Monday, 11 November 2013

£7 Food Challenge Day 5 & 6: Mud, Jelly Babies and Zombies

Have I or have I not broken the bank in my £7 Food Challenge for the week?

OH did not know about this challenge. I did tell him I was trying to use stuff up from the freezer. I did not tell him there was an additional challenge behind this week's grocery budget other than we are brassic and need to get ourselves unbrassic.

We were meant to have our Saturday lunch at home, before heading out to get tape for my knee ahead of my run. Only, diversions via the post office meant he ended up in town ahead of me, battery on phone dying, asking me to meet him at the running shop and go to lunch from there. I protested lack of funds and said I wanted to eat at home... but after very quick discussion the compromise was he would buy me lunch at a greasy spoon (actually, a very nice and reasonably-priced local independent eatery).

I know, I know! Part of me is feeling like I failed, because I am a challenge-nerd like that, but I did say I was exempting OH, so by my own pre-established criteria I haven't. Let other people be perfect, anyway. This is our frugalism, which we're muddling through together with various rates of success and non-coincidental epiphanies.

The main thrust of this challenge was to save money on our weekly food spend. I think that's safely achieved. My Saturday food spend was a meager £1 on potatoes from the market, leaving 91p in the £7 kitty. Even with the lunch included, that would not be a patch on the usual weekly spend of £25 plus £10-£20 out and about. So, I've saved over £20, I reckon. Not bad going.

I'm probably setting myself up to fail again here, but Stacey at Mortgage Free Journey is continuing the challenge - this time at £14. As we have similar budgets, I may see how well I can follow suit (note, she has kids; I don't, but I have a husband who will be in post-op convalescence from tomorrow).

So, anyway, the rest of the weekend was dedicated to me actually getting on with some writing: a short story I hope to have finished in the next couple of days... although I was a bit distracted ahead of my first ever 10km run on Sunday. Saturday night, we fuelled up with chicken sweet and sour with coconut rice (the lumps of meat I found in the freezer turned out to be chicken and venison. I left the venison for another time, and pulled out something I have as yet failed to identify. Whatever it is will end up in some pasta).

So, Sunday morning, me and my friend Lisa went up to Delapre in the car to do the 10km Mud and Mayhem Challenge, and OH followed on his bike to take part in the duathlon. the events are organized by Go Beyond Ultra and raise funds for Teach Africa.

It was a gorgeous, sunny day, though still pretty cold. We had the beautiful grounds of Delapre Abbey to run round, and our route would get us to go round the lake thrice, each lap 3.3km.

Beautiful blue skies around the start/finish line.

Initially Lisa and I panicked when we registered as it mentioned something about groups starting alphabetically, and we thought we would not be able to start together. However, there were fewer than 70 runners altogether, so there was no separation necessary.

First off to go though, was OH, who was doing a 3.5km run, then an 18km bike ride, and finishing with a 6.5km run. Unfortunately, he had to pull out halfway through the bike ride due to tech issues with the bike. Oh noes! He was gutted...

 I managed to keep up with Lisa for the whole of the first lap. My knee was taped up with pink kinesiology tape, and this protected it really well. It felt slightly stressed at one point in the first lap, but that went away.

As we ran, we took in the gorgeousness of the lake, watching the swans and big grey cygnets glide past, the sunlight shimmering off the water's surface, occasionally strobing through the leaf cover of the woods we ran through. I kept hearing exclamations of, "Ah, beautiful!" behind me... rapidly followed by "Ugh! Oh no, waaagh!" as someone encountered a particularly deep and squelchy bit of mud.

To begin with, I made quite dainty steps around the mud... then tried just running through... then when I almost lost my shoe, I started picking around it again.

As I went into the second lap, I was offered water and jelly babies at the feeding station. I grabbed a handful. Have you tried running and eating jelly babies at the same time? It's difficult, but let me tell you I gave it a jolly good go. What idiot turns down free jelly babies?

I lost Lisa at some point on the second lap when some excited spaniels, being taken for a walk round the lake, started leaping up at me, luckily on a dry bit near the boathouse, so I didn't slip over. As I finished the second lap, I heard, "Go on, Badger!" and there was OH cheering me on. I returned the sweet nothings by yelling back, "DNF! DNF!" - which stands for Did Not Finish. I know, cruel...  This is why he is better than me.

At this point I was convinced I was in last place, and shouted so over to OH... so, as I grabbed another jelly baby, he ran over and joined me for my last lap, encouraging me all the way round.

There was a woman running in my sights just ahead. OH was encouraging me to "Hunt her down!", poor lass. What a tease she was, though - she practically walked round all that last lap, just putting on a burst of speed every now and then. How frustrating! I said, "She's a freaking zombie! Look - she can walk faster than I can run!" (Sorry, lady.)

But finish, I did. And with a respectable time of one hour, sixteen minutes, 35 seconds. And not last either!

And this is what my shoes looked like at the end of the race:

However, I have discovered there is not enough Lush Wiccy Magic Muscles in the world to counteract the "slow zombie" effect of lots of lactic acid build up in the thighs. This is how I'm walking today:

But I also have a free Go Beyond Ultra T-shirt now... hooray - I did a thing I can wear a t-shirt of at Parkrun! Finally!

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