Sometimes when I’m running, usually in a race, I have these sudden moments that seem to just suddenly arrive out of nowhere where I realise I’m pushing too hard and I have to consciously tell myself to stop. Relax. And just breathe. I used to just barrel through, believing that that push was needed in order to run faster, in order to PB. I’ve since learned that those three fundamentals: Stop, relax and breathe – are my buddies and also the key to running better. I presume I don’t need to point out here that I don’t actually mean stop completely because clearly this would not result in faster running… or any running for that matter 😉
It’s December 8th and Christmas is swirling around me at full tilt at the moment and although I am not a panicker, I am starting to panic. Christmas ads are reminding me that I have to get not just presents for everyone, but awesome presents… and every time I see a new ad, I remember that there was another person I had forgotten to add to my list, which in turn reminds me that there are so many other people that I haven’t yet made arrangements to meet up with or visit before Christmas. Then there is my to-do list of housework and Christmas jobs to be done, many of which are B.I.G jobs and will suck up lots of time, of which there seems to be suddenly NOT ENOUGH. Marathon training, can’t forget that. Oh and I also have to decorate my Grandad’s house, put up his tree, write his cards and get them sent in the next few days…and convince him that yes, this is all necessary 🙂 And then there are clothes. I HAVE TO BUY CLOTHES because my relatives coming for Christmas need to see me looking as refined, pretty, successful and in control of my life as possible and like I’ve just had the best year of my life yet. They do NOT need to know that this is not the case #awkward.
Stop. Breathe. Relax. And have a banana muffin.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the Christmas whirlwind and start to believe that the bottom will fall out of the world if you don’t produce the world’s most golden butter basted turkey, or have the most asymmetrical christmas tree perfectly decorated with an even distribution of lights, or have the perfect wreath hanging on the spotlessly clean, de-cobwebbed, newly re-varnished front door. The ingredients for panic are all present and correct: the biggest celebration of the year, the biggest hyped dinner of the year, the biggest gift-giving time of the year and the ultimate game-maker,
winter family is coming. The possibility of falling on your face, quite literally for me, is everywhere.
But here’s the thing. I love Christmas and now that I’ve taken a moment to stop, breathe and relax, I’ve made a conscious decision that I’m going to enjoy it. All of it. Cleaning the kitchen cupboards, shopping, wrapping, cooking, blah, blah, blah – all of it. I’m not going to blindly push my way through it all, focusing solely on the finish line and miss everything along the way.
Everything will get done, or not, and no one will ever notice.
And then, there are always things like banana muffins which have epic abilities to make people forget that you’ve just fallen flat on your face.
Banana, Cinnamon and Honey Muffins
75 g unsalted butter
250 g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
115 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp honey
2 large bananas (ripe),
125 ml milk
- Preheat the oven to 190c. Grease a muffin/ bun tin and toss in paper cases.
- Melt the butter in a heat proof bowl and leave to cool
- Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl. Mix in the sugar.
- In a second bowl, beat together the eggs, vanilla, honey, butter and milk.
- Add the bananas to the wet mixture and stir.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir a little BUT don’t overstir – we’re going for a rough and lumpy look here.
- Fill your paper cases to about 2/3 full and pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown
- Cool on a wire rack. Or just eat.
Optional extra: If you fancy some icing, the world is your oyster here but I just mixed some lemon juice with icing/ powdered sugar and drizzled on top.