Cake and Bake Show 2014

So, it seems a long time ago now (over 2 weeks now) that I went to the Cake and Bake show in London, with one of my friends.

It was at Earl’s Court, and we managed to get into to London pretty early. We each bought one of the programmes which came with a goody bag, although I am not sure it was that good value- I like the bag though and use my one from last year a lot.

We were greeted by this cake:

Mary Berry atop a unicorn, with Paul Hollywood in the mud.

There were loads of amazingly decorated cakes as there were competitions going on, but I only took a few photos.

This was one of my favourites- no idea why but it seemed to rebel against the cutsey pink cakes, plus who doesn’t love afternoon tea?

We browsed the stalls for a bit (choosing which brownie stall to go for at lunch). A few times we queued up for a Dr Oetker goody bag, but each time we got near the front they ran out, ah well.

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How do people manage to take photos of themselves in the mirror without posing in such an awkward way??

I bought myself a new apron (from the messy baker if anyone is interested)- they had loads of cute styles and when I went last year two friends bought them and I didn’t. It came with a free badge, so I chose this one:

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It must be true if my badge says it!

After eating a brownie for lunch (while we were sitting down we saw Chetna and the beard guy from the bakeoff), we headed to our workshop. We watched a demo of piping different buttercreams which was really good. We could have had a try but it was a bit busy.

We had a final visit around the stalls where I came across the Ms Cupcake stall (and I remembered I had bought something delicious from there last year- a nanaimo bar)- so I had to visit and get something. Then it was time to get the train home, and unpack my goodies.

2014-10-05 17.19.52My apron (the link with white spots thing), some flavoured icing sugars for buttercream (I bought salted caramel, pistachio and black cherry- by Sugar and Crumbs), and some tea. The sugar was in the goody bag.

2014-10-05 17.20.03I also bought Andy a red velvet cookie sandwich from Ms Cupcake, but we ended up sharing it as it was huge.

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Another lovely day out- there were so many stalls with freshly bakes breads and cakes (stalls from Borough market etc) and of course plenty of baking paraphernalia.

Now I am off to look at the Ms Cupcake book again and decide if I should treat myself…

Coconut water winner!

Hey peeps!

A quick one here, just to announce the winner of the Naked coconut water giveaway- I put names into a hat and Andy drew out out.

The winner is:

Anna (Anna the Apple).

Congratulations!

If you could send an email to me with the address that you would like it sent to, then I will let the people at Naked know.

15k with deer and parrots

Yep, you read that correctly!

Ages ago I signed up to this race, when it was the Wholefoods breakfast race. There was a choice of 5, 10 or 15k, so I went for the latter thinking that I was doing a 10 mile race the week before, so would be fine for that distance.

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The t-shirt I ordered when I booked it still said Wholefoods

But at some point it changed over to Breast Cancer Care run, and I think possibly the route changed too as I was expecting to run along by the Thames. Originally I was going to drive down there, but this week the email said that the roads and car park would shut by 9am (my 15k wave didn’t go until 10.20) and I didn’t fancy getting up too early for a 90+ min drive on my own. So we booked a hotel, drove down after dinner on Friday, and then this morning Andy dropped me off at the park before he was off to Southampton.

The website was rather vague, saying that there were train stations but the start was quite a distance, but didn’t specify anything. The walk I did turned out to be 2k.

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I saw a stag sitting in the ferns on the way up. I had my bag with me (the website said there was a bag drop) but when I got there someone came up and snatched my bag out of my hands and snapped at me “you missed it”- I felt really bad as I didn’t realise it had a closing time. I arrived at 10.10 so only just in time. There was a warm up, and I am not making this up, they did static stretches and at one point the lady said “if it’s not hurting you are not stretching enough”. What now???

The run briefing on the start line was a bit worrying as the guy was telling us “turn right at the first split point, remember to turn right, then later turn left, the repeat this bit”- I was very confused but luckily the course turned out to be well sign posted. Anyway, we had tags for shoes but there was no mat to cross at the start line. I hung back a bit as most of the 15k group looked pretty hardcore!

The course was lovely- it looped down to where I had come in (the stag was still there) and then up alongside more beautiful parkland. There was a large herd of deer further along- I was pretty happy spotting them while I ran. We ran the 5k route first, so at 4k people were cheering “not long to go”- er, not long until 1/3 of the way! The marshals on the route were great too, all cheering and chatting to the runners, and the photographers were shouting out “smile” before they took the photos.

