Live Below the Line Day 5

Sunday was the final day of my live below the line challenge. It’s probably been one of the toughest things I’ve ever done dietary wise, due to a number of factors. I think it was a big shock to the system going from post marathon eating to this, the lack of natural sugars has been incredibly hard, and the blandness of the food has been tough- mostly due to my poor planning. If I did it over I would definitely think more about the way I spent my £5 and plan it better.

Carrot Porridge

I started the day with my porridge and then dashed off for a lovely 8 mile run along the canal, it was super early and as it was marathon day there were hardly any runners on the canal. It was so beautifully peaceful, I had a lovely run.

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When I got back I had another bowl of porridge, with some carrot then dashed off to meet some of the Team Naturally Run girls and cheer the marathon. We got there around 10ish, and set up our cheering spot, we saw the wheelchairs, IPC, and Elites go through and it was amazing. Then we watched all the other runners come through and it was so great to watch and cheer them on. It was such a hot day, I felt really sorry for the runners, I was warm just standing there, and I got sunburnt on my nose! I had a banana while we were cheering- it’s exhausting work haha!

rice and chickpeas

I left just after 1ish as I had to get home to watch the football- huge day as a Liverpool fan. I got home just in time, and it was a bit of a roller-coaster of emotions! At half time I had some rice and chickpeas- so exciting! The second half was one of the most painful things I’ve sat through, I think I did more shouting than I did at the marathon, it was so stressful! Thankfully we got the result, no idea how I’m going to sit through the next 4 games!!

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For dinner I had some more rice, veggies and I made a dip with leftover chickpeas, roasted carrots and some onion. It was ok, would have been nicer with some salt, spices and some lemon/lime juice!

I think I ended up around 89p for the day, so under budget again. I also had a fair amount of food left over including a serving of oats, quite a bit of rice, some frozen veggies and some lentils. Maybe should have spent my £5 more sensibly.

I didn’t feel bad hunger wise throughout, and felt like I was eating enough, but it was just so deficient in minerals/vitamins, fat and natural sugar that I felt pretty rough throughout. I had horrible brain fog, and felt really lethargic and tired throughout. I actually felt ok during my runs, which I was surprised about, it was the time outside of that when I didn’t feel that well.

I was really shocked and saddened at how unaffordable fruit and veggies are when you are on a very tight budget. I felt pretty awful without the main staples of my normal diet, I missed fruit and veggies and smoothies and salads so much.

It has made me think a lot about my spending and unnecessary purchases. When you are spending £3 on a snack bar and people are living off the same amount for 3 days- it really makes you think twice. I’m definitely going to reassess some habits and try and change some things.

If you want to get involved and maybe try out the challenge yourself, then check out the Live Below the Line site. The campaign is all about trying to raise awareness of the issues facing those in extreme poverty, and it’s certainly opened my eyes. It’s a tough challenge, but when you consider this is actually people’s lives and you take away all the other luxuries we take advantage of on a daily basis it really makes you think how lucky we are.

Ultra Training Week 14

I woke up on Monday post Manchester marathon with the sorest quads I’ve ever had in my life and an inability to move my neck- not sure if that was marathon related or sleeping awkwardly! I did my usual stretching and had a short walk, but other than that it was pretty much feet up, resting. Picture 1

Mon: Rest
Tues: 3 mile Walk
Weds: 3 mile Run + 2 mile Walk
Thurs: 4 mile Run
Fri: 8 mile Walk
Sat: 10 mile Run + 2.5 mile Walk
Sun: 8 mile Run

manchester marathon medal

My quads will still pretty sore on Tuesday but thankfully the neck pain had completely gone! I went for a 3 mile walk to really stretch the legs out, and they actually felt fine, my only problem was going down the stairs and sitting down.

Wednesday saw my first shake out run post marathon, the quads were still a little sore, but they loosened up over the 3 miles. I went out fairly early and it was already pretty hot out there as it has been all week.

Nick was working from home on Thursday morning so we headed out for a run together. It was the first time he’s been running in months, and we took it slowly as my legs aren’t really up to anything fast yet! I did 4 miles and it was a really enjoyable gentle jog.

On Friday I had my nutrition lecture and walked to and from the lecture, totalling 8 miles of walking for the day. With that, the studying and live below the line, I was feeling pretty drained by the evening.

