briefly in my next update post.

Update #25

Happy May bank holiday weekend!

The weather is absolutely gorgeous. It’s about time the UK had some decent weather as it usually rains during bank holidays, so this makes a lovely change and an opportunity of course to soak up some rays. When I took my dog for a walk this morning, there were lots of dandelions all over one of the fields we like to walk across. This made a lovely start to my day to see an array of yellow flowers, the blue sky and sunshine.

Bright beautiful dandelions

Looking back over April, I made a start running again. I went out for a 10km run which went pretty well despite not having ran a long distance for some time. I also managed to get down to the gym on a few occasions, making sure to do high intensity cardio exercises.

I also mentioned last month that I got a new job, which I started on Monday. I must admit that it’s been a bit of the shock to the system going back into full time employment and having to wake up earlier every morning. However, I intend to get into a routine and aim to go to the gym at least twice a week in the morning before work, starting from next week. I will have to consult my blog on adaptability when I went into full time work for the first time a few years ago.

The first Cheese Fest was held in Leicester which I went to with my sister. It was great to sample so many different types of cheeses with some interesting flavours, and I devoured a mac n cheese waffle with BBQ sauce. I’d definitely go to another Cheese Fest; hopefully it’ll come back to Leicester again in the near future.

On the subject of cheese, I’m off to yet another cheese event tomorrow, which is the Artisan Cheese Fair in Melton Mowbary. I imagine that there will be a lot of Blue Stilton cheese as Melton Mowbary is renowned for it, as well as pork pies and Red Leicester cheese. Expect a blog about this cheesey affair next week!

I will also be off to the StrEAT Life festival at Alexandra Palace in London, which takes place annually on the second bank holiday weekend at the end of May. This will my third time going to this street food and craft beer festival, where I usually reunite with friends from university and enjoy some tasty food and drinks. The weather was glorious last year so here’s hoping that the weather will be the same again!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear πŸ™‚

A little out of practice

With six months to go until the Leicester Marathon, I ought to get my running shoes on and get back into training. I mentioned recently that I’ve not been out running as much as I was this time last year for several reasons, but I’m glad to have made a start again today.

With some free time on my hands, I went out for a 10km run this morning. The last time I went out for a longish run was just after Christmas last year with a friend, and we ran 7km together. I went along one of my classic routes along the canal into town and back again, where the path is now mud free and relatively dry. I also wore my fitness tracker which I haven’t used for a while, in order to keep track of my time. I also had my snazzy headphones which stay in place when I run, and which I’ve had for just over a year now.

After leaving long distance running for so long, I was prepared to expect some difficulties regarding my fitness. For example I had to walk on a few occasions for a minute or two at a time after the 7km mark, and my shins did feel a little sore at one point. Despite feeling a little out of practice, I don’t think I did too badly time wise and my shins were ok after I carried on running. I managed to run 10km today in 1 hour and 12 minutes, which is a time I’ve achieved before on previous occasions when running 10km and reaching the 10km point when going for much further distances.

Overall I was happy with the run this morning, although I could’ve done better. Now that I’m getting back into training and into the swing of things, I will be aiming for longer distances in the hope of beating my time last year, which was 2 hours and 47 minutes for my first half marathon.

I’m also excited to announce that I’ll be starting a new job at the end of the month! I am currently in part time/term time work, and will be moving back into full time employment. This will of course affect my fitness and training, but I will work around this and aim to run more at the weekends and even try to go to the gym before work, which will mean getting up at 6am!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear πŸ™‚

Short and sweet

It’s been almost half a year since I ran my first half marathon, and I’ve only been on four short runs since then!

Firstly I completed a 5km Santa Fun Run at the start of December last year, which was really fun and I highly recommend. Secondly I went for a 7km run during the Christmas break with one of my friends, who was training for her first half marathon. Thirdly I attempted 10km on the treadmill at the gym in January this year and got bored so I only did 7km again. And fourthly I went for a surprise run yesterday morning, which turned out to be shy of 4km.

