Going Further

Going further

In running, there are certain distances you become accustomed to. 5km, 10km, 10 mile, half marathon, marathon etc. These are milestones every runner grows to know intimately – you learn to recognise how you feel at certain distances and what to expect physically and mentally at different points, the result being that you develop a kind of mental store and psychological toughness that helps you be better the next time. But when you’ve ran enough races, you also learn to know how you can expect to feel at the end of certain distances. For example, even though I haven’t run for over a year, I can remember exactly how I would feel after a 5km parkrun Vs. how my body feels after a half-marathon race Vs. after a marathon.

With Cycling, I find it a lot less clear cut. I could cycle an 80km today and be in bits tomorrow. Or I might cycle 100km today and be up for cycling another 70km tomorrow, no bother. There have been some days recently when cycling 37km to work on back to back days has just knackered my legs. But where is the sense, I ask you?

Apart from being able to draw the obvious conclusion that the harder the ride and more effort you put in, the more it will take out of your body and the slower it will be to repair and refresh. And the hillier the cycle, the tougher it is – also going to tire you out more.

But generally for cycling Vs. running, there are no milestone distances to focus on – or maybe there are and I’m just out of the loop! Oh well…

Some cyclists seem to work with time, rather than distance. You cycle for an hour a few days during the week and then go for a three hour ride at the weekend, for example. I don’t work that way. I like to map out a ride beforehand and then see how long it takes me. Next time, I try do it faster. That’s what motivates me. I’m less good with a “three hour ride” because for me that’s just a licence to sit on my ass and flooter away three hours coasting along at my ease.

So I stick with distance. Up to this year, I’d never ridden over 100km, with the longest cycle I’d have competed being around 91km. So I cracked out mapmyride and mapped a few 100km -ish cycles and worked my way up to them. Then I did a race a few weeks ago which involved a 105km spin around Carlow and over Mount Leinster. I loved it.

Today I took a spin from Naas to Kilkenny, travelling through Athy, Carlow, lovely Leighlinbridge and Bagenalstown along the way. The weather was a bit crap to be honest with dark clouds, some rain and a headwind most of the way… but I was happy out just to find I could actually make it all the way to Kilkenny. Needless to say when I arrived in Kilkenny 3 hours 41 minutes later, I was delighted with life and Kilkenny was buzzing with people, despite the rain.

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I had booked to get the train back from Kilkenny to Sallins and had a bit of time before my train was due. I knew exactly how to spend that time.

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What is cycling, if not really good coffee and cake?

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After all, it’s the worst kept secret in cycling that the only real reason cyclists actually cycle is for the coffee and cake. And it’s worth it every time 😀

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After wandering around trying to find a coffee shop that I could safely leave my bike outside without fear of it being pinched, I came across the Pantry on Kieran St., which was exactly what I was looking for. Really good coffee and a good selection of homemade baked goods, as well as soup, sandwiches and hot lunch options too. I really just wanted somewhere to sit down and rest my weary bones for an hour, while indulging in a much looked-forward to pick me up.

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Nice design and good, friendly atmosphere, you can’t go wrong.

The staff were lovely, the coffee was excellent and my cupcake was just grand. The bun could have been fresher and the icing was a bit over-sweet, but I was starvers so it tasted great anyway. Good spot and I’ll be back again.

Next Up. Now that I’ve gotten past the 100km mark, I’d like to build on that and be able for greater distances. There’s a clatter of 200km events in Ireland that look fab but I’m a long way from being able to remain upright for 200k. But it gives me something to aim for – oh, you know how it goes… citius, altius, fortius… better.

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.

Sunday-ness

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Happy Sunday one and all! If you too are in full-throttle Sunday mode, chilling out, feet up and looking for further validation that it is in fact okay to do this once a week, then look no further.

I’ve had a good old fashioned chill weekend, full of long bike rides, rugby matches, a little bit of reading, a fair bit of baking (once you start…) and nice chunk of Netflix.

My Mom headed off to Oman on Friday for a week of meetings so I’m home alone with menfolk for the next 7 days. To kick things off, I headed to the Ireland v Canada rugby match in the Aviva stadium in Dublin last night, which despite the massive scoreline of 54-21 (or something like that!), it was actually quite an entertaining game, with the Canadians making the Irish lads work for their win.

Good weather and a fun crowd in the Aviva made for a very nice way to spend the evening with my Paps.

I headed out early this morning for a long ride from Naas to Clane, then on to Carbury, Edenderry and home via Rathangan, bringing the total distance up to nearly 97km. Although the roads were pretty wet, it stayed dry throughout the ride and there was little wind. Happy days. A bit miffed though when you cycle 97km… and it’s JUST shy of 100km. Last week I did that demented thing of riding up and down the road until my watch registered the 100km, but this week I couldn’t be arsed.

