Seedy Nutty Protein Balls

I have barely had time to eat over the last few weeks since the house move, we are so busy that every free second seems to be DIY or house related, hence I have had pretty much no time and also have been way too knackered to feel like cooking anything.

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In a bid to have something healthy on hand to grab I got out the food processor and threw the contents of my cupboard in it to create a new protein ball (yes they do look like falafel!).

Seedy Nutty Protein Balls

  • 1 Cup Oats
  • 1 Cup Mixed Nuts/Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp Tahini
  • 1 Tbsp Almond Butter
  • 2 Scoops of Rawlicious Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1/2 Cup of Medjool Dates
  • 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Cacao Nibs
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Milk

Grind oats and nuts/seeds in a food processor until they are finely chopped, add rest of ingredients and whizz until it starts to come together, you may need slightly more liquid to get it to come to this stage, you want it at the texture where you can roll it into balls. Feel free to sub in any type of nuts, dried fruit, nut butters or protein powder, cacao nibs are optional too. Roll into 14-15 balls, and keep in the fridge (or cupboard in my case as I still don’t have a fridge!) for when a snack is much needed!

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The best part about making your own, is you can always vary it depending what is in your cupboard at the time, plus you can make a huge batch for super cheap! I really like the texture of these thanks to the nuts/seeds/cacao nibs, they have a nice crunch to them, and have fueled me through some tough days of painting over the weekend!

Conquer the Cold with London Winter Run 2015

I actually love running in the winter, I much prefer running in the cold to the heat, so I’m quite excited that Autumn is just round the corner, and I can start to get the winter gear out and layer up for my runs! I know some people find it pretty difficult to keep motivated at this time of year, especially when the evening’s start to draw in, it’s dark in the mornings and there is a distinct chill in the air. I think a great way to keep you going through the colder months is to have an event to train for and focus on.

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Cancer Research UK are encouraging people to keep running through the winter with a 10km London Winter Run on Feb 1st 2015. There is 15,000 people expected to race past some of London’s stunning landmarks-like The Eye, St. Pauls and Big Ben-braving the elements and raising vital funds for the charity along the way.

I think it sounds like a great event to train for during the winter, and something for me to focus on after I am done with the Berlin marathon and longer running for a while! It’s such a great opportunity to run on closed roads in the heart of the city and past so many amazing landmarks too.

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The entry includes a medal, electronic chip timing, finish time text as you cross the line, medical support, igloo bag drop, giant snow ball warm-up, ice cave and snow zones on the route (which sound amazing!), winter warmer finish zone,  and best of all, polar bear hugs at the finish (worth it just for this?).

Standard entry is £39 (ends midnight 15th December 2014). After this late entry will be £45 (ends midnight 19th January 2015).

If it sounds ‘cool’ to you (sorry terrible pun!) then sign up today, use discount code ‘KISDISCOUNT’ to get £3 off entry for a limited time only.

National Fitness Day 2014

National Fitness Day - Official Ambassador2On Friday 26th September UK Active will be hosting National Fitness Day, and I was delighted to be asked to be one of the official ambassadors.

On the day, gyms, leisure centres, parks and other facilities will be offering free taster sessions of all kinds of awesome fitness activities, so you can give them a try, and get involved for free!

National Fitness Day was started to bring together a community of people who love to exercise together. I enjoy working out alone, but love working out with friends too, I always find running or working out in a group gives a huge boost, and is always a lot more fun too.

National Fitness day is about creating a social movement that offers everybody the opportunity to get involved in physical activity for free through the “power half hour events”, check out if there is one near you here. There will also be mass participation events on the day in London, Birmingham and Bristol.

There are loads of great brands involved like Better Gyms, BMF, Club Company, Energie, Everyone Active, Fitness First, Lifestyle Fitness, Gym Group, Places for People, Pure Gym, and Spirit Health clubs, offering free sessions from indoor cycling, swimming, yoga, boot camp to pilates and loads more.

Ultimately fitness is something that is accessible to all, I think you just have to find something you enjoy. I think National Fitness Day is a fab idea, to give people the chance to try out classes, inspire people to get a little more active and boost the health of the nation.

I’m away in Berlin on the day preparing for the marathon, so sadly I will miss out on the activities, but let me know if you decide to check out any of the events and how you get on!

Letting go (or not) of Berlin

One week ago, I was hobbling home after 2 miles of another failed run, my ITBS had flared up again and my knee was really hurting. I pathetically sobbed the mile walk home, and knew that a decision on Berlin had been made for me. The tears were just a symbolic release of letting go of this race, the frustration during the last few months, and almost a sense of relief at finally deciding to pull out.

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I got home, emailed the organisers to see if I could defer my entry for next year, and was told I could, so that was it, Berlin was over, I was absolutely gutted, but in some way it felt like a huge weight had been lifted too. It was constantly playing on my mind, should I do it or not.

