Wednesday, 26 February 2014

A year of running.....

So exactly one year ago today I first laced up my trainers and went for my first run. 

It was a baby 1.4 miles with lots of walking, but arriving home the endopines were pumping and I finally realised maybe running wasn't God's punishment for eating cake.

2 months later I did my first 10km race at the energizer night run and I was hooked. A year on 5 medals later, I honestly don't know what I'd do without running.

This week I've did my longest race of 15km last weekend with my first half marathon in Paris this weekend. I never dreamt if ever be 'sporty' let alone a 'runner' and I wouldn't have made it here without the amazing support of my trainer at London fields fitness and the twitter community of runners spurring me on!

Thanks guys!

Here's to the next year! Tons more races on the cards and my first marathon!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Samira's super power shake

I have a new personal trainer who keeps telling me to eat more protein. In addition every health and fitness magazine is promoting high protein diets at the moment. I've always been a bit reluctant to use protein powders and supplements but decided to bite the bullet and give it a go, and the result has been surprising delicious and nutritious. 

After doing lots of reading, I decided to try Reflex Diet Protein, Reflex is a small company based in Brighton and uses huge amounts of research and technology to make their fitness supplements. They also have a huge range of types of protein and flavours as well as have a minimum of 80% protein in their shakes. 

My husband has been using their products for years so I thought I'd take the plunge and try the diet version of their protein powder.

The diet protein comes in a few different flavours, but I went for the banoffee version, super yum. Its high protein with less calories and additional ingredients which help with metabolism and weight loss.

With this in mind I've invented the Samira Super Power Shake.

1 Scoop of good quality protein powder
1 espresso shot
1 banana
250ml of soya, almond or dairy milk


1. Make your espresso first and let it cool in the fridge (alternatively you can add ice at the end)
2) Using a smoothie maker, add the protein and the milk and blend until smooth
3) Break the banana into pieces and add
4) Add the Espresso shot
5) Serve

Its super yummy and good for you!

Book review: runners world cook book

I am slightly cook book obsessed, as you can see, so I was delighted when Runner's World launched a cook book just before christmas, and even more delighted when someone bought it for me! Its quickly become one of my most used Christmas presents and been super helpful for fueling marathon training.

The book starts with a section on "how to eat like a runner" and talks about nutritional needs of runners for effective running and recovery. Its really well written without being over sciencey but packed with useful information.

It also helpfully labels each recipe with a variety of tags, low cal, fast, pre race, recovery, which is awesome! 

Sections include: Breakfast, snacks and smoothies, salads, soups, pizza and tons of other things.

I think I found it most useful for baking snacks such as these banana oat energy bars and for finding healthy pasta recipes, as well as great quick and easy soups and stews. You can buy it here on Amazon.

Why coming last isn't always terrible: race recap dorney lakes 15km

  As part of my marathon training, I've been trying to book up lots of races to build up my long runs, so I was delighted to find out about The Windsor and Eton Winter Fun Run Race Series at Dorney Lakes after reading about it on Leah's Blog. They were offering a 5km, 10km or 15km option race, and have these races about once a month until April this year, with the latter races offering a 20km option as well.

I arrived super nervous, and having signed up for the 15km, the longest distance I've raced so far, and my longest run this year. The set up was great, with a mini race village, complete with food and drink stalls for spectators and a few stalls setting supplements etc. Dorney Lakes is Eton's Rowing Centre and where the Olympic Rowing was, it was so beautiful and a really lovely place to run.

As we arrived, the morning duathlon was finishing, which Dame Kelly Holmes was racing! Despite there being two events running, one after the other, the organisation was flawless. The stewarts were cheering and helpful. Registration was easy and we got our goodie bags before event starting, complete with zero cal red bull and an electrolyte supplement. 

The Race was laps of a 5 km course, with around 300 people competing but only 55 people doing the 15km race. 

We started off, with me lining up right at the back, and ran down through the trees to the end of the lake. With several attire disasters (sports bra breaking and hair band snapping) but the 2 km I was settling into my stride and feeling good. We turned about 3 km at the end of the lakes and ran back down the middle which was stunning, with cheers as we passed through the race village ready for lap two. 

I took a gel and started my pack of baby jelly babies as we passed through 5km and was feeling good starting the second lap. 

The runners were getting a bit sparse at this point, but I just tried to focus on keeping my slow and steady pace, passing the 10km point at 1 hr 10 mins. 

Starting the last lap, I knew I was at the back, I hadn't seen another runner for a while, but the stewarts were cheering me on and the competitors that had finishes were clapping and cheering.

