There’s no place like home

I’ve just arrived back from a whistle-stop holiday back in the UK, and whilst I still haven’t unpacked, I thought I’d try and get this post written and published ASAP.

After a sleepless overnight flight back from Muscat to Birmingham, Mummy B picked me up from Birmingham airport to take me back to Stratford-upon-Avon. After a quick second breakfast (I swear all I do is eat whilst I’m travelling!), I went to collect the hire car, and then changed into my running kit. Mum thought I was mad – the hottest day of the year so far in England, and here I was planning on going for a run. I did point out to her that even though it was hitting the 30°C’s, this was significantly cooler and less humid than in Muscat! I have missed running in the Warwickshire countryside so much! A nice hour-long run in the sunshine and breeze did wonders for the jetlag and tiredness.

Warwickshire countryside – lush

I swung by the tri shop on my way home, with the sole intention of buying two (yes that’s right, TWO) pairs of trainers. A new pair of road shoes to replace my holey pair of Asics that I bought whilst Ironman training two years ago, and a new pair of trail shoes to break in before the Oman Desert marathon in November. I replaced my old road shoes with their newer counterpart, the Asics GT-1000, currently in a very snazzy combination of colours :) I desperately wanted the Salomon Speedcross shoes to be a good fit, as they look so cool, but sadly they just aren’t the right shape for my feet. Ended up with a pair of Adidas Kanadia Trail 6’s which will do the job very nicely.

New daps! Asics GT-1000 and Adidas Kandida trail 6

New daps! Asics GT-1000 and Adidas Kandida trail 6

Once I got home from my run, I had a delightful session opening all the various boxes of things I had been buying online. One problem with living in Oman is that it is very difficult to get hold of things, particularly when companies either don’t ship overseas, or when the postal system is less than reliable. I’ve finally treated myself to a Garmin Forerunner 310XT. After years of desperately wanting one, and never being able to afford it, I found the 310XT for an absolute bargain on Amazon, presumably because they’ve recently brought out the new and improved 910XT. In my magic boxes there were also a pair of Injinji toe socks, some Elete rehydration liquid, a pack of For Goodness Shakes recovery shakes, a Breville Blend-Active, some PowerBar electrolyte tablets (won courtesy of PowerBarUK on twitter!), some High5 ZERO hydration tablets, some Raidlight desert gaiters and a Raidlight front pack from the wonderful Likey’s, a copy of Al Humphrey’s Microadventure book, and the Whole30 It Starts With Food book. Phew! It was a little bit like Christmas with all those parcels to open, especially as I’d bought them online, so hadn’t actually noticed physical money coming out of my wallet! I will endeavour to write a little review about them all as and when I use them.

So many packages - it's like Christmas! That's what online shopping will do to you......

So many packages – it’s like Christmas! That’s what online shopping will do to you……

After a trip down to the South coast for a wedding on Hayling Island, we spent the night camping in the New Forest, just outside Ashurst. I took this opportunity to drag Niall out for a run, and test my new Injinji socks and Adidas trail shoes. A lovely, sunny 5k later and we were back at the tent (with no blisters!), in time for a quick shower and then a delightful pub dinner in Lyndhurst.

New Injinji socks and Adidas Kanadia trail shoes... plus the Reefs for comfort after

New Injinji socks and Adidas Kanadia trail shoes… plus the Reefs for comfort after

beautiful sunny trail run in the New Forest

beautiful sunny trail run in the New Forest

The next day started with breakfast in Southampton, and then lunch with my old friend Lucy, and her gorgeous new little one, Elizabeth (who cried every time I held her), after which we hit the road up to London, to go and stay with old housemates of mine. A yummy BBQ in the garden finished off a day of a lot of eating and talking! I headed off from Herne Hill early the next morning, to meet my friend Amy for a run on Hampstead Heath. She had just (that weekend) completed her first Ultra – the 50k Race to the Stones, and so just wanted an easy jog to loosen up muscles and joints. A slow run with a friend is much better than no run at all, and we were rewarded by the lovely views over London.

Amy and I on a little run through Hampstead Heath

Amy and I on a little run through Hampstead Heath

After spending the day with Niall’s family, I met up with some of the old rowing girls for a pub dinner in Hammersmith, with lots of catching up (and gossiping). After breakfast in town the following morning, we spent the day pootling around London on Boris bikes, mainly going from restaurant to café, or shop to shop, before heading to Richmond for dinner by the river. Rather fun really. The next day (after we’d collected the car – travelling with a car in London is an absolute pain in the arse!) we drove out to Richmond Park, so I could get a slightly longer run in. Richmond Park is not nearly as big as I thought it was when I was little! I ran around the edge of the whole park, just skipping a little of the footpath on the western edge of the path as I couldn’t remember where we’d parked. Saw some deer in the brook having a little cool-off. Was quite tempted to join them! After dinner with yet another group of friends, it was back to Stratford on the Friday morning, for lunch with my friends Claire and Piers, and to have snuggles with their 7-week old son, Harry.

Deer cooling off in Richmond Park

Deer cooling off in Richmond Park

Rocking my MRR race vest in sunny Richmond Park

Rocking my MRR race vest in sunny Richmond Park

Having known that I’d be back in Stratford that evening, I’d already booked myself in for my usual Friday evening Spinning and Body Balance classes. Even after such a hectic week, I felt fantastic (if a little tired) after them. Saturday and Sunday were spent in Cambridge for a wedding, and then in Billing at a Land Rover show to keep Niall happy. We caught up with friends from Oman who have moved home now, in Northamptonshire, before finally getting back to Stratford to stop for a few days!

Series I Fire Engine Landy at the Billing Land Rover show

Series I Fire Engine Landy at the Billing Land Rover show

I managed to get another 3 training sessions and a sports massage into three days which made me pretty happy, in addition to meeting up with an old crewmate of mine from school, who has entered the Nice Ironman 2015. As a completely novice triathlete, she was looking for some advice on where to start with buying kit etc., and what approach to take for training. I thoroughly enjoyed giving her all the info I could – maybe I will do an “Ironman for novices” post soon :)

Back to Muscat for the weekend, which involved clearing the kitchen of anything non-whole30 compliant. Which obviously meant using (and eating the results of) the blueberry muffin mix sitting on the shelf. Bring on the Whole30.

 

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