Saturday I had a lovely 10 mile run, I ran 4 miles to Finsbury Parkrun, did that in an enjoyable slow jog with my brother, and then ran the 3 and a bit miles home for 10 miles for the day. I was pretty pleased with the 10.12 average pace for this one, and I’m really happy with how my legs are feeling right now only a week after the marathon when I felt pretty dire.

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Yesterday I was up at 6am to get my run in before going to cheer the London Marathon. It was the most beautifully peaceful morning, and I had a stunning run along the canal. I did 8 miles, in the exact same average pace as the day before! Couldn’t do that again if I tried. That is my first back-to-back long runs since before the injury, and I actually felt really good, especially as I was still doing live below the line. I’ve really enjoyed my running this week and hope that carries on for the next few weeks of training, it’s just nice being able to run on my own terms again.

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Going to watch the London Marathon was absolutely amazing, it’s the first time I’ve ever been to watch it in person. We had a good little cheer squad going around mile 23, and Kiera made an awesome sign: “Smile if you aren’t wearing any underwear” that got a lot of love throughout the day! Watching Mo and the other elites was incredible, and it was so great to cheer on all the amazing runners. I have tried to get in the ballot the last 4 years, so I am hoping next year will be the one!

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I’m hoping to put in a really heavy training week this week, including a very long run in Cardiff over the Easter weekend. I’ve also signed up for the Milton Keynes marathon on May 5th as my final long training run before the ultra on May 25th. I had 26-28 miles on my plan on that weekend, so it worked out really well. Hopefully will be enjoy it a bit more than Manchester!

Live Below the line Day 4

Yesterday started well as I got to eat one of the 2 bananas I had been saving all week for the final two days. I had missed my favourite fruit so much!

banana porridge

I was up early and had my porridge and banana before heading for a long-ish run. I ran about 4 miles down to Finsbury Park where I met up with my brother and we did the Finsbury Parkrun, he was hungover and I was on marathon legs so we both decided to have a lovely slow jaunt round, and have a chat instead. It was a beautiful day, and really nice to do a bit of Parkrun tourism. The hills in Finsbury park are killer though, and as it’s two laps, you do them all twice, the steep hill near the end of the lap is so tough! I think I ended up with a personal worst by about 3 minutes of 30.16!

I ran the 3 and a bit miles home to make it up to 10 miles for the day, with a fairly respectable 10.12 average pace. 6 days after the marathon and living below the line I will totally take that! Usually over 8 miles I would take water and fuel but I took nothing with me at all, and by the 9 mile point I was feeling pretty hungry, it wasn’t awful though.

rice and chickpeas

Once I got in I inhaled some chickpeas and rice, so exciting! To be honest I was so hungry I would have eaten anything. I was feeling particularly lazy so had the same again for lunch! I think I’ve lost the will to be very creative, and I’m just serving up meals that I can’t be bothered with! It’s actually kind of embarrassing posting these photos, as they are a bit uninspiring for anyone thinking of taking up the challenge! I think better planning that I would managed is required!

I headed over to Greenwich in the afternoon to spend some time with my aunt, uncle, and nephews as well as my brother. It was a really nice chilled afternoon and we had a nice walk in the park although it turned a little cold later on.

tomato lentil veg stew

I had the rest of the leftover tomato, lentil veg stew (without rice this time) for a snack to tide me over until dinner time. I haven’t even bothered photographing these repeat meals, they are so dull!

Carrot Porridge

I was again feeling totally uninspired so cooked some carrot porridge for dinner. I’m so bored of bland, beige food. I want a smoothie, vegetables and all the fruits!!

I was shattered in the evening, so headed to bed quite early. Considering the long-ish run I didn’t feel too bad, but probably would have felt a lot better with my normal diet. I don’t really feel full of energy right now, and it’s pretty easy to see why. I’ve also got to the point where the food is so unappetizing that I can’t even be bothered to cook anything.

I ended up on about 64p for the day. Which again is way under budget, I think I’m going to end up with loads of my food leftover from the £5 which shows I probably could have spent it a little more wisely and at least accounted for some spices and salt! I’m interested to see how I recover after today as I have another 8 miler planned for early tomorrow morning.

Live Below the Line Day 3

I had a pretty rubbish sleep the night before thanks to the dreaded cramps that continued through the night, I also kept waking up because I was hungry. When I actually woke up in the morning I was super hungry so I had my porridge with carrot almost as soon as I got out of bed. I also grabbed some chickpeas before I left the house for a bit of protein to tide me over.