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The remains of a long bike ride… carnage

I’ve been trying out different energy bars and foodie bits on the bike for energy over the longer rides and I’m really liking the Powerbar energy bars at the moment. I nabbed about a dozen of them at the Dublin Marathon expo a few weeks ago for a bargain price and have been trying out lots of different flavours. When I first tried the mango flavour, I thought it was just weird but then I came around to it and now quite like it. The Salty Peanut flavour is really good too.

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A good tip is to cut the bars in half before you head out, so you don’t have to be messing around with wrappers, trying to open them with your teeth as you also try to keep from crashing your bike. Then they’re ready to go when you are. I do this with bananas too.

I’m also trying out different recovery drinks at the moment. I like to make my own recovery smoothies and play around with different flavours but sometimes it’s just so handy to have something pre-made when you’re too exhausted to care about making your own flavours.

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One that I’m really enjoying at the moment is Avonmore Protein Milk, a 500ml carton of low fat milk with extra protein and flavoured with vanilla. It tastes like a vanilla milkshake but with the consistency of milk. Delicious and nutritious with over 100% of your daily calcium needs in there, along with vitamin D and 27g of protein. It’s also considerably cheaper than any protein milkshake or drink you can buy off the shelf.

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Upbeat strawberry protein drink was on sale for half-price in Tesco this week at 1.49 euro so I picked up a bottle to try. Tastes like a Yop or other yogurty drink of the same ilk and contains 20g of protein. I thought it was very nice and I’d happily have it again.

If you’re looking for a good novel to read at the moment, I’ve just finished Tony & Susan and wrote a review over on my other blog here, which I highly recommend. You may also know it by the title Nocturnal Animals, which has also recently been released in the cinema.

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Netflix. I get a bit lazy sometimes when it comes to Netflix, easily giving it to browsing fatigue when I fail to find something I want to watch within the first 5 minutes of scrolling. But I’m eager to break this nasty cycle in the belief that there must be a cave of hidden gems in there that I’m flippantly skipping over in my haste. What I’m watching at the moment are:

The Crown. A dramatised series following the current British Queen Elizabeth in her early days, starting off from her wedding to Prince Philip. I’ve only watched one episode but so far, so captivating.

Narcos. Okay, so who isn’t watching Narcos at the moment? It’s really very good though, in a Colombian The Sopranos, funny but oh-so-horrible and violent kind of way.

Until next Sunday, have a good week!

 

Autumnal Bliss

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Life is full of big, beautiful – free – gifts. Most of the time we walk around, head down, lost in thought or glued to a screen of some variety or other and fail to notice these gifts. Or if you’re a glass half-empty sort or the moanie type, you probably… well, you probably moan.

Let’s talk Autumn – I L.O.V.E Autumn. Others don’t take to it so well, preferring to view it as the end of summer, stealer of the long, balmy evenings and thief of days spent sipping wine by the beach. The slow march into dark, cold winter.

While these things are true, I can’t resist the warm glow of autumn – the occasional warm, sunny spell, reminders of the summer just gone and the gradual change in the colour of the leaves, letting the gold, orange and burnt red colours take centre stage.

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Autumn marks the beginning of cross-country season too. Mad fun altogether!

And let’s not forget, October marks the build up to pumpkin season – ie. official licence to eat as much squash and pumpkin as I like. In fact, not to do so would be wasteful and environmentally unfriendly and an all-round social injustice to not adhere to eating in-season vegetables. It does one good to prepare one’s arguments ahead of remarks such as “Butternut squash again? Are you not sick of it?” No, I am never sick of it, silly person.

Autumn on the bike is a new experience for me, as usually at this time of the year I’m at the height of marathon training for the Dublin marathon (in exactly 4 weeks time – not that I’m counting or anything 😉 ) Cycling at the moment is a real treat when you get a pleasant sunny, dry day. The temperatures are definitely coming down but it’s the nicest thing to be cycling along in the autumn sun along tree-lined roads, watching the changing colours in the trees and bushes… and saying hello to all the sheep and cows too (obvs).

The weather is not always that cooperative but when you do get those days, it’s bliss.

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Two Things: Dressing correctly for cycling in autumn (or winter for that matter) is a minefield. I am braced for a plethora of days of cooked Fifi on a bike due to ridiculous over-dressing and over-dousing of layers… and freezing Fifi due to fear of the former occurring and the resulting under-dressing and under-layering debacle. Secondly, the days are WAY shorter already so early morning cycles and evening cycles before or after work are now out. Sorry autumn but you do lose a point for that.

Dark evenings may be about to strip me of a long evening cycle to wind down after a day, but autumn, in all its glorious good nature, transforms these into an irresistible, seductive gift. A proper excuse to light a fire, wrap up in a big fluffy dressing gown, spend a ridiculous amount of time in a hot bath walled in by candles and bubbles or just curl up on the sofa with a movie.

Squash

Food Glorious Food. October marks the start line for that time of year when salad for dinner starts to feel all wrong. Move over salad, hello soup, stews, curries and squash cooked every which way from Sunday. Orange coloured food everywhere. Beautiful.

