Miles after work

Evening all

Thanks for all the comments yesterday- in particular Alison reminding me to take it easy going back to work (and with the jump in mileage) and Jessica suggesting I look into why I am tired more on some days than others.

With the mileage I am going to be careful with the midweek runs, and cut them shorter or change harder sessions for gentler ones. I also think that I am more tired when I exercise in the evenings- I have always been an early bird so my ideal day is to get up, let breakfast go down a bit and then do some exercise. But in the week this is not practical, and my next best time is right after work but before dinner. I think that is why I am often tired at aerobics, as the class starts later (6.30,  so not that late) and I don’t have dinner until after, so perhaps I need to look at how to fuel this better.

Anyway, today was down for an 8 mile run. When I woke up I was a little stiff (not much, I could walk normally and everything but I could feel in certain movements that I had run a long way at the weekend) but by lunchtime I was feeling fine. After work I had a seed stacked flapjack (which I was excited to find for 59p each in Asda or something like that- bargain!!)- love these ! I left work fairly quickly, changed and headed out. At that point it was not actually raining, but that soon changed. The rain came down, the wind blew the icy rain into my face, my glasses fogged up a few times, and in the end I did about 7.6 miles or something like that. That was enough before the seed power ran out!

I was so hungry, and so had some cheese oatcakes to accompany my chickpea stew.

This was a tasty addition- and each time I have this stew I love it even more 🙂 Plus freezer meals are just the best- heat up in a pan while I have a shower- you can’t get easier than that! Anyway, now my legs are alright, tired, but not too stiff or anything, which I am relieved about as after runnnig that distance before I needed more time off running than one day.

I also had a pumpkin cookie and am happy to report that they taste amazing! Just like pumpkin pie, only in cookie form! Which is not a surprise as they have the same spices and such, but still, I am impressed.

Anyway, I am off to foam roll and enjoy more tea- night 🙂

Maria’s review of the week

(To be sung to the Harry Hill song- eg TV highlight of the week/ longest pig wee wee of the week/ TV expert of the week etc).

But first- my breakfast;

Heavenly! One packet of Dorset cranberry porridge made with coconut milk, and a sprinkling of dessicated coconut. Added in one peach which had been chopped up and microwaved, and a blob of pb. Amazing. I need to add peaches in to my porridge more often.

Hey guys!

Guess what- this review of the week is going to be brilliant!

I was totally prepared to make my runs shorter if I was feeling bad, but I also had an idea in my head of the ideal distance, and I managed them!

Monday- 6 mile steady run. Felt good- only planned to do a 5k but kept going.

Tuesday- Aerobics- took it a little easier but still managed most of the highest impact stuff.

Wednesday- 7.5 mile run- was going to do 6 miles at the most, but felt good so kept on going.

Thursday- Body pump- stayed away from the heavy weights during the back track, and struggled (more than usual) in the shoulders track, but enjoyed it. I had a walk that day too as my legs were stiff from the run the day before.

Friday- Originally was considering a short run, but decided to be sensible and rest to up my chances for the saturday run. Had a walk instead.

Saturday- 13 miles! I did it! I am still excited about this today. It was hard work (but I was expecting that),but I was so glad to complete it, psychologically as well as physically.

Sunday- rest day! And a nice walk.

This week has been a bit leap in terms of total miles- 27 miles run. My longest week before this was 22.5 miles, and that was a while back. So on reflection it was more important that I did not run on friday, but gave me legs a little rest.

I kept my compression socks on all night too, and my calves feel alright today. My hips were stiff on the walk, but not unbearable- I was worried I would be joining the ministry of silly walks, but I must be saving that for after the longer runs.

Today I have continued to get my bake on!

Yesterday I made pumpkin pie from my beloved Hummingbird book, and I had some pastry off cuts (I do not make pastry normally, sorry) so made a mini one too, which I tried, for quality control purposes of course.

Yummy- I totally love pumpkin pie and I don’t think it should be confined to autumn.

I had pumpkin left over, which meant one thing (mainly because I keep on forgetting to put it in my porridge)- cookies!

Pumpkin cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar . Reducing the pumpkin puree was a bit of a faff, but once that was done, the dough took 5 minuites to get together. Fab. The recipe calls for oat flour, but I could not be bothered to get out the mini chopper and so I used normal oats, and also it required corn starch (corn flour) which I did not have, so I left it out, but they seem fine. Also pretty low cal- 72 cals per cookie, as they have hardly any margerine in them.

I also had some evaporated milk left over (again from the pumpkin pie) and was searching the web for something to use it up in. Peanut butter fudge kept coming up, only the recipes required marshmallow fluff as an ingredient. Anyway, once this idea was in my head, I went for it.

