Saturday, August 29, 2009
A few weeks ago I had a craving for lemon sorbet - nothing like it in the hot weather! The brand I got, however, was a bit tangy after I'd had a few spoonfuls, and I found myself wishing it was a bit creamier. So I found a small tub of Total 0% Greek Yoghurt in the fridge, poured that in, and smushed it up a bit. It tasted wonderful!
We had friends around for dinner the weekend before last, and in the gorgeous muggy weather this was the only dessert I felt like, both in the making and eating of it! I made it a bit more special though, and served it in large wine glasses with biscotti and raspberry sauce! It was absolutely gorgeous, ideal for the summer dinner party.
I did, however, use the full-fat Total Greek Yoghurt when I made it for the dinner party, more for economy than anything, as it was a bit cheaper to get a big tub of that than 3 or 4 little tubs of the 0%. Gotta love this recession huh? You could always use the 2% or fat free Greek yoghurts if you can find them. It was perfectly nice with 0%.
Creamy Lemon Sorbet
You will need:
1 1.1 litre tub lemon sorbet (I used Sainsbury's brand)
1 500g tub greek yoghurt (you'll need most of it but won't need to use it all, you just add and taste as you go)
1 punnet raspberries
A little icing sugar
Almond biscotti or almond bread
Leave the sorbet out to soften (about 1 hour). You don't want it melted - just very soft.
Put the sorbet (yes, the entire container) in a bowl. Add about half the Greek yoghurt. Put your handmixers on and blend it all together until it looks thick and creamy. Taste. If it needs more lemon, you can either add more sorbet (like I did, Sainsbury's had a deal of 2 for £3 so I got 2!) or some lemon juice. If it needs to be creamier, add some more yoghurt. This is all up to your own taste.
Once it is to your desired taste and looking lovely and thick and creamy, spoon the mixture back into the sorbet tub. Cover with the lid and return to the freezer. Freeze for at least a couple of hours.
You'll want to lick the bowl! :P
Blend the raspberries with the icing sugar with your hand blender. Set aside.
When you're ready to serve, depending on how soft the mixture is, either get it out to soften about 10 minutes before you want to serve or serve straight away (if you've made it that afternoon, for example, it will probably be fine to scoop out straight away).
Scoop the icecream into dessert glasses (it also looks great in large, chunky wine glasses!), dribble some raspberry sauce over the top, and stick one or two biscotti on the side.
I think this might be my new favourite dessert. Sticky date pudding won't be seen in my kitchen for a while :P
PS: The recipes over at this site look amazing - I'm making a shopping list and meal planner tonight for all the things I want to try on my next shopping trip!
Friday, August 28, 2009
What a week this has been! I've been floating along on this very happy cloud of post-race endorphins, even going so far as to plot my next race. But this morning something tipped me over into looking down on cloud nine - I am one of two lucky winners of One Night Stanzas' Dream Poetry Slam competition! I'm going to get a copy of JoAnne McKay's The Fat Plant as my prize! I can't wait to read it! And I was joint winner with Red Bird - I can't think of a nicer person to share a podium with.
My dream poetry slam team consisted of the following:
Scroobius Pip, because he is fabulous live - he turns every poem into a play with multiple characters! I also love how layered his poetry is - his words are laced with so much tongue-in-cheek but it’s heartbreaking at the same time. His poems hold up a mirror to a world most of us wouldn’t like to admit we live in.
Sylvia Plath, of course. What she’d think of Scroobius though, I don’t know. She might not like “The Magician’s Assistant”!
Ivy Alvarez, who loves Sylvia as much as I, and whose work just begs to be spoken out loud.
Clive and Ruth Sansom, who were founding members of the London Verse Choir in the 1930s, and who did the one of the first (it may have even been the very first) public performances of The Wasteland. Clive’s most famous poem, “The Witnesses”, would definitely be on the programme, there’d be something for everyone in there. Scroobius could play John the Baptist, Sylvia could play Mary Magdalene….etc :) [aside: Clive and Ruth are the subjects of my novel]
John Keats - who would read prior to the intermission refreshments of piles of quinces and other ripe autumn fruits….
Gwen Harwood - I love how feisty she was. I’d want her to read her “F*ck All Editors” poem.”