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And… some roast butternut squash on the side cuz I’m an addict. Duh.

I am ready for October – and when I say ready – what I actually mean is I’ve been waiting for autumn since the beginning of the summer. I know autumn actually technically starts in August but real autumn doesn’t begin for me until the temperatures start to fall, the leaves start to turn and the days begin to close in.  Their time is now.

Let the joy commence!

P.S Countdown to Halloween is ON… what are your plans?

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!

Banana Ice Cream & Candied Pecans

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Slowness-to-cotton-on-to-worldwide-human-trends is a personal trait I flaunt with no shame. It’s generally accompanied by a quiet smugness that lets you watch everyone else get all excited by a new trend, while you hold off and then watch it burn out. Then just when everyone else is nearly done with it, you jump on board and get to enjoy it all as if it were brand new. Because it is – to you.

Flares, fringes, mobile phones, skinny jeans, cronuts (I actually still haven’t yet tried one of these magical creations), frappuccinos, smartphones, apps of every kind (I only joined instagram a couple of months ago) and…. vegan ice cream made from bananas.

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Ignorance… Is it blissful?

You are no doubt well-informed peeps and already know all about frozen banana ice cream. Indeed I must have read about it somewhere in every blog, food magazine and recipe website on a near weekly basis for the past few years – freeze bananas, whip em up and hey presto – ice cream! This concept seemed to drift across the front of my eyes, slowing down for a few seconds as it passed across my thought process and then disappearing again as I no doubt scoffed and unconsciously dismissed the notion as a sad attempt to find an alternative to ice-cream.

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I make no bones about this – I like ice cream. A lot. So much so that I have an aversion to ice-cream that simply does not come up to scratch. In other words, I am an ice-cream snob. I will reject anything that fails on texture, flavour or which is too airy, too rich (yes it is most definitely possible) or screams of synthetic flavours (vanilla essence, I’m looking at you)

Satisfying me with vegan alternatives is, you see, a tough task.

Avocado Based Ice-Cream… Big Liars

Avocado based ice-cream does not do it for me and after getting all excited about the release of an Irish avocado based ice-cream in a certain national supermarket in recent months and forking out 7 euro (reckless spending of moolah on my part!)… I was grossly disappointed. Never again people.

A Modern Way to Cook by Anna Jones – taught me otherwise

Banana ice-cream, however, has won me over, heart and soul. Creamy, rich, delicious.

I mentioned in my last post that I recently got my hands on Anna Jones’ cookbook A Modern Way to Cook and contained therein is a recipe for banana ice-cream. I had a go, I polished off the bowl and I am now a committed banana ice-cream fiend.

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Get your frozen banana pieces (chop em up before you freeze them) and chuck em in a blender with a few dried dates, a splash of vanilla essence (not too much or you’ll end up with an overpowering forced vanilla flavour….or use a vanilla pod if you have it) and a dash of cinnamon – whip it up and boom, you’re away with the ice-cream fairies. Don’t have to be too exact with the amounts – it’s whatever balance suits your tastes best.

An even better addition is a teaspoon of coconut cream if you have some around, it adds a beautiful creamy, rich texture to the ice-cream.

The candied pecans are the perfect accompaniment but you don’t have to if you don’t like pecans or are just too impatient to be messing about with nuts and frying pans. They are very quick to rustle up though and are absolutely worth it if you ask me.

For Your Nuts.. 

Toss 20 grams of roughly chopped (not too small, mind you) pecans into a pan over a medium heat and toast for a few minutes until you can get that lovely roasted nut smell. Shake them about and don’t be letting them catch. Burnt nuts are a tragic thing.

Add 1 tsp of maple or golden syrup (because this is Ireland and maple syrup is a challenge to locate…) and let it cook for a minute. Remove to a sheet of baking parchment and let cool.

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Endless Possibilities…

Chocolate chips, peanut butter, dessicated coconut, a splash of rum…. the possibilities are endless for what you could chuck into the blender to change up the recipe according to your mood or taste preferences. Have fun people, there’s always more bananas…

Health Benefits

Apart from taste and sheer foodie enjoyment, this ice-cream is also a perfect food for runners – it’s basically just banana and dates whizzed up – so all carbs, low in fat and easily digestible. Great energy food. AND it’s a great way to use up ageing bananas and using up leftovers. So no look – you’re saving the environment, keeping your running energy levels in good nick, looking after your health AND it tastes yum. What more can I say?

I said that this ice-cream was worthy of its own blog post and I mean it. It’s bloody good and so easy – so you’ve no excuse not to give it a go. I spent years ignoring media telling me to make ice-cream out of bananas and now I can only rue those lost banana ice-cream eating years.

My wisdom to you.

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From the most simple things can come the tastiest, most unctuous, tongue slapping, lip smacking, take-me-away-to-a-dessert-island desserts. Nuf said.

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!