A Toast to 2017…

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I’m not one for looking back or for dwelling over what might have been. Time spent wondering about things that are done, in the past and forever unchangeable has always seemed to me to be a pointless exercise… as well as an instrument of self-torture.

You cannot change what has happened so don’t bother wasting more time trying to. 

I’m inherently optimistic. So if something bad or unexpected happens or things just don’t turn out how you hoped they would, my approach is always to see what good can be taken from it and move forward, constructively and better. Just like a wise man once said:

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” (Samuel Beckett)

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Dublin city in NYE is always good craic.

In short, 2016 has been a long year for me, full of adventure, new people and new experiences. I have loved all (with one or 2 exceptions 😉 – Is it ever any other way?) the new people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and the many new friends I’ve made through work, clubs, races, etc. Not without its sad moments however, 2016 ushered in a few sad goodbyes too.

I am very excited about 2017 and I cannot wait to get cracking.

I start a new job in January and I’m proper excited to get stuck into a new, challenging role. Travel, holidays to new places, new races and the possibility of my first ever home of my own… I can’t wait for it all.

What I Want Out of 2017 (maybe…)

  • Sit the NY Bar exam (Will they ever approve my foreign qualifications? Please?)
  • Get my own place (if the above doesn’t happen!)
  • Take a road trip in USA. Stay in motels. Eat ribs and grits.
  • Get strong. I have zero upper body strength or any strength in general. I could run and cycle all day but ask me to do a single press-up and I can’t get off the floor.
  • Explore my own country. I’ve been to so many places around Ireland but there are just so many other places yet to be explored. It’s shameful. 2017 is going to involve at a minimum, trips to Derry, Belfast, Killarney and more mountain climbing everywhere.

 

Be kind to yourself tomorrow as you ring in the New Year, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. Don’t beat yourself up or get stuck on the “what-might-have-beens”.

We are none of us perfect, without flaws or free from moments we wish we should have done better.

We will not be at our best every moment, of every day.

We will not always say the right thing or do the correct things.

We will say stupid things when tired and make wrong decisions because we think it will help someone else.

We will be misunderstood, misunderestimated and mistaken all the time.

Accept this and remember it in your kindness to others. Without getting too heavy here, I just think if people were all a bit more considerate, tolerant and kinder to each other, the world would be a much nicer place to live in. It doesn’t take much and it can mean the world of difference to someone else.

And you know, as Helen Mirren recently said in the Hollywood blockbuster Collateral Beauty…

Just be sure to notice the collateral beauty.”

Happy new year, enjoy the celebrations whatever you’re doing and just be sure that whatever you do in 2017, however small or grand your plans are, don’t forget to take notice of the… 😉

Running Advent Calendar: Gifts for Runners

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Happy 6th December and hope you’re all enjoying the early days of Advent and jolly run-up to Christmas. For all you runners out there or for those cursed lucky enough to have a runner in your life, there is always a long list of coveted running items and accessories that we long for and which, you’ll be delighted to know, make the perfect Christmas gifts.

If you weren’t running-minded, you’d be forgiven for thinking that once a person had acquired all the essential running gear – running shoes, shorts, t-shirts, jacket, socks, gloves, leggings, hats, etc. – there would simply be nothing else left to buy.

You would be wrong.

There is always something new or better out there in the shops that catches your eye and sticks in your mind until that glorious day when you actually get to bring it home with you…and add it to the ever-mounting, massive and obscene amount of running gear in your wardrobe 🙂

I use wiggle.com a lot for buying running gear as they have great gear for running, cycling, swimming and triathlon and they offer great discounts. Also incredibly good service, very reliable and fast delivery. My “wishlist” on wiggle is a permanent fixture and since getting into cycling, my wishlist has at least doubled in size! Most of the items are ones which I will probably never actually buy but a girl is allowed to dream sometimes 😉

But presents for runners (or cyclists!) don’t have to be big or expensive. Great presents are often very inexpensive but choosing the rights ones can make a truly brilliant present for a runner and as they’ll likely be using it everyday, your gift is sure to leave a lasting impression. Last year, my aunt got me some running socks – now every time I put them on, I remember where I got them and it makes me smile. So small, but so thoughtful.

