Saturday, 21 April 2012

The faster you run....

Well it's the day before the London marathon - the very reason why i started this blog 1 and 1/2 years ago.

It's been one hell of a journey. At times we've laughed, cried and became slightly unhinged together and as I recap over some of my past ramblings I can't help feeling a bit of what the enormity of tomorrow means.

I've enjoyed the overall blogging experience, even if my posting has been erratic and I may well decide to keep going after the big event (performance pending).

With any luck tomorrow I'll be updating with my result and showing off a shiny space blanket and an even shinier marathon medal (suggestions for best way to wear space blanket are appreciated - I've worked out how to wear the medal).

If you're running tomorrow then good luck and stay strong. If you're missioning it to London to watch then the same goes to you!

Thank you all for staying the course with me.

Over and out

Biscuit Nikki x

Thursday, 12 April 2012


Oh hello there biscuit fans, I didn't hear you come in as I was busy being paranoid.

Welcome to Taper Town!

The last three weeks (roughly) of any marathoner's training plan is known as 'tapering'. It involves reducing mileage and allowing the body to successfully recover in time for the BIG day.  It's just as important as the preceding weeks of high mileage.

You'd think we'd be happy about it, after weeks of slamming our bodies into the pavement and rearranging weekend plans to fit around a 3 hour training run a bit of respite would be welcomed with open arms.

Well in the first week of taper it probably is. I enjoyed the extra hours at home and saying stupid things like "it's ok I'm *only* going out for 12 miles" - when did 12 miles become an *only*? Now however we are approaching the end of the second week of tapering and my thought pattern tends to go like this:

- Oh my god what if I don't wake up in time on the morning and miss the coach?
- My knee feels a bit odd
- I'm getting fat and loosing fitness - should probably do a longer run this evening
- Actually my knee does feel odd so maybe I will rest
- Oh god I just sneezed - I have lurgy!
- Wait wait the knee is fine. Although my calf is feeling a bit tight
- Check the weather - Check the weather
- Where am I? Oh yes I should probably do some work.

And so on and so on. All the little worries become life pressing issues. Every time someone in my office mentions feeling a bit ill I start avoiding them and I have to go to the toilet a million times because I am drinking enough water in an attempt to be fully hydrated to sustain the hosepipe ban for several more months.

On top of all of that I have restless legs and too much energy - which in turn is becoming nervous energy and adding to the overall paranoia that my leg is falling off or I am going down with the plague.

Oh and don't forget the weather. I'm not entirely sure that 10 day weather forecasts are that accurate anyway...wait 10 days! Is that it? Oh my god I need to do more training.

So if you happen to encounter a marathon runner who is taking part in Brighton (this weekend) or London (next weekend) please try to be understanding. They are going slightly insane and are probably unstable but it's only temporary (in most cases) and should cease after the race. If you want to be helpful say things like "you're looking very fit", "I hear the weather (on race day) is going to be perfect for PB's" and "No no it's ok your leg is still attached".

Thank you for your understanding.

Biscuit Nikki x

In exciting news! My fundraising has just passed £1000!!!! Whoop whoop. Thank you to all you generous people out there, most recently  Rav and Christine.  I know times are difficult and your sponsorship is very much appreciated.

There's still lots of chances to enter 'who's time is it anyway' to win an amazing hamper. To find out more please read the blog entry before this one titled 'Who's time is it now'.

Want to help out and sponsor me? It's easy!
Just go to:

Monday, 26 March 2012

Who's time is it now?

Greetings biscuit fans!

Last year you will hopefully remember that I ran (not literally) the competition 'Who's time is it anyway?' The idea being that for just £2 you could predict my finish time and stand a chance of winning a scrumptious M&S food hamper (or vouchers - hampers apparently don't fall into the 'standard envelope' category and cause all manner of chaos at the Post office - I blame the bunch of grapes).

