It has been an entertaining few weeks. The gentle run that I mentioned in my last diary update was made more interesting by thick fog, but I managed to stay more or less on track. Since then I have competed in the Frome half marathon which was an amazing event with lots of support and a hugely varied field. I had a great day out and came 36th out of 314 finishers. You can see the full write-up, with ups, downs and tips here. Read on for more news on what I’ve been up to as well as a couple of swimming pointers and an old picture of Alpe d’Huez.
If you’ve just read my Frome half marathon review then you will know that my race prep wasn’t exactly textbook. It involved fatty food, a late night and a reasonable amount of red wine. Despite all that, I did quite well and had an immensely enjoyable time. The locals with the hosepipes, spraying the runners, really helped keep me cool.
This week I have also had somewhat of a revelation in my swimming. You can find out more in my latest swimming tip here. The upshot is that I’m really starting to enjoy the swimming and I feel that maybe I’m not the slowest person in the pool anymore. Two sessions a week with the Plymouth Triathlon Club are really helping to improve my technique and build my confidence. They are also great fun and I’ve managed to add them into my training without removing anything else (other than spare time which was already woefully short!).
In my seemingly never ending quest for more food I popped into my local health food shop in Ivybridge http://www.natureslarder.co.uk/ and asked the owner, Mark, for some pointers. He suggested Quinoa as a useful snack as it is rich in carb and protein and has a low GI rating so it is good for blood sugar levels. I’ve tried it for two afternoons in a row and am finding it quite good. It does take a few minutes prep time, but here is my recipe, as it stands:
- 100g Quinoa
- handful sundried tomatoes
- Vegetable stock cube
- Balsamic salad dressing
Simply boil the Quinoa in water with the stock cube and chopped sundried tomatoes. This takes about five minutes. When you can see the tails on the Quinoa then it is just about ready. Remove it from the boil and pour through a sieve to loose the excess water, then mix in a dessert spoon or two of balsamic salad dressing to taste.
I eat the above at about 3pm, before training an hour or two later. It takes me through until dinner at about 6pm, without snacking further.
I can’t mention food without bringing up the wonderful Bento boxes that my Wife has started to make for me. A bento box is pretty much a japanese style lunchbox, you can see mine below. It is made up of two layers that you can cram with whatever food you like, although the emphasis is generally on healthy with one layer full of your main carb source e.g. rice, pasta or potatoes, and the other containing whatever tasty goodies you fancy.
Today my box contained leftover roast chicken with brandy snaps and cherry tomatoes in one layer, with boiled new potatoes and cucumber with balsamic dressing in the next. A lot of the inspiration that my wife has came from the Just Bento cookbook, available at the link below.
My Tacx Flow virtual reality trainer arrived this week. It appeared to require some sort of qualification to assemble and it has a bedazzling array of functions, but for an entry level virtual reality trainer it is great value for money. This morning I decided to try an attempt on Alpe d’Huez, the infamous tour finish used many times over the years. I have climbed it in real life a number of times, so thought that I would use it to guage the accuracy of the trainer. It turns out that they have the difficulty pretty much spot-on and I think that I’ll use this as monthly fitness test. Alpe d’Huez has twenty one main bends, all signed on the road, and it is a tough challenge to see what number bend you can get to in a set time limit. Doing this inspired me to upload the photo below, which was taken of me about 16 years ago when I climbed Alpe d’Huez in a little over an hour, without the aid of modern energy food/products. I will be posting a full review of the trainer soon, once I’ve tried a few more workouts on it.