Thursday, August 27, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I've been invited onto Radio Bristol's Dinner party Hour on Saturday morning (9-10 if anyone's interested!). I've got to choose 4 people, dead or alive, that I'd like to invite to dinner, what I'd serve to eat and drink and what music I'd play. Of course, Haile Gebrselassie has to be up there amongst my favorites. I think he might be a vegetarian so I'll have to have a think about something delicious for him, or maybe even try out some Teff, an ethiopian grain which is rich in minerals and which the great Haile says contributes to the success of ethiopian runners (along with genes, poverty and sheer determination). Haile Gebrselassie runs with a crooked arm, which is apparently due to the fact that he spent his childhood running 10km to and from school, carrying his books under his arm.
While researching Haile, I came across an amazing site called runnervision.com which is packed with videos on endurance - watch endurance on-line. It's got hundreds of videos, including Usain Bolt's world record at the World Championships last week, plus an interview with the great marathon record holder Haile Gebrselassie:/p>
Sunday, August 23, 2009
The past two weeks have been spent camping in the wilds and kayaking down the River Wye, hence the lack of blogs. I don't have internet on my mobile phone and there was absolutely no question of taking my laptop on the kayak, so I have been free from any contact with the outside world, apart from the odd newspaper....I like that!
Here's some pics of the Wye trip. Huge salmon jumping around us (unfortunately not into the boat!), otters, herons, buzzards etc, heaps of blackberries and delicious field mushrooms to forage. Campfires every night. Happy, contented children. And it only rained for one morning. Paradise really, although quite hard work.
Better pics to follow once my 73 year-old mother-in-law, Sylvia a.k.a. extreme grannie, has worked out how to email them to me.
I hope I can get back into running fitness for the Bristol Half Marathon on 6th September and the Inverness Monster Duathlon the following weekend as the canoeing was very good for the upper body strength, but not so good for the legs! We managed to get out for a few early morning runs, but went no further than about 6 miles.
We've returned to a bumper crop of apples in our garden so I've been hard at work picking, peeling, coring and storing the things. It's a great excuse to delay other houshold chores like the dreaded washing that makes coming home from a camping holiday such hell! I know there are countless exciting ways of using apples (and we have a range of varieties from bramley cookers to eater such as cox's orange pippin) but what we and the kids really enjoy is a good old apple crumble or apple and almond bake. Here's my recipe for a delicious (and very simple) apple and almond bake. It's not just a treat for the kids, it also makes for a tasty, filling and healthy dessert for athletes. The almonds provide good, cholesterol-reducing monounsaturated fats and also contain significant amounts of the antioxidant vitamin E, plus magnesium and potassium and of course the apples are packed with low G.I. carbohydrate, dietary fibre and anti-oxidants, plus vitamin C.
Here's the recipe:
Apple and Almond Bake
- Bramley cooking apples (about 4-5 medium sized)
- 1 tbsp runny honey
- 1 tbsp demerara sugar
- pinch of ground cinnamon
- 175g ground almonds
- 1/2 tsp baking powder (optional)
- 175g caster sugar
- 175g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 3 medium free range eggs
- zest of half a lemon
- Heat the oven to 180C.
- Peel, core and chop the apples.
- Place the apples in a saucepan, cover, and then heat gently with the cinnamon, a tbsp water, a tbsp honey and a tbsp sugar until purreed.
- Pour into an ovenproof dish (about 20cm diameter, but don't worry if it is a bit smaller or larger).
- Beat the sugar, lemon zest and butter together with an electric whisk until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure each one is well incorporated.
- Gently fold in the baking powder and almonds.
- Pour mixture onto the apples and spread it evenly so that all the apples are covered.
- Bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes, or until golden and risen.
I know I'm a sucker for shoes, but when I was offered a pair of Skechers Shape Ups to review by the guys at fitness footwear, I was slightly dubious about what my reaction might be towards them. With their particularly shaped sole, they do look a little "space age" . However, when I opened the box I was very pleasantly surprised by how stylish they were...and how incredibly light. My Shape Ups are in a black suede finish (Sketchers Shape Ups Optimize) and I have to say they do look really good with jeans, which I suppose if I am being honest is my standard dress when not in my running kit!
So what's so special about Shape Ups? Shape Ups are the new range of fitness shoes from Skechers which are designed to give you a better workout while you walk by mimicking the effects of barefoot walking. Apparently if you wear your Shape Ups regularly you benefit from better muscle tone - firmer buttocks(!), better posture, faster fat burn, improved blood circulation, tighter abdominals, reduced cellulite....this list goes on...and this all happens just while you're walking around as part of your normal day!
As a fairly lean runner, I don't really have much of a problem in the muscle tone and fat burn department, but my incredibly active cyclist/kayaking mother-in-law (or, as some say, "extreme grannie"), absolutely swears by these shoes. What they don't mention in the promotional information is that I think you can actually walk further before your legs start to feel tired. This is really important for me - after a 10 mile run sometimes the thought of walking the 3 mile round trip to school to collect my children seems rather daunting....but not with my new Shape Ups!
The best suprise for me of these Shape Ups is the all-important comfort factor. I could wear them for ever and ever. In fact, once you have put them on you just don't want to take them off. They may mimick the effects of barefoot walking, but they are certainly a lot more comfortable. We have a rule in our house that you must take off your shoes but I just want to keep my Shape Ups on, especially as most of my time at home is spent standing up in the kitchen - what I really need is an indoor and an outdoor pair!
For more information, take a look at the on-line guide to Skechers Shape Ups.