In a pan went 2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup evaporated milk and 2tbs golden syrup, which I heated it up until it got to the soft ball stage on the sugar thermometer. Then I stirred in 4tbs smooth peanut butter, and 1tsp vanilla. I stirred it about a bit, then poured into a pan that I lined with greaseproof paper. It didn’t need long to cool (maybe 30 mins) so it is already cut up and in a tin.

It is not as crumbly as the fudge I normally make, and the peanut flavour is very strong, so I would perhaps reduce the amount I added in if I made it again. But anyway, a pretty good way to use up the leftovers.

So in keeping with my positive theme- what happened to you this week that was brilliant?


13 miles and ways to recover

But first a pic of my pudding last night- a brownie cupcake- still gooey in the centre- perfect!

So 13 miles was the plan. Well, actually the plan was for 13 miles last week, and 10 miles this week, but I decided that I would push the 13 miles back to this week (the 10 mile weeks are “recovery” weeks I suppose, so not as important).

I was so so nervous about this run. I planned a route last night ( which was similar to a route I did when training for my half marathon last year. I have only run this distance twice before, on each half, as I never got up to that distance in training. I was also nervous, as although I have been feeling loads better, I still have a little bit of a dull ache in my side (only when I need the toilet now) but I was worried about making things worse. Plus the weather was horrible- normal rain alternating with heavy rain- not the most motivating of runs.

So- it went like this- 8.30 up, wake up, get dressed, do some jobs and eat my porridge. Drink water. Wait for Andy to get back from his 10 miles. 11am- head out. For the first 6 miles, I convinced myself that I was dying for the loo. My route heads close to home about half way through, so I got through by convincing myself that I would stop at home, but then I realised that actually I was dripping wet and once I got inside I most probably would not carry on. So, the next 4 miles were ok, but my stomach was growling! I think I left it too long! I had 2 clif shot bloks with me, so had those, and that seemed to give me a bit more energy. But coming up to the 10 mile mark there is a horrible hill. To give myself more energy I had a packet of nakd lemon raisins (found at the back of the cupboard, best before October 2010 but they tasted fine)- sugary carbs mmmm. The last 3 miles were hard work- I had to focus a lot on lifting my feet off the ground so as to not trip over. My poor trainers were muddy (I risked the lake as part of my route which on the plus side is out of the way of cars splashing, but abundant with muddy puddles), I was soggy and tired. But by that point there is no way of cutting the run short, and I focused on the feeling of acomplishment I would get when I finished, as oppose to my ever stiffening hips.

Well, I made it. I got home at half 1, my run totalling 2 hours 33 minutes. This is slower than my previous long slow runs, but it is at the pace I should be aiming for. Mainly I was totally extactic to be home and to have completed the miles.

Now, how to recover? Normally I have a snack and wander around a bit, then shower, dry my hair and have lunch, but as it was already lunch time, I quickly had a little apple pie nakd bar and water, and then headed to the shower. I braved a long blast of cold water on my poor legs, and then stretched (lots of hip stretches) while Andy heated up some soup. I have also been trying out a new purchase of some compression socks.

I feel with the orange they look a lot like football socks! They even have a handy L and R to show which foot they go on (although Andy pointed out that this would not help me much haha!). In fact I was listening to marathon talk today (come on, I have not mentioned this in a few posts) and they were talking about recovery and a few people recommended compression gear.

The tips were; Refuel, rehydrate, stretch, keep moving, and possibly use compression gear.

I feel I refuelled ok- sometimes I lose my appetite, or I leave it too long and then have a bit of a blood sugar rollercoaster by compensating with sugary foods. Today I had a pitta and pb with the soup, plus a pear, clementine and some nuts. Later in the afternoon I had some cherries and a rice pudding with warmed up peach, a few chocolate chips and a bit of homemade choc pb.

This is so delicious. I love peaches with anything creamy (eg custard, yoghurt, soya yoghurt) and then adding in the choc chips and pb so they melted was amazing.

I have been trying to keep moving too- I made a pumpkin pie for tomorrow, and although I sat down to watch some TV after that, I kept wandering about (plus if you drink a lot of water you have to keep walking to the bathroom anyway- good tip). I also laid on the sofa with my feet up on the arm rest (shhh don’t tell)- trying to help the recovery.

At the moment I feel loads better than when I walked through the front door, and I have a nice day of rest planned for tomorrow (perhaps a walk in the mix) I am hoping I will be alright for my run on Monday.