Perfect

Enough jabber, now for the ideas!

1. Running Gloves – You can pick up a pair of these in Elvery’s, Lifestyle and most other sports clothes shops, as well, of course, as online like such sites as wiggle.com. They come in a variety of types, from the lighter pairs to the fluffier winter mitten styles. Depending on how cold it gets where you live, the lighter or warmer ones might be best.

For a light pair, I would go for Ronhill Lite Gloves – Retailing between 10-20 euro, these are a comfortable light pair for winter day when you feel like you need something for your hands but nothing too warm. You can often buy them as a set complete with a beanie also.

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For a very good, properly warm pair on those really cold days, I would highly recommend the Saucony Ulti-mitts.

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Saucony Ulti-mitts. Little light on them to keep you lit.

You can fold the flap over the fingers on these for a mitten effect and it honestly does make such a difference in terms of keeping out the cold that much better. As well as providing an extra layer of material on top of your fingers, it creates a barrier to keep air from passing in between the fingers and thereby keeps the temperature up.

I love them. Solid 5/5 from me.

2. Running Socks – YOU CANNOT BUY A RUNNER ENOUGH SOCKS, EVER. I’d like to be able to say you can’t go wrong with buying someone running socks, but you can. Good intentions are lovely and all but if you get someone a poor pair of running socks, they simply won’t use them or they will…and then end up silently cursing you forever. Do it right however, and they will love you forever more 😉

1000 Mile socks are my personal favourite. I never blister, they are supremely cushy and comfortable and… very importantly, they don’t slip down. They retail around 11 euro and you can buy them in Elvery’s or online here.

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As a general rule, I’d stay away from thick “sweat socks” or socks that have poor elastic around the neck. Personally, I’ve found that Nike socks tend to fall down (pun intended) in this department.

3. Running Hat – Another cheap, yet great piece of gear. I have a mixture of light hats and warmer ones, picking whichever one is more suited to my mood and the weather. For the very cold days, I’d recommend the Saucony Drylette beanie. Looks great and very comfortable fit – snug but not too tight or too warm.

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Beanie baby.

On a less posh note, I also frequently wear a fleece hat that sits a lot more loosely on my head and which I find very comfortable. It doesn’t have to be expensive at all and if it has a bit of colour or a fun design to it, then all the better

4. Food – Running gels, energy bars, electrolyte tablets, energy chews… we love all this stuff. You wanna see the look of sheer delight when you give a runner a box of these goodies – it’s like the adult version of the Santa effect. Pure joy. Go mad.

High5 Zero Electrolyte Drink (20 Tabs) 

Some of my own favourites are High 5 Zero Electrolyte Tabs, Clif Shots, SIS energy gels…

GU Energy Gels With Caffeine - (24 x 32g)

Gu energy gels, Clif bars… the list is endless. A particularly good present idea is to pop along to a sports shop and pick up a random selection of these kind of things and parcel them in a nice gift-wrapped box. Kinda like a runner’s selection box.

5. A Decent Foam Roller. An essential piece of kit in any runner’s armoury, a foam roller can wear out when used a lot so the gift of a new one can be a most welcome present to a runner. A good one will make for a brilliant and very useful gift.

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Trigger Point foam rollers are the business when it comes to foam rollers and can be got for good discounts if you shop around online.

6. Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is not your typical running book. Neither a biography nor not a lesson in how to run, this is a completely different, if enjoyable read for people with a love of running.

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7. T-shirts and Hoodies with Cute Running Jargon… My favourite t-shirt is one that I picked up for 10 euro at a running expo that has the Irish shamrock emblem on the back with Saucony’s running phrase “Find Your Strong” alongside Dublin. I’ve worn it to death but I love it to bits because it makes me feel a tiny bit strong 😉

Websites like goneforarun.com do a range of tees and hoodies with snappy slogans that will make the runner in your life feel pretty darn badass. Bits and bobs like these:

Women's Everyday Runners Tee I Run To Burn Off The Crazy

Women's Everyday Runners Tee Run Strong

8. An I.D Band – I have to confess I still haven’t got one of these yet. A really simple ID band just in case… find one here.