Does David Bowie count as a poet? There are spoken sections (segues, he called them) on his album “Outside” that are just stunning. He’d have to get out his guitar as well.****
Apparently, it was the "genius inclusion" of David Bowie (hence today's title) that tipped the scales in my favour! I will have to buy Tom a drink or two tonight, as he played "Outside" to me in the first place!
Thank you so much Claire - if you haven't checked out One Night Stanzas yet, you must - it's an invaluable resource for poets and writers, and I never fail to come away feeling inspired and pepped up! Claire is so generous with her encouragement, and in sharing her knowledge and experience.
And please share dear readers, just for fun - who would be in your dream poetry team?
This is a message for my little sister who is running in the City to Surf in Perth this Sunday! She's doing the 12km run! I'm so proud of her and wish I could be there to cheer her on!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Hi everyone! It's been nearly 4 days and I'm still absolutely euphoric :) If only I could bottle this feeling, like Lauren suggested!
Thank you for all the comments, emails and messages of support and congratulations! I'm so very touched by your kindness, and so happy to be sharing this with you all. Please believe me when I say that if I can go from 103.5kg and out of breath climbing stairs to running a half marathon, then anything is possible, for anyone! Follow your dreams and don't ever give up!
Well, as I hinted, life since Sunday has been rather blissful! And you may not believe me, but I'm not sore. At all. The only time I am a bit stiff is first thing in the morning, but otherwise I'm wandering around happy as a clam. I had read heaps of blogs by people who have done this race before, and some of them even had trouble sitting on the loo afterwards so I was a bit worried about what I was in for. But I've been fine! I've managed heaps of walks, 13 laps at the pool on Tuesday, and tonight I think I might see if I can run again!
I really don't think Sunday could have gone better. I had very realistic expectations of myself - I knew I would probably have to walk at some point towards the end, so wasn't disappointed when I did. I knew my time would be somewhere between 2.5 and 3 hours (I was stoked it was under 2.5!) so didn't put pressure on myself to be faster.
I have learned so much about my body over the last six weeks. I've learned how I train best, and how to best fuel my body to get the most out of training. I've learned how long it takes me to digest food before I can run, and which foods my body likes to have in it for the longer distances! It particularly likes:
- Wholegrain pasta
- Rice pudding, especially Muller Rice (the apple one is my favourite)
And the major lessons I've learned from this experience:
- TRAIN. Train, train, train. If you have never done a race like this before, you must prepare yourself as much as possible because it will be unlike anything you've ever experienced. Research training plans, read books and get advice from friends who've done it before, or people in running shops or on forums like Runners World - surround yourself with knowledge!
- Do as close to the distance as possible during your training. Before I registered for my race, I was just running 3.5 miles to work each day! Then I started doing 6.5 miles in the evening, then moved up to 9, then to 12. It really is essential to build yourself up to do the distances. It's not only to prepare your body for what's coming, but also your mind. What you think 13.1 miles is and what it actually is are sometimes two very different things! The more realistic expectations you have on the day the better, and most of the time you'll pleasantly surprise yourself.
- Listen to your body. Don't get too bogged down in what other people are doing, or by the sparkling lines of gels and supplements at the running store! Do what feels right for you. Your body will tell you what it needs.
- Taper off and really rest your legs the week before race day. I did a 12 mile run on the Monday, then just walked to and from work the rest of the week (6 miles round trip), and then did a 2 mile run on the Friday, followed by a walk to Oxford Street and back (4 miles). I kept active but didn't do anything too strenuous and it made such a difference - I was raring to go on the Sunday!
- Stretch or do some yoga the day/night before to really loosen up the muscles in the legs. It will make such a difference.
- Eating well in the days leading up made such a difference - staying away from empty calories/sugar/processed foods and just eating good, natural stuff full of energy that hopefully my body could retain! My only deviation from the nutrition plan was an almond croissant on Friday! I'm only human - I defy you to walk past Le Pain Quotidian without getting one! :P
- Warm up on the day. I walked the mile from the train station to the park, and that was enough.
- Cool down. Don't just get in the car and go home! I walked back to the train station, and then home once I got back to central London, and even then didn't sit still for long because we went out to celebrate! Do some exercise again as soon as you feel able to - I walked home from work the next day, and on Tuesday night Tom and I went swimming. I think keeping active has really minimised my soreness!