Just before the 5k mark another runner started chatting to me, and we ran together until the 10k point when she picked up the pace a bit. At the 5k point we had to run past the finish line and then started a loop with 5-10 and 11-15k markers (we ran it twice). This loop was pretty (more herds of deer) but it was fairly undulating, with a few out and back parts which can feel a bit disheartening when you can see everyone on the “back” bit. Also the final 2k of each loop was uphill and into the wind- tough! I saw that at the 10k point (again right by the finish- very jealous of all the 10k runners at that point) at 58 minutes, so I was pretty pleased with my pace. At one point I thought I saw parrots- several birds flew across my path and they were bright green- I did wonder if they were woodpeckers, but they were too big and had such long tails.

I was very relieved when I reached the 14k marker, but that final k seemed to go on for ages (did I mention it was uphill?).

I crossed the finish line and felt really dizzy for a moment, and a marshal handed me a handful of powergel fruit puree things, and then someone else gave me some coconut water. I was after my bag, but it turned out that the finish area was different to the start area, and as I had missed the van (I didn’t know there was a van) so I had to walk back. The weather was OK- quite humid and it didn’t rain, but I was getting quite cold so the way back. I also saw more deer, but my phone was in my bag so I couldn’t take a photo.

I finally reached my bag and put my hoodie on.

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I also took time to admire my medal!

Then it was time to try and get home. Rater naively I thought that seeing as the race was in London, public transport would be fine. I asked a marshal where I could get a taxi from, and she pointed me to another gate, so I walked down that way. A deer ran across the road, and I saw the parrots.

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One was right in the knot of that tree but flew away as I took the picture.

There were some public toilets so I popped in to change before heading out of the park. It turned out the road was a red route, so no chance of hailing a cab. I found a couple of bus stops but they weren’t going to Wimbledon (where I needed to get to) so I walked to a parade of shops and called a taxi (my phone battery was going at this point so I was rather nervous). The taxi cost £20! Oh my goodness me! There was a sign saying 3 miles to Wimbledon common, but I didn’t think the station was that close so I didn’t fancy walking it.

Then, I got to the station, had 2 mins to get a ticket and catch a train (phew- also I was planning on listening to some podcasts, but could not because of my phone battery- had a free magazine in the goody bag which I held out hopes for, but it turned out to be Grazia- what a load of rubbish that magazine is) but then that train cancelled itself at Kings Cross, so I had to get off and wait….. urgh by this point I was so tired. I had not had lunch (I had one of the powergel fruit things, a mini bag of popchips and some water) and just wanted a shower. My mum picked me up from the station and took me home- I think I got home at half 3! Not ideal! I mentioned the parrots to my mum, who said what they were (some sort of parakeet or something) and said that they had one in their garden once. At least I wasn’t hallucinating!

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Random goody bag including mission deli wraps, Bear cereal and more poweraid fruit puree stuff.

2014-10-18 15.22.00But I do love the medal!

Anyway, 15k done. Beautiful scenic route, loved seeing the deer, but think I should have thought it all through a bit better! Think local races are more my thing!

Now I just have to wait and see if I get an official time :)

EDIT- I didn’t get the text in the end, but just looked it up and I finished in 1:30.41- I am pleased with that as I think it compares to my 10 mile time.

Although a rather spectacular positive split- my 5k’s went 27.58, 30.32 and 32.11! (And in fact I think I did the first 5k even quicker as there were no mats on the start for the chips so I think everyone “started” at the same time, whereas at the 5, 10 and 15k points there were mats).

 

Ware 10 recap, including tea and cake marshals!

This time last year I was running through torrential rain wishing I had trail shoes or ski poles.

This time the weather was warmer (relatively speaking) and much drier. I still chose to wear trail shoes as the Ware 10 is pretty much all off road, apart from a small section through residential streets, and it had rained a lot in the week leading up to it.

2014-10-12 10.01.24Trail shoes ready- not as vital as last year, but still a good option.