Carrot Porridge

I headed to my lecture which was on the endocrine system, I found I was really struggling with feeling tired and finding it difficult to concentrate throughout the day. I was hungry mid morning so snacked on some more chickpeas.

Lunchtime came around and I walked to Nike Town to pick up my We Own the Night race pack, unfortunately they had no small (or medium) t-shirts left until a new delivery next week, so I have to go back then. Annoying as they had emailed everyone to say you could pick up your race pack.

leftovers

I then walked to Regents Park to eat my lunch in the sunshine. I threw together a mish mash of veggies, leftover burgers and dahl. I felt ok during the afternoon, although I was tired I didn’t feel like it was the same brain fog as the last two days, maybe as I hadn’t had rice at lunchtime? Or my body is getting used to the lower sugar.

I snacked on some more porridge and carrot during the afternoon. By the time I got home at 7 I was famished. I had walked about 8 miles during the day so was feeling pretty tired. I snacked on some more chickpeas as I heated up some rice to go with my leftover stew from last night.

tomato lentil veg stew

I actually couldn’t even finish my dinner, it was so bland, and I just didn’t even want to eat it. Nick commented on how miserable I looked! I couldn’t face eating any more white rice, I really don’t like it.

I felt pretty good in the evening again, I’m finding it weird that I feel the best during the evening. I think I ended up around 90p for the day, so a little higher than yesterday but still under budget. My calories were a little lower, and my fat and sugar was pretty low again.

Over half way now and on the home straight. This has been way harder than I thought it would be, I think mainly due to the lack of natural sugars. I have actually done juice feasts before that I found easier than this. I’ve found out I’m pretty non functional as a person without fruit!! It’s sad that the foods that are the most awesome for us (fruit and veggies) are too expensive for people who are on a serious budget to buy, and all the crap food is so cheap- it’s totally the wrong way round and it makes me really angry and sad.

Live Below the Line Day 2

Yesterday was Day 2 of my Live Below the Line experience. I slept really well the night before and woke up feeling pretty good. I headed straight out for another run without fuel, this time Nick tagged along for his first run in months- I was so happy to have a run buddy again! He told me to go slow- which was no problem with the marathon legs ha! He did 2.5 miles with me, and then I carried on for a bit to get it up to 4 miles, I felt pretty good during the run but did start to feel quite hungry towards the end of my run, having not eaten for getting on for 16 hours.

Carrot Porridge

Once I got home I whipped up some porridge, I didn’t have enough bananas to have one each day, so I grated a 1/4 of a carrot into my breakfast porridge and it actually worked quite well!

It didn’t really hold me over that well and I had 2 of the burgers I made the day before as a snack before I headed out for a job interview- I just landed a new job last week, which is part time two days a week, and I was going for this temporary position as well which is one day a week for 3 months, fingers crossed- I felt OK during the interview, but was pretty hungry by the time I got home.

dahl and rice

I quickly threw together some leftover dahl and chickpeas, and cooked up some rice to go alongside it. Again I had another major energy slump between 3-6pm. I was trying to do some studying for my nutrition course, but I just couldn’t focus at all. I just wanted to lay my head down on the book, and sleep! I was thoroughly unproductive and managed to get little done, I kept finding myself just staring into space without realising I was doing it!

chickpeas

I had some more chickpeas in the afternoon to get me through to dinner. I cooked up some sort of lentil, tomato and vegetable stew- it was incredibly bland without any spices/salt, and I served it over more rice to get some more calories in.

tomato lentil veg stew

In the end I only ended up spending 66p for the day! I got 1769 calories, which wasn’t bad, again my carbs and protein were high, but fats and sugars were even lower than the day before. It is really the Vitamins A, C, E and K and calcium that I am missing out on from my usual fruit and veggie rich diet.

I’m missing fruit immensely, and smoothies a lot. Going on Pinterest is like some cruel form of torture, and even worse Nick isn’t doing the challenge so cooking his dinner is just cruel! The sweet potato fries yesterday looked so good :(

Yesterday evening I had horrendous cramps and nausea (PMS related). It’s interesting to note that I haven’t had them that bad for a few months since I tried to change my diet slightly to help, and add in flax and maca on a near daily basis. Could be related to my diet the last few days or just be coincidence. I spent most of the evening writhing in pain, and then didn’t sleep well, partly due to that and partly due to hunger.

At least I’m nearly at the half way point…