- Do your best and have realistic expectations of yourself. Don't worry if you have to stop and walk, or need a break during the race. You're doing something amazing - just enjoy it!
- Train with gels, so I can measure whether they improve my energy/performance prior to the race. I was tempted to get some for the day but seeing that I hadn't trained with them I didn't worry about it. And it was really only towards the end of the race that I started flagging anyway, so I'm not convinced that I really need them but I'm willing to give it a go! Has anyone else used them and got any advice to share?
- Remember to put Vaseline somewhere so I can put some on my dry lips as I run! I hate having dry lips, it was so distracting!
- More yoga in the lead up - doing it the night before really loosened my muscles up. It would be good to be doing it every evening the week before so I was really stretched out and relaxed!
I'm really really happy :) I can't stop smiling! And I just feel so....peaceful yet pumped up at the same time!
I'm already thinking about my next race. I'm hoping to do another race before I go on holiday - just a 10k this time, nothing too strenuous :P I'm thinking about this one. I'm also plotting my next half marathon too! There's one from Uxbridge to Watford the weekend after I get back from holiday - but will my (inevitable) jet lag interfere too much?!
Oh, it's true what they say - once you've got the bug, you just want more, more, more!
Tom suggested I also look into half marathons abroad for 2010, so we could combine a race with a little holiday. So yesterday I looked up Semi Marathon de Paris! I also looked up some races in the US as I'm dying to visit there again!
Who knows......but I'll keep you all posted! In the meantime, I'm keeping the happy feeling going all through the week!
- Sir John Lubbock
PS: I've also updated my about me/my story section - let me know what you think!
Monday, August 24, 2009
I took the title of this post from Mary's lovely comment on my Facebook status - "I love a chick who can make her own magic"! That's what my life is all about right now, really. Making my own magic. Deciding what I want to do, and just going for it!
Anyway, here's the whole race report, including the lead up! Enjoy!
Five days before:
I was in the area so decided to go a few extra tube stops and do a "site visit", as was always recommended in the tri training clinics that I did a couple of years ago. The half marathon was held at a large park in East London called Hackney Marshes, quite near where they're building things for the 2012 Olympics.
It was a gorgeous sunny evening and I was so enchanted by the park. I felt very happy about running there on Sunday.
The day before:
I met up with a gorgeous friend who was in town from NYC, whom I hadn't seen since I was last there two years ago! We went for a light meal together in Bloomsbury - I was so tempted by the various delicious offerings in Giraffe, but stuck to the nutrition plan and ended up having a virgin fruit-based cocktail (it was more like a smoothie, really!) and raw vegetables and pitta bread with hummous:
Nischa brought me - what else - cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery! We had visited the bakery together on the Sex and the City tour in 2007, so it was a lovely reminder of that wonderful day, when we ate banana pudding in Central Park! I was so touched! A wonderful addition to my "after race" stash - beautiful K had sent me Cherry Ripes and Top Deck from Australia too! I felt spoiled rotten!
I had "tapered" off for most of the week - I had walked nearly every day, and had done a brief 2 mile run on Friday morning (which barely touched the sides, I have to say! I think my days of 20 minute runs are over!) I was feeling a little stiff so I did yoga when I got in from seeing Nischa - heaps of chauturangas, Warrior 2s, yogic squats (ouch!) and pigeon poses!
Dinner was wholewheat pasta with rocket, homemade pesto (so not as oily), lots of freshly steamed asparagus and raw red pepper, no cheese. I sipped Gatorade throughout.
I really wanted something sweet after dinner and felt a bit bereft at the thought of the Magnolia cupcakes and the Ben and Jerry's in the freezer! I had to say to myself many times during Saturday, "Phil, you can have whatever you want tomorrow afternoon! Just suck it up!" I had some grapes, and a stick or two of liquorice (my secret weapon!) instead.
Then I laid out everything! I was so paranoid I was going to forget something. The only thing we didn't pack the night before was the food and drink. Tom was responsible for battery charging (iPod, camera, etc!)
Slept fitfully. Woke up at 5.30am but managed to doze until the alarm went off at 7.
Got up and had a shower, and then had to switch my computer on and double check the race time as I was absolutely convinced I had got the time wrong and was going to miss it! Why oh why does the brain trick you like that when you're nervous?!