I was also feeling quite emotional when I got home- 13 miles is such a long way and it marks the movement over to unknown territory. Until now, I knew I could complete my training runs as I have run those distances before, but from now on the miles are going up, and without the adrenaline and support from races. Plus the times that I ran those half marathons it took a while to recover from, as that was the end of the path, whereas now I am only half way to my end goal.

But anyway, I am focusing on one week (and one run) at a time. Now I am off for some dinner- a lovely mexican bean wrap and salad- mmmm.

So, how do you recover from your runs? How do you priotitise what to do first? Seriously as soon as I get through the door I need to collapse, stretch, shower, go to the bathroom, eat and drink! Too much to do!!

Courgette quinoa lentil lasagne


So after yesterdays post on iron, I started my mission to concentrate a little more on iron rich recipes. The other day when I was browsing blogs, I came across this recipe for courgette quinoa lasagne. It sounded good to me, so I have made a few tweaks (added in lentils, spinach, pepper and taken out the cheese) to make my own version.

Mine made 3 portions and I had trouble fitting them in the foil tubs!

First, cook 60g quinoa in some vegetable stock (I use a tsp vecon stock in about 150ml water). Once the quinoa goes “wiggly” add 1 tin chopped tomatoes, some dried basil + oregano, a chopped pepper and a tin of drained lentils.

While this simmers, slice 2 courgettes and line the bottom of the trays with half the courgette.

After about 15 minutes (once it has thickened a bit) add in a big bag (150g) of spinach, and some garlic puree.

Then spoon half the mixture onto the courgettes, top with the last of the courgettes.

(Excuse the blurry shot!)

Then bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. I would probably add a little grated cheese on the top, but I wait until it comes out of the oven as I do not like burnt cheese. The rest is going in the freezer for another day.

While I was making this I did think that I could amp up the protein (and iron) content even more, by blending in some silken tofu with some of the sauce to make a creamy layer. So I might try that next time as I love the creamy texture of the tofu pumpkin pasta bake.

According to WLR, one portion (no cheese or anything, just the ingredients above) contains 209 calories, 12.7g protein, 32.6g carbs, 3.5g fat, and 7.1g fibre, and I reckon it would go perfectly with some home made bread. Yummy.

Onto other things- body pump was great last night, although I found it harder than usual, and did not have the extra weights for the back track. But by next week I am sure I will be back to normal.

Today I also tried some of the raw chocolate (I shared a bar with Andy this afternoon alongside some tea)- I had the Twilight bar which is made of cacao butter, fructose, cacao mass and carob. It was lovely- the texture was a bit like an aero bar or something, not crunchy but not totally smooth. It was lovely and sweet too (the combination of fructose and carob I suppose), so if you are vegan and liked milk chocolate, this would be a good one to try I would say. Although Andy objected to the name!

We shared the 44g bar, and half was the perfect amount which is always good.

I was originally considering a run today, but I did not sleep well and was very tired, so I settled for a walk and decided to rest my legs in preparation for my long run tomorrow instead. I find it hard getting the balance between keeping the legs loose, and just tiring them out. If I have not run on the wednesday, then I find a gentle run on friday does not affect my run on saturday, but in fact I have not had a rest day since sunday, and as I am still not quite 100% I did not want to make myself over tired.

I need to plan my route now, as I have only run 13 miles during my half marathon races, not around here- how do you guys go about planning routes? I have a main route of about 8 miles that I can add loops to here and there, but I think now I need to get another “base” route to add to.

Oh, and the nakd offer I got here– it is still going on at the moment. 🙂

Am I getting enough iron?

This is a question I ask myself all the time. I went vegetarian as a teenager, and my Mum was very worried that I would not get all the nutrients I needed, so I started taking a multivitamin with iron, only I took it every other day as all the supplements gave you 100% RDA and I was sure that I got some. I have continued with this multivitamin “habit” into adulthood, and still take them every other day (and every day on holiday as I am sure my diet is much worse). I did used to give blood, as they always check your iron levels before you do it, and mine were always fine, so I was reassured that something I was doing was alright. (I don’t give blood any more as every single time they took the tube out of my arm I would faint- they even tried taking less blood and I still fainted so I am afraid I do not go any more).

Anyway, I have been reading Vegetarian Sports Nutrition , dipping into a chapter now and then, and was interested to read the chapter about boosting iron intake and absorption. Now I did know that iron from plant sources is harder for the body to absorb, but what I did not realise what that the RDA is 10 times what you actually need as iron is poorly absorbed by the body. Interesting. Now according to the book I need 18mg per day, and the book has a handy table with common iron sources in them. Now although my meals do vary, there are lots of things I eat every day, so anyway, I decided to have a look and see if I get enough iron without the supplement. It was difficult to work out as the measurements are all in cups, as oppose to grams, but it gave me a fair idea.