The last lap was tough, but I kept consistently running and when I got to the 12km mark new I could do it!

Running into the finish line, last over the line, the cheers were huge from the organisers and those competitors that were left. It felt great. Longest run, and an ok time of 1:51 for 15km. I was chuffed.

The good: The course was great, the organisation was amazing, probably one of the best organised races I've been too, great choice of 3 distances, great medal at the end

The bad: The only bad things I can say is no bag drop, and few participants doing the 15km

Overall a fantastic and well organised friendly race!

Monday, 13 January 2014

Capital runners Richmond Park 10km

My first event of the year was the Capital Runners Richmond Park 10km. I signed up to this quite last minute as I've been off running due to shin splints and got the green light from my physio just a week ago for running. I did park run last week, a 2 other short runs in the week and though a 10km was the next step.
Given my current life of working in the midlands and living in London, I've found it quite tough finding running routes in the midlands for my long runs, so am planning to use low key organised races as long runs as much as possible. 
I've been meaning to do a Capital Runners event for a while and have been desperate to run in the beautiful Richmond Park. They have a series of 6 - 8 races a year, chip timed with a medal and are a really friendly bunch. The start time is also a friendly 10am on a sunday, so not too bad.
About 300 of us gathered on a glorious but cold day in the Park, and did 2 x 5km laps of the Park on path and trail. The course was "undulating" as they described it, but more hilly that other events I'd done in the past. My main aim was to complete the race without twinging or pain in my shins. I took it slow and really concentrated on form and going slow for the first lap, then let myself enjoy the second lap, taking in the beautiful views and the deer at the final kilometer.

I also listened to a Marathon Talk podcast interviewing Alexandra Heminsley who wrote Running like a Girl which was amazing! Especially as she was talking about running for yourself and at your own pace and that being ok (just as the fastest runners finished the course when I was starting lap 2!).

All round a great run with a slow time of 1:11 but happy that my injuries seemed to have recovered. There are lots more capital runners events this year that you really should check out here! They are really well organised, friendly and really are for all abilities. Let me know if you fancy joining me for one! 

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Reviews - nuun and après hot chocolate

Back in December me and the boy went to the supercool SPIN x LCF festival in Shoreditch. I've been wanting to go to a London Coffee festival event for ages, and this didn't disappoint, I can home wired with tons of coffee and as a bonus some great products to help with my running training. 

Firstly lets talk about Nuun

Nuun is a new sports hydration drink which is tablet form that you add to water. Its purely electrolytes with yummy favours and as a bonus no added sugar and only 6 calories. I'd heard of nuun from some of my running buddies like Naturally Leah and was desperate to try them out, so I was over the moon to see their stall at SPIN x LCF and get to sample some of the flavours.   

I can away with the Strawberry Lemonade, Lemon Tea, Tropical and tri berry

Firstly the sciencey bit. As a doctor, I'm often in the realm of knowing a bit to much about the geeky side of things, and when it comes to a lot of sports supplements I'm soooo sceptical and tend to have a good read of the science to support what they are saying. 

To be honest I'm really impressed with Nuun. The make up of electrolytes is really similar to the kind of fluid we give patients after and during operations, so these guys to seem to have done there research. Its a good well rounded electrolyte drink (my other favourite it Coconut water which is potassium heavy with not quite enough sodium). So thumbs up on that part.

Secondly the taste. These a seriously yummy and I am absolutely obsessed with the strawberry lemonade flavour and could well drink it all day. 
Performance wise I've been using these for 2 months now for running, spinning and gym. They are awesome for spinning, and I tend to take them on all my long runs now. I've also been using them as a quick rehydrate after getting home before a medium run and have found I then don't need to carry water with me on these runs.   

The only downfall I think is they do work about a bit pricey, a single tube is 6 quid for 12 which works out 50p a drink. This is a lot cheaper than some sports rehydration drinks, but I tend to find because of the convenience of them I use them a lot more than coconut water etc so run out quite quickly.

You can buy them online at or look out for them at other sports shows over 2014.

The other sports drink I discovered at SPIN x LCF was Apres - the Hot Recovery Drink. These are a real treat. Personally after a long cold run, especially at this time of year, I love having a low cal hot chocolate when I get home. Its such a treat. This drink combines yummy chocolate malt with carbs, protein, antioxidants and vitamins - general all round goodness.  

I am loving having these as a treat once a week after a long run. A great bonus of picking these up at SPIN x LCF was meeting the guys who run the company and finding out about there great trail races in Brighton, One of my goals for this year is to run my first trail race, so I'm keenly looking at their events.

You can buy Apres Recovery on their website here.