The race HQ was about 20 minutes drive away, and it didn’t start until 10.30, so I got up, had breakfast (Clif bar and peppermint tea- didn’t fancy toast which is what I have had pre-race the last few times) and headed off some time after 9. I did have a panic part the way there that I should have had my number with me, but no, you have to pick it up at the start. It is so well organised- the car park was signposted, marshals directing where to park, and then the race HQ was in the field next to the car park. I don’t normally use the port-a-loos at races, but I had been faffing about for a bit, so used them, and here is the miracle- they were clean, with toilet paper, and had soap! I picked up my bits, attached timing chip to my shoe, went back to my car for a bit, wandered about and then met up with my Sweatshop buddies. We had a little chat before the race started- I didn’t want to get lapped by the faster runners, and we were all looking forward to cakes at the end!

So, the plan. Well, I wanted to beat my time from last year, because last year it was a week after running a half marathon, the weather was better, plus I like to think I am getting a bit faster. My time last year was 1:40.58, so a shade over 10 minute miles, so this time I aimed for just under. My plan was to try and keep up with my friend for as long as possible, but she had a cold so tended to hang with me and stopped at the water stations.

Here is the elevation profile (in green):

Ware 10 profile

Fun hills, especially the second time around! The route is around a field, 2 laps of paths, fields, towpaths etc and then back through the field again. Again, the marshals were fab, the 1 mile marker came up so quickly (just 3 parkruns to go), the scenery was pretty, and apart from the first mile (a bit of congestion) I kept under 10 min miles  every time I glanced at my watch. It wasn’t easy- I got a stitch in the same place on both laps (no idea why- it was a flatter part of the course too, although it was right into the wind and I got quite cold so not sure if it was to do with that). On passing the midway point a marshal cheered “you didn’t get lapped- well done!”- I was indeed very pleased with that! I really love the marshals at this race- it is a proper lovely running community, and I think if I lived closer I would look at joining, but in reality it is a bit too far for me to end up going for training. I was often running right behind or in front of a group of Ware joggers, and they were all being greeted by name and having a chat with the marshals as they ran past. At one point I was cheered on by an older man who said something like “keep it up young lady, good girl” which was slightly strange! But really I loved how encouraging they all were. Plus I will say it again, I have never seen another race with so many marshals- they were everywhere.

On the towpath of the last loop my friend with the cold overtook me and so although my stitch was back I tried to keep her in sight- I find that sometimes helps take my mind off things like that.

Coming into the field there were lots of people there- runners who had finished as well as friends etc- they were cheering everyone in (come on number 20) and someone was reading out names as we came towards the finish- a nice touch.

I was so pleased to see 1.36 on my watch- I didn’t know my official time (I could not remember exactly when I started it) but I was pretty sure I had a pb at that point.

Someone cut the chip off my shoe (another great touch) and then I got some water and my super bright technical t-shirt.

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It is bright green- great for winter running. Plus, this year they had small sizes left! Hooray!

I put mine on over my t-shirt as I was getting pretty cold, and then it was time for the cakes, oh yes.

There was a tent with tables covered in home-baked goodies- a cake + hot drink for £1. The best part? The marshals in the tent had on high-viz tabbards with “Tea and cake marshal” printed on them. The best job ever!

I went for a slice of fruity tea-loaf and a blackcurrant tea- it hit the spot!

The three of us had our photo taken together, and watched the prize giving before heading home. Again, super easy.to leave- no traffic jam, no stress, just hit the road (and the heating!).

Later on I looked up my time- 1:36.12, so a new pb by over 4 minutes! Not too shabby!

It is not the easiest course, but it is so enjoyable, and really reasonably-priced (I think it was £17 un-affiliated which is so cheap compared to even other 10K’s around here- and that included a technical t)- I am pretty sure I will be back again next year too.

Are there races you like to re-visit each year? There are not many that I have run more than once, but I am making an exception for this one. I really loved the 10K I did in Nottingham but for the last few years we have been busy on that weekend. There is also a local 10K which I really liked, but for the last 2 years it has been the same date as Ware 10, so it has lost out there. Why are they all on the same day??

Any races you would never do again? The Great South Run for me is on that list. Yes it was fast and flat with more crowd support, and I raised money for charity so I am glad I did it, but it was so badly organised, and so expensive- read my ranting here if you are interested!

Naked coconut water giveaway

Hey peeps!

A while ago I was lucky enough to sample some Naked Coconut water.

 

54709 Naked Coconut WaterNow one of you lovely readers can win a case of 12 cartons of coconut water! Exciting stuff!

All you need to do is leave a comment on this post saying why you like coconut water.

UK-based people only.

On Saturday 18th October I will draw one name at random.

Good luck!