Anyway - as regular readers will know, I had to defer my entry and enter this years race (2012) and therefore nobody won.  I considered declaring a draw, however sending out tiny bits of hamper to everyone was going to give the Post Office an even bigger headache (Single grapes also don't count as standard envelope size- unless you crush them. Please note this will upset the Post Office clerk so put them in bubble wrap first).

So the solution: All predicted times from last year have been officially ROLLED OVER. A bit like the National Lottery but with better odds at winning. Oh and the prize has increased in value to a whopping £50 hamper (imagine all those un-squashed grapes!). Read on...

Did you enter last year?
If you entered last year you have the opportunity to change your predicted time (or times) ONCE. Of course if you're happy with your time from last year then don't do anything. Otherwise please click on the tab to the time grid above, find an unallocated free time that you would like and then contact me letting me know the old time and the new time you wish to change to. Simples! As always - first come first serve. So do you think I have got faster or have slowed down????

Didn't enter?..Would you like to enter this year?
So what about it?
Today is your lucky day! Not only has the prize increased in value but the entry cost has stayed the same (no rise with inflation)!
£2 per entry time. To enter complete the following steps:
1. Click on the 'What's my time' tab above and view the available finishing times
2. Pick a time that you think I will finish the race in. Make sure it's not already allocated
3. Donate £2 on my Virgin Giving money page (link below) or give me the money in person. Let me know which time (or times) you would like.
4. Sit back whilst I allocate you the time and then run the race.

This year there's the added bonus of choosing DNS (Did Not Start) or DNF (Did Not Finish) which will hopefully give us an outright winner either way and there will be no need to start dividing bunches of grapes.

Times are all allocated on a first come first serve basis. After the race I will contact the lucky winner and arrange the prize.

Good Luck!

Disclaimer: There's a good chance the hamper wont actually contain grapes. But don't let that put you off!

Stay lucky!

Biscuit Nikki x

Want to help out and sponsor me? It's easy!
Just go to:

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Blogging in motion


Busy couple of months. So much so that the only time I have to update this is whilst I am sat at a train station whilst using my phone. Technology is amazing! So in true 10 o clock news style I'm going to do a mini update:

Hmm I can't work out how to type in bold - so you'll just have to imagine nice bold headlines...that's very good well done you!

- Biscuit Towers

We are fully moved into the new biscuit towers which is requiring lots of new DIY skills. Just in case you were wondering lifting boxes, sofas, beds and the kettle in and out of a van/car/'people you blackmailed into helping' car all counts as cross training. If you don't believe me try doing it for a day and then lifting your arms to put shampoo in your hair the next morning - you will feel the burn.

- Snow: but not the full apocalypse as predicted by the daily mail

That's right, you've probably forgotten already but we did have a bit of snow. Uncharacteristically for the UK we actually all just got on with it. This may be largely due to the fact that it snowed over the weekend and people didnt have to pretend to be stuck in it to avoid work. I managed to keep up the training and get some long runs in, albeit they were very slow. Which brings me on nicely to...

- Don't bring oranges to a snowball fight

You expect the odd snowball when running in snow. A lot of the time people are too surprised to see you and their reflexes are too slow to quickly make a snowball and throw it at you with any degree of accuracy. I don't mind snowballs - I can throw some back (also missing). However I take huge offence to the person who threw a large orange at me when I was out the other day. Using a car is cheating. So is using fruit.

- Marathon training

Is going well. I am being overly cautious as this was around the time I made it to last year when I started falling apart. I've complete a 20 mile run and ran 1hr 32min (and 4 sec if you want to be pedantic) in the wokigham half marathon last week. I am very pleased with that. Almost back to the fitness level I was at last year and all is looking promising. I learnt a lot from my mistakes - there's no need to run every single day and rest is just as important as training runs. I've also decided that unless you're elite or training for a very fast time there is no need to run twice a day (for me anyway). All going well so far. Oh and just to clarify - when you finish a long run and collapse on the floor you are in fact completing an important post-run stretch which is essential for recovery and used by lots of the pros, regardless of how it looks or what your neighbour thinks. Pressing random buttons on your watch (especially if they 'beep') will also help the illusion if they need more convincing of this.