So- Breakfast- porridge- 1.6mg, raisins- 0.7mg = 2.3mg

Lunch- 2 slices wholemeal bread- 1.6mg.

Snacks- nuts- 1.2mg, cereal 2mg= 3.2mg.

Dinner- Lentils- 6.6g OR kidney beans 5.2mg OR tofu 6.7mg OR chickpeas 4.7mg, tomatoes 0.5mg.

So I have 7.1mg for breakfast, lunch and snacks, but I would not be getting 11mg from my dinner although on some days I would be close. Some vegetables are listed (eg squash between 0.9-1/4mg) and clearly there are sources of iron in other foods too. It did not list many fruits, but frozen raspberries contain 1.6mg iron, and I have some in my freezer and often add them to snacks. It also emphasised the need for some vitamin C to enhance the iron absorption (something I remember from my Home Ec GCSE!) and as I normally have roasted peppers in my sandwich, and eat a lot of tomato sauces for dinner I know I am getting enough to help the iron.

It also explained a little bit more about factors that inhibit iron absorption- I knew that tea could (and I normally have a cup of tea after my dinner), but there were a few other things listed (and in fact it said it was some herbal teas too, not just normal black tea), so it was nice to be made aware of other factors- for examply soya can inhibit the absorption, but the process of making it into silken tofu will lessen this effect.

 I found it really interesting to see the variety of sources. I did not realise tofu was such a good source of iron, and it was interesting to see the difference between certain legumes- for example black eye beans gave 3.6mg, whereas kidney beans 5.2mg, and chickpeas 4.7mg and lentils a whopping 6.6mg. This is going to encourage me to look for different recipes which will also give me the iron I need. I saw a lovely lentil recipe this morning, which I think I will have to try now. I think I still need to take the multivitamin, but at least I know that I am getting lots from natural souces. So I am interested to know how other people manage this. Do you keep an eye on your iron intake? Do you take supplements?

Now for the non-science bit!

I caved in and ordered the nakd bars! I was not going to, but then I worked it out, and ÂŁ5 for 18 bars (when normally ÂŁ5 would get you 8 bars) seemed too good to miss. Andy will eat the banana bread ones as I am not a fan, but I like all the others (and I love the apple pie ones). We are going through snack foods more quickly now we are both running more, so I am sure it will not take us long to eat them. Plus the freebie pixie left a couple of bars- double bonus!

Yesterday was a fab day- after breakfast I headed out on a run. I was going to do the 6 miles again, but the secret voice in my head was wondering if I could manage 8 miles (as that is what was on the plan). Although it was raining (and my waterproof jacket stopped being waterproof and my clothes turned into a sponge) I really enjoyed it. I avoided the muddy puddles and my new shoes were alright. So after running 10k, I decided to go on a little more. My Nike+ says I did 8.1 miles in 75 minutes, but that is way to fast for me so I think I must have done around 7.5 miles. Still, pretty good. I do seem to run better when I leave the display on the miles as oppose to the pace or time, so I am going to keep doing this. Then it was a rush as I had friends coming over so had a speedy shower and blow dry. We had a lovely day of catching up (and healthy nibbles of mini wholemeal pittas, peppers, cucumber, carrots, tzaziki, grapes, cherries and then some sugary fudge and brownie cupcakes), but by the evening I was really feeling the effects of my run! I did have some yummy pumpkin tofu pasta, but I still wanted some carbs before bedtime;

I randomly had 1/2 a pack of bear granola left, so I had that and then topped up the alpro (and a pear, and a bit of homemade choc pb) with some dorset chocolate granola. Can I just say there is no comparison? I love dorset mueslis and porridge, but the granola is really just oat pieces in a sugary coating. Can you see the size of the bear granola chunk? It was bigger than my teaspoon! That is what granola should be like!

Today I had a nice walk in the sunshine (this was an attempt to loosen my calf muscles which I clearly did not stretch enough yesterday oops), and attempted some kind of creation with my chickpea flour.

This (made 2 lots) was 50g chickpea flour, half a mashed banana, some water, vanilla and spices, baked in the oven. I was planning on adding date syrup, but I forgot. It was ok (and nice topped with choc pb) but I think I prefer the chickpea flour in savoury items. I think it has a funny aftertaste but I am not sure if I imagine it or not. I really must try using it as pizza dough as I think that would be lovely.

Currently I am being very civilised and enjoying some Earl Grey tea. Tis how we do it in England you know.

And I am looking forward to body pump tonight hooray! As I missed it last week I know it is going to be hard work, but I am looking forward to that in a weird way.