Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Rest Day Week 9 (!)

I hope you all had a lovely weekend! It was beautiful here, wall-to-wall blue sky, very warm during the day, but cool and slightly misty in the mornings and evenings with the most amazing soft golden light. I couldn't decide whether it felt like the last weekend in summer or the first in autumn. Actually it seems pretty settled and will probably be nicer in September that July or August! But I felt like a little Autumn magic, and was inspired by Angela's cobbler recipe. I had a little time this evening because I was taking a rest day, so got baking. I had brought back some of the first cooking apples of the season from my parents, so I chopped up two and mixed them in with 3 cups of jumbo oats, lots of mixed spice and cinnamon, bottom of the jar of rice malt syrup (maybe 2 tbsp-1/4 cup) and a jar of amazake. It needed a little rice milk to water it down and I chucked some raisins in, and drizzled on a little sunflower oil. I baked the lot in the oven and had it with a soy vanilla pudding but it would be better with a plain agar pudding or some unsweetened non-dairy yogurt.

Although I am eating sans gluten, I don't seem to have a problem with oats. I think most of the oats produced in Ireland are fairly free from contamination with wheat or barley. I really enjoyed this oat concoction- it was hearty, flavoursome but nowhere near as sweet as 'normal' dessert. I reckon I'll be having some more for breakfast with some plain soy yogurt or cold rice milk.

I'm now into week 9 of my training and feeling positive after doing plenty at the weekend but still feeling like I had plenty in the tank. Nevertheless I took a rest day as I don't want to overdo things at this stage. Over the next three days I will be doing a couple of pool sessions a a few runs, and then taking my bike out again at the weekend.
I'll leave off for today with some snaps of the allotment on sunday evening. They kind of, but not completely, capture that special late summer light I was talking about.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Fiery stuff at the market

I had intended to cycle up to Belfast this morning, but it was really wet and windy so I gave it a miss. Instead I drove up and went to the swimming pool and did a fast 40 lengths. After that, I walked into town with my boyfriend to visit the market and go book shopping. I went to the spice stall, which is run by a lovely Creole lady. I bought her hottest Creole style "curry" mix and some fresh dulse. Just as I was paying, a couple of young teenagers from the nearby streets starting giving her agro. I was so annoyed at the way they were treating her that I stepped in and gave them a piece of my mind. Their main line of argument was that, basically, as they were from the Markets (the name of the area) the market was theirs to do whatever they liked in. I probably wasted my breath, but that racial crap they were giving her, I just couldn't hold my tongue!
We left the market pretty pronto after that so as not to run into the kids again and visited my favourite body care shop, Lush, and go book shopping for our week in Dingle. After the triathlon, I intend to spend the rest of the week gently strolling along beaches and curled up in an armchair with a book and a glass of wine. I bought A.S.Byatt's Possession, John Updike's The Witches of Eastwick, Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Richard Dawkin's The Blind Watchmaker. I've order Colm Toibin's Brooklyn too. All I need to do now is find me some good Cote des Nuits and Zinfandel.
After the trip around town, it's time for lunch/dinner. I had some avocadoes at the buttery soft stage so mixed them with loads of lime juice, super hot sauce and fresh black pepper. That's the Columbo curry powder beside:

New potatoes, onion and peppers for roasting, coated in hemp oil and the curry powder. I'm waiting on them impatiently as I type.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! Mine will continue with a trip to the allotment, a gin and lemonade over a movie, and a long cycle tomorrow (it's a Bank Holiday in the UK).

Friday, 27 August 2010

All better and looking forward to the long weekend!

By yesterday, I had recovered. Getting back into training was possible, and it definitely helped me feel even better. I have been eating simple meals, plenty of fruit, veggies, nuts and rice, and lashing of homemade hummus for my pulse intake. There have been some sneaky corn and rice cakes and soy yogurt is dolloped on breakfast (a bowl of fruit and a sprinkling of buckwheaties).

Afternoon snack: Plain soy yogurt and frozen mixed berries.

Weekend's training will be a long run, two bike rides and maybe an easy going pool session.
Have a good one!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Tasty healing

I spent most of the day hungry and when I did have a bit of smoothie and half a homemade raw bar at lunch I had stomachache for a couple of hours. It has finally lifted and I am starving! So I'm sitting down to this:

Dark choc rice cakes with PB and dried strawberries. This was good, the PB filled me up, the rice cake was a crunchy vehicle for the PB and the chocolate made me happy:)

Going to the pool this evening to get my training back on track. I'm just going to do what I can, no set number of lengths.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Gluten free Take 2

When I tried eating no gluten last time round, I did feel much better. That might be because I ate more carefully, more wholefoods and smaller meals. But I do know when I got lazy and started eating more gluten, I got sick again.
Instead of biscuits, my snacking will looks more like this:

Discovery apple, peanut butter, dried strawberries (my goodness, these are like sweeties!)