9. A Running Journal is a lovely present. Useful, as well as being just a nice thing to have.

10. Born To Run by Christopher McDougall  – like with Murakami, this is unlike anything else you’ve ever read and one that will shape you, change the way you think and stay with you forever. If you haven’t read it, read it before you gift wrap it and pass it on 😉 !

December 1st: Christmas Running Movies

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HAPPY 1st DECEMBER one and all!!! Welcome to my running advent calendar and countdown to Christmas, where I plan on celebrating everything great about running and Christmas combined.

Confused? Not to worry. If you like running and like Christmas, you’ll enjoy this.

Basically, everyday of Advent, you can pop on here and enjoy some running-Christmas fun (and nonsense 😉 ), in a similar manner to opening a window on the Advent calendar each day of Advent.

And for the 1st day of December…

I love Christmas movies and I also happen to love running movies and while it may not be popular enough its own regard to occupy its own shelf space in HMV, I think the Christmas/Running feature film has the potential to be a strong new genre.

Without further ado (or general babble), I give you my shortlist of Christmas/Running movies for you to enjoy over the Christmas period (or just today, if you have time 😉 ):

1. Forrest Gump – This is the quintessential family film. It’s happy, it’s sad, it’s heartwarming and utterly heartbreaking… and yes, there is some Christmas in there too. It’s the perfect movie to sit down and watch with family or friends and have a good quality laugh and cry. To add to this, there is the whole running section of his life for all the runners of the world to enjoy. Usually on at some stage on TV over the holidays and absolutely worth putting it in your diary to sit down and watch.

2. Unbroken – Not as well known as the last movie, this stars one of my favourite actors at the moment, Jack O’Connell, and tells the incredible story of US Olympian Louie Zamperini, a 5000m runner whose plane is shot down during the Second World War and is taken as a prisoner of war in a Japanese prison camp. This is a brilliant, brilliant movie, if tough and sad at times. A story of resilience and strength, if ever there was one.

3. Chariots of Fire – A classic, in every sense. This movie was made for sitting by the fire with the grandparents.

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4. The Four Minute Mile – Lesser known but thoroughly enjoyable for the 4 minute miler inside you (deep, deep inside me…not outside me unfortunately). It’s a heartwarming film about a teenager Drew who is struggling to improve on the track, before he teams up with a new coach, Richard Jenkins, who sets him on his way. Think Rocky but with a teenager and running instead of boxing. Nice way to pass an afternoon after a run!

5. The Great Escape – A classic Christmas movie, with plenty of running… even if it is in the unconventional sense! If you haven’t watched this movie from start to finish, do it this year. The Great Escape defines the meaning of “must-see”. I’m watching this as soon as I get the chance. Again.

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5. If I Had Wings – a blind teenager with a talent for running teams up with another rebellious teenager, also with a talent for running. Queue lots of heartwarming moments and feel-good running vibes. A good, uplifting family feature for a cold, dark evening.

Running Advent Calendar

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Ho ho ho…my fellow runners. December is but a day away and with it will come a slew of shopping lists, party invites, household tidying and cleaning tasks and a gazillion other demands on your time for the next 25 days…

Fun, right?

The run up to Christmas can be hectic and free time to do the things you want to do can rapidly be hoovered up. Time you may have had before to go for a walk with you friends or a hike up the mountains can so easily be swallowed up by to-do-lists, present-buying and a whole host of other things that seem more important.

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With all the extra demands on you in the few weeks before Christmas, things can get pretty stressful. It’s for exactly this reason I think it’s just as important, if not MORE important to make sure to take a chunk of time for yourself everyday and go for your run – or your walk – or your cycle – or whatever it is that you do that centres you.

If I don’t get out for a run, I start to feel trapped, very quickly. I get ratty, short-tempered and intolerant. I like to think of it as some kind of inherent human, self-preservation characteristic that needs regular exposure to fresh air as a reassurance that if necessary, I can and will escape 😉

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Smiley, happy people.

Or maybe it’s more simply that I like to get outdoors into the fresh air and blow off some steam, whether that’s running the roads for an hour or two, or cycling away the miles for the morning.