I went to physio the day after and told him of my intention to defer, he didn’t advise me one way or another, other than saying if I did decide to do it, it would probably be very painful if the ITBS flared up, and I can’t argue with that, when it’s bad I can barely walk, so even run/walking the marathon would be highly difficult. I decided that I wouldn’t send the deferral letter in until the following week- weirdly you can defer right up the day before-but ultimately I knew it was pretty much all over.

I decided after a few days rest to go for a few runs, not aiming towards Berlin, but just testing the leg out, and seeing if there was any improvement.

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On Wednesday I set out and ran 3.5 miles in a decent clip considering the lack of training, and surprisingly the knee felt much better. I also ran commute home in the evening, during which time I got lost trying to find London Bridge and ran past it in the opposite directions twice (seriously?!) and ended up running 3 miles total, again with no pain. I thought this was a one off, and that I would be paying for it the next day.

Thursday night I left work really late and only had 15 minutes to get to my train (around 1.5 mile distance and then get to platform) so I knew I had to blast it, risky with the knee but I wanted to get home sometime that evening! I was stunned when I got to the station to find I had run a 7.44 mile? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 7 on my Strava, not that I ever really aim to run fast outside of races, I much prefer a plod! This was just 2 miles total, but again there was no issues.

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On Friday I thought I would give a mid distance run one last chance, this was the real tester after the previous runs and on consecutive days. My legs felt really tired and heavy after a busy week and the previous runs, but I pushed through it, and had absolutely no pain at all during a 10 mile run. It hurt like hell physically, I’ve lost a lot of fitness as I’ve been not doing very much at all exercise wise, so it felt hard, but at least I was doing it! I recovered well, and didn’t have pain later on, or the next day either.

Yesterday morning was the big tester following on from the longer one, again I ran a solid 6 miles, and had absolutely no pain. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and for the first time since May, I felt like I was running on my terms. No injury dictating everything.

I have no idea why the ITBS has gone away quite suddenly. I’ve been doing the Kinetic Revolution program daily, as well as physio stretches/rolling, not sitting very much at all thanks to doing DIY around the house and working, and I’ve slightly changed my running style. I think all these factors have contributed, but I wonder in some way as well, if admitting defeat on Berlin, and the massive weight and pressure this lifted somehow played into it. I was putting so much pressure on myself to make the race, and fighting against the injury, weighed down with so much negativity about it, that I find it ironic that after finally accepting I wouldn’t be able to do it, the injury seems to be improving.

Anyway, this leaves me with 2 weeks to go, a deferral letter in my possession, and a glimmer of positivity on the running horizon. Clearly I’ve done little to no training, I’m not in any sort of shape to run a half let alone a marathon, and there is no guarantee that the ITBS won’t flare up. Ultimately though, I’ve always had this feeling deep inside that I would, and could run this race, for some reason I felt that I needed to do this race. It’s not going to be a PB, and I’m ok with that, because I know just getting to the start line will have been more of an achievement than anything else. I’m actually looking forward to not getting carried away about time and just enjoying what is set to be an epic race!

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I read the above quote in Ira Rainey’s book Fatman to Greenman this morning, and was like ok, let’s do this race! I have made peace with the fact that I might not make it round, and if that happens, it’s totally ok. I think I would regret not doing the race, feeling as I do now, and the ‘what ifs’ would play on my mind. I think I’d rather try and fail, than not try it at all.

Vegan Fig and Plum Crumble

What do you do when you come home from work laden with 14 overripe plums, and 9 overripe figs…make Vegan crumble of course!

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I realised after prepping the fruit that I had literally no ingredients to make crumble topping, so I improvised a bit, and came up with this delicious, simple and refined sugar free Vegan crumble.

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Fig and Plum Crumble (Serves 4)

  • 8 Plums
  • 8 Small Figs
  • 1 cup of Oats
  • 1/2 cup ground Oats
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut oil
  • Loads of Cinnamon
  • Banana

You can cook the fruit down first if you want but it’s not really neccesary, I just cut all into smallish pieces, mixed with some cinnamon and put in a baking tray.

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For the topping, I simply mixed the oats (grind 1/2 cup in food processor), coconut oil, cinnamon, and a mashed banana. I had no sweetener on hand, so I just mashed a banana in, and to be honest I think the crumble was sweet enough from the fruit anyway. I like crumble topping for the crunch factor, but feel free to add some liquid sweetener if needed.

The tart plum and sweet fig combo worked really well together, similar to an apple/rhubarb combination. It’s not an overly sweet crumble, but you can always add some maple syrup etc if you have a sweeter tooth.

This made 4 portions, which we demolished. One of the benefits of making a family sized dessert when there are only two of you! Leftover win.