Dinner today was brown rice (my go-to upset tummy food) with steamed onion, hummus, and roasted courgette (zucchini) strips. I had a spoonful of the beans I heated for HB.

I did a little uncooking today too (I took the day off as my tum was so crampy). These are buckwheat groats soaking. I dried them out on a low oven this evening as my sub for wheatey breakfast cereals. I just love the crunchy cereal cold liquid combo so much.

These are cashews, dates and raisins soaking. I blended them with cacao and orange extract to make my own version of Nakd bars. They are a bit sticky because I soaked everything, but they're in the freezer now.

This was a yum gluten free dinner from last week: black eye bean mole and quinoa. Yum!

Dinners are usually accidentally gluten free for me. My problems are breakfast cereals, bread at lunchtimes and biscuits in the evening.
Anyway I am off to bed to try and get a good night's sleep for work tomorrow. I'm feeling kind of crap about this. I thought I was better and strong and athletic. Today I felt like an 80 year old:( But I will get well again. I just need to be vigilant and listen to my bod.

Sick again

Welcome back, IBS! Where have you been hiding out?

Yeh. Sucks. I ate breakfast cereal and bread a lot over the last few days. Now I am cramped to the eyeballs and so tired:( So obviously training has been laid to one side while I deal with the monster inhabiting my bowels. Time to clean up my plate, eat simple, and hope I get better soon.

And cast aside my breakfast cereal kicks once and for all (this time it was mini choc chip weetabix). The comfort food that ain't.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

New things

Lunch(ish) today had two new items- new season apples (Discoveries) and a Nakd Cocoa Orange bar. I really love Natural Balance bars but usually get the Trek bars for all that yummy 11g of raw vegan protein. The smaller Nakd bars are a great treat. I adore apples, but I never buy apples that have been grown outside the British Isles. So basically when stored apples come to an end in spring, I eat no fresh apples until late August. It was worth sticking to my principles, Discovery apples are so tasty! They don't store well though, so I'm going to eat plenty of them while the short season lasts. Then there'll be other varieties ready to try! Rest of lunch was mashed avo with hot sauce and lime juice (I suppose cheaty guacamole) and hummus on toast. I loved the avocado, I used to hate them but it's definitely growing on me.

I also got me a Camelbak for runs and bikes. I am really bad about hydrating during exercise, I would never carry a bottle while running and any time I've carried a bag on my back I end up rubbing skin off. The Camelbak is perfectly comfortable and holds a litre, which is as much as I'd want to carry running.

Lunch was an ish today because my meal times were all off today...I was up to 4am last night playing pool and drinking red wine (ouch). Actually I was ok, a headache and just feel a little delicate in general. Worst part was driving back today because of the lack of sleep. I so rarely do that sort of thing, I consider 11pm a late night! I drank loads of water when I woke, had some paracetamol with brunch and then milk thistle when I got home. We were staying with friends who live by the seaside, we had spent the day on an island called Rathlin which has a seabird nature reserve. It was a fun weekend! But I'll be booze free until the triathlon is over.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Mice and men...

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley
With all the best intentions, you plan something (in my case a weekend's worth of training). First, friday evening, I didn't realise summer scheme was pool-themed this week, so there was no space for lane swimming (unless you can do 50m in 40s, which I cannot). Then, today my plan was to cycle home. It was perfect, beautiful sunny morning, not much breeze, great breakfast after my swim and yet legs not feeling tired. Half way along (about 12 miles) my left pedal came off! I was powering up a hill out of the saddle, next thing I was in a heap on the ground! Luckily I wasn't badly injured, just two badly bruised knees, a bruisy scuff on my arm and a skinned ankle bone, and my dad was on his way home from work and was passing near where I'd come off, so he was able to pick me and my bike up. I think it may have been my fault- I may not have fitted the pedal properly, eek. I couldn't get it back on again either, the threads inside the crank arm are worn away. Anyway, my dad is driving me back tomorrow and I'll bring the bike to one of the local bike shops to get the left crank arm replaced, the pedals fitted properly, and a good look over to make sure I didn't damage anything else when I went over. I didn't pull any muscles or anything either, so apart from some swelling around my knees I'm fine to keep training, although I really am starting to feel like I threw myself in at the deep end, by starting to cycle and swim again after such a long break just three months before the race. The good news is despite my crappy swimming teachnique, I am still getting faster and I think I'll manage the swim part within 30 minutes.
I'm at my parents at the moment and spent the afternoon taming crazy garden-takeover-bid kabocha plants and cleaning my rabbit's house out. It dulled over a bit in the afternoon but the sun is just starting to come out again. Out I go with my book! Happy weekend:)

Friday, 13 August 2010

Allotment Summer Squash

That was what I brought back from the allotment last night- two summer squash and a hatful of broad beans:)

The yellow one was nearly as big as my face!