Had breakfast of an apple Muller rice (like Le Rice in Australia), most of 1 large banana, Gatorade and orange juice, and then I just kept eating liquorice. Tom had the leftover pasta for breakfast! In retrospect, a few mouthfuls of that would have been a good idea for me, as most of last night's meal had gone straight through me! (sorry was that TMI?!)
I deliberately wanted to leave early, knowing how unreliable the tubes can be sometimes! No Victoria line this weekend, so we walked to Victoria station and took the District line to Mile End (Tom sang me the song of the same name from Trainspotting! Very funny), and then the Central line to Leyton. I was so glad I went out there on Wednesday to make sure I knew where I was going and to suss the park out. It made such a difference to not have to faff about with maps and stuff!
We walked from Leyton station out to Hackney Marshes. It was a beautiful morning, and I felt nice and calm as I knew where we were going and we had plenty of time. It was only a mile out there, so I viewed that as my warm up!
I registered and then pinned my number on! Then needed the loo a few more times! (I had to use the gents the second time, as the line for the ladies was so long!) I also had to put on heaps of sunscreen because, for a change, it was HOT!
It was weird looking around and seeing all these amazingly fit people. I kept thinking, "am I really supposed to be here?" I know this will sound strange, but sometimes it still has to sink in for me that I'm fit and healthy, that I'm not overweight anymore, that I did something about it. I knew deep down that I had worked very hard to be there, that I deserved to be there and was not going to make a fool of myself, as I had sometimes thought in my freak-out moments!
Then they announced that it was time to start! I kissed Tom goodbye and then went over to join the group, trying to get not quite right at the back but far enough so I wouldn't get crushed by the super fast people! It was only at that moment that I felt a bit alone and weird - there were heaps of people there running with friends, but I was all by myself and it felt a bit funny. Luckily I found a really nice girl about my age who was trying to start near the back too and we talked a bit and wished each other well before we started. That made me feel better.
I wasn't scared anymore. I just wanted to get going!
iPod on, headphones in. And we were off!!
The way this half marathon was organised was that it was 6 laps of a large park. We had to keep a tally in our own heads of how many laps we'd done and when we finished our sixth lap, instead of going to the left to do another lap, we had to run straight ahead towards the finish!
So, lap one (miles 1-2.2). Great music blaring through my headphones and I kept up a solid pace - it was tempting to go all out, but I knew if I did that I'd hit a major wall later on. I just tried to keep up with people and not lag behind. I overtook a few people and made up my mind that if I could stay ahead of them I'd be happy.
I was really happy on this lap. It was really sinking in for me that I was really doing it! I got a bit choked up actually! I took the time to look around the lovely park, and the gorgeous lily-pad covered canals, the trees showing just the smallest blush of the impending, inevitable autumn.
Also, it was HOT. The hottest I have ever run in was 29 C (my second triathlon) and it hit about 26 by midday. I usually run in the evenings when it's cooler, so I wasn't really used to this! I found myself needing water at every water station, which probably slowed me down a little.
I turned to the left to start the home stretch down towards the end of lap one and the start of the next - and saw Tom with his "Go Phil Go" t-shirt, pointing the camera at me and waving! At this point on every lap, I got this amazing surge of adrenalin and energy as I rounded the park towards where he would be standing, knowing that I'd be seeing him, and also knowing that the end of a lap was near!
Lap two (miles 2.2-4.4):
This was a bit harder than the first, but I felt I was settling into it well. I barely noticed anything except the water station, and then rounding the corner to see Tom again! I kept thinking "ok, two laps down, you only have to do this again twice and you're there!"
Lap three (miles 4.4-6.6):
This was probably the best lap. I felt great and flew through it. I do remember my lips getting very dry and wishing that I'd remembered the old triathlon trick of putting a glob of Vaseline on your cap!
All the marshalls had a participant list, and they'd look for your number as you passed and then they'd call out "keep going X!" It was really sweet! I cannot praise the organisation of this event enough - they were absolutely superb. Everyone was so friendly, and it didn't feel like a competition - it felt like everyone was just there to have fun!
When I reached Tom, I made a fist in the air as I ran and yelled, "halfway baby!"
I remember seeing the timer, and it was just over an hour. I couldn't believe how quickly I was getting through it!