Either way, I know how important making the time to get out and exercise is for my mental state. I used to feel like this was a very selfish thing to do, making sure that I carved out some time in the day for my run. I don’t anymore. If I don’t get out for my run, I don’t feel like me AND If I don’t feel right in myself, I’ll be off-balance and my mood will be all wrong WHICH won’t make me a great person to be around. I want to be in a good mood and enjoy people and everything that goes with Christmas – this makes it very simple for me.

For your own good and for the sake of those around you in the next few weeks, it’s important to make sure you do you. Don’t stop running in the next few weeks because all of sudden “you don’t have time”.

Make the time.

Get up an hour earlier. Run at lunchtime. Hit the gym in the evening. Whatever and whenever you can manage.

Don’t lose you in the Christmas chaos.

Because if you’re anything like me, if you start giving up your daily run to Christmas shopping, errands and cleaning the kitchen presses (and other riveting household cleaning tasks…), you will very quickly find yourself sitting in the corner, rocking back and forth, wondering how you ever got there… Okay that hasn’t actually happened yet but it has come close many times!

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Obligatory pic of Macauley Culkin freaking out

For the Next 25 Days… I’m going to help keep you all in the mood for running and remind you how great it can be to have running at this time of year.

Watch out for my posts and excited to get cracking into December!

New Bike! Liv Envie Advanced 1

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BIG NEWS my friends…………..

NEW BIKE!!!!!

There has been some serious saving going down, serious planning and some down right serious time spent shopping around for a new two wheeler. After an acceptable amount of binging on bike window shopping, the big decision has been made.

She’s hot, she’s foxy and she’s all mine.

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Sin e… ain’t she pretty?

If I won the Lotto, the very first thing I would do is go to Base2Race – incredible triathlon shop – and buy the blingiest bike they have. I LOVE LOVE LOVE bikes – the mechanics, the designs, the different ride-feel on each bike, how everything comes together to flow beautifully… I love everything about them. Art in motion.

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Giant Speed Control brakes.

I got my first road bike about 1.5 years ago and she has served me very well indeed. The Carrera Zelos is very much an entry level road bike, consisting of an aluminium frame, a 7 speed cassette, Shimano Tiagra gears and Tektro brakes. It retails in or around 500 euro. At the time, I needed a bike for triathlon but wasn’t all that into cycling so I didn’t want to spend too much in case I decided after a few weeks that actually, I really don’t like cycling.

Cycling was initially the hardest part of triathlon for me.

I was also nervous about the swim but knowing that it’s always the shortest part of a race has always helped keep me settled.

But the bike – the bike is long so if you don’t like it or find it tough, the time can really drag. That’s exactly how the cycling leg of a triathlon was for me for the first few races but then I became determined to work on it and get better. Having people overtake you all the time can be a real inspiration to get your butt in gear and work harder.

Since being sidelined from running for the last 5 months with ongoing foot injuries, I’ve been spending way more time on the bike and I’ve noticed a marked improvement in my average speed. Where I really noticed this was in an Ironman 70.3 I did a few weeks ago. I flew the cycle, keeping my pace consistently high (by my standards – not elite standards, you understand…) and I was still overtaking people right up to the end of the 90km. From about 50km onwards, I felt really strong and thoroughly enjoyed that last 40km. This was the first time I ever felt this way during the cycle leg of a triathlon and made me realise how much I actually enjoy being on the bike.

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Shimano Ultegra drive train, gear shifts etc… finally got my mitts on these!

Cycle to Work

This time around, I bought my new bike under the Irish Cycle to Work Scheme, the beauty of which is that it allows employees to purchase a bike up to the value of 1000 euro and if you decide to spend more than that on your bike, you agree to pay it back in instalments deducted from your salary. Obviously the idea is aimed at encouraging more people to cycle to work and boost the health of the nation, which I think has been one of the few brilliant initiatives to come from the Irish government in recent years.

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Introducing the Liv Envie Advanced 1

My new bit of road bling is the Liv Envie Advanced 1 …….. which I bought from Base2Race in Ballymount Retail Park (my absolute favourite shop on the planet, highly recommend these guys for runners, wetsuits and all things bike). The Envie is priced at 2249 euro.