I cooked some soba noodles and threw the broad beans in at the very end. I sauteed the thinly sliced squash with some onion, garlic and plenty of ginger. I threw some collard greens at the end (I have to have a daily dose of brassicas!:))

I sprinkled some sesame seeds on just to make it look cute

A tasty bit of squash. It's so fresh it squeaks when you eat it!

Tonight I roasted the other half of the yellow squash and the whole green one with onions and plenty of thyme. I had it with tomato chilli brown rice and a nut burger.

Training is going more or less to plan although I didn't get to the pool today (the non-speedster lane was closed for a kiddie summer scheme). I'm squeezing my pool session in tomorrow morning and moving my cycling to a little later in the morning and will move sunday's cycle to the afternoon to leave plenty of recovery time. Maca smoothies to the rescue!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Beginning Week 6 of Tri Training

Last week was a recovery week of sorts, I did train but took my foot off the throttle a little. It's hard to step it up again, though! I set my alarm for a run this morning but couldn't bring myself to it. I did get out this evening though, and am very glad I did, it would have not been good to have missed a workout at this stage. I did 7km in 34 minutes (av. 7.77min/mile). I tried to go slow and did start off at a fairly low effort but I did feel myself speed up. Didn't realise I was going quite so fast though! This is encouraging for my training as I will be quite tired running that 5km so if I can go fast over longer, fresher distances I should be ok for the run. I do need to start doing brick workouts at this stage, I will do my first at the weekend- long cycle followed by a very short run just to get used to the feeling. This is also the last week I am going to allow myself to learn face-in-water swimming. If I can't do it, then I will concentrate the rest of my efforts on strengthening my breaststroke while conserving enough leg energy for the rest of the race.
This is what I had after I got in from my run (after a big glass of icy water):

Repair and rebuild smoothie

3/4 cup pineapple juice (bromelain in pineapple aids healing of damaged tissue)
3/4 cup coconut milk (the fat in coconut, i.e., MCTs is very easily absorbed)
1/3 cup frozen banana chunks (for sweetness)
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
juice of a lime
1 tbsp shelled hemp seeds (a little bit of complete vegan friendly protein)
1 tsp maca (supports the adrenal glands and promotes quick regeneration of muscle tissue)

Blend and serve!

Dinner was brown rice noodles, kale, peppers and onion with sesame, soy and lots of ginger and garlic. I topped it off with cashews.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Birthday weekend

It's my boyfriend's birthday today so we had a weekend of treats:)
First off, on friday evening, we had some dear friends over for dinner. I wasn't very good with recording everything, because I was more concerned with enjoying the evening! The food went down very well; we had melon and pomegranate, kale chips and cashews to nibble on with our kola liquer! Then we had a potato, watercress and avocado salad with a creamy smoked paprika dressing (olive oil, soy yogurt, garlic clove, smoked paprika).
The main course was a coconutty tofu rice noodle dish. One of my guests suggested I take a photo:

It's a bit fuzzy! It was very tasty, lots of ginger and plenty of chilli heat.

We were so full we sat on the sofa for half an hour before we could eat dessert. I didn't snap it on the night, but here's a pic of the last slice before we shared it:

I made with with an oat biscuit base, then soy yogurt and dark chocolate and frozen raspberries, baked in the oven for half an hour on a lowish heat. We had it with raspberry Swedish Glace (soy ice-cream).
My guests brought some lovely sweet pea from their garden:

Yesterday, we spent the day at the beach.