Lap four (miles 6.6-8.8):
This too was an excellent lap, but I did start to slow down a little. It had taken about twenty minutes (sometimes less) per lap, but this one took me about 25. I was on top of my game mentally, really trying to stay strong, but I did have to slow the strides down because I could feel the fatigue starting to creep in. About halfway through lap four, I had a bit of panic and thought "you're much faster than you usually are! You must only be on lap 3, not lap 4!" But of course I was!
I was really in the zone now, I just did a quick wave to Tom and kept going!
Lap five (miles 8.8-11.0):
This was when I started to struggle! I got about halfway through the lap, so probably at 9.5 miles, and just needed to walk for a bit. On all my training that I'd done, I'd always had a brief little stop - even if it was just at traffic lights along the Embankment! So to have run nearly 10 miles without really stopping went above and beyond what I thought I could do!
I walked for about 60 seconds and then started running again. I kept telling myself "you can walk again once you're at the water station", which was about a mile away.
I walked again for about a minute after getting some water, and then ran again. My God, it was hard. I am welling up writing this - I could feel everything in my legs seizing and it was such a struggle to stay strong mentally. I kept telling myself "you're so close! Once you've done this it's only one more lap! You can do it!" But my body really was fighting this! I always knew but never fully appreciated what a mental sport running is. It takes SO much strength to keep going when fatigue is overwhelming your body, it's hot (for London!) and you just want to STOP!
Seriously, to anyone who runs - I take my hat off to you. It's hard work.
Just as I was nearing the turn off to go down to where the next lap would start, I saw people going to the right to finish and I thought, "Goddamn it, why aren't I on my last lap?! I have to do that again?!"
And then, at that very second, a song came on my iPod shuffle - it was a last minute inclusion at 7 that morning, as Tom was adding a few other songs to it for me. I asked him to put on a song by George Harrison that I love. I had never run to it, but it has such an awesome beat that I was pretty sure it would be fun to run to. I remembered thinking it would be cool if it came on when I really needed a boost. And it did. I couldn't believe it. When I heard it, those opening chords, that was it, something in me snapped and all the fatigue I'd been feeling for the last mile and a half vanished! I felt tears but I swallowed them and kept going! Thank you George, I thought!
"ONE MORE!!" I yelled as I passed Tom!
Considering how tired I was, my form was still pretty good!
Final lap (miles 11.0-13.1):
Right. I'm not going to lie, this lap was really tough. Once the George euphoria wore off, I was back to sore legs! I had to walk about a third of it. But when I walked I took huge strides and kept up the pace as much as I could. I also kept saying to myself "last lap! Make it count! Stay strong!" and I was keen as anything, believe it or not, to get back to running as soon as I could.
Once I got to the last water station I knew I was nearly there! I told myself I could walk until I saw the stained glass angel sculpture (about a mile from finish) and from thereon in, I had to run, no matter how slow or tired I was!
Oh man. It was so tough! For a split second I didn't think I could make it, and I kept thinking "Why the hell was I looking up the New York marathon the other day?! There's no way I could do a full marathon!" But then came that little corner - and I knew this time I wasn't going left, I was going right! I was going to finish!!
Again, it's so funny what adrenalin does to the body - the minute I saw finish in front of me, all the fatigue vanished and I just ran like I was being chased by rabid dogs! As I got closer, I saw Tom standing behind it, waving!
Do you know what song was playing as I ran to the finish? "Unbelievable" by EMF!! :P
And just as I was going through, I threw up my arms in victory!! YEAH!!!!
And my time? Two hours and twenty one minutes exactly!
I was absolutely stoked with that. Time was never a big concern for me, I just wanted to finish it. But secretly I was hoping for 2 and a half hours, under it if possible! I'm so thrilled that I reached my goal!
Tom wrapped me in a bear hug once I was through! I thought I would be so emotional, but I wasn't - I was just ELATED! But then a wave of strong nausea hit me and I thought I was going to spew! I hobbled off to find a quiet tree in case I did, but I didn't! All I needed was some water and to calm down! "Oh my god, I just ran a half marathon!" I kept saying.
I remember there being a crust of salt-like stuff all over my face and arms! Sweat mixed with sunscreen?!
Then I collected my medal and certificate! I couldn't wipe the grin off my face!