I had never heard of the Liv brand before so for those who likewise may not know, Liv is, in fact, Giant’s specialised female bike brand. The Liv Envie which I bought is actually the female version of this Giant bike:

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Giant Propel Advanced 1

Differences between male and female bikes aren’t massive but there are differences, such as length of reach and “women specific geometry”that can make a big difference to a long ride, including overall general comfort in the saddle after say, 60km. Crank length, stem length, the position of the saddle, the height of the handlebars… the detail may seem small but each has the ability to make or break your ride. To suffer or enjoy.

Specs

The Envie boasts a Shimano Ultegra 22 speed drivetrain and a Giant Speed Control brakeset, loaded onto an Advanced Grade composite carbon frame and fork. The saddle is a Liv Contact SL and can be adjusted to move it further forward or back, depending on your personal measurements and how you prefer to ride. The tyres, rims and hubs are all Giant.

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Aero Design

As you can see from the pictures, the Envie was designed to be more aerodynamic than a pure road bike, making it more of a triathlon bike than a road bike tailored towards endurance cycling. Giant makes claims of this being a “fast” bike, ie, that you get for the same amount of effort, you can theoretically get more speed out of it. The structure of the frame compared with my other bike, naturally has you sitting more forward on the bike and if you hunker down low onto the drop handlebars and get pedalling, I can easily see how this could have you going faster.

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Saddle is comfortable and adjustable to a more forward position for racing or time-trial position.

Stiff feel

Sitting up on the bike for the first time, one thing I immediately noticed was how much stiffer and sharper the handling at the front felt compared with my old bike. It took a few minutes to get used to it but I rather like how sharp and responsive it feels and the noticeable extra control it gives you going into corners.

Design

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The guys in the shop were all gushing about how much they each loved the design of this bike and I’d have to agree with them. This is a very nice piece of work by Giant/ Liv, from the overall look of the bike to the colour scheme they decided to run with. I’ve seen the new 2017 Envie but have to say I don’t quite like the new colours as much at all…

Another neat feature on this bike is the internal cabling which pops in and out very neatly, so much so that you hardly notice it unless you went looking. Tidies the bike up very nicely and contributes to the overall compact look of the bike. In keeping with this theme, the design team have also tailored the seat tube to the shape of the rear wheel which is a lovely touch.

Conclusions:

I’ve been the proud owner of this beaut for less than a day and have taken her for a grand total of 1 ride so it would be premature to make any grand conclusions about the Envie.

On the first cycle that I took her on today, I found it to be significantly more responsive than my Carrera Zelos, more aggressive and pretty fun to ride. I was a bit wobbly at first as it’s a much smaller frame, the handlebars are lower and much shorter and it is a much lighter bike. But taking on the advice I got today from Base2Race about posture, hand position and riding technique, I soon found I was enjoying the cycle and having fun on the new bike.

I even went a bit further than planned (in pretty windy conditions) just because I wanted to stay on the bike for a bit longer. Like the kid who doesn’t want to go in for dinner…

Thus far, I am beyond happy with the Envie and can’t wait to go exploring on this nifty bit of kit. No doubt happy times ahead 😉

I may not have won the Lotto (yet) but getting on these two wheels every morning certainly has me feeling like I am a very lucky girl indeed!

Sheep Are Like Dogs

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One of the great benefits of working a job that comprises of 12 hour shifts means that I have lots of days off and there’s nothing I enjoy doing more on days off than grabbing my bike and heading off into the countryside for a few hours. Relaxes me out no end.

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Look at that blue sky, I’ll defo have some of that, thanking you!

There have been a few times (just a few 😉 …shhh) when I’ve bitched and moaned up here about the wet, windy, temperamental, changeable and wildly unpredictable Irish weather so I thought it would be rather unfair if I didn’t also mention the days when the world decides to shine a light on the emerald green and make it glow. When the sun shines in Ireland, there is nowhere else in the world I would rather be. Period.