I went swimming while he read, then we got some chips and went for a long walk along Ballywalter beach. It was really sunny but windy. On the way home I got a burst tyre! The wheel was bolted on so tight we had to get the AA to come out. We were starving by the time we got going again! We had tinned spaghetti and toast when we got in...! I was pretty tired and went to bed early so was up for the pool opening this morning and did 50 lengths. I tried out my swimmers snorkel after a few lengths breaststroke but kept getting water in it and freaking out. I brought my nose clip but couldn't bring myself to try front crawl without the snorkel so just breastsroked the rest. Gah! I am frustrated with myself but face-in-water + me=panic. I am working on it with nose clip and a bowl of water at home but it's so different in the pool. Even with the snorkel in as soon as my head went in I start sucking away at the air like there's no tomorrow. At this stage I will be breaststroking the tri swim and getting one-on-one Shaw method swimming lessons over the winter.
We spent the rest of the day watching films (my boyfriend is a real film buff). Two Hitchcocks (Spellbound and Notorious) and Cinema Paradiso. In between I got all my tidying and washing done. This was dinner:

A sautee of mushrooms, potatoes, peppers, onions and spring greens with Irish grown Hungarian wax chillies, and lots of thyme, garlic and smoked paprika.

The birthday boy enjoying his cheesecake:

All in all a very laid back and fun weekend! Just what I needed in the middle of the training. Sometimes you've just got to kick back in front of a film and eat tasty food and drink yummy wine:

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Clean burning fuel- wholefood snacking and millotto recipe

My main meals are the formula that seems to work best for me- a fruit based breakfast with some grain thrown in (usually oats), a vegetable-based lunch and a gluten free grain and vegetable dinner. Earlier in the year, before I started training and when I was trying to lose weight, I didn’t snack (except maybe for a piece of fruit). I now find snacking pretty essential to performance. I suppose my lunches have gotten a little smaller but I snack usually twice a day now, sometimes 3. I find eating small and often ensures better performance in training and pain free digestion. The more I train, the more I can’t stand processed foods, I snack more on ‘wholefoods’- less chocolate, oatcakes, PB and usually a mix of nuts, seeds and fruit. There are some habits I need to kick for my stomach’s sake. I like something sweet after dinner, and HB almost always puts out a big stack of digestive biscuits in the evening, I usually eat about 3, he can get through 8 without it bothering his stomach or making him gain weight. My other issue is drinking too much coffee. I’ve had a really acidy stomach for the last few days (something I used to get more often but now happens maybe twice a year). It affects my sleep, so I’m tired, so I drink coffee, which is bound to make it worse. I’m going to give it a rest of a couple of days and switch to peppermint and nettle tea.

Recent dinners:
Carrot, celery and lemon soup with socca

Millotto- millet, onion, garlic, peppers, spinach and rocket cooked like risotto, 2 tablespoons of Brendan Brazier’s creamy cayenne tahini dressing stirred in at the end (makes a nice sub for the lemon juice and cream I would have stirred in pre-vegan days) and topped with sesame nooch ‘cheese’. Makes a nice change from short grain brown rice (I hate the white stuff anyway).

It’s HB’s birthday at the weekend so I’m having a little dinner party on Friday night. Have to decide what to make!

Back in training

I got back from Dingle on Saturday evening having left early in the morning and then stopped over at my aunt’s for a few hours. The driving conditions were atrocious so when I finally got home I was exhausted, and didn’t do all that much on Sunday (unpacked, food shopping, clothes washing). Friday having been a horrible day down in Dingle, I was now three days without having done any training. I wasn’t particularly bothered from a fitness point of view because I overtrained the other days of my holiday and an extended recovery was probably a good thing. However, it can be hard to get a rhythm going again, I always seem to forget how good it feels, although these days I do feel weird if I’ve done nothing all day. I eased myself in with my old ‘exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise’ routine, where I work out to a film or TV show. I did my strength training first to a couple of Lady Gaga tunes and then biked for the first 50 minutes of Girl Interrupted. I find indoor bike work and weights very boring without something to distract me, with something on in the background, the minutes slip by.

Swim training
Yesterday I was feeling ready for something a bit more challenging so I went to the pool last night. It was really busy so I didn’t try out front crawl with my new nose clip (but I have tried sticking my head in the sink with it on and it makes a HUGE difference for me), however I did swim my longest ever (not just since I started swimming again a month ago)- 50 lengths (1250m). I got to 40 and was feeling pretty comfortable and there was still plenty of time before closing. I was tempted to try 1500, but held myself back and settled on 1250. Three weeks ago I was getting leg cramps swimming 20 lengths and freaking out when water got in my mouth. Now I’m comfortably swimming more than double that and contemplating putting my face in the water. I thought I’d be breaststroking the tri swim, but I think freestyle is now realistic. While I’ve also knocked some time off the clock, I’m not going to worry about aiming for a pace for this tri (my swim threshold is about 0.43m/s (3:52 per 100m)at the moment), my aim is to finish it comfortably, come out of the water relaxed with a heart rate of 120ish so I can push the bike. Over the winter, I’m definitely going to work hard at an efficient, faster stroke and getting to grips with the flip turn, maybe even get a lesson or two.