- Fundraising

Im running for Brain Tumour UK again, the same as last year. My place was brought by me and donated - so all the money I raise goes straight to the charity instead of paying for the marathon place or any other perks. If you took part in the 'who's time is it anyway' competition last year your guessed time still stands for this year and the prize is the same (M&S hamper or vouchers). At the weekend I will publish a blog giving you ONE opportunity to change your estimated time. (for each time you entered). Get thinking and I will release details in the following couple of days.

If you didn't get a chance to enter the competition or sponsor me last year then this is your lucky day! You can go to

Which will give you information about the charity and tell you that there's less than 8 weeks to go! Scary stuff. You can also just go to have a nose around if you're bored. It's a bit like bonus DVD material.

Lastly if you don't want to miss any updates you can apparently subscribe to my blog using your email address. I have no idea how or why it works but there's a box around here somewhere that should let you do it.

I'm just going to end by saying that yesterday my dad sent me a link to an article about a Chinese lady who was pronounced dead and put in a coffin waiting to be buried. 8 days later she was up and walking around. There's two messages I'd like you to take away from this: firstly don't give up hope because motivation to succeed is a powerful thing and secondly don't trust Chinese doctors.

Keep smiling

Biscuit Nikki X

Monday, 9 January 2012

Lemsip Power Activate!

Happy New Year Biscuit fans!

I hope the festive break brought you lots of running, rest and of course good food. 

Here's a picture of me after running 12 miles on Christmas day whilst wearing the father christmas hat- I know I spoil you.

Jolly Jogging
The start of 2012 is a momentus occasion for most of us. Another successful rotation around the sun, the year of the London Olympics and if you believe in doomsday predictions/awful American disaster movies then it's also the end of The World.

2012 is going to be the year of the Biscuit for me.  I am moving to a new Biscuit Towers that we will actually own and it is the year when I intend to meet (and hopefully conquer) my apparent Nemesis - The London 2012 Marathon.

Oh yes - we're back to this baby again.

Any of you that are runners will know that the start of the new year means the start of training.  All the months of compiling excel tables filled with bizarre training schedules will now be properly tested - as I do everything I can to avoid actually following them.

The marathon is a funny beast and I haven't even managed to actually run one yet! You can spend so long planning your training and worrying about your training and dreaming about training, even before you've actually started training!

Running should be simple - left foot...right foot...repeat type stuff. However as soon as your scratch below the surface you realise it's a lot more complicated than that. There's whole minefields around the areas of pacing, nutrition and recovery. Questions and more questions and then opinions and even more opinions. I know a few of you are training for your own races, so I'll do my best to cover my opinions on some of these topics as we get closer to the big day.

The trick is to find out what works for you. Sometimes I wonder if that is the challenge itself.

So what do you do when life inevitably gets in the way?

Take my first week of proper training as an example.  I have found a schedule I am happy with and have personalised it to try and work on my weaknesses.  I made sure it fitted into the time I had until London 2012 and I spent a few months at the end of last year working on my 'base fittness'. Only for the first week of January to arrive and me to feel ill and loose my voice. Whilst this has resulted in a rather good Ross Kemp impression the hacking cough that accompanies it is less good for the old running lungs.

We all know from my previous posts the importance of listening to your body and ensuring you get proper rest. So how do you fight the urge to stick to your schedule against the overwhelming evidence that you really shouldn't be running (and should stick to your bed)?

A tip I have picked up on my wisdom seeking travels is that if your symptoms are above your neck (sore throat/blocked nose etc) you're generally ok to run. If not then just take a break - you could do yourself far more damage and you're unlikely to have a 'good' training session anyway (there are many scare stories of small colds developing into serious illnesses after people pressed their training). You can easily 'loose' a week of training without reducing your fitness levels and at the end of the day (as I have learnt the hard way) it's just a race.  If you have lost more than 10 days of running and you have less than 8 weeks to go, then you may have to revise your targets and choose wisely how you return to your schedule. But it is just a race.