And then it was time to flop! We sat in the shade while I texted people. Tom told me Ash had been messaging pretty much the whole race, which made me very happy! We were given a goody bag by the organisers which had heaps of food in it - fruit, muesli bars, a bagel, jam, enough for a picnic really! But all I wanted was a cold fizzy drink and some grapes. I wasn't hungry at all!
When I'd recovered sufficiently, we decided to walk back to Leyton to get the tube home. We changed at Mile End again, and thought it was most apt for me to have a picture with the station sign!
We went home and had showers, looked at all the wonderful photos (!) and then headed out for a celebration late lunch/early dinner!
We went to Dim T where I fell upon the little steamer baskets like a hungry seagull!
Then we went to a new pub on our street which serves fabulous Belgian beer (no Kwak though Ali! The landlord reckons it's rubbish!) and we had a fine brew to toast my victory!
Later on we relaxed with a DVD and some Ben and Jerry's chocolate brownie icecream, and I managed one of my Magnolia Bakery cupcakes! Everything else had to wait, I was quite stuffed by now!
So, there you have it! My first half marathon! And it probably won't be my last! I'm already plotting which one I'll do next!!!
It's funny, once all the pain is over you forget how tough it was and are just in awe of what you've done as those incredible endorphins kick in! I am still absolutely buzzing!!
This post is probably long enough, so next time I'll write about my lessons learned, and Tom has said he might write a few paragraphs about the race from his perspective, so stay tuned!
I'm feeling so good right now. As hard as it was, I honestly had the time of my life. When I think of all the negative thoughts I had that prevented me from entering races most of this year, I can't believe I let them hold me back. If only I had remembered sooner what I learned three years ago - there is nothing stronger in this world than your own will. When you really want to accomplish something, you will find a way.
Too busy to train?
I DON'T THINK SO!!
Thanks for reading, and for supporting me!
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.
I had the time of my life. It was very hard, a lot harder than I thought it would be, but crossing that finishing line was one of the most amazing highs I've ever had. Just finishing was a real accomplishment, something I could never have even dreamed about a few years ago.
Thank you all for the amazing love and support!! When it got tough I imagined you all cheering me on :)
Full race report and heaps of photos (the Canon 450D paid for itself yesterday!) to come later today!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
That's what I ran last night, in 2 hours and 20 minutes, including 2 brief breaks to have water and a hug from Tom :)
On Friday, I managed 9 miles - ie: 4 laps of the park. I had miscalculated the distance of the park - I'd had in my head that a lap was 2.5 miles, but it was actually only 2.2! So here I was thinking I'd cracked 10 miles, but no, only 9! I was so mad! And exhausted....which made me think if this is 9 miles, how the hell will I manage 13?!
Last night, with a steely resolve, and knowing I only had a limited amount of time before I needed to taper off, I decided after work to do 5 laps of the park, and run the 1 mile there! And I DID IT!!
Tom brought our new camera and had fun playing with it while I ran!
Here are some pics of me approaching the end of Lap 4 (so I'd run about 9 miles at this point) and I needed some water:
I felt very strong and well fuelled for this run. Thanks to my lovely readers suggestions, I planned what I'd eat leading up to hopefully minimise any stomach/energy issues. The stomach churned a little at first, but once I got into the rhythm I felt fabulous. Prior to the run, I had some pasta at lunchtime (around 2ish) and then had half a Muller Rice and a few sticks of liquorice about 5.30pm. I headed off at 6.30pm.
So now I feel very confident about eating the night-before and morning-of. I know what works for me now! No more liquorice in the sports bra! ;)
Monday, August 17, 2009
Also, Tom and I are delighted to announce a new addition to our household - a healthy, 1lb bundle of joy in the form of a new Canon 450D!
Here's me experimenting on Friday night when we bought it:
Bit blurry, I know, but I'm still working out all the settings!
And here's a panoramic shot of Westminster that we took on our evening walk last night. It's actually three separate photos that Tom "stitched" together. I think it's so cool.
We also had friends around for dinner on Saturday and being the food porn addict that I am, we had to take pictures! I'm particularly pleased with dessert:
I can't wait to learn more about the camera and experiment with all the different settings. I'm already blown away by the clarity of the pictures we've taken so far, compared to our old point-and-shoots. Does anyone else with a Canon 450D have some tips to share?