Today and yesterday were such days. Blue skies, hot as you like and a warm wind. Let me say that again just in case you didn’t catch the bold in that sentence. A WARM wind. The type of nice breeze that greets you as you step off a plane on the runway in Italy, France or Spain, to let you know that yes, you are now on your holidays. This is a big deal here guys, hence why it’s getting an entire paragraph dedicated to it 😉 We do not get warm air here, ever. Cold, freezing, wet, gales and gusts, yes – but rarely a gently warm breeze. Just lovely 😀

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A pit-stop at Starbucks for a nice coffee & binge reading Procyclist is a must.

I’m loving cycling these days and have been out every day the last few weeks that I haven’t been working. Fresh air, spinning the legs and soaking up the views, the countryside and the many sheep who I meet out and about on the roads every day. I used to think I didn’t like sheep – no personality, boring and a bit ugly to be honest. But I now think I was being very unfair to our woolly friends and I’ve come to rather love them lately.

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As I was riding by the Curragh plains in the last few weeks, there are sheep on either side of the road, unfenced and free to roam wherever. As sheep are wont to do, every now and again, one sheep will stop nibbling on the grass on the verge by the side of the road, look over (you can actually read the entire thought process as you approach them coming up the road) and decide he likes the look of the grass on the other side of the road better (so many cliches in here but it’s actually true for the poor buggers) and … off he goes wandering across the road to the other side, completely ignoring the oncoming traffic, cars, cyclists, you name it. There is no dog like sense to look left and right before crossing.

I’m sad to say that this is where sheep have failed to do their rep any favours because what happens next is ridiculous. As the adventurous sheep makes his little way across the road, his previously contented mates all stop nibbling on their patch of grass, look up to see where their friend has gone and … yep, you got it. They follow him across the road, also not paying a blind bit of attention to the mounting dangers coming either side of them.

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Ummm. Uh oh.

If I’m coming along my bike, I ring my bell to warn them so I don’t suddenly crash into them if they suddenly decide to make a break for it just as I’m passing by but it’s also to discourage any such feats, period, for their own safety. In the words of a wise man, stupid is as stupid does.

When they’re not playing the kamikaze daredevil on the roads, my sheep are lovely. This morning as I was pedalling away, most of them were lying down on the grass, eating their bit of grass (they are always, always chewing, geniuses in how to keep their metabolism up 🙂 ) heads up in the air, enjoying the breeze and the sunshine on their faces. Chilled, cool out and enjoying their day. Much like how dogs sit and enjoy the sun on a nice day. Very cute. Fancy getting a few sheep now, so I do.

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Chilling out, looking cool.

Stuff you should know – Until I can get a few sheep, I have to content myself with cycling and adventures on my bike. I’ve had my Carrera for a few years now and while it has served me very well as a beginner cyclist, I feel I’m ready to step it up a gear and make a bigger investment so I’ve been bike shopping. Just a few more Ts to cross and Is to dot and I’ll be all set to tell you all about the new 2 wheeler. CANNOT WAIT.

Speaking of spending money and bikes, I’ve also ordered a turbo trainer in advance of autumn/winter and the upcoming change of weather, as well as daylight hours. I reckon I’ll get a lot of use out of it, though I hope to still be able to do most of my cycling outdoors as much as possible. My review of the Tacx Vortex Smart will be coming up soon.

As if I haven’t spent enough money yet… I’m also shopping around for a little holiday at the moment but as ever, I want to go everywhere and cannot decide where to go. If you have any ideas, please let me know!

Happy Thursday!

Late Birthday Celebrations & Days Off

LATE BIRTHDAYCELEBRATIONS &DAYS OFF

I would be the first to confess to being overly strict when in training for a big event like a marathon or triathlon. Watching what I eat, being careful about the quality of the food going into my body and trying to keep my weight at a place where I feel comfortable running and cycling. You should know though, I’m not obsessive and I have no desires to be “skinny” – rather, I train and perform better when I feel comfortable in my own skin and for me that means feeling trim and strong.

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I’ve no elite toned body shape going on but for me this is as trim as it gets! Dont think it’s too bad for someone who used to carry an extra 2.5 stone.