After almost 4km yesterday

This is rather shocking and you’re probably wondering why I’ve not kept up the running as much as before. There are several reasons for this (call them excuses if you wish), with the main one being the weather. I mentioned recently in my blog that I wanted to go out running again last month, but we had the Beast from the East in the UK which deterred me from running outside in -6 degree temperatures and on icy paths.

Another reason is simply time. I’ve had plenty of chances when I could’ve gone out for a long distance run, or even a 5km parkrun on a Saturday morning if I used my time better. There are occasions where I’ve had a morning or afternoon which have been the perfect opportunities to go out running, but I didn’t because I wasn’t motivated enough, something else came up or I just wanted to rest.

I would say that another reason for not going out running as much is because I’ve already ran a half marathon. This time last year I was really focused on training, increasing the distance I ran gradually until I reached 21km/13 miles. I guess you could say I’m being smug, as I was so determined to run my first half marathon last year and now that I’ve done it, I know that I could probably do it again. I shouldn’t really be thinking like this, as I’d like to beat my time and aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes, so I will have to start training again very soon.

Despite not running so much, I have been going to the gym at least once a week recently so I’ve not stopped exercising altogether. I tend to focus on cardio which I can feel afterwards in my thigh muscles. I’m also pleased with how my run went yesterday, despite it only being almost 4km. I didn’t feel tired towards the end so I greatly increased my speed to really get my heart rate going. I knew that I could’ve easily gone further, but I didn’t want to as it had been just over three months since my last run.

This short run also feels like the start of getting back into running again too, as I was up much earlier than I needed to be yesterday so rather than staying in bed, I got up and put my running shoes on!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear πŸ™‚

Update #24

A belated Happy Easter to you all!

I was away in a lovely seaside town called Sheringham in Norfolk for a week with family and friends. My nephew was on his first holiday and even went swimming for the first time at a local leisure centre! It was nice to have a week away and the weather wasn’t actually too bad; I realise that other parts of the UK had it much worse over the Easter weekend.

First day in Sheringham

I am now back to being a carnivore after a successful third year of giving up meat for lent. I had a fry up on Easter Sunday morning, which included bacon, sausages and black pudding, I devoured a hog roast pork bap after swimming with my nephew and enjoyed a juicy rump steak last night when I got back from Sheringham. Each time I eat meat again I remind myself that I couldn’t give it up entirely and become a full time vegetarian- meat just tastes so good!

What a hog roast!

However during the period of lent, I don’t miss meat too much. I have the odd occasion where I fancy a bacon sandwich or a lamb roast dinner, but otherwise I enjoy trying out vegetarian options. Last month I had a go at making dauphinoise potatoes and veggie burgers, two new food cooking ventures for me. I also enjoyed making quinoa during lent and quite often had it in salads for lunch or mixed with sweetcorn and other beans for dinner.

Since giving up meat for the first time three years ago I have cut down my meat intake. I generally try to have meat just once a day for one meal, opt for vegetarian options and eat more fish.

Last month also marked three years since I started my blog! I find it crazy that it’s been that long, it doesn’t feel like three years to me. I really do enjoy keeping a blog and I will continue to post about my three favourite topics: feminism, fitness and food.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear πŸ™‚

Fantastic fundraising

My apologies that this gratitude is a bit overdue, but my mother and I were waiting for the final total of our fundraising.

As many of you will know I ran my first half marathon on 15th October last year, and my mother walked 10,000 steps a day for the whole of October. We both decided to do joint fundraising for the Association of Air Ambulances, a charity which works hard to provide air ambulances across the UK and requires a lot of funding.

My mother and I are both over the moon with how much we raised between us. We recently received a Β£200 donation, so our final total is Β£3013!

Our fundraising efforts in a magazine

We’d both like to say a huge thank you to everyone who sponsored us in our physical challenges for a worthy cause. I am definitely considering running at the Leicester half marathon this year so I will probably choose a different charity. Any suggestions?

Thank you again for your support!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear πŸ™‚