So snuggle up with some chicken soup, a duvet and a mug of lemsip - don't worry about your schedule and make sure you're missing that run for the right reasons.

After all as I keep telling myself: It IS just a race. Oh and if you start sounding like Ross Kemp then it's best to stick to wispering for a while - unless you want to scare off tele-sales people.

Keep healthy

Biscuit Nikki x

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Biscuit Nikki...Come in!

The Rhythms of life, the deer and the queen.

Ok ok, it's been a while and I've been practically ignoring you all.  I'd like to say that I've not had anything interesting to write about, but that wouldn't quite be true. I'd also like to say that it's because I've been doing so much running, which is sort of true and I'd like to say I've cut down on the biscuits, but that would be an outright lie.

So I am back running again and back into a reasonably steady training rhythm.  I'm trying to get out several times a week and am also trying to remember to rest at the right times and know when to take it easy or train hard (which is the tricky thing).

It's amazing to be out plodding the pavements again and every run seems to have something worth learning from it. The great circle of life has also come back around to the winter joys of cross country (update to follow).

Whilst out on my long run recently I came across the most beautiful deer in a nearby wood.  You're probably thinking of a serene movie scene, where the main actor has some kind of moment of realisation and complete tranquility before the stunning deer leaps away into the woodland.  Real life is rarely like this.

As I strove out through the woodland I heard a shuffling noise and I quickly flicked my head round, expecting to see a squirrel.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw a large shape and being out in the wood with a ridiculous imagination I immediately thought it was a robber (normal reaction of course). This caused me to shout out in alarm and the deer bolted. I can't blame it really - I'd have done the same.

So this taught me that no matter what is around the great corner of life, it's probably best if you don't stop and scream at it.

This brings me nicely onto cross country!

At the time of writing this the Sandhurst Joggers team have completed the second event in the season, having won the first.

Everyone is running really well and I am so pleased to be back racing with the team.  On the topic of screaming and being startled by passing deer I though I'd take this moment to take my hat off to Jim Casey. Jim caught me completely by surprise as he went surging past towards the end of today's race.  It spurred me on to push a bit harder and I genuinely believe that if Jim hadn't needed to stop to 'get his bearings' he'd have beaten me. Keep trying Jim and I'm going to be a lot more careful to keep a look out over my shoulder in the future! Apparently I am scared by imaginary robbers (given the deer experience) so maybe you need to catch me by surprise again...certainly worked for that deer!

Last weekend was the Sandhurst Joggers running weekend. I had to miss it to go and see a performance of 'We Will Rock You' directed by one of my best friends Laura.  For those of you that don't know, 'We will rock you' is a musical based on the top hits by Queen. 

The play was amazing, but I have to say that ever since watching it I have been completely unable to run without one of the songs cropping up in my head.  This could be brilliant if I was crossing the finish line with 'We are the champions' or 'Don't stop me now' running through my mind, but all too often it seems to be 'Radio GaGa'.  Oh well, real life is rarely like the movies!

Keep letting life surprise you,

Biscuit Nikki x

Oh and as a treat - here's a picture of a smiley biscuit! (I know I spoil you) Special thanks to Lou for spotting it on the treats table!

Happy biscuit time (Thanks Lou for spotting it)

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The two simple rules to weight loss

Greetings Biscuit-fans,

At Biscuit-Nikki towers it is well documented that we have a slight weakness towards biscuit based confectionary(slight weakness being an understatement) and as of 2 mins ago there's still not a biscuit based diet plan in circulation (patent is pending).