I’ve come to believe though that it’s not good to be at that point all year round – to be at what some call your “racing weight”. Apart from the possibility that it might not actually be good for your body in the long run to keep your weight lower than is healthy, it also creates too much pressure and stress for your mind. It’s like trying to be perfect ALL of the time. Not sustainable and will make you go crazy.

So how do you balance these two competing issues? I’m no expert but in the last couple of years I’ve found that works for me is allowing myself to train hard and focus coming up to a big race and then celebrate and enjoy a more relaxed time for a while afterwards. That way, I feel ready to go again for the next training period.

What does that garble actually equate to in reality? It means I take a few days of doing no training except for maybe a gentle cycle or swim, lots of bubble baths and sitting around with my legs up. Then there’s all the food. Chinese takeaways, ice-cream, M&M’s, confectionery coming out my ears and a few nice lunches or dinners out with friends and family. Lots of crap, in other words. I’d generally stay away from this kind of food when I’m in training simply because while it tastes good going down, it makes my body feel gross. It’s not the type of food that makes me feel good from the inside and if I don’t feel good, I don’t perform good. Very simple.

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I eat fish at least 4 times a week, cuz yeah it’s good for me but I also just love it. Clean, environmentally friendly eating… are you loving all the goodness going on here yet?

A few days indulging in rubbish is kiddy-like fun but then I quickly have enough and find I want to get back to eating well and training again.

Ironman 70.3 Dublin last weekend was one such big event for me. The legs were useless for Monday and Tuesday and stairs were a non-runner (pardon the pun). It was also my birthday last weekend so this week was always going to be a chill-out week. A few easy cycles in the last few days helped to ease residual tightness and fatigue in my legs, readily aided by a few long bubble baths 😉

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Ironmanned and done, done, done.

Today I met my cousin and 4 year old godchild for lunch in Avoca along with my Mum and her friend. The food in Avoca is legendary and today’s offerings of confit duck salad with blood oranges, lentils, feta cheese and green beans finished with a lemon posset dessert was no exception. Scrumdiddly. I never pick confit of duck ordinarily but thought I’d live dangerously today and was so glad I did, it was very, very good.

I also picked up a few bits and bobs in the shop, as one cannot avoid doing when in Avoca…

Avocado Mix

Best Ever Granola from Avoca is something I’ve gotten really into lately. Apricots, big ass brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds all knockin around in there with an undertone of a funky orange oil… goes very well with some greek yogurt and berry compote, which has been my breakfast, supper and anytime snack really…

Cranberries, apricot, brazils, almonds, orangey goodness.

This Cake – look I honestly don’t know what it’s called but it was bloody wonderful. Maybe it’s because I eat cake all of probably twice a year that it tasted that good, but it was really very, very good. Think carrot cake meets bakewell tart. Cream cheese icing on top of a carrot cake middle, on top of a layer of jam on a pastry base. Fresh as a daisy and light as anything. C’est super.

No.1 cake spot goes to this lady here. #BeatThat
No.1 cake spot goes to this lady here. #BeatThat

White chocolate biscuit cake – Understand this is not all for me, I’m not that bad. I got this to give to other people but obviously had to taste it in the interests of reviewing it for you fine people 😉 This was disappointing to be honest. Very non-descript taste. I imagined it was going to have a strong white chocolate hit to it, given that it’s pretty much a solid lump of white chocolate with bits of biscuit, marshmallow and raspberries. Alas, it did not. Thumbs down from me.

So pretty...eh looks better than it tastes. 3/10
So pretty…eh looks better than it tastes. 3/10

Before you come to the conclusion (though I would understand if you had already gotten there!) that I am indeed a savage, I am saving the rest of my Avoca loot for another time. So you shall have to wait for my review of Avoca’s raw health food brownie and similarly raw and health foody caramel slice.

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Pancakes and Birthday Cake are on the menu for tonight’s supper, along with family time, the original Blair Witch Project, and the main event… cheering on Mo Farah in the Olympic final of the Men’s 5000m race.

On Monday, I’ll be drawing up a training plan for the next few months and cracking into good eating again. I love my down time and I love my up time. But as with any seesaw, the trick in it is not letting yourself go too far up or too far down.

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After all, you don’t wanna fall off.