Marathon Training on Tour – Bibi’s Highs and Lows in Dorset

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An article I once read by Guardian author Tim Lott has been jangling around in my head a lot lately. The crux of it is, you’re more likely to be simply content in your life without children, but you experience much higher highs and lower lows as a parent, and so you can’t really choose one over the other.

I can’t comment on the original claim (though I am childless and pretty much happy as a clam), but the idea definitely resonates – it makes me think of my marathon training. When I’m just running normally, with no particular goal in mind, if I were to grade my runs on a scale of 0-10, they’d generally fall into the 6-8 score. Sometimes my legs feel a bit tired, and sometimes it all falls into place and I feel wonderful. It’s simply a source of entertainment and contentment.

I’m currently 5 weeks from my second marathon, and have experienced blazes of joy, alongside crushing self-doubt and despair. My best runs can be transcendental – 11 on the scale, while my worst send me crashing down to 0. Sometimes the two can even happen on one run. (As you may remember from my marathon race report…)

Last week while on holiday, I did a 17 miler along Poole seafront, into Bournemouth. The weather was seemingly perfect – weak sun, interspersed with tiny bits of drizzle to keep me cool. I was proud to be out on my big run and had some fantastic playlists to keep me company. For 9 miles I felt wonderful, until I reached Boscombe Pier and it was time to turn around – straight into a wall of wind. Of course I’d felt great – the wind had been in my back for 90 minutes and I hadn’t realised!

The next 7 miles were challenging, fighting against the wind. By mile 14, my breathing was jagged and I let out a little sob or two. WHY am I marathon training? I hate this. A stranger actually asked me if I was okay.

Then, a mile from being done, like clouds skittering over a blue sky – sunshine was back, literally and figuratively. I felt joy at being finished, pride in my longest run this year, and relief that I had been more capable than I knew. I suppose I’d be content doing 10Ks and running with my lovely running group – but marathon runners aren’t content with content. There’s something that needs a bit more.

Besides, it’ll all be worth it in 5 weeks, right?

Would you ever run a marathon?  What have been some of your best and worst training experiences?

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Beet Greens and Ginger Smoothie

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Photo: Zsolt Sandor / mothershipUK.com

Beetroot makes you run faster. You know that. We know that. Every runner on the planet who’s ever aimed for a PB knows that.  We roast the sweet roots, make all manner of delicious dishes, run like the wind and pee pink and pretty. Yes, we love beetroot.

But what of their wonderful leaves? I seriously hope you don’t chop them off and chuck them. They’re so good for you it’s unreal. Where to start? They contain protein, fibre, iron, vitamins A and C and calcium, which I think you’ll agree is a fairly hefty punch for a bunch of streaky leaves.

This smoothie ups the nutritional ante even further by adding in coconut water, everyone’s favourite rehydrating drink. Throw in a heap of dried dates to replace lost electrolytes and ginger, which has anti-inflammatory properties, and you have the perfect post-run recovery drink. Or a wonderfully refreshing way to start your day, or perk you up in the afternoon. Or whenever. It’s a fantastic drink for anytime you want to treat your body right. Which is anytime, right?

I used a high-powered blender – my wonderful Froothie – to whizz up the beet greens. You’ll get there with a stick blender or slower model but it may take a while.

Note: I loved this with the banana in but my delightful taste testers preferred it without. I’d suggest making it without first and adding it in if you fancy your smoothie slightly sweeter and/or thicker. Continue reading

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Chocolate Chia Seed Protein Balls

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year… No, no, not Christmas – it’s marathon training time. Yippee! Well, not always maybe. There are a lot of miles to cover and sometimes it seems like not enough legs to run them on.

That said, every cloud has a silver lining and these Chocolate Chia Seed Protein Balls will definitely be the sunshine in your lunch box if you’re pounding out the miles at the moment. Even if you’re not, they make a great energy snack and will keep you fuelled and help you recover from any kind of workout. With chia seeds and pecans, they’re protein packed for muscle repair, have dates to help replace electrolytes lost through sweat and, well, they taste of chocolate. What’s not to love? So whether you’re hiking, running, spinning, gyming, swimming or doing anything else that moves your body, this is the treat for you.

I’ve been sent a glitzy Optimum 9400 blender, aka a Froothie. I whizzed these protein balls up in that, which made them super-light and fluffy. Other blenders will do the trick – we’re not grinding granite here, after all – but if you are looking for a new blender, the Froothie comes totally recommended.

These protein balls are quick and easy to make, no cook and vegan too. We call them powerballs and think you will too once you’ve tried them. Amazeballs is so last year.

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Peach and Prosecco Ice Cream {Vegan}

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A recipe that leaves you with 3/4 of a bottle of prosecco that you need to drink? You’re welcome! You can thank me later… if you remember. You can even take aside some of the peach puree before mixing the other ingredients in to whip up some bellinis while you wait for the ice cream to freeze.

The prosecco is not just a pretty face in this recipe. Yes, its flavour pairs perfectly with peach and rosewater, but the little bit of alcohol also prevents the ice cream from freezing into a rock hard block like some homemade ice creams can do. You’ll still need to remember to keep stirring it as it freezes, unless you have an ice cream maker.

I love all the fruit in season at the moment! I got a job-lot of peaches from the market, biked home with them in my backpack, and realised they were possibly a bit worse for wear. Perfect for blending, in fact. So, I popped them in my newest toy – my super-duper speedy blender – and the rest is heatwave history.

The Froothie blender Optimum 9400 absolutely marvelous. It’s even more powerful than a Vitamix, and you don’t need to buy separate jugs for wet & dry mixing – which means it works out way cheaper than that famous blender overall. I’m still trying to get my head around its capabilities, and can’t wait to explore more possibilities with it (ummm, tahini, anyone?! My life will be complete if I can pull that one off). Take a look at what the Optimum Blender can do, and feel free to suggest recipes for me to experiment on for you guys. I love making recipes, and I LOVE playing with my kitchen gadgets – win-win.

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