I think this weakness is largely genetic. My family has a rich and wonderful history with food (biscuits especially) and those of you that know me well, will know that little Biscuit Nikki (aka my sister) is a fantastic cake/pastry chef.  She follows in my Granddad's large footsteps, as he was also a chef and I am sure there's plenty more hiding in the branches of the family tree.

With this in mind my family as a whole, have lots of experience with dieting. My Nan has tried everything going - including acupuncture and hypnotherapy. And I think it is now safe to say that my generation (mainly me and my sister) have nailed it! Let me reveal my secret:

1. Eat a BALANCED diet
2. Exercise more

I'm calling it the common sense diet (patent also still pending).

You can imagine how shocked I was to find that this idea is not original and has been recycled many many times before (see latest government health campaign). You would also think that with all the 'join this site to learn one weird tip for a flatter stomach' websites around that no one knows my 2 amazing rules for a more healthy life.

I'm always blown over by how many people always want a quick fix for everything (see X-factor) instead of the tried and tested reliable route. There is no quick fix, every diet fad (yes I said it - FAD) is essentially based on those two tips - eat less and do more.

And it's with this in mind that I just want to talk about 'The Lemonade Diet'. I could easily substitute it for the Atkins diet, the cabbage soup diet, the chocolate diet and the soon-to-be-famous biscuit diet (book in process). I have chosen the 'Lemonade diet' because it is the sole most stupidest thing I have heard about all week - and that includes the conversation I had with the self-scan check out a few days ago!  (Unexpected item in shopping basket - how can it be unexpected when I scanned the bread moments earlier - I think that constitutes a fair warning).

Some of you may be blissfully ignorant of the lemonade diet - let me just take a sledgehammer to your naivety.

When life gives you lemons - don't go on the lemonade diet

The lemonade diet involves spending up to 10 days eating NOTHING (see point 1 - eat less) and drinking only salt water, laxative tea and "lemonade". Which will largely make you vomit and poo a lot more (for the hell of it see point 2 - do more).

 Oh and it's not what you probably think of as lemonade (various fizzy brands available) but a lemon drink that you add hot pepper to. If you are unsure about how to make your lemonade (see: lazy) then you can pay lots of money to have some delivered to you (but you are kind of cheating on point 2 - do more). There's several recipes available for this lemonade - I wont write them here for fear that someone may actually try to make it. Oh and also if you're worried about being laughed at when saying you're on the 'lemonade diet' you can also call it 'The Master Cleanse' - but you will sound like you've joined a cult.

Do this and you'll loose an arbitrary amount of weight and probably die from not eating anything.

Where to begin on how stupid this is...

Your body needs food. There's several scientific reports and millions of years of experience and anecdotal evidence that prove this one, so it's not up for argument. If you don't eat, your body goes into 'starvation mode' and the next time you do eat your body will convert the food largely to fat, in order to support your body for any potential lack of food that might arise in the future (like if you decide to try some other stupid diet). This is why a large portion of people will immediately put back on any weight they lost (and more in lots of cases) when they come off their FAD diet.

To be honest I can't even be bothered to write any more about this, as this argument alone proves it: You need food - this diet suggests no food = stupid diet. I'll take an extra point for showing my working out.

It's occurred to me that I might have offended some people who are on this diet, but if you really think this is a good idea then you should probably have supervision whilst using the internet.

Thank you - I'm here all week.

Please send any complaints to me and I will provide you with a free copy of my latest Biscuit Diet Plan (normal price £50) as a way to say sorry.
On another train of thought if you're genuinely thinking of doing that then don't. I haven't finished writing the plan in biro on the back on my mouse mat yet (ok I'm lying - I only have a Crayola Crayon and it's red for those of you interested).

The Happy Biscuit Diet Plan

Love and hugs to all my running friends!

- Latest foot news -
X-ray came back as healed and I've been allowed to start running in small doses again. Some of you may have seen a rare sighting of me at the Runneymead Relay last month and it's true, I am back up to small races. Let the training commence!

Keep using common sense!

Biscuit Nikki x