Work has been busy, and I've been doing some freelance copyediting and proofing on the side, which I'm really enjoying and hoping to do more of. I wrote an article for a new magazine my friend is putting out, and she sent me the proofs last week and they look fabulous - I'm so excited, and proud of her! More on that later.
Been reading a lot - I'm currently deep into Zoe Heller's latest, The Believers, and there's a wobbling tower from the library on my nightstand. I've also had the honour of looking over a dear friend's manuscript for her second book, which I was quite blown away by and am still digesting.
Tom and I enjoyed a John Hughes tribute night where we watched The Breakfast Club and Planes, Trains and Automobiles back to back. Did anyone else watch some John Hughes films in tribute last Friday?
Saw an incredible exhibit at the Tate Britain, which I urge any readers in London (or those who can get to London easily!) to see before it shuts on Sunday. It's called Classified, and while the main drawcard for me originally was Damien Hirst's Pharmacy, it was the final exhibit in the collection that had my jaw on the floor - and will most likely see me returning before it shuts. The Chapman Family Collection was everything that art, to me, should be - the more you look at it, the more meaning you'll find. See it if you can!
As for the rest of this week, I'm focusing on the physical. That means, one last 11-miler (!) tonight and then nothing but yoga, walking and maybe a swim, until the big day. The rest of the time I will be thinking positive thoughts.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Rocket, ricotta and roast vegetable pasta
I chopped up one courgette (zucchini) and 1 red pepper, then sauteed them in a non stick pan with some garlic, balsamic vinegar and red wine:
Once the veggies are nicely charred, keep on low heat and set to one side. Get some water boiling:
Then add one packet of this:
Cook according to directions on the packet (wholewheat pasta takes about 11-13 minutes to cook). Drain in a colander and then return to the pan. Keep the heat low.
Then add one of these (any tomato based pasta sauce will do, or even a can of italian tomatoes):
And one packet of this:
You could use spinach instead of rocket if you like.
Your pan should look a bit like this:
Then add your pan of chargrilled vegies to the pasta, and a dollop or two of low fat ricotta:
Mix everything together thoroughly so the pasta is coated and the rocket has wilted.
And there you are! How easy is that?
Serve in the cutest bowls you have, with a little freshly grated Parmesan and black pepper on top.
It was such a lovely warm night so we ate outside in the garden, with candles :)
It made absolutely heaps - we were both stuffed and we had leftovers for Friday night, and another portion for me to freeze for lunch on Monday.
I've been doing a little reading up on eating for performance. When I was a lot heavier and trying to lose weight, all of my exercise was geared towards what would burn the most fat. I also watched what I ate accordingly - and would never dream of following a power walk or jog with food! "What would have been the point of the run/walk?" I used to think.
Sometimes I would go for a run/walk to burn food off, but that was normally when I'd been a bit indulgent and wanted to make myself feel a bit better about it. White chocolate custard is not exactly eating for performance, is it?!
It was funny breaking out of that mindset when I started doing triathlons three years ago, and again when I've been training for this half. You have to eat and, more to the point, you have to be smart about what you eat.
According to some books I've browsed through, a common complaint from people who train for long distance races is bemoaning the fact that while they get a lot fitter, they don't seem to lose weight, per se. It's not surprising though, because while you are certainly burning a lot of calories, you need to eat them first so you have the energy to be able to run for two (or more) hours! And undereating while training for a massive distance race really isn't an option. Running is challenging at the best of times, but if you have no energy and are feeling tired/lethargic then running is NO FUN at all!! So cutting back on your food, or not eating energy-dense foods when training doesn't really work - well, it never has for me, anyway.
If you want to train well and perform well, you have to be smart about what you eat, and (as I've learned) when you eat it. For me, carb loading with pasta the night before as I did here was a great idea for a morning run the next day. During the day, I usually allow 4 hours after a large meal to run, 2 hours for a light meal.
Readers who have done a half or a full marathon before, please share your night-before and morning-before food ideas with me! I'm thinking of having pasta the night before and then wholegrain bread with peanut butter and banana on the morning of the race. Does that sound about right?
Also, note to self, no more keeping liquorice in the sports bra. Buy running pants with a zip